Monday, May 23, 2016

Author Interview and Giveaway - Chad Strong

 I'm so pleased to introduce my guest author this week - Chad Strong. We first "met" in an online forum many years ago, and he's not only an all-around nice guy, but we both have stories in the Short-Story Anthology Rawhide N' Roses. 
He's also recently ventured into the self-publishing world, and re-released his award-winning book, High Stakes. 

Don't forget to comment at the end for a chance at an ebook copy of his book!

Thanks for finally being a guest on my blog, Chad. Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

Hi, Peggy! Thank you for having me on your blog! I think the last project we both contributed to was “Rawhide’n Roses – a Western Anthology”.

A little about the person behind the pen … I’m Canadian, born and raised in western Canada, though I currently live east of center. I’ve spent most of my life with horses. When I didn’t have a book in my hands, there’d be reins – or a manure fork – instead. I’ve always been fascinated with the era of the Old West, feeling like I was born a century or more too late. I still love the old western movies with John Wayne and the newer ones, from Dances with Wolves to Young Guns, etc., and can’t wait to see the more current ones I haven’t got to yet! I enjoy short stories as well as novels, and my favorite western author is Matt Braun.

Why did you decide to write a western historical romance? What is the appeal?

It was sort of an accident. I hadn’t set out to write a romance per se. I’d set out to write a western/historical with a romance in it. But as the story took shape, the romance part started becoming more and more essential to the plot.

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

I do a lot of research. I love learning and I love history and I want to get it right if I use it in a story. Like most writers, I read a lot of books – from the library, to treasures found at second hand book stores, to articles on the internet. (Though I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century). The discovery of so much fascinating stuff can be addictive, so many side trails to explore! It takes an effort of will to narrow my focus to the bits that actually belong in a particular story.

What is the best comment you ever received from a reader?

The best comment about High Stakes came from a fellow who’s a self-proclaimed non-reader (he usually prefers to wait for the movie version) who said he couldn’t put it down and he missed it when it was all over. Some months later I heard from him again, and he told me he was reading it again. Wow – that blew me away!

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

Mostly plowing. Generally, I have some idea of where I want to go with a story. I’ll jot down notes about characters or images or feelings or scenes, and just start writing. The first draft grows rather organically, and after that, during the rewrites, is when I start looking for the logical plot and discovering themes and linking and rearranging things to hopefully come to a meaningful whole when it’s done.

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

High Stakes is my first novel, and it grew out of my love of home - Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and western/historical stories. After multiple rejections over a number of years, it was first published as an ebook by Musa Publishing in 2012. Musa went out of business in spring of 2015, so the book was no longer available to the public. I decided to self-publish to get it back out there, so the better part of the past year has been an enormous learning curve as I tackled reformatting and social media, etc, etc.  Not being the least bit tech-savvy, I ran into a lot of barbed wire. I’d expected to just ride from here to there and get it done, but rode into a lot of box canyons and had get back out and take the long way around. I’m very grateful to the folks who stepped up and helped me when I was clueless about what to do and how to do it. I feel like a quasi Dr. McCoy: “Damn it, Jim – I’m a horseman, not a computer tech!”

What sets your heroine, Mary Andrews, apart from all the other women in your hero’s, Curt Prescott’s, life? Why is she perfect for him?

Mary is perfect for Curt because she challenges him in ways he could never foresee. Mary is who she is, and expects, naïvely or otherwise, the same honest presentation of themselves from others. Curt grew up on the streets and learned the hard way that not everyone can be trusted. Now, he’s an adult, and a professional gambler. Characteristically, he tends to present himself in whatever manner will give him the upper hand.

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

At those times where I just can't seem to get what I need out onto the page, I find it helpful to do something physical, like take a walk, or work on something completely different, something to switch gears and allow my mind to let go of whatever it's stuck on. Usually, I can then bring a fresh perspective back to the work.

Here’s the back jacket blurb and an excerpt from “High Stakes”:


Young gambler Curt Prescott plays better poker than men twice his age.  His skill raised him from a life of degradation on the streets to a comfortable living with his girl, saloon songstress, Del, in Victoria, BC. 

In the spring of 1877, a new preacher, his wife, and daughter, Mary, arrive.  The preacher hopes to save the souls of Victoria’s “misguided”.  His wife forms a committee to eradicate them.  Curt must fight back with everything he has – including a plan to seduce Mary and shame the family.

 As a notorious criminal, and Del’s jealous rages, threaten them all, Curt’s battle for his lifestyle becomes one of right and wrong, life and death, and love lost and found.

 Chock-full of western grit, romantic allure, and courage of the heart, High Stakes is an adventure for men and women alike.

And the excerpt:

Mary grasped Curt's arm. "This is wonderful. I'm having such a good time."

“I’m glad.” He took the hand that grasped his sleeve and knitted their fingers together. Mary smiled and squeezed his hand. He felt that tingling sensation again.

They walked another half-mile to a place where the banks were less steep and the trees fell away for a small grassy meadow. The sun was high in the western sky and warmed them the instant they stepped into the open. The meadow was still surrounded by dense forest, still very private.

“Shall we sit awhile?” Curt asked her.

She nodded and they sank down onto the thick, soft grass, facing the creek. Mary drew a deep breath of the sweet spring air and hugged her up drawn knees.

“Feeling better?” he asked, leaning on his left hand and propping his right elbow on his right knee.

“Yes, much.” She smiled at him. “I feel as free as a bird.”

“I’m glad.” He beckoned her eyes with his. “I’m enjoying myself too, Mary. I really enjoy being with you.”

She blushed, and bit on her lower lip.

He chuckled softly. “I wish you didn’t embarrass so easily. It makes it hard for me to tell you how pretty you look sitting there, with the sun shining in your hair.”

The intensity of his stare drew her eyes to his and locked them there. He lifted his hand and touched her hair. She stiffened, and held herself frozen. He leaned over the inches between them and placed a soft kiss on her temple. He heard her sharp intake of breath.

“Are you afraid of me, Mary?” he asked, his breath fanning her ear.

“N-no. That’s silly.” She hugged her knees tighter.

He dipped his head and placed another kiss on her cheek. Her eyes ran away from his. “Mary. Mary, look at me.”

She bit on her lip again, then released it as she met his eyes once again. Holding her captive with only his gaze, he pressed a brief, warm kiss to her lips. She stiffened again, holding her breath, and did not exhale even after he’d drawn away. He cupped her cheek with his palm to keep her face toward him.

“That was nice,” he said softly.

She shivered, at last breathing out, and he sensed that one more kiss would send her running from him. He sat back but held her hand firmly in his. He could feel her anxiety in her rigid fingers. Gently, he stroked them, until at last she relaxed and met his eyes once again. There was uncertainty in them, a little fear, too, but there was also a small spark of awakened desire. He believed she was as close to wanting a man as she’d ever come. In time, she would want him beyond all reason, and she would surrender to him. And the spark he saw made him wonder if there was more passion hidden beneath her shy, quiet exterior than he had so far given her credit for. He was definitely going to find out.

What else do you have in store for your readers?

I’ve recently released a couple of western short stories in ebook format on Kindle, Kobo, Nook, etc. 

My next novel is actually a young adult fantasy. I enjoy reading multiple genres – mostly western and fantasy – so I guess it’s no surprise I enjoy writing across different genres as well. I’ve had a few short stories from each category published, and have plans for some western/fantasy combined. 

Does anyone have any questions or comments for me? I’ll be sending a free Kindle ebook copy of High Stakes to one reader who comments.

Happy Trails and Happy Reading!
Chad Strong

    I enjoy hearing from my readers. You can contact me, and learn more about High Stakes and other stories through:

See the Book Trailer on YouTube:

High Stakes is available in Kindle and paperback from Amazon at:

From Kobo:

And many other ebook retailers.


  1. Your book sounds intriguing, and I would love to read it. I think it will be a wonderful change reading a Western Romance written by a man. The first thought that came into my mind was if the book would have a different feel or perspective being presented by a guy. I look forward to finding out and wish you lots of luck as you continue in your writing career. Thanks Peggy, for having him as a guest and introducing him and his book.

  2. Thank you Peggy for introducing us to Chad!! Chad, your book sounds really good, I look forward to reading it!

  3. This comment is from TJ Walker...I moved it here from one of my other posts.

    High Stakes sounds like a great read. I wish you luck with your writing career.

  4. Good for you for putting the story out again. Great concept. Here's to many more stories. Angela Raines-author

  5. Great interview! I'm looking forward to reading this. I agree with Connie, it will be interesting to read a romance written by a guy. I'm going you read your shirt story today as I have Rawhide and Roses. Good luck with your books!

  6. Oh what fun! I love that this is set in Canada! Was in BC a few years ago and can envision when it started to be settled. Also, like that this is from a man's perspective. I enjoy reading westerns set in this time period when the author does research as I learn new things!

  7. Hi Peggy, and all you ladies who have taken the time to check out her interview about me and my book. It's very nice to meet you all, and thank you for your kind comments. Peggy, you've got a great website and blog here, and I appreciate you having me today.

  8. What a great interview Chad. I remember really enjoying your story in Rawhide n'Roses and wanting to read more of your writing. I'm so glad that High Stakes is now available again. It'll be great to read a story set in Canada too. My husband and I (we're from the UK) spent a year in a town on the Alberta/Saskatchewan border. We just love Canada and Canadians...and Tom Horton's of course! All the very best with your writing.

  9. I intend to read your book. I'm glad Peggy introduced you to us. I personally "love" your last name!

    Judith Strong Meisch

    1. Thank you, Judith - and way cool about our last names!

  10. I loved the interview and learning about you and your book-will definately check out your book

  11. Great interview. I have never read a historial romance written by a man before. Your interview has made me want to try Chad's book out! :) Thanks Peggy for introducing us to Chad!

  12. So many great comments! Thank you all. The winning name will be drawn tomorrow evening, and Peggy and I will be announcing the winner of the Kindle edition of High Stakes before midnight tomorrow. Happy Trails!

  13. So proud of you Chad...All the best in your writing career !

    Luv ya Lots
    Valerie and Dad

  14. Loving forward to reading this book. Frances Saueresssig

  15. Hi everyone! It's time to announce the winner of the Kindle version of High Stakes! Instead of a drum roll, why don't we herald the winner of the draw with the hoof beats of a thousand galloping horses! And her name is .... Connie White! Congratulations, Connie! If you'd like to give Peggy the email account to which you'd like me to send your gift copy, she'll be sure to get it to me and I'll send your prize within 24 hours of receiving your information. I hope you enjoy the book!

  16. A huge Thank you to Peggy for having me here on her blog. You're a super nice lady with a big heart. And thank you ladies very much for checking out her post and for your interest in High Stakes. Your comments are all greatly appreciated.