Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Writers' Wednesday Welcomes Kaye Calkins

Welcome to Writers’ Wednesday. Today I'm happy to feature another super critique partner, Kaye Calkins, whose first manuscript, DEVERELL'S DILEMMA has been accepted by Avalon Press. Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to talk with us, Kaye.

I’m glad to be here, Barb.

You have such a great ‘call’ story. Would you tell us what happened?

The Tuesday in December when the publisher’s call came, I was with my critique partners at our regular weekly meeting. My husband phoned to tell me about a message from someone asking me to return a call. When I heard the name, I couldn’t believe it--an editor at Avalon. I called back, but her voice mail picked up and I left my cell number. Mere minutes later, the phone rang. My heart practically beat out of my chest, and I could hardly breathe. My partners were yelling and hugging me and I just sat there, dazed. You girls were so sweet.

We couldn’t believe how calm you were. All we heard was your side of the conversation but when you said, so sedately, “I’d like that very much,” we knew. How exciting to be a part of your big day!

A few days later the contract came was another exciting moment. The next step was the letter of edits and changes. I was happy to make the few they asked for. I sent the completed manuscript by e-mail. I have to admit it still wasn’t real to me. While I waited to find out my publication date I was sure it was a terrible mistake and they’d call and say sorry, we made a mistake. Now at last, I have the tentative date of February 2012 for publication. I finally believe it is really going to happen.

DEVERELL'S DILEMMA is a sweet Regency. What draws you to this era?

I first got hooked when I read Georgette Heyer. She had a knowledge of the time and the customs of the period. Her humor appealed to me, and the slang of the day which was called cant. An example would be cock-sure meaning confident and civil- whiskers for polite small talk.

I have read all of the Jane Austen stories, which I have to say are a bit wordy for me, but I loved all of the movies on A&E. Who could resist Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy, or Ciaran Hinds as Captain Wentworth in PERSUASION?

What’s your next project for publication?

A sequel to Deverell’s Dilemma called Henrietta’s Hoax. The stories are about the two Bromfield brothers, Deverell & Nathaniel. My heroes are involved in murder and masquerades as they pursue their heroines. Humor also laces the dialogue. The stories each stand alone, but it’s always nice to know what happens next.

What one tip would you offer writers?

Write about what interests you. I have always loved history, especially England’s Regency and Victorian periods. I think it’s the clothes, the architecture and the quaint way of speaking. It’s very romantic to me.

Thanks, Kaye. Can’t wait for the book’s release. Wish it weren’t nearly a year off. Come back then, please.

Visit more with Kaye at her site:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Writers' Wednesday Welcomes Tracy Garrett

Welcome to Writers’ Wednesday, where writers tell us a little about themselves and offer a writing tip. Today, I’m happy to welcome historical Western author--and musician--Tracy Garrett.

Tracy’s an award-winning multi-published author, who says she always loved to disappear into the worlds created within the pages of a book. An accomplished musician, she merged her need for creativity, her love of history, and her passion for reading when she began writing western historical romance. An active member of Romance Writers of America, Ozarks Romance Authors, and Dallas Area Romance Authors, Tracy now resides in Missouri with her husband and their fuzzy pal, Wrigley.

Hi Tracy. Thanks for being here. Tell us about your current story.

It’s set in the panhandle of Texas in 1890. The hero is Wolf, who appeared in my debut western, TOUCH OF TEXAS. By far, his story has been the most requested by readers.

This is your third Western. What draws you to this era?

I grew up watching all the old westerns, both movies and television series. I think Little Joe Cartright was my first serious crush. lol I’ve always loved reading westerns, and I’m a John Wayne addict.

Little Joe was definitely ‘crushable.’ I really miss the Westerns that used to run on television. As for Wolf, I remember him from TOUCH OF TEXAS and I’m glad he’s getting his own story. What do you plan for your next project?

Once I type The End on Wolf and his lady love, I have two more character in that series that are waiting in the wings. And I’m working on a contemporary series--still set in Texas--and a young adult project. Plenty to keep me busy.

With two published books behind you, what one tip would you offer writers?

Write every day, even if it’s only a few lines. I got out of the habit and my productivity suffered. Now that I’ve reset that goal, I’m making good progress--and the ideas are flowing again.

That’s a great suggestion. Even if what’s produced at that time needs revision, it’s important to get something down every day. I try, but don’t always make it. Thanks, again, for joining us today, Tracy.

It was my pleasure. Thank you for inviting me!

Be sure to visit Tracy and the rest of the Fillies at Petticoats & Pistols at
http://www.petticoataandpistols.com/, a blog dedicated to all things western.

Tracy Garrett


Touch of Texas

Touched by Love

Monday, April 18, 2011

Research--Joy and Tears (of Frustration)

Research Is Exciting

Writers must love to research, no matter what genre they’re in. Most have their stories of that one research experience they recall with fondness--or frustration. Mine happened when I first began writing fiction about five years ago.

When I was researching Richard I for my first book, I tried everywhere for one particular source that had been referenced and footnoted in another research publication I’d consulted. It was a detailed itinerary of Richard I by Roger of Howden, a cleric of the 12th Century who traveled with him frequently.

I tried tracking it down, only to come up short until an online search showed that “Howden” was also written “Hoveden (the original spelling of the name). That discovered, I set out to find the itinerary that had been published earlier in the 1900s.

Unfortunately only two books were found in Missouri, according to an online library search. One was in the law library in a university in St. Louis. I called. The work could only be accessed while the researcher was in the special collections section of the library, I was told.

However, a second was located in the open stacks of the state university’s main campus library, a short three-hour drive. Thrilled, I called and was assured that yes, it was there and available. So early one summer morning I loaded my briefcase and notebooks in the car and took off for a long day trip.

I could hardly believe that finally, after so many weeks of trying to track it down, I would at last get to look at the documented record of Richard I’s movements. With names and descriptions of what took place. Reported by people who were actually there some eight hundred years ago. For someone who is manic about accuracy, it was a dream come true.

The July day was very warm and the two-lane road was packed with tourists headed to the lakes and resorts not far from the city where the university is located. Every stop-and-go delay fed my impatience.

At last I arrived, only to find parking non-existent in the area of the library. Finally nabbing an on-street space nearly a half-mile from my target--no open parking lots or parking spaces in the immediate area--I stuffed the meter with nickels and set out to find the right building--and the right entrance.

It seemed to take forever to gain computer access, find the location of the holding, and then get directions to that particular floor and section. Let me just say--it’s a big library. Finally, finally, I found the aisle and began looking for the title on the spines of the books wedged onto the shelves.

There. On the very bottom row. Two volumes. Suppressing an age-inappropriate desire to giggle and do a victory dance, I sat cross legged on the floor, drew the first volume out, and reverently opened it. And stared. NO.

I opened it to the center. Hadn’t changed. I tried the back. Same there. Pulled out the second volume, just in case. No luck. The annals of Roger of Hoveden had been dutifully reproduced--in Latin. I don’t read Latin.

I did laugh then. Better than crying.

The next week I sought help and turned the problem over to a librarian at the college where I’d taught. A few days later, she called to report she’d tracked down a copy of the book in a California library that would consider an inter-library loan. I asked her to verify the volume was in translation before she ordered it. It was.

And for the record, reading (at long last) the account of those events turned out to be every bit as exciting as I anticipated.

Do you have favorite research stories you’d care to share?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Writers' Wedneday Featues Lisa Wells

Welcome to Writers’ Wednesday. Today, I’m happy to feature Lisa Wells, whose first book, DIBS, was published by Wild Rose Press. Lisa is newsletter editor for Ozarks Romance Authors. Her "Buck Up Sissy Girls" column about writing is a favorite. Thanks for being here today.

Hi Barbara. Thanks for inviting me today.

Your book DIBS is a sexy contemporary romance. What draws you to this genre?

I enjoy reading light-hearted romances full of steam and sass. In this business, the motto is write what you like to read. So, I do.

DIBS certainly fills that bill. What’s your next project?

I’m working on a one I’ve titled: “The To Do List.” In it, the heroine is trying to transform her naughty girl image into a good girl image. When her ex-best friend dies and leaves her a to do list that requires her to revisit some of her activities of the past, she has to decide if she’ll honor her friend’s last wish or continue down her good girl path.

I'll bet the hero has something to say about that.

What one tip would you offer writers?

Study the craft. There is soooooooooo much to learn. The best way to capture it is to immerse yourself in the study of it. Think of writing as a new language you’re learning. The more you surround yourself with people who speak that language, the better you will learn it, speak it and write it.

Love the idea of writing as a new language. It's one we all hope to become proficient in. Thanks, again, for joining us today.

I’ve enjoyed the opportunity.

DIBS – available at http://www.thewildrosepress.com/

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Writers' Wednesday Welcomes Jennifer Jakes

Welcome to Writers’ Wednesday. This week, I’m happy to feature a super critique partner and debut author, Jennifer Jakes. Thank you for taking time out of your frantic schedule to talk with us, Jennifer.

Hi Barbara! Thanks for having me here today.

Your first book, Rafe’s Redemption, has bowed in to wonderful reviews, and you’ve had book signings and blog tours. Is there anything else on the horizon?

I’ll be at the Lori Foster Reader/Author Get-Together signing Rafe’s Redemption June 3-5 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

That sounds like a lot of fun. Rafe and Maggie will love the trip. Their story’s set on the American Frontier just after the Civil War. What draws you to this era?

I’m not really sure what draws me to the Frontier. I grew up watching Westerns with my family and I can remember being completely engrossed with the images on the screen. I especially love the Centennial (by James Michener) series.

What’s your next project for publication?

I’m working on a novella right now, but I’m planning a full length novel set in 1898 Alaska during the Gold Rush.

What one tip would you offer writers?

Learn the craft, whether it be online classes or writing books or a great critique group *wink*.

Great suggestions. And so true. Thanks, again, for joining us today.

Rafe’s Redemption: Blurb

He rode into town to buy supplies, not a woman.

For hunted recluse Rafe McBride, the raven-haired beauty on the auction block is exactly what he doesn't need. A dependent woman will be another clue his vengeful stepbrother can use to find and kill him. But Rafe's conscience won't let him leave another innocent's virginity to the riff-raff bidding. He buys her, promising to return her to St. Louis untouched. He only prays the impending blizzard holds off before her sultry beauty breaks his willpower.

She wanted freedom, not a lover.

Whisked to the auction block by her devious, gambling cousin, and then sold into the arms of a gorgeous stranger, outspoken artist Maggie Monroe isn't about to go meekly. Especially when the rugged mountain man looks like sin and danger rolled into one. But a blizzard and temptation thrust them together, and Maggie yearns to explore her smoldering passion for Rafe. B

ut when the snow clears, will the danger and secrets that surround Rafe and Maggie tear them apart?


Maggie wanted freedom, not a lover…

Oh, Lord. He was going to kiss her. She shouldn’t want this. She was confused enough. Respectable women didn’t kiss men they barely knew, certainly not men who made them have wild, exotic dreams. It was crazy. He was making her want crazy things. Making her not give a damn about her reputation or her virginity. Or her long-

The table was only a step away, and honey was just as sweet as peach juice… She swallowed hard and looked up into his hooded eyes.

“Maggie,” he groaned. “Don’t be scared. I’d never hurt you.”

Her mouth parted to object, but firm lips covered hers, hungry, demanding. She gasped, shocked at his hunger, but even more at the illicit response coursing through her. An aching heat unfurled low in her stomach, pulsed between her legs.

Oh, yes. It started just like in the dream. He deepened the kiss, coaxed her lips with his warm tongue. Long, languid strokes teased the inside of her mouth, encouraging, tempting before he pulled back to nibble the corners of her lips.

Oh, God. Is this what all kisses felt like? Hot, lethargic? Melting her like molasses over warm bread?

“Kiss me, Maggie,” he breathed.

Be sure to check out Jennifer’s website and blog.