Thursday, October 14, 2010
Home To Singing Trees
Welcome to Liz Flaherty day. Liz, thanks for coming. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thank you for having me here, Elaine. I’m not really on a blog tour, but I do seem to be turning up here and there these days. It’s kind of fun! I’m a country girl, married nearly 40 years to my true-life hero, mother to three and grandmother to seven. I sew—not well, by any means, but a lot! I write a newspaper column called “Window Over the Sink” for our local paper. Oh, and books. I write books, too.
Wow, you are one busy lady! Where do you go when you write?
Everywhere! Laptop computers have absolutely set writers free. That being said, I still write more at the dining room table than anywhere else. My favorite place to write is the breakfast rooms in motels. I can’t explain that, but I so enjoy it. I’ve become unblocked more than once drinking coffee and grinning at little kids making their own waffles while their parents sit exhausted and staring vaguely into space.
LOL. I've been one of those exhausted parents myself. What is your favorite genre? Have you tried to write in others?
My favorite now is women’s fiction with romantic elements firmly in place. My newest release, HOME TO SINGING TREES, is also my first historical, but hopefully not my last. It was so much fun to write. I’ve read (and I imagine it’s true) that it’s better for a writing career to choose a genre path and stay on it, but I’m not that focused. Or something. Whatever it is, I have a lot of fun jumping around.
Describe your hero and heroine in your latest release.
Sarah and Liam are both widowed parents who have loved before and don’t believe they’re meant to love again. She’s the housekeeper: sturdy, hard-working, and pragmatic. He’s the doctor, her employer, handsome and funny and compassionate. They love each other’s children. But each other? Oh, no.
Famous last words, right? What are you reading right now?
I just finished Jenny Crusie’s MAYBE THIS TIME. Every time I read Crusie, I feel like banging my head against the wall. What on earth makes me think I can write when there are people like her around? But, oh, the pleasure of the reading. And the laughing. I have to give myself a little time after I read a book by her or Kristan Higgins or Robyn Carr, though, or I think I try, however subconsciously, to sound like them.
Would you share your links with us?
My website’s at www.lizflaherty.com My email—and I’d love to hear from you—is firstname.lastname@example.org
We’d love to read an excerpt. Don’t forget a buy link.
Oh, great. I hope you enjoy the excerpt. Here are the links for you.
She was in the tree.
“Sarah!” Liam bellowed, taking the three steps off the porch in one and striding toward the tree. “Good morning, Jess. Good morning, Emily. Mrs. Williamson, come down here right now!”
“I can’t do that, sir. I have another swing to hang after this one. I got the nicest boards at the sawmill yesterday, and the sawyer didn’t even charge for them, and I begged the rope from Davis.” She peered down at him from what seemed a very long way up, and the skin around her green eyes looked bruised, as though last night’s conversation had disturbed her as much as it had him. “I think children need swings to play on, don’t you?”
“Bribed Davis is what she did,” Gavin mumbled from his stance on the porch. “We’re having chicken and dumplings and chocolate cake for supper. Personally, I don’t see a daggone thing wrong with a little bribery here and there. Keeps a man” –he stopped and chuckled— “well-fed.”
“Swings are all well and good, Sarah, but you don’t need to hang them. Davis or I will be glad to. Now, come down from there.” Ignoring Gavin’s glee, Liam hitched his coat back out of his way and placed impatient hands on the hips of his trousers.
“I will in a minute.” She shinnied further out the branch, looked down at her legs hanging down on either side of it, and turned fiery red. “Would you turn your back, please, Liam?”
He could see the stockings that covered those splendid legs were darned and shabby, her shoes had holes in their soles, and the petticoats that swung below her hideous brown skirt had been sewn from flour sacks. The thick bun of copper-tinted brown hair, pulled tight when he’d left this morning, had loosened considerably, and soft tendrils blew about her face.
She looked magnificent.
He turned his back.
But he didn’t want to.
He waited five minutes, while Gavin yelled instructions and Sarah called back rejoinders that didn’t sound in the least servile, while the girls played Ring-Around-the-Rosy around his legs until they fell into a tangle at his feet.
“Are you ready to come down now?” he asked after the five minutes were up.
“Well, I would be, except—” She stopped.
“Except I seem to be stuck to something, and I can’t figure out where I’m stuck or what I’m stuck to.”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake.” Impatient now, wanting her safely on the ground, Liam pulled off his coat and handed it to Jessie. “Hold this while I rescue Mrs. Sarah.”
“Mrs. Mama,” Jessie corrected him over her shoulder as she carried the coat to lay it neatly over the porch rail.
Liam looked from his daughter to the woman in the tree. “Mrs. Mama?” he said mildly.
“I’m sorry. They came up with it this morning, and I didn’t know how to dissuade them.” Sarah looked slightly sheepish, and Liam had a feeling she didn’t really mind the new title.
“And I should warn you,” she went on, “they’ve decided that from now on, Emily is to call you Dr. Papa. I couldn’t talk them out of that, either.”
“Actually—” Liam swung himself into the tree with a grunt of effort “—I prefer it to Dr. Kamissick.”
He moved onto the branch on which Sarah was sitting. “I guess we’re going to check the strength of this limb before the girls swing from it, right Mrs. Mama?”
“Looks that way,” she mumbled, blushing again, and he stopped moving for a moment, totally captivated.
Sue Anne Klein didn’t blush, he remembered suddenly. She simpered. If Emily’s conception and birth were the result of something sordid, something less than honorable, would her mother still blush at every whipstitch?
“Your skirt’s hooked,” he said, his voice remarkably like that of a boy still waiting for his first shave; he was surprised it didn’t crack halfway through the sentence. He was pretty sure he was blushing, too. Oh, Lord.
He sat so close to her he felt the heat from her skin and smelled the faint scent of roses that always seemed to surround her. Her head was bowed as she tried to see where her skirt was caught, exposing the pale skin of the back of her neck to his interested perusal.
He could almost feel that sensitive skin against his lips, the warmth of her body beneath his hands. He had a natural physical reaction to those thoughts and was hard put not to groan aloud.
“I’ll try not to rip your skirt.” He leaned sideways to reach where the skirt was caught and could see the way her full breasts pushed against the material of her waist and whatever she wore under it.
Oh, dear, sweet Lord.
Liam tugged at the thin fabric of her skirt, frowning when it tore and exposed Sarah’s petticoat.
Good God, the woman embroidered flour sacks before she made them into underwear.
“Sorry,” he said. For what? Ripping her skirt or ogling her underwear? “I think you’re loose now. I’m going to back up and go down first, all right?”
She nodded without turning her head, and he could see the telltale red creeping around her neck. “You’re entirely decent,” he whispered, “although I wouldn’t mind a bit seeing the rest of that petticoat.
“Dr. McKissick!” she hissed, her voice a fine cross of indignation and embarrassment. “In case you forgot, there are children waiting right at the bottom of this tree.”
He grinned. “I think they’ve probably seen your petticoats. They aren’t nearly as interested as I am.”
She turned her head, and even though her cheeks still bloomed pink and she tried her best to frown, laughter brimmed in the mossy eyes.
If he stayed up this tree, Liam knew he would kiss his housekeeper, regardless of who waited below. Reluctantly, he climbed down.
Certain she’d set a record for how many times a person could blush in one day, Sarah inched backward to the fork in the tree, swung one leg over as modestly as possible, and stepped to the lower branch.
Liam looked up at her.
“Please turn around,” she begged. “You, too, Judge,” she called to the man on the porch. “I don’t descend all that elegantly.”
“Oh, no, Liam. I’m too big. I’ll knock the wind right out of you.”
He frowned the scowl that had intimidated her that first couple of days, before the night they’d worked together to bring a new baby into the world. “I’ll take that chance,” he said, a glint of determination in his eyes.
Sarah sighed. “All right, but I warned you.”
He caught her against what was surely the hardest chest in the state of Indiana, held firmly by what were definitely the strongest arms, and allowed to slide slowly to the ground against what was without doubt the most arousing body.
Arousing? What am I doing even thinking a word like arousing? Dr. Papa or no, he’s your employer, Sarah Mary, and don’t you be forgetting it.
When Liam didn’t release her immediately, she raised her hands to his shoulders to push him gently away and caught sight of her work-roughened fingers against his immaculate shirt—a cruel, but effective comparison. Liam McKissick was among the cream of the area’s social crop. He had money, influence, and unparalleled good looks.
Sarah Mary Williamson was a housekeeper, the mother of an illegitimate child. and the guardian of a sister-in-law who had been pursued against her will by the father of that child. Like spotless white shirts and rough red hands, the two didn’t belong together.
Liz, I loved your excerpt. This one goes on my TBR list. Come back and see us anytime.