LoRee Peery's Sage and Sweetgrass

My guest today is LoRee Peery. A lifelong Nebraskan, LoRee is the oldest of seven and grew up on a Nebraska farm. Thanks to her mother, she learned to read when she was four and has devoured books ever since.

LoRee and her husband have tackled some interesting projects over the course of their married life. For one, they built the home they live in with their own hands. They used to want more acres further away from city life, but one day LoRee realized they had their “greener on the other side of the fence” already. All it took was removing that fence made of trees and bushes.

She feels grounded in her sense of place and considers it a blessing to have lived most of her life in the country. LoRee has a contemporary romance series, Frivolities, with White Rose Publishing: Moselle’s Insurance, Rainn on My Parade, and coming soon, Sage and Sweet Grass. Found in the Woods has been contracted.

Anne - Welcome, LoRee. I’m so glad you could drop by to talk writing. Let’s get down to business! Tell us a something about yourself that you would normally only share with close friends.

LoRee - Before 9/11, I nearly passed out giving a blood sample. Since then, I’ve donated at the community blood bank on a regular basis. I think it’s 52 times now.

Anne – Congratulations on overcoming your fear, and helping so many others at the same time. What do you enjoy most about writing? What part do you loathe?

LoRee - I absolutely love it when I’m in a scene between the hero and heroine and one of them does or says something that comes out of nowhere, without any forethought on my part. And when a line of dialogue sparks my next, unplanned connection between them; or a title, or an idea for my next story comes through. Creativity sparks creativity.

Loathe is a pretty strong word. I’m going to say I get upset with myself when I’ve edited a work a dozen times only to discover, usually in edits from my editor, where I’ve used a word or phrase umpteen zillion times, or said the same thing in the same way, that should have been discovered much earlier on.

Anne – I can relate to being repetitious! Of all the characters you’ve created, does one hold a special place in your heart? Why?

LoRee - I would say Abby Wilson, the heroine in my first novel. Abby returns to her hometown and ends up in trouble while trying to disclose that her father’s accidental death was really a homicide.

I learned most everything I know about writing while working on her story (which will remain in its storage tub). Over a span of ten years, I worked on Abby while I took a Writer’s Digest course, a couple fiction writing courses at community college; and I discovered how to critique, how to take criticism and be encouraged, how bad I was at story elements at first, that my true passion is romance with a hint of solving a problem or disclosing a secret, and to discover my own process.

Anne – Abby sounds like a wonderful mentor! What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself from writing?

LoRee - When I’ve set aside a project and gone back to it, only to discover words I didn’t recall writing. The words came from deep within, on a different level of consciousness, from a source outside myself. So I don’t take any credit, but simply say, “Thank You, Lord.”

Anne - Tell us about the defining moment when you felt as if you’d finally made it as an author.

LoRee - My first contract was for Moselle’s Insurance. The manuscript was rejected twice by White Rose Publishing editors, with the invitation to resubmit. I was devastated by the second, very detailed letter, and quit writing for several months. At our RWA chapter retreat in January of 2010, fellow writers encouraged me to reconsider that best-kind-of-rejection letter. So I went through the editor’s comments, agreed with her, revised, and resubmitted. Moselle’s Insurance was accepted in less than a week, and I received my first contract on my birthday.

Anne – What a fabulous made-it moment! I can also relate to those ‘best’ rejection letters. Like you, one took its toll and I stopped writing as well. And yes, it was just before I got “the call!” Have you experienced writer's block? If so, how did you work through it?

LoRee - I don’t call it being blocked, only misdirected or sidetracked. Often, if the words don’t flow, I’ll go outside and consider where I’m stuck in my story. I’ll play with the dog, and mull over where I want to go with my writing, either with the characters or in the scene. I spend time looking for God in nature, letting where I am in the story worm its way through my thoughts.

And I’ll pray. His strength is reinforced through my weaknesses. I’m always enlightened by something God has created, an odd-shaped rock, tree, or cloud formation, flowers or butterflies in summer, or the beauty of the seasons. If my fingers don’t fly when I return to my keyboard, I’ll do something else. 

While I’m cleaning or shopping or exercising, I’ll have a flash of what to write next. After it’s worked its way through my thinking process enough, my fingers will fly when I sit back down at the keyboard. I’ve learned that I can’t force it. However, just writing creates writing. I can always go back and delete what doesn’t make sense. It often goes back to the inability to edit or fix a blank page.

Anne – “Just writing creates writing.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before, but it’s so true. Thank you! Now, would you share an excerpt with us from Sage and Sweetgrass? Btw, the cover is gorgeous!

LoRee – Thank you!

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The sky was clear and enormous where it met the horizon. The whinny of horses carried up from a pasture on the other side of the barn. The acreage represented everything Lanae loved about being outside the city limits. Expanse, horses, a sprinkling of trees in the distance…God’s country.

When she caught sight of the cowboy, the vision was complete.

She sighed. Home. How crazy. She felt like she’d come home.

The cowboy rounded the corner of the wood-sided barn that she guessed to be sixty feet long. He loped in the loose way of a man comfortable on the back of a horse.
And she enjoyed every step as he approached.

He even tipped the brim of his hat. “Mornin’. You Lanae?”

Wow was the only thing she could think to say. But she kept it to herself.

Her mouth went dry.

His nose was bent, just off to the right of center. He had a full bottom lip, thinner upper, all accented by what she supposed was a year-round tan. Myriad facial lines gave testimony to a life lived outdoors.

She cleared her throat, mustered up some moisture for her vocal chords in order to answer, “That I am.”

“Sage Diamond.”

When he drew close enough, Lanae was dumbfounded at the impact of his eyes. They were an unbelievable piercing blue with a hint of lavender.

“Did you have any trouble finding the place?” Sage spoke in an unhurried manner.
Lanae wondered if he felt rushed about anything. She started to open the door.

“You always leave your car running?” A hint of amusement tugged at his mouth.

Oops. She turned the key. Great first impression.

He held the door.

Still caught in the lavender blue of his eyes, shadowed now from his hat, Lanae swallowed what felt like the chaff of an August hayfield.

No more singles ads for me.
~ ~ ~

Anne – I love Lanae’s inner dialogue about Sage, LoRee, and can’t wait for Sage and Sweetgrass to be released! Where can readers reach you on line?

LoRee – At my website: www.loreepeery.com

Anne – Thank you so much for chatting today, LoRee. I wish you every success with Sage and Sweetgrass. Happy writing!

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