Guest Post: Karen Brenner, Author of Appaloosa Sky

Guest Post: Appaloosa Sky by Karen Brenner

The Lily Cafe is thrilled to welcome Karen Brenner, author of the fiction novel Appaloosa Sky! Enjoy a brief excerpt from her novel and a short piece about what publishing a debut novel was like.

Guest Post: Appaloosa Sky by Karen Brenner

Title: Appaloosa Sky

Author: Karen Brenner

Publisher: Brenner Pathways

Publication date: December 13, 2019

Genre: Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Summary (from Amazon): At only eleven years old, Ginny Spangler is left orphaned after a horse theft gone bad. As Ginny grows from a self-reliant young girl to the fiery matriarch of a sprawling Texas ranch family, she passes on her resiliency and bold spirit to her nieces, Scottie, Rory, and Georgie O’Brien – sisters that are growing up with a distant mother and a fun-loving but troubled father. Even as little girls, the O’Brien sisters know they must solve their own problems and take charge of their own lives. Without parents to rely on, the sisters look to their Aunt Ginny for support and to the fictional Nancy Drew for a role model. “What would Nancy do?” becomes their secret battle cry as they learn to help each other through the thrilling ups and tragic downs of adolescence and early adulthood as they find love, experience loss, and raise their own families. After passing decades and family rifts set the women on divergent paths, the grown O’Brien sisters learn that their beloved Aunt Ginny is in danger and their family ranch is headed for destruction. They once again channel their childhood refrain, “What would Nancy do?” as they attempt to reunite to rescue Ginny from her abusers and save the ranch. But their mission is no merry heist. The peril is real, and the consequences have the potential to shatter their family entirely.


In Karen’s words: My novel, “Appaloosa Sky” is the story of three sisters, one of whom becomes a famous and beloved cozy mystery writer. This is the scene in which her glamorous detective introduces herself to her creator: (Oh, BTW, this book would create a lot of discussion in book clubs)!

“And then one day she heard the voice. It was loud and brash and insistent. Scottie jumped up and put her hands over her ears. “Stop it! Go away! You’re just some voice in my head, some manifestation of a schizophrenic episode I’m apparently having at the moment.”

The voice laughed, “Oh no, darling. You’re not schitzy, you’re a writer. And I’m your protagonist, Miss Caroline Crispin Malone. But you, of course, will insist on calling me Cupcake Malone, a moniker I despise but you enjoy because you know it upsets me. Now, to the point, we need a murder.”

Excerpted from Appaloosa Sky by Karen Brenner, Copyright © 2019 by Karen Brenner. Published by Brenner Pathways.

Karen on publishing a debut novel

Having recently published my first novel, “Appaloosa Sky” (available on Amazon, paperback and ebook), I can say with confidence that it is a terrifying and exhilarating thing to publish a book. The great thing I’ve learned in this process (I’ve been writing and re-writing this book since 2014) is this: You can talk about writing a book, you can read about writing a book, you can take courses on it, you can write in a journal or diary just for yourself but if you want to be a writer, you have to…WRITE! And you must be willing to write for everyone: complete strangers, your tut-tutting elderly aunt (not you, Aunt Jane) people who hate your writing, a few who will love it, friends, enemies, frenemies, critics, (professional and otherwise). Just as you have to go into the water to learn to swim, or get back on the horse when you’re thrown, or decide to try anything that’s out of your comfort zone, you have to jump in boots and all, no dipping your toes in the water, you have to jump! There is no way to write a book, put it out into the world and feel comfortable about it. It is an act of courage and foolishness and humility and arrogance and it is exhilarating and terrifying but I am so thankful that I did it even though most of the time I feel like this guy!

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About Karen Brenner

Guest Post: Appaloosa Sky by Karen Brenner - author Karen Brenner
I grew up in North Texas in a large extended family who raised horses and holy hell and in between sang together in four part harmony. I’m married to a gerontologist and together we work with people who have been diagnosed with dementia. We have co-written and published two books about our work. I wanted to write this novel, Appaloosa Sky,  and recreate the world of my childhood. It was also important to me to create a story in which a character with Alzheimer’s could be a hero. I’ve written this story about family, particularly three sisters and their love of Nancy Drew and their devotion to the fiery matriarch of their clan, their Aunt Ginny. These are strong women who know what needs to be done and do it! It was so much fun for me to write about the land and the people I knew growing up, especially since I’ve spent my entire married life in Chicago.

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Connect with Karen Brenner
Facebook: @kbbrenner47

The author of this book, Karen Brenner, retains all rights to the excerpt and guest post published above, which may not be copied, reproduced, modified, sold, or distributed without the author’s express permission. To contact Karen Brenner to request permission to utilize the above excerpt and/or guest post, please send your inquiry to Kat via the Contact page.

Thank you so much, Karen! Your debut novel sounds thought-provoking, and perfect for Nancy Drew fans!

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