‘Tis now the season for holding hands with the one you love while strolling through freshly fallen snow and cuddling (and more) in front of a blazing fire. No need to shiver in sub-zero temps when there are so many fun, creative ways to stay warm, right?
The hero and heroine in my holiday short, HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, have no trouble staying warm. Cue today’s My Sexy Saturday snippet. Cher has just admitted to Derrick the real reason she’s back in town, and asked him not to tell anyone, even their mutual friend, Elliott.
“Especially El. He’d tell my sister, and she’d blab it to everyone we know—not to mention every total stranger we run across. I don’t want my medical history to become fodder for the gossip rags. Any rumors about Starshine’s future would be bad for business.”
He made a zipped-lips motion. “They don’t call me The Vault for nothing.”
The mention of his high school nickname brought a smile to Cher’s lips. “I thought that was because your parents had more money than God.”
“That, too.” His teeth flashed white in the darkness. “But people tell me things. I must have a face you can trust or something.”
“Or something,” she echoed, her eyes glued to Derrick’s supposed trustworthy face. With his killer smile and cheekbones sharp enough to slice a bagel, trust wasn’t the first thing that came to mind. More like hot, sweaty nights. “What do you say we get inside before we end up with frostbite?”
Wrapping his arms around her, he nuzzled her neck. “We probably ought to wait until the rest of the family leaves, to avoid any more pleas to join in.”
She pressed against him, letting his body’s heat surge through her. No danger of frostbite as long as they were together. “I like the way you think.”
I have so many things to be thankful for in 2013, including discovering this cornucopia photo on Wikimedia Commons. I find old advertisements like this, described as a “propaganda poster to get immigrants to move to California” (circa 1876), fascinating. Did you note how California is “a climate for health and wealth, without CYCLONES or BLIZZARDS”?
Fun, eh? I love to pore through historic ads selling miracle cures or, more recently, claiming smoking is good for you.
Anyway, this is Thanksgiving Day, so I’m here to list the things for which I’m giving thanks. This is a special year for me, being newly published and all.
In no particular order:
— Thanks to the folks at Turquoise Morning Press for taking a chance on DIVA IN THE DUGOUT. It’s been amazing working with such a talented group, and I look forward to getting Books 2 (BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER) and 3 (still untitled) out next March and April, respectively.
— Thanks also to those who’ve helped me ready my first foray into indie publishing, HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. (It’s not a terribly original title, by the way. There are about 100 pages of them on Amazon … I blame the Christmas carol, which is where I took inspiration for the title.) I couldn’t have done it without my talented cover designer, Rogenna Brewer; former coworker and editor Dani Crabtree; and Marie Force’s Formatting Fairies.
— Thanks to the Boyfriend for always believing in me, even when I have a tough time believing in myself. He’s more excited about my first royalty check than I am … I think he thinks I’ll suddenly be flush with cash, while I know better. I’m not going to disabuse him of the notion, though, because he gives me plenty of time to write.
— Thanks to the people who are buying DIVA and HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, reading them and leaving reviews. HFTH just got its first 5-star review on Amazon. Among the highlights:
Short, sweet and punctuated with Ms. Hittle’s trademark wit, it’s the perfect length for a quick getaway when you can’t handle another minute of the holiday rush.
Grab a latte or a hot toddy and relax with Home for the Holidays. You won’t be disappointed.
I’ll take that high praise any day of the week (and twice on Sundays!).
— Thanks, too, to my fellow authors for their support and commiseration. I don’t know where I’d be without the gals from NARWA; my Golden Heart sisters, the Starcatchers; and the LaLaLas. They’re always around to bounce ideas off of, cheer me on and listen to me worry. They say writing is a solitary pursuit, and you need a strong support system. Thanks to these folks, I have one. They’re all a phone call, text or email away.
— Thanks to my coworkers, who listen to me squeal with excitement (or groan in disappointment) whenever I check DIVA’s Amazon sales ranking. Even if they don’t really care, they do a good job of faking interest.
— Thanks to my web designer, Larissa, who put together this beautiful website. It’s exactly what I wanted, but had no clue how to build for myself.
— Last, but certainly not least, thanks to Starbucks. Their drinks and pastries keep me going. Oh, the pastries … have you tried the new pecan tart yet? Mmmm …
Cheryl “Cher” Stanton is about to discover home is where the hunk is …
My indie publishing debut joins DIVA IN THE DUGOUT, which was released last month by Turquoise Morning Press.
The musician heroine of HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS leapt out at me, fully formed, last year when I read Carina Press’ open call for holiday shorts. I clearly saw the story’s beginning and end … I just wasn’t sure how she got from Point A (singing the blues because she’s forced to return to the hometown she couldn’t wait to get out of) to Point B (singing the town’s praises).
This being a romance, a man had to figure into the transformation. Enter Derrick Mullins, one of her two best friends throughout middle school and high school. Cher had always had a thing for Derrick—and even went so far as to put the moves on him on graduation night—but she left town on the 6 a.m. bus the next morning convinced he didn’t know she existed.
Nothing could be farther from the truth, of course. And now that Derrick’s no longer young and stubborn, he’s ready to pick up where Cher left off all those years ago.
I knew I wanted Cher’s hometown to be a small town, one a high-school girl with big dreams would find stifling. And I knew just the place: Langley, Indiana. I’d already written one story where Langley figured into the equation, so I had a clear picture of the town. Nestled in the Indiana cornfields, it had just one stoplight. A high school (Langdon High, Cher and Derrick’s alma mater), a barber shop and Dottie’s Diner (the town hangout) dotted the main drag.
It was the kind of place from which Cher couldn’t wait to escape. She returns only because her health demands she get some R&R, and she figures she can hide out at her folks’ house, so far off the beaten path that her fans will never think to look for her there.
And it works. She’s getting her much-needed vacation … until she runs into Derrick. Things heat up and Cher finds herself developing a new appreciation for her hometown.
Why set a story in a tiny Indiana town? Well, they say write what you know. I grew up in small-town Indiana. My high school was in Albion, which had one stoplight—at the intersection of state roads 8 and 9.
Langley is not Albion, but Albion is part of Langley. So are a lot of other small Indiana towns, places I’ve come to appreciate now that I’ve been gone from them for more than a decade.
I hope you enjoy Cher and Derrick’s story, and your stay in Langley. (I have three other stories set in nearby Willow’s Grove, including OPERATION SNAG
MIKE BRAD, the manuscript in which Langley was born.)
It’s Saturday—time for another installment of everyone’s favorite blog hop, My Sexy Saturday.
A quick reminder of the rules:
Post 7 paragraphs or 7 sentences or 7 words. The choice is yours. It can be from a WIP or something you already have published. Your post should be live by 9 am US Pacific Time on Saturday. Put those lucky 7s to work for you!
The tale of a singing sensation forced to return to her tiny Indiana hometown just in time for Thanksgiving is a little bit sexy, a little bit sweet and a whole lotta hilarious.
Enjoy this sneak peek:
Derrick didn’t seem to mind her lapse into brainlessness. He merely chuckled and stepped away to strip off his T-shirt, revealing the muscles she’d been fantasizing about all night. Hair dusted his chest, down to
Oh my. They weren’t in high school anymore. This Derrick was all man and finally, all hers. She raised her eyes back to his face too late. He’d caught her looking.
His lips quirked up in amusement. “You looked your fill yet?”
Not trusting her voice, she nodded.
“Good. Now it’s my turn.”
“Strip for me, Sweetness.”