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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Interview of Author Lorraine Nelson

I'm thrilled to post an interview of author Lorraine Nelson following the recent release of her newest book, Covert Mission: Undercover Cop, Book Two in her Thunder Creek Ranch series. I met Lorraine a few years ago, and since then, I've discovered beyond all other things her kindness toward others and her passion for writing. Here is what she has to say about her life and writing:

Hi, Lorraine, please tell us about your background.

I’m a Cancer sign and therefore, pretty much a homebody. I have three terrific sons, four wonderful grandsons and a precious granddaughter, with another grandbaby due next month. When my children were younger, I wrote for their age group, now I write for adults.

Did you always want to be an author?

Yes, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing stories or poetry.

Which authors did you read while growing up?

My babysitting money always went toward Hardy Boys books. I was a great fan. I also read all of the Anne of Green Gables books. At age 14 or so, I discovered Mary Higgins-Clark and Harlequin.

Why Hardy Boys, not Nancy Drew?

 LOL, I was very much a tomboy and Nancy Drew was too tame for me.

Which Harlequin lines captured your interest?

All of them! I read everything I could get my hands on…still do. :) They used to have a line called Shadows, Intrigue now, I think, and Temptation. Those were my favorites back then.

What authors have influenced your writing?

I’d have to say Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel and Mary Higgins-Clark. Love their books.

When did you begin to write romance novels? Why? What is it about the genre that appeals to you?

I had stopped writing for several years. As a single parent, the kids and the full-time job had to come first. I began writing seriously in 2009 after having my left thumb amputated. Typing helped regain the flexibility in that hand. Even though I’m a two-time divorcee, I believe in the possibilities of love and a happy ever after. I enjoy reading a good mystery and romance, so putting them both together to craft stories of romantic suspense seems natural.

Do you consider yourself a contemporary western romantic suspense author?

Mostly, yes, although I have written novels in other genres. This is my only series featuring cowboys, though. I’ve also written and self-published two Christmas stories, His Christmas Wish, a sweet novella, and Mistletoe & Mr. Hoe, a full-length involving some suspense. In addition to these, I’ve written seven other novels in the past 2 ½ years.

What was your first sale?

My first sale was Zakia and the Cowboy, Book 1 in my Thunder Creek Ranch series. It was released by Evernight Publishing on October 5th, 2011.

How did your first sale come about?

I’d heard about Evernight through Facebook friends and loved their covers, so I submitted.

How has being a published author changed your life so far?

It’s very rewarding. I’ve received some excellent reader reviews and it’s thrilling to know my work entertains other people besides my family and friends, who may or may not be prejudiced in my favor. The fact that quite a number of them have been asking for the sequel, makes my heart thump with delight

I’m busier than I used to be, for sure. Editing and promoting take up a lot of time, but I’m loving it. Writing and promo is something I can do from home, which is a real bonus, given our cold Canadian winters.

Tell us about your newest release.

While writing Zakia’s story, Sam and Blake became such memorable characters that I knew I’d have to tell their story. That’s when the idea of a series came to me. Covert Mission: Undercover Cop became Book Two in the Thunder Creek Ranch series.

Sam is ex-military, released on a medical discharge after losing her right arm. She’s feisty, independent and adorable, has overcome her physical disabilities, but past memories haunt her. Blake is a perfect match for Sam. He’s a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and owns a horse ranch. He’s strong, caring, patient and protective, although the latter irks Sam to no end.

The following is the basis for their story:

Two cops have been murdered, two convicts escape. Samantha Muldoon and Blake Northrup pair up to protect their friends. Will their attraction to each other hinder their effectiveness or distract them from their job? Can it grow into something lasting, or will previous hurt keep them apart?

Can you give us an excerpt of Covert Mission: Undercover Cop?

Sure! This is the beginning of Chapter One:

“What on Earth have you packed in this one?” Blake said as he hefted a box to go to the truck.

“If I can pack it and stack it, you’ve got nothing worth complaining about,” said Samantha in that brusque “don’t mess with me” tone she used around most people. Since losing her arm and receiving a medical discharge from the army, Sam fought harder than ever to prove her self-sufficiency, especially around men.

“I’m not, but a word of warning wouldn’t come amiss.”

“So sorry, Blake. I’ll be sure to label the heavy ones as ‘women weight only’ from now on.”

“Huh! I don’t believe you could lift it yourself, let alone carry it all the way to the truck.”

That did it! “What’s your wager?” She thrived on their little wagers. Blake was so much fun to tease and a good loser to boot.

“Dinner, Friday night. Loser pays.”

“Throw in a movie and you’ve got a deal.” This was a sure bet. She’d enjoy his company and not have to spend Friday night alone.

“Dinner and a movie it is,” he smirked, handing the box off to Sam.

“Great! I’ll look forward to a relaxing evening since it seems I have to handle all the heavy work around here.” Smiling, she waltzed out through the kitchen door and met Luke, Blake’s friend, on his way back in. She’d been introduced to both men through her friend, Zakia. Luke and Zakia had recently remarried after an estrangement of several years and she and Blake had offered to help her move.

“Here, Sam. I can take that for you.”

“Not on your life, cowboy. This box in the truck gets me dinner and a movie.”

“You and Blake at it again?”

“Of course!” She chuckled.

“Why don’t you cut him a little slack? He’s only trying to be a gentleman.”

“That may well be, but I get a rise out of him so easy I can’t resist.”

“What would you do if he asked you out on a real date?”

“What?” she shrieked. “He wouldn’t. Blake knows I don’t date.”

“Uh, huh. Ain’t that the truth.”

“Well, he does.”

“I know, Sam. Far be it from me to thwart your ‘no dating’ scene.”

“What do you mean by that?” she called back as she set the box down on the tailgate of Luke’s truck.

“Nothing much, but for two people who aren’t dating, you sure seem to go out a lot.” He chuckled, walking inside and letting the door swing shut behind him.

Sam stood and stared after him for a moment, thinking about what he’d said. He was right. She did accompany Blake on a lot of outings, but they were friends. Why shouldn’t they attend functions and things together? It beat going alone. And he was good company.

Still, if people were starting to talk—classifying them as a couple—she shuddered, maybe it was time to back off. She didn’t want him to get the wrong idea. Didn’t want to have to explain…nope! Not going there. The past was right where it belonged, in the past. She’d dealt with it and made her choice. There was no turning back but still, she couldn’t ward off a niggling doubt.

Blake came out of the house then carrying another carton of Zakia’s things. Her gaze tracked his movements. He sure was a handsome devil.

He greeted her with a disarming grin. “So you made it to the truck, I see.”

“Yes, I did, but then, you knew I would,” she said, suddenly realizing it as the truth when Blake’s face turned red.

“How could I know? That box was damned heavy.” He turned to load his box on the truck. “I do like the way you rise to a challenge though.”

“Is that so?”

He straightened to face her, his smile bordering on a smirk. “Yep, so we’re on for Friday night?”

“Nope. At least, not this Friday. I’m busy.”

Blake scowled, his expression stating that he was not pleased with her reply. “Doing what?”

She thought fast. “The shop needs painting, so when I close for the weekend, I’ll need to get at it.”

“I can help.”

“If I needed your help, I’d ask for it. Haven’t you figured that out by now?”

“Well, excuse me if I’m trying to be neighborly.”

“That’s another thing.” His eyes flared—with anger? Something else? She softened her tone, not wanting to appear ungrateful. “We’re not exactly neighbors. For someone who lives an hour away, you seem to be in Calgary a lot these days. What gives?”

“You know I’m collaborating on Grayson’s case. Why do you ask?”

“Every Friday?” she asked, a skeptical tone in her voice.

“Yeah, it gets me out of the office. Why all the questions?”

Could that really be all there was to it? “Just that I don’t want you going out of your way to help me. I don’t like owing anybody anything.”

He walked closer, close enough to touch, but he didn’t. She waited, knowing he had something to say and wished he’d just get it over with.

“You don’t owe me anything. Is it so hard for you to accept that I enjoy spending time with you?”

Yes! No! She schooled her features into a polite mask. “I don’t know.”

“I thought we were friends.”

“We are, but people are starting to talk.”

“About us? Is that so bad?” he asked in that low, sexy voice of his.

“Blake, you know I don’t date. I don’t do relationships and commitment. Friendship is all I can handle. All I’ll ever have to offer.” She fought to keep her eyes from tearing up. No way would she cry in front of this man or anyone else for that matter. Zakia wasn’t even privy to her darkest secrets. She was a rough, tough, independent woman and intended to keep it that way.

“I think you’re cutting yourself short, Sam. Life is for living.”

“And I’m living it my way. I thought you understood.” She started to walk away then turned and looked back, catching his concerned yet puzzled expression. “Come on. Get your ass in gear, Northrup. We have more boxes to pack and lug.”

“Yes, ma’am!” He saluted her then caught up in time to open the door for her.

She accepted the gesture gracefully for once, knowing she’d already spouted off enough for one day.

What are you working on now?

Book 3, Trouble at Thunder Creek, my NaNo project, is almost complete. From there, I’ll be diving straight into Book 4, Leah’s Child. Then edit and sub in December, after NaNo.

When you begin writing a book, do you have the story all outlined in your mind or do you wait and see where the characters take you?

The characters definitely lead the story. I do up character sheets with all the specifics, then a brief outline covering the GMC and location, and start writing. Quite often the characters veer off, but that’s the fun of writing. I never fully know where they’re going to take me or how the book will end.

What would you like readers to know about you?

I’m a romantic at heart! I love baking and gardening. My favorite movies of all time are Gone With the Wind and Dirty Dancing. Favorite book, The Proud Breed, a three generational saga written by Celeste De Blasis.

How can readers get in touch with you?

I love hearing from my readers! It’s important to know what works and doesn’t work for them as I continue to craft stories of love and mystery.!/lornelca

Thank you for having me here today, Madeline. It’s been fun.

One commenter will receive a free download, their choice, Thunder Creek Ranch Book 1, Zakia and the Cowboy, or Book 2, Covert Mission: Undercover Cop (releasing Nov 28th). The winner will be announced on December 3rd. You must be a follower of both blogs, Madeline’s and mine. So leave your comments and/or questions. I’ll do my best to answer. :)

Lorraine, thanks for stopping by my blog, and best of luck with your newest release!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Winner of the 2011 Golden Gateway Contest!

The results are in for the final round of the 2011 Golden Gateway Contest. Here are my title, category, and placement:

Beneath the Veil ~ First Place, Single Title Romance Category (FULL MANUSCRIPT REQUESTED BY GRAND CENTRAL PUBLISHING)

You might think I'd be used to all the excitement of contest finals by now, especially as this was my 28th contest final during the past three years, but in truth, I find each one more precious than the last.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Finalist for the 2010 Contest Diva Tiara Award, Author with the Most Contest Finals Category and Author with the Most Titles Category

I was a finalist for the 2010 Contest Diva Tiara Award, Author with the Most Contest Finals Category and Author with the Most Titles Category. This was for Aliya Arabesque, The Loving of Lord Loxley, Deus ex Nosferatu, and Royal Prince, Relucant Princess having been finalists in 17 writing contests during 2010. I didn't win the tiara for either category (the author who won for the most contest finals had 18). Yet, for the second year in a row, I was named an official contest diva. Wow!

Photo: By Siroos777 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons