Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.
Thanks for having me today. Like most authors, I’ve pretty much been writing my whole life. It wasn’t until my kids got into high school though, that I seriously pursued publication. Since then I have had one novel and several short stories published. My newest novel is a historical western romance about a troubled U.S. Deputy Marshal and the feisty outlaw he is sworn to bring to justice.
Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?
This one, Lost Hearts. This story takes place in a state I’ve never been able to visit, and it takes place before man had changed the environment of that state. It also involves real places and people, so the research was a bit daunting. And the hero, Rab, was difficult to understand, because he was so confused himself.
Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?
Not really. My husband is a blue collar guy and our values tend to be conservative. So when I write, my characters tend to be honest, working class kind of people who fall in love.
How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?
I use mostly books, especially for Civil War research. The rest is from the internet, which is my favorite place to get photos of period clothing. The Genealogical and Historical Society in McAlester, OK also sent me maps and copies of newspaper articles in response to a letter of questions I sent them. My research process is slowly developing. With my first book I was all over the place, easily side tracked and because I’d forget to document where I got the information, I’d have to go back and re-research. By the time I finished Lost Hearts I’d learned my lesson and had begun to organize my notes. Now with my new WIP, my plan is to finish the rough draft then go back and research every detail, then start the rewrites.
Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?
I’m not sure, I’m still trying to find my voice as a writer, but I hope my characters are real enough so that readers remember them as close friends.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?
I’m a little of both. I know where the story is going, and what my character’s goals and fears are so the dark moment is pretty defined, as well as how things will end. Then I write the scenes and bits of dialogue as they come to me. Later, I cut and paste, and put it all into some kind of order. Then I fill in the blanks and make sure every thread follows through.
How long did it take for you to be published?
Once I seriously started trying to submit my first novel and find an agent it took about 3 and a half years.
If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?
Join a critique group or find someone to read your work who knows something about craft.
Laptop or pen and ink? What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?
Years ago I always wrote in a notebook, these days it’s my computer. Although if I’m stuck, a notebook works best to just free write. Most of it ends up being junk, but giving myself permission to write junk often clarifies the missing element of a scene or gives me that bit of emotion I’ve overlooked.
Who are your favorite authors? Who would you say influenced you the most?
I have so many favorite authors I can’t begin to name them. When I was in high school I was a big Louis L’Amour fan. At the time I was struck by his attention to detail and the way he was able to ground the reader in his settings. I’ve tried to emulate that with my own writing, though how well I succeeded in that is still open for debate.
What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?
That I work in a group home with intellectually challenge adult men, who struggle with mental health issues.
Favorite Christmas memory?
The year my brother woke my other brother and me up super early to tell us we got a toboggan. It was wedged between the wall and the tree and had a bright red pad to sit on. The three of us used it for years. We would pile on that thing and go sledding for hours, with our dog racing down the hill ahead of us.
Have you written any Christmas-themed stories or woven the holiday into any of your books?
I’ve written two Christmas novellas, both available from The Wild Rose Press, A Christmas Smile and An Ordinary Angel.
Best Gift ever received?
My Quarter Horse mare, Little Jody Ann. She was my first horse and I grew up with her.
Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.
My short stories, novellas and full length novels are available through my publisher, The Wild Rose Press or from All Romance e-Books. My novels are available in print as well as e-book and are also available through Fictionwise, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.
Trapped in a life of violence and abuse, Johnny Bodine disguises her femininity and dreams of a family who loves her. Haunted by flashbacks he can't remember, from a war he wants desperately to forget, U.S. Deputy Marshal Richard Bennick arrives in Indian Territory with warrants for a notorious outlaw and his feisty, irreverent son, Johnny.
As they journey through the dangerous Choctaw Nation, Richard and Johnny must learn to trust each other in order to survive, forming a unique bond of love between outlaw and lawman that can only be broken by Richard's oath to uphold the law, and by the justice of the hangman's noose.
(Pages 352) Spicy
Stopping before him, she lowered her gaze to the scuffed toes of her boots. “I can tend that arm iffin ya want.”
The small bloodstains on the deputy’s shirt sleeve were nearly dry, and though he said nothing about what she’d done to him, she wouldn’t neglect his wound. Placing the bag on the table, she stepped away to rummage through the piles of clutter near the stove.
With the crook of her arm soon overflowing with an assortment of bandages, Johnny swung back toward the table and froze. The deputy stood before her with his rifle once again pointed at the center of her chest. She gasped, nearly dropping the clean linen onto the dirt floor. She studied his intense brown eyes for several moments and sighed with relief when she realized he wouldn’t pull the trigger.
A lifetime with her father and his men had honed her ability to read people. Like an expert shootist, she knew exactly when that trigger would be squeezed or when the next punch would fly.
Pointedly ignoring the barrel of his rifle, she stepped around it and dropped the bandages onto the table beside the doeskin bag.
“Ya damn lawman, iffin I’d a-wanted to kill ya, I’d a done it afore now.”
She lifted her gaze to meet his and saw in his eyes that he was aware she’d had her opportunity a few minutes ago and had chosen not to take it.
“Well, do forgive me,” he groused, “but I never trust an outlaw.”
Johnny narrowed her eyes into a mutinous glare. “I ain’t no outlaw. My paw’s an outlaw. Uncle Calvin an’ them others is outlaws, but I ain’t. I’m jest a…jest a… “
“Just an innocent victim? Ha! Now finish what you’re doing and let’s go.”
Annoyed he didn’t believe her, she moved to the stove and reached for a small tin on the shelf. She placed the tin on the table then leaned over to grab the chair she’d been standing on while she collected her dried herbs. “Here. Set your ass in this.”
The deputy complied, as the tension in his features eased. Confused by the fact she even cared, Johnny stomped off to retrieve the bucket of water and dropped it on the table with a thump. “Is ya goin’ to put up that rifle-gun? I don’t want it a-goin’ off ax-ti-dental-like if this here salve stings.”
“Then you’d better make sure it doesn’t sting,” he snapped. “And it’s accidental.”
She scowled, waiting as he looped the rifle over his shoulder. She easily pushed up both the unbuttoned sleeves of his shirt and long drawers. Picking up one of the smaller cloths, she dipped it into the water, wrung out the excess, and gently dabbed the blood from the wound. “Ya know’d my meanin’.”
“You said it wrong.” He grumbled. As he leaned close to examine the circle of teeth marks, Johnny caught a whiff of soap. She took a deep breath, inhaling the faint scent of sandalwood. This deputy sure smelled nicer than any man she’d ever known.
“Accidental.” The deputy prodded.
Johnny picked up the tin. Her father and his men always smelled sour, a mixture of sweat, horses, and dirt. Their body odor turned her stomach; it never stirred a desire to lean close andbreathe deep.
“Say it, Johnny.”
“Sonofabitch. Don’t ya never quit?”
She blew out an exaggerated breath that was more like a growl, then pried off the tin lid, and tossed it on the table so hard it skidded across the wood and hit the dirt floor with a ping. “Ask-diddental.”
“Who the hell cares?” She scooped up a blob of salve and smashed it into the raw wound.
“Yeow!” The deputy shoved the chair back and glared at her. “You did that on purpose.”
Johnny scowled right back. “The hell I did, lawman. It was plum ax-ti-dental.”
The deputy’s brown eyes narrowed dangerously for a moment then gradually his harsh expression eased into a quick half smile. A large dimple appeared to crease his left cheek, and for just an instant his white teeth flashed like a ray of sunlight through morning fog.