Category Archives for "Spirit Pass"

Serial or Parallel worlds? Real life timelines

Every writer when they sit down to start a book is faced with the conundrum of how their characters will come to life. How do they start writing the book? How do they allow the voices of the characters to speak to a wider audience through the page?

Spirit Warrior That was the challenge I faced when I sat down to write Spirit Warrior recently. Spirit Warrior is Book 2 in the Spirit Pass series and is a romantic western with a time travel component. The first book in the series was Indiana Wild. In the first book, Indiana Wild, we got to meet Allie and Jacob, who then went on to become the main leads in the second book, Spirit Warrior.

There were two options open to me as to how I should write Spirit Warrior; one was to start Spirit Warrior where Indiana Wild left off and the other option was to tell Allie and Jacob’s story as they were telling it to me in my head.

I made a conscious choice to start Allie and Jacob’s story when they insisted I should… when they first met. I did this because I needed to allow readers to see what Allie, in particular, was going through. A number of reviews for Spirit Warrior have mentioned that it was a mistake to write the story from when Allie and Jacob first met – that I should have started it from when they were galloping off into the sunset at the end of Indiana Wild.

Spirit Pass is a time travel/western romance series, which may lead readers to believe that the inevitable tension between the hero and heroine come from the tension between past and present. In actual fact, the conflict in Spirit Warrior comes from the internal life experiences of Allie and Jacob, rather than from their external environment. The setting was based in the past and present, but that was not what the story was meant to be about. It just happened to be where it was occurring. The story was in fact about two individuals faced with the challenges life had given them. For Allie, it was the fear of losing someone who she cared about again. For Jacob, it was knowing he might have to give up everything he and his brother had built and live a life in a world he was unprepared for.

For a moment, I ask that you place yourself in their positions and think of how you would feel and deal with such decisions. In reality, people have lived and done this hundreds of thousands of times before in our history. Every time someone we have loved has died or gone away or for the millions of people who have made the decision to leave their country or the only life they have known to journey to a place of uncertainty, a place that is strange/yet familiar, and given up everything they have for one reason or another.

I admit to being as insecure as the next writer about my books, however the negative reviews suggesting Spirit Warrior were a rehash of Indiana Wild did hurt. Some people understand ‘why’ it is necessary to tell a story a certain way. With Jacob and Allie, I had two choices, continue where Indiana ended and give little bits as to how they met and got to where they were, or tell the story from their point of view and what was happening to influence them. They both told me that was what needed to be done. The focus of the story was on them. Yes, some dialogue was the same because it involved the characters in the previous story, but that was a very small amount and only when it was absolutely necessary to blend the two timelines together. In my mind, I believed that if a reader really read the story, they would understand that it enhanced what was going on in the background of the previous book. It is important to realize that when I share a story, it is much like real life. Life does not always run in serial, but is often parallel. Just as you spend time with someone, such as your partner, spouse, or kids, during the day, then go about your daily life only to meet again, so do the lives of my characters. It would be the equivalent of me writing about your life, then the life of someone else you know. Your stories and timelines will be occurring at the same times and you sometimes meet and interact during that timeline, but then there are other things that are going on that you were not present for. In addition, each person has a different viewpoint of what is happening. As an author, I am fascinated by these different points of view and respect them as being important.

I spoke with several people about the reviews and one comment really got me thinking! My colleague’s comment was, “I think the problem is readers have gotten lazy because the majority of authors have gotten lazy: The next book starts where the previous book stopped. You’re not cookie cutter! You care about the story and take the time to blend & weave. Celebrate that because it’s an important part of who you are as a writer. This story needed to see how Allie & Jacob met and started their relationship. If you hadn’t of done that I guarantee more readers would be on your case for not telling a complete story. Yes, you could have done flashbacks, but blah not for this story. Personally, I loved that I got their full story from start to finish. I got to see Jacob struggle with modern/past times, I got to be there when Chris died, I got to understand in real time why Allie was closed off. That’s all important character development.”

And so the questions I would like to raise with my readers – because you and the characters are the most important part of why I write – are: Have readers gotten lazy? Have authors gotten lazy? Have we become so used to serial type books that we expect books to start where the previous one finishes? What is important to readers?

I would love your opinions. I ask that you be respectful, think about your answers, and be positive (ie. Don’t say something mean, just to be mean). Anyone who knows me and my stories know that I look for the good in everything. I value your opinions and comments.

For those in book clubs, I wondered if Spirit Warrior might be a good book to discuss and so I have created discussion questions for book clubs to use. Click here to download those questions and share with your book club friends.

Sincerely,
Susan
Aka S. E. Smith

Spirit Warrior: Spirit Pass Book 2

Spirit Warrior

Spirit Pass, Book 2

Can the past handle a modern woman’s view that the two cultures are really not that different when it comes to love and family or will it destroy the very thing that makes her the perfect partner for a man of the past – her warrior spirit?

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Allie Whitewater was used to living between two worlds. She embraced both the Native American heritage of her father and the white heritage of her mother. She was happy with both and didn’t have the identity crisis many of her friends had growing up. Growing up on on a large working ranch in Montana, she loved every aspect of the life that her twin had left behind. She had no desire to live town, or worse, a large city. She plans on spending the rest of her life on the ranch her father started, running it and making it even better than ever. All of that changes when she decides to take a little vacation to help out her best friend and sister of the heart, Indiana, return to her new home.

Jacob Tucker enjoys building up the ranch he and his twin brother, Jonathan, had settled. Sure, there were dangers – rustlers, the harsh environment, Indians – but he wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. He is happy with life in the Montana territory. He never thinks there could be something or someone out there that could make him change his mind. At least, not until he travels with his brother to rescue his brother’s new bride, Indiana, when she is kidnapped. His idea of life and the world changes when he leaves his ranch in 1867 to travel to 2013. The world has changed a lot and so have the women – namely one called Allie Whitewater. She has the mouth of a cowpuncher, the body of an angel, and the temper of the Devil himself. Now all he has to do is get her back to his time and hold her so tight she won’t miss her fancy metal wagons and flying birds.

Jacob thinks his plan is fool-proof. He just needs to kidnap Allie long enough to make her never want to leave him to return to her world. But things change as tension between the red-skins and the white settlers and the army escalate. History won’t stand still for two souls separated by time. How can he hope to keep Allie safe when the whites see her as a red-skin savage and the Indians don’t know what to think of her?

When the two cultures clash, it is up to Allie to show she is capable of walking in both worlds. She will prove to the whites that she is a force to be reckoned with and she will prove to her ancestors that she is a Spirit Warrior who will fight to the death to protect her hasáŋni, her mate.

Can the past handle a modern woman’s view that the two cultures are really not that different when it comes to love and family or will it destroy the very thing that makes her the perfect partner for a man of the past – her warrior spirit?

Teaser/Excerpt:

Allie had finally given up on the guys. She chatted with Lynn for several minutes, used the ladies room, and chatted some more. She decided they must be in the ‘Library’, as she and Aleaha used to tease Taylor whenever he took forever. She went ahead and started the pre-flight walk around while she waited.

Her head turned and an exasperated smile formed on her lips as she watched them finally emerge from the single story building. Both of them were walking toward her with animated grins. She rolled her eyes when she saw that Jacob’s hands were filled with quarters.

“I think that one is mine,” Jonathan was saying as he plucked one of the quarters that threatened to spill out onto the runway.

“Allie, there was this metal box on the wall with a place that said ‘Insert Coin’. It is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. Well, except for the silver wagon and this flying machine and the lights that come on without a flame and the water out of the wall,” Jacob exclaimed in excitement as he climbed awkwardly back into the plane. “Who would have thought a machine would give you money if you pull on its arm?”

“It doesn’t always,” Allie replied with a chuckle as she slid into her seat and buckled back up. “Guess you guys live pretty rustic lives back home?”

Also in the series:

Spirit Warrior Audiobook
Buy Here: Audible Downpour iTunes Amazon CD Here's a sample of Spirit Warrior: Blurb: Allie Whitewater was used to living[...]
Indiana Wild in Audiobook
Indiana Wild, Spirit Pass Book 1   Out Now in Audiobook: SES Store Audiobook Audible Downpour iTunes Amazon CD Blurb: Indiana[...]
What Readers Are Saying About Spirit Warrior
Spirit Warrior Spirit Pass Book 2 Excerpt: Montana, 1867 Jacob Tucker pulled back on the reins of his horse and[...]

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Sexy, addictive, and perfect if you are looking for unique stories filled with hot, alpha dragon-shifting alien men and strong female protagonists that will leave you cheering for more! 

Indiana Wild: Spirit Pass Book 1

Indiana Wild

Indiana Wild

Spirit Pass, Book 1

Jonathan will do whatever it takes to bring Indiana home, even if it means following her to the future.

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Indiana Wild is as wild as the Montana ranch she was raised on. The youngest of four children, she was a delightful surprise for her older parents. She spends her time training horses and cow dogs and loving the freedom of the wide open spaces. When her grandfather dies, she finds her much older brothers have different plans for the ranch she calls home and for Indiana.

Indiana’s oldest brother is determined to tame Indiana and bring her to live with him in Los Angeles where he can keep an eye on her and the money she is inheriting. He believes with a little taming, he can control the wild spirit of his little sister and find her a good husband who can manage her.

Furious with the court order giving her older brother guardianship over her, Indiana turns to the only place she feels at home… the wide-open spaces of Montana. She is determined to avoid her controlling brothers and their greed, even if it means hiding from them until they give up. An unexpected trip through Spirit Pass takes Indiana further than she ever expected… by almost a hundred and fifty years.

Jonathan Tucker is as tough as they come. He and his twin brother have cut a successful horse and cattle ranch in the harsh Montana territory. When cattle rustlers try to steal his cattle and shoot one of his men, he is grateful to the young boy named Indy who comes to the rescue, even if the boy does have an attitude. The last thing he expects is to find the ‘boy’ is in fact an independent, free-thinking, stubborn female who is not afraid to voice her opinions. She is as wild as the untamed land around them and he is determined she is the wife for him.

When Indiana is taken from him, Jonathan finds he will do whatever it takes to bring his Indiana Wild home for good, even if it means following her to the future.

Teaser/Excerpt:

“Who are you?” she asked, straightening her shoulders and flexing her fingers to alert Chester and Tweed that there was danger.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Ms. Wild,” a tall, lean man wearing a dark leather jacket said.

Indy signaled for the dogs to lie down. She gasped when the man standing toward the back stepped closer so she could see him. She recognized him immediately from back home.

“Billy, what are you doing here? How did you….?” she asked, frightened.

“I’m sorry, Indy. I needed the money. Rosalie is expecting again and I got laid off down at the plant,” Billy Cloudrunner said. “She’s been real sick with this one and we couldn’t afford the medicine she needed,” he added, looking at the two men carefully. “I was only asked to guide them through the mountains. I didn’t know they were after you until it was too late. I wouldn’t have helped otherwise.”

Indy swallowed over the lump in her throat. She knew how fragile Rosalie was and how much Billy loved his little wife and kids. The current economy had hit many of them hard in the area, especially out on the reservation. Her eyes slid to the other two men. They were the ones she had to worry about.

“What do you want with me?” she asked coldly, raising her chin up defiantly.

Also in the series:

Serial or Parallel worlds? Real life timelines
Every writer when they sit down to start a book is faced with the conundrum of how their characters will[...]
Spirit Warrior: Spirit Pass Book 2
Spirit WarriorSpirit Pass, Book 2Can the past handle a modern woman’s view that the two cultures are really not that[...]
Indiana Wild: Spirit Pass Book 1
Indiana WildSpirit Pass, Book 1Jonathan will do whatever it takes to bring Indiana home, even if it means following her[...]

Sexy, addictive, and perfect if you are looking for unique stories filled with hot, alpha dragon-shifting alien men and strong female protagonists that will leave you cheering for more! 

Sexy, addictive, and perfect if you are looking for unique stories filled with hot, alpha dragon-shifting alien men and strong female protagonists that will leave you cheering for more!