By Gayle Carline
Author, Columnist, and Horse-a-holic
In addition to my Snoopy book (From the Horse's Mouth), I've written three Peri Minneopa Mysteries. I like writing this series, although it is a challenge to find an interesting crime for Peri to solve and keep each book from becoming formulaic.
More than one person has asked me, "Why don't you put horses in your books?"
Here's the problem: My stories are set in Placentia, California, which is in north Orange County and part of that big urban megalopolis that includes Los Angeles.
Not really Horse Country, USA.
A few months ago, I was trying to come up with a story for my next Peri book and banging my head on whatever wall was available, when a funny thing happened. I was at a horse show, walking down the barn aisle and I saw the tractor scooping up the used shavings we dump at the end. My murderous mind thought, hmm, what if there were boots under that pile... with feet in them?
Alas, I couldn't figure out a logical way to get a corpse under a large pile of horse show manure without attracting too much attention, but I did write a mystery set at the L.A. Equestrian Center in Burbank. I'm on the second round of edits now (there will probably be five or six rounds), but I'm sure of three things:
1. I really like it,
2. It's going to be a standalone story, and
3. I can get people to shut up about putting horses in my books.
Okay, that last one is a maybe.
Since I wanted the characters and the setting to be as far from my Peri books as possible, I decided to make this one a romantic suspense.
So far the suspense has been whether there will be any romance.
I know I need to spice things up. The question is, how hot should I make it? I don't write erotica. When I write about Peri's sex life, I let the reader know what's going to happen, then I close the door. The gal deserves her privacy. But I'm thinking that romance readers will want a lot more than what I'm offering so far.
Does anyone here read romance? Do you like it mild, medium, or on fire?
Thanks for any help you can give me.
P.S. Here's a pic of Snoopy with his cowboy hat.