Friday, November 18, 2011

Cozy Guest Friday: Doris Lemcke + Giveaway

Welcome to this week’s edition of Cozy Guest Friday! Today’s victim…*ahem* special guest is Doris Lemcke, author of Passion’s Spirit available now from The Wild Rose Press….

Untamed Hearts, Worlds Apart – Santa Fe, New Mexico 1892

Raised by Santa Fe missionaries, half-Apache orphan Elena Santiago has vowed to avenge her white, guardians’ murders the Apache way. But first, she must masquerade as a white woman to deliver a dangerous message across the country into the land of her enemies. And after one look at the untamed spirit behind Sean O’Grady’s smoky grey eyes, she realizes that her heart’s response to his body, more like and Apache warrior than a soft, white “gentleman,” is far more dangerous than the warning she carries.”

Sean O’Grady has always dreamed of exploring the Wild West, but at 25 years old, he’s put aside those dreams to wed his neighbor and run their two Georgia plantations. When Elena arrives looking and speaking more like a Spanish lady than an Indian mission girl, he wonders if she's really who she says she is. Is she a virgin or a vixen? The question taunts him as he struggles with feelings he’s never felt before. Feelings that could get them both killed.

Stay tuned for a sneak peek into Passion’s Spirit! We go now to our Cozy correspondent Tink, live from her favorite desert oasis along with a few of her familiar cowpoke friends. Take it away, Tink…

*banjo music*  

Tink: Hello, Cozies! It’s a hot day here at the WanaLuvaCowb’oy Oasis. The water may not be aplenty, but the boys have set up a temporary wet bar. Doris, if you were a mixed drink what would you be and why?  

Doris: Maybe it’s my love of the Southwest, but I’d definitely be a margarita—on the rocks, no salt.  No foam, no fruit, no paper umbrella; refreshing, with a bite that makes you want more.  What more could an author want to be?   

Tink: We’ll have Keefe, Casey, and Judd bring us a round of those. *rings bell* Right away, lovelies! Now, Doris, if you were stranded in the desert and could bring only one of the following…what would they be? Person? Song? Book?
Doris: It’s got to be a person.  And without a doubt it would be my husband.  After four decades together, we’ve seen poverty and plenty, sickness and health, success and failure, along with numerous changes in latitude and attitude.  A desert would be a piece of cake.  
A song?  Can I have two?   I’m told I have NO musical taste, but I’m a word person. I look for lyrics that speak to me.  And one that speaks to me of love, survival, and hope is The Rose, by Bette Midler.  And since I’d be stranded on the desert, I think “The Impossible Dream” would keep me going.
A book?  “How to survive being stranded in the desert” would certainly be helpful.  But since I’m hooked on history, mystery, and romance, and I love stories about the sins of the fathers (and mothers) haunting future generations, it would be “Roses” by Leila Meachum.   By the way, the rose theme is purely coincidental.

Tink: What would be the name of your trusty steed?  

Doris: My mind instantly went back to one of the first real books I ever read,   Black Beauty.  So no matter what color my trusty steed is, I’d choose Beauty—or Fury, from an old TV show.  But Fury sounds angry, so I’ll stick with by first choice.  Beauty it is.

Tink: Let’s talk a bit more about your book. If you wrote to music, what would be this book’s theme song?

Doris:  As I said, NO sense of rhythm.  But my story has such a strong Native American influence, and my heroine was raised by Christian missionaries.  So if I did know anything about music, I’d try drums, pipes, and a haunting Apache melody to accompany my favorite spiritual, “Amazing Grace”.

Tink: Excellent answer! What are the first words your hero speaks to your heroine (or vice versa)?

Doris: “E. Santiago? Are you E. Santiago from Santa Fe? We were expecting a man. An Indian actually,” Sean added, wiping a dirty hand on soiled trousers before holding it out to her.
“You are almost right, Senor O’Grady,” she answered the challenge in his stormy gray gaze. “I am Elena Santiago, and I am an Indian.  Apache, actually.”

Tink: Would you define your hero as an alpha or a beta? Why?

Doris: Sean is an alpha hero: strong, tough, stubborn, and torn between his duty to run the family plantation and his dream of exploring the Wild West.  He’s struggling to turn his bad-boy reputation around when Elena (the kind of woman he’s always dreamed of), shows up right after he promises to marry someone else.  As much as he wants to, there’s too much at stake to trust her—or himself, until both their lives depend on it.   He hides his feelings of being an outsider even with his own family, behind a cocky smile and false bravado, but his actions speak louder than the three little words he can’t say when he puts his life on the line for Elena.

Tink: Does your hero prefer to wear boxers, briefs, a kilt? Or does he go commando like our Keefe here? ;)

Doris: Since nineteenth century underwear offered more freedom—for men, Sean would lean toward boxers.  

Tink: What is your heroine’s idea of the perfect date?

Doris: At this time, avenging the missionaries’ deaths is the only thing on her mind.  As a half-Apache orphan raised by missionaries, courtship isn’t something she expects—or is even familiar with.  Unfortunately at this time in our history, with her mixed blood, her options are limited and she can only “hope to be treated kindly”.  

Tink: What is your favorite thing about each character?

Doris: Sean’s brashness and confidence that he can handle anything, including a deadly, crooked politician with a network of assassins out for his and Elena’s blood; and how he refines those traits to become a REAL man that a strong woman would want to hold on to. 
Elena’s loyalty, courage, and her ability to “walk in both worlds” while holding true to her own purpose—even if it means losing her only love. 

Tink: More seriously, what was your biggest challenge crafting this story or these characters?

Doris: The time to put it down on paper.  I started this book a long time ago, then life intervened.  Family, education, and career all stepped in front of the dream of telling this story.  But as characters have a way of doing, they wouldn’t go away, so last year I ignored the “Western historicals are dead” advice, polished it up and beat the odds for publication.   The research in creating this book was a pleasure and the characters, after being in my head for so long, were so real that they truly did nearly write the book themselves. 

Tink: Now for a more in-depth look at the author… *puts on her smart glasses* I will now ask you a round of nosy and nonsensical questions developed by Bernard Peevo and used by James Lipton on Inside the Actor’s Studio…. Brace yourself J What’s your favorite word? Least favorite?

Doris: Favorite word:  Hmmm.  “I can”.  I know its two words, but if you say them really fast they can sound like one.  Ican, Ican, Ican.  Without realizing it, I’ve spent most of my life living and learning by those words.  From running a business and going out of business, to gaining a formal education and building a career later in life, and now to writing books, “I can” has worked for me.     
Least Favorite:  This time I’ll go with one word.  “Can’t”.  Certainly there are things we are all unable to do for a variety of reasons, but I see “can’t” as a synonym for “won’t”.  To me, it represents giving up.  It’s a term of helplessness, and whenever I hear it or have to admit it, it makes me sad.       

Tink: What sound or noise do you love? Hate?

Doris: I love sitting in a sheltered spot and listening to the wind in the trees.  I’m from cloudy Michigan and it used to be maples, oaks, and pines.  Now I’m transplanted to sunny Southwest Florida and my lanai is a perfect place to relieve the day’s stress to the sound of warm Gulf breezes rustling the palm leaves.

Hate?  Sirens.  Besides their shrill, painful, dissonance, sirens mean danger and tragedy.  While the sound of a siren means rescue to someone in need, whenever I hear one, I think of the suffering that summoned them.

Tink: What’s your favorite curse word?

Doris: I’m never proud of using curse words, but I have to admit I do.  There are two that slip out frequently when something goes wrong or I’m frustrated—“Oh, sh..., and Da... it.”  When I’m particularly flummoxed, it’s “What the H…” or in extreme cases, “What the F…”  It’s a limited vocabulary for a writer, but I don’t care to expand on it.

Tink: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

Doris: My day job is in Human Resources, which suits my people-pleasing nature and my constant need to communicate.  The only profession other than writing books that I dream of attempting is to teach, as a college instructor, consultant, or speaker, and help others follow their dreams.

Tink: What profession would you not like to participate in?

Doris: There are several, but the first one that came to my mind is that I would never want to be an attorney.  Attorneys are constantly involved in conflict: contests, judging, winning and losing.  I’m a Cancer, the crab.  I approach things from the side, look at all the angles of a situation and will do almost anything to avoid conflict (except what I can invent and control it in my stories.  That kind of conflict I love).  Although the legal profession provides great story ideas, applying the complexities of the black-and-white world of the law to shades-of-gray, real-life human drama on a daily basis would make my head explode. 

Tink: There, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Now, just in time for the hoedown, let’s share a sneak peak from Passion’s Spirit with the Cozies back home….

When Sean pulled away, Elena looked into his eyes wondering, is this what love feels like, or is it only lust? She decided that nothing as beautiful as the moment they’d just shared could be evil. But it could never be love, either. She had felt his passion press against her and ached for him to fill her. Now she was grateful that he hadn’t. They were from different worlds that still warred against with each other. He could never survive in her world and she refused to live in his.

As if he read her thoughts, he leaned into her, whispering so close to her ear that it could have been a kiss, "Why can’t you be Mary Louise? And I the Apache brave who will eventually claim you?” Then he turned to stare at the stream that patiently followed the course nature had carved out for it.

The question echoed in Elena's mind. For a moment, his heart had beat to the rhythm of hers. The curves of her body had melted into the angles of his as they breathed the same breath and tasted each other’s souls. For a moment, they had truly been one body and one soul.

Now separated, the chilly breeze that stirred the pine needles at their feet told her that when she was with him, even angry, she was whole. And though he changed his moods faster than the mountain gods and was promised to marry a weak and silly white woman, part of her would always belong to this loco Gringo.

She also turned her gaze toward the river. "We can only be who we are.”

Tink: And the final questions Keefe and the other cowboys have been waiting all day to ask…. If you could choose anyone (real or fictional) in the world to rescue you from a deadly outlaw’s grasp…who would it be? J

Doris:  Besides Rhett Butler, Little Joe Cartwright from Bonanza.  His cocky stance, crooked smile and dark eyes filled my dreams as a young girl.  He was the bad boy of the family, the passionate one, the one with the sense of humor and adventure.  He’s the one I would trust to rescue me from any danger—and take me back to that fabulous ranch to live happily ever after. 

Tink: Which is your favorite type of western hero – cowboy, gunslinger, Indian warrior, or lawman?

Doris: Lawman, especially a lawman with a past.  There’s nothing more hero-like than a man with a shameful past devoting himself to upholding the law, and his inner conflict in having to draw on the skills learned in that past to do it. 

Tink: Favorite western villain of all time?

Doris: It’s always the grasping, greedy mayor or judge who’s trying to run the honest rancher sitting on a gold mine, or newspaper woman with the guts to print the truth, out of town.  Politicians make great villains (there’s one in my book).  The thirst for power, land, or money at the expense of good, hard working people always makes me root for the underdog. 

Tink: And most importantly…John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Gene Autry, or Gary Cooper?

Doris: Jimmy Stewart.  He’s my favorite reluctant hero.  Without the bluster of John Wayne, the voice of Gene Autry, or the intensity of Gary Cooper, Jimmy was always underestimated by the bad guys and that gave him his edge.  I like that.    

Tink: *grins* Yes, there are many fans of Mr. Stewart ‘round these here parts J Well, you’ve answered all my questions, Doris! Now for a round of square-dancin’! This is Tink and the cowpokes signing off from WanaLuvaCowb’oy Oasis!  

Thank you to Tink for another great interview! A shout-out to some of my favorite cowboys - Judd and the Ridge brothers - for making a cameo this week! Doris, thank you for answering all of Tink's nosy questions.... And I'm with you and Tink - it's Jimmy for me, too! 

Doris Lemcke is a Michigan native who first fell in love with historical fiction in the fourth grade (Black Beauty and The Silver Chalice).  Then Gone with the Wind cinched it.  She was hooked.  Passion's Spirit and the upcoming Passion’s Secret, as parts of the Passion's Legacy series, waited through years and careers (from corporate accounting, to rural store owner, real estate and moving services sales, to Human Resources executive) to come true.  Her daughter Mary is a professor at the University of New Hampshire, and Doris and her husband, John, recently relocated to Southwest Florida, where he is “retired” and takes care of EVERYTHING while she holds down the day job and writes.  And she wouldn’t be having such a great time on this blog if not for the Southwest Florida Romance Writers’ very true advice that Western Historicals are alive and well at The WildRose Press. Find out more about Doris and her books at her website!

***Cozies, for this week's discussion - name your all-time favorite cowboy, whether  from real life, the big screen or the page! I'm biased so I'll definitely go with Judd Black from Blackest Heart!!!

****GIVEAWAY DETAILS: Doris is kind enough to offer a prize for one lucky commenter: Passion's Spirit in either ebook or paperback (winner's choice)! To enter, simply comment to this post today or tomorrow by midnight EST. The winner will be announced Sunday morning here at The Cozy Page so be sure to check back to see if you have won. Good luck!
(You must be 18 years or older to enter; chances of winning depend on the number of entries.)


Amber Leigh Williams said...

Doris, thanks again for a wonderful interview! I can't tell you enough how much I love Jimmy Stewart, too! :)

marybelle said...

What a wonderful post & interview. Most insightful thank you. I would love to read PASSION'S SPIRIT.


Amber Leigh Williams said...

marybelle, thanks for stopping by!

Kathy Wiechert said...

I am enjoying Passion's Spirit and the history. Thanks , Doris , for the page turner!