Coffee and Because I’m Slow On the Uptake

Hey friends and followers,

Happy final Friday of 2011! Can’t thank all of you enough for all the ways you’ve made this blog such a happy place for me. You may have contributed a post or a comment, told somebody else about it or simply clicked LIKE and/or FOLLOW; maybe you just read or happened by via search engine. No matter what, you’ve touched me whether you know it or not! Please know how precious you all are, whether I know you by name or not.

       

Now, since I forgot to announce this on Wednesday (that’s the ‘Slow on the Uptake’ part of the this post’s title–the ‘Coffee’ woke me up ;)), I’m inviting y’all to Calisa Rhose’s Chit-Chat space for a cup of virtual coffee and discussion on why sittin’ and chillin’ has gone wayside in today’s digitally-driven, insanely busy world. Plus, her first published historical romance, HOME, debuted this week, on her birthday. And being the kind soul she is, she reminded me (during her recent virtual visit here) that I celebrated NO MATTER WHY‘s second anniversary this month too.

So, if you can spare a few, come on down!

A safe and happy new year to all (though I’m thinking this is my 199th post–why not close out the year with Number 200?),

Lotsa luv,

Joanna

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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,

Joanna