Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tina Susedik Had Help Finding The Trail To Love #Giveaway

Posted by Susan B James on 3:00:00 AM with 2 comments
Tina Susedik is a multi-published author with
books in both fiction and non-fiction, including history, children’s, and military books.
Her favorite is writing romance stories where her characters live happily ever after.
The Trail To Love is her sixth book with Soul Mate Publishing.
Tina usually works alone, but she had collaborators for her latest book, The Trail to Love. 
I invited her to tell her adventure.
(Tina is giving away an e-book of The Trail to Love and an e-book of Never With A Rich Man. You can enter to win at the end of this post.

In the past few years, I have had the pleasure of watching my grandchildren learn to love reading and writing.
When one of my granddaughters was ten (she is now 13), we wrote and published a children’s book, “Uncle Bill’s Farm,” together. Now my grandson, (age 8) says he’s ready to help me write the next one. Yes! I wrote my first published children's book with my son, Christopher Corbin when he was ten. It was published when he turned twenty-five.
Two years ago, when I was watching the three of them, my son-in-law came home from work. He stood in the kitchen and stared at us. We were all scribbling away in notebooks. It was dead silent in the house. “What are you guys doing?” “Shh, Daddy. We’re all writing our own story about an elf.” 
I can't begin to tell you how much I love this. Excuse me. I'll stop interupting.
The reason I bring this up is because last year I was approached to be part of The Soul Mate Tree Collective. It involves an old, ancient tree that appears to a person when they are at their deepest, darkest point in their life and lets them know who their soul mate will be. 
Of course, they don’t believe it, because a tree simply can’t appear out of nowhere. 
There are thirteen authors in the collective. We could write in any genre and in any time. Once a month another book comes out.
I was excited to be asked to join this group and told my granddaughters about it. They were in third (Emmi) and sixth (Alli) grades at the time. I said I thought I’d write a historical, maybe a western. 
It took two seconds for Alli to yell out, “The Oregon Trail. They have to go from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City, Oregon.” I think they must have been studying it in school.
“I have to come up with characters – a hero and heroine." 
“Jack Billabard,” Alli yelled. 
“How on Earth did you come up with that name?” 
“I don’t know, it was just popped into my head.” 
I was impressed.
For the next few hours, the girls researched, took notes, came up with my characters, the clothing they’d wear, the dogs they would have that would fall in love and have puppies, and a bit of a plot. 
Did you know you can put two breeds of dogs into the computer and it will show you what their puppies would look like? I hadn’t.
At one point I said my heroine, Sarah (“Make sure it has an ‘H’ at the end,” Emmi said.) was going to be married, but her husband dies. 
Emmi, who didn’t quite understand what it was like in the past said, “You have to have horses. Her husband (and I’m writing this exactly as she has it in her notes) “he died of rasing and the hores nockted him of and he brock his knek.” This last part was said with a twisting of her neck, dropping it to her shoulder and making a neck-breaking sound. This is exactly how I had Sarah’s husband die. How could I not?

I have their hand-written notes, which I’ll never get rid of. 
I dedicated “The Trail to Love” to them, but because it has two love scenes, they can’t read it – until they’re much, much older. I will catch them randomly working on stories, either on the computer or in a notebook. Alli is like most writers – it’s fun to start a new story, but has trouble finishing it. That's wonderful. You've started them on the path as writers. When they are finally old enough to read the entire book, they will be so proud. I know they already are - to have had a hand in it. 

Jack Billabard, mourning the loss of his wife and baby in childbirth, vows to never to love again. After their funeral at Fort Laramie, he rides into the Wyoming hills beyond the ranch he built for his wife. Through his grieving tears, an ancient tree appears, giving him the hope he doesn't believe is possible. For the next four years, he acts as a guide on the Oregon Trail, taking families to a new life while his looms lonely and stagnant.
The night before her abusive husband’s death, an ancient tree appears in Sarah Nickelson's yard as she agonizes over how to survive her marriage. The tree gives her hope she can’t help but reject. After all, a tree doesn't just appear out of nowhere. After her husband 's death, and with no options as a widow in Independence, Missouri, Sarah decides to travel to Oregon City as a Mail Order Bride.
During their trek west on the Oregon Trail, Jack and Sarah encounter one another, each afraid of being hurt again. Can they survive dogs and puppies, wind and rainstorms, Indians and unfavorable fellow passengers, while their love blossoms? Will the tree fulfill its promise?

Short Excerpt:
Cold seeped into his bones. Something warm blew across his face and ears. Jack swatted at his ears and peeled one gritty eye open.
"Papaya!" He pushed at the horse's nose. "Go away." Papaya continued prodding at him. "Damn horse." He rubbed his cold hands together.
In the dim light, he wasn't sure if it was morning or evening. The previous day's events came back to him. He sat up and wiped a hand over his stubbly chin. Tears burned behind his eyes.
Papaya tugged at his sleeve until the only thing he could do was stand. "Dammit, horse, leave me alone." He pushed the horse to the side. The sun rising behind the mountains from the east cast a shadow on a tree Jack swore hadn't been there the night before.
Standing at least twenty feet high, the trunk was twisted and gnarled like the arthritic hands of his grandfather. Several roots rose from the ground making it look as if it would walk away. Some of its massive branches drooped close to the ground, like arms dragging across the grass.
As the sky lightened, he realized that, unlike the rough bark of the pines at this altitude, the tree's light brown bark was smooth. Was it the lighting, or did some of the bark actually seem golden while in other places it was rough and dark brown? The surrounding trees paled in comparison.
Jack stepped closer. Pale green, oval leaves reminded him of an elm tree, only much smaller. When the wind blew, the undersides shimmered with a silvery glow.
Had he been so distraught yesterday he'd missed the massive structure? The tree seemed to beckon, calling him to its embrace. He dipped beneath its branches.
His hand shook as he reached out to touch the trunk. The instant he came in contact, his icy fingers warmed. Then his arm. He tried to pull away, but he couldn't move.
Warmth spread through his body then settled in his aching heart. Was he hallucinating or was the tree humming? Had the tree actually whispered, "Love will come."
A calmness settled over him and the darkness of the past few days diminished.
Between the hanging branches a person, surrounded by a foggy haze, appeared. Actually, two people. One tall, the other waist high, with a smaller version of Jack's hat on its head. Suspenders held up too-short pants over the little one's plaid shirt. A woman and a boy? They held hands, swinging them back and forth as if they hadn't a care in the world. The woman's bonnet hung down her back, loose hair flowing to her waist.
Was the tree showing him what Lily and his child would have been like if they'd lived? His heartbeat pounded in his ears, and he swore his heart cracked. As quickly as the despair washed over him, the tree hummed again and his heart warmed and peace settled through him.
Then the woman looked over her shoulder. This wasn't Lily. The sun struck the vision. Instead of his wife's dark hair, this woman's shimmered like gold. Even from this distance, her sparkling blue eyes pierced through him.
Her smile beckoned him, and when she crooked her finger, all he could do was follow. The closer he came, the farther away they moved, until their bodies faded and nothing stood before him except the large boulder he'd slept against.
The tree. What if he touched the tree again? He pivoted on his foot, ready to run back and feel the twisted branches. What the hell? Maybe he'd lost his bearings while chasing the woman and boy. He spun in each direction. Nothing. The tree was gone. Poof. Was he losing his mind and dreaming the whole incident?
Something light brown on the ground caught his eye. Jack picked it up, his fingers warming at its touch. Bark from the disappearing tree? Had it all been real after all? If so, then where had the woman and boy gone?
Jack retraced the steps he'd taken to follow them. Only his own impressions in the dirt showed. He was going crazy. That was it. Crazy from grief. Maybe what he needed was to get away from the land and the memories it held.
Papaya pushed against Jack's back, nearly knocking him to the ground.
"What do you think, old boy?" He ran his hand over the horse's soft nose and recalled Samuel Hunt's offer of a job from before he’d married Lily. "Should I see if Sam still needs someone to help take those crazy emigrants to Oregon?"
As if he understood what Jack was saying, Papaya nodded his large head.
"Well, since I'm already crazy, I might as well listen to you."
After a quick breakfast of cold biscuits and hard tack, he swung onto Papaya's back and headed back down the mountain. Back to his empty home and future.
Book Trailer for The Soul Mate Tree: https://youtu.be/VjxyyD3TVoA

Trailer for THE TRAIL TO LOVE:  https://youtu.be/WUm0whWw1Z0
Thank you for being her, Tina. The book sounds great. Please congratulate Alli and Emmi for me on their great ideas. The giveaway is below. Happy Reading.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Twitter: @tinasusedik
Website: TinaSusedik.com
Facebook: Tina Susedik, Author
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/


  1. That is so SWEET about how your granddaughters helped you get the bones of the story and came up with characters and plots points. I'm impressed! What a good grandma you are. Love it!


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