“There are no accidents.”
From the story, “Witness Testimony”:
“There are no accidents.”
From the story, “Witness Testimony”:
“The first draft is always sh*t.”
“Write drunk. Edit sober.”
Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn’t permanent. – Jean Kerr
Lucas set the coffeepot over the coals then glanced up at the sky. Missy had been gone for a while, dashing to the lake as soon as she’d set up camp. Not that he blamed her. After they finished their meal, he planned on soaking in the water, too.
He searched the trees beyond the horses for any signs of her. She should have been back by now. She wasn’t safe on her own. Any number of hazards could befall her: wild animals, wilder men.
He checked his gun and went in search of her. Following a trail she’d taken, he pushed past a few bushes and tall trees. Stepping into the clearing, the lake stretched before him.
He looked to the right and didn’t see her. Looking in the opposite direction, the breath rushed out of his lungs as his body pitched forward. Missy stood beside a large boulder, her back to him, wet hair tossed over the front of her shoulder and moisture glistening off her bare skin.
A fat tear of water dripped from her hair onto her nape. The droplet slithered down her spine and plopped into the dirt.
His heart hammered in his chest. His gut coiled tight and sweat beaded his brow as he watched another drop follow the same path.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew he had no business spying on her. He should leave, but his feet wouldn’t move. Neither would his gaze. And the immoral thoughts swarming around inside his head―tasting the water beading her skin, drying her with his hands, helping her step into her clothes―guaranteed him a place in hell.
Even that wasn’t enough to shake him from his reverie. It wasn’t until he stood behind her, holding his shirt open like a towel, did coherent thought finally poke through his mire. By then it was too late. Instinct and desire shoved aside all proprietary and urged him to drape his shirt around her.
“Oh!” She jumped, twisting her neck to see behind her. “Lucas, you scared me half to death.”
“You don’t have a towel,” he murmured.
“The sun can dry―”
“Not as well as my shirt can.” He hunkered down on his knee and gently rubbed her calf with the worn material.
“Lucas, ah, that feels wonderful.” She closed her eyes as his strong hands glided up and down her legs, soothing the soreness from days spent in the saddle. He dried her lower back, moved his hands around her hips and over her abdomen. His fingers dipped low to massage her, and she froze.
The last time a man had touched her there fat fingers had rubbed so hard they’d left bruises. Jagged fingernails had scratched and cut her flesh. But this hand was gentle, almost loving with its strokes. Instead of a dry, coarse feeling, hot moisture pooled between her thighs and made her throb.
Fear shot down her spine at this new feeling. Another method of torture she was sure. “Lucas.” She trembled and sniffed back the wetness stinging her eyes.
“You are beautiful,” he whispered. “Soft and sweet.”
Words of praise, though nice, offered little comfort. Her knees nearly buckled. Somehow, she held herself upright, but she couldn’t control the pulse – pounding between her ears. Warm air breathing on her neck, large hands covering her breasts; she had trouble separating reality from memories.
He turned her to face him. His hands fastened gently around her neck. Slowly, he pulled her mouth toward him and touched his lips to hers.
“Ah, Missy.” He slid his tongue past her lips to tangle with hers. His hand slipped around her waist and drew her closer to him. His other hand moved to her hair, caressing it with the sure, soft strokes she knew well. Calloused, strong yet gentle, she’d favored that hand at the cabin and many nights on the trail.
Warmth stole down her back. Confidant Lucas held her and not Harley, she kissed him back, savoring the taste of coffee and tobacco on his lips; her fingertips tingling as she traced the vein along his arm.
“I want you, Missy. I’ve got to have you.” His raspy voice filled her ear, and her blood ran cold.
I want you, Lady Luck. I will have you.
Lady Luck is available for purchase here: www.amazon.com/dp/B0063WCXO0
Julie was born and raised in upstate New York. She married her high school sweetheart and accompanied him on his twenty-year career with the United States Air Force. Presently, she resides in the Pikes Peak region, where she’s a stay-at-home mom enjoying a career writing western historical romance.
Throughout her school years, Julie enjoyed reading and writing. A friend introduced her to the romance genre in the late 80’s and she was instantly hooked, crediting Judith McNaught and Johanna Lindsey as her inspirations to pen her own novels. As she puts it, Ms. McNaught’s voice is flawless and Ms. Lindsey’s Malory family is endearing and addictive. Combining her fondness for horses, John Wayne and the television series, Dallas, Julie settled into writing about cowboys, outlaws and the ‘old west’ early in her career.
Julie self-publishes her work at Amazon.com. She also designs her covers. When she’s away from her computer, she enjoys taking care of her family and home, exploring the Rocky Mountains and meeting fans of the romance genre.
I see you write Western Romances. What draws you to this genre?
I grew up watching John Wayne on Sunday television. I loved his cowboy characters and the fact he rode horses (horses are such beautiful creatures). I also liked the long, colorful dresses his female costars wore, the ranch houses and the scenery. Something about that era was simple and fascinating and stayed with me through. When I began writing, I started with a contemporary story but quickly switched to western romance. The heart of a cowboy, the code of the west, the horses and the rugged land were too hard to ignore.
How much research do you do?
It depends on the story and the characters. Two books I did a lot of research for Lady Luck and No Luck At All. Lady Luck is set in 1860 San Francisco and I needed to find out what the city was like at that time. I discovered tall ships permanently dry-docked, the color of a policeman’s uniform, and a street map from that time; all of which were incorporated into the story. For No Luck At All, the hero is a doctor. His heroine is a Boston socialite. For that to work, I had to find out if Boston had a medical college and what medical discoveries were made in between 1860 & 1874 that I could use in the story.
One book I didn’t do much research for is Debra’s Bandit. Since this is the 3rd story in a series, the facts I needed had been researched with the 1st book. But Debra does work in a mercantile, so I did read up on mercantile (stores) to get an idea of what her day would be like and how important the mercantile was to society in the 1800’s.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
About 1 year. Sometimes less than that. I self-publish, so writing, editing, and cover design fall on my shoulders, which I love.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Making them speak like a man. A man’s dialogue is different from a woman’s. They usually don’t string together a bunch of sentences or speak in complete sentences. Nor do they overly describe something or talk about their feelings. They speak in as few words as possible. Perfecting their short answers, comments and sarcasm is often a challenge.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Girl names are easy. We all have our favorites, or what we think is a pretty name. I have a list of girl names and add to it when I come across another that I like. Boy names are harder. I do have a short list that I refer to, but if nothing catches me attention, I begin running through my mind character names from television shows and movies. From there, I branch out to country music singers and football players. Football players have great unusual names and often I find the last name that makes a great first name for a cowboy or an outlaw. My biggest challenge is the last name. I obsess on last names until I hit on one that ties perfectly with the character’s first name.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Getting my muse to cooperate. Usually, I find on the days I have time to write, the muse is sleeping and takes forever to wake up and get in gear. On the days when I don’t have time to write, I have complete conversations between characters in my head. Or, I’ll hit on a plot point and run for a piece of paper and a pen to jot down notes.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
No. I have critiqued with other authors, contributed to a round-writing blog where each author writes one chapter to the story and contributed to a compilation of authors who each wrote about how they met their husband, but I’ve not co-authored a book with someone else.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Writing is a hard and lonely existence. To succeed, one must write every day and write what you know or love and for yourself. Keep at it, develop a thick skin when it comes to rejection, and don’t worry about what other authors are doing or have accomplished. Stay true to yourself, dedicated to your craft, disciplined, and have a set of goals to work toward.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Please welcome my fellow Resplendence author Jan Scarborough. Jan with so many books published, How do you make time to write?
It’s hard. I have a day job, so finding time to write is not easy. My New Year’s Resolution is to do a better job in 2016 in carving out that time.
Q: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
My biggest problem is coming up with “things” to happen to my characters. Sometimes I get ideas from things that happen to me. Other times, I just make them up. The point is to make the hero and heroine suffer. I don’t feel as if I’m ruthless enough.
Q: How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
Writing romance, I know I will have a happily-ever-after ending. Getting there is fun. Over the years, I have taken classes or attended presentations, and I’ve pulled together ideas from many other authors. I have created a form that I fill out with important things about the hero and heroine like goal, motivation, and conflict. I come up with a back story for both. Once that happens, you put the characters on stage and find out what happens to them.
Q: Why did you decide to write western romance?
My first contemporary Western was Kentucky Cowboy. I write about Kentucky, but I also wanted to use a cowboy character. That’s when I discovered the Professional Bull Riders. I’ve attended PBR events, watched specials on television, and read books about PBR stars. It’s not out of the question for a bull rider to come from the South. They all don’t come from the West. In fact, many famous riders come from Brazil or Australia. Well, once I’d come up with my cowboy, it was easy to create a story about his return to Kentucky so that it fit into my Bluegrass Reunion series.
I also have a Montana Ranchers series that I wrote with author Maddie James. It was her idea, and I’m flattered she asked me to join in. We both wrote the free Montana McKenna’s Prequel. Then I wrote two books: Brody and Mercer. Maddie wrote Callie and Parker. These are the children of James McKenna. Currently, I’m writing the story of James’ widow Liz.
And what fun! This summer my husband and I are vacationing in Montana at a dude ranch. I’m sure I’ll get more story ideas!
Q: It looks like you’ve dipped your toe into the self-publishing waters. What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
When you self-publish a book, you’re your own boss. You are responsible for doing everything to get that book in front of the public. You don’t just write. You must pay for editing and copyediting. You must pay for a professional-looking cover. If you can’t do it yourself, you must hire someone to format your book. All authors must market their books. It doesn’t matter if you are traditionally published or self-published.
Q: Why did you choose this route?
Frankly, I was tired of rejection letters. I spent many years chasing the dream of getting “the call” from a traditional publisher. Then Resplendence came along and thankfully published my books. Another small press also published my books, but it went out of business in October. I received the rights back for several novels. I am lucky my husband knows computers and is willing to format my books for me.
Q: If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
You mean, besides the day job? LOL! I’d be taking horseback riding lessons. Every week I take a lesson on an American Saddlebred horse. It’s my way of getting a “horse fix” without owning one. Or I might be taking a Zumba class.
Q: Can we get an idea of what you’ve got coming up for readers?
I’m writing Liz, book six of the Montana Ranchers series. After that, I’ll be working on a small contemporary series set in the Kentucky Bluegrass. Then I’ll plunge into the revision of my medieval romance My Lord Raven.
Q: Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Follow me on Twitter @romancerider
Join me on Saturday to read a sexy excerpt from Jan’s latest book Mercer. ~Tina