Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Ryan Jo Summer's Christian Romance Beside Still Waters

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:00:00 AM with 1 comment
Ryan Jo Summers is an author who writes across genres. She describes Beside Still Waters  as Christian Romance.
Blurb: Top Journalist and corporate climber McKayla Buchanan is sent to a remote California mountain camp for inner-city, at-risk teens. Accustomed to political and high-society assignments, she is suddenly a fish out of water. At Camp In As Much, she meets eight hostile and distrustful teens, assorted volunteers, rescued horses—and Clay.

Clay Michaels is the man who founded Camp In As Much and made it the success it is now. His hope for the highly recommended journalist is to come and write a feature to send seeds out to form other camps like his nationwide one. He never considered the reporter would turn out to be a lovely woman, or for him to have such an attraction to her.

Between McKayla’s worldly experience and Clay’s strong faith, they form a partnership to help with the endless challenges of the kids. 

While McKayla’s assignment is supposed to be temporary, it isn’t long before she and Clay are each wishing it could last longer. A serious situation will force McKayla to decide if she can give up her worldly ways and place her faith in the same higher source that Clay does.
  
I love the blurb. What sparked the inspiration for Beside Still Waters?

The inspiration for this novel is rooted in a single catalogue photo. I work for a high fashion clothing retailer. A few years ago I was browsing through the latest style guide and one image caught my attention—and imagination. A handsome guy reclined comfortably in a high-back chair, modeling corduroy pants. He was holding a tome of literature, pretending to be reading, while soft light spilled out over him from the vintage lamp on the table. Literary classics are piled around him. The scene was peaceful and provocative, stirring something within me.

And the scene is replicated in “Beside Still Waters”. The hero, Clay Michaels, retreats to his den after a precarious  situation with the kids at the camp. The heroine, McKayla Buchanan, finds him, and the camp dog, there. Clay is reading  a copy of “Pilgrim’s Progress”, looking for insight to the circumstances. Her heart melts at the tenderness of the picture he makes. They chat a bit and then they go out to the labyrinth. With the full moon watching, they begin a walk that will bring them closer together. 

Writing process, pantser or plotter? 

Mostly a plotter, at least at first. It starts with an idea, which could have come from just about anywhere. I start plotting-- creating an outline with a few key scenes in beginning middle, and end. Setting, tone, genre, and similar details are formed. I bulk up the characters. Once I have a pretty decent outline, I start letting things grow. Ideas get discarded for better ones, I write myself into corners and have get out of them, new inspiration strikes in new directions, characters grow more than expected or don't as much as expected. Sometimes I get surprised by the turn...where did that come from? 
 You have no idea how much I wish I was a plotter. #StuckinNanoWriMo
Characters having other ideas, any place where they took a left turn?

Oh yeah. I knew McKayla would evolve and change direction, that was the plan for In "Beside Still Waters". I had thought, and expected, Cori Sue to be more of a character, to have more impact. She just didn't live up to it. That's okay, she still fills a smaller need this way. She got surpassed by others who just took over. Jesse, Will, and Sydney grew up a lot and earned their places on the pages. That's the pantser part I guess.
 Here's an Excerpt from Beside Still Waters
Clay pulled closer. “So how was your morning? Sorry I missed seeing you before I left, but I wanted to get over there and get back.”
McKayla shook her head. “Hey, you have responsibilities other than looking after me.”
“But I like looking after you.” Reaching across the short distance between them, he held her hands in his, thumbs stroking circles on her wrists.
She hesitated, breath caught. Mesmerized by the movement, she could only stare for a moment, lifting her eyes to his. “I feel like I’m sinking,” she admitted softly.
“We’ll go back now,” he announced suddenly, pulling his hand back. Seeing the mixed emotions going through her eyes, he was man enough to pull back. And enough man that it hurt him.
     “Clay?” His name was laced with confusion. He met her gaze, wincing at the honest vulnerability he saw reflected.
“Maybe coming out here wasn’t such a good idea after all,” he decided. He’d just wanted to convince her how nice In As Much was, he hadn’t bargained on the sucker punch her confession gave him. Once more reaching out, closing the distance between them, he brought her to the edge of her saddle, arm wrapped firmly around her waist. Keeping her safe. Memories of her words at the movie rushed back at him.
Their lips touched and he felt exploding heat going off like firecrackers. He edged his tongue past her teeth, sparing with her tongue. Her eyes flew wide open in surprise as she met his move with moves of her own. He felt her tremble and heard a whimper escape her as her eyes slid shut. His lips molded to hers, tasting her fruity lip-gloss and the mint of her toothpaste. Her braid tipped forward, brushing his arm and sending tingles racing through, matching his racing heartbeat.
Unlike their previous kisses and pecks, this went deeper. Both physically and emotionally. They were each offering a part of themselves, a mutual agreement that they wanted to act upon this mutual attraction. He felt the pulse thumping along her wrist where his finger rested and knew it matched her heartbeat. Hot need poured on him with all the finesse of a dump truck full of rocks. And so did reality. She was leaving. With supreme effort, he pulled away.
“Clay?” she whispered. Good thing they were both sitting down. She looked as wobbly as he felt. He’d just gotten a whole lot more than he’d expected.
“Come on, let’s go back,” he said. Before she took him over an edge he couldn’t come back from. Licking his lips, he shook his head as he turned Bismark around.
Turning her mount, she copied him, falling into step alongside. The ride was a faster clip back. Soon they were leaving the forest and the camp came into view.
“My boss called me,” she said suddenly, as if to delay the end of their ride. “He wanted to know when I planned on returning.”
He felt the lines form around his eyes and mouth. His thumbs stilled over the reins. “What did you tell him?”
About to answer, they were interrupted as Davey burst into view, waving frantically, his eyes wide in horror. “C-C-Come q-q-quick!” Getting it out, he wheeled and bolted.
The horses jumped. Clay spurred Bismark after him, heart in his throat. This was going to be bad, very bad indeed.


I love the excerpt. What are you working on now?
 Another Christian romance. It's called "Rainbows in the Moonlight" and a completely different storyline than "Still Waters". I'm just a tad over half done with the rough draft. Once it's done, I will let it rest, and outline a time travel romance that I am just itching to write. When I reach either a comfortable point or impasse with the time travel, I'll revise the rough draft of the Christian "Rainbows". Once I get that sent off, and feel solid on the time travel, I have another time travel idea that is bulging out of the file with notes. Those three should keep me busy through 2017 at least. If I get bored, I have a couple thousand word short story I want to flesh out and either take it to a 50,000 novella or maybe a full-fledged novel if it has enough substance to do that far. It seems I have no shortage of ideas, just time to get them all written.

Who are your go-to authors to read?

Perhaps it's my age, but I find my reading taste is evolving. I still love a great romance but I am branching out into other genres. I recently discovered Robert Crais and loved "Suspect.". I have "The Promise" on order. I thoroughly enjoyed Patrick Lee's "The Runner". I like local authors Sara Greun and Sarah Addison Allen. You had me at Sara Addison Allen. I adore her.
I would really want to meet them for lunch in town one day.  Recently I found Julia Quinn and while I am not much of a historical fan, I appreciate her voice. Yes, I like time travels, enjoyed history in school, but don't get into historicals much. Go figure, right?  I like non-fiction as well, mostly inspirational and medical based. And the tried and true fiction of Nora Roberts, Linda Laurel Miller and Maggie Shayne. I also enjoy Canadian YA/ NA author Christine Hart.

Here is a little more about Ryan Jo.  
 Ryan Jo Summers writes romance across the genres. Her books contain love stories blended with any combination of mystery, paranormal, time travel, shape shifting, Christian and humor elements. She comes from a family of wordsmiths. Her dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote
poetry. Ryan Jo dabbles in poetry, short stories and non-fiction articles.

In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and baking, reading, spending time with friends, growing plants, playing chess, mah jongg, and wiggly word find puzzles and exploring the great outdoors. She lives in the heart of Appalachia in Western North Carolina in a charming old
cottage with a menagerie of rescue pets


Media and Buy Links:


Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2dvkUEe


Thank you for being here, Ryan Jo. Ryan Jo is giving away one signed copy of her paperback When Clouds Gather, a suspenseful romance. 
enter below. I wish you all peace in your hearts and minds, and happy reading



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1 comment :

  1. Susan, thank you for hosting me today. I had a great visit. Have a super week. ~RJS

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