In 2011, I pitched an idea for a calendar-based series of novellas that centered around a hospital in a smallish Missouri town. That idea eventually became the Hot Nights in St. Blaise series.
The first St. Blaise book, Jumping Mr. January, released in January 2013. The last, Daring Miss December, hit the virtual shelves the last week of November. I’ve shared a few outtakes and bits cut from the finished products with you as we’ve moved through the year, but I thought I’d do something a little different for this last book. I thought I’d take you back to the beginning.
The following was cut from the actual series proposal I sent to the acquisitions team at Turquoise Morning Press. First, I gave them the general set up:
Hot Nights in St. Blaise Series by Maggie Wells
Twelve novellas – each story 15-25k words – One for each month.
Heat level: Sizzle to Erotic
All stories center around affiliated personnel of St. Blaise Regional Medical Center. Takes place after a successful fundraising campaign featuring said personnel in Hot Men of St. Blaise and Hot Women of St. Blaise calendars.
St. Blaise, MO – a township on the Arkansas/Missouri border not far from Poplar Bluff, etc.
Pairs will include couples of varying ages, races, and ethnicities.
A rough outline of each month follows. These are just my initial thoughts – some are in blurbish form, some include snippets of background or dialogue that came to mind as I was writing them out.
Then, I went on to give them just that. Notes, blurbs, stream of consciousness babbling about what I thought I’d do for each month. For your Literary Lagniappe this month, I’m sharing my initial thoughts on what would become Daring Miss December.
Please note: this was a very rough outline, not edited and polished. Just general crazy writer stuff. Way more backstory than what actually made it into the book. Many things changed from this starting point to final edit, but it gives you a taste.
Oliver Watkins has always been a rebel. Coming of age in the free-wheeling seventies, Oliver’s rebellion meant he always did precisely what he was supposed to do. He married his college sweetheart three days after graduation, passed out pink bubble gum cigars the day his daughter, Beth, was born, and steadily worked his way through the ranks of the finance and administration at a large Little Rock hospital.
The position of Chief Administrator of St. Blaise Regional Medical Center was an honor for a man barely into his forties. Too bad his late wife, Cecilia, never saw it that way.
In the five years since he lost his wife in a car accident, Oliver’s dedication to St. Blaise Regional Medical Center became his sole focus. That is, until his heart gives him a not-so-gentle reminder that he’s working too hard. All it takes are the results of a routine blood test to give him the nudge he needs. Numbers in hand, Oliver indulges in the one act of rebellion he could no longer deny himself – he knocked on Anne Silverstein’s office door.
Miss December Registered Dietitian Anne Silverstein is Oliver’s polar opposite. The product of a free-spirited potter and a wandering poet, her life has been a smorgasbord of experiences, but none shaped her life so dramatically than finding a small lump in her breast at twenty-six.
Anne learned long ago to embrace her passions, simple pleasures, and whimsical quirks. She was one of the few people to actually jump at the chance to be included in SBRMC’s fundraising effort. Her own portrait, featuring a large slice of watermelon as a bikini bottom and two cantaloupes for her now non-existent breasts, never failed to make her smile.
Beating a disease that robs so many of so much empowered Anne. She finished her willy-nilly education and dedicated her life to improving the health and well-being of all those around her. Settling in a town the size of St. Blaise gave her a sense of community she’d never found, even on communes.
Her vagabond life is at last satisfactorily settled. She loves her work, adores the little bungalow of a house she calls her own, holds lengthy conversations with the vegetable and herbs in her garden, and hosts a mean dinner party for a wide circle of friends. So what is that niggling itch keeping her awake at night?
When the big boss, trussed-up, starched and pressed, Ollie Watkins, stumbles into her office looking for tips on treating a mild case of hypoglycemia, Anne can’t resist. His sense of propriety tickles her fancy. The silver shooting through his neatly trimmed dark hair makes her fingers ache to muss. Never able to resist a delectable dish, Anne cooks up a home remedy for relieving stress that leaves them both ravenous for more.
And that, my Lagniappian friends, is why writers drink so much.
Thanks so much for coming along on this crazy ride with me. 2013 has been an awesome year, and I’m so grateful to have shared it with you. In 2014, I’ll have a new story coming from Harlequin-E called Jump Into Love. It’s a date-gone-wrong story and I can’t wait to share it with you!
Giveaway: Tell me, what do you have planned for 2014? Comment below and I will give one lucky winner a digital copy of Daring Miss December and a 2014 Hot Nights in St. Blaise wall calendar! Contest ends 12/19 at 11:59PM EST.
Happy holidays, my friends!
For more information on the Hot Nights in St. Blaise series, please stop my website http://maggie-wells.com
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