Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Summer Lovin' Preorder Sweepstakes!

With our release date just a month away, we are thrilled to kick off our preorder sweepstakes as a way to say thank you to our readers. One lucky person will receive a spectacular Summer Lovin' beach tote filled with fabulous beach gifts, and four previously-released, signed books (approximate value of US $250)!

Preorder any of our four July releases for one entry for each book and register your purchase here. The sweepstakes runs the entire month of June and is easy to enter.

Here are our July releases and associated purchase links. Heartwarming books are also available at select Walmart stores in the United States. You can find a participating Walmart near you here.

You can purchase When I Found You at:

You can purchase Sophie's Path at:

You can purchase Under an Adirondack Sky at:

You can purchase The Girl He Used to Love at:

Happy reading!

Amy, Catherine, Karen and Kate

* Alternate method of entry available. Please see Official Rules for details.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Readers...Rock Stars...Synonymous!

by Shirley Hailstock

If I didn't know before, I am in no doubt now that readers are our Rock Stars.  For years I've heard about the invitation-only Reader Appreciation Luncheon that former Publishers Weekly Contributing Editor, Barbara Vey, host in the mid-west. As I'd never been invited, I didn't give it much thought. But last year, during the Romance Writers of America Conference, I was sitting in the bar talking to Sharon Sala when Barbara came over and Sharon introduced me. Barbara and I had met several times, but without a name tag, the same clothes and hairstyle, identity is totally lost on most of us. But I digress.

Barbara invited me to the weekend and I accepted, not knowing what I was going to do with my daughter since I would need to be there for at least one whole school day. But I was determined. I wasn't passing up this invitation.

To my surprise, the reader luncheon had grown into a weekend. Tickets for the readers went on sale at 12:01 August 1st for a weekend that was eight months away and sold out in a few days.
In April, sixty authors and 500 readers flocked to South Milwaukee, Wisconsin (which I learned is a different town than Milwaukee.  It's not part of the Milwaukee we think of, but is its own incorporated city.).

Each author was responsible for decorating a table for eight attendees (including herself). The tables do not need to be elaborate, but you're talking to creative people and they pulled out the stops.  Look at this one from Brenda Novak.

And this one from suspense author Alex Kava. Take a close look at those Crime Scene runners.  They are actually knitted, not made of plastic tape.  

As a newbie, I was unsure of what to expect or what I should do.  Checking with some other authors, who were attending or had previously attended, I got an idea, but I was unprepared for the elaborate outlay of decorations or the warmth of the readers who'd stood in line to get in and visit with us.

Notice the centerpiece that Tina allowed me to use. There jar is a Texas boot.

The theme for my table was weddings because I have so many books with a wedding in them. My decision was to fold the napkins provided by the hotel into tuxedos, place a wedding gift in front of it and have some kind of centerpiece. I could carry all the things except a centerpiece (somehow I missed the part where I could ship everything to Barbara and she'd have it delivered to the hotel).  But we're writers and wonderful sharing people. So to my rescue comes Tina DeSalvo, an author I met for the first time that weekend. Her table also had a wedding theme and she offered me a centerpiece. I'll love her forever (and buy her books).

Tuxedo Napkin

These had to be the best cupcakes in Milwaukee.  I even had one for breakfast Sunday morning.

Seven wonderful readers (six women and a man) sat at my table for the luncheon.  Three of them drove from Detroit, MI just to have lunch with me.  Then they had to rush back to another conference they were attending. Do I feel honored or what...

I can't tell you how long I smiled, how genuine that smile was and how much I appreciated the readers.  We talked books, plots, stories we'd read and appreciated. It was like having family visit and bring friends you hadn't seen in ages. Even in the hallways, we'd meet readers . Yep, definitely rock stars.

I can't show you all the photos.  I took almost 200 of them.  Most are on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/shirleyhailstockfan).  However, some of my favorites are below:

This is an actual book, where the pages are folded into a flower.  (I gotta learn how to do this.)

Susan Elizabeth Phillips wearing a cheese hat.

Tina DeSalvo's wedding table. The cake is made of the small cake boxes that guests usually take home with them. The photo does not do the table justice. It was absolutely beautiful.

I sure hope Barbara invites me again. I already have a hundred ideas for table decorations.  But more than that, just being able to meet and talk to so  many readers is worth all the effort. Bravo Barbara for bringing readers and writers together!

As always, keep reading...

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sit-Down Saturday with Lee McKenzie

I’m so excited to be here today to celebrate the May release of To Catch a Wife, the first book in The Finnegan Sisters trilogy.

As young children, the Finnegan sisters' father came home from Desert Storm in a wheelchair, and their mother walked out on them three months later. Middle sister Emily has never overcome her fear of abandonment. Annie, the eldest, became the nurturer, always looking out for her little sisters. CJ, the baby of the family, has always thrived on being the center of attention. Three sisters, three stories.

These stories are set in the fictional town of Riverton, Wisconsin. To learn all about Riverton, I hope you'll check out my April post here on the blog—“Making Stuff Up."

Sleepy little Riverton isn’t home to (m)any bachelors but the sisters can't imagine living anywhere else, so they settle for being single. Then a tough Chicago cop becomes the town’s chief of police, a dedicated doctor returns to take over the clinic, and an injured Texas cowboy, back stateside from two tours in Afghanistan, comes to town seeking solitude. And suddenly Riverton isn’t so sleepy.

To Catch a Wife is middle sister Emily's story.

Here’s the back cover blurb for To Catch a Wife:

He'll prove he's back for good
Detective Jack Evans will keep proposing as many times as it takes. He never expected to come home to Riverton, Wisconsin, let alone to find himself lost in a night of passion with reporter Emily Finnegan—and he gets an even bigger surprise when he finds out she's pregnant. Now he's determined to marry the beautiful brunette. It took a world-shaking surprise to make him realize what was missing in his life. But Emily has been hurt before and isn't convinced his desire to marry her is about love. He'll do whatever it takes to prove his heart is hers…for as long as they both shall live.
I'd also like to share snippets from two of my favorite scenes in this book because I think they dovetail nicely with one another and with the blurb.

Scene One [hero finds out heroine is pregnant]
     “We’ll get married,” he blurted. “Right away, as soon as you want.” The declaration caught him completely off guard.
     Emily gaped at him. “Married? Are you out of your mind?”
     “What did you expect me to say?”
     Emily sprang to her feet. “I don’t know. ‘How did this happen?’ ‘What are you going to do about it?’”
     He couldn’t help himself. He grinned. “I know how it happened. I was there, remember?” Then he sobered. Why would she think he would ask what she was going to do about it? Unless…no. He moved toward her, but she ducked out of reach.
     Okay, not exactly the response he would have liked.
     “Are you planning to do something about it?” he asked.
     She nodded. “Have it, raise it.”
     Her declaration was meant to be defiant, but it had him breathing a little better. She might not make this easy, but he had to do the right thing.
     “Okay, then. We’ll raise it together.”
     “Right.” Emily rolled her beautiful brown eyes. “That’ll be easy for two parents who live three hundred miles apart. Easy, until the next big case comes along, and you forget all about us for months on end. Yeah, that’s going to work.”
     “Come on, Emily. I’m sorry I didn’t call. I know you think I’m a thoughtless jerk, but I’m not. Give me a chance to prove it.”
     “And how do you plan to do that?”
     He couldn’t believe he was about to say what he was about to say. “We’ll get married. You can move to Chicago. I’ll take care of you and the baby and…”
     Horrified didn’t come close to describing her expression.
     “What?” he asked.
     “Oh, gee. Let me see. There is no way I’m moving to Chicago, and we hardly know one another, so I am not going to marry you.”
     “Emily, we’ve known each other for years.”
     “We’ve been acquainted for years. Big difference.”
     “They’re basically the same things.”
     “All right then,” she said, offering up a challenge. “What’s my favorite color?”
     He looked her up and down, as though her wardrobe might offer up a clue. “Yellow?”
     “What’s my middle name?”
     Hmm. Should he know this?
Scene Two [that evening over dinner]:
     Emily pounced on a slice of warm focaccia, swirled it through the oil and savored the crunch of rosemary and coarsely ground salt as she bit into it.
     “I’m so hungry, I could eat a house,” she said.
     Jack laughed. “I thought the saying was, ‘I’m so hungry, I could eat a horse.’”
     “My sister CJ always flipped out when anyone said that, so my dad changed it to house. I know it doesn’t make sense. Eating a whole house is just silly, but we were all little, and we never really gave it much thought.”
     “When you think about it, it’s not a lot sillier than eating a horse.”
     “That’s true.”
     “So,” Jack said, helping himself to a slice of bread. “Blue. Martin. April seventh.”
     Bewildered, Emily set her bread on her side plate and stared at him. “Excuse me?”
     “In the spirit of getting to know one another…my favorite color, my middle name, my birthday.”
     His directness startled a laugh out of her. “Hmm. I didn’t expect getting to know one another to work like a game show. And blue is every guy’s favorite color.”
     “I guess that makes me predictable.”
     “Oh, I doubt it.” But she decided to play along. “So it’s Jack Martin Evans. Is that a family name?”
     “Jack is short for Jackson, but don’t even think about calling me that. Unless you want to sound like my mother after I’ve done something to annoy her.”
     She smiled. “Noted.”
I also had a lot of fun creating secondary characters for this book, and one of my favorites is a retired high school English teacher—Mable Potter. She's taught generations of Rivertonians, including the hero and heroine. She now lives alone with her scallywag of a mutt called Banjo. The title of this book is a play on To Catch a Thief and, well, what can I say?  Mable Potter and her dog just might be involved. While I was writing those scenes, I imagined Banjo looking exactly like this.

Photo courtesy of Border Collies in Need. Please click to check out their website!
Do you enjoy stories with animals? Pets play a big part in the books I write. The heroine of this story, Emily Finnegan, has a hamster named Tadpole.

For this book I held a Name This Furry Friend contest and the name Tadpole was the hands-down favorite among my panel of judges. I had fun coming up with an explanation for the name, and the winner (thank you again, Melanie!) is acknowledged in the book

For readers in Australia and the UK, To Catch a Wife will be available June 1 from Mills & Boon. Here's the UK cover.

To Catch a Wife, Mills & Boon UK
And here is the Australian cover.

To Catch a Wife, Mills & Boon Australia
I love how they apply different treatments to the same cover art to achieve different effects. But don't you find it curious that my brunette American heroine has suddenly become a redhead in the UK and Oz?

Thank you so much for joining me today to celebrate my latest book and the launch of a new series. To keep the party going, I'm offering a GIVEAWAY! Two, in fact. Each consists of a Magnolia Bakery tote bag, one of my backlist books and some assorted swag that will be as much a surprise to me as it will be to you! To be eligible to win one of these two giveaways, all you have to do is leave a comment that includes your encrypted email address (name at domain dot com/org/net//etc.).

Happy reading!

Until next time,

Lee...writing fifty shades of pink

To Catch a Wife (Harlequin Heartwarming, May 2016)
His Best Friend's Wife (Harlequin Heartwarming, December 2016)
Cowboy, Come Home (Harlequin Heartwarming, TBA)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Lessons From a Little Dog

This is Claire.  Cute, huh?  She's a West Highland White Terrier/Cavalier King Charles mix.  She has a classic Westie body, but her ears look as though she was sired by Yoda.  They're flexible and very expressive.  She's six years old, weighs 20 pounds, and is badly in need of a trip to the groomer's.  You probably remember that we adopted her from a neighbor when our 13-year-old Husky mix went to her reward.

Ron and I have always had large-breed dogs, but the last week of Cheyenne's life convinced me that while I can still run up and down stairs (they're everywhere in this house!) I can no longer do it carrying 100 pounds of dog.   So my neighbor's offer of a small dog seemed like such a good idea.

Wow.  It's amazing how wrong you can be about something and still fight to turn it into a positive.

In the house, Claire is a dog-owner's dream.  She loves Ron and sits on the sofa or in the recliner with him and doesn't care what he watches on television. Unlike me, who has had enough of CNN, and all the election experts, and what I fondly call The Bug Channels.   The programs don't really have to be about bugs, but they're usually on National Geographic or similar channels, and feature little known facts about things natural or scientific.  I tend to think they're little known facts because no one cares about them, but Ron is interested in everything, so he cares.  And, apparently. so does Claire.

She's made friends with the two tabbies who also live here because they also protect us from tiny critters and she considers them part of her staff.

She loves to sit on the back of the sofa and look out the window.  She doesn't bother me while I'm working, eats whatever you give her, and wags her little tail all the time.

But the minute we leave the house, she turns into twenty pounds of albino psycho.  She runs down the front steps with a growl in her throat to let the neighborhood know she's on duty.   She wants to attack everything she sees - big dogs, little dogs, low-flying birds, big insects, and certain people.  I never know who.  I fully expect to end up in the ER one day with a Pit Bull attached to my face because she attacked it.   The leisurely walks Cheyenne and I had, enjoying our gorgeous views, she sniffing the grass to learn what other dogs had passed, and me, meditating and plotting, are a thing of the past.  Now my walks are a matter of survival.

Fortunately, I've walked around here so long that I know every trail and back alley and can avoid confrontation if Claire doesn't see them coming first.  If she does, I have to drag her behind me or pick her up to keep going while she barks in angry detail about what she'd do to them if she could only get there.  I'd hire a doggie shrink for her, but I'd need one first.

The moment we're home, she morphs back into the perfect family dog.  I hear you asking why I don't just put her out in the yard rather than walk her.  Firstly, she barks at everything that moves so our lovely neighbors would soon hate us, and, despite her killer instincts, her size makes her vulnerable to the racoons that travel in packs, and the eagles that fly over on their way to fish the river.

Living with her reminds me of how I felt when my oldest son was about 12.  I didn't think I'd survive him, but now he's a fine citizen with a lovely wife, a thriving business, and loving concern for Ron and me.  So, maybe there's hope for Claire.

On the good side, adversity usually has a positive effect on us.  I'm determined to solve this problem, and though research seems to indicate that terriers are hard wired to be aggressive because they were bred to catch rats, mice and other critters, there has to be a way to teach her the difference between what's a threat and what isn't.  So, it's made me study, taught me even more patience than my life already requires, and to remember that everyone and everything that crosses our path in life has something to teach us.

 In researching, I ran across a term that explains small dog behavior, and now, of course, can't find it.  As I recall, the term means they have an inability to see themselves in relation to the rest of the world.  In other words, they have no idea they're small because inside, they're giants.  Isn't that an attitude we can all get behind? Fear nothing!  Even though your legs are only three inches long, nothing is too big to take on because you feel invincible.  Act tough.  Look scary.  Pull like the lead dog in an Iditarod because your job is vigilance and you're excited to do it well.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Beach Fun and More (Tara Taylor Quinn)

Feeling lucky? Or just want to take a quick vicarious trip to the beach? This week and through the long weekend I'm part of a Summer Beach Tote contest over at Fresh Fiction. (Just click on the prize to get there!) But that little bag of goodies over there isn't all! There are tons of well known authors heading to the beach together with lots of great prizes!! Books, gift cards, jewelry. Fun stuff!!

And if you need another fix...I have a couple of more opportunities to offer right now.

For completely free you can enter to win up 25,000 Harlequin My Rewards Points - that equals five free books of your choice from Harlequin.com. To enter all you have to do is click here!

And then...I'm so excited to be getting closer to the launch of my new series with Harlequin Heartwarming, Family Secrets!! It's not really kosher for me to say one of my books is better than another - kind of like saying you like one of your children more than another (not that I'd know as I have an only child) but...I like this series better than anything I've written for Heartwarming. I feel like I got my flow here with this series. It's meaty and rich and intense and emotional and when I finished editing one of the books I was surprised I'd written it. So...for pre-launch...I'm giving away a Kindle Fire to one Lucky Winner! For Love Or Money, the first book in the Family Secrets series will be pre-loaded on the Kindle Fire. Also pre-loaded are others of my nine 2016 releases. 

Kindle Fire with Six Pre-loaded TTQ Books (books 1-6 from Where Secrets are Safe series)
US only
Ends August 31st

To Enter: Submit your receipt online for your pre-order or purchase of any of Tara Taylor Quinn’s six releases being promoted on her Heart Stopping Tour (Love By AssociationHis First ChoiceThe Promise He Made HerStrangers in Paradise: Sheltered In His ArmsSheltered In His Arms Audiobook, and For Love Or Money). Enter as many times as you purchase. One book purchase equals one entry (one receipt per entry and must be uploaded at time of entry).

Viva La Difference!

I’m trying a new experiment. Recent changes in publishing have opened doors to writers looking to be published in unique ways. Years ago I traditionally published two cozy historical mysteries set on a showboat just before the turn of the century. The first one is STAGESTRUCK, the second is GRAVE REVIEW. I Always intended to write the third in the series and tie up loose ends, but never did. Now the first two in the series are self published for Kindle users and I’m working on the third, which I will self publish.
     I don’t intend to stop writing Harlequin Heartwarming books. I love writing for this series and feel I’ve found my niche in the sweet romance genre, but the mystery provides a fun challenge. And what a challenge it is! In romance, we writers emphasize the emotions, the ever changing connection between the hero and heroine until they reach their happily ever after. Getting the emotions just right isn’t easy as we try to stay in tune with the hero and heroine and produce characters the reader will want to know beginning with page one.
     Mystery is different. Plotting is the most important element. Characters are important, yes, but the mystery writer gets to play with good guys and bad guys and all sorts in between. The plot changes with the introduction of clues and new characters throughout the book. I think I can best show the difference in my two favorite genres by saying, “In a mystery, keep the reader guessing. In a romance, keep the reader hoping.”
     And for a real challenge, put a little mystery in the romance and a little romance in the mystery. It’s like a double-layered, two-flavor birthday cake. Oh, so yummy! 
     What is your favorite genre besides romance? I'd love to know.
     Happy reading, whatever you love most!


Monday, May 23, 2016

Meet Patricia Johns

by Patricia Bradley & Patricia Johns


The dark-haired girl landed on the ground and looked up. “Where am I?”

“You just came through the portal to the Heartwarming blog. You know, the place where readers and authors can have a little heart to heart. I’ve been expecting you.”

Patricia Johns
“I’m where? And who are you? And why were you expecting me?”

“You’re the new Heartwarming author, Patricia Johns, right?”

“Well, yes…” a frown crossed Patricia’s face. “But what does that have to do with anything?”

“This is where you come to write your blog posts. I’m Patricia Bradley, and if you’ll look up above at that button that says Authors, you’ll see the others. Your picture and bio will be there soon.”

“But…what about my son and my husband?”

“They’ll be fine. You’ll go back as soon as your post is finished. Say, what do they think of you being this awesome romance writer?”

“My husband loves it. I get to work from home, which means I can keep the family running and be there for him when his schedule changes. It works for us! For a long time, my son didn’t think that Mommy’s books on the bookstore shelves were anything special, but then he told some school friends about it, they called him a liar, and he now thinks what I do is moderately more interesting.” Patricia laughed. “He’s eight. So I get it.”

Patricia Bradley
“By the way, I hopped over to your blog and see that you were interviewed by a television reporter about romance. I bet that was fun! Tell us what that was like.”

“That was both fun and crazy stressful. It takes a certain level of introversion to be a writer. You sit alone for eight hours a day spinning stories. So talking to a reporter on camera left me terrified that I’d make a fool of myself. I think it turned out pretty well, though.”

"It was a great interview. Readers can see it here.
I understand you write other books for Harlequin. Are they family-friendly, too?”

“All of my books—Love Inspired, Heartwarming and Western—are family friendly. I focus on the emotional build in a relationship, and while the couple will experience some very conflicting and intense emotions, there is no hanky-panky.”

“Good. What made you want to write for Heartwarming?”

“The lack of hanky-panky.” Patricia grinned. “Seriously. As I said, I have an eight-year-old son, and one of these days he’s going to pick up one of Mom’s books and flip through. I’d rather not have to provide therapy afterward. It takes skill to write a romance that tugs the reader by the heartstrings and leaves all clothing intact. I love that challenge.”

“I guarantee you’ll love it here. I think Heartwarming has some of the best romance books around, and the other authors…they are the best! Can you tell us a little about your new Heartwarming book and when it will be out?

“A BAXTER’S REDEMPTION comes out January 2017, and I love this story so much. It’s about a woman named Isabel Baxter whose wealthy father remarries a woman younger than she is. When Isabel returns home to Haggerston, Montana after an accident, she finds herself at odds with her newly married father and his newly pregnant wife. 

When the wealthy father asks the family lawyer, James Hunter, to give his daughter some financial advice, she’s furious… except he’s the only one who seems capable of negotiating some sort of relationship in this dysfunctional family. But James knew Isabel back when she was a spoiled beauty queen, and he knows better than to get caught up in this influential family’s drama… I can give you one spoiler: they get married in the end.”

“We always have to have a Happy Ever After! Patricia, it was great to learn more about you. I can’t wait to share fourth Mondays with you. Do you have any questions?”

“Will I have to fall down that rabbit hole every time I come here?”

“No. That was a one-time deal so I could interview you." :-)

Join us next month on the fourth Monday for no telling what...

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sit-Down Saturday

Lynn Patrick (Patricia Rosemoor and Linda Sweeney) talk about writing Home for Keeps together

How do two authors write one book?

Patricia: It helps if you have like-thinking minds. Or if you have a psychic connection. :) It seems that way sometimes when we plot together. And if I’m writing and hit a wall, I tell Linda about it and she comes up with just the right solution to what I’m missing. We figure out the book together and then one of us writes the first half, the other the second, but of course we exchange chapters and add or revise as we see fit.
Linda: It seems that the story exists outside of ourselves and we are just transcribing it, at least that’s how it works for me. I would say being able to firm up a plot is most important. Two people could never write a scene from time to time willy-nilly and have it end up cohesive.

Where did you get the idea for Home for Keeps?

Patricia: This is the fourth book we set in the fictional town of Sparrow Lake, WI. Grace Huber appeared in The Long Road Home and introduced the idea of a green community. So we created Caleb Blackthorne, a hero that would be a natural fit for her, a professor at the community college who teaches conservation.
Linda: We try to use topics in which one of us has some expertise or special interest.  Patricia is a gardener, which inspired a heroine who is a “green” landscape designer in The Forever Home, as well as the hero conservationist in Home for Keeps.  I contributed to the art interest in the hero’s daughter in the latter book and to Aunt Margaret’s profession, an art professor, in all four books.


What’s your favorite scene?

Patricia: My personal favorite is Caleb’s daughter Angela building the sweat lodge with her friend Kiki. Because Angela was getting out of hand, Caleb confined her to home during Spring break. Building the sweat lodge on the property next to the house qualified in her mind if not her father’s. I loved the camaraderie between the girls and Angela’s sympathy for her friend. Kiki’s father is dead, her mother is in jail and she’s in a bad situation in a foster home. Angela draws Kiki out to learn that she has a grandmother in Chicago. The scene shows a different facet of both girls from what the adults see.
Linda:  I like the camping out scenes best – we used many incidents from an actual camping trip we took years ago.  Patricia, her husband, her stepson, and I set up tents and built a fire at a campground in Wisconsin.  Late at night, we were invaded by raccoons that screamed as they fought over foodstuffs and jumped on a car, setting off the alarm.  I liked writing those scenes because they were humorous and had a lot of people in them, some quite silly like Jimmy the college student who is always hungry.

What kind of research did you do?

Patricia: Linda really did the research on green communities, so I’ll let her take this one.
Linda: I read about green communities online. I had heard of such already when I saw a house hunting episode on HGTV wherein a house hunter considered living in a green community in Oregon as one of her three options. For the hero’s background in Home for Keeps, I looked up syllabi on environmental science (available online) and read a small book on useful medicinal plants that grow in the Midwest.

Who is your favorite character?

Patricia: I identify with our heroine Grace Huber’s wanting to do what she can to make her part of the world a better place by using green technology and creating a development that includes the outdoors. I’m also a city person who recycles, composts, gardens, and works with a community garden as a Master Gardener; when I was younger, I used to camp, boat and ride horses, as well.
Linda: My favorite character is Nellie, the older woman who lives in the green community with her cat Olive and who steadfastly doesn’t believe in ghosts. I always want to create older characters who are vibrant and interesting, not stock “old people” characters. I also had fun with the ghost hunter guy in the book. Years ago, Patricia and I went on a Chicago Ghost Tour with someone similar to him, all dressed in black and full of stories.

What do you appreciate most about your Heartwarming stories?

Patricia: The ability to build a community of characters of all ages that are threaded through the stories, making seniors as interesting and as fun as the kids we create.
Linda: I agree with Patricia. I also appreciate visiting a small town, at least in a story.  I’ve lived in the big city most of my life but, in my childhood, I grew up on a farm three miles from a small Iowa town. I also love the humor we can blend into our stories.

See more about our books here...

Friday, May 20, 2016

Who Moved My House? by Sophia Sasson

Spring is the time when people buy and sell houses. For my family, it was time to move into a better school district, even if it meant selling the house my children were born in, and the one we still loved. Plus we wanted a big backyard for my now five year old twins to expend their unlimited physical energy.

So we started with Spring cleaning and called the realtor to see what our house was worth.  A few days before he was supposed to come out, I got an email from someone asking if my house is for sale.  I saw the message on my iphone while waiting in line to pick up a prescription and glibly replied, it will be in a few weeks. The response was instant. Can I come see it, we are looking to buy now. Not for a second did I think they were serious but I ultimately had them come the day I was meeting the realtor anyway. We had done a lot of painting and sprucing up but the realtor had a laundry list of things that still remained. Powerwash the exterior, move out some furniture, carpets, more paint. We were exhausted just looking at the list.

The couple that showed up on our front door to see the house were truly adorable. She was pregnant and he was desperate to fulfill a promise to buy her a house before the baby came in two months. They fell in love with our house and made an offer that same day, agreeing to take the house “as is” so they could paint it the way they wanted. They were willing to give us asking price. Before you ask, things like that never happen to me. I have never won a raffle in my life. This was almost as good as winning the lotto.

Indeed, no one can believe our luck. The couple had emailed a number of owners in our neighborhood asking if people wanted to sell. The catch of course was that we had to be out in 30 days. They needed to get the house ready for their baby.

 So we went about packing up our house, constantly questioning whether we were making the right decision. The kids asked “do we get to take the paining in our room?”I had painted murals in the kids room. A farm for one boy and a fire station for the other. “No honey, the next family will enjoy those.”

I try not to think about the fact that they planned to paint over these murals.

It also didn’t help that we had no house to move into, we were going into a rental not wanting to rush the decision to buy. So we packed and moved. The kids still miss their old house but we’ve found another. With a big backyard. Still, we keep comparing everything to the old house.

So I got to thinking, what’s troubling us all? Is it giving up a house we loved, is it just change, or is it the notion that we sold our home. We’ve tried to tell the kids that home is where the family is. Whether we are living in a small apartment or a big house. They’re starting to understand it. Perhaps even better than yours truly who looks longingly at pictures of those murals and wondering if I will ever love another house like we loved our last one.

Lucky for me, I happened to be editing the first book in my “State of the Union” series coming from Harlequin heartwarming and writing the second book in the same series. In both books, the characters struggle with what feels like “home” and quest to find that sense of belonging.   I wish I could show you a sneak peek of the cover to “The Senator’s Daughter” but that will have to wait for my July post.

Until then, don’t forget to check out the amazing May lineup by  Rula Sinara, Lee Mckenzie, Loree Lough, and Lynn Patrick.

ThenComesLove-frontIf you haven’t grabbed your free copy of Then Comes Love, the prequel to First Comes Marriage please visit my website, www.SophiaSasson.com

Now, tell me, have you ever bought or sold a house? What was your experience like?