My newest book, Stealing the Preacher, releases June 1, but I received my author copies early and would love to give a couple away. But before I do, I thought it would be fun to share some behind the scenes secrets from the making of Stealing the Preacher’s book trailer.
The marketing director from Bethany House contacted me back in April, worried that they wouldn’t be able to get the trailer done in time for my release because of the long winter they were experiencing up in Minnesota. The snow just wouldn’t melt. Thankfully, God brought the sun out just in time, and one week after the thaw hit, the creative team grabbed cameras, donned costumes, and brought Crockett and Joanna to life.
Dan Pitts, the creative genius behind the camera, actually sneaked in front of the camera for a cameo. Rather “Hitchcock” of him, don’t you think? Dressed as Crockett, he became my leading man, lassoed by the pretty heroine in pink. One of the editorial assistants, Elisa, stepped in to play Joanna and reeled him in. I just love how everyone at Bethany House is willing to get in on the action. Such great sports.
The result is a fun trailer that carries an old-time silent movie feel. Enjoy!
If you’d like a preview of the first three chapters, they are available as an excerpt on my Facebook page. Anyone who likes my page will gain immediate access to the content.
You can find it here.
So now for the giveaway! Since Joanna Robbins receives a huge shock when her father presents her with the preacher he stole as a birthday gift in Stealing the Preacher, I thought it would be fun to hear about the most surprising brithday gift you ever received.
I will choose two winners from those who leave comments, so be sure to include your email address to make it easy for me to contact you if you win. Unfortunately, I can only mail to US addresses. I’ll post the winners’ names by tomorrow.
Wishing you all luck!
Please email me separately at karenkay(dot)author(at)earthlink(dot)net, and we’ll figure out which form of the book you’d like or if you have that book, what other book you’d like.
My thanks to all those who came to the blog and left a comment!
This dear lady has written two western romances and I suspect she’s only beginning. Her passion is the old west and the strong determined cowboys who settled this land.
I’m not rightly sure what Miss Kelli will talk about but you can bet your bottom dollar that it’ll be interesting.
She has a new book out called THE BOUNTY HUNTER.
My dear Lord! Just look at that cowboy on the cover. He can put his boots under my bed anytime!
So get up when the rooster crows on Saturday and hightail it over to the Junction.
We’ll be expectin’ you!
One of my favorite books as child was The Island of Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. A Newberry Award winner published in 1960, it’s the story of Karana, a Chumash Indian girl who is left alone on San Nicholas Island off the coast of California. When a Russian ship arrives for the purpose of hunting sea otters, a fight breaks out between the Russian fishermen and the native island dwellers. Karana is the lone survivor on both sides.
San Nicholas is one of the eight channel island off the coast of California. Some of the islands are desolate and deserted, home to only birds and seals. A few of them are used by the military, and others form the Channel Islands National Park. Only Catalina Island, located 22 miles off the coast of Los Angeles is populated.
These islands strike me as a perfect setting for a historical romance, in part because of Margaret Holden Eaton and her autobiography, Diary of a Sea Captain’s Wife. A Canadian woman, she relocated to Santa Barbara around the turn of the century. There she met a sea captain and married him in 1903. They moved to Santa Cruz Island, the biggest of the eight islands, where they ran a small hunting and fishing business. The island was inhabited with wild boars, otters and all sorts of sea life. The Eatons and Santa Cruz Island somehow caught the eye of 1920s Hollywood. A few movies were filmed there, and Margaret’s book shows pictures of actors John Barrymore and William Boyd in his pre Hopalong Cassidy days.
What an interesting setting these islands would be for a book . . . It’s one of the places I can feel in my bones. I’ve never been to either Santa Cruz Island or San Nicholas Island, but I once had the pleasure of camping on Anacapa Island. Standing on what’s literally a slab of eroding land twelve miles off the coast, seeing the city lights so far away and hearing only the lap of waves–not noisy cars–is an experience I treasure to this day.
Then there’s Catalina Island . . . Catalina is a populated tourist spot and has a history all its own. My own best memory is taking a boat to the island for a family weekend. Halfway there we were suddenly surrounded by an acre of dolphins. At least a hundred of them were jumping in perfect arcs right in front of us. I’ll never forget that scene . . . I wish I had a picture of it, but we weren’t quick enough (or skilled enough) with the camera to get a shot that did the moment justice. I’m planning to use this scene in the book I’m working on right now, a contemporary romance for Bethany House.
California’s in my blood. How about you? Where are you from and what are you favorite bits of local history? I’d love to hear about your home towns and places that are special to you!
I just drew my winner for KANE’S CHANCE, and I drew….
Kathleen, congratulations on winning a digital copy of KANE’S CHANCE! It’s your lucky day!!! Please e-mail me at email@example.com and I’ll see that you get your prize!
Thanks to everyone for coming by and celebrating my new release with me today!
I started to write a short story several months back that turned into a novella. I wrote the novella and realized I wasn’t done with the story…so I wrote two more. These were my “Kane” trilogy—Kane’s Redemption, Kane’s Promise and Kane’s Destiny. These stories really wouldn’t be classified as a “romance” story. There’s no sex, not really even any spoken words of love between Jacobi Kane and his love interest, Laura, who later becomes his wife.
I did this on purpose, since the stories are told from the point of view of a young boy. That stuff would be too mushy for him to think about for too long. No, these stories are more action oriented, and being told from the first person viewpoint, it’s necessary to keep a high level of feeling to the forefront.
Will Green is the young boy who tells the stories. In KANE’S REDEMPTION, we meet him at the age of 9, almost 10. His parents and older sister have just been murdered by the Apache, and he has been kidnapped as they torch his home. But a few days later, just as he’s given up hope, a mysterious man walks right into the Apache camp and rescues him. Jacobi Kane has a mysterious past that he isn’t too keen on discussing with Will, though Will senses a kind of kinship between the two of them as they travel toward Fort Worth and safety. Kane harbors a terrible secret that might force Will’s hero worship of him to turn quickly to hatred…or of understanding, that Kane is a man who does what he must. But will that realization be enough, and is Will mature enough to come to grips with what Kane had to do?
In KANE’S PROMISE, Will continues to learn more about Jacobi Kane’s past when a group of law officers seek Kane’s help in capturing some of the same Apache Indian band that killed Will’s family. Kane resists going because he is now re-married, with a new baby on the way and tells the lawmen he’s turned in his badge for good—years ago. But a promise he made in the past keeps him hungry for vengeance, and his new wife urges him to go and see an end to it all. Of course, Will is not going to be left behind. Jacobi might need him!
KANE’S DESTINY wraps up the trilogy with a surprise visit from a man Will had never expected to see—his ship building magnate grandfather, from Boston, Robert Green. His grandfather first tries to intimidate him into returning to Boston with him, then falls back on honesty only when he must to convince Will to come back. Will vehemently refuses, but when he hears two of his grandfather’s men planning to murder his grandfather, he knows he has to go at least part of the way—to the first stop, back where it all started—the little burned out cabin where his family was murdered over two years past. Jacobi is out there, trailing them for protection, unseen and silent, but then Will learns a secret that makes his blood run cold. A man that Jacobi thought of as a friend is also caught up in the plot—but Jacobi doesn’t know the tide has turned. He’s in as much danger as Will and his grandfather are.
This is just a short bit about each story, but the big news is, now you can get all three stories under one cover, KANE’S CHANCE! With a little bit of editing and changing here and there for “flow”, these stories are all combined into one novel now. This book is loved by young and old alike, a great YA novel for boys (and girls!), but also something adults enjoy as well. I loved every minute of writing these adventures of Will Green and Jacobi Kane, and I have a feeling I’m not done yet.
Karen M. Nutt did all my wonderful covers, and she came through again for KANE’S CHANCE. I’m giving away one digital copy of KANE’S CHANCE today to a commenter, so please comment and remember to leave your contact info!
Here’s an excerpt from KANE’S CHANCE. Thirteen-year-old Will and his grandfather are having a meeting of the minds as they travel up to Indian Territory from Fort Worth. Surrounded by men who want to kill both of them, they find themselves at odds in this conversation where Will tells his grandfather some things about himself that his grandfather didn’t know.
I had learned a lot from Jacobi. And by the way my grandfather looked away and fell silent, I knew there was a mighty big hole in the story somewhere.
“What is it you’re not tellin’ me, old man?” My voice was strong but quiet. I wasn’t sure if this was some kind of family secret or somethin’ he didn’t want Jack Wheeler, riding a few paces behind us, to hear.
He gave me a sharp look. “You may call me Grandfather, William. There’s no need for disrespect.”
“No need to tell half the story, either.”
At first, he looked at me from under his eyebrows like he’d like to take a strap to me. But I looked right back at him. Finally, he nodded and glanced away.
“I’ve been so desperate to find you because…you’re my only living heir. I built a ship building dynasty for my family, Will, and there’s no one left but you.” He cursed as the wagon hit a hole and jolted him sharply.
“My sister married a man, Josiah Compton, whose wife had died. He brought two sons to the marriage, but he and Margaret never had any children together. The boys are men, now, of course. George, the eldest, is a pastor. But Ben, the younger of them, is quite a wastrel. He has squandered his inheritance and is looking for more. If you weren’t…alive….well—everything would fall to the two of them. And though George is not the type to seek gain, Ben is quite a different story.
“Ben knows I won’t be around much longer. But you will always be a threat, Will. I’m afraid this is going to end badly for one of you.”
I thought about what he’d told me. It seemed like maybe he needed me to say somethin’. It bolstered my confidence to know that somewhere out there, Jacobi was ridin’ along easy, keepin’ a eye out on us. Especially, now that I’d learned this part of the story.
I looked at him straight in the face. “I’ll tell you one thing. It ain’t gonna be me that ends up dead.”
“I didn’t say that—”
“It’s what you meant though, ain’t it? When there’s a pile of money to be had, somebody’s always worried it’ll get taken away from ‘em. Even if he knows I don’t want it, he’ll be worried about it. I’ve killed before. I’ll do it again, if need be.”
His expression turned to one of shock. I went on with what I was saying. “Ain’t nobody gonna take my life over somethin’ I don’t even want.”
He studied me openly, as if he were trying to decide what he should say. I saved him the trouble.
“I know you’re wonderin’ about it, so I’ll tell you.” And I did just that, from start to finish, from the day Papa and I had been out working together and seen the Apaches ride up all the way through when Jacobi had rescued me and we’d ridden out of the Apache camp together.
“We rode as long as we could, until I fell off the horse. Then Jacobi picked me up and we rode some more. When Red Eagle caught up to us, Jacobi and him fought.” My throat dried up just thinkin’ about how I’d felt to see Red Eagle and Jacobi locked close together, fighting with everything they had, and knowin’ one of ‘em was gonna end up dead.
“I killed Red Eagle. Shot him dead.”
Grandfather was quiet.
“I ain’t sorry for it, either. It felt good. Every time I think about what he did to Papa and Mama, I know it was the right thing. But mainly it was right because he was so dang pure evil.”
In an age where youth is almost worshiped, I thought I’d do an about face and talk about those people I admire most — our elders. To that end, I thought I’d pass along some Native American wisdom that has been passed down from the ages. I’ll also be giving away a copy of the book, SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE, a book that honors one’s elders.
Off to the left here is my mother-in-law, Joyce. who taught me patience and themeaning of family. She has departed from us now, but her influence lives on and on. I must admit that I miss her very much.
Off to the right is Grandfather George, who is 93. This was taken at a recent booksigning. Grandfather George walks everyday, and I do believe he’s as limber as a person in their 60?s — maybe even younger.
On that note, here are some wise, wise sayings from our Amerian Indian elders:
“The Creative principle of the universe and its organization and intelligence is not an external principle but an internal one.” This is from the Koyukon, Alaskan.
“The air is precious to the red man. For all things share the same breath — the beast, the trees, the man, they all share the same breath… What is man without the beast? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts soon happens to man. All things are connected…” Chief Seattle
Here’s one of my favorites: (I’ve been known to paraphrase this.) “You can’t take care of yourself if you’re taking from others. It will come back on you. The more bad you give out, the more you get. If you give good, you get good because it’s all a circle.” Tadodaho Chief, Leon Shenandoah
I love the principle of this quote. Even if we don’t see it, those who deal in suppressing and making nothing of those around them eventually do come acropper. We may not see it, but it is there just as surely as the day is long.
Here’s another piece of wisdom that we don’t often think about in our society nowadays. But this is very wise, I think: “Sex is good. It has such a strong pull that it can cloud your vision. It’s one of the stronger powers that were put here on Mother Earth. But if all you think about is sex, then you’re not going to be doing your ceremony. Give that sex power only the attention it deserves and no more. That way you won’t miss out on all the rest of the things the Creator has for you. Train your mind. You can do it if you don’t let your body lead you.” Tadodaho Chief, Leon Shenandoah. This picture off to the left, by the way is of one of the most ingenius men in history, Chief Joseph.
Here’s yet another piece of wisdom from Chief Leon Shenandoah: “The way you live tells everybody what kind of person you are. Your actions speak for you. You can talk all you want, but everybody around already knows who you are. Treat others kindly and you’ll never have to say a word. Somebody is always watching. They’ll want to be like you and you’ll never have to open your mouth. Through you the world will be more peaceful.”
And here’s another gem from Tadodaho Chief, Leon Shenandoah: “”It’s even in our Instructions that a man can’t be a chief if he has killed. People don’t understand what they’re doing when they take life. The person who does it is in for trouble, even if they’re never caught. The Creator know. Our Instructions say that the one who does it gets all the dead person’s karma. They have theirs and the other person’s, too. The one who dies is relieved of their karma and goes straight to the Creator’s place clean.”
Before I leave Tadodaho Chief Leon Shenandoah, let me share this with you: ” One of the Instructions the Peacemaker gave us was for our leaders. They were to work for the welfare of the people. It was not meant for you to build yourself up above the people. It was for everyone to be equal. Our leaders don’t get paid. Even I have to make my own living. So the way I see it with the United States, it seems to me the leaders are making a living off of the people, their own people. That’s not going to work and it’s not working.”
Interesting, huh? What do you think would happen to our country if we demanded that our leaders not get paid. In the beginning, they didn’t get paid, at least not very much. They each had their own income and careers. Interestingly enough our Constitution states that Congress has to meet at least twice a year. Somehow I wish it were still that way.
Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed the post today. Please come on in and let’s talk about elders and how wise they are to teach us of their experience.
And please if you’ve enjoyed the post today, please pick up your copy of SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE today — a story that also honors our elders. You can order it here: www.novels-by-KarenKay.com.
The History of Bolo Ties
I was writing a ranch wedding scene in the 3rd. book in the Big D Dad – The Daltons series the other day and decided to do a little research on the history of bolo ties. I found some interesting material on the Internet. The matter of where and when they first appeared seems to be a subject of debate, though all agree the ties in one form or another have been around for quite a while.
It appears that part of the confusion about the ties’ origins stems from the different varieties that have been popular through the years. A few things most agree on are that the ties are worn beneath the shirt collar outside the shirt. The bolo slide may be made of stone, metal, or plastic and can be in different shapes. A thin strip of leather or other fabric which is frequently braided has tips on both ends to allow it be strung through the slide.
Some people have dated the bolo ties back to the 1860’s. Others date its beginning to the 1900’s. One report is that the tie was created by Silversmith Victor Cedarstaff. It is said he slipped his hatband around his neck to keep from losing it while riding his horse on a windy day. Someone commented that he was wearing a nice tie which inspired him to create the bolo tie.
Bolo ties are especially popular in western states. Arizona named the bolo tie the official state neckwear in 1971. In 2007, both New Mexico and Texas named it their official state tie. (Who knew states had official ties?)
One of the most interesting bits of pop culture concerning the bolo was that John Travolta wore one in Urban Cowboy. I do think I remember that.
On another note I want to remind you that Trumped Up Charges, book 1 in the Big D Dads – The Daltons series will be available on June 1.
WHEN A MOTHER’ LOVE MEETS A FATHER’S INSTINCT
Ex Marine Adam Dalton once dreamed of a life with Hadley O’Sullivan, but war and a near-fatal injury cost him dearly. Now he returns to Dallas to discover the unthinkable—Hadley is the prime suspect in the disappearance of their twin baby girls…the daughters he never knew he had.
Beyond Hadley’s terror of having her children kidnapped is the shock of seeing Adam. Yes, she had kept him from his daughters, but now, when he insists they work together as a united front, she knows she is still in love with him. Despite their past, finding their children is their only hope of finally becoming a family—if time doesn’t run out first.
The Winners of BLOWING ON DANDELIONS are ……………
Woo-Hoo! I’m tickled pink for you two ladies. I know you’ll enjoy this book. Someone will contact you for your mailing particulars so keep an eye out for an email.
The American frontier, or the Old West, as it came to be known, drew adventurers from all over the world. They came hoping to find a new life, whether that meant staking out a homestead, mining for gold, finding a husband, or starting a business. Whether it was families, single men or women, miners, gamblers, or cowboys, the same thing pulled them—the chance at a fresh start. Beyond that, they all had one need in common—a place to live when they arrived.
For some, like the cowboys, it was simple. They slept on a bedroll under the stars, their horse picketed close by.
Others slept in a bunkhouse, often with thin bat-and-board siding that allowed the wind to whistle through the cracks or the knot holes, but always with a cozy wood stove nearby.
Saloons often offered accommodations as well, as they were sometimes attached to or housed within a hotel. Even the independent saloons often provided rooms to travelers who wanted drinks, a meal and a bed. Many saloons provided a free lunch with the purchase of a drink, with the hope the traveler would decide to imbibe a bit longer and possibly spend the night. The Crystal Palace, built in 1879 in Tombstone, AZ, (and featured in my novel, Love Finds You in Tombstone, AZ) is one that provided more than drinks.
Of course, no decent lady or family would consider such accommodations, as their reputation would most certainly be ruined. Only ladies of ill repute frequented saloons, so the more genteel women chose a hotel, or a boardinghouse for something a bit longer.
My novel, Blowing on Dandelions, is centered around the life of a boardinghouse. There was more than one type and they catered to all kinds. A boardinghouse/combo hotel in Last Chance, CA, featured in my book, Love Finds You in Last Chance, CA, only took men, and they all slept in a common room on the second. The average boardinghouse was different than a single family home, often having a large number of bedrooms, a common washroom, a good-sized dining room and a cozy parlor made available to the boarders.
Of course, a bathroom as we understand it didn’t exist in the 1800’s. Most boardinghouses provided a wash bowl, towels, and a pitcher of fresh water per room, along with a chamber pot. In very rare cases you might find some type of rustic indoor plumbing, but typically a bath was drawn by heating and carrying buckets of water to a wooden or tin tub in a wash room.
Breakfast was almost always included, and oftentimes supper, with some hostesses occasionally offering laundry service as well. Boarders could share a room, and often did, but the more wealthy patrons could choose to room alone. The least expensive rooms tended to be in the top floor, including smaller attic rooms, as heat rises and made sleeping uncomfortable. For the poor, cheap lodging houses provided basic accommodations for low prices. In San Francisco over a century ago, the majority of people frequenting a hotel were either working class or poor, and a passable room might cost 35 cents a night ($8 in today’s currency).
Life at a nicer boardinghouse could be quite like home, especially to a lonely widow or single woman struggling to make it on her own. In fact, many boardinghouses in the Old West were owned and operated by women, as it was a respectable way to make a living while keeping your children close by. Warm fires in the parlor and kitchen, reading in the parlor or playing games in the evening, along with story-telling and sharing the happenings of the day, were all common entertainment for the residents.
I’ve always had a fascination for the Old West and the historical research for my novels has become one of my favorite parts of writing. Life was varied in the 1800’s, and often extremely challenging. The more glimpses I get of the strong men and women who made up the West, the more I’m compelled to share their stories.
If you’d like to contact me or see pictures of the settings for several of my historical novels, I’d love to have you stop by my website or my blog. Both can be found at www.miraleeferrell.com
Then she crosses paths with Micah Jacobs, a widower who could reignite her heart, but she fears a relationship with him might send things over the edge. She must find the strength, wisdom, hope, and faith to remake her life, for everything is about to change.
Great news – Miralee is doing a giveaway today! Two commenters will each receive a copy of her book BLOWING ON DANDELIONS. So leave a comment and let her know what you think of her post and get your name in the hat. (Sorry, but Miralee has requested this drawing be open to US residents only)