Jennie Marsland ~~McShannon’s Chance

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, . I’d love to hear from you!

Guest Blogger
Updated: September 6, 2010 — 12:02 pm


  1. I loved Mcshannon’s Chance! Your handling of the scenery was so rich and the story was just lovely. 🙂 Don’t put me in to win as I have my copy, and want someone else to enjoy this book!

  2. I have it too…and I’m with Nancy on the scenery. You paint with words as well as with a brush!

    Readers should definitely go to your site and check out your trailers! In particular, this one:


    Thanks for visiting with us today Jennie!

  3. Lilly (Nancy), Donna, hi! Guess we’re the early birds. Thanks for the kind words.

    As for painting with a brush, this time of year always puts me in the mood for that, especially once the leaves start to change. If only someone would legislate a 36-hour day!

  4. Please throw my name in the hat. Thank you!

  5. Hi Jennie, thanks for coming to blog. We love having you here. Loved your excerpt. It really hooked me. I love mail order bride stories. They’re so fun to read because you never know how the H/H will take to each other. That’s true with all romances but mail order bride stories have an extra element of suspense and mystery. Congratulations on your second release! I know you’re excited. Even though you’re in Canada you clearly have the cowboy culture down.

  6. Glorious cover, Jennie! So good to have you i Wildflower Junction today. My heroes have always been cowboys, too (along with firemen LOL) Any hot rangy guy with a taste for Whitman and Dickens along with high strung horses is the hero for m! oxoxo Best wishes with the book and for many more.

  7. I am always thrilled when I hear of more and more Canadian writers on these sites…Makes me proud to be a Canadian.
    Your book sounds delightful and I love the mail order bride theme….
    Good luck with your endevours and many more books to come..

  8. Hi Linda! Yes, I’m excited about my next release. The heroine is Trey’s sister, Rochelle, who goes to the Yorkshire Dales with her father when Trey joins the army. She thinks she’s leaving the love of her life behind her, but the local fiddle player wins her heart (I learned years ago about those musician types – my DH is one!) And I love mail-order bride stories too.

  9. Hi Kathleen, great to see a fellow Canadian here! Thanks for the kind words.

  10. Hi Tanya! I also think Trey is yummy. Give me a horseman any day, and if he has a literary bent, so much the better!

  11. This has to go on my to read list. It sounds great. I’d love a chance to win a copy.

  12. Thank you for sharing today! Your book sounds wonderful! It has been a while since I have read a mail order bride book… 😀

  13. Apple blossom, Cathy, Colleen, thanks for dropping by! Mail order bride stories strike a chord for all of us, don’t they? I can’t imagine marrying a stranger. We can’t help but admire their courage.

  14. I enjoy mail order bride stories!

  15. Sounds great, Jennie! I would love to read the work of a fellow Martimer and love your excerpt and know of others in my family who would love to read the entire book!

    Putting this on my must read list for the future even if I don’t get chosen to be the lucky winner!

  16. Hi Sarah, what part of the Maritimes are you from? My parents are from ‘the Valley’,I went to high school in Miramichi, NB, and I’m in Halifax now. Are you anywhere close?

  17. Jennie, thanks for droppin’ by for a visit at Wildflower Junction. Love the names you used in your book and the excerpts. It’s very obvious that you’re passionate about your writing and it shows.

  18. Thanks, Phyliss Miranda. I scrounge names anywhere I can find them. I once had a student named Trey, and McShannon is a name I found in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s journals. Beth is a name I’ve always liked.Glad you enjoyed the excerpt!

  19. I am in love with McShannon’s Chance. Great article, Jennie! Your picture looks wonderful.

  20. Hi Ann, great to see you here. The picture was taken in our back yard. It’s been a great summer for gardening here. Today is just a picture perfect fall day, and our dahlias and brown-eyed daisies and purple coneflowers are still colorful. With any luck, we won’t have a hard frost for two or three weeks yet. I love September.

  21. Hi Jennie!
    love that picture of you–makes you look so friendly and approachable 🙂
    LOVE your cover too–it’s so pretty

    i love the mail order bride set up–so exciting–the excerpt was great–you left me wanting a copy
    so i hopped on over to amazon and after reading your 5 star reviews added you to my “to buy” list…unless i’m lucky enough to win a copy–thanks for offering one!

  22. I love mail order bride books. I’d love to be a lucky winner of a copy of this book.

  23. Tabitha, thank you for adding me to your list! I really like the cover, too – isn’t that sky beautiful?

    Cathy Ann, thanks for stopping by. Good luck in the draw.

  24. Loved your book and the horses–hey, any man who’s good with high-strung fillies is a hero to me! Congrats on McShannon’s Chance.

  25. Hi Bev, Chance and Shiloh and Eve and Cheyenne didn’t know how good they had it, did they, lol! I liked writing Trey’s fillies, but his stallion, Flying Cloud, was my favorite. I didn’t know when I named him that there were real Thoroughbreds with that name, but it stands to reason. All the good names have been taken.

  26. This book sounds like just my cup of tea. Would love to read it.

  27. Jennie, McShannon’s Chance sounds like a wonderful story. And what a gorgeous cover. Best wishes for tons of sales! I don’t have a copy yet, so I would love to win one.

  28. Connie, Caroline, thanks for dropping in and for the good wishes. Good luck in the draw.

    It’s getting late here, so I’ll say goodnight. I’ll catch up with you all in the morning!

  29. Hi Jennie,

    McShannon’s Chance looks wonderful. I loved your excerpt. What woman wouldn’t want a hot hero who loves poetry and has a way with horses? He sounds like a dream…and I’m sure Beth is just the woman for him, too! Good to see you here!

    Cheryl P.

  30. This book sounds just wonderful, I’d love to win
    a copy!

    Pat Cochran

  31. Hello Cheryl and Pat,

    I’m working on my third book now, and I have four chapters of the fourth – it features Nathan Munroe, Trey’s nemesis from Chance – and I love all my heroes, but I think Trey will always have a special place in my heart. It takes a special combination of strength, patience and gentleness to work with Thoroughbreds, and he has it. And I find that impossible to resist. Of course, his touch of Cajun spice doesn’t hurt either!

  32. Avatar

    We love Nova Scotia and look forward to going back again some day. We lived in Colorado for three years and loved it. We now live about 35 miles from Carter’s Fold in NE Tennessee. Small world : )
    When you think think of it, it must have been difficult for people to get together in the 19th century West. It is easy to understand the large number of mailorder brides who traveled there. The lack of men in the East due to war casualties added to just the lack of women in the West and you had the perfect “market.” Thanks for the excerpt. Sounds like a good story.

  33. Hi Patricia,

    You’ve been to Nova Scotia? It is a small world. Glad you liked the excerpt. Supply and demand created some interesting circumstances, didn’t it?

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