Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Book Tour/Giveaway - Blackhorse Road by Merida Johns

Blackhorse Road by Merida Johns 


GENRE: Women’s fiction romance


BLURB: Under another hand, Blackhorse Road could all too easily have been a singular romance. Johns provides more as she follows Luci down the rabbit hole and out the other side of life experience, bringing readers into a world where . . . transgression changes everything and challenges carefully-constructed foundations of belief and values. As Luci lets go of her lifesavers and navigates obstacles to happiness, her story becomes a vivid portrait of hope and self-examination which ultimately moves into unexpected territory. Novel readers seeking a tale that closely considers deception and forgiveness, love gained and lost, and family ties will welcome the multifaceted Blackhorse Road's ability to come full circle in a satisfyingly unexpected way. - D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review It’s the turbulent mid-1960s, and Luci, an eighteen-year-old Southern California girl, is on the quest for self-determination and new beginnings. Three powerful forces influence her values: the grit of her Irish great-grandmother, Lucinda McCormick; the philosophy of choice of her father, Sam; and the 1960s ideals of equity and altruism. But potent foes thwart Luci at every turn. Her budding romance with a handsome United States Air Force Academy cadet sets the stage for conflict and deception that last for two decades. When Luci discovers how her autonomy and her love affair were hijacked, she struggles with anger and bitterness. But from a surprising source, she finds a forgiveness path that restores her well-being and hope and, in the end, faith in herself. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Excerpt: The cranky engine revved as the driver shifted gears, and the military bus crawled forward exiting the air force base. Along a narrow and dark roadway, the vehicle increased its speed and left the MPs at the gate standing immobile and mute in the glow of the rising moon. Drifting through the open windows, the Southern California desert air blew like pixie dust across the faces of the thirty young women headed home from the street dance. A few hours ago, they were preening and adjusting their bouffant hairdos, reapplying creamy pink lipstick, and placing the last twirls of mascara on their eyelashes to prepare for a street dance with cadets from the elite Air Force Academy. Then, the atmosphere buzzed with gossip, chatter, laughter, and anticipation. Now, the glimmering night sky created the perfect backdrop that lulled each into a contented silence to fantasize about the handsome men they had met. “This is the beginning of my story about love and betrayal and a journey toward empathy, compassion, and forgiveness. It is also a story of choice—my choice to be inspired by the resilience of a great-grandmother, the values of a father, and the wisdom of a spouse. But in the end, it is a story of how a letter of gratitude . . . reminded me to open my heart to love and kindness.”


From The Author:

What’s the Scoop on Blackhorse Road?


When I tell someone that I have written a novel, I am asked the predictable question, "What’s up with the story? Is this an account of real events. Maybe your life?"

"Well, no, but then again, yes," I stammer. 

When I started writing fiction, I took two pieces of advice before pounding the keyboard—write about what you know and know what you write.  Blackhorse Road blossoms from my imagination that is influenced by my experience, perspectives, and observations that give the story authenticity and sensitivity, helping readers connect with the characters and feel their joy, disappointment, sorrow, and happiness.  

But Blackhorse Road is enriched by the backstories that set the context for the characters and events in the story—historical incidents, politics, economics, philosophy, religion, and psychology that influence the values of the characters and ultimately the consequences of their actions.  I uncover these backstories from usual fact-checking and readily available historical references.  But the sources I like best to enhance the pallet of my novel are diaries and old letters.  This is how I stumbled upon “Arthur.”

Chapter 17, titled “Arthur,” sets the stage where sitting together on a front porch in 1966 on a warm Canadian summer afternoon, octogenarian Geneviève and her eighteen-year-old granddaughter share the excitement and intimacies of their first loves.

. . . “Reviving the intensity of her romances, Geneviève felt a closeness to her granddaughter, believing that Luci, too, would understand the passion she experienced as a young woman. She scooted her rocking chair closer to Luci, longing to confide stories of her youthful affaires de coeur, as she delicately called them.

“Oh, my dear, I’m reliving my old romances vicariously through you,” Geneviève said in a breathy voice . . . Grinning, Geneviève crept her hand into the pocket of her shirtwaist dress and pulled out what looked like letters, tied neatly together with a gold ribbon. Luci’s heart flipped, looking at the packet.

“See here, Luci,” Geneviève whispered, patting the bundle as lovingly as she would a kitten. “These are some of the letters from my dear Arthur.” She paused, meeting Luci’s eyes. “What do you think? Do you want to read them with me?”

Taken off guard, Luci’s hand flew up to cover her mouth as her grandmother untied the ribbon as if it were pure gold. Clasping the notes between her hands, Geneviève caressed the cherished mementos with her thumbs as though rubbing them would resurrect Arthur’s spirit. Carefully, she opened one of the fragile, yellowed envelopes and removed several pages of stationery. Even from where she was sitting, Luci saw the beautiful script of Arthur’s hand. The lines of written words were straight and neat with capital letters highlighted in crafted swirls. Luci edged to the front of her chair for a closer look at the letter in her grandmother’s shaking hand . . .

USA General Hospital
Washington Barracks
Washington, DC

August 22, 1901

My Dearest Geneviève . . .

So, “What’s the scoop with Blackhorse Road?”


Blackhorse Road is a work of fiction that is inspired and enriched by true narratives and experiences and tells a story of the human experience. It draws upon letters, diaries, and other first-hand accounts to show how ordinary people tackle challenges, live through sorrow and betrayal, and struggle with doubt. And for some characters, it is a chronicle of how acting on their aspirations transported them to unexpected places within themselves.


Enjoy the narrative, and let the backstories raise your curiosity and transport you to unexpected places within yourself.

AUTHOR Bio and Links: 

 Short Bio: Merida Johns takes her experience as an educator, consultant, and businesswoman and writes about the human experience. In 2018 Merida took an unlikely off-ramp from writing textbooks and motivational books to authoring women’s fiction. Her stories are learning lessons where awareness and curiosity transport readers to the most unexpected places within themselves. Merida hails from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, grew up in Southern California and has lived from coast-to-coast in the United States. Besides writing, she enjoys fabric arts, including weaving and knitting. She makes her home in the serene Midwest countryside that gives her the inspiration and space for storytelling. 

Long Bio: For three decades, I was a university professor who taught classes and wrote textbooks on “nerdy” subjects centering on computer systems in healthcare. But a decade ago, informed by my experience in a male-dominated area, I started my practice as a leadership coach to help women break the glass ceiling and fulfill their leadership and economic potential. Consequently, during the past ten years, I transitioned from writing textbooks to motivational books on creating environments where people flourish through better leadership. 

About a year ago, I was on a conference call discussing concepts of what makes a fulfilling life with fellow life coaches. Bang! Like a thunderclap, I had an insight. What would it be like to help people understand the concepts of a flourishing life in a story instead of through a motivational book or text? After all, I thought, storytelling has been the most compelling form of communication for thousands of years. As far as I could recall, none of the great prophets fed up learning objectives and multiple-choice questions to their followers. No! They got their message across through stories. Motivational books and textbooks give frameworks, theories, and ideas, but they don’t immerse us in the human experience. They don’t show us how others face challenges, embrace their passions, overcome sorrow, celebrate achievement, quash self-doubts, develop positive emotions and relationships, handle betrayal, or act on aspirations. Storytelling ignites our imagination and emotion. We experience being part of the story rather than being served up a platter of facts, exercises, and information. This eye-opener was enough for me to take on the challenge of novel writing. My passion is to help people catapult beyond concepts and theories and jump into the wonderment of imagination in designing a flourishing life for themselves. Storytelling does this best. Happily, as a fiction writer, I have jettisoned learning objectives and test questions. Ah…the freedom makes me feel as light as a balloon on a summer breeze. 







Merida Johns will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. RAFFLECOPTER: a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Mary, for commenting. As I mention in a reply below the two elements of the cover along with the title have specific significance and everything comes together and is revealed toward the end of the book.

  2. I absolutely love the colorful cover..

    1. Thanks, Mya. The two elements on the cover, the red envelope and the gold key, have a specific significance as well as the title. Everything is revealed as everything comes together toward the end of the story.

  3. Thanks for hosting me and Blackhorse Road today. I loved this interview that allowed me to pull the covers back and let readers in on the scoop on the predictable question of whether this book was about my life.

  4. great title. made me curious about the book and i do like that cover
    sherry @ fundinmental

    1. Thanks, Sherry. Glad to hear that the cover is going over with readers. Simple but has significance.

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks, Victoria. Happy to hear that enjoyed the post. I had a good time answering the interview questions and hope that they raise readers' curiosity.

  6. The cover looks really nice, this sounds great

  7. Congratulations on this captivating novel. Sounds memorable. I know Windsor, Ontario since I was originally from Mtl. and then lived in Ontario for many years.

  8. Love the cover! Sounds like a must read. Thank you for hosting.

  9. Thanks, James, for commenting. Hope that Blackhorse Road makes it your bookshelf sometime. Reviews by both female and male readers have given the book high marks.

  10. I love the cover, sounds like a great book.