Hello lovelies! It gives me great pleasure today to host Deborah Camp and her new book, “Solitary Horseman!” For other stops on her Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above.
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by Deborah Camp
GENRE: Historical Romance (Western)
Texas rancher Callum Latimer believed that the Civil War had killed everything tender and yearning inside of him until he struck up a partnership with Banner Payne. His dark-haired, golden-eyed, spirited neighbor stirred embers that he thought were long dead . . .
Sunlight glided over hair as she shifted from one boot to the other, and before his mind could catch up with his instincts, Callum reached out and wrapped his index finger around one of her auburn curls. Its softness against his calloused skin sent longing through him like a rushing river. She’d be like that all over – soft where he was hard, giving where he was not. He heard her gasp and his heart bucked.
As long as he could remember, the Paynes were the family everyone in these parts shunned. His pa made noise about Otis Payne stealing cattle from him, but the bad blood between him and Otis went farther back than that – years before Callum was born. The Paynes had a good piece of land and had usually turned out a healthy herd of cattle, but they were a slovenly lot. The children had always looked unkempt. That probably had to do with them not having a mother to look after them. Alva had died when Banner was just a babe.
The war had taken two of her brothers, leaving only Hollis. Otis had died six months before the war ended. Callum had heard that Banner was running the Payne ranch, but he didn’t believe it. He figured Hollis was trying to be the boss and his cowhands were taking advantage of him. Stealing him blind, probably. That’s what he’d heard from Eller and from folks in town.
Leaning a shoulder against the porch post, Callum watched the horse and wagon make its way toward the house. Behind him, the hound growled. “No, Rowdy,” he commanded and the growl faded to whine.
The sun burned his eyes, making it difficult to discern any details of the Payne’s girl’s face. She reined the sway-backed horse in the shade of the house and Callum could finally see her bonnet and pretty dress. After she wrapped the reins around the brake, she turned toward him and a smile curved her pink lips as her gaze met his boldly, confidently.
Callum shifted his weight from one boot to the other as a bolt of awareness shot through him. Damn, she’d grown into a beauty, he thought, taking in her reddish brown hair and heart-shaped face. And those eyes – dark gold. The eyes of a tiger.
“’Afternoon to you, Misters Latimer.” Her voice had a husky quality, as pleasing as aged whiskey. “I bet you’re surprised to see me.”
“I don’t like surprises,” Seth said.
She swallowed and her smile faltered for a moment. Directing her full attention to Callum, she took in a breath that lifted her breasts and the white ruffles covering them. “Your herd looks profitable. Good, sound stock.”
“That’s what we’re aiming for,” Callum said, wondering what was going on under that blue bonnet. She was up to something – but what? “How’s the Payne herd?”
Her smile vanished and she shrugged. “Not what it should be. I’m missing some. It’s been a bad year for calves, but a good year for coyotes, wolves, and rustlers.”
“Your pappy stole cattle from me,” Seth said, repeating an oft-spouted accusation.
Banner’s gaze whipped to the older man’s frowning visage and Callum could almost feel her fighting back scalding words.
“Sir, my father is dead and can no longer defend himself.” She squared her shoulders. “And I’m not here to fight old battles. I have new ones to address. I’ll come right the point as I know you have work to attend to – as have I. Northerners are sniffing around our place and several have offered to buy me out.”
“Damn Yankees,” Seth groused and Rowdy growled as if in agreement.
Banner gave a sniff of contempt. “Of course, they want to pay half of what it’s worth.” She looked off into the distance and it seemed that a shadow passed over her face. “Looks like I’m going to have to sell. I don’t want the Yankees to prosper from what my family bled and died for, so I’m here to offer it to you.” Her gaze swept to Callum again. “I’ll sell it to you. All I ask is that you let Hollis stay on.”
Any weird things you do when you’re alone?
Of course. Who doesn’t? But I’m not discussing them here because – well, because they’re done when I’m alone for a reason.
What is your favorite quote and why?
“Don’t wait for your ship to come in. Swim for it!” I live by this quote because, like so many women, I have a tendency to sit back and wait for others to recognize my good work or good deeds. Men don’t do that as much. When I was working at the daily newspaper, I sat near the editor-in-chief’s office and I could hear some discussions in there. I noticed that when women asked for something like a raise or better assignment they were timid and reticent in their requests. But men strode in and laid it all out – this is what I want, this is why I should get it, and you know I’m worth it. The men left that office with big grins on their faces. The women? Not so much. When I came across this quote, it spoke to me and I decided that I needed to make things happen and not remain in the mindset that good things will happen to hard workers and talented people. Because that simply isn’t the case! You have to step out, step up, jump in and start swimming toward what you want.
Who is your favorite author and why?
I don’t have “a favorite.” I have “favorites” and they vary from month to month as I discover new authors. One writer who has been on my favorite list for decades is Truman Capote. I like his Southern voice and the interesting characters he created from the interesting people around him. He had a tough childhood, but he made lemonade from lemons. He was such a quirky guy, but so intelligent and witty. I just loved watching him and reading every word he penned.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Wow. That’s a BIG question. The most important elements of good writing... hmmm. Okay, here’s my Top Five. 1. Clear point of view. I think POV should be purposeful and not all over the map. I read a book recently by one of the top romance writers and she actually slipped in a dog’s point of view. Ugh. 2. A worthy conflict. Some conflicts, especially in romances, are so flimsy I don’t even think the author believes them! If a problem can be cleared up with a conversation between the hero and heroine, then it’s not big enough to hang a plot on! 3. Characters with no character. I’ve read a few books lately where the heroine was basically a slut. I mean, if you give a guy you met less than an hour ago a blow job, what are you but a slut puppy? And that goes for the guy getting pleasured, too. This is especially horrible when the guy is the girl’s boss. I mean, really? And I’m supposed to like and root for these two for the rest of the book? I don’t think so. There is “sexy” and “hot” and there is “raunchy” and “gross.” Readers know the difference. Now, there are circumstances where this can actually work. I’m reading one now called “Nights with Him.” One-night stands are okay if there is sufficient reason for them and it is out-of-character for the main characters (especially the heroine). 4. Show, don’t tell. It should be every fiction writer’s mantra. However, I run across too many books where the author tells me about the main characters (especially their backstory or personal history) instead of showing or revealing it through introspection, dialogue, and action. There’s nothing more boring (or book killing) than being bombarded with page after page of being told a character is funny, charming, scarred, frightened, misunderstood, etc. Don’t tell me. Show me! 5. Little things mean a lot. Know the difference between eyes and gaze, over and more than, saying something and vocal gestures. Eyes don’t move off the face. (His eyes roamed her body.) Over is a direction, not an amount. She had over twenty dollars – wrong! She had more than twenty dollars – right! She jumped over the fence – right! And, finally, you say, shout, whisper words. You don’t sigh, laugh, or giggle them. So, don’t write, “I wish you’d stop that,” he sighed. Write, “I wish you’d stop that.” He sighed. It’s stuff like this that stops me in my reading tracks and yanks me out of the story. You don’t want to do that. You want readers to slip inside your characters and stay there – living, breathing, and being them.
Where did you get the idea for this book?
I was reading an article about soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disease. A therapist in the article mentioned that PTSD had been around for centuries and that every war had its PTSD casualties. It started me thinking about how soldiers with PTSD were treated after our bloodiest and worst war – the Civil War. I discovered that after the Civil War we began building huge mental institutions to warehouse these mentally broken soldiers. Physicians just didn’t know how to help them. They recognized the problem – called it Soldier Fever or Home Fever – but they didn’t have any real understanding of it. I wanted to write another historical romance and I thought this would be a good problem to explore in it. This was a turbulent time in many respects with people in the South trying to piece their lives back together while bitterness and hatred ran rampant.
Author of more than 45 novels, Deborah lives in Oklahoma. She has been a full-time writer since she graduated from the University of Tulsa. She worked for a few years as a reporter for newspapers before becoming a freelance writer. Deborah's first novel was published in the late 1970s and her books have been published by Jove, New American Library, Harlequin, Silhouette, and Avon. She has been inducted into the Oklahoma Authors Hall of Fame and she is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of the Author's Guild.
Lover of the west and the people who tried to tame it, Deborah likes to write about strong, independent women and the men who are their equals. She grew up on a diet of TV westerns which have served her well. Since she appreciates men with devilish twinkles in their eyes, she likes to mix laughter in with the love scenes in her books. Also widely published in non-fiction, she writes and edits for a magazine focused on small businesses. Deborah taught fiction writing for more than 10 years at a community college. She is currently working on her next historical romance set in the wild, wonderful west.
Her books have been re-issued on Amazon for Kindle Direct and have attracted tens of thousands of new fans. For a list of them, visit her website.
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