Stormy Weather

All was silent as before –
All silent save the dripping rain.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

It rained this weekend.  I don’t mean the usual Oregon weather of a steady drizzle – we barely pay attention to that.  No, I mean the kind of rain that sounds like a herd of elephants doing a manic tap dance on your roof, the kind where gutters overflow and roads turn into temporary rivers.  To step outside was to be surrounded by the misty clouds. They hung that low and heavy with moisture.  Just so you know – I didn’t.  As romantic as it might sound to walk in the clouds I am far too pragmatic to want to court the drenching that would accompany it.

If the rain wasn’t challenge enough, we also had high winds to add to the fun.  Trees were whipped into a frenzy and debris scattered everywhere.  My wind chimes didn’t tinkle with soothing musical notes, but clanged loudly and discordant in the driving rain and wind.  I was glad to be inside where I was warm and dry.

I prepared to hunker down with a warm lap quilt and some mindless television to while away the evening.  Just about the time I found something good on TV and got comfortable the lights flickered.  Have you ever noticed  how we pause and wait for just a second to see if we are about the lose power?  I did that – fingers on the remote, lap quilt half way settled and then a slow exhale when the lights remain steady.  Too bad it didn’t last.  The next gust of wind and everything shut down.

Other than the storm outside the house was suddenly quiet – too quiet.  And dark.  Did I mention dark?  Where had I stored my freakin’ flashlight?  What about candles?  I scrambled around and found the lighter and a couple of candles.  Whew, some light.  But, then I discovered the batteries I had purchased earlier in the day did not make it home with me – so no flashlight – grrr.

I’ve known for a long time I rely heavily on technology and it was disconcerting to have it all stop.  The fridge was not humming, there was no music or computer to entertain myself with.  I couldn’t make myself a cup of tea to enjoy while I waited for the power to return.   I couldn’t even read a book because I didn’t have enough light to see the words.  Note to self:  buy batteries – again! Oh, and more flashlights just for good measure.

If I hadn’t been alone in the house it would have been a great time to chat without all the distractions in a normal day.  A friend told me her family actually sat down to the dinner table and enjoyed a meal by candlelight  instead of being glued to their computers and peripherals.  There is much to be said for reconnecting and talking over your day.

The lack of anything to do slowed the evening down considerably (okay, I got bored) and I was relieved when the power came back on.  Thirty minutes was a long time, people! I would like to say I learned a good lesson on being too reliant on technology, but the truth of the matter is we all are and that is not likely to change.  I scurried around resetting clocks and blowing out candles.  I am grateful the storm died down and the rain eventually turned into something more civilized.

Just so you know – Yogi,  my cat, is a lousy conversationalist and no help.  We’re working on it….

 

Music to Write By

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination

and life to everything.”

~ Plato

I’ve been on the hunt for new music just lately.  I have hundreds of songs on my iPod and have listened to them so frequently it isn’t always necessary to have the iPod on to hear the tunes in my head. I think we have all experienced having a song run through our minds in a continual loop.  Hey, they don’t call them earworms for nothing 🙂

Just the other day I was sitting in another endless meeting and all of sudden I am hearing Adam Lambert belting out For your Entertainment.  I am sure you can appreciate the irony of that song as much as I did. Thank goodness I wasn’t doing any head banging to the music only I could hear.  I had to hide a smile by ducking my head because I was totally amused by the whole thing.  Yes, my sense of humor does lean towards the ridiculous.

Music is a constant companion when I write.  It helps me tap into emotions I am trying to express through the limitations of the written word.  Sometimes it is the haunting notes of classical music that accompanies a poignant scene between characters or the driving notes of rock-n-roll to pump up an action scene.  I have found some wonderful country artists whose romantic ballads have been touchstones for more intimate encounters in my books.

My tastes are wide ranging, but in every instance the music strikes a cord with me.  Quite by accident I found a cover by 30 Seconds To Mars of Rihanna’s Stay.  I liked her version, but was blown away by theirs.  Trust me when I say that song will definitely be on my playlist while I work on my latest WIP.

I am not sure what artists or songs will eventually make the list for this new book.  Quite possibly some of my old favorites will turn up, but I am ready to explore the unknown.  After all, this will be the new soundtrack for my latest story and a vital character in building this new world.

What are some of your favorite songs?

Meet Calisa Rhose, Author of Risk Factors

One of the things I enjoy most about having a blog is being able to interview a fellow author.  It is a great way to get to know them a little better and hear about their newest release.  Today I have the awesome Calisa Rhose in the house.

Kylie:  Welcome Calisa!  Thank you for visiting and being brave enough to answer my questions.

Calisa:  I’m thrilled to be here, Kylie! We are gonna have fun!

Kylie:  You say that now, but you haven’t been grilled – ahem- interviewed yet. 🙂 Let’s start out with your newest release.  I’d love to hear about it.

Calisa:  It’s titled Risk Factors, released by Lyrical Press, Inc.

– available March 4, 2013

Love, like life, is not without risk.

 

 

Risk Factors

Risk Factors

BLURB- Veterinarian Vivian Dane has purchased her uncle’s practice in the tiny town of Wales, Missouri, where most residents still doubt her ability to treat their pets. But Viv is used to being considered less-worthy than her predecessors. After all, her parents are world-renowned wildlife vets, and most everyone is unimpressed she’s chosen to not follow directly in their footsteps.

Now Connor, a patient’s owner, is hot for Viv, but clearly doesn’t think she’s dating material because he has a daughter…who he believes no woman is good enough for.

Being a perfect dad is EMT paramedic Connor’s life focus. He can’t seem to stay away from sexy Doctor Viv, but attraction is as far as he’ll ever let it go. His mother abandoned him, leaving him to be raised in the foster system, and then his wife abandoned both him and their daughter. He absolutely will not risk bringing another woman into his little girl’s life and having her feel the hurt of being left…again.

Forfeiting is easier than attempting and failing. So why does Viv feel compelled to prove she’s a sure bet for Connor and his daughter? Can Connor trust Viv–and  himself–enough to play the possibilities?

Kylie:  Ooh, this sounds good!  Who doesn’t love an EMT or a man who is raising his daughter?  Connor can rescue me any time – just saying.  Okay, moving on…who is your favorite character?  I’d love to see an excerpt that showcases why you like this character.

Calisa:  I adore Viv’s tenacity to get her man, no matter what it takes. Here’s a sample:

“Jelly Bean? What people?” Was he deliberately trying to confuse her? If so, he was wasting his time, because she spent half her time in that state…without help.

Connor laughed. The slow, husky sound curled Viv’s toes several times, like one of those party favors that rolled tight, and then straightened with each breath. His eyes darkened slightly.

Viv knew she was staring. Didn’t seem able to look away.

“Janna calls her pets ‘people.’ And some are territorial, while others think they can move where and whenever they choose. Giggles is a mover.” He still smiled.

Viv forced a swallow down her dry throat and broke her gaze from his. “I see. Jelly Bean…Janna, calls her animals people, and you call your daughter food. Got it.”

Boy did she. Bad at that moment.

His laugh ratcheted up a decibel, increasing her level of oh, my God, where have you been all my life? I think I lust you! craving. Not the it he was talking about, but definitely the it that made her walk from the room, before she said or did something stupid. His smile prompted uncontrolled idiocy in her for some awful reason she couldn’t figure out.

“Where do you want this?”

She turned at the surgical station to find him standing a foot behind her, holding up the carrier once again. The light gray polo shirt he wore stretched tight over his chest, outlining hidden muscles. He lifted the carrier, standing so close she could smell his light aftershave and soap.

Viv knew before she spoke that it was about to happen. She was helpless to prevent it as her mouth opened. “Do you want to have dinner?”

Kylie:  I love the line “I think I lust you!”  🙂  I’m curious…have you been writing long?  How did you get started?

Calisa:  I’ve been writing since I was a teen, but didn’t get serious about getting published until 2005 when I wrote a manuscript with the express purpose of submitting it. It’s sitting on my hard drive still. :/

Kylie:  I think most of us have a manuscript or two either hidden on our hard drive or gathering dust under the bed.  I dig mine out every once in a while just to remind myself how far I have come since those early days.  Which brings me to my next question – How do you deal with rejection letters?

Calisa:  With a grain of salt. Rejections just mean that one (or two or ten) publisher didn’t want my story, not that all publishers don’t. I’m a firm believer that if I do my job right and good there is a home somewhere for every story.

Kylie:  I couldn’t agree more.   Do you have a critique partner or a beta reader to help you polish your stories before you send them out?

Calisa:  Both! I am in a critique group and have several friends who are usually happy to Beta read my completed work and offer last minute suggestions. To me cps and Betas are invaluable. Every writer needs at least three. 🙂

Kylie:  What drew you to the type of book you write?

Calisa:  Mostly my love of romance and contemporary settings, modern cowboys and first responders.

Kylie:  Do you spend much time on research for your story?  If so, what do you like most about it?

Calisa:  It depends on the story content. If it’s a cowboy or small town story there’s not a lot of research necessary since I’m a good ol’ girl from the ranch and know most of what I write, unless I write about a specialty like a veterinarian as I did in RF. But for my first book, Home, I had to spend hours learning about the Vietnam war. I love learning about things I don’t know so research is fun usually.

Kylie:  What other titles do you have available?  How about its tag line?

Calisa:  Home, with The Wild Rose Press

What could a gypsy and a Vietnam veteran have in common?

Kylie:  What a great tag line!  I certainly want to know the answer.  Do you have a favorite book?

Calisa:  I don’t think I have one. I enjoy so many authors and so, so many books I can’t think of one I like above all others.

Kylie: Are you a plotter or a pantser?  Tell me about a perfect writing day for you.

Calisa:  I am a pantser! I’ve tried to plot but so far it hasn’t worked well for me. Lol A perfect writing day…well, I get up at 6, get the granddaughter off to school at 7 and go home and check a few emails. I’m also an editor so I have ‘work’ to do and this often means edits for my authors before I can settle down to write. I try to get to my work in the evening when I have other edits to work on, but we’ll say I don’t for this interview. I’d open my word doc around nine or ten, after checking four email accounts, and then write as much as I can (hopefully without interruptions from FIL whom I care for in my house too) until hubby and granddaughter gets home around three. Then it’s family ‘stuff’ until about seven when I’m free to check blogs, emails or ‘play’ on social media, then get in a few more words before bed.

Kylie:  That’s quite a schedule even on a perfect writing day – wow.  Do you ever struggle with writer’s block?  If so, how do you work your way through it?

Calisa: Yes. I’ve actually been struggling with it off and on since moving FIL in with us two years ago. It’s hard for me to ignore surroundings to write so I struggle with blocking others out even when they aren’t in the room.

Kylie:  Okay, one last question.  Do you use a pen name?  How did you decide on the name?

Calisa:  I do, sort of. Calisa is my real name. Rhose is after my mom who loved roses; flowers, color, perfume—everything rose. I added the ‘h’ in my name because there are already several authors with the common spelling and I like to stand out. <grin> I chose a pen name to protect my family, but thanks to FB I think most everyone already knows my real last name too. Lol

Kylie:  Thank you for taking the time to visit and being such a good sport answering my questions.  It has been a lot of fun 🙂

Calisa: Thanks for inviting me on your awesome blog, Kylie! It’s been fun talking to you.

I’d like to ask readers what you like to read about. If you could name a heroine, in one of my contemporary books, what would you name her? I have trouble coming up with jobs for my heroines. What should her job/career be?

Kylie:  Do you want to know where you can get Calisa’s book?  Links are listed below.

LPI- http://lyricalpress.com/risk-factors/

Amazon- http://is.gd/OOGR4t

B&N- http://is.gd/PfGvg9

iTunes- http://is.gd/J2aelz

Also, Risk Factors is on Authorgraph! Get your copy signed. http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/CalisaRhose

 

Calisa Rhose

 

Author Bio:

Calisa Rhose is an Okie, born and bred, through and through, and proud of it. While growing up, when she wasn’t on the back of a horse, she could be found with pen and paper in hand. Her writing career began with poetry in her younger days. Then she discovered Rock-n-Roll and cute musicians. Poetry turned into stories of romance and dreams. These days she lives with the same man who convinced her to take a romantic journey with him almost 30 years ago. After raising three strong daughters she spends her days loving their granddaughters, hoping for a boy someday, and writing. When she’s not writing, you can find Calisa putting on her editor hat and working to help other published and aspiring writers.

She is working on more projects with her favored contemporary cowboys, first responders and firemen, as well as, the occasional ‘other’ heroes – and their sexy female counterparts, those sassy, stubborn heroines.

Find Calisa at her website/blog http://calisarhose.wordpress.com

Twitter@CalisaRhose, Facebook/Calisa Rhose, Goodreads, Amazon and Pinterest

 

A Different Path

“Each new day greets us with no rules except for the rules we place on it. Greet this new day with open arms and endless possibility.” 
~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free 

Do you ever feel like you are running as fast as you can, but no matter how hard you strive you still aren’t making headway? Between the day job, writing, taking care of the home and family, not to mention a very needy (but adorable) Marmalade kitty  there has been little time of late to even think.  Projects get started and then dropped because something with a higher priority gets in the way.  Before I know it I am gasping for breath and standing among the ruins of good intentions, missed opportunities and days that blur into one another.  You know you have a problem when you can’t remember what you did a week ago, never mind yesterday.

I stepped outside to leave for work and noticed a few leaves starting to change color on my maple tree. It was enough to stop me in my tracks. Not only that, but there was a crispness to the morning that hinted more of the approaching autumn than of summer. There was that slight tug-of-war between seasons in the air.  I was shocked.  Where had the time gone?  It was September already and I barely remembered there being a summer!

I could hear the white-water rapids of my usual day trying to drown out the moment of awareness and drag me ever onward.  The mental list of things I needed to get done clamored for attention.  Usually, I shrug and get in my car and drive to work, my mind firmly fixed on all that needs done.  Not this day. I took a mental step away and took a deep breath.  I recognized how much of life is passing me by and I am the perpetrator of this tragedy.

I didn’t rush to my car, but took the time to stroll and enjoy the brief journey. While driving to work I didn’t blast the radio or fret about deadlines and timelines.  I actually paid attention to the passing scenery on a route I have taken countless times.  There were other trees flirting with the colors of fall, some with only a leaf or two beginning to turn.  They were small splashes of color in an otherwise green expanse.  As the road twisted and turned I noticed the morning mist hovering over the wetlands and twining through the trees with ghostly fingers.  The sun was a pale orb brightening the sky as the pale blue of morning bled into the darker hues of a cloudless day.

Instead of arriving at work already feeling the stress in my neck and shoulders I enjoyed the trek across the parking lot and the varied colors of cars against the dark asphalt.  It was a wonder to get to my desk and realize I had enjoyed the time I spent getting to work.

I won’t lie and say my day was anything less than hectic, but I rode those white-water rapids with far more humor and patience than I usually do and didn’t arrive home with a stress headache.  There is much to be said for stopping to smell the roses on occasion.

A Red Door

I don’t know if I have a favorite color.

~Kate Middleton

I thought about writing a post about Labor Day and kicked the idea around most of yesterday.  It sounded like a timely subject and I mentally began to form the words in my head.  I got up this morning with every intention of fleshing out my idea and posting it.  I painted my front door instead.

I painted it red.  A lovely spice red to be exact.

When it comes to color decisions I waffle.  I struggle to make a decision. I am baffled by all the shades with cute names attached.  Who wouldn’t like the idea of Fire Cracker, Woven Straw or Royal Liqueur?  The names alone sound intriguing, but how will they look on my walls? Walls, I might add, that stayed white for years because I couldn’t decide on their color identity.

I worried I would pick the wrong color and it would look awful.  Yes, I know it is only paint and I could change it.  Unfortunately, logic doesn’t work when it comes to long walls and the myriad color choices.  It is a commitment and I am a commitment phobe.

In spite of that, I slowly- and I do mean slowly- added color to the bedrooms and the bathrooms.  That wasn’t too bad.  Besides, they weren’t on public display like the family space would be.  Eventually, I painted an accent wall in my living room.  I loved the color and I am happy with it.  The problem – I have three other walls with paint splotches amongst the white.  I haven’t found the right green to compliment the other wall yet. I remain hopeful I will make a decision sometime this decade.

Which brings me to my red door.  It has been white since the day I moved in.  A safe, boring white.  It doesn’t jump out at you from the street and shout  look at mehere lives an interesting person.  It blended quietly with all the other nice, safe white doors in my neighborhood.

Today I rebelled.  I went to the paint store, picked out swatches and brought them home.  I debated the choices and settled on Spice Red.  I made a decision in ten minutes.  Ten minutes, people – unheard of!  Even more scary…I actually painted the door!

I like it.  It has sass.

 

 

The Mystery of Attraction

“He drew me like gravity.”

~M. Leighton

Attraction doesn’t always make sense.  Why that slightly dorky guy standing in line to buy coffee will appeal instead of the hunk at the table is a mystery.  Have you ever gone shopping in a crowded mall and met the gaze of a complete stranger and felt a tug, an unexpected awareness that makes you take a second, longer look?  C’mon, admit it…you know you have.

Being a writer gives you the opportunity to explore the attraction between your characters and make sense out of the inexplicable – at least in your book.  From the first time they meet until the HEA we delve into their emotions, dance around their confusion and resistance to each other and help them understand why that sizzle of awareness exists.  We don’t leave it as a passing glance and mild curiosity.  Where would be the fun in that?

Most of us like to put complete opposites together.  The resulting fireworks can be fun. We take characters whose lives have been so completely different there is little common ground and root for them to find their way.

In Rayven’s Keep I took a naïve young woman and threw her in a situation so far outside her experience she didn’t know how to cope.  Add in a cynical, driven man, an instant attraction and throw them alone together onboard a ship traveling to the end of their star system.  Ahh, now it gets interesting.

They can’t hide from each other, can’t walk away or slam a door for privacy.  Petty grievances can fester, feelings can be hurt and underneath it all is that simmer of attraction making it impossible to ignore the ache of unfulfilled desire.

Below is an excerpt from my book.  Tru is struggling with the knowledge she is attracted to Nick.  I hope you enjoy 🙂

Excerpt from Rayven’t Keep:

Tru edged away from the callscreen. She hated being caught between two powerful, determined men. Even Callen and Seth watched intently, their stances showing they were alert to every nuance. It made the hair at the nape of her neck stand on end.

“I’m also sure you know my reputation and it means more to you than any official report, which can be easily manipulated. You also know I’m going to put a serious dent in your funds to protect Tru. I don’t work for free. Let me do my job, Creighton. I’m very good at it.”

Tru uttered a small, shocked protest before clamping her mouth shut. She glanced at Nick, but his attention was focused on her grandfather.

“It seems like we understand each other.” The smile dropped from his face to be replaced with something more genuine. “I assume you have a plan for protecting my granddaughter and flushing out the bastards at Lodestone?”

Tru didn’t stick around to hear the details, slipping unnoticed out of the room while all attention was on Nick. She resented being the topic of conversation without any consideration being given to her opinion. To think Nick thought of her as just another job to be done with a hefty payout at completion stung. The fact she’d intended to hire him herself didn’t matter and was beside the point.

What she was feeling wasn’t logical, but her emotions were in turmoil and logic was a distant memory. Confused and off balance, she sought a peaceful place to think and, if she were being honest with herself, to sulk. Muttering unladylike imprecations under her breath about Nick, and men in general, she went outside to get some fresh air.

Sundown set the sky on fire with streaks of deep purple and scarlet. The humidity had lessened along with the oppressive heat of earlier in the day. Night creatures stirred, their rustling in the shrubbery drawing her attention and making her nervous. She wasn’t familiar with the wildlife on Alludra and opted to remain close to the house. She wandered along the path she’d walked up earlier in the day surprised to realize it hadn’t been that long ago. So much had changed in such a short time and she acknowledged her rash decisions had put her here. She couldn’t blame Nick. He’d been direct and honest with her from the beginning.

Miserable, she clasped her arms around her waist and stared unseeing at the darkening landscape. She’d never met anyone quite like him before and the attraction she felt had been immediate. She didn’t know why her heart insisted on skipping a beat whenever he was close, or why she found the scar near his eye charming. He didn’t smile, ordered her about without compunction and treated her like a nuisance.

But, he’d also shown gentleness on the ship when she cried and offered gruff comfort when she told him what happened on Lodestone. His touch sent shivers down her spine, while warmth pooled low in her abdomen. She had no control over her reaction, didn’t fully understand all it meant, but there was no denying what she felt.

Sighing, finding no solution to her mixed emotions, Tru turned to go back to the house and ran smack into an immovable, solid wall. Strong arms grabbed her and pulled her close, preventing her fall. It took a moment for her brain to catch up and recognize what her body already realized.

Nick. Warm, solid and holding her too close. Her heart stuttered once before settling into a steady rhythm and her forehead dropped against the hard wall of his chest. She relished the contact even though she knew she should move away.

A Perfect Day

May you always find new roads to travel; new horizons to explore; new dreams to call your own.

     ~Unknown

Have you ever had a perfect day?  The kind of day you hate to see end? That was Sunday for me.

A friend and I started the day out at a winery.  It was a little off the beaten track, but the setting was absolutely gorgeous.  To get there we took a ferry across the river bisecting the area and then followed the road winding through the grape fields until we came to the tasting room. Now I don’t have a particularly educated palate when it comes to wine, but the tasting showed me what I did like and, of course, I had to buy a bottle 🙂

The sun was warm when I stepped out of the car.  The sky that lovely clear blue not often seen in the Pacific Northwest.  My friend knows the owner of the winery and I was soon swept up in conversation with him and learned more about wine making than I ever thought possible in a short time.  The whole time he was chatting he was pouring samples of the various wines available – starting with the whites and moving through the reds.  I learned what “legs” meant when applied to the wine, how to sip and identify the undertones and notes of the vintage and that most reds taste bitter to me.  I had a great time.

Once we made our purchases we got back in the car for the next adventure.   Our drive wound through farm country and quiet back roads.  It was a real pleasure to be a passenger and not have to concentrate on driving for once.  We were scheduled for a tour of a Frank Lloyd Wright home.  Like wine, I know little about architecture, but I have heard of Frank Lloyd Wright.  I was interested in his design philosophy and how the home fit in its surroundings, but I found it more about nature and expanding the living space to include it than a comfortable place to spend time.  Low ceilings in some areas made me claustrophobic and the hard angles in the home made me want to add soft pillows.  Obviously, his designs were not for me *shrugs*.

No trip is complete without a visit to the local chocolate shop.  Seriously, who can pass one by without finding themselves inside debating the pros and cons of each selection?   Happy with my purchase and the mouth-watering goodies in my bag we toured the hamlet we were in and looked at some fabulous old homes.

We ended the day at a small bistro for dinner.  Everything offered was fresh that day.  I swear you could taste each vegetable used in the gazpacho! I won’t tantalize you with what I had – let’s just say it was a feast for my taste buds J.

I arrived home relaxed and with a smile.  You can bet somewhere in my current manuscript I will find a way to incorporate the sights, sounds and experiences of my day.  Why not let my characters indulge in the pleasures of a lovely day?  I am sure you would do the same 🙂

The Only Way to Travel

“It is pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness; poverty and wealth have both failed.

            ~Kin Hubbard

I recently had the pleasure of flying first class.  Having made the first leg of my journey in the back of a plane it was an unexpected delight to be bumped to first class for the longest stretch of my flight home.  Let me just say…wow!  From start to finish it was a wonderful experience and one I hope to  repeat in the future.  I am now officially spoiled and I can totally live with that 🙂

I admit I savored everything from the warm, damp towel to freshen up with to dinner served on china with linen napkins.  When offered my choice of dessert I chose ice cream with candied nuts and smiled to myself to have it in a glass bowl.  This was a huge difference from the $9 sandwich I’d bought when seated in the more economical part of the plane.  Okay, fine – the cheap seats.

Of course, every experience can be fodder for writing and this was no exception. The difference between classes could not have been more obvious and I realized I have the perfect opportunity to explore this divide in my current WIP.

Lyra D’Kir has a lot of responsibility resting on her shoulders, but has been surrounded by wealth and privilege her whole life. How is she going to cope when circumstances thrust her into a situation where sleeping on the hard ground and being asked to carry her own weight are temporarily the new normal? Will she rise to the occasion or be defeated by it?

By the same token, how does a former soldier react to the wealth and privilege he finds himself surrounded by?  Burke Wulfric has little sympathy for his latest charge, but can he appreciate the finer things in life or will he be too busy comparing the differences in their lives and circumstances to see beyond the glitz to the real person underneath?

Interesting questions, right?  I guess we will see what happens 🙂

Kylie Wolfe Interviews Chandra Ryan, Author of Ulterior Motives

I am thrilled to have Chandra Ryan as a guest on my blog today.  Her new release, Ulterior Motives, is right up my alley –  a SciFi romance.

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Kylie:  Hi Chandra and welcome.  I want to start out and say I love the cover of your book!  Why don’t you tell us a little about your new release?

Chandra:   Ulterior Motives is a sexy, sexy story about eminent domain. What? Eminent domain isn’t sexy, you say? Well it is when you have the devastatingly handsome lawyer, Jasper Lee, fly across the galaxy to champion the cause and help you save your land.

Kylie:  You had me at “devastatingly handsome lawyer” :-).  I am also curious about your heroine.  Here’s a challenge for you…describe your heroine in one sentence.

Chandra:  Kat is a tough but lonely rancher who loves her land and is willing to do whatever it takes to keep it out of the hands of the government cronies trying to steal it away from her. Whew! That might be the longest sentence I’ve ever typed.

Kylie:   What drew you to the type of book you write?

Chandra:   The characters. For me, it’s always about the characters. It starts with, “What if…” and then I have to create people who could, and realistically would, make that story come to life. Somewhere along the way, they become real. And that’s not just in my stories. I can’t count the number of times I’ve started bawling in public because I’m reading a good book. But for the book to be good, to really make people care, the characters have to shine.

Kylie:  Okay, curious minds want to know – are you a plotter or pantser?

Chandra:   I’m kind of a hybrid. I have a general idea what needs to happen when I start a book and then I just write until I find my way to happily-ever-after.

Kylie:  What would be a perfect writing day for you?

Chandra:  A perfect writing day….Hmmm….. I’m not sure I’ve ever had one. I think if I did coffee would definitely be involved. And an empty house. Yeah. That would be really nice.

 Kylie:   Rejection letters are a part of every writer’s journey.  How do you deal with them?

Chandra:   Ice cream and good friends. You’d be surprised at the number of crises that combination will get you through, though. You need a really good brand of full-fat, extra rich ice cream and a couple of people who never mind being cried on to live life to its fullest.

Kylie:  I like the way you deal with a crisis!  Now I am craving ice cream….must resist! Let’s switch gears a bit here; what was the biggest challenge you faced in writing your book?

Chandra:   The biggest challenge I have is overcoming that little voice of doubt that’s always saying the story isn’t good, or that I’m never going to finish it, or that nobody’s going to want to read it when it is done. I think I read a meme once (and we all know that those things only tell the truth) that doubt kills more dreams that failure ever will. It really resonated with me.

 Kylie:   You hear that horrid little voice, too?  Good thing you didn’t listen! So, what do you do when you are not writing?  Any hobbies?

Chandra:  My biggest hobby is reading. Big shock there, I know. I sometimes tease that I write so I have the money to buy books. But I also love hiking and swimming. It’s kind of a life of both extremes. I either want to be inside buried in a good book or outside in the sun sweating.

Kylie:  Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

 Chandra:  I’m an introvert all the way. And I know my friends are probably laughing at that one because I’m pretty good at hiding it. But the thing is, I’m always saying the most ridiculous things. Or zoning out in the middle of conversations. It’s really embarrassing. I know I’m socially awkward and that only makes me more awkward. I ordered ribs on my first date with my husband. Who does that? (He found it charming btw, which is why we’re still together fifteen years later.)

 Kylie:  As a fellow introvert I totally understand!  Your husband sounds like a smart man 🙂  I want to thank you for stopping in and sharing a little about yourself.  Here’s wishing you many, many sales.

ulteriormotives_msrBlurb:

Universal Defiance, Book One

On a rural settler planet, Kat must resort to putting out an ad to find a husband. She doesn’t expect to find love—that’s a dream in these parts—just a partner to help work her ranch. Then the devastatingly handsome Jasper answers her ad and turns her on in ways she never dreamed possible. Too bad he’s not who he says he is.

Jasper doesn’t know what he’s getting into when he ventures undercover to investigate a legal claim against Kat’s ranch. But after a toe-curling night under her roof and in her bed, he’s willing to do anything to stay there. He can’t say no to the tough-as-nails businesswoman who makes his body come alive.

When people start getting hurt, though, both Kat and Jasper have to decide how valuable one piece of land is. And the ranch that brought them together might be the very thing standing between them.

A Romantica® sci fi erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Excerpt:

Kat stared at the man on the platform. With thick dark-brown hair and a muscular body that filled his clothes out nicely, he was handsome enough. Not that his looks mattered. Not really. She needed a husband to be a partner. She wasn’t some young, naive thing with silly notions of lust and love. Practical and pragmatic were a much better fit for her life. Still, a pragmatic woman could admit that having a man about the house who was easy on the eyes wouldn’t be a hardship.

She chuckled under her breath as she made her way over to him. She doubted she would fare as well if he were hoping for a piece of eye candy for his wife. Oh she could be pretty when she needed to be. But coming all the way to town to collect a man didn’t merit the fuss. She worked long days on the ranch and this excursion had already caused enough of a delay. If she got all gussied up, she’d not only lose that time but also the time it took her to get back into her work clothes when they returned to the ranch. Time was her most valuable commodity right now. She couldn’t afford to squander it.

“Excuse me, sir.” Her calm words broke through the chaos of the port station and gained his undivided attention. This close to him, staring into his rich, brown eyes, her stomach began to churn with nerves. She quickly pushed through the sensation though. She didn’t have the time for silliness. And it was the height of absurdity for her to be uncomfortable around her soon-to-be husband. “I’m Katarina Maxim. My friends call me Kat.”

She held her hand out to him in casual greeting as she tried not to fidget. She’d debated how to greet him as she’d driven to the station. A kiss seemed rather forward. But she did want him to feel welcomed. A handshake seemed like the best idea at the time. Now, as she waited for him to take her hand, she started second-guessing herself.

“Katarina, that’s a lovely name.”

She noted that he’d called her Katarina but tried not to let that color her first impression of him. She didn’t hate the name nor did she hate being called by it. It just didn’t fit her. Not anymore. Katarina sounded soft, delicate—refined even. As she’d been before her family had moved here. She could only hope that he didn’t see her as any of those things. If he did, he would be sorely disappointed when he got to know her better. “Kat. Only my mother called me by my full name,” she pressed.

“Kat it is.” His smile seemed genuine but his palm was as soft as new leather when he finally took hers. If he stayed, that would change. This planet demanded calluses and blisters. Her hands were proof of that. “Jasper Lee, ma’am. I’m honored to meet you. Out of the thousands of applications you must have received, I am grateful you selected mine.”

Apparently his tongue was as smooth as his hands. That didn’t bode well for their future. Smooth men didn’t do well when faced with the harsh realities of settler planets. “I’m not a politician nor am I a starlet, Mr. Lee. Out here we speak our minds and we keep our words straightforward. My ranch is a great opportunity, especially if you’re looking for a fresh start. But I think we both know there aren’t thousands of men out there looking for backbreaking work on a world so uncivilized that its brothel is its only restaurant.” She took a moment to look him over carefully. He wasn’t a dandy. His stance spoke of power and awareness. She couldn’t very well start patting him down like a horse at auction, but as far as she could tell, her first impression had been spot-on. The man looked to be in shape. “But if you’re willing to put in the time and the work, I’ve a feeling you could make it here.”

Social Links:

Webpage: www.chandraryan.com

Twitter: @ChandraRyan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chandra.ryan

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ulterior-Motives-Universal-Defiance-ebook/dp/B00DSOY4SO/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373510747&sr=1-2

Ellora’s Cave: http://www.ellorascave.com/ulterior-motives.html

Vacation – Woot!

Vacation used to be a luxury, but in today’s world it has become a necessity.

~Author Unknown

Vacation.  What a lovely word.  It immediately brings to mind sandy beaches, island breezes and relaxation, doesn’t it? Did you hear the big sigh from me?  That is the kind of vacation I would like, but my reality will never make the pages of a travel magazine.

Don’t get me wrong – I am excited to have a week off and the chance to visit my oldest daughter and her family.  I haven’t seen them in…well, forever.  There is a lot to catch up on and grandkids to spoil 🙂  But, let me share what is leading up to boarding a flight out of here and flying across country in two days time.

Let’s start with the day job that graciously allows its employees to have some time away to relax and renew (do you hear the sarcasm here?)  I have a things-that-have-to-be-accomplished-before-I-leave list.  On it are tasks that are job critical and must have all the loose ends tied up before I can escape – um- leave.

Ha!  My day started out bad and disintegrated from there.  Let’s not mention the disagreement with my boss before I even had a cup of coffee, or the disaster everything I touched turned into kind of day.  So much for quickly tying up loose ends.  My things-that-have-to-be-accomplished-before-I-leave list has now turned into a crap-I will-never-get-this-done-in-time sort of list.  With some reprioritizing I might be able to get the most critical of the critical things done.  Yay, me.

Let’s move on to packing.  Sorting through clothes to take is not fun.  That cute shirt I bought at the beginning of summer is a little snug.  It’s too late to regret the stress eating that caused the – ahem- slight weight gain and my much more limited clothing choices.  No problem, I will just have to manage with what I have.  It’s a vacation after all, right?

Writing.  Somewhere in all the chaos that has become my life just lately I have barely had time to keep up with email, never mind work on my WIP.  Double crap.  The 500 words a day I was aiming for is now 1,500 words behind and gaining fast.  Maybe I can sneak some writing time in on my long flight.  Yes, that is the Universe you hear hysterically laughing at me in the background.

Oh, let’s not forget the conversation with my daughter who is taking care of the house while I am away.  It went something like this:

  • Yes, wonderful child-of-mine the flowers need to be watered every day without exception.
  • Don’t touch the paperwork on my table.  I know where everything is and your habit of stuffing things in corner cabinets is not okay.
  • The cat will be unhappy if you do not pet him when he demands it and have his food bowl full at all times.
  •  No, I don’t think my neglected knitting basket would look better hidden behind that big chair.
  • Do not leave my kitchen in a mess.  Clean up after yourself or I will have to hurt you when I get home.  Stop laughing, I’m trying to be serious here….

Luckily for me I don’t have to drive to the airport.  I will have a few blissful moments where I know I have done all that I could before leaving and can now relax and leave the driving in her capable hands.

I’ll worry about getting through the airport when I get there.  After all, I’m on vacation. 🙂