Friday, November 4, 2016

More Love and Laughter from Margaret Brownley: Left at the Altar

When Inspiration Strikes
Several years ago, I drove to Santa Barbara unaware that a truck had dumped a load of nails onto the 101 freeway. By the time I spotted the scattered cargo it was too late. I ended up with four—yes four—flat tires!  As my son and I waited on the side of the road for the Auto Club he asked, "Mom, are you going to use this in a book?"

Ah, inspiration.  It can hit anytime, anywhere and sometimes when you least expect it. Boom. Bang. Fireworks!  That's part of the fun and delight of being a writer.  No matter what happens good or bad there's always the possibility that a story will pop out of it.  That goes double for vacations.

During a trip to Paris, my husband and I enjoyed a moonlight cruise along the Seine.  It was a scene right out of a Harlequin novel. That is until disaster struck. As we emerged from beneath a bridge, a bunch of hooligans dumped barrels of motor oil on our boat, creating havoc.

Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt, but what a mess!  The fun began when the boat docked. Irate travelers stormed onto shore screaming in what seemed like fifty different languages at the befuddled owner—an enormous Asian man who arrived on a mini-cycle.    

Now, I ask you.  What better place for a writer than Paris at midnight surrounded by a mob of enraged foreigners?  While the others ranted and raved about ruined clothes I stood reveling in a new story idea. At one point my husband pulled me aside and told me to stop smiling.  He was worried that the others would think I'd planned the whole affair.

Not all inspiration can be found in the form of disaster. A conversation with a friend over lunch gave me the basis for a story about a woman who regained her hearing after twenty-five years. A chance remark by the man hired to fix our antique clock gave me the idea for my latest book, Left at the Altar.

An early dictionary defined the word inspiration as an immediate influence of God.  The word also means to breath in, inhale. If what Thomas Merton said is true about "Every moment and every event of every man's life on earth planting something in his soul," then even mundane happenings can be turned into poems, books, music, art and even scientific discoveries. All we have to do is pay attention and breathe.

Of course, as every creative person well knows, a light bulb moment is only the beginning. Sir Isaac Newton's inspiration came from an apple falling from a tree, but it took a lifetime to fully develop the science of mechanics which explains the force of gravity.

Inspiration is nothing more than an idea that hasn't been put to work. Once an idea is in hand a writer must then go after the story, sometimes with a sledgehammer. That’s what Rod Serling called the bleeding part. 

Who knows? One day I might even hammer out a story from those four flat tires.

Welcome to Two-Time Texas:
Where tempers burn hot
Love runs deep
And a single marriage can unite a feuding town
…or tear it apart for good

In the wild and untamed West, time is set by the local jeweler…but Two-Time Texas has two: two feuding jewelers and two wildly conflicting time zones. Meg Lockwood’s marriage was supposed to unite the families and finally bring peace. But when she’s left at the altar by her no-good fiancé, Meg’s dreams of dragging her quarrelsome neighbors into a ceasefire are dashed.

No wedding bells? No one-time town.

Hired to defend the groom against a breach of promise lawsuit, Grant Garrison quickly realizes that the only thing worse than small-town trouble is falling for the jilted bride. But there’s something about Meg’s sweet smile and determined grit that draws him in…even as the whole crazy town seems set on keeping them apart.

Who knew being Left at the Altar could be such sweet, clean, madcap fun?

About Margaret

BEST-SELLING AUTHOR MARGARET BROWNLEY has penned more than forty novels and novellas. Her books have won numerous awards, including Readers' Choice and Award of Excellence. She's a former Romance Writers of American RITA® finalist and has written for a TV soap.  She is currently working on a new series.  Not bad for someone who flunked eighth grade English.  Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence.

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