The gunfighter and the recluse…what could go wrong?
Wax Mosby was climbing Hope Mountain in part to atone for his terrible choices. He was hired to drive out the Warden family and now knows he was duped. But when he’s wounded during the climb, the last person he expects to rescue him is a beautiful blond woman with the voice of an angel.
As both Ursula and Wax weigh the costs of living new lives, the two find an unlikely bond. And they’re joined by Ursula’s sisters and the Warden family as the final showdown over the family ranch looms with the coming of spring.
When I’m writing, I often find myself with a problem that stumps me.
This time it was communication. But SECRET communication. Sure by the time I’m setting my books there was a telegraph. But I needed two men to communicate with each other and no one knows there’s a connection.
I got some good suggestions. Did you know native Americans communicated with arrows? The tribe might be spread over a great expanse, but they’d stay close enough for an arrow to reach. One man would an arrow a great distance and when it reached it’s goal, those waiting them would know it was a signal for whatever had been agreed upon, then that group would send an arrow to the next group.
One can only wonder is anyone got an arrow in their backsides but it seemed to work.
Of course there were smoke signals.
And there were runners.
None of these things worked for me.
And then my fevered brain came up with homing pigeons.
And then the research began.
I found out there were already homing pigeons 1000 years before Christ.
I found out homing pigeons were used a lot in war. And were in fact called War Pigeons.
And I found out the birds could fly as far as 600 miles at a speed of 100 miles per hour. Six hours to reach 600 miles. Of course these were records, but I didn’t need my pigeons to go 600 miles. I needed more like twenty. No problem.
But how did the pigeons figure it out? How did they designate ‘home.’ Could ‘home’ be changed? Could the birds go back and forth? Did that mean they have two ‘homes.’
Oh, it was confusing, but also fascinating. ‘Home’ can be split. Like ‘home’ can be two places, the place they eat and the place they sleep. So that explains why they’d go back and forth. But more simply,, I figured out that the pigeons could send a message for two men to meet. Then they could exchange their pigeons.
Well, it was fun. And fascinating. It reminded me of the stories you hear of a dog finding his way home over hundreds of miles and even years. But these birds are born with this inbred instinct to go home. No matter where you take them, they will fly back home.
AND WHEREVER EBOOKS ARE SOLD, THIS ONE IS SOLD FOR
FREE FREE FREE.
Just so you all know there are always new generations coming up that like all things western!
Case in point, my granddaughter. This is cut from a video–which I could NOT get to load on here, and in it she says, among other things YEEHAW.
I’ve watched it about fifty times already. She’s 19 months old and talking up a storm.
Now that I’ve given you all a free books.
And let you see my beautiful granddaughter (as if that isn’t enough!!!)
I had an outing this week, not so usual anymore. I went to Fort Randall in Pickstown, South Dakota.
Some of these old forts are preserved, some are all new and reconstructed.
This one is largely gone.
Almost all that’s there are these sign posts telling about what was located at each spot.
The signs covered all the main points about the fort. What women’s roles were.
Some were officer’s wifes. Some were employed there. The picture within my picture shows a snapshot of life for women at the fort.
How they got supplies…which, being right along the Missouri River, well duh, send supplies up the river. Except the Missouri River, that far north, was unnavigate-able during parts of the years. And the river was very broad and shallow, often with sandbars just barely under the surface, easy for ships to run aground.
We walked a half mile circuit around the edge of the parade grounds and saw signs like this. And there was foundation stone left here and there, or depressions in the earth.
Funny to think how close the soldiers lived to the commanders and yet they lived very differently. The commander, and the lower ranked officers, in much nicer digs than the rank and file.
They needed medical care and not just for injuries in battle. The lost a large group of soldiers the first year to scurvy. Meanwhile the native people around them, mainly the Sioux Indians, found, with no scientific or medical help, a well rounded diet on land the soldiers were surrounded by.
I hope you can enlarge these pictures to see them well. Read them. When I go to a museum, I want to READ. I want to see what it’s all about, set it in history. That’s what I love. So signs about the bakery, the doctor, what the soldiers did for fun, how they lived, are perfect for me. Maybe better than the buildings. I found it solemn and fascinating and a little big spooky.
Being blessed with a vivid imagination, I can see the soldiers marching around. Feel them overheated in the summer and freezing in the winter. Wonder how women coped with all the hard work they had to do…and do it all wearing a skirt.
It was a wonderful, if madly hot, day.
The only building still standing was a church
My day at Fort Randall. Do you go to museums? I actually love them, though it seems like I do most of my research online these days.
I came away with story ideas, but also I felt like everything I learned and saw and imagined helps ground my stories in how things really were back then. And hopefully that brings my work authenticity rooted in solid research.
Tell me about your favorite museum. And go grab a free book!
I could have a marching bank stomp across this website if I could, I’m just so delighted and relieved to have the book alive and well.
Let’s talk accomplishments. What’s the last thing you did that really gave you a sense of accomplishment.
I remember once I bought a kit (HUGE KIT) and built a shed. One of those small backyard, metal sheds for the lawmower, right?
That was a small shed but a big accomplishment for me. Getting a book done gives me a sense of accomplishment like that and, of course, I need to go right back to writing…which is good. It keeps me out of trouble.
I also once read The Winds of War and then immediately dived into War and Remembrance. Huge books. That gave me a sense of accomplishment, too.
Let’s talk accomplishments. Finished a book or finished an afghan or gave birth to a baby or finally got the grout cleaned up in a moldy bathroom. What gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Do you remember that I gave away a novella last month? A Christmas novella?
Well, no, I’m not doing a rerun. I have TWO Christmas novellas and here’s the second one and I’m especially excited about showing it to you today because I’m doing a FACEBOOK LAUNCH PARTY for it tonight.
(oh c’mon, you knew it’d be named something like that!)
It was a lot of fun to write and these ladies were really fun to work with.
Here’s an excerpt from
The trouble with lassoing a Texas cyclone was—now you had a cyclone on the end of your rope.
Then what was she going to do with it?
She dropped a loop over the monster’s head and ran.
Her cowpony dodged around a clump of trees as the red cyclone with an eight foot spread of horns charged. With whipfast moves, Netty snugged the lasso around an aspen and kicked her horse to get out of range.
Cyclone, a longhorn mama, with a noose tight around her eight foot spread of horns, lunged at poor Blue. Her razor sharp horns swiped her horse’s rumpbut she only snared the blue roan’s tail. The horse was scared enough he didn’t take any notice, not counting running for his life of course.
Cyclone came up against the end of the rope and was yanked back so hard she flipped over, onto her side. Then, like a striking snake, she turned and charged the trees. The yellow leaves still clinging in the late November breeze quivered and quaked.
She bounced off the trees then turned back and locked her furious eyes Netty. A big old hank of horse hair dangling from one horn.
Trembling, Netty stayed atop her horse for a few second, shaking so hard she was afraid if she dismounted she’d just sink down to the ground in a heap. Blue was as bad as Netty. Both of them were quaking as bad as those aspens.
Cyclone bellowed and pawed the dirt, then turned to thrash at the trees that held her tight.
Netty had to finish.
She swung off Blue, clung to the stirrup until she was sure her knees would hold, ground hitched the horse, and turned to do what she’d come for.
Drive off starvation for another few weeks.
“Are you all right, Mama?”
Starvation for her and her son.
Well, Netty was scared fit to beat all, but her son didn’t need to know that. All she had to do with this job. And with no one to watch her six-year-old son since Ma had died, there was no choice but to bring him along.
“I’m fine Jeremy.” She looked about forty feet away to a good-sized red oak tree where she’d perched her boy up high—out of Cyclone’s reach. Safe until she could finish this and fetch him.
But first she had to save the calf.
Cyclone had busted out of the canyon gate and Netty’d been glad to see the back of her. As much as she needed every cow, Cyclone, amid a herd of wild dangerous animals, was the deadliest.
And then today, Netty’d ridden out to hunt food, and found a mess.
Mama standing guard over a baby she couldn’t reach and was desperate to protect.
Netty worked hard to save every baby on the place. Her hold on survival for her and her son was tenuous and losing a calf, especially a perfectly healthy calf, was serious business.
But she didn’t rope the cyclone for money, there wasn’t enough of it in the world.
The truth was she couldn’t bear the thought of that baby trapped down here away from its mama, dying a lingering death.
Netty strode to the crevice in the jumble of rocks and looked down. The little red-roaned calf looked up and bawled piteously.
Carefully, picking a thin ledge for footing, Netty dropped into the hole. It was about five feet, not too far down, just too far for the baby to escape, Netty got into the little notch in the ground, roughly shaped like an upside down triangle. She scooped the poor baby up and hoisted it high and set it on the ground.
Then a terrible bawl from Cyclone—she must’ve spotted the calf—a snap loud as a gunshot sounded, and the rope gave way, just as Netty crawled up out of the hole. Cyclone charged.
“Look out, Mama!” Jeremy shouted in terror.
Netty dropped back into that hole and landed face down on the bottom. She looked over her shoulder to see one of those long horns slashing down at her. She flattened against the ground. The horn snagged the coat she wore but the horn didn’t catch. Netty ripped at the coat just as Cyclone rammed her head into the crevice.
Netty flattened and sucked in her stomach to get as low as possible. The maddened cow missed her again.
Cyclone gouged at her, hooked a horn, then shoved her head in. Hot breath blasted the back of Netty’s neck.
Cyclone pulled her head back, snorted and dove. Pulled back again. The calf bawled pitifully and that finally turned Cyclone aside.
Netty lay still, gasping for breath. That’s when she heard Jeremy screaming………
Stop by Facebook tonight at 8 – 10 Eastern Time. Why is this Eastern Time!!!??? Everybody knows CENTRAL time is the REAL time. I did NOT approve this!
Anyway, stop in from 7 – 9 CENTRAL TIME and join the party (or as we like to call it, “The Wild Rumpus.”)
We’re giving away a prize every 20 minutes or so, and a book is included with each prize package…or sometimes a book alone. I’m giving away a velvet throw, Ruthy’s doing a dried soup mix, Julie is doing Ghirardelli Chocolate, a scarf from Anna. All with the idea of finding a comfortable spot and settling in with a good book!
And I’m giving a book away today here at Petticoats & Pistols, too. Yep, Cowboy Christmas Homecoming. To get your name in the drawing, let’s talk about comfort. Cold weather is coming….we’ve had a lovely fall but this is Nebraska, winter has NEVER ONCE SKIPPED US. It’s forecast to be 61 for a high today. And then tomorrow comes. High in the 30s, love of 20. Excuse me while I weep.
What do you do for comfort? Chicken soup? A velvet blanket? Rewatch Holiday Inn or…It’s a Wonderful Life…or Miracle on 34th Street…or Elf? Turn on Mannheim Steamroller Celebration…such a perfect Christmas album. Chocolates and hot tea? A fireplace (try this and turn your computer screen or, if you get it on your TV, your whole TV becomes a fireplace… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDfjXj5EGqI&t=312s