I am so happy to welcome today a long-time friend of mine and fellow writer, Penny Rader. She writes for The Wild Rose Press, with her first book, Sapphire and Gold, set in the uniquely interesting Colonial America time period.
CONTEST: Penny is giving away a leather-bound journal to one randomly selected commenter, so please leave a comment. The contest will end October 14.
Do you have cheerleaders supporting you as a writer?
My family has been supportive from the beginning. And I have a great support system with my writers’ group, the Wichita Area Romance Authors.
(Starla) I’m wildly waving my hand, too, but then I also belong to the WARA writers’ group. I’m biased, yes, but Penny is a wonderful writer.
What are your hobbies or other interests that get you away from the stress of writing?
Reading, movies, favorite TV shows, crocheting, and playing with my grandkiddoes.
Give us two random thoughts about yourself, something that might surprise your readers.
I will never win a housekeeper award. That gene jumped from my mom to a couple of my kids.
My drink of choice is Dr. Pepper.
How long have you been writing?
In 1986, when I was a very young stay-at-home mommy, I decided I wanted to learn to write. Since romance novels were my favorite books to read it seemed logical to write romance. And because I had never written anything more than a couple of papers for school I had a lot to learn.
What is your main writing genre?
My published novel, Sapphire and Gold, is an historical romance set in Colonial Philadelphia and Williamsburg. Currently, I’m working with contemporary settings.
(Starla) And her supporters (like me, for example) wish she’d get the next book finished!
What do you love about writing?
Love? The three Rs: Reading, research and revising.
What do you hate about writing?
Hate? The blank page. Figuring out strong, believable, and compelling conflicts.
What do you want your readers to take from your books?
I want them to feel hope and believe in the power of love. And maybe laugh a little along the way.
Where do you find inspiration for your stories?
In life, pictures, and writing prompts/exercises.
(Starla) As a side note, Penny has an amazing collection of pictures that her writing group sometimes uses for writing exercises. And when the group is given ten words to turn into a few paragraphs or a scene, she shows us all up and turns them into a sentence. A sentence! Really, Penny?
When do you get your best story ideas?
As I’m drifting off to sleep. Or driving down the road.
Describe your working environment.
I don’t have a writing office, so I’m usually on the couch or at the desk in the living room (when it’s not being used) or on my bed. Occasionally I’ll write before work at my day job or during my lunch break.
Do you write a story clear to the end before doing more than simple editing? Or do you stop after each chapter and completely edit it before moving on?
LOL. I know I should just spill it on the page and keep going. I am trying to be better about just getting words on the paper and moving forward…and then go back and fix what needs to be fixed. I tend to get caught in the re-write trap which makes it difficult to move beyond the first few chapters or even pages.
Is there anything unusual about your writing habits?
I usually write my first drafts longhand. The connection between my hand and the pen(cil) and paper frees my mind.
(Starla) Occasionally I try to jot down some scenes, but then I can’t read my handwriting when I’m ready to put the “brilliance” on the computer.
How do you get beyond writer’s block?
- Brainstorm with writing friends
- Writing prompts/exercises to get words flowing, any words.
- Cut myself some slack and play a bit or read.
- Start something new. Maybe the project giving me fits will get jealous and give me something to work with. 😀
What do you come up with first in starting a story: Title? Characters? Plot? Setting? Conflict?
Usually a mix of characters and setting and an opening situation.
How do you research the time period, setting, plot specifics, character specifics?
Lots of reading: history books & biographies, self-help/psychology books to figure out what makes people/characters tick. Bibliographies at the end of books are a fabulous way to track down more books. Inter-library loan is one of the greatest inventions ever for those of us on a budget. I’m also an internet junkie. And road trips can be great fun.
Do you have a favorite cause to support?
I do. Lexi’s LAMB is a foundation my daughter started in memory of her daughter, Alexis (Lexi). We lost Lexi when she was just over five months old. Through Lexi’s LAMB we provide toys and comfort measures for children in the hospital. If you’d like to read more about Lexi’s story, please visit the web site, http://www.lexislamb.org/.
Now let’s talk specifics about Sapphire and Gold…
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Buy Link: The Wild Rose Press – ebook
Buy Link: The Wild Rose Press – paperback
Buy Link-Amazon: Sapphire and Gold
What was unique to this particular book?
Hmm. Quite a bit of it is set on a ship in Colonial America…but it isn’t a pirate story.
Was there anything that surprised you while writing this book?
How hard it is to write a book!
Did you have a favorite character in this book?
Max, the Newfoundland dog. Wish I had him in real life.
Did you have a favorite scene?
Yes. It’s the excerpt I’m sharing here.
Did you have a scene that was particularly hard to write? Why?
The fight scene between Derek and the villain’s henchmen. I’ve never been in a fist fight and didn’t want the scene to feel jerky and disjointed.
Will there be any sequels to this book?
Maybe in the future. I do have a short prequel, A Colonial Valentine, which is a free read through The Wild Rose Press: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/a-colonial-valentine-p-1143.html.
In 1752 Philadelphia, Alexandra Whittaker overhears the man who has raised her–and intends to marry her–admit to kidnapping her. She then uncovers a locket containing a portrait of herself as a child. Confused and frightened, she flees, heading for Williamsburg, Virginia, the place inscribed on the back of the locket. On her way out of Philadelphia, she stumbles across a bear and ends up in the river.
Sea Captain Derek Tremaine is guilt-ridden over the disappearance of a small girl left in his care as a youth. Always searching for her, he hears she may be alive and travels to Philadelphia where he discovers an unconscious young woman in the river. She bears a strong resemblance to the mother of the missing girl who has haunted his dreams. He is drawn to assist and protect her as she sails with him to Williamsburg in her hunt for answers about her life. But will the truth give them peace and allow their growing love for one another to blossom? Or will it drive them apart?
This edited scene (to keep it PG rated) is one of my favorites from Sapphire and Gold. The year is 1752. Derek and Alexandra are sailing from Philadelphia to Williamsburg, Virginia. A terrible storm is doing a number on the ship. Derek nearly ends up in the ocean and is furious with Alexandra for being up on the deck. He all but drags her back to their cabin, then leaves to fulfill his duty as captain. Here’s what happens after the danger has passed.
Alexandra caught her breath. She had heard Derek approach the cabin and, unwilling to renew the occurrence of a few hours past, had squeezed her eyes closed.
Until he entered the cabin.
Until she heard him undress.
Until he slid beneath the covers and rolled toward her.
Until he touched her.
Now his hand continued its silent quest along her draped form. Her heart raced and her mouth went dry. She bit her lower lip to refrain from moaning and clutched the bedding to stop from turning toward him and returning the sweet torment, little by little. His hand settled on her hip. He traced the curve with his thumb before sliding up her back.
‘Twas her undoing.
She inched closer to the edge of the bed and wrapped the blanket more securely about her.
“Lexi?” He bent over her. His breath tickled her ear.
She shrugged away from him, unable to meet his gaze.
“Are you awake?” He pushed her hair aside and pressed his lips to her neck.
“Lexi.” Derek’s low voice vibrated down her spine. He moved closer to her shrouded body. “Talk to me.”
Ever aware of her lack of clothing, she damned her foolishness and wondered how long it would take for him to discover this fact for himself.
Deciding she might as well get it over with, she rolled over and faced him. She did her best to remain covered from chin to toe. “We have nothing to say. Please keep your hands to yourself so I can sleep.”
The corners of his mouth quirked. She glared at him.
“I find nothing amusing about this situation.” She set her chin. “If there is nothing more…”
She started to roll away, but somehow found herself flush against Derek.
“Let go.” She pushed against his broad, bare chest, but couldn’t escape his iron grip. She lowered her gaze, but when she realized the blanket barely covered his hips and left the rest of his body open to her shy perusal, she glanced away. To her mortification, she felt her own portion slipping.
Derek’s gaze dropped to the expanse of flesh swelling over the bedding she clasped against her body. Fiery warmth flooded her face.
One of his eyebrows shot up. “What have we here?”
Alexandra tugged the blanket up. “‘Tisn’t what you think.”
Derek explored her back. Upon finding the edge of the bedcover, he slipped his fingers inside. “And what might I be thinking?”
Longing clouded her mind. She moistened her lips with her tongue. “You might think I was waiting for you.”
“And were you?” His hand grazed her hip then flattened on her stomach and crept up, seeking the fullness shielded from his view.
“No.” Shivers of desire ribboned through her. “No. I was cold and wet and…” She couldn’t think. “And…”
His lips discovered the pulse fluttering at the base of her throat. “Cold and wet, hmmm? A likely story.” He cupped the weight of her breasts with the lightest, gentlest of motions.
Liquid heat erupted within her. She choked back a gasp. “‘Tis the truth. I couldn’t find my valise.”
Derek swept the blanket aside. “I think I shall conceal your valise on a daily basis.” Alexandra bit her lip against a moan. “We must stop. This isn’t right.”
“We’re married, Lexi, and this is most definitely right.” His lips found hers and drew the breath from her very soul.
All rational thought, all further protests faded away, forgotten. White-hot need unfurled in her veins. She wanted more, needed more. Her hands trailed down his sides before sliding inward and lower until her fingers closed around him.
Derek groaned low in his throat, and thrilling Alexandra by the sound of his surrender, he continued to pleasure her with his hands and his mouth.
The world tilted sideways. She held tight to him, lest she shatter into a million pieces and drift through endless time without him. Her release rocked her to her innermost core. He sheltered her within his embrace.
Ever so slowly she drifted back down and snuggled against Derek. She couldn’t help but marvel at the wondrous experience they had just shared.
Content, she rested a hand on his chest and enjoyed the feel of the steady beat of his heart. A languid drowsiness took hold of her. She yawned. “Might I sleep now?”
“Nay. Mayhap later.”
AUTHOR CONTACT INFO
Author Website: Penny Rader
Author Blog Site: Penny Rader
Other Blog Site: WARA Writers
Facebook: Penny Rader
Twitter: Penny Rader
Amazon Author Page: Penny Rader
Email: [email protected]