BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF WESTERN HISTORICAL ROMANCE!
Caroline Clemmons writes historical and contemporary genre fiction. Historical romances, contemporary romantic suspense, mysteries, and paranormals are among her current works. Learn more about her at www.carolineclemmons.com
One of my own writing quirks is that I tend to stick to a scene or a chapter until I get the idea out. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but as long as I have the details down, I can finally leave my desk and take a breather. I go for a long walk, talk to my characters on the way, ask them questions about what I’ve written, then come back and inject what I find missing. It sounds crazy, and I’m sure that’s how it seems to people passing me by on the walking trail. Sometimes, when the topic is too sticky or embarrassing, I head for the bathroom instead and conduct my conversations there. I’m not crazy, I assure you. But listening to my words through the characters’ articulations helps me get a better feel for them, and paint a clearer picture.
Sometimes, after I’ve worked on a scene for a while, I brew a cup of coffee and stare into space for the time it takes me to drink it. The tension flows out, and my mind lets go. It’s like mental yoga. Other times, I watch some nonsense TV series, one episode after another to clear my head (thank God for Netflix and HBOGO). Then I go back to my work in progress, and I write some more.
I go to my critique group, present what I have, lick my wounds, and go back to revising and reworking what I’ve written. The process is time consuming and, sometimes, exhausting. Yet, oh, so rewarding!
One randomly chosen commenter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.
SHADOWS OF DAMASCUS Blurb:
Bullet wounds, torture and oppression aren’t the only things that keep a man—or a woman—from being whole.
Debt. Honor. Pain. Solitude. These are things wounded war veteran Adam Wegener knows all about. Love—now, that he is not good at. Not when love equals a closed fist, burns, and suicide attempts. But Adam is one who keeps his word. He owes the man who saved his life in Iraq. And he doesn’t question the measure of the debt, even when it is in the form of an emotionally distant, beautiful woman.
Yasmeen agreed to become the wife of an American veteran so she could flee persecution in war-torn Syria. She counted on being in the United States for a short stay until she could return home. There was one thing she did not count on: wanting more.
Is it too late for Adam and Yasmeen?
SHADOWS OF DAMASCUS was released by Soul Mate Publishing January, 2014.
SHADOWS OF DAMASCUS Excerpt:
The seductive fragrance of Damascus roses drifted through the open window and flirted with fifteen-year-old Yasmeen’s olfactory senses. The potent flowers in her neighbor’s yard delivered the best awakening. She loved beginnings, especially early, mid-summer mornings like these. Stretching across the bed, her imagination raced with possibilities for the promising day.
Thursday. The day her older brother’s friends visited and stayed well into the evening. Yasmeen ticked off potential visitors in her head, dashing young university students who loved to talk politics with Fadi. Today, she would do her best to discover the name of the quietest member in the group, the thin one with round-rimmed glasses. On her nightstand, the sketch she worked on during the last visit waited for his name, and more details around the eyes.
Peeling off the covers, she tip-toed to the window. Lively noises matched her optimistic mood. Nightingales sang greetings. Clanging dishes and pots resonated from surrounding houses beyond high walls. Mothers called out for their daughters to get breakfast ready. Men’s deep voices describing fresh fruits and vegetables with tempting traditional phrases drifted above hidden alleys. One vendor claimed his cucumbers were small as baby fingers, and likened his ripe apples to a virgin bride’s cheeks. Another boasted his plum peaches shed their covers without enticement, and his shy eggplants hid well in a moonless night.
Yasmeen succumbed to the enlivening chaos spilling in from her bedroom window, her own special and personal opening to the world. Tilting her head back, she exposed her face and neck to the sun, allowing its invigorating rays to paint her cheeks.
Today, her mother told her she would be allowed to take a coffee tray into Fadi’s room once all his friends arrived. What would she wear? She should tell her best friend Zainab to stop by earlier than usual to go through her wardrobe. She could help her decide. Perhaps one of Fadi’s friends would notice her. More than one? Why not?
Draping her arms on the windowsill, she looked at the neighbor’s yard, counting the blooming roses, a ritual she performed each morning since the season started. In the north corner of the largest flowerbed, two violet buds grabbed her attention, their delicate petals about to unfold. Once they came to full bloom, their deep purple color would dominate the landscape.
A knock sounded at her door.
“I am awake.”
Her father walked in. “Good. We have work to do.” He held a hammer in one hand and a couple of boards in the other. “Move aside, Yasmeen.” He approached the window.
She stepped away and pointed at the boards. “What do you need those for?”
Her father closed the windowpanes, locked them, placed one board across the frame, and hammered it in place.
“What are you doing?”
“This window is not to be opened again, child.”
She could not believe her ears. “Why?”
“Neighbors moved out last night.” Her father nailed the second board in place. “Mukhabarat took over their house.”
Lilas Taha is a writer at heart, an electrical engineer by training, and an advocate for domestic abuse victims by choice. She was born in Kuwait to a Syrian mother and a Palestinian father, and immigrated to the U.S. as a result of the Gulf war in 1990. She earned a master’s degree in Human Factors Engineering from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. There, Lilas met her beloved husband and true friend, and moved with him to Sugar Land, Texas to establish a family. She is the proud mother of a daughter and a son. Instead of working in an industrial field, she applied herself to the field of social safety, working with victims of domestic violence.
Pursuing her true passion for creative writing, Lilas brings her professional interests, and her Middle Eastern background together in her debut fictional novel, Shadows of Damascus.
How Living Where I Do Relates to Writing This Story,
Where The Inspiration Came From, and
Challenges I Encountered
By Florence Witkop
I live in wolf country. Not a heavy population of wolves, but enough. We also live not too far from a wolf research facility and withing a day's drive of the wolves on the wolf sanctuary on the Isle Royale in Lake Superior. So that's where my inspiration came from.
Those wolves on Isle Royale are protected and researched endlessly but I wondered . . . what if there were other islands in Lake Superior on which wolves also live only no one believes they exist because they've not been seen up close and are purportedly too large to be real? What then?
I knew that wolves normally don't do well on islands because there is too little large prey to keep a pack alive so I knew there'd have to be another explanation for them being there.To me, that meant something other-worldly, which turned out to be a portal on the island to another universe in which prehistoric dire-wolves roamed as they did on Earth some eons ago.
Then I wondered what would happen if one of those wolves came back to civilization. A huge prehistoric predator in today's world? Good or bad? I wanted to know so I wrote a book to find out.
Snowball, the wolf pup in WOLF LEGEND who came back to have an injured leg fixed just grew into her part as I wrote and ended up taking over the book. She wasn't intended to be the central character but she ended up being exactly that. After the book was finished and published, I realized her personality is that of our grandson's dog Bailey. Bailey is beautiful, unusually strong, bull-headed and intelligent . . . her vocabulary is amazing. . . and she's as sweet and caring and loving as a dog can be. But while I was writing WOLF LEGEND, I didn't know I was stealing Bailey's personality. (I hope you don't mind, Bailey.)
When I started this book, I thought I'd be writing a romance and even after it was done I thought that was what I'd written. Until I sent it to a publisher of romances who kindly and with great tact told me that WOLF LEGEND wasn't a romance. Instead, the editor said, it was the story of a dire wolf pup. And here I'd thought I'd written a romance!
But when I re-read it, I realized she was right. And I loved the story even more because I love the character of a loving, caring, wolf pup with a wonderful personality.
Release Date: January 6, 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Urban fantasy/ magical realism/ modern fantasy
Formats to buy: Kindle, epub and smashwords formats
Jane, who dislikes wolves because they kill livestock, takes Buck Portman, wolf researcher and wildlife professor at the nearby college to an island for a week to seek out the huge wolves legend says have been seen in the area. She's skeptical until a huge wolf runs through their camp... and mentally connects with Jane. Both woman and wolf are startled by their mental connection. The wolf invites Jane to follow so they can sort out what's between them. Jane takes off after the wolf in the dark, followed by the confused professor. She follows the wolf through a cave and into another world, one populated by larger-than-life, dangerous animals, including the wolves of the legend.
Her mental connection to the alpha she-wolf is all that saves their lives in that dangerous place. Days later, when they return to their world, at the request of the alpha wolf they take her wolf pup with a broken leg so it can be healed. Problem is that wild wolves are not allowed as pets in our world so the professor must technically care for the wolf with Jane's help. But he has reservations. The huge dire wolf pup is in the wrong world. As it grows, will it remain a pet or become a dangerous predator? As the attraction between Jane and the professor grows, so do the problems inherent in having a huge prehistoric wolf in today's world.
I set the cup on the ground beside me to save the one last cold swallow for later when I turned in for the night. Buck, watching, hooked his own empty cup over his belt and prepared to do the same.
As my cup touched the ground, the largest wolf I'd ever seen ran through our campsite. Two hundred pounds at least, possibly three hundred, with black velvet, silver-tipped fur and yellow eyes that shone in the night.
It was beautiful. Awesome. And it tore through the camp as if we weren't there, scattering plates and silverware every which way and making short work of the tent just because it happened to be in its path. "Oh my God!" My mouth dropped open because the wolf couldn't exist. Not here, not anywhere on earth. But it did.
The wolf heard. Stopped. Turned towards me. Scared the crap out of me because it was larger than me, double the size of any wolf I'd ever heard of and a predator. Tipped its head to one side and looked straight at me. Stared.
Our looks met. Connected. My fear disappeared because it wasn't looking for food. It was on its way home and in a hurry to get there. The pups missed their mom, the rest of the pack was good, they took care of the pups, but they couldn't take the place of a real mother. It should hurry home.
I blinked. Tried to wrap my mind around what was happening and failed completely. I couldn't know what it was thinking. I couldn't be reading its mind. Of course not, it was impossible to know what another human being was thinking, let alone a wolf. Wolves were a whole other species.
Except that I did. I was doing precisely what I couldn't do, what no one could do. I was reading its mind and was pretty sure it was reading mine and was just as surprised at being able to read my mind as I was to know what it was thinking. We stared at each other, adjusting to this new reality. Shock kept us both immobile for what seemed like minutes and was probably seconds.
Then the wolf turned away and disappeared into the night because she had a family and responsibilities and couldn't stay to chat, not even for a conversation as mind-blowing as ours. Two separate species were communicating for the first time ever. But she had things to do and places to go, a pack to care for and pups to feed. So she left.
But as she ran into the growing dark, the silver fur blending into the black of the forest, she left a thought behind. "Want to follow me? Want to come for a visit? Maybe we can figure this out."
It was an invitation. One I couldn't turn down. So I rose and followed the wolf.
Author Florence Witkop
Florence’s stories begin as simple tales of contemporary life, often in small towns or the wilderness she knows so well.
Where they go from there is what makes them special. There is always a strong sense of place. Sometimes they cross genres and contain paranormal, sci/fi, or fantasy elements. There is usually a romance and there are always characters her readers like and would enjoy having as friends.
Most of all, there is a story because what Florence does best is tell stories. Well plotted stories that carry the characters towards a logical conclusion that always includes a happy ending. Stories that shine light on the human condition while they celebrate the world we live in. Stories that her readers relate to and remember long after the reading is over.
She writes about people who are as normal as apple pie (most of them, anyway) who unexpectedly find themselves in the middle of situations ranging from the heartwarming through the difficult and all the way to the horrendous. But Florence’s characters choose to act instead of running away. In the process, they survive, thrive, overcome whatever obstacles large or small are thrown in front of them, and while they are at it, they find time to fall in love.
Florence was born in the city and has lived in the suburbs, small towns, the country and the wilderness area of northern Minnesota, where she still lives with her husband and a cowardly cat named Smoke.
At various times in her writing career she’s been a confession writer, a copywriter, a ghost writer and an editor. She writes short stories, novellas and novels. Her work has been categorized as romance, science-fiction, fantasy, mainstream and eco-fiction, to name a few genres that it fits so beautifully into.
Enter a giveaway for THE MOON SISTERS both on this blog and on all the blogs participating in Everybody’s Talking
About Sisterhood. A complete list can be found on The Muffin.
Therese's debut, THE LAST WILL OF MOIRA LEAHY, was named one of January Magazine’s Best Books of 2009, was nominated for a RITA award for Best First Book, and was a TARGET Breakout Book.
Therese is the co-founder of Writer Unboxed, a site that’s visited daily by thousands of writers interested in the craft and business of fiction.
Before turning to fiction, she was a researcher and writer for Prevention magazine, and then a freelance writer. She’s had hundreds of articles on nutrition and fitness published in consumer magazines and online.
She has a master’s degree in psychology.
Aside from writing, Therese’s favorite things include music, art, crab legs, Whose Line is it Anyway?, dark chocolate, photography, unique movies and novels, people watching, strong Irish tea, and spending time with her husband, two kids and their Jack Russell.
March came in like a lamb Saturday, with a high of 81
degrees F. The lion showed up Sunday with rain, sleet, snow, and overnight lows
of 14 degrees F. Yes, this is normal for
Darling Daughter 2 remembers going to the movies with a date
several years ago about this time. He wore shorts because the weather was pleasant.
When the movie was over, temperature had dropped 30 degrees in the
hour-and-a-half they were in the movies, and the guy nearly froze. Yep, more
normalcy for Texas.
March is Irish-American Month. Many people in the USA are of
Irish descent, so St. Patrick’s Day is a well-celebrated occasion. In San
Antonio, Texas, the river through town runs green. In Dallas, there’s an Irish
Celebration at the State Fair Grounds. On Dallas’s Greenville Avenue, there’s
another St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Towns all over the country have parades
on St. Patrick’s Day. I suppose the most famous is in New York City.
State Flag of Texas
March 2 was Texas Independence Day. Not a big holiday unless
you live in Texas or are a displaced Texan. “Remember the Alamo” has a great deal of
significance to Texans, even to those like me whose relatives showed up in
Texas a few decades later. I’ve heard that’s also where the saying “One Ranger,
one riot” originated.
The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas
March is when the Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure” is held
to raise cancer awareness and research money. Darling Daughter 1 is a breast
cancer survivor, , Hero is a subcutaneous lip cancer survivor, and I’m a
thyroid cancer survivor. You can bet that we are in favor of cancer research
and early detection awareness - and hoping Darling Daughter 2 escapes this disease!
So, whether your weather is snowy or sunny, celebrate the
month that finally brings spring on March 20th.
Please come back tomorrow for a visit with THE MOON SISTERS
and author Therese Walsh.
Today, please welcome English
friend Rachel Brimble. Rachel is an amazing woman who writes wonderful
books in multiple genres.
Rachel and her husband at Cherhill Manor in July 2013
Caroline: Tell us something
about growing up and your life now.
Rachel: I have been married
to my fabulous Mr. B for nearly 16 years and we have two teenage daughters. I
grew up in the famous maritime city of Bristol and lived there until Mr. B and
I moved to a small market town in 2001. I am lucky enough to live just a short
thirty-minute drive from the beautiful, historical city of Bath which is just
THE best place to visit and why I chose to set my Victorian novels there.
As for your bookworm or jock
question….most definitely a bookworm. I considered my librarian one of my friends
growing up. It’s a miracle how little teasing I had at school––I have loved
books my whole life and still have to pinch myself that I am now a published
Caroline: Lucky you. I
remember being on a hill and looking down at the sunlight shining on the city
of Bath. What a beautiful city. Who are your favorite authors and favorite
Rachel: My favorite authors
are Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis and Robyn Carr for contemporary romance and
Philippa Gregory, Jean Fullerton and Jean Plaidy for historical novels. Romance
is my favorite genre whether that be mainstream, romantic suspense or
historical. I also love to read a lot of non-fiction and biographies about past
British monarchs. Can’t get enough of Britain’s vast royal history!
Caroline: I am an anglophile
and so admire Queen Elizabeth. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?
Rachel: Knitting in front of
the TV – I watch far too much TV and more often than not have loads stacked up
waiting for me. My favorite shows are US crime dramas like Rizzoli & Isles,
Castle and CSI as well as UK period dramas like Downton Abbey, Ripper Street
and Mr. Selfridge. Fabulous!
Caroline: I watch several of
those shows, but am not familiar with Ripper Street. Do you have a favorite
quote that sums up how you feel about life?
Rachel: “Set it up the way
you want it to be.” Iyanla Vanzant
Caroline: How long have you
Rachel: I started writing
when my youngest daughter started school full time in 2005. I am proud to say
every book and novella I have written has been published. The Wild Rose Press
published the first book in 2007 and now I write contemporary novels for
Harlequin Superromance and Victorian romance for eKensington.
The dream to keep writing for
the rest of my life – it is what I love most in the world. When I haven’t
written for a couple of days, I turn savage!
Caroline: Where do you prefer
to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude?
Rachel: I need complete
silence to write and my favorite place is on the sofa with the laptop and my
black Lab snoring beside me. In the rare warm, summer days we have here in the
UK, I always take advantage and take the laptop outside and write under the
Caroline: I prefer my desktop
PC to my laptop. Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
Rachel: I’m a combination of
the two – I start each book browsing the internet for pics of my hero and
heroine and then I write a two or three page synopsis and character sketches.
After that, I write the first draft without looking back. The hard work comes
in the second and third drafts! I usually hit a block around the 40,000 word
mark but have learned to write through it because things usually come good in
the end. The one thing I am certain of is this writing business never gets any
Caroline: So, true. In fact,
I think it gets harder as we try to discover new twists and plots to stay
fresh. Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration
Rachel: As I said earlier,
Bath is the main inspiration for my Victorian romances and I fully intend to
keep writing books set in this beautiful and fascinating city. As for my
contemporary romances, I have used several real-life events in my own life as
inspiration. The most recent with my second Harlequin Superromance, FOR A MAN
LIKE HIM, I used the real life and terrifying experience of my family and I
being rescued by helicopter from a hotel roof during the 2010 French floods.
The opening chapters are almost an hour-by-hour account of what happened.
Caroline: I remember when I
learned about your terrifying experiences in that flood. You shared the
experience with readers on my blog. Do you set daily writing goals? Word count?
Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?
Rachel: Every day I
appreciate that I get to write full-time around the kids and husband – I treat
my writing like a job and work every weekday from 8.30 – 3.30pm with a dog walk
in between. Once the kids are home, it’s usually running around or grabbing
moments on the laptop before dinner. After dinner, I might allow myself an hour
before shutting down at 7pm – after that it’s family time.
Caroline: An admirable
schedule. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
in true love – I write for the romantic inside me as well as my readers. I
think it’s vital an author believes in what they are writing if they have any
chance of a reader coming along with them for the journey. The ultimate hope is
someone picking up one of my books and enjoying it so much they look for my
backlist. I love it when that happens for me with other authors…not so much the
case as far as my husband’s concerned!
Caroline: I love reading a
good book and learning the author has a long backlist, don’t you? What
long-term plans do you have for your career?
Rachel: Writing is all I want
to do for the rest of my life so the goal is to get better and better at my
craft – and in turn, hopefully earn enough money that I can support myself and
children. The best thing about having a successful writing career is surely the
option to write anywhere. A cruise liner, a café in Florence, a beach in the
Bahamas....yep, I most definitely have long-term plans ;)
Caroline: I like the way you
think. ☺Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?
Rachel: Right now I am
working on the third novel in my series with eKensington. All my historicals novels
are set in Bath or the surrounding towns and villages. The first two books (THE
SEDUCTION OF EMILY and THE TEMPTATION OF LAURA) mainly take part in the city
itself, but this third book will mostly be played out in a real village outside
Bath called Biddestone.
The heroine, Monica, is a
secondary character in THE TEMPTATION OF LAURA but as I was writing the book, I
knew she deserved her own story. Luckily, my editor suggested it first so I
knew we were on the same wavelength J
Caroline: What advice would
you give to unpublished authors?
Rachel: Write! It really is
as simple as that – you will never get a book published unless you finish one,
first and foremost. I also recommend enrolling in as many online courses as you
can afford. The Romance Writers of America chapters offer varied courses on
dialogue, plotting, point of view etc. They certainly helped me when I was
The final, and most
important, piece of advice – allow yourself to write a ‘crappy’ first draft!
Caroline: Good advice all
around. What is a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you?
Rachel: I haven’t had my hair
cut professionally since my wedding day, almost 16 years ago! LOL!
My hair is so curly I can get
away with my husband (and now my eldest daughter) giving it a trim with the
kitchen scissors as and when I need it.
Caroline: How lucky, and your
hair looks lovely in your photos. Can you give readers a blurb about your book?
Rachel: Here’s the blurb for THE TEMPTATION OF LAURA:
Laura Robinson has always been dazzled by the glamour
of the stage. But perhaps acting and selling one’s favors are not so
different—for Laura must feign pleasure with the men she beds to survive. Now,
with her only friend at death’s door and a ruthless pimp at her heels, escaping
her occupation seems impossible. Hoping to attract a gentleman, she attends the
theater. Yet the man Laura captivates is no customer, but a rising star and
Adam Lacey has been driven to
distraction since the moment he saw Laura. She is his ideal leading lady come
to irresistible life—and so much more. Certain they can make the perfect team
on and off stage, he is determined to win her heart—and discover her story. But
that is precisely what Laura fears. And she has no idea that Adam harbors
shameful secrets of his own. Will the truth free them to love—or destroy all
What was she doing inside
Adam Lacey’s house, sitting upright and rigid upon a settee she could never
afford? Laura crossed and re-crossed her ankles as she glanced around his
drawing room. His home was masculine, bare of trinket or flower, but compared
to her and Bette’s place, it screamed of achievement. He’d left her to go
upstairs and change out of his wet clothes. She glanced at the wall clock. The
ten minutes she’d been alone could’ve been an hour.
She needed to leave. Get
out of there.
Standing, she stepped
toward the door just as it swung open and Adam entered. Her breath caught. The
man was ridiculously handsome. His dark blond hair was darker than usual, after
his unplanned swim, and his face scrubbed clean. Her gaze drifted, of its own
accord, to the smattering of chest hair just visible at the vee of his
open-necked shirt. The man was unfairly relaxed. Laura inhaled.
Handsome—stupidly, stupidly handsome.
He halted, his smile
dissolving. “You’re leaving?”
He moved to touch her,
seemed to think better of it and dropped his hand to his side. Their eyes
locked and silence descended. Her heart beat fast with the knowledge she
would’ve given the world to stay there. Eye to eye; toe to toe with a man who
fascinated and intrigued her.
She stepped back. It was
too dangerous. The atmosphere between them too potent. Her attraction to him
kicked and punched at her heart. It was strong enough to make her want to kiss
him, touch him and bring that dazzling smile to the surface over and over. For
little more than another breath, she would risk everything to run her fingers
over his biceps and up to the plane of his wide shoulders…
Laura blinked as her
mouth drained dry. What had she been thinking by coming here? She hadn’t been
thinking. In that moment when he asked her to accompany him back to his
home––nothing but desire had whipped through her. Nothing but interest had
leapt in her veins and obliterated her common sense. The fervor and lust in his
eyes bespoke of a man who clearly had an agenda entirely different to hers.
Laura blinked and looked
past him to the door. “I have a friend. She’s sick. She needs me and the
medicine I bought before I came upon you at the park.” She brushed past him,
through the door and into the hallway. “I shouldn’t have come here. I’m sorry.”
Ignoring him, she hurried
toward the closed front door. She had to get out of there. If she looked at him
again, she’d falter. Her rationale already hung on a hair’s breadth. His
footsteps sounded at lightning speed behind her and when she clasped the door
handle, his hand closed over hers. She stared at their joined hands and her
“Laura. Please. I need to
talk to you.”
Swallowing hard, she forced herself
to meet his gaze. His dark brown eyes shone with a pleading she hadn’t
expected. How was she supposed to refuse? He was the first man in forever to
make her heart pick up speed and flourish her hope for something more. She
slowly pulled her hand from beneath his.
Today’s post is part of a chain blog. No, nothing like a
chain letter. Jacquie Rogers tagged me and today is my turn. She is the author of one of my favorite ever series, the Hearts of Owhee series--or as I call them, the Much Ado series. The first is MUCH ADO ABOUT MARSHALS. Jacquie lives in
Seattle now, but she grew up in Owyhee County, Idaho, and that’s where she sets
her wonderful, funny, western historical romances. She comes from a long line of
no-holds-barred storytellers. Even better,she’s a writer, and writers do tend
to get carried away. Her parents actually owned a dairy farm in Owyhee County,
Idaho, near Homedale and she grew up milking cows, breaking ice on the calves'
water troughs and checking the bottoms of my shoes before entering the house. She
says she doesn’t miss the frigid Idaho winters, but she does recall those
soulful calf eyes with fondness. Nowadays, the only soulful eyes she sees are
those of her husband when he pokes his head in her office for the tenth time
and asks me when she’s going to fix dinner.
Those early farm days gave her a solid grounding in Real
Life and provided endless fodder for her stories. Back then, she was a member
of the Homedale Rod & Gun Club, Stateline Grange, and Sage Creek 4-H. She
showed livestock, was the county fair queen, and garnered the title of girl's
champion in the small bore rifle competition. (Now there's a scary
combination!) She rode her horses to hell and back, with special emphasis on
riding into the sunset while harmonica music played in the background.
Oh, but wait until you’ve read this post and commented on it, please!
Jacquie said I have to answer the questions below, so here
What am I working on?
My current work is GABE KINCAID, book four in the Kincaid
series. Gabe is a second or third cousin of the other main characters of the
series. His grandfather and Judge Kincaid are brothers and Gabe came from
Austin to Kincaid Falls to work in the Judge’s law office. But even in the
Southwest, we hold to the Southern tradition of treating distant cousins almost
like siblings, so Gabe is close to the Kincaid Springs branch of the Kincaid
family. The heroine is Kathryn “Katie”
Elizabeth Worthington, posing as a circus fortune teller to escape the influential
men who killed her grandfather back in Savannah and want to make sure she doesn’t
live to tell what she saw. In the meantime, she’s up to her ears in new trouble and
must rely on Gabe and the Kincaids to help her.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Wow, this is a hard question. Each author, in my opinion,
has a distinct voice and style that creates a particular difference from other
writers. When I follow authors, it’s because of that voice. Other than that,
all of my historical romance novels include murder and/or mayhem. They’re
romances with mystery. The only exception is the novella HAPPY IS THE BRIDE,
which is a wedding comedy of errors, written because my editor at the time
wanted an historic wedding resembling “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” I don’t
like that show, but I do like HAPPY IS THE BRIDE.
Why do I write what I write?
I write the type books I enjoy reading. Well, I enjoy other
type such as Regency and World War II settings, but I haven’t written one of those—yet. I believe my love
of western history began because my dad used to tell stories of his family
after they came from Georgia to Texas in 1876. I loved those stories and never
tired of hearing them. When you place your ancestors in historical settings,
the history comes alive. That’s what happened for me. I absorbed a lot of Texas
history for the last quarter of the 19th century. That led me to
research more and more. Now I feel comfortable writing about that era, but I’m still
learning new things about that time. My first historical romance was THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE.
How does my writing process work?
First, I see an inciting incident in my head as if I were
watching a movie. A lot of writers have this experience, by the way, so don’t
call the men in white coats yet. The part I see shows the main characters, but
it’s not always the first of the book. Sometimes, it gets moved as far as
chapter three, but it’s always near the front. I use names from the time period
in which the story is set, sometimes ancestral names so I can be certain they
were around at the time. For instance, Cenora Rose from THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE
and Parmelia Bailey from LONG WAY HOME are family names. Writing a book takes
me about three or months—unless life interferes. For my last two books, life played
havoc with my schedule. I do plot my works, but also allow myself to deviate
from my plot if my muse takes over and wants to include something new. The plot
is like a roadmap, and I can take side trips but come back to the main highway.
I write full time, from six to twelve hours a day. Unfortunately, that time
includes marketing, which steals a lot of writing time. But I want readers to
buy my books, so the marketing is necessary. I would write even if no one
bought my books, but I’d much rather readers read my books and enjoy them. And
leave reviews on Amazon. Reviews are important to an author.
Jacquie instructed me
to find three authors to follow me with posts next week.
Mary Alice Adair writes historical romance with
Cherokee and English characters, PASSION'S VISION is the first of her Passion series. Mary used to be one of my critique partners,
but she and her husband moved from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to the
Cherokee area of Eastern Oklahoma. She has researched the Cherokee in colonial
times and has become an authority on their lifestyle. For her research, she
used a book written by her husband’s ancestor, James Adair, which is the
definitive work of the time. Her blog is at http://www.authormaryadair.blogspot.com/
Carra Copelin writes contemporary romance with
suspense elements. She and her husband live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
She is writing the Code series, the first of which is CODE OF HONOR. Carra is
one of my critique partners who keeps me on the writing path. She also
researches her books with care for detail. She’s President of the Yellow Rose
Chapter of Romance Writers of America. Find her at http://carracopelin.com/blog.html
Anna Jeffrey writes contemporary romance and steamy
women’s fiction. Anna also is half the team of the Dixie Cash books. Yes, she
is fun to talk to, much like the Dixie Cash books are to read. But her Anna
Jeffrey books are great reads. Her latest is THE TYCOON, the steamy first of her
Sons of Texas series. Her West Texas series and Idaho series are not to be
missed. Find her at http://annajeffreyauthor.wordpress.com/