Monday, June 24, 2013

Christine Presents: California Homecoming

Please welcome Casey Dawes author of California Homecoming

Casey will be awarding a bottle of Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noir (a wine served in California Homecoming)(US ONLY) OR a $25 Amazon gift certificate (winner's choice) to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour and her Virtual Reviews Tour, as well as donating $20.00 to Fisher House ( in honor or memory of a serviceperson of the winner's choice. For each tour stop $5 will be donated to Fisher House ( in honor or memory of a serviceperson of the host’s choice.

Please leave a comment for a chance to win and follow Casey's tour.

California Homecoming
by Casey Dawes


1.How did you come up with ideas for your books?
There are a variety of ways I come up with ideas for the books, but I draw a lot from my own life. Sometimes I start with a plot idea, but most of the time the story comes from the characters. I have worked over ten years as a life and business coach and I’ve seen how people’s beliefs really govern their lives. I try to saddle my characters with a belief that isn’t working for them and develop the story that allows them to change that belief so they can find happiness and love. I try to root my characters in real people with real problems so they can have a chance at real love.

2.What components are necessary for the genre of this novel?
A romance novel, by definition, has to have a happily-ever-after (HEA) or happily-ever-now (HEN) ending. A good story, no matter what the genre has to have main characters that change and grow as they solve the problems.  I like the structure of the Hero’s Journey and also Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Plot Structure. I keep an outline of that structure next to my desk as I write.

3.As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?
I’ve finished up a short Christmas romance set in a New York small town, tentatively titled The Christmas Shepherd.  I’ve also got an idea for a new series set in Montana. This book is going to be more complex than anything I’ve written so far, so it’s a challenge.

4.If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?
Definitely Elizabeth from California Wine. She’s beautiful, a good businesswoman, great cook (she even makes ravioli!), and she winds up traveling the globe with Marcos. 

5.Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing?
I belong to a marvelous critique group of four other writers. We’re more than critique partners, we’re friends. They also live in my head when I write. If I dare to use the word “it,” Pam’s voice chides me that it’s a meaningless word. Danica makes sure my heroes live up to the name. Rionna questions motivations. Clare inspires me to add rich detail to my descriptions. My critique group makes me better as a writer and person. They also were the ones who pushed me to submit a contest-winning manuscript to Crimson Romance.

6.When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?
My life was falling apart in 1998 for many reasons. I gave myself a birthday gift of a writing class at the University of Santa Cruz extension. There I met the core of what became my critique group for the next several years. They encouraged me to begin writing fiction again. From that point on I submitted to magazines and some publishing houses, but the rejections were frequent and rapid. Finally, one of my current critique partners suggested I submit to Crimson Romance. (Actually, it was more of a kick in the you-know-where.) Crimson accepted California Sunset and I’ve been writing ever since. (No, I haven’t given up my day job, yet.)

7.Do you outline your books or just start writing?
As I mentioned earlier, I have Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Plot Structure by my desk as I write, but I usually start defining the characters, their physical appearance, and their psychological make-up before I begin to plot. Then I do a high-level outline before writing a first draft as fast as I can. Things may change during that draft and I’ll use that knowledge during the edit phases.

8.Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you've gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books?
When my husband and I were dating, we lived near the Santa Cruz Mountains in California. Most people don’t know this, but the area has a long wine-making history, as old as Napa. We discovered we both liked wine and began exploring the area to write a book on it. We had some amazing experiences and learned a lot about wine. This knowledge came in particularly handy when writing California Wine, the previous book in the California Romance Series. As I wrote some of the scenes, I visualized the wineries we had visited and the winemaking characters we had gotten to know! Somewhere, in all of my books, I reference wine and usually a specific varietal.  In fact, during this blog tour, I’ll be awarding a bottle of Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noir (a wine served in California Homecoming) to one of the commenters on the tour (States that allow shipping in US only).

9.Do you have any family traditions or recipes you might like to share?

My dad’s family came from Czechoslovakia (when there was such a place) and we had an Easter tradition that came from that area--an egg-cracking contest. At Easter dinner we’d ready our hard-boiled eggs, one would take aim at the other and the egg that “survived” was the winner.  My kids would roll their eyes whenever I brought out this tradition. When I worked at UPS, I met a woman from Georgia (the country) and she said she’d had the same tradition as a child. She was the only one I ever met who knew what I was talking about!

10.         What is your favorite reality show?
Dancing with the Stars. It’s actually the only reality show my husband and I watch. My collective children find it very amusing.

11.         Anything else you might want to add?
I’m blessed. I have a wonderful writing space overlooking the Clark Fork River with deer, ducks, geese, herons, kingfishers, a fox and more for entertainment. My husband loves me and I have my health. It doesn’t get much better than this.

When Sarah Ladina purchased an old Victorian in Costanoa with plans to turn it into a high-end destination inn, she had no idea life could get so complicated. Well, maybe she did. As an unwed pregnant woman who couldn’t cook, she had her work cut out for her. A good-looking disabled veteran, a doctor who orders modified bed rest, and an ex who’s trying to get back into her life make her wonder if she’ll ever be able to stand on her own and open the inn in time for her mother’s best friend’s wedding.

After returning from duty in the Middle East wounded in both body and spirit, Hunter Evans is in search of employment and a home, but finding a job has been tough and housing doesn’t come cheap in Costanoa, the town that he loves the most on the California Coast. Can he strike a deal with the pretty innkeeper to trade a room for handy work?


Sunday morning Hunter pressed a shirt and put it on, along with his best khakis. He thought about picking up a bunch of flowers on the way, but laughed at himself.  He was trying to find a room, not a relationship.

“Oh, it’s you again,” Sarah said when she opened the door, the dog standing next to her. She was frowning.

Against all reason, something about her made him want to scoop her up in his arms and hug her. Because her t-shirt and jeans were dripping with dust, cobwebs, and streaks of soap, it was probably a bad idea, but her short height and big brown eyes gave her an appealing elfin look. He’d always been a sucker for Eowyn in Lord of the Rings.

“I still don’t have any rooms,” Sarah continued and began to shut the door.

“Wait,” he said.

She stopped. “Why should I?”

He smiled. Considering their size difference, she really had no choice. But he bet she’d fight him with every ounce of her strength.

She’d probably fight like a girl -- nasty.

“This is an inn, isn’t it?” he asked.

She smirked at him. “It’s an unopened inn. No room. Get the picture?” She started to inch the door closed.

This time he shoved his foot in the gap. The swinging door clanked on his prosthetic.

Sarah gasped. “I’m so sorry!”

He grinned. “I’m not. It would have hurt a lot more on the other leg.”


Author Casey Dawes lives and writes on the bank of the Clark Fork River in Montana with the love of her life and two cats who think they own the joint. To learn more about Casey, visit her website:


Twitter: @CaseyDawesAutho






Casey Dawes said...

Christine, Please let me know who you want to honor with my $5 donation to Fisher House. Thanks! Casey

Ingeborg said...

I loved the excerpt, didn't want it to end.


Christine Young said...

Welcome to my blog. I hope you have a great tour. Sorry I was late with this post but I had it posted on a different blog.

Maureen said...

Santa Cruz misses you! I need to catch up on these wine books....

Casey Dawes said...

Glad you liked it Ingeborg!

Maureen-- I'll wave at you and SC in August when I'm in CA.

Christine -- thanks for having me! I totally get the "more than one blog."


bn100 said...

I agree there needs to be an HEA or at least HFN.

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Catherine Lee said...

Casey...How interesting to hear that your life was falling apart in 1998! That was the year that I was diagnosed with leukemia and had a bone marrow transplant. SO, I understand doing something for yourself--to change your life. Good for you!
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

Mary Preston said...

CALIFORNIA HOMECOMING does look like such a wonderful read.

Love the egg tradition.


Andra Lyn said...

Thanks for sharing your interview! I love that you are doing so much for charity with this tour! Good for you!

andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

Casey Dawes said...

Thanks, Andra. It's an important cause.

Karen H in NC said...

Sorry for the late post. I’m playing catch-up here so I’m just popping in to say HI and sorry I missed visiting with you on party day! Hope you all had a good time!
kareninnc at gmail dot com

Casey Dawes said...

Thanks for stopping by, Karen!