Monday, December 31, 2012

My Journey to Self-Publishing and a reflection on 2012

Great Fountain Geyser at sunset


I can’t believe another year has flown by! 2012 has certainly been a life-changing year for me. On New Year’s Eve of 2011, I nervously sat in front of the computer, staring at the “publish” button on Amazon’s KDP dashboard. When I finally depressed the key, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I had no idea what to do from there. My first book, Yellowstone Heart Song, was now available to anyone who would want to read a story about a woman who time traveled to the past and met the love of her life in a mountain man raised in the wilderness. Who would want to read a romance book that had Yellowstone National Park as it was 200 years ago as the backdrop for the story? Yellowstone was my passion, my love since my first visit to the park in 1986. I didn’t think anyone would be interested in reading such a story.

Yellowstone Heart Song was an idea I had while allowing my mind to wander on a long drive home from Yellowstone during the summer of 2009. I had asked my boss and very good friend to take a week-long camping trip with me since my husband was committed that summer to lead a boyscout troop on a backpacking trip into the High Sierras. My husband didn’t take me very seriously at first when I told him of my plans to go to Yellowstone on my own; just me and another woman who had very minimal experience in camping.  That made me even more determined to prove him wrong, and off we went. It was a great trip for Diana and me, I proved that I was capable of pitching a tent and starting a campfire and even cooking a meal over it, and that two women could go hiking without getting lost or eaten by bears.

Nothing ever became of my initial idea for the story until the following summer, after spending another two weeks in Wonderland (this time with my family). I paid more attention to certain areas in the park, and the day after we returned home, I sat down to write my ideas down. Another year later, I had a finished story. Well, a story anyways. I never spoke a word of it to anyone. I never had publishing in mind. In early 2011, I entered a few writing contest just to get some feedback on the story, and although I finaled in one contest, the judges pretty much told me my writing was abysmal at best. The best advice I received from one judge was to find a critique partner.

But how does one find a critique partner? I didn’t belong to any writing groups. I scoured the internet, and finally joined a yahoo group through a small publishing house that matched writers to critique for each other. My heart was pounding when I posted a short synopsis of my book, asking for someone to critique it. The following day, I “met” the person who became my writing mentor, critique partner, and now my very good friend. After extensive re-writes over the next six months, Yellowstone Heart Song was finished.  And sat in my computer, collecting cyberdust.

My critique partner urged me to publish the book, but I balked and balked at the thought. Instead, the idea took shape to write a sequel simply because I was enjoying the writing process. After some quick brainstorming, I ended up writing Yellowstone Redemption in less than six weeks. Once that story was finished, I had an idea for a third book, so I began work on Yellowstone Awakening, and during the writing of that book, Yellowstone Dawn took shape in my mind. Awakening was nearing completion in December of 2011, and I had already written ten chapters in Dawn, when my critique partner finally put the breaks on me. She told me I had to get the first book “out there.”

Reluctantly, I looked into self-publishing. I had no desire to submit to traditional publishing houses. The entire process seemed too long and drawn-out to me, and the guidelines that publishers were looking for too restrictive. If I was going to send my book out into the world, I wanted it to be my book, and not be limited to what a publisher might impose on me. My mind was firmly made up to go the independent route when I read the submission guidelines from the publisher that my critique partner had her books published under, and one restriction completely eliminated Yellowstone Awakening from even being considered for submission.

So, that’s how 2012 started for me. Yellowstone Heart Song was available for purchase! What an exhilarating and scary thing to see - my book page on a site like Amazon. I finally told my husband what I had done, and he was rendered (for once) speechless. No one else besides my critique partner knew I had written, and now published, a book. I had zero expectations for sales, so it came as a complete surprise that on the first day, I sold six copies. The only thing I had done prior to hitting the publish button was start this blog. I had absolutely no idea about promoting, marketing, or having an online presence. My critique partner did warn me that promoting a book took a lot of time and effort, something she admitted she was not very good at.

Over the next few days, I stumbled across the Meet Our Authors forum on Amazon, and found a thread titled “Western Authors please post here.” Was my book considered a western? I had no idea. I wrote a tentative post, and the warm reception I received by the writers and the reader who started that thread was overwhelming. 
At the end of January, Yellowstone Heart Song had sold 61 copies on Amazon, which beat my wildest imaginations. I earned a whopping $22.05! I published Yellowstone Redemption on February 1st, and then Awakening on March 1st, and finally Dawn in April.

During those initial months, I learned more about online markets for books, joined Goodreads, and set up a facebook page. The reviews started coming in, and I was shocked and amazed that people enjoyed my stories! More and more people contacted me, asking to write another book dealing with Jana Evans and Dan Osborne from the epilogue of Heart Song, so after Dawn was published, I set to work on Yellowstone Deception. Dawn was supposed to be the final book in what had now become the Yellowstone Romance Series. I was ready to try something new, and the concept for the Second Chances Time Travel Romance Series began to take shape. During my initial research for the first book in that series, I stumbled across a piece of information that took me in an entirely new direction for another book series! Staring at the Teton Mountain Range while researching something for Come Home to Me, the Teton Romance Trilogy was born.

As 2012 comes to a close, I reflect back with wonder and amazement at what has happened this year. I never, ever thought to be a published writer. I still work my night job as a Medical Laboratory Technologist, and plug away at the keyboard six or more hours on most days, writing my next book, and interacting with readers and other writers. Writing has become my second full-time job. And it definitely is a full time job, but one that I am enjoying tremendously. Sadly, there are family members in my life who scoff at what I do, who don’t understand the time involvement. “You’ve published your book, what more is there to do? Why do you spend so much time on the computer?” I try and ignore those negative comments, and am grateful for my husband’s unwavering support.

The online friendships I have made this year have been wonderful. Interacting and networking with other authors, learning about the writing process and marketing has been a great experience. Nothing, however, beats meeting the many readers who took the time over the year to send me emails, connect and interact with me on Facebook or through my blog. When someone tells me “You’ve inspired me to want to go see Yellowstone myself,” it simply floors me. I’ve made some great, lasting friendships online, and it’s because of them that I keep writing.

What will happen in 2013? I will continue to write books in the Second Chances Time Travel Series, plug away at the Teton Romance Trilogy, and I have a few other book projects swirling around in my mind. It has been an incredible first year, which I attribute solely to my readers who took a chance on me. I’m looking forward to another year of continued interactions and new friendships.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - Teton Sunrise

I hope everyone had a great holiday! 
Here's the teaser for this week for Teton Sunrise


Evelyn slowly forced her eyelids open. Her lips parted slightly, and she raked her teeth against her dried lips. Her tongue stuck to the roof of her parched mouth, and she couldn’t swallow. She moaned softly, and forced her legs to move. A sharp pain seared up her spine, and when she tried to bring her hand to her face, her arm felt as if lead anchors were attached to the limb.
Blinking, she stared up at what appeared to be the inside covering of a cone-shaped tent. She turned her head and glanced at the animal skins that served as walls in the dimly lit space. Evelyn groaned and braced against her elbows to raise herself off the ground. A thick furry hide covered her, which fell from her shoulders. She shuddered at the sudden blast of cold air against her skin.
Evelyn sucked in a startled breath, and hastily pulled the cover back over herself. She was nude! Her heart pounded fiercely against her chest, and she gasped for air. Dear God! What happened?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - Teton Sunrise


Here's this week's short little teaser for Teton Sunrise:


Alex listened for any other possible sounds that weren’t made by the nighttime creatures of the wilderness. Nothing. All seemed quiet at the moment. Slowly, quietly, he laid his rifle on the ground. In one lightning fast move, he leapt to his feet and pulled his hunting knife from his belt. Before the man crawling toward him had a chance to react, Alex bent over him, and pinned him to the ground with one foot on his spine. He gripped his opponent’s hair and forcefully yanked back. Hoping to prevent a scream from his victim, Alex held the sharp blade of his knife to the man’s throat. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - Teton Sunrise


The blog has been a bit quiet lately. I'm hoping to get a few more articles of interest  up in the new year. Right now I'm simply trying to get through the holidays.

Here is this week's snippet from my current WIP, Teton Sunrise.


“Evie.” Henry spoke her name slowly. He waited until she made eye contact with him. “Alexander Walker is not the boy you remember. The quiet youth has turned into a savage.” He spoke the words almost viciously. “It’s no surprise, either. Look at his father, and how violent he was. The man killed his own wife. Alex has always had it in him to become just as ruthless, and the wilderness has made him ten times more so.”
“I have no thoughts or feelings other than hatred and loathing for Alexander Walker, you can rest assured of that.” Evelyn spat his name as if it was poison on her tongue. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - Teton Sunrise



Here is the first teaser for Book 1 in the Teton Romance Trilogy, Teton Sunrise. If you haven't had a chance to read the prologue to this book, which can be found at the end of Yellowstone Deception as well as A Yellowstone Christmas, you can read it here.


“You did what?”
Evelyn Lewis spun around on her heels so quickly she nearly lost her balance. The wooden ladle in her hand dropped to the ground with a dull thud, splattering brown gravy and vegetables on her dress and over the floorboards. Ignoring the mess, she stared at the man who stood across the room. Her eyes widened in shocked disbelief.
“Why would you do such a thing, Henry?” Evelyn’s voice rose almost to a shrill screech. She stepped away from the hearth, and stormed toward her brother. How dare he bring such news without proper warning, or even discussing it with her first? Henry Lewis raised his hands in front of his chest as if he was about to fend off a formidable adversary, and took a step back.
“Now don’t get all riled, Evie. I’m doing this for you,” Henry said, squaring his shoulders and standing his ground.  
“For me?” Evelyn held her fists to her hips, and glared at her brother, standing only inches from him. She leaned forward. “How is a marriage to Charlie Richardson going to benefit me?” she demanded.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Yellowstone Christmas - Book Release

I have kept this under wraps for the last few months while the idea of a holiday story for the Yellowstone Romance Series took hold in my mind. So many of my readers have expressed an interest in more books in the series, and although I don't plan to write any more full-lenght novels, I thought a holiday novella might be a fun way to celebrate the season with Daniel and Aimee Osborne.

I am happy to finally announce that the story is finished, and will be released on Amazon in time for Thanksgiving!



Aimee Osborne has always looked forward to the Christmas holidays in the twenty-first century where she grew up. Now that she lives in the primitive wilderness of nineteenth century Yellowstone, she is determined to hold on to some of her traditions.

Daniel Osborne is unfamiliar with many of the customs and beliefs his wife grew up with. Although he doesn’t understand her enthusiasm for the holiday, he shares in her joy of the season, and plans to make each Christmas with her memorable.

For Aimee and Daniel, this holiday season might not be the joyous event they hoped for.  When an unexpected package arrives at their doorstep, Aimee’s plans for the festivities this year might not go off as she envisioned. When danger threatens his family, Daniel will do what it takes to protect them, and perhaps bring some peace and joy to more than just his wife and children.

































































Monday, November 19, 2012

Guest Author - Marisa Adams


It’s my pleasure to introduce a special guest today. Contemporary romance author Marisa Adams has joined me for an interview, and also to share a little about her debut novel, Is Love Enough.

Please introduce yourself, Marisa. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

There’s really not too much to tell because in many ways, I’ve lived a fairly ordinary life. I have lived in a sum total of three different places. I grew up in Katy, TX a suburban small town West of Houston with a fabulous school district that I returned to work in after earning a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A&M University. My four years in College Station, TX left me with a great respect for tradition and the love of my best friend. We married while still in college and moved to Katy after graduation. I taught and worked as an administrator over the course of the next 12 years. A year ago, my husband’s company transferred him to the Fort Worth, Texas area, so we moved which has been an extremely interesting transition for me. Not only did I leave my family and hometown behind, but my career as well; my husband and I made the decision to live off one income so I could be a full time Mom to our daughter.
I started freelance article writing as a way to keep my mind going and earn a little extra income. Overtime, I realized I should break out my manuscript from a few years ago, rework some of it, and publish the story.

Why did you decide to write Romance? What is the appeal?

I love getting lost in the pages of a great romance. Romance is by far my favorite genre to write. There is something delightful about falling in love; as an author, I have the opportunity to relive those moments over and over again. My characters come to life in my mind, choosing to speak to me at all sorts of crazy times – in the store, during dreams, and even while I’m waiting for my daughter at dance. I’ve learned to just let them have free reign and tell their stories.

How much research goes into your books, and how do you tackle that?

My first books have centered on a teacher (which I have years and years of experience with) and a soap opera actor turned Hollywood star (which I have absolutely NO experience with). Through the course of writing, I have spent quite a bit of time online or talking with others who do have the experience I’m missing.

Tell us a little about your writing style? Do you plan and plot your stories, or do you just plow through them?

I’m a horrible planner! Seriously…I try. I will spend time outlining and thinking of things I want to happen. Then my characters take hold of the scenes and my plans are completely thrown out the window! Usually, I know how I want the story to start and how I want it to end. Everything else in between is usually based on how the characters evolve overtime.

Can you tell us a little about your current work, Is Love Enough? Is there a story behind the story?

Is Love Enough is my debut novel. I actually began the story years ago while I was on a conference in San Francisco. While there, several other teachers and I were walking around and we saw Michael Keaton coming out of a store. I remember going back to the hotel room that evening and wondering what would happen if a single teacher happened to meet a single actor while she was in town for a conference. From there, the first official scene of Is Love Enough was born. Unfortunately, my time in education, being a mother, and working as a graduate student forced the story onto the backburner. With a significant life change a year ago, I decided to pull it back out, finish the story, and get it ready to publish.

Now, I’m working on a holiday novella which will follow Danny and Nikki, the other couple mentioned in Is Love Enough. Although this new story, Mistletoe Dreams, will be the second in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone story.

What sets your heroine, Rebekah, apart from all the other women in your hero, Jason’s life? Why is she perfect for him?

Rebekah is a sweet spirit who has a calming presence about her which is exactly what Jason needs. Coming from the glitz and glamour of being a breakout star, he is completely overwhelmed with the star lifestyle.  His own ex-wife never understood his need to just be still and enjoy a life separate and apart from his Hollywood persona. Rebekah offers him this respite and much more .

Have you ever had writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

I suffer from writer’s block quite often – probably because my characters dictate so much of my stories. When they have had enough, or decide to go silent on me, the writer’s block hits. Fortunately, I have found the best cure for mine – I’m a dreamer. If I can go to bed thinking about the scene where I’m stuck, concentrating on it over and over, I can usually force myself to dream about the scene. As the scene comes to life in my mind, I’m able to write it over the course of the next couple of days and the writer’s block disappears.

Describe a favorite scene in your current novel?

One of my favorite scenes in Is Love Enough would have to be when Rebekah visits Jason in New York for his sister’s wedding. The two characters are so relaxed and playful with each other, but the underlying passion and tension is building beautifully. Here’s an excerpt:

“Thank you, Nikki,” he replied leaving their Penthouse and heading over to his own. As he closed the door behind him, he could hear water running upstairs. Immediately, his thoughts turned to her, naked, in his shower. Eyes closed, he leaned his body against the door, resting his head there. He could imagine the water running down her goddess-like body. Her golden tresses would be darkened and heavy with the water, as her hair would only slightly cover other areas he shouldn’t be thinking of. As his mind began trailing lower down her glistening body, he heard the water shut off, and he prayed she had been in that shower long enough to drain his hot water. If ever there was a time he needed a cold shower, this was it.

Keeping his eyes closed, he let his mind linger in those thoughts longer than he should have, his body obviously aroused by the desires coursing through his veins. Before he knew it, he heard her padding softly down the stairs. By the time he had his eyes open, she was headed straight for him. Immediately, she noticed his eyes had turned a darker shade of blue, noting his current state of mind. As her eyes took in the rest of his form, his eyes devoured her figure, detailing the robe clinging to her still damp body as leftover water droplets fell from her hair, only aiding his fantasy. “Good morning,” he tried to speak, but his body betrayed his mind as he enveloped her in a passionate embrace. Lips against lips, he almost lost it as she sensed his desire and forced her tongue into his mouth. Hungrily, they tasted one another before he broke the kiss and made his way down her jaw line towards her neck, his tongue sensuously lapping the water from her skin. “Jason,” she moaned softly, her voice dripping in ecstasy.

At the sound of her voice, the rational portion of his brain regained control of his body, and he used all his strength to pull away from her, leaving his arms to rest lightly around her waist. “Beck,” he whispered softly, wanting, no needing her to understand his actions. If only he could understand them.

Dropping her forehead to his chest, she lazily murmured, “Mmm, good morning to you too. You know, I could get used to starting my days off this way.”

“Yeah?” he gently ran his fingers through her now slowly drying hair. “You have no idea how much I agree with that.”

Suggestively, she pressed her hips against his still aroused form. “I think I have an idea.” She glanced up at him with a smile on her face.

“Rebekah,” he began, but her index finger against his lips quickly quieted him.

She replaced her finger with her lips as she placed a sweet and gentle kiss there. “I know, more than you understand.” She wanted nothing more than to tell him exactly how she felt, but they had to be at breakfast soon and she didn’t want to rush that moment. “Why don’t you go take a shower and I’ll finish getting ready.”

Jason could only nod his head yes as his eyes followed her retreating body up the stairs. He wanted her, more than he had ever wanted any other woman. No one had ever had the ability to make him lose control the way she did. Pressing his fingertips against his temple he shook his head and thought of the cold shower that awaited him.

An hour later a much more in control Jason treaded down his stairs to find Rebekah curled up on the couch reading through his newest script. Laughing, he placed a kiss against the top of her head and asked, “What are you doing?”

“I just wanted to see if Brad saves his sister from the cave.”

“So, does he?”

“What do you mean, 'does he'? Haven’t you even read through that yet?”

“Nope.”

“Nope?”

“I memorize my stuff the night before. If I’m correct, that doesn’t happen until Friday. That’s a whole week away!”

Exasperated, Rebekah rolled the script and playfully hit him across the chest. ‘So, when do we meet this family of yours?”

“Now, if you’re ready. Look, I don’t want you to be uncomfortable. If you don’t…” but he was quickly cut off with her lips against his. After they broke away, he grinned and said, “I need to be shut up like that more often.”

“Keep mouthing off and you will be.”

She brushed past him, but stopped as his hand reached out and spun her around to face him, pressing her body against his. Again, she noticed the color change in his eyes. “Promise?” he asked.

“Don’t start something you can’t finish Taylor,” she commanded, her voiced laced with desire. She knew she was playing with fire, but at this point, a part of her didn’t really care. They had been apart so long.

Jason dropped his head into the warm crevice where her shoulder and neck met. He smiled as he realized how perfectly his head nestled there, and he knew the rest of their bodies would fit together perfectly as well. “Let’s go to breakfast,” he whispered into her neck, placing sweet kisses there.

What else do you have in store for your readers?

As I mentioned earlier, my next story, a holiday novella called Mistletoe Dreams, will come out in a few weeks. This tale will explore the relationship between Danny and Nikki – Jason’s best friends. The novella can be read in as a follow up to Is Love Enough, or as a standalone holiday short story.

My next full story will be out in the spring or early summer of 2013. It will be a slight deviation from my debut novel, with quite a bit more intrigue involved. Expect to explore the underground of Houston’s drug trade, spend some time with a few of Houston’s finest, and travel alongside Melissa and Mark as they work to rekindle a lost love.


Links:
Author page: www.marisaadams.com

Thanks again for joining me today, Marisa. And I wish you much success in your writer’s journey!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - Current WIP

Here's this week's teaser:


The woman suddenly charged from behind a lodgepole, a shrill scream echoing through the forest. She stumbled toward him, her loose raven hair hanging in limp strands down the sides of her face, some sticking to her sweaty forehead. Her wide brown eyes showed a mixture of pain, fear, and desperation. She lunged herself at him with a knife held high above her head. He ducked to the side and avoided her attack. Her momentum caused her to fall to the ground. He turned completely to face her, ready for a renewed attack. The woman groaned, then collapsed into the snow. 


Monday, November 12, 2012

Guest Author Lorrie Farrelly



Today I get to welcome author Lorrie Farrelly to the blog. I’m so glad you could be here today, Lorrie. Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

I’m a Navy brat and a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz. (Home of the world’s wonderfully worst mascot: the Banana Slug.) When I was a kid, my dad was transferred every few years, mostly up and down the West Coast. As hard as it was to leave friends behind, there were always new ones to meet, new places to see, and new adventures to have. When I was lonely, I made up stories, and read. And read. And read.

My parents were older than most when I was born. (Mom at first thought I was a symptom of menopause.) Were Dad alive today, he would be nearly 104. He was a remarkable fellow. A true Southern gentleman, he was born in 1909 in the Deep South, where the Civil War was still considered a current event. He was appointed to the Naval Academy at Annapolis and became a career US naval officer. He loved military history and stories of the Old West.

I was quite a tomboy, and when I wasn’t finding horses to hang out with somewhere, I was listening eagerly to Dad’s (mostly made up) stories. With a twinkle in his eye, he claimed to have ridden shotgun with Wild Bill Hickok and manned a locomotive with Casey Jones. I was pretty sure those stories weren’t true, but in my heart, I secretly hoped they were.

My love of horses never waned, even when most young girls were moving on to fashion and boys. At thirteen, I began spending summers at Donner Lake, site of the infamous Donner Party’s doomed winter encampment in the Sierras, near the California-Nevada border. But where the Donners had had dreadful luck, mine was pretty good. There was a nearby stable and pack outfit that supplied horses for the popular TV Western, Bonanza, and the wranglers patiently tolerated my “help.” Horses and Little Joe? Well, the only time in my life I’ve been more smitten was when I met my husband.

After college, I began to teach: 4th grade Art, 8th grade English and Drama, and finally, high school Math. For several summers, I shepherded wide-eyed young foreign exchange students up and down Hollywood Boulevard. (“As many stars and lunatics as there are in the heavens.”) I also shoveled and curried as a ranch hand at Disneyland’s Circle D Ranch. (If you’re curious, it’s tucked back behind ToonTown and Frontierland’s Big Thunder Ranch, but Shhh! Don’t tell anyone.)

But whatever else I was doing, I always wrote. Today, I have five published novels – two Western historical romances, two contemporary romantic suspense novels, and one time-travel/alternate reality romance – and I’m working on a sixth, the third book in the series that began with my Orange Rose Award finalist TERMS OF SURRENDER (which is coming out shortly as an audiobook!) All of my novels have at least a touch, and possibly much more than a touch, of the paranormal. During my teens, my second favorite TV show (after Bonanza) was The Twilight Zone.

Lorrie and her family in the Yukon
I live in Southern California and am the proud mom of 3 and grandmother of 2 ½. (A new baby, our first granddaughter, is due at year’s end.) My husband, Wally, is my rock and my inspiration.



Why did you decide to write Romance? What is the appeal?

For me, writing was a natural outgrowth of reading. I love good storytelling, and I was so lucky to have parents who encouraged my imagination. I even wrote stories for my dolls to read. With Romance, there are so many possibilities of characters and plot, so many subgenres, so much emotion. And you get a happy ending. I do love happy endings!


How much research goes into your books, and how do you tackle that?

In the case of my first published novel, TERMS OF SURRENDER, research found me. In an old box of family papers, I found a faded copy of an Oath of Allegiance to the United States signed by my Confederate great-great-grandfather at the end of the Civil War, as well as a parole pass allowing him to go home – if he swore to never again take up arms or support rebellion against the Union.

I wondered what would be in such a man's heart after so many years of struggle and pain and defeat. Would honor and hope survive bitterness and loss? And what could have driven a good man to forsake his country and fight for a new one founded on terrible injustice? Could he ever find peace? Would he ever have a true home again?

I had to find out more, and the more I read about not only the Civil War, but about all sorts of other things – from Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency to therapies for autistic children – the more I wanted to know, and the more stories popped into my head. Sometimes I get carried away with research and forget I’m supposed to do something with it. (I’m a trivia geek anyway, but as a past winner on the TV game show Jeopardy! I’m convinced everything I learn will someday come in handy.)

Some resource books a writer simply can’t do without; for example, a good, big thesaurus and dictionaries of slang and historical language. I do a lot of online research, but I still have shelves full of resource books and maps.

What is the best comment you ever received from a reader? The worst or weirdest?

My two favorites are these lovely reader comments:

About TERMS OF SURRENDER: “When I first bought this book, I was prepared for a pretty love story, with some basic plot investments. What I got was a heart-melting, pulse-racing, beautiful piece of literature. The emotion invested in the love between Annie and Michael jumps off the page and utterly wraps you up in their story, from tender start to fulfilling finish … I was so enthralled that I read this wonderful book straight through!!”

And about TIMELAPSE: “First off I have to say WOW! This story took me completely by surprise and had me glued to the pages right to the end … This was an emotional book dealing with tragedies, heartaches, and desperation which were triumphed (over) through sheer determination and the power of love…”

The strangest and worst one was from a reader who apparently hated one of my heroes so much that he “prayed for him to be shot dead.” (Why not just quit reading?) Oh, and that same reader consistently referred to me as “he” and “him” all the way through his comments. Um, Dude, my name is Lorrie
Tell us a little about your writing style? Do you plan and plot your stories, or do you just plow through them?
 
I do both. I usually come up with the hook first, then block out the rest of the story. When I began writing THE GUARDIAN’S ANGEL, I knew the hook would involve a suspect in a police line-up who suddenly could see and hear a terrified witness in the soundproof observation room behind one-way glass. Then I planned it from there. However, as all writers know, sometimes characters just do and say whatever the heck they want, and all you can do is just hang on and go for the ride.

Can you tell us a little about your current work, TERMS OF TEMPTATION? Is there a story behind the story?

The first book in this series, TERMS OF SURRENDER (soon to be an audiobook!), proved so popular that I wrote a sequel set about 20 years later, entitled TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT. (I wanted to know what had happened to all the characters in that time, too!)

TERMS OF SURRENDER is, as one reviewer wrote, “about the healing, redeeming power of love after the chaos and pain of war.” The main characters are a former Confederate cavalry captain who has lost everything and a young Wyoming rancher who struggles to survive and defend her land. TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT moves their growing family forward about 20 years, and features the rancher’s brother as its hero. A child in the first book, he is now a widowed doctor, raising his young daughter alone. Readers loved this story’s “romance, action, intrigue, and intensity.”

The latest book in the series, TERMS OF TEMPTATION, currently a work in progress, takes us forward another couple of decades in this family’s life. At its center is a headstrong young woman, a rescuer of abandoned and injured animals, who discovers both passion and heartache as she comes to love a man who doesn’t believe in love, and who has no intention of ever settling down.

I love the family in these books, but boy, how that family has grown! I blame the original couple, Michael and Annie Cantrell, in TERMS OF SURRENDER. Darned if those two just can’t seem to keep their hands off one another!


What sets your heroine Annie Devlin apart from all the other women in your hero, Michael Cantrell’s, life? Why is she perfect for him?

Let me quote one reviewer who took the words right out of my mouth: “Annie is a realistically strong woman with a welcome sense of humor. She and Michael challenge each other in interesting and sometimes unexpected ways … (They work) through the hardships they have endured and those that they face in the novel together without angst-ridden melodrama. (Farrelly) effectively depicts the sensual side of their romance emerging from both physical attraction and emotional connection.”

Have you ever had writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

Sure. I think every writer does from time to time. Sometimes things just have to sit and percolate for a while. When that happens, I try to work on something else. And things can change quite suddenly. One novel stalled miserably until I abruptly realized that my hero wasn’t a lawman, but a doctor. Then, at last, the whole story unfolded.

Describe a favorite scene in your current novel.

Here’s an excerpt I really like from my work in progress, TERMS OF TEMPTATION. The year is 1904; the setting is Northwestern Wyoming. Kinley Cantrell, a headstrong young woman devoted to caring for abandoned and injured wildlife, meets her match in one creature who won’t be tamed – Deputy Game Warden Bram Killoran:

Kinley tore her gaze away from the tall, unnerving man who inexplicably made her insides flip like a bag of bobcats. She cleared her throat, clasped her hands together at her waist to regain her composure, and spoke to her young nephew with exaggerated calm, pointedly ignoring Bram Killoran.
“Forgive me, Mike. I didn’t catch that last bit you said.”
Little Mike grinned. “The otters, Aunt Kinnie. I named ‘em. The big one’s Useless, and the little gray one’s Li’l Use.”
Kinley chuckled in spite of herself. The boy was a caution. “Ah, I see. Well, just don’t go getting too attached to them.” She paused, thought a moment. “Little Mike, I have a favor to ask. I need you and your brother to come back up here as much as you can for the next week or so to see to the animals. A pressing matter has come up that requires I pack out for a few days.”
            Bram’s head jerked toward her, brow furrowed in a suspicious scowl. Little Mike shrugged, smiled. “Well, sure, ma’am, we can do that.”
            “Good. Very well, then. That’s settled. I’m much obliged, dear. I’ll leave a list of what needs to be done in the next few days, but you and Bobby are fine hands. You know most all of it already. Just remember to always milk the goats before you let them out of the pen. Sonny will see they don’t stray too far.”
            At the sound of his name, the little shepherd’s tail vigorously thumped the floor.
            Mike squared his shoulders, nodded. “Yes, ma’am. We will. But where’re you going, Aunt Kinnie?”
            Kinley turned to Bram, challenged his black scowl with her small jaw set in determination. Though she spoke to Little Mike, she aimed her remarks pointedly at Killoran.
            “Deputy Warden Killoran aims to shoot a cougar to make that ornery ol’ sheepman, Mr. Hackett, happy. Well, I’m going to go along with him to make sure he doesn’t succeed.”
            Bram dumped the bottles with a clatter in the sink and whirled, taking a threatening step toward Kinley.
            “Now you wait just a dam- … darn minute!”
            She turned, folded her arms across her chest, stubbornly met his eyes. He came to a halt, stood for a long moment trying to rein in his now-steaming temper, then growled, “Now ma’am, you listen to me. I got a job to do, and nobody – not even you – is gonna get in the way of my doing it.”
At the harsh sound of Bram’s voice, Sonny, who’d been lying on the floor with his head resting on his front paws, leaped to his feet and began barking wildly. He seemed to have completely forgotten his earlier joy in greeting Bram.
Softening his tone, though still gruff, Killoran said tersely to Little Mike, “Boy, take that dog out of here.”
The child stood frozen, eyes wide. Then he scowled, clamped his jaw. Mike shifted his stance, stood his ground, dropped one hand to rest on the dog’s raised hackles. Sonny’s barking stopped, became a low, threatening growl. His yellow eyes stayed fixed on the warden.
“No, sir,” Mike ground out, his voice wavering just a little, betraying his apprehension. Bravely he squared his shoulders.
“You got no call to talk to my Aunt Kinley that way, Mr. Killoran.” He drew a deep, shaky breath. “Sonny don’t like it, sir, and … and neither do I.”
So proud of him she could have bust a button, Kinley stepped beside her nephew, laid her arm over his shoulders. All three – woman, boy, and dog – fixed Bram with almost comically similar expressions of fiercely obstinate defiance.
Except he wasn’t laughing.
He sighed, propped his hands on his hips, regained his patience with some difficulty. He was usually a patient man, cool as they come. What was it about this stubborn slip of a woman that made him want to tear her clothes off one minute and his hair out the next? *

*Copyright 2012 by Lorrie Farrelly

What else do you have in store for your readers?

I’m delighted to announce that TERMS OF SURRENDER is soon to be released as an audiobook. Read by the wonderfully talented actor and voice artist Keith Tracton, it’s an exciting and emotional listening experience. Keith is a master storyteller, and readers are sure to love the way he brings my favorite characters to life!


It’s both humbling and delightful to me to hear that a novel of mine has captured a reader’s heart. Here are my currently available books:

In TERMS OF SURRENDER, Confederate cavalry Captain Michael Cantrell has lost his home and everyone he loved. On the frontier, he finds himself in the middle of Annie Devlin’s war. Standing with the stubborn young rancher will test the limits of his courage – and his passion.

When Tess Rutledge is at her most desperate – hunted, on the run, and close to death – only Dr. Robert Devlin’s skill and compassion can save her. In TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT, they have a chance for a future together. If they survive.

What if everything you knew – and everyone you loved – suddenly disappeared, leaving you stranded in a dangerous world gone terribly wrong? With only a beautiful, reckless young outlaw as his ally, Alex Morgan races against time and destiny in TIMELAPSE.

DANGEROUS ex-LA cop Cam Starrett is burned out, sick of urban trauma and warfare. He longs to escape to a peaceful place where life is calm and serene. But he should have been more careful what he wished for!

Elizabeth Driscoll, THE GUARDIAN’S ANGEL, is running for her life, inextricably bound to a compelling man and a troubled young child who, only hours before, were strangers to her. Now the danger is not just to her safety, but also to her heart.

These novels, as well as the soon-to-be-available audiobook of TERMS OF SURRENDER and the upcoming publication of TERMS OF TEMPTATION, can be purchased through amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and numerous other online sites. All books are available both in paperback and ebook format, and some of my ebooks may also be borrowed from amazon.com. Please visit at:


Thank you, Lorrie, for a fabulous interview!


  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - new WIP

I haven't had a teaser in a while! Here is a short snippet from my latest WIP


“Let’s go hide over there.” The woman pointed to a stand of trees about fifty yards away. “Drag your branch behind you, and cover your tracks as best as possible. We’ll hide among those trees.” With one final glance over her shoulder to see if their pursuers were visible yet, she pushed onward, dragging her own pine branch behind her. By the time she and her son reached the stand of spruce trees, sweat ran in rivulets between her breasts and down her back. She swiped a gloved hand across her forehead while she tried to catch her breath. Her bulky hides that kept her warm in the winter chill now heated her like an oven. 


Monday, October 22, 2012

Guest Author Caroline Clemmons

It gives me great pleasure to welcome back a wonderful author, Caroline Clemmons. The last time she visited, her book, Brazo's Bride, had just released. Now we get the second book in the Men of Stone  Mountain series.


Thanks to Peggy for inviting me to share her blog.

I’m happy as a new colt over HIGH STAKES BRIDE, Men of Stone Mountain, Book 2, in print and e-book. Of course I love this book, and I so hope readers will too.

I developed the premise for this trilogy while visiting the historic Belding-Gibson Ranch in Palo Pinto County, Texas. This is a large ranch, but only a fraction of the original size due to divisions among family members. The original home site is inhabited by Barbara (Belding) and Charles Gibson. The occasion of their opening their ranch to visitors was the release of Barbara’s book about the ranch, PAINTED POLE. I am so happy that I was able to tour this historic property in the beautiful (to me) Palo Pinto Mountains. The Gibsons have been good stewards of their heritage. The horrid fires of last summer almost destroyed the ranch, and the Gibsons lost cattle and grazing land, but the home was spared.

In the first Men of Stone Mountain book, BRAZOS BRIDE, the ranch was the setting for Hope Montoya’s ranch, but with a Spanish-style hacienda instead of a western ranch house. The smaller ranch owned by Micah Stone cozied up to the vast Montoya acreage, but without access to the river. Most ranchers at this time did not use wire to enclose their land, but Hope’s father had fenced in all of his property except that adjoining the Brazos River. When he was murdered, Micah was accused, and barely escaped with his life. For convenience, I slipped in the town of Radford Crossing a few miles away.


In HIGH STAKES BRIDE, Alice Price is on the run from dangerous men. She had known that when her stepfather died, she would have to hurriedly escape her stepbrothers. Hadn’t she heard them promise her to the meanest man in Texas as payment for high stakes gambling losses? One misfortune after another devils her until she links up with Zach Stone. He looks sturdy as his last name and invites her to his ranch where his two aunts will chaperone them. She figures life finally dealt her a winning hand.

Zach Stone has the sweetest ranch in all of Texas, at least he thinks he does. All he needs is a wife to build his family of boys and girls to carry on his ranch and name. He’s been jilted and vows he will never even speak to a woman again unless she's a relative. Then he comes across Alice Price and comes up with a crazy plan. He’s figured everything out, and is sure nothing can go wrong with his plan.

But life holds surprises for Alice and Zach... 

Doesn’t it always? Otherwise there’s no book. ☺HIGH STAKES BRIDE has several incidents based on real life, a first for me. Characters and stories pop into my head unbidden, and I don’t use anything specific from life. I qualify the statement because I believe our subconscious is a pool of combined experiences from our lives and those of people we know or have heard about. In other words, a writer’s muse steals from a writer’s subconscious well.

For this book, though, several things just fit the book. The first was an incident that happened to my brother’s ex-fiancĂ©e once a day after Thanksgiving. The second combined with the first is in the excerpt below and happened to my neighbor when her bull--who was just being affectionate--pushed her into one of those large round hay bales. Lastly, I used an historic incident and had a real life hero help my fictional hero. A fourth incident is related to when a friend tried to dye her hair darker and had the same result as Alice.

Now here’s an excerpt from HIGH STAKES BRIDE:
  

Zach slipped into the bedroll and waited, pistol in hand. He feigned sleep, wondering what kind of man tarried nearby. Whoever it was could have picked Zach off, so the sidewinder must not have murder on his mind.
Probably up to no good hiding out like that, though, because any Westerner would share his campfire and vittles with anyone who rode into camp. Zach wriggled into a comfortable spot and lay motionless. Anger at recent events helped him remain awake.
The footfalls came so softly he almost missed them. He opened his eyes a slit, but enough to see a thin shadow move toward the fire. About then heavy clouds overhead parted and the moonlight revealed a boy who scooped up a slice of bacon and slid it into his mouth.
The culprit set Zach’s tin plate on the ground near the fire, ladled beans into it, and picked up a fork. He squatted down and balanced the plate on his knees before he commenced eating. Zach noticed he kept his left hand in his pocket the whole time.
Something must be wrong with the thief’s left arm.  Looked too young for it to have been a casualty of the War. Lots of other ways to get hurt out here. Whatever had happened to his left arm, his right one worked well enough. He forked food into his mouth like he hadn’t eaten in a week.
Zach let him shovel beans for a few minutes. Crook or not, anyone that hungry deserved a meal. When the kid stopped eating, Zach couldn’t figure out what he was doing.  It looked as if he used the fork to scratch around on the ground, so he must have eaten his fill. Zach slipped his hand from beneath the cover and cocked the pistol.
“Hold it right there, son. I’d like to know why you’re eating without at least a howdy to the man who provided the food.”
The boy paused, then set the plate down slowly. “I left money here on a rock to pay for it.”
Odd sounding voice, but the kid was probably scared. Zach slipped from his bedroll and stood, but kept his gun pointed at the food robber. “Maybe.”
Zach walked toward the kid, careful to train his gaze so the firelight didn’t dim his eyesight. Sure enough, he spotted a couple of coins on the rock beside his pot of beans, or what remained of them, and his empty plate.
He faced the intruder. “Why not just come into camp earlier instead of sneaking in after you thought I was asleep?”
“I—I was afraid you weren’t friendly.”
Zach thought he also heard the kid mutter what sounded like “...or maybe too friendly.” Must be the wind, he thought, as he neared the boy.
Zach motioned with his free hand. “I don’t begrudge anyone food, but I hate dishonesty and sneaking around.  Stand up so I can see you.”
The kid stood, hat low over his face and his good hand clenched.
Zach reached to push the brim back. “What’s your name?”
The kid stepped forward. “None of your business, mister.”
A fistful of sand hit Zach’s face. He heard his assailant run. Mad as the devil, Zach brushed grit from his eyes and set out in pursuit. The kid was fast, he’d give him that, but so was Zach. His longer legs narrowed the distance between them.  With a running lunge, he tackled the kid.
“Oof. Let me go.” The lad was all wriggles and kicking feet as he squirmed trying to escape.
Zach wasn’t about to let that happen. They rolled in the dirt. In one move Zach pinned the boy’s good arm. The hat fell aside and a mass of curls spilled around the kid’s face.
His jacket parted and unmistakable curves pushed upward where Zach’s other hand rested. Zach stared in disbelief. Registering his hand pressed against a heavenly mound shocked him and he jerked his paw away.
“Well, I’ll be damned. You’re not a boy.”
The woman glared at him. “Right, and you’re not exactly a feather. Get off me.”
Zach stood and bent to help her but she curled into a ball where she lay. “Ma’am, you okay?”
“Just dandy.” She sat up, moving like a hundred-year-old. She glared at him while holding her stomach with her good hand. The other arm dangled uselessly. “You’ve likely broken the few uninjured bones I had left.”
His temper flared. “Hey, lady, don’t try to put the blame on me. If you’d been honest and come into camp like any other traveler, I’d have shared my food with you.”
“Yeah, well a woman on her own can’t be too careful and I don’t know you or anything about you.”
Zach saw her point. Though most Western men would respect a woman, it wouldn’t help if she ran into one of the exceptions.
“What’s wrong with your arm?”
She glared at him and appeared to debate with herself before she said, “Fell out of a tree. My arm caught in the fork of a branch. Pulled it out of socket and I can’t get it back.”
Well hell. As if he didn’t have enough on his mind. Now that he’d decided not to speak to another woman unrelated to him, this bundle of trouble showed up needing a keeper.
Resigning himself to one more stroke of bad luck, he said, “Take off your coat and come over here to my bedroll.”
The campfire sparked less than her eyes. “I’ll do no such of a thing. Don’t be thinking you can take liberties because I ate your food and I’m injured. I paid for the food.”
Zach exhaled and planted his fists on his hips. “Ma’am, there’s not enough money in Texas to pay me to take liberties with you. If you’ll move to my bedroll and lie down, I’ll put your arm back in place. You’ll likely have to take off your, um, your shirt.”
She looked him up and down as if she weighed him and found him lacking. “I figured you for a rancher. You a doctor then?”
“Ranchers have to know a good bit about patching people.”
She straightened herself and swished past him as if she wore a ball gown instead of a man’s torn britches. Watching the feminine sway of her hips as she sashayed to the other side of the campfire, he wondered how he ever mistook her for male. He followed her and tried not to appreciate her long legs or the way the fabric molded to them like a second skin.
When she reached the blasted bedroll he’d been stuck with, she slid out of her jacket. A grimace of pain flashed across her face as the weight of the light coat slipped down her injured arm. In one graceful move she plopped down on the bedroll.
“You’re sure you can do this?” she asked and looked up at him.
Flickering firelight placed her features in shadow. Moving closer, he figured the poor light played tricks on him, for he couldn't tell the color of her hair. He decided she had light brown or dark blonde curls. Whatever color her eyes were, maybe blue or green, they were big and watched him with suspicion.
“Yes. Sorry, I don’t have any spirits with me to deaden the pain.”
“I never touch alcohol. If you’re sure you can do this, just get on with it.” She unbuttoned her shirt and winced as she slid the injured shoulder and arm free, and then stuck her chin up as if she dared him to make an improper comment or gesture.
He knelt beside her, keenly aware of the differences that proved her womanhood. A chemise of fabric worn so thin as to be almost transparent pulled taut across her breasts. He swallowed and willed himself to ignore the dark circles surrounding the pearly peaks thrusting at the flimsy material. The memory of the lush mound he’d touched briefly wouldn’t leave him. He’d been alone too long and had better concentrate on the job at hand.
“Stretch out and try to relax. I’ll be as gentle as I can, but this will hurt.”
“Hurts already, but I better put my bandana in my mouth so I don’t scream. I’m not a whiner, mind, but wouldn’t want to draw attention if there’s others nearby.” She slipped the cloth knotted around her neck up to her mouth like a gag, then laid down.
She moaned but didn’t fight him. Zach had seen this done numerous times over the years and had performed it twice. He probed her shoulder gently, then rotated her arm to slip it back into place.
He listened for the snick of the bone reseating itself in the socket. When he finished, he massaged the muscles of her upper arm and shoulder. She’d likely be sore for weeks, but the harm she had done wasn’t permanent.
“Have to give it to you, ma’am. You were the quietest patient I’ve ever seen.”
She lay with her face turned away from him. When he leaned over, he realized she’d passed out.

And it’s no wonder, is it? If this post has intrigued you, here are the places you can buy HIGH STAKES BRIDE in E-Book:
Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/238238?ref=CarolineClemmons

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/STAKES-BRIDE-Stone-Mountain-ebook/dp/B009F7JLTK/ref=sr_1_27?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1348783897&sr=1-27&keywords=caroline+clemmons

In Print:
http://www.amazon.com/High-Stakes-Bride-Stone-Mountain/dp/1479253596/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348786075&sr=1-1&keywords=caroline+clemmons+HIGH+STAKES+BRIDE

I’m currently at work on the third in the series, BLUEBONNET BRIDE, and it should be released for Christmas.

Thanks to Peggy for hosting me.