Rhonda Lee Carver is visiting me today. She's the author of that great story, Second Chance Cowboy. The one I wrote about on Fb? The one that kept me up until 3 am? Yeah, that book! I should so send her a frowny face email, but I'll forgive her because, man did I love that story!
Hi Rhonda! I'm so glad you were able to join me today. I've just finished Second Chance Cowboy. I remember when I first met you in the Rose Colored Glasses critique group, you were working on Carly and Chance's story, and though I only received fifteen pages, I knew the story would be compelling, and I wasn't wrong, at all! In fact, those fifteen pages of Second Chance Cowboy stayed with me for over a year and I watched your Facebook posts for a release date. Yesterday on my blog I talked about western romances and posed the question, what is it about a cowboy that captures the imagination of Americans. Though we're primarily talking about western romance novels one look at the lasting love affair America has with John Wayne and Clint Eastwood makes it safe to say love for cowboy stories crosses gender lines.
I was looking through your website and noticed you write in contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and romantic suspense genres. Did you set out to write in all of the genres or do you flow with your muse? Do you have a favorite genre?
What happens is I am overcome with a thought that builds into a bigger idea. It could have started with a word someone said, a food I ate, a movie I had watched…but it just grows until I can't ignore it. I don't plan any of my stories; the words seem to flow from brain to fingers across the keyboard, and onto the screen. I never know exactly what my characters will say or do until the final draft.
In Second Chance Cowboy, it started as an erotica but went on a completely different course. Chance is a hero among all heroes. He is head-over-heels in love with Carly…so much that he is willing to fight for their love. His heart was very tender. Double Dare, my first contracted book, wasn't even headed into the direction of erotica, but as I began to mold his character, he was without a doubt a bad-ass Airmen who liked a bit of kink. But just a bit.
My fave genre. Hmm…well, I am writing my second paranormal romance right now, Dream House, and I am enjoying all of the different elements wrapped into one. Intrigue, spook, heat, love, sex, suspense. And my hero is a jerk, but what the reader will uncover as they move along in the story is, he isn't a bad guy after all. In fact, he's one of the best. And he has an awesome job—Ghost Hunter.
Oh cool! You know I'll have to read it. Sigh, I will never get my own stories done surrounded by all of you great story tellers! Speaking of which, Second Chance Cowboy is an awesome story. I love the way you have the characters dealing with real life issues, like divorce and the loss of a child. Having children, did you find it hard to write such emotional scenes?
I knew there had to be something happen in my couple's life that was very traumatic, enough to break them up even when they still love each other deeply. I had several ideas flash through my mind, but I always came back to the loss of a child. I was apprehensive in including such an emotional, heartbreaking concept into the storyline because I wasn't sure how readers would accept it. I found it difficult because I enveloped myself so completely in these two characters that I felt their loss. I felt their pain.
I hear ya; it was an emotional roller coaster of a read, but sooo worth it! You're a prolific writer. How do you balance family and writing life?
I'm not sure I would say that I balance my personal and professional life. I call it "juggling." On some days, my family tips the scales and other days my writing tips the scales. Last year was a difficult one for me. Newly divorced and learning a new way of existing, I found myself feeling overwhelmed many days. Interestingly, we are stronger than we believe, and because I love to write it helped tremendously. I don't allow myself to feel guilty if I haven't accomplished everything I've set out to do in a day's time. It's impossible to achieve every goal, as long as we accomplish happiness.
Those are good ideas to live by, I need to get off the guilt trip!
Your heroes are strong, alpha men. What Alpha quality do you most enjoy giving your heroes? Are they the same qualities you want in a real man?
All of my heroes have an edginess to them, some more edgy than others. I do like my bad-ass heroes, but they must always have a kind heart. These men would kick ass in a fight, scare away the bravest men, but be sensitive enough to wrap his arms around the heroine when she's feeling sad and change a baby's diaper. Yes, I guess I do like these same qualities in a real man.
Do you write full-time or is there an evil day job? If you do write full-time, what did you do before?
Currently, I'm lucky not to have an evil day job. I write full-time and I also am a freelance editor. Three years ago I quit a ten-year profession working in a child advocacy center and took up the keyboard full-time. I haven't regretted it once. I love this writing job. It feels like home…
You asked me this question so … all's fair J What was your most embarrassing moment?
Oh hell, I've had so many I could keep you laughing for days. My most embarrassing moment professionally is a piece of work I sent into a publishing company. I look back now at that horrible, shameful display of writing and I cringe. What's embarrassing is that I really thought I was good. LOL. We all grow and learn, and thank goodness, I did.
Tells us about your upcoming releases, Delaney's Sunrise and Castle's Fortress.
Delaney's Sunrise is a contemporary based here in my home state, Ohio. Ohio is known for its farmland. My hero, Abe, is a rich, successful corporate suit turned down-home country-boy. The heroine is a blast from the past…and not a good one as far as Abe is concerned. Dee was engaged to be married to his brother, John, when tragedy struck and John was killed in a car accident. Years later she shows up to claim her stake in the Delaney's Farm and they realize immediately that the old feelings, the secret attraction they'd had long ago, still existed. Someone in the small town wants Dee gone. There is someone who believes she knows too much involving the past. Will Abe allow the stalker to drive Dee away or will he protect her?
Castle's Fortress is a paranormal romance also set in Ohio. It's based on a deep connection that Jake and Fall have as children. It begins in a haunted house that changes their lives forever. Fall has an eerie sixth sense about her but it isn't as strong without Jake. When her sister goes missing, and Fall fears she is dead, she knows the only way she can use her keen instincts is to find Jake. It's been years since Jake had seen Fall and when she shows up at his office and demands he help her, he shrugs her off as a batty woman. Yet he can't deny that the connection still remains. When guilt consumes him, he goes back to his hometown and offers to help Fall find her sister. Together they battle evil spirits and solve the mystery…where did Fall's sister disappear to? There is a twist in this story that will leave readers with their jaws dropping and eyes wide. Watch for it releasing with Lyrical Press later this year.
If you believe that two people were born to be together as one, then you'll love this story. If there is such a thing as soul mates, then my characters Fall and Jake are the perfect example. My idea in this story was to show that together a couple are stronger, but divided they are weaker.
Castle's Fortress releases with Lyrical later this year.
You can be sure I will be watching for both of these! I grew up outside of Akron, Ohio so I gotta see how you depict the home state!
Any upcoming blog tours or book signings we should know about?
Please stay tuned by Facebook, twitter, and my website for my guest appearances on blogs. I have a handful scheduled over the next few months and I will announce them as they come.
How can readers contact you?
I can attest to Rhonda being on FB! She is always posting these great quotes or words of wisdom … or something funny her kids did!
Enjoy the excerpt for Second Chance Cowboy: this is an awesome scene!
Second Chance Cowboy:
Carly squeezed her hands into fists. "My poor husband. How difficult it is for him to manage his inflated ego and keep his zipper closed."
"We're divorced, remember?" His voice reeked of sarcasm.
She groaned in irritation. Her pulse pounded in her ears like the beating of a drum. Her claws were showing.
Chance didn't blink an eye as he gazed at her across the room. "Honey, I can keep my pants zipped just fine. Problem is, you can't keep your fingers off my zipper."
Carly's palm itched to slap him. "We live in a small town, Chance. How do you think it's possible we haven't run into each other more than three times in the last two years?" She cocked her chin. "Let me fill you in. I've done everything in my power to keep from bumping into you. Do you realize how difficult it is to plan my schedule weeks in advance so I don't have to see you? Is that a description of a woman who can't keep her fingers off your zipper?"
"No, more like a woman who's afraid she'll forget what screwed up our marriage in the first place, realize she's made a huge mistake and get her ass back home."
"Humph, fat chance that'll ever happen." She fumbled with the sheet in irritation and gave her hair a toss over one shoulder.
Damn, he did have a point, although she'd never admit it to him.
"Yeah, right, Carly, because you can't ever forgive and forget, can you? You think you're the only one who has lost, don't you?" His eyes became steely pools of green. His voice turned low and controlled. "I lost Devon, too. He was my son--our son. How long are you going to keep blaming me for his death?"
Carly swallowed the painful lump in her constricted throat. "I don't blame you."
"Could have fooled me."
"We both know why I left."
"We do?" His bitter laugh split the air with its razor-sharp intensity. "I know you want to hold on to the belief that I am the bad guy who drove you away, but isn't it time you took half the responsibility for the failure of our marriage?" A trace of compassion softened his expression. He tugged on his shirt and finger-combed his hair.
"It wasn't my fault you cheated." Once she said it, she wanted to yank the words back. Too late, just like their relationship.
"You're a broken record, sweetheart. It's not worth denying the accusation any longer. Maybe eventually you'll believe your words and feel justified in leaving. Devon died, Carly. He's gone and we can't change the truth. One of us needed to make the decision to let him go and I made it. I held out hope you'd eventually find a sliver of forgiveness in your cold heart. I guess I was wrong."
The old wound broke open and her lungs emptied of oxygen. She wanted to lash out at him, tell him to go to hell, but the words didn't come. Instead, she whispered, "I'm going to the bathroom. When I get back I want you gone."
"Carly, you've become an expert at sucking all the joy out of your life and pushing away anyone who reaches out to you. You're living in a self-made prison, founded on guilt and pain, and there is no key to unlock the cell door."