Saturday, May 19, 2012

Cutter Mountain Rendezvous by Barbara Weitz: Interview & Excerpt

Contemporary Romance

After a failed marriage and with her song writing career tanking, Kate Crockett leaves Nashville for Cutter Mountain, Tennessee. With an inn to renovate and a daughter to raise, she's ready to leave her past behind. Life should be perfect - except nothing is going according to plan. The last thing she needs is to be rescued by another man, regardless of how sexy he is.

Chicago Bullets pitcher Colton Gray is traveling incognito, hoping to escape media attention as he recovers from an injury. The last thing he needs is a distraction, yet when a beautiful woman mistakes him for a carpenter, he decides a little renovating will keep his mind off his problems.

There is more than mischief between Colton and Kate. Bizarre phone calls, a stranger lurking in the shadows, and an old claim on her inn threaten to destroy Kate's future. Colton has secrets - and connections. He'll do whatever it takes to protect her. But can Kate learn to trust again before it's too late?

Cutter Mountain Rendezvous by Barbara Weitz
Paperback and E-Book Release February 24, 2012
Digital ISBN 978-1-61217-261-3
Print ISBN 978-1-61217-017-6
by the Wild Rose Press

 Kindle  |  Paperback  |  Nook  |  Wild Rose Press

First of all, I would like to thank Laurie for interviewing me today as her guest blogger. I hope you will find our conversation interesting as we explore what makes me tick as a writer.

I'm also here to introduce my latest release "Cutter Mountain Rendezvous". Although there aren't any paranormal aspects to the story, there is some mystery. This is a spicy contemporary romance with humor about a single-mom with a tanked song writing career and a professional ball player with an injury. Both are searching for answers and find them in an unexpected place...each other. 

LAURIE: How are your story ideas born?

BARB: Too little sleep, too much caffeine and too much sugar! Seriously, this is a mystery to me. Ideas come to me and I expand upon them, turning them into stories. I’ve no formula whatsoever other than the love of storytelling.

LAURIE: How many works in progress do you have?

BARB: "Cutter Mountain Rendezvous" is my sixth completed book, and my second sale to The Wild Rose Press. I've another book half finished, but got delayed to complete a Christmas novella, "Wings of an Angel", which is now in the contract process. This is a sweet story about a young couple affected by today's war in two very different ways. She's a war widow and he's a former Marine facing life without part of his arm. An angel is also a character in the book. It will be a Wild Rose Press e-book release, coming out this Fall. I'm also trying to find a publisher for a finished trilogy, women's fiction, about a small town in Ohio that features a fictional historic house and the residents of that house. There is a hint of paranormal in these books. There are also at least ten story ideas in my WIP folder (Work in Progress). Ah, so many stories and so little time!

LAURIE: What is your writing process?

BARB: First and foremost, I order myself to the computer chair and vow to meet a predetermined page count before surfing the web, email, Facebook or reading blogs. Oops! Love you, Laurie xoxo. These can be terrible distractions and good avoidance tools. As is the kitchen, which is much too close to my work area. However, once a character walks onto the page (and I like him or her), we’re off to the races. It's here that I become the fiendish mad scientist who plots out their fates with a keyboard instead of test tubes and chemicals. Although, one must admit, the right chemistry must exist. Kate and Colton in "Cutter Mountain Rendezvous" definitely have this ingredient. Opposites, they evolve into a delightful duo I loved hanging out with. This became a somewhat zany story, but has plenty of serious moments.

LAURIE: What writing mechanic challenges you?

BARB: Ah, my nemesis, Achilles heel, Dementors of Story. Well, that would be (1) Keeping the main focus of the story on the relationship between the hero and heroine. The storyteller in my mind sees all the people around them and sometimes gets too involved in telling their story. I do use them to color the pages with interesting characters so they will never go away completely. “Cutter Mountain Rendezvous” has several such characters. (2) Accepting the fact I'm a pantster (someone who writes by the seat of her pants). Detailed plots prior to sitting down to write the story leaves me with a great plot sheet but a blinking cursor and blank page. So I’ve accepted my writing style, but I do recognize the need to plot once the story evolves and I’ve a vision. As time goes on, I'm learning how to blend the two writing methods.

LAURIE: What’s your favorite part of the writing process?

BARB: Hands down, the first draft. This is where I let it rip.   
LAURIE: What’s your least favorite part of the writing process?

BARB: Hands down, research. How nice it would be to have a research assistant in my back pocket to find out all those time-consuming details that must be verified. For now, that place is the WWW and the life-time of experience.

LAURIE: How long did it take to write your latest release?

BARB: Six months. This is average for me. The first draft comes quick. Within a few weeks. There might be holes in the draft but the story evolves very fast. THEN comes the hard work—editing. This is a necessary evil and one I’ve learned to enjoy. My waistline suffers at this stage of writing. The desire to nibble at the computer is really strong.

LAURIE: Do you have a favorite line or scene from your story?

BARB: Just one? LOL.

Favorite Scene: First, I want to say what a good time I had writing this book. This couple popped onto the page and brought a lot of fun with them. However, you've asked, so I would have to say when I put Colton on the pitcher's mound. For the first time, he's in his element and not Kate's. Up to that point in the story, we saw the take-charge Colton full of ego yet tender hearted and kind with her young daughter. On the pitcher's mound, we find out how his personality fits his career. I could feel the excitement of the ballpark as I wrote these scenes and the pressure a real-life pitcher must feel when he steps up to deliver a pitch in the face of a surly batter and a stadium of expectant fans.

Because Colton is a professional athlete, I also felt it was unrealistic to make him a guy who didn't swear. Since Kate has a young daughter, one challenge I gave her was to teach Colton how to tame his mouth. She succeeds, but not on the pitching mound.

One last comment before we move on to an excerpt from "Cutter Mountain Rendezvous". I've discovered what I like to do best as a writer is introduce serious subject matter and infuse it with some humor so it doesn't get all heavy. I want to give you a story with substance, give you things you can relate to, tug at your heart strings, but not depress you. It would please me beyond measure if my books can bring a smile to your face and lift you from the cares of the day for a short spell. With a hot hero, of course! Happy reading...Barb xo

(here's where all the misunderstanding begins between Kate and Colton!)

     As she crested the mountain, her eyes filled with the deep, verdant color of late spring awash in a setting sun. Goodness. Such beauty made her teeth hurt.
     Ten years away from these mountains had slipped by in a blink. She glanced in the backseat at her daughter cradled against her seat belt, sound asleep. If not for Lindsay, she would have considered her time spent in Nashville a total waste.
     Never again would she fall for a man of power and wealth.
     A man everyone knew.
    Then she saw him. Up ahead, he waved a straw cowboy hat in the air. His old truck was pulled off to the side of the road, smoking.
     “Well howdy, cowboy,” she murmured. The down button to the passenger side window was held as she rolled to a stop. “You broke down?”
     “Busted radiator for starts.”
     “You lost? This isn’t exactly a direct route.” That earned her a broad smile with sparkling white teeth.
     “No kidding. Any towns near?”
     “Bear Creek,” she said, thinking the cowboy could be a country singer with his blond stubble doing little to hide a single dimple that creased his right cheek. She sucked in a breath when the word “Carpenter” jumped off his truck door like a hologram. “Did Jeff send you here to work on my inn?”
     The cowboy took a step closer and pushed his hat back on his head. The sinking sun caught in his topaz eyes, turning them smooth as warm honey. His short hair was the color of his straw hat. “What kind of work?”

Barbara Weitz writes contemporary romantic comedy with heart and sizzle. She lives in a quiet suburb of Chicago with her husband and a mischievous German shepherd, thankful her three grown sons are off making mayhem elsewhere. A career executive secretary, she’s also held a variety of mundane and unusual employment opportunities. This, coupled with a passion for animals, music and poetry, has helped shape the fictional characters she brings to life. Visit her on the web:

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