I am so grateful to Cindy for welcoming me to her blog. Thank you, thank you, Cindy! I am pleased to highlight my new series, the Morgan’s Run Romances, especially book one, Emma’s Dream.
How did you get started writing? In the early 1980s, a group of teacher colleagues and I formed a writing group to explore the process we were introducing to our students (thank you to the immortal Donald Graves!). From this group, my first book, Asamaran (a YA novel, as yet unpublished) was born! I haven’t stopped since.
What genre(s) do you write in and why? I write contemporary romances, mysteries (three series going), and YA fiction. I’ve also published three nonfiction books in my field of literacy education. I write the kinds of books I love to read, and, in the case of my nonfiction, the kinds of books I believe will be useful resources for K-12 teachers.
Tell us about your current series. I am really excited about my new series, Morgan’s Run Romances. They are contemporary, western romances set in the U.S southwest, a region dear to my heart and one I visit often. The first book, Emma’s Dream, was published on August 25, 2015, and book two, Lang’s Return comes out in 15 days on October 20th! Book three, Jeb’s Promise is scheduled to be published on December 8th! These books chronicle the lives of the amazing Morgan family and friends, who live and work in Saguaro Valley, Arizona. The cowboys are gorgeous, the women astonishing and their romances sweet, sexy, and hot!
What inspired your latest book? My travels to the U.S. southwest and my writing collaborators out there (son and daughter-in-law). It’s an amazing part of our beautiful country. Plus, I’ve always wanted to write a western series and it sounded like fun, which it is!
Where do you get the ideas for your stories? From anywhere and everywhere!
Do you have a view in your writing space? What does your space look like? My view is a beautiful tidal river that constantly changes, one minute glassy and calm, the next white capped. For most of the year, I write on my sun porch, windows open, the breeze in my hair. When it gets cold and I shut up the sun porch and write in a comfy chair by the fire, the river still in front of me.
Do you write under a pen name? Why or why not? Yes, I use a pen name because I am an academic and the pen name separates my fiction from my scholarly work. Not sure it’s necessary, but I’m off and running as M. Lee Prescott now so there’s no turning back!
How far do you plan ahead? Several years. I try to create a schedule that changes constantly, but gives me some general direction. This year, while on sabbatical, I surpassed my goals and published two more books than I had scheduled!
What did you want to be when you were a child? A famous actress in my dreams. A teacher and writer in my rational moments.
Do you have any rejection stories to share? I have had many rejection notices over the years, but actually treasure some as they helped me to grow as a writer. My favorite was a six-page letter from a editor who gave me detailed suggestions for my mystery, A Friend of Silence, with many compliments about my writing and characters. While her publishing house did not pick up the book, but I am deeply indebted to her for the time she took to write such a generous, supportive letter.
Book 1: Morgan’s Run Romances
This is a huge mistake. Ben Morgan’s chest tightened as he steered the Range Rover over the Arizona mountain pass. Maybe the biggest one I’ve made in five years.
Then he remembered it wasn’t his decision. Doctor’s orders propelled him eastward, away from his gorgeous new home in Santa Barbara and a rapidly expanding business, which needed his attention 24-7. On the Coast Highway, halfway home, the pain now excruciating, he called 911 and told the operator he was having a heart attack.
The young whippersnapper cardiologist had smiled. “Fascinating diagnosis, Mr. Morgan, but totally incorrect. You’ve had a panic attack. I’m not sure what’s going on in your life right now, but whatever it is, you’d better see that it stops now, or you’ll be dead before your next birthday. Thirty-two is too young to die, don’t you think?”
Now, six days later, he was headed to his family’s ranch in Arizona, Morgan’s Run, and his enforced R & R in Saguaro Valley. As he turned right on Main and headed toward Gracie’s Diner, a horn blared and the clunker in front of him screeched to a stop. Ben braked, but not in time to stop the Rover before it tapped the rear of the clunker. Ben swore under his breath and backed up, pulling over to park at the curb. As he did, the clunker’s driver leaped from her car, screaming and waving her arms. He shook his head. Foolish woman had left her heap in the middle of the street. Tall and slender, she wore Jackie O. sunglasses, a baseball cap pulled low on her forehead, a faded cotton shirt over blue jeans, and cowboy boots, the uniform for nearly every female rancher in the valley. Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.
As she approached the Rover, Ben noticed her jeans hugged every curve, full breasts not quite obscured by the baggy shirt. He couldn’t see her face, but he had to admit the rest of the package was intriguing and also vaguely familiar. “What’s the matter with you?” she screamed, walking in circles, arms still flailing. “Oh, my God, oh, my God, what am I going to do?”
Ben stared at her back, astounded at what was clearly a huge overreaction. The clunker was fine, hardly a scratch on it, although it would be hard to tell with all the other dings. Then, just as quickly as it started, the fire went out and she flopped down to sit on the curb, head between her legs, sobbing.
“Hey, hey, it’s not that bad, is it? We hardly touched each other. No harm done.” He sat beside her, wondering whether he should pat her on the shoulder. Immediately she quieted and looked up at him. “Oh, my God. This just gets better and better.” Ben Morgan, the one person she expected never to see again, sitting beside her in the middle of Main Street. Could things get any worse? She leaned forward, hiding her face, wondering whether he’d go away if she sat there long enough.
“Maggie? Is that little Maggie Williams? After five years, I’m in town less than a minute and the first person I bump into is you.”
Maggie groaned and buried her head deeper, praying this was all a bad dream. If she hadn’t had to make a quick run to the bank, she’d be at work in the cool, dark stables. “Please just go. I’m fine.”
She could feel his heat, his nearness rattling her to her core. A part of her longed to lean against him and draw comfort and strength from his warmth, but the wiser half screamed danger. She kept still, hoping he would disappear.
“You don’t seem fine. Look, I’m sorry.” Ben placed a hand on her shoulder. It sent shivers of warmth all the way to her toes. “And I’m not leaving until I’m sure you’re okay.”
Oh, no you don’t. Maggie stood and shook herself, stepping away from his electric touch. She put on her sunglasses. Another second near him and she feared she might actually swoon. His soft chestnut eyes regarded her with obvious concern. Although he looked tired and thin, Ben Morgan was still drop-dead gorgeous, in faded jeans and sneakers, his broad shoulders straining the seams of a worn Stanford tee shirt.
“I’m fine, really. It’s been a crazy day and you caught me at a bad time. I’m sorry I overreacted.”
Ben watched her, wondering why a fender kiss had caused so much distress. “Can I give you a lift somewhere?”
“No, of course not! I mean, thanks, but I’m okay now. Got to get back to work.”
“Sorry, I’m really late. Good to see you again. Take care.”
She hopped into her car and drove away before he could utter another word.
What the hell was that? Ben thought back to his one memorable night with Maggie Williams. They had both left Saguaro shortly after that night, but a part of him always wondered if there was something more to explore with his brother Kyle’s beautiful classmate. While he had pushed thoughts of her and their one night of passionate sex from his mind, as he watched her drive away, Ben realized that he had spent five years comparing every woman he met to Maggie Williams.
M. Lee Prescott is the author of dozens of works of fiction for adults, young adults and children, among them The Ricky Steele Mysteries (Prepped to Kill, Gadfly, Lost in Spindle City), The Roger and Bess Mysteries (A Friend of Silence, In the Name of Silence and The Silence of Memory) Jigsaw, Song of the Spirit, and her newest contemporary romance series, Morgan’s Run Romances. Three of her nonfiction titles have been published by Heinemann and she has published numerous articles in her field of literacy education. Lee is a professor of education at a small New England liberal arts college where she teaches reading and writing pedagogy. Her current research focuses on mindfulness and connections to reading and writing. She regularly teaches abroad, most recently in Singapore.
Lee has lived in southern California (loved those Laguna nights!), Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and various spots in New England. Currently, she resides in Massachusetts on a beautiful river, where she canoes, swims, and watches an incredible variety of wildlife pass by. She is the mother of two grown sons and spends lots of time with them, their beautiful wives, and her amazing grandchildren. When not teaching or writing, Lee’s passions revolve around family, yoga (Kripalu is a second home), swimming, sharing mindfulness with children and adults, and walking.
Lee loves to hear from readers. Email her anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit her website to hear the latest and sign up for her newsletter.
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