Thank you, thank you, Cindy for welcoming me once again to highlight the fifth book in the Morgan’s Run Romances series, Hope’s Wonder , available for pre-order on Amazon now and debuting on June 5, 2017!
My last blog post was about juggling three popular series so I thought, in addition to highlighting , Hope’s Wonder and it’s beautiful cover (my favorite yet!), I’d write this time about keeping up with all the settings, characters and details in one series, in this case Morgan’s Run– yikes! Fortunately my amazing copyeditor keeps track and provides me with really helpful and detailed summaries.
These books are set in the southwest, where an “orographic effect” has created a fertile valley ringed by mountains and desert. Sexy romances, the books tell the story of the Morgan family, as well as their neighbors and friends. Each clan has taken a role as the stories of this close, vibrant community continue to unfold. As I said in my last blog, these books practically write themselves as I always love returning to the Valley!
The challenges I face are keeping track and continuing to write while working at another full-time job that I love (college professor). I have not yet been able to make the decision to leave my students and colleagues. So hard. Like many of you, I hear from readers all the time wanting to know when the next book in the series will be out. Last fall, in the midst of a very busy semester, I sat myself down and vowed, “no major writing until summer 2017, period, end of story.” Then I read a slew of reader messages and by January, I had broken my vow and was halfway through draft one of Hope’s Wonder in a semester that is even busier than last! I also have my beloved grandchildren and they always come first.
So… keeping things straight…hmm… My best advice is to stay organized, know your characters inside and out (my readers often know them better than me, which can be disconcerting…) and leave LOTS of time for revising. I actually enjoy revising. For me, the emotional wallop happens during revisions. Under the gun, the character bios, setting bios and graphic organizers are hugely important. However one uses these tools – virtually or plastered on every wall (my method)– they are invaluable in keeping people, animals (every horse on the ranch has a bio!), places and things straight. BUT bios and summaries aside, during revisions, the real magic is that wallop as I switch to the reader role. I believe that if I don’t love my characters then, my readers won’t either. If I expect people to laugh, cry, and live through my stories, I’d better be there right along with them! Make sense? I hope so!
Warm wishes to all. I hope we meet some day!
Book 5: Morgan’s Run Romances
Ten miles from Morgan’s Run, Hope Seymour wondered if she was making a huge mistake inflicting her misery on her friend, Beth Morgan and her family. The hell of the past year dominated her thoughts as she drove, oblivious to the landscape surrounding her. Bruce’s death still hurt and the death of his baby at her hands haunted her dreams as well as almost every waking moment. She still saw his face when he discovered what she had done. Heartbroken, he had scooped her off the floor and drove her to the hospital. “Incomplete abortion,” the physician said as they wheeled her into surgery.
Infection and hemorrhaging necessitated a hysterectomy to save her life. Bruce had taken leave and stayed by her side until she recovered, even as she knew it was painful for him to be around her. When her body was finally healed, he came to her one morning, “I’m going back to work. It’s undercover below the border so you won’t hear from me for a while.” A border patrol agent, Bruce spoke fluent Spanish and had taken the dangerous assignment in Mexico that he never would have touched before.
“No, you can’t!” she had pleaded. “This is wrong. Please, don’t do this, Bruce!”
He leaned over and kissed her forehead. “It’s done, buddy.”
The pregnancy had been a foolish mistake, the result of a night of lovemaking when they’d both been lonely and between partners. She loved Bruce, but she was not in love with him. She knew he felt the same, but also knew that he wanted children more than anything in the world. His strong Catholic faith would never have condoned an abortion. “I’m sorry,” she had said, holding onto his arm, eyes pleading one last time.
“Why?” he said, softly, then turned and walked out of her life forever. For the rest of her life, Hope would wonder if her dearest friend had accepted the assignment because of her, because his heart and soul had died along with his child. Two months later they found his body in the desert. He had been tortured for days before his death.
Now she was headed to nanny for Beth’s baby who was due any day. “Are you crazy?” is what her mother had said when she announced her intention to spend four or five months in Saguaro Valley. “It’s beautiful up there, sweetie, but are you ready to be around a baby?”
“I’m fine,” Hope had responded. It was a lie, but she knew that being with friends would be healing. Beth and she had met through a hiking group organized by Beth’s former boyfriend, Bill Sampson. Hope occasionally ran into Bill, but she had dropped out of the group when she moved back to TinTown, a suburb of Tucson.
In truth, she didn’t know Beth all that well, but she liked her. She was warm and level-headed, qualities Hope very much appreciated. Beth had visited her several times after the abortion, then again when Bruce died. Her steady presence had been such a precious gift that Hope could never repay. When the offer to nanny arose during one of their weekly phone conversations, Hope had surprised herself and Beth by saying, “yes!” So, here she was, a few miles from Morgan’s Ranch with no clue if this a wise decision or if her mom was right, she really was crazy.
On her few visits to the ranch, she had fallen in love with the loving, raucous Morgan family with its two daughters and four gorgeous sons. There had been memorable moments for Hope at the ranch, dancing with Beth’s brother, Robbie at her friend’s wedding, riding in the foothills and meadows of the valley, and hours talking by the fire. Beth’s dad was the father she always wished she had. Her own father, Tom Seymour, had abandoned his young family when Hope was a baby. By all accounts, he was a bastard to his wife and sons. Her mom was now on her third husband, Ralph and had finally found a nice guy, stable and financially secure. Will I ever find that? Hope wondered as she turned off the Gila Highway.
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