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Guest blogger: Sally Brandle

29 March 2020

Aspects of being a culturally sensitive writer recently garnered media attention in America. I choose to craft fictional characters ‘out of my own lane’ of a Caucasian, mature female of Irish and German descent. A knowledgeable critique partner read The Targeted Pawn manuscript, in the final edits stage, and alerted me to issues requiring experts to authenticate portrayals in the book.

I needed Native American sensitivity readers and luckily, via a horse owner at my barn, was introduced to Thomas Smittle, who is a counsellor and spiritual advisor at Native Horseman in South Dakota. He’s proud to be an adopted member of the Oglala Lakota tribe. My hero in Pawn, Rane Calderon, defends the Blackfeet Nation legacy of his grandmother. Tom helped correct terms in the manuscript, but more importantly lightened the stoic portrayal of Rane. He explained the teasing banter used among his friends and offered suggestions that enriched the story.

Tom’s horsemanship expertise added other perfect details, especially meaningful after I learned the fascinating story of how he realised his gift of working with equines. As an inmate, he completed the Mustang Inmate Training Program and after his release was asked to portray a main secondary character in the 2019 movie The Mustang, directed by Robert Redford. This (R rated) movie is a gritty, accurate portrayal of prison and worth watching. The real-life rate of recidivism is extremely low.

I’m very fortunate to be in contact with Tom, as my next book in the series features Rane’s brother, Chayton, and his story of working with a female game warden to stop a bald eagle poacher. This work-in-progress is currently titled The Romantic Mule Thriller. If you’d like to be appraised of a publication date, contact me via my website.

Happy trails, and I hope you enjoy a scene below from my hot-off-the press release from Soul Mate Publishing, The Targeted Pawn. Tom helped me rework this section, where Elon faces the challenge of serving her first dinner to the ranch crew on short notice.

Multi-award winning author Sally Brandle weaves slow-burning romance into edgy suspense stories. Sally left a career as an industrial baking instructor to bring to life stories motivating readers to trust their instincts. Her rescue Aussie is her companion during long spells of writing or afternoons spent riding on the wind with her nearly thirty-year-old Quarter Horse. Sign up for her newsletter on her website for freebies. The Hitman’s Mistake opens her Love Thrives in Emma Springs series of stories (without intimate scenes). Torn By Vengeance, book 2, continues showcasing friendship, courageous women, and the men who deserve their love. The Targeted Pawn, book 3, features a second chance for a life filled with love for humans and their furry friends.

You can find Sally here: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest

Excerpt from The Targeted Pawn

Eight pair of eyes stared at the steam rolling off the heavenly scented biscuits she carried. She walked to the closest end of the table and lowered the basket.

Before it landed on the table, Rane grabbed one side of the container, and the black-haired man to his right grabbed the other side.

Elon released her grip and stepped back as they began a tug of war.

“Hey. Easy.” Rane grimaced. “That basket was sacred to my grandma,” he scolded.

The other man dropped his hand, his eyes wide. “Oh, ah … sorry.”

Elon froze. How dumb, of course it was an antique.

“Ah, just kidding.” Rane tipped his chin up and laughed.

The group of men chuckled. The chastised guy grabbed two biscuits and held one to his nose. “Smells delicious.” He turned his head and grinned at Elon. “This old hide cleaned up’ purty good.” He passed the container to the man next to him.

Any humor beat no humor. She smiled and then rested her arm on the sideboard. “I admire the painted diamond pattern on the leather. Deerskin?”

“No. Parfleche.” Rane quit buttering his biscuit and watched her. “My great-great-grandmother made it from buffalo hide. There are larger ones up in the attic.”

“How wonderful to have special heirlooms,” she said. “Someone had untied the lid. If I always line it carefully, may I use it occasionally for rolls?”

“Yes.” He scanned the dining room. “When you’re done, place it on top of the sideboard.”

“A treasured keepsake deserves to be seen. I cherish a beaded angel wall hanging my grandmother created.”

“Nice.” Rane said and chatted with the men while she carried in the bowl of roasted potatoes and the platters of meat. He sat back, one elbow on the armrest, his focus centered on the food.

Her knees quavered. “Red toothpicks denote rare meat, blue for medium.” No one acknowledged her comment. “If you need one cooked longer, I can flip it back on the grill.” She centered the tray of glistening steaks on the table in front of Rane.

He speared a medium one and sliced into it, rosy pink showing between knife cuts. “This is very well done in these parts. I need a Montana rare one.” He thrust his plate toward Elon, the cuts showing a perfectly cooked medium-rare steak.

She rotated the platter and pointed to red toothpicks. Her heart pounded. “The red indicates rare, Mr. Calderon. They’re red in the middle.”

“Montana rare, Ms. Hardy.” Predator eyes, recognizing the smell of fear, leveled at hers. “If you please.” His challenge arced in the air—a whiplash just before it snapped flesh from its victim’s bones.

You can buy The Targeted Pawn from Amazon.

One Comment
  1. Sally Brandle permalink
    29 March 2020 2:52 pm

    Thank you for the opportunity to post. I’d love to hear stories of how others have indirectly met great new friends.

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