For the Erotic Cravings' Making Santa's Naughty List Blog Hop
with Nona Raines
Today we have author Beth M James with a rousing interview and excerpt from her latest release, Gitana--Life Plan. I really want to know why she hasn't cashed her Powerball ticket yet and how much it's for (it must not be a lot.) But anyhoo, the blurb is very intriguing and I'm sure you'll enjoy the excerpt as well!
Quick Round questions for Beth M James:
Coffee, tea or … what’s your vice? Chocolate. Coffee. Coffee. Chocolate. Mix them together…perfect.
Favorite movie: The Big Chill
Favorite Color: Midnight Blue
Favorite book/author: Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss
How do you feel about bacon? Love it. Thick, smoky, and maple coated.
Now for the REAL questions...
Raised in Minnesota, I am the youngest of five. After graduating from high school, I moved to Colorado on a whim and stayed there for ten years before heading back to Minnesota with two kids in tow. I now live in the St. Croix Valley, bordering Minnesota and Wisconsin, I’m married to a great guy, and we have an RV that we go camping in during the summer months. I have a son who is in the service, currently deployed, a stepdaughter who lives nearby, and a daughter who lives “up north” with her fiancé and my first grandchild. My daytime career is a senior business/system analyst while my nighttime career is writing. My goal is to establish myself as a writer and to retire as a full-time author. Yes, I will write until I die.
You can find me at:
What’s under your bed?
The cord to my heated mattress pad is the only thing under my bed. Winters are a little chilly in the St. Croix Valley, and there’s nothing like jumping into a warm bed. Heaven J
What comes first, plot or characters?
The main character comes first. I see a picture of a person from a magazine, newspaper, or on the internet that intrigues me, and then I will drum up a story to fit that image. Once the basic plot comes into play, I’ll start to form the other characters.
Pantser, plotter, or hybrid?
Hybrid. I will have the outline of the story down before I begin to write. As I write, I’ll let the story take me where it should go, even if it’s beyond the outline. I then review to add pieces where needed or remove if it’s too far-fetched.
Oddest thing on your desk?
A Powerball ticket that I haven’t cashed in yet. Oh wait….a calculator next to a calculator. Why do I have two?
What’s your most interesting writing quirk?
If I’m stuck, I will stop writing to work on a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. I’ll listen to music while putting the puzzle pieces in place. As I drift into my own little world, I’ll usually piece together the scene that I’ve been struggling with or create a whole new one. Having the busy work brings me back around to writing again.
What is the hardest thing about being an author?
Wanting to write yet not having enough time in the day to do so. I have to balance my full-time job, family life, writing, and marketing into 16 hours (yes, I need 8 hours of sleep!)
What’s the easiest thing about being an author?
The easiest thing about being an author is coming up with different story ideas. I have a pile of stories that are just waiting to be written. I love when I dream full stories at night. The tricky part is remembering what I dreamed so I can capture them on paper.
What do you wish someone had asked you for an interview question?
“Who do you base your characters on?” Every author has a vision of who their character is when they start writing. Many writers base them off models or actors. In my book Gitana – Life Plan, my protagonist is based on the looks of a female rocker, while the antagonist is based on an actor. In fact, I mention the actor in my book.
Tell us about your latest release:
“Gitana – Life Plan” was released March, 2013 in electronic format. Now I’m happy to say that it’s newly released in print format. You can find the eBook at most eStores and the print version is sold on Amazon.
Blurb for Gitana--Life Plan:
Gitana Sothers has turned thirty and now lives on a weathered houseboat in Sausalito after John, a prominent doctor, divorces her for his pregnant mistress. Gitana’s one goal in life had been to start a family, but her inability to become pregnant has left her without a plan.
When life seems hopeless, she meets the rugged Cade DeVerine, a sculptor and gallery owner, who’s allured by her beauty and recognizes her talents as an artist. He firmly doesn’t want a family which alleviates some pressure from Gitana as she breaks down her barriers to fall in love again.
However, Gitana’s happiness doesn’t last when a dark secret from the past threatens her future with Cade. She’s torn between letting love go or having the one precious thing she wants the most.
Gitana--Life Plan is available at:
Excerpt from Gitana--Life Plan:
Gitana Sothers caught sight of the baby blue Mercedes as it turned into the gravel parking lot near the houseboats. Her first instinct was to run.
That son of a bitch.
Doctor GQ with the sun-bleached hair and golfer’s tan. He inched his convertible forward as if on parade. When he stopped near her side, she lifted her chin and gave him a cold, unwelcoming stare. Sausalito was not his territory.
“And why are you here, Doctor John?” She drawled his name, letting him know she didn’t think too much of his status now that they were divorced. He continued to show up at her place with an excuse to see her, and it was getting old. She hated how he observed her like a case study— an object versus a human with feelings. “Don’t you have more important things to do?”
“Nice to see you too,” he said, shifting into park.
Gitana stepped back to provide a little more distance from the car. She rested her hand on her hip and watched him scrutinize her attire without words. She wore form-fitting jeans and a scoop top where cleavage met the edge of purple fabric. Her black lacy bra peeked from underneath. Inappropriate wear in her ex’s eyes. The bastard. He had no right to stare at her like she was trash.
She leaned forward and put her hands on the top edge of the passenger door, purposely touching his precious car. His nostrils flared and his jaw tightened, but he didn’t comment. He showed restraint––so unlike him.
Gitana smiled like the Grinch would after a bad deed. Poor thing would have to polish his baby again.
She stepped away, and the sun must have caught the small diamond stud in her nose. John looked at her recent piercing with disgust. “That can cause a serious infection, you know.”
So typical. He was good at pointing out what he didn’t like. If one eyebrow hair were out of line, he would have the tweezers ready. If a dress made her appear “thick,” he would choose another for her to wear. The diamond in her nose must have curled the hairs on his ass.
“Is that what you came here for? To give me some doctorly advice?”
She waited for an insult to slide from his mouth, but he bit his lip instead.
With no makeup, she knew her dark brown eyes didn’t have the sophisticated appearance he liked. She had no need for mascara though; her lashes were already black and thick. John used to make her put it on anyway. Back then, she had to be his model-perfect wife.
Gitana stared at him, challenging him to a duel. He had plenty to slam her with, as he had high expectations of her appearance in public. But to hell with him. She looked better now, more Californian and fresh. She had gained weight since their split, toned her muscles with weights and exercise. She was no longer pale or rail thin.
John flicked his head up as if to say “whatever” to her challenge. He reached over to open his glove compartment and pulled out an eight-by-ten padded envelope for her. He said, “Here, you could use it.”
“Hand-delivered. Nice.” How appropriate for him to give her the final monthly check that kept her finances in the black. She would miss the settlement payments, and he knew she would struggle without them. The envelope bulged with something else, but she refrained from asking.
He stayed to watch her reaction.
She wondered if he thought she’d get all excited. Gitana rolled her eyes, ready to get rid of him. “What do you want? A signature?”
“Not this time. I included a gift you can probably use.” He threw the gear shift into first.
She hated his smugness in that perfect smile. She had the urge to slap him for showing no remorse about wanting the divorce. No guilt for leaving her for his pregnant mistress.
“Bye-bye,” she said and tapped the hood of his car with the palm of her hand. Gitana dragged her fingers along the shiny surface to make sure he would have to polish more than just the one spot on his precious baby.
“Make it last,” he said as she walked away. The car’s wheels pushed against the gravel as he drove off. Rocks kicked up from the back tires and bounced near her feet.
“Asshole,” she mumbled under her breath.
Gitana held her chin high and refused to watch him leave. She walked to the small park at the end of the peninsula, nestled between the houseboats and the marina. The air tasted saltier as the wind picked up. A few white caps waved across the water and sparkled in the sun. She stopped when the sidewalk ended and enjoyed the bay instead of thinking about her ex.
The day could turn around. She had a good morning. The afternoon started fine but then turned to crap after she left work. So what if she left her keys at the winery and now couldn’t get inside her boat. Or that John, in all his smugness, decided to bring her the last payment in person. Her neighbor Layne would be home soon; he had a spare key to her place. Her ex had left. The sky was blue and the sun felt great. She lifted her head to capture the bright warmth on her skin. The sailboats seemed to do the same with their silver masts pointed high.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Don’t let him get to you.
Did he think she couldn’t get on with her life? Is that why he came around so much? At first she thought it was because of their history. For many years they tried having a baby. She left her marketing career and her art to concentrate on getting pregnant. And each time she tested, the result came back negative. He had always been supportive, sharing tears when the fertility treatments failed. She thought he would continue to care for her, but the mistress won. Now she had to find a new plan.
A yellow cigarette boat idled toward the marina and tied up at the gas pumps. She admired the sleek form and wondered if she could match on canvas how the sun danced against the silver-flecked sides of the boat.
The wind changed direction and a strand of her hair blew across her cheek. She brushed it aside. Gitana looked over at her rented houseboat on the other side of the inlet. The steel-hulled boat needed a good coat of paint and some character. The owner dismissed the idea of being unique and in good condition like the surrounding boats, splashed with brilliant shades of pinks, reds, blues, and greens. Each one had personality that matched its owner. Many floated on steady hulls made from cement, while her tattered wooden boat rocked with the slightest wave.
Maybe this afternoon, when she could get back into her home, she would try painting the yellow boat. Her oils and acrylics were out, ready to go. Or she could go out and find a permanent job. Working at the winery was temporary. Living on the boat was temporary. Gitana needed stability. Plain and simple. The divorce crushed her, and now she had to get her life back in order. But not today. Bad days like this one were not good times to start.
Gitana turned her attention to the envelope and took a deep breath. Enough worrying. She opened the flap so not to tear the check inside. She pulled out the familiar crisp white envelope with Singhauser and Breck, Attorneys at Law, printed in the corner. A seagull squawked overhead, distracting her for a moment. It flapped its wings, waiting for a morsel to drop from her hands, though with the smell of fish surrounding the bay, the bird had better sources to prey on than her.
Gitana dug into the envelope again and this time pulled out a small plastic container. Diazepam. The sound of disgust came from her throat. Pop a pill. Mask the pain and all the worries. Take one tablet. Maybe two. But do not come back. Her ex had given her a fucking prescription to calm her nerves. Her blood boiled.
She glanced toward the parking lot. No baby blue Mercedes waited to see her reaction. She pictured the smirk on John’s face as he drove off; the twisted grin that said he was better than her. That she was nothing in his eyes. A castoff.
The hurt swelled. Tears threatened, but she kept both in control. He was not going to get to her.
Thanks for stopping by!