The winner of the 2011 Christmas Anthology is...Calisa Rose. Congratulation!
Karen: I'm thrilled to have Sarah McNeal here today to share her Christmas tale, Gifts of an After Life that's featured in the 2011 Christmas Anthology and her long awaited sequel to Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride, For the Love of Banjo! She's also giving away an e-book copy of the Anthology to one lucky reader. Just in time for the Christmas Stocking!
Let’s start with you telling us a little about yourself:
Sarah: I live in North Carolina with my four-legged kids, Liberty (cat) and Lily (Golden Retriever). Both of my pets are rescue animals.
Until 2009, I worked as an RN in critical care, the last 17 years in the ER. I took an early retirement so that I could devote all of my time into writing. I was lucky enough to have worked for a hospital that had a pension plan.
I’ve yearned to be a writer since I was 9 years old. I’ve had quite a few ups-and-downs on my path to becoming published but, with the help of writing classes, writer mentors and dogged persistence, I published my first short story back in 2005.
Karen: Gifts from the Afterlife is your new release featured in the 2011 Christmas Anthology. Why don’t you tell us a little about your story. What inspired you to write it?
Sarah: Gifts From the Afterlife is about a young woman who is facing the Christmas season completely alone. Her flagging spirit and loneliness undermine her desire to celebrate anything, let alone Christmas. But Lydia is about to have a life-altering encounter with an angel, a few ghosts and a childhood sweetheart.
Karen: Tell us about Lydia Sinclair. Why has Christmas lost its meaning to her?
Sarah: Lydia lost her father and sister in an auto accident years ago. For most of her life, she has celebrated the holidays with her very loving mother. After the recent death of her mother, Lydia faces her first Christmas alone. The prospects of spending Christmas alone has depleted her of all joy.
Karen: You have an angel and ghosts featured in your story. Do you believe in angels? Ghosts? What fascinates you about these entities?
Sarah: Mostly, I’m a cynic. I doubt many of the claims by people that they’ve seen ghosts or angels but I feel confident that they exist in our world.
I think I could live quite well without having an encounter with a ghost but the thought of witnessing the presence of one is very intriguing. An angel is another matter altogether. I would love to meet an angel, talk with the angel and learn something only an angel could tell me.
Karen: You have an upcoming release, For the Love of Banjo, a sequel to Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride. I loved this story and can’t wait for Banjo’s tale. Will you share a snippet with us?
Sarah: 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.
Will either of them find happiness?
In one graceful movement, he dismounted the pinto then stepped to the porch where Maggie stood with unrestrained tears that flowed down her cheeks. Banjo swept her into his arms and kissed her. The kiss wasn’t his brotherly, friendly peck on the cheek. He kissed her with a slow burning need and ran his tongue along the groove of her lips then slipped inside.
He tasted of coffee and mint. Maggie reached up to weave her arms around his neck. She stepped on her tiptoes to better reach him and taste him. Her heart raced and heat rushed hungry waves of yearning into places in her body she never knew existed as she responded to his explorations with her own. If only she could slip into his pocket and follow him wherever he went. She wanted to become the marrow in his bones, to always be a part of him.
Just when she thought he would take her to her room and make love to her as she had asked, the kiss ended. Banjo bent his head his rough cheek rasped against hers. The fragrance of him, a combination of horse, pine and crisp snow, caressed her senses. He slipped his hand into her hair and gently rubbed the tender skin of her neck where her blood pulsed beneath his thumb.
His mouth so close to her ear she felt the warm moisture of his breath as he spoke his last words. She would never forget them, not as long as she lived. Breathless from the kiss, he said, “Don’t forget me. Write to me every day and I’ll write back. You are the star in my sky and my compass home. I’ll come back, if it’s the last thing I do, I will come back. I swear it.”
Karen: What do you find most rewarding about writing?
Sarah: I love coming up with new story ideas. I keep a writer’s journal with me everywhere I go and jot down things I see and hear (like a little voyeur, LOL) to use in stories later. In this crazy world where nothing is certain, writing is the one thing where I say who lives, who dies and who falls in love with whom.
Karen: What are your current projects and works in progress?
Sarah: The newly revised edition of The Violin is about to be released by Rebecca Vickery Publishing.
I 'm working on the plot for the next Hazard story. Robin Pierpont, an English immigrant from the book, For Love of Banjo, falls in love with one of Lola and Joe’s girls.
I also have a paranormal, The Light of Valmora, that I am presently submitting to publishers. I am working on another book in this series, Silent dancer, where a cursed violinist falls in love with a deaf woman.
Karen: What genre inspires your writing?
Sarah: Besides romance, I love stories with a bit of mystery woven into them. I am particularly drawn to time travel and paranormal.
Karen: Tell the readers where they can find you:
Sarah: My website:
Moonlight Romance Authors: http://moonlightromanceauthors.blogspot.com/?zx=e8f0512666a5c2c
Sarah’s Provocative Ponderings:
Karen: Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers?
Sarah: Readers are wonderful treasures. I hope that my stories entertain, inspire and live in the hearts of readers who honor me by reading my stories.
Karen: Contest: All you need to do is answer this question: What is your favorite Christmas story? It could be a book, movie or TV show. One lucky commenter will be chosen on Friday, December 23rd to win a e-book copy of 2011 Christmas Collection. Good Luck!
Sarah, thank you so much for sharing with us today. I wish your the best success. I can't wait to read your new releases.