My guest this week is Sylvia McDaniel, best-selling, award-winning author of western historical romance and contemporary romance novels.
Sylvia McDaniel is a best-selling, award-winning author of western historical romance and contemporary romance novels. Known for her sweet, funny, family-oriented romances, Sylvia is the author of The Burnett Brides a historical western series, The Cuvier Widows, a Louisiana historical series, Lipstick and Lead, a western historical series and several short contemporary romances.
Welcome Sylvia! Please tell us how you began writing
When I was in grade school I liked to write, but never even considered I would ever grow up to be a writer. But I always read. I’ve been reading books since the second grade when my mother took me the library and I was like, wow! In high school I read gothic romance and then I foundThe Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodwiess and I never looked back. Loved her books for many years and will still occasionally read one. In my twenties, I picked up a historical romance, I don’t remember the author’s name, but the thought entered my head that I could do better. So I sat down and started writing. I still have that first manuscript…it was HORRIBLE. I quickly learned it was much harder than it appeared. There was a class that Laree Bryant taught at a local school, it was a one day class and from there I learned about Romance Writers of America. I joined, starting attending the local chapter and it has grown from there. Now almost 25 years later, I wish I had more books written.
Describe your favorite place to write.
When I’m in the middle of a completing a novel, I spend eight to ten hours a day behind the computer, mostly in my office. But I do enjoy taking my laptop and writing out in my backyard, where the dogs can play. We have a new puppy and while he’s really cute, he doesn’t do well stuck in an office all day.
Over the years I’ve learned to write just about anywhere. I’ve written on planes, in the car with a kid hanging over my shoulder asking me what I’m doing, or sitting outside on the balcony watching the waves roll in. I don’t need absolute quiet, but I can’t write with music playing or I start singing along to the music and I need all my brain cells focused on the words on the page.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? Why?
I tried being a pantser and it takes me twice as long and more rewrites, so I use a storyboard. For me, it’s my map. My highway has hills and valleys and major curves along the way and occasionally a detour. Does that mean I know everything that’s going to happen while I’m writing? No and in fact, that’s where the detours come in. But if I know the external, then I’m free to focus more on the internal plot, which is always way more difficult for me.
Are your books published by a large publishing house or small press? Or are you self-published? If so, what made you choose this route?
Years ago I was published by a major New York house. I wrote nine books for them and after 9/11 never sold another story. For awhile I gave up writing until my husband told me I was happier when I was spending time creating stories. So when the eBook revolution came along, I already had twelve stories to put out and now I’ve written another eight, with six more planned this year.
Are your books professionally edited?
Since I’m now writing what I love without an editor, I hire cover artists, formatters, editors and I have beta readers. All of my work is professionally edited by an English professor since I focus more on the story and not so much on the grammar. I’ve never thought of myself as a great writer, but a very good storyteller. As a storyteller, I need professionals to make me look like a professional writer. So before I sell the first book, I’ve already committed a thousand dollars to the story.
What project(s) are you working on now?
Over the years I’ve learned that I really don’t write erotica well, so this year I made the decision to write kickass heroines who take charge. Yes, they’re in the old west, but there were women who took charge of their lives and made things happen. This is the kind of women I want to write. Currently in my Lipstick and Lead series, my girls are bounty hunters. In Annabelle’s book, Dangerous, she is the sister who stayed home to take care of the farm and she longs for adventure. While in town she sees a wanted man and goes after him by herself. She not only gets adventure, but she falls in love with her outlaw.
Now here’s an exciting look at Sylvia’s newest release:
Annabelle McKenzie stays at home and takes care of the farm and the bookkeeping for their family bounty hunting business while her two sisters take all the risks. Except that she’s grown bored and longs for adventure. The chance to show her sisters that she’s just as capable of bringing a man to justice and collecting a bounty as they are. When opportunity bumps into her at the bank, she recklessly follows her prey out of town. Only she soon realizes she’s chosen the wrong man to hunt.
Beau Samuels has a dark secret that goes beyond the price on his head. And now there’s a wanted poster with his face plastered in every small Texas sheriff’s office. As if things couldn’t get worse, now he has a novice in a skirt brandishing a gun and determined to collect his reward. Could he get away from the blonde spitfire with his heart intact?
When Annabelle unlocks the secrets to his heart and reveals the true man behind the wanted poster, can she lay aside her scruples and allow herself to love an outlaw?
Slap her silly, but she was done! Annabelle McKenzie strode down the wooden sidewalk on her way to the bank. Done with raising chickens, feeding cows and goats, and shoveling manure. She wanted to go with her sisters to hunt for bad men. She wanted to be a bounty hunter.
Deep in thought about how she would explain to her sisters how she craved adventure and longed for excitement, she rounded the corner to enter the bank and slammed into the hard chest muscles of a large dark-haired man. The scent of soap and campfire spiraled straight to her center.
This was a manly man, and Lord knew, they were scarce in Zenith, Texas. Where had this specimen come from?
His hat was pulled low over his face, and he grabbed her by the arms, halting her progress. Her head fit just below his chin. She looked up at his strong, rugged jaw and serious face.
Long black lashes blinked over emerald eyes as he gripped her arms. “Slow down,” he said in a deep husky drawl. He kept his head down, barely looking at her. “There’s still plenty of cash left in the bank.”
What a condescending, egotistical, handsome renegade. Not an “I’m sorry” or “Excuse me”, but rather a crass remark about the money in the bank. “Maybe you should watch where you’re going.”
She tilted her head and stared into his handsome rugged features. There was something about him that seemed familiar, yet she couldn’t place him. Somewhere she’d seen his face. She gazed at him. “You’re tall enough you should be able to see a woman coming.”
He nodded, and she gawked at the way his shirt fit his strong shoulders and muscled arms. His lips were full and tempting, made for kissing.
“You’re right, ma’am. I should see a small package like you, barreling around a blind corner. Maybe I need to replace my spectacles with a pair that can see through walls,” he said, releasing her arms.
“Maybe you do.” The oversized giant was smarting off to her; he wasn’t wearing spectacles.
Where had she seen him before? “What’s your name?”
A sly smile turned up the corners of his full, luscious lips. “Why? You plan on having me arrested for running into you?”
The man had an ornery mouth, and she was just the woman to give it right back.
“Maybe,” she said. “I know the sheriff well. It would serve you right for being belligerent and disrespectful.”
He smiled a wickedly sly grin that sent tingles through her. “You have a really nice day.”
His voice was dripping with sweet sarcasm that made her feel like she’d eaten too many cookies. Tipping his black hat at her, he sauntered out the door.
Like a kick from a bull, it hit her.
His face was on one of the wanted posters she had out in her saddlebags.
Lipstick and Lead Series:
Daring – April 2015
Determined – June 2015
A Hero’s Heart
The Burnett Brides Series
The Rancher Takes a Bride
The Outlaw Takes a Bride
The Marshal Takes A Bride
The Christmas Bride
Boxed Set The Burnett Brides
Southern Historical Romance
The Cuvier Women
Boxed Set The Cuvier Women
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Look for her the first Tuesday of every month at the Plotting Princesses blogspot http://plottingprincesses.blogspot.com/