Five years ago, on the occasion of our friend John’s 90th birthday, my brother-in-law took us to Belhurst Castle (Geneva, NY) for the best Sunday brunch known to man. We sat on the porch overlooking magnificent Seneca Lake and celebrated John’s influence on our lives. On the way home, I got an idea for a series of romances, Lakeside Porches.
Well, today we reprised our Sunday brunch for John’s 95th birthday. In between those joyful occasions, I wrote the four romances that comprise Lakeside Porches. The setting is a fictional city (Tompkins Falls) on one of the Finger Lakes with a fictional but legendary lakeside inn and spa (The Manse), a fictional but troubled college (Tompkins College), and two fictional founding families (the Tompkins and the Cushmans). Today the characters of Lakeside Porches are part of my life and Tompkins Falls is as real to me as the Finger Lakes towns it draws on– Geneva, Canandaigua, and my hometown Seneca Falls.
But back to reality: after our feast today, the Belhurst surprised John with this giant piece of chocolate birthday cake studded with mini chips and a side of vanilla ice cream with real whip cream, raspberries, and a drizzle of raspberry sauce. Yup, that picture is the real thing! So are good friends and long conversations on the porch of a lakeside inn in the Finger Lakes. If you haven’t had the pleasure, you might want to plan it for 2017. Or pick up one of the series: Stepping Up to Love, Coming Hope to Love, Finding the Way Back to Love, and Waking Up to Love. Enjoy!
Yes, there’s a Ghost in Waking Up To Love, but Bridey’s nothing like the Ghost I knew while I was writing the book. I don’t know Her name.
I shared an office with Her the last four years of my career in higher education. I never learned Her name, but I certainly knew She was there. The story I heard is that She passed away not long before plans were drawn up for my office.
Before that, She had spent hours reading by the triple window. Following Her death, someone’s drawing of Her chair hung in Her corner until construction began. The drawing, now in busy hallway, shows a comfy blue-flowered armchair in a sunny space. I can see why She loved it there! The office I moved into, as its first occupant, is said to be the prettiest office on campus—morning sun, pin oaks outside filled with songbirds, even robins that stay the winter.
But what a price to erect that office! Walls were built and painted. Pricey technology filled the space. A file cabinet squashed the carpet where her chair had been. Her sacred spot was violated.
That may explain why my brand new computer could not properly connect through the Ethernet port, despite repeated attempts by smart electricians and computer repair technicians. And why I never put anything but tea and mugs in the file cabinet in Her corner. She’s a sly one, that Ghost.
I could get carried away and blame Her for all the daydreaming I did in that office! Oh, and all the scenes for the Lakeside Porches books I wrote on my lunch breaks! But, you know, after I retired, the office stood empty and quiet for more than a year. Eventually, someone was hired into my position and assigned to that office. And that person quit in less than a year.
So the office is quiet again. I wonder what She’s reading today?
(image from Google Images, license “free to use and modify, even commercially)
Early reviews about the newest in the Lakeside Porches series, Waking Up To Love, are so positive! Here’s are some excerpts:
Claire, The Coffeeholic Bookworm: This is a love story that feels good. I liked Lyssa’s story, her struggles with alcoholism and broken heart made her very human to me. Her character was relatable and flawed, but that’s what made her enticing and personable. Kyle, oh, this man was selfless, the kind of man worth introducing to your parents. . . Simply beautiful!
Judy Miracle, Wicked Babes Blog: This is my first Katie O’Boyle novel and I fell in love with the characters. . . I must say after reading all of this book i will be going back and reading books 1-3 to get the rest of the characters stories.
Bailey Ember, Texas Book Nook: I have loved Katie O’Boyle’s writing every since reading her first novel in this series. She brings her characters to life in such a way that the reader becomes invested in them immediately.
Margaret Tidwell, The World As I See It: Waking Up To Love by Katie O’Boyle was a sweet romance novel. . . If you love romance novels then I know you will love this book as much as I did.
Reader “jfb”: Lyssa and her lover, Kyle, are not your average high school sweethearts. They each have a doctorate and are engaged in very authentic and well-researched university environments. The intrigue in the plot begins and ends in that environment, but the journey is fraught with cunning and danger. (Watch out for Rand, another PhD.) Every loving couple has hurdles to overcome in their development of a trusting and lasting relationship, but O’Boyle puts a completely new and different bent on that growth.
Looking for a holiday gift? Come by Artizanns tomorrow, 118 North Main Street in Naples NY. I’ll be signing books between 11 AM and 3 PM in “the kitchen” surrounded by maple products, teas, clocks, jams, and tasty goodies! And of course all the other rooms are packed with jewelry, scarves, original artwork and photography, sculpture, calligraphy and so much more! (new.artizanns.com) It’s true about the free gift wrapping!!
Does anyone else find that it’s hard to write a query letter? Harder than writing a chapter, it seems to me!
For one thing, when I’m working on a chapter– in a romance novel, say– I’m in flow. There’s no pressure except my own drive to shape it and move it along and make it better all the time. But a query letter? OMG, there’s so much riding on it! If I click send, it’s gone, out the door, into the hands of an agent or editor who will pronounce judgment. Yikes! One typo, one ill-chosen word, one awkward phrase, and the whole book is doomed. No wonder I feel compelled to keep tinkering with it, make it perfect sixteen different ways, anything to delay that click on send.
For another thing, I’m a terrible judge of the “brief summary.” Picking pieces from the “brief synopsis,” which by itself leaves out favorite parts of the book, feels like hacking, and looks like a disjointed first-grader’s effort. It takes forever and a nervous breakdown before the brief summary gels.
Okay, so then I have a living breathing “brief summary” and it’s time to go on to the author info and publishing credits. Do they want to know about the software manual? about the dissertation? about the textbook that kept me in gasoline for four years? Do they care that I’m a “Wiley Author”? No, probably not. So I take a look at the parts of my life that engendered and informed this novel. I realize how powerful they are and how unique and how connected to my readership. And I tell those things to the agent. Hooray!
And finally I’m thinking about my readers, the ones the agent can help me reach, the reason I wrote the book in the first place. The chapters didn’t just spill out of me because it’s fun to write. The chapters meant something, and they will mean even more when my readers interact with them. And if I’m very fortunate, they’ll tell me about the experience.
So I check for typos and ill-chosen words and awkward phrases and finally click send.