Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Trailer for Yellowstone Heart Song

I finally have a trailer finished for Yellowstone Heart Song. I've been working on ideas for one for months already. It's amazing how much time is involved in trying to find the right photos, and music. I want to thanks and give credit to my son, Collin, for actually putting the trailer together. He used a program called Flash 8. I have absolutely no clue how to use this program, or even Movie Maker. I have a little experience with Apple's imovie program, and when I actually have some free time, I might tinker with it to see what kind of video I can produce.
Until then, I call on my teenagers for their techo expertise. Another thank you goes out to my other son, Justin, for fine-tuning the file for upload to youtube. Thanks, boys! I'll be calling on you again to put together videos for the rest of the series. I almost have all the pictures gathered for Yellowstone Redemption.
Until then, here is my book trailer for Yellowstone Heart Song.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Guest Author Michelle Beattie

My guest  today is western romance author Michelle Beattie, here to share a little bit about herself and her books. Let’s jump right in.

How old are you?
Where do you live?
 Alberta, Canada

What is your average day like, Michelle?
 I get up, make a cappuccino, wake up the kids.  As they are getting ready I prepare their breakfasts and make their lunches.  I get dressed.  Once the bus comes for them about 8:25am, I make another cappuccino, go to my office and check Facebook, Twitter and Emails while I drink the coffee.  When the coffee is done, it's writing time.  For the most part I write from 9-3:30, taking time to make hubby lunch and eat with him.

When did you start writing?
 Shortly after returning from our honeymoon.  Fall of 1995

What was your very first story about?
 My first story is the one I independently published last year, that finalled in a contest.  My historical western, Another Chance.  It's about a female vet in the 1800's.

Have you written anything that you were too afraid to let anyone read?
 No.  I did write a short story once about my mom, who has passed away.  But I really wrote it for healing purposes, and other than a cousin, nobody has read it.  It's not that I'm scared, but it's personal and was never written with the intent of it selling.

Did you experience anything you’ve written yourself?
 Oh my goodness, yes.  I live near a small town now and have experienced the small-mindedness of some folks the way Jillian did in Another Chance.  I've lost loved ones the way Lauren did in Love by Accident and I know what it's like to have the last words be something you'd give anything to take back.  I do that a lot, actually.  More than most realize.

Who are several of your greatest literary inspirations?
 It began with Sandra Brown, Roseanne Bittner and Patricia Potter.  Those women wrote fantastic historical westerns!  As I came to love contemporary romance as much as historicals, I now consider Nora Roberts, Robyn Carr, Susan Mallery, Cindy Gerard and Cherry Adair as my inspirations.

What kind of education have you received, and how has that affected your writing?
 I did my entire schooling until graduation in French Immersion.  I also have a college diploma in Environmental Sciences with a major in Conservation and Reclamation.  I don't think it's affected my writing at all.  I think life has.  The experiences, the people I've met, the people I've lost, the things I've lived through.  That affects my writing, but I can't say my education has. 

How much research time customarily goes into your projects?
 With my pirate series I researched for a few months before I could even start.    For Love by Accident I was in contact with a park warden for a few years as I wrote and revised.   But mostly, I research as I go and the time it takes depends on how in-depth the scene is or what the research is for.

Who is your favorite literary character?
 As a kid I loved Encyclopedia Brown.  I always wanted to be that clever!  If I had to pick one now, the one that stands out most is Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter books.  I think it's because I can relate to him.  He's from a big family, he doesn't come from money, he's insecure at times and goofy.  He's loyal and fun.  And he's brilliant with one liners!

Who is your favorite character that you’ve created?
 It's gotta be Luke Bradley from my pirate series.  I love Luke because knows what he wants and who he is.  He doesn't put on airs, he's sassy and smart, he's sexy as hell.  

What would be the title of your autobiography?
 wow, that's a tough one.  Maybe, "I did things my way."  I've never done anything the easy or conventional way.  I was writing historical westerns when the market on them fell.   I wrote pirate books when hardly anyone else was and despite the fact that I was told, multiple times, that they wouldn't sell, I sold three: un-agented off the slush pile.  Then, when I wanted to go back to historical westerns, I was told it was "career suicide."  I'm not a writer you can slot in a box.  I'm not a paranormal writer, or a thriller writer.  I've written pirate books, and will write two more.    I've written a historical western, and will write more of those too.  I've written a contemporary and I have many more of those stories to tell.  I remain un-agented and I don't write what's "hot".  But I write what's in my heart and I trust my readers to follow me.   So, yes.  I think "I did things my way" would be a good title.

Tell us about your current book.
 My next story, to be released April 15th, is actually a novella.  I'm part of 32 writers from my local chapter who have created a series of books called "Bandit Creek Books."  Each of us write our own stories, they are not collaborations, and the genres vary from erotic, to christian, to historical, to paranormal.  They all take place in the fictional town of Bandit Creek, Montana.  My novella, Heart of Mine, is a historical western.

What made you write that particular story?
 I thought I'd do a contemporary western, but couldn't come up with a plot.  Once I gave myself permission to do a historical, the story just came to me.  

Is there anything special you would like your potential readers to know?
 I write what I love to read.  I write strong women, usually in untraditional roles.   I write action and adventure.  I write real people you can relate to and usually there's a villain to add a sense of urgency.   I'd like to think I'm about the story and not about a gimmick.  I may not have fancy hooks, or "high concept" as is the buzz word these days, but my stories are solid and my characters are real.  If you like stories where the characters linger in your mind after the book is finished, then I hope they give mine a chance.

What is your favorite vacation spot?
 Vancouver Island.  Love the scenery and the pace of the island.

Other than write, what other activities do you enjoy?
 golf, reading, playing games, travelling, being with family and friends

How do you treat people you’re not fond of?
 I try to be civil, and I try to stay clear of them

What is hiding under your bed right now?
 a few extra copies of A Pirate's Possession and a whole pile of dust bunnies

What do you see as your greatest achievement?
 first and foremost, my two beautiful daughters.  My 16 year marriage and the three published books on my desk that have my name on the covers!

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
 "dig deeper".  Before I sold my first book, a colleague and friend said she couldn't figure out why I wasn't published other than I needed to "dig deeper" into my scenes.  I tended to skim the surface.  Now when a scene isn't working, I tell myself to dig deeper and usually that's all that's missing to make it work.

If you could have one pet, what would it be?
I've owned llamas before and loved them, so I'd say a llama.  They are quiet, docile and, unlike the preconceived notions about them, they don't spit on people! 
What do you classify as an “Adventure?”
 something that pushes  you out of your comfort zone, that kicks your heart rate up a bit and leaves you smiling at the end.

If you could learn one new thing this year, what would it be?
 how to reach a broader audience 

Finish this sentence. “I sometimes find it hard to…”
 forgive.  I usually trust everyone from the get-go.  But if they betray that, they rarely get a second chance.  Not that I'll hate them forever, but I won't give them the chance to get that close to me again.

Where can we find you and your books online?

New Releases  The links and the blurbs for both Love by Accident and Another Chance are on this page.

Michelle is giving away one ebook copy of each of her two latest titles. All you have to do is leave a comment, or ask Michelle a question, and you are entered in the drawing!

Friday, February 24, 2012

New Friday Feature - Campfire Fridays

A new weekly feature I'm starting up is called Campfire Friday, where I have asked my husband, Rich, to share some of his knowledge about the great outdoors, and in particular, cooking over an open campfire. He is my advisor when I'm writing about survival techniques in my novels. An avid backpacker and kayaker, Rich is certified in back-country first aid, as a scout master he has led boy scout troops on wilderness trips in the High Sierras of California, and he's constantly nagging me to go on a backpacking trip with him. (sorry, dear, not happening any time soon)

Today, he's going to share a favorite breakfast recipe that we enjoy when we go camping, which we call Orange Rind Cinnamon Rolls.

Let me start by saying that I love cooking outdoors over an open campfire. Stoves, ovens and even barbecues are way too controlled and dare I say it, “safe” for me. There is something daring about having to control not only the food that you aim to cook, but also the small forest fire you have contained in that pit. I’ve cooked on a spit, on a grill, and in a dutch oven over a natural wood flame. All of these are great ways to cook various meals. But for simplicity (and a wonderful breakfast treat) nothing beats an orange wrapped cinnamon roll. And it is easy (once you get the fire going)!

I’ll assume at this point that you are cooking for more than one person. While your coffee is heating up on the grill over the fire, start cutting some large oranges in half. Squeeze the juice out of  ‘em to drink,  and scrape as much of the pulp out as you can. Try to leave the rind intact as that is what we’re after.  Grab a tube of Pilsbury cinnamon rolls and open them up.  A little side note here: When transporting these “tubes” to higher altitudes or on long trips, pack them in Ziploc bags or they will make a mess of your cooler chest (just trust me on this one).

Place a cinnamon roll into half of the orange rinds and then cover them with the other half of the orange.  Now double wrap each orange in foil. Using your tongs (you did bring some along, right?) place the oranges around the edge of the fire or on top of the coals. Give ‘em an occasional turn. They should be done in about 10-15 minutes; plenty of time to enjoy that coffee or orange juice. The orange peel has both protected the rolls from burning, and infused flavor into them. Pull them out, un-wrap and enjoy the best cinnamon roll you’ve ever had (cooked IN an open fire).

Monday, February 20, 2012

Guest Author Carol A Spradling

Please welcome my first guest author, Carol Spradling. She writes historical romance set in the 1700's colonial America.

What got you interested in writing?
Sadly for my reading list, my tastes are in the minority.  I decided to write a story that I would enjoy reading.  Once I neared the end of the writing process, I decided to pursue publishing.  I was convinced there were other people who thought as I did.

What is the appeal of writing Historical romanceistorical roman?
Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era.  Instead of grand career goals, I preferred to be a homebody.  I look for that in books.  Don't get me wrong, I like reading about a strong woman, but only if there is a strong man by her side.  When that happens, I'm hooked.

How have you shocked your readers?
I try to have a shocking moment in each book.  The biggest shock I gave was when I killed the hero.  Talk about outrage.  Everyone insisted I change the ending.  I did and oddly enough, when new people read the story, they thought the main character should have died.  Go figure.

Are you a
pantser or a plotter?
When I first started writing, I was a pantser.  There was no rhyme or reason to how I wrote.  When I started The Night Lamp, I wrote in a straight line.  Somewhere in the middle of the book, I hit a dead end.  I thought I would never find a way out.  Thanks to two fantastic (and patient) critique partners, I finally finished it.  From then on, I worked from a completed outline.  That doesn't mean I won't alter things, but at least I have a beginning, middle, and an end in sight at all times.

What have you learned from being a published author that you wish you knew before you were published?
Promotion, promotion, promotion.  The need for it never stops.

Any advice for new writers?
Write what you love even when you get discouraged.

What’s next for you?
To celebrate the release of the digital version of The Night Lamp, I am having a contest.  Go to my website or blog for a chance to win a free copy.

What have you got in the works?
I have a chapter or two left to write on my latest book, Shades of Gray.  Broken Death is my attempt at a new genre.  I hope to have that available sometime this summer.

Where can we find you and your books?

The Night Lamp blurb:

Military confidant Cole McKnight will do anything to reclaim his home, even run bounties for an unprincipled bondsman. When Isa Foster becomes his latest assignment, Cole jeopardizes more than his property to bring her in.

Isa Foster has a bounty on her head and a dead friend at her feet. Accused of the murder, she must rely on her espionage training and wits to clear her name. Cole McKnight is one distraction she can’t afford.

With George Washington's impending inauguration and the birth of a nation hanging in the balance, Isa and Cole must work together to uncover the truth behind the murder. While Cole fights for his family home, and Isa for her very survival, their biggest battle may be fighting their attraction for each other. 

The Night Lamp excerpt:
The door handle rattled and Cole shot a glance over his shoulder.  Isa glared at him as he decided his next move.  Bent to his work, and seemingly determined to remain a bachelor, he yanked her nightgown off her shoulders and buried his face in her cleavage.  Pearl buttons popped to the sides, pinging as they struck the floor, and silk ribbons slipped free.

Gasping, she raked her hands through his hair and tried to pull him away.  Her grunts only added to the illusion of a woman enjoying intimacies with her husband.  Cole added to her mortification by bending her leg next to his side.  Isa could only imagine how this looked from an outsider’s viewpoint, and she closed her eyes to keep from making eye contact with the gawking stares in the doorway.  Becoming compliant in his hands, she ran her fingers through his hair and down his bare back.  Apparently, the crowd of onlookers seemed confused by the display.  They stood quiet, but staring.  Cole jabbed his thumb in Isa’s ribs and she squealed.  Hurried footsteps fled the room.

Now that the audience had fled, he pressed upward on his hands and raised his torso above Isa.  Cool air rushed between them, but she made no move to gather the neckline of her nightgown.  With no concern for her lack of modesty, she stared up at Cole, hoping to prolong the moment.  He seemed to have a similar thought, for his eyes slowly scanned her exposed skin.  She arched her back and instinctively trailed her fingers over the lines of carved definition from his elbow to shoulder to lips.  His tongue flicked out and drew her finger into his mouth.  Her breath caught and she glanced up at him.  Hooking her digit over his teeth, she drew him down to her.  He hesitated long enough to search her face.  She closed her eyes in answer and wet her lips.  His mouth covered hers, and she didn’t care if they were alone or not.  Aunt Lenore may not have meant for them to carry the charade this far, but neither of them made any effort to stop their desires.  Her nails dug into his taut flesh on its way to his lower back.  Their teeth clicked against each other and Cole tensed. 

Cold water poured from over his back onto Isa’s chest.  They both gasped and looked up at an upended pail.  Next to the dripping bucket, Aunt Lenore’s stern face was as harsh as worn leather.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


The countdown is on for the release of Yellowstone Awakening on March 1st. I haven't done this before, but I thought it might be fun to kick it off with a little trivia contest. All you have to do is answer one simple question in the comments section, and if your answer is correct, you will be entered in a drawing to win an ebook version of one of the three books in the Yellowstone Romance Series. The winner gets to choose which book.
The contest will run from Sunday, February 19th through Sunday, March 4th. I will announce a winner on Monday, March 5th.

Please also consider following me on twitter and on this blog for updates on future books and happenings.

Answer this question: What year did Yellowstone become a national park?

Good luck!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Yellowstone Awakening Release Date March 1st!

I'm excited to announce that Book 3 in the Yellowstone Romance Series, Yellowstone Awakening, is set for release on March 1st on Amazon. I would like to share the cover, and blurb for now.

Kyle Russell has worked with prominent men, led scouting expeditions through the Yellowstone country, and irritated more than a few Indian braves, but he will never duplicate his father’s legendary accomplishments.  Captured by a group of Crow warriors, his plans of escape are derailed when a lone white woman is brought into camp.
Kate Ellen Devereaux is on the run. Her guardian is dead, and she is lost in the Yellowstone wilderness.  Found by an Indian war party, she is brought into their camp and thrown at the feet of a white captive.  If he has plans of escape, she won’t be left behind.
Kyle’s father may be a legend in the territory, but he never had to deal with an eastern lady full of secrets, a woman who disrupts Kyle’s plans to see the Yellowstone area turned into a national park.  Convincing her that they are destined to be together may be a greater challenge than gaining support for the park movement. Kate can’t afford to show interest in any man, regardless of her growing attraction to her backwoods rescuer. Will her ultimate reason for rejecting him spell doom for their growing love, as well as the national park idea, or can Kyle find a way to rescue both?

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Hero Moment

I'm currently in final edits of Book 3 in the Yellowstone Romance Series. The book is titled Yellowstone Awakening, and I am hoping to get it released around the first of March.
After soaring through Book 2, Yellowstone Redemption (I had my first draft written in six weeks), I was surprised that Book 3 was giving me a lot of problems. What had started out as an easy concept for the story turned into problem after problem for me, so much so that I put the ms away completely for two months and began work on Book 4!
My main problem centered around a concept I call the "hero moment", or his "superman moment." I define this as an act by the hero that shows his true colors, and really makes him shine, and is a defining moment that shapes his character. It could be saving the heroine from peril, or some other feat that he himself didn't know he was capable of.
Daniel Osborne had two heroic standout moments in Yellowstone Heart Song. Chase Russell had one immense hero moment in Yellowstone Redemption that would shape his character from that point forward, and then several more in later parts of the book. He was such a flawed character at the beginning, he needed monumental feats in order to grow. None of his hero moments, by the way, had anything to do with saving the heroine. It had to do with him learning about himself.
While writing Book 3, I realized early on that I didn't really have the same kind of "stand out" hero moment for my new leading man. I asked myself repeatedly, what defines him as a hero? In the end, he "saves" the heroine and gains a personal victory for a cause he strongly believes in - not with brawn, but using his brain, but I didn't have that one monumental moment for him. Will the story be lacking because of it? I don't know. I guess my readers will have to be the judge of that.