If You’re Lucky

In a small town, on a hill behind our house, under an old oak tree…

That’s where my love of reading began.

I’d gotten in trouble more times than I care to admit for hiding away with a sketch book and pencils, or borrowed books from the library.

Every time I walked through the library doors, my breath came a bit quicker. While gazing at the rows and rows of bulging bookshelves, I imagined things I could do,  the places I would go. Characters I would meet and stories to discover.

So many books yet to enjoy! A part of Heaven was within reach. I could go anywhere I wanted and be anyone I wanted.

Life couldn’t get any better.

But it did.

I fell in love with storytelling.

Little did I know how much time and effort it took to write. So many times I wanted to give up and simply live a normal life. No more lying awake at night with characters dancing, and yes sometimes nagging, in my head half the night.
Frustration

But I didn’t give up, the characters wouldn’t let me anyway, and couldn’t be more pleased with my decision.

Most any writer will tell you there are plus and minuses to the life of a writer. You just have to reach out and grab inspiration whenever and wherever it strikes.

Tell your story, and if you’re lucky, readers will catch the magic.

Until next time…I wish you Butterflies, Music and most of all…Love.

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IN PLAIN SIGHT

IN PLAIN SIGHT is my story for the Summer Romance on Main Street boxed set. This story is set in idyllic Door County, Wisconsin as was CHRISTMAS IN JULY, from the Christmas boxed set: Christmas Babies on Main Street.

Here’s my cover featuring Door County cherries and a bit of bling to celebrate my jewelry theme.

In Plain Sight-gimp.jpg

Summer O’Hara stumbles upon an international jewelry thief in small-town Door County, Wisconsin and pays for it with her life. Or does she? As her family searches to uncover the mystery behind her death they find that romance and valuables are often hidden in plain sight.

Summer O’Hara and her daughter, Fallon Murphy, find trouble – and perhaps a little death – can often lead to love.

Happy reading!

Leigh

 

Babies and More Babies!

There isn’t anything any sweeter than the scent of a baby, any baby, anywhere. Snuggling a baby creates a joy and a peace in your spirit.

And speaking of babies…

Christmas Babies on Main Street released October 12, 2017.

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This baby themed anthology was a delight to bring together for our readers and we’re thrilled to share fabulous stories with you again this Christmas season.

Take a peek inside our small towns, their families, and nine stories of baby love to warm your heart. Though these stories are written with Christmas in mind they’re excellent reading any time of the year.

My contribution story is The Christmas Stocking, book two of Apple Lake series.

Excerpt

Ellie had never wanted to settle for less than a happy home and the sound of pitter-patter dancing across her floors…but she had. Ryan Newsome had married her only to give him babies. One week after her second miscarriage, Ryan took the cowards way out and walked away.
Little did Ellie know, God was about to intervene.

The Christmas Stocking Final (small)

Chapter 14

“I’d really like an actual shower. Those bed baths kept me fresh, but there’s not much that feels better than warm water running over your body.” Luke glanced over at Ellie. “If that’s okay.”

Oh, my! Do not even think about it. No way am I giving you a shower.

From his reaction, she must have had an expression of shock on her face.

“I’m sorry,” he said, then laughed. “It doesn’t pay to think out loud. I meant nothing by that statement.”

“Well…I’m happy to hear that. And no. No, it isn’t a problem. I’ll call and have an aide come by to help you.”

“That won’t be necessary. If you’ll help me gather everything, I can take care of myself.” Luke held up both hands, palm side out. “I’d prefer to hold off on the aide.”

“I don’t know. You’re still weak. What if you should fall?” She sent him a stern look. “You can’t expect me to barge into the bathroom and help you up from the floor. Didn’t they assist you with showers the last few days? Normally they do before releasing patients.”

“Yes, they did. My leg was too weak to stand though. Extended therapy will improve the muscles. Trust me. It may take a while to get back to normal, but after this week’s therapy, I can handle a shower now.” He grinned over at her. “I promised not to be a burden on you, remember?”

Whatever he was, he wasn’t a burden. In fact, she rather enjoyed his company, so far anyway. More than that, her heart had done several flips when he’d smiled at her. Embarrassed at her reaction to the stranger who’d recently lost his wife, Ellie scolded herself for being so taken in by his dreamy blue eyes and easy smile. Not going there. I’m not ready for a relationship. Certainly he isn’t.

“I remember.” Ellie let her gaze linger over Luke. “This decision is entirely up to you. I refuse to be held responsible if you get hurt.”

“I realize you don’t know me well, but what kind of person do you think I am?” Luke tensed. “I wouldn’t dream of holding you responsible for something I did to myself.”

“Okay then. Hold on a minute,” Ellie said. In a few minutes, she was back with several pairs of slacks, shirts, unopened underclothing, new socks and a pair of house shoes. “Try these. You’re about the same size as Ryan, except taller. They may not be a perfect fit, but since you don’t have your clothes yet, they’ll have to work.”

“Hey, thanks. Real clothes will be a welcome change from the hospital gowns. I’ll get Mrs. King to pick up some of my clothes tomorrow.” Luke grabbed his cane and hobbled behind Ellie and into the downstairs bathroom. He exhaled deeply and blew into the air.

“Are you okay?” Ellie asked, as she laid out his clothes.

“Yes. I think so. Reminiscing, that’s all.”

“Would you like to talk?” Ellie’s heart went out to Luke and his children. Their lives were changed in an instant, because of the car accident.

Luke raised his eyes, which were filled with grief. “No. But thanks for offering.”

“I’m sorry about your wife, Luke. Truly sorry.”

____________________________________________________________

Do you have a favorite Christmas memory you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your story!

We’re excited the book set has been received so well. If you haven’t gotten your copy of Christmas Babies on Main Street yet, please consider checking it out!  http://amzn.to/2xQ5Lsj

Please check out these links to my books, available at Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. http://caroldevaney.weebly.com/my-books.html

I wish you Butterflies, Music and Love

Something Special About Growing up in a Small Town

There’s something special about growing up in a small town, my name for a Main Street town. Like the song says, you know everybody and everybody knows you…and their parents might as well be yours, if you stepped out of line. But they were always there for you, just like your own parents, whenever you needed them.

 

My true home town…plus there are two bars and two churches not shown…used to be a gas station, but that was even before my time. The trailer at the fire station is new, though!

I live half a world away from there now, but if I wandered back tomorrow, they’d still be there for me, as I’d be for them.

 

People are there for each other in a small town. Many I know grew up in cities and never knew their neighbours. Now they’re adults, they still don’t know the people up and down their street. I don’t get it. I couldn’t live with myself—being so close to others and never even knowing them, what’s going on in their lives, if they’re okay. They look at me blankly when I ask.

My adopted High School town–where I nearly stayed. 🙂 xxx

 

What I Learned in a Small Town

I learned gratitude in a small town, and love, respect, and caring. How looking after others was important. Sure, it got me into some binds when I left that small town for the big smoke…but I survived, because I knew there were still many, many people back there in my family, but not of my blood, who loved me. Unconditionally.

 

4-H. Without it, and its caring parent leaders, I’m sure I’d never, ever, have gotten into Veterinary School at UC Davis! I pay it back when I can. Small towns taught me this.

 

I wish more people had the opportunity to grow up in a small town, or in a “small town in a big city”. I’m sure they exist. While people, wherever they live, are getting “closer via the internet”, often it’s merely virtual—further away from real human and animal contact, the thing which makes us “human”. In a small town or rural area, people still get the contact, because their friends and families are still there for them.

 

 

Without this contact, it becomes that much easier for people to hide away and not get the care and love they crave, but fear to request. Some retreat from the world, disappear, but others become increasingly capable of “inhuman” actions.

 

I know, this is more morose than my usual post, but there has to be an answer. We’ve lived in one of the most peaceful times in history, in the States, Canada and New Zealand. I think it blinds us a bit to what much of the rest of the world experiences daily.

 

Can we help create small towns wherever we are?

Can we begin to show those around us, city or town, some interest, care, compassion? Whoever they are? Maybe that neighbour who doesn’t talk with anyone is afraid to try? Maybe they just truly want to be left alone, but what if they didn’t? And you made the difference to their life? Go outside and do some fun things together with others…

 

Starting small, one candle at a time, we can create a small town anywhere…

One candle at a time, we can light up the world.

If we’re willing to take that step outside ourselves.

You never know the difference it might make,

To someone.

I think that’s why I was so pleased to be offered a place with Authors of Main Street. It felt a little like coming home. A group of people who support each other, cheer with each other, and sometimes, cry with each other. Now we’re putting out another “sweet” romance boxed set for Christmas. There’s a lot of care going out in one big package.

 

I hope it gives you some positivity and warm feelings as the weather turns colder for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere.

 

Take the chance to share a little of your light.

Xx

Lizzi

 

 

Seeing as this is my last blog post before the 12 October release of our new Christmas Boxed set, I thought I’d post Chapter Three of Once Upon a Vet School for you. It’s one of the nine complete stories in our set. No teasers in our sets! The previous two chapters are in my last two posts, in case you missed them!

14 OVS 7 Lena EBOOKcoverLG FILE

Once Upon a Vet School #7 is now available for preorder as part of our new boxed set at

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Amazon!

It’ll be delivered to your Kindle on 12 October! Only a few days away!!!

I hope you enjoy reading all the stories. I sure have loved the ones I got to beta!

All your favorite Main Street authors have stories tucked inside. Remember, we are an international group so everyone’s Main Street is a little different. But don’t you think that’s what makes it fun?

These are clean stories you don’t have to hide from the children, and of course the same wonderful quality that you’ve come to expect from us. They’d make a great Christmas gift for just about anyone on your list.

And if you have any horse lovers in the family, expect your Kindle to vanish while they read  my novella!

All though September and October, you’ve been reading snippets of these stories, which are all complete and brand new stories!

So grab your 99c copy today! It will be delivered to your Kindle on October 12, USA time. There’s not a sinker in the bunch, so read them all!

What’s Christmas without a little romance?

 

xx

Lizzi

 

And here’s your excerpt!

 

Once Upon a Vet School  #7   Lena Takes a Foal

CHAPTER  THREE

 

Dr. Rye was our lecturer for Wednesday’s Equine Surgery lecture, so I didn’t have to see Ki—Dr. Allen, and my focus in class was impeccable.

It seems all I had to do was think of Kit for my face to heat up, and it was starting to look like I had it bad. Maybe that’s why I nearly dropped a container of colostrum when his voice came from over my shoulder as I struggled to get into a comfortable position, half-kneeling, halfway underneath a mare in the Large Animal ICU stall.

“What the heck are you doing under there?” he growled.

“What does it look like? Milking a mare,” I said, my voice shaky. It had taken the better part of a half hour to milk this much out of her, never mind having to do it in strange contortions around my non-bending limb.

“Does your supervisor know what your leg looks like?” He frowned.

That got my attention. I whipped my head around to see if my boss had heard him and nearly tipped over, then clambered the rest of the way to my feet.

“Please Ki—Dr. Allen, please don’t say anything to Frank. I need the hours—I can’t feed that horse or me without it.” I was pleading, now.

“You’re a pain in the rear, you know?” Kit shook his head. “But you’re a trier, I’ll give you that. Hasn’t anyone shown you how to milk a mare with a syringe?”

“A syringe? I think she might object.” I had to grin at that. “She’s really been good—hasn’t moved a muscle for me all this time,” I said, wrapping my arms around the mare’s neck and burying my steaming face in her mane. She whuffled softly as she nosed my bottom, then returned to her hay.

He stroked the mare, while he looked over her back at the premature foal sleeping in the straw.

“Is he nursing yet?”

“His suck reflex is improving a little, but we’re still tubing him with colostrum every few hours,” I said.

“Want to learn to milk a mare…a little faster?”

“You bet.” He had my full attention, now.

“Sit down and put that leg up while I do this.”

I sat, thankful to get my weight off it for a moment, while he searched the cabinet drawers for a big syringe and pulled the plunger out.

“You cut off the business end of the clear part, here,” he began sawing at it with a pocket knife, “then turn the plunger around.” When he was finished, he handed the contraption to me.

I stared at it, with no idea how to begin.

“You place the smooth end around the mare’s teat,” he grinned, “and slowly draw down on the plunger.”

“Seriously?” I jumped to my feet with a wince and tried it. With only gentle pressure on the plunger, the golden, syrupy colostrum just flowed into the syringe. I shook my head and swore softly.

“Works, doesn’t it?” He grinned.

“I can’t believe it,” I breathed. “Thank you so much.” If he wasn’t my hero before, he surely was now.

“That should speed it up a little.”

I filled the rest of my container in three minutes flat.

“I’ve spent…you don’t want to know how long…getting that same volume…” My voice dwindled off and I gazed at him. If student ICU techs hugged residents, I would have.

He took one look at me, then backed away, the beginnings of a smile running screaming from his face.

“Good, well—” he muttered, and spun toward the patient bulletin board, his knuckles so white on the pen in his hand, I thought I’d be cleaning up plastic fragments.

I shook my head and filled another container with the precious golden liquid while he stared fixedly at the pink treatment sheets. His fingers had relaxed, and now he merely played with his pager buttons.

“How is that mare, Charlotte, over in C-Barn?” he called across the room.

“I’m on my way over there now, thanks to your milking gadget. Without it, I’d have been ages longer.”

His narrowed brows softened and the corners of his mouth even lifted a little.

“No worries,” he said.

I stifled a chuckle. Sounded like he’s been hanging out with the new Kiwi Equine Repro resident. New Zealand idioms were popping up all over the vet school. I covered the beakers of colostrum, put one into the fridge, and left the other out for the little guy’s next feed.

“So why,” he remarked, under his breath, “the heck are you working? You should have that leg up somewhere, not running around barns making it worse.”

“I already told you why,” I hissed, glancing around. “It’s been up long enough. Time for exercise, Doc. Soon I’ll be a hundred percent again.”

He shook his head.

“You said you were a farrier before you became a vet,” I said, changing the subject.

“Yes, I was. Why?” He looked sideways at me.

“I spend as much time in the farrier shop here as Sean will have me, but they’re all client horses, so I can’t trim them. I’d like to learn.”

He flicked a glance my way.

“Why do you want to trim feet? You’re training to be a vet, not a shoer.”

“Horses depend on their feet for their living. It’s important they’re right.”

“It’s a lot like hard work.” His brow wrinkled, and he looked away for a moment.

“Way I figure it,” I said, “horse vets need to know about feet—and the fastest way to lose an owner’s confidence is to mangle a shoe removal or basic trim. I don’t want to be a farrier, but I’d sure like to be able to pull a shoe and decently trim and balance a hoof.”

His eyes lit up and his lips slowly formed a twisted grin.

I couldn’t help beaming back. Encouraged, I rattled on.

“I’ve spent a lot of time reading about feet, but I haven’t had the opportunity to actually trim them.” I fell silent for a moment, waiting, but Kit didn’t offer.

He turned away and began looking at records.

I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, then turned back toward the fridge and stared at it, unseeing.

“Guess I’ll have to take a farrier course when I’m done with vet school. Doesn’t look like I’ll learn much about trimming here,” I mumbled, half to myself, half to the fridge.

Behind me, Kit sighed.

“I could teach you,” he said.

I spun to stare at him, just as he blinked, as if he didn’t quite believe he’d just said that.

“Would you? Would you really?” I was stunned. After his last words, I truly hadn’t expected him to say that.

He swallowed hard, then nodded.

“Yep,” he said. “There are plenty of horses in the research herds that could use a bit of attention.”

“When can we start?” I was so excited, I nearly forgot to breathe.

His jaw tensed as he held his own breath in silence for long moments.

“I’ll make you a deal,” he finally said.

I narrowed my brows at him. This couldn’t be good.

“You do only what you absolutely must on that leg for two more weeks, and then if it’s significantly better, I’ll take you out and teach you to trim feet. Mind you, they’re pretty unkempt, and they’ll be a bit rough to handle—”

“—oh please?” I interrupted. Oh cripes, I was begging to do feet…but I meant it.

“Yes,” he sighed, “but remember the conditions, eh?”

“Got it loud and clear, Doc,” I said, and hobbled on before him, eager to show him the progress Charlotte had made since he’d changed the heel elevation of the shoe on her injured leg.

***

“Hey, want to go for some pizza?” one of the girls in my class asked the students standing around me.

“Yeah, let’s go. I’ve got room for one more in my car, Miranda,” one of the guys said, and walked past me to steer her in the right direction, without a glance at me.

I took a deep breath and shook my head, riffling through my pack for my schedule to see what else I needed to do before heading home.

Maybe I was just born different.

But horses liked me…and men, until they got to know me—usually too well, too soon. And then they’d disappear. I couldn’t seem to get that one figured out. My female friends usually kicked me from here to Christmas when I did it…again. I only gave the guys what they asked for…and then they despised me for—

—with a shudder, I saw it—in black and white on the page and my heart hits my boots.

Oh hell. My cousin’s wedding is tomorrow.

More people. I closed my eyes and sank down onto the nearest planter box.

“You okay?” Jess walked up and dropped her pack next to me. “How’s the leg?”

I sighed and let my bag slide to the ground, too.

“Okay, but I’ve a wedding tomorrow.”

“Why so glum? I love weddings. I’ll go.”

“Fine, you go in my place,” I said, and gritted my teeth.

“What’s not to like about a wedding?” She scrunched her face up.

“Too many people, all in one place. When your parents and grandparents all have retail stores, it doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert—you still need to serve the customers and act extroverted, regardless.”

“Probably the best thing they ever did for you—probably helped you get into vet school.”

“Yeah, maybe, but it makes my heart hurt.”

“You’re pretty extroverted now,” she said.

“You’d think so, wouldn’t you? I tell myself it doesn’t matter what people think of me…but it’s not true,” I whispered. “Nobody, even you, gets that I’m terrified—of what they might say, what they might do. At least horses and dogs love you when they love you, even if it’s just cupboard love—and they don’t bother to lie or make promises they won’t keep.”

Jess blinked and stared at me.

“The thought of going to a wedding brought out all that?”

“Well, yes. I mean, the ceremonies are all right. I usually even cry. And the dancing’s good, if there’s someone there who can swing dance…but the rest isn’t so hot…drunk people who want to get close,” I shuddered, “and think it’s okay because it’s a wedding.”

“True. You don’t do drunks, period. I’ve seen that.” Jess put an arm over my shoulders and gave me a hug.

“I can usually escape into a kitchen,” I said, with a hint of a grin. “I hate weddings with caterers, though. No escape hatch.”

“Didn’t you used to work for a catering company when you were an undergraduate? How’d you deal with that?”

“They didn’t maul the kitchen minions. Hey,” I grinned, “that’s an idea. I can take along a black skirt and white blouse…and just disappear into the woodwork.”

“So where is it?” Jess said, shaking her head and chuckling.

“At my Aunt’s ranch.”

“What’s wrong with that? She’s the one with all the horses, right? If the kitchen trick doesn’t work, you could always head for the stables.”

“That’s why I love you so much, Jess. You get it.”

“Yep,” she said. “Are you done feeling sorry for yourself? Because I’m hungry.”

“Aren’t you always?”

She beamed back at me. She’s a tall, gorgeous beanpole and eats whatever she wants. I am eternally jealous.

***

“Oh, Lena, how’s Sunshine been?” The new resident, Dr. Masters, nodded at a post-op colic horse standing with one hind leg cocked, his tail lazily twitching at a fly in the ICU stall beside her.

“He’s looking good,” I said, with a smile, and reached for a second fluid bottle. “He grazes well, ate his feed tonight, and started my shift with a full flake of hay. It’s half gone now.”

“Good, so he’s eating again…” Dr. Masters looked down at the horse’s record in her hand and cocked her head, brows coming together a little. “Have you been writing up the records?”

“If I can squeeze in the time, I do.” My face heated, and I bit my lip.

Did she mind?

“As busy as it is today? You don’t have to do that,” she said. “It’s my job to write them from your treatment sheets entries. You have enough to do.”

I blinked.

“Seriously? You residents never even get time to sleep. If you’d rather write them up, that’s fine, but if not, I’m happy to help.”

“Thanks Lena,” she said, with a sigh. “It’s appreciated. Make you a deal. If you think it’ll be good for your training, go ahead and do them if you want. I’ll critique and sign them off.”

“Really?”

“Sure. Happy to.”

“I’m after all the practice I can get,” I said, as Dr. Masters picked up a stack of records and ferried them toward the office. I jumped when I saw Kit already there, head down over his papers, scribbling for all he was worth. I hadn’t seen him come in. Butterflies bashing to escape my stomach walls, I shivered and turned on my bad leg with two, five-liter glass fluid bottles in my arms. I only just managed to keep my feet, and keep the profanity under my breath on my way to the barns. I really must learn to pay attention, even if the illustrious Dr. Allen was present.

Our residents, all of them, made me smile. For people, they’re pretty awesome, especially after my exposure to the wedding crowd last week. I’d survived, but only just. Ended up grooming horses in my silk dress. By the end of it, I could have come out of the pages of a Thelwell book—the sequence of drawings where a tidy rider begins all dressed for a show with the shaggy, muddy beast she’d evidently just pulled from the paddock…and their magical transformation to a gleaming, braided pony beside an exhausted and filthy ragamuffin with a trashed riding habit.

In C-Barn, I pulled the rope to raise the caged fluid bottle high above Cotillion. The palomino swung her head around and whickered at someone’s approach.

Kit. My heart jerked and I swallowed hard.

He reached out to the mare and she lipped at his fingers as our eyes met and held.

“How’s she going?”

“Her IV drip had stopped, but I’ve fixed it,” I said. “She’s looking a lot brighter than yesterday.”

“You know, you don’t have to write up records.” Kit looked at me sideways.

“I don’t have long until I get to be a real vet…and I need all the help I can get.”

“You’re doing pretty damn well already,” Kit said, his brows lowering. “Most third year students haven’t even tried procedures you do every shift as an ICU tech.”

“Yeah, well, that’s why I wanted to work here,” I said. “Even with this hospital’s big equine case load, the time in clinics is too short for me. I seem a bit slow to learn things.”

He rolled his eyes at that.

“You’re doing just what you need to be doing, and makin’ a good job of it.”

“It’d be nice if other people thought so,” I said, biting my lip. The black plastic cap from the new fluid bottle clicked into place as I shoved it onto the empty one.

“Who doesn’t think so?”

“Nobody,” I said, to my feet.

“Who?”

“I’m a pain in the neck, apparently, to my class.”

“I’d bet no resident or prof would say that,” Kit said, but he squirmed a little.

I swallowed hard. Guess he thought so, too. Must be my questions in class. I truly didn’t do it to show off. I just wanted to understand. If I learned it wrong the first time…

“Maybe if you kept your head down a little in cla—” Kit started.

“Seriously, you too?” I shook my head. And I’d thought…but that wasn’t worth thinking about, clearly. “Is there anything else you’d like to know about this horse, Dr. Allen?” In my iciest tone.

“Now don’t go gettin’ all huffy, I’m only trying to help.”

“Thank you for your concern.” I don’t imagine it sounded overly grateful, coming from between gritted teeth.

He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply.

“Okay, if you want to be that way about it,” he said. “Thanks, anyway, for taking such good care of the horses.”

“Any time,” I spat out, tucked my bottles beneath my arms, and bolted for B-Barn, the hemostats and stethoscope clipped to my scrubs swinging with every hop.

***

My alarm shocked me out of whatever pleasant dream had cocooned me. I smacked it on its head, then lay blinking at the sunshine streaming through the jasmine vines that waved in the open window. Their sweet, heady scent heavy in the early morning air. I rolled over, then sat bolt upright.

Today was the day.

My two weeks of penance were up. I had an appointment to make with a certain resident to trim feet. I stilled, though, thinking about our last meeting. I’d certainly have to apologize. I should’ve done it last week, but what can I say? I was gutless. After a deep breath to settle my butterflies into place, I shot out of bed and leapt into my clothes.

“What’s the hurry, girl? It’s early yet,” Tamarah said, dodging the gooey tennis ball the Lab spat at her from two feet away.

“Susie’s aim is improving.” I laughed. “Soon she won’t miss. I’m off.”

“You really are better,” she said, looking down at my leg.

“Amazing what a little water, sitting in the sun massaging, and jumping rope has done.” Most of the odd colors were gone and it was down to nearly normal size.

“So can you ride your bike yet?”

“Did it yesterday,” I nodded, pouring uncooked oats into a bowl. “Felt fine.”

“One lucky girl,” she said, and disappeared into her room, followed by the bouncing dog.

I wolfed my breakfast and shot across town. The only fly in the ointment was my treatment of Kit the other day. I chewed my lip over it while I waited outside K—I shook my head at myself—Dr. Allen’s office door. He arrived after only a few minutes, so I didn’t have long to stew.

“You all right?” He gave me a quizzical look.

“If I were any better, I’d be twins.” Cocky cover-up, with the butterflies bashing away inside me and my face doubtless bright red. “Um…Dr. Allen,” I groped for words, while I fisted the sides of my shirt, “I’m sorry about my attitude last week.” I dropped my eyes to the linoleum. “I had no call to jump down your throat like that—I’m…just a bit sensitive about the topic.”

“It’s okay, I understand.” Kit tried for a smile and shook his head, then he glanced down at my leg, below my running shorts. And froze in his fumbling with his door key. “What have you done with it?”

“Worked on it? It’s much better…” My heart sank. I thought it looked better…but maybe I was getting ahead of myself.

“It’s amazing.” He blinked, and stared again. “I’ve never seen bruises change that fast. How’d you do it?”

“I had motivation,” I said, resuming breathing again, and told him how, then continued. “I…I wanted to see if we could please make a time to go out and do feet.”

“You sure you’re ready for that?” He winced, glancing at the offending leg.

“I can jump rope, I rode my bicycle over here, and I’ve been working.”

“There’s still swelling on the front of the shin.”

“It seems to be a split muscle—it now sits over the top, see?” I propped my foot up on a handy chair and showed him.

“You’re right,” he said, his face coloring. “Well, I guess we’ve got a date.”

I gulped, at the same time he shuddered and stepped backward.

“Ah…” I said, backpaddling.

“Let me check my calendar,” he said in a rush, then tried a few more times to get the key into the lock.

If we weren’t both so uncomfortable, it would have been comic. As for me, tempting as he might be, it was time to take care of myself—and that didn’t include getting my heart burned again.

For quite some time in the foreseeable future.

 

ENJOY!

Again, if you wish to preorder Christmas Babies on Main Street, by Authors of Main Street, click here!  It’s only 99c$  What a deal!

Merry Christmas, early!

xx

Lizzi

 

A New Author of Main Street: Magdalena Scott

 

Hello! I’m thrilled to be a new member here on Authors of Main Street. When I was invited to write a guest post for February, I immediately felt at home. Imagine my pleasure at being asked to become part of this wonderful group of writers!

SRRbizcard

Since you may not have “met” me before, I thought I should do a little intro today. I’m a lifelong “small town girl,” having grown up in a corner of the Midwest that most people have never heard of, let alone visited. I’m also a USA Today Bestselling author of small town sweet romance and women’s fiction.

If each of our lives is a book, I’m in the second chapter of mine.

In the first chapter, I grew up in a loving family, made lifelong friendships starting at age one year, two months, and three days old–when the next girl cousin was born. I fell in love with writing stories as soon as I learned cursive. My first publishing credit was in second grade–a haiku in a national Sunday school magazine.

I was blessed to live my own small town love story, and during 30 years of marriage to the smartest, most unique man I’ve ever met, became Mom to a wonderful son. The end of chapter one was becoming a widow when my husband died from a brain tumor.

Rose On Wood BW

Add Minimalist-in-Training to my Resume

My second chapter has included downsizing from the big family home to a studio apartment, writing full-time,  and becoming mother-in-law to an amazing young woman. I also found a second chance romance. (Good to know those don’t just happen in novels!)

4-travel

I love to travel, and in autumn 2015 took an unexpected, dream-come-true trip to Ireland with one of those lifelong friends I mentioned. But my fulltime residence is still in small town America, where life in the slow lane includes plenty of heartwarming, simple pleasures–concerts, plays, festivals, street fairs, and old-fashioned family recipes shared at reunions or backyard barbecues. I’ve seen my town be at its best when family, friends, and often the entire community pull together as life’s challenges threaten.

I currently have two small town contemporary romance series available for readers. All the books are wholesome romance (also known as clean, or sweet).

Serendipity8
The heartwarming stories of SERENDIPITY, INDIANA: This series is set in, and around, the Standish family Christmas tree farm. Each Serendipity story includes one or more instances of the life-changing magic of Love. (More concrete thinkers may see these as random coincidences.) The Serendipity series contains sweet romance, and also romantic women’s fiction (Emily’s Dreams, The Blank Book). The Blank Book and A Piece of Her Soul also have a light paranormal element. Seven books are available now, with the eighth scheduled to release on June 1st.

The McClains of Legend, Tennesee

The small town charm of THE McCLAINS OF LEGEND, TENNESSEE: This series invites readers into the lives and loves of the large, sometimes exasperating, and always entertaining McClain family, to whom Legend has been home for generations.

If you want to learn more about me, please visit my blog and/or my website. To get all the latest news, and the occasional nifty perk, sign up for my monthly-ish newsletter.

Until we meet again–happy reading!

Magdalena

Cherry Pie-Cake, Easiest Holiday Dessert Ever by Joan Reeves

Happy Thanksgiving CardLess than a week to Thanksgiving, and I’m in the holiday mood. I’ve been cleaning, sprucing up the guest room, and hanging the rest of the art that has been stacked in an upstairs closet for almost 2 years. With all that done, my thoughts turned to food. Yum, my favorite part of planning.

I have a dozen guests arriving next week so I started thinking about the menu—not just for Thanksgiving Day itself, but for the day before and the days after.

I like to have a dessert each evening, but I like something that doesn’t take a lot of preparation and work. I’d rather spend time with my visitors than stuck in the kitchen. So here’s my family’s favorite go-to dessert for one of the dinners before the big feast day.

Cherry Pie-Cake

This is a dump cake. I call it a pie-cake because it’s not quite a pie, but not quite a cake either. It’s just a delicious, super easy dessert. Your guests will love it. Serves 12-16.

Ingredients

  • 1 Duncan Hines Yellow cake mix
  • 1 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple in syrup (must be syrup)
  • 1 can Cherry Pie Filling
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 stick of butter, cut in slices

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease a 13x9x2 sheet cake pan or a pretty casserole dish.
  • Dump the undrained crushed pineapple into the pan and spread evenly over the bottom.
  • Spoon the pie filling over the pineapple and spread it as evenly as possible.
  • Sprinkle the box of dry cake mix over the layers and spread it out evenly.
  • Sprinkle the pecans over the cake mix layer.
  • Place the pieces of butter around the top.
  • Bake for 48-53 minutes.
  • Serve warm or cooled.
  • Prepare to collect the compliments!

Jane (I'm Still Single) Jones by Joan ReevesNeed a Break from the Festivities?

Consider JANE (I’m Still Single) JONES, a romantic comedy all about family and friends. Reader Review: “These are two of the most delightful characters on the printed page.

“Jane thinks she’s worldly NYC but is very much the Louisiana belle—and Morgan…well what can you say, the perfect all grown up, hunky former nerd.

“Joan Reeves is at her very best with these two and the entire small town of delightful characters. It’s delightful, delicious, sexy and adorable.”

JANE (I’m Still Single) JONES is available in ebook at: All Romance Ebooks * Amazon Kindle * iBooks * Kobo * Nook * Smashwords. Also available in audiobook at Audible and iTunes.

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and showers of blessings for which to give thanks each and every day.

Post Script

Joan Reeves is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives her “happily ever after” with her husband in the Lone Star State. Visit Joan at her Amazon Author PageSlingWords, her blog; and sign up for Wordplay, her email mailing list.

Small Towns and Humor by Joan Reeves

The Trouble with Love by Joan ReevesI love small towns. Because I grew up in a small town, I know a lot about these unique communities — the social structure, the economics, and, most importantly, the people who live in small towns.

Favorite Setting

A small town is my favorite place to set a story, and many of my contemporary romance novels are set in small towns. Small towns are like characters in a book and give color and depth to the story.

Even though I spend the week in a townhouse in Houston, we have a country home too so I don’t lose touch with my roots, and I even subscribe to the weekly newspaper in the nearby town that has a population of 719. My goodness. That makes my hometown where I grew up look huge with its boasted population of 5,000+. I also subscribe to my hometown’s newspaper.

Homage to Leno and Carson

One of my favorite segments when Jay Leno and Johnny Carson were the stars of The Tonight Show was where they would read the unintentionally funny items from newspapers and advertisements sent in from viewers.

Never fear! Since I subscribe to 2 small town newspapers, I see funny stuff in print all the time. Of course, it’s not supposed to be funny!

I just about fell out of my chair yesterday when I read in one of those papers about the man who planted a bomb in his wife’s car. No, that wasn’t funny, but the comment from the Sheriff’s Department (deputy’s name withheld to avoid embarrassment) was.

The small town reporter asked the Deputy about the explosive device. The Deputy replied: “The explosive device did not explode, and we can’t tell whether it was homemade or not.”

Excuse me? Homemade or not? Are there stores that actually sell car bombs? I mean, aren’t all car bombs, by their very nature, homemade?

Life Is Just Different

The following isn’t particularly funny, but it’s so far removed from urban life as to appear amusing, and a bit endearing, if you’ve ever lived in the oil patch as my husband and I did when first married.

Sign on a restaurant: We deliver to surrounding oil fields.

And I don’t mean Domino’s or Pizza Hut.

Life really is different in rural and small town America. The people seem more patient and kinder. It’s almost as if there are stock characters, and every town is required to have its requisite number of them.

The pace is definitely more relaxed. My Romantic Comedy series Texas One Night Stands is all about small town life where you sneeze and someone across town says, “God bless you.”

To Sheriff’s Deputy Susannah Quinn, the heroine of The Trouble With Love, that’s suffocating. She’s tired of the town knowing everything about “poor little Susannah” and plans to escape as soon as she can. The only thing standing in her way is tall, dark, and too darn sexy for her own peace of mind.

In the second book of the series, Romeo and Judy Anne, high school principal Judy Anne Palmer is tired of being up on that pedestal of respectability. She kicks over the traces one night in Dallas. When her one-night lover shows up in her hometown, she’s afraid her night of passion will end up being the biggest scandal her little town has ever seen.

Both of these books, along with my others, are available at most ebook sellers; audio book editions are at Audible.com and iTunes.

Book 3 of Texas One Night Stands

Next month, I’ll begin writing a book that I’ve been salivating over! It’s the third book in the Texas series, Forever Starts Tonight.

Allison Platt, from The Trouble With Love, adores Alton County, Texas, where her cousin Hogan first met Susannah Quinn and where Allison hangs out a lot. Ten years ago, when she was 18, Allison was married and divorced. She says, “It was the usual case of ‘young and stupid’ —  I was young; he was stupid.” While traveling in Mexico, things go horribly wrong. Allison’s father recruits her ex, Donovan Platt, to bring her home.

Maybe I’ll have Allison deliver lunch to an oilfield while she’s hanging out in Alton County.

But Wait! There’s More!

Small towns? Like? Dislike? What do you think about books set in small towns? Leave a comment with your email address, and I’ll send you a coupon code for a free copy of Old Enough To Know BetterA woman with a past. A man who wants to be her future.

Post Script: Joan Reeves makes her home in the Lone Star State with her hero, her husband, but you can find her online at: her blog SlingWordsher website * Facebook * and Twitter. She lives the philosophy that is the premise of all of her romance novels: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”

Readers, sign up for WordPlay, Joan’s email list/newsletter, and receive a short story, not published elsewhere. Writers, sign up for Writing Hacks, Joan’s free newsletter, and receive a free copy of a nonfiction book.