Tag: Familiar Stranger in Clear Springs

The Heroes of San Diego Series & a Giveaway!

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Happy Monday! I am gearing up for the release of Christmas Kiss from the Sheriff in November. This book will wrap up my Heroes of San Diego Series. It will be hard to leave my friends, but new stories are waiting to be written. I thought I’d go back to the beginning and post a bit about the story-lines and how they are connected because at the end of my post I have a question for you…

 

Book #1

Angel and the OutlawThe Angel and the Outlaw was my debut story, the “book of my heart,” that just begged to be written. When young, I loved the peninsula on Pt. Loma in San Diego where the old 1854 lighthouse stands. At that time, visitors could climb up the narrow circular stairs and walk around the catwalk. Not so anymore. In that story, a young woman from town dares to tutor the light keeper’s daughter who happens to be mute from a traumatic event in her past. Stuart is hiding out from the law and every bit a taciturn hero, but Rachel sees through his gruff exterior in the way he treats his daughter. When the law starts to close in on him, things get heated! (This book is NOT SWEET.)

 

 

Book #2

The Gunslinger and the HeiressThe Gunslinger and the Heiress takes place fifteen years later and is the story of Caleb and Hannah ~ the two children from my first book. I had many readers write in and ask if Hannah ever got over her muteness. I loved writing this story which has a dash of adventure and piracy in the mix. Who knew there were pirates off the coast of California? I learned that fact while researching and just had to include it in my story. The story takes place as the Hotel Del Coronado is being finished. Caleb is a scrapper and a reluctant bodyguard for Hannah. He’s always loved her…but she is as far removed from him as the moon now that they’ve grown up.

 

 

Book #3

fs-250-smFamiliar Stranger in Clear Springs starts out in La Playa ~ a town on the harbor that is closest to the lighthouse (and where Rachel of Book #1 taught school.) Elizabeth is Rachel’s good friend and heading into spinsterhood. She runs the family mercantile and has all but given up on love since a soldier from the nearby Fort Rosecrans left her without a word. Four years later, he suddenly shows up again and twists her heart into a tangle. Of course, she does the same to him! This story follows them into the back country where Tom has been sent to make sure the gold shipment from the mines gets through to the bank safely. Only trouble is, Elizabeth is smack dab in the middle of the fray!

 

 

Book #4 

Christmas Kiss from the SheriffChristmas Kiss from the Sheriff will be released on November 22nd! Gemma is Elizabeth’s good friend from La Playa who is the new school teacher in Clear Springs. Unbeknownst to the people of the mining town, Gemma is running from her past and has never taught a class in her life. When she skirts around a few questions and gets herself into a muddle at school, Sheriff Craig Parker becomes suspicious—so many things don’t add up about the beautiful new teacher. But she’s smart and independent and he is drawn to her!

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As I write my stories, it always amazes me how the characters become “real” to me. I think of all these heroes and heroines as friends and wish I could meet them face to face. Weird, isn’t it? I guess it’s a writer’s mind…

My publisher, Harlequin, is having a big ebook sale (ending tomorrow the 25th of Oct.)
This is only the second time I have ever heard of Harlequin doing this, so it is a
BIG DEAL!

My entire back-list is on sale for $1.99! I’ll leave you with a few links…

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Harlequin

For a chance to win one of my back-list books just let me know which one sounds like the story you would most like to read!
Feel free to go to my website’s Books Page and read the summaries and excerpts.

Julian ~ The Ghost Town that Escaped

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The lifespan of a mining town in the old west was as volatile as the dynamite used to blow up the rock and release the ore. Seems that just as soon as most of the ore was hauled from the mines, the town would dry up and blow away, becoming ghost town. Two famous ones in California that boomed and are now nothing but ghost towns are Calico and Bodie.

ghost towns

Calico Mining Crew

Calico in Yerma, California was established when silver was discovered in the mountains there in 1881. $20 million in silver ore came from the 500 mines surrounding the town over the next 12 years. Then, when silver lost its value, everyone packed up and left. Today, Calico is a historic site, restored for people to visit and see what life was like ‘back in the day.’ Calico makes for a very interesting destination today, but no one lives there anymore.

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Bodie, California

The same thing happened to Bodie, California. The place was a small mining camp in the Sierra Nevada mountains when gold was discovered in 1859. Although nearby towns boomed, Bodie inched along until 1876 when more gold was discovered by the Sandard Company. Suddenly miners poured into the town and its population shot up to 7,000. $34 million in gold ore came from the mines there over the next eleven years. And then, like Calico, Bodie slowly died. In 1915 it was officially labeled a ghost town.

So how did Julian in San Diego’s back country escape the fate of becoming a ghost town? 

In 1870 gold was discovered 60 miles east of New San Diego and the Julian Mining District was formed. Over the next 6 years more than 600 people made Julian their home and enjoyed all that living in a boom town entailed. then in 1876 with most of the gold excavated out of the mines, the bulk of people left searching for better goldfields elsewhere. The population dropped to 100. What made Julian’s fate so different than Calico’s or Bodies had to do with a number of things–good soil, climate, and more than anything it seems, Julian became a place for family.

Although the town had its share of saloons and dance-halls and rowdy miners, it was never the “Wild West Town” like other mining towns. The early settlers of Julian saw to the opening of their first school–and the first year 100 children attended. When teacher after teacher married and had to stop teaching due to the law at the time that forbade married women to teach, the school trustees decided to hire a man for the position. When the miners learned of it, they threatened trouble, and the trustees relented and hired another woman.

When the mines played out, instead of leaving, a core group of 100 people remained and turned to agriculture. James Madison was the first to recognize the perfect soil a

Julian CA

Julian California

nd weather for apple growing and he, along with Thomas Brady started an orchard of young apple trees. Others followed suit, adding pear trees. Today Julian apples have won many awards and the town is world famous for its apple pies.

There were two main ways to socialize in town. One was through church (Free land was given for the establishment of churches.) The second was at the frequent dances. Dances and fundraising socials would often last through the night and into the early morning hours. The dance hall in town even had a separate room for mothers to leave their babies to sleep away the night so the mothers could continue dancing. A number of good-natured tricks were played on neighbors and friends in Julian. Couples tried to keep their romantic feelings a secret so they wouldn’t end up the recipient of these pranks. The people of Julian were known for enjoying each other and having fun in a big way. (To me, it sounds like the town had a lot of personality!)

Today, Julian is a tourist town with a small-town feel. It caters to those who want to get away from the city. They come for the mountain air, fresh apple pies, mining tours and–for many San Diegans (including me) — the snow in winter. I have always had a soft spot for Julian. As an author, it is great to vicariously live in the town of 1876 through the characters in my books. I am grateful it survived its gold rush heritage and has given me such inspiraFamiliar Stranger in Clear Springstion for my stories.

Do you have a soft spot for any particular place?

Leave a comment to be entered into my drawing for a copy of my latest book!

Familiar Stranger in Clear Springs

(Please see Giveaway Guidelines listed on this page)

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Birthday Wishes!

Happy Birthday

Today is my birthday!

And yes I am grateful to be here celebrating it with my filly sisters and everyone at Wildflower Junction!

Although there are people who consider a birthday so close to Christmas to be unfortunate, I have NEVER felt that way.  When I was young, my folks always made a point to have a gift tucked away for me with birthday wrapping and it was fun to  know that I had my special day “off” from school. For me, having a December birthday every year has been like having a continual party from Christmas Eve until New Year’s Day ~ simply wonderful!

My dad was in the Navy when I was born and he has always said I was a bargain — costing him all of $1.25 at the Naval Hospital. From there he goes on to tell a few tales of when I was very young. (I’ll spare you the details!) I never tire of hearing him retell those stories because they shine like a new penny every time he brings them out and remembers them.

I remember one very special birthday as a child.Breyer Horses

When I was ten, I lived in San Diego, California in the city-proper. I was a horse-lover without a horse. I played with Breyer horses and other plastic horses more than with Barbies and other dolls. I knew we couldn’t have large animals in the city, but I’d found a place that gave riding lessons not too far away. I was absolutely thrilled when my parents made that my present even though it stretched the family budget quite a bit.

I still lovePeace horses — and of course cowboys and all things western, but nowadays, my wishes are much more precious and intangible. I wish for my three sons to find purpose and passion in life and find joy. I wish to have loved ones near. And I wish for peace and good health for my family, friends and readers.

Familiar Stranger in Clear Springs

What special birthday memory do you have?

 

Comment for a chance to win my newest (just now!) release ~ Familiar Stranger in Clear Springs.

I would love to send a free copy to one of you who comments today.
(P&P Sweepstake rules are posted here.)

And to all my filly sisters and readers ~

Here’s to a joyful New Year!

                                                                                                    Kathryn        

 

 

 

Enduring Westerns

Two exciting things happened this weekend that I just have to share!

I just returned from the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference that was held this year in Dallas, Texas. It was a whirlwind of workshops, being updated on the publishing industry, re-connecting with writer friends and meeting new ones. Fresh new faces and voices are making their way onto the scene which is always exciting.

The first evening a genre dinner is held, where authors are encouraged to dress the part of one of their characters. It is a fun ice-breaker and conversation starter. This is a picture of me in a Victorian shop-keepers garb–a character from my new Western coming out in December. (Familiar Stranger in Clear Springs) Perhaps the hat is a bit too fancy with the netting…I’m beginning to think I have very little fashion sense (and my current hairstyle does not lend itself to the 1800s!)  The woman beside me writes Biblical fiction and so is dressed in B.C. style. Barbara & Kathryn in historical garb

My agent, Mary Sue Seymour, asked me to participate on a panel. At first I balked…the books I have had published are historical western romance–not Christian fiction–and because of that I didn’t think anyone would want to hear what I had to say. I felt like the odd-man out. The topic was what to do when your manuscript is rejected. Although a few authors have the first manuscript they submit accepted for publication, that is not the norm. I came the “normal” route, and had a few pearls of wisdom that I could pass on to new writers. A lot of it has to do with persistence and continuing to refine the craft of writing. It is always a comfort to hear the “war stories” of bigger writers…J.K.Rowling and John Grisham…and know that their first manuscripts were also rejected a number of times.Panel with Seymour Agnecy sibs & Mary Sue Seymour

Karen Witemeyer, my Petticoats and Pistols filly-sister, also gave a wonderfully, informative workshop. I barely recognized her. (She’s letting her hair grow.)

But this is a Western Blog–and so let me get to the real point of this post. I was happy to learn that Westerns are as big as ever in this crazy publishing business! Readers love them, publishers want them, and the writers who enjoy writing them have a wonderful future! How is that for good news! There is just something about the American West, the cowboy, and wide-open spaces that calls to people. In an industry where things come and go (remember Chick Lit?), Westerns are here to stay. Yee-haw!

And the second wonderful thing that happened? I just received the book cover for my December release from my editor! The book is available for pre-order at Amazon already! I’m so excited to share it with you…

Familiar Stranger in Clear Springs

 

What is it about westerns that keeps you coming back for more?

 

 

 

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