Friday, November 21, 2014

Weekend Blog: The Inside Scoop on Hazardous Hideaway

The winners for Braving the Blaze are Niki Renee and Barbara VW. Congrats!


(Don't miss the giveaway at the end of the post!)

Blurb: Riding a bucking bronco would be easier than the ride Dallas Mae Jenkins is on. While escaping an abusive relationship, she ends up in a wreck and stranded at a remote dairy in Utah. Worse yet, the presence of her horse whips up memories of an old town murder, and Dallas finds herself in serious danger.

The last thing Tom Allred needs is a wily female working at his dairy, especially one dragging up a murder he was accused of committing. Will Tom’s antacids hold out until he can get rid of Dallas? Or, will she lasso his heart?


How It Began: Hazardous Hideaway will always be my baby. I broke my teeth on this book while I was bed-ridden. I wrote it in first person and it was way too short. Everyone told me you pretty much write your first book and throw it away. I couldn’t do that. The characters had become family to me, and so much of me is in this book.

It was published under a different title with a different publisher and the editor asked me to increase the language. I did to a certain extent, but when it came back with profanity that I felt my characters wouldn’t say, I threatened to pull the book. That’s when I began developing what kind of a writer I wanted to be.


Randy on Wrikas, Me on Pongo with Coalie
in South Willow Canyon, Tooele, UT
The love Dallas has for her horse is the love I had for my brother’s part-Clydesdale horse, Pongo. The scene where Yuletide rolls over with Dallas in the saddle really happened to me.

Events happening to Dallas without her ever asking for trouble or asking questions really occurred to me in my life, although not about a murder.

All of my dairy information came from my husband and my brother-in-law, Lynn. I even toured the dairy Lynn worked at during that time and found all the details fascinating.

This book has a more serious side than my later books and deals with abuse and standing up for yourself. This is one of the only books I’ve written where a dog gets killed. This, too, was based on a real life situation.


Stubby:  Jack Russell Terrier
Born - November 11998
Hit by car - June 292002

Don't get me wrong.  Hazardous Hideaway still has a lot of humor in it.  I love Tom's personality and the funny things he says.

"Man, oh, man. It’s as noticeable as a boil on a pug nose that I stink bad."

I based Tom on a relative that lives down in that area.  Some readers have not been able to relate to Tom or the lifestyle in this book, but believe me, it still exists in rural areas.


Premise: With each of my books, I always have a message in mind. In Hazardous Hideaway the message is: Dare to dream!


Excerpt:
Tom shielded the sun from his eyes with the brim of his hat as they started east up the right fork toward Clear Creek Flats. He led them up the steep mountain road for a distance due to an impassable wide ravine off to the right. He comfortably sat his saddle and moved over the steep terrain with ease, despite having to guide Skipper. It felt good to be in the saddle again.

He looked back at Dallas. Yuletide wouldn’t settle down to a walk, and Dallas had to concentrate more on keeping him in line than enjoying the scenery. Tom hoped her horse would calm down when he became more use to his horses. Trapper took firm sure steps, while Yuletide, on the other hand, pranced and stumbled. He had his attention on everything but what he should. Tom couldn’t figure out Dallas’ attraction to the horse. He was way too big for her and obviously a work horse, not a riding horse.

He grinned. It didn’t matter what kind of a lame-brained horse she owned. He loved Dallas.

He’d realized his feelings for her at the San Pitch Social, and his love for her had grown as they’d worked together each day. He hadn’t told his family yet, especially his crummy brothers. That Burnell. He was as slick as snot on a door knob with Dallas back at Ina’s. Tom had wanted to clip his horns, but he certainly didn’t want to announce his intentions to anybody yet. Heck. He knew Dallas wasn’t ready for a relationship, probably not even thinking along those lines. But, he’d wait.

Ina’s idea of getting away had been a good one. He’d spend some time alone with Dallas, away from prying eyes. People made him anxious. Plus, he’d been too busy working to stop and really get to know Dallas. This way, he could talk to her and maybe get her to open up to him. Maybe even...well, he better not even think about that. He grabbed a roll of antacids from his shirt pocket.

After a mile or so, the ravine widened to a stream. They found a shallow place to cross and moved higher southeast toward Mount Baldy. They kept climbing until they reached an open grassy meadow. Clouds started to gather.

“We’ll stop and rest as soon as we reach Salina Creek,” he called over his shoulder. “It’s not much farther. We can water up there.”

Yuletide hadn’t calmed down at all, and Tom could see the strain on Dallas’ face. The horse’s blood was up from not having been ridden. He cursed himself. He should’ve kept this first ride short. He knew better, but too late now.

The spindly grass waved in the slight breeze. Around the perimeter of the meadow, quakies, Douglas fir and mountain ash grew thick like molasses, shading the small meadow and making the temperature cooler. The mountains rose up steep and graceful to the east and south and plunged steeply down from where they’d been.

Tom stole another look at Dallas. She sat her horse well and proved easy on the eyes. He smiled and glanced again just as Yuletide dropped on his front knees and then collapsed his back legs under him. Dallas stayed in the saddle, not sure what to do.

He reined Trapper hard. “Get your feet out of the stirrups. He’s gonna roll on ya.”

Dallas flipped her right foot out of the stirrup and desperately tried to unhook her left. Yuletide’s girth made the task hard. The horse rolled onto his right side. Between Dallas and the saddle, Yuletide realized he couldn’t roll onto his back. As he plunged to stand, Dallas’ boot finally released. She dove and landed on her knees on the ground. Yuletide whinnied and pranced. Dallas tumbled and rolled to get clear of his powerful hooves.

Tom jumped off Trapper, reined in her horse and reached to help her to her feet. “What kinda fool trick was that horse pulling? Are ya all right?”

“I’m fine,” she said, automatically brushing off her jeans.

“Seems to me this horse ain’t nothin’ but trouble, and ya oughta get rid of him. You should’ve hit him with your quirt the minute he started to go down.”

“Oh, no, he just thought a roll in the grass would feel good. It’s not his fault. I should’ve taken him on some easier rides before this one. It’s just...well, we couldn’t take him out of the barn.”

“Get on Trapper,” he said, grabbing her arm and pulling her toward his horse. “That horse will no doubt get ya killed one of these days.”

“No, please, I can handle him. You don’t understand.” Her eyes pleaded with him.

“I don’t see why ya’d wanna risk your neck on this horse,” he fired back.

Her eyes glistened. “My father gave him to me for Christmas just before he died. He means the world to me.” Her shoulders sagged.

“What do ya mean before he died? Ina said you called your father the first day ya came here.”

“I-I lied. My dad passed away about a year ago.”

She looked up at him with those innocent doe eyes, and his heart turned to butter.

“I was afraid to say I didn’t have anyone to turn to,” she whispered. She rested her head against his chest.

He thought about her not confiding in the doctor, or confessing who’d attacked her, or telling Ina the truth. He might be facing a long wait before she ever worked out her issues.

“You don’t trust anyone,” he said harsher than he intended.

She pulled away, frowning. “I’ve found it to be safer that way.” She grabbed Yuletide’s reins from his hand, guided the gelding over to a huge rock and mounted.

“At some point, you’ll need to put some trust in somebody,” he yelled at her as she rode off.

He reluctantly mounted Trapper and followed her farther into the mountains without saying another word.


Review: Cindy Christiansen pens a story riddled with suspense, mystery and emotion. The main characters are well developed and you feel the inner turmoil as they try to decide what to think about each other. The reader slowly begins to see through the layers of deceit and the ending is heartfelt. Hazardous Hideaway is a triumph for Christiansen. 4-1/2/5 Stars, Manic Readers Reviews


Giveaway:  I will select 2 winners for a PDF copy of Hazardous Hideaway.
If you truly like my writing, like my Amazon page or add me as a FAVORITE and then leave a comment here.  If you don’t leave your email, please check back here for the winners by next Friday.







Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
Fly into a good book at:  http://www.dragonflyromance.com
Character Photo Images: http://www.123rf.com



Monday, November 17, 2014

The Agony of that First Reader’s Call

"Don't answer it!"
I had tasted the joy of publication and my first book had been out several months.  There was no better feeling.

One day the phone rang.

“Is this, Cindy?” a man asked.

“Yes, it is.”

“I’ve read your book, Legacy of Lies.”

There was a long pause.  I gulped hard.  He didn’t say whether he liked the book or not.  My heart physically hurt in my chest.  My fear prevented me from asking what he thought of my writing.  I waited in trepidation.

“I know the area you wrote about well.”

I fell into my desk chair, trembling.  My life passed before my eyes.  No.  I didn’t think I was dying.  My life had been fraught with negative experiences where I was tormented by individuals who got me into trouble for things that I had said and even things that I had never said.

I fidgeted with the notepad on my desk and dropped my pencil.  Sweat sprouted out all over my body.  I couldn’t control my trembling.  I still couldn’t bear to ask him what he thought.  I felt like he had caught me in a lie.  Yes, I had been through the country I had written about, even camped there many times.  But, what did I know?  Even if I’d done extensive research, I wasn’t a mining expert.

His silence was driving me to the edge of my nerves.  I wanted to slam the phone down.  My fingers trembled against my forehead.  He began telling me about his professional experience working in the area.  Paranoia gripped me.  I couldn’t actually comprehend what he was saying.  Every negative experience I had been through raced through my mind as quickly as my heart was beating.

I decided I would never write another book.  I’d talk to my publisher and see if they would cancel my contract.  I finally realized I hadn’t heard a word my caller had said.  I forced myself to listen.

“You did a great job.  I really felt like I was there.”

I was speechless.  I took a deep breath and shakily exhaled.  Really?  He wasn’t going to accuse me of anything?

“Well, thank you,” I said, almost in tears.

The call ended, and I rushed to the bed to lie down.

My fears still get the better of me sometimes, but I’m learning.  And isn’t that what life is all about?

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
Fly into a good book at:  http://www.dragonflyromance.com

Copyright of dog photo: damedeeso / 123RF Stock Photo

Paperback Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fortune for Fools by Cindy A. Christiansen

Fortune for Fools

by Cindy A. Christiansen

Giveaway ends December 13, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win