Frequently asked questions

Who or what inspired you to write?

I learned to read at the age of four. My childhood wasn’t the greatest, and like many other authors and readers, I could escape in a book. As I grew older, I found I didn’t want the stories to end, so I would make up even more adventures. Then, I began making up my own stories, twists on life events, or stories of strangers I saw on the street.

In 1993, the Mississippi River overflowed it’s banks near Grafton, Illinois. I had just moved with my family from Grafton, so the pictures and stories of the flood hit home. And it gave me an idea…

What would I want my readers to know about me?

I’m very shy when I’m out of my comfort zone. Now, if I’m comfortable, I’ll talk your ear off. It takes me awhile to feel at ease at book signings or events. It’s still so new to me, I’m afraid I’ll do something or say something that will get me banned for life!!

Future plans?

Well, Tempered Steel started out as a trilogy, then became a series, and now fans want to know more about the inhabitants of Grafton. I’m going to be busy with the good folks of Grafton for awhile. I also have an erotic romance series on the back burner. Real women, real men, with all their faults and scars trying to find their way in a world that doesn’t understand or condone BDSM or D/s. And, if that’s not enough, I’ve also got a paranormal trilogy featuring sorcerers, vampires, werewolves, witches and a forgotten fairy princess that’s convinced she’s human. And just to add an extra twist, I have to throw in a time travel sequence to make the reader’s eyes cross!

If you could be one of the characters from this book?

I’d probably say, Miss Maisy. She’s a no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners, kind of old lady who uses her age as an excuse to say whatever the hell she feels. She carries a gun and isn’t afraid to use it. But she has a heart of gold, and if she thinks you’re worth fighting for, she’ll fight to the death for you.

Sneak peek into the book?

Well, you twisted my arm…

Laughter and hoots from the crowd mingled with the music from the school band, which continued to play, oblivious to her embarrassment, bringing Sam’s attention back in focus. He glanced up, looking into Angel’s eyes, awash with humiliating tears. The fact that her control was about to shatter, galvanized him into action. With a fierce frown to the crowd, he crossed the space separating them, unzipping his jacket and shrugging out of it. He reached around her, covering her with his jacket and slipping her arms into his sleeves before zipping it up. He gently wiped her tears from her cheeks.

“I missed you. I love you.” She whispered those hauntingly beautiful words.

He couldn’t help it. He kissed her softly on the lips. “Go get’em Angel, baby.” Then he calmly walked back to the edge of the crowd. She lifted her chin, and with the air of a queen, she finished the dance routine much to the approval of the assembly.

Her tearful entreaty had pierced his soul and made him realize all that stood in the way of their love was his pride. His eyes met hers in silent communication. He nodded in acceptance and she smiled, knowing that he had sealed his fate with hers. From now until forever, he was bound to her. Her father could go to hell.

When did you decide to submit your work?

It was around this time last year that I decided to give my writing another chance. I had heard so much about self-publishing, but I was hesitant. What if all those rejection letters were right? Maybe I wasn't good enough. Maybe my love of writing was simply a way for me to connect to the books I love to read.

I was at a bit of a crossroads in my life, so I prayed about it. (I'm not an 'only when it's truly important, will I ask God for help' type of person. He hears from me, A LOT) His answer literally hit me in the head. As I stated, I had written the series a few years back and kept a hard copy in my closet. Now, I'm not saying the pages fluttered down around me like snowflakes on a winter's day. It was encased in a VERY LARGE three ring binder on the top shelf of my closet. And it fell squarely on top of my head (OUCH!) when I tried to reach for a purse. (I've often thought that God was a wee bit perturbed that I kept asking the same question when I knew the answer. I was just scared.)

So, given the Almighty's approval, I girded my loins, which is a fancy term, for puttin' on my big girl panties, and decided to give it one more try.

What is the best and worst advice you’ve ever received?

Worst – from a rejection letter – “I suggest you limit your novels to a specific subgenre of romance rather than trying to infuse the story with humor, suspense, and romance. Pick one and write from there.” Yeah, dumb down your story to only include one genre, because in real life, folks don’t have all that going on at the same time – PLEEEEZ!

Best – from my grandmother on my wedding day. I find it works in books and in life –

“Keep the fights clean and the sex dirty and you’ll do all right.” I think that’s pretty self-explanatory.

Do you outline or just write?

A little of both. I have a general idea of where I want the story to end up, but the characters do take over and I find little twists and turns in their dialogue that leads me down other paths I hadn’t thought of before.

How do you maintain your creativity?

Listening to music, people watching, news shows, game shows, etc. It all gives me ideas for stories or characters.

Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

Again, it’s Miss Maisy. She just sort of “appeared” in my head as I began to write the first scene in the first chapter of Leather and Lace. I knew she couldn’t be a passing fancy character. She was too intimidating for that.

Are you plotting bunnies, angels or demons?

If you’re a good writer, you’re characters should have a little bit of each in their blood. As to how it all turns out and who’s a bunny, an angel and a demon, well, book three is almost finished. You might find out a little more from that.

Anything to add?

The Tempered Steel series deals with seven brothers and their efforts to save their hometown. I based the heroes on my brothers-in-law and my husband, taking one noble trait and one not-so-noble trait from each. It’s what makes them relatable. For the heroines, I simply looked to the women in my life I admire. As to the villains, well, I’ll just say, if I like you, you’ve got nothing to worry about.