I’d like to tell you about my new contemporary romance, All About Charming Alice, which is being published by Crimson Romance (http://www.crimsonromance.com) and will be coming out on August 12th, 2013. The book tells the story of Alice Treemont and Jace Constant who meet up in the Nevada desert.

Alice lives in depopulated Blake’s Folly, a quirky community of rusting cars, old trailers, clapboard shacks and thirsty weeds. She has given up hope of meeting the right man and falling in love. Instead, she leads an independent life, rescuing unwanted dogs and protecting the most unloved creatures on earth: snakes. What man would share interests like those?

Jace comes from Chicago and his life includes elegant women, fine restaurants and exhibitions of contemporary art. He’s in Nevada doing research for the new book he’s writing, but he won’t be staying long. As far as he’s concerned, Blake’s Folly is hell on earth: he hates desert dust on his fine Italian shoes, and dog hair on his cashmere sweaters. As for snakes, he doesn’t only despise them: they terrify him.

When Alice and Jace meet, the attraction is immediate and intense. But how can they resolve their differences?

Blake’s Folly, the run-down community where Alice lives, is very much like a Nevada town I found myself in many years ago. It was ramshackle, quirky, filled with old cars and abandoned trailers; the surrounding countryside was dusty, bleak and beautiful. While I was there, I stayed in an ancient hotel dating from the 1800s — a wonderful building, shabby, run-down and filled with ghosts. Its grand downstairs rooms still possessed high ceilings and cornices, and, on Saturday evenings, local groups came to play dreadful music—just like Sly Grimes and his Bad Boy’s Band do in my book (Pa Handy tortures an accordion, Tony Grimes pokes a fiddle, Luke Miller slaps a piano and Bill Flats bashes away at something once resembling a snare drum.)

In short, this was the sort of community I intended to come back to, to live in. Then, life got in the way, and I never did.

In recent years, I’ve returned to Nevada, looked for that community—and have never found it again. Have I searched in the wrong places? Has it vanished completely? Has it developed into something more modern and unrecognizable? Was it a figment of my imagination? But having carried the place in my heart for all these years, I decided to put it down on paper, use it as the setting for the romance between Alice and Jace.

As for the supporting cast—Ma and Pa Handy, Rose Badger, Mick, Sly and the other eccentric and droll characters—I’ve been running into people just like them for years.

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