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Showing posts from June, 2008

My Hunka Burnin' Love

By: Christina Harlin

On June 27, 2008, my husband and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary and the 19th anniversary of our first date. Today’s blog is in tribute to him because he’s my big sweetie. I met Bruce in 1989. We both worked in our college textbook department. We were assigned together on an inventory project and we clicked immediately. I was a sucker for those dark bedroom eyes. I was so interested in talking to this funny, cute guy that I made several mistakes while working and it took us twice as long to complete the project as it should have. Duly noted: crushes are bad for the workplace. Real-life romance isn’t the same as it is in the idealized world of romance novels. In some ways it’s a lot simpler (for example, it seldom occurs in the middle of a murder mystery or a heist) but in other ways it’s a lot more complex, because none of us have the beneficial guiding hand of a narrator.

I must have been sending out some powerful ice-queen vibes because Bruce,…

Author Questions and a Few Answers

posted by Aunty Cindy

Recently I started a delightful email correspondence with a “newbie” fantasy writer. The daughter of one of my former employees, who wanted to ask me some questions about being “a professional writer.” I was thrilled at the chance, and some of my answers to her questions turned out to be as enlightening for me as I hope they were for her. I thought I’d share a few and see if they give you any insight into your own and other writers’ processes.

1)What is the process you use to complete a story?

I'm a very linear writer. I start on page one of Chapter one and I write through to The End. SHEESH! I really hate to think of myself as that inflexible, but when it comes to my first draft, I am. I envy writers who can sit down and write whatever scene occurs to them and then go back and tie them all together (Diana Gabaldon says she does this). Unfortunately, I don't think I'll ever be one of them.

Once I start revising, it's that "whole 'nother stor…

Ryan Sanderson Interviews His Biographer

By: Marie Force

Hey folks,
Ryan Sanderson here, bringing you greetings from the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado, which is still celebrating the Denver Mavericks' third Super Bowl win in five years. I gotta tell you, from my perspective as the Mavs' quarterback, it's just as cool to win the third time as it was the first. They said this was a "rebuilding" year for our team. That cracks me up. We showed them! Anyhow, I digress...

Since we won the Super Bowl—again—a lot has been written about me and the team. People are interested in ALL aspects of my life, even the embarrassing romantic side of me. In fact, there's a book coming out in September called "Line of Scrimmage" that tells the story of how I supposedly "blackmailed" my wife Susie into giving me a second chance. I think "blackmail" is kind of a strong word... All I did was show up ten days before our divorce was to be finalized and tell her we were going to spend the next …

Channeling my inner SEAL

All the time, people want to know how autographical SEALed With a Kiss is. Especially, they ask me if Pickett, the heroine, is me. The question is inevitable from people who know me. I deliberately gave her my therapy background, and some of my characteristics. I had to. With the mountains of research I had to do for my SEAL hero, there was no way I could research a profession for her too.

Nobody asks me if Jax, the SEAL hero, is me.

Which hurts my feelings a bit.

Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s a stretch to see little Mary Margret hunched over her computer, still in her nightshirt at eleven AM as a totally buff, self-confident to the point of arrogance, SEAL.

But here’s the thing: he is. He is me every bit as much as Pickett is.

It’s a truism that male or female, we all have masculine and feminine traits. It was easy for me to see Pickett as myself. Jax--not so much. However, as the story developed I began to recognize many of Jax’s personality traits in myself. I was forced to realize he was co…

Writing about Real Life

As writers we are often asked where we get our ideas. This usually refers to the plot, a major event, or the characters. And that is a whole other question. Sometimes we get asked if we have experienced what we write. If asked with a wink and a nudge it means the intimate moments.

I do put things in my books that I have actually experienced or people close to me have experienced. Not whole scenes, just snippets of real life. It makes it so much more personal somehow when I remember the sight, the sound, the feel, the smell.

Like a mother and daughter make a daisy crown in the middle of a field in The Lady Flees her Lord. My mother did it with me, and I did it with my girls. The fact that I am writing about the 1800’s doesn’t make that memory any different now than it would have been then. The scene is not really about the daisy chain they make together, or the buttercup the little girl holds beneath her mother’s chin, but as I was writing it, it brought back some happy feelings and I …

Research & Fiction--Too Much Or Just Enough?

To me, research makes a book so much more fun. If I can find something unique to the area, or about some aspect of what I'm writing, I love to include it. But there's nothing worse than reading several pages of how a paddle wheeler works or every detail of the boat's insides and outsides, unless it's important to the characters in the story. And even so, adding too much can make the story drag.

But getting some of the details right is important. So research is necessary. But how much is too much? I was reading a historical romance where the author went into the aspects of how vomit and dog feces were part of a medieval castle's decor, and the same with how unsanitary the streets were. Uhm, okay, yes, it's true. But though it's realistic, I really had a hard time with seeing the hero and heroine in a romantic light when I'm thinking of them wading through such unsanitized conditions. :)

On the other hand, some things are important. We don't have norea…

The Bachelor Auction -- The End

“Condition?” I squeaked.

Calvin nodded. “Dinner at the restaurant of my choice.”

There was too much going on. Candy’s shrill voice in the background as she shrieked for her lawyer while the Feds are telling her the shyster was in custody. Then there’s all these hunky guys in law enforcement that had me visualizing handcuffs and strip searches. And Calvin.

Calvin who didn’t look all that much like the nerd I remembered.

I made the mistake of looking across the room. My mother looked as if she’d died and gone to heaven and for all I know, already planning the wedding. I hoped I could stop her before she latched on to Ramona Hayward, our local wedding planner and town gossip who could put the Internet to shame.

Still, my all time favorite sight was seeing Candy hauled away in handcuffs. No designer wear for where she was going and gee, what a shame, she looks horrible in orange and jumpsuits will only make her look hippy. Yep, a very good day.

“Hey.”

I looked up, responding to Calvin’s smile wi…

Writer Sanctuary by Malena Lott

You know the saying - location, location, location. I used to be the same way about my writing. Same seat, same time of day, muse enters. Voila. I fondly remember the days in my mid-twenties where I could write until way past midnight and still feel the creative juices flowing as I put my computer to sleep. Yet the more kids I had (now up to, and stopping at, three) I've learned I have to be able to write anywhere, any time, or well, it just ain't happenin'. My muse, it seems, is now a morning owl. And she requires coffee. Not just Folgers, either. If she doesn't get Starbucks, she just doesn't put out, the wench. 
When my youngest was two, I hammered away in the early morning hours writing Dating da Vinci (Nov. '08) up in the playroom/office on a big Mac. Then my toddler Owen's demands usurped that of my muse's. I was upstairs, he was down, and that doesn't bode well for the whole supervision thing. Big Mac couldn't be lugged around, so I invest…

The Bachelor Auction Part XVIII

Mom beamed. I tried to ignore it. After all, the woman had been trying to get me to take a look at Calvin for years.

It’s so annoying when she’s right.

And wow, I had to admit, was she ever. Calvin didn’t even wait to hear if there were any other bids, just swept toward me wearing that sexy feline grin I was sure I could get used to seeing on a regular basis. The tattered remnants of the wildest bachelor auction in our little town’s history staggered to make way for him. The quarterback was walking with a definite limp, I noticed, and the knight, finally giving up on his malfunctioning costume, tore his helmet off and hurled it away from him with a frustrated growl.

Not bad, I decided, taking in the flowing blond locks that tumbled over his shoulders. But he’s no Calvin. Who would have thought, before today, that I’d be thinking that with a racing pulse and butterflies in my stomach?

Calvin strode to me, stopping only inches away. I barely heard the delighted squeals of the con…

The Bachelor Auction Part XVII

It took a moment for my brain to catch up. He had to be kidding! Calvin, nerdy little Calvin, a millionaire? Was this part of the auction or was it real?

The mayor was still staring open-mouthed at him, just like everyone else when Lauri Gruber piped up from the audience: “He’s making that up!”

But I didn’t think so. Anyone who could cough up four thousand dollars for charity had to have plenty of dough stashed away somewhere....

To recap the action, David Delaney was out, the Highlander was an IRS agent—no way was I touching him! Rick was missing a front tooth and would soon be on the run from the Highlander, and Calvin was missing an ear. Regency David was still in—though charmingly disheveled, like Darcy after his dip in the lake—but the knight still couldn’t keep his nose guard up, so it was impossible to tell what he looked like. Speedy was out—no great loss—and the quarterback looked like the loser after a very rough game. The fireman and policeman were the real thing—or were they?

The Bachelor Auction Part XVI

posted by Aunty Cindy aka Loucinda McGary

Agent Smith extended his hand to David. “You can go back to your regular duties with the Texas state police, Officer Delany. But rest assured that your undercover work in helping us with this case will be duly noted.” He shook David’s hand and then Speedy’s. “As will yours, Officer Gonzalez. We’d have never cracked this case without your assistance."

“But do we still get to be part of the auction?” Speedy asked, waggling his dark brows in Lauri Gruber’s direction.

“We’re on duty, Speed,” David admonished, but with an unmistakably apologetic look in my direction.

“You’re always such a killjoy, D.D.” Speedy grumbled. “But at least I got to dress like a NASCAR driver. This undercover work is cool!”

“About the four thousand dollars?” the mayor ventured again.

“Sorry sir,” said one of the other agents, whom I realized was dressed as a policeman and had intervened in the fight moments earlier. “But all Mrs. Martinelli’s assets are temporarily frozen,…

What I've Learned Since I Got "The Call"

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”
~John Lennon

In my case, life is what happens when I’m trying to meet my deadline. Yesterday, while I was chatting on an author interview, I was asked how life changes after you get ‘The Call.’ It sounded like a good idea for a blog, and since I’d been wracking my brain trying to come up with just that, I made a note of it and enjoyed the rest of the chat.

I awoke this morning, made my 15-foot commute to my office, and sipped my coffee as I sat on the exercise ball I use in lieu of a desk chair, quietly thinking. Okay, all of us who have children home on summer vacation and animals know that quiet is relative. So I hid in my office while I bounced on my ball and thought about how life had changed in the year since I sold Romeo, Romeo. While I was trying to think quietly in between no less than five interruptions, I realized that my best-laid plans for meeting my deadline were blown to smithereens because life happens.

I’ve discov…

The Bachelor Auction - Part XV

Bidding volleyed between me and other hopefuls until we had upped David’s value to five hundred dollars, and I wondered how quickly I could transfer my savings into my checking account.

Then Candy’s cry pierced the air. “Four thousand dollars!”

The room hushed in combined reverence and horror. Lauri Gruber at last said, “God, Candy, that’s not fair!”

“Is this an auction or not?” snapped Candy.

The mayor’s face was alight. Four thousand was a more than the past year’s auction had raised altogether. I closed my eyes in middle-class income misery as the mayor declared, “David Delany, going once, twice, SOLD! For four thousand dollars!”

Candy pointed a deadly fingernail at the rather pale carpenter on stage. “You’re mine now!”

“I’m afraid not,” said a new bachelor, stepping lithely from behind the line of disheveled and doubled-over fantasy men. He pulled a badge from the inner pocket of his austere suit. “Agent Smith, FBI. Mrs. Martinelli, I’m taking you into custody.”

FBI-Agent had not worked …

Deb Werksman, Sourcebooks Acquiring Editor, Takes Your Questions

We're pleased to welcome our lovely editor, Deb Werksman, back for another spin on the blog. She'd be delighted to field questions about the kinds of books she's buying, but please, no pitching stories. And now, here's Deb!

Dear Authors:

For today's blog, I thought I'd talk a little about book publishing. Then, I'll reiterate what I'm looking for in terms of acquisitions (so you can skip ahead to that part if you wish!), touch on the subject of pitching your book, and then I can't wait to hear your questions.

BOOK PUBLISHING
Did you know that:
*romance fiction is the best selling category in the bookstores, 26.4% of all books sold in 2006?
*trade book publishing grew 5.5% overall in 2007?
*in 2007 there were over 400,000 (count 'em!) books published?
*one of the biggest chain book retailers announced it's reducing inventory this year by 25%?
*the vast majority of books published will sell 1000 or fewer copies?
*all books are currently sold on a return…

Bachelor Auction XIV—The Wars Continue

From his place on the floor, the quarterback raised a long, muscled leg and caught Speedy right where he lived. With a howl of righteous indignation, Speedy clutched his, um, junk, and dropped to his knees. Infuriated by the quarterback's audacity, the Highlander got into a screaming fight with the pirate, who took the quarterback's side. The ensuing rumble sucked in everyone except for David Delany, who deftly sidestepped Calvin Seersucker as he jumped into the fray.

The auctioneer banged his gavel on the dais while the audience of stunned women watched the brawl with fascination and, in the case of Candy, titillation. The public safety bachelors, policeman and fireman, blew whistles that caught the attention of the fools on the floor.

"Enough already," policeman said.

Behind me, I heard someone whisper, "Oh, I want him...."

It took a few minutes, but the public safety bachelors managed to restore some semblance of order. The Highlander's fur-covered spor…

Bachelor Auction XIII: The Bidding Wars

The mayor explained the bidding rules, while behind him, the bachelors struck manly poses to match their costumes.

Regency David swept a bow, and Captain Jack, the dentist, braced his legs wide on his imaginary deck. David the Carpenter Guy hooked thumbs over his tool belt, an action which—not accidentally—made the wide leather perfectly frame his...uhm,hardware.

Next, the knight drew his heavy broadsword, intending, I think, to pose with it in his mailed fist. But without warning, the nose-guard-thing on his helmet slammed down, blocking his peripheral vision. Carpenter David diagnosed the helmet’s loose screw and triumphantly whipped out a screwdriver. The crowd roared and clapped.

Hearing applause, Calvin thought it was his turn. He extended his fingers in the Vulcan “Live long and prosper” greeting, then remembered his ears and eyebrows were gone.

Nobody could say Calvin wasn’t flexible. He switched to his Zorro alter-ego, drew his sword and slashed a Z into the air. Beside him, the k…

Bachelor Auction-- Part XII

Between me and my highlander lay two round tables full of drooling women. Oh, for super powers. A single bound would come in handy about now.

I tripped over a mailed foot—mailed foot? I double-took the knight kneeling at the feet of a seated Gladys Bellyard, big and beautiful, a gorgeous red sequined top clinging to her ample endowments. The blue-eyed, blond-haired, knight could not keep his gaze from her magnificent cleavage as she removed her chiffon scarf and tied it to his...ummm lance.

Orlando Bloom did bachelor auctions? Who knew?

“Excuse me,” I said, one eye on my Highlander. Oh no, boob-girl, Candy, was also making a bee-line for him, her hand still firmly on David’s tool-belt as she dragged him along.

“My lady,” knight-dude said glancing up. “I doth impede your progress.” He
smiled and clanked to his feet, his mail-clad shoulders a solid wall of metal at eye level. He gave a courtly bow as I passed.

Hot. I was hot. He was hot. Could somebody ope…

Bachelor Auction--Part XI

Rick rested his fingers on my arm and leaned in, his lips barely touching my ear as he whispered, “Bid for me and I’ll sail you far away from all this.”


He winked and shivers of expectation stole up my spine. I could just envision sailing in the Gulf with Rick, minus the dreadlocks, making a stop at South Padre Island, wading in the pristine water while colorful fish darted around our legs, where cottony sand beaches awaited us and then…then…I saw him—

Be still my heart, ‘twas none other than Robert McCrory decked out in a blue and green belted plaid kilt, renaissance-looking soft leather boots, and no shirt, wicked man. Only a sash draped across his bronzed, muscular torso, hiding a wee bit o’ his well-sculpted chest. And a gold bracer caressed his bicep, like I wanted to do. Just to see if he was really as strong as he appeared to be. His green eyes captured mine, held me hostage, and challenged me to join him.

“Uhm, Rick, I’ll be right back.” Maybe.


The gold bracer alone that Robert wo…

The Bachelor Auction Part X

Gulp! Breathe, just breathe. In. Out. In. Out.

I spun around with a big smile on my lips. At least, I think I was smiling and not looking like the idiot I was feeling like more and more.

“Rick!” I thought I’d seen pretty much every fantasy in the ballroom until now. OMG! It was Captain Jack Sparrow without the lack of personal and dental hygiene. Oh no, this one smelled like Old Spice, and when you think about it, it fit. Rick’s surfer blond hair was covered with the black dreads and tri-cornered hat and he even sported the black eye liner, which actually looked very sexy on him. YUM! “Look at you!” And believe me, I did. Even under the heavy clothing you could see what looked like a long and lean runner’s body.

He looked a bit embarrassed. “Your mother.”

I nodded as I wondered how she managed to persuade, or blackmail, the town dentist into dressing up as Johnny Depp although at the moment I was doing a Johnny who? shuffle. “’Nuff said. You look like the real deal.” My fingers were alre…

The Bachelor Auction, Part IX

Oh my God, I did not just say that…I did not just THINK that…

Calvin, not seeming to notice my inner turmoil, just frowned down at me, obviously intrigued.

“Really? What’s wrong with the eyebrows?”

“They look like caterpillars about to mate,” I sighed, and when he looked more affronted than receptive, I took matters into my own hands. “Here,” I said. “If you just did this…” I reached up and pulled off the offending brows as easily as I might have ripped off a couple of band-aids. Fortunately, most of his actual eyebrow hair stayed in place, a miracle with the amount of glue he’d used.

I stepped back and surveyed my handiwork. And despite the bleeding, which really wasn’t very bad, I was even more pleasantly surprised at what I saw. Calvin Seersucker, beneath the layers of costumed geekiness, was definitely not an ugly duckling anymore.

“Now for the ears and cape,” I said, ignoring the mulish expression he gave me in return. “Come on. Hand them over. You can’t be a Vulcan Zorro starship cap…

The Bachelor Auction Part VIII

“Well, umm…good luck with that, sweetie,” Candy cooed, her wide smile about as heartwarming as a barracuda’s bared teeth. “I’m sure you’ll really have to shell out for that one.” She leaned in close, and in a conspiratorial stage whisper that was doubtless heard across half the town, confided, “Good thing Carlo left me set for life.” She patted her enormous Luis Vuitton purse. “I’m sure David’s going to cost me a fortune. But as you and I both know…he’s well worth it.”

I caught David’s wince out of the corner of my eye, and felt a moment of hope that enormous hair, leopard print halters and painted-on jeans weren’t really his thing these days. He opened his mouth to say something, those honey-colored eyes fixed on me, but Candy was having none of it.

“How’ve you…”

“Oh David, look! It’s Wendy Marstellars and Lauri Gruber! You just have to show them your sexy Fantasy Man getup!” With a final venomous smile, Carly hooked her claws into David once again and dragged him off. I sighed as I wat…

The Bachelor Auction, part VII

Except that he wasn’t the Calvin I remembered. This Calvin had morphed into some sort of exotic alien being—half Vulcan, and half . . . something. As his expression of surprise turned to one of naked lust, I nearly choked on my own spit. “C-Calvin?” I stammered. “I didn’t—”“Recognize me?” he said. “I thought not. After all, you’ve never given me the time of day.” His deep blue eyes were as hot as molten steel as they swept my body up and down. Funny how I’d never noticed them before. Must have been the tantalizing Vulcan eyebrows. Yeah, that was it. It was the eyebrows . . . and the ears—or maybe the cape. Calvin had certainly never affected me this way! I felt the searing heat from his eyes burn me down to ash. “Don’t be silly!” I said, my voice suddenly high-pitched and girlish. “We’ve always been . . . friends.” I felt like an absolute idiot. This was Calvin Seersucker, for heaven’s sake! Nerdy little Calvin, who would have been much more at home at a Star Trek convention than at…

A Little Bit of Inspiration

Well, after reading your amazing serial romance, “The Bachelor Auction,” I’m so impressed by how quickly you all were able to create such compact and fully detailed chapters, and connect them in such a way that would showcase all of your writing talents in the best way possible! The characters are all funny, some over the top (but necessarily so) and I cannot wait to see which one of the bachelors our heroine actually ends up with!

All of the quickly created wit and descriptions made me wonder what inspires my authors? And also, what inspires me? In college, I was more of the “creative non-fiction” type, even infusing my 20+ page term papers with some kind of personal voice—which many a professor appreciated! And now, in publicity, writing is a huge part of my job. The first bit of inspiration is of course, from my lovely authors, who so graciously put their books in my hands for proper promotion. But what also inspires me is my personal drive. My brother and I were brought up to alway…

Is He A Domesticated Man Or A Domestic God?

Writing a Domestic god hero is difficult because the difference between a Domestic god and a Domesticated man is like the difference between a cougar and a house cat. They both purr when they get their ears scratched, they both dislike water, but you’ll never train a cougar to use a litter box. Cougars are cunning, beautiful and definitely a breed all their own—much like the Domestic god. They might have all the same body parts as a house cat, but that’s where the comparison ends. For example:

The Domesticated man does the dishes because he doesn’t want to fight with you about it. A Domestic god does the dishes to give you just the right amount of time to anticipate his arrival in the bedroom.

A Domesticated man will wash and dry the laundry. A Domestic god will do the laundry—but he’ll also wash and dry your hair.

A Domesticated man will pick up the dry cleaning because you told him to. A Domestic god picks up the dry cleaning because he saw it on your to-do list.

A Domesticated man will…

The Bachelor Auction, Part VI

My ire turned to horror when Candy fixed her predatory gaze in my direction. Her voice echoed off the ballroom’s high ceiling. “David, look who came home! We haven’t seen you in years!”

I could hardly refuse her beckoning claw. Everyone was watching. I rose, painfully aware that my clothes were wrinkled from travel, and that I had just fallen out of my car, with no chance to brush my hair or check my makeup. Was I even wearing makeup? I approached them feigning delight.

“Oh, aren’t you a sight?” cried Candy, clutching one of David’s impressively firm-looking biceps as she eyed me. “I admire women with the courage to completely ignore how they look. That takes such confidence! Didn’t I always say I admired her confidence?” The breathtaking David looked apologetic, but I hated the thought that he might say something sympathetic.

I plastered a beaming smile on my face. “Isn’t this fun? I never imagined I’d be surrounded by romantic heroes.”

“Makes me want to be a damsel in distres…

The Bachelor Auction Part V

But just when I thought I couldn’t get any sicker, I heard an unmistakable giggle that grated on every last nerve ending in my body. I watched in horror filled fascination along with everyone else, as a woman with Texas-big platinum blonde hair and even bigger, if phony, tatas strolled to the front of the room. My adolescent nemesis, Candy Froedisher Martinelli.

We had been friends in junior high school, but when we got to high school, suddenly Candy was Miss Popularity, head cheerleader, homecoming queen, the works, while I remained behind in my somewhat nerdy corner. Bad enough that I was often the object of her giggling, whispered innuendoes, but her ultimate betrayal came when she lured David Delany- -my David- -away to be her date for the Senior prom.

While the rest of us had gone off to college and studied things like journalism or criminal justice, Candy had gone to Miami Beach to major in Trophy Wife 101. Her first husband, or so I’d heard, was a minor Mafia enforcer. Freddie “T…

Bachelor Auction, Part IV

I choked back the urge to throw up in my mouth, muttered “Slow down, Speedy,” and took a seat next to my mother. Pretending to be absorbed in the program, I watched “Speedy” practice his hair over-the-eyes, low-voiced “buy me” spiel with a couple of other twittering fools who would no doubt duke it out over him in the auction.

In need of something to do so I wouldn’t be tempted to watch Speedy work the room, I buried my nose in the program. The Navy guy was kind of cute as was the football dude. I flipped to the next page, and my heart literally staggered in my chest. Carpenter guy—oh my God! David Delany, my mad high school crush, the one who had occupied every single one of my schoolgirl fantasies, the one I had given myself to in the back of his father’s Dodge junior year, my first—and only—love...

“Mother.”

Apparently startled by the rough tone of my voice, she turned. “What? Why are you pale and pasty all of a sudden?”

“David Delany?” I croaked.

All innocence, she said, “Oh, did I for…

The Bachelor Auction Part III

by Mary Margret Daughtridge


Granbury wasn’t a large town. In years past the auction had always been held in the high school auditorium, where a family atmosphere and lots of good-natured teasing gave the money-raiser the feeling of a Sadie Hawkins Day joke. The town wasn’t long on eligible men, either. A couple of years, some of the bachelors had been teenagers, and once, the ten-year-old grandson of the president of the bank. His two grandmothers bidding against each other had been the highlight of the evening.

I had already guessed that by moving the auction to the hotel ballroom, its sponsors signaled they intended things to be different this year, but a Fantasy Man theme? Come on. Granbury wasn’t the kind of place where people had fantasies. Granbury was middle America at its most middle—a fact that had driven me to the big city as soon as I finished school.

I had wanted the kind of place where people dared to live large. I had wanted excitement, thrills, drama. Men in Armani suits a…

Bachelor Auction - Part II

Mother popped up behind the counter. Her newly frizzed gray hair, fire-engine-red lipstick and a waft of lavender proclaimed she was “going out.”

“Late as usual,” she muttered trotting around the cash desk. She grabbed my arm with red talons and hauled me toward the back exit, the entrance to the Prairie Dog hotel.

The site of the auction.

“I’m not going.” I dragged my feet.

“I did the flowers,” she said. “I need your help.”

There was that long e sound. Like the sound of a baby crying for its mother. It hit me in the gut.

She turned the knob of the baize lined door and pulled me into the burgundy plush of the hotel ballroom lobby.

At the door, broad shoulders filling out his pearl-gray waistcoat and black jacket stood Mr. Darcy, back from the past. He beckoned. Blinded by his white ruffled shirt and cravat, I blinked, then couldn't resist a long slow look at a pair of superb thighs encased tight buckskin breeches which ended in a pair of shiny Hessians.

“What?” I croaked. "Who?&quo…

The Bachelor Auction--Part I

*Photo's tag: The lads before the carnage. This is actually a photo of a group of men who participated in a live male auction--so get ready to bid...
The Bachelor Auction
by the Casablanca Authors

Excited about returning home to Granbury, Texas, I couldn’t wait to get settled until I saw the notices posted all over the historic town. Bachelor Auction.

Inwardly, I groaned.

It was supposed to have been last Saturday, not this Saturday! That’s why I had waited another week before coming home. If I didn’t know any better, I would swear Mom had influenced the City Council to change the date to make sure I was home for the summer event.

Shielded by the sun, I hurried under the striped awnings to Mother’s gift store, the old time shops all connected by wooden walkways. Summer fashions and pansy garden gifts decorated the storefront windows and I could hardly wait to share my marketing experiences from classes I’d taken at the university.

As soon as I stepped out of the heat into the shop, th…