On the Pioneer Hearts blog today, we welcome Rain Trueax! Rain has 11 historical romances (Oregon and Arizona) and 12 contemporary suspense and paranormal romances– all based in the American West. She is a member of RWA, PAN, Women Writing the West, and Saguaro Romance Writers.
When writing, she works from her family sheep and cattle operation in the Oregon Coast Range, a desert home near Tucson, Arizona, or from their RV somewhere in the inter-mountain west via satellite link. Her husband of over 50 years, who she calls Ranch Boss, and she have two grown children, and four grandchildren.
In all of Rain’s romances, the underlying themes are the values of generosity, hard work, courage, community, and living true to oneself–all the while intertwining the complications of physical attraction, sexuality and outside challenges, whether, malicious or societal. Her stories are ‘Romances with an Edge’ as they are stories of adventure and danger. They are generally spicy (between 3 and 4 on a scale of 1-5). Characters sometimes use strong language, as suits the action.
The idea of writing something different, from my historical romances, began in December in Tucson, Arizona. Barrio Viejo is an old neighborhood south of downtown. I was returning after a few years absence. My first time in the barrio had been to find el Tiradito, a wishing shrine with a tragic and magical history.
Years back, around the shrine, had been deteriorating homes, closed businesses, no air-conditioning– so open doors with the scent of food cooking, sometimes old men sitting on stoops. The doors were worn, wonderful for photographs, but frankly the kind of neighborhood developers tend to see as ground for fancy hotels or convention centers.
That could have happened to Barrio Viejo except for a determined group who fought to see it protected as historic and restored. That’s what we found in December. It was being revitalized, its history proudly shared on plaques. We were told some of the homes had been totally gutted but outside you’d never know it.
Taking many photos, one in particular led me to see a potential book. The home was pueblo style in a row of many like it. In front was a motorcycle. I saw the hero for the first book—well not actually but in my imagination. Because of the mystical history of the neighborhood, it seemed possibly a place of ghosts, spirits and maybe a few unusual people.
With one Arizona historical I still had to get out, it wasn’t until March I could get serious about planning this new series. My characters would be artists, musicians, writers, detectives, entrepreneurs, along with families who had a long history in Tucson. What if, for one such family, that long history meant witches and shamans?
With all the mythologies regarding witches, many of which are actively believed in the Southwest, my stories needed to set parameters for this fantasy world. The Hemstreet witches come out of the Yaqui traditions on one side, and warlocks and witches on the other. While each of the women (four sisters, widowed mother, disapproving aunt, and two grandmothers) have their own specific gifts, all can draw upon earth energy. Born into a family where mystical powers were the expected, the important thing has been to use their abilities responsibly, never selfishly, and always for good. They also have to be careful who knows about them given superstition is not just in other countries. While having abilities most humans can’t imagine, they live normal length lives and can be killed.
Each of the five books will be a complete romance but underlying all stories will be the family and its interactions. With one exception, the heroes represent the rest of us. They are men who have no idea a mystical world exists, that there are ghosts and spirit beings. They are, however, strong men, who have their own human power, which they must draw upon, when they find life isn’t quite what they thought.
Visit Rain on the Pioneer Hearts bookstore for a list of all her books, including her historical western romance collections.