Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A Day in the Life of Karen

Today, we get a glimpse into the furry life of romance writer Karen Hulene Bartell. On Thursday, we'll get a glimpse of her writing space, too!

Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog. It’s a pleasure to be here!

by Karen Hulene Bartell

Welcome to my world—not normal by most standards—but my life as it is ;)

An oversized cup of steaming coffee beside me, I sit at the cat-scratched, French-Provincial desk that I hand-finished twenty-plus years ago. As I focus on my work-in-progress, I re-read—aka edit—yesterday’s words, so the process leads my imagination back into the story.

One of the twin tiger cats (litter siblings) climbs on my lap, interfering with the pull-out keyboard, while the other twin hisses at the longhaired cat in a territorial dispute over which lounges closest to me on the desk.

Our catahoula leopard dog lazes on his bed nearby until I accidentally rustle a paper. Then he pounces on my lap to “retrieve” it, pawing the lap cat and causing the desk cats to hiss in protest. I order the dog down, quiet the cats, position the keyboard, so my arms can reach it, and again try to find where I left off in my WOP.

Three sentences later, Facebook dings. I toggle to my page and respond. Then I remember I haven’t posted any marketing blurbs this morning. I cobble together the cover jpg and another photo, along with a slightly reworded message.

Ooops—I haven’t tweeted, either. So I pick out the day’s best hashtags, add the blurb and photos, and post the link on the WRP promo group’s page. Then I retweet the other authors’ tweets. That reminds me to repost my Facebook post to several groups.

Ten minutes later, I toggle back to my WOP, edit four sentences, and the dog whines. He has to go out. “You were just out a half hour ago. You can hold it.” I concentrate on the WOP, refusing to meet his stare.

He rests a paw on my shoulder, looks at me with his expressive brown eyes, and sneezes—a sure sign he really does have to go. I scoot the cat off my lap, who takes out his frustration on the other cats. I break up the spat, put on my coat, fix the dog’s collar and leash, and take him outside. He finds an acorn, sniffs deer poop, and rolls in the grass but shows no interest in going potty.

Ten minutes later, I re-read the same paragraph of my WOP for the seventh time, when the phone rings, disturbing the cat that’s climbing onto my lap. Caller ID displays Telemarketer, so I block the caller, sip the coffee, discover it’s cold, put the cat down, and go into the kitchen to reheat my coffee.

Ten minutes later, I focus on my WOP, re-reading the same paragraph for the eighth time, when…

Wild Rose Pass by Karen Hulene Bartell


Cadence McShane, free-spirited nonconformist, yearns to escape the rigid code, clothes, and sidesaddles of 1880s military society in Fort Davis, Texas. She finds the daring new lieutenant exhilarating, but as the daughter of the commanding officer, she is expected to keep with family tradition and marry West Point graduate James West.

Orphaned, Comanche-raised, and always the outsider looking in, Ben Williams yearns to belong. Cadence embodies everything he craves, but as a battlefield-commissioned officer with the Buffalo Soldiers instead of a West Point graduate, he is neither accepted into military society nor considered marriageable.

Can two people of different worlds, drawn together by conflicting needs, flout society and forge a life together on the frontier?


Reining his horse between catclaw and prickly-pear cactus, Ben Williams squinted at the late summer sun’s low angle. Though still midafternoon, shadows lengthened in the mountains. He clicked his tongue, urging his mare up the incline. “Show a little enthusiasm, Althea. If we’re not in Fort Davis by sunset, we’ll be bedding down with scorpions and rattlesnakes.”

As his detachment’s horses clambered up Wild Rose Pass, the only gap through west Texas’ rugged Davis Mountains, Ben kept alert for loose rocks or hidden roots, anything that might trip his mount. A thick layer of fallen leaves created a pastiche of color shrouding the trail from view. He glanced up at the lithe cottonwood trees lining the route, their limbs dancing in the breeze. More amber and persimmon leaves loosened, fell, and settled near the Indian pictographs on their tree trunks. When he saw the red- and yellow-ochre drawings, he smiled, recalling the canyon’s name—Painted Comanche Camp.

“How far to Fort Davis, lieutenant?” called McCurry, one of his recruits.

“Three hours.” If we keep a steady pace.

Without warning, the soldier’s horse whinnied. Spooking, it reared on its hind legs, threw its rider, and galloped off.

As he sat up, the man groaned, caught his breath, and stared into the eyes of a coiled rattler, poised to strike. “What the…?”

Flicking its tongue, hissing, tail rattling, the pit viper was inches from the man’s face.

A sheen of sweat appeared above the man’s lip. “Lieutenant—”

Buy Links:

Wild Rose Pass (Trans-Pecos) on Kindle
Wild Rose Pass (Trans-Pecos) in Paperback

Barnes & Noble NOOK Book
Barnes & Noble Paperback

About the Author:

Author of the Trans-Pecos, Sacred Emblem, Sacred Journey, and Sacred Messenger series, Karen is a best-selling author, motivational keynote speaker, wife, and all-around pilgrim of life. She writes multicultural, offbeat love stories that lift the spirit. Born to rolling-stone parents who moved annually, Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Westerns spurred her to write (pun intended). Wanderlust inherent, Karen enjoyed traveling, although loathed changing schools. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings. Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, Karen resides in the Hill Country with her husband Peter and her “mews”—three rescued cats and a rescued *Cat*ahoula Leopard dog.

Connect with Karen: 

Amazon Author Page


Karen Hulene Bartell said...

Tracy, thanks so much for hosting me today! And I *love* your line, "get a glimpse into the 'furry life' of romance writer Karen Hulene Bartell." You made me chuckle!

CB Clark said...

Great post, Karen. You are an animal lover. I like that. Thanks for sharing.

Karen Hulene Bartell said...

Thanks, Christine - my "mews" and I appreciate your stopping by ;)

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