Karen: Calisa Rhose pens memorable romances about acceptance and finding that special person who makes them complete. Sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while Calisa shares her journey into publishing Home with The Wild Rose Press.
Calisa: Thanks to Karen for inviting me here today to share more of how my novella, Home, came about. It’s not a single story, but part of a unique series of stand-alone stories being published by The Wild Rose Press. Read on to find out how HOME and other books in the Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll series came about and what’s going on with the series.
Spring 2010, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. One of our talented authors, an editor for an epublisher, asked the Oklahoma RWA group (OKRWA) if anyone would be willing to write in a series to submit to her publisher. Several jumped right in. Over the next weeks others joined in and a theme and guidelines were tossed around.
That was the birth of the Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll series to be marketed through The Wild Rose Press.
Unpublished at the time, I was hopeful that “someday I would get noticed and sell a book,” I joined this fun project with many other Oklahoma authors.
This would be a project to showcase our state’s writing talents to the world in a single combined effort. Each book written would include the doll with carvings on its whale bone body. Each would be between 10,000 and 60,000 words and each would (hopefully) fit in a different subgenre The Wild Rose Press has to offer its readers.
I have to say our RWA chapter is chock full of talent! From historical to contemporary to paranormal, WE ROCK! Keep a close watch The Wild Rose Press as more of these stories are brought to you one by one.
My followers and friends know I write contemporary. It’s my comfort zone. My passion for cowboys is widely-known. :D But for this event, and I don’t know why it did, the Vietnam era called to me. I have a respect for that time and the trials the world suffered, the losses the United States withstood, and still endure through the final ramifications from the war referred to as “a police movement.” I was a little tyke in those days so I don’t remember the impact of the moment it happened. But born in the middle of it may be why I have a heartfelt need to learn, and subsequently, to write about love during that period when romance seemed forgotten. Hope took the back burner and so much was left behind. I was very happy to see on the news one night only recently that one New England state finally and properly welcomed their Vietnam vets home in a matter befitting those wonderful heroes. Most of whom probably suffered more trials than many of us can or will ever comprehend!
But there were great victories at that same time; Elvis Presley, the Beatles and, my heroine’s favorite, The Chiffons, and let’s not forget the era of hot cars- all persevered, rose out of the smoke and strived for decades to follow.
That hope is what brings my hero Sam Callahan and my heroine, Poppy Tippen together. Why I knew I had to write their story.
What could a gypsy and a Vietnam veteran have in common?
Silvertown’s outcast, Poppy Tippen, has loved football hero Sam “The Force” Callahan forever. But he never seemed to know she was alive. Now he’s home from the war and she suddenly finds herself comforting him from the demons of “that damn war.” Is his attention merely an escape from the haunting nightmares? Or does she hold the interest of the only man she’s ever truly loved?
Sam Callahan’s only solace from the war nightmares wrecking his life comes in the unlikely form of a gypsy girl with stigmas of her own. He’s known Poppy his entire life, but there’s something different about her now. Something special he desperately wants to hold on to. Can he convince her she’s the only thing he needs to put the past behind him?
Over the next week he actively avoided his mother as he raked and watered the lawn. He’d found out the gardener had left when his mother stopped paying him, not that Sam blamed the guy. So, he would try to do what he could to fix the old place up again. Somehow, like himself, he doubted the place he’d called home would ever fully recover the ravages of wartime. It gave him something useful to get through the days before he creeped out at night.
“Sammie, we need to talk.”
He dropped his head and counted briefly before facing his mother. “Good morning, Ma.”
“Have you talked to that woman?”
No nonsense, that was Ma. He dragged in a heavy breath to stifle a groan. “What woman would that be?”
“Don’t play games with me, Sam. You know full well I’m talking about that gypsy woman who owns the doll store. Did you tell her you want the doll back?” His mother threw hands to hips. He waited five ticks. Yep, there it was. Her left foot began flapping like a fish out of water to make known her full ire at him. He almost grinned.
As he stared at her tapping foot, Sam realized he’d actually missed that trait in his mother while he’d been gone. But she wasn’t interested in reflections of days past. “No. I’m not going to get the doll. It’s better off gone if it causes you so much distress. Just forget it and let it be, Ma.”
“Forget it? Haven’t you heard what I’ve been telling you? It will only cause more problems the longer that woman has it!” She was almost yelling and Sam cringed inwardly with a glance around. She ought to keep her voice down or—
Or, what? Did he expect the VC to pop out of the surrounding sticks that had once been shrubbery admired by the whole town? Yes. He did. Damn it all. Why was it so hard for him to let go of the war he was no longer a part of? He shuffled his loafer-clad feet and sighed heavily.
“What’s so special about that doll that you won’t let it go?”
His mother looked away from him as though she had a secret and twisted her hands around her ever-present hankie. “It’s bad, evil.”
“Then, why on earth would you want it back? Good riddance, I’d say.”
“No!” She backed up a step and looked up at him, lips painted the same bright red, and he vaguely wondered if she’d worn it so long it had become permanent, a tattoo. A bright red tattoo. Blood red… “It was a gift from my cousin, Helen, when I visited her in California, before she died. I already told you that. But, it’s cursed! I can’t risk anyone else suffering because of that—that thing!”
Blood red… Sam shook the image off and looked over his mother’s head toward the street.
Of all the times to wander in, he didn’t need Poppy showing up right then, while his mother was on her insane rampage about a doll.
A doll that Poppy’s mother had bought fair and square, according to Ma. Now it was a cursed doll? She’d said something about that last time she mentioned the damn thing. He was suddenly afraid his mother was losing her mind. “Son of a bitch.”
“Watch your mouth, young man. I won’t have that kind of language used in this house. Your father—God rest his soul—didn’t use that filth, and I won’t have my only son speak it.” She sounded so normal, suddenly.
“Sorry, Ma. I need to go…somewhere, for a while.”
“Get the doll.” Her voice poured from that red mouth like a warning.
He leaned the rake he’d been using before the interruption against the wood shed and tossed a wave over his head to his mother as he strode for the driveway, and Poppy. Suddenly, it took all his will not to break out in a run and just keep going. Never to stop until he was far, far away from this new nightmare his mother had introduced to him. Blood red, blood. Red, blood, red, blood, red blood.
Sam didn’t stop when he reached Poppy, but grabbed her hand and swung her around with him—took her away before his mother realized who she was. He especially didn’t need her to see the doll shop owner’s daughter.
He picked up his already fast pace until he felt a jerk against his hand and slowed down. He didn’t want to talk. Not yet. Walk. Keep walking…fast.
“Whoa, soldier boy!” She yanked him to a stop. For a little thing, she was stronger than he’d have thought. “What’s with you? If I wanted to race I’d be a horse.”
Blood red. No talking. Walk. Her hand still in his, he gave a rough tug.
And something exciting- The Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll now has a place where you can check in for updates, new books and awesome covers created by the fabulous artists of TWRP! Just go see what you think and feel free to CONTACT any of the authors through the contact button (top left corner) and read ABOUT the series in the about page (also top left corner). Currently there are five others under contract in various stages of production, three of those are scheduled for release in 2012 so far, and several more in the writing, pre-submission stages, and another one, besides Home, available now!
Small-town country girl Calisa Rhose lives in a semi-remote area of Oklahoma with her husband, five dogs, one cat and one horse. All of her three daughters and their families live within throwing distance. She’s a member of RWA and the local chapter OKRWA. She intends to nurture and continue to grow as an author with the help of her family and supporters.
Find Calisa at her website/blog http://calisarhose.wordpress.com
Follow me on Twitter @Calisa_Rhose and Like me on Facebook @Calisa Rhose
She loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org She even writes back!
Thanks again for this opportunity to share such a wonderful experience with your readers, Karen!