Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Nanowrimo 2014

Plumb Twisted is the second in the Fortuna, Texas Series. I wrote book 1 The Double D for www.Nanowrimo.org 2013. Both books are stand alone contemporary western romances.

I started Plumb Twisted in April and currently have about one third of the novel written. I'm looking forward to getting the story out of my head and into my computer. The romance is set in the small town of Fortuna where everyone knows everything and the men can't get enough romance novels to read.

Q: What happens when you mix a gun toting, action and adventure loving, plumber's daughter with a town saturated with romance?

A: A fast flowing escapade where even the clogs won't stop the reader from circling the drain wanting more, especially when you throw in a perverted town prankster, a horny old lady and sexy cowboy addicted to romance novels.

Piper McCracken's father suddenly dies prompting her to make a bold change from life in the Windy City to the Double D Ranch in Fortuna, Texas. Hired by Jessie Barnes to be secretary she becomes much more: personal assistant, friend and... intimate apparel model?

Tall, sexy, cowboy Cole Dart works at the Big Deal Ranch, next to the Double D, and doesn't know what to make of the strong-willed Chicago native who wins bar fights against men, sings like an angel or is a woman who would rather be riding a horse instead of going shopping or doing her nails like other ladies.

When Piper's stalker ex-fiancé comes to town and a tornado strikes Cole sees a fragile side of her that kicks his protective instinct into high gear. An unlikely friendship between Piper and Cole leads to more when the romantic juices start flowing in this Fortuna, Texas love story.


          They arrived at Stitts' truck stop. Piper’s quizzical face glanced around the room at the people, taking it all in. Cole tried not to stare at the girl but it proved hard not to watch her first encounter with a Texas truck stop.

“There are three men reading romance novels,” she said in awe.

The place was packed, mostly with men but there were a few women and children. She was right. “I’m surprised it’s not more.”

“Really?” said the shocked woman.

“See that bookshelf? It’s a major exchange center for the book trade.”

“Book trade?”

“You’ll have to ask Miss Jessie about how it started,” he began to explain.

A man came in and placed two books on the shelf then ran his finger down the spines in the line and pulled out another. He stood there reading the back and must have liked it. He picked out two more then left.

“Did you see that man?” She nodded. “He’s a farmer. Owns a couple hundred acres, a modest spread and loves romances.”

“Ah, romance books. This is what you were referring too?” Her cheeks pinked up.

“Yes,” he cleared his throat which suddenly went dry. “It started with a personal challenge to one man, a dare, he didn’t back down from it. He liked the book and dared others to read it too then it spread like wild fire on dry prairie grass.”

They ordered and sipped rich dark coffee. “This is good coffee.” She cupped the ceramic mug like it was ambrosia. He leaned back and relaxed, happy to have pleased her.

“So who dared you?” She asked him.

He nearly spit out the coffee he drank.

“I mean why do you read them?” Somehow she knew he liked to read.

“I like the stories.”

“You mean you like the sex.” She grinned calling him out. Sure, he was a man and liked the steamy sex scenes but that wasn’t the whole reason he read them.

“I like happy endings,” he offered with a shrug. She raised a skeptical brow. “Okay, I like the love scenes but only because of the love.” His face felt hot.


The food arrived and they ate in silence with the exception of an occasional comment about the taste of the food. After she pushed an empty plate away she asked, “Are all cowboys like you?”

Uh oh. “Like, how?”

“You know, crunchy on the outside, gooey on the inside?”

He started laughing. “Most likely,” he answered as another man took more books.

“I don’t like romance novels,” she admitted in a quiet voice. Before he could ask she started to explain. “The heroines are usually too soft. I don’t like to read about weak women. Plus those men are always perfect looking, acting and rich. You can’t find your soul-mate in a romance book.”

“But you might find personality traits you like,” he offered. She shrugged not buying it. “I don’t see the women as weak only flawed with obstacles to overcome. That’s more realistic.”

“That’s true. Everyone has flaws.”

“What’s yours?” he asked with a smirk.

“Liking the wrong kind of men,” she muttered.

“That’s a cop out answer.” He unfairly asked so he offered her his shortcoming. It was only fair. “I’m self-conscious about my looks.”

She inspected him critically. “Most people are.”

“It keeps me from talking and interacting with people. I get nervous and won’t go places if there’s a crowd.” He leaned closer and said the words quietly. It was years since the operation and therapy but it still affected him.

“You’re fine, Cole. You’re more than fine. Look, you’re talking to me and I’m a stranger and a woman.”

He nodded. “Normally, I’d be a basket case of nerves.”

“Looks are all personal taste. Someone might think you’re ugly and someone might think your the sexiest man alive. The thing you have to ask yourself is: does their opinion matter to me?” She smiled sweetly.

“What’s your opinion?” he needed to know.

“Does it matter to you what I think?”

“Yes. It matters greatly.” He replied and it was true but he didn’t want to ask himself why. The smile that lit her face made his heart shift into second gear.

“Well, Cole, I like the crunchy-gooey combo. It’s very appealing.” Her cheeks blushed and long eyelashes hid her eyes as she looked at the table. “I find you,” she paused and hoped to find the right word.

“Pretty, right?” said a short old woman as she slid into booth next to Cole and pinched his cheek. “This one’s a hot tamale.”

“Hello, My heart’s Desire,” welcomed the embarrassed man. “This is Piper McCracken. Piper this is Desire Hardmann.”

“Hello, young lady.” She took Piper’s hand and held it. With a wink she yelled to a man with a white apron, “Hey, Hugh Stitts! Come over her and meet Cole Dart’s Russian mail order bride.”

Monday, September 22, 2014

The New Bio

I've got a new bio on the side of the blog. What do you think? Is it me or what?                                     

I ran out of room but wanted to add:
Rochelle has visited 48 of the 50 states and has family in TX, WY and AZ. She loves the west, especially the mountains, and plans to live there one day when she grows up.
That's me in a nutshell.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Romance Virginity

The last weekend in April I experienced something new in my writing career. I ventured northwest to Chicago. That in and of itself was something new but it wasn't the only thing. I attended a romance conference. Clarification: A Romance Writers Conference. The Chicago-North Chapter of Romance Writers of America sponsored the Spring Fling 2014.The sessions and speakers were great. Here are some things I learned:

  1. You never know who will be there. There were some well known names like Lauren Dane, Mary Balogh & Kristen Higgins. I met wonderful people both published and unpublished and I actually bumped into a high school friend (small world).
  2. Take advantage of other peoples fears. Yeah, that's right. When they chicken out of pitch sessions jump in and go for it. It might be the only chance you get to 'pimp' your work.
  3. Make memories. I greeted an agent with "Hi, I'm a romance conference and pitching virgin." "I'll be gentle," she replied. She was and then requested to see more of my book.
  4. Never lock your keys in the car trunk (especially while out of state).  If you do make sure your phone isn't with said keys. Yes, this happened to me. Luckily my car is newer and there an phone app to unlock it. However, with my phone also in the trunk this proved difficult. Ack! So my husband in Ohio opened the locks in Illinois. He wasn't annoyed because it proved to be a handy trick. Phew.
  5. Laugh. My favorite speaker was one from the Chicago-North RWA branch because she spontaneously started a pun roll. It all started with the mention of BDSM (Google it) and getting to the 'bottom' of it. After the laugher died down she went back to 'the top'. There were others and I thought I might pee my pants I was laughing so hard.
  6. The Little Mermaid will never be the same. A comedian there retold Ariel's story once she had legs and noticed her new parts... "Look at this stuff
    Isn't it neat?
    Wouldn't you think my collection's complete?
    Wouldn't you think I'm the girl
    The girl who has ev'rything?
    Look at this trove
    Treasures untold
    How many wonders can one cavern hold?
    Lookin' around here you'd think
    (Sure) she's got everything"                Oh, man, it will never be the same.
  7. Tighten up that writing. Turn "Lindsey's heart fluttered and she ached with desire; it overcame her making her faint" into either "Lindsey was horny" or "Lindsey was hungry." (Was she looking at a cheeseburger or a man?)
  8. Find your voice. Um, hello? (mine's slightly sarcastic...no really.)
  9. Free books are awesome. Especially romance books. The heck with cookbooks.
  10. Burnt chicken (with funky mayonnaise topping) is better than uncooked chicken. Don't be friends with Sam and Ella. 
  11. Finding a man waiting in bed for you after three nights away is always a plus. I had a choice to make: To sleep or not to sleep. Coming from a conference with all things romance and knowing what sane man would say no... My sleep was postponed some.
I learned  and laughed a lot. It was an experience I will treasure and wouldn't mind repeating. My romance writers conference virginity has been taken.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fun with the Girls

This week I had my first mammogram. It was an experience I was putting off as long as I could.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It was like going to a spa with a plush warm robe and relaxing music until the unnaturally squashing of things that like gentle caresses and the awkward way you contort your face and stomach presses against a cold machine or the handle naturally held with a death grip then there is the stranger manipulating your boob so it can say "Cheese". Besides all that, it was cake.

The waiting area was busy. There were kids, a man and an old lady waiting for some unfortunate soul. "Hey, Grandma, you want to get mammograms the same day?" No thanks. And what's up with bringing the kids or husband? How do you explain that one: "Don't worry, Johnny, Mommy is just having her fun bags squished and photographed by the doctor."

The receptionist called my name and I went to fill out the paper work. Not a clip board fill-in-the-blank paper to work on in the waiting room but I got my own latrine sized room with a door for privacy. Fancy. Not quite sure why the privacy, seeing that everyone unfortunate enough to venture to the second floor suite was there to get their boobies manhandled.

If I was a cat I'd be dead by now because my curiosity would get the better of me. Have you ever been curious to see what the doctors see? As soon as boob number one had the picture snapped with its acting debut I asked, "Can I  see?" The technician graciously acquiesced.

What a strange sight to see inside the body.  The semi-circle in shades of gray reminded me of a solar flare. Boy, I am hot. The next step was to switch sides and boobs. "Don't be shy, girl. It's  your turn to shine. Blind us with your solar flare brightness. Now that's star quality!"

They have a separate exit that doesn't lead through the waiting room. Are they afraid someone is going to run through and scare potential victims, I mean, clients?  "That machine froze my nipple off! I can't feel my mammaries!" If I had the opportunity, I would skip through because I'd be as happy as a hippie at bra burning: "I'm free!"

All awkwardness aside it was a quick visit. The staff was pleasant. Hey, they get to work with a bunch boobs all day. I was in and out in less than a half hour. In fact, I exited to the hallway where I stood for the moment and thought "WTH. Did that just happen?" Totally surreal.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The FortunaTexas Series

This past October, the weekend before November, I had a dream. In this dream I saw a ranch with a young female owner. She didn't trust men. This dream quickly evolved into a story and on November 1st I wrote about Jessie Davidson and the Double D ranch.

You see, November is National Novel Writing Month and instead of going ahead with the storyline I plotted and researched for months I went with something fresh and new. It's a funny story. Halfway through one of my favorite characters came into existence: Desire Hardman. Desire is an ornery old woman, Jessie's grandmother's best friend, owner of the Tease Me Salon & More and an ex-stripper. She emboldens Jessie, helps her start another business and encourages her to find love. I went back to the beginning and added her from the start.

I am attending a writing conference in April and hope to have the opportunity to pitch the Double D. If they like it there are two more in the series milling around in my mind. I was planning on finishing a novel I started last April for Campnano but now the characters (and they are characters) of Fortuna Texas are calling me. Even though only two new stories have revealed themselves the possibilities are endless.

After April I may blog that I had a dream and it derailed the second in the Fortuna Texas series or I might have a great start to a new book or I might finish an old one. Who knows? Bring it, April, let's do this thing!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Writing Bug

I've been bitten by the writing bug. Boy, does it itch and distract me from doing other things. All I think about is this story, characters and plot. The Chronicles of Eventide is an epic fantasy with a strong, yet flawed, heroine and November of 2010 I wrote the first in the series. I started on the second shortly after but set it aside to work on In Triplicate. The Chronicles of Eventide is whispering to me. Scratch that. It's yelling: Come on! Finish me!

It will be a daunting task. Creating a whole new world, including the politics, religions, legends and cultures is challenging and complicated. It's like weaving or quilting an intricate piece of art but using only words.

Yet it's calling me. I am anxious to start. I've been bitten and the only cure is to write.

Click The Chronicles of Eventide link and learn more about the epic journey of personal discovery Len'nora Baristiran must take. Follow the Authonomy link to read the first 5 chapters.