Please welcome Jacqueline Seewald.
Where were you born, Jacqueline?
What do you like most about where you live now?
I never left NJ. I lived for many years in the central part of the state and really liked it. I now live at the Northern end overlooking the Hudson. We have a great view of Manhattan.
Sounds wonderful. What’s your favorite season?
As a child I loved autumn best, but now it’s definitely spring with all the plants, trees and flowers reborn.
Do you have any personal heroes/heroines?
My parents were wonderful people. They remain my hero and heroine. My husband is a super great human being and was a devoted teacher. So he’s my hero as well.
Have you had any unusual or noteworthy occupations?
I’ve worked as an English teacher in both middle and high school, then obtained graduate degrees and taught writing courses including Creative Writing at Rutgers University. I’ve also worked as academic librarian at Rutgers and as a school librarian.
Do you have any hobbies?
I like to paint landscapes. I also love various types of music, folk and blue grass in particular. I enjoy singing.
I’ve always envied people who can capture landscapes on canvas, and singing isn’t one of my fortes! What is your feeling about social media?
It’s part of our lives and as a writer I can’t ignore it. I’m not as active as some writers but I do enjoy reading posts on FB and Twitter.
What do you enjoy most/least about being a published author?
It’s a rush when my novels and short stories are published—that goes for poetry and non-fiction articles as well. What I least like is that publishers do very little to publicize writers these days, feeling that authors themselves should do it all. It seems only the few largest publishers are spending any money or effort in promoting authors and their books. Yet the publishers are the ones who stand to earn the most in profits. I find this trend discouraging. I understand why many writers turn to self-publishing in frustration.
I hear that a lot too. How do you deal with writer’s block?
Lots of different ways. But what works best for me is physical activity, getting away from the computer for a while and taking a long walk. It clears my head.
To what do you attribute your success as a writer?
Hard work and dedication. Writing is what I need and want to do, and so I want to do it well. I spend a lot of time on revision and self-editing. I find the work can always be improved upon.
Where do you find inspiration for your stories?
I listen to and observe other people. Sometimes they can become interesting characters in my work. I also read a great deal. I find non-fiction actually inspires quite a bit of my fiction.
Interesting. Tell us about your latest release.
The two most recent novels I’ve written are very different although both are romance fiction.
DARK MOON RISING is a Southern Gothic published by Luminosity which is a ghost story. It’s available in print and all e-book formats.
THE KILLING LAND is an historic Western novel set in Arizona in the 1880’s, published by Five Star/Cengage and available in hardcover as well as e-book. Since the publisher deals with libraries, a lot of them are carrying the novel. So readers can have a free read just by requesting the novel at their local library.
Both novels are highly sensual romances but also suspense thrillers that have mystery elements. They are stand-alone stories, but my Kim Reynolds romantic mystery series was a delight to write and well-received by many reviewers. The 4th book in the series THE BAD WIFE is available inexpensively from Amazon. (Kim is an academic librarian and a reluctant psychic who seems to find dead bodies.)
DARK MOON RISING http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Z7824A4/
B&N Online: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-moon-rising-jacqueline-seewald/1122376394?ean=2940150766686
Also available through the publisher Luminosity: http://luminositypublishing.com/product/dark-moon-rising/
“You’re a fool.”
Mary MacGreggor stared up at the ice-blue eyes of the handsome cowman in front of her with surprise bordering on shock. She simply did not believe he could be so rude. Surely, even in the West, people must learn manners? The tall rancher looked from Uncle Isaac to her, shook his head, and then dismounted.
“Am I to understand you won’t do business with me?” Isaac asked in a calm, quiet voice.
“Didn’t say that, Mr. Stafford.” The rancher glanced over at Mary, raking her boldly from head to toe with a single look she found embarrassing. Unconsciously, Mary’s hand went to her head to straighten her bonnet.
“I never discuss business in front of a lady, not even a pretty one.” His tone was arrogant and patronizing. But then, wasn’t that just the way with rich people, thinking and acting as if they were so much better than everyone else?
And there was no doubt this cowboy was rich. Uncle Isaac had explained to her that Cal Davis owned Rancho Royo and the Thunderbolt, both of which were large spreads, and taken together, the biggest cattle ranch in Arizona. Cal Davis’s property also included much in the way of forested acreage, which was what interested them.
“Mr. Davis, I should introduce you to my niece, Mary MacGreggor. She is also my partner in the farm, since half of the financial investment is hers. You’ll also find she has a good head for business.”
The rancher looked down at her with what she could only interpret as an amused air of superiority. She felt the blood rising to her face and averted her gaze.
“I was told that you planned to meet me here today to ask about buying some of my lumber,” Davis said in a flat voice.
“That’s right. We intend to build a permanent dwelling, and therefore, it should be the best structure we can afford.”
“Why don’t you join me while I pick up some things in the general store and we’ll talk this over.” Although his voice now sounded polite, his manner was still disdainful.
They followed Cal Davis into a store that bore the sign “Emporium” in the front window. Once inside, Mary looked around, noticing that harnesses hung from the ceiling, along with saddles and bridles. The store seemed to sell a little of everything; big sacks of sugar and flour were piled up in one corner, bolts of calico in another.
Cal Davis walked up to the counter and asked the store owner about checking over some accounts. Then he turned back to them once again. Mary surveyed the man. He seemed just as tall out of the saddle as he had looked in it. He was lean but well-built, with broad, muscular shoulders and narrow hips. The man wore fine black leather boots which extended to his knees. A brown work shirt, jeans, leather vest, and brown Stetson completed his wardrobe. Strapped to his thigh was a holstered revolver that made him look dangerous.
“There’s plenty of good pine and fir trees up in the hills. We’ve been blessed that way. But the fact is, I don’t think you’ll be needin’ it.”
Isaac wrinkled his brow, looking much older than his thirty-seven years. “What makes you say that?”
“Plain truth is the land you’ve claimed ain’t fit for farming.”
“I don’t understand,” Mary said. It was the first time she had spoken and both men looked at her. Mr. Davis, in particular, seemed surprised at having a woman comment during a business discussion.
As he removed his hat in what seemed to be a gesture of deference to her, she could not help but notice how sun-streaked his light brown hair was or how it fell in waves over his long forehead. There were slight creases at the corners of his eyes as if he were accustomed to squinting at the sun.
“ Ma’am, we’ve always used that land for grazing Thunderbolt cattle. It just ain’t fit for anything else.”
“My uncle thinks it could be.”
His mouth smiled, but his eyes were anything but friendly. She met his level gaze directly, looking up into the tanned, weather-beaten face.
“This place ain’t nothin’ like the East. I think you folks are underestimating the difficulties you’ll find out here.”
“There’s a stream on the property I plan to use to irrigate the crops,” her uncle said in a meek voice. “I’m certain we can manage.”
The cowboy stood with arrow-straight posture, his erect bearing giving the impression of a man who held himself aloof, while in contrast, her uncle’s shoulders were slightly stooped, suggesting a yielding and gentler temperament.
“Suit yourselves,” Cal Davis said with a shrug. “But you’re wasting time, money, and effort on land that’s fit for nothing but cattle ranching. I think you folks would do well to move on.” Mary noted he had a soft, controlled voice with just the hint of a Southern accent.
“How can we trust your advice, Mr. Davis, since it seems fairly obvious that you consider the land as rightfully belonging to you.” She couldn’t seem to help sounding angry and accusing.
“That’s true enough, ma’am. As far as I’m concerned, you’re nothin’ but squatters.” He looked directly into her eyes, his dark blue orbs cold as a lake in winter. “I would like to keep that land for myself. But if you think I’m warning you for selfish reasons, well, you’re dead wrong.” He spoke through pursed lips.
“That remains to be seen,” she countered.
He shot a bolt of blue lightning in her direction. “Have it your way, ma’am, but don’t ever say you weren’t warned. That land gets hit by drought real regular. When your creek dries up this summer, don’t you be surprised.”
“Mr. Davis, our family has gone through a lot of trouble to come west and we’re not about to give up without a fight.” Her eyes locked with his.
Multiple award-winning author, Jacqueline Seewald, has taught creative, expository and technical writing at Rutgers University as well as high school English. She also worked as both an academic librarian and an educational media specialist. Sixteen of her books of fiction have been published to critical praise including books for adults, teens and children. Her short stories, poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications and numerous anthologies such as: THE WRITER, L.A. TIMES, PEDESTAL, SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY MAGAZINE, OVER MY DEAD BODY!,GUMSHOE REVIEW, THE MYSTERY MEGAPACK, LIBRARY JOURNAL and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. One of her poems took first place in the Reader’s Digest 2015 Poetry Contest. Her writer’s blog can be found at: http://jacquelineseewald.blogspot.com