Posts Tagged ‘small-town romance’
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.
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.)