Monday, January 27, 2020

Susan Payne and Harrison Ranch Returns

For a second week, Wild Women Authors features Susan Payne, and Seth Harrison, from Susan's historical romance, Harrison Ranch. Seth goes first.

Where are you from? Born and raised on the Harrison Ranch outside of Sweetwater, Kansas. Been no further than Kansas City for the beef auctions and see no reason to. I like where I am.
Tell us a bit about Harrison Ranch. As I said, I like it right fine. My parents were a little older than most when I was born so they passed when I was still young. No where near enough experience to run a ranch on my own. My father’s right-hand-man, Sully, raised me the rest of the way. A great horseman and pretty good cattle man to boot. We made the ranch into what it is today. Made my father proud even if I say so myself. Callie has only added to the homestead. Making me into more than a ranch hand. She’s welcomed so many and made the place into a home. Probably more like what it would have been had my mother lived longer.
What did you think the first time you saw Callie? I thought there was a kid who’d climbed up on top of the counter after something. Shocked me so, I yelled a warning and ended up startling Callie into falling. I near broke my neck catching her before she hit the floor. What was your second thought? I knew I wasn’t holding a kid, that’s for dang sure. She may be small but Callie’s all woman. Simply a smaller version than most.
Was it love at first sight? Not love. I was still coming to grips with the fact my new cook was female and pretty and young. I wasn’t expecting any of that you can be sure. Wouldn’t have allowed such a pretty woman near all those horn… um, unmarried ranch hands. Women on a ranch means problems. Nothing more than that. Otherwise, I like women just fine.
What do you like most about her? You mean besides her looks? Probably that she can think for herself. Nothing seems to stop her from doing what needs to be done. Not her size, not her lame foot, not her energy. She simply keeps going…even when I don’t think its best.
How would you describe her? Pretty and smart and way too good for the likes of me but I’m not telling her that. I was lucky she is as independent as she is. Otherwise she may have hared off when we first met. I wasn’t very welcoming but the rest of the men let me know if she went, then so would they. Never thought a good cook would mean the difference between having ranch hands or not.
How would she describe you? Probably, pigheaded. Stuck in my ways. Unappreciative. Only a half-broke mustang. Maybe, even typical male.
What made you choose ranching as a career? For me there wasn’t any other choice. I went to school with the neighbor boys, the Macgregors. Their mother and father would teach us. The four sons had to take piano lessons as well as reading, writing and arithmetic. Sully taught me every thing else I needed to know.
What is your biggest fear? I’m afraid of losing Callie. She’s tough but she was raised in a big city. Worked in a fancy hotel restaurant. Is used to having certain amenities around her. I’m afraid she’ll want to return there although she’s been bringing in so many other orphans from St. Michaels it seems like we’re starting our own orphanage right there on the ranch. Callie’s like a magnet for those in trouble or looking for a home. I guess it’s another reason I love her.
How do you relax? H-mmm, ride out over my land. Stop out by the pond on Sweetwater. As long as Callie’s with me, I’m happy. I’m content.
Who is your favorite fictional character? Fictional? You mean like in a book? I mostly read cattle and ranching periodicals. Not much for reading just to read. I guess someone from the Bible. Moses – he led his people to freedom and happiness.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? That was from Sully. He told me to get a ring on Callie’s finger before someone else. Best thing I ever did.
We thank you for spending time with us, Seth. Now we'd like to chat with Susan.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? Barbara Cartland. She wrote sweet romances but could describe a dress or hair style like no other. Her books were a little predicable but always a happy-ever-after. I have recently read a trope that called such books ‘costume porn’ which made me laugh out loud. Readers lived vicariously through the gowns and jewels in all her novels. She wrote a lot of Cinderella style stories – from destitute to duke’s wife.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? I listen to my characters and their particular voice. When I first tried writing years ago, I wasn’t happy with the outcome. Everything I wrote seemed forced and insipid. Now I listen to my characters as they tell me what happened and why. How their life experiences formed what and who they were when I meet them. They may change further after we meet but I always know them. Know what they would or wouldn’t do and why. I’m no longer trying to guide or push them into a mold. To do this or that because it’s time.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? The Wild Rose Press was releasing a friend’s book and when I checked them out found they would help authors self-publish. I knew Sweetwater would be difficult to publish as it is, so I decided to do so myself.
What book[s] currently rest on your TBR pile? So many – and mostly historical. All eras. I love visiting people from decades ago to eons ago. Seeing how we are still similar even if we have evolved. How what happened then formed the way we deal with things now. I enjoy learning about how England changed one way and America changed another even if we basically started out with the same laws, language, etc.
Lastly, what's up next and when can we expect to see it on the shelves? I am planning on continuing to publish the Sweetwater series. Three more books with two stories each. Hopefully all out by June 2020. I also have one under contract with Literary Wanderlust, Montana Lineman, releasing prior to end of 2020.

Harrison Ranch and Macgregor's Mail Order Bride (Sweetwater) is available in paperback and e-book through most online book sellers at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1509230289/ref=cm_sw_r_em_apa_i_KTqcEbAF0P1DV

To learn more about Susan Payne and the stories she creates, go to: http://authorsusanpayne.com

Susan brought an excerpt from Harrison Ranch:

          Seth wasn’t wearing his hat and held the plate out in front of him, a hesitant smile on his lips as he said, rather too robustly, “Miss Callie, this sure smells great. Thought I’d come down and have a meal with the rest of the men.”
          Callie looked down at the roast and fought her instincts to yell, throw something, cry or run - anything to get away from this man. Instead, she pulled on some inner strength and searched around in the bottom of the pan for the piece of roast end she hadn’t planned on serving. 
           Picking it up between the fork and knife blade, she slapped it onto the empty plate. The au jus splashed on to Seth’s shirt and vest but only a slight flutter of his left eyelid indicated he was aware of it.
          Callie raised the full ladle and inquired, “Au jus?”
          The entire row of men stepped back toward the door as one cohesive unit and stared with wide eyes at the hypnotizing drama playing out before them.
           Seth politely replied, “Thank you, no.”

Monday, January 20, 2020

Harrison Ranch by Susan Payne

Wild Women Authors is pleased to feature Susan Payne and Calliope St. Michaels from Susan's recent release, Harrison Ranch, Book 1 of the Sweetwater Series. Callie will go first.

Where are you from? I was raised in St. Michaels Foundling Home in New York City until I graduated at eighteen. I thought to stay forever, take vows but the Mother Superior said I had more important things to do. I don’t know what could be more important than raising parent-less children into independent adults. Ones able to earn their keep and raise families of their own.
Tell us a bit about Harrison Ranch. The first time I saw Sweetwater, the town where my train trip ended, I knew I was home. I can’t explain but everything I had been through, and some of it had been very unpleasant, melted away. It seemed perfect, absolutely perfect and the people became my friends. I can’t say enough about how everyone made me feel welcome.
What did you think the first time you saw Seth Harrison, your employer? Well, I was shocked since he was yelling at me and then my ankle gave way toppling me off the counter I was standing on. He caught me but was so angry…thought he would fire me on the spot.
What was your second thought? That he was attractive and knew it. Bossy and didn’t care who knew it. And that I may be over my head in trouble.
Was it love at first sight? No, certainly not love but I realized that he was someone special to me. I knew him after only a few words. I knew him as no one else ever would.
What do you like most about Seth? The way he cares about the men working for him, Well, everyone on the ranch. He makes it his duty that every living thing, including the employees, are safe and well taken care of. That’s how I became the ranch hands’ cook. He told his solicitor in Kansas City to hire the best so I was sent to Sweetwater. I bless the day.
How would you describe him? Physically, he’s tall and slender. More of a whipcord strength. You need to be to work a cattle and horse ranch full time. Blond hair with the bluest eyes. Reminds me of the Kansas sky in summer. And protective – too protective to my way of thinking.
How would he describe you? More than once I’ve heard him say I’m a pain in his… Well, that doesn’t matter. He sees me as delicate because I’m so small and I have this lame foot. But I’m not delicate or in need of protection. I think he finally knows that now but not at first. At first, I think he wanted to send me packing before I got hurt doing the job. Cooking for a large group isn’t that easy and means lifting heavy pots and pans all day. But I’ve done it for years. First at the orphanage and then at a posh restaurant. He has more respect for me and my abilities now.
What made you choose cooking as a career? Like all the orphans at St. Michaels, I learned how to do a little of everything. But I’m very methodical and began setting the kitchen to rights. I found that if we changed a few things, it made the work flow better. Then I was put in charge of buying and found a knack for bartering and trading making the monthly budget go further. The recipes I learned from the various nuns helped me make nourishing food without added expense.
What is your biggest fear? That Seth will get hurt. He works with wild, unbroken horses, rides with the cattle herds, has chased rustlers. Right after I first met him, he’d gotten shot and was in a coma for days. I don’t want to go through that again.
How do you relax? Promise you won’t laugh? I read cookbooks. I particularly like to read those written by ordinary people to keep track of their family favorites. I get some from Europe and have had to learn a few other languages. At least enough to know what the ingredients are.
Who is your favorite fictional character? Probably Kate in Shakespeare’s play. I think she put up a wall to hide behind but she fought for those she loved. I’d like to think I’m a little like that. Passionate about those I care about.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? That would have to be from the Mother Superior. She always had something to say to lift you up and help you choose the right path. She simply knew what was needed at the time. Probably the one about not becoming too comfortable with yourself. That we are tested and pulled in many directions so we must stay true to our inner selves while allowing other’s in. Open to change and to understand where others may be coming from.
Thank you for sharing time with us, Callie. It's now the time to chat with Susan.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? So many since I read everything, I could lay my hands on since I was eight years old. Many of them were above my comprehension level but I remember them. Pearl S Buck was one author I remember clearly.”
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? My own family on my mother’s side were extremely strong, independent women. Without much formal education, my great aunt went from nothing to being one of the wealthiest women of her town. Married at fourteen to a much older man, bearing two children, then widowed, she amassed a hotel, rental houses, bought the first automobile owned by a woman in town although she didn’t know how to drive, and other firsts. She helped raise her whole family from poverty and instilled a work ethic in all of us. I write about that kind of women – women brave enough to strike out in their own way and accomplish goals others thought impossible.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: I found The Wild Rose Press through a friend I made on line. She had a book under contract and I thought to query a few of mine to see if they had an interest. As I studied their web site, I found they would help self-publishers on an ala carte basis which is what I did. I found them very helpful going through the process and allowed me to get my stories to the public in a relatively short time.
What book[s] currently rest on your TBR pile? So many right now – mostly historical romance. I love anything by Gina Conkle – her stories are so riveting and passionate. I only read thirty to fifty a year now that I’m publishing. I still write a novel a month so most of my time goes there.
Lastly, what's up next and when can we expect to see it on the shelves? I have three more books of the Sweetwater series with two novellas per book. Montana Lineman, about a mail order bride in the 1870s is being published by Literary Wanderlust by the end of 2020. And I have plans to release a few of my London Regency novels.
Where may visitors to this blog learn more about you, Susan? You can keep up with my books by checking my web site or send me questions at – http://www.authorsusanpayne.com

To purchase Harrison Ranch and Macgregor's Mail Order Bride, Book 1, Sweetwater series, go to: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1509230289/ref=cm_sw_r_em_apa_i_KTqcEbAF0P1DV
Susan brought an excerpt for us:

          Callie lay on her bed, watching the moonlight move across the wall like a sundial marking off the hours. She was excited about going to town with Seth. She was excited about his asking her to step out with him. She was excited by the way his mouth on hers made her feel, inside where the nuns said women had to be careful not to mistake lust for love.
          She never had to understand that before. Actually, she thought she had it all under control since she never had been tempted to ‘lust’ with anyone before now. Because she had not been tempted, she thought she was in control. That was before Seth Harrison had come into her life.
          Now she knew she was not immune to ‘lust’. Just as the nuns had warned all the girls in the home, they could get caught up in ‘lust’ and lose their immortal soul. Not that Sister Mary Margaret said as much but she seemed more down-to-earth than many of the nuns at St Michaels. Callie had been under that nun’s authority far longer than any other. Sister Mary Margaret was whom Callie looked to for guidance right after the Virgin Mary.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Night of the Owl by Judith Sterling

.....PhD student Ardyth Nightshade has renounced men and pursues her twentieth-century career with single-minded focus. When fate whisks her to medieval England, she meets her match in a man whose passions mirror her own. Can she sacrifice ambition for a love she never sought?
.....Hugh, Lord Seacrest confounds all who know him. He refuses to marry without a meeting of minds and hearts, and no lady has even approached his ideal…until Ardyth. But she's an odd one, with unique skills, shocking habits, and total conviction she needs no man. She also harbors secrets, and in the midst of rumors, plots, and murder, trust is fragile.
.....A woman outside of her time. A man ahead of his. They must take a leap of faith to forge a bond that will shape history.

Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome author Judith Sterling as she celebrates [her wedding anniversary it appears] as well as the release of Night of the Owl, a time travel romance, published by the Wild Rose Press. With Judith is Ardyth Nightshade, a time traveling graduate student. As is our practice, Ardyth will go first.
Where are you from? I was raised in one of Chicago’s historic neighborhoods, close to the University of Chicago, where my dad was a professor of Medieval Studies.
Tell us a bit about Night of the Owl. It’s the story of my journey back to the England of AD 1102. I’d landed a job as a research assistant in the summer of 1986 and was staying at my family’s ancestral estate in Northumberland when I experienced a time slip that changed my life forever.
What did you think the first time you saw Hugh, Lord Seacrest? I thought he was the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen, with a dangerous amount of sex appeal.
What was your second thought? He seemed to be hiding something.
Was it love at first sight? Not love but a magnetic attraction.
What do you like most about Hugh? He’s as passionate about history as I am, but he also focuses his passion on me.
How would you describe him? A good and loyal man, though intense at times. He’s medieval but learning to accept more modern viewpoints…mine in particular!
How would he describe you? As the woman he was waiting for.
What made you choose academia for a career path? I come by it naturally. Both of my parents love history, and my dad wasn’t just a professor before his retirement; he was also a department head. I’ve admired him all my life.
What is your biggest fear? Losing those I love. Also high on the list is false accusation.
How do you relax? I enjoy reading, swimming, and spending time with friends and loved ones.
Who is your favorite fictional character? It’s a tie between Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet and Stoker’s Van Helsing.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? To follow my intuition. (Thanks, Mom!)
Thank you, Ardyth, for spending time with us. Now it's time to put Judith in the spotlight.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? Movies: Rebecca, The Uninvited, Gone with the Wind, Margie, and Sense and Sensibility. Books: anything by Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters, Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught, Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? There’s no single event that impacted the story, but my relationship with my husband definitely influenced it. History brought us together, just as it did Ardyth and Hugh. There’s a lot of both of us in Night of the Owl, so when the release date fell on our wedding anniversary, it seemed meant to be. Not only that, but I wore my hair like the cover model’s on my wedding day. Neither my publisher nor the cover artist knew about either coincidence.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? I happened upon one of The Wild Rose Press’s books online, and it was the first I’d heard of them. I did a little research, liked what I read, and submitted my first medieval romance right away.
What book[s] currently rest on your TBR pile? A Demon’s Witch by Tena Stetler, Love is Lovelier by Donna Simonetta, and Dragon Knight’s Medallion by Mary Morgan.
Lastly, what's up next and when can we expect to see it on the shelves? The Sword Unsheathed, the third book in my young adult paranormal series, Guardians of Erin, is moving toward publication. I’ll reveal the cover soon, and it should be released in the first quarter of 2020. I’m also writing Return of the Raven, the fifth and final book in The Novels of Ravenwood series, which should be released before the end of the year.

Judith brought an excerpt from Night of the Owl with her:
     Ardyth looked from one tunnel entrance to the next, and then the next. The ledge in front of them was substantial. It ran along the rock wall to the right, all the way to the mouth of the cave, winding around it to continue along the outer cliff.
     Again, she pointed. “Where does that lead?”
     “Shouldn’t you be doffing your clothes?”
     Her eyes narrowed. “In other words, you don’t intend to answer my question.”
     He grinned. “Clever, aren’t you?”
     She returned his smile. “I like to think so.”
     “If you’re stalling because you cannot swim—”
     “Oh, I can swim.” She could hardly wait to feel the cool water on her skin.
    He folded his arms, and his intense, gray eyes held a dare. “Then show me.”
     “Hold this.” She handed him the folded smock. Get ready to eat crow, buddy! Quickly, she removed her boots, hose, and tunics. When only her thin, white chemise remained, she stole a peek at her skeptical host. He stared at her bare feet.
     She sighed. “I know. My feet are hardly attractive. In fact, I’ve always thought my toes resemble…”
     He raised his eyebrows. “What?”
     Astronauts. But I can’t tell you that. “Nothing.”
     His eyebrows settled again, but the orbs beneath them seemed to glow with a new light. “I beg to differ with your opinion. Your feet are quite…lovely.”
     She almost laughed, until heat flooded her cheeks. I’m blushing? “Thank you,” she muttered. With an inward groan, she started toward the water.  
     For crying out loud! He only complimented your feet. Your pale, crazy, NASA-evoking feet. Get a grip!
     The ocean breeze caught the hem of her smock as she stepped into the surf. Foamy water—colder than she would’ve liked—enveloped her feet. Thank God for the heat of the sun! But this was the closest she’d come to a bath in days, and she was determined to prove her skills to the man who underestimated her at every turn. She waded forward, and the brisk, undulating water swallowed her calves, knees, thighs, and hips.
     “Lady Ardyth!”
     She turned. Her dry smock in his hands, Hugh stood with feet well apart on the wet sand.
     “You needn’t prove your courage further!” he called above the lapping, swishing voice of the sea. “Come back before—”
     “Courage isn’t the point! Swimming is!” The level of the surrounding water lowered to her thighs, signaling a coming wave.
     She turned just as it crested and dove headfirst into it. Completely submerged in the chill, rushing water, she headed left and allowed herself to rise to the surface. She swam freestyle for several strokes, then flipped onto her back and floated with abandon. After a minute or two, she flipped over, and swam in the opposite direction. Then she stood with the water at her ribs, waited for the next wave, and indulged in body surfing, which carried her with a whoosh back toward shore.
     Satisfied, she straightened, knee-deep in the water. Her wet chemise clung to her frame, and she knew Lord Seacrest was getting a lordly eyeful. Her nipples were rock-hard from the cold.
     She rolled her eyes toward the bright, blue sky. My kingdom for a bra! And throw in a pair of underwear, too! But both articles of clothing were back at Nihtscua and not likely to appear anytime soon. For the first time since plunging into the surf, she regarded Hugh.
     Eyes wide, her dry smock clutched in his hands, he stood as if frozen. Only his gaze moved, traveling from her breasts to the apex of her thighs.
     She pulled the smock away from her flesh as best she could and advanced toward him, stopping an arm’s length away. “I told you I could swim.”
     He blinked. Then his full, sensual lips curled into a smile. “Indeed, you did.”
     “And?”
     “And what?”
     “You’ve doubted me twice already. Perhaps you owe me an apology.”
     His eyes widened, then relaxed. “Perhaps I do. Pray…forgive me.”
     The words couldn’t have come easily, and the fact he’d said them made her grin. “I forgive you. This time. But I ask respectfully that you not underestimate me again.”
     For two seconds, he hesitated. “╩╝Tis a reasonable request, and I shall endeavor to honor it.” He gave her a quizzical look. Then he shook his head and chuckled. “Is there anything you cannot do?”
     She thought for a moment. “I’ve never ridden aside. If I’m going to ride something, I spread my legs.” The instant the words left her mouth, she cringed inside. Good God. That came out all wrong!
     Humor curved his lips, but his eyes smoldered. Did his thoughts mirror hers? He took a step closer, and his masculine aura invaded her personal space. “Tell me more.”

To purchase Night of the Owl, go to:







To learn more about Judity Sterling and the stories she creates, go to:




Monday, January 6, 2020

Willie, My Love by Judy Ann Davis

Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome back Judy Ann Davis as she celebrates the release of .Willie, My Love, her latest historical romance, this one with a flair of suspense. With Judy Ann is Elizabeth Wilhemina “Willie” Wydcliffe who will go first.

Welcome, Willie. Where are you from? Clearfield, Pennsylvania.
Tell us a bit about Willie, My Love. With my father, I own a logging operation and three sawmills along the Susquehanna River. The year is 1856, and white pine is king of the forest. Settlements up the coast and over to Europe are hungry for our lumber for ship masts and for building.
What did you think the first time you saw Jonathan Wain? He was an arrogant, big buzzard and Limey from the Chesapeake Bay. And, by the way, he has big feet. 
Interesting about his feet, but we digress. What was your second thought? He rode the most magnificent horse I’d ever seen. 
Was it love at first sight? Are you kidding me?
Guess not. What do you like most about him? He caught me acting as a decoy to get our payroll to our downriver mill and assured me he wouldn’t tell my father—although he did confiscate my gun.
How would you describe him? He’s at least three inches over six feet with midnight black hair that falls in careless waves over his forehead and the back of his collars. He has a chiseled aristocratic nose and angular chin. Why, I guess, he almost as good-looking as his horse.
How would he describe you? I’m a sharp-tongued, spunky, golden little spitfire who carries a knife and a gun.
What made you choose a career in logging operations? I was brought up by my father, without a mother, in the Pennsylvania wilderness. I have always loved the land, loved the forests, and loved the Susquehanna River. With no brothers, I was the logical one to help my ailing father.
What is your biggest fear? With unknown enemies nipping at my heels, I’m afraid I could lose the business and disappoint all my crews and their families who are depending upon me for their living.
How do you relax? I ride my horse, Silver Cloud, bareback up the mountain to my favorite ledges, high above the river and town of Clearfield.
Who is your favorite fictional character? Betsey Trotwood from Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? “Even the proud and strong fall to pieces at times. But if you have a dream, you go on despite the anguish, the pain, the problems, and the suffering to achieve it.”
Thanks, Willie. Now, we'd like to chat with Judy.

What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? I was an avid reader since childhood and enjoyed Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” series and all the Nancy Drew books. Later, I discovered Louis L’Amour, one of America’s greatest storytellers, and read all his books about Early America and taming the wilderness.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? I’m born and raised on a dairy farm in Northeast Pennsylvania. I understand the importance of the land, its wildlife, and its resources.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? My editor with my publisher retired, and the book would have been stalled for over a year and a half, so I decided to self-publish. It was an exciting adventure in itself.
What book[s] currently rest on your TBR pile? I just finished Olive Kitteridge for my book club in preparation for Olive Again. On my TBR pile is Suffragists in Washington , D.C. [The 1913 Parade and the Fight for the Vote]
Lastly, what's up next and when can we expect to see it on the shelves? I’m working on a novella about ice cream for The Wild Rose Press. I plan to write the third and final novella for my “Musical Christmas Series” titled, LUCY ~ The Clarinetist, to be released in the fall of 2020 and bundled with the first two novellas of the series which were released during the 2019 Christmas season.

To Purchase Willie, My Love, go to: AMAZON

To learn more about Judy Ann Davis, go to: