Guest Post: Elana K. Arnold & Giveaway
Growing up on Catalina Island, off the California coast, Scarlett Wenderoth has led a fairly isolated life. After her brother dies, her isolation deepens as she withdraws into herself, shutting out her friends and boyfriend. Her parents, shattered by their own sorrow, fail to notice Scarlett’s pain and sudden alarming thinness. Scarlett finds pleasure only on her horse, escaping to the heart of the island on long, solitary rides. One day, as she races around a bend, Scarlett is startled by a boy who raises his hand in warning and says one word: “Stop.”
The boy—intense, beautiful—is Will Cohen, a newcomer to the island. For reasons he can’t or won’t explain, he’s drawn to Scarlett and feels compelled to keep her safe. To keep her from wasting away. His meddling irritates Scarlett, though she can’t deny her attraction to him. As their relationship blossoms into love, Scarlett’s body slowly awakens at Will’s touch. But just when her grief begins to ebb, she makes a startling discovery about Will, a discovery he’s been grappling with himself. A discovery that threatens to force them apart. And if it does, Scarlett fears she will unravel all over again.
So I was the girl with the horse.
Let’s just get that out there first thing.
All my life I’d begged for one, and I’d saved all my cash and I’d dreamt and hoped
and schemed. But it wasn’t until my parents came into a magical—and short lived—small
fortune (or it least it seemed like a fortune to me… actually, it was more like good credit)
that my dream came true.
Her name was Rainbow, and you can read more about her here.
But horses fascinated me long before my mare became one of my closest friends
(any my only friend who bit me on a regular basis). And horses continued to fascinate me
even after Rainbow pulled a tendon, after my parents’ fortune and marriage crumbled, after
the façade of our perfect life fell to pieces all around me.
Still, I didn’t write about them. People always say, “Write what you know,” and I
knew horses. I knew the particular smell of them, the earthy warmth of their breath, the
velvet-soft brush of their cheek, the sweeping sound of their tail as they swish away flies.
I knew how it felt to pick up the trot, how to post, how to sit, how to bring my leg
back and squeeze tight with my thighs to transition to the canter.
I knew how it felt to fly, free but still grounded, a thousand-pound beast underneath
me, a thin braid of leather connecting me to her mouth. I knew the sound of her hooves on
the sand, on the hard-packed trail, on the asphalt road.
So why didn’t I write about them? I’ll tell you why—because before I had a horse
of my own, I’d read The Saddle Club books. And even though I’d eaten them up,
consuming them as if they could somehow magically become an actual horse of my very
own, I didn’t want to write them.
And I didn’t know how to write about horses without writing about petty stable
rivalries, bickering, scheming girls, jealousy over full-seat leather breeches.
Then I read Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses, and my head pretty much
Here’s a taste:
Before the colt could struggle up John Grady had squatted on its neck and pulled its head
up and to one side and was holding the horse by the muzzle with the long bony head
pressed against his chest and the hot sweet breath of it flooding up from the dark wells of
its nostrils over his face and neck like news from another world. They did not smell like
horses. They smelled like what they were, wild animals.
And that was it. I was in, in, in.
Because what I saw then, and what I see in Scarlett’s relationship with her mare
Delilah in Sacred, is that embracing a horse, and struggling with her, and grooming her and
training her and loving her and sometimes even hating her was for me this wonderful
outward expression of the hate and the love I had for myself, my own conflicting desires to
control and to fly free, and the understanding that I—like my mare—was, at heart, a wild
You can win an ARC of Sacred by Elana K. Arnold! And don’t forget to check out the book trailer for Sacred!
Official Contest information:
- to enter please follow the instructions in the rafflecopter form
- entrants must be 13 years of age or have parental permission
- this giveaway is open to EVERYONE
- the winner will be announced on this page in the rafflecopter form shortly after the conclusion of the giveaway
- the winner will be notified by email and will have 72 hours to reply or a new winner will be chosen
- as to protect your privacy and prevent spam mail, please DO NOT leave your email address in the comments section
- for official giveaway rules and guidelines please consult the contest policy