Hello all! I’m thrilled to be a guest here on P&P today. In particular I’d like to thank filly Donna Alward, my chapter mate in Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada – that’s ‘RWA by the C’ – for inviting me. This a great place for lovers of all things Western, especially romance cowboy style.
My debut novel, McShannon’s Chance, was released last winter by Bluewood Publishing. So how does a Canadian Maritimer end up writing a love story set in post-Civil War Colorado? Most people associate this part of the world with stories of adventure at sea, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that the Appalachians end with the hills that border Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, where my family has its roots. We have our own brand of mountain culture here, built around the same values that make up the code of the West – honesty, hard work, respect for the land. My parents grew up listening to the Carter family and Jimmie Rogers, and as a child I devoured my father’s collection of Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour novels. My heroes have always been cowboys.
My debut novel, McShannon’s Chance, was released last fall in print and as an e-book by Bluewood Publishing. It’s available from Amazon and Barnes&Noble as well. It tells the story of a mail-order marriage between troubled Civil War vet Trey McShannon and Beth Underhill, an independent, headstrong watercolor artist. Needing to marry to avoid being sent back East, Beth accepts Trey’s honest business proposal and soon finds herself drawn to the quiet young homesteader with a taste for Dickens and Walt Whitman and a way with high-strung horses. The attraction is mutual, but Trey has deep wounds to heal and demons to overcome before he can trust the woman who’s captured his heart with her courage and sass. Here’s an excerpt:
Beth turned to the store window and watched the man she’d agreed to marry walk toward her.
Twenty-seven years old, six feet tall, dark hair and eyes. She’d described herself to him in similar meaningless terms. She supposed he’d find them as inadequate as she did.
His rangy frame could have carried more weight, but he had the muscle of a man who did physical work. His long, quick stride suggested latent energy. The way he wore his faded jeans, collarless homespun shirt and battered cloth cap made her think he rarely dressed any other way. She would have guessed him to be over thirty; there wasn’t much of youth about him.
That impression didn’t change when he stepped into the store. Long, thick dark lashes shadowed his molasses-colored eyes, set deep under heavy brows. His straight, wayward, near-black hair needed a trim. The stubble on his angular jaw didn’t make him any less intimidating.
“Excuse me, Miss, are you Beth Underhill?”
He spoke coolly, almost to the point of curtness, with a bare hint of a drawl. Beth’s stomach jolted when their eyes met. She swallowed and caught hold of the edge of a shelf to stop herself from stepping back. Idiot, say something. When she found her voice, it sounded odd and distant to her ears.
“Yes. You must be Trey McShannon.”
I enjoyed seeing the world through Beth’s eyes because watercolor painting is a hobby of mine. I’m also a horse enthusiast, so Trey’s passion for Thoroughbreds was fun for me to write as well. The other major interest in my life is folk music, so the hero of the prequel to Chance, McShannon’s Heart, is a musician. Heart is in edits and will be coming out from Bluewood late this fall or early in the winter.
It’s been wonderful chatting with you today. Don’t forget to comment to be entered in the drawing for an e-copy of McShannon’s Chance. You can also catch up with me on my blog, A Chat with Jennie Marsland, and on my website, http://www.jenniemarsland.webs.com . I’d love to hear from you!