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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Masked Hearts, & the Modern Age with Sarah Cass...

Research in the Modern Age

Masked Hearts would not exist without research.  Hours spent combing for details about massacres on Native American tribes. Without finding that one little detail that suddenly makes the story just click and work.

So, in essence, without the internet, I doubt this story would have been created. Why?

I live in a wonderful little small town. 

The sort of town in the sort of state that you can’t walk down the street without seeing at least five people you know.

It’s a great place to live.

It isn’t the greatest place to dive into research. 

Our library is in a gorgeous old building. They have stacks of books on two levels. You would think that means an excellent research facility. 

But, while there is a massive amount of reference material in their nonfiction room, it’s not on a huge variety of subjects. Often when I’ve tried to research something for a book, I’ve done a search of their available material and they don’t have what I’m looking for.

Like the time I tried to research witchcraft for a story I concocted years ago (that still sits in my abandoned files). I was attempting to look up, specifically, the Salem Witch Trials. I located a whopping two books. The Crucible by Arthur Miller – and a five hundred page tome that had little to do with the trials, and everything to do with the evils of witchcraft.

Oh, and did I mention I’m smack dab in the Bible belt?


Thank heavens for the internet.

(And yes, for those of you wondering, I triple-verify everything before I believe it.)


Minnie Woodward lives a lie. After barely surviving the Bear River Massacre she’s lived in the white world of her guardian Mister Rawlins, her life debt keeping her tied there. The last thing she needs is Roy’s attempts to gain her favor. Her fate’s sealed. She’s never believed in hope, and not even Roy can make her start.

Roy Ornum saves Minnie every night in the traveling Wild West show. The job he took to break his gambling habit brought him a new addiction – her. He knows she doesn’t want to be rescued, but maybe he does. She’s the key to a past he lost, one he wants to find again.

As the two grow closer old wounds are reopened and their burgeoning trust is shattered. When lives hang in the balance of their choices they’ll need to work together. Otherwise everything will be lost before hope can be found.

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Roy grinned at how fast her anger melted across her features. It would be suicide to yank her close and kiss her, though at the moment he wasn’t sure if he cared. He leaned closer. “I have been trying to get you to talk to me every day for the past year. I think you’re running out of excuses not to.”
“Don’t bet on it.”
“I don’t bet anymore.” He caught her finger when she jabbed at him again. The moment her hand opened to pull free he flattened it to his chest.
She tugged against his hold. “I do well not speaking to anyone. You’re the only one that seems to have an issue with it. Even the Mister prefers me silent.”
“You don’t want me talking to the braves. You won’t talk to me. I suppose you just want me to be silent too?” He held onto her hand a moment longer before setting it free. “Why do you hate them so much?”
“They’re weak.”
“That so?”
“They stay.” Her chin lifted. Like a lifeline she held the tomahawk in a white-knuckled grip. “They say they owe the Mister more, but they don’t. They choose this. Weak little men.”
“How does that make them weak?” Roy furrowed his brow.
“They prefer this disgusting display to life on the reservation. They are afraid to live on a reservation. They are afraid to try to escape and go be free out on the land that was once ours—because there are so many of you white men to catch or kill them.”
“You stay.”
“I have no choice.” Her jaw worked. A glimmer of a tear shimmered at the corner of her eye before a rapid blink carried it away.
“And Max?”
“There’s a price on his head, and he’s old. He has no choice.”
“And me?”
“You don’t matter.” She tossed aside the tomahawk, and then turned to leave. “You’re one of them.”


Sarah Cass’s world is regularly turned upside down by her three special-needs kids and loving mate, so she breaks genre barriers, dabbling in horror, straight fiction, and urban fantasy. An ADD tendency leaves her with a variety of interests that include singing, dancing, crafting, cooking, and being a photographer. She fights through the struggles of the day, knowing the battles are her crucible and though she may emerge scarred, she’s also stronger. Now officially multi-published, she’s still working on bringing new stories to fill out her year and your reading lists. While busy creating worlds and characters as real to her as her own family, she leads an active online life with her blog, Redefining Perfect, which gives a real and sometimes raw glimpses into her life and art.

Where to find me:

I'd like to thank Sarah for joining us today, and wish her all the best with her newest release.
Best wishes,
~Author Jennifer Labelle~

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