Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Wednesday Promo- Nicole McCaffrey
Nicole and I go back to the right before the birth of her oldest son. Yep, that's when we met via a writing contest and have been friends and critique partners ever since. And the strangest thing... We've never met in person and only talked on the phone twice I think. It's been an internet friendship. But a good one! Welcome Nicole! PS: This is a great read!! OH! and I'm kicking off my blog tour at her blog today- so sneak over and leave a comment to get in on my contest.
If it’s possible to be born a writer, then I certainly was. I’d probably have started sooner if there had been pen and paper available in the womb! But for as long as I can remember, I have heard voices in my head. Fortunately for me, they’re all characters—begging me to tell their stories. My first sale was a holiday novella, published by The Wild Rose Press in November 2006. The Model Man, my first full length contemporary, was released in March 2008. My true passion has always been historical, though, and I’m thrilled those stories are finally coming to life in print!
I’ve been married to Peter, my best friend, for twelve years, and am a work-at-home mom with two busy boys ages seven and ten. When I’m not working, writing, or buried nose-deep in a research book, chances are I’m baking, gardening, or just kicking back and hanging with my guys.
1) Why do you write western historical romance?
I've always been attracted to the lawlessness of that era --good versus bad, white hat versus black, lawman versus outlaw. It seems like such a simpler time than what we live in today, which makes it that much more enticing as an escape. *G* I also love the many colorful characters who populate western towns from the soiled doves, saloon girls, gamblers, gunfighters--there's conflict built right in. Give me a buttoned up Katharine Hepburn-type spinster and have her lock horns with a gambler or gunfighter passing through town--now that's my idea of fun.
2) What makes a hero or heroine memorable in your opinion? Emotion. Gunfighters, for example, are characters that seem to pop up in all my historical stories. But to write about someone who kills mercilessly and just moves on would be boring. Giving them reactions, feelings, emotions rounds them out and makes them easier to relate to. They may be the fastest gun in the west with a cool head and deadly demeanor, but the reader still has to be able to relate to them. Same with heroines. It's hard to write about characters who are 20+ years younger than you and most likely that much younger than your reader as well. So you need to give them feelings the reader can relate to.
3) What else have you published and what are you working on?
Small Town Christmas was the story that started it all, a holiday novella published by The Wild Rose Press in 2006. Then came The Model Man, a contemporary romantic comedy in 2008. It will be available in audio book later this summer. I also have a Civil War time travel This Moment in Time, under contract with The Wild Rose Press, I'm hoping it will be out later this year. And anyone who has read Wild Texas Wind will be glad to know that Kip Cooper, my hero's sidekick in WTW, is getting his own story, which I'm writing as we speak.
Blurb and links:
All Raz Colt wants is land, a quiet peaceable existence and to put his life as a hired gun in the past. When the chance to earn a sizable fortune by rescuing a kidnapped heiress comes his way, he seizes the opportunity. Trouble is, the heiress doesn’t want to be rescued. Offsetting Arden O’Hara’s beauty is a rattlesnake personality and shrewish temper. Despite her claim that she faked the kidnapping so her fiancé would ride to her rescue, Raz knows someone is out to kill her. And if anyone gets the pleasure of wringing her lovely neck, it’s going to be him.
Arden O’Hara is desperate to go home. Her fiancé was supposed to ride to her rescue, proving it’s her–and not her father’s money– he loves. Instead an arrogant stranger, with weapons strapped gun-fighter low and a decided lack of sympathy for her situation, shows up spouting a ridiculous tale about someone trying to kill her. It’s infuriating when Raz Colt’s claims prove true after not one but several attempts are made on her life. She has no idea who this fast gun with the deadly aim is, or why he makes her feel as wild and untamed as the Texas wind. But like it or not, if anyone is capable of getting her home alive, it’s Raz Colt.
San Antonio, Texas
“Brought you some towels, sugar.”
Raz Colt leaned back in the steaming bath water with a deep sigh. Life didn’t get much better than this. A cigar in one hand, a glass of fine bourbon in the other, and a pretty little dove for this evening’s pleasure. As she closed the door behind her, muffling the sound of piano music from downstairs, the cloying aroma of cheap perfume wrapped around him.
He took a sip of the bourbon and sighed again as the smooth liquid warmed his gullet. The past month had been busy as hell. He’d helped a friend clear his name of a brutal murder charge and brought the real killer to justice, then stuck around Colorado just long enough to make sure they hanged the bastard. He’d even provided a new rope for the occasion. It wasn’t often his chosen profession of hired gun brought him such personal satisfaction.
Betty Lou, or whatever her name was, inched closer, pausing long enough to refill his drink before taking the stool beside the tub. Dressed only in a camisole and pantalets, she had curves in all the right places plus a few extra, he noted with appreciation. A man liked a little something to hold onto in bed.
She trailed a finger in the bath water. “Want me to wash your back?”
He smiled languidly as the bourbon washed through him. “Darlin’, you can wash anything you’d like.”
He’d been riding for weeks, heading straight to Texas after finishing up in Colorado. For no reason other than a sudden yearning to see his home state. After all that time on the trail, he was more than saddle sore, with aches in places a man didn’t like to think about.
She giggled a little too much at his comment, but he didn’t mind. He sat forward, careful not to get the cigar wet or spill his drink, while she dipped a cloth in the water and lathered it with a spicy, exotic-smelling soap. Damn near anything would smell better than the fine layer of trail dust he’d come in with.
“So,” she said, gently applying the hot cloth to his back, “you new in town or just passing through?”
He closed his eyes, groaning as the heat penetrated aching muscles. Tired and sore as he was, she’d be lucky if she got a rise out of him before he fell asleep. “Ain’t decided that yet. What would you suggest, sweet thing?”
“Stay, sugar, stay,” she cooed. “If you’re lookin’ for a good meal, Ma’s Place up the street is the best. And if you’re lookin’ for work, try the Triple H.”
He slumped back against the tub as she moved around to the front, soaping his neck and chest. “Triple H?”
“It’s the biggest spread around. H.H. O’Hara’s the richest man in these parts. He’s always lookin’ for help.”
Raz took another sip of his drink then clenched the cigar between his teeth. Ranching. He’d tried that once. Didn’t pay nearly as well as hiring out his gun. And he’d never been one for taking orders.
Betty Lou—or was it Linda Sue?—dipped the cloth again. “Want me to wash your hair?”
The bath was included with the price of the woman. He’d always had clean habits, but he supposed half the men waiting in the parlor downstairs had no use for soap. “Why not?”
She ladled warm water over his hair, then lathered the soap between her practiced hands. “I ain’t never seen hair like yours before,” she purred. “It’s so black, it’s nearly blue. You Indian or somethin’, sugar?”
“Might be.” The fact that his mother was half Mexican, half Indian while his father was white wasn’t something he cared to discuss.
Betty Lou seemed to realize she’d hit a nerve. She slid closer, massaging soapy fingers over his scalp. “I think it’s real handsome.”
Through partially lowered lids, Raz noted with pleasure the gentle sway of her bosom as she scrubbed. She’d gotten damp while washing his back, and the camisole clung to her like a second skin. Rosy nipples, outlined against the wet material, practically begged for his attention. Her breasts were mere inches from his mouth, close enough to easily…
Of course, he’d have to set either the drink or the cigar aside to do that. He chose instead to simply watch, anticipating the pleasure ahead.
“Tell me more about this H.H. O’Hara.”
“Oh, the poor man,” Betty Lou sighed. “His daughter’s been kidnapped. I hear he’s right beside hi’self with grief.”
“Does he know who did it?”
She ladled rinse water over his hair. “They left a ransom note, but H.H. ain’t one to be told what to do. So he’s offerin’ a lot of money to the first man that brings his little girl back alive. With her virtue intact.”
Betty Lou pressed a towel to his sodden hair. “H.H. don’t want nobody touchin’ his baby girl. That’s why he’s offerin’ such a big reward.”
Reward? He bolted upright in the tub, sloshing water over the sides with the sudden movement. Removing the cigar, he turned his full attention to Betty Lou. “How big?”
She moved behind him to knead the muscles in his back. “I hear’d tell it was ten thousand dollars.”
Drink midway to his lips, he paused. Ten thousand dollars?
Without a word, he handed Betty Lou the glass and rose from the tub. He felt her curious stare as he slid on trousers over still-dripping skin. Grabbing his gun belt, he strapped it on, then went for his boots. He shrugged into his shirt without bothering to turn it right side out or button it, rummaged through his trouser pockets for a handful of eagles and pressed them into Betty Lou’s palm. “This should take care of you for the rest of the night.”
His fallen angel looked downright disappointed, red-painted lips pouting prettily. “Where you goin’, sugar?”
Raz dropped his hat on over wet hair, then bent to place the cigar between her parted lips. “Triple H.” With a wink he strode toward the door. “Whiskey, women, and a fine cigar go a long way to make a man feel comfortable, but only one thing keeps a man warm at night, darlin’.”
She gave a huff of indignation and put a hand to one rounded hip. “What’s that?”
He tipped his hat to her and opened the door. “Money.”