Special Run: If an animal spoke to you, would you listen? Botanist/psychokinetic Katrina Ormstead created a super hash. A variety of marijuana she calls MAGIC. Before she can share her successful medical findings with the scientific community, she’s murdered. There is, however, one witness begging to come forward. Special is Katrina’s wolf-hybrid dog. She saw her mistress die. She wants revenge. Now she has to convince food photographer, animal psychic and Katrina’s best friend Wheat Keigwin of the same thing. Together, dog and woman dedicate themselves to solving the mystery behind Katrina’s death.
“Trust me, if you’re an animal lover, a paranormal fiction follower, a reader of rom-coms, or a murder mystery aficionado, you should really buy this book.” Charlie Bray’s Indi Book Reviews, The Indietribe Newsletter – Read the whole review at: http://eepurl.com/Pd4gv
I just finished reading Special Run and am thrilled to have the author with us today (and please keep reading – my review follows her post). I asked her to tell us about strong characters, because her main character, Wheat, was so appealing to me. Lena, welcome – and please, tell us about Wheat and how you came to write such a strong character!
When the story Special Run came to me in a dream, my character, Wheat Keigwin, was born.
Special Run literally came to me in a dream. The urge to write the outline was so powerful when I woke the next morning, the first thing I did was find a pen and pad of paper. Besides the outline of the story, I wrote the descriptions of the main characters and a young Meg Ryan became Wheat Keigwin.
Physical description aside, as I studied my notes, I realized in my dream Wheat was a fearless, no nonsense woman. It wasn’t until I started writing the story that I realized she was an accumulation of the women I’ve known.
I’ve been surrounded by strong women my entire life. How could my character be anything less?
I knew from the start Wheat would not be some bumbling damsel in distress, tripping her way through the book. She is a character that meets challenges head on. As an author I know I bring my own experiences into my writing. I tribute my life growing up in rural America with the way I view and grow my characters.
Like me, Wheat grew up with women who put the Nike™ brand to the test. “Just Do It” could be the mantra for all farm and ranch women. Without a grocery store around the corner, you learn to plan in advance or use what you have for food. You’re creative when it comes to making a costume for Halloween. You do chores, take care of your husband and your children and still find time to make quilts for the less fortunate.
I grew up in a home with no complaining. You did what you had to do to accomplish a task. You had to take care of your animals no matter what the weather or time because they provided for you – money and food. You ate the food God provided and thanked him for a full belly. Even when Wheat is afraid, she knows it is no use panicking because it won’t change the outcome. Underlying that fact, I know she believes in God and knows her fate, whatever it is, is in his hands.
Because of Wheat’s personality I had to find a way to make her grow and change. Facing an inner demon and being true to her best friend allows Wheat to use her psychic ability in a positive way. She has mixed feelings about an old love interest and struggles to sort the emotions. However, because of her inner strength, the decisions she makes or based on her core values.
Currently I’m working on the sequel to Special Run called Bulldog Fall. Wheat Keigwin once again is an amateur sleuth with a dog in need and a mystery to solve. Wheat is the conduit that helps a dog bring a killer to justice.
In progress concurrent with Bulldog Fall is an unnamed thriller I’m writing. Once again my protagonist, Mesa Stone, grew up on the farm. It allows me to use my life experience to create a strong woman. She knows about bailing wire and she isn’t afraid to use it!
REVIEW (note: a copy of the book was provided to me in return for an honest review)
What initially drew me to this story was the setting. We’ve vacationed in Colorado and I could totally picture a desolate huddle of buildings squatting in the harsh landscape east of the Rockies. The characters were believable and layered. As an animal lover, the power that allows Wheat to communicate with animals was appealing. As a mystery lover, I was drawn to the possibility that a dog could assist with an investigation, and bring a murderer to justice.
The story begins with Wheat as she returns to her Colorado hometown after her best friend is murdered. We quickly learn that this isolated town is much more than it appears to be at first glance. Hidden from the rest of the world by a protection spell, the town harbors a unique collection of talented folks who have powers that vary from the ability to heal animals to call fairies.
I have to admit, the beginning chapter was difficult to read when Kat and her dogs are shot. The idea of the wolf-cross Special dragging her battered body across the blood-soaked ground to protect her mistress was heart wrenching. And that was exactly what kept me reading. Special witnessed Kat’s murder and, thanks to Wheat’s talent of talking with animals, the dog has the ability to bring her mistress’s killers to justice. After a wreck in an old grain truck that seems a bit too convenient to be just an accident, Wheat loses her ability and must depend on traditional investigative skills to find the bad guys. The local Sheriff, who runs with the pack of wolves during the full moon, does his best to combine police work with the talents of the townspeople to find out who has broken through the umbrella of protection to hurt one of their own.
Quirt, a federal agent with a K9 partner, Blow, comes to town to investigate a tip about drugs. Kat was working with a unique strain of potent marijuana called MAGIC that has amazing powers. The plant holds the secret to healing diseases such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, but the potential for success may have died with Kat. Was Kat killed for the miracle drug? Will Quirt find his rightful place with his pack? And will Wheat accept her power . . . and finally open her heart to true love?
The action is well-written and the story compelling. The story was strong enough to overcome a few minor typos here and there. Occasionally I lost track of the characters and their connections. There are quite a few secondary characters, with a variety of powers, and at times that can be a bit overwhelming. Overall, though, the story was engaging. I recommend it for readers who enjoy paranormals or mysteries. I also recommend it for animal lovers who are looking for something beyond the typical dog story. Overall, I give it 4 stars.
An agriculture journalist, Lena Jo McCoy has worked in the print-media fields, both newspapers and magazines and has spent most of her life devoted to agriculture. Lena Jo has long admired the works of animal behaviorist Temple Grandin, Cesar Milan as well as the farmers and ranchers she’s written about and is dedicated to the humane treatment of all animals. When she is not playing servant to her two English Bulldogs, Lena Jo finds herself at the computer writing the next story.
You can find her here:
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