My guest today is lovely author Marlie Bridges. We both belong to From the Heart Romance Writers, a wonderful supportive online group of authors. She's doing the self-promotional thing we all hate to do, and I promised her I'd make her visit to Vintage Vonnie as painless as possible. Marlie, won't you tell my visitors a bit about yourself? But first, have a cup of coffee and a brownie. My Calvin grinds his own special blend of beans and makes the best java.
I am lucky enough to live in the rolling hills of upstate New York with my husband. Our two grown sons are out on their own, both living in or near NYC. I began writing in 2005 because a character jumped into my head and I had to find a way to make him come alive. I love writing about the wounded hero or heroine, their challenges in moving forward and their victory in overcoming life’s hurts, often through the power of love.
I joined Romance Writers of America in 2005 and belong to the online Chapter From the Heart Romance Writers, as you know, where I will be serving as VP of Communications for 2013.
For the past 25 years I've worked in information technology and project management and am a bit of a techno-geek.
1. What is the story behind your book title?
You Belong To Me was not the original title of this book, but when I was working on a final edit, I saw an opportunity to use the words of one of the characters. By itself, it implies a romance, but in the context of the story, it is really a bit creepy when said by psychotic ex-husband. I liked the double meaning. When the cover was designed, it seemed to go quite well with the image – the couple in the light and the watcher in the dark.
2. Do you ever dream of writing in a different genre?
I have a story in the drawer that is a paranormal set in the Mayan region of Mexico and in Egypt that doesn’t depend on the world ending in 2012. I was an anthropology major in college and did some archeological fieldwork, so the research was fairly easy. I still may dig it out some day and see if it can be revived. But for now, I love writing romantic suspense and romance.
3. Oh me, too. Tell us, what part of the writing process brings you the most pleasure? The most angst?
Writing is hard when it doesn’t flow, and some days it just doesn’t. But when it does, I can write for days. And I seem to be able to write dialogue with barely an edit, so when the writing isn’t flowing, I just write scenes of dialogue. Then I have to go back and fill in details, action and description, but this seems to work for me and keep me from sitting there staring at the blank page.
4. I find I usually work that way, also. I refer to it as writing in layers. What are you currently working on?
I’m writing Elizabeth’s story – she is the sister of Colin, the hero, in You Belong To Me, and we get to know her through her interaction and impact on him. But she is intriguing, quirky and someone I want to see get her happy ever after. So I think this will end up being a series, although I didn’t intend for it to be one when I wrote You Belong To Me.
5. (Rubs hands together) Now for the good stuff. Tell us about your current release. Did you bring along your blurb? But first, do you think I could tempt you with three or four of these? Honest, my chocolate is calorie free. And fresh fruit is great for the creative mind.
(Marlie winks) Oh, you know I brought along my blurb. Really, I shouldn't have more than two of those!
Erin Reilly wants to live life on her own terms far away from her psychotic ex-husband, Daniel. However, when she moves half-way across the country, pulls her life together, and falls in love with corporate lawyer Colin Marshall, Daniel follows her.
Colin's belief in love and desire for a family were abandoned with a woman's betrayal. And he questions his own capacity for love, until he meets Erin and is willing to test the boundaries of his heart.
Through a series of devastating events engineered by Daniel neither of them believes they can ever achieve their dreams.
But Colin proves he is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for love and help Erin discover the strength and courage she needs to conquer her fears and the monster who tries to destroy them both.
Erin wants the American dream. Colin wants to give it to her.
But can they escape the nightmare that threatens their very lives?
Could he trust her? He wasn’t sure, but he knew as he drained the last of his drink, that somehow, she was his last hope. If there was ever a woman who made him want to take another chance, it was Erin. And as much as it scared the hell out of him, it scared him more to think of just walking away from her. Hell, he was even willing to take it slow, let her know he cared about her, that she wasn’t some one-night lay. One night would never be enough.
The decision was clear, so he drove over to the gallery and sat inside the car for a few minutes, trying to decide what to say. Finally, he went to her door and rang the bell. Erin’s voice came through the intercom. “Yes, who is it?” Her voice sounded shaky.
“Erin, its Colin.”
“What do you want?” she said, her tone cold now that she knew who it was.
“Let me in. I want to talk to you.”
“I don’t usually conduct business at nine-thirty at night,” she said, an edge to her voice.
“This isn’t business, this is about you and me,” Colin said.
She didn’t say anything, but a few seconds later she buzzed him in. He ran up the stairs as she opened the apartment door for him and stepped aside to let him in. She wore slim-legged jeans and a white tank top, her hair pulled back and clipped, and she looked good enough to eat. She closed the door behind him and motioned toward the couch.
“Can I get you something to drink?” she said.
“You don’t have any scotch, do you?” he said, sitting down on the couch where she had directed him.
She turned and walked into the kitchen without answering him. Oh, she’s pissed. How was he going to explain this to her? He’d never been able to talk about his feelings. Ha! Not a manly thing to think about. He hadn’t even been allowed to express much emotion growing up. Anger was the only acceptable emotion for men in his house. He’d learned to rein in any other kind of feeling or be called to task for being weak.
A few minutes later she came back with a straight up scotch for him and a glass of red wine for herself and sat on the couch at the far end from him. She grabbed a throw pillow and hugged it, pulling her knees up.
Stretching his arm across the back of the couch he leaned toward her. “Listen, I’ve been an ass. I’m sorry about how I treated you today. I was trying to do what I thought you wanted; keep this strictly a business relationship. But I wasn’t just business-like; I was cold.”
“You can say that, again,” she said. “I didn’t know what I had done to deserve that from you.” She still didn’t look at him.
Moving closer to her he put his hand on her shoulder. “You didn’t do anything wrong. I was confused. I’m still not sure what the hell I’m doing, but we need to talk about this thing between us. I know you feel it, too. I can see it in your eyes.”
She took a deep breath and picked up her wine glass, holding it and swirling the wine. “I’m not sure what to say. I don’t know what I want.” She finally turned her head and met his gaze. Those green eyes of hers would be his undoing, especially when they glittered with unshed tears.
He moved one finger back and forth slowly across her shoulder. “I think you do, but, like me, you’ve been burned, and you’re not up for another one of those.” This was so much harder than he’d thought it would be. He wasn’t used to laying his feelings out on the table like this.
“I didn’t know…” she said, her voice soft, now.
“Know what?” he said.
“That you’d been burned.”
He didn’t want to talk about Kelly right now. “Sometime I’ll tell you the gory details, but what it means is that you and I don’t trust each other – right?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“So, let me make a suggestion.” He moved over next to her and tentatively put his arm around her. She didn’t move away. “We take this one day at a time. We get to know each other. We can start over. I’ll call you up and ask you out. We’ll date; go out to dinner, to the theater, spend a Sunday afternoon together, all the things you’d expect to do to get to know someone. What do you think?”
Erin smiled and nodded. “Yes. I think I’d like that a lot.”
God, thank you for a second chance. “Good. But I have some conditions or maybe they’re ground rules.”
She eyed him with suspicion. “Like what?” He didn’t want to blow this now. He just hoped he could say what he wanted to without sounding like a he was prepping for a negotiation.
“First, we don’t play games with each other…like I did this afternoon. We’re honest, open with each other. If you’re mad, say so. If I need a break, I say so. Whatever it is, we deal with it, straight up.”
She swallowed. “Okay, that’s fair. Anything else?”
His studied her face, her beautiful eyes, her sexy mouth. “I don’t know how to say this, but…I’m going to have a hard time keeping my hands off you and I don’t know what to do with that.”
He thought he’d crossed the line. Honesty was one thing, but that was just plain stupid. She just stared at him, and he couldn’t read what was going on in her head. Then she smiled. “Okay, I’ll keep that in mind,” she said.
Oh, I love it. Tell us where we can find you online.