Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I was a single working gal and it was April in Illinois. (Not exactly Paris, but you can't have everything) and a girlfriend and I decided to go to Iowa to visit a friend and her husband. Our hosts took us to a club where they were members and, in addition to dinner, there would be music and dancing.

So I wore my new dress, a white silk print with colorful flowers and a short, flouncy skirt. To pick up one of the colors, I put an orange belt around my (then) tiny waist. My hostess owned a pair of orange silk pumps so I wore those too, although they were two sizes too small.

We finished dinner and were drinking coffee when a short (but not too short for me in heels) dark, handsome man came to our table and asked our host for permission to ask me to dance. Even in those days, men didn't ask permission to marry a girl, much less ask her to dance. Was this amazing or what?

So I danced with him, during which I discovered he was a skydiver. A forty-one-day whirlwind courtship later, we were married, and, about seven hundred days after that, we were divorced. My mother quoted the old proverb, "Marry in haste - repent at leisure," regularly thereafter, bless her heart.

FREE FALL. my latest contemporary romance novel, is based on what I learned about skydiving and parachutes in those two years. In my book, the skydiver is the hero, but in real life he left a lot to be desired. So, although some of the novel is true, most is made up, which is what novelists do. Not to brag too much about my own work, I'll just say that it has some romantic scenes--which is what you buy a romance for--some exciting scenes--this is an awesome sport--and a bit of humor. Without humor, I'd never have survived that matrimonial adventure.

All fiction writers use their experiences to a greater or lesser extent in their books, and I'll bet lots of you readers--even if you don't write books--are thinking, "Yes, that time I was... (fill in the blank) would make a great story." So tell me about it (in 250 words or less). The first five people to comment on this article--even if they don't tell me their story--will get a free, autographed copy of FREE FALL.