Hello again! I’m happy to be back and delighted to report I have NOT shot myself since the last time I visited. Of course, I hadn’t planned to do it the first time. In case you missed the story before, I dropped a .22 pistol that was loaded and it landed squarely on the hammer. Yes, it fired. And hit me in the shin. But outside of a scar and some lingering embarrassment, I’ve recovered nicely.
My newest western historical novel is WILDERNESS COURTSHIP, which will be in stores in mid-August. Good timing, huh? And, just so you won’t think the above-mentioned incident went for naught, I shot my heroine in that book. She recovered, too. I was just waiting for an editor to tell me I’d gotten the details wrong so I could photograph my lovely scar and prove I knew what I was talking about! Actually, I did offer to show it to an editor at a conference but she politely declined to peek. Of course she was eating breakfast at the time so. . ..
WILDERNESS COURTSHIP was almost as big a surprise to me as it was to my heroine, I’m sure. You see, she was the emotionally needy younger sister, Charity Beal, in FRONTIER COURTSHIP and I had never intended to give her her own story. Not in a million years. When I was asked to use her for another book I wondered how in the world I was EVER going to rehabilitate her enough that she’d be heroine material. But, never fear, I waited till she was a bit older and wiser and she came through with flying colors.
There are no pet mules in this current book but there are Indians and adventure and all the other elements that brought me so many wonderful fan letters after my first historical. I knew I loved the book but I had no idea it would be so well received, especially since it was one of the first 4 of that type from Steeple Hill’s new Love Inspired Historical line.
I wish I could tell you all when to expect my next westerns, for which I am already contracted, but the publisher wanted me to slip in a few contemporary books first so that’s what I’ve been working on. I can tell you that the next one will be set in San Francisco, just pre-Civil War (or as we say down here, the War Between the States or the War of Northern Aggression) That’s why I will probably never be asked to write about that war.
The story that follows that one will involve the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. And after that, your guess is as good as mine. I get tired just contemplating all that work but I wouldn’t trade my profession for anything, headaches, bullet wounds and all. As a matter of fact, I’m currently in the process of “shooting” a contemporary hero, too. Might as well get as much mileage out of that accident as possible, since I couldn’t figure out a way to deduct the ER visit from my taxes!
Till we meet again, keep your powder dry, your head down, and never, ever keep a live shell under the hammer of your antique, single-action pistol, even if all you have it loaded with is bird-shot.
Valerie is giving away TWO AUTOGRAPHED SETS of Frontier Courtship and Wilderness Courtship to two lucky lucky readers who leave comments this weekend! Post here for your chance to win.
After surviving an unhappy marriage, Charity Beal avoids men. But compassion gets the better of her when she encounters Thorne Blackwell, a rugged shipping magnate in the midst of crisis. His brother has vanished, and hired guns are after his brother’s wife and son. To save them, Thorne faces a grueling journey through the wild Oregon Territory. In order to succeed, he needs Charity’s help.
Through roiling rivers and lush mountain passes, Charity’s kindness and faith awakens Thorne to a strength he never knew. But before he can heal her wounded heart and win her love, he has to save their party from the sharpshooter stalking their every step.