"I am ready to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared to meet me is another matter."
-Winston Churchill

Sunday, May 15, 2011

GFP At the Round Table with Rie McGaha - Calen

Rie McGaha

Welcome to the Round Table.  May I offer you a beverage before we begin?
Thank you. I'll have the Tantalizing Tea, please.

Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today.  It's so nice to have you at the Round Table.
I'm very pleased to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

BK:  Please tell us a bit about yourself....
In my real life I'm the mom of 12, Nana of 33 and counting. I rescue abused, abandoned, and neglected animals. In my cyber life, I'm a writer, freelance editor, review editor/coordinator for P&P reviews, review editor for JR reviews, and I promo other authors on 5 different blogs.

BK:  What inspired you to pen this genre?
When I was a little girl, like most little girls, I read all the fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty & Cinderella. As I grew up my reading tastes turned toward the more risqué, but I still liked the fairy tale feel and the happily ever afters, so I wrote a fairy tale for big girls. Calen is the first book in the My Soul To Keep trilogy, which is complete with pink fairy castles, purple unicorns, rainbow waterfalls, and of course, hunky Highlanders.

BK:  What draws you to write in this genre? 
My favorite saying is, "Genres? We don't need no stinking genres!" lol I write what appeals to me at the moment and usually cross genre lines so much in the same story it's hard to pin down a genre.

What inspired your book to be a series?
It didn't start as a series. I wrote it as one book, in three parts but because of the length, the publisher thought it better to publish it as a series.

How difficult is it to write a series?
For me, it's the worst. Especially this one because I had problems getting the other two parts to stand alone when they weren't written that way.

What is your favorite part about writing?
Creating worlds of my own. I'm one of those control freak people, which you have to be when raising 12 kids, and I have no talent to sing or play an instrument or paint, so creating my own fantasies and seeing them come to life in a novel is a great release for me.

Do you have a favorite book in the series?
The last part of the story is called Arion. In the first part Arion is an orphan found by Calen and taken back to live with his family, and is raised as a younger brother. In the second book Arion is raised with cousins, who are actually no blood relation, and because of other story lines, he is supposed to grow up and marry Alley. He grows up and leaves home to explore the world and when he comes back, he knows Alley will be of marriageable age, and he has a plan to get out of marrying her. At least until he sees her and she wants nothing to do with him. The last part was fun to write.

Who is your favorite character?  Which one would you most likely invite to dinner?
When Calen follows the beckoning of a woman from his dreams, he finds himself high in the mountains at a secret land called The Fortress with only female inhabitants. Their leader is Ariella and she's lived a very long time. She's experienced a lot of heartache; a lot of loss and that comes partly from my own life.

Are you finding yourself running into any challenges while writing this series?
Oh yes. Although in a fantasy with witches and special powers, you can do anything you want, but the plot still has to be believable. At one point I came up against a problem with closing a portal to the future but it still had to be open to create havoc for my heroes. I just couldn't get the scene to work and I was getting frustrated, when my youngest son asked what was wrong. So I told him, and he came up with the solution like he had been writing the manuscript. It was great.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
That's hard to say. It can come from real life, or from something I heard or saw on TV, or in one case, when I wrote Blood Line, that story came from a dream my husband had. 

How did you come up with the title for your series?
I hate trying to come up with titles but in this case, I just wanted something as sappy as possible!

What do you like to read when you're not writing?
The latest Alex Cross installment from James Patterson.

Do you have a favorite author/book?
I love the classics and have a lot of books I've read over and over. But I think if I have to choose one book it has to be….okay, I can't choose one, but my top two are Of Mice and Men, and One Thousand White Women.

What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
I don't know. I don't think I'm all that interesting or different but people seemed shocked that I have 12 kids.

What do you like to do for fun?
I love to ride motorcycles, go out on the boat with the family and spend the day on the lake. As long as I'm with my family, it's fun.

What is your favorite food and restaurant?
I love a good rib eye. And my favorite restaurant is Sandstone Garden in Joplin, MO. But I also love Alioto's on the wharf in San Francisco. I love the steamers there.

Can you tell us about any projects you are currently working on?
I am finishing up edits on Caleb & Arion, and finishing up Dancing With Bear: A Love Story, and then I'm taking off on my motorcycle to go hug on some grandbabies. My oldest grandson, Mathew is graduating from high school this year and I will be there for that.

Where can readers find you?
Rie McGaha's Links:

The Pagan & The Pen Book Reviews: 


Fun Facts:

BK:  Fantasy or Horror?
BK:  Day or Night?
BK:  Favorite Drink?
Tantalizing Tea
BK:  Favorite Movie?
China 9, Liberty 37
BK:  What is a must have to write?
TV on in the background
BK:  If you could possess a supernatural power, what would it be and why?
Invisibility. I could go anywhere and imagine all the conversations I would be able to listen in one!
BK:  Favorite Author?
James Patterson
BK:  Favorite Song?
Wish You Were Here/Pink Floyd
BK:  Favorite Saying?
"Genres? We don't need no stinking genres!"
BK:  What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
LOL Oh let's not go there, okay?
BK:  What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
Entertainment. That's it. I don't write trying to make a statement, or hope people will find the answer to life or a lesson in morality. I just want them to be entertained, taken out of reality for a few moments and live in my fantasy for a bit.
BK:  If someone could describe you in one word, what would it be?
Um, Bear always said I had fangs. I'll leave you to ponder on his meaning.

Thank you so much for being at the Round Table today.  It's been such a pleasure chatting with you and I wish you much success in the future.
The pleasure was all mine. Thank you so much for having me.

When Calen MacLeod begins having dreams of an ethereal beauty who beckons to him, he passes it off as just having an itch he hasn't scratched in a long time. But when he leaves on a journey to find her, following the directions she's given him in his dreams, he begins to doubt his sanity. And when he finds himself high in the Mackinaw Mountains in a secret fortress with unicorns and a pink and white castle, surrounded by women, each one more beautiful than the next, it's a fantasy no man would want to wake up from. But Arianna is the only woman for Calen.

The women of the Fortress have lived in peace, hidden away from the humans who tried to annihilate them all. But now a 500-year-old demon is out to destroy the women's matriarch, Ariella, and he'll stop at nothing to complete his mission. When Calen MacLeod shows up, he throws a wrench into Damon's plans. Never let it be said Damon isn't ready for anything, but when he kidnaps Arianna and takes her to modern day San Francisco, is he ready to meet Calen, who will stop at nothing to save his ladylove?


The little boy leaned against the remains of what was once his home. He sat for a while and rubbed his hands over his chubby cheeks, smearing more crud across his face. He drew designs in the dirt and occasionally glanced at the bodies of his parents lying not three feet away. He cried sometimes while he sat by his mother, patting her back and telling her to wake up. He didn't understand why she wouldn't wake up; she had never done that before. Neither had his father, who now continued to sleep next to his mother.
He was alone and he was afraid. Everything looked different to him at night, and the forest sounds scared him. He lay between his parents in the dark, sucking his thumb and crying until he finally fell asleep. He had dreams of the men who came into the forest on their big, black horses. He had been in the hut with his mother when they came; his father was outside chopping wood. His mother had grabbed him up, wrapped a fur around him and hid him in the deep, dark corner in the back of their home. She had been very stern with him when she told him to stay there and not make a sound, then she had gone outside, where his father was speaking with the strangers. He remembered the shouts, the sound of the horses' hooves, the ring of steel against steel in the air. He remembered his mother's scream, and that was when he'd crawled out of his hiding place and peeked through the crack in the logs of the hut.
He had seen his father lying on the ground with blood running from his head. And he saw the men ripping his mother's clothes until her skirt hung in shreds, baring her from the waist down. They had tied her hands and threw her over the chopping block and fell on her one by one. The little boy didn't know what they were doing, as they slapped her, shouting and laughing all the while. Her cries and screams scared him, and he covered his ears. The men were strangers to the child, but one stuck in his memory. Tall, with long, dirty hair, he wore all black and had whiskers all over his face, and this man hurt his mother more than the others. The little boy cried as he watched the men, and he saw the flash of a silver ring on the tall man's finger as the man's sword plunged through his mother's back. The blood ran down her body, down the chopping block onto the dirt.
The boy ran then. He ran back to the place where his mother had hidden him in the dark, secret corner of the hut and made himself as small as he could under the furs. He heard the men come inside and their laughter as they tore up the place. They broke what could break, kicked over the table and stools, and cursed when they didn't find anything of value to steal.
"Burn it!" one of the men shouted.
"Nay," the man with ring said. "We don't want to attract attention. Leave it be and mount up. We have to find the boy!"

The little boy was so afraid, he stayed hidden under the furs all the rest of the day until it was nearly full dark. But as night fell, his full bladder drove him out of his hiding place. He had to climb under and over logs that once made up the walls of his home. That was when he found his parents lying on the ground. He stood there crying, and pee ran down his leg. He went to his mother first and shook her, patted her back and called to her over and over, but she wouldn't answer him. He then turned to his father and shook him harder, but he didn't answer either.
As the full moon rose over the forest, he sat down and wailed. After a while he fell asleep and when he awoke, it was still full dark. He shivered, and used the moon's light to make his way back into the hut. Dragging the furs behind him, he went back out to his parents' side. He covered his mother first, laid between them and shared a fur with his father.
The next morning, he searched through the hut and found some bread and dried meat to eat. With no concept of time, the child slept, ate, played in the dirt, and waited for his parents to wake up.
Later the next day the sounds of horses and men shouting startled the boy. Fearing the mean men had returned, he ran into the remains of the hut and slid under the fallen logs to the secret corner hiding place. He heard the horses snorting and the men talking. Their voices sounded grim and low, not like the loud laughter of the ones who’d hurt his mother. Shaking with fear, he lay still and tried to make himself very small so they wouldn't notice him. He heard them as they walked around the hut, and the sound of  the fallen logs being moved around told him they were inside. A very big hand picked him up, but he was too afraid to open his eyes.
* * * *
 Caleb wrapped an arm securely around the child, went back outside, and called out to another man.
Caleb turned to find his brother holding a dirty, disheveled child with his eyes squeezed tightly shut. "He must've seen the whole thing, Calen. Poor little guy. What do we do with him?"
Calen shrugged. "Can't leave him here; he'll starve to death. Or worse. Take him back to Margaret. She'll take care of him."
Caleb took the boy from his brother. He gently lowered him to the ground, where the child sat, cross-legged in the dirt. Caleb patted his head. "You wait right here and we'll take care of your Ma and Da."
The boy squinted, opening his eyes just enough to see. Calen and Caleb buried the boy's parents then bowed their heads and made the sign of the cross.. After a brief consult with his brother, Calen went to the boy and sat in the dirt right in front of him. He cleared his throat and looked up at Caleb. At his brother's nod, he cleared his throat again.
"My name is Calen, boy. This is my brother, Caleb. Neither of us will hurt you, so don't be afraid."
The boy stared silently at the dirt. Calen looked over his shoulder at his brother and raised a brow. Caleb shrugged; he didn't know how to deal with a little boy any more than his brother did. Calen tried again.
"I know you've seen some bad things here with your Ma and Da, and no babe should be seeing that, but we're going to take you home with us and you'll be taken care of. So come on now and we'll get to it."
The little boy didn't move. He didn't speak, nor did he give any sign he had heard or understood. Caleb squatted down beside his brother.
"Maybe he's deaf. Can you hear me, boy?" No reply. The brothers looked at each other, so Caleb picked up one of the furs, wrapped it around the boy and hauled him up on his shoulder. After they'd both mounted their horses, Caleb settled the child in front of him. When the sun set they stopped again, built a fire and laid out a bed for themselves with the boy between them. Sharing a supper of oatcakes and dried meat from a pouch, Calen offered some to the boy. He accepted the food without looking at either of them, and drank from the skin of water they offered but still he said nothing. They finished eating, put the rest of the food away, then the three of them lay down before the fire. The child fell asleep in minutes.

Rie is on Virtual Book Tour with Goddess Fish Promotions,  but due to blogger being down she ran it one extra day.  

Goddess Fish Partner

1 comment:

Marie McGaha said...

Thank you for having me.