September will mark the release of (I can't believe it!) my twentieth novel, a Harlequin Intrigue romantic suspense called Relentless Protector. People often ask writers where they got a particular idea. Usually, I have no idea, but this particular story had an unusual real-life inspiration, a brief news item on the local (Texas) news. A young mother out running errands was carjacked, then forced to rob a bank while the kidnappers held her baby at gunpoint. Thank goodness, the real case ended quickly and with no one hurt, but as I imagined the poor mother's terror, my writer's brain took over and started twisting the truth. What if, I wondered, the robbery didn't go off as planned? What if, say, a veteran, fresh from a recent overseas tour, took it upon himself to play the hero and frightened the abductors in the getaway car into taking off with the heroine's child? (You'll probably understand why my working title, then, was Relentless Pursuit.) Many more what-ifs ensued, until the plot ended up miles from its inspiration. But one thing that's never changed is the stomach-dropping jolt of pure empathy I felt as a mother for this mom put into an impossible situation. I'm hoping readers, too, will identify, and come along with me for the ride. Relentless Protector is available for pre-order online in mass market paperback, large print, large-print hardcover, e-book, and audio format. Or you can wait for September and pick up a copy from a local vendor.
Earlier this week, Colleen and I went to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", the extraordinary movie based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I loved it. Colleen not s'much. (I was sitting there choked in tears at the end of the three hour film, so I only vaguely remember her saying something about "watching paint dry.") I want to see it again, so I'm trying to get the Gare Bear to go with me this weekend, but I won't be surprised if he reacts the same way Colleen did. The movie is long. And odd. It requires patience and a complete suspension of disbelief that modern audiences simply aren't trained for, so you've got to be in the right mood for it. The same is true of the short story, though the story and script have very little in common -- at least superficially. The story is very Fitzgerald (though it's not an example of his best writing, IMHO), and the setting -- Baltimore during the industrial revolution, Spanish Americ