Excerpt Friday – Outlaw Bride

Welcome to Excerpt Friday!  Each Friday we’ll be featuring excerpts from recent releases by our very own Fillies.  So grab a cup of coffee and read on.  And if you find you’re hooked by what you read (and we know you will be!) just click on the book cover to purchase the entire book.

 

OutlawBride_w7701_300 (2)From Author Tanya Hanson – OUTLAW BRIDE

Instead of death or dust, Jessy Belle breathed in a man’s healthy sweat. And his strong, hard arms carried her over to a wagon where he plunked her down on a pile of blankets.

It felt good and safe but only for a flash. Where was she? What had he said? Oak Creek? Then she saw around her the glorious red rocks. She was still alive and still in Arizona.

Her heart skipped a beat.

So was Ahab.

Then it all came crashing back inside her head. No water. Her first fainting spell. Before that, almost dying at the end of a rope. Could this stranger be one of Ahab’s allies? They lurked everywhere.

Cleeland Redd. His name might well be an alias, that nun he mentioned a downright lie.

But this stranger was gentle, promising to keep her safe and murmuring she’d be all right. Ahab and his shameful pals had left her to die. And they had no use for gentleness unless, of course, they were charming a ring off a rich woman’s finger, four or five guns pointing at her head.

Well, she’d never done armed robbery. And she’d never killed.

Or whored.

But she had to admit to God Himself that she’d been a horse thief right along with Ahab and his gang.

For twelve years, she’d been a skinny kid with no choice. But she was a woman now. All that was over and done with.

“Take care, ma’am. Here’s more water. Get it down slow,” the man said softly. He swiped her arms and face again with his damp kerchief. “Got a name to tell me?”

Pretending to be weary, she avoided his eyes and shut her own. Not her real name anyway. Taking on an alias in a heartbeat was another thing Ahab had taught her. But this was the first time she had to consider such a thing dressed like a female. Her usual choice, Caleb Downs, wouldn’t do at all.

Instead, she picked Mary, another Bible name just like Ahab and Jessy Belle. Ma used to say those two had been a king and queen once upon a time. She’d always like being named for royalty and might as well pick the queen of heaven this time around.

But when she opened her mouth, no sound came out. Not even a squawk. Seemed the big brave men of Pioneer Meadows had taken her voice. Her hands flapped like the wings of a dying bird against her neck.

“Reckon your injuries have made you mute,” Cleeland Redd said, tying a big straw hat under her chin against the setting sun.

Jessy Belle considered the prospect. It was scary, not having a voice, but this way, she’d never have to answer to anybody. Right now, she was too tired and puny to invent a full-on sham, and she couldn’t very well tell the truth.

Playing forgetful was a right fine idea, too.

 

Vickie McDonough Rides Into the Junction!

 

Call Of The Prairie coverOld friend, Vickie McDonough, will gallop into the Junction on Saturday, February 1!

She’s a fan of Annie Oakley and will give us the lowdown on what she knows.

Before it’s all said and done we may all be sharpshooters! At least in our dreams. Ha, Ha!

Miss Vickie has a new book called CALL OF THE PRAIRIE.

And the best part is she’s toting two print copies to give away.

So, that’s the scoop. 

Get your rears over here come Saturday and join the chat.

 

First Modern Olympics included Guns and Whiskey, but No Gold

The Gun that Won the West…

 

With the capture of the Wild Bunch in 1896, gunfights in the Old West were winding down just as a different type of gun battle was heating up.  For that was the year the first modern Olympics were held in Athens, following a 1502 year hiatus.

American born John Paine convinced his gunsmith brother Sumner to enter the shooting competition with him. The two landed in Greece armed with an arsenal of weapons, including  colt revolvers and three thousand rounds of ammunition.

Like all American athletes, they were in for a shock.  Greece went by the Orthodox calendar which meant it was April 5th in Greece and only March 25th in America. Instead of having two weeks to prepare for competition, as planned, American athletes had only eight hours. Fortunately, that was all John and and his brother needed.

 …Also Won the Crown

 When the brothers were told that their Stevens 22s were “not usual” and inadmissible, the brothers switched to colt 45s. John easily won the military gun contest with his  colt.   In fact, he won so easily he thought it unsporting to continue and withdrew from the other events so as not to embarrass the host. (Can you imagine anyone doing that today?)  That left his brother to win the free pistol event, making them the first siblings to win medals in an Olympic event.

The brothers’ shooting skills were given less credit than the whiskey they sipped between rounds to relieve tension. Thinking booze would give them the winning edge, other marksmen started sporting flasks.

Since gold was considered “crass” first place winners went home with a silver medal and a crown of olive leaves.  I don’t know what John or Sumner did with their crowns, but the medal came in handy.

Several years later in 1901, Sumner found his wife in bed with his daughter’s music teacher.   He chased the man away with four pistol shots and was arrested for assault.  When the police learned he won an Olympic medal for shooting, they decided he must have missed on purpose and released him.

So are you planning to watch the Olympics this year?  What is your favorite Olympic sport?

Okay, here I go again; I’m not going to get hooked on the Olympics. I won’t. Absolutely not. This year I mean it.  Not going to do it.  Nope!

Kindle Special $2.99!

 Anything can happen when posing for Lucy–and not all of it good!

To order click cover

Lucy book cover

What Do You Look For in a Romance Novel?

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RITA AwardThe RITA Award is the premiere award given to romance novels each year and is sponsored by the Romance Writers of America (RWA) association. As a published member of RWA, I get to participate in the process as a judge. A couple weeks ago I received a box full of seven novels ready to be read. We are instructed to score the books in 4 major areas: The Romance, The Plot/Story, The Writing, and The Characters. I keep these elements in mind as I read, but truly what influences my score most of all is the experience I have as a reader.

If you read as much as I do, you’re bound to come up with some favorite elements. Perhaps a favorite type of heroine (feisty, bookish, tomboy, impulsive, etc.) or a favorite plot (marriage of convenience, beauty and the beast, Cinderella story, secret baby, etc.). You probably also have a few pet peeves. I, for example, am not a big fan of love triangle stories. I prefer my hero/heorine to have no other love interest competing for them while they are falling in love with each other. However, other readers might have this scenario on the top of their favorite plots list.

Reading is subjective. But that’s what makes it so fun. Everyone has their own preferences, and there are authors available to fit each reader’s list.

Since we focus on western romances here at the Junction, I thought I’d share some of my all-time favorite western romances (not including those written by my sister fillies – that would make this post waaaaay too long).

Favorite Christian Western Romances:

Redeeming LoveBride in the Bargain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite General Market Western Romances:

Texas Destiny Series
I loved this 3 book series – Texas Destiny, Texas Glory, and Texas Splendor
Another fabulous historical series - 4 books: The Man From Stone Creek, A Wanted Man, The Rustler, and The Bridegroom
Another fabulous historical series – 4 books: The Man From Stone Creek, A Wanted Man, The Rustler, and The Bridegroom
Jodi's Whispering Mountain series helped inspire my Archer brothers. Loved them all, but my favorites are the first 4 - Texas Rain; Texas Princess; Tall, Dark, and Texan; and The Lone Texan
Jodi’s Whispering Mountain series helped inspire my Archer brothers. Loved them all, but my favorites are the first 4 – Texas Rain; Texas Princess; Tall, Dark, and Texan; and The Lone Texan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any of Catherine Anderson's historicals. Her wounded characters always grab me by the heartstrings.
Any of Catherine Anderson’s historicals. Her wounded characters always grab me by the heartstrings.

 

So if you were a judge for the RITA contest, what elements would you be looking for?

 

What type of characters and plots are your favorite to read about?

 

What are some of your favorite western reads?

We Have a Winner!

banner 2Well, we have two winners, actually. 

My sincere thanks go out to all those who came here today and left a comment.  It was wonderful to see some of you, whom I haven’t corresponded with in a few years.  Really wonderful.

Okay, so names were written down and then were drawn at random and the winners of a free ebook are:  Joan Woods and Tina K.  Joan and Tina, if you could please email me privately at karenkay(dot)author(at)earthlink(dot)net — we’ll go over what ebook you might like, as well as what form you need it in.

Thanks again for all who came to the blog today.  What a pleasure.

THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, another excerpt

banner 2Howdy!

And a happy Tuesday to you!

Well, in celebration of my new ebook release (THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR), which is coming out on April 1, 2014, I thought I’d give away another ebook to some lucky blogger.  All you have to do to enter into the drawing is to click the comment button at the bottom — or the number of comments here at the top — to be entered in to the drawing.

AngelAndTheWarrior-The-CoverIsn’t this an awesome — and beautiful — cover?  I so love it that I have to keep posting about this book, if only to display this lovely cover.

So here is another excerpt — you might remember (if you come to this blog alot) that I also posted another excerpt from the book two weeks ago.

This is another excerpt…from a little further on in the book.

THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, by Karen Kay

Excerpt

He stared at her, and in his eyes, Angelia thought she saw a spark of…laughter? “After all, what trouble could there be, since a man and his wife are often seen alone together?”

Angelia wasn’t certain she had heard Swift Hawk correctly. “What was that again?”

He shrugged. “What?”

“What you just said.”

He gave her a perfectly innocent look and repeated, “Your brother is over by that ridge, trying to discover who trails him.”

“No, not that—that other thing.”

“You mean about my wife and I being alone?”

“That’s it. That’s the one. Your wife? You have a wife?” she asked, feeling more than a little confused.

He said, “Certainly I have a wife.”

She sent him a sideways scowl. “I don’t believe you. Where is this person?”

He grinned. “Right here beside me.”

“Wait a minute. How can I be your wife?”

“Very easily, I think.”

Angelia sat for a moment, dazed. How could this be? On one hand, she was cheered that Swift Hawk was, indeed, very much interested in her. On the other hand, she realized she should have been worrying less and practicing more of exactly what she should say to this man.

Was this what he’d meant when he’d said they belonged to one another? Marriage?

Aloud, she said, “Swift Hawk, have I missed something? I don’t remember a marriage ceremony between us.”

Swift Hawk frowned. “You do not remember? And yet recalling those moments we spent together is forever here.” He pointed to his head, and then to his heart.

“Moments? What are you talking about?”

“You do not remember.” He tsk-tsked.

Angelia grimaced, placing a hand on her forehead, as if to ease the spinning sensation. “There must be something here I don’t understand, because I don’t recall a thing.”

“Ah, then I should refresh your memory. But…surely you do not wish me to do this…” he made a mock glance around him, “…where others might overhear us, or see us.”

“Swift Hawk, please. Be serious.”

“I am.”

She shook her head. “Have you gone crazy?”

“Perhaps, for my wife treats me as though I am nothing more to her than a…” he drew his brows together, looking for all the world as if he were in deep thought, “…friend.”

“You are a friend.”

Haa’he, that I am…plus more. Now, I have something else to tell you, and for a moment, I would ask that we forget all this, switch our duties and I will be a teacher and you will be my pupil.”

“Why?” she asked, still feeling bewildered and having difficulty following his line of thought.

“Because I have a problem in mathematics for you.”

“Swift Hawk, please, we are not doing our lessons now. We are having a discussion about…about…”

Swift Hawk shrugged. “All right. If you do not wish to hear this problem, I will not bore you with it.”

Angelia blew out her breath. “Very well. Tell me.”

“No, I do not wish to disturb you with it…at least not now.”

She sighed heavily. “I’m sorry, all right? I… It’s only that you’ve said some things that have…surprised me, things I don’t understand, and frankly, you’re speaking about a subject that must be discussed by us in greater detail. But by all means, let me hear this problem that you have with mathematics first.”

He ignored the sarcasm in her voice and gave her a look that could have been innocent, but it wasn’t. Before she could decide what he was up to, he said, “Tell me, what is the result when you add a man, a woman, and a morning spent together in each other’s arms?”

“Shh. Swift Hawk. What are you doing? Say that quietly.”

“Very well.” Lowering his voice, he whispered, “What do you get when you add—”

“I heard you the first time. Swift Hawk, really, it…it…wasn’t like that… It was…” She stopped, for she seemed incapable of uttering another word.

Now was the time. Now she should tell him.

Angelia opened her mouth to speak, took a deep breath, then held it. How in the name of good heaven could she begin?

She shut her mouth, thinking, summoning her nerve to say what must be said.

Swift Hawk leaned in toward her. “Ah, I can see that you understand. Now you must observe that all of these things, added together, equals a marriage, does it not?”

“No, it—” Angelia shook her head, exhaling sharply. “It does not equal marriage. There was no ceremony.” She said every word distinctively. “But let’s not quibble. Not now. Not here, where we might be overhead. Besides, we forget that Julian might be in trouble. Now, if you would be so kind as to lead me to my brother, I would be much beholden.”

“How beholden?”

Angelia rolled her eyes. “Please, will you take me to him?”

“Yes, my wife,” said Swift Hawk seriously, though she could have sworn that a corner of his mouth lifted upward in a smile. “Truly, my wife, I will do anything you say.”

“Please, if you must say that, say it softly.”

“Very well.” Leaning up onto his elbows, Swift Hawk spoke quietly, for her ears alone, “Yes, my wife. I am yours to command, my wife.”

Angelia raised an eyebrow. “You are mine to command?”

“It is so.”

“Good. Then I command you not to speak to me of this again.”

Smiling, Swift Hawk inclined his head. “Very well. I will show you instead how eager I am to please you.” He held out a hand toward her.

Angelia rolled away. “Swift Hawk!” she uttered sharply, under her breath. “Stop this at once. Just…just take me to my brother.”

“Yes, my wife. Anything you say, my wife…”

 

THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR by Karen Kay

Coming from Samhain Publishing, April 1, 2014

http://store.samhainpublishing.com/angel-warrior-p-73302.html

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What Do Writers Do When They’re Not Writing?

IMG_20140110_200735What do writers do when they’re not writing? They hang out with other writers! This past month my local romance writer’s group hosted a small regional conference. With my deadlines coming closer together these days, I have less and less opportunity to attend our monthly meetings. In order to give back to the group, I decided to chair the conference committee.  It’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun as well. This year we invited members of two other groups in our region to attend. We hosted workshops, enjoyed some meals together, watched a movie, and generally had an awesome time. Our very own Mary Connealy and Renee Ryan were in attendance as well as former filly, Cheryl St.John.

I confess, I made my first slideshow for this post…fingers crossed that it actually works!

The movie we watched was ‘American Dreamer’ with JoBeth Williams from 1984. If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s darling. A housewife wins a writing contest and the grand prize is an all-expense-paid trip to Paris. En route she’s hit by a car, and when she wakes up, she believes she’s the main character in a romance novel.

We didn’t have the proper cables to watch the movie on the screen, so we turned our suite into a makeshift theater. We threw a blanket over the tv and used our projector hooked to the computer. Not an elegant solution, but it sure was a lot of fun.

 

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The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family is almost here! Available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. In February, look for the book on the shelf of your local Walmart The marshal's ready-made familystore. (Barnes & Noble and other retail outlets will order on demand. And if we demand enough, maybe they’ll even stock them!)

4 ½ stars from RT Magazine, Susan Mobley says, “A lovely marriage-of-convenience story, the interaction between the two main characters is a joy to start.”

Gentlemen don’t court feisty straight shooters like JoBeth McCoy. Just as she’s resigned to a lifetime alone, a misunderstanding forces the spunky telegraph operator into a marriage of convenience. Wedding the town’s handsome new marshal offers JoBeth a chance at motherhood, caring for the orphaned little girl she’s come to love.

Garrett Cain will lose guardianship of his niece, Cora, if he stays single, but he knows no woman could accept the secrets he’s hidden about his past. The lawman can’t jeopardize Cora’s future by admitting the truth. Yet when unexpected danger in the small town threatens to expose Garrett’s long-buried secret, only a leap of faith can turn a makeshift union into a real family.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy!

Elizabeth Lane: The Nanny’s Secret

 

Elizabeth LaneHi, Everyone!  It’s so good to be back among the Fillies, even for this short visit.  Leaving Wildflower Junction was something I needed to do.  But how I’ve missed the connection with these wonderful ladies and our readers.  All of you occupy a permanent place in my heart.

 

Among other things, I’ve been writing for the Harlequin Desire line.  Since my current release, THE NANNY’S SECRET, part of the Billionaires and Babies series, is set in a Colorado ski resort, it is a sort of Western.  Let me tell you a little about it.

 

There’s something about a new baby that inspires love and hope.  The first time that tiny hand reaches up to clasp your finger, you lose your heart.  My own firstborn son arrived a few days before Christmas.  He’s grown now, with children of his own, but I still remember the joy of bringing him home and the wonder of holding him in my arms.  He was so small and needy.  And as a new mother, I was so scared.  My then-husband and I were poor students, living away from home in a tiny trailer.  We had almost no money and I had no one to help me.  All the same it was a magical time.

 

The Nanny's SecretNot every baby is born under ideal conditions.  That’s what THE NANNY’S SECRET is about.  Little Mikey enters this world as the result of a teenage blunder.  Chloe, his unmarried sixteen-year-old mother loves him and wants to keep him, but she’s still a child herself.  Wyatt Richardson, his resort owner grandfather, is still young, virile and handsome and has no idea how to cope with a willful teenage girl and her newborn that his ex-wife literally dumped on his doorstep.

 

Enter an unlikely nanny, challenged with helping these three become a family.  Mary Poppins she isn’t.  In fact, her lack of experience with babies rouses Wyatt’s suspicions about her motives.  But her devotion to little Mikey and her determination to give him a good start in life go far beyond what might be expected of hired help.  Not only does she take care of Mikey-she does everything to make sure Wyatt and Chloe bond with the little boy.

 

Mikey’s sexy grandfather begins to see her as more than a nanny…much more.  But the beautiful Miss Leigh Foster is not what she seems.  The secret she hides is powerful enough to turn all their lives upside-down.

 

You can read the book to find out what it is-or get a sneak peek on my web site:  www.elizabethlaneauthor.com.

 

Click HERE to purchase From Amazon.

 

A word about upcoming projects-I’ll have another Desire coming out in June, and a Western historical, THE COUNTESS AND THE COWBOY (my title which I hope to keep), finished and with my editors.

 

For those of you who’ve been new mothers or caregivers to babies, I’d love to hear about your experiences.

 

Today I’ll be giving away a free paperback edition of THE NANNY’S SECRET to a reader who comments.

 

Thanks so much for having me as your guest today.

 

ELIZABETH

Excerpt Friday – A Cowboy Unmatched

Welcome to Excerpt Friday!  Each Friday we’ll be featuring excerpts from recent releases by our very own Fillies.  So grab a cup of coffee and read on.  And if you find you’re hooked by what you read (and we know you will be!) just click on the book cover to purchase the entire book.

MatchMadeInTexas-coverFrom Author Karen Witemeyer – A COWBOY UNMATCHED from the A Match Made in Texas collection
Neill took the third turnoff as instructed and guided the rented team over a narrow bridge which spanned one of the waterless gullies that must have inspired the town’s name. Spotting the widow Danvers’s windmill, Neill flicked the reins over the horses’ backs and urged them to a quicker pace. Harness jangled and wheels creaked, adding harmony to the rhythmic clacking of the windmill’s spinning blades as the house came into view.

Shack might be a better term. The weathered building listed to one side like a sapling buffeted by constant wind. The thing didn’t need a new roof. It needed to be torn down and completely rebuilt.

Too bad there weren’t any trees around. He might have been able to the shore the thing up a bit with some chinked logs, but all his wagon carried by way of supplies were shingles, a keg of barbed nails, a few rolls of roofing felt, cement paste, and a handful of  tools. Somehow he doubted he’d be able to do much with a hammer, jack knife, and cement brush. Maybe the late Mr. Danvers had some tools or scrap lumber Neill could put to use. He hated to think of some frail, gray-haired lady putting her foot through a rotted step or having part of a wall collapse on her. He wouldn’t mind spending an extra day or two out here making sure the place was habitable before he left.

Neill pulled the wagon to a halt and set the brake. “Hello, in the house!” he called as he climbed down from the bench. “I’m here to fix your roof.”

The door inched open far enough to allow the twin barrels of a shotgun to emerge through the crack.

“I don’t know who you are, stranger,” a feminine voice rang out, “but I made no arrangements for any roofing to be done. I’ll thank you to get back in your wagon and leave the way you came.”

Neill stilled. Mrs. Danvers sure held that gun with a steady grip for a widow lady. And that voice sounded none too frail, either. Neill raised his hands, the leather work gloves itching against his empty palms. He took one step back toward the wagon—and the rifle waiting beneath the driver’s seat.

“I was hired by someone in town, ma’am,” he explained. “They paid up front for the supplies and gave me instructions on how to get to your place. Unless you’re not Widow Danvers.”

The implied question hung in the air for several tense heartbeats. Finally, the shotgun lowered and the door opened wide enough to give the widow room to step through.

“I’m Clara Danvers.”

Three things registered in Neill’s mind simultaneously. The widow Danvers wasn’t old. She wasn’t frail. And she sure as shootin’ hadn’t been a widow very long.