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This month, her classic OUTLAW HEARTS has been re-released (with a gorgeous new cover), and July 13 we'll be able to get our hands on the long-awaited sequel, DO NOT FORSAKE ME. (I've pre-ordered my copy!)
These are books #1 and #2 of a trilogy that is the saga of outlaw/gunfighter-turned lawman, Jake Harkner. The three books combine for an incredible love story, as Jake’s strength comes from one woman, Miranda Hayes Harkner, who completely changes Jake’s life and brings him out of the depths of hell. She gives Jake the family he never thought he would have and helps him face his demons. Jake and Randy’s deep devotion to each other helps them rise above life’s struggles caused by Jake’s past reputation and his ability to come to terms with his most haunting and devastating sin from his past. Most of all, OUTLAW HEARTS and DO NOT FORSAKE ME (and LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE coming in 2016) tell the story of a man who deep inside is an abused little boy who wants nothing more than to be loved.
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Here's a special excerpt from DO NOT FORSAKE ME:
(ake has learned some terrible news – his beloved Randy, the woman he loves more than his own life, is very ill – she wakes up groggy from sedatives and Jake is trying very hard to lighten the moment, not wanting to tell her the truth (or even face it himself), which leads to the following conversation after he’s crawled into bed with her that morning …
(Jake speaking) … “You’ve been out like you went on a drinking binge. You even talked to me, but like a drunk woman. You don’t remember?”
“No! I don’t remember a thing!” Randy turned onto her back. “What did you do to me after you undressed me?”
He grinned. “Unspeakable things … horrible … shameful … unspeakable things. You don’t even want to know. You’d never talk to me again. I’d be out in somebody’s dog house if I told you.”
She pushed at him. “You did not.”
“Oh, I figured I’d take advantage of the situation and I did all the things you’ve always been too embarrassed to let me do. Only the worst prostitute in the worst brothel in Oklahoma would let me do such things.”
Randy couldn’t help a smile. “And how would you know that?”
“I’ve seen it all and done it all.” He met her mouth in a deep kiss. “It was great.”
“You’d better be lying,” she told him when he moved his kisses back to her throat.
“I never lie to you. You have been properly ravished, mi querida. We had nothing but disrespectful sex last night.”
“Is there such a thing?”
“You bet. I got to know things about you I never realized in twenty-six years of sleeping with you.”
She laughed softly. “You’re being mean.”
“Mean is what I’m known for.”
Randy studied his eyes and saw the hint of fear behind all the joking. “What did Brian tell you?”
His smile faded a little. “He told me it’s okay to have sex with you.”
Her eyes widened. “ You didn’t ask him about that!”
“Of course I did. Do you think our son-in-law doesn’t know we still frolic in bed?”
“Jake, I will never be able to face him again.”
“Mrs. Harkner, who are you married to?”
“Do you really think those closest to us don’t know a man like me still enjoys women?”
“Women? As in plural?”
“You know what I mean.”
“I’m not sure I do. Did you really just take a bath at that brothel the last time you were gone?” she teased.
“I really did.”
“And who helped bathe you?”
“Me, myself and I.”
Randy grinned. “I’m not sure I believe that.”
“Who loves you more than his own life?”
“And there is your answer.”
She ran her fingers through his thick hair, sensing his fear. Losing someone in his family, his only source of love, was the only thing on earth that frightened Jake Harkner.“I can’t live without you, Randy. “I can’t do it.”
Rosanne Bittner has been writing most of her life, beginning with poetry at a young age, then moving on to writing her first book 36 years ago. After writing a total of nine books after that, it was the ninth book that finally sold 33 years ago, SWEET PRAIRIE PASSION, which was then published in 1983 and became the first book of a 7-book series about the settling of Colorado called SAVAGE DESTINY. All 7 books are still selling and Amazon recently reissued all 7 books for print-on-demand with new covers! Rosanne went on to write 53 more books since then, for a total of 60 published novels to date with #61 coming in 2016.
Rosanne wrote through many personal challenges and worked full time at secretarial work for the first several years of her writing. She’s been married 50 years and has two sons and three grandsons, and she helps run a family business in a small town in southwest Michigan. She attributes her success to the fact that her books are filled with real American history, which she brings alive through her fictitious characters, so well that fans often write wanting to know if those people really lived. She also writes mostly family sagas, series books and trilogies that take a family through 20 – 40 years of great love stories, the kind of love that holds two people together through danger and heartache and triumph. Her books span the West, from Indiana to California and Mexico to Canada.
She has traveled to every location about which she writes, and her love for the magnificent western landscape shows through in her writing with descriptions of vast prairies and plains, and incredibly beautiful descriptions of the Sierras and the Rockies. She has a huge library of her own research books and has studied America’s history, especially the Old West and Native Americans, for forty years.
Rosanne has won numerous writing awards, including the prestigious WILLA AWARD from Women Writing the West, and was named "Queen of Western Romance" and one of the “legends” of western romance by Romantic Times magazine.
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E.E. How often do you get lost in a story?
Rosanne: ALWAYS. It never leaves me. I can be watching a movie or carrying on a conversation, while in my mind I am writing my next chapter or mulling over how to solve a certain situation in my book. I have been “living” in the Old West (in my head) for most of my life.
E.E.: What’s your favorite “love” word?
Rosanne: It’s a phrase in Spanish. In my outlaw trilogy, Jake Harkner is half Mexican (mother was Mexican). When he is feeling especially passionate, either in making love – or sometimes when he’s extra angry and upset – he reverts to Spanish. I love when he tells his wife, “Tu eres mi vida, mi querida esposa.” (You are my life, my darling wife.)
E.E.: What turns you off like nothing else?
Rosanne: Depends what you’re referring to. If it’s personally, it’s some man telling dirty jokes in front of women, thinking he is impressing them and actually thinking it’s a way of flirting and turning women on. NO WAY! What turns me off as far as in a book, it’s sex without commitment – just for the thrill – one-night stands – abusive or disrespectful sex and sex scenes that are written by crudely naming intimate body parts and making it look like all the supposed heroine cares about is six-pack abs and a big ding-dong. That’s not a love story. It’s porn. Although my books are hard-hitting, realistic westerns with gunfights and fist fights and drinking and smoking and cussing and some very realistic “old west” action, the love story involved is always very passionate, very beautiful and the sex gets very intimate but in a beautiful way that is a real turn-on.
E.E.: What sound or noise do you love?
Rosanne: Chirping birds – and the sound of soft rain on the roof.
E.E.: What was the first story you remember writing?
Rosanne: Poor Mrs. Quack. I was in fourth grade, and now I realize I was writing romance even then. It was about male and female ducks who were married and the male duck gets shot and the female can’t find him and cries – later they find each other again.
E.E.: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Rosanne: That’s a hard one. There isn’t just one. I love The Guns of Josie Wales and Pale Rider with Clint Eastwood. Also absolutely love Quigley Down Under with Tom Selleck and also The Shootist with John Wayne. I ball my eyes out every time I watch that one because it’s about a dying gunfighter – and John Wayne really was dying of cancer when he made that movie. What an icon! I also love Silverado. My favorite comedy is Rat Race.
E.E.: Is there a “blooper” in your story?
Rosanne: Yes, and I found it when it was too late. Don’t know how I missed it. It’s a wrongly-named gun part – and I know better because I know guns and carry one. I’m not going to say what it is because I don’t want everybody hunting for it. I think I and the editor were so engrossed in the action taking place at the time that neither of us noticed, so maybe the readers won’t notice either.
E.E.: When reading, do you put yourself in the heroine’s role?
Rosanne: Of course!!! The heroine doesn’t do one thing that I wouldn’t do myself, which is why I have never had a heroine have an affair. She is always devoted to the hero.
E.E.: Is writing, or story-telling, easier for you?
Rosanne: Definitely story-telling. I never think of writing as a chore or as a job of writing a book. I simply love to tell stories. My agent of many years told me years ago that though I am not a “literary” writer, I am a great “story-teller”
E.E.: Do you write listening to music?
Rosanne: Sometimes. When I do, it’s symphonic music and it’s always the big, big theme music from big, big westerns – like Silverado and The Big Country.
E.E.: Which of your characters would you most like to invite to dinner?
Rosanne: Are you kidding? JAKE HARKNER!! What a life he’s led – and he’s so complicated yet so much fun in a lot of ways – he’s a man who says it exactly the way it is. He just comes right out and says what he thinks and he’s amazingly approachable in spite of always being a bit defensive and wary of those around him because he knows there are those who would like the reputation of killing him. He’s an adoring husband and devoted father – and he’s drop-dead gorgeous. He carries his age well!
E.E.: What is your hero’s “kryptonite?” (What brings him to his knees?)
Rosanne: His wife. He worships the ground she walks on. He’d rather slit his wrists than to even raise his voice to her.
E.E.: What draws you to Western historical romance?
Rosanne: That’s a little hard to answer because it’s just something that has always been “in” me. When I was little I loved to play cowboy when most little girls were playing with their dolls. I was always drawn to books about pioneers and Indians. As an adult, I think the draw has always been how fast America progressed and how quickly we moved into untamed land and built cities and brought civilization all across the country. No other country in the world grew as fast as America has, and I think it’s because we’ve always had the freedom of entrepreneurship. People came here to get away from regimes that kept them from expanding their ideas and their right to get rich. That progress had a stunning affect on our Native Americans that lingers still today. They have not truly recovered from being displaced or from the government’s efforts to change their entire culture. Between that and all the exciting historical events that took place in settling this country, food for plot is endless!!
E.E.: What has been your most rewarding publishing moment?
Rosanne: When my editor asked me to write a sequel to OUTLAW HEARTS. I had been wanting to write a sequel for over 20 years. Finally getting the chance was a dream come true, and when I finished I knew I had to do a third book, which I am half done with now. I am so proud of DO NOT FORSAKE ME and thrilled that readers can now continue with Jake and Randy’s beautiful love story.
E.E.: Which movie represents your writing style?
Rosanne: The TV mini-series, CENTENNIAL by James Michener. My 7-book Savage Destiny series closely follows the same events.
E.E.: How did you come up with the idea for your book?
Rosanne: About 30 years ago I was standing in the bathroom getting ready for my (then) full-time job and thought of the idea for OUTLAW HEARTS while drying my hair. I didn’t have anything to write with, so I wrote it down on the back of a check book with an eyebrow pencil! I didn’t actually write the story till a few years later – and ever since then I wanted to do the sequel, which now is being published in July (DO NOT FORSAKE ME).
Thank you for your questions and your interest in my writing! I hope everyone picks up OUTLAW HEARTS and DO NOT FORSAKE ME. I promise you won’t be disappointed! And you will look forward to the third book in 2016 – LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE. Enjoy your summer reading!
Today, Rosanne will award two people a set of the first two books, OUTLAW HEARTS and DO NOT FORSAKE ME. Just leave a comment and enter the drawing.
Something I’d like to know from readers is if you are hungry for the big, fat, family-saga type story – tired of paying for thin, one-dimensional stories that you can read in just a couple of hours?a Rafflecopter giveaway