Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Wishing You And Yours A Most Merry Christmas And A New Year Filled With Hope, Happiness And Peace.

All good things to your corner of the universe.

Sarah, Kate, Acorn and Liberty

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Buy The Violin And Get A Chance To Win An Ebook Reader

Welcome to the wild and crazy, exhausting preChristmas shopping days. Well, here's a little something-something to gladden and warm your heart--an antiGrinch remedy, if you please. LOL.If you buy my book, THE VIOLIN, from Amira Press you automatically get a chance to win an Ebook Reader from my publisher. In fact, for every book you buy, you get another chance to win and, when you buy 10 books, you get the 11th book free no matter what.


THE VIOLIN by Sarah J. McNeal (Blurb)

Genevieve has dreamed about him all her life, but it isn’t until she buys his violin and finds the remnants of his life and the mystery of his death in 1927 within its case, that she makes a decision that will change her life forever. Is there a way to change the past and save the man who haunts her heart?

Excerpt:THE VIOLIN at Amira Press by Sarah McNeal

The couple was left alone in the living room. John’s hands seemed to burn into Genevieve’s. She wanted him to stay with her like this forever. Her heart ached a little and she wasn’t sure why.

“Are you really okay? She asked.

“Hell no, I’m not okay. I’m never okay around you.” He smiled charmingly. “Now that you’ve turned into a goddess with the help of my mother, I’m not sure I will ever be okay again,” he said and grinned.

Genevieve jerked her hands out of his grasp. “I don’t think your jokes are all that funny. You scared the life out of me,” she said angrily.

He reached around her and pulled his jacket from the back of the couch. “Come on, Genevieve, let’s get going.” He took her hand back in his firm grip and pulled her along behind him out the front door, off the little porch and across the yard to his motorcycle.

Genevieve skidded to a halt. “I’m not going to ride on that thing.” She felt the knot in her stomach form just looking at the motorcycle. What a dangerous piece of machinery it was.

“Yes you are,” John said determinedly.

“No I’m not.” Genevieve was obstinately determined that she was most certainly not going to get on that death machine. “I could get killed on that thing.” She looked at the Indian motorcycle as if it were a dragon seeking its next meal.From the back yard came a miniature explosion. Matilda’s little shriek cut the air followed by the laughter of Will and Jimmy.

John glanced at Genevieve and laughed lightly. “Well, looks like that cannon you bought Jimmy has gone over big.”

She scrunched her face into a frown not listening to a word he said. “I’m not going to ride on that thing, John.”

John turned to her and spoke in a low voice as if explaining something to a child. “Listen, honey, Sunbury is ten miles or more down the road. You couldn’t even walk the first two miles before those blisters would start to hurt again.”He guided her slowly over to the motorcycle. “Now see, I have this wonderful wheeled horse just to take milady conveniently and, without walking on sore feet I might add, to a wonderful restaurant I know in Sunbury.”He turned her around to face him. “Now we can stand here and argue all our time away on how we’re going to get there but, in the end little miss goddess of mine, you are going to get on this motorcycle if I have to drag you on it and tie you to me.” There was absolute resolution in his voice.

Genevieve knew she couldn’t win. John had to be the most stubborn person on the face of the earth. “Okay,” she relented barely audible, “I’ll do it but I want you to know I’m really scared. You better not get us killed.”

John threw a leg over the saddle of the bike and drew her on to the back where she sat with her legs tucked behind his. He laughed a little. “Don’t worry, honey, I’m not going to kill us, not on purpose any way.”

“Oh, that’s reassuring,” Genevieve snapped back sarcastically. Her heart was pounding in her chest. She wasn’t sure which bothered her more, riding on the motorcycle or John’s back pressed against her chest and her legs snugly folded next to his.

John reached back, took her hands, and wrapped her arms around his waist. “All you have to do is hang on tight and lean the way I lean. Got that?”Genevieve was shaking too much to answer so she nodded her head even though she was sure he wasn’t really waiting for her permission. Her stomach clenched with anxiety and fear made her hands tremble.John kicked the starter with his left heel and the engine sputtered into life. It sounded like a chain saw.Genevieve hugged John’s waist in a death grip and laid her face against his back as he drew on his goggles over his eyes. “Genevieve,” he yelled over the roar of the engine, “I have to be able to breathe, honey, not that I don’t love you holding me that tight.” He laughed and the motorcycle lunged forward onto the dirt road.

Genevieve watched as John squeezed the clutch with his left hand and reached down to change the gear with his right hand on the stick gear in front of him.“Aren’t we supposed to have on helmets? There’s a law about that,” Genevieve yelled into his back.

She felt the rumble of his laughter on her cheek.“I don’t think they have a law about that. We’re not going into battle; we’re just taking a ride.” He laughed out loud. “You might want to keep your mouth shut before a bug flies in it,” he shouted and laughed again.The engine whined a few seconds as John changed gears again. The machine hummed as they scattered rocks and dirt in their wake down the country road. The wind blew through his hair and Genevieve’s braid flopped heavily in the wind the bike created.

“I never saw a motorcycle with a stick shift on the body before,” Genevieve called out over the roar of the engine. “Isn’t there some kind of shift thingy on the handlebar?”

“That’s a mighty interesting question seeing how there is no other motorcycle anywhere. Indian is all there is and this is where the gears are.” John was silent a moment than added, “But now that I think about it, it would sure be more convenient if the ‘thingy’ was on the handlebar.”

Genevieve was beginning to loosen her grip a little as she began to grow calm. A little burn of fear still scorched her stomach though. “Does this thing have brakes?” she called out the question.

“You’ll be glad to know there’s two. I got one in my right hand and the other is located here under my right foot. You couldn’t be any safer.” He spoke loudly making his voice rise above the engine noise. “Isn’t this the greatest?” He was obviously enjoying himself.Genevieve wasn’t so sure it was the greatest thing riding wildly down a dirt road on a motorcycle. In her real life, she would never take such a crazy chance. But there was one thing she thought that made this dangerous and impulsive antic worthwhile. She got to hold John close to her until she could hear his heartbeat and the vibration of his voice through his jacket on her cheek. The time she spent with John was worth all the heartache that would come later.

The Violin is available in Print or ebook at the following locations:,,, or here on my website. Just click on the buy button which will take you straight to Amira Press.

And here is another cool deal. If you join Amira Press Reader's Group, you get my story, I PROMISE YOU, as a free read. Here is a blurb and excerpt for you.FREE READ Join the Amira Press Yahoo group ( today and get a free read courtesy of Sarah J. McNeal.

I Promise You

Gideon thought he had the perfect life as a musician with a beautiful model as his girlfriend, until he was diagnosed with breast cancer.Ashamed and afraid he may die, Gideon hits bottom when his girlfriend dumps him for a real man.Hope comes in the form of his father’s ghost and a person he has just met. Can he beat the odds and survive? And if he does, can he ever find happiness again?


By Sarah J. McNeal

Publisher: Amira Press

Available as a FREE READ

In a nonstop run of chatter in the “it’s all about me” world of Sylvia, she handed him the iced tea remembering, at least, to put a straw in the glass affording him the ability to drink. The tea was bitter without any sugar in it. He didn’t bother to ask for sugar, content to drink anything that would slake his thirst. Leaning his head back against the pillows and closing his eyes, he allowed her never-ending stream of words to wash over him. He didn’t feel much like talking any way being more absorbed in his own thoughts about his surgery, his therapy and his hope for survival.

Accustomed to Sylvia’s self-centered and relentless chatter, Gideon knew it wasn’t necessary to comment on anything she said. Sylvia was shallow but she was very entertaining in her own way and, oh, so stunningly beautiful. Gideon pushed the button in his hand that would bring him relief.

Maybe it was the morphine causing him to slip into some kind of hallucination or maybe he was just dreaming—or wishing. The room appeared filled with white fog so thick that nothing was visible beyond the bed where he lay. A fragrance drifted on the fog almost like a memory of forest, pungent cedar, rich, leaf-covered earth and sun warmed water.Gideon knew before the form appeared through the fog to stand at the foot of his bed that his father was near.

He closed his eyes against the visage yearning for it to be real and knowing it couldn’t be. His parents had died two years ago in a car accident. But, when he blinked his eyes open once again, his dad was still there a slim, tall man wearing waders and a fishing hat over his thick, silver hair. A narrow fringe of white mustache graced his upper lip as he smiled that lopsided way that Gideon remembered so well.He seemed so real that Gideon felt a lump of suppressed emotions form in his throat and wanted to cry for joy. All he could manage to say in a whisper was, “Pop? Is that you?”

The figure moved closer, sat gently on the side of the bed and took Gideon’s hand. His hand felt warm and solid in Gideon’s grasp. With a voice barely audible, filled with an aching, bitter need to clutch his father to him, Gideon asked, “Did I die? Am I in heaven now?” A tear slid down his cheek, not from sadness at the passing of his life, but with pure, unmitigated joy that his father was with him again.

His father shook his head. “No son. I heard you were in trouble and needed me.” The old man smiled and squeezed his hand the way he’d done a thousand times before. From scraped knees to his first broken heart, his dad had always been there to comfort, love and guide him.In truth, whether this vision of his dad was real or was brought about by the morphine in his veins, Gideon was glad he was there. Never had he needed his father more than he did right now.

“Pop,” Gideon spoke the one watery word like a prayer filled with despair and hope, “Please help me.”

“We’ll get you through this, Gideon.” His father’s image seemed to fade, blending into the chair where he sat.

To get this free read, join our group and email Dahlia at

I'll be chatting with you again soon. Stay tuned.Sarah McNealwww.sarahmcneal.comAuthor of THE VIOLIN (Amira Press)THE DARK ISLE (New Concepts Publishing)LAKE OF SORROWS (New Concepts Publishing)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Every One!!
I'm going to take my dog Kate and spend the day with my sister and my family playing "cut throat" Parcheesi and Chinese Checkers. It's like a family tradition. My personal diet is going to hell for the day but, hey, it's a holiday and calories are free. Ha Ha Ha Well, in my world any way. My sister is making Turkey and Stuffin' Muffins and I'm in charge of mashed potatoes and broccoli. Betsy is bringing rum and coke with snacks and Matthew is bringing desserts and then there is just a raft of other stuff to delve into.
Well, I could blab on and on so I'm going to draw to a halt here and say have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Kate is the sweetest dog ever. I got her from the Golden Retriever Rescue Mission when she was nine months old back in 1998. She helped me get through the loss of my Scottie, Mac, not long after her arrival.

Her favorite thing is to greet people at the door with "presents" in her mouth. I don't know why, but Kate likes to stuff her mouth with as many toys as possible. It's like her little game to see how many she can get in there. But she's very willing to share her toys with anyone. Kate is not a scrapper. She's just very loving and friendly. Her day is made when we have company.

I'm used to Kate following me around every where I go. She lays by my chair when I'm watching TV, curls up on her special doggie mattress in the study when I'm writing or reading emails and always lays by my bed every night--and snores.

My girl, Kate, loves to ride in the car with the window down and her head hanging out. I have no idea why that brings her such happiness but there ya go. So, I turn on the heat or the air conditioning depending on the weather for me and let Kate have her window open in the back seat to eat the wind all she wants.

In a year filled with sadness, first my friend, Joyce dying at age 55 and then Grandfather Tree dying after he was hit by lightning--everything pales to the utter devastation of learning yesterday that my beautiful and loving Kate has cancer of the bone.

I thought she had arthritis when she started limping last week and, when my home remedies of glucosamine and baby aspirin didn't work, I took her to the vet yesterday. After X-Rays and blood work, Dr. Heather Myers gave me the awful news that Kate had cancer of the bone and that it may have metastasized to her heart. They could amputate her leg and give her chemo but it won't save Kate's life--only prolong it a few months. I don't see that as an option. The doctor gave me pain pills for Kate and on Monday we'll know if the cancer has spread to her heart.

Kate doesn't know that she has cancer. But she knows that I'm here with her loving her every minute of her day. I plan on spending our last days together the way we've always spent them, going on cars rides, watching TV and loving each other throughout each day. One thing I will change. Kate can eat anything she wants to. She can have all the cheese and hot dogs she wants.

She can spend her last days being as happy and pain free as I can make her and I will bear for her the painful knowledge of her impending death. As humans who love animals it is our duty to see our pets through this life as best we can. They give us so much. Kate has never gotten mad at me. No matter what I do or who I anger, at the end of the day, I come home to the unconditional love of Kate McNeal. I will love her to the very end and even after that.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dead Foot Walking Costumes

Here are some lovely costumes for Halloween at Amira Press.

Well I've had a lot of fun with the foot costumes. I hope you'll visit me today as I host at Amira Press's reader's loop from 9am to 1pm. I'll be giving away a download of THE VIOLIN to someone at the end.
Until next time...
Don't let the bugs bite--or the vamps--or the things that go bump in the night.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Don't forget to join Amira Press and the authors for our cool Spookathon. There are preizes and free reads so come and join us! Click on the pumpkin to get to all the fun.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Upcoming Events

Carolina Romance Writers are haviing a book signing on November 1st. You might want to meet some wonderful romance authors who live right here in the Carolinas. Here are the details:
Time and Place
Saturday, November 1, 2008
4:00pm - 6:00pm
Borders Books and Music - Northlake Mall
Northlake Mall Dr
Charlotte, NC

View Map
Come meet your local romance writers at the Carolina Romance Writers Group Signing Featuring Leigh Greenwood, Angela Knight, Eliza Gayle, Sabrina Luna and Debut Author Kalayna Price!

And, if you're up for some fun and free prizes, here is another cool happening. Amira Press is having a membership drive. Just for going to Amira Press and signing up for our readers loop, you get to choose a free read. I have one on there called THE AMBER TOMB, a romantic spook story. There is also a Spookathon coming up where you have a chance at winning a couple baskets filled with terrific goodies. You don't want to miss out on the chance to win one of those. Click onto the link I'm posting then click onto the pumpkin on the homepage. It will take you to the cool events. Here's the link:
Ain't Halloween great?

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Chinese Sign

Just in case you were searching for the contest icon for Amira Press Christmas Extravaganza, well here it is! Merry Christmas!

fun quiz for myspace profile and blog

Lets101 - Online Dating

My Chinese Sign

fun quiz for myspace profile and blog

Lets101 - Online Dating

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Remembrance of 9/11

Remembering September 11, 2001

Sometimes I forget how it was on that clear warm day on September 11, 2001. I was at work in the ER when word came that the towers had been hit by airplanes in New York City, then that the Pentagon had been hit followed by news that a plane had gone down in a field in Pennsylvania. People were dying and families were weeping for their lost loves. The ER went on lock down as we waited for what would come next. We called our loved ones and talked to them just in case we forgot to tell them how much we loved them and might not get the chance again. We wept and we prayed.

In the days that followed, images of the towers collapsing, people searching for their families and friends hoping they were still alive and weeping, so much weeping played out on the news. Day after day, firemen and policemen searched relentlessly hoping to find someone alive and emergency personnel waiting in the emergency rooms for recovered victims that would never come.

I shall never forget the members of congress who gathered on the steps of the Capital Building and spontaneously sang America The Beautiful or the senator who wept unabashed during the memorial service in Washington, D.C.

We hear the stories of bravery that occurred during this tragic episode in American history and we honor them and those that we have lost. Years later, we remember that day and we pray that maybe some day we will feel free and secure from harm and that there's a chance we can find peace once again.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Grandfather Tree And An Old Friend

Sometimes life just brings sadness with it. Joyce Henderson was a friend and a coworker of mine who died at age 55. She was one of the nurses I've worked with for over twenty years. We worked in Coronary Care together back in the '80's and later we worked together in the ER. She had just retired and was going to go to her 10 acre plot of land in Florida where she was going to build a house and enjoy boating and nature. Her dream never happened.

It made those of us who remain, consider what we are doing with our lives. Are we going to live to see our dreams come true? I've wanted to go to Australia all my life. First one thing and then another got in my way, but come my retirement from nursing in April 2009, it's off to Australia I go. I hope my friends can come along, too. I've met many of the goals I had set for myself but I still have some left. I'm going to work on those starting now.

And now, a word about Grandfather Tree. When I bought my house about 15 years ago, I selected it mostly because of the huge white oak that sat vigilantly over it. There was something about that ancient oak tree that gave me good, positive vibes. A year and a half ago, he was struck by lightning. In an attempt to save him, I had an arborist come and cut away the damaged limbs. Half of Grandfather Tree was cut away. He seemed sad somehow. Spring came and all seemed well with the remaining limbs then the draught took hold. Grandfather Tree was too damaged to survive the onslaught of the draught. As time passed, limb by limb, he began to succumb. Last week the last of his limbs died and with his death, I feel the spirit of my house has gone with him.

I mourn Grandfather Tree and the passing of my friend. I can only hope that all spirits continue some how if only in those that remember them. So that's where I shall keep the spirits of Grandfather Tree and Joyce Henderson, here in my heart.

Farewell old friends.


Friday, August 08, 2008

I'm A Featured Author At Amira Press

In case you haven't noticed, it's August already. Seven more months before I retire from my day job in the ER. Yeehaw!

Just wanted to let you know that I'm a featured author at Amira Press. So, if you ever wanted to know something about me or my work, there is the place to find out. Yeah. I know. How exciting can that be? LOL Still, I was asked some mighty interesting questions and this may be your only chance to find out the answers. Along with the other authors at Amira Press, I blog there weekly.

Happy trails for now.

Sarah McNeal

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Raoul The Mechanical Monkey

Come and play with my buddy, Raoul the mechanical monkey, and me at The Romance Room. I am the honorary hostess there for the month of July. If you would like to schedule a chat or an interview this month, contact me and we'll set that up.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Celebrating the Fourth of July

(Kathy is in the second row on the left in the camouflage flack jacket)
I'd like to introduce you to my best friend, Kathy Groce. She's been my friend since way back in the '80's when we worked in coronary care at Mercy Hospital back when the nuns still ran it and we cared about the people we were intrusted with. We've gone many different ways since then in our careers but we always stay connected with one another.

Kathy joined the Air Force soon after we became friends. She served in the Gulf War and has been to Iraq twice in the ongoing war. When the disaster from Katrina hit, Kathy and her Air Force group (I don't know what the name is for a group in the service) went to New Orleans to assist in whatever way possible. She told me once that it was more difficult to do what she had to do in New Orleans than it was to go to the War in Iraq. I have never known anyone so courageous, dedicated or caring. I admire the way she takes care of her aging parents, helps people in emotional distress and has never let me down--not ever.

So on this upcoming Fourth of July, as I celebrate my country's freedom, I also celebrate my friendship with Kathy who is part of the brave men and women who continue to keep us from harm and care for us along the way.

Here's to Kathy. Happy Fourth of July.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Summer Solstice

Happy Solstice everyone. Right now it's raining with a little summer thunder and lightning. I'm grateful for the rain because we're having a bit of a drought here in North Carolina. It's a great way to start off the summer. Now if I could get to the beach real soon, I'd be perfectly content--waves lapping against the shore, lazy clouds drifting overhead and maybe a sailboat sliding through the water. A happy chill just ran down my spine. LOL Any way, have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the beginning of summer.

Sarah McNeal

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

I wish you all a happy Father's Day, whether you are a dad or you want to celebrate your dad. Unlike my mother whom I miss so desperately on Mother's Day, I miss my dad mostly on our birthday instead of Father's Day.
I know we often write about our own experiences and the influences of others in our stories. I know this is very true of me. Without thinking about it a great deal, I know that I put Pop in many of my stories. I was the only one in my family who called our father "Pop." He called his father Pop as well.
I noticed that my characters almost always refer to their fathers by the name "Pop." My dad comes up in a character in almost every story I've ever written, but none as much as THE VIOLIN. I wrote THE VIOLIN for my dad. It's about his middle brother John. The boy, Jimmy, is a character based on my dad. Pop banned birds as a kid, had a dog named Guess and a red tail hawk whose wing was broken. Pop fixed his wing and, when it was healed, forced himself to let the hawk go free.
Today I think of my dad and the gazillion things he taught me, most of them by his own example, some by explaining to me how the world works. He had a great respect for nature and was a conservationist before it was popular. So, in gratitude, I just want to say to Pop wherever he is in the universe, I love you. Thanks for everything.
Sarah McNeal

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day Makes Me Sad

To all the mothers and daughters all over the world, I bid you joy and love.
Until I was twenty-seven years old I took Mother's day for granted. I took having a mother for granted. We did, as most most families do on this special day. We gave our mother breakfast in bed, dinners out at her favorite restaurant or had cook-outs in the back yard or down in the orchard. We showered our mother with gifts and we always made her a cake--from scratch.
Mother's Day celebrations for us were intermingled with trips to the hospital, beeping monitors and days when Mom couldn't get out of bed. I was used to these episodes of illness from the time I was five. I never imagined that Mom would go to the hospital one day and never come home again.
That was way back in November 1974. A lot of years have passed since then. But no matter how happy I am on most days of the year, Mother's Day is when I miss my mother the most. It's the one day that makes my heart ache and it doesn't seem to lessen after all these years. So I accept that this one day is probably going to always be the saddest day of the year for me. It's when a mother's unconditional love passed from my life.
So for this one day, I will remember Charlene Hilda McNeal and hold her close to my heart. She meant the world to me.
I love you Mom.
Sarah McNeal

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

THE VIOLIN Gets Another 4 Star Review

I just got my Romantic Times Book Review Magazine today and was ecstatic when I read the review for THE VIOLIN. It received 4 stars!
"This enchanting story is all about a second chance at love. McNeal exposes such deep emotion in her characters that it will tug at your heartstrings. Her detailed descriptions, a few surprises and a bit of magic keep the pages turning. You'll want to read this romantic tale again and again."
Gail Pruszkowski
This review made my day--heck--it makes my week!

Friday, April 11, 2008

THE VIOLIN wins an Award

I still can't believe it. THE VIOLIN has won a Romance Junkies blue ribbon fvorite book of the month award for February! I am so honored and happy. This book means so much to me on a personal level. It is wonderful that it touched the hearts of others. Here is the original message.

Dear Sarah,

Congratulations! Your book The Violin, has been selected as a Blue Ribbon Favorite for the month of February by the reviewers at Romance Junkies!

Every month, the reviewers at Romance Junkies are invited to nominate the best book they read during the last month for this award. As you can probably guess, our reviewers read a lot of books, and they have chosen yours as one of their favorites.

I’ve included a link to a graphic for you to display on your web site if you’d like.

Congratulations once again, and thank you for writing such a wonderful book!

Christina and Lucia
Blue Ribbon Favorite Co-Coordinators

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Review For The Violin by CoffeeTime Romance

Hey everybody, look. I have a 4 cup review from CoffeeTime Romance. I am so happy!
Sarah Stats

THE VIOLIN SARAH J. MCNEAL ISBN # 978-1-934475-22-5 January 2008 Amira Press, LLC2721 N. Rosedale Street, Baltimore, MD 21216E-Book/Print6.00 E-Book/12.99 Print141 PagesHistorical RomanceRating 4 Cups
Genevieve grew up an orphan, and so she has always been alone, but she longs for a family. She is plagued by strange dreams of a man she has never met. The dreams vary in one she is drowning in another she sees an old violin. She wants to believe that these dreams are nothing more than harmless products of her subconscious but she cannot shake the deep emotions the dreams stir in her.
Genevieve has a long list of fears. She rarely leaves her comfort zone but after she wakes from one of her dreams she sees an advertisement for an auction where an old violin is up for sale. Although, she knows that it cannot be the violin of her dreams she feels inexplicably compelled to buy the violin no matter what it takes.
When Genevieve sees the violin she has no doubt that it is the same one she has been dreaming of. Inside the violin she finds personal items belonging to a man named John Douglas. She is intrigued by him and soon finds herself obsessed with a man who died long before she was born. She sets out on a journey to uncover the mystery surrounding John Douglas that takes her further than she every imagined.
I loved this story so much that I do not want to give anything away. The Violin by Sarah J. McNeal is a sweet and compelling romance. The plot felt very real to me. From the first page I was drawn into the story and I was as intrigued by the mystery of John as Genevieve was. The author does a wonderful job of describing the characters. I identified with Genevieve’s fears and her loneliness. I found myself cheering her on. I highly recommend this novel.
ChrissieReviewer for Coffee Time RomanceReviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Four and a Half Star Review for THE VIOLIN

Just in case you missed it, THE VIOLIN got a 4.5 out of 5 review at Romance Junkies by reviewer Kathleen Rowland. Thank you, Kathleen.
Sarah McNeal

Buy Now!
Former foster child Genevieve longs for warm family ties and fills her apartment with furnishings from yesteryear. She is haunted by dreams about a man who plays the violin beguilingly. When she finds a violin with photos and his 1927 death certificate in an antique shop, she has enough information to research the life of John Douglas. Locating the abandoned Pennsylvania cottage where he once lived, she enters it. Overcome from the shock of its familiarity, she faints to the floor. When she awakens, she is doted upon by the enticing rogue and his entire family.
John’s mother, Matilda, worries over Genevieve, the pretty young woman who somehow wandered into their home. Matilda convinces her to stay by asking for her help with making pies, a cake, and baked beans for the church picnic. As the Douglas family guest, Genevieve learns that John is considered a wild, bad boy and is sometimes with Ruby, a femme fatale. He also has a tender side. Genevieve falls in love. Does Ruby cause him so much anguish that he drowns himself in two feet of water? Can Genevieve save him? Will she have to leave this wonderful man and era?
Author Sarah McNeal writes a sweet romance of a man and woman across time. Tears welled in my eyes when John comforted Genevieve about her past. His family doesn’t always approve of him, but they love him. I adored Genevieve, an appreciative and strong woman who has a positive impact on others. I highly recommend THE VIOLIN to my friends who would like to experience life true to the 1920s, a time gifted author McNeal knows well.
By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Kathleen R

Monday, March 10, 2008

March Is Birthday Month

March is the month that means the most to me. First of all, Saint Patrick's Day is March 17th and, being Scot-Irish, that makes it an important day for me. But even more than that, the day following Saint Patrick's Day, March the 18th, is a day my dad and I shared from the moment I was born until the day my father died. It was our mutual birthday. He was once the rudder of my ship until the day I had to sail it on my own, rough seas or quiet harbor. I miss that I can't call him when I need reassurance or a dose of wisdom any more.
Back when everyone used to have to renew their driver's license every four years, my dad and I happen to renew it on the same year. We used to dress in costumes to have our pictures on our new license. We had a good time thinking of new costumes each time. I remember being a cowgirl once and wearing a lavender Nehru jacket for another one.
For one very special birthday, the first year after my mother died, my dad, who worked as a meteorologists for a TV station, wore a kilt complete with a skindu (little knife). He wore it against the adversity of friends and family and he did it for me. I loved him even more for that. It's a good thing that they didn't have metal detectors and weapon scanners then because Jimmy Carter, who later became president, was on the show that day and Pop had that skindu in the top of his stocking (you know, the knee socks). There was no fuss what-so-ever about the little knife. My how things have changed.
I wrote THE VIOLIN for my dad. His brother, John, died at age 21 in 1927 while he was fly fishing with his friends. Pop talked about him with such love and admiration and so I felt compelled to bring John back to life and give him the life and love he deserved to have but didn't get the chance to have.
To my dad, wherever his spirit may reside, I wish him happy birthday and for the rest of you, a Gaelic blessing: Slan's beannachd! (Health and a blessing!)
Sarah McNeal

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I had a great time at Talking Two Lips today chatting about THE VIOLIN as well as my backlist, The Dark Isle and Lake of Sorrows. I'd like to thank the owners and staff of Twolips for allowing me to be their featured author today.
I would like to announce the WINNER of the contest for THE VIOLIN who will receive a basket of delicious treats and the violin pin: Congratulations, Crystal Broyles. Thank you for entering my contest and I hope you enjoy your prize.
I'd like to thank all of you who entered my contest. I appreciate your involvement and I wish I could reward all of you--but I would be broke. LOL
All good things to your corner of the universe.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


There isn't much time left to enter my contest. It ends on Valentine's Day. I'll be announcing the winner during my chat on Talking Twolips on February 14th where I'll be chatting about THE VIOLIN and sharing excerpts and book talk (my favorite subject.) I hope you'll join me for my chat. I'll be giving away some other prizes during the chat as well from my back list.
All good things,

Monday, January 14, 2008


To enter the contest for THE VIOLIN simply go to my books section and read the excerpt for the violin. Then go to the contest page and answer the 3 simple questions about the excerpt. Email me your answers and put THE VIOLIN CONTEST in the subject line. You can email me from my site or send to The winner will be chosen on Valentine's Day, February 14. I'm giving away a big basket of goodies worth $50 plus the violin pin in its own little case that is pictured on the contest page. I hope you enter the contest and that you enjoy the excerpt.
All good things,

Friday, January 11, 2008


Hey everybody!! THE VIOLIN has been released today at Amira Press. Finally!! I am so happy!! Anyway, I hope you'll get on over there and check it out. It is my greatest wish that you'll love this story as much as I did writing it.
All good things to your corner of the universe. there is the publisher's addy just in case you forgot.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Some Thoughts About Music

Music has come up frequently this week and it's made me think about how much it means to me and how much I took it for granted. I read today from another author's blog about her love of music in her youth and how her family, being poor, didn't encourage her musical dreams.

Yesterday I was talking to my friend, Jodie, about her deep desire to play the violin and how her dreams were negated by her family and discouraged. She has a violin now but it sits around collecting dust, forever silent because her great wish was crushed when she was a child. It hurt me to hear her talk about the way her parents refused to allow her this small pleasure and how her flame of hope was extinguished.

I have been allowed every musical whim by my parents. I played the flute from age eight until I switched to violin when I was ten. My dad gave me the violin that his brother John played. It was that very same violin and its owner, John Douglas McNeal, that inspired my book, THE VIOLIN. When I was about thirteen, my dad introduced me to the harmonica and we played tunes together. My favorite was Shenandoah.

As a teenager, I became interested in the guitar. It was the era of folk music and everyone played guitars it seemed. It's a great instrument because, when you play it, it just seems to automatically invite others to join along in song. Maybe it was just the times we lived in then--make love not war.

After I was away from home living on my own, I took bagpipe lessons and, after memorizing the required seven tunes on the practice chanter, my parents bought me my bagpipes. I don't know if I mentioned this or not, but my dad and I shared the same birth date--March 18th. I'll tell you about the kilt episode another time.

I was never denied music. I was never told to only play certain music. Freedom was mine and the encouragement was always there to pursue my musical desires. I never appreciated any of it. But now, after hearing how others were discouraged and denied their love of music, I do.

So I guess I just want to stretch out my arms to the universe with my face toward the stars and say to my parents, wherever their spirits might be at this moment---Thank you, thank you for everything. Thank you for believing in me and allowing me such precious freedom to search for my place on this planet and to enjoy what it had to offer. Thank You!