A little “betcha didn’t know” about me

As most of you know, I consider myself a professional writer.  Yes, I am compensated for my work and I do offer this blog as a freebie for people to get an idea of my style and thoughts.  Today I’m going to have a little bit of fun and share with you some little-known things about me from a writing standpoint.  You may be rather surprised, or not at all.

I actually hated writing as a boy.

This can be directly attributed to the fact I preferred drawing, as well my teachers using writing as a punishment rather than a tool for creativity.  The “gulag” mentality within the Hazleton Area School District was rather strong in the 1980s.  Thank goodness the current generation of teachers eschew the “old ways” of writing 100 sentences as punishment.   True story:  I once was so quietly defiant about not finishing my homework, I had to write “I will not forget to do my homework” almost 700 times!  Yes, I still “forgot” afterwards.  I got into creative writing in high school because of a junior-year creative writing assignment in my English class which whet my appetite.  Of course, that would be the week we studied Thoreau, who seemed obsessed with death.  Go figure.

Pinky and The Brain were like a Masters’ program in subtle, comedic storytelling.

Cartoons and comics were more than just entertainment for me.

Like any child, I watched my share of cartoons and read my share of comics.  I loved a good episode Superman or Bugs Bunny, and fell in love with Transformers and other science fiction cartoons and comics.  I was always the first one geabbing the New York Daily News, which had one of Americas biggest Sunday funnies sections, and made sure to buy The Atlanta Constitution on Sunday while in college, without fail.  However, I rarely laughed at the comics and cartoons I took in, and the question on my mind was “why.”  That’s when it hit me; I wasn’t reading and watching for entertainment value, I was studying the work.  The storylines, the artwork, the flow, the voice acting, the errors and glitches were things I picked up on.  They became a quasi-fellowship in art as entertainment for me.  Where other kids laughed at the Flintstones and went “wow” at Voltron slicing an enemy in half, I marveled at the imagination, took in the stories of the origins of Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, and sat in amazement at the animation quality of GI Joe and Ducktales.  I was astonished at the fluidity of the Jetsons and raw, unpolished appeal of Yogi Bear.  What was entertainment for others was a classroom for me.

My first novel, A 38 Day Education, almost DIDN’T happen.

After writing a “memoir” of my days running my college newspaper, I shared it with some friends.  One strongly advised me to rework it to avoid any appearance of attacking anyone I knew.  My father, however, was the most instrumental person in getting this project off the ground, but rather indirectly.  It was my first foray into storytelling on a professional level which launched me down this path.  I had been mulling an “unauthorized story” of my career in circulation at the Tampa Bay Times following my departure from there when he had recommended I write an allegory instead of an actual account.  So I reworked it and loved it.  I loved creating the world of the Sun-Courier, molding the character of James Allister, making publisher Alan Phelps into the nasty uber-CEO type so reviled today.  After Paper Losses was finished and I received some genuine feedback from two close friends, that emboldened me to create universe of The Scope.

I write in a rather unusual fashion.

Every writer has their “quirk,” whether it is writing while doing the wash, dictating notes and listening to them over and over, or writing something out of left field to get the juices flowing, we each have our “thing.”  For me, I “talk” out the scenes and lay out each novel like a season of a television series.  I also write scenes as they come to me, rather than go strictly from an outline, and “stitch” the scenes together with transitional passages like a patchwork quilt.  It makes the process more fun and relaxing, and the end result are stories which tend to be very dialogue driven, fast paced, and meticulous in their details.

There are THREE more manuscripts ready after these two.

I have three more unpublished Scope manuscripts in the pipeline, but purchases of Change Rising dictate their future for now.

Change Rising, the second book of the Scope series, is contracted to Sarah Book Publishing.  They also hold the option for the next three novels afterwards.  This means that the survival of the Scope series in the near term is mostly dependent on sales of Change Rising.  Of course right now the book world is hypercompetitive and there are scores of “celebrity” novels which get far better marketing backing than “indie” authors such as myself.  This requires small authors to be more innovative and nimble.  The upshot, however, is immense creative control.  Long story short, I call the shots on my stories, and that’s how I like it.

While I fully support anyone’s dream to write, I also recognize many aspiring writers just don’t have the novel chops.

I will never tell someone to give up on a dream, but I encourage them to be realistic.  Novel writing is a passion, but many novelists are unsuccessful at translating that to a full-time career.  There are a ton of popular writers whose work is mediocre at best in terms of language and plot quality, but are still entertaining stories nonetheless and, thus, sell quite well.  There are many more authors whose books are phenomenal stories but, for whatever reason, languish in obscurity.  Hard work is only a small part of it, though an important part.  The single biggest factor in terms of being a successful novelist is one many aspiring writers just can’t face:  blind luck.  I encourage a budding young writer to chase their dream, but I also implore them to find an interest which can serve as a “backup plan” in case that dream can only be lived as a hobby.

Which leads me to my last little known fact about me.

I was once called a “lazy writer” by a college professor.

In fairness, that professor was, at that time, quite right.  I gave up on a story too easily.  Rather than follow through, I found the easiest, laziest plot device to get myself out of a jam.  When he wrote that comment on an assignment I thought was actually really good, I was quite irritated and decided that I would, one day, show him I was not lazy.  While I consider myself far from lazy today, there are moments I want to break out some tried-and-true lazy plot devices, such as depressed girls huddled up eating ice cream from a carton, or an angry young boy smashing mailboxes.  This is mainly when I can’t solve a plot problem and I avoid it like the plague.

So there you are, with a little more knowledge about me as a writer.  Please take the time to check out the rest of this site and try not to throw any foam bricks at me when you see me.  Real bricks are far more effective messengers.


Author Simone Salmon releases “Camille and the Bears of Beisa-Drafnel” through Solstice Publishing

"Camille and the Bears of Beisa-Drafnel" was recently released by Solstice Publishing.

“Camille and the Bears of Beisa-Drafnel” was recently released by Solstice Publishing.

As my guardian angel instructed, I wrapped a small piece under the ribbon tied around my braid. I noticed Miss Mattie’s immediate reaction. Her harsh tone gentled and she even allowed me to eat with her at the dining table. A welcomed change, my nerves were still on guard, unsure of how long Miss Mattie’s tolerance would last. Against my better judgment, I decided to ask about Caleb and Cassandra.

“Miss Mattie, do you think I can visit with my sister and brother sometime soon?”

Growling, Miss Mattie cocked her head and then swung around to face the door. Her eyes rolled back into their sockets. Her head snapped back as she sniffed the air.

“Why are you sitting at this table?”

I warned you, Grandmother. Leave the table now!

Miss Mattie’s neck protruded as her limbs extended. Fingers mutated into claws and hind legs ripped through her lower extremities. Wiry tufts of hair sprouted all over her body. Her face contorted and elongated as saliva slimed down enlarged jowls. My hand stifled the scream roaring through my head.

Get up and walk away slowly. Do not turn your back on it. Now!

From Camille and the Bears of Biesa-Drafnel by Simone Salmon

Hello, book enthusiasts!  Yes, it has been a while, but we are back with another Solstice Publishing author, Simone Salmon, author of Camille and the Bears of Beisa-Drafnel, a fantasy-thriller filled with intrigue, adventure, and surprises at every turn.  As usual, B&B lets the author’s work speak for itself, and Simone’s work has received praise from many peers, including screenwriter and author Robert Blake Whitehill of the Ben Blackshaw Series:

This story operates in many rich dimensions. It reads like a graphic novel, but without need of illustrations, as the events explode like fireworks in the mind’s eye. What an amazing piece of writing!”

Simone Salmon, author and Certified Reiki Practitioner, has released "Camille and the Bears of Beisa-Drafnel."

Simone Salmon, author and Certified Reiki Practitioner, has released “Camille and the Bears of Beisa-Drafnel.”

Salmon describes herself as a “spiritual truthseeker,” who embraces and appreciates many different spiritual pursuits, including appreciation of psychic phenomena.  On her blog, she showcases many emerging authors and offers services as a Certified Reiki and Pranic practitioner.  Salmon is a native Jamaican who moved to New York and resides there while, in her words, work on her “exit strategy from Corporate America.”  Let’s welcome Simone to the Books & Blondes Cafe with a hearty hug, a raised mug, and checking out her work!

Some of Simone’s other links:

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

Twitter: @miraclemindcoac

Website: www.ssalmonauthor.com

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/simsalmon/

Dee Dawning drops by for “Day One”

Click here to watch the book blast trailer
Old Man Winter has decided to make yet another layover in Atlanta this week.  Since ice, rain and possible snow are keeping us preoccupied, it’s time to escape into a hot, steamy world with Dee Dawning.  Somehow, she managed to dodge this mess and get us the juice on “Day One.”
The Sensual Awakening Series is an ongoing series of ménage a trois books from Dee Dawning, a longtime writer of erotica and erotic romance. The first three volumes, Jasmine’s Urban Cowboys, Sharing Brenda and Victoria’s Secret Life are contemporary westerns set around the fictional Tawny Hills Ranch near Dallas Texas.
The last three books, Playtime with Sera, Naked Research and Fancy Lady & the Desperadoes are also ménage a trois books by Dee Dawning, but in unconnected settings.

      Book Blast Day 1. Featuring Jasmine’s Urban Cowboys.

After a nightmare divorce, Jasmine is ready to celebrate. That night, with sex on her mind, she meets two attractive men. What should she do?   
click the image to buy the book
If you like warmth, live in Arizona like Dee Dawning does. If you like to read hot sexy stories born and raised in the sweltering summer heat of Arizona, check out his scribblings.
Dee has been writing saucy romance stories and other novels for twelve years. At this time, he has forty-four titles available.

Dee & his lovely wife currently reside in Carefree, Arizona, where he writes a novella every three to four months and a novel every six to eight months.  


After a nightmare marriage and a bitter divorce, Jasmine is ready to celebrate big time. Jaz meets Ted and Gabe, two deliciously attractive, available men. Having spent a celibate year waiting for her divorce, waking up in the arms of a gorgeous hunk after a night of hot sex was at the top of Jaz’s list. Either of these dreamboats would be wonderful, but which one? When she has trouble deciding Jaz makes the decision. If either of them would be good, then both of them would be twice as good!
With that thought burning into her psyche, Jaz returns determined to seduce not one, but both of the ready and willing studs. What follows is a sexy, sometimes humorous story where the things that happen that night entwine all their lives.
click the banner to visit Dee Dawning on Amazon
“What do you think?” she asked.
He took a deep breath. “I think…you have…a great pair of legs.”
After laughing, she grabbed a handful of grass and flicked it at him. Gabe jerked a hand up to block most of the grass and laughed. Then he set her foot on the ground. “You have a nice little scrape, but you’ll live.”
He reached in the water, scooped a handful, and poured it over her scraped knee. She jumped. “It’s hot.”
“I know. It stays at an even 90 degrees. Wild Horse Spring is a hot spring. Ted and I used to come here and go skinny dipping when we were kids.”
“Mmmm. That sounds like such fun. Ever had a girl here?”
“I plead the Fifth Amendment.”
“C’mon, tell me?”
“Not for years and none as beautiful as you. I have a medical kit in my saddlebag. I’ll dress your knee when we get ready to leave. Now, let me take a look at that ankle.” He lifted her foot up near his face. “Ooh, it’s a little swollen, not bad. Does this hurt?”
He touched it with his forefinger and she flinched. “Yes, a little.”
“Let’s turn you around and soak the ankle. The spring has medicinal qualities, too.”
Gabe swung her around on the grass and she dipped her foot into the spring.
“How does it feel?”
“Nice. How deep is the lake?”
“It’s a foot or two around the edge and about five feet in the middle. What are you doing?”
She pulled her top over her head. “I’m going swimming.” She pulled her bra off. “Care to join me?” She slid into the pond, which dropped off some two feet from the edge. She slipped her panties over her hips, down into the water, below her knees, and stepped out of them. Catching the panties on her right foot, she raised them to her waiting hand and raised the soaking wet undies above her head. She swung them around and threw them at Gabe. Hitting him in the face, she giggled. “I’m waiting, lover.”
Gabe stripped down in record time and dove into the water, right past her. She turned and looked for him but couldn’t spot him. She edged into the deeper water, up to her breasts, looking for him without locating him.
Without warning, she felt hands parting her thighs, a second before a large object, his head, slipped between them. Soon, her entire body rose out of the water on Gabe’s broad shoulders, only to get submerged as he fell backward into the warm water.
After regaining her footing, she surged upward and as her head emerged, shook her head, her long black locks trailing, and inhaled deeply. When her eyes and ears cleared, she saw and heard Gabe laughing. He stood in the shallow water, wet and naked like a god, with rays of sun filtering onto him through the trees. His bold, wet, sunlit manhood made her mouth water and neither regions wet.
He smiled sensuously as she sashayed up to him, and he tried to kiss her, but she avoided his lips and shoved him backward. 




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An interview with Bernard Foong, author of “A Harem Boy’s Saga” (Note: Intended for Mature Audiences)

It’s been a busy, busy week, but as always, we find time for new and emerging authors!  Now that the blonde is brewed, we can settle in and have a chat with Bernard Foong, author of A Harem Boy’s Saga.  Please, bear in mind, some of this material may not be safe for work, inappropriate for readers under 18, and uncomfortable for others – please, be aware of this before reading.  That legalese out of the way, time to pour some joe and have some fun shooting the breeze with Bernard!

author's portrait

Thanks for stopping in today!  What can you tell us about your current work in progress?

I’m working on A Harem Boy’s Saga – book IV – Turpitude; a memoir by Young. It’s a lengthy process since there are a lot of my young life experiences to cramp into each volume. Each book is approximately 3 months of my life, spend in service at a total of 7 different Arab Household harems.

INITIATION- image - high resolution

For readers who don’t know what A Harem Boy’s Saga is about, here is a synopsis:

A Harem Boy’s Saga – Book I – Initiation; a memoir by Young.

This provocative story is about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society. He was spirited to the Middle East, from his UK boarding school. He attended the Bahriji School (Oasis,) in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for serving in Harems for the wealthy and elite.

It is also a love story between the young man and his ‘Valet’ who served as his chaperone and mentor during the boy’s Harem service.

Author’s note:

I had a privileged and unique upbringing in Malaysia. Following in my brothers’ footsteps, I was sent to an exclusive boarding school in England. It is there that I was inducted into a clandestine organization, E.R.O.S. The Enlightened Royal Oracle Society. For four years, unbeknown to my family, I was willingly and happily part of a Harem.

My story has been kept under wraps for close to 45 years. The correct moment has arrived for me to make known my unique education.

There are 7 books to this series.

What’s your primary method of writing?  Do you brainstorm, work from an outline, or just jot down whatever comes to mind?

Writing a memoir or an autobiography is vastly different from writing a fictional novel. I’m writing about events, situations and emotional feelings that had happened, of ‘remembrance of things past.’ My outline, inspirations come from an abundance of old photographs, journals/diaries I had kept during the various periods of my life.

Although in the books, I’ve changed the names and places to protect myself and those involved, the experiences and events that happened are true. The creative part of my writing are in the dialogue throughout the books. Although I am able to remember the overall gist of what was said, I had to make up the dialogue since it’s been over 40 odd years since these events/situations occurred.

Who inspired you to get into writing as a profession?

An inner calling told me to document my unique education. Now, is the correct moment to tell my story. Other factors that influenced me to write are:

  • Provide Tolerance to Sissy Boys by understanding parents/peers and the community.

Anderson Cooper 360 documentary on the devastating treatment of effeminate boys influence me to tell my story.

  • Bullying can be Avoided through Big Brother/Big Sister volunteer programs in school or outside school system. Older students acting as mentors to younger students.
  • Gay Adolescent Tolerance – parents/child/siblings relationship issues.

Support/mentorship program to all parties involved to foster understanding and acceptance of Gay kids.

  • Provide an Alternative Educational System;

Understanding Big Brother/adolescent mentorship programs in schools, BB as protector to keep younger kids from being bullied.

  • Human Relationship Building Program;

Between parents/teachers and young students on sexual topics/issues, especially when adolescent are just discovering their sexuality. They can be guided on a healthy and honest sexual journey instead of “don’t ask, don’t tell” hide it behind the closet policy.

What has been the biggest challenge for you as a writer?

Staying focus to write daily especially writing a 7 volume epic saga of my adolescent teenage life. I had considered changing the book main title to The Chronicles of A Harem Boy instead of A Harem Boy’s Saga but my literary agent advised me not to.

Let’s go silly for a moment – if you could be any character from a TV series, who would it be and why?

I love the BBC TV miniseries, Downton Abbey. I will like to Lady Mary. She is elegant, cool, sophisticated, worldly and stylish. Not to say I’m not all of the above but I miss the wealth I was inducted into during my young years.

Do you have a particular favorite spot to write?  How about a favorite food or drink to stoke the ingenuity?

I move between my writing desk in my workroom and the lanai (balcony). It is very pleasant to sit outdoors to write, especially when living in Hawaii. The winters here (like now) are very temperate and cool. Perfect place to write and be surrounded by nature.

What sort of advice can you give to those who are just getting into this field?

Stay focus. My modus operandi: the 3Ps: Perseverance, Persistence & Patience.

A Harem Boy’s Saga amazon sales site (E-books and Print booka for Initiation, Unbridled and Debauchery) links shorten:

US amazon: http://amzn.to/1qmL75W
UK amazon:  http://amzn.to/1tUUU7Y

No Distance Between Us amazon sales link:


US amazon: http://amzn.to/1Asn0fO

Website: http://aharemboysaga.com/wp/

Blog: http://bernardfoong.typepad.com/in_the_harem

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bfoong1


Twitter @aharemboysaga

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/haremboysaga/a-harem-boys-saga/ (contains adult contents)

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/trisf2013 (contents adult contents)

Amazon Author’s Page: http://www.amazon.com/A-Memoir-by-Young/e/B00CENKJKM

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2992700.Young

Video trailer for all the 3 books in A Harem Boy’s Saga series (conservative version): http://youtu.be/F0Lv80yhhq0

Talking sci-fi with Nathaniel Danes, author of “The Last Hero.”

Last Hero cover art

It’s a cold day here in Atlanta, but the Blonde Roast is hot, we are sipping away and relaxed while doing some people watching here at the shop.  Of course, this wouldn’t be “Books & Blondes” without a book to discuss, and so we welcome in Nathaniel Danes, author of “The Last Hero,” a sci-fi adventure available on Amazon.

Thanks for stopping in today!  What can you tell us about your current work in progress?

Thanks for having me. Right now I have two novels in the pipeline. Books 2 and 3 from THE LAST HERO trilogy. Book 2, THE LAST REVENGE, is in editing and should be out in the spring. I’m also around 20,000 words into the first draft of the final installment, THE LAST STAND OF THE 1ST LEGION. I’m aiming to have that out in the fall.  The first book in the series, THE LAST HERO, came out in October of last year.

What’s your primary method of writing?  Do you brainstorm, work from an outline, or just jot down whatever comes to mind?

I first develop a thin outline of the story in my head. I’ve got the major bullet points of the beginning, middle and end figured out before I put pen to paper, or more accurately put, open Pages on my iPad Mini.

I just start writing and let the story develop in the moment. It’s fun that way because even I don’t really know how things will turn out for my favorite characters. One day I was feeling down and my wife asked what was wrong. I told her one of my favorite characters died and I really thought they would make it. She didn’t understand,

Who inspired you to get into writing as a profession?

I’ve always wanted to write but never really got the bug until I read the THE FOREVER WAR a couple years back. I’m a life long SciFi fan but generally only read military history. I stumble upon THE FOREVER WAR one day and was hooked. After reading a couple dozen other books, my own stories started itching to get out.

What has been the biggest challenge for you as a writer?

I’m dyslexic and almost blind, so the written word has been a life long challenge. It’s taken decades of k-12, college, graduate school and a day job that demands high quality written communication for me to sharpen my skills to the point where I could attempt to write a novel.

What followed was about three years of writing and writing and rewriting until I felt comfortable with submitting my first novel to a publisher.

Let’s go silly for a moment – if you could be any character from a TV series, who would it be and why?

Captain James T. Kirk. Does that really need an explanation?

Do you have a particular favorite spot to write?  How about a favorite food or drink to stoke the ingenuity?

There is a recliner in my front room I like to lean back in and thumb away on my iPad Mini. A lot of people are surprised to learn every word in my 90,000-plus word novels were typed by thumb on an iPad 2 and now my mini. It sounds cumbersome to most but given my vision issues, an iPad is the ideal tool for me. The slower typing speed also allows me to organize my thoughts as I go.

As for favorite drink to spur the mind, whiskey. A glass of Johnnie Walker Black or Makers Mark is always sure to get me out of a jam.

What sort of advice can you give to those who are just getting into this field?

Just to simply keep at it and don’t rush it. Write and write and write, then rewrote and rewrite. More times than not, victory is granted to those who want it the most,

For our readers, here’s a little excerpt from “The Last Hero”:

Trent knelt down where Anna could throw her arms around his neck. She pulled against him tight and started crying again. Tears rolled down his face as he whispered, “I love you more than you can understand. I’m sorry.”

Her cries downed out his soft words.

After a minute, Trent summoned all of his strength to break free of her hold. Standing, he shared a look with Madison. She wrapped him in a loving, warm hug.

This time she did the whispering, “Remember what I told you. Make them pay.”

He pulled away, nodding as he placed his hand on Anna’s sobbing head.

“I’ll see you both again someday. I promise.” The words bound him to a promise he wasn’t sure he could keep.

Nathaniel’s Author Page on Amazon can be found here… https://www.amazon.com/author/nathanieldanes

Sitting down with author Casey Knight


It’s a wonderful Friday, everyone!  The weekend is upon us, and our daily lives are about to give way to some relaxation – at least we hope!  The blonde roast is brewed, cream and sugar are in the cup, and we just doing our thing.  Of course, it’s not “Books & Blondes” with some writing to talk about, so we welcome in today Casey Knight, author of the fantasy thriller Dragon Down.  She has given us the honor of sharing some time with us. 

Thanks for stopping in today!  What can you tell us about your current work in progress?

I’m working on book three of the Lauren Simon series called Supernatural Games. It is a takeoff the London Olympics for supernaturals.

What’s your primary method of writing?  Do you brainstorm, work from an outline, or just jot down whatever comes to mind?

I research my ideas and then I start jotting down ideas as they develop. These ideas usually morph into a theme I can work with.

Who inspired you to get into writing as a profession?

I am a huge fan of Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and Kim Harrison.

What has been the biggest challenge for you as a writer?

Finding the uninterrupted time to write, I have found that I cannot force the process.

Let’s go silly for a moment – if you could be any character from a TV series, who would it be and why?

I think I would be the Arrow because he is flawed but, he is honorable.

Do you have a particular favorite spot to write?  How about a favorite food or drink to stoke the ingenuity?

I have an office which I enjoy spending time in. It has the right amount of sunshine, music and a comfortable work station. The beverage of choice for my writing is diet coke.

What sort of advice can you give to those who are just getting into this field?

Believe in the process and yourself. I enjoy writing and I trust that people will enjoy reading my work.

Thanks, Casey!  Ladies and gentlemen, please check out Casey’s Amazon page here!  In the coming weeks, we will be featuring several emerging authors, including Nathaniel Danes, Dee Dawning and others.  Be sure to check back frequently, as you never know who may drop in to say hi!

Talking “Mounted” with Barbara Morgenroth!

Hello everyone!  I know it’s been some time since we had an author really come in and give us some serious juice to punch up the caffeine of our coffee, but Barbara Morgenroth has given us the privilege of making Books & Blondes one of the stops on her 2015 Blog Tour!  Barbara, it’s all yours now!


1) I thought my life would change.  It didn’t change at all until I had published about five books and then wrote what’s now titled Just Kate.  That book opened the door to television writing for me.
2) I thought the publisher would get my books into stores so readers could find them.  That doesn’t happen unless you’re Stephen King.
3) I thought I would have written many more books by now than I have but since I’ve learned more, I write slower.
4) I didn’t realize how wonderful it would be to self-publish and have the enormous freedom I have now.
5) I didn’t know how much fun I would have designing the covers to my ebooks.
6) I didn’t know how much I would enjoy sharing my publishing experience with other writers.  The internet makes it so easy to find a community.
7) I didn’t know how much work it entails to write the book, edit it, do all the designing and formatting then do all the reaching out to readers so they can find my work.
8) I didn’t know when I started my career how much it would change in so short a time period.  I didn’t dream paper publishing would become a dinosaur so quickly.
9) I didn’t know that I would do all my fiction reading on a tablet, given that when I started my career tablets hadn’t been invented yet, I can be forgiven for not being psychic on that point.
10) I didn’t know how much I would love being able to so easily connect with readers and be able to chat about the books.  I’ve named characters in my books after my fans, I’ve consulted them on what they’d like
to see happen and I feel like we’re friends.  Whether on Facebook or my blog, I heard from someone ever day.  That’s a blessing I never imagined.


Bittersweet Farm 1

When a handsome new trainer arrives at Bittersweet Farm, the competition between half-sisters is no longer limited to the show ring. Talia Margolin’s life has been marked by events completely beyond her control–her mother’s death, her move to her father’s horse farm, the retirement of her show horse.
Now she faces the arrival of a new coach whose job is to get Talia’s half-sister, Greer, qualified for the finals at the National Horse Show. Greer is brutal on trainers but Lockie Malone is different. Handsome, talented, and with a will of hardened steel, Lockie can be an immovable object. He also becomes the agent for change in the lives of everyone at Bittersweet Farm.
For seventeen year old Talia, change has never meant anything but loss. Will this time be different?
An hour later, we were looking at the
X-rays he had taken.
“You can see some bone changes here and
here.” Dr. Fortier pointed. “And he’s got some arthritis. It’s normal for a
horse his age.”
“There’s nothing we can do, is there?”
“Make him comfortable,” Dr. Fortier said.
“You can give him some supplements, Bute for pain. You can hack out in the
woods once in a while, but his show days are over.”      

“Did I do this to him?”
“Age did,” Lockie replied.
“Horses only look strong and everyone
starts to wear with age. It’ll happen to you, too,” Dr. Fortier said with a
I didn’t feel like smiling and went into
Butch’s stall while Lockie and the vet went outside.
We had been together since before my mother
died. She’d been ill for a few years and it was obvious to me that she was
never going to get better. She had a transparency overtaking her where each day she faded a bit more. 
My father had been managing almost
everything for those years as it became progressively more difficult for her to conduct her life. He made the arrangements for the hospitals and the doctors and begged her to marry him again and again until she finally gave in so that
my future wouldn’t be in question. 
He moved us to the farm and to give me
something to try to take my heart and mind off what was happening, Butch was
found for me. 
Greer hated it. Blaming my mother for destroying her own family, she didn’t want me in the house. That September a boarding school in Virginia became her new home; she was as happy as Greer ever is. Her mother is still happily living in London on the extremely generous divorce settlement my father offered.
I had Butch and quiet and ever-present apprehension.
Then the time came when even with full time nursing, my mother had to go to the hospital and she never came home. My father returned to the city, a nanny was brought in for me, and a trainer. I lived alone for the rest of that school year. When Greer came back from Virginia, we started in on the serious equitation and junior hunter training.
The rug had been pulled out from under me again and I buried my face in Butch’s neck and cried.
“Talia,” Lockie said from behind me. “He’s retiring, not dying.”
“He’s my best friend.”
“We’ll get you a new friend.”
“Idiot,” I said, turned and pushed past him.
Barbara was born in New York City but now lives at Black Cat Farm.
Envisioning a career as a globe-hopping photojournalist, after college she determined her hop muscles weren’t global strength so turned to writing.
No life experience is safe from her keyboard and Barbara has proved that being a magnet for story material may be overstimulating to live through but it’s all ultimately research.
Comment on the blog and be entered into the giveaway for a copy of Mounted; Bittersweet Farm 1. Barbara will announce the winner later today in the comments section, so be sure to check back.