Hello Nights of Passion Readers! I’m off getting hitched, so please welcome my first guest blogger, women’s fiction author Linda Bradley! See you all in a few weeks.
John Steinbeck said, “A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.”
Writing the Montana Bound Series was my road trip on the highway of life when I needed it most. After spending years writing, going to conferences, and attending writing meetings, I wasn’t sure when or if I’d see my work in print so when Maggie Abernathy and her cast of misfits crept into my thoughts, I knew I had to listen.
The catalyst for my debut novel, Maggie’s Way, was cancer itself. Being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of forty-eight seemed to be the wake-up call that put my world in perspective. While raising two boys, they came first, but I promised myself that I’d follow my dream of being a published author when the time came. And when the opportunity presented itself, it was important for me to show them that with sincere perseverance I’d obtain my goal regardless of the obstacles. Someone once told me that I was a master at manipulating negative energy to fuel productive and beautiful things and this was no different, there was no part of me that would accept anything less than my best effort when the chips were down. Beating cancer was just as sweet as seeing my name in print. Maggie’s Way, began as a single title, but as I neared the end, I realized Maggie’s journey had just begun.
For both of us, the journey continued when I wrote Maggie’s Fork in the Road. In this book, Maggie begins the next chapter of her life feeling content, then the pesky neighbors that have stolen her heart break the news they’re moving and not around the block. Her world is turned upside down with the reality that her eight-year-old sidekick Chloe won’t be barging into her life any more. And where there’s Chloe, there’s drama, along with her handsome dad, John. Although, I don’t live next door to a youngster named Chloe and a Montana born man, I think we all know that finding our footing doesn’t come easily when someone yanks the carpet of stability from beneath our feet. And with this book, I veered from the path yet again and discovered new avenues of inspiration.
Montana called to me, and I listened.
I stood behind the counter of the retail store where I was working to supplement my full-time teaching gig and I knew if I didn’t go I’d regret it. So I made the impromptu trek and took someone very special with me, my oldest son, who was twenty-two at the time. Not being familiar with Montana, I didn’t know what part to explore, so I let him choose the destination. Trusting my intuition that I was on the right path, we flew into Bozeman and headed for the 320 Ranch. When we stepped into the sweet aroma of wildflowers and sage, I knew we’d found a slice of paradise and a missing piece to my puzzle.
By nature, I’m a worrier, a planner, things I suppose John Steinbeck would find fruitless according to his quote and rightly so, so I’d like to believe that when I wrote the Montana Bound Series, I let the “trip take me”. Beautiful things happened. Beautiful people happened. Meeting fabulous people along the way has been just as much an inspiration as what drives the storyline.
Maggie’s world will continue in the release of Maggie’s Montana on October 12, 2016, but she and her sidekick, Chloe McIntyre, will not be at rest after this episode. I’m working on another Montana series written from Chloe’s perspective as an adult. So, I guess you could say that when I met Maggie and Chloe, I found my voice and the path I’d been searching for.
Like anything, one thing leads to another. All forks in the road lead home and presently Montana is showing me the way.
Linda’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her women’s fiction highlights characters that peel away outer layers of life to discover the heart of their dreams with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Her writing integrates humor found in everyday situations, as well as touching moments, thus creating avenues for readers to connect with her characters.
Linda has an Associates Degree in Interior Design and a Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts with undergraduate work in Elementary Education and Fine Arts. She wrote and illustrated a children’s book titled The Hunter for her Master’s Degree. Linda is a member of RWA, as well as the Greater Detroit Chapter of RWA.
Linda has two grown sons and lives with her husband and rescue dog in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Middle-aged, Maggie Abernathy just wants to recuperate from cancer during the solitude of summer vacation after a tiresome year of teaching second grade. Maggie’s plans are foiled when precocious seven-year-old Chloe McIntyre moves in next door with her dad, John. Maggie’s life changes in a way she could never imagine when the pesky new neighbors steal her heart. With Maggie’s grown son away, her ex-husband in the shadows, her meddling mother’s unannounced visits, and Chloe McIntyre on her heels, somehow Maggie’s empty house becomes home again.
Maggie Abernathy learns that pesky neighbors, John and Chloe McIntyre are moving to Montana. The only problem is…she can’t fathom living without them now that they’ve stolen her heart. While trying to digest the news and accept John’s decision to leave Michigan, Maggie ventures to Chicago with Chloe to see Chloe’s Hollywood mother in a photo shoot, where the three kindle a quirky bond. With the support of Maggie’s meddling mother, best friend Judy, and a surprise visit from Montana rancher, Winston Ludlow McIntyre, Maggie begins to fathom that all forks in the road just might lead home.
Maggie’s Montana (book 3)
Maggie Abernathy, best friend Judy, and Judy’s two young sons travel cross country to visit John McIntyre and daughter Chloe at their Montana ranch. Maggie’s convinced herself that she’s only making the trip to fulfill her promise to visit Chloe, but once there she can’t help but fall in love with the horses, the land, the ranch, and the Montana ways of life. With Chloe’s loving antics, Winston’s gift, and a handful of wranglers showing her the ropes will Maggie have the heart to return home?
Hunting Witch Hazel: Now available
Threat of Raine: 2016
Rosemary for Remembrance: 2016