I think one of the best parts of working on a group project like Fall Into Romance is getting to see all the fun other authors are having with their stories. Working together to build this little town and fill it with amazing people was such a joy! And yes, I was absolutely starstruck to be working alongside authors I've read and respected for some time.
If you've been visiting our Facebook page, you may have already read Melanie Snitker's interview with fellow author, Liwen Ho. And if you haven't yet, be sure to go check it out! I wanted to do something similar, but also make sure our posts weren't exactly the same. So, I've asked my fellow Romance authors for their favorite scene to write from their novella and if real life ever poked its head in. Today, I'll be sharing my favorite from Katie's Chance for Romance in order to give some extra time to the busy authors. Next Friday, we'll get to start seeing their replies. Are you excited? I know I am!
From Katie's Chance for Romance, we have the town's Costume Parade. Not only was this scene just super fun to write, (Who doesn't love a dashing hero in costume?) but it also has several "real-life" moments in it. I loved showing this playful side of Mike. He's a man who's had his heart broken, but he refuses to give up. And I have to say, if a certain someone showed up on horseback wearing...well, I won't spoil the scene too soon. ;) Let's just say, I'd go for that ride in a heartbeat! And I very much enjoyed surprising Katie. She often seems to be a step ahead, and this time Mike got her for sure.
What also made this scene fun was drawing on real-life experiences to flesh it out. My little town has a Costume Parade for the elementary and younger children every year through our downtown. My kiddos have never needed to trick-or-treat because the downtown shops fill their bags to bursting! You'll also hear Mike, who is a Spanish teacher, call Katie by a special Spanish nickname. While her nickname is not the same as mine, my Prince Charming, who is also a Spanish teacher, has special nicknames for me. And like Katie, those little Spanish words make me feel weak in the knees.
Without any further ado, the Costume Parade from Katie's Chance for Romance:
[Mike] drove to the town square and parked. Cheryl was waiting for him with a bouquet of flowers. “Katie’s lucky I’m a loyal friend, or I’d snatch you up myself tonight,” she teased as he got out of his truck.
“Very funny, Cheryl,” he retorted. “I feel a little ridiculous.”
She laughed. “Believe me, Mike, no woman looking at you tonight is going to have the word ridiculous anywhere in her vocabulary. Dreamy, gorgeous, manly, swoon-worthy…”
“Okay, okay,” Mike interrupted, heat crawling up his neck. “No need to go overboard.”
Cheryl laughed again. “One stunning fall arrangement, as promised,” she said, holding the bouquet out for him.
“Hang on to it for a second would you?” he asked. Mike walked around the trailer and led Licorice out before mounting smoothly. He then reached down for the flowers.
She sighed. “You’re going to leave a trail of broken hearts down Main Street tonight, Michael Elders.”
He rolled his eyes. “Thanks a lot, Cheryl.”
“Anything for you, Zorro,” she replied, trilling the r longer than necessary.
Mike shook his head with a grin. “Come on, Licorice, let’s go.” He waved back at Cheryl before getting Licorice to a brisk trot. He tried to ignore the gawkers as he rode down the street. Despite Cheryl’s affirmation that he looked fine, Mike still felt silly in the costume. Licorice’s hooves clopped loudly as he continued on, drawing stares and squeals from the older members of the parade. Most of the participants were young children who pointed and gasped, “Mama, a horsey! See the pretty horsey?” As he neared Sweet Retreat, his heart thundered in his ears. Earl and Viv made the perfect farmer couple from their matching denim overalls to the straw hats on their heads. Loverboy and Roxette charmed children with their scarecrow costumes while Earl kept them on a firm leash. But Katie stole the show. Make-up gave her a little brown nose and perfect whiskers across her cheeks while a headband sporting fox ears and reddish jumpsuit with a bushy tail completed the ensemble. A bright pink collar sparkled around her neck. He wasn’t sure how someone could look so utterly appealing and innocent at the same time. Swallowing his heart back down to his chest, Mike remembered the next part in his plan. “Hyah!” He kicked Licorice into a canter, going down past Sweet Retreat before turning and running back. He raised the sword above his head and pulled Licorice into a rear, causing his audience to gasp in awe. When the mare landed, he replaced the sword and hopped down from the saddle. Brandishing the flowers before him, he stopped in front of Katie. With his best Spanish accent, he announced, “I have come for mi zorrita. Does she come willingly, or do I carry her off into the night?”
Katie’s eyes widened as a strangled sound escaped her lips.
“As you wish,” Mike said. He handed the flowers to Aunt Viv who was staring at him with a mix of amusement and shock. “Put these in water please, señora, for zorrita.” He then scooped Katie up in his arms.
She squirmed. “Mike! I’m working.”
“Not tonight, mi amor,” he replied, carrying her to the patiently waiting mare. After letting Katie get settled, he swung up carefully behind her. “Buenas tardes, Romance!” he called and clicked his tongue at Licorice. The horse broke into a trot while the watching crowd cheered and clapped.
Jessica L. Elliott
Author, artist, mom and super-genius