Please help me welcome author friend Kara O’Neal with the moments that changed her life, and her new release, The Cowboy’s Embrace, Book 10, Pike’s Run Series…
10 Moments That Changed My Life by Kara O’Neal
- When I was in second grade, I read “Little Women”. The story enthralled me. I loved the close relationship between the sisters. But this is when I learned that “happily ever after” doesn’t always mean that everyone stays together. It was a sobering moment for a second grader!
- Let’s jump a decade to my senior year in high school. One of the many books I read that year had an ending that was highly disappointing. This had happened before, of course, but I was especially irritated by the way this story wrapped up. My sister told me to make up a better ending. Seemed like a good idea. I followed her orders, and thus began my love affair with crafting my own “happily ever afters”! (I credit my sister with my writing career. Alice in The Sheriff’s Gift is based off of her.)
- August 22, 1994 – This is the day I met my husband. I knew as soon as I saw him that he was my “happily ever after” guy. (He didn’t think I was his “happily ever after” girl until the next day.)
- July 18, 1998 – We got married! We will be married 20 years in a little over a week. Even though I knew he was the one for me right off the bat, I still can’t believe it’s been 20 years. Marriage is hard, but I’ve discovered that as long as you work to grow together, it absolutely can feel like a “happily ever after”.
- The summer of 2000 – I sat down and wrote my first book. The writing was pretty horrible. But, I didn’t let go of it. I couldn’t. I had found the work of my heart, and even if I never saw words of mine published, I was going to keep writing.
- November 14, 2000 – Our first child, a daughter, was born on this day. She is going to be a senior in high school this year. My heart can’t take it. Even so, I’m extremely excited to see what she does with her adult life. She is talented, bright, and a sweetheart. She NEVER gives up on anything. She is one of the bravest people I know, which has made her one of my heroes.
- November 17, 2002 – Our second child, a son, was born on this day. He is a carbon copy of his father – quiet, kind, talented, and as calm as the day is long. He’s a sturdy rock who is a friend to all. He will be a sophomore this year, and the world is absolutely his oyster. He can draw and sing and act. He does all of this with a kind smile and never a boastful attitude.
- September 16, 2006 – Our last child, a son, was born on this day and now our house is filled with laughter because of it. He’ll be in sixth grade this year. He is also very talented – he is a wonderful artist, but he has this sense of humor that keeps us in stitches. I don’t know where he gets it. Here’s a joke he made up when he was in the second grade: “Do you know why there are no male teachers? Because it’s teacher not teachim.”
- May of 2013 – I received the communication all writers want to hear. Resplendence Publishing wanted to publish my book. It had taken 13 years, but I finally got it right. Welcome Home, book 1 in the Pike’s Run Series, had been through many revisions. But all that sweat, blood, tears, tears and more tears paid off. And now I can’t stop!!! The Cowboy’s Embrace, book 10, will be released tomorrow, Destiny’s Secrets, book 11, is going through the critique process, and Pierce’s Hero, book 12, is finished and waiting its turn with my critique partners.
- November 22, 1998 – My grandpa gave me the best advice on this day. He told me that marriage is 100/100. Not 50/50. He asked me why I would ever only give half of myself to the person who would be my partner in life. It made so much sense. So, ever since then, regardless of what my husband does for me, I give him as much as I possibly can. Is it working? I think so. Am I always successful? NO. It’s hard, of course, but I don’t believe I’m here just to see what others can do for me. My helping hands and loving heart shouldn’t be contingent on what others do for me. I’m so grateful I got to spend time with my grandpa on that day. It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving of 1998. He died on Thanksgiving Day that year. His entire family was there. He’d been diagnosed with cancer in January. He was given 6 months. He lived for 11. I think of him every day.
Lily Spero is searching for her stolen heritage, for a place in the world that is all her own. Sixteen years ago, she lost her parents and siblings to a villain on a white horse. Since, she’s hungered for family, for that love she’d once known. When she visits the Swinging A Ranch, her past collides with her present, opening wounds long buried and shockingly creating hope where none had been before.
Deacon Tolbert is the foreman and a contributing partner to the Swinging A Ranch. He’s carved a niche in the world all his own, finally feeling worthy of the goodness he’s found for himself. But when Lily Spero arrives, the girl he abandoned years ago, he’s forced to face the most gut-wrenching moment of his life.
Despite the pain, love surprises them and blossoms, bringing hope for the future. But the villain from the past comes to haunt them, to steal what they’re trying to build. Deacon and Lily must brave vile evil in order to stay together, and fight with all they have to keep the promises they made to each other.
“I thought you were dead.”
Deacon paused in restacking the woodpile outside his home. Lily.
His hand hovered over the cut tree, and it took every ounce of strength he had to remain upright. He swallowed. He should have realized she’d have enough courage to face him. She’d always been like her mother.
When her friend hadn’t shown this morning for her cowboy education, he’d thought the pair had gone home. He’d thought he’d been saved from confronting the worst moment of his life. But here she was. Lily.
He couldn’t tell her to go. And he wouldn’t pretend not to know who she was. Slowly, muscle by muscle, he straightened to full height.
“Or captured,” she continued.
He closed his eyes.
“I thought…no…I tortured myself with images of the ghost coming to get you.”
Ah, God. Pain tightened his chest. He couldn’t turn around.
Some beats passed, accompanied only by the noise of cicadas. “But…now…I fear you abandoned me of your own volition.” Tears thickened her tone. “Did you choose to leave me?”
He had. And the action had haunted him every day.
A groan of frustration came from her. “Are you going to stand there and say nothing? After all these years, after what we went through, you won’t talk to me? You can’t even look at me.” Her voice broke. “Was I that much of a problem? Did I cause you so much trouble I’d become a burden?”
Her questions lashed his skin, making past wounds crack open and run down his flesh. God, how he wished he’d been able to stop the villain on the white horse.
Another sob from her had him clenching his hands into fists. He could face her. He could. With slow movements, he turned.
And the beautiful creature before him proved that sixteen years had passed. His heart constricted that he had caused this beauty so much suffering. Guilt pressed on him, and he couldn’t move, couldn’t make his mouth work to speak.
She was Lily. He could see it. But she’d transformed into a picture of grace and strength he had no business being around. He’d added to her grief and owed her an explanation. If he could find his courage, he would apologize.
Her watery gaze glittered with gut-wrenching pain. Disbelief.
“God,” she choked out. “You’ve changed so much.”
He was a rough cowboy now. One who chose to avoid the sweeter side of life for reasons he refused to explore.
“I should know your face,” she accused, lifting her chin. “You should be as familiar to me as the backs of my hands. We were supposed to be together…to be each other’s family. You promised.”
Contact Links and Social Media:
My website: www.karaoneal.com
My facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KaraONeal84/
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/kara+o’neal?_requestid=845025