HOWDY and welcome, Petie McCarty!
- For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?
(Petie) I would love to and thank you for allowing me to spend time with your Kam’s Place readers today and to share my new release, Betting on Cinderella.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology, which was no help at all when I decided to write romance novels as a second career. However, several unique assignments during my early career as a state biologist—which included surveying many Florida lakes and streams by airboat—provided background for my very first release, Everglades.
Everything that happened to the heroine in Everglades during her safari through the River of Grass happened to me at some time during my career: the bug storm, swimming with gators, the leeches, the heart-stopping airboat maneuvers. Everything, that is, except getting stranded overnight with a hunky airboat guide. I never got one of those, so I wrote my own.
Photographer Kayli Heddon has been given the biggest assignment of her career — a photo essay on the Everglades Restoration the Florida governor intends to use in his re-election campaign. A special airboat safari is arranged, so Kayli can get her pictures. What she doesn’t count on is being stranded alone in the Everglades with her handsome and enigmatic airboat guide. Kayli is forced to learn some tough lessons. Trust means everything in the dangerous River of Grass, and a skilled partner can make all the difference in your survival.
I was lucky enough to spend most of my career working for the Walt Disney World Resort. What could be more magical than driving by Cinderella’s Castle on your way to work every day? I came late to the world of publishing and had never considered writing until about ten years ago. I think it was living in the heart of the theme park entertainment industry that constantly tweaked my imagination and made me want to write. I had the fun of working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating my own romantic fairy tales by night. I eventually said good-bye to my wonderful “day” job to write my stories full-time.
At present, I live—and write—on the beautiful Cumberland Plateau with my horticulturist husband, a spoiled-rotten English springer spaniel addicted to green olives stuffed with pimento, and a talkative Nanday conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in Angel to the Rescue.
…a cozy mystery with a touch of romantic suspense from the Mystery Angel Romance series — with an angel hidden in every book. It’s up to you to figure out the angel’s identity…
Police negotiator, Lt. Jake Dillon, walked away from his fiancée Rachel when she suddenly balked at having kids. His kids. Yet as the hostage crisis erupts, Rachel calls Jake first. Now he has a choice to make — stand back and wait for the cavalry to save Rachel or step in and try to save her himself. Time is running out, and Jake may be their only chance for rescue.
Unless Rachel’s little angel-spying client is telling the truth…
- All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.
(Petie) This may sound weird, but I see movies that run in my head. If the beginning, middle, and end of the story are all there, then that’s the next book I write. When the movie starts running, I speed-write scene bullets, so I can begin the sequel whenever I’m ready. The bullets become my outline.
Thus, I’ve never really suffered full-blown writer’s block, but I suffer from my own viral strain that I call “climax block.” Now doesn’t that sound scary? For me, it induces a very real panic that occurs with every novel I’ve written to date. I get to the big climactic scene at the end of the book, and I just can’t seem to get it on the page.
I know what must happen from the movie in my head and even which characters should participate, but I can’t seem to get the action sequences to formulate on the page. Therein lies the panic. My particular block strain lasts from one to three weeks, which is the amount of time to elapse before the initial action sequence in the movie finally starts to run in my head. Thankfully, the movie has always appeared, but the shreds of panic never completely dissipate. The ever present worry… what if the movie never shows?
- Contrary to what some people envision about a romance writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?
(Petie) Marketing, marketing, and more marketing. Social media rules the world now and authors need to have a solid place in the various online venues if they expect to have successful book sales. A lot of a book’s advertising and promotion is trial and error. What works for one author or book may not work for another. Every book is different, but perseverance is the key. Marketing is like trying to get published, never ever give up.
- I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?
(Petie) I write full-time from home now, but when I first started writing, I was a bit nervous about letting anyone in the workplace know I was writing novels on the side. Huge mistake. My co-workers got really excited about my first book and ended up being some of my biggest supporters and celebrated every release with me. It’s hard to know how co-workers will react, so it’s an individual decision for a writer whether to share your new venture or not.
(Kam) I’m so thrilled you have a supportive team at your back!
- Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.
(Petie) Easiest question of all since I’m a voracious reader, and I love a mix of fiction. So here is my mix of authors:
- Suzanne Brockmann – Her SEAL teams are incredible. I want to write like her when grow up. =)
- Jennifer Crusie – She gives true meaning to romantic comedy. I have most of hers on audiobooks and have re-listened to all of them.
- Sarah MacLean – I buy any historical romance she releases
- James Patterson – Synonymous with the word suspense
- Monica McCarty – Sorry, no relation though I wish there was. I LOVE her Spec Ops Highlanders in the Highland Guard historical series!
- Rachel Gibson – She is amazing, and I LOVE her humor
- Lisa Kleypas – Her contemporary romances are even better than her historicals.
- Lee Child – The Killing Floor scared me to death! All his books are riveting.
- Linda Howard – Awesome romantic suspense
- Michael Connelly – Always enjoy his twists-and-turns suspense
(Kam) Oooo, I just found me some new authors to check out. Thank you!
- If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love to see casted in the parts?
(Petie) Of course, I would want to choose Betting on Cinderella. *grin*
If my casting were fortuitous as well, then Chris Hemsworth—I can’t help it…I’m a huge Thor fan—would be Garrett Tucker. I mean, what landscaper wouldn’t have great biceps? And innocent-eyed Alexandra Daddario would make a lovely Andi Ryan.
- Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.
(Petie) Right at this moment, I am finishing up Par for Cinderella, book three in the Cinderella Romances series. Billionaire Aidan Cross, who had a big part in the first two books of the series, insisted on having his own story. Aidan visits quaint Cypress Key, Florida—the future site for one of his world-famous golf resorts that no one in the small town wants. He promptly gets arrested for booting the mayor’s obnoxious son into the marina.
After that, I’ll start lining up my movie scene-bullets for Earl Away, the next book in my new Lords in Time series. The Earl of Dexter didn’t want to be left out and begged to be in the sequel to Duke du Jour, which released a few weeks ago. Like the Cinderella Romances, this series is comprised of standalone stories that have returning characters.
Jared Langley, present-day Duke of Reston, tumbles into an abandoned fountain on his ducal estate and travels back in time to the year 1816. There, Reston servants and local villagers think him a dead ringer for his namesake and rakehell ancestor—the seventh Duke of Reston, gone missing at the Battle of Waterloo. Unfortunately, Seven got mixed up with French spies out to assassinate the Duke of Wellington, and an unwary Jared ends up in their crosshairs.
Lady Ariana Hart has loved Jared Langley, the seventh Duke of Reston, since she was twelve years old, until the night the rogue broke her heart. Given up for dead, her rakish neighbor makes a miraculous return from Waterloo—only Jared shows up a changed man and reignites all the feelings Ariana had long ago buried.
Jared is in a race against time. He must waylay the suspicions of his quirky servants and neighbors, get to Wellington before the French spies do, fix his fountain—before Seven shows up—so Jared has a way home, and definitely not fall in love with the irresistible Lady Ariana.
- Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?
(Petie) All of my books are available on Amazon, and all but the Cinderella Romances [because they are in Kindle Unlimited] are available at Barnes & Noble.
The Mystery Angel Romances each have an angel hidden in the plot whose identity is not revealed until the finale, unless the reader figures it out first. The stories can be read in any order since there are no returning characters, only an angel in each one.
The Cinderella Romances books have returning characters, so readers may want to start with Book 1 although all the stories read as standalones. Same for the Lords in Time series.
- Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?
(Petie) I’d love to hear from readers at any of my social media links:
- Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.
(Petie) I just want to thank Kam’s Place and her loyal readers for allowing me to spend time with them today and share stories about my books. I hope you’ll give the Cinderella Romances series a try. Happy reading or writing to all — your pick!
~~ Closing remarks ~~
I think after reading Petie’s interview, you’ll have no problem finding something to read for a long while.
I’ve enjoyed my time with Petie and I also enjoyed Betting on Cinderella.
Please keep scrolling down to get a glimpse inside the book and to see my feelings on this romancic tale.
Garrett Tucker inherits his grandfather’s casino empire and steps into the reclusive billionaire’s shoes as the “Prince of Vegas.” His first act is to buy a bankrupt casino in Biloxi. When he discovers embezzling in his new operation, Garrett goes undercover. His prime suspect is the new finance supervisor—the spitfire brunette who stole his heart at first sight.
Andi Ryan moves to Biloxi to care for her godmother and takes a job as finance supervisor for the renovated Bayou Princess casino. She discovers someone is skimming from the till and starts her own investigation, worried she will be blamed for the theft when the new owner discovers her godmother has a gambling addiction.
A rival Vegas competitor has sent a spy in to ruin the Bayou Princess, and Garrett and Andi are forced to work together to prove her innocence and discover the identity of their casino spy.
Andi Tells Garrett She’s a Virgin
“I want to make love to you.”
Garrett mentally kicked himself. He had gone and scared her.
Too much. Too soon.
But he couldn’t make himself move. He could lie here forever with Andi in his arms.
She wriggled from his grasp to sit up. “Um . . .”
She looked too uncertain.
He was okay with, “Not now, but maybe later.”
“I can’t,” she whispered.
Good thing he was sitting down. The jangle of fear that hit him could have knocked his knees out from under him.
“Can’t or won’t?” he forced out. No maybes on this one.
What the hell? Can’t and won’t?
All his uncertainties flooded back. Flora had said Andi and Peters were just friends. Was that friends with benefits? And what about that damn Drakos pawing her last week? No, he wouldn’t let those doubts crowd them here on the couch.
“Too soon?” he tried.
“Partly.” She looked away, and his heart sank amongst the growing heap of doubts.
“There’s someone else,” he said flatly, working to keep his expression blank and the hurt at bay.
She met his gaze square on then, no doubt trying to muscle her courage. “There’s something I should tell you.”
“I’m—” She exhaled hard. “—no good at it.”
What? Is that all?
He fought back a grin of pure joy. “I’ll give you lessons.” He pulled her back for another kiss.
She shoved at his chest. “No. I don’t think I should.”
She flinched at his expression, and he worked to smooth his scowl.
“Go ahead. Spit it out.” Even he didn’t like his tone. “You’re sleeping with someone else, right?”
He should have done his homework before he went off half-cocked with all the flowers and balloons, trying to woo her.
“No, and I should slap you for that, suggesting I’m loose enough to go out with you while sleeping with someone else.”
“Then what the hell is it?” he shouted, forgetting all about Flora at the back of the house.
“I’ve never done it before!” she shouted back.
“What? Slapped someone?”
“No, you jerk. Slept with someone.” This, she didn’t shout.
He froze, right down to his heartbeat, and stared at her bright-pink cheeks. Could it be? Was she? A virgin?
“Holy smokes,” he wheezed.
She stared at her untouched glass of wine. “I’m not saying you and I will never,” she said softly.
Relief, warm and desperate, allowed his muscles to finally move. He gently traced the line of her cheek with his finger, a lump forming in his throat at the touch of something so rare and priceless.
“Glad to hear that.” He brushed his lips across hers, light as a whisper. Once. “My little sweetheart.” Twice. “My precious—” Three times. Always a charm.
“You’re not mad?”
Those big blue eyes stared up at him with an innocence that made his too-experienced heart ache with emotion.
Should he tell her he wanted to go outside and howl his joy at the moon? To yell to the world what a lucky son of a gun he was? His Andi would be his Andi—proprietary, like his stock portfolio. All his. No one else. A primal sense of possessiveness overwhelmed him.
“No, sweetheart, not mad. Glad,” he managed, then tugged her close and let his kiss show her exactly how he felt.
“When you’re ready,” he said against her lips. “Only when you’re ready.”
He had finally said and done the right thing, for she grabbed his shirt and laid an eye-crossing kiss on him.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
A Godmother who’s goal is it to try and make an orphaned girl’s life a bit brighter.
These are a few similarities to the famous Cinderella storyline. In both stories, there is a blue dress and a HEA with the damsel finding her one true love.
However in Betting on Cinderella, the storyline contains things the original never touched upon: embezzlers, casinos, and mafia looking villains.
In each storyline, the good guys prevailed BUT in Betting on Cinderella readers will be surprised at how far Flora Merrywether will go to ensure Andi’s has her own fairy tale ending.
BTW: Cute name selection when deciding upon Flora Merrywether. As an avid viewer of Disney movies, I recognize Sleeping Beauty’s magical guardians/protectors’ namesakes. You might’ve spelled ‘Merryweather’ slightly different but I see your inspiration for the name choice loud and clear.
For the plot in Betting on Cinderella, there’s so much going on. I knew we were in for a big surprise. Heck, I figured one out from the start. However, as the final chapters unfolded, I realized I only solved part of the puzzle. For that, my score, my feelings on the overall story increased by one point.
Heart Rating System
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)