Tag: summer

A Trip to the State Fair

As we sat in our air-conditioned truck in a line so long we could barely see the Ferris wheel over the trees, my husband and I decided the last time we’d been to the Oregon State Fair was in 2012. Neither of us recalled a line of traffic from three directions converging onto a single street.

Of course, we went later in the afternoon on Friday (we think). This was the Saturday of a holiday weekend, and the final weekend for the fair.

If this isn’t the last time we attend the fair, it will be the last time we go on Labor Day weekend.

My Expectations

I wanted to see the horses, see the quilts and eat some fair food. That’s where my expectations ended.

 

Here we are waiting for the Magic Carpet race to begin

I asked my husband, “What are you hoping to see at the fair?”

“Nothing.”

Nothing? Why bother then?

So I asked him. His response should have been romantic, but it rubbed me the wrong way. “I’m going to be with you. I have no expectations.”

Apparently, being married to ME for three decades makes a man lose all sense of expectation.

Delightful.

What I Loved

After the LONG wait in traffic and a shorter wait in the admissions line, we made it just in time to see a draft horse event at the Historic Horse Arena.

They called it a Magic Carpet Race.

Then we walked through the pig barns to get to the horse barns. Item one from my list was complete.

The ladies in the race were honoring the traditional garb of early draft team handling women

I didn’t take photos in the exhibition hall, but my sister and I walked through all the hanging quilts. Some of them were amazing pieces of artwork. Some of them used patterns and colors better suited for a warning sign, but all of them had me in awe.

Double date time! This was a central meeting point for us.

Then we ate roasted corn on the cob and hand-dipped corn dogs. After walking through the aisles of vendor booths and not buying a single thing, we purchased an elephant ear the size of a paper plate.

Five hours later, we were fighting traffic to get out of the dusty field and back home.

Ten teams competed. Some of them had fancy harnesses.

What I Could Have Left Behind

Well, it goes without saying that I could have left all that traffic behind. But it wouldn’t have been a holiday weekend Saturday at the fair without it.

Here’s what else, I could have done without:

  • People who stopped in the aisles to chat with long-lost friends
  • So many sales booths
  • Lines of people at the ride ticket booths
  • The placement of the horse barns at the back of everything
  • The crowds
  • The line of people waiting for Dole whip (and keeping me from having any)
  • Wads of toilet paper all over the bathroom floor

But it was nice that people shared their table with us so I didn’t have to drip butter all over myself while standing to eat my delicious corn on the cob.

Are you a fair-goer? What do you like about the fair?

Your Peek at UNEXPECTED

It’s finally Friday. All week, I’ve been throwing tidbits from the amazing stories in the ONE SULTRY DAY anthology. But you follow me, and you’ve been waiting for today’s excerpt.

I know you have. Well, I hope you have.

But…a few weeks ago, I made a promise to the people who agreed to admit they were my friend (or maybe even a fan of my writing) and join an exclusive Facebook group.

The promise: I will only share excerpts of my work in the group.

And…I can’t break my word.

BUT…while this is a closed group, I’m happy to add anyone to the group.

So, if you want to read today’s excerpt, you’ll have to click over to the Facebook group. I’ll have the excerpt front and center.

If you’d rather avoid all that and just read the entire story, click on the book cover, and buy away.

Or maybe you’ll take your chances and try to WIN a copy (or $10 from Amazon which will purchase TWO electronic copies). If that’s your game plan, click on the meme below and follow the giveaway instructions.

The Grand Prize: TEN bucks to spend at Amazon

Otherwise, I hope to see you over at Facebook. If you’re going there from here, will you comment on the excerpt post that that’s how you found it? I’m doing a little market research.

Thanks for reading. And Happy Friday!

 

A Sneak Peak at a Ghostly Good Romance

I hope you’re not tired of this anthology yet, because there are still TWO more stories you haven’t sampled. Read on for more for ONE SULTRY DAY of romance reading.

Don’t forget to enter the contest at the bottom of the page. There are several ways to get entries, and I know you want to win TEN BUCKS to spend at Amazon.

Today’s Excerpt

Excerpt from Ghosts of Lost Summers by T.E. Hodden

“How many beers did you have?” I asked.

“Not enough to make that mistake,” she sighed. “Good night Bunny.”

“Good night Alice.”

She got out the car, and looked back as she reached the door. She wore a smile I hadn’t seen before. She stopped and walked back to the car, holding up a hand to stop me driving off. She pulled open the car door, and leant over me.

“Alice?” I asked, my throat feeling like it was made out thorns, my heart running so fast I felt weightless.

“You aren’t the mistake.” She wouldn’t look in my eyes. “You didn’t think I meant that?”

“I don’t think you meant that, but I think I would be a mistake.”

“No.” She held up her finger. “No. The kiss… the moment… would have been the mistake. I said it wrong. You will make the right woman very, very, happy, with a kiss like that. You would make me happy, but right now it would be a mistake. I know it’s a mistake for you. I know what you drag out of bed with you every morning. I carry it too. It would be. I know Phil was a while ago, and he has moved on, and he has Taylor now, but… I’m not ready for this. A date? I could do a date, dates are silly, and fun, and even when they go wild, it’s…with somebody I could happily walk away from and never have to see. But, this? A moment like this, with a good friend? A trusted friend? I… don’t want to walk away from you. This would be a mistake.”

“I know.” I stroked her cheek.

“Do I have to say sorry?” She muttered.

“I knew what you meant.” I smiled. “I appreciate it.”

“You do?” Her smile blossomed with relief. It was like a summer day dawning behind her eyes.

I nodded.

“Okay.” She kissed my forehead. “Good night Bunny.”

“Goodnight Alice.” I let her slip away.

When she was back in the building, I could breathe. I gripped the wheel and screwed my eyes closed, and concentrated on breathing, on not letting my heart punch its way out of my chest. I begged my hormones to stop flooding my veins, my flesh to stand down from the precipice of hunger, and for primordial, instinctual, bits of my brain to stop imagining all the wonders that might have resulted if only our lips had brushed together, and my hand had found the small of her back, to hold her to me, to welcome her.

All those little thoughts, all those little whispers to myself I had been burying deep and locking away bubbled up to the surface.

“No. No. No.” I chided myself. “That is not… I can’t… I shouldn’t…”

Those were true.

“I don’t,” I told myself, knowing it was a lie. “She’s just a friend. It’s all I want.”

I didn’t need to see Hannah to know she was painfully, keenly, aware of the lies I told myself.

Want to read more? Click here to get your copy of ONE SULTRY DAY.

What’s Inside the Anthology

There are FOUR stories from FOUR different authors with unique style and voice.

Second Chance Summer by Lily Carlyle

Escorts for Hire – Heartaches for Free by Deryn Pittar

Ghosts of Lost Summers by T.E. Hodden

Unexpected by Sharon Hughson

You’re sure to find one summer romance to lose yourself in. And maybe you’ll discover a new author to love.

Scavenge to Win

If you’re not positive you will love these stories, how about reading them for free?

There is a Rafflecopter giveaway. You could win:

  • A $10 Amazon Gift care
  • A digital copy of ONE SULTRY DAY (Three available)

Click and enter now!

Get Ready for ONE SULTRY DAY

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO
ONE SULTRY DAY!

One Sultry Day
A Sweet Romance Anthology
 
 
Escorts for Hire – Heartaches for Free by Deryn Pittar
 
University drop-out and current barista, Sandi Fletcher-Bain is offered a position as a quality controller for a new agency, established by her friend Jess and designed to provide escorts for discerning women.Anything has to be better than driving an espresso machine and despite her shattered ego after a disastrous romance Sandi accepts the position providing she can trial it for a month. 


Sandi’s first assessment subject is Jeremy Miller, tall, blonde and rather dishy. She takes him home for the day under the pretence of viewing the estate’s gardens, pretending she’s never been there before. Aunt Freda dispels that lie and after an evening meal Sandi manages to offend Jeremy to the extent that instead of staying the night he leaves to catch the last train back to the city. While their relationship fizzed and cooled during the day she has to admit he has all the qualities required to be an escort. It were her faults that caused the problems.
With Nicholas, her second assessment, she is honest from the beginning and their visit to her parent’s home is an enjoyable day out, ruined only by an accidental meeting with her ex-fiancé Simon. This destroys her confidence and she gives up being a quality controller, it’s no fun at all, and returns to cafe work.

Jeremy finds her and asks to begin their friendship afresh; admitting that the good wine had something to do with his previous reactions.

Meanwhile Jess says Simon has applied to be an escort and Sandi is forced to explain why she broke off their engagement and why Jess shouldn’t hire him.

And why is Jeremy no longer available Jess wants to know?

 

Ghosts of Summers Past by T.E. Hodden


For five years Bunny has never once felt alone. He has been haunted by the tragedy that stole Hanna, his first true love from him, and has always felt her presence on one shoulder, and blame on the other.

Now Alice, a minor star from the show he writes, is on the verge of becoming more than just a friend, and the sun baked palm beaches are almost feeling like home.

Can Bunny face the ghosts of his past? Or is history about to repeat itself in the most terrible of ways?



Love Unexpected by Sharon Hughson


Grad student Ivory Konner relishes a summer of guiding rafts on the Wenatchee River for from the expectations of her parents and the reminders of her recent dumping. She isn’t looking for romance when a thin guy and his dog nearly send her plummeting off the trail.

Cancer survivor Prescott Colyer drops out of college, escapes to his uncle’s photo gallery in Leavenworth, WA, and quietly pursues his art. But when his collision on a hiking trail exposes him to physical contact without pain, he risks everything for a girl who’s not interested in romance, not even for the summer.

Once Ivory connects with Prescott’s art, she offers to help him build a business. As they spend time together, her heart takes on its own mission.

Can their unexpected encounter urge Prescott out of isolation? Will Ivory include love in her long-term plan?


 
Second Chance Summer by Lily CarlyleTwenty years ago, Summer and Jason’s summer romance seemed destined to last. Until Summer abruptly broke it off, with little explanation. Heartbroken, Jason leaves the Outer Banks—indeed, the entire East Coast—waiting two decades to return. When he comes home to settle his great-aunt’s estate, one of the first people he sees is Summer.

She’s ready to tell him the truth about that summer. But is he ready to listen?

 
 

Come back tomorrow (and the rest of the week) for EXCLUSIVE excerpts from EACH story.

Also…there’s a giveaway.

 

 

Summer with THE SUNSHINE SISTERS

Have I mentioned how much I love using Overdrive to checkout eBooks without ever leaving my house? It is the perfect library. And THE SUNSHINE SISTERS by Jane Green is a title you should check out (by any checkout method).


This isn’t my typical read. I say that half the time I write a review, I know. Maybe you’re wondering, “What IS your typical read?”
Glad you asked. I typically read:

  1. Fantasy – YA and series as opposed to epic. This is the genre that helps me escape and fully engages my imagination
  2. Christian Romance – I’m writing in this genre fairly regularly, so I need to read it in order to write it better. I also prefer things like Susan May Warren’s adventure romances over a straight “boy and girl fall in love” romance.
  3. Sweet Romance that’s more than just romance – I mean that there’s a mystery or an adventure or something. The romances I write tend to lean toward this, as well. The story is about the character’s struggle to change and the romance is a catalyst in that process.
  4. Women’s fiction – usually this is for a book club (as is the case with Ms. Green’s book reviewed below), but I’m also branching out into this genre because it’s where I hope to write in the future.

The Story

This is the story of a mother and her daughters.

The mother is a “B movie” actress who is always hoping for her big break. This motivation informs every decision she makes and impacts her children.

The oldest daughter, Nell, closes herself off to emotion. It’s the way she learned to cope with her mother’s rants and rages. When she becomes a single mother, she makes different choices for herself and her son, fully loving him as she doesn’t anyone else.

The middle daughter, Meridith, becomes a people-pleaser. She runs to London and her grandparents when she’s eighteen, but she can’t make independent decisions. Every time she does, it turns out badly which reinforces the lie that she’s meant to make others happy while ignoring her own unhappiness.

And then there’s the spoiled youngest girl, Lizzy. She roars through life mowing down all who try to stand in her way. This doesn’t make her successful or larger than life, but it does make her more like her mother than she’s willing to admit.

The story problem: can this family overcome the differences that divide them to unite and become a true family?

My Review

This story starts at the end. I don’t like that. It steals the tension from the story for me.
I think, “Oh, so she’s going to..blank.” Why do I care about what leads to that decision?

Green won me over by sharing only vignettes from the forty years of the characters’ lives that mattered to understand 1) why each daughter responded to her mother in that way and 2) where their personal lie came from. She proved she knew how to craft a great story.

Often if there are more than a couple narrating characters, I disengage from the story of many of them and gravitate to those chapters narrated by the ones I connected with. Even with four (and more) narrators, that didn’t happen with this book.

This doesn’t mean I LIKED all the narrators, but their stories intersected in a way that kept me engaged. Each scene moved the characters closer to the big reveal readers glimpsed in the opening chapter (a prologue).

There were several aspects that felt contrived to me and even came out of the blue rather than being hinted at naturally. And I predicted every outcome of the story (but I usually do, that’s a curse of being a fiction writer).

The end satisfied me in every way and gave a glimpse into what the future might hold for THE SUNSHINE SISTERS.

This is a 4.6 out of five star read, and well worth the time investment (and I devoured it in two days).

My Recommendation

This is a book for anyone with sisters or a mother. Yeah, that is most of you. Doesn’t everyone have a mother at least?

Even though I didn’t especially like the main mother character in this story, I could still relate to her struggles and failures. This is what makes the most meaningful story, and authors who are able to draw characters that our so real we “know” them deserve respect and praise.

Thanks for your wonderful snapshot of the Sunshine family, Ms. Green. You entertained, engaged and even enlightened me.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it? What are your favorite genres to read?

Summer, Summer, Where Have You Gone?

Summer is my favorite season. Shortly after Christmas is past, I start wishing for warmer temperatures. Or at least sunny skies.
I have a cousin who would happily leave his Christmas tree up year-round. If there was a symbol for summer, I’d set that baby up and move it to more prominent positions as temperatures dropped.
Seriously. The only good thing about winter is Christmas. I learned that fact in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Narnia was cursed by the White Witch. How?

It was always winter, but never Christmas.

Ugh.
This entire year has sped by already but summer seemed in constant fast-forward. Can you believe this is the last day of the eighth month of 2017? Tomorrow is the ninth month.

Worst of all, the ninth month will bring the end of summer.

The weather man is predicting warm, sunny days for a few weeks still. But when the sun goes down, the heat goes away.
No more sitting out on the patio in the evening to chill. Unless you want to pull on warm socks, long pants and a sweatshirt. No more s’mores roasting.
Of course, it also means no more air-conditioned house 24/7. Once the temperature drops, you can switch the AC off and throw open the windows.
My husband has already started doing this.

Here’s a recap of my summer:

Writing like a whirlwind in Vancouver, BC


Querying agents at a brand new conference


Choosing a title for the nonfiction I was querying


Getting selected to write Christian romance in a new Kindle World


Installing a water feature in the back yard
Releasing the second book in my Virtual Match Romance series


Barbecuing with the family on the patio
Writing the Christian romance story


Meeting new writers to beta read this new genre
Attending Oregon Christian Writer’s Conference


Making writer friends at the conference


Enjoying a total eclipse of the sun with family

Must see what others posted on Social Media

Spending eclipse day with the birthday boy


A quick retreat at my sister’s beach house

Can you hear the shush? Smell the salinity?

Lots of reading in the evenings (but boy did my crocheting suffer)
It doesn’t seem like much when written in a list like this. But it filled three sunny months and made them whip by.
My favorite memory from this summer is that it didn’t rain. Only a couple of days were cloudy. After nine months of endless downpours, I needed this three-month reprieve.

Am I ready for the rainy season? Never.

What’s your favorite memory from this summer? Include a picture if my comment section allows it (or jet over to my FB page where you can surely post one in the comments on the post announcing this blog).

Like reading this? You’re a click away from getting Hero Delivery, a bulletin with deals and new releases from Sharon Hughson.

Maybe you like romance or some of my other books. I’m sure there’s something worth reading on my page.

Already read one or more of my books? Please leave an honest review on your favorite site. A review is the same as the author discovering a gold nugget in the bottom of her washing machine.

It’s Month Six Already?

In honor of yet another month in the Dauntless year of 2017, today’s post will be mostly pictorial.

How about some poetry to start things off?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Around here, no one is really feeling Frodo.

What used to be the end of school on June 14, is now more like June 22. (Snow days aren’t always a good thing).

I finished my senior year the last week of May. Because summer started in June. Remember the days when…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Students aren’t the only ones who count down to summer vacation. You know what really gets a teacher wishing for the last day of school?

Every teacher and student in the world knows that June holds this imperative:

In Oregon, we can welcome the month of June with joy and anticipation.

But that doesn’t mean we’ll get sunshine over showers.

June means more time to write as my subbing days are over (well, for the last week anyway). This year it means traveling to a new country.

Summer is my favorite season. Not surprising since I love the sunshine.

What are you looking forward to in June?

 

 

In Honor of My Trip to the Beach

My sister lives at the beach. It gives me the perfect excuse to make the two-hour drive.

Breathing salty air, walking sandy shores and listening to soothing surf is only a side benefit. Really. My sister is my number one fan, so I’m taking the trip to see her.

I’m a nice person, though. So I figured I’d share some of the sights with you, too.

 

Mist isn’t always for the morning at the Oregon Coast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you hear the shush? Smell the salinity?
Sand between your toes, wind at your back and sun on your face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moon setting in Lincoln City

It was only two days and two nights. My sister had to work, but we did get a few hours together.

My husband and I spend quality time together too. He didn’t even mind that my lover (Mr. Pacific Ocean) was present for most of it.

Do you like the beach? What is your favorite beach? Why that beach?

This Week in Gratitude Memes

Maybe you don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter. That’s perfectly okay.

But I don’t want you to miss out on my effort to come up with 365 ways to be grateful this year. In case you’re wondering what this is all about, check out this post.

Feeling a little out of sorts? Think life sucks big lemon grenades?

Let’s walk through the week:

Monday

If only cupcakes burned calories
If only cupcakes burned calories

Tuesday

Remember the anticipation of summer break? Teachers feel it every June.
Remember the anticipation of summer break? Teachers feel it every June.

Wednesday

Summer rain showers have a definite positive side
Summer rain showers have a definite positive side

Thursday

I've had fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries this week. Summer is delicious!
I’ve had fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries this week. Summer is delicious!

Friday

 

Although my friend reminded me I could use a compass to draw a circle.
Although my friend reminded me I could use a compass to draw a circle.

Count your blessings, my friends. Even if you have to dig deep to find them. (You are still breathing. The air isn’t toxic.)

(Coming up next week, I’m going to get a little tongue-in-cheek with my gratitude memes. If you see them and love them, feel free to share them.)

What are you thankful for today?

 

Summer’s Sweet Embrace – Blog Tour Stop

SummerEmbrace_CVR_FinalToday, I’m thrilled to introduce you to SIX great romance authors. Each of these ladies has a short story in the recently released Summer’s Sweet Embrace romance anthology. Most of them also have other publishing credits. (Clicking on a name will link you with all that information.)

One of them was published with me in Accidental Valentine. Two of them are friends of mine through a fantastic online critique website. I’m happy to have all of them here today.

So, ladies, do tell. What is your most romantic summer memory?

Michelle Ziegler says:  “Who is going to believe that my life has been rather uneventful during the summer months?  I never had any romantic summer flings in high school or college. Most of my boyfriends were pretty sad and non-romantic also. Growing up has some benefits.

I got married in summer, and I can’t think of anything else more romantic than walking down the aisle. It’s most every little girl’s fantasy to pick out a white dress have walk towards a man that is so happy he looks like he might burst. I really don’t think my husband had ever looked so happy, not even on the day he proposed.”

*sighs* Ah, yes, weddings are SO romantic.

Laurie Treacy says: “My most romantic summer memory is attending summer concerts with one particular boyfriend. Since music was so important to both of us, spending time together, being outdoors under the stars, with him holding me couldn’t have been more romantic. Later on, I married him. ”

Holding each other beneath winking stars on a summer’s night is romantic indeed!

Christa MacDonald says:  “Summer was just beginning and my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Nova Scotia.  We decided (after much cajoling on my part) to leave our secluded spot and travel to Prince Edward Island.  I’m an Anne of Green Gables fan so this was like a pilgrimage to me.  I was probably annoying the entire time we were there, dragging him all over the island, fan-girling at every turn in the road.  After hours of exploring, instead of demanding we go home, he took me for a walk down Lover’s Lane. Since it was so early in the season, there wasn’t a soul around us.  He held my hand and gave me this soft, half-amused, half-sweet look, and I knew this whole day had probably been a complete bore for him, but he’d stuck with it, because he enjoyed my happiness, because he loved me.  It was as perfect, storybook moment.

(And yes, my husband is totally a Gilbert)

My husband would do the same thing. You have a winner there, Christa. Don’t let anyone tell you Gilbert isn’t romantic.

Jaylee Austin says: “In college my boyfriend at the time, Chris, lived in Newport Beach. We spent almost every day together. He worked in an exclusive DVD/CD store, which in the eighties was a new concept. Records were the norm. We’d sit and talk for hours. He lived close to the beach so we’d spend time there. Music, dinners, and each other made it a delightful romantic time before school started in the fall.”

Summer romance at it’s best. That’s what this anthology is all about, right?

Niki Mitchell says: “My most romantic summer memory was a night at the beach. I took a stroll along the beach with my date, and he kissed me under the moonlight for the first time.”

First kiss beneath a summer moon on the beach *swoons*

Melissa J. Crispin says:  “One summer morning, I hopped on the back of my husband’s sport bike and we rode up to the Bear Mountain Bridge area in New York. For me, there’s nothing quite like the contentment of being on the motorcycle with him. It’s always too loud to talk, impossible even with our helmets on. So, with my arms wrapped around his waist, I leaned in close and enjoyed the ride. He took us through a fun mix of twisty streets and wide-open roads, and with it being so early, no one else was in sight. It felt like it was just me and him, and it was as if the rest of the world was still sleeping. The views of the Hudson River were gorgeous, and we were able to stop and take a few pictures.

After we were finished admiring the beautiful scenery, we made our way to a small place off the beaten path that served an awesome brunch.

Perfect weather, good food, and the best guy a girl could ask for—it doesn’t get much better than that.”

You’re right, Melissa. Sounds like a perfect day all around.

Sheryl Winters says: “There is a hotel on the beach in Homer Alaska called ‘Lands End.’ My dream vacation would be a room on the second floor. I could write to my heart’s content peeking out the window every now and then at Kachemak Bay. The hotel has tiny balconies where you can sit and watch the Eagles swoop by. Boats drift into the harbor, seagulls fly, it’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.”

Sounds like a perfect writing retreat, Sheryl. And what’s more romantic to a romance writer than a writing retreat? Nada!

SE Tour Button

Check out Summer’s Sweet Embrace and hold onto the romance of this sultry season just a little bit longer.

Click on the button at the left to check out the other stops on the tour.

Thanks so much, ladies,  for stopping by today and chatting with us.

What’s your most romantic memory (summer or otherwise) reader? Anyone remember which of these ladies co-authored with me? Any of my guests want to claim me as your “writer friend” via Scribophile?