4/25/2019

Jacqui Nelson’s North of the Border with guest M. A. Clarke Scott


Who’s next on my North of the Border guest blog series? Today we have M. A. Clarke Scott, author of the Having it All series!

Where does M. A. get her inspiration? How is Canada part of her inspiration? Read on and see...

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I suppose all writers put bits and pieces of themselves in their fiction. It might be events or anecdotes from their lives, or inspiration from family history such as Vanessa Grant shared in a recent post here.

One of the things about being a Canadian writer is how we sometimes feel as though we “don’t count” next to our giant neighbour to the south. There are just so many more readers in the US that telling stories set in Canadian locations was always deemed inadvisable, since, it was presumed, most readers would be unfamiliar with our cities, provinces and wild places. 

West Vancouver - photo courtesy of Unsplash
As an indie author, I chose early on to set my Having it All series in my home city of Vancouver, BC. It’s a place unparalleled in beauty, and holds its own in terms of climate, liveability, cultural amenities and recreational opportunities with any other place on the planet. Setting books here also meant I didn’t need to do research but could draw on my own experience and focus on telling the stories. 

So far the series includes Reconcilable Differences and Disruption by Design, and book three in the series is well on its way to completion.

Reconcilable DifferencesAmazon & Kindle UnlimitedPrint Books 
Disruption by DesignAmazon & Kindle Unlimited, Print Books 

This series involves a connected network of characters that mostly walk on stage in the first book. Each story is a standalone Romantic Women’s Fiction novel that explores the challenges modern women face while trying to deal with their pasts, find their place, fulfill themselves and balance career, family and love while feeling overwhelmed and having to make difficult choices.

In book two, Disruption by Design (though I’m considering changing its title and cover soon so watch for that!) my heroine is ambitious hard-working architect Alexa Jenner. Her love-hate interest is Bruce Kosczynski, a millionaire computer programmer who’s enjoying the good life, living on his beautiful sailboat, Belle Étoile, while renovating a heritage house he just bought on the slopes of West Vancouver.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash
In this story, I was able to branch out from the city of Vancouver proper to explore the gorgeous coastal neighbourhood where I spent the past 25 years. I wanted Bruce to live on the North Shore so that I could share some of my own lifestyle adventures, including renovating an old heritage house, and spending long, leisurely days, weekends and summer vacations sailing around the Gulf of Georgia on a sailboat. 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash
Since my background, like my heroine Alexa’s, is in architecture, of course I gave Bruce a more important old house than our own to renovate. In fact I drew on one of the most significant and inspiring schools of design that represent the quintessential spirit of living here. Known as the West Coast style, innovative, woodsy houses designed by some of the best early designers in our region are found nestled into the rugged forested slopes around West Vancouver. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Architecture_of_Vancouver

These buildings emphasize the natural attributes of site, including trees, rocks, slopes and panoramic ocean views, into their designs. They celebrate the environment by creating fluid connections between inside and outside, and take on shapes and use natural materials to emphasize this connection. One of the best of these architects was Ron Thom (you can read about him and see some of his work here: https://modernvancouverhouses.com/tag/ron-thom/)

Architecture of Ron Thom
The architecture of Ron Thom
The little house I gave to Bruce to renovate is of course fictional, but drew inspiration from several of Ron Thom’s actual designs. 

My architectural background gives me an advantage when choosing and describing the built environment in my novels. Some authors draw maps and plans of their spaces so they don’t get confused, or ‘paint’ themselves into untenable or illogical corners. I have a pretty good sense of space right inside my head that helps me avoid problems. More than that, of course, I love to share my experience and perspective with readers who may get a little extra from the places where my stories are set.

In addition to buildings, I love to take advantage of the spectacular natural setting here on the West Coast of Canada to lend vividness and richness to my story settings. Flowing from the design vocabulary and philosophy of the West Coast style designers, I chose to expand the setting of Disruption by Design to include both the sea, through a sailing (mis) adventure, and the nearby Gulf Islands that dot the Strait of Georgia (a continuation of the San Juan islands north west of Seattle for those who might be familiar with the West Coast.). 

I chose Denman Island for my hero’s mother’s place, where the characters make a fateful visit in the last part of the book. I’m pretty familiar with Denman, and it also lent itself very well to my story, the unique west coast community easily accommodating both Bruce’s artsy-hippy mother, his eccentric, colourful step-dad and the opportunity for a spiritual retreat for my heroine Alexa. The themes of “oneness with nature” and “going with the flow” from the architectural lessons above continue as Alexa evolves.

There aren’t many places on earth like Denman Island, and it again captures so well those unique qualities of the Pacific Northwest that those of us who live here treasure: the natural beauty, the mountains and the ocean, and something less tangible in the people who live here, like some of those characteristics of the old hippies, back-to-landers, artists and spirit seekers that gave us our nickname of ‘Lotusland.’

I hope you pick up and read Disruption by Design and fall in love with the sense of place I tried to capture in this story about family, home and belonging.

Thanks for reading!

M. A.'s GIVEAWAY

Comment below (until April 27) for a chance to win a signed limited edition print ARC of Reconcilable Differences (including errata!)

~ * ~

MORE BOOKS by M. A. 

A Forged Affair (Life is a Journey series)
An exciting and romantic adventure set in the south of France
NEW RELEASE
For more info, visit M. A.'s website or view the book on Goodreads


Single Dad in Studio 7D
A brand new novel available FREE exclusively to M. A.'s VIP Reader list subscribers
For more info, visit M. A.'s website or view the book on Goodreads  


The Art of Enchantment (Life is a Journey series)
Chatelaine Grand Prize winner

~ * ~ 


M. A. Clarke Scott set out to write engaging stories that walk a tight rope between intelligent Women's Fiction and heart-warming Romance, and it's caused her nothing but trouble since, beginning with what to call it. In truth, she writes Romantic Women’s Fiction about women healing from past wounds as they define and achieve their own personal happily ever afters.

Chatelaine Grand Prize winner The Art of Enchantment is first in the Life is a Journey series about young women abroad who discover themselves and fall in love while getting embroiled in other people's problems. Reconcilable Differences is first in the Having It All series about professional women in Vancouver struggling to balance the challenge and fulfillment of career with the search for identity, love, family and home.

Clarke Scott lives on beautiful Vancouver Island, Canada with her husband and two cats. Although she knows she lives in Paradise, she still loves traveling the world in search of romance, art, good food and new story ideas.

Get M. A.'s newsletter and never miss a new release! Receive FREE short stories and bonus reads by signing up at www.maryannclarkescott.com. Download today- Birdwatching, Interrupted, Reconcilable Differences Deleted Scenes and a sneak preview of her latest release Disruption by Design! Stay in touch to hear about special deals and her next release- A Forged Affair.

Connect and follow on social media too!
Website: www.maryannclarkescott.com
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/M.-A.-Clarke-Scott/e/B01KPSGXNO
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/15160160.M_A_Clarke_Scott
Instagram: www.instagram.com/maclarkescottauthor
Bookbub Author page: www.bookbub.com/profile/m-a-clarke-scott
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/authorMACS
Twitter: twitter.com/maclarkescott

Join M.A.'s FB "In Crowd" for book chat & video
www.facebook.com/groups/2005145999738648/

~ All pictures (except for the 1st) are supplied by today’s guest with their assurance of usage rights. 

4/23/2019

An Interview (and a Giveaway) With Kathy Douglass


Please welcome the fabulous Kathy Douglass to the blog today. We're talking about her new release, THE CITY GIRL’S HOMECOMING. The paperback hit the shelves last week and the e-book is available May 1, 2019. We're talking 

Here's a little bit about the book:

Eight dogs, eight cats…and one ornery cowboy!

Megan Jennings just found the ideal temporary home for sixteen suddenly displaced pets. Too bad the farm’s owner isn’t giving the two-legged, former New York attorney the same warm welcome. A city girl broke Cade Battle’s heart and no way the gun-shy cowboy’s trusting in the feelings Megan awakens. But after being orphaned as a teenager, Megan knows she’s finally found her forever family. Can she make Cade believe it, too?

READ A LITTLE, BUY THE BOOK


  
Nancy Robards Thompson: Welcome, Kathy! I’m so happy you’re here today. How often to you get lost in a story?

Kathy Douglas:  Hi Nancy. Thanks so much for having me.

I get lost in a story all the time. It’s my favorite thing to do. Sometimes I get lost in a story when I’m not supposed to. I tell myself that I’m going to just read for a minute or two. The next thing I know that two minutes has turned into twenty. And going from twenty to thirty is quite easy. I try to be disciplined, but it’s so easy to get swept up into the world of books.

NRT: Tell us about your current release.

KD: My latest book is THE CITY GIRL’S HOMECOMING. It’s the fifth book in a multi-author continuity. The books revolve around a pet rescue in the fictional town of Spring Forest, North Carolina. Although it’s part of a series, my book stands alone.

THE CITY GIRL’S HOMECOMING is about finding family and being willing to trust in love again. My heroine lost her family in a tragic accident as a teenager and longs to feel the love of a family again. She has an open heart whereas my hero has been burned and has closed his heart to love. He has to learn to trust again if he’s ever going to experience the joy of love again.

NRT: Why will readers fall in love with your hero?

KD: Because although Cade’s grumpy, he has a heart of gold. He’s a good guy. He’s the kind of man who cares for his neighbor. If someone is in need, he helps. He also loves his dad and is a great son. He tries to put up walls around his heart, but his true self always comes through.

NRT: Tell us something special about your heroine.

KD: Megan is a giving and loving woman. She’s a hopeful person and although life has dealt her some harsh blows, she hasn’t become bitter. She believes in family and love.

 NRT: How many books have you written? Is there a secret to writing books? Any favorite places to write?

KD: THE CITY GIRL’S HOMECOMING is the sixth book that I’ve published. Before I was published, I filled many notebooks with stories that will never see the light of day. I recycled those notebooks and they’re now living happily as paper towels and paper cups.

If there’s a secret to writing books, I don’t know it. The only thing I know to do is to sit down and do the work. Some days are easier than others and the words just flow. Other days are more difficult and I’m lucky to get any words on the page. But little by little, the words find their way to the page until the entire story is told. I guess the closest thing to a secret I know is to keep writing. Keep showing up no matter how many or how few words you manage to write that day. Eventually you’ll get to type “THE END”.


I don’t have a favorite place to write. I have an office that I use early in the morning, about 5:00 a.m. or so while my husband is sleeping. Later in the day I might bring the laptop to my bedroom and work on the bed. Once the first draft is written, I print it out and put it in a purple three-ring binder. I tried other color binders, but they don’t work for me. Once I’m on the second draft, I can write anywhere. If the weather is good, I sit outside and work. If not, it’s the office or the bedroom.


NRT: Why do you write romance?

KD: I write romance because I love reading romance. I write the stories that I enjoy reading. This may sound a bit odd, but sometimes when I’m working on the first draft, I find myself thinking about the story and actually for a second think it’s a book I’m reading. Crazy, I know. But for that short period of time I want to pick up that book and finish reading it. Of course the only way to do that is to finish writing it.


NRT: When did you know you were a writer?

KD: Ooh. That’s a hard one. I spent many years writing and submitting before I finally sold my first book to Harlequin Special Edition. I guess I really knew I was a writer when I signed my first contract.


NRT: Are you an early bird writer or a night owl?  Do you try to keep a solid routine or is every day different?

KD:  I’m definitely not a night owl. I like to consider myself a middle of the day writer. In the early hours, I try and look at email, play around on social media, and reread the previous day’s words to kind of ease into the day. Occasionally I’m able to write good words, but most of the time not. But as the day progresses, I hit my stride. I’m generally done by late afternoon. If I’m on a roll, I might continue writing into the evening, but if not, I just shut it down. When I’m working on my second or third drafts, I might work later.

I try to keep a routine, but it might change from time to time, depending on where I am in the process. I don’t outline any more than is necessary for the proposal that’s required to sell the book, so the first draft is usually harder for me. There are times when I don’t have a clue what’s going to happen next. When that happens, I just stop writing for the day. But miraculously, the next day I know exactly what to do.

NRT: How do you celebrate when you finish a book?

KD:  I dance around the house. (I call it dancing even though others don’t agree.) Then I generally take a couple of days and clean up. The closer I get to the end of a book, the less inclined I am to clean or cook or anything. I am really focused on finishing. So, when the book is done, it’s laundry and cleaning. And I reward myself by reading.


NRT:   What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream (or whatever dessert you love)?

KD: I love Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. It is my favorite ice cream. My mother loved butter pecan ice cream and I like that, too. Whenever I eat it, I think of her.

NRT: I know exactly what you mean. Certain foods make me thing of people I love. Those are good memories. Are you ready for the Speed Round? Just say the first thing that comes to mind.





*          What’s the first book you remember reading?  I grew up in a house of readers. My mother and father were always reading. My siblings always had their noses in books as well. I recall having many books read to me before I could read. Hop on Pop, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, and Go Dog Go are some of the titles I remember. I don’t know which book is the first I read on my own, but the one that made the biggest impression on me as a kid was Frederick Douglass Freedom Fighter.

*           What's your favorite cartoon character? My favorite cartoon character is Snoopy. I am a big fan of Charlie Brown cartoons. I watch A Charlie Brown Christmas every year. And I love Snoopy, Come Home, A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown.

*        Where’s your favorite place to read? My favorite place to read depends on the weather. If it’s a warm, sunny day, I like to read on the front porch. When it’s cold or late, I like to read in my bedroom. But to be honest, any place I have a book and time to read is a good place.

*        What sound or noise do you love?  I love the sound of a baby laughing. Baby’s laughter is just so sweet and filled with joy.

*         What’s your favorite movie of all time? My favorite movie is Wuthering Heights. I was very young when I saw it on television for the first time. I watch it every time it comes on TCM. My dad loved that movie and whenever I watch it, I think of him.

*        What’s your favorite season? My favorite season is summer. I love the warm weather and the longer days. And all that bright sunshine.

*         Coffee or tea? Tea

*         Beach or mountains? Beach

*        Cats or dogs? Dogs

*         Savory or sweet? Sweet


NRT: Kathy, this has been such fun! Congratulations on the new release and thanks so much for being here today.


1      CONNECT WITH KATHY DOUGLASS:



Facebook: Author Kathy Douglass
Goodreads:  Kathy Douglass

UP NEXT :

My next book is A BABY BETWEEN FRIENDS. It’s my sixth Sweet Briar Sweethearts book and features Joni Danielson and Lex Devlin.


PREVIOUS RELEASES: (Provide a link to your book list, if possible):



 
GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!!!

Kathy is offering a copy of her first Sweet Briar Sweethearts book, HOW TO STEAL THE LAWMAN’S HEART. The giveaway is open  to U. S. only.

Answer the following question in the in comments below to be eligible to win Kathy's prize:

What is your favorite book?

***********************************************************



Kathy Douglass came by her love of reading naturally - both of her parents were readers. She would finish one book and pick up another. Then she attended law school and traded romances for legal opinions.

After the birth of her two children, her love of reading turned into a love of writing. Kathy now spends her days writing the small town contemporary novels she enjoys reading.

Kathy loves to hear from her readers and can be found on Facebook or her website kathydouglassbooks.com.


4/22/2019

Amanda Hosts #storiesoftheheart-Tina DeSalvo


Wisdom. Opinions. Experiences. Love. Humor. Inspiration.

By Tina DeSalvo

I am so grateful to the mature women in my life for sharing these gifts with me have a great time- part is especially fun to witness.
with words, and with their incredible actions. They sure know how to nurture friendships, care for their families and have a great time. Oh yeah, the -

My husband’s mother, who turned eighty this past fall, celebrated with a two-day birthday party, and then a few more later in the week for those who couldn’t attend. She and her group of lifelong friends, always amaze people with that kind of tireless energy and zest for fun. They’ve celebrated each other’s weddings, anniversaries, children’s births and yes, birthdays. They’ve also mourned together through illnesses and deaths. Because of this shared history, it made the thousands of meals, miles and card games they’ve had together, so much better. And, oh, the stories of those meals, miles and games are wonderful to hear about and witness. It’s the stuff that inspires my writing, layers my characters and is incredibly fun to recall. Like the time they were on a cruise for a “Girls trip” and decided it was more fun to skip going onshore to play cards in the library. They even solicited a few other passengers to join them.

My mother had this same jouie de vivre. She was always ready to do. . .have fun. In her nineties she enjoyed line-dancing, eating snowballs and being with her siblings. She had nine, but she especially loved spending time with her sisters, Mary and Rose. An observer might not think that was true. They often argued (sometimes using fiery Italian words) over childhood memories, each recounting an event differently than the other. But, then to see their heads resting against the other’s as they spoke in hushed tones of whatever it was they wanted to share, was the picture of that pure, special bond they had until their deaths. 

There is no better example or blessed memory I have of this loving connection than when my mother and Aunt Mary were saying goodbye at the airport. As Aunt Mary sat in her wheelchair waiting in the check-in line, she and my mother were arguing in the funny way they always did. Suddenly, Aunt Mary looked up, reached for my mother, her “baby sister”, and drew her closer. She kissed her cheeks and my mother returned the kisses. They looked at each other a long time afterwards with such open emotions of love and sadness, I still cry today thinking about it these years later. They knew, as I did watching them. . .this would be the last time they’d be together.

The fierce, adventurous, energetic women who have battled, defeated, lost and experienced more simply because they lived long enough to do so, are our world’s treasures. A testament to wisdom, love, endurance and good. Their lives are love stories – the kind that if we take a moment to notice, teach us what Happily Ever After is really about.

Tina DeSalvo lives in Louisiana and enjoys writing 
women's fiction that touches the heart and makes a difference.


4/19/2019

Through My Lens: 2019 Wild Flowers


Joined by Texas and Little Dude... I took off to Kingsland, Texas to see some wild flowers. What a drive!! I thought I was hooked before, but now I think I'll have to take a trip down there every year. LOVED IT !!  I'll have more bluebonnets and flowers on upcoming Through My Lens posts.
























































Amazon | B&N | Google | iBooks | Kobo | Walmart
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USA Today Bestselling author ANGI MORGAN writes Intrigues where honor and danger collide with love. Her work is a multiple contest finalist and Publishers Weekly best-seller. She drags her dogs –and husband– around Texas for research road trips so she can write off her camera. They now have a map with highlighted roads they’ve traveled. Every detour somehow makes it into a book.
Website   Facebook   FB Fan Page   Twitter @AngiMorganAuthr     
Check out my newsletter or follow me on Amazon or BookBub
~ ~ ~
HAPPY ESTER !!

4/18/2019

Jacqui Nelson’s North of the Border with guest Kat Flannery

North of the Border with Kat Flannery

Who’s next on my North of the Border guest blog series? Today we have Kat Flannery, author of the Branded Trilogy!

Where does Kat get her inspiration? How is Canada part of her inspiration? Read on and see...

~  * ~

I’ve been asked many times where I get my inspiration for my novels, and aside from people and my own experiences I use research to purge the passion from my soul. As a writer of historical romance, I am often found reading through books at the library or online. With each one of my books, I’ve taken history from my own country and placed the tidbits of information I’ve learned into my character’s lives. 

In the Branded Trilogy, I wanted to bring the reader into the lives of the Indigenous people, and in doing so I had to do a lot of research. It is true the second two books of the trilogy take place in Jamestown, but the first one, Lakota Honor takes place in Colorado. I took what I knew of the native culture here in Canada and the United States and applied it to the characters I wrote. 

While researching I came across some pretty fascinating things, and I cannot use all of them in the stories I write, but the one thing I admired the most about the Indigenous People was the respect and admiration they had for the land on which they lived. They utilized everything they came into contact with, whether it be plants and herbs for healing elements, or the bones, fur and marrow of the buffalo, elk and other animals they hunted. This also rang true with trees. I chose six trees that grow in Canada, and some of which I have written about within my books, in which the Indigenous used. 


Slippery Elm
The inner bark was dried and pounded into a powdery substance and used to help stomach aches, ulcers, gout, arthritis and sore throats. Also used as a mouthwash for canker sores, and toothaches. When boiled and poured onto a cloth, the Slippery Elm makes the perfect poultice for cuts, burns, ulcers, and other skin wounds. In a pinch mix warm water and the powdery-bark to create a paste and place directly on the infected area.

White Pine 
The pine sap was used as a poultice for chest congestion or applied directly to the skin to pull out splinters, drain abscesses or boils. The pine needles and small shoots were crushed and used to treat colds, coughs and throat ailments. 

White Willow
Holds the most potent of Salicin within its bark. Used to treat fevers, headaches and any pain. Later this was founded by a German chemist by the name of Bayer, and later made into Aspirin. 

Juniper 
When berries were ripe near the end of summer, the Indigenous would eat them to treat urinary, bladder and kidney infections. 

Poplar Tree
The buds of a Poplar tree came in handy after they were ground down and placed into a poultice to soothe headaches and muscle pains. This was not to be ingested as the poplar was only good for external ailments. 

Maple tree, this being my favourite. 

The wood from the Maple was used to make tools and furniture, but there was something else this tree was hiding, and it was the sweet sticky sap inside. The Indigenous peoples were the first to find it and later would use the syrup to trade as a source of sugar for the white people. Each year before the Maple Moon, the Creator would fill the trees with the delicious sap. The task of extraditing the sap from the tree was a long process and took many people.  

Hundreds of birchbark containers were made and the process of hammering small wooden poles into the tree, roughly three feet from the ground took great skill.


The birchbark containers would hang from the wooden tubes catching the sap. Once the containers were full hot rocks, heated in the fire were placed inside to thicken the sap into a syrup. The syrup was used to flavour meat, and other foods, and when poured over snow made a great treat! 

Thank you for having me on your blog! 

~ * ~ 

KAT'S GIVEAWAY

I will be giving away a signed copy of Lakota Honor to one winner!
Ivy, book 3 in The Montgomery Sisters is on sale for 0.99!

~ * ~  

Kat Flannery’s love of history shows in her novels. She is an avid reader of historical, suspense, paranormal, and romance. A member of the National Romance Writers of America (RWA), and other writing groups. Kat enjoys promoting other authors on her blog. She volunteers her time teaching writing classes and giving back to the community. She has been asked to be one of five guest authors to When Words Collide 2019, Writers Retreat and Conference, where she will teach, sign books, and help other aspiring authors.

Kat has been published in numerous periodicals throughout her career and continues to write for blogs and online magazines. A bestselling author, Kat BRANDED TRILOGY is her award-winning series. With seven books published, Kat continues to produce up to two novels a year. 

Creativity is in all aspects of Kat’s career. She co-owned Prairie Dog Publishing from 2008-2013 where she published anthologies giving proceeds to local charities. She does Social Media and Marketing for her own career and businesses, writing ads, and other content. Kat is the CEO and owner of Picco Press where she writes, publishes, markets and mentors’ other authors. 

Find her on Facebook: Kat Flannery, author
Follow her on Twitter: @KatFlannery1
Get Kat’s Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cQmCzL

~ All pictures (except for the 1st) are supplied by today’s guest with their assurance of usage rights. 

4/17/2019

New Release Alert! A FORTUNATE ARRANGEMENT by Nancy Robards Thompson


A FORTUNATE ARRANGEMENT
Paperback available now
E-Book available May 1, 2019

THE STORY BLURB:

From “Office Wife” To Love For Life


Landing a job as Austin Fortune’s assistant was a dream come true for Felicity Schafer—until she made the mistake of falling for her boss! But the brooding executive was nursing wounds from a nasty divorce, so she kept her distance. Now, after five years, Felicity seems no closer to a promotion—or to getting Austin to open up. Will giving notice finally get Austin to take notice?



READ A LITTLE, BUY THE BOOK  

Chapter 1

Austin Fortune almost missed the plain white envelope at the bottom of the stack of papers his assistant Felicity Schafer had set on his desk. After he’d read the letter, he wished he’d never seen it and for a moment, he considered pretending as if he hadn’t read it.

Maybe it would just disappear.


Instead, the reality of it danced around him like illuminated dust motes.

Felicity, his gatekeeper, his right hand, the person who kept him organized and on track ahead of the fray, had tendered her resignation.

“Is this a bad joke?” he muttered aloud, trying it on for size.

But no. Even though Felicity was good-natured, it would’ve been out of character for her to kid around about something like this.

“She’s leaving me.” Uttering the words out loud made it sound personal. It wasn’t personal—it was work, but it sure felt personal.

He looked up from the note and watched her through the glass wall of his office. She was engrossed in something on her computer. He didn’t know what. He could see her in profile. Her head was bowed over her keyboard, her dark blond hair a curtain hiding her face.

What the hell was he supposed to do without her? Every morning when he got to the office, she had a daily briefing typed up and waiting for him on his desk along with his coffee and a smoothie with energy booster. She remembered birthdays, anniversaries and the minutiae of family and client particulars that elevated and solidified his business relationships and could prove costly if forgotten.  She was always game for brainstorming new concepts and abstract business angles. Ultimately assisting with client presentations. 

Plain and simple, Felicity made him look good and was always there to help him succeed.
It wasn’t just a matter of hiring someone new. Felicity was a rare find. She had an uncanny ability to anticipate his every need—even before he knew what he needed. In all fairness, he paid her well and she seemed happy. So, why was she leaving him?

He skimmed the letter again looking for clues, but in true Felicity form, it was short and to the point:

Dear Austin,

Please accept this letter as notification that I am leaving my position with Fortune Investments at the end of the month.

I’ve left the date open, so I can be of assistance during the transition.

Sincerely,
Felicity Schafer

Austin reread the note twice more, making sure he’d read it right. Once he’d absorbed it, he had a good idea of how he might fix it. He pressed the button on the intercom.

“Felicity, could you come into my office, please?”

“Sure.”

A moment later, she was standing in his doorway.

“What do you need?” she asked.

“If you wanted a raise,” he said, “all you had to do was ask.”

She wrinkled her nose. “A raise?”

“Of course, you just had your half-year review and got a bump in salary, but if it wasn’t enough, if you want more money, we can talk about it.”

She gave her head a quick shake. “Who said anything about a raise?”

He picked up her letter. “I thought maybe that’s what this was about. I mean why else would you resign?”

Her cheeks flushed, and her mouth fell open before she snapped it shut, into a thin line and folded her arms across her chest. She looked at him as if he had insulted her.

How could offering someone more money be insulting?

He leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms, mirroring her posture.

“Austin, you’ve always been generous when it comes to my salary. But I’m graduating with my MBA at the end of the month. I don’t need a graduate degree to be someone’s personal assistant. It’s time I moved on.”

“Do you have another job?”

“No, not yet. I’m going to start interviewing soon. I wanted to be up-front with you about it.”
“Thanks,” he said.

She flinched. He realized he might have sounded sarcastic. Maybe a very small part of him had meant it that way. Was he supposed to be happy he was losing her?

He raked his hand through his hair. This was not the way he wanted to start his Friday. It certainly wasn’t the way he wanted to end his week.

He gestured for her to sit down in one of the chairs on the other side of his desk.
She sat and folded her hands in her lap. “I’ve loved working for you and Fortune Investments, but I’ve worked hard to get this degree.”

He didn’t say anything because he was afraid what he wanted to say would sound wrong. He’d always prided himself on being fair.

“I hope you can understand that I want more than being someone’s secretary for the rest of my working life,” she went on. “Because that’s what I am. We can dress it up and call me your assistant, but when it comes down to it, I’m your secretary. It’s been a great job, but now I need more.”

He held up his hand.

“I get it,” he said. “I do. Congratulations on accomplishing this, Felicity. I’m happy for you. I know how hard you’ve worked. You’re smart and you’re creative and I understand that a person with an MBA is way overqualified to be a personal assistant. You’d be wasting your potential staying in this position. But that doesn’t make it any easier for me because I don’t want to lose you.”

He held her gaze and her expression softened.

“I mean did you expect me not to be upset about the prospect of losing you?” He held up his hand again to signal that the question was rhetorical. “But that’s me being selfish. This isn’t about me. It’s about you. What do you want to do with your degree?”

“My undergraduate degree is in advertising. I’ve always wanted to work in that field.”

“You’d be good at it,” he said. “You’d be good at anything you decided to do.”

Her cheeks turned pink again. She looked down and then back up at him.

“Is there anything I can do to convince you to stay with Fortune Investments?”

“I don’t know. Are there any opportunities here?”

“What if I talk to Miles and see if we can create a position for you? I’m not making any promises, but would you consider staying if we could come up with something?”

Felicity smiled. “It depends. Would it mean doing advertising work in addition to everything I do for you?”

Austin laughed. “You know me too well.”

“I know I do.”

“How am I supposed to get by without you, Felicity?”

She shrugged. “You did fine before I came on board. You’ll survive.”

No, he hadn’t been fine before she came onto the scene. His life had been a mess, a big tumbleweed of mistakes and misjudgments that had cost him dearly. It had taken him five years to get himself back on track after his disastrous marriage. Sure, he’d come through it intact and he’d learned a lot about himself and life. Yes, he would be fine on his own, but he didn’t want to lose her.

Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.




WHAT’S UP NEXT FOR NANCY?

The first book in my brand new cozy mystery series, The Wedding Bell Mysteries, will launch in early October 2019.

In November 2019, the first book in my new Special Edition series, Savannah Sisters, will hit the shelves.

Please stay tuned for more information.



Now, back to A FORTUNATE ARRANGEMENT


This book is part of Special Edition’s beloved Fortunes of Texas series.  It’s the fifth installment of the 2019 series, Fortunes of Texas: Destined to Meet. Even though it’s part of a series, my book stands alone. 

When I host other authors on the GLIAS blog, I interview them. I thought I’d answer some of the same questions I ask them.

What’s your favorite trait about you hero, Austin Fortune, in A FORTUNATE  ARRANGEMENT?  He’s tragically flawed, but he still has a great heart. He made a major mistake when he was just starting out in the business world. Since then, he’s been extra hard on himself trying to atone for what he did, and making sure that he doesn’t mess up again.   

If you couldn’t be a writer anymore, what profession would you take up?

I majored in journalism and minored in art. I’d love to devote more time to my art…or I’d love to be a pastry chef – even though I’m not classically trained. I wouldn’t want to work in a restaurant kitchen, but maybe in a specialty bakery.

Is writing or story-telling easier for you? 

I see stories everywhere. In fact, to me all the world is a story. Coming up with the plots is the fun (and challenging) part.


Where do you read and how often?

I read every day. I love both print/e-book and audio books.


Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?

Always! However, I can’t listen to music with words when I write. I have an instrumental playlist that I listen to when I work, and it serves as a “call to write,” and it helps me get into the zone.


What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

I am so grateful for the gift of spending my days doing what I really love…. writing stories that make other people smile. 

Does your heroine, Felicity Schafer have any of your character traits?

A FORTUNATE ARRANGEMENT is absolutely a work of fiction. But Felicity is very focused on getting things done. I’m very much that way.  I have a schedule and I try very hard to stick to it.


I’m giving away a Kindle copy of my first Special Edition, ACCIDENTAL PRINCESS.

I WANT TO KNOW:  Tell me what you’re reading now.

Answer my question in the comments below to be entered for a chance to win.


Find me on the web:
| Website:  https://www.NancyRobardsThompson.com
| Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nancyrthompson/  @NancyRThompson 
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National bestselling author Nancy Robards Thompson lives and writes in Northeastern Tennessee, but her imagination transports her all over the world. She has found Nirvana doing what she loves most – writing romance and women's fiction full-time. After hanging up her press pass, this former journalist and two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart, struck gold in July 2002 when she won the award. Since then, she’s gone on to sell more than 40 books, which critics have deemed, “…funny, smart and observant.”