Good afternoon everyone! I hope today's post finds you all happy, healthy, and safe. With yesterday having been the Fourth of July and many people disappointed in the cancellation of local fireworks, we certainly heard a lot of our neighbors shooting off their own displays. I will admit the sky south of our house did look beautiful all lit up. My husband (the firefighter) just shook his head and said, "It will be hard for those people to call 9-1-1 without any fingers." Here's hoping all of you are still in possession of all your digits and please excuse my husband's twisted sense of humor.
Speaking of my husband, he is the inspiration behind the character named Travis in my cozy mystery/romance novel. Travis is a young, handsome firefighter who falls in love with my main character, Jillian. From the moment they meet and their hands touch, there is instant chemistry and you, the lucky readers, get to follow along on many of their "firsts" together-the first date, the first time he meets her family, the first time Jillian's life is threatened....and the second and the third. Travis is always there for Jillian in good times and in bad, through the ups and downs-very much like my husband is there for me.
While Jillian and Travis' relationship is inspired by ours, there are many ways that my husband and I differ from these characters. Jillian and Travis meet as adults already established in their careers and community. Trent and I met as kids, I'd say I was about 14 and he was 12. Due to our similar interests in sports, we turned up at a lot of the same school activities and sort of hung around with similar groups of friends. Once we made it into high school, I knew there was something special about this cute, brown eyed jock with the shy smile and the unassuming air about him. ALL the girls were in love with him, but he had no clue. I tease him about this still today.
I was a senior and he was a sophomore, so dating each other was out of the question. I mean, me a senior dating someone two whole years younger than me? What would my friends think? So I dated other guys and I was forced to watch Trent date other girls. But I told one of my very best friends that I had no doubt in my mind that I would marry him someday. She laughed and said, "Yeah, whatever!" Just so you know, she was the maid of honor years later at our wedding (And she's the inspiration for the character of Becca).
We finally stopped ignoring our attraction to each other and started dating when I was a freshman in college. You can imagine what this did for his reputation back in high school. It made him a BMOC dating a college girl. His friends were suitably impressed, the girlfriend he'd just broken up with hated my guts, and I'm pretty sure his parents weren't very happy with our relationship. Through many ups and downs, break-ups and make-ups, we finally figured things out and decided to make it official my senior year. A sixteen month engagement, a graduation and new career for me, taking out our first mortgage together and a beautiful wedding-here we are 32 years later still going strong. I wish the same for my characters, Jillian and Travis. May they have many wonderful years full of love and happiness together because that will mean someone took a chance on me and decided to publish my books!
Here is today's excerpt from "Murder By The Books". It's a small tease from a scene between the two soon-to-be lovebirds.
~~~This left Travis and Jillian alone together for the first time since he’d been at her house. They walked over and sat on the swing on Jack’s front porch. Jillian pulled his jacket closer around her to ward off the chill. He shoved both his hands deep into his pockets to keep from reaching out for her. What was this strange control she seemed to have over him? It was a bit unsettling, and he wasn’t quite sure what to do about it.
“ Thank you for your jacket,” Jillian began. ”I hadn’t realized how cold I was until we stepped out of Jack’s garage.”
“No problem,” Travis said. “Are you ok? I mean, you look a little shaken up.”
“I’m fine,” she replied. “I just realized, standing there staring at Jack’s car, that it was most likely the vehicle that killed Maggie. It got to me, I guess.” A lone tear fell and began to trickle down her cheek. Without thinking, Travis reached over and wiped it away with his thumb. Her cheek was so soft and smooth to his touch that he caught himself stroking it. He jerked his hand away quickly and looked down at his feet.
“Uh, Jillian. I’m really sorry,” stammered Travis. “I just can’t stand to see a woman cry, but that’s no excuse for touching you like that.” He looked up ready for her rebuke only to find her smiling back at him.
“Travis, there is no need to apologize,” Jillian assured him. “You are very sweet, and I appreciate your concern.” Having said this, she leaned over and gave him a quick, but sweet kiss on the lips.
Completely caught off guard by Jillian’s kiss, Travis lost all ability to speak. Any thoughts he might have had immediately left his head. All he could do was smile at her as she put her hand in his and leaned against him for warmth.~~~
Sweet, right? Just remember we writers are allowed a lot of literary leeway when creating our characters and their interactions with one another. My husband would want me to add that disclaimer, so people don't think he's too big a romantic like Travis.
And one more thing before I wrap things up. You might want to check out a new section I've added to my website. Click on "About Me" up at the top and see where it takes you. I was told by some very smart literary people that I needed to let readers see into the personal side of my life. As always, I'd love to hear from you with comments and questions.
Take care of yourselves and your families this week. Stay safe and healthy out there, and I hope you'll come back again soon.
Until next time,