Caroline Clemmons, author of Grant Me the Moon:
Caroline’s Favorite Room
Without a doubt, my favorite room is the small pink office I refer to as “my pink cave”. When I’m here I’m surrounded by many of my favorite things. Sitting at my computer, I’m engaged in one of my favorite pastimes, writing.
My triangle-shaped corner computer desk and my other desk are in faux dark cherry, a gift from my beloved husband, Hero. The computer portion has pigeon holes and a drawer and little cupboard for storage. Shelves above hold favorite research books, a scented candle diffuser, a desk lamp, knick knacks.
One year for my birthday, my youngest daughter redecorated my office with several prints she knew I’d love. One of those hangs over the left side of the computer desk. Above it is one of those press-on wall stickers of my favorite quote: “Be the change you wish to see in this world” Ghandi. I admit the walls of my office are covered with photos and memorabilia. I love the effect even though this might make some people claustrophobic.
The left side of the room is bookcases. Authors can never have too much book shelving, can they? Research books, genealogy books, and books by good friends reside there. Over the desk, there’s a three-shelf cabinet with glass doors for more of the knick knacks I collect. These include nativity sets, bells, angels, a particular type of figurine, a hand-carved Santo of Frances de Sales (patron saint of writers) from a friend, and a black Madonna from another friend.
One end of my office opens off the master bedroom, designed as a sitting room. We needed the office space more. The other end is a door onto the patio, with panes of glass on the top portion. My desk chair is a very good one that is extremely comfortable. When I took a creative writing course calling “Writing Fiction to Sell”, the instructor said whatever you do, get a good, comfortable chair so that you can sit for long periods without ruining your back. He said we could put a laptop or computer on an ironing board in a closet, but the chair was the most important writing aid. I believe now that he was correct. As long as I’m am sitting in my office and writing a book, I’m a happy person.
Keta Diablo, author of Three For the Win:
Keta's Earliest Childhood Memory
I knew I had to pen a little story on this topic. My earliest childhood memory involves a bit of the paranormal...ghosts or perhaps beings from alternate worlds.
When I was three years old, we lived in a house that was over a century old. 'We' means my mom, dad and a sports' team of brothers. Because I was the only girl, I was the only sibling with her own bedroom. That bedroom was immediately off a large kitchen and toward the back of the house. The ceilings were tiled with tin squares; the walls were ancient plaster and the floors hardwood.
Despite its creaky, cranky old age, the house was quite nice and loaded with character. But, I digress. We're supposed to be talking early memories and in my case spirits. I saw little men near the ceiling. They sat between the tin squares and the three-inch coving surrounding the room. I told my mom about them every night after she tucked me in, and I couldn't understand why she couldn't see them. Oh, she was patient all right, and very understanding in an appeasing sort of way.
Our routine was the same every night. She would read me a story, during which I spent most of the time watching the little men looking down at me. And then I would point to the ceiling and tell her, 'They're back.' She'd ask me to describe them, which I did, of course, and I can still picture them today. Dare I say I realize now they looked like elves? At the time, I didn't know what an elf was, much less what they looked like, but these men were small with bright-colored pants, pointed shoes and pointed ears. And hair...I remember hair. Whether that means they had beards or long hair, I'm no longer certain, but they definitely had an abundance of hair.
They weren't menacing, more like extremely curious over what was happening below them. I don't remember feeling threatened or overly frightened, but I think my frustration that Mom couldn't see them, overrode any fear at the time.
My Dad insisted she sit in the kitchen every night until I fell asleep, and she did. That promise, knowing she right in the next room, was the only thing that allowed me to fall asleep every night.
Mom is 89 years old now and we often talk about the little men in the ceiling. She remembers it well, and after all these years, so do I.
How about you? Did you ever see beings or spirits from an alternate world when you were a child? In later years, after several other 'otherworldly' experiences in my life, a psychologist told me animals and children often see ghosts or spirits. 'They see them,' she said 'because they've never been taught not to.'
Hmm...makes you wonder about those things children and animals see that adults are blind to, doesn't it?
Thanks so much for allowing me to share my earliest childhood memory with you. Hope it's given you something to ponder.
Happy writing and happy reading,
Hebby Roman, author of Border Affair:
Hebby’s First Kiss
My first kiss was in the balcony of our one movie theater in Del Rio, which was called the RITA. Interesting name for a movie theater, now that I think back. It was very dark up there in the balcony, which was why we were there.
My so-called boyfriend, a neighbor from down my street, whose name shall go down in history as Marty Sawyer, had dragged me up there BECAUSE it was so dark. I somehow knew he was working himself up to the BIG KISS because he'd been holding my hand in the main part of the movie theater for several weeks, and everyone in my hometown knew you went into the balcony to make out.
Not only was it dark up there, but the floors were sticky with spilt soft drinks, not to mention stale popcorn littering the chairs and floor. I was so nervous and excited and everything a twelve-year-old girl should be at a time like this, I guess.
But when the big moment came, and he screwed up his courage enough to kiss me, what a let down! He was super nervous, too, and his kiss was wet and sloppy and did absolutely nothing for me. Oh, and luckily, he did not use his tongue. Thank heavens!
After this dubious start to love making, is it any wonder I decided to remain a tomboy for another few years and concentrate on riding my quarter horse, Macy?"
Margo Bond Collins, author of Leaving Necessity:
Margo’s First Kiss
That first kiss: sweet, bumbling, awkward, and a something to be a little nostalgic about, right? All of those things are certainly true of my own first kiss. We weren't sure which way to turn our heads, so we bumped noses. I was terrified that I would cut his mouth with my braces and felt the need to make sure he was okay afterwards. I didn't know quite what to do with my tongue, though rumor had it that tongues should be involved.
I remember other things as well: how my heart sped up at the sight of his grin, how certain I was that the freckles across his nose were the most charming thing in the world, how we hardly knew what to say to each other but could hold hands for hours.
Authors bring their own lives and experiences into their works in various ways, and in Leaving Necessity, Mac takes Clara on a date to a small-town skating rink, precisely so she will remember their own first kiss—and the many, many kisses after it that happened in a darkened back corner of the rink. While they're there, Mac confesses to her that the owner of the rink threatened to ban them both from returning if he ever actually caught Mac and Clara kissing.
Part of that scene is taken from my own life: my own first kisses happened in a skating rink in small-town Texas, and I found out only years later that they continued under threat of permanent expulsion from one of the few entertainment venues for young teenagers.
So what I remember most about my first kisses is that they were sneaky. I simply didn't know quite how sneaky we were being.
Not that I would have changed a thing.
Julie A. D’Arcy, author of The Shape of Destiny:
Julie’s First Kiss
I don’t kiss and tell. All I will say is year 7 with year 8 boyfriend. A long time ago.
Andrea Downing, author of Bad Boy, Big Heart:
Who People Think I Am, Compared to Who I Really Am
I remember being totally shocked when a mother of one of my daughter’s school classmates leaned into my car at collection time and told me how glamorous I was. Uhhh—you truly have to be kidding. I was wearing a denim jacket, hair pulled back in a low ponytail, and—okay—large sunglasses. And then, a few weeks later, another mother made the same comment. Pal, you MUST jest.
I’ll accept I was rather thin in those days, a helluva lot younger, and liked nice clothes. But I was also—and still am—a nail biter of the first degree, and most comfortable without make-up and in baggy, elastic-waisted pants. Where’s the glamor in that?
When I returned to live in the USA and started writing western romance, my own brother turned to me one day and asked if I was the same Andrea who had lived in the house on Long Island, with him and his parents. He was joking, of course, but he couldn’t get it straight that his sister was writing about cowboys in Wyoming, riding horses, going to rodeos, listening to country music. Where did that come from?
So who am I? We all know the expression, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ but it is also true, IMHO, that we are assessed differently by the various people with whom we come in contact. We’re somebody’s sister, somebody’s mother, somebody’s friend. Today, I’m probably being called something like ‘the old lady in 209’ by the building staff at my apartment block. Surely, the tally against which we are judged is as individual as the person judging us.
So who am I, really? I’m the author of Bad Boy, Big Heart. That’s who.
Patti Sherry-Crews author of Desert Heat:
My Big Lie
I told one big lie, which led to a series of smaller lies, and I never got caught. I buried my lie.
I always treasured the times my father and I did things together. When he suggested entering the kite-flying contest, I was thrilled. We built the kite ourselves, tied strips of rag on the tail, and practiced flying it. Our kite was going to be a winner.
Finally, the day of the contest! When we got to the park, Dad patted me on the back, wished me luck, and took off. I was stunned.
I bravely joined the other kids in the field. I let the string out and watched my kite soar. Then I watched it plummet to the ground and smash into pieces.
I looked around for help, but nobody was paying attention to me. Tears of frustration blurred my vision—then a red-hot fury took over.
I saw the table with the awards. I walked over, took first place and went home.
There were questions. Why wasn’t my name engraved on it? I made up some excuse for that and all other questions. My parents had my name engraved on the plaque and put it in a place of honor where it confronted me everyday.
When I couldn’t take it any longer, I put that thing somewhere I wouldn’t have to see it. I had an odd long, low closet built under the eaves. It was very messy. I could forget about the award hidden in clutter.
Except for years to come, every time I cleaned out my closet, it would emerge: my big lie. Each time I saw the plaque with my name on it, it was like being hit in the stomach.
Telling a lie is bad. Not getting caught can be worse.
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Luke’s Fate by Kathleen Ball
Meg O’Brien hoped never to lay eyes on the one man who broke her heart. To her dismay, Luke Kelly arrives at her ranch a much different and broken man. Can Meg ever forgive his callous treatment of her and help Luke become the man he used to be?
Grant Me The Moon by Caroline Clemmons
All Tory Fraser intended was to show her high school history club students a local archeology dig. How could she know the excursion would involve a murder?
Three for The Win by Keta Diablo
Hollis should have known better than to fall for a bone-melting man like Stede. He’s gone now and Eli is left to pick up the broken pieces of her life.
Border Affair by Hebby Roman
When his partners’ daughter is kidnapped in México, a self-made millionaire must confront his feelings about their affair and the future of their relationship.
Leaving Necessity by Margo Bond Collins
Mac has one week to convince his ex-girlfriend Clara not to sell his oil company. In this high-pressure reunion, can they strike love again?
The Shape of Destiny by Julie A. D’Arcy
A young male shape shifter. A beautiful female ranch owner. Can love be born in a web of deceit?
Bad Boy, Big Heart by Andrea Downing
She’s a New Yorker escaping her parents. He’s a Wyoming cowboy supporting his dad. One summer, two young people—three months to find love.
Desert Heat by Patti Sherry-Crews
A single mother struggling to keep her guest ranch puts her own desires on hold. When a handsome and persistent fireman sets his sights on her, she must decide how much she’s willing to give.
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