Author Name: Laura Stone
Book Name: Bitter Springs
Release Date: December 3, 2015
In 1870s Texas, Renaldo Valle Santos, the youngest son of a large and traditional family, has been sent to train with Henry “Hank” Burnett, a freed slave and talented mesteñero—or horse- catcher—so he may continue the family horse trade. Bitter Springs is a sweeping epic that takes themes from traditional Mexican literature and Old Westerns to tell the story of a man coming into his own and realizing his destiny lies in the wild open spaces with the man who loves him, far from expectations of society.
Pages or Words: 302 pages
Categories: Fiction, Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance, Romance, Western/Cowboy
The day before the wedding, a visitor arrived at Vista Verde an entire week early. Renaldo, ready to wash up and eat dinner after a long, hard day—his side ached from roping cattle as a part of Paloma's training, his hands were full of bits of raw hemp from the stock lassos, and one of the calves had kicked him high on the thigh—walked back from the barn using his hat to slap at the dust on his chest and thighs. He noticed a tall, striking young black man standing at the door to their home speaking with their father. They didn't see many black men this far from civilization—with the Civil War ending so recently, many were staying close to where they'd been forced to live, were heading far out west where there were more opportunities to make a new life or were going north seeking less hostile society. Who he could be?
He was about as tall as Renaldo, maybe an inch or two more, broad-shouldered and whip-thin, dressed in well-worn, simple clothes. He had a close-cropped beard, but instead of hiding the shape of his jaw, it accented its sharpness. His light eyes, almost luminescent even at this distance and glowing like amber, were ringed with thick lashes, nearly to the point of being girlish, but there was nothing feminine about the man. With his lean but strong-looking chest, muscular arms and curved backside, he managed to carry himself with a confident air while standing idly; his body was still, but in a way that made Renaldo think of a raptor sitting on an abutment, watching and waiting.
“Oh, here he is,” Estebán said, motioning for Renaldo to join them, saying, “Señor Burnett, allow me to introduce to you my son, Renaldo.”
This? This was the legendary mesteñero, Henry Burnett? He couldn't be much older than Renaldo, who realized his jaw had dropped. He closed his mouth quickly and moved toward them as if drawn like metal shavings to a magnet.
Burnett, however, looked amused, as the edge of his mouth quirked up. “Pleased to meet you,” he said, his voice deep and husky.
Renaldo couldn't look away, shocked that his expectations couldn't have been more wrong. This was a vibrant young man. But... this was the man he would be alone with on the prairie for months? His stomach twisted at that thought, and at how unexpected it all was, causing his heart to race and face flush. Yes, it was unexpected. That Burnett had come so much sooner than they'd expected had to be why Renaldo couldn't find his voice and felt so upended.
“Mijo,” his father said sharply.
Renaldo shook himself slightly, and then nodded, saying, “Señor Burnett, it's very good to meet you, finally. Please forgive my shock, as I don't believe we expected you so soon.”
Burnett laughed, a rolling, melodious sound, and replied, “Well, then just imagine my shock when I come here all the way from Nacogdoches expecting one Valle man, only to find him gone and you in his place.” He smiled. “Your padre seems to think you're a better match, so that works for me.”
That smile, bright teeth framed by full lips, eyes crinkled at the corners, helped lessen some of Renaldo's shock and, if he was being honest, some of the worry that he carried about spending a lot of time with a hard, taciturn man Renaldo knew he would be unable to please. At the realization that this was who he would be with on the plains, just the two of them with no one else for weeks on end, Renaldo became excited, finally looking forward to this task. A young man with an infectious grin wouldn't be such a chore to be stuck with after all.
Buy the book:
Interlude Press Web Store: store.interludepress.com
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bitter-springs-laura-stone/1122753096?ean=2940152391107
Apple iBooks Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/bitter-springs/id1046777460?mt=11
Meet the author:
Laura Stone is a born and bred Texan, but don't hold that against her. She's a former comedian, actress and Master Gardener, and currently keeps busy as a media blogger, ghostwriter and novelist when not busy raising her three children. They're not fully raised, but then, neither is she.
She lives in Texas as proof that it's not completely populated by hard-line right-wingers. And because that's where the good tamales are. Her first novel, The Bones of You, was published by Interlude Press in 2014 and was named a finalist for two Foreword Reviews IndieFab Book of the Year Award. Laura Stone at Laura-Stone.com and on Facebook at facebook.com/9LauraStone
Where to find the author:
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26223113-bitter-springs
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Collen M. Good
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing LAURA STONE author of BITTER SPRINGS.
Hi Laura, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Thanks so much for the chance to chat with you guys and meet your readers! I'm a single mother of three, and with the older two off to college, I have a bit more breathing room to write. Bitter Springs is about a man coming to terms with his feelings for a man he's been apprenticed off to, and their journey to find their place in the world of the Wild West back in the 1870s. And who doesn't love the idea of good looking men on horses? Especially good looking men on horses falling in love?
What’s the easiest thing about writing?
Not writing. Being distracted? Hmm, I feel like this is a reminder for me to uninstall Mah-johng from my laptop...
Name one author (living or dead) you’d like to write with?
Margaret Atwood. She's just the coolest lady and such an unbelievable talent. Runner up would be a friend of mine who you guys will most likely be meeting next year when her first novel debuts, KellyAnn Bessa. We've outlined a series we want to write, and we both just click as co-writers. It's so much fun.
Tell us about your cover and how it came about.
First off, can you believe that cover is pencil? I'm always blown away by the talented artists Interlude Press hires to give their covers a unique look. I believe the artist took some themes I'd spoken of with my publisher, and let her imagination take off. There are times when I look at the horses in particular and just marvel that they're not photographs.
Is this book part of a series? Do you have ideas that could make it into a series? If it is a series, tell us a little about it.
As of now it's not a series. But! I do have some short stories that I'll be sharing for free on my website, laura-stone.com that serve as a sort of prequel to Bitter Springs. You'll learn more about Hank's past, and in particular his past with Tsá-cho and how that came to an end. Honestly, when I finished the book, I imagined all manner of side stories about each of the Valle Santos siblings, and just might give in to writing more short stories and sharing them with readers. But for now, there's only the one planned.
Word association. Tell us the first thing that comes to mind when you read these words.
Ketchup Ketchup Bros, which is a nickname for two ridiculously good looking and goofy hockey players for the Washington Capitals. (You said first thing that comes to mind...)
Elastic Waistbands. Particular on some nice boxer briefs on, say, one of those ridiculously good looking hockey players for the Washington Capitals...
Timer Deadlines (now I'm crying...)
Google Cartoons. (I love the daily doodles!)