October 29, 2010

A Place of Their Own

After the disastrous end of another dead-end relationship, all Jessica Hart wants is solitude and time to heal at her grandfather's mountain retreat. Instead she finds Zach Rawlings.

Zach has made himself at home at the cabin. He's house-sitting while the owner is away, and the temporary nature of the job suits him perfectly. For Jessica, Zach is everything she wants to escape.

As she gets to know him better, she realizes there's more to him than meets the eye. His patience and tender concern begin to heal something deep inside of her. But can she trust her heart to a man like Zach?

Today's blog is by Debra St. John. Debra is with me at the keyboard today celebrating her new release, THIS CAN'T BE LOVE, available at
The Wild Rose Press.  Welcome, Debra.

A Place of Their Own 
Setting is extremely important in a book. It plays a much deeper role than simply being the backdrop for the action of a story to play out. Often it takes on a personality of its own, deepening the conflict or heightening the tension between the hero and the heroine.

In my latest release, This Can’t Be Love, the setting is based on a place we visit every year with our good friends. The first time I took in the rushing creek, the cozy cabin, and the acres and acres of land, I knew it would be the perfect spot for a story. At the time, I didn’t have a story to set there, but in the back of my mind, I always knew someday there would be.

This book is a spin-off of my first, This Time for Always. The hero, Zach, is a secondary character in Always, but from the start I recognized he deserved to be the hero in a story of his own. Although the story is a continuation of sorts, it also has to stand on its own. And that meant it had to have a setting all its own. Zach and Jessica deserved a unique place of their own to fall in love.

It actually didn’t dawn on me right away, but after another visit to our vacation spot, it hit me: Why not set Love there? Having Zach there in the first place is a source of conflict, and of course living in such close quarters helps to build the sexual tension.

For the book I took the liberty of “moving” our Missouri vacation spot to Big Sky Country. I’ve never given an exact setting for these books, but there are mountains and cowboys and country music, so out west seemed to be the place to be! But those familiar with the original place will recognize many of the places Zach and Jessica explore as they discover their love for one another.

Here’s a taste of Zach and Jessica’s story:

“I’ll finish up here.” Zach ran water in the sink.

He glanced over his shoulder. “What are your plans for the day?”

“My plans for the day?”

“Yeah, what are you going to do?”

“I want you to tell me what needs to be done around here.”

Zach rinsed the pan, then shut the water off. He turned, then leaned his hips against the counter and crossed one bare foot over the other. “Oh, yeah. Why’s that?”

“So, when you leave,” she said pointedly, “I’ll know what needs to be done.”

“I thought we settled this last night. I’m not going anywhere.”

“And I thought I made myself perfectly clear.” She straightened to her full height. “We don’t need your services anymore. So, like I said, if you tell me what needs to be done, I’ll take care of it.”

His gaze roved from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. “Really?” His mouth twitched as if trying to hide a smile.


“Fine. Today the side field needs to be brush hogged, the thistles need to be cut down in the upper field, the ATV tanks need to be filled, and the garden needs to be weeded.” He folded his arms across his chest, a smug look on his face.

She bit her lip. She was pretty confident about filling the gas tanks on the ATVs. And she could probably handle weeding the garden. But that’s all she was sure about. She didn’t know a thistle from an eggplant, and as for brush hogging, she had no idea. Since Pops didn’t own any animals, she was pretty sure it didn’t have anything to do with actual hogs, but beyond that, she didn’t have a clue as to what Zach meant.


She’d have to Google it.

She glanced at Zach. He still wore that infuriating expression. Worst of all, he was right. She had no idea how to do the things he’d said.

Double damn.

She put her hands on her hips and jutted out her chin. “That doesn’t sound too bad.” She’d figure it out. She had to. Zach couldn’t stay. And she’d cut off her right arm before she asked for his help before he left.

He had the audacity to laugh. “Okay, then, have it your way. Since you won’t be needing me, I’ll be down at the creek.” 

He strode from the room, whistling.

A big heartfelt thanks to Bob and Barb for letting me ‘borrow’ their cabin for Zach and Jessica’s story, and thanks so much to Sarah for having me today. Readers can find me at http://www.debrastjohnromance.com/. I’m also the Sunday blogger at The Acme Authors Link and the Thursday blogger at Heroines with Hearts.

I’d love to have you visit!


Debra St. John said...

Hi Sarah,

Thanks so much for having me today! You're the first stop on my "Love" kick off tour!

Morgan Mandel said...

Sounds like our house.
There's a stoop to be fixed, a garage to be sided, window fares to be painted - the list goes on.

Morgan Mandel

Elaine Cantrell said...

Your excerpt is great, Debra. I hope your book sells a million copies. You are welcome to come to my blog also if you'd like.

Ana Morgan said...

Your setting sounds perfect--and realistic, Debra. I've lived on a farm for 38 years and I'm still learning how to do things. This story sounds great. I'm looking forward to reading it!

BarbW said...

Asked my husband if he knew how to brush hog a field. He did! Guess it's a man thing. Your story sounds like its packed with pheromone-filled angst. My kind of story!

Debra St. John said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

Morgan...there's always something to be done, isn't there.

Elaine...A million copies would rock! I might take you up on your blog offer. Thanks!

Ana...I love farms...thanks for the vote of confidence.

Barb...Must be a guy thing! (I actually get to do it when we visit Missouri...it's a blast!)

Joelle Charbonneau said...

Okay - now I'm Googling Brush Hog a Field....cool! The setting sounds fabulous. I can't wait to read:) Thanks for giving us another wonderful story!!

Marilyn Brant said...

Hi, Sarah!

Debra, I loved getting a taste of This Can't Be Love! Thanks so much for sharing a bit about it and about the story's setting ;).

Debra St. John said...

Hi Joelle...my heroine spends a lot of time Googling!

Thanks for stopping by Marilyn!

Caroline Clemmons said...

This sounds like a cute book. Thanks for sharing with us.

Debra St. John said...

Hi Caroline...Thanks for the compliments and thanks for stopping by.

Sarah Grimm said...

Hey everyone! I finally made it.

Debra, thanks for visiting with me today. I'm thrilled to be the first stop on your tour. Loved your excerpt!

Oh, and I'm happy to say I know what brush hogging is. I've even done it a time or two. :)

Debra St. John said...

Hi Sarah...Brush hogging is a blast, isn't it?


Congrats on the release of your book and many sales.



Debra St. John said...

Hi Loretta, Thanks so much!

Historical Writer/Editor said...

Congratulations on the book release. The blurb is intriguing! -laura

B. A. Binns said...

Loved the exceprt, the book sounds great. Congratulations. Love it when minor characters earn their place in the sun.

Maureen Lang said...

I love books where the setting is practically a character in the book! Can't wait to read this one. You always include such wonderful romantic tension in your books, Deb.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Hi Debra!

The book sounds wonderful. I wish you the best. Here's to hoping it becomes a best seller!