Tuesday, March 29, 2022

A Bright Beginning

While I always enjoy meeting new authors, it's especially gratifying to meet someone who has just joined the publishing ranks. S. Hilbre Thomson, or Sue, today's guest, in My Writing Corner, tell us she grew up in Massachusetts with her three older sisters and younger brother. Like so many writers, she always wanted to become a published author. She says she was one of those "typical flashlight under the blanket kids trying to read way past bed time." She says she wanted to become an author, but, instead, she moved forward in another career. She turned to the education field, becoming an elementary school teacher. But her old dream didn't go away--she always wanted to write suspense novels.  

After watching her read so many books,  her husband asked when she was going to write one herself. Following a few false starts, she finished her first novel. She says summer vacations allow her to spend time with extended family at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire where she loves to read on the dock. As a result, she says it’s not surprising that there are scenes from the lake in her book. She says it’s beautiful there and something is always happening. 

When asked how she plans her stories, she says it's like how she drives--the exact route isn’t known, but after a few detours, wrong ways and some sightseeing, she gets where she wants to go. And now she has arrived at that writing destination! Her new book,  Trevor, is her first published novel...

Let's hear directly from her about her writing process:

 When asked how I plan a story, I’ve likened it to how I drive. The exact route isn’t known, but after a few detours, wrong ways and some sightseeing, I do get there! 

Tell us about your road to publication. 

I started this book over 25 years ago, before I got married and had three children. I would pick it up now and again, maybe write a chapter or two, but life kept me pretty busy. About 2 years ago, with the urging of my kids and husband I really got back at it. With the help of an editor and many rewrites, I was ready to send it out for consideration. Luckily my first attempt was picked up by Wild Rose Press and was released on March 21. 

What do you enjoy about being an author?  

Being an author gives me a chance to create characters and a world that I can manipulate, work through some challenges- real life and made up- and hopefully entertain my readers. I can retreat into that story, and if I don’t like the way it’s going, I just rewrite it! Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that in real life?

What is your latest book and how did you come up with the idea to write it? 

This is my first novel. I wanted to write a story with the “bad” character, Matthew Stone, being someone the reader really wanted to hate, but couldn’t. After writing some very short snippets for a writing group I belonged to, I was able to round out the character and story more. 

Let's get a blurb.

Unable to escape his past, Matt Stone heads North leaving behind the memory of his dead wife and son. His journey takes a turn when he comes across his late son's doppelgänger; Trevor Reed. Blinded by the resemblance, Matt becomes obsessed and begins stalking him. Little does Trevor know, he becomes wrapped up in Matt’s delusions. Concerned, Trevor's mom, Jesse, enlists the help of the local authorities to keep him safe. Despite the involvement of police and eventually the inclusion of the FBI and an enthusiastic reporter, Trevor disappears. The Reeds will do anything to get their son back which results in a chase starting in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts to an Island on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Will their efforts be enough? Will they find Matt and Trevor? Or will they be too late?

And now, an excerpt!

“Mommy, he was here. Right there in the woods. He called me Tommy.” New tears fell as Trevor twirled her hair between his fingers. His whole body shook as he turned back to look at the fence. 

Wanting to prove to him that there was no one there, she asked, “Can you show me, honey? Where he was?” Trevor buried his head in her legs again. “Come on, kiddo. You can do it. Spiderman would.” Lately Spiderman was the be all, end all. The mere mention of his name would convince the child to brush his teeth, take a bath, or help set the table. She waited. Slowly, he let go and looked up at her. Then at the fence, and back at her. With a determined nod, he edged toward the back of the fenced-in yard. After the first few steps, he slowed and reached for his mother’s hand. Holding it tightly, he led her to the edge and pointed to an opening between two pine trees where a small patch of grass grew along their fence. Years of pine needles littered the forest floor. Their scent lingered and usually brought back memories of playing in these very same woods as a child. Jesse was caught between believing Trevor and thinking it was part of an elaborate fantasy in his mind. She crept forward and peered over the fence. Was her imagination playing tricks on her? No, clearly outlined in the grass were two footprints, large indentations pressing down on the spring grass.

What’s your next project?

I am working on another story that involves two of the main characters from my first book, Trevor. Karen, a reporter, wants to investigate the home invasion that started Matthew Stone on his downward spiral. She and her new boyfriend, Joe, will be in North Carolina to investigate the cold case.

What advice do you have for beginning writers? 

My advice for a new author is the same advice that was given to me. Write, write, write. Check your ego at the door because going through the editing process is humbling, but very productive.  This is one of the scariest but most exciting things I have done!

Thank you, Sue, for being on My Writing Corner. To buy her book and/or learn more about her, following are her buy links and social contacts.

Buy Links


Amazon link
Barnes and Noble link

Social contacts

S. Hilbre Thomson website


Instagram     @shilbre

Does anyone have any questions or comments for Sue?

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

A World of Word Loving

As someone who made their living writing and loving words, I always enjoy meeting other writers who feel the same way. When I read  a biography of author Terry Newman which said she has always loved words, I wanted to know more. As the editor-in-chief of a natural health publishing company, she has written books on a variety of topics as well as writing direct-mail advertising. 

She tells us that she also worked as a reporter, a communications specialist and a freelance writer. (oh, how I can relate to that!) She’s had clients worldwide, and researched and written hundreds of eBooks and print books. She has also ghost written novellas and short stories. 

Then one day Terry woke and decided to make her dream of writing her own novel come true. (And that's just what she's done!) She says she sets all her stories in fictional towns in northeast Ohio and writes about things she loves—like coffee. (I'm with her on that too!)

Terry has taught workshops on writing and character development. She has a daughter, a son-in-law, and a grandpuppy, and lives in North Lima, a real town in northeast Ohio.

Tell us about your road to publication.

My road to publication was both short and long. And if that sounds like a contradiction in terms, let me explain. It took me forever to make writing a novel a priority in my life, even though it was a childhood dream for me. I was in my 50s before I started a project for publication. That project took several years, because I fit it in between my freelance writing (after all, you have to pay the bills). 

That’s the long road. But once I finished the book, I found a publisher. That’s right. The first novel I finished, I got published. That’s nearly unheard of in this industry. 

That was ten years ago. I’m just now publishing my second book. Another long road. Which by the way, is only the second novel I’ve ever finished. 

While the path to publication has been long, it’s been filled with pleasant surprises and many lessons.

What do you enjoy about being an author?

Being an author is a privilege—one that I love. I love that I can be creative. I absolutely love creating characters and settings. It’s such a fun activity. I love working with words. I started out as a journalism major at Ohio State, then switched to history. But behind the move was the need to write. I went on to graduate school, with the thought that teaching would provide me with the opportunity to write.

The bonus in all of this? The satisfaction and joy an author feels when readers like your stories and relate to the characters.

How do you develop characters?

I don’t develop characters in the conventional way.


My characters emerge slowly. Usually, with just a name. Then I add one—just one—trait, mannerism or attitude. And the characters take it from there. Many writers swear by character charts, where you outline everything about the person before you start. Their age, schooling, background. I can’t do that. It seems so structured to me.

As I write, their lives take turns that I didn’t expect, even to the point where I have to go back and re-write some of their traits or background. It just happened with the manuscript I’m currently working on. He is a secondary character (and probably getting his own story soon). I rewrote his background when I discovered what he was all about. By the way, this really tied the story together well.

What is your latest book and how did you come up with the idea to write it?

My latest book is Heartquake, a paranormal romance. The story deals with the fracking industry. A close friend of mine, who was active in a group similar to Citizens Against Fracking in my book, asked me to write about the issue. I’m not sure this is how she expected her idea to turn out.

I chose the paranormal genre almost by chance. I had been commissioned to write a lion-shifting novella for a freelance client. The client ghosted me. She never took the novella and never paid for it. That made the book mine. I took a great secondary character—Riley Brockton—in that book and gave him his own story.

That sounds like a great story in itself! Let's get a blurb:

Coffee shop owner, Charlee Lightheart, views corporations with contempt. She believes her father died at the hands of the pharmaceutical industry. When she's approached to run for city council on an anti-fracking platform, she's reluctant. She's not sure this movement is her cause. 

Billionaire Riley Brockton has given up on love. Then he walks into Charlee's shop. All he wanted was coffee and muffins. From that first electrifying touch, he knows he needs more. He withholds one piece of vital information: he's a lionshifter.

A rogue reporter sets out to reveal the one secret that can destroy the anti-fracking movement and the couple's relationship. Can their love survive the truth and public exposure?

Want to know more? Let's get an excerpt:

His hands seemed more like paws. Not destructive mauling paws of a feral beast, but the large loving ones of an animal dedicated to protecting those he loved. She feared if he kept his hand on hers too long, she would start to think about love at first sight again. Yet she didn’t move it.

When he did remove his hand from hers, she felt an immediate and crushing disconnect. She fell back to earth and experienced the gripping weight and limitation of the force of gravity. Did an astronaut experience this remorse and loss of freedom when he re-entered the earth’s atmosphere and found himself bound by gravity?

“I apologize,” he said, as he shook his head slightly. “I think I’ve overstepped my bounds. That’s not at all what I intended to happen. That was uncharacteristic of me.”

“Don’t be,” she said. She couldn’t take her gaze from his eyes.

“Pardon me?”

“Don’t be sorry.”

Now that makes readers want to read on. Tell us, what’s your next project?

My next project is already awaiting approval from my editor. It’s a reissue and re-work of my first novel, Out of Character. A romance author discovers the hero and heroine of her book sitting in her home office. They’ve jumped out of the pages of their own work to help write the romance writer’s personal love story. I love the idea and I fell in love with all the characters. 

I’m also two-thirds of the way done with another story that takes place in the same town as Heartquake (Prague, Ohio). I’ve given one of the secondary characters their own love story. And I’ve discovered that town is populated with some great people. New characters keep making unexpected appearances all the time. I can’t wait to get that one to the publisher.

What advice do you have for beginning writers?

If you find yourself devising stories and envisioning characters from people you meet on the street, the odds are good that you’re a writer and you have the need to write. You find you just can’t stop writing. Don’t stop. Keep writing. Never, ever give up.

At the same time, scrutinize your writing. Be your own tough editor. Do this by reading books. As many books as you can. As you read, you’ll see what makes a book good. You’ll be able to tell when a plot flows and when it’s contrived.

And take as many writing courses—plot development, character development, world building—as you can afford. There are sites where you can take them for free and there are a lot of exceptionally well-taught courses that are inexpensive. The online courses I took while I was writing my first book were invaluable.

If you can find other writers, unite! Be a critique partner, give support to others. Others will support you in return. Writing is both a solitary profession and a group effort.

I totally agree with you there! Critique partners and writing groups can make a real difference. To learn more about Terry and to buy her books, here are her buy links and social contacts:

Buy links:



Social Media Links

Facebook: Terry Newman


Twitter: @tnewmanwrites


Instagram: terry.newman.31521


TikTok: @terrynewman614

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60574351-heartquake?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=99H2V7dnWm&rank=1 

Bookbub: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60574351-heartquake?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=99H2V7dnWm&rank=1 

Thank you, Terry, for being my guest today on My Writing Corner. Any questions or comments for Terry?

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

A Reading Treasure

Spring has always been a favorite time of the year for me, especially when it comes to reading new books and finding new authors. Spring means sitting outside and enjoying reading a good book in the sunshine.  My guest today in My Writing Corner brings us a new book that sounds like it would be good material for a little of that Spring reading.

My guest is Terry Segan who resides in Nevada and she tells us that the beach is her happy place, but any opportunity to travel soothes her gypsy soul.  She adds that  the stories conjured by her imagination while riding backseat on her husband’s motorcycle can be found throughout the pages of her paranormal mysteries.

Tell us about your road to publication

I began writing about fifteen years ago. I’ve worked as a secretary most of my life, but it wasn’t until I became a stay-at-home mom that my fingers flew across the keyboard for pleasure. My first forays were short stories before I decided to take on a novel. Since I mainly read mysteries, many with a paranormal twist, it made sense for me to write one. When I joined a local writers’ group about six years ago, that’s when things got real for me. I guess you could say I found my tribe. They’ve given me inspiration, guidance, and friendship. On top of that, I have complete support from my husband, who believes in my talent and drive to write. This resulted in the publication of my first book, Photographs in Time, which is a time travel mystery filled with matchmaking and murder.

What do you enjoy about being an author?

The main thing I like about being an author is the freedom I find in writing. I’ve always had an active imagination (overactive if you ask my husband), so being able to translate ideas pinging around my head into a story brings me joy. My hope is to make people laugh, cry, or feel the need to sleep with the lights on all night. When they’re done reading, despite their emotions or fear, they come back for more.

How do you develop characters?

Many of my characters have been inspired by people I know, while others I’ve simply made up. Sometimes a character’s habits are a compilation of acquaintances and strangers. People watching is a fun sport for me (no, not in a stalker-like way). No matter how far-reaching or odd an individual may appear, you’re always going to find another who is more bizarre or inspiring. Even those mild-mannered or sedate ones have traits worthy of writing about. Once I plug them into a story, many lead me in directions I hadn’t thought of originally.

How do you come up with your plots?

The majority of my plots are inspired by places I’ve lived or traveled to. From there, I create characters who belong. Usually, I know the beginning of a story and the end. It’s the middle where the book gets interesting, since I’m what is known as a ‘pantser.’ I don’t plot out the whole book, just wait and see where the characters lead me. There’ve been times I’ve written a person in as a minor part, who then demands a larger role in the story. Sometimes I give in to these demands. By working this way, I’m taking the journey right alongside my characters—and I love to travel!

What is your latest book and how did you come up with the idea to write it?

My latest book is Precious Treasure, which was released on March 9 by The Wild Rose Press. It’s a paranormal mystery depicting a wife’s search for her missing husband. She must find the connection between his disappearance and a Civil War journal of a Confederate soldier. I’ve always been intrigued with dual timeline books, which helped inspire Precious Treasure. While most of the story takes place in the present, the reader gets a glimpse into the life of the young Confederate soldier through the journal entries woven into the chapters. Since I grew up on Long Island, it seemed to be the perfect setting for Janie, the main character.

Eight years ago her husband disappeared. Does a hundred and fifty-year-old journal hold the answer as to why?

Janie Holcomb prays for closure once the courts declare her missing husband dead. Instead, she's sent spiraling down a dangerous path.

When her lawyer delivers a package held in trust, she finds a cryptic warning along with a Civil War journal promising buried treasure. While seeking a connection between her spouse and the decades-old diary, Janie attracts the spirit of a Confederate soldier pleading for help.

Enlisting her brother's assistance to chase down clues, they discover that not everyone they know should be trusted. Janie overlooks potential threats when the promise of new love stirs her emotions. Will her digging uncover the answers she craves or doom her to a similar fate?

Let's get a sneak peek from Precious Treasure:

Janie dragged herself out of bed and into the bathroom. Turning on the tap to fill the sink, she bent over and splashed cold water on her face. The refreshing drops rolled down her forehead, cheeks and chin, pulling her out of her funk. Sightless, Janie reached for the hand towel hanging nearby and dried her face as she stood upright. Opening her eyes, she leaned in to examine the damage of the late night on her complexion. Her reflection looked back, as well as that of a young man standing behind her. Janie’s heart leapt to her throat as she whipped around and found no one there. Looking back in the mirror, she saw only herself.

This is too much, she thought. First nightmares and now hallucinations. Janie shook her head. With the assault of information thrown at her in the last twenty-four hours, her imagination cartwheeled out of control.

Knowing the visions were a result of the wine, newspaper articles and journal, didn’t calm the raised hackles on the back of her neck. The foreboding in Brian’s letter snaked its way up her spine threatening to encircle her throat and squeeze tight. His writing had a tone of uncertainty and fear—uncharacteristic of the man she had married.

Doesn't that make you want to read on? You'll need to get the book! Terry, tell us, what’s your next project?

My next project is the first book of my new series, The Marni Legend Series. This is a paranormal mystery in which Marni, the main character, must help lost souls move on while navigating life as a successful novelist and divorcee hoping to jumpstart her love life. With a healthy dose of sarcasm and clumsiness, her life is unpredictable and amusing. Did I mention her mother’s ghost refuses to leave her kitchen? Since the book is in the beginning stages of editing, I don’t have a prospective release date yet. Stay tuned…

To learn more about Terry and her books, here are her buy links and social contacts.

Buy links:

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/AuthorTerrySegan

Author Website: https://terrysegan.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/terrysegan

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SeganTerry

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Terry-Segan/e/B087YQGXMD

Thank you Terry for appearing on My Writing Corner today!  Any comments or questions for Terry?

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

An Intriguing Arrangement

For writers, every day can bring a new story idea. We're always searching for that next great story to tell. That's why I especially enjoy communicating with other writers and bringing their stories to the attention of readers.  My guest this week in My Writing Corner, is  author Colleen Donnelly. She has been my guest in the past, and she joins us today to tell us about another of her wonderful books.

Colleen comes from  the Midwest but her work in the world of science allowed her to explore the country.  As an avid reader and writer she says she loves stories that revolve around a moral dilemma. Today we are featuring her book, The Lady's Arrangement.


In this historical romance, feisty redhead Regina Howard skirts the Kansas law that forbids widows to maintain rights to their deceased husband’s property by advertising for a husband willing to share his last name and nothing more. Fast. What she doesn’t want is a banker with ideas of his own regarding her property, a ranch manager a little too involved in her affairs, a kindhearted local doctor offering more than just a last name, and an impossible to control and hard to resist Rex Duncan—alias Ben Miller—who answered her ad in ways she didn’t expect.  

Let's get a blurb:

Neither Rex nor Regina wants a spouse, but they do have needs.

Ranger Rex Duncan needs a false identity—just long enough to uncover a ring of Kansas ranch thieves. Answering Regina’s ad for a temporary husband, he leaves his beloved red dirt of Oklahoma to assume that disguise. But the most obstinate woman he’s ever known confounds his assignment, and with hair the red color that has always made his heart beat a little faster.

Regina Howard needs a new Mrs. in front of her name—just long enough to reclaim her deceased husband’s ranch, since Kansas law won’t allow women to own property. When Rex answers her ad for a husband who can take orders as part of a brief business arrangement, she finds this stubborn man ignores her every command. Yet a good man is far more than just a name…

Sounds intriguing, doesn't it? How about an excerpt. Let's dig deeper into these characters: 

Ben was tall, and he felt even taller as he took a step closer and leaned my way. “It takes two to bind a contract, and since I’ve just withdrawn, your arrangement is null and void. And just so you know, you can thank your lucky stars I’m not staying to marry you, because I take surprises a lot better than I take orders.” His eyes stayed on mine until his gaze traveled from my face down to my boots. “And wearing trousers doesn’t make you any more suited to giving orders than wearing a skirt would make me fit for giving birth.”


My nails dug into my palms as I rolled my hands into fists. A word I’d heard Ted say when a pail slid off his bad arm came to mind. The word was immoral, but probably not too immoral for Ben Miller. “Just so you know, Mr. Miller, I’ve been running this ranch for three weeks now, in pants. I find skirts get in the way of things you’d probably be surprised I can do.”


The half-smile returned. “I won’t argue that. Skirts surely do get in the way.” Ben straightened and slapped his hat tighter on his head. “Been my experience, too.

Fortunately, neither one of us has to put up with one, since you can keep right on doing things the way you have been. I’m giving you an early parting. I’m leaving.”


Want more? You'll have to buy the book! And it sounds as though it would be a fun read through the end of these long winter nights or snowy days. 

If you want more information about Colleen, here are her contact links as well as the buy links for her book(s):


Social Media Links:


Website: http://www.colleenldonnelly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ColleenLDonnelly

Goodreads: http://www.Goodreads.com/colleenldonnelly

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Colleen-L-Donnelly/e/B00ELP1GIA/


Buy links:


Amazon: http://amzn.to/2qj7DE2

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35178271-the-lady-s-arrangement?from_search=true&qid=74i6X4Ru1S&rank=1

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-lady-s-arrangement-by-colleen-l-donnelly

Thank you, Colleen for being my guest today and bringing us another wonderful story!

Any comments or questions for Colleen?

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

A Trip to Texas

Having grown up in an area where a visit to ranch country was only an hour away and in a family that included aunts, uncles and cousins who lived on ranches, a ranch setting has always caught my attention as a reader. My guest today in My Writing Corner took me back to those ranching roots. Romances set on ranches touch me more because my mother often told me and my brothers and sister about how she met our dad on her uncle’s ranch. That’s what today’s guest in My Writing Corner brings us. My guest today is Linda Nightingale, and her new books is The Texas Cowboy, which is the first book of her Return to Folly series.

Linda tells us that after 14 years in Texas, she returned home to her roots in the South Carolina red clay. She has eight published novels, four of which are available in audio from Audible.com. For many years, she bred, trained, and showed the magnificent Andalusian horses. She says she has seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck pulling a horse trailer. She won The Georgia Romance Writers’ Magnolia Award for Excellence, the Raven Award, and the SARA Merritt. In real life, she was a legal assistant. She loves to dress up, use the good china and crystal, and host formal dinner parties. She has a fondness for sports cars like her current ride, Zippy Z.

Let's hear more about her newest book, The Texas Cowboy...

When a British raised Texan returns to take over the ranch he inherited. What could possibly go wrong? Maybe a pretty, sassy cowgirl with her own agenda?

When Ash Colter was twelve, his mother divorced his cattle baron father and whisked him away to raise in her native England. Sixteen years later, when his father dies, he inherits Marathon Ranch. Running a 1,000-acre spread famous for the best Black Angus cattle in the great state of Texas is the biggest challenge he’s ever faced…until he meets a pert, pretty, and sassy ranch hand who seems to have her own agenda for his ranch. Unfortunately, she makes his spurs go jingle-jangle-jingle like no one else ever has!

Trish Owens is a real cowgirl, a loner, and, though she’d never admit it, a little lonely. When the “English Cowboy” appears on the scene, her entire way of life is threatened, not only her job, but her beloved Quarter horses. She’s sure he plans to import his thoroughbreds from England. Worst of all is the chemistry sizzling between them. He makes feelings she thought long dead awaken.

Can these two unwilling allies set aside their differences to put Marathon Ranch in the Winner’s Circle…and to fall in love?

Let's check in with Ash and find out more about him.

Tell us about your family.

Hi, Rebecca. My ranch hands call me the English Cowboy. When I was twelve, my mother divorced my cattle baron father and whisked me away to her native England. So, I was raised in the U.K. I’m an only child, and sixteen years later, when my dad died and I inherited Marathon Ranch, I returned to Folly, Texas. I’ve now taken over the running of the thousand-acre spread, famous for the best Black Angus cattle and the fastest Quarter Horses in the Lone Star State.  It’s a big job and daunting sometimes. I’ve found the perfect partner to put Marathon’s horses in the winner’s circle, but she seems to regard me as the enemy.

What are you looking for in your life right now?

To carry the Marathon racing silks to the winner’s circle. I have the horses. I have a partner. It may not be a marriage made in Heaven, but it would definitely be a heavenly partnership, if I could convince her to trust me. Her name is Trish Owens, and she’s indeed a feisty young filly. Her goal is the same as mine. If I can simply gain her trust, I’m sure together we can succeed.

What draws you to Trish?

Her drive, her courage in the face of adversity, and her independence, not to mention her big brown eyes and blonde hair. When it comes to  the horses, she’s like a mother hen. Don’t cross her, I should also say that she is petite and slender…with curves all in the right places. I like her determination. I even like my sassy cowgirl’s touch of temper. We’re alike in our goals but so far apart I don’t know if I’ll ever persuade her that I’m not an invader from England. Dash (oh, that’s cowboy for damn), I nurtured my Texas roots while I was in England—working hard to keep my Texan accent, reading everything cowboy, and sporting western wear. She doesn’t see yet that I’m on her side.

What frightens you about becoming involved with her?

Everything. I confess. I’m a commitment phobe, It has seemed to me that closeness equates to someone leaving, and eventually you’re alone again. Perhaps, this springs from my parents’ divorce; perhaps not. It feels like it has always been there, so I don’t know. Guess I should work through my issues with a shrink, but I’ve always told myself that when the right girl comes along, I’ll know and that will be that. Trish is as close to my dream girl as I’ve found in my twenty-six years. Am I going to let this diamond in the rough slip through my fingers because I’m hesitant about commitment?

Now let's hear from Trish:

What is your first impression of Ash?

That he was an arrogant bastard swaggering onto Marathon Ranch, owner of all he surveyed, and I just knew he planned to ditch the Quarter Horse breeding program his dad had started and bring his Thoroughbreds from Jolly Old England. As far as I was concerned, he was public enemy number one. But he with his deep chestnut hair, he was the handsomest enemy I’d ever encountered. Then he smiled, and I knew I had trouble on my hands.

What about him appeals to you?

His chestnut hair and his eyes. I always wanted a redheaded man, and his eyes are a bluish green—a rare color. And there he was smiling at me like he knew all my secrets. He was so handsome standing there in the Texas sun, I almost lost the battle before it began. What appeals to me? His long, lean physique definitely adds to the sexy mix. He has a quick wit and won’t let me get by with any smartass remarks. He’s…perfect…and that’s what scares the living hell out of me.

What frightens/worries you about him?

I worry that he will sell my beloved Quarter Horses. At first, I worried that he’d terminate the old hands and replace the entire staff, lock, stock, and barrel. I worry that I am so attracted to him, but he’s my boss, and that’s a big NO. He is a bit arrogant, and that concerns me, but at the same time, I find it irresistible. It’s part of his charm.

What do you want for your future?

That’s a deep secret buried under lock and key. I suppose I could dream of being Mrs. Ash Colter like I dream of one day owning a horse like Jet. He’s my favorite of all the racing Quarters. I could also dream of going to the moon, but that’s about as farfetched. I won’t be going until the fare is less than a dollar.  So, for my dreams right now. I’m content working with Charlie and the cowpokes at Marathon. Ash is a dash of excitement; sadly nothing more.

Thank you, Ash and Trish.. Want more? Let's get an excerpt:

Squinting in the sudden sunlight, Ash sized up a woman about his age. In jeans with a burgundy Marathon tee, she was slender but curvy.  Her blonde hair looked as if it had been hurriedly ponytailed. Wayward strands dangling everywhere framed her face. On closer examination, he decided she wasn’t hard on the eyes. In a non-fancy way. But then he was accustomed to Dorothy—High maintenance with a capital High Maintenance.

The girl tilted an odd look at him.  Then she suffered a wardrobe malfunction. The band holding her ponytail broke. Blonde silk gushed over her big, chocolate brown eyes. A graceful hand, stained black by hoof polish, swiped the thick mess back from a pretty face. Her unsmiling mouth was generous and wide. Feed her and clean her up, and she’d be a presentable…opponent. The chill in what should have been melting brown eyes was as unwelcoming as Deanne’s steely green gaze.

He snapped a smart salute, imitating her stance. “I’ll do that, ma’am. I’m Ash Colter. You are?”

“Trish.”  One word. No introduction. More or less bugger off.

He stuck out his hand. “My pleasure, Trish. I assume you work with the horses.”

“Right assumption.” Gazing intently into his eyes, she accepted his handshake. “How could you tell?” she asked, her voice dripping sarcasm.

“The hoof polish was a big clue.”

She glanced down at her stained hand. Her handshake was firm, confident, another person he felt he could trust. The color of her eyes was quite rare with her blonde hair. Very striking, but at the moment, they challenged him to measure up to her standards. Oh but no, he refused to have two bitches to contend with. This one was no problem. Employees could be towed into line. Or dismissed.

“Maybe I’ll see you around the stables.” He popped the trunk, dismissing her as curtly as was polite but smiling inside. What a feisty filly.

“The funeral is day after tomorrow,” Trish said, loud enough to carry. Her native Texan accent was music to his ears, but he could scarcely believe what she’d said. “Mrs. Colter waited to give you time to get here.”

He froze with his hand on the hot trunk. Without turning, in a voice like ice, he spat, “Thank you for telling me, Deanne.”

“You didn’t know?” The amazed question burst from the gutsy Trish.

As a sharp pang of grief broke through his carefully erected walls, he visibly winced.  He’d lost his father, and his stepmother had planned the funeral without consulting him. What else had she planned to cut him out of? Knowing her for what she was, still her cruelty shocked him. What if he’d been delayed? He’d have missed his final farewell to his father. Sick at heart, he swiped a hand across his burning eyes. He couldn’t trust himself to speak around the sudden lump in his throat. Gritting his teeth, he slammed the trunk. Shouldering his duffle, he faced a sea of surprised expressions. He could scarcely see them for the sheen of emotion clouding his vision.

Angry now, he tried but failed to modulate his voice. Dark emotion crept into his gruff tone. “No one saw fit to tell me.” 

“Oh?” Trish’s eyebrows darted up, her wide eyes shifting to Deanne. “You’re kidding.” In unconcealed shock, and perhaps reproach, she gaped at her employer.

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Mysterious Doings

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