Get into Bed with B.J. Daniels (Author Interview)

bj danielsKeira: Tell us a little bit about your upcoming release, “Atonement?”

B.J. Daniels: I wanted to write about Dillon Lawson, undersheriff in my Beartooth, Montana series. I’m also fascinated by twins – especially the identical ones who have taken different paths in life. With all my heroes the hard part is finding them a woman who is equal to them. Dillon deserved a strong, capable woman as a partner. A year ago, he buried his twin who he feels he failed, so he has his own demons when Tessa Winters comes into his life. Nothing is easy for Dillon so it should come as no surprise that Tessa is pregnant – and claims it is his brother’s child.

Keira: You moved to Montana at a very young age and many of your stories take place there. How do you think living in Montana has shaped you as a person and as a writer?

B.J.: Life in Montana from the age of five has had a huge impact on me and the stories. I first lived in a cabin my father built from logs in the Gallatin Valley. My brother and I had the run of the mountains with all its rocks and trees and creeks and river as well as wildlife. We often had black bear, moose and deer in the yard. My brother and I even had pet squirrels.

Later I lived on Hebgen Lake. We didn’t have electricity or a phone, but we waterskied for hours, played in the woods and had grizzly bears on the patio. I still live in a wild isolated place three hours from the closest Target store. Today, I am pretty much snowed in as a blizzard just blew through and all the roads out of town will be icy and snowpacked. But this is what I love writing about, my experiences growing up in the state I love.

Keira: What’s your go-to snack when you’re writing?

B.J.: Coke Zero. I made a rule about eating at my computer. When you’re writing you lose track of time – and anything you might be eating.  I have a friend who had a bowl of dried bananas next to her computer. One minute it was full, the next…she realized she’d just eaten 18 bananas. That’s what I would do if I had snacks while I was writing.

Keira: Where do you do most of your writing? Do you have a certain place that inspires you the most?

B.J.: I love taking the pickup and driving out into the wilds. I have written many scenes sitting on the tailgate staring out at the country. I have an office three blocks from my house, but if I am stuck on a book – I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, so I never know what will happen next in a book — I hit the road. For some reason, the story really comes once I leave town. Where I now live there is something like .03 people per square mile so there is a lot of space to create in without seeing another soul.


Keira: You’re an avid quilter. Tell us a bit more about that creative process and how is it different from the writing process?

B.J.: Actually, it is a lot like writing. You start with nothing but a vague idea. (At least that’s the way I write – and quilt.) I often buy fabric without any clue what I am going to make with it, then I let my imagination run wild.

What I love is that a bunch of quilters can take the same fabric and yet make something so entirely different. Same with a book. Give a group of writers the same basic plot and you will get completely different books. With quilting and all the different fabrics and pattern ideas, you can get as crazy creative as you want.

Also quilters are as creative and fun as writers, so I love that.

Keira: How did you find the courage to pursue your dream of writing?

B.J.: I come from a family of storytellers. When I was a child my family camped a lot. I used to lie in the tent at night and listen to the adults sitting around the campfire telling stories. It made me want to be a writer. My father always told me I could be anything I wanted to be. I believed him. He also taught me that if I wanted something, I had to work to get it. So I went at being a writer by learning as much as I could, writing a whole lot and not giving up.

Keira: Do you have any special techniques for writing effective suspense plots?

B.J.: I love to scare myself. If I am on the edge of my seat while I am writing a scene, then I figure my readers will be too. I’m the kind of person who always looks in the back seat of my car at night to make sure there is no one back there.

Recently I was working on my next HQN and I realized I was breathing hard – and it wasn’t the love scene. I was anxious, afraid my heroine wasn’t going to get away. That is why I love writing so much. 

Keira: What is your favorite fairy tale?

B.J.: Cinderella. I think we all want to have that kind of magic in our lives – not to mention love and a handsome prince. I lucked out and got mine, but it took kissing a couple of frogs.

Cinderella is also about justice. The stepmother and stepsisters got what they deserved at the end. So that appeals to me because I write mysteries where the bad guy is going to get his.

Keira: With more than 40 short stories and 70 books published, how do you come up with new and compelling stories that capture your readers’ attention?

B.J.: It’s funny, but the ideas are always there. I’ve been fortunate that way. As I’ve mentioned, I’m a seat of the pants writer. I start with a blank page and just begin typing. I never know what is going to happen – and I love that. I couldn’t write a book that I knew the ending. I would feel as if I’d already read it. So mostly I write books that I want to read. I think that keeps me from writing the same book over and over.

Keira: Who is your fictional character crush?

B.J.: Right now it is Dillon Lawson from Atonement. He’s the kind of man we know we can depend on. You just want to curl up in his arms and ride out the winter.

I love strong men, men who would fight for their woman. Montana cowboys live by a Code of the West and Dillon is no different. There are lines he won’t cross, so he fights his growing feelings for his brother’s woman.

Keira: What are the latest trends that you are noticing in romance/romantic suspense novels these days?

B.J.: I don’t read a lot of romantic suspense because I write it. But I feel that we all take a different approach to it. Some are more romantic. Most of mine are more suspense, I think. They’re hard to write because you need a balance between the two. But I think that is what a lot of readers really like. They love suspense and romance. Kind of like chocolate and peanut butter.

Keira: What is your favorite line or phrase from “Atonement?”

B.J.: It’s the first time my hero and my pregnant heroine meet:

“Look, I’m not sure what your story is, but that baby you’re carrying? It isn’t–.”

“If you dare say it isn’t yours…” Her right hand dipped into her shoulder bag. An instant later he was staring down the barrel of a .45.

Keira: What are you working on next?

B.J.: I just finished my next HQN titled MERCY. It was the hardest book I have ever written but now that it is done, I love it. I wanted to do a different take on serial killers, so I did. I am fascinated by how two people can grow up in the same house, same genes, etc. and turn out so differently. I find it interesting also that the same horrible childhood that makes a serial killer can do just the opposite to someone else.

I also love seeing what happens to the continuing characters in the series. While each book stands alone, I like some characters who I can check back in with and see how their lives are going.

Buy: Atonement

Review: Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy? by Abigail Sharpe

who wants to marry a cowboy?Hero: Riley Pommer takes care of his family and is glad to do it. He strives to keep them together and keep the peace, but it’s hard not to blow a gasket when he finds out they’ve roped him into a “Bachelor” style event hosted on the ranch with him as the prize steer. He goes through with the event because otherwise they might have to foreclose on the ranch. He can’t imagine what sorts of women he might end up meeting in this dating competition…

Heroine: Ainsley Fairfax loves being a small business owner of a florist shop. What she doesn’t love is her mother’s constant interference into her love life. She also doesn’t love her ex… a man her mother wants her to marry. So when her sister offers to get her out of a cruise with Edward and send her instead to a Wyoming ranch with the lure of a hunky cowboy, Ainsley gladly boards a flight out west.

Review: Ainsley and Cecelia have relationship issues with their overbearing mother, Sophia. Ainsley is their mother’s last hope of securing a good marriage for the family. Cecelia is the wild child and constant disappointment. Edward lets others dictate what his life should be like and with whom he should spend his life. It’s easier than thinking things out for himself. It’s hard to sympathize with a bunch of adults letting the same person tell them all what to do. Riley was a good sport about the whole dramatized dating scenario his siblings cooked up for him. He and Ainsley had good chemistry. I felt the dating competition added just the right amount of back-and-forth-is-he-is-she. It’d be tough to figure out your feelings in such a short span of time, and more so with a bunch of other women trying to snag the same cowboy. I very much liked Meagan. She was an excellent side character and her romance was subtle and mostly background.

[Rating:3]

Buy: Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy? (With This Ring)

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Car Geeks Unite!

TexasTango72webGuest blog by Cynthia D’Alba, author of Texas Tango (Texas Montgomery Mavericks)

Hi All! Cynthia D’Alba here. Thanks so much to the Love Romance Passion gang for having me here today to celebrate the release of the second book in the Texas Montgomery Mavericks series, Texas Tango. I read through what other guest bloggers have written about and wow! Lots of great, insightful posts. Um, then you come to me. I want to talk about cars!

I love cars. I’ve always been a car geek. At my tenth high school reunion, I took my current steady at the time (now my husband.) My college roommate asked him what kind of car he drove. He said, “Corvette.” My roommate (who’d been my friend since seventh grade) started laughing and said, “I knew it! When Cyndi would come in from dates, I’d hear more about the car the guy drove than the guy himself.”

What can I say? I’ve always had a thing for cars. Some people “get” it. Some don’t but then, I don’t get the thing for “kick-ass” shoes. I’m all about comfort when it comes to my feet. J

In Texas Tango, a car actually plays a role. It’s a 1964 white Rolls Royce convertible. It would look something like this…

RollsRoyce Silver Cloud Convertible

Tell me that doesn’t make your mouth water!

Texas Tango is the story of Travis Montgomery, a widower with an interest in expanding his ranch but not another relationship. Caroline Graham is a temporary doctor at the end of her contract with one foot out the door, until a 1964 Rolls Royce bearing a surprise ends up on her doorstep. So how does Caroline feel about her “new” car? I’ll let her show you. From Texas Tango….


Travis held out his hand to Caroline. Caroline stared at it.

“What?” she asked.

“The keys to the Rolls.”

She blew out a short breath. “No way, bucko.”

“Caroline…” Travis was surprised by her response. Hell. He’d been looking forward to driving that car all day.

“I’ve got to warn you, bro,” Noah said. “She don’t let nobody drive the Shadow.”

“Doesn’t let anyone,” Caroline corrected. “She doesn’t let anyone drive the Shadow.”

“Right,” Noah said. “That’s what I said.”

“But, honey—”

“Waste of breath, Travis. Ain’t gonna happen,” Caroline said. She kissed his cheek. “Enjoy being a kept man tonight, honey, because you are not driving my car.”

Travis scowled. “I ought to make us take my truck.”

Want to read more? Click here for the opening of Chapter One.

Curious about Texas Tango? Here’s a blurb to tell you more….

Texas Montgomery Mavericks, Book 2

Dr. Caroline Graham is happy with her nomadic lifestyle fulfilling short-term medical contracts. No emotional commitments, no disappointments. She’s always the one to walk away, never the one left behind. But now her great-uncle is gone and her grandmother is on her deathbed, more concerned about Caroline’s lack of a husband than her own demise. What’s the harm in a little white lie? If a wedding will give her grandmother peace, then a wedding she shall have.

Travis Montgomery has one dream left—to build the ranch he and his wife planned before he lost her to cancer. There’s just one thing standing between him and the last bit of acreage he needs—a last living heir who has one traveling foot out the door…and an unusual request that challenges his determination to never again place his heart at risk. The land he wants in exchange for a faux marriage. Everyone wins. Until things start to snowball…and the hearts they stand to lose are their own.

Warning: This book contains a tortured widower who doesn’t want a wife and an independent doctor who doesn’t want a husband. Hot stuff between the sheets and failed efforts to avoid emotional involvements.

Buy: Texas Tango (Texas Montgomery Mavericks)

First time you’ve run across Cynthia D’Alba? Want to know more about me? I was born and raised in a small Arkansas town. After being gone for a number of years, I’m thrilled to be making my home back in Arkansas living in a vine-covered cottage on the banks of an eight-thousand acre lake. I started writing on a challenge from my husband in 2006 and discovered having imaginary sex with lots of hunky men was fun.

D'Alba RT BooksigningMy first book, Texas Two Step, released in 2012 to outstanding reviews, was a Samhain Publishing best seller. The second book in the Texas Montgomery Mavericks series, Texas Tango, released November 5, 2013, again from Samhain Publishing. In February, 2014, Texas Fandango, a Novella in the Texas Montgomery Series will be released by Samhain Publishing. I am currently at work on book 3 of the Texas Montgomery Mavericks series (Texas Twist).

I love love love to hear from readers and there are lots of ways to find me. Online, you can find me most days at my website or my group blog.

Follow me at Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Goodreads or Pinterest.
or email me at cynthia@cynthiadalba.com

To send me snail mail, write to: Cynthia D’Alba   PO Box 2116   Hot Springs, AR 71914

Now for the fun stuff! 🙂

I want to know your DREAM car! You have no financial limit. What car do you go buy?

In the spirit of Christmas sneaking up on us, I’ll pick among the comments for someone to take home a western-themed ornament. Here’s just a sample…

Christmas Ornaments

Plus, I doing a jewelry-themed For my TEXAS TANGO Jewelry-Themed Rafflecopter Giveaway. Be sure and look for the Rafflecopter widget at the end of the post. Also check out my personal blog for other places you can enter! Here’s the loot you can win…

Prizes

AND I have swag for the asking! But when it’s gone, it’s gone. Pens, jar openers, postcards, bookmarks, trading cards…just go by my contact page and send me a note.

Tour Freebies

Thanks for coming by! Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win one of the Christmas ornaments!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Buy: Texas Tango (Texas Montgomery Mavericks)

Review: Big Sky Wedding (Parable, Montana, Book 5) by Linda Lael Miller

big sky weddingReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Zane Sutton has come home to his ranch. And it’s not long after that he meets Brylee Parrish. I’m impressed with Brylee she’s a self-starter businesswoman. And she’s not impressed with Zane. This is one thing that held my attention – make the man work at catching the female’s interest.

You can almost sense that this is a story about family and all the different kinds of family that there are. As you read, you may even be able to relate to a few. But it also had me wanting to get on a plane and go check out Parable, Montana. Now that Fall is in the air, this would be a perfect time to get away. We have a local fair going on – I’ll have to go over and check out the cowboy boots and hats.

Having realized that this was the fifth book in the series, I was glad that this book could be read as a stand-alone (since I haven’t read the other four books). But if you loved this book as much as I did, you may just want to go back and read the others. If you don’t want to add them to your personal library, remember that you can go visit your public library to see what they have available.

Linda knows how to lasso the reader and not let go until the story is over. There are certain books that I feel are better to read in their original form (paperback) instead of e-book and this fits in that category. You can always tell when a paperback is well loved – an e-book, not so much. Got to love a bookshelf showing off some well-loved books. If you’re a fan of Linda’s than this is a series that you will most certainly want to follow. Yeehaw!

[Rating:4.5]

Buy: Big Sky Wedding

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Dogs and Horses

CounterfeitCowboyGuest blog by Gail MacMillan, author of Counterfeit Cowboy

I’m a world class dog and horse fancier. Since my earliest memories I’ve loved and admired these animals. Therefore, it’s no surprise that both frequently appear in my stories and romance novels. In fact, my fascination with horses led me to follow a lifelong dream I’d never been able to previously achieve.

At the venerable age of fifty, I began to take riding lessons. No, there’s no amazing story to follow. I didn’t go on to compete in the Olympics. In fact, I barely managed to learn to stay in the saddle at a modest lope on a mare that definitely had to be at the top of her class in gentleness and patience. But it did plant the seed of an idea for a story, one I’d later entitle, “Counterfeit Cowboy.”

Then other forces came into play to push the plot further. In the course of writing dog stories, I met via e-mails an amazing British Columbia rancher. Both of us having intense interest in dogs and horses, we became long distance friends. (I live on the east coast of Canada, she lives on the west.) When one especially beautiful little filly was borne on her ranch, she allowed me to name her. I chose to call her Fancy and through e-mails and photos, Fancy became a special part of my life. With her silver mane and tail and charcoal body, Fancy was breathtaking beauty on the hoof as she ran wild and free in the mountains of northern British Columbia. One day when she was mature, she’d come back to the ranch buildings where she’d been borne and begin her life under saddle and bridle but until then she was a free spirit.

Fancy had only just passed her second birthday when a horrific ranch accident claimed her life. I was devastated. Beautiful Fancy would never again race through the mountains with her herd. She’d never grow up to belong to my friend’s granddaughter and win at gymkhanas. Her memory had to be honored.

Fancy’s death caused that seed of an idea of writing a romance set on the horse farm where I’d taken riding lessons to begin to germinate and sprout. My long-suffering instructor became its heroine who had to teach a country music star who couldn’t ride a carousel to handle a horse within a six week time frame for his movie debut as a cowboy. A fictional Fancy would play the starring role of most beautiful mare on the farm.

Although she’s no longer with us in body, her spirit gallops gracefully through the pages of “Counterfeit Cowboy” and (I hope) into the hearts of readers. This book is my tribute to her.

Buy: Counterfeit Cowboy