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Thursday, April 19, 2012
PLEASE WELCOME SUSAN LUTE!
Today, I'm delighted to welcome Susan Lute to my LEGACY blog. I've known Su for quite a few years, and very pleased to see she is working on not just one, but two contemporary romance series--plus ideas hopping for a paranormal/fantasy series. What a busy lady!
Like all children of military families, Susan spent her childhood moving from one duty station to the next. An ardent student of human nature, she acquired a love for ancient history and myth, a fascination for the ridiculous and unusual, and is the first to admit she still collects way too much useless information. These days, when not working as a Registered Nurse, she writes whenever she can. When not writing, her favorite things to do are spend time with family, read, watch movies, garden, take black-and-white photos, travel, and remodel her house.
What is the name of your series of books? How many books are in the series?
Almost all of my books are connected in a series. Jane's Long March Home is the first book in my FALLING FOR A HERO series. A Girl Named Jane is the prequel. I'm currently working on the next book, Bear's Full House (tentative title). There will be four books and the prequel in all.
THE ROSEWOOD NOVELS are my second series. The Return of Benjamin Quincyis the first book. And I'm currently working on a women's fiction novel, loosely connected to The London Affair, one of three books about women who spend their lives taking care of their patients, but who don't do such a good job at home.
What's the genre/subgenre of your series?
FALLING FOR A HERO and THE ROSEWOOD NOVELS are contemporary romance. I also have a paranormal/fantasy romance that will be published later this year.
What is the premise of your series? What ties them together? Are the characters related, have the same career, live in the same town, etc?
My books are always about finding family. FALLING FOR A HERO are stories about four Marines who have spent their career, when stationed together, playing Friday night poker – Jane, Bear (Brian), Lacy, and Scott.
Why write a series? What are the pros and cons?
I think it's a matter of preference. Also series sell better to readers, so the publishing houses like them. For me, I think in terms of family and community, stories that are best told in series. As a reader, I always like a hint of previous characters' happy-ever-after.
What's your next project? Is there another series in your writing future?
In FALLING FOR A HERO, it's Bear's story. In THE ROSEWOOD NOVELS it's a reversed makeover story, or modern day charm school story. I haven't made up my mind. And down the road, starting this year, I'll be working on a post apocalyptic paranormal/fantasy series that I'm very excited about.
EXCERPT from... JANE'S LONG MARCH HOME
If this didn't work, the life she was so desperate to get back was headed down the toilet.
Jane parked her black Jeep next to an older white pickup. Well used and somewhat battered, it looked like she felt. Worn out and barely able to turn over her motor.
An unrelenting hammer pounded in her head, barely touched by the ibuprofen she’d swallowed earlier. Shoving a shaking hand through her unevenly cut hair, she bit back the bile threatening to crawl a burning path into her throat.
Okay, it was terror, but no one needed to know that but her.
She took in the house, and the rundown, neglected buildings littering the yard around it. There was a long bunkhouse-like structure to one side; beyond that a huge barn and corrals that needed more than a little repair and paint. A struggling lawn wrapped around the house. Juniper trees and an occasional tall pine grew on the hills behind the ranch house. Overhead, the sky was a clear blue. The air smelled clean - no, new and fresh, as if in this place, life had promise.
She had a hard time remembering the last time she’d felt that way. For a summer evening in early June, it was unseasonably warm in the Central Oregon high desert that bordered the Crooked River. That's what she’d heard on the radio as she’d navigated her way through the nearby town of Lone Pine.
She couldn’t bring herself to care one way or the other. There wasn't anything she wouldn't give not to be here, but she was. For one thing and one thing only - to get the help she needed to resume the life that had been shattered by a terrorist's bomb.
She used to be good at her job, at living a soldier’s life. The best, in fact. She wasn’t anymore. She’d made a holy mess of things, and the Colonel had given her one last chance to get her shit together.
Quelling the symptoms of being too long on the road without adequate food or sleep, she counted back the days. Eight since she’d had any alcohol or a cigarette. Eight long days since the Colonel had given her his last ultimatum.
Get yourself squared away. If you don't, you can kiss your upcoming re-enlistment goodbye.
The words rang like a death knell in her ears. On this ranch, out in the middle of small town America, as far from the familiarity of a Marine base as it was possible to get, she'd been ordered to find what she’d lost. Somehow, she had to get her Marine hoorah back.
A movement by the long building caught her eye.
“Get out of the rig, Jane,” she muttered, sweat slicking the palms of her hands where they gripped the steering wheel as if it were her last lifeline. “You’re not going to save your ass by sitting here.”
By sheer determination, she uncurled her fingers and climbed out of the Jeep. Squaring her shoulders, she cautiously approached the older man watching her. He pushed his cowboy hat to the back of his head revealing short silver hair and bushy brows over canny, hazel eyes. Seams were cut into his weathered face from more than a few years spent under a hot sun.
“Can I help you, Miss?”
“I’m looking for Dr. Chase Russell.”
“You have business with the Doc?”
Jane hesitated, then nodded. There was not an inch of give in the old man’s expression. Fear stirred her nausea. He was going tell her Russell wasn’t here and send her away.
“You’ll find the Doc out back, behind the house.” The old codger pulled a rag from his pocket, swabbed at the back of his neck, before turning to go inside the faded building.
He glanced at her. “Gus’ll do.” And with that, he was gone.
Jane followed the grass around the house. Roses bloomed next to its side. Startlingly colorful petunias nestled beneath their thorny stems. Rounding the corner, she found a punching bag suspended from an ancient, gnarled apple tree. A man, hopefully it was Russell, was giving it the old one-two punch.
He looked like he’d had plenty of practice. His muscled chest glistened with sweat. Workout pants hung indecently low on narrow hips. A growth of dark stubble shadowed a strong lower jaw.
Jane’s stomach turned over, but this time not with the nerves she’d been fighting all morning.