Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.
I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Kara O’Neal…
A Passion for Horses:
My name is Sarah Kerry, and I live with my father and step-mother in Asheville, North Carolina. We have a profitable farm, with well-stocked stables. I spend my days with our horses.
Horses are beautiful creatures. They understand people much better than we do and respond to a person’s mood in ways that have always fascinated me. I respect their judgment and pay attention to their reactions around others.
Nothing is better than an early morning ride, and I must admit, that I love to race. So does Anthem. That’s my horse. He’s gorgeous and spirited and likes reckless rides as much as I do.
When a person from my past, a person I thought was my friend, showed up, I should have followed Anthem’s instincts. Liam Devlin has evil in his veins, and he wants nothing more than to abuse the power he holds over me.
Anthem knew. When I introduced him to Liam, he tossed his head and backed up. I realized Anthem didn’t like Liam, but I kept quiet, afraid to be rude. I let Liam into my home, and now my life is in shambles.
But at least I have Anthem, and he takes me away from all of it. We ride over the fields, the wind whipping over us, and for a brief moment, I’m safe.
The river rushed before her, strong and free. What she wouldn’t give for the ability to run unchained, to grab the happiness she wanted and never look back. She exhaled deeply and closed her eyes.
Michael Lonnigan stepped closer, the warmth of his solid frame seeping into her. “Tell me,” he urged. “Who is the man who stalks your every step?”
As she looked up, an image of her predator flashed before her. “He is…no one.”
“No one?” His voice grated on the phrase. “He had his arm around your waist in church today.”
She clenched her teeth, keeping the bile down as the memory of his touch plagued her.
“If I didn’t know your true feelings,” Michael continued, “if I hadn’t seen you step away from him, I’d think you didn’t love me.”
His hands came up to rest on her shoulders. “Tell me who stands between us. Why have you turned away from me and gone to him?” he begged, his tone rough and seared with pain.
She ached to tell him, to lay her burdens at his feet, but no one could know her family’s shame and peril. To confess her hell would be to betray her father, and she couldn’t do that. “Please,” she urged, her voice wavering, “you must let it alone. We can’t be together anymore.”
He gripped her tighter, pulling her back against his chest. She allowed the intimate embrace, needing his touch, for it was her life’s blood. He ran his hands down her arms and circled her waist. As he buried his face in the crook of her neck, he breathed in deeply.
Yearning centered inside her, making her heart pound. One month of precious courtship, thirty days of happiness, thirty nights of sweet longing, gone now. Obliterated by her dead mother’s hand.
Michael Lonnigan, the man of her heart, could never be hers. Tall, broad shouldered, dark haired, brown eyed and with a smile true and honest, he would not belong to her. She had to leave him, to set him free. It would kill her to do so.
His arms tightened so firmly, she feared he might carry her off. Pushing at his forearms, she yanked herself from his solid hold. “I have to go.” Her knees shook as she took the necessary steps away from him.
“I can’t accept this,” he called after her as she walked swiftly down the path through the swaying pine trees. “I can’t let you go.”
Tears formed in her eyes.
“I love you, Sarah,” he cried.
Sobs clutched her chest as she picked up the pace, branches snagging at her skirt. Her life had been ruined, her dream crushed, and her sweet love could do nothing about it.
Sarah Kerry’s world is shattered when a man from her past, Liam Devlin, shows up with proof that, if shared, would send her father to the noose. In order to keep Liam quiet, she must break her young courtship with Michael Lonnigan and marry Liam instead.
Michael is crushed and angry when Sarah abruptly ends their courtship, but he knows something isn’t right. He’s seen the new man hanging around the Kerry family and believes the man is blackmailing the woman Michael loves. Unwilling to let her go, Michael will do whatever it takes to save Sarah and make her his own.
Born and raised in Texas, the state had to be the setting for my first series. From the food to the fun, like floating the rivers, it is the fire in my blood that inspires me. My family and friends take center stage in my books. My sisters and best friends are my heroines, and my husband created my favorite hero. Love and family are the point of my stories, and I seek to entertain, relieve stress, and inspire people. Books can take one on a journey that one can relive over and over. I am extremely grateful to those authors who did that very thing for me. I learned and I fell in love with their words and characters. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.
I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Pamela S. Thibodeaux…
Write What You Know…
Horses have always been my passion. I’ve loved them as far back as I can remember, even owned a few in my lifetime. In memories of dreams past, I recall the desire to be a Veterinarian and work with horses. I’ve also held Bandera, TX near and dear to my heart since I visited the area as a small child with my grandparents. And, as most women, young and old, romance, and the desire for it, is a passion of mine. So how does all of this pertain to my writing?
I write contemporary romance and women’s fiction and my Tempered series is set in none other than, Bandera, Texas!
In Tempered Hearts (book 1), Tamera Collins is the culmination of that long-ago dream and obsession with horses. A large animal Vet, she describes her love of these majestic animals like this…
“I’ve always had a passion for horses, much to the dismay of my mother. From the time I was very little, my daddy swore I was part horse. He said I squealed with delight every time I saw a pony.”
Hero, Stanley Morrison is the horse lover in Tempered Fire (book 3). His desire is to raise horses… “Not many, but well bred, well trained, high-quality horses. Quarter, Thoroughbred, Walkers, and Arabians; horses for speed, strength, show and beauty.”
Horses play a large part in any contemporary, cowboy series set on a ranch, but the Tempered books are not the only place horses appear in my writing.
In Circles of Fate, the heroine, Shaunna owns a horse. Keri’s Christmas Wish depicts a horse on the cover, one that Keri owned as a child which died when she was a teen. I’ve even written a story of how being around horses while living/working on a ranch in (you guessed it!) Bandera, TX during one of the darkest times of my life virtually saved me. The story is included in The Horse of My Heart anthology (Revell, Oct. 2015).
My love for horses has not dimmed over the years despite decades of not owning and years of not riding, however horses will most likely show up in books and stories for years to come.
Author bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.” Sign up to receive Pam’s newsletter and get a FREE short story!
A new Halloween Series from The Wild Rose Press – Hauntings in the Garden – Fun Facts, Brief Excerpts from Nine Short Stories and a cool giveaway!
Lara Parker, The House, Paranormal
All is not as it seems…
Halloween has always been my favorite holiday even though I do not enjoy horror movies, strange huh? I love fall and dressing up in costumes and jack o’ lanterns…pretty much everything having to do with Halloween. So the idea for this book came pretty naturally and excited me.
A Brief Snippet:
A faint sound reached me. It sounded like wind blowing through treetops. I listened closely and heard an almost imperceptible word. Leave. My heart rate increased, and I started to hyperventilate. I felt tingles in my limbs as my hands shook uncontrollably.
Stacy Dawn with Love her Like the Devil, a contemporary western romance
Kick up your heels in the local honky tonk for Halloween…but beware the devil in red cowboy boots…
The idea for the story actually came to me from an old country/western song by Charlie Pride–“Kiss an Angel Good Morning”….the lyrics being “Kiss an angel good morning and love her like the devil when you get back home.” My father had taught himself to play the guitar over the last couple years, and during a camping trip this past summer, he played a lot of older country songs that I remembered from my childhood, which is why the song must have just popped in my head one day. Once I had the phrase in my head, it all just unfolded like *snap*
He adjusted his Stetson and sidled up to the bar, tossing a leg over the stool next to the buxom beauty. A heady breeze of cheap perfume plumed around him as she turned and graced him with a perfectly wicked smile.
Looks like my lucky nigh—
“I wouldn’t if I were you.”
Luke glanced over his shoulder to find a pair of deep brown eyes laughing at him beneath a smooth raised brow.
“You’re the sixth guy she’s hit on since I’ve been sitting here.”
He frowned and turned back to the blonde he’d had his sights on…except her sights were now on a Captain Jack Sparrow wannabe.
“Thanks a lot,” he grumbled, swiveling to face the bar.
Eliza March with Witch’s Tattoo, a paranormal romance
Pride or power, lust or love, life or death.
A young witch must find her soul mate and unite with him in order to defeat the dark forces gathering around her.
While I was attending a workshop with WRP Publisher, Rhonda Penders, she mentioned needing a few Halloween short stories, I came up with Witch’s Tattoo and pitched the concept off the top of my head, growing more enthusiastic as I spoke. Thankfully, she liked the idea, too.
A Brief Snippet:
The skirt she wore barely covered her sexy ass—like a black leather napkin filled with wicked delights. Damn, the witch looked hot enough to melt ice-forged steel. He tortured himself with the image of her wearing just the pendant and the boots—thigh high, black leather cut in lacy patterns, exposing her creamy skin…
The tips of her long black hair brushed her narrow waist the way it had the night he watched her in the scrying mirror. His fingers twitched with the desire to trace her plunging neckline. A neckline that bared her deep cleavage and the pendant. Buy Here:
Cecilia Farrell with Crimson Summer, a Paranormal romance
Keeping secrets is as dangerous as finding them out.
In “Crimson Summer”, heroine Ranalt Fitzgerald notes that her name is unusual. While doing research on my own family name of Farrell, I found “Ranalt, daughter of Awley O’Farrell, King of Conmacne, who married Hugh O’Connor, the last king of Connacht.” The 12th century Ranalt and Hugh came to unhappy ends. He was betrayed and murdered; she drowned—accidentally or not—in her bathtub. When I was hunting for an Irish name for my protagonist that was a little different, I remembered “Ranalt”. Ranalt’s sister Lacey is named after the main character of “Beatrice Lacey” from one of my favourite novels – Wideacre – by Philippa Gregory. “Colin” is a nod to a favourite actor: Colin Farrell. The only other name of significance is ”Joe”, Ranalt and Lacey’s father. He’s named for one of my brothers because the real Joe thinks paranormal stories and shows are “idiotic”. But he likes those movies about Chucky the homicidal doll so go figure!
A Brief Snippet:
“Ranalt, did you not close the front door when you came in?” my mother asked.
“Of course I did.”
She paled and the blood drained out of my face too.
“Junie,” I breathed and ran to the verandah, praying she hadn’t gone far.
She stood on the top step, her back to me. The moonbeams bleached her cornsilk hair and aquamarine nightshirt, giving her a ghostly look.
“Junie, it’s me,” I called softly, not wanting to scare her. Then I saw what held her attention and my heart nearly stopped. It was a big black wolf, sitting on its haunches. In the moonlight the animal looked like a sculpture of antiqued silver.
Juniper glanced over her shoulder at me. “Hi Ranalt. I saw him from the window. That’s the doggie who came to my house last night. Isn’t he beautiful? Do you think he’s hungry?”
Dayana Knight with Witch Familiar, Paranormal romance
Breanna McShae finds more in her newly acquired familiar then extra storage for her recently attained powers. She has discovered an unexpected addition to her very soul–something she will do anything to keep close to her heart.
This book came to be in a dare to myself–to write on demand. I never thought I could do that. I always stayed away from Nano writing and any sort of write-on-demand projects. This time I figured I am gonna toss the negative to the wind. With three little words in my mind (witch, wolf and raven) this story was born.
A Brief Snippet
“Sooo…” Brea looked everywhere but at Nadyia. She played with a small besom display on the counter. “Who was the guy? I haven’t seen him around before, though you seem to know him well enough, so I figure he must live around here somewhere.” She gave Nadyia a shy half smile.
Nadyia returned the smile. “That, my dear, is Hunter Colhen. He lives off Dante’s Ridge, north of your place. He’s got a cabin out there—one of those modern rustic places.” She completed packaging Brea’s purchases and totaled the transaction. “That’s $56.96 today, dearie.” She accepted the cash and grinned a devilish little smile. “If I weren’t so ancient… But, of course, I tease. I think of him as a grandson and somehow think he reciprocates the sentiment. He is a solitary sort, keeps mostly to himself.”
Brea bent closer and said in a conspiratorial whisper, “Well, the dude is totally hot. So you, my friend, have very good taste in adopted grandchildren.”
Linda Carroll-Bradd, with Unlocked Treasure, contemporary romance
Will a prophecy keep a lonely woman from accepting the promise of adventure?
The heroine has started the genealogy of the maternal side of her heritage because family stories hinted toward witches and special abilities. Genealogy turns out to be a shared interest with the hero whose study of his ancestors has proved a link to a pirate who grew up on nearby Block Island, which was a pirate stronghold in the late 1690s and early 1700s. In the Newport-Providence area, caches of pirate booty have been discovered throughout the years.
“Aleen—hey, that’s pretty, like the direction alee.”
Her own smile dimmed. Like I’ve never heard that before. “Thanks.” This guy was not charming his way around the rules. “Sorry, but you’ll need to come back when the gardens are open for visitors. That’s Wednesdays through—”
“Yeah, I read the sign.” He gave a dismissive wave then turned to gaze back at the main house. “But I just needed five minutes to check out some dimensions and the lot layout.”
“So, you woke up this morning and just decided to start out your week by trespassing?”
It’s hard to fit in when you’re suspected of murder. It’s even harder to lay past ghosts to rest.
The Isle of Wight is said to be one of the most haunted counties in England. Ghost stories and ghost walks lie around every corner. So it is a tailor-made Halloween setting for the fictional Creektown and its characters. The heroine of the novella, Maggie Ballater, takes her surname from a town situated near Balmoral Castle, the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852.
The original plot idea came from the report of a car accident in the local paper which stuck in my head far longer than it should have and would not go away. I applied the magic “what if” formula, and the story gradually emerged.
The characters added themselves and their relationships developed in unexpected ways. They all have stories to tell in the future novellas which will make up the Creektown Chronicles.
I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. It’s taken fifty years to get there so I’m not giving up now. Follow your dream. I recommend it.
A Brief Snippet
She felt rather than saw someone watching her.
Breath caught in her throat, but there was nothing to be frightened of. Bram leant propped on the door jamb, his right ankle crossed slackly over the left.
“Sorry I’m late finishing.” She hated how teenage she sounded. “Are you waiting to set up class in here?”
“Just came to see you.” He wandered in, picked up worksheets and laid them down again, stopped at the dominoes and started matching the words to the pictures.
She had to apologize. She had rehearsed what she was going to say often enough. She cleared her throat, suddenly thick with nerves. “I wanted to say sorry about last night. I didn’t mean—”
He waved a hand dismissively. “No worries. Forgotten.” But his eyes when she looked were shuttered and told a different story.
Veronica Lynch with Caper Magic, a paranormal romance
This attraction: Complete madness or—sheer magic?
Interesting tidbit about the heroine Annunciata [Nunie] Doyle: Known as the Black Mamba because of the 4 [four] men she married, then buried shortly after the “I-do’s”, was raised in one of the Magdalene laundries [made infamous by the movie, starring Dame Judi Dench, based on a true story, “Philomena”].
After her parents were murdered in an IRA bombing of a Belfast pub which served Catholic patrons, Nunie was sent to a convent school in Tuam Ireland. This same place recently made the news after the remains of more than 100 young women and infants and small children were discovered in a common grave. The causes of death varied, some of which likely occurred during childbirth as the pain and torture of labor and delivery was considered the girls’ penance for lifting their skirts outside the banns of marriage. Never occurred to some of those demons in black that some of the girls might have been raped or abused by family members. Must be incest does not occur inside the Emerald Isle. Must be no one ever read Angela’s Ashes.
Nunie, as well as the real life Philomena, have forgiven the sisters for their abusive treatment and neglect. As a [lapsed] Catholic woman of a certain age, I find their generosity completely amazing.
But, as we say in the game, what goes around comes around. Those penguins will get theirs eventually.
A Brief Snippet:
Five years had evoked more than a few changes in Annunciata Doyle. Much thinner, he noted, but as far as he was concerned she’d always been a bit on the hippy side. Back then her weight was something she’d thrown around with ease—or when the mood suited. When it came to cops, it suited her often. The hair was another matter. Who knew when she freed the ruthlessly tight bun she’d always sported, her hair would fall past her waist in a curtain of black velvet curls?
In the costume of a Witchy Poo—and wasn’t that appropriate considering what she’d done to several of his fellow officers—her current manner of dress was looser, certainly more feminine than the severe straight-jacket type suits she wore back when reporters hung on her every word and judges clamored for her to speak as an expert during the sentencing portion of criminal trials. Counselors and advocates proclaimed her the patron saint of victims and survivors.
Alicia Dean with Caster’s Unfriendly Ghost, a paranormal romance
He just thought nothing was more frightening than marriage
I’ve written a few paranormal stories, but this was my first ghost story. My original idea was that the hero’s mother would come back to haunt the heroine and try to drive them apart. That idea didn’t seem to come together very well, so it occurred to me that maybe the heroine’s husband should come back from the dead, with the intention of stopping her from hooking up with another guy, but inadvertently pushing her and the hero together. Thus, Caster’s Unfriendly Ghost was born.
A Brief Snippet:
“Emily!” Pennywise the psycho clown—aka Bob Ferrell—rushed up to her. “Have you seen Megan? She’s not here and now, Destiny is saying she’ll be Michael’s victim instead of mine. I need a victim, asap.”
Emily rolled her eyes. No doubt the curvy, young blonde would love to trade out horror monsters—Michael aka Caster had it all over Pennywise aka Bob. “Destiny will be your victim, just like we rehearsed, if she wants to be a part of this at all.” Destiny was a switchboard operator at the hospital who was bucking for a promotion, so she’d likely do whatever the administrative assistant asked of her. “I’ll call Megan, and if she doesn’t show—”
“Then maybe you can be my victim?”
Emily turned at the sound of Caster’s voice. He wore the Michael Myers jumpsuit, but was holding the creepy mask beneath his arm, making it look even creepier.