Love Calls You Home (Deerbourne Inn) by Donna Simonetta

It’s June and with it comes two more new Deerbourne Inn releases! First up, Love Calls You Home by Donna Simonetta. I just finished reading this delightful novella. It drew me in right away: a woman who left her sleepy, cold New England town (hey, I live in New England and can relate!) for a blooming sunny career and life in Miami...but work calls her back home. Psst…a new love interest does, too!

Welcome, Donna!

What inspired this (specific) story?

When the Wild Rose Press put out the call for stories for their Deerbourne Inn series, the idea for Love Calls You Home came to me right away. When I began to write it, the story just flowed, and it was the fastest writing experience I’ve ever had.

(Jean side note: Me, too! Fastest story I’ve written, and it slammed it to me so quickly like a train! What a ride the Deerbourne series has been [in a good way]!)

What did you discover while researching/writing this book?

Since this is a series being written by lots of different authors, the publisher has a “bible” for the fictional town and some local characters. My original idea involved a woman who was the town librarian and her male childhood best friend, who is now a real estate developer. However, when I saw the series bible, the librarian was a man. I decided to go with my original story premise, but flip the genders, and I think it actually made for a more interesting story.

Tell us one unique thing about you people might not know.

Writing is actually my third career; before this I worked as an Account Executive for many years in the business world, and was a school librarian for even longer. Here’s the part that is more unique…my husband was my client when I was an Account Executive, and I actually got to know him over the phone before we met in person. He lived in Georgia at the time, and I lived in Connecticut. If one of my friends told me they met someone that way, I would think they were crazy! But we’ve been married for almost twenty-two years now, and together for a few before that, so it worked out for us!

Anything else you'd like to add?

This has been my first experience writing a story in a shared world, and it’s been great to get to work with so many fabulous authors on the Deerbourne Inn project!

(Jean again: I ditto that!)

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Stephanie Williams left skid marks on the road out of Willow Springs, Vermont after she finished high school. She didn't return until her company sent her to evaluate the town for a massive development project. Back then she thought the town was way too small and too cold. Now the cold isn't as much of an issue since she's reconnected with her childhood friend, Donald Flanagan. Stephanie doesn't remember his eyes being quite so green, or his body quite so built. He's smart and funny as he ever was, and a forest-fire sized attraction burns between them.

Donald never understood his old friend's driving need to leave Willow Springs. He loves everything about it. When he learns the truth about Stephanie's project, and how it will turn his hometown into a theme-park version of itself, will it extinguish the flame that has sparked between them?

Find the book online:

Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Apple iBooks

What do you usually write?

I mainly write novels, although Love Calls You Home is a novella. It is part of the Wild Rose Press Deerbourne Inn series, and is the first novella I’ve written. It was a fun challenge to fit everything in the shorter length, but I think I’ll stick to mostly novels.

Tell us about your experience with the publishing process. 

I tried to find an agent with the first book I wrote. I sent out five queries and thought, “Let the bidding war begin!” Instead, I received my first rejection within half an hour. I didn’t let it discourage me (for too long, at least!) and continued writing and querying. That book, or the one that followed it, have never seen the light of day. With my third novel, Angels Fly, I still didn’t have any agent interest, so I decided to submit it directly to publishers, and was thrilled to have it picked up by the Wild Rose Press. Seriously. Thrilled. One of the best moments of my life!

(Jean: I agree! I also went down a similar path!)

What lies ahead for you?

I’m currently actively working on three projects. Love Calls You Home was on June 12, 2019, the third book in my Rivers Bend trilogy, What Was I Thinking?, is with my editor for the first round of revisions/edits, and I am also writing the first draft of another book. The last is tentatively titled Spirits Desire, and is a contemporary romance set in Richmond, Virginia, with a ghostly aspect to it. I’m really proud and excited about it! Fingers crossed that a publisher will want it, and y’all will get to read it some day!

Speed-dating round!

Ice cream (favorite flavor)? Coffee

Coffee or tea or wine? All three, just not at the same time!

What is your writing vice or must-haves?  I love colored pens, notebooks, and my laptop.

Where is your favorite place you've visited (or wish to visit)? My happy place is the Don CeSar Hotel on St. Pete Beach.

What do you like to do when not writing?  Reading, watching TV (I’m addicted to ghost-hunting reality shows), and chilling on the beach is my all-time favorite thing to do, when I can.

Beach, lake, or mountains?  Beach all the way!

Morning rooster, night owl, or midday lark? Morning rooster. As the day fades, so do I.

What comes first, character or plot (or other)?  I start with detailed character profiles, although I have a general idea about the direction of the plot.

Favorite childhood book?  Nancy Drew!

Now for an Excerpt!

It was much darker on this side of the building, without the bright, neon lights around the entrance, and even though they could hear the muffled music through the wall, it felt as though they were all alone in the world. Donald stopped and turned to face her, which placed her between him and the building. He cupped her face in his hands, and Stephanie marveled that she’d never noticed how big his hands were before. He leaned down a little and studied her face. His eyes seemed to be searching for a clue as to what she wanted. There were complications aplenty––putting their lifelong friendship at risk, and her work here in town, which Donald still didn’t know the extent of, being two major hurdles, but Stephanie knew what she wanted right now. She knew it from the bottom of her toes to the top of her head, with a certainty she’d never experienced before. Her blood pounded in her veins, and she felt a little breathless with excitement about the step they were about to take.

“Hurry up and kiss me, Flanagan, before I spontaneously combust.”

One side of the mouth she longed to be kissing quirked up in a sexy half-grin. “There’s no turning back if we take this step, Williams. Are you sure?”

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The Incongruity of Beauty: A "glimpse" into Stephen B. King's 2nd book in the series

The Incongruity of Beauty 

We use the word beauty in many different scenarios and situations, but could we ever use it to describe death? In Glimpse, the Beautiful Deaths, criminal psychologist Patricia Holmes, attached to the Major Crime Squad of the Western Australian Police Department, certainly does.

That’s a beautiful dress, we might say, or what a beautiful day, those flowers are beautiful, that child has a beautiful personality, she has a beauty spot  on her cheek……….You get the idea for how often we can use the adjective. I’ve even heard sports commentators say what a beautiful shot, he’s swimming beautifully and once, in a heavy weight boxing match, what a beautiful knock out punch.

It seems to me to be over-used, and in some cases is completely opposite from what the word actually means. Patricia Holmes asks us to consider beauty in its purest from. She describes a man who has an obsession to own and possess beautiful things so badly it leads to six cases of murder.

The second book in the Glimpse series  releases April 10th .

The second book in the Glimpse series releases April 10th.

During a meeting with homicide detectives where she delivers the profile of the man they are hunting, she nicknames him Gordon. She urges the men to think of him that way: an ordinary man, not a master criminal or Serial Killer. She believes he doesn’t even consider what he has done to be murder and she poses the riddle to the men:

When is a serial killer not a murderer?

The bodies of six young girls, each of them the epitome of beauty when they were alive, have been found in a cave system in the South of the State. Malnourished, dehydrated, and showing no signs of violence, they appear to have wasted away until death overtook them. Then, they were interred in the caves, each with flowers left with them, at an average of once every year or so.

The caves are hard to get to, and located near a breathtakingly beautiful place called The Blue Lake, and Pat thinks it’s the beauty of the place which led him to bring the bodies there. She describes how she believes Gordon had a hideous life since childhood; that he was born a gentle, caring, artistic child who was treated abysmally by one or both parents.

She says they would have said things to him like: “You’re bloody useless, Gordon! Why can’t you ever do anything right, Gordon? You’re not trying hard enough, Gordon!”

She further thinks he wanted to follow his artistic ideals but received nothing but criticism and ridicule from the two people who should have encouraged it.  They stifle him, yet he is too downtrodden to resist or even speak up for himself. Instead he develops his passion for beauty in things like gardening and collecting things which to him signify true beauty. Pat predicts he has a secret room where he can indulge himself and enjoy all the beautiful things he isn’t permitted outside his secret world. He will collect things like African Butterflies, postage stamps, or porcelain dolls, paintings – anything which allows him to forget how ugly his real life is. He lives in a fantasy world, far removed from his real life.

She goes further, by saying Gordon tried to escape when he married, but being so meek and mild he would have attracted a dominant woman, and for him, it would have been a case of out of the frying pan, into the fire. She will be even worse, she predicts, than his parents were, and she forbids the beauty he craves which is denied him.

And so, Sgt. Rick McCoy, with Patricia Holmes and the rest of the task force hunt a man addicted to beauty. They believe when he came across each stunningly beautiful young girl, he had to own and possess them, to capture the very essence of them, to idolize them. But when they were imprisoned, they were no longer free, and they ceased to be what they were before he took them. They slowly lost the one thing that he craved from them: their beauty.

Meanwhile Rick and Pat are each fighting their own cravings. They are married, yet the more they work together, the more they are attracted to each other, and the more they want to take the irrevocable step, from friendly, flirting work colleagues, to lovers. But if they do, what will the effect be on their relationship, and their marriages?

There are many dark clouds on Rick and Pat’s horizon; a storm is coming. Solving the beautiful deaths will be the least of their problems. The storm has a name: PPP; the serial killer locked away by them in a mental hospital. He is plotting his escape, and revenge.

Glimpse, The Beautiful Deaths is released on April 10th, available on Amazon and other online vendors.

Find Stephen online along with his other books

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