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Mary Carter Uses a Lighthouse to Illuminate a Relationship

Please welcome Mary Carter to my blog today, for a brief reprieve from travel related blogging. But the travel tales haven’t stopped. In fact, we’re just about to get to the good part: the wedding!

Let there be light 

An empty stretch of beach as the sun rises. Waves crashing onto the rocks. Fog rolls in. Ships at sea plod their courses. In the distance, way up high, a gentle light begins to blink.

I’ve always loved lighthouses. Let’s face it. They’re romantic. They’re mysterious. They are a part of our history, they’ve saved lives, they’ve evolved. And they’re becoming extinct. When I originally pitched the idea of The Things I Do For You to my editor, the premise was: A couple decides to run a bed and breakfast. That was it. Kensington liked the idea and I signed a two-book deal. But since the B&B was the second book of the deal, I had to put it aside while I worked on my 2011 novel, The Pub Across the Pond. There is always a bit of a let down when I finish a book. A melancholy sets in. In a way I’m grieving the loss of the characters who have kept me company for the past year. Even though I can always re-read them, it’s not the same as having them moment-by-moment in your thoughts. The Pub Across the Pond, a tale about about an American woman who wins a pub in Ireland, was close to my heart. I knew I needed to psyche myself up for starting another novel, especially since I was so attached to the previous one.

  But something about the bed and breakfast idea just wasn’t exciting me. I still loved the idea of quirky guests, and the day-to-day challenges of running such a business, but I still wasn’t in love. While writing a novel, you absolutely have to be in love with the idea. It’s hard enough even when you are, but impossible if you’re just lukewarm about the project. That’s when it hit me. Lighthouse! What if they lived in a lighthouse? Now that woke me up a little. I knew I would love spending my days researching lighthouses, and how lucky my characters would be to get to live in one. And wala, I was on my way. And even though I didn’t get to stay in any lighthouse bed and breakfasts this time around, I was able to do enough research to bring it to life. I was also fortunate enough to talk to conservancy groups whose goal is to keep lighthouses functioning. GPS systems are making them obsolete. It takes a lot of money, and the cooperation of the Coast Guard, to keep them running as functioning lighthouses. Some of my experts were worried I would glorify the idea of buying a private lighthouse and distinguishing its light forever. In certain states, lighthouses can be run as An Aid to Private Navigation, but they are few and far between. Learning all of this was fascinating, and ended up changing some key points of the plot—and for the better I believe! Some day, I’d love to curl up in a Crows Nest of my own, watching the light from my tower spread uponthe might ocean below. Until then, at least I’ve got, The Things I Do For You. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The Things I Do For You

What happens to a marriage when a husband buys a lighthouse behind his wife’s back?

Bailey Jordan has loved her husband, Brad, since they were ten years old. She’s followed him on every adventure–opening a sweater store in Seattle, a café in Colorado, a surf shop in Santa Monica. Each time, she’s picked up the pieces when things fell apart. But now, it’s her turn. Bailey has a successful real estate career in Manhattan, and she’s eager to start a family–until a car crash leaves Brad in a coma and changes their lives forever.

Awakening after his near-death experience, Brad has a new mission. He buys a lighthouse on the Hudson River, planning to turn it into a B&B. Grateful to have Brad alive, Bailey tries to make his dream her own. The lighthouse is beautiful, but the challenges–renovating, bringing in supplies by boat, navigating the locals and guests–are enormous. And then Bailey discovers a secret in Brad’s past that compels her to question her husband, her marriage, and how far she’ll go to keep them both. . .

Thoughtful and moving, The Things I Do for You exhibits a rare understanding of the joys, compromises, and small rebellions that lie at the heart of every marriage, and of the resilience and surprising power of love.

Mary Carter is a freelance writer and novelist. The Things I Do For You, is her sixth novel. Her fifth novel, The Pub Across the Pond, was July’s pick of the month with Barnes and Noble online book club, and is also available as an audiobook through Blackstone Audio. Her other works include:  My Sister’s Voice, Sunnyside Blues, She’ll Take It, and Accidentally Engaged.  In addition to her novels she has written three novellas: A Very Maui Christmas in the New York Times best selling anthology Holiday Magic, The Honeymoon House in the New York Times best selling anthology Almost Home, and A Kiss Before Midnight (in an anthology collection headlined by Janet Daily) which will be out in the Spring of 2013. Mary is also excited to announce that she has started, The Writers’ Den, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where she will be teaching the exact writing course that helped her write and publish her first novel. Aspiring writers in the New York City area can go to www.themanhattanwritersden for more information. Readers can visit Mary at www.marycarterbooks.com or Like her on Facebook and Follow her on Twitter.

The Ex Files is Available at Last!

The Ex Files by Kelly McClymerA book walked into a bar and said…

ROAD TRIP

I’m heading off for a two week drive across the country this morning. It’s going to be epic (or not, judging by how some of these grand plans have gone in the past). We have a brand new digital camera that can even take 3-D images (don’t know why, you’d have to ask the dh). We have incredibly dedicated cat sitters  installed in the house to take care of the 23 year old cat, who needs a lot of affection and reassurance. We’ve stocked the refrigerator and pantry for our cat sitters, fixed the leak under the sink, and put off tearing out the kitchen cabinets.

Before I go, I want to welcome The Ex Files into the world. Today is a day I thought would never come for a book I thought I would never finish after the chicklit genre became The Genre Which Must Not be Named.

Diana’s story was one I wanted to know the end to — but I had other books to write. Books that publishers paid me to write. So I wrote them. In a twist of irony, Simon and Schuster did — kind of — want The Ex Files. They just wanted me to make the character younger (to fit my new YA audience). So Getting To Third Date was written. That wasn’t really Diana’s story. It was Katelyn’s story. The story of a college freshman who doesn’t give guys much of a shot of a second date because she’s so critical.

The Ex Files is Diana’s story — the story of a woman who realized more than once that she was with the wrong guy after he proposed. Awk. Ward.

I hope you enjoy Diana’s story as much as I did!

And, by the way, if you have a favorite destination in the middle of the U.S.A., please leave a comment to give us an idea of where to go next on our Road Trip of a lifetime. It’s Mount Washington today, but who knows where the day after. We’re heading toward our daughter’s wedding spot in California, with a  vague plan to veer by Mount Rushmore — and what we don’t catch on the way out, we may just swing by on the way back. No rules, baby. Except one: have fun.

Epic!

Wish us luck and/or tell us where to go (nicely please…)

The Ex Files Arrives July 15

So, my web guru (aka firstborn son) was supposed to put my gorgeous new cover up in the featured section yesterday. But his father spirited him away to buy a suit for his sister’s wedding instead. This is the first time he’s had a suit, ever. He’s always borrowed one of his father’s jackets to wear if he needed to be a little dressed up.

They got a great deal on a really nice gray pinstripe suit. And dinner at Pizza Hut. I love it when my guys go out and have a father-son bonding session.

Okay, back to me. The Ex Files (my blog novel-in-progress — see sidebar)  is revised, edited, formatted, and in the pipeline at Book View Cafe. It will be released on July 15th. Wooty Hooty Hoo. But, even better, I can show you the cover. If you want to be notified when it is live and ready to be purchased, sign up for my newsletter, I’ll be sending out a welcome to the e-world newsletter on the 15th.

And now: the cover:

Isn’t it pretty?

Oh, by the way, The Fairy Tale Bride just went free (everywhere, including B&N, I think).