The Unseen World Just Off Main Street

pisky-on-stem

Just off Main Street, and right under your nose, there may exist an unseen world of creatures we call faeries and pixies.

pixie kitchen

All of us probably have some memory attributed to the influence of faeries and pixies. When I was a kid, I visited a place on the Oregon coast called Pixie Kitchen. The food was magically good. midsummer-eve-victorian-art

But the idea of sweetly, child-like faeries are largely a product of the Victorian age. In ancient lore, faeries were a mischievous, and sometimes downright murderous, lot.

And Cornish pixies (or piskeys) could be be the most magical and evil of all.

According to Pixie Folklore and Legends by Enys Tregarthen, God once called on Adam and Eve after they’d been driven from Eden. Eve was washing the children (she had a lot by then) but still had some unwashed. She presented the clean children to God, and when when He asked if she had other children, Eve said no because she was embarrassed that some were still dirty. God was upset at her deception and so decreed that the children Eve hid must remain hidden. The children went away into the forests, hills, and lonely places where they remain hidden from man, ‘not good enough for heaven and not bad enough for hell’.

So maybe they have a reason to be annoyed. But a quick note to kids—don’t fight bath time!

house pixies 

When they’re in a good mood, pixies might clean your house when you’re not looking (please come to my house—see I left out milk for you!), and have parties complete with tiny horses and chariots when you’re asleep. If you happen to wander into a ring of stones or mushrooms, you’ll be pixie-led, destined to wander aimlessly, speaking jibberish (or maybe that was too much whiskey—which oddly enough rhymes with piskey—but I digress). 

Truly evil pixies are called spriggans and have been known to steal babies from their cribs, leaving behind one of their own kind called a ‘changeling’. A formerly sweet, perfect child grows into a sullen troublemaker. Who’s with me in saying they’ve met one? I know, right?

Explore this unseen world off Main Street with my Tennessee Waltz series, where fireflies and pixies intersect with a singer just trying to make it to Nashville, a yoga instructor trying to keep the doors of her studio open, and a travel agent who wonders if she’ll ever truly feel at home

TN waltz series

 

Magic is always just around the corner…

Saving The World One Book At A Time

womanWhat’s so special about the romance genre? Do the readers live in a fantasy world to escape their own mundane existence? Are they unwilling to look for love in the real world, preferring the illusion of fiction instead? Do they have unrealistic expectations of relationships? Many have made these claims and more—I believe unfairly so. And it doesn’t stop the romance reader from picking up that next book. That romance reader being me.

To say I am a romance novel fan is an understatement. If I read fiction, it has to have at least an element of romance in it. And I’m not the only one. Romance as a genre accounts for around 25% of the total fiction market, and despite economic downturns. Why is that?

Two people—usually shown on the cover so we know who they are at the outset—fall in love and get together. There’s no real mystery here. They hook up. On the surface the romance genre sounds like the height of cliché. It’s so ‘formulaic.’ So ‘pedantic.’ And yet I keep reading and writing them, and will for as long as I can. Sure there’s some element of fantasy reading about those happily-ever-afters—everyone is hard-bodied and drop-dead gorgeous—but that’s just part of the fun. That’s part of the ‘what-ifs.’

romance

For me personally, the wonder of an unfolding romance in the pages of a book is about that special moment when someone chooses another above all others—and the feeling is mutual. It’s the ultimate choice. No one has to get together. These days our parents probably aren’t arranging our marriages. We get to explore and discover and eventually let that special someone know our hearts are open to that next step. And that same someone just might respond in kind.

Of course there are all kinds of obstacles that delay the inevitable. But what’s true love if it can’t overcome each and every one? When the trials, tribulations, and misunderstandings clear up, the characters arrive on the edge of a precipice that will change everything. An entire future hinges on that moment of connection—a future that will not occur if they remain apart. So romance is infinitely personal—and on a broader scale—just plain epic. That deeply personal decision impacts the entire human family and binds us to something bigger than ourselves.

Whoa.

It’s exhilarating to live that moment over and over again through the stories of different characters in just about any time period or culture. It appeals to our common humanity and gives us hope for the future. Yes, mankind is savage and often ugly. But when two people fall in love, the emotions are so powerful, the potential so limitless, it gives us glimpses that maybe, just maybe, we’re not so bad after all.

How about some science to go with the mush? Granted, there’s a lot of hand-wringing that says romance novels are bad for the psyche, but such studies seem to always be done at the behest of non-romance novel readers. Meanwhile spouses of romance readers reap a real benefit between the sheets—having upwards of 74% more fun than non-romance readers. Let’s face it, a heart-melting romance just puts us girls in the mood.

Romance novels can help us work out real-world issues in a safe place. We can visualize consequences of actions better when played out between the pages of a book. Knowing there’s a good chance of a happy ending also makes reading a novel a way to reduce stress from the pressures of everyday life. Everyone has an escape, a release valve. This one is legal, you can’t catch a disease or get pregnant, and provides an interactive rather than passive activity. Win! For me personally, romance novels were my escape when my kids were little. My stack of novels at the side of the couch saved my sanity. Reading romances practically saves lives! And the kids saw mom reading so much, they had to have books of their own. Today they are devoted readers.

doveAll put together, it’s safe to assume reading a romance novel can bring world peace! Right?

Well…a girl can dream, can’t she? Yes, she can. Because she reads romance.

So get your romance on with some of the best: Weddings on Main Street. Who knows, it might just save the world.

2D Boxed set

The Sound Of Love

loveYou may have noticed a wedding theme here at Authors of Main Street. It might have something to do with 11 sweet and sexy stories in a novella set with a happily ever after called Weddings On Main Street, a current #1 Amazon Bestseller in Contemporary Short Stories.

20140606-073033-27033946.jpgOne fun thing about weddings is that they are as varied as the people involved. I knew a couple who used balloons instead of flowers while the bride skipped down the aisle–honest! And then there are those celebrity weddings with tigers or a priest sacrificing chickens (trust me, not making this up).

One component of weddings is the music. Ah, you think, everyone does the same thing when it comes to music–either the Wedding March or Pachelbels’ Canon in D.

But just like a bride might wear a black wedding dress or the guests blow bubbles at the happy couple, music is not left unscathed from individuality.

A friend of mine who attended a large church was getting married–along with several other couples. They cranked the ceremonies through on a near assembly line. The song du jour was the Melissa Manchester ditty from Ice Castles (hey, it was the 70s). Each and every couple requested that song be played as the bride walked down the aisle–except my friend who was a bit more traditional. But since she was the last wedding of the day and the pianist was suffering from muscle memory at the keyboard, guess what she got?

Another friend’s dad was getting married. The couple was what you call…well, they smoked, cussed, got drunk–alot, and drove around in a jacked up pick up truck–in their forties. When they got married they carried the theme to its completion and the bride danced her way down the aisle to these bearded musicians:

Are you in the wedding mood now?

What’s the weirdest music you’ve heard at a wedding?

 

June Is The Month For Weddings…And Other Odd Facts

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As June gets under way, chances are you’ll be receiving a few wedding invitations in the mail (or already have) or might even be participating in a ceremony or two.

June is definitely the nadir of weddings.

Why is that?

A few urban legends include the idea that it was one of the times people bathed so, hey, a good time to get married! Another is a little bit opposite–couples marry in June so the profuse June flowers used in bouquets help hide the smell of their unwashed bodies. Whoa.

Can I digress and give a shout out to indoor plumbing?

But cleanliness (or the lack thereof) is just a few of the facts and fancies of wedding lore. Here are a few more from The Knot:

* Hey, brides, tuck a sugar cube into your glove — according to Greek culture, the sugar will sweeten your union.

* The bride stands to the groom’s left during a Christian ceremony, because in bygone days the groom needed his right hand free to fight off other suitors.

* The English believe a spider found in a wedding dress means good luck. Yikes!

* Seventeen tons of gold are made into wedding rings each year in the United States!

* Snake rings dotted with ruby eyes were popular wedding bands in Victorian England — the coils winding into a circle symbolized eternity.

* Queen Victoria started the Western world’s white wedding dress trend in 1840 — before then, brides simply wore their best dress.

* The custom of tiered cakes emerged from a game where the bride and groom attempted to kiss over an ever-higher cake without knocking it over.

* And possibly the REAL reason June is a popular matrimonial month: The Roman goddess Juno rules over marriage, the hearth, and childbirth, hence the popularity of June weddings.

Regardless of all the traditions and oddities of weddings, they are still fun to attend (I always cry) and watch in movies, and read about–because no matter our experiences in life, we all want to believe in the happily ever after.

ImageTo get your wedding fix this June, check out the soon-to-be-released boxed set by your very own Authors of Main Street. Eleven stories to fill your heart with romance’s siren song, available the 9th.

So save the date, get your hands on something borrowed and something blue, and go head over heels for WEDDINGS ON MAIN STREET.

 

 

Even At A Wedding, We Need Jack

bsa

While wedding season is upon us here on Authors of Main Street, we still need someone out there keeping those streets clean from the riff-raff–such as those who will try to photobomb the bride and groom.

Or worse–just bomb them.

This calls for Jack Bauer.

A nice segueway to a little fan squee, right?

LIVE-ANOTHER-DAYAs a huge fan of the show 24, I’m absolutely thrilled Jack is back.

We need him–especially since Breaking Bad has ended, and Justified and Downtown Abbey are between seasons. And to take out that suspicious guy carrying in floral bouquets. He’s probably a terrorist.

melancholiaJack won’t make a scene. You’ll probably never even know a take down went down. He’s that good.

And one thing about Jack–he’s always on time–even when he’s running out of it.

This season’s first episode, Day 9, opens with Jack wanted by the government as a suspect in a planned hit on the president. William Devane returns to the show, this time as President Heller (we loved him as Secretary of Defense) and this plot line is especially dear to my heart as it involves Audrey Raines–the great love of Jack’s life (post Teri).

Aww, yeah.
Another favorite is of course, Chloe. She’s had her own ups and downs as well as killer mood swings that make Jack yell. And she’d be the one to tell you your dress makes you look fat. But she can make it up to you by getting you some top grade computer hardware at a great discount.
Love ya, Little Miss Snarky.
There are a thousand other reasons to love 24, his wedding security skills, nothwithstanding, but perhaps the most endearing are the Jack Bauer sayings and motivational posters littering the web. I leave you with a few awesome offerings:
Jack Bauer shot Helen Keller in the knee to make her talk.
When Jack Bauer was a child, he made his mother finish his vegetables.
Jack Bauer is the only reason why Waldo is hiding.
 (H/T Tropic Thunder for the posters)

And he’ll make sure the groom seals the deal at the altar. At gunpoint, if necessary.

If you’ve missed the first episode of Day 9, catch up here!

Local Travel Agent Finds New Destinations

Bush_Globe_Travel_towerWhen I was growing up, the local travel agency on my town’s main street looked as exotic as any of the destination packages they sold. That building could represent France, England, Russia…all places I’ve dreamed of travelling to.

I did actually go there once to buy a plane ticket…and only got as far as San Luis Obispbo. But to a former Oregonian, all that sun was pretty exotic.

 

One of the most memorable travel agencies is seen in The Truman Show–a top 20 fav film of mine. I love all the travel posters encouraging customers to explore outside their comfort zones. truman travel

 

I thought it would be fun to write about a travel agent who finds that there might be more destinations out there beyond Europe, Cancun, Hawaii…

The latest title in my Tennessee Waltz paranormal time-travel series has just been released, and my main characters are in for some new discoveries of their own.

Kiss Me, I’m Home is the final book after Kiss Me, I’m Irish (#1 Amazon Bestseller in Time-Travel Romance) and Kiss Me, I’m Yours. The first book was a flash-forward in time, the second book, a flash-back. Kiss Me, I’m Home is something of a flash-sideways:

KissMeImHomesmallThe prickly Morgan Lee Faye has a penchant for family TV shows and a dislike for the people around her, but she’s the best travel agent in Tennessee. So good that she catches the eye of the mysterious proprietor of Avalon Travel, Mr. Kane.

If Morgan accepts the job, she’s promised adventure around the globe and gold for her pocket, but she worries the offer is too good to be true. It is. And Kane isn’t the only one with a creepy agenda. Her co-workers all seem to want a piece of Morgan’s secret—even the two office hotties.

Honestly, she just wishes they’d all go away so she can watch Little House On The Prairie. But that’s not going to happen because from Nashville to Avalon, faerie mischief is back!

So think back to your youthful dreams of travel. Experience a new destination that might not appear on any map…and find a little romance along the way.

Downton Abbey On Main Street

DAfashionsAs I look back to the finale of season 4 of Downton Abbey, I wonder why this show above others has so gripped me.

Admittedly the fashions are FABU, darling. Every episode is a sartorial work of art.

edithUpstairs, it’s beads and silks and spangles glowing in the candlelight. Downstairs, it’s homespun charm and organic earthiness.

daisyBut the real appeal for me lies with the daily trials and tribulations, both large and small, of the people who make Downton Abbey their home. From a toothache to an unplanned pregnancy, from secret love letters to post-coital death. All of it holds me captive, especially when I realize these circumstances play out whether one is wearing an apron or a party dress from Paris. People are essentially the same whether they live upstairs or downstairs, whether they were raised on a pig farm in the nursery with a nanny.

babyThe show is a study in contrasts, but it also illustrates what binds us together. And there’s something for everyone; romance, treachery, manipulation, petty squabbles, a smile at the seaside.

A village resides at the Abbey, different families, different destinies, different windows to peek in.

Quite like the stories we’d find on any Main Street.

The theme of this blog is that the authors each provide a different window to peek in, a different story  to enjoy. And yet each one is resonates with what binds us all–love and family.

Check out the offerings of the authors here and find your new favorite way to enjoy the captivating story of humanity.

dress shopAnd the clothes are pretty good, too.