Today I have the tremendous pleasure of welcoming multi-published author Myra Nour to my ehome. What a treat. One of my very first loves in story telling was science fiction, but of course it must have romance and Myra’s got it all. Plus, today she’s sharing advice for new authors. Love it. Thank you, Myra. Don’t miss the blurb for Heart of the Dragon below and of course all Myra’s links above. Click on her pretty cover to add Heart of the Dragon to your Goodreads list.
Advice to New Authors
There are many things you can do as a new author to help your first book become more successful. The first thing is to make a website, and as nice as you can or that you can afford to pay to get done. Setting up a blog is a good way to gain readers attention and build a fan base. Of course you post information on your books, but you can draw more readers by also hosting other authors with interviews, reviews, and posts.
Promoting your book is very important. While I was rambling in a bookstore recently, I looked around at the rows upon rows of books and thought “how does an author get noticed”? It is tough unless you are well-known. Then of course there are other avenues like the web where it seems tons of books are for sale.
Promoting your work not only brings you to the attention of new readers, but it gives you name recognition. One reader will pass onto their friend that if they are looking for an interesting paranormal to try so and so. Word of mouth is one of the best promotional tools for authors. Join groups to share your excerpts and author news.
That brings us to reviews. The word will spread when your reviews start rolling in, so pursue those reviews! If you are not independently published, your publisher will usually send out your books to certain sites for a review. This doesn’t mean you cannot try to gain more reviews yourself; you can. Get the list of sites from you publisher so you aren’t hitting up sites that already have your book.
Indie authors have to find review sites to send their work to, and Net galley is a place you can register your book to be reviewed. http://www.netgalley.com/. Another good way to get reviews is to take a virtual tour. The hosts will give you reviews, interviews, guest posts, excerpts, and do a giveaway. It depends on what each hosts wants as to what you receive from your visit to their site. This can bring a lot of new readers in to view your work.
Some authors create their own tours, while many do not have the knowledge or time to do so. Virtual tours can be purchased from companies who conduct a tour for you – from finding the hosts to letting you know what each hosts wants.
These are just a few promotional tips. You have to “make a presence” on the internet for yourself and your books.
Can Eric, a tough, handsome Green Beret from Earth, convince Kasha, the stubborn warrior princess of Volarn, that he loves her? Not before they experience adventure in the haunted wastelands, discover a baby dragon, and explore the hot, sensual side of their relationship.
Travel back to Volarn for more magical romance and new adventure with King Rhamus’s sister, Kasha, and Olga’s brother, Eric. If you loved Love’s Captive, be enchanted with Volarn Chronicles Book Two. Find out what secret makes Kasha run from love. Follow the characters’ fox and hound game of love, as each pushes the other to their limits, climaxing in a daring rescue that changes everything. Be warned, this book is filled with humor and love that knows no bounds. And an adorable, goofy dragon that will win your heart, so that you will be asking “How do I adopt a dragon of my own!”
I have a treat for you today. Char Chaffin is here with her latest release, Unsafe Haven. I was so excited I told Char to talk about anything, turned out to be a smart move on my part. I have all her details up top, below you’ll also find the blurb, excerpt, and trailer for Unsafe Haven, plus her bio AND she’s giving away one ecopy of Unsafe Haven to one lucky commenter. Take it away, Char.
Hi, everyone! I’m Char Chaffin, displaced Alaskan, writer/editor, and romance hound. I’m thrilled to be chatting with SJ today on her fab blog.
When I asked SJ what sort of blog she preferred, she gave me leave to write about anything. I should have told her that’s a dangerous thing to do, give me “leave” without any guidelines. Heaven only knows what my brain would come up with and then force my fingers to type!
Tell you what: since you don’t know me very well, I’ll go easy on you. But after we’ve had a few ‘dates,’ then look out. ☺
As I mentioned, I’m a displaced Alaskan. Wasn’t born there, but adopted Alaska when my hubby moved our family north in 1988 and we ended up living in Fairbanks for sixteen years. We’re now in Upstate New York on a farm, and we enjoy every acre. But boy, do we miss Alaska.
Of all the states in the Union—and all of them are beautiful—Alaska has that fascinating edge to it. Two and a half times as large as Texas, and with less than a million residents statewide, immediately you understand there are enormous regions in Alaska where people just can’t go. That’s because mountains, rough terrain, miles and miles of tundra, and bodies of water keep getting in the way of civilization. It costs a lot of money to build a road over those mountains and across that spongy tundra, even if the State of Alaska would allow it in the first place. Wisely, they choose to Just Say No. As a result, there are roads and some expressways around cities like Anchorage, Fairbanks, and all the smaller bergs in between, but you can’t drive out of places like Juneau and Sitka. Of course, those places are so beautiful, why would you ever want to leave? ☺
Alaska’s roads often head on out of the city and then just stop. It’s a nifty feeling, knowing you can only drive so many miles before you have to turn around and retrace yourself, and not because you’ve suddenly reached the ocean. ☺ The more remote areas are especially road-starved, such as Southwest Alaska, the setting for my latest release Unsafe Haven. Southwest has so many lakes, rivers and rough/impassable terrain, the population remains very low even by Alaskan standards. Tiny, predominantly Native Alaskan villages, often without electricity or plumbing, dot this dangerously gorgeous region of the Last Frontier. It’s the perfect place to hide, as my heroine, Kendall, finds out.
I created the fictional village of Staamat as a haven for the abused Kendall, on the run from her sociopath ex-fiancé. These villages are fly-in only, and the bush planes that service the villages are flown by rugged, experienced pilots who often risk their lives to provide the small clusters of villagers everything from food and medical supplies to something as whimsical as a prom dress or a wedding cake. If you’ve ever seen the cable show Flying Wild Alaska, then you know what I mean. I have a lot of respect for the Tweeto family, who run their bush plane service in some of the most forbidding weather and terrain I’ve ever seen.
So, now you have a woman on the run, the wild, remote region she runs to, and the creep she got away from. She finds sanctuary in Staamat, and a chance at not only a new life but a new love: my strong, patient, endlessly charming and dedicated hero, Denn. He’s Stammat’s only law enforcement, has a young sister with health problems that he’s devoted to, and from the moment he sets eyes on Kendall, he wants to cherish and protect her. But Kendall’s got a lot of baggage and she’s very gun-shy. Then again, Denn is so very patient with her.
So far, so good, right? My H/H seem meant to be together, once Kendall lets Denn into her heart and her place in Staamat catches a firm hold. But, you know, in a love story there are always snafus. And even in remote Alaska, danger is only one jealous woman away. ☺
I had a wonderful time writing Unsafe Haven. I got to infuse it with so many things I love best about our forty-ninth state: the endless, yet short, summers. The lovely mountain ranges, snow-capped behemoths that nestle in the distance surrounded by rolling tundra. A town moose named Molly, mosquitoes large enough to carry off a small dog; twisted, surprisingly elegant looking black spruce trees, trading posts and gravel roads, Alaskana and totems. A life so far removed from what any of us are used to, and yet so achingly familiar when you take into consideration family and life goals. This book brought on its own share of happy memories and poignant moments from my time there that often resulted in the sting of tears as I wrote.
As I await my release date for Unsafe Haven, (Wednesday, Sept. 5, YAYYY!!), I keep myself busy by trying to eke out time to write on novel number three, in between acquiring submissions for Soul Mate Publishing, and editing several contracted manuscripts due for release in the next six months. Editing is time-consuming and detailed and has its own special reward.
These days I’m often asked what advice I would give the newbie writer just starting out. The best advice I can give is really the simplest: never stop writing and never give up! Write every single day even if it’s only a few pages. Read every day, too. Each time you pick something up and read it, you’re strengthening the writer in you.
Learn to accept a few realities:
You’re not a perfect writer. In fact, I don’t think there is such an animal. Get help and support from other writers. They know things you haven’t a clue about and they’re happy to share that knowledge.
Learn how to be humble. Your talent will take you places but not if you go around thinking, “I’m so great.” Believe me, you’re not. You will be, someday. But right now? Nope. You still have too much to learn.
The writing biz is one of the most competitive and toughest out there. But agents and editors are on the lookout for new books all the time, so be aggressive and smart and savvy. Most of all, be available. And always, always LISTEN.
Join the right organization to help you learn how to grow as a writer. Whatever you write, there’s an organization that can support you. Take advantage of what these groups have to offer. Attend meetings, conferences, workshops. Soak it all in, and then retain what you’ve absorbed.
Promote yourself! Don’t wait for others to do it. Set up a marketing plan, a blog, a Facebook fan page. Get your identity out there before you even finish a book. And let your family and friends know what you’re doing so they can talk you up to their friends, which will result in a chain reaction of people knowing you’re writing a book. And remember: if you think letting friends and family in on your writing goals is a shameful or embarrassing thing, then why do you want to write in the first place? Be proud of your goals and desires. Don’t hide it under a bushel.
Say, ‘Thanks,’ when something good happens to you. Thank the people in your life who helped you attain your victory, because you didn’t do it by yourself.
You’re a WRITER. Start calling yourself one. It doesn’t matter if you’re not yet published. When someone asks you what you do, tell them you are a writer. I’d lay money you’ll get asked about your writing because people are often fascinated by the idea that someone’s a writer. When they ask, tell them what you’re doing and don’t feel shy about saying you’re seeking publication. For all you know, they have a cousin who’s an agent for Kensington or Harlequin who just happens to be acquiring what you happen to write. But you’ll never know unless you let others know.
Thanks to SJ for hosting me today, and for all of her readers who stopped by. My second novel, Unsafe Haven, will be available on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at Soul Mate Publishing, and then at Amazon and Barnes & Noble by the end of the week.
For Kendall Martin, a small, remote village in Southwest Alaska seems like a good place to start over. On the run from an abusive relationship, she leaves everything familiar behind and begins a new life as owner of a small souvenir and sportsman trading post in picturesque Staamat.
Denn Nulo knows everyone in town: he’s the Chief of Police in Staamat. He’s lived there all his life, except for his college years, spent in Anchorage. Originally planning on practicing criminal law and living in Anchorage permanently, Denn is forced to change his plans when he receives word that his widowed mother has passed away, leaving his young sister, Luna, alone. Denn comes back to Staamat to care for Luna.
When Kendall meets Denn, she begins to believe there are truly good men in the world. Denn is everything she wants: strong, loving, dedicated to family, protective. . .and patient. There is instant attraction between them, but Kendall is leery of men, and Denn craves a serious relationship that includes marriage and children. Their courtship is a conflicting mix of hesitancy and passion, with Luna, desperately needing a mother figure in her life, cheering them on.
As Kendall learns how to trust again and her romance with Denn grows more intense, a local woman who’s had her eye on Denn for years releases a torrent of damaging jealousy. . .and the nightmare from Kendall’s past discovers where she’s hidden herself.
Denn parked in front of the Four Hills and swung out of the high cab, then slipped his hat on. Though he wouldn’t spend much of the day in the office and Stevie was covering for him there, Denn stayed armed and in uniform. He stepped up to the porch just as Kendall opened the door. She froze in the doorway, stared at him, then blushed.
Damn, she’s cute.
He sent her a delighted grin but his voice remained sedate. “Morning, Kendall. You ready to go?”
She frowned at him. “Go where?”
His grin got wider. “Wherever you need to go. Out to the Post, over to New Mina. Wherever. I’m your taxi today.” He gestured toward the truck.
Her eyes rounded in surprise. “But I—you need—what about your Suburban? Isn’t it still being fixed?”
He reached around her and shut the front door, careful not to spook her. “I told you, the truck is yours. I’ll have mine back later on today. Stevie’s covering the station and the citizens of Staamat can survive without me for a while. Where do you want to go?”
Unsmiling, she eyed him. “I don’t like being railroaded, Denn.” He noticed one of her hands opened and closed into a fist. Nerves, tension. Poor girl, she probably had both. He tilted his head as he studied her. What made you so damned mistrustful, Kendall? Was it a man?
He had an awful suspicion she’d escaped from an abusive relationship, though he had no proof whatsoever. He wanted to ask her but feared alarming her any further.
Maybe someday she’d trust him enough to tell him her story. For now, he caught her hand and dropped the keys into her palm, then closed her fingers around them. “Turn left out of Puffin Circle to Singleton, then stay on Singleton for seven miles. Bear right at the entrance to the zinc mine, drive two more miles. You’ll end up in downtown New Mina. There’s a grocery store on Main. They’ll have whatever you need and they won’t bankrupt you. Balto General is two doors down from there and they sell everything from furniture to grass seed. What they don’t have in stock, they can order.” He stepped back, tipped his hat to her, and started toward the sidewalk.
“Wait. What if I get lost?” Panic spiked her voice. She rushed off the porch and took the steps in one bound, landing on the sidewalk next to him.
Denn struggled to keep the satisfied smile off his face as he turned to her. “Oh, you won’t get lost. Just watch out for moose.”
“Sure. They’re everywhere. Sometimes they stand in the middle of the road. Don’t worry, just honk the horn and they’ll eventually move. I wouldn’t roll down the windows, though.” He rubbed his chin in a thoughtful manner.
“What happens if you roll down the windows?”
“Oh, they’ll poke their noses in and sometimes they—well, that won’t happen to you.” He’d go straight to hell for messing with her head, but he couldn’t help himself.
“Sometimes they what?” Now she gripped his jacket sleeve with white-knuckled fingers.
He couldn’t stay serious one more second and barked out a laugh. “I’m pulling your leg, Kendall. Honest. There are moose but they won’t come up to the car and usually they move pretty fast if they’re in the road. You don’t have anything to worry about.”
She released his sleeve with a pent-up breath. “That was a mean thing to do, Chief Nulo.” But a smile curved her lips and her eyes had brightened.
He had to fight the impulse to sweep her into his arms and cuddle her. Instead he merely replied, “Yes, it was. So, you want to drive or should I?”
She dropped the keys into his hand. “You drive. I’ll look at the scenery.”
* * *
From the window in the front parlor, Wendy Chang clutched the lace curtain in tense fingers as she watched Denn drive away. She’d thought he would come in as he usually did and chat with her before she started her morning housekeeping. She looked forward to having him to herself a few times a week, even though he never stayed more than fifteen or twenty minutes. It was better than nothing.
Instead, he took off with her newest paying guest. Wendy tossed the curtain aside, scowling at the wrinkle she’d made in the delicate lace.
She poured a second cup of coffee, then stood in the middle of the kitchen and sipped it as she pondered the changes she could already sense in her relationship with Denn. She’d been in love with him for years, ever since he returned home from Anchorage. Back then she’d been so confident she’d get him, so sure of herself and her ability to attract him. But from the beginning he’d treated her as a friend, nothing more.
God, he was gorgeous. She’d never known another man who melted her into a puddle the way Denn could. Those glowing, dark-gold eyes. Those full, luscious lips. She’d look at his mouth and imagine what his kiss might taste like. She’d daydream about the breadth of his shoulders and the strength in his arms. He’d never given her a single reason to think he might see her as a woman instead of a buddy. She hated it, but she’d made a vow to herself that one day Denn Nulo would fall for her. It was just a matter of time. In a small town like Staamat she didn’t have to worry about competition, and Denn never showed interest in anyone else.
Until Kendall Martin showed up.
Wendy prided herself on being levelheaded and sensible, yet aggressive enough to attain the things in life she wanted the most. Her determination and business acumen kept the Four Hills afloat even in an unstable economic environment. She went after her desires and never apologized for being tough.
Perhaps she ought to apply those same methods to snaring Denn. Maybe she’d let things slide for too long. After all, she’d never told him of her love. How could he act on something he knew nothing about?
After she took her empty cup to the sink and rinsed it out, she wandered into the powder room off the kitchen and stared at herself in the mirror. Great eyes, a nice smile. She’d always considered herself pretty.
She’d worn her short, black hair spiky for years, preferring the style with her angular, narrow face. Easy to care for, but hardly feminine. Picturing Kendall’s long, golden brown curls, Wendy grimaced.
Without giving herself time to think about it, she flicked on the faucet, scooped water into her palms, and sluiced it over her hair, rinsing out the stiffening gel. She rinsed it again and again until her hair was limp and plastered to her cheeks. The minuscule amount of eye makeup she’d carefully applied a few hours ago had also washed away.
A change to her looks and style would soften her edges, make Denn notice her. She had nothing against Kendall Martin, but neither would she give up her man so easily. She smiled at her reflection. Denn would see her differently.
* * *
Denn glanced at Kendall for about the tenth time and sniggered. She glared at him.
“It wasn’t funny.” She crossed her arms and pouted. If she’d been standing instead of riding in a truck, she’d have stomped her foot along with the pout.
“It was freaking hilarious, admit it.” He slowed down to swerve around a jagged pothole.
Her lips wanted to quiver into a smile. She wouldn’t allow it, damn it.
A few minutes ago, the impossible—well, impossible in her experience—happened. A moose lumbered onto the narrow gravel road, on her side of the truck, and stood there, as obstinate as any mule. Muttering something to the effect that someone else might come along and not bother to swerve out of its way, Denn slowed down and honked the horn. The animal wouldn’t budge, and just stared at them with those huge eyes and preposterously long eyelashes.
Caught between fear and fascination for the enormous beast, she’d gaped at it. She hadn’t realized she’d pressed her face to the passenger window until she saw the moose do the same on the other side of the glass. The immense creature had moved right up to the truck and nosed the window. As he choked from laughing so hard, Denn commented that from his angle it looked as if they were trying to kiss.
“That moose could have yanked me right out through the window, you know.” Of course it couldn’t, but it was the principle of the thing.
“Yes, I can see it now. The moose would use the button on the outside of the window, roll that sucker down and just reach in and grab you,” Denn replied, straight-faced.
“Don’t make fun of me.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it.” He slowed again and signaled, then turned onto another gravel road. “Actually, it’s probably a town moose.” He jerked his chin toward the smattering of cabins on either side of the road.
“There are town moose? Where do they live?” As soon as she said it, she realized how idiotic she sounded.
Denn loosed a strangled garble as he pointed to a cluster of buildings on the left. “North Star Apartments. They offer free HBO.”
“Shut up.” She was enjoying herself despite having her dignity stomped on. The realization rather stunned her. Still, she stuck her nose in the air. “At least I didn’t roll down the damned window and call here, moosie moosie.”
“To my everlasting relief.” He eased onto a narrow street cluttered with assorted four-wheelers, a few trucks, and dirt bikes. “Start looking for a parking spot.”
With interest, she stared out the window. After Denn’s talk of what was available here, she’d expected a town twice the size of Staamat. However, New Mina wasn’t much bigger, and certainly not as attractive. She noticed very few trees and more dust. But the downtown area seemed busy enough, if the packed wooden sidewalks were anything to go by.
“There’re a lot of people walking around.”
“Everyone comes to town in the spring and loads up on supplies.” Denn scanned the street for a place to park.
A burly man in thick rubber boots loaded bags of feed into a small trailer he pulled behind his four-wheeler. His tangled beard hit him at about mid-chest. “Is that a sourdough?” She pointed toward him.
“Definitely. He comes into town when he runs out of food for his team.” At her raised eyebrows, he said, “He’s a musher. Runs a dog team in the races. Iditarod, Yukon Quest, some of the local races. You want to meet him?”
Before she could demur, he’d shifted into park, climbed from the truck, and strode around to her door, then opened it and helped her out. “Come on. Bear’s a real character.” He caught her by the hand and led her across the street. “Yo, Bear!”
The man’s head came up, his face wearing a fierce frown, which lightened into a surprisingly attractive smile when he spotted them. “Well, I’ll be go to hell. Hey, Nulo!” He boldly looked Kendall over. “What’s that ya got attached to ya, there? New girly?” He sent her a wink lusty enough to heat her face from chin to hairline.
“As a matter of fact, yeah.” Denn shocked her when he curled an arm around her waist and anchored her to his side. She gaped at him and he put a finger on her chin to push it up until her teeth clacked together. “She’s kind of shy, aren’t you, baby?”
Baby? Her eyes fired and she raised her hand to push at him, but he caught her fingers and pressed a kiss on them. “Meet Kendall. She’s spoken for.” He avoided the elbow she tried to grind into his ribs, and clasped her tighter. “Honey, this is Jim Bernard, otherwise known as ‘Bear.’ He’s even shyer than you.”
While Bear snorted, Denn gave her a squeeze, and the protest died on her lips when she caught his subtle headshake. Something must be going on. Whatever it was, she’d find out. For now, she might as well play along.
“It’s nice to meet you.” She couldn’t help but notice the way Bear’s dark eyes glowed when she offered him a smile and her hand to shake. “Why do they call you ‘Bear’?”
He let loose a guffaw that made his beard tremble and cradled her hand in both of his. “Because I got paws like a bear, honey-pie.”
His grip felt odd. When she glanced at his hands, she gasped. The tip of every finger was gone. “Oh my God.”
“Wasn’t God, sweetheart. Was my own stupidity.” He patted her hand as he held it. “I came here from West Virginia, thought I knew all about winter survival. Spent my first summer building my cabin and my first winter getting drunk and climbing Little Staamat. Got trapped during a climb and wasn’t wearing decent gloves. Three days later they found me.”
He winked at her, and she was struck by how good-looking he might be without all the facial hair. “I got enough left to hang onto my sled leads, and that’s the main thing, honey-pie. But frostbite ain’t nothing to mess around with, best remember.”
He released her hand, slapped Denn on the back. “She’s a pretty little thing, ya lucky bastard. Don’t let her go, or else I’ll come steal her away.” With a nod to both of them, he climbed onto his four-wheeler and gunned the engine, roaring away with a wave.
She whirled on Denn. “What was all that about? Why pretend we’re a couple?”
“Bear lives his life by a different set of rules. He came up here in the first place because he was in trouble with the law. He’d brought a girl with him against her will.”
At her swift intake of breath, Denn nodded. “True story. They’d dated for a while and Bear wanted more than she was willing to give. She broke it off but he wasn’t ready to call it quits, so he dragged her up here with him after she slapped a restraining order on him.”
“Good Lord, what happened?”
“Oh, she got away from him and came to town. Told everyone what he’d done. Troopers went out to the cabin to arrest Bear, but she ended up not pressing charges, and they sent her back to West Virginia. They let Bear off with a warning. There wasn’t much else they could do. But Bear still won’t take no for an answer when he sees a girl he wants. He’s pulled the same stunt twice more, once on a local girl and once when he was up in Fairbanks, nosing around. And sooner or later he’d have come into The Post and caught a glimpse of you.” Denn shrugged as he opened her door and retrieved her purse, while she stood there and tried to process what he’d told her.
As he ushered her down the sidewalk, he added, “Bear won’t poach, though. If he meets a girl and she’s spoken for, he leaves her alone. You’re not in the Lower Forty-Eight any longer, Kendall.” He squeezed her elbow as if to emphasize his warning. “Some places in the Last Frontier have rules of their own, which is often why people move up here.”
“Are you saying not everyone I meet will be a safe bet?” For heaven’s sake, she wasn’t a two-year-old. She wrenched her arm away but he caught hold of her again and brought her closer.
He spoke in her ear. “I’m saying not everyone you meet is a nice guy. I’m saying a lot of folks around here have their own agendas.” He guided her toward a compact café wedged between two rustic wood cabins. “Let’s get some lunch before I take you shopping. Betty’s Place has the best burgers in Alaska. She makes them with ground reindeer.” He pushed her inside and nudged her over to the closest booth.
She sank onto the cracked vinyl seat without protest. Was he pulling her leg? People actually ate reindeer? The cute little Rudolf-looking animals?
“I can see the gears turning in your head.” Denn sat across from her. “Yes, people eat reindeer. Or caribou, which is technically what they are. It’s no different than eating venison.”
“I don’t eat red meat. Ever.”
He frowned as if she’d confessed to slaughtering fuzzy bunnies for sport. “What, never? You a vegan or something?”
“No.” She pressed her lips together firmly and refused to say more.
Denn stared intently at her for a few seconds. “Well, it’s up to you. But moose, bear, and caribou are plentiful and you’ll find it easier to obtain than chicken, I guarantee.”
She considered his words as she absorbed the café’s décor. Calling it ‘rustic’ would be a kindness. Six round tables, a motley assortment of chairs, a floor littered with peanut shells, and windows grimy from years of grease smoke. But the smells coming from the tiny kitchen beyond were heavenly.
You’re in Alaska now. Time to grow up.
With a sigh, she capitulated. “Does it taste like venison or beef?” The sooner she assimilated the local way of life, the better. But all she could see in her head was Santa and his flying sleigh.
“It’s very similar. Reindeer might be a little sweeter. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it.” He waved to the woman who came through the swinging half door behind the counter. “Hi, Betty. Two of your specials, loaded.”
“Denn, where you been?” Smiling, the woman brought glasses of water to their table. She appeared to be in her late thirties, short and round, with the most beautiful hair Kendall had ever seen. So black it had tones of blue in the highlights, it fell, thick and straight, to her hips. She tossed a hunk of it over her shoulder and nodded toward Kendall. “You want the special or something else, honey? Denn here gets uppity when he brings a date to lunch. He forgets she can order for herself.” She pointed to a chalkboard handwritten with various menu items.
Kendall gave the menu a quick study. Just about every item had either ‘reindeer’ or ‘moose’ in the title. She shook her head. “No, I’ll try the special.”
“There you go.” Betty fished two straws from the pocket of her apron and handed them to Denn. “So, when did you get in? Did you see Molly? That damned brat, never stays home like she should.” She laid out napkins and silverware as she spoke.
“We saw a cow outside of town. Too big for Molly,” Denn replied.
“Cow? I didn’t see a cow.” Kendall frowned at him, confused.
Betty poked Denn with her index finger. “Molly’s all grown up, Nulo. Still a brat, though. She ate up my lobelia the other day, right out of the greenhouse. I’ll have to start locking the damned door. Well, I’ll have your order up in a jiffy.” She strode toward the counter.
“What cow?” Kendall wanted to know. “And I’m not your date.”
“Female moose are cows, too.”
Her eyes widened in understanding. “The huge moose that wanted to eat me alive is someone’s pet?”
“Yep. Betty’s right, Molly’s grown a lot. But she’s about as tame as a dog. Betty’s had her since she was a calf. Legally you’re not supposed to keep wildlife for pets, but around here, nobody cares.”
“She’s enormous. Couldn’t she hurt someone?”
“Maybe, if she had calves of her own and someone got between her and her babies. Moose are ferocious mothers. I guess I’ll have to talk to Betty, remind her to fence Molly up so she doesn’t sneak out and get herself into trouble. Though by the looks of her, she’s old enough to come into heat and let some bull have his way with her.”
“I can’t believe we’re talking about moose sex.” But it was all Kendall could do not to laugh. This was the unexpected adventure, the new life she wanted for herself. Sitting in a café in the middle of desolate Alaska with a drop-dead handsome man across from her. Waiting for their reindeer burgers and discussing moose romance, of all things. Too surreal.
I’m having a great day, after all.
She grinned at Denn and caught her breath when he grinned back at her.
Char Chaffin started reading romance, science fiction and horror at a very young age. Her love of books is directly responsible for her overflowing bookcases, and the bounty stored on her Kindle threatens to eclipse her entire paper collection. Char currently writes mainstream and contemporary romance filled with family, rich characters and engaging plots. For her, it all comes back to the love.
Char began her writing odyssey as a poet, crafting Victorian-style poetry, then went on to writing short stories. She found her niche when she began writing longer and longer short stories, until she wrote her first novel. It might never see the light of day, but writing it taught her a lot. Over the years she worked a variety of jobs, from farm hand to costume designer to fiscal accountant, before deciding a writing career was her true focus.
A native New Yorker, Char lives Upstate on a sixty-acre farm with husband Don, rat terrier Daisy Mae and two barn cats who constantly slack off on the job of keeping the barn free of varmints. The Chaffin extended family is scattered all over the United States and Alaska.
When she’s not pounding away at her keyboard or burying her nose in books and Kindle, she tends a huge vegetable garden and helps Don maintain their farm.
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