Thursday, 7 March 2013

Carley Bauer and Lynette Willows: No Gentleman Is He

We often hear about two authors collaborating on a story. Usually they've chosen a single name to published under. But rarely do we hear of collaborating authors writing jointly under their own names. This is the case with authors Carley Bauer and Lynette Willows.

In their debut book, No Gentleman Is He, book one of the Sons of Liberty Series, Carley and Lynette have seamlessly woven an engrossing tale set in 1775 Colonial America. I can't really say this is a pre-Revolutionary War story because it's not set too 'pre' war. It begins in March 1775 and takes us, through the characters' eyes, right into the heart of 19 April 1775 . . . the night when the 'shot was heard 'round the world', when Paul Revere made his epic ride to Lexington to let the locals know 'one if by land, two if by sea' and shouting "The British are coming", and the night the course of American History took a dramatic change. And our hero and heroine, Colton and Cassandra, are smack dab in the center of it.

This is not just a great historical. This is also a great romance. Two people who've met under unusual circumstances, who are thrown together during desperate times (both personal and national), and who come to a greater understanding and respect for one another.

Cassandra eloped with Seth and left England to make their way in the Colonies. Seth was a horseman and the two planned on raising horses. But Seth's untimely death put Cassandra into a difficult situation--trying to earn her keep while also keeping her prize horses. Only two years in the New World, hers and Seth's dreams were only just starting to come to fruition. Now, alone, Cassandra is learning how to survive on her own.

Colton Rolfe is a local plantation owner. His ancestors, which included the famous Pocahontas, started Varina Farms as a tobacco plantation. Colton still farms tobacco, but horses are his passion. When he meets Cassandra and discovers her superior horses, he'll stop at nothing to have exclusive rights to breed his stock with hers. He sees her desperate situation to his benefit and hires her on as his steward, but has a cunning plan that will send her back to England, and leaving her horses with him.

Only . . . you knew there was an only . . . only this is romance and nothing ever goes to plan. Colton soon finds his interests are no longer in Cassandra's horse, but in Cassandra herself. Fight himself as he does, there's just something about this high-spirited filly that calls to his inner Colt (like how I played up on the horse theme of the story?) ;-)

I had a chance to chat with the authors about their work, this story, and about what they get up to when they're not writing.

Hey, Carley. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me. I know you and Lynette are busy working on the next Sons of Liberty book. Readers love to know about the authors they read. Tell us a little about you. What is your writing space like?

I couldn't wait to have an office. A couple of years ago, my husband and I redid a room across from our bedroom. New paint, shelves of reference books, printer, fax, a nice desk top with a 28" monitor and a view from the second story of the evergreens in the backyard. Perfect. Except, the monitor is too big, I'm on the second floor which means racing down the stairs to the kitchen or to answer the door. I still have the 'office', and use it at certain times. Never for writing, though. Mostly I walk by and admire it.

My writing space is my sofa, a coffee table and end table for reference books, my phone and laptop. This works for me because we are empty nesters. There is no thru-traffic. When my husband is home, he may watch TV or more likely read. Being my biggest fan and most ardent supporter, he often runs interference with the phone and door.

That's so funny! You have an office to admire but never use. I wonder . . . does this hint at your quirky personality? I'm thinking yes! So, when you're not admiring your office, what is your daily writing routine like?

Peak writing time for me is between mid-morning and mid to late afternoon. I have the luxury now of working the rest of my schedule around that, leaving open my most productive times. I've never been one to jump out of bed and write. A little me time, straightening up around the house, paying bills, responding to emails, then I'm ready to roll.

I've learned my least productive time is evenings. After dinner, I do a bit around the house, run errands with the hubs and maybe watch a little TV to relax.

Two precautions I've taken to prevent needless interruptions during my most productive time have been ingenius moves I wish I'd started years ago.

1) A 'No Soliciting' sign on my front door had been invaluable in putting the brakes on every sales person and JW traipsing up and down my street.
2) I mentioned I keep my phone beside me. We ditched our landlines years ago in favor of cell phones, which have been upgraded to smart phones. I do not have to set aside my laptop in order to see who is calling. I glance over and unless it my husband or children, I don't answer. I have sent a no-texting warning to friends and family. I text only outside of my productive hours.

I SO hear you on the smartphone vs house phone thing. I got my first smartphone last June/July and I think I've used the house phone, maybe, three times. Two times were for Dellani Oakes' radio show :-) What do you enjoy doing when you're not writing?

Geographically, we're situated half way between Washington DC and New York City, two hours in either direction with Baltimore and Philadelphia even closer. It takes little planning for my husband and I to enjoy a nice ride forthe day. Also enjoy trips to Rehoboth Beach or maybe the Catskill Mountains in NY where our youngest son lives.

I also enjoy research, which lends itself to writing. My husband enjoys reading most anything, so we can often we found browsing Barnes and Noble in our free time.

Lately I've been into work-outs, health, and physical fitness. Haven't joined a gym, but am looking at some equipment for the house. Who knows, maybe a personal gym can take the place of that un-used office

Transforming the office makes sense. And you said it has a great view.

I've been to both DC and NYC. Really enjoyed the DC area, I must say. SO much history. It's no wonder you and Lynette chose American history to write about. It's right on your doorstep!

Lynette Willows, on the other hand, isn't quite in DC, or anywhere on the American east coast. In fact, she lives in Canada.

Welcome, Lynette! Hopefully, this catches you between manuscript volley's with Carley. Thanks for taking some time to chat with me, too. Let me just say, I love this picture of you here. It's SO Americana, yet it's in Canada. Really incredible.

Let's get down to the nitty-gritty. Readers want to know all about you! Describe your writing space for us, will you? I mean, with this as your setting, where do you actually do your writing?

I have an old fashioned farm house, and I made up a parlour room at the foot of the stairs, complete with my desk under the window and library shelves off to my side. I have to have a comfortable, large chair. Since I was little, I sat Indian style, with legs crossed and tucked under my tush, for some reason. As a result, I use this huge armchair that they call a “chair and a half”, which is almost larger than my desk. It’s a wonderful room, all painted and accessorized in autumn colours.  Very soothing and condusive to work.

I need a chair like yours. I sit Indian style too but my current chair only has room for one leg, which most often goes to sleep after five minutes ;-)

OK, so if I had a writing room in a house like this, I would be in there all the time. Tell me, what is your daily writing routine like?

There’s a lot of blind fumbling first thing in the morning and sweeping up spilt coffee grounds from the floor as a result. After three cups of coffee, I become coherent enough to get to work. My work day usually starts at 8:00 am. I go over emails to see if there is anything urgent I need to reply to. Usually the dogs need letting out about this time, then they can settle down and do their job as my muses. I will go over any latest compositions or changes with my lead muse, Misty Maiden, and get her opinion. It’s amazing how a Maltese that looks like Betty Boop can be so perceptive.

I have a regular routine for the most part. I work until noon,then make a light lunch. It’s usually a working lunch. I’m a very boring person, actually, and work until about 4:00 pm and turn into a semi-dutiful wife, making supper. If I’m really in the zone of creativity, I will go back and work more until about 8:00 pm, then settle in to relax, usually watching British drama series. Nothing really exciting.

As a side note, I cannot listen to music as I write; I end up bopping out to it, even Beethoven, and lose all concentration. Instead, I put headphones on and listen to the sounds of wildlife from the African live feeds or Pete’s Pond trail cam. Strange, I know. Must be the country girl in me.

I can't really write to music either, though certain scenes call for something atmospheric. Carmina Burana, for example, or even the theme music from Last of the Mohicans is great for battles or chase scenes . . . for historicals. ;-) I love that you listen to nature sounds though. Great idea. Beats the sound of the keys as you're tapping away, I'm sure! {note to self: check out nature videos on YouTube}

When you're not writing, what do you enjoy doing?

Both my husband and I are avid campers and fishermen, especially now we’re empty nesters and he’s retired. I also enjoy visiting friends, gardening, walking my “girls” in the field behind my place and finding the tracks of animals who have visited there. Moose, coyotes, deer and rabbit are very numerous there. We also time our camping trips for when the various wild berries are ready for picking. For instance, when the wild cranberries are ready, we will travel the two hours to Edson, camp out nearby and spend a weekend picking enough for the next year. There is nothing better than wild cranberry sauce for Xmas dinner! Then, of course, there’s blueberries, pincherries, saskatoons, basically anything that can be turned into pies and jellies, ready for picking at various times during the summer.  I have simple tastes in entertainment. I’m an avid garage-saler, and watch the signs on the roadsigns religiously.

Isn't that wonderful you can still find all those berries in nature? So much progress has destroyed all that in other places in the world. Back when we lived on our property, we'd pick the wild blackberries for jam and jelly. The dogs followed behind us on the way home, as the heavy berries would start juicing themselves from the weight and drip out of the bags. The dogs would chase after us, licking the bags LOL And yeah, amazing flavor off wild berries.

I understand about the wonder of nature in the country too. We have a bit ourselves with rabbits and hare, mink, ferrets, badger, foxes, birds (including pheasants) and Sika Deer, which have only just started being seen again in the region. Loved it when we lived there. Of course, I grew up in an area once common to fix, American deer, and mountain lions. But that's another story!

A BIG thank you to both Lynette and Carley for taking time out to chat with me so I could let you know a bit more about these fabulous ladies. Let's go now to No Gentleman Is He.

• • •

Young, adventurous and widowed in a new land, Cassandra Courtney Brooks finds her dream of raising a superior breed of saddle horse slipping away with the death of her husband. Left with four horses, living in a tavern attic, and her scant savings depleting, she resolves to see her vision through to fruition by accepting the scandalous position of steward at Varina Farms.

Born in the image of his native ancestry, Colton Rolfe’s savage blood runs through his veins. Scorned by his father, Colt grew into a man of ill temperament whose only interest is the wild equine beasts on his plantation. His desire to breed his horses with the superior Thoroughbreds of the newly widowed Cassandra Brooks leads him to abandon societal rules. Colt’s growing resentment toward the Crown and his assistance to Sons of Liberty missions is complicated by the discovery that Cassandra’s father is a titled English nobleman.

Cassandra is soon forced to question the wisdom of her decision when she finds herself enamored with her employer. As fiery passion grows between them, Cassandra realizes her own spirit of independence, love of the land, and the savage man who is so much a part of it.

As the threat of war comes ever closer, wills are tested through gunfire, treachery, danger, and kidnapping. Does Colt dare trust Casandra with Sons of Liberty secrets? More importantly, can he trust her with his heart? And will Colt ever trust Cassandra enough to love her as she longs to be loved?

“How much do you charge for your stock?”

Startled by the abrupt topic change, she stammered, “Well, I have not sold any yet. The colt will be the first.”

Inwardly, Colton rejoiced at her inexperience. “How much?” he pressed, in an effort to keep her off balance.

“I have given it some thought. A price of twenty-five pounds seems reasonable.”

Colton’s jaw dropped open. “Are you insane, woman?”

She flinched and bristled, then found her voice. “With my quality horses, I cannot see why I should not demand a fair price.”

“Twenty-five pounds…” he stopped. “That is five pounds more than I charge and I have the best in the county!”

“You had the best,” she corrected saucily, her blue eyes shining with mischief.

Angry at her cheek, Colton urged his horse closer to hers and leaned over close in what he hoped was an intimidating manner, staring into her eyes. He was gratified to see her quiver, her hands tightening on the reins. Still, her gaze remained steady on his. Through his anger he admired her courage. Grown men quaked at his bullying tactics, yet this slip of a girl held fast under his stare.

“You insolent wench,” he huffed.

Cassandra shivered, but did not answer. She held her ground, and he strongly suspected she knew her position was strong.  They held a glaring contest for a few seconds.

A slow smile curled one corner of Colton’s mouth. “You have brass ones, woman,” he murmured. “That is one reason I want to buy your horses and make them the foundation of my breeding line.”

Cassandra snorted in derision, obviously surprised at his offer. “Do you honestly think I would give up my horses after all I have sacrificed to keep them?”

“You admitted you are in a bad way.” He shifted in his saddle. “Tom Hardwick is a fine horseman and good foreman, but unfortunately the man is illiterate, only able to work out numbers with great effort. With my planned expansion I have need of a knowledgeable steward.” He studied her reaction at this unorthodox suggestion. “I also need a housekeeper. Martha is not able to read or write, either, and she is getting old. My sister, Frances Anne, who normally would take over the household duties, is abroad and not due home for a year or more. Therefore, I propose you be my housekeeper as well.”

Colton could see suspicion rising in her deep blue eyes. A fetching creature, he doubted she lacked admirers. He supposed she wondered if the proposition was business or if his pleasure would also be part of the bargain. Inexplicably, the latter thought made his groin tighten.

Proper English women were reared to manage a substantial household. Colton was unaware of her heritage but assumed she garnered these qualities as a governess or housekeeper to prominent English families before coming to the Colonies. War with England was on their heels and Colton made it clear he was willing to make an investment in the fight for independence with his horses. Knowing her background beyond that of Seth Brooks’ widow may not set well with him but he needed her horses to produce stronger stock if the Colonialists were to get independence from the Crown.

Cassandra sniffed haughtily. “I do not see how your offer could possibly tempt me.”

Colton’s eyes fixed intently on her, belying the informal way he rested his elbow on his thigh, leaning toward her.

“I want sole rights to your stallions to service my mares, Mrs. Brooks. I also claim sole ownership of any foals resulting from breeding our stock.”

Her mouth dropped open at his outrageous proposal. He continued, undaunted.

“The annual wage as steward and housekeeper at Varina Farms is two hundred and forty pounds. It is more than generous, you must admit. You can save up enough to open a small shop, or snag another husband, when my sister returns to take over the household. It is not often a mere woman is offered such an opportunity,” he added.

“You arrogant boor,” Cassandra huffed. “Just when I think you might be a gentleman, you manage to change my mind!”

• • •

Carley Bauer enjoys life on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. with her husband and their blue eyed feline, Noelle. After 30 years as a state contractor in a self employed capacity, she decided to try her hand at her first love, writing.

She loves being an empty nester, free to travel with her husband. Still involved with her children and grandchildren, Carley loves big family dinners.

Some of her other hobbies are fashion, the occasional bite of the Big Apple where the excitement feeds her natural love of city life and home decor, which boasts a collection of Fenton Glassware.

Lynette Willows is a mother, wife, and the property of two Maltese. Verbally awkward, she has always put her thoughts to paper and eventually realized this was what writers do. Hence, the profession chose her instead of the other way around.

She served ten years of apprenticeship as a freelance writer in between raising boys and serving hot suppers to a hard working husband.

She has a love of odd facts and her favorite hobby is historical research.

She is an avid camper, fisherman, and chases storms for the adrenaline rush. Lynette is an empty nester living with her husband in rural Alberta, Canada.

• • •

-- >> Tirgearr Publishing is giving away a copy of No Gentleman Is He to the best comment or question here today. Be sure to use the comments section on this page to enter. Don't forget to leave your email address.


  1. This is one book I want to read. Great premise for a great story. Thanks for having this contest.

  2. cmgren, Lynette and I would love to hear what you think after you've read it.
    Thanks for your kind response!


  3. Started reading as soon as I made the purchase! I am already floored by how real it all feels. I love a good book that can take e into the characters world. I can imagine what Cassandra looks like and what the stables smell like. I felt the flicker of romance bud when she saw Colt without a shirt. It been enchanting so far and I cant wait to dive in further!

    1. Thanks, Jessica! The scenes flowed so easily to me and Lynette when we were writing. With professional editing, it fits together nicely, I think.
      We appreciate your comment!

  4. Sounds like a really great book. Look froward to reading it and other books in the series.

  5. Quick note to commenters . . . if you want to be in the running for a free copy of No Gentleman Is He, you MUST leave a contact email address. We cannot contact you otherwise. Thanks!

  6. Lovely to meet you both here on Heart of Fiction. I hope you enjoy being here as much as I did.
    I found your post very interesting indeed and learning a bit more about you both. I'm fascinated to see how you combined your craft to creat this wonderful novel.
    I have bought a copy of No Gentleman is He and will come back with a comment when I've finished reading it.
    Good luck with your sales.

  7. rougebolo, We look forward to hearing your comments!

    Yours as well, Cathy! It's wonderful being here, and we thank Kem for her time and generosity in having us.