Anyone can walk a mile in someone else's shoes, but what do you do when you don't want to give them back?
I participate in the NanoWriMo and Camp NanoWriMo challenges three times a year. This book started out as one of those projects. If you aren't familiar with the challenge, a writer attempts to write a book in 1 month. The day before I was set to start "Nano", I still didn't know what I was going to write. I was waiting up until midnight, a tradition of mine and many other folks, and surfing Pinterest. I saw a picture of a bride running, with a shoe in the foreground like Cinderella. It sparked my curiosity. What makes a bride like that run? I started thinking about who that bride should be and what she was running from. At midnight I typed in the first lines of the book, "I just climbed out a bathroom window in a $20,000 wedding dress. I've never done something so cliche in my entire life." From there it was a roller coaster ride. I was just as lost and scattered as Harper in the book. What comes next? I don't know! I followed her through the whole book never plotting much more than a chapter ahead of myself. And then it came time for the ending and I froze... it took a month before the ending came to me, and when it did, a sneaky smile spread over my face. I got up in the middle of dinner and scurried down to my office to pen what is now the ending.
From the back of the book
Is it really stealing if you have permission?
By all appearances, Harper Sutton leads a charmed life. As the only daughter of Montgomery Sutton, CEO of Devil’s Harp Ale, any woman in the country would swap places with her. And Harper would jump at the chance, because appearances can be deceiving. From day one she’s been robbed of every choice. Her parents decided what she wore, who her friends were, and even the man she’s supposed to marry. Something has to give, and for Harper, it’s the lock on the bathroom window the morning of her wedding.
Indigo Maxwell is a marketing executive waist deep in hot water because her job performance disqualified her from taking time off. Now she has a two week vacation to Cancun and no way to take it. When she meets a new girl named Harper, she sprouts a wild idea. Harper can assume her identity for two weeks while she's on vacation. It’s not ideal, but beggars can’t be sunbathers can they? What could go wrong?
Declan Thorpe is a divorced, single father. His days revolve around work and his little girl. He's not looking for romance, at least not until Indigo catches his eye. Or rather, Harper playing the part of Indigo. Now Declan can't get her off his mind.
The switch may not be perfect, but with enough makeup, Harper can take over Indigo's life. Fate brings them together, but will Harper be willing to relinquish the life she’s made? Or will she become the new Indigo Maxwell permanently?
Who will love it?
My other books thus far have been thrilling, dangerous, even gritty at times. This book is nothing like that. Harper's story is cute, and fun. It's lighthearted and sweet. I suppose I wanted to show that I have it in me. It's a love story with a twist. Think Prince and the Pauper, but the prince is actually a runaway bride and the pauper is actually a rambunctious marketing exec who can't get time off. And then Declan, it's hard not to love Declan- single father with a heart that wants the best for everyone in his life. If you love love stories, especially wholesome and clean love stories, you'll likely love this book.
Life is too short to live on the back burner...
Set to Simmer was another NanoWriMo book. I wrote it when I was moving from central california back to the more nothern half of the state. Fun Fact: I finishes it at my mom's cabin in Northern Washington (The town where Lindy lives - Ferndale Washington) while my new house was getting a septic tank in the wettest winter California had ever seen. Because the county deemed it too wet for the crews to dig, they wouldn't let us move in. Set to Simmer kept me busy while I waited about a month, living in my parent's basement with my homeschooled daughter.
Dakota represented something I saw in too many of my friends. They accepted the mundane, claimed it was all they deserved, and never tried to have more. This idea upset me. I could see their potential, why couldn't they? Dakota has this habit of settling into things. She thinks she's got the best she can get, but usually she's nowhere near topping out. When she finally grabs hold of some bravery, her life begins to change. It was somewhere near the end of the book, when my life started to come back together, that I realized I was just like my friends and Dakota in more ways than I wanted to admit. I was putting many parts of my own life on the back burner so to speak and assuming they'd figure it out. But while heaven helps me all the time, I truly believe that faith without works is dead. I ended this book with a renewed determination to grab those goals that had eluded me and be a little more fearless. I hope you'll do the same.
From the Back of the Book
Sawyer Dumont is made of sarcasm and steel. Successful, rich and easy on the eyes, it's not his fault women don't stay around long. They should really try to be more interesting. Despite his career as a cardiovascular surgeon, Sawyer knows very little about matters of the heart. So what if his longest lasting relationship is with his father and his quirky aunt who stepped up to raise him? If he could just find them a personal chef to help them through their golden years, then life would be perfect.
Slinging drinks and lighting shots on fire is a far cry from the dream Dakota Brightling had when she moved to California to attend culinary school. At work she watches others live her dream just twelve feet away in the resort restaurant. Story of her life: Close but not close enough. Finding an ad for an in-home chef, she knows she's the perfect candidate. She's only missing one thing, a culinary degree. But isn't chasing your dream worth a little lie or two? It isn't exactly the path she wanted, but Dakota knows that some of the best recipes are often improvised.
Instantly taken with Henri Dumont, and his sister, Eloise, two eccentric French seniors, Dakota feels like she's found where she was meant to be all along. With Sawyer's cynicism undermining her every move, she knows she has a lot to prove. Between her lack of schooling, her overbearing mother who thinks she's been abducted, and Sawyer breathing down her neck, things are getting hot in the kitchen. Can she pull it all together, or will her culinary career end as just another flash in the pan?
Who Will Love It
If you enjoyed Pre-Approved Identity Theft, I would wager you'll enjoy this one. It's not quite as bubblegum sweet, but then in some parts it really is. Dakota is a bit more self assured than Max ever was. She's still prone to make a bad decision or two, but for the most part she's got a big heart and means well. There are a few more serious parts in this book, and a great deal more family dynamics.It is a love story, but don't be alarmed when it feels like a story about a family. It's what is called a slow burn romance. The relationship takes time to build. Hang in there. If you love cooking, baking and gardening, you'll enjoy this. Dakota loves all those more than anything. Her life revolves around food. I suggest having snacks ready while you read this one. I've heard it makes you hungry.
He's not your average Grandma
I wrote this book this year (2019). My word for 2019 was "Fearless", and this project culminated all of it. I wrote it in the fall and published it in the early winter. Normally, I take a year or so to agonize over it, let beta readers read it, agonize some more, and eventually publish after a couple years. This time I wanted to skip the agony and take a risk. I blame Dakota from Set to Simmer, but I digress.
I texted my friend in September and told her I wanted to write a Christmas book for the first time. She said it would be tight but I could probably do it. We tossed around some ideas, but it wasn't until after I said a prayer that the idea came to me. Evan Skruggs, pretending to be a grandma in order to sell books. Not just any cookbooks, but America's favorite comfort food cookbooks. I wrote without an outline, which I hardly ever do, and played Christmas music around the clock because it's hard to feel like you're living in a snowy wonderland when it's 90 outside. Central California takes forever to let go of summer. I drank hot cocoa, played fireplace burning videos, and kept listening to my Martina McBride Christmas album on repeat. The ending almost went another way, but the voice in my head told me it was too predictable, and I hate predictable. Because of the swerve, this book now connects to Pre-Approved Identity Theft, and it will connect with two books coming out next year. I can't wait to share them with you.
From the Back of the Book
Evan Scruggs made his millions pretending to be someone he's not: A sweet grandma with an affinity for writing America's favorite cookbooks.
While executives love his food, it was very clear from the beginning that his prickly personality and people skills were not going to sell anything to the public. His recipe books have topped the charts for years, however, the name and face on the cover belongs not to Evan, but to Granny McPherson, America’s Grandma. But when that Granny from the cover has a melt down in the frozen foods section on live television, Evan has to win back the public's good favor if he wants to keep everything he's worked for.
Brooke Cratchett lives on hopes and dreams, but very little else.
When Brooke Cratchett inherited her grand parent’s 100-year old farmhouse, she set out to make it into a bed & breakfast, despite knowing little about business or cooking. Now her dream is crashing around her - bills are coming due, she still can’t cook, and the inn sits empty. She's hoping for a miracle when her cousin Winnifred has a brilliant idea. She can coerce her floundering client, Evan Skruggs, to the inn to do a series of television Christmas specials. Bringing publicity for the inn, and a chance for the public to fall in love with Evan, what could go wrong?
Just about everything, and typically on live tv.
As Evan struggles in the spotlight of public scrutiny, issues from his past stand in his way. If he can't change, will he lose the future he dreams of? Brooke tries to keep a smile on her face as her simple life is swallowed in the chaos of reality television. Is saving the inn really worth the lack of privacy? Between snowball wars, broken gingerbread houses, and chance meetings under the mistletoe, their lives will never be the same.
Come home for Christmas with Granny McPherson.
Who Will Love It?
Everyone. Okay, maybe not everyone, but this short-ish holiday book has enough laughter, Christmas magic, and heart-warming fun for just about everyone. Clean Romance, check. Snowball fights, check. Food fights, check. Embarrassing moments all around, check check check. It's a stand alone Christmas book that will touch your heart and put you in the Christmas mood all year round.