Posts Tagged ‘New Romance’

Can forbidden love blossom amid the constraints of war?

The moment the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, life shifted for Miko Nishimura. Desperate to reach the Portland Assembly Center for Japanese Americans, she’s kicked off the bus miles from town. Every tick of the clock pushes her closer to becoming a fugitive in the land of her birth. Exhausted, she stumbles to her grandparents’ abandoned farm only to find a dying soldier sprawled across the step. Unable to leave him, she forsakes all else to keep him alive.

After crashing his plane in the Battle of the Atlantic, the doctors condemn Captain Rock Laroux to die. Determined to meet his maker beneath a blue sky at his family home, he sneaks out of the hospital. Weary and half out of his mind, he makes it as far as a produce stand he remembers from his youth. Rather than surrender to death, Rock fights a battle of the heart as he falls in love with the beautiful Japanese woman who saves his life.

A poignant, sweet romance, Garden of Her Heart proves love can bloom in unlikely places even under the most challenging circumstances.

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“I thought I heard you calling for me,” Miko said, climbing down a ladder on the far end of the building with an arm full of berry crates.

Rock rushed to help her. By the time he threaded his way through the packed contents of the building, she was already on the floor.

“That’s quite a car,” he said, taking half the berry crates from her and motioning to the convertible.

“Thanks. I bought it when I was still gainfully employed,” she said, walking over to the car. “I fell in love with the color the first time I saw it and started saving my money to buy one. When the weather’s nice, it’s fun to drive with the top down.”

Rock gaped at her. “It’s your car?”

Miko grinned. “Is that a hint of disbelief I hear, Captain? Not only is it my car, but I know how to change the tires, check the oil, and siphon gas out of my dad’s car when my brother, Tommy, borrows it and brings it back empty.”

He laughed, setting down the crates and wiping his hands along his trousers before touching the car. “It is a beaut. What’s this color?”

“Laguna maroon. Papa calls it the luna moon mobile, but I still think it’s one of the prettiest colors out there.” Miko opened the driver’s side door and motioned for Rock to climb in.

He sank into the leather seat and inhaled the aroma as if it was the most expensive perfume.

“Like it?” Miko asked, bending down to better see his reaction to the car.

“You bet!” He settled his hands on the steering wheel, forcing his injured fingers to curl around the wheel.

“If you like the outside of the car, you’ll probably be more impressed by the eight cylinders under the hood.” Miko released the hood latch and Rock slid out to study the engine.

He whistled and smirked at Miko. “What’s a girl like you doing with a car like this?”

“Anything I want,” she said with a sassy grin. “At least it used to be that way.”

Rock sobered and closed the hood, using the hem of his T-shirt to wipe away the smudges made by his fingerprints.

“I didn’t realize you had cars here. I was trying to figure out how to catch a ride on the bus into Portland.”

“By all means, drive one of the cars wherever you need to go.” She pointed to her grandparents’ sedan. “Papa and Mother must have sold their car or it would be here, too. Granddad wouldn’t care if you take his.” She cast a taunting look his way. “Or, if you think you can handle it, you’re welcome to drive mine.”

His raised an eyebrow at her dare as he lifted the berry baskets and followed her out the door. “Is that an invitation or a challenge?”

“Maybe both.” She turned and sauntered away, casting a flirty smile at him over her shoulder.





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Bertie Cover

Today, I thought it might be fun to share the process of creating Bertie’s cover.

Last spring, I was at my niece’s place and snapped a bunch of photos of her sweet hubby, their dogs, cows, and horses.

Then I landed upon the idea for Amanda to pose for a few potential covers for me.

So we walked out to a pasture and I started taking photos.

When I decided to write Bertie’s story, I knew this one would work perfectly.


It just needed a little tweaking. So I removed part of the fence, added more grass, and of course the bright orange irrigation dam had to disappear. I also brightened the color, just a tad.

I also gave Amanda blond hair.

I liked the color and pattern of Amanda’s shirt, so I used it as the basis for Bertie’s dress.

Bertie Cover photo

I found an online photo of a period-appropriate dress I liked and worked it into the cover, then added a wide sash to tie the shirt and skirt together. You’ll notice a mule I added in this photo, but decided it looked more like a donkey.

daisy bouquet

And I ended up using this bouquet of daisies. The others looked a little too straggly.


RileyThis is Riley.

muleAnd Steve the mule. (You’ll really like meeting him!)

title box

I added a pretty title box with Bertie’s name… and there we have it!

Bertie CoverI can’t wait to share Bertie with you April 7!

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I’ve probably mentioned it before, but when I’m writing, I like to find a song that makes me think of the characters, and then I play it on a loop.

For some crazy reason, it helps me keep focused on the story and creates the perfect background noise for my writing.

Sometimes the songs are upbeat, sometimes slow ballads. When I was writing Learnin’ the Ropes, I listened to an entire soundtrack of rockin’ hits from the big hair bands of the 80s.

With Lacy, I’m not sure why, but She Don’t Love You by Eric Paslay just spoke to me. I think it’s because Grant has had his heart hurt by women who didn’t love him for himself… they wanted the wealth and social prestige he could provide. At the very beginning of the book, Grant makes it known he wants to find a woman who can love him for him.

Lacy hasn’t loved and lost, but she feels alone and lonely.

Listen to the words of this beautiful song and picture Lacy and Grant finding each other and falling in love…

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The other day, on a whim, I decided to play around with the book cover of Love at the 20-Yard Line.

Why would I do that, you ask? (Or not, but I’m gonna share anyway!)

Reason number 1 – I felt like it needed… something

Reason number 2 – The book is part of something super cool and terribly exciting I’m going to share with you tomorrow!

This isn’t the first, or even second time I’ve tweaked the cover.

Love at the 20 Yard Line Cover

This was the first cover. One of my friends offered up her husband to pose with his long fingers holding the ball (thanks, Mike!). Yet, when I saw the cover in the online retail outlets, it was too green and I just didn’t like the way it looked.

Love at the 20-Yard Line

So I toned down the green, ditched the hand holding the ball and added a teaser to the cover.

Hmm. Better, but something still wasn’t quite right.

The other day, I played around with backgrounds and colors and found a photo of a hunky football model – and suddenly everything fell into place.

I think I even heard someone squealing with joy when I finished this. (Oh, wait, that was me!)

Love at the 20-Yard Line Cover 01-15

What do you think? Do you like the new cover?

For those unfamiliar with the book, here’s a little info:

Haven Haggarty is woefully inept when it comes to men and matters of the heart. Successful in her job as an image consultant with an up-and-coming company, she wishes she could enjoy as much triumph in her dating efforts. When she falls hard for a handsome wide receiver, Haven realizes she needs to tackle her fears or miss the opportunity to experience once-in-a-lifetime love.

Brody Jackson lives and breathes football. As a wide receiver for a popular arena team, he’s determined to make it back to the NFL. Cocky and confident, he doesn’t have the time or energy to be bothered with a serious relationship until he’s blindsided by a sweet, naive girl who breaks through his defenses. He has to decide if he’ll let go of his dreams or fumble his chance to win Haven’s heart.

Kindle    Amazon      Barnes and Noble   Apple   Kobo   Smashwords

You can also find some fun extras about the book on Pinterest. Or check out the character sheets and meet Brody and Haven.


“Now, how about these sweaters you wear? The only time I’ve seen you dressed in something else was the day we went to lunch. You had on a business suit that day.”

“I like sweaters. They’re soft and warm and pretty.” Haven had no idea why Brody wanted to discuss her wardrobe selections. It certainly wasn’t what she wanted to do.

Pressing her lips to his and seeing if they tingled like they did the first time he kissed her seemed like a much better idea.

“Pretty,” Brody repeated, fascinated by the way her lips moved. Most of the girls he’d dated in the past wouldn’t have been caught dead dressed in the modest attire Haven favored. On her, though, the soft, feminine clothes were definitely appealing.

He turned his gaze to her hair. His next objective was to remove the hair band binding the golden mane at the back of her head. He’d dreamed of what her hair would look like down, how it would feel with his hands buried in the curls, and he wasn’t leaving until he found out.

“What about your hair? How come you’ve always got it pulled back?”

She reached a hand up to her hair, uncertain how she’d styled it before leaving for the game. When she felt the hair band holding it in a ponytail, she tugged it out and stared at it lying on her palm.

“Old habit from growing up on a farm. Hair tends to get in the way when you’re outside working. At work, I like to keep a professional image with it up, and I pull it into a ponytail at home most times without thinking.”

Brody took the band from her hand and dropped it on the table next to her glasses. Slowly, he threaded his fingers into her hair. It felt even better than he’d imagined and he drew closer, taking a deep breath, inhaling the sweet scent of it. When she leaned into his hand, he swallowed back a groan.

On the verge of devouring her with his growing longing, Brody gave himself a mental lecture to calm down and take things slow. He didn’t want to scare Haven half to death the first time he really kissed her.

“Any more questions?” Haven smiled at Brody as he worked his hands through to the ends of her hair then wrapped a curl around one long finger.

The appearance of her dimples was his undoing. Gently spanning her waist with his hands, he slid her closer then pressed his lips to each indentation in her cheeks before turning his passionate gaze to hers.

“No more questions. I think we should seal this deal with a kiss.” He watched Haven’s eyes drift shut.

Brody knew kissing her would be amazing. What he hadn’t anticipated was the explosion of fiery heat in every nerve ending in his body. Her lips moving beneath his set him aflame with no hope of extinguishing the blaze.

In the next few seconds, Brody realized two important details. The first was that Haven touched places in his heart and soul he never even knew existed. The second was that he’d never, in his lifetime, get enough of her kisses.

“Haven,” he whispered. His gravelly tone made a shiver rack through her with such force he could feel it. He deepened the kiss and folded her closer in his embrace, discovering a perfect moment of pure happiness.

Out of breath and out of her mind, Haven knew she should jump off Brody’s lap and show him to the door. She knew any more of his kisses would render her helpless and hopeless.

Despite what she knew, she couldn’t force her languid limbs to move any more than she could force herself to focus on anything except how right it felt to be held in Brody’s strong arms.


Since this song makes me think of the book, I thought I’d share it today, too!

And I may have added a surprise at the end of the book. If you’ve already read it in digital format, you should be able to upload the updated version from the retail outlet where you purchased it. Or you can send me your email address and I’ll share the surprise with you! 🙂


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