Welcome to the monthly author spotlight interview.
Do you have a favourite genre to read and is it what you write? (and maybe a reason why)
I love reading all types of fiction, but when I write, I write M/M Contemporary Romance. I love the thrill of the chase, or the “this can’t be happening to me” aspects of a good romance.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve found that the typical Hero/Damsel-in-Distress type of stories in the M/F genre weren’t as appealing to me, personally. The typical helpless female characters didn’t reflect me. I don’t see myself as helpless (unless we’re talking about technology!).
When I discovered M/M romance, I was blown away. The characters intrigued me because they could help themselves. They weren’t weak, and they certainly weren’t cookie-cutter in their personality types. They were sexy and they were complicated. They didn’t need anyone to save them. They could save themselves.
What are your favourite types of characters (to write and read)?
My very favorite types of characters are normal guys—tall, short, rugged, femme, outspoken, shy. They’re just normal guys who are looking for love like everyone.
Quickly, tell us 5 books you love recently.
I don’t leave myself much time to read, but recently, I read “Gypsy Heart” by Ann Lister; “Time of our Lives Series” by Morgan Mason; “Flying Blind” by Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga, “Christmas Across Time” by Beau LeFebvre; and “My Theory for Love” by Ashlyn Mills. I actually read seventeen books last year, which surprised me, but these are a few I loved.
What’s been your biggest challenge you’ve faced as an author?
Wow… I’d have to say finishing a story. I get lots of ideas, but I’ll be in the middle of one thing and another idea will hit, so I’ll go chase that muse for a while. I have lots of first chapters!
Can you tell us how you get your ideas for your books?
I’m amazed at how the ideas come to me, quite honestly. It can be a memory from when I was growing up (Weighting… Series), or something I see in a movie or a television show (The Lonely Heroes Series). Ideas can also come from songs or things I read. I’m lucky that way, I guess.
Do you have a favourite type of setting for your books?
The one where I have to do the least research!! I grew up in rural Missouri, so I’m comfortable with crafting rural settings. I moved to Washington, DC area about twenty-six years ago, so I can get around the DMV (District, Maryland, Virginia). I like creating fictional places the most because it gives me more freedom to set the stage for the story exactly as I’d like it to be—street names, businesses, people.
Which of your book is your favourite? (why?)
That’s like asking a parent to pick a favorite kid! Seriously, my favorite book I’ve written is “The Secrets We Whisper to the Bees.” It’s set in a fictional town on the eastern shore of Delaware. One of the MCs is in hiding, and the other is the town Chief of Police. I’ve travelled up to those little towns and villages in that part of the country, and they’re idyllic, so it was fun describing the quirky characters and digging into town gossip. The bees play a big part in the story because of their honey and its unique properties. That’s all I’m saying!
What’s your writing process like and/or how do you research for your stories?
I’m a pantser—I write by the seat of my pants. I’ve tried the organized methods of outlining and plotting, but they just feel stifling to me. I research things as I write them, so my notes are sometimes a baffling mess, but I try like heck to ensure I’m accurate. The most research I’ve ever done is for The Lonely Heroes Series. You have to get the lingo and the terminology from the unique service branches right, or you hear about it!
What is your favourite thing about being an author?
Telling a story. I’ve always loved telling stories, and I’ve been known to embellish a story to make it more entertaining to the listener. (My family has a name for this particular personality trait that I won’t share!) When someone tells me that they love one of my stories, it makes my heart sing.
And lastly, what advice would you give a new writer?
Don’t become disheartened when the words don’t flow. Sometimes it takes a little while to work out the plot, so jot down notes as they come to you. Also, and most importantly, don’t read your reviews. People leave reviews for other readers, and if you read them and they’re not glowing, you’ll end up a crying heap in a corner (I know from first-hand experience). Tell your story to the best of your ability and leave it to the reader to decide their opinion. As long as you’re happy with it, you’re successful.
Give us 5 points about your book.
1. Living one’s truth is important. Hank felt he couldn’t live his in the military, and when the burden became too much to bear, he had to leave a job he loved.
2. No one event will affect two people the same way. People deal with things like grief and trauma in different ways. It’s okay to ask for help.
3. Don’t judge anyone based on the outward picture. Hank’s sister, Jewel, was born with Down’s Syndrome, but she’s not the type of girl to let it hold her back from doing anything she sets her mind on. Hank and his brother, Lawry, learn a lot about perseverance from their little sister.
4. Patience is truly a gift from the universe. Reed, the other MC, has a lot of it—with is special needs class at school, and with Ranger Hank.
5. Everybody loves a story with a dog! Cosmo, Hank’s emotional support dog, is a character unto himself!
comment to win free copy of “Ranger Hank, The Lonely Heroes Series-Book 1.”
Weighting for Love
A Pansexual Cowboy Romance
What happens when love shows up in an unexpected package? What’s more important… the love one feels or the form it takes? Wyatt Smothers, a retired rodeo bronc rider, runs the family ranch with his brother, Rick, and sister, Donna Jo. When money becomes tight, Donna Jo comes up with her next great get-rich-quick idea… a weight loss camp. Wyatt’s not crazy about the idea in the least. After Wyatt reads an essay written sent in by an applicant, he has a change of heart about their new endeavor. U-4-NY pours their heart into answering the questions, and Wyatt feels an instant draw. Will he still feel that way when he sets eyes on U-4-NY?
+ Talbot Andrews isn’t living his best life. He isn’t losing the weight he brags about to those who read his blog, and it’s killing his spirit. Tal finds an ad for a weight loss camp in the Hill Country of Texas, and something inside him seems to click, so he applies to go. He is completely honest on the application and the essay he writes to accompany it, somehow feeling it’s his last chance at a life he can only see in his dreams. An e-mail from W. Smothers of Smothers Ranch catches his attention, and the kind words therein spark something in Tal. He’s determined his future lies in Texas, and maybe his happily ever after contains a cowboy? This story is approximately 93,000 words in length and is the first book in the three book ‘Weighting…’ series.
The Secrets We Whisper to the Bees
What would you do to protect someone you love? Would you give your life to save theirs? Would you kill to protect them? Who would you trust with your secrets? *** An old woman looking for redemption. A young man looking for a new life. A lonely man looking for happiness. What would each of them do to protect the ones they loved? When everything was said and done, what secrets would be whispered to the bees? This stand-alone fictional story is approximately 73,000 words in length, is an H-E-A, and doesn’t end in a cliffhanger.
The Lonely Heroes Series, 1
One of my toughest decisions was to join the Army after graduating high school. My second toughest was to decide it was time to get out. I wanted more than that life had to offer—namely the return of my humanity and a life beyond the pain that had leached into my soul during my deployments. Without a hint at what to do next, I said goodbye to my Army life and headed home to Missouri.
There were things I’d been hiding from my family for too many years—a secret that had nothing to do with my career as an Army Ranger. It was time I began to live my truth, but how to start, I didn’t know. I was aware of one thing for sure—I didn’t want to be lonely anymore.
I had a job I loved as a Special Education teacher at Carver Middle School in central Missouri. The kids were amazing, and their parents were supportive, unlike my last school where the parents believed their expensive tuition relieved them of their obligations to actually participate in their children’s education. Sadly, I was still alone, and I was getting a little long in the tooth to play the one-night game.
Unexpectedly, my diamond brought her brother to the Christmas Eve service at the local Lutheran church, and I found myself off-balance by the gorgeous man. I felt there was a sadness about him that made me want to hold him in my arms until his hurts healed. Of course, he was an Army Ranger, the toughest of the tough and the straightest of the straight. Between Ranger Hank, and his dog, Cosmo, I wanted things I couldn’t imagine were possible. Or were they? This work of fiction is approximately 142,000 words in length and doesn’t end in a cliffhanger. It is the first book in the series entitled, “The Lonely Heroes Series.”
Buy Link(s):Ranger Hank E-book
Sam grew up in the rural Midwest before moving to the East Coast with a dashing young man who swept her off her feet and have since settled in the desert of Nevada. Sam writes M/M contemporary romances, subgenres: sweet low-angst, age-gap, cowboys, holiday, mysteries, and military/mercenary to name a few. The road to a happily ever after may be rocky, but Sam’s characters always get there together.
Sam is a firm believer in “Love is Love” regardless of how it presents itself, and she’s a staunch ally of the LGBTQIA+ community. She has a loving, supportive family and feels blessed by the universe for her life and remains thankful every day for all the gifts she’s been given. In her heart and soul, Sam believes she hit the cosmic jackpot.
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