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Guest Interview with Pam Crooks

I’m happy to introduce a writing friend, Pam Crooks. We met while contributing stories to a couple of multi-author series–one is the newly launched “Bachelors & Babies” series.

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I grew up in the ranch country of western Nebraska.  Cowboys and pickup trucks were everywhere, and though I was a city girl through and through, those cowboys were thrilling.  My husband and I had four daughters before we moved to Omaha, and it was here where I discovered a writer’s group, Romance Authors of the Heartland.  Without RWA, I wonder if I’d be published today.

I’ve been a writer forever. I (like many other readers) read Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Flame and the Flower, and I was hooked.  Back then, we didn’t have computers, and I typed out my story on a Smith-Corona electric typewriter, which was a birthday gift from my husband.  I was in heaven!  Imagine my delight a few years later when my brother gave me his cast-off Apple computer.  Oh, my goodness.  No more correction tape or White-Out.  Now THAT was heaven!

It took me nine years to make my first sale to Leisure Books, but when I did, the sales kept coming.  After four books with them, I got picked up by Harlequin Historicals and wrote ten more.  By then, they were having some distribution troubles, and the self-publishing phenomena hit.  I jumped on the band wagon with a few more titles, and well, the rest is history.

In 2019, I released three titles, two self-pubbed historicals and one contemporary with Tule Publishing.  I have come to love multi-author groups like Bachelors and Babies!  TRACE is my 23rd book, and it’s been quite a joyride.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

It’s a little bit of both.  I have to have a framework (doesn’t everyone?) with hero and heroine, their conflict and goals.  I love making them as opposite as I can since it makes the story writing easier (yeah, right).   But other than that, I am very much a pantster.  No matter how much I try to pre-plot, my brain goes in a different direction while I’m writing, and admittedly, a better one.

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

I do use music. It has to be instrumental, otherwise I’d sing along with the artist and that’d be a huge distraction. Ha!  Piano, flute, guitar, or harp are my favorites.  Top of the list, though, are Gregorian Chants.  So soothing.

Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?

My tip has to be my critique group and brainstorming verbally with them around my dining room table.  It’s that give and take, a lively and spirited discussion, that really gets my juices going.  After all these years, brainstorming is still my favorite part of writing.

Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).

I’m retired.  My brain can’t focus on writing until I get my daily slate cleared.  That means breakfast eaten, bed made, bathroom tidied, dog walked.  I have to finish email and some computer work, too.  By then, it’s usually late morning, and I finally get myself in front of the computer.  I stop for lunch with my husband and then take a brisk walk.  Inhaling deeply while I walk is miraculous and amazing.  I can then sit at my computer again and really focus.

I use a calendar to plot out my weekly page goals. I do a minimum of three pages a day, and if I don’t make the three pages one day, then the shortage gets tacked onto the next day.  Good incentive!

What’s your dream vacation destination?

Europe.  Specifically, Italy.  My grandparents immigrated from there, so the country’s influence has been a strong part of my childhood.  I hope to get there soon.  Fingers crossed!

Do you use visual aids (storyboards, Pinterest, collages) when plotting or writing?

I am VERY visual.  Pinterest is my salvation.  Very inspiring and just plain helpful.  And like I mentioned above, I need to see how many pages I’m accomplishing, too.  Writing them down on paper makes me feel like I’m actually accomplishing something.

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

I wouldn’t call myself a pet person, but when my husband and I retired (a few months apart), I wanted a puppy to give a layer of purpose to our days.  We got a purebred Golden Retriever named Louie.  He lights up our days, keeps us walking, gives us something to talk about and take care of, and he is just a joy.  (Notice I didn’t say I enjoy the dog hair, cleaning up the backyard or his barking, but oh, well.)  I wouldn’t say the puppy stage is easy, but he’s almost three years old now and mellowing. Very smart and very sweet.  I can’t imagine my life without him!

BLURB

Trace McQuade has lost everything–his ranch, his brother, and the woman he wanted to marry. When his quest for justice fails, he leaves Texas to head north, but he never expects to gain an outlaw’s baby along the way.

Morgana Goldwater needs to be needed. After she endured a terrible tragedy, she lives in a narrow, protected world. When Trace needs help caring for the baby girl, she is quick to take them both into her heart and into her life.

But their troubles return, and Trace and Morgana must face their past to keep loving the little girl–and each other–in their future.

SNIPPET FROM REVIEW

5 stars–“Awesome book. I couldn’t put it down till I finished it. Now I have to wait another month for the next one to come out… great job, Pam.”

BUY LINK

Amazon  (free in Kindle Unlimited)

EXCERPT

If the basket held a tangle of rattlesnakes, Trace couldn’t have been more apprehensive looking inside.

Sure enough, there was a baby lying there, sleeping, with one miniature fist curled next to her cheek. She wasn’t much more than four or five months old. She had more hair than most, at least from other babies Trace had seen. Dark, with ends that curled over her ears and temple.

Slick-Shot had curly hair, too.

The knowledge churned inside Trace. Cruel twist of fate the man’s bastard daughter had been forced upon him. Wasn’t it enough the outlaw had stolen the woman Trace once loved, and worse, shot and killed Robbie? Who wouldn’t be angry over it? Who wouldn’t try to refuse?

Trace wallowed in a thick pool of righteous indignation, for sure, but the longer he stood there, the harder it got to pull his stare off the infant. He couldn’t see much of Emma in her, but that part might come out later. Too early to tell what kind of woman she’d be, too. If she’d have her father’s inclination for crime or if she’d take on a more lawful frame of mind.

Regardless, the baby was innocent of her father’s murdering ways and Emma’s poor decision-making. A miniature human being that, through no choice of her own, now depended wholly and completely on a stranger—on Trace—for survival.

He blew out a breath from the immensity of it.

But he’d not be beholden to this child just because Emma wanted him to be. Trace had plans, Nebraska plans, and none of them included taking care of an outlaw’s baby.

He just had to get through tonight, that’s all.

Tomorrow, he’d make arrangements. Whatever he needed to do for the baby’s best interests—and his own.

His mood lifted. Careful not to jar the child into waking, he cradled the basket and knapsack in his arm and entered the cabin, easing the door into a quiet latch behind him. He managed to set the basket onto his bed with little more than a faint stirring from the baby, then went for the knapsack, hoping its contents would make caring for a child easy and quick.

Not surprisingly, the bag yielded several sleeping gowns, diapers, a can of condensed milk, a contraption for a feeding bottle and a letter.

Taking it, he ripped open the envelope, unfolded the paper and read the feminine handwriting:

Trace,

You took care of me once, now I’m asking you to take care of my daughter. Her name is Harriett, and she was born on January 28, 1881.

There’s no one I trust more than you.

Emma

Trace’s lip curled. She might as well be standing right beside him, speaking the words in her Texas drawl. It was just like her to expect such a thing from him, too, taking on the care of her daughter as if the girl was a geranium in a pot, needing only watering now and then. Trace could imagine her lashes fluttering, her smile coy, cajoling his promise to do what she wanted. As if he had nothing else to do with his life.

Until he remembered how she’d suffered because of him. A physical pain that would’ve paled compared to the knowledge she wouldn’t live to see her baby daughter grow up. The prospect of leaving her behind, of forcing her into the care of a stranger, well, hell. Trace couldn’t think of anything worse.

Emotion welled up in his chest. He owed Emma, for sure. He’d take care of Harriett as long as he could. Until he found someone better capable and more deserving.

Emma trusted him to do at least that.

A whimper intruded into his thoughts. He tossed the letter aside and strode back to the wicker basket. Seeing him, Harriett suddenly quieted. Her dark eyes fastened onto him and rounded.

Then, her little face scrunched, turned red, and she filled her lungs with a howl that reached to the rafters. The girl must’ve known Trace wasn’t familiar. Might be she was even afraid, and Trace scooped her up and put her to his shoulder to offer some comfort.

A wet diaper soaked into Trace’s shirt. Grimacing, he rummaged one-handed through the pillowcase stuffed at the foot of the basket for something dry to put between them, only to discover it held more diapers, just as wet and soiled with who knew what else, carrying a godawful smell that nearly felled him to his knees.

Trace stuffed it closed again and bolted toward fresher air. The howling grew to a fevered, shrieking pitch, and no matter how he patted and soothed and bounced, no matter how hard he tried to think of the best thing to do, he had no choice but to accept the cold, hard truth.

It was going to be a very long night.

While expecting her first child (more years back than she cares to count), Pam Crooks read her very first romance novel, and she’s been in love with them ever since. She grew up in the ranch country of western Nebraska, and it was inevitable she’d eventually write lots of books about cowboys. Pam still lives in Nebraska with her husband (who is not a cowboy), four married daughters and a whole slew of perfect grandchildren.

She’s a long-time member of RWA and RAH, her local chapter. Pam is also one of the founders of Petticoats & Pistols, a popular blogsite for western romance.  She loves to cook, hang out at her lake cabin, and decorate birthday cakes for anyone who will let her.

WEB CONTACTS

To see more books Pam has written, visit www.pamcrooks.com

Or visit her author page on Amazon 

Or check out her page on Bookbub

Website
Facebook
www.facebook.com/pamcrooksauthor
Instagram – @pamcrooks
Twitter @pamcrooks

Guest Release Promotion–Dark Wine at Dusk by Jenna Barwin

BLURB

A seductive spy. An alpha vampire. A hidden threat to their love…

When a rogue vampire group attacks again, Dr. Cerissa Patel’s happily ever after with the man of her dreams must take a back seat to her mission.

Her lover, vampire Henry Bautista, is quick to pick up the gauntlet. He’ll do anything to help his beautiful spy capture the conspirators who are determined to enslave mortals.

But as Henry’s secret past rears its ugly head, it not only threatens their mission, but risks their love–and their very lives.

REVIEW COMMENT

“Passionate, breathtaking and beautifully written.” ~InD’tale Magazine

EXCERPT

Henry accepted the shiny silver pouch Cerissa handed him. Usually, she used a blue bag to package blood from her human clones and a red one when she drew a higher concentration of red blood cells. What did the silver bag contain?

“If you don’t mind being my guinea pig,” Cerissa added.

“Guinea pig?” He started a pan of water heating on the stove. The pouch wasn’t wrapped in a self-warming bag. “What is different about this blood?”

“While I was away, I figured out how to induce the clones to produce a higher concentration of stress hormones—adrenaline, as well as cortisol and norepinephrine, if you want to be technical—to create the blood Rolf craves.”

“You think this will satisfy him?”

“We’ll have to experiment to find out. I don’t know what the cause is. It could be a substance addiction he can be weaned off, with support. If his problem is akin to a deficiency, more like a diabetic who needs insulin to survive, then I’ll have to determine the proper dosage. Just because the blood produces a mental high doesn’t mean it’s bad for him.”

Henry turned off the flame under the pot and slid the bag into the warm water, swishing it around so the contents would heat evenly without cooking. Cooked blood was disgusting.

“There is an exhilaration that comes from drinking adrenaline-spiked blood—”

“I’m calling it ‘adrenaline-enhanced’ for now,” she said. “The other term has baggage.”

“You could be right.” He fished the bag out of the water, cut the corner with scissors, and poured it into an insulated coffee mug. A quick sniff told him it smelled like the blood of a victim who’d been hunted.

Is this a good idea?

He sniffed again, and a thread of apprehension brushed his skin. He took a sip and closed his eyes. The sudden rush pounded through his veins, followed by an ice-cold chill. He dropped the mug on the kitchen island. It toppled, and the blood spread across the granite counter.

Cerissa rushed to his side. “Henry, are you all right?”

He stumbled back, fighting the surge, the power, the desire for more.

“Y-you made it too s-strong,” he stammered, and clutched the edge of the island’s granite top. The spilled blood flowed between his fingers, invoking images he’d rather forget.

“I’m sorry,” she said, clinging to his arm.

Her scent beckoned to him. He gripped the counter harder and fought the driving desire to plunge his fangs into her. “Please, cariña, step back.”

“Henry—”

“Step back. I don’t need new sins to repent for.”

Dark Wine at Dusk [https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RY6N38W/]is book three in the Hill Vampire series. It will enhance the reader’s experience to read Dark Wine at Midnight [https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XTKJRHZ/] and Dark Wine at Sunrise [https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Wine-Sunrise-Vampire-Novel-ebook/dp/B079YF43VT/], before reading Dusk.

Jenna Barwin writes the Hill Vampire novels, which blend mystery, wine, and romantic spice into a heady (and steamy) combination.

When not writing, she enjoys underwater photography, and is known to occasionally attend a Victorian dance in full regalia right down to pantaloons and a hoop skirt.

WEB CONTACTS

If you’d like to stay up to date on her newest releases, join her VIP Readers

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Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

Website

RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

I’m sponsoring a giveaway to celebrate the launch of Dark Wine at Dusk and to thank my blog tour readers (giveaway begins 5/29/2019 and ends 6/25/2019)

The four prizes being given away are:

  • $10 Amazon.com Gift card
  • eBook copy of Dark Wine at Midnight
  • eBook copy of Dark Wine at Sunrise
  • eBook copy of Dark Wine at Dusk

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. One prize per entrant. See Giveaway page for full terms and conditions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May Book Giveaways

Announcing two giveaways where you can win FREE ebooks, print books or swag.

From today through May 21st, I’m one of the contributing authors to Lynn Winchester’s Spring into Romance giveaway. The title I’m giving away is Laced by Love, book 1 in the Entertainers of the West series.

http://aurorasbookbutterflies.com/spring-into-reading/

~*~

Having a hard time choosing what to read in 2019? While there’re so many wonderful authors and books available, it’s imperative to have a dependable and responsible place that can help you choose what to read. It’s even better when you get a chance to win free books! Every month, you can win free books from multiple authors hosted by N. N. Light’s Book Heaven. Numerous authors are offering their books in this collaborative group entitled Literary Giveaway Portal. The best part is they’re all screened and approved by N. N. Light, a top reviewer.  My giveaway prize is an ecopy of Taming A Scandal, book 8 in Dorado, Texas series and part of the Lockets and Lace series.

Literary Giveaway Portal:  https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/literary-giveaway-portal

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Release day for Hazelanne

This novella is my second title in the multi-author series titled “The Widows of Wildcat Ridge” which is set in 1884 Utah Territory.

Hazelanne Pitts dreams of more in life than the responsibilities of raising her five younger siblings to assist a sickly mother. Secretly, she corresponds with a rancher in Wildcat Ridge, Utah Territory, who wants a mail-order bride. When the money for the stagecoach ticket arrives, she sets off to be married. But a week later, a mine explosion claims the life of her new groom. Struggling to tend the ranch chores on her own, she becomes injured and doesn’t know if she can ride to town for help.

A pretty sweet-natured passenger, Hazelanne, caught stagecoach shotgun rider Brice MacAndrew’s eye when she traveled to Wildcat Ridge. Hearing she was the mail-order bride of Clay Oliphant, a known drunkard, didn’t sit well. After the mine disaster, Brice goes out to the Oliphant ranch and finds an injured Hazelanne who is on the edge of collapse. The only way he can help is to offer a marriage of convenience. Can the ranch become the haven both are looking for?

Amazon buy link at only $2.99

I have ARC copies available for those willing to post a review. Reviews posted within seven days of receipt earn the reviewer a chance at a $10 Amazon card or choice of three backlist titles. Email l.carrollbradd@gmail.com to receive a copy and mention this blog post.

Taming A Scandal is out

Blurb: Socialite Mercia Saunders got evicted due to a touchy situation–which she feels was justified because it was for the sake of her art. Now her Philadelphia landlady has shipped her belongings to the family’s Newport, Rhode Island, home. Her father is livid and demands she choose between being courted by the hand-picked sons of prominent Newport business owners or live scandal-free with her oldest brother on a Texas cattle ranch. To a young woman raised with society, the ranch sounds like boring banishment, but she refuses to let her father choose her beau.

Pinkerton Agent Dominic Prentice is on the trail of a jewelry thief when he first meets the enticing Mercia—too bad he’s wearing the disguise of a dottering Southern gentleman. Then he’s assigned the task of keeping the art student under surveillance on a west-bound train to Texas. He can’t resist a railroad flirtation as himself, and the two draw closer than Mercia’s chaperones know. His allegiance to the Pinkerton National Detective Agency is tested when Dominic is forced to decide between tracking the jewelry or wooing the maiden.

Amazon buy link only $2.99 or FREE in Kindle Unlimited

Included in the multi-author” Lockets and Lace” series, this title is also considered book 8 in my “Dorado, Texas” series.

~*~

I have ARC copies available for those willing to post a review. Reviews posted within seven days of receipt earn the reviewer a chance at a $10 Amazon card or choice of three backlist titles. Email l.carrollbradd@gmail.com to receive a copy and mention blog post.

Today’s Facebook event for launch of series

 

Today and tomorrow, ten authors with new books in the ongoing Lockets and Lace historical romance series will introduce their books. Time is 3-6PM PDT.

Grand prize is a Kindle and each author hostessing a 30-minute time slot will have individual prizes.

My time slot is today at 3:30-4:00PM PDT  where I’ll be introducing details about Taming A Scandal currently up as preorder and will release on April 5th.

Guest Release Promotion–Soul of the Storm by Jean M. Grant

BLURB

Charlotte lost the thrill of conquering mountains five years ago when her sister disappeared on a hiking adventure without her. Charlotte heads for a vacation to Vermont but she’s still plagued with guilt and questions. Matiu is an outdoorsman and works multiple jobs to save for his dream of owning an outfitter in New Zealand. He’s restless and yearns for his Maori roots. Matiu and Charlotte form a bond through their shared love of the outdoors. But can Charlotte surmount her demons to assist Matiu on a mountain rescue when a late-season snowstorm hits? Can love help her heal?

Buy links for SOUL OF THE STORM:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ GooglePlay

Pre-order for my April 17th release, WILL RISE FROM ASHES:

Amazon

EXCERPT

She went to feel her ring on her finger with her thumb…but the ring wasn’t there. That old habit would not die even years later.

A dog bark intruded. The man crossed to the back door. “Reka, sweet girl, take your nap. Only a few hours here and then home, okay?” He spoke to her like a father to a toddler. The dog barked again. “A swim and walk this morning weren’t enough for you?”

He approached the dog, petted it, and whispered affections.

Charlotte made a soundless “Aww” and kept perusing.

The man returned, nearer. Residual sweat traced his brow. He pointed to a selection of books in the middle. “These are the best. Depends on what you’re looking for. Honest reviews or glorified fantasies?”

“Honest reviews, always.”

He stroked a hand through his neck-length black hair, the longer top layer falling over his forehead. He squatted and withdrew a few books from the lower shelf. “You could go with the popular or famous names, sure, but I like these authors.” He handed her one.

A book on South America sat in her hands. She muttered, “Thanks. Don’t need that one.”

“Oh, already been there, eh? All good, all good.” He took it and shoved it back on the shelf. “Where do your dreams lie then?”

She swallowed. No, I wasn’t there in that way. I was supposed to have been there. Five years ago. Instead she said, “Well, Vermont for now.”

“You’re in luck. I’m from Willow Springs.”

Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines. When she’s not writing or chasing children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.

WEB CONTACTS

Website ~ Twitter  ~ FacebookGoodreads ~ Bookbub ~ Amazon Author PageThe Wild Rose Press

Montana Sky World Facebook event

Tomorrow several authors and award-winning series creator, Debra Holland, are hosting a Facebook party to share about their stories written in the Montana Sky world. From 10AM to 3:30PM PDT, stop by here to chat with authors, learn more details about new and upcoming stories, and enter giveaways for a chance to win books and other goodies.

Link to sign up for Facebook Party

https://www.facebook.com/events/538255676666491/