Sunday, September 26, 2010
Readers, please help me welcome Caroline Clemmons to the blog. Caroline, thanks for coming.
Thank you for inviting me, Elaine. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Can you tell us a little bit about you?
After seven years in Southern CA, my parents moved back to West Texas just before I was eight and I grew up in Lubbock. Other than stay-at-home mom, I’ve worked as secretary/bookkeeper, office administrator, newspaper columnist and reporter, assistant to the managing editor of a psychology journal, and as bookkeeper for the county tax assessor-collector. Thankfully, I was able to quit and write full time. My husband and I live in on a small acreage about an hour from Fort Worth. Our two daughters are grown but don’t live far away. We have a sweet Shih Tzu named Webster and two cats, Bailey and Sebastian. When I’m not writing, I love to spend time with family, read, travel, browse antique malls and estate sales, and investigate family history/genealogy. My brother and I are compiling a book on my father’s family and it just keeps growing and growing. If we don’t start paring down information, the book will be the size of the Encyclopedia Brittanica.
Why did you become a writer? What keeps you at the keyboard from day to day?
I was always a big daydreamer and made up adventures as long as I can remember. One of my teachers saw potential and suggested I write down my stories. I became editor for my school paper and won a couple of nice awards, but my head was usually in a mystery or romance book. I used to write voluminous letters to my family. One trip to visit, my mother-in-law brought a grocery bag of romance novels and told me that from my letters she knew I could write a romance. That set me thinking—and plotting. It was a few years before I completed a novel. My daughters and I have had health concerns that consumed a lot of time. Still, I don’t know how women with a job and a family find time to write. Probably they’re more efficient than I am. My first novel was so bad it’s embarrassing. The initial story plot was pretty good as were the characters, but I had no idea about character arc, black moment, etc. Fortunately, my husband heard about RWA and told me I should join. Participating in a local chapter and going to workshops was the best thing for my writing! I also took a community ed college class on writing fiction to sell. My husband is very supportive of my writing and helps out around the house to free up my time to write. What a hero! My daughters are also supportive and help with research, plus my eldest daughter helps maintain my blogsite.
I learned through this process that writing makes me happier than any other job I’ve had—except as wife and mother, of course. If I couldn’t write, I can’t imagine what I’d do. Read a lot, that’s for sure.
What’s the hardest part of writing for you? The easiest?
The hardest are the sex scenes. Don’t misunderstand—I love sex with my husband and I’m not a prude. My characters become real people for me. I’m a private person, and writing sex seems intrusive to my characters. To me, part of the romance is the mystery behind the closed door. I know I’m crazy, but then I think all writers are –it’s a requirement for the job. LOL One of my favorite quotes is from Meg Chittendon: “Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.” So, it’s not just me.
The easiest is the dialogue. Can’t say why, but it is. I love when my characters speak to me and to one another. Then I go back and layer in setting, emotion, etc.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a time travel in which a woman from the past comes forward. As with all my books, it’s set in Texas.
That sounds interesting. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t let anyone steal your dream! It’s important to listen to critiques, to contest results, etc., but don’t let negative comments defeat you. Work only with critique partners whose opinions you value and who know their craft and who offer constructive criticism. If it ever turns personal, find other cp’s. What’s great is to find cp’s who are strong in those areas in which you are weakest and vice versa. Continue to study your craft. Whatever you do, persevere. As Winston Churchill said, “Never, never, never give up!
LOL. That's the advice I always give, and it's true. Would you share your links with us?
My website is www.carolineclemmons.com
My blog is http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com and I offer weekly prizes there, have author interiews like this one, book reviews, research articles, and writing tips.
I have a fan page on Facebook. On Twitter, I’m @CarolinClemmons with no E in Caroline
We’d love to read an excerpt. Don’t forget to give to give us a buy link.
The e-book buy link is www.thewildrosepress.com/the-texans-irish-bride-p-4199.html $7.00
Print buy link is www.thewildrosepress.com/the-texans-irish-bride-paperback-p-4205.html $14.99
Of course it’s available on Amazon and other online sources.
Before I give the excerpt, let me set up THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE with a blurb:
Cenora Rose O’Neill knows her father somehow arranged the trap for Dallas, but she agrees to wed handsome stranger. She’d do anything to protect her family, and she wants to save herself from the bully Tom Williams. A fine settled man like Dallas will rid himself of her soon enough, but at least she and her family will be safely away from Tom Williams.
Texas rancher Dallas McClintock has no plans to wed for several years. Right now, he’s trying to establish himself as a successful horse breeder. Severely wounded rescuing Cenora from kidnappers, Dallas is taken to her family’s wagon to be tended. He is trapped into marrying Cenora, but he is not a man who goes back on his word. His wife has a silly superstition for everything, but passion-filled nights with her make up for everything—even when her eccentric family drives him to distraction.
Here’s a slightly R, maybe PG, excerpt from the first night they’re in Dallas’ ranch home:
Dallas tugged Cenora behind him as he raced up the stairs.
“You’re fair dragging me, man. Show a care o’ me leg bones, will you?”
“I have plans for those lovely, long leg bones,” he promised, but slowed his stride.
“Thank you,” she said, fanning her face with her fingers. Then she tugged on his hand. “Saints preserve us, right now all me thoughts of legs are of winding me own around you.”
“How can you expect me to walk slow when you talk like that?” He blew out the candle and scooped her up. She nestled against him and her sigh fanned her sweet breath against his neck as he hurried to their room. When they were inside he kicked the door shut behind them and set her on the bed. He closed the curtains and lit the bedside lamp. Soft light played across her perfect features.
“At last we have privacy without cracks the next morning about our creaking wagon.”
“And tonight when we sleep ‘twill be in a bed that fits yourself with room for me as well.”
“That’s the best part, Cenora, you’ll be beside me.”
He meant it and the thought hit him hard. He’d been plenty mad at their forced union. Still was, in fact, no matter how much he enjoyed their couplings. Considering himself a loner, he hated having a crowd around. But he hadn’t realized how comforting sharing his life with a woman might be.
The right woman, that is. Dang, he hoped Cenora was the right one. Like it or not, and whether or not those vows were legally binding, he was honor bound stuck with her now. It looked as if he had her family as well.
“I didn’t know to bring me night clothes,” she said with a coquettish glance and slid off the bed to meet him.
After he kicked off his boots and socks, he caught her hands in his. “You won’t need a thing.”
She giggled again and he pulled her to him. His blood boiled when she returned his kiss. He’d been horny as Xavier’s goat since the first minute he thought of Cenora in his bed. No longer a shy miss, she met his tongue with her own. When he thought his head would explode from the skyrockets her mouth ignited, he broke the kiss.
Her rose scent filled him and he thought he would never tire of it. She fumbled with his shirt buttons then pushed it from his shoulders.
“Yours is a very broad chest.”
Her fingers skimmed across him and his need for her magnified. When she traced the whorls of his nipple he thought his knees might give way. He stilled her hand.
“There’s something I want from you, have wanted since we met.”
Fear sprang into her widened emerald eyes and she paled. Dang, he cursed himself for frightening her and her for not trusting him.
Her voice trembled. “Wh--What would you be asking?”
“Dance for me.” He knew it sounded crazy, but he’d imagined this for days.
She looked askance. “Here? But ‘tis your bedroom, and not a note ‘o music playing.”
“Our bedroom, and you can sing or hear the music in your head to keep time.”
“Please? Not for coins or where others can see, but only for me.”
A slow smile spread across her face and she cocked her head to one side. “Aye, I see now. If ‘tis for your pleasure, then ‘twill be mine.”
After she took off her shoes and stockings, she spun away. But not in the regimented dance he’d seen when other women accompanied her. This time she took the red scarf from her waist and used it as an instrument meant to entice a man.
She twirled as if to a measured rhythm only she heard. Her green skirt and white petticoats billowed out to reveal long, perfect legs. Legs he wanted around him. She slid the scarf in imitation of a caress along her slender arms. Then she moved the red silk along her body.
Dang, he was hot as a gunslinger’s pistol and just as hard. His manhood strained against his britches until he thought he’d pop through the fabric. He loosened the buttons and stepped from his clothes, never taking his gaze from her. Reaching behind him, he turned back the bed and sat on the sheet.
Before his heat warmed the cool fabric, she pulled him to the middle of the room and circled around him. He pivoted, naked as a newborn, and watched her every move. Dipping, fluttering, and arching her lithe frame, she lured him with each sinuous flow of her body.
Flush with the throbbing pulsating through him, he pictured himself plunging into her again and again as she wound around him. Her erotic gyrations set his already heated blood at a boil, but he stood mesmerized by her and the dance.
Her flaming hair streamed around her in a fiery cloud. She looped the scarf over his head and the red silk left a tingling trail across his shoulders and down his right arm. Then she threaded it around her own shoulders and sawed it while she shrugged first one shoulder up and then the other one. Fabric of her blouse pulled taut against her full breasts and pushed the peaked nipples into view.
Dang, he couldn’t take much more of this or he’d explode like fireworks on the Fourth of July. On and on she whirled and kicked, first coming near to brush against him, then moving back with a captivating smile. Teasing him with the piece of silk as she pulled it across his body, she seared him with her touch and made him part of her beguiling ritual.
When he could stand it no longer, he said, “Come here, let’s dance together in bed.” To his ears, his voice rasped hoarse with the need that burned inside him.
She approached slowly, seductively, with fluid grace. As she moved, she drew off her remaining clothes. Twining the scarf around his wrists, she pulled his arms high until she slid under them, imprisoning him and herself in their circle.
“Now we are truly bound together,” she said, her voice breathy from her exotic dance.
“Am I your prisoner, then?” he asked, amused at her tempting play even as her touch fueled his need.
“Yes, and I am yours.” She met his gaze, but her jewel eyes held uncertainty. “Did I please you then, or was I too forward with meself?”
“You are beautiful and graceful and your dance was even more special than I’d hoped.”
She breathed a big sigh. “Then you approve and will be taking me to bed now?”
“I suppose I must do as you say, since I’m your prisoner.” He nibbled at her neck and she released the scarf binding him. The silk fell from his skin as her arms slid around his shoulders.
Their lips met and he delved his tongue to sample her nectar. She responded with fervor. He rejoiced that if he must be tied to this woman, at least she shared his apparently boundless passion. He pulled her with him across the bed, then scooted her until she lay cushioned in the center of the thick mattress.
“Finally, I can see and taste all of you.”
“I’m hoping ‘tis all right for us to act so heathen.”
He lay propped on an elbow beside her, content for a moment to look his fill of her. “It isn’t heathen for a husband and wife to enjoy one another. Doesn’t it feel right?”
In the golden lamplight, her skin gleamed like ivory.
“Aye, it feels more than right. It’s as if being with you is where I was meant to be.”
He smoothed her auburn hair across the pillow. It looked even more glorious there than he had dreamed. Desire darkened her emerald eyes and the pink of exertion tinged her cheeks.
“No woman will ever be more beautiful than you are right now.”
“If you think that then we’re well matched, for never lived a more handsome man than you are.”
He took her graceful hand in his and brought it to his lips. After he pressed a kiss to her palm, he suckled each fingertip.
She pulled away and put her hands under her. “You’ll be driving me mad with wanting. Hurry.”
He smiled down at her and shook his head. “Nope. I’ve thought about this night since we wed. Reckon we might not get much sleep, for I intend to take my time.”
“But ‘tis torture waiting.” She reached for his manhood.
He twisted away. “Let me give you something to think about, then.” Starting with her beautiful eyes, he rained kisses on her face, her neck, and her shoulders. He cradled one of her ample breasts while his mouth suckled the other.
She moaned and clutched him to her. In spite of his throbbing need, he restrained his own urgency and slowly trailed kisses down her ribs, her stomach, to her mound of curls. He slid a finger inside her moist heat
“Now, Dallas, now! I can’t wait another second.”
Desire won and he stretched himself over her. “Nor can I,” he said and slid into
her. “Let’s begin our own dance.”
Elaine, thanks for having me as your guest today. I’ve enjoyed the interview and will check in several times today to see if any of your readers have questions.