Northside Grill doesn’t really exist. And all those great beers
from Mosquito Creek Brewery? I made those up.
I created Ashwood by combining the qualities of many small
towns in Southwest Washington – tight communities that have had to adapt.
When visitors travel to the Northwest, they stay in Seattle,
hike Mt. Rainier, or drive out to the coast. Many don’t even know about the arid
desert in Washington state. The Cascade Range cuts the land into two chunks,
creating a rainy half and a dry side. I try to give readers a glimpse of both
in every book.
The towns nestled into our valleys have many of Ashwood’s
features in common – family owned businesses, unbelievable access to nature,
and the ability to adapt to change.
As the logging industry fades in our region, tourism tries
to rise up and take its place. This transition isn’t always successful. I read
recently, while doing research for the books, that Oregon has more ghost towns
than any other state. (There has to be another series buried in that fact.)
If you’re from the Northwest, I hope Ashwood sparks a
memory. But If you haven’t had time to visit the Evergreen State – and I hope
you do – be sure to take a drive into the mountains and find a quiet trail. And
when you get thirsty, stop for a beer at a local bar – maybe you’ll meet
someone who seems a little familiar.
It was strange how
easily he found her—a radiant woman reclined in the shimmering heat.
His cousins shared
the same blanket with her. Seth wove toward them dodging through the sea of
people, lawn chairs, and coolers. Jasmine spotted him first. “Hey, Seth, come
sit with us! I can’t believe we ran into you.” The twins grinned and traded a knowing
reclined on her back, eyes closed, with her delicate hands cradling her head,
almost napping. Her pale blue eyes popped open as soon as Jasmine spoke, but
she was slow to move, coming back from a sun-induced
Natalie, you look too comfortable.” Seth slowly drank in her languid body with
his eyes, absorbing her curves as he claimed a spot on the blanket next to her.
She didn’t move, only
spoke. “It’s the sun. We don’t get super-warm days like this in Seattle.”
song, the band wrapped up their set and announced a twenty-minute break. Sound
techs swarmed the stage to switch out stacks of amps and gear for the next act.
Jasmine and Rose stood.
“Can we bring back anything?” they asked before wandering off to leave the pair
Natalie shook her
head. “No, thanks . . . we’ll hold down the blanket.” Seth shifted to face her,
hip to hip, the muscle of his thigh snug against her side.
A breeze gently
blew her wavy hair, and he reached to tuck a red strand behind her ear. Gliding
his knuckles, he burned a trail of desire from her neck just past the edge of
her breast, and across her rib cage. Natalie shivered.
“I couldn’t stop
thinking about you.” Seth stared as she absorbed his touch with her eyes still
“I’m glad you
found me. It seems like I’m already addicted to your touch.”
I’ve started and scrapped my blog three separate times. Sometimes technology got in the way. Sometimes I ran out of time. Most often, I couldn’t think of anything worth saying. I’m not sure if those issues have changed, but if anyone happens to read my blog – this time – I intend to leave my words here. And I hope to add to them consistently. (I’ll try for once a week, at least for a while)
Why? I feel like readers may want to know more about where the Ashwood Series is headed, or some readers may want to have a say in that process. I’m fine with that. In the past I’ve reworked characters, scenes, and themes based on readers’ feedback. I listen.
I’d also like to share a little bit more about Ashwood here. I like to write fast-paced books, and that leaves me with very large delete files. If something seems interesting – I’ll put that here – along with teasers, sneak peeks, and maybe chats with some of my author friends.
That’s it. The plan is fluid. I’ll be consistent – and hope someone has time to say hi. (assuming I can figure out all of the settings to make everything work.)