Mason “Tuck” Tucker meets Sass Thornton when she lassos him and drags him from certain death in a flashflood. She dubs him “dumbass” for entering a box canyon during a rainstorm. This label he will hear many times as she struggles against her unwanted attraction to him.
Sass’s father, Phil, owns the cattle ranch that she runs with an iron fist. Her father has been keeping two important secrets from her; one about her mother’s murderer, the other about a killer in his bunkhouse who has romantic interests in the attractive young woman.
Phil hires Tuck, over his daughter’s strong objections, to run the bunkhouse and control growing racial tension between white cowhands and Mexican vaqueros. The young man surprises Phil with his easy, yet tough and effective, management style. The ranch owner takes Tuck into his confidence, revealing the truth about a deadly gunman terrorizing the bunkhouse. He insists that Tuck deal with the threat without letting Sass know of the danger.
Throughout the book, Tuck is haunted by howls of a lone wolf, but only one other person can hear it. The wolf often accompanies life-like dreams of an old Indian ghost named Lost Eagle. The spirit medicine-man repeatedly warns him about a strange destiny he must soon face. When Tuck reveals the dreams to Sass, she cautions him to avoid the cave where the ghost of Lost Eagle is thought to haunt. Despite her distrust of the Native American phantom, the apparition saves Tuck by waking him when an assassin approaches. Lost Eagle prepares Tuck for his fate, foretelling that the young man will soon have to choose life or death between friends. His choice will result in the death of one.
Read what happens when Lost Eagle’s ghost, the lone-wolf spirit-guide and Tuck’s new found love, Sass, come together in a life and death struggle. How does the murderer in the bunkhouse seek revenge against Sass and her father? What happens when Phil’s secrets are revealed to his daughter? Will Tuck leave the woman he comes to love to save his aunt who raised him as the only mother he’s ever known? Find the answers by reading the Ghost of Lost Eagle.
~ Virtual Author BT
Hi Livia, thank you so much for the opportunity to talk with you and your readers about my western-romance, Ghost of Lost Eagle.
If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?
What would you say inspired you to write it?
Have you ever wanted to read a certain kind of story, but not been able to find it? I wanted a “real” western setting with realistic characters, authentic history and a story plot that would knock my socks off, so I wrote it.
What was the source of inspiration for your protagonist?
I like strong characters. Mason “Tuck” Tucker is a tough man with flaws and endearing traits, a rare man who could understand the lead female, Sass Thornton, as she hides her feelings and tries to be strong while running the ranch for her ailing father.
What about your antagonist?
There are two kinds of antagonists in this story. First, there is the man with the scar face who killed Sass’s mother, and then there are emotional demons from a painful past that haunt Sass’s personality. Tuck must overcome both with physical strength and strength of character.
Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it?
No, I do not suffer from writer’s block. If anything, I have a hundred stories trapped in my mind, all screaming for release and impatiently waiting their turns.
Your all time favorite book?
I have many, but my most recent is The Secrets of Albion Falls, by Sass Cadeaux. I even named my female lead character in Ghost of Lost Eagle after this author.
What made you pick that one above all others?
I love to discover new worlds. Sass Cadeaux’s style of writing and her skill at weaving a complex plot with growing apprehension kept me engaged right to the end.
What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project?
My stories develop for years in my mind before they leap onto paper (or, in today’s world, digital form). I wrote Ghost of Lost Eagle in two months. Maker of Angels, another western-romance, was also two months. My big sci-fi story, The Last Human War (135K words) took three months.
Would you say becoming an author has changed you?
Yes. I suddenly feel free.
In what way?
After spending all my adult years in the military or business world, I now enjoy a kind of freedom to explore fantasy in ways I never could before.
Was there ever a time, during your work on the e-book/book, when you felt like giving up?
No, quite the contrary. There have been many times when I wanted to quite my job and become the “starving artist” so that I could totally immerse in my writing.
What made you change your mind?
Haha…funny question. I guess I did not quit the day job, because I’ve become a bit too comfortable with life. I want it all, the benefits of a good income and the freedom to write. Does that make me greedy?
What does your day-to-day life consist of?
I own a successful insurance brokerage that I have run for 35 years. Insurance provides a good income while affording me control of my time so I can pursue writing. I plan to retire from insurance as soon as possible to write full time.
What else do you do, aside writing?
I love bass fishing and playing guitar, although both have been neglected in the past two years while I rev up my writing career. No regrets about that, though, I’m having fun.
How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect?
Criticism is how we learn. Bad grades in school show us where we need to improve. Writing is no different. I listen to every comment and weigh its impact on my work. I ask myself, “Is this a unique criticism, or is this something that my target audience will care about?” You see, writers MUST understand that their work is NOT “right” for every reader. We write “to” a specific kind of reader. So, each critique must be viewed in relationship to the target audience.
Is this title part of a series?
Yes. This is the first book in my Sweetwater Canyon series.
Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next e-books/books in the series?
The current sequel takes a favorite character from the Ghost of Lost Eagle and tells his story, complete with a torrid love affair, wild old west action and expanding on the ghost and Indian lore from the first book. The third book in the series introduces a new character who interacts with some of the first book’s key players, again with a high action-adventure component. All books in this series will have burgeoning love stories at the core of the plot.
What do you have stored for us in the future?
There are three more books immediately in the pipeline:
Maker of Angels This western-romance set in 1855 is about forbidden love between an American Indian, Kaga Ishta, and Colton Minar, a cowboy-journalist who becomes trapped in a vicious cycle of gunfights he doesn’t want.
Space Chronicles: The Last Human War, Originally published in 2009, this space opera will be released later this year as an eBook, along with its long-awaited sequel.
Faces of Hatred Currently on submission to major publishers, this thriller chronicles as devastating world-wide terrorist attack by radical elements. It is particularly disturbing because of the real-life possibilities explored in the story.
What made you decide to go the self-pub way?
I want to share my stories with readers. I do not care about the money, fame or method of distribution as long as people get a chance to enjoy my fantasy worlds. Self-publishing is merely a faster way to get books into readers hands, rather than to wait many years for the cumbersome world of traditional publishing to “discover” my story telling.
What would you say was the toughest part?
Marketing. I am a writer, not a salesman, but I understand that if we, writers, do not promote our stories, then nobody will ever know that they exist. I love writing. I love talking with readers about the stories. I love helping other writers to improve on their skills. I hate marketing, because it takes me away from what I love most, but I guess dirty diapers come with cute little babies, so I do what has to be done for my “babies” to grow to their full potential.
Did you hire professionals for editing, cover design, formatting?
Yes. Writing is an art. Publishing is a business, and like in any business, it is always wise to pay professionals to handle certain tasks. I hire graphic artists for cover art, pay a professional editor for final manuscript polish, and I make ALL the final decisions, even after the pros do their magic. Ultimately, the author is FULLY responsible for every element in a self-published book. He or she cannot claim it was “the other guys fault” when SPAG, poor cover layout or other problem reflects poorly on the end result.
How did you decide who to hire, if you worked with pros?
I made mistake at first by trying to get “cheap” help. You get exactly what you pay for. The best way to get quality is by reputation and experience. Find out how edited other books that you like. Look at the sales results: good sales usually equal good professional support. Many authors thank their editors, graphic artist of others in their books. Pay attention to the credits in books you like.
How long did the production part take, from the moment you began working on the manuscript to self-pub to when you hit ‘Publish’?
Longer than it should have with Ghost of Lost Eagle. This was my first eBook and it was a learning experience. I believe now that I can produce and excellent story with full editing, professional cover art and layout in about three to four months from “Once upon a time…” to the “publish” button.
Where is your work being distributed, Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, AllRomanceEbooks/Omnilit, some other distributor?
The Last Human War – B&N, author’s website for signed copies and soon to be added to Amazon as an eBook.
Ghost of Lost Eagle – Amazon, CreateSpace and author’s website for signed copies.
Maker of Angels – Will be released on Amazon, CreateSpace author’s website for signed copies.
How did you decide which one(s) to go with?
All decisions were based on expediency in reaching as many readers as possible.
If you could turn back in time and do things differently, would you?
It doesn’t make sense to me to lament the past, so I just look forward and learn from my mistakes. No regrets about the past. I also share my experiences in writing/publishing for other aspiring authors in my blog.
What would you change?
Nothing. Bad decisions help to build character and experience for the present.
If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for?
When I was a soldier in Vietnam as age 19, I wrote, “If I had but one dream that could come true, it would be that all men could dream too.” I still have that feeling.
If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you?
Name your favorite fruit.
Any fruit on a big bowl of icecream.
Coffee or tea?
Neither. Water with a slice of lemon.
Rain. I love to write during heavy rain storms.
How about fav time of 24 hours?
From midnight to 5AM. Those are my best writing hours.
Were you a boyscout/girlscout?
Yes. I was a boyscout and believe it contributed positively to my life.
Favorite food for breakfast?
Left over pizza.
Latest book you’ve bought and read?
Zero Day, by David Baldacci. Disappointed in it.
Do you collect things, like stamps, or key chains, or shoes?
Guitars. I love guitars.
Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!
White. White contains all other color spectrums, so it appeals to my creativity.
Drama or comedy?
Comedy. Life contains plenty of drama already.
Have a fav quote or personal motto?
Will Rogers: “You can be on the right track, but if you just sit there, you’re going to get run over.”
Cats or dogs?
Dolphins. They don’t crap in the kitchen.
Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing?
Good Lord, those are some lousy choices! How about dinner by a campfire under a star-lit sky?
About the Author & Links:
Author Dean Sault lives in Northern California with his wife and her menagerie of pets. Every day for the past thirty-five years, he could not wait to shut down his insurance office, so he could spend time with his family, go fishing, or retreat into his private world of writing fictional places and people.
In 2007, severe vertigo took away Sault’s beloved avocation of bass fishing and writing for Inside Line magazine. Sault refused to let vertigo stand in the way of his love of writing. He decided to dust off his stories and share his literary creations with the world. He began by publishing his science fiction space opera, The Last Human War.
After twenty years of writing in the dark, Sault was ready to step out and share his work with the world! He says, “2013 will be the year my readers experience a diversity of genres I’ve kept hidden from the world. From sci-fi to western romance, some with paranormal elements, this will be an exciting year.”
Sault brings his unique writing style to every story he creates. With crisp, fast-paced prose, he employs Hemingway-like simplicity as he weaves complex characters into fascinating worlds. Readers often comment that once begun, they cannot put his books down. “I learned this skill, believe it or not, from writing bass fishing articles and columns for Inside Line magazine during the time when I chased professional fishing and guiding,” Sault says. “In fact, many of the stories we are making available to readers today, found their beginnings in dusty motel rooms, late at night, while at distant bass tournaments.”
This breakout author shows promise to be one of the great writers of our time. From action-adventure to terror in his thrillers, his masterful handling of fast-paced prose compares with great writers like Tom Clancy and HG Wells. His western-romances share the strong pacing, but they slow at just the right moments to build touching love connections that tug at the readers’ heartstrings.