E. E. Burke: A Bonfire, S’mores, and Eight Western Romance Tales

EE Burke headshot

We’re so delighted to have E.E. (Elisabeth) Burke come to visit. This lady knows more about steam engine trains and Kansas history than anyone I know. She’s written a whole series around trains and is in the middle of a bride train series about mail order brides. She’s a fantastic, award-winning writer of historical western romances. Please make her welcome.



What’s more fun than a bonfire and s’mores? Having a sizzling story to read while you’re enjoying the fall foliage. How about eight sizzling tales from the Old West?

I’m delighted to be part of a multi-bestselling author publishing project, HEARTS ABLAZE, a collection of eight Western historical romances set during the autumn months and blazing with passion and adventure. This set is available on Oct. 18 for just 99 cents, but you can preorder it now. Here’s the link: http://amzn.to/2ek7pL6!!


When the eight of us first came together to work on this project, we quickly realized we had something very special–a collection that represented the varied and vibrant tapestry of the Old American West. From the wild Pacific forests to the lonesome prairies, on wagon trains and at frontier outposts, you’ll fall in love with lumberjacks and soldiers, trailblazers and trick riders, courageous warriors and rugged cowboys.


For my part, I’m re-releasing an updated version of my debut novella, KATE’S OUTLAW, which is set against a historic railroad race. The race took place primarily in 1870, when two railroads were laying track through Kansas as fast as they could to be first to reach the border of Indian Territory (modern day Oklahoma). Congress had promised the winning line free land and the exclusive right to pass through Cherokee lands into cattle-rich Texas.  The owners were ambitious men willing to do just about anything to secure the prize. Spies, saboteurs and even outlaws disrupted the competition and turned the contest into a battle.


Most of the activity took place in southeastern Kansas in an area dubbed the Cherokee Neutral Lands because it was supposed to serve as a buffer between white settlers and the Indian Territory. As early as 1850, whites began to settle there, and by 1865, shortly after the Civil War, thousands of immigrants were pouring in.

The Tsa-la-gi (Cherokee) people had suffered setback after setback. Thirty years earlier, their homelands in the Southeast had been taken from them and they’d been forcibly marched west and relocated. They’d been dragged, divided, into the Civil War, and subsequently lost more land as a result. By the time the Katy showed up on their doorstep, they were sick and tired of the white men’s lies and broken promises.

The 1866 treaty gave one railroad the right to pass through their territory, but said nothing about giving land away, so when Congress promised free grants to the railroad, the Cherokee Nation objected—strenuously. A bitter lawsuit ensued. How the poor Indian nation paid for this legal battle isn’t mentioned, but I came up with a few theories, which led to my idea for Kate’s Outlaw.

heartsablazecoverIn the meantime, the Katy Railroad struggled to keep building so it didn’t go bankrupt after exhausting most of its resources to win the race. The line eventually crossed the Red River into Texas and became, for a time, a thriving railroad.

Today, the Katy no longer exists and portions of its rail bed have been turned into scenic hiking and biking paths. The Cherokee Nation has survived and thrived, ironically adapting to modern times much better than the railroad it challenged so many years ago.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Hearts Ablaze and check out my updated version of Kate’s Outlaw, along with seven other tales from bestselling authors.

In Whispered Love, bestselling author Kathleen Ball takes you to the wild Pacific Northwest, a land bristling with handsome, well-muscled lumberjacks. Foreman Samuel Pearse has only one rule; no women allowed. Until he finds one asleep in his bathtub—Pat Clarke, the company cook. With her secret revealed and her virtue at stake, Pat turns to the only man who can help her…the one man who sets fire to her heart.

The Officer and the Bostoner, from USA Today bestselling author Rose Gordon, follows the adventures of a well-to-do lady traveling cross-country to meet her intended. Instead, she finds herself stranded at a military fort and forced into an unwanted marriage. Can a hot-blooded officer spark love in his wife’s cold heart?

Fools Rush from USA Today bestselling author Ciara Knight. A young woman, desperate for independence from all men, embarks on a crazy cross-country wagon train adventure disguised as a man. Instead of finding her independence, a bounty hunter captures her under the guise of horse thieving, a crime punishable by hanging. Will a man she’s lied to for months save her, or will he surrender her to a monster with a badge?

Ridin’ For A Fall by Kirsten Lynn immerses you in a fiery tale of forever love. When circumstances force best friends and Wild West Show performers, Lena Boden and Kyle Allaway to marry and return to Wyoming, they must stand together against internal doubts and external forces seeking their destruction—or risk a fall that will knock them out of the saddle for good.

In A Warrior’s Heart, bestselling author Amanda McIntyre brings to life the passionate story of a bold Cherokee warrior and the brave white woman he rescues from certain death. Thrown together by circumstances not of their own making, they overcome betrayal and tragedy to find a love strong enough to bring nations together.

The Rancher, by bestselling author Hildie McQueen, transports readers to 1870s Montana Territory and into a sensual encounter between an injured rancher and a woman running for her life. Sometimes love enters at the worst moment…

In The Drifter, bestselling author Elizabeth Rose takes readers on an epic journey across the plains, as drifter Chase Masters shows up wounded at Nessa Pemberton’s stagecoach relay station mistaken as the bandit who killed her husband. Can a single mother learn to love again and put her trust in a man who is nothing but a drifter?


hb-partyJoin the party!

On Thursday, Oct. 20, from 6-10 p.m. Eastern, we’re rounding up lovers of Western historical romance for a big party on Facebook to celebrate the release of Hearts Ablaze.

Joining as hosts:  E.E. Burke, Hildie McQueen, Amanda McIntyre, Kathleen Ball, Rose Gordon, Ciara Knight and Elizabeth Rose. We’ll be turning up the heat (on each other), and providing readers with excerpts, fun facts, Flash giveaways, and a drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card!

Hope you can make it! Here’s the link to RSVP and join the partyhttp://bit.ly/HeartsAblazeParty

What are some of your favorite characters in Old West stories? Cowboys? American Indians? Soldiers? Outlaws? Tell us why.

Today we’ll be giving away a FREE boxed set to a lucky commenter.

About E.E. Burke:

Weave together passionate romance and rich historical detail, add a dash of suspense, and you have books by bestselling author E.E. Burke. E.E., also known as Elisabeth, has earned accolades in regional and national contests, including the RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart®. Over the years, she’s been a disc jockey, a journalist and an advertising executive, before finally getting around to living the dream–writing stories readers can get lost in.

Find out more at E.E. website: http://www.eeburke.com

Sign up for her newsletter and start her Steam! Romance and Rails series FREE: http://bit.ly/SteamFreeBook

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45 thoughts on “E. E. Burke: A Bonfire, S’mores, and Eight Western Romance Tales”

  1. EE, this boxed set sounds so wonderful, I’m excited to read your revised Katy’s Outlaw. I love it the 1st time, so I know I’ll love it even more the 2nd time. This truly sounds like an amazing set of books you ladies have created.
    My favorite characters in the old west would have to be Indians & Cowboys. Of course add to that a strong-willed stubborn lady. You have a wonderful day.

    • Hey there Tonya! I’m so glad you stopped by today. I can always count on support from my fellow Kansan. 🙂 I can’t wait for you to check out the updated version of Kate’s Outlaw. I’ve added some content and tweaked the story a bit, and improved it, I think.

      I love all these characters because they make up such a varied and interesting cast. I hope you’ll check out the boxed set, and let me know what you think.

    • Whoo hoo! I’m pleased to say the set is up at Amazon and available for preorder: http://amzn.to/2ek7pL6

      I’ll add links from other stores as they go live.

      What an exciting day for us!

      I’ll admit, when I started writing stories set during the Railroad Era, I had no idea people would be so interested! Then I watched the TV series, Hell On Wheels, and I knew I wasn’t the only one getting caught up in the passion and ambition of this explosive period in the nation’s history. As I read about the railroad expansion in all directions west, and the cutthroat races between powerful rivals, the stories came alive and the colorful characters just leapt off the page. My fictional characters represent some of these people, and some of the actual characters in the day I’ve fictionalized and put into the story. I love researching history (because I’m a history geek) and weaving it into the fictional romance story. When people write and say they’ve learned something new and interesting, as well as falling in love with the characters, that makes my day!

      Thanks, Linda and all the other “fillies” for hosting me here today. I adore this blog, and whenever I read the posts, I always learn something new.

      • Hi Elisabeth, it’s great to have you back! I’ll get your link added in just a minute. I know I’m going to have to have this boxed set. And it’s so cheap! My goodness, girl! And I love the history you put into Kate’s Outlaw. I’m sure that was really a cutthroat time. After watching Hell on Wheels, I saw the lengths those railroad companies would go to in order to win.

        Wishing you tons of success!

  2. I have read two books by EE Burke and thoroughly enjoyed them both I have Kate’s Outlaw and will be starting it soon. I enjoyed Victoria and Maggie’s story so well that I had to order the print versions for my bookshelf. I love the historical stories with Indians but I’ll not turn down a good cowboy I especially love the ones when the cowboy is an outlaw and turns straight for the love of a good strong woman

    • Hi Glenda! I’m so glad our mutual friend Tonya introduced us. I was thrilled and honored to see your post about ordering paperback copies of Victoria, Bride of Kansas and Santa’s Mail-Order Bride! I hope you’ll enjoy Kate’s Outlaw, too. Best of both worlds. He’s Indian who dresses like a cowboy, and he’s an outlaw, too. As for being redeemed by the love of a strong woman…well, you’ll have to read the book and find out. 🙂

  3. I love everyone associated with the West. It made it unique and the stuff for legends. If I had topick one, I would pick the cowboy. Great post. I love trains and we try to ride them whenever we can.

    • You and I agree, Debra. I love all these characters, and more, who made up the cast in Old West. They’re fascinating individuals and the REAL stories are so amazing I couldn’t make them up if I tried! We’ve got a couple cowboy stories in the set. I hope you’ll check it out.

      Here’s a link to Amazon where you can preorder: http://amzn.to/2ek7pL6
      The set comes out on Oct. 18.

  4. So excited, I love box sets! My favorite characters – can I like them all? I’m not a fan of mean characters, unless they get their comeuppance in the end! I love a strong cowboy, a brave Indian, a caring soldier, a sassy outlaw, a solid rancher, a prayerful leader, and a sexy lawman! These are the characters who built the wild west and paved the way for us.

  5. Oh gosh, Elisabeth! I have to say the cowboy wins out. Then the outlaw. I just love reading about men who set high marks and rode through hell to win a fight. Here’s a few favorite old west characters. I loved James West in Wild, Wild West. Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke. Jake Harkner the outlaw in Rosanne Bittner’s series. Cullen Bohannon in Hell on Wheels. Jess Harper in Laramie.

    It’s great fun talking about characters from the old west.

  6. Welcome back to Wildflower Junction, Elisabeth. Always nice to see you here! For my favorite western hero, I would have to say the cowboy.

    Your story and the entire boxed set sounds wonderful!

    • Love me some cowboys! Thanks for letting me visit at the junction, Kathryn. I love being on this blog, always so much fun. Great hosts and great readers. 🙂

  7. Sounds like a fabulous set! I adore western stories and mostly the cowboys and outlaws in them. I can’t quite pick out why, maybe it is the fact I grew up on a farm and still live in the country. Can’t wait to read this set!

  8. Outlaws because in the movies they got away with everything but in reality most were caught months or years after the crime. yes a few got away with what every they did.

  9. E.E., I’m so excited to be a part of this boxed set with you and the other amazing authors. This truly offers something for everyone.

    Of course, you’ve gotta love those cowboys of the Old West, but there are so many amazing individuals who added a touch of color to the landscape. I love the women who stepped out of the box and blazed their own trail.

    • Thanks Kirsten! I’m really excited to be working with you, too! I agree how many interesting characters there are who were part of settling the Old West. In fact, I don’t think I’ve written about an actual cowboy yet, and I’ve written nine books! I also admire the strength of the women. They were the ones who really settled the West. 😉

  10. Hi Elisabeth! So good to have you here with us at P&P! This set looks absolutely wonderful! I can’t wait to lay my hands on my set of these fantastic reads. Boxed sets are a lot of fun.

    I love the old west, period. Just the characters–be they cowboys, outlaws, lawmen, Indian scouts…whatever–they all hold my interest and I can’t wait to see what’s going to come next for them.

    Being born and raised here in Oklahoma has been a great gift for me. The history is so rich. Lots of great family stories to draw from. I can’t wait to read Kate’s Outlaw and the other stories in HEARTS ABLAZE.

    Loved this post of yours, and I’m going to jump over and snap up my fantastic boxed set. I am really excited about this set–such a variety of authors, and stories.

    • Many thanks, Cheryl, for your kind words and your purchase. I hope you enjoy the stories. It’s funny how when we put them together, we realized we had a rich tapestry of stories that represented various locations and characters from the Old West. I’m with you. I love the period and all these wonderful characters. I love reading about them and writing about them. Your books really bring the period alive and the Oklahoma setting is just brimming with history. I get jealous sometimes of authors living in Oklahoma and Texas, but then I realize Kansas as an equally rich history in its own right. The frontier started here! (I’m including Missouri because I live on the state line!)

  11. E.E.,

    When I was a kid, I saw “How the West was Won” at the Cinerama in Denver, Colorado. (The Cinerama was the IMAX of its day.) While I was enthralled with the movie from the white water rafting adventure to the gunfight on the train at the end, two other scenes made a lasting impression on my ten-year-old imagination.

    1. Richard Widmark standing on the front of the train (cow catcher) as the train rolled right toward me in my theater seat and 2. the buffalo stampede through the railroad town.

    These two railroad scenes opened up a world of curiosity to learn about the history of the railroad heralded in the settling of the west, and I haven’t stopped researching yet.

    I’ve pre-ordered this set, and I’m looking forward to reading the stories.

    • Kaye, I LOVED that movie as a kid. I’ve watched it over and over again. You’re right, those railroad scenes are phenomenal. And I love all the varied characters. A sweeping saga of the Old West. Thanks for stopping by and thank you bunches for ordering the set. I hope you enjoy it!

  12. I love cowboys and Indian’s, and soldiers in the old west. Love the historic way that authors can blend the romance with the life back then.
    Keep up the great stories.

  13. Hi Elisabeth! I can’t name a favorite. I love everything about the old west. I’ve signed up for the FB party, but would love to win the boxed set sooner..

  14. I love the cowboys of the old west. My father was always a big western fan and I was raised on western and I think that is why I love them so much today.

    • I’m not sure when my love of Westerns started. I think it was when I discovered Zane Grey. I just remember I couldn’t get enough! I loved all the old Western shows, too, and recall watching them with my family. Thanks for reminding me of the great memories!

  15. Hi! So glad I came over today to look at your post. Looks like some wonderful reading. For me, my hero in the Old West is the Old Scout of the Indian tribes — valued even over a chief, the tribe either lived or died by his observations and his care. Honest and caring to a fault, he fought only when he had to, was intone with nature and loved life. Definitely my hero. : )

    • Karen,

      I love your kind of hero! And I’m fascinated with Native American history. After researching about the Cherokee response to the expansion of the railroad, I knew I HAD to write this book. Thanks for stopping by today. Looking forward to hosting you Oct. 25 on Get Lost In A Story!

  16. I like all the characters you mentioned above. What is important is the way the author develops the characters. A poorly written indian or anyone else will not appeal to the reader. I want a “real” character with flaws as well as one who will
    do the right thing.

    • Oh, I so agree with you Patricia. That’s why I do lots of research into my characters and spend lots of time writing character sheets and trying to get to know the characters inside and out. They need to become real people to me, or they won’t be real to anyone else. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  17. I like all the characters you mentioned above. What is important is the way the author develops the characters. A poorly written indian or anyone else will not appeal to the reader. I want a “real” character with flaws as well as one who will do the right thing.

  18. I have always been enamored with the West. My favorites have always been cowboys but then I like soldiers as well.

    Your giveaway sounds wonderful. Thank you for the opportunity to win.

    Cindy W.

    • Cindy, I’m so glad you mentioned the soldiers. Based on what I’ve read, their lives involved long boring stretching interspersed with life-threatening danger. I often wonder what motivated them, or what circumstances led to their service. I’d like to know more about the soldiers, too.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  19. I like all kinds of western stories but particularly people starting out on a new life, new beginnings. I tend to gravitate to stories set in Oklahoma and Texas since that’s where my mom was born and grew up. I enjoyed your post about the railroads because I grew up hearing stories about the Katy from my grandfather who was born in Indian Territory, where his father and his father’s brothers had moved after the Civil War. The Katy line he talked about went straight through the various towns my family lived in. So, all kinds of bells went off when you mentioned the Katy. 🙂

    • Eliza,

      Oh how cool! You should love this Steam! series, then. It chronicles the birth and early growth of the Katy Railroad and includes lots of historical events and characters involved with that railroad (i.e., Fugitive Hearts has scenes taking place in Muskogee…what a wild town that was!) When you read the history of the Katy RR, you know why they called it the “Wild West.”

      Thanks for coming by and commenting!

      • Always a voracious reader, including Landmark history books for children back in elementary school, I chose English to major in and publishing for my career. But my love of history and research, and wanting to learn about family led to my being a genealogist for the past 25 years, so I think I’ve tramped over a goodly portion of Oklahoma (including Muskogee, not far from where Fort Gibson was). FWIW, my family is in the Cherokee and Choctaw rolls and in court records in Fort Smith, excellent sources. The Oklahoma Historical Society in OKC is first rate too. The Katy went through Tulsa, Muskogee/Fort Gibson, MacAlester, all the way to Durant near the Texas border.

        One of the smaller towns in between was Checotah. Wikipedia says this:

        “The Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad (also known as the MKT or Katy) established a railhead on the old Texas Road in 1872 that would become the site of present day Checotah. Although it was named Checote Switch for Samuel Checote, a later mapmaker spelled the name as Checotah. The town was chartered by the Creek Nation in 1893. The Dawes Commission held its first meeting here.”

        As it turns out, a town and township near here was named for my family, so we traveled many back roads as well, also finding an old school house also named for the family. It’s a ghost town now.

        As for the “Wild West” part? Of course it was because it wasn’t a US state, with Fort Smith being the nearest “civilized” town for all those Indians (I’m being sarcastic). Since it wasn’t a state under US law, people running from the law hid out in various Indian nations. Belle Starr hid the Daltons at one time not far from here.

  20. Oh wow, my favorite would be cowboys, then outlaws, however I love them all! I enjoy reading about the history of the western railroads, and I really enjoy your stories, thanks.

  21. Oh I hope it’s not too late for the drawing! This is my favorite time period, the 1800’s, although I am pretty sure I’d have a hard time living during that time, if I had to go back.

    My favorite character could be any of these four as long as they have integrity and treat people fairly. I guess that isn’t always the case, as I’ve read books where any of these could be a bad egg.

    Thanks for writing the post and offering the opportunity to win. Just learning about another author is great!

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