Sunday, July 14, 2019

Meeting Readers

Last weekend I was one of twenty authors in attendance at a popular arts festival. This was my third year in a row at this particular venue and it’s always been a very successful event. The weather this year was extremely hot and humid. No doubt this caused some people to stay away, in search of a cool swim in the lake or air conditioned comfort. Sales were not as strong as they have been in the past, but that’s part of the chance we take.  

I always look forward to the opportunity to meet with readers. This year was no exception. There were many people who stopped by to chat with the different authors and learn more about the stories we write.  I even shared a few laughs with a lovely young woman with long red hair. She beamed a thousand watt smile when I asked if she was one of the models used for the Jamie Richmond books, since two of them have redheads on the covers.  I got the sense her friends will be teasing her about that for a long while.

Three times over the weekend I met people who had previously purchased “Why 319?” and made it a point to seek me out.  All three were very complimentary, which is the type of feedback authors love to hear.  One lady mentioned that this was the first book she’d read in some time and that she’d enjoyed Every Single Word.  

That’s the kind of reaction that makes all those hours of writing and editing worthwhile.  It motivates me to keep at.  Because I have more stories to share.

So thank you for those words of encouragement. And I hope you enjoy “Your Turn to Die” the second book in that series.

Last week’s event wasn’t far from the shores of Lake Michigan. That’s where “Stealing Haven”, the short story that’s part of “Once Upon a Summer” takes place.  So here’s a little excerpt of Jamie’s vacation adventure. 

In this scene, Jamie and Linda, along with her dog Logan, are going for an evening boat ride on the great lake with Randy, one of the men they met at lunch.

Randy glanced over his shoulder to check on Linda. “She and Logan look pretty comfortable back there.”

I looked back and waved. Linda wiggled her fingers at me. By now, I’d slid up onto the seat beside Randy, close enough so our thighs brushed. Turning back around, I caught him staring at me. Neither of us wore sunglasses.

“Aren’t you supposed to be watching for other boats?”

“I can multitask. But no other sailor would blame me for being distracted by such a beautiful woman.”

My face warmed. I was about to make a smart-ass comment when he leaned over and kissed me, lightly on the lips. Now, my whole body was blushing.

Randy straightened up and quickly checked the water around us. “Hope I didn’t upset you. I’ve been wanting to do that all night.”

“I’m glad you did.”

He dropped his left hand from the wheel again and took mine. “Actually, that’s not completely true.”

“A partial truth?”

“I thought about kissing you at lunch today, but didn’t want to scare you off.”

Reaching up with my free hand I ran it through his thick blond hair. I stalled, not sure what to say. He watched me closely, shifting his gaze to the water briefly, then coming back to focus on me. “So is this your routine, how you pick up women on vacation?”

“Never done it before. I’m not the Casanova type.”

“So you’re just drawn to scrawny redheads?”

His hand squeezed mine. “You are not scrawny. You’re slender. I’ve always been attracted to slender women.”

His words charmed me. “I’m invisible when Linda’s in the vicinity.”

That earned me another kiss. This one lasted for about an hour. Well, maybe it was a minute or two. My hand tangled in his hair, keeping him close.

“Glad I’m different from most guys,” he said quietly as we separated. His hands returning to the wheel.

Part of me was still locked on his kiss. Was this really happening? I looked back at Linda. She flashed a wide grin and made a show of slowly clapping her hands together. I wondered if she knew how to drive a boat so I could drag Randy to the cabin below deck. With an effort, I reined in such thoughts.

“So I’m supposed to believe you don’t find young women out looking for fun on their vacation and charm them with that smile?”

“You like my smile? I always thought it was kind of lopsided.”

I took his face in both hands and turned it toward me. “Maybe a little crooked. But that’s part of the appeal.” Now I initiated a kiss. His hands slid through my hair, then softly ran his fingers down my neck. Shivers of excitement coursed through me. A horn sounded nearby. He broke the kiss and turned to check the water. Another boat passed in the opposite direction. A man and woman were at the helm, mirroring our positions, caught in the moment and sensuality of being on the water. I bit down on my bottom lip in frustration. I longed for more than kisses but safety came first.

“We don’t want to run into some sailboat out here,” Randy said with a grin.

I scooted back onto the bench. Maybe a little distance was in order? It might help my racing hormones. “How fast are we going?” 

“About thirty. Want to go faster?”

Was he talking about the boat, or the two of us? Randy shifted. His right hand had dropped to the controls, his left lightly holding the steering wheel. He watched me, his lopsided grin worked its magic. “Shall we give Linda a thrill?”

“I think she’s already getting one.”

Randy jammed the throttle most of the way down and the boat jumped forward as if launched from a rocket. Linda squealed in delight. I watched the bow come up and bounce a couple of times as the boat adjusted. Even with the additional blast of cool lake air, I still tingled from those kisses.

Another possible photo of Jamie.

Here are some links where you can find "Once Upon a Summer"

This tune popped up twice this week, which also seems appropriate for the scene above. Here's a favorite from Marvin Gaye.


  1. Talking to readets is one of my favorite parts of doing events. Ones that we have a history at, like the art festival, are even better because we get to chat with returning readers. Sometimes those little comments are just the thing we need to keep us writing when the drafts get tough. :)

  2. Absolutely agree. That interaction and feedback can be the highlight of a long day and provide the inspiration to keep writing.