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

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BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER, New Release & E-book Giveaway

Howdy!

Hope your weekend was great!  I must admit that with a new release, there is so much to do, I feel slightly scatterbrained.  So please bear with me, if you please.

I will be giving a free e-book of my new release, BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER, to one of the bloggers here today.  I hope you’ll leave me your thoughts on the excerpt I’m about to give.

So, without too much fanfare, let me leave you the short blurb of the book and an excerpt.

BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER

By

Karen Kay

He rescued her from danger. Then she stole his heart.

Working as a trick rider for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, Blue Thunder of the Lakota Nation joins forces with two Assiniboine warriors in their mission to stop a hidden enemy who means to destroy the American Indian people. As a child, he’d witnessed the massacre of his friends and family, including the girl, Sweet Flower, whom he’d vowed to marry. The loss has left him with a burning ache and a prejudice against the white man. So how can he fall for a woman like Marci Fox?

Something terrible happened to Marci when she was a child; something that keeps her from remembering her early life. She jumps at the chance to travel from England to New York with her friends working with the Wild West show. But a last minute hitch means the only way to get there is to pretend she’s married to Blue Thunder. Her attraction to him is deep, yet something stands in the way of true happiness—the ghosts from his past and his commitment to a mission that could get him killed.

But soon, Blue Thunder and his friends must discover who the true enemy is and stop his evil plans before he can harm more of their people. Could uncovering the treachery get Blue Thunder killed? And, even if he survives the threat, can Blue Thunder and Marci overcome their past and discover the sweet flower of true love?

Warning: A sensuous romance that might stir one’s heart to look for, discover and ignite a soul-stirring, forever love.

 

BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER

An Excerpt

It was around ten o’clock in the evening, and the show’s last performance of the day was over for the night, although the arena was still lit.  It was interesting to see how the new electric lightbulbs could throw such a glow over the performance area.  Looking outward and up, Marci could barely see any stars, for the reflection of the light dimmed the brilliance of the stars and moon.

It was a cool, clear evening, though it was also humid, and, as Marci sat on the bleaching boards which were sheltered under the canvas tarp, she thought back to their performance this evening.  Her own and Blue Thunder’s performance had, once again, gone over well with the audience.  And, this time both she and Blue Thunder had stayed behind after the others in order to accept the applause from the crowd.

At present, however, Marci was looking out upon the arena, and she was not pleased.  She was seated in the southeastern section of the stands, in the third row up, watching as Blue Thunder and his friends performed an American Indian–style song.  Blue Thunder and Wind Eagle were singing while Iron Wolf accompanied them with his flute.  Wind Eagle and Blue Thunder also appeared to be the ones who were setting the rhythm for the song, Wind Eagle utilizing a handheld drum and Blue Thunder shaking rattles.

But, it wasn’t their singing that bothered Marci.  Indeed not.  Rather, it was the usual crowd of women surrounding them who were causing her displeasure.  Was the young lady whom Blue Thunder had “rescued” last night one of those girls?

Soon their song ended, and the young ladies stepped into the arena and flocked toward the three young men.  Holding up their programs for an autograph, the women’s giggling and laughter sounded gay and free and could be heard all the way up to where Marci sat.  However, their enthusiasm was causing the opposite sentiment within her.  Worse, Blue Thunder and his two friends looked as though they were thoroughly enjoying the feminine attention.

As Marci sat on the sidelines frowning at them, she was engrossed in her own thoughts.  Neither Luci nor Jane was here with her.  Both of them were attending to and watching their children, and, although Luci also performed with the show, since she had given birth to her son, she had taken to hurrying home as soon as the show ended, leaving her husband to attend to their horses.

“They are most popular, are they not?”

So engrossed was Marci in her thoughts, she jumped at the sound of Shooting Star’s voice.  She had almost forgotten that the pretty, young maiden had come to sit down beside her.

Glancing to the side, Marci smiled at the girl who had already become a good friend.  Marci answered her question, saying, “Yes, they are quite popular.”

Astutely, Shooting Star stated, “But, it is easy to see they love their wives, and so there should not be jealousy.”

“No, there shouldn’t be,” agreed Marci as she glanced away from her friend.  “But, sometimes I simply can’t help it.”

“I think it would be difficult for me to see all the girls around them, too, if it were my husband down there.”

“Yes, and look at the blonde woman.”  Marci’s voice sounded hard, even to her own ears.  “Do you see she is putting her hands all over my husband’s chest?  She’s touching him everywhere as though she were making love to him in front of everyone.”

“Yet, he does not seem to like it.”

“Doesn’t he?  I don’t see him shooing her away, and he is, after all, a man.”

“But, he knows he is your husband, and he has been brought up traditionally, and in the old ways.  He loves you very much.  A woman has only to witness the way he looks at you to know you are in his heart.”

Marci was silent.  Yes, she was in his heart…in second place.  True, he had confessed this almost from the beginning and without much fanfare, but this didn’t mean her heart was not now a little grieved over it.

But, she wasn’t about to tell this story to another person, even if Shooting Star might understand.  He wasn’t to blame for feeling the way he did about Sweet Flower, anyway.  He had loved and lost her, and it had happened in as terrible a manner as possible.  She understood why he would still love the young girl from his past.

What she still didn’t understand was why he had escorted another woman home last night.  Although he claimed his action was innocent and that he was only helping the woman and her escort, Marci still didn’t know what she was going to do about it…or about him.

As she glanced down into the arena, she could see the young lady—a pretty blonde—still touching Blue Thunder, and, although he wasn’t acting in a return fashion, he also wasn’t putting her away from him or turning his back upon her.

Marci could no longer watch this without feeling a seed of revolt rising up within her.  And, when the blonde began to touch him in a downward fashion, her fingers moving toward his breechcloth, Marci stood up, ready to leave.  She couldn’t stay here and watch this; she also couldn’t interfere down there without causing a scene.

Or could she?  Why shouldn’t she create a stir?  Indeed, why shouldn’t she let all these women know she had a rightful claim upon this man?  She wouldn’t be spiteful or mean about it.  She would simply let it be known.

“Are you going somewhere?” asked Shooting Star, looking up at her.

“I am,” answered Marci.  “I’m going down there to stand next to my husband.”

Shooting Star giggled.  “This is an excellent idea.  If I were the one having to endure this, I think I would do the same.  Indeed, I think I will sit here and watch.  I might learn something.”

Marci laughed.  “Unless you’d like to come with me.”

“Thank you, but no.  I will enjoy looking on as the other girls come to understand he is not free to give his love.”

Marci grinned at her friend, then, looking forward, she stepped toward the stairs which led down into the main arena.


It didn’t take Marci long to find her way onto the field and become part of the crowd of girls surrounding the three men.  Threading her way through the throng toward Blue Thunder, she eventually came to his side, and, with the blonde on one side of him and she on his other, Marci stepped in toward him as closely as possible and said loudly, “Do you see how they ooze all over you?”

He looked down at her and grinned.  “I am glad you have come here, my wife.”

“Wife?”  The word echoed on the air around these young women.

Marci placed her hand upon Blue Thunder’s arm and murmured in as husky a voice as she could manage, “I am tired of hearing these people talk about how handsome you are, and oh-so strong.”  Marci looked up at him, fluttered her eyelashes and frowned.  “And the gifts they bring you.  ‘I will have to bake you a cake so you will notice me…or maybe I’ll make you an apple pie.’  And then they hug you like this.”  She cuddled up to him.

Although Blue Thunder was still signing the programs from the young women around him, he broke out with laughter.  “How could I not notice you, my wife?”

“I don’t know,” she replied in a smooth voice.  Looking toward the other side of him, she noticed the young and pretty blonde had ceased to caress him and had even backed away.  “You seem to be able to do it well, my husband.”

“Indeed, this is not so.”  He was still laughing, although, after a moment, his chuckling turned to a smile.

“It is how I see it,” said Marci.

“Then let me show you how I see it.”

These words, however, did not prepare her for what happened next.  After Blue Thunder finished signing a program, he turned to Marci, took her in his arms and swung her around and around, even within the crowded space.

Settling her down in front of him, he murmured, “Tell me now that I take no notice of you.”

“I cannot do it now, my husband.”

“I am glad to hear it,” he said.  “But”—he smiled at her suggestively—”I think we should leave here at once and attend to other ‘things.'”

“No,” she replied easily as she scooted out of his arms.  “Not tonight.  Maybe not tomorrow night, either.  But, there are others here who seek your attention, if you dare to challenge the convictions of my Faith again this night and accompany one of these women home….”

Again, her comment was met with a round of Blue Thunder’s laughter, which appeared to be contagious, for she heard other masculine hilarity, as well.  Marci looked quickly around the crowd and could see that both Wind Eagle and Iron Wolf were trying without much success to contain their own good humor.

“Do not bother coming home,” she warned Blue Thunder, “unless you intend to sleep outside our lodge…again.”

Although she knew she was teasing him relentlessly, she was yet surprised when he gave her highly-padded rear end a quick whack with one of the programs he held.  When she turned around to scold him, she was met with his much-too-handsome and crooked smile.  Indeed, so caught up was she with his good looks, she forgot what she had been about to say, and, instead of speaking at all, she turned her back on him and gave her long hair a quick shake as she walked away, ensuring her hips were properly wiggling.

His laughter was like music to her ears.

Well, that’s it.  Hope you enjoyed the excerpt.  Please do leave me your thoughts and please do come on back tomorrow evening to see if you have won the free e-book.

On sale now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, KOBO, ITunes and Google Play.

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 ?

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 |

Charlene Raddon: Sheep and Cattle Wars

The Fillies welcome the return of Charlene Raddon. Her series are much in demand for their unusual storylines. She’s giving away two copies of CONNOR so leave a comment to be entered. 

 

Cattle ranchers are notorious for hating sheep. The hero in my new book, Connor, Cupids & Cowboys Book 12, is no exception but doesn’t believe violence is the answer, and so, Connor sets about finding a solution.

There were many armed battles in western states, particularly Arizona, Wyoming, and Colorado, between cattlemen and sheepmen over grazing rights. Cattlemen saw the sheepherders as invaders who destroyed the public grazing lands, which they had to share on a first-come, first-served basis. Between 1870 and 1920, approximately 120 engagements occurred in eight different states or territories, resulting in the deaths of over 50 men and the slaughter of 50,000 to over 100,000 sheep.

 

One of the most famous cattlemen/sheepmen battles occurred in Pleasant Valley, Arizona, resulting in the near annihilation of the men of three families. In 1884, angry Arizona cattlemen rounded up wild horses, strapped cowbells to their necks, rawhide to their tails, and drove them into a series of sheep herds numbering more than 25,000, yelling and firing guns in the process. The sheep scattered in all directions, many killed or wounded. That same year, cowboys drove over 4,000 sheep into the Little Colorado River, many of which died in quicksand.

     

The sheep wars in Wyoming and Colorado were exceptionally violent and lasted well into the 1900s. Wyoming saw about twenty-four attacks and at least six deaths between 1879 and 1909. In Garfield County, Colorado, 3,800 sheep were driven over cliffs into Parachute Creek. About 1,500 more sheep were massacred there in the same year. In November 1899, forty masked men attacked a sheep camp located on the lower Snake River. Over 3,000 sheep were “clubbed and scattered,” the shepherds robbed, and their wagon burned.

In Wyoming, 1896, about 12,000 sheep were slaughtered in a single night by being driven off a cliff near North Rock Springs. In 1905, ten masked men attacked a sheep camp on Shell Creek in the Big Horn Basin. The cowboys clubbed about 4,000 sheep and burned the wagons with two live sheepdogs tied to the wheels. The owner of the flock lost about $40,000. Similar events took place up until about 1912.

Near Ten Sleep, Wyoming, three sheepherders were killed, along with many of their sheep and dogs. No one expected anything to come of it, but seven men were arrested, five of them sent to prison, and cattlemen became reluctant to attack sheepmen.

In Montana, where my story, Connor, Cupids & Cowboys Book 12, is set, similar proceedings took place, few as severe and deadly as those in other states.

According to Robert Elman, author of Badmen of the West, the sheep wars ended because of the decline of open rangeland and changes in ranching practices, which removed the causes for hostilities.

How did Connor resolve the cattle/sheep war in my story? Here’s an excerpt:

“Folks,” Connor began (addressing the members of the Cutthroat, Montana Stockgrowers Association), “this is Mr. Dean Rivers. He has a ranch near Hawksville where he raises cattle and sheep and kindly consented to tell us of his experiences. I hope you’ll do him the courtesy of listening as you would with any other speaker.”

Rivers cleared his throat. “As Connor said, I have a ranch about forty miles east of here. I know how you feel. That’s how I saw the matter at first. Never intended to raise sheep. It was my wife who went out and bought fifty of ’em and herded them home.” He chuckled. “We had quite a row about it, I can tell you. Before coming here tonight at Connor’s request, I sat down and calculated the monetary differences between raising sheep and cattle. The results surprised even me. I think they’ll come as a bit of a shock to you.”

Before continuing, he laid his hat on his chair and moved behind the podium. “Hope you don’t mind if I rest my weary bones on this here Bible stand.”

A few in the audience chuckled. The others sat stone-faced, determined not to listen.

“Now, these figures are only as accurate as my mathematics, which my old schoolteacher will tell you ain’t much.”

More laughter. Connor glanced around. The ranchers had settled down and appeared to like Dean Rivers. No doubt because of his friendly, down-home looks and manner of speaking.

“For the purposes of this here talk,” Rivers went on, “we’ll say an animal unit is a one-thousand-pound cow with a five-hundred-pound calf pulling on her teat. And we’ll say six sheep equal that cow. Now, my figures can differ somewhat with grass/forb ratios, terrain, and grazing management, but I’d call it whisker close. That cow and calf, or animal unit, should be worth about sixteen dollars. Am I right?”

Several men shouted, “Close.”

“All right. Now, those six sheep, or animal unit, should produce ten lambs worth three dollars and twenty cents apiece. That comes out to thirty-two dollars per animal unit compared to sixteen dollars for the cow and calf. See where I’m going here?”

Heads nodded.

“That’s a fairly noticeable difference,” Rivers said. “Should I lose a cow, I’m out sixteen dollars. If I lose a sheep, I’m out three-fifty. But we’re talking animal units, so losing those six sheep would cost me thirty-two dollars.

“There’re costs to raising these critters, of course.” Rivers continued. “Deworming, de-licing, de-ticking, salt, ear tags if you use ’em, hiring extra hands for roundup and branding. That’s just for cows. To herd a hundred cows, you need at least two hired hands on horseback. Three would be better. To bring in a hundred sheep, you send out a couple of sheepdogs. They don’t ask for wages, just a bone and a pat on the head. Try that with your hired hands.”

Some laughter broke out.

“We never make it through a season of handling cows without our share of physical injuries,” Rivers said. “Stomped-on toes, crushed ribs, broken arms. Had a hand once got his eye poked out by a steer’s horn. Ain’t had no injuries with sheep. Another thing; sheep’ll eat ‘most anything. Weeds, thistles, and plants poisonous to cows. Cows gotta have grass.”

“That’s the trouble,” someone yelled. “The damned sheep don’t leave nothing left for the cows to eat.”

Rivers held up a hand. “Not if you move them often enough. Just takes some monitoring. Plus, you can put your sheep higher up the mountain where not much grass grows, but there’s plenty of weeds. So far, I’ve had no problems with cows refusing to graze where sheep have been.”

“Aw, bull-cracky,” a man spat. “You genuinely expect us to believe that?”

Chatter broke out among the men, and several booed.

Rivers shrugged. “I’m only telling you my experiences, friend. You can believe what you want. When you get right down to the facts—and you can figger ’em yourself from what I’ve told you—three hundred cows will give you a profit of four thousand, eight hundred dollars at the end of the year.”

He waited a moment while murmurs of agreement and approval circulated through the audience.

“The same number of animal units in sheep,” he added with a pause, “will bring you nine-thousand, six hundred.”

A stunned silence followed.


Not all the ranchers were convinced, but enough to defuse the hostilities. The fact that Rosalina Camila Antonella DeLeon, the beautiful owner of the sheep in question, also spoke and won the ranchers’ respect helped. It also worked to move the romance between Connor and Rosalina along, and, after all, that’s what the book is truly about.

If you had been a sheepherder back then, would you have stayed and fought (possibly dying) or packed up and gone someplace else?

Leave a comment to get in the drawing for two copies of CONNOR!

About Charlene:

Charlene Raddon is an Amazon bestselling author with twenty-two western historical romance books to her credit. She never intended to become a writer, however. Charlene was an artist until she discovered romance novels and had a vivid dream that begged to be put into a book. So, she dragged out a typewriter and went to work. She’s been writing ever since. Her other interests are crocheting, genealogy, travel, Ukranian egg dying, and graphic design. Charlene has her own book cover website offering premade covers. She specializes in western historical covers.

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE | SILVER SAGE BOOK COVERS | TWITTER GOODREADS | BOOKBUB | FACEBOOK

 

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!

 

JANICE COLE HOPKINS IS OUR GUEST TODAY WITH A GIVEAWAY!

It is wonderful to be sharing with you today. The last time I was here, back in February, I shared the first book in the Cactus Creek series, Second Choice Bride. Today, I would like to share the two other books in the series that have been published since then, Sterling Orphans and Poor Relation.

Often town leaders in the West encouraged the establishment of churches if they wanted a family-oriented, growing town. Pastors were recruited through various organizations to come west. But pastoring could be a harrowing task, and it often took tough, tenacious men to stay. There were even rare cases of men who held both the positions of sheriff and pastor and toted guns most of the time. Congregations also preferred their preacher to be married, but this could be a challenge, too, unless the man brought his wife to the West with him. Eligible, single women could be scarce in the early West. In Sterling Orphans, Preston King finally finds a man to start a church in Cactus Creek. He had been holding Sunday services for the people on his ranch prior to Gray Fox rescuing Dan Proffit from the Apache and bringing him to the ranch. Preston talks him into starting a church in town. Dan becomes one of the two main characters in Poor Relation, and readers get a good look at his life as a pastor in a small, Western town.

These books continue the family saga of Preston and Abby King, but their family grows to not only include children, but also close friends. In Sterling Orphans, Book Two, Rose Sterling needs to leave the Sterling Orphan House since she’s turned eighteen. She’s asked to take toddler, Katie Hudson, to her father who works on the King Ranch in New Mexico Territory. She thought her biggest adventure would be getting there on the wagon train, but she was wrong. And Will Hudson can’t believe he has a daughter. His wife left him for a gambler, and he’d been trying to cope ever since. He doesn’t make the best impression on Rose Hudson at first, but he sees how much his little daughter loves and depends on her. Can he adjust to fatherhood, or will he always be a disappointment to the women in his life?

Letty Sawyer also comes to the King Ranch, and she’s traumatized by the sight of an Indian since they killed her adoptive parents. Gray Fox terrifies her, but he wants to show her that all Indians aren’t alike, and he would protect her with his life? All this sets the stage for adventure, conflict, personal growth, and a great ending.

In Poor Relation, the third book in the Cactus Creek series, Dan Proffit, Cactus Creek’s pastor, mistakenly thinks the niece of the town’s busybody will be a young girl. Instead, Hannah York turns out to be a beautiful young lady with remarkable musical abilities. However, she is also shy, overworked, and under her two aunts’ thumbs. As his attraction grows, so do the problems.

.

What is a specific problem you think a pastor in the early West might encounter?

I will give a free Audible promo code for Second-Choice Bride, the first book in the series, to anyone who has an Amazon Audible account and asks for one in the comments as long as they last. Please specify if you need a U.S. or U.K. code. You’ll have to check back later in your comment for your promo code.

Please be sure to do that.

Sterling Orphans on Amazon

Poor Relation on Amazon

 

The Value of Animals in Stories

Linda Broday

I’m filling in for Phyliss today and still talking about my new release – A Cowboy of Legend. Hope you’re not tired of it.

I just love putting kids and animals in my stories because they add whole other levels of emotion and depth. They’re such a great literary device in that you can show a lot about characters without really coming out and stating it. And they certainly entertain the reader.

Mostly, I’ve written in the normal dog, cat, horse, and mule. Although I did put a raccoon named Bandit in The Mail Order Bride’s Secret.

In this story, I added a little spider monkey named Jesse James. He’s dressed as a cowboy right down to a small gun and holster. Each time he yanks his gun out and fires, a puff of smoke comes out the barrel. I laughed so hard writing his scenes.

And then, he leaps onto the cat Sarge’s back and the war is on.

Jesse James arrives at the Three Deuces Saloon in Fort Worth’s Hell’s Half Acre and Deacon Brannock is sure he’s hit on a gold mine. Folks flock in from everywhere to watch the lunch and supper shows. Just wait until he gets his hands on a real loaded pistol……

Here’s a short excerpt:

Harry muttered something that sounded like, “That little shit,” and hurried to get the monkey away from a customer’s plate where it was cramming food into its mouth. “JESSE JAMES!”

Clearly no love lost between them, the monkey chattered, shaking a finger at Harry. As the skinny bartender grew closer, Jesse James yanked a little pistol from his holster, and shot, all the while chattering and shrieking fit to wake the dead. The miniature gun gave a little pop and discharged smoke. The customers were laughing hysterically.

Deacon watched, entranced. This could have money pouring in. People would flock from all over to watch the hairy little outlaw with the perfect name.

Land. He saw his piece of land.

Just as Harry closed in to capture the monkey, Jesse James leaped from table to table then the long bar. As he reached for a full bottle of whiskey, Clyde clapped sharply, and the monkey clambered down and back onto the man’s shoulder.

* * * *

In the book I just finished that will be out early in 2022, I added a talking parrot named Casanova. He’s even funnier than Jesse James. Plus, he plays dead. Who knows what I’ll come up with next. Maybe a lion. Now there’s a thought.

What pets have you had? Anything exotic? I’m giving away a copy (ebook or autographed paperback) to someone who leaves a comment.

Giveaway rules apply.

Here’s the book trailer for your enjoyment.

Historical Figure John Larn and a Giveaway!

Hi, I’m Andrea Downing and today I’d like to talk about the lesser known figure of John Larn.

The history of the West is littered with a glittering array of gunfighters and lawmen—sometimes both in one man. After all, the West wouldn’t have been ‘Wild’ without them; think how boring it would be if we only had pioneers and a quite ordinary workforce to write about! Like cream, certain names rise to the top in the litany of gunfighters: Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Their counterparts, the lawmen, were often not much better than they; think Pat Garrett and Wyatt Earp and company. But there were lesser mortals who left a trail of destruction in their wake, and one such man was John Larn.


Larn was born in Alabama in 1849, well before the heady, post Civil War main migration to the West. As a teen, he moved on to Colorado to find work as a cowboy, but the hot-headed young man ended up killing his boss around 1869 in an argument over a horse. Heading to New Mexico, he notched his gun a second time when he killed a sheriff he believed to be in pursuit of him. Moving on to Texas, he next had work as trail boss for rancher Bill Hays in Fort Griffin, around 1871. This led to the deaths of 3 more victims on the trail to Trinidad, Colorado.


As we all know, ladies love a bad boy, and Mary Jane Matthews, from a prominent family, was no exception. The couple married, would eventually have two sons, and Larn managed to become a well-respected citizen—for a time at least—of Shackleford County in Texas. But by 1873, rumors started to appear of cattle rustling in which Larn was involved. Somehow, he was able to put the spotlight on his former boss, obtain a warrant charging the outfit with rustling and, keeping in mind no good deed goes unpunished, he gathered a possee and joined soldiers from Fort Griffin to ambush and kill all Bill Hays’ ranch hands.


By now, you may be getting the idea that Larn was one blood-thirsty dude. I’d agree! His next foray into law enforcement was to join a vigilante group called The Tin Hat Brigade in Griffin. Griffin had become so lawless, such a magnet for the anarchic and unruly, that it needed this group to take control and bring some law and order. Earning respect from the local townspeople for this work, Larn was elected sheriff in 1876 and was able to build a ranch on the Cedar Fork at Lambshead.
But I guess law enforcement may not have paid well because in less than a year Larn had either resigned or been pushed out, and his next post was as a deputy hides inspector. This involved keeping an eye on all cattle movement and supervising butchers as well. He also obtained a contract to supply three cattle a day to the fort. Needless to say, Larn didn’t think to supply his own beef. He practically started a range war, leading a band of men in bushwhacking and heading cattle off ranches. When a band of citizens searched the area behind Larn’s house, no prizes for guessing what they found. Six hides with other ranches’ brands were found and, at last, Larn’s game was up. For a moment at least…no charges were filed despite the arrest. Unfortunately for him, however, his bad temper led to his last assault—that of a local rancher by the name of Treadwell who had supposedly uncovered Larn’s cattle rustling. Larn was arrested and taken to Albany, where the sheriff had him shackled to his cell. When vigilantes arrived wanting to lynch Larn, they found they couldn’t remove him and shot him instead. He was twenty-nine years old. That’s about the age of my hero in Shot Through the Heart.

Here’s a little more about the book:

Gunslinger Shiloh Coltrane has returned home to work the family’s Wyoming ranch, only to find there’s still violence ahead. His sister and nephew have been murdered, and the killers are at large.
Dr. Sydney Cantrell has come west to start her medical practice, aiming to treat the people of a small town. As she tries to help and heal, she finds disapproval and cruelty the payment in kind.
When the two meet, it’s an attraction of opposites. As Shiloh seeks revenge, Sydney seeks to do what’s right. Each wants a new life, but will trouble or love find them first?

So what do you think of these gunslingers and lawmen of the Old West? What made some men into killers? Mental disease? Family genes? And if you’d like to find out whether Shiloh and Sydney manage to find a middle ground, I’m happy to give away one e-book copy of Shot Through the Heart to one person who comments.

And of course, the book in both paperback and eBook is available at: 

BookBub

American Indian Trivia, Names & Give-Away

Howdy!

Welcome!  Welcome!

Have you ever wondered what goes into an American Indian’s name?  One of the first things I do when starting a new book is name the hero of the story.  But, why are “eagle,” “hawk,” “horse,” “buffalo,” “bear,” good names for a hero?  Well, there are some rules and I thought I’d talk about them.

The Sioux had three different classes of names.  The first name would show the order of children…like First Child, or First Born Son.  The second class of name (at least in the Lakota society) was the honor name or public names.  The third name was a nickname (sometimes an unflattering name).  Sometimes a man might gain a honoring name different from one of his childhood and this is sometimes called a “deed” name.  And sometimes childhood names remained with a person for all of his/her life.

An honoring name is given usually by the clan medicine-man in a public ceremony.  In the story I’m writing currently called, BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER, the opening scene in the book is a scene where a boy is being given an honoring name.  His grandfather bestows his own name on the boy, BLUE THUNDER STRIKING.

Trivia question:  did you know that Crazy Horse was given his name by his father, who then took a lesser name?  The name Crazy Horse was given to him because of a great deed he performed.

Many years ago, when I was adopted into the Blackfeet tribe in Browning, MT, I was given an Indian name, but it was bestowed on me by the chief of the tribe, Chief Old Person.

In the story, BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER, the boy had been given a nickname prior to his honor name, and that name was somewhat unflattering…Little Skunk.

Deed names usually require some act of courage and so the courageous act is celebrated by giving that man or boy a name from some fear-inspiring animal, like a buffalo, a bear or wolf.  A noble sort of name might be given to a man from one of the nobler birds, like the eagle, the hawk the owl.  Sometimes the character of the courageous act is given along with the name.  For instance, swift or strength or endurance and these give the name a descriptive element, like Challenging Wolf.

Here are some honoring name for boys:  White Eagle; Black Buffalo; Red Wind; Storm; Kills the Man; Shadow Hawk.

What about names for girls?  Well, there were some rules here, as well.  No Indian girl was permitted to wear the skin of a bear or a wolf, a cat, etc.  Nor could she wear eagle feathers as these were masculine representations.  Instead a girl could wear the skins of a doe, ermine, mink, etc.

As far as names were concerned, girls were usually called after the fawn, mink, beaver.  While only boys could have the names of the fiercer animals.  Both boys and girls could be named after the wind or water or sky, but not by the name of Fire.  At least these were the rules in Lakota society.

Here are some names of girls:  White Bird; Sky; Jingles; Earth Maiden; Laughing Maid, Swan Maiden.

Also, often in the stories I write, the hero will give the heroine an Indian name, sometimes flattering and sometimes not.  In the story THE EAGLE AND THE FLAME, the hero first named the heroine, “Deceiving Woman.”  Later, it changes, of course.

So, I thought I’d leave you with an excerpt from my most recent book, IRON WOLF’S BRIDE, and I’ll be giving away a free copy of the book today.  So do please leave a comment.

IRON WOLF’S BRIDE

Excerpt

CHAPTER SEVEN

 

 

Iron Wolf followed her.  It was time to learn what was happening here.  Who was that man?

He intended this to be his first question to the woman who should be, and still was, his wife.  His second question to her would be why she believed he, her husband, had betrayed her.  But this could wait.

He noted that she had fled into a maze that was flanked by fragrant bushes which were taller than a man, and, were he not the scout and tracker he was, he might have become lost within these high shrubs, for the paths intersected one another and led in multiple directions.  But he didn’t lose his way.  He found her soon enough.

Once he had discovered her, he spoke out softly, so she might become aware he had followed her. “What is going on here?  Who is that man you were touching, the one who sat next to you?  What is he to you?”

Jane spun around, the look of surprise on her countenance quickly turning to anger.  She didn’t pause an instant, though, as she accused, “How dare you follow me!”

“I am your husband.  It is my duty to follow you.”

“Well, you can go away now.  I came here to be alone.”

Iron Wolf didn’t leave.  Instead, he repeated his question, for he intended it to be answered, and he asked once more, “Who is that man?”

“That man?”

“The one you touched.  The one who sat beside you tonight.”

“He and I were to be married today.”

She turned her back on him and Iron Wolf didn’t speak; he couldn’t, for he felt as though she had punched him in the gut.

She added, “We didn’t marry today, as it turns out, because I would like my sister to be a part of the marriage ceremony.  So we have postponed our wedding for the time being.  And now you see that I, too, might marry another, as you have.”

Although he wished to speak out loudly, to rage the truth at her, he found it impossible to find his tongue, and so he paused until at last he was able to say, “My wife, you have become like a wild pony in my absence.  How can you marry another when you are already married to me?”

“Am I?  Do you forget you divorced me?  And, how dare you call me ‘wild,’ when you…when you…”  Her voice caught.

He ignored the insult and said instead, “You have now accused me of this too many times.  Who has told this to you?”

“No one has ‘told’ it to me, as you say it.  It was written up in the newspapers, and I have the divorce papers that you signed, or have you conveniently forgotten that?  And, how dare you seduce me in front of all these people tonight; you, who are married to another.  Is she here tonight?  Does she care that you looked at me as you danced as though you were making love to me?”

She spoke so swiftly that he took a moment to understand all she had said, and then he asked, “Do you speak of the white-man’s newspapers where you saw my ‘wife’?”

“Of course.”

“Who showed this to you?”

“Does it matter?”

He sighed.  “Hau, hau, it matters.  I would ask you again, who has said this to you?”

“My uncle, if you must know.”

“Your uncle who owns this house?”

“Yes, indeed.”

Iron Wolf took a moment to collect his thoughts, then said, “You are wrong to believe these people, even if they be family.”

“So you can say easily enough.  But, my uncle is beyond reproach and I am certain he wouldn’t lie to me.  Besides, you forget that I have evidence of your betrayal of me.”

“No,” he countered, “what you have is ‘proof’ that is a lie.  And, now I say that it is good you did not marry that man this day, for had you done so, you would have committed a grave error, one I could not easily set aside.  So now, you must decide and choose between one or the other of us: me—your husband or that man.  For, even in my society, a woman may have only one husband.”

“I have already chosen, and that man is not you.”

Hau, then I will go.”

“Good.”

“But before I go, I wish to see these papers you have mentioned to me many times.  I would witness these lies with my own eyes.”

“They are not lies.”

He raised his voice.  “I say they are, and if you continue to tell me these untruths, I will say that you are a woman of no honor, who tells lies, as well.”

“How dare you shout at me, and how dare you say I am not honorable!”

He blew out his breath in an attempt to control his temper.  At length, he said, “I am a man who must be convinced.  Show me the papers you speak of, for I tell you true: I did not place my written name on anything.  I have no other wife, but you.  Why would I want another woman when the one I have is the sweetest, the most beautiful woman I have ever known or seen?  I ask you, why would I throw away the woman of my heart, for, if I were to do that, would I not destroy her and myself, too?”

He noted that the compliment, spoken as it was from his heart, might have found its target.  However, she did not respond favorably, and she turned her back upon him.

He encouraged, “Show me.”

When she turned around, she was crying, and his heart sank to realize that his raised voice and unkind words might have caused her grief.  Still, what he’d said had been true.

“Do you really think I stoop to tell fibs?  That I don’t have these things in my possession which show you betrayed me and then married another?”

“I would see them.”

She paused, as though she seriously considered his demand, even against her will.  At length, she said, “I suppose that might be a fair request.  So follow me.  I will show you, although I am certain you are already aware of what I am talking about.”

He nodded, but he said nothing except, “Show me.  I will do as you ask and follow you.”

She turned around then and stomped out of the maze.  And, Iron Wolf, astonished again by the obvious—that this was no act and that his wife truly hated him— trailed after her.

 

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