Misty Simon always wanted to be a storyteller…preferably behind a Muppet. Animal was number one, followed closely by Sherlock Hemlock… Since that dream didn’t come true, she began writing stories to share her world with readers, one laugh at a time. She knows how to hula, was classically trained to sing opera, co-wrote her high school Alma Mater, and can’t touch raw wood. Never hand her a Dixie cup with that wooden spoon/paddle thing. It’s not pretty.
Touching people’s hearts and funny bones are two of her favorite things, and she hopes everyone at least snickers in the right places when reading her books. She lives with her husband, daughter, and two insane dogs in Central Pennsylvania where she is hard at work on her next novel or three. She loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell us about Liv and Breathe:
Olivia Jameson runs a summer camp called Breathe, giving inner-city kids a chance to see a different life. When the man who owned the camp died, leaving his dream to his son, Liv took charge, and the work means the world to her.
As far as Alex Campbell is concerned, the camp is a hands-off tax write-off. But when Liv calls because her boys are accused of property damage, Alex returns to the place he hasn't called home since age twelve…and to a girl he barely remembers, now a woman who stirs him like no city sophisticates ever have.
This is Liv's livelihood, her mission, her dream. Sharing it with a man who doesn't understand the impact is frustrating. But as he begins learning truths that were hidden from him, both Liv and Alex may have a change of heart. Can Liv open up her life one more time to love?
What do you write?
I write short stories, novellas and novels in cozy mystery, paranormal and romance.
When did your writing journey begin?
It’s 1999 – I’ve been married for two years and my husband and I work opposite shifts. I’m in the grocery store and see a book called Tender Triumph by Dianna Devlin. I’m home by myself most nights with not a whole lot to do, so I pick it up, thinking it’s better than watching more Lifetime than is strictly healthy for one person. And I’m hooked on the romance…
That was the beginning for me. I devoured books after that, haunting used books stores and the local independent book sellers. I’d always been a reader, but ran more toward High Fantasy and Suspense. But now, my romance collection grew and so did my appetite for that Happily Ever After. I read them all – historicals, Harlequins, contemporary, romantic suspense. You name it, it was on my bulging shelves. I wanted to write for Harlequin so badly, I could taste it in the back of my throat. I had no idea what I was doing when we got a computer for Christmas one year and my husband cranked it up. I opened a word document and began a truly ridiculous novel called The Teacher’s Lesson…
Drums sounded, fireworks went off. I never got past the first three chapters. But it began a love affair that hasn’t yet ended.
Tell us about your experience with the publishing process.
I’ve done it all. I have self-pubbed, small press and now published with Kensington. They all have their wonderful aspects and the things that you wish you could change but I love it all!
Words of advice for fellow writers in the trenches:
Know what you want and then go get it! If you want to be traditionally published then know what is selling and see if you can fit your stories into that frame. If you want to self-publish then know the ins and outs of what you’re getting yourself into. But always stay true to what calls to you to write it. Huge numbers of readers are awesome but if you are writing something that just doesn’t speak to you then I think it comes across to the reader and cheats both of you of what could have been an amazing story.
Oxford comma, yes or no? If I remember!
Ice cream? Chocolate peanut butter ripple
Coffee or tea or wine? Tea all the way
What does your desk look like? It’s a huge breakfast bar with bookshelves on the end
Beach, lake, or mountains? Lake
What are you known for? My laugh, inspirational quotes and telling stories that might make you snort tea out of your nose.
Find Misty on her website or on Facebook and The Wild Rose Press.
How about an excerpt from Liv and Breathe?
The clink and clatter of silverware in the busy diner did nothing to block out the thoughts churning through Olivia Jameson’s head. She had made the call earlier this morning, and now she would have to live with the consequences. Hoping she’d survive the experience, she had her doubts it would be easy.
“What can I get you, hon?” Betty, the owner of Petri’s Dish, asked with pad and pencil in hand.
“Just coffee.” At the thought of the storm she may have created, Liv’s shoulders drooped.
Betty’s eyes narrowed behind her thick glasses. “Tell me what’s wrong. You never just order coffee, especially when I have my pineapple salsa pancakes on the Specials board.” Her hand went to her hip, while her expression became mutinous. “So you’re not still worrying about that little ruckus over at the Beckham farm, are you? I told you it would all blow over.”
Unfortunately, it wasn’t blowing over. In fact, it had just gotten a whole lot bigger. “They’re pressing charges.” It was as simple and as complicated as that.
“What?” Bustling around the counter, Betty plopped down on the stool next to Liv. A crowd began to gather the second she did. She never sat down for anything, not even when she wasn’t working. “You better tell me what in the world is going on, right now.”
No matter what she said or did at this point, Liv knew the entire story was going to come out soon enough. Such was life in a community their size. Sometimes she wished she lived in Kissinger, the next town over, where everyone seemed to mind their own business.
She might as well take a chance and tell her side before Mr. High and Mighty came rolling into town—if he could unglue himself from his society life long enough to take any interest.
“Some boys in town say they saw my boys over in Beckham’s pastures trying to tip over cows. When these town kids came along, they said they spooked the camp boys, who took off running. According to the accusers, that’s how the fence was broken and how the alpacas got out and ran away. Beckham still hasn’t found two of them.”
By this time, there was a solid crowd of about twenty people hemming Liv and Betty in at the counter. As much as Liv appreciated the looks of outrage for her camp boys, and for the situation in general, she didn’t blame the Beckhams for pressing charges. Especially with the graffiti Mr. Beckham had told her was spray-painted on the side of his barn.
She just couldn’t wrap her head around the idea that her boys would do something so destructive when they knew the consequences and the punishment for not toeing the line.
“I don’t believe it,” Betty declared, and had the majority of the other people agreeing with her both verbally and by nodding their heads. “There’s no way the boys at Breathe would jeopardize their time here by doing something so stupid.”
Liv would have said the same thing to her boss, Alex Campbell, this morning if he’d picked up his phone. Instead she’d left him a message asking him to please come to the farm, and she’d explain when he got here. It would be far better to handle this face to face. That way she could plead the case for her boys and make him understand more easily than she could convey over email. She didn’t want him here, but she wasn’t able to figure out a way to avoid it.
“I agree,” Liv said to the diner at large, but worry still pulled her eyebrows together. “The problem is how do I prove it? I don’t want to accuse anyone else, and I can’t prove without a shadow of a doubt that the boys were all in their beds last night. Not even David. This is a huge mess, just in time for the annual cook-off.”
“Don’t you worry about the cook-off,” Tim from the mechanic’s shop said. “That’s all taken care of, except for a few details. We’ll figure something out with the boys, too. I’m coming there today to work on that car with them. I’ll ask some questions that maybe you can’t ask.”
There was a chorus of agreement while people all went their separate ways. She really appreciated the support, but who was going to be there when Mr. Campbell came riding in to shut down the camp because she wasn’t doing a good job as the director? She couldn’t—and wouldn’t—lose Breathe, a camp that had been around for almost eighty years. It housed underprivileged boys from major cities over the summer, giving them a chance to see real grass and real cows, to ride horses and learn skills and self-worth that would hopefully keep them out of gangs and make them productive members of society.