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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Interview with Petie McCarty

 TRRC Interview with Petie McCarty

TRRC              Hi Petie welcome to The Romance Readers Connection.  Congratulations on the release of your second novel, CATCH OF THE DAY, how challenging has it been to continue the momentum of your debut, EVERGLADES? 

PM                  Maintaining momentum month in and month out is certainly a challenge I think all writers face. There are only so many markets an author can approach, and the competition for the available advertising is steep. Competition for market space is doubly difficult for digital authors. Industry estimates that only 29% of the reading public has electronic readers, and that's up almost 10% over 2011. So right there, digital authors' access to the total reading market is reduced to 29%, and then you'd have to factor out the non-fiction readers from the total, too. What all that means is digital authors have to be very focused and very dedicated about their marketing efforts to be successful. The good news is the future can only get brighter with increasing numbers of readers going digital. I have been very fortunate in that a substantial number of my Everglades readers have already asked when my next book will come out.

TRRC              Petie, how does an aquatic biologist delve off into writing romance?  How much of an influence has your career played in your writing?

PM                  It's really not such a stretch when this particular aquatic biologist is lucky enough to have spent a large part of her career working at "The Most Magical Place on Earth," where fairy tales are common fare and really do come true. J
My career had a huge influence on my debut novel Everglades -- the story of a photojournalist on an airboat safari who gets stranded with her hunky airboat guide in the famed River of Grass. I spent two years of my career surveying Florida waterways by airboat, and everything that happens to the heroine Kayliee in the Everglades -- the bug storm, the leeches, the spiders, getting stuck on a tussock, falling in near a gator -- has happened to me at some time during my career. Talk about writing what you know!

TRRC              Many writers have rituals or routines to get their creative juices flowing especially when trying to meet a deadline.  What are some of the things you do to begin the writing process? 

PM                  I have been incredibly fortunate with my writing in that the idea for my next novel always arrives in one piece beginning, conflict, and finale -- Wham! It's suddenly front and center in my imagination. A movie starts running in my head, characters and all. Then I spend the next couple of days speed-writing scene bullets to try to keep up with the movie. Usually only secondary characters are added or changed during editing. Partial ideas flit in and out of my imagination all the time, triggered by day-to-day events, but I know which novel is next when the entire movie arrives at one time.
When deadlines approach and a final draft manuscript or final edits are due, I hibernate in my bedroom office, and my husband abides by the "deadline rule" -- interruptions only for blood, fire, tornado or hurricane. The best part is he's always waiting with a glass of chardonnay to celebrate when I eventually crawl back out.

TRRC              How much fun has it been so far?  Were there times when you wanted to throw in the towel?

PM                  I think the fun part is the actual writing of the story. The rest is just plain hard work -- every weeknight and every weekend spent editing, marketing or doing online blog posts and online interviews. J
Quit? Oh yeah! I threw in the towel three separate times before I was eventually published. Either my sister Katy or my best friend Clare lured me back each time, which is why Everglades is dedicated to them.

My best advice to writers -- perseverance in everything. The great Stephen King said it best "The only difference between published and unpublished writers is the published writers never gave up." And I'm proof positive of that.

TRRC              Tell readers about Everglades and the main characters Kylie and Skye?  I have to say, I truly appreciated the amount of time you took to define all the characters, their relationships and interactions.  An added bonus is learning about the work being done to save the Florida Everglades.

PM                  Kaylie Heddon is a photojournalist who has come to the Everglades to work on an article that will help her uncle John – a politico who’s making the restoration of the Everglades one of his top priorities.  She ends up stranded alone with her handsome and enigmatic Seminole airboat guide, Skye Landers, and quickly learns that trust means everything in the dangerous River of Grass.  But when secrets from Skye’s past surface, Kaylie and Skye are soon on the run from more than just gators.

Skye is the hunky airboat guide I never got when I had to do aquatic surveys. J So of course, I tried to make him as sexy as I could. And by the time I was done, I wanted to be Kaylie. I created a story imbued with an environmental flavor, which is a comfortable match for romance readers who love nature and the out-of-doors.  That meant Kaylie had to be a staunch environmentalist. The conflict between Kaylie and Skye over the Everglades mimics real life politics over this delicate and priceless wetland, and I wanted to bring attention to the pollution plight of the Everglades and make my readers care about this precious ecosystem.
The process of falling in love definitely speeds up in life-or-death situations, so I threw Kaylie and Skye into a few of those to keep things exciting. Airboats are probably one of the most dangerous means of transportation, thus it wasn't hard to do. Then I threw in a surprise finale to keep the readers hooked.
Once the scene bullets were down, I did a ton of research to avoid offending anyone in the decades-long and ongoing controversy between agriculture and environmentalists over the maintenance and fate of our beautiful River of Grass. The research on the Seminole Tribe of Florida was the fun part. The Tribe is really made up of clans just as Skye Landers explained to Kaylie, and his "panther" clan really exists. I researched the chickees at length to keep them authentic for Wren's camp in the story.

I went to high school with two full-blooded Seminoles, brothers and twins. The brothers were two of the toughest guys in school, yet the most kind-hearted and always operated with their personal code of honor. So when you meet the Robles twins about halfway through the story, you'll see how my high school classmates turned out -- all grown up.

TRRC              CATCH OF THE DAY, what in world made you want to write about a female bass angler in a very male dominated sport?  What kind of research went into this particular story?

PM                  This is an easy question, and it goes back to my job again. I routinely survey lakes for aquatic vegetation, and my survey partner is a professional angler with the National Bassmaster Southern Opens series. He would always come back from his three-day tournaments around the south with plenty of fishing stories, and then one day, the movie popped into my head. What would happen if a girl entered an all-guy tournament and then stage it in the Doc-Hollywood-esque town of Loon, Alabama?

While I did some research, my survey partner provided most of the technical background, teaching me basic tournament rules and procedures and editing my final draft for fishing faux pas. In fact, I rewrote my entire finale after my partner brought back a whopper of a tale -- albeit true -- from one of his fishing tournaments. Seems one of the professional anglers actually jumped a beaver dam with his bass boat to get to the good fishing on the other side, and then won the tournament. You'll have to read Catch of the Day to see how I worked that in. J

TRRC              Cody’s reason for entering the contest is admirable, how did you plot out balancing that aspect of her character with the story’s overarching theme? 

PM                  Cody enters the Look Lake tournament because her father had fished in it every year, and when he passed away, she thought she'd feel closer to him and maybe not miss him so much if she fishes the tournament, too. Meanwhile, the women of Loon decide to adopt her as their personal mascot, and before Cody knows it, she's competing for women's fishing rights in Loon.

Cody's tournament partner, Special Ops Coast Guard captain Gage Connor comes to Loon to resolve an old family dispute and to search for the girl who was his first love. Meeting Cody throws a wrench into his well-laid plans.
                        Your heart will always recognize your true love, even if your eyes are blind.

TRRC              Petie, thank you for joining us today, can you tell readers what you have coming up next?

PM                  In April 2013, Desert Breeze will release my third novel, One More Chance -- the first of what I think of as my Rescue Angel Romances. Each story will have an angel hidden in them, and the reader doesn't find out who the angel is until the finale. If I've done my job right, I'll fool the reader every time.  
In One More Chance, Kellen Brand's inheritance turns out to be a whopper -- one dilapidated farm in West Virginia and one guardian angel. Since no sane woman would choose to live in Riverside, Kellen vows to sell her farm and quick. Her handsome neighbor Luke Kenyon must block the farm sale or risk exposure of his family's secrets.
While Kellen has one potential buyer, she faces a town full of objectors. Someone is trying to frighten her off, and Luke is forced to step in and rescue her more than once. Unfortunately, Kellen has a penchant for finding trouble. She stumbles onto a clandestine hazardous-waste-dumping operation next to her farm, and she prays Luke has one more rescue up his sleeve. It's her only hope of staying alive. Unless her mother really did leave her a guardian angel…
Thank you for allowing me to spend time with The Romance Reader Connection members, and I'd like to wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.  
If you find time to read over the holiday, please give me a try, and visit my web site at www.petiemccarty.com.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Angel

Tiffany Reisz
Harlequin Mira
ISBN: 978-0-7783-1399-1
October 2012
Nora Sutherland (Born Eleanor Schreiber) returned to the arms and bed of Soren without looking back, at least not for long. When Soren is placed on a short list to become Bishop, he sends her away to try to and sway their decision away from him. Suzanne Kanter already has a dislike of the Catholic Church because of her brother Adam’s death. When she receives an anonymous tip via fax that Father Marcus Streans (Soren), a Catholic Priest, up for bishop has a conflict of interest, she immediately suspects child abuse. Michael Dimir, a 17 year old boy who Nora and Soren are teaching the ways of becoming a submissive, fell for Griffin the moment he saw him. Michael feels that he is too young, that he has nothing to offer Griffin, and to top it off his father would never agree to it.
Just like in the first book “The Siren” this book is written in different points of view. After the first two chapters, you become used to the flow and find yourself ready for the next chapter to see what happens to Michael, Griffin and Suzanne. When it was revealed that Soren was a Catholic Priest, it was a shock! I loved this book and getting to meet the different characters, I can’t wait for the next book to see what happens with my new favorites Michael and Suzanne.

Reviewed by Tasha Taylor
Rating: 4

Werewolf in Denver

Wild About You Series
Vicki Lewis Thompson
ISBN: 9780451238641
October 2012

Kate Stillman, leader of the HOWL (Honoring Our Werewolf Legacy) movement, is dead set against the mixing of humans and werewolves. The driving force behind this movement, her sister Penny. Penny married a human and to hide her true nature she turned away from her family and adopted children to prevent them from being half-breeds. Penny feels like Tom is her true love, a concept Kate doesn't believe in. Kate feels that mating with humans can eventually kill the Were gene and with the population being low already, they cannot afford the chances of half-breeds turning out to be human.

Duncan MacDowell, Scottish leader of the WOOF (Werewolves Optimizing Our Future) movement, believes that humans and werewolves should be able to fall in love. He believes that Were's and humans could learn a lot from each other. While trading insults via the Internet with Kate over the past few months, Duncan has developed a strange attachment to the feisty young woman. So when they get stuck in a remote cabin due to a blizzard, Duncan sees this as an opportunity for them to put their differences aside for a night of keeping each other warm. Only can one night really be enough?

He believes Were's should be able to mate with humans while she believes Were's should only mate amongst themselves. With Woofers and Howlers counting on them to prevail, can they overlook their different political views and discover true love, or will their opposing views be the nail in their love coffin. This is the fourth book in the series and I loved it just like I loved the others. Some of the characters from the previous books make an appearance so readers get to catch up with them. The chemistry between Duncan and Kate is genuine. Kate wonders if Duncan can love her since she is not human. I can't wait to read the next book!

Reviewed by Tasha Taylor
Rating: 4 1/2

An Enjoyable and Compelling Early Victorian Romance

Scandalous St. Claires #2
Laurel McKee
Grand Central Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-455-50548-7
November 2012
Historical Romance: 1840s England and Paris

To escape the stern environment of her aristocratic home, a rebellious Lady Sophia Huntington sneaks out to engage her well-developed skills in high stakes gambling. At one such encounter, her partner is none other than the famous actor and owner of the Devil's Fancy gaming establishment, Dominic St. Claire. Though masked, Sophia knows who her opponent is and she is excited and attracted to the golden haired Adonis despite their families' centuries-long feud. The attraction is intense, and after a few moments of sensual bliss, Sophia can not risk being unmasked and escapes...several years pass and Sophia is abroad after being disowned by her family for eloping with a drunkard army captain who died a few months into their marriage. She must earn her living, and a friend offers her a position at her Paris gaming establishment. There she meets up again with Dominic St. Claire and the attraction between them sizzles again and Dominic knows instinctively that this is dark-haired beauty who so excited him and captured his imagination three years previously. Dominic knows that a relationship between a St. Claire and Huntington is impossible, but still he is drawn to Sophia and can not stay away. The St. Claires's world is the theater, and Sophia's family, the one she wants to return to, is a highly respectable, stern aristocratic family who already disowned one son for marrying a St. Claire. Will their love overcome the infamous St. Claire-Huntington feud--is there any truth in the fiercely held belief that the Huntingtons done the St. Claires wrong centuries ago, and if it does, will they stay alive long enough to thwart the villain who seeks to destroy them?

The Huntington-St. Claire feud continues in TWO SINFUL SECRETS, Laurel McKee’s latest entry in the entertaining Scandalous St. Claires series. McKee masterfully creates the headstrong, less-than-na├»ve heroine, convincingly and sensually writes Sophia’s and Dominic’s love story, and beautifully weaves the story within a story device through the seventeenth century diary of Mary St. Claire Huntington to show the misunderstood origins of the St. Claire-Huntington feud. Especially enjoyable are the Parisian setting and the theater and gaming ambiance. TWO SINFUL SECRETS shows the few options of  young women who rebelled from the strictures of the increasingly  repressed society of early Victorian England and what they must do to escape its physical and psychological confines. 

Reviewed by Debora Hosey

Sunday, November 11, 2012

New Western Romance

Lori Austin
Signet Eclipse
ISBN# 978-0-451-23827-6
October 2012
Historical Romance

Alexi Romanov is a con artist and master of disguise, traveling around the country leaving men's wallets a little lighter and women's beds a little warmer, he has taught Cat O'Banyon everything she knows. Cathleen Chase went from a Georgia belle before the Civil War, to an infamous bounty hunter, with just as many diverse personalities as it takes to get her prey. Just one eludes her, however, and he's the one she's been after since he killed her beloved husband some time back. With another bounty hunter closing in on HER, she teams up with Alexi for protection, but their steamy and passionate affair has hidden threads. When Cat finally realizes there is something else worth fighting for, it just may be too late. She becomes the prey and the hunter has closed in on her.

For those that love historical western romances, this is one of the better ones that has come along in a long time. Gone are the cheesy cowboys, instead find yourself immersed in a story that has unorthodox characters filled with many different shades, facets and secrets. Alexi and Cat are two personalities that have been shaped by their past, which is slowly revealed over the course of the book. They have had a past together, filled with passion and harmonious lies. It was so rewarding to find a book that has intelligent, witty and no holds barred characters. This was such an intricate book, with layers upon layers of truth slowly being revealed about the two characters. It was hard to put down! The first of a new series by this very talented author - it's a definite don't miss!

Reviewed By Jennifer Jones
Rating: 4 1/2