I’m counting down until the opening of Days, our favorite ice cream place down the shore. This year it reopens for the season on May 6. Can’t wait. Days is Ocean Grove’s oldest continually operating business. It’s been around since 1876 in various locations.
I had the pleasure of attending the Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference this weekend and a workshop by the marvelous Virginia Kantra. Virginia is a lovely lady and an amazing speaker. I always get something worthwhile from her panels and speeches.
The panel I attended was one on “What Makes a Good Hero?” It had lots of information and got me to thinking about how to refine the hero in book #2 in the At the Shore Contemporary Romance series. But it also had me contemplating what inspired Owen Pierce, the hero in #1 – One Summer Night.
When I think of Owen, I think of someone who is almost too perfect to be true. Someone who always does everything by the book. Owen is honorable and full of integrity. He’s hard working and demands a lot of himself because of a father who belittles him and a brother who needs his love and support.
Owen would sacrifice anything for the people he loves and he’s not afraid of commitment. But to have the woman that he loves in his life, Maggie Sinclair, he may have to lose all that he’s worked for as well as his honor and integrity. It makes for an interesting story, trust me! LOL!
Here’s how I pictured Owen. Sexy, right?
Photo Credit: By Jiyang Chen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
And just in case that smoldering look wasn’t enough, how about this one courtesy of his Facebook Page?
You can order One Summer Night at the following retailers:
One of the things that I wanted to show with the At the Shore contemporary romance series is the diversity of New Jersey, both ethnically and economically. While Maggie and Owen from ONE SUMMER NIGHT are both well-off, Connie and Emma, the heroines of #2 and #3 in the series respectively, have both had to work hard to achieve what they have.
I’m getting ready to write a scene in #2 where you find out a little bit more about Carlo and his family, who play a substantial role in #3. In that scene, you get to see a big Portuguese-style family dinner at their Ironbound home.
The Ironbound is a unique section of the city of Newark. It’s located not all that far from Newark Penn Station and between the airport and the Passaic River. It is a largely Portuguese neighborhood with the first immigrants from Portugal arriving in the early 1900s along with Spaniards from Galicia (my family’s part of Spain). In fact, many Portuguese food dishes are very similar to those from Galicia.
The main avenue in the Ironbound is Ferry Street which abounds with a number of mom and pop Portuguese shops along with a number of other Latin restaurants. In #3, the hero’s family has owned a successful bakery there since the 1930s. Carlo’s older brothers now run the business and Carlo has struck out on his own to make a life down the shore. He’s Emma’s Go-to-Guy in more than one way, although she refuses to admit that.
Ferry Street, as you might guess, was named after a ferry that ran between Newark and other locations to the east. Check out the video below that shows you Ferry Street. If part of it looks familiar, it’s because it made an appearance in the beginning of the 2005 remake of War of the Worlds (2:30 to 2:45 in the video). If you can’t see the video below, use this link: https://youtu.be/PGP_94G3Vms
Sorry I wasn’t with you earlier this week, but I took the opportunity of a long weekend to plant my butt in the chair and do a marathon writing session on #2 in the AT THE SHORE contemporary romance series. This book is tentatively titled DANCED ALL NIGHT, but I’ve really been rethinking that title based on the themes that are emerging as I plow more and more into the book.
The hero and heroine of the story, uptight lawyer Connie Reyes, and laid-back surfer dude inventor Jon Pierce, are like oil and water. Dynamite and a match. Despite that, they are perfect together and it’s been really interesting so far showing how they came together a long ago summer (wow – another possible title concept) and where they both are now.
I love second chance at love stories like this one, especially when there is an unexpected surprise as well. I suspect that these two characters are going to have yet more surprises for me as I write their story.
Since this book happens at the same time as ONE SUMMER NIGHT (a true writing challenge), you’ll get to see more of Maggie and Owen from that story and also check out the hero and heroine for #3, unromantic wedding planner Emma Grant and sexy chef Carlo Texeira. It is a stand alone story, however. No worries on that one.
Anyway – if you’ve ever wondered what my winter writing place down the shore looks like, here it is! In the summer you’ll find me out on that little balcony amidst the flowers that I plant.
The first story, ONE SUMMER NIGHT, starts in the fictional Shore town of Sea Kiss and I’ll share more about the inspiration for that town later.
Today’s photo is of the inspiration for where Maggie Sinclair and her best friend Connie Reyes work and hangout – Bryant Park and the Chrysler Building. There are a number of scenes set in this Midtown NYC area, although both Maggie and Connie are Jersey Girls at heart.
I took this photo in the early morning, just as sun was rising. It’s a lovely time in the city. Peaceful. Quiet. Well as quiet as New York can be because even in the quiet there is a nervous hum of activity. I love the juxtaposition of nature against the bricks and the man-made skyscrapers. I hope you will as well!
Also, I’m now the President of the Liberty States Fiction Writers. Very exciting, especially since we’re having our 8th Annual Conference in a little over a month. There are some great workshops for writers and an awesome line-up of panels and fun events for readers. You can check them out here: http://bit.ly/2fh79LJ
I hope to see some of you there!
Today I’m sharing a teaser from UNDER THE BOARDWALK. In this sensual and emotional story, a husband and wife, Chase and Natalie, have lost the passion as their lives have pulled them apart. The love is still there, but it is caught up in a lot of other things that are keeping them from being real with each other. In this story, they get real again and try to rekindle their love and marriage, but also find themselves again.
Natalie Ramirez has spent less and less time with her husband over the last year and more and more time alone. She longs for the happy days of summer when she and Chase would pass the time together on the beach and under the boardwalk, exploring the passion that simmered between them as hot as any summer sun.
Chase Smith had to work hard for everything he ever had, including his wife Natalie. His wife had never wanted for anything in her life and Chase didn’t want to disappoint her. But somewhere along the way, Chase lost sight of the most important thing she wanted: his love.
A passionate night under the boardwalk brought them together, but can Chase and Natalie rekindle that lost love and save their marriage?