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Thursday, May 15, 2014

New Release Thursday: For Love of Banjo by Sarah J. McNeal

Deceit stands between Banjo Wilding’s love for Maggie O’Leary and his search for the father he never knew.

Banjo Wilding wears a borrowed name and bears the scars and reputation of a lurid past.  To earn the right to ask for Margaret O’Leary’s hand, he must find his father and make something of himself.

Margaret O’Leary has loved Banjo since she was ten years old but standing between her and Banjo is pride, Banjo’s mysterious father and the Great War.


Hazard, Wyoming
October 1916
 Banjo Wilding sat on the back porch, dug in his pocket, unfolded the letter Belle left for him before she died and began to read it one more time. He pushed the wire-framed glasses up onto the bridge of his nose, spread the worn-out paper on his knee and read it for the hundredth time.
 Dear Banjo,
If you are reading this letter I must be dead. I left everything I own to you. Do what you want with the saloon but I ask you, as a favor to me, to help my employees find decent work and a home.
Your mother left a sealed envelope for you to deliver to Mr. Richard Dutton in New York City. His address is on the envelope. She wanted me to give it to you when I thought the time was right. When you find him, you’ll find your father.
I want you to have a wonderful life, Banjo, with a loving wife and family some day. You deserve it.
Best regards,
Annabelle Lee
When he finished, he folded it and placed it back in his pocket. A chilly wind bit at his cheek and overhead a red-tailed hawk flew on silent wings circling the pasture for some dinner—a rabbit probably. The smell of wood-smoke drifted on the wind and reminded him that autumn would soon turn into winter. He didn’t have much time left to make a decision about what to do. The snow grew mighty deep in Wyoming winters, and traveling anywhere would be at an end when that happened.

Sarah will be giving away a digital copy of FOR LOVE OF BANJO to one lucky commenter today! Be sure to leave your contact information in your comment--it may be your lucky day! If you just can't wait to see if you won, here are the links where you can find FOR LOVE OF BANJO in print and digital formats.

Book links  Amazon Trade  Kindle B&N Nook  Smashwords

About the Author:

Sarah McNeal is a multi-published author of several genres including time travel, paranormal, western and historical fiction. She is a retired ER nurse who lives in North Carolina with her four-legged children, Lily, the Golden Retriever and Liberty, the cat. Besides her devotion to writing, she also has a great love of music and plays several instruments including violin, bagpipes, guitar and harmonica. Her books and short stories may be found at Publishing by Rebecca Vickery, Victory Tales Press, Prairie Rose Publications and Painted Pony Books, an imprint of Prairie Rose Publications. She welcomes you to her website at 
Sarah’s Amazon Author’s Page:
Sweethearts Of the West:


  1. Intriguing excerpt. Great to meet you Sarah. Love 4 legged friends myself.

    1. Catherine, thank you for your kind words. I love my furry daughters, even when they're acting out,
      I love Banjo, too. When I first wrote him in as a secondary character in Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride, I had no idea he would steal my heart. Out on the streets since he was ten and raised by soiled doves, his life didn't get off to a good start. His unknown father haunts him. Banjo puts up a tough appearance, but Banjo hurts inside and doesn't feel worthy of Maggie's love.
      Thank you so much for commenting, Catherine.

  2. Sounds like a great story Sarah, I'd like to read this book. Are you a Scott, the Bagpipes is an unusual instrument to play.

    1. Julie, I am a member of the McNeal of Barra clan (it includes all the different spellings of our name). Mostly, my ancestors were pirates. They sank an English ship off the Isle of Barra during Culloden and every McNeal on Barra was sent to America in banishment. It wasn't until the 1950's that the clan was able to buy back our island and re-establish our chief who, by the way, still lives in the USA in North Carolina. Part of the clan was sent to Wilmington, NC, and the other part (mine), was sent to Nova Scotia. My dad wanted me to play the bagpipes and I loved musical instruments, so I learned to play them. They are very difficult to play, but so worth it. He was planning to build a boat before he died and he said he wanted me to stand on the bow of his boat and play my pipes as we sailed down Lake Norman. 2 of my 4 bagpipe instructors play in the Loch Norman Pipe Band. I wanted to be in the band, but I was never good enough. This is probably more information than you wanted. LOL
      Thank you so much for coming by and commenting.

    2. It's an adventure finding out about the clan history--like a detective story. It was also fun that Pop was so involved in it. I wish I could go back and ask him questions about things.

    3. I forgot my contact info.

  3. Sarah, I am so thrilled for you to have Banjo out again, this time with Prairie Rose Publications! I have to say again how much I love this cover that Livia did for the book--it just makes me want to pick it up and stare at it. LOL

    There's so much about Banjo that I just love. He's not the alpha hero that I normally take to, but just goes about his business quietly until the "moment" arises--and then...he takes out a knife and throws it or pops some sorry idiot in the nose and lays him out on the concrete, etc. And I love the way he assumes command of any situation. Swoonworthy, I tell ya!

    I love the Wildings--you've created a whole family and that's just beyond me. I don't know how you do it, but keep 'em coming!


    1. I love Banjo, too. When I wrote him into Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride as a secondary character, I knew he deserved his own story.
      You do know how to write a family saga--how about the Kincaid trilogy? I love that kid and I want to see him grow up and fall in love.
      I do love this cover for Banjo. It's just beautiful.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to drop by. I know you're swamped with work so I really appreciate it.

  4. Congrats on another awesome book, Sarah! I love the excerpt and the musical-instruments theme. xo

    1. Hey Tanya. Ya know, there was a time when I just thought musical themes for stories was what I wanted to do. So, I wrote The Violin, Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride, For Love of Banjo, and Bitter Notes (about an abandoned piano that will be published by PRP in the months to come.) I had no idea that I would start writing Wyoming westerns about those crazy Wildings. LOL
      Thank you so much for coming today, Tanya.

  5. Sarah, BANJO may be my favorite of the Wilding stories. I have to agree with Cheryl: Banjo is an uncommon hero -- not at all like the bad boys about whom I usually write and read -- but completely swoon-worthy. The way you presented his internal struggle is just heart-wrenching. I dare anybody to read this book and not think, almost from the very beginning, "Man, this guy SO needs a happy ending."

    I'm delighted you decided to re-release the Wilding chronicles with PRP, too -- not least because, over the months since the Christmas anthology WISHING FOR A COWBOY released, I've gotten to know you better, you crazy Southern Belle you.

    BIG HUGS, sister Prairie Rose!

    1. Me, too, Kathleen. What generous words you said in regard to Banjo. Of course, his happy ending is hard to come by. He has mountains to climb first. It's difficult to look at your own work from outside yourself, so I really count on y'all to give me feedback and perspective. I appreciate your assessment of Banjo. I wish I could say I studied some psychology books to get his character where I wanted it, but I don't really know where he came from, except maybe straight from my heart. I got some great advice once from another author. She said to put my whole heart into my characters. Although I may not always succeed, I try to follow that advice. Readers know when it's only half-hearted. I think I felt that when I read your story, Peaches. Your story brought up deep feelings of what it's like to lose someone you love.
      Thank you for always being there.

  6. Sarah, fascinating post and also your comment about the McNeal clan. What a great heritage. I also have Scots ancestry through the Johnstone family. I love your stories and eagerly await this new one about Banjo.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind remarks, Caroline. For Love of Banjo is a new-old story. Let me tell you, it got raked through with a fine toothed comb in edits. This revised edition practically IS a new story.
      My love for my dad made me love the family history and his stories. When I started taking lesson on the bagpipes, I also got an education about heritage from my instructors. Well, a person has to really care about there heritage to play the bagpipes. LOL What part of Scotland did the Johnstone clan hail from? Were they highlanders, islanders, or flatlanders?
      Thank you so much for your support, as always.

  7. Sarah,

    I always loved the title, but the except makes it even more intriguing. What a great gift to tell the story of this family. You do it well. Doris

  8. Doris, thank you so much for your kind words. Writers work alone in silence. It lifts us up better than applause to hear someone compliment our work. You really lifts spirits whenever you show up. Thank you for that.

  9. Sarah, congratulations on Banjo's release with PRP! I love book birthdays. :)

    Where did the name Banjo come from? I love it--it's so unusual.

  10. Hey Tracy
    I mentioned in a previous comment that I actually started out writing a musical series and tried to use a different musical instrument in the title. When I first wrote the character of Banjo in Harmonics Joe, he was going to be an old guy with an odd name. As the story evolved, I changed him to a young teenager raised in the streets. So Banjo has to live down his circumstances AND his odd name. Bitter Notes is the only musical story without an instrument in its title. I just couldn't think of anything clever enough.
    Thank you for asking that question and for coming by to support me, Tacy.

  11. The winner of my book, FOR LOVE OF BANJO is Julie Duffy. Congratulations, Julie. I hope you love Banjo, too. I'll get this right out to you.

  12. Thank you so much Sarah, I'm looking forward to starting it.

  13. Sarah,

    I'm sorry I'm late, but FOR THE LOVE OF BANJO sounds just wonderful. I'll definitely be snatching this one up and will look forward to meeting the other Wildings.

  14. Hey Kirsten, I'm just so happy you came. Thank you. If you do read For Love of Banjo, I hope you love him. The Wildings are fun to write about.

  15. Sarah, I'm in awe that you play the bagpipes. That's just incredible. ;-) I can't read music, but I can play a harmonica (by ear). My grandfather taught me how when I was about eight. Since I encountered PRP, I've been reading the comments and blog posts about your Wilding family. I'm going to need to introduce myself to them and get to reading their stories. ;-)

  16. Kaye, I'm so happy you had that experience with your grandfather when he taught you to play the harmonica. It meant so much to me to play with my dad.
    The bagpipes are complicated and difficult, but worth it. I wish I had more time to keep up my practice on them.
    PRP has tremendously talented authors. I'm so glad to be included. I hope you do read a Wilding story at some point, Kaye, and I hope, if you do, you will love them the way I do when I write about them.
    Thank you so uch for coming by and for your kind comments.