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Posts tagged ‘small town’

Cover Reveal: First Choice, Second Chance

No blog links this week, since I got the cover art for the first in my small town contemporary romance series, First Choice, Second Chance. So, you get the first look at that instead.

I first got the idea for this back in the summer of 2013, I believe. I had just finished reading a book(Gwynneth Ever After, by Linda Poitevin), and for the first time I had ideas for a straight contemporary romance. No suspense subplot. I couldn’t get to sleep with all the ideas I had circling in my head(one reason I shouldn’t read on my phone in bed). So, I got up and started writing them down. I knew I wanted to set it in the area where I grew up(and still live not far from). I had some other vague ideas and they started to come together. I also realized there were two stories here, but they were so twisted together, they couldn’t really be separated. Hence an alternating timeline. And it just took off from there.

I know, I know, you’re actually here to see the cover, huh. So, I’ll get to that…

*Pushes papers around on desk*

*Shuffles some more papers*

Oh, here it is(I know, I’m weird.)…

FirstChoiceSecondChanceSmallerWebUse

Ain’t it purty?! Love when I’m looking through pre-mades and find one that just hits me. This was designed by the wonder Marianne Nowicki, the same designer of my cover for Flames of Redemption.

Title: First Choice, Second Chance
Series: Kurztown(#1)
Release Date: 8/18/2015

Synopsis:

One wrong choice doesn’t have to lead to another

Seven years ago, he watched her drive away.

Lila Corelli was the love of Mason Akeley’s life, but she chose a music career and another man over him. He thought it would destroy him, but he’s been scraping by; on the family farm and in life. Now, she’s back in town, and he feels like he’s barely hanging on.

She made a wrong choice.

Lila knows she made a mistake. She thought she had been on the right path; to her career, love, her life. Instead, she never saw the disaster one wrong choice could cause. Now, with everything gone, she returns to her hometown, hoping to find her way to a new path.

Mason’s love for Lila has never died, but he’s afraid to open himself to be hurt again. Lila chose the wrong future once, and she worries she’ll be making another bad choice that will only lead to more destruction. But, if they can untangle their past from their present, they just might be able to find their future together.

Excerpt 1:

Mason Akeley stepped out of the barn and saw his father standing beside the large red tractor. He had one hand on the handle of his cane, while the other tried to turn a wrench. A curse barely slipped past his lips before he hurried forward. “Dad, what are you doing? You’re going to hurt yourself.”
“I’ve been working on tractors longer than you’ve been alive, boy. Leave me to it.”
He ignored the words and the pain behind them and put his hand over his father’s. “Dad, please give me the wrench.”
His father didn’t even bother to bite back the curse. “If I can’t even be helpful around here, I don’t know why I bother. The damn doctors should have let me die.”
The words had something slithering inside him and squeezing around his chest. “No, Dad, don’t say that. You’re still useful. You don’t have to do this. That’s why you have me around, remember?”
The storm seemed to pass right through his eyes. His shoulders slumped, and he relaxed his grip on the wrench, letting Mason take it. “Can you go in and get my toolbox?” Mason asked. “I planned on getting to this when I finished the other chores anyway.”
“Right,” his father muttered.
Mason waited until he’d limped into the barn before he turned back to the tractor. He closed his eyes, trying to gain his composure back. His father stayed upbeat most of the time. When he got like this, he was in serious pain. Nothing seemed to take that completely away. He smacked the wrench in his hand against the tractor. “Damn it.”
His father had always been the strongest man he knew. Now, he seemed to get weaker and weaker. This damn tractor was a reminder of why. He wished he didn’t have to see it and be reminded every day. Really wished he didn’t have to try to fix it all the time. It wasn’t the tractor’s fault his father was nearly crippled.
It was his.

Excerpt 2:

Her father opened the door before she had even reached it. He took the larger suitcase from her and set it aside. Then, he dragged her inside. Maybe he would wrap her in his arms like he had done when she was younger, but he didn’t. He held her away from him and looked her up and down, like he looked for any flaws. Like one of her flaws had caused this whole mess.
Maybe it had.
Then, he released her, and one of the cracks in her heart widened. “I’ll take your stuff back into your room,” her mother said, stepping forward.
“Thanks, Mom.”
She turned to look at her father, but he’d already turned away. She itched to go to him, to put her arms around him. Then, maybe he’d turn and return the gesture. She wanted something to tell her she could be whole again. She stayed right where she was, too afraid he would never embrace her again. She was too much of a disappointment for that. Tears welled into her brown eyes, so much like his, but she blinked them back. She’d caused them enough heartache in the last year. She wasn’t going to burden them with her tears as well.
“Dinner will be ready in a little while,” her mother said when she returned. “You have time if you want to take a shower and get cleaned up. I know you spent most of the day on the road.”
She was about to thank her mom again, but the words wouldn’t come. Instead tears flooded her eyes. “Oh, baby,” her mother whispered and stepped forward to offer the hug she’d wanted from her father. It didn’t take away the pain though. Neither did her father’s next words.
“You never should have let him do this to you. You were smarter than this.”
The words slammed into her, like punches right to her soul. “I’m sorry, Daddy.”
“You are sorry?” The words came out as a roar, and thick with the accent that most of the times nearly disappeared from his voice. Then, he shook his head and stepped back. “I cannot do this.”
Lila watched him leave the room then turned back to her mother, tears gathering in her eyes. “I never meant to hurt him. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone.”
Her mother didn’t say anything. She stepped forward and slipped her arms around the young woman. “You did nothing. He blames himself.”

Excerpt 3:

He held up a hand to stop her. “Give me a shot of Jack.” He caught Lila at the edge of his vision. “Actually make it a double.”
Jess hesitated then poured the drink and passed it over to him. He took the first sip and winced at the burn. He wasn’t sure if he would ever get used to it. The whiskey warmed the parts of him that had gone cold with Lila’s arrival. He kept his eyes focused on the wall across the bar as he took the second sip. He still knew the moment she stepped up beside him. He didn’t know if her scent still lived in his memory and he recognized it, or if it went deeper. He didn’t even have to hear her voice. It was in his head, in his dreams, every day and every night. When she ordered a drink, it twisted around his heart again.
His fingers tightened around the glass. He was almost afraid it would shatter right there in his fist. He dragged in some air through his nose, but it only came back out sounded strangled. He started to turn away. He needed to put some space between them. He couldn’t handle having her so close. As soon as he took a step, her hand was on his arm, the muscles in it cording tighter. “Mason.”
He was going to explode, shatter into tiny pieces no one would ever be able to put back together again. He had to get away. He didn’t even respond to her saying his name. He set the glass on the top of the bar. It must have been harder than he planned because a crack sounded when he did it. He didn’t even look back. “Put it on my tab, Jess. All of it.”
His head pounded. He didn’t think it was the alcohol or the music. It was Lila. It had always been Lila. He pushed out through the door. Then braced his hand against the side of the building and squeezed his eyes shut. The door opened again, and he didn’t even look behind him. Instead he strode across the small parking lot to his truck. She called his name again, but he didn’t stop. He checked his mirror to make sure she wasn’t right behind him, he certainly didn’t hate her that much. She still stood close to the building. She had her arms wrapped around her, and stared after him. His eyes started to burn. Then, he backed out of his parking spot and pulled out of the lot. The gravel spun under his tires, but he didn’t care. He wanted to put distance between them. Before he lost the grip he barely kept on his sanity.

Add it on Goodreads or pre-order now(Kindle only, I’ll have other links up on release day).

Fiction Friday: The Choice Ready for Beta Readers

I just finished revising The Choice, per my critique partner’s comments and cleaned it up. This is the first in my Kurztown series, set in small town Pennsylvania. It’s a contemporary romance that sits at a little under 68,000 words.

Seven years ago, he watched her drive away.

Lila Corelli was the love of Mason Akeley’s life, but she chose a music career and another man over him. He thought it would destroy him, but he’s been scraping by; on the family farm and in life. Now, she’s back in town, and he feels like he’s barely hanging on.

She made a wrong choice.

Lila knows she made a mistake. She thought she had been on the right path; to her career, love, her life. Instead, she never saw the disaster one wrong choice could cause. Now, with everything gone, she returns to her hometown, hoping to find her way to a new path.

Mason’s love for Lila has never died, but he’s afraid to open himself to be hurt again. Lila chose the wrong future once, and she worries she’ll be making another bad choice that will only lead to more destruction. But, if they can untangle their past from their present, they just might be able to find their future together.

If anyone is interested in reading this and providing feedback, let me know either by leaving a comment here or emailing me at fallonrb@gmail.com. It has a bit of an alternating timeline and is more on the steamy side than sweet.

Definition of a Small Town

I started thinking about writing this post last month when I read Tin God by Stacy Green. There was one line in it that threw me. I loved the book, but when I read this line, “Stupid small towns. Less than thirty-thousand people…” I stopped. I remember looking up, then reading it again and the thought went through my head, “That’s a small town? More like a small city.” But, I’ve started to think maybe my idea of what a small town is is a bit skewed. And that all has to do with where I grew up, and really, where I live now(the two aren’t too far apart in distance or population).

My home town, and the one I live in now, are actually considered “boroughs”, not officially a town. Now, according to Wikipedia, “A borough is an administrative division in various countries. In principle, the term borough designates a self-governing township although, in practice, official use of the term varies widely.” I looked a little farther and saw that in Pennsylvania(where I live), it is “a type of municipality comparable to a town”.

My home town, as of 2011 had a population of 996. A 7% decline since 2000. Like I said, small. The land area is 1.44 square miles. The only notable location listed on city-data.com was out local volunteer fire department. Although the last time I was in town, there was a Subway and a Dollar General there now. Also, we have 1 bank, 1 stoplight, and about 5 churches in one block. Also, a library and 2 gas stations. There’s also a hardware store run by my uncle where I worked a couple summers. Maybe I should mention, I’m related to about half the town one way or another. Both sides of my mom’s family are rather large. The biggest city near us is Erie, in the 50,000+ range, then Pittsburgh with over 300,000.

Now my current town(or borough) is a little larger than the one I grew up in. It has a population of  3322 as of 2011, a decline of -4.1% since 2000. It’s a little larger in terms of size as well as population with a land area of 1.87 square miles. City-data.com has the public library(that my daughter’s k-4 class goes to once a month) and this town’s volunteer fire department. There’s 1 bank, with 2 different branches and several churches. We actually don’t live in town, but right outside of it. Our address still puts us there even though we’re actually right across the county line. It’s labeled as a “census-designated place” with a population of 516 in 2010. That increases during the summer when people, mostly from Pittsburgh, come up to “summer cottages”.

One of the closest cities to my hometown is even smaller than that quoted small town from the book with a population of 13645 and land area of 4.35 square miles. Some of the notable locations are: Baldwin Reynolds House Museum and the Meadville Mall. There’s also  Allegheny College, a manufacturing institute, a practical nursing program, 6 public elem/middle school, and 2 public high schools. In both my home town and current town, there’s only 1 grade school & 1 high school.

This is where we always did our shopping and went out to eat. The mall is practically non-existent now, I think. K-mart being most of what’s still open there.

Now, where I went to college, Clarion, Pa, I always thought was pretty large. And I would laugh when I heard people, mostly from around Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia areas, refer to it as a small town. There were several restaurants, a mall, a Wal-Mart, the university itself. Didn’t seem small at all to me. Well, as I was doing the research for this article, I found that it has a population of just 5271 and is considered a borough as well. So maybe it’s not quite as large as I thought.

As well as the university, one of the local attractions is Cook Forest State Park, a place I remember camping at when I was growing up.
There’s also 7 different banks and 9 hotels/motels in the town.

As I said, one of the closest bigger cities to us is Erie. This is now where we do most of our shopping and eating out. It has a population of over 100,000 and encompasses 22 square miles. Certainly big enough for me. Some notable locations are the Erie Maritime Museum, Erie Zoo, Millcreek Mall, Presque Isle State Park, Splash Lagoon(indoor water park) and Waldameer Park(an amusement park). There are 10 colleges/universities, 10 public high schools, 10+ public elementary/middle schools, 45 branches of 9 different banks, and 27 hotels/motels.

So, looking over this I can see why my view of a small town may be different than that of someone else. And that in different areas, a small town may be defined differently.

What about you? What do you consider a small town? Is your view different because of where you grew up?

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