Friday, January 20, 2012

Somewhere I Belong: Wendi Says 'Warning-Hot Farm Hand Ahead!!'

I want to welcome Wendi back once again to My Odd Little World. I love when she visits, because she always has something fun to say, and she is always ready to answer any question I throw at her. Maybe next time, I'll get out the crazy questions and see what happens. This time, however, she is here to talk about something near and dear to her heart-NASCAR and how it made its way into so many of her stories. She is also bringing us a look at here new book, Somewhere I Belong, with hot farm hand included at no extra charge to us. And she is offering one commenter on the tour a $10 GC to Liquid Silver books. So let's welcome Wendi back for another visit-seems like she was just here-oh, wait, she was! For new visitors, here is a brief bio and Wendi's links.

I always dreamed of writing the stories in my head. Tall, dark, and handsome heroes are my favorites, as long as he has an independent woman keeping him in line. I tend to write books with titles taken from songs because music is one of my many muses.

I earned a BA in education at Kent State university and as well as a Masters in Education from Nova Southeastern University. I've tried my hand at teaching, waitressing, and retail sales, but writing holds my heart.

I love NASCAR, romance, books in general, Ohio farmland, dirt racing, and my menagerie of animals. I have more stories than my brain can handle percolating.  I can't wait to share them with you!!/WendiZwaduk

Now for Wendi's explanation about here NASCAR addiction, if I may call it that!

I love getting to stop by at Nancy’s blog. Why? I get to visit with close friends. It’s always a fun time. Now for my stop today, Nancy asked me a hard question. What question was that, you ask?

Racing plays a recurring role in many of your books, how did you get interested in this pastime?

Gee. Nothing tough or anything. Actually, it’s not a tough question. I do love  racing. So how did fast cars make their way into my writing?

About twelve years ago, I was asked by my husband and my brother in law to select a NASCAR driver. Yes, it was sprung on me pretty much in such a blunt manner. I more or less had no idea anything about racing other than Jeff Gordon WAS a racer and he either won the year I graduated or the next year. (Why did I know that much? It was in my high school year book.) Yeah, I knew nothing.  So they pounced and wanted to know who I wanted as my driver.
You’d think I might have done my homework. Really looked at all the drivers and thought about who I wanted to champion. You’d be wrong. I used the most unscientific, uneducated means by which to choose. BIL had a standup of Rusty Wallace in the corner of his rec room. The car was blue – my favorite color—and had a two on it. Real tough to remember, the number two. I nibbled the inside of my cheek. BIL had already taken Tony Stewart as his horse and the unspoken rule was no doubles.

I pointed to the standup and said, I’ll take him. Absolutely scientific. So the choice was made. I took some serious ribbing on it. The first race I watched in its entirety was the 2001 Daytona 500. If you’re at all familiar with NASCAR, you know why that one was so significant. In the immortal words of Mike Helton, “we lost Dale Earnhardt” that day.

Talk about an eye-opener. The ending was the stuff of legend and the legend passed right before our eyes. But, to run with the big dogs meant I had to learn a little bit more about racing than the number two is blue and Earnhardt drives the three. I read up on the sport, watched as many past races as possible and paid attention to the lingo. It’s funny. We went to Charlotte a few years back and this fellow behind us mentioned he’d been to the very first Daytona 500. He bet we didn’t know who won. BIL and DH were stupefied. I smiled and said, the gentleman who got the trophy at the end of the race wasn’t really the winner. The winner ended up being Lee Petty because he protested and asked for a photograph to show without dispute, he’d won the race. The guy grinned. “Yes, hon, you’re right.”

Did I mention DH and BIL were stupefied? They were. That’s when I realized my paying attention and hard work was worth it. I could run with the big dogs.
How did racing manage to get into my writing? Racing is one of those sports where the person is either a devout fan or could care less. For those who are devout, the sport manages to get into every aspect of their lives. For those who don’t care, it doesn’t pass on their collective radar. Being one of those folks who is devout, well, I can answer the age old question, how bad have I got it? I’ve named some of my pets NASCAR names. Kenny Wallace, Rusty Wallace, Darlington. I have it bad.

Apparently my characters do, too. Not all of them. Some of them are completely unknowing about  racing. The ones who love it, are the ones who make sure the others learn about it. For example, in Somewhere I Belong, Marley is a NASCAR fan. She never actually says who she follows, but she’s a fan. Sully doesn’t really know who races in the sport, but he knows about it. She shows him the thrill of the sport and he succumbs to it. Or is it to him? Maybe it’s both.

Yes, watching cars go around in a circle can be boring. Yes, when I’m watching NASCAR, I usually have my laptop open and am writing. But when cars start hitting the walls, start pushing and shoving for position and when drivers get so impassioned they want to beat the snot out of each other, I’m paying full attention.

I don’t know if that really answers the question, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. What are your favorite sports? Pastimes? I’d love to know about them. Do you watch NASCAR? Favorite driver? Least favorite? And because this is just opinion, your answer, no matter who it is, is valid. Come on. Let me know! Grin. I’m waiting.

Thanks Wendi, for another fun post. And I do know who the Wallace brothers are-I've met them and a couple other Missouri racing boys too, and I used to hang out at the old dirt track out in St. Charles, Missouri every weekend. That is where Ken Schrader got his start, and I saw him racing sprint cars way back when.

Now, lets take a peek at Somewhere I Belong, and meet your hot farm hand.

He never knew what he was missing until he came home to find his place to belong—with her.
Sullavan Tanner walked away from Jarvis, Ohio, afraid to give his heart to the woman he loved. He lived the rock and roll lifestyle, but never quite made it to the big time. Fifteen years later, he’s back and ready to claim what’s his—if she’ll accept his help.

Marley Lockwood’s done asking for help. The family farm is more than she can handle, but if she can survive a cancer scare, the loss of her parents, the abandonment by her first love, and a messy divorce, she can handle anything.

Until Sully shows up.

Although she’s not interested in rekindling the love affair, she’s not above accepting Sully’s hands on the farm. What’s the worst that could happen? They get the farm out of the red and into the black? That’s her plan. They actually fall in love? The past says it won’t work, so she’s not hedging her bets.

Too bad Sully’s not giving up this time.

Now for a quick excerpt-I like this one!

“Dancing isn’t my thing.” Why did Sully make her so nervous? Because Sully made her inner thighs heat and her heart thunder. Of all the men she knew, Sully remained elusive and out of reach. And yet, he’d come back when she needed him the a white knight. God, she had to get the childish, fanciful thoughts from her head and regain her footing in the real world.

Sighing, he eased down next to her. “I don’t buy that for a moment, but I’m not gonna push.” He bumped her shoulder with his, sending a frisson of lust snaking through her body. “I missed our late-night conversations.” A chuckle erupted from his throat. “You know, I never found someone to understand me like you do.”

She balled her fists to keep from touching him and stared at the crisp yellow flames. Sully smelled like sin and pine. “Conversationalist is my middle name.”

Sully cupped her chin, redirecting her gaze. “And all this time I thought it was Elaine.”

Despite wanting to stay, Marley stood. “I never could fool you.”


She shook her head. “I have a question.”


“You left after we had sex. Like right after. Was it that bad or was it just a notch for your belt?”

His smile faded. “Marley, that’s not fair.”

“Thanks for your answer.” She brushed imaginary debris from her lap. “You and I work together. There will be no dancing, no kissing, and no love. Got me?”

“Who said kissing?” He stood and grabbed her hand. Sully tugged her away from the fire and the rumble of conversation to the privacy of the back porch. “There’s a lot of stuff you don’t know about, and I don’t know how to tell you, but I absolutely want to kiss you."

Does she or doesn't she? This is one very good book, and I thank Wendi for coming by to visit. Don't forget to leave a comment, and if you have a question for Wendi, I promise she will come back and answer all of the questions.


  1. My favorite sport is Baseball and my favorite pastimes are reading books and either cooking or watching movies (or both at the same Interesting post - although I don't watch NASCAR - I will occasionally watch the Indy 500.

  2. I've been known to watch a race (at the track no less) and be writing in my notebook, or watching a race on tv and using the laptop. drives DH crazy, but it's oddly therapeutic. I'll watch the Indy 500 when I remember it's on. I used to love baseball, but when the family is all about nascar, you learn to adapt.

  3. My son is a huge fan of NASCAR and goes to races with friends who do the whole RV in the middle of the track thing and proceed to drink beer, eat, and watch the races for days. He says it's the ultimate in tailgating.

  4. adding to my TBR =) Great post!

  5. My favorite team sport to watch is crew rowing. Just love watching those boats skim across the water. Mostly I like the solitary "sport" of reading.

  6. I grew up in a Nascar household. My mom was Dale Earnhardt (sexiest man alive, according to her!) and dad was a Darrel Waltrip fan. I gravitated to Dale Jr. He hasn't done so well the last couple of years but I still have hope! My husband is a fan of the Busch brothers. Me, not so much! Makes it interesting around our house on race day.

  7. i think my favorite is football(pro) and then NASCAR (dale jr.). my family is big into college football and most of them work for the University of Oregon so we are all Duck fans, but i prefer pro-ball and really it is mostly the 49ers. they are my team. i'm so thrilled at how they did this year. Yay 49ers! sorry fan girl moment. :P

    i love the cover of the book, it's gorgeous and the excerpts i have been reading have been wonderful. i can hardly wait to read the rest of the book and see what happens next.

  8. I have never watched NASCAR even though I live in North Carolina! I'll occasionally watch college football with my hubby or go to the local community college's basketball games. Other than that, I like walking and hiking and shuffleboard!


  9. Sorry Wendi and Nancy that I'm late for the party. Hubs and I have strep throat. Okay, minds out of gutter please. LOL! NASCAR is a big part of our lives too. Hubs used to have season tickets to Texas Motorspeedway but gave them up when we moved to the sticks. I remember where I was, what I was doing and who I was with when Dale, Sr. dead and I piece of me died that day. Back then, racing was racing and you didn't have to worry about points or making the cup chase. You raced to race. Nothing wrong with a little bump drafting, pushing off or trash talking. Those guys, Wallace, Dale, Petty, Labonte brothers, Jarrett..those were men that knew how to race.

    I could go on but I'll get off my soapbox before I really get riled up.

    Congrats on the new release Wendi and I love the cover.


  10. Hello Wendi,

    OMG Do I watch NASCAR? LOL My Favorite driver? My Least favorite? Oh Boy, I'm on my Soapbox now. LOL

    It's GREAT to meet a fellow NASCAR Lover!!!! We Hubby & I are in NASCAR Withdrawl right now, they say the 1st Step is to admit you have a problem. LOL When you settle for race re-runs on the SPEED Channel just to get your NASCAR Fix, you have a problem. :) LOL

    We canNOT wait for Speed Week, I already know the dates by heart. lol The Shootout Feb. 18th, the Dual 125's Feb. 23rd, Truck Series Feb. 24th, Nationwide Feb. 25th, & the Daytona 500 Feb. 26th WooHoo!!! I Know, I'm a Nut. :)

    I'm disabled with a Heart Condition now, but every year for Christmas I used to buy my Hubby a full paid NASCAR Package with Track Passes & Driver Party (of course with me lol) to a different track each year. Our 2 favorites were Daytona & Bristol. We live in between Dover & Pocono (was just always a little difficult to see on the back stretch at Dover, soooooo far away from the Grandstand) so we never misssed those races.

    Ok now time to brag :) My favorite Driver has always been Tony Stewart since he drove the #20 for Joe Gibbs Racing in 1999 to 2008 with Greg Zipadelli as his Crew Chief, "Zippy" & Tony really clicked. It really stunk because I had EVERYTHING #20 & Home Depot. LOL

    I'm sure you already know all this, but I like to brag about "SMOKE" & jump up on my Soapbox (I'm only 4'11, so I need the box. LMAO.) He left to start his own team, Stewart-Haas Racing, as owner/driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy & owns the #39 which Ryan Newman drives for him.

    In 2009 Stewart became the first driver/owner to win a Sprint Cup race since Ricky Rudd in 1998. He won 5 Sprint Cup Races that Season including the Sprint All-Star Race and the million dollars. My Man "SMOKE" is a 3-time Sprint Cup Series Champion, 2002, 2005, 2011!! Hooray!!! :) He's the 1st and only driver to have won Championships in stock cars, Indy Cars and Open-Wheel Midget, Sprint and Silver Crown Cars.

    ***Now for my lastest Stewart News*** Stewart's new crew chief is Steve Addington from Penske Racing where he was crew chief for Kurt Busch after he released Darian Grubb, which was quite a surprise despite winning the Chase. FANTASTIC News is that "SMOKE" reunites with "Zippy" as his Director of Competition for Stewart-Haas Racing. He will also be Danica Patrick's crew chief on her part-time basis driving Stewart's #10 in the Sprint Cup Series (attempting her 1st Daytona 500) which she & racing for him in the Nationwide Series. Ryan Newman also returns in the #39.

    Now for My Least Favorite Driver? Driver of the #18 for Joe Gibbs Racing, Kyle Busch. I was always told if you don't have anything good to say about someone, don't say anything at I'll just leave this one alone. LOL

    Well is that enough Racin' Talk??? ROLF
    I'd better stop talking Racin' because I can chat about NASCAR just as much as I can about Erotic Fiction. LOL

    Take care & Wishing You the Best of Health....& don't forget...Boogity, Boogity, Boogity (inside joke for Race Fans lol),
    Renee' S.