Monday, January 14, 2013

Gambling On A Secret Blog Tour

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.

Giveaways below: Gambling On A Secret ebook, custom jewelry, & 2 Grand Prizes

The Music of Gambling On A Secret

Music plays a big part in all of my Westerns, particularly country music. I’m a huge fan of country and often tell people I was even country when it wasn’t cool, to quote the great Barbara Mandrel.

But in Gambling On A Secret country wasn’t the only music I heard while I was writing it, or the only music my characters are fans of. My heroine, Charli, loves all kinds of music. She’s a country fan, and is especially a fan of her secret older half-brother country star Nate McConnell. She also grew up on the sounds of James Taylor, Carly Simon and the fictional Sisters McGinnis (think the sound of The Mamas and the Papas). Charli gets the surprise of her life when she finds out the lead singer of the group is not only her neighbor, but the respected Texas lady, Jackie McGinnis Cartwright who is the mother of the county sheriff and local country singer Logan Cartwright.

Dylan, the hero of the story, dislikes country music and listens to very loud 80’s rock. AC/DC, Guns ‘n’ Roses and Def Leppard, to name a few.

The music played in the local saloon is all country. If it’s not coming from the jukebox, Logan Cartwright is burning up the stage with his country band Texas Justice.

Here’s what I envision the soundtrack of Gambling On A Secret would sound like...

Brooks and Dunn— Boot Scootin’ Boogie (This song is playing on the jukebox as Dylan enters the bar—Chapter 2)

Travis Tritt— T-R-O-U-B-L-E (Logan Cartwright and his band Texas Justice is playing this song to a rowdy crowd in the Longhorn Saloon—Chapter 4)

George Jones (Blake Shelton)— Ol’ Red (Another song Logan sings while Dylan and Logan’s brother, Sheriff Zack Cartwright talk about Charli—Chapter 4)

Guns and Roses— Sweet Child o’ Mine (The song on the radio while Dylan and Charli travel to the tractor dealership—Chapter 4)

Warrant— Heaven (Another song on the radio—Chapter 4)

Def Leppard— Love Bites (Song on the radio that Dylan works to in the stable—Chapter 5)

George Jones— She Thinks I Still Care (Jukebox song playing in the bar—Chapter 10)

AC/DC— Highway to Hell (Another rodeo song while traveling to the cattle auction—Chapter 15)

Garth Brooks— The Dance (The song Charli is playing on the radio on Memorial Day in the kitchen scene in Chapter 17—Although the actual song in the story is fictional and sung by her secret half-brother Nate McConnell and is titled Of All the Memories.)

Lee Greenwood— God Bless the USA (One of the songs playing over the sound system at the Memorial Day banquet—Chapter 17)

Toby Keith— American Soldier (Also playing at the Memorial Day banquet—Chapter 17)

Alabama— Feels So Right (Logan sings this at the ball—Chapter 22)

Charlie Daniels Band— Devil Went Down to Georgia (Another one of Logan’s songs at the ball—Chapter 22)

Little Texas— God Blessed Texas (The last song at the ball—Chapter 22)

If you’re a writer, do you incorporate music in your stories? Of if you’re a reader, do you like it when authors bring music into the background of their stories?

“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  /  Amazon /  Barnes and Noble /  BookStrand

Author links: WebsiteBlog / FacebookTwitter

~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.)


Closed - Check with the author for the winners!


  1. First off this blog design is amazing and secondly the cover on this book is pretty stunning. I can't wait to read this.
    sbereza22@gmail dot com

  2. Nice playlist.


  3. Thank you both for coming by. I think the cover is awesome too.

  4. Thank you Shannon. I'm so glad to be a part of your tour Sara!

  5. Awesome playlist. Most of the songs are tunes I love as well.

  6. Thank you all for the wonderful support!

    I have some winners!

    For the ebook--Brenda
    For the jewelry--my wonderful hostess, Lisa Ryan

    Congratulations, Ladies! Remember everyone will also be in the running for the grand prizes.