by Stacey Coverstone
RTW: Thanks for visiting Romancing The West this week, Stacey. I love your book cover. How intriguing! So before we discuss other things, please give us a brief description of A Haunted Twist of Fate.
SC: While grieving a loss, Shay Brennan is drawn to the Black Hills of South Dakota and finds herself the owner of a historic 1885 saloon. Soon, she realizes she's not alone in the Buckhorn. Two ghosts are sending her messages. One needs her help; the other is intent on doing harm.
Colt Morgan, a widowed realtor, is a non-believer in the paranormal, but he finds himself helping Shay solve the mystery of who the spirits are. How does his connection to an old friend tie in with her and the haunting?
You can win a free hardback edition of this novel.
More details at the end of this blog.
RTW: What led you to writing western romance?
SC: I’ve always been an avid reader, but honestly, romance was not a genre that ever interested me. All my adult life, I wanted to try my hand at writing a novel, too, but a busy life kept me from doing more than dreaming about it. Then, in 2006, my husband gave me a unique gift for my having earned a Master’s degree. He sent me to Cowgirl Camp at the Double E Ranch in Gila, New Mexico for a week. It was such and exciting and memorable experience, I came home inspired to write a western romance novel. As soon as I finished that book, I immediately started on a second, sent it to a publisher, and it was accepted and published in 2007. I found my niche in western romance, and I’ve been on a roll ever since, with seven novels published and another one coming soon.
RTW: Do you live the western lifestyle in your real life, or only in your novels?
|Stacey Coverstone, author|
SC: My husband and I live on the east coast in a rural county in Maryland, where there are bull riding competitions, mule pulls, horse trails to ride, and other western events that we enjoy. Up until recently, we owned three horses, and I rode with my husband. Now we’re down to one family horse, Bill, who is the sweetest horse in the world.
From April to October, my husband, Paul, and Bill participate in team penning, pole bending, and other horse riding events at a ranch near us. Paul also participates in Cowboy Action Shooting, a shooting sport in which contestants compete with firearms typical of those used in the taming of the Old West. In those events, he goes by an alias (Salinas Kid) and dresses appropriate to a western person of the late 19th century. I really enjoy watching and cheering him on in these activities.
I also like to shoot, and the two of us enjoy traveling out west when we can and staying at ranches and going to rodeos. Our home is decorated and furnished western style, and we wear our boots and cowboy hats all the time, which tells you how much we love, and live, the lifestyle.
RTW: Your new book, A Haunted Twist of Fate, combines a contemporary story with a historical story. It also mixes a western setting with paranormal elements. What’s that all about?
SC: I love the idea of the past intruding on the present, especially when restless spirits are involved. I enjoy reading and writing paranormal (ghost) stories and thought the combination of a present-day couple discovering they each have ties to ghosts from the past would make an interesting plot. I’ve enjoyed visiting ghost towns, and there are so many stories and legends about ghosts who haunt saloons, churches, homes and cemeteries in the west that it seemed natural for me to tie a cowboy, romance and ghosts together in a mystery.
RTW: Why is Colt Morgan perfect for Shay Brennan?
SC: Shay comes from a wealthy family and has trust issues after having been betrayed by two men who were only interested in her money. Before his wife died, Colt was a faithful and loving husband. He is a confidant and successful man who doesn’t need, or want, Shay’s money. Being an only child, and having lost both her parents, Shay misses the comfort and support of an extended family, which Colt, his parents, his brother and new sister-in-law can provide. Lastly, Colt is my ideal of a western man. He’s laid back, resembles the very handsome George Strait, sings and plays guitar, and has a great sense of humor. That makes him the perfect match for a city girl like Shay who has decided to “go country.”
RTW: Lucky us! Thanks for sending an excerpt from A Haunted Twist of Fate. Please set the scene for us.
SC: Two hearts in the present are linked to two souls in the past. Is it coincidence? Or could it be a haunted twist of fate?
Excerpt (G or PG rated, 200 to 500 words)
The voice whispered across the air, nudging Shay Brennan awake. “Who’s there?” she mumbled groggily, while rolling onto her side. The springs of the old iron bed squeaked under her weight.
It came again, soft, lilting in her ear. “Shhhaaay.”
Fingernails stroked her jaw. A palm caressed her cheek. Eyes popping open, Shay jolted up and bumped the back of her head on the bars of the headboard. With her back rigid, she scooted to a sitting position and glanced around the room, clutching the downy pillow to her chest. It took a moment for her to remember where she was. It was her first night sleeping in the Buckhorn Saloon, an 1885 Hill City establishment located in the historic section of town on the original Main Street. She’d walked past it a week ago. Having seen a For Sale sign in the window, she’d made an offer on a whim and closed on the legendary South Dakota property this afternoon.
“Who’s there?” she repeated, touching her cheek and blinking several times as her eyes adjusted to the darkness of the bedroom. Goosebumps prickled her arms, and a chill crept across her nape.
“Shay.” The voice spoke clear and strong this time. Shay’s attention flew to the foot of the bed, where a gray mist began to take shape. With her heart lodged in her throat and barely able to breathe, her body began to quake. She bit back a scream when the unearthly figure of a female materialized.
“Help…me,” the woman whispered, outstretching a ghostly arm. In a white petticoat and V-shaped corset that closed in the front with ribbon ties, the woman appeared to be dressed in Victorian undergarments. Her hair was blonde, piled high on top of her head with long curls streaming down her back. And those eyes… they were as vivid blue as any Shay had ever seen. Black and blue marks ringed the woman’s neck.
Shay’s gaze moved again to those clear eyes, and without warning, her throat closed up. If felt like she was being choked. Invisible hands were around her neck and frigid fingers pressed into her flesh, making it a struggle to breathe. The pressure on her throat was intense for a few seconds before it let up. Coughing, Shay gasped for air, and when she looked up again, the manifestation had disappeared.
She stroked her sore neck with trembling hands. She’d barely had time to process what had just happened when an urgent knocking came from downstairs. Was it the ancient oil furnace kicking on? Or someone at the front door? The clock beside her read midnight. Who would be knocking on her door at this hour?
RTW: Great excerpt! Where can we buy this book?
SC: A Haunted Twist of Fate is available at Amazon.
RTW: What will you have for us next?
SC: Big Sky, a contemporary western romance with paranormal elements is being released on February 10, 2012 from The Wild Rose Press. Here’s a blurb:
Taylor never expected her reluctant homecoming to include a murder, a ghost…and a hunk of a ranch foreman.
Photographer Taylor Young fled to L.A. following her sister’s betrayal six years ago. Now Jamie’s dead, Mama has broken a hip in a drunken fall, and Taylor’s stepfather begs her to return to her family’s Montana ranch to make amends.
After a bitter divorce, Brett Austin, foreman of the Slash Y Ranch, believes horses are more of a sure thing than women. But the boss's daughter changes all that when she sets his heart bucking like a wild bronc.
When Taylor’s mother insists Jamie’s death was not suicide—a theory confirmed by Jamie’s ghost—Taylor wonders who could have wanted her sister dead. With a list of suspects as long as her camera strap, Taylor needs an ally. Could that person be a tall drink of water in a cowboy hat?
RTW: Anything else you’d like to add?
SC: I also have a collection of short ghost stories on Kindle that you can buy for only $1.99. And my romantic suspense, Tularosa Moon, will be coming from The Wild Rose Press sometime in 2012. You can find blurbs, excerpts, and purchasing information for all my books on my website. While you’re browsing, please feel free to join my Announce Only Newsletter (sign up on my Contact page), if you’d like to receive updates on book releases. And I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read any of my books.
Leave a comment if you’d like to be entered to win a
hardback edition of A Haunted Twist of Fate.
The winner will be drawn at random--USA mailing only, please.
Be sure to leave your email address so you can be contacted if you are the lucky winner.
Drawing is Saturday, January 14, 10pm Pacific Time
Drawing is Saturday, January 14, 10pm Pacific Time
SC: Thank you to Jacquie for having me this week.
RTW: Thank you, Stacey! We'll look forward to your article this Thursday on haunted saloons. :)