First Book, First Blog—The Heat Is On!

jody_007_hisx 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.

Offshore Racing

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?

Do you like sequels or books that are part of a series? (I personally love them.) If you’ve read Florida Heat already, is there a character whose story you’d like to be told and why?

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.


About Kathleen Eagle

Kathleen Eagle is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of over forty novels.
This entry was posted in Florida, powerboat racing, first book, romance. Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to First Book, First Blog—The Heat Is On!

  1. I haven’t heard of that sport and I will check it out because I love that kind of thing. Your book sounds good. Can’t wait to read it.
    I am a sequels or series woman! I love series books.

    • Jody Vitek says:

      Thanks for visiting today, Judy. The sport is something to witness. I don’t go into too much detail about the racing, just enough to give you a taste. There is a MN powerboat association and they race on the rivers in the upper states. I hope you enjoy my story.

  2. TrishJ says:

    Great blog and congrats on your new book. Although I have heard of powerboat racing I have only seen them race on TV.. At the speeds they achieve, it is extremely dangerous. I have never read a book involving this sport.

    I do love sequels. I like that the story continues on.

    • Jody Vitek says:

      Welcome, Trish and thank you. They do a good job of televising the racing events and sometimes you witness the dangerous side of the sport. Not having read about this sport in a romance myself is one of the reason I persued writing the story.

  3. laurieg72 says:

    As I live half of the year in Florida, I have seen these huge, powerful boats. There is a competition on the Atlantic Ocean and they stay at a resort near us on Hutchinson Island. I’ve also seen the huge boats in Wisconsin as there is a competition on Lake Michigan. My home town and my husband’s are both located on different parts of Lake Michigan.

    I find the powerboat racing extremely dangerous! I’m nervous going fast in a small boat much less racing with the waves etc. I’ve never been to Siesta Key. Where is it located?

    I haven’t read your book but it does sound exciting. I do like series books as long as they are stand alone reads and not repetitious.

    • Jody Vitek says:

      Oh, Laurieg, you are so lucky. I would love to witness this sporting event more often because it is so thrilling. I don’t care for the danger part of the racing, but then again, I’m not racing. This is a choice the driver and his team make. They’re thrill seekers.

      Siesta Key is on the Gulf side of Florida between Sarasota and Fort Meyer. Sarasota holds an offshore event every year around the Fourth of July. I hope you enjoy the book and thanks for commenting today.

  4. Brynna Curry says:

    Hi. Congratulations on your debut release! Sounds like a great story. I haven’t heard of powerboat racing, but it sounds dangerous in a wicked fun sort of way. I love series, especially when the characters are glimpsed in previous books, just like visiting old friends.

  5. pearl says:

    Congratulations and best wishes on your release. It sounds compelling. I haven’t
    heard of powerboat racing which is fast and scary.Series always is a pleasure to read since the characters are enjoyable to read about again.

    • Jody Vitek says:

      Thanks, Pearl. I hope you enjoy FLORIDA HEAT. Powerboat racing is fast paced and if you ever get the chance to watch, take in the magnificent power and speed the drivers have control of.

  6. Good morning, Jody! I did a fist pump when I heard that your first book was available for readers to enjoy. You’ve worked long and hard to make your dream come true, and it’s time to celebrate.
    I’ve never seen powerboat racing, but it sounds like an exciting backdrop for a romantic story.

    While I do like a good series, I want the books to stand alone. When I find a book that really captivates me, I’m thrilled to discover that there might be more. I recently read Elizabeth Hoyt’s “Maiden Lane” series and am in awe of the way the characters are interwoven throughout.

    • Jody Vitek says:

      Good morning to you, Kathleen. Thank you for having me today. To bad we have to have the top up on the convertible, but we are in need of this rain. You, and many others here on RWTTD, have given me great inspiration and taught me a lot through the years – Thank you, ladies.

      All commenters this morning have the same feelings about series books and I couldn’t agree more about the need for them to stand alone. I don’t plan for FLORIDA HEAT to be a part of a series but may seriously consider telling Chloe’s story with what everyone has stated.

  7. Amy Hahn says:

    OH happy day! It seems like just yesterday that we were doing Margie’s edit colors on your story! Even though I got to work on the story a bit with you, i still didn’t have a clear vision of what powerboat racing was until i looked at the youtube clip. Thanks for including that…very helpful.
    Congrats on publication…so tickled for you! Hugs!

  8. I have read your book and enjoyed it through all it’s stages (LOL). Yea! congrats. I know how hard you worked to make this happen!

  9. And I would love to read Chloe’s story!

  10. michelehauf says:

    Congrats on your first book, Jody! Enjoy it!

  11. Kathleen O says:

    The only Power or boat races I have seen are in the movie or on TV… In fact one of the first ones I have ever seen was the movie Clambake with Elvis… I am not one for races that are noisey, like cars or boats… Now horse racing is another story.. I love series and Jody, as I have not read your books, I don’t know any character I would want to read about, but I would read them espeically because of the title.. I love Florida… I am going to put your book on my TBR list..

    • Jody Vitek says:

      I love Elvis, Kathleen. I can’t say I’ve seen the movie Cambake but will try to catch it sometime on TV. Trent doesn’t race horses in FLORIDA HEAT but owns one and has his ranch. Thanks for adding me to your TBR list. I hope you enjoy the story.

  12. Kathy Maxfield says:

    Hi Jody! Wow, now you are blogging! I am so exicited for you. To be honest, I am not a reader, but I am definitely going to read Florida Heat. I have heard so much about your book and I have watched racing on TV and it is truly scary. But, I will read it surely for the romance!
    Thanks for keeping me posted with all your progress and I am very proud of your accomplishments.
    Kathy M

  13. Christie Vitek says:

    Hi Jody. I am on page 50. Great reading. I do enjoy sequels and I am reading the thIrd book by the se author – same plot concept but different families in all three. Can hardly wait for your second book.

    • Jody Vitek says:

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the read, but then again, you’re a little biased being my mother-in-law. ;^) You’ve been such a great support during my journey and I appreciate it.

      My second book is a work in progress and takes place in MN on a farm. I think Chloe’s story will follow by the response so many of the commenters are leaving. Whether it would take place in Florida or not, I do not know. Chloe still lives in Maggie’s home state of Texas. Time will tell.

  14. Jody Vitek says:

    Hey neighbor, thanks for stopping by. You’ve been a great listener over the years and I appreciate it. There is plenty of romance for you to enjoy the read.

    The racing is something else. I forgot to mention earlier about the dangers. When they race in the rivers, they have debris such as logs under the water line to watch out for. The ocean racers deal with the waters themselves. Rough waters can cause trouble with a boat.

  15. MaryC says:

    Congratulations on your debut release!
    I’ve never heard of powerboat racing. We have the Head of the Charles Regatta, a teo day rowing ompetition held in October.
    I love reading series and catching up with characters from previous books. However, I do prefer that the books can be read as a stand alone.

    • Jody Vitek says:

      Welcome Mary! Thanks for visiting me today. I think there a many people out there who don’t know about powerboat racing, adding to my wanting to tell this story with racing being involved. I’ve never personally seen a rowing race but would love to. The power behind the rowing boats is human strength, which in itself is amazing compared to the powerboat using a manmade motor for its speed.

  16. Sorry for posting late, here–I was at the RWA conference. CONGRATULATIONS on your first book! What an accomplishment!!!!!!!

    • Jody Vitek says:

      Thanks, Roxanne. Many authors were away for the national conference and it was fun to see everyones pictures. I only wished I could have gone, but there will be many more chances to attend.

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