The title had me hooked and I enjoyed talking with the author so much I invited her to be on my blog. Here’s our conversation about Freckled Venom Copperhead with the lovely and talented, Juliette Douglas.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I’m not sure, all I know is that I kept waking up with these goofy westerns percolating around in my head. I guess I was going through a mid-life crisis or God was trying to tell me something. I just know as I would scrub boats I would write dialog and scenes in my head. I didn’t even own a computer or have internet when I began writing six years ago. Wow! Things have come a long way since then.
How did you come up with the title?
A very dear friend has a cousin who is a retired publisher. Not only did he love the rough, raw version I presented, he offered two titles, to replace the one I had. I chose Freckled Venom.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
That when life dumps a wagon load of lemons on you and you don’t have ‛nuff sugar to make lemonade, Just keep plugging along, you will survive.
What are your current projects?
Finishing the third book in the Freckled Venom series: Freckled Venom Skeletons to be out in 2014.
Perfume, Powder & Lead
The tale of three floozies who leave the red-light district, heading for the goldfields and stumble upon four dead Nuns and decide to change their habits…so to speak and begin robbing banks masquerading as Holy Sisters.
Bed of Conspiracy: Fiction based upon fact, The Knights of the Golden Circle and Jesse James, President Grant.
And whatever else pops into my little pea-picking brain.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Excerpt from Freckled Venom Copperhead
Soft light began to fill the barn while he looked around, noting the three horses watching him with mild interest, There were three doors in the stable, the one behind him, and on the opposite wall, a single sliding door with another smaller one next to that. Turning slowly, he took a good look at the Dillard boys. The three boys looked to be in their late teens to middle twenties, maybe a little older. Lanky to husky builds. Rawley had seen nasty looking hombres before, but these boys looked like sod busters, not killers. Tilting his head, he spoke to Lacy, asking, “You sure these are the Dillard brothers?”
Lacy nodded, pointing to the first one they’d brought in the barn, “That’s Aubrey, the youngest. That one is the middle brother. Name’s Keller. The dead one is the oldest, Ed.”
“Where they from? They look like sod buster.”
“They are, were, from Missouri. They’ve killed in every territory, well, almost every territory west of the Mississippi. Like I said, ‛Satan’s own spawn’,” Lacy finished, pressing her lips together.
Hearing a groan, they both turned toward the sound. Aubrey was beginning to awaken, after being smashed in the head by Lacy.
Anger began a slow burn deep inside of Lacy. She walked over to the boy and stared at the two-legged monster. This one had the scratches on his face from the Clancy woman. That made Lacy’s temper rise to a slow boil.
Aubrey looked up to see the purtiest l’il gal he’d seen in a while, flaming hair and big brown eyes you could melt into. He could feel himself rising.
Lacy’s anger continued to grow as did the bulge in his pants. She knew exactly what he was thinking.
That flaming temper overrode whatever sense Lacy had. Straddling the boy, she whipped out her knife. Bending over, she stuck it against the boy’s throbbing neck. His eyes quickly went from lust to fear.
Lacy whispered with deadly calm, “How ‛bout I do you like you did your last victim?” She asked, sliding the knife lightly drawing blood.
The boy blanched with fear. “Or better yet…” she began, brandishing the knife at the fly on his britches. She used it to pop off the buttons. She watched as the boy pressed himself against the post. “How ‛bout I just slice off your…,” her hand laid the edge of the blade across his bulge, then lightly sawed the blade back and forth, its edge beginning to cut through the material.
The bulge suddenly wilted. He looked at the knife, then, back up at her. The boy’s eyes wide with fear, he mumbled something against the bandana, shaking his head vigorously. Lacy’s eyes dripped venom as she added, “So you can’t play no more.”
She whisked the knife away only to continue her threatening attack on his torso. “How “bout…” as she sliced the buttons off his shirt and slit his underwear, exposing his gut. “How ‛bout…” she began as she slowly and lightly, sliced his skin upward. “I gut you like a hog at killing time, but I’ll leave you alive. Take your innards out.” Dark eyes never left the boy’s face. Lacy waved at the barn rafters. “Throw them up over those beams there, so you can watch your guts swinging from the rafters. Like sausages hanging from the beams of a smokehouse. How ‛bout that?” Lacy finished quietly.
Shocked at what he’d been witnessing, Rawley couldn’t move. His boots rooted to the dirt floor like a big oak. He’d never seen a female act like that before. Regaining focus, his ground eating stride placed him at Lacy’s side in seconds. He grabbed her wrist, swinging her around as he wrenched the knife out of her hand, scrutinizing the girl’s eyes. Lacy had traveled to somewhere deep within her soul. Moments later, her eyes came back into focus, fixing a deadly stare on him.
“That’s enough, Sunshine! I’m the law here. From now on you’ll do as I say!”
Freckled cheeks scorched with anger, she blasted the lawman, “I ought to whittle your ears off for that! Sides, you ain’t the only law around,” she told him through clinched teeth. Pushing around, him she moved toward the two boys, angrily tearing the guns out of their holsters. She shoved the pistols into his belly when she walked past him. Rawley caught them, barely. His eyes followed Lacy as she struggled to slide open the barn door. He didn’t even bother to help, she’d pissed him off. The door continued protesting as the rusty wheels screeched from lack of use along its track. At last it slid open. She disappeared into the darkness.
Excerpt 2 from Freckled Venom Copperhead
Rawley’s eyes turned the color of a polished barrel,blue steel. He continued striding towardthe barn.He did not like what he saw, but kept his mouth shut as he loaded up Ed. Walking over to Aubrey, his hand grabbed a handful of hair, pulling up the boy’s head. Rawley looked into a purple and black swollen face, He was in no condition to walk. The boy needed to ride.
Lacy turned in her saddle to address the lawman, “Mount up. We got a good three days’ ride.”
Rawley advanced toward the girl, his anger flaring from beneath black lashes. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Aubrey can’t walk! He’s too badly hurt! Thanks to you! He needs to ride!”
Lacy leaned down toward the marshal, her eyes narrowing into slits, color brightening freckled cheeks in anger. “You listen to me good, Lovett. I’m not all brawn and muscle like you, so…” taking a finger and tapping her head, “I have to use my l’il pea-picking brain. Making my prisoners walk fifteen to twenty miles a day leaves them too tuckered out to argue with me at night, allowing me a little sleep. Keeping the food and water away, makes ‛em real tame. Now, mount up!”
“Is it? I call it self preservation. No one gets killed. No one gets hurt and we all arrive alive! Mount up!”
“You can’t keep taking your anger and your hatred out on the fugitives you catch, just because you don’t have the guts to confront your grandfather for what he did to you!” His eyes already frosty with anger, turned to diamond chips. “How many times do you have to kill your grandfather, before you give it up?”
Lacy recoiled as if she had been slapped.
“You have all the warmth and welcome of smallpox when it comes riding into town! You know that? He snapped. “I don’t know where you were in line when they passed out hearts. But, you sure as hell didn’t receive one!”
He saw Lacy drop her hooded look back into place, hiding her emotions, again.
Rawley spun angrily, walking back to Aubrey. Cutting enough rope to tie the boy in the saddle, he helped him up, eased him over to the horse, supporting him as he mounted. “I’ll get you to a doctor, soon as I can, son,” Rawley stated, finishing the knots.
Hearing the metallic click of a hammer being pulled back, Rawley stiffened, continuing to face the boy as he waited.
“The boy walks.”
“No. He rides,” he said. His already deep voice dropped lower. “Go ahead. Shoot me in the back. You do, I’ll see you hang,” Rawley threatened.
It seemed like ages before the marshal heard the hammer ease down with a soft click, a gun whispering back into its holster, leather creaking as horses moved off. Turning his head, his eyes followed the girl as she moved out. Keller, his hands tied by a rope half-hitched to Lacy’s saddle horn, struggled to remain on his feet as he was pulled along.
Rawley slowly expelled the breath he had been holding, “Damn kid. I’ve had enough,” he muttered. Whipping out his knife, he ran over to Keller, cleaning slicing the rope with a down turn of his wrist. The boy fell with the sudden slack.
Feeling the taunt rope go slack, Lacy spun around in the saddle, “Lovett! You bastard!” She yelled. Whirling Fancy around, she aimed the big grey on a collision course with the marshal. At the last second, Fancy swerved, throwing Lacy out of the saddle. She landed on top of Rawley, knocking both into the snow. Keller saw his chance. Scrambling up, he ran toward the nearest horse, his teeth chewing on the rope tying his hands. At last the knots loosened enough to where he could slide out his hands. Grabbing the reins, he mounted the big grey. Kicking heels into her ribs, he rode past the two still thrashing about in the snow.
“You damn little…she-devil!” Rawley grunted, taking another blow to his ribs.
Lacy scrambled out of his grasp. Standing, she locked both hands together, straightened her arms and swung, like an ax aiming at a large tree. The movement caught Rawley across his back, surprising, him and driving him to his knees. “That did it,” he mumbled, rising again.
Lacy had whirled, watching Keller ride off on her horse. Taking a few running steps, she suddenly landed face first in the snow. Rawley quickly grabbed both ankles lifting them up so the little hellion didn’t have any leverage. Lacy twisted. Turning and flopping like a hundred and fifteen pound catfish. “Lovett! I’ll kill you for this! I swear…I’ll kill you!” She yelled.
Rawley dragged her, sliding on her belly, pulling snow with her, like a plow, over to where Keller had dropped the rope. Bending down, he picked it up. Kneeling, he not so gently put a knee in her back. “Oww! You bastard! That hurt!” He trussed up her ankles, bending legs at the knees.
Lacy kept twisting, squirming, her body digging a hole in the snow, as she struggled to break the grip he had on her. Holding her kicking legs down with one hand, Rawley’s other hand, at last caught an irate arm, pulling that behind her, adding that to the ankles. Catching the other wrist, he added that to the three making a foursome. Breathing hard, he stood and surveyed his handiwork. Lacy twisted her neck. Seeing nothing, but snow covered boots and pants, she rolled on her side. She gave him the dirtiest look she could muster, “Lovett, you’re an ass! You let Keller get away!” She declared hotly.
The marshal heaved in more air for his starved lungs. Damn kid is quick. It had taken everything he had to subdue her. Fingers brushing his hair out of his eyes, he said, “Maybe that cold snow will cool down your temper some, Sunshine.”
Turning, he walked over to his hat. Picking it up, he brushed the snow off before resettling it back on his head. He threw one more look at the trussed up girl, then mounted. Two fingers brushed the brim of his hat as he nodded toward the girl, riding past her, heading off down the hill after Keller.
“Lovett?” Lacy yelled. “Where do you think you’re going? You can’t leave me like this! Lovett? Lovett…,” she yelled, dragging his name out to four or five syllables instead of the two. His name echoed against the granite backdrop of the mountains.
Who designed the covers?
We wanted striking, different covers to draw the readers eye right away. Cover photography is licensed from JC Leacock Photography out of Crested Butte, Co. His work is stunning. Bearhead Publishing LLC designed all the graphics and fonts found on the cover and inside under each chapter.
Who is your publisher and what are a few things you like about their business platform?
Bearhead Publishing LLC out of Brandenburg, Kentucky, a small press publishing company that is family owned. I liked the fact that they want their authors to retain their own unique writing voice. They offer all the same things a big company offers, but on a more personalized level. We have become good friends.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope you have as much fun reading these western adventure/romance tales as I did writing them. Enjoy the ride!
I’m Juliette Douglas, new western author. I live in Kentucky where in real life I wash boats for a living. Yes, you read that right. I’m just a crusty, rusty old fart of a boat washer who has stories percolating around in my head as I scrub boats.
I live on an old farm with a passel of kids…uh…critters. Why do I write western action stories with a little romance thrown in…Go figure! I like to say it is a God thing. I have already published two western novels in 2013. Freckled Venom Copperhead and Freckled Venom Copperhead Strikes. Both receiving the 5-star rating from Readers’ Favorite. I am working on the third sequel in the Freckled Venom series, now. Titled: Freckled Venom – Skeletons making its debut summer 2014.
Take time to visit http://www.facebook.com/author.juliette.douglas for updates and events. I love to hear from fans of my books. Email me or friend me on facebook. Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Freckled-Venom-Copperhead-Juliette-Douglas-ebook/dp/B00IEUXBV8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398947507&sr=1-1&keywords=freckled+venom
Genre: Western adventure/romance
Publisher: Bearhead Publishing LLC