Character Bio – Nate Washington

On December 26, 2010, in Blog updates, by Author

“Zee needs a shrink, not a vet. Too much exposure to that battle-ax you were married to.”  Nate Washington in Silent Partner

Nate Washington and Jack Ramsden have been best friends since they were teenagers. Nate was working for Katy Alexander’s uncle in Kentucky when Jack went to work for him.  From day one, Nate was as much a big brother to Jack as he was a friend, a relationship that continues throughout their lives.

Nate grew up in Haskell, Arkansas and worked as a groom at a local track as a youngster. Being black in the south in the 1960s offered its challenges and trials, but the racing world was more accepting of Nate than most any other place. When the draft became inevitable, he joined the Marine Corps and went to Vietnam. Nate ended up saving his entire squadron, and lost a leg from the knee down in the process. He came home suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, an affliction that follows him through his life, handicapping his ability to develop and keep close relationships. He found solace with the horses and when he recovered from his leg injury, he and Jack again worked together.

Nate was working with Jack in Florida when Jack was married to Josephine Jackson. Nate watched his best friend, in a loveless marriage, fall headlong into alcoholism. When the marriage ended, Nate quit his job at the farm and he moved back to Kentucky with Jack. It was there that he faced his friend with two options; go to A.A. and get sober or Nate would walk away and leave him to his addiction. Jack chose A.A. and they began their partnership again at The Training Center in Lexington.

Nate loves to tease, and play tricks on Jack. Jack inherited an African Gray parrot named Zee in his divorce that he hates with a passion, but Nate really likes the bird so he takes care of him and keeps him at the barn.  Zee talks like a trucker, and creates havoc with the black cat that lives in the barn and Jack’s dog Harley.  In their daily life Nate is the foundation that keeps Jack on the straight and narrow, a relationship that Jack would willingly give his life for.

The one and only time that they nearly fell out for good was when Jack dumped Katy Alexander and married Josephine. Nate loved Katy and felt that Jack had made not only a terrible mistake, but had handled it badly as well. He felt that Jack was responsible for driving Katy out of their lives. He forgave Jack for his error in judgment but never let him forget it. When Katy reappears in their lives Nate uses her presence to needle Jack relentlessly.

The one thing besides his friendship with Jack that keeps Nate solid and focused is Savant, the three-year-old colt that belongs to Sid and Bunny Blackstone. Nate and Savant have an understanding and trust in each other that goes beyond any that Nate has had with any other horse in all of the years that he spent working in the racing industry. He knows the heart of this horse, a fact that will drive him to do things that he never thought he was capable of.

In order for Savant to have a chance at the winner’s circle, Nate must keep a dark secret from Jack, one that would send Jack over the edge if he knew. How long can he keep this secret from his best friend and what risks is he willing to take to keep it from him?


Character Bio – Katy Alexander

On December 24, 2010, in Blog updates, by Author

“No, Jack. Believe it or not I haven’t followed your every move since 1982. I couldn’t care less if you are still married to what’s-her-face or the queen of England. Right now we need to get this mess figured out so I can go home. I’ll call the cops.” Katy Alexander in Silent Partner

A California girl turned Kentucky equine insurance agent, Katy Alexander is a conundrum of personality traits. Her nature is positive, her strength of character undeniable. She is a woman who knows her own mind and lives her life according to her own rules. She is blessed with a great sense of humor, always has time to lend to a troubled friend or colleague, and is the staunchest ally of those she loves.  She has a stubborn-streak that her best friend likens to that of a Missouri mule, and posses a mighty temper which surfaces only when pushed to the edge.

Her maternal grandmother took over her upbringing after she was orphaned at six years old. Katy lived in San Mateo but spent summers with her aunt and uncle in Kentucky when she was growing up. Her Uncle Dudley ran his own public stable and raced the tracks throughout the mid-south. At Kentucky Downs, Katy met a teenaged Jack Ramsden when he went to work for her uncle. Katy had a crush on Jack for many years, all the while he ignored her longing looks, and acted as though she wasn’t there when she followed him around the track, trying in vain to gain his attention.

Katy attended college at University of California at Berkley near San Francisco at the same time that Jack was starting his training career at Bay Meadows in San Mateo. Needing some extra money to help pay for some of her college expenses, she went to Jack and asked for a job. He had not seen her since she was a teenager and when she appeared at the track at age 20, Jack became interested in much more than her riding skills.  A small and shapely, fresh-faced blonde with fiery turquoise eyes, and a college girl’s sense of fun, Jack hired her as a groom and exercise rider. Not long after, a romance began. Katy’s best friend Lauren, who attended the same college as Katy, and went on to be a horse veterinarian, joins Katy and Jack and Jack’s best friend Nate Washington for a year of adventure together, where they cemented a bond that will be tested by the Vietnam war, the stupidity of Jack’s decisions, and the trials of time.

Jack and Katy dated for about a year when Brownsville, Texas heiress, Josephine Jackson appeared on the racing scene. With her persuasive personality and large bank account she lures Jack away from Katy with promises of a private training and breeding operation and unlimited funds for buying horses. Jack vanished from Katy’s life.

After the death of her grandmother, and a divorce from a deadbeat husband of ten years, Katy moved Lexington, Kentucky with her little chamois terrier, Gizmo, to be near her best friend Lauren and Lauren’s husband Todd Hendrickson. She settles in with a good job and a contented life.

Her next encounter with Jack comes at the beginning of the book, 21 years after she last saw him, when he rear-ends her in the university district in Lexington. Fireworks ensue between them and the accident forces Katy to begin facing all of the anger and betrayal that she held onto for so long. This time the tables turn, and Jack falls hopelessly in love with her.  Can Katy set aside the years of resentment that had built up in order to begin another romantic relationship with Jack? It’s a raucous ride to find out!


Character Bio – Bunny Lee Blackstone

On December 23, 2010, in Blog updates, by Author

“Call me a fuckin’ whore again, asshole! I gave away a million fuckin’ dollars worth of my ass but I am no whore! Come on! Say it again! I dare you! Bunny Blackstone in Silent Partner

Bunny Blackstone is a petite, blonde, incendiary device.  Now in her mid forties, she is married to Sid Blackstone, a wealthy Dallas car dealer. Bunny, a former Las Vegas showgirl, lives to shop, and she loves her racehorses, in particular their three-year-old sensation, Savant. Her enthusiasm for Savant is in direct proportion to her ignorance of horses and horse racing. Bunny is Savant’s most enthusiastic and most vociferous fan.

Bunny was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana to a single mother. Growing up in meager circumstances left Bunny with dreams of living a life of luxury. Her youthful beauty was the ticket she used to escape Lake Charles. On her high school graduation day Bunny skipped the ceremony and stepped on a Greyhound bus with a one-way ticket to the glittering Las Vegas strip where she began her career in a topless review.  After nearly a decade of working and partying in Vegas she met her sugar daddy, Sid Blackstone, and gave up her career for a life with no limit credit cards, a ten thousand square foot mansion, a new Jaguar every year, and thoroughbred race horses. All was well in Bunny’s world until the day she discovered that her husband was in financial trouble. Big trouble.

Bunny has a penchant for being the center of attention. She transformed her Louisiana Cajun accent into a rough imitation of the Dallas socialites that she worked hard to emulate. The biggest give away to Bunny’s trailer park roots is her inability to speak without peppering her speech with swear words, the F bomb being her favorite.  Try as she might, she cannot seem to stop it from flying, no matter the circumstance, or company she keeps. With a heart as big as her state of residence, a glimmering personality, outlandish taste, and wild sense of humor, Bunny manages to charm her way into the good graces of most everyone she meets.  But you don’t want to cross Bunny. She will come after you with both barrels blazing.

Bunny and her horse trainer, Jack Ramsden, become partners and develop an unlikely friendship when Sid Blackstone disappears, and she is left to determine the future of her racing stable. Together they must try to find Sid, solve a murder, and fend off the attention of a handsome and mysterious gangster who has taken a sudden interest in Savant.  Never a shrinking violet, Bunny is up to the task, but is Jack Ramsden up to dealing with Bunny?


Character Bio – Jack Ramsden

On December 21, 2010, in Blog updates, by Author

“When I woke up this morning, I thought the president would have to declare my life a national disaster area in order to get any help.” Jack Ramsden in Silent Partner.

Jack Ramsden oscillates between being a head-in-the-clouds optimist and a worrisome pessimist.  He lives immersed in the world of horse racing, the only life he has ever known. He has an innate ability to look into a horse, to know what they are, and how to bring them to the pinnacle of their abilities. His only roadblock to success has been his inability to believe in his God given talent.

After a very messy and very public divorce from Josephine Jackson, an ill tempered heiress from Brownsville, Texas, Jack leaves the breeding and training operation in Ocala, Florida that he spent 17 years building, to return to his home in Lexington, Kentucky. His best friend and business partner, Vietnam veteran, Nate Washington, joins him in a small training operation that provides just enough income to keep the bill collectors at bay. Along with a potty-mouthed parrot, a lazy dog, and a trouble-making cat, their days are filled with the work that they both love.

Jack has a bad habit of becoming flippant and mouthy when he is under stress, a practice that causes him considerable grief.  He is a dedicated friend, an ardent suitor, a worthy opponent, and a man who learns the value of his own beliefs through multiple trials.  He also has a temper that at times gets in his way, but he has a generous spirit.  Growing up the youngest in a family whose mother was a compulsive gambler and a father who was a long-haul truck driver left Jack to fend for himself a good deal of the time. The kindness of his friends and acquaintances and his drive to become a horse trainer kept him out of trouble most of the time, and on a straight path to his dreams.

At 52 Jack is at a turning point in his life. He’s been given the opportunity that he had been waiting for when a former client, Sid Blackstone, sends him a promising three-year-old colt to train. The horse, Savant, is the most gifted that Jack has ever trained, and he brings him out of an impressive win at the Wood Memorial, to become the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby. Jack is a recovering alcoholic; sober for five years, but at times still drawn to the temptation of alcohol. He misses the buzz. A dedicated member of Alcoholics Anonymous, the only thing that will keep him from his regular AA meetings is a catastrophe.

A catastrophe happens one afternoon when he is involved in a rear end collision, smashing the front end of his pride and joy, and the only possession left from his former life in Florida, a Mercedes SL 500 sports car. He is heartbroken at the sight of the car buried in the back of an aging Toyota, until he sees that the person that he rear ended is, Katy Alexander, a former girlfriend from his early days of racing in California. The accident sets off a chain of events that will send Jack on an odyssey that will sweep him into the underworld of the mafia, gambling, and murder. He will be called on to fight for his beliefs, his friendships, the love of his life, and the one great horse who could change all of their lives.