Monday, June 30, 2014

Jacquie Rogers

                                                      Please welcome, Jacquie Rogers.

Jacquie Rogers is a former software designer, campaign manager, deli clerk, and cow milker.  She grew up on a dairy farm outside of Homedale, Idaho, in Owyhee County and rode horseback all over the hills where her Hearts of Owyhee series is set, encountering adventures both real and imagined.  She also writes for the Wolf Creek series under the house name of Ford Fargo, and pens short stories for both Prairie Rose Publications and Western Fictioneers.  She currently lives in Seattle with her IT Guy.  Their home is ruled by The Cat Annie, a feral rescue, who enjoys tromping on the keyboard in the midst of action or love scenes.  Jacquie is a member of Romance Writers of America and Western Fictioneers, teaches classes in both writing craft and research topics.

 


Pickle Barrel Gazette: http://eepurl.com/qhA_1






 

INTERVIEW

 

 

What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done? 

 

Jacquie: White water rafting on the Salmon River near Stanley, Idaho.  It was the first trip of the season for the rafting guides, and the water ran high—the rapids were right at the limit.  Our trip went so quickly because of the fast water, they offered to take us down the river again, which we enthusiastically accepted.  “Wet trip or dry trip?” the boatman joked.  Didn’t matter, because we got the wet trip.  “Climb the high side!” the boatman yelled just as she took a dunking.  In the midst of high rapids called Piece of Cake, my husband righted the boat, then fished me, the oars, and the boatman out of the water.  It was a blast!

 

What adventure would you like to have that you haven’t done yet if money and skill were no problem?

 

Jacquie: I’d like to go on an African safari.

 

Who are some of your favorite authors?  What commonality do you see in them? 

 

Jacquie: I don’t see any commonality with any other author’s writing or style, but I do have many, many must-read authors.  Because I’m name-challenged and because I’d forget someone, I’ll just say that Mary Renault’s books captivated me in college and I’ve read all of them except the last one, which I keep saving because she passed away and I know there aren’t any more.

 

I believe color says something about a person’s personality.  What’s your favorite color?

 

Jacquie: I like a rainbow of colors—love colorful things but especially the primary colors.  I guess if I have to pick just one, it would be red.

 

If you could have a do-over life, what one thing would you do differently?  What would you do again?

 

Jacquie: Continue competitive shooting and not cut off my career that I didn’t know I had (very na├»ve then) as a professional photographer.  I’d do both of those things again.

 

What is your writing process from conception to finished MS?

 

Jacquie: It’s different for every book and short story.  Every time I think I have this gig figured out, the next story throws me a curve.  The one consistency is that I have to know the characters front to finish before I start writing.  I start out with a picture in my mind of a scenario with one character, and I develop from there.  First thing is to get to know that character, then learn about the other characters that come along with that one, especially the other protagonist.  Then I do the same thing with the villain.  Autobiographies and life calendars help.  After that, I map out the bones of the story. 

 

Sometimes I plot more than other times—at no time have I ever followed this, but I have to have a destination.  Then it’s grind, grind, grind—stopping and starting again.  The key is to keep at it.  It ain’t easy.  After the first draft is done, I listen to it on my Kindle using text-to-speech, then send to my beta readers.  I make corrections, then submit to my editor.

 

Are you a planner, pantser or both?

 

Jacquie: Yes.  Sometimes I plan, sometimes I fly by the seat of my pants, sometimes it’s a mixture of both.

 

How did you research for your book?

 

Jacquie:  Not sure how to answer this.  I use a variety of sources.  Google is my friend.  But speaking of friends, I have a bunch of them that are in the know and can either answer my questions or send me to the source.  For Silver City and Owyhee County (Idaho) where most of my stories are set, I use the Idaho State Archives, The Owyhee Avalanche, local lore, and I also spend time there.

 

What is your all-time favorite movie?  TV show?

 

Jacquie: I love musicals: Mamma Mia, Music Man, Wizard of Oz all come to mind.  I also love westerns—The Apple Dumpling Gang, Broken Trail, Lonesome Dove, and Shanghai Noon.  And a couple dozen more.  TV?  Haven’t watched it for years because I can’t abide the commercials, but I did watch Firefly on DVD and loved it.  Mostly, I watch Mariners baseball and that’s it.  I’m in my office writing or marketing.

 

How important do feel writing workshops are to any writer?

 

Jacquie: When I started writing, I attended a bazillion workshops and they were very beneficial.  The most important thing I learned was that my process is my own—but my process evolved from learning how others create stories.  Take what you need and store the rest for later.

 

If you could learn one new skill, fear and money no deterrent, what would it be?

 

Jacquie:  What a hard question!  The reason it’s hard is because there are so many things I’d like to do.  My deterrent is generally not fear, oftentimes money, but nearly always ability.  For instance, I’d love to play the piano well, but I don’t have the coordination.  I always wanted to play the tuba—never tried it. Would love to paint.  Many of my family members are beautiful artists, but I can’t draw a stick man.  The talent gene seems to have passed me by.

 

If you had a million dollars to donate to any one charity, what would it be?

 

Jacquie: Children’s Tumor Foundation, Ending Neurofibromatosis Through Research.  http://www.ctf.org My oldest daughter has NF1 by spontaneous mutation (1/3 of all new cases are spontaneous mutation) but all children have a 50% chance of inheriting the disorder.  In our case, both her daughters also have NF1.  It’s a wicked disorder—disfiguring can be life-threatening.  It also causes learning difficulties and emotional issues.  Most doctors are pathetically misinformed about neurofibromatosis even though the information is readily available, so recommended treatment plans go unheeded.  See my page of NF heroes: http://jacquierogers.com/faerysr_nf.html

 

What advice would you like to give to an aspiring writer?

 

Jacquie: Be yourself and let down your hair.  You have to be bold and not worry about whether others will like your work.  Do you like it?  Then you’ve succeeded.

 

Did anyone mentor you or help you along the way?  Please tell us about your mentor and what you feel they contributed to your writing career.

 

Jacquie: A whole slew of people!  I have a wonderful critique group—Sherry Walker, Wendy Delaney, and Ann Charles.  Stella Cameron and Karen Harbaugh were strong influences and helped me a lot, as did Gerri Russell, Judith Laik, Eilis Flynn, and Heather Hiestand.  There are a bunch more that I could list.

 

What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?

 

Jacquie: Listen to advice and save it for later.

 

If you could live anywhere in the world you wanted to, where would it be? (Language is no barrier)

 

Jacquie: French Polynesia sounds good.  I visited Guam and loved it—my tropical island girl’s heart wars with my country girl’s heart. 

 

Where do you write? 

 

Jacquie: Mostly in my office.  I’m not all that portable of a writer because I need a 55” monitor.  They don’t make laptops with 55” monitors.

 

How much time do you devote to writing each week?  Do you have a day every week that you take off?

 

Jacquie: I write whenever I have a chance, and my publishing schedule this year doesn’t allow for many days off.  Some days I write an hour, some days I write 20 hours.  I don’t have a writing schedule, but the closer to deadline it is, the more hours I put in.  Yes, I should plan that better.

 

What is a genre that you have not attempted that you would like to try?

 

Jacquie: YA fantasy.  I have the beginning of one book but haven’t been able to get back to it because of my other commitments.

 

Is there anything you would like readers to know about you?

 

Jacquie: A lot of my stories come from family experience in Owyhee County.  I grew up on a dairy farm but I sure wanted it to be a ranch instead.  We bulldogged, rode our horses all over the place, and in general had a good time between chores that would be illegal for us to do today—bucking bales, loading grain trucks, etc.  I learned to cook and shoot before I went to first grade and to drive when I was eight.  Life sure is different in the city!

 

Thank you so much for hosting me on The Romance Room blog today, Sarah.  For visitors, I’d like to give one commenter a copy of Sleight of Heart, a fun book featuring Burke O’Shaughnessy, a happy-go-lucky gambler, and Lexie Campbell, a by-the-book spinster.  Both have to find Burke’s elusive brother.  Neither are happy that the other is tagging along.  The book is set in 1883 Colorado, mostly on the trains.

 

Eilis Flynn, author of Static Shock, wrote: ”I have a weakness for clever. Clever story, clever situation, clever characters. And if it’s in the form of a romance? Love it. I knew I was going to like this pretty much from when I read the situation: Misinterpreted situations, good intentions, characters who aren’t who they say they are – it’s downright Shakespearean, if you think of it. Anyway, Jacquie Rogers has come up with a winner!”

---

 


Sleight of Heart

by Jacquie Rogers


 

Log line: A gambler, a spinster, and a fortune!

 

Blurb:

Sleight of hand? or Sleight of Heart?

 

A Straight-Laced Spinster

Lexie Campbell, more comfortable with neat and tidy numbers than messy emotions, is determined find the sharper who ruined her little sister and make him marry her. When his lookalike brother Burke appears, she greets him with a rifle and forces him to help her. Can she resist his magic charm?

 

A Gambler With Magic Hands

To claim the family fortune, smooth-dealing Burke O'Shaughnessy has to find his brother Patrick, despite being saddled with an angry spinster. But when Lexie shows an astounding talent for counting cards and calculating odds, he figures she might be useful after all. Can he draw the queen of hearts?

 

"... a fun and fast paced read with a charming and sexy hero!" ~Jennifer Haddad

 

Excerpt:

Sleight of Heart

Copyright © 2013 Jacquie Rogers

 

Burke gathered her to his chest.  His hardness pressed against her thigh and she yearned to touch his flesh, to feel what a woman should feel.  But no, only a wanton woman would consider letting a man of his profession take such liberties.  She had to admit, she did consider. 

He nuzzled her neck.  “Lexie-girl, let me love you.” 

Her breath caught as she briefly considered letting him have his way with her, but then she came to her senses.  “I hardly equate taking unwanted liberties with love,” she said aloud.  Her outward righteous indignation didn’t match her inner yearning.  In fact, nothing she’d ever felt could match her desire for Burke’s closeness.  She wanted more.  Much, much more.

“Just a kiss, Lexie-girl.”  His husky voice sent a thrill through her.  Her!  Alexandra Campbell, the pathetic girl who had kept track of her classmates by assigning them numbers since she could never remember their names.  And they all made fun of her brains, when they weren’t ignoring her.  Who could forget the disastrous date with number fifty-seven?

Burke nipped at her ear, bringing her into the present.  Her throat tightened and she felt warm all over.

“Look at me, Lexie.”

Under no circumstances could she let him know how pleased she was that a man who could lie with nearly any woman he wanted would pick her.  “I can’t, you lummox.  You’re lying on my hair.”  She sniffed most righteously, hoping her desire for him didn’t show.  “Kindly let me rise, good sir.”

He sat up and groaned, whether from a hangover or his injuries, she couldn’t speculate.  Nor did she have a chance to inquire, for in the next moment his body covered her and he touched her lips with his.

“Maybe you should find out just how good I really am.”  His voice rumbled low and sensuous.

 
Remember, to win this book, you must leave a comment along with your email address.


 


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Interview With TANYA HANSON


                                                   TANYA HANSON

After a career as a high school English teacher, Tanya Hanson writes both inspirational and secular Western romances. A native Californian, she thanks God daily for the blessings of good health, a happy home, and exciting travels.   Two little grandsons, the movie Frozen, and volunteering at the local horse rescue are her most favorite things!
Tanya Hanson Author, http://tinyurl.com/ak5xqb5

INTERVIEW

What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?  
Riding on a giant snow coach across the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper, Albert. Breathtaking! And it was my birthday to boot.

What adventure would you like to have that you haven’t done yet if money and skill were no problem?
A “gentleman’s” safari to see the animals in Africa.

Who are some of your favorite authors?  What commonality do you see in them?  
Nathanial Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau. Well, Concord Writers. I fell in love with Alcott as a child and the others during my career teaching American Literature.

I believe color says something about a person’s personality.  What’s your favorite color? Although I wear a lot of gray and black (yea, I know, very funereal)...I like yellow and coral and did brighten up my spring-summer wardrobe. In the house, we go for fall colors in our decor.

If you could have a do-over life, what one thing would you do differently?  What would you do again?
I might have gone to a different college, maybe one that excelled in writing programs like the University of Iowa. Otherwise, I’m pretty content.

What is your writing process from conception to finished MS?  
I start at the beginning and write in order. I don’t write scenes willy nilly. Things just seem to come together. I think teaching literature for so long helped me with organization, maybe subconsciously.

Are you a planner, panster or both? 
I am both, but there’s got to be a master plan or you’re wasting your time. I have a good idea where the story will go, but I don’t use a formal outline or “storyboard” or anything. With every book, there are changes along the way that I didn’t foresee--sudden inspirations or characters “talking” to me about taking a different direction.

How did you research for your book? 
My upcoming Christmas novella for The Wild Rose Press is set in Oahu, Hawaii. Yes, The Christmas Room is a historical Western! There is quite the cowboy (paniolo) culture in Hawaii...and I have visited the islands a lot. I used official internet sources as well as a great book on Hawaii’s past that I found in the airport on a recent trip.

What is your all-time favorite movie?  TV show? 
Oh, no question. Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. I’ve visited Paramount Ranch where it was filmed and still “feel” it.

How important do feel writing workshops are to any writer? 
I learned everything I know about romance from RWA workshops. They are essential.

If you could learn one new skill, fear and money no deterrent, what would it be? 
I’d like to be bilingual, really expert in another language. Maybe Russian or Farsi.

If you had a million dollars to donate to any one charity, what would it be? 
The horse rescue where I volunteer.

What advice would you like to give to an aspiring writer? 
Don’t ever give up, and cry only one day after a rejection. But... be a realist, too. Most of us will never win RITA’s or tear up the best-seller charts, or get on Oprah. Write because it’s part of you. Because you can’t stop.

Did anyone mentor you or help you along the way?  Please tell us about your mentor and what you feel they contributed to your writing career. 
Charlene Sands,  renowned Western, best-selling romance author, is my guru. We met at an RWA chapter meeting, and she has always set me straight as a critique partner and friend.

What is the best advice anyone ever gave you? 
Charlene told me to start my first-ever manuscript in a different place. I did so, entered a contest, and got a publishing contract.

If you could live anywhere in the world you wanted to, where would it be? (Language is no barrier) 
Colorado!

Where do you write?  
I have my own writing room. It was my son’s bedroom before he went off to college. Now he’s got his own home and little boy.

How much time do you devote to writing each week?  Do you have a day every week that you take off? 
My husband is retired from the fire department, so I have got to be flexible. He let me “retire” from teaching long before retirement-age so I could try to be a writer, and I owe him LOL.  Right now, we are home after a trip to Oahu, so I am way behind with everything from gardening and laundry to writing and blogging.  Next up is a middle-grade story, for kids ages 9-12. I think I’m attracted to that age level at present because my grandson is going on eight.

What is a genre that you have not attempted that you would like to try? 
The middle grade, see above. My editor has great faith in me and loves the premise of the story. “My dog does magic....”

 Is there anything you would like readers to know about you?  
Nah, I’m pretty boring LOL. Thanks, Sarah, for letting me spend time with you and your readers!






Tagline
A beautiful attorney widowed by a foolhardy man...a successful builder vanquishing guilt over his wife's death. Can they rebuild faith and find love enough to give each other and their kids a happy home together?

Blurb: 
Sixteen months since the foolish death of her husband, attorney Rachel Martin aches to move on as much as she fears the future. Cutting back on her practice and moving back to her childhood ranch means her three-year old son has all the attention he needs. Finding love again is the last thing on her mind...until she meets Brayton Metcalf.

After ten year’s of self-blame for his wife's death in a plane crash, successful businessman Brayton Metcalf is instantly drawn to Rachel when he brings his his daughter to Hearts Crossing Ranch for therapy riding lessons. But Rachel backs off at his impetuous personality. He whittles away at her doubts...until he jumps head-fist into a business decision that will affect her family. Rachel, her trust in Brayton endangered, turns to trusting in God. Can the couple’s shared grief and guilt permit them to see daylight once again?

Excerpt: 
In a flash, Addie took off to the corral, crooning to Peachy and holding out a flat palm studded with carrots. Rachel couldn’t help noticing that Addie’s posture appeared perfect, her gait secure, her back strong. Her feet sure as she scrambled away from her dad.
“Sorry about that.” Brayton’s color had returned to normal, but his jaw tensed. “She and I don’t get along very well. And it’s been worse lately. We moved here last summer, and she wasn’t crazy about leaving California.”
“It’s OK.” Rachel laid a hand on his arm. “My ma raised three girls and five boys. Says if you don’t get a girl at some point, you really haven’t experienced parenthood.”
Brayton barked out a short laugh.
“And pre-teenage angst can be pretty bad. I dished out plenty in my day. Just ask Ma.” Rachel wanted to ease Brayton’s embarrassment, but he raised bleak eyes to her. The toes of his boots rustled up some dust as his feet moved restlessly.
He sighed, deep. “It’s not just that. She misses having a mother. She blames me for her mom’s death.” He rustled his boots. “And she’s right.”

BUY LINKS:


Saturday, June 28, 2014

INTERVIEW With KATHLEEN RICE ADAMS



                                           
 KATHLEEN RICE ADAMS

Howdy, y'all!

That's Texan for "welcome to my home on the range" ...er, web. Yep, I'm Texan to the bone -- which isn't a bad thing. Texans are tough and determined, but we're also downright friendly. Most of us have never met a stranger, and we're always willin' to help out or offer a weary traveler a nice, tall glass of sweet iced tea.

Pardon me for not waving, but as usual I'm glued to my laptop, typing away on one manuscript or another. When I'm not roughhousing with the people in my head, I'm a professional journalist, history buff, animal lover (there's always at least one dog underfoot), and an irredeemable rabble-rouser.
LINKS:
TWITTER
FACEBOOK
WEBSITE


INTERVIEW QUESTIONS


What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
Getting up every day is an adventure for me.   :-D   I did take a ride in a hot-air balloon once, which I thought was fairly adventurous for someone who’s afraid of heights.

What adventure would you like to have that you haven’t done yet if money and skill were no problem?
I tend to take adventures as they come. Almost anything—even the mundane or seemingly tedious—can be an adventure, if one approaches it with an open mind, curiosity, and a willingness to learn. Look behind the obvious. Chances are there’s an adventure back there just waiting to happen.

Who are some of your favorite authors?  What commonality do you see in them?
Oh, lord. I enjoy so many different authors with wildly divergent styles, themes, genres, and voices: Zane Grey, Benjamin Capps, Larry McMurtry, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, Alexandre Dumas, Piers Anthony, Douglas Adams, Noel Coward (playwright), Robert Frost (poet)… Those are just the classics off the top of my head; the list could go on forever. I enjoy and admire a whole slew of contemporary authors, as well.

Commonalities? Hm. If I had to guess, I’d say what fascinates me about their work is the way in which they explored themes and Big Questions about the essential nature of man.

I believe color says something about a person’s personality.  What’s your favorite color?
My favorite color depends on the mood I’m in. I gravitate toward the vivid and generally don’t care much for pastels. In some cases, black and white can be more expressive than any color separated from the spectrum.

If you could have a do-over life, what one thing would you do differently?  What would you do again?
There are many things I’d do again. As for what I’d do differently? I’d have given up the kind of fear that encourages so many of us to live conservatively in order to secure a future: fear of failure, of public ridicule or disapproval, of losing physical treasure. That kind of fear actually produces more regrets than it prevents.  J

What is your writing process from conception to finished MS?
Wait… We’re supposed to have a process? Somebody should have told me this earlier.

Honestly, I think “process” has become one of those buzzwords that obscures the joy of doing something one loves. Writing is an adventure. It can be messy, frustrating, shocking, frightening, and a whole host of other negative descriptors. It also can be joyous, mysterious, and liberating. Why try to boil creativity down into something as limiting as “process”?

Each of us attacks a story in his or her own inimitable way. I think sometimes we do more harm than good by trying to fit creativity into some tidy, preconceived, one-size-fits-all mold. Give yourself permission to say what you want to say without worrying how the message will emerge or how whatever emerges will be received. Follow the story wherever it leads in any way that makes sense to you.

Are you a planner, panster or both?
I’m one of those annoying hybrids who does both. I always know the ultimate resolution before I start writing. I don’t always know where a novel will begin (So many options arise from the backstory!), and I seldom have any idea what will happen in the vast middle that flummoxes so many of us.

Generally speaking, once I’m several chapters in, I see a vague path from Alpha to Omega, but I’ve learned never to set anything in stone because that’s the best way to find myself under a whole pile of those notorious writer’s blocks. For me, flexibility is enormously important. Every detail along the path from beginning to ending is subject to change or even deletion, but the heart of the story—the essential theme—remains the same.



What is your all-time favorite movie?  TV show?
TV shows: Wild, Wild West. Hell on Wheels. Boston Legal. Murphy Brown. The West Wing.

Favorite movie is a tougher call. I’d have to put Gone with the Wind in there, along with Fried Green Tomatoes, High Plains Drifter, and Memento.

How important do you feel writing workshops are to any writer? I believe in education of all kinds. Workshops can be incredibly helpful for writers, especially when they’re just starting out.
I agree—but I also believe education can be overdone to the point it’s counterproductive. There are so many educational opportunities for writers these days, all of them endorsing different methods for attacking the core issue: telling a story.

Every writer needs basic education in the elements of story and mechanical aspects like spelling, punctuation, and grammar. By all means, writers should explore different techniques for accomplishing the aspects of storytelling with which they struggle. Some techniques may be helpful for some people; no one technique is helpful for everyone. Participating in an endless series of classes and workshops hoping to find the holy grail of storytelling? That way lies madness.

If you could learn one new skill, fear and money no deterrent, what would it be?
According to two RWA-chapter writing contest judges several years ago, what I need to learn is basic English skills and Texas topography. No joke: One judge advised me to take a remedial English class, and the other told me I needed to visit Texas because obviously I have no clue what the state looks like.

Because I try not to ignore good advice, I just may take them up on that.  ;-)



What advice would you like to give to an aspiring writer?
Never give up, and don’t listen to well-meaning advice meant to change something essential about your vision. No matter how good critique partners, editors, agents, teachers, and others are, none of them has as elemental a connection with your stories as you do. All of us—even those who edit—can use help with spelling, grammar, punctuation, repetitive word use, and the other technical aspects of writing. No matter how professional or how experienced, everyone makes mistakes in those areas from time to time.

Deeper elements of storytelling—plot, voice, characterization, symbolism, and the other artistic elements of story—may be highly stylized or plain and straightforward, but those aspects are where art resides in a writer’s work. No one but the writer can make those decisions. If someone else offers advice in those areas, consider it, but don’t let someone else’s opinion make your story into something you never intended for it to become.

Everyone has an opinion. Don’t ever let anyone convince you theirs is more valuable, more “proper,” or more commercial than yours.



What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?
About writing? Four things:

1) Just tell the story.

2) Love is what happens to two people on their way to do something else.

3) Trust the reader.

4) Resist the urge to explain.

If you could live anywhere in the world you wanted to, where would it be? (Language is no barrier)
I’ve lived all over the place; visited several foreign countries and all but a handful of U.S. states. My favorite place always seems to be the place I’m in at the moment. That said, even though I spent most of my formative years outside Texas, I’ve always had a soul-deep connection to the Lone Star State.

I wouldn’t change the vagabond life I lived for most of my [censored] years, because it broadened my horizons, exposed me to things and people and ideas I otherwise might not have encountered, and taught me tolerance. No matter how different we may seem on the outside, most human beings are remarkably similar deep inside, where it counts.

Where do you write?
I have a small, but beloved, home office that began life as a porch but somewhere between 1915 and 2000 was converted into a tiny solarium. One wall is windows overlooking a small, jungle-like backyard; two of the other three walls retain the exterior wooden siding original to the house. The hardwood floor tilts a bit toward the yard, as most porches do, and the space tends to be too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer because it isn’t insulated like rooms usually are and has no air conditioning, but I love bringing the outdoors in through those windows, and the exterior-inside walls inspire me.

How much time do you devote to writing each week?  Do you have a day every week that you take off?
My day job involves writing. I write something every day, whether or not I want to. I try to write at least a sentence or two on one fiction project or another every day, although I’m not always successful. Even when I’m not putting words on a page, though, I’m always working on stories in my head. Sometimes, that’s the best kind of writing. When you’re “stuck,” go do something—anything—else that will free your mind from whatever trap it’s wandered into, and odds are the roadblock will dissolve on its own.

What is a genre that you have not attempted that you would like to try?
Steampunk/weird west. Actually, I have a story on the drawing board that I’m itching to get into. It’s a weird west alternate history about the Texas Revolution. We’ll see if it pans out.

Is there anything you would like readers to know about you?
Honestly, the things readers don’t already know about me are probably best left unknown—mostly because I don’t know them myself. I try to be a WYSIWYG person: What you see is what you get. I learned a long time ago that it’s easier to be the same person all the time. No pretense, no artifice, no hiding behind a different mask depending upon the crowd. Those, and stealing, are things that annoy the living daylights out of me in other people.

Whether or not some folks realize it, most humans have an innate ability to see through fakes. We may not be able to articulate what makes us uncomfortable about another person, but a niggling suspicion in our gut says something’s not quite right. Always go with your gut. It’s seldom wrong. Where we get the “gut response” incorrect sometimes is when we misinterpret what our gut is trying to tell us.





“Making Peace” appears in the Prairie Rose Publications anthology Cowboy Cravings: Four spicy tales of love on the frontier put the “wild” in Wild West.


Excerpt:

Making Peace

July 1865, the Texas Crescent

Keeping to the shadows on the porch, Maggie Fannin peeled back the shotgun’s twin hammers and hauled the weapon to her shoulder. She didn’t need to aim. Simply pointing two barrels in the general direction of the Johnny Reb slumped astride a gaunt blood-bay would blast him clean out of the saddle if she pulled the triggers.

And she would do it, if he came any closer. “Hold up right there, mister. What business you got here?”

Head hanging, the horse let loose a long blow saturated with fatigue. Maggie couldn’t see much of the rider’s face with his stained slouch hat pulled low like it was, but the dust coating both him and the gelding said neither had seen rest—or a bath—in a long while.

“Expecting trouble?” The grate that trailed from beneath the hat’s brim bore equal measures of Southern grace and exhaustion.

She adjusted her grip on the gun. “It don’t hurt to be careful.”

The Reb must’ve been some kind of officer, judging by the shabby braid encircling his hat and crawling up the cuffs of his tattered shell jacket. A sheathed saber at his side rattled when he freed his boots from the stirrups with a halfhearted kick and slid from the McClellan saddle. He dropped the reins over the horse’s head, and then clutched a fistful of mane to steady himself.

Muscles aching under the shotgun’s weight, Maggie reoriented her aim. Except for the saber and a knife peeking from one knee-high boot, the stranger wore no weapons. Saddle holsters held a carbine and a pistol. He didn’t seem inclined to reach for either, but she mustn’t drop her guard. Too many dispossessed graybacks, poor as dirt and looking for trouble, had drifted through in the months since the Confederacy surrendered. A woman alone on a rundown homestead made easy prey.

The dilapidated cabin might crumble around her ears, but never again would someone chase her from her home. “I don’t remember invitin’ you to step foot on my property.”

Your property?” The Reb shoved away from the horse. A boot met the lowest porch step with a thud. Slinging a gauntleted grip around the handrail for support, he pulled off his hat and ran a faded sleeve across his brow. Ragged brown hair, graying at the temples, spilled across sallow skin and hung limp beside hollow cheeks glistening with sweat.

His gaze traveled the length of the shotgun’s barrels until the most startling blue eyes she’d ever seen fixed her with an unsteady stare. “You out here all by yourself?”

Maggie fought her trembling arms to keep the gun level. “That ain’t none of your business.”

The Reb cast a glance over the cabin and the surrounding brush. Tall grass, already seared brown at the tips by the summer sun’s relentless glare, waved in the slight breeze. The man swayed, as though the wind blew him, too. “You’re on Collier land. How long have you been here?”

“Long enough.”

“How long?” The growl behind the words set her pulse bounding even as the Reb’s face contorted, and a sharp hiss snaked between teeth set on edge. His battered hat tumbled to the ground when his hand rose to grip his temples between thumb and fingertips.

My God. He’s sick, and no tellin’ with what. The gunstock slipped, dropping the barrels an inch. “You need to leave, mister. Right now. Or I will shoot you.”

The shaggy head rose and a fever-bright gaze captured her with a plea wrapped in a challenge. “Then pull the triggers.”

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Friday, June 27, 2014

TRACY GARRETT INTERVIEW


Tracy Garrett ~ Biography
Award-winning multi-published author Tracy Garrett has always loved to disappear into the pages of a book. An accomplished musician, Tracy merged her need for creativity, love of history, and passion for reading when she began writing western historical romance. First published in 2007, Tracy joined the Prairie Rose Publications in its inaugural anthology in 2013. She is a regular blogger on Petticoats and Pistols. Tracy resides in Missouri with her husband and their fuzzy kid, Wrigley. Find out more about Tracy and her books at www.TracyGarrett.com.


INTERVIEW

What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done? 
I’ve had all kinds of “adventures” in the 33 years my dh and I have been married. My mother would tell you its all his fault! lol  I learned to snow ski, tried water skiing (unsuccessfully), got certified to skipper a 50’ sailboat, learned to snorkel… Lately, we’ve taken up Cowboy Action Shooting, where we dress in clothing from the 1800s and shoot at steel targets. We have a blast and we’ve made some wonderful new friends.
What adventure would you like to have that you haven’t done yet if money and skill were no problem?
I want to ride in a race car! I don’t care to drive—I want to sit in front while we go faster than I’ve ever been, digging into turns and sliding up close to the wall. Someday…
Who are some of your favorite authors?  What commonality do you see in them? 
Nora Roberts, Christine Feehan, Lorraine Heath, Jo Davis, Addison Fox, Sarah MacLean—I could go on. They all create characters that are so real, I have to know what happens to them. Some of them I hate to leave behind when the book ends.
I believe color says something about a person’s personality.  What’s your favorite color?
Green—a deep, rich, teal.
If you could have a do-over life, what one thing would you do differently?  What would you do again?
I wouldn’t let myself gain the “freshman fifteen” pounds! As for the rest, I’d do it all again. I like where my life is, where I’ve been, what I’ve experienced.
What is your writing process from conception to finished MS?
I usually have the characters in mind first, and the major conflict—what’s keeping them apart. And I have a good idea how the final scene will go. Then I start writing and let them tell the story. I do a lot of revising and layering as the story unfolds and I get to know the characters better, of course, but the process works for me.
Are you a planner, panster or both?
I’m a pantser. I’ve tried plotting and I get so twisted up, I can’t make any progress. It isn’t worth the grief. I just write, rewrite, and repeat.
How did you research for your book?
The stories in Lassoing a Bride and Lassoing a Groom are set in River’s Bend, Missouri, a town I created on the far western edge of the state. I had to do some research on medicine and doctors in the 1850s for Lassoing a Bride; and on immigration through that area, particularly settlers from Germany, for both books. I love research!
What is your all-time favorite TV show?
Star Trek:  Next Generation (Bet you expected Gunsmoke or Bonanza—both of which I loved, too.)
How important do feel writing workshops are to any writer?
Vital! I always learn something from my colleagues. As a newbie, workshops helped me sort out where I was as a writer and what came next. As a published author, they’ve kept me in touch with an industry that is changing at light-speed.
If you could learn one new skill, fear and money no deterrent, what would it be?
To paint. I see something beautiful and I want to capture that image. My grandmother was a painter, but that skill seemed to skip me.
If you had a million dollars to donate to any one charity, what would it be?
Probably one of the groups in my community who help with food, rent, medical bills, etc. Life is tough and getting tougher for so many people. These people help make life a little bit easier and I want to help them keep doing it.
What advice would you like to give to an aspiring writer?
Never give up. If you want to write, do it, but learn your craft like a flutist learns to play or a painter to paint. Write every day, even if you don’t ever show it to anyone. Every word will make you a better writer.
Did anyone mentor you or help you along the way?  Please tell us about your mentor and what you feel they contributed to your writing career.
I’ve had several mentors, amazing, generous writers who read my early work, gave advice, told me when things stunk and when things worked. And helped me learn when to take advice and when to stick with my own vision. I absolutely wouldn’t be where I am without them.
What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Just write! Don’t worry about word count, about who’s going to buy it or read it. Just put words on paper.
If you could live anywhere in the world you wanted to, where would it be? (Language is no barrier)
On a small island in the Caribbean. I love sea air and salt water.
Where do you write? 
Anywhere, really. Mostly in my living room looking at the lake or in my writing cave—aka my office—where I have a large monitor and fewer distractions… like looking at the lake.
How much time do you devote to writing each week?  Do you have a day every week that you take off?
When I’m working on a book, I try to write 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week. The weekends are for my family. Unless I’m on deadline, then I write every spare moment.
What is a genre that you have not attempted that you would like to try?
Young Adult. I have a contemporary/paranormal story idea that I’ve started on a couple of times, but it hasn’t come together yet. But it will someday.
Is there anything you would like readers to know about you?
Besides being a published author, I’m a musician, too. I have the degrees to prove it! lol  I love music—making it, listening to it, discussing it… Music feeds my soul.
CONTEST!! Tracy will be giving away a digital copy of LASSOING A BRIDE to a commenter. Be sure to include your email address in your comment for a chance to win.


Lassoing a BrideNo Less Than Forever


Love always finds a way…

Doctor Franz Bittner is satisfied with his life as it is. He has a good practice in a place where he is respected, in spite of his German birth. He has good friends and enough income to provide with him a few comforts. A wife would only complicate things. Then a tiny blond stranger is pulled from the river and everything changes. With one smile she captures his attention—and steals his heart.

Rebekah Snow Redmann barely survived her abusive husband’s attack. Though she was given to him to pay her father’s debts, she’d rather die than go back.  Then she ends up in the care of the handsome local doctor and he stitches up more than her wounds—he mends her soul. With him, she discovers everything that she believes she can never have...a love that will last forever.

Excerpt
Rebekah Snow Redmann watched the hint of light outside the window blossom into a new day. For the first time in nearly four years, she didn’t have to hurry from bed before Reginald woke. No matter how many times he forced her to lie down beside him, she couldn’t stand bathing and dressing where he could see.
Smiling at the freedom, she stretched, only to cry out at the pain.
“Miss Snow, what is it?”
The doctor knocked once and strode into the room. His white shirt and dark blue vest looked fresh and clean, though she knew he’d been in and out of her room the whole night. The vest emphasized his broad shoulders and drew her eye to his trim waist. His dark brown hair was clean and combed away from his face, emphasizing his blade-straight nose and eyes the shade of chocolate. His mustache brushed his upper lip and curled around his mouth, making her wonder if it was a soft as it looked.
Self-conscious of her own appearance, Rebekah tugged the covers up to her chin and looked away. “I stretched my legs and arms. I guess I moved too much.”
Rebekah felt his hum of sympathy reverberate through her body. When was the last time anyone cared that she hurt?




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