I may have outsmarted myself

I’m just now finished with a fun but kinda strange writing experience.

I wrote three geniuses. Brilliant sisters. They’re not only naturally intelligence but they are highly educated by a mother and father who know these girls are all the

The Element of Love –-Buy on Amazon –Buy on Baker Book House

children they’ll ever have. And the father has a lumber dynasty. He owns a mountain, but he is also invested in a whole lot of fast-growing companies in boom-town San Francisco in 1870.

 

Women could go to college then, but it wasn’t common and it wasn’t easy. And beside these parents want more for their daughters then a genteel lady’s education. They want to raise up women to lead, to manage men, to hold their own in a hard world that can be cut-throat on occasion.

 

So they’ve hired vacationing college professors, paid for the best tutors, and their father has taken them along with him to spend time with his lumberjacks and truly learn the business.

This was all, as I said, a lot of fun. Here’s the strange part.

I realized very early on, these women were all a whole lot smarter than I am.

So how to you write geniuses? I think I’m pretty book smart. But these women know math, science, surveying, chemicals, engines, force. They’ve learned to build, they understand the strength of steel and the strength needed to brake a train car, loaded with logs, hurling down a steep mountain train track. And also the power needed by the engine to pull that train back up loaded with passengers and supplies.

Inventions of the Heart–Buy on Amazon, 

Me? I got a C in Algebra 1, and like a freakin’ coward, never took a math class again.

But I got great grades in English, especially the semester we did literature.

So I had to write really smart women. Heaven knows if I succeeded but I had fun making my characters just a little out of step with the rest of the world. I had them know how to blow up a mountain—and I mean make the calculations so the mountain ends up with a tunnel through it going just the right direction, not just blasting rocks to bits. But the women don’t know how to wash clothes or turn a haunch of venison into a meal for ten people.

And they need to do it because I start the book with them running for their lives. And then they have to hide from their cruel stepfather. They disguise themselves as servants. And realize they might not be as smart as they thought they were because they don’t know how to be servants and pretty soon no one is buying their act.

The series starts with a bang as they make their escape. Book #1 is The Element of Love, coming March 2022. Soon!

We’ll see if I outsmarted myself.

Books #1 and #2 are available to pre-order now.

Book #3 A Model of Devotion should be up soon.

The Element of Love

After learning their stepfather plans to marry them off, Laura Stiles and her sisters escape to find better matches and claim their father’s lumber dynasty.

Laura sees potential in the local minister of the poor town they settle in, but when secrets buried in his past surface, it will take all they have to keep trouble at bay.

 

A Soldier’s Harsh Life ~ by Pam Crooks

The heroes in my two-book connected series, THE MERCENARY’S KISS and HER LONE PROTECTOR, are soldiers.  Mercenaries, specifically.  They were soldiers for hire who commanded a handsome price from the War Department to fight for America’s freedoms in their own way. Undercover, nonconforming, but no less effective.

Both educated in West Point Military Academy, their dreams to be a soldier in the traditional sense fall apart, but they remain fierce patriots. They travel throughout the world to fight with skills and daring few soldiers could imagine.  Their life isn’t easy–or safe. They battle betrayal, harsh environments, malaria . . . and emerge victorious.

Soldiers throughout the nineteenth century didn’t have it any easier.  Worse, most likely. Oh, my, many of these soldiers were young.  Late teens, fresh-faced, and eager to serve.  It wasn’t long before their determination is tested, for sure.

A typical routine for a calvary on the march would be like this:

  • 4:45 am – First Call. No hitting the snooze button. Soldiers had to get up and moving NOW.
  • 4:55 am – Reveille and Stable Call. They came to order, saddled the horses, and harnessed the mules.
  • 5:00 am – Mess Call. Breakfast, both prepared and eaten.
  • 5:30 am – Strike Camp – meaning take down tents and store equipment.
  • 5:45 am – Boots & Saddles – the soldiers mount up.
  • 5:55 am – Fall In – Calvary is assembled and ready to march.
  • 6:00 am – Forward March!

An hour and fifteen minutes to accomplish all this!  No dawdling allowed.

Some days, they traveled thirty, maybe sixty miles. Imagine sitting in the saddle that long! The men rode in columns of four when the terrain allowed. Single file, if it didn’t. If the wind and snow blew hard, they rode hunched in the saddle, their eyes slitted against the stinging wind, their hats pulled low over their eyes.

At night, they might have to sleep on snow. If they didn’t die of pneumonia, frostbite and gangrene often set in, and Army surgeons chopped off blackened fingers and toes. In the South, the heat was brutal, water scarce, and the flying insects merciless.  The feared threat of an Indian attack was constant.

Fresh meat was in short supply.  Soldiers reported the meat putrid and “sticky”. Yuck! Clean water was a precious commodity, too. Soldiers suffering extreme thirst desperately drank water wherever they could find it, even if it was green with slime, which only brought on instantaneous vomiting when they were already weak and dehydrated.

Even if decent water could be found, their canteens were lacking.

Wooden canteens tended to leak and/or dry out.

The water in India rubber canteens tasted terrible.

Tin canteens were probably best, but in extreme heat, the water got hot.

If a soldier was pulled out of the field and ordered to a post, amenities were minimal.  Barracks at a fort were small, overcrowded, poorly constructed, poorly ventilated, cold in winter and hot in summer. Privacy was non-existent for most. Privies were outside and bathhouses rare. In fact, despite the War Department’s stipulation that the men should bathe at least once a week, one officer reported that after 30 years in the Army, not once had he seen a bathhouse at a fort.

Still, not every soldier thought his time in service to his country was endlessly miserable.  One young lieutenant wrote his mother, “I could live such a life for years and years without becoming tired of it. There is a great deal of hardship, but we have our own fun. If we have to get up and start long before daybreak, we make up for it when we gather around campfires at night. You never saw such a merry set as we are–we criticize the Generals, laugh and swear at the mustangs and volunteers, smoke our cigars and drink our brandy, when we have any.”

I like his attitude, don’t you?

What is the farthest you’ve ever traveled?  Have you ever had a miserable trip?

A number of years ago, to celebrate our anniversary, my husband and I traveled to Cape Cod in the fall, hopeful to see the beautiful colors.  Alas, it had been too warm and rainy that year, and we didn’t see a SINGLE leaf that had turned color.  Worse, on the way home, more stormy weather cancelled flights, and we were forced to spend the night at the Boston airport.  I can still remember those creaky cots they gave us to sleep on.  Although my husband slept, I couldn’t relax out of fear someone would steal our luggage.  I was in tears checking my watch constantly.  I can’t remember being more miserable, and that night is still vivid in my memory.

Let’s chat, and I’ll give away an ebook copy of THE MERCENARY’S KISS to a winning commenter.

Series on Amazon

Christmas in September?

The release of A Cowboy Christmas Legend still has a week to go but I won’t blog again until October. And I do have a few early copies. It sounds odd talking about Christmas this soon but when writing A Cowboy Christmas Legend, I had to put myself in the right mindset because it was blazing hot outside.

The holiday has always so special to me. I grew up very poor and us kids didn’t get much in the way of gifts, but I loved the warmth of my parents’ love that wrapped around me. An apple, orange, and a few pieces of candy were a treat. Then sometimes if things were good, we got a doll or maybe a book. Christmas meant so much more than gifts. We were together, cared for, our stomachs full, and we had no complaints. My younger sister and I shared a bed, and we would talk (giggle mostly) until we fell asleep. She was and still is my best friend.

In this story, Sam Legend has gone to the northernmost reaches of the Texas Panhandle and settled on a barren piece of land. Once a Texas Ranger, he’s now a bladesmith and makes knives. He wants to forget all about Christmas, forget about the events that forced him away from family and friends. He drapes himself in solitude, content to let his hair and beard grow long until looks more like a mountain man than a member of the famed Legend family.

But when his nearest neighbor’s daughter finds out he’s there, she won’t leave him alone. Cheyenne Ronan can’t imagine anyone hating Christmas and she’s not going to let him spend it working if she can help it. So she begins to plot. Hiding beneath all that hair, is a man worth saving.

Then when a half-frozen little boy appears at his door saying his mama is dying, Sam rushes to find her wagon broken down in the snow. He and Cheyenne work to save the woman and offer comfort to the frightened boy and his little sister. As they care for the desperate travelers, Sam and Cheyenne grow closer together and he wonders about the dark secrets lurking beneath her calm veneer. There’s much more to her than he first thought. Slowly, they begin to know each other.

Christmas is a time of miracles and Sam and Cheyenne get more than one. Together, they discover that love can be the stuff of Legend.

In one scene, she’s singing Christmas carols with the children to soothe them. One very old one is Away in a Manger. It was sung long before it published in 1884. Silent Night is even older. The text was written in 1816, the music put to it in 1818. It’s not a carol, but The Twelve Days of Christmas was written during the Puritan days in England. These have been around for a very long time. So there’s a bit of history to go along with the story.

To preorder or to save when it goes on sale Sept. 28th, CLICK HERE.

The siblings in this story, Aaron and Ellen, are best friends and cling to each other during this tremendous trial. My sister was/is mine. Did you have a best friend growing up? Maybe one you could tell anything to. I’m giving away an autographed copy of A Cowboy Christmas Legend to two people who comment.

BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER — Another Excerpt and Give-Away

Howdy!

Welcome to another terrific Tuesday!  Hope y’all are doing well today.

I’ll be giving away a free e-book of BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER today.  You only have to leave a thought on the post in order to enter into the drawing.

And I thought I’d leave you with another excerpt from the book.  Hope you’ll enjoy it!

BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER Excerpt

by

Karen Kay

PROLOGUE

Summer, 1879

The Season of Festivals

The Forks of the Big and Little Piney Creeks

Wyoming

 

As he stood within the great circle of the many camps, the boy, Maká Cí?ala, Little Skunk, squared his shoulders and raised his head, ready to receive the honors that were due him.  As was tradition, all the tribes of the Lakota people were gathered together for the summer races, games and festivals.  Although it was only midday, all of his family surrounded him in the center of the circle, and, as was also tradition, his band’s highest chief, Kicízapi Wa?té, Good Fight, held the two eagle feathers that Little Skunk was to receive.

Little Skunk was proud both of himself and his nation, the ?kpap?a, which he represented.  Although he was only twelve winters old, he was already acting as a man—he’d been a scout for several of the war parties this summer and had brought many honors to his family.  But this…  This was an accomplishment a boy of his age had never before won: for the past two days, he had competed with adults in his tribe’s foot races, and he’d won every event.

It was a bright day, and a warm one, with the afternoon sun shining upon him as though to touch him with the care and respect of a father.  He felt the tender sunlight on the top of his head and shoulders, and he held his head high.  Then, the drums began to beat, and the singers commenced to chant the honoring song.

Holding up the two feathers to the wind, the chief, Kicízapi Wa?té, said, “Today, Maká Cí?ala becomes a man.  He has gained the highest achievement in our foot races, and, because he has bested even the greatest men amongst us, he has won the right to earn himself a new name.  In honor of this great occasion, Maká Cí?ala’s grandfather, Waki?ya? Paza Tosa?, Blue Thunder Striking, has given his name to his grandson, who shall bear his name with great honor.”

The old chief paused as Little Skunk’s mother stepped forward to offer the chief a newly-made blanket, which the chief accepted.  He nodded and, opening the blanket, threw it around Little Skunk’s shoulders before offering the two eagle feathers to him.  “Blue Thunder Striking,” the chief said, “we of the ?kpap?a know that, from this day forward, we will look to you for many good deeds.  I give you these feathers to forever tell of your accomplishments.”  The old chief smiled at Little Skunk, then said in closing, “The honoring ceremony is now done.”

Blue Thunder’s mother and aunties stepped forward to give him the hand-stitched quilts that had been several months in the making.  Blue Thunder smiled and accepted the many gifts from them.  Traditionally, these blankets were not his to keep; rather, he was to give them to the people to honor his deeds this summer.  Stepping lively toward the side of the circle where people were sitting, he paced around it, offering the gifts to as many people as he could reach until all but one of the gifts was left.  This present was special, for he had made it himself.  This gift was for her.

Ci?cá Wací, Dancing Child, was about two winters younger than he.  But, though the distance between their ages might have been great for their young hearts, Blue Thunder couldn’t recall a time when he hadn’t loved her.

Her mother came from the Brulé band of the Lakota.  However, because her mother didn’t live with the Brulé, he saw Ci?cá Wací only during the summer when she was visiting her grandmother.

He still remembered the first time he had seen her.  He had been seven winters that summer and she, five, and he remembered it as a great occasion, for her grandmother had made a miniature lodge and given it to Ci?cá Wací:

 

She had invited him to play with her in the miniature tepee, and he’d accepted his role in her game as being her pretend husband.  That day, as soon as he’d ducked down to enter the lodge, he had seen that she had placed two different dolls upon small, buckskin blankets within the little tepee.

She had cautioned him to remain silent, since the dolls were “sleeping.”  Then, she’d gone to the women’s side of the tepee and had made a “soup” consisting of water and berries which she had served him in a large turtle shell.  From her tanned skin to her nearly-black eyes and the two dark-haired braids which fell down her back, she had captivated him, and his young heart had rejoiced.

They had played then, pretending to be married, and had continued their game into the coming days of summer.  Indeed, at summer’s close, he had begun to think of her as his wife in reality.  And, on that late summer day when she had told him she was to leave the next day, he had been so distressed, he’d said to her, “Since you are my wife, I would like to give you a gift before you go.”

She giggled and looked away.

“Well, what do you say?”

She stared up at him, her black eyes round and big, and smiled at him.  “I would like that.”

He didn’t know what to give her and, in the end, handed her the only possession that was truly his—a single strand of white deerskin with an image of a lone, blue prairie flower upon it.  He had, himself, painted the picture of the flower on the slender string.

Taking hold of the deerskin from her, he tied it as a necklace at the back of her neck, then said, “It is yours now.  I will never ask for it back.”

As she smoothed her hand over the necklace, she said, “I will love this and treasure it all my life.”

“Wa?cá Skúya, Sweet Flower; it is your new name in honor of this gift.  I give it to you.  It is a good name and is a better name than Dancing Child.  Tell your people.  It is your new name.”

“You give me great honor, and I will tell my people.”

From that day forward he had addressed her as Sweet Flower.  That her own people had still called her Dancing Child hadn’t caused him any worry, for he’d always known someday he would make her his wife, and, when that day came, she would become known as Sweet Flower.

 

At last, he found her in the crowd of people and, stepping near her, grinned at her.

She smiled while looking down, then said, “I am very proud of you.”

He laughed.  “As well you should be.”

Once again, she smiled.

Taking her hand in his, he led her toward the side of the crowd, out of view from most of the people.  As soon as they reached a private spot, he turned to her and said, “I have a special gift for you.”

Her smile widened, and she looked down as a proper, young Lakota maiden was expected to do, her demeanor shy.

“Hold out your hand,” he said, reaching into a bag and extracting something from it.

She did so, and he placed two strings of blue, white and pink-beaded earrings in her hand.

“For me?”

Hau, hau.  There is a woman from the Oglala tribe who makes the owi?la like these.  When I saw the earrings she was creating, I knew I had to make a pair for you.  She taught me how to do it.”

“They are very beautiful, and I love them,” she said. “I will always love them because they are so pretty and because you made them for me.  But, since I thought you might win today, I made something special for you, too.  If we go to my lodge, I will show you what I crafted for you this day.”

Hau, hau,” he said.  Then, because a man must always lead a girl and never walk behind her, he added, “Follow me.”

She did as he instructed.  As soon as they entered her little tepee, she stepped to the back of the lodge, and, turning so she faced him, she presented him with a recently-picked bouquet of flowers.  They were prairie violets and were very pretty.

As was the Indian way, she stared down at the floor of the tepee, which was little more than grass and dirt.  When he took the flowers from her and their hands touched, he felt so good inside, he knew he would love Sweet Flower always.

He said, “Have you any water, for I would keep them alive so they will always remind me of you.”

She laughed, then said, “I do have water, and it is in a pouch.  It will be perfect for them.  I give you not only the flowers, but my own parfleche bag.”  She giggled a little and looked away from him.

Carefully, he placed a finger under her chin and turned her face toward his own.  “Tell me, when we get older, will you marry me?”

Still not looking up at him, she said, “I will, if you would still want me to.”

He brought her chin up so she was forced to look into his eyes and said, “I will always want you to be my wife, for I would spend my life with you.  You are first in my heart, and I swear it will always be so.”

Ha?, ha?. I feel the same as you.”

He grinned at her. “Then let us commit ourselves to one another.  I wish we could marry now, but we are still too young.  Our parents would never allow it.”

“I know what we might do.”

“Hmm…”  He frowned.

“Let us tattoo one another with our own design,” she suggested.  “In this way we will always know we belong together.”

“This is a fine idea.”  He smiled.

She grinned back at him, then said, “I have a sharp bone that I use for sewing.  My grandmother gave it to me.  We might use it to prick our skin.”

“This is good,” he replied.  “And the violets you have given me will make a blue color for the tattoo.  But what design should we make?”

She shook her head.

“It should be simple, perhaps four small dots,” he said.  “One dot would show that we are of one mind; another could say we are of one heart.  The third dot might be one to indicate we will be of one body when we are older, and the fourth dot should be to signify that we have met soul to soul.”

She laughed and said, “What you say is pleasing to me.”

“Do you agree?”

“Oh yes,” she laughed.  “Always I will love you.”

“And I, you.”

“Stay here,” she said, “while I go to my grandmother and ask her to give me the sharp bone I use to sew.”

“I will.  But where should we put the tattoo?”

“Perhaps on the neck?”

“Maybe.  But, wherever we decide it should be, it must be in a place on our bodies that will be hard for others to see, for it is to be our secret…at least until we marry.”

Ha?.”

“I know where we could put it: we will place this tattoo on the upper back, close to and within the hairline, so it will not be seen by others.  Yours will be on the right side, and mine will be on the left.”

She smiled up at him shyly.  “I will go at once to my grandmother and ask for my sharpened bone.  Will you wait here for me?”

Hau, I will.”  He looked at her longingly.  “I would wait a lifetime for you.”

She giggled and bent to leave the little lodge to run to her grandmother’s tepee.  Soon, she returned with the prized bone she used for sewing.

As the afternoon turned to evening, they etched their tattoos onto each other, the small dots hidden by their hairlines.  When, at last, it was done, he reached out to take her hand in his own.

“It is done,” he said.  “We are married now, and someday soon we will be old enough to live together so others will know we two are of one heart.”

Shyly, she smiled at him and said, “Ha?, it is done, and I am glad of it.  With all my heart, I will always love you.”

 

BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER is now on sale at Google Play for 20% off with the coupon:  GUGZUW22LH4U1

BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER:  Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/4k6ahyfr

KOBO: https://tinyurl.com/3abxfuh

B & N: https://tinyurl.com/exadvx7n

Google:  https://tinyurl.com/uavkxz4

ITUNES: https://tinyurl.com/w2z7adxk

Inspiration Comes From Many Places

One question authors get asked all the time is where do you get ideas for your stories. No, you don’t have to worry that if you tell me about running into your old high school crush I’m going to use it in my book. Unless, well, if it’s a really good meet cute …

Never mind. Just kidding. I actually get a lot of my ideas from news articles or human interest pieces I read online. Sometimes, however, inspiration comes from a place I’ve visited.

Many years ago, when my kids were young, we took a trip to Bisbee, Arizona and toured the Queen Silver Mine. While there, I saw an old photo of a mule being lowered down into the shaft (mules were used to haul ore carts and often spent their entire lives in the mines). From that tour and photo came the inspiration for Her Heart’s Treasure. While researching that book, I came across an article about a horrific mining accident in Denver and that became the inspiration for my book, The Gate to Eden. Note: this was back in the days when I wrote Western historicals.

A few years after that, we were vacationing at Lake Tahoe, Nevada. One day, we took a tour of the (replica) Ponderosa Ranch and Western town TV set from the show Bonanza. The scenery was incredible, and my mind raced with ideas. Eventually, I wrote a three book series for Harlequin American titled Sweetheart, Nevada.

When I was a teenager, we used to stay at a Western-themed resort outside of Payson, Arizona called Kohl’s Ranch. As an adult, I frequently visit Payson and have returned to Kohl’s Ranch just to check it out. Of course, a story popped into my head. That story eventually became a four-book series called Bear Creek Ranch that was so thinly disguised I actually had readers email me to say they knew I’d used Kohl’s Ranch for my inspiration.

I could go one and on, but I think I’ll end with the McDowell Mountains. I grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona and lived for many, many years not far from the Sonoran Mountain Preserve. Once, while walking my dogs, I found myself gazing up at the mountains and wondering if any wild horses still lived there. Turns out, they do! That question launched a thirteen book series, the first one about a cowboy trying to save his ranch by capturing the last wild mustang roaming free in the mountains near my fictional town, Mustang Valley.

Wow. All this talk about places I’ve visited makes me want to travel again. It’s been too long. Wherever I wind up going, I’ll be sure to take my imagination. Who knows? I could be inspired with a story.

Now, what were you telling me about your old high school crush ?

Lacy Williams Talks About Bucket Lists

The Fillies are happy to welcome Lacy Williams and her latest historical western romance. She’s giving away a gift card to someone who leaves a comment about their bucket list.

Do you have a bucket list?

Google says a bucket list is “a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to accomplish during their lifetime”. I’ve always thought of it as a list of goals or places I want to go before I get to the end of my life.

I almost always have a list of written goals. January first is a great time to renew that list. I look at my goals frequently. But a bucket list is a little different. Like, I want to visit Europe someday. I’d like to have a book on the New York Times bestseller list. I want to see my children give their lives to Jesus.

Right now it feels like I have plenty of time to complete my bucket list.

But what would it feel like if you knew your time was almost up?

In THE WRANGLER’S READY-MADE FAMILY, hero Gil has been diagnosed with consumption and doctors have told him he only has months to live. Gil feels restless and unmoored. He doesn’t really have a bucket list, he just feels as if his life isn’t over yet.

And when he meets heroine Susie in a stagecoach accident, he feels like he’s gotten a second chance. When he begins to fall for her, he wants to use his limited time left to help her reconnect with her estranged family.

But it turns out one “bucket list” wish isn’t enough.

About the book:

Susie is a desperate young mother with another baby on the way. Her late husband left her nothing but his bad reputation. She has no money and is too ashamed to return home to her family. When she is trapped alone during a snowstorm with a stranger and the baby coming, her only choice is to rely on him.

Boone came west to find healing for his tuberculosis. He never expected to find himself trapped with a lost young widow. Or how fast he could fall for her and her two little ones. But it doesn’t take long for his secrets to come to light.

After everything she’s suffered in the past, can Susie ever trust another gambler?

AMAZON  |  OVERDRIVE

 

I’d love to give away a $10 Amazon gift card to one commenter who tells me something on your bucket list. Good luck!

Thank you for hosting me on the Petticoats blog today!

Lacy Williams

Author bio:

Lacy Williams wishes her writing career was more like what you see on Hallmark movies: dreamy brainstorming from a French chateau or a few minutes at the computer in a million-dollar New York City penthouse. In reality, she’s up before the sun, putting words on the page before her kids wake up for the day. Those early-morning and late-night writing sessions add up, and Lacy has published fifty books in almost a decade, first with a big five publisher and then as an indie author. When she needs to refill the well, you can find Lacy birdwatching, gardening, biking with the kiddos, or walking the dog. Find tons of bonus scenes and reader extras by becoming a VIP reader at http://www.lacywilliams.net/vip

WEBSITE  |  FACEBOOK  |  BOOKBUB  |  AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE  |  GOODREADS  |

There’s a New Cowboy in Texas!

 

  • cowboy learning how to start over
  • fiery young woman with the heart to save him
  • A past neither can escape, and
  • A future worthy of any Christmas miracle.

There’s a new cowboy in the Texas Panhandle and he’s definitely NOT looking for love in A COWBOY CHRISTMAS LEGEND. Nope. That’s the furthest thing from Sam II’s mind. He’s happy being alone where he doesn’t have to face the ghosts of the past and indulging a new passion of forging knives. Working with hot steel and making something beautiful from it is a lot better than having to deal with nosey people and all their questions.

But his neighbor’s daughter Cheyenne Ronan is having none of that. Especially with Christmas approaching. No one should be alone.

Having returned from a year away, she’s curious about Sam and wonders what he’d look like beneath all that hair and long beard. Why is he so different from his famous ranching family? Why did he cut himself off from everyone and choose to live in isolation?

When he discovers a sick woman and her children stranded in the snow, he’s forced to ask for Cheyenne’s help. Together they’re determined to bring cheer to the little family. And as they work toward that goal, they discover their own Christmas miracle.

Forging knives is an ancient skill learned from as far back as cave man days. Knives are the third oldest weapon behind rocks and clubs and there’s a lot that goes into the process. I love watching Forged in Fire on the History Channel and seeing the intricacies of the profession.

The steel has to be at the right temperature. Too hot and it turns to liquid. Too cold and it splits as the layers of steel separate. It’s like making love to a woman in a lot of ways. She has to be just the right temperature.

And then after getting the steel in the shape you want, there’s the tempering or hardening process and honing the blade to a razor sharp edge. With no modern tools, it takes Sam about a week to make a knife and that’s if everything goes well. Sometimes they’re ornate and unusual along with the functional ones.

His knives are much sought after and his reputation is growing, much to his dismay, because it means he has to talk to people when they come calling.

A COWBOY CHRISTMAS LEGEND releases September 28th and it’s the second of my Lone Star Legends series. For an excerpt click HERE.

Sometimes I look at my hectic life and wish I lived in some remote place far from everyone. No cell phone. No outside contact. But after the covid isolation of last year and spending much of it in isolation, I know I couldn’t be a recluse for any length of time.

How about you? Could you be a hermit and never see family and friends? Or have a grocery store or doctor nearby? I don’t have any copies of this book yet so I’m giving away a $15 Amazon Gift Card to someone who comments.

It’s available for Pre-Order!  AMAZON | APPLE | B&N | GOOGLE Play | KOBO |

BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER on Pre-Sale

Howdy!

Welcome to another terrific Tuesday.  Hope y’all are doing well in this ever changing world.

It’s the 10th of August.  In just 7 more days, BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER will be released.  And, for a short time, it is on a pre-sale order for $3.99.  On its release date (or shortly thereafter), the book will go on sale for $4.99.  So, go ahead and order your copy today.

Well, I thought I’d leave you with another excerpt of the book.  If you have read the other books in this series, you know by now that it’s called The Wild West Series because all of these books are set against the backdrop of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.  The young heros in these three books — two Assiniboine Indians and one Lakota — become the most popular “act” in the Wild West Shows and often are surrounded by women (which actually did happen — mostly abroad).  And so the scene I’m about to post is about the “Attack Upon a Settler’s Home,” which truly was an act performed in the show.  The hero in the book and the heroine are at odds when this scene happens.  So here we go.  I hope you’ll enjoy the excerpt.

BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER

By

Karen Kay

 

It was afternoon and the first show of the day was in progress.  The bleaching boards—which were set up beneath the canvas tents—were full of spectators, with several people having to stand on the sidelines of the field to watch the show.  Oddly, some of the conversations of the crowd could be heard even down into the arena.  Perhaps this was because the day was overcast, cold and dark, which suited Blue Thunder, for he was not in a good mood.

He watched as his wife took up her position in the act’s “Indian encampment,” his anger slowly becoming a boiling chaos of fury within him.  Earlier, he had told her she was not to perform in this skit, which would involve a white man “rescuing” her.  The enactment would necessitate the cowboy’s raising her up from the ground and settling her before him on his horse.  And, the cowboy’s arms would be around her—his wife.

Yet, there she was, getting into position for the performance.  Apparently, it had been at the suggestion of the maiden, Shooting Star, to substitute Marci for one of the cowgirls…something Marci had failed to mention when he had seen her earlier today.

But then, she wasn’t speaking to him.

Unfortunately, his role in the new exhibition was not that of her captor.  And this was another problem for him.  His role in the enactment was simply to be one of the warriors fighting with the soldiers because this kind of engagement was his specialty.

As he now stood at the eastern side of the arena, he watched his wife’s Indian ‘captor’ bend down to sweep her up onto his pony, placing her in front of him and hugging her closely to him.  Was he, Blue Thunder, supposed to watch this and do nothing?

As another bout of rage stirred within him, he knew this was a casting mistake.  But, he was incapable of doing nothing.  Whether there was a crowd watching or not, whether his role in the enactment was different or not, he was not going to stand to the side of the arena and do nothing.

Luckily, he held the reins of his favorite pony in his hand, and, as he jumped up to his seat on the horse, he spurred his pony—a fast-running American paint—toward his wife and her captor.

****

Since Marci was a substitute for the cowgirl originally cast in this part, she had missed the practice which would have shown her how to accomplish this stunt properly.  At present, all she knew was the advice from one of the other performers: let it happen.  Do not do anything; her captor knew what to do.

So it seemed to her she was doing well since she hadn’t made a mistake.  Her Indian captor had sped toward her, had lifted her up off the ground and had placed her before him on his mount.  At present, she was fighting to keep her seat on the pony, and perhaps that was why she didn’t see Blue Thunder racing his own horse toward them.

But, within minutes she became aware of another pony running up to and next to her own.  What was this?  This wasn’t in the script.  No sooner had the thought materialized, however, when she felt a strong, masculine arm come around her waist, gathering her up and lifting her off the pony she was on, and then settling her none too gently upon another pony…his pony.  And, this new captor had the audacity to race away with her.

Concern and anger stirred within her; this was not a part of the act, and, in reaction, she physically fought her new “captor.”

“Be still.”

It was Blue Thunder’s voice.

“What are you doing?” she asked.  “Buffalo Bill will be furious.  This is not the way this scene is supposed to be played.”

“It’s the manner in which the skit is going to be done from now on.”

But, Blue Thunder hadn’t reckoned with the other Lakota actor who was supposed to be her “captor,” and soon the original Indian who had raced away with her caught up to Blue Thunder, and, reaching out, grabbed her back onto his own mount.  Blue Thunder, however, was not to be outdone.

Speeding his pony right up to the other actor’s mount once again, Blue Thunder shouted, “This is my wife.  I am doing this scene.  Chase me if you like, for it will add more drama to what we do, but she stays with me.”

Hau, hau,” came the response from the other show Indian as he allowed Blue Thunder to steal Marci again and settle her onto his paint, a chase between the two of them resulting from the confusion.

“Blue Thunder, you’re going to get me in trouble,” Marci shouted above the noise of the horses.

Wašté!” he responded.  “Then maybe they’ll get someone else to play your part.”

“Blue Thunder, please don’t do this!  I want to be in the play.”

She felt more than heard his sigh before he murmured, “If it be truly your wish to be a part of this, then I will not stand in your way, but I will be the one to capture you.  No one else.”

“Only if Buffalo Bill approves of it.”

“Do you think I care if he approves?  I will do the stunt.  He will have to bow to my wishes, not the opposite.”

Blue Thunder galloped his little paint into the “Indian encampment,” and, reigning in his mount, allowed Marci to slide down off the horse.  Shooting Star was already there within the “encampment,” and, in very little time, both she and Marci were enacting the pushing-and-pulling fight scene between them.

Blue Thunder started away, leaving the two women to their performance, when suddenly Ted Bigham rode into the “Indian encampment,” his mount a medium-sized roan.  Worse, Bigham reached down to lift Marci up, off her feet, and placed her onto his own mount in front of him, embracing her within his arms.

Was this supposed to be part of the skit?

As he watched Ted Bigham’s “rescue” and stared at Bigham speeding away with this wife, Blue Thunder’s jealousy spun out of control.  And, as the green envy of possessiveness filled his head, he knew he had to act.

She was his wife, and he didn’t want any other man’s hands upon her.  This particularly included Ted Bigham.

Although Blue Thunder knew his part in this scene was to fight a soldier, fall off his horse and “die,” he decided the only man he would wage war with was no longer within the staged Indian encampment, as was called for in the enactment.  No, he would fight Ted Bigham.  No other.

As he jumped onto his waiting paint, Blue Thunder urged the pony into top speed, heading after Ted Bigham, and, catching up to him and his wife, pulled Marci off Bigham’s roan.  Instead of depositing her onto his own pony, however, he set Marci on the ground as gently as was possible, given the fury of his mood.

Then, turning his steed back toward Bigham, he made a quick decision: if Buffalo Bill wanted a fight, he, Blue Thunder, was going to give it to him.  But, this was not going to be some fake battle; this would be the real thing.  And, perhaps a fight for real might cool Blue Thunder’s fury.

As Blue Thunder sped his pony up to Bigham’s, he heard the other man shout out, “Hey, don’t fight me!  Not fer real!  I’m not romancin’ yer wife!  It’s part of the act.”

“You were with her last night!”

“Only cause she needed some em ta help her!  Did ya wish me to let her roam the campground alone at that time of night?  Think!  My interest is in someone else!”

Even through his rage, Blue Thunder realized the truth of Bigham’s words.  He’d seen the looks the other man had bestowed upon the Indian maiden, Shooting Star.

“That may be,” shouted Blue Thunder, “but, I will play this scene with my wife, not you!  You are not to touch her!”

“Ya got it, partner.”

Wašté!  I am glad to hear this!  Let’s make a good fight between the two of us!  Let Buffalo Bill see our own script!”

“Agreed!”

They each one galloped their ponies a little apart until they were facing each other, and, like the jousting knights of old, set their horses into a run toward each other.  Waving fake swords and spears in the air, and with Blue Thunder screaming his war whoops, he and Bigham set upon each other, knocking one another from their seats.

As they each one jumped to their feet, they began to wrestle and fight as though it were truly in earnest.  All at once, Blue Thunder shouted out, “You will have to be the one to ‘die.’  Not I.  Do you understand?”

“I do, and ya got it, partn’r!”

Then, with a simple swipe of his wooden knife, Blue Thunder took Ted Bigham down, the man lying upon the ground as though dead.  Blue Thunder didn’t hesitate a moment, but jumped back onto his paint and set it racing back to where Marci stood, who he assumed had witnessed the entire scene.  She didn’t try to run away.  Instead, she stood still, making it easy for him to pick her up and deposit her behind him.  Then, giving the traditional Lakota war whoop, he sped out of the arena with his prize neatly settled behind him.

As soon as he’d settled his pony to a halt, he felt his wife slip off the horse.  He jumped down, also, and, with a few steps, came to tower over her.  Without another moment passing by, he swept her into his arms and kissed her, long and hard.

Pulling away, he gulped.  She did, also.  And, then he kissed her again, this time sweeping his tongue into her mouth, his intention to fill her senses with his own scent and taste.  She was his.  No one else’s.

He took a moment away from the kiss to say, “You are mine, do you hear?  If you are to be in the play, I will not forbid it, but I will be the one to capture you; I will get you as a prize.  No one else.  Do you understand?”

Suddenly, and to his astonishment, his wife smiled at him.  And, when she uttered, “Yes, my husband.  As you say, my husband,” Blue Thunder had to admit her response pleased him.

 

BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER:  https://tinyurl.com/4k6ahyfr

 

 

 

And have you seen what’s coming up on Friday?

14 Years Comin’ Up! Let’s PARTY!

Are you ready to party?

Because we are!

Because we’re celebrating our 14th birthday!

Because 14 winners will win a $14 Amazon gift card!

JOIN US on Friday and play to WIN!

 

Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, and How the West Was Won (And a Giveaway!) by HEBBY ROMAN

          When my husband and I went to the National Cowgirl Museum in Fort Worth, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought I’d find pictures and stories about working cowgirls, rodeo queens, and maybe some famous cowgirl actresses, like Dale Evans. What I didn’t expect was an extensive display of posters and memorabilia from Wild West shows, especially Buffalo Bill’s show. Luckily, we took our camera and got some great pics (those shown here).

Touring the exhibits, I learned many historians believe what we know as our western genre sprang from the late nineteenth century touring companies, calling themselves Wild West shows or rodeos. In particular, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show helped to shape both the substance of an American national identity and the way it was disseminated in our culture. Buffalo Bill brilliantly established the thesis that the true American identity was founded in the West. Thus, the entire western genre owes its continuing popularity to the basics set out in the Wild West Show. Thousands of books, movies, and television shows are the stirring “progeny” of these shows.

Buffalo Bill or William F. Cody was the real thing. Born in a log cabin in Iowa in 1846, Cody grew up in Kansas. Young Cody worked as an ox-team driver, as a messenger for the pony express, and on numerous wagon trains. He prospected for gold and went on trapping expeditions, becoming a good hunter. During the Civil War he served as an army scout and guide. The U.S. Army was Cody’s most important employer in the decade after the Civil War. He worked on short-term contracts as a civilian scout, guiding troops through unmapped terrain, hunting for meat, carrying messages, tracking Native Americans, and participating in military encounters.

After “putting on a show” for several well-heeled Eastern and European sportsmen wanting to hunt buffalo and big game, along with a stint in vaudeville, Cody came up with the idea for the Wild West show. Though based loosely on the traveling venue of circuses of the era, Cody strived for the ultimate “western” realism in his shows. With Nate Salsbury as the general manager, and the show’s publicist, John Burke, who employed innovative techniques such as celebrity endorsements, press kits, publicity stunts, billboards, and product licensing, Buffalo Bill’s show was the most successful Wild West show of its time.

 

Along with the most famous female entertainer of the era, sharpshooter Annie Oakley (a headliner in Buffalo Bill’s show), Wild West shows employed dozens of female athletes who could rope, trick ride, sharpshoot, wrestle steers, and ride broncs. Cowgirls carved an identity for themselves that allowed them to live in both the male and female spheres. While performing athletic feats, they adhered to those things that made them acceptable as females, such as an ability to cook, sew, and clean. In fact, most of the performers sewed parts of their own costumes, like special beading or western motifs. From these roots, historians believe our concept evolved of what a cowgirl is, just as the western genre was portrayed by the Wild West shows.

Since actresses and show business people of the time were deemed to have “susceptible” morals, most female Wild West show entertainers went to great lengths to portray themselves as “ladies.” This duality for the female performers is most easily observed in their dress and manner.

The challenging environment of being a female entertainer in a Wild West show captured my imagination, and the heroine for “Kurt” sprang to life. But Kurt, the hero, who was the baby in my story, “Zach,” had been born and reared in rural Texas. See how I bring together these two characters to fall in love in my new release from the Cupids & Cowboys series, Book 11, “Kurt.”

 

Please comment and enter a random drawing for a digital copy of “Kurt,” my new release, along with “Zach,” the previously-related book. If you already have both or either of these books, please feel free to pick any digital book(s) at my Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Hebby-Roman/e/B001KI1L0O//a?tag=pettpist-20. In addition, the lucky winner will receive a $15 Amazon Gift Card.

What do you think the hardest part would be for a cowgirl in a Wild West Show?

Hebby Roman is a New York traditionally published, small-press published, and Indie published #1 Amazon best-selling author of both historical and contemporary romances. Her book, BORDER HEAT, was a Los Angeles Times Book Festival selection. She has been a RONE Finalist four times and in three different categories.

The Spirit of the Wolf on sale and E-book Giveaway

 

Good Morning!

Happy Tuesday!  Before I get into the blog today, would like y’all to know that THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF and also RED HAWK’S WOMAN are on sale for $.99 cents for a short time.  THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF is #2 in the series The Lost Clan and RED HAWK’S WOMAN is #3.

It’s a series of four books and each is related, but is a stand alone book.

THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF was a book written around and about the 200th year anniversary of the Lewis and Clark exposition.  And so, in honor of that exposition, I wrote a little about the game played at that time on all the Plains and by every tribe on the Plains — the game of Cos-coo, a game of chance and a game of war.

Sacagawea was won by the French trapper and trader, Charbonneau in a game of chance.  Charbonneau had been playing the game with a man who had five (I believe) wives.  Sacagawea was his youngest wife.  Interesting how this game of chance was to influence events that helped to found our country, isn’t it?

Cos-soo is a game played only by the men and it is played sometimes within one’s own tribe, but mostly it is played by men from enemy tribes.  It is a game of war.  No one is killed.  However, once embarked upon, the game is played until one or the other of the players is ruined utterly.  It can go on for days, breaking only to eat (not to sleep).  And, unless agreed upon before the game is begun, it is played until one player loses everything:  his lodge, his horses, his gun, his knives, his clothes and even his WIFE.  This is what happened in the life of Sacagawea.

And so, let me leave you with an excerpt from the book where the two players (one is the hero of the story) is playing in a desperate game of Cos-soo.

THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF

by

Karen Kay

The end of a curse hides behind a riddle—and the final clue in the heart of a woman.

The Lost Clan, Book 2

Grey Coyote stands on the knife edge of desperation. An ancient curse dooms his people to a half-life in the mists, neither living nor dead—unless he can solve a deceptively simple riddle. As time runs short, he’s sure the answer lies in beating a white trapper in a game of chance.

Among the trapper’s possessions, though, is a prize he never expected: A golden-haired woman as beautiful, delicate and stubborn as a prairie rose.

One moment Marietta Welsford is wondering how long it will take her hired guide to finish his game so she can hurry home to Rosemead, the English estate to which she hopes to lay claim. The next, she is abandoned with a man whose magnetism tugs at her body and soul, and makes her heart out-thunder the storm.

With so little time to lift the enchantment, Grey Coyote at first views Marietta as a trickster-sent distraction. But as sure as the star that guides him, it soon becomes clear she is the clue that could ultimately free his people…and capture his heart.

EXCERPT:

THE GAME OF Cos-soo

Cos-soo, sometimes called the game of the Bowl, was a common game known to the Indians on the plains—all tribes. A game of chance, it was played only by men, and the stakes were often desperate.

The rules of Cos-soo were as follows: Players used a wooden bowl slightly less than a foot long, highly polished with a rim of about two inches. The “dice” were not dice as we might think of them, but were instead common objects on the plains at this time. These small objects were assigned certain values.

The highest value went to the large crow’s claw—there was only one per game—which was painted red on one side and black on the other. When after a throw it was standing, it counted for twenty-five points (or sticks). The count was kept by sticks. It also counted for five on its side if the red side was up—and so a total of thirty points would go to the large claw, if it were standing. No points were given if the black side was up. If it wasn’t standing, it counted for only five.

Next were four small crow’s claws, also painted red on one side and black on the other. They counted for five if landed on the red side, and nothing if on the black.

Next there were five plum stones. These were white on one side and black on the other. If the black side was up, it counted four; if the white side was up, it counted for nothing.

Then there were five pieces of blue china—they were small and round. Blue side up was worth three points; white side counted as nothing.

Farther down the line were five buttons. The eye side up counted for two each, the smooth side for nothing.

And last there were five brass tack heads. The sunken side counted for one, the raised side as nothing.

Each man kept his opponent’s score, not his own, by means of handing his opponent a number of sticks equal to his throw. The sticks were kept in view so that all could see them. In the early 1800s Edwin Thompson Denig (a trader married to an Assiniboine woman) noted: “It has been observed in these pages in reference to their gambling that it is much fairer in its nature than the same as carried on by the whites and this is worthy of attention, inasmuch as it shows how the loser is propitiated so that the game may not result in quarrel or bloodshed…”

The game was often kept up for forty-eight to seventy-two hours without a break except for meals. And it was usually played until one or the other of the players was ruined totally.

Horses, guns, weapons, clothing and women were all stakes in these games. Again, Edwin Thompson Denig observed, “We have known Indians to lose everything—horses, dogs, cooking utensils, lodge, wife, even to his wearing apparel…”

 

CHAPTER TWO

The Minnetaree Village

A Permanent Indian Village of mud huts on the Knife River

Upper Missouri Territory—in what is today the State of North Dakota

Summer 1835

From the corner of his eye Grey Coyote watched the white man sneak a stick into line beside those that were already present, giving the white man eleven sticks instead of the ten he had won fairly.

So, the white man has no honor.

Grey Coyote raised a single eyebrow and cast a glance across the few feet that separated him from the white man, the man the Minnetaree Indians called the scout, LaCroix. LaCroix was French, as were many of the white men in this country. His face was pale and bearded, his hair long, dark and scraggly. His breath stank of the white man’s whisky, and his body smelled of dirt and grime.

None of this bothered Grey Coyote. In truth, he was smiling at the man, although the expression could hardly be called one of good humor. After a moment, Grey Coyote said, “Darkness has fallen again. We have been playing for longer than a full day now.”

LaCroix grunted.

“As you know, we are both guests here, in my friend’s lodge, in the Minnetaree village,” continued Grey Coyote. “And I would hardly be the cause of a fight if I could avoid it, for it would bring shame to our host, Big Eagle.”

Grunting again, LaCroix looked away. His gaze shifted from one object in the room to another, not centering on anything in particular, not even on the lovely white woman who reposed on one of their host’s beds in a corner of the hut.

As discreetly as possible, Grey Coyote let his gaze rest on that golden-haired beauty. He had never before seen a white woman, and to say that Grey Coyote was surprised at her appearance would have been an understatement.

He would have assumed the white man’s woman would be as unkempt and perhaps as hairy as her male counterpart. But this simply was not so. The woman was uncommonly pretty. Slim, small and curvy, with tawny hair that reached well to her waist, the woman’s coloring reminded him of a pale sunset—luminous, translucent, mysterious.

Her eyes were as tawny as her hair, like those of a mountain lion’s. Even at this distance, and despite the ever-growing darkness in the one-room hut, Grey Coyote could discern their color. It was a rare shade to be found here on the plains, where the eye colors of dark brown and black dominated.

Warming to his subject, he noted thoughtfully that the white woman’s skin was also quite fair, unblemished. Her cheeks were glowing, as pale and pink as the prairie rose. To his eye, she was a beautiful sight.

But she paid no heed to the people sharing this hut, not sparing so much as a glance at another being, except perhaps the Indian maid who appeared to serve her. In truth, the white woman seemed lost in her own thoughts.

Maybe this was best. From the looks of her, she might prove to be more than a mere distraction to him if he took a liking to her, something Grey Coyote could ill afford.

Slowly, Grey Coyote returned his attention to the matter at hand. The game of Cos-soo had been started a day ago, Grey Coyote being more than ready to gamble with this particular white man.

After all, LaCroix fit the description of the white man whom he sought. Perhaps this was the chance Grey Coyote awaited.

But to find the man cheating?

Clearing his throat, Grey Coyote spoke again. “I admit it is dark, growing ever darker as we sit here. I concede, too, that a good many hours have passed since we decided to begin this game, but do not think that because of this my eyes are so tired that they do not see.”

“What? What is it that monsieur insinuates?” asked LaCroix, his look incredulous.

Grey Coyote nodded toward LaCroix’s sticks with his forehead. “I am keeping track of the number of your sticks.” Grey Coyote raised one of his eyebrows. “There should be ten sticks that you hold, for as you see, you received ten points for your roll. Remember, you had lost all of your other sticks in the previous roll.”

“That is not true. I kept one stick that was left over from before. I should have eleven sticks, not ten.”

Grey Coyote’s stare was bold. “You lost the last bet.”

LaCroix’s eyes grew round, though he could still not match Grey Coyote’s direct gaze. “Is it true? I thought that… Oui, oui,” he blurted out, his words accompanied by a chuckle. “Ye are right. What was I thinking? I do not know how this other stick came to be here, for I had taken all my sticks away. Perhaps two sticks stuck together. Oui, I am sure that is it.”

Hau, hau,” said Grey Coyote, using the Assiniboine word for “yes”. “Let us hope that no other sticks see fit to stick together.” Grey Coyote once more nodded toward LaCroix, and reaching across the playing space handed LaCroix fifty sticks. “These are for my last roll.”

Oui, oui.” LaCroix accepted the twigs and commenced to set them out along the ground beside the two men.

Grey Coyote carefully watched the man at his work, not fooled by LaCroix’s attempt at sleight of hand. “Scout LaCroix, I gave you fifty sticks, the amount of my throw. But you have only set out twenty.”

“But, monsieur, I have done this because it is the number of sticks that is appropriate for your roll. Do ye see? Ye rolled five burnt sides, which is four points each, or twenty.”

Grey Coyote narrowed his brow. “You should look closely at the bowl. Do you not see that the big claw stands on end, red side up? As you and I know, that is worth thirty.”

“Is it standing? Surely you jest, monsieur, for I do not see the big claw stand on end.” LaCroix leaned over, as though to more carefully peer into the polished wooden bowl that was used to throw the dice. The man came so close to his target that he bumped into it, though it was surely no accident. The big claw—the one dice that garnered the highest points—fell to a different position. “Monsieur, you make a mistake. You see, the claw, it does not appear to be on end. However, if ye insist, I will take yer word that it landed that way, and will set out the extra thirty sticks.” His eyes didn’t quite meet Grey Coyote’s.

“Do not bother,” Grey Coyote spoke after a long pause. Though LaCroix’s actions more than alarmed him, Grey Coyote trained his features into a bland expression. He would let the incident pass. After all, it was not in his mind that he had to win everything that this man owned. All he needed was the possession, the one thing that would help Grey Coyote solve the riddle, though at present what that particular possession was escaped him. He said evenly, “We must both pay more attention in the future.”

Oui, oui, monsieur. And now, if ye insist, ye may have another turn, since ye believed that the big claw stood on end.”

Grey Coyote shrugged. “It is not necessary. I will give you the next roll.”

Oui, oui,” uttered LaCroix, and after picking up the bowl with four fingers placed inside its immaculately polished rim, he threw the dice up by striking the bowl on the ground.


Well, that’s all for today.  Please do leave a comment.  That’s all you need to do to enter into the drawing for a free e-book of your choice.  I look forward to hearing from y’all.

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