I’m delighted to welcome fellow Wild Rose Press author Barbara Edwards here today. Welcome, Barbara, thank you for being my guest!
I’m happy to be here, Babette. I love to talk about my books and Journey of the Magi is a totally different genre than my paranormal romances and historical romances.
The creative trip started with a blog post by a prolific writer advising authors that write longer novels to keep their audience happy by filling in the time with short novellas. It just happened that The Wild Rose Press sent out a call for submissions for Christmas themed stories while I was thinking about that advice. I shrugged and told myself to go for it. Although the line wanted sweet romance, an area I didn’t normally write, I figured it couldn’t be that hard to write thirty thousand words.
I do admit the idea was the easy part. It came from a conversation with my granddaughter about my Christmas Manger. The scene is crowded with all kinds of animals, besides the basic cow, donkey, sheep. I’ve added chickens, deer, rabbits, elk, wolves, anything that caught my eye got placed around the shepherds, camels and Wisemen.
I even have extra Magi- they are plaster figures, peeling and chipped, that belonged to my Grandmother and Mother and were under the tree when I was a child.
Talking about those memories gave me the plot of a woman taking her children home to the place where her fondest memories were found.
I wrote the story and submitted it. I got a nice ‘we like it, but’ so I did rewrites. And more rewrites. It seems romance and love are harder to portray than I first thought. I ended up doing a ton of rewrites before Journey of the Magi was accepted. I have my editor Kinan Werdski to thank for Journey of the Magi being a bestseller on Amazon’s holiday romance list. http://amzn.com/B00ES5DZEQ
I admit writing this was a challenge and in the long run very satisfying. Now I’d like to write another Christmas story. I need a fresh idea. Any suggestions for a place to start?
Widow Noel Martin never breaks promises, and she promised her kids they’d have Christmas at her childhood home in Connecticut. But driving across country takes money. Noel is broke when a snowstorm blows them into a tiny Minnesota café owned by a man who can change her mind. She accepts his offer of a job. Despite her attraction to him, she makes it clear she is only temporary help.
Dan Longstreet isn’t adopting any more strays, but he needs a waitress. Dan works so hard to make his café a success, he doesn’t have time for love. Though Noel’s slender blonde beauty stuns him and her two adorable children tug at his heart, he denies how they threaten to change his life.
When tragedy strikes, their new-found love is the first victim. Noel can’t stay and Dan can’t leave. Will their journey be the gift that reunites them?
“Christmas? Same as last year. Shut the place and go to bed.”
Dan Longstreet answered his portly customer. Ernie’s out-of-shape belly hung over the last stool at the cafe counter. The mingled odors of frying grease, wet wool and disinfectant sat heavy in the heated air of Dan’s place. Sleet rattled on the frosted windows.
“That’s a shame, Dan. You need a wife and a couple rug-rats. A man should have more holiday spirit what with Thanksgiving in three days.”
“It’s not the right time, Ernie. So how about finishing up so I can close?”
“I ain’t in no hurry to drive home in this storm. Seems every year they get earlier in the season.” Ernie smoothed his full white beard before he gestured at the frosted window.
Dan grinned at his friend’s twinkling blue eyes and wheedling expression. “In a few hours these roads will be impassable and I don’t want you bunking here again. You snore like an asthmatic bull!”
An Arctic blast from the opening door fluttered napkins on the deserted tables in the darkened cafe, extinguished the two remaining candles and ruffled the sawdust spread on the floor to absorb the melting snow. Dan casually checked the baseball bat hooked under the counter. Only trouble arrived this late.
His gaze latched on the petite female and he swore he smelled spring flowers. And sunshine. He couldn’t take his gaze off her as she undid the knitted green muffler wrapped three times around her coat’s upturned collar to reveal a thin pinched face.
His chest ached with the urge to cradle her in his arms: she was so cold. Even with her knit hat pulled down over her ears, her high cheekbones and the up-tilted tip of her nose flamed as bright red as a cheap statue of a Christmas elf. She blinked in the bright light.
Dan’s pulse leaped like a startled deer. He knew everyone who frequented the Deer Run Lounge and Cafe. She was no local wife searching for an overdue husband or one of the three women who made a living, if you could call it that, picking up the lumberjacks and mill workers for an hour or two.
His blood heated but he managed to control his urges by slowly polishing a clean glass and setting it in the rack for the next day’s trade. Dan nodded hello.
Her over-sized man’s winter coat trailed to her ankles, but she visibly shook. He wanted to tell her to take off her coat and get warm. She removed her gloves, pulling the fingers off one by one until her white hands shone in the dim light. A pale circle around her ring finger marked the recent removal of a band.
She returned Dan’s stare. “Is that sign in the window still good? Do you need an experienced waitress?” Her flat, emotionless voice didn’t match the way her fingers twisted round and round her gloves. His palms itched to cover hers until she calmed.
“Yeah.” He nodded slowly, his mouth dry. Something in him yearned for her to be more than a passing stranger. His breath hitched. “Pine Rapids, Minnesota isn’t jumping with help. The last girl quit without notice.”
He knew better than to expect a gift to blow in the cafe door, especially one that made his blood pound.
“Your husband outside?”
“What?” she followed his gaze to her bare hand. “No, I’m a widow. I traded my ring for a tank of gas and a tire yesterday.”
His heart pinched: life was hard everywhere.
You can find Journey of the Magi at: http://amzn.com/B00ES5DZEQ
Bio: I’m Barbara Edwards and a native New Englander. I’m a graduate of the University of Hartford with a Master’s degree in Public Administration. I write poetry for myself and novels when I need to tell a longer tale. I’m fascinated by the past so naturally turned to writing historical romance. The dark paranormal stories evolve from nightmares. The romance comes from my belief in people’s basic goodness and longing for love.
I lived in Florida for several years and am past president of the Central Florida Romance Writers and a member of Romance Writers of America. When I returned to Connecticut, I founded the Charter Oak Romance Writers, a Chapter of Romance Writers of America, along with several close friends. My husband is a retired Police Sergeant. We share an interest Civil War re-enacting and travel the Eastern states to participate in events. I love visiting museums, galleries and battle sites, gathering information for my stories. I taught Romance Writing at Manchester Community college for three years. I’m fond of gardening and growing antique roses with limited success. Most of my exercise is when my Belgian Shepherd, Dixie, demands a walk.
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