Kristen James

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March 18, 2013
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Kristen James: Sneak peek at my latest novel

I’ve been neck deep in writing my latest novel for several months now — it’s grown deeper and more complex than anything I’ve written before.

So when I sat down to think about a topic for a mom blog, my mind threw a bit of a tantrum. I could write about the three different viruses the kids got over the last three weeks, or how much fun it is to bounce on the trampoline with your kids for an hour, but none of that is new mom stuff.

Instead, I thought I’d share the beginning of my story, “The Cowboy Kiss.” It’s a 30-page free read on several websites, including Scrib’d, Smashwords and Kobo. (Rated PG; it’s a family story.)

Here’s the set up:

She’s a cutting-edge travel blogger — he’s a fishing guide with strong ties to their small hometown.

She thought they were arch enemies — he always thought they’d end up together.

Autumn grew up in her parents’ fishing resort in backwoods Oregon, listening to wild travel stories from around the world. Now she’s broken free and living her dream as a travel blogger, that is until her mom talks her into coming home and writing a blog about the Rugged Resort. Autumn’s very surprised to find Cory still there. He was the thorn in her side growing up, and now he’s buddy-buddy with her parents. She plans to write her blog and hit the road, but Cory has other ideas.

The Cowboy Kiss

August 2006

He sat strumming his guitar on the front porch the day Autumn waved out the car window as she drove past, leaving for college and her new life. A flash of hand, a wisp of honey-blond hair, and possibly a slight hint of her voice on the wind. A dark cloud crept across the sky and slid in front of the sun, throwing a shadow across her car and the surrounding landscape.

She took my sunshine with her…

The line popped into his head and into the song he’d been working on. It was one of several songs for his next gig, and one of these days he’d make it to Nashville.

He didn’t need Autumn. She could go chase her dreams and he’d chase his.

So long to childhood best friends and summer romances.

Hello to a whole new life.

Present Day

Autumn let off the gas and rolled slowly down the country drive in her rented red-hot Camaro convertible, breathing in the smells of her childhood: dry, sweet summer hay, crisp apples, and a hint of cool water from the nearby river. The sun was thinking about setting, but it was still a hot September day. She slowed down even more, pausing by the ancient oak and noting how a few boards remained from the old tree fort. She’d spent many hours up there with Lily, sharing secrets and whispering.

It felt good to be going home, even if Mama had guilted her into it. She was sure their lodge (ahem, “resort”) could use the national exposure from her widely read travel blog, but it’d been something else that finally pushed her into coming home. It’ll be good for both of us. Something was different. Maybe Mama or Daddy was sick? Or they were running into problems with Lily? Maybe her mom missed how things used to be between them.

Life didn’t have to be so complicated, especially not in the midst of all the beauty of the oak-covered hills, evergreen forests and rolling pastures. A deer near the side of the road lifted its head out of the brush to eye her camper. Apple trees lined the way on both sides, and the orange-red hue on the apples meant they were about ripe. Homemade cider, here I come.

Read the rest for free at any of these sites:




Kristen James is married with six children. Read her Mondays on Douglas County Moms. Also check out her personal website (where you'll find more previews) here.

It felt good to be going home, even if Mama had guilted her into it.

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The News-Review Updated Nov 18, 2013 07:29PM Published Mar 25, 2013 08:29AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.