Writing Into the Past with Author Calisa Rhose

I’m so excited to be here Joanna! I often wondered if…no, when this day would come for me. Celebrating my first book release. Thank you for hosting me on my HOME blog tour!

You’re so welcome, Calisa. Thrilled to have you. Among the things I love best about writing and social networking are the wonderful online friends I’ve made. And I guess the cyber-world has it’s ‘small’ moments too. Calisa and the very sweet Anna Kittrell (whom I hosted earlier this year—read that post here) work as critique partners so we’re all sort of friends together.

Before I get to the reason I’m here I want to wish Joanna- or rather her book, NO MATTER WHY, a happy 2nd release day anniversary!

Thanks for the reminder, Calisa. My TWRP release date was January 15, 2009, but friends started buying right about December 9, 2008. (How cool. On Donny Osmond’s birthday no less. Is there a connection, lol?)


OMG, I LOVE!!!! your cover. Perfect colors–it simply breathes! Congratulations on having achieved that oh-so-exciting-and-life-changing-milestone in your writing journey! Tell us how HOME came about:

There were several challenges for me while writing this story of hope and finding what’s always been right under your nose. My daddy always said sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees. In HOME that was certainly true.

BLURB:  What could a gypsy and a Vietnam veteran have in common?

Silvertown’s outcast, Poppy Tippen, has loved football hero Sam “The Force” Callahan forever. But he never seemed to know she was alive. Now he’s home from the war and she suddenly finds herself comforting him from the demons of “that damn war.” Is his attention merely an escape from the haunting nightmares? Or does she hold the interest of the only man she’s ever truly loved?

Sam Callahan’s only solace from the war nightmares wrecking his life comes in the unlikely form of a gypsy girl with stigmas of her own. He’s known Poppy his entire life, but there’s something different about her now. Something special he desperately wants to hold on to. Can he convince her she’s the only thing he needs to put the past behind him?

When this story presented itself to me I was stunned by the deep need to tell a story set in theVietnamera. That alone was a challenge. I typically write contemporary, whether western or paranormal romance. HOME is my first attempt at historical. Sure I lived in the 60’s but I was a tiny tot. I don’t remember much of those years past my own front step on theMojave desertin centralCalifornia.

The other challenge? I write full length novels. My typical story is upwards of 55,000 words. HOME is just 21,000. Yikes! How am I supposed to get everything about these two characters into less than half a book? And did I cut it with the historical part? I’ll let you read HOME when it comes out next Wednesday, December 28th, and judge for yourself how I did with these challenges.

For now I would like to talk about how I managed to write something I wasn’t accustomed to.  HOME is set in August,1967 ina small, fictional town inOklahoma. I don’t do a lot of research for my contemporaries, and slightly more for my paranormals. But for HOME I spent a lot of time going back to the 1960’s life styles, clothing and music.

Music. It plays a large part in my writing. I listen to what suits the story theme, whether it’s cowboys, wolves or days of war and protests. So I loaded up on popular songs from the sixties and wrote. I didn’t use the music to fit scenes exactly. I had trouble putting myself in the era. Music from the Beatles, Elvis and my heroine’s favorite, the Chiffons helped me get into that time frame mentally. There’s just something about that time and the music that draws you in. Have you watched GREASE lately? Though set a little before my story, much of the music is the same. Bonnie and Clyde debuted in fall of that year, too.

One thing I had to do, and didn’t enjoy as much, was research the main topic of those days; the Vietnam war.

Sam Callahan was sent to the front lines as a doctor. For three years he watched young boys die, and being much older than the average soldier at twenty-seven, he had to accept that he couldn’t save them all. Hard to do for a man who was raised to believe there was nothing he couldn’t do.

I read so many horror stories while learning what would impact Sam once he returned home. PTSD which was called shell shock back then was his biggest damage. He would relive those years ‘over there’ with no reprieve. Until he met Poppy.

Poppy Tippen was a treat to write. Full of pep and vinegar as my gramma called it, she wouldn’t take no for an answer when it came to Sam. She loved him unconditionally. But how does a gypsy fit into the 60’s? It was a time of more wives’ tales than curses and boogeyman. So how did the curse of a doll affect these two? I’ll let you read to learn that, but I will say that my Poppy was a modern gypsy woman.

(Here’s an excerpt!)

Get HOME at The Wild Rose Press when it releases on December 28th. Consequently- I’d love for you to buy my book that day. Why? It’s my birthday! What a wonderful gift for me!

Psst: Calisa’s buy link came in early; you can buy her book here! I’m sure many of you have reader friends out there who might just love this very special debut love story!

You can find me at my website, and on my blog on the same site in the Chit-chat tab. I love to hear from you so feel free to shoot me a note in the Say Hey tab. I’d also love it if you follow me on Twitter and friend me on Facebook.

If you missed the official tour Kick-off post earlier this week, you can do it now at my blog, Pen of the Dreamer. I’ll wait. Back? And that’s how HOME came to be.

I had a wonderful time here, Joanna!

Always a pleasure to connect with you, Calisa! Really looking forward to this release! Remember friends, December 28, 2011 at The Wild Rose Press!

 Thanks to all of you who stopped in! Until next time,


35 thoughts on “Writing Into the Past with Author Calisa Rhose

  1. Thanks for hosting me Joanna! I love my cover, too. It seems to scream the era. Tina Lynn Stout did a wonderful job!
    I’ll check in as often as I can today and answer any questions readers might have. And one oops on my post- the 28th is NOT next Wednesday. I got too excited there. 🙂


  2. My absolute pleasure, Calisa. I get very excited too–tried to buy your book this morning then realized I still have to wait too! Looking forward to chatting with you more later!


  3. Wow! Two of my favorite ladies in the same place! I have read “Home,” as well as “No Matter Why,” and both are fantastic books. Have a wonderful Christmas, my dear, beautiful friends.


    1. You’re a dahling, Anna, and always so very kind. Glad you enjoyed NMWhy and I like hearing great things about HOME. Makes me that much itchier to read it! Merry Christmas to you and yours 🙂


  4. It’s amazing how much sensory details can help you feel like you’re part of a particular time (and the music you listened to is such fun). There are certain songs that plunge me right back into a different time in my life, for example, hearing a Rick Springfield song immediately makes me think of skating at the roller rink in the early 1980s. I’m looking forward to reading Home.


    1. Rick Springfield! Jesse’s Girl! I think I still have that 45 somewhere. lol And I love the movie Jesse from Rex Smith’s album from the same time frame. But I love 60’s music. One of my fave songs is Angel and- OH- Lollipop! Glad you made it by!


      1. Ach!!! A 45 RPM record–you’re dating us, Calisa! (I still have a stack of them–some of those songs were awesome. My favorite: Undercover Angel :))


  5. Calisa and Joanna,
    What a great interview:) I went back in time with you, Calisa…I was a teenager during that time, and can remember the music (very important addition:) the fear, and the poignance of that era. I had several friends have to go, and some who signed up. It was a very tumultuous time.
    Love the cover of your book also:) It definitely takes me back:)


    1. Thanks so much for your very kind words, Loretta. Music does really stay with us. During Christmas-time, I can’t get Band-Aid’s FEED THE WORLD out of my head–and can’t tell you how teary-eyed I get almost every time I hear it.


    2. I don’t think Leo Sayer did Undercover Angel–but I loved ‘You Make Me Feel Like Dancing’ and ‘When I Need You.’ Yes, ‘It’s All Coming Back to Me Now’–that’s Celine 🙂


  6. Music really does set a mood for an era, and it’s fun to research. I did the same for my Class of ’85 stories, and it took me back to my college years. Home sounds wonderful. Best of luck with your tour and sales!


  7. Just a “tot” during the sixties aged me instantly! Definitely a war causing major psychological issues and knowing how itimpacted some of my friends, I don’t see how you could have written the story without being affected as well — especially given how well you write detail. Can’t wait for your release date (and your birthday!) Thanks Joanna for hosting.


    1. Are you kidding, Joelene–I’m loving all the company. Calisa–and any/all of you are free to join me here anytime!


  8. Sounds like a great premise Calisa!!! Thanks for the link and I’ll look for the book right after Xmas! Happy Holidays 😛

    I write between 10 -50k myself. Learning how to get it all in under 20k takes some dedication lol. Try a 4k short or a 5k one next. I’d love to hear how it comes out for you 😛


  9. Love you mom! Good luck on your upcoming release and this is so much fun just knowing my mom is an Author. Happy Birthday to you! So, glad to drop in and say good job on the blog about my mom’s book Joanna. Well, I love you again mom. Talk to you soon outside of this virtual world.


  10. My Diva girls! Sandy, Joelene, Lo- You are the best friends a girl could have. I need to keep ya’ll in mind if I decide to write another from this era, that’s for sure. 😉 Thank you for coming by.


  11. And the support keeps coming–love it! Says so much about you, Calisa. I’m going to need you back here real soon, girlfriend!


  12. It’s been wonderful hanging out with you and your friends, family and supporters, Calisa. Yes, we’ll do this again!


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