Monday, March 25, 2013

A MODERN CINDERELLA STORY AND A PRIZE




Most of us grew up hearing fairy tales, and many romance books are those same tales retold. HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME is a modern day Cinderella story with a happily-ever-after ending that (I hope) will leave you sighing and wishing for the next in the Sweet Springs series. Those next two books in the series will be released in 2014

Welcome to the Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop sponsored by IAmAReaderNotAWriter, The Book Rat, and A Backwards Story. To celebrate the blog hop, I'm giving away two print copies US or e-books International of HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME, a sweet modern Cinderella with the requisite fairy tale ending that come after problems even a fairy godmother never dreamed. 

HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME is a sweet contemporary set in West Texas near where I grew up. My uncle and cousins were farmers who also sometimes raised cattle. Can’t keep all your eggs in one basket, right? My husband had several uncles who were ranchers and farmers, and some of his cousins still farm.  Although we live in a rural area now, both Hero and I grew up in the “big city” of Lubbock.

Cowboy in a fall roundup on a West Texas ranch


To raise money to build their new house, my father-in-law raised cotton on a field at the edge of town and my husband had to help. Hero remembers clearing hundreds of tumbleweeds from the land and burning them. Needless to say, he hates tumbleweeds! After several years, the family had saved enough cash to buy a lot and build on it, with my father-in-law as contractor and doing some of the work himself. Once they’d saved enough to build, that was the end of their cotton farming. My husband was truly grateful. When he came in dirty and tired from working in the field, his mom would tell him that if he didn’t go to college, he’d be doing work like that forever. He didn’t know what his degree would be in, but he knew then that he was going to college so he’d never have to farm again. He did, and now years later, here we are living on a small acreage so he can raise fruit trees and a vegetables in a large garden. Life certainly plays tricks on us, doesn’t it?

Tumbleweed rolling with the wind


Here’s a video about tumbleweeds even my husband can’t hate.

About the time my future husband was burning tumbleweeds and “chopping cotton” (as hoeing weeds is called), my family moved to Lubbock so Dad could buy cotton. My dad picked out our house at the same edge of town as where my future husband lived. (Thank you, Dad!) We were so pleased to have our own new home. Dad had built houses when we lived in California when I was small, but the house he was building for us always ended up sold because he and mother couldn’t turn down a tidy profit. Anyway, we were happy to finally own one similar--though not nearly as well built--to those he had built in California. Our first year in Lubbock, cotton plants came up in our flowerbeds because the housing development was carved from a cotton farm. 
West Texas cotton field ready to harvest
You can see that a book about that area might be close to my heart. I hope you'll let me share the story with you.
HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME Blurb
Courtney Madison has battled poverty her entire twenty-five years but is determined to make a safe and happy home for her teen-aged brother after the recent death of their mom. Her mom’s illness left Courtney with a mountain of hospital bills, her formerly sweet brother Jimmy is now cutting class and hanging with a rough crowd, and she’s just learned she’s being downsized in two weeks. Hanging on by the threads of a fraying rope, she learns she’s inherited two million dollars from a kind elderly man she befriended when he was in the hospital across the hall from her mom. She thinks her inheritance in West Texas is the answer to all her prayers--but Courtney learns that while money improves her life, it doesn’t guarantee happiness. This modern Cinderella encounters problems even a fairy godmother couldn’t imagine.
Rancher/entrepreneur Derek Corrigan has incredible instincts for flourishing in the business world. With women, not so much. In fact, his friends bemoan he’s King Midas where money is concerned, but his judgment of women is pathetic--evidenced by his late wife and now the flamboyant woman he’s been escorting of late. As far as Derek is concerned, all he wants is to be a good dad to his children Warren, aged 8, and Meg, aged 5. Derek suspects the worst of his new neighbor and vows to fight his attraction for her. The only way he can protect his children and himself is to keep his private life very private. Besides, he knows what women do to him--they always leave and take chunks of his heart with them. He's been there, done that, had the vaccination and is cured. Isn't he?


Here’s an excerpt from this modern day Cinderella story. The set up is that hero Derek Corrigan arranged for his best friend Rusty to be heroine Courtney Madison’s date for a neighborhood potluck the previous Friday. Derek would have asked Courtney himself, but he’d already made a date with an old friend, Janelle, before he learned of the party. Things didn’t go well at the social event, and now it’s Monday morning.

HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME Excerpt

After wrestling with himself all weekend, Derek had come to apologize to Courtney. The two of them
had to keep working together for the better part of year. Somehow she’d found out he’d set her up with
Rusty and misunderstood. She left a message with Rosa that she’d arranged for the repair of his truck
and that Jimmy would be working off the cost of repairs. Didn’t even ask to speak to him.

He figured she was still mad, but he didn’t see why. What was so all-fired wrong with setting her
up with a nice guy like Rusty? He’d just tried to help her get acquainted. Where’s the crime
in that?

At church yesterday, she’d evaded him or looked right through him. That wasn’t even Christian. And just when he was getting used to having her to talk to. Of course, for Rusty she’d been all sugar and cream. Derek smiled in spite of himself. She’d made Janelle spitting mad with that little imitation act. He’d never seen anyone get the best of Janelle, but Courtney had. Everyone got it, and laughed. Except Janelle.
Oh, no. Janelle didn’t laugh at herself. She’d sulked the rest of the evening. He vowed never, but never, to ask Janelle anywhere again.

In Courtney’s house the next day, Derek grabbed a cup of coffee as he passed through the kitchen. Courtney was in the living room consulting with two painters. He stopped dead in his tracks. What the hell did she need with painters? Hadn’t this house been plenty good enough for Maggie and for Sam just as it was? Sure it had, and plenty good enough for him too. Why did Courtney have to go changing things?

When she saw him standing in the kitchen doorway, she paused. “Joe and Juan helped me get our trucks to Buddy’s garage. Buddy will call you when yours is repaired.” She stared, eyebrow lifted. “Did we have an appointment about something else today?"

An appointment? In his own house? He kept forgetting it wasn’t his house anymore. The house wasn’t Sam’s either. A pang of sorrow stabbed his heart and sliced downward. This had been his place with Sam and Maggie—the place they’d built especially for him. That was then; this was now. The whole place was hers and she could make any changes she chose. He had no say in anything she did with the house and farm. Instead, he was now the interloper in her house.

He exhaled. “No, but I’d like a word with you when you have a minute. I’ll just wait in Sam’s, um, your study.”

Ten minutes later she came in and he’d swear the room’s temperature dropped twenty degrees. She closed the door softly behind her. Man, but he had the distinct feeling she’d have preferred to slam it—and hard.

The second the door clicked shut, she launched into him. “Derek Corrigan, I realize you think I’m an incompetent social pariah. However, do not ever, ever take it upon yourself to find dates for me. No matter how nice the man might be. Do I make myself clear?”

Her quick breaths recalled the way she’d looked with only the sheet covering her breasts. Admiring her fire, he wished she wouldn’t direct it at him. Oh, hell. How had she found out about that? Rusty never would have told her.

He threw up his arms. “I thought it would be nice for you to have an escort since you don’t know anyone here yet. Okay? What’s so wrong with that?”

“For your information, I had a date the weekend before the party.”

He froze, and blood drained from his body. Who had she been out with? He’d bet it was that creep Lance Thompson. Damn the man. “I was only trying to help.”

She shook a finger in his face. “You should have asked me first. Do you have any idea how humiliated I was to learn Rusty didn’t ask me on his own? I had to hear from Janelle that I was a charity case.”

Damn, damn, damn. His fingers clenched and he wanted to punch the wall. He should have guessed Janelle was the culprit.

Courtney turned and paced. “And to think I fell for that fake visit to Rusty’s where he just happened to have fresh coffee and a cake from his mother. Oh, brother, I guess you both got a laugh out of that.”

“No, we did not laugh. Hey, you needed to meet him, right? And once he met you he said he would have asked you anyway, so what's the difference?”

When she opened her mouth and stepped toward him, he tried again before she could launch another  attack. “Look, Janelle shouldn’t have told you, but you shouldn’t have made her cry, either.”

“Humph.” Courtney narrowed her eyes. “Puhleeze, me make that woman cry? Give me a break. That woman hasn’t cried since she got her first training bra.” She paced the office as if she were being paid by the step.

Man, Courtney had one smart mouth on her when her anger took over. “She cried because you called her a piranha after she tried so hard to make you feel welcome to the community.”

She stopped pacing again. “Your girlfriend certainly made no effort to welcome me. In fact, she did everything within her power to make me feel unwanted.”

Hell, how had he come to be defending Janelle? “She’s not my anything. We...um, she’s just gone through a rough divorce.” He suddenly remembered that this was Janelle’s third divorce, but Courtney didn’t need to know that. “Neither of us wants to remarry. She likes to have a presentable escort when a twosome is called for—“

“Please spare me.” She held up a hand. “I’m not interested in the sordid details of your sexual liaisons.”

“They’re not sex…” He swallowed hard. “Not liaisons of any kind, just two people going out with no strings attached. Okay?”

Courtney faced him and jammed fists on her hips. “If you believe that woman is not interested in marriage, and to you, then what I heard was right.”

Anger raced through him. How he hated gossip. He’d been hurt too deeply by rumors, first as a child about his parents’ lifestyle and poverty, and later by his wife’s escapades. No, he’d never speak a word of gossip himself. How he’d like to shut Courtney up now by kissing her senseless instead of waging this stupid argument.

“Oh yeah?” He took a deep breath and glared. “What did you hear?”

She stepped toward him and leaned into his face. “That where making money is concerned, you’re King Midas, but where women are concerned, you really are dumb as dirt.”

“Who says?” He clamped his jaw tight. Damned if he’d apologize now. He’d bet Elaine made that wisecrack. She’d been mad at him ever since grade school when he’d called her a chipmunk. “Was it Elaine?”

“Everyone who knows you says it.” She stamped her foot. “Do you hear me? Everyone!”

“Yeah, well at least Janelle is nicer than that creep Lance Thompson. I suppose you plan to keep seeing him?” He didn’t trust that man and couldn’t understand why she didn’t see through Lance’s fake so-called charm.

“As a matter of fact, I am. He’s an interesting date.”

The ring of the telephone forestalled her next comment. She gave him another of her molten glares before she picked up the receiver. “Hello.” She staggered backward to a chair. Her eyes widened as color drained from her face. “I’ll be there right away.”

He stepped forward. “What’s happened? Who’s hurt?”

With shaking hands, she leaped up and grabbed her purse and keys. “Jimmy’s been in a fight at school.”


Purchase Information

HOME, SWEET TEXAS HOME is available in print and e-book from The Wild Rose Press at www.thewildrosepress.com/caroline-clemmons-m-638.html and at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online stores. I hope you’ll give it a read and let me know what you think. 
And if you're interested in winning a free copy of HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME, please remember to
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11 comments:

Stephanie Suesan Smith, Ph.D. said...

What a sweet story about you and your husband. I look forward to reading HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME and hope I win a copy.

Ash said...

Looks like a great read!!
blackcapballistics(at)gmail(dot)com

Book Attict said...

Sounds like a fantastic read!

Thanks for the amazing giveaway!
elizabeth @ bookattict . com

Darlene said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

GFC: Darlene
darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

Nikki Krutz said...

sounds like a great book! hope i win! qtksjkmommy at gmail dot com

Meghan said...

I love fairy tales. I actually wrote a paper for my Literary Non-Fiction class about the resurgence of fairy tales in popular culture. This was last year when the two movies based on "Snow White" came out along with the tv show "Once Upon a Time…" and then "Cinder" came out. It was quite an explosion of fairy tales in mediums. I concluded that because of the rough economic times, people were grasping for something to escape to. In fairy tales, the impossible happens. The disenfranchised become the heroes and heroines. They rise to power and usually become a King or Queen. We are still clinging to the American dream and through the use of fairy tales we get to live that dream. As far as my favorite fairy tale goes, I love "Beauty and the Beast." I love it so much that I have thought seriously about naming my first daughter Belle. In books, I love retellings of fairy tales like "Cinder" and "Ella Enchanted." In TV, the show "Beauty and the Beast" on the CW is one of my favorites and in movies, I loved "Mirror, Mirror," "Beastly" and "The Wizard of Oz." Also, a big fan of the musical "Wicked."
Thanks for the giveaway!

mestith at gmail dot com

Leanne said...

I'd love to read this!

leanniegehrke at hotmail dot com

RILEKAT said...

Thanks for the giveaway, looks like a good afternoon read.
rilekat2 at gmail dot com

desitheblonde said...

the books sound great and i hope o win at lest one

Sherry said...

Sounds like a very good book.
sstrode at scrtc dot com

Karen said...

Sounds delightful, thanks!

kpuleski at gmail dot com