What do horror stories and romance have in common? My husband is an avid horror movie buff and he reads sci-fi and medical thrillers, but he also likes to watch romance movies and those reunion clips on YouTube. You know the ones where a military person is reunited with their child, spouse or other family member. It always makes me cry.
I have never loved horror movies. I like vampires and werewolves, and some horror/thriller movies. I enjoy reading some of the darker books with some horror elements but I don’t consider myself a true horror fan. I have worked in haunted houses and I’ve marched in parades dressed as a clown, yet find it difficult to go into a haunted house and clowns can be a bit creepy.
While I was doing research for this blog, I was curious about what scientist and psychologist say about our love for horror. As a romance author, I have heard speakers talk about the affects of romance novels on readers. Stories can make people more empathetic, understanding, open-minded and there is a feminism to modern romance stories. Yes, readers still want the happy ever after of old but we see women who choose careers over having a family, we see their love-interest being supportive of their goals and willing to make sacrifices to help them achieve them. There are still some traditional romances where the couple marries and have a family, but they aren’t the only option. What surprised me when I was doing the research was that horror fans are also thought to be more empathetic and intuitive. While it’s true, some movies can feed aggressive behavior, such as movies where there is a lot of fighting, and the theme is might is always right. For the most part, as the master Stephen King explains, horror itself is a sort of safety valve, a symbolic cantharis for our cruel and aggressive behavior.
From WebMD blog “Why We Love Scary Movies” by Richard Sine, his interview with Joanne Cantor, PhD, director of the Center of Communication Research at University of Wisconsin, Madison states, “most people like to experience pleasant emotions.” We fall in love alongside the characters in a romance, experience their journey to their happy ending and are left feeling as if we’ve just fallen in love.
Professor Glen Sparks believes horror movies may be similar to our ancient rite of passage rituals. Young men especially feel the need to pit themselves against something bigger, meaner, and prove themselves. In watching a scary movie, the fear is real. Our bodies haven’t learned to filter out what is on screen and what is real danger. We react as if we are the ones hunted by the monster; our heartbeats increase, our palms sweat, skin temperature drops, muscles tense, and our blood pressure spikes.
Psychologist Glenn D. Walters identified three factors that feed the attraction to horror entertainment: 1) Tension-by including elements of mystery, suspense, gore, terror, and shock it ramps up the tension. 2) Relevance-including elements viewers identify with which plays on the psychology of fear, the most universal, the fear of death, the unknown, or cultural relevance. 3) Unrealism-having all of these “real” elements coupled with the knowledge that it is not real and probably won’t ever happen, allows the viewer to experience the fear, test their mettle within a safe environment.
Stories were originally told as a form of education. Don’t go too far from the cave or you’ll be eaten by dinosaurs. Don’t go into the woods or you’ll be attacked by wolves. Our first stories were horror stories told to keep us safe and warn of dangers.
Going into a haunted house or watching a scary movie allows us to conquer our fears. For many, horror and other violent entertainment is a way to deal with actual fears and real violence. Just as a person might learn how they wish to be treated by a lover from a romance book or movie, they can also learn to cope with evil from watching or reading horror. Fiction, no matter the genre has a way of telling us what other options are available to us. It can open our eyes to possibilities. While I don’t expect to meet a Duke and live in a mansion, having a husband who treats me as his priority and he mine, is a big part of what romance taught me. Being brave enough to face down demons from hell with only a bottle of holy water and a crucifix, well, maybe not so much. I think I’d prefer to be armed with a flamethrower at least. But whether you are a fan of horror or romance, sci-fi or action-adventure, I hope you will open your eyes and heart to people, their differences and similarities. Most of us, no matter where we come from, the color of our skin or our religion, we’re just trying to survive, find love and enjoy a few moments of peace and happiness.
WebMD-Why We Love Scary Movies by Richard Sine
Washington Post-Why We Like Scary Things by Richard Sima
The County Compass will be featuring a brief interview with me Thursday, January 19th. To celebrate, I’ve put together a little behind the story information and I’ve placed all of my eBooks on sale for 99 cents through Tuesday, January 24th at all eBook retailers and on my website.
I started out writing historical romantic fiction. I even sent off a couple of manuscripts, pieces of manuscripts and hundreds of query letters to agents and publishers long before doing it by email was a thing. But then tragedy struck and we lost our home to a house fire that pretty much wiped us out. My husband got us all out with our lives. I still have flashbacks of that night.
After losing all of my research books, my big computer and files, my husband and friends encouraged me to get back to writing. I took an online class about creating characters. The instructor said describe someone. I chose my husband. The next day, she told us to change their gender, ethnicity, keep some of their traits but expand others. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever write again but with the love and support of my family, friends and writers’ groups, Rae Lynne was created.
My town, Aurora was the inspiration for the fictional town of Leeward. I decided on a fictional town in order to have a little more creative freedom, but locals recognize places like the Depot Café as Wayside, the Hardhat Lounge and of course, the fossil museum and library.
Chrome Pink was inspired by several things that happened at nearly the same time. I’d created the character Rae Lynne but she was just a paper doll, I didn’t have the rest of her story, but my husband and his boss were restoring a motorcycle in memory of a nephew who’d passed away. At the same time my friend’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and my sister-in-law was always volunteering me for something or other that had to do with Relay-for-Life or other projects. Then I met one of my sons’ friends, a lovely half-Hispanic lady who was very kind but she was tattooed and pierced. When I asked about the tats and piercings, my son simply said, she’d had a rough life. From there, I found Rae Lynne and had my theme for Chrome Pink. https://books2read.com/u/4jaeBk
Reading that North Carolina was ranked 9th in human trafficking and growing up listening to seafood trucks running in the middle of the night got my imagination playing in the dark. What if they weren’t really carrying seafood, or not just seafood?
The Leeward Files was supposed to be a three-book series about three best friends: Rae Lynne-Chrome Pink, Dana Windley-White Gold, and Jenna McKenzie Roberts-Titanium Blue who uncover the town of Leeward’s darkest secrets while finding their strengths and falling in love.
White Gold’s Dana Windley is a force to be reckoned with. She is one of the ladies all small towns need who gets jobs done whether it’s volunteering to coach a youth ball team or organize the local beauty pageant. My sister-in-law loves this book best because she knows she’s one great ladies who inspired the main character. Dana is a plus-size multiracial woman who carves out a place for herself and becomes a hero all little girls can look up to. https://books2read.com/u/brYpjA
Titanium Blue has Jenna McKenzie and her estranged husband Tar Roberts struggling to get on with their lives after separating. This was the first book my son, Jason and his wife, Brandi helped me with. Since they were both in the Army their insight helped me make my character Tar, who was an Afghanistan vet who lost his leg and was dealing with PTSD more real. Jason served two tours in Afghanistan but thankfully returned home and is now retired from the Army. https://books2read.com/u/bzWOrq
After writing the first three books I wasn’t ready to leave the town of Leeward. Evergreen Crystals was supposed to be my first true romance with Rae’s wedding, but I can’t write anything without a murder and blowing something up. “Holidays, weddings and babies are happy occasions until someone ends up dead.” Or in Rae Lynne’s case, arrested. https://books2read.com/u/b68OqE
Red Steel is the final book in The Leeward Files series, my youngest son, a volunteer firefighter and his wife, a photographer, helped me with this book, and were the inspiration for the young couple Billy Grimes and Tracy Harrell. This is the final book is also the spin-off for The Harrell Family Chronicles. https://books2read.com/u/3yEKXB
The Harrell Family Chronicles came about from a dream my husband and I had as a young married couple of owning our own camp. I grew up in the community of South Creek which was at one time known as Stanton-Harrell thus the name, the Harrell Family Chronicles. The Harrell family turned part of a failing farm into a family campground. The middle brother, Charlie and his wife, Liz have seven children and they run the family campgrounds. Charlie’s older brother John runs the farm and his younger brother, Robert is a hunting and fishing guide.
The first book in the series was actually written third when I realized Red Steel couldn’t be the last of The Leeward Files and the first in The Harrell Family Chronicles. Willow’s Retreat deals with estranged married couple John and Willow, the oldest of the Harrell brothers and his wife, Dr. Willow Rider. The difficulty I had in writing this book was how can two people be married for thirty years and not know each other. With my husband’s help I tried to show the relationship and the couple’s choice to stay or go, and how they found their happy ending. Using my research into therapy animals, PTSD and trauma, I tried to craft a story that was both romantic and suspenseful with the deeper story of family. https://books2read.com/u/mgEra7
All of my stories have family as part of the theme whether it is the family we’re born with or one we create. Even though my stories are fiction, I feel it is important to portray honest relationships. Red Steel and Willow’s Retreat also show the family that comes about through shared experiences, such as being part of the local volunteer firefighters.
Janie’s Secrets is about mistakes and second chances. Janie hides behind the safety of her life as a small-town librarian, she even lives at home. She’s afraid to take chances. Afraid of getting hurt and making mistakes. But life is about risk, and if we aren’t taking a risks are we really living? This is a second chance romance. https://books2read.com/u/bpDq79
Roxy’s Betrayal was a lot of fun to write. Where Janie was the good girl in the family who never did anything wrong, well, Roxy was just the opposite. She was known for her bad girl antics and it takes something truly serious to make her forget about herself and put someone else first. But even trying to do the right thing, a bad girl’s got to do a little bad along the way…and boy does she have fun doing it. She falls for the wrong guy who just might be her Mr. Right and together, they save the day. But even being the hero of the story might not be enough to salvage her relationship with her family. She had to betray them to save them. Will they understand? https://books2read.com/u/boD5Na
Christmas Inn at Teach’s Island slipped away from Leeward but not too far. After a visit to Bath, I decided I needed to write a story with it as my backdrop, so I created Teach’s Island ( a combo of Indian Island and Bath). Hurricane Irene devastated this area and took several years to recuperate from. People who don’t live in areas affected by hurricanes don’t understand the devastation. I thought this Christmas romance was a good way to show the rebuilding of the small community and making my bad guy the hurricane instead of a person was good for a change. I also used this novella to set up the next book. https://books2read.com/u/47Ong8
Trent’s Melody was partially written several years ago but I couldn’t get it right. I think the timing was wrong. Using some of the previously written material, I managed to recreate the idea and make a few changes. Trent is Tracy’s twin brother. He’s as different from her as chalk from cheese but I had to dig deep to understand why. This story revealed itself to me like an onion peeling layers away to reveal something new each time. Of all the books I’ve written Trent’s story touched my heart in ways I never expected. For one, it helped me understand one of my sons better. I had a couple of contests, one a song writing contest where my writer friend, K B Davenport sent an awesome song that fit so well within the story. If you love music competition shows like The Voice and home improvement shows like Rock the Block, you’ll enjoy this story. https://books2read.com/u/bz1vK2
I am working on Remy’s Dilemma the last in The Harrell Family Chronicles (for now). I won’t completely leave this world but the next book will be a new point of entry for the series and I’d like to lighten things up, do a little romantic comedy. I don’t know if I can write a book without murdering someone and blowing things up, but I will try. Maybe…
My historical novel, The Americans are Coming, is a cozy mystery. This is more family friendly but I still managed to blow a few things up and kill a couple of people. I can’t help it, it’s an addiction. When seventeen-year-old, wild west show performer Winnie Applegate’s brother Riley is accused of causing the death of a fellow performer, Winnie seeks to prove him innocent. Instead, she uncovers a murder and a family secret that could put her brother and father at risk. What does a mysterious benefactor, an invitation to England and a family secret have to do with murder and sabotage? Winnie along with the young man she plans to marry, and a female Pinkerton agent will uncover the truth of who is really trying to sabotage Colonel Bill Dexter’s Wild West Extravaganza even if it kills them. https://books2read.com/u/b6zzRW
Holiday movies and stories, and seasonal baking competitions, these are a few more of my favorite things.
When I put away the Thanksgiving leftovers and start pulling out the Christmas decorations, I get in the spirit of the season by watching holiday movies, reading, or listening to Christmas stories, or turning on Christmas music. Over the years my favorites have changed but there are a few that will always put me in a holiday mood and they’re probably not everyone’s idea of a classic. 1) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2) While You Were Sleeping 3) Last Holiday 4) How The Grinch Stole Christmas 5) Santa Clause 6) Frosty, The Snowman 7) The Little Drummer Boy 8) Holiday Inn 9) Stage Door Canteen 10) Jingle All The Way 11) Miracle on 34th Street 12) The Christmas Carol 13) Hallmark Movies Collectively
This year I might have to add The Noel Diary, it had all the feels and was a little more than the traditional holiday movie.
I love Christmas and Hannukah stories. I prefer romantic comedies to lift my flagging holiday spirits, but occasionally I’ll choose a story with deeper emotions, action or maybe even a mystery. Over the years I have downloaded several holiday audiobooks, ebooks and even bought a few in print. Anthologies are another of my favorites during the holidays. Who has time to read a full-size novel when you have to buy Christmas gifts, write and send cards, bake, go to parties, decorate, and whatever else the holidays bring. 1) Christmas Revels Anthologies (regency) by Kate Parker, Hannah Meredith & friends 2) ‘Twas the Night After Christmas (regency) by Sabrina Jeffries 3) Kissing Under the Mistletoe (historical) by Suzanne Enoch, Amelia Grey and Anna Bennett,
This year I added a few new favorites. 1) Christmas at Copper Mountain by Jane Porter, be prepared to cry, 2) A Very Merry Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams, a fun story with the Bromance series characters, 3) It Happened One Winter by Christi Caldwell, not exactly a Christmas story but close enough and filled with romance, winter, kids, and hope, 4) Mansplainer by Avery Flynn, Book 3 finishes at Christmas but the whole series is leading up to Christmas and the last gift their grandmother left, 5) Highland Games by Evie Alexander, a funny twist on a Highland romance.
I love baking competitions but especially the holiday ones where everything is decorated with the spirit of the season. I also love to watch the holiday cookie challenge and the gingerbread competitions. The holidays are about warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and allspice. I love to bake cookies during the holidays. My favorite cookies are oatmeal raisin (or cranberry), ginger snaps, and cinnamon Snickerdoodle cookies. What are your favorite cookies? Do you like to bake or just eat?
I tried something new. While listening to a Draft2Digital YouTube video with Google Play’s Ryan Dingler, I learned that Google Play offers to create free audiobooks for authors using AI (artificial intelligence). I have always wanted to get my books on audio but it is so expensive and I did not feel that my sales were to a place that I could leap out and pay a couple thousand dollars to have an audiobook made.
When I heard about Google Play’s offer, I uploaded my books to Google Play and began looking or rather, listening for the right voice. Now it doesn’t sound exactly natural but it’s not bad. I played with it, speeding up the reading until it felt comfortable to my ear. I’m giving away 1000 copies of Chrome Pink audiobook and hope to receive some feedback. Should I upload all my books to Google Play’s AI audio? Free code to try Chrome Pink Audio Q5B0LUDH80TD7 https://play.google.com/redeem?code=Q5B0LUDH80TD7
For anyone who is an indie author, whether you publish with Draft2Digital or not, I suggest you check out their blog and their YouTube videos. They are a great source of information. And if you’re not publishing with D2D, why not? They make life so much easier.
What makes a character memorable? What makes them a favorite? Or what makes them a character you love to hate?
As a reader there are several authors who have created memorable characters for me. One character who is also part of an unforgettable couple, is Police Detective Eve Dallas of Nora Robert’s J.D. Robb “In Death” series. She and her husband Roark are very different, yet they are the perfect balance. My hope is to one day create characters as awesome as these. What I like about Eve is the fact she is not perfect. Her backstory is tragic, but she is not a victim. Roark isn’t a typical hero. He walks a fine line between the criminal world and legitimate business. Who they are and their pasts often cause conflicts to their relationship, but it is also part of their strength.
Sabrina Jeffries’ Hellions of Halstead Hall series is filled with memorable characters from the grandmother matriarch to the various siblings. While the siblings are nobility, grandmother is not but she’s the lady with the cash and control. Oliver, Lord Stoneville, is known for being cold but as the oldest he’s tried to stay in control of his emotions and his siblings. One of the things I love about Jeffries’ is the way she brings former main characters back to people her stories and add a little familiarity to a new story.
Stephanie Plumb, Janet Evanovich’s accident-prone bounty hunter/bond enforcement agent and Laurel K. Hamilton’s vampire hunter/executioner, Anita Blake are very different yet both memorable characters. They are both action-heroines with tangled love lives. Both authors use humor to diffuse difficult situations and bring light to current topics. While Stephanie never seems to get any better at her job, she eventually accidently succeeds. Anita Blake often fails, at least at first but she is a powerful necromancer and with each story she gains power and strength even as she battles personal problems and emotional struggles.
Will Thomas’ Barker and Llewelyn series is similar in many ways to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and for me, the characters are just as memorable. Barker is a huge Scotsman raised in China with strong religious beliefs, very different from the opium smoking Holmes, yet their detective skills are similar. Barker has ties to the criminal underworld, the Asian community of London, and the has built a reputation as an inquiry agent. He is big, smart, athletic, and wealthy. His partner, Llewelyn is a petite Welshman whose collegiate career ended when he went to prison. He comes to Barker’s agency when he has no other choice. The combination of these two very different characters is what makes them work together so well, and so memorable.
So, what makes a character memorable? What makes a character someone you want to read about over and over again? What characters do you love or love to hate?
In my own writing, I like to create characters that feel real. I want to have them reacting to situations in a believable manner and feel like people you know. Does that make them memorable or lovable? For me, as a writer, there are certain characters I’ve enjoyed writing more than others. Some I want to explore more because I feel there is more to their story. Two of my favorite characters to write in my new series are the grandmothers. One, Grandma Doris/Dodie is a pot smoking former hooker who has been married or shacked up with numerous men. She borders between “cool” grandma and “bad” grandma. The other grandmother, Grandmother Louise was married to one man. She is a Bible thumper, opinionated woman who is always more worried about what other people think than about her family. I think a friendship and rivalry between these two very different women will be fun to write and add to the family dynamics of the Harrell Family Chronicles.
Some of my other favorites include the strong female characters of my first three stories:
Rae Lynn Grimes, Dana Windley and Jenna McKenzie Roberts. These women, their friendship and their battles felt so real to me. As I was writing these characters I felt as if I could reach out and touch them. I hope as readers discover them, they too will come to think of them as friends.
I’d love to hear about some of your favorite characters or what you are looking for in a character.
The Harrell Brothers: one married young, one married well, one married a psychopath straight from hell.
Welcome to The Harrell Family Chronicles where three brothers, their families and friends battle those determined to take over the rudderless sex trafficking cartel that has bullied their town for decades. Old family secrets entwine with new as ghosts from the past threaten the family and the town, and new threats pop up where they least expect.
The Harrell family were farmers until the two youngest brothers decided it was more lucrative and less dependent upon Mother Nature to turn half the farm into a campground. The oldest, John will always be a farmer at heart, but that was not the life his brothers wanted no matter how much he tried to force it on them after their father’s death.
John wouldn’t have met Willow Rider had he not left the farm and joined the military. She was not the typical farmer’s wife. She was destined for great things, and he wouldn’t stand in her way. He’d take her however he could keep her, even if it meant spending most of his time without her.
Charlie, married at sixteen, never wanted to be a farmer. He wanted to go to school and become an electrician. He went to school and got his general contractor’s license and later his electrical license so he could build the cabins for their camp.
Charlie and Liz, despite the odds managed to stay married, raise seven children and are mostly happy together. They said it was because it was the two of them against everyone else, they had to be united, but sometimes, it just works.
The youngest brother, Robert, preferred to be a hunting and fishing guide. He attended college only because his mother threatened him. He earned credits to be a wildlife officer but lacked motivation until his young wife pushed him to do something.
Robert’s wife was beautiful, but they didn’t fit. Nicole was big cities and loud parties; Robert was happiest alone on the river. Robert was the only one surprised when she left. But everyone was surprised by what happened next.
The farmer and the psychiatrist. Willow and John should have never met, much less fallen in love, but they did. Thirty years later their relationship is in limbo. When her nephew dies in a tragic fire, Dr. Willow Rider knows she has to repair her relationship with her husband and sons before it’s too late. She is a terrible mother and an awful wife but she’s an awesome therapist. Can she take her own advice and save her family?
Saint John, the oldest of the Harrell brothers has sacrificed everything to ensure his family’s happiness. Isn’t it time he grabs his own happiness? He is willing to do anything for a second chance with Willow, even take her crazy bet. But as he makes the same stupid mistakes, he pushes her farther away.
When a motorcycle club believes the only thing keeping them from gaining control of the local sex trafficking cartel is the Harrell family, they are their town come under attack.
Willow and John’s second chance at happiness may go up in flames as they find themselves at war with the Steel Marauders.
People have often asked me why I don’t write about my adventures raising six sons. I have to admit that I prefer to write their stories as fiction because no one believes the stuff they put me through if I tell it as fact. In fiction I can clean my boys up a little when I like them and make them the heroes of my stories and if they’ve pissed me off, I can make them the villains. It’s been a running joke around our house that mom will put you in her book and kill you off on page fifty, but some know they’re the smelly corpse discovered in the ditch at the very beginning of the story. Heck, it’s not even a threat anymore my grandkids are begging to be put in my books and even telling me how I can kill them off. I mean really, where’s the threat in that? We put the fun in dysfunctional, what can I say? I have long conversations with my children and grandchildren about blowing things up and how to get rid of bodies. The holidays are never boring around our house.
Willow’s Retreat makes my eighth novel. I have been writing since I was ten years old, but I’ve only been published since 2017. I’m married to my own romantic hero, and we’ve lived several romance tropes from our friends-to-lovers reunion beginning, to our second chance romance, blended family romantic adventure. After thirty years of marriage, six sons and twenty-one grandchildren we are still writing our romance book.
What is romance? I’ve been married for thirty years, and my husband is more romantic than I am. I tend to be more practical. Which is funny since he is the rough and tough biker dude and I’m supposed to be a romance writer. Growing up I was always a hopeless romantic, in love with the idea of being in love. As an adult with children, I learned that romance is the little kindnesses we do for each other to make our lives better.
My husband brought me a silk rose with a Tasmanian Devil clutched to its stem, just because he saw it when he was getting gas and thought it would make me smile. Even the memory of it, having lost it in the house fire, still makes me smile. The sweetness of the gesture is just one of many over the years my Sexy Mechanic has shown me. He used to pick wildflowers and bring to me until my allergies got so bad, he had to stop. He’d find something in a store, on the road or at a friends’ house and he’d get it for me just because he thought I’d like it. It might cost a dollar or hundreds of dollars, but the premise was the same, he thought about me for no reason. In the above collage are two very special gifts: one, a purse made from a license plate he purchased when he drove three hours to take our first granddaughter to her Princess Ball, the second, a license plate to commemorate the publishing of my first book. One was an impulse buy but the other had to be planned ahead, each is special because they show what a caring person my husband is.
In writing romance, I often forget to add these little gestures. I read The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee where the couple planned to go on four dates with the promise, they would not fall in love with each other. Seth Kim gets it right when he gives Tara Parks a unique, big gesture, proving he listened to her, and he gave her something that was meaningful to her. How many couples get it wrong because they do what is expected or what society says they should instead of giving the person something that is unique to their personality. I remember the old television show, The Facts of Life when Jo’s boyfriend brings her a bouquet of flowers with wrenches added into the mix. He understood what his girlfriend enjoyed and while the gift was somewhat traditional, it had a little spin to make it special.
In Willow’s Retreat one of the biggest problems John and Willow face is he gives her what he thinks she wants but doesn’t take time to find out if it really is what she wants. He is too afraid to hope she really wants him.
What grand gestures or special gifts have you received from you special someone? Why was it so special? If you have a photo, share it. Anyone sharing a special gesture or gift will be put in a drawing for a signed copy of my latest book, Willow’s Retreat. So, share the romance. Who knows, I might even use your ideas in one of my stories.
Don’t forget Willow’s Retreat launches August 24th, please help me celebrate my book birthday!
One lucky winner will be drawn August 31st, I’ll contact you for mailing information. Don’t forget to post!
Willow wants to repair the relationships with her husband and sons. When someone from her past threatens her family, she doesn’t have time to waste.
Dr. Willow Rider may not be a good mother or wife, she is an awesome psychiatrist. It is time she takes her own advice. She must face the ghosts of her past to make way for the future. Will she mend or family or move on without them?
Rider Harrell has no intention of coming out just yet. He likes things just the way they are. He’s well thought of in the community, on his job and he loves being a volunteer firefighter. When his cousin dies, he becomes the target of his former aunt’s revenge. It’s not enough that she tells the world he’s gay but she makes everyone believe it was his fault Bobby died. When the town of Leeward and the volunteer fire department is targeted, everyone blames Rider. It soon becomes evident that the whole Harrell family is in jeopardy.