Oh boy, oh boy – guess who’s visiting today?!? Rachel Hauck. And let me just tell you a little about this gal. She loves to write – and has been since she was 10 years old (You are a kindred spirit, Rachel. I have my first two stories (of any length) that I wrote – one at 10 and the next at 12. Go figure). She’s married to her best friend. Sigh. She led the worship for ACFW this year and did a fabulous job. AND – I had the wonderful opportunity of getting stuck in an elevator with her. J
My favorite book of hers so far is Love Starts with Elle, but I really want to get my hands on her newest release, Dining with Joy. It sounds fabulous. You can learn more about Rachel, her ministry, and her books at her website – www.rachelhauck.com
Now, let’s get to the questions, Rachel J
What are some elements that are present when a hero and heroine first realize they are falling in love with each other? What are some beautiful, interesting, unique ways of showing that realization?
It can come when they realize they have the same core or essence. Like common values, common goals, or when they understand the other has what they need. Like, Lorelai realizes Luke gets her. He understands her need to speak in rapid quips, but he doesn’t feel compelled to join in the craziness.
He lets her “be” who she is and in turn, she lets him “be” who he is.
Chapter 2 where Joy and Luke first meet. She’s at the diner where he works. He’s trying to get her to eat apple pie, she keeps shoving it aside. She’s “not hungry” while he has a need to “feed people.”
Joy still smiled, snickering softly. Luke liked the melody of her voice. It made him wonder how long it’d been since he laughed. A good belly laugh. Turns out the bankruptcy, losing Ami’s and the life he’d chosen for himself, was a real killjoy.
But lately, he’d been waking up whispering prayers, hope in his thoughts, the weight of despair off his chest.
And right now, if he had any idea what Mercy Bea was talking about, he’d laugh along with Joy.
“Not worth the effort.” Luke bent to see Joy’s face. “Excuse me?”
“More sugar than a quarter can buy. It means it’s not worth the effort.”
Luke smiled. “Ah, good to know. The book club ladies can be demanding.”
“You need a dictionary to understand Mercy Bea’s sayings.”
“Just when I thought I was catching on too.” Luke shoved Joy’s pie plate forward, under her hands, as she held her phone. “I can warm up the pie for you if you want.”
“I’ve known Mercy my whole life and still get caught off guard.” Joy shoved the pie out of the way. “The pie’s warm enough.”
Luke wondered if she even liked pie. For a second he watched her, then shuffled around the counter, checking the napkin rolls and stack of clean glass trays, thinking it rude to stare at a customer. No matter how beautiful she was. After another minute he backed away, brushing his hands down his apron. “Well, I—”
The café bells chimed and clattered, weighting the air with a brass ting. Luke expected to see the book club ladies filing in, mingling, chatting about the evening’s selection of what they wanted off the Frogmore’s menu.
But it wasn’t the book club making a beeline for their spot in the back corner booth. It was Helen Woodward, a recent and annoying acquaintance of Luke’s, striding for the counter.
“Luke, there you are, shug.” Helen dropped down hard on the stool next to Joy, her apple-round cheeks flushed, her dark hair frizzing about her forehead. “This is my lucky night.” Helen pulled aside Joy’s hair. “Don’t think you can hide behind your gorgeous red sheen, Joy Ballard. You never returned my calls.”
Joy raised her chin to Helen. “I’m not emceeing the Water Festival Cook-Off, Helen.”
“Heavens to Betsy, not this again. I get it. A thousand times over. You do not want to compete. I have your rider right here in my folder.” Helen waved a black attaché above her head. “Well, you can talk like nobody’s business, and since you’re one of our most famous citizens, you are the emcee of this cook-off.” Helen jerked some papers from her attaché and slapped them down on the counter. “So stop your bellyaching. Luke Redmond here is going to cook against Wenda Divine. So you can lower your hackles and stop baring your teeth. These are the release forms. One for Luke, one for you, Joy. Luke, be a sweetie and pack a jar with ice cubes and drown them in sweet tea.”
“Release form?” Joy held her form up to the light as if examining for some secret code.
Luke reached for a jar and scooped it with ice. He’d done a few cook-offs in his day and a bit of television. The release form appeared to be the standard lingo—permission to use his likeness and name for the contest, for media and television.
“It’s hotter than you-know-what tonight, I tell you.” Helen knocked back her iced tea like it had a bit of extra kick besides sugar. “You got any questions, Luke?” Helen flipped her hand at the paper. “It’s just a silly little thing that says we can use your name and image to promote the cook-off. And if you accidentally cut off your finger while preparing the food, or catch fire, you won’t sue the pants off us.”
“Helen, I’m not going anywhere near Wenda Divine. I’m think- ing of leaving town that day.”
Joy dropped the form, floating and fluttering, in front of Helen.
“Oh, grow up, Joy Ballard. You’re not leaving town. You’re doing your civic duty and hosting your town’s Water Festival Cook-Off. It’s great publicity for all involved.”
“I host a television show from this city. That’s great publicity. This cook-off is all about Wenda.”
“You should’ve finished her off in Omaha when you had the chance.” Helen nodded at Joy, tipping up her tea jar for another long slurp.
“How does everyone know about Omaha?” Joy stabbed at her pie. “I’m not emceeing anything if Wenda Divine is involved.”
Luke stared at his release form. “I don’t know about Omaha.” Silence. Then, “What’dya live under a rock, Luke?”
“Nope.” He lifted his gaze to Helen, then Joy. “Just haven’t heard about Omaha.”
“Well, see, Wenda Divine, you know who she is, right? Of course you do. She got our Joy up on a food convention stage and challenged her to a cook-off. So Joy can’t stand to be in a contest, though she’s twice the cook of Wenda, I’m sure, and what does she do? She falls—”
“Helen, just . . . stop.” Joy dropped the fork to the plate. “I fell off a stage. No big deal.”
“Shug, you can fall off the stage here if you want, I don’t care, but you’re my emcee. End of story.” Helen blew a stream of hot breath toward her bangs and rolled her eyes at Luke, mouthing diva.
“Can I get you anything else, Helen?” Luke reached for his form, taking a pen from the jar on the counter. He’d signed forms for the other shows and events he’d participated in, including as a contestant on a season of The Next Culinary Star.
“Just get this girl here to do her duty.” Helen thunked her glass down on the counter. “And I’ll be happy as a tick on a bloodhound.”
“Since you love this event so much, Helen, why don’t you emcee?” Joy unzipped her purse, dug around, and dropped a ten-dollar bill onto the counter. She was leaving? Without touching her pie? Luke stepped around the counter. “Come on, it’ll be fun.” His words bounced around the café.
“Fun?” Joy paused and leaned against the counter. “Have you met Wenda Divine, Luke?” She plopped her bag down on the coun- ter. “Have you ever been in a cook-off?”
“I’ve not met her, but she seems like a nice woman. And yes, I’ve been in cook-offs. It’s just cooking on speed.” Luke passed his signed form to Helen. “An adrenaline rush.”
“Looky there, Joy. Luke signed. And he’s only been in town six months. All the flyers and advertising have gone out. If our own Dining with Joy backs out, do you think other celebs and distinguished guests will want to come in the future? I think not, I think not.”
“Oh my gosh, all right already.” Joy snatched the form from Helen. “You beat all, Helen. Is this how you got George to marry you? Manipulation?”
“Mercy, no. All that took was a short skirt and a kiss.” She snapped her fingers in the air.
“I must be out of my mind to do this, but—” Joy paused, her pen pressed into the paper, her eyes on Luke. “You’re cooking, right?”
“Cook-offs are a dime a dozen. Trust me. Anyone with a pot and a spoon can be in a cook-off.” She checked Luke with a quick glance. “No offense.”
“But Dining with Joy is different.” She angled toward him, a passion infusing her voice. “We’re a different kind of show, and I don’t want our brand to be watered down with me jumping into a cook- off or chef challenge with all the other TV celebrities.” Joy passed the signed form to Helen. “Seriously, don’t you just roll your eyes when you see another celebrity chef in a cooking challenge like it’s some kind of rite of passage?”
“You’re the emcee, baby, so I think your brand is still safe. Thank you very much.” Helen snatched the form before Joy could take it back and tucked it into her case. “Iced tea is on the house, Luke?” Helen boogied toward the door. “Night, all. Thanks.” The air in the dining room swirled in her wake, floating, drifting, trying to find a place to settle.
“She’s like an emotional whiplash,” Joy said as she slipped her bag up to her shoulder. “With her ‘honey,’ ‘sugar,’ and ‘darling,’ while she presses her steely knife into your back, ‘Sign here or I’ll kill you.’”
Luke regarded Joy. “Sure seems to be a lot of protesting for just an emcee gig.”
“Yeah, well, I don’t trust Helen or Wenda Divine.” Joy’s gaze mingled with his—blue touching blue. When she stepped back, the magic broke. “I need to go.”
“Not hungry.” When she exited, the dining room settled with an odd quiet.
For the first time, Luke heard the rhythm of rain drumming down. Tucking the ten-dollar bill by the register, he carried her plate back to the kitchen.
“I see Joy didn’t eat her pie.” Mercy Bea peered at the plate in his hand as she carried a tub of dirty dishes to the dishwasher.
“Said she wasn’t hungry.”
“She never is, shug, she never is.”
Luke took a clean fork from the dishwasher and leaned against the prep table, digging into the pie, musing over the counter exchange with Helen and Joy, trying to suppress the smile on his lips and reckon with the sensation that somehow tonight he’d glimpsed into his future.
Rachel, I just LOVE guy POVs. Isn’t it so much fun to write those? And a guy who cooks? How much better can it get?!? Can’t wait to read this book!! And thanks so much for contributing today. What fun!
Here’s Paul’s response to trouble in the book of Ephesians 3:13-21 (emphasis by Pepper)
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
20-21God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Wow, isn’t that powerful. I love the phrase ‘extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love’. Beautiful. He does love us extravagantly. A love without end, that awakens in us the ability to love others. Real love. The kind you want to write stories about. 🙂