Back to My Boots

I’ve said all along that the heroine of my book, Reckless Harvest, mirrors me in one significant way: Born and raised on a cattle ranch in the pioneer west, proud of her heritage and true to it…and yet magnetically attracted to European refinement, especially the land of her (my) forefathers, France.  Back from my extended trip I’m having my first cup of coffee, listening to Sam Riggs (Angola’s Lament), amazed at how comfortable a well-worn set of cowboy boots can be.  And thinking, ‘maybe it’s time for a new set of heels…’ 

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Nobody will ever muck out a barn with those but Lucchese has put boots on a lot of famous feet over the years from John Wayne and Johnny Cash to Zsa Zsa Gabor…

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A far cry from my first set of Acmes… 😉 

“The Scariest Moment is Always Just Before You Start”

A fairly significant statement considering it comes from Stephen King…a guy who knows a thing or two about terror, terrified of the insidious blank page.  It seems writers throughout the ages have been confronted by the same demons and HuffPo has compiled some tips for overcoming the paralysing fear of putting one word after another. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/writing-tips-_n_3319260.html

To retread the famous Mark Twain advice, “The key to getting ahead is getting started.”  Let’s do it. 

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My Image of Jacqueline Kirby

Just re-reading an old favorite,  “DIE FOR LOVE” by the lamentably late Elizabeth Peters.  Here’s a delicious excerpt, Peters describing her heroine, Jacqueline Kirby, through the eyes of a frustrated admirer:

“Her tall, upright figure was as slim as that of a woman half her age – not that James had ever been officially informed of that number, but since she had two adult children he knew she must be over forty.  Her thick auburn hair had not a touch of grey and James, who was well acquainted with Jacqueline’s hair and with the products women use to conceal that particular sign of aging, would have sworn she employed none of them.”

Well, when I saw this portrait in Glasgow, I figured Jack Vettriano must have been channeling “Jake” when he painted it:

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My Goodness, she looks like she could light those candles just by staring at them.  This painting is owned by Jack Nicholson, by the way…Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to my guilty pleasure…

He Captured My Protagonists

Jack Vettriano must have envisioned Sean Berwick and Lydia Surreault when he painted this scene…outward innocence masks the wicked, shared memory of a sleepless night:

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I’ll be visiting Jack’s retrospective in Glasgow next month.  Learn more about it Here:

http://www.jackvettriano.com 

As for Sean and Lydia, their mysteries are revealed in my newly released Ebook, Reckless Harvest. You can find it here:

http://tinyurl.com/mp5avgb

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What Lydia Wore…

…on her first date with Sean… 

They met briefly the evening before in New York City and never got around to exchanging phone numbers or even last names. But by the time Lydia arrived home a message was waiting on her answering machine…a virile and fearless European aristocrat named Sean Berwick, inviting a citified cowgirl to lunch. She thought no but said yes. And spent the intervening hours crafting a casual seduction. This is what she wore… 

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Reckless Harvest Excerpt

God, I know that guy on my book cover is just a mockup, but he makes for some pretty delicious eye candy!  😉

OK, as promised, a short excerpt from Reckless Harvest.  Short and long synopses are posted below but here is the setup for this scene:

Our heroine and “Finder”,  Lydia Surreault, has reluctantly assented to a last case,  helping a brash millionaire, Sean Berwick, solve a mystery at a fabulous but decaying villa on the French Riviera.  He has emphasized that time is of the essence, but even though Lydia throws herself into her work, both are constantly distracted by an undeniable, erotically charged attraction.  In this scene, Sean convinces Lydia to shirk her responsibility for the afternoon and take a ‘relaxing’ swim in the azure ocean:

“No, no, no,” Sean countered. “I’m afraid you’ll have to cancel poor Jacques today.”  He leaned across the table, hovering over her and she leaned back languidly in his office chair, reveling in the aroma of his freshly-shaven face.  Her heart was thudding again and underneath the desk, her thighs spread just a bit as her body made an unconscious bid to welcome him.

“So sorry. My employer expects quick results. I don’t want to disappoint him.” Her voice took on a sultriness that caught Sean by surprise. He wanted her this very instant.

“Never mind what he told you to do…do what he tells you.”

“You don’t know my boss. He can be very difficult if he doesn’t get what he wants. He rants and raves.”

“How right you are.  What he wants is for you to join him this afternoon for a swim in the ocean.”

“Sounds dangerous.”

“The ocean is always full of dangers and delights in equal measure.  Especially with a chilled bottle of Veuve Cliquot.”

“You didn’t mention the champagne. In that case of course I’ll change my plans.”

“Don’t forget to forget your swimsuit.”

“Oh, I will…I mean…I won’t. I think.”

He was leaning forward now and she slowly rose from her seat to meet him.

“Ahem…” It was the rasping voice of Jules, the foreman.  “You asked me to tell you when we’re ready to put the bar back into place. It’s ready to go.”

“I detect a conspiracy to keep me from kissing you,” Sean whispered, standing.

“We’d better keep our rendezvous a secret then…prying eyes and everything.”

“Can you keep a secret?”

“Until my first glass of champagne. That usually loosens my tongue.”

“Then I shall bring two bottles.”

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Cover Art!

Finally, it has arrived…and there are NO Spelling errors! 😉  The cover for my first romance novel!  Have a look, tell me what you think! 

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So, the stone is rolling down hill and picking up speed, there’s no going back now, can’t un-ring a bell… Hey…those clichés are great, I just made them up.  I posted the short synopsis for Reckless Harvest a few days ago, here is the longer version to whet some appetites.  Will post a highly titillating excerpt tomorrow! 

 

Cowgirl Meets Cote d’Azur…

 Part detective, part treasure hunter, Lydia Surreault has achieved astounding success finding things for people…everything from forgotten paintings to her most recent and highest of high profile discoveries… the long lost Porsche that Steve McQueen drove in the movie “24 Hours at Le Mans.” It’s a coup that landed her one-person agency, ‘Finders’ on the front page of the New York Times, into a prominence she neither sought nor expected. Lying in the bathtub, reading the account of her exploits, she is intrigued by a quote from a billionaire client: “Lydia Surreault can find anything for anyone at any time.”  Except for a man, she quips to herself.

 

Weary of her adopted home in the Big Apple and the ‘good life’ that goes along with it, Lydia is preparing to renounce the travel, the upscale restaurants, the VIP crowd, the fancy parties and insider invitations…and unfortunately, an increasingly long list of Metrosexual suitors.  Lydia cringes as yet another text message coldly illuminates the screen of her Iphone. ‘Hey, if you’re in town let me know, we could hang out…’ She restrains herself from replying, ‘shave your trendy-two-day beard and grow a pair first.’  As she throws the phone aside, Lydia decides to take a step she’s been considering for some time…to turn her back on The City and return to her roots, the Montana ranch where she was born and raised in the still rugged West, where people are real, not digital, where she can find some peace of mind…and just possibly, a man who will ignite the long dormant, but smoldering passion deep within her. 

Yet even as Lydia prepares to bid farewell to New York, she has a chance meeting with Sean Berwick, a mysterious and extraordinary European vintner who mesmerizes her with his unstudied charm, razor sharp wit and, yes, his undeniable prowess. Heavily reliant on his finely honed intuition, Sean is a man who flows with the situation, seizes opportunities and trusts his decisions. In an instant Lydia’s plans are thrown into turmoil as he convinces her to return with him to the south of France, to the Cote d’Azur, to solve a century old mystery surrounding his prized possession, a fabled seaside Villa tarnished by a wicked curse.  Against her better judgment, Lydia agrees to take on ‘one last case’ only to be thrust into a world of glamour and excess; a region best described by W. Sommerset Maugham as, “a sunny place for shady people.” As hard as she tries to maintain a professional veneer, Lydia is captivated, both by the lifestyle of the French Riviera and the taciturn patrician, Sean. But he proves to be a mystery wrapped in an enigma, sometimes engaging and playful, more often, distant and harsh, a man who has earned millions through his magic and sensitive abilities as a vintner and millions more as a hard-nosed, unforgiving businessman. A man whose temper and impatience strike fear into devious employees…and yet shows exceeding grace, kindness and generosity to those who earn his trust and favor. Lydia is unsure which side she falls upon. But as she sets about the task of unraveling a century old riddle, her unfailing intuition and nose for minutiae uncover a series of secrets that will severely test her loyalty to Sean and in the end, jeopardize the very people she has come to know and love.