Autumn Beauty, Seasons of Celebration and a Special Give-Away

Howdy!

Welcome, welcome to another terrific Tuesday.

Autumn, how I love it — the crisp air, scented delicately with falling leaves and the smoke from wood stoves;  Cinnamon and fresh apple cider, pumpkin pie, turkey and cranberry sauce, apple pie, the last of the corn on the cob…

And what about the “feels” of autumn? Traipsing through leaves, racking them up and jumping in them; picking up a leaf and tracing its pattern; warm days, cool nights, the pleasure of feeling Mother Earth prepare for a few months’ sleep.

And how about the touch of the Fall atmosphere upon one’s skin? And don’t you love the sounds of autumn?  Cold nights and warm blankets, football games announcing the players; the sounds of cheerleaders and marching bands; long practices — even the quiet sound of leaves falling to the ground.  How I love it.

thanksgivingOf course, to the people who lived close to the earth in our not-so-distant past, the look and feel of Fall was as beloved then as it is today.  So much was this the case that the Eastern American Indians devoted an entire festival of fun and merriment to Autumn — and that festival was called the Harvest Festival.

Naturally, we are all pretty much aware that our Thanksgiving has a lot to do with the colonists’ association of the Eastern Indian tribes, and in particular Squanto who helped the new people who had come into this country.  Although sometimes the history of our Thanksgiving is attributed to an English celebration, I’d like to put forth a differing point of view, if I might.  At the end of this blog I’d love you to tell me your point of view..

When the colonists first came to this country, history tells us that the colonists were escaping religious persecution, and, indeed, this is true.  But a deep dive into history also reveals that many people came to America as slaves or indentured servants because England was at that time emptying its prisons.  But, regardless of why they came to America, we also know that their first winter in the new world saw the colonists ill-prepared for what was to come and many of those people suffered that first winter.

Seeing this, a particular American Indian man and a Native American tribe decided to help these colonists and taught them about the earth and how to plant the corn, beans and squash so they could obtain a bountiful harvest.  They showed them the best hunting grounds also, as they went about trying to help these people survive.

The particular man who came to the aid of the colonists was Squanto, who had been captured by the English and brought to Spain.  He somehow found his way to the monks in England, who, in turn, helped Squanto to return to his home.  Some versions of this story say Squanto escaped incarceration in England and in doing so, was discovered by the monks.  Some say he was sold to the monks as a slave.

But, whatever was the cause, Squanto came to live with the monks in England and was taught how to speak and how to read and write English.  Imagine the colonists’ surprise when an Indian stepped out of the woods and spoke English to them.

Because of the American Indians’ help and their teaching the colonists how to plant the food that would grow in the soil of New England, as well as the Eastern American Indians sharing the knowledge of the best hunting grounds, when Harvest came, the Indians and the colonists had a bountiful harvest and they came together to celebrate what the Indians called the Harvest Festival.  Th colonists came to call the same celebration Thanksgiving.

It is written the Indians bought much food to the colonists:  deer meat, turkeys, corn, squash, beans and shared it all with their new friends, the colonists.  And the colonists, in turn, shared what they had with the Indians.  Also, there were many games and much fun celebrated on this first Thanksgiving which were common to the Harvest Festival of the American Indian tribes.

Now, the Harvest Festival was only one of six festivals of the Eastern American Indians.  It was part of an ancient celebration wherein He who was and still is known as the Creator, was thanked for a good harvest season

Before the Harvest Festival began, the women would have already harvested the corn, beans and squash.  Much of it would be dried.  Corn husks were made into many different items, such as dolls, rugs and mats.  Did you know that the dolls didn’t have faces?  It was also a time to gather more nuts and berries.  Men were busy, too, with hunting far away.  Bear, moose, beaver were all sought after and hunted.  When the Festival began, there would be much celebration, such as dancing, speeches and prayer.  And of course — food.  From the American Indian point of view, it was this particular festival that was shared with the newcomers to this continent.

Perhaps it’s because this one festival — Thanksgiving — was shared by the American Indians and Colonists alike that set the tone of Thanksgiving for future generations of Americans.  And I do believe that the love of autumn and giving thanks for that which the Creator had given has its roots in The Harvest Festival, so beloved to the Eastern Indian Tribes.

What do you think?

And now for something very special.  Recently a reader contacted me to talk about some of my books and I found out — upon emailing with her back and forth — that she makes Native American clothing and jewelry.  In fact, very kindly she sent me some earrings that are made from deer skin.  They are shaped in the form of a feather and are hand cut so delicately.  They are absolutely beautiful.  And, I’m going to give away a pair of these earrings to one of you lucky bloggers today.

I’m going to try to get my husband to help me upload a picture of the earrings here so you can see them, but I will also describe them because I am technology-challenged.  Please excuse me on this.  We lost internet last night for a while and so my husband was not able to post a picture.  But, see below for the description.  Update:  Red Feather just sent me a couple of pictures of the earrings, and here they are:

The earrings are a light brown or tan color and, again, are shaped like a feather and have a gorgeous copper-colored chain that hangs down the front of the earring.  They are hand-made, hand-cut and are so very, very beautiful.  The creator of these earrings is a woman by the Indian name of Red Feather who has made other unique creations with Native American Style.  email:  garvinpa@aol.com

The first picture is the picture of the earrings I will be giving away and the second picture is of several different colors of the earrings.

To enter into the drawing for the earrings, all you have to do is comment on this blog.  All the terms and conditions of give-aways on this site apply. (They are off to the right here and easy to read and short.)

So, in closing I’d like to ask your opinion.  Do you think the roots of our Thanksgiving comes from a celebration that is found only in England, or do you think it comes from our American Indian heritage and their Harvest Festival?  Is it uniquely American with its roots in Native America?  Or do you think it might a combination of the two?

For me, I think our Thanksgiving has deep roots in Native America, not necessarily England, and that the ancient celebration of the Harvest Festival is still celebrated as a time of giving our thanks to God, The Creator, for the gift of plenty that was and is to be found within this country.

Thank you for reading, for coming to the blog today and for being loyal readers of the Petticoats and Pistols blog.

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE — Another Blog and Another Chance to Win an E-book

Howdy!

And welcome to another terrific Tuesday!  Yay!

Well, you get me for two days back-to-back this week.  But, this does give one the opportunity to win another e-book because once again, I’ll be giving away a free e-book to one of the bloggers.

So, yesterday, I left a short blurb for the book and then the opening pages of the book.  Today, I thought I’d post the full back blurb for the book, another excerpt from the book and a game called, “Go find it,” in the excerpt.

But, before I do that, I thought I’d tell you a little bit of the backstory about this book.  I had started working with the Blackfeet on a literacy project and I was getting to know the Blackfeet a little better.  Some of what I was learning about these people is in this book i.e., their sense of humor, their ideas of ghosts and the supernatural, as well as many other facets of their culture.  Also, I was learning firsthand of their undying friendship and their willingness to learn.

To this day, I love going back to the reservation and visiting friends.  And, I should say again how beautiful it is in Blackfeet country.  In my opinion, it is probably the most beautiful place on earth.

And so I will leave you here with another excerpt from the book.  I hope you will enjoy it.

NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE by Karen Kay

Blurb:

When lady’s maid Rebecca Cothern journeyed westward, she never thought to leave her mistress’s side. Yet as Katrina Wellington completes her own journey with White Eagle, Rebecca waits at Ft. Union under the protection of Blackfoot warrior, Night Thunder.

Despite what she’s been told about the wild nature of the native tribes, Night Thunder is different. Kind, gentle, honorable to a fault…and handsome in a way that makes her breathless for his next touch.

Though Night Thunder relishes stolen moments with the beautiful white woman, circumstances dictate that he should keep his distance. Until she is stolen away in the night, and he discovers he cannot simply ride into the enemy camp, kill the guilty and sweep her to safety. The thieves are vengeful malcontents from his own tribe, which leaves him only one way to save her from the worst kind of violation.

He must claim that she is his bride. Not only that, she must willingly bare all—heart, soul and body—to claim him as hers.

This is the 25th Year Anniversary Edition of this novel.

Warning: Contains warm, sensual love scenes that are certain to have you reaching for your own true Night Thunder.

And now for the game:

1) Can you find from reading this excerpt what the Blackfeet call the soul or the departed spirit of the person?

2) How many times does the hero mention this word, meaning the departed spirit of a person?

 

So, without further delay, here is the excerpt of NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE

 

“Did I hear you correctly? Ghosts?”

“I do not know what this ‘ghosts’ is. I only tell you about the shadow of those who were once living.”

“Ghosts,” Rebecca repeated, saying it more to herself than to her companion. “I don’t believe in ghosts.”

“I do not ask you to believe,” he replied over his shoulder, his intention clearly on keeping pace with the others from their party. Night Thunder had found their companions’ trail easily this morning and had caught up with them, losing little time in doing so. “I am only explaining to you,” he continued, “why there was no trace of the enemy warriors. A great fight must have taken place where we were trapped last night, and those who are still there must have been blinded or had body parts cut off in the fight, for they are unable to find their way to the Sand Hills.”

“But I heard them, I saw them. One cannot see ghosts.” Rebecca frowned. “And what do you mean, body parts cut off?”

Night Thunder didn’t answer right away. Instead, he kept his stride on a par with the others, not even glancing over his shoulder to ensure she followed. When he finally did speak, she had to strain to hear him. “Most people cannot see those who are departed because they no longer have the physical body to identify them. But their shadows can be felt and experienced if one will only let himself be aware of them.”

“But I wasn’t trying to be ‘aware’ of them,” she complained. “And I didn’t feel them. I saw them.”

“Perhaps it was because you were with me.”

“With you, but—”

“Within my family runs the power to see into the future, to change the weather, even to call to the buffalo. And sometimes, there are those of us who can talk to the dead. All these have I been trained to do.”

Rebecca quickened her pace so as to keep stride with Night Thunder. “Trained? What do you mean, ‘trained’?”

“Perhaps ‘trained’ is not the right word. I have long been an…apprentice with our medicine man. And, because a medicine man must at times talk to the dead, I have learned to do this.”

“I don’t believe in such things. What are you, a mystic?”

“I do not know what this person is, a ‘mystic,’ and I do not ask you to believe.” He paused and seemed lost in thought, though he quickly picked up his pace. “Still there must be some reason why they chose me to see them, to hear them. Perhaps they are hoping I might discover a way to free them from the spell of those they fought, so their shadows can yet find the Sand Hills.”

“Night Thunder, I—”

“I will have to think on it. There could be is something I can do. Come here now and let us not talk of this again.”

“But what did you mean by being blinded or having body parts cut off? What has this to do with them?”

He stopped and let the others move off away from him as he turned to face her. She froze. Despite the feeling of growing closer to his man, her hero, she felt herself cower from his imposing figure.

“It is a belief of my people that the way in which one departs this world is the same way he must spend the rest of eternity. And so there are those warriors who, after a fight, will blind an opponent or cut off a part of his body, so that his enemy might have to go to the next world so burdened. There are those who, having departed this world with a missing body part, choose not to seek out the next life, but determine to stay in this one, hoping to find someone who might at last be able to reverse the spell.”

Rebecca didn’t utter a word in response to this bit of Indian lore, though she stared hard at the man who had so recently become a large part of her life. She frowned and silently fought a battle within herself to hold back her opinions about such things. It was not her place to pass judgment on the beliefs of another. Still, the concepts of which he spoke were so foreign to her, she found herself wondering about him, and perhaps even more about herself.

Somehow at this moment it didn’t seem real, he didn’t seem real.

“Come,” he spoke to her, turning away from her at the same time. “We are too far behind the others.”

Rebecca allowed him to tread on ahead of her while she stood still, lost in her own thoughts. Ghosts, or “shadows,” as he called them, talking to him, calling to him, asking him to set them free from earthly haunts? Could one really be “trained” to talk to spirits? She didn’t believe in ghosts or spirits; she wouldn’t believe. Yet didn’t her own Irish heritage have similar tales? Aye. Still, this was too much for her to grasp all at once, and she felt herself growing distant from Night Thunder.

The Indian’s view of life made little sense to her. For instance, no one had made comment upon the fact that both she and Night Thunder had been gone the entire night, something she felt hard pressed to comprehend. In truth, it appeared the Indians, as a people, rarely condemned one for deeds which seemed important to her, yet made much over what to her were trivial matters.

Perhaps she would never understand them.

With the flip of her hand, she shook back her hair and tipped her head to face toward the sun, welcoming the warm rays of the morning. She paused for a moment more, letting the sun settle in upon her as though it might wash away her thoughts. But too soon, she realized she could no longer see the Indians, and, picking up her skirt, she hurried to catch up to Night Thunder and the others.

Well, that’s it for today.  Hope you enjoy the little “game,” as well as the excerpt.  Be sure to leave a comment in order to enter into the drawing for the e-book.

tinyurl.com/y634cs87 — this book is also on KU at Amazon

NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE, a new 25th Year Anniversary Book — Plus e-book give-away

Howdy!

Welcome to a marvelous Monday!  Yes, that’s right, Winnie is usually here on this day, but she has some deadlines coming up and so … here I am!

Okay, NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE.  This is the third book in the Blackfoot Warrior series and it was wonderful to revisit the story.  It reacquainted me with many Blackfoot traditions I’d forgotten — including a bird’s eye look at an old time Sun Dance.

Oh, and before I go any farther, let me tell you I’ll be giving away a free e-book of NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE.  A person enters into the drawing simply by responding to the blog with a comment.  We do have a few rules you can read over to the right here, so it might be a good idea to read over them — they aren’t too terribly long-winded.

Okay, so I will leave you here with a short blurb for the book and then an excerpt.  I’ll also try to include all three covers of the book.  The newest cover, the cover done by Samhain Publishing and the original cover done by AVON/HarperCollins Books.

This is the most recent cover for the book.  And, I do love this cover.

NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE

Short blurb:

Night Thunder has vowed to protect Rebecca. When she is stolen by an enemy, he goes after her. But he can’t simply ride into the enemy camp and kill the guilty. The thieves are malcontents from his own tribe. There is only one way to save her.

He must claim her as his bride.

Hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt!

Night Thunder’s Bride by Karen Kay

 

Montana Territory

July 1834

During the moon when the flowers blossom, Strikes The Bear’s wife had been raped, abused and killed by the white men. Soon after, his sister had been taken to a white man’s sleeping robes, supposedly in marriage, only to be discarded shortly thereafter.

It had to be these events, and these events alone, which accounted for Strikes The Bear’s present behavior. No true warrior would treat a woman so badly. Not without direct provocation.

Night Thunder, hidden by many trees and bushes, sat considering, with the age-old logic which had been passed down to him since “time before mind,” that Strikes The Bear had some cause for his anger. Still, this particular white woman had not caused the tragedy to Strikes The Bear’s family. And Night Thunder had pledged to protect her; she was his responsibility. His to defend.

Night Thunder inspected the warriors’ temporary camp, knowing with a sickening sensation what was to come.

The men stood in a circle around the fire, which burned ominously, its crackle and smoky, pine-scented odor offensive rather than pleasant. A drum beat steadily, slowly—a throbbing portent of what was to come. The woman had been placed in the center of the circle—fire to her back, Strikes The Bear in front. And in his hand, Strikes The Bear wielded a knife.

Voices were raised in song and in quiet murmurings, occasionally interrupted with a bellow from Strikes The Bear and a whimper from the woman.

Night Thunder observed an oddity: there were no guards posted to watch over the encampment. Either Strikes The Bear was overly certain of his safety, or the warriors, too aroused over the spectacle taking place before them, no longer cared.

Night Thunder suspected the latter and despaired.

How could he save her?

If these men had been of an enemy tribe, Night Thunder wouldn’t have hesitated to act, despite the fact that they were fifteen and he was one. He would have already seized the opportunity for glory, rushing into the enemy camp and killing or being killed.

But such was not to be. These warriors were his own people, many of them his friends. True, they were Kainah, of the Blood tribe, while he was Pikuni—or as the white man called his people, the Piegan. Still, this made no difference. These warriors were Blackfeet, his relatives, his brothers. He could not fight them. Not and remain honorable to himself.

Yet he must save the woman.

How?

As custom dictated, the man who had stolen a woman held all rights to her.  At present this particular man was Strikes The Bear. It was not a law Night Thunder was willing or prepared to break.

Still, he had to do something.

He glanced at the woman now, noting in a single look that her golden-brown hair, usually as bright and shiny as a full autumn moon, lay lackluster and disheveled around her face. Her eyes, which he knew to be as amber as those of a panther, mirrored her fear, though pride and perhaps resignation kept her silent. Her hands shook where they were tied together in front of her; her knees trembled, making her flimsy dress flutter as though it waved in a breeze.

Yet she had jutted her chin forward, had thrown back her head and had a look upon her face which could only be called defiant. And if those were tears which fell over her cheeks, she at least pretended to have no knowledge of them.

She had courage, this one. She might be young, perhaps no more than twenty winters, but Night Thunder knew very few women who would remain so stouthearted in similar circumstances. He added one more quality to his long, growing list of her attributes: her courageous spirit. Someday, he thought, she would make a man a fine wife.

Night Thunder drew his brows together in silent realization.

Wife? Was this a possible solution? If Night Thunder claimed her as his bride…?

No, he couldn’t.

But if he could make the others believe he had married this woman, it would give him first rights to her. He could then save her without raising his hand against his brothers.

Could he do it? To do so would be the height of dishonesty. Surely Sun and the Winds would carry the tale of his treachery into the Sand Hills, reaching the ears of his ancestors, bringing those who had gone before him great shame.

Yet the consequences if he did not act…

Strikes The Bear suddenly let out a growl and, gripping his knife as though prepared to use it, approached the woman.

Her scream split the air with a terrifying intensity as the knife tore through her dress, and in that instant Night Thunder ceased to wonder if and when he should act.

He would rescue her.

Now.

****

The Indian growled at her, striking out at her with his knife, the action plummeting Rebecca instantly and horribly into the present. As though in a dream, she’d been lost in the past. She wished she could have remained there; the present held too much pain, too much fear.

She wasn’t certain how she had lived through the first few hours after her capture by these Indians, so strong had been her fear. Still, live she had.

She stared into her enemy’s black-painted face, trying to remember if she had ever seen a human being look more frightening. Nothing came to her. Nor did she register much else about the man, not even his nearly nude body. All she could focus on was his face and the knife he waved in front of her. Her stomach dropped and the scent of her own fear engulfed her. She needed no wise man to tell her what her future held.

Was this all she had left, then? Was she to join, at last, her dearly departed fiancé? Would she never see the shores of her parents’ beloved homeland, Ireland? Would she die here never to have realized her dream? Would she never dance? This last thought, strangely enough, was more depressing than all the rest, even the idea of dying.

Odd, she considered, that here, before her imminent demise, she found herself bemoaning a ball she would never have, a party she would never attend. How her parents would have moaned her loss, had they been living—that their American-born daughter would not come to know her Irish heritage.

Her heart sank.

Perhaps in the hereafter, please God.

Well, if this were all she had of her life, then let the Indian get on with it. Taking what she speculated might be her last breath, she threw back her head, raised her chin, and voiced, “Is that the best you can do to frighten me, now?”

She knew her words were hollow, however, her bravery for naught. She would break down soon enough, more’s the pity. But perhaps the Lord would let her keep her dignity, at least for a little while longer.


Propelling himself forward out of the shadows, Night Thunder leapt into the Kainah encampment, making as much noise as he could, in order to draw attention to himself.

“Night Thunder!”

He heard the woman scream out his name in the white man’s tongue. Odd, he thought fleetingly, that her voice would sound so pleasant, even under such duress.

“Go back,” she shouted at him. “There’s naught you can do for me here. There are too many of them.”

Night Thunder paid her little attention. He took note of Strikes The Bear, saw the man turn his head slightly. Night Thunder drew his arms together over his chest, preparing to meet the other Indian in silent battle. But all the other Indian did by way of greeting was grunt before he turned back toward the woman. He shouted, “Omaopii! Be quiet!” and at the same time, reached out toward her as though he might strike her.

“The devil bless you,” she spat out, defiance coloring her voice, her composure, her bearing. And Night Thunder realized that though the white woman might not have understood Strikes The Bear’s words, she had clearly grasped his actions.

Strikes The Bear shrieked all at once and sprang forward, slashing out at her again with his knife. Another piece of her dress fell to the ground. But the white woman held onto her pride, this time not uttering even a sound.

Night Thunder congratulated her silently for her fortitude. He cautioned himself, however, to show nothing: not admiration, not pride, not even his anger. “Oki, nitakkaawa, hello, my friends,” he said at last to the warriors at large. Then, with what he hoped was a tinge of humor, he added, “Do we intend to start treating the white women as these new Americans do to ours?”

Miistapoot, go away, my cousin.” It was Strikes The Bear who spoke. “We do not wish to hear your talk if it is to say bad words about what we do.”

“You think that I would say bad words about this?”

Strikes The Bear groaned slightly before he continued, “We all know how you cater to the white man, spending so much time in his forts and lodges. Many are the times when we have likened you to a dog seeking the white man’s scraps. But you are alone in your regard for this woman. Most of us hate the white man for what he has done to us, to those dear to us. Look around you. Do you not see this for yourself?  Has not each warrior here suffered from the white man’s crimes? We do not wish to hear your honeyed words about him.”

Night Thunder listened patiently, as was the way of his people, and he paused only slightly before responding, “I come here before you with no pleasant talk for the white man on my tongue. But this woman, she is different.”

“Go away. I will do as duty requires me. Can you deny that I have the right and the obligation to do to this white woman those acts of violence which were done to my wife? Is it not true that only in this way can my spirit, and my woman’s, at last find peace?”

Night Thunder again paused, long enough to show respect for what Strikes The Bear had said. But after a few moments, Night Thunder began, “Aa, yes, my cousin has cause to speak and to do as he does, I think, and all our people weep with him in his grief.” Night Thunder shifted his weight, the action giving emphasis to his next words. “But even as he scolds the white man for his ways and scorns his path, I see my cousin also adopting his customs. For, is it not the sweet scent of the trader’s nectar that I smell here in your camp? Is it not the stench of whisky on your breath that I inhale as you speak to me? I cannot help but wonder how a man can curse one part of a society while holding another dear.”

Strikes The Bear howled and turned away from the woman. He took a few menacing steps toward Night Thunder before, motioning with his arms, he snarled, “Miistapoot! Go away!”

Night Thunder didn’t flinch, nor did he raise an arm against his cousin. “I think you have had too much of the whisky, my cousin,” he said. “It would be best if you slept through the night before you decided what to do with this woman.”

Miistapoot! I will hear none of what you say. No man can tell another man what to do.”

Night Thunder nodded. “So the old men of our tribe tell us. But if you value your life and your few possessions, you will take great heed of my words.”

Strikes The Bear hesitated. “You speak in riddles. Say what you mean.”

“I mean this: you must leave this woman alone.”

These words seemed to cause Strikes The Bear great humor, for he began to laugh, though there was little amusement in the sound of it. At last, though, Strikes The Bear said, “My cousin has taken leave of his senses, I think.”

Night Thunder grinned. “Perhaps I have,” he said, “or perhaps you should ensure you learn all you can about a woman before you decide to use her for your own purposes.”

“A white woman? What value is a white woman to me? There seem to be so few of them that maybe if we kill them all, the white man will go away, since he will have no one in which to plant his seed.”

This statement appeared to amuse the crowd, and Night Thunder smiled along with them. Shortly, however, he held up a hand, silencing all present as he said, “You speak with the foresight of a child, my cousin. Must I remind you of the teachings of the elders in the value of life?”

“Not a white man’s life.”

“Who said I speak of a white man’s life?”

Strikes The Bear smirked. “Are your eyes so weak, my cousin, that you cannot see the color of this captive’s skin?”

“Is your mind so cluttered,” Night Thunder countered, “that you have failed to discover who she really belongs to.  I say this to you: she is not only white, she is Siksika. She is Blackfeet.”

 

Well that’s all for today.  Here’s hoping you enjoyed the excerpt.  Be sure to leave a message — oh, also, let me know what you think of the three different covers for this book

Here’s a link to the book and the book is also on KU.

tinyurl.com/y634cs87

 

New Anniversary Book and e-book giveaway of WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH

Howdy!

Welcome, Welcome to another terrific Tuesday.  Please excuse this late post.  I’m very sorry.

Truth is, I just finished editing an anniversary book, NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE, and the edits were a little hard and so once finished, I went into veg mode.  Oh, also, about 1 1/2 weeks ago, I put the finishing touches on a new book soon (in a couple of months or less) to be released.  It’s the 2nd book in the new Medicine Man Series, and the title is SHE CAPTURES MY HEART.  It’s in editing right now.

But, before that book is released, I’ll be re-releasing an Anniversary book of NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE, the 3rd and final book in THE BLACKFOOT WARRIOR series.  And so, I thought I’d leave you with an excerpt from book #2 in the series and tell you a little back story of the book, WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH, book #2 in the series.  And, I’ll be giving away an e-book of WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH, also.  But before I talk about the 2nd book, WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH, let me give you a sneak peek at NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE’s new cover.  Again, this is the 3rd and final book in The Blackfoot Warrior series and we’ll be releasing the 25th year anniversary edition of the book in about a week.

So, onto Book #2, WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH.  It was originally written for AVON books in 1996-97 and published in 1998 (I think that’s right.)  My husband and I were married in 1996 and so in the end of 1996 and the beginning of 1997, I was falling deeper and deeper in love with my husband.  We had married in a whirlwind and so it was after we were married that we really started to get to know each other.

Below and left is the new Anniversary cover for the book.  The male model, by the way, is  Lakota Indian.  And, he models under the name of “Lakota.”

In these anniversary books, we are correcting errors made when the book was converted to e-book from the original mass market.  There is no plot change or anything like that.  It’s just correcting computer errors made in the conversion.  Also, I might give the book a few better word choices here and there.

But, it was in the editing of this book that I began to see how much I was (at that time) falling deeper and deeper in love with this man I had married.  It’s there in the conversations between White Eagle and the heroine, Katrina.  Both of them are changing in regards to each other.  More love.  More understanding.  And, at that time, I guess I couldn’t help but write about how deeply I was in love with this man.

Our courtship (my husband and me) is pretty well illustrated in the first book in this series, GRAY HAWK’S LADY.  But this book goes one step further.

So, in ending, I’ll leave the blurb for the book and an excerpt.  Hope you’ll enjoy!

WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH

by

Karen Kay

Two worlds. Forbidden love.

Blackfoot Warrior, Book 2

Katrina Wellington is vexed. She must marry to obtain the rest of her inheritance. But her uncle, who left her in New York with a governess to make his fortune out West, has suddenly decided he must approve of her fiancé before he will loosen the purse strings to her dowry.

Swallowing her outrage, the socialite treks to the same wilderness that claimed her parents’ lives years ago. Some small part of her is crestfallen that her uncle is not waiting with open arms. Only three guides, Indian guides, await her, and one of them is far too handsome for his own good.

At first, White Eagle does not like the spoiled, willful niece of the white trader. When he catches a glimpse of the vulnerability behind her prickly exterior, he can’t resist challenging the dazzling beauty to rediscover her true inheritance—the inner strength bequeathed to her by her parents.

Close contact on the trail soon arouses a soul-stirring passion and in its turn, love. But love may not be enough to sustain a relationship that is forbidden in both their worlds.

This book has been previously published.

Warning: Sensuous Romance that contains a captivating passion that could lead to a romantic evening spent in the company of one’s own love.

This is the original cover done for AVON Books.  The excerpt is the first meeting between White Eagle and Katrina in the book (and after many years of being apart).

Chapter Four

June 25, 1833

Midmorning 

 

“I say, what vision of loveliness descends upon us now? Is she a princess, a queen? Do you think I should bow? Or is she a mere fleeting whiff of my fancy? Oh, dear, I don’t think I can rhyme fancy…can you see?” The Marquess of Leicester chuckled before he put a finger over one nostril, taking a sniff of the powder which he held in a box in his hand. “What do you say, my friends? Am I poetic?”

The marquess’s two friends murmured polite words of agreement at all the appropriate places, while the marquess, pocketing his snuffbox, paced forward to take hold of Katrina’s hand. “Ah, my dear, you look stunning, simply ravishing, rather.”

“Thank you, Lord Leicester.” Katrina suffered her hand to be kissed by lips which looked as though they bore more rouge than her own. She pulled her hand back as quickly as possible, but failed to loosen his grip. “Are we prepared to meet the new guides?”

“Yes, I say,” the marquess replied, setting her hand onto one of his lacy cuffs.

Katrina smiled at him.

“Am I to understand, my dear, that the guides of which you speak are to escort me to yet another fort?”

“Yes, that is correct. My uncle has been delayed, and he asks that you join him at a place called Fort McKenzie. The scouts are to take you safely to him.”

“Quite unusual, wouldn’t you say? But I must ask you: The hunting, is there good hunting at this fort? After all, mustn’t disappoint the dogs, don’t you know? Brought the hounds all this way to hunt, and hunt we shall. Why, do you know that I have met the most interesting fellow, a Mr. Hamilton, although I don’t believe that Hamilton is his real name. A right good sort of chap. English, I say. Says he has been here at this fort for several years. Seems to like it here, though he does appear to hate Indians.”

“Does he?”

“Yes, rather. Well, now, come along, my dear. Mr. McKenzie informs me that his clerk is awaiting us outside the house here to escort us to the guides on the other side of the gate. A monstrous proposal, I must say. That is why I have asked Mr. Hamilton to make the introductions. I can’t say that I am overwhelmed by Mr. McKenzie’s manners. A clerk to see to us, indeed. Ah, here is Mr. Hamilton now. Come along, my dear. Let us get these introductions over with.”

“Yes,” said Katrina, “let us.”

And with little more said, she allowed Mr. Hamilton and the marquess to lead her out into the sunshine of a new day. That the marquess’s friends followed the three of them wherever they went, that the marquess’s men kept murmuring always agreeable tidbits concerning Lord Leicester’s undoubtedly brilliant humor, did little more than annoy her.

At least for now.

 

 

McKenzie’s clerk, Thomas, was waiting for their entire party just outside the gate. And what a party they made. Not only were the marquess, his two friends and Hamilton in their group, somehow the marquess’s dogs, barking loudly, had joined them.

“Come this way, Gov’nor, the men ’ee seek are by the wall over thyar,” Thomas said.

“Where?”

“Over thyar, do ’ee not see?”

“They’re…”

Conversation ceased, replaced with silence. Dead silence.

Their entire entourage, even the dogs, stopped completely still. No one said a word; no one moved. Then the dogs started to whine, and the shuffle of feet could be heard—moving away.

It was he, the Indian she had glimpsed from the boat, along with a few companions.

“Why, Thomas,” said one of the men, “they are—”

“Yep, Injuns.”

Now, it wasn’t as though their party had never seen an Indian until this moment, nor was it possible that anyone in this party had thought never to encounter an Indian in this country. After all, they had glimpsed enough of the native population from the steamboat as it had made its way up the Missouri.

But never had the people in this group seen primitives such as these—at least not so close to their own person. Warriors, all, were these savages and, by the looks of the heathens, dangerous.

But Katrina stared at none other than him.

She opened her mouth as though to utter something…some scathing comment, perhaps. But when no words issued forth, she closed her lips.

“This one hyar’s name’s White Eagle.” Only Thomas seemed able to speak. “Them three behind him are Night Thunder and Good Dancer. The woman is married to Good Dancer, near as this ole coot can tell. Blackfeet, they are. Gov’nor?”

“Indians?” This from Katrina, at last, her glance never wavering from him.

“Yes, ma’am. But they’ll get ’ee through Blackfoot country all safe. They knows the way.”

“He goes too far!” She glanced toward the clerk.

“Ma’am?”

“My uncle goes too far this time.”

“You tell the man,” the marquess spoke up from behind her. “Yes, my dear, tell the man.”

Katrina gazed over her shoulder. The marquess had positioned himself to her rear, his own men standing, as though in a line, behind him.

“Does your uncle not think favorably of you, Miss Wellington?” This from Hamilton, who seemed as dumbfounded as the rest.

She ignored the Englishman, glancing instead at him, the Indian, the same one who had so disturbed her thoughts, the one called… “What is this man’s name again, Thomas?”

“This one hyar, ma’am? He’s White Eagle. He’s their leader, near as I can tell, a chief maybe.”

White Eagle. So, that was his name. Katrina stared at the Indian. He, back at her. The man looked dangerous—foreign, frightening…handsome. Handsome?

He still wore no shirt, exposing to her view that muscular chest she had glimpsed the previous day. And she would have looked at it, at him, had she been of the mind. But she wasn’t.

She swallowed with difficulty and, allowing her gaze to drop no farther than the bridge of the Indian’s nose, asked of him, “Does my uncle bring word to me?”

The Indian just stared at her. No grin, no recognition of her, no intimation that he had seen her, too, the previous day—nothing, not even an acknowledgment that she had spoken.

She raised her chin. “Do these Indians not speak English, Thomas?”

“Guess they do well enough, ma’am. They been tradin’ with us long enough now to have learnt it. But ’ee is a woman. No Blackfeet is goin’ to speak to ’ee b’cause of that, beg pardon.”

Katrina looked at the Indian from down the end of her nose. She said, “Then ask him for me if he brings me word of my uncle.”

Thomas stepped up to her side. “Very well, ma’am. ’Ee heard her, Injun. Does the lady’s uncle send word?”

The Indian didn’t move, didn’t speak, didn’t even shift his weight. He just stared, his glance never wavering from her.

“Speak up there, you primitive animal,” Hamilton demanded.

None of the three Indians, and especially not White Eagle, paid the Englishman the least attention.

“Are ’ee sent here from the woman’s uncle?”

Nothing. No response at all, until, at last, piercing Katrina with his glance, the Indian said, “I have news for the woman alone.” Oddly enough, the man spoke in unbroken English and, Katrina noted, his voice, low and baritone, was peculiarly pleasant, almost melodic.

“Alone?” Hamilton again spoke up from a safe distance away. “Is the Indian mad? Does he presume to think we would leave the lady unaccompanied with him, so filthy a creature as he is?”

The Indian didn’t move a muscle, nor did he indicate in any way that he’d even heard Hamilton’s comments.

Katrina stepped forward, away from the crowd. Glancing around behind her, she ordered, “Leave us.”

“What?” This from all five men.

“Leave us, but take this man’s Indian friends with you. I will do as he asks and speak with him, but only with him. Here, Mr. Hamilton, give me your pistol that I may defend myself, if I must.”

“But milady,” Hamilton protested, “surely you can’t mean to—”

“Mr. Hamilton, your pistol, please.”

The Englishman looked as though he might protest further, though he nevertheless pulled the weapon from his coat and handed it to Katrina.

“Leave us.” Again she addressed the men who remained behind her without turning toward them. “I warn you, Indian,” she said confidently, “I can use this firearm Mr. Hamilton has given me as skillfully as any man. So do not think me defenseless that you might take advantage of me.”

The Indian said nothing, nor did he give her any sort of acknowledgment, not even by the bend of his head or a flicker of emotion across his features.

Katrina listened to the fading footsteps of the men behind her. After a nod from White Eagle, the Indian’s two companions followed.

The deference shown to this man did not escape her notice, but when she spoke, she made no mention of it, saying only, “What you ask is highly irregular and impolite. Hear me now, Indian, I am humoring you only because I wish to know what my uncle has to say. That is all.”

Glancing directly at her, he replied, “I will speak to the white woman only within the walls of the fort.”

“You will not,” Katrina countered. “You asked for an audience with me alone. You have it now.”

The Indian didn’t utter another word, just gave her a peculiar look and made to move away from her.

She reached out, grabbing at his arm, effectively staying him. He glanced down at her hand as it lay upon his arm, then back up at her. Something…some little excitement passed between them as they stared at one another, the intensity causing Katrina’s knees to buckle. Several moments passed as they stood there, sizing one another up.

At last, Katrina stuck out her chin and asked, “Who do you think you are, Indian, that you gape at me? Do you not know it is impolite to do so? Now, you will tell me what it is you have to say to me, right here and now…or not at all. Do I make myself clear to you?”

The Indian had become perfectly still as she spoke; his gaze roamed from the top of her bonnet to the very bottom of her skirts. Katrina watched him, ignoring the tingling sensation which spread throughout her nervous system. Fear, she supposed.

Odd, too, but she noticed he smelled good: of wood and smoke, of grass and mint—she had heard that the Indians chewed the leaves of the mint plant to stave off hunger, as well as to scent their breath.

His skin felt warm, too, moist and…strange, there was no hair upon the flesh of his arm where she touched him.

He was close to her, too close. The wind suddenly blew a lock of his long raven hair over her hand where she still touched him. The feel of those strands against her skin was fleeting, sensual, its effect sending shivers through her body.

She glanced up, startled, and wondered if the Indian had felt it, too, this strange sensation, but his expression revealed nothing.

She didn’t know how it was possible, yet she considered this man, this Indian, handsome almost beyond belief, in a primitive sort of way, of course. Not a man she would ever admit to being attracted to, particularly since he was nothing more than one of the savages that this country produced. And yet, she couldn’t help but admire the straight, imposing figure he cut as she looked up to where he stood over her. With his shoulders back, displaying his sculptured form, he looked as though he were a work of art, not a person of substance.

Something within her reached out to him, and she felt as though she knew him, his thoughts, his passions. It was as though there were a part of him that matched her perfectly…

She gave herself a shake. What was wrong with her? This was not the first time she’d felt as if there were something between them. It had happened the first time she’d glimpsed him, there from the boat…

She stared up at him then, in silent challenge, if only to purge this sensation from her consciousness. Yet, all the while, her touch upon his arm never relinquished its hold. His eyes were black, she noted, the darkest eyes she had ever seen, and they revealed nothing.

Suddenly, his look turned sardonic, and he broke eye contact with her, pulling his arm back, out and away from her grasp.

He turned from her then, suddenly and without warning. He began walking away from her at a steady gait, following on the footfalls of the other men. The Indian was treading, it would appear, toward the main entrance of the fort.

Katrina stood still for several moments, watching him, until she suddenly realized what he was doing. This man—this mere Indian—was defying her. She had made demands of him; he had told her nothing. Nothing!

Somehow this fact disturbed her more than any other detail she had observed about him. Blast!

She had to try to detain him. She took one step forward, and called out, “It was you who demanded to speak to me alone, Indian.”

No response, not even a catch in his stride.

“If you wish to talk to me, do it now, for I will not see you once we are in the fort.”

The man didn’t turn around, nor did he say or do anything further, except to present her with the view of his backside as he continued to walk away. She should have been appalled by the man’s bad manners and by his dress, or rather, its lack thereof. In truth, she was…almost.

She watched him, his lean, sculpted figure an unusually strange and exciting sight. And then she saw it, the man’s breechcloth fell apart from the outline of his leggings now and again, presenting her with an occasional view of a portion of hard, muscular buttocks.

Katrina was almost struck dumb with the observation. Never, not once in her life, had she ever witnessed so much of a man’s anatomy.

How utterly heathen. How primitive.

She didn’t, however, glance away. “I won’t meet with you,” she announced again. “And that’s my final word on the subject.”

Her challenge had no effect on the Indian’s actions.

Katrina was fuming. She felt like shouting at the man; she felt like pummeling him, but she refused to reduce herself to a show of temper.

She did, however, stamp her foot. The insolent barbarian. And to think she had been admiring his looks.

Humph!

She picked up the front of her skirt, her white petticoats contrasting oddly with the brown of the earth beneath her feet. She would follow that Indian back into the fort. Not because she had to, she reminded herself. After all, she was residing within the walls of the fort. She had a right to be there. This Indian did not.

Oh, but she didn’t like this. It was she who should be the person putting forth demands. It was she, not this man, White Eagle, who was the civilized one here, the more intelligent one.

So why was she the one left staring after him?

Well, it made no difference. There was at least one action she would take as soon as she met with this man: She would ensure he would hear her opinions of him and his insolence—that is, if she met with him.

She wasn’t certain at this moment that she would even permit the man an interview. There must be some other way of soliciting news of her uncle.

The Indian turned around at that exact moment, catching her staring at him, and goodness, but it looked as though he smiled at her. Did he know her thoughts? Could he see her frustration? Worse yet, had he felt her gaze upon that more intimate portion of his anatomy?

How dare he! Oh, what a wicked, wicked man!

She threw back her head and thrust out her chin. Ah, but it would please her to tell this Indian what she thought of him…and soon!

Make no mistake.


White Eagle turned his back on the woman and walked away from her, a grin tugging up the corners of his mouth.

In truth, he had enjoyed the confrontation with Shines Like Moonlight…but he would never let her know it. Not when she had dared to try to command him, a Blackfoot warrior. Such was the height of bad manners.

Yethe could appreciate her spirit, her courage in confronting him when even the men who had surrounded her had shied away from him. Too, he acknowledged her unusual beauty; in truth, she had overwhelmed him with the allure of her feminine charm, more pleasing in close proximity than from a distance. He could still smell the sweet fragrance of her, hear the silvery timbre of her voice, and if it hadn’t been for her lack of manners…

Certainly, she was fairer than he’d anticipated she would be, but this wasn’t what bothered him about her. No, it was her touch, the simple graze of her hand upon his arm. With that touch…

He grimaced. And he wondered if she knew she had stirred something to life within him, something sweet, something carnal, something completely sexual. It was one of the reasons he had turned his back on her—that, and her insolence.

Hánnia! He should have more control. He was not some young boy, unable to control the physical urges of his body; and yet, even now he could feel the result of her effect on him down there in the junction between his legs. It was good that he had left her before his physical reaction to her became more pronounced.

Did she remember him?

A picture flashed in his mind, an image of a child, frightened and crying, clinging to him as he had hung onto the crest of a hill, both he and the child watching the gushing floodwaters rush past them, its danger only a short distance away. He had almost lost her in those waters.

He remembered again that he had clasped her to him then, whispering to her, giving her as much comfort as he was able, until long after the danger had passed. But that had been much too long ago. They had both been different people then, children.

That the child in her had grown up was evident. That she had reached adulthood without the guidance of a mother or a father to point out the necessity of courtesy and good manners was even more conspicuous.

Would she remember him given more time?

White Eagle thought back to the world he had known so long ago, to the people he had befriended, to a little white girl he had admired—a girl with yellowish-gold hair—to the child’s father and her mother.

They had perished, her parents. The girl had barely survived, and her father’s brother had sent her away long ago.

So, her uncle had been right about her. The woman he had met today was spoiled, a person completely devoid of maidenly gentleness. She spoke when not asked, demanded when a man’s mind was already settled; in truth, her spirit towered over the white men who had accompanied her.

Did she rise above these men because she had bullied them into submission with the same womanly harping and angry tongue she had shown to him? Or was she merely stronger-willed than they?

Whatever the reason, White Eagle despaired of the intervening years since he had last seen her.

If he reminded her of it, would she remember?

It was doubtful. She had been before the age when a child comes into its senses, and he had been no more than a young boy. He’d kept a lonely girl company during those times when her father and uncle had journeyed to his tribe on trading excursions. If he told her what he knew of her, of her family, would any good come from it?

He did not think so. This person he had observed today had been as someone alien to him—certainly not the girl he had remembered…had once known.

In truth, he had caught her looking upon him with not only a womanly sort of attention, but with contempt, the same sort of foreign attitude that White Eagle had witnessed upon the countenance of the white man.

He didn’t like it.

No, it was better that he keep what he knew of her to himself. It was apparent she did not recall her life before the white man’s world, and he was certain she would not care to hear what he had to say to her.

So be it.

He entered the fort, taking his place amongst his friends. Good Dancer’s wife had already started setting up their camping lodges in the area surrounding the fort’s flagpole. One for himself and Night Thunder, the other for herself and her husband, Good Dancer. That Good Dancer’s new wife had demanded to accompany them on their journey did not bother White Eagle, nor did it seem strange to him.

The young couple had just been married, after an unusually long courtship. Of course they would want to be together now. Such was to be understood. Such were the ways of married people.

Besides, he’d wanted a woman along to keep Shines Like Moonlight company and to provide her with a chaperone. White Eagle grimaced as he adjusted his breechcloth, certain Shines Like Moonlight would need that chaperone.

He glanced around him, at his place within the fort. He had noticed, when he had first come here, that several half-breed hunters resided within the tepees around the flagpole. This seemed only right to White Eagle; that these half-white, half-Indian men chose to live not in the square, wooden houses of the white man, but rather in the more comfortable lodges of his own people.

At least this is how it appeared to White Eagle.

He could not know, nor would he understand that to some within the fort, the mixed-bloods were not on an equal footing with the more European breed of men, that such would not be allowed the right to live in the square, wooden houses.

And so, not knowing, White Eagle settled down, content for the moment, to initiate the necessary chores needed for the return journey to Fort McKenzie.  Indeed, the time consumed in fashioning arrowheads, making a new shield and manufacturing a new spear was time well spent.

He was certain that Shines Like Moonlight would delay a meeting with him for as long as she was able. This didn’t bother him. Why should it? Time was not an enemy to him, and White Eagle was full-blooded Indian; he was a patient man.

He smiled. Perhaps here was something else he could admire about this woman: She had a stubborn strength of character. And this was good.

She would not be one to come a cropper in an emergency. Such people were few. Such people were valuable.

He shrugged. Whatever the case, his next few days within this fort promised to be far from dull.


Well, that’s all for now.  Look for the book in a few days.  At present, it’s undergoing the final proof reading.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Oh, and this is the cover to the left is the cover of the book currently up at Amazon.  This cover was done when I was writing for Samhain Publishing.

Indeed, all of these covers have a special place in my heart.  I am, however, extremely drawn to the new cover.  Hope you’ll like it, too.

SHE STEALS MY BREATH, Excerpt and e-book Give-Away

Good Morning and welcome, welcome to another tiptop Tuesday!

What a hot August we are having!  Goodness!

Hopefully, the chance to win SHE STEALS MY BREATH (or another e-book of your choice) will make the heat a little more bearable.

Well, I’m going to post another excerpt of my newest effort, SHE STEALS MY BREATH.  Now, in this excerpt, the heroine is realizing she made a mistake.  Much of the excerpt are her thoughts and how she comes to realize she’s made a mistake.  But, there’s another creature that helps her along that path.  So, first I’ll post a brief blurb of the book and then the excerpt.  But, do read to the bottom because at the end of this blog, I’ll be posting some info about our birthday event here at Petticoats and Pistols.

Her Beauty Takes His Breath Away… Only She Can Restore It.

 

A raging blizzard forces Eagle Heart of the Blackfeet Nation and Laylah, the daughter of a Trader, into each other’s company.  As their attraction deepens, both fight the knowledge that a love between them is forbidden in both their worlds.

SHE STEALS MY BREATH

by 

Karen Kay

The suggestion of riding out onto the prairie was an idea Laylah could little resist.  But, she would not go with Thomas.  Rather, she would make this trip alone.  Perhaps the wide spaces would serve to ease the affliction within her heart.

Also, if she were to be truthful, she would have to admit it was impossible to resist leaving the fort to go in search of Eagle Heart.  If he were still somewhere in the fort’s vicinity, could she find him?  Would he have set up camp close to where they had once sat out the blizzard?

Feeling a little happier, she left the trading room to rush to her quarters in the proprietor’s part of the house.  There, she dressed as quickly as she could for an excursion out-of-doors and, using her cane, hobbled  toward the livery.  There, she was able to attain help in saddling her pony, Honey Sugar, for, with her right arm broken, it was a task she could not do alone.  She was glad to see the gate was open, and she fled out of it, wistfully hoping no one in the fort took note of her flight.

Interestingly, Honey Sugar appeared to know where to go.  Laylah didn’t even need to steer the animal.  Hoping she might catch Eagle Heart still in residence at their shelter, Laylah found she could barely breathe.  She had so much to tell him.

Keeping to a fast pace, she came quickly upon the coulee.  But, rather than ride her pony down a hard pass, she dismounted—though with some difficulty because her ankle wasn’t fully healed—and walked her mount down into the ravine.  At last, she beheld the place where she and Eagle Heart had once encamped.  It looked to be still there.

She smiled.  Was he within?

Throwing her pony’s reins to the ground, she limped as quickly as possible to the place where she and Eagle Heart had so recently resided.  But, she saw at once that where their shelter had once stood, nothing remained to indicate the adventure she had once shared with Eagle Heart.  Nor was Eagle Heart anywhere to be seen.

Was it really such a short time ago when she’d had Eagle Heart’s attention all to herself?  Though only a week had passed since they had sat out the storm together, it seemed like a lifetime ago.

As she stood looking at where the hut had once been, she realized she might never be the same again.  She had thought she would be able to start her life over, as was expected of her by her family.  But, more and more she was coming to realize this might be impossible.

She shouldn’t feel this way.  After all, she had made her choice and had refused Eagle Heart’s proposal.  And now, having done so, she should try to live with it and marry Thomas, as was expected of her.  But, could she marry Thomas when, to the depths of her heart, she felt she belonged with Eagle Heart?

Perhaps another question she might ask herself was this: was she ready to throw away the lessons her grandmother had taught her?  Hadn’t her grandmother married a man she didn’t love?  Hadn’t it ended in a bad way?

Truly, it was beginning to seem to Laylah as if she were plunging headlong into as heartbreaking an experience as her grandmother’s.

When she had left Eagle Heart, she hadn’t fully realized the extent to which she had changed.  Had it taken losing Eagle Heart to pound some sense into her, to see him more clearly?  Because of the differences in their cultures, she had been unwilling to break with her former ideas of love and marriage.

But, it was a mistake.  In her heart now, she knew it was a mistake.  Was she, however, too late to tell Eagle Heart she had changed her mind?

Gray Falcon had said his friend had blocked his thoughts from her.  She knew he had done this because he did not wish to interfere in her life.  Would it follow, then, that he might leave, never to know she was experiencing a change of heart?

He might do exactly this if she couldn’t get a message to him either through her own efforts or via Gray Falcon.  Perhaps when she rode home tonight, she would seek out Gray Falcon, ask him to find Eagle Heart and beg him to relay a message for her.

She worried, because one aspect about this was becoming very clear to her now: she would never forget Eagle Heart, even if she married another and never saw him again.  Nor would she ever stop loving him.

Oddly, along with acknowledging what was truly in her heart, came a sense of responsibility and an awareness of greater self-confidence.  At least she knew now that what had been between Eagle Heart and herself was more important than others’ ideas—as well as her own mistaken belief—of how she should live her life.

The idea was freeing somehow, and this spurred her on toward another realization: she had to throw Thomas away.  Really, she had no other option.

Besides, she was fast becoming aware that Thomas possessed an injurious trait she had chosen to ignore; one that had almost claimed her life: he did not wish to give up any part of his privileged life to be of service to another.  Indeed, he had valued his own comfort over hers and had left her for dead, apparently after engaging in a show of trying to find her.  He had only left the fort twice in search of her, and, according to Millie and her mother, hadn’t tried again.

At last, it was clear to her.  He did not love her.

Yet, he at least deserved that she should speak to him and inform him of her change of heart and her wish to not marry him.  And so, she would seek him out, and possibly would do so tonight.  She would not criticize him; she would simply let him know she wouldn’t marry him.  And, perhaps this, once done, would allow her to come to Eagle Heart with an open and clean heart.

She could only hope Eagle Heart might still wish to make her his woman.  If, however, she were to discover he didn’t, what would she do?  Return to Fort Union?

No.  She couldn’t.  Perhaps, were this to be a reality, an alternate plan might be to return to St. Louis, for she would always be welcome at her grandmother’s house.  Yes, this was a good plan.  But, if she left this country and didn’t marry Eagle Heart, would she become, then, an old maid?

Perhaps.

Oddly, the idea of leaving behind the security of her own world did not cause her to turn away from what she felt she must do.  Truly, it would be hard to live Eagle Heart’s lifestyle when she was not accustomed to it and didn’t know its rules and mores.  But, it was worse thinking she might have to live her life without him.

Yes, as soon as she returned to the fort, she would find Thomas and speak to him; she would break off their engagement, and then she would try to contact Eagle Heart once again with the mind speak.  If this didn’t work, she would try to find a way to convince Gray Falcon to take her to Eagle Heart or at least relay a message for her.

And so, it was on this thought that she turned to leave, and that’s when she beheld the gray wolf watching her.  At first she was afraid of the creature, but then a memory returned: it was the recollection of the wolves lying next to her freezing body, keeping her warmer than she would have been without them.

She owed them her thanks.

Hesitantly, she watched as the wolf slowly paced toward her.  Using her cane for balance, Laylah came down onto her knees to show the wolf she wasn’t a threat.

Her voice was almost a whisper when she asked, “Were you one of the wolves who, many days ago, came to help me?  If you were, let me tell you how much I appreciate what you did that day.”

The wolf bent down to rest its paws in front of it, its back legs sitting upon the ground as though it were ready to spring up and retreat in an instant.

“I wish I had something to give you, wolf, but I don’t.  I came here without food.  I don’t know really how I can properly thank you.  I wish I could speak to you in the mind-to-mind talk like Eagle Heart can, but I can’t.”

The wolf looked her directly in the eyes before it came up onto its feet and turned around, trotting back in the direction it had come.  However, before it went too far, the animal turned around and asked in distinct mind speak, “Where is the human boy?”

“The human boy?” Laylah asked uncertainly, also using the mind-to-mind form of talking.  Was she really speaking with a wolf?

“Your mate,” answered the wolf.

“My mate?  Oh, you mean Eagle Heart?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t know where he is.  He is gone from here.  I was hoping he would be here, but he is not.”

The wolf didn’t answer.  Instead, it turned away and trotted off again.  In the distance, Laylah could see another wolf waiting for the one who had approached her.  The first wolf had been a female, she realized, because the one she had talked to was smaller than the bigger wolf lingering in the shadows.

Laylah watched them both as they trotted away, though the female paused once and turned her head back to take another look.  Briefly, Laylah brought her good hand up in the sign of a goodbye, and it was some minutes before she realized she had spoken to a wolf as though this were an everyday occurrence and as easy to do as speaking with another human being.

What else was she going to learn in this wild land?

No wonder she now understood she could no longer marry Thomas.  She had forever changed.

 

 

 

And don’t forget to come by on Thursday to help us celebrate our 15th birthday!!

 

Spread  the word – there are going to be BIG prizes and BIG fun!

Play Fifteen Filly Fact or Fib? and you could win!

Happy Birthday to us!

Black Eagle. My Freedom Book.

Howdy!

Well it’s another terrifically splendid Tuesday!

One of my books, BLACK EAGLE, is on sale for $.99.  But, it will be returning to its original price of $4.99 soon — perhaps tomorrow.

Since this blog is mighty close to July 4th, I thought I’d talk a little about it.  The book was written as I was getting to know Michael Badnarik, the Presidential Candidate 2004 on the Libertarian Party.  He had a “radio” show on the internet and I used to listen to it everyday and I — who thought I knew a lot about our Founding Fathers and the history of the American Revolution — came to find out I actually knew very little.  We became friends because I used to call in to the show.

The picture to the left was taken in Los Angeles, when Michael had come to the area to give his Constitution lectures.

Anyway, as I began to study more and more of this particular time period, I came across the Iroquois Indians and their form of government.  Benjamin Franklin used their form of gov’t as a model for what our Constitution could become.  It was rumored that Thomas Paine spent a year living with the Iroquois.

And so I thought I’d write about the Iroquois and what I had learned from my delving into the American Revolution time period.  Now, in fact, the book is set during the French and Indian War because this war was a civil war between the Mohawk Indians who had been separated by a Jesuit priest.  Half of the tribe went into Canada and sided with the French during the war and half of the tribe stayed in upper state New York and sided with the Colonists.  When their form of government was established by the Peacemaker, he cautioned them to never fight each other.  And so, when they did go to war — brother against brother — they lost most of their land and many of them were scattered or left to go west.

The Iroquois Nation was originally composed of 5 tribes and eventually 6.  And, it was founded not upon war and not for the gain of some few nor for any other reason except to establish Freedom and Peace.  And for roughly 500 years, they established both Freedom and Peace.  (Historians usually get the founding of their gov’t in the 1400’s instead of the 1100’s.  But the Iroquois scholars know that the event that established the Iroquois Confederation occurred in the 1100’s.  A similar one occurred in 1400, but the Iroquois Confederation was already alive and well in the 1400’s.)

 

Benjamin Franklin had this to say about the Iroquois:

Remarks from Benjamin Franklin Regarding the American Indian

 

“Savages we call them, because their Manners differ from ours, which we think the Perfection of Civility. They think the same of theirs.”

“The Indian Men when young are Hunters and Warriors; when old, Counsellors; for all their Government is by Counsel of the Sages; there is no Force, there are no Prisons, no Officers to compel Obedience, or inflict Punishment. Hence they generally study Oratory; the best Speaker having the most Influence. The Indian Women till the Ground, dress the Food, nurse and bring up the Children, & preserve & hand down to Posterity the Memory of public Transactions. These Employments of Men and Women are accounted natural & honorable. Having few artificial Wants, they have abundance of Leisure for Improvement by Conversation. Our laborious Manner of Life compar’d with theirs, they esteem slavish & base; and the Learning on which we value ourselves, they regard as frivolous & useless…”

“Having frequent Occasions to hold public Councils, they have acquired great Order and Decency in conducting them. The old Men sit in the foremost Ranks, the Warriors in the next, and the Women & Children in the hindmost. The Business of the Women is to take exact Notice of what passes, imprint it in their Memories, for they have no Writing, and communicate it to their Children. They are the Records of the Councils, and they preserve Traditions of the Stipulations in Treaties 100 Years back, which when we compare with our Writings we always find exact. He that would speak rises. The rest observe a profound Silence. When he has finish’d and sits down; they leave him 5 or 6 Minutes to recollect, that if he has omitted any thing he intended to say, or has any thing to add, he may rise again and deliver it. To interrupt another, even in common Conversation, is reckon’d highly indecent. How different this is, from the Conduct of a polite British House of Commons where scarce every person without some confusion, that makes the Speaker hoarse in calling to Order and how different from the Mode of Conversation in many polite Companies of Europe, where if you do not deliver your Sentence with great Rapidity, you are cut off in the middle of it by the Impatients Loquacity of those you converse with, and never suffer’d to finish it—”

“When any of them come into our Towns, our People are apt to crowd round them, gaze upon them, & incommode them where they desire to be private; this they esteem great Rudeness, the Effect of & Want of Instruction in the Rules of Civility & good Manners. We have, say they, as much Curiosity as you, and when you come into our Towns, we wish for Opportunities of looking at you; but for this purpose we hide our Selves behind Bushes where you are to pass, and never intrude ourselves into your Company—”

“Their Manner of entering one another’s villages has likewise its Rules. It is reckon’d uncivil in travelling Strangers to enter a Village abruptly, without giving Notice of their Approach. Therefore as soon as they arrive within Hearing, they stop & hollow, remaining there till invited to enter. Two old Men usually come out to them, and lead them in. There is in every Village a vacant Dwelling called the Strangers House. Here they are plac’d, while the old Men go round from Hut to Hut, acquainting the Inhabitants that Strangers are arriv’d who are probably hungry & weary; and every one sends them what he can spare of Victuals & Skins to repose on. When the Strangers are refresh’d, Pipes & Tobacco are brought, and then, but not before, Conversation begins with Enquiries who they are, whither bound, what News, &c, and it usually ends with Offers of Service if the Strangers have occasions of Guides or any Necessaries for continuing their Journey and nothing is exacted for the Entertainment.”

Benjamin Franklin, 1782—1783

Source: http://www.wampumchronicles.com/benfranklin.html

Anyway, I will leave you with the above, which I found fascinating.  Also, I’ll be giving away an e-book of BLACK EAGLE and also one of SENECA SURRENDER, so please do leave a comment.

 

SHE STEALS MY BREATH — $.99 sale and so much more

Howdy!

Welcome!  I have so much to tell you.  Oh, my goodness!

First, my newest release, SHE STEALS MY BREATH, is on sale — should be on sale today for $.99.  But, it’s only going to be at this price for about 4 or 5 days.  So if you don’t have a copy of my latest book, now would be good time to get it.

 

Okay, the book should be on sale at these outlets:

AMAZON: tinyurl.com/54cxfhac

B & N: tinyurl.com/4anbp4az

ITUNES: tinyurl.com/2w6f7epv

Google: tinyurl.com/mr2byszp

KOBO: tinyurl.com/pwa88n3v

 

OKay.  Then for the next order of business.  Do you follow me on Bookbub?

If not now is your chance to possibly win a bunch of e-books and follow me and some other authors.  Or even if you do follow me, now is still your chance to possibly win some e-books.  BOOKSWEEPS is having a “follow me” event.  Here is what it says:

Win a Bundle of Romantic Comedy!

PLUS A BRAND NEW EREADER! 40 BOOKS! $450 VALUE!

 

“I believe we need to call a break.”

Laylah glanced up at him, smiled, and, in reaction to her, he felt his heart take wing even while he strove to appear serious and intent.  And, he must appear so.  After all, she—a woman—was challenging him.

“Certainly we can have a break,” she said and signed the words as she spoke.  “But, don’t forget that your knife, all your robes and your two horses are now mine.”

“I do not forget.”

She grinned at him again, and Eagle Heart thought he had never seen a more beautiful woman.  Indeed, her hair was a mess, being tossed and tangled, and she wore nothing more than an unflattering robe of his own making.  Yet, when she smiled, it was as though Sun shone through her eyes.  However, there was a drawback to her lure: he had never played the game with anyone who was not only as good as he was, but was, perhaps, a little better.

She had taken to the game as though she had been born to play it.  Quickly—and sometimes even before him—she knew the exact amount of the points in a throw with little more than a simple look.  Often, she memorized the points.  She kept excellent totals, even without the required sticks to keep track of it all, and she laughed while she played as though she were a carefree child.  And, with every smile, every giggle, every delightful glance she gave him, he was falling much too deeply in love with her.

And yet, if she won as he wished her to do, he would have to let her leave him, for he did not fool himself into believing she would choose his lifestyle over the one she had been born to.  Yes, if she won, it might possibly be the hardest task he would ever have to do to take her back to the fort.

Yet, as the afternoon wore on, and, as they reclined within their small enclosure, they laughed and joked about one thing or another as though they were fast acquaintances and well known to each other.  But—and this was hard for him to believe—she was winning most every time she took her turn.  It was getting to the point where he had little left to put up against her for betting.

Of course, she often accused him of cheating and trying to throw the game in her favor, but the fact was, he wasn’t.  He was playing with as much knowledge and cleverness as he possessed.

Perhaps it was male pride as she had suggested, but the idea of being completely bested by a woman was not a moment of pleasure for him.  When he threw a game to give her favor, he still knew he was throwing the game.

In this, he was not.

Perhaps he should never have confided to her how he managed to win these games of chance, for she seemed to have perfected the method without any further assistance from him.

“I think you’re right,” she said in English as well as sign.  “It is much darker outside now, and I believe it will soon be time to have our supper.”

Áa,” he signed, “and I also have several chores to do, the care of our horses being one of those.  I must also ensure this little hut is built well enough to withstand more of the storm, for I believe there are yet many days of the blizzard ahead of us.  I would like to see to these tasks before we begin the game again.”

“Very well,” she said.  “I will try to rest while you are gone, especially if we are to be up through the night.”

“Do you need to visit and use the outside before I leave?”

She looked away from him and sighed, “I do.”  But she’d said it without signing the words.  He, however, understood what she said anyway.

“Then, let us do this before I leave,” he signed and spoke his words in Blackfeet.  “But, I have a gift for you.  It is one I think you might like very much.”

“Really?  You have a gift for me?”

“I do,” he signed.  “Stay where you are,” he commanded, as though it had skipped his notice she could not get up and leave.  But, he hoped she would like his gift and that it would help her attend to private matters with a little more ease.

Scooting toward the entrance of their shelter, he reached a hand outside and brought in the gift.  As he brushed the snow off of it, he realized its purpose would soon alert her to a possibility of more freedom.  It was truly a gift from him, for he had whittled this for her the last time he had gone outside.

“Is it a weapon?” she asked with sign.  But then, as he watched her glance more carefully at it, he heard her exclaim, “It’s a cane!  Oh, let me see it and let me try to walk with it!”

Scooting toward her, for the shelter was not tall enough to stand upright, he presented her with the handcrafted object.

“Can I try it?” she asked in sign.

Áa, please do,” he answered.

“I can’t stand up, but let me attempt to crawl to the entrance and then see if I can.”  She tried, but wasn’t able to scoot all the way to the shelter’s opening, since she was handicapped by an injured leg and a broken arm.

Seeing she had given up, he asked, “Shall I pick you up and bring you outside where you might see if this helps you to walk?”

She nodded.

He scooped her up in his arms then and, ducking through the small entrance, set her on her feet in the snow, allowing her to use the cane to hobble and hop toward the place set aside for the purpose so necessary to every living being.

Snow was falling around them silently as she admonished, “Don’t you look!”

She didn’t translate her words, but he didn’t need the gestures of sign to understand her, and he turned his back to give her a little privacy.  Luckily, she was finished quickly.

“I’m done,” she said.  “Shall I try to walk on my own back to the shelter?”

He turned around and nodded at her, following along behind her.  He was happy to see she was, indeed, able to walk, even though her movements were slow and she hobbled on her left foot.  But, before she began the ordeal of kneeling down in order to enter the shelter, she turned around and threw herself against him.  His arms came around her instinctively.  Snow was still falling, the wind whirling the flakes around them, and he closed his eyes, pulling her in closely toward him.  And, for a moment, he imagined she was truly his by her own will and that he had the right to hold her.

When she said “Thank you, thank you, Eagle Heart.  What am I to do?  For I am falling too much in love with you, and I dare not do it,” he didn’t confess to her how quickly he was learning English and that he was beginning to be able to piece together what she said.

But, when she reached up toward his face and placed a kiss upon his cheek, he couldn’t resist turning his head such a small, little distance to turn what was meant as a “thank-you-peck-on-the-cheek” into a kiss, lips to lips.

He was surprised when she kissed him back, placing her good arm around his neck and opening her mouth to his demand.  And, he kissed her hungrily, as one lover might do with his sweetheart, as though he had every right to take her gift.  However, his body was responding with all the fervor of a man in love.  And worse, he could do nothing about it.

Yet, the kiss went on and on until he gathered enough of his wits about him to end the caress.  But, he didn’t let her go.  Instead, he drew her closer into his arms, and, placing his chin on the top of her head, tried in vain to smother the passion he could little control.

At last, with the snow sticking to and wetting her hair, her robe and also his, he said, “Kitsii ká komimmo, I love you,” secure in the knowledge that she had not yet mastered his language.


Well, that’s all for today.  Hope you’re able to sort through all of these things I’ve left for you today.  Do come in and leave a comment.  I do look forward to them.

An Interview and an e-Book giveaway

Howdy!

Welcome!  Welcome to a terrifically beautiful Tuesday!

Recently, I was interviewed by Tory Richards at Coffee Time Romance concerning the book, SHE STEALS MY BREATH.  She asked me some interesting questions and so I thought I’d share the interview with you.  Tory is the author of many erotica romances.  So, without further ado, here is the interview:

Interview for Coffee Time Romance and More

Welcome, today we are talking with Karen Kay! I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy writing schedule to answer a few questions. First, let’s delve into who you are. Some of the questions may be untraditional but you’d be surprised at what readers connect to, and sometimes the simplest ‘I can relate to that’ grabs their interest where nothing else can.

**Can you share a little something about Karen Kay that’s not mentioned in your bio on your website? 

This question got me to thinking a bit, because, on my website, I really do tend to share my life with my readers.  But, here’s something I don’t usually share:  I’m pretty much a food purist, so to speak.  I don’t eat anything that comes in a box and nothing processed by another.  I make all my own catsup, mustard, sauces, sweets, etc.  Takes a bit more kitchen time and tends to make my life constantly busy.  It has taken me a bit of time, a lot of research and a couple of illnesses to reach this point, because I have loved fast food as much as anyone else.  But, not any more. 

 

**How long have you been writing? 

Twenty-six years round about.

 

**What have you found most challenging about it? 

Golly, what don’t I find challenging about it?  I’m not a slow writer, but I’m also not a fast writer.  I ache and struggle over sentences and descriptions that really matter.  Promotion also tends to make me a little high strung when a new release comes out. 

But, the things I do love, which keeps me going, is the research about the American Indian long-ago way of life — I’m always learning…taking on new things, i.e. recently I’ve become very interested in really learning to “speak” the gesture/sign language in common use all over America before English came in and replaced it.  And, love.  I truly believe that the love and love-making between a man and a woman who are truly committed to each other are probably one of the most beautiful creations on earth, their love, of course, creating a whole new generation. 

There are factions at work, in my opinion, who work to make us think that this (love-making) is filthy or dirty and they go out of their way to make it appear this is true. 

But, love and love-making between two people committed to one another is God’s plan, and, being God’s plan, is naturally one of the most beautiful things still found on this earth.  I do believe this to be true, and so in my stories, I try my best to make the love scenes as beautiful as I possibly can.

 

**What does writing do for you? Is it fun, cathartic, do you get emotional? 

Great question — I had to go and look up the word, cathartic, to make sure I understood it…and it means using some sort of medium to purge or cleanse some emotional aspect about something.  Okay, so I admit that sometimes when it comes to the bad guys in my story, I sometimes am writing real dialogue and real happenings — not always — but I’ve noticed when it comes to the bad guys in the story, I generally am working from real life, unfortunately.

 A story where I specifically remember doing this is PROUD WOLF’S WOMAN — and even then, I went back and edited out much of the bad parts because I thought no one would ever belief a man could say such things to a woman.

 Actually, I get very emotional about the stories and try to make them as light-hearted as possible, given the subject and the fact that one is writing a novel which must contain conflict.  In Native America, there is so much real trauma from the past, and even today, that I like to make my stories somewhat light-hearted, even when dealing with subjects that are not light-hearted.

 And, of course, they must always end well.

 

**Describe what your writing routine looks like. Are you disciplined with a strict schedule or do you have to be in the mood?

 I’m pretty disciplined.  I’d had to be when I wrote for two major publishing houses in New York.

 No, I don’t have to be in the mood.  But, I do like to look at pictures of what I’m writing about or pictures of a possible hero before I sit down to write.  I’ve tried to get rid of that habit, but I still do it, nonetheless.

 

**Did you go into writing thinking that it would be a hobby or a job?

Actually, no to both.  When I was growing up, my life was filled with music — I play piano and clarinet.  I practiced everyday and I loved it.  It filled a creative need.  When I had young children and my ex-husband was often gone (out-of-town), I began to feel the need to bring a creative influence back into my life.

I began to read love stories to fill that gap, but even this wasn’t enough.  I began to yearn for a piano or clarinet to play.  We were mighty poor and the thought of getting a piano was out of the question.  But, I discovered that it didn’t take much cash to buy paper and pen.  That’s when I started to write.

 

**What inspires you?

Golly, a lot.  My husband is number one inspiration.  Native America and doing my best to “set the record straight” on what happened here in America also inspires me.  It makes me hunger for doing the research and so I have my nose in some sort of book almost constantly — history books or another Indian book.  And, I love to tell stories.  When I pick my grand kids up at school, I often tell them stories I’ve heard, but sometimes I make them up.

**Let’s move on and give readers some insight into your personal life.

** What are your pet peeves?

Many of the old movies tend to irritate me.  They tell bad history, tell lies about Native Americans, usually have non-Indian people playing the major roles and don’t show the facts as they were.  Rarely, do they present the truth of the people who were first here.  And, almost always those old movies end in a bad way for the Indians.

The truth is that the Native American of old was honest almost to a fault, deeply spiritual and religious, trained his body so that he could run miles in order to save his people if the need ever arose.  He respected (as a rule) women and their voices and their roles in the Indian culture.  He was often wise, could track better than anything we’ve ever known, and if he were a true medicine man, his ethics had to be without fault.  He did not deal in magic, as the movies depict — this is the true medicine man I’m talking about — he healed by being completely ethical in his life so that God could work through him to heal others.

Yes, some men pretending to be medicine men who were yet not true medicine men, went astray and often, when they let hate fill their spirit, ended up on the black side of magic and sometimes were cruel or used their “medicine” against others.  But, these were not the men whom God chose to work through.  History tells us that the God of Creation abandoned them.

I’m only learning this now because of the series I’m writing about the medicine man.

** Who is your hero?

My husband.

 

**Give us one thing on your bucket list.

Okay, back to the dictionary…I didn’t know what a bucket list is.  Am I showing my age?  I’d say the one thing on my bucket list is what I try to do in my writing is to depict the American Indian of the past in as true a picture as I can paint him, given that I am writing some 150 years after the fact.  I try to do this by reading and learning the writings of George Catlin, James Willard Schultz and others, who lived with the Indians and saw them with a contemporary view.

 

**What would readers find surprising about you?

Perhaps that I love reading and learning about law and common law, as well as our Founding Fathers.  Often, I search for and read their own documents, not what others say about them.  There’s a book entitled, the Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers.  Although I haven’t read it cover to cover, it certainly is interesting.

 

**If you could go to heaven, who would you visit?

Many people.  My parents, my sister, many of my friends, and people I admire, including but not inclusive of: John Trudell, Russell Means, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Thomas Jefferson and L. Ron Hubbard.  The first five I didn’t know personally in this life, but the last I did, and he was always one of my best friends.

**Just for fun. What is your least favorite:

Least favorite Hero type –  Probably men who murder for a living.

Body part – Hmmmm.  Not sure on this one.

Overused word in a title – Hmmmm.  Again, not sure.

Least favorite Genre – I tend to read in many different genres, but I’d say any genre that makes fun of being human and/or being humane.

Least favorite Dirty word – I’d say it would be any word that takes the name of the Lord in vain.

 

**Now that our readers know who Karen Kay is let’s get down to the business of your book, She Steals My Breath, The Medicine Man Book 1, which just came out in March of this year.

 Please tell us a little bit about, She Steals My Breath.

This book was inspired by being in a point in my life when I truly desired to have a tough, rugged hero who was also very kind.  The story was one I began to tell to my grandchildren, but was also inspired by several different things, one of them being that in Montana there is a lot of snow and many blizzards that can kill a man in minutes.  I’d never written a story set in the snow.  While visiting on the Blackfeet reservation a few years ago, I became aware that they’d had 8 feet of snow that winter.  Eight feet!  Wow!  This added to wanting to write a story set in the snow.

At this time period in history, there were supposed to be no white women in the West, but this wasn’t quite true…although almost true.  There were women married to traders and those women and their daughters sometimes made the journey upriver.  While they may not have gone completely up to Fort Union, why not?  They often traveled on the steamships and went north and this was considered acceptable at this time.

So the heroine is the daughter of a trader and the hero is a Blackfoot medicine man, who has come to the fort to find his missing brother.  When the hero first sees the white woman, she is so beautiful that she takes his breath away, thus the title of the book.

She is caught out in a roaring blizzard, and, when the hero discovers this and that she is out there alone, he leaves the fort to go and find her and save her if he can.

**What was your hardest challenge writing this book?

The ending of the story.  All the while I was writing the book, I had no idea how to end the story.  Yes, I knew how things had to be at the end, but how to get there.  I brainstormed with some of my readers and a good friend, as well as my husband and it was their imput — especially my husband’s– that showed me how I might get from where I was to where I needed to be to end the story.  Those readers who were corresponding with me at the time often heard me mention that I had no idea how to end the story.  Finally, I had to sit down, and, using the ideas from my husband, I just wrote it and then went back through it several — many, many times — to get it “right.”  I hope I accomplished it.

**What kind of research did you have to do?

 Lots of research on the medicine man including a book on an Apache medicine man, two medicine men of the Lakota, Fools Crow and Black Elk.  Also, the writings of James Willard Schultz and his observations of the medicine men and women.  Also, I had to research snow storms and blizzards and shelters and gullies and Fort Union and the surrounding landscape, as well as a little about steamboats.

**What in your opinion makes good chemistry between your leading characters?

 For me, I think they have to really be in love with each other, though it’s not acknowledged, and they each one have to have solid, hard and firm reasons or beliefs why a union between them is not possible now or ever.  Their beliefs can be completely 180 degrees different.  The American Indian culture makes this a little easier than other sub-genres in romance, I think.

 **How many books do you plan in the series?

 Right now I plan four books in this series. 

 **Any other works in progress?

 The book I’m writing now is about half done and is the next book in The Medicine Man series and right now is called, SHE CAPTURES MY HEART. 

**Any advice for aspiring authors? 

It’s my belief that storytelling is the most important thing in writing a fictionalized novel.  I would say to forget about grammar, spelling, punctuation and other things if you don’t think them helpful or if knowing about them keep you from writing what is in your heart.  You can go in later and fix them. 

Set a time each day and write.  Don’t worry about page count, just write as much as you can and don’t beat yourself up if you sit for 4-5 hours staring at a blank screen.  Get in there the next day, same time, and write.  Tell your story. 

This is what I would suggest. 

 **Final words? 

Although my heritage is mostly European, I figure I am about 1/8 or thereabouts, Choctaw Indian.  My grandmother used to talk to her best friend about her Indian heritage and I learned that she was proud of it.  When I was growing up, I was sure that I must have had some kind of Indian heritage.  One has only to look at my features to see it is there.  But, my mother insisted there was none in our family tree and I know she did this to protect me because we lived in a small, southern town.  But, when I finally discovered the history passed down verbally from my grandmother, I, at last, knew why I had always felt I had so much in common with the American Indian.  And, so I did.

Please include the following links: 

Website:  https://novels-by-KarenKay.com

Blog:  https://petticoatsandpistols.com — I blog usually the second Tuesday in the month.

Email: karenkay.author@startmail.com — I love to hear from readers

 

SHE STEALS MY BREATH:

Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/4y6kdvaa

Barnes & Noble: https://tinyurl.com/4anbp4az

Itunes:  https://tinyurl.com/2w6f7epv

KOBO:  https://tinyurl.com/pwa88n3v

Google:  https://tinyurl.com/mr2byszp

 

 NOTE:  To enter into the drawing for the free e-book giveaway, please look at the give-away rules over to the right here and just leave a comment.  Be sure to check back in a couple of days to see if you are the winner.

 

 

 

 

It’s Game Day! And Give-Away

Howdy!

Welcome to Game Day!  Are you ready to unscramble some letters and see how many words you can make?  Wanna have a contest and see who can make the most words?

It is also possible that 3 of those words make a title of one of my books.  Can you tell which one it is?

The give-away, however, isn’t dependent on how many words you can make or even telling me which book title is in this scramble.  It’s based solely on coming to the blog and leaving a comment.  The paperback I’ll be giving away is the book, BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER.

So, you ready?  Here goes!  Leave a comment and let me know if you’ve enjoyed the game.  I’ll post not only who wins the book, but also will post who discovered the most words.

 

 

 

SHE STEALS MY BREATH — Still on sale, but only for a short while longer

Howdy!

And here we are gathering together again on another terrific Tuesday.

This series of The Medicine Men is really opening my eyes to many things.  And, I thought I’d share of few of those with you today.

Am reading the book FOOLS CROW by Thomas E. Mails and I have to admit to having to leave behind many misconceptions I’ve had about the American Indian medicine man.  I had really thought that the medicine men helped their people heal using herbs and driving out the evil spirits with their songs and drumbeats.

Sometimes they did this.  They certainly used herbs and drumming and other rituals to help another become well.  Here is what Fools Crow said about some of the healings he did:

“You know that it is not our custom to talk about healings.  Instead, our words and hearts are sent up to God in prayerful thanksgiving for them.  We tell Him this in our private prayers and in our ceremonies.  No medicine man or patient makes a big thing of it when a healing takes place.  This is why sick people do not come to me or to other medicine men in greater numbers….”

What I’m learning is that the true medicine man from the long ago did not, himself, heal.  Only God did, working through the medicine man, as though the medicine man were a hollow bone, and was there only so God could work through him.

Wow!  I mean, think of it.  God was never divorced from the healing of the sick because the medicine man realized fully and completely that God was healing the person, not he, the medicine man.  This is why Fools Crow devotes an entire chapter in this book about the medicine man and the strict and narrow path such a man had to walk.

Now, since we know that it was God doing the healing, Fools Crow goes on to say that every person he ever did a ceremony for in order for the person to get well — they did get well…and without exception.

Another medicine man — a very handsome man, Black Elk — is once noted as saying that the life of a medicine man is a hard one, because a man must never step foot off the very narrow and ethical path laid out by God, The Creator.  No alcohol, no drugs, no womanizing, no swearing and a medicine man must keep in mind always that the person seeking help may never be able to repay him.  He goes on to say a medicine man has to understand this, and, if necessary be content to never be repaid for the service he rendered.

Black Elk is noted as saying, also, (I heard this online) that the path of a medicine man is so rough to keep to, that one should not seek to become a medicine man, but should wait to be asked and then make his decision.

However, Fools Crow often points to his complete happiness in being able to help and lead his fellow Lakota Indians.  He may not have been rich in material goods, but he was rich in friendships and in the knowledge that he was helping his fellow man.

In the words of Fools Crow:  “Even the medicine men are jealous of one another today.  And that is very bad.  Years ago all of the holy men and medicine men worked together, and as a result accomplished great things.  The medicine men shared their power in the healing rites and in the other ceremonies.  Even when they paid homage to God they did so in such a way as to help one another.  There was unity of purpose.”

 

In the book, SHE STEALS MY BREATH, I don’t actually go into much of the healing ceremonies because I don’t know them.  But what I would like to do is share with you a little bit from the book that I think really defines the American Indian’s point of view of the world.

And so, I hope you will enjoy this excerpt from the book, SHE STEALS MY BREATH.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

One day turned into another.  In the mornings, Eagle Heart left their simple home to hunt, and, when she asked him why he always traveled so far away on his quest for game, he told her a man never looks for or kills animals for food close to where he lives.  To do so could make a man’s home very dangerous, indeed.

During the afternoons, Laylah made it a point to help Eagle Heart skin the animals he brought home.  She also aided him in preparing their meat for roasting, learning this skill gradually.  But, Laylah noticed a few aspects about skinning an animal she had never witnessed before, and it made her curious.

Always, Eagle Heart said prayers over the beast he had killed, and Laylah, under his influence, had begun doing much the same.  Laylah noticed, also, that Eagle Heart gave away much of their food to the Little People and to any of their other animal friends who came to visit.

Once, she had questioned him about this practice of giving away a good deal of their food, and she’d asked, “Do you think it wise to share so much of the meat we have?”

“We have plenty, more than we need, and the hunting here is good because so few predators come to this valley.”

“Of course,” she said.  “Still, wouldn’t it be wise to preserve some of it?  I remember during the snowstorm you had a good supply of dried meat.  Could you show me how to prepare meat this way?”

Áa,” he signed.  “I will show you how to smoke the meat, and your suggestion is a good one.  We should make meat for hard times.  But, an honorable man gives away as much food as he consumes.  It is his duty to ensure his friends are as well fed as he is.  If he has to hunt more often, so be it.”

“No wonder the animals love you so much.”

His simple smile at her gave her much pleasure, as though he bestowed a little bit of heaven on her.

The evenings were all she could have ever wanted, for she had this man entirely to herself, and, after their supper, they made love throughout most the night, both of them catching up on their sleep between lovemaking.

Sometimes Eagle Heart even slept in late, delaying his hunting until the afternoon.  Indeed, the days and evenings were romantic in so many different ways, and Laylah couldn’t remember ever being so happy.

One afternoon, as she was assisting Eagle Heart in skinning the deer he had brought into their camp, she asked, “What is the yellow powder you sprinkle over the animal you have killed?  I hear your prayers, and I understand why you pray over the animals, but what is the yellow dust for?”

“I will show you,” he signed.

She nodded.

“Hunting is and should always be a prayer,” signed Eagle Heart, “for a man must take the life of another in order to ensure his own family does not starve.  Being so close to the animals one needs to kill in order to survive, a man becomes aware of the creation of life all around him.  It is why we pray over the animals we have killed.  But, we do more.

“It is possible I might be able to show you how we try to help the animal we have killed.  I think I could do this with this deer, because the living spirit of this animal has not yet left its body.  If you watch closely, you might be able to see the spirit of the animal as it departs its body.”

Laylah frowned.  “I thought animals didn’t possess a spirit.”

“There are white trappers who have told me they believe this, also, and they are welcome to think this if they choose.  But, my tribe and all the tribes around us, even our enemies, know that all of creation is alive; all things are made up of the same rocks, stones and dirt of the earth and all are alive.  But, you must decide this matter for yourself.  Watch.”

Eagle Heart began to sing and pray over the animal as he usually did, and, taking some of the powder from the small bag he always wore around his neck, he sprinkled the yellow dust over the animal, the color of the dust catching hold of and reflecting the rays of the afternoon sun.

“Do you see it?” he asked in sign.  “Look for the aliveness of the animal rising up out of its body.  It is not physical, but if you pay close attention, you might see it because you, too, are spiritual.  Here comes the spirit as it rises out of its dead body.  Do you perceive that it follows the path of the dust I have sprinkled, its path guiding it up toward the sky and the Creator of all, Sun?”

Laylah had looked on and at first had seen nothing.  But then, glancing all around the animal, she became aware of something rising up and departing from the body of the animal.

Not really sure what she was looking at, she yet watched as an invisible something left this animal’s body—she even watched it as it followed the yellow path upward toward the sky.  With what must have been large eyes, she turned her head to stare at Eagle Heart.

She whispered, “I didn’t know animals had a soul.”

He signed, “Have you not now seen one leave the body of this poor deer?”

“I did see it.”

“We are all connected,” he told her in sign, bringing his two hands together, linking them as though in brotherhood.  “We all live and enjoy the thrill of life, and we all die.  All life must depend upon animal or plant life, or sometimes both, to become food so all may live.  Plants do the same, taking what they need from our Mother, the Earth.  All life must do the same as we do.  Simply because we must eat does not mean we must divorce ourselves from the life that is all around us and pretend it is not also alive and lives much the same as we do.”

Still feeling as if her eyes were mirroring her incredulity, she remarked, “Should I not eat meat, then?  Perhaps I should change my diet so I am eating no meat at all?”

“Do you ask this question because you think plants do not have a spirit that, like us, desires to live?”

“Of course a plant doesn’t have a spirit.  It is only a plant, after all.”

He smiled at her and reached out to take her hand in his, bringing it to his lips.  Then, releasing her hand, he signed, “Come, let us finish skinning this deer and putting its meat over the fire, and I will introduce you to the plants, for all things are connected and all things on this earth are alive.  And, if it is alive and if it is on this earth, it is, like us, spiritual. When the body dies, that which makes the plant or animal aware it lives, is released.  We of the Blackfoot Nation at least try to guide its spirit up to the sky and to Sun, the Creator.”

Laylah frowned.  Even though she had “seen” the spiritual entity leave its body and float upward, this was too new and too different a viewpoint for her to readily accept as true.  But, it did cause her to wonder if she had really been truly living before she’d met this man.  Wolves who, when asked, came to her aid; a deer as a spiritual being; the love of the Little People and now plants, too?  They, like human beings, were alive and possessed a spiritual quality about them?  She swallowed hard before asking, “What is the yellow dust you sprinkle over the animal?”

“Pollen.”

She nodded.

“Come,” he signed, “let us finish this task and then, if you will follow me, we should go and talk to the plants.”

And, Laylah did, indeed, help him finish the task, knowing they would do exactly as he said they might do.  And, before they sat down to enjoy their supper, she found herself silently conversing with the flowers that graced a beautiful and colorful meadow….

By the way, I love the picture to the right, taken by James Willard Schultz at the turn of the last century.  On the left in the picture is Black Bull and on the right is Stabs-by-mistake, both from the Pikuni Nation (the Blackfeet).  They are looking out upon Glacier National Park.

SHE STEALS MY BREATH

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