Lexi: Please welcome historical romance author Marie Patrick (a regular blogger here at Happily Ever After Thoughts) 😊
So, Marie, what made you chose this title for your new release?
Marie: Hmmm, good question. I choose A Kiss in the Morning Mist because 1) the farm where Eamon MacDermott ends up after traveling from place to place to outrun his past is called Morning Mist—so named for the mist that lingers over the farm in the early morning. I thought it was pretty and 2) Eamon and Theo (that’s short for Theodosia) share their first kiss in the morning mist. The third reason is that it’s in keeping with the first book in the MacDermott Brothers saga, which is A Kiss in the Shadows. The third book is called A Kiss in the Sunlight. Each book shows the progression the brother makes after the tragedy that sent them on their individual journeys—from shadow to mist to sunlight.
Lexi: Everyone has their own writing process…how they come up with ideas, how they name their characters, how they choose the setting. Can you describe your writing process?
Marie: My writing process? I’m not sure there is one. I will admit that my characters talk to me (and no, I’m not crazy…lots of authors hear voices in their heads!) Sometimes, they tell me their names, sometimes not, but they all have a story to tell (and it can be either the heroine or the hero…if I’m lucky, both will speak to me). If I listen (which I do) and ask them questions, they’ll tell me everything. Then it’s on to the research (I love researching!) and trying to see the characters surroundings as they see them. In the case of this story, it was Eamon, my hero, whose voice I kept hearing over and over (strangely, he sounded a lot like Sam Elliott, which, of course, prompted me to keep him talking!)
Lexi: Oh my yes! What was the funniest thing you did wrong when you first started writing?
Marie: I head-hopped. Yup. You read that right. And I was really good at it, too. So good, in fact, that I could head-hop three times in one sentence. Now that takes talent! Those early manuscripts had the dubious honor of being used as fuel for several bonfires. But I learned. I joined RWA and my local group and I learned not to head-hop. Now I make other mistakes that my critique partners are quick to catch.
Lexi: Does your pet help with your writing or distract?
Marie: Ha! The answer to that is both yes and no. As soon as I sit down at the computer and open my file, my German shepherd thinks it’s an invitation to play. Either she’ll sit in the living room, which is perfect for her to see me and me to see her and whine or give little yaps or she’ll sneak down the hallway (I call it her pussy cat walk because it’s quiet and sneaky and her nails don’t make any sound) and she’ll actually ‘throw’ one of her toys at me or stick said toy in my lap. It’s not so bad when it’s one of her stuffless stuffed animals but when she throws a bone at me? It hurts. She has great aim. Once I throw her toy for her a couple times, she’ll relax and lay on the futon behind me. Then she’s all ears and listens to my voice with rapt attention. She’s a great sounding board.
Lexi: What do you think everyone should know about your critique partners?
Marie: Oh my gosh, what should everyone know? Well, for starters, I have two (you know who you are). They’ve been with me for a long time. I adore them and cherish them and truthfully, I couldn’t write what I do without either one of them. They have encouraged me and believed in me (even when I didn’t believe in myself). I am honored and blessed to call them friends. They’re honest, but kind (when I write garbage, which I occasionally do, they’ll call me on it but always in the nicest way possible). I also have two beta readers who are fabulous…couldn’t do this writing thing without them, either.
Lexi: Thank you for chatting with me on the blog. I just love this new release of yours and I’m thrilled to be one of your critique partners 😊
Excerpt from A Kiss in the Morning Mist:
For the first time in a very long time, Eamon MacDermott could breathe easier. He filled his lungs with sweet, fresh air. The knot in his stomach unraveled a little, just enough to be noticeable, and guilt, his constant companion, eased.
He never thought he would come back to Colorado. There were too many ghosts here, too many memories of the day the Logan Gang changed his life, but he didn’t seem to have a choice. Something had drawn him back here. Perhaps it was the thought of his brothers, Teague and Brock, and his need to see them, though he wasn’t quite ready for that yet.
His stomach growled, reminding him of his hunger and his meager provisions. The piece of jerky he’d eaten earlier had only served to make him hungrier. The coins in his pocket could buy him a decent meal, but only one, perhaps two if he was careful. He needed to find a job. Or a meal. Or both.
He followed the road to Pearce, the rumbling in his stomach a companion to Traveler’s steady clip-clop, until he came to a wide path cut between two blue spruces. A big, white sign with black letters stood at the entrance to the path. It read “Morning Mist Farms, est. 1876.” Painted in the upper right hand corner was a horse in full gallop.
Eamon eyed the sign from beneath the brim of his hat, then gave a slight tug on Traveler’s reins and nudged him up the path. He had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Even if there was no work to be found on Morning Mist Farms, at the very least, perhaps he could get a hot meal before going on his way.
The house came into view around a bend in the path and made him sigh. A nice place. Made of wood and rock most likely mined from the river he passed a while back, the structure rose three stories with one-story wings branching out to the north and south. Windows, framed by black painted shutters, were open, and lace draperies fluttered in the breeze. Rose bushes, beginning to bloom, were lined up neatly all along the front of the house, as well as the path that curved around the structure toward the back.
A porch ran the length of the three-storied section, sheltering two distinct sitting areas complete with wicker chairs and small round tables. A swing, suspended from the porch’s ceiling, rocked gently.
Eamon dismounted and studied the house. A curious sensation settled in his bones. This house was more than just wood and stone―this house was a home. He could almost imagine the people who lived here, hear the laughter echoing within the walls.
He tied Traveler’s reins to the railing, then took the steps leading up to the porch, his boot heels clicking on the wooden risers, and knocked on the door. While he waited for someone to answer, he studied his surroundings and noticed a rag doll on one of the chairs to his left. Missing a button eye, its black yarn hair in tangles, stuffing leaking from just about everywhere, the doll appeared to be very loved. Perhaps a bit too much, judging by her condition.
There were children here. A little girl, at the very least.
He knocked again, a little louder this time, then shoved his hand in his pockets. When no one answered, he bounded down the steps and followed a flagstone walk around to the back of the house, his gaze taking in and memorizing everything he saw as it came into view—barn, henhouse, icehouse, smokehouse, and huge stable—all well-kept and tidy—and a tall, sparse old woman wearing a big, straw hat. She wandered around a huge garden, talking to the various plants greening up the tilled earth, pulling weeds with gnarled, twisted fingers to fill the wicker basket hanging from her arm while pristine white sheets snapped in the breeze closer to the house.
He removed his hat from his head and approached her. “Excuse me, ma’am.”
She didn’t jump or stop pulling weeds from between rows of sprouting greenery. In fact, she didn’t seem to be alarmed by his sudden appearance at all. Instead, she peered at him from beneath the wide brim of her hat. Her sharp brown eyes boldly assessed him as her scrutiny went from the top of his hatless head to the boots on his feet and back. She smiled, the wrinkles on her face deepening, as she nodded. “Well, now, you certainly took your time gettin’ here, son, but you’ll do.”
Somewhat taken aback by the comment, Eamon peered at the woman and frowned. She spoke as if she’d expected him, but how could she have known? He hadn’t known until a short time ago he’d be here.
She continued her frank appraisal, then stuck out her hand. “Lavinia Stark, but you can call me Granny. Everyone does.”
Despite her misshapen hands, her grip was strong and solid.
He never had a chance to finish his sentence or introduce himself. He heard the back door open, then the distinct double click of a shotgun being cocked.
Eamon released the woman’s hand and dropped his hat to the ground. Without another thought, he reached for the pistols slung low around his hips but found ... nothing. No holster, no guns. He’d forgotten he no longer wore them—they weren’t part of him anymore and hadn’t been for a long time. He took a deep breath, turned slowly to face the direction of the noise, and blinked several times. A woman stood before him, the shotgun steady in her hands. Dressed in a white blouse, a split skirt made of fine, soft suede, and tooled leather boots, she stunned him with her perfection. A hank of whiskey-colored hair slipped from the ponytail at the back of her head and fell forward. She swung it out of her face with a practiced jerk of her head.
She spoke, her voice low and gravelly, but exuding confidence. “Mister, I don’t know who you are, but if I were you, I’d get off my land. I’ve never killed anyone, but there’s always a first time.” She didn’t raise the shotgun and point it at him, but she didn’t have to. The threat couldn’t have been more clear. She would if he forced her hand.
She stood not ten feet away and looked ... angry and unapologetic. Determined to make him leave. Green eyes, as green as spring grass, sparkled with indignation, and the firm set of her mouth left no doubt ... she wanted nothing more than to have him gone, and he didn’t think she would hesitate to pull the trigger.
“And you can tell Mr. Pearce I haven’t changed my mind.” Her voice dropped an octave, becoming more hoarse, sounding like she gargled three times a day with rocks, but still strong and commanding and oddly, very pleasant. “I’m not selling. I’ll never sell. I don’t care how many men he sends to bully me. He’s messing with the wrong woman.”
“I don’t mean no harm, ma’am.” Eamon took a step back ... a slow careful step, and just as carefully, picked up his hat. “I don’t know any Mr. Pearce. I’m just lookin’ for work. Or maybe a hot meal.”
She didn’t seem convinced as she stepped closer, her eyes narrowing as she studied his face.
“Theo Danforth! Put down that shotgun!” The woman beside him finally spoke and moved with a swiftness that belied her age, advancing on the woman named Theo.
Marie Patrick has always had a love affair with words and books, but it wasn’t until a trip to Arizona, where she now makes her home with her husband and her furry, four-legged “girl,” that she became inspired to write about the sometimes desolate, yet beautiful landscape. Her inspiration doesn’t just come from the Wild West, though. It comes from history itself. She is fascinated with pirates and men in uniform and lawmen with shiny badges. When not writing or researching her favorite topics, she can usually be found curled up with a good book. Marie loves to hear from her readers. Drop her a note at Akamariep@aol.com, or visit her website at www.mariepatrick.com or chat with her on Facebook.