Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Interview with Author Stacey Kayne

by Jo Robertson

Hi, readers and fellow Bandidas, give a big, warm Bandit Lair welcome to our guest Stacey Kayne, four-time Golden Heart finalist and author of amazing western historicals. Her debut novel Mustang Wild - which currently is a contender for Best Western Romance of 2007 at Love Western Romance - sold to Harlequin Historical in July 2006, followed shortly by Bride of Shadow Canyon. Stacey resides on two blogs; you can catch her on Petticoats & Pistols, a western blog, and Writers At Play.

Stacey is a fellow chapter mate of mine, and for those who don’t know her, she’s one of the kindest, most generous persons you’ll ever meet. Learn more about her at www.staceykayne.com.

Stacey, thanks so much for joining us in the Lair!

Happy New Year’s, All! Thank you Jo and Banditas for inviting me over. Wishing y’all a wildly fun and successful 2008!! The release of Maverick Wild is a fun way to start the New Year. With any luck, I’ll see the completion of my Wild Trilogy by the end of '08.

Stacey, we love call stories here in the Bandit Lair. Would you mind sharing yours with us?

It comes when you least expect it. It was two days before I had to board a plane to RWA National in 2006…and I was at an all-time low. I had promised my hubby I wouldn’t attend National unless I’d sold a book – I hadn’t, but I was a double Golden Heart finalist — I HAD to go.

Guilt was running high and funds were running low as I slogged out of bed and dropped into the chair in front of my computer. I hit my email and thought to myself, “You are such a pathetic loser.” And then I saw it. The subject MUSTANG WILD, the sender a Harlequin editor I’d sent two westerns to just a few weeks before.

(A friend/contest-rival of mine, Lyn Randal, had just sold to Harlequin Historical and mentioned to her editor that she had a friend who wrote westerns. Her editor asked if she could look at them, and I thought, "Why not?" They weren’t doing anything but gathering dust. I hadn’t looked at the files in nearly two years — I didn’t even open them, I just attached them to the email and hit send.)

My next thought on this suddenly-eventful morning was, "No way!" I read the first line. "We’re interested in MUSTANG WILD and have contacted your agent. We would like to discuss this with you before you leave for National…." I ran down the hall, glanced at my hubby who’d just poured his morning coffee and shouted, "Holy shit!" Then I turned and ran back to the computer with him chasing after me shouting, "Holy shit, what?"

LOL. Sounds like the kind of language and excitement that run amok in the Lair!

I emailed back that I was home and awake, pulled the phone cord from my computer and my phone rang — that fast! I answered and heard the words I’d waited nearly five years to hear while my hubby sniffled behind me. Of course he wasn’t crying *wink, wink*.

Packing my suitcase was a lot more fun after that phone call and National was a blast. A couple weeks later I sold Bride of Shadow Canyon.

Oh my gosh, Stacey, chills run down my spine just hearing your call story. I remember how ecstatic you were at National that year! And it just keeps getting better! You’ve sold the second books in each of the above-mentioned western series. Tell us about Maverick Wild, just released, and The Gunslinger's Untamed Bride, due July 2008.

Maverick Wild is the second book in my WILD Trilogy and is out TODAY! YAY!!! It’s been two years since the Morgans arrived in Wyoming, and Chance Morgan, Tucker Morgan's straight-faced twin brother, is our hero this time around. Chance is doing all he can to avoid the snares of marriage-minded women looking to capture a husband.

When a woman from his past arrives at his ranch, his resolve to stay single is weakened. Cora Mae Tindale owns a foothold into the emotions he’s kept under tight rein for most his life. A distracting array of curls and curves, she hardly resembles the mischievous spitfire from his youth, but her eyes hold the shadows of a painful past, and a passion she struggles to conceal. When Chance gives in to his own desires, he discovers something he’s never faced—she doesn’t want him.

Cora Mae’s indifference entices Chance in a way blatant flirtation never could. He yearns to discover the truth she hides, and as their pasts catch up to them, rekindled love becomes their greatest protection.

Sounds great! There's nothing like an alpha-male turned on his ear to pique my interest!

The Gunslinger's Untamed Bride, second in my BRIDE series, will be out in July, and features the young gunfighter adopted by Jed and Rachell at the end of Bride Of Shadow Canyon. I’m really excited about this book — it was a blast to write. The plot and characters were conducive to the amount of action I like to experience in a western.

Juniper Barns has grown into a hunky man who’s having a hard time shedding the violence of his past. She vows to kill him....he'll risk everything protect her!

Lily Carrington sees the name of an infamous killer on the payroll of her new lumber company and leaves her cushy San Francisco office to journey into the untamed wilderness and avenge her father’s death. Unprepared for the turmoil of a lumber camp torn apart by financial strain, Lily finds herself at the mercy of lumberjacks willing to do anything to get their pay. A handsome stranger determined to keep the peace becomes her sole protector—the very man she’s sworn to kill.

Juniper Barns has sought out a secluded life to escape the ghosts of his past, men seeking revenge for those he'd killed during his youth as a gunfighter. Realizing his new pretty boss has come with vengeful intentions, Juniper knows his troubles have just begun. As they work together to bring the lumber camp under control, their mutual desire becomes a new threat.

Can they overcome a past built on vengeance to find love in their future?

I hear you have some exciting news about a four-book contract! Give us the 411 on that.

I dropped into bed after finishing GUNSLINGER, relieved to finally be deadline free for the first time in over a year. I figured I'd take a little break before working up any new western proposals...sometime before Christmas maybe...*g* Well, I woke up six hours later to a message from my agent - my editors at Harlequin sent us an offer for FOUR more westerns — no proposals or anything =:-O I was stunned, and excited to say the least. After some pleasant negotiations and working out deadlines that didn't give me chest pain *g*, we accepted the offer :)

The first of the four will be the third book in my Wild series, where Garret Daines gets his shot at love — during the Wyoming blizzard of 1886. I’ll be taking part in a Spring Bride Anthology with Jillian Hart and Judith Stacy, due out in June ’09 — and two more full-length westerns will fall somewhere in between.

You’re the mother of two teenaged boys, which is a huge challenge all by itself. How do you manage such a prolific writing career with parenting teenagers?

I rely on my laptop and spend a lot of time writing in my truck. We live nearly ten miles from town, so once I leave my casa, it’s not time or gas effective to go home until all activities are done. Every weekday from 2:30 – 5:30 I’m sitting in the parking lot of the school or the tutor, writing on my laptop. Over the summer my boys had drum camp and water polo practice, and the heat drove me to the local library, where I searched out a quiet corner to keep cool and pump out pages in between events ;-) .

The great thing about having teens is they can work a microwave, dig through the laundry pile and be understanding when mom needs to get caught up on her page count after driving them to and fro.

The Banditas were just talking about keeping risqué clench covers away from inquiring young eyes and minds. What do your boys think of your writing? Do they read your books? Do you get teased by their friends?

When a new cover comes in, it’s quite the excitement in my house. It usually starts with a squeal when I see the attachment in the inbox and the family gathers round to watch my dial-up deliver the jpeg in tiny increments. My boys (hubby included) prefer the cowgirl on MUSTANG WILD over the cowboy on MAVERICK WILD.

My hubby’s first comment about MAVERICK was, "Hey, they forgot to button his shirt!" My fourteen year old said, "What’s that guy going to do, challenge a cowboy to a posing contest?" Me, I just grinned *g*. The men in my life are very supportive of my writing.

I don’t allow my sons to read my books because of the love scenes, but they tell me quite a few of their junior high friends have read their parents’ copies, certain chapters at any rate — which embarrassed me, but surprisingly made my boys all the more proud. I’ve had young readers attend my book signing with their parents who’ve told me all of them are reading my series — and that’s pretty neat. Considering I was nearly thirty when I read my first romance, I still blush.

You also write romantic suspense, which was a surprise to me. That’s a genre near to my heart. Tell us about your romantic suspense books. I know you believe in stock-piling completed manuscripts. Are those books part of your stockpile LOL?

I do have a few contemporary manuscripts in my stockpile. You can’t fight the market. That’s just fact. The 2002 RWA conference was my first, and the big buzz around conference that year was WESTERNS ARE DEAD. Not exactly what a budding western writer wants to hear. But I stuck to my guns, finished a few more westerns--had a few bites from editors. After two years of NEARLY selling westerns my agent told me I had two options…wait out the market or try something new. I’m not so good at the waiting thing, so I decided to try my hand at a contemporary western with a splash of suspense—before I knew it I had another pile of manuscripts and contests wins.

My RS manuscripts have been waiting patiently on the backburner while I settle into my western digs, and hopefully will find their own home in the next year or so. Trying to keep it fresh, I’m currently working on a hit man series, which I’m anxious to get in front of editors.

Which did you start writing first – romantic suspense or western historicals – and why did you become so prolific with the westerns? How much research do you do for them?

I started with western historicals. I finished my first western the day before the 2002 Golden Heart deadline, dropped a hundred bucks to overnight Bride Of Shadow Canyon to RWA, then mailed it to an agent, who signed me three weeks later. Characters are always talking to me, and I was in the midst of writing two more westerns when, to my sheer astonishment, BRIDE finaled in the Golden Heart. I wrote five westerns before I made the jump to Contemporaries in 2004.

I love researching a new historical. I have a fetish for old maps and love reading pioneer journals and pouring over history books. My first few westerns started with old maps and plotting a course I wanted my characters to take, and then I figured out the catalyst for getting them from point A to point B and all the calamity they’d find along the way.

While writing Bride Of Shadow Canyon I was taking American History night classes, which helped to fuel the backstory of my characters. My personal library is now bursting with books and encyclopedias on the old west, Native Americans, railroads, horses, logging camps, western slang, trade and trappers, cooking and housekeeping in the 1800’s—lots of interesting tidbits!

I know you’re something of a contest diva (in the Lair, we usually say Contest Ho). Tell us how you’ve run the contest gamut and your feelings about contests.

*LOL* Uh, yeah. I’ve entered a few contests. *g* For me, contesting was a wonderful motivator to keep plugging on, to start the next book and make those next contest deadlines. I also met some of my very best friends on the contest circuit. Writers At Play is a new blog founded by all my partners in crime (including a few Banditas), a group of unpublished contest divas who banded together to make the journey to publication a lot more fun!

When I decided to write a book, it wasn’t about craft or a love of words or writing (I’d never written anything beyond a term paper) or even being a reader (I’d read two romance novels ever) — I was a mother of two boys who’d just started school and I was looking for a job.

A daydream spawned in an American History night class during a documentary on Sitting Bull was the start of my first manuscript — it’s where Jed Doulan was born *g*. When I sat down at my computer that night, the characters just poured out of me and I had a hundred pages by sunup. But I didn’t know what to do with it. I tend to be a tad obsessive compulsive, and over the next month or so I read about 200 romance novels. I weeded out my favorite authors and tried to figure out their rhythm between prose and dialogue.

A few months later I figured I needed to test the waters, to see if I really had a shot at writing, because if not, I’d have to keep my daydreams in my head instead of on paper and put all my focus on getting my teaching credentials. An Internet search yielded writing contests, and I entered the first chapters of two different stories (I write in pairs; a quirk of having a short attention span *g*). I entered them in three contests. I didn’t final, but I ranked in the top ten, and for me that was huge - it gave me some validation that as a total beginner who didn’t know her GMC from her POV, I had promise.

I pored over those pages with every ounce of standard formatting information I could gather, finished the first book about six months later—sent out my first submission, and signed with an agent (proof that it DOESN’T take contest finals to snag an agent), and just a couple weeks later I began to final in contests consistently…and so started my slo-o-ow journey to publication *g*. Further proof that a truckload of contest wins isn’t a guaranteed sale. Sometimes it just takes TIME to hit that right combo of the right editor in the right mood on the right day, in the right house…persistence is the key.

My advice to contest entrants is to always enter in groups of three. I listened to people who liked my work, connected with my characters and gave positive feedback along with suggestions. For those who didn’t like my stuff—and there were many; some even called my heroes names, in red ink!—I figured they were prejudice against cowboys, and tossed them in the trash. Personally, I don’t regret a single contest entry—but they were merely one of many tools at a writer’s disposal.

Who is your favorite hero in your historical westerns? I must confess to being partial to Jed in Bride Of Shadow Canyon.

Thanks, Jo! Jed was great fun to write. I really enjoyed the complexity of his backstory, and the strength of his integrity. He has a few cameos in my upcoming BRIDE books. I love each new hero—every one is interesting in his own way and has something new to teach me about writing and relationships.

I have many more questions, but I’ll leave some for our readers. Now’s YOUR turn, readers, to ask Stacey anything you’d like, from juggling deadlines to how she crafts her stories and characters. Check out Stacey's website at www.staceykayne.com/ for more information about upcoming releases.

We’ll have random drawings for TWO lucky winners: The first will win an autographed copy of Stacey's newest western Maverick Wild, and (my favorite) the second will receive Bride Of Shadow Canyon. Be sure to post a comment even if you don’t have a question!


Anna Campbell said...


Anna Campbell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Rooster, that was a pretty grand interview, wasn't it? What's that? Yes, Stacey is a pretty cool chick. And if anyone knows a cool chick, it's the Golden Rooster! Jo, great questions. Stacey, great answers. Your call story is fantastic. I LOVE call stories. I love your delicate response of "Holy Shit!" Words that will go down in history! Congratulations on the new book coming out. I can't wait to read it! I love a good western. I don't really know why they went out of fashion. The scope for really great heroes is enormous there. And extra congratulations on the four book contract! Wow, you are smokin', girlfriend. We'll have lots to celebrate in SF, won't we? Stacey, I'd like your views on what is the appeal of the western. I know why I like them. But I'd love to know why you do. Do you have a favorite western movie that inspires you when you write?

jo robertson said...

Fiddlesticks, Anna! I was fiddling with Jane's blog and missed the window. Congrats anyway. At least in Down Under land the GR gets to see the New Year early!

I too rejoice that westerns are coming back. I've been forced to read the old Zane Grey and Louis Lamour westerns. Great writers, but sort of slight on the female characters LOL. I don't think I could ever write one, however. There's so much subtext in the western, I think.

I'm so grateful Stacey sold her westerns first! I think she's out painting the town for New Year's (it's only 11:15 here in California), so I'll tell what MY favorite western is -- HIGH NOON! Man, I love Gary Cooper and the whole "Do not forsake me oh my darlin'" thing. Still gives me shivers!

Helen said...

Love the interview Jo and Stacey

Congrats Anna he has come back to warmer weather

Stacey I love historical westerns I cut my teeth on them so to speak the first romance I read 30 odd years ago was Sweet Savage Love Rosemary Rogers and I have read many fantastic ones over the years. I especially love them when they are in a series andI will be trying to find them here in Australia.
The research you put into these stories is amazing I love a rugged cowboy do you think of someone in paticular when you are writing your story.
Thanks again for a great interview Ladies
Have Fun

Stacey Kayne said...

Town's painted *lol* and I'm back at the computer :) HAPPY NEW YEARS, All!!

Howdy Jo and Anna!! I cannot wait to cheer with y'all in SF :-)

Funny thing about me and westerns, I never in my wildest dreams imagined I'd aspire to be a writer, certainly not of the historical genre. As a dyslexic kid, reading was torture. As teen I read some sci-fi and VC Andrews *g*. As a young adult I couldn't be bothered with more than assigned college reading. The biggest influence was the American History night classes I was taking when I got my first computer--that and the one romance novel I'd read--Laveryl Spencer's FORGIVING. I remember when I read that book, I was completely amazed she'd managed to get all those words to create such vivid images--still never thought I'd attempt any such thing *lol*. Not until I tried to write out a daydream after watching a documentary on Sitting Bull. Very strange, the way life works out sometimes *g*

The most influential western movie for me has to be Young Guns...Keefer Southerland, Lou Diamond Phillips and the non-Baldwin brother who played Billy the Kid--I loved that movie! I think it was just the right combo of all those elements at the right time that sparked my first western...and then I started reading western romance to try and figure out how to write one...and I fell in love with the genre :)

The biggest draw for me to the western genre is the adventurous setting. I love rugged landscapes where the terrain adds another element of danger, another obstacle for my characters to overcome. Rugged, wild, resilient--there’s just an elemental connection between a western setting and the characters...their adventurous spirit, their sense of purpose, determination and loyalty is another major draw for me.

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Helen!

I'll have to look up Rosemary Rogers. One drawback of being a late romance bloomer is that I'm not very broadly read--I'm still trying to catch up *lol*.

My characters are crystal clear in my mind, and not like anyone I've ever seen in person. To me, they are as unique as their personalities. The only actor that's really come close to any of my characters is Sam Elliot and Jed from BRIDE OF SHADOW CANYON, but the comparison came later, when my hubby said, "Hey, you ever notice how Sam is a dead-ringer for Jed?" Being that Sam Elliot is one of my favorite actors, I'm sure there was some subconcious influence there. At least ten readers have told me they heard Sam's voice when they read BRIDE, which was really cool! *G*

Tawny said...

ROFL - ahhh, the neon green GR is back in Anna's clutches, huh?

Jo - awesome interview with one of my absolute favorite gals in the world!! Stacey, sending smooches & hugs :-)

Loved the interview, love the books even more! Stacey, I adored Young Guns... but mostly cause Jon Bon Jovi was featured singing the soundtrack *ggg* The rest of the guys were hot, tho... hmmm, migt want to watch again.

jo robertson said...

Ummm, Sam Elliot's voice is so deep, witht that genuine western accent, no wonder so many of us are in love with him. Oh, and not too hard on the eyes either!

Stacey Kayne said...

Tawny!! My nocturnal cosmic twin :) There's nothing more fun than having the same release date as one of your best pals! And we both got bare-chested hotties on our covers *g*--only Tawny's cover has one of those steal horses Bon Jovi sings about ;-) Sweeeeet!

Be sure to check out mine and Tawny's DARE TO GO WILD contest! We're givin' away cool stuff!

Stacey Kayne said...

I know what ya mean, Jo. The man doesn't even have to talk...that crooked grin of his...the mischevious twinkle in his eyes....*sigh* Positively melting! He's even sexier with gray hair ;-)

Donna MacMeans said...

Happy New Year Everyone!!

Congratulations Anna on snagging the first cockadoodle of 2008!

Congratulations Stacey on your string of writing successes and fabulouso covers!

Who on earth could be negatively prejudiced agaisnt a cowboy? I am shocked! Glad to see that you're turning the tide to bring this fabulous subgenre back to the forefront. Can't remember my favorite romance title but I can remember the author - Julie Garwood.

Loved your call story. Harlequin knows a thing or two about good writers. Not surprised they want to keep you in their ranks.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Anna, for goodness sake see if you can get that green stuff off the GR and give him something to aid growing his feathers back. He really looks kind of weird after P226 was finished with him.

Stacey, I think John Wayne was what gave me a love of westerns, some of my work friend find it strange that I like to watch old westerns but I really do enjoy a good "shoot 'em up". I like the western romances because I don't get to see any kissing in the old movies, unless you count the cowboys kissing their horses! Many congrats on the 4 book deal! I am not a writer but I have hung out in the Lair long enough to know that is a huge occurence.

Gillian Layne said...

Jo, What a fabulous interview to start 2008!

Stacey, I'm thrilled to hear such positive reaction to your Westerns. I can't believe more houses don't publish them--I adore them, and one of my crit partners writes wonderfully funny, sensual westerns. Long live the cowboy/ranchhand/farmer!

I find myself fussing with research details now that I'm into revisions. Do you keep tract of your research in your WIP, or in a separate notebook, or are you so familiar with your settings now that you don't need to write down your details? Any golden research suggestions?

Christie Kelley said...

Great interview and it's wonderful to see you here, Stacey. I miss our competitions in the historical categories of contests. It was such fun to see you beat me almost every time :)

I love your westerns and I'm so glad they're making such a strong comeback. But honestly, I'm not much of a western movie fan. I prefer books to the movies.

Congrats on the 4 book deal! That's awesome to have them come to you without even a proposal. I can't wait to read them all.

Amy S. said...

Great interview! Your books sound great! Have you ever modeled a character from a family member or a friend?

CrystalGB said...

Hi Stacey! Great interview. Good to see you hear. I loved Mustang Wild and am looking forward to reading Maverick Wild. I am a big fan of western historicals.

Suzanne Welsh said...

A big 2008 hello to Banditas and friends!

Welcome to the Lair Stacy!! Loved the interview. You and I talked at National about the return of Western Historicals, now if I could just get American Historicals out of the morgue, life would be excellent.

My favorite Western book, was by Louis L'Amour titled Ride The River. The protagonist is a woman from Tennessee, where my parents grew up. She's the great grandmother of the Sackets, one of my favorite movies, since it has Sam Elliott and Tom Selleck in it, Oh Baby!

Allison Brennan said...

Hi Stacey! I just had to stop by and say Hi!!! And congratulations all over again for your sales and continuing success!! :)

Jennifer Y. said...

Welcome Stacey!!!

I LOVE your books and as a matter of fact stayed up all night last night...not ringing in the new year, but reading Maverick Wild (which was a Christmas gift from my parents). I kept joking and saying I had a hot New Years Eve date with a rancher named Chance Morgan...but that he might have to bring his friend Cora along...LOL.

I LOVED the book Stacey and look forward to reading many more from you.

May 2008 be all you hope for and more everyone!

doglady said...

Kudos Anna C on recapturing the GR! Although after his visit with p226 he probably ran screaming into your arms! Poor guy. (The GR NOT p226)Great interview, Stacey. I cracked up at your call story. That would probably be my reaction too! Love your sons too - a posing contest - too funny! Teenagers have a way of keeping us humble, don't they? Your books sound fantastic. I love Westerns and I am glad to see them making a comeback. Sounds like you are doing your bit in that effort. A four book deal, how cool is that! What is it that fascinates us so much about the Old West and the cowboy way of life?

flchen1 said...

Hi, Stacey! Thanks to you and Jo for a great interview! I really enjoy Westerns, maybe because they make use of such a romantic setting (at least in my mind--I've never been on a horse or a real ranch, so...). I just started Mustang Wild last night and can't wait to get back to it, and the excerpt I read on your site for Maverick Wild is a terrific taste for sure!

No questions off the top of my head, but thanks for sharing your awesome "call" story, and kudos to you and your supportive family!

Congrats, Anna, on recovering the GR!

Stacey Kayne said...

So, does Anna get to keep the Golden Rooster all year long? CONGRATS, Anna :)

I hear ya, Donna...would doesn't love a cowboy? Maybe it was just my brand of cowboy *lol* Poor Tucker has been called a drunken a**hole (in red ink no less--he is drunk in the opening scene, but he sobers up *g*) And when Jed was internally chasting his attraction to Rachell by telling himself "I've seen more curves on a fence post" I was told "NO! NO! NO! Not heroic!!!!", again with the red ink...Some folks just have no sense of humor ;-)

I have some Julie Garwood westerns on my keeper shelf, The Roses :)

Thanks for the cheers and right back at'ya! Congrats on the RT Nom!!!

Stacey Kayne said...

Thank you Dianna! My stepdad is a HUGE John Wayne fan, and Clynt Eastwood), so I've seen all their movies more than once--though the one JW movie scene that stands out the most in my mind was when his black shaggy dog got killed by the bad guys :( I don't doubt that those movies has some influence on my writing.

Maureen said...

Hi Stacey!
I have your latest and have only started reading it but am really enojoying it. Love the reunited from childhood aspect and a heroine who is not model thin. I haven't read the other books in the series yet but will. Happy New Year!

Stacey Kayne said...

More Power to your CP, Gillian! I love humor with my westerns. My all-time fave western author is Elizabeth Lowell--the heroes in her ONLY series have that dry humor that wins me over every time ;-) I'd sure love to see more westerns put out by those single title houses.

I generally submerge myself in research before fleshing my story...which is still in the early stages of writing. Once I have my characters clear in my mind I'll start sketching out the pivotal scenes with dialogue. In a few days I'll have a rough sketch of how the stories gonna go, then I start flipping through books and maps. Right now I have INTO THE WILD sketched out and I've been searching for all the online and printed info I can find on the Wyoming blizzard of 1886, facts about the cattle and cowboys who died in the storm, and the range wars that resulted after the melt.

Every once in a while I'll jot down some fact I don't want to forget, but mostly I try to gorge on the research--my advice, read ten-times more info than you'll ever use :) Hopefully that info will resurface smoothly while fleshing out the book. But I keep a stack of historical research books handy on my desk for quick references in those moments when you know that spot could use more detail.

Nathalie said...

I have never read a Western romance in my life... other than Savage Thunder by Johanna Lindsey... so what would an author say to encourage me to read one!

Happy New Year!

Lily said...

Great interview... I just love those covers :)

Happy New Year everyone... I can't believe it is already 2008!

p226 said...

I never realized there was a "western historicals" genre. Ok, here's my "must do" for anyone that's into that genre and in the United States.

Look up your local SASS and go watch a match. It's a MUST DO. The Single Action Shooting Society runs matches based on period weapons and period dress. It's by far one of the most interesting shooting sports I've ever been exposed to. They actually dress up as period cowboys. The use period rifles, pistols, and shotguns. They even have a mounted category where they do their shooting from horseback. A lot of those guys take the period accuracy very seriously in everything from equipment to dress.

You'll find true historians on the old west out there. Guys that know more about day-to-day life in the old west than entire encyclopedias.

Plus, it's just super fun to watch those grown men play cowboy with the real tools of the period.

p226 said...

Oh, for more info on SASS and events:

Stacey Kayne said...

Hey Christie! Those were fun days, huh? *lol* Huge CONGRATS on your upcoming book!!! One cool aspect of contesting is watching everyone cross over into the published ranks...a method to all the contest madness ;-) Cheers for great success in 2008!!

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Amy! Ya know, over Christmas my big brother was certain Harlequin cameras had caught him with his shirt open for my MAVERICK cover *ROFL* Other than his wishful/fantasy thinking *g*, nope. I've never used someone I knew for a character model. Thing is, I don't really try to come up with characters...they just come to me. It usually starts with voices, I'll over their conversation with another character in my mind, and then the image starts to fill in. Before I wrote MUSTANG WILD, I knew I wanted a light-hearted cowboy hero for the next book, someone totally different than Jed...but I didn't know who that would be or what his story would be like, not until I saw Tucker lounging at a card table in my mind ;-)

Kimberly Van Meter said...

Oh damn. I had this nice long post and then Blogger ate it. Grrr...
Alright, here's what I said in a nutshell.

Awesome calls story! Awesome 4-book deal! And wow, I think your covers are beautiful.

congrats on your rising career. You certainly deserve it.

Stacey Kayne said...

Hey Crystal--great to see you :)

I'm so glad you like my westerns! Thank you-thank you!! I hope you enjoy MAVERICK.

Chance and Cora Mae's story through me for a bit of a loop. Their shared history and painful past resulted in the most emotional book I've written--that's what my editors tell me :) I tried to maintain that level of emotion with my fourth book, and inject some crazy, rip-roarin' action--I am chomping at the bit for THE GUNSLINGER'S UNTAMED BRIDE to hit the bookstores. Juniper and Lily are in for quite the rollicking ride ;-)

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Suzanne! Me too! Sam Elliot and Tom Selleck...:::heart-throbbing sigh:::...double the viewing pleasure, and The Ultimate Cowboys!!! I love those straight-up westerns...no better place to find a good shout out or knife fight with all the hardware and blood-drizzling detail! *g*

Stacey Kayne said...

Allison, great to see you here! Thanks for the cheers--YOU, my dear, and an inspiration of success :) Wishing you tons more in '08!! Hope to see you in SF!

Anna Campbell said...

Sadly, the GR is only mine until someone else swipes him which I suspect will be tonight. But he's glad to be back eating caramello koalas at my place! But he shows a lamentable tendency to start shooting at the local wildlife!bP226, you have much to answer for!

Stacey, I hear you on the setting. There's always a third major character in a good western, isn't there? The environment.

Like a lot of people here, I LOVE a good western movie. I love High Noon. But I think my favorite would have to be Red River. I love the character arcs in that one. With the more recent ones, I think it would have to be Tombstone. Val Kilmer makes the sexiest Doc Holliday. Does Last of the Mohicans count as a western? If that one does, I've just changed my favorite ;-) Oh, Daniel in that movie is just to die for (or stay alive for!!!).

Aunty Cindy said...

And BIG WELCOME to Stacey! Awesome interview you two! Can't WAIT to get my grubby lil paws on Maverick Wild. Luckily, I got gift cards from both Borders and B&N!

Westerns? OMG, I grew up watching Clint Eastwood silently chew that cigar and take out the baddies! Oh and give me Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp ANY DAY!

P226, thanx for the info on SASS, they sound GREAT! A bit like the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) but in the old west. Guess we can forgive you for taking the GR hostage, as long as his feathers grow back, that is. Foanna, are caramelo koalas conducive to feather regeneration?


Stacey Kayne said...

WOW, Jennifer! I'm honored! You've just brightened my New Year :-)

It was fun to see Chance hitting the shelves early. The day my first book came out I was on a morning news show and afterward my family and I went to all the bookstores, Wal Marts and Targets in the area...mostly because NO ONE had the March HHs out yet and we had to keep looking! Finally, we found one Borders with two copies of MUSTANG on the bookshelf *lol*

p226 said...

You know, I forgot to mention something about the SASS. There are a lot of grown men and women shooting out there. The SASS is very family oriented.

Also, you'll find varying levels of "period participation." Some of them just put on some chaps and a cowboy hat and go. Others go as far as to set up period blacksmithing services right there at the range.

Stacey Kayne said...

Teenage boys definitely keep life spontaneous and fun :) Kids of any age will surely keep you grounded *lol*

Harlequin Historical has really kept the westerns alive. Unfortunatly, I had no idea until I sold to them--I have a lot of reading to catch up on! I've found thier variety of historical genres to be rather imipressive, from Roman set to post civil war, and I blieve Elizabeth Lane's new book is set in the west in the early 1900's.

As for me, I'm a die-hard dusty western fan. I hope there's lots of readers who share my craving for rugged, rawhide cowboy justice :) The whole code-of-the west thing pulls me in. It was truly life on the edge in the Old West...you fought to get a start on life and had to keep fighting to keep what you had.

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Flchen1! I hope Tucker pleases :) If I had to pick a fave of my ten or so finished ms's, MUSTANG is it, I think because I had so much fun humbling Tucker *lol*.

Do the rest of you authors have a favorite of your own work?

Stacey Kayne said...

Happy New Year Maureen!

When I sent MAVERICK in, I was afraid my editors wouldn't let me keep my plus-sized heroine...you hear storiess about having to stick to a mold...so I was thrilled when they loved her just the way she is...as does Chance ;-) Thanks for buying my book!!!

Jennifer Y. said...

Stacey, I am glad I could brighten your day. Oh, and I loved the fact that your heroines "break the mold". Cora Mae was a wonderful heroine just the way she was and to be honest I cannot imagine her any other way than how you wrote her.

And I want to thank you for writing westerns...I adore the genre and cannot wait to read your upcoming books.

Stacey Kayne said...

Oh, wow, a challange! *g*

Gosh, what's not to love about the Wild West, Nathalie? Where the men are rugged, the women are wild and the untamed landscapes capture the soul.

I have a thing for spunky heroines and the ladies of the west were as strong and adventurous as their cowboys--they had to be. But they also needed the tender touch of their man to add an element of silk to their rugged lives ;-)

It's that balance between dusty grit and silky tenderness that you just can't get anywhere else :)

catslady said...

I love historicals and I grew up watching all the cowboy shows but for some reason I really haven't tried this genre and I haven't got a good reason why not. Time to change that!!

Stacey Kayne said...

Happy New Year, Lily!! I have to say, as a new author, waiting on that first book cover is terrifying. I'm so picky about covers and I hate it when the cover model doesn't look anything like the characters I picture in my mind, and when that character is one you created...ack!!! I asked the art folks for the back-view of a cowgirl holding a saddle and a rope, so as not to show her face, but you never know what they'll decide, so I was sweating bullets when I opened that file...and I could not believe they captured Skylar just as I pictured her--her posture full of sass and spunk, and with just enough imagery to allow the reader to fill in the blanks *g* Kudos to the HH art department :)

Stacey Kayne said...

P226--the famed Rooster Robber ;-)

You can bet yer boots there's a Western Historical genre! Ask anyone at SASS *ggg* I LOVE those folks!! Talk about a loyal western bunch! My nitch of California has SASS events, but sadly I have not yet made it to any. We watch them on PBS (public broadcast) all the time *g* LOVE the period clothing and those western mustaches!!! My editors shaved Jed in BRIDE OF SHADOW CANYON--the only hero that's ever come to me with a mustache...but I got to keep his scruffy stubble ;-)

I'm adding an '08 resolution, to attend a SASS shooting event :)

Stacey Kayne said...

Oh, for a good dose of Western Historical action, you can also check out our group blog at www.PetticoatsAndPistols.com

www.LoveWesternRomances is another site devoted just to the western historical genre--check out their Best Western of 2007 page...MUSTANG WILD is in the running with some other awesome westerns ;-)

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Kim! Thank you so much!!

Stacey Kayne said...

Tombstone is an awesome western, Anna. And Val Kilmer will forever be Doc Holiday in my eyes ;-) He OWNED that role! "I'll be yer huckleberry..." *sigh*

Carramello koalas...m-m-m...they'd fluff my feathers ;-)

Nancy said...

Oh, my word! Anna C. snags the rooster again. That must explain the triumphant shriek I thought I heard in the wee hours! *g*

Welcome, Stacey! I love your call story. Thanks for sharing that, and your family's reactions to your covers, so candidly. I love research, too. In fact, I love it so much that it can turn into a procrastination mechanism if I'm not careful.

Thank also for sharing your perspective on contests. I was lucky in my early entries, but so many new writers enter a contest, receive a devastating critique, and are just crushed by it.

Congratulations on your four-book deal! It's great to see perseverance pay off.

I love westerns and am glad to see them making a comeback. One of my favorite movies is High Noon, starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. I'm not generally a Cooper fan otherwise, but I do love that movie. Also Big Jake with John Wayne.

Kimberly, blogger has done that to me, too. It's supremely annoying!

p226, thanks for the SASS info. We research geeks are always on the lookout for new sources.

Jo, my dad read a lot of Zane Grey and Louis L'amour. He and one of the "maiden ladies" in our town used to swap their westerns back and forth. And yes, Sam Elliott is way cool!

I'm with Tawny on Young Guns. The guys were seriously cute, but I liked the music best. The movie was just a bit too violent for me, though I compromised by using the "scene skip" on the DVD and so enjoyed it hugely.

A fun interview, Jo!

Stacey Kayne said...

"I grew up watching Clint Eastwood silently chew that cigar and take out the baddies!"

LOL!! Ain't that the truth, Aunti Cin! Perfect imagery :) Must be why he never really flourished in my mind as a romantic hero *lol* Always pictured brown teeth peppeered with tobacco pieces -- ick!

Stacey Kayne said...

THANK YOU, Jennifer!! I hope the publishers keep me around. Cowboys brew in my mind way faster than I can write them, and the current WIP is always keeping me from the new series I'm anxious to start *lol*

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Catslady!

Hope you enjoy a ride on the western side :)

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi'ya Nancy!

Contesting definitely has it's hazards--I'm a firm believer that writers who do enter should enter their ms in groups of three contests, so that they have ample feedback to weigh against each other. Expensive, but hopefully effective *ggg*

BIG JAKE is one of my faves too :)

Suzanne Welsh said...

Tombstone Sigh...Is there anything better?

Kurt Russell as the obsessive Wyatt.
Sam Elliott as the dependable Virgil.
Bill Paxton as the righteous Morgan.

and big sigh

Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday. As I've said before, he made a dying man sexy.

"Why Kate, you're not wearin' a bustle! How lewd."


Kate Carlisle said...

Great interview, Stacey and Jo!!

And Happy New Year, everybody! Hope 2008 is simply the best year ever for all of us! :-)

Stacey, congratulations on the 4-book deal!! That is fabulous and such good news to western historical romance lovers! And may I say that the *cover gods* have been very kind to you. Your covers are truly gorgeous!!

Some of my favorite western romances are Julie Garwood's For the Roses and all of Elizabeth Lowell's. And for movies, I loved Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Must've seen it six or eight times back in the day and had such a crush on those two!

And Sam Elliott....yum!!

jo robertson said...

Wow, p226, thanks for the great info on the SASS! I'd be very interested in that. I'll whip on over and see if there's a local chapter here in Sacto.

Stacey, did you ever respond to the question about basing any of your characters on people you know? I'd be interest in that answer VBG!

jo robertson said...

Oopsee, Stacey, saw your answer. Didn't scroll down far enough.

Honestly, I'm not surprised that westerns are making such a comeback. I think we like those grand, epic stories that seem especially suited to the broad canvas of the west.

Stacey Kayne said...

*sigh* I'm gonna have to dust off that DVD!!! *g*

Stacey Kayne said...

Thanks, Kate!

Oh yeah...Butch and Sundance!!! Total western hotties :) So, which was your favorite??

Stacey Kayne said...

Ya know what's funny, Jo, is relatives who THINK a character is based on them *ggg*. In my very first western (prequel to BRIDE) I have two young brothers, Kyle and Jake, and I did study the posture and mannerisms of both my sons, which are disticntly different, and incorperated them into those characters--it was a great exercise for developing and maintaining characterization :) Since Kyle is a hero in an upcoming BRIDE book--that's where the comparisons ended *lol*.

Mona said...

Hi Stacey,
I just loved Bride of Shadow Canyon. I'm not really that keen on old westerns. But really I just loved it. Both characters for the hero and heroine were written very well. It was like each one of them met precisely his equal.
So I was attracted to both characters and not only one of them.
Happy New Year:)

Joan said...

Welcome to the lair, Stacy!

Sorry I'm so late chiming in...long day at the movie theatre eating popcorn :-) (Psst...P.S. I Love You...VERY GOOD)

And congratulations on all your success. I think it is FABULOUS to see different time periods being published in the historical romance world.

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Mona! I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed Jed and Rachell's story :)

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Joan! Now that looks like a wonderfully romantic movie :) Even the preview makes me weepy *g* Thank you for the congrats! I agree, a variety is always nice!Now I must have popcorn *lol*

doglady said...

Okay all this talk about Tombstone and Val Kilmer (SIGH) is forcing me to dig that DVD out to watch!

Stacey Kayne said...

*G* Same here....I'm popping popcorn!

Anonymous said...

Stacey, thanks for visiting and bringing your wonderful books into the world! :-) Girl, you've got a backlist now--I'm so excited to know there are four more on the way! I haven't started Maverick Wild yet (trying to finish my own WIP before the ball dropped) but it's going to be my reward this weekend. (After I get the %$#%$ house cleaned up and all the Christmas stuff put away. )

I hope to finally get to meet you in SF! We are going to party like it's...er...2008! :-)

Stacey Kayne said...

THANK YOU, Kristen :) Hanging out in the lair has been a fun start to the new year! A big thank you to Jo for the invitation

Cheers on the home stretch of your WIP!!! Typing that last word is such a GREAT feeling :) Go, Kristen!! Scary thing about finishing a book in my house is the size of the surrounding dust bunnies ;-) They make me want to go read a book *lol* Hope you enjoy MAVERICK! Cannot wait until SF!!

Caren Crane said...

Stacey, it's so awesome to have you here! I loved your call story. It's fascinating how often people are really hitting a low when THE CALL comes. I know one friend of mine had had her full sitting on an editor's desk for months when an author of that editor told her to read the manuscript sitting on her desk. The editor did and made an offer for it within days!

Aunty, you invoked the name of the Kurt! *thud* Kurt can't help being dead sexy, whether he's Wyatt Earp or a firefighter or a Marine in space or a demon-fighting truck driver in Chinatown...So much Kurt, so little time...

P226, please tell Foanna the best method for soaking off the glow stick goo off the GR!

Stacey, Anna only gets to keep the Golden Rooster until someone nabs him from her long about midnight, Eastern Time, USA. Since some of us actually live in that time zone and have to work of a morning, this is easier if one lives in, say, Australia or one does not sleep. *cough*Tawny*cough*

Enjoy him, Foanna, for midnight comes soon!

jo robertson said...

Stacey, too funny about using your sons for characterization. When they're old enough to read the sexy parts, that might creep them out. I'd keep that 411 in the vault! Tee, hee!

Everyone, I'll second what Joan said. P.S. I Love You is terrific! Sentimental and corny, but I noticed when I was hiding my tears that all my girls were sniffling away. And the lady across from me too!

No spoiler alerts for this one, but I didn't know the basic premise of the movie! Gerald Butler is to die for. I'd like to see him in western gear with that accent!

And the tricky thing about the Golden Rooster, Stacey, is that we never know which midnight is the REAL one -- Australia, east coast, west coast???? Makes it quite a challenge to nab him.

jo robertson said...

And ya'll, if you're so inclined, don't forget to hop on over to www.LoveWesternRomances.com and vote for Stacey's MUSTANG WILD for best western romance of 2007. It's certainly worthy!

Stacey Kayne said...

Hmmm? Tawny never told me she be rooster hunting in them wee morning hours *ggg*

I think that's because it usually has to storm for ligtening to strike *lol*. So many factors go into buying an ms, it's amazing any of us get bought, and a travesty that so much GREAT TALENT is still waiting for that jolt.

Hard to believe The Kurt has been around since black and white TV! He just gets hotter. Loved him when he played the Carribean pirate leading that poor family amuk on their vacation ;-)

Stacey Kayne said...

Thank you, Jo! It's a total thrill to be on a list with some of my favorite authors for Best Western :-)

Not that I expect to win...I'd likely pass out from utter shock *lol*...but I'd sure appreciate any votes ;-)

Anna Sugden said...

Stacey!!!! Hugs and smooches, sweetie. Welcome to the Lair. I'm one of Stacey's Writers at Play buddies too and I'm so proud of all her success!!

I loved, loved, loved both Mustang Wild and Bride of Shadow Canyon - and have been waiting impatiently for Maverick Wild and The Gunslinger's Untamed Bride. So thrilled to know there will be still more books.

I hope all our visitors will go and vote for Stacey at Love Western Romance!!

Tombstone is one of my all-time faves *sigh*. Sam Elliott could read the phone directory and make it sound sexy (him and Alan Rickman). I can't decide whether Val Kilmer is more sexy in Top Gun (volleyball scene anyone?!) - but I adore him in Tombstone. And Kurt ... well, 'nuff said.

Christyne Butler said...

Great interview Stacey and loved your call story!

And Sam Elliott...oh yeah!

Stacey Kayne said...

Anna!!! You found your way back *g*. I hope your New Years was AMAZING :) We looked for you on the telli ;-)

Thank you for your comments on my books--they mean so much!!

Isn't RWA the coolest??? It's where I met my very best friends, and I wasn't even looking! Romance writers RULE :-)

So does Sam *ggg*

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Chrystine! Thank you :)

terrio said...

I am soooooooooooo late! Much travelling and craziness lately but I'm so glad I took the time to read this one. This interview is fantastic. I've been reading romance forever (started WELL before age 30) and I cut my teeth on Westerns. Love them! Ryan, Lowell, and many more.

So glad to hear they are making a come back and I am definitely adding Ms. Kayne to my hunting list. The call story is so cool and IF i ever have one, I'm pretty sure I'll be using the same language. Or something a little stronger. After I wake up from the faint, or course. LOL!

terrio said...

And now that I've taken the time to read the comments, just wanted to suggest you find some Dorothy Garlock books. I'll warn you there are literally a TON of them but they are fantastic westerns and many of them connect. It took me years to gather my collection through used bookstores and though I have more than a shelf full, I still don't think I have all of them.

Stacey Kayne said...

Dorothy Garlock---I've read them ALL!!! I found her during my original romance benge and hunted down each one--LOVE her! There is a woman who writes good grit and heart warming lovin' :) But I don't think I've read anything by a Ryan.

Stacey Kayne said...

Thanks Terrio! Wishing you that foul-mouthed, case-of-the-vapors experience real soon!!

jo robertson said...

Wanted to add a final thanks to Stacey for visiting us Bandidas in the Lair. She's a ton of fun, if you haven't figured that out already, and a really sweet person. We love her!

And if any of you got turned on to westerns or discovered them anew, that's great!

jo robertson said...

Remember, readrs, we'll do doing a random drawing for two of Stacey's westerns, so check back on Wednesday or Thursday to learn the winners!

Stacey Kayne said...

Thank you to everyone, for a fun New Year's day :-)

Cherie J said...

Aww! Bummer! I missed an opportuntiy to talk to Stacey. A good friend of mine just recently recommended her books to me so I need to try one on my next trip to the bookstore. Thanks for being here Stacey!

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Cherie! I had a blast in the Lair :) I bet you still have time to get into the drawing for a book ;-) If you have a question, ask away. Thanks for stopping in!

Missy said...

Great interview! I just read Mustang and Maverick, and I loved them both!!!
I plan on starting Bride Of Shadow Canyon tomorrow. I am sooooo looking forward to your future books Stacey! I have been telling all my friends they have to read your WILD books!

I want the names of the people of called your heroes bad names in red ink so I can tell them where they can stick those red ink pens! ;-) LOL

I don't understand how anyone can not love cowboys! I mean SERIOUSLY, what is there NOT to LOVE about cowboys????? :-)

I have had "Cowboy Love" as long as I can remember. I grew up in Oklahoma, and in grade school when all my friends had a crush on Shawn Cassidy, I was in love with John Wayne! LOL

Thanks for the great stories Stacey, your books are going on my keeper shelf right next to my For The Roses by Julie Garwood. I know I will be rereading your books many times in the future!

Stacey Kayne said...

LOL!! Thanks, Missy!! I appreciate those defensive words about my cowboys *g*

Garwood's For The Roses is on MY keeper shelf--I'm truly touched :) It's nice to know I please the folks with good taste in men *ggg*

terrio said...

Sorry, Stacey. That would be Nan Ryan. You have to get find her. She sets the pages on FIRE! Midnight Affair is one I will never forget. I read one of hers when I was 17 and promptly called my mother to tell her there was no way I could still be a virgin after reading that. LOL! Can you lose your virginity vicariously?

Stacey Kayne said...

I think MOST do, Terrio ;-) Thanks for the reading tips!