Author Name: Laura Stone Book Name: Bitter Springs Release Date: December 3, 2015
Today I’m excited to have LAURA STONE author of BITTER SPRINGS on the Book Blog.
Hi Laura, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
I'm delighted to have been invited, thanks so much! I'm Texan, I'm a mom, I'm a writer, and I'm a Master Gardener. I'm terrific at Spades and Gin Rummy, have a killer chocolate cake recipe, and could live off sourdough bread if push came to shove. I cannot, however, play a harmonica or knit worth a darn. My uncle taught me how to crochet when I was eight, and I guess I'm a loyalist. (I like to claim that instead of just admitting that I'm simply clumsy with the knit-purl business.) This has been your random facts about Laura moment.
Bitter Springs was a challenge I set for myself to write a genre of which I never really read while growing up. Well, I say that, but I did love books like the Little House series, the Justin Morgan books, and I think I checked out King of the Wind every other week in the sixth grade before my parents took a hint and got me my own copy. While not Westerns, they did feature horses and that pioneer spirit so iconic for the genre, which I was a huge fan of—still am!
Bitter Springs also serves the purpose of me showing my father—a man from a long line of ranchers and cowboys—that gay men existed prior to the 1970s. (You'd be surprised at how many people didn't believe there were LGBTQ folk before modern times...) In the opening of the book, I mention how the idea came to be: I was on a road trip and stopped off in Tombstone, Arizona. In the famous cemetery there, two men are buried in the same plot, and they are the only folks in the whole cemetery with that distinction. Mothers and their children weren't even buried together. Turns out these two young men insisted on it, and that got me to thinking about what their lives were prior to their untimely death. While this book isn't about those two men (there just isn't enough information about them beyond being “the best of friends”), it is about all the men of the time who maybe were “the best of friends” in a way that enabled them to be in long-term relationships with one another in a land where laws didn't matter much, and there weren't too many folks to stick their nose in other people's private affairs.
I also wanted to give voice to the people who actually lived out west in the 19th Century instead of the white, handsome, clean-souled white guy Hollywood likes to claim owned the West. Not even close. Mexicans, Mestizos, Blacks, and especially the Native Americans who had lived on the land for centuries... these were the people who lived and settled the West long before the Anglos, and it's important that we hear their stories. Hopefully your readers will enjoy meeting some of these different families!
Say something to your fans.
Moving from the world of blogging and running fan boards to the world of writing books has been such an amazing turn of events, and it wouldn't have happened without the support from the people who have cheered on my writing over the years. One of my favorite things about the world of readers and writers is how close-knit our relationships with one another become. I've made life-long friends who mean the world to me.
There's a bit of built-in distance with writing books and interacting with fans, and I wish there wasn't. I love talking to people, getting to know what they feel so passionately about, connecting with what interests we both share. I love when I get to chat about those things with readers, old and new. It's such a privilege to have someone connect with the words I've put on a page, and an utter delight to talk about what it is that makes you, the reader, click. Know that for any time you might wonder, “does that author really want to know what I thought about such and such,” let me just speak on my behalf: Yes! I love it!
And you know, that goes for what works and what doesn't. I've had some really interesting criticism about why a thing didn't work for a reader, and it made me want to work harder. There are times when it's just a thing a person prefers, though, so hey. Not much I can do there. But I do love hearing from readers. Especially when it leads to us finding out we're both crocheters or super into baking or hockey fans. Let me just say that if you read M/M literature and you love hockey, you have a new best friend in me.
It's one of the most amazing turns in my life, becoming a professional writer, and I appreciate each and every one of you helping this long-held dream of mine become reality. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
(But seriously: who's into hockey? I'm from the Land of Football, so I need my gang! Don't be shy! I'll bring the wine and nibbles next Game Night.)
Blurb: In 1870s Texas, Renaldo Valle Santos, the youngest son of a large and traditional family, has been sent to train with Henry “Hank” Burnett, a freed slave and talented mesteñero—or horse- catcher—so he may continue the family horse trade. Bitter Springs is a sweeping epic that takes themes from traditional Mexican literature and Old Westerns to tell the story of a man coming into his own and realizing his destiny lies in the wild open spaces with the man who loves him, far from expectations of society.
Pages or Words: 302 pages Categories: Fiction, Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance, Romance, Western/Cowboy
Excerpt: The day before the wedding, a visitor arrived at Vista Verde an entire week early. Renaldo, ready to wash up and eat dinner after a long, hard day—his side ached from roping cattle as a part of Paloma's training, his hands were full of bits of raw hemp from the stock lassos, and one of the calves had kicked him high on the thigh—walked back from the barn using his hat to slap at the dust on his chest and thighs. He noticed a tall, striking young black man standing at the door to their home speaking with their father. They didn't see many black men this far from civilization—with the Civil War ending so recently, many were staying close to where they'd been forced to live, were heading far out west where there were more opportunities to make a new life or were going north seeking less hostile society. Who he could be? He was about as tall as Renaldo, maybe an inch or two more, broad-shouldered and whip-thin, dressed in well-worn, simple clothes. He had a close-cropped beard, but instead of hiding the shape of his jaw, it accented its sharpness. His light eyes, almost luminescent even at this distance and glowing like amber, were ringed with thick lashes, nearly to the point of being girlish, but there was nothing feminine about the man. With his lean but strong-looking chest, muscular arms and curved backside, he managed to carry himself with a confident air while standing idly; his body was still, but in a way that made Renaldo think of a raptor sitting on an abutment, watching and waiting. “Oh, here he is,” Estebán said, motioning for Renaldo to join them, saying, “Señor Burnett, allow me to introduce to you my son, Renaldo.” This? This was the legendary mesteñero, Henry Burnett? He couldn't be much older than Renaldo, who realized his jaw had dropped. He closed his mouth quickly and moved toward them as if drawn like metal shavings to a magnet. Burnett, however, looked amused, as the edge of his mouth quirked up. “Pleased to meet you,” he said, his voice deep and husky. Renaldo couldn't look away, shocked that his expectations couldn't have been more wrong. This was a vibrant young man. But... this was the man he would be alone with on the prairie for months? His stomach twisted at that thought, and at how unexpected it all was, causing his heart to race and face flush. Yes, it was unexpected. That Burnett had come so much sooner than they'd expected had to be why Renaldo couldn't find his voice and felt so upended. “Mijo,” his father said sharply. Renaldo shook himself slightly, and then nodded, saying, “Señor Burnett, it's very good to meet you, finally. Please forgive my shock, as I don't believe we expected you so soon.” Burnett laughed, a rolling, melodious sound, and replied, “Well, then just imagine my shock when I come here all the way from Nacogdoches expecting one Valle man, only to find him gone and you in his place.” He smiled. “Your padre seems to think you're a better match, so that works for me.” That smile, bright teeth framed by full lips, eyes crinkled at the corners, helped lessen some of Renaldo's shock and, if he was being honest, some of the worry that he carried about spending a lot of time with a hard, taciturn man Renaldo knew he would be unable to please. At the realization that this was who he would be with on the plains, just the two of them with no one else for weeks on end, Renaldo became excited, finally looking forward to this task. A young man with an infectious grin wouldn't be such a chore to be stuck with after all.
Buy the book: Interlude Press Web Store: store.interludepress.com Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Ybi7Ab Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bitter-springs-laura-stone/1122753096?ean=2940152391107 Apple iBooks Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/bitter-springs/id1046777460?mt=11 Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/582322
Meet the author: Laura Stone is a born and bred Texan, but don't hold that against her. She's a former comedian, actress and Master Gardener, and currently keeps busy as a media blogger, ghostwriter and novelist when not busy raising her three children. They're not fully raised, but then, neither is she. She lives in Texas as proof that it's not completely populated by hard-line right-wingers. And because that's where the good tamales are. Her first novel, The Bones of You, was published by Interlude Press in 2014 and was named a finalist for two Foreword Reviews IndieFab Book of the Year Award. Laura Stone at Laura-Stone.com and on Facebook at facebook.com/9LauraStone Where to find the author: Facebook: facebook.com/9LauraStone Twitter: @stoneyboboney Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26223113-bitter-springs Publisher: Interlude Press Cover Artist: Collen M. Good
Tour Dates & Stops: 3-Dec: MM Good Book Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Velvet Panic, It’s Raining Men, Hearts on Fire 4-Dec: Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Gay Book Reviews, Divine Magazine 7-Dec: Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Unquietly Me, Elisa - My Reviews and Ramblings, Bayou Book Junkie 8-Dec: Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, My Fiction Nook 9-Dec: Elin Gregory, TTC Books and More 10-Dec: Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Michael Mandrake, Love Bytes 11-Dec: Inked Rainbow Reads, Jessie G. Books 14-Dec: Dawn’s Reading Nook, QUEERcentric Books, Happily Ever Chapter 15-Dec: Cheekypee Reads and Reviews, Emotion in Motion 16-Dec: BFD Book Blog, Prism Book Alliance
a Rafflecopter giveaway