T minus 40 days. And counting.

Yep, I’m counting. Forty days until the publication of my first book. Cool. Not much going on professionally right now, though my life is very, very busy. I did get a chance to go hear the very talented Nicholas Sparks speak on Saturday. Special thanks to him for taking a couple of hours to speak to writers and fans. He’s an excellent public speaker and a born storyteller, so I had a lot of fun listening to him. Unfortunately, this lunch was sort of a sad time for me as it marked the end of the New Bern Literary Symposium. I very seldom get a chance to connect with other writers and this symposium made me realize how much I miss that. I plan to seek out new opportunities as often as possible in the future.

Since I’m officially starting my countdown to publication, I thought I’d give you guys another taste of it. My publisher Lyrical Press has posted one short excerpt on the site. You can read it here: Secrets of the Lotus. However, that seems far too short for you to get a real idea of who these characters are. So to wind up this week’s update, here’s another short excerpt for anyone interested:

Dan shrugged. “I like kids. They complicate life, though, when they’re yours. Maybe when I find the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with, I’ll feel differently.” He looked at her. “How about you?”

Josie hunted for the right words to answer his question and shivered, putting up her coat collar.

“Are you cold?”

She wrapped her scarf around her throat. “A little.”

“C’mere.” He held his arms out.

She hesitated then let him pull her close. He turned her so her back was against him and wrapped his arms around her, completely enfolding her in his embrace. For a moment, they stood that way in a silence he finally broke. “You didn’t answer my question.”

Josie sighed. She felt her body molding itself to him, remembering this embrace from the night before. She wished she could enjoy the warmth and comfort of being close to him without having to concentrate on what she was saying. “We didn’t even discuss marriage. I learned pretty early on he didn’t want to talk about it. The very idea of getting tied down messed up his artistic aura or something.”

“Dumbass.” His voice was a mock growl.

She laughed and turned her head up to look at him. “Doesn’t remind me of anybody at all.”

“I’m different. I never get a chance to meet nice girls. There aren’t that many that travel in my circles.”

“You told me when we first met nobody was out of your league.” Josie arched her eyebrows and added, even though she knew what she was implying, “Are you saying you couldn’t get a nice girl if you wanted one?”

Dan sighed. “Yeah, I’m as much of a dumbass as old Eric. Here I stand with the same terrific girl in my arms and we’re just friends.” He smiled at her. “Completely platonic.”

A rush of feeling washed over her, as if the Northern Atlantic had turned tropical and a tidal wave had overtaken her. In that breathless moment, she wanted desperately to kiss him. The feeling was terrifying and exhilarating at the same moment. In another second, he would bend his head and she would rise up on her tiptoes to meet him…

“Banzai!” Three shadowy forms flung themselves out of the shadows beside the sand dunes.