Catching the Bouquet @AliciaStreet1 #mgtab

June always bursts with weddings and one of the best parts of the celebration is when the bride tosses her bouquet.

The tradition began in England when wedding parties got a bit out of hand and single women tore at the bride’s clothing believing the pieces would bring them luck in finding a husband. Eventually brides began tossing their bouquets instead, and they remain to this day a symbol of hopefulness for women who have yet to find their true love.

In my newest romance, The Leftover Bride, the heroine has caught several bouquets at weddings, but she cannot seem to find Mr. Right. In fact, she has terrible luck with men and has begun to believe she just isn’t meant to ever be a bride and that the whole idea of catching a bouquet is meaningless.

What about you? Have you ever caught a bouquet at a wedding? Did your bouquet land in the hands of someone who found love? Or do you think the whole thing is silly?

Personally, I adore flowers, and regardless of the superstitious nature of it, I like to believe a bridal bouquet brings special luck in love to the woman who catches it.

Alicia Street

Alicia Street is a USA TODAY bestselling author and Daphne Award-winner often writing in collaboration with her husband, Roy, as well as on solo projects. She spent many years as a dancer, choreographer and teacher. A compulsive reader of every genre, she also loves watching old black-and-white movies and inventing new recipes for soups.
 View website

Unforgettable Memory #3 A Summer as a Fire Lookout

Unforgettable Memory #3 A Summer as a Fire Lookout
Nancy Radke #mgtab

After four years of college, my husband and I needed a break from working our way through college, so he took a job as a fire lookout with the Forest Service. They put our supplies on pack-mules and took both of us to the top of Granite Mountain in the Snoqualmie National Forest. We had to call the station and let them know any time the lookout was unmanned.

We were located at the center of all the lookouts, so most of our time was spent relaying messages from one spot to another, usually from firefighters to the Ranger Station. Our station was about twelve by twelve. It had windows completely around it, a fire-finder in the very center, and a catwalk outside. The bed was a narrow cot just wide enough for the two of us. It was only as high as the windows, which we left open at night, until we discovered that mice liked to come inside and run across us to check the place out for crumbs. We could feel them scurrying across the blankets.

We had a stool with insulators as legs, which we were to stand on if manning the radio during a lightning storm. Long cables ran from our large antenna mounted on the roof, down the corners of the lookout and down the mountainside. A burned path under the cables showed their effectiveness. I was already teaching school in the fall when we had our first lightning storm, so my husband had to weather it himself. He said it was really noisy!

Most of the time it was just us and the volcanic peaks around the area, Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams. This was before St. Helens blew off her top, so they all had beautiful, rounded glacier-covered tops. The clouds would roll in from the Pacific, filling the valleys, then rolling over a ridge and filling the next valley in line. After a few hours they would cover the land, leaving just us and the volcanoes, as if we were in an airplane. Then they would rise up enough to reach our catwalk, then go over us. Then we were in thick fog!

My kitchen was a two-burner camp stove, set on a wooden box that could be moved if it got in the way of the fire-finder. A square metal box with a door served as an oven. I had to use high-altitude recipes as we were around a mile above sea level. The “refrigerator” was a large cream can like the ones I used on the farm. We put it in a nearby snow bank. I could make Jello in a jar, just screw on a lid and put it in the can. When the snow bank left, we kept the can full of water, and that kept things cold.

We had visitors all summer. Our favorites were former lookouts, as they would bring us newspapers and other little items that you don’t miss until you are without. Sometimes we would get a Boy Scout troop, all full of questions, wanting to see how the fire-finder worked.

Our loo was a box with a lid on it, placed where you could sit and look out across the entire mountainside. Took me a while to feel comfortable using that! The man who packed in our supplies would sit out there with his binoculars, looking for bear, so he could find them when hunting season came. Our shower was a mile down the trail at an ice-covered lake, which made a small waterfall as it melted. Jump under and get wet, jump out and soap up, jump under again and then out and dry. No one took long showers.

I made lots of huckleberry pies, as the altitude didn’t affect them, and picked enough huckleberries to freeze for the winter. Once while picking I looked up the slope in front of me and saw a stag resting in the bushes. Startled both of us. He jumped over me and took off. The former lookouts had tamed a marmot, which would come and take crackers from my husband’s hand. I was never brave enough to keep holding the cracker when the marmot rushed me to get the treat.

I needed three more credits to get a teacher’s certificate. I signed up for a summer correspondence course and at the same time got a job teaching sixth grade in Kirkland. I had just turned twenty-one, but for some reason they hired me. I finished my correspondence course up there. Plenty of time to read, study, write, and just relax. It was a great way to spend the summer, and I was rested and ready to brave teaching for the first time that fall. I think they do their fire patrols with airplanes now, but the lookout experience was one I’m really happy to have had.

My book, “Courage Dares,” is set in that location, and I notice most of my stories have mountains in them. I live in the city now, but the mountains remain my favorite memories. Buy here at Amazon

Nancy Radke

Nancy Radke grew up on a wheat and cattle ranch in SE Washinton State. She attended a one-room country school through the eighth grade. She learned to ride bareback at age 3 (Really! It was a common practice.) and when she got off or fell off, she would pull her horse’s nose to the ground, get on behind its ears, and the horse would lift its head so she could scoot down onto its back. She spent most of her childhood exploring the Blue Mountain trails that bordered the ranchlands. She and a friend once took a trail that turned out to be a two day trip. They always rode with matches and pocket knives, so made camp and returned the next day. These long rides worried her parents, but provided plenty of time to make up stories. Her first novel was set in the Blues, and is entitled APPALOOSA BLUES. TURNAGAIN LOVE was the first one published. It rated a four star review from Affaire de Coeur. Scribes World said “Turnagain Love has some fascinating twists and turns, unexpected complications, and charming scenes.” It is light and humorous.
 View website

Audio!

Do you enjoy listening to your romances on the go? Amazon and Audible have a romance program designed just for you—it works like a subscription. Ambrosia by the Sea, my first book in the By the Sea series is in this program. Click below to find out more:

https://www.audible.com/ep/Romance-Package

My next three audio books are available on Audible, and Amazon.  Choosing a narrator is really important—I used the ACX program via Amazon. You want someone that gets your book and can deliver the story in an emotional way. I picked Evelyn Marcail for the last three and I couldn’t be happier with her performance.  We are thinking of putting them together in one boxed set on Audible as a marketing tool.  While checking out Audible I discovered my author page where you can see all five of my romances:

https://adbl.co/2xJVsbi

Today I am celebrating my newest audio release, Forever by the Sea.

https://adbl.co/2LnJF4u

Forever by the Sea is the ebook that is in our newest Unforgettable bundle,

Unforgettable Weddings. I sometimes like to read a book that I’ve listened to on audio and if I’ve read a book before hearing it on audio I sometimes catch different things. Just another way to get my romance fix!

https://www.amazon.com/Unforgettable-Weddings-Joyful-Memories-Unforgettables-ebook/dp/B07CV3KWVW

 

I love that there are so many ways to deliver a story—do you have a favorite?

Traci

www.tracihall.com

Traci Hall

With an impressive bibliography in an array of genres, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall has garnered a notable fan base. She pens stories guaranteed to touch the heart while transporting the reader to another time and place. Her belief in happily ever after shines through, whether it’s a romantic glimpse into history or a love affair for today.

Using What You Know

Often when I’m preparing to write a book, I go into research mode, looking up traits of the Greek gods or directions for making a pipe bomb. Other times, the information I need is right at my fingertips.

Although I’ve been writing novels for more than thirty years, I didn’t start out inventing plots and characters. At first I was a nonfiction writer, selling feature articles to a local newspaper—always on the lookout for interesting topics I could pitch to my editor. Which is how I stumbled on a woman in my community who was working as a sexual therapist.

Yes, the editor was interested in an article about her. And after that piece was successfully published, I began thinking bigger. Could I expand the story and sell it to a national magazine? I also got a positive response to that query. After publication, the editor had an interesting request: Would the therapist like to write a monthly sexual advice column in the magazine? Since she was not a writer, she asked me to help. And there I was, with a steady job sitting down with the therapist every month, going through letter from the magazine’s subscribers. We’d find good questions. She’d tell me the answers. And I’d write them up. The arrangement lasted two years, until the therapist got tired of sifting through the same problems over and over. And meanwhile I was switching my focus from nonfiction to fiction.

I’ve used the information I learned from those sessions many times in my romance writing. Where else could you get better insights into man-woman relationships? But eventually I decided the experience would make a great setting for a novel, which I called Bedroom Therapy. As the book opens, my heroine, Amanda O’Neal, has taken over writing a sexual advice column because the original author was killed in a hit and run accident. Enter private detective Zachary Grant who’s been hired to find out if the incident was really murder. Quickly he realizes he’s dealing with a killer who has switched his focus to Amanda. Zach is also focused on Amanda, only his thoughts are centered in the bedroom. And he has an interesting sexual problem that he’s hoping she can solve—if he gets up the nerve to talk about it. Meanwhile, he entices her into all kinds of interesting fantasy situations that she finds hard to resist. And when he has trouble communicating verbally, he writes her letters asking for advice and leaves them on her desk.

It’s a fun premise for a novel. And the cat and mouse game with the killer ups the tension of the story. Zach ends up having to save Amanda’s life and then surrender to some hands-on therapy.

Rebecca York

NY Times & USA Today best-seller, Rebecca York, is the author of over 150 books. She has written paranormal romantic thrillers for Berkley and romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue. Her new romantic-suspense series, Decorah Security, is set at a detective agency where agents have paranormal powers or work paranormal cases. She also writes an Off-World series where each story is a science fiction romance taking place on a distant planet in the far future.
 View website