Liz Flaherty - Author Spotlight
I'm here today with author Liz Flaherty, as she gives us the inside scoop on her book, Life's Too Short for White Walls. Liz was kind enough to supply a blurb to wet our whistles! And I must say...I'm intrigued! Also, if you scroll down to Liz's author bio you can enter her rafflecopter giveaway by following the link.
Blurb: Still reeling from her divorce, Joss Murphy flees to Banjo Bend, Kentucky, where she'd been safe and happy as a child. The family farm is now a campground. Weary and discouraged, she talks owner Ezra McIntire into renting her a not-quite-ready cabin. With PTSD keeping him company, Ez thrives on the seclusion of the campground. The redhead in Cabin Three adds suggestions to his improvement plans, urging color and vibrancy where there was none.
Neither is looking for love, yet the attraction they share is undeniable. Can the comfort of campfires, hayrides, and sweet kisses bring these two lost souls together?
Let's here what the USA Today Bestselling Author has to say about her book...
1. Please tell us about your latest book, Life’s Too Short for White Walls. How did you come up with the idea?
Oh, my goodness, Gran’s remark, “The only good place for white walls is on a ’57 Chevy,” came from somewhere—I have no idea where—and I had to use it. Thankfully, Joss and Ez offered up their story for me to tell.
2. What are some of your characters like? What are their flaws and redeeming qualities?
They’re complicated—at least, I hope they are. They’re survivors of having the lives they’ve chosen ripped out from under them like the proverbial rugs. They’re also in their late 40s, so starting over is different than it would be if they weren’t a little set in their ways, needing more sleep than they used to, and in no way wanting a serious relationship. What they do is—let’s see if I can explain it so it makes sense—is find things deep within themselves they didn’t know they had. Joss finds the courage to be herself beyond being someone’s wife, mother, daughter, and sister. Ez accepts that even though he’s flawed…and he is…perfection isn’t a worthy goal. However, relationships with his brother, with friends and employees, and with the pretty redhead who rents a cabin from him? Maybe he can do that.
3. Is, Life’s Too Short for White Walls part of a sequel or a stand-alone?
It’s a stand-alone. It could be a sequel or even a series—I always have way more characters than I should, but I think they’re such an important part of our lives, they should be an important part of our books, too!
4. Would you be willing to share a short excerpt with us?
Absolutely. They’re below the questions, along with links.
5. Are you a pantser or a plotter?
Mainly a pantser, but as I’ve aged, it’s become necessary to plot at least a partial trail through the book. If I don’t, I run into way too many trees that stop me going forward.
Now. As promised. The excerpt.
Excerpt: He looked at her, not quite believing what she was indicating. He didn’t think he was sexist—he’d served with some of the best women anywhere in the military—but Joss wasn’t just a girl; she was a girly girl. She had a firm handshake, but the hand itself was soft, the nails carefully kept. She wore makeup, for heaven’s sake. She couldn’t think she was up to the tasks he’d told her were part of the job. Maybe some of them, but he couldn’t see her riding a tractor in front of the mower or snowplow or fighting with the weed whacker. Or unstopping drains.
The last thought made him grin, but he hoped he covered the expression before she saw it. “What do you mean?”
“I can paint as well as anyone. I raised two boys in a house with three bathrooms—I know about plunging toilets. Our lot was an acre and I took care of it myself until the kids were old enough to help—my husband didn’t even know how to start the lawn tractor. I know enough about wiring to keep an electrician on speed dial and almost that much about plumbing, but I’m a good gofer.”
“Can you pitch a tent for a camper who has no idea what sh…they’re doing?”
“I can. Not fast, but I can.”
“Can you help someone trying to set up and stabilize a camping trailer?”
“No, but I could learn how.”
“Can you work twelve hours if your replacement doesn’t show up?”
“Yes.” She swallowed hard. “I don’t want to, but I can.”
“Where will you live?”
“I don’t know yet. I’d like to come to some kind of agreement about me staying in Cabin Three.” She stopped, cleared her throat, and went on. “Or let me stay in the house. I’ll work on it in my off time to make up for rent. I think I’d be much more helpful if I lived on the premises.”
This wasn’t what he’d had in mind. He’d thought maybe a couple of guys in the early stages of retirement or another student or two as young and eager to work as Jed was. He hadn’t counted on a small woman his own age who smelled like—
Well, this was getting ridiculous, but she smelled really good.
“Do you have references?”
“I can get one from the library where I worked and from places I volunteered.” She smiled brightly, a fine show of bravado. “If you like, I’ll paint the cabin I’m staying in so you can see my work.”
He thought of the cabins, of the dingy off-white paint on all the walls. “It’s a deal,” he said.
“Only I won’t paint the rooms white. Or beige.”
He wanted to throw up his hands and say he didn’t care what colors she chose—he had other things to worry about when it came to making this godforsaken place into one that didn’t lose money on a daily basis. He didn’t need to be rich, but he wasn’t a fan of hunger, either.
“Okay. After you paint Cabin Three, we’ll look at this again, okay? So, you’re hired on a trial basis. The pay’s abysmal, in case I didn’t mention that.”
“As long as we’re in the off season, you can just stay in an unrented cabin, at least until the house is livable. If you’re still here when things pick up in spring, we’ll revisit it. Does that work for you?”
“I have an account at the hardware store in Banjo Bend. You can get whatever paint you need there.”
“No mustard-colored bathrooms.” Maybe he did care about paint colors, after all. Her story about her grandfather and the baby poop had kind of resonated with him. What was wrong with the pearl gray the guy from the paint store had assured him was the new off-white in neutrals? Ez scowled at his newest employee. “Or lavender. No lavender anywhere.”
Joss frowned back at him. “Tell you what. Let me paint the cabin I’m in the way I would choose. If you don’t like it, I’ll repaint everything with absolutely no character or personality and I’ll pay for the paint. Just give me a chance to add a little…something.”
“Would you like me to start tomorrow?”
“There’s a church service at the pavilion in the morning. Everyone is invited, by the way. Pastors from all around take turns preaching. Afterward, weekend campers start leaving. Retirees and people who live in their motor homes don’t keep to the same kind of schedule. If you’d like to come to the office and learn checkout procedures, that would be a good start.”
“All right. I’ll probably come to the service, too. Maybe they’ll sing ‘In the Garden.’ It always starts the week off right for me.” She smiled at him, and he thought the whole porch lit up. “Goodnight, Ez. I enjoyed your music.”
“Goodnight, Joss.” He started to walk away, then turned back. “Thank you. It…the music means a lot to me. I’m glad you liked it.”
He waited to hear the lock on the cabin door click before turning and sauntering toward the log house beside the creek. Campfires lit the way, and the hushed voices of campers blended with night sounds from the woods. He loved the campground on nights like this. He’d enjoyed playing music and talking with the pretty woman from Cabin Three. The people camping were nearly all repeat guests who knew the rules and pretty much adhered to them, although there were a couple there who groused about him refusing to sell liquor under the table.
He wasn’t sure what had possessed him to hire Jocelyn Murphy. Granted, Margaret could do almost all the jobs on the place, too—including a few he wished she wouldn’t—but Joss just looked too…delicate. Yeah, that was the word. And he bet she wouldn’t like it if she knew that’s how he looked at her, either.
The thought made him laugh aloud as he went into his house. He took his guitar out of its case and propped it on the stand where it lived, then went into the kitchen to pour a drink, going light on the bourbon. He didn’t think his drinking was a problem, but since it had crossed his mind, maybe it was. He liked it better than he liked calling his therapist in the middle of the night during an attack of panic, but he wasn’t a fan of any kind of dependency.
He sat on the porch facing the creek with his glass, wishing he had a dog. While he didn’t want any people counting on him to take care of them, he thought even he could keep a dog fed and housed. He remembered Elwood and Jake, the shelties he and his brother had raised. The last time Ez was home, Silas still had dogs from the same bloodline.
Sometimes…oh, God, sometimes he just flat out ached for home. For normalcy. To love and be loved by someone. Occasionally he thought it might be worth the risk. But it wouldn’t. He couldn’t do that to someone; it would be like selling a car without an engine thinking it might run anyway. He had no engine to offer anyone. Not even a dog.
A gunshot, far away and muffled by the night, echoed from across the creek. Hunters. He flinched. He always flinched. There was a world of difference between the sounds of a sniper attack and a lone shotgun in the deep Kentucky darkness, but memory rode roughshod over his nerves, pushing him back into his chair and making his hand tremble so that the liquid in the glass sloshed close to its rim.
Only this time it wasn’t to Iraq that his mind returned, but to his classroom in the peaceful town in Virginia where he’d finished his doctorate and gone on to teach statistics at the small private college. He’d achieved full professorship and started seeing an adjunct who taught in the same building. He and Lucy weren’t in love, but they laughed about being seriously in like.
Until the shooter infiltrated the campus. More to the point, his classroom. Ez and a student disarmed and subdued the young man before anyone was hurt, although the walls were riddled with bullet holes and shattered glass was everywhere. Ez had been calm that day, and had stayed calm through the ones that followed. The depositions, the conversations with traumatized students, even the journalists who gathered apologetically seeking statements from the hero of the day had been within the wheelhouse of what he could handle. Increased dosage of his medication saw to it that he got a few hours of sleep each night.
At midterm, he’d had to flunk a kid in his grad level class. Just as he’d had to fail the shooter the semester before. Suddenly he couldn’t go back to campus anymore. He took a sabbatical the college was glad to allow him and holed up in his apartment, watching movies on television and playing the same songs over and over again. He broke up with Lucy, although she remained his friend even when he completely failed at being hers.
That was when Gray had told him about the campground.
Another gunshot accelerated his heartbeat, and he drained the glass. It was time to go inside, to pour another drink and play music loud until his soul calmed down. Maybe there would be a break in the nighttime tunnel of despair, one that would allow him to sleep.
In the house, he sat in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows with his guitar. He strummed and picked, then stopped the vibration of the strings with the palm of his hand, straining to hear the gunshots he knew were out there.
Then he played “In the Garden,” humming when he forgot many of the words. Eventually there was peace. And sleep. And he didn’t have another drink.
Author Bio: Liz Flaherty is rather bewildered by where she’s at in life. She doesn’t feel…er…elderly, but the truth is that she is. The Magnificent Seven grands have grown up on her, her own kids are all now older than she is, and her husband Duane has the same firm hold on her heart he’s always had. And it’s all good.
Life's Too Short for White walls is now part of a rafflecopter giveaway!!! Follow the link to enter!!!
<a class="rcptr" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/3fe4f3281/" rel="nofollow" data-raflid="3fe4f3281" data-theme="classic" data-template="" id="rcwidget_3bwy7c2t">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> <script src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script>
B & N: https://tinyurl.com/yc7xyprw
Apple Books: https://tinyurl.com/yc75va4n
Social Media Links:
Newsletter signup: http://eepurl.com/df7dhP