Friday, March 15, 2013

Lorrie Unites-Struiff, A Heap of Trouble

AUTHOR:  Lorrie Unites-Struiff
BOOK TITLE:  A Heap of Trouble

Tell me a little about your book.
Sheriff Cole Walker keeps the peace until events toss him a heap of trouble. Cattle rustlers are on the loose in the hills. The mayor is depending on him to stop a feud between the cattleman, JJ, and the farmers. Along comes Mattie Wells, the first woman to jingle his spurs in a long time. Cole falls hard for Mattie who refuses to marry for secret reasons of her own. Of course, Cole keeps a secret from her. Can Cole and his new sidekick Beggar, overcome the problems in Cold Creek?

What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I’ve always wanted to write a shoot-um-up western. But, I wanted to make it different. I wanted to throw in some romance, some cattle rustling, and of course humor. So, along came Beggar, the little thief of a monkey that adopts Cole. The story just took off from there.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
At the moment I would say a part-time writer. I’d love to be full time writer but with so much to do, as you know, it’s difficult finding the time.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
When my English teacher encouraged me in high school. He loved my vivid imagination and always pointed out my stories to the class.

What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
Pure entertainment. I write for the love of it, and to please all genre readers.

Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
I write paranormal, historical fiction, pulp fiction, westerns, romance. Actually I’m pretty much across the board with genres.

I prefer to write whatever strikes my fancy at the time. Although, now I am working on a short story -10k each- paranormal series that I’m having fun with.

What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
Editing is the toughest part of writing for me.  I get past it by depending on my fantastic crit partners who give it to me straight. If it weren’t for them, I would not be an author.

Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
No, not a thing. There goes my vivid imagination again. Lol.

How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Very different. First of all I have a male protagonist. Ha, not like me at all.
And when Cole sets his sights on either Mattie, the rustlers, etc., he gets what he wants.

What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
I did a lot of research into monkeys, and into the clothes of the era. My town is fictitious as are the characters.

Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
I don’t know about violent. I don’t think so. Highly sexual scenes bother me because I can feel my mother looking over my shoulder. Although in my Gypsy Blood, I did take the plunge. But not off the high diving board.

What about your book makes it special?
The mix of characters. The humor. I mean, whoever heard of a monkey playing third fiddle in a western? The whole town of Cold Creek, Kansas, has a great mix of characters.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?

or my author page at Amazon

Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Keep learning the craft. It’s not as easy as the wonderful published authors make it look. I found that out in a hurry.

What’s in the future for you?
I’m hoping more COD Club Stories for the series. She is such a fun character to work with and I’m really having a ball with her. Although at times Winnie can be a little bossy.

Thank you so much for having me today, Penny. The interview was fun.

Excerpt for Heap of Trouble.

Cole cracked open his eyelids to the pink rays of dawn invading his bedroom. He swatted at the tickle on his cheek. “Pesky flies.” He stretched his long limbs. Soft fur brushed his bare arm. He yelped and leaped to his feet, his heart pounding like the hoofs of a runaway horse. Beggar lay on the pillow next to his, blinking doleful brown eyes at him, and playing with a gold pocket watch.
“Dang you, Beggar, you almost gave me a heart attack. If you’re going to stay here, you best be finding your own bed ‘cause I ain’t sharing mine.” Cole took a deep breath to settle his heartbeat. With a quick swipe, he grabbed the watch. “Where’d you get this?” He clicked it open. Inside the front panel, an inscription read,
               To my son Harold Farley
From Dad
“Oh, shoot! This is the Mayor’s watch.” He jangled the watch from the chain in front of Beggar’s face. “You snuck into their house last night? What if Missus Farley saw you? She’d have screamed her fool head off. You could’ve got shot. Would’ve served you right, too. You’re a miserable, thieving little rascal!” Cole kicked the bedpost. “Yeow!” Pain shot through his foot.
Beggar screeched, tumbled off the bed and scrambled beneath it.
Cole hobbled around the room until his bare foot stopped throbbing. He got down on hands and knees, snatched the monkey’s hairy arm and dragged him out, along with the dust-clumps, two bright-red poker chips, four five-cent pieces and a fancy hand mirror.
“What in blazes?” Cole examined the extra loot.
The monkey wiggled away and perched on the windowsill.
Cole limped to the window and crossed his arms over his wide bare chest. “Not only do I have cattle rustlers to fret about, now I got a varmint that takes to stealing. I’m the sheriff, Beggar, do you understand? The sheriff! And you’re downright embarrassing.”


  1. I think your humor is what makes your writing unique, Lorrie, and a whole lot of heart. It's obvious that you care about your characters, and what a mixed bunch they are! Just keep on writing them and we'll keep on reading them!

    Gotta love Beggar! Give my best to him (and to Cole and Mattie too, of course!)

    Thanks for the insights, great blog post!

    1. Aw, thanks Julie. Here's a big hug from Beggar.

    2. And a big hug back! Good thing I'm not wearing any jewelry *grin*

  2. Nice post/interview ladies! I have A Heap of Trouble and it is my next read. I am very excited to get started!

  3. Thanks for inviting me to your blog today, Penny. And what a lovely blog it is. After you read Heap, I do hope you will give me your thoughts.
    I had so much fun writing about these characters, they swept me away.

    1. Lorrie, it was my pleasure and so nice to see so many of your fans stopping by. You will always be a welcome guest. Keep me posted on your new releases.

  4. Howdy Lorrie! Loved reading about Cole and Mattie and of course, Beggar. A fun, unique read.

    1. Hi Cate, thanks for the compliment. lol. I'm still learning how to accept them gracefully. And coming from such a prolific author as you, all I can say is thank you ma'am.

  5. I only just started the book, but I love when an author combines humor, drama and a little intrigue all in one.

  6. I try, Marian, I try. It's weird. I do try to write what I call a straight story at times, but somehow my darn sense of humor creeps in the lines. It's like I can't help myself. I don't know if this is good or bad.

  7. I'm a Lorrie fan getting antsy for her next release. More Winnie would be great, but Rita deserves another book (Gypsy Blood) and Cole, Mattie, and Beggar might head to new parts for further adventures.

    1. Well, for some reason I can't find the comment box lol, so I'll share Marva's :). Great interview Lorrie and I love your writing! I still love this cover more and more each time I see it! :)

    2. Oh Marva, I wish I had the time to tackle all of that. Right now, Winnie keeps insisting on more of her adventures. She's very bossy, you know.

      Hi BK, yes, I'm very pleased with the cover. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. I giggled out loud when you wrote Mattie was the first girl to jingle his spurs. Please don't write a straight story. Your humor sprinkled throughout really adds the flavor and fun to your writing. Oh yes, Winnie will make her presence known I'm sure. Best wishes!!

    1. Hello JQ. I guess my silly humor will get into all my stories. Like I said, I just can't help myself.

      I really did a funny Winnie-ism yesterday. My friend and I are still laughing. It would take a whole page to write it out. Suffice to say, I'm just plain weird. lol.

  9. Until I read Heap of Trouble, my interest in westerns was practically nil. If you didn't count a childhood fascination with Hopalong Cassidy and Gene Audry, it would have been nil. It was Lorrie's sense of humor and the great characterization of the people in Cold Creek that won me over. And who can deny the sheer lovability of that little fur ball, Beggar. Nice going, Lorrie and congrats on a fine interview.

    1. Thanks Maria, I'm so glad you liked the story. I always wanted to write a shoot-um-up, and Beggar just sort of came along looking for a home. Well, he found one and refused to leave. Watcha gonna do with a strong willed ringtail?