A note from me:
This is my first guest blog (That’s when a guest takes over your blog for a day).
I’m happy to introduce Pat Amsden, a fellow RWA chapter writer and lover of romantic suspense. This post has three parts:
- Pat introduces herself.
- Pat writes about “Resilience and the Human Spirit.”
- An excerpt from her newly released book, Lost in Vegas.
P.S. I’d like to host more guest bloggers (on Fridays), so if there’s something you want to say, give me a holler (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pat Amsden is a writer of romance and mystery who lives on the West Coast of Canada. She lives with her son in Victoria, BC and works at the local hospital. She is, once again, single. For as long as she can remember she has loved stories. First reading them and then making them up. Sometimes that got her into trouble when she was younger but that’s another story!
She studied journalism in college but got side-tracked raising a family and working a variety of other jobs to pay the bills. Writing fell by the way-side. The years went by and one day she decided to check out a local writer’s group. There was a workshop with an exercise. Write something that had the hero and heroine meeting within the first page. Maybe there could even be a kiss! And don’t let the heroine get too comfortable. If she’s shy don’t have her go to the library and meet the librarian, get her out of her comfort zone. Maybe that could be in a bar. She decided, why stop there, let’s put the heroine on top of the bar! Many revisions later, the result is Lost In Vegas!
But none of this would have been possible without the support and encouragement of fellow writers. She benefitted from workshops such as Write On Vancouver with Michael Hauge and another with Jane Porter. Shirley Jump’s workshop was so good she immediately took another with her. Then she got the Deep Editing Lectures from Margie Lawson’s School of Writing and took Lisa Wells course on How To Create a Series. She pitched to editors and submitted manuscripts.
As she was doing this, however, several of her fellow writers decided to self-publish through Amazon. They are all doing well. More than one suggested she should try this route as did her son. So, here she is, feeling a lot like Sally Fields and hoping that ‘they like me, they really do!’
By Pat Amsden
I think good stories resonate on multiple levels. Lost In Vegas is a good, fast paced read, with lots of romance, action and suspense. It’s also a story of resilience and the human spirit. The heroine, Kate McLaren, is someone who’s always done her best to do everything right. So by twenty-three she had her own business and an established relationship with someone she really expected to marry and grow old with.
And then life happened. The recession hit, her business suffered and her boyfriend dumped her in Vegas when his fail-safe black jack system turned out to be not so fail-safe. She didn’t take it well but with the help of sexy JT Sullivan she got a job and started turning her life around. Then her ex grabbed her and the star she was working for in an attempt to get ransom money for them.
Even after JT Sullivan manages to get them both back she’s scarred. Not physically but emotionally. Her ex is someone she’s known all her life. So, yes, she’s safe and Max is behind bars. But she’s lost her innocence and her sense of trust. She has to come to terms with the knowledge the world isn’t always a safe place and even people you’ve known for a very long time may be hiding secrets. That doesn’t mean she’s going to lock herself in a room somewhere and never trust again.
But it does mean she’s re-examining her life and the people in it to make sense of what’s happened and learn to trust again. Most of us are never going to experience such dramatic events in our own lives. But many of us have lost jobs and businesses, boyfriends and husbands and we’ve had to re-evaluate our lives. Sometimes our lives have done a one eighty and we’ve had to make drastic changes.
Even if that’s never happened to you personally, I’ll bet almost all of you know someone who’s had some major and unplanned changes in their lives. I’d love to hear about it.
Until the morning. Water whooshed down on her from the shower head, cleansing her. She lathered up her hair and began soaping down her body when suddenly it hit her. She could have died. She started to shake. Slowly at first with just a small tremble and then uncontrollably. Tears mixed with water from the shower head. Max had kidnapped her, held her for ransom.
Max! She’d known him since second grade. She’d gone out with him for eight years and had a crush on him for another couple. How could she have been so wrong about him? And how could she trust anyone, even herself, when she could be so wrong about someone? It wasn’t as if they’d just broken up, or even as if he’d just dumped her in Vegas which had been bad enough. NO. He’d well and truly hated her. Not only hated her but actually kidnapped her and her friend May-Ling. Who could she trust?
JT, a small voice inside her head said. But she couldn’t stop crying, couldn’t stop shaking. Outside she could hear Lottie knocking on the door. “Are you OK in there? Is everything all right?”
“Everything’s fine,” she stammered out, not wanting to explain to Lottie how she really, really felt. “I’ll be out in a minute.” She stopped crying, pulling herself together as best she could. She knew she was being stupid. She was safe now. JT wouldn’t let anything bad happen to her.
She told herself that as she towelled herself dry, made up her face to hide the worst of the damage. She was lucky. JT had saved her. Along with Arlene and a whole list of people, too long to mention. She just wished she didn’t feel so scared all the time.
“How do you handle it?” she’d asked May-Ling the first time she’d gone backstage to style May-Ling and found herself shaking with fright.
May-Ling shrugged. “That’s why we have security. You are worried?”
“I can’t help it. I keep wondering what’s going to happen.”
“Are you going to be OK with this?”
“I don’t know,” she’d said honestly. But where before styling May-Ling had been fun it wasn’t anymore. She was training Haylie to take her place.
“It will be good experience for her,” she’d said but her mother looked skeptical.
JT was worried about her. “You know it’s OK to get help,” he said to Kate now. “You’ve been through a traumatic incident.”
“You think?,” she’d snapped at him and then immediately felt sorry, tears coming to her eyes.
“There’s a psychologist who works with police officers and victims after a bad trauma. I think she could help you,” he said gently
“I don’t need a psychologist. I just need some time.”
But how long she wondered? No matter what she told herself, no matter how hard she tried, it wasn’t getting better. In fact she was getting worse. She’d gone gambling with Lottie and frozen part-way through the game, not sure of what to do. Somehow she had to get through this, get back to the old Kate. She was thinking of going back to West Bend with her mother.
“For how long?” JT asked.
“I don’t know. I just know I can’t go on like this. I’m no good to you like this, I’m no good to myself.” Kate knew JT would have been willing to wait for her to recover, no matter how long it took. He’d already offered her a job behind the scenes in the office of his security firm. Or counselling with the psychologist he’d mentioned.
She wasn’t ready for that yet. She knew he said it wasn’t a sign of mental instability, insanity, but she didn’t think she needed that kind of help. Not that there was anything wrong with it if someone did, it just wasn’t her.
Her mother wasn’t so sure.
“You know I love the idea of having you back home. I never wanted you to move here anyway. But are you sure you’re coming home for the right reasons?”
Anyone who comments before midnight on Sunday June 23rd (PST) will have their name put into a draw for a chance of wining one of two free copies of Pat’s new book, so let’s hear what you have to say.
Feeling lucky? Pat is offering a Kindle give away on another blog.
Click on the word blog above and follow the links. Good luck.