How about a warm welcome for my fellow Midwest Fiction Writers member Jody Vitek, who has recently published her first book, FLORIDA HEAT? (Don’t sweat it, Jody. We’re cool like that.)
Thank you Kathleen and the rest of the crew for letting me ride along today. This is my first stab at blogging, just like it’s my first time being a published author, so I’m excited to be here. With the heat wave much of the nation has experienced this month, grab yourself a refreshing drink and keep cool. My first book, Florida Heat, was released on Sunday. I’m excited and nervous all rolled into one. The majority of Florida Heat takes place during the month of July and I love the idea of it releasing at this time. Here’s a little bit about the book.
FLORIDA HEAT released July 22 by Melange Books.
Maggie Carlisle thought she left her ex-husband’s drug life behind in Texas. Left with a physical scar, she struggles to shed the emotional pain and falls in love with Trent Randall. But, Kevin Shaw, a man from her past, looks for revenge through Maggie. Emotional blackmail forces her to choose between true love with Trent or a life based on lies and deception with Kevin.
Trent Randall, a boarding and breeding ranch owner and offshore powerboat driver, loses focus of his racing when Maggie enters his life. Trent contemplates whether Maggie’s worth the danger after he is involved in a racing accident. Trent can’t help but let his heart lead the way when he finds out Maggie’s in trouble.
The whole premise of this book came to fruition while on vacation with my best friend, and I owe so much to her. As we sat on the white sand beach of Siesta Key, rated as one of the top ten beaches in America, we witnessed offshore powerboat racing for the first time. I’m from the Midwest and had never heard of such a sport. Little did I know, after doing some research, there is powerboat racing in the Midwest. I fell in love with the power and speed these boats have and wanted to write a romance including that element. The brainstorming session began, and Florida Heat was born.
This picture is from the trip to Siesta Key, Florida where the idea for Florida Heat was born. The people in the water are cooling off, relaxing, playing and, or, watching the racing. If you look closely, in the distance on the horizon, you see the privately owned yachts and smaller boats watching the races. The helicopters flying overhead are for the boaters’ safety, and manatee watch, and some are videotaping.
Promotional video for the 2011 Suncoast Super Boat Festival in Sarasota, Florida.
Trent Randall, my hero, was easy to place in the roll as owner and driver for the powerboat racing. What he did for living didn’t come until I figured out who and what my heroine was all about. Once I knew Maggie Carlisle was from Texas and running from her past, the story came together. Maggie’s father sends her horse to Trent’s home, Rolling Rock Ranch, or the Triple R, It’s where Maggie and Trent meet for the first time.
Maggie’s best friend Chloe comes to pay a visit and nudges Maggie and Trent together. A stranger, Kevin, who knows her ex-husband, approaches Maggie one night wanting to go out with her. She decides to go on a date with him to see if he knows about her ex-husbands drug dealings.(The drug plotline came from my husband’s law enforcement career.)
Maggie makes the decision early on that she can’t go out with Kevin any longer because of his connection to her ex-husband, and bad vibes. Not only that, but she’s falling in love with Trent. Kevin continues to pursue and eventually blackmails her into breaking up with Trent. To find out how it all ends, so I don’t spoil it for anyone, you’ll have to read Florida Heat.
In the beginning, Florida Heat was 495 pages, had five points of view and scenes that were not necessary. I credit the story’s clean up to several things: How To Write A Book In 30 Days by Karen S. Wiesner, attending a one day workshop with speaker Michael Hauge, and another workshop with Margie Lawson with a follow-up online class with Margie. All of this, along with a great critique group, made the story come together. Of course attending other workshops, helpful books and the support of a writers group are key factors as well.
Florida Heat isn’t the first book I wrote. Like most authors, I have the first book tucked away for all eternity (or for a later revival). Rescue Me, my current work in progress, takes place on a Minnesota Farm. I’ve played with the idea of telling Maggie’s best friend, Chloe’s story, but it’s only an idea. Let’s see what readers think after reading Florida Heat.
I would love to know if any of today’s visitors have seen or heard of offshore powerboat racing. If you have, what do you think about it? Do you find it thrilling or dangerous?
Please feel free to ask any question(s) you’d like. As a thank you for visiting me today at Riding With The Top Down, I would like to offer a small gift to one lucky person who leaves a comment.