Thursday, May 22, 2014

Some Background on "January Frost"

My new release, "January Frost", combines two of my favorite things: horses and writing. If life were made by wishes, then I would writing this on the porch of my farm house overlooking pastures of fat, happy horses. But this is the real world, so I'm lying on the couch as "The Price is Right" blares on the television in the other room.

Evelyn Graham-Frost, our heroine, has been living out her dreams as well. A professional horse trainer and rider on the fictional Global Cup horse show circuit, she lives out of a suitcase and horse trailer for months on end, traveling the world for money, recognition, and the love between her and the giant white stallion who is her partner. World Champion Grey Cliff's Snowman is the first horse "Evie" raised from birth and their bond is stronger than iron.

Every heroine needs a hero and ours is Sir David Tattinger, III - called "Trey" by his family and friends. Heir to the title and owner of Grey Cliff, he and Evie were raised together; it was inevitable they would fall in love. But the daughter of a farm manager is not the future Trey's father saw for his only son. The wedge old man Tattinger drives between the lovers is deep and for ten years neither Trey nor Evie has tried to bridge the gap.

Because not only do Evie and Trey share a past, they also share a daughter; a daughter that Trey knows nothing about. After a brutal encounter with Trey's father, Evie takes her stallion and runs. By the time she discovers her pregnancy, another man is in the picture and she allows him to allude to the world she is his child. For ten years she has kept on running in order to keep the secret strong.

When a fall from Snowman ends Evie's professional career, the offer comes in to return to Grey Cliff as trainer. A chance to heal at the only place she called home seems perfect, but also means giving Trey the chance to meet his daughter.

Can Evie put aside the anger and hurt of the past? Or will returning to Trey just bring up old memories best put aside? It's going to take all she has to work through the pain of the past in order to reach for the future.

If you're looking for a great read for the Memorial Day weekend, be sure to check it out. And don't forget to leave a review! With Amazon's new policies, reviews are critical for writers.

May ends next week. I'm still in awe about that. But my other big news (other than the release) is my strong son is engaged to a great girl and now I get to add planning a wedding to the other million hats I wear at any given time. So if you see wedding pictures popping up on here, please know that I am only looking for places to strategize! I am not giving up being a writer to be a wedding planner. God forbid!

June will bring another attempt to make the Insecure Writer's Support Group first Wednesday blog hop. This time I've put an alarm on my clock so I can make sure I set the auto post function. But for the most part I am developing another story in a completely different realm, so wish me luck!

Monday, May 19, 2014


Just released to from Keith Publishing. Check it out:

Excerpt from "January Frost"

We rolled to a stop in front of the farmhouse and the wrench deep inside took my breath away. The remodeling had not extended to the exterior, so the visible reminders of my previous life were still quite real. Davy was already bouncing on the seat, ready to find her room, ready to get out of the car after hours of riding. Cate was beaming; she supervised the remodel and was hoping I liked her choices. I felt the eggshells everyone trod around me, the expectation of an explosion from reality smacking me across the face. It wouldn’t matter but I put on a big show because I loved her. She was the closest to a sister I ever knew and whatever she chose would be right with me.
Standing in the front yard, looking out at the fields I could almost erase those long years of exile and see into the past. The fences, the rock walls, the barns and paddocks – nothing can ever remain the same, but this was close to time standing still. The wind blew in off the ocean, bringing that tang of salt water. The trailer bringing Manny pulled in behind us, and I needed to supervise his unloading or there might be problems.
“Lady Rachel, would you tell Davy the trailer with Manny is here and I want to help unload? If she wants to walk to the stud barn, show the path, please?” I was already moving as fast as the brace on my damaged leg would allow. “Thank you!” I threw over my shoulder. Davy would understand. Manny was still a stallion, and he could be very temperamental when it came to changing places. I could see her shaking her head as I hobbled down the familiar path.
Taking deep breaths, I steeled myself to see the stud barn again. The last time I was here, I took possession of Manny and left. Now I was working in reverse but at least returning the heroine I wanted to be all those years ago as a child riding the sea Cliffs of my home.
The air-conditioned van pulled to a stop in the large cobblestone courtyard in front of the stud barn. The barn itself was a large, comfortable stone stable with four stalls, two on each side of the aisle. Each stall opened to its own enclosed paddock, separating the fiery stallions from each other’s sharp teeth and short tempers. There was also a large wash stall, with hot and cold water, ceiling fans twirled in the warm late summer air. A tack room, a groom’s apartment, a feed room and storage room rounded out the building.  Mares and their offspring were kept on the other side of the farm, nearest to the manor to bring help quickly if anything were to go wrong. Everything depended on Cate, the resident vet, who lived there in the manor house with Trey and their mother.
The driver was already opening the side exit door when I approached.
“Howdy Miss Evie, here to supervise the big boy’s arrival?”
“Of course Dex. How was the trip? Was Manny a good boy?” I smiled at the driver. Dex had shuttled Manny and I around the world for many years. He was the only one I trusted to ignore the stallion’s shenanigans.
“Well he had some rough moments in the traffic coming out of Chesleton, but once we hit the open road he settled down real good. I think he knows this is home, he’s been pawing at the door since we pulled into the driveway.” Dex dragged the ramp down and opened the large door. Manny, still cross-tied inside trumpeted his arrival with all his loud, brash personality pushing against the partition that divided the van. I had to laugh at his brass.
“Dex, bring him to me, so I can work some of the kinks out.”
Dex hooked a lead rope to the big stud, unclipped the side ties and eased him down the ramp. Hesitant at first, he soon realized momma was standing on the ground waiting. Pushing Dex aside, he thrust himself over, sniffing my pockets for the treats he knew I always carried for him.  Always except for today.
“Crap old man, I forgot to stock the pockets.” I patted my jacket looking for anything I could pass off as his reward.
“Perhaps he’ll accept something from an old friend,” the familiar voice was in my ear the same time the musk hit my nostrils. I whirled so fast I thought might get whiplash. Of course with only one good leg, I lost my balance and toppled into Trey’s arms. Like touching fire, I jumped back. The flush that rose from my feet and raced to my head betrayed my emotional upset. Manny, traitor that he was took the proffered treat with a rub of his large, ungrateful head against Trey’s shoulder.
The groom, I didn’t even notice which one, took Manny’s lead rope while I stared at my new boss. He hadn’t changed much. Same crooked smile, same laughing eyes, a few more wrinkles at the eyes – at thirty-three the promise had matured into full manhood. But the bricks around my heart  are stacked high, built with pain and bonded with hours of tears spilled in remembrance and they weren’t going to be breached by a simple smile.
“Hey.” He used the old greeting so easily, our code for ‘love you’ hanging unspoken in the air.
“Hey yourself.” I tried to bring my voice into neutral. “Thanks for Manny’s treat, he would have pouted otherwise.”
“I know, I remember.” His face was neutral as well. I think he was taking his cues from me.  He motioned to the brace on my leg. “So how long do they anticipate you being grounded?”
“The leg isn’t the real problem.” I responded on automatic, haven given this interview three times in the past month to the various trade papers. “My neck has nerve damage, and the combined pressure and the whipping around during jumping will probably be too much. And of course Manny is retired now, so unless something comes along to excite me, my victories will come as a trainer and instructor, not a rider.”
“Hm. Evelyn Graham-Frost earthbound. That’s a sentence I would have never thought to hear. How does it feel to join the rest of us ungifted people?” The goofy loving smile was back, the implied laugh with me, not at me.
“Painful, very painful.” Against my better judgment, I smiled back.
“Let me drive you back up to the house. We can talk on the way.” He took my elbow and guided me toward the golf cart, helping me across the troublesome cobblestones.  Uh oh – he wanted to talk already. Concentrating on my breathing, I eased myself onto the seat, mentally preparing my gut for whatever he had to say. After all, as Karl would remind me, it wasn’t him I was truly angry with. And you can’t hold grudges against a dead man.
“So, how have you been?” I opened the conversation in neutral territory.
“Good, mostly good. And very busy, especially since Mum announced your arrival.  The boarding barns are getting full and you have enough advanced riders to keep you busy three hours a day, seven days a week. I didn’t want to burden you with more students than that, especially until you healed.”
“Thanks Trey, I appreciate that. I’m not sure how long I’m going to be dragging this brace around; it’s only been a few weeks.”
“I know.” His answer spoke volumes. He kept track of me, behind the scenes. Without hesitation he dove into the gist of his train of thought. “Evie, I know this is strange. It’s strange for me, too. But put yourself in my shoes for a moment. I just found out a month ago I have a daughter. Her mother never told me about her, never gave me the chance to be a part of her life until now. If I said I’m a little irate about that, I’d be making an understatement.
“On the other hand, this is an opportunity for me to excel at something my father failed miserably to do and that’s have a loving relationship with my child. I want that chance Evie. I want to show you I’m a different man than the one you ran away from all those years ago.”
I interrupted him. “I didn’t run from you Trey.”
“I stand corrected. But I know it hurt when I didn’t come after you.”
“I knew you had your reasons.” Tears threatened to fill my eyes but I blinked them away. Too personal too fast. I had been afraid this would happen.
“I did, but in retrospect, they were wrong. I should have come after you. I made a mistake. I thought Dad would realize, would change his mind. But when he died with things between us unresolved, I caved and left you alone. I was too ashamed to come find you, bring you back. I’m sorry. I can’t change our past, but I want us to get along, for Davy.”
“She has no expectations from either of us. She knows we didn’t work out. Book closed.”
For a long moment Trey was quiet. There was a hint of pain underlying his voice when he spoke again. “Are you ever going to forgive me?”
“I was eighteen Trey, alone with no one in the world except you. Do you know what he did to me? Did you hear the things he said? How can I forgive that?”
“Because that was him, not me.”
“Right now, I can’t distinguish the two.”
“That, my Evelyn, is your problem.”
“I know.” He hit the nail on the head. I was holding resentment toward all the Tattinger men. “I know it’s my problem and I’m working on it. But don’t expect miracles right away. There’s ten years of baggage to work through. I’ve been wounded a long time. I’m not the girl you knew. She died long ago.”
“I understand. I’ll give you space.”
By then we were at the farmhouse. Trey helped me out of the cart and up the front steps. Davy came flying down the hall, through the door and in Trey’s arms before I could warn him. I didn't need to. Father and daughter took to each other immediately. The tears that had been held at bay all afternoon finally had their way and spilled down my face. Davy, always attuned to my emotional state, added me into their circle.
“You okay Mom?” The concern on her face matched the look on Trey’s. Great, now there were two of them assaulting my emotions.
Smiling, “I’m fine baby. Just overly tired and I think it’s time for my afternoon nap. You stay out here with your father,” I choked a little saying the word for the first time, “and I’ll be in my room.”
Trey’s gaze followed me as I walked into the farmhouse for the first time since that horrid night. Too much excitement and too many memories all crowded around me, caving in the air, making the world smaller, causing me to hit my braced right leg against the corner of the steps. The pain brought stars before my eyes and my breath pounded inside my ears; then I did something I hadn't done since the accident.  I fainted.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Well, I Missed it Again

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, which means Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop and once again I was too busy with my day to day job to get anything done. But that's okay. Somehow the pressure to post something is gone and I can write on almost any topic. The one I choose today is being grateful.

If I were to believe in my horoscope, I should be taking chances and leaping full tilt to assault the gates of my personal life and professional ones as well. However my better sense tells me just because someone got a few things right when they did a free reading based on my birthday and place doesn't mean I should base my actions around a piece of paper. While it is all well and good to read about the life you should be living, nowhere is there a forecast of what might really help me, which is to be accepting of my life and who I am.

All my life I have looked at others who griped and moaned about their supposed difficulties and wondered what their problem really was. Those whose lives look best from the outside are more times than not experiencing more catastrophes than we can imagine. Too many times society and the media tell us to strive for more, to want what our neighbors' have and find ways to obtain it at all costs. It only brings more unhappiness and more debt and more worry and why do we get on that hamster wheel when we know what the outcome will be?

I choose to pray every night. It's how I was raised and it's what I believe. Each night I thank God for all that He has blessed me with and I ask for a heart content with my place. Sure, I would love to be a hugely successful writer with a zillion followers, cranking out book after book with apparent ease and talent but that's not who I am. It takes me a while to craft each story, to live with my characters as a part of my being day in and day out until it feels...done.

Someday, if it is my destiny, I may still have the zillion followers (maybe two!). But no matter what happens I am grateful for the gifts I have, and blessed more than I probably deserved. I am not content, but I'm working on it.

After a delay due to the illness of my publisher my new novel, January Frost, will be on soon. Thank goodness she is recovering but a double pulmonary embolism isn't something you just bound right back from. I will do a separate post with a new announcement when I have more details, so keep a weather eye out.