Writing Fiction Can Be A lot like An Emergency Room
When I retired from the ER back in 2009, I figured my unpredictable work had come to an end. I was wrong. Writing fiction doesn’t always unfold the way one might plan. So it was with me any way. I wrote my tome travel, paranormal western, Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride as a lone novel with no sequel, and most certainly not as a series about the Wilding family. First, that dang homeless rascal, Banjo, kept nagging at me until I had to write his story in the sequel, For Love Of Banjo. Banjo is a powerful character who manages to get his name in every story.
After that, I have written about the Wildings’ children and I’ve managed to get most of them married off one story at a time. But one character kind of bugged me from Banjo’s story—the widow, Penelope Thoroughgood. Even though Penelope’s daughter showed up in a story about another Wilding as a secondary character, I still had not written about the widow, Penelope. Banjo, in defense of his rakish life, once said of Penelope Thoroughgood, she had taught him about love, but he never said how. I left Penelope back there and never told her story or why Banjo said that about her—until now.
For the Christmas anthology, Present For A Cowboy, I wrote When Love Comes Knocking, Penelope’s story and just what took place between her and Banjo. The incident almost ruined her life. She had not had the best of life, but like most strong pioneer women, she managed to carve out a life for herself in spite of everything. She deserved more than just an existence. She deserved a good man and true love.
A lonely widow…an indiscretion…a gift for redemption
Penelope Witherspoon was charmed into marriage by Evan Thoroughgood only to learn she loved a philanderer, who gambled away his inheritance and drank too heavily. It came as no surprise that four months after their marriage, Evan was shot dead for cheating at cards. Since his death, Penelope has come to depend on his older brother, Gil. In fact, she has come to love and respect him. No two men could be further apart in character. But, if Gil learns of her secret indiscretion, he will want nothing further to do with her. What is Penelope to do?
Penelope sensed that Gil watched Banjo and her as they stood at the door. She tried to maintain a bland demeanor, but her whispered words were desperate. “Banjo, I must beg your discretion. Gil must never know about the night you spent with me…not ever.”
He leaned a little closer and kept his voice low so only she could hear. “I would never betray your trust. You should know that by now, Penelope. I think you care for Gil, and if you do, you need to tell him yourself.” He lifted his hand as if to touch her, but seemed to think better of it what with Gil staring at the two of them.
“I can’t do that. He’ll hate me. He’ll think I was disloyal to Evan’s memory, or worse, suspect there was something going on between you and me before Evan got killed. I would be mortified if he thought such a horrible thing of me.”
“Oh Penelope, you’re a decent woman. Gil knows you wouldn’t do such a thing. Honestly, you’re not giving the man credit.” He glanced toward Gil, then back to her. “I best get along, before he thinks we’re standing here plotting a get-together. You look guilty as hell right now. I’ll come by day after tomorrow to pick up the laundry. Goodnight until then.”
Just as an aside, since I mentioned Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride, the book that started the whole series of Wildings, I ought to mention that, for a limited time, is included in a boxed set of 5 western novels titled, A Cowboy's Brand, at Amazon for the insane price of 99 cents. If you don't take advantage of this sale, you are really missing out on the bargain of the century. Just sayin'.
And just because Prairie Rose Publications likes to do things in a huge way, there is a second boxed set of western novels for 99 cents at Amazon, titled A Cowboy's Heart.
It’s coming up Christmas soon and I want to give something away. So, I’m going to give away a digital copy of the Christmas anthology, Present For A Cowboy to someone who comments. Be sure to include your email address in your comment for a chance to win.
I hope all of you have a safe, happy, and wonderful holiday season.
Sarah McNeal is a multi-published author of time travel, paranormal, western, contemporary and historical fiction. Her stories may be found at Publishing by Rebecca Vickery and Prairie Rose Publications. Her website: http://www.sarahmcneal.com
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