DL, please tell us about yourself.
I’m a rancher’s daughter and I hung around with my grandfather’s hired hands and the neighbor’s sons when I was growing up. Because of this, there is a special place in my heart and soul for cowboys and there always will be. Every now and then the Old West will find its way into my stories, regardless if it’s science fiction or fantasy romance.
I’m a wildlife and fantasy artist. I think a lot of my creativity stems from all the day-dreaming and drawing I did during high school math class. I’ve had an art agent and I’ve won some shows, but my heart wasn’t in creating art professionally, it was in telling stories. Four years ago I started doing what I really wanted to, I started to write with the intent to publish.
Before that—I was in the Army. I served as a Military Intelligence Analyst, assigned to the 10th Mountain Division Artillery (DIVARTY) and was one of two women in a traditionally male unit. The late 80’s and early 90’s, were a time when the military was experimenting with the concept of women in combat arms and we were an experiment. After a couple of years, our number grew to five. Being in the Army and the 10th Mountain DIVARTY was a test of patience, strength and willpower. For that lesson, I will always be grateful. Uncle Sam gave this shy Nebraskan girl a backbone and taught me anything is possible if I want it bad enough.
Now I’m a writer who works as a banker. I’ve been married to my husband of twenty years, who I met in the Army. I have two sons, one is a Marine that can say his mama wore combat boots. I’m proud to have served my country and I’m equally proud my child has followed my bootsteps.
What were your early influences in writing?
I was a voracious reader, consuming 5-10 books a week. Most of the time I read Terry Brooks or Piers Anthony and anything not nailed down that had fantasy elements. I haunted the book stores and libraries. I worked part-time as an aerobics instructor and as a grill cook at McDonalds to pay for the habit. Later, I used to sneak my mother’s old bodice rippers and borrow my boyfriend’s mother’s Valerie Sherwood novels.
But what really triggered my writing passion—in 1977 a little know producer named George Lucas produced an epic space opera that hit the big screens like a run-away freighter. Star Wars captured the hearts and minds of every child and adult that watched it. We’d never seen anything like it. The special effects that now seem lacking, back then were state of the art and blew me away. Being in that theater and seeing that movie in the 70’s was like being at Woodstock in the 60’s. It was an culturally iconic moment that will forever stick with those that experienced it. For one eight year old girl, it was the start of a space and fantasy love affair that still fires my imagination today. I’ve always wanted more romance in Star Wars, more Hans Solo, more love story.
So now, I write them.
When did you know you were a romance author?
When I was sixteen, I started writing. I wrote for a couple of years and then joined the Army. It wasn’t until four years ago that I picked up where I left off. I’ve always loved romance stories and I knew that’s what I wanted to write, even when I was a teenager.
What kinds of research do you do for your work?
It depends on what I’m working on. It could be as simple as a discussion on chemistry with my son, or extensive library and internet research that takes days or even weeks. I’ve even pulled geographical maps and old newspaper clippings from the 1800’s to get a feel for terrain and where roads ran.
What are you favorite scenes to write?
Action,100%. I love battle scenes. I love blowing things up and writing fight scenes. I practice mixed martial arts and incorporate some of the elements into my writing, though I won’t claim to be an expert.
Do you have a favorite character?
In Slipping the Past, a novel I have published with Liquid Silver Books, I have a villain named Ian Saefa. I love writing bad boys and that’s Ian all the way. I have several unpublished WIPs going that the characters would qualify for the “favorite” list, including a female anti-heroine, named Eva, who is also a socio-path in a story called Clone. Then there are the brothers, Darius and Nero, in a genre-crossing science fiction/urban fantasy romance called An Alien’s Guide to Abducting a Bride.
What are the hardest scenes to write?
The scenes that are wrong for the novel. I’m a pantser, someone who doesn’t follow a set outline and sometimes I start writing a scene that draws me away from the main plot or characters. When I get into one of these situations, my novel will stall and it’s impossible to move forward. Sometimes it takes me seconds to realize that the 10k has to go, and sometimes it takes weeks. They are the hardest to write because they don’t belong and they are painful to prune. However, I do believe in recycling and many stories have spun off these cuts.
Please, tell us about your book. Slipping the Past published by Liquid Silver Books and available in their fantasy romance section, is another of my genre-crossing novels. It’s primarily fantasy, but it does have futuristic and historical elements in it. Here’s the link to buy: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com Here’s the blurb for Slipping the Past:
Some love affairs last a lifetime…others never end.
Fifty years into the future, if you’re one of the damned, you don’t run for your life, you run to save your soul. Jocelyn Miller is wanted for crimes she committed before she was born. Homeless, blind and out in the elements on one of the coldest nights of the year, her desperation results in a bad decision. When Jocelyn and her brother Nate rob a convenience store, Jocelyn comes face to face with her worst nightmare and greatest love, a reaper named Gabriel.
Gabriel Solaris is an Enforcer, a genetically enhanced psychic often referred to as a reaper for his ability to take souls, and he’s charged with collecting Jocelyn’s. When he finds Jocelyn outside the store, he’s sure she’s up to something illegal. Proving it isn’t necessary. He holds a warrant and it’s all he needs. But the closer Gabriel gets to Jocelyn, the more he begins to question his duty and why he believes her claims of innocence. When Jocelyn tells him she loved him once, Gabriel loses control and kisses her. Instead of taking her soul, he gives her a week to prove innocence in her past-life crimes, something he has no authority to grant.
And an excerpt:
She put the vehicle in park and turned to Gabriel. “How long do we wait?”
He grabbed her hand and lifted it to his cheek. “I love the feel of your skin against mine and the energy between us.” His fingers slid behind her head and he leaned in to kiss her bottom lip. Gabriel groaned and tightened his hold, fully capturing her lips. Her heart skipped a beat and a fluttering started in her belly.
God she’d fallen hard. Chances were, she wouldn’t prove her case. She couldn’t let him become anymore attached than he was. Jocelyn pulled away and turned to the window. Her heart fractured. Better to put distance between them now.
“It’s too late.”
“You barely know me.” A lie. She knew the moment she saw him that he knew her better than any other. If she felt it, he did.
Gabriel shifted in his seat. “When I had the room across from yours, I had an accident and hit my head. It triggered memories. I was dying and all I could think about was that I’d lost you. Letting go was almost impossible. I promised you I’d come back, not sure that I could or how I’d even find you again. You were covered in my blood.” Gabriel reached over and popped open the first two buttons on her blouse. He slid his hand inside the fabric and slipped it off her shoulder, exposing the birthmark. “You stained your skin and your hair while you tried to keep me Terra-bound. I saw the despair in your eyes and heard what you whispered as I died.”
“What did I say?”
“That you’d make sure I found you–that I’d always find you.” He reached up and touched her hair. “It’s red for me.” Gabriel leaned in and kissed the mark above her breast. “And my blood has stayed where it marked you thousands of years ago, as if you knew one day it would draw my attention.” He pulled back and traced around the mark with his finger. “This mark isn’t a curse, it’s a gift.”
Jocelyn’s eyes filled with tears. One broke free and escaped under the frame of her glasses. She tried to turn them off, but they continued to flow. He understood her innocence. That one mark had ensured a life of hell and looking over her shoulder from the age of eighteen. Gabriel pulled her glasses free. The shadows of the pecan trees blocked the moonlight, allowing her to gaze at him without pain. He brushed a tear away with his finger.
“Don’t cry. I don’t like to see you sad.”
“What if we can’t get the evidence? You know things aren’t as they appear, but the DSLE won’t take my word for it. I’ve been waiting my entire life for the missing piece of my soul and now I’m going to lose you.”
“You have me now.” He grasped her hand and placed it over his heart. “I don’t know what comes later, but I know that we shouldn’t waste this moment. Here and now, this is our time. Life is too short to waste it on what if.”
Do you have other books?
Yes. I have an erotic science fiction novel just released with Liquid Silver Books this month, titled Last Flight of the Ark. http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com Here’s a blurb:
Evolution never happened so fast.
Twelve hours outside of Terra II, Colonel Kaleb Titan, a molecular geneticist and commander of the Ark, faces a life or death choice that could change the fate of mankind.
The Genesis I, aka the Ark, travels with a hold full of wildlife and three crew members. When a wolf bite and genetically-altering gamma radiation transform Kaleb, he notices his senses have been heightened, his libido has gone haywire and he can’t keep his hands off his crew. Worse yet, they don’t seem inclined to stop him.
When their sister ship, the Genesis II arrives early, Kaleb’s problems compound. As soon as the command crew of the Genesis II boards, one whiff tells Kaleb they’re not from Earth or who they appear to be.
When he discovers that they’ve kept the Genesis II’s crew of over two thousand alive, he begins to believe their reasons may be far more ominous than anyone could have imagined. However, he also discovers what’s holding them back. The hijackers seem to be allergic to canines.
Now they’re forced to employ biological warfare against their own, but will it be enough to save humanity?
History is about to repeat and only one species will survive.
I also have three shorts, published in anthologies and one stand alone short, Sex, Shoes and Combat Boots, in the Sex and Shoes Anthology, Why’d it have to be Shorts, in the Men in Shorts Anthology and Cloaks Daggers and Diapers, in the Hot Dads Anthology. The stand-alone is Speakeasy and takes place in the roaring 20’s. All anthologies and the short are published with Ravenous Romance. Here’s the link: http://www.ravenousromance.com
Some of our viewers are writers. Do you have a writing tip to share? I once asked my RomVets sisters about critique groups. The answer I got was surprising. Many don’t use them. They rely on one or two core readers and peers who they trust and know will keep them on a straight course. Here’s the reason why they don’t: You can critique your voice right out of your novel. I have three IPs (Indispensable Peers) who help me with this process. Three is the max I’d recommend. I caution writers not to over-critique their work. Listen to your instincts. You know what’s best for your story. By changing everything in your novel to please your critiquers, you can lose your voice and your story will read flat. Listen to your core critique group or person if it’s one, trust them, but know when to say “No, I’ll keep it this way.” Your voice is unique and it’s you. Don’t lose the spark in your work by overworking it. Know when to say enough, it’s done. Polish, but don’t take the paint off when you do.
Since Spring is upon us, is there any fun thing you’re looking forward to doing? Oh yeah. Spring is all about yard sales, gardening and getting out to enjoy the world. I’ve got my first grandbaby due in June, so I’ll be planting a special tree and garden for her. Also, Spring is about love. Gonna take a road trip with my man and shake off the winter gray.
Thanks to everyone for stopping by and I’d like to give you a chance to win an e-copy of Slipping the Past. I’ll keep it simple. Leave a comment under the interview before 9pm Eastern Standard Time. The winner will be drawn from the names entered.
Thanks for having me, Susan. I enjoyed the visit.