Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Welcome Isabell Kane! @KaneIsabelle

I want to welcome Isabelle Kane! First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

I write romance novels and I believe that romance and love are among the most delightful aspects of the human experience. I have a distinct fondness for flawed heroes, and I seek to provide my readers with rich tapestries of stories in which love is just one element of the forces that intertwine the lives of the protagonists. I believe every dreamer deserves the adventures and escape offered by an exciting novel.

Tell us about your latest release.

Eagle River is my first New Adult Novel. It is a contemporary romance with a sport’s theme, because I have always found athletic men particularly sexy.

Here’s the blurb:

Rivals, Galen Odgers and Cam Fawst have shared many things. Gifted athletes and favored sons of Eagle River Wisconsin, both have been quarterbacks for the same legendary football team, the Warriors. Each was raised by a strong woman, and both love the same beautiful girl, Kjersten Solheim. 

Though they despise each other, they are inexorably linked. But there is a secret about one of them, a secret that a mother took to her grave, that a high school coach swore never to reveal, and one whose consequences continue to reverberate. 

Can love survive the ultimate betrayal and the revelation of a decades old secret?

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

The Phantom from the Phantom of the Opera because despite his at times violent and selfish behavior, he is motivated by love for Christine and music. His love is always hopeless, and so he is a tragic hero.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

Luke White from Calypso’s Secrets because he is both a bad boy and an honorable hero.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

I’ve written Mystery/Suspense Romance, Historical Romance, and Contemporary Romance. I have always loved reading romance, so it is very natural that I write in this genre. However, I try to add a little extra something to my stories so that there is more to them than just romance.

4.) What are you working on now?

I am working on a World War Two era romance involving a British soldier and an American nurse.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I have always written, even as a little girl. I think because I loved reading, I wanted to create my own stories.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

I get my ideas from all around me, perhaps from a snippet of conversation that I overhear or a stray thought that flits through my mind. I believe that writers have to have open eyes, ears, and minds in order to gather inspiration for their work.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

I work as an elementary school librarian and I also write children’s books under another name.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I used to train dressage horses and I competed through the Grand Prix level of dressage.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

The best pieces of of advice that I ever received on writing were to write honestly from the heart and the gut, and to be disciplined about writing.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

I think I would like to meet Robin Hood and find out how his real story turned out. Did he and Maid Marion live happily ever after?

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

The Glory of Love by Peter Cetera
I would say that this song inspired my views on romance and love.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

I would be a horse, because they are beautiful, powerful, loving and loyal.






Excerpt:

Chapter One

The Fair 1985
~ Ben ~

It was the kind of night when you held hands with your girl, rather than tossing an arm over her shoulders, because you were uncomfortably aware of the big sweat patches that extended all the way down to your belt. The evening breeze was heavy and sluggish with humidity, newly spun cotton candy, and buttered popcorn. Now and then, the heavy air would pick up a hot breath of animal smells emanating from the stock pens. And everything was sticky, especially the bodies of small, sun burned, black fingernailed children. The animals tied up in the fluorescently lit “Cow Palace,” were drooping and soggy despite the flashing lights and the cacophony of sound that rudely interrupted the surrounding opaque silence of a fallow field in the Midwestern night.

Years later, Ben could still hear it, the manically cheerful music of the Ferris wheel, the melodic wailing of some local country band from the beer tent, the dull hum of voices speaking, the lowing and bleating of the discontented animals, and, occasionally, a mother’s shrill cry for a child that had wandered off. He could still smell it and taste it, and it was right there when he closed his eyes. And then it would flood him and he would ache with the tight sunbaked skin feeling of childhood summers.

There was one such Saturday night that stood out as brilliantly lit among Ben’s memories as the Vegas strip in the quiet, indigo emptiness of the desert night. He remembered being ticked because his mother had saddled him with Timmy Johansson for the evening, and that meant that Ben had to leave the fair by eleven to get the kid home on time. Timmy wasn’t a bad kid. It’s just that he tried way too hard. His mom knew the kid had problems. She was the one who made Timmy go out for football, the year that Eagle River made it to the State Championships. Galen’s year.

That night, it turned out to be a good thing that Timmy came along. At least he was someone for Ben to talk to, someone easily impressed. Galen was in one of his moods. So, there they were, doing the fair thing: Ben, Galen the mute, and Timmy, shirt buttoned all the way up his neck, don’t-look-over-at-the-beer-tent Johansson.

It must have been around ten o’clock and all three boys were about faired out. They had taken to wandering around the stock barns with no real purpose, blowing time, when they heard cheering and applause from over near the game booths. There was a pause and then the same again. A good sized crowd had formed around one of the booths. They walked over to check out what was going on. Ben couldn’t see anything at first, but the three worked their way through the crowd. Ben was tall and so it wasn’t long before he had a decent view.

The crowd had formed a semi-circle around one of those games where one throws a football through a ring. The size of the prize you win was determined by how many times consecutively a person could throw it through the ring. The area in front of the booth was all clear, except for one figure which was alternately illuminated and then shadowed by the rapidly changing Ferris wheel lights. The man stood a good thirty feet from his target. At first, Ben couldn’t make out who it was. The guy was tall and strong. His shoulders were turned sideways. He stepped, reached back, and threw. The football sailed through the hole. The crowd went nuts. Their hero stood still, basking in their praise while some kid ran the ball back to him. Just then, a light from the Ferris wheel flashed across the man’s face, illuminating him. But Ben already knew who it was; he had kept stats at too many football games throughout high school not to recognize that particular throwing style.

Timmy, who had followed Ben through the crowd, tugged at his arm. “Hey, isn’t that Cam Fawst?”

Ben spun, searching for Galen, but he had already lost him somewhere in the crowd.

“You know him, right?” Insisted Timmy. He pushed at Ben’s shoulder. “Hey, Ben, what’s up?”

“Yeah, that’s Cam.” Where was Galen?

“Could you introduce me to him? He’s the Coyotes’ quarterback! I watched him on TV. I can’t believe that he’s actually here!”

Ben watched again as Cam turned, stepped, and hurled the football. It spiraled tightly, powerfully through the hole in the board. The crowd cheered wildly again. Once more, the kid jogged the ball back to Cam.

“That’s twelve, Cam,” someone shouted.

“Don’t miss this one, Cam.”

The tall figure turned into the half-light cast by the carousel. “It’s in the bag,” that familiar deep, confident, sardonic voice announced over the manically cheerful tune shrieking out from the carousel.

“No one has ever gotten thirteen, the whole fair, Mom,” Ben heard some little kid squeal. “Look how far back he is.”

“Hush, Toby. You’ll wreck his concentration,” a feminine voice ordered.

Ben watched Cam critically. He turned and threw. The ball spiraled through the air once more. So controlled, so smooth. But Cam still threw with this arm, not his shoulder. Ben had wondered whether the coaching Cam received in Milwaukee would correct that technical flaw. But, no. It was still there. But, if you were really critical, if you examined his throwing style as a potential NFL player, then you would have to admit that he didn’t use his shoulder the way the great ones did, the Johnny Unitases, the Dan Marinos. Still, Cam was impressive. And he remained Eagle River’s favorite son.

Once again, Ben searched the crowd for Galen, but there was still no sign of him. Is Kjersten here? Ben’s stomach twisted. God, he hoped not. It was way too soon for Galen.

Then, as he stared into the front rows of the crowd, the frenetic flash of the Ferris wheel lights reflected off moonlight bright long hair. He could just make out the familiar long, slender frame. God no! She’s here. Galen can’t deal with her right now, too!

Desperately now, Ben searched for his friend. He moved away from the awestruck Timmy and began to shoulder his way back through the crowd.

“Hey, watch it, kid,” a rather large farmer growled at him. In his haste, Ben had jostled the farmer’s lady.

“Sorry,” Ben shouted over his shoulder.

“That’s Oscar Happe’s boy, isn’t it?” Ben heard the farmer’s wife ask.

“Rude little bastard,” the farmer responded.

Perfect. But Ben had no time. Later, he would go back and apologize, but after he got Galen out of there. As he pushed through, the crowd began to thin. There, at the very edge of the huddled masses, stood Galen. At six feet four inches, Galen easily observed the scene over the heads of most of those assembled. His hands were jammed into the pockets of the faded Wranglers that clung to his long, muscled legs. Idly, or was it with restrained hostility, he kicked the toes of his battered and scuffed Roper boots into the dirt.

“Galen.”

He looked in Ben’s direction, but he didn’t notice Ben. Galen’s eyes seemed focused inward rather than outward. His face nakedly revealed pain and shattered dreams.

“Galen? Kjersten’s here.”

“Yeah, Ben. I know, and I’m okay.” Now Galen’s face was emotionless.

“Let’s get out of here, Galen. I’ve had enough of this hick fair.” To be honest, Ben felt more comfortable seeing him this way. This was the face that most everyone else saw. Ben knew that he was probably the only one outside of Galen’s family who ever saw him that other way. Galen had been through a lot with his mother dying last year and then the break up. No question. No one knew that better than Ben did. It was just that Galen hid it so well most of the time that Ben could forget or pretend, for a while at least. Then, he was the old Galen, the one he’d grown up with, not this new bitter and haunted person.

An “Aw,” reverberated through the crowd. Clearly, Cam had finally missed.

“Galen Odgers, is that you out there?” Sal, the rotund bar owner’s mellow baritone called out.

“Yeah, Sal. It’s me.” Galen answered as he raised his eyebrows at Ben.

What amazing timing. Ben tugged his friend’s arm. “Let’s get outta here.”

“What you doin’ out there, boy? Come on up here. You show Cam how a real football player throws.”

Sal’s great bulk parted the crowd like Moses did the seas, the round, glowing end of his thick cigar preceding him. He strode up to Galen, threw a great hairy forearm around Galen’s neck and dragged him through the crowd.

“Galen,” Sal chuckled, then cleared his throat of chunky cigar sputum. “You get up here and show Eagle River what you got.”

“Sal, I’m not up for this.”

“Hey Cam,” Sal shouted out, ignoring Galen’s protest. “I got a challenger here for you. Bet ya this high school string bean can out throw a college star. Galen here is a real ball player. You see that ring over there, Galen? Cam tossed that pigskin there through it thirteen times from where he’s standing. I got a twenty that says you can make it to fourteen.” Sal moved back towards the football toss, dragging Galen with him.

Suddenly, there was chaos. People shouted out to Galen and Sal’s voice continued to boom out, taking odds.

Ben stood stock still. If you know a guy as well as Ben knew Galen, had grown up with a guy, you understood how he felt about things, about people, about Kjersten and Cam, in particular. Feeling anxious, he jostled his way back to the front of the crowd.

Meanwhile, Galen had taken Cam’s place. He stood silently, facing the target. He had to be nervous, what with the whole town and Cam and Kjersten there. Please God, don’t let him screw up. Please. Ben crossed his fingers. Galen drew his arm back and threw, quickly. Too quickly. Yes! It went through. One. The ball was run back to him. Again, he just drew back and blasted it. Two. Yes! Then, another. One more. On and on. The relief washed over Ben. Galen was keeping it together. He was sweet. Ben started to get excited, to get into it with the crowd.

Ben hadn’t seen his best friend play ball for most of Galen’s senior year. Ben had been away at college. He had heard that Galen was a real talent, but this self-composed, accurate quarterback was a far cry from the long limbed, loose cannon he remembered from a year before. Galen’s weight was balanced delicately, dancer-like on the balls of his battered, old, laced up work boots. His facial features were relaxed while his eyes were focused on that white ring in the distance. He seemed not to hear the voices shouting his name all around him. He appeared equally oblivious to Cam, who stood just off to his right side, and to the din and the flashing lights of the surrounding fair. Effortlessly, Galen tossed that football through the hoop, pausing only long enough for the boy to run the football back to him. Unlike Cam, who had reveled in the adoration, working the crowd, Galen was lost in the job at hand and he was really, really good.

As one, the crowd shouted the number of the throw out loud, drowning out the sounds of men betting and the fair noises: “Ten… Eleven… Twelve.”

The tension built with each successful throw. The crowd sucked in air as one, exhaled in relief as one.

“Thirteen.” Galen had tied Cam.

Unable to resist, Ben searched for Kjersten again. In the shadows by Cam, Ben could just make out her profile. Maliciously, he wished that he could see her face as she watched her old boyfriend show up her new one.

“Fourteen...Fifteen...Sixteen.”

Hysteria was building.

“Seventeen...Eighteen...Nineteen...Twenty... Oh,” the crowd groaned as one. Galen had finally missed. The football had bounced just off the edge of the ring. Then, everyone went nuts. Galen stood still as the crowd swarmed around him. Ben saw Sal give him a few congratulatory smacks on the back. Then, Ben lost sight of Galen in the mass of people congratulating him. Gritting his teeth, Ben forced his way closer in. When he finally caught sight of Galen again, Cam had already cornered Galen.

Suddenly, Ben was fourteen-years-old and too chicken to help Galen out when Cam decided to make trouble for him. Cam wasn’t really a bully. He had never really cared enough about other people to waste his time trying to dominate them. Besides, he’d always enjoyed the kind of hero worship that other boys gave to superior athletes. But things were different between Cam and Galen. There’d always been something strange between those two, a heavy, dark feeling of which schoolboys should not have been capable.

Ben observed that Kjersten was on Cam’s arm. Long-limbed and slender and fragile, she passed under the lights, completely visible for the first time. The high cheekbones, the full lips, and the elegant neck were the same. Shouldn’t people look different when everything changed so much? But Kjersten was the same, albeit a thinner, more serious looking girl. She still wore her hair long and straight down her shoulders. She still moved with that particular step, seeming to dance forward, like the sprinter that she had once been. Her face was serene, still, and classically beautiful.

Ben watched as Cam held out his hand to Galen. “I’m glad that you’re keeping the standard up at old Eagle River High. I was worried that the Warriors would slack off with me gone.”

Galen stared at the proffered hand and then, slowly, hesitantly, reached out and took it. From his vantage point, Ben saw that both men were putting a good deal more than cordiality into their grips. Their hands remained interlocked, their eyes meeting, the smile thinning from Cam’s lips, neither one giving in. Then, as if by mutual agreement, they released. A draw.

“Your name is Galen, right?” Cam continued, that bright “for the fans” smile accentuating the hungry lines of his jaw. “Galen Otter, or Oller?” Of course Cam knew Galen’s name, but thankfully, Galen didn’t take the bait.

“Odgers.”

“I remember now. You were that weedy sophomore backup quarterback.” Cam chuckled familiarly. “You always brought me towels and water all through my senior year.” He punctuated his comment with a friendly nudge at Galen’s shoulder. But Cam’s eyes were sharp and focused on Galen. “I remember you had a big case of hero worship.”

Unfazed by the clumsy jab, Galen stared straight back at him. “Too bad you didn’t play much last year, Fawst.”

Cam quit smiling. “Things are different in college. Players run faster and hit harder. It takes anyone a while to adjust. You’ll see what it’s like if you get that opportunity. Throwing a football through a hoop is a cute trick but it won’t get you far in a college football game.” Cam paused, regaining his composure. “You decided where you’re gonna go next year? I’m sure that there are a lot of division three schools who would give you a shot.”

Galen didn’t take the bait.

“Well, see ya.” Cam was tired of the games.

“Hi Galen,” Kjersten’s voice was soft but carried through the darkness like a knife.

Galen nodded his head curtly towards the girl, acknowledging her, but didn’t turn to look at her. “Kjersten.”

Cam assessed them, looking back and forth between them. “That’s right, you two know each other.” He tossed an arm possessively over Kjersten’s shoulder and pulled her tightly to him, staring at Galen all the while. “Here’s my good luck, Galen. You need to get yourself one of these,” Cam chuckled at his own coarse joke. Kjersten’s face remained determinedly impassive, her body, stiff.

“Hey Cam,” Sal’s cigar roughened voice cut through the weighted silence. The large bulk of the bartender appeared at Galen’s side. “You gonna be around town for a couple of days?”

“I’d planned to stay through the weekend,” Cam answered.

“Would you mind stoppin’ by the bar during the Brewers and Twins game? You know what big Coyote fans we are. The guys would be thrilled if you would just come in and shoot the shit.”

“Sure, Sal.”

“Thanks, kid.” Sal was pleased. With satisfaction, he twisted the cigar between his teeth. “Galen, you comin’ by, too?”

“I don’t know, Sal. There’s a lot of work I gotta do at the farm. It’s tough to get away.”

No longer the center of attention, Cam turned away. “Come on, babe. Let’s get out of here. I’ve had enough of this small town bullshit,” Ben heard him mutter to Kjersten.

Suddenly, a hot, sweaty hand grasped Ben’s forearm. “Hey Ben, I’ve been looking all over for you. I thought that you’d ditched me.” It was Timmy. “Do you know how late it is already? My mom must be having a stroke. I haven’t called her in over two hours and it’s almost eleven. We’ve got to go soon or I’m gonna be late for curfew.”

“Yeah, let’s go.” Galen broke abruptly away and strode off, his long legs eating up the ground, leaving Ben and Timmy in the dust. They followed and tried to keep up at first and then fell behind. A stalk of corn from last year’s crop, suddenly jammed into the arch of Ben’s foot.

“Shoot.” Ben knelt down, pulled off his decrepit sneaker, and rubbed the abraded skin. He looked up as Galen swung open the door of his beat up, old pickup and hopped in. Ben cringed at the brutal clang of rusted metal on metal when he slammed the ancient door shut.

Timmy waited while Ben adjusted his shoe. “Is he okay? Galen’s not pissed with me, is he? I didn’t mean to act like a dorky little kid. It’s just that my mom worried. Do you think he’s pissed?”

“Don’t worry about it, Timmy. Galen’s not pissed with you or me. He’s just dealing with some stuff.”

As Ben straightened up, Galen started the engine. The ancient Ford was moving their way. It pulled abreast of them. “Come on, Ben. Let’s go,” Galen said impatiently.

Timmy hopped in and Ben followed a moment later. Galen shifted the truck into gear and swung it around. They spun off in a cloud of dust.

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