Day 15 of the A to Z Challenge brings us to a very special celebration.
Because today O is for Outlaw Bride.
Whom do I spy through my little opera glasses this week? Oh there - I see her! Debut western historical romance author Kelly Boyce, whose first e-book hits an e-reader near you TODAY.
Quick - let's pick up our skirts and dash over to see her. I'll just wait until she's in between chatting with readers.
Kelly - thank you for making your first stop on your release week promo tour here at A Piece of My Mind.
1 - You've been writing with clearly-plotted writing and career goals since you began your writing journey.
Don't know why I know that...oh, I know why. Because you've been picking me up for the drive to our monthly Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada meetings for the past 8 years. Ha, ha...!
So, what role do you think concrete expectations have for writers, who have to create their own workdays?
For me, concrete expectations are essential.
Where I have a full-time job (like most writers!), I needed to be very strict with my time management to ensure I wrote every day. I put my writing on equal footing with my day job, and since I wouldn’t dream of not showing up for the day job (they frown on that), I also wouldn’t dream of not showing up for the writing gig.
It means hideously early mornings, starting at 5:30am, which allows me 1.5 hours of uninterrupted writing time. I generally write fast, so I’m able to get a fair bit done in that time (although never as much as I’d like).
I set weekly goals, monthly goals, give myself manuscript completion deadlines, etc. I’m pretty goal-oriented, so having those goals keeps me focused.
2 - If I was going to describe you with a quote, I would definitely pick this one by Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism:
"Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy."
I’m one with Lao.
How does this fit with your writing style?
Being a huge planner, I usually have back-up plans for my back-up plans. That way, if Plan A goes haywire, I have Plan B through G at the ready.
But overall, I’m more of a Nike girl. My motto is “Just Do It”. Tired on Monday morning and don’t want to get up? Too bad. Just do it.
Didn’t make my weekly goal by Friday but don’t want to work the weekend? Too bad. Just do it.
3 - Ha, ha! Exactly.
How long have you been a part of RWA?
I joined RWA (Romance Writers of America) and RWAC (Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada) in June 2003 and promptly realized I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.
What role do you think this played in your development as a writer?
RWAC is probably one of the most supportive groups of talented writers I have ever come across and they were essential at teaching me everything I didn’t know. I would not be where I am today with my writing had it not been for joining up with this crew.
4 - You served two terms as president of our chapter. How did you manage to balance your day job/RWAC exec/writing life/personal life?
I drank a lot.
Well…okay, not a lot.
I mean, not every day, or anything.
The key to being a great chapter president is having a great executive behind you, which I had during both my terms. They made me look good.
The rest of it – day job, personal life, writing - was sheer time management, but I’m a Capricorn, we thrive on schedules. I break out into a rash if I don’t have a calendar handy. It’s not pretty.
5 - What attracted you to the western historical romance genre, Kelly?
I grew up watching spaghetti westerns and have always been a huge Clint Eastwood fan. My early television viewing included Bonanza, Big Valley and of course Little House on the Prairie.
Added to this, as kids, my brother, Craig would devour books on cowboys, Indians and such, then regurgitate the stories back to me. Safe to say, I was fully immersed in the Old West from a very early age, so writing a western historical romance was an easy fit for me.
Who are your favorite western authors?
Maggie Osborne is at the top.
Cheryl St. John.
Linda Lael Miller is great.
I’ve also recently started reading Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove.
6 - If you could set up the perfect western film marathon, what three films would have to be on the playbill?
Oh wow…that’s tough.
And I’m a huge Christian Bale fan and loved 3:10 to Yuma, so that’s definitely on the list.
And the entire series of Deadwood to round things out.
7 - Well, now I'm dying for a peek at what a Kelly Boyce western looks like. Tell us all about Connor Langston.
Aside from being the hottest thing to hit Fatal Bluff since the railway stop, Connor Langston is a good guy trying to do the best he can with the circumstances forced upon him after his brother’s death.
He is a man of honor, whether he likes it or not, and has an indelible sense of right and wrong. And did I mention stubborn and prideful? He starts the story seeing life strictly in black and white, but bit by bit learns things are often shadowed with shades of grey.
8 - And Katherine Slade?
If ever there was a woman with a streak of bad luck, she would be it. But God love her, that isn’t enough to stop her from trying to do the right thing.
Unfortunately, when a promise to a dead man brings her to Fatal Bluff, her need to make amends collides with her bad luck and she finds herself taking on an assumed identity.
Given that she can’t seem to lie her way out of a jam with any sense of finesse, this charade is destined to end badly. But Kate is never one to give up, and as the story goes along, her sense of justice and determination do not let her down.
9 - What's in store for The Brides of Fatal Bluffs series?
On her way to keep her promise, Katherine meets up with two other mail order brides on their way to Fatal Bluff to meet their intended husbands. Each of these brides will get their own book, and I am toying with an idea for a fourth in the series starring a certain bounty hunter you’ll meet in The Outlaw Bride.
10 - You'll be appearing all over the blogosphere this week - what other stops can readers find you on The Outlaw Bride train?
I am all over the blogosphere this week! Aside from hanging out with you and your lovely readers, I am also making the following appearances:
April 18th: ThePopCultureDivas
April 19th: My blog!
April 20th: Carina Press Blog as well as Carina’s Facebook page
April 23rd: Petticoats & Pistols
Thank you, Kelly - and congratulations on this very special milestone.
Here is an exclusive excerpt from The Outlaw Bride:
Connor Langston dropped the wanted poster on his desk. He stood, the chair scraping across the floor behind him. Weariness settled into his bones. He placed both his hands on the small of his back and stretched the muscles.
“If the woman doesn’t want to marry Figg, I can’t force her, Oliver.”
“I understand, Sheriff. I just don’t want her to create a scene. I have my business reputation to consider.” Oliver Hewitt patted down the thin ridge of black hair that wound around his shiny head. A sly, hopeful expression blanketed his features. “You know, Sheriff, if she won’t marry Figg, perhaps you should marry her. Lord knows you could use a wife, what with your current predicament and all.”
Connor’s jaw prickled with warmth. He didn’t need anyone musing about his predicament, current or otherwise. It irritated the hell out of him that eight years later the people in this town still looked upon him with pity. He was tired of their sympathy doled out in the tragic clucking of tongues and heartfelt pats on the backs. He didn’t need the constant reminder. He just wanted to get on with his life.
“I don’t need a wife,” he bit out, glaring at the small man.
The sound of raised voices filtered through the half-open door.
“Oh dear…” Oliver’s shoulders hunched up to his ears as if he could block out the noise. “Sheriff, please!”
Connor’s patience snapped. “Dammit, Oliver! Can’t you ever take on a venture without it turning into a complete disaster?”
The deep baritone of Bart’s voice interrupted Connor’s outburst before Oliver could respond. “Why don’t you run along, Oliver. We’ll be right behind you.”
“Yes, yes. Perfect. Wonderful. Thank you, Sheriff!” Oliver spun around quickly and hustled out the door, reminding Connor of a waddling duck.
Bart pulled out a cheroot from the front pocket of his shirt and lit the end. “Stop glarin’ after the man, son, and let’s go break up the brouhaha.”
Connor stalked to the door and yanked his hat from the hook, jamming it onto his head. “Why am I getting dragged into this?”
Bart chuckled, a low rumble from deep within his chest. He slapped Connor on the back. “You’re getting dragged into this, son, because one day you woke up, rolled outta bed and said, ‘Today I think I wanna be sheriff.’”
Connor barely remembered that day. At the time there had been too many other things to think about.
A shriek interrupted his thoughts and he picked up the pace, running across the street toward the train depot, where a growing crowd waited to greet him.
Though he suspected there wasn’t much left in the world to surprise him, Connor had to admit finding a feisty red-headed woman dangling arse end up over Walter Figg’s shoulder was a bit startling.
“Put me down! I don’t care what you were expecting, I changed my mind. Now let me go this instant and go back under the rock you crawled out from! I will not marry you and you can’t make me.” Small fists pounded Walter’s back with all the fury of a cornered bobcat.
“Shut yer yap, woman.”
A string of colorful names rent the air. “Get your filthy hands off me, you flea-bitten warthog!”
Standing in the crowd, Clara Bates gasped and slapped her hands over her son’s ears. Several others snickered, the ruckus breaking up the monotonous routine of their day. Walter appeared the only one unmoved by the woman’s declaration, or her flailing limbs.
With a frustrated groan, Connor shouldered his way through the growing crowd to stand in front of the jilted groom. This was not how he had planned on spending his day, arguing with the slow-witted mountain man and kicking up a row for all the townsfolk to mull over and discuss for a week of Sundays.
For about the tenth time that day, Connor seriously questioned the new vocation he had acquired. With a weary shake of his head, he pointed to the boardwalk in front of him and addressed the would-be groom. “Walter, put the lady down.”
- Kelly Boyce, 2011
The Outlaw Bride is available from Carina Press TODAY - Click here for details