Costa Rica – sneak peek

Costa Rica (preview the first chapter on Amazon.) 

You can read the first 10% of any book on Amazon so I like to share from other parts of the book. This is near the beginning, before they leave Oregon:

Costa Rica by Kristen James

She barely registered when the front door swung open. Drew walked into the hallway and dropped his keys in the dish. The hallway light flicked on.

“Holy mother!”

His squeal spooked her into sitting straight up, and remembering why she’d been waiting for him. “Drew?”

“Annalisa? You scared the bejesus out of me. What are you doing sitting in the dark?”

She didn’t immediately answer. That must have clued him into her mood and he stepped closer, leaning on the door frame to wait. They’d always been straight with each other (ironic, isn’t it?) and skipped the lead ups.

“Vincent’s cancer came back. There’s another tiny tumor. It’s not treatable anymore.”

The air swooshed out of him. “Oh.”

He stood for a minute and then walked into the living room and slumped down in the recliner across from her. This was a painful moment, but he didn’t rush to her. He didn’t even sit with her. They sat in silence except for his occasional exhale. Drew didn’t really cry–this was as close as he ever came.

The light was just a soft one from the hallway, but it seemed too bright for this conversation. She waited a long time before speaking again. “They asked us to come over Friday night for a barbeque. I said we’d bring a salad. Vincent would have called you, but he said it’s been hard to get a hold of you.”

That last little line had a wealth of ill will. She’d been shell-shocked till that moment, but then she realized Drew had let his best friend down. Didn’t Drew understand that? Vincent was fighting for his life, and Drew was busy chasing skirt. And what if she had needed him? He hadn’t been there for her either. He had slowly and quietly packed up his emotional ties to her and left a shell. Her guilt, for that moment, evaporated.

Drew said not a word in response. Once upon a time this handsome man had been her rock, her friend and her guiding light. Now she wanted to slap him.

He finally realized she was glaring at him and glanced at his wristwatch. “It’s way too late to call him.”

“Yeah, it’s almost midnight.”

“You were out way past midnight just yesterday.”

“But I don’t do that all the time…” Her thought lost steam. “I’m not the one…”

Drew looked at her, really gazed into her eyes. His expression showed alarm and then dread. There it was, out in the open. Maybe they weren’t going to say it, but he had to know she was suspicious.

She had not once ever, ever doubted him. Even as they drifted apart, she didn’t question him, check up on him or wonder what he was doing. She envisioned a crack racing across that large stone bridge of trust, and it fell in a loud, painful crash.

She got up and went upstairs to bed. Drew never followed.

 

COSTA RICA

Annalisa and Drew have always dreamed of going to Play Flamingo, Costa Rica, with their best friends, Vincent and Melinda. But now they’re out of time.

Annalisa feels their marriage is just a shell for others to see–there’s nothing left inside. She wonders if they can rekindle their love in paradise, but there’s so little left. They gave up on their marriage along with their dream of having children.

Time is literally slipping away from Vince and Mel. Vincent’s cancer is back–his tumor is inoperable and he won’t do chemo again. This trip is now or never.

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Goodreads Giveaway!

Most of the country seems to be talking about very cold weather… meanwhile it’s not that cold here but I’m fighting a cold. It hit suddenly last night, seemingly a product of staying up way too late the night before, except that it’s still here a bit today. So I’m sitting by the fire and writing, working on the last 1/3 of In a Field of Oranges. (I like feeling the different tones in my different works. It’s even more apparent when I’m promoting one book while writing on another.)

My Costa Rica Goodreads giveaway went live today, so I wanted to share that. Enter here!  There’s 10 signed copies up for grabs. While we’re on the topic of Goodreads, did you know you can friend me there, mark me as a favorite author, add my books, review my books, add my books to your favorite lists…just saying, you can do all that and probably more. It’s a fun site for book lovers.

And here’s a fun little teaser from the book, when Drew and Annalisa rent bikes to explore the area:

They splashed through a few big puddles when they couldn’t navigate around them, and dirt and sand caked to her feet and legs, but she didn’t care. Because she was wet and dirty, and hot from the humidity, she pulled her shirt off. At some point, Drew pulled off his tank top and tied it around his head, making her laugh.

They came across a small farm house, way up on the hill to their right. Two men were sitting in chairs at the bottom of a long set of stairs. One raised a bottle as they passed and called, “Mis amigos!”

Annalisa waved before she looked back to Drew’s grinning face. They were zinging through sun spots, making it look like they were going much faster than they actually were. It seemed the road did turn back toward the highway and their destination. Drew pointed up ahead. Another creek crossed the road, but this one wasn’t dry like the other ones they’d rode across.

She slowed down. “How are we going to cross that?”

“It’s the tide making it higher. Look. That must be close to Playa Brasilito.”

Where he pointed, the dirt turned to sand and, beyond that, the beach and ocean. They watched the ocean water rush in for a full minute before Drew turned to her with a crazy light in his eyes.

“Come on, we can make it across,” he said.

“What?” She gave him a no-way-in-hell look. She didn’t want to die on vacation.

“I’ll go first to make sure it’s safe.” He flashed his I-can-do-anything smile, picked up his bike, and began wading across.

“Drew!”

“I got this. The current isn’t strong. It just looks fast.” He went step-by-step into deeper water. She held her breath as the water went up to his shorts and then over.

“You’re all wet now!” But he was making progress and stepped safely on the other side. Okay, she could do this, too. It wasn’t that deep. Just a warm creek. Preparing, she dropped her shorts and put them in the bike’s basket. They’d been getting their flip flops wet so she kept them on and began across, holding the bike up out of the water as much as she could. The bottom half still got wet. The ground felt steady, and the sand provided traction. Just before she hit the halfway point, the bike lifted up.

Drew stood right in front of her, taking the bike.

“Thanks.”

It only took a minute or two to walk across, and only so long because they were stepping carefully. “I can’t believe we did that!”

“Guess you’re dressed for the beach already.” His gaze traveled down her body and back up, and his expression changed…to desire. She didn’t think of a decent reply in time and turned away, embarrassed.

“Guess we need to lock up the bikes.” Drew picked an almond tree to park the bikes under, and secured them both with the cable and padlock, his bare back to her. He really had been working out. She had noticed before, but not noticed.

Get it now on Kindle  

New Year, New Book, and a Treasure Hunting Story!

It’s 2014, and Costa Rica is out! It’s available in Kindle, Smashwords, and Kobo, with print and other ebook retailers coming soon. A funny thing happened the day before I launched it…

We kicked off the new year with a family hiking trip on the 1st. It was clear and fairly warm here for January, especially after the icy weather we’ve had the last two months. Our hike included many steep hills, and a giant tree sat on top of one of them, with wide, spreading branches that made perfect seats. (I must keep the type of tree secret so I don’t give away too many hints.) The boys and I climbed up the tree’s fat branches, and I looked around us and spotted a yellow tackle box in an old, hollowed out tree trunk. So of course I scrambled down my tree to go investigate.

I LOVE finding things. Don’t you? I’ve always kept an eye out for interesting little treasures out in the woods, and I’ve found mushrooms, flowers, berries, an elk shed, unique rocks, and other little things in the forest floor. Many people watch for arrowheads. It just always feels like I’ll find something cool.

So this time I actually found a treasure. Well, a geocache treasure. Normally you get the coordinates from a club or website like geocaching.com and then hike out to look for the cache. We happened to stumble upon it.

fishThis cache had a bag full of things: ping pong balls, sharpie markers, bug repellent, coins, tiny notebooks with pretty pictures, and other little trinkets. One trinket was a little beaded fish on a keyring. How cool is that? I totally fell in love with it, so we traded a pair of batman sunglasses for it.

So does that relate in any way to my new release? Well, in my world, everything is somehow related. Call it writer’s brain or something, but that’s just how it works around here. I found this tropical fish on the 1st and launched my new book, Costa Rica, on the 2nd. I couldn’t wish for a better lucky charm!

So here’s my new book, a romantic family drama set in Coos Bay, Oregon, and the west side of Costa Rica:

Costa Rica by Kristen James     Costa Rica – Kindle Link            Preview the First Chapter on my website

Annalisa and Drew have always dreamed of going to Play Flamingo, Costa Rica, with their best friends, Vincent and Melinda. But now they’re out of time.

Annalisa feels their marriage is just a shell for others to see–there’s nothing left inside. She wonders if they can rekindle their love in paradise, but there’s so little left. They gave up on their marriage along with their dream of having children.

Time is literally slipping away from Vince and Mel. Vincent’s cancer is back–his tumor is inoperable and he won’t do chemo again. This trip is now or never.

 

***

I’m releasing this one across multiple ebook retailers to reach more readers. In fact, I’ll be releasing some of my backlist across various retailers throughout this coming year, and posting the links on my Novels page. (While you’re there, check out the new cover for More Than a Promise!)

I pushed things with this story; it’s literary/women’s fiction/romance/travel and looks at several emotionally charged issues. It’s Annalisa’s story, but also a romance between her and Drew. Their best friends, Melinda and Vince, have a storyline too. Costa Rica is similar to Point Hope (with Trey and Rosette), but I wanted to lighten the mood just a bit. It was also fun contrasting the coasts from Oregon and Costa Rica. I always get giddy excited about sharing a new book, and I hope you enjoy it.   🙂

Happy Friday and weekend!   XXOO ~Kristen

Merry Christmas! Cover Reveal. And Looking Ahead.

There’s a lot stuffed into that title! I wanted to send out a big MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone – I hope you’re enjoying a bright, wonderful holiday season. Does it feel rushed to you this year? We had a short season between Thanksgiving and Christmas! I just got my tree up yesterday and started my Christmas shopping.

I also hope it’s been a good year for you. For me, a lot happened but then again, things slowed down this year. I published Point Hope and a lot happened with that book, but I didn’t finish another until autumn. (I did publish a novella this summer called A Wedding to Remember.) So Costa Rica will be out early next year, which is actually just weeks away now!

Front CoverHere’s the cover.

You might notice something a little different about this cover, compared to my other books. There’s just one person on this cover. I’ve been writing romance for several years, yet more and more my stories are focusing on family drama and married romance. I love including romance in my stories, but it’s a different kind of romance than you find in, say, a romance novel. The story in Point Hope centered around an entire family. It was actually an in-depth, close up and personal story about the trouble between Trey and Rosette, their own struggles, and the family dynamic. I love that story! I loved writing it and sharing it with readers. It’s the kind of story I look for when choosing books, and the kind of story I wanted to write for so long.

Costa Rica, too, is about family with a twist. It’s about two families, but it’s also about Annalisa’s personal journey. There’s romance, but much more, and I wanted the cover to reflect the feel of the story.

The other big difference is this cover shows Costa Rica and not somewhere in Oregon. It actually begins in Coos Bay (like Point Hope) and then moves to Costa Rica. (I’ll post the description and first chapter soon!)

My next book, In a Field of Oranges, is more of a romance with some heavy personal struggles. It has a feel like Point Hope, but Lance and Sierra are almost strangers when the story opens. I’ll share more about that story in the next few months, and I plan to release it in the first half of 2014. I’m having a great time writing this one, and I have to admit it’s thrilling to write different kinds of stories. Working on In a Field of Oranges feels fresh and new, and I think it’ll improve my stories that much more to have a spectrum of story types.

I’m going to write A LOT next year. I’m itching to share my next story idea, but I’ll wait until I’ve actually started it.   🙂   Stay tuned!

Much Love,

Kristen