I am a writer and avid reader of romances particularly historical romances. Please join me on my journey through time
Please welcome Jody Vitek author of Taming the Texas Beauty.
Jody Vitek will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Taming the Texas Beauty
by Jody Vitek
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
I started writing on a whim. Due to the cost of daycare after having my second child, I had to quit my job. I was fortune enough that my husband had an unchanging job and made enough on his income alone to support our family. I was not happy about being a stay at home mom. It wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve learned over the years that things happen for a reason. After a one-year pity party, and tired of a story playing out in my head during my nap time, I sat down in front of my computer and wrote. I became a closet romance writer. I knew nothing about writing a book. It wasn’t until I confided in my friend, Tracy, what I was doing that she found and told me about a local and national writers group. I joined Midwest Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. When I found others like me, romance writers, I found strength in admitting to others that I was a writer and pursuing publication. Tracy inspired me to go for the dream of being a published author.
The book that started my writing journey was set aside when I went to Siesta Key, Florida for a vacation without my family. I watched powerboats racing in the ocean from the white sandy beach shoreline and knew I had to write a story that involved powerboats. My first release, Florida Heat, was born, and two other books would stem from this book. My fans and the characters drove the ideas for Texas Two Step and Taming the Texas Beauty. I drew from personal memories and a love for my great aunt’s farm for Rescue Me. Later, once published, I pulled the story from where my writing career began. After laughing at my horrible writing, I took the premise and wrote what would become Up Close and Personal.
I must add that I wrote a large portion of Taming the Texas Beauty before the senseless murders of multiple Texas law enforcement officers. My heart ached, and still aches, for all law enforcement officers and their families; as I am a part of the law enforcement family by marriage.
What expertise did you bring to your writing?
Knowing how to type and how to use a computer. Some may laugh, but knowing how to do these two tasks makes writing happen faster. I don’t think I could do this if I were a hunt and peck typist.
I have four tattoos and will be getting my fifth in May. I love looking at other people’s tats and hearing the stories behind them. It is an art that I appreciate. My husband doesn’t understand why people would do such a thing to their bodies. The first tattoo I got was a crab with the Cancer astrological sign within its claws for my 30th birthday. My hubby thought I was going through a mid-life crisis. Ha! He had no idea that was just the beginning. I’ve since gotten a thin blue line with the saying “Heroes live forever” around my ankle to support my husband and other law enforcement officers, added my three children’s astrological signs beneath my crab, and my last one is a lotus flower on my lower back. Yup, I got a tramp stamp as some call it. I love water lilies, and flowers in general. In May, I will be getting a peacock feather with the date I signed my first book contract and a line from the song “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus. “The Climb” is my motivational, go-to song. I wanted a tattoo to celebrate my fifth release, Taming the Texas Beauty, and to remind me of when the journey began and how tough it was to get there. I chose a peacock quill for my love of peacocks. A little interesting side note, I’ve learned how to imitate a peacock’s call.
I have a four-book series set in Minnesota in the works. I don’t foresee them being released until 2018 and 2019. My goal is to release two a year. I’m very excited about this series, as it will involve four siblings and their family’s cabin. If while working on the series I find myself stuck, I’ll be working on a book in another genre. I’m not saying too much about this venture since it may not pan out. The good news, if the new genre doesn’t work, the story premise will work as a contemporary romance.
It’s hard to pick one of my characters because they all have a small part of me in them. From silly fears, favorite foods or drink, or to bad habits. At first, I thought of the heroines and then looked to my heroes. I’d want to be like Ryan Rogers in Taming the Texas Beauty because he’s a good cop. Our law enforcement officers are going through tough times getting a bad rap when it’s a small number making it difficult for the rest of the officers. Ryan is confident and knows how to handle himself. He made his first appearance in Texas Two Step as the hero’s brother.
A dark blond Ryan Reynolds would be the perfect fit for Ryan Rogers. He has the right facial features and similar body type as Ryan. Sandra Bullock would work well for Stephanie Lockhart because she can be serious and funny. I find it interesting that I picked Ryan and Sandra when they’ve starred together in The Proposal. Although, I think Angelina Jolie would be a better match to Stephanie’s height. When I have a character in mind, I go looking to models for my character’s rather than actors, so this is a tricky question when I’ve got a different face already in the role.
Yes, I belong to a critique group and I wouldn’t be published without them. They catch all my grammar errors, help brainstorm when I get stuck, and tell me when something’s not working for them. My critique partners have changed throughout the years, but I’m thankful for each and every one of them. They are never a hinder to my writing. They push me to make me a stronger writer and better storyteller. If they were to hinder my writing, I’d find a new group. You don’t want someone to deflate you or your writing, but you don’t want them to fill you with fluff, just to make you happy. As a writer, you need to be able to handle criticism. Sometimes, that means setting the critique aside until you can look at it with an open mind. In the end, as the writer, the author, it’s your story. You tell it the way you want.
After years of reworking Florida Heat, with my critique partners’ encouragement that the story was ready, I searched for an agent. I received multiple agent rejections and decided to submit directly to publishing houses that didn’t require an agent. With more rejections under my belt, and about to stop sending out submissions, one of my critique partners told me to query two more small publishing houses. One rejected me. The other, Melange Books, LLC, offered me a contract.
The industry changed during my query process. It was during this time that I discovered who I was as a writer. The large publishing houses would want me to produce three or more books a year. Sure, I could write two books a year but they’d be so bad you couldn’t publish them in the time frame allowed. Knowing who I am as a writer allows me to produce the best book me, my editor and publisher can offer.
Best and worst advice I’ve received was when I entered a contest with my book Florida Heat. The best advice came from one of the judges who kindly suggested to buy the book First Draft in 30 Days by Karen S. Wiesner. I bought the book. It opened my eyes and made the story stronger. The worst advice came from a different judge who suggested I delete the conversations between the character and her horse. The judge said that people don’t talk to their animals. Need I say more. Or am I the crazy one?
I do start with a very basic outline because you need to know your characters and what the story’s about. But from there, anything can happen. I’ve had a couple of books with surprise pregnancies and didn’t want to write another one. Well into writing Taming the Texas Beauty, and having a handle on the direction the story was going, my heroine decided to get pregnant. Good thing it works in the story and my publisher loves unexpected pregnancy stories.
I shared a little in the question about my future plans, but my next project is about a couple whose marriage is struggling. But from the heroine’s point of view—it’s failing. Autumn wants her marriage to survive, unlike her sister Spring’s who’s going through a divorce. Autumn seeks comfort and solace at the family’s cabin in north central Minnesota. She and her husband Carter will heal their marriage while together at the cabin. This is the first, in the four-book, Seasons of Change series.
Harrison Ford and Goldie Hawn. Did I just date myself? To be more current, Julia Stiles and Ben Affleck. I first fell in love with Harrison when I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark. No, not Star Wars. I know, what a shocker. I think I was too young. Goldie Hawn, what’s there not to like about her? I first saw her in Private Benjamin and loved her looks and witty humor. I wanted to be her. Julia Stiles came late into my life when I watched 10 Things I Hate About You, well after it came out in theaters. Ah, and then came Ben. The man is deliciously good looking. Jersey Girl would’ve been the first movie I saw starring him, but it was The Town that sold me on him as an actor.
Stephanie leaves work and is kidnapped. She hopes Ryan will discover her missing, find and save her. Thinking that maybe if she told her kidnapper she’s pregnant it would help get her out of the situation. Unfortunately, the kidnapper laughs at Stephanie being pregnant. The mood in the room changes when the kidnapper learns the child is Ryan’s.
Survivor. There was no thinking to this question. I wouldn’t consider myself a die-hard fan because I don’t go to extremes. It’s the one show I can’t stand to miss. A fun story, I submitted a video and application to be on the show in 2003. What I didn’t know at the time was that I was pregnant with my third child. I got pregnant four years after my husband had a vasectomy. (Yes, there’s more I could say, but let’s keep it brief and to the point.) Luckily I didn’t get selected. I joked about how I was going to go into labor during Survivor because it’s my favorite show. You guessed it, I went into labor. It was the Survivor: All-Stars season and I made it through to the end to see Richard Hatch get voted off. No, I didn’t name my son after anyone from the show. Like I said, I’m not an extreme die-hard fan.
Taming the Texas Beauty is part of an untitled series where book one is Florida Heat, book two is Texas Two Step and Taming the Texas Beauty completes the trilogy. These books stand alone but have reappearing characters. I never planned to write more after Florida Heat. It was challenging to write the other two because I didn’t have the information right at my fingertips. With the Seasons of Change series, I’m planning ahead as much as I can. Knowing the books are in a series, I’ve created a “bible”, a three ring binder, where all the information for the series will be kept. I guess you could say I’m plotting because I’m thinking about what needs to happen in book one to make book three’s plot work, and so on with the other books. For me, the good thing about writing a series is that the characters and/or setting are familiar, making it easier to write. The bad side is that you can get burned out or become disinterested in the story, which is one reason why I have the side project to work on. Step away and work on something else until the mind clears itself.
I’d like to ask the readers, how many books do you like in a series? Does it depend on the genre? Do you have any questions for me?
Two years ago, Ryan Rogers was attracted to Stephanie Lockhart, but as the detective who brought down her criminal brother, getting close to her was out of the question. Now, ready to restart the relationship, he discovers her salon is connected to a series of high-end robberies.
In spite of losing her brother because of Detective Rogers, Stephanie hasn’t forgotten their attraction. It could be happily ever after when they meet once again…until she and her salon are implicated in crime, sending her world spiraling out of control.
“I’m sorry to have brought it up, but at the salon you seemed to have put distance between us. And seeing you…I wanted to talk to you. Over the phone or in text wouldn’t have been right.” He glanced at his hands.
“Your turn.” She rested her hand on his forearm. “Why didn’t you call me?”
“We were busy with your brother’s investigation, as well as other cases. I couldn’t get involved with you while working on your brother’s case. When the time came around that I could’ve called you, I figured it was too late. A girl like you doesn’t wait around for a guy.”
“No, I didn’t wait around.” She removed her hand. “And what kind of girl am I, Ryan Rogers?” She relaxed against the back cushion and crossed her legs. Waiting. Waiting for his response.
“You’re beautiful and smart. You run your own business. Come from a wealthy, well-known family, and could have any man you wanted.”
She lurched forward with a laugh before raising an eyebrow. “Any man I want, huh? Your brother turned me away when he was single.”
Ryan sat upright. “You—my brother?”
“We kissed, then he kicked me out of his hotel room. So no, I can’t have any man I want. And you didn’t want me either.”
“I never said I didn’t want you. We never got beyond the phone number exchange.” He raised his voice, frustrated with the situation. “What if I told you I want you now? What if I took you into the bedroom and followed through on your handcuff suggestion?”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Jody Vitek is a multi-published author with Satin Romance, an imprint of Melange Books, LLC. She has been a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Midwest Fiction Writers (MFW) since 2001 and is a Provisional PAN member of RWA.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Jody remains close to home living with her husband of twenty-five plus years, three children and a cat named Holly. Growing up, she enjoyed reading V.C. Andrews’ the Dollanganger series, starting with Flowers in the Attic, S.E. Hinton, and Stephen King to name a few. Today her tastes run across the board in fiction and non-fiction, in all genres.
She has traveled throughout the United States, to the Bahamas and Cancun, Mexico. Between watching her youngest son playing soccer, maintaining one of the many scrapbook albums, gardening and being the COO of the Vitek household, she writes contemporary romances.
Contacts and Links
Satin Romance: http://www.satinromance.com/authors/jodyvitek/taming.html
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Jody Vitek will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.