A visit with Casey Dawes

montana-christmas-magic-cover-originalWhat advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?

I’m a hybrid author, and I also provide a helping hand to those who want to self-publish. There are many reasons to self-publish, so knowing your reason is critical. If you’re expecting to make a fortune, especially on a first book, think again. It happens, but it’s rare. Additionally, it’s a rapidly changing world with a lot of people looking to get rich on your effort. Become an educated consumer.

How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?

I have to admit, a quirky person has the best chance of ending up in one of my books. An innkeeper in Washington showed up in the same occupation in California Wine. Tall and lanky, with non-stop commentary that appeared to have no filter, he was the perfect person to provide some humor. To date, I haven’t killed anyone off, but I’ve got a few candidates!

What is most difficult for you to write?  Characters, conflict, or emotions?  Why?

Deep emotions, hands down. Because of a rocky childhood and a few unhealthy relationships, I’m schooled at not looking too deeply, particularly at anything involving pain. I’m fortunate to have an outstanding editor who is teaching me to become more immediate in my writing. Of course, that requires a lot more walking around the room as I work through my own deep-set emotions.

Do you have a view in your writing space?  What does your space look like? 

I’m incredibly lucky. I live on a six-acre piece of property in Montana. While there are two other houses, it’s really quiet. No matter which window I look out of, there are views. There’s a river in the back yard where my husband catches the occasional trout. Lolo Peak hovers to the south, marking Lewis and Clark’s trek across the Bitterroot Mountains. Most nights a half dozen deer browse on the front lawn. Herons, eagles, and osprey fly by regularly.

Sometimes I write at my desk upstairs. Other times I’m on the couch downstairs. Wherever I am, there are bears–stuffed ones with distinctive personalities.

Tell us about your hero.  Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.

Strength: Determination   Weakness: Locked into one path

Tell us about your heroine.  Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.

Strength: Creativity  Weakness: Self-doubt.

Why have you become a published author?

This is a great question! One of the problems I’ve seen over and over again is miscommunication and lack of understanding of another person’s point of view. I write to open the eyes and hearts of my readers. In the process, I need to really look at the other side of an issue as well, so I can provide a balanced story that people can read. And I write and publish to tell a good story, because that’s the best way to communicate.

What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?

I’m afraid my promo methods are a bit haphazard, and I’d love to have help, but it’s not in the budget! I try to get a blog out once a week, post something on Facebook and Twitter every week day, and have a newsletter list (www.stories-about-love.com). My newsletter recipients get a chance to win prizes and receive a first look at covers and stories. But the biggest effort I put into promotion is to write the best book I can right now. Word of mouth is an incredible promotional tool.

 Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?

Accept the things you can’t control: an agent or editor may not like you, hate books that have snakes, or may not have slept well the night before. Change the things you can: Continually grow as a writer, and keep looking for the best way to midwife your story to the public. Self-publication, sending out to agents and editors, whatever is part of your path.

What’s next for you?

I live in Montana. A lot of us have more than one job to make ends meet.  I’ll be substitute teaching until June (with a few breaks to escape the cold–follow me on Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/public/Casey-Dawes} to find out where). I provide book shepherding services for people who want to self-publish and plan to write a short e-book on uploading to Amazon for maximum discoverability.  Inspired by NaNoWriMo, I am working on my 2017 Christmas story, and there’s also a new series in the works.


Injured in a tragic car crash at Christmas time, tennis pro Logan Collins retreats to his uncle’s ranch in wintry Phillipsburg, Montana, only to find his Uncle Willy in the hospital with terminal cancer. When Willy dies a few days later, Logan discovers the old man put plans in motion that might just change his life … as long as he’s willing to upend everything he’s been doing for the last decade … and put some chocolates in his uncle’s casket just in case there aren’t any in heaven.

Montana-born aspiring artist and temporary chocolatier, Julie Thompson isn’t surprised by their favorite customer’s odd request. Curiosity about the good-looking New Yorker who made the request, entices her to bring the chocolates to the funeral personally.

Soon Logan finds himself with a ranch, a dog, a horse, and a woman who brings light into his dark life. He never wanted any of it. Julie’s roots are in the vast plains and big skies where her family lives. Nowhere else is home. Can he persuade her Christmas in New York is just as inspiring?

Or will Willy’s plot prevail?


She smiled at him. Not an innocent smile.

Their gazes broke at the tap of Sue Anne’s heels.

“Oh, hello,” Sue Anne said. “Is Julie taking care of you?” She looked from one to the other, her eyebrows narrowing slightly.

“Very well,” Logan said, more than one layer of meaning in his tone.

“Sue Anne, this is Logan, Willy’s nephew.”

“How nice to meet you, Logan,” she said. “How is our favorite customer, Willy?”

“Dead,” Julie and Logan said at the same time, sharing a gallows humor grin.

“Oh, no! What happened? Did his cancer return?”

“I’m afraid so.”

The lightheartedness disappeared. Logan swallowed, his Adam’s apple rising and falling.

She wanted to kiss him and make it better.

Oops. No. She wanted to kiss him to find out what it was like. Her gaze rose to look at his lips.

Sue Anne cleared her throat, and Julie snapped her head around to find her staring at the two of them.

“Is there anything we can do to help?” Sue Anne asked. “Do you need anything?”

“Julie’s handling it,” Logan said.

“Okay, then.” Sue Anne’s voice didn’t sound like she was reassured by his statement.

“I guess I’ll go back to making fudge.”

Please do.

As soon as she left, Julie pulled a dark-chocolate-covered truffle from the case and walked to him.

“Here. Chocolate makes everything better—at least, that’s what I’ve been told.”

“Thank you.” He slipped it from her hand, leaving behind currents of electricity, like thin strands of static.

They stood, caught in the moment, staring at each other. She lost herself in the depth of his movie-star-blue eyes. She’d never known anyone in real life to have eyes that color.

He lifted his hand as if to stroke her cheek.

Something in the kitchen clanged.

Bio: Casey Dawes

web-casey-0583_pp-200x300I am passionate about the ability of stories to change minds and lives. If you’ve read my books, you’ll learn that issues are wrapped in love stories. Yes, there’s a happily ever after, but there’s also a discussion that makes you think (much to the chagrin of my editors). I’m after human discourse, because we’re all right … and we’re all wrong.

Can love change everything? Maybe. In my stories, you will always get to the happy ending, but not until after some growth. I base some of what I write on a 16-year romance with my husband. It took me a long time to find him, and a long time to think happily ever after was possible for me.

Come along for the ride. We’ll explore new places, meet new people, talk, play, learn, and … fall in love.


Website/blog: http://www.stories-about-love.com

Buy links available after Dec. 5, 2016 at http://www.stories-about-love.com/books/christmas-romances/


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