WILDWOOD & WINDSWEPT Blog Tour
About The Books:
Tanzy Hightower is not crazy. At least, that’s what she tells herself. Crazy looks more like her mother, who studies each sunrise with the same fascination other women give tabloid magazines in the grocery store checkout line. Crazy sounds like the woman on the radio claiming there’s a whole separate world existing parallel to our own. Still, Tanzy can’t deny the tingle of recognition she feels each time she sees her mother standing at the kitchen window, or hears the panic in the woman’s voice coming through the speakers of her father’s truck.
Tanzy intends to follow her father’s footsteps into the professional horse world. But the moment she watches him die on the back of a horse in an accident she feels responsible for, everything changes.
On the first anniversary of his death, a fight with her mother drives her back to her father’s farm in the middle of a stormy night. Neither Tanzy nor life as she knows it escapes unchanged when she is struck by lightning and introduced to a world… unseen, and receives proof her father’s death was no accident.
Two strangers seem too willing to help her navigate her new reality: Vanessa Andrews, a psychiatrist who believes lightning chooses who it strikes, and Lucas, a quiet, scarred stable hand with timing that borders on either perfect or suspect. But Tanzy has secrets of her own. Desperate for answers and revenge, Tanzy must put her faith in their hands as her past comes calling, and her father’s killer closes in.
Tanzy’s journey continues in Windswept, the second installment of the Hightower Trilogy… An Unseen World believes Tanzy Hightower is the key in an ancient prophecy meant to deliver the only new birth in all of time. They have waited a thousand years for her soul to return to life in human form. Some of them will stop at nothing to fulfill the prophecy, and others have sworn an oath to end Tanzy’s existence, permanently. Tanzy’s body is compromised. Her veins are now home to the blood of a savage, wild horse, and its instincts are becoming impossible to control. Her world is also divided. She is determined to rescue Lucas, an Unseen creature who has loved her since her first life, and to find her treasured Harbor and the other stolen horses, which are bound for a catastrophic end in a world she can’t access on her own. Yet the only allies she has left insist she seeks refuge in a remote safe house on the Outer Banks. While her fellow candidates beg her to stay in hiding, new enemies work to draw her out, making it clear Lucas and the horses are hers for the taking. But Tanzy knows all to well that when your loved ones are used as bait, finding them is only the beginning.
The sweet scent of coconut pancakes draws me from the edge of sleep. I smile, knowing my mother is standing in the kitchen downstairs mixing batter, no doubt wearing a few clumps of it in her coal black hair. I toss my denim quilt aside, cool air whisking across my skin, and blink against the warm light of dawn that filters through the old lace curtain panel covering my window and sets the worn wood floor of my room aglow. The constant autumn rain must have finally offered a reprieve. My mother will be happy to see it. She’s convinced a clear sunrise on a person’s birthday is a sign of good things to come.
As I pull on jeans and a shirt, Dad’s laughter rumbles up the stairs, and then the fire alarm chirps. Mom has probably burned a pancake on the griddle.
In the kitchen, Dad is opening the window behind the sink, and Mom is perched on one foot in a wooden chair with her back to me, stretching to fan the smoke away from the alarm.
“I swear this thing is too sensitive,” she mutters. There’s a streak of flour on her hip and a glob of batter on the sleeve of her T-shirt. My mother can forecast rain better than any meteorologist. She can predict the approach of a gust of wind a few minutes before it roars across the Shenandoah Valley, but she can’t cook to save her life.
There are three plates on the table. Two of them are still empty. Mine has a short stack of blobby pancakes and a streak of runaway butter. A couple charred pancakes are tossed on the counter, and one more is on the floor at the foot of the trash can.
My dad grins at her over his shoulder and catches sight of me standing in the door.
“Happy birthday, Tanzy!” he says. “It’s the big eighteen. You know, Hope, Tanzy’s an adult now. You should make her do the cooking,” he teases, and snaps a washcloth in my direction. His smile is all teeth, and his amber eyes glitter. It’s the one physical trait we share. Otherwise, I don’t look much like either of my parents.
“I’ve made her coconut pancakes for her birthday every birthday since she was six. She may not be home for her birthday next year.” Mom’s chin quivers. She presses her lips together.
“I’ll come home for my birthday, Mom.” I slide into my seat and shovel in a bite. It isn’t cooked all the way through, but it’s warm, and sweet enough to chew and swallow without making too much of a face.
“Thank you, Tanzy,” she says, casting a mock glare at my dad. He winks at me before disappearing through the door that leads to the back porch. He reappears less than a minute later with two mason jars full of wild flowers.
“For my girls,” he says, and places one on the window sill and the other in the middle of the kitchen table. “Birthdays are big days for moms, too.”
“Travis, when did you pick these? Did you leave any flowers in the garden?” Mom arranges the blossoms with her nimble fingers, and then leans into them, breathing deep.
Young-adult author. Equine professional. Southern gal. Pacific Northwest Transplant. Especially fond of family, sunlight, and cookie dough.
I wrote my first book in seventh grade, filling one hundred and four pages of a black and white Mead notebook. Back then I lived for two things: horses and R.L. Stine books. Fast forward nearly twenty years, and I still work with horses, and hoard books like most women my age collect shoes. It’s amazing how much changes… and how much stays the same.
The dream of publishing a novel has hitch-hiked with me down every other path I’ve taken (and there have been many.) Waitress, farm manager, road manager, bank teller, speech writer, retail, and more. But that need to bring pen to paper refused to quiet. Finally, in 2009, I sat down, pulled out a brand new notebook, and once again let the pictures in my head become words on paper.
As a child, my grandfather would sit me in his lap and weave tales about the Cherokee nation, and a girl who belonged with horses. His words painted a whole new world, and my mind would take flight. My hope – my dream – is that Tanzy’s journey does the same for you.
- On my nightstand I have a small lamp, a collection of water glasses at varying levels of full, a sketch pad, a pen, “Bridge of Clay” by Markus Zusak, and a deck of tarot cards designed by Maggie Stiefvater, which I keep in a black pouch that is embroidered with a simple blue dragonfly (the cards, not Maggie Stiefvater.)
- If I ever meet Amy Greene – author of my favorite book of all time, “Bloodroot,” I will lose my mind, and my ability to speak. I could probably manage to produce a string of vowel sounds and awkward fits of laughter.
- I have incredibly sensitive teeth – so even the idea of something cold against my teeth literally makes me cringe to the point of being nauseous. Touching soggy bread, pulling globs of hair out of my kids’ bathroom sink, and the smell of sour chocolate milk all do me in. The words “nougat” and “nuzzle” also make me so uncomfortable. I swear I’m not as dramatic as this list makes me out to be!
- By nature I am a panster – which means I let the story develop as I write, and I don’t adhere hard and fast to an outline. However, I have become a little bit of a hybrid. I like to cook an idea in my head for days or weeks, and jot down lists developing my characters. Later, I use those lists to build a spider web to the center of the story. I have learned the hard way that if I don’t build the body of the story with the “heart” (or the center of the web) in mind, my plot tends to wander and I create a lot more work for myself during revisions. I also now “forecast” about 2-3 chapters at a time, where I do a basic list for what I need to happen for the group of characters present in the next few scenes.
- I love the word “proverbial,” which goes hand in hand for my love of metaphors and similes. Rules are meant to be broken, right? I also love the words “hollow,” “thrash,” and “lighthouse.”
One lucky winner will win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International.
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