New Release & Give-Away

Howdy!  Howdy!

Good morning, or evening!

Yes, indeed.  I have a new release out and it is book #4 in the new Medicine Man series.

And today, I’ll be giving away an e-book copy of the book to a lucky blogger.  Please leave a message.

As I often do when I have a new release out, I post an excerpt of the book, and I’ll be doing this today, also  Just as a mention, my respect for these two characters grew as the story progressed.  Both of them so different, yet both of them had so much respect for each other.

So the excerpt I’ll leave with you today comes at the very start of the novel, and is the Prologue.

 

This is the back blurb for the book:

A woman deserted.  A troubled warrior.  A passion denied. 

  1. When eighteen-year-old Czanna Fehér is forced to flee her home in Hungary, she journeys with her younger siblings and her father’s manservant to Montana in search of her cousin. Mourning for her recently deceased parents, she sings a prayer to the grand, Montana mountains.  From the first moment Stands Strong hears Czanna singing, he is transfixed.  When he meets her, he is captivated as much by her dark beauty as he is by her voice.

But, after the family’s hired guide steals their money and runs, her father’s servant leaves Czanna to go and serve justice to the man, leaving Czanna desolate and in charge.  Being of the gentry class in Hungary, Czanna knows she and her siblings cannot survive in this land without help.  When Stands Strong comes to her aid, she realizes she must trust this man.

Lakota born, though raised by the Blackfeet, Stands Strong descends from a long line of medicine men, but this legacy seems to have skipped over him.  Accepting this, he has become an expert scout.  But, when Czanna attempts to hire Stands Strong as their guide, offering him the “evil gold rock” as payment, he suggests marriage to him instead.  Czanna refuses him, even though the flame of love is burning heatedly in her heart.

Can two people from incompatible cultures ever come together?  Or are their star-guided paths meant only to briefly cross?

Warning:  A sensuous romance that might cause a desire to go West in search of love and adventure.

 

She Brings Beauty To Me

By

Karen Kay

PROLOGUE

Pest, Hungary

The Estate of József and Mária Fehér

Spring 1855

  

“Czanna, hurry.  There is no time to waste!”

“What is it, Frederic?”  Eighteen-year-old Czanna Fehér stepped from her bedroom into the grand hallway on the upper level of her family’s ancestral mansion.  By closing the heavy wooden door against her maid, who still lingered in the room, Czanna ensured her conversation with her brother would remain private.  It was important in these days after the Grand Revolution of 1848.  Even the walls had “ears.”  Indeed, since the revolution for independence had failed, their entire family was constantly on guard against spies.

Taking her brother’s outstretched hand, Czanna rushed with him down the hall, noticing details about the corridor she had always taken for granted: the white, gold-flecked marble flooring; the gold, woolen curtains and the gold hardware holding them in place; the white and gold tiles of the arched ceiling and the white columns with gold trim that supported them.

At the end of the passage loomed her favorite feature, though it stood more exactly outside the hallway.  There at the very end of the pathway stood a heavy gold-flecked glass door, opening up onto a balcony that supported a three-tiered fountain from which water fell down in every direction and at every hour of the day.  At the very top of the white fountain stood the statue of Dacso Fehér, one her noble ancestors.  And, there he reposed, captured in time, ever alert and ready to take action to defend his home, should there be a need.

Yet, she had only a moment to admire the grand walkway and its balcony because Frederic was ushering her toward the third-floor study, a room where they had often played in their youth.  He opened the door, closing it as they both hurried past the large rectangular desk that stood so stately upon a wall-to-wall woolen rug of blue and gold.  Her brother didn’t hesitate in his movements, ignoring the alcove overlooking the estate and guiding her into a corner of the room.  There he paused, and, since Frederic was acting in so clandestine a manner, Czanna prayed the acoustics of the spot would keep their conversation from being overheard.

As soon as they were both seated in the blue-and-gold chairs and were facing one another, she asked, “What has happened?”

Frederic looked cautiously around the room before he murmured, “Our parents have been arrested and are awaiting trial.”

“Arrested?  Awaiting trial?  Surely you jest!”

“I do not,” he said.  “Indeed, it is true.  There is even talk of hanging them both for their part in the rebellion of 1848.”

“No!  It cannot be true!  The new government would never go so far as to arrest a nobleman and his wife.”

Frederic reached out and took Czanna’s hand into his own as though to comfort her.  But, such consolation lasted only a moment before his gaze bore into her own, and he said, “I fear it is no lie.  Now, listen to me carefully.  Someone—and we don’t know who—has reported our parents as part of the noblemen who helped Lajos Kossuth when he was in power in 1848.  As you know, his followers, save some who escaped, have either been imprisoned or executed.”

“No!”  Czanna let out a scream.

“Sh-h-h.  Do not cry out again, Czanna.  Now, listen and hear me well.  I am working with others who supported the Kossuth revolution; we are planning to make an appeal to Emperor Franz Joseph to free our parents.  I believe we will be successful.  But, you must remain strong as I tell you this next part: our entire family, including you and me as well as our little brother and sister, could be hung along with our parents if the appeal does not go well.”

Czanna gasped.  “But, I thought the new government had proclaimed they would support the idea of freedom for all, including all those who supported the 1848 Revolution.”

“Although there is talk of this, it is not true,” replied Fredric.  “Listen carefully.  I was able to speak briefly to our father today, and we both agree you and the rest of the family must flee.  It is for your own safety and the preservation of our family.  You must leave here this very night, and you must take our younger brother and sister with you.”

“Tonight?  Leave Hungary?  Leave the only home I’ve ever known?”

“I fear you must,” answered Frederic.  “Neither I nor our father can envision any other way to keep you and the rest of our family safe.”

Czanna looked away, forcing herself to become calm.  Then, after a moment, she said softly, “Yes, of course.  I am sorry I am so shocked; it is only that—” Her voice broke.  Then, looking up at her brother, she asked, “And you?  You have mentioned our brother and sister, but what about you?  You are coming with us, are you not?”

Frederic glanced away from her, his composure hard, although a muscle twitched in his cheek.  At last, he said, “No.  I am staying here.  I fear I cannot escape with you.  There are people I am working with who also wish to free our parents, and if I am not here to help these people, our parents’ freedom is not assured.”

“Oh, I see.  You are to stay here and help our parents.  And, of course there is no one else who will work harder than you to free them.  Still, if I must leave tonight, how will I ever be able to go away unseen?  Where would I go?”

“To America.  You must go to America.”

“To America?  But, America is so far away, and I hear it is a savage land.”

“Yes, I have been given rumors to believe the same as you,” said Frederic.  “But, there are reasons why America is the only country where our father and I believe you and the rest of the family will be safe.  It is there where you will be able to hide yourself from any Hungarian spies.  I have already spoken to our father’s manservant, Henrik, and I have asked him to accompany you.  He, however, refused the coin I offered him to do it.  He said it is his duty to ensure you and our brother and sister are kept as safe as possible.  He will guide you and shelter you as much as he is able.  He also understands why I must stay here to try to free our father and our mother, and he agrees with our father and me.  He has also given me his solemn word of honor to help you and our brother and sister to reach the American frontier with as little incident as possible.  Henrik will, of course, be bringing his own daughter with him.”

“Yes, of course.  Since she is his only family, she, too, must embark upon this journey.  Although she is barely ten years and four, I believe I shall welcome her assistance very much, especially since our younger sister is still a babe.”

“Yes.  Now, listen well to me.  You and the others are to sail north on the Danube this very night, and once you are out of the city of Pest, you and the others will go by coach to the coast, there to set sail for America.  I have purchased the boarding tickets for you all on a ship sailing from the port there tomorrow.  The name of the ship is on the tickets.  I will now give them to you and not to Henrik.  Count them and ensure there are five.”  Frederic handed her the tickets.

“Yes.  There are five tickets here.”

“Good.  Now, come, I have a private box in this study where I have stored the papers you will need as well as enough gold and silver so you will be able to buy lodging and food.  Keep the money on your person at all times.  I have two strong, but light bags to serve this purpose.  Do not store the coin in a trunk or any other convenience that is separate from you, nor are you to tell anyone, including Henrik, about the treasure you will be carrying on your person.  I’m sorry.  I know this is a heavy burden I am forced to place upon you, but there is no other manner in which to ensure you will be safe from harm.  Never show what I am to give to you to another soul either—not to our younger brother and certainly not to Henrik.  I will give Henrik other monies so he will not suspect that you also carry a treasure with you.  Please bend close for what I am about to show you and tell you.  These very walls may well have ears.  I fear I am placing you now as the head of our family from this day forward.  This family now extends to both Henrik and his daughter.”

“But…about the gold and silver.  I understand what you say about showing it to no one, including Henrik.  However, Henrik has been with our family for his entire life, and he wouldn’t—”

“I trust no one,” interrupted Frederic.  “Someone reported our parents for their part in the revolution—someone who knows us and has access to our parents’ secret papers.  Because this spy is within our midst, we are all in danger.  Do you understand?  We could all be tried for treason and hung.”

“But, Frederic, since our youngest sister, Béla, is only three years old, surely it is possible for her to stay here.  After all, it will be a hard journey for her.  Is there no other way?”

“There is none.  It will be worse for her if she stays, and this is another reason why I spoke long and ardently to Henrik about the need to bring his daughter with him.  I could not have rightly placed you into the position as the head of our family if you also had to act as a nanny for Béla.  Henrik’s daughter, Lilike, will care for Béla, which will leave you free to think clearly about what is best for our family.  Do you have any other questions?”

“I…I—”

“You all must flee…and tonight.  I do not know how much time we have until the palace guards come here to arrest our entire family.”

“I…I can hardly believe it.”

“I know.”

Glancing up at Frederic’s solemn face, Czanna was startled to realize this might be the last time she would ever see her brother, unless…  “Brother, if we are all in danger, then you must come with us.  I beg you.  Come with us.”

“I cannot,” Frederic replied.  “You know I cannot.  I have it in my power to free our parents and clear our family’s name.  This means more to me than my life.  Please understand, I must stay here and fight.  But, you must go.  You must find safety in America.  Lose yourself in the wild western frontier of America.  Do not use our family name.  Trust no one.  And, under no circumstances are you to return to Hungary.”

“Never?”

“Never,” Frederic confirmed, shaking his head.  “I believe it must be so.  There seems to be no empathy in the new government towards those who strove to free the people.  But, do not fear.  There is yet a ray of light in all of this.”

“Yes?”

“Do you remember our cousin Alfred?”

Czanna nodded.  “I do.  He is about ten years older than you, I think.”

“Yes, he is older than I.  Do you remember him being a part of the Revolution, also?”

“Yes, I do,” said Czanna.  “But, he became a Hungarian forty-eighter and escaped into the American West, didn’t he?  I assume he must have changed his name in order to evade capture.”

“Yes, he did,” replied Frederic.  “But, he and I have been writing to one another these last seven years.  I wish I knew where he is located exactly in the American West.  I know only the following: he uses the English name of Old Tom Johnson and he lives within the Glacier Mountains located in the far corner of the Northwest Indian Country.  I have written to him, informing him of what is happening here to our entire family, and I have told him to watch for you and our siblings in the next few years.  But, since I do not know exactly where he makes his home in the Glacier Mountains, I am trusting you—not Henrik— to hire a guide to take you to him.”

“But, why not Henrik?”

“Let me say this one more time: someone who knows us and who has access to our papers betrayed us.  I like Henrik, same as you.  But, I trust no one except you to take our family to safety.”

Czanna nodded.

“Now, I have also written a letter that I will give to you to take to our cousin, whom you may call Tom Johnson.  I am putting this letter into your care to present to him once you locate him; plus, there is one more of our family’s possessions which is, perhaps, the most important of all I have to give you.  Our father begs you to find our cousin and give him this.”  Frederic reached inside his coat to draw out an object carefully wrapped in the finest linen.  Looking around the room, inspecting its nooks and crannies in detail, he then gave the package his attention and unwrapped the linen.

Czanna gasped.  “Why, it’s our…our—”

“Coat of arms, our Crest.  It is worth a treasure, not only because it is made of bronze, gold and silver, but because it is also a seal we must preserve.  Our father instructed me to caution you to hide it well, and, to this end, I have personally created a trap in your trunk where you may hide our seal.  When you at last find our cousin, you are to give our family’s crest to him.  It is important.  The seal must be preserved, even if our country falls.  It will also identify you to our cousin.  Our father wishes you to give our cousin the seal because, if my plea to Emperor Franz Joseph fails, our cousin would then be the oldest living member of our family.  As you well know, it is always the eldest of our family who must bear the responsibility for preserving it.  Seek out our cousin.  He will help you.  Give him my letter and the seal and ask him to help you all to disappear into the rugged country of the American West.  I fear there may well be Hungarian agents who will try to follow you.  Do you understand?”

“I do.  But, Frederic.  How can I go there and leave you here knowing…knowing…?”

Frederic again shook his head.  “I cannot go with you.  Please understand this: my duty is here.  When you arrive in America, send me word of your arrival but say nothing more.  I believe you will need to hire a coach to take you to a settlement called St. Louis.  From there, you can book passage aboard a steamboat that will take you into the depths of the American West.  Our cousin has written to me telling me he has become a fur trapper.  I admit I think it is a terrible occupation, but it is, perhaps, the only livelihood for a man in the ruggedness of America.  At least where he is now, he is not in the line of fire.  Join him there, and once you are safe from harm, use the money I have given you to buy property, if you can.  I will do my best to free our parents.  I cannot emphasize this enough: do not let anyone know you carry with you a treasure in gold and silver, nor tell another living soul about the family crest; you are not even to say a word about this to our siblings, and certainly not to Henrik.”

“But, I must have some money I can easily show and use to buy necessities.  If I am to hire a man to take us to our cousin, I must—”

“Of course you will have to carry some coin with you.  But, what I am giving you to carry on your person is more than mere coin.”

“Oh, yes, of course.  Yes.  I understand now.”

“Hear me well, and do not forget what I am about to tell you: until this is over, you can trust no one who is Hungarian, except, of course, our cousin.  Someone has betrayed us.  Now, remember these words I say to you: do not ever come back to Hungary for any reason.”

“But, Frederic, not ever?”

“Not ever.  Swear this to me now: you are never to return to Hungary.”

“But, what if—?”

“Do you swear?”

Gazing up into her brother’s solemn expression, Czanna nodded and whispered, “I swear.”

“Good.  As you know, our family is one of the noble families who sided with the Revolution.  I do not have the knowledge of what the future holds here.  But, whatever our future is to be, I and our father and mother wish you and our siblings to survive.  Make a new life for yourself, as well as for our brother and sister.  Do you understand?”
Czanna nodded.

“Good.  Now, grab your cloak, gather our siblings together and go!  Outside of what I’ve given you, take nothing else with you.”

“But, my clothes, my shoes, my—”

“They are all Hungarian made.  You must disappear.  You and our brother and sister are to have nothing with you or on you that can identity you as to whom you really are.  Now, Henrik waits outside with a coach.”

Czanna’s brother, who was probably her best friend in all the world as well as being her brother, took both her hands into his own.  Breathing in deeply, he said, “Farewell, Czanna.  I will miss you and the others.  I am sorry to burden you with so much responsibility.  If there were a way to do it, I would take the cares of the world away from you, our sister and our brother.  I, alone, would carry this weight if I could.  But, there is not a manner by which to do it.  I must free our parents.  I will write.  Look for my letters, but do not write back to me except to inform me of your journey and that you have reached America.  Know this: I will never ask where you are and you are never to tell me.  Nor will I ever ask you to go against your word and return to Hungary.  Again, I am sorry I have to burden you with this, but upon your shoulders rests the future life of our family.”

Czanna nodded, looking down and hiding, if only for a moment, the shock as well as the tears in her eyes.  It was at some length when, at last, clearing her throat, she said, “I know and I understand the burden I carry.  Farewell, Frederic.  We will see one another again.  I am certain of it.”

“Let us hope your words will hold true.”

Standing up, Frederic reached out a hand to pull Czanna to her feet.  He hugged her, and, as was tradition, he kissed her gently on each side of her face.  Then, Czanna stood to her tiptoes and, reaching up, returned the endearment.

Shaking a little, Czanna stepped back and, turning away, hurried from the study, rushing toward her younger siblings’ rooms.

“Farewell,” she called as she reached the door.

“Farewell, Czanna,” answered Frederic.  “Godspeed.”


Hail Stone (Crow) and his wife, Alvina.  Although Hail Stone was from the Crow tribe, I simply l love this photo — it looks like they might have met in one of the Wild West Shows.  It is a picture showing the love between two people regardless of their cultures.

Anyway, that’s it for today.  Do leave a comment.  And have a happy day and rest of the week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can pick up your copy of She Brings Beauty To Me here:

https://tinyurl.com/She-Brings-Beauty-To-Me

 

 

Winners! Winners! We Have 2 Winners!

Howdy!

And Good Evening!

Many thanks go to all who came to the blog yesterday and who left a post.  I so love your posts.

We have two winners for their choice in one of my e-books.  Or, if you’d like the paperback copy of the new book, THE ADVENTURES OF GOOD EAGLE AND MISS STARLING.

And the winners are!

Vickie J.

&

Barbara Raymond

Again, thank you for coming to the blog yesterday!  May the rest of your week be one of joy!

News! News! And a Chance To Win!

Howdy!  And Good Day!

Hope this blogs finds y’all doing well!

I’m sure many of you know, but am not sure every person on the blog today knows that I am venturing out into the Young Adult field.  The stories are stories of adventure set in the early 1800’s.  There is perhaps a little romance, but these are Young Adult stories and so the emphasis in these stories is about friendship.

 

This is the cover for the new book, and in case you didn’t know this already, I’m writing these stories under the pen name of Genny Cothern.

This is a link to the book:  https://tinyurl.com/Good-Eagle-and-Miss-Starling

The news is that we just published the paperback for the book today — it’s not yet up on the Amazon site, but should be there soon.  We had published the e-book in the latter part of April and after we had published it, it hit #1 on the Young Adult genre.  It was there for only a few days, but they were a great few days for me.  Yay!

But, we now have the book (a novella) of about 135 pages in paperback or 77 pages in ebook format.

So, my give-away today is for this particular e-book or if you are a winner,but want only a book in the Historical Romance genre, you may have your pick.

Leaving a post on the blog automatically enters one into the drawing.

I’ll post a blurb about the story so you can have a look at what the book is about.

THE ADVENTURES OF GOOD EAGLE AND MISS STARLING

Montana, 1847 

When my life is turned upside down, I have no one to turn to except Uncle Jed, a fur-trader who lives deep in Indian Country; a man I have never met.  I was expecting to be greeted by my Uncle Jed at a place called Fort Union, a fur-trading fort some two thousand miles above St. Louis.  But, when I finally arrive at the fort, I am met, instead, by an eighteen-year-old Indian, Good Eagle, who swears my uncle has sent him to meet me.  Would you trust this boy, a youth only two years older than my sixteen years?  I certainly didn’t and I told him so.  However, although I was polite, he took offense.

As the steamboat continues its way to my uncle’s fur-trading post, Fort Lewis, the Indian boy, Good Eagle, has declared that my heart has panther’s claws around it.  Yet, though he seems to dislike me as much as I do him, because of the promise he gave to my uncle, he has no option but to guard me.

But, when my life is threatened and Good Eagle saves me, I experience a change of heart about this young man; I decide I will “bury the hatchet” and become friends with him.  Imagine my surprise when he refuses my offer of friendship.

Can I ever change Good Eagle’s mind about becoming my friend?  Or will his first impression of me remain to forever haunt us?

 


In other news

Have just received the edits back on my latest effort, SHE BRINGS BEAUTY TO ME.  Yay!

We hope to have the new book published within 2-4 weeks (hopefully 2).

Here is a blurb of the new story:

SHE BRINGS BEAUTY TO ME 

A woman deserted.  A troubled warrior.  And time ticking down on a passion denied. 

When eighteen-year-old Czanna Fehér is forced to flee her home in Hungary in 1855, she journeys with her young brother and sister to Montana in search of her cousin. Mourning for her recently deceased parents, she sings her grief to the mountains, little knowing her song draws the attention of an unseen listener.

From the first moment Stands Strong hears Czanna singing, he is transfixed. When he meets her, he is captivated as much by her dark beauty as he is by her voice.

But, tragedy strikes Czanna’s family again when their hired guide has stolen their money and run.  Worse, her father’s servant has gone in search of the scoundrel, leaving Czanna alone, desolate and in charge.  Being of the gentry class in Hungary, Czanna knows she and her family cannot survive without help.  And, when Stands Strong appears before them, bearing food, she realizes she must trust this Indian to be their guide,

Lakota born, though raised by the Blackfeet, Stands Strong comes from a long line of medicine men, but this legacy seems to have skipped over him.  Accepting this, he has become the best scout in his tribe. But, when Czanna attempts to hire Stands Strong as a guide, offering him the “evil gold rock” as payment, he is insulted and suggests marriage to him instead. Czanna refuses him, even though the flame of passion is burning heatedly within their hearts.

Can two people from intensely opposing cultures ever come together?  Or are their star-guided paths meant only to briefly cross?

Warning:  A sensuous romance that might cause a gal to go West in search of love and adventure.

Well, that’s all for today’s blog.  Hope you have enjoyed a peek into these new stories.  By the way, I love these two new covers.  They are of different genres and they each tell a story of sorts on the cover.  Do you have a favorite?  If you do, let me know in your post.

Winner! Winner! For Karen Kay’s E-book Giveaway

Good Evening!

Hope y’all had a wonderful Wednesday.

Yes, we have a winner for the e-book IRON WOLF’S BRIDE, the 2nd book in the Wild West series.

The winner is:

Colleen

 

Congratulations Colleen.  I’ll be sending you the book in email, so stay tuned.

Thank you very much for everyone who came to the blog yesterday and who left a post.  What a joy to read your posts.

The Last Week Hustle and a Give-Away

Howdy!

Gosh, doesn’t the title of this blog sound like a dance?  In a way, last week was a bit of a “dance,” and hustle.  And, although it’s a brand new week, the hustle continues.

So, let me begin with the news.  First, I have three (3) books on sale right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHE STEALS MY BREATH is the first book in the Medicine Man series and is on sale for $.99.

WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH is the second book in the Blackfoot Warrior series and is on sale for $2.99.

BRAUT DES EISERNEN WOLF’S — but wait isn’t this last book in German?  Yes, indeed, it is.  In English it is IRON WOLF’S BRIDE and it is on sale for $.99.

So this deserves a little bit of a story.

Slowly, I’m getting the Wild West series translated into German for the German market.  The Eagle and the Flame was the first book I put up on the German market.  But Iron Wolf’s Bride required a little more effort.  The original cover did not have the layered file included and so my cover artist and I decided to do a new cover similar to the old one.  And, this was the result.  I liked it a lot and so we now have this cover for Iron Wolf’s Bride in e-book format (paperbacks take several extra steps).

And so, in celebration, I’m putting this e-book on sale at $.99.

Then, in other news about chances to win give-aways, Authors XP is putting on a sale of Romantic suspense books.  And, I am participating in this event.  This book, IRON WOLF’S BRIDE is not only a Historical Romance/Native American, set in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, but it is also filled with suspense.  The event starts today, Tuesday and goes on until next Monday.  And here is the link to the event:  https://AuthorsXP.com/giveaway

And, just another bit of news, while my latest effort, SHE BRING BEAUTY TO ME, is in editing, I’m writing another Young Adult Story under the pen name of Genny Cothern.  This will be a little longer than my first Young Adult Story and its working title (what I call the book when I’m writing it), is:  THE ADVENTURE OF GOOD EAGLE AND MISS STARLING.  It is written a little differently than my Romantic Historical Books in that it is written in the first person (I saw the bird) as opposed to the 3rd person (She saw the bird.)  I think this is, perhaps, natural since these stories of true adventures I’m reading for research are all written in the 1st person.

And so, I thought I’d give you a little taste of this new Young Adult Story.  Remember, it is as yet unedited.

 

CHAPTER ONE

The Village of Saint Louis

1844

 

 

As I waited to start my passage aboard the steamboat, NIMROD, tears streamed down my face, but I did nothing to curtail them.  I knew no one here in this far west fur-trading town of St. Louis, so what did it matter if I cried?

In my gloved hand was my paid ticket from Uncle Jed, who had also financed the various and different carriages that had brought me here.  Indeed, due to bad weather, I had only arrived here on the previous evening, leaving little time for me to enjoy the town—if there were any joy to be found in this village…or anywhere.

It has been said this town is where the West begins.  But, I little cared.  Having spent little more than a few unrestful hours in a boarding house last night, I cared not for this village nor for the Western Indian Country.  After all, I was journeying into the West not by choice, but rather by need.

My name is Starling Nelson.  I was so named after the bird of English fame, the European Starling.  When I was younger, my mother had told me the story of my grandfather gifting her a pair of the birds after he had returned from one of his visits to England.  My mother, who had been quite young at the time, had fallen in love with the Starlings’ songs consisting of whistles and she had especially loved the warbling of the male bird.  And so, when I had come around— I being my parent’s only child—I had inherited the name.

However, this was all in my past.  Only the present seemed to matter now, and, unfortunately, my present no longer included my mother and father.  Sadly, my parents had perished months ago on what should have been a short day cruise on the Hudson River.  I was supposed to have gone with them, but due to a bad head cold, I had stayed behind, bed ridden.

An unexpected storm had gathered suddenly, and a bolt of lightning had struck the boat, sinking it and leaving no survivors.  I had then been left alone in a world I was ill-equipped to survive in.

Because my mother possessed no living relatives—at least none we had ever spoken about—my father’s only brother had come to my rescue, offering his home to me, he who made his living in the dreaded Indian Country.  Not that I required his guardianship.  I was a girl of sixteen, after all.  I could take care of myself, or so I had told myself, until the bills had come due, and then, having no means to pay them, I had realized how vulnerable I really was.

Imagine my surprise when I had learned my parent’s legacy to me was not to receive any of their riches, but rather, it was to instead pay my parent’s debts; added to this was the legal threat of sending me to an orphanage.  This discovery, as well as the intimidation, had plummeted me into the depths of despair and, for a time, had caused me such misery, I thought I might never recover.  Luckily, Uncle Jed —a man I had never met—had somehow discovered my plight and had paid my parent’s debts.

I had rejoiced for a time, but then had come the reality of my situation, as hunger had caused me to seek employment in an environment unfriendly to a working youngster.  Imagine my surprise when I had received a letter from Uncle Jed, inviting me to come west to live with his family.  It had said:

 

“My dearest niece,

 

“Please allow me to tell you how deeply saddened I am at the loss or your mother and my dearly beloved brother.  I have now paid your parent’s creditors and hope I have taken this burden from your shoulders.

“It has come to my notice that the League of Presbyterian Ministers recommends sending you to an orphanage where you should stay until you reach your majority.  This has been done without consulting me.  I, therefore, would like to offer you an alternate plan by opening my home to you, humble though my abode might be.

“While it is true that the West might be considered to be a rugged country, it has many advantages, which I think you would soon realize if you decide to become a part of my family here.

“My wife, who is of the Blackfeet, Pikuni, tribe, bids me to encourage you to make the journey here.  She wishes me to tell you she will be the best mother she can be to you, and she adds that all she has will be yours.

“It is my hope you will look with a kind eye upon the arrangements I have made for your journey into what is known as “Indian Country.”  The tickets I am sending you in this letter do not expire.  Should you decide to come here, you have only to book the journey, which, as you can see, awaits you.

“Know that, upon receipt of your return letter and your wish to join me here, I will make arrangements for you to be met in St. Louis by the Captain of the steamboat, NIMROD, who will be tasked with the duty to bring you safely to the post that I command  via Fort Union, a few thousand miles from Fort Benton, where I reside.  Or, if my duties do not demand my attention, I should like to meet you at Fort Union, myself.

“You may, however, wish to remain where you are, and, if this is what you think would be best, I will honor your decision.

“I look forward to your letter informing me of your wishes.”

 

Yours truly,

Your father’s brother, Uncle Jed

 

Though the mere thought of traveling into Indian Country had frightened me, to be sure, I had yet answered my uncle’s letter at once, deciding a trip into the west was preferable to remaining where I was, where the threat of being constrained into an orphanage until I reached the age of twenty and one, loomed darkly upon my future.  Besides, the environment I now found myself to be in reminded me constantly of my parents and my losing them and their love.  At present, grief ruled my life.

And so, I had accepted my uncle’s offer to relocate myself and all my worldly possessions to his home…a home he had described to me in another letter as a fur-trading post, located deeply in the heart of Indian country.

“Are ye ready to board the steamship, Lassie?  Ye be Miss Starling Nelson, are ye not?”

I gazed up at the tall, heavy-set man, who, dressed in a sailor’s coarse, dark- blue coat and a Captain’s hat, startled me.  Yet, I found myself saying, as if by rote, “I suppose I am.”

“Good, Lassie.  Good.  As soon as I seen ye, I know’d ye to be Jed Nelson’s niece.  Who else but his niece would have the golden color of hair, so like yer Uncle Jed’s?”

I simply stared at the clean-shaven man, not knowing how to respond.  But, I was saved the effort because the man was continuing to talk.

“Well, now I be knowin’ yer uncle.  A fine man.  Aye, a fine man he be.  But, let me introduce me self to ye, Lassie.  Here be a letter from yer Uncle Jed.  It be a letter of introduction, I bein’ the capt’n of this steamboat.  Name’s Edward…Edward MacKenzie, though I be no relation to Kenneth McKensie, the Bourgeois of Fort Union.  But, because I be the best steamboat capt’n on the Missouri, yer uncle trusted no one but me to get ye safely to him.  So now, if’n ye be ready to board, I’ll be seein’ ye to yer quarters.  Yer uncle’s to meet ye at Fort Union, but ye probably know this already and I be a tellin’ ye nothin’ new.”

“Yes, sir,” I said, trying my best to smile at the man.  “I did know it.  Uncle Jed sent me a letter and in it he told me a great deal about you, Mr. MacKenzie.  I am glad to meet you.  I am glad, indeed.”  

“Pleasure be all mine.  Now, this way, Lassie.  Mind where ye step now.  Would na want ye to be thrown into the Great Mississippi down thar.”  He pointed to the river with a motion of his head.

“Thank you.  I will, indeed, step carefully,” I replied.

****

Coming Soon, SHE BRINGS BEAUTY TO ME. Here is the cover of the new story, book number four (4) in the Medicine Man series.

I’ll be giving away an e-book of  the English version of IRON WOLF’S BRIDE.

Sure hope you enjoyed the blog today.  Be sure to leave a post.  I very much look forward to reading your comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winners! Winners! For Karen Kay’s Give-Away

Howdy!

Good Evening!  I hope y’all are doing well on this fine evening (we have had real spring weather here today).

Before I announce the winners, please give me moment to say that I appreciate each and every one of you who came to the blog yesterday!  You are all loved by us all.

And now for the winners:

scaredsilly 313

and

cherierj

Congratulations to you both.

Scaredsilly 313, what you have won is the e-book, THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR

and

Cherierj, what you have won is the e-book, SHE STEALS MY BREATH

And, may all of you have a beautiful evening.

Peace & Joy

SHE BRINGS BEAUTY TO ME — New Book in Editing Plus Sale! Sale!

Howdy!

And welcome, welcome to a terrific Tuesday!  Hope y’all are doing well!

Well, today I have some news!  Just typed THE END on my newest effort, SHE BRINGS BEAUTY TO ME.  Deep breath.  Of course it goes into editing now, which is a whole process all on its own.  But, it is a wonderful feeling to type those words at the end of writing a story.  So I’m going to share the cover without the words written on it — this is the full scope of the “painting.”  But it’s such a great cover, I’d like to share it.  

Hope you like it.  Okay so now for the news.  I have two series currently on sale for a short time.  The first is my most recent series, The Medicine Man Series and the second is The Lost Clan series.  All the books in these two series’ are discounted.

So let me give you some details on each series.

Starting last Monday, two of my e-book series’ went on sale:  the first is the entire three e-book Medicine Man series.  The second series is the four e-book series, The Lost Clan.  Both of these series’ are solid historical romance, Native American, but also have more of a paranormal element than what I usually write.  But, I should also say they will only be on sale for a short while.  If you’ve ever wanted to pick up either of these series’, now might be the time.

 

The Medicine Man Series

The Medicine Men: often misunderstood in our world today, these men used their faith in God, the Creator, and the Great Mystery to guide them in helping the people of their tribe.  They had an ethical code they dared not blemish.  It was known to them that if they strayed too far away from the straight and narrow path, they might lose their ability to heal those who were ill or injured.  Black Elk, medicine man of the Lakota and Fools Crows, another medicine man of the Lakota, have told the story of how difficult the narrow path was to keep.  These men never used black magic and shunned those who did.  These men were also beloved by their people and were often as important — or even more important — than the chiefs.  Because of the spiritual nature of these men, these stories, while being solid historical romance, contain more of the paranormal element than my usual stories.

 

The Lost Clan Series

Thunder—you have heard him, he is everywhere. He roars in the mountains, he shouts far out on the prairie. He strikes the high rocks, and they fall to pieces. He hits a tree, and it is broken in slivers. He strikes the people, and they die. He is bad… Yes! Yes! Of all he is most powerful; he is the one most strong. But I have not told you the worst: He sometimes steals women….—- George Bird Grinnell from his book, Blackfoot Lodge Tales

Long ago a Northwestern American Indian Tribe angered the Thunderer because of their greed.  The Thunderer’s children sought to bring peace between their father and the people of the tribe.  However, instead of peace, several warriors killed the Thunderer’s children.

The wrath of the Thunderer was quick and exact, and he would have destroyed all the people within the tribe, had not The Creator intervened.  Instead of death, The Creator decreed that the tribe would live only in the mist in a shadowy existence.  However, He also gave the people a chance to undo the curse.  Thus, within every generation a youth could to be chosen by each band of the tribe to go out into the world and do all he can to try to break the curse.

These stories are about four different young braves who are chosen by their band of the tribe to enter into the real world, and, with their every breath, try to undo the curse.  They are given only the hint from The Creator that they must show kindness to the enemy.

Well, that’s all for today!  I’d love to hear from you!

I’ll be gifting the first book in the Medicine Man series, SHE STEALS MY BREATH, to a blogger today and I’ll be gifiting the first book in the Lost Clan series, THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, to a different blogger.

Come on in.  Leave a comment.

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Winners! Four Winners for Karen’s Kay’s Drawing

Good Evening!

Hope your Valentine’s Day has been full of fun, romance and, of course, chocolate!

A drawing was done and we have the following four winners:

 

Billye Herndon

Patricia Barraclough

Kellie Dickes

D Holcomb

Please contact me at this address:  karenkay.author@startmail.com.  Please forgive I put down the wrong email address.  Above is now the correct address:  karenkay.author@startmail.com.  We’ll work out how to get your book to you!  Happy Valentine’s Day!  And thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming to the blog!

She Steals My Breath — Interview With The Romance Studio, plus a Giveaway

Howdy!

Welcome to Tuesday — only two days until Valentine’s Day.

Do you and yours have plans?  Dinner?  A quiet evening at home?  Maybe a romantic movie?

I’ll love to hear from you!

Well, today, I thought I post a recent Interview soon to be uploaded at The Romance Studio.  https://www.theromancestudio.com

It’s called Author Spotlight and they asked some rather deep questions that were thoughtful.  The interview is set to be posted on the 27th of February, but I thought I’d post it here because the questions were insightful.

The number four is an important number to many medicine men.  After all, there are four directions, four seasons and even a day could be divided up into four sections: sunrise; afternoon; night; the early hours of the morning or the darkest part of the night before sunrise.  There are also four tribes of mankind: red, yellow, white and black.  The medicine wheel shows these different tribes of mankind.

In view of this, I’ve decided to give away four (4) e-books of THE STEALS MY BREATH to four different bloggers today.  So please, come on in and leave a message.

AUTHOR  SPOTLIGHT

Karen Kay

INSPIRATION for SHE STEALS MY BREATH, Book #1 of the Medicine Man Series

 

Well, the inspiration for this story started during an emotionally rough time in my life.  A family member was taken ill and I was, of course, quite upset and not knowing quite what to do.

Now this is a true story I’m telling you in this, my recounting of the inspiration behind SHE STEALS MY BREATH.  Because the medicine man series delves into the paranormal category — mostly because the American Indian medicine men often “lived” in the spiritual realm — these stories, while being solid Historical Romance, must — because of the character of the hero — be lived partly in the spiritual world, also.

Now, I’m not talking about magic and particularly not about black magic.  What I’m saying here is that American Indian’s healing methods included prayers, rituals — such as the drum and particular songs given to them — usually by an animal — a closeness to the Creator and a knowledge of plants and herbs, as well as the medicine pipe to help him communicate to the Creator.

All medicine men and many of the scouts of the tribes could communicate with what I call in my book, Mind Speak.  Distance has no part in it, by the way.  There is on record an entire council of medicine men held in the not so long ago past, that decided on a course of action to take without a single word being spoken between them.

We all have this ability to speak to one another with our minds, I think.  I have personally experienced this with a Lakota friend and so I know it is real and it exists.

Anyway, this is a little backstory before I tell you about what inspired me to write this series on the medicine men.  As I said, I was going through a rough time because of a family member’s illness.

In my dreams — by the way dreams are important to the American Indian — but in my dreams, a medicine man came to me.  I call it a dream, but it was really in that state of mind one can get into when one is going to sleep, but isn’t quite asleep yet.  This medicine man was gentle and kind to me and encouraged me to write about the Medicine Men.

It was then when the story for book #1 in the Medicine Man series came into being.  The hero in the story is kind, yet strong and tough, but mostly, he is kind and considerate of the heroine and of others, and he is completely straightforward and honest.

My next inspiration came from a man by the name of John Trudell.  He is a Lakota man who was active in the American Indian Movement in the 1970’s.  Because of a tragedy in his life, he began to write poetry and eventually he set his poems to music and made albums.  One of his poems is “Takes My Breath.”  Oh, my goodness what an emotionally powerful poem/song.

You can listen to it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1m5YKnBqQ4o

And from there, the heroine came into being, met the hero of the story and away we went on an adventure into realm of Montana’s Little Big Horn Mountains (where the little people live, by the way).  Just ask a Crow Indian about the little people.

 

CHARACTER  DEVELOPMENT, SETTING AND WORLD BUILDING

The characters in my stories take on a life of their own and they pretty much, once the story is started, live their own story.  Sometimes I get in the way because I don’t understand what or why they’re doing what they are doing and so I have to back up and try to understand why they’ve suddenly done something I didn’t expect.

I never try to change them.  It’s their story.  Sometimes I’ve had characters do things out of character for them and then they talk to me.  This particularly happened in the second book in the Medicine Man series, SHE CAPTURES MY HEART.  The hero in this story had to “school” me on the mores of a medicine man because I was thinking of having him do something he would never do.  But, I listened to him and wrote the scene the way he wanted it.  One time, long ago, in the story, THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF, I didn’t listen to my characters and the story stopped right then and there.

I had to back up and really listen to these people who were upset with me because I forced them NOT to do something that was right for them to do.  I realized I hadn’t properly set up the scene so that it could easily be seen it was right for them and then the story continued on just fine.  I think maybe this is when I began to really listen to my characters.

As far as setting up the scene and world building, I am constantly reading historical accounts of people who lived during the time periods I’m writing about.  Some of the stories are incredibly paranormal, but are true.  And, although my writing is fictional, I do draw on these true accounts from the early 1800’s (and sometimes earlier), fictionalizing something that did take place.

In this modern age, it’s nice to go back to simpler times.  Although the American Indians at this time were people, just like all peoples, they had high standards for themselves most usually.  By this I mean they valued family and friends; they lived by a code of honor that would make the knights of old pale in comparison.  I love writing about these times and these people.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

In writing this series, it is my intention to show the medicine men for the heroes they were.  They were in close communication with the Creator and prayed every day; they used their knowledge to help and to heal, to the best they could, those in need of their services; they learned about the body and how to set bones and such.  But, mostly they were men of honor and of integrity.  They married for life, they counselled the needy, they prayed for any war or raiding party for a safe return.  They lived by a code that by their own words was a very tough path to follow.  But, follow it they did because when they veered off the path, their medicine might fail them and then their power to help another dimmed.

But most of all the message I’m hoping the reader will come away with is the message of love and helpfulness and understanding.  These medicine men were often written about by people who didn’t understand them and so invented all manner of stories about them, much of those stories lies.

And, although evil shamans did exist at this time, such men were never looked upon by the people as medicine men.  A medicine man was a friend, a man who did his best to protect his people and who used his spiritual powers to bring about health in others if he could.

The medicine man in the tribe was loved and respected sometimes even more than the chief.  The evil shaman, by comparison, was feared and despised by the people.  It’s my wish to bring back this more truthful image of the American Indian Medicine Man.

 

Karen Kay

February 2024