Thursday, September 11, 2014

Learning to Ride for Research



Research for a novel can be a bit overwhelming at times. For example, take the research I did for Deceived.
 
I had ridden a horse several times in my life, but it always, and I mean always, scared me to death. So when the idea for Deceived struck I knew I had to conquer this fear once and for all.
I called my sister, who is an expert when it comes to all things horses or cattle. She told me to stop by and she'd give me a lesson. Here we are below. Yes, it was winter. And it was soooo cold, but I needed to learn. We saddled up the horses. Jo got on her horse, and then I tried to get on mine. As you can see I needed help.

A lot of help.

I was so embarrassed.


 I finally got on. 

Yeah! 

Now what? 


We rode around my sister's place, but I wanted more. I wanted to go on an actual cattle drive. My sister has connections and she set it up so we could help with the round up and cattle drive for some friends of hers, but it wouldn't take place until spring.


What would I do in the mean time? 
I practiced getting on and off a horse, which wasn't easy since I didn't have a horse to practice on. Instead I set up my own version using chairs and stools, and I practiced . . .
 and practiced . . . 
and practiced some more. 
I also exercised so my leg muscles would support me better.

Have you ever been so involved with research that you've done things that scare you? How did you overcome your fear?

Next week I'll tell you about the round up and cattle drive. 
Saddle up!

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Deceived - Cover and Blurb



It's here,

the cover of my new book, Deceived.

It's due to be released in November.

Here's the back cover blurb:

A storm rages outside the unassuming Los Angeles house, while within, something sinister lurks. A murderer stalks their victim, unaware of a witness to the horrific crime: awakened from a deep, drug-induced slumber, Tara Kelly hears voices in the next room. Struggling to focus through her sleep medication, the young woman helplessly observes her aunt's murder. Now, she's a loose end that the killer cannot ignore . . .

Tara is aided by a family friend as she does the only thing she can: disappear. Fleeing to the security of a remote Idaho ranch, Tara finds herself under the guard of a handsome rancher Joseph White Eagle. Her unwitting protector takes his role seriously, going so far as to claim that Tara is his fiancee. But even as their relationship deepens, he struggles to see past Tara's similarity to his late wife, a painful reminder of the past. When a series of accidents threaten Tara's life, it becomes clear that her attempt to outrun danger has been in vain. The killer will stop at nothing to find Tara, and Joseph will do anything to protect her--even if it means unraveling secrets that will have devastating consequences for them both . . . 

This novel has been a long time in the making. Over the next few weeks I'm going to share the research that went into this book from the cattle drive, the camping trip to Little Lost River, and the trip to Ireland (with a special spooky post from my ghostly bus tour through Dublin). I can hardly wait.

Oh, the places you'll go and the people you'll meet. Don't you love research? What is the most fun you've had doing research, whether for a novel, for your family history, or just out of curiosity?


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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund - Review

If you’ve been a follower of my blog you know that I’ve reviewed several of Jody Hedlund’s novels. Historical romance isn’t a genre I normally seek out unless the writing is very good. 

Hedlund’s novels are excellent.  

As a writer I love to study her turn of a sentence, her ability to set the reader in a scene, and most importantly her breathtaking love scenes that are clean and oh so romantic. Yes, they are that good.

In her latest release, Captured by Love, Hedlund has again created vivid fictional characters and placed them in a historical setting that is packed with facts of true events. 

The story takes place in the 1800s on Michilimackinac Island better known by most of the world as Mackinac Island which is in northern Michigan. Michilimackinac was a pivotal location and very important to the fur trade industry, which made it prime land wanted by both England and the United States. 

When the War of 1812 broke out, the Americans had controlled the island for nearly 15 years. At the beginning of the war, the American captain lost charge of the fort after the British invaded. Hedlund has laced her novel with actual events of that time and has done it through strong characters.

Angelique MacKenzie is a protagonist who has struggled all her life. Being raised by her step-father—who is a mean, horrible man—she has learned to go without. What really makes Angelique memorable is her compassion. Even though she’s nearly starving, she manages to take food to a blind woman, Miriam Durante. Poor Miriam has had to fend for herself with one son exiled for his loyalty to the Americans and one son gone because he is a fur trader. Miriam would have starved if it weren’t for Angelique providing what food she could. 

See, already you like Angelique and are empathetic toward Miriam. But the story gets even better. 

Enter Pierre Durante, Miriam's fur trading son. He has it all: rakish good looks, a bit of wanderlust in his veins, and a love for Angelique that he tries to ignore—since she’s supposedly engaged to his elder brother—but can’t. Pierre comes back to the island to trade his furs and finds his mother living in deplorable conditions. Right away he dives in to make things better. And he’s touched that Angelique has watched over his mother the best she could in her circumstances. 

Does Pierre stay on the island to take care of his mother and also to claim Angelique’s heart? 

Does Angelique fall for Pierre when she’s promised to marry his brother? 

Does the brother arrive and upset Pierre’s plans? 

Do the Americans attack and reclaim the fort? 

Or do the British maintain their hold on the land and the people? 

Some of the answers to these questions might surprise you, but learn for yourself and read this wonderful book. 

You can purchase the novel on Amazon or major book stores near you. And you might want to ask your local library if they carry her books. They really should. If they don't request that they do.



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Monday, June 16, 2014

Lizzie-bear




In the fall 1999, my daughter, Kris, and I went to pick out a puppy. Have you ever seen teacup Yorkie puppies? They are so dog-gone cute. They look like miniature black bear cubs (the blond coloring on their face and legs comes after a couple of weeks). One of the puppies crawled up the side of the bin, trying to escape. The others sat and watched. Kris and I knew that was the dog for us. The owner painted her claws a pretty orange to show that when she was old enough, she was ours.

Lizzie joined our family in November. She was so small that she fit in the palm of my hand. And her ears . . . oh my stars, her ears were as big as her body. She stole our hearts and became a vital part of our family. (She grew into her ears, too.)

Because Lizzie pawed at her food and looked like a miniature bear, I nicknamed her Lizzie-bear. Two weeks after Lizzie arrived, my daughter, Trizia, came home from her mission. The entire family came to our house to celebrate her return and also Thanksgiving. We had a houseful, but it was wonderful. The day after Thanksgiving, we took Lizzie-bear with us downtown for the Christmas lighting of Temple Square. And then we sneaked her into a restaurant. I ordered a bacon cheese burger and gave Lizzie a small piece of bacon to keep her quiet. Bacon quickly became her favorite food. From then on, whenever she smelled bacon cooking she'd come running into kitchen begging for some.

A special bond was formed between my daughter, Trizia, and Lizzie. Many times I'd find them cuddled together at night. And if Trizia took a treat in her room without her, Lizzie'd scratch on her door, demanding she share.

When Lizzie was not even a year old, we found out she had a liver shunt and could die. The vet called in a specialist to operate because she was so small. That was a very worrisome time. Lizzie pulled through the surgery. But she had to eat a special food most of her life.

Lizzie had a dance she'd do for treats. I guess it wasn't so much a dance, as a spin. She'd whirl around barking and yipping until I'd toss it to her. And then, she'd have to attack it. But not just that, she'd toss it in the air and run after it again. I can't tell you how many doggie treats I've found under my fridge or behind the piano.

And she absolutely hated our Jazz garbage can. If she saw us take it out to dump it, she'd go on the attack. Picture it...this little Yorkie attaching a tin garbage can. I wonder what kind of nightmare she had about it. Oh, and the ladder. Every Christmas when the ladder would come in, she'd have a barking fit. We got so we'd try to occupy her somewhere else in the house. 

Lizzie had a doggie bed under my desk. She'd listen to me type on my keyboard, and I'd read her my stories. She heard them all from The Forgotten Warrior to my current work-in-progress. She would interrupt my work around 1:00 p.m. wanting a treat, but other than that, she was the ideal book critic.

One year I had a major deadline and needed to get some serious writing done, so I took her with me to my parents cabin for two weeks. Just Lizzie and me. I thought she'd be a good watch-dog. However, Lizzie was more nervous than I was. She'd growl and bark at every little noise. One day an eagle nearly swooped down and snatched her. She didn't go out alone after that. 

Lizzie-bear continued to have health challenges, but she always survived. She was such a little trooper.
 

However, around the beginning of May I noticed that she struggled to swallow. We tried everything we could think of, but she was losing weight and things just weren't getting better. I took her in to see the vet. He found she had a growth in her throat that was blocking the food. He did surgery to try take out what he could. The vet said during the operation he could see the growth went down to her stomach as well. He suspected it was cancer. He gave us pain meds to help her. But poor Lizzie-bear's pain was too much. I'll never forget holding her all night as she cried. I knew her time had come, she'd suffered enough.

On May 29th Lizzie passed away in my arms.  I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to have that sweet little spirit in our home. 

I will always love and miss her. 



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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cold Justice - Reviews and Book Trailer


Cold Justice was released in June of 2012.

Here is the book trailer.


Below are the media reviews.

Meridian Magazine

Deseret News

And here are the blog tour stops.

Why Not? Because I Said So!
M K McClintock
Life and Love Letters
Meridian Magazine
LDS Readers
Queen of the Clan

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