“It’s All About the Horses!” by Susan Anne Mason

SusanAnneMasonThank you so much, Karen, for inviting me to be here today! I must say I feel like the city cousin at a barn dance, because although my upcoming release, Irish Meadows, is a historical romance, it is not western-themed, nor does it involve cowboys!

The one commonality it does have is that the story takes place on a horse farm. Irish Meadows is the name of my fictional farm in Long Island, New York, where the O’Leary family raise, train, and board thoroughbreds. I wanted the O’Learys to be fairly affluent, yet not as wealthy as some of their Long Island neighbors. I also needed to put Irish Meadows in financial jeopardy to drive the main conflict of the story.

As I was researching horse racing in the 1911 time period, I discovered an interesting fact: that horse racing had been banned in the state of New York at this time. This played perfectly into my conflict!

James O’Leary becomes very worried because some of his clients are pulling their horses out of his stables. This anxiety increases James’ deep-seated motivation to find rich husbands for his two eldest daughters— he wants to secure their place in society and make sure they never revert back to his parents’ time of poverty.

My heroine, Brianna O’Leary, has grown up at Irish Meadows, and her love of horses made her into a bit of a IrishMeadowsbackcover2tomboy when she was younger. Now that she is about to turn 18, her father has restricted her riding time in the hopes that she will become more feminine and hopefully attract a suitable husband. Naturally Brianna does not like this turn of events one bit!

My hero, Gilbert Whelan, has been raised by the O’Leary family as their ward and as a pseudo-sibling of the O’Leary children. Horses are his passion, and his main goal is to one day start his own breeding farm. (His other secret passion is Brianna O’Leary!) When James asks Gil to court the banker’s daughter in order to assure the business loan he needs, Gil goes against his better judgment and agrees to help save Irish Meadows. After all, he can’t sit back and let the O’Learys lose their home and business, can he?

Some of my favorite scenes in the book revolve around the horses and the stables – namely Brianna’s wild ride on a prize stallion (which goes terribly awry), and the birth of a foal anticipated to be a champion (but who ends up a huge disappointment and another blow for the ranch.)

So although there are no cowboys in my story, I hope all you horse lovers out there will pick up a copy of my book and fall in love with Irish Meadows and the O’Leary family!

Irish Meadows releases with Bethany House Publishing on July 7, 2015. Ebook releases June 30th.Irish-Meadows-662x1024

Blurb: Brianna and Colleen O’Leary know their Irish immigrant father expects them to marry well. Recently he’s put even more pressure on them, insinuating that the very future of their Long Island horse farm, Irish Meadows, depends on their ability to land prosperous husbands. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures.

Brianna, the quiet sister with a quick mind, dreams of attending college. Vivacious Colleen, meanwhile, is happy to marry—as long as her father’s choice meets her exacting standards of the perfect man. When former stable hand Gilbert Whelan returns from business school and distant family member Rylan Montgomery stops in on his way to the seminary in Boston, the two men quickly complicate everyone’s plans.

As financial ruin looms ever closer, James O’Leary grows more desperate. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to avoid becoming pawns in their father’s schemes and follow their hearts. Yet even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach?

Susan is giving away a print Advance Reading Copy! Leave a comment to enter the drawing!

Author Bio:
Susan Anne Mason describes her writing style as “romance sprinkled with faith.” She particularly enjoys exploring the themes of forgiveness and redemption in her stories. Irish Meadows is her first historical novel and won the Fiction from the Heartland contest sponsored by the Mid-American Romance Author chapter of RWA. Susan lives outside of Toronto, Ontario, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Learn more about Susan and her books at www.susanannemason.com.

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37 thoughts on ““It’s All About the Horses!” by Susan Anne Mason”

  1. Good morning everyone! I’m excited to be here today. I will have to scoot out to my part time job for a few hours, but will check back throughout the day!

    Any horse stories for me?

  2. Welcome to Wildflower Junction, Susan! And congratulations on your first published book! It sounds like a wonderful story. Although a few of the Fillies here live on farms or ranches, I’ve just dreamed of it. But I do remember riding lessons when I was nine years old. I learned English saddle (without the saddle horn!) and I know there is western saddle (with it!) but on a horse farm like this, what would be used for thoroughbreds? Is there a third type of riding saddle?

    Best wishes on your debut release!

  3. Hi Susan! Welcome to P&P! We’re so happy to have you. I love your blog because I’m a horse lover too, only I don’t own any. And the ones I put in my western historicals aren’t pure breds. But I find the subject of early horse racing very interesting. I loved the movie Hidalgo and how valiant that horse was. And Seabiscuit. So many good movies made around horses and horse racing. Horses, whether they’re pure breds or not, have such heart and they’ll run their legs off for their owners. Take our new triple crown winner, American Pharaoh.

    Congrats on the new book. Irish Meadows looks and sounds like a great story. I love that cover! No reader can look at that woman’s face and NOT see what the book’s about.

  4. I’m not trying to win the book:) I already have a copy…I just wanted to say I’m almost done with the book and I love it!!! Brianna’s ride on the stallion was scary and I was close to tears with her when the horse was born…and soon after too 😉

  5. Just wanted to say that I read this book, and it is wonderful! I love the time period, and the plot line and cast of characters are terrific!

  6. The plot of this story intrigues me. First, it is a different time period and setting than I normally read. It is also interesting that you have 2 romantic couples in the story instead of the usual one hero and one heroine. This “romance sprinkled with faith” just went on my TBR list!

  7. Although I’ve never been around horses, I’ve always had a fascination with them. Your story sounds like something I would enjoy.

  8. Love any story about horses. And while this story may not have cowboys it does have someone who cares for the horses. Guess that would be close, right?

  9. JANINE and ASHLEY S. – Thanks for dropping by!

    KATHRYN A. – Great question about saddles. I believe much smaller saddles are used in racing thoroughbreds. Thanks for your interest!

    LINDA – I love movies about horses, too! And so glad you like the cover! She has a great expression, doesn’t she?

    ALECIA W – I so appreciate your kind comments. Glad you enjoyed the story!

  10. Melanie B – Hope you get a chance to read “Irish Meadows”! Good luck in the draw!

    Rachael M. – Thank you so much for loving my story!!

    Teresa, Elaina & Anon1001 – Thanks for dropping by and good luck!!

  11. Cheryl C – Thanks for mentioning the 2 couples! This was something I loved about the book – who doesn’t like MORE romance! Yet it was problematic for some editors I pitched it to. Thank goodness Bethany House loved it the way it is!

    Catslady – I hope you get a chance to read it! Good luck!

    Colleen – Thanks for dropping by! Love your name (wink). Hope you get to read about your namesake and her hijinks!

  12. CONNIE J – You’re right! Horse lovers are horse lovers! Although Colleen is not fond of horses at all, not like Brianna and Gil!

    KIM A – Yes, Kim, it was fun researching all things Irish!!

    Good luck to you both in the draw!

  13. Really lovely cover and congrats on this novel! Can’t wait to read it. Love the cover for your next book too!

  14. Your book sounds fabulous and I can’t wait to read it. I love reading about horses and racing. I have lived in Kentucky all my life and have never been to a horse race although my brother use to work on one of the horse farms near Lexington. Kentucky in known for it race horses and to live here all my life and have never been to a race, shame on me. I keep saying some day I will go and some day never comes. I will be checking out your books. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Susan, I have been looking forward to this book for what seems like too long a time 🙂 Don’t enter me in the drawing as I’ll buy the ebook. Sending congrats and best wishes.

  16. DIANE – thanks so much for your comments! Good luck in the draw!

    QUILT LADY – I love watching the Kentucky Derby on TV, not only for the horses, but for the wonderful outfits and hats, and the beautiful scenery! I’d love to attend the Derby one day!

    NANCY C – Thanks for your enthusiasm! I believe the e-book may be available a bit earlier than the print version – I think I saw June 30th as a possible date! HOpe you enjoy the O’Learys!

    SHERIDA – So fun to see you here! Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m happy to give one lucky person a copy!

    Thanks for all the wonderful comments! I wish all who entered the best of luck – wish I could give everyone a copy!
    Not sure when it will be announced. The ladies will work their magic and let me know!

  17. What a lovely cover. The blue is perfect. I am glad you didn’t go with the obvious choice of a green, although a deep emerald would have been pretty. The blue is perfect for the model used.
    I grew up in northern New York and horses were primarily used as work animals during this time period. Racing was and is popular, but a bit further south in places like Saratoga Springs.

  18. I love the cover of your book and it sounds wonderful! I would love to win a copy!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  19. The cover is wonderful, and I love the story line. Sounds like you’ve written a winner! And thanks for sharing about it today.

  20. PATRICIA – Thanks for the comments on my cover. At first the dress was black which was common for that era (think Downton Abbey), but I pleaded for a change and they chose to change the dress and hat to blue. Much better, thank goodness!

    MINNA – Thanks for dropping in!

    CINDY W – Thanks for commenting. You are in the draw!

    VICKI & MARY B – I hope you get to read it! There’s a lot more than horses, but I liked that aspect very much! I’ve only ridden a couple of times but I know lots of horse-lovers!

    LINDA & JOYE! Thanks so much for your support! I so appreciate everyone’s comments!

    Good luck. The winner will be drawn on Sunday!

  21. Good luck with restricting a horse from an 18 yr old girl…lady or no lady! That would be my girl.

  22. I love it when the riders dress the old English way. When we watch the competitions They are wearing these outfits. I love your cover it reminds me of a less complicated time. Would love to win one of your books.

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