Category: A Writier’s Life

Love Blooms under the Fig Tree

After 22 years in this house I’m moving, and I think the thing I’ll miss the most is the fig tree.  It’s not fig season yet, the figs are still hard little nubs on the branch, but last year the figs ripened while I was in Scotland and my friends left bags of fruit for me in the freezer that the move has prompted Fig Jamme to deal with.

So I’m making jam, three batches of fig and ginger jam, to be exact, and thinking it might be my last. Possibly not the most pressing job in this crazy month, but soothing, somehow.

I’m feeling sentimental because the bower beneath the fig arbor (the tree gets so heavy with fruit that we had to build a support) was the scene of Stephanie and Max’s first kiss in The Good Neighbor. In my Fortune Bay series, Stephanie is the matriarch, and a widow, alone until Max comes along. He’s new in town and, well, they hit it off right away.

 

The fig tree scene from The Good Neighbor:

Max walked around the corner of the house into Stephanie’s back yard. The warm breeze off the lake smelled sweet as honey wine. “Steph?”

A disembodied voice floated to him on the wind. “Over here.”

He scanned the yard and noticed a tree the size and shape of an elephant, up against one of the out buildings, shivering, its big, lobed leaves quaking. He headed over and stepped under the trellis that held up the long, knotted branches. Sunlight penetrated the translucent leaves creating a cool and ethereal bower.

“The figs are in!” Stephanie’s triumphant voice emerged from inside the tree. A stepladder with two feet perched on a rung halfway up, leaned against the arbor. Long, firm legs rose from there, ending where Stephanie’s baggy green shorts disappeared into the dense leafy branches.

“Help me,” she said, her hand appearing beneath the canopy of leaves, cupping a succulent green fruit.

Max took the warm fig from her hand. He’d never seen fresh figs before. So soft you couldn’t pile them without them losing their shape, he placed it carefully into the cardboard flat at the foot of the ladder.

Splat! One fell at his feet, bursting like a water balloon.

“Sorry.” Stephanie’s voice was muffled by the layers of leaves between them. He bent over to look at the fallen fruit more closely. It had broken open on impact, revealing bright pink flesh inside that looked like a million tiny caterpillars.

“Are they supposed to look like that?”

“Well, that one is very ripe. Here, take these.”

He reached a hand up by her hip to take the next handful, fully aware he could have run his hand right up her leg and into those baggy shorts. Instead he placed the fruit on the flat, then gazed around, suddenly seeing hundreds of camouflaged green orbs, the same luminous colour as the leaves. A wasp buzzed past his ear and settled on the mashed fruit at his feet.

“Can I help?” He reached up and gingerly touched a fig sticking out from a branch. Having seen how soft they could be, he was afraid to squeeze it, but this one was as firm as a zucchini so he left it on the tree. “How do you tell if they’re ripe?”

“They hang pendulously,” Stephanie said. “And the colour changes, takes on a yellowish cast.”

Now he could see the difference. Some of the fruit stuck straight out from the branches, but others had developed a suggestive droop. Like a ripe breast. He reached out and held the weight of one in his hand and could tell without squeezing that it was ready. With the fruit in his palm, he pulled the fig towards him and it tore away leaving a shred of green skin attached to the branch. The fruit oozed a few white drops of a liquid into his hand.

This just gets more and more suggestive, he thought, a grin on his face as he bent over and set it gently with the others.

Stephanie took a step backwards down the ladder, the green shorts stretched over her round bottom coming down to eye level. Her hands were full of fruit and the ladder wobbled as she took another step. Max reached out to steady the ladder with one hand on either side as she continued to climb down, into the circle of his arms. When she turned around, she smiled.

They were in her yard, yet the bower screened them in a private world.

She met his eyes. “Let me put these down.”

He stepped back, sorry to see the moment pass, kicking himself for not taking the chance while he had her in his arms. As she bent over to the cardboard flat, her breasts swayed pendulously, brushing his arm. His eyes swelled. She wasn’t wearing a bra.

She stood up, stepped back into his space and met his gaze. Was that a smile on her full luscious lips? His arms reached out and there, in the green glow under the arbour, pulled her into an embrace. A forbidden, Garden of Eden embrace.

Their lips touched gently, exploring, and her hands came up to his shoulders. He deepened the kiss and her lips softened in response. His hands dropped to her waist, brushing the sides of her free-hanging breasts. Not grabbing, not even really touching, just feeling the weight.

Pendulous.

And she laughed, rich and deep. She’s ripe too, he thought, his head reeling with the suggestion.

Then she stepped back and bent to pick up the flat of fruit and, as they emerged into the sunlight, the moment became like a scent left in the bower. But he would remember the feel of her, and the taste, and promised himself he’d taste it again.

“A drink?” she asked. “It must be that time.”

He followed her back to the house and when they were sitting in the screen porch, drinks in their hands, she said, “That was great, but—aren’t you married?”

“Sort of.” How could he explain the woman who called herself his wife? He was unable to put the cold years into words, too shy to admit that this was what he wanted.

She looked at him directly, obviously amused by his reply. “I can’t have an affair with a sort-of-married man.”

“I know,” he said.

And they finished their drinks in companionable silence as the blue of evening fell around them.

* * * * *

 

In some ways Stephanie, a painter, is my alter ego, so I’m sure she makes jam Fig and Ginger Jam. For those of you lucky enough to have access to figs, here’s our recipe.

And although I’ve never been kissed beneath the fig tree, it is a magical place and I will miss it. But as luck would have it, I’d rooted a baby fig that I will take with me and maybe in a few years, when my supply of jam runs out, this tree will be big enough to start giving me figs.

A new Fortune Bay book at a special price

at

AMAZON     KOBO      NOOK    APPLE/ITUNES   

OTHER INTERNATIONAL BOOKSELLERS

The next Fortune Bay book, Starting Over, is ready for pre-order at all the regular online stores, for a first-day-only price of $1.99!

This is to give my regular readers a chance to pre-order the book for this special one-day-only price before bounces back to the regular price of $3.99 USD the following day.

Pre-ordering will ensure that you don’t miss out on this Launch Day sale.

If you’ve never pre-ordered a book before, don’t worry, it’s a piece of cake. Just follow the links to your regular online site and order the e-book like you normally would. Your e-book copy of Starting Over will automatically be delivered to your e-reader on the day of it’s release, January 30, 2018 for half the regular price.

AMAZON     KOBO      NOOK    APPLE/ITUNES   

OTHER INTERNATIONAL BOOKSELLERS

Here’s the back cover blurb:     

Lily’s not the only one starting over…­­­

Lily Brewster has been caring for ‘strays’ all her life. The more battered the baby bird or helpless the new kid in class, the more she wants to help. Now, her dream of a family in tatters, Lily leaves Seattle, seeking refuge a cabin in the woods on Majestic Lake. Here, she pulls herself together, helping her father at the new Fortune Bay Resort, taking on any job that needs doing—including looking after a “Mr. Morris”, the mystery guest in Cottage Four.

Marshall Mason, charismatic country rock star, is hiding from the press in Cottage Four while he heals from a motorcycle accident that has left him severely scarred, outside and in. As Marshall contemplates the end of his music career and the loss of his family, he spins deeper into depression, until one day, a woman knocks on his cottage door.

By the time Lily puts two and two together and figures out who the mystery man in Cottage Four really is, she and the reclusive ‘Mr. Morris’ are linked together in ways neither saw coming.  

Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find your way back into the sun. Join Lily and Marshall, starting over.

Thanks for reading the Fortune Bay books. I hope you enjoy Lily and Marshall’s story!

Family Matters

Welcome back to Fortune Bay!

Spoiler Alert!

Be sure to read The Good Neighbor first – then you’ll want to read this novella!

 

You can buy Family Matters HERE

–  now available in paperback, too!

 

Hi Everyone!
When I finished writing Home for Christmas, Louise and Blue’s story, I sat back and thought about where everyone in Fortune Bay was in their lives at this point. Louise and Blue were fine, all lovey-dovely, Louise moving into Blue’s new log house, both of them ecstatic about the possibility of twins.

But what about Frankie and Sean? By spring, it had been five months since they found Amber—or rather, since she found Sean. Now he and Amber were living with his mom Stephanie, and Frankie was living alone—not the best situation for Sean and Frankie – or for Stephanie and Max.

And what about Amber? It was hard to believe everything was just smooth sailing for her after such a huge upheaval in her life.
By now you have probably figured out how real these characters are to me! Lol. I couldn’t leave them in this situation. The story started to grow and turned into this sequel novella, written specially for my most loyal readers who have been reading all the Murphy family Fortune Bay books.

If you haven’t read the other books, do yourself a favor and put this book aside until you have.
I hope you enjoy Family Matters as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Judy Hudson

 

One reader obviously felt the same way when they finished The Good Neighbor.

I hope she finds this book now. If she is on my mailing list she’ll know by now.

Thanks for reading,

Available at:

AMAZON

KOBO

AND MOST OTHER ONLINE BOOKSELLERS

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Just want to share my new cover.

If books are our babies, I have to share my first book in her new party dress.

I loved the graphic quality of the old cover, but too many people asked me if it was for adults. YES!

It obviously looked too young though, some thought Young Adult. So time for a new cover, and my cover girl Rosey Hudson and I agreed this was perfect. Same scene, better representation.

Had to show it again ’cause it’s so pretty.

If you haven’t read it yet, check your eReader– I’ve given away thousands of copies to introduce readers to the Fortune Bay series.

If you only ready print, it is available in print at Amazon, Barnes & Noble online, and the Createspace store.

For a sneak peek at chapter one, CLICK HERE.

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Judy’s answers to the 20 questions survey

 

Here, as promised, here are my answers to the 20 Questions Survey:

Can you see me in this picture?

1/ Where do you live? On Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

2/ Which social media platform do you use most often? facebook and pinterest

3/ What is your age range? 50 – 65

4/ What are your two favourite drinks? coffee and red wine

5/ What makes an evening special for you?  Getting together with one of my groups of women friends, the book club or the painters group or some old friends, for wine and food and talk at someone’s house.

6/ I am married.

7/ How do you feel about children? Have some (2, a boy/man and a girl/woman, whom I love.)

8/ I live in the country near an in-between sized town.

9/ What do you like to do with your women friends? See question 5.

10/ All time best gift from a man? I usually either get nothing at all or an amazing gift. LOL Once, my husband bought me a huge, gorgeous pair of antique Russian Amber earrings he bought at auction. Almost too big to wear! (They are pears.)

11/ What was your favorite book you read last year? Hard to say. Maybe A Discover of Witches, by Deborah Harkness, a romance of sorts.  (I’m looking forward to my trip to England this summer when I’ll read the second book in the series and visit some of the locations, like Oxford.)

12/ Do you buy books of  – any price

13/ Do you work outside the home? Early on, I did too many jobs to list, but particularly liked working in the library. Since then, I have worked with my husband on our small business at home, which gave me the opportunity to write.

14/ What part sticks in your mind. Various parts. The darkroom seduction in Summer of Fortune, the dancing on the dock in Lake of Dreams, Augusta’s interference in The Good Neighbor, when Blue thinks, “I built it for you,” in Home for  Christmas.

My big backyard.

15/ Favorite Fortune Bay character or couple? The one I’m writing now!

16/ What are your hobbies?  I do a lot of photography, particularly  when I’m travelling, biking on the local section of the Trans-Canada Trail, puttering in my (too-large but lovely) garden.

17/ What other small town authors do you read? Lots of them! I’m always reading a new one, but I particularly like Kristan Higgins and Susan Wiggs.

18/ What do you enjoy reading in an author newsletter? I like to see links to lifestyle blogs and of course new books.

19/  What TV shows are you watching this year? Always The  Voice! My one reality show. Currently I’m watching Bull, Madam Secretary and Elementary, as well as Halt and Catch Fire and The Crown on netflix.

20/ My email address. Judy@JudithHudsonAuthor.com I always love hearing from readers!

It’s been lovely getting to know you through the survey. If you want to receive email notice of new web posts, just click HERE.

 

Judy

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