Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer Listening!

If you're looking for some great books to listen to, look no more! You can pick from over 20 romance, mystery and thriller audio books from twenty different authors. Instead of wading through thousands of audio books looking for the right one, you'll find great authors and entertaining narrators here:

Monday, June 19, 2017

Always a Book or Two Ahead

I don't know how other authors operate but my mind is always working on the next books I'll be writing while I'm working on the current work in progress.

Even though not all my books are in a series, I like how I can think about the next book as I write a book in a series and drop in a little nugget that gives the reader an idea of what the next book in the series might be about.  It works well for the Shandra Higheagle books. I either leave a nugget about Shandra and Ryan's relationship or the possibility of who might be involved in the next murder that happens.

The same goes for series that are set in the same area or with the same ongoing secondary characters. While writing a book, I can think of a good premise for another book. It may not always be the next book, it could be one or two down the line, but I jot down the information and use it when I'm ready for that book.

Right now as I'm writing the first book of the Silver Dollar Saloon series and the secondary characters are coming to life, I can visualize the type of man each saloon girl will have for her hero, and I'm getting a good picture of the woman who will capture the heart of saloon owner, Beau Gentry. But he won't have his happy-ever-after until about book four. Why? Because the reader needs to get to know him better before they see the woman he falls for. ;)

Not only am I seeing the books that will come from the Silver Dollar Saloon series, I'm planning the next mystery and a contemporary western Christmas novella.

The next mystery will have a Halloween theme, with Lewis, the cat, mixed up in the murder. So be prepared for that one!  I have the premise sketched out and will be working on the suspect chart soon. I'm also figuring out how to work in a secondary character in a future Shandra Higheagle book who can be used in a new murder mystery series. It's the logistics I'm working on and whether to make the main amateur sleuth a male or female. Any suggestions?

And the contemporary western Christmas novella. I'm still puzzling that out. I'd like it to have something to do with the National Finals Rodeo because it happens in December but at the same time, I'd like to write a story that sticks to what I know, cattle. So it may be a story set on a cattle ranch. Any preferences?

That is how my brain works. Constantly flipping story ideas and characters around in my head, assessing whether they will work and if I can pull off what I'm aiming for in the story.

As I've heard several times from friends and family after I've talked about the process of writing a book, "I never realized how much goes into a story other than writing it." 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fun in Deadwood!

I left last Wednesday with my sister-in-law and niece to attend the Wild Deadwood Reads author/reader event in Deadwood, South Dakota.
Hill where Custer was killed.
We stopped Thursday morning at the Little Bighorn battle site. I couldn't drive so close and not soak in and see how the event had unfolded in 1876, only two years before the time of my next historical western series in the general area of the setting of that series. My SIL had been to the site before it had become so commercialized. She said she'd felt more while walking through there then. It was a hot day, high 80's so we only took in the nob where Custer and his entourage were killed, the head stone for the military horses, the head stones for some of the Sioux killed in the battle, and the new monument to the American Indians who lost their lives and those who survived. We walked through the national cemetery that is filled with U.S. veterans and their families.

That evening we arrived in Deadwood. I was enamored as soon as we drove down the street looking for our hotel.

Before dinner we were entertained by the street players. They did a shoot out in the street in front of the hotel where we were eating. 
shootout actors

Fairmont Hotel Oyster Bar
The authors who arrived Thursday met for dinner before a ghost tour in the Fairmont Hotel Oyster Bar. The owner of the bar was our tour guide. He had tales of hauntings he'd encountered while living in the three story building by himself. He knew the history of the building and Deadwood. We then proceeded to climb stairs and visit the rooms where prostitutes had taken their own lives and were seen or felt in the rooms. The building had been a barber shop in the basement and a saloon on the first floor, with a brothel taking up the second and third floors. There was a back door to the barber shop that came out at a set of stairs that would take men up to the second floor to party with a woman. 

Our guide also showed us a door that led into the next building which also housed a brothel on the second floor. This allowed the clientele to move between buildings without being seen.  On the tour one author, who is known for feeling ghosts, had the feeling in one room and took photos of orbs in another. I took a photo that has a strange shadow, that can't be explained. Could it be the poor woman, Maggie, who haunted the guide's room after throwing herself out the window many years ago?

Is Maggie the shadow in the doorway?
Friday was a busy day. We took in the Adam's Museum. It had the history of the area and the unique characters who had lived and passed through Deadwood. I found this Indian tether interesting as I had just been introduced to the cavalry's version.

American Indian horse tether.
We boarded the bus to take us to the 1880's Black Hills train ride.

1880s Train Ride
Me conducting a game
As one of the sponsoring authors, I headed up a game of BINGO using book covers from the sponsoring authors and I emceed the game. The train ride brought back memories as we traveled by steam locomotive through ponderosa pine. The scent of the trees reminded me of riding my horse through the woods on the mountain behind our house. The tour guide dressed as a railroad worker, did a great job of explaining the area and the history.  On the bus ride back to Deadwood we played Black Jack.

With a brief respite after our trip to the train, we attended a PBR rodeo. The young bull riders tried their hardest to stay on the 1000 and 1200 pound animals but the animals got the best of most of the riders. It was a tough string of bucking bulls. The clown/entertainer gave a shout out to our group and posed for us to take photos for our book covers. LOL

Bull Riders
Saturday was the booksigning in the conference room of the Holiday Inn Resort Hotel. We had a steady stream of readers in the morning. It slacked off in the afternoon, but was a fun event.
My niece and I ready for the readers!
I met authors in person that I had only known via internet before and enjoyed meeting readers.

Sunday morning we loaded up and headed to Big Piney, Wyoming to spend the night with one of the school friends. We took her husband's advice and drove home via the scenic route he suggested and were glad we did.
Below Jackson, WY
If you're a reader or author and want to attend Wild Deadwood Reads next year, stay tuned to this blog and I'll let you know when they will start registrations for next year, June 7th-10th.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Phoenix Heat by Patti Sherry-Crews

Patty Sherry-Crew is here to talk about her story in A Cowboy to Keep Anthology.

What do you get when you combine a cowboy with a fireman? One hot hero, that’s what.

I come from two generations of firefighters so when I was invited to be part of a contemporary western anthology, it was suggested I make my cowboy a firefighter. And so Desert Heat was born. Boone Donovan and his brothers, working the family ranch some days and fighting fires on others.
My story in a Cowboy to Keep is the sequel to Desert Heat. I took my new story, Phoenix Heat, to the next generation at the Donovan Brother’s ranch. Boone and Angel’s daughter, Harper, comes home from NYC with her tail between her legs after a broken engagement and failed business venture. When she sees handsome firefighter and cowboy, Frank Flynn, she decides to get back in the saddle--except he snubs her. 

In constructing these stories, I drew on my experience of growing up in a firefighter's family. It’s not uncommon for a fireman to have a second job. Not all cities are the same but typically a shift at the station is 24 hours on, 48 hours off.  Many of the men my father worked with had businesses they ran in their time off from the station. Even now I see a roofing company and a landscaper around town that were started by firemen back in my father and grandfather’s day. 

And, if heroes who run into burning buildings isn’t enough to make you swoon, in my experience firemen are good in the kitchen too. In my father’s day, the department had a nice budget and the men took turns shopping and cooking. My father developed such a love of food, that he’d read cookbooks before bed the same as others read novels. When he was home, he was the cook and we rarely had the same thing twice. Today I smile when I see the firemen in their big coats shopping at the grocery store--even if their fire truck takes up four spaces. 

In Desert Heat the hero, Boone Donovan, goes into rapture over food. In Phoenix Heat firefighter/cowboy, Frank Flynn, is hampered by his lack of talent in the kitchen. Lucky for him Harper Donovan is her father’s daughter, and loves food so much she’s become a chef, and like her mother Angel, she knows how to use Rosa’s recipe for cinnamon rolls to bring in her man.

Another aspect of growing up in a family of firefighters is the undercurrent of danger. My grandfather had the police scanner going in the background all day to find out what trouble was brewing. If there was a fire and my father was on duty, My mother would often take us in the car to watch my father and his crew in action (which I now think was weird of her to do).

I tried to imbue Phoenix Heat with that same sense of impending disaster. There is an emergency situation--in fact there are two--but it might not involve the person you expect.

PHOENIX HEAT by Patti Sherry-Crews
Harper Donovan thought she had it all when she turned her dream into a reality--opening a restaurant in New York City. But when the venture fails and her fiancé leaves her, Harper has little choice but to return to her family in Arizona.

When she meets handsome firefighter and cowboy Frank Flynn,she decides it's time to get in the dating game again. Except Flynn shows no interest and dodges her, but not before claiming they've met before. Solving the mystery of the complicated Flynn gets under Harper's skin, making her even more determined to seduce him.

When the two finally come together, the smoldering passion ignites into a heat that rivals the Phoenix desert. Now that Flynn has opened his heart, can Harper handle this wounded cowboy who's playing for keeps? 

Patti Sherry-Crews lives in Evanston, IL with her husband, two children, a tabby cat, and a puggle dog. She writes historical western and medieval romances for Prairie Rose Publications. She also writes contemporary women’s fiction.

Catch a cowboy … Keep a cowboy …

Don’t miss this great collection from USA Today, Amazon Bestselling, and Award-Winning authors!!
Available at Amazon   
Sheriff Ben Hammond is finally over the woman who shattered his heart, but when Dinah Horne suddenly returns, can he ignore the passion still burning bright between them?

Trading horses for subways for two years seemed like a good idea to cowboy Chay Ridgway, but can city girl K.C. Daniels keep a rein on his country heart?

BLUE SAGE by Kristy McCaffrey
Archaeologist Audrey Driggs rolls off a mountain and lands at the feet of rugged cowboy Braden Delaney. Together, they’ll uncover a long-lost secret.

Determined to take back what belongs to her, Addison Reed will do anything. Even trust a complete stranger.

HER MAN by Hildie McQueen
Deputy Mark Hunter falls for Eliza Brock during a murder investigation. Is it fate or bad luck, especially when she may be involved?

Widow Leticia Villarreal wants to establish a horse-racing stable and old acquaintance John Clay Laidlaw offers to help. But can she trust him with her business and her heart?

PHOENIX HEAT by Patti Sherry-Crews
After losing her fiancé and her New York City business, Harper Donovan returns to Arizona and meets cowboy Frank Flynn. Will his past and their differences extinguish the heat between them?

Available at Amazon