Monday, April 28, 2014

A Woman Ahead of Her Time


Today Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome physician Alexandra Winters and Nicole McCaffrey, creator of Northern Temptress, a recent American Rose release out of The Wild Rose Press. Welcome Alex and Nicole!
Alex, please tell us a bit about Northern Temptress. My story takes place in July, 1863, during the Battle of Gettysburg. I am a female physician, living in Gettysburg when it is invaded by the Southern army. I’ve just returned to my hometown after a scandalous divorce and I realized this was an opportunity to silence the gossips and show them what I am capable of. That goal was somewhat impeded by a certain Confederate major posting rebel guards at my home.
What did you think the first time you saw Major Caleb McKenna? I thought he was an arrogant ass. He was chasing a reb foot soldier from my porch, and I was grateful—until he tried to give me orders, as though I were one of his men. The Southern army had just invaded our streets and this foot soldier tried to force his way into my home. There was some debate between the Major and I as to whether the solider was attracted by the smell of the bread I was baking, or the sight of my young, pretty cousin peering out the window. Regardless, I had the situation fully under control but it is so like Caleb to want to rescue a damsel in distress. Even if she’s not in actual distress.
Unh huh. And your second thought? That his twilight blue eyes would look better in a Federal uniform of deep blue than they did in Confederate gray --and that his face was saved from being too pretty only by the dimple in his chin.
Did you think it was love at first sight? Not at all. I was preoccupied with this monumental battle taking place all but on my doorstep and never expected to see him again. Did I mention what an arrogant ass he is? No, certainly not love at first sight.
What do you like most about him? His sense of duty, his nobility and his damn Southern honor.
How would you describe him? Arrogant, poetic, noble, a true Southern gentleman.
Okay, and how would he describe you? He has called me the most frustrating, stubborn woman he’s ever met.
What made you choose the healing arts for a profession? My father is the town doctor and my grandmother delivered most of the babies born in this town in the last twenty years. I accompanied them both as an apprentice and learned to appreciate my father’s skill as a physician and Grammy’s use of herbs and homemade tonics to cure, as well. But I didn’t want to spend my life as a midwife; I wanted to heal, to help. So I became a physician—no easy road for a woman in the 1860s.
What is your biggest fear? Not being taken seriously as a physician simply because I’m female.
Thank you, Alex. Now, tell us how you relax. I’m not sure I ever do. A cup of coffee on the front porch at the end of the day, or a good book. But I’m usually far too busy to relax and too tired to stay awake long enough to read.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Oliver Twist. He’s an orphan who survives and thrives against all odds. I truly admire his courage and tenacity in the face of adversity after adversity.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? That would be from Major McKenna himself. He told me to “treat the ones you can, let the rest go.” It was a hard bit of advice to swallow during the raging three day Battle of Gettysburg when young men and boys were dying all around me. I wanted to save all of them, even the rebs. But much to my consternation, he was right; I had to focus on helping those I could.
Quite the female character you created, Nicole. We'd like to know a bit about you. What movies or books have had an impact on your writing?
Oh my gosh, there are so many. Movies—Gone with the Wind, Gettysburg and the old 80s miniseries, The Blue and the Gray, took that spark of interest I had in the Civil War and turned it into a raging inferno. Ditto the book Gone with the Wind. Margaret Mitchell truly immerses the reader into that dreamy world of the old south and the Civil War years, it’s a place I return to again and again. Other books would be any of Johanna Lindsay or Pamela Morsi’s early works, I firmly believe in not just reading and re-reading the works of our favorite authors but dissecting them to figure out how they made me feel this or that, or how they put me right there in that place and time. They really are our best writing teachers.
Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them? I’ve known about The Wild Rose Press for many years now and their reputation for quality and growing authors.
What influenced your decision to submit to them?The goal of their historical lines has always been to bring variety to their readers. I’m a huge fan of American historical romance, so they were the right fit for my stories.
Tell us a bit about the submission process. How long did it take from query to release? It took a little while, but it was no fault of the publisher. I’d actually submitted it a few years earlier, then panicked and pulled it—I didn’t feel I had done my characters justice. I re-submitted spring of last year and it came out in January, so probably about six months from start to finish.
What are you reading now? I just started reading “Champion of Sherwood” by Laura Strickland. I love her unique take on the legend of Robin Hood.
What's in the offing? I've been working on a follow-up story to Wild Texas Wind off and on for awhile now and not having much success. [I also took some time away from writing after my dad passed away last fall.] Kip Cooper, the confidence man/gambler/peddler pan/master of disguise was such a popular secondary character in WTW he really needed his own story and readers have asked for one. But part of Kip's charm is that he is a scoundrel and a rascal –so turning him into a hero worthy of his own story hasn't been easy. I think I'm on the right track now. In Texas Wild Card, he will struggle to stay on a straight and narrow path, but finds himself flirting with his old ways when he's blackmailed into helping the town spinster land a husband.
Nicole, thanks so much for bringing the fascinating Alexandra, a woman way ahead of her time, to visit us.
Kat and Veronica
To learn more about Nicole McCaffrey and the stories she creates go to: www.nicolemccaffrey.com
To purchase Northern Temptress visit The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Chat With a Fox . . . and the Lady


Today Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome author Dee Carey and Merlot from The Fox Tales /The Fox and the Chalice, a May 2014 release from Soul Mate Publishing. 
Please tell us a bit about The Fox and the Chalice. It is about an infant who found in a convent vineyard, and is chosen to restore just rule to France.
Merlot, what made you choose guardian of the convent's abess as a profession? The woman, Mother Tempestia, cared for me from the instant she found me in the vineyard as if she was my own mother.
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you continue guarding Mother Tempestia, or do something different? I would follow the same path as it was my destiny.
What is your biggest fear? That there is no heaven.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Piglet from Winnie the Pooh. He always looks on the bright side.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Risk, it is the only way to forge new experiences.
Now it's Dee's turn at the plate. Which writer or character[s], from either books or movies, have had a major impact on your writing? Juliet Marillier is my favorite author. I write in first person most of the time as does she. My favorite movie is Lady Hawk. I like the ethereal content. I think everything you see somehow impacts a writer. It is a profession unlike any other. To make something out of an idea, something that is not concrete is quiet simply Magic.
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? As with most of my tales, I started with a figurine of a fox and the fact that at the time I was doing work for my church.
Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept? My concepts rarely change as I plot everything on a flow chart before I start writing. I like to have the first and last sentence before I actually write. This does not always happen but when it does it is magic.
Let's read a blurb from The Fox and the Chalice:
He held the pebble so tightly his nails dug into his palm. Even the threat of death would not pry it from him. Yet, he is not contemplating death. Rather his thoughts were for life. The life he would share with the mysterious Merlot. Quickly, he hurried over the broad meadow back to the manor. All should be quiet there. Gilber was long asleep, and his mother would lie there helpless beside the pig. She would have no peace until Monsieur Roland took his daily trip to the convent to extract the secret of the wine. LaRoux wished his stepfather would fall down a bottomless pit and never be seen again.
Thanks, Dee! Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them? I met with the head editor at a conference sponsored by the Lilac City Rochester Writers group in Rochester, New York.
What influenced your decision to submit to them? She asked me to submit the tale I pitched. She accepted it and made an error in the contract, asking for two stories when only one had been submitted. I contacted her and she said it was a typo, but did I have the rights to my other works? I did and she said, “ I want them all.”
Too cool! Tell us a bit about their submission process. How long did it take from query to release? The entire process took place over a very short year. This particular book coming out in May is a compilation of several of my earlier works. In the summer [of 2014] Soul Mate is releasing a new fox tale called The Eye of the Dragon.
Thank you, Dee, for visiting with us today. We appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule.
Kat and Veronica
To learn more about Dee Carey /The Foxlady, and the stories she creates, go to: www.careyfoxlady.com
To purchase The Fox Tales, go to SoulMatePublishing.com or Amazon.com



Monday, April 7, 2014

Older Woman/Younger Man. Can It Work?

Today Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome author Monica Epstein and female lead Michelle Loeser from Where There Is Will, an older woman/younger man novel out of the Last Rose of Summer line from The Wild Rose Press. Welcome Monica and Michelle.
Michele, tell us a bit about Where There Is Will. I’m trying to put my life back together after my twenty-year marriage ends in divorce. I have zilch self-esteem and can barely make ends meet. I take a job transfer to London to get away from those who knew me as part of a couple. I want a chance to start over in a place, where no one has preconceived ideas of how I should act. The last thing I’m looking for is love. But when actor Will Sheridan offers to help me acclimate in exchange for cooking lessons, how can I resist? But when our friendship turns to attraction, we’re faced with a number of challenges.
What did you think the first time you saw Will? The very first time I saw him, he was a child acting in films. It wasn’t until his fifth film that I noticed how nicely he had…developed, if you get my drift.
And your second thought? When I met him in person on the plane to London, he looked just as scrumptious as he does on the screen, but there was no hiding the baby face behind the stubble. You see, he’s quite a bit younger than me. The other thing I noticed was how inquisitive he was.
Did you feel it was love at first sight No, not at all. Maybe lust at first sight because he’d matured, but I couldn’t imagine being in love—even being intimate—with someone so much younger. There’s a nineteen-year age difference between us.
What do you like most about him? His confidence. He’s comfortable with who he is and he doesn’t put on pretenses. He’s also so down to earth despite his wealth and fame.
How would you describe him? Like I said, Will is comfortable in his own skin and doesn’t take advantage because he’s famous and wealthy. He’s kind, generous, caring, and the best cheerleader a woman could ask for!
How would he describe you? He’d say, “Michelle is beautiful, smart, and talented, but she has one flaw—she can’t see those traits in herself.”
What led you to the choice of technical writing as a profession? I’ve always been good at putting words on paper. I especially liked writing creatively, but didn’t think I could make money doing it. It was my lack of confidence speaking again. I took the easy way out by choosing a writing career that was a little more stable than writing novels.
What is your biggest fear? Although Will helped me overcome it, I was terribly afraid of heights. So afraid that I’d have anxiety attacks. I was too embarrassed to tell him when he took me up London’s giant Ferris wheel, the London Eye. Imagine how embarrassed I was when he offered to pull the emergency brake because I was having difficulty breathing.
How do you relax? Well, I avoid Ferris wheels now! Seriously, I enjoy listening to music, cooking, and spending time with my family.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter. It might seem like an odd choice, but she was the first protagonist in a book who went against society’s mores and held her head up despite persecution. I faced similar odds by being with a younger man, although not nearly to the same extent.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Believe in yourself. Bet you can guess who gave me that advice.
It's Monica's turn at bat. What movies or books have had an impact on your writing? I can’t choose particular books or movies, but I’m drawn to stories where the heroine grows as a person. I hope readers of Where There Is Will are inspired by Michelle’s journey from a woman with low self-esteem to one of confidence and success. Where There Is Will is a story of learning to love yourself before you can love someone else.
Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them? I was completing an online course called Submissions That Sell. The students had helped each other perfect their query letters. One of my classmates told me The Wild Rose Press (TWRP), known for publishing romances, now took women’s fiction, as well. I consider Where There Is Will to be both women’s fiction and romance, so I investigated TWRP.
What influenced your decision to submit to them? I loved how their books lines are named for roses. But I particularly liked that everyone published by TWRP had only good things to say about them.
Tell us a bit about the submission process. How long did it take from query to release? I submitted my query letter in May 2013, I think, and the manuscript was accepted for publication in mid-June. It was released for Kindle on December 27, so the entire process took just over six months. I was lucky, however, because my editor, Kathy Cottrell, didn’t ask me to rewrite much. I only had to add a few more scenes to enhance the story. I am extremely pleased with the entire process.
And we're glad, too! Thanks so much for visiting us, Monica, we wish you much luck with sales on this story and those to come.
Kat and Veronica

To learn more about Monica Epstein and the stories she creates go to: http://www.monicaepstein.com
To purchase Where There Is Will, go to http://amzn.com/162830229