Always My Hero – Release Week Fun

Now available on ereaders everywhere!

Now available on ereaders everywhere!

When I announced the cover to Always My Hero, I added a description about the characters. I’ve done excerpts on a couple of other author blogs, and will be sure to promote them as soon as they are up. So today I thought I’d do something different. Here are a few fun facts about Always My Hero, and Scallop Shores in general:

1.  My original idea for the Scallop Shores series involved three books. It wasn’t supposed to be about the town, so much as it was about three best friends. Trapped in Tourist Town was the first. Always My Hero was the second and the third was a half-formed idea that never quite took shape.

2.  To get a better feel for my characters, I posted pictures on a giant whiteboard on my desk. I’m still trying to figure out the name of the actor/model that I chose for Ryan. I’m posting the picture below, and if anyone knows, PLEASE enlighten me! Bree’s character I based on Alexis Bledel, Rory Gilmore if any of you are Gilmore Girls junkies.

Ryan33.  Always My Hero is the first book I’ve ever sold BEFORE I wrote it. It’s also the book that took the shortest amount of time to write. Amazing what a deadline will do for productivity.

4.  Wynter’s Journey is a re-write of the very first book I ever wrote, about ten years ago while we were still living in San Diego and baby #1 was napping. It was never meant to be part of the Scallop Shores series.

5.  Always My Hero was started when I was pregnant with baby #2, but when morning sickness took over, all writing fell by the wayside…for a few years.

6. Next year will mark twenty years since I have lived in Maine. Holy crap! We’re heading back for a wedding this fall and that will be the first time I’ve visited in almost seven years. So all my inspiration for Scallop Shores truly comes from memory. I imagine my hometown has grown considerably and that makes me so sad.

7.  If you’re planning on attending Emerald City Writers Conference this year, I will be donating a “Scallop Shores” themed basket that will have lots of goodies from my trip to Maine. (Sorry, no actual lobster, but maybe a stuffed animal?)

8.  I hate coming up with character names, street names, business names, etc. So if you went to York High School with me, or you are just from York, Maine, see if you recognize any of the names in my books. I never use full names of anyone I actually knew. So thank you to all those who helped me get over that pesky naming hurdle.

9.  I had originally named the series “Lobster Cove”. I LOVED that name. But then my editor discovered a real town in Maine with the same name and it caused inconsistencies with my first book, Drawn to Jonah. Apparently the real Lobster Cove was a lot farther away from New York City and could not be reached in the four hours I said it took by car. Dang. So I held a contest on Facebook and chose a new name. The winner got her name listed in the acknowledgements in Drawn to Jonah. Sigh. I still miss Lobster Cove.

10.  There are several sexy new bachelors introduced in Always My Hero, leaving an opening for more books in this series. If you read the book, I’d love to know who you’d want to see getting the next Scallop Shores book.

So did you learn anything new? Did you have a question about Scallop Shores, or about writing Always My Hero that didn’t get answered? Leave it in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

Cover Reveal: Always My Hero

Drumroll please…

I’d like to introduce you to the newest hero of Scallop Shores. Ryan Pettridge. Back in high school he was the town superstar, taking the Wildcats all the way to State – and winning. He received a scholarship to UCLA. Everyone thought he was headed for the NFL. Then he hurt his knee and his football career was over before it started. Ryan spent the next thirteen years hiding in Southern California, working as an accountant, hiding behind a desk. Anything to keep from being reminded of one of his greatest loves – football.

But then his father had a stroke and Ryan was forced out of hiding. He came home to run the family hardware store. His plan was to sell the place, set his parents up for a comfortable retirement and get back to CA before drawing too much attention from the townsfolk who always treated him as a town hero. He didn’t deserve their accolades. He’d failed to become the hometown celebrity they seemed to think he was.

And of course there was Bree. He’d failed her worse than anyone else in town. He’d given her his heart and, more importantly, taken hers in return. And then he’d left, never to come back. Ryan didn’t deserve a second chance with Bree, but the more time he spent with her, the more he found himself wondering what could have been. If he could be anyone’s hero, he’d be hers. Because when the former football quarterback gave his heart to the shy bookworm whose tutoring helped keep him on the team, he gave it for life.

Coming June 29th to ereaders everywhere!

Coming June 29th to e-readers everywhere!

So what do you think? A bit of a departure from my other covers, right? When you read the book, you’ll see it ties in a lot more than you realize. 😉 Curious? Always My Hero releases June 29th from Crimson Romance.

Bucket List #1 – Travel Adventures

It’s that time of year. Winter still covering most of the country in white, while here in the Pacific Northwest it’s just a tad too chilly to do yard work or enjoy the outdoors. So naturally, my thoughts turn to vacations. Preferably somewhere sunny and warm.  We’re heading to Hawaii next month, but until then…

MY BUCKET LIST – TRAVEL VERSION

1. Ireland – any place at all in Ireland. Seriously. Any.ireland

2. Santorini – Greece is overall awesome but if I had to choose a Greek island to visit, it would be the gorgeous island of Santorinisantorini

3. New Zealand – home of all things Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. If money were no object (which I suppose applies to EACH of these destinations) then I would take every movie location tour offered. Even the ones by helicopter (though I might need to be heavily medicated). And I want to stay in a hobbit hole. Well, I want to move in, but that’s beside the point.hobbit

4. Egypt – okay, so now is probably not the best time to be visiting the great pyramids, the Sphinx and so forth. But someday? When the political unrest dies down and tourists are free to explore an ancient civilization without fearing for their lives? Then I want to go.

5. Scotland – particularly Edinburgh. The castles. The ghosts. The history. The burr. Reow! Talk to me, locals. Read the back of the cereal box to me. Love that accent!edinburgh-scotland-travel-guide

6. Paris – technically, I could cross this off my bucket list, as hubby and I went, early on in our marriage. But I want to see Paris through my children’s eyes. And for that reason, it stays on the list.

Honorable mentions: I could go on and on about places I’d like to see (if money were no object). But here are just a few more. Victoria AND Vancour, BC, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, Montana, Texas (just not in the summer), New Orleans (Cafe Du Monde!), Philadelphia, Salem, MA, Rio, Alaska. And I reserve the right to add more every day. 🙂

If money were no object, where would you go? What MUST you see before you leave this Earth?

Judging A Book By Its Cover

Whoever came up with the quote “Never judge a book by its cover” should have saved themselves the effort. ‘Cause, seriously, we all do it. There are SO many books on the market now. New releases and books that have been out for years. It would be great if we had the time to diligently read the backs, the book blurbs and the reviews. But we don’t have time. So the easiest way to sort through endless titles for something that looks promising to us, is covers.

I write small town contemporary romance. When I first envisioned possible covers for my Scallop Shores series, I thought I’d get something along the line of Debbie Macomber or Susan Mallery, a glimpse of the town, maybe a peek at the shoreline, that sort of thing. But unless you actually ARE Debbie Macomber or Susan Mallery, you don’t really get a say in how your covers are designed.

Crimson Romance told me they had a uniform “look” for their contemporary line. Okay. I get that. My first book, Drawn to Jonah, featured an okay looking guy with an adorable kid on the cover. He looked preppy and much older than the guy I’d written about. Not at all how I pictured Jonah, but this was my first book and I didn’t know how to ask for what I wanted.

Pretend he's younger, bigger muscles and wearing a white t-shirt - 'cause he's a handyman.

Pretend he’s younger, bigger muscles and wearing a white t-shirt – ’cause he’s a handyman.

Five of Hearts came out and while again, the guy on the cover did not match MY version of Dean Patterson, this guy was pretty hot. Sales for FoH were doing much better than sales for DTJ. Was it the cover, or was it the fact that it was a new release? I needed more info.

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No doubt this guy is hot, but I was picturing longer, sun-bleached blond hair. But he’ll do. He’ll do nicely.

 

Two months later, Wynter’s Journey was released. The original cover they gave me had a couple embracing, and while that was great, the man was SO ugly I burst into tears upon seeing the mock up. They replaced it with a picture of a red head standing alone. I felt it did a much better job representing the story of a woman embracing her new independent life and all the choices that came with it. However, sales for WJ were dismal at best. Was it the story line or the cover?

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She looks confident, ready to take on the world. I had hoped that would resonate with women readers, but… not so much.

 

In the meantime, I was busy cranking out my next book, and didn’t have any more new releases in 2014. So I could sit back and study the sales without wondering if the order it came on the market had any effect. It became more than clear that FoH was the best selling of any of my books. By far. And to be honest, I think that story is the most “out there”, in terms of story lines. He used to be in a boy band, for crying out loud! I really didn’t think that would interest anyone but me. Go figure.

Then I got the cover artwork for my latest release, Trapped in Tourist Town. I cried tears of joy this time! It featured the lighthouse from the town I grew up in. This book was the nearest and dearest to my heart and the cover was the perfect representation of that. And people dig lighthouses, right? They’ll see that gorgeous cover and ‘one click’ like mad people, right? Wrong.

Maybe if I hadn't hidden his cute face behind a camera???

Maybe if I hadn’t hidden his cute face behind a camera???

January sales for Five of Hearts beat out the new release of Trapped. February sales beat it out by FAR. So now I’m convinced it is the cover of FoH that is selling the book.

And with that in mind, I will push for a hot guy on the cover of my June release, Always My Hero. Because readers do judge a cover. And in this over saturated market, I need to find a way to compete. Unfortunately, I’ve set a precedent and my sweet books just wouldn’t look right with a shirtless man (more’s the pity!) on the cover. But that doesn’t mean we can’t come up with a smokin’ hot guy to play the role of Ryan Pettridge, ex-football quarterback and single dad. Let’s see if Ryan can beat Dean for top spot in Scallop Shores’ hottest heroes.

I've had this taped above my desk as inspiration for Ryan.

I’ve had this taped above my desk as inspiration for Ryan.

Pinterest – Time Suck or Lifesaver?

I’ll admit when a friend first told me about Pinterest, I didn’t understand the concept. (Which is probably why I haven’t done anything with my Tumblr and Instagram accounts yet.) Pin photos to various boards. Why? Though I’ll admit, going through all the pretty pictures was a lot of fun.

Where else can I tell the world about my love of all things pumpkin spice?

Where else can I tell the world about my love of all things pumpkin spice?

Then I set up boards for Scallop Shores and each of my books as they came out. I started to realize that Pinterest had a very real value for me. I could show people how I view my characters and my fictitious town. It was a way of turning my books into a 3-D reality. It made them…more real. At least that’s what I hoped. I realize every reader is welcome to their own interpretations and that’s great. But if I can show them exactly how I visualized something, that could help immerse them in the book, right?

Downtown Scallop Shores, complete with Civil War monument.

Downtown Scallop Shores, complete with Civil War monument.

 

And what about real life? The family’s got to eat, right? If you’ve read any of my early posts, you know I hate to cook. And when I do cook, it had better be easy or I WILL screw it up. (My mother loved to tell the story of how I once asked her where the “boil” setting on the stove top was.) So Pinterest is invaluable for locating crock pot and other fool-proof recipe ideas.

Hard boiled eggs in the oven – a school lunch staple!

 

Speaking of real life, Pinterest has saved my bacon when it came to school stuff. What to make the teachers for Christmas/Teacher Appreciation Day? What to make for the bake sale my daughter was kind enough to sign me up for? What to bring in for birthdays/last day of school goodies to serve an entire class?

Every teacher gets a scarf for Christmas.

And it is awesome for researching my latest series. I don’t have a board for that. Why? It’s secret. Okay, it’s about fairies and I’m super nervous that people who are used to my small town contemporaries won’t have any interest in a series that is more fantasy/supernatural in theme. Doesn’t mean I won’t write the series. And it doesn’t mean I don’t devour all the pins that really scream to me to be added into a book some day. I’m just not ready to share it with the world.

 

Inspiring, no?

 

Could I lose myself on Pinterest for an unspecified amount of time? Yes. Is it worth it? For the most part. How about you? Are you on Pinterest? What do you use it for the most? I’m always open to new ideas. 🙂 If you want to find me and my eclectic assortment of boards, I’m at: https://www.pinterest.com/mzdecuir/

I Birthed A New Baby…A Book Baby

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So I told you about my children, the under 4 ft, go-to-elementary-school type, the furry type that take less picking up after than the previous type and the 6 ft tall “Honey, where’s my (fill in the blank)” type. But I haven’t told you about any of my book babies yet. And one of them is a precious little newborn.

Trapped in Tourist Town is the fourth book in my Scallop Shores series. For those of you that have read my other books, Cady finally gets her own book. For those of you who have never read my books, Cady runs the town bakery, making all her goodies from scratch and bemoaning the fact that no one ever wants to try her ‘fancy’ drinks from the espresso machine she bought with her own money because Mr. Logan was too cheap to fork out for one.

Cady is convinced that there is nothing for her in Scallop Shores. Adventure and excitement await her in New York City. She’s been saving up almost her whole life and this coming Labor Day, when the tourists all head home at the end of summer, she plans to take off with them. Just a few more months. She can handle that.

Burke is a world-weary travel reporter who has been sent to Scallop Shores as a favor to his editor. ‘Do a series of articles on this quaint town’, she says. ‘It’ll be fun,’ she says. All he knows is that there is no Starbucks and no five star hotel. But there is a perky townie that convinces him to let her show him the sights from a local’s perspective. The town is looking up already.

Though theirs is supposed to be a working relationship, Cady and Burke can’t deny the chemistry that sends sparks flying and tongues wagging. As things heat up between them, they both start to picture a future together. Unfortunately, Cady is picturing a life in the city and Burke is starting to warm to the idea of small town living.

Cady has spent so much of her life trying to get out of town, that she never stopped to appreciate just what she has. In the short time he has lived in town, Burke has learned the importance of family and a strong sense of community, something sorely lacking in his life up until now.

They each have their own dreams, and if they are going to be together, someone has to give. Or do they? Read Trapped in Tourist Town to see how Cady and Burke get their happy-ever-after.

Buy links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/13pQifR

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1tBhwY1

Crimson Romance: http://bit.ly/tittadamsmedia

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1ydytxk