Please help me welcome my fellow The Wild Rose Press author Calisa Rhose to the blog.
Hi, Calisa. Glad you could stop by and visit my blog.
Hi Jill! It’s great to be here. After this past week, I look forward to kicking back and sipping wine while we talk. Ask me anything. I’m an open book (pun intended!lol).
- Jill: What was “the idea” that started your story?
Calisa: HOME is part of a collaborative effort geared toward The Wild Rose Press by my rwa chapter about a cursed doll. I just happened to be the first one to finish and sell.
Jill: Yeah! Winner takes all.
- Jill: What is your favorite part about being a romance writer? Your least favorite part?
Calisa: I absolutely love a fresh, new story idea. Putting those first words on paper, or monitor, is special. Right or wrong, no matter if I end up rewriting or cutting them later doesn’t matter. Those words kick my brain in gear. I hate rewrites. Edits are ok, but when I end up rewriting half the book and I have to weave any new material through the existing, or delete all traces of something removed… that’s a pain!
Jill: I hear you on rewrites. It is like writing a whole other book.
- Jill: How do you celebrate typing “The End”?
I start on another story! There is constantly something eating at me to write so by the time I finish a project I’m ready for the next, whether it’s one I already have started or something brand new. I move to the next thing on my plate.
Jill: Ah, a nose to the grindstone kind of gal. Good for you!
- Jill: If you got a $1 million deal tomorrow, what crazy thing would you do?
Calisa: I had to sell a horse that I raised from a colt. I love that horse and would track him down and buy him back, no matter the cost. I’m very sentimental.
Jill: What a sweet dream. Maybe it will come true.
- Jill: How did you celebrate your first sale?
Calisa: My husband was very clever and managed to throw a surprise party for me, complete with a cake with roses and my pen name on it (Rhose).
Jill: He sounds like quite the keeper. And here is a blurb from Calisa’s latest.
What could a gypsy and a Vietnam veteran have in common?
Silvertown’s outcast, Poppy Tippen, has loved football hero Sam “The Force” Callahan forever. But he never seemed to know she was alive. Now he’s home from the war and she suddenly finds herself comforting him from the demons of “that damn war.” Is his attention merely an escape from the haunting nightmares? Or does she hold the interest of the only man she’s ever truly loved?
Sam Callahan’s only solace from the war nightmares wrecking his life comes in the unlikely form of a gypsy girl with stigmas of her own. He’s known Poppy his entire life, but there’s something different about her now. Something special he desperately wants to hold on to. Can he convince her she’s the only thing he needs to put the past behind him?
Over the next week he actively avoided his mother as he raked and watered the lawn. He’d found out the gardener had left when his mother stopped paying him, not that Sam blamed the guy. So, he would try to do what he could to fix the old place up again. Somehow, like himself, he doubted the place he’d called home would ever fully recover the ravages of wartime. It gave him something useful to get through the days before he creeped out at night.
“Sammie, we need to talk.”
He dropped his head and counted briefly before facing his mother. “Good morning, Ma.”
“Have you talked to that woman?”
No nonsense, that was Ma. He dragged in a heavy breath to stifle a groan. “What woman would that be?”
“Don’t play games with me, Sam. You know full well I’m talking about that gypsy woman who owns the doll store. Did you tell her you want the doll back?” His mother threw hands to hips. He waited five ticks. Yep, there it was. Her left foot began flapping like a fish out of water to make known her full ire at him. He almost grinned.
As he stared at her tapping foot, Sam realized he’d actually missed that trait in his mother while he’d been gone. But she wasn’t interested in reflections of days past. “No. I’m not going to get the doll. It’s better off gone if it causes you so much distress. Just forget it and let it be, Ma.”
“Forget it? Haven’t you heard what I’ve been telling you? It will only cause more problems the longer that woman has it!” She was almost yelling and Sam cringed inwardly with a glance around. She ought to keep her voice down or—
Or, what? Did he expect the VC to pop out of the surrounding sticks that had once been shrubbery admired by the whole town? Yes. He did. Damn it all. Why was it so hard for him to let go of the war he was no longer a part of? He shuffled his loafer-clad feet and sighed heavily. “What’s so special about that doll that you won’t let it go?”
His mother looked away from him as though she had a secret and twisted her hands around her ever-present hankie. “It’s bad, evil.”
“Then, why on earth would you want it back? Good riddance, I’d say.”
“No!” She backed up a step and looked up at him, lips painted the same bright red, and he vaguely wondered if she’d worn it so long it had become permanent, a tattoo. A bright red tattoo. Blood red… “It was a gift from my cousin, Helen, when I visited her in California, before she died. I already told you that. But, it’s cursed! I can’t risk anyone else suffering because of that—that thing!”
Blood red… Sam shook the image off and looked over his mother’s head toward the street.
Of all the times to wander in, he didn’t need Poppy showing up right then, while his mother was on her insane rampage about a doll.
A doll that Poppy’s mother had bought fair and square, according to Ma. Now it was a cursed doll? She’d said something about that last time she mentioned the damn thing. He was suddenly afraid his mother was losing her mind. “Son of a bitch.”
“Watch your mouth, young man. I won’t have that kind of language used in this house. Your father—God rest his soul—didn’t use that filth, and I won’t have my only son speak it.” She sounded so normal, suddenly.
“Sorry, Ma. I need to go…somewhere, for a while.”
“Get the doll.” Her voice poured from that red mouth like a warning.
He leaned the rake he’d been using before the interruption against the wood shed and tossed a wave over his head to his mother as he strode for the driveway, and Poppy. Suddenly, it took all his will not to break out in a run and just keep going. Never to stop until he was far, far away from this new nightmare his mother had introduced to him. Blood red, blood. Red, blood, red, blood, red blood.
Sam didn’t stop when he reached Poppy, but grabbed her hand and swung her around with him—took her away before his mother realized who she was. He especially didn’t need her to see the doll shop owner’s daughter.
He picked up his already fast pace until he felt a jerk against his hand and slowed down. He didn’t want to talk. Not yet. Walk. Keep walking…fast.
“Whoa, soldier boy!” She yanked him to a stop. For a little thing, she was stronger than he’d have thought. “What’s with you? If I wanted to race I’d be a horse.”
Blood red. No talking. Walk. Her hand still in his, he gave a rough tug.
Small-town country girl Calisa Rhose lives in a semi-remote area of Oklahoma with her husband, five dogs, one cat and one horse. All of her three daughters and their families live within throwing distance. She’s a member of RWA and the local chapter OKRWA. She intends to nurture and continue to grow as an author with the help of her family and supporters.
Find Calisa at her website/blog http://calisarhose.wordpress.com
On twitter @Calisa_Rhose and Facebook @Calisa Rhose
She loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for having me here today, Jill!
Calisa, it was great having you here too. Everyone, check out this great book.