It 's a rather cold and dreary day here in the U.P. The sun keeps trying to peek out, but the clouds get in the way. So, I've lit the fireplace and gathered a few chairs around the fireplace. In honor of our guest, I've brewed some tea. I found a really great scones recipe the other day adn thought I'd try them out on you as well. Stick around and I'll whip up a batch of pasties for lunch. I'm so glad you stopped by today. We have a very special guest. This author is another one of the lovely people I met through MFRW (Marketing For Romance Writers). I feel so blessed to have her here with you. Let me introduce you to Toni Noel!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself- By third grade I knew I wanted to write, but I’m a literal, detail- oriented person, and in college earned a degree in Systems Analysis. None of those classes prepared me to be a writer, so when my employer closed our company and I retired to write romance, I still had no idea what I'd write. I enrolled in a creative writing class at a local community college and on a rainy afternoon two months later the inspiration for my first romance novel, To Feel Again, came to me. I'm delighted to report that much-revised manuscript will be a November 11 release from Desert Breeze, my 7th eBook release. My daughters and granddaughters read my novels and encourage me. So does my staunchest supporter, my husband of sixty years. He makes it possible for me to write, but is yet to read anything I've written other than the fly fishing scenes I've asked him to proof for two of my books.
Rising Above, the book released today, was inspired by a 1994 photographing expedition to the recently restored ghost town of Cerro Gordo, California. My husband and his BFF bought out the town so we wouldn't be sharing the bunk house with strangers or risking another photographer spoiling a large-format long exposure. I fell in love with the history of the town. Much of the original mining equipment is still on site.
Our hostess and now deceased owner of the town, Jody Stuart, even showed me a wooden crib used by prostitutes who offered their charms for a pittance in the lower part of town. The small circle cut into the wooden door guaranteed little privacy inside the rustic 4x6 foot space. The miners began lining up soon after collecting their weekly pay on Saturday afternoon. Before the next man in line could enter her crib, the lady-of-the-night would stand just inside that door and collect twenty-five cents of the four-dollar-a-week pay the miner earned from his back-breaking work, loosening rock rich with silver deposits and shoveling it into rail cars.
Rising Above only hints at the prostitutes' activities. Most of the novel is set in the American Hotel where Hal takes Wilda after her hot air balloon crashes and they are forced to spend two nights alone in the cave where they sought shelter from high winds and blowing sand before resuming their journey into Cerro Gordo on horseback.
Blurb- When modern-day tomboy Wilda Stone is blown back through time to 1874, her hot air balloon crashes above the Owens Valley. Stoic undercover agent Hal Grantham comes to her rescue, promising to take her to the silver mining town of Cerro Gordo. A severe sand storm keeps him from keeping his promise and forces them to seek overnight shelter in a cave, compromising her reputation and forcing Hal into a marriage of convenience.
Wilda is a misfit in Cerro Gordo, too, where their turbulent marriage is filled with adventures, adjustments, and above all else, love. Then a diphtheria epidemic sweeps through the town. This same disease felled Hal's first wife and young son, so to guarantee Wilda a long life Hal secretly repairs her balloon and sends her back to her own time, shattering Wilda's heart. Is her love for her terse husband strong enough to bring this headstrong former Caltrans flag person safely back to Hal's time?
Excerpt: "My, my, aren't you the pretty one," Dottie said, giving her a tentative smile, but Wilda hadn't missed the worried look her visitors exchanged. "Are you ready for dinner?"
"Oh, yes. I'm quite--"
"Look, Wilda," Hal said, impatiently interrupting her. "There's not much time to explain because we're late for supper. Just remember, whatever happens downstairs, follow my lead. Understand?"
What did he anticipate happening? They were only going to eat a meal. She gave him a puzzled nod.
"Good. You'll be eating at the table with Dottie and me." As if by habit, he touched the gun strapped to his hip. "I guess we're ready, then."
Wilda's heart gave an anxious flutter, but anticipation far outweighed any worry she entertained as she and Dottie trooped out into the hall. Hal followed. Ace fell in step behind when Hal moved out in front. At the head of the stairs they paused.
From below came the rumble of rowdy voices. Wilda's pulse quickened. To her surprise, she had no difficulty descending the stairs.
Dottie reached the main floor and ducked into a small room furnished as a parlor. The others followed, and all but Wilda engaged in a whispered conference. While waiting for them to finish, she noticed an Inyo County newspaper and a copy of Peterson's Magazine on the lamp table nearby.
Casually, Wilda unfolded and lifted the paper. The headline read "Lone Pine, California Rebuilds Following Disastrous Quake." Dated October 1, 1874, the lead article detailed the devastation that had occurred on March 26, 1872, when an earthquake shook residents of the quiet valley from their beds.
Is this October of 1874?
The corners of the newspaper were dog-eared from frequent handling, but the printed pages showed no sign of age. Wilda estimated the paper couldn't be more than a week old.
A hard knot formed in her stomach. Now she knew the year, she could no longer deny her worrisome suspicions.
Somehow, she had stepped back in time. Her pulse throbbed.
What else had happened in 1874?
The chase for gold in California had slowed to a crawl then and the Civil War had ended.
What else? Was California a state yet?
With all her heart she wished she'd paid more attention to her history lessons.
Why did it matter? Women weren't yet allowed to vote, she was sure.
Without giving Wilda sufficient time to absorb the reality of her predicament, Dottie turned toward the jumble of voices and entered a large paneled room. Wilda had no choice but to drop the newspaper and follow.
Now for some fun:
Ten Tantalizing Teasers-
Plotter or Pantser? I'm a plotter. Like a railroad engineer I have to know where I'm going to wind up before I can get up a head of steam for writing. The Fifty Scenes method of plotting and a story board work best for me. I like to have a firm grasp on all the turning points before I start to write.
Which Goddess best defines you? The Goddess of Love. I want everyone to find a safe haven for their heart.
Favorite Dessert? Creme Brulee
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate, hands down.
Favorite scent? Roses and lavender, since Sandalwood is no longer available.
Coffee, tea, soda, or water? Coffee, but my cardiologist insisted I switch to herbal tea, so it's cinnamon-apple for me now.
Do you have to set the mood to write? If so, how? Piano music playing softly in the background is all it takes to engage my muse.
Do you have a favorite character? Why? I've fallen in love with every hero I've ever written, but my current favorite is the hero of my WIP. His name is Luke, the hero of Homeward Bound, a planned August, 2013 release from Desert Breeze Publishing. When Luke smiles that crooked smile of his, or lifts a quirky eyebrow at something the heroine says, I melt.
Morning, afternoon, evening, or late night writer? I do my best writing in the morning or in the evening, but I can write anytime. I was most productive for the twenty years my husband taught college students two nights a week and I was able to devote those six additional hours a week to my writing.
If you weren’t writing, what would be your occupation? A gardener with a book tucked in my gardening apron to read when I sit down to rest.
You can hang out with Toni at the following links:
And download her books here:
Or from your favorite eBook store.
Thank you, Toni for stopping by to visit with us today! I've added Rising Above to my TBB list (gotta wait for Yule) and I hope my readers add it to their lists as well! I wish you much success!!