by Beate Boeker, guest blogger and author of A Little Bit of Passion
When I wrote “A Little Bit of Passion“, it felt like a fever. I had to get the story down, and I dreamed myself into this world until it felt more real than my normal life. “A Little Bit of Passion” was the third book I have ever written in English. I know that because I number the folders where I save my stories – one folder for every novel. There’s something very satisfying about numbered folders, I think. I’m currently on book number ten – but how did it all start?
It started with a failure. I wrote my very first novel in German (which isn’t surprising, as I’m German). When my master piece was done, I realized that in some tiny places, it might have to be even more masterful, so I looked around for help – – and didn’t find anything. No writer’s conferences, no writer’s groups, no workshops for beginning writers – nothing to be found in Germany. As I searched the Internet, I realized that things are dramatically different in the US – and that most of the necessary information is online, as Americans are used to communicating across vast distances. Perfect. I decided to write in English (something my mother hasn’t understood to this day).
So I composed my second masterpiece, and when I had written “The End”, I decided I needed a book doctor because even I, the loving author, could tell that in some places, my beautiful text sounded kind of odd. However, I didn’t know how to change that; I had not yet learned to use the tools of the trade. So I did a very scientific research in the Internet: I googled for about ten minutes and found one address that had the name “International” in the title. Perfect, I thought – if it’s international, the book doctor will know how to call me in case there are questions. I was luckier than I deserved. I hit upon Elizabeth Lyon who worked on my manuscript until it started to resemble a book. Then she recommended me to Avalon Books, a New York publishing house that launches sixty beautiful hardcovers with family-friendly romances, mysteries and westerns every year. I promptly sent in my manuscript – and the rest is history, as they say – well, after having waited fifteen months or so, because as an author, there’s nothing you need more than patience.
So by the time my first book came out, I had finished two other novels. One of them was “A Little Bit of Passion“. In the meantime, I had found something most precious, a writer friend. Margaret Elam is a retired English teacher, who taught me how to make words sing, how to polish every single word, and how to turn a sentence around and around until the rhythm is right, until you know in your bones that this is it. I owe a lot to Maggi. We sent each other e-mails all the time, and maybe that inspired me to write “A Little Bit of Passion” entirely in the form of e-mails. It’s the only novel I have ever written in first tense – maybe that’s why it feels so close to my heart. Below you can read an excerpt – and if you can hear the snow crunch underneath your skis while reading, then you’re right where I want you to be. Have fun!
You can order A Little Bit of Passion here …Amazon and at Avalon Books
Read a free short story on Beate’s website www.happybooks.de
Once a month, Beate blogs at the Avalon Authors blog: http://avalonauthors.blogspot.com
Excerpt – A Little Bit of Passion
by Beate Boeker
Teton Mountain Range
Do you remember the guy who made me think for the first time that I’m too old to teach skiing? I was so glad when he finished his course last year and took his turtle-y head elsewhere.
Well, he’s back.
I greeted my new ten o’clock group this morning, and the instant I finished presenting myself, he sidled out from behind someone else’s back and stared at me with his half closed eyes. A shiver ran down my spine, and I’m sure I looked as if I had discovered a huge spider amongst the Easter eggs. He must have hidden at the guest-house this morning, or I would have been on my guard.
I turned my back on him as soon as I could, but I knew he continued watching me, his head swiveling from left to right like a hundred year old turtle. That image really fits, right down to the wrinkles all over the face and the folds in the neck. You can’t imagine how stiffly I moved all at once, like a wooden doll, waiting for his first filthy comment.
I didn’t have to wait long. Just as I showed them how to swing into an arc, he muttered in that penetrating voice of his, “Show me again how to swing that hip, baby. It’s so inspiring.”
I ignored him with clenched teeth.
But of course he didn’t let go. He lifted his voice and repeated: “Baby, I said show me again how to swing that hip. I’m here to learn, and you’re here to teach.”
The group stared a him.
A woman called Minnie started to giggle.
I fixed the turtle with a stare as hard as I could. “My name is Karen.”
“Oh, my, baby, I’m so sorry. I forgot. I thought you’d given me leave to call you some other names.”
What could I say? The management has made it clear to me that I have to keep the customers happy no matter what. Every time I complain about the turtle or other types, they say I should “endeavor to be a little bit more skilled in the art of flirting”. After all, the other instructors don’t complain, so it must be me, right? Why, oh why, do so many men think the skiing teacher is part of the package tour?
I closed my eyes and tried to remember why I love my job. The purple mountains. The air like chilled white wine. The joy of flying across the snow. Meeting many wonderful people, teaching them how to ski better. And the nasty ones don’t stay long, so it’s easy to bear. Usually.
I knew I had to put a stop to it right away; he would only make it worse if I laid down now. “I can’t remember giving you leave to call me anything but Karen,” I said and swished around to show them the arc once again.
Without giving them time for comment, I made them go through the motions. It’s a mixed group, aged from thirteen to fifty, I would say. I’ll separate them into beginners and advanced tomorrow, but unfortunately, I have promised Steve to take the advanced group this time, and the turtle is advanced, there’s no denying that.
When I asked the turtle to take his turn, he managed to brush by me and yelled, “Oh, my, I’m so sorry, Kare-een, I lost my footing.”
My face burnt so much, it’s a wonder I didn’t melt a hole into the snow, but I clenched my teeth and didn’t comment.
Next came the youngest of the group. He made a very creditable arc, and when he pushed past me on his way back, I said “Well done”.
The youngster cast me a glance and said in a low voice “Don’t mind that jerk.”
Underneath his red cap two gray eyes fixed me earnestly. He has lashes every female will envy, thick and long and straight. But what floored me was the spattering of freckles across his nose.
I swallowed and promised myself to dispatch the turtle somehow, to avoid spoiling that kid’s Easter holiday.
So if you read about the murder of a turtle in the Teton Mountain Range, make sure you get a good attorney, because it’ll be hard to wriggle out of this one.
Beate Boeker is a product manager by day and a writer by night. She’s also married and the mother of an energetic kid who loves snow as much as she does. If you mix Latin and German, Beate Boeker literally translates as Happy Books . . . and with a name like that, what else could she do but write romances? Beate would love to hear from you. You can get in touch via her website, www.happybooks.de