Passion, Troubles, and a Whole Lot of Fun by Tammy Barley

Howdy, gals! It’s great to see y’all again! Everyone remember to tell Margaret happy birthday!      

 Here’s a quick bit about me: With Cherokee heritage and such ancestors as James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau, I pretty much inherited the writing bug, as well as my need to write about the Wild West. I’ve ridden horseback over western mountains on journeys up to ten days long.   

  My first book in The Sierra Chronicles, Love’s Rescue, won second place in the Golden Rose Contest, inspirational romance category, went into its second printing only five weeks after it was released, and landed on’s best-selling historical fiction list, at number eleven. Book two, Hope’s Promise, the continuing romance of Jake Bennett and Jessica Hale (now Bennett), is already receiving rave reader comments and five-star reviews—yahoo!      

I also judge a number of top writing contests and work as an editor. I’m mom to three teens whom I homeschool. So far, I’ve lived in twenty-eight towns in eight different states, but right now I take off my boots in northeastern Illinois.     

So that’s me. By now, you might be wondering about the title of this here article, Passion, Troubles, and a Whole Lot of Fun. Here’s why I chose it. In a recent radio interview, the interviewer asked this question: “In many famous plays that William Shakespeare wrote, he combined love and tragedy, and also humor, and that made those plays unforgettable. You also include humor in Hope’s Promise (it officially releases tomorrow, August 1st!), a lot of it through a character, a ranch hand, named Taggart. Explain how the addition of humor helps to make a story so memorable, especially as it applies to Hope’s Promise.”     

So that nifty fiction concept has been on my mind—Passion, Troubles, and a Whole Lot of Fun? Here’s how I answered the question:     

“William Shakespeare clearly saw the human condition, all the elements that make up who we are, and what compels us to do what we do.     

“Love, tragedy, and humor are three of the main forces that drive us, and that pull us. Love pulls us through tragedy—God’s love, and each other’s—and humor us what drives us to a fresh level of coping and overcoming. That’s why those three forces work so perfectly together in fiction, because they work so perfectly together in life.      

“Jake and Jess have terrible challenges in Hope’s Promise—they stand to lose everything they hold dear—just as many of us face terrible challenges in situations during our lives. Taggart is more than the comic relief; he’s exactly the person most of us would want with us during our tough times.      

“His is the personality that inspires people to reach past surviving, and to shoot straight for overcoming, to the point where we can laugh and enjoy knowing that the trouble is behind us, or that it will be.      

“Taggart is an absolute hoot. Several times, Taggart made me laugh until I was wiping my eyes and holding my knees together (yep, I actually said that on the radio). All three elements—tragedy, romance, and humor—combine to make a powerful and unforgettable story.”      

So that’s what I said. If you all remember me from Petticoats and Pistols last year when Love’s Rescue came out, you might remember that I love a good guessing game, so much so, that we’ll do a game of three questions here, and see how well you fillies do. Keep in mind that the focus is on Passion, Troubles, and a Whole Lot of Fun. Those who take a stab at answering one, two, or all three will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Hope’s Promise!      

Here’s the first question, based on Passion. Hold on to your saddles—Jake is a tough, hunky rancher who looks like Hugh Jackman. (No drooling. All right, go ahead and drool.) Jake passionately loves his wife, Jessica. Here’s a scene from The Sierra Chronicles book two, Hope’s Promise:      

Beyond the bed, Jake removed his shirt and tossed it to the floor beside the tall chest of drawers. Atop the wooden surface, the oil lamp sat, casting warm, golden light over his skin.      

He set his hands on his hips, a casual stance which rather nicely emphasized his chest and the arm muscles fully capable of lifting a yearling calf.      

Jess wanted to touch him, to feel him against her. She could hardly breathe. “Do you have any idea what that does to me?”      

He gave her his slow, crooked grin as he rounded the bed and approached. “My throwing my shirt on the floor? Apparently it makes you sway on your feet in appreciation. I’ll have to do that more often.”      

Jess lifted her face. . . .      

Here’s the Passion question: What do you think Jess said in response? (What would you say?) Here’s a hint: Jess is a spitfire. It’ll be fun to see your answers. (I’ll answer all three questions at the time of the book drawing.)      

Here’s the second question, based on Troubles. And here’s another scene.      

“We’re going home,” Jess said, a pleasant tightness in her chest. “I feel . . .” She lifted a hand, uncertain how to describe it. “I feel like a young falcon, about to leap into the wind for the first time.”      

Jake smiled his understanding, then suddenly turned tense, alert. He drew his Remington. An instant later, Taggart and Diaz did the same.      


A rock burst on the ground beside Jess. The sharp report of rifle fire echoed across the desert. All at once shots exploded, pelting the road around them with shattered stones and dust plumes. Drawing her own revolver, Jess whipped her mare around and looked past Jake to an outcropping of rocks where rifles barked and gun smoke curled away.      

The mare abruptly jerked then reared high, spilling Jess’s hat and tumbling her long braid free. The horse teetered on its hind legs then went over backward.      

Pain exploded through Jess’s back and lungs.      

Then, darkness.      

An image flashed through her mind. . . .      

Here’s the Troubles question: What do you suppose Jess might have experienced when she blacked out? Stars running around her head? Horseshoes, perhaps? Something else?   

Here’s the third question, based on a Whole Lot of Fun. And here’s the third scene. 

A minute later Diaz returned, in time to see Taggart jouncing toward them astride a rattletrap buckskin with so rough a gait that Jess chewed her lip to keep from laughing. The horse stopped suddenly, nearly flinging the Irishman over its head. Taggart pushed himself upright, muttered something uncomplimentary to the horse, then gazed between Diaz and Jess. “I’m cursed,” he announced. “Do ye suppose when God drew the plans for Broom here, He said, ‘Why not make its legs all different lengths?’”      
“This is not just a lariat,” Diaz said, pointedly continuing his gentle instruction to the young Paiute girls which Taggart had interrupted. “It is a lasso; it has a knot that holds a circle . . . a running noose,” he explained to the girls, “a honda. The Spanish word for a simple rope is la reata, but for years the American vaqueros have called it ‘lariat.’ When it is made to hold a loop, it is a lasso, though the vaqueros say both lariat and lasso.      
“Let me show you, señoritas,” Diaz offered as he uncoiled the lasso. “See? The lasso always has a loop, like the O in ‘lasso.’”      

Diaz let the straight end trail on the ground beside him and gripped the braided rawhide near his left hip. With his right hand he swung the loop over his head, adding slack, expanding the loop, as he took careful aim at Taggart. “Don’t move none, amigo,” Diaz instructed.      

Young Mattie and Grace both giggled, and Jess pressed her knuckles over her mouth.      

Taggart propped  a fist on  his knee.  “Ye think I’ll sit by while  I’m  roped by the likes  of ye?  You’d sooner find me riding  Broom over a pitted  roach with a  horseshoe in my britches—”      

The rope fell neatly around him, not even brushing his hat.      

Grace climbed over the corral fence and hurried to Diaz.      

Here’s the Whole Lot of Fun question: What do you think young Grace asks Diaz? (Hint: It makes Taggart roll his eyes even more than getting roped!)      

You see? Shakespeare had it right— Passion, Troubles, and a Whole Lot of Fun. It’s a great combination.      

If you’d like to see the book trailer videos for The Sierra Chronicles books one and two, Love’s Rescue and Hope’s Promise, lope over to:

There you’ll also get to read the blurb for The Sierra Chronicles book three, Faith’s Reward, which will be available in January 2011.    

Also, visit to view an extensive list of Western and Prairie Romance Authors and their recent and upcoming releases, complete with links to their log homes on the Web!

Thank you for whiling a bit of time with me! I look forward to seeing what you all dream up as possible answers to today’s questions!    

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16 thoughts on “Passion, Troubles, and a Whole Lot of Fun by Tammy Barley”

  1. Firstly, I am so glad HOPE’S PROMISE is out. I really enjoyed LOVE’S RESCUE and have been waiting impatiently for book two.

    Question 1 – Jesse lifted her face and said “If you think I appreciate that, think how much more appreciative I’d be if you didn’t throw your clothes on the floor.”

    Question 2 – She saw Jake kneeling at a fresh grave near the grave of his wife and daughter.

    Question 3 – Mr. Taggart, will you sit very still so I may try to lasso you, too?

    Good luck with the release of HOPE’S PROMISE. I can’t wait to read it.

  2. Hi Tammy, so glad you’re here blogging with us today. Your new book looks wonderful. Sounds like my kind of story. Nothing is better than blending passion, trouble and fun. That’s a sure recipe for an awesome story.

  3. Thanks, Tammy for stopping by. You certainly are a busy lady, but I’ve found out that many writers are moms, wives, sisters and friends, while writing pretty awesome books. Life certainly doesn’t stop because you have a deadline, so kudos for those gals (and guys) who are creative and do what they love, along with raising a family and being there for friends. Your questions are fun, and as an author, my mind is going crazy with some of my answers. I’m eager to see what others post, so I’ll be checking back later. How much fun! Thanks again, Tammy for a great post chocked full of inspiration, and best of luck with your new release. Hugs from Texas, Phyliss

  4. Have not had the pleasure of reading your books, but they do sound fascinating.
    Q1: After you pick up after yourself, you can come over her and I will show you how much I appreciate you.
    Q2:Hmmm I do not know…
    Q3:I like Patricia B’s answer about asking for a turn too! 😀
    No matter what the real answers are, this was fun!

  5. Oh, this book sounds ever so good.

    Q1 Jess lifted her face. . . . returning a sly grin she said, “Now you may pick that shirt up and put it where it belongs.

    Q2 An image flashed through her mind. . .of a loved one laying cold in a coffin.

    Q3 I believe she asked him for a kiss.

  6. Happy Saturday, wonderful gals! It’s great to see you!

    Patricia, I’m so delighted you enjoyed Love’s Rescue! Great answers to the questions! You gave me a couple of chuckles. =)

    Linda, thank you so much for having me here! I love this blog–one of the funnest on the Net!

    Phyliss, you are so right–the more experiences, the better to write about, my dear. =)

    Colleen, your answers also gave me a chuckle! Thank you for playing–excellent guesses!

    Abi, wonderful answers. You definitely have the heart of a romantic . . . with great humor thrown in. =)

    I’m in the North Woods over the weekend feeding my mom’s deer (including twin fawns!), but they do have mail delivery here and–best of all–Internet! Wow! I’ll be checking back frequently. Can’t go too long without romance, trouble, and a whole lot of fun. =)


  7. Answer #1: You’ll change your mind when you find
    you have no clean shirts to wear!
    Answer #2: She thought of and saw an image of Jake.
    Answer #3: Where do you find a pitted roach to ride
    Broom over?

    Thanks, Tammy. I won a copy of Love’s Rescue last
    year and enjoyed it very much. I look forward to
    reading Love’s Promise!!

    Pat Cochran

  8. thanks for coming by!
    love the Love’s Rescue cover
    #1–“actually I meant it drives me insane when you throw your laundry on the floor! please put it in the hamper.”
    #2-“the vision of a falcon flying on the wind”
    #3-lol–i like pat’s answer–but maybe “what is a pitted roach to ride a broom over” 🙂

    fun game!

  9. #1 Jessie lifted her head and said, “Just wait untill the pants hit the floor….”

    #2 Jessie saw an image of soaring to heaven with Jake.

    #3 Pehaps we could toss him head first over the saddle and see if the ride is smoother!

  10. Great post! Your book sounds like a wonderful read and I would love to read it! You would be a new author to me. I love everyones answers.

  11. Happy Sunday, gals! I tried to post earlier, but Internet is intermittant here in the North Woods (though I did get to hand-feed some really cute chipmunks earlier!).

    Pat, Tabitha, and Connie–Your answers have given me a couple of great ideas for the next book! LOL! =)

    Hi Quilt Lady! Yep, I’m enjoying everyone’s answers too. I’m so glad you stopped by. =)



  12. Howdy, fillies! I’ve been away in the North Woods (at a family reunion the likes of which we haven’t had in thirty years–wow!), so I’m definitely on ranch time with picking a winner and providing the answers (though many of yours are just as fabulous)! Here we go!

    Answer one, Passion:
    He gave her his slow, crooked grin as he rounded the bed and approached. “My throwing my shirt on the floor? Apparently it makes you sway on your feet in appreciation. I’ll have to do that more often.”
    Jess lifted her face and matched his smirk. “Only if you’re fond of picking them up again.”

    (You’ll have to read the book to see how this scene turns out!)

    Answer two, Troubles:
    An image flashed through her mind—the ranch, only not as they left it. Where the workshop, supply shed, and stable had once sat, large black smudges marred the ground. Eerie dread filled her at the vision, and at the realization that though she could see the ranch compound, she heard no wind, no movement, no sound at all.
    A flash of daylight, then Jess felt sharp rocks beneath her back and smelled the pungent tang of gun smoke. Pain seared her right arm. Beside her, its neck bearing a bullet hole and spattered with blood, her horse thrashed once more then lay still.

    Answer three, A Whole Lot of Fun:
    Taggart propped a fist on his knee. “Ye think I’ll sit by while I’m roped by the likes of ye? You’d sooner find me riding Broom over a pitted roach with a horseshoe in my britches—”
    The rope fell neatly around him, not even brushing his hat.
    Grace climbed over the corral fence and hurried to Diaz. “Can I rope Taggart next?”


    Several of you pretty much nailed those answers–that tells me y’all know all about Passion, Troubles, and a Whole Lot of Fun! Since all of y’all (that’s “you all,” plural) either guessed or commented, I’m drawing one of your names at random to win a copy of Hope’s Promise!

    Hang on–I’m drawing a name.

    And the winner is–
    Tabitha! YEAH!!!

    Tabitha, e-mail me with your address at tammy(underscore)barley(at)hotmailDOTcom, and I’ll send you an autographed copy of Hope’s Promise!

    Everyone–thank you for playing, and for enjoying the game and the weekend with me! See you next time!


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