Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Get Lost in Native American Historical Romance with Karen Kay

The Warriors of the Iroquois, Book 2

The American Colonies:  It is a time of war and unrest as the English and French fight over who will rule North America. But another war burns between a brave Seneca warrior and a woman in peril...

SENECA SURRENDER – Excerpt

The sun was a low, pinkish orange orb in the sky, announcing its departure from the day in glorious streaks of multicolored sunlight. Shafts of light, streaming from the clouds, beamed down to the earth, looking as though heaven itself smiled kindly upon the land. And what a magnificent land it was. The birch trees were yellow, the maples red, and the oaks announced their descent into a long, winter sleep with multicolored oranges and golds. The hills were alive with autumn hues, while the air was filled with the rich, musky scent of falling leaves.

Into this world of beauty came the delicate and pale figure of a woman, looking as though she had been plopped down on a large, flat rock. To a casual eye, it might have appeared as though she were engaged in nothing as untoward as taking in the sun. However, closer inspection would have shown that she had only recently been washed to shore.

Soon, the lone figure of a man emerged from the forest. Buckskin clad, he was tall black-haired and brown skinned, with a Mohawk hairstyle that hung long and well past his shoulders in back. He'd been hunting this day, very far from his home. From deep within the forest, he'd felt the breeze and heard the rustle of the water. It had called to him.

Stepping quietly toward the lake, he looked up, his gaze one of admiration for all this, the splendor of the woodlands. Squatting down, and setting his musket onto his lap, he bent over to partake of a drink from the water's cool depths.

However, instantly he sat up, alert. From out the corner of his eye, he'd caught the movement of something, and glancing toward it, he recognized the image of a piece of clothing; it was a woman's skirt. Rising up, he stepped toward it to get a better look, if only to satisfy his curiosity.

That's when he saw her. She was a white woman, blond haired and slim.

Was she alive?

Hauling himself up onto the rock where she lay, he stepped toward her and bent over her. He placed his fingers against her neck, feeling for a pulse. Her body was cold, so very, very cold and he was more than a little surprised when he felt the sure sign of life within her.

The pulse was weak, but it was still there.

Turning her slightly, he was surprised at her pale beauty. Of course, being Seneca and from the Ohio Valley, he'd had opportunity to witness the unusual skin color of the white people. But it wasn't as familiar a sight to him as one might reckon.

Who was she? How had she gotten here? And what had happened to her?

Glancing in all directions, he took in the spectacular sights of the forest. Where did she belong? Who did she belong to?

There was nothing here to answer him; nothing to be seen, no other human presence to be felt within the immediate environment. There was nothing but the ever expansive rhythm of nature.

Using his right hand to brush her hair back from her face, he noted again how cold she was, however, he couldn't help but be aware of how soft her skin was, as well. Putting his fingers against her nostrils, he could feel the weak intake and outflow of breath. She was alive, barely.

Did he dare take her away from here? A white woman?

He hesitated and waited. He watched. Nyoh, he was the only one here, the only one to settle her fate.

That decided him. If she were to live through the night, he had best take care of her. She needed warmth, nourishment and a chance to heal.

Bending down, he spread his hands over her torso. Depending on the type of injury he might discover, he would either nurse her here or take her to a more protected spot. He ran his hands gently down each of her arms, including her hands and fingers. He felt for anything broken. He found nothing.

Spreading his fingers wide, he sent his touch down the sides of her ribs, ignoring her ample breasts. Though his scrutiny was fast, it was thorough. Amazingly, he found nothing.

He continued his search down each of her legs. Surely, he thought, there must be some clue that would tell of her recent history. Perhaps she had broken her neck or back? Gently, he tested the theory, sending his fingertips down over the muscles and bone structure of her neck. Nothing. Nothing substantial to indicate a problem that might claim her life. Turning her lightly onto her side, he felt along her spinal column. Several bones were out of place, but nothing was broken.

He frowned. Again, he wondered, what had happened to her? What was a white woman doing in the woods alone?

His jaw clenched. There had to be someone close-by. Otherwise, there was no sense in this.

But, glancing up and looking askance again, he realized that the puzzle of her appearance would not be solved here. His examination of her had at least established one fact: she was fit to travel.

Taking her up into his arms, he was more than aware that she felt light in his grasp. Quickly, he stepped down off the rock. Not knowing exactly how she had come to be here, he kept his attention attuned to the environment, listening for a sign of other life...anything to indicate the presence of another in the surroundings. She was a beautiful woman; surely she belonged to someone who would miss her.

But again, he could sense nothing unusual.

Enough. She required care.

Quickly he shot toward the security of the woods. If someone were here watching, the trees and bushes offered sanctity, at least it would hide the direction of his path. But where would he take her? He hadn't yet constructed a shelter for the night, and it was already late in the day.

Perhaps...if his memory served him correctly, there was a cave nearby that might lend itself well for their purposes, providing of course that a bear or other animal hadn't already laid claim to it.

As White Thunder hurried toward that spot, he gazed down into the pleasing features of the woman, realizing that his curiosity about her hadn't abated. However, there would be time enough to discover who she was once they were safely sheltered. For now he had best hurry to see if the cave were occupied or vacant.

Balancing her weight and his musket into more secure positions, he darted through the forest, quietly disappearing into it.

KAREN KAY

SENECA SURRENDER, an October 2016 release from Prairie Rose Publications

KAREN KAY  is the author of 17 American Indian Historical Romances.  She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing.  KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.

Author Page at AMAZON:  https://www.amazon.com/Karen-Kay/e/B001ITXEA0

E.E.: What drew you to write in the genre(s) you do?

Karen: As long as I can remember, I’ve been attracted to the life and times of the American Indian.  I grew up in the 50’s and still remember always being on the side of the Indians, even if they were portrayed in an unfriendly light.  Always, I felt that there was another side to the story.

And then there’s my daydreaming about love and romance when I was practicing the piano.  I’d make up stories or scenes to what I was playing – I still do this.

And so when I picked up pen and paper (literally), two things drew me to this genre:  My love of romance and my love of the American Indian culture.

E.E.: What inspires you daily? 

Karen: In truth, this would have to be my husband.  I met him when I was writing GRAY HAWK’S WOMAN.  Our first kiss is in that book, and he continues to find his way into my stories, even if I don’t intend it.

Then there’s history – real history – or perhaps I should say the truth.  : )  It’s a real eye-opener to read accounts of people who were there at the time.  I think I can truly say that the old saying that  “the winner is who writes the history” is true.  The truth is rarely found in history books in school.  At least this is what I’ve found.

And so I find it inspiring to find the truth of different aspects of the American Indian way of life and to write about it.
                       
E.E.: Is writing or story-telling easier for you?

Karen: This is an easy question for me.  Story-telling is hands down easier for me.  As a matter of fact, I consider myself a story teller first and a writer second.  Lately I’ve been telling my grandchildren stories off the top of my head – mostly because my grand daughter found out that I write stories and she’s asked me to write a story about mermaids for her.  And so I’ve been telling her several stories lately to see which she likes the best.

So definitely story-telling.

E.E.: Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?

Karen: Yes, I do write to music – sometimes.  When I’m actively creating a story I find music helps.  However, if I’m editing my work, sometimes it detracts, because I get lost in the words of the song or some such thing.  Then, there’s just the fact that I love music and so it’s a real pleasure to turn on music that I love and write to it.

When I was growing up, my brother and sister and I had to practice the piano and our other instruments every day.  As piano playing grew easier for me, I found I would start making up stories to fit the song – especially if that piece was beautiful and romantic.

I write to all different kinds of music.  The only thing I look for in a song is if it inspires me.  If it does that, then I’ll play it while I write.  Right now, country music inspires me, particularly Keith Whitley songs.  But in the past I’ve written to classical music, opera, Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy operetta, and sometimes contemporary – but rarely contemporary unless it’s country.  I find the classical and the old country  sad songs have a lot of heart and that makes a difference when I’m writing creatively.

E.E.: How often to you get lost in a story?

Karen: Actually I get lost in almost every story that I read.  I have my favorites, of course, but I get lost in these stories, particularly if the stories are about something that I write.  And that includes all genres.  I’ve had to give up horror stories, however, as they can cause me to lose sleep.

Once on a writing tour, I was driving at night (not something I usually do).  But this time I was.  I had a book on tape playing in the car – and it was a scary story, and I was really frightened.  I decided after that to never listen to this kind of story if I’m driving when it’s dark – even if it’s early evening. But I get lost in stories and am known to stay up getting no sleep whatsoever rather than put a book down.

E.E.: What’s the first book you remember reading?

Karen: That would be Fairy Tales, I think.  It might have been Cinderella or maybe Alice in Wonderland.  It might even have been Woody Woodpecker – remember him? Or it might have been Dick and Jane from school.  But I like to think it was Fairy Tales.

Now the first romance book that blew my socks off was a library book entitled THE PINK DRESS.  I read it over and over and over and over.  It was a teen romance, and I literally fell in love with the genre right there.

E.E.: Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met?

Karen: This is a really easy question for me.  A real-life hero I’ve met is my husband.  And who has he saved? Well, me for one.  After my divorce early on in my career, I wanted nothing more to do with men, marriage, relationships, or even dating.

My husband turned all that around for me by simply being kind.  Yes, he’s a real man, who very much loves things that men do (cars, gadgets, trucks, etc).  But he is one of the kindest people that I know.  He tempers the forcefulness of a man with kindness – and that’s about the most beautiful thing I’ve seen.

Who else has he saved?  Two of my cats – he literally saved one of my cats lives, and found a lost cat, whom he saved. He is a hero.  Truly a hero.

E.E.: What is your real opinion about books?  Why are we drawn to them?

Karen: Well, I think of books in a rather intense way.  I believe they help us through difficult times, and some of the stories I read are as though those characters become real people. It was when my own children were young that I sat up and took notice of romance books.  

I’d always read stories – mysteries, romance.  But if I’d had a choice to play outside or read – it was always outside that I would choose.

But when my kids were young, my husband was often gone.  And he didn’t support me or the kids when he was gone – usually because he was doing some study or apprenticing, and so he wasn’t making money. This left it to me to be everything, from earning the money – to paying the rent – to buying the food – to taking the children out each day – to planning and cooking the meals, etc., etc.  Yes, daycare helped.  But the brunt of the raising of the children was left to me.

It was during this period that I discovered that books could take me places, could ease fears, could sympathize when I needed it, could even educate me on things I didn’t know.  And all of these books were romance books.  Every single one of them.

I gave up reading almost any other genre at this time because romance books ended well, and I knew that no matter what, the characters would work it out.  They were...delightful, inspiring and they helped me through a tough time period.

I’ve never forgotten that.  And so when I write, I try to entertain, yes, but I always remember that I need to take people to other places, other times and that the most important thing is that this book becomes a companion when one needs it, and sometimes that’s all we need to get through these trying times.

I love writing.  I love this genre and I fall in love with my characters – and other people’s characters too.  And this is probably the reason why I write.

Today, Karen is giving away two eBooks and a paperback. Just comment and enter the drawing.

Karen: Since I told you what I think of writing and of books in general, I’m wondering if you’d like to come on into the blog today and write a little bit about why you love to read or to write?  What about the written word or the story draws you in?


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17 comments:

  1. I love the variety of stories that pull you in with the authors' descriptions. Seeing so many different characters share their journeys to finding a HEA. The best books are ones that touch my emotions!
    Thanks for sharing Karen!

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    1. Hi Colleen! Thank you so much. I love the same thing.

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  2. interesting characters, HEA

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  3. I read mostly romance; fantasy, SF & historical. I love the escapism & the feel good factor from a HEA. Most of all I enjoy the journey to the HEA.

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  4. Hi Linda!

    Like you I love the escapism. Sometimes I feel really out of things -- but I don't know what HEA is. I do know that I sure do love the romance genre.

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  5. Karen, I so enjoyed your blog. I must confess I've never read your stories before, but am looking forward to them now. Though I too played and still play the piano, took dancing for several years, if my mother thought I was just sitting down and reading a book, I was loafing and she found chores to be done. I continued not to read very much other than required books at school and college. Then, being a nurse, I had my nose stuck in a medical book. But when laid low after an accident, and my friend brought me several romance novels, I became a maniac. I then started using books as a means of escapism from the hectic and serious situations I faced daily. I decided to try to write one and now am multipublished and going strong, and am also one of the roses at PRP. I enjoy bringing awareness to an important issue, paying tribute to a great cause, or just giving my readers a heartwarming yet humorous story. I enjoy different lines of romance, but prefer to write and mostly read Historicals and Medievals. I adore Indian stories. So nice to meet you and wishing you much success with Seneca Surrender.

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    1. Hi Beverly!

      So very nice to meet you. Made me smile when you said your mom found chores for you to do if she found you reading. And am so glad to see that you have followed your heart and become a multipublished author. Nice to meet another person from PRP. And thank you for coming to the blog today. : )

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  6. Kay, so glad to have you with us are Prairie Rose Publications! I have been a fan of your for many years, and this is really exciting for all of us at PRP.

    When I was little, I occupied myself by writing letters. Even before I could spell words, I loved to just write random letters--in fact, I got in trouble for trying to write my name in the fronts of all my books. Finally, my parents and older sisters taught me how to spell my name, and so I proudly went about writing my NAME in the fronts of all my books instead of just random letters! LOL I have loved to write since I was very small--and my mom often commented about how easy I was to entertain because all I needed was a pad of paper and a pen or pencil.

    I loved reading this interview and getting to know more about you. I am a classically trained pianist--though I have not played for a long time--I have a piano, but just haven't sat down and taken the time to play--you made me realize I need to do that. I spent too long and worked to hard to just let it go.

    I always loved to read--it was one of my favorite hobbies. It still is, but since I do so much editing, I don't have a chance to read much "for pleasure" anymore. I really miss it!

    Here's hoping that Seneca Surrender is a smashing success! I truly did love that story, and you kept me wondering how in the world everything was going to work out!

    Again, so thrilled to have you with us at Prairie Rose Publications!

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    1. Hi Cheryl,

      Am so glad to be with PRP. And isn't it interesting to learn that you are a classically trained pianist -- must admit that this was my training, also. Did you do contest after contest after contest? It is true, however, that after I became more able at playing the piano, I would start to make up stories to the beauty of the pieces I was playing. And still do this to this day.

      You're better than me as regards the piano. I don't have one at present, and in fact that absence was what drew me to write. The urge to play and to create is strong sometimes, and when my kids were young and we were struggling financially, I didn't have a piano to turn to, but I did have pen and paper -- and that's what started that whole thing. : )

      Thank you so much for your kind, kind words.

      I loved the part about you writing your name in all your books. Makes me smile -- thinking of my own grand kids now and how that would just tickle me to see that.

      Thanks again, Cheryl.

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  7. Hi beautiful! not entering contest will order mine in book form , but wanted to say hi and I never read until I turned 40 for therapy my friend had suggested it and I got hooked from the 1rst book she said pick something that interest you so I saw a pirate romance book lol I was so excited that I enjoyed it that completely became addicted and still am fixing to turn 52 in a few days it's still my therapy and Karen I love your writing and love your characters and you, yourself are a beautiful person ! Take care!

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  8. Hi Photoquest!

    Thank you for all your heartfelt compliments... Goes right to my heart. Yes, books are what we turn to for so many different reasons. They take us places, make us see more, feel more and become more aware of people and places. In the American Indian culture, a storyteller was greatly valued. I think the same is true today. Stories, books are beautiful. I don't watch TV, don't go to movies -- mostly cause I consider much of that is little more than "programming us." But books... Oh, how I love them! Thank you again.

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  9. Thanks so much for being with us today, Karen. I'm so glad I "discovered" you!

    As to your question, why do I read and write? Well, I must answer as E.B. White did (upon being asked why he'd written a book). I can't explain why I sneeze. Nor can I explain the reasons I read and write. "Books are a sneeze."

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  10. I love being able to "step" into a book, try on an alternate persona, and feel the story unfold. I've been reading since I was very young; one of my first books I can remember was "Flicka, Ricka and Dicka". I tr to find something I didn't previously know in each book that I read.

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    1. Hi Mamakk!

      I, too, do this. Books are so precious to me. We have moved recently and so my library is not up and running for me -- but between my husband and I, we have quite a lot of books. In our old house, we had a den/library, which was so very, very nice.

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  11. Karen - I have always enjoyed your books. You write from the heart & bring us along to see what the native america indians were really like & the lives that they lived. I would love to win a print copy of your book, Secena Surrender.

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