I think the question I most often field from readers is “Where do you get your ideas?” There’s no simple answer. My ideas begin from a tiny little start or seed and grow. I call them ‘story starts’ and I have more starts than I do time to see if they will grow into a story or a novel.
My new release, Heart of the Ozarks, has a back story, one easy to share with readers without getting them lost in my tangled family tree branches or confusing them much.
Growing up, my paternal grandparents headed off to the Ozark Mountains, to a lakeside resort on Lake Taneycomo to enjoy the slower pace and the beautiful scenery. Sometimes their favorite grandkid (well, I like to think I was, anyway) got to tag along and skip in the quiet place, big chance from the old neighborhood. So with those memories tucked away in the back of my mind, when I came up with a character from St. Louis who needed a place to go, to heal after a tragedy, I came up with a resort called Lake Dreams. I put Cole – my hero – on the highway and the story began to build momentum, just the way we travel, one mile at a time. Somewhere along the way my past merged with the storyline and a few elements from more recent stays at other resorts crept into the mix too.
Here’s the blurb and a short excerpt plus the amazing book cover, another triumph from cover artist extraordinaire Carl J. Franklin!
Heart of the Ozarks
Contemporary romance/drama Ebook
ISBN: RIP 0001112
Rebel Ink Press $5.99
After St. Louis TV weathercaster Cole Celinksi loses his almost estranged wife and three children in a car crash, his boss orders him to take a leave of absence. Against his will, Cole leaves the city in late May to find the rest and relaxation everyone else thinks he needs. Without anywhere else to go, Cole heads for Lake Dreams, a resort on the quiet side of Lake Taneycomo in the Ozarks he visited each summer as a child with his grandparents. Some of his best memories were made in the lakeside vacation haven with his summer friend, Maggie.
Upon his arrival, Cole learns Maggie now runs the place. Twenty years have passed but from the minute he returns, they reconnect and soon their mutual attraction ignites. He fishes in the lake, takes Maggie to visit some of the places he remembers and begins to find out who he truly is. Before he can heal, he must learn to deal with his loss and to see if he can create a new family with Maggie and her children. It’s a task he’s not sure he can handle but if he wants to be with Maggie, he must. A near tragedy brings them all together into a close knit unit and afterward, Cole may be able to make his dreams reality.
Cole tried to come up with something witty to say back to preserve the moment but instead he noticed the rainbow, vivid and colorful, off to the far right horizon.
“Look, Maggie!” he cried. “Do you see the rainbow? God, it’s pretty.”
“Oh, how beautiful,” she said, looking up into his face. “You know a rainbow is a promise, don’t you?”
Cole lacked words but not emotion. He turned her to hold her in his arms and lowered his mouth close to hers. “So’s this, Maggie.”
He kissed her. Cole tasted her lips, soft velvet, and relished the taste. Her mouth yielded to his without protest and her arms curled around his neck until her wrists rested on his shoulders. He shifted until her body touched his and tightened his embrace. The shared kiss touched off a fuse and Cole swore he felt the fire move through his body as it ignited every nerve. Passion roused within but he tempered it with a care and grace, one shifting lust with tenderness. Cole’s long dormant body revived and revved like a finely tuned race car engine. Maggie’s flesh relaxed against him, gave over to his arms with open surrender. If they stopped, he realized, it would be his call but Cole didn’t want to quit.
His cock swelled as his desire increased and by the time Cole ended the kiss to draw breath, he knew where this would lead and he wanted it. When he paused for air, Maggie’s soft sigh blew warm against the base of his throat and it erased the last of Cole’s inhibitions.
“I like your promise,” Maggie whispered. “Don’t stop Cole.”
“Don’t worry,” he answered in a low voice close to a growl. “I’m not.”
He kissed her again and this time the fire roared to higher levels, no single fuse to smolder but a conflagration, flames so intense they consumed Cole. His skin flared fever hot, sensitive as a severe sunburn. Maggie’s hands on his shoulders burned too and his awareness of their touch increased until he thought he’d nail her there on the porch even if he had to rip away the simple shorts she wore like a wildman