Posts Tagged With: country music singer

Songs that Have Inspired Me #MFRWauthor

Music plays a big part in all of my contemporary westerns, particularly country music. I don’t always listen to music when I write, but I often plan or plot my stories while listening. I’ve even gotten story ideas from listening to either a certain artist or from a particular song.

Sometimes I’ll even hear a song after I’ve written a story that makes me think about a certain character.

Here’s a list of songs that have either inspired me while/before writing or make me think of a character.

  1. 11 by Cassadee Pope, Album: Frame by Frame (2013)

This song makes me think of my heroine from Heartland. The song is about a young girl whose life is turned upside down when her parents divorce. The same thing happens to Emily as a child. Because Emily is a country-turned-pop singer, I almost always picture her singing it when I hear it.

  1. Black Tears by Jason Aldean, Album: Night Train (2012)

The first time I heard this song I instantly thought about my heroine from Gambling On A Secret. The song is an emotional ballad about a stripper and how much she hates what she’s doing and often cries her mascara off; hence the black tears. Charli from Gambling On A Secret had run away from home when she was fifteen and ended up working as a stripper in Las Vegas. The song fits Charli so much it could have been written about her.

  1. Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts, (the version I have comes from the Album: Greatest Hits, Vol 1, 2008)

Heartstrings was inspired by this song. The original title of this story was “The Long Road Home.” In the story my hero is trying to find his way back home—and to the daughter he never knew. The heroine also has a broken road ahead of her—she has to forgive the hero for leaving and herself for pushing him away. This song also inspired the song Seth writes with his teenage daughter in the story.

  1. Drunk On A Plane by Dirks Bentley, Album Riser (2014)

My currently out of print novella, Chasing A Cowboy (published in the anthology set Cowboy Up) was directly inspired by this song. I heard it one day not long after it was released as a radio single and instantly pictured a country singer groom jilted at the altar and going on the honeymoon alone… Only there’s a little less drinking on the plane and I send the run-away bride’s fraternal twin sister after the groom.

This last list are singers who’ve inspired the singers in some of my stories:Heartstrings, Singing to the Heart, Sara Walter Ellwood, Contemporary Western Romance, Cowboys, Texas Romance, Native American Romance, Lyrical Press, Kensington Publishing

Toby Keith—my hero Seth Kendall from Heartstrings is loosely modeled after a young Toby Keith. Crazy fact—I had never seen Toby Keith’s movie Broken Bridges (a story about a country singer who meets his daughter for the first time) until long after I wrote Heartstrings.  In fact, I didn’t even know the movie existed until a friend told me about it.  Then I had to see it to make sure my story didn’t too closely resemble the movie.  I was greatly relieved that, other than the trope, the two have nothing much in common. Well, except the heroes look like Toby Keith…

Heartstrings, Sara Walter Ellwood, contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, Texas romance, small town romance, Country Music star hero, Lyrical Press, Kensington Publishing, Heartsong, Heartland, Colton Gamblers, Singing to the HeartBilly Currington/Luke Bryan—these two singers both have inspired my hero Gabe McKenna from Heartsong… Only Gabe is dark haired, but he likes to shake his cute butt on stage like Luke Bryan does.

Taylor Swift/ LeAnn Rimes/troubled young artists like Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears—A mesh-up these artistsHeartland, Heartsong, Heartstrings, Singing to the Heart, Sara Walter Ellwood, Cowboys, Texas Romance, Contemporary Western Romance gave me elements that made up my troubled young songstress Emily Kendall from Heartland. Like Taylor Swift and LeAnn Rimes, Emily has an amazing-crazy talent at a tender age. She’s only fifteen when she gets her first record deal and she blurs the genre lines—making as many country number one as she does pop. But like so many young artists, she marries far too young and begins using drugs—until she finds out she’s pregnant and realizes she has to get away from her pop star ex-husband.

 

Writers get their ideas from everywhere… Music is just one of the places where I find mine.
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Categories: Gambling On a Secret, Heartland, Heartsong, Heartstrings, Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Heartstrings Gets a Face lift!

I’m so excited to find this in my mailbox last night!

The brand new spanking cover for Heartstrings, book 1 of Singing to the Heart series.  Isn’t it just GORGEOUS!?!?

 

Heartstrings, Singing to the Heart, Sara Walter Ellwood, Contemporary Western Romance, Cowboys, Texas Romance, Native American Romance, Lyrical Press, Kensington Publishing

 

This was what the cover had been…..

 

Heartstrings, Sara Walter Ellwood, contemporary western romance, romantic suspense, cowboy romance, Texas romance, small town romance, Country Music star hero, Lyrical Press, Kensington Publishing, Native American romance

 

 

Heartstrings, Sara Walter Ellwood, contemporary western romance, cowboy romance, Texas romance, small town romance, Country Music star hero, Lyrical Press, Kensington Publishing, Heartsong, Heartland, Colton Gamblers, Singing to the HeartLook for book 2 of the series, Heartsong, on pre-order right now. It releases in January, 2016.  Book 3, Heartland, is also on pre-order and is set for release in June 2016.

 

Categories: Heartland, Heartsong, Heartstrings, Singing to the Heart | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sneak Peek Sunday—more from my WIP….CHASING A COWBOY

contemporary, western, romance, romantic suspense, contemporary western romance, contemporary western, cowboy, cowboy romance, Texas romance, Native American romance, country music star romance, miltary romance

I’m sharing a bit more from my WIP–Chasing a Cowboy.  Here’s a rough blurb…..

When country music superstar Chase Jordan is jilted at the altar by his sexy swimsuit model fiance, he escapes to the very same resort in Cobo San Lucas, Mexico, where they were to have their honeymoon. He hopes to nurse his broken heart and damaged ego in the true country song fashion–with a bottle of Jose Cuervo. However, he never expected his childhood best friend–and twin sister of the bride-not-to-be–to follow him to Mexico and con the resort into believing she is Mrs. Jordan, nor was he ready for the truth–Paige was all grown up and sexier than her twin sister.

Paige Morgan as lived her entire life in the glare of her fraternal twin sister’s star. Although the sisters couldn’t be more different then the sun and moon, Paige fell in love with the same man as her sister. When Chase is dumped at the altar, Paige sees an opportunity to go after the one thing of her sister’s she’s always wanted. But when this resourceful cop finds Chase, will he change his tune or will Paige also end up with a broken heart?

SETUP: Chase is setting at a bar at the resort drinking tequila…

A warm breeze passed through the bar, bringing with it the scent of coconut suntan lotion, tropical flowers and saltwater, and he looked around. Three of the sides of the cantina were open to the outside. As “Loving You” thankfully ended on the jukebox, he squinted his eyes against the brilliant turquoise ocean as the late afternoon sun drenched waves crashed against the white sand of the beach. Every couple filling the small tables inside the bar and lounging on the beach seemed only seconds away from going from R-rated to X-rated. He’d booked the exclusive honeymoon resort outside Cobo San Lucas, hoping to keep out of the prying eyes of the paparazzi and to surprise Kayla. She’d fallen in love with the southern part of the Baja California Peninsula during one of her photo shoots here a few years ago.

All of his hopes and dreams shattered on what should have been the happiest day of his life. Today, instead of settling in for their two-week vacation and only getting out of bed to eat, he was nursing a bottle of Jose Cuervo. Why had he come here? His brother was right; he could have easily eaten the cost of the trip. Chase had insisted that he had to escape for a little while, lick his wounds and come up with a plan. Jack accused him of wanting to punish himself. Why else would he go to the place he and Kayla were to have their honeymoon? Had he come here to remind himself of what should have been? He shook his head, hoping to dislodge the thoughts, and turned to gaze out the other side of the bar.

A woman stood on the walkway staring at him through a pair of Aviators. Her long blond ponytail shimmered in the sun like spun gold. He narrowed his eyes. Was he now hallucinating?

She entered the bar and headed toward him. Sitting in the stool beside him, she removed her sunglasses to reveal a pair of expressive hazel eyes. “Surprise.”

“Paige? What the hell are you doing here?”

She shrugged and pointed toward the shot glass. “Saving you from yourself.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Chasing a Cowboy, Sneak Peek Sunday | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Sneak Peek Sunday–from HEARTSTRINGS… Uh-oh, she’s drunk, lonely and he’s just sung her a love song. This can’t be good…

contemporary, western, romance, romantic suspense, contemporary western romance, contemporary western, cowboy, cowboy romance, Texas romance, Native American romance, country music star romance, miltary romance

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the moms out there!!!

Today I’m sharing a Sneak Peek from Heartstrings.

ccontemporary western romance, cowboy romance, Texas romance, Native American romance, country music singer romanceShe had to get away from him. Had to escape or she’d do something stupid and destroy her family. There was no  doubt she wanted him, missed him, was lonely, and she was drunk. An extremely dangerous combination.

“I need to go home.” She wobbled to her feet and took off through the crowd toward the exit.

“Abby?”

She didn’t stop, but rushed out the swinging doors.

At the door of her Silverado, he caught up and took her arm. “You aren’t in any condition to drive. Where’s your friend?”

She shook her head. “She’s going home with–with her boyfriend.” He was right; she was too drunk to drive home. Tears threatened to fall, and she swallowed her pride as she fell into his arms. “Please, take me home.”

Sounds dangerous to me. What do y’all think?

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Categories: Heartstrings, Sneak Peek Sunday | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sneak Peek Sunday–More from Heartstrings

contemporary, western, romance, romantic suspense, contemporary western romance, contemporary western, cowboy, cowboy romance, Texas romance, Native American romance, country music star romance, miltary romance

Welcome to Sneak Peek Sunday for April 21!  Today, I return to my contemporary western romance, Heartstrings to share not only a snippet but also the amazing trailer Theresa McClinton of Making It Reel had made (for those who hadn’t seen it yet). In this peek, Seth is visiting his grandfather in the nursing home where Abby works as an RN.

She led him down the wide corridor to a private room at the end of the hall. At the door, he gripped the frame and turned toward her. “I’d like to come over to your place tomorrow. I promised Emily I’d go riding with her.”ccontemporary western romance, cowboy romance, Texas romance, Native American romance, country music singer romance

She stepped away and looked over her shoulder at him. “I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. She already idolizes you. I’d hate for her to get hurt when you leave.”

“What if I don’t plan to leave?”

“You will. Emily will be busy tomorrow. ’Bye, Seth.”

* * * *

Abby quick-stepped it down the hall, and Seth followed the swish of her long, glossy braid as it moved with her, brushing the top of the curve of her perfect ass. He wanted to run his fingers through all that luscious hair and caress all those wonderful curves. How could any woman look that sexy in that God-awful pink getup?

He tapped the doorframe with a fist and fought the fire roaring through his veins.

They’d see about him leaving. But not before he got to know his daughter.

How are Seth and Abby ever gonna get past blaming each other for the past?

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Categories: Heartstrings, Sneak Peek Sunday | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Authors in Bloom Blog Hop

blog hop, gardening, flowers

Welcome to the Authors in Bloom Blog Hop.

PLEASE LEAVE YOUR *EMAIL ADDRESS* TO BE ENTERED INTO MY DRAWING AND COMMENT TO BE ENTERED INTO THE GRAND PRIZE DRAWING

*Be advised that your email will be added to my mailing (newsletter) list, UNLESS you request otherwise. *

GRAND PRIZE: We are giving away a Kindle Fire or Nook (winner’s choice) along with a $25 gift card for the same.

MY PRIZE: Your choice of any TWO (2) of my four books (Please let me know which ones you would like. Click on cover to read blurbs/excerpts and reviews. Heartstrings is featured below).

paranormal romance, romantic suspense, vampires, demons, werewolves, Sara Walter Ellwood, Cera duBois  contemporary western, romantic suspesne, paranormal romance, vampires, werewolves, demons, Cera duBois, Sara Walter Ellwood  cowboy romance, contemporary western, romantic suspense, Texas romance  ccontemporary western romance, cowboy romance, Texas romance, Native American romance, country music singer romance

It’s no secret that I love to garden, and spring is my favorite season. The past month (March) has been tough here in Central Pennsylvania. We had a lot of snow.

Anyway, that’s past and the other day I bought some of my favorite annuals to plant in pots to set on my porch.

Pansy flower, authors in bloom blog hop, sara walter ellwood, cera dubois, gardeningPansies…

Or as they are known in the botany world–violas

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of species of violets and pansies. They come in almost every color and combinations of colors.

They are so easy to grow that even those professed of having a black thumb can grow these lovelies with little or no care, other than some water when the soil is dry to the touch. contemporary western romantic suspesne authror Sara Walter Ellwood

I love to grow these charmers, which were as popular in Victorian England as they are today in our modern world, in containers. But I also have the smaller perennial variety, often called by the botanical name of viola, in my garden.  Here’s a photo of them with my antique cabbage rose.

Pansies are so hardy that they can be planted in the fall where winters are mild and add color to the garden until the temperatures begin to rise into the 80s in the spring.

Here in the Mid Atlantic region they are often planted in late February to Mid March and can survive snow falls and freezing temps. Pansies will raise their beautiful faces to the sun until about late June. That’s when the temperatures climb to high for them. But that’s okay, by then the garden is being taken over by summer flowers.

Thgardening, violets, violas, pansies, ey aren’t as popular in the northern areas of the country, but they are perfect for those cooler summer temperatures.

But believe it or not, one of my very FAVORITE varieties doesn’t grow in the garden at all. I will always love picking wild violets in the fields along the streets of my neignborhood and putting them in a vase on the table….

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Available from Lyrical Press

Lyrical PressAmazon   |  Barnes and NobleKobo  |  iTunes 

Heartstrings is on sale right now at Amazon!

Heartsrtings coverHe’s determined to set things right, no matter the cost.

The last person Abby Crawford wants to face down is country music superstar Seth Kendall. Last time she did, she flat-out lied so he’d go to Nashville without her. She’s never understood why their mutual best friend proposed, but she went with it so her baby wouldn’t be fatherless. Now she’s a divorced mother of a teenager, and secretly Seth’s biggest fan.

Seth is home in McAllister, Texas for his father’s funeral…and a chance to meet the daughter he’s never known. He’s willing to face the music of his own making and admit he’s known about his little girl all along. For fifteen years he’s kept his distance because Abby told him to follow his dreams without her, insisting she didn’t love him. But now he won’t leave until he knows his daughter and she knows him, even if it means facing the woman who broke his heart for good.

Confessing she’s lied about her daughter’s paternity all these years won’t be easy for Abby, especially with her ex blackmailing her to keep the secret. And Seth doesn’t know the hardest truth of all: Every love song he plays on his guitar still plucks her heartstrings.

CONTENT WARNING: Spicy sex.

Excerpt:

Seth leaned in. His lips were close enough to kiss, and his scent of sandalwood and something exotic enveloped her, taking her back to that night on the beach. His eyes flashed with the dangerous fire of his temper. It was similar to the flame of the passion she’d once seen in the green depths. Abby didn’t expect or want the heat curling in her belly, and shivered with a sudden and fierce desire.

“I’m her father, Abigail. I wanted to be her father after she was born. It was you and Mike who insisted I had no business messing things up.”

“I never said any such thing. You never tried. You just left.”

He pounded a fist on the counter top so hard she jumped. “Yes, I left! I wasn’t welcome at home. Dad ran me off with a shotgun. Mike wouldn’t even let me see my daughter. He made it quite clear you and he were happily married, and I had no place in your life. I was under contract to be in Nashville to start recording my first album.”

What did he mean, Mike wouldn’t let him see Emily?

Before she had a chance to voice her question, his eyes darkened as the pupils dilated, obscuring the stormy green. “But I’m no longer nineteen and scared shitless. I could make things very rough for you and this fantasy you’ve got working.”

A cold lump quickly replaced the tangle of heat in her belly. “What-what do you mean?”

He backed off and tapped the countertop. “I’m talking a custody battle. I could have a judge order a paternity test. I think we both know the media hoopla the results would cause.”

Her heart slammed into her chest wall. “You wouldn’t do that.”

“Try me. Now that I’ve met Emily, I want to get to know her.” He walked over to look out the kitchen window. The hard line of his jaw melted, and he swallowed so hard his throat moved up and down. “I was a fool when I let Mike talk me out of being in her life after she was born.”

“What do you mean?”

He glanced at her. “Don’t pretend you don’t know.”

The strings of guitar music provided a soft counterpoint to the hard tension in the kitchen. Emily was outside on the patio playing around with her guitar, waiting for them to finish with the dishes she and Seth had insisted on doing.

“All I want is to have some time with my daughter. That’s all I’m asking for.” When he looked over his shoulder at her, sadness replaced the anger in his eyes. “I’ll keep your little secret. I’ll just be her favorite singer. The family friend who made it big in Nashville. I don’t want to hurt her. As much as it galls the hell out of me, I see what Mike means to her.”

He moved toward her and shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Besides, I don’t want to hurt Carolann or Frank any more than you do.” He glanced outside again, his voice husky as he spoke. “But I’ll sue you if I have to.”

A part of her wanted to give in to him, but a larger part wanted to punish him. Let him take her to court; she’d make sure the world knew what kind of jerk Seth Kendall really was.

She gritted her teeth and fisted her hands by her sides. “I’ll let you have tonight, Seth. But don’t ask for more.”

She turned away and strode through the French doors.

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Categories: Blog Hop, Out In The Garden | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Sneak Peek Sunday–More from Heartstrings

contemporary, western, romance, romantic suspense, contemporary western romance, contemporary western, cowboy, cowboy romance, Texas romance, Native American romance, country music star romance, miltary romance

Welcome to Sneak Peek Sunday! Today, I’m sharing another six paragraphs from my recently released contemporary western romance, Heartstrings. In this peek, Abby apologizes to her ex for what he sacrificed when he married her and become a father to her baby even though he was in love with someone else. The woman is now his current wife and he’d had an affair with her while still married to Abby…

She straightened and faced him as she pushed her hair from her face. A warm breeze blew across the flat grassland of the pastures. “You know what for. You and Tammy Jo. You were so head over heels crazy for her in high school. I wish I’d ccontemporary western romance, cowboy romance, Texas romance, Native American romance, country music singer romancehave known about your affair sooner. I’d have let you go then. It’s the least I could have done.”

She’d be lying to herself if she said his secret two-year affair with Tammy Jo hadn’t hurt, but she couldn’t be what Mike needed. She loved him, but not as a woman should love her husband. He’d always been more like a big brother to her. Her best friend.

Seth had been the one she’d burned for during those long nights while Mike slept on the far side of their bed. He never felt passion for her either. Soon after their marriage, they stopped trying to find it. Their nearly non-existent sex life had always been damned awkward.

He looked away and leaned his backside against a fence post. “I’ve always loved her. But I couldn’t turn my back on you–or Emily.”

He squinted against the glare of the sun. She’d always known what Mike sacrificed to be with her, to be a father to her baby, giving them a stable home.

The one thing she never understood was why he’d made the sacrifice. But now wasn’t the time to ask. Of course, he wouldn’t have told her anyway. He never had any of the other times she’d asked.

Emmm… Wonder if dear old Mike had some ulterior motives? But what the heck could they have been?

(SEE BELOW HOW YOU CAN GET THE PROLOGUE AND CHAPTER ONE FOR FREE)

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Click here to check in with others offering Sneak Peeks

The rules are simple.

1. Sign up in the Linky List at http://sneak-peek-sunday.blogspot.com/. The Linky List will go live 12:01AM Monday and will close at 11:59PM Saturday night every week.

2. Post 6 paragraphs (no more, no less) from either a WIP or a published work. The post must be live by 9:00AM Sunday.

3. Open to both un-published and published authors.

4. Post the link back to Sneak Peek Sunday so that others can hop along.

5. HAVE FUN!!

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I’m sponsoring another western themed blog hop May 2 – 6.

cowboys, lawmen, sheriffs, Texas Rangers, contemporary western romance, romantic suspense.

Cowboys are known as bad-boys, but what happens when the bad-boy is also the law in town? What is it about these contradictions that make small town sheriffs, Texas Rangers and ex-outlaws-turned-lawmen so irresistible? Whether you write or love to read about the Wild West or modern day Montana, what do you love most about lawmen who are also cowboys? And what makes them so gosh-darn sexy?
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Sign ups are open until April 21. I send out the welcome and instruction email to all participants on April 23.  If you would like to take part, sign-up on Cowboy Charm.

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Just a treat for my Newsletter subscribers: Sign-up for my newsletter and I’ll send you the Spring issue which has links to both the PROLOGUE and FIRST CHAPTER  of Heartstrings and CHAPTER 1 of my paranormal romantic suspense A Hunter’s Blade for free, plus a really low-fat/low sugar simple dessert recipe that can take the guilty out of cake.  HERE’S THE LINK TO SIGN UP

 

Categories: Heartstrings, Sneak Peek Sunday | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Sneak Peek Sunday–More from Heartstrings

For some great photos of my garden and for a chance to win an amazing ebook prize package, check out the SPRING IS IN THE AIR BLOG HOP

contemporary, western, romance, romantic suspense, contemporary western romance, contemporary western, cowboy, cowboy romance, Texas romance, Native American romance, country music star romance, miltary romance

Welcome to Sneak Peek Sunday!

I’m continuing with giving snippets of my upcoming contemporary western romance release, Heartstrings. Today, we find Seth in Abby’s barn, but she’s not too happy about it….

ccontemporary western romance, cowboy romance, Texas romance, Native American romance, country music singer romanceA half-hour later, he rode out of the pasture behind Abby’s barn, led Emily’s mare into the stable and unsaddled her. He searched until he found a brush, then rubbed the mare down and gave her a ration of oats in a bucket. He let her out into the pasture as Abby marched across the driveway toward him.

Damn, did the woman ever just walk? He rested a hand on the doorframe above his head and waited for her to unleash the storm brewing in the clouds swirling in her eyes.

She pushed past him into the relative coolness of the barn and turned to face him. Her fists were propped on the curve of her hips. His gaze stuck on the cutoff denim shorts and the long toned legs below the frayed edges. Her tennis shoes were set apart in a tense stance.

He dragged his eyes back up her body and smiled. Her soft curves were a welcome treat when compared to the supermodel walking skeletons he normally hooked up with. “You know, time has definitely treated you well.”

Hell, he hadn’t intended to put voice to the thought.

When she narrowed her eyes into flashing slits, he would’ve sworn he heard thunder roll somewhere over the prairie beyond the river. “I told you to stay away from Emily.”

Uh-oh… I see a storm coming….

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Click here to check in with others offering Sneak Peeks

The rules are simple.

1. Sign up in the Linky List at http://sneak-peek-sunday.blogspot.com/. The Linky List will go live 12:01AM Monday and will close at 11:59PM Saturday night every week.

2. Post 6 paragraphs (no more, no less) from either a WIP or a published work. The post must be live by 9:00AM Sunday.

3. Open to both un-published and published authors.

4. Post the link back to Sneak Peek Sunday so that others can hop along.

5. HAVE FUN!!

~*~

I’m sponsoring another western themed blog hop May 2 – 6.

cowboys, lawmen, sheriffs, Texas Rangers, contemporary western romance, romantic suspense.

Cowboys are known as bad-boys, but what happens when the bad-boy is also the law in town? What is it about these contradictions that make small town sheriffs, Texas Rangers and ex-outlaws-turned-lawmen so irresistible? Whether you write or love to read about the Wild West or modern day Montana, what do you love most about lawmen who are also cowboys? And what makes them so gosh-darn sexy?
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Sign ups are open until April 21. I send out the welcome and instruction email to all participants on April 23.  If you would like to take part, sign-up on Cowboy Charm.

Categories: Heartstrings, Sneak Peek Sunday | Tags: , , , , , | 21 Comments

Spring Is in the Air Blog Hop

Spring, flowers, XOXO Publishing Blog Hop

Welcome to the XOXO Publishing Spring Is In The Air Blog Hop! 

***YOU MUST leave  your email address to be eligible for either prize.***

 Grand Prize – An eBook prize package including from XOXO Publishing’s authors ebook prize, flowers, spring, XOXO Publishing blog hop

cowboy, contemporary western, romance, suspenseMy Prize – An eBook copy of my January release, Gambling On A Secret, a contemporary western romantic suspense set in Texas..

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flowers, winter, gardening

Hard to believe only two days ago my back yard garden looked like this. I live in South Central Pennsylvania and we got a surprise snow storm on March 18. Guess we didn’t make St. Patrick very happy with us. Or that stupid groundhog lied to us. Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow—that’s supposed to spring, flowers, garden, Groundhog Day, Bill Murraymean an early spring. I’m with Bill Murray from the movie Groundhog Day on this one—drag him out of his hole and let’s eat that rodent. Okay, let’s not. I’ve never been into eating groundhog (also known as a woodchuck), or any other rodents for that matter. But I digress. Let’s talk one of my favorite things about spring—flowers..

I can’t wait until my garden looks more like this.

flowers, gardening, spring

Spring is my favorite season for many reasons, but mostly I love it because of the flowers. Most of my favorite flowers bloom from April to June. Daffodils, tulips, irises, peonies, lupine, bleeding hearts and roses. Not to mention all the flowering trees—cherry, crabapple and plum..

spring, flowers, gardening Spring, flowers, gardening spring, flowers, gardenign spring, gardening, flowers

spring, flowers, gardening contemporary western romantic suspesne authror Sara Walter Ellwood spring, flowers, gardening

From February to November, something is always in bloom in my garden. These are commonly called snowdrops, the botanical name is spring, flowers, gardeningGalanthus. Although they are not as gorgeous as tulips and daffodils, when I see them every late winter—sometimes even peeking their white flowers out of the snow—I know Spring Is in the Air and really isn’t that far away.spring, flowers, gardening

I also have tons of crocuses, too. These heralds of spring usually bloom in March and help bring a cheery reminder on bleak Pennsylvania days nothing will stop spring, and soon, I’ll be enjoying my garden again.

spring, flowers, gardening

I’m more anxious for this spring than most because my second contemporary western romance releases on April 1!

Heartstrings

ccontemporary western romance, cowboy romance, Texas romance, Native American romance, country music singer romanceBlurb:

He’s determined to set things right, no matter the cost.

The last person Abby Crawford wants to face down is country music superstar Seth Kendall. Last time she did, she flat-out lied so he’d go to Nashville without her. She’s never understood why their mutual best friend proposed, but she went with it so her baby wouldn’t be fatherless. Now she’s a divorced mother of a teenager, and secretly Seth’s biggest fan.

Seth is home in McAllister, Texas for his father’s funeral…and a chance to meet the daughter he’s never known. He’s willing to face the music of his own making and admit he’s known about his little girl all along. For fifteen years he’s kept his distance because Abby told him to follow his dreams without her, insisting she didn’t love him. But now he won’t leave until he knows his daughter and she knows him, even if it means facing the woman who broke his heart for good.

Confessing she’s lied about her daughter’s paternity all these years won’t be easy for Abby, especially with her ex blackmailing her to keep the secret. And Seth doesn’t know the hardest truth of all: Every love song he plays on his guitar still plucks her heartstrings.

CONTENT WARNING: Spicy sex.

Never Before Seen Excerpt:

His voice was husky, and he readjusted his guitar strap around his neck. “When I was seventeen, Jimmy Gatlin asked me to sing on this stage. All I had was my mother’s old acoustic guitar. It was enough, I guess, because Jimmy kept telling me to come back.” He paused and bowed his head as the audience erupted with applause and whistles. When he looked up, he smiled and winked at Abby. “So, here I am again with my biggest fan from then in the audience.”

Although the passion of the crowd swept her away, she didn’t miss the play of emotions on his face. She understood what he hadn’t said, that there was as much pain in the memories as there was joy of those early years. John Kendall’s lack of pride in his talent had hurt Seth deeply.

John had come to every single football game in which Seth had played quarterback and every fairground rodeo in which he’d roped calves, but his father had never wanted to hear him sing. As far as she knew, John hadn’t seen his son sing before an audience.

When he strummed the opening to one of his early hit songs, she was as captivated as everyone else in the honky-tonk.

Seth’s soulful voice spoke of love and loss, and she got lost in the words.

He seduced the entire room with his whiskey-smooth voice, and he pulled at the part of her soul that had always belonged to him. He couldn’t be more than a memory, but she sniffed at the burn in her sinuses as she wished Seth Kendall could be more.

Only a Memory wound down to the mournful accompaniment of the steel guitar, and he captured her gaze over the distance, singing only to her.

He’d written that song about her! Being thrown at full gallop couldn’t have jolted her harder. She gasped and leaned back in her chair.

Still dazed by the revelation, she couldn’t concentrate on the final four songs he performed. How many of his other songs were about her? The thought rattled her. She ordered another beer, and still her throat burned. Her mouth was dry.

Why hadn’t she figured it out sooner?

Only a Memory was one of her favorite songs. Probably because it resonated with her about him too.

The set finished, and he thanked the band for their backup. He walked off the stage to another standing ovation, rowdy applause, whistles and catcalls. Seth regained his chair beside her and took a long draw on a glass of water a waitress had brought him.

Mischief glimmered in his green eyes as he grinned. “So you just now figured it out?”

“I never realized that song was about me.”

He sipped his water and watched her. “A few of my songs are about you.”

She didn’t want to consider the possibility she’d inspired any of his songs. Most of his love songs were about lost or unrequited love. What did he really want from her?

She had to get away from him. Had to escape or she’d do something stupid and destroy her family. There was no doubt she wanted him, missed him, was lonely, and she was drunk. An extremely dangerous combination.

“I need to go home.” She wobbled to her feet and took off through the crowd toward the exit.

“Abby?”

She didn’t stop, but rushed out the swinging doors.

At the door of her Silverado, he caught up and took her arm. “You aren’t in any condition to drive. Where’s your friend?”

She shook her head. “She’s going home with–with her boyfriend.” He was right; she was too drunk to drive home. Tears threatened to fall, and she swallowed her pride as she fell into his arms. “Please, take me home.”

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Heartstrings will be available at retailers April 1, 2013.  Lyrical Press

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Photo credits © Sara Walter Ellwood. (all photos except for movie still were taken from my garden)

© movie still from Groundhog Day, 1993, Sony Pictures.

Categories: Blog Hop, Heartstrings, Out In The Garden | Tags: , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Sneak Peek Sunday–More from Heartstrings

Click here for the Lucky in Love Blog Hop

contemporary, western, romance, romantic suspense, contemporary western romance, contemporary western, cowboy, cowboy romance, Texas romance, Native American romance, country music star romance, miltary romance

Welcome to Sneak Peek Sunday!

Happy St Patrick’s Day!!

I’m continuing with giving snippets of my upcoming contemporary western romance release, Heartstrings. Today’s Sneak Peek comes later in the story and shows Seth with his one-time girlfriend, pop star Amanda Lang. This is one of my favorite scenes in the entire book. Just imagine a younger cross between George Strait and Toby Keith in a barn after rounding up cattle all day with a cross of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. I see that smile on your face already…..

“Eww… They say LA stinks. I’ll take the smog over country air any day.”ccontemporary western romance, cowboy romance, Texas romance, Native American romance, country music singer romance

“LA does stink.” He set the saddle in the tack room and returned with a brush. He’d ridden hard, and the gelding deserved a rubdown before being put out to pasture.

“Yeah, but not like this.” She covered her nose with a perfectly manicured hand. “Gawd!”

“And to think you wanted a roll in the hay. That’s what you’re smelling, by the way. Besides, the horses, the leather and me. I spent the day rounding up steers.”

“I change my mind. What the hell do all those women find attractive about cowboys?”

Chuckling, he brushed the sorrel’s red coat to a shine. He’d often wondered that himself.

Well, what do you think? Are cowboys sexy or would you rather have a guy in a suit and tie?

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Click here to check in with others offering Sneak Peeks

The rules are simple.

1. Sign up in the Linky List at http://sneak-peek-sunday.blogspot.com/. The Linky List will go live 12:01AM Monday and will close at 11:59PM Saturday night every week.

2. Post 6 paragraphs (no more, no less) from either a WIP or a published work. The post must be live by 9:00AM Sunday.

3. Open to both un-published and published authors.

4. Post the link back to Sneak Peek Sunday so that others can hop along.

5. HAVE FUN!!

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I’m sponsoring another western themed blog hop May 2 – 6.

cowboys, lawmen, sheriffs, Texas Rangers, contemporary western romance, romantic suspense.

Cowboys are known as bad-boys, but what happens when the bad-boy is also the law in town? What is it about these contradictions that make small town sheriffs, Texas Rangers and ex-outlaws-turned-lawmen so irresistible? Whether you write or love to read about the Wild West or modern day Montana, what do you love most about lawmen who are also cowboys? And what makes them so gosh-darn sexy?
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Sign ups are open until April 21. I send out the welcome and instruction email to all participants on April 23.  If you would like to take part, sign-up on Cowboy Charm.
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Categories: Heartstrings, Sneak Peek Sunday | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

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