Popular Posts

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Today, I have the pleasure of Andrea Downing as she discusses her truly wonderful love story LOVELAND! 
Thanks so much for being here today, Andi. Your novel sounds terrific and I can't wait to read it!

What did you see, hear or dream that inspired your book?
First of all, Lisa, thanks so much for having me here today.  It’s greatly appreciated.  I guess the answer to your question is that I saw the book—and read it of course—Fortune’s Daughters by Elizabeth Kehoe, which discusses in part the marriage of Clara Jerome, aunt to Winston Churchill—to Morton Frewen.  Frewen was one of the English aristocratic adventurers who ran a cattle company on the Powder River in WY.  This led me to discover that the British aristocracy was greatly involved in the development of the cattle industry out west. Meantime, I had just returned from England to live in NYC, but always had a great love for the west where my family had often vacationed.  So things sort of went from there.

Wow! Sounds like you have lived in some interesting places and have a love of history.

          Which one of your main characters came across strongest to you?

Lady Alex!  As an aristocrat, her role models have been men who are used to having things their own way.  She is craving her independence from this world of men but at the same time emulating them, and she sets out to do just that.  In the 1880s it took a helluva lot of gumption for a woman to make her own life.

Indeed! In many ways, it still does.

          How long did it take you to fall in love with your Hero?

Ohhhh, you know:  half a second! LOL.  I think for Loveland I had to create a man I could love, otherwise I think it wouldn’t have come across as truthful that Lady Alex was willing to give up her independence for this man--Jesse.  I haven’t found a reader yet who doesn’t love Jesse! 

I think it’s a unique ability for authors to be the first to fall in love with characters that, for everyone else, doesn’t yet exist, then our hearts melt all over again when our readers fall in love with them, too.

Did you borrow certain traits for your characters from someone you know personally?  Which ones?

I’m always surprised when someone asks me this; maybe I’m na├»ve but I think we create characters to fit the story we’re telling and if they happen to have a trait similar to someone we know, well, I’d call it coincidence.  Of course, I guess the converse could be true, that an author sees something in someone they know that fits the profile of the character for the story and they use it.  For me, the only things I may have stolen are habits or mannerisms:  the way a girl flicks her hair back, the way someone picks at their nails or jiggles coins in their pocket.  That sort of thing.  But for Loveland, I created a lot of people I would want to know and have around me:  Jesse is pretty much my ideal man, Cal is the friend I would love to have, Tom is the avuncular older man I’d like to be able to go to.

Is this book a single category or can we expect to see more of your characters in a series?

It’s single category for now, though I’d like to perhaps one day write Cal’s story since I know exactly what happens to him.  And the thought has also crossed my mind that Loveland could have gone on for another couple of hundred pages at least, since I know the end of Alex and Jesse’s story as well.

I always wanted to be just a category writer, but I fall in love with my secondary characters and, like you, know what happens to them. Therefore, I usually have a tendency to go ahead and write that second, third or fourth book.

What is your most difficult “no-no” when you write? (Show vs. tell, dialogue, plot problems, passive voice, etc.)

Dialogue comes to me fairly rapidly and easily but I do have a problem with plotting at times.  I always know the beginning and the ending of a book but getting from one to the other can present problems.  And I’m a pantser so nothing is really plotted out.  I just start writing and hope for the best!

I’m also a pantser, and from most authors I’ve spoken with, this is true of them also. However, I’m learning the plotting part of the process so I don’t write myself into corners and have to backtrack.

When you take a break from writing, what do you do to allow your brain time to regroup?

I try to take exercise, go to the gym or do something that requires standing and moving.  It seems to be on the news almost every night and in every magazine I pick up these days as to just how bad sitting for long periods is for your health.  Since I suffer with AFib, it’s particularly important to me to keep the blood flowing…and make sure it gets to the brain cells!

I’m sorry about your condition, but so glad that you’re on top of it. I hate exercise and with nerve damage in my left leg, have trouble with much of it. I do try to walk and take the stairs whenever I can. Besides, if the blood stops flowing with all that wonderful oxygen, we get sidetracked in our writing anyway.
        In one sentence, tell us what your book is about.

Loveland is about one woman’s battle to become the person she wants to be and marry the man she loves.

        What is your one “guilty” pleasure? 

            Oh, Lisa—I don’t feel guilty about anything that gives me
            pleasure! Thanks again for having me here. Much 
           appreciated! J


    When Lady Alexandra Calthorpe returns to the Loveland, Colorado, ranch owned by her father, the Duke, she has little idea of how the experience will alter her future. Headstrong and willful, Alex tries to overcome a disastrous marriage in England and be free of the strictures of Victorian society --and become independent of men.
    That is, until Jesse Makepeace saunters back into her life...
Hot-tempered and hot-blooded cowpuncher Jesse Makepeace can’t seem to accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him. Fighting rustlers proves a whole lot easier than fighting Alex when he’s got to keep more than his temper under control.
    Arguments abound as Alex pursues her career as an artist and Jesse faces the prejudice of the English social order. The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?

     As the round-up wound down, the Reps took their stock back to their outfits,
and soon the men were back at headquarters or at the camps. Alex knew
word had more or less got out and found the punchers were gentler now
around her, had a sort of quiet respect for her, and she hated it. She tried to
bully them a bit to show them she was still the same girl, jolly them into
joshing with her as they had before. It was slow work. At the same time,
she yearned to see Jesse, to speak with him, to try to get life back  to the way
it was before the argument at the corral, and before he saw the scars. The
opportunity didn’t present itself. She would see him from a distance some days,
riding with the herd, sitting his horse with that peculiar grace he had, throwing
his lariat out with an ease that reminded her of people on a dock waving their
hankies in farewell.
     Hoping to just be near him, she slid into one of the corrals one evening
to practice her roping. The light was failing and the birds were settling with
their evening calls. Somewhere in the pasture a horse nickered. She sensed Jesse
was there, watching, but she never turned as he stood at the fence. She heard him
climb over and ease up behind her. He took the coiled rope from her in his left
hand and slid his right hand over hers on the swing end, almost forcing her backward
into his arms. She thought of paintings and statues she had seen, imagining his naked
arms now, how the muscles would form them into long oblique curves, how he
probably had soft downy fair hair on his forearms, how his muscle would
slightly bulge as he bent his arm. His voice was soft in her ear, and she
could feel his breath on her neck like a whispered secret.
     “Gentle-like, right to left, right to left to widen the noose, keep your eye on
the post—are you watchin’ where we’re goin’?” He made the throw and pulled
in the rope to tighten the noose. Alex stood there, his hand still entwined with
hers and, for a moment, she wished they could stand like that forever. Then
she took her hand away and faced him. For a second he rested his chin on the top
of her head, then straightened again and went to get the noose off the post while
coiling in the rope.
     She looked up at him in the fading light and saw nothing
but kindness in his face, simplicity and gentleness that was most inviting. A
smile spread across her face as he handed her the coiled rope and sauntered
away, turning once to look back at her before he opened the gate. Emptiness
filled her like a poisoned vapor seeking every corner of her being, and she
stood with the rope in her hand listening to the ring of his spurs as his footsteps



Twitter:  @andidowning

Thursday, May 9, 2013


 Today, I have the very great pleasure of welcoming Author Lilly Gayle on my blog. She talks with me about her book EMBRACE THE DARKNESS and what inspired her to write it. 

What did you see, hear or dream that inspired your book? 
Embrace the Darkness is the sequel to Out of the Darkness.  I got the idea for Out of the Darkness after I read Dean Koontz's Fear Nothing, the first book in his Moonlight Bay trilogy. The main character in the series has XP--exeroderma pigmentosum. I was fascinated by the idea of a "real" disease that prevented the sufferer from venturing out in daylight without risking severe burns and skin cancers. I read all three books in the series and began researching the disease while contemplating ideas for a vampire book. Around the same time, I saw a re-run of the old Jean-Claude Van Dam movie, Universal Soldier. And by 2005, I had completed my first draft of Out of the Darkness. It sold In 2010 and readers kept asking when Gerard, (a secondary character in OTD), would get his own story. And three years later, Embrace the Darkness was published. So, I guess that means my production time between books is getting shorter. Lol!

It sounds like you spent a lot of time working out the details and story lines for both books and they sound terrific.

Which one of your main characters came across strongest to you?

I guess most people would expect me to say Gerard, since he's a vampire, but I think Amber came across as the strongest. She's a former army MP turned detective and she has attitude. While trying to solve a murder, she learns vampires are real. She's fighting an attraction for Gerard because she sees him as not just a possible threat to mortals, but as a conflict of interest. She's also struggling with PTSD and a dark past she'd rather forget. But she's determined to stay focused, solve the case, and get on with her life—she's just not prepared for Gerard to be a part of that life.

There’s such a great love for vampires and the abilities they all have, especially the sensual natures that tend to ooze from most. Your heroine sounds like a real head case, but that she manages to keep herself from falling apart by sheer strength of will and determination would make anyone identify and fall in love with her.

How long did it take you to fall in love with your Hero/Heroine?

I fell in love with Gerard in book one. It took a while to fall in love with Amber. Originally, she wasn't supposed to be Gerard's love interest. She was just a secondary character. But along about chapter 10, I realized the book wasn't working the way I was writing it. So, I made Amber the heroine and things just seemed to click.

Did you borrow certain traits for your characters from someone
you know personally? 

I don't write people I know. But many of my characters have traits (both good and bad) from people I know in real life and from characters on television or in the movies.

Which ones?    Can't think of anyone off hand—not that I'd admit to. Lol!

You’re the first author I’ve interviewed who will admit to using traits they’ve seen in people they either know or have seen on television or movies. Me, I tend to use a few character traits from strong people who have helped me during dark times of my life.

Is this book a single category or can we expect to see more of your
characters in a series?

EMBRACE THE DARKNESS is the second book in the Darkness Series. I have at least two more books planned, but I just don't have as much time to write as I need.

I know the problem concerning time. Not enough hours in a day or days in a week.

What is your most difficult “no-no” when you write? (Show vs. tell, dialogue, plot problems, passive voice, etc.)

Writing a sympathetic heroine. Sometimes, they come off bitchier or tougher than I intend. I don't have that problem with my heroes. I guess because I have to make myself think like a man. For every action or word spoken, I ask myself, "Would a man say that?"  or "Would a man do that?" When writing in my heroine's POV, I don't think about it as much. It comes more natural, so I often subconsciously assume the motivations are as obvious to the reader as they are to me. My critique partners keep me on track, though….most of the time. Lol!

Oh yeah, thank God for critique partners!

When you take a break from writing, what do you do to allow your brain
time to regroup?

Watch television, read, go to the beach with my husband, get outside, or have a glass of wine or dark, German beer.

Relaxing in any way possible is a necessary part of any writer’s life. We’re already thought to be crazy. LOL!

Would you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser? 

Both. Once I get an idea for a story, I start making notes, delving into my characters backstory, learning their goals and finding out what motivates them. Then I usually write a story outline and I start writing. But it never fails. Somewhere around Chapter 10, my characters take on lives of their own, taking the story in directions I never anticipated. Rather than making them toe the line, I go with it. Sometimes, it's a good thing. Other times, it leads to massive rewrites and plot adjustments.

I’m a diehard pantser, but I think I’m going to have to try and outline some things in order to keep from letting my characters have complete rein over their stories. After all, I want to keep getting my books out there.

In one sentence, tell us what your book is about.

To find their way into the light, Amber and Gerard must first EMBRACE THE DARKNESS.

Excellent one liner. It’s enough to make me want to read it.

What is your one “guilty” pleasure?

Wine and dark German beer. Oh, and cheese cake. Guess that's more than one.
We’re allowed more than one! Why not? It’s healthy to keep our imaginations well fed.


An experimental vaccine gives vampire Gerard Delaroache hope for the first time in two centuries--until two people are brutally murdered, and he suspects a conspiracy between vampires and mortals. To solve the crime, he must put his trust in a beautiful detective. But, is former soldier and MP turned detective, Amber Buckley, a threat to his existence? Or the answer to his prayers?

Amber Buckley and her partner are assigned to do follow up interviews in the Lifeblood of America slayings. Amber believes she and Reid are just new eyes on a cold case.  That is until she meets Gerard Delaroache. Something about him teases long-buried memories Amber would rather not chase. However, the two join together, falling into more than resolution of a murder case. It seems Amber has some dark secrets of her own.

To find their way into the light, Amber and Gerard must first EMBRACE THE DARKNESS


He rolled his eyes and huffed. “Stop pretending ignorance. You know what I am.”
“A vampire. Really?” She wanted to scoff, but a chill shivered over her skin. He wasn’t dead. And she’d shot him.
Maybe he was wearing Kevlar. But wouldn’t Kevlar show through that tight-fitting shirt?

Perhaps not. Still, there had to be a logical explanation.
Ignoring the warning bells clanging inside her skull, she shoved the Glock back in its holster and reached for the beer she’d deposited on the counter. She took another long, hard pull on the bottle, hoping to douse irrational thoughts.
Gerard inhaled sharply. His eyes devoured her.
Despite renewed fear, she managed to set the bottle back on the counter without dropping it.
He’s not a vampire. He’s not a vampire. He’s not a vampire.

“I’d give anything to drink beer again,” he said in a reverent voice.
Amber nearly laughed aloud. Her shoulders sagged. Gerard Delaroche wasn’t a vampire, and he didn’t want to drink her blood. He wanted a beer. Like a normal guy.
Hell, he probably was normal. She was the one off her rocker.

“Want one?” She forced herself to meet his intense stare.

He smiled. “Can’t. Vampire. Remember?”
Like that was something a girl could forget. It wasn’t every day a hot guy claimed to be a vampire.
Hell, maybe he was a vampire. The man could stop bullets with his chest.
He took a hesitant step closer. She stiffened and took another cautious swallow of beer. He stopped three feet away. Good. Sexy and crazy was a dangerous combination.


Lilly Gayle is a wife, mother of two grown daughters, and a breast cancer survivor. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and little dog, Teetee. Lilly works full time as an X-ray Technologist and Mammographer. In her spare time, she writes paranormal and historical romances.

You can find Lilly at: