Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Please Welcome My Guest...

Please welcome my guest, Romance Author Andrea Downing. Andrea has spent most of her life in the UK where she received an M.A. from the University of Keele in Staffordshire.  She married and raised a beautiful daughter and  stayed on in England to teach and write, living in the Derbyshire Peak District, the English Lake District and the Chiltern Hills before finally moving into London. During this time, family vacations were often on guest ranches in the American West, where she and her daughter have clocked up some 17 ranches to date. In addition, she has traveled widely throughout Europe, South America, and Africa, living briefly in Nigeria. In 2008 she returned to the city of her birth, NYC, but frequently exchanges the canyons of city streets for the wide open spaces of the West.  Her love of horses, ranches, rodeo and just about anything else western is reflected in her writing.  Loveland, a western historical romance published by The Wild Rose Press, is her first book.  She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Women Writing the West.
 
Tell us something about yourself both writing and not writing related.   

Wow, Katherine you go straight for the jugular here!  First let me say, thanks so much for having me here today.  I'm delighted to be with you.  I'm sitting at my desk in my NYC apt. which is where I love to get most of my writing done, and wondering whatever happened to my flying pig? In 2008 I moved from London to the USA, no doubt losing said pig in transit.  I wanted to be near my daughter who had decided to stay on after coming to the US for university.  Now she lives in Colombia, and I write books that take place out west.  Go figure…

It's strange how things work out, isn't it? Do you have a writing routine?  Where do you usually do your writing?   

I wish I did have a writing routine but sadly I don't, not because I'm disorganized but because my life is so haphazard at the moment.  I live between my apt. and a house I own so I have two different writing spaces.  In the apt. I have a study which doubles as the guest room, and at the house I'm spread all over the dining table.  That's a pain since it all has to be cleared when I have guests to dinner but it's either that or redecorating the house.  Actually, I should think about doing that!

I write at the dining room table too. I have to clean up every night for dinner.  I agree it can be a pain. Why do you write in the genre/sub-genre that you do?  Any plans in the future to write in a different one?

I have to admit I never actually set out to write Romance, it just happened.  I like happy endings and these are the stories I dream up.  My settings are always western—so far—but I have written both historical and contemporary.  I'm considering a Civil War story so that will be quite a change for me when I get to it!

How do you stay motivated when writer’s block hits or your muse won’t cooperate?

My muse is extremely naughty and didn't cooperate for a good many years.  I wrote my first novel at about age 27 and the next one not until I was in my 40s!  Now I seem to be on a roll.  Getting old seems to have helped; you realize you don't have anything to lose so just go on and dish it out.   For me, it's always been fear that caused writer's block.  I could procrastinate endlessly; I always had an excuse for not writing.  Eat chocolate and get past that.

Good advice. Eating chocolate always makes things look better. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?

Not sure really.  I could say that it was eating in fast food joints that practically killed me with their salt and fat contents, but I don't think that was what you mean.  I guess going to the Pawnee National Grassland was sort of strange, at least strange to my NY friends.  They all asked, 'you have to actually SEE the grass to write about it?'  Well…duh…yeah.

Of course, we writers understand perfectly that you needed to actually see the grass to write about it. :o) What do you like to do in your leisure time?   
Reading, riding and travel.  I can't sit still, have to always have a book with me.  And any vacation time I'm out of here somewhere, usually West and definitely to ride.

Tell us about your current release in a couple of sentences.

Set against the background of the British cattle companies in 1880s Colorado, Loveland is about the love Lady Alexandra Calthorpe has for top ranch hand, Jesse Makepeace, fighting against her desire to be independent of men.

Can you tell us a little about your next project?   

I've just signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press for my story, Lawless Love, another western historical romance.  The hero is named for an actual cowboy I met last summer on a working cattle ranch in Nevada, but that's about as far as the similarities go.  Well, except that they are both good men!

Anything else you’d like to share?   
Certainly not my chocolate… 

Can't say I blame you.  :o)

Blurb: 
When Lady Alexandra Calthorpe returns to the Loveland, Colorado, ranch owned by her father, the Duke, she has little idea of how the experience will alter her future. Headstrong and willful, Alex tries to overcome a disastrous marriage in England and be free of the strictures of Victorian society --and become independent of men. That is, until Jesse Makepeace saunters back into her life...

Hot-tempered and hot-blooded cowpuncher Jesse Makepeace can’t seem to accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him. Fighting rustlers proves a whole lot easier than fighting Alex when he’s got to keep more than his temper under control.

Arguments abound as Alex pursues her career as an artist and Jesse faces the prejudice of the English social order. The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?

Excerpt:

As the round-up wound down, the Reps took their stock back to their outfits, and soon the men were back at headquarters or at the camps. Alex knew word had more or less got out and found the punchers were gentler now around her, had a sort of quiet respect for her, and she hated it. She tried to bully them a bit to show them she was still the same girl, jolly them into joshing with her as they had before. It was slow work. At the same time, she yearned to see Jesse, to speak with him, to try to get life back to the way it was before the argument at the corral, and before he saw the scars. The opportunity didn’t present itself. She would see him from a distance some days, riding with the herd, sitting his horse with that peculiar grace he had, throwing his lariat out with an ease that reminded her of people on a dock waving their hankies in farewell. Hoping to just be near him, she slid into one of the corrals one evening to practice her roping.

The light was failing and the birds were settling with their evening calls. Somewhere in the pasture a horse nickered. She sensed Jesse was there, watching, but she never turned as he stood at the fence. She heard him climb over and ease up behind her. He took the coiled rope from her in his left hand and slid his right hand over hers on the swing end, almost forcing her backward into his arms. She thought of paintings and statues she had seen, imagining his naked arms now, how the muscles would form them into long oblique curves, how he probably had soft downy fair hair on his forearms, how his muscle would slightly bulge as he bent his arm. His voice was soft in her ear, and she could feel his breath on her neck like a whispered secret.

“Gentle-like, right to left, right to left to widen the noose, keep your eye on the post—are you watchin’ where we’re goin’?” He made the throw and pulled in the rope to tighten the noose.

Alex stood there, his hand still entwined with hers and, for a moment, she wished they could stand like that forever. Then she took her hand away and faced him. For a second he rested his chin on the top of her head, then straightened again and went to get the noose off the post while coiling in the rope. She looked up at him in the fading light and saw nothing but kindness in his face, simplicity and gentleness that was most inviting. A smile spread across her face as he handed her the coiled rope and sauntered away, turning once to look back at her before he opened the gate. Emptiness filled her like a poisoned vapor seeking every corner of her being, and she stood with the rope in her hand listening to the ring of his spurs as his footsteps retreated.

Buy Links: 




You can find out more about Andrea and her wonderful books on her website - http://andreadowning.com, her facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/writerAndreaDowning, and on Twitter at @andidowning

Thanks again for having me here today, Katherine.  It's been great fun!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Limited Time Offer

Meet Lazarus, the leader of a band of cutthroats and thieves, in my short story (approx. 75 pages), "The Muse." For the next week or so "The Muse" will be on sale for 99 cents at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  It will be on sale for $1.00 at All Romance and Bookstrand. Once you've met him as a secondary character, then read his story, "An Unexpected Gift" which releases in paperback on Friday, 2/1 and is currently available in digital format.

Here are the links:
Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Muse-Love-Letters-ebook/dp/B0086VMJFE/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_3

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-muse-katherine-grey/1111341745?ean=2940014702157&itm=2&usri=katherine+grey

All Romance:  https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-themuse-804551-160.html

Bookstrand:  http://www.bookstrand.com/the-muse

Friday, January 25, 2013

This I know for sure...

It seems whenever I'm reading a really good book, I have constant interruptions either from family, the phone, or unexpected visitors. I rarely have time where I can sit down and read for an hour or so at one time so the interruptions are frustrating.  Of course, I never have this problem when I'm trying to read a book that isn't really holding my interest and that I'm struggling to finish.  :o)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Please Welcome My Guest...

Please welcome my guest, Sara Walter Ellwood. Sara is an award winning author whose novel Gambling On A Secret was named by bestselling author Carolyn Brown in the Happy Ever After Blog on USA Today as one of her favorite romances of 2012. Although Sara has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her stories. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for nearly 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia.  She also writes paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name Cera duBois. 

The Colton Gamblers

 Just who are the Colton Gamblers? In Gambling On A Secret we meet Charli Monroe and Dylan Quinn. Charli is new to town, but she’s a gambler as much as Dylan.

Forest County gets its name from the oak forests that covered the land along the creeks running through it, but the majority of the land is grassland. In 1865, three disillusioned first cousins—Cole Cartwright, Elijah Blackwell and Dylan Ferguson— return from the battlefields of the defeated South to find their home in East Texas a shambles. Determined to make a new start, they head west. In the cowboy town of Dallas, Texas, they decide to pool the few silver dollars they have between them and enter into a poker game. With their gamble, they win 125,000 acres—the whole of Forest County.

Taking the grassland in the southern part of the county, the cousins build three ranches—The CW which belongs to the Cartwrights, The Blackewell Ranch, and the Fergusons build Oak Springs. On these 90,000 acres of land, the cousins build an empire.

Cole Cartwright’s love for order creates the first town, known originally as Cole’s Town and eventually shortened to Colton. He also becomes the first county judge. Still today his descendents follow his example of becoming lawyers, the mayor and sheriff.

Elijah Blackwell’s need for adventure sends him to explore the wilds of West Texas, and he becomes an Indian fighter. Through him, Indian blood is introduced into the family and his descendents are still a bit on the wild side and are fighters.

Dylan Fergusons’s love of invention and mind for business helps all three of them create an empire in cattle. His descendents still have his love for the land and dream of being simple ranchers though many of them lost their way.

Even though over the next century and a half, the clans continue to build on the fortune began in cattle, when oil is discovered on Oak Springs Ranch and Blackwell Ranch, things change as they get greedy and erode their family bond.

The Colton Gamblers series tells the stories of the eighth generation gambling on love and bringing back the bond of family…


Former runaway-turned heiress Charli Monroe is hiding her sordid past and planning a future in Colton, Texas. Attending the local college for a degree in social work, she intends to raise cattle on her newly purchased ranch, which she plans to open as a home for troubled teens. Only a few glitches—the Victorian mansion is crumbling, the barn needs a roof, and her oilman neighbor wants more than friendship. When she meets Dylan Quinn, Charli is willing to take a chance on the town drunk to help her rebuild the rundown ranch.

Dylan has his demons, too. The former Special Forces commander can’t get past his ex-wife’s betrayal and the botched mission that left him with much more than a bad limp. Certain the greedy oilman next door to Charli wants much more than just her heart, Dylan’s even willing to stop drinking in order to protect her.

When things get dangerous and secrets of the past are revealed, is he only looking out for his new employer, or is she the new start he so desperately needs?

CONTENT WARNING: Details abuse of a minor, drug abuse, alcoholism, swearing, spicy sex, murder.

COVER QUOTE: “Full of intrigue, tangled pasts, and raw emotions, this one is guaranteed to keep you turning pages from start to finish and then wishing for one more chapter!”
Carolyn Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Just a Cowboy and His Baby.
Ms. Brown also named Gambling On A Secret as one of her favorite romance reads in 2012 in the Happy Ever After Blog on USA Today.

Excerpt:
“Ferguson, what are you doing here?” Dylan barked.

Leon ambled toward them on the stone path. “I’m saving a young maiden from torment. What are you doing here, playing the part of the devil?”

“I’m Miss Monroe’s new manager.” The deadly edge of his voice matched the flintiness of his eyes. “If there’s anyone to save the young maiden from, it’s you.”

“Mr. Quinn, please.” She turned to Leon. “Leon, is there something I can do for you?”

He smiled, showing off perfect white teeth in a face handsome enough to belong to an actor. “I was just passing by on my way home and decided to stop. How are the boys working out?”

Dylan’s stance widened and his hands flexed at his slides. “What boys?”

“Charli and I have entered into a business arrangement.”

She lost the battle with the urge to wrap her arms around herself. As much as she appreciated Leon’s kindness, respected him, and was even a little attracted to him, something about him didn’t sit right with her. He represented her peers in the community. According to Mrs. Pratt, besides the Cartwrights, she and Leon were undoubtedly the wealthiest residents in the county. No one in Colton could learn about her past. It would ruin her, and Leon, no doubt, had the means to dig up the dirt.

“Really?” Dylan stepped closer to her in a protective manner. Whiskey tainted his breath as the warmth of the exhalations tickled her cheek. “What kind of business arrangement?”

She could protect herself. Dylan Quinn wasn’t any safer than Leon Ferguson. Stepping away from him, she forced her arms to her sides. “Mr. Quinn, I can handle this.”

She faced Leon. “I’m amazed by how much the men got done since starting on Monday. The foreman told me last evening they’d be reseeding another fifty acres for hay this morning. And they have the corrals fixed and started on the fencing in the north pasture.”

“Good, good.” He glanced at Dylan. “I’ll be going, unless you need a more reliable exterminator. I couldn’t help but overhear about your snake infestation. I can give you the name of the company that has gotten rid of the snakes in our lakes over on Oak Springs for years.”

Although he presented the perfect solution, she didn’t the like way Leon had looked at Dylan as he said the word exterminator. “No, Mr. Quinn is quite capable of getting rid of the snake.”

“Oh, I’m sure he is.” Leon tipped his hat. “Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you, Charli.” Dylan’s jaw tightened as his uncle glanced at him. “It’s good to see you up among the living again.”

Leon headed back to his Porsche. With no pretense of lowering his voice, Dylan said, “Now, there’s a snake no one wants in their garden.”

Upon hearing the jibe, Leon’s shoulders jerked in mid-stride.

Rattled by Leon’s attention and the snake fiasco, she turned on Dylan. “You aren’t off the hook. I want those snakes gone.”

“We’ll see.”

“I hate snakes.” She shuddered and put her hands on her hips. “Maybe I should have asked him who the exterminator is.”

Buy Links:

Author links:

Giveaway:
**PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE GIVEAWAY**
~One poster from every stop will win a Gambling On A Secret ebook
~One commenter from each stop will win a piece of custom jewelry.
(The winners of these two prizes will be announced the day after the tour stop.)

I also have 2 Grand Prizes!

~First Grand Prize is a SWAG PACK, including a signed copy of Carolyn Brown’s Just a Cowboy and His Baby. Also included is a copy of D’Ann Lindun’s Shot Through the Heart, a pen, a notebook, a horse themed mini calendar, a patriotic themed day planner, and more all tucked away in a reusable tote bag at the end of my blog tour. (Books for swag pack were purchased and are given away with authors’ permission.)

~Second Grand Prize is a $10 Gift Card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. If you follow the tour and comment as often as possible, you increase your chances of winning!
(The winners of the Swag Pack and Gift Card will be announced on March 1, 2013.)
(Swag Pack is only eligible for US residents to win. The jewelry and gift card are eligible to US and Canada residents only. The ebook is eligible to anyone, unless prohibited by law.)

Monday, January 21, 2013

When To Start

This week I'm starting work on a new novel.  I've been thinking about this particular story for about a year.  I haven't written it before now because it will have a long arc spanning at least 3, but more likely, 4 books. And while I want to write this particular story desperately, I think knowing it would span more than one book scared me at the same time.

I've taken copious notes, written out a timeline, and done research all in preparation to actually sitting down and putting the words of the story on paper. Now's the time to start.  Yet without writing a word, I'm already feeling overwhelmed. Part of my trepidation may be that I'm not much of a plotter. I write one or two sentence paragraphs outlining the key point for each chapter but not much else. I once tried writing a detailed outline/synopsis of a story and ended up not being able to write it. I think because the synopsis was so detailed, I felt like I couldn't deviate from it and ended up putting a choke hold on my imagination and where the story could go. 

I think I'm worried that my plot may not be able to sustain a series, even though I know it's the only way to tell the hero's story properly. But it's time to put fear aside and write the book that's been haunting me for so long. As the old adage about eating an elephant one bite at a time goes (paraphrasing here), I'm going to write this book - one word at at time. And while it may take me longer than it usually does to complete a first draft of a manuscript, I'm already looking forward to the sense of accomplishment of writing the one story I feel compelled to tell.

Friday, January 18, 2013

This I know for sure...

I seem to get more done when my manager is out of the office.  Doesn't seem like it makes sense, does it?  One would think if the boss is gone, then less work would get done.  I admit the atmosphere is a little more relaxed, but not much because it's a very casual office to start with. (I can wear jeans to work every day.) I think I get more done when he's out of the office because I'm not getting the constant interruptions from him giving me something else to do that "needs to be done today" even though he's known about it or had it on his desk for a month or more and now the deadline is looming or worse, already past.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Please Welcome My Guest...

Please welcome my guest, Romance Author Mariah Lynne.

Tell us something about yourself both writing and not writing related.

I love where I live. Island life provides great settings and many interesting characters.

I have through my past business always supported island charities and causes. I am a member of our local marine environment protection foundation and served as a board member of a county no-kill animal shelter. I love animals, birds, mammals, and sea life.

I have a ten- year- old shelter adoptee Max who can perform magic tricks and hear dolphin sounds under the water before they surface. When he was a puppy we were standing near the seawall when a large dolphin stuck his nose way out of the water near us and let Max lean in to touch him. I wish I had my camera with me but that picture is imbedded deeply in my mind. I love to travel whenever I can and was honored beyond belief to serve as Grand Marshall in 2011 for our island Shrimp Festival parade

I'm jealous, especially now when the high temperature at my house today is supposed to be 37 degrees. Do you have a writing routine? Where do you usually do your writing?

Since I’m still working part time, writing routines are hard to establish and follow. I do try very hard to write first thing in the morning. I know I should do that every day and but life seems to interfere. I write at a small desk in my family room next to patio doors that provide me with a view of a tropical lagoon. It’s inspiring watching the dolphin, birds and manatees.

I work full time so I can definitely sympathize with trying to establish and follow a daily writing routine. Why do you write in the genre/sub-genre that you do? Any plans in the future to write a different one?

I write romance because I like to read stories and watch movies (like “Sleepless in Seattle”) with happy endings. I guess I’m a romantic at heart but do enjoy a good mystery as well. Psychics have always been of interest to me. I had a couple as customers who seemed really sincere in strong desire to help people. I also had an animal communicator who drove Max nuts.  (Yes the dog came to work with me!)

Joining The Southwest Florida Chapter of Romance Writers of America has been a wonderful, encouraging as well as a learning experience. I encourage all writers to look into their local professional chapters. A future project that I am working on slowly is a cozy island mystery with a touch of romance.

How do you stay motivated when writer’s block hits or your muse won’t cooperate?

When my muse doesn’t cooperate, I step away from my work and literally forget about it. Then, I’ll be driving or doing a household chore totally unrelated and an idea about how to start a story or continue the plot will burst into my mind. Of course I run for a pen and pad before I forget what just happened.

I  always get my best solutions to manuscript problems that way too. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?

I will be taking a concealed weapons course with two other writers to see how we can incorporate what we will learn into our future stories. Research doesn’t always appear as such. Travel to English royal homes, ancient sites like the pyramids, and romantic cites can serve as research after the fact.

A concealed weapons course sounds interesting. What’s the best writing advice you were ever given?

The best writing advice is to never give up, never get discouraged, and to constantly learn how to improve your craft. 

That's good advice for everyone. What do like to do in your leisure time?

I have very little leisure time but I love to swim, read, go to the movies, and on the boat. I love to travel and experience first-hand new cultures, relive history and witness the sights I’d read about in travel books and magazines

Tell us about your current release in a couple of sentences.

THE LOVE GYPSY recounts the romantic dilemma of beautiful Florida homicide detective Brianna Breeze who can’t seem to catch a man unless she handcuffs him! So her best friend decides to take matters into her own hands and tricks Brianna into seeing the Love Gypsy, a time traveler’s friend noted for her extraordinary matchmaking skills.

When a tall, muscular man wearing jeans, a black leather jacket and slicked back 50’s hair bursts in on her first visit, Brianna is bewitched. Despite the gypsy’s warning not to get involved with him, Brianna can’t get him out of her mind – even though she more than anyone knows the pitfalls of romancing a stranger.

A present day murder, a mysterious vintage car registered in the past, and a smoking gun complicate the puzzle. Brianna doesn’t know if her lover from the past is a murderer, or a savior, but she’s willing to risk time travel to find out.
 
Sounds fascinating. Can you tell us a little about your next project?

My next project is about an English duchess from the past who seeks The Love Gypsy’s aid in solving a problem brought to the present by a scoundrel of an ex-lover. During her visit, she meets the love of her life.

Sounds great!  Thank you for letting me interview you today.  

Well, dear readers, if you want to learn more about Mariah Lynne or buy your own copy of THE LOVE GYPSY, check out the links below.


Website: MariahLynne.com

Monday, January 14, 2013

Getting Organized


In the past, I've always just written down my goals in a one sentence format but found it hard to keep myself on track. Last year was the first year I broke them down into smaller pieces, so to speak, and found it easier to make progress.  Since I'm a big believer in the adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," I'm going to follow the same model this year. 

I wrote on Friday about setting goals for this year.  Right now those goals are broad one sentence statements. I need to break them down into mini goals so I stay on track.  I'm going to set quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals so I can track my progress toward that big main goal.  I find by doing this I have a sense of accomplishment as I check off those smaller milestones. 

This week, I'm going to get myself organized, set those smaller goals, mark them on the calendar, and try out a few time management tips I've heard, read, or found.  Some days, it seems I don't have enough time in the day to get everything I want to, or need to, get done after I'm done at the day job so I'm hoping those time management tips will help at least a little.

How about you?  Do you set broad, overarching goals or smaller goals to meet throughout the year?  Also please feel free to share any time management tips you use that work for you.

Friday, January 11, 2013

This I know for sure...

It's very easy to make New Year's resolutions or to set goals at the beginning of a new year.  As we all know, it's very, very hard to keep them or meet them.  There have been numerous blogs about how people often fail at meeting goals or New Year's resolutions in recent days, enough really to discourage one right from the start.

I haven't made any New Year's resolutions the last couple of years because I never managed to keep them for more than 3 or 4 months.  All those good intentions on January 1st dwindled and died.  Instead, last year I made  a list of goals that I wanted to accomplish by the end of 2012.  How did I do?  Not too bad over all. I meet my writing goals, and two of my personal goals.  Since I did better at meeting those goals than I ever did keeping my New Year's resolutions, I've decided to set goals for 2013.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Please Welcome My Guest...

Please welcome my guest, Historical Romance Author, Alison Henderson. She's written a great post about writing novellas, or as we writers call it, writing short. 

Short, Sweet, and Unexpected

Hi, Katherine and friends! Thank you for inviting me to visit today to talk about my new novella, The Treasure of Como Bluff. After three full-length novels, this was my first attempt at writing something shorter, and I have to admit the structure gave me fits almost until the last chapter.

The Treasure of Como Bluff is a part of the new Love Letters line from The Wild Rose Press. I’d never considered attempting to write a novella until I read the editor’s call for 20-25K word historical stories in which the action is precipitated by a letter—a love letter, a Dear John letter, a letter about an inheritance—any kind of letter. The premise intrigued me, and the kernel of an idea began to germinate in my imagination.

I’d had the image of a female paleontologist finding an unconscious man at her dig site in my mind for a long time; I just didn’t have a story to go with it. This premise made me wonder, what if she found a letter in his pocket? It was the perfect jump start for what turned out to be a lighthearted, funny story set during the Bone Wars in Wyoming in 1879. How’s that for unexpected?

My two previous published novels were essentially serious stories set in a serious time—America right after the Civil War. Like the rest of the country, my heroes and heroines had suffered deprivation and heartache and struggled to create new lives out of the ashes of their old ones. The Treasure of Como Bluff gave me an opportunity to do something completely different.

When I originally wrote my post-Civil War novels twenty years ago, I must have been a much more serious person. They are both poignant stories about overcoming hardship. The Treasure of Como Bluff is just plain fun. I had a great time writing the snappy banter between Caroline and Nick and thinking up outrageous situations to amplify the conflict. One reviewer likened them to western versions of Hepburn and Tracy or Lombard and Gable. (I don’t think it would be giving too much away to note that Nick spends an inordinate amount of time in a pink sunbonnet.)

Here’s a blurb about the story:

In her race against rival bone hunters, the last complication paleontologist Caroline Hubbard needs is an unconscious stranger cluttering up her dig site. Nicholas Bancroft might have the chiseled features and sculpted physique of a classical statue, but she's not about to let him hamper her quest to unearth a new species of dinosaur and make her mark on the scientific world.

Nick has come to Wyoming in search of silver but, after a blow to the head, finds himself at the mercy of a feisty, determined female scientist. Despite his insistence that he's just passing through, he agrees to masquerade as Caroline's husband to help save her job. Once their deception plays out, they face a crucial decision. Will they be able to see beyond their separate goals and recognize the treasure right in front of them?

And here’s an excerpt:

            Nick laughed. “Are you always this grumpy when you’re working?”
          “I’m about to face the biggest challenge of my life, one that will affect my entire future, and you refuse to take it seriously.” She glared at him through narrowed eyes. “I have every right to be grumpy.”
“Perhaps, but remember, you asked for my help. You need me to pull off this deception.”
He was right. She did need him, and if she wasn’t careful he’d get back on his horse and ride out of her life forever. The thought pushed her near the edge of panic. “I know, and I’m sorry. It’s just that this is so important to me.”
Nick slid his arm around her shoulders. “I know. Don’t worry; I won’t abandon you. I owe you. You saved my life, remember?”
When he didn’t release her immediately, Caroline breathed a tiny sigh and allowed herself the luxury of leaning against him, wrapped in the safety and comfort of his arm. She closed her eyes and rested her head against the warm solidity of his chest, absorbing the reassuring rhythmic thump of his heartbeat. She’d always been alone in her quest; it would be a relief to have someone to share it with, even if only for a few days.
She thought she felt something whisper-soft touch the top of her head, almost like a kiss of breeze, but the air was still. It couldn’t have been Nick...could it? She lifted her head and turned until she could see his face. The devil twinkled in those sea-blue eyes, and a lazy smile played across his lips.
“Flip you for the bed.”


Thanks again for allowing me to share my new story with you, and here’s hoping you like a little humor with your romance.

Alison
 

Monday, January 7, 2013

A New Beginning


I'm not good a keeping New Year's resolutions so I've stopped making them. I do make yearly goals though. Somehow it's easier for me to meet goals than it is to keep resolutions. I'm not sure why. Maybe, it's just that word - Resolutions.  So many people make them at the start of a new year, but so few of us ever keep them so maybe I set myself up for failure just by using that word.  At least that's what I'm telling myself.

This year I've made both writing goals and personal goals.  Right now they're just big goals. For example one of my writing goals is to keep on top of writing related email instead of letting it pile up and become unmanageable.  Right now, I have 478 unread emails in my writing email account.

I'm going to use this first month of the new year to fine tune those goals, break them down into smaller goals with deadlines quarterly, then monthly, then weekly.  By breaking them down, they'll be more manageable and easier to achieve.  One goal may be - "this week I'll clean out 25 emails, while keeping up with any new email as it comes in." It's a lot easier to know I only have to clean out 25 emails than it is to feel overwhelmed by trying to tackle the whole 478 at once.

I'm looking forward to this year with an optimism I haven't felt for a while.  Maybe it's because I'm in a better place than I have been the last 2 1/2 years. Or maybe it's because there's something about a new year. It's a fresh start, a new beginning. A time to let all the stuff that happened in the past go, or at least try to.