Three winners! You choose the book! That’s right. Now’s your chance, if you’re at all curious about what sort of books I write. Or if you’ve read some of my mystery series, but can’t find the next title (and some of the older books are hard to find). Enter this contest and if your name is drawn, I will send you the book of your choice. I am going to have first, second, and third place winners, and all will get to choose a book. So, three winners!
To enter, leave a comment on this post. The comment must include your choice of book. You can say “any of them” or “the first one”, or name a title, but indicate your preference. I will draw three names out of a hat this coming Friday and post the three winners then. If you win, you must email me at laurae at cruzio dot com and send me your snail mail address, so I can mail you the book. I am willing to mail them anywhere. The books are only available as print copies. The first eight books in the series are hardcovers, the last three are trade paperbacks (larger size paperbacks).
To find out more about my mystery series, see the covers, read reviews, and/or the first chapter of each book, click on my name on the sidebar to go to my website. (A warning—I’ve posted the first chapters from my manuscript copies, so some of them have typos, which were cleaned up by the time the books were published. I know I should go back and repost the first chapters sans typos, but website maintainance doesn’t seem to get very high priority around here. However, be assured that the books are pretty much free of the sort of errors you may find on the website.) I’ll give a short overview of the series here so you can get an idea if you might be interested.
The books feature equine veterinarian Gail McCarthy, and each book is a classic mystery. Not suspense, not romance, though there is plenty of suspense and romance included. But the genre is mystery, not glue-you-to-your-seat-with-horror suspense, or full-of-throbbing-objects erotic romance. Just to be clear.
Since Gail is an amateur sleuth, there is a certain element of unbelievability in the fact that this particular horse vet has stumbled on over a dozen murders so far—I mean, would you have her out to your barn on a call? However, this is a standard mystery premise, and with this one caveat, the books are as believable and true to life as I can make them.
Almost all the horse action is based on things I have done or seen with my own eyes, and there is PLENTY of horse action in every book. Besides the mystery plot, each story focuses on a different element of the horse world. The first book, CUTTER, revolves around cutting horses, the second, HOOFPRINTS, centers on reined cowhorses, the third, ROUGHSTOCK, on team roping and endurance riding, the fourth, ROPED, on roping and ranching, the fifth, SLICKROCK, on horse packing in the mountains, the sixth, BREAKAWAY, on trail riding, the seventh, HAYBURNER, on breaking a colt…etc.
Above and beyond the mystery plot and the realistic exploration of different aspects of the horse world, the main character, Gail McCarthy, evolves throughout the series, having various life adventures. In this sense, all twelve books constitute a very long novel that covers twenty years of one woman’s life. She begins a career, finds a boyfriend, breaks up with him, goes through a depression, finds a new boyfriend…etc. So there is some merit to reading the books in order. However, each book stands well alone as an entertaining/exciting read, and it is not necessary to have read the previous installments to enjoy any given title.
And finally, every horse wreck and veterinary adventure that has happened to me and my friends has been included—the books are a virtual encyclopedia of what can happen to a horse—again, all as true to reality as my writing skills will permit. Every horse in every book is based on a horse I have known, and all are realistic, believable horses, behaving as horses really do behave. They don’t talk, or bash the bad guys to defend their owner or any of the host of other silly/unbelievable things I have seen horses portrayed as doing, in various novels I have read. (I don’t know if this bugs you guys as much as it bugs me, but for the record, my fictional horses are “real” horses.)
I’ll give a very brief synopsis of each book here, and again, for more info, click on my name on the sidebar.
CUTTER: Veterinarian Gail McCarthy thought cutting horse trainer Casey Brooks was being paranoid with his stories of poisoned horses and sabotage, but when his blue roan mare returns riderless and Casey is found dead, she isn’t so sure.
HOOFPRINTS: Gail McCarthy is a horse vet with a hectic schedule, not to mention a horse, a new boyfriend, and a house payment, and her life is more than a little disrupted when she finds two dead bodies in the course of a routine call to a well known reined cowhorse barn.
ROUGHSTOCK: While attending the annual Winter Equine Seminar at Lake Tahoe, Gail finds one of her fellow horse vets dead, and another accused of his murder. The trail leads back to Gail’s hometown, and through the twists and turns of the team roping world, plunging Gail into a confrontation with an unlikely killer.
ROPED: A stalker haunting the ranch of an old friend creates a harrowing personal drama for Gail as she struggles to sort out a mystery involving animal rights and a bitter feud—and win a team roping event at the same time.
SLICKROCK: Gail embarks on a solitary pack trip in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, with just her two horses and her dog for company. All too soon she stumbles upon a soon-to-be-dead man, and is drawn into the whirlwind of nefarious events that precipitated the tragedy.
BREAKAWAY: Faced with a depression and some big life changes, Gail struggles to find the right path as she is confronted with the strangest mystery she has ever heard of.
HAYBURNER: Gail is called out to treat injured horses when the biggest boarding stable in the county catches fire. When a second barn fire occurs nearby, Gail finds herself in the middle of the search to catch the arsonist—before any more horses or people die.
FORGED: Gail’s horseshoer is shot in her barnyard, while shoeing her horse, embroiling Gail in a dangerous attempt to capture an elusive killer.
MOONBLIND: Gail’s cousin Jenny, who runs a Thoroughbred layup farm, complains of mysterious villains who are out to destroy her business—and harm her horses. While trying to support Jenny, Gail discovers this threat is all too real.
CHASING CANS: Legendary barrel racing trainer Lindee Stone is killed when a horse flips over backwards with her. The cops are calling it an accident, but Gail witnessed the wreck and thinks there is something fishy about it.
GOING, GONE: While on a vacation in the Sierra foothills, Gail finds that her old boyfriend, Lonny Peterson, is accused of murdering a local auctioneer. In an attempt to save Lonny, Gail ends up in a harrowing horseback race with a ruthless killer.
So here’s your chance to check out my writing for free. I hope all of you enter. Remember, you must leave a comment naming your book of choice by this coming Friday, when I will draw the winners. And if you win a book, I’d love to have you review it. Cheers--Laura