Hiya guys, we have Pat Henshaw visiting today with her upcoming releases Foothills Pride Vol 01 paperback and Relative Best, we have a fantastic guest post and a great excerpt from Relative Best, so check out the post and leave a comment for Pat! <3 ~Pixie~
Foothills Pride Vol 01
A Foothills Pride Collection
The tiny Sierra Nevada community of Stone Acres looks benign on the outside, but it’s been a hive of activity since gay men from Silicon Valley began moving in. The Old Town establishment is up in arms as newcomers challenge the conservative community to move into the new millennium. Along the way, gay couples find true love and a new home.
Burly, bald bartender Guy Stone watches barista Jimmy Patterson get dumped by his boyfriend, then swoops in to help Jimmy recover in What’s in a Name? After sporting goods merchant Max Greene hires flamboyant Fredi Zimmer to remodel his mountain cabin in Redesigning Max, closeted Max falls for the out-and-proud Fredi. When contractor Abe Behr hires accountant Jeff Mason to find out who’s embezzling from the company in Behr Facts, little does workaholic Abe know he’s opening his heart as well as his books to the man. In When Adam Fell, renowned chef Adam de Leon thought he’d lost the love of his life, David Fairbanks, to drugs until David reappears in Stone Acres and wants another chance.
Despite the obstacles, happily ever afters are waiting in the foothills.
Release date: 17th August 2016
Sometimes love sneaks up when you’re least looking for it….
Zeke Bandy, owner of Bandy’s Finest Hotel in Old Town Stone Acres, California, is too busy for love. Not only does he oversee the operations of the historic hotel and uphold his family’s tradition of offering refuge to strays and runaways, Zeke also sings and plays down-home music two nights a week at the Stonewall Saloon and for occasional celebrations. Then Zeke meets Victor Longbow, the man of his dreams.
Vic isn’t looking for love either. In fact, because of his upbringing in a strict, white foster family, Vic’s not sure he believes in love. He’s in Stone Acres to open a branch office of a national brokerage firm. He’s also hoping to find a vintage photo of what might be his Native American ancestor.
After their paths cross, they become friends, then more. Connected by their experiences as orphans raised by flawed fathers, Zeke and Vic realize that some men must find love, hone it, and create families for themselves.
Building a Town—And Then a Series
By Pat Henshaw
A little over two and a half years ago, I was a book reviewer for All About Romance, Booklist, and The Romance Reviews, and had been for a few years. I enjoyed reviewing, especially Dreamspinner Press books.
While reviewing was fun—just as much fun as you imagine it would be—it wasn’t what I ultimately wanted to do in life. Since I was a child, I wanted to be an author. I wanted to write books.
My dream was one of those retirement mirages. All during my paying jobs as a features writer on newspapers, as a publicist for a PBS station and for a small publisher, and as an English composition instructor, I was steadily plodding closer and closer to retirement, and I’d hoped, my dream job.
Five years ago, I retired from the paying jobs but kept reviewing. I hadn’t made the transition I’d planned. Then one day as I looked through the Dreamspinner call for submissions, I spied a call for contemporary short stories that had a fairytale tie-in.
Immediately, I thought of Rumpelstiltskin and names. And I was off. As if a light bulb had been turned on, I wrote out the first draft, then refined it.
What’s in a Name? was born. Into the world came likeable barista Jimmy Patterson and a big, burly, sometimes bad-tempered bartender nicknamed Stone. And the lovely Sierra Nevada foothills town of Stone Acres appeared on my fictional map.
Fortunately, I have a built-in editor—the wonderful man I’ve been married to forever. He read through the story, giving it a thorough thrashing. I rewrote parts and rehashed other parts of the piece. He gave it another round of the blue pencil hacking. I went back to the keyboard and retooled. I’m not sure how many rounds we went at it, but finally we had a product I could submit.
Happy and proud, I returned to the Dreamspinner site to find out where to send the story, only to see that writing a story wasn’t enough. DSP, like other publishers, wanted a summary and a cover letter that included something that could be turned into a blurb.
Hey, but I had a story, so no problem, right? All I had to do was distill the plot first into about an eighth of its size and then turn that into the elevator pitch. The elevator pitch part was easy because none of my reviews were ever over 500 words. The summary part was a little more challenging. I was running out of words to tell the same story over and over again.
But I did it. And my husband, rubbing his hands with glee, performed his surgery on the summary and blurb cover letter.
This time when I went back to the DSP site to get the particulars about submission, I noticed two disheartening facts that I’d overlooked in my rush to write: What’s in a Name? was way too long—over 10,000 words too long—and I’d missed the submission deadline by a month.
How could I tell my husband who’d suffered through my writing with me? I felt like a real failure.
When I got up the courage to spill the beans, his response was, “Why not send it in anyway? What can they do?”
Good question. I had all the pieces. Why not send it to Dreamspinner? What could DSP do? It wouldn’t be sending out the Author Police to arrest me as a fraud. The story would be either accepted or rejected, right?
And the Foothills Pride series was born. Dreamspinner accepted What’s in a Name? and made my dreams come true.
After the first book got so many positive reviews, I sat down to write the second one, mainly because I liked designer Fredi Zimmer (Redesigning Max) so much. He just had to have a love of his own and I was on a modern fairytale kick.
Then the contractor in Max caught my eye, and I had to give him a lover. I mean, the man was working all the time and juggling an ingrate family. If anyone needed a little tenderness in his life Abe Behr did. Fortunately, in Behr Facts he found someone who wasn’t afraid of worms and loved sugar as much as he did.
I’d intended for celebrity chef and recent Stone Acres outlying resident Adam de Leon’s story to be the second in line, but Fredi, being Fredi, barged his way into the front of the line and wouldn’t let anyone else through. But the chef got his chance in When Adam Fell and proved that second chances sometimes work out okay.
By then I had four published novellas and a lot of nice reviews, for which I’m eternally grateful. My too-long, too-late story had spawned a number of off-spring.
When Dreamspinner decided to bundle the first four books into one volume, Foothills Pride Stories, Vol. 1, I was delighted. But not as excited as my mother who refused to read eBooks and was holding out for dead-tree copies of the stories. She can’t wait to get her print copy and read the series on August 17.
Meanwhile, on the same date, the fifth book, Relative Best about the guitar- and banjo-playing owner of Bandy’s Finest Hotel, a historic lodging house around the corner from Stonewall Saloon, releases in eBook format. Suddenly, like mushrooms, stories about a small town in the middle of nowhere California have multiplied.
Where am I going from here with my imaginary town of Stone Acres that now has its own Old Town map, a self-appointed mayor and town council, and residents of over 100 fine citizens?
Dreamspinner is currently sending me a contract for Short Order, the sixth in the series, the story of Adam’s sous chef John whose height rivals that of Game of Thrones’s Peter Dinklage and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s twin Danny DeVito. Is there such a thing as short, dark, and handsome? I think there is.
I’ve also recently finished writing the seventh Foothills book, The Right Sort, about all-around good guy and hardware store owner, Frank McCord, who at age 35 has pretty much given up his dream to find love and have a family of his own.
But Dreamspinner is where dreams come true, right? So maybe Frank has a chance after all. Only time—and my submission—will tell.
My question to you: What’s your lifelong dream? What are you doing to work toward fulfilling it? You’ve heard my story. Now I want to hear yours.
From Relative Best
“I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight. You’ve been a great audience.” The couple at the center table looked up at me with almost identical grins. Despite this being an extra gig in a very busy week, I’d enjoyed playing for their bachelor party—even if it made me feel my loneliness more sharply.
“I’ll leave the happy couple with these words from an old Native American chief who, if he was smart, said them to his other half: ‘I will fight no more forever.’” I raised my glass of water and shouted over the noisy crowd, “To Sammy and Ned—may they have a long, happy, peaceful life together!”
The raucous audience at Stonewall Saloon whooped and hollered through my words and got even louder after my last sentence. Rising from their seats, Sammy and Ned raised their clasped hands like boxers who’d won a particularly hard bout but now were on their way to a great wedding.
As they gushed about how happy they were that everybody could make it to their wedding, I started to pack up my banjo and guitars. Tonight I’d left the fiddle backstage because I was so tired. I’d been burning too many candles from both ends. After locking away the instruments in the storeroom and breaking down the mic and the amps, I caught the end of Sammy’s speech.
“If you enjoyed Zeke Bandy’s guitar and banjo playing, remember he’s here at Stonewall Thursday and Friday nights. We’re honored to have him play at our wedding.”
When the crowd cheered, I stood, turned, and waved to the fifty or sixty bobbing heads on the other side of the stage. Whistles and catcalls joined the shouts and cheers. I had my fans and a lot of regulars in the audience.
“See ya tomorrow, Red! I love you!” some drunk yelled, and the crowd cheered louder.
“Oh, cut it out, guys! You’re making me blush.” And they were, with all their yells and waves and hoots and hollers.
A cry went up about more beer from one side of the room, and the night proceeded like all the others when I played. Attention spans flew out the window as the beer and hard drinks flowed. Completely sober, I put away the rest of the equipment and shut off the power on the platform that bar owner Guy Stone had designated as a stage.
Jimmy Patterson, Stone’s significant other and owner of Penny’s coffee shops here in Stone Acres, California, waved at me as I returned to the barroom from the storage area in the back.
“I got a table!” He was trying to shout over the noise.
As I limped toward him, men slapped me on the back and told me how much they enjoyed my playing. I kept moving, even though guys tried to stop me and give me requests for Thursday night. One guy even grabbed my face and kissed me, which would have been really flattering, even hot, if he hadn’t stopped, stared at me, and said, “You’re not Tom.”
I turned to walk away, only to hear him shout, “Red, you’re cuter than Tom.” I didn’t turn back but heard him yelp like he’d been hit.
I ended up sitting at a big table in the corner of the drinking area with a decent view of the tiny new dance floor. At the table with Jimmy sat four guys—flamboyant designer Fredi Zimmer and his husband, staid, reliable Max Greene, both of whom I knew fairly well, and two guys I didn’t know.
My eyes were drawn to the one who had strong cheekbones, long blue-black hair, and vibrant adobe-colored skin. He could easily have been a poster boy for the California Native American Heritage Commission. If I could pick a guy to kiss me unexpectedly, he’d be my choice. The libido I thought dead from overwork rose from its grave.
While the guys wrangled over who was paying for the next round, I took in the other man to the left of my preferred eye candy. This guy flaunted nearly white-blond hair, startling blue eyes, and a California tan, like the ultimate surfer dude. He did nothing for me, but I appreciated the effect he’d probably have on a lot of other guys here tonight.
I could easily see the humor in the three of us sitting at the same table, though. Considering I’ve got bright red hair, porcelain white skin with a thick spattering of freckles, and cornflower blue eyes, this table covered a large portion of the rainbow.
Jimmy introduced us while he partially stood to get Stone’s attention. “Zeke, these are two of the groomsmen, Vic Longbow and Hayden Weller. Zeke Bandy.”
Both of them nodded, a nod I returned.
“Hey, man. Nice pickin’ up there.” Hayden, the beach god, waved his nearly empty glass of beer at me.
“Thanks.” I never knew what to say when someone complimented me after a performance. While part of me was floating on the post-performance high, the rest of me was critiquing what I’d done and what I’d like to do over.
“Are you recorded?” Vic’s voice was low and soothing, the kind of sound that oddly created a center of calm in the middle of the barroom noise. I gladly stepped into the peace and took a deep breath.
I looked down, fleetingly taking in the scarred tabletop, and balanced momentarily on the pinpoint of serenity Vic had presented me.
“No, no recordings. I haven’t ever had the time or energy.” I shrugged. I owned and ran the historical hotel in downtown Stone Acres. When was there time to record?
“Where do you get the songs? Are they yours?” Vic was focused on me so much that the rest of the table dimmed.
“No. God, no. They’re all old tunes that have been knocking around forever, mostly by bluegrass and folk groups. I take it you don’t listen to this kind of sound?”
He smiled. “You’ve opened up a whole new door for me, and I can’t wait to explore what’s inside this new music room.”
His look caressed me enough that my dick perked, and suddenly I dared to believe my dream of finding a boyfriend and possibly a husband wasn’t as nebulous as I’d always thought. If someone this fine could look at my skinny ginger self and respond even half as much as he was, I was on the right path. I grinned at him and he at me.
Yeah, he was too hot for me with his high cheekbones and exotic hair, but I could practice on him and dream, right?
Pat Henshaw, author of the Foothills Pride series, was born in Nebraska but promptly left the cold and snow after college, living at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and Northern California. Pat has visited Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and regularly travels to Rome, Italy, and Eugene, Oregon, to see family.
Now retired, Pat has taught English composition at the junior college level; written book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helped students find information as a librarian; and promoted PBS television programs.
Pat has raised two incredible daughters who daily amaze everyone with their power and compassion. Pat’s supported by a husband who keeps her grounded in reality when she threatens to drift away writing fiction.
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