Hello there, stranger!

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?”

“Sure.”

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.”

“I was.”

“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!

Cat

24 thoughts on “Hello there, stranger!

  1. I need to tell you that I read your previous books and was floored by the emotion in them. You are an incredible writer and I cannot wait to read your next book.
    Your storylines are unique and refreshing for JAFF.
    I am sure that your JAFF readers will follow you in whatever format you choose.
    You are a terrific story teller.
    If this is a tough time for you, then perhaps the JAFF characters will feel comforting. I am not a writer, but it seems to me that the most important thing is to enjoy the writing.
    Selfishly, I cannot wait to read more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      Thank you so much for your kind remarks! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed my previous stories, and it makes me happy to know you’re looking forward to the next. And you’re right – reading this story and working on it definitely brings comfort, and while it’s a lot of work, I’m enjoying myself! Thanks for stopping by and reaching out!

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      1. Cat, I absolutely love your stories. I am currently on my third rereading of Sanctuary ❤️
        I look so forward to your next book. Thanks for pushing forward. Prayers for you on the loss of your mom.

        Kim

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for that tidbit from DtT. Wishing you a Happy Valentines Day! Sending hugs and positive energy to bring peace to your soul after the hardships of last year ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are TOTALLY flirting it up! I always have to give my Darcys a sweetly romantic side, and this one is no different. He might be the most flirty and romantic yet! Thanks, Mary!

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  3. Again, I’m sorry for your loss, Cat. Losing a parent is so hard. I’m really looking forward to reading the published version of DtT. You always make me fall in love with the characters all over again. If your creativity moves you to reach out into another genre, I say go for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG! I do so love your Darcy and Elizabeth characters! He’s so romantic and obviously unaware of just how gorgeous he is, Elizabeth on the other hand appears to be totally aware of just how gorgeous he is. I think Elizabeth suffers from the same problem and can’t believe Darcy would genuinely be attracted to her?
    Fabulous, fabulous excerpt. I can’t wait for this to be published. I’m so sorry for the sadness you have suffered, and for the doubts you have re your writing! I can assure you that the loss will very gradually get a bit easier, where the great memories become more frequent than the sad ones. I can also assure you that your writing is absolutely wonderful. Personally I do hope you continue with JAFF as I adore Darcy and Elizabeth but I’m certain that I would enjoy whatever you write. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He is a bit oblivious to his good looks, but they’re not lost on Elizabeth! Thank you, Glynis, for your kindness and unwavering support, I truly appreciate it.

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  5. I enjoyed this excerpt. I look forward to reading more.

    I enjoyed your other 2 stories so much I have them on Kindle and in paperback forms.

    Take the time that you need to reconnect with yourself. Mourning loved ones is hard on us, but knowing where they are helps. I had two deaths in October.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so sorry about your mother. I hope you have had much love and support during this tough time.

    The first story I read on JAFF was Dance the Tide so it holds a special place in my P&P heart. Thank you for bringing it back.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m lucky, in that I have the wonderful support of a close-knit family and incredible friends. And wow, Dance the Tide was the first JAFF you read? That’s so funny! I hope you’ll enjoy it this time around!
    Thank you!

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  8. I am so sorry for your loss. Big hugs to you.

    I see where you are coming from in terms of thinking of moving away from JAFF as I understand it’s hard for authors to sell stories outside of Regency Pride and Prejudice variations and of course yours are moderns. Your stories are so good that I think they would work fine as stand-alone characters but I have no idea how easy or hard it would be to break into a different genre. I hope you don’t give up as your stories are so good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Ceri. Regency-era stories are definitely favored by JAFF readers! But I knew that going in – I’ve lost count of the amount of times I was told that the stories I write aren’t what JAFF readers want to read, for many reasons. But publishing the stories I’d already written was a good experience. I learned a lot, made wonderful friends, and put my book babies out there. We’ll see what happens next! Thanks again!

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  9. So sorry to hear of your loss. May your precious memories bring you peace and solace.

    Dance the Tide was also one of the first stories I read in fan fiction years ago. I was so impressed with the story that it got me hooked on JAFF stories. I travel to Cape Cod often and would reread the story before each visit. It truly is my favorite of your stories (I do love all of your stories and have purchased all published to date). Can’t wait to read your excerpts and then get my own copy.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for your thoughts, Ebbie. I’m truly looking forward to putting Dance the Tide in readers’ hands. It’s funny, I’d forgotten a lot of the story, so when I dove in to start editing, I was pleasantly surprised! Lots to fix and lots to edit down, but I’m enjoying the process!

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  11. Hooray! So excited you’ll be adding this story to your published works! This is one of my absolute favorite JAFF stories and I’m so glad you’re bringing it back as I’ve missed it dearly. ❤

    I'm sorry to hear about your mother's passing. It's never an easy thing to deal with, even when it's not during the holiday season. Wishing you good vibes, health, and happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Maggie, I’m so pleased you remember Dance the Tide and are looking forward to its release! That makes me happy. Thanks for your kind words about my mom, they are appreciated.

      Like

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