Thursday, September 20, 2012

The "Fictional Life" Puzzle with Guest Blogger: Josie Malone

Win a copy of A Woman's Place 
& meet multi-genre author Josie Malone 
today at the Book Boost!

She's here to chat about how she solves the daily puzzle of real life versus life as a fiction writer and here's what she had to say...

Thanks for inviting me to the Book Boost. I’m glad to be here to talk about what I do to keep writing when my days are long and overwhelming – something that many writers face as they juggle writing and that “day job” Stephen King tells us not to quit!

When I attended Washington State University several years ago, I really wanted to find a critique group in Pullman, WA. I did and learned a great deal from the other writers who met once a week at the Skippers restaurant in nearby Moscow, ID. We traded our latest chapters. Then we were expected to read our work from the previous week aloud, getting not only written critiques but verbal ones as well.

The name of the group was Writer’s Bloc, and the expectation of regular submissions to critique along with the assignments due for my English and History courses since I was doing a “double major” meant there wasn’t time for me to opt out. I had to write every day either for class or for critique. As more experienced members told me, it’d be easier to listen to their advice if I brought in the “raw” or “rough drafts.” After all, I’d be revising and polishing that work anyway.

It was a smart choice and one I follow to this day more than twenty years later. However, instead of carrying in the hard copies fresh from my typewriter, I email my rough draft chapters to my critique partners and beta readers. Since I write mainstream western romance, I have one person who reads those. My other partner reads my teen novels and the kids at the family riding stable are my beta readers who get the rough drafts of my teen books too.

I’m constantly multi-tasking between all the different “hats” I wear. I work on the family farm, a 113 acre riding stable. I substitute teach in four different school districts – a lesson I learned while doing temporary office work – if I signed with one agency, I was dependent on what work they had available. By signing with four agencies, I worked every day. And now, I teach whenever I want during the school year.

However, that’s not all I do. When I’m home at the riding stable, I organize most of the riding programs, teach horsemanship around my day-job as a substitute teacher, nurse sick horses, hold for the shoer, train whoever needs it – four-legged and two-legged. And write books in my spare time, usually from 8PM to 2AM, seven days a week after a long day on the ranch.  When I can’t write, due to the overwhelming needs and pressures of the “real” world, words and stories fill my mind.  Even when I muck the barn, or drive my bulldozer, Frou-Frou, I think about books or short stories or pieces in progress and map out the writing in my mind.

In 2010, BookStrand bought one of my romances, a historical about a woman who masquerades as a man in the old West. Then, they bought a second book, a contemporary about a divorced mom who runs a pony farm and falls in love with her new horseshoer. My third book just came out. And joy of joys, for Christmas 2011, Black Opal Books bought the first two books in my young adult realistic fiction series. The first book will be out this December in time for Christmas again!

The Stewart Falls Cheerleader series is about a cheer squad at a private high school in western Washington, because “Sometimes, you have to be your own cheerleader.” And these books have a special place in my heart – I think I have a new “fave.”  In the series, selected girls overcome problems that life hurls at them.

I have two different websites so if you like cowboys and western romances or if you’re ready to go to Stewart Falls, either way, it was good to meet you!

A Note from the Book Boost:  This sounds a lot like my life and my writing life--the constant juggling and the multiple genres.  I wear many hats but not a cowboy hat.  Although, I do live around a lot of cowboys here in the sunny South.  Wish you best of luck with your many sales and come back soon to share your new teen series with our readers, won't you?


Trailing a serial killer, Homicide Detective Beth Chambers is thrust into 1888 Washington Territory where she encounters injured Rad Morgan, a ruggedly handsome marshal who believes A Woman’s Place is behind her man. Now, Beth must save Rad’s life, apprehend the killer, and prove herself capable as a law officer.

Former soldier and survivor of Andersonville Prison Camp, Marshal Rad Morgan faces his toughest challenge in Beth Chambers, a determined woman from the future who’s never learned “her place.”  But when he is shot and left for dead, he must put himself in Beth’s hands if they both want to survive.

Can these two headstrong people put their pride aside and work together to find the deadly killer and stop him before he destroys this world and their future?  As they fight for justice, love helps them discover A Woman’s Place is what and where she chooses to make it.

Excerpt (edited for length):

Tears stung her eyes. The seventeen-hand palomino had a definite attitude, but she liked him anyway.  Nobody knew where the starved wreck of an equine came from almost two years ago, but Nina Armstrong, a famous horsy do-gooder nursed him back to health.  The woman interrupted Smith when he absconded with the horse three days ago and paid the price.  He’d left her for dead, but Beth found Nina in time.

Another of Smith’s mistakes.  The first had been attacking Nina.  The second was stealing such a famous animal.  His story made papers when he was originally found and Nina still used him to raise money to feed her projects.

Beth leaned forward to pet her own horse’s neck.  She reined him to a stop and watched the moon rise above the giant cedars and hemlocks.  Something in the atmosphere caused the bright globe to appear red tonight.  It provided plenty of light to see the trail and that was all she cared about.

Tigger tossed his head and snorted.  The loudness of the sound shocked her.  She hadn’t realized the woods were so quiet or noticed when the evergreens began to loom closer to the narrow, twisted path.  She returned her attention to the mammoth slope in front of her.

Huge granite boulders lined the path while smaller fragments awaited an unwary hoof.  A light sprinkling of dirt covered the slick gray stone and a tiny evergreen clung precariously to the side of the hill.  Fog shrouded the top of the ridge, hiding the steepest part of the ascent.

She took a deep breath and measured the climb again.  Then, she urged Tigger forward.  The gray stallion leaped up the rocky incline, scrambled for footing.  Pieces of granite fell behind them.  Once she saw the faint scratch of another horse’s hoofprint.  The stone gleamed under a thin carpet of moss.  The drizzle grew heavier.  Tigger collected himself for another series of leaps.  When they gained the first plateau, she reined him to a halt.

She waited for him to regain his breath.  With a squeeze of her legs, she sent the horse forward again.  The path was indistinct and more than once she heard rocks strike against Tigger’s hooves.  He jumped a log and came to a halt on the summit.  Beth petted his steaming neck, and scanned the top of the ridge.  The evergreens which were so huge at the bottom of the hill had become tiny tips, like baby Christmas trees.  They were so insubstantial from this height.  She eyed the descent, down the winding trail.

The path seemed clear in the evening gloom, with none of the hazards they’d overcome on the ascent.  She touched Tigger’s sides with her legs and the gray headed downhill at a faster pace.  They reached level ground and the small stallion picked up a jog.

Suddenly, Beth heard a short yip from Luke.  The dog found something of interest.  A low, menacing growl came next.  It meant the discovery was male, a human male which the large German Shepherd considered fair game.  His refusal to work with men almost ended the canine’s career with the department before it started.

"Luke, hold.”  She called the order in a low voice.  Had she found Smith already?  Why wasn't he shooting at Luke, or her?  She pulled her carbine from the scabbard.

Tigger snorted as they came around a bend.  He leaped sideways as he caught a glimpse of the shadowy figure huddled near a boulder.  Luke stood in front of the man.  The dog continued to growl, hackles raised.

Beth cursed the dusk.  The moonlight didn't help her see much.  She couldn't get a clear view of the man, but he appeared bigger than her suspect.  "Smith?"

"No."  The stranger groaned.  "I'm hurt.  Bad."

Beth shoved her rifle back into its holder as she thought of the reporters who hung around the precinct.  This would make a great human interest story.  It'd go national and people all over the United States would have the news on their televisions and computers with their morning mochas.

Her voice deepened with frustration and impatience.  She had more important things to do than help this man.  "What the hell are you doing here then?"


Want More Josie?

Visit her on the web here: 
Or her YA site here:

Pick up a copy of her book today!  Click here.

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Leave a question or comment for Josie and be entered to win an e-copy of her steamy, western romance  A Woman's Place.

**Winners for Book Boost prizes are drawn the first week of the following month and posted in the Recent Winners box in the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize! Please leave your contact information in your blog post!**


Debby said...

Multi tasking is part of life I think. I used to sub for 6 districts. I was able to work when I wanted.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Josie Malone said...

I'm impressed - four is the most I can do - although in September when none of them are looking for substitutes, I do think about adding a district or two.

Then, I sit down and work on my next book until the urge passes, or October whichever comes first.

bn100 said...

The book sounds good.