As I mentioned last week, my newest book in the Covenant Falls series, The Seal’s Return, will be available Wednesday, February Ist in both e-book and large print paperback format which means I’m in launch mode at the moment. In other words, I’m trying to spread the word as far as I possibly can. To order, just go to Amazon/Patricia Potter/The SEAL’s Return.
In other books in the series, dogs – mostly rescue dogs — have been characters in the stories. In The SEAL’s Return, my SEAL chose a horse instead. It wasn’t planned in the beginning, but one day he was out running when he passed a pasture and spied several horses. One, a Buckskin named Jacko, trotted to the fence, and memories flooded back from early childhood. The entire plotted story abruptly changed. (I love it when that happens).
Jacko changes everything for SEAL Jubal Pierce and inspired a new plot line that will persist through the next two Covenant Falls novels and possibly more. It took me to websites about the therapeutic value of horses for vets. I was amazed at the growing number of horse therapeutic programs for vets, including one here in Tennessee.
One of the most successful programs was started by a SEAL himself. It’s called Heroes and Horses and is located in the heart of Montana Wilderness. According to founder and former SEAL Micah Fink, the program is on a mission “to inspire and challenge a generation of soldiers struggling to cope with the trauma of war. Veterans who come to Heroes and Horses have been shot, burned, blown up. They are wrestling with physical and emotional scars. Many feel isolated and untethered.” Micah Fink believes that “undergoing a rough program can go a long way to restore shattered notions of self-worth.”
Some other programs train veterans for jobs in the equine field. Some include families. Some, like the Montana programs, involves fairly long stays. Others may include shorter periods. Most are free for veterans. The search not only gave me information to help Jubal but inspired me to continue the plot line into the next several Covenant Falls books. (f you’re interested in reading more about them such programs, just google Heroes and Horses).
In “The SEAL’s Return,” there is no such program yet in Covenant Falls, but the connection between my hero Jubal Pierce and Jacko is leading to the founding of one in the next book.
Part of the joy of writing is the sudden appearance of an unplanned story line. It always come from the characters themselves, not the author. It comes from the growth of these characters and they often turn in directions the author never anticipated. When I reread some of my older books, I wonder how some secondary characters elbowed his way into becoming a major character in a subsequent book. I can honestly say that none of my books have followed the initial proposal.
But I’m wandering off topic. I just wanted you to know about the programs because the seed begins in “The SEALs Return,” and will grow in the next several Covenant Falls books.