Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Dogs and Romance and Ryan Jo Summers

Posted by Susan J Berger on 3:00:00 AM with 1 comment
Ryan Jo Summers has a new romance out which sounds like so much fun.
Blurb: 
Practical city planner, Cassidy Grant, just inherited her sister's beloved dogs. Excepts she's a career girl more into heels and matching accessories. She's not a dog mom. Worse, she is required to take the furry darlings to the dog park.
Jilted at the alter, Ethan Sheppard finally got a dog. And he loves their bonding trips to the dog park. He's also the secret cartoonist whose drawings poke fun at the city leadership that might hurt the mayor's chances at reelection.
After Cassidy and Ethan meet, she asks for his help to manage the pups, and along the way, he learns she will be fired if she can't identify the cartoonist to her boss. But telling her will cost his job.
Excerpt:
Jake pulled eagerly at his leash, his long tail whipping in the air as they neared the park entrance. Swinging the gate open just enough to allow them through, Ethan unhooked the leash, releasing Jake. With a bark, he was gone, racing to join his canine pals.
     Looping the leash through his belt, Ethan stuffed his hands in the pockets of his jeans and studied the attendees. He offered a friendly wave to some of the doggie moms and dads that he knew. A few of the dogs came up, wagging around, begging a pat, before racing off again.
     “Jake’s looking good.”
     Ethan spun around at the feminine purr behind him, feeling himself go tense. “Yep, he loves these morning runs,” he replied to the brunette standing almost eye to eye with him. He’d figured out pretty quick Gwen was hot into him weeks ago. The fact that she came to this park, when there were others closer to her, was a good indicator. She never brought a dog, so he surmised she just came to prowl around, sniffing for available males. And it seemed he was pretty high up on her list of desirable ones. So far, he’d been unsuccessful in convincing her he didn’t return the favor. He wasn’t into needy lionesses on the hunt. She had a way to make him feel like a chunk of raw meat.
     She inched closer, enough for him to breathe in her almost overpowering perfume. Some floral stuff mixed with more flowers. Sort of like walking into a funeral parlor full of sympathy bouquets. Her ample bosom brushed his sleeve and he inched further back.
     “And what about you, Ethan? What do you love in the morning?”
     He could imagine what she wanted to hear, and he wasn’t about to encourage her. He rocked back another step. “Coffee,” he replied instead. “Bacon and eggs. Pancakes.”
     Her hopeful smile slowly faded. Whatever she might have said back was lost when he heard a cry of frustration and a gleeful bark. Whirling, he looked for the source of the sounds.
     “Remi! Stop that!”
     He recognized the little brown and white ticked dog racing freely now that his leash was dropped. Or pulled from the hand of the woman in bright red heels. Heels? At a dog park? Her black business suit and red hat looked equally out of place. And didn’t she know you were supposed to take their leashes off inside the fence? Apparently not, because the other little dog was still attached to her leash as well, wrapped around the woman’s wrist. Now that her partner was free, the little blond and white dog spun in circles, mad to join him. In her hand the hapless women clutched a cell phone, wedged up near her ear.
     Rocking back on his heels, he took in the show, smothering a smile. Remi, full of freedom, darted just far enough to stay out of reach but close enough to keep the woman in pursuit. The woman, a pretty, petite blond with a serious up do topped by a rolled brim chenille hat, stumbled along in her heels and all but dragging the scruffy Chi/terrier along. She alternated between hissing at Remi through clenched teeth then pushing the phone back to her ear to talk rapidly to someone.
     Seeing she wasn’t making much ground, Ethan settled himself on a bench to watch, arms spread out comfortably. Gwen faded away like a ghostly specter. He remembered Remi, a Parsons Russell terrier and Australian Shepherd mixture, as being a handful on the best of days. The smaller one, a terrier/ Chihuahua and question mark, always struck him as a cute, well behaved pooch. Except, he’d never seen the pair here with the blond. He’d definitely remember her.
     “Remi!” She whispered fiercely to the little dog, who was having a delightful time, barking over his shoulder at her. She pressed the phone back up. “No, Adam, I agree we have to stay on schedule with this project. Any delay now could be disastrous. Tessa, come on! Yes, I have a meeting tomorrow with Mr. King and I should have some solid answers then.” She lowered the phone, eyes cutting into the dog. “Remi!” She slapped the phone back to her ear. “What? No, everything’s just fine, why do you ask? Where am I? Oh, out enjoying one of the offerings of our fine community. It’s such a pleasant morning, I thought why not, right?” She offered a strained chuckle.
     It was all Ethan could do to hold back his laughter. Clearly, she was trying to hold a meeting of some sort. Didn’t she know a park, full of barking dogs and yelling people was the last place for that?
     Finally, she hung up the call, tripping over Tessa’s leash. Checking on Jake, Ethan climbed to his feet. He’d have to save these dogs from this woman or this woman from herself, he wasn’t sure which.
Ryan Jo, I love your premise. What was the inspiration for It Happened at The Park
The inspiration for this story is rooted in my adoption of a dog, a blue-merle collie called Ty. I adopted Ty in March 2015 and after a few months, I started taking him to a couple of our local dog and community parks. It was during these visits while watching Ty learn the finer points of canine social skills, that the seeds for “It Happened at the Park” sprouted and grew.
I had wanted to write a romantic comedy and felt this would be the perfect vehicle of choice. I had wanted to re-name Ty ‘Ethan’. However, my friends quickly nixed that, stating it was not a name for a dog. So instead my hero became Ethan Sheppard. (German Shepherds being my second favorite breed of dog behind the collie. How is that for original?)
Many times, while writing this story, I would hit a wall. I’d grab Ty’s leash and my keys and we’d head to our favorite dog park, where he could run and I could walk around and loosen up the clogged wheels in my head. A few of the scenes in “Park were spun off actual events that happened during our visits.
What is it like writing for a theme compared to not following a specific theme? This book isn’t necessarily written to any theme, other than humor. Ethan is a political cartoonist. I have three books out that are theme-regulated. One stand-alone for Valentine’s, one Christmas anthology, and one food-themed anthology. Years ago I wrote a short memoir for a Hard Times themed contest and took Honorable Mention. I like the idea of writing along a certain theme in that it keeps one on track.
Characters have a tendency to do things you as a writer had not planned, or end up changing their names, professions, or whatever. At least when the writer is writing for theme, it’s something that won’t change. Valentine’s Day won’t become New Years’ and food won’t turn into motorcycles.
How has your writing changed since you first released your debut book? 
Wow, I actually have ten books out now (counting this one releasing June 13th). And still two more in the wings for November. It hardly seems possible. All that writing, coupled with my free-lance work, has taught me to trust myself as a writer.
Before, I had to have a rigid outline, expected word count and clear ending in sight—before I’d start writing. I do not like surprises in general and didn’t trust myself or my characters to not waver much from the initial thoughts. I think that held me back as a writer at first.
Somewhere around ‘Chasing the Painted Skies” (novel # 4) I finally learned to loosen up and have fun, to look for the unexpected. I would have to say “Painted Skies” and “It Happened at the Park” have been the most fun stories to write so far.
An unpublished manuscript, called “September’s Song”, has taught me to work without a safety net—the outline—and just let the characters grow into themselves and the plot unfold around them. It is sort of liberating, really, to reach that point in my writing. My upcoming Christian romance novel and previous Christian novel (“Beside Still Waters”) both have certain characters that really jumped off the page and took over. While others I had bigger plans for ended up being content to take a backseat in the story. Little surprises like that are what make writing interesting. I have learned to enjoy the characters for who they want to be, not necessarily who I think they ought to be. Just like real children.
Other than that, I have almost tamed my nemesis--the dreaded multiple POV or head-hopping. I am acutely aware of it now when I start and it leaps off the page when others write that way. It is amazing that something I never noticed before now screams as it jumps out at me.
Work in Progress? Another time travel, my favorite trope of romance.  A woman from present day with physic abilities is transported back three hundred years by a cursed locket belonging to her ancestor. She is kidnapped by the period’s most ruthless, feared, and charming pirate. Except he thinks she is Lady Elizabeth Wyngate, an Earl’s daughter. What could go wrong?
When I adopted Ty, I started a journal and blog to chronicle our journey through his PTSD issues. I am now working on turning those into a Kindle KDP book to self-publish hopefully later this year. My intention is two-fold: one, to give inspiration to others and share our triumphs and tragedies with others who adopt a troubled animal, and 2, to give some of the proceeds back to the collie rescue group where I adopted Ty from.
And, because I never want to be bored, I am working on building the skeleton of two more stories in the que. Another time travel and a women’s fiction novel. The WF will be about three estranged triplets brought back together by a fierce wildfire. I enjoy stories within stories and those dealing with siblings and twins. To my knowledge, there isn’t one with triplets. Three POV? Oh wow.
Actually, the idea for that one came to me while wildfires were actually burning through the mountains around my home last fall. I was outside, clearing the leaves away from the house as the nearest one burned about nine miles away. I was waiting for the evac order. And this notion popped into my head about a huge wildfire spreading through a town, and two different sibling’s POV’s came to me. I rushed inside to scribble it down and then added the third one after most the fires had been contained. Thankfully I never had to evacuate.

Bio: Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolina writer who pens romances with a twist. They may contain any number of elements: Christian, humor, mystery, paranormal, sweet, shape-shifting, or time travel. Her dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote poetry so writing must be in the family genes.

She makes her home in a century-old mountain cottage, with a menagerie of adopted pets. In her spare time, she likes to gather with family and friends, paint ceramics or canvas, potter in the yard, bird-watching, or read, play chess, Mahjongg or work word-find puzzles. She might take her dog and head deep into the forests and rivers near her home to plot the next big scene or story. Like her dad's aunt, she writes poetry as a means to cope with life's pains.
She collects lighthouses, shells, driftwood, and anything to remind her of the shore.
Links: WEBSITE: http://www.ryanjosummers.com/
BLOG: https://www:summersrye.wordpress.com
FB:  www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Jo-Summers-author-page
AMAZON:  https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ACOBJ90     

1 comment :

  1. Susan, thank you so much for hosting me today! Great job.

    ReplyDelete

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