Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Guest Author: Tara Janzen

Hey guys.

Cindy here. I’m so jazzed about having my buddy, Tara Janzen, with us in the rag top today – especially since she’s a classic car aficionado! Tara and I go way back to the Loveswept days when she wrote as Glenna McReynolds. Anyone remember Loveswepts? I loved that line! I was a huge fan of hers and when I found out we had a mutual editor, I begged for an introduction. We’ve been friends and supported each other through thick and thin ever since.

For those of you who are already fans of her CRAZY books that have taken action adventure romance to new levels, you’ll be thrilled to know her new book, ON THE LOOSE, features more of those Steele Street hunks! Yea!!

So without further delay, please welcome Tara Janzen.

One of the great things about writing the Crazy books, and now ON THE LOOSE and CUTTING LOOSE, was learning about and falling in love with American muscle cars from the late sixties and early seventies. There is a beautiful, hot, fast car in every book – Jeanette the Jet, Roxanne, Angelina, Charlotte the Harlot, Mercy (because she has none), Babycakes, Trina, Nadine, Betty, Corinna and Coralie - the automotive machines of our dreams, girls! A 1969 Camaro, a 1968 Shelby Cobra Mustang, a 1970 Chevelle SS 454 – all of them with strokers and headers, plenty of torque, more cubic inches than the insurance companies wanted to cover, and quarter miles under fourteen seconds right off the dealer’s floor. Be still my beating heart!

But when I go out to my driveway every morning, there it is, my car, a mini-van on steroids. There aren’t any headers on it, and no sexy Camaro curves. It ain’t no pony car. It’s a draft horse. It’s a ski bus, a Dodge Durango in the nearly invisible color called silver. There are no racing stripes, no cowl induction, no spoiler, no hood pins. It rolls on Michelins, not slicks. It holds a driver, six sound-asleep, drooling teenagers, skis, snowboards, poles, boots, countless bags and boxes of food to power those kids up, and a decent (okay, more than decent) 5.7L Hemi V-8 under the hood. But it’s still a tank, not a 1970 LS6 Chevelle.

How did this happen? What’s feeding my inner NASCAR? I don’t need a jet-fuel dragster, but gosh, is it too much to ask for a Shelby?

Okay, maybe that is a bit much. Carroll Shelby didn’t make that many “snakes,” but goodness, a girl should be able to break out of mom-mode a little and get something that rumbles and roars a bit when she turns the key. I’ve gotten letters from women who have done it. They’ve sent me photos of their “babies,” Malibus, Mustangs, and Chargers, oh my! I’ve heard their stories of street racing (I never did that!), and doing a quarter mile across the Susquehanna Bridge.

So tell me, ladies, how many of you are driving the car of your dreams? How many of us are stuck driving a “bus?” And for those of us still in the bus, what are we dreaming of owning some day, when the kids are gone, and the keys only belong to us? For me – I’ll be turning over those four hundred and fifty four cubic inches of raw power and rumble under the hood of a Black Cherry 1970 LS6 Chevelle with black racing stripes. What about you?


Betina Krahn said...

Tara, I'm a car babe, too! I'm really into cars and study all the latest and coolest developments. Have probably spent way too much $$$$ on cars in my life.

I've had most of my dream car types. I was never a muscle car fan, though I do love me a good engine purr at high revs.

I drove the traditional mini-van while the kids were at home, then went to a Jeep (still one of my favorite cars ever! I loved driving OVER stuff!)and then to a compromise English-built sports car clone that handled like silk. Then I acquired a little black convertible with a hard top that was just FUN. Then I went to a crossover with room and cushy seats and plenty of power on the road. Now that I wear (ahem) "progressive lenses" I have a high-end hybrid with nav and a back-up camera.

Still looking longingly at certain cars on the road. . . that Mercedes CLS 500. . .sigh.

And I have a record of turning car salesmen green during test drives. lol. I do love to drive and to drive fast. . . trifocals be darned!

(Had a car in the 70's with a 302 V8 engine that ran like a freight train. Drove it till the wheels fell off and that engine was still purring. I cried when I had to give it up!)

;) Betina

lois greiman said...

Welcome to our ride, Tara. It's great to have you with us.

I've never really been a car junkie, but these days the ones that make me 'green' with envy are the hybrids. (Get it?) Oh, and the Smart Cars and Hauf has a little mini that makes me happy.

In fact, Hauf's the only woman I can think of who owns her dream car. I think because women tend to put a bunch of other things first...especially if they have children

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Tara! I already had my dream car but, sadly, it's gone. I had a sleek black Avenger with a moon roof, leather and all around go power. I got more speeding tickets in that little car:o)
Hey - tell us a little about your new book, ON THE LOOSE. I'm thinkin' inquiring minds want to know about the next big Steele Street adventure.

flip said...

Hi Tara: My dream car would be wasted on me. My car is as messy as I am. If I could drive a dream car, it would be 66 Stingray convertible or a 64 mustang. If I had it for a short trip, I could probable keep it clean.

Looking forward to On the Loose. Love the Crazy books and I still consider Prince of Times one of the best fantasy romances ever written.

Debra Dixon said...

Hey, Tara! Welcome! My hubby's a car junkie. Right now he's restoring a 67 Chevelle SS 396. Hope I got that right. He'll be so embarrassed for me if I didn't. LOL! He spends every Saturday afternoon down at the shop surveying the progress. Boxes of car parts arrive via FedEx and UPS.

We had to be "interviewed" by the restorer who only takes certain cars. I'm guessing he didn't believe we really had an original with matching numbers and the commitment to finish the job. So, he came to the house. Now hubby's a fixture down at his shop, visiting his car and helping with anything they want to keep costs down.

If we decide not to spend money on something the guy ends up doing it at cost because he just can't stand it if we don't. Like the soda blasting of some of the internal engine parts.

I keep saying, "Is there an estimate on when this will be finished?" And, no, there is no answer. Only "the look." LOL!

Helen Brenna said...

Hey, Tara, welcome! Tell us what engine should we have in our convertible!!

Thanks for the heads up, Betina, about you liking to drive OVER things. I'll watch out next time I'm in a parking lot with you!

Deb, I just had my teenaged girl rebuild an old Chevelle in the NASCAR book I just finished! They're worth some big bucks if they're done right.

I'm not much of a car nut, but I'm looking forward to the new Camero due out next year, I think. My dh is driving an Mazda RX8 - pretty car - and I'm jealous. I like these remakes of the Mustang and Charger. Smart move by the American automakers.

Debra Dixon said...

Helen-- When he first snagged it years and years ago, I thought he was full of it. But as at least two strangers knocked on our door every year to try and buy that car, I finally acknowledged that it was an investment waiting for us to have the funds to restore it. The interesting thing is that we live on a dead end street. There are exactly 4 houses past ours. That says something about the car's desirability. LOL!

Michele Hauf said...

Heh, I'm proud to say I've never owned a mini-van or SUV. And Greiman is right, I bought myself my dream car last year, a little red Mini Cooper. Then I took a driving course, and now I take my corners REAL fast. Love that little car! It might not be sexy, but it's cute. And the big ugly cars on the freeways now always let me in, and they wave and honk, and heck, it's fun being cute!

A few years ago I wrote a Bombshell that featured a female getaway car driver. I researched cars a lot for that story, and I must say the Bugatti Veyron has my vote if I ever have $600K just lying around. :-)


Candace said...

My first car was a 1966 candy apple red Mustang. I must admit, I didn't by it for the horsepower (don't even know how much it had), I bought it for looks. Plus, driving it made me feel like a character on the Mod Squad.

Now I drive a white mini-van. No kids to haul around but I do have two big dogs and sacks of mulch, stuff from the hardware store, boxes of books to drop off at the library and...well... let's just say I need a vehicle with lots of room for hauling stuff.

I get my car fix through my dh. His current ride is a screaming red 'vette with whatever the noisiest, fastet engine is (and, no, I don't know how much horsepower it has). He had a 'vette when we first met. In between, he's had a Shelby Cobra, a Jensen, several Mercedes and Porsches, a Pantera and others I can't remember. He likes fast. I like pretty. It works out.

JoAnna said...

Hey Tara,
I snagged an ARC of On the Loose, and it was great, lots of action just like the crazy series. I loved the character cliffhanger at the end. Seriously though is JT really dead?! I am an optimist and I keep hoping he will appear alive and worldweary!!!!!...(please)

MsHellion said...

You're posed next to a Mustang aren't you? A '64 or '66 Mustang?

My inner redneck heart skips a beat at the rumble of a loud, powerful engine. I love to go fast... *sighs*

I love Mustangs, always have. Preferred the lines of them to a Corvette. I do love Chargers too, though. I was a Dukes of Hazzard girl growing up--and all I ever wanted as a kid (besides a pony) was the General Lee.

I *drive* a 2001 Ford Taurus. V-6...that's it's only compensation...that and the fact it's not a van. But I have no kids, so no need of a van. I could afford the Ford Focus or the Taurus...and the Focus was a four-cylinder. And rattled. I may not be sporty or the sweetest ride on the block, but I am one of the smoother rides on the block, thank you.

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Guys. I'm starting to think Tara is having technical difficulties since we haven't heard from her yet. Fingers crossed she'll get signed in!!

Maureen said...

I didn't know that Tara had another book out from that series. What a great surprise. I drive an SUV which is great because it always gets me where I want to go.

Tara said...

okay, ladies, I made it! So sorry to be late to the party- technical difficulties as I am out of town, on the coast, cruising in a 2007 FJ Cruiser, fun beast, but here I am again still in SUV land (grin), because, like Maureen said, they always get us where we need to go.

Dear Helen, if I get to pick the engine for the rag top, I'm going with 428 Cobra Jet We should be going fast, dontcha think? Fast enough to get all wind-tossed and sexily mussed.

Hi Michelle, I don't know which I'm more jealous of - your Mini Cooper or that you took a driving course and can take corners really fast now. How cool.

Debra, girl, why didn't we talk cars at that conference in Colorado?? Ohmigosh, a '67Chevelle Super Sport 396! I don't even want to hear how much the restoration costs - yikes, but I'm with hubby on this one. You're gonna love it, and it actually is an investment - in your inner street racer if nothing else (grin)

Hi mshellion - that photo is a 1969 Mustang I saw at a car show. Her name is Charlotte the Harlot, and in the book CUTTING LOOSE she transformed into a 1968 Shelby Cobra Mustang and took over the story - what fun.

Hey hey Flip - 1964 Mustang, first edition, absolutely cool. I love the lines on those things - and yes, sweetie, we will absolutely keep it clean (grin)-and thanks so much for the mention of PRINCE, I remain so in love with Morgan! Of all the trilogy books, that one was the most fun to write.

Oh,Candace, here my heart was breaking for you, from the 'Stang to the van - and then comes the confession of hubby's hobby - and yikes, honey, you are in good hands, real good hands.

And Betina guessed it (grin) every now and then, I have a "classy moment," and in those moments, it is the Mercedes CLS 500, and yes, that thought always comes with a sigh...but you can't miss with a 302 V-8 anything! Especially if it runs like a freight train, with plenty of roar and rumble.

Hi Joanna - and here's another ohmigosh. I get so much mail on J.T. and I don't know what I'm going to do. He is so alive in my heart, and at Steele Street. I can tell you that in Cutting Loose, he is in a flashback, and it was such a comfort to see him, and hear his voice, and just sort of fall in love the bad boy teenaged car thief he used to be. I have to figure something out for that boy.

Kisses to Cindy for inviting me today! I'll be checking in all afternoon and evening...

Cindy Gerard said...

Yea Glenna/Tara
I'm so glad you made it. I figure our guru Helen knew the magic formula.
I'll just sit back and wave now as you girls go by in your hot cars!!

flchen1 said...

Hi, Tara! I'm not much of a car person--I just don't know very much about them. I do admire how beautiful some cars are though! In spite of my non-sexy car status though, I do understand having an attachment to a car--we just sold my 14-year-old Accord, which I irrationally loved. Still driving a sedate sedan, and will most likely be upgrading to the minivan (aka official mom-mobile) next year. I've always admired those teeny little fast convertibles, not that I'm truly a small speedy car type (I cart too much junk around, for one), but it'd be terribly fun for a weekend getaway, no? :)

I've got your Crazy series in my TBR pile and have heard SO many good things about it--can't wait to start :)

Kathleen Eagle said...

Welcome, Glenna!

I'm not much of a car buff, either. I'm driving a Buick, which I chose for the color--sort of goldish. My dad got a Mustang when they first came out. '64? He traded it in after about a year after my brother got his license, and he stripped the gears by speed shifting. (It was an automatic.) Daddy switched to a Volvo.

I dated a boy in high school who was seriously in love with his '56 Merc. The boy across the street used to restore Beetles. We now live across the street from a car junkie who loves to hear his engines roar once in a while. He gets lots of toys because they have no children.

My next car will be a hybrid, but I have to do some research on that topic first. I don't know if I could do the Cooper. But maybe.

Nathalie said...

I don't have a driver's licence yet... and I am 21... pathetic!!

My dream car would be a Mercedes SL 450... very chic indeed :)

Cindy Gerard said...

I see several mentions of hybrids here so I have to chime in and tell you all that I bought a Camary Hybrid in July. LOOOVVVVEEEE it. And it has plenty of power too :o) Best of all, I'm getting great gas mileage.

Glenna - I still want to hear about ON THE LOOSE. What are the guys up to in the new book?

Playground Monitor said...

Hi Tara. I'm the crazy lady who hugged you when introduced by Cindy. Boy was I embarrassed, but you forgave my "southern-ness" and put me at ease.

I've done the mini-van thing while the kids were home, but went to a Maxima in 2002 and an Accord in 2005. It's a great car fuel-wise, comfy to travel in and needs little maintenance other than the routine oil changes and stuff.

If money were no object, I might like to have a Hummer. It's big, it's bold, it would intimidate the hell out of anyone. I could dare someone to steal a parking place from me. :grin:


Tara said...

Hi Flichen! Here's the truth, any car that lasts 14 years deserves to be loved! And I'm all for a speedy getaway on the weekend, whether there's a car involved or not (grin)

Kathleen! Hello! How wonderful to meet you here! You are so close with your date on the Mustangs. They were actually introduced in 1964 1/2 - no kidding, and those first ones were more rounded than all the other later editions. And about that '56 Merc, I'm not sure what that particular car looked like per se, but I can tell you that the absolute toughest car I ever saw with rubber on the road was a 1968 Mercury Cylclone. It literally looked like it could eat anything else at the car show, a deep burgundy, those long lean lines, a torn black vinyl top, and yellow stripe tires. Never saw anything like it then or since. So yea! for bringing in the Mercs.

Sweet Nathalie at 21 with no license...however you are managing without driving, I'm impressed! And yes, you, me and Betina with anything that says Mercedes - we can't go wrong.

More kisses to Cindy xxxx - and here's a bit about ON THE LOOSE. Anyone who met C. Smith Rydell and Honey York in CRAZY SWEET must have noticed how "crazy" those two were about each other :) Well, in ON THE LOOSE, it only gets better - lots of action, lots of bad guys, and my first really bad girl, Irena Polchenko, even the guys who work for her keep their distance. Everybody is in El Salvador, and everybody is after a flash drive that went down in a CIA Cessna. The trick is can Rydell get it out of the country before all heck breaks out. Two fun things in the book - Rydell is based on a real guy :) and we meet one of the original chop shop boys, who has been "lost" for a number of years. Boy, did he take me by surprise!

Marilyn, hi! Gosh, yes, I remember the hug - and loved it :) And the Hummer? Well, I did put a Hummer in CRAZY WILD, and loved it. And yes, it was a girl's car - all the way!

Cindy Gerard said...

Glenna - Rossella contacted me because she couldn't get her note posted so I've copied it and have included it here :o)
Ciao Tara.
Rossella here !
I hope you remember me, I'm your italian fan in Rome.I've been trying to post my comment yesterday but it didn't work. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that ,even if I'm not familiar with all these american cars ,in your CRAZY stories you give me such a perfect idea...that I feel like I'm driving them!
Sorry no "dream car" allowed here in Rome,with our CRAZY traffic. My small japanese car it's all scratched but fits everywhere, I call her "the garbage bin" because it's always a mess, but I love her! Ask Cindy about it!
I've started the countdown for the shipment of your new book....
Love Rossella

Cindy Gerard said...

Thanks again for joining us in the convertible! It was GREAT having you

Debra Dixon said...

Tara-- We definitely should have talked cars. You could have patted me on the head and promised me it would be fine. LOL! I'm getting your books for hubby. :)

Tara said...

Hi Rossella - goodness yes, I remember you, and of course, Cindy told me what a great time she had with you. Next time, I'm going to be there with you both! I remember being in Europe and all the tiny cars that fit anywhere and everywhere. They're very cute!

Hey Debra - if you get a chance, you should send me photos of that bad SS 396 so I can sigh in jealousy.

Thanks to everybody for a GREAT time! hugs, Tara

Virginia Lady said...

I have to admit I am a car gal. I did give up my beloved '73 240Z after I started having children, but I sold it to someone who would restore it as lovingly as I wanted to.

Later I even sacrificed my 89 Camaro with T-tops since I now had three small people living with me and it would only carry two of them.

We compromised on the typical mini-van though, we have a '64 Chevrolet Greenbrier Van. It has the same footprint as a new minivan, but it WAY cooler. You can see some pix here:

For daily driving though, I drive a Ford F150 extended cab long bed truck. Cool in its own way, but not the hot little sports car of my dreams.

My sons though had no idea of my sacrifices until one day I saw a BMW Z3 coupe and told them I wanted that car. They looked at me as if I had said I was an alien. Go figure.

Just Jinny said...

I wouldn't say I'm a car girl. I don't know anything about motors, or tires, or any of that. But I do know a beautiful car when I see one.

I'm stuck in a 99 Dodge Neon. It has the same parts it came with when I bought it, no tweaking here.

Someday I hope to have something with a little more growl and a whole lot of curves.

Anonymous said...

hi tara! Im a big fan of your books and the reason why I'm writing to you today is this: I'm sure you get way to many fan mail on him but J.T cannot be dead! I think I fell in love with him in Cutting Loose and it would absolutely break my heart! Love the books! Work hard and please write a book for J.T!!!