Hello readers. Hope you're enjoying the great fall weather. I know I am.
Today I have a very special guest, Andrea Downing.
Andrea Downing has spent most of her life in the UK where she developed a penchant for tea-drinking, a tolerance for rainy days, and a deep knowledge of the London Underground system (or ‘Tube’). In 2008 she returned to live in the city of her birth, NYC, but frequently exchanges the canyons of city streets for the wide open spaces of the West. Her love of horses, ranches, rodeo and just about anything else western—especially cowboys (not one in particular, sadly, but still looking…) is reflected in her writing. Loveland, a western historical romance is now available at The Wild Rose Press in August. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Women Writing the West. Her WIP is contemporary women’s fiction with a Texas Hill Country meets the New York Hamptons setting.
Before we find out more about Loveland, let’s get the goods on Andrea.
So Andrea, tell us about your latest or upcoming vacation.
I just got back from my place in Jackson, Wyoming. It's supposed to be a vacation rental for other people but I was in Loveland doing two book signings so decided to go on up there. I do love it, being amidst the mountains and in such fabulous surroundings. Unfortunately, they've been plagued by forest fires and one morning I came out and the smoke was billowing down from Moran, several miles away, and there were smuts on the wind. I suddenly wondered if I should be packing up in case they were going to evacuate us, but it cleared with the change in wind direction a bit later. When I wrote Loveland, I learned about the prairie fires that frequented the west and, of course, in those days they didn't have planes to fly overhead and help with putting them out. Sometimes I think we're lucky to have what we do today and other times I yearn for that simpler life!
Describe your perfect day.
My perfect day would be to saddle up a horse and ride out for a breakfast cook-out. Then ride some more—and keep riding 'til I'm sick and tired of it, which isn't often. Then go to sleep at the end of a day after good company, good wine, and a good meal—and sleep well in some cabin in the mountains. I love the (usually) clean, cool fresh air and the smell of the stable yards when you mosey on down to saddle up. And nothing beats cook-outs!
Your bucket list. What have you done and what’s left to do?
I've been lucky enough to travel fairly extensively. I lived in Europe, in Britain, and also in Nigeria so have covered a bit of Africa and certainly most of Europe over the years. I've clocked up about 30 states in the USA and several countries throughout Latin America because my daughter is a big fan and now works in Colombia. Soooo, my bucket list contains trips to Australasia. I'd like to be able to do a ranch—excuse me, a STATION—in Australia, visit friends I haven't seen in years in NZ (who actually taught me to ride English and were on the British Olympics team) and also go to China and a few other places in the Far East. But I doubt that will happen now; it's just become too expensive and my free time means I tend to go west where my heart is. But ya never know…
What was the hardest lesson you learned as an author?
That I have to promote my own book!!! Years ago I worked for Simon & Schuster and there was a dept. of five guys who did publicity for the authors. They reduced the dept. while I was there but now, this is the opposite. The publisher doesn't do very much and the author is really pretty much responsible for publicity. As a new author, it's very difficult to get readers and I keep hearing that the best thing is just to keep writing more books, so perhaps that's the answer. But I'm not a fast writer and I'm a perfectionist so my writing tends to go through numerous revisions before I send it off. Not a happy situation…
What are the contents of your purse?
Hahahha—LOL! OK, here goes: my wallet with money, credit cards, medical insurance card, Metro card etc.; a book (or my kindle) with which I absolutely cannot leave the house; a mini-flashlight for reading menus in dark restaurants or just getting out of my car in the dark of night; tissues!; pens—lots; breath mints; a Moleskin diary; reading glasses (an absolute must but hopefully soon to be discarded after new eye op); an assortment of business cards I haven't thrown out or feel the need to carry about with me; keys; my own business cards in a stupid case; sunglasses which are an absolute must as I wear them virtually all the time except when it’s raining; a mini-umbrella for that rain; a little zip-purse of emergency items like eye drops, aspirin, mini-perfume, hand sanitizer, hand wipes, tooth 'picks' for want of a better description, comb, and—finally—a miniature rubber suction thingie to be able to move my contact lenses if they get stuck on my eye! Yes, it's true….sorry but I'm being honest here!
My sincere thanks to you, Brenna, for having me here today. I haven't said much about my book, Loveland, but I hope readers will be interested in following me and seeing what else I have to say! Thanks so much!
When Lady Alexandra Calthorpe returns to the Loveland, Colorado, ranch owned by her father, the Duke, she has little idea of how the experience will alter her future. Headstrong and willful, Alex tries to overcome a disastrous marriage in England and be free of the strictures of Victorian society --and become independent of men. That is, until Jesse Makepeace saunters back into her life...
Hot-tempered and hot-blooded cowpuncher Jesse Makepeace can’t seem to accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him. Fighting rustlers proves a whole lot easier than fighting Alex when he’s got to keep more than his temper under control.
Arguments abound as Alex pursues her career as an artist and Jesse faces the prejudice of the English social order. The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?
He watched as she sat on a stool and pulled first one boot, then the other off and kicked them aside, then she stood and put her leg on the stool to roll down her stockings one by one.
He marveled at her wantonness, her lack of propriety. “Alex, stop,” he said, laying his hand on hers. “Stop. You know…”
But he was lost; she took his face in her hands and pulled him to her, kissing him so any resistance he had had was now shattered. His heart was beating faster at the sweetness of her mouth, the softness of her tongue, the lack of air as they sought each other. His hands moved over her feeling the outline of her body, knowing its curves, its gentleness, its yielding. “Are you sure?” he asked at last.
“I want you so much, Jesse, I want you so much, I’m not waiting three years. And if…if anything happens, so what? We’ll get married, that’ll be it.”
“Yes, but Alex, you can’t…I mean it’d be a shotgun wedding, it’s not how—”
“Shh.” She put her finger to his mouth and then turned for him to unhook her gown. He ran his hands gently down her exposed back, feeling each scar, then kissed her neck.
“You have nothing on under...”
“It’s how the gown is made. Monsieur Worth builds the undergarments into the gown.” Her voice was at barely a whisper, a tremor showing her nerves. She turned and still held the gown up to her, then, looking at Jesse, let it drop to the floor.
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