It’s Snowing Men!: Guest & Contest with Heather Gray

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Aside from her long-standing love affair with coffee, Heather Gray’s greatest joys in life are her relationship with her Savior, her family, and writing. Years ago, she decided it would be better to laugh than yell. Heather carries that theme over into her writing where she strives to create characters that experience both the highs and lows of life and, through it all, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her.

Right now I am tackling edits for Redemption, the third book in my historical western series, Ladies of Larkspur. I am also developing a romantic suspense. It doesn’t have a name yet, but I already love my characters and the way their relationship is developing. Writing Nowhere for Christmas was such fun that I really hope to pull together another comic romance sometime in the near future. As a writer, I enjoy getting to know my characters, even when they make me cry or want to yell, but I especially like it when they make me laugh!

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Today I thought I would interview Gavin Eastly, a photographer, and the hero from Nowhere for Christmas. Enjoy!

Heather: When did you start to realize you were going to like Avery?
Gavin: It’s like this: I was supposed to go with Avery to take photos of some small town in Oklahoma. I might have said something insulting to her. She took it really well, all things considered. Or so I thought. Then she threatened to take pictures with her cell phone – her cell phone – and publish them in the newspaper under my name. I knew I was in trouble. I couldn’t help but want to get to know her better after that.

Heather: What’s your favorite food?
Gavin: Mmm. I used to love Mexican food. Then I took a road trip, and we stopped at a Mexican restaurant for dinner. When I saw the refried beans in the man’s beard or realized the woman wasn’t wearing shoes, I should have known. The smart thing would have been to grab the keys and run for the door. Instead, I let my pride talk me into staying. My favorite food? Saltine crackers have been working out pretty well for me lately.

Heather: What do you think of Avery’s son?
Gavin: Eli’s a good kid. He’s sensible and funny. When you’re forced into an up-close-and-personal situation the way we were, you get to know somebody pretty quick. Eli’s got a good heart, and he wants what’s best for Avery. I can’t fault him for that. Besides, he’s got impeccable timing when it comes to embarrassing his mom.

Heather: What was your first impression of Avery?
Gavin: I knew of Avery long before we met, but there was some confusion. I’d spent all that time thinking Avery was as man. Then she showed up at the coffee shop and demanded I get in the car and go with her. So my first impression? Avery Weston is most definitely not a man.

Heather: What does family mean to you?
Gavin: I’ve met a lot of different people in my line of work, and while they’re all different, they each have something in common. They either love the family they have or wish they had a family to love. There was this truck stop in Oklahoma. A trucker there assumed Avery, her son Eli, and I were all one happy family. I knew we weren’t, but I liked that he thought so. Then Avery went and told him she and her son were going to adopt me. It’s a funny thing, that feeling. I’d have to say that family is the people you meet, the ones you love and who love you back. It’s not always about genetics. It’s about choice.

Here’s a short excerpt from Nowhere for Christmas:

“Sorry about the wind,” Officer Sterling said to them as he pushed the button to lower both front windows. “I’ve got to do something to try to keep the stink out of my face, or I won’t be able to see to get us back to Lawton. Man, oh man, it’s been a long time since I smelled anything as fierce as this. It’s a tenacious smell, too, ain’t it? The folks in the garage are going to spend weeks trying to get the smell out of this car, and I ain’t even the one who hit the little varmint.”

“Uh, yeah, it’s a strong smell alright,” Avery said, not entirely sure if the officer even wanted a reply.

“It burns, too,” Officer Sterling added. “Burns something fierce. I think my nose hairs might have been singed off. And my eyes feel all dry and crackly like firewood that’s about to explode. Except for when the tears start pouring out, I guess. And don’t even get me started on the nausea. How it is y’all aren’t back there puking your guts out from having to smell yourselves is beyond me.”

How do you think it feels to be back here next to two other people who suffered the same malodorous fate? You’ve got it easy up there, mister!
“Whoo-whee, that sure is one awful stench!”

“Okay,” Gavin cut in. “We get it. The smell is dreadful, and it’s not going away. What’s supposed to happen to us when we get to Lawton?”

“Well,” said Officer Sterling, “I suppose you can book a flight and head on back to Albuquerque.”

“Peachy,” Eli commented. “If you can’t stand to have us in your car without the windows open, how are we supposed to fly back? The folks on the airplane won’t be able to open their windows and blow the smell out of their faces.”

“Hmm, you got a good point there,” he answered. “Let me see what I can do.”
Officer Sterling then proceeded to pick up his radio and call dispatch, “Hey there, Norma Sue, you read me?”

“That you, Joe?” came the disembodied high-pitched voice over the radio.
Aha! So his first name isn’t Officer after all! A little giggle escaped, causing Avery’s seat companions to look at her oddly.

“Yeah, it’s me. I found those three travelers out at Nowhere, but we got us a problem.”

“They look as scary as a bunch of serial killers? Maybe cannibals? Should I call SWAT?”

Officer Sterling glanced over his shoulder at them and blushed. In a loud whisper he said, “Hush, Norma Sue. They’re in the car with me.”

The equally loud whisper came back over the speaker, “Oh, sorry about that. They’re not threatening to eat you, are they?”

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22 thoughts on “It’s Snowing Men!: Guest & Contest with Heather Gray

    • Okay…no funny road trip memories…how about something else then? Any hilarious walking-the-dog stories? Chuckle-inducing riding-the-bus stories? I’d say go back to childhood and look for a good car memory, but most of mine end with me vomiting…I had a *touch* of motion sickness back then. Everybody should start their day with a good laugh, so even if it’s not related to transportation — share a funny story with us! 🙂

  1. My funniest road trip memory was traveling six hours because we thought my mother had won a car only to find out that she won a radio! (By the way, she still has the thing, and trust me when I say this was a LONG time ago!)

    On this little excursion, that was supposed to take just a few hours but wound up taking all day, (it was a time share presentation…just to get the radio, who knew!) we got a little turned around and had to spend a night in a hotel, with no change of clothes. Not something I liked to do, even then!

    Thanks for the post and the excerpt. The book looks really funny…I like funny!

    • I’m with you! Don’t make me spend the night anywhere unless I’ve got a change of clothes and a toothbrush! 😉

      So in the end, by the time your mom paid for gas and hotel, that radio she won probably cost her more than it was worth… I don’t blame her for holding onto it and getting every ounce of use out of it that she can!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Casie Boland says:

    I love Road trips! I remember going to Colorado-Ft. Collins (8 hour trip) with my 2 BFF’s for spring break one year and one of them decided to wear a skirt when we went hiking along Horsetooth Reservoir. We scared the crap out of her and she ended up falling and hurt her knee, so needless to say it was not a fun road trip back.

    • Ouch! I feel her pain!

      Colorado is a beautiful state, no two ways about it. We used to live in AZ and would drive up to WY to visit family, so we saw a lot of Colorado. We’ve driven through some breathtaking mountain passes. We also got turned around one time in Grand Junction and ended up going the wrong way down a one way street in front of the police station. (That one was too funny, so I borrowed from the memory to make one of the scenes in Nowhere for Christmas!)

      Thank you for visiting today, and I hope you’re able to make many happy pain-free road trip memories in the future! 🙂

  3. Jess1 says:

    My most bizarre car repair was by a well-known chain of repair shops for a tune-up for a 6 cylinder car. When I came in to pick up my car, they told me that this car needed double the spark plugs to be replaced, which was a rip off on a female. So I had to pay up or not get my car. Of course, I never went back there again. Now, I wished I knew then back then about reporting them to some State agency etc.

    • We needed an auto repair once, years ago. My husband and I both called the same place for a quote. He got a straightforward quote for $XXX. I got a “Well, it could be this, and if it is, then it might lead to this, and if that’s a problem, we’ll have to do this, and…” By the time the guy was done talking, I’d have had to give up my firstborn and all my blood plus take out a huge whopping loan to afford the repair. I was SO steamed. I completely feel your pain. Nowadays I go to a lady mechanic a friend recommended. Girl power! 😉

  4. When I was a teenager, we took a road trip to another province in our country (South Africa) for a holiday. In the back of a small car, there were four teenagers, my brother, my step-brother and my step-sister. I was the smallest of the lot and my step-sister and I took turns to sit on the floor so we could all fit. Somehow, I ended up on the floor most of the time. Quite a cramped trip that one was. Nowadays, that wouldn’t be legal.

    Once married, we moved to Zambia to do work there. We had to travel back home to visit our parents sometimes and this trip took us four long days to make (one way.) We sometimes slept in the car overnight. We hit a monkey, several birds, and the worst was when we hit a whole herd of cows near the border of Botswana. In Africa, the farmers don’t keep their animals well-fenced in. Our car was pretty dinged up after that but thankfully my two babies were okay.

    • I know a family that lives in Botswana! (Which has no relevance to your story, but I just had to say it!) 😉

      You’ve definitely topped me! I’ve hit a bird and an owl, and I have to dodge squirrels on a daily basis – but I’ve definitely never hit a monkey!

      I’m glad you made it safely to your destination! 🙂

  5. Marcy Shuler says:

    I don’t know that this is funny, but it was a very bizarre trip.

    I’m from Michigan and when I was around 7 years old my family went on a camping road trip to California. During that trip I came down with the mumps. LOL Apparently my mom had to smuggle me into rest stops on the trip home because my face was so swollen and she didn’t want to alarm anyone.

    bmndshuler(at)hotmail(dot)com

    • Oh no! That had to be miserable for you! Being stuck in a car together, it’s a wonder nobody else got sick, too! That tops any of my childhood car sickness stories!

      Hopefully you were recovered enough to enjoy California once you got there! Or at least got spoiled rotten with ice cream and whatever else you wanted to eat! 😉

  6. Susan W. says:

    When I was around 5 or 6 my family went camping near Pike’s Peak with mom’s sister and her family. There were my 5 cousins, my brother and I along with our parents. On the day we were to leave for home the 4 of us girls walked to a lake near by while the parents packed everything up. By the time we got back to camp they had already left each thinking we were in the other vehicle. They got all the way down the mountain before they realized. The 2 older girls each grabbed the hand of us younger girls and we started down the mountain. It was quite the adventure!

    • Oh dear! I’ll bet you all slept good that night! How far down the mountain did you get before the adults came back for you? A “nature walk” like that can be tons of fun…for about the first mile or two! 😉

      Thank you so much for visiting today!

  7. Oh, well, car repair.My horn isn’t working and we can’t figure out what the problem is…it’s driving me nuts!
    Of course, there is the time we used duct tape to cover a hole in my sister’s tail pipe before she had to have it inspected!

    • Gavin and Avery put duct tape to good use more than once in this story!

      I was visiting my mom once when I was fifteen, and the horn in her car started blaring without warning. And would not stop. She pulled off the road into a parking lot, and I tried to hide on the front floorboard until an older gentleman finally took pity on her and came over to disconnect the horn. Even as an adult, I’d be embarrassed, but as a teenager, I was mortified. Thank goodness it’s funny now!

      Good luck with your horn, and thank you for visiting today!!

    • You should definitely find an excuse to go on a road trip, and for the full experience, you have to share it with someone – preferably someone with a great sense of humor! Even if a road trip is not in your immediate future, I hope you find a way to take the perfectly ordinary experiences of life and turn them into something entertaining and extraordinary! 🙂

  8. The funniest road trip I’ve taken is one that started off as a innocent trip to a huge outlet mall that was only about an hour from where I lived… my friend drove, while I helplessly tried to read off directions from Google Maps. It was a disaster LOL! We went the wrong way twice, before making a pit stop to grab lunch (something we’d originally planned to do once we reached our destination) and the 2-hour round-trip ended up being 5 hours of JUST driving!

    • That’s hysterical! I used to laugh at my husband — when we were still dating, he would drive over to see me. It was normally a 40 minute drive with traffic, but it could easily take him 3+ hours. Because he kept getting lost. Every single time. Even after he’d driven the route 100 times, he could just magically get off track and end up in some unknown part of the state, wondering how he’d gotten there and how to get back to civilization! So I can well imagine a one-hour drive to the outlet mall turning into five hours of driving. In my family, we call that creative navigation. I hope you had tons of laughter along the way and at least enjoyed the lunch! 😉

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