High Frequency Now available on Amazon:
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Jocie McKade is the author of the debut romantic-mystery High Frequency. This is the first book in the Between the Lines series of romantic comedies with a heavy twist of mystery.
Between books, Jocie writes as the Senior News Editor for Reader’s Entertainment News, scriptwriter for COS Productions and for many other print and online publications. She lives with her family in the Midwest on a small farm where ArnoldSwartzaweeds grow with impunity in her garden. You can visit her online home at www.linda-mcmaken.com, or http://jociemckade.blogspot.com/.
Desert Breeze Publishing
Welcome, Jocie! So glad to have you here today. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I know everyone asks this but why did you decide to write romance?
Because the world would really suck without romance. Can you imagine a world without romance? We’d all be going around saying “hey” as we passed with no second glances, no mysterious smiles, no flirting. Sigh. Everyone deserves a HEA, even fictional characters.
Pretty much every novel out there is a romance when you get right down to it. Authors that write mystery, thrillers, and fantasy, most of them have a HEA. Seriously, who wants to see the hero or heroine leave alone? No one.
What was the hardest thing you had to do when you started?
Realize I was my English teacher’s worst nightmare. I can tell a heck of a good story, but actually writing that story into a cohesive entity that others understand, that was daunting. Add to that grammar, punctuation, and the fact that I’m seriously comma challenged, and I am also an editors worst nightmare or their job security. Uh-oh, sensing a pattern here.
I’ve had to work very hard at realizing there is a huge difference between writing non-fiction (my day job) and writing fiction. Switching between the two has required copious amounts of chocolate and wine.
What was the easiest thing?
The story is always the easiest thing. Characters, story, plot they seem to fall into my head like cereal into milk. I’ve never suffered from writer’s block, I suffer from not being able to get the story down fast enough. Sometimes an entire book will descend into my little brain and if I can’t get to a paper and pen or computer, poof! it’s gone.
How long did it take you to finish your first manuscript and where did the idea come from?
My very first manuscript was a really bad military suspense story I wrote when I was about 15, oh, it was bad, bad. I finished it in math class. You can see where my priorities were.
The first manuscript I actually sold just over two years ago, began on a family vacation to Wyoming. Joe Baer and the Baer Brothers sort of sneaked up on me one summer day. My family and I were taking a trip to the western U.S. with tickets in hand for the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne Wyoming. We’d never been that far west before, so for us Easterners it was quite the adventure with long stretches of prairie, mighty rivers, and vast cattle ranches.
My thoughts however, went to the ranchers and the families that lived there. I wondered who they were, and what their story was. Then I made the mistake of letting my muse actually speak aloud (a rare thing, as her thoughts are well, weird) “I wonder what would happen if one of these cattle ranching cowboys fell in love with a vegetarian?”
After an hour of horrendous “where’s the beef” jokes from my children, my Baer brothers saga began to take shape. All it took to finish the idea was the rodeo and a few hundred absolutely delicious cowboys attired in chaps, spurs, and hats. The Baer’s became a family and my imagination dropped one vegetarian named Abby Clark into their world.
When you meet Joe Baer and Abby Clark (the two other brothers appear in Baer Necessities and Baer Facts May 2013) they seem to be such opposites. She’s a vegetarian with neon-streaked hair, tattoos, and a hot temper. Joe is a no-nonsense beef rancher, with a jaded heart, and a cowboy code of honor.
Outwards appearances aren’t all they seem, and inside, they are surprisingly alike. They both have family issues that have burdened their hearts, both want a place to call home in the deepest sense of the word, both value family, and want to be part of a family.
Of course, they are different and that is where the fun comes in. The realities of ranch life are vastly different from Hollywood’s version – but there’s still magic in “riding off into the sunset” and that keeps these hearts together even after they discover the Baer Truth.
Tell me about your first contract?
It was with Desert Breeze Publishing. I wish I could say it was memorable and I had one of those ‘getting the call’ stories. I actually signed the contract on my birthday. But just prior to that I lost my mom. Without her I would not be a writer. So, the moment was rather bittersweet.
Do you base any of your stories on real people or places or events?
All of the above. My latest release, High Frequeny, which I have dubbed a “humorous-romantic-mystery” (I don’t think that’s a genre, yet, but…) began at a county fair. See I told you I was weird. There was a young woman reporter there from the local newspaper, and she got into a very humorous verbal spat with the local television news journalist, a handsome fellow with all kinds of camera charisma. It reminded me of the old Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn movies or Moonlighting – the television series. You know the ones with the amazing verbal sparring, and in the end they have that flaming passion?
After it was over she looked at me and said: “Did you ever hate someone so much that you were madly in love with them?” What a profound statement. I found out later they were actually married. That is when High Frequency and the Read Between the Lines series began.
My heroine Lauren Jacobs is an award winning reporter for the prestigious news journal, Edition One. My hero is Derek Rourke, a reporter for the sensationalist tabloid, The Lens. They met over a crop circle in England and well……….it’s pretty much chaos from there.
But don’t expect these two to fall in love each other easily, oh no, they’ve got some serious control issues and ugly backgrounds to work through.
What gets you in the mood to write?
The mortgage payment! LOL Seriously, I think I’d need serious counseling if I didn’t write. I have an innate drive to tell stories. I am not, nor will I ever be a ‘literary’ author. I don’t have the “Great American Novel’ in me. But I do have some grand adventures in my vivid imagination that I hope readers will want to join me on.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? 10 years?
I hope to have at least twenty – fifty of my books published, and like all authors I want to see my name on the bestseller lists, and have the Hollywood movie made.
Mostly, I want to entertain readers. I am a reader too, and when I plunk down my hard earned money for a book, I want to get lost in it. This is what I hope I deliver to readers. They can choose from thousands of authors out there and every kind of story, I hope they choose mine and that those stories give them a few hours away from reality, ’cause reality is way too real most days.
What do you enjoy most about being an author?
I have shed many tears when a reader emails me and tells me my story made them laugh at a very dark time. My articles have been the featured articles on Honor Flight, I have received a Purple Heart for a veteran’s article I wrote, and I’ve had a reader tell me my “Baers” made them laugh through chemo. There is NO bestseller list that can top that.
Okay, quick fun questions:
Favorite ice cream – Peanut Butter!!! Nectar of the Gods!!
Favorite music – Anything I can sing at the top of my lungs to! I do have an odd obsession with Golden Earrings – Twilight Zone. That kind of explains a lot about me.
Favorite movie – Way too many favorites. I love thrillers, intense mysteries, romantic comedies. I’m not a fan of horror movies. I’m the chica that would SO NOT go outside to see what the noise was. I’d be the one under the bed.
Favorite time to write – Anytime. I’m also a non-fiction magazine, online and print news writer, so whenever an opportunity opens, I write. Deadlines amuse me…..
If you could be stranded with a movie or television star who would you pick?
Norm Abrams, from PBS’ This Old House. Yes, I know, he’s not the sexy cutie – but the man knows construction stuff. If I were stranded with him, I’d be living like the Swiss Family Robinson in no time! I am a practical woman at heart.
If someone played you in a movie who would it be and why?
Probably Sandra Bullock, because she’s always playing the weird, quirky, stick-her-foot in it kind of woman that I am truly am. And she’s gorgeous, so she’d make me look really good.
Jocie writes romantic comedies and humorous mysteries and has a romantic comedy series writing as Linda McMaken. She has lots of Mc-family names to pick from! Linda is the author of a humorous romantic comedy trilogy, The Three Baers, set in Wyoming. Her first book Baer Truth, where a vegetarian punk rocker finds herself stranded in the middle of Wyoming beef country was released last year to 5-star reviews. The second book in the series, Baer Necessities released September 2012, also to five-star reviews. She is also the author of The Granite Rose, an historical set in ancient Rome.
Excerpt from High Frequency:
Rourke watched Lauren stick her hand into the pocket that held her pepper spray. “Somehow, I just don’t think pepper spray is going to do a helluva lot for us at the moment.”
He put his hands in the air as white robed men with very large guns stood ready to make him into instant Swiss cheese. This was something he never saw coming. Hell, he never saw any of this. One moment he was looking at a sweet little butt walking up a hill, and days later he is hog-tied by the world’s most wanted man, followed by being held at gunpoint by hooded Brits in an underground bunker.
Even Hudson, reptilian editor at The Lens, wouldn’t believe this story.
“It’s alright gentlemen, put them down,” Adam ordered.
They leaned their rifles against their desks and each sat at a computer workstation, resuming whatever they had been doing.
Lauren let out a breath. Rourke took a step closer to her, putting a hand on her shoulder. She didn’t pull away. There was something sexy about Rourke being able to calm her down with a touch.
“I apologize for the militaristic tactics, but given the circumstances of late it has unfortunately become a necessity.” Adam took off the robe, revealing a splendidly-cut, double-breasted navy suit and a damn handsome face.
He had dark wavy hair, brown eyes, and high chiseled cheekbones above a square jaw. The kind of man other men hate for one simple reason — the look on Lauren’s face. The woman nearly melted to the floor, a smile beamed across her face, and suddenly her hand was extended.
“Lauren Jacobs.” She said in a sickeningly sweet voice.
Bennie stepped into the room from a door at the far end. She plopped in a comfy office chair next to them. This was getting stranger by the minute. Bennie was all of five foot nothing, maybe a hundred pounds, with corn-rows flying around her face, each one with some sort of bead at the end. Her jeans were tight, ripped in places, and her top was a billowy, Renaissance-looking gauzy thing in a bright purple. A dozen necklaces were strung around her neck, twenty bracelets circling her wrist and her ears had been pierced too many times to count. Little John Lennon glasses sat on her small nose.
Without the decorations, she would have been a very attractive woman.
“Derek Rourke.” He stuck his hand out. Adam reluctantly let Lauren’s hand free, and briefly shook his hand.
“He is Lauren’s assistant.” Bennie offered, a wicked smile erupting on her ebony face. “Her secretary, I believe.” Her once cute accent was beginning to annoy Rourke.
Adam sat in front of a large screen computer. “I asked Bennie to bring you to us because of the story you’re working on and because you have attracted the notice of Scotland Yard and MI6.”
“MI6?” Rourke whispered in her ear. She elbowed him walking beside Adam.
“I don’t understand why my story on crop circles, of all things, would be of interest to Scotland Yard or any other intelligence agency.” Adam motioned for her to pull up a chair next to his computer. “And exactly who are you guys?” Lauren asked. “British militia, London gang, British version of the KKK, or what?”
“Pissed off telemarketers,” Rourke chimed in as he surveyed the room of now disrobed men sitting in dark suits in front of computer monitors.
Bennie laughed. “That’s a good one, luv. I’ll have to use that one.” She twirled slightly in the chair, a foot tucked under her butt.
Adam chuckled. “Nothing so dramatic I’m afraid. We are the London Order of the Celtic Druids.”