SARA Author Photo

What makes us write what we write? I can’t speak for everyone, but I can tell you why I penned my debut novel, A Heart on Hold.

I wrote A Heart on Hold for two reasons. One: I really wanted to read it. Two: I had to go get lots of stuff off my chest and it’s hard to afford therapy on a sergeant’s salary. (That was a tongue in cheek joke, by the way.)

My husband was deployed to Afghanistan and I was home by myself with three children under five – one a preemie and just six weeks old. We moved to my hometown, Odessa, Texas, to be near my folks and lucked into renting a house right around the corner from them. However, that didn’t ward off the bad juju to come.

I wish I could say pining away at home for a serviceman was romantic, but if I did, I would be lying. It was stressful, strained our marriage, and put a hurting on our already fragile finances. In the off chance he was able to call, he was a different person – an angry person. Then, Flu-B swept our household, hitting everyone except the newborn. We recovered, only to be struck down with the dreaded H1N1 Flu virus. I honestly wasn’t sure if we were coming out of that one or not. But once again, everyone recovered and lived to tell the proverbial tale.

My husband’s tales from the battlefield were enough to curdle my blood and keep me up at night, on my knees, asking God to keep him safe. His stories, coupled with the ever-present grim news reports, saw me begin to lose weight at an astronomical speed. I figured stress was the culprit. Boy was I wrong.

My thyroid gland was dying and kicking up a fuss, so it had to come out. All of it, right away, and hopefully it wasn’t cancer. Well, the docs piddled and pondered over this all through my husband’s mid-tour leave. Then, once he was safely back in Afghanistan, they decided to schedule a date to operate. The Army didn’t let him come home.

These tales are just a few that are woven through the pages of A Heart on Hold, set against the backdrop of one woman’s undying love for her soldier, no matter what the situation back home brings.

War isn’t romantic, but love can be the silk thread that holds the broken hearts and shattered spirits together that follows in war’s wake. I hope you read A Heart on Hold. I hope you fall in love with Charlotte and Sanderson and Minerva and Jackson. I hope you find kernels of truth that you can take with you in your life. The human spirit is resilient and can bounce back from many pains. Charlotte did. So did I.

Have you ever wondered if you’d survive something?  Did your love–or someone else’s–sustain you? I’d love to hear about it! Leave me a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of A HEART ON HOLD.

SARA A Heart on Hold SBarnard 2 Web (1)

What’s A HEART ON HOLD about? It’s the first of a 4-book series to be re-issued with Prairie Rose Publications. Book 2, A HEART BROKEN, will be out in June, and I can hardly wait to see these stories “out there” again. They mean so much to me! Here’s the blurb from A HEART ON HOLD:

How long can a heart hold on before it breaks?

Charlotte Adamsland is separated from her husband, Sanderson Redding, the day after their marriage. A captain in the Confederate Army, Sanderson must return to his unit, leaving Charlotte alone on their Arkansas homestead to fend for herself. Yankees camp around the town of Altrose, bringing their own kind of lawless danger. And then, one dark day, a Southern soldier arrives with terrible news…Sanderson has been killed trying to escape a Yankee prison.

Sanderson has found salvation and hell in a single turn of events he could never have imagined—his much-younger brother, Jackson, is his Yankee guard. When Jackson’s cruel commanding officer learns of the brothers’ family ties, he devises a wicked plan to see them both dead. Jackson is determined to get his brother to safety—but a last-minute betrayal by another prisoner could be the death of both brothers.

Charlotte can’t accept the news of Sanderson’s death—he promised to come back to her. She heads north armed with only her faith in God and her beloved horse to bring her love home—one way or the other. Will she be able to rescue him? Or will her love remained locked forever in A HEART ON HOLD…


And here’s an excerpt from A HEART ON HOLD to whet your appetite!

“I had a more romantic howdy planned for you, my dear,” Sanderson said.

His words sounded far away in her sleep-heavy ears as she struggled to wake up.

“I suppose I fell asleep,” Charlotte mumbled. A cold knot formed in her stomach as she realized she had tilted over from her sitting position when she dozed off, allowing her head to land smack dab on Sanderson’s chest. His hand was still stroking her hair.

“Just like Uncle Jake,” Sanderson mused. “It must be nice to be able to sleep wherever your head winds up.”

“Well, it’s about time you woke up,” Charlotte teased sleepily. Although worry strained her voice, she flashed him a smile. “Your color’s coming back, too. Rest and sunshine are good medicine.”

The sunlight streamed in through the holes worn in the transparent linsey-woolsey curtain that she’d tacked up over the precious glass window. The small, muted rays appeared to have shone life back into Sanderson.

“What happened?” he asked as his fingers traced the curve of her face.

He gave Charlotte his full attention as his hand meandered from her face to the back of her neck. As it nestled in her hair, Charlotte felt a rash of goose bumps crop up under his flesh and spread up her neck. A blush colored her face, but wasn’t rightly sure as to why.

It’s just Sanderson.

His free hand found hers atop the quilt. He fingered the delicate golden ring on her finger and smiled that impish smile, revealing the dimples that made the girls in town turn their heads just to watch him pass.

Just the most beautiful, astounding man to ever grace the earth with his footsteps.

Charlotte’s voice came out a bit shaky. “It…ah—seems that you were so happy to see me when you arrived that you fainted dead away and slept for two straight days before you could even kiss me hello.”

Sanderson pushed himself up in Charlotte’s bed. “We shall have to remedy that then, won’t we?” Grinning, he leaned forward and swept her into his arms, cradling her in his lap. “I’ve missed you, my darling Charlotte.”

She closed her eyes and let her senses soak up this moment. Sanderson’s warm breath was moist on her lips and his skin, though roughened by Army life, felt like sunshine wrapped in silk as it brushed against hers.

His kiss fell upon her. His fingers combed through her hair as her arms tightened around his neck.

Charlotte’s tell-tale heartbeat quickened to a gallop in her chest as Sanderson’s hand trailed the length of her tresses coming to rest over her pounding heart. Unable to stay contained within the sumptuous arms of her love, she kissed Sanderson with such carefree enthusiasm that the moment escalated before either of them could escape the other’s grasp. Sanderson’s tender kisses found her neck as Charlotte clasped his muscular biceps, her breath raspy and jagged.

“I love you,” Charlotte whispered, her quiet voice cracking.

Thanks for stopping by today and visiting! For more of my stories and “about me”, I can be found here:





If you just can’t wait to see if you won, A HEART ON HOLD can be found at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online bookstores in both print and digital formats.

Here’s the Amazon Kindle link:



+ posts


  1. Hi Sara,

    Wow, you went through a lot while your husband was deployed. Is he home now? Is he still in the military? I was raised in the military and then my first true love was deployed in the Navy during the Viet Nam war, it was hard waiting and wondering. Of course, back then, there was no such thing as the internet or e-mail so I had to wait for snail mail.

    I would love to win a copy of your book. I love stories written about the Civil War period. Thank you for the chance to win.

    Cindy W.

    • Hi Cindy! Thank you for stopping by and for your heartfelt comment ?? After ten years, he is out now and we are all back home in our little corner of west Texas.
      The handwritten letters were like gold to me when he was deployed, but we often communicated by phone or Internet –and sometimes I wished we did just have handwritten letters…but that’s a whole other blog post, haha!!!

  2. Everything always happens when they are away. It is never easy. I come from a military family as well. I hope everything is OK now.

    • Thank you for coming by, Debra! All are better now. Right after he was honorably discharged from the Army, I received a spectacularly strange cancer diagnosis. I go for my two year check at MD Anderson this month and will hopefully be released from their services. Time passing certainly keeps things crazy around here!!!

  3. Sara, my dear, life has handed you more than your share of challenges. The old saying is true: God gives us only what we can bear. Evidently, you’re able to bear a lot. All of your trials have imbued you with an uncommon strength and a deep understanding of the human heart. Both show in your stories.

    I wish you the best of everything.

    Big hugs, my friend.

    • Thank you Kathleen ?? I certainly have learned that turning life’s lemons into lemonade is the way to go in times of hardship…and believe me, having them deployed is rough but once they get home the real work begins. Two years later and we are still navigating the frothy waters of PTSD.

      Hugs my wordsmithing friend ??

    • Janine, it was rough for sure. But having my parents so close averyed many tragedies and made it all better. They are my best friends 🙂

  4. Welcome to Wildflower Junction, Sara! And thank you for the look into your life as a military wife. I don’t think the general public has any idea how much the family and soldier go through. Thank you for your husband’s and your service! I can see where the chance to write out your thoughts and feelings in a story would be cathartic and healing. A Heart To Hold sounds like a wonderful story!

    • Thank you for the welcome Kathryn! I couldn’t agree more, the general public had no idea what goes on in military families and the majority is not all romance and rainbows. I hope you enjoy A Heart on Hold!

  5. Sara, I shudder to think what you must have gone through with sick kids and being sick yourself for so long. So glad to know your family was nearby to help! Even so, I’m sure you longed to have your hubby home with you during those times.

    I really did love A HEART ON HOLD and look forward to reading the rest of this series!

    As for going through something traumatic and being sustained by love–I have not had anything like Charlotte did in A HEART ON HOLD, or you did, with your hubby gone for so long–but I can think of so many instances where I really did lean on my hubby for emotional support. My parents died within a 3 week time period and that was probably one of the very darkest times in my life. I was sure glad to have my husband’s loving support during that time!

    You are one strong woman, lady!

    • Thank you Cheryl! I cannot imagine going through what you did. I am so glad you had your husband to lean on during that dark time. Thank you for your support of A Heart on Hold and the entire Everlasting Heart series!!!

  6. I fear attempting to write a novel involving the Civil War because I know I would get caught up in the research and want to learn more and more. I’ve written almost 130 military history non-finctions, but have always pushed myself away from the CW. Its simply so fascinating no matter which aspect you dive into and such a mass of information is available. I know I could be very easily sucked in and end up buying countless books. That said, I have written one CW-related book, “The Great Locomotive Chase: The Andrews Raid 1862.” It was difficult to stay away from the CW after following the route of the Chase and seeing the other Georgia battlegrounds.

    • Hi Gordo! I loved researching for this series and I completely see what you mean about the vast amounts of information available on the Civil War. Most of book one takes place at Alton Confederate Prison in Illinois and it was bittersweet delving into that aspect of the war.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing with us all today… I know that I have found out that I can function in a emergency… realizing that I am stronger than I knew I ever was… just knowing in the back of my mind that I have family I can turn to if needed. Congrats on your books being reissued!

    • Hi Colleen,

      Isn’t it something to find how much we can handle and function if the situation demands it? Thank you for stopping by today!

  8. Thank you for the insight into the background of your novels, Sara. I had not heard the expression about turning life’s lemons into lemonade. You certainly have done so and your novel sounds fascinating. I wish you all success with the series.

  9. I love your story premise, Sara. The very idea of two brothers on opposite sides in a terrible war is heartbreaking on its own, but to have one brother guarding, yet trying to save his brother certainly makes the story even more deeply emotional.
    Congratulations on your new release, Sara. I wish you every success.

  10. Sara, thank for sharing your life with us about you & your military family & your illness. God has made you strong & hopefully your life will continue to be blessed.
    Your books excerpt is awesome. Thanks for the chance to win & visiting with all the filles & readers.

  11. Sara, all those nasty adversities and trials we face, once we get through them, well you and I all the other authors are lucky–we can take those horrific moments and turn them into something we can share with others. And they love it because they can relate as it was based on true happenings. And I think in the long run by sharing those moments in time we become even stronger. So happy all worked out for you and your family, and I pray all will go well with your upcoming tests. I too faced the possibility of some scary surgeries recently, came out smelling like a rose, but will have more testing soon. We’ll both get through this and get on with our wonderful lives. I already read A HEART ON HOLD and loved it. I too have a Civil War story with two brothers on opposite sides–totally different than yours, but I have much to do finish it. Wishing you the best with your health and your writing. And aren’t we thankful we’ve endured and are going strong? There’s nothing we can do.

  12. Sara sweetie, so sorry to be late to the party. We are undergoing our own tumult here at home, ick. What a beautiful heart-felt, hope-filled post. I am so glad I had a second today to read this. Bestest wishes for the story and the series! Love you, girl.

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