Summer Fair, a fun project organized by a collaborative of writers it has been my absolute pleasure to be part of. Like its predecessor Haunt, sales of the book would benefit various charities. I was thrilled for the invitation, but also at the time in the thick of penning a novel sequel to last year's The Day After Tomorrow: Into Infinity, an epic new adventure for the crew of the lightship Altares called The Day After Tomorrow: Planetfall (due in November 2018 by the fine folks at Anderson Entertainment). I wrote the first draft in a kind of fugue over the course of one month. The next few weeks were spent doing edits for submission to meet my deadline to turn in the book. By the time all was done, my creative batteries were depleted, and "Amaryllis" was due. Luckily by then the long chill of North Country winters was fading, and I took to writing on my sun porch as the outside greened and my creativity built with the spring. Over the course of three days, I penned a 7,500 word first draft of "Amaryllis and New Lace", injecting it with as much sweet romance and sass as possible. Today, it appears in a gorgeous anthology filled with an amazing cast of writers.
Many of my fellow Fairgoers shared the backstories behind their stories in Summer Fair.
R.L. Merrill on "Salty and Sweet": "'Salty and Sweet' is an homage to the summer I spent in a theater program back in 1996. It was
early in my teaching career, I was still trying to earn units to clear my
California credential, and so I thought why not? It was a blast. I danced and
sang in my very first musical theater production, Kiss Me Kate, and learned
that I better stick to dancing, which I’d done most of my life up until that
point. The character of Naomi was inspired by an instructor I had in that
program, plus a police officer I worked with a few years later. Both women were
brilliant, powerful, and sexy. They challenged me, made me laugh, and inspired
me to quit downplaying my talents. In 'Salty and Sweet', Heather is tired of
being put down and is on the cusp of accepting her big size and bigger
attitude. I loved her free spirit and wanted to pair her with a woman who would
appreciate her. There have been many women who have encouraged that shift in
me, and I wanted to write this story for them."
Marie Piper on "All the World": "To tell you the truth, I almost forgot about the
Columbian Exposition. I’d been knee-deep in writing a western historical
romance project, so when I saw the Summer Fair announcement my
brain immediately went to a small county fair and truly -- I was planning to
write about a pie-eating contest. But it didn’t take long for me to realize the
wealth of opportunity the Columbian Exposition carried -- this incredible
spectacle that happened right in Chicago, where I live, in an area I visit
frequently. The 1893 Expo is the perfect setting for a romance. People came
from all over the world -- mortgaging their homes in some cases to be able to
attend. My story is about a girl from across Lake Michigan who comes to the
Expo dreaming of being a reporter, and the pickpocket who nearly steals her
purse and instead winds up her tour guide for the day. They visit the Palace of
Fine Arts, the Midway Plaisance, take a ride in the Ferris Wheel, and take in a
show by ‘the soul of the exotic’ herself, Little Egypt. As they see brand new things, they feel
brand new things as well -- and All the
World opens to them."
CM Peters on "Dewberry Kisses": "From the start, I knew I wanted a fruit/pie festival. For some reason,
I kept thinking of the movie To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar and its
strawberry festival in a small hick town. Although my town is not that
‘hicksie’, it’s southern and charming, filled with hardworking and kindhearted
people.. Also, I was inspired by a certain actor strutting around in cowboy
boots and a cowboy hat in a social media post. He needed to be written into a
cute romantic story.. So, I mixed everything up with two single souls needing
love in their lives again and voilà, you have ‘Dewberry Kisses’!Also, ‘Dewberry
Kisses’ was my reconciliation with writing this past winter. It made me look
forward to summer, to getting back into writing romance, though I’m editing a
completely different novel at the moment. I’d had a serious writer’s block
after finishing a novel, so something lighter and romantic was all I needed.
And dewberry pie. Cause you know, pie. #deanwinchester #doyougetthereference. I
hope you enjoy it!"