Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category
Well, it’s been a long while … but I’m finally back—and trying something new.
While I work on the first novel in a new five-book series, I put a story up on Kindle Vella, just to see what happens.
This is the very first story I finished when I decided I wanted to write romance, the first of my Women of Willow’s Grove books: Operation Snag
Mike Brad. It stars small-town education reporter Erin Mannering, her hottie coworker Mike James, and adorable social studies teacher Brad Kingston.
Life is what happens while education reporter Erin Mannering is making other plans. While she plans to snag smokin’-hot sportswriter Mike James, using the tips in a man-hunting book she got for her birthday, she ends up snagging sexy social studies teacher Brad Kingston instead … which would be fine with her except for one tiny problem: Brad may be involved in a grade scandal she and Mike are investigating in his school. Will she stifle the story of her career?
I broke the story up into 50-plus episodes, most of them containing one or two scenes, and plan to release one every Monday, Wednesday and Friday through mid-April.
Don’t worry. This version of Operation Snag
Mike Brad is much revised and extensively edited. I like to say it wouldn’t recognize itself if it ran into the original draft on a crowded sidewalk.
One of my favorite parts is the fact that I have scenes from both Mike’s and Brad’s POV … getting a glimpse into what makes them both tick is super-interesting. (Plus, it makes you want to know why Mike thinks he doesn’t deserve happiness with a “good girl.” That isn’t revealed until he gets his own book, Book 3 in the Women of Willow’s Grove series.)
It also gives a look into what it was like to be a journalist in a small-town newsroom in the 1990s, when I was an education reporter in Logansport, Indiana. Journalists are not an “enemy of the people.” They’re just people, who live, work and try to find love in their communities. But that’s probably a topic for a different blog post.
Best of all: No COVID-19. The story was written in—and will remain in—a world without masks and constant fear of large crowds. Erin and her friends go to football games and concerts without worrying they’ll catch a deadly respiratory disease.
Hell—cellphones barely existed when I wrote this story. I had to revise in a “new” cellphone in one of the later drafts, to make it make sense. The phone belonged to Erin’s friend and roommate Cassie, and Erin borrowed it when she drove into Chicago late in the story.
Okay, I’ve been sadly neglecting this little author blog … and I made the big announcement of my newest project on my author Facebook page. Guess that means you heard it here second, not first.
Oops. My author blog is sadly under-utilized.
April is Camp NaNoWriMo month, and I’m using it as the push I need to FINALLY finish editing Beth & Cody’s story, Trouble in Paradise.
Trouble in Paradise is the second of my Reality (TV) Bites books, detailing what happens to the best friends of Kari and Damien, the reluctant heroine and hero of Blind Date Bride. You might remember them as the couple who got more wedding-night action than the actual bride and groom—and the reason poor Kari and Damien were chosen as grand prize winners of Romance TV’s “Get a Love Life” contest.
Beth, convinced that Cody is losing interest in their relationship, coaxes him to apply for the network’s latest reality show, Invitation to Sin. Cody agrees—only because he’s sure they don’t have a chance in hell of getting chosen. But they do get the nod…and Bethany soon wishes she’d never considered putting their relationship through Romance TV’s crazy tests.
I finished the first draft several years ago but am only now diving deep into edits. The goal is to have it ready to go by the time I appear at the Payson Book Festival in mid-July.
Just in time for the World Series, which will showcase my beloved Chicago Cubs for the first time since 1945, I present the fifth book in my All’s Fair in Love & Baseball series …
STEALING THE SOUTHPAW.
Readers met Luis Castillo for the first time in BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER, when he was the rookie pitcher giving catcher Matt Thatcher fits. He had a slightly larger role in SLIDING INTO HOME, when he was Greg’s pitcher in the big Home Run Derby Greg and Jenn organized for charity. Now, finally, Luis has the chance to tell his own story. It’s a good one, I promise.
Here’s SOUTHPAW’s back cover blurb:
A potentially career-ending injury sends Arizona Condors pitcher Luis Castillo home to Miami to rehab and recuperate. He hasn’t even unpacked the rental car when he runs into his ex-best friend’s kid sister. She’s not a kid anymore, but she remains the main reason he ran as far and fast as he could six years ago. A successful college baseball career and two good years on the mound with the Condors did nothing to change what they did, or help him forget its consequences. He doesn’t deserve Randi’s warm welcome—and she sure as hell shouldn’t still look at him that way.
Miranda Vega sets out to convince Luis to take a chance on their relationship, which came to a premature end the night her brother found his baby sister in the arms of his best friend. The discovery sent Ricky into a vehicle, a near-head-on collision and ultimately a wheelchair. To get the boy—now man—she started crushing on at puberty and still loves today to believe Ricky’s accident wasn’t his fault, Randi needs a game plan. With any luck, she, Ricky and a Little League team in serious need of coaching will be able to notch the win.
Even with a bum left arm, Luis is a skilled opponent, adept at getting in his own way. But Randi grew up stubborn. And this time, she’s playing for keeps.
STEALING THE SOUTHPAW is $2.99 in e-book and $9.99 in paperback. It’s already available for preorder, and it’ll be live Oct. 25. Find it at your favorite retailer.
— Arlene Hittle (@ArleneHittle) August 29, 2016
Starting today through late November, Ogling the Outfielder will be available ONLY on Kindle—and it’s free for subscribers of Kindle Unlimited.
When I started writing the story, the intent was to enroll it in KU as a test. I just hadn’t yet gotten around to it. That is the case no more.
Click the teaser photo to go directly to the book’s Amazon page.
And if you like the sneak peek in the picture, here’s a bit more of that scene. Enjoy!
With his eyes closed, he heard Alex’s sneakers squeaking on the cement before he saw her.
He half-opened one eye. The second quickly followed, giving him a better view. She was…er… “Stunning.”
Alex’s cheeks turned pink, and she dropped her gaze to the floor. “Thanks.”
Crap. Her answer meant he’d said it aloud. One good thing: at least she knew how to take a compliment. Most women he knew brushed them off—or worse, fished for more.
Not that he wouldn’t willingly give them in Alex’s case. Her black T-shirt clung lovingly to full breasts. She was, if he had to guess, a solid C-cup. Just the way he liked—
Alex cleared her throat. “Sam?”
“If I didn’t know better, I’d think you’d never seen boobs before.”
The teasing note in her voice did nothing to assuage his guilt. He lifted his head and met her eyes. “Sorry.”
She was right. He’d been ogling boobs since age thirteen—so why did these particular breasts rob him of the power of speech?
They were nice, sure. Perfect globes, straining against soft black cotton. But he’d seen, even felt up, some of the finest tits money could buy. This specific intern’s perfectly nice rack shouldn’t leave his mouth dry and his jaw on the floor.
Alex’s arms crossed, thrusting what he couldn’t stop staring at into even more prominence.
He made an effort and dragged his gaze back to her face. “I’ll behave.”
Her lips lifted in a half smile. “Somehow I doubt that.”
“Would you like me better if I were well-behaved?”
Alex’s eyes widened. Her sharp intake of breath said she was as surprised by the question as he was.
“Never mind. Don’t answer that. Why don’t we start this whole conversation over?” He scrubbed his hand over his face as if that could erase the last several minutes. “Ready to grab some food?”
“No?” Damn. So much for starting over.
She shook her head. “That’s not what I meant. Yes, I’m hungry. Starved, as a matter of fact. The peanut butter toast I had for breakfast is long gone.”
She paused and drew a deep breath. “No, I wouldn’t prefer a well-behaved Sam Sloane.” A slow, sexy smile spread across her face, and she laid her hand on his forearm. “You’re perfect the way you are.”
“You think so, huh?” The warmth from her fingertips seeped into his skin. Her fingers tightened around his arm, and he stifled a groan. He was in trouble—and about as far from perfect as he could get. “What about the women in the shower?”
“They were stupid.” Alex’s tongue darted over her lower lip. “Everyone knows it’s not nice to kiss and tell.”
Big trouble. Sam jerked his arm out of her grasp, ignoring the hurt that flashed in her eyes. “We’d better get to the party before all the hot dogs disappear.”
Get Ogling the Outfielder exclusively at Amazon for a limited time.