Balloons Everywhere with A.J. Marcus

October 5, 2016

Balloons Everywhere with A.J. Marcus


As my States of Love book, An Enchanting Liftoff comes out. I’ve stopped by to say a bit about inspiration and the thrill of hot-air balloons. I want to start and say a bit about how this series came to be. It was something I thought of as I was preparing to take my parents on a cross-country trip. Traveling for writers is fun, or at least for me it is. I’m always looking for new and interesting ideas for books. To that point, I thought it might be really cool if I could sit down and write a series of books that used a different state as a back drop for each book. Needless to say, I quickly squashed the idea of doing it by myself…fifty books is a lot of work, and it could be fifty two if I decided to include Washington DC and Puerto Rico. I bounced the idea past my good friend and co-author Caitlin Ricci. She loved the idea, but agreed it would be more than even the two of us wanted to take on. We decided to approach Dreamspinner with the idea and the rest is history. We’re in the middle of this great fifty book series and seeing love from all sorts of angles and from all over the country.

So when I had to stop and think about which state I wanted to write about, I was torn. There’s a ton of things I could do for Colorado and Texas, both states I know really well, but I’d recently come up with a cool idea for a book centered around the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. I’ve been to the event several times and love every minute of it. Having been to other balloon shows in different states, I know that there isn’t a show that really compares to what they put on in Albuquerque. It also seemed to be the perfect place to set a romance.

I don’t think it is possible for a writer to truly capture the air of the balloon fiesta. There is so much going on, all in a different direction, but I did my best. I hope when folks read the scene where our main character, Rusty, first comes down onto the launch field, they’ll get some feel for the controlled chaos that is a mass ascension at the balloon fiesta.

One of the things I love to do is take pictures. I don’t know how many pictures I’ve taken over the years at the event, but I’m always rushing back and forth from one end of the launch field to the other as I get the most out of my time there. Now, I hate to admit this, but I haven’t been back since I got a digital camera a few years ago. Life gets busy sometimes, and keeping my readers happy takes up a lot of my time. I have been to the Colorado Springs balloon fest with my digital and I know it’s a lot less expensive than developing all that film used to be. Even with I had a friend who could get me discount processing, it was almost more than the trip from Dallas to Albuquerque to get all the rolls I’d take processed and then there was the thrill of printing all the slides. I think I incorporated a little bit of my photographer self into Rusty’s photographer friend Tyler, although I’m not the womanizer Tyler is.

Right now, economic hardships hit everyone to one degree or another. Balloon tours are a specialty tourist trip across the world. There’s a group that does some a couple of counties over from where I live here in the Colorado Rockies. I’ve seen adds for ones down in New Mexico. To me it seemed like the perfect thing for our other main character, Chad, to do. He’s a pilot who loves ballooning and I think everyone should have a chance to make a living at something they love. But Chad’s business is having financial hardships. I had to come up with a way Rusty could help. Thus Rusty became an advertising man with a plan. It all meshed out really well is a sweet tale as Rusty and Chad find themselves adrift in the blue skies of New Mexico and lost in each other’s arms.

Have any of you been to a balloon festival? What is your favorite part? What makes balloons special for you?

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An Enchanting Liftoff by A.J. Marcus


The sky’s the limit….

It’s wealthy advertising executive Rusty Donovan’s first time at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. When he scores a ride on a hot-air balloon in rainbow colors, he’s as captivated with the balloon’s pilot, Chad Holmes, as he is with the breathtaking experience. Rusty learns Chad’s business is struggling to the point where he might have to close it down. Fortunately, Rusty has some ideas about promoting Chad’s Santa Fe based tour company, and he also has some ideas about what he’d like to do with Chad. As they work together and get to know one another, the future—both for the business and for them as a couple—looks as bright as the brilliant New Mexico sky.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

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