Welcome to another stop on the weekly tour through my books! This week is super fun, because we'll be celebrating my 1950's romance series, Cupid's Bow: The First Generation Collection.
Okay, so let's get to it. I want to tell you more about how I first got the idea for my flagship romance series and where I draw my inspiration from. Enjoy!
Behind the Scenes
*The pic of me and Mr. Storm is the first we ever took together back in 2012 when we first fell in love.
Helen’s face may have launched a thousand ships, but my friend Mallory’s book cover launched a thousand stories. That’s right; the great spark of inspiration that led to my most ambitious book series ever was a single piece of art.
I first met Mallory in middle school, first got to know her in AP US History during twelfth grade. We both went to college, moved on with our lives and forgot about each other. That is, until we met again nearly ten years later and realized we’d done well following our dreams separately but could do even better together. I wrote books and owned a marketing business. She designed tech graphics, but had a special place in her heart for books and was looking to make a change. And so our partnership began.
For me, Mallory’s art has always held a special kind of magic. A book didn’t exist until it had a face, and that face—almost always—was a custom cover designed by the woman who, despite her sarcasm and brusqueness, had become one of my best friends. Strangely enough, her art also held healing powers for me. I swear when I was sad or anxious, a new book cover was just the thing to lift my spirits and help get me back to work. Still is.
One day she shared a sample cover she had created as part of a designer’s challenge—which she totally won by the way—and I found myself enamored of it. Who was the woman in the picture? Where was she going? I just knew I had to tell her story.
That’s when Deborah and James came to life for me: lovers separated by the war and meet again in the retirement village. I knew if I told their story of love both lost and found, I’d need to fill in the spaces between their great reunion and create a tapestry of love stories that spanned more than sixty years and three generations. Not a small order, but when inspiration strikes there’s little we authors can do to turn it away.
I had the who and when—that was the hard part. For my love stories, the how is always simple. Because every love story is the one I share with my husband, Falcon. Yup, every single one. It’s gotten to the point where every saccharine sitcom romance, every celebrity or reality TV pairing makes me squeal with delight. “They love each other! Just like us!”
Falcon rolls his eyes but cuddles me closer all the same. Having lost and found love myself, I know how much it means to finally get things right. Every love story is new yet familiar, exciting yet comfortable, and writing them puts a big, stupid grin on my lovesick face. Every. Single. Time.
Deborah, in particular, is so much like me it hurts. Bold and brazen one moment, yet worried about what other people will think the next. Writing erotic poetry? Yup, I’ve done that. Embarking on a crazy adventure with someone I’ve only just met? Yup, done that too.
And for those who think love stories often unfold way too quickly, some of the best, most enduring loves form in the blink of an eye. I met Falcon in August, married him in December, and three years later, can’t picture living my life any other way.
So to the artist who gave me a concept, and the husband who taught me what it is to love, thank you both for breathing life into this series and inspiring me with your awesomeness each and every day.
*P.S. Mallory says she'll give a %10 discount on her design services for anyone who mentions my blog! Go to www.MalloryRock.com to learn more, and be sure to tell her I sent you!
*I chose to share a scene from Look Homeward, Angel, which is a special follow-up story with Deborah and Rip from My Heart Belongs to Only You. You can ONLY get this story in this special boxed set edition. And it also includes an exclusive follow-up with James and Gloria (from I'll Never Stop Loving You) and their many kids in All I Have to Do is Dream.
The call came on the warmest day of summer, which was ironic really, since the news meant he’d be moving to the coldest part of the country.
“Alaska?” Deborah wrinkled her nose when he told her, and he immediately regretted even considering leading his new wife so far away from her family.
But then her features softened, and a huge grin stretched from cheek to cheek. “Oh, I’ve always wanted to go to Alaska! Do you think we’ll see penguins?”
Although Rip knew for a fact penguins lived at the South Pole and not the North, now hardly felt the time to quibble over minor details. He took his bride in his arms and studied her carefully. Deborah always wore her emotions plain as day across her face. The only answer he needed to make this decision was the look in her eyes, and that look was…
Full of love and nothing else.
“I know what you’re doing.” She laughed. “Yes, let’s move to Anchorage. It will be like an adventure.”
“You’re really sure?” he asked once more. “I could get a job here in Texas. We could stay near your family.”
She planted her hands on either side of his neck and brought her forehead close to his. “You are my home. Not Texas. Not Alaska. Not anywhere. Wherever we can be together, that’s where I’ll be happiest.” She smiled, and her tone became playful. “Besides, the Army is such an important part of who you are, and this Cold Weather and Mountain Warfare program thingy sounds perfect. Maybe I can take up knitting. Seems we’ll need lots of extra thick socks where we’re headed.”
And by January of the next year, they found themselves living in a tiny apartment just a few miles removed from the base of Fort Richardson. Alaska proved itself to be every bit as cold as Texas had been hot.
“Look at that moose!” Deborah shouted as they drove the last few miles in their several day journey to this strange, new home. “He’s just walking across the road without a care in the world. Can you believe that? Hey, Mr. Moose, where you headed?”
She collapsed back into her seat in a fit of giggles. “Oh, Rip. Isn’t it just as you’d imagined it would be? It’s like a winter fairy land. I half expect Santa to show up with his reindeer and welcome us to the neighborhood.”
Rip smiled and bobbed his head. While his wife was charmed by their surroundings, Rip felt fear clench hold of his heart.
The ice, the snow, the below-zero wind chill, it all brought back the memories he’d tried so hard to forget. Freeze-locked guns, enemy fire raining from the skies, blood seeping out from fallen soldiers staining the snow red…
There would be no rest for him. Each night starting with the first in their new home, he’d wake up screaming. Deborah did her best to comfort him by offering a warm glass of warm milk and stroking his hair until he fell back to sleep, but the night terrors persisted.
Night after night, he watched his friend George fall before him; he tried to work the ice out of his legs, to run, but he was stuck in place as the bullets flew toward him. Any second now, he’d…
He woke up gasping for breath.
“Hush, hush,” his wife said from across the room. Suddenly, the overhead light flickered to life, revealing the starkly decorated room they had yet to make their own.
“What time is it?” he asked.
“It’s five in the morning.” She returned to his side, sat down next to him, kissed his forehead. “Take the day off, spend time with me,” she urged. “We’ll take a long weekend.”
He hesitated, but Deborah was quick to justify her request.
“I think it’s time we saw just how many good memories are here too. Let’s have an adventure, Rip. After all, we’re a bit overdue for something fun.”
The way she smiled with such earnestness as she awaited his answer was more than enough to convince him of her plan, but before they could get started, Rip had a plan or two of his own… He pulled Deborah back into bed kissing her with an urgency he so often had when it came to his beautiful bride.
“Well, this is certainly fun.” She giggled as he helped her out of her pajamas and into his arms. They made love quietly, then slipped off into the predawn light to begin their next great adventure.
Get the Book
Sound like something you might want to read more of? Cupid's Bow: The First Generation Collection is available as an eBook, audiobook, and paperback. So you can read it anyway you want!
You can grab the eBook on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, the audiobook on Audible, Amazon, or iTunes, or the paperback on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Happy reading!
I'd love to hear from you, so leave a comment below telling me how you let YOUR creativity shine! Do you write, paint, knit, something else? I want to hear about it and learn more about what makes YOU special!