This week we welcome Marian P. Merritt to share with us about her book Deep Freeze Christmas.
Deep Freeze Christmas is a novella set near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. In keeping with my tagline, Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains, I brought a young gourmet chef and her mentor from New Orleans and placed them cooking for a movie producer’s holiday guests in his mountain lodge at Christmas.
Here’s the book blurb:
Louisiana Chef Leona Buquet agrees to cook for CG Fleming Jr, movie producer at his mountain lodge in the Colorado Mountains during the Christmas holiday.
When Leona meets handsome Cameron, CG’s son, she is taken by his striking good looks and warm personality, but with the glamorous actress, Marissa Madison, clamoring for his attention will he even notice Leona?
Cameron struggles with being in a career he hates only to please his father. When he meets Leona he feels he’s known her all his life. He wants an opportunity to get to know her, but she keeps avoiding him. When they become stranded in a hunter’s cabin, will she lower her guard and open her heart to Cameron?
Where do you write? That’s a question I’ve never answered before. I have been known to pull out my smart phone and write a scene while waiting for my sliced deli meats! I’ve also written scenes while waiting in line at the grocery store. Mostly, I write using a laptop so I write in my favorite living room chair, my office, in bed when my hubby is away at work, but my most favorite place to write is on my back porch.
Marian sent me a wonderful picture of her back porch, but I couldn’t get it to post. It’s a wood deck with wood railings and a view of hills. She has pretty potted flowers that sit at the base of the railing. It’s a very pretty setting.
Do you have a favorite scene you’d like to share with us? To set up this scene: Leona has just arrived at CG’s Mountain lodge and she’s looking for the back room freezer so she and Julian (her mentor and employer) can begin preparing dinner.
“Great, I’ll see what I can find.” She opened the door that led down a hallway. The first door she opened led into a pantry the size of her bedroom in her tiny apartment. She was pretty sure she’d died and gone to chef-heaven, a to-die-for kitchen, and now this. Stocked shelves lined the walls with a counter down the middle with drawers underneath. Anything they needed, she was pretty sure they’d find in here.
She backed out and went down the hallway again in search of the “freezer room.” Another door jetted off to the right, she opened it and understood why CG had said freezer room instead of walk-in freezer. The room held seven commercial grade freezers with another door leading into a large walk-in freezer.
She found bags of shrimp and a few other items they’d need for tonight’s meal. Before she headed back to the kitchen, the door at the end of the hallway beaconed. To where did it lead? When she opened it, a blast of cold air rushed in and took her breath away followed by a blur of white the size of a small horse. Before she knew what hit her, she was flat on her back getting sloppy dog kisses—all over her face.
“Max. Stop!” CG appeared and captured Max’s leash. “Stop, boy! Sit.”
Max picked the worst time to obey. He stopped licking and sat—on Leona. CG pulled the near hundred pound, snow-dripping lab off her. “I’m so sorry. He’s still a puppy, and we’re working on manners. Seems the snow makes him a little frisky. Are you OK?”
“Yes, I’m fine.” She laughed and rubbed the dog’s ear. “Still a puppy? I can’t imagine how big he’ll be when he’s full grown. Hello, Max.”
“He should grow into those feet at about one-hundred twenty pounds.”
He sat on the floor next to her and leaned over and licked her face again.
She laughed and rubbed his head. His dark eyes followed her hand and seemed to relax at her touch. “Nice to meet you, Max.”
“Here let me help you up.” CG offered his hand. After she stood, he gathered the frozen items before Max had a chance to check them out.
Leona took the items into the kitchen while CG led Max out the back door. She plopped the cold items on the counter. “You’ve got to check out the pantry and freezer. Aaa-mazing.”
“I’m sure it is. I wouldn’t expect less from CG. You OK?” Chef Julian pointed to her jacket.
She looked down to where Julian pointed. Several large muddy paw prints adorned the front of her white jacket. “Yikes. Guess I need to change.”
“Oh and Leona, you might want to wash your face, too.” Chef gave her one of his famous grins and a nod.
After Max’s licking, she could only imagine what her face looked like. It would just take a minute to run upstairs and change. She climbed the back stairs and turned the corner headed to her room.
“Hello, there.” The smooth voice belonged to six feet of pure handsome. She felt sure she’d be a puddle before long if he kept staring at her with those crystal blue eyes. This had to be CG’s son.
He pointed to her jacket. “I see you’ve met Max.”
“Um…yes, we met.” She laughed. “Quite intimately, I might add.”
He held out his hand. “I’m Cameron Fleming, CG’s son.”
“Cameron, I’m Leona Buquet, the Sous Chef. It’s nice to meet you.” She shook his hand.
“Buquet, are you from Louisiana?”
“I am.” She finally let go of his hand.
“Cameron, there you are.” A sultry voice drifted from behind Cameron and when its owner materialized, Leona recognized the gorgeous actress, Marissa Madison. Known for her high-maintenance expectations and temper tantrums when she didn’t get her way.
Following celebrity gossip was a vice Leona still worked against.
Marissa scanned Leona’s jacket and then her face and hair. She raised an eyebrow and then scrunched her nose. “Did something explode in the kitchen?”
Did you do any special research for this book? I had to research the recipes—such a chore… <grin>. Seriously, it was the part I really loved—scouring the Internet and planning the meals. I didn’t, however, know a lot about snowmobiles. Because they are an integral part of the plot, I needed to become familiar with them. Thankfully, I have several friends who own them and were only a Facebook post away! I set up a Pinterest board with the recipes I found and a few other goodies. If any of your readers are interested in Cajun recipes and photos depicting some of the scenes in the book, they can follow this link: http://www.pinterest.com/mpmerritt/deep-freeze-christmas-novella/
What is next for you? This year has been a good one for writing. I have another book that also recently released called, A CAJUN CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.
I did a Pinterest board for this book as well. It can be viewed here:
I’m waiting on a release date for my contracted Women’s Fiction title, THE VIGIL-A BIJOU BAYOU NOVEL. I anticipate a first or second quarter 2015 date.
I’m currently writing a Women’s Fiction story set in Tuscany and am plotting the next book in the BIJOU BAYOU SERIES.
Marian Pellegrin Merritt writes stories that blend her love of the mountains with her deep Southern roots. She is an author and freelance writer with over ten years experience. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, online websites, and garnered a first place award in ACFW’s Genesis contest.
Marian is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Women’s Fiction Writers Association.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy and an accounting certificate from the University of South Alabama. This Louisiana native writes from the Northwest Colorado home she shares with her husband and a very spoiled Labradoodle. Connect with her through Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter