Captured Secrets:

At some point, we have to release the secrets that keep us captive

Carmen Peone is debuting her new Christian Romance series this week, with Captive Secrets. Welcome to my blog, Carmen!

I want to thank Heidi for hosting me today!

Why do you write, what is it that makes you do it?

I write because I enjoy telling clean romance stories with a purpose. Most of all, I love the research aspect of writing: learning new ways of life, meeting new people, and experiencing new things. It’s such a fun and rewarding process.

What is your writing process?

I start with Susan Mae Warren’s SEQ or Story Equation. This helps me find the character’s goals, flaws, superpower, moral center, wound, greatest dream, dark moment story, lies, and competing values. This teaches me the heart of the characters. From here, I go to SMW’s LINDY HOP, a light plot of the main story elements, including romance. Writing is as smooth as a lake’s surface during calm early morning hours when all these key factors are in place.

Is there a specific part of the writing process that you find to be the easiest or most difficult for you?

Coming up with obstacles the character must overcome can be hard. Writers don’t always like to see our main characters get hurt in any way, but we have to for our reader’s sake. Who wants to read safe, boring books? Not me.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer, and how did you cope with or overcome that challenge?

My greatest challenge was to believe I was good enough. I went to college and received an abnormal psych degree, not an English, journalism, or creative writing degree like most of my fellow writers. I’ve been completely self-taught by taking classes, studying books on craft, reading the kinds of books I’d like to write, and going to conferences.

Many of your books have a Native American theme. How much of your experiences play into your stories?

The reason most of my books include Native Americans is because I’m married to a Colville Tribal member, have a full-blooded mother-in-law, and reside on the Colville reservation in northeast Washington state. My kids and grands are also enrolled members. Living on the rez has given me a wealth of experiences. When I coordinated the after-school program, we brought in various elders to teach traditional ways of life. I’d also worked with an elder to learn the Salish language (specifically Arrow Lakes) and cultural traditions as well. 

Tell us a little of what Captured Secrets is about?

The book opens with Sydney and her sister sending off their folks for a much-needed vacation. But, unfortunately, they are in a fatal car accident and don’t make it to the airport. Sydney’s goal is to save the ranch from financial ruin.

Luckily, a handsome photographer lands on the ranch’s door steps the day of the accident. On a working vacation, his plans take a turn when he decides to stay and help Sydney save the ranch.

Secrets come to light, including her abusive ex-husband and the daughter she’d given up at birth. There are a lot of twists and turns in this story. But the ending is a happy one.

How did this book come about? I understand it’s based on a true incident from your family.

Captured Secrets is actually inspired by my niece’s murder. Also a Colville Tribal member, she was beaten to death by her husband fourteen years ago. So the Seven Tine Guest Ranch Romance trilogy is about three Native women who escape their abusers and find safety at the fictional guest ranch located on the reservation. They find healthy relationships with cowboys and learn what love is: gentle, caring, and healing.

Did you do a lot of research on the subject matter?

Yes, I did. I went to a ranch near the place I set the fictional ranch and interviewed a rancher, I interviewed my veterinarian for horse illnesses and medications, and I researched and talked with women who’ve been abused.

What would you say the theme or “take away” is from the book?

This is a Western Christian romance. Your previous books have been Young Adult. How did you decide to write in this genre?

These books advocate for abuse, domestic violence, and Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. My message is to Get Help! Get Out! I don’t want another woman to die at the hands of her abuser. And I don’t want a family to experience what mine has. You can find resources for abuse on my website:

I wrote my teen books for one reason: to leave a legacy of culture and faith for my kids, grandkids, and other family members. I knew I would switch genres at one point, and I knew that switch would be to romance because I love…love. I love happy-ever-afters. And I love healthy relationships.  

What is next?

Book 2 of the Seven Tine Ranch Romance series will release on Oct. 3, 2023, and book 3 will release on March 6, 2024. I’m currently working on a trilogy about rodeo queens and rodeo cowboys. This will be a fun change because there were many tears while writing this current series.

I relived the images of my niece’s battered body, the week in the hospital before they took her off life-support, and the trial.

Though it was worth writing this trilogy, I’m ready for something fun and spunky. I love the western lifestyle and have/show/compete on my horses. Well, I don’t do much competing anymore, but I still ride all the time. My husband and I have rodeoed (we met on a college rodeo team) so this is a natural fit for my writing.

How many books do you have published?

I have twelve books published, including three workbooks that accompany my teen books and a “how to write fiction” workbook for teens.

Where can we find your books?

You can find these books anywhere books are sold or on my website: You can also sign up for my newsletter. By doing so, you will get by novella for free: Gentling the Cowboy. Sign up here:

Links to social media:

Website and Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | BookBub


Carmen Peone is an award-winning author of Young Adult and Contemporary Western Romantic Suspense and lives with her husband in Northeast Washington and on the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation.

She had worked with a Tribal Elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes Language and various cultural traditions, which led to her writing career.

With the love of history and the western woman’s lifestyle, she weaves threads of healing, hope, and horses into her stories. With a thread of romance.

Published in: on March 10, 2023 at 7:00 am  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Carmen, thank you for sharing your exciting news with us today! Congratulations!

    • Thank you for hosting me, Heidi! What an honor.

      • It’s an honor to have you here

  2. Enjoyed reading about your new book, Carmen, and congratulations! Thanks Heidi for hosting a fellow author!

    • Thank you for stopping by, Mara!

      • Thank you for taking the time to join us, Mara!

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