Simmons, Trana Mae (Carolyn Chase)
SIMMONS, Trana Mae (Carolyn Chase)
Married Barney Simmons; children: two sons. Hobbies and other interests: "Screenwriting, psychic powers, ghosthunting."
(Under pseudonym Carolyn Chase) Frontier Rogue, Dell (New York, NY), 1990.
Montana Surrender, Leisure (New York, NY), 1993.
Bittersweet Promises, Leisure (New York, NY), 1994.
Forever Angels, Leisure (New York, NY), 1995.
Mountain Magic, Leisure (New York, NY), 1995.
Town Social, Berkley/Jove Homespun (New York, NY), 1996.
Tennessee Waltz, Berkley/Jove Homespun (New York, NY), 1997.
Winter Dreams, Berkley/Jove Homespun (New York, NY), 1997.
Spellbound, Berkley/Jove Homespun (New York, NY), 1998.
Southern Charms, Berkley/Jove Homespun (New York, NY), 1999.
Contributor to Christmas Angels, "Chrissy's Wish," Leisure (New York, NY), 1995; Seeing Fireworks, "Showers and Sparks," St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997.
Trana Mae Simmons writes romance books that often contain elements of history, time travel, and the paranormal. Her first book Frontier Rogue, was published two years after she began writing; it was published under a pseudonym, Carolyn Chase, which she has not used since her first publication. Her book, Forever Angels, was the first book in Leisure's new book line for the Love Spell imprint, "Angel's Touch." The book's heroine, Tess, is accidentally sent back in time when her guardian angel sneezes. She suddenly finds herself on an 1893 Oklahoma Territory ranch with a broken ankle. She is rescued by a young boy whose foster father is a rancher and sheriff. Laurie Shallah, a reviewer for Under the Covers, noted that the hero was "likable" and the guardian angels were "scene stealers." M. Helfer from Romantic Times remarked, "Ms. Simmons creates a wonderfully engaging pair of lovers whose relationship develops with lots of fire and sass."
Jonathan Clay wins Kaitlin in an auction and takes her to his mountain home in Mountain Magic, which is set in 1829 Wyoming Territory. Lizabelle Cox from Romantic Times stated, "Mountain Magic is a humorous and touching tale that delves into the often painful trek along the road of self discovery." In Town Social, Texas Ranger Jake Cameron is on temporary assignment in a small town, where he meets Sunny Fannin and watches her take in a young orphan girl and try to build a cultural center. When the orphan's mother wants her child back, Sunny wrestles with her feelings for the child and for Jake. Frances L. Trainor from the Romantic Times wrote, " Town Social and its small town folksiness and caring will surround you with warmth." Tennessee Waltz takes New Yorker Sarah Channing to Tennessee when she escorts a child back to her family. She stays in Tennessee as a school teacher and does her best to win over the mountain community and a man's heart. Romantic Times's Gerry Benninger wrote, "The mountain community and its stubborn need to earn everything or go without comes alive under Trana Mae Simmon's artful pen."
Spellbound takes place in 1875 New Orleans, and centers on Nick Bardou and Wendi Chastain. Ten years previous, on a drunken night, Nick thought he killed his father's mistress for causing his mother's suicide. He fled, but returns to spy Wendi, the daughter of the mistress, performing witchcraft. Because he is attracted to her, he agrees to help her find her mother's diary, most likely located on his family's property. Wendi thinks their connection is meant to mend past karma, and Nick wants to clear himself of murder. "Ms. Simmons has written an excellent romance brimming with passion, tension, humor, twists of plot, and just the right amount of witchcraft to make you believe," wrote Evelyn Feiner of Romantic Times. Judith Flavell for the Romance Reader described a problem with the book, "When Wendi uses phrases like "mind-blowing" it jerks me right out of the setting, post-Civil War New Orleans, and into the present." She continued, "It has some very likable witches, it's filled with interesting facts concerning the practice of witchcraft and it retains a good sense of humor throughout the book." Harriet Klausner from Under the Covers noted, "The story line is filled with poignancy and tension.… The characters are heartwarming and believable."
The centerpiece of Southern Charms is the character Fatima, a fairy godmother. Fatima's latest project is orphan Ellie, who runs her adoptive family's ranch in 1890 Texas. Fatima finds Shane Morgan to determine whether the heart-hardened Ellie actually is an heiress to a fortune. He woos her while she is unaware of his real intentions. Kathe Robin, a Romantic Times critic, concluded Southern Charms is "a delightful and enjoyable read." Harriet Klausner from Under the Covers praised Simmon's writing, "The lead protagonists are a fun twosome who cannot decide whether they want to be in love or not … However, Fatima steals this tale, leaving readers pleading with Trana Mae Simmons to bring her back in a sequel."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Romance Reader,http://www.theromancereader.com/ (September 13, 2003), Judith Flavell, review of Spellbound.
Romantic Times,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (September 12, 2003), author bio; M. Helfer, review of Forever Angels; Lizabelle Cox, review of Mountain Magic; Frances L. Trainor, review of Town Social; Gerry Benninger, review of Tennessee Waltz; Kathe Robin, review of Southern Charms; Evelyn Feiner, review of Spellbound.
Trana Mae Simmons Web site,http://home.swbell.net/ghostie/trana.htm/ (September 12, 2003).
Under the Covers,http://www.silcom.com/ (October 31, 1996), Laurie Shallah, review of Forever Angels; Harriet Klausner, reviews of Southern Charms and Spellbound.*