Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Make You Mine by Nan Reinhardt

My writing bestie Nan Reinhardt is here today and I'm always so glad to see her. We work together, talk an unconscionable amount, travel together...and there's wine and food involved ALL the time! She's here to talk about Make You Mine, the newest River's Edge book (think Madison, IN) and about where she gets ideas. Make her welcome!

So often I’m asked, where do you get the ideas for your books. I’ve tried to come up with answers that don’t make me sound as if I need to put away someplace or at the very least like I need to spend a few years in intensive therapy. But there isn’t really any better answer than the truth. So I take a deep breath and blurt it out, “I have these people in my head. They appear to me and want me to tell their stories, so I try to.” Problem is that, sometimes, the people talking to me aren’t the characters in my current work in progress.

That is a dilemma. As I’m writing book 4 in the Walkers of River’s Edge series and doing revisions on book 3 of said series, characters from book 1 of the next series are shoving to the front of the line demanding attention. It’s hard to tell them to slow their roll, so I just pull out the notebook for the next series and jot down thoughts and ideas. I’m not at all sure I won’t get characters, events, timelines, etc., mixed up if I try to write more than story at a time. I’m fairly adept at running two or three editing gigs concurrently, but I don’t think it work for writer Nan. So, I’ll continue with writing one book at a time, and let the people in my head clamor in the background. They’ll get their turn…eventually.

Speaking of the people in my head, two of them had their story released last week. Jack Walker and Maddie Ross’s book, Make You Mine is out now and available at all book retailers. Here’s the blurb—hope it intrigues you!

When his family’s company is on the line, business and pleasure definitely don’t mix, but maybe they should…

Madeline Ross left the city and a career glass ceiling behind, hoping to build a new life as the crew supervisor for Walker Construction in River’s Edge. She’s qualified and experienced, but new CEO Jackson Walker hires someone else. Even as she searches for a different job and builds a life in River’s Edge, the sexy memory of Jack teases.

After a rough year, Jackson Walker’s family business is still struggling. He needs a new construction crew supervisor, and Maddie Ross is perfect, except for the first time in his life, player Jack is suddenly smitten with the curvaceous redhead. He wants her in his bed more than on his payroll.

When his second-rate new hire is a disastrous mistake, Jack humbles himself on Maddie’s doorstep with an offer she can’t refuse. Maddie could be the key to saving his company as long as he hides his heart. But does he have to?

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Setup: Jack has hired someone else and it didn’t work out so now he’s groveling on Maddie’s doorstep…well… groveling as only Jack Walker can do it.

As she struggled up the stairs with a stack of boxes, Maddie scolded herself. Idiot. You should’ve made another trip. She should’ve, but this was the last of the boxes, and she was tired and damp from the rain that was making the wooden steps up to the apartment above Mac Mackenzie’s garage rather slick. She should’ve known it would start raining while she was toting the last load upstairs.

The box on top leaned precariously and just as she moved her hand to catch it, her foot slipped on the wet step. I’m going down, was her first thought, but then footsteps thumped up the stairs behind her. A hand righted the box at the same time a strong arm wrapped around her waist and caught her.

“Careful now.” That deep voice was familiar, but Maddie was in no position to even turn her head at that point.

“T-thanks,” she managed and got her balance back.

The firm hold remained as a blond head peered over the boxes. “Let me take some of those for you.”

Jackson Walker?

One step below her, Jack lifted the top two boxes, leaving her only one, and when she moved her face toward his voice, his lips were mere inches from hers. His blue eyes smoldered dark navy and, for a moment, time stood still.

Maddie closed her eyes. Time does not stand still. Open your eyes, stupid, and get moving. She opened her eyes, but he was there so close, she felt his minty breath mingling with hers. When she opened them, he was gazing at her as if he wanted to . . . but he held back for a second, waiting, giving her time, it seemed, to say no. When she didn’t . . and then he did.

Clutching the boxes in one arm as if they held nothing more than feathers and moving his hand from her waist to grasp the banister behind her, Jack leaned in and very lightly touched his warm, full lips to hers. Her eyes closed again, automatically, and when he tipped his head and deepened the kiss, every nerve ending in her body went on point. The kiss was a crazy contradiction of gentle and passionate, sweet and sensual.

Bless whoever taught this man to kiss because she could’ve stood there in the rain forever in a lip-lock with Jackson Walker.

But finally, he lifted his lips and a wry smile curved his mouth upward. “So . . . that’s not why I’m here.”

She blinked and her voice came out croaky. “Why are you here?”

“Because I need you.” He shook his head as if to clear it. He hadn’t moved his arm yet, and it pressed against her back, sending tingles up her spine. “We . . . we need you.”

“We who?” Maddie knew the answer, but she asked anyway because she wanted to hear him say the words.

“Walker Construction.”

“Why? I thought you already hired someone.” She wanted him to beg. Maybe that was shallow of her, but he’d turned her away before and now here he was, telling her he needed her. He should grovel, just a little bit. Besides, he’d kissed her, something she felt had nothing whatsoever to do with Walker Construction. The man was an enigma.

Jack tossed his head and rain dripped off his wet hair onto her boxes. “Can we continue this conversation in a drier place, please?”

She stared at him, debating the wisdom of letting him into her apartment. Into her life, for that matter. However, she needed a job, and it seemed he was about to offer her one. But there was that kiss, that incredible, unexpected kiss . . . Her belly flipped at the thought. What was she supposed to do about that?

With a short jerk of her chin toward the door above them, she started up the stairs. “Come on, then.”

Nan Reinhardt is a USA Today bestselling author of sweet, small-town romantic fiction for Tule Publishing. Her day job is working as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader, however, writing is Nan’s first and most enduring passion. She can’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t writing—she wrote her first romance novel at the age of ten and is still writing, but now from the viewpoint of a wiser, slightly rumpled, woman in her prime. Nan lives in the Midwest with her husband of 50 years, where they split their time between a house in the city and a cottage on a lake. Talk to Nan at: nan@nanreinhardt.com, stop by her website, or follow her on social media: FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Friendship and 33 Dozen by Joe DeRozier

I'm always happy when Joe steps out from behind the table to come through the Window Over the Sink to visit. His stories are always special, and this one is even more so. Thanks for coming, Joe. Take it away. 

There are days I travel to neighboring cities and meet friends in designated areas to deliver donuts. It isn't a highly lucrative adventure for me... Well, not monetarily. I sell them for just $10 a dozen, am out of the bakery for a couple hours, so I have to pay someone to hold down the fort, and try to stay under 25 orders so I don't disrupt the normal routine of my co-workers ("co-workers" is a rather generous title as far as my inclusion in the "co" part). The real compensation comes in the form of interactions with the wonderful people with whom I'm blessed to communicate. Many share with me where they are taking their donuts while wearing smiles from ear to ear.

I met a Mr. Smith, who was stationed in the same area of Panama that I was. I met a man from Chicago who moved here decades ago for a job. His accent is now only slightly prevalent, but completely resurfaces when the topic touches on one of his passions...like paczkis. I've met business owners, young parents, teachers, radio hosts, and even someone I knew in Peru when I first arrived in Indiana. It is not only fun—I like to feel that I am spreading good will.

My last delivery location was Pizza Quik in Rochester (one of my favorites because, ironically, I love Dunkin and never leave their city without gifting them a dozen donuts), and since this venue traditionally fills up quickly, I was keeping my eyes on the number of orders coming in.

 "Ding." My phone alerted me of an incoming message. The communique was from a wonderful lady I had met through Facebook a few months ago. Though certainly not one of my fortes, I happened to remember her name because of its unique spelling and the kind words she had shared with me. She wanted to place an order of 33 dozen donuts for the Rochester delivery. She was pressed for time, and promised to tell me more about the program she wanted to bless at a later time. The whole time were typing, something nagged at me. Something I should remember... But I'm old and have accepted the fact that I forget a lot of things, so paid no further mind to it. Because this order put us well over the number of donuts I usually deliver, I posted that Rochester had filled up, and would be taking no more requests for donuts.

The evening before the delivery, I was doing something close to nothing (name that tune), when... "Ding." My friend messaged me again. I assumed she simply wanted to confirm, or maybe to share with me more about the establishment for which she was buying donuts. Her message read, "I think I've made a terrible mistake. Please call me." She followed that plea with her phone number. Her phone number had an area code I didn't recognize. When I called and heard the intonation in her voice, I immediately remembered that thing that had been nagging me... My friend does indeed live in Rochester... ...Rochester, New York. Our previous communication a few months back, was about getting my books. That's how I knew she was on the east coast…and that was that tidbit of information my old brain wasn't willing to release to me when she requested the 33 dozen.

She felt horrible, as I tried not to laugh...I failed. After all, I thought, what an honor to have someone from so far away follow my bakery and all of my shenanigans! It was too late for me to get hold of the bakery to cancel the order, as my team would already have started production. What made this situation even easier to swallow was that my friend from Rochester, New York, offered to pay for the entire order and told me to donate them.

"That is awfully sweet," I replied, "but what are you going to do for donuts?"

She said they were scouring the city for donuts, and the prices ran $20-$30 a dozen. So, she was not only willing to spend between $660-$990 to get the donuts she needed, but she was going to pay me $330 for donuts she would donate to people several states from her, that she didn't even know! The donuts she was donating in New York were for a group of kids, ages 12-18, that give up their spring breaks to fix up homes in rundown areas of their town. It's called the Flower City Work Camp, and my friend's husband has been leading this group for 35 years. The number of volunteers has multiplied significantly over the years. Each volunteer works eight hours, Monday through Thursday. They eat and sleep at a parish near the neighborhood they're working. Materials are purchased by the churches and the volunteers themselves. On Friday, the last day of their break, the volunteers will share what they have seen and learned. It can get very emotional.

I was so touched by the kindness of the program and everyone involved that I was left at a loss for words...not a common occurrence for me as you all well know. As she was asking for my address to send a check for the donuts she had mistakenly ordered from me, I was making a request on Facebook to anyone in the administration of Rochester (Indiana) schools. Before my New York friend could finish her twelfth consecutive apology, I arranged to have all 33 dozen taken to the school, where they would be distributed to all school employees. When I told my friend, she was so happy, but still wanted to pay for them...

"Absolutely not, Danise," I replied. As I stated earlier, my compensation comes in the form of interactions with the wonderful people with whom I'm blessed to communicate. I had the pleasure of communicating with my friend from New York, I was able to feel the love from the Rochester (Indiana) school district, and I learned about a wonderful program in Rochester, New York, where the younger generation is giving to those in need... I believe I've been more than compensated.