January 6, 2013

Contemporary Romance: Horseman Spell @cheryl_rhodes #rlfblog

Horseman Spell

Cheryl Rhodes, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Horseman Spell.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Cover artist: Valerie Tibbs
Length: 61,700
Heat rating: Sweet
Tagline: Your pace or mine?
Blurb: Pam never expected to be spending time at the racetrack again, but a romantic connection with Scott – her new next door neighbor and ex-boyfriend’s brother - throws her back into the exciting world of horseracing.
Dealing with trips to the racetrack, mysterious phone calls, unknown late night visitors, and an unexplained light appearing upon the hill, the tranquil farm life Pam loves has been turned upside down ever since Scott moved in.
If Pam’s life hadn’t already become chaotic enough, her relationship with Scott is threatened when his brother, Lyle, returns to town.
Buy links:
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Pam White – 30 years old, travel writer
Scott Stone – 35 years old, Standardbred racehorse trainer and driver


“Ladies,” greeted Bob. “Pam, I’d like you to meet Scott.”
Pam had put her hand out to shake the newcomer’s, but snapped it back to her side as if it had been burned. Scott wheeled to face her.
“You!” Pam backed up a step.
“You!” The accusation in his tone cut off and filled the room with an awkward silence.
They stood motionless glaring at each other.
“I, uh, take it you’ve already met.” Bob cleared his throat and twirled the beer bottle in his hands.
Scott set his bottle down on the fireplace mantel and Pam scurried to the front hall. She grabbed her coat from the closet and curled her fingers around the front door’s handle.
“Don’t leave on my account,” the sarcastic voice behind her mocked. “I’ll go.”
Looking over her shoulder, Pam saw Joanne and Bob frozen in the doorway of the living room. They looked dismayed, but she couldn’t deal with them now when they only thing on her mind was putting some distance between her and Scott. She gripped the doorknob tighter, turned it, and marched out of the house. Hearing Scott’s footsteps close behind, she quickened her pace, reached the car and fumbled for the keys.
“I want to talk to you.”
“Forget it. Nothing you have to say interests me.” Pam tugged her car door open and slid into the driver’s seat. Before she could slam the door, Scott maneuvered his body between the open door and the driver’s seat. He braced his hands on the roof of her car and used his body to prevent her from closing the door. Pam desperately fought not to notice his thigh muscles bulged against his blue jeans as he flexed against the door at her eye level.
“You need to hear this.” Scott slapped the roof of her car once.
Pam raised her eyes and his dark eyes stared back into hers. Frown lines wrinkled his forehead and he scowled at her. Pam swallowed, remembering how many times she’d seen that expression before.
“Leave me alone or I’ll scream so loud I’ll have every person within five miles running to help me.”
“When are you going to grow up?”
They glared at each other. Scott bent down, his mouth drawn into a hard, thin line, his face getting closer to Pam’s. She pulled the seatbelt out, clicked it into place, turned away to put the key in the ignition, and started the car. Scott backed away from the car, palms toward her as if he were trying to ward her off. Just before Pam slammed the door shut, she heard him say, “You can’t avoid me forever.”


How did you get your start in the industry?
In the late 80’s and early 90’s I submitted articles to horse and travel magazines that were published and gave me the unfortunate belief that getting published was easy so I started querying and submitting to more popular general interest magazines. Many rejections later I started to look at other genres and taking writing classes including writing romance classes taught by local Harlequin Romance writers. The first romance novel I wrote I submitted everywhere but it didn’t sell. Now that I’ve gone through editing and publishing process I’ve gone back and cleaned up the manuscript – that I’d previously thought was pretty clean! – and will self-publish it as an ebook in 2013. It’s a sweet romance that I titled Lifeguard Affair - but I’m not sure if I’ll rename it – about a former lifeguard who rescues a movie star and falls in love with his son.
What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
Right now I want to increase my writing income to the point where my husband does not have to work as much. He is a self-employed contractor/finishing carpenter. The bulk of my writing income, unfortunately, is not going to come from book sales so I’m concentrating on writing for magazines and picking up business clients. For me fiction has been turned into more of a hobby than a major income generator. I’ve recently taken an online journalism course through The Writer’s Den (http://freelancewritersden.com/) which came with a membership, luckily for me, because they’re not often open for new members. There are so many resources on this site that I hope will take my writing to a new level.
What websites do you visit daily?
I check in daily to the Writer’s Den reading forum posts, the job board, and listening to webinars. I like to check in nearly every day with the Cruise Critic forums. I don’t consider myself an avid cruiser but I’ve cruised to Alaska a couple of times and Hawaii and the Panama Canal and I like to check in to see if I can offer any advice or just read about other’s cruising adventurers. I also check in daily with Facebook but I’m not very interactive. Rarely post comments.
If you could change something about your first book, what would it be?
The first book written or the first book published? The first romance novel I wrote, Lifeguard Affair, I have made recent changes to clean it up, in the sense that I didn’t realize I was a head hopper and skipping between the hero and heroine for point of view. I’ve got that under control now I hope! My first published book, Ringer, changes were made during the editing process, mainly how the hero’s cousin died and making the hero less of a good guy. Aside from that there were no major changes to the plot which is about a racehorse that is switched with a lookalike horse to manipulate the betting odds.
If you could choose anyone to be your mentor who would it be?
Stephen King has been my favorite writer since I read Carrie shortly after it was released. An imagination and drive to write books like him would be incredible and I’d love a chance to be mentored by him.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
Be more consistent and more persistent when it comes to querying.
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
Nope. Sometimes the antics of one of my horses end up in a book but all the people and the events in my novel are all my imagination.
What are some jobs you've done before (or while) you were a writer?
I’ve done just about every dead end job out there. I’ve worked at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, gas station cashier, horse groom, children’s zoo attendant, egg grader, delivery driver, and reservations agent. And that was just in the 80’s! The last 20 years of my working life I had 3 employers working mostly clerical/administrative jobs. I wrote in my spare time. Sporadically. During longer periods of unemployment I got more writing done. Ironically a few years ago I started reading a series by writer Elaine Viets called The Dead End Job Mysteries and I thought to myself “Why didn’t I think of this? I should have been writing this series.”
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your own writing?
I’m a big fan of cozy mysteries. The above mentioned Elaine Viets also writes another series about a mystery shopper who solves murders. In the past year I’ve discovered several new authors who only publish ebooks so I have lots to choose from.
What do you think is the future of traditional publishing?
Wow! I’m one of many who would love to have a crystal ball and be able to make the right choices for the future! I recently read that 75% of Americans don’t own ereaders so I’m sure traditionally published books are going to be around for a long time. There is nothing like holding a real book in your hands and snuggling in bed reading it. I love my books but after moving boxes and boxes of heavy books a few times in the last 20 years I decided to cull them before the last move 6 years ago. Most of the books I buy now are electronic. Less clutter! And a lighter load the next time we move! And I can read in bed at night without turning on the light!
Tell me about your horses.
I have 3 geldings. Whistler is a gorgeous red roan Appaloosa with a white blanket on his rear covered in spots. He’s 23 years old. My other old man is Lucky, a 24 year old bay Standardbred I rescued from the auction house 10 years ago. He’d been starved and neglected and dumped there for the meat buyers, who fortunately weren’t interested due to the lack of meat on the horse. Not knowing whether or not he’d live through the night I outbid the kill buyers and bought him for $50. When I came into the barn the next morning there he was standing in his stall with his ears perked at me, happy to see me. Lucky turned out to be a top bred racehorse from Ohio who made a lot of money and broke three track records during his career. He still hits the trails with me and is the type of horse that even if he hasn’t been ridden for months I can put a beginner on him and not worry about him taking a step out of place. My youngest horse is 9 year old Cajun, a mischievous chestnut Quarter Horse cross, though I’m not sure what he’s crossed with. I bought his dam from a horse rescue and she was pregnant at the time but the breed of the sire was unknown. They’re the loves of my life! I am very lucky to be blessed with horses and to have a magical connection with my boys.
Imagine you get to go on a dream vacation, but you have only one hour to pack and leave, and it starts as soon as you finish this interview. What will you take with you and where will you go?
I’d pack a couple of swimsuits, shorts, t-shirts, my camera, my iPad, and my laptop and I’d go to the Galapagos Islands.
Where were you at midnight, on December 31st when the new century started?
I was at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds near where I live for the end of the century party. The last horse race anywhere in the world for the century was raced here that night and I watched a few races. There were other party events going on in the grounds as well, tents set up and various exhibitors that I’ve long since forgotten. The fairgrounds committee expected the attendance to be around 50,000 but 5,000 was more like it.
What do you like to do when you're bored?
Walk my dogs or ride my horses and often I can find inspiration or figure out a way I want to write something. If it’s raining, a common occurrence in the Vancouver area where I live, then I might watch TV or read a book.
Please underline which statement is more like you:
"I am a vacation spa because I am laid back and relaxed."
"I am a ten-countries in ten-days tour vacation, because I do things as fast as possible."

Please complete the sentences

I love pizza with shrimp and mushrooms.
I'm always ready for hitting the trails on my horses.
When I'm alone, I like to read.
You'd never be able to tell, but I have a motorbike license and if I really had to I could ride a motorbike.
If I had a halo it would be purple.
If I could live anywhere in the world I'd head to Costa Rica.
I can never go inside the Karni Mata temple of rats in India because I do not like rats! Yuck! Gross! Nasty!

Previous Books

Recipes My Mother Forgot (cookbook)
Ringer (Romantic mystery)

Books Coming Soon

Un-Neigh-Borly Behavior
Tubbed to Death
Cheryl and Whistler


How about a copy of Horseman Spell to a random person who leaves a comment telling me about either their favorite horse or their dream vacation? Horseman Spell is available as an ebook. Formats available: ePub, MOBI, PRC, or PDF (so you can read on your computer if you don’t have an ereader!)

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  1. Thanks for hosting me on your blog Kayelle!

    I forgot to mention that Horseman Spell is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance Ebooks, iTunes, and just about every online bookseller.

    1. Welcome, Cheryl. Send me the buy links and I'll edit them into your post for future readers to find.

  2. Thanks for posting on The Mane Street! Your book sounds cool, and best of luck with it! Darla

    1. Darla, I'd like to send you a copy of Horseman Spell. Please contact me at appytails@telus.net and let me know what format you'd like it in. Thanks! Cheryl


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