Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wednesday Wonders: ONCE IN A WHILE

The author's parents
This Wednesday my guest author is Linda Ellen whose writing demonstrates that sometimes the best romance stories are based on real life.

2014 Lyra Independent Fiction Contest Romance Category Winner!​

     In the tradition of The Notebook comes...
Once in a While.
      Victor Matthews is a down on his luck young man, frustrated with his life and his inability to find gainful employment.
      Louise Hoskins is a young woman content in her life with her family and friends. Her biggest concern is her upcoming lead part in a play. 
     One rainy night, they meet...and both are forever changed. 
     Neither could foresee that the world as they know it is on the precipice of experiencing the now famous ’37 Flood, and that daily life is about to be transformed into a bone chilling waterlogged state of affairs. But as that harrowing experience fades and their lives return to normal, the two young lovers embark on an unforgettable courtship - that is, until a terrible argument and a tragic misunderstanding tear them apart. How will they survive the separation? And why does one special song have the power to instantly transport the sweethearts back into the realm of cherished memories? This is a sweet and clean Southern historical romance set during the Depression Era. 

Click here for Book Trailer

Book Excerpt:

     There in the opening stood a lovely young woman in a tea length dress of embroidered netting over champagne satin. Rich sable hair softly floated around her shoulders…creamy smooth skin on a heart shaped face made it seem as if an ever-present light shone in her countenance, like the flame of a candle…lips like the wispy curve of a butterfly’s wings stretched slightly over a perfect line of pearly white teeth…and beautiful hazel eyes twinkled behind gently curling black lashes as she stared up at him enraptured.   Vic’s breath caught as he stared back, momentarily stunned. He felt his pulse speed up as he took in the girl’s radiance.
     Finally, he cleared his throat and unconsciously ran a hand back through his hair, which had been made slightly wavier by the rain and the damp evening air.
     “Umm…Edna?” he murmured, the damp weather making his warm baritone sound husky. The words served to break the spell into which the two had been plunged.
     The young woman blinked several times as if trying to gather her thoughts. Then one delicate hand unconsciously moved to the neck of her dress as she slowly shook her head.
     “No…I’m Louise…Edna’s my sister. Are you Vic?” she managed. Unconsciously, she moistened her suddenly dry lips; slightly afraid he could hear the thunderous thumping of her heart.
Vic nodded and chuckled self-consciously, feeling like a fool for not introducing himself at once.
     “Yeah, sorry. I’m Vic Matthews…I’m here to pick up Edna…she ready?” he added, silently hoping the sister was as much a looker as this one.
Vic in the CCC
      Glancing back over her shoulder at someone Vic couldn’t see from the doorway, Louise turned back to him apologetically, “Oh…I’m sorry. She’s…not feeling good tonight,” she murmured. She seemed to be hedging, as if scrambling for a reason other than the truth. “She won’t be able to go on the date with you. She’s sorry you made the trip for nothing…she didn’t have a way to reach you.” Her voice was kind and gentle, and seemed to glide into his ears and take up residence in the center of his chest.
     Vic digested this for a moment. He was being stood up by a blind date. Great, he silently fumed, wondering if she truly ‘didn’t feel good.’ He thought for a moment that maybe the lovely Louise might want to go in her sister’s place, but negated that idea, figuring she already had a date for the evening – since she appeared to be dressed for it.
     Vic had no way of knowing that Edna had borrowed the dress for their date; however, now that she couldn’t go, Louise had tried it on… and it fit her perfectly. Just before Vic had arrived, Louise had been modeling the lovely dress for her father and brother, the elder commenting that it made her seem much more mature.
     The two at the door heard a muffled voice from the other room and Louise nodded in answer, relaying to him, “She asked if she could take a rain-check.” As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she realized the unintended pun. Biting her lip, she attempted to stop herself from chuckling. Vic caught the joke and nodded, his lips pulling into a half grin. His eyes dropped to her mouth as her lips rounded into a smile that seemed somehow, in his unconscious opinion, to fend off the gloom of the rainy night.
     Glancing back up to meet her eyes again, he murmured with a shrug. “Yeah, sure.” He waited a few beats more, staring at the girl as she returned his gaze. “Well…goodnight then,” he finally added, nodding to her as he turned to retrace his steps back down the hall. So much for a hot date to ‘keep me warm on a rainy night,’ he mused wryly.
     Louise watched him until he disappeared out the front door and into the rain, then slowly stepped back into the cozy apartment and shut the door. Leaning her forehead against the cool hard wood, she could still smell the heady scent of Old Spice aftershave that had emanated from him…could still see the twinkle in his eyes, and hear his smooth voice intoning, “Goodnight.” Her knees felt weak.
My gosh! That has got to be the most gorgeous man I’ve ever seen in my life! She reflected as she turned to rest her back against the hard surface of the door. Staring straight ahead as though in an enchanted stupor, she allowed every second of the encounter to replay in her mind. Pressing a hand unconsciously to her chest, she felt her heart still pounding fast.
Vic carried Louise's picture until the day he died.
     Those eyes…that wavy hair…those dimples…his voice was so smooth and deep…it was like living a scene from a movie…she dreamily contemplated, totally immersed in his enchanting memory.
     “Louise, is he gone?” Edna’s edgy voice interrupted her reverie.
     Distracted, Louise called back, “Yeah.”
     “Well…what was he like?” her sister impatiently inquired as she came to the bedroom doorway.       
     “Was he cute?”
     Louise glanced at her sister, her gaze taking in the habitual sour expression, the brassy red hair, the cold blue eyes and the stubborn set to her chin. It occurred to her that Edna always seemed to get everything she wanted, while Louise ‘performed’ like Cinderella. Edna snuck around, drank beer, and did all kinds of things she never seemed to get in trouble for, while Louise was called on the carpet for ‘looking’ at someone wrong.
     Louise’s eyes narrowed slightly as she made up her mind right then and there. If any Hoskins girl snags handsome Mr. Vic Matthews, its gonna be me.

Author Bio:

Linda Ellen is an historical romance writer who specializes in Depression Era romance.  Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, she resides there with her husband and youngest son.
Linda Ellen

Linda began her writing career penning articles for a small neighborhood newspaper, The Southwest Reporter.  In 2009, as a labor of love, she began writing fan fiction, under the pen name Linda4him59, based on the Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman television show.  Her stories were well received, thanks to Linda’s talent for upbeat narration, good-natured humor and heart-thumping romance.  Twenty-eight short stories and four novels later, she decided to try her hand at writing a ‘real’ novel.

She chose to fashion a fiction story based on her parents’ real life romance in the late ‘30’s, and her novel Once in a While is the result.  Wishing to give her readers the most accurate account of the time, place and mood, she extensively researched details regarding the 1937 flood that incapacitated a large area of the Ohio Valley.  

Linda plans on writing at least two more books in the series.  Book 2, The Bold Venture, will be released summer of 2015.

Q:  What prompted you to write Once in a While?
A: I looked around for a story that would be different enough from the plethora of romance novels that are out there, and one day I thought about the fact that the 1937 Flood, while not necessarily widely known, was actually the worst natural disaster in America until Hurricane Katrina – and no one had ever used it as a backdrop to a fiction novel. Since my mother and father lived through it, I knew many details about it, and from there the idea took off.

Q:  How close to real life is your story?
A:  About 40% real.  I had to create most of the dialogue, except for certain confrontations Mom specifically remembered.  She’s 91 now, but she still has an amazing memory, and she was very involved in the process.  I would print out the chapters for her to read as I wrote them and she would give me critiques on facts or details where needed.  I took specific events in her and Daddy’s lives and wove them into the timeline I wanted.  

Q:  Have you received any accolades or publicity from your local community, since it is based there?
A:  Yes, matter of fact, this past January, our local newspaper did a large story on us. Here’s a link to the story – it encompassed the entire front page of the Neighborhood section!

Q:  How did writing this book touch or affect you?
A:  In many ways.  Firstly, I found out so many details of just how miserable and devastating the flood actually was – and it didn’t just affect Louisville, but the entire Ohio valley and every town along the 981 miles of the river. Another thing was that I developed a pleasant pride in our city and the officials from back in that time, for the efficient way they handled things. They had plans in place and they jumped right into action.  New Orleans’ decision makers would have done well to learn from history and read up on how Louisville handled 58 feet of water in the city.  By Derby Day that year (1st Saturday in May), only 3 months later, you couldn’t tell there had even been a flood.  And lastly, writing it has helped me to see my mother as a young woman, in ways I’d never thought about before.  It made me understand better certain decisions she made back then.  It’s brought us closer.

Q: What are your future writing goals?
A:  I plan on writing three books in this series, plus a novella featuring the main couple’s best friends.  Then after that, I have many ideas for stories both back in that era and modern day as well

Purchase Links:

Amazon           B & N          Kobo          Online Book Store

Connect with Linda Ellen:
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