Last, but by no means least, is Jane Reinhart and her guest post which is below. Jane's story for the Heat Wave Anthology is called Peeking Through Wooden Blinds.
Where do you draw your inspiration from, and what inspires you to write?
I draw inspiration from the people and places around me. It's true - there is a story in everything. Having lived in many parts of the world and also traveled extensively, I am fortunate to have acquired several friends from around the globe. As I listen to the personal experiences of others, the one interesting concept I find is that life can show you a piece of paradise - then in a flash, take it all away. Since love, life, and relationships are not perfect, I tend to write stories readers can relate to; where the main characters face difficult challenges, and I like to lighten the tone with a peppering of humor.
I am inspired by the splendor of life and the ability of mankind to rise above hardships with grace and dignity, and I strive to transfer that inspiration to my readers by infusing my books with messages of hope, self-reflection, and the importance of our decisions. While my stories are designed with suspense and a surprise twist at the end, I also want them to be meaningful.
Paige Henderson and Joey Novak are planning their wedding. But a devastating and mysterious phone call leads Paige onto a path of self-destruction and into the arms of the wrong man. Her ensuing marriage to Nick Bruska becomes a nightmare and she struggles to regain self-worth. Joey has never forgotten Paige. Will he ever see her again? Only then could they discover the terrible mistake that changed the course of their lives.
The invitation list included Bob and Maura, a couple who also grew up with Nick. While Paige was mingling with guests in the living room, Nick and Maura were in the basement playroom watching television. Bob walked downstairs to inform his wife it was time to go. All of a sudden, the irate husband came storming upstairs to confront Paige.
"Do you know what your husband is doing?" Bob screamed.
Paige was dazed and uncertain.
"He is lying on the couch with my wife, and he has his arms wrapped around her!"
While Paige was trying to create a suitable excuse for Nick's behavior, Maura ran upstairs to explain her innocence. After a brief scolding from her husband, she directed her comments to Paige.
"Don't listen to Bob," Maura said. "He has a bad temper. You know Nick and I have been close for a long time, and he wasn't doing anything wrong."
Bob and Maura left while the other guests were still trying to close their mouths.
Paige knew Maura spoke the truth. Nick took all aspects of his personality to the limit, especially his affectionate nature, but she gave him an impending warning.
"Nick," she started, "one day your over-friendless is going to get you into a lot of trouble."
Nick agreed, but didn't absorb her warning.
Insisting that it was "nice to be nice," the sociable husband assured his wife that he knew where to draw the line. For instance, Nick confessed that, once, when a young woman offered him her phone number after an evening of pinball challenge, he declined and told the girl he was married. With a gallant air, he shared the story now to prove his fidelity. Paige reminded him that if he spent hours cavorting with female competitors, he was already straddling the fence. Furthermore, she argued that women on the prowl always checked a man's hand to see if he was sporting a wedding ring. That was something Nick refused to do; explaining that, since he was a tradesman, wearing one presented the dangerous risk of getting the ring caught in machinery. He added that when he retired, he would wear the band of gold with pride.
Trust regained its stronghold, and another obvious wave of the red flag was ignored.
Jane Reinhart, author and poet, resides in Westchester County, New York, with her husband and three dogs. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and cooking.