Thursday, March 26, 2009

Making lemonade in the middle of a blizzard

Promo time again. I'm in the MIDNIGHT CRAVINGS anthology that should be hitting bookstores right It's a collection of six Nocturne Bites stories, each featuring a werewolf or some kind of shapeshifter. These stories have previously been published only as electronic novellas at eHarlequin, so it's very cool to finally see them in print. My story is about a werewolf racing the moon to get home before his 'beastly' side wants to come out and romp. But he's stranded in a little dustball of a town in ND, and the only one around is a sexy female familiar who is up for the romp. Only problem is, when familiars have sex...well, demons show up, and not the nice kind. If that intrigues you, look for it in print—isn't that the sexist cover?—or you can still get the story, Racing The Moon online at any eRetailer, including Amazon.  (Amazon also has the first few chapters up, so go ahead and start reading!)

I wanted to talk briefly about making a good thing out of something not so good, like my characters do in the story. You see, when I sat down to write this story, I was trying to think of where I could possibly strand my hero. And then I remembered the time my hubby and I, and our two kids (they were both under age 8 at the time) were heading to the in-laws in ND on Xmas eve. It was blizzarding, as is to be expected in ND in winter-time. Highway 94 is not the place to be during a blizzard that has suddenly become a white-out. If you've never been in a white-out, snow storming sideways at ridiculous speeds, trust me, you don't want to experience one. You cannot see a car's tail-lights twenty feet in front of you. The wind seeps through the flimsy steel cage of your car as if it were mere cloth.  Even with the heater blasting, you shiver.  Add glare-ice to the mix, and well...we ended up spinning into the ditch, along with dozens of other cars.

That night we managed, all of us in cars that had been towed out from the ditch, to form a sort of worm-pace convoy, bumper to bumper, and crawled along to the nearest exit. The town of Steele, ND welcomed us with an all-night diner and a hotel that just happened to have rooms available.  I remember how thankful we were to be alive, and yet how miserable the kids were that we'd spend Xmas eve in a motel. Would Santa Claus even know where to find them? They were devastated. Being the germ-nut I am, I was freaking over the three-inch pile shag carpeting that likely hadn't been vacummed since the seventies, and the huge pink wad of gum stuck to the toilet rim. Ugg. This was not a memory I wanted to give my kids.

But you know, Santa did find the kids the next morning (thank goodness I packed the 'Santa gifts') and the lumpy old beds were actually pretty comfy. The morning was filled with laughter and amazement as we went downstairs to the restaurant and actually saw Santa eating breakfast. I couldn't have planned a more perfect Xmas for the kids that year. It was filled with wonder. And now when I think of that particular Xmas eve I don't dwell so much on the awful part as I smile to remember the kids' smiles.

I still think it was kind of wicked though, to strand the hero of Racing The Moon in that same town. Hee.  (Hey, at least I didn't put him in a blizzard.)

Some of life's best memories come from our ability to see the good in the bad.  So what about you? I want to hear about when you've been faced with disaster or a less-than-desirable situation, and were able to turn it around and make lemonade.  

I want to give away a copy of MIDNIGHT CRAVINGS, so I'll draw a random name from the comments and post the winner on Saturday.


Betina Krahn said...

Michelle, I LOVE your story and it's moral! What a wonderful way to introduce this book! And I have long thought that this is the sexiest cover I've seen in a while-- especially for a paranormal.

Some years ago, Tami Hoag and I were stranded on a country road on the way to a book signing. Her car overheated and we had to call a tow truck. Fortunately, we were near our destination. We laughed and said it would make a great intro to a book. Tami took up the challenge and used the incident to spawn a book. Only she changed the sex of the tow truck driver, making her the heroine, and made the stranded motorist her hero. Great story.

Personally, I'll all for the "make lemonade" approach. So much better that "pulling your hair out" thing. Trust me, those bald patches take forever to grow back.

magolla said...

Oo, this story sounds like one I'd LOVE to read.
My fave memory was when I traveled to a small town in France for my brother's wedding . . . and my luggage went to Tel Aviv. Shoot, this was twenty years ago, and the memory is just as vivid as if it was last year.
I'm so glad my mom taught me to pack an appropriate carry-on bag. I lived out of that bag for a week, but alas, I didn't have anything to wear to the wedding.
My bro's future MIL came to the rescue and loaned me a dress with matching lavender satin shoes and purse! I danced in those shoes until 4 AM. What a wedding! And the food! And the wine and Eau de Vie!
I still think about Mimi who went out of her way for a stranger.

GunDiva said...

What a great story! I think kids really have a much better ability to see the good side of things (or at least remember them). If you asked your kids now about the Christmas Eve spent in a motel, they'd probably remember it as a cool adventure.

Michele Hauf said...

Betina, so true about the bald patches. I wonder...if we use a life lesson in our books....can we deduct expenses? ;-)

Magolla, did you ever see your luggage again? I always wonder about that if there's just a place where luggage goes to die.

GunDIva, I was fortunate that when we actually spun into the ditch, both kids were sleeping. So they didn't notice their mother's terror. But then they woke up and were like 'What's going on?'

Candace said...

During one of our many cross-county move, the DH and I -- and our dog and two cats -- got caught in one of those whiteouts. I think we were in Iowa. Luckily, we found a hotel that would take us all in. Unluckily, the storm lasted nearly three full days.

Picture me, bundled up so that only my eyes show, not daring to move more than a few steps away from the door of the hotel because I wouldn't be able to see it to get back inside if I got more than ten steps away, pleading with the shivering Doberman on the end of my leash to "Go potty, Xena. Go potty. Pretty please, go potty." She refused to squat (well, wouldn't you, given the circumstances?) and so I finally gave up and took her back inside -- where she promptly squatted and peed in the lobby of the hotel. The staff was very understanding and gave me a roll of paper towels to clean up after her.

On the third morning of our of our stay, the staff opened the restaurant to all the hotel guests and served what food they had left buffet style. It was quite an interesting menu. We -- staff and guests -- ended up pushing most of the tables together so we could share the meal, family style.

Despite everything, we had a great time and that adventure ranks up there with some of our fondest memories of moving.

Anonymous said...

Michele- I've read Racing the Moon! In fact, I've read almost every Bite. I'm in the process of putting together my pitch for the Nocturne Bite Pitch contest! YIKES. Love those Bites.

Lemonade, huh? Last night, I was visitation for a good friend's mother. This friend was my college roommate, someone I'd been friend with since 7th grade. There was a group of girls who were best friends/ We called ourselves "The Group". (In fact, the teachers called us "the Group"! That's how we were known) Last night was the first time in YEARS that so many of The Group got together. Sad situation but so joyful in many ways. More laughs than tears. Too many hugs and kisses to count. Late dinner at a local restaurant, loud enough that no one wanted to sit by us. Today is the funeral, so odds are I won't be back on until tonight. It'll be another sad/joyful situation.

Playground Monitor said...

My father died when I was 18. My mom was just a few weeks shy of her 43rd birthday. I watched her take charge of her life, pick up the pieces and become a strong woman. I finished college and my sister came along behind me three years later to graduate as well. When my mother retired, she'd moved up to head of the advertising department at the paper where she worked.

When life gets tough, I remember my Mom and figure if she could handle all that, I can handle anything. She's my hero.


catslady said...

Great stories. With the economy as bad as it is, hopefully a lot of people will be able to turn those lemons into lemonade. After working for the same company for 27 years (although it was bought out 5 times and things got worse with each buyout) my husband was layed off. Thankfully he eventually found another job and although it was not as good as his original job - he is now located 15 minutes away instead of a commute that had grown from one hour to an hour and a half each way. A safer commute and very importantly - more time for family.

Virginia said...

Great story! This past winter we had a severe Ice storm that kicked out everyones power for days some were without for several weeks. We didn't have heat in the house but we did have some food like sandwedge stuff. The first night we made it with heating the house with candles, the next night our neighbors loaned us a kerosene heater for the night and we where able to go to town the next day to get hot food. You couldn't even buy a candle in town. The next day we borrowed a heater from my brother in law. We were without power for several days but it brought us closer together as a family and everyone joined together to help everyone else. I learned a lot from this week without power and one thing is how good your neighbors are when you really need them. You can be sure about one thing I will be better prepaired the next time around.

Estella said...

I don't have a story to tell, bur admire all who do.

Shawntelle said...

I read the description and I would love to read these stories!

Helen Brenna said...

As long as the bad doesn't involve a real disaster, I love turning bad things into good.

My son just said the other night that he loves tornadoes. My dh and I knew exactly what he meant. It wasn't tornadoes themselves, it was the lights going out, the having to go into the basement with all the animals and the blankies and the special things and hanging together.

Fun stuff, Michele!

Helen Brenna said...

Oh, and I love, love, love this cover!

magolla said...

Hey Michelle,
Yep, a week later I went back to Paris to claim my luggage. They would have delivered it, but I didn't have a clue where my family was staying in Chaumont!
I promptly traded my suitcase for a my new SIL's backpack and hopped trains to Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland and Austria for the next two weeks.
It's amazing what one of those large backpacks can carry AND I managed to stuffed four smokers in their boxes that I bought in Germany into the already full backpack.
Ah, good memories!

Anonymous said...


Your story premise intrigues me and I'd love to win a copy; if not I'm sure I'll be visiting the bookstore shortly ~

Re: blizzards into lemonade -
My husband's favorite uncle died unexpectedly, just before Christmas one year, and the funeral was scheduled for Dec. 26 - about 800 miles away in the Midwest. We couldn't leave until Christmas Day, but would have to be on the road early, so we decided not to bother with all the holiday trappings, although we knew it was not really fair to our 8-year-old. But an acquaintance invited us to an early Christmas brunch with her family, and even surprised us with presents and a basket of food to take along so we could make good time. And distant relatives held their celebration that evening, and welcomed us warmly although this was the first time we had met many of them. The many acts of kindness we experienced during that sad time were a real blessing.

who is not sure if you were saying the cover was "sexist" or "the sexiest" ???

Deborah said...

Hi Michele! Great story! I remember when I was a kid, my parents and I got caught in a bad snowstorm. The highways were shut down and we had to pull off into a little town to wait out the storm. We had to sleep in the camper on the back of my Dad's pickup truck. We had our own blankets so we were nice and cozy. We had such fun that night! I still remember it fondly.

Midnight Cravings sounds fantastic! And that is the sexiest cover I've seen in a long time!

Margie said...

I don't have a story to tell but I enjoyed reading all the others.

Just had to tell you, that is one sexy cover! I love it!!