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.
A few years ago I wrote Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride as a stand-alone paranormal, time travel western with no intention of writing another western or another book related to Harmonica Joe. Interesting enough, I went into writer’s block in the middle of writing Harmonica Joe and thought I might never finish it. I took a RWA writers’ class about writer’s block which helped and I got some great advice from a fellow writer who told me I needed to love my hero. Taking the techniques of the WB class and my friend’s advice, I did manage to finish Harmonica Joe’s story. In the end, Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride became a story very dear to me. So, you might think that would be the end of that…but it isn’t.
While creating the secondary character, Banjo, a homeless, streetwise, teenager, I found I really cared about that kid. He talked rough, didn’t mind mixing it up with someone hell bent on hurting someone he cared about, loved horses, and had a unique talent for inventing mechanical devices. I just couldn’t let him go, so I wrote his story. He almost lost his life on the battlefield during World War I, fell in love with his childhood sweetheart, found a lost relative, and settled down to raise a family in the fictional town of Hazard, Wyoming.
Was I satisfied? Nope. Naturally, Joe and Lola Wilding had some kids, Banjo had some kids, Banjo’s lost uncle, Teekonka Red Sky marries an English woman Banjo rescued along with her son and they had a son. I began to write about this second generation of Wildings which brought me into the era of World War II and the post war period of the 1940s and 1950s. Right now I’m writing about Banjo and Maggie’s twin boys Hank and Kit all grown up and in love. Teekonka and Jane’s son, Kyle, is the only second generation character left. He survived World War II, just as his cousins did, but his story will have more to do with his Lakota heritage than his war wounds.
And now what?
I have quite a few candidates for more stories because I’ve introduced another family, the Thoroughgoods, into Hazard along with some adopted children Juliet Wilding and Harry O’Connor raised, but it will take my stories into present day and out of Prairie Rose Publications because the company is for historical westerns. So, I’m at a crossroads. I haven’t decided whether to go ahead and roll into modern westerns with my Wilding family saga, move on to other families in historical Hazard, Wyoming, or to create something entirely different. I’m open to some opinions here and would love to hear what your thoughts are.
Just for fun, I’m giving away a digital copy of Hollow Heart, now out in a single, to someone who comments today.
Lost love and the hope for possibilities
Madeline Andrews is a grown up orphan. Sam Wilding made her feel part of his life, his family and swore he’d come home to her when the war ended, but he didn’t return. With the Valentine’s Ball just days away, the Wildings encourage Madeline to move forward with her life and open her heart to the possibilities. But Madeline is lost in old love letters and can’t seem to let go.
Joey glanced through the kitchen window at the snow falling in the yard. “I’ll do it right away. I wouldn’t want any of Dad’s patients sliding off the road into the ditch. When Mom and Juliet come home, they’ll need a clear road, too. I’d feel terrible if anything happened to them.” He turned back to Madeline and took the broom and bucket of cleaning supplies from her and followed her down the steps to his father’s office. “Did Juliet talk you into going to the Valentine Ball?”
Madeline smiled. “Who could resist the persuasive powers of Juliet Wilding? It’s like trying to take down a brick wall with a wooden spoon.” They both laughed.
“I’m glad. It won’t be so bad, and I can tell you for a fact all my cousins will be standing in line for a dance. Before you’ve had a dance with those idiots, I’ll take a turn first, before you’ve suffered too much damage. Hope you don’t mind some broken toes. None of us can dance worth a hoot.”
“Thank you, Joey. It makes me feel better to know I’ll be surrounded by men who are like brothers to me.” Madeline gave him a friendly swat on the arm.
“You can count on us to get you into trouble or get you out.” He spoke as he headed back up the steps toward the kitchen. “Well, guess I better get on a warm coat and hat and get out to the t
ractor. Get busy with those mops and brooms, girl; daylight’s wasting.” With a chuckle, he disappeared beyond the kitchen door.
Hollow Heart (single for 99 cents)
Hearts And Spurs Anthology
Just in case you want to know what my Wilding stories are, here’s a list according to the date of publication.
THE WILDINGS (in order of publication)
Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride (time travel/paranormal)
For Love of Banjo (sequel to Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride)
Fly Away Heart (novella)
A Husband for Christmas (short/also for sale as a single) included in Wishing for a Cowboy anthology
Hollow Heart (short Valentine theme) included in Hearts and Spurs anthology (now in single)
Unexpected Blessings (short) included in Lassoing a Bride anthology
Beast of Hazard (short) included in Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico vol. 1 anthology
When Love Comes Knocking (short) included in Present for a Cowboy Christmas anthology
Where you can find me: