**Revised from a post made many moons ago when my career was first taking off.**
Around ten years ago, I had two titles to my name and had been working on the third for quite some time before I submitted to the press I’d call home for the next few years, until I pulled back and took a sabbatical from the industry. It was only a few weeks after submitting A Slower Lower Love to my editor I received an email that began: “We need to talk…”
Cue the heart palpitations and cold sweats. We need to talk is really never what a budding author wishes to hear from their editor. It’s scary! The connotations are endless. It turned out okay, though, because what we needed to talk about was the potential she saw in my characters. She wanted to see more and suggested I turn the whole thing into a series…thus the Delaneys of Delaware series was born.
Now, I’m sure at this point you’re wondering just what in a blue moon that has to do with le hotel de poulet (the chicken hotel). Gather ’round, my friends, for I do have a tale to share with you.
Way back in 1996, only a few short weeks after I’d met the love of my life and future husband, I made the decision to road trip with the man I barely knew all the way from Missouri to Delaware. Delaware is home state to said love of my life and the setting for the Delaneys of Delaware books. I had no idea then Sussex County, Delaware would one day serve as backdrop for the Delaney brothers and all their love woes. We’d been on the road for nearly twenty-four hours and were still a few hours out from our destination when the love of my life began to tell me the ground rules of being “introduced” to slower lower living (whatever?) and the eastern shore way (again, whatever?).
So, ground rules. Rule number one: Don’t crack chicken jokes. (hehe? Crack? Okay…moving on…)
After swallowing my laughter at the seriousness etching his every feature, I asked why not. He proceeded to tell me that in a few miles I’d begin to see why and he’d not have much ‘splainin’ to do past that. What I didn’t know, I didn’t know.
Oh. My. Gravy!
My first glimpse of a chicken farm (or is that ranch?) came in the early morning after being on the road for what felt like days and basically zero sleep. I thought at first I’d fallen asleep and was dreaming after his instructions not to make chicken jokes.
“What the **** (grits and greens seems a suitable substitute for what I actually said) is that?” I asked.
“That?” (love of my life swerves in the direction he’s talking toward) “That’s a chicken house. They take their chickens seriously here.”
Boy, do they! I knew right then there would be no chicken jokes. Not that I really knew any, but had I I’d have kept them to myself.
I kid you not, friends. If you’ve never been exposed to the chicken hotels of the Eastern Shore let me ‘splain a bit. They are not chicken merely houses. They are in fact chicken hotels. Some of the hotels are three stories tall with auto-feeders and heat. Also, in case you get curious and go off in search of this phenomenon because you simply must see these chicken hotels, take a clothes pin with you. P. U.
Coincidentally, the Delaney boys are farmers and guess what they grow besides cantaloupes?
I will have news very soon on the re-release of this series which garnered rave reviews upon its first release. Until then, I’ll share a bit about the Delaney brothers from Delaware.
Meet the Delaneys. Their roots reach out to touch their ancestral home, the Emerald Isle, where their beloved Nana immigrated from as a wee tot. Nana has a cure for every ill and woe through a story, some cookies, and a finger or two of good Irish whiskey. With eight grown grandchildren and dozens of great-grandchildren, there are certainly enough ills and woes to go around. But the most often cited are those of love, particularly from the three unmarried Delaney brothers.
Bryce: After eight years of living without Cait O’Kelley, Bryce finds himself tasked with the job of watching over her during her weeklong stay at Bethany. She’s come home to sort out her life and while she’s contemplating her future, Bryce discovers the fireworks are still there. But can they ever go back to where they once were? As his own bundle of secrets begin to surface, Bryce sees only one way to save Cait, leave her behind, and with a whole host of new problems no less that she can neither explain away nor hide.
Kurt: With so many differences between him and Deidre Maloney, Kurt can’t believe he’s let himself fall for such a woman. She’s looking for a prime rib guy and Kurt knows he’s just skirt steak. When they’re in close proximity, however, something undeniably amazing happens. How does he convince her that family isn’t something to fear and love doesn’t hurt, and a slower, lower life is what she’s been looking for all along?
Logan: Not only is Logan the last of his siblings to remain unmarried and unsettled, his entire family believes he’ll never find a wife. The baby of eight, he’s been dubbed an irresponsible player and told he’ll never amount to a hill of beans. There was a time Logan may have been okay with those descriptions, but no more, and if his family would stop meddling in his affairs and trying to dictate who he should and shouldn’t be seeing, he might just show them he’s found the one: Lizzy Jenkins.
Welcome to Sussex County, Delaware, the slower, lower part of the state where life takes on its on pace. Enjoy your stay!