Sunday, November 17, 2013

Peaches, by Kathleen Rice Adams in WISHING FOR A COWBOY #historicalromance @disorderlywords #christmas #western

by Kathleen Rice Adams
a short story in
Wishing for a Cowboy
Prairie Rose Publications

RTW is pleased to host the authors of Wishing for a Cowboy, the debut offering of Prairie Rose Publications.  It's available in ebook at Amazon and Smashwords, and in print at Amazon.

RTW's guest today is Kathleen Rice Adams.  An award-winning journalist, editor, and ghostwriter, Kathleen added fiction author to her resume with the publication of “Peaches.” Her first novel will bow in early 2014. Find her online at her website or on Facebook.

Her story in Wishing for a Cowboy is Peaches — Can Ruth sweeten a surly rancher?

Running a ranch and fending off three meddlesome aunts leaves Whit McCandless no time, and even less patience, for the prickly new schoolmarm’s greenhorn carelessness. The teacher needs educating before somebody gets hurt.

Ruth Avery can manage her children and her school just fine without interference from some philistine of a rancher. If he’d pay more attention to his cattle and less to her affairs, they’d both prosper.

He didn’t expect to need rescuing. She never intended to fall in love.

RTW: How did Ruth and Whit come to you?  Were they fully formed, or were they stubborn about telling you their stories?

Kathleen: My characters, particularly the heroines, always start out stubborn. Once I coax them out from under their rocks, though, I can’t get them to shut up. It’s like wrangling a herd of five-year-olds on speed over here most of the time.

One of the most enjoyable — and at the same time, most frustrating — things about writing fiction is the way characters and their stories morph during the writing. No matter how much I try to cast stellar, team-spirited, ensemble players, I never end up with the characters I intended to hire. Evidently, the word is out that I’m an idiot in need of serious supervision, and it’s best to play along with me until someone who knows what they’re doing can snatch the reins and steer the wagon away from the cliff.
Kathleen Rice Adams

RTW: What is it about Christmas that lends itself to romance?

Kathleen: Sugar overload. Everyone alternates between a sugar high and a tryptophan snooze from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, and the constant vacillation fools with our heads.

All kidding aside, I think those of us who celebrate Christmas learned when we were very young that it’s the one time of year when even enemies put aside grievances and try to live the spirit of the words “peace on Earth, goodwill to men.” Families block out work, politics, and the struggle to survive in an increasingly volatile society and focus on what really matters: one another. The effort may last only a single day, but it creates a special kind of magic.

RTW: How is peach pie incorporated into your story, and is it a part of your own family lore?

Kathleen: Remember those characters I mentioned earlier—the ones who grab the reins and steer the wagon away from a cliff? They’re not always human, or even sentient. In “Peaches,” the reins-snatcher was juicy, fuzzy fruit.

When I started working on “Peaches,” an episode from my grandmother and grandfather’s apparently brief-but-intense courtship served as inspiration. The story goes that Granny, a young widow, had moved to rural North Texas with her three rowdy, pre-teen sons in order to take a job as the schoolmarm in a one-room country schoolhouse.

And lo, a church social came to pass, and a gaggle of the faithful—determined to ensure the poor, widowed minister’s daughter with three darling boys didn’t embarrass herself before the eligible men in the congregation — arrived to help Granny with her contribution to the feast: a peach pie. Because no one wanted the pie to suffer from a lack of spice, every time Granny turned her back, one of the “helpers” added more nutmeg on the sly.

As luck would have it, the first person to taste the pie at the social was a local rancher of some fifty years who had never married. Reportedly, after his near brush with the Hereafter at the hands of the nutmeg, he announced to the congregation that he supposed he ought to marry that little woman lest her next attempt to lasso a husband killed somebody.

Of course, “Peaches” turned out nothing like that. Word to the wise: Resist the temptation to turn fruit loose in a story.

RTW: I'll certainly be wary of any peaches knocking on my door. :)  If you lived in Ruth’s house, how would you decorate it for Christmas?

Kathleen: Honestly, I’m more drawn to the scents than the sights of the season, so I’d probably decorate much as Ruth did: a small, fragrant tree with whatever ornaments I could scrounge up and the aromas of baking and spices filling the air. In all likelihood, Whit would never set foot inside the door of my home during the holidays, because the top of the big Franklin stove in the dining room always bears a simmering pot of spices and pine or citrus. The whole house smells wonderful.

RTW: What other books do you have for our readers to enjoy?

Kathleen: I don’t have anything else in print right now, but I’m hoping to rectify that soon. I’m contributing to Prairie Rose’s Valentine’s Day anthology, Hearts and Spurs (due in print and e-book Jan. 15, 2014), and my first novel is on Prairie Rose’s schedule for early next year. In the western historical romance Prodigal Gun, childhood sweethearts separated by one war are reunited by another…but they’re on opposite sides of the barbed-wire fence at the heart of the conflict.

Thanks for hosting me, Jacquie. It’s a pleasure and an honor to appear on Romancing the West.

♥ ♥ ♥
Cowboys, kisses, and love in the holiday air make for a special recipe in each of these wonderful new stories. Christmas miracles can happen when you're 

A Christmas Miracle by Phyliss Miranda 
Acceptance comes not through frosty eyes, but from the warmth of loving hearts. 

Outlaw's Kiss by Cheryl Pierson 
A long-ago schooldays crush is rekindled by an Outlaw's Kiss that sparks true love, and a new future for Jake Morgan and Talia Delano. 

A Husband for Christmas by Sarah J. McNeal 
A haunting night of horror and a wish for a new life. 

Peaches by Kathleen Rice Adams 
When a strong-willed schoolteacher invades an irascible rancher's Texas range, not even the spirit of Christmas may be able to prevent all-out war. 

A Gift for Rhoda by Jacquie Rogers 
A mail-order bride disaster! 

Her Christmas Wish by Tracy Garrett 
Her only wish for Christmas was the man who left her behind. 

Covenant by Tanya Hanson 
Can a Christmas blizzard ignite love gone cold? 

Charlie's Pie by Livia J. Washburn 
A wounded man, a desperate woman, a gang of ruthless outlaws... and the best pecan pie in Parker County!


Sarah J. McNeal said...

I love the story of your grandparents, Kathleen. That is just so sweet. I'm looking forward to reading Peaches. I always enjoy your crazy sense of humor.

Cheryl Pierson said...

I loved your story, Kathleen. You should be really proud of this fantastic fiction debut of yours! I'm so glad you decided to give it a whirl and throw in with us at PRP. This anthology has really turned out great. Like Sarah, I loved the story about your grandparents!