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The dreaded half-way point in my current manuscript – AKA When Inspiration Leaves The Room.

There are many reasons why creative instincts can be blocked. Work stress. Family demands. Illness. And it can be hard to coax the muse back. Even harder to make her hang around long enough to be useful. Too often she pops her head around the corner with a cheery wave, sprinkles a little half-hearted glimmer of an idea, and then buggers off again. Thanks, Muse!

At times like this, I go back to basics. What inspires me? What feeds my soul?

The beach.

Especially when I’m writing a beachside romance.

I took this picture today. I breathed in the air, and gazed at the clouds rolling in. A brisk southerly was blowing at the time, carrying flecks of sea spray on the wind. As much as I love the beach on a lazy summer evening, I prefer it a little wild, with the promise of rain, and the breeze tugging at my jacket. Quite beautiful 🙂

I am inspired again.

I’m working on the third story in my Love at the Beach series, and like the first two, it’s a little dark, a lot wistful. There’s no blurb yet, and no release date, but I hope to release it mid-October.

Here’s an (unedited) snippet from His Sweet Fix.

*

The kettle was still hot and while I waited for it to boil I plucked two mugs from the cupboard, and dropped a Lemon Zing teabag into each. It’d taste much better with a generous spoonful of honey, but that wasn’t on my diet list. Herbal tea was an acquired taste, I was told. Maybe one day I’d acquire it.

I squished the bags with a teaspoon and then discarded them. I’d already learned that leaving them any longer did nothing to improve the taste. If I was very lucky, Mister Gorgeous would have left by now.

Yeah, right. He sat where I’d left him, walking stick leaning against his chair, and his gaze fixed on the horizon.

I’d have to be polite a little longer.

“Here you are.” I aimed for a cheerful voice as I plonked the cups on the table. The I’m-okay-and-you-can-leave-now tone. “Cheers.”

His back was to the light, and I couldn’t tell what colour his eyes were, even when he stared at me.

“Will you tell me why you were lying on the sand like…”

Hello, humiliation. I thought you’d left. I gazed at the wooden deck “Like a beached whale?”

“What? No.”

“I was trying to exercise. Get fit.” Lose some weight. “I guess I overdid it, my first run.” I tugged at my oversized T-shirt, but it refused to cover my thighs. Note to self. Wear something that came down to my knees next time.

“Maybe I can help you,” he said. “I’m a personal trainer. You want to get fit, I’m your guy.”

A personal trainer? My first, and instinctive reaction was a fervent, Hell, no. He gazed at me, calm and unemotional, and I sought my tongue. “Ah, no. Thank you, but no.”

My friends had personal trainers at their expensive gyms, but they were all slim and gorgeous already. The prospect of having anybody, let alone this guy, weighing and measuring me, was enough to make me want to run for the hills. When I could run. Right now that would be a slow stagger.

“I am qualified,” he said. “I’m co-owner of the gym on the main street.” He gestured toward the stick at his side. “I haven’t always been a gimp.” His gaze bored into me as though daring me to challenge his words.

*

 

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