Tag: Colorado

GRACE AND THE RANCHER by MARY ALFORD

Hi everyone, my name is Mary Alford and I’m thrilled to be with you today. Along with Romantic Suspense, I write sweet Contemporary Westerns set in the mountains of Colorado and Montana.

I fell in love with the mountains the first time I visited them many years ago. Before that time, I was a beach girl at heart until my husband and I made a trip to the historic town of Silverton, Colorado and that was it. I loved everything about the mountains and Silverton, including its history.

Silverton is a historic silver and gold mining town nestled in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. The Animas River that runs around the town is where the old time miners first discovered traces of gold and silver in 1860. In 1874 the town of Silverton was laid out and it soon became the center of numerous mining camps.

Yet, through the years, the mining slowly dried up, but Silverton still remains a popular tourist attraction, being linked to Durango, Colorado by the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a National Historic Landmark. And believe it or not, there’s still gold and silver to be found there if you are so inclined to look.

When I set out to write, Grace And The Rancher, my White Rose Publishing release set in the fictional mountain town of Delaney Mountain, it was with Silverton in mind as an example for Delaney Mountain. Although Delaney Mountain is better known for its rich ranch land instead of mining, living in the mountains and forging out a living there as a rancher, has a whole new set of problems.

As hard as the winters in Colorado can be today, with the snowfall piling up, and the isolation that comes with living in the mountains, still, I can’t imagine how difficult ranching in the mountains of Colorado must have been in the old days.

Travel was difficult, the roads crude, supplies were not easily accessible, and the winters brutal on the cattle as well as those who worked them. Just moving cattle from one piece of property to another in search of better grazing consumed time.

While my hero, Kyle Delaney, might not have had to face the difficulties those early cattle ranchers did, he still has his own set of challenges. Kyle is coming back to Delaney Mountain after his father’s death to try and resurrect Delaney Ranch from its ashes. And in the process, he finds something he never expected to find again. Love.

About Grace And The Rancher:

Grace Bradford is living a lie. To the world she has the perfect life: A promising country music career and a husband who adores her. But her husband isn’t the man everyone believes him to be. When a car accident widows her and ends her career, Grace escapes to Delaney Mountain. But moving to the remote town doesn’t wipe away the ugly secret of her marriage. Kyle Delaney never intended to return to Delaney Mountain, but he promises his dying father that he’ll turn their land into a working cattle ranch. He uproots his life in Austin, sells his flourishing business as a music agent, and returns to the Colorado town of his childhood. Can a runaway singer and a makeshift rancher, thrust together by circumstance and held together by the common thread of loss and a love of music, find hope and a happily-ever-after under the stars of Delaney Mountain?

Amazon Link

 

I will be giving away two ebook copies of Grace And The Rancher to commenters today.

A little about Mary:

I was inspired to become a writer after reading romantic suspense greats Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. Soon creating characters and throwing them into dramatic situations that test their faith came naturally for me. In 2012, I entered the Speed Dating contest hosted by Love Inspired and later received “the call”. Writing is truly a dream come true for me.

Thanks so much for allowing me to stop by and talk to you today.

All the best…Mary Alford

 

A Rose By Any Other Name by Davalynn Spencer

Davalynn

The West offers such rich locales that historical authors have a nearly unlimited supply of locations from which to choose for the settings of their novels. But what if a writer wants a new spot in her Old West?

No problem! Both venues work—the real deal and the once-upon-a-time setting.

Last year I finished a three-book series based in Cañon City, Colorado, with many specific historical tidbits from the 1800s. But for a commissioned Christmas-bride novella collection, I wanted more freedom. I wanted to make up my own names for places, so I did.

I confess, my mind’s eye saw the story set somewhere along the snowy 1885 train route to Leadville, but between the first and final pages, The Snowbound Bride began and ended near my imaginary town of Spruce City, Colorado.

Snow scape

Freedom at last!

After I chose the location, I came up with my characters’ names using a different method than I usually employ. Most often, I close my eyes and go with the first name that pops out of my fingertips so I can start getting words on paper.

But for the Christmas story I dug into my family lineage for actual names from the era. And guess what I found?

Ara.

My maternal grandmother was Ara Garr Jameson, an interesting woman who really deserves her own book about running for mayor of Chillicothe, Texas, when women didn’t do such outlandish things.

But for the time being, I decided to use her spunk to fuel my heroine and named the gal Ara Taube. Taube is not a family name, but it’s the German word for dove, and that fact fit nicely into the story.

All of my grandparents have long since passed on, so I feel a little more of the aforementioned freedom when it comes to using familial monikers. What’s a family for if not to provide a few quaint names?

However, I probably won’t be using my paternal grandmother’s name – Travine. Sounds too much like latrine and I just can’t go there. (Sorry, Grandma.)

One of Grandma’s daughters, Geraldine, married Charles Berry and became Gerry Berry. Too bad I don’t write kids’ books because that would be a cool name.

For a less-than-sterling secondary character in one of my novels, I chose a name that fit quite well, but I had to change it when I sold the manuscript. The name happened to be the same as my husband’s mother. Not a plan if I wanted to keep peace in the family.

With several titles now in print and several more in the hopper, I’m always on the lookout for good names. Sometimes I find them in unusual places. Like funerals.

The brother of a man whose funeral I attended and my grandfather teamed up for the name of my Colorado Ranger, Haskell Tillman Jacobs. His story, Romancing the Widow, finaled for the 2015 Will Rogers Medallion award.

Professional Bull Riders’ events and magazines like American Cowboy and Western Horseman feature men and women with unusual names that work well for contemporary authors. And don’t forget about the neighbors.

Barn

On a photo shoot at a neighbor’s particularly enticing Spanish-style barn and house last summer, I met his cowgirl daughter, Mason. Her name is sure to turn up in a future contemporary tale.

“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare asked. With his unusual tag, he had the right to inquire and I believe I do too. I’m named after my father, David.

Guess he wanted a boy.

Do you have an unusual name or an unusual story behind your name? I love to hear it.

Twelve Brides of ChristmasBarbour’s novella collection, The 12 Brides of Christmas, releases October 1 where books are sold as well as online.

 

 

AMAZON 

 

I will give away one signed copy to a US reader on October 1st or thereabouts! 

 

Davalynn Spencer writes inspirational Western romance complete with rugged cowboys, their challenges, and their loves. She finaled for the 2015 Will Rogers Medallion award in Western Fiction and makes her home on Colorado’s Front Range with her handsome cowboy and their dog, Blue. Connect with her at www.davalynnspencer.com.

DANICA FAVORITE: THE LAWMAN’S REDEMPTION!

DANICA headshotIt is such an honor to be visiting the Petticoats and Pistols blog today. Is it all right if I have a fan girl moment here for a few moments? (Pretend I’m super squee-ing and getting all excited!) Phew! I’m done. No, okay, wait… EEE!!! I’m so happy to be here with so many of my favorite authors!!

Okay, now I’m really done, because you didn’t invite me here to say how fabulous you are! You wanted to hear about some cool historical stuff.

I write books set in Leadville, Colorado. My husband’s family settled there near the dawn of the 20th century. Since then, they’ve maintained ties to the area. It’s one of my favorite places, and I’m so glad to be able to share it with my readers.

Leadville’s claim to fame is the silver boom that happened from 1879 until 1893. During those years, what amounts to billions of dollars in today’s money came out of the Leadville area. Some of the wealthiest families in America, such as the Guggenheims, found their start in Leadville. Doc Holliday spent some time in Leadville, as did Molly Brown of the Unsinkable Molly Brown fame. It always surprises me when I read something about Leadville and find the name of one more famous person who spent time there.

It’s tempting to base my books on real history, and in some ways, I do. But I also fictionalize things and change them up a bit because many of the old-timers, folks who have generational ties to Leadville, know the stories, and in some cases, have differing versions of the story.

For example, the story of Baby Doe Tabor’s later years. Baby Doe Tabor, if you’re not familiar with the story, is a rags to riches to rags tale. She married Horace Tabor, one of Leadville’s wealthiest men, after his scandalous divorce from his first wife. They lived extravagantly, and were ill-prepared for the silver crash in 1893. Overnight, the Tabors lost everything, and when Horace died, Baby Doe was left penniless.

DANICA inside cabin

As the story goes, Horace’s deathbed wish to Baby Doe was to “hang on to the Matchless.” The Matchless was one of Tabor’s silver mines, and Horace believed it would someday make money again.

 

Many historical sources say “hang on to the Matchless” was not what Tabor said, however, after Horace’s death, Baby Doe ended up living in poverty in a little shack at the mine. She became a recluse, and had little contact with the outside world. She allowed very few people to come visit her, and this is where the old-timers all have a tale to tell.

DANICA outside cabinOne of the few people allowed to visit Baby Doe was the grocery delivery boy, who would occasionally bring her groceries. I’ve met so many people who will tell you that their relative was the delivery boy. Of course, I have it on very good authority from my husband’s late great-aunt, that the delivery boy was her brother! But if only one delivery boy was allowed access, you can see where that might be a problem!

 

So, as you can see, real history, real people… well, let’s just say it’s safer to make it up!

DANICA Matchless mine with cabinBut there are always touches of the real in my books, because what I love about Leadville is the adventurous spirit that comes with living in a rough place in a rough time. After all, isn’t that what makes the west so great?

Now it’s your turn… do you have any fun historical claims to fame? Even if you don’t, I’d love to hear a fun history story passed down in your family. Share your story for a chance to win a copy of The Lawman’s Redemption.

If you’re interested in seeing some more of our family historical ties to Leadville, stop by my website, where I have some fun videos posted in the extras section:

http://danicafavorite.com/extras/leadville_research

 

DANICA Bookcover

About the book:

Lawman on a Mission 

Former deputy Will Lawson is fighting to regain his reputation—and Mary Stone is his only lead to the bandit who framed him. Now that he’s tracked Mary to Leadville, Colorado, Will needs the proud beauty to reveal her past. Instead, his efforts spark a mighty inconvenient attraction…

Mary’s only real crime is that she once believed an outlaw’s lies. Still, she fears disclosing the truth to Will may land her in jail—and leave her young siblings without protection. Now she must choose between honesty and safeguarding her family. And if Will does clear his own name, can he convince the woman he loves to share it?

Click HERE for the Amazon link!

 

I’m giving away one print copy of THE LAWMAN’S REDEMPTION! Leave a comment to get your name in the pot.

 

Kaki Warner: Persevering and a Giveaway!

Kaki WarnerThank you Petticoats & Pistols for inviting me to visit today—it’s always a treat to hang out with the Fillies.

 

This has been a hectic year for my husband and me. Remember that big forest fire in Washington State last summer? It burned to within yards of our house and turned 60 acres of timber at the back of our property to ash. Then the floods came. Then we were sideswiped in our new car, suffered a devastating loss in the family, and I had two knee replacement surgeries. But like Chief Dan George advised in Josey Wales, we endeavored to persevere. And it worked! Our house was saved, insurance paid for the lost timber, our car is all fixed and no one was hurt, our grief is easing, and my knees are getting better every day. Plus, I lost 50 pounds through it all. Double win!

 

So how is this relevant?

 

Writing is a lot like life—full of ups and downs, disappointments, euphoria, and sometimes a lot of self-doubt. But if you endeavor to persevere, you’ll get through it to the good stuff. I’m living proof of that.

 

Throughout all this drama, I was trying to write the most difficult book I’ve ever attempted—HOME BY MORNING, the story of Thomas (the Cheyenne Dog Soldier) and Pru (the educated daughter of a white plantation owner and a slave). This couple had been introduced as secondary characters in the first book of my runaway bride series—HEARTBREAK CREEK. Their story wove through the next four novels, generating a lot of mail and questions about when they would get their own book. But I had my doubts.

 

Home By MorningDid I have enough story left for a book?

 

How in the world would I get into the heads of characters so far beyond my own life experiences?

 

Could I do justice to their story without getting mired down in political correctness, politics, or trying not to make them victims, or too modern in their thinking and experience?

 

Then I realized…they’re just people, regardless of their culture, race, background. They want what we all want—love, acceptance, and respect. So I put my head down and started writing.

 

And then a wonderful thing happened. A whole new character showed up, with the voice and the spirit and the charisma to help me bring Thomas and Pru’s story into the light. Lillian, Lillie, Katse’e.

 

She taught me a lot. How to reach outside my comfort zone and take a risk on new ideas, different cultures and experiences. How to tame the doubt with humor and courage. How to listen.

 

Those are worthy lessons for any writer. (Too bad I couldn’t have figured it out thirty years ago…but then some of us are slow learners, I guess). Has that ever happened to you? When a person, or a character, or an experience reaches inside your mind and tweaks it just enough so that everything falls into place and makes sense? Not yet? Then endeavor to persevere. It’ll come when it’s time.

 

I hope you’ll get a chance to read HOME BY MORNING. If you do, let me know what you think. I can be reached on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kakiwarner.

 

And to show you how much I appreciate you dropping by and leaving a comment, I’ll be giving away two signed copies of HOME BY MORNING.

 

ABOUT KAKI:

After Kaki, her husband and their coonhound retired to the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State, Kaki decided to get serious about writing. She sold her first book to Berkley (Penguin Random House) the year she went on Social Security. Since then, she’s penned nine novels, a novella and a short story. It’s been a fun, wild ride, and along the way she’s been blessed with kind reviews, a Maggie, a RITA, and four RITA nominations. But what she values most are the wonderful people she’s met…both readers and other authors. So her advice: don’t let anyone tell you you’re too old to start writing, or it’s too late to try something new. The rewards can be astounding. So just do it.

Davalynn Spencer Says “It Depends on who you talk to …”

Davalynn SpencerHave you ever talked to a fence post? Not a treated, fancy white four-by-four or steel post. I mean a real fence post that’s been around for a while. An old twisted cedar leg that some rancher stuck in the ground a hundred years ago or more.

I walk by them every morning on my trek up the gentle slope toward the lip of the Arkansas River Valley near Cañon City, Colorado. Most of the time I find new wire stabled to the old fellas. But occasionally I’ll spot a length of rusty devil rope hanging on.

columbineAnd that’s when I stop and visit. Crazy? Sure. But I can name a few people a whole lot more prickly that I’d rather not talk to. And they don’t have half the stories the old cedars have.

“Who planted you here? A cattleman sick to be fencing the land, or a homesteader eager to keep the cows from his crops?”

“Was he single? Did he have a sweetheart? Did he ride by every season to check on you, see how you were holding up?”

Spencer.corral“Did he have a handlebar mustache? Carry a rifle or a sidearm?”

When I bend close to the weathered creases and knots, and feel the sun peeking up over the hills, I can almost hear the creak of saddle leather and the soft riffle of grass against a horse’s lip.

But times have changed and they changed people, or maybe it was the other way around.

It doesn’t take much to imagine one of those cowboys hunting out a good cedar stand, limbing the longest leg with a sharp ax, and replanting the tree as a post. Makes me wonder if some of those cattlemen felt tamped in like the cedars, with their open range stitched into sectioned acres.

Spencer.garden gateThe first cowboys who drove their “Mexico” cows into the high parks of this country didn’t pack fencing tools in their saddle bags. This was open range and barbed wire had not yet been invented. However, a good man would string wire, or board off a garden plot for his missus if he had one. A missus, that is.

Spencer.fence post 1In my upcoming novella, The Columbine Bride, fencing plays a subtle role in the story of young widow Lucy Powell and her neighboring rancher Buck Reiter. She isn’t too happy about him riding up into the timber to snake down a long pole behind his horse. But she doesn’t mind his help when it comes to fencing off her garden.

But fences don’t keep everything out—or in—and when Buck takes a liking to Lucy and her two young’uns … well, you’ll just have to wait and see.

The Columbine Bride is the sequel to last year’s The Snowbound Bride. It releases in book 4 of The 12 Brides of Summer collection from Barbour on Sept. 1. However, a special printed collection will be at select Walmart stores July 14 in Old West Summer Brides.

Set in 1886 Colorado in the high park country above Cañon City, the tale of this hard-working couple came fairly easy to my writer’s heart.

Guess I talked to enough old cedar posts over the winter.

Leave a Comment to be entered in the drawing for The Snowbird Bride in e-book form. And look for 12 Brides of Summer in September!

The Snowbound Bride P&P

Old West Summer12 Brides of Summer– e-book version Book 4 of three stories, including “The

Columbine Bride” releasing Sept. 1, 2015.

Pre-order buy link for The Columbine Bride

http://amzn.com/B00XIW4FNK

 

BIO: Davalynn Spencer writes inspirational Western romance complete with rugged cowboys, their challenges, and their loves. Her work has finaled for the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, the Selah, and the Holt Medallion. Davalynn teaches writing at Pueblo Community College and at writing workshops. She and her own handsome cowboy make their home on Colorado’s Front Range with a Queensland heeler named Blue. Connect with Davalynn online at www.davalynnspencer.com and https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDavalynnSpencer

Rocky Mountain Brides ~ Patricia Thayer

This last summer I was lucky enough to travel to Silverton, Colorado.  My husband, Steve, and I took the 47 mile, three-hour trip on the old narrow gauge train just like people had done a hundred years ago.  We also took along two of our grandsons, Connor and Finley.  I love seeing things through the eyes of a child, especially since I have a lot of kids in my books.

Anyway, the trip up the mountain was fantastic.  We saw some beautiful scenery through the Rockies and finally arrived at the old silver and gold mining town.  Once you get off the train, you honestly believe you’re stepping back in time.  Silverton, Colorado, looks just like it did all those years ago.

It was hard not to fall in love with the old storefronts and the historical hotels.  We stayed overnight at the Old Teller House, built in 1896.  The next day we toured an old closed mine, THE HUNDRED YEAR OLD MINE.

I love the inspiration I get when I travel to a location.  Stories start forming in my head.  It’s always interesting to see how people live.  When I was sitting in a café, the young waitress, barely twenty, told me that her father had been a mountain guide and her mother a mine prospector when they met.

Whoa, that twist caught me off guard.  But isn’t that what we want from a story?  To be different and intriguing.

I had visited Silverton years ago which had given me the ideas for my first three stories in the Rocky Mountain Brides series.  I’ve just completed two more stories set in Silverton, which I call the town Destiny in my books.  The name seemed to fit perfectly.

This series is one of my favorites.  I love to write about make-believe towns where I can create my characters and stories that hopefully will linger in the readers’ minds, and leave them wanting more.

In my new December release, my 4th book from this series is titled Single Dad’s Holiday Wedding.

My heroine, Lorelei Hutchinson, suddenly becomes the richest person in town.  Who wouldn’t want that?  Well, it took Lori by surprise when her estranged father died and left her everything in his will.  Of course, all she ever wanted was to have Lyle Hutchinson’s love.

Instead she inherited a mansion to live in, a bank filled with money and a good-looking business partner, Jace Yeager, who’s trying to keep from going bankrupt.

Single dad, Jace, has learned to rely only on himself and his adorable little daughter, Cassie. His construction business now depends on him working with Lori—so he sets out to prove who’s the boss.

But with the holiday season drawing near, it’s not all just business.  Jace discovers a sweet, generous woman wanting a partner for life.

Lori only wants to help the town survive.  That means she needs to complete the business complex her father started.  Jace is fighting for survival, a new beginning for himself and his daughter.

Lori wants to find a place, a home where she belongs.  Instead she finds a community who welcomes her with open arms.

Patricia will be giving away a set of her entire Rocky Mountain series (4 books) to one lucky winner!   To be eligible, be sure to leave a comment.

Patricia Thayer has called Orange County, California home with Steve, her husband of over 40 years.  Not only does she enjoy the warm weather year round, she gets the support of other authors, and for over twenty years, her critique group.  It’s a sisterhood like no other.

Since 1991, Pat has written over 44 books for Silhouette and Harlequin.  She has been nominated for both the National Reader’s Choice Award and the prestigious RITA.  Her book, Nothing Short of a Miracle, won a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award.

You can also find her at her cabin in the local mountains, spending a quiet weekend, writing her next story.

To learn more about Patricia and her books, visit her website.

 

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