So much has happened in that time. I released my first book, The Ropes! Here's the cover Janelle Daniels created for me, and I'm very excited about it.
I'm very proud of this novel, as it has won many awards: the Golden Pen award, the Hero of Our Heart Award, second place in the historical category for the Heart of the West contest and second place overall for the From the Heart contest.
Here's a snippet:
The sound of pounding hooves came closer. The black muzzle of a horse appeared to her right. He couldn’t catch her. Abigail leaned even further over her mount’s neck, cursing the stays that made the motion difficult as her heart pounded in time with Diomede’s hooves. The animal responded and surged ahead of her pursuer.
“I will catch you,” rang through the air, only to be carried quickly away as she rounded a bend in the trail through the woods. Diomede’s neck was wet with sweat and her breathing heavy, steaming in the chill air. Stretching forth her head even more she fairly flew over the ground, dodging trees so closely Abigail’s skirts tore on the bark as she raced forward, forcing her head below her horse’s lest a low-hanging branch unseat her.
The path wound on and her pursuer never let up. A muddy shortcut veered off, tempting and treacherous, but Abigail wound not risk either injury to Diomede or capture. The lowlands of South Carolina were filled with marshes that could snap an ankle with a misstep, and many a man and beast had fallen victim to the quagmires.
A tree, fallen since she last rode this way, blocked the way. Diomede might be fast, but she wasn’t big enough to jump it. With the lightest touch of the reins Abigail risked a side trail that led to a narrower part of the tree, and heard a triumphant laugh from behind.
“I’ve got you now!”
“Not likely,” Abigail whispered to herself. With a half-step and bunched muscles Diomede went over the log, but the other rider’s horse was able to take the tree with ease and they now were neck and neck, the two trails converging together ahead. Abigail looked to her right.
Where the other horse was dark his rider was light. The man’s blond hair slipped from a leather thong and whipped long and golden behind him; only the look of concentration and gloating smile marred the handsome face beside her. She couldn’t let him catch her.
“Faster, Diomede,” Abigail cried to the steed. The horse responded and leapt over the bushes, back to the course.
“You’re mine,” the other rider called as he grabbed for the reins. She whipped them to the other side of her body and leaned in his direction. Her sensitive mount understood the confusing signals and pushed into the other horse, forcing him into the bracken that had hindered her just moments before.
“Blast,” her pursuer shouted as he pulled up. Abigail glanced back to see he redirected his horse back to the safety of the trail and was almost to full gallop again.
She was close to home now, the light became brighter as the woods thinned slightly. The creek that bordered the Hagan plantation, her ancestral home, came into view. Abigail smiled. Beyond the front door lay safety and freedom.
Her horse adjusted its pace to prepare for the jump. Diomede made the leap that would carry her over the deepest part, landing in water to her fetlocks and wetting the bottom of Abigail’s ruined dress. She galloped on until the sound of a loud whinny, followed by a splash, came through the trees.
Abigail sat up and Diomede skidded to a stop before prancing on the return to the river. She was sure the horse was gloating. Standing in the river was Beau, his blond hair darkened by water, tall with broad shoulders narrowing to a trim waist and hips, chastising the chestnut stallion that was blowing hard and hanging its head as if ashamed.
“You balked? How could you? A tree half your height you fly over as if the devil himself were after you, but a little water and you throw me? You call yourself a stallion but you can’t overtake some filly?” he said, waving his arms and spraying droplets of water.
Abigail couldn’t contain the giggle that came up in her throat. “Do you concede, sir?” she asked.
That's all for now! Thanks for reading.