Writer’s Process

cathys-book-launch-3-30-10-010I was not-so-recently tagged by Chris Paynter for the “Writing Process Blog Tour” and so, here we go. Chris and I have been friends since her “Playing For First” was released.  We are both big baseball fans and began a usually-friendly rivalry over the Brewers and the Reds (I still have a limp, however). Subsequently, we have done a number of readings together around the area, including the Lambda Reading in Chicago, which involved the wrecking of a nearby restaurant (my probation officer still will not let me talk about that moment). Our very patient partners, Gloria and Phyllis, have been an enormous help, especially that restaurant-thingee, bail money, etc. We are both blessed to even know them.  
 I am a big fan of Chris’s books, all of them, and “Survived By Her Long Time Companion” was a beautiful book, but don’t miss her TLF_cover_2latest, “To Love Free”, to be published soon by Blue Feather Books. (I secretly believe the “dolphin” in the book is simply Gloria and Phyllis in another form)
1. What Am I Working On
I have just finished “Hardwired”, a romance for BSB, contracted to be out in 2015. I have carried the main character, Clary Stone around in my head for a long time, before I wrote my first book in 2008 for Bold Strokes, (“Lake Effect Snow”) and just couldn’t find the story for a very sad, but much awarded, eighth grade school teacher.  While I was researching “Jacob’s War” I kept running into little homeless children (infant to seven or eight years of age), not just here, in my home town, but in so many places. I’d put the information away in a separate file, and when everything was finished with “Jacob’s War” I took a rest.
   Wired Test 10 (1)
 During those few months, here she was again, knocking on my door. Clary Stone just wouldn’t leave my head, and I began to look at my notes and information on the little homeless children. It seemed to me that Clary had found her story, and so it began.  I put her in Iowa, and just losing the woman she was in love with, and their little girl that Clary had raised from infancy. Her aunt calls her from her hometown, South Port, WI., on Lake Michigan, and asks for help in the summer, and Clary goes home. And “home” is the story.
2. Why Do I Write What I Do?
I love the changes in people’s lives, the sudden stop-signs or curves that one encounters. And yes, I include everything from politics, death, or current events, relationships, even drugs, and how a person handles these moments. I love the FB sign, “We Are All Just Walking Each Other Home” because that’s my base line. And how we either help each other up or celebrate our incredible moments of life. 
3. How Does My Writing Process Work?
Scene By Scene, and in the case of “Hardwired” I pretty much knew how that would end from the beginning. I gather as much information as possible from people I know, or agencies that will talk with me, and begin a file. And of course, Google.  Sticky notes are my friends (usually, until they overrun the house and Gloria says patiently that she’s not picking one more off the floor). Generally speaking, I write straight through to the end for a first draft which has always worked for me. Until “Hardwired”. I threw the whole thing out and started over, many times. It just wouldn’t do what I wanted it to. That’s never happened to me before, and so there was much gnashing of teeth, swearing, and grumpy person staring at the computer. My beta readers should receive a free vacation to a destination of their choice for their part in this book. They all put up with a lot from this person. However, I am now working on the sequel to “Jacob’s War” and it’s doing what I want it to do. The scene by scene, moment by moment, thing so I have no clue what happened with “Hardwired”.
4. How Does My Work Differ From Others in the Same Genre?
As most have said, that’s a question the readers should answer. I definitely like to have “an issue” to write about. In “Lake Effect Snow”, it was Iraq and what was happening in the US (and isn’t it odd that we’re revisiting Irag now?).  In “Collision Course” it was the death of a partner, and someone new to our world, of being a lesbian, and how children are involved. In “Jacob’s War”, it was drugs. “Hardwired” combines the struggles of today’s teachers, which are incredible, and the issue of homeless children plus how each state handles the problem. And in my research, I couldn’t believe the differences. 


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Semi annual update

Blog Minion Note: 

C.P. is nearing the end of her latest novel and won’t mind if I sneak in to let people know her last release was shortlisted for a Lammy. 

Congratulations to all the amazing finalists!

25th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists


1.      Ill Will, J.M. Redmann, Bold Strokes Books

2.      Jacob’s War, C.P. Rowlands, Bold Strokes Books

3.      Lemon Reef, Robin Silverman, Bold Strokes Books

4.      Molly: House on Fire, R. E. Bradshaw, R. E. Bradshaw Books

5.      Rest for the Wicked, Ellen Hart, Minotaur Books


More news on the release date for the next book when it becomes available.



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C.P. Rowlands guest appearance

Virtual Living Room this weekend…

“Just a reminder that beginning this Friday, November 2 and continuing through Monday, November 5, C.P. Rowlands will be with us in the VLR with a Spot On her latest book, “Jacob’s War.” It is a wonderful book and C.P. has graciously agreed to post the first two chapters, as well as links to the trailer and other information on the book. Be on the lookout for that posting, especially if you haven’t read the book. And get ready with your questions beginning on Friday.

C.P. is pretty well know here in the VLR, but just in case you are new to her and her work, here    is the description off her publisher’s (Bold Strokes Books) website:       https://rowlandscrowsnest.wordpress.com “

For the:  Video Book Trailer

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Regarding the research for the book

Recently, I’ve had a number of questions about the research for my recent book, “Jacob’s War”, and, I hope to have the opportunity to provide a sequel to that book.

“Research” is something I’ve always loved, and it’s certainly a vital part of “Jacob’s War”. However, the drug culture was a reality check unlike anything I’d ever encountered.  In the first place, there’s a huge difference between researching ideas and events for a novel–versus collecting vital stats on drug trafficking.  Then, the personal cost–addiction–a cultural epidemic that affects millions of people from every corner of society. I collected current data and met with real people who added another dimension to the actual process. For example, the members of my family that are in law enforcement, or the State and local operations that responded. The employees at the Federal level were willing to do more than just hand over data. They took the time to meet with me, lending a personal side to the problems they face daily.

This “research” for this book was fascinating, but also the most complicated project I’ve ever worked on. I have no comparison on how America is doing with their war on drugs, except to say that we spend billions of dollars fighting the problem. Also, law enforcement in this area is enormous. The people who I came in contact with felt that they were doing the right thing and, at the end of the day, their results provided the most important data of all.

I had so much fun writing “Jacob’s War” that I can hardly wait to reconnect with AJ, Katie and their group…and several new characters have appeared.  That means new challenges and professional growth.  Also, I get to deepen their exciting, young relationship. Love, of course, always love.

But first …more research.

Meanwhile, you can enjoy a little video teaser      Jacob’s War  Video trailer





The book is widely available and at Bold Stroke Books  

More News about appearances to come.   C.P.



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“Jacob’s War” Coming soon

To celebrate my third book, “Jacob’s War”, I am adding a blog!

It’s really from the  “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up”  department.

Twenty-some years ago, when retirement seemed far away, we bought this home. Our five kids were gone to marriage, college, or finding their own space, and the house was just our size. Across the street is a huge park and forest with a creek fed by natural springs. And trees. Lots of trees that shelter the deer, fox, and coyotes that live there. Also, all sorts of birds from hawks to geese to cranes. And a huge crow population which I loved. It was, in a word, peaceful.

Several houses away was a traditional family. Four little boys, the youngest still in diapers, a mother and a father. They were true neighborhood kids and we all watched over them as they roamed the park and trees. They mowed our yard, shoveled our sidewalks, and even helped us carry in the groceries. One of our Christmas gifts was “free sidewalk shoveling” for a week. We played cards and ate apples on our front porch. It was the best of “kid-dom” without the responsibilities.

The little boys grew, and lives changed. One of us retired, families moved, and the neighborhood shifted. The park and woods began to attract older teenagers and young adults. There were break-ins, petty thefts and vandalism. It was a little edgier, particularly at night. In warmer weather we saw more of the local police than we were comfortable with and they began to talk to us about drugs. Finally, one gorgeous Sunday morning, we all woke up to a breath-taking thirty-three vehicles with all of their tires slashed. One of them was my brand new Subaru. The police went door-to-door as we all dealt with flatbed tow trucks.

Drugs became a problem and we began to witness things that I describe in “Jacob’s War”. And our little neighborhood boys became a part of the problem. Two ended up in jail. One is out today and doing well in rehab. The other will be there a lot longer. We wrote letters and got involved, because of those boys. The two that managed to avoid drugs began a business and it’s thriving. We use their business for help around the house. They just installed bars on one of our doors.  I hate the vigilance we have to live with but it’s part of our life.

As I write this, I am finishing the research on the sequel to “Jacob’s War”.

Please see the video that a good friend of mine attached. Hope you enjoy the book.  ~C.P.R.

Preview:  Jacob’s War  Video trailer

 www.boldstrokesbooks.com    September 1st 2012


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March Madness, not really

C.P. is up to her elbows in rough drafts, notes, edits, and mayhem–no, not Him.

So as a means of updating her readers, her webmistress has hijacked the site to let you know that all is well and ‘Books’ are a’comin’.

y’all remember these two faves.         (No one suggested she NOT cover the titles. sigh, writers…)

Next up a real kick-ass thriller Fall 2012

Alison Jacob is smart and tough; enough of a character to warrant more coverage. C.P. is currently working on a sequel…

…and if that’s not enough, here’s a clue for the next project…A  simple ROMANCE–she says.

Check out Bold Stroke Books for more.

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New Year, New Blog, New Book

 Bold Stroke Books proudly presents:



ATF Special Agent, Allison Jacob has never had an assignment like this. Formerly undercover, she now leads a task force that has trailed meth from the Mexican border to Wisconsin. Teamed up with a Milwaukee Police Special Crimes unit, they fight a daily battle with drugs, sex crimes and murders but her investigation has hit a wall, on the streets and within her organization.

In the worst blizzard of the year, the latest victim unexpectedly shows up at AJ’s office. Bright and attractive, small business owner Katie Blackburn angrily relates her experience during the interview when, suddenly, unknowingly, Katie gives AJ the break she’s desperately needed.

Immediately, Katie presents another kind of battle for AJ. Just as she took the oath to keep America safe, AJ’s heart begins to shadow the same words for Katie. She knows drugs don’t care who handles them, but AJ does. It’s her job and her war.


Release:  Fall 2012

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