Friday, March 13, 2015


How do writers come up with ideas? How do they build a world or a town for a series of books? My guest, Trish Milburn, who writes womens fiction, romance, and YA, discusses how she built Blue Falls, Texas. The town is the setting for eight of her romance books.

One of the questions that authors are often asked is where we get our ideas. The answer is everywhere. But to make a book really come alive in three dimensions, I like to visit the setting – walk through it, see it with my own eyes, smell it, hear it. I’m a visual and tactile person, so listening to the locals talk or walking through shops on Main Street really helps me get a feel for a place. This is true even if the locale is fictional, such as the town of Blue Falls, Texas, in my series of the same name for Harlequin American Romance.
Blue Falls is in the Texas Hill Country and has now been featured in eight of my books, including the Teagues of Texas trilogy that preceded the books being branded with the “Blue Falls, Texas” label. But Blue Falls isn’t totally made up. It was inspired by several small towns I’ve visited. I modeled the downtown area and a few of the businesses on Fredericksburg, a popular tourist destination. I kept the small-town feel and the German ancestry influence, but I made Blue Falls’ main draws their wildflower tours and the local rodeos held regularly to help various causes in the town.  The local music/dance hall is inspired by the oldest dance hall in Texas in the small town of Gruene. And Blue Falls Lake, around which the town is built, was inspired by Lake Marble Falls in Marble Falls, Texas.
My best friend lives in San Antonio, so every chance I get to go to Texas, I make another trip through the Hill Country for new inspiration. I come away with an idea for a character, a new business for Blue Falls, the design for a character’s home, something that can add to the world I’m creating with this series. I hope that readers can feel the realism when they read my stories.
Since the local rodeo plays a big part in my books, I’ve attended both a small-town rodeo here in Tennessee and a larger PRCA rodeo in Corpus Christi, Texas. I incorporate things I saw at both, along with additional research, into my rodeo scenes. Here’s part of a rodeo scene from this month’s The Doctor’s Cowboy:

Wyatt Kelley stood on the edge of the bucking chute, looking down at the monster bull. Beelzebub. From what  he’d  heard  of  the  bull’s  nasty  attitude,  the demonic name fit. Yeah, this had “easy ride” written all over it. The moment he mounted the two-ton bull, ol’ Beezy let him know exactly what he thought of having  a  rider  by  twitching,  fidgeting,  snorting. Basically saying, “Your butt is toast.”
“I don’t think he wants to be your best friend,” said one of the cowboys manning the chute. “What?” Wyatt patted the bull on the side of his neck. “This little guy is a sweetheart. We’re going out for drinks afterward.” As  if  to  disagree,  Beezy  stomped  the  dirt  and shuddered beneath him, causing the bell hanging from the lower part of Wyatt’s bull rope to clang. “Next up, we’ve got a cowboy out of the Cowboy State,” the rodeo announcer said as Wyatt readjusted the rope, getting his grip just right. “Wyatt Kelley will be riding Beelzebub."
Wyatt took a deep breath, let it out, then nodded. The moment the chute opened, Beelzebub shot out and began bucking as if Wyatt were a nest full of angry hornets. The arena around him became a dirt-brown blur as the bull spun and kicked so hard it nearly jarred the teeth out of Wyatt’s head. As if ticked off that he hadn’t gotten rid of Wyatt’s weight yet, Beezy switched directions  and  kicked  even harder. Wyatt held on for all he was worth, pretty sure this was the longest eight seconds of his career. And he’d ridden more bulls than he could count. In the next moment, his hat went flying. Sensing victory, the bull seemed to corral all of his intense power and did a belly roll, coming completely off the ground as he kicked all four feet out to the side. Wyatt felt himself slide but he tightened his hold on the rope and his legs pressed against the bull’s sides. By some miracle, he stayed on. But as soon as the bull landed on his feet, he went into a spin that spelled doom. In less than the blink of an eye, the bull bucked Wyatt off into the well, the center of the rank bastard’s spin. Wyatt’s heart rate accelerated when he realized his hand was caught in his rope, adrenaline fueling panic. He fought to free himself, but before he could Beezy caught him with a horn.
My questions for you all:
  •      Do you enjoy cowboy stories? Rodeo?
  • Who is your favorite TV/movie cowboy?
  • What actor should I use for inspiration for a future cowboy hero?



Dr. Chloe Brody cares about all her patients. Maybe more than she should. Because one day rodeo cowboy Wyatt Kelley shows up in her ER, busted up but still flirting. He's got no place to go, so she takes him home.

Soon, Wyatt is seeing stuff no one else in Chloe's life has noticed. The pretty doctor has a full life, but inside, she's alone, just like him. When the attraction between them heats up, Wyatt knows he should leave Blue Falls and Chloe behind—because what can a broken cowboy with an ugly past offer a woman like her? Chloe, though, is determined to show Wyatt that she doesn't care about his past. She just wants him to be a part of her future.


 Whether she's writing about cowboys, cops, vampires, witches or teenage angst, it’s always an interesting ride from Page 1 to The End. 

You can find Trish, Website, Facebook, and Romance Bandits 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


My guest today is debut author, David Powers King. He and Michael Jensen have a fabulous new book out called Woven. While it's audience is primarily young adult it's a story that can be enjoyed by all age groups who love fantasy.

I was a bit curious about David's writing journey and what he's learned along the way and he was sweet enough to share that with us here.

Writing is an integral part of my life. It has been for over half of my life. It started as an outlet when I was a teenager, more or less to shy away from peers and the chagrin of doing something socially awkward. I was a weird kid, so this happened a lot. It’s a part of growing up, but being told so didn’t change how I felt at the time. This led to allowing the opinion of others to rule me, that my self worth was graded by how others viewed me. This isn’t exactly a healthy habit.


Thankfully I found an interest in writing. Movies and video games only took me so far.


Adulthood has been kinder to me, where I found my footing in studying psychology (which has helped me learn a lot about myself). And through it all, up until now, I’ve never stopped writing. I am at home creating characters and their worlds, displacing actual problems on fictional people, and helping them find ways to dig themselves out of their messes. This is all well and fun when I write for personal stress relief or enjoyment. It’s another monster when wanting to publish it.


Me? Put my work before the masses? Subject it to public opinion? This sounds scary!


I’m still very young at this, and honored to be a traditionally published author; my first book that I co-wrote with Michael Jensen was released almost two months ago. The feedback and reviews are amazing, and I’m so very glad to know many have found enjoyment in something I made up. Some are less enthusiastic, but this helps me understand what I’ve heard authors say for so long:

Something along the lines of, “Write the story that you will love.”

And this most important piece of advice ever, “Don’t give up.”

Should I combine the two, the possibilities are endless.

I bet the same can be said about your work, too.

  • What makes writing enjoyable for you? What’s the best advice you’ve heard an author say? Where would you like to be in your writing journey five years from now?

Thank you for having me over for coffee, Sia!

It was my pleasure to have you visiting David and a big congratulations to both you and Michael!


Two unlikely allies must journey across a kingdom in the hopes of thwarting death itself.

All his life, Nels has wanted to be a knight of the kingdom of Avërand. Tall and strong, and with a knack for helping those in need, the people of his sleepy little village have even taken to calling him the Knight of Cobblestown.

But that was before Nels died, murdered outside his home by a mysterious figure.

Now the young hero has awoken as a ghost, invisible to all around him save one person -- his only hope for understanding what happened to him -- the kingdom's heir, Princess Tyra. At first the spoiled royal wants nothing to do with Nels, but as the mystery of his death unravels, the two find themselves linked by a secret, and an enemy who could be hiding behind any face.

Nels and Tyra have no choice but to abscond from the castle, charting a hidden world of tangled magic and forlorn phantoms. They must seek out an ancient needle with the power to mend what has been torn, and they have to move fast. Because soon Nels will disappear forever.


MICHAEL JENSEN is the coauthor of the acclaimed YA fantasy novel Woven, released February 2015 by Scholastic Press. A graduate of Brigham Young University's music, dance, and theater program, Michael taught voice at BYU before establishing his own vocal instruction studio. In addition to being an imaginative storyteller, Michael is an accomplished composer and vocalist. He lives in Salt Lake City with his husband and their four dogs.

DAVID POWERS KING is the coauthor of the highly anticipated YA fantasy novel Woven, to be released January 2015 by Scholastic Press. David was born in beautiful downtown Burbank, California where his love for film inspired him to become a writer. An avid fan of science fiction and fantasy, David also has a soft spot for zombies and the paranormal. He lives in the mountain West with his wife and three children.