Books for Hay!

DSC_0200I am donating 100% of all my book profits to help alleviate the hay crisis due to the Colorado drought. 100% of my royalties will be donated to Plane View Farm in Erie, Colorado for better, more nutritious hay for the horses who live there. Please go to my website http://www.clareaustin.com to see what books I have available. For an autographed copy, order from my website. Kindle editions can be purchased from http://www.amazon.com.. Other ebook editions can be purchased wherever ebooks are sold. Please do this for our lovely and faithful equine friends.

J.L. Bowen, author of Young Adult fiction

Welcome J.L.Bowen to my blog today.

I would like to thank Clare for allowing me to guest blog on her website.  I’m very excited to be here.  I write young adult paranormal and my first novel – Healer – has been released from Featherweight Press.

The theme of my story is about resiliency and how important for people to have faith, despite the traumas of life.  I’ve worked with adolescents and have found the students, who were able to survive abuse or neglect, developed relationships outside their home.  I wanted to offer hope.  Although Armond Costa suffers from abuse, his friends accept him and treat him as family.  Armond is able to heal any physical wound within three days and does not understand why.  He feels like a freak, but when he meets his real family unexpectedly, he life changes and he must choose from his friends and his biological family.

Here’s an excerpt from my first chapter:

I grabbed the wobbly banister and climbed the stairs two at a time to the attic.

A small stampede barged after me.  “Going somewhere, boy?” Uncle Peter’s heavy footsteps trailed me.  “You’ll never get the chance to heal.” His heavy panting echoed in the cramped stairwell.  “Not…after…I…get…through…with…you.”

“Not in three days, you won’t.” Aunt Janet gritted her teeth.  “I promise you that.”

Great, more pain.  They could at least tell me what I did.

My hand shook as I whipped open my door.  I charged towards the window.  Freedom was only six feet away.  Out of the corner of my eye, an elephant size blur barreled right for me.  I shrank, but Uncle Peter grabbed my arm and threw me.

As the room swirled, I crashed into the wall, knocking the wind out of me.  Sweet Aunt Janet stormed over to me and backs me against the wall.  “This. Is. Your. Fault.” With each word, she slapped me across the face and slammed my head like a ping-pong ball into the hard wood paneling.  She wheezed and stopped.  “Since it’s your damn fourteenth birthday tomorrow, they’re hunting you, putting us all in danger.”

If you’d like to find out who is chasing Armond and why, go onto Goodreads (www.goodreads.com) and add my book in order to win a free give away.   The offer is for one month.  Also, if you leave a comment on Clare’s blog, I will let Clare pick a lucky winner to get a free copy of my book.

I’d like to thank Clare for allowing me to stop by.

J.L. Bowen writes young adult paranormal books.  Her website is www.jlbowen.com and you can follow her on twitter @jbowen2.  She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Creative Writing.   She lives near the Rocky Mountains with her cocker spaniel, Sadie.

Intimate details. Meet author Holley Trent!

Please welcome author Holley Trent to my blog today. Holley is here as part of the Colorado Romance Writers blog hop “The Mystic Month of May.”  Please leave a comment to be eligible for a free copy of Holley’s book, Executive Decision.

This is where the blog hop takes a huge detour from The Rockies way out east to North Carolina. Just hop on 70-E and drive for about 30 hours: you’ll be there in no time.

I moved west in December during a freak snowstorm that dumped about a zillion inches of powdery cold stuff onto I-25 which made our drive north from New Mexico (we took a detour southwest through Oklahoma and Texas) take about three times as long as it should have. The more I talk to Coloradans, the more I’m told that as far as weather goes, I should expect the unexpected. After all, we’re a mile above sea level. The sun may be three inches away, but being on the Front Range causes some unique climate issues.

North Carolina’s climate is a bit more predictable. Of course, the state frequently hosts devastating tropical storms and hurricanes, and every now and then during the winter there’s some icy precipitation that causes folks to panic and clear out all the milk and bread on the grocery store shelves, but we expected those things.

North Carolinians know that November through March are the “cold” months.  June through September is the period of suffocating humidity. October is the “wear shorts with a light jacket” month. April is the wet month. That leaves May.

May is when everyone breathes easy. There’s respite from the mud caused by the spring rains, everything is in bloom, all the pollen has been washed away, the water at the beaches is warm enough for a dip, and the cardinals start to go crazy.

The cardinals are what I’ve missed most this first May in Colorado. I didn’t much notice them until after my grandmother died a few years ago. In the moments I missed her most, they seemed to show up out of nowhere. If I was looking out kitchen window, one would perch out on the deck and preen itself. If I were driving home from the grocery store, a pair would swoop down towards the road in front of my car and then flit away quickly. Northern cardinals are easy to identify and seeing the females always cheered me up.

Cardinals don’t come this far west and I’m sad for it. However, a couple of weeks ago I saw my first blue jay which I think is one of nature’s most beautiful species. North Carolina has blue jays, too, yet it took moving to Colorado for me to see one.

Looking out the window in May just makes me happy.

Thanks for indulging me! At the end of the hop I’ll give away an electronic copy of my erotic romance Executive Decision to a random commenter on this post. For information about my stories or what I’m up to, please visit me at holleytrent.com or follow me on twitter at @holleytrent.

From minor breakdown to Golden Heart finalist, with horses thrown in.

Introducing Colette Auclair and her wonderful, witty writing. Thanks for being on my blog today!

I hope you enjoy this new author. Please leave a comment for Colette. I will pick a random comment and that contributor will receive an e-book copy of one of my novels.

Colette and her mare, Brooke

First off, I’d like to thank Clare for my first guest blog post! It’s an honor to play in this happy blog habitat.

My first book, Thrown, recently finaled in this year’s RWA Golden Heart contest in the Contemporary Single Title category. You might think it’s about a sport involving a ball or discus, or perhaps a WWF smackdown. But no, it’s about two characters who are (forgive me for this) thrown together because of horses and then (ready?) thrown for a loop when they fall in love. Does someone get thrown from a horse? You’ll have to wait until it’s published to find out.

This all started because I wanted to write a screenplay and I wasn’t. After having a minor breakdown on the couch one morning that caused my husband to offer to send me to a screenwriting workshop, seminar, conference, cruise, Ph.D. program or a year of private lessons in Tahiti with Nora Ephron–anything, just so I’d please stop crying–I took an online screenwriting class. I ended up with a fifteen-page outline, or treatment, for a romantic comedy based on The Sound of Music–only mine had horses instead of music, a grand prix jumper rider instead of a governess/almost-nun, a hottie movie star instead of Christopher Plummer’s sea captain, Aspen instead of Austria and a manipulative grandmother instead of Nazis. (Although the Nazis would have been happy to have her.)

Treatment completed, class completed, it was time to write the script. Problem was, I couldn’t get the scene after the closing credits–something I’d never use–out of my head. So I wrote it in prose so my characters would pipe down and let me write their movie for them.

And I’ve never had more fun writing anything. Which is saying something, because I’ve been privileged to write some outlandishly fun things like TV commercials in my day job as a copywriter.

I told myself I’d write the story as a novel merely so I could get to know my characters better. The words flowed, I hated leaving my computer, and voila, four months later I had inadvertently written a full-blown romance novel. All thoughts of screenwriting vanished. I found my calling.

It was like finding all the “buttons” on a horse you’re riding. Ride after ride, you get to know the horse, you discover that if you’ll just keep your left hand still, the horse stays straight, and if you don’t “yell” with your outside leg, the canter transition will be smooth instead of a buck. Then one day, everything clicks. You only have to think of what you want and the horse does it, happily. The two of you become one. That’s how if felt as I wrote Thrown. My writing had found its dream horse.

Now I’m fully committed to getting published, no matter what. I’m polishing my second book, Love in the Time of Colic, and have scads more story ideas–all involving horses somewhere, somehow. I hope romance (and horse) fans will enjoy reading my books as much as I love writing them.

Excerpt from Thrown

Setup: Amanda, the riding instructor, slipped on the poorly designed barn floor and hurt her back. Grady, her movie-star employer, feels guilty that she got hurt and has brought her dinner in bed.

Grady let out a huge sigh and switched on the lamp on the bedside table. This guest room was closest to the kitchen and the front door. It had a king-size bed, a wall-mounted flat screen TV, a full bathroom, and a sage-and-purple color scheme.
Amanda’s hair was tousled and her eyes were drowsy. The tank top rode up to reveal a couple inches of a toned stomach, which he ordered himself not to look at.
“Hiiii!” she said again. The word rose and fell over several roller-coaster syllables. “These muscle relaxers are awesome.”
“You don’t say.”
“I’m not gonna pull a Rush Limbaugh or anything. I just feel all floaty. You brought me dinner?”
“Soup, courtesy of Harris.”
“Harris. I love Harris. He’s so cute. And he cooks. If only he weren’t gay…Where is he?”
“He came by, but you were sleeping. How’re you feeling?”
“You’re pretty cute too.” She bit her lower lip.
He ignored this. “I told Jacqueline everything you told me about taking care of the horses, so between the two of us and the girls, we should be fine. And,” he said sheepishly, “I promise I’ll replace that floor as soon as possible. I had Jacqueline call for estimates.”
“Good.” She nodded vehemently, then stopped. “Whoa. Dizzy.”
“Want some soup?”
“You’re so nice to bring me dinner. So nice and soo cute!”
“Let’s see.” He presented the tray so she could see the food. “You’ve got lobster bisque, a fresh fruit salad and a hunk of what I believe he called ‘crusty artisan bread’—Tuscan, to be precise. Sparkling water. Dark chocolate—it’s Vosges.” He pronounced it correctly, vohj. “The good stuff. I had to talk him out of sending a get-well martini.”
“Look at you—always thinking of my liver.” She smiled.
“Among other parts,” he muttered. “Voila.” He unfolded the little legs on the tray, placed it on her lap and unfurled a light green linen napkin for her.
“Come sit with me.” She patted the mattress beside her.
“I should be going.”
“I could fall asleep and drown in the bisque.”
He sighed. “All right. But just for a minute.” He moved around the bed and sat next to her. Amanda smiled brightly as though he had just given her a Hanoverian stallion and custom-made saddle. She dipped her spoon into the soup and frowned, then slowly lifted the spoon to her lips and slurped. She looked like it was her first day working with spoons, bowls and soup. She was silent for several forays, then spoke.
“Your kids like the push-ups.”
He looked at her. “That’s the drugs talking.”
She took another spoonful. “Not the push-ups per se—push-ups per se, thass funny! What I mean is, they like riding, right?”
“Okay?”
“So I’ve solved the mystery of the nannies.”
“What mystery of the nannies?”
“Why they don’t like their nannies. They like riding. You know why?”
“Wild guess, but because it’s fun? And by the way, if you hadn’t noticed, you are really high right now.”
“Partly because it’s fun. But they behave for me. I gotta say, I was worried at firss.
“Did you know Harris called me the shit? I’m the shit, Grady.” She waved a hand at him. “Kids beg their parents to get me as their trainer. And I come here and I get, ‘My horse is ugly! I’ll die if I have to brush my horse.’” She whined to bolster her imitation. “So I said to myself, Amanda, you’re the shit. You teach them like you’d teach anyone else. No special treatment, even though their dad is all dreamy and a big fat star.
“Did you know I haven’t taught raw beginners since, like, college?”
Grady was staring at her, mouth open. Watching her was like watching a member of a newly discovered tribe on a remote island. He realized she was waiting for his response, so he said, “No, I didn’t.”
“I made an exception for you. For them. And they’re coming around now. But at first I thought they were spoiled rotten brats. But now I like them—they’re fun. They tried to pull stuff on me but I didn’t put up with it. And do you know why?”
Again, it took him a second to realize she expected an answer. “Because you’re the shit?”
“Damn straight! You can be the shit too, you know. Juss set some rules. Makes ’em feel like you care. When they came into my barn—and don’t get me wrong, I know it’s your barn, but you know what I mean—I told them no swearing and now they don’t swear. I juss tole them. And I carry through on the push-ups. Oh sure, I had to groom their horses—well, Rainy, because Wave was down with the grooming right away—but Solstice came around. I bored her into it.” She paused to slip a spoonful of bisque into her hard-working mouth.
“I mean, come on, who wants to watch someone brush a horse?” She poked his arm with her spoon. “It’s freakin’ dull. Now they’re happy to groom their own horses. It’s basic horse training, psychological stuff. You make the thing you want the animal to do seem like it’s the animal’s idea.”
“And my daughters are the animals?” He didn’t like this, but she was so funny right now, he wasn’t all that bothered.
“Grady, we’re all animals. It’s how our brains work. We’re all about survival. Maslow’s Ladder. We’re hardwired to want safety. Food. Sex. All that.”
She had to mention sex. He was grateful the tray hid her midriff.
She continued. “And what’s with their names? Were you guys hippies or something?” She slurped more bisque. “Oops!” She giggled as lobster bisque dribbled down her chin.
“Here.” He dabbed at her chin with the napkin. “I think Annie did it to bug my mom.”
Amanda looked dreamy and sultry all at once, even though she just called his girls brats and animals.
She stared at him, blinked in slow motion, and continued. “Thanks. Yeah, all you have to do is do what I did and make ’em do stuff. Rules. Response…responsblitty. Responsibility,” she finally managed, crinkling her brows in concentration. “Give ’em choices.” Looking back at the bowl, she carefully slid a bisque-laden spoon into her mouth. “Mmm. This is deliss…delshish…good.”
“So you don’t think I’m a good father?”
“I think you’re a hot father.”
Suddenly, Amanda set her spoon down and wonderingly, gently touched his hair. She looked at it with the queerest expression of awe, like a Woodstock attendee after the acid kicked in.
“Mmm, nice,” she said softly, and furrowed her fingers through the thick mass of dark wavy hair, then pulled his head to hers as though gearing up for a kiss. “Sexy.” Her traveling fingers landed at the nape of his neck and tickled him. Grady found this extremely arousing and thoroughly unnerving, so he took her hand and guided it back down to the vicinity of the spoon and tried to ignore his body’s response.
“More soup?” he asked quickly.
She picked up the spoon absently. “Nah. Nap. Sleepy,” she murmured as her eyes closed.

Horses, writing and happy endings


Shhh…. I love a happy ending.

Why am I whispering? Because I’m a mystery author and mystery authors are all about mystery, suspense, danger, and dead bodies, right?

Right. And …

Truth be told, sure — a satisfying ending is one that puts the world back to rights and has justice and right coming out on top, if sometimes a little battered in the process. But …

That happy ending can also mean two people find each other and sparks fly.

The reader in me loves sparks, too, especially happy ones. There’s nothing like passion to hook me into a story. Nothing like putting your heart on the line to keep those pages turning.

As a writer, it’s important I remember passion comes in many varied packages.

Thea Campbell, the protagonist of my series, is a passionate young woman. And not only does she have a sexy guy she’s passionate about (and would gladly throw herself in front of a speeding train for, if it meant saving his life), but she’s passionate about her family and her horse as well.

Her horse?

Yes. She has a special connection with her very special horse. You might even say a “psychic connection.” Yes, you could actually say that.

Many moons ago, when I conceived of the idea of a mystery series featuring a young woman, I gave her a horse. I know horses. In my away-from-the-computer life, I ride, teach and train dressage. I’ve been horse-crazy all my life. From the moment I could read a sentence I tracked down and read every book I could get my hands on with a horse in it. I was Alec Ramsey in the Black Stallion books, I rode with Billy and Blaze, loved Dorothy Lyons’ novels, devoured Dick Francis. I knew a horse had to be in my mysteries, and not just as scenery. The horse had to be a character, and so Blackie — short for The Black Queen’s Bishop — was born. Thea loves him, and Paul had better never, ever ask her to choose between him and Blackie. Not that he would. If you have an affinity for animals — particularly horses — you understand completely, and will recognize yourself in Thea’s heart.

The fourth of the Thea Campbell mysteries, BushWhacked, is due to be out in May and Blackie still plays a role — after all, Thea always has something to learn from him.

And, you may ask, what about the happy ending? Are sparks still flying between Thea and Paul? Even after four books?

Oh, my.

I don’t think you’ll be disappointed — either with the sparks or the “justice accomplished” happy ending.

Happy reading!

Susan can be stalked, followed, and generally run to earth for a chat at these locations:

Twitter
Website: http://www.susanschreyer.com
Blog: Writing Horses http://writinghorses.blogspot.com
Blog: Things I Learned From My Horse http://thingsilearnedfrommyhorse.blogspot.com

All four of the Thea Campbell Mysteries are available in e-book format and trade paperback at the following locations:
Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/7ma39hm
Smashwords.com: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SusanSchreyer
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/susan-schreyer
And most e-book and trade paper back retailers

Susan is giving away her ebook  Death by a Dark Horse to one of the readers who leaves a comment.

Author Susan Schreyer here Monday, April 30

Author Susan Schreyer will be here to give you a sneak peek at her new novel Bushwhacked. This is the fourth novel in her Thea Campbell Mystery series. I am currently reading the first book, Death by a Dark Horse. If you love a good mystery spiced up with romance and written with humor and pathos, you are sure to enjoy this series. Be here Monday and hear what Susan has to tell you about Bushwhacked.

To learn more about Susan, her writing and her horses, please go to her web site at http://www.susanschreyer.com/

A girl. A boat. A tradition.

Rosy Again!

I have decided to try something new as part of my adventure in blogging. I’m going to post excerpts from my books in progress. Your opinions are welcome and necessary. Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

Chapter One
Rosy Again

He was sitting at the bar with one hand wrapped around a pint and the other on Peg Cooley’s right thigh when the door flew open with the ferocity of a rogue wave.
“There ya are, Daly,” an all too familiar voice shouted above the music session going on in the corner.
Shane swiveled around to meet his fate in the form of Rosy Connelly. One hundred pounds of fury in a bright yellow mackintosh, green Wellingtons, soaking wet and smelling like a dead mackerel on a summer’s day.
He lifted his pint in a mock toast. “I see ya dressed for the occasion.” He sniffed the air and added, “Ah, what’s that? Eau de sea bass?”
Peg giggled at his cleverness.
Rosy dripped defiantly on the wood plank floor. “You.” She pointed her index finger into his chest. “You are gonna marry me.”
Shane tried to feign calm the way he did when the boat was in trouble on a bad sea and he didn’t want to worry the crew. “Ah, ye hear this lads,” he said, turning to the group of men propping up the bar. “She fancies a husband, now.”
“I don’t fancy a husband and I don’t fancy you, you stinkin’ bottom feeder. And stop calling me ‘Rosy’.”
“It’s your name.” Shane set his empty pint glass down with a thump. Then he smacked his forehead in a parody of recollection. “Oh, now how forgetful of me. Our little Rosy went off to University and came back…Róisín.” He knew the way he pronounced her name in Irish would irk her even more…RHO-sheen.
“That’ll do,” she snapped.
And, as he suspected she didn’t look pleased. She looked like she was about to burst into flames. Spontaneous human combustion was not entirely out of the question where any Connelly was concerned. Shane thought he shouldn’t take a chance of her igniting a conflagration that would take down the best and only pub in Ballybeg.
“Do we get to discuss this proposal or have you already reserved the church?”
“Oh, we’re gonna discuss it alright.”
Shane looked around, quickly calculating the risks of letting Rosy have her say in a public place. Not to mention in front of every man in town.
She wasn’t inclined to wait for him to weigh the odds. “Let’s take a walk.”
“It’s bucketing,” he protested.
“Ah now, just a bit of good Irish weather.” She shot him a look of disdain as she headed for the door.
“Back in a flash mates,” he shouted to his companions and gave Peg a quick kiss on her cheek.
“You’ve got some explaining to do,” he said to Rosy through clenched teeth.
“Yeah…well, it’s your own fault, Shane Daly.” She shouted over her shoulder and kept walking. “Now, you’re stuck with me.”
Shane reached out and snagged her by the back of her collar. “Hang on here. If you’re up the pole, it for sure isn’t my doing.”
A red flush crept up her neck and pinkened her cheeks. “I’m not…pregnant!” Her hand swung out making contact with his jaw. “You feckin’ fool. You think I’m stupid?”
“Ow! Stupid? No. Insane? Completely.” He dared not mention he doubted any man would have the guts to get into her knickers.
“If you had a brain bigger than your left testicle, you would have remembered that I moved Da into the care home today.”
“Oh bloody hell.” He’d promised to help. “I’m sorry, Rosy. Hey, I’ll make it up to you. I’ll go over right now and help him get settled…I’ll…”
“Pull your head out of your backside long enough to listen to me. This isn’t about your helping out for an hour here or there. This is bigger than that.”
“Well, then tell me what the hell is going on.”
“You’re just gonna marry me. That’s all.”
“Maybe you are stupid,” he suggested and moved back a step in preparation of her hitting him again. “You’re like…like…”
“Like family? Is that what you were gonna say?”
“Uh…now that ya mention it.”
This time he wasn’t quick enough. She caught him in the ribs with her fist.
“Dammit, Rosy, stop hitting me.”
“I should kill you. If I’d let you drown when you fell off Cailleach Head, I wouldn’t have to marry you now.”
“Go way outta that. A man would have to be mental to hook up with you.”
She stuck her face as close to his as possible, considering he was a whole head taller. “The Róis Aris is my boat. I’m not sharing her with the likes of you.” Rosy turned and started to walk toward the pier where her father’s fishing boat was moored.
Shane jogged to keep up. “What’s the Aris got to do with this?”

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