Sunday, September 25, 2016
Welcome Keta Diablo, author of Comes an Outlaw, part of The Good, the Bad, the Ghostly. I usually ask my authors to just choose ten questions But they don’t always read directions.
RW: Tell us about yourself, your family, where you live…
KD: Hello, Rochelle! And thank you for hosting me on your lovely blog.
I live in the Midwest part of the USA in a small resort community. We’re pretty low-key in the winter but summer is another story. The town and lakes are inundated with tourists, which is great for the business but not so good for those who live here year ’round. Don’t get me wrong, we’re a very friendly town, but when “The Season” rolls in, all the shops raise their prices. Boo-hiss.
My family lives close by in other nearby towns which means I get to see them all the time. Sometimes I think about heading south because of our brutal winters, but then I wouldn’t get to see them as often. Hmm. Quite a dilemma.
RW: How many hours a day do you spend writing?
KD: This really varies. When I’m on a deadline, I tend to crunch and often write five hours a day. When I’m not rushing to get my story done for an anthology or release a follow-up book in a series, I tend to get lazier. Again, it also depends on the season. I like to garden and spend as much time outdoors as possible. In the winter, I can devote more time to writing.
RW: What is the best thing about being a writer?
KD: See above. Lol. Making your own schedule, being your own boss, deciding what you want to do and when to do it.
RW: Has your life changed since you became a writer?
KD: Well it is a solitary life (how many times have you heard that from writers?). I don’t socialize as much as I once did, except for family. They come above everything, including writing.
RW: Who are your favorite authors?
KD: I can’t say, or maybe a better word would be “won’t” say. I enjoy a variety of authors and books. I read western romance, historical romance, paranormal and on occasion, urban fantasy. My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird.
RW: Who are your favorite characters among the books you’ve written?
KD: I really like Morgan Gatewood from Decadent Deceptions. He’s such an alpha male and yet a softie when it comes to the woman he loves, Olivia Breedlove. I also like Ethan Gray, better known as Meko (Meko’s Woman) when he travels back in time to help his beloved people, the Cheyenne. Ethan is a complex individual who walks between two worlds, a museum curator in modern day, a brutal dog soldier in the other.
RW: What makes a good book?
KD: A variety of factors. The plot is very important and the depth of the characters. Of course, compelling writing helps. If a reader finishes a book and remembers a week later what it was about, I think that could be called success. Some books I still think about long after I read “The End” and others I forget about right away. Interesting characters help. I like to know what makes a character tic and don’t want to be told everything; make me guess what he/she is all about and reveal their traits or idiosyncrasies one layer at a time. And don’t tell me what every character is doing in every scene. Bring me right in…show me.
RW: How does reader feedback matter to you?
KD: I don’t read my reviews. Sometimes I come across them, and of course, if people like the book and post a good review, that’s always nice. But, I learned long ago writers can’t please everyone. Some like hot books; some like clean romance. You can never guess what is clean to one and too steamy to another. Books are like buying furniture or for those who live for the day they can spend at the art museum…or a ranch. See how people differ? Everyone has different tastes and that’s a good thing.
RW: How do you celebrate the mile-markers of publishing?
KD: Signing the contract! What’s that? You mean with a publisher? No.
Finishing Edits—That’s a good mile-marker that deserves a sigh of relief.
Going over the ARC or galleys—I’m not particularly fond of editing my own work and that’s probably why I’m a slow writer. Hard for me to move on to Chapter Two until I know Chapter One is in good shape.
Release Day!—Most definitely a milestone. One of the nicest things about writing, typing “The End.”
RW: Where do you hope to be five years from now?
KD: Alive and well. Oh…wait, you meant with my writing. I don’t set hard goals every year (hmm, maybe not even soft ones). I know many who do and that’s fine if it works for them. For me, I’m not sure I can live up to those lofty goals. So many things can happen in a year that might knock me from my schedule. I’m more of a take a day at a time person and then celebrate every accomplishment. Pass the beer…pass the chocolate!
RW: Why did you decide to write?
KD: Enjoyment. Relaxation. Learning experience. Gaining knowledge about so many things in life.
RW: How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
KD: I don’t know that I can pinpoint any specific character traits or life experiences, but I think writers take a little here, a little there from everything they’ve learned in life and apply it to a character or a plot. If writers say nothing in their stories relates to their own lives, I think that would be stretching it a bit. Traits, nuances, experience seep into our stories even if they’re not overt.
RW: What kind of research do you do for a book?
KD: More for a full-length novel because we’re forced to cut down on depth of character or intricate plots when writing novellas. But that doesn’t mean accuracy isn’t important. If I write about a place or a certain event in any of my books, I research the history so I don’t look like a complete idiot.
RW: When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms? What genre is it?
KD: I think writers everywhere can say “I read every day as a child,” or “I have always had a love for books and the written word.” If you grew up a voracious reader and you loved books when you were young, maybe part of the course was already charted. Writing is hard work, and like all jobs, if you don’t love what you do, you won’t last in that field.
RW: Would you like to write a different genre or sub-genre than you do now?
KD: I wish I liked to read contemporary romance more so I could be enthused about writing it. Yes, I know how popular it is. But to me, reading about the modern world we live in every day doesn’t hold my interest for long. I’d much rather read about events of the past, people who forged the frontier, made our country what it is today. Again, this gets down to individual likes and dislikes. Although I have written several contemporary romances, I seldom read them.
RW: Tell us about your latest book. What motivated the story? Where did the idea come from?
KD: Lately, I’ve been involved in several anthologies and like writing for them. Some of my contributions this year appeared in Courting the West, Silver Belles and Stetsons, Come Love A Cowboy, and now, The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly. I’m almost finished with the third book in the Sky Series, Sky Tinted Water, Sky Dance and now, the third book, Sky Dance. Watch for it!
RW: Do you feel humor is important in fiction and why?
KD: Oh, boy, now I’m going to sound like a sour puss. This is another area of genres (or sub-genres) I seldom read. But then, I don’t gravitate at all to comedy movies either. I’m picky with my humor. I don’t like silly, slapstick but some billed as romantic comedy are okay. Both in books and movies. I tend to go for the dark books or serious books and would always pick them over humorous books.
RW: What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
KD: Read, garden, sometimes genealogy, and I spend as much time as possible with animals—as in my local animal shelter. I would adopt them all if I could, but that’s not too practical, is it? So instead, I walk dogs, hold cats and support them in other ways with my time and donations.
RW: Bubble baths or steamy showers? Ocean or mountains? Puppies or kittens? Chocolate or caramel?
KD: Very, very few baths for me. Mountains. Both puppies and kittens. Chocolate of any kind, but prefer dark chocolate.
RW: A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
KD: Determined. Compassionate. Good friend. Good mother. Bold. Sometimes mouthy or opinionated without being cruel. Oh, sh%$...that’s more than six words.
RW: If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
KD: The Carolinas. Or someplace similar in weather and water. Must have good restaurants, good libraries and good people. That’s not asking too much, is it?
RW: If you were a tool, what would people use you to do?
KD: Solve a mystery or die trying.
RW: What song would best describe your life?
KD: Bridge Over Troubled Water. Oh damn, that’s horrible!
RW: Why’s that horrible? I love that song. It’s about being a supportive friend, and that certainly describes you!
RW: Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
KD: Books, laptops, movies, Keen footwear, sandals and flip-flops, t-shirts, kewl hoodies, ragged jeans, specialty soaps, soy candles. Did I mention books?
RW: What is your secret guilty pleasure?
RW: City life or country life? E-Book or paperback? Zebras or elephants?
KD: Hands down—Country life. Ebooks, Zebras (relatives of horses).
RW: How do you come up with story ideas?
KD: Dreams, reading a lot and believe it or not…people watching. The BEST-ever way to get your creative juices flowing. Sit in a mall sometime and do nothing but watch the people around you. Concentrate, watch their body language, their conversations (don’t eavesdrop, though) watch how they interact with the environment and people around them. Recommendation: Clear your mind and do nothing else but watch them.
RW: What can we expect from you in the future?
KD: Danged if I know. See above…one day at a time. Lol.
RW: If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
KD: Proceed with….Oh, wait, that’s more ten questions. I better stop here before I give away all my secrets.
THANKS, ROCHELLE! YOU ROCK.
About the story:
When a tragic accident claims her husband’s life, Jesse Santos must find a way to keep the ranch, the only home her twelve-year-old son has ever known. The ranch hands have abandoned her, a gang of cutthroat ranchers want her land, and an ancient Yaqui Indian insists a spirit has taken up residence in the house.
After a fifteen year absence, her husband’s brother, Coy, returns to his childhood home. He doesn’t plan on staying, and he certainly doesn’t intend to settle down with a widow and her son—no matter how pretty she is.
He’s an outlaw, after all, and made a decision to put an end to his gun-slinging days long ago. Will his conscience let him walk away from family, or will his heart overrule his head?
The town of Red Butte sat five miles behind him, which meant his destination should appear around the next bend. He wondered how much had changed since he’d left fifteen years ago. Hell, he wondered if anyone would even recognize him. Guess he’d soon find out.
The one-story house came into view. Painted buttercup yellow and trimmed in white, with a wrap-around veranda the same color as the trim, it looked the same. At least that hadn’t changed. The red barn still stood and to the right of the house, the riotous garden remained. Childhood memories flooded Coy. He could almost smell his mother’s blue bells and forget-me-nots, taste her home-grown beans, squash, and the mouth-watering ears of corn fresh off the stalk.
A dog barked from somewhere near the steps of the porch. As he drew closer he spotted the long-haired cur, part Australian Shepherd and a breed he couldn’t identify. The dog trotted up the steps when he brought his horse to a halt, settled in beside a young boy, and then flashed an ominous row of white teeth his way.
His gaze left the dog and wandered to the boy with a baby screech owl perched on his left shoulder. A brown slouch hat sat atop his head, the chin strap resting on his chest. His hair was long and jet black, his eyes gun-metal gray. A rope-belt held up his baggy wool trousers and the white cotton shirt set off his youthful, tanned face. A face that held a wary expression yet exuded a cocky air.
“State your business,” a female voice called out.
Too busy taking in his surroundings, the dog and the boy, his tired brain overlooked the woman on the porch. Now that he’d taken a good look, he couldn’t imagine how any man with blood running through his veins could fail to notice her. Tall and lean, weathered leather trousers clung to her long legs like second skin. A red flannel shirt hung long and loose on her body but failed to hide her womanly curves. Her hair was thick and straight, falling past her shoulders in a tangle of burnished copper. Watchful and intense, her large, round eyes glistened like liquid pools of blue ice.
When he brought a knee up to dismount, she cocked the rifle. “You don’t hear so good. I asked you to state your business.”
“My business? I was about to ask what you’re doing here and follow it up with just who the hell are you?”
“Don’t bother dismounting, and don’t even think about going for that sidearm at your hip. Though the buzzards might like it; they haven’t had their breakfast yet this morning.”
“Right friendly, aren’t ya?”
“To my friends, yes.”
“Where’s the folks that used to live here?”
She jerked her chin toward a cluster of cottonwoods in the distance. He remembered the trees and the black wrought-iron fence surrounding them, the family graveyard. His heart wrenched for a brief moment. He hadn’t considered the possibility his parents might be dead.
“Where’s Cain? He off again on one of his infamous ghost hunts or is he hiding inside with his nose buried in a textbook?”
Something crossed her eyes for a second…surprise, sorrow? Maybe both. “You know Cain?”
“I should, he’s my brother.”
Definitely shock this time. “Your…your brother?”
“Now who can’t hear so good?”
“I heard you. He, well, he didn’t talk much about a brother.”
“No, don’t imagine he did.” He put his hands out at his sides. “Look, it’s mighty hot out here under the sun, and my horse needs water.” Sweating under the sweltering heat, his temper flared. “For the record, never point a rifle at a man unless you intend to use it.”
“I still might.”
He shook his head and blew a puff of air.
“All right, climb on down but keep your hands where I can see ’em.” She eased up on the rifle and turned to the boy. “Grange, grab a bucket of water for his horse.”
The kid scrambled down the steps and headed for the well nearby, the mutt close on his heels and growling as he passed. “Easy, Fetch,” the boy said.
“Fetch? How original.”
“At least he’s got a name,” the boy muttered under his breath and kept on walking.
Coy turned back to the woman. “The kid’s right. Forgive my manners. Name is Coy…Coy Santos, Cain’s younger brother. If he’s not here right now, I’m sure he’ll vouch for me when he gets back.”
She leaned the rifle against the railing and met his eyes. “I’m Jesse, and that boy watering your horse is my son, Grange.”
He looked toward the cemetery again. “So Ma and Pa are gone, huh? Didn’t realize I’d been gone so long.”
“I’m sorry.” She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. “Your pa died seven years back, your ma….” She looked off for a minute as if recalling the event. “Must be five years ago now.”
“Well, I guess time slips away without us realizing it.” He caught those shimmering blue eyes again. “You didn’t tell me your last name.”
“Santos,” she said and paused to wait for his reaction. When he didn’t offer one, she added, “Cain’s wife.”
The merciless sun must have scrambled his brain. She looked too young to be his brother’s wife; she couldn’t be more than thirty years old. And Cain, well, he was almost twenty years older than him. Above that, she had to be the most handsome woman he’d ever laid eyes on. There had to be more to this story, and he intended to find out how she ended up married to his bookish brother. “Your name is Santos?”
She nodded. “Yes, Santos, apparently the same as yours.”
“The boy is Cain’s son?”
Another nod as she glanced toward the boy.
“Guess I missed out on a whole lot of news from home.”
“There’s more.” She turned on her heels and walked toward the door leading to the house. “Can’t very well turn family out. Come inside, breakfast is warming on the stove. I’ll let you know what else you missed.”
Keta Diablo lives in the Midwest part of the United States on six acres of woodland. When she isn’t writing or gardening she loves to commune with nature. A lifelong animal lover, she also devotes her time and support to the local animal shelters.
Keta’s a bestselling Amazon author who writes in several genres, including western romance, historical romance, paranormal romance and the occasional gay romance. Her books have received numerous Top Pick, Book of the Month and Recommended Read reviews.
You can find her on the net here:
Buy Link: http://mybook.to/GoodBadGhostly