Mounted–Bittersweet Farms Book One

Today I have a guest post for you from Barbara Morgenroth, author of the Bittersweet Farm series. Check out Mounted, available now.


From the earliest known history, people sat around the fire entertained with rousing tales of brave deeds as performed by the traveling bard.  These storytellers went from village to village and the locals would provide food and lodging for the duration of the tale.  It was therefore in the bard’s best interest to keep the story going as long as possible because life has always been hard for anyone in show biz and it is better to be inside and eating than on the road and hungry.

There are thousands of years of serial stories behind us.  We like them.  We like to know what happens next.  We form an attachment to the characters, and become invested in their futures. 
I started my career in books then branched off and did daytime television for several years.  In daytime we used to say “The great thing about soap operas is that they last forever.  The bad thing about soap operas is that they last forever.”
A writer for a soap will work about 50 weeks of the year and get well paid for every week.  General Hospital has been airing for 50 years.  One show I wrote for had done almost 8,000 shows at that point.  This says “job security” to writers.  You’re inside at night and food will be provided.  It’s all good.
A series will also say “job security” to someone like novelist Sue Grafton and her alphabet mysteries.  Once they caught on, she knew she had 26 books to write.  Yay!
That’s when the bad part of it will never end sets in.
If the audience wants to know what comes next, the writer starts to feel the same way. “What the heck can I possibly write about these characters next?”  Even the most clever writer starts to run out of story but no one wants to disappoint the audience, with inside at night, good food and all, as well as future employment looming menacingly on the horizon.  Most writers will press forward rather than
give up.
Sometimes they jump the shark, sometimes they keep it going through superhuman effort.
As writers, we have another problem.  Are these separate novels or are they actually episodes like in a soap opera?
J.K. Rowling said the seven books that make up the Harry Potter series are really just episodes in one long, really long, book.
If you end a series book too firmly, it’s very hard to get into the following book.
What’s needed is a bridge.  The writer wants to tie up the events that have been completed in this episode while leaving other thread ends loose so they may be picked up in the next entry.
Some readers love this.
Some readers hate this
If the reader is coming to a completed series, they can just keep going without delay.
If the reader comes in while the series is still being written, this can be very annoying.  They have to wait to find out what happens next and they hate to be left hanging. Throw that bard out into the night!
In television, there is an episode every day.  A book can take months to write.
To paraphrase William Shakespeare:
“To end or not to end
That is the question
Whether t’is nobler to put a fine point on it and get out while you still can
Or try to write as fast as possible knowing about the dark, cold nights on the road between villages and hope the well you keep going to for ideas never dries up.”
The life of a bard has never been easy but it’s always been exciting.



Bittersweet Farm 1

When a handsome new trainer arrives at Bittersweet Farm, the competition between half-sisters is no longer limited to the show ring. Talia Margolin’s life has been marked by events completely beyond her control–her mother’s death, her move to her father’s horse farm, the retirement of her show horse.
Now she faces the arrival of a new coach whose job is to get Talia’s half-sister, Greer, qualified for the finals at the National Horse Show. Greer is brutal on trainers but Lockie Malone is different. Handsome, talented, and with a will of hardened steel, Lockie can be an immovable object. He also becomes the agent for change in the lives of everyone at Bittersweet Farm.
For seventeen year old Talia, change has never meant anything but loss. Will this time be different?
An hour later, we were looking at the X-rays he had taken.
“You can see some bone changes here and here.” Dr. Fortier pointed. “And he’s got some arthritis. It’s normal for a horse his age.”
“There’s nothing we can do, is there?”
“Make him comfortable,” Dr. Fortier said.
“You can give him some supplements, Bute for pain. You can hack out in the woods once in a while, but his show days are over.”      


“Did I do this to him?”
“Age did,” Lockie replied.
“Horses only look strong and everyone starts to wear with age. It’ll happen to you, too,” Dr. Fortier said with a smile.
I didn’t feel like smiling and went into Butch’s stall while Lockie and the vet went outside.
We had been together since before my mother
died. She’d been ill for a few years and it was obvious to me that she was never going to get better. She had a transparency overtaking her where each day she faded a bit more.
My father had been managing almost everything for those years as it became progressively more difficult for her to
conduct her life. He made the arrangements for the hospitals and the doctors and begged her to marry him again and again until she finally gave in so that my future wouldn’t be in question.
He moved us to the farm and to give me something to try to take my heart and mind off what was happening, Butch was found for me.
Greer hated it. Blaming my mother for destroying her own family, she didn’t want me in the house. That September a boarding school in Virginia became her new home; she was as happy as Greer ever is. Her mother is still happily living in London on the extremely generous divorce settlement my father offered.
I had Butch and quiet and ever-present apprehension.
Then the time came when even with full time nursing, my mother had to go to the hospital and she never came home.
My father returned to the city, a nanny was brought in for me, and a trainer. I lived alone for the rest of that school
year. When Greer came back from Virginia, we started in on the serious equitation and junior hunter training.
The rug had been pulled out from under me again and I buried my face in Butch’s neck and cried.
“Talia,” Lockie said from behind me. “He’s retiring, not dying.”
“He’s my best friend.”
“We’ll get you a new friend.”
“Idiot,” I said, turned and pushed past


Barbara was born in New York City but now lives at Black Cat Farm.
Envisioning a career as a globe-hopping photojournalist, after college she determined her hop muscles weren’t global strength so turned to writing.
No life experience is safe from her keyboard and Barbara has proved that being a magnet for story material may be overstimulating to live through but it’s all ultimately research.
Comment on the blog and be entered into the giveaway for a copy of Mounted; Bittersweet Farm 1. Barbara will announce the winner later today in the comments section, so be sure to check back.


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