Posted by Calisa Rhose
It’s January 1, 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Today ends the countdown to my New Year’s release party for my first book publication. I’m sure many of you have heard a LOT about HOME from The Wild Rose Press during this last week if you’ve been following the tour. Blurbs, interviews and tidbits about me have been plastered all over the world via the internet thanks to my wonderful, gracious friends who have hosted my week-long blog tour. I have to take this time now to thank you all! YOU. ARE. AWESOME!!!!!
Second order of business- if you missed any of those blogs you should hop over now and leave a comment before ten o’clock (GMT) tonight. Why? Because tomorrow I will be drawing a winner for a FREE copy of HOME!!! The more times you comment the greater your chances to win so hurry and get those last minute names in the drawing.
To make it easy for you, here are those links:
26th- Anna K. Lanier
27th- Silver James
29th- W. Lynn Chantale
30th- Maeve Greyson
31st- Authors By Moonlight
What are you waiting for? GO!
I want to tell you what this week has been like for me. To do that I’m going back a year and a half. I’ll even include some pictures to please the eye. 😉
When Alicia Dean first brought this project to Oklahoma Romance Writers I was hesitant to get involved in a series. I mean, I wasn’t even published on my own yet, how could I possibly pull off writing one book in a series? But I did it anyway. It was an experience and we had fun. As of this post there are six books in the Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll series under contract. It was decided that how much the doll played in the books would be determined by each individual author according to their story. Some feature the doll very heavily, as the main theme of the story. I contemplated how much it would feature in HOME and had all sorts of ideas. Unfortunately (not in a bad way I don’t think, so maybe I should say fortunately), it didn’t turn out the way I first imagined as a pantser.
Sam Callahan seemed to have a greater story to tell than that of a doll his mother was obsessed with. A war veteran who loved the town that raised him, idolized him, had suddenly turned its back on their one-time football star and future doctor. That became the story to a certain degree. Moreover, how he dealt with those horrible nightmares of the war became the story. I let him have his way.
How did he cope? With the courage and strength of a gypsy girl who had lived with stigmas all her life. What was alien to him was a way of life for Poppy Tippen. He learned to shuck the opinions of others by her steadfast, if not graceful, example. Popeye’s mantra became Sam’s unintentionally; I am who I am, and that’s all I can be.
Witchy voodoo curses and all that mumbo-jumbo belief and such were more wive’s tales in those days than actual curses and acceptable black magic. Yes, there were witches and such—at least according to my witchy aunt–it just wasn’t readily acknowledged as that in those days. So the doll took a back seat in my story. But for my time period (Vietnam 1967) that worked.
But I still hadn’t really thought as I wrote my story that HOME would sell. Have I mentioned that I’m a tad insecure? Lol When I finally felt ready to submit I got a wonderful editor in Nancy Swanson. She requested to buy it within three weeks of receiving my manuscript! To say I was shocked is a gross understatement. J But I was so excited. Then the excitement waned over the next month. A little. When I got the email with my cover attached it ramped up again. Again when I got my fifteen minutes worth of revisions. Yes, it took me that long to make changes she asked for. What can I say? I worked on this story, had fellow Okie Outlaws read and crit, until it was a clean ms. Then I sent it in before I could screw it up by over editing! Lol Round two revisions was a matter of basically accepting a few punctuation changes the proofreader suggested, the tap of a button and I was finished. Do I expect revisions on my next ms to be so easy? Hells NO! I wish, but I’m realistic enough to know better.
So back to this week. Most know my release date coincided with my own birthday so that was my favorite gift this year, though my lovely daughters competed very well and I will smell nice for a long while! Of course, any gift from my husband and partner of twenty-eight years will trump anything in my life so I won’t count him now. He is a gift I can’t beat if I sell a hundred books that become best sellers! But this week I’ve been up so high that next week will be boring for sure! I’ve been riding high on friends and family buying MY book! My creation. That’s a feeling impossible to explain. Incredible, scary, wonderful! And I already have a four and a five star review on Amazon! How cool is that? When I wrote HOME I worried I wouldn’t quite hit the emotional mark the Vietnam war left on so many since I was born two years into it, no more than eleven when it ended in 1973 (officially the final troops and POWs were brought out in ’75 just before Watergate took over the news airways). I remember my dad calling it the Eleven-Year-War, saying it was the longest and deadliest war in the history of the USA. I think that length has possibly been beaten more recently beginning with Desert Storm in 1991, but I haven’t researched that yet.
But I digress. I was sure no one would “get” the story, what I was trying to convey. Was I able to get across what was deep inside of me? The fears and recovery a soldier must go through, that he has to face those fears head on to conquer them? What about the era itself?
Did I portray it correctly? Does the love and growth of my characters show?
After all, this is pretty much the extent of my memories of that time. I was almost five when this picture was taken. We lived in the middle of alfalfa fields like this one on a race horse ranch. I remember the horses more than I recall the strains of that war my uncle and cousins fought in (they came home). And, even though both Mommy and Daddy are gone now, they both knew I wrote way back when I was a teen, and I know they are smiling on my success today, partying in heaven for me!
I had my doubts until a few days ago. Read those reviews and you’ll see how wrong I was again. My family knows I hate being wrong, or admitting if I am, but in this process I’ve been wrong about a few things I’m happy to admit to!
HOME is out and available NOW at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon. If you don’t win here today I sure hope you’ll feel inclined to go buy it.
Now, to end this tour, here’s one last brand new peek from HOME to make you smile.
Hearing Sam laugh did crazy things to Poppy’s insides. But she hadn’t forgotten the last time she’d said something to make him laugh. She’d avoided him in the days since. It had been dumb luck that she was out now instead of at work. Mother had sent her on an errand, and she was heading back to the shop.
Seeing Sam sitting at the stop sign had made her cringe. He’d looked like he was in another land, and she couldn’t help speaking up. Maybe he had been. It had startled and surprised her that he pulled over, since he was angry at her the last time she saw him.
She hadn’t forgotten the hurtful words he shouted under the big trees. “So what are you doing? Hiding from Mrs. C. again, I imagine.”
“Something like that. What about you? Can I offer you a ride?”
“You can offer, but I’m going right there.” Sam turned to look where she pointed, across the street to her mother’s doll shop.
He stared, for what seemed to Poppy a long time, before he swiveled back to her. “I’ll walk you over.”
“To look at a doll. What else would a guy do in a doll shop?”
Poppy gauged his response and noticed the twinkle in his eyes. He was up to something fishy, but dang it if she knew what. Shrugging, she moved to cross the street. “Fine, soldier. Walk me across the street like a good Boy Scout.”
As she stepped off the curb, she felt his hand touch her elbow and she glanced up at him. “I am a good Boy Scout. Remember that.”
“Yeah? Prove it.” She had no idea why she said that. How did a grown man go about proving he was a Boy Scout? Not her best line, she admitted, and smiled as she softly whistled her favorite song, “He’s So Fine.”
“Why do you always whistle that song? There are a lot that are better and make more sense.”
Poppy stopped in the middle of the street to stare at Sam. “Are you serious? No one is better than the Chiffons! They say exactly what a girl wants to. You take that back, Sammie.”
Sam took her hand and led her from the street and into the nearest building’s shade, out of the August heat. She stood back against the brick and stared up, waiting for him to take back what he’d said.
“Do the Chiffons say what you’d like to say, Poppy? Why do you think of that tune around me?”
She thought she’d choke as she gulped air and looked away in embarrassment. How had she stuck her foot in so deep? Did he know what she’d been so diligent in hiding from him? “Just, they are a great group, is all.”
His eyes bored into hers for a fast count of fifteen before he raised his gaze to look out over her head at the street. “Hmm.”
“Hmm, what? What are you thinking, Sam Callahan?” Did she really want to know?
His eyes fell on her again and he leaned against the wall, one hand propping him to block her view of anything around them. He leaned close. She felt his warm breath on her cheek, could smell butterscotch on his breath. He’d been eating those cream candies Dr. C. used to give out. Now she knew where he’d been before finding her. Maybe he was getting ready to take over his dad’s practice. Holy Joe, he’d be her doctor!
“I’m thinking we need to visit the woods again, soon.”
“The woods? Why?”
He chuckled and leaned closer, so close his mouth almost brushed her hair. “I’d like to fix something that I can’t fix here on Main Street.”
Poppy forced her eyes to look at him so near, to gaze into his almost purple eyes. Her chest pounded with each breath punched out as she whispered, “What?”
Sam slid his lips across hers before backing away to a respectable distance, then smiled lazily. “That.”
Oh, my golly! It didn’t seem to matter how he’d hurt her, when he stood so close she could smell his shower soap. Poppy shivered and looked away from his intense gaze. “I don’t… We can’t…”
“Relax, Poppen. Let’s go look at dolls.”
What? Just like that he turned off the heated charm that left her legs feeling soft and gushy like chewed gum in sunshine and her head spinning out of control. It wasn’t fair he should be able to make her feel like heaven was touchable and then just walk away.
Dumbly, she followed him around the corner to her mother’s store. He opened the door and held it for her to enter ahead of him. Poppy knew she wouldn’t sleep soundly until she discovered the heart of Sam’s charm, why he was so easily able to heat her blood so thoroughly with a word, a kiss.
Maybe he was trying to charm her. But…why?
She was nothing more than a gypsy’s daughter, a doll store owner, a “bad” girl—the wrong girl, from the wrong side of the tracks. What could Sam want with her?
Ok, I’m gonna offer MORE chances to win! Tweet this post, Facebook– with the buttons below this post– RT it, and then tell me that you’ve done these. I’ll take your word for it. Just tell me which you did in a comment and I’ll add your name an extra time into the drawing for each thing you do. That’s three plus more chances!!!
PS- don’t forget to check my schedule in the news>blogging news tab at the top of the page to see where I’ll be through January and February. You might have more chances to win a copy of HOME if you don’t get one now.