Monday, August 15, 2011

Mondays With Mike: Writers of the Lake

L to R: Jordyn Meryl, Maggie Rivers, & C.Deanne Rowe
TRYING TO INTERVIEW three authors at the same time poses a bit of a problem, but I wanted to try it with my friends who have formed a very well received writing partnership, Writers of the Lake, which was formed by three friends (Maggie Rivers, C. Deanne Rowe and Jordyn Meryl) when they took a week long writing retreat together, staying at a friend’s lake house. They got along well and had a blast creating stories while there.  It was only natural then for them to decide it would be fun to put those stories into a book, Blue Jeans and Stilettos. Besides Blue Jeans, they have each created their own impressive list of works.  But rather than me try to tell you about them, let me have Maggie, C. Deane, and Jordyn tell you about themselves.  

Mike:  Welcome, ladies.  Let’s start with introductions.

Maggie Rivers:  I’ve been writing since I was knee high to a cockroach. I sold my first piece of writing when I was 21 to a parents’ magazine.  I’m not sure why they thought I knew what I was talking about but apparently they did.  Since then I have written a number of books.  My books are listed below.

C. Deanne Rowe:  I have always loved the power of words.  How they could make you cry, laugh, or provoke all range of emotions.  I wouldn’t be who I am without words.  I learned to feel good listening to songs which filled my heart.  I learned the meaning of love watching all the good romance movies.  Of course, there was sex scattered through the pages of the paperbacks I hid from my parents.  Words have always been my friend, my comfort, my teacher.  It was only logical I would grow up and want to be an author, to spin a tale which would captivate readers.  My life’s journey has taken me in this direction and I can only hope I don’t disappoint those who choose to follow.

Jordyn Meryl:  By day under the guise of a passive, quiet, school librarian, books and kids are the passions which keep my mind fresh.  But it is when the night muses visit me, my spirit rises up to wrap around the stories that float in my head.  Land locked in the mid-west I dream of days on a white sandy beach with a laptop to write all my tales.  Crossing many genres I spin chronicles of romance, paranormal and fantasy, for they are stories worth telling, even at the risk of revealing true feelings 

Mike: Can you tell me a little bit about your books? 

Writers of the Lake:  As Writers of the Lake, our first but definitely not our last is Blue Jeans and Stilettos!  Coming out on November 10 is Ms. Claus Wears Stilettos and then in February 2012 we have Venus in Stilettos. In June we will have another in the “stilettos” series and after that we’ll see what happens.

Maggie Rivers:  As Maggie Rivers, I write hot, sexy, sizzling romances.  On the other end of the scale, I write inspirational as Mary Freeman Boardman.  In the middle of those two, I write mystery/suspense as Leeza McBride and I write non-fiction as Jamie Lee Coulter.  And yes, I do have to ask myself each morning “Who am I today?” 

You can read a bit of the Maggie style in Blue Jeans and Stilettos.  For Mary it’s And Then There Was One; for Jamie Lee, try Who Took My Husband: Or How I Survived Living With A Drug Addict.  Leeza will have a series coming out in 2012 entitled Death by a Rose; Death by a Daisy; and Death by an Orchid. 

C. Deanne Rowe:  I am working on a book, Cowboy Butts Drive Me Nuts, which I hope to have completed around the first of the year.

Jordyn Meryl:  I am a storyteller.  Stories come to me at night while I sleep, or float around in my head when I am awake.  Committing the number one sin for a writer, I genre jump.

Mike:  Let’s go to your latest group effort: Blue Jeans and Stilettos. I understand it is an anthology of three romance stories.  Can you give us a short synopsis of each?

“It’s Better in the Dark” by C. Deanne Rowe:

Sofie Edwards was about to celebrate another birthday – single. She dreamed of adventure, but in reality liked to feel safe and secure, comfortable, for the moment, with her crush on a gorgeous employee of her favorite coffee shop, The Morning Brew. Sofie’s two closest friends find what they believe is the perfect birthday gift; dinner at a new restaurant, “It’s Better in the Dark.” Could they convince Sofie to take a chance at an adventure? Blindfolded and fed dinner in the dark by a perfect stranger, would Sofie enjoy the intrigue of sensual desires? This birthday could forever change her life if Sofie discovers It’s Better in the Dark.

When Dreams Change” by Jordyn Meryl:

A small quaint Italian cafe on the shores of the Mediterranean was the dream for Jessica. Failing to realize her husband’s ambitions were another woman almost blew her plans apart. Stepping in as her bartender, Alejandro helps save her when he becomes not only her rescuer, but a man who brings out hidden feelings of desire. When her wayward husband returns, Jessica faces the decision of her future.

“Take A Chance On Love” by Maggie Rivers:

All Jennifer Sinclair wants is to feel safe and protected for a little while. The men she’s met so far only want one thing – sex. When handed an ad where you design your own sexual fantasy, she comes up with a plan. A fantasy with no sex, just strong male arms to hold her. Mention sex and her money must be refunded. Caleb Hollister, the island’s owner, must step in when an employee leaves him short one man to service a client, although sex with any of these jaded, aggressive women is not his thing. But when he sees Jennifer Sinclair, a girl from his past, his thoughts change and sex goes to the top of the list.

Mike:  Okay, as writes there is a continuing debate about plot and character.  What is more important to you: plot or character?

Maggie:  I think they’re both equally important.  You need to create well rounded characters your readers can fall in love with and still remember long after they’ve finished reading the book.  But, you also need a great plot with lots of conflict to make those characters memorable.

Deanne:  You have to have some idea for a plot but characters are what makes your story.  They get you through the twists and turns of your story.  Without good characters your story will stall out in the first few chapters.  They carry your story to the end.

Jordyn:  I'm not a plotter, however I feel the story has to be solid.  I want people to love my characters.  So I guess I think they both are important

Mike: What started each of you writing? 

Maggie:  I’m not sure if I have an answer to that.  I can’t remember not writing.  I’ve “written” long before I knew my ABC’s.  Even before I entered First Grade, I’d make marks on paper and read my “stories” to my dolls.

Deanne:  I have always loved reading a good book.  It doesn’t matter what genre as long as the story keeps me hooked.  I always wanted to believe I could write as well as some of my favorite authors.  I don’t know if that is true, but I had to give it a shot. 

Jordyn:  The introduction of a laptop and spell check opened up a whole new world of writing for me.

Mike: What are your writing habits? In other words, do you write each day, morning, evening, etc.?

Maggie: You can usually find me at my computer around 2 A.M.  My characters just won’t let me sleep beyond that.  I write until around 6 or 7 a.m. and then it’s back to sleep for a couple of hours.  I get up again and I write the rest of the day and sometimes into the evening.

Deanne:  I normally write in the evenings and on the weekends since I work a full time job.  But during the day my mind is always going back and forth on whatever story I am working on, plotting and planning.  I make notes, send myself emails, anything I have available to keep from forgetting an idea I come up with.
Jordyn:  Since I work in education, I had my summer off, so I could write whenever I wanted.  I loved it.  During the school year, I come home from work, pour a cold beer, prop up my feet, put on some music and start typing what has been going through my mind all day.

Mike: Anything upcoming?

Writers of the Lake has another book coming out November 10 and everyone’s invited to the book launch party!  The title of this one is Ms. Claus Wears Stilettos.   Then for Valentine’s we have Venus in Stilettos.  There will be a fourth in the stiletto series coming out in June 2012 also.  After that we’ll have to see.

Maggie:  I have several romances in the works which will be coming out next year and writing as Leeza McBride I will have several mysteries coming out, too.

Deanne:  I am working on a book, Cowboy Butts Drive Me Nuts, which I hope to have completed around the first of the year.

Jordyn:  I just finished a Christmas story for our second book.  I have a paranormal that I want to finish on my own.  Then a Valentine story for 2012.  I love writing so having all these stories in front of me is fun.

Book Signings:  Writers of the Lake will be autographing copies of Blue Jeans and Stillettos beginning at 1 p.m. on August 13 at Beaverdale Books in Beaverdale and beginning at 3 p.m. on August 20 at Pritchard’s Book in Southridge Mall.  Both bookstores are in Des Moines, IA.

Also, November 10 is our book launch party for Ms. Claus Wears Stilettos and everyone is invited!

Mike:  Do you have any hobbies, etc. for spare time?

Maggie:  Spare time – what’s that?  Writing under four different pseudonyms you expect me to have spare time!  LOL!  Actually I’m learning to play the hammered dulcimer and the mountain dulcimer.  I love folk instruments and would love to be able to sit around and jam with folk musicians.

Deanne:  There’s not much spare time for hobbies.  I am President of Two Rivers Romance Authors and belong to another writer’s group, Saturday Writers.  I also have three grandchildren who I like to spend time with. 

Jordyn:  What spare time?  LOL   I love going to concerts.  Spending time with family and friends.  But mostly writing.  Right now it is my life.

Mike:  How can readers contact you?

Writers of the Lake:
Two Rivers Romance Authors:

Snail mail:
Writers of the Lake, P.O. Box 17214, Des Moines, IA 50317
Maggie Rivers, P.O. Box 17053, Des Moines, IA 50317
Two Rivers Romance Authors, P.O. Box 17014, Des Moines, IA 50317


You can email us, preorder our books, give us a review, or just say Hello.  We love to hear from fans.  All three of us are members of Two Rivers Romance Authors, so if you’re a writer or a wanna-be writer, come join us!


  1. Thanks for having these interesting collaborators as guests, Mike! I liked the 'hobbies?' question. We need to find a balance and fill that creative well with other experiences besides writing.

    Maggie, I belonged to IRN three years ago before I moved to Portland, Oregon. You knew me as Sarah McDermed from Cedar Rapids. I saw your name and had to check out your post on Mike's blog. Congratulations to all three of you on your success with Blue Jeans and Stilettos.

    Your mystery sounds intriguing, Mike - it would appeal in cities like Portland where so many people use public transportation. (I'm just sayin'...) does your book include romantic elements, or is it a straight mystery?

  2. Thank you, Sarah –

    My mystery is semi-humorous and does contain a bit of romance – or comic romance. The book is still available on Amazon and through B&N. Glad you enjoyed the interview … I enjoy doing them.


  3. It may be tough for you to interview three authors at one time but you did a great job. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know more about each of them and their work.