Here we are, a month and a half into the new year—and believe it or not, more than eight months from my last blog post! It wasn’t my intention to be away for so long; my thought back in June was to take some time off over the summer after the release of An Unexpected Harvest, and get back to regular posts when fall swooped in. But along with the cooler weather came the deterioration of my mother’s health. She passed away in December, but I take comfort in knowing she exited this world on her own terms, surrounded by family; and I’m happy she’s with my father again, the love of her life for more than sixty years.
While she was ill and then after she passed, I felt a bit like I was floundering (and truthfully, I still do). I needed a distraction in the worst way; something that would keep me grounded, but at the same time, give me an escape, an outlet. I found it in my very first JAFF story, called Dance the Tide. I hesitantly waded into those waters (pun intended), and I say hesitantly for two reasons: one, it’s a train wreck of a story. Actually, I take that back; the story itself isn’t a train wreck, but the writing surely is. It needs a lot of work. The second reason for my hesitance is my firm belief that JAFF is not the right genre for me. While my two previous releases have enjoyed moderate success, I wasn’t convinced that churning out another contemporary Pride and Prejudice variation would be worth all the time and effort that goes into self-publishing.
But ultimately (obviously!) I’ve decided to make my first book baby the very best it can be, and put it out into the world. What will come after Dance the Tide is a great unknown—and perhaps the topic of a future post! I don’t want to give up writing completely, I’m just not sure where I’ll go from here. Time will tell.
But I guess that for now, ‘hanging by a stirrup’ might not be entirely accurate. Perhaps it’s more appropriate to say that I’m back in the saddle…and ready for the ride.
I hope you’ll venture over to the Coming Soon page to read a little more about Dance the Tide, and because it’s Valentine’s Day, I hope you’ll enjoy the short (unedited!) excerpt below, from early in the story. Please follow this blog or connect with me on social media (links on the Coming Soon page) for publishing updates.
Thanks for stopping by!
Conversation during dinner had been light and effortless, and Elizabeth found herself more curious about Will—and more drawn to him. Even though she’d only known him for two weeks, and had really only started to get to know him over the past few days, she was beginning to genuinely like him.
But an alarm bell sounded in the recesses of her mind, a warning that he could be dangerous to her equilibrium. Her perfect, orderly world was being tilted off its axis.
He caught her gaze. “Hello, Elizabeth…where’d you go?”
“I’m sorry. My thoughts wandered.”
“You were staring. I was beginning to wonder if I had a piece of shrimp stuck between my teeth. I don’t, do I?”
He flashed an exaggerated smile, dimples and all, and she laughed. “No shrimp.”
She cocked her head, still gazing at him.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“Yes, but…can I ask you something?”
Taking a deep breath, she waved her hand back and forth between them. “What–what is this? Are we only doing this so we can be more civil to each other around Jane and Charles?”
His eyes widened and a grin tugged at his lips. “Is that why you think I asked you out?”
“Well…yes. You said that since we’d be seeing a lot of each other this summer, you thought it would be nice if we could get along. You didn’t want me to think you were an arrogant jerk. Remember?”
He chuckled. “I thought we agreed to leave that in the past. Haven’t we moved on?”
“I’d like to think we have.”
“And has your opinion of me changed? Even a little?”
“Yes. I wouldn’t be here otherwise. And I’m assuming—though I hate to use that word—that your extremely poor first impression of me has changed as well?”
He chuckled again. “It has.”
He folded his arms on the table and leaned forward, looking her in the eyes…and it completely disarmed her. He really has no idea how attractive he is.
“Elizabeth, I asked you to come to dinner with me because I like you. You’re intelligent and funny and beautiful, and I want to get to know you better. For me. Not for Charles and Jane, for me. Do you really think I just happened to be driving around in your neighborhood last night?”
“Yes. I mean, that’s what you told me.” She really hadn’t thought about it much.
He shrugged. “I lied. I couldn’t stop thinking about you, I wanted to see you, and I didn’t want to wait until tonight. So I drove to your house.”
He looked quite pleased with himself, and she shook her head. “You’re very close to being called out on your arrogance again.”
He reached across the table and lightly grasped her hand. “Why? Because I went after what I wanted? That’s not arrogance, it’s confidence. There’s a difference.”
She sighed. “Maybe. A small one.” Her hand was feeling significantly warmer, and the heat was creeping up her arm.
“When I talked to you on the phone earlier, you said you were happy I stopped by.”
“Because you couldn’t stop thinking about me?”
She tried unsuccessfully to stop a smile from forming on her lips. “Arrogant.”
He grinned and shook his head. “Confident.”
She laughed, and he lifted her hand and placed a light kiss on her knuckles, all the while looking into her eyes.
“You ask what this is, but I have no idea,” he said, his voice low. “I only know that I like it and I like you, and I want to continue to get to know you. Does that answer your question?”
Her face warmed.“Yes.”
“Do you want to see me again?”
She nodded, no longer trusting her voice.
He smiled and sat back, a wicked gleam in his eye. “I knew you’d come around.”
Her mouth dropped open, but she laughed. “Arrogance, confidence…whatever you choose to call it, you have entirely too much of it.”
Happy Valentine’s Day!