There Really IS A Ballad…

Emma frontIf you’ve read my new historical, THE BALLAD OF EMMA O’TOOLE, you already know about that obnoxious ballad.  It was penned by news reporter Hector Armitage, a conniving little weasel of a man who just may be my all-time favorite villain.  Written as part of a scheme to promote Hector’s journalistic career, it does the 1880’s version of going viral and makes poor Emma, who only wanted to marry her sweetheart, a national celebrity.

Hector wasn’t much of a poet.  Neither am I.  But that’s all right because the ballad is pure doggerel—cheesy, sentimental and annoying.  I had SO much fun with it.  Here’s a sample.




On an April night when the stars were out.   And the moon shone like a jewel,

Billy John Carter spilled his red, young blood   For love of Emma O’Toole, oh yes,

For Love of Emma O’Toole.


The gambler’s gun was cold, hard steel.   The gambler’s heart was cruel,

A bullet blazed, a young man fell,  The lover of Emma O’Toole, yes…

The lover of Emma O’Toole.


The jury read the verdict out.  The judge he made his rule.

The gambler would to prison go   Or marry Emma O’Toole, oh yes,

Or marry Emma O’Toole.


“And will you wed this man?” he asked.   She answered calm and cool.

“My lover’s lying in his grave,   So I must,” said Emma O’Toole, oh, yes,

“I must,” said Emma O’Toole.

There are more verses throughout the story—some written by Hector, others that appeared after the ballad took on a life of its own.  When I turned the book in I was half-expecting my editors to take it out.  But they loved it and left it in.

As for Hector, by the time the book was finished I’d grown so fond of him that I couldn’t kill him off at the end.  But never fear, he does get his just desserts.  Well-deserved punishment for crimes that should include writing bad poetry.

Do you have a favorite villain, either in one of your own books or in someone else’s?

Here’s a purchase link to the book.

And now, dear friends, I bid you a brief farewell as I ride into the sunset.  Changes in my writing career are taking me away from Wildflower Junction and this wonderful group of women and readers.  But I promise to drop by, and I’ll be here as a guest in January.  Happy Trails.

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23 thoughts on “There Really IS A Ballad…”

  1. I certainly want to read about Emma O’Toole! I am always thrilled when the bad guy gets his just reward, but the bad guy does make things interesting. The banker in When Mountains Move was a character I couldn’t stand and boy, did he get his!!! Good luck on your next venture, Happy Trails!

  2. Wishing you well in wherever you are headed!
    That ballad is just delightful. 🙂 I can’t wait to read it in the book. I can’t think of a villain that I like, but I do know there have been a few who just couldn’t make me hate them. lol

  3. Thanks for the good wish, Melanie. Hector is a real snake-in-the grass. I didn’t make the decision to save him until the last chapter. Then I just couldn’t do it. He was so much fun tow write. Haven’t read When Mountains Move, but it sounds like something I’d like. Will watch for that one.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  4. You can tell from the previous message that I haven’t had my coffee (or maybe I just need to clean my glasses). Too bad our site doesn’t have spellcheck!

    And thanks for the sendoff, Susan P. I will miss readers like you and being a part of this wonderful group. But will definitely be back to visit. Hope you enjoy Emma and the rest of the ballad.

  5. Is it just me, or does your cover model bear a striking resemblance to Amy Adams? Really a lovely cover.

    You will be dearly missed, Elizabeth. Please come back for frequent visits. We love you and wish you all the best with your new direction.

  6. The Ballad of Emma O’Toole is on my tbr list.. Good luck to you Elizabeth. And I am sure we will see you around..

  7. Elizabeth, I’m so sad to see you go! You’ve been a great filly sister. One of the best. And you write the most interesting blogs. I’m glad you promise to come visit often. Already looking forward to January.

    That ballad sounds like so much fun to write and what an addition to the story. I have this book on my Kindle but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. It’s at the top of the list though.

    Wishing you tons of success and much happiness!

  8. Thanks, Sherri. Always nice to have you drop by.

    Amy Adams? It certainly could be, Karen. I’ve also had a couple of people say she looked like Nicole Kidman. Really would love to see this book as a movie…

    Thanks, Kathleen. I love this community too much to just walk away. I’ll be joining the ranks of readers. Hope you enjoy the book. My love is in every page of this one.

    Linda, you are the best. It’s been such a privilege to get to know you. Very glad you’re staying here where I can check in on you. Redemption is on my kindle, waiting to be read and enjoyed.

  9. Elizabeth, love your cover and the ballad, too! Wishing you continued success in your new endeavors. We’ll miss you so hurry back for a visit and let us know when your future books come out!


  10. Elizabeth, best wishes on your new adventure. You will be greatly misssed. As far as favorite villians, I’m a Darth Vader fan. Oh, yeah, I’m a sci-fi geek. 😉

  11. Thanks, Margaret. It was a hard decision to leave. I will miss all of the fillies. FYI, my January book will be a Desire, THE NANNY’S SECRET, set in Colorado, to be followed by another historical, THE COUNTESS AND THE COWBOY, currently in progress.

    I will miss you, too, Connie, and all our wonderful readers. Love the little photo–assuming it’s your family?

    Darth Vader is great, Renee. I’m sure you’ll agree that what makes him unforgettable is not that he’s big and scary, but that there’s a story behind what made him who he is.

  12. Sob, Elizabeth, the Junction won’t be the same without you. So glad you are gonna visit us and keep in touch. I think the ballad and Hector sound absolutely irresistible. How clever are you! I actually created my favorite villain. I needed outlaws in Marrying Minda, so the Ahab Perkins gang was born. He doesn’t have a role in that book, but he’s a baddie in Christmas for Ransom and his little sister is the heroine in Outlaw Bride (it’ll come out at Christmastime.) But I love bad boys turning good, so he has his very own story in Outlaw in Love where he’s all reformed and trying not to fall in love with a woman he thinks is a nun. It was such fun giving him his own story and redemption and will be out in 2014.

    Ps. Yes, to Amy Adams.

  13. I won’t be the same without the Junction, Tanya. Yes, I’ll definitely be back to visit. Can’t walk away from such good friends. Love you approach to the bad guy redeemed in your books–especially that the hero thinks he’s falling in love with a nun. Love it!

  14. I’m so excited to read this, Elizabeth! I just love your historicals and this sounds like a good one, cheesy ballad and all.

    All the best to you as you start a new adventure!


  15. Elizabeth, best of luck with your new direction in your career. I will miss your posts, but look forward to your visits.
    I like the sound of this new book. “Bad” poetry has its pace and in this case helped the story along. I can’t think of any particular villain that was a favorite recently.

    I look forward to reading this book and “seeing” you on your next visit to the Junction.

  16. It’s been great getting to know you, on Petticoats and Pistols, Patricia. I’ll definitely be dropping by and reading your comments. You always have something interesting to say. Take care.

  17. Hi Elizabeth! Better late than never–I’m so sorry to be getting here so late today. I want to wish you “happy trails” in whatever path you choose for your wonderful writing career! Take care, and keep in touch, for sure. You are a dear friend, and I wish you the best life has to offer. I can’t wait to get my copy of The Ballad of Emma O’Toole–I’m buying it in print. A KEEPER!
    Hugs to you,

  18. Elizabeth, so sorry to see you go. Seems so many are leaving. 🙁 I hate that. I love Pistols and Petticoats. it is a fun site You will be missed. I won this book so will have at least one of your books. Good luck on your new adventures. GOD bless you. MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

  19. Elizabeth,

    Best wishes! Hope you come back here to visit often.


    Hannibal Lector -Silence of the Lambs
    Dryden Kane- Anne Voss Peterson’s serial killer
    I agree with Darth Vadar- Star Wars

  20. Cheryl, you’ve been a special friend and I know we’ll stay in touch. I admire your writing, the things you to do help animals and your generous spirit. Hugs to you filly sister.

    Yes, this has been a tough turnover for the site, Maxie. It was a hard decision to go, because I love it here with the fillies and readers like you. Enjoy the book, and thanks for the sendoff.

    Thanks for the good wishes, Laurie. And your list of favorite villains is awesome. Way out of creepy little Hector’s class.

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