Today, I have the lovely Linda Carroll-Bradd visiting to talk about writing seasonal stories...as I have only written one seasonal story I am looking forward to any tips! Linda is giving away an ecopy of her latest release to one random commenter - good luck! Take it away, Linda...
One of my favorite aspects of writing stories around a holiday theme is doing the research to find something unique. Last year I wrote short stories in response to publisher calls for anthology submissions to include Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day themes. An added benefit of seasonal stories is that a word count is provided and the turnaround time from story submission to anthology publication is relatively short.
Often my plotting process is aided by the specific requirements of a sub-genre or locale. Knowing the holiday also helps with writing the weather. My recent inclusions in anthologies have been western historicals. I have always been fascinated about the 1800s and how the society was enriched by lots of cultures coming together. I make sure to create characters from different ethnic backgrounds, as well as people coming from different social strata within the US. Because most of my stories have small town settings, these people would be shopping at the same stores and worshipping at the same church. Therefore, learning about the various traditions becomes a natural part of the plot.
Then the fun begins, and I get to research an interesting custom or tradition related to that particular holiday from within that ethnic group. For example, in When My Heart Knew part of Cowboy Kisses, my hero was of Scottish and Welsh descent and grew up on a dairy farm in Scotland. Then he was orphaned and an uncle brought him to his cattle ranch in Texas. As Valentine’s Day approaches, he remembers a tradition from his mother’s family of carving a lovespoon with symbols that are specific to the courting couple and presents one to the heroine. I enjoy making the romantic experience between each couple special.
Tomboy Maisie Treadwell meets her match in cowboy Dylan MacInnes. From the moment they meet, the sparks and words fly. Of course, if she hadn’t knocked him down and caused an ankle sprain, their relationship might have gone more smoothly. To avoid damaging the reputation of the family’s boarding house, Maisie is ordered to be at the mercy of meeting Dylan’s demands. When they discover a shared interest in adventure stories, a bond is struck. Soon, Maisie can’t wait to spend time reading aloud to the virile man confined to a bed. Until the afternoon she overhears him explaining that his demands were meant to teach her a lesson. Can Dylan find a way to gain her trust again?
Mr. MacInnes stood in the doorway, balancing on one foot with a rough-cut tree branch under his left arm as a crutch. “Ready for me?”
Many times Maisie had been in a boarder’s room with that male present. But never had she felt flushed like she did now. Was that guilt? Or some other feeling? Quickly, she set down the volumes and ran a hand over the quilt, wondering if he’d be bothered by daisies and summer ferns. “There’s a chair by the window and I can find a footstool.” She swept a hand in that direction. “Or I’ve brought an extra pillow for resting on the bed.” What was she saying? The man knew why the pillow was there.
Mr. MacInnes stared at the bed with a narrowed gaze and then shook his head. “Let’s try the bed.”
“What?” She jerked and stepped back, knocking her heel against the wall. Heat flamed in her cheeks but she fought against covering them with her hands.
He pressed his lips together then spoke. “I meant could you help position the pillow under my foot?”
“Of course, sir.” Maisie lifted the pillow and waited as he limped across the rag rug and eased down onto the quilt-covered mattress.
The bedsprings creaked under his weight and he scooted until he was centered in the bed. Clasping both hands under his knee, he lifted and then jerked his head. “Okay, slide it under.”
Maisie jumped forward to comply. “There, how does that feel?”
“All right for having a sprained ankle.”
The mention of his injury shot guilt through her. “I want to tell you how sorry I am that I ran into you and caused this.” She gestured at his foot and accidentally bumped it.
“Damnation, girl.” He sucked in air through clenched teeth.
“Oh, I’m so clumsy. I’m sorry again.” She wrapped her arms around her middle to keep from causing another accident. She watched his tight expression relax and breathed out a sigh of relief. “And I’ll be thanking you for not revealing to my mother my type of attire when first we met.”
Mr. MacInnes cocked an eyebrow. “She doesn’t know her daughter dresses like a man and rides alone on the prairie.”
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00SA2Y6S2
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cowboy-kisses-lorrie-farrelly/1121096239?ean=2940149891740
As a young girl, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about fascinating characters having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, she read and then started writing romances and achieved her first publication--a confession story. Married with 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters, Linda writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor from her home in the southern California mountains.
One electronic copy of Cowboy Kisses will be awarded to a random name chosen from those who leave a comment and include an email address.