Row upon row upon row the evergreens decorate the gentle hills.
What does the future hold?
The kind gentleman who escorted three women (old enough to be his mother) around the Christmas tree farm explained they are considered a ten-year crop. If holding to that schedule — these young trees, photographed in 2011, have already spent a season in living rooms throughout the United States. Today this same field is likely growing the next crop. Patience. Plan ahead. They sound like keys to a successful Christmas tree farmer.
Authors also need to plan ahead. Books are not an instant crop from pen (or computer) to book-in-hand. Can I build on the past? To what extent? Is it time to explore a new location? A new time frame? Where are the turning points in life?
Looking for a story set on a Christmas tree farm or the small village nearby? Check out: Starr Tree Farm
April calls me to venture out — out of the house, out of the city. It’s time to see new sights and do new things.
One year the destination was Chicago — actually, I’ve visited Chicago more than once in the spring.
Driving from St. Louis, you watch spring retreat. The trees are no longer in blossom. Is that ice on a farm pond. It’s like stepping back in time a few weeks.
However, the city offers many attractions which are excellent no matter the season. Spring breaks for my sons included adventures to enjoy museums and zoos. I’ve gotten a “high” view of things from the observation floor of the John Hancock building.
Twice I’ve attended a spring writing conference in the city. The days were full with workshops, meeting new people, and having new experiences.
My very first book signing — books, chocolate, and business cards.
This is a nice romance writers conference — I planned to attend in 2020 — but like so many events it was rescheduled and held virtual. Stuffed my brain listening to the workshops in my office.
Authors do a lot of thinking before they put the first word on the page. A common prompt is “What if?” another is “Where?”
When starting the story that became my first published novel — I spent a lot of time figuring out “Where” and “Who” and “Why”
I wanted a peaceful place, tending on boring at first glance, but where turmoil is just below the surface.
So what’s a place that should be quiet and dull? How about a Christmas tree farm in January, when all the hub-bub of cutting and shipping and sales is done for the year and planting and sheering and summer work is months away. Should be an easy place for a city relative to mind a few animals and take a couple weeks to find mental balance.
However…this is a small town romance with a hint of suspense…so anything can happen.
A reunion and second chances are interrupted by gunshots.
Most people enjoy a good dog story. You know the type: Dog saves child. Dog chases away thief. Dog alerts owner to danger.
Man’s (or woman’s) Best Friend also makes a fine supporting actor in books and movies. Countless Hollywood stars have worked along a four-footed sidekick. Romance novels feature dogs often — boy meets girl walking dog — for example. Or a mutual affection for animals brings a couple together at a park or animal shelter.
Seed of Desire – A Crystal Springs Romance is available at many fine on-line retailers.
Do you live in an apartment? Have you lived in one in the past?
Did you know your neighbors? By sight? By name? By car?
Often when I lived in an apartment I got to know only a small portion of my neighbors. Well enough to exchange greetings in the laundry room or at the mailbox. Perhaps exchange a few standard phrases in the parking lot.
What if you got acquainted on a deeper level? Yes, beyond borrowing an egg when you ran out in the middle of a recipe.
In this St. Louis set sweet, romantic suspense — he’s the new neighbor in the apartment directly below Maylee Morgan’s. These two young professionals discover they have more in common than a love of running in the nearby park.
Are we out of the deep freeze yet? When will the sun come out? Brrr. I’m NOT opening that window again until it’s above freezing.
In the previous month, I think I’ve said all of the above — some of them multiple times. When winter arrived, she brought luggage and put up her feet to stay.
One way to get your mind off the weather is to settle in to a good book. As an author, I’m also a reader. Click on over to the Book Review tab to find a sampling of my reading. But today I want to recommend some of my writing.
Comfort Zone, a sweet romance, presents the story of Janet and Rich. The HVAC tech and the detective. The divorcee and widower. Mother of the bride and uncle of the groom. I encourage you to try their story — you might even learn a little about St. Louis.
All good things end in due time. Since this is the final Tuesday in January, this is my final post of 2020 book reviews. Books can take you anywhere — so let’s drop in to a different time and place.
The Hidden Moon
By: Jeannie Lin
Step back to 9th century China.
Murder. Mystery. Forbidden love. Ms. Lin combines all of these and more in the most recent Lotus Palace Mystery. Follow Wei-wei as she sees places and meets people far different from her rich, aristocratic family.
Be careful what you read! You might learn something!
Lest my readers begin to think this fiction author only stuffs her head with fiction and omits “serious” reading I present to you a short stack of non-fiction I’ve really enjoyed. (Yes, I used the words non-fiction and enjoy in the same sentence. These were not assigned reading for a class.)
History, history, biography (a special branch of history) and guide to historical places. Yes you see a trend.
While reading certain chapters within these books I learned more than facts. I pondered how people reacted to events then and could compare to how people are reacting to events in the present. It makes a person skeptical of power structures, “the old boys club”, and the influence of money. I’m sure if I re-read any of these in the next few months I’d find something new — for my experiences in the real world are constantly shaping my attitudes and opinions.
Do you have some favorite non-fiction volumes you’d hesitate to part with? A shelf of them? A bookcase worth? More?