Wednesday, July 18, 2018

THE LAST POST by Sarah J. McNeal





The late Celia Yeary invited me to join Sweethearts of the West soon after my second western story, For Love of Banjo was published. After that I began to write western stories full-on. I invented the Wildings and then they became like family to me. All of the Wilding stories took place in the fictional town of Hazard, Wyoming. I only saw Wyoming once way back in 1969 on a road trip with my friends from Omaha, Nebraska. I was so impressed by the majesty and wildness of Wyoming that it seeped deep into my heart and I never forgot it.

Wyoming

Every detail of Wyoming had to be researched right down to its native plants and trees. Research to most writers, including me, is an exciting adventure into the unknown. Sometimes research can be time consuming and lead away from the primary goal of writing. I liked adding real history and places in the Wildings series and often I would write a blog about what I had found here in Sweethearts of the West.

I have a huge old Road Atlas that I used to find places in Wyoming. I selected a place near the Wind River and the Wind River Reservation for my fictional town and actually penciled in Hazard on my map. I made a mistake about a train being in that area of Wyoming in Banjo’s story and I never wrote about the interstate because all of my stories took place before they existed.

A few months back I submitted my last Wilding story, this one about the Wilding’s cousin, Kyle Red Sky. At present I am editing, revising, and almost rewriting a paranormal fantasy trilogy, Legends of Winatuke, I had written in the beginning of my career. When I am finished with those three books, I am going to take a new direction for my next projects. I’m going back in time to the pre-Revolutionary War days in a state I am familiar with—North Carolina. I am well acquainted with the beautiful state of North Carolina from the Atlantic coast to the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains. It’s been my home for most of my life. I was raised here. 

Now I will have the joy of researching its fantastic history which I have never done for my own state before. This is going to be so interesting and fun for me. I always wanted to know where Charlotte got its names for streets like Tryon and communities like Myers Park. I want to know all about the Old Salem settlement,  Black Beard the pirate, and the Scot-Irish Mountain folk. These are the places I can easily visit and the history I can relate to. Even the Carolina coast is jam-packed with history and interesting features like the Outer Banks and the old Cotton Exchange in Wilmington, North Carolina. I am so excited to take this new direction.

Moorehead City, NC

Of course, this change in subject and place will lead me away from western writing and from The Sweethearts of the West. Through researching for my posts here I have found a rich history and culture of the west. The Mississippi, the Great Plains, and the Rocky Mountains have all given our country an exciting and wild history that makes America a unique and proud place to live. I am going to feel a little lost for a bit until I get used to my change in story location, but I know I will always be around my delightful and talented friends here at Sweethearts of the West. To the person who takes over my time slot on the 18th and 19th of each month I’d like to say welcome and I wish you all the very best. It has been an honor to have been a part of this esteemed and talented group.






Diverse stories filled with heart 




16 comments:

  1. Oh, my gosh, gonna miss you, Sarah! I have always looked forward to your posts every month. I will be sure to stay tuned to your website and other blogs. Good Luck and Happy Trails To You!

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    1. Thank you, Cheri. I am looking forward to the next chapter in my writing. I'll still post at Prairie Rose, my own blog, and my Facebook Page.
      Thank you for coming and wishing me well.

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  2. Sarah,

    Change is scary, but having a plan can take the worry and uncertainty out of the future. I'm glad you'll still be blogging at Prairie Rose. I hope you share your continuing writing journey with us.

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    1. Kaye, I'll definitely keep blogging at PRP and on my personal blog. I'll also keep working with Twitter. I'm going to catch on to that some day. And, of course, I'll be on my FB page. Moving from western writing and my Wildings has been nothing short of traumatic, but I knew I had to do something different. Now that I made some decisions about what to do next, I'm actually getting excited about the direction I've chosen.

      I still have one more western coming up, the last Wilding. I don't know the release date yet, but I hope this final Wilding leaves all my readers happy and satisfied.

      Thank you for all your help and support along the way.

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  3. Goodbys are the joy and pain of living. To me it's always meant growth and sadness. Wishing you all the best on the next steps of your journey. Here's to all the great stories you've told and the new ones you will be telling. Doris

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    1. You've always been a great support to me and all the authors at PRP, Doris. When I see your messages it's as if I can see your smile.
      Thank you for coming by. We'll still be in touch. I'm not going anywhere.

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  4. Sarah, I hate goodbyes! I always look forward to your blog posts and learn something new from you each and every time. Remember on The A-Team when George Peppard always said, "I love it when a plan comes together!" It sounds like you have a plan in the works and I'm glad to know you'll have other stories coming our way.

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    1. Have no doubt, Cheryl I am not really going anywhere. I haven't lost my mind yet...I don't think. I'm just going to go from westerns to easterns and I'm going to go way back before the American Revolution to write about those mountain frontiers men and maybe some pirates, too. I am going to really enjoy writing about my state and the things so familiar to me. This is going to be fun.

      I'll admit that I am already missing my Wildings. I tried to make Kyle Red Sky's story (the last Wilding) a heartfelt and satisfying ending to the Wilding series. I have loved each and every one of them and I have you to thank for helping me find the right publisher for my first Wilding, Harmonica Joe.


      I'm still a PRP author and have no plans to be anything else. I know when I'm in good company for certain.

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  5. Dear Sarah,
    I will miss reading you here. Switching to Easterns sounds like a tremendous and exciting undertaking. I don't know the area well at all and know you will expand your readers' knowledge and understanding of place and era. Much good research and writing awaits you!

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    1. Arletta, it is going to be fun for me to write about events and places I actually know. It's a bit intimidating though starting in a new direction.
      Thank you so much for dropping by.

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  6. Sarah, what a beautiful post. I am so sorry to see you go, but I know you are taking a path that will bring you joy. Wishing you much success!

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    1. Thank you Lyn. I am looking forward to this new direction. I am still deciding what to write about first in North Carolina. So now my heroes can speak with a smooth southern drawl. LOL
      Thanks for coming.

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  7. Sarah, I am so ashamed to admit I did not know about Celia's passing until I started reading your post. She will be sorely missed by us all. I went back and added a comment to Rain's post on the 12th.

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    1. Celia's death came as a shock to me. I knew she had had surgery and was in a rehab center, but then reports came trickling in about her decline in health. She was such a good friend. I am going to miss her so much.

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  8. Sarah, one of the beauties of the Internet is we're always here, unlike physical partings. I always love seeing a post from you, or reading your blogs. The hardest step is always the first one when making a change, but oh, my, you have such an amazing time and area to explore, research and write about. I recently watched a series on tv about frontier America and was blown away by the vast forests that covers Eastern America and the famous frontiersmen who forged through them to help map and settle that vast wilderness. It made me want to write about it. Do look up the series for the broad canvas to draw on for your setting. And of course I wish you all the success in the world in this new venture.

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  9. Elizabeth, when I lived in Nebraska for a year and then central Texas for a year, I missed trees. A friend of mine in Nebraska once said she didn't like trees because they block the sky. It's always good to get that other viewpoint. When my husband and I returned to North Carolina from Texas and we were driving through the Smoky Mountains we both became so excited to see all that green and those great big beautiful green forests. It was almost a spiritual experience. I love that Charlotte is almost equal in distance from the mountains and the beach. I missed that.
    North Carolina is jam-packed with history, ghost stories, pirates, and all sorts of unique places and things.
    What was the name of the TV series you mentioned in your comment? Perhaps I can find it on Netflix or Amazon. Was it on PBS?
    Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Elizabeth.

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