by DeAnn Smallwood
Callie Collins, a proud woman in the late 1800’s is a liar and a darned good one, a master of the dubious art. She is also a dreamer. Her greatest hope is to reach a new life in South Pass City Wyoming, where she can open a bakery and live an independent life. To be successful, she will need her greatest gifts of deception to date. As a woman alone, she has to prove to Seth McCalister, the wagon master, that she has the wherewithal (a wagon and a set of oxen), the stamina to survive months of drought, dust, hardships and even risk of death, and a mythical fiancé who waits at the end of the line. McCallister is uneasy, but also mystified by the audacity and determination of the young woman. He allows her to join the train west. What he doesn’t realize is there is no fiancé. To make matters worse, Callie is in love with Seth McCallister, too. For the first time, the lies that have brought her so far in life threaten to keep her from her one, true love. McCallister is a man of strong character and Callie feels certain that once he realizes her deception, he’ll turn away, ashamed of his love and trust in her.
Callie was a liar. A darned good one. She didn’t set out to be one; it just happened and necessity demanded she perfect this dubious art.
She was twenty-two when she told her first lie. After that, it was like a pebble rolling downhill, starting slow, then gaining momentum.
The problem lay in remembering the embellishments. Just last week she’d named her imaginary fiancé Frank and, two days later, referred to him as Tom.
It wasn’t her fault she was reduced to lying. It wasn’t her fault she’d been born the weaker sex. Weaker, bah.
Wasn’t she a crack shot? If women were allowed to compete, she would out shoot any man around.
Wasn’t she an expert horsewoman? Granted, she had only ridden at Miss Whitman’s Riding Stable For Young Ladies, but how much harder could it be to ride on the open plains? A horse was a horse.
Let's learn a little about DeAnn Smallwood:
What is your writing environment?
I write in my office where I am surrounded by books. On my walls there are pictures of wolves: baby wolves howling at the moon, black wolves, snow wolves, and more. I have four large bookcases and they are crammed with books. Since I enjoy writing about medicine in the 1800’s, I have shelves of old medical books. I love these books and can get lost in their outdated methods of treating illnesses. I write at my computer and often print out pages as I write, for my husband to read. Usually, my two Yorkie kids are in the room with me. Eli, my six pound Yorkie son curls up in my office chair, hugging my back. Stormy, my four pound Yorkie daughter occupies a pillow in the window where she can watch for cats and birds.
Who is your perfect hero and why?
My perfect hero is a man of strength. I want him to exude this strength and to take command of a room the minute he enters it. He is very intelligent, understanding, passionate, and tender. He would be sensitive to my every mood. Of course, he’s extremely handsome and muscular. He can be tough, demanding, aggressive, and an excellent lover. In my book, Unconquerable Callie, Seth is just such a man. While I don’t go into his ability as a lover, I’m sure that would be the case. He is very much a leader and the settlers on his wagon train recognize this and give him their respect. I have to admit, all the hero’s in my books have these characteristics.
What authors have caught your interest lately and why?
Nora Roberts always catches my interest. She has an amazing ability to create characters that are believable and stay in your memory. She pulls you into the book with the first sentence. I did just finish a book by Jeffrey Archer and really liked it. I enjoy reading books written by English authors. I hated to see it end. Jude Deveraux is another favorite author of mine as well is Sandra Brown. I like authors that keep the sex scenes to a minimum…not page after page of descriptive sex while losing the storyline. I like reading James Patterson’s books when they are about his hero, Alex Cross. I like Alex. Again, he’s a believable hero. LaVyrle Spencer is another great author. Although she is retired, her books are well worth reading. Sweet romances with very likeable characters.
What type of book have you always wanted to write?
Just the type I’m writing. I love writing my historical romances. I think I lived back then in another life. I just hope I was as courageous and unconquerable as Callie. I also hope I found a man like Seth. I’ve always wanted to have a try at writing a murder/suspense novel. And I did. I’ve written two in my ‘Death’ series, under the pen name of D.M. Woods. I had a ball writing these books, but they really made me think outside the box. I feel so lucky to be able to write and most of all, to have my books read and enjoyed. You know, like Mark Twain said, you can live for months on a good compliment. To see your books in print…wow, what a thrill. And to have readers tell me they like what I write, there are no words to describe what this makes me feel.
Top 3 things on your bucket list?
I’d love to travel to Australia. The ‘land down under’ sounds beautiful and intriguing.
I’d love to have one of my books made into a movie. What a thrill.
I’d love to run the Boston Marathon. But since I run…jog…fast walk…whatever you call my effort, three miles a day, I don’t think that’s a possibility. The people that do this have my great admiration.
How did you get the idea for this particular novel?
The way I do all my ideas. They just come to me and a voice inside me says it’s time to write about whatever it may be. I never really plan my books. It seems the characters and story takes over from the first page. I visited South Pass Wyoming many years ago and the memory of this stopping point on the Oregon Trail stuck in my mind. I didn’t actually plan to write about South Pass and a wagon train then, but subconsciously I must have thought something along that order. I have so many ideas of books to write, I have to put them on the computer and do a paragraph or so, then save it until the time is right. Pioneer women have always interested me. My grandmother was a midwife and was of the same strength and character as these women had to be.
What is your favorite scene in your new release?
There are a couple favorites. I really like the scene where Callie faces the Indian chief that wants her for his wife. Little did she know, Seth planned to shoot her before he’d let her be taken. Oh no, not to kill her. As he told Callie, he’d just ‘pink’ her so she couldn’t sacrifice herself to save the train. Boy was he in for a surprise at what she actually did. Another favorite was when Callie shot the irritating bully, Onnie, to keep him from taking over Seth’s leadership of the wagon train. Seth wasn’t able to stand up for himself…he’d been accidentally shot by a small boy, playing with his father’s gun. You’ll have to read the story to see how and why Callie reacted like she did.
What are you working on now and when can we expect it to be available?
I’m currently writing a book called Montana Man. It’s a sequel to my first novel, Montana Star. I didn’t plan it that way, but like I said earlier, the characters took over the book and that’s what happened. I think this will be a fun read and hopefully be what the readers, who have read and loved Montana Star, have asked for. I should complete it and have it available late this year. I do have another book, One Shingle To Hang that is currently being edited and should be out this fall. It’s about a woman lawyer in the 1800’s. I hope you like it. I enjoyed researching it and meeting the hero.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Read. I read about a book a day. It’s my shut-off valve. Otherwise, my mind races with what I’m writing or will write. Scary, huh? Books are my friends. It’s my way to take a trip and never leave the farm or my house as the case may be. I read anywhere I go. I rarely leave home without a book in my purse or several in my car. Now e-books help me out so I don’t have to take so many with me when I manage to go camping. That’s another thing I like to do when not writing. However, I always take my computer with me and write while camping.
What would you consider a perfect date?
Now just to let you know, you’re asking an ‘old’ married lady that question. A perfect date for me is to go to a movie and then out to dinner. It’s not demanding and is relaxing. I enjoy eating out, but I’m basically a steak person. Love a good New York cut. Movies have to be just the right one. I rarely watch t.v. and am particular about what captures my interest. Give me a good book instead.
What is one interesting fact about you that readers don’t know?
I seem very outgoing and don’t mind crowds. But the reality is I’m basically a loner. I enjoy my own company. Maybe that’s because I live in a make believe world, usually back in the Western 1800’s. While I love having my books read, it’s hard for me to market myself. It’s like saying, “Look at me, look at me.” However, just let a reader tell me they enjoyed my book and all that is forgotten. Seriously, I live for days on a compliment. I still have to pinch myself to realize it’s not a dream and I truly have several books published. I am so lucky.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
I live in Colorado with my husband and my two Yorkie kid dogs: Stormy, four pounds, and Eli, six pounds. I’m a native of Colorado, but I’ve lived several years in Wyoming and Montana. I draw from these beautiful states for most of my books. My historical romances are: Montana Star, Sapphire Blue, Unconquerable Callie, and Wyoming Heather. Tears In The Wind is a contemporary romance. I have just contracted for another historical romance, One Shingle To Hang. It will be published fall of 2014. Then I changed genres from my beloved romances and wrote, under the pen name of D. M. Woods, my first suspense/thriller: Death Crosses The Finish Line. The second book in this ‘death’ series, Death Is A Habit, came out January 8th, this year. I am currently working on the third book in the ‘death’ series, Death Walks C Dock. I am also working on another historical romance, Montana Man. Truly, I mean it when I say my greatest pleasure next to writing is having my books read and enjoyed. There are many more stories just waiting to be written.
website link: http://www.deannsmallwood.com/
DeAnn will be awarding a $25 Barnes & Noble GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. The more you comment, the greater your chances of winning! Follow the tour HERE