Past Contributor – Lindsay Downs

One thing I learned, at an early age, was the joy of reading. I think I got the love of books from my parents. My father professed Medieval history at a local college and collected the works of Sir Walter Scott. Some say he had one of the best first edition collections in the US. Those, as I got older, and he trusted me with them, I read and enjoyed.

My mother collected Thomas Hardy first editions. And as far as I was concerned, then as now, you have to be hardy (pun intended) to read them.

Fast forward to the mid 1970. Somehow, I found some books written by Sergeanne Golon. It was a series with a French noblewoman named Angelique as the heroine. Little did I realize back then that I’d fallen in love with romance books.

Okay, let’s now go to 2006. With the type of job I had, it gave me the perfect opportunity to get back into reading, which for multiple reasons I got away from. Much to my surprise I found out that not only was I reading paranormal, which I enjoy-got to love them vamps. They really know how to take a bite out of life, but the books were classified as paranormal romance. Unsuccessfully having tried, what I found out later was first person, writing historical, I went to a paranormal author’s website. There I found out about RWA, low and behold there was a chapter near where I live. Great, maybe I can learn something about writing there.

It took me about three to four months before I got the nerve to go to a meeting. Don’t forget, the majority of readers are women and so are the writers. How would they react to a guy coming into their group? Not a problem. They accepted me as one of their own.

With their support I started writing paranormal romance while learning ‘the craft’. (Do we really ever stop learning the craft.) With a liking for paranormal I tried my hand at it. Entered contests. Went to conferences. Learned how to pitch. Got requests. Great, I’m on my way. Oops, the rejections, the most important part about writing.

At one conference after pitching my paranormal, which was rejected on the spot, the editor asked if I had anything else. I said yes a World War II short. Now, don’t forget, you never pitch shorts, or so I’ve been told and read. Editors and agents want fulls. The editor, after hearing the totally off the cuff pitch told me who to send it to. I did, got it returned with edits, returned it and sold it. That was ‘Somewhere in North Africa,’ published by The Wild Rose Press, www.thewildrosepress.com.

It was then I realized that I wasn’t cut out to be a paranormal author. Seems I was better suited for military themed stories, short, novella and full-especially US Army. So I turned my focus on that aspect with my writing. Of course, that means huge amounts of research, which I enjoy doing.

Not long after getting the contract for ‘Somewhere in North Africa’ I finished a Vietnam era story with a nurse as the heroine, ‘Angel in Green’. This one published by Highland Press Publishing, www.highlandpress.org. It will be coming out later this year in an anthology, Every Beat of My Heart. While doing edits on it, the publisher asked if I could do an Army Special Forces story for a soon to be released Special Ops anthology. It was to be five stories, one from each branch and they didn’t have an Army story. Having already started a story about a female medivac pilot it was easy to work in the Special Forces into it. That story. ‘Angel from Above’, can be found in Operation: L.O.V.E.

One very unique aspect of my writing is the heroine/hero relationship. Notice, if you will, I put heroine first. That’s because it’s her story. And she’s the one that does the saving.

One time when asked how I would describe my hero and heroine I told the individual that I look at it this way; “The heroine is ‘alpha plus while the hero is alpha’. The person then said, which makes more sense really, ‘you empower your heroine.’ I guess I do and I it seems to work, at least for me. I’ve tried writing the reverse. It just doesn’t work for me. I’d stall, see what I was doing wrong and if I couldn’t switch the rolls then-DELETE.

Now I’ll attempt to answer several frequently asked questions.

What period do you write? Contemporary, historical?

I really don’t have a specific period that I focus on. ‘Somewhere in North Africa’ takes place during WWII while Angel From Above is set at the end of Desert Shield beginning of Desert Storm. The prequel to ‘Angel From Above’, ‘Angel in Green’ is set during the Vietnam war. Then you have my free e-book, which I’ll get to later is set in England during 1915, before America joined the fight.

Then there’s the novella, ‘Simone’. The story is set during WWII but this time right before D-Day in France. ‘Size Matters’ (working title) the first of a three part series, is a contemporary.

Who is your writing similar to?

To be honest, I have no idea. I tend, for personal preference and not to be labeled as having the style of so-and-so, to read more Regency and Victorian than anything else. Why? I love the stories. In my ready reading library I must have 100 books of which only, at the most, 10 could be labeled as contemporary. That doesn’t include the paranormals in that 10 number. I don’t, even though they are, consider them so much contemporary and paranormal.

I know it’s good to be able to say your book is similar to so-and-so, but I’d rather have the reader tell me they love my writing because it’s so unique and different.

What genre do you write and how do you decide length?

I guess you could say I write suspense. But it’s really more what the story is and calls for. I tend to let the story tell me if it’s suspense or what. ‘Simone’ started out as a romantic element novella but part way through it screamed suspense. So that’s how it ended up. ‘Size Matters’, on the other hand, from the get-go was first and foremost a suspense and a full 90,000 words.

I can’t tell the story what it’s going to be just like I can’t say how long it’s going to be. ‘Simone’ was suppose to be a short with a max of 18,000 words. It ended up 28,000.

It’s the same with ‘Angel in Green’. It was suppose to be a short and ended up a novella.

Is Lindsay your real name?

Even since the first conference I attended this has been one of the most frequently asked question of me. No matter where I go and people give someone my business card they see the name Lindsay Downs. Their first question is just that. So I dig out my driver license and show them that it is. Guess my parents always knew I’d be a romance writer some day.

What next can we see from you?

‘Angel in Green’ will be coming out later this year in a medical anthology, Every Beat of My Heart, by Highland Press Publishing.

As I’ve previously mention, ‘Simone’ and ‘Size Matters’ are currently in edit.

Who is your writing hero?

There is one thing about me that I’m adamant about. Naming other authors. I know who I like and don’t like. Even undomesticated equines won’t drag that information from me. It’s private.

‘Somewhere in North Africa’

Blurb:

Algeria had been invaded by the Allies. Victoria Jackson, Army nurse, never saw a different invasion coming her way in the form of Navy officer Scott Murphy. Separated by the misfortunes of war, including reassignment to different posts, and the horrors of a torpedoed ship, will Scott and Vicki ever be able to make a life together?

Excerpt:
He woke the second time to someone shining a light in his eyes. He looked up, barely able to see beyond the light, and thought he’d died.

He had to have died. No one on this earth could be so beautiful. She had to be an angel, dressed all in white, silken blonde hair tied back in a chignon with a few wisps framing her face, a face so perfect it could only have been the creation of the world’s greatest sculptor. Her blue eyes were perfect in shape and size.

Then the angel spoke. “Doctor, he’s waking up.”

Scott was hypnotized. Not by what she said but by her full, sensuous lips.

Guess I’m not dead after all. Still, where’d this angel come from?
Scott tried to lift his head, and his voice rasped as he asked no one in particular, “How long…?”

“Lieutenant Murphy, just take it easy. You’ve got a bad concussion and a broken left arm,” he heard a male voice say.

It was the angel who responded, “Let’s start with what’s the last thing you remember, sir.”

“The air raid siren, then the building falling in on me. I think it was the third night in a row we were under attack,” Scott answered, his dry throat causing the words to sound scratchy.

The angel’s smile illuminated her face. “It’s good you remember that much. It’s been two days since you were brought in.”

Scott slumped back into his pillow. Two days lost.

Again the doctor spoke. “Don’t worry, Lieutenant Murphy, we’re going to get you on your feet as soon as medically possible. The Admiral has taken a special interest in your case. Guess he can’t wait for you to get back to work at whatever it is you do.”

“Thanks, I think,” he said weakly.

“Don’t thank me yet. You’re going to be our guest for at least two more days.
And the more you complain, the longer you’re staying,” the doctor responded.

Scott knew if this angel was his nurse he’d stay under her care until the end of time. He had to find out who she was. Maybe his friend Jack could do some recon, if he could just figure out how to get hold of the guy. After all, Jack was dating one of the nurses. Life couldn’t get any better than it was this very minute.

“Sir,” the angel of mercy said, “You’ve got a visitor.” And she disappeared, returning a minute later with—of all people—Jack. Talk about luck.

“Hey, Scott, good to see you’re finally awake.”

“Excuse me, sir, but you can only have a few minutes with him. He just regained consciousness a few minutes ago. I don’t want him stressed,” said his angel in white.

“Yes, ma’am. I’ll only stay a few minutes.”

The angel left the two of them alone to talk.

Scott’s eyes followed her as she walked away, and he didn’t miss the glance she gave him over her shoulder. Was it a look of medical concern? Or something else?

Not wanting to be overheard by those around him, Scott whispered as he asked, “Jack, the nurse who brought you in to see me. What do you know about her, and what can you find out?”

Jack turned to get another glimpse of the nurse. “No promises and no guarantees, but I’ll see what I can find out. I’ll ask Maxi, but I won’t give her any hints you might be interested.”

“Knew I could count on you.” And then, in his normal voice, Scott said, “Now, what’s up with the Admiral? Hear he’s nervous about me being in here. Think you can sneak some specific things in for me?” Scott knew he was putting his friend on the spot.

“Sure, but won’t you get in trouble?”

“Oh, maybe, but I like to live dangerously, I guess. And if the nurse gets mad, it’d be worth it. I’ll bet she’s cute when she gets mad.”

Back cover blurb for OPERATION: L.O.V.E.
Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, Army, & Marines

Five sweet romantic storied delving into the world of Special Operations from authors whose family and friends are part of the military community. The memorable twists in FUNNY BONE, B&B BIVOUAC, and ANGEL FROM ABOVE will tug at your heartstrings, while the action and adventure of MISSION: DEVIL DOG, and SO OTHERS MIGHT LIVE will get your heart pumping.

OPERATION: L.O.V.E.-Locate, Observe, Vector and Encounter- may it share optimal methods for securing the sweetheart of your dreams.

‘Angel From Above’ Blurb-
As part of the coalition forces sent to Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield, Lt. Cristal Johnson expects to encounter many things, but love isn’t one of them.

Repeatedly being called to duty running recon missions in Iraq and Kuwait, Lt. Paul Stevens has little time for affairs of the heart. Cristal attempts a daring rescue of Paul and his A-team from Iraqi soldiers. Will she and her Iron Maiden copter crew safely bring them out of harm’s way and will love triumph?

Excerpt
The briefing was short—very short. They hadn’t learned much, other than a Special Forces soldier was hurt and needed to be medevacked ASAP. They were the closest unit. Ten minutes later they were airborne, speeding to a tiny spot in the middle of the Saudi desert.

“Tango-Charlie-One, this is Iron Maiden. Come in Tango-
Charlie-One,” Cristal spoke into the mic hanging off the side of her helmet.

“Iron Maiden, Tango-Charlie-One. Read you five-by-five. Have you in sight. Come east, ten degrees,” a deep, rich voice replied.

“East, ten degrees. Roger that.” With one eye on the compass she banked right onto the new heading.

Jack grabbed his binoculars and scanned the area. He pointed to a tiny object about a thousand meters straight ahead. “There they are.”

“Got ‘em,” Cristal acknowledged.

Ten minutes later they were on the ground. One soldier ran over, slid the door open, then climbed in. Two others followed slowly behind, supporting an unconscious soldier. The rest hurried in with their equipment.

The first soldier grabbed the headset hanging on the bulkhead.

“That was quick. Figured we’d be here for at least another hour. We have to get to the nearest hospital. One of my team broke his leg when he stepped in a hole. Turned out the hole was the home of a scorpion that proceeded to sting him. We’ve got him stabilized as best we can for now.”

Cristal turned in her seat to see the person talking. What she saw sucked the air from her lungs. A pair of deep green eyes, framed above by thick jet-black eyebrows, and separated by what she could only describe as the nose of a god—perfect. Thick kissable lips greeted her eyes as she continued her perusal of him. If she weren’t so tired, she might have tested that theory! Man, where had that come from? Now was not the place or time. She reined in her rampant thoughts. Think mission, Johnson, not man!

But she couldn’t control the overwhelming need for another peek. His head was covered with a boonie cap, so she couldn’t see the length of his hair. Being Special Forces, she bet it met regulation. Several days’ growth of stubble, along with desert dirt, covered his face. He and his men must have been on maneuvers for a while. On his collar he wore subdued first lieutenant bars. Surprisingly, no name tape was on his shirt.

His uniform appeared to be a mish-mash of different ones but she quickly became keenly aware of his legs. The man had seemed to glide up to the copter rather than run. He squatted inside the copter and the outlines of his well-formed thigh muscles were fully visible through the material. Rolled sleeves exposed forearms she’d love to have wrapped around her. She swallowed hard as she pushed that thought out of her head and she tried to focus on his words. “The nearest hospital is in Riyadh. Thirty minutes away.”

Glancing back at the Lieutenant one last time, she caught a glimpse of broad shoulders as he helped Rachel get the unconscious sergeant strapped onto a stretcher. She turned to Jack. “Call Riyadh base and tell ‘em we’re coming in. Inform them of the Sergeant’s injuries so the hospital can be ready.”

Once airborne, she called her CO and gave him a mission update and their destination.

“Lieutenant, it’ll be way past nightfall before you get back here and Weather says we’re in for a sandstorm. Better stay at Riyadh, then come back in the morning.”

The prospect of an overnighter in Riyadh brought a smile to her face. Maybe she could get to know the Lieutenant while they were here. She glanced over her shoulder, but quickly faced forward when he glanced her way. It wouldn’t do to be caught ogling the man. She normally didn’t have a problem keeping
things professional, but there was something different about this soldier.

Twenty-five minutes later Cristal put the copter down at the airport. The injured sergeant was taken off while she and Jack finished shutting down the copter and secured it for the night. A quick glance out the window revealed the Lieutenant still hanging around. Why, she had no idea. But, she could hope.

She picked up her flight bag then climbed out. After removing her helmet, and shaking her head, she hoped for the best with her helmet hair. She beamed a smile at him, hopefully guaranteed to get noticed by a certain Green Beret.
* * * *
Paul stared at her. It had been an extended, deep Special Recon mission. Maybe that was why he couldn’t help but notice her. He’d never seen anyone so desirable before. Even with her sweaty mop of blonde hair, she looked great in her ugly flight suit.

He couldn’t help but wonder what mysteries were hidden under it. What intrigued him about her? Her heart-shaped face? Her perky nose turned up just a smidge, or that devastating smile designed to melt men’s hearts? His was melting—and melting fast.

If only he could get close enough, he might be able to find out. No, this wasn’t the time or place to investigate his feelings. They were on duty. Think war zone, man. But for some reason he needed, correction, demanded to know the color of her eyes before he’d let the issue go inside his head. Every blonde he’d ever known had the requisite blue eyes, but something told him she’d be different. This became apparent by the way she’d handled the copter, with the strangest of names—Iron Maiden—painted boldly on its side and it was her call-sign to boot. She’d landed that copter in a hot zone without so much as a stutter in the landing. In and out, she’d gotten them.

An intrinsic part of being a Green Beret was the deep-rooted need to seek answers, rout out enemies. He wasn’t quite sure where to place the medevac pilot, but he intended to find out. He walked toward her to introduce himself—she the prey—he the hunter. Before he got close, she did the unthinkable, something women never did around him. She executed a perfect about-face and walked away.

If he weren’t so surprised, he’d salute her for outmaneuvering him.

For more information about me, my books and where I might be don’t forget to check out my website: www.lindsaydowns.com

One Response to Past Contributor – Lindsay Downs

  1. Wow! Impressive blog. I haven’t quite figured out how to get the most benefit of a great blog like yours – 20,000 hits — cool! To think I was impressed that my blog today alone jumped from 4 to 16. I’m still trying to figure out what most of the terminology means and what happens when I click on various buttons – usually the effect is totally opposite of what I want. Needless to say, I have become very paramoid about the many optiond offered by WordPress and so I am moving very, very cautiously. BTW, nice picture, too!

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