Guest – Sarah Walter Elwood

On the purple crushed velvet couch today is author Sarah Walter Elwood.

When do you decide to become an author?

Thank for having me on Love, Lust and Laptops today, Lillian!

I first wanted to be a writer back in high school, but really became serious in 2008 after writing Star Wars fan fiction for several years.

Have you always been a writer?

I guess I’d have to answer this yes. Ever since I started writing my first story way back in eighth grade.

What genre do you write?

I actually write in two. I write paranormal romantic suspense under the name of Cera duBois and contemporary westerns under my real name.

What drew you to that particular genre?

I was drawn to writing contemporary westerns simply because I love the genre and because my story lines belong in the West.

As for paranormals, I enjoy that genre as well and started writing in it after reading several vampire romances.

Who is your favourite author and why?

Rachel Gibson. I just love her writing style and voice.

Do you plot your books or write by the seat of your pants?

I’m something of a hybrid, but I’m more a pantser than I am a plotter.

Tell us a bit about your current work in progress.

Right now, I’m working on book 3 of the Colton Gamblers—Gambling On A Dream. It’s the story of Dawn Madison, a Native American who wants to be sheriff, and Texas Ranger Wyatt McPherson. They have a nasty past and are forced to work together on series of drug related murders that’s turning Colton upside down. Both Dawn (who is as a deputy sheriff) and Wyatt (who is Dylan Quinn’s second cousin) are both mentioned in Gambling On A Secret and are minor characters in Gambling On A Heart.

Here’s a snippet of the beginning from Chapter 2 (remember this is the first draft and also unedited):

Dawn doubted anyone had seen anything since the time of death was estimated to be sometime around four AM, but she might just get lucky because it had been a Monday morning. Someone might have been heading out to work that early. “Find out anything?”

“I got a witness that puts Talon Blackwell in the vicinity of the Longhorn at the same time as the murder?”

She couldn’t miss the smugness in his voice. Chet Hendricks had never been counted among her friends. He and Talon had been classmates, and Chet had bullied her older brother for years for being the youngest bastard son of the notorious Jock Blackwell, until he’d had enough and pounded the hell out of Chet. The deputy hadn’t made it a secret he didn’t want her as interim sheriff, and although he kept it under wraps, she’d learned through the infamous gossip chain the locals called the Grapevine that he was actively campaigning against her.

But his dislike went deeper than Talon’s illegitimacy or her ability to be sheriff.

Chet disliked anyone who didn’t check the Caucasian box on the census form.

Despite this, the town loved its veterans, and Chet qualified. He’d gone to the Army National Guard after high school and had done a stint in Afghanistan before getting out of the military.

She leaned back in her chair and gripped the armrests. What the hell was Talon doing on Main Street at that time in the morning? He’d moved back to town two months ago and into the old hunting cabin on the third of the family ranch belonging to him. His big plan was to raise cattle on his part of the M bar C.

At four AM, if a rancher was up, he was feeding stock, not cruising through a sleeping town fifteen miles away.

“I’ll question Talon as soon as possible. He may have seen something.”

Chet’s lips twisted into a sardonic grin. “Yeah, you do that, Sheriff.”

Determined not to let the pissant intimidate her, she stood and leaned over the desk. “I should remind you, Deputy Hendricks, you are very close to insubordination.”

“Hope I’m not interrupting anything.”

Both she and Hendricks turned toward the door. Texas Ranger Wyatt McPherson stood in the opening. He pulled his hat off his head thick with hair the color of the bay horse she’d won all of her barrel racing buckles riding as a teenager. His full lips twitched up on one corner, and amusement caused small crinkles at the corners of his bluebonnet blue eyes, as if he spent too many years squinting into the sun.

Dawn sucked in a breath and hated that her heart seemed to speed up. Damn, she hated when people snuck up on her. She refused to think about the fact her heart hadn’t started beating fast until after she’d conducted a full assessment and determined the interruption was harmless.

Well, as harmless as a rattlesnake.

Tell us about your new release

gamblingonasecretsmcqGambling On A Secret is the first book of a six book series of contemporary western romantic suspenses called collectively the Colton Gamblers.

Here’s the blurb and excerpt…


When Charli bets everything on a secret, will she find the deck stacked against her?

Former runaway-turned heiress Charli Monroe is hiding her sordid past and planning a future in Colton, Texas. Attending the local college for a degree in social work, she intends to raise cattle on her newly purchased ranch, which she plans to open as a home for troubled teens. Only a few glitches—the Victorian mansion is crumbling, the barn needs a roof, and her oilman neighbor wants more than friendship. When she meets Dylan Quinn, Charli is willing to take a chance on the town drunk to help her rebuild the rundown ranch.

Dylan has his demons, too. The former Special Forces commander can’t get past his ex-wife’s betrayal and the botched mission that left him with much more than a bad limp. Certain the greedy oilman next door to Charli wants much more than just her heart, Dylan’s even willing to stop drinking in order to protect her.

When things get dangerous and secrets of the past are revealed, is he only looking out for his new employer, or is she the new start he so desperately needs?

CONTENT WARNING: Details abuse of a minor, drug abuse, alcoholism, swearing, spicy sex, murder.

COVER QUOTE: “Full of intrigue, tangled pasts, and raw emotions, this one is guaranteed to keep you turning pages from start to finish and then wishing for one more chapter!”

Carolyn Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Just a Cowboy and His Baby.

Ms. Brown also named Gambling On A Secret as one of her favorite romance reads in 2012 in the Happy Ever After Blog on USA Today.


“Ferguson, what are you doing here?” Dylan barked.

Leon ambled toward them on the stone path. “I’m saving a young maiden from torment. What are you doing here, playing the part of the devil?”

“I’m Miss Monroe’s new manager.” The deadly edge of his voice matched the flintiness of his eyes. “If there’s anyone to save the young maiden from, it’s you.”

“Mr. Quinn, please.” She turned to Leon. “Leon, is there something I can do for you?”

He smiled, showing off perfect white teeth in a face handsome enough to belong to an actor. “I was just passing by on my way home and decided to stop. How are the boys working out?”

Dylan’s stance widened and his hands flexed at his slides. “What boys?”

“Charli and I have entered into a business arrangement.”

She lost the battle with the urge to wrap her arms around herself. As much as she appreciated Leon’s kindness, respected him, and was even a little attracted to him, something about him didn’t sit right with her. He represented her peers in the community. According to Mrs. Pratt, besides the Cartwrights, she and Leon were undoubtedly the wealthiest residents in the county. No one in Colton could learn about her past. It would ruin her, and Leon, no doubt, had the means to dig up the dirt.

“Really?” Dylan stepped closer to her in a protective manner. Whiskey tainted his breath as the warmth of the exhalations tickled her cheek. “What kind of business arrangement?”

She could protect herself. Dylan Quinn wasn’t any safer than Leon Ferguson. Stepping away from him, she forced her arms to her sides. “Mr. Quinn, I can handle this.”

She faced Leon. “I’m amazed by how much the men got done since starting on Monday. The foreman told me last evening they’d be reseeding another fifty acres for hay this morning. And they have the corrals fixed and started on the fencing in the north pasture.”

“Good, good.” He glanced at Dylan. “I’ll be going, unless you need a more reliable exterminator. I couldn’t help but overhear about your snake infestation. I can give you the name of the company that has gotten rid of the snakes in our lakes over on Oak Springs for years.”

Although he presented the perfect solution, she didn’t the like way Leon had looked at Dylan as he said the word exterminator. “No, Mr. Quinn is quite capable of getting rid of the snake.”

“Oh, I’m sure he is.” Leon tipped his hat. “Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you, Charli.” Dylan’s jaw tightened as his uncle glanced at him. “It’s good to see you up among the living again.”

Leon headed back to his Porsche. With no pretense of lowering his voice, Dylan said, “Now, there’s a snake no one wants in their garden.”

Upon hearing the jibe, Leon’s shoulders jerked in mid-stride.

Rattled by Leon’s attention and the snake fiasco, she turned on Dylan. “You aren’t off the hook. I want those snakes gone.”

“We’ll see.”

“I hate snakes.” She shuddered and put her hands on her hips. “Maybe I should have asked him who the exterminator is.”


Sara Walter Ellwood is an award winning author whose novel Gambling On A Secret was named by bestselling author Carolyn Brown in the Happy Ever After Blog on USA Today as one of her favorite romances of 2012. Although Sara has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her stories. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for nearly 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia.

She also writes paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name Cera duBois.

Buy Links:

Lyrical Press:


Barnes and Noble:


Author links:








~One poster from every stop will win a Gambling On A Secret ebook

~One commenter from each stop will win a piece of custom jewelry.

(The winners of these two prizes will be announced the day after the tour stop.)

I also have 2 Grand Prizes!

~First Grand Prize is a SWAG PACK, including a signed copy of Carolyn Brown’s Just a Cowboy and His Baby. Also included is a copy of D’Ann Lindun’s Shot Through the Heart, a pen, a notebook, a horse themed mini calendar, a patriotic themed day planner, and more all tucked away in a reusable tote bag at the end of my blog tour.

~Second Grand Prize is a $10 Gift Card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. If you follow the tour and comment as often as possible, you increase your chances of winning!

(The winners of the Swag Pack and Gift Card will be announced on March 1, 2013.)

(Swag Pack is only eligible for US residents to win. The jewelry and gift card are eligible to US and Canada residents only. The ebook is eligible to anyone, unless prohibited by law.)





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