I’d like to offer a warm welcome to Harlequin author Barbara White Daille, who has a new release out on Tuesday, February 7th. So glad to host you, Barbara! Hope you sell many, many books. And now, on to your blog:
A big “Thank you” to Melanie for this chance to drop by her blog to celebrate the debut of THE RODEO MAN’S DAUGHTER. Today is its official release date, so the cyber-champagne is flowing and the cyber-chocolates are making their way around.
Meanwhile, I’m happy to share a bit about the book, talk writing, and chat with you!
When it comes to reading or writing, I’m grabbed by characters whose stories intrigue me or make me sympathize with them. That’s true whether the character is anything from a serial killer to a physically and emotionally scarred hero such as Caleb from THE RODEO MAN’S DAUGHTER. I’d like to introduce you to him.
Rodeo star Caleb Cantrell grew up dirt-poor and looked down upon by folks in town. Still a teen, he took off for the fame and fortune of the rodeo circuit. After he’s tossed by a bull and almost loses his life, his rodeo dreams are destroyed.
He returns to his hometown intending to settle scores with the folks who’d done him wrong—and then leave them all behind to get on with the rest of his life. Unfortunately, a rocky reunion with his high-school sweetheart upsets all his plans.
I love Caleb! In the beginning, he came across as a hard, bitter man. But after pushing to get beneath his shell, I found him revealing parts of his character that make him worthy of sympathy and respect. I hope readers feel the same.
Caleb has just returned to Flagman’s Folly after a ten-year absence. At the very beginning of the book, we learn about his home life as a child. Then we turn the page and listen in on this conversation:
The gang of kids had moved out of sight behind one of the shacks. A lone boy, eight or nine years old, stayed behind and stood watching him. Dark hair, a dirty face. Torn T-shirt and skinned knees. Could have been Caleb, twenty years ago.
The kid made his way across the road. “Hey,” he said, “whatcha doing?”
Just looking around.”
“What’s wrong with your leg?”
The boy must have noticed his awkward gait, the stiffness that always hit him after he sat in one position for a while. “I hurt my knee. Getting off a bull.”
“Thought you were supposed to stay on ’em.”
He shrugged. “That one had other ideas.” Not too bad—in those three quick sentences, he’d managed to bypass two years’ worth of rehab and pain.
The kid looked away and then quickly back again, shuffled his feet and jerked his chin up high. Caleb recognized the mix of pride and false bravado.
“Hey, mister…got a dollar?”
“Sure.” How many times had he asked that question himself? How many times had he sworn he’d never ask it again? He reached into his pocket for his wallet, thumbed it open and plucked out a bill without looking at it. “Here you go.”
“Wow. Gee, thanks. Thanks a lot.”
Caleb grinned. The boy’s grubby fingers clutched a hundred-dollar bill. He turned and raced across the road as if fearing Caleb would change his mind. He wouldn’t. He had plenty of money now.
Folks in town would sure be surprised to see him again, especially when he started spending that cash. When he started showing them just how far he’d come. Maybe then they’d look at him differently than they had years ago.
His grin fading, he shoved the wallet into his pocket and nodded.
Yeah. He’d show them, all right.
Here, we learn Caleb had a bad childhood and resents how the townsfolk treated him. Even more important, he’s hurt by their actions. These are the feelings that nurture his need for revenge. And though that’s not the most honorable motive in the world, his history makes me understand why he feels the way he does.
I hope you enjoyed getting to know something about Caleb Cantrell. I also hope the brief excerpt helped you come to understand and maybe even root for him. If so, he’s passed my test of a character folks can care about.
Please share what you look for in a character you care about. And feel free to leave a comment or question for me.
Originally from the East Coast, award-winning author Barbara White Daille now lives with her husband in the warm, sunny Southwest, where they love the lizards in the front yard but could do without the scorpions in the bathroom.
From the time she was a toddler, Barbara found herself fascinated by those things her mom called “books.” Once she learned the words between the covers held the magic of storytelling, she wanted to see her words in print so she could weave that spell for others.
Barbara hopes you will enjoy reading her stories and will find your own storytelling magic in them!
She would love to have you drop in at her website, where you can find out more about her Blog Tour for THE RODEO MAN’S DAUGHTER.
To celebrate the release of THE RODEO MAN’S DAUGHTER, Barbara is giving away a copy (print or e-book) of A RANCHER’S PRIDE, the first Flagman’s Folly book.
To be entered in the drawing, leave a comment or question for her. Check back here at the blog to see if your name was drawn as the winner.