Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Guest Blogger - Erin Nicholas

I'm super pleased to have Erin Nicholas guest blogging with us today. Erin and I have been friends since almost the beginning of my writing career, long before I published. (Yep, that's us a lotta years ago. LOL) She was my first critique partner, my favorite conference buddy back in the day and an all around good friend. She's a leading physical therapist by day and an amazing author by night - or whenever she can squeaze in time at the computer! Her books are yummy-delicious and you've got an amazing treat waiting for you in Just Right!
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Going Home

I went home this past weekend.

Which is funny, because I’m home right now and this is where I left for three days a week ago. Where I’m sitting right now, with my husband, kids and cats is home. Of course. This is where my life is. Where I’m needed, where I’m on a schedule, where people from the PTO, the church and various other volunteer groups can call me. This is where I read to my kids and make dinner each night and have photos of everyone I love. This is where my kids are being raised, where they will call home.
But when I go visit my parents, I call that home too.

Which is weird because the house my parents live in is not the one I grew up in. It’s not even in the town I grew up in! In fact, it’s the second house my parents have lived in since we lived together. I haven’t been to the town where I grew up in at least five years. Probably longer. My friends from there have scattered (thank God for Facebook and e-mail!) and my extended family never was from there.
So, how can I still call my parent’s house ‘home’? I know exactly. It’s where I can really be myself, where I feel comfortable, where I’m loved and accepted unconditionally. That’s what home is. I’m just really blessed to have two of those, I guess!

My parents house gives me something my home here doesn’t though. It provides an escape from the real world! J When I’m there, I don’t get on e-mail (bugs my father terribly when I do!), I don’t answer my phone (texts, maybe), and I’m two hours away from anything going on here—great excuse to avoid meetings and rummage sales!

It’s a mini-vacation. It really is. They take me to my favorite restaurant (a local place I can only go to when I’m there!), make my favorite coffee and we talk and talk and talk. Yes, my kids are there and my parents are doting grandparents. But it’s grandma’s house, which means a bunch of stuff they don’t have at home, so they go exploring and playing, hanging with their cousins and generally also enjoying a break from the regular routine. And, as my mom reminds me, I’m their kid. They want to take care of me, talk to me, spend time with me.

It’s awesome. As an employer, business owner, wife, mother and volunteer, very rarely is something all about me and okay, I’ll admit it… I love it!

Family is one reason that I found writing the series that’s coming out this year so appealing. It’s about a family. Not a “typical” family (what’s that mean anymore anyway, right?) but three people, siblings, who’ve been together through it all. They drive each other crazy at times, as any good set of siblings will do, but they love each other no matter what.

The first book, Just Right (releasing TODAY, not coincidentally, from Samhain) didn’t start out as the first book in a series. But as I got to know Jessica’s brother Sam and sister Sara, it didn’t take long for me to realize that they each needed a story too.

And it’s more than just the three of them. It’s the group of guys who are part of Sam’s EMT crew, the kids that come to the youth center their father founded, the four older women the guys take care of and the little town where Sara has to try to fit in and figure out who she really is.
I’ve loved getting to know them, seeing how they support each other, and now I’m thrilled to introduce them to all of you!
It's your turn (from Lucy :smiles:): what does "going home" mean for you? If you'd rather talk books - what's your favorite family related series?

In celebration of Erin's release day she's giving away a free copy of Just Right to someone here today! All you have to do is post a comment before midnight (CST) and she'll draw a winner from all the comments! In the meantime…

Just Right
by Erin Nicholas
March 30, 2010
(digital book)
To be a good bad boy you have to find just the right girl…

ER nurse Jessica Bradford is a good girl. Okay, more like a reformed bad girl. She’s determined to be the woman her late father wanted her to be. And she knows she should be with someone like Dr. Ben Torres-- in charge, dedicated, selfless. The tall, dark and handsome part is just a bonus.

So Jessica agrees to keep Ben out of trouble after he’s suspended from the hospital for punching a belligerent, drunk patient in the emergency room. She’ll get the needed recommendation from the Chief of Staff for the promotion she wants and she’ll have a great reason to spend more time with Dr. Perfect. But suddenly she’s got a problem. Outside of work Ben’s not so dependable, or perfect after all…and he’s even more tempting than before.

Ben’s done being everybody’s hero. What’s being a trauma surgeon ever gotten him but horrible hours and a bunch of responsibilities that make his life complicated? His sudden time off from the hospital is not only overdue, it’s a blessing. Which he intends to enjoy fully.

Jessica can’t believe Ben is acting more like a kid in a candy store than a man who’s about to throw his career away. Even more, she can’t believe that she still wants him like ice cream wants hot fudge. She tries her best to keep him out of trouble—except “trouble” is all Ben’s interested in.

And suddenly Jessica’s having trouble remembering why that’s a bad thing…
(c) Erin Nicholas 2010
There were five words that Jessica hated to hear from her brother.
“Jess, I need a favor.”
Yep. Those were them.
She closed her eyes. “Come on, Sam. I had a long day.” She wanted to prop up in bed, watch Seinfeld reruns and eat a pint of Peanut Butter Passion.
“It’s important, Jess,” Sam said, his tone the one he used for coaxing shy women out onto the dance floor. “I tried to handle it, but I need your help.”
The tone always worked on curvy blondes.
Jessica was not a curvy blonde.
“Dry your hair and get dressed,” he said. “I told you—it’s important.”
Jessica paused with the comb halfway through her straight brown hair and stared at the phone receiver in the mirror. How had he known her hair was wet? That was weird.
“I said I’m busy.”
“No. You said I’m, then there was a long pause before you said busy.”
She scowled. “So?”
“So, that pause means you were trying to think of a good excuse because you can never quite bring yourself to lie about it. You’re at home. It had to be taking a shower, doing laundry or cleaning the apartment.”
Jessica bristled. “I do other things here than…wash things.”
“Yeah, but if you were really doing anything important you would have actually been busy and you would have just told me what you were busy doing instead of using the noncommittal, generic I’m busy.”
Jessica was thrown off for a moment by her brother using the word noncommittal.
Showing off her own impressive vocabulary, she replied again, “So?”
“I need your help. It should be enough that I say it’s important,” Sam said, moving on from the “busy” conversation, probably bored by now with the topic that wasn’t directly about him.
Of course, important could mean almost anything with Sam.
It could mean he was a few dollars short of getting in on a poker game. It could mean that he needed a place for a couple of buddies from out of town to crash for the weekend. It could mean that one of the girls he’d flirted with had taken him too seriously and he needed an emergency wife to get the girl off his back. Jessica sighed. She hated playing Sam’s wife. He always wanted her to be bitchy and she always ended up feeling bad for the girl.
“It was a really long day at work.”
And it was all because of Ben Torres.
Rumor had it he had been suspended by the Chief of Staff and the hospital attorneys were riled up trying to figure out how to troubleshoot the situation. There were charges pending as well. Manslaughter for Ted. Assault for Ben.
Not that any of it affected Jessica directly. She was an ER nurse. There were more surgeons, there would be more accidents and more patients. But she couldn’t get Ben out of her mind…or suppress her insane urge to make sure he was all right.
“I heard,” Sam said.
Of course he had. Sam was the head paramedic on the best ambulance crew in the city and he not only worked with the ER staff regularly, he was also friends with many of them, including Ben. Matt Taylor, the ER doctor on Ted Blake’s case, was a poker buddy of Sam’s.
“I’m tired and—”
“Shame on you, Jessica Leigh Bradford,” Sam broke in. “I’m your little brother. Your only brother.”
The only part was right. The little part not so much. Sam was younger than Jessica by five years, but she didn’t even come up to his chin.
“I’m not in the mood for this.” But she knew that she didn’t sound convincing. She’d always been a sucker for the little brother bit. Because he was right. He was her younger brother and she felt responsible, even now when he was twenty-five and definitely a big boy.
“Too bad.”
“What is it?” she asked, trying to soak a cotton ball with skin toner with one hand while holding the phone with the other.
“A babysitting job.”
She frowned, forgetting the cotton ball for a moment. “Did you say babysitting?”
“Well, first, do you have a sexy dress?”
Jessica forgot about the toner, cotton ball and everything else. “Excuse me?”
“You’re going to need to borrow one then,” Sam said. “And high heels. Do you have high heels?”
His tone suggested that he sincerely doubted it.
“Of course I do.” They were way in the back of the closet somewhere, but she was pretty sure she still had them.
“What about the dress?”
“I have a dress, Sam.”
“But is it sexy? It will have to be sexy. Maybe you should call Marcy.”
This called for a dress from her friend Marcy? Marcy didn’t dress in anything that didn’t reveal cleavage and lots of it. What in the hell was going on?
“Sam, maybe you’d better define babysitting,” Jessica said grimly.


Jenn said...

Going home for me used to be a trip when I lived away from my family for some time. Now my husband, kids and I live only 15 minutes away yet don't spend too much time there. It is weird because each time I do go to my parents house, the house I lived in from the age of 9-20, I feel like I step back in time. Their neighbors make me think of the show Desperate Housewives. It is all very weird but I love them even if they changed my old room into a huge computer room for my dad.

host said...

Hi! Just Right sounds just right for me :)
I'm like you, so going home for me means being on vacation :) surrounded by love and care.

SiNn said...

this book sounds awesome congrats on its release! im proud tobe one of ur fans ty for haven Erin here today Lucy!

Erin Nicholas said...

Hi everyone! Lucy, I can't believe you found that old picture! Wow, that was a long time ago!

I thought writing about family on Lucy's blog was very appropriate because she is ALL about family!

Jenn, I know what you mean. My husband and I live farther from home than any of our siblings but I think we get back to visit almost as much! Our visits are certainly more about quality than quantity anyway!
Host, thanks! While being "cared for" by a pina colada serving cabana boy would be okay, there's nothing like mom and dad right? ;)
SiNn, thanks for being here! It's an exciting day for me and I love sharing it!

CrystalGB said...

Hi Erin. Happy Release Day! Just Right sounds great. Going home to me means going to my parents' home.

Lucy Monroe said...

Going home for me is all about my kids coming over. LOL I visit my mom and her husband frequently (as they live about a mile away), but Mom has been terminally ill for many years and visiting her is all about loving on her and doing what I can to make her feel as good as she can. :) Her wisdom and wit are still such a part of my life, I feel immeasurably blessed! But I *LOVE* that my kids still come here when they want to celebrate the big stuff, when they want to talk, when they feel beleagured (sp?) by life.

My favorite family based series is the MacKenzies by Linda Howard, though I'm betting Erin's new series is gonna replace it! :)

And Sinn...I'm really, truly proud to have such wonderful readers like you and the others who take time to visit here on the blog! So, thanks!! ~ Hugs!

Andrea Becraft said...

Coming home to me is when i go away for awhile but when I get back its the kids greeting me with hugs at the door. Growing up we moved alot and I always thought as home as my papaws house because no matter where I go its always there.

Your book sounds very intreasting lol. I have a sister kind of like Sam always needing something and me not sure wiether to do it or not!

red said...

Erin, congrats on your new release!
Lucy, I just love the MacKenzies series by Linda Howard- they are some of my fav books.

Erin Nicholas said...

Hmm.. favorite book series about families... good question! For me it's Julia Quinn's series about the Bridgerton siblings. I have every one of them on my keeper shelf.

LOL, Andrea, you'll have to check more out about Sam in Just Like That, coming out in June. He was a FUN character to write about!! :)

Lucy Monroe said...

Andrea...we moved a lot too, maybe that's why home for me is what I give my kids. :)

Red...such a great series! I think I feel a re-read coming on...

Erin...I should have guessed that about you. I haven't read them, but I remembered you telling me how much you love Julia Quinn. :)

And Sam does sound fun! ;-)

denise said...

Congrats on the new release!! The excerpt is great. Would love to have it.

Modokker said...

I've never read one of your books before but i just read the idea for your new series and the excerpt etc here and i love it! Sounds like a great story and i would love to read it.

Lisa B

Ina said...

Hi Erin!
just finished No Matter What and I can't wait to read this one :)
greetings, Ina

Erin Nicholas said...

Thanks, Denise! You're in the running *G*
Lisa, so glad to welcome new readers to my world! This was a really fun series to do and I'm excited because Samhain (my publisher) is really behind it and have the next two coming out in June and September so readers don't have to wait long :)
Ina, wow, thanks! Always love to hear what people think of No Matter What. That's a really special book for me for lots of reasons.
Thanks for reading!! :)

PG Forte said...

Hey, Erin. Happy release day! I downloaded my copy of Just Right last night and can't wait to read it!

Cool topic. I grew up on the East Coast--NJ, NYC--and I've moved around A LOT, but California is the place I feel most at home. When we first moved here (lotta years ago!) my husband and I used to drive around marveling at how lucky we were to live here.

When we moved (briefly) to FL, a few years back, I was like Heidi pining for her mountain for the whole year and nine months we were gone.

Erin Nicholas said...

Hi, PG! Thanks for stopping by! And yes, trust me, you are lucky to live in California! :) I've grown up in the midwest and love it, probably won't ever leave for good, but LOVE to visit the coast!

Anonymous said...


sherry said...

Happy release day. This sounds like a very good book I loved the excerpt it was great. I love Linda Howard her books are some of my favorite and they are on my keeper shelf. Her MacKenzies family is just wonderful I reread her books so many times and they get better each time I read them.


Lady_Graeye said...

Great excerpt! I'd love to have this book!

Erin Nicholas said...

WINNER of the copy of Just Right is...


Please e-mail me so I can send you your copy!!

Thanks so much for everyone stopping by! Love chatting with Lucy and all her great readers!

See you all soon!