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Wednesday, January 3, 2018



I’ve been writing about the Wildings for several years. It all started with a time travel western romance in which Lola Barton inherits a haunted plantation in Virginia from a mysterious relative who terrified her on the one occasion of their meeting. Lola falls into an antique trunk that takes her back to 1910 just in time to hear the words, “I now pronounce you man and wife.” She is immediately accosted by a horrible man who thinks she’s another woman named Callie. With nowhere else to turn, Lola goes home with her new husband Joe Wilding. I only intended to write this one story, HARMONICA JOE’S RELUCTANT BRIDE, but something happened.
Banjo, an intelligent and courageous, albeit wild teenager raised by whores until he was 10 saved Lola’s life, almost died in the attempt, and won my heart. I simply could not let go of him until I wrote his story in a sequel to Harmonica Joe. Joe’s father adopted Banjo and gave him the last name of Wilding in the novel FOR LOVE OF BANJO.
My fictional town of Hazard, Wyoming cast a spell over me (I have to blame it on something so it may as well be magic) and I decided to write about the second generation of Wildings: Joe and Lola’s two daughters and one son and Banjo and Maggie’s 3 sons, the last two of whom are twins. I also brought to Hazard Teekonka Red Sky who has been searching for his nephew, Banjo. He falls in love with the English immigrant Jane Pierpont who has been raising her son, Robin, on her own after her husband died on the Titanic.
I have written stories of the Wilding children now all grown in the 1950’s. The last of Banjo’s twin sons, Kit Wilding ,a survivor of WWII with battle fatigue now called PTSD has settled into marriage in the story IT’S ONLY MAKE BELIEVE is about to release on January 15, 2018 with Prairie Rose Publications imprint, Fire Star Press.
My final story is with Kyle Red Sky and Mia Beckett. Because it is the final book in the Wilding series I will bring the entire clan together one last time to say goodbye. I can’t let them go without some kind of acknowledgement. These characters have been like my family all this time. I have lived through their adventures, heartbreak, and triumphs. I have fallen asleep thinking about them and I confess I will miss them.
You might wonder what I’m going to do now. I’m starting with my contribution to the SWEET TEXAS CHRISTMAS anthology for Prairie Rose this year with A Christmas Visitor. The hero of my story, Sterling Thoroughgood, has one last stop before he leaves Texas to make his way home to the growing little town of Hazard, Wyoming.
Have you ever written a series? Was it hard to let go of your characters? How did you write the final volume in your series?


HARMONICA JOE’S RELUCTANT BRIDE (time travel western novel)
This book is where the Wildings series begins with Joe and Lola in the fictional town of Hazard, Wyoming 1910
Logline: A haunted house, a trunk and a date with destiny.
Buy links: AMAZON 

Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride is included in a 5 novel collection titled A COWBOY’S BRAND by veteran western authors.

Buy Link: A Cowboy’s Brand

Banjo was the street wise teenager, raised by prostitutes that Joe and Lola took compassion on and Joe’s father, Ben, adopted. World War I era story in which Banjo searches for his biological father and attempts to prove he’s worthy of Maggie, the woman he loves.
Logline: Deceit stands between Banjo Wilding’s love for Maggie O’Leary and his search for the father he never knew.

A HUSBAND FOR CHRISTMAS (year 1919 short story also included in the Christmas anthology titled WISHING FOR A COWBOY as well as a single)

Buy Link: AMAZON)

While in New York, Banjo saved an English immigrant, Jane Pierpont and her son, Robin, and brought them to Wyoming. Banjo’s uncle, Teekonka Red Sky, has fallen for the widow Jane, but his chances of winning her are slim…until one magical Christmas…
Logline: A night of horror… a wish for a new life...and a secret love

Buy Link: AMAZON

FLY AWAY HEART (novella Great Depression era)

Lola and Joe’s oldest daughter, Lilith, has fallen in love with the English lad, Robin Pierpont, whom Banjo saved along with Jane, the boy’s mother for a factory fire. But now they’re grown and Robin, who loves flying airplanes, finds himself in a desperate flight to save Lilith.  
Logline: The Great Depression…Rum Runners and Old Fears…Love Against the Odds
FLY AWAY HEART is also in a collection of sweet western romance novellas titled
LOVE’S FIRST TOUCH (collection of 5 sweet western romance novels)
that includes myself and 3 other western writers,  Celia Yeary Sarah McNeal Meg Mims Agnes Alexander and Karen Mihaljevich 


HOLLOW HEART (post World War II short story also included in the Valentine anthology, HEARTS AND SPURS as well as a single)

The grown up orphan, Madeline, was engaged to marry Sam Wilding, Banjo’s oldest son. But when the War ends, Sam doesn’t return and now Madeline is faced with a lifetime ahead without him. Now what?
Logline: Lost love and the hope for possibilities

Buy Links for short story: AMAZON KINDLE 

THE BEAST OF HAZARD (1940’s short story included in the Halloween anthology, COWBOYS, CREATURES, AND CALICO, Volume 1)
Joe and Lola’s youngest child and only son, Joey Wilding, has transformed the family ranch into a veterinary clinic where he treats anything from house cats to cattle. He meets a circus performer who finds herself in desperate straights.
Logline: A Terrorized Town…A Killer Beast…And Deliverance

The Beast of Hazard is available as a single, but if you’re looking for a real bargain, you can buy a boxed set that includes COWBOYS, CREATURES, AND CALICO VOLUMES 1&2. Volumes 1&2 Boxed Set

UNEXPECTED BLESSINGS (1950’s short story also included in the summer anthology,

Joe and Lola Wilding’s youngest daughter, Juliet, has cancelled her wedding to Harry O’Connor when she learns some devastating news. What happens next may surprise them both.
Logline: A broken dream…a cancelled wedding…and an unexpected blessing

Buy Links for the single: Amazon 

WHEN LOVES COMES KNOCKING (a short story also included in the Christmas anthology, A PRESENT FOR A COWBOY) Buy Link: AMAZON   

This story takes you back to 1910 before Banjo was adopted by Ben Wilding. Later in his life, Banjo speaks kindly of the widow, Penelope Thoroughgood. When Love Comes Knocking is the widow Penelope’s story which takes place at Christmas time.

Logline: A lonely widow…an indiscretion…a gift for redemption

Buy Links:  Amazon 

HOME FOR THE HEART (Contemporary Wilding novel)

Love doesn’t come easy…for some, it may never come at all.

Lucille Thoroughgood is a social worker for orphan children. She is known to the town’s folk as dependable, logical, determined, and…well…stubborn. But Lucille has a secret affection for the determined bachelor, Hank Wilding.
Hank Wilding loved hard and lost. He has sworn to never marry. After Lucille makes a bargain with him, he agrees to allow troubled and physically challenged children from the orphanage to ride his horses as equine therapy. One of the orphans is a half Lakota boy, Chayton, who reminds Hank of his own father’s painful childhood. 
But a Lakota prophesy holds a shadow over the rejected, embittered teenager, threatens the happiness of the inhabitants of Hazard, Wyoming, and may end in tragedy for Lucy.


Smoothing her hands over her lavender shirtwaist dress, Lucy took a deep breath. Hank is never going to be interested in a plain woman like me. She turned from the mirror just as she heard the knock on the front door downstairs.

Her mother called up the stairs. “Lucy, honey, Hank is here.”

A thrill rippled through Lucy’s core. Hank. Handsome, unattainable, Hank Wilding. A reminder flashed through her mind. Even if she was beautiful, it wouldn’t matter. Hank was a self-proclaimed bachelor. Guard your heart, Lucille Thoroughgood. It will only get broken.

The sight of Hank standing with his hat held politely in his hands at the bottom of the stairs caused her heart to leap into her throat and beat so fast she could barely breathe. Her hands shook from the surge of adrenaline. No man should be that beautiful. A lock of his bronzed hair had an enticing way of falling over his brow. She wanted so much to touch it and sweep it back just so she could feel its texture. Hank gazed up the stairs at her with his dark brown eyes and seemed to hold her in his spell. And if that wasn’t enough, he grinned at her in that charming, crooked way she found so endearing. It wasn’t often Hank smiled. He frowned most of the time. It was a good thing, too, because, if he did smile often, women all over town would be swooning at his feet.

Buy Links:
Amazon:  Kindle     Paperback

Releases January 15, 2018:
IT’S ONLY MAKE BELIEVE (contemporary Wilding romance)

June believed Kit loved her…until she married him

June Wingate has just married the man of her dreams only to overhear a conversation at her wedding reception regarding the truth about why he married her and that her marriage is a pretense. Her heart and trust are broken. 
The newly elected mayor of Hazard, Kit Wilding, needs a wife because the town demands that their mayor be a married man. He trusts June, but now that they’re married, his wife has become distant and secretive. Kit wants to fix things. He is not the kind of man to give up easily.


A loud slap echoed through the house. June’s hand stung as she placed it back in the pocket of her dressing gown, part of her vast trousseau paid for by her parents.
Kit stepped back and rubbed his reddened cheek with his left hand while Snort, Kit’s dog, barked. June couldn’t help but notice the flash of his golden wedding band in the light of the dressing room. Her heart clenched at the sight of it. They’d been married only a few hours and now this…
“Hush that barking, Snort.” The dog quieted, but kept a sharp eye on June just in case. Kit glanced from the dog to June. “What the hell was that for, June? Did I do something wrong by trying to kiss my wife?”

“You bet you did. I thought you loved me and now…” She wasn’t quite sure how to say it to him now that she knew the truth. Honestly, she could barely believe what she had overheard at their wedding reception. How could she explain to him what she heard and express the doubts she had about his love because of it? Well, best to find a way because it seemed quite evident to her that he wasn’t about to leave her be until she did.

“You’d best tell me what this is all about, June, because I’m beginning to have doubts about your sanity and beginning to wonder about my own.” He cocked his head and narrowed his blue eyes at her.  If this is one of your cockamamie jokes, it isn’t funny—and please don’t tell me you married me just to spite your parents. I’m fairly certain your mother doesn’t think I’m good enough for you. She’s only spoken to me about four times in all the years I’ve known you. It’s a little late for second thoughts, June.” Snort began to pace between June and Kit as if to decide whose side he should take.

Preorder Link:

I DREAM OF YOU (Coming Soon)

Logline: A Dream…A Kiss… And Deadly Secrets

Kyle Red Sky dreamed of the woman with fire in her hair, but when she comes to town, something dark and dangerous follows her. He wants to help her, but she is reclusive, secretive, and always wears a scarf around her neck to hide something that happened in her past.
Mia Beckett is a survivor. Finally, she has found sanctuary in a small western town far from danger where no one knows her or her past and she intends to keep it that way. But she can’t forget the a man she saw once in a dream who told her the paths they walked were destined to meet and he would be waiting for her. Secretly, she wished the dream would come true. However, when she meets Kyle Red Sky and realizes he is the man from her dream, she knows, if the dream becomes a reality, he may die.


Kyle kicked open the door of his mother’s former dress shop regardless of the sign that read, No Men Allowed. The raging fire upstairs in the private quarters made this an emergency, certainly enough to ignore that sign. Smoke began to fill the shop as he raced up the stairs calling out the name of the new shop owner. “Miss Beckett! Miss Mia Beckett, where are you?”

As he reached the landing of the second floor, he heard someone cough nearby. With the wet blanket wrapped around him he rushed toward the direction of the cough until he found the woman lying on the floor almost unconscious from smoke inhalation. As soon as he removed the wet blanket he wore and wrapped her in its protective layer, he scooped her up in his arms to carry her away from the flames and smoke. The scarf she wore fell away from her neck and her head lolled back against his chest to reveal a thin, straight scar that ran all the way across her throat from her left ear to her right. It wasn’t an old scar, probably more like just a few months in the past. She attempted to raise a hand as if to cover her throat and replace the silk scarf. He’d always seen her wear a scarf of some description or another around her neck since she arrival in town. Now he knew all those scarves must be intended to hide the scar. She was a woman attempting to keep a secret.

To learn more about my Wildings series click on my link: The Wildings
Or go to my Author Page at Prairie Rose Publications: Prairie Rose Author Page

Sarah J. McNeal is a multi-published author of several genres including time travel, paranormal, western and historical fiction. She is a retired ER and Critical Care 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 Prairie Rose Publications and its imprints Painted Pony Books, and Fire Star Press. She welcomes you to her website and social media:



  1. I've not written a series, and can only imagine bringing one to an end. Still, what a set of stories this was. Doris

    1. You can get lost in writing a series, Doris. I grew to love the Wildings and their extended family and could have written about them for generations to come. Unfortunately, I would have had to write them into the 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's and those time periods are not popular with readers. I wasn't enthusiastic about living in some of those time periods in my real life.
      Cheryl Pierson told me even the 1950's were not that popular and to be aware that my sales might drop, but left it up to me to write whatever I wanted. I only had 2 stories left to tell that I just felt compelled to write, Kit Wilding's story in this new release, It's Only Make Believe, and Kyle Red Sky's story which I am about to submit. So, even though they may not be big sellers or popular because of the time period, I feel better about having written them and ending the series in a way that gives me closure. Now THAT does sound kinda weird, but they are like family to me.
      Thank you so much for your comment, Doris. I always look forward to hearing from you.

  2. Oh, my goodness, Sarah. I actually got teary reading this, and seeing all those wonderful WILDING stories you've written over the years. What a wonderful series and family you've created to entertain us and of course tug at our heartstrings!

    Lady, you have to be so proud when you look at this wonderful body of work of yours. Heck, I'm proud FOR you! Congratulations on all your hard work, and your stories you've created for us to enjoy!

    1. Thank you, Cheryl, for all those heartwarming words.
      It's going to be hard to leave the Wildings, but the time has come to get back to more historical stories.

      I may feel a little lost without my Wildings for a while, but I already have an idea for a different story formulating in my mind.

      One of the things I liked about writing a series is the ability to introduce characters in an upcoming story in some way that would interest readers. Some day maybe I'll write a present day Wilding who returns home to Wyoming, but I don't know just now.

      It may come as a shock to some readers that I have written paranormal stories. Harmonica Joe, the first Wilding, was a transition for me from time travel/paranormal writing to western.

      Anyway, the Wildings have been a joy for me to write and I am definitely going to miss them. I do want to thank you for allowing me the freedom to write the last two stories even though they may not prove to be as profitable as historical westerns. That kind of freedom is what many writers look for and hope for in a publisher. And, thank you for helping me find a good place to submit Harmonica Joe way back when. It changed my career in writing.

  3. I love generation series and your excerpt is intriguing. I look forward to reading it and in awe of your fantastic imagination.!

    1. Elizabeth, thank you for your lovely words.
      Isn't it odd about writers, when you meet them, they seem so, well, ordinary on the outside, but inside their minds is a whole other imaginary world that never quits. I imagine when writers die, there's still another story yet untold forming in their minds.
      Thank you so much for you kind comment.

  4. Sarah, I'm sure I've said this someplace before, but I have series envy. lolol I am in awe of you for the way you connected all the storylines and the people. I can only imagine how bittersweet this is for you as you've come to the end with this family. *hugs*

    1. Kaye, I can't imagine you having any kind of envy what-so-ever. You can write about a rock garden and I find myself fascinated. I wish I had your marketing skills and social media knowledge. The day I figure out how Twitterville works will be a landmark occasion for me.

      Writing a series makes some things easier like introducing a character in a previous story or having them in the background of several stories before they get their own story. It's also kind of fun thinking what to do with the children of characters going forward in time. For instance, I had planned on making Hank and Lucy Wilding's adopted son, Chayton, a rock star. I don't think I'll get to tell that story now, but it was fun thinking of that next generation and story possibilities for them.

      It IS going to be hard moving away from the Wildings. I have thought of them as family for so long. It's so difficult letting go of them. I may even need a transition period to readjust to life without the Wildings.

      I guess I'll have to dream up some new people. Do ya ever wonder about your sanity as a writer? We have imaginary people in our heads all the time. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Well, you're a member of the Crazy Ship, so I know you understand.

      Thank you so much for coming, Kaye.

  5. A NEW RELEASE? Music to my ears...don't you love, love, love a New Release? I've read probably half your day maybe I'll get to all of them, and let me say as I have before, you have a unique writing well as unique plots. I know you've doubted yourself on some of these, but in the end, you came out my papa used to say..."like a new penny!" Keep it're doing just fine. Love you.

    1. Yes, Celia, new releases are wonderful, a resurgence of energy and optimism comes with a new release.

      I am so happy you came and said all those positive things about my stories. I am afraid I DO doubt myself at intervals and am all too familiar with writer's block as a consequence.

      You lift my heart with your encouraging words. I feel you really "get" me and that feels better than gold or a new hairdo. I love you, too. You have always been a stalwart friend. THANK YOU!

  6. I'll admit, my characters are as much like family as my own, sometimes. And I miss them when I write 'the end.' But moving on to new adventures with new characters is fun, too. Congratulations on bringing the last of the Wildings their HEAs and best of luck on the new release!

    1. Thank you, Tracy. There is only one Wilding story left. It's already written and I'm polishing up the final draft now. I feel like I'm leaving Grandpa at the train station and walking away from all my friends.
      I am looking forward to what comes next though. It's like that first day in a new year at school--full of hope and kinda scared simultaneously.
      Thank you for coming by, Tracy. I always appreciate what you have to say.

  7. Sarah, I am very impressed with your large body of work. I know it represents a huge amount of time and creative energy.My best wishes for a successful new release and the final one to come as well.

    RE your question: Does a sequel count as a "series"? I have written two books that had sequels, both historicals. And I've lived with the sequel to This Time Forever in my head for about 20 years. Those characters keep nagging me to tell their story on paper. They are tired of living in captivity!

    1. LOL Linda, I see you have characters talking to you through your mind continuum, too.

      I like sequels. They are like unfinished business that have found completion. I leave a sequel feeling content and satisfied that everything worked out for every one in the original story.

      You have an impressive body of work as well--and you've done something I will probably never do--had a film made of one of your stories. What an accomplishment that was.

      I really appreciate you coming over and commenting. And BTW, I think you should set those characters free in the near future.

  8. Sarah J. McNeal, you have inspired me. I have (at long last) begin writing the sequel to This Time Forever (for the second time) I had a few pages and had abandoned it, but to my surprise, those characters started talking to each other again as soon as I opened the file so thank you for the pub I needed to open the door and let them out!

  9. I really need to proof before publishing! A bad habit. To correct my errors, I have BEGUN writing... And I thank you for the PUSH. Sorry.

  10. Linda, I loved THIS TIME FOREVER so I can't wait to read the sequel--so get busy! Let those characters out.
    Thank you for coming by and I am happy if I in any way inspired you to write that sequel. Your characters would have made you write it anyway. LOL