A Heap of Trouble is a Heap of Good Writing

Join me in getting to know author Lorrie Unites-Struiff a little bit better. A Heap of Trouble is a western humorous romance action story. That’s a lot of stuff for Struiff to put in one book, but she does it with style! This book has something for everyone and I love the cover. It’s, of course, by Suzannah Safi.
Lorrie lives in West Mifflin, PA, thirty minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. She lives at home with her husband and her favorite toy—a computer.
 Once a gold medalist teacher/manager for a big-name ballroom dance studio she has retired and now enjoys the quiet life of writing and watching TV. But she loves to have lunches with local authors to keep abreast of the challenging world of publishing.
Lorrie writes in many genres so you never know what she will come out with next. She never wants to bore her readers and enjoys the thrill of entertaining them by writing a good story.
Here’s a few answers to questions, so we can meet the real Lorrie!

Thank you so much for the invitation to guest on your
blog today, Heather.

1.      What is your favorite book?

Plum Island by
Nelson DeMille. The first in his John Corey series. I love the way he can take
a tense situation with gun fights, chases, etc. and still make me laugh. It’s a
wonderful talent I wish I had.

        2.      Who is your favorite writer?

Oh, my gosh!
Do you want me to take up three pages? I have so many, but sadly, lately I
haven’t had much time to read. I miss it. With two books out; the promoting is
taking up so much time, even my writing is suffering. I think most authors know
the feeling. Then there is real life that keeps interfering, too. 

3.      How old were you when you were first published?

Not answering
that one. Lol. I don’t want readers to faint.

4.      What writing style do you most abhor?

I don’t like
deep character style, where you are in the head of a person for many pages. I
get bored and think, “get on with the story already.” I like action, a bit of
character is fine, in fact good. But, let’s get to the story.

5.      What is your favorite writing cliché?

Have your
picture taken when you’re young, and don’t give up your day job.


6.      What is your favorite word?

(It) is my
favorite word. It encompasses so much. Lol. But, yes, I have learned long ago
not to use ‘it’ a lot. Although it’s still my favorite word.

7.      When and how do you write? (typewriter, Mac, in a
café, for four hours each morning, etc?)

Picture this.
Here I sit in my tilt-back chair, in the den, surrounded by my TV, books,
Kindle, love seat, stereo, etc. My feet are up, my laptop on my lap and I’m so
comfortable I can nod off at times. What more can I ask? I write at different
times of the morning or afternoon. In the evenings, when my eyeballs are
hanging on my cheeks, I’ll watch TV until bedtime.

8.      What is your greatest fear when you first turn in a

I could have
done better. They’re going to hate it. As you can tell, I have a very low ego.

9.  In what era do you wish you’d been born?

Does it have
to be had been? I’d love to be born in the future. Why? I don’t think we are
advanced enough as a civilization to have peace among all nations. Of course,
it may be worse in the future, I realize that. But, I have hope. And I hope
most of all for all the greed to be gone. There will be no cause, power or
money, to have greed. Now I think I’m getting into fantasy. Lol.

10.  Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I find in
every story I write it’s always a different overused phrase or word I use. Is
that odd?

11.  Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to
have my talent back for multi-tasking. Don’t laugh, it’s true. Seems I can’t
walk and breathe at the same time anymore. Or is it just all these stories paddling
around in my brain?

12.  What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Proving to
myself that I can get published. It literally shocked me. It shocks me that
readers really like my stories. Like I said; low ego.


13.  Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

I hope you
mean fictitious hero. Wow, that’s a toughie. Again, I have so many, it would be
hard to write them all down. After reading for many, many years, I can’t choose
just one.

14.  How would you like to die?

I’d like to go to sleep and just not wake up. I’m a coward. I think most of us
would prefer to die that way instead of suffering a long illness. I once had a
good friend that suffered cancer and could not be cured. Her words to me, I’ll
never forget. “This dying stuff is hard work.”


Sorry to
leave you on such a bleak note. But let’s go to a happier subject. My new book
release from Muse. We’ll go from bleak to humor in one easy jump.


Cole Walker, Sheriff of Cold Creek, has more woes than he can handle.
He thought chasing rustlers would be the worst of his problems, until Mattie Wells, the new gal in town, jingles his spurs with just a smile, and he falls head over heels.
Then he finds a runaway monkey under his desk, and his inclination is to get rid of him. Cole has this fear of critters that goes back a mighty long way, so the sooner the better.
But Mattie thinks Beggar’s adorable, so what’s a man supposed to do? Now, he’s forced to put up with the little fur ball…uh…ringtail monkey, even when the furry thief starts stealing the townsfolk’s trinkets.
Then there’s the matter of the cattle rustlers who keep stealing the Double J’s cattle. JJ blames the farmers, the farmers don’t like JJ, and an all-out war is about to commence.
Cole and his deputies, Wade and Sully, have their hands full trying to keep the uneasy peace between the farmers and the cattleman. As if that’s not enough pressure, Mayor Farley gives them a month to find the thieves before he calls for outside help.
Cole’s trying to win Mattie’s heart, but the little lady has a dark secret and vows never to marry. While harboring a secret of his own, Cole tries to pry out her secret, in hopes of changing her mind.
Cole chases Mattie, the rustlers, and Beggar in a town full of fun characters and chaos.
Can he bring the rustlers to justice, peace and order to Cold Creek, the townsfolk’s loot back to their rightful owners, and win Mattie’s heart?
Yep, Cole has a heap of trouble on his hands.

Mayor Farley glanced up from his papers. “Howdy, Cole.” The Mayor ran his eyes over Beggar, who stood in front of the desk with his head down. “I heard about your little buddy there. What can I do for you two today?”
“We came to return your stolen valuables.” Cole untied the bandana and spread the items over the desk. “Seems I have a sneak thief on my hands.”
Mayor Farley’s shaggy white eyebrows shot up an inch and his mouth dropped open. “Who…when?”
“Last night.” Cole pointed down at Beggar, who still stared at the floor.
The Mayor shook his head and hid a bemused grin behind his hand. He winked at Cole, and then eyed Beggar over the desk, and shook his pudgy finger at the ringtail. “You’ve been a bad, bad boy.” He stroked his white goatee and drew his shaggy eyebrows together. “What do you think, Sheriff?” He thrummed his fingers on the desk. “Should we hang him?”
Beggar screamed, wrapped both arms around Cole’s leg, buried his face in the hollow behind Cole’s knee, and snuffled.
Keeping a straight face, Cole said, “What say we give him another chance, Mr. Mayor?” He made his voice stern. “One more time, and I promise I’ll tie the noose myself.”
“Agreed.” The mayor slapped his desk.
The monkey slumped to the floor.
Mayor Farley chuckled and motioned for Cole to have a seat. He took out the makings from his silk vest pocket, offering Cole the pouch. They both rolled a cigarette and settled back in their chairs. Smoke curled lazily in the room. The Mayor flicked lint off his suit sleeve. “Any news on the rustlers? JJ’s about to bust a blood vessel.”
Cole rubbed the back of his neck. “This ain’t making any sense. What’ve they been taking? Half-dozen or so head a week? Rustlers usually take more steers than that.” He leaned forward. “Another thing that’s puzzling. We found tracks heading toward the river. Then some older tracks head north, newer tracks go south, some even go back west, across the river. We don’t rightly know where to look. We’ve been chasing our tails, riding one way, then the other.”
“Hmm.” Mayor Farley shifted his bulk on the chair. “Could be someone has a grudge against JJ and wants to aggravate him. Or the farmers are terribly riled about his strays.”
Cole shrugged, reached down, and petted Beggar. “Oh, they’re plenty riled, but I don’t reckon a corner or two of ruined crops would cause them to steal, or I’d of found some sign in their barns, or on their property somewhere.” He furrowed his brow, took a puff on the cigarette. “I’m thinking a couple of outlaws are holed up in the hills picking off a few head at a time, burning a different brand to sell them as their own. Hiding them till they have plenty to drive on west to the stockyards.”
“Sounds logical. The town has faith in you, Cole. You’ll figure it out. You always did have good instincts.”
“I sure hope it’s soon.” Cole fingered the brim of his Stetson, balanced on his knee. “Wade and Sully are camping out on the range and they’ll keep on searching. Told them to be back in time for Saturday’s social.”
Farley rose and opened the window. The rumble of buckboards, the whinny of horses, and the sound of voices floated up from the street below. Thumbs in his vest pockets, the Mayor rocked his girth, heel to toe, and looked out over the town. “Farmers and ranchers never did mix well, you know that. Corn stalks have been broken, wheat patches flattened. If JJ tried harder to keep his cattle on his side of the river, the farmers might be more tolerant of a few strays here and there. Widow Cox comes to town once a week to curdle my ears about her flower beds and elderberry bushes being trampled.”
He turned to Cole, a discouraged frown settled on his face. “Don’t know why JJ won’t sell some beef here in town instead of us having to haul meat in on ice wagons. All the folks in the territory would benefit if he did. He’s so blasted sure the farmers are to blame, he refuses to have anything to do with them, which in turn doesn’t help us.” He walked back to the desk and ground out his cigarette. “Government never should have opened up free range to the west. The farmers homesteaded our side, proved their worth, and got the proper deeds. This town depends on them.”
Cole stubbed his cigarette in the tin on Farley’s desk. Beggar lay on the floor next to his foot. “Yeah. Then JJ comes along and trouble starts.” He rose to leave, slapped the Stetson on his head, and nudged Beggar with his boot. “Doesn’t help me neither. Now I gotta find the rustlers quick to stop all this anger and hate between folks before it gets out of hand. I feel a heap of trouble coming our way.”

“’Fraid so,” said Farley.——————————–

Buy Page: A Heap of Trouble

10 responses to “A Heap of Trouble is a Heap of Good Writing”

  1. Enjoyed the interview. Was fun learning about Lorrie. Thanks for sharing the blurb and excerpt.

    I agree with wanting to go peacefully in my sleep. After I've turned 100. : )

  2. Shucks, ma'am, this here story makes me feel like kickin up my heels and clickin' my spurs! haha (Sorry, that was so lame!)
    I love this book. Got it the day it was released. (Along with the Winnie Krapski Call on the Dead stories). I'm a definate fan-but no worries, not a stalker…yet.:)
    Great cover, great questions and answers, great blurb and excerpt.

    Congrats Lorrie on the new release(s).