Thursday, March 22, 2012

For Love of Banjo-a Western Historical Romance

Please leave a comment.
By Sarah J. McNeal
Please welcome my guest, Sarah J. McNeal,  who writes unique Western Historical Romances.  
When I wrote Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride, I had no intention of writing a sequel or a series.  But when I wrote in the character of Banjo, everything changed.  I fell in love with the homeless kid who was born in a bordello and invented little gadgets.  He had a heart of courage.  I just couldn’t let him go.  So, I had to give him his own story.
For Love of Banjo by Sarah J. McNeal
Western Trail Blazers
E-Book and Paperback

Deceit stands between Banjo Wilding’s love for Maggie O’Leary and his search for the father he never knew.
Banjo Wilding wears a borrowed name and bears the scars and reputation of a lurid past.  To earn the right to ask for Margaret O’Leary’s hand, he must find his father and make something of himself.
Margaret O’Leary has loved Banjo since she was ten years old but standing between her and Banjo is pride, Banjo’s mysterious father and the Great War.

Sunset spread like liquid gold across the horizon.  The golden light glinted off his spectacles, making it impossible for Maggie to read his dark eyes.
 Her lips pressed together in hurt. “There’s nothing wrong with you, Banjo Wilding that a good slap across the face won’t fix.”  He grabbed her wrist in his long fingers and held it in his firm but gentle grasp.
“First you want me to make love to you—in sin I might add—and next thing comes out of your mouth is sass.  Making love to you might prove a dangerous undertaking for any man.”  He smiled when he said it.  He let go of his hold on her wrist and opened his arms to her.  His dark eyes drew her to him.  She gazed into those magnetic eyes, felt her heart turn over and hurried into his warm embrace.  Banjo pulled her in close and kissed the crown of her head. 
The Earth paused as she stood in his arms.  Minutes passed.  Banjo took in a ragged breath and Maggie knew what he would say next.  She dreaded it.  He loosened his hold on her and stepped back.  The awful moment had come. 
A little history:
For Love of Banjo takes place during World War I.  Banjo joins the 15th Regiment Calvary, a real cavalry that  disbanded after World War I but reinstituted years later and still in existence today.

And now a little ghostly legend from the Platte River area of Wyoming:  The Ship of Death
On the Platte River between Torrington and Alcova, Wyoming, a legend persists that a "Ship of Death” continues to sail upon the sometimes dangerous waters. The phantom ship is said to rise out of a strange mist that quickly becomes a massive rolling ball of fog. As the ship grows closer, witnesses report that its sails and masts are covered with frost. Upon its deck stands the crew, also covered with frost, and huddled around a corpse lying on a canvas sheet. The legend continues that the ship always foreshadows the death of someone who will die on the day that it is spotted. As the crew steps back, the identity of the corpse is revealed as a person known by the witness.

The first alleged sighting was made in 1862 by a trapper named Leon Weber. When the crew stepped back, the corpse revealed the body of Weber’s fiancé who died later on that same day. Another sighting of the phantom ship was made by cattleman, Gene Wilson in 1887, when he saw the body of his wife laid out on the canvas. In 1903, another tale describes that when Victor Heibe was chopping down a tree on his riverfront property, he spied the ship. Laid out on the deck was the body of a close friend.
Every case was reported in the late fall, and in all cases, the person seen upon the deck of the phantom ship died on the very same day.
One of the sightings allegedly occurred six miles southeast of the town of Guernsey, near Casper, Wyoming. Another sighting was said to have occurred at Bassemer Bend on the Platte River.
SARAH--thank you so much for visiting Sweethearts of the West, and giving us a wonderful glimpse into your newest novel. I want to know how the homeless kid who was born in a Bordello grew up and fell in love, and I'm sure your readers will, too. Celia


  1. Hey, Sarah J! What a treat to have you posting here at SOTW : )

    I love heroes with heart, and I am intrigued by the era in which set "For the Love of Banjo". I think that time in history needs to be explored more and expanded upon in romance reads. Great choice! Terrific series!!!

    Come back soon ; )

  2. Virginia, thank you so much for coming by. It is such a thrill for me to be a guest here.
    I, too am fascinated with the early twentieth century. so many things changed in a short period of time--like a global growth spirt. The research was fun and I didn't use half of it.
    I am so happy you took the time to come by and comment, Virginia. You must get up with the chickens. LOL

  3. Sarah, I loved that excerpt. It was short and sweet, but to the point. And I totally enjoyed that the heroine has sass!

    Wishing you the best, my dear!

  4. Hi Sarah,
    Love that phrase, "The earth paused..." Fascinating stuff about the ghost ship. Great fodder for the imagination. "For the Love of Banjo" is still on my list of books to buy. Do you know if it is available for the Nook? I had looked when it first came out, but I didn't find it at B&N. Best wishes for great sales.

  5. Hi Sarah, interesting about the ghost ship! Does it relate to your story?

    Best of luck with Banjo. :-)

  6. Sarah, I think I might be in love with your Banjo too. What strong writing in the excerpt. I love the ghost story about the ship too!

  7. Hi Sarah!
    Welcome to SWEETHEARTS OF THE WEST! So glad you could be here today to talk about Banjo. You know how I loved Banjo! LOL And Maggie, too, of course. That was a wonderful story you created for them with a lot of twisty-turnies that I just enjoy so much in a story. I never heard of the ghost ship, but what a tale! And you know, here's what I'm wondering: If a person knew about the legend of the ghost ship, I think I would just turn away and not look, if I possibly could, so maybe the death wouldn't happen! LOLLOL I wonder why it's that particular ship that shows up there? Man, I'd be torn between wanting to just spend time there looking to see if the ship appeared and running like heck if it did. LOL GREAT post, Sarah--you always post the most interesting things, and of course, as always, a great excerpt for you story about Banjo's tale.

  8. Thank you so much for coming by Renee. Yes! Miss Maggie is a woman who knows her own mind--and Banjo loves her all the more for it.

  9. Kathy, I believe that it is now available at Barnes and Noble for Nook. When it first came out, all the distribution centers had not been established yet. If you read it, I hope you like it.
    Thank you so much for your kind comment.

  10. LK, I searched for something interesting about Wyoming for this blog. Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride, For Love of Banjo and my WIP all take place in the fictional town of Hazard, Wyoming.
    I really appreciate your support in coming by and leaving a comment.

  11. Maggie, thank you for taking the time to come by and leave your very kind comment. I really appreciate you taking the time to come by.

  12. Jenny, thank you so much for coming by and leaving a comment.

  13. Hey Cheryl!
    While i was reading about the Ghost Ship, I thought what a great story it would make--like why is it there? How did it all get started? Who or what can make it stop? Can anything change it? If I actually saw the Ghost Ship, I would either be frozen in fear or run like Superman in a jet stream outta there.
    It is quite an honor to be a guest here at Sweethearts of the West.
    I'm always so glad to see you, Cheryl. Thank you so much for coming by.

  14. Awesome post, Sarah. Love the new book and that legend has my spine tingling. Thanks for spending time with us...and hope ya stick around. God bless...

  15. Hi Sarah, I have been intrigued with the title of your book about Banjo ever since I first saw it. I'm happy to learn what it is about. Banjo sounds like a different kind of hero, one we will all love. The excerpt "sold" me. And I wish you much success with this book.

  16. Thank you for that great glimpse into history and ghost ship. I love these types of stories and would love to read yours.

  17. Thank you so much for your warm welcome and kind comments, Tanya.

  18. Diane S., I appreciate the time you took to visit me here and read my post. I thank you for your kind comments.

  19. Linda, I am so happy to have you come and read my post. I've read some of your work and liked it so I appreciate yoour kind comments about Banjo's story.

  20. Hey Sarah,

    Both these excerpts have my curiosity stirred. You left us a cliffhanger where Banjo pulled Maggie into his arms. I'm wondering about that moment of truth. In fact, it's bugging the life out of me!

    Congratulations on another wonderful release!

  21. Laurean, I am happy as a clam that my excerpt left you wanting to know what happens next. LOL Just a big ol' tease. Thank you for taking the time to come by and read my post.

  22. Sarah,

    I always like reading about ghost legends. What a fascinating tale about ghost ship.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

  23. Just dropped by (late as always) to say HI! and tell you how much I loved Banjo's story too. The ghost ship legend sent chills up my spine. Do I sense a story in the works there? Sure hope so...

  24. Sarah, what and interesting post, and the ghost ship is all new to me, so what a treat. Thanks!

  25. karen, you're like the queen of ghosts and spook stories. Thank you for coming by and leaving a comment.

  26. LOL Well, Rebecca, I've written a few ghost stories--the benevolent kind but maybe a good spook story would be a good challenge.
    Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day to visit me. I'm glad that you liked Banjo's story, cause if you didn't, it would be laying in the dark unread and unloved. LOL

  27. Jacquie thank you so much for coming by. I had to scour reams of stuff to find that ghost ship story. Happy day, when I found it. Hard to think of ship and Wyoming in the same sentence. LOL
    thank you so much for coming by today.

  28. I am very taken with the story of Banjo and absolutely gripped by the Ship of Death. Is it a real legend?

  29. Sarah,
    Wonderful excerpt from your book about Banjo. Fantastic use of description. Congratulations on your intriguing story.

  30. Hey Jenny. Yes the Ghost Ship is a real legend. I read an article about it and was blown away. Spook-a-rama.
    Thank you for that kind comment about Banjo and for dropping by.

  31. Jeannemarie, thank you so much for your very sweet words about the excerpt from Banjo. I really appreciate you coming by.

  32. I have to learn more about Banjo, poor guy. He sounds like a hero sure to steal readers' hearts. Thanks for sharing with us.

  33. Caroline, thank you so much for coming by and leaving such a lovely comment about Banjo. He's had a hard life and deserves a happy ending.

  34. I would like to thank everyone who came by to read my blog whether you commented or not. I appreciate your time and your kindness. a special thank you to Celia Yeary and the regulars here at Sweethearts of the West for allowing me to guest blog here. It has been an honor and a pleasure.


Thank you for visiting Sweethearts of the West! We are very sad to require comment moderation now due to the actions of a few spam comments. Thank you for your patience.