It’s Release Week! And I’m Not Stressed!

image001(1)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 was Logan the last of his siblings to remain unmarried and unsettled, his entire family believed he’d 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!

Back at the height of my writing career, before the sabbatical, I can remember release days leaving me a blubbering bundle of nerves. Honestly, I can’t explain for love nor money why release days just left me slayed to my very center, but I think it had a great deal to do with expectations. I’d have problems sleeping. I’d fret if I’d done everything possible to get the word out. I’d worry something would go wrong with loading and release day would be a bust after I’d arranged a grand blog tour to announce the book’s birth. I’d pore over the final draft I’d sent to my editor scanning for mistakes, knowing once the book went live it wouldn’t matter anyway. In short, it was exciting, but even more so, it was stressful which tended to negate the excitement.

Late Monday evening, in the cover of darkness, with just a bottle of water and my bestie on speaker phone, my career as a published author was reborn. I watched in eager anticipation as The Delaneys of Delaware went live without a hitch. And today, I can honestly say, I’m nothing but a bundle of excited energy. No stress. No fretting. No second-guessing my work nor my decision as to its home. I’m in the process of rebuilding a fan base. Only a handful of my previous readers know I’m writing again, and that was by choice that I didn’t send out an email alert. I’m okay with the handful of faithful who never abandoned me, even though it must have felt like I abandoned them. I still kept in contact with these happy few on a fairly regular basis and got to know them on a more personal level, outside of the writing. Every so often the subject would come up, when are you coming back? Even through the long days of wondering if I would ever re-emerge into this world, they were patient and kind. That’s the mark of true kinship. It’s also the mark of what I’m in the business of…writing about love, in all its forms, not just the romantic kind. My romances embody the love born of friendships and the love of fellow man. My handful of followers who never abandoned me helped me learn, love will conquer all and they showered me with it at every turn as they waited for me to start writing again.

Even though this week’s release is actually a re-release, I’m so proud of the fact that it’s back out there. The three books contained in The Delaneys of Delaware box set are very near and dear to my heart. They’re stories I wrote, set in my husband’s hometown, during the long, lonely days and nights he was deployed for more years than I care to talk about. Aside from my first work, which will pop back up later this year as a prequel to a new series, these three books are what started it all. But, I have to admit, today I’m even more excited to be presenting them to the world, because although I’m rebuilding from scratch, something has shifted and all the joy I should have felt the first time around, yet couldn’t because of the stress, has come home to roost. I think it has something to do with managing those expectations. One sale, one hundred sales, a million sales…it matters not today, as long as someone finds as much joy in meeting the Delaneys as I’ve found in writing them and getting them back to market.

You can find The Delaneys of Delaware on Amazon, and you can get a free glimpse from the beginning of the first book, but I thought I’d leave you a taste from book two, A Slower Lower Life, here to enjoy…

Kurt rounded the final corner to find the carousel area void of passengers. Not a single bag remained on the conveyor, not a single person waited to claim anything. Where could she possibly have gone? The bathroom. Kurt turned on his heel and headed back toward the blue sign he’d seen hanging overhead indicating where the lavatories were. Standing just outside the ladies’ room, he waited a few minutes. If she was in there surely she’d have come back out by now. Before he left to go have her paged, an elderly woman in a pair of green plaid golfing shorts and a white polo shirt with a pink ball cap complete with fuzzy ball on the crown atop her gray head popped out of the swinging door. She nearly struck Kurt in the face he’d been standing so close.

“Oh, excuse me,” she said in a crackly voice. “But that was sort of your fault, young man. You shouldn’t have been so close to the door.”

“Yes, ma’am, I realize that,” Kurt answered, touching the bill of his Soil Service cap with his fingertips. “My apologies. Did you see a woman in there about this tall?” He held his hand to his chest. “With short black hair and gray eyes? At least that’s what she looked like last time I saw her.”

“Well, she couldn’t have changed that much in, what? Ten minutes?” the old woman snapped and looked at Kurt like he’d sprouted a third eye.

“No, no. I didn’t land with her. I’m picking her up. I haven’t seen her in a while…”

Before Kurt could finish his sentence, a woman who he was sure was Deidre came out of the restroom wearing a strapless white sundress that stopped mid-thigh and stretched so taut across her breasts they strained against the fabric, quite apparently uncomfortable with their hindrance. Kurt’s eyes followed the lines of the fabric along the rest of her body and down her tan legs to find spike heel, open toe, white pumps on her feet. Ten tiny perfect toes with red tips peeked out. He scanned back up with his breath caught in his throat. Big, square framed black sunglasses hid her eyes so he couldn’t see the color, but the short black hair and big gold hoop earrings were a dead giveaway. She had to be Deidre Maloney.

“Deidre?” Kurt asked, wiping his sweaty palms along his jeans. What was wrong with him? He’d seen her before. Of course that was last fall and she’d been covered up in a pair of chocolate corduroy pants and a burnt orange sweater, a cream silk scarf partially covering her head. It was funny to him that he actually remembered all of that. Wow. “Deidre, is that you?”

The woman looked up never so much as attempting a smile. It was then he noticed she looked a bit pale and along with the carry-on she held in her left hand, she dragged three enormous suitcases behind her.

“Holy hell, woman. You’re just staying a few days, right?” he asked, reaching around her and taking the telescopic handle she hung on to, relieving her of the melee of bags.

“Kurt? Long time no see.” Deidre tugged the purse handle on her shoulder a bit tighter and huffed. “You’re late.”

“Well, you should have thought of that possibility when you expected someone to get here before the chickens woke up. Do you know what traffic is like out there right now?” Kurt forgot the breathless feeling he’d experienced when he first looked at her.

“Of course I do. Did you forget I used to live here? I like to travel early and with some planning the traffic shouldn’t have been a problem.” She fanned herself with one hand. “I’m ready to go.” With that, she stomped off toward the double doors leading to the parking garage in a quick march.

“I can understand why you haven’t seen her in a while,” the old woman said and laughed. “I wouldn’t want to, either.”

This was going to be a treat, Kurt thought to himself. Not only was Deidre a city girl, she thought her stuff didn’t stink. Did she think he was nothing more than her chauffer and concierge for the week? Well, if that were the case, she had another think coming.

He watched her perfectly round butt swishing back and forth seductively and gave the heap of baggage a tug. How she managed to pull the mammoth mess as far as she had was beyond him. It must have weighed three hundred pounds and he couldn’t fathom the extra baggage fees she must have paid for being overweight. Before he made it ten feet past where he’d found her, she disappeared out the doors. Taking his time for no other reason than sheer spite, Kurt made his way through the terminal muttering what he really thought about her behavior under his breath while smiling at the other passers-by. Reaching the entrance she’d darted out of, with a deep fortifying breath, he went out the double doors.

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