Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Charlie's Pie by @LiviaJWashburn in WISHING FOR A COWBOY

Charlie's Pie
by Livia J. Washburn
a short story in
Wishing for a Cowboy
Prairie Rose Publications

RTW is pleased to host the authors of Wishing for a Cowboy, the debut offering of Prairie Rose Publications.  It's available in ebook at Amazon and Smashwords, and in print at Amazon.

My special guest today is Livia J. Washburn, who's been writing award-winning, critically acclaimed western, romance, mystery, and historical novels for over thirty years. She's secretary and publisher at Western Fictioneers and co-owner of Prairie Rose Publications.

Livia's story in Wishing for a Cowboy is Charlie's Pie  Lauralee Brannam just wants to bake her son's favorite pie for his birthday, which happens to fall on Christmas Eve. But then a wounded stranger shows up on her Texas ranch, and his fateful visit leads to violence, tragedy, and redemption in this stirring Western tale.

RTW: How did Lauralee and Burke come to you?  Were they fully formed, or were they stubborn about telling you their stories?

Livia J. Washburn
Livia: They came to me almost fully formed. Both have secrets, or at least things about them that aren't immediately apparent, but I knew what those things were before I started the story. Because of the length, there isn't room for a great deal of history about either of them, but I was able to get in the important things, I think. Sometimes when I start a story I don't know that much about the characters and even less about what's going to happen, but that wasn't the case here. I have no idea why some stories are so much more developed in my head before I start writing, but it's a happy accident when it happens. Of course, I always allow myself the freedom to change my mind if something better occurs to me during the writing.

RTW: What is it about Christmas that lends itself to romance?  How is Charlie's Pecan Pie incorporated into your story and is it a part of your own family lore?

Livia: For me, Christmas lends itself to romance because it's a time of year when we take stock of our lives, a mile marker on another year nearly done, so to speak, a time to reflect on all the good things we have in our lives but also the things that we're missing. I had the heroine of "Charlie's Pie" bake a pecan pie because that's my youngest daughter's favorite type of pie, and I like it a lot, too. It's a central part of the story not only because it's the main catalyst for the action but also because of what it represents to Lauralee.

RTW: If you lived in Lauralee's house, how would you decorate it for Christmas?

Livia: If I lived in Lauralee's house, I would definitely have a Christmas tree. It's just not Christmas without a tree! I'd decorate it with colorful bows and ribbons and homemade ornaments carved from wood. If any holly plants grew in the area I'd put sprigs of holly on the fireplace mantle. I might have candles burning, too, but carefully. You don't want to be careless with candles when you live in a wooden cabin.

RTW: What other books do you have for our readers to enjoy?

Livia: I have a sweet romantic western that came out a few years ago, but is still available, Mending Fences. The eighth book in my Fresh Baked Mystery series, Wedding Cake Killer, is about to come out in mass market paperback on November 5 (it's already available as a trade paperback or e-book), and #9, The Fatal Funnel Cake, will be released in trade paperback and in e-book on the same day.
♥ ♥ ♥
Cowboys, kisses and love in the holiday air make for a special recipe in each of these wonderful new stories. Christmas miracles can happen when you're Wishing for a Cowboy

A Christmas Miracle by Phyliss Miranda 
Acceptance comes not through frosty eyes, but from the warmth of loving hearts. 

Outlaw's Kiss by Cheryl Pierson 
A long-ago schooldays crush is rekindled by an Outlaw's Kiss that sparks true love, and a new future for Jake Morgan and Talia Delano. 

A Husband for Christmas by Sarah J. McNeal 
A haunting night of horror and a wish for a new life. 

Peaches by Kathleen Rice Adams 
When a strong-willed schoolteacher invades an irascible rancher's Texas range, not even the spirit of Christmas may be able to prevent all-out war. 

A Gift for Rhoda by Jacquie Rogers 
A mail-order bride disaster! 

Her Christmas Wish by Tracy Garrett 
Her only wish for Christmas was the man who left her behind. 

Covenant by Tanya Hanson 
Can a Christmas blizzard ignite love gone cold? 

Charlie's Pie by Livia J. Washburn 
A wounded man, a desperate woman, a gang of ruthless outlaws... and the best pecan pie in Parker County!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Recipe for a Hero: SLEIGHT OF HEART #historicalromance

How Characters Come Alive
How many of you grew up watching Westerns on television? I sure did! Well, the good ones came on after my bedtime, so I listened to most of them—Gunsmoke, Have Gun – Will Travel, Bonanza, Cheyenne (I love Clint Walker’s voice!  Okay, so I liked to look at him, too). But one show I did get to see was Maverick, and the lovable cardsharp played by James Garner, Bret Maverick, is one of the best bad boy charmers ever created. No one can top it, in my opinion.

Growing up on a dairy farm isn’t exactly exciting, but it’s a wonderful setting for a kid with an overactive imagination, especially fueled by the movies and television shows of the time. All my stories have sprung from this fertile ground, and I doubt the ideas will ever run dry. I hope not! As of now, I’d have to live to be about 450 to get all my story ideas written.

Even after all these years, Maverick’s easy charm and smiles in the face of danger has never left me—or a lot of us, judging from comments on my blog. So when the leading lady character came to me, a heroine based on my aunt Grace’s incredible math abilities, it hit me that she needed a bad boy charmer to loosen her up a bit (my heroine, not Aunt Grace—she was a hoot!). You know who that is!

Recipe for a hero: Take one Maverick, add in a little Remington Steele. Blend. Maybe throw in a little James Bond (shake, don’t stir), and mix in some of my dad’s unique brand of humor. Go off half-baked, and there you have it.

Along about the time Sleight of Heart was taking shape, I read George Devol’s Forty Years a Gambler on the Mississippi for another project. Not only is Devol’s book a great how-to for a thoroughbred gambler, it’s a fantastic character study—mostly because of what he doesn’t say. A lot of Burke O’Shaughnessy’s outlook on life came from that book.

So there you have it. Once the characters are solid and the situation is crazy enough, the author has to get out of the way and let the Muse go to work. Believe me, sometimes it’s quite a ride.

I’m planning a series of novellas in the High-Stakes Heroes series to follow up Sleight of Heart. The heroes are named and a few of the stories are solidifying in the mysterious corners of my mind, so watch for those in late 2014.

For more western historical romance, try my Hearts of Owyhee series. These books are all set in Owyhee [oh-WY-hee] County, Idaho Territory, in the mid 1880s. The county was named after some Hawaiian fur trappers were lost there, and never found, in the 1820s. Owyhee is the original anglicized spelling of Hawaii.