Hi. Thanks for having me.
Q: What do you get when you cross a snowman and a vampire?
Very small laugh? I was so excited to see Word Wranglers on my blog tour (set up through Buy the Book Tours—and I’m so happy I used them, by the way!). After all, I know some of the Wranglers, and I’ve been here before as Piper Denna, taking book pitches. But then reality set in. This is my first stop on a long tour…what the heck am I going to talk about in all these guest posts? I mean, the object is to drum up interest for my newest release, Trouble Won’t Wait. It’s contemporary romance, with a host of fun secondary characters, and the story happens between Thanksgiving and New Years. So it’s not like I don’t have material to draw from. My publisher (Renee Rocco at Lyrical Press) has been giving our authors a little tutorial in self-promotion, and she told us during the months leading up to her first book release, she hung out everywhere with vampire fans, and talked about…vampires. It worked—her book was a hit.
So today I asked her whether she thought I’d sell lots of books if I talked about vampires on this blog tour. I got a “maybe” in response, which I think was code for smart@$$.
Anyway… One of my favorite secondary characters in Trouble Won’t Wait is Mark, the heroine Mandy’s big brother. And by big, I mean…he’s really huge. A very large guy who is so self-conscious about his size he fears people will assume he’s big and dumb. He even wears glasses with the lowest prescription made, because he thinks they make him look smarter. And what Mark would do in an uncertain situation—well, in any situation actually—is tell a joke (Though his jokes are often not PC. He tells Mandy a pretty good one in the book when he’s hoping to cheer her up). And since I’ve been “in Mark’s head” a lot lately, working on writing the romance between him and his Southern belle of a wife, I had a WWMD? (what would Mark do?) moment.
So you got the cheesy snowman and vampire joke. Most of the Word Wranglers would understand my angst in coming up with something relevant and interesting as well as related to my book to blog about…
Have you ever agreed to something you didn’t especially want to do, mainly to postpone something you absolutely didn’t want to do?
When Trouble Won’t Wait opens, Mandy has a big problem on her hands: she caught her husband of thirteen years cheating the night before. So now, Thanksgiving Day, she’s trying to decide how to handle it. Ultimately, she agrees to a month of marriage counseling, not because she thinks she’ll forgive him, but to put off the divorce until after the holidays. Which sounds like pretty deep, dark territory. But throw in a nutty old aunt, a bossy brother, a kooky counselor, and hunky Adam down the street, who boosts Mandy’s self-confidence during her darkest moments, and her story is more fun than forlorn. She does walk a fine line, though, determined she won’t abandon her vows like her husband did. And she’s never quite sure whether Adam is trustworthy or not—he’s so secretive about everything. So basically, she’s got Trouble on every front.
Here’s hoping if you read Mandy’s story, you’ll temporarily forget about your own holiday troubles (like, did the holiday season grow by another month this year? Feels like we’ve been Christmasblitzed since early November!). Thanks for having me, and I apologize for the goofy joke. :)
Autumnpiper.com Twitter: @AutumnPiperAuth
Trouble Won’t Wait: http://amzn.to/UvfJBb
Good things may come to those who wait, but trouble waits for no one…
Cheating is a dealbreaker...or so Mandy’s always thought. But when she catches her husband getting some “strange,” she realizes how hard it is to cut and run, or even file papers. She agrees to a month of counseling, which will give her time to grieve the loss of her marriage before she has to tell the world—and the kids. Then she meets Adam, who gives her a hunky--if mysterious--shoulder to cry on, and that thirty-day waiting period seems like an eternity.
Adam has no problem confessing that he’s watched Mandy from his window for months as she runs by his house. If he told her why, though, she’d freak out for sure. He knows they’ve got a future together, if he can think of a way to explain his past. And he’s sure the rat-bastard who cheated on her is putting the moves on her again, but he won’t be the revenge guy. The month-long cooling off period she agreed to is lasting forever, and might just be indefinite, if trouble keeps getting in their way.
WARNING: Eccentric old lady pushing salt-of-the-earth advice, bossy big brother, kooky counselor, super-secretive hunk, and perfect justice served amidst adult situations and language.
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I doubt Baldwin understands my resolve, so I explain. “I’m only here because I’m stalling Mike until after the holidays to separate.” Or was Mike stalling me? I’m not sure anymore. “I have no intention of ever sleeping with him again, and I want a divorce.” That should be clear enough.
His bushy brows shoot up. I’ve piqued the wanta-be therapist’s interest. “Why do you feel that way?”
God, could it be more simple? “He had sex with a woman we know, while I was in the same house! Anybody, even one of the kids, could have walked in on it! It makes me sick to think of him touching me.”
“Do you still love him?”
Jesus, did Mike put him up to asking that? “It doesn’t matter. I can’t forgive him for what he did. I’ll never forget what I saw, it comes to me at all hours of the day and night.”
“So you do still love him, but you’re angry, possibly jealous of his having another partner without your consent.”
Without my consent. This guy probably advocates swapping and threesomes, all the fun and games, as long as both spouses consent. I snap my gawping mouth shut. Good ole Baldwin looks me straight in the eye.
“What if you were to have an encounter with an outside partner, to even the score?”
Is it the smoke from the candles or his suggestion making me choke? “You mean like a revenge affair?”
Stampeding thoughts of Adam shred my calm like buffalo through prairie turf. I feel flushed.
* * * *
As I clomp past Adam’s back fence, a very wet snowball clobbers the back of my head. I react in time to see a second tightly-packed missile heading at my chest, and move aside without a moment to spare. Adam thinks he has an advantage hiding behind his fence, but he doesn’t expect me to charge straight for him and run through the gate so he can face me like a man. In his yard, we wage silent war for several minutes. The only audible evidence of the battle is the splatting of snowballs exploding on impact, and an occasional grunt as we bend our old bodies over to form our weapons.
I’ve been stockpiling mine, awaiting opportunity. Which just arrived. He’s bent over, packing and rounding a huge ball. He must think there’s some Snowball Fight Code of Ethics, and I won’t attack if he’s unarmed.
He’s sadly mistaken. I launch my stash in quick succession, until his entire backside is white. He waves his snow-whitened glove in the air, begging, “Truce, truce!”
“You started it, troublemaker!” I cautiously approach, making sure he’s going to abide by his truce and it’s not an ambush.
His cheeks are pink and his eyes are bright. “I see the wheels turning, tell me what you’re thinking,” he prods softly.
“How lucky I am that I met you at just the right time.”
“You’re tryin’ to kill me, aren’t you?”
It makes me giggle, while he hugs me hard against him. With all our outerwear, it’s more of a big squeeze than a hug. It’s time for me to go, and as I back out the gate, Adam says, “I’m crazy for you, remember.”
I answer with, “Me, too. Bonkers. Nutso.” I turn and run.
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I write contemporary romance with a high heat index to match their American southwest settings. Known by my writing buddies as "Angst", I have a penchant for making my characters suffer. My stories may be tributes to the old saying, "No pain, no gain", but my Hero and Heroine always get the happily-ever-after they so deserve.
I love sunny days, hot bread, the ocean, and that fluttery feeling I get inside at the first spark of a great romance. In between being a wife, mom of two teens, editor and writer, I like to read, garden, take morning walks, and make people laugh--probably succeed here when I try to jog.
For me, an excellent book has characters I can sympathize with or hate (sometimes both at once), a story I simply must see through to the end, and realistic dialogue. Give me those key elements, and I'll read any genre or time period, any author.