Well, summer’s over, and fall is “on the way”! I wish I could say I had an actual “beach read” but we haven’t taken a vacation in years, and probably won’t in the foreseeable future now that we have our two furbabies. So we have to do little fun things locally, and try to relax at home—which is sometimes hard to do. But one way I can always escape is with a good book—and I have read (and re-read) some wonderful ones this summer.
Have you ever read a book that you didn’t want to finish because it was so good you didn’t want the story to end? I remember when I read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series—that was how I felt. A lot of people don’t like lengthy books, but I love them—the more intricate and in-depth the characters and plotlines are, the more I enjoy them I was so glad to have “the next one” to go to in that series, and though there were some I liked better than others, I thought they were all well-written and entertaining!
I read a book this summer called The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson that was in this category. I could not put it down, but I didn’t want it to be over! Linda Broday had recommended it and I went right over and bought it from Amazon. I rarely do that, but something about the way Linda talked about that book made me want to read it, and put it right at the top of my TBR pile! I was NOT disappointed. Here’s the blurb:
The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything?everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome’s got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter. Cussy’s not only a book woman, however, she’s also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble.
If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she’s going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.
Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere?even back home.
I don’t want to give any spoilers, but this is one book you will remember long after you reach the end. I read a ton of books every year, and this is going on my “keeper” shelf, along with the NEXT book I bought by the same author called GodPretty in the Tobacco Field. Oh, goodness. I then had to just go to Amazon and order the rest of her books. These may ALL be keepers!
I read one of Kat Martin’s older books, Natchez Flame—that one had my heart pounding and wondering how in the world she was going to let Priscilla and Brendan have their happy-ever-after that they so richly deserved! Sigh…Take a look…
A woman of courage and honor. She sold everything she owned to go west and marry a powerful land baron she’d never seen. But Priscilla Wills hadn’t counted on the gunfight—or the gun—fighter—who would change her life: the tall, broad-shouldered man who killed her guardian in self-defense. Reluctantly he agreed to take her through the dangerous Texas back country to her fiancé’s ranch. She hadn’t planned on a journey that would take her into a stranger’s soul as he delivered her into another man’s waiting arms.
A man who lived by the gun. He was an outlaw—yet Brendan Trask unleashed in the prim and proper Priscilla a fiery passion that matched his own. But a man running for his life couldn’t afford a woman who hungered for the security that only her wealthy fiancé could provide.
What’s on the agenda for the next “wonderful read”? I’ve got two I want to re-read—Nobody’s Darling, by Teresa Medeiros, one of my very favorite authors ever—and Star Keeper by Patricia Potter, who is also a dear favorite, as well. I’ve read both of these in the past but it’s been a while and they need to be re-read! LOL Nobody’s Darling is a western historical romance, and Star Keeper takes place during the War of Independence, which is such an interesting time period, as well!
Also waiting for me are Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart—it’s been a long time since I read any of her work, and it’s always so wonderful. And last but not least, These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 by Nancy E. Turner.
And…of course, the other books I ordered by Kim Michele Richardson that will be here any day now! I’ve got my reading cut out for me, but I’m looking forward to every single one of these stories. Have you read any wonderful books lately that you’d want to share with us? I’m always on the lookout for “the next good read” and love to talk books! How about you?
Fellow filly Cheryl Pierson and I spent last weekend at the inaugural Western Fictioneers convention (also known as #WFcon15) in St. Louis. What a great time we had! We met some of the iconic authors in the western genre, learned more than my head can hold during seminars and panel discussions, got to sit around and gab with people we’d only spoken with online previously…and, of course, ate lots of good food. I may never eat again.
You can discover more about Western Fictioneers — a professional organization for authors of western fiction — and the convention here. If we can find Micki Milom, the superwoman who put the whole thing together single-handedly this year, we’re hoping to host another shindig next year, possibly in Fort Worth. Micki appears to have disappeared into the Convention Organizer Protection Program — a wise move on her part.
Instead of the usual post, this week I thought I’d share photos from the convention. Yes, I realize this is a bit like showing home movies to captive relatives, but I can be cruel that way.
Without further ado…
Take a good look at the woman on the left. You may never see her again after this convention. She’s Micki Milom, Nashville singer and songwriter, author of traditional westerns, and ramrod of the convention. Evidently, that smug expression on her face is meant to camouflage her nefarious attempt to strangle western historical romance author and all-around nuisance Jacquie Rogers.
The Living Legends panel discussion featured, from left, Robert J. Randisi, Robert (Dick) Vaughn, Dusty Richards, and Frank Roderus. Between them, the gentlemen have published thousands of stories. For such prolific, popular authors of traditional western fiction, all four men are down-to-earth, funny, charming characters (emphasis on “characters”).
During the Romancing the West panel, authors (from left) Jacquie Rogers, Kathleen Rice Adams, Meg Mims, Kat Martin, and Cheryl Pierson astounded attendees with their… Well, I’m sure we astounded the audience with something, but the “something” probably was our ability to be extraordinarily silly. Couldn’t Micki have found western historical romance authors who possess at least a modicum of decorum?
The most evil thing about the Taming Social Media and Other Necessary Evils panel was the panelists: traditional western authors (from left) JES Hayes, that Kathleen Rice Adams person again, Jacquie Rogers (again), and Tom Rizzo.
Publishers who specialize in western fiction also addressed the madding crowd. From left, Prairie Rose Publications editor-in-chief and co-founder Cheryl Pierson, Pen-L Publishing‘s Kimberly and Duke Pennell, High Hill Press‘s Louella Turner, Mike Bray of Wolfpack Publishing, and Golway Publishing’s Dusty Richards provided insight into what publishers look for when considering authors and their work.
Keith Souter, a medical doctor and popular traditional western author from the U.K., traveled all the way across the pond to present one of the most fascinating seminars during the convention — The Doctor’s Bag: Medicine and Surgery of Yesteryear. The presentation provided a hint of the enormous amount of material Keith covers in his newly released reference book of the same name. He was much too gentlemanly to refuse when I threatened him with a necktie party unless he autographed a copy for me. The book is a fabulous resource for anyone who writes historical fiction. I highly recommend it.
Intellectual property attorney Michael Milom presented one of the most popular sessions during the convention — The “Rights” Side of the Law: Legal Labyrinths. Despite his prowess as a high-powered entertainment lawyer, he quickly lost control of the rowdy herd and abandoned his planned talk in favor of answering a slew of questions from the audience. Michael, who is married to Micki, was gracious about our rude behavior, but as you can see by the metamorphosis in his expression, the lot of us probably should stay out of Nashville for a while.
There was plenty of time for fun, as well.
The Prairie Rose Publications gang whooped it up. (From left, Kathleen Rice Adams and Jacquie Rogers [Who are those women, and why did they keep butting in everywhere?], Keith Souter [who makes a wonderful bank robber, for a Scot], Cheryl Pierson [another outlaw who repeatedly butted in], Micki Milom, and Meg Mims.)
Some of us, like Cheryl Pierson, autographed books. Did I autograph any books? Of course not. My ego may not survive.
The entertainment was entertaining, especially when Micki Milom and Robert Randisi sang a couple of duets. We didn’t have to cover our ears or nothin’! (Micki’s a professional, but Bob was a surprise. He’s actually quite good.)
And there you have it — #WFcon2015 in a nutshell! (Most photos are mine, but thanks to JES Hayes for the image of the PRP outlaws and to Diane Rodes Garland for the image of Cheryl autographing a book.)
UPDATE: I’ve just received word that we kidnapped about a box-full of Dr. Keith’s The Doctor’s Bag — autographed! They’re available for $15 (including postage), which is a great deal considering the paperback version sells for $18.99 on Amazon. Cheryl Pierson has details.
To thank everyone for schlepping through all this rambling, I’ll give two commenters a KINDLE COPY of a very special Prairie Rose release: A Cowboy’s Touch. The boxed set of four full-length western romance novels by Cheryl Pierson, Livia J. Washburn, Kit Prate, and me contains nearly 1,000 pages of spicy love in the Old West, and it’s a steal at 99 cents. To be eligible for the drawing, tell me which of the seminars you would have liked to attend. (All Petticoats and Pistols sweepstakes rules apply to this giveaway.)
Since my latest book, AGAINST THE SUN, big Jake Cantrell and Sage Dumont’s story, deals
with a visit to Texas by a Saudi Arabian sheik and his family, I thought it might be fun to talk
about favorite places in the sun.
With temperatures that reach higher than 120 degrees, Saudi Arabia would definitely not be one of them!
Personally, I hate hot weather. Among my personal
favorite places, would be the ski slopes of Aspen
on a sunny day, or up on the top of the hill at Mammoth Mountain in California. Yummy days of cold and sunshine and crystal clear blue skies.
We usually travel in the spring. A favorite sunny day happened to me in Rome in April a few years ago, when we stood in the warm rays next to the beautiful Trevi Fountain. And of course you can’t beat
walking in the sun on the Left Bank in Paris.
Closer to home, Montana has some great sunny days. Today I’m working in my office, looking at the lush green pastures outside my windows toward the snow-capped mountains in the distance.
Big sky country is a major winner when the sun is shining and the clear blue sky seems to go on forever.
A day on the ocean off the coast of Santa Barbara is hard to beat when the sun is shining. Sailboat or powerboat, just being out on the water makes me feel completely carefree.
In AGAINST THE SUN, the sheik, his daughter A’lia and his son Roshan aren’t bothered by the brutal Houston heat. And Sage is more concerned about learning the protocols she must know in order to negotiate the three hundred million dollar deal that will make or break her career. Customs like not showing the bottom of her foot, which is considered an insult, or making the okay sign, which would be giving them the evil eye.
AGAINST THE SUN was one of the most difficult books I’ve ever tackled because of the research involved in getting the customs, the clothing, the attitudes of the Saudi visitors correct. I hope you’ll try AGAINST THE SUN and that you enjoy it.
I’d love to hear some of your favorite places in the sun and why you love them? I’m giving away a copy of AGAINST THE SUN to one lucky commentor today!
Warm wishes for a great summer, Kat
It’s not in bodyguard Jake Cantrell’s job description to share his suspicions with his assignments. Beautiful executive Sage Dumont may be in charge, but Jake’s not on her payroll. As a former special forces marine, Jake trusts his gut, and it’s telling him that there’s something off about a shipment arriving at Marine Drilling International. His instinct is aroused…in more ways than one.
A savvy businesswoman, Sage knows better than to take some hired gun’s “hunch” as gospel. And yet she is learning not to underestimate the man her grandfather hired to protect her. Determined to prove Jake wrong, Sage does some digging of her own and turns up deadly details she was never meant to see.
Drawn into a terrifying web of lies and deceit—and into feelings they can’t afford to explore—what Jake and Sage uncover may be frighteningly worse than they ever imagined.
Here’s an excerpt from AGAINST THE SUN:
Walking out of the elevator across the shiny black granite floor, Jake Cantrell made his
way to the receptionist desk on the tenth floor of Marine Drilling International. The waiting area was done in black leather sofas and chairs, the receptionist desk dark walnut and chrome, nothing but the best for the Dumonts, the family who owned the company.
A good-looking woman, late twenties, wavy, shoulder-length mink-brown hair, busily searched the drawers and cabinets behind the desk, bending over in a tailored pencil shirt, providing him with a perfect view of a very shapely ass.
He almost smiled. Even the help was first class.
She jerked upright at his approach, noticing him for the first time, and her face colored, a pretty face, remarkable really, with amazing golden brown eyes. Those eyes looked him up and down, which took a while, being six-five, two-hundred thirty-five pounds.
“May I help you?” she asked.
He gave her a smile. “I’m Jake Cantrell. I’ve got an appointment at ten with Ian Dumont.”
She frowned. “He didn’t mention it. He’s getting ready for a meeting. You might have to wait a while.”
“Not a problem. In the meantime, I could sure use a cup of coffee.”
Amusement tipped her mouth up, a tiny dimple appearing next to plump, rose-colored lips. “I’ll see what I can do.” But she didn’t make a move, just turned to the woman hurrying toward her across the waiting room.
“I’m so sorry I’m late, Ms. Dumont,” the woman said. “Thank you for covering for me.”
Sonofabitch, a Dumont, Jake thought. Asking her to fetch him a cup of coffee was probably
not the best idea he’d ever had.
“It’s not a problem, Marie.” She tipped her head toward Jake. “Mr. Cantrell is here to see Ian. I have to go into the meeting. Could you get him a cup of coffee while he waits?”
Jake felt the slight rebuke in the glance she cast his way. Clearly, she wasn’t used to fetching a man much of anything.
“Of course,” Marie said. The Dumont woman headed for the tall walnut door leading into Ian Dumont’s imperial domain, her strides long and purposeful, as if she had someplace important to go. He liked a woman who didn’t dawdle. And besides the great ass, she had a pair of legs that wouldn’t quit.
He watched her disappear behind the door, wondering what role she played in the Dumont empire, then turned his attention to the receptionist.
Marie was smiling. “Mr. Cantrell, Mr. Dumont mentioned that you would be coming in. I believe he wants to see you as soon as you arrive.”
“Thank you, Marie.”
“I’ll bring coffee into the meeting.” The woman blushed as he walked away. It was his size mostly, he figured, that made women take a second look. He was used to it by now.
He shoved open the office door and stepped inside, found only two people in the room–the woman he had subtly insulted and a silver-haired gentleman in his late seventies, slightly stooped but still impressive, undoubtedly Ian Dumont, CEO of the company.
“Mr. Cantrell, I assume,” the man said. “Our mutual friend, Trace Rawlins, had nothing but good things to say when he recommended you for this job. Please do join us.”
The Dumont woman was staring, one of her dark eyebrows elevated in question. He noticed she was wearing a flashy diamond engagement ring. Since he felt a jolt of heat whenever he looked at her, it was probably good she was out of his reach.
Ian Dumont reached out to shake his hand. A strong, solid handshake that set the tone for the discussion ahead. “Why don’t we all sit down?” Ian suggested.
They spaced themselves at the near end of the conference table, which sat in the middle of a room done in the same walnut and chrome as the waiting area.
Ian fixed his attention on Jake. “I asked you here to discuss providing security for one of our people during an upcoming business negotiation.”
“S.E. Dumont, you said when we spoke on the phone.”
“That is correct.”
“Wait a minute,” the dark-haired woman interrupted, her gaze sliding toward Jake. “Ian, you aren’t thinking–”
“Mr. Cantrell, I’d like you to meet my granddaughter, Sage Elizabeth Dumont.”
The room fell silent. Sonofabitch. She was his assignment?
“I don’t need a bodyguard, Ian.”
The old man turned toward her, a determined glint in a pair of eyes that looked strikingly similar to the flashing gold-ringed brown ones belonging to his granddaughter.
“Mr. Cantrell has experience in Middle Eastern protocol as well as a background in personal security. Isn’t that correct, Mr. Cantrell?”
“Over the years, I’ve done a lot of corporate protection work, both in South America and the Middle East. I worked in Saudi for three years after I got out of the Marines. So yes, I know the protocols.”
“This is simply not necessary,” Sage said.
Both men ignored her. “I understand you were in Special Forces. You served in Iraq, I believe.”
“Sage is Vice President of Acquisitions and Distribution for Marine Drilling. Currently she is involved in a transaction that may reach the three hundred million mark. A deal being negotiated with Sheik Khalid Al Kahzaz of Saudi Arabia. The sheik and his family are due to arrive in just a few days.”
“I see,” Jake said noncommittally. Protecting a corporate exec was one thing. Protecting a spoiled young socialite who got her job because she was a member of the Dumont family was something altogether different.
“With your experience,” Ian continued, “I’m hoping you will be able to guide my granddaughter through this visit with our Saudi friends, and should trouble arise in the city, also keep her safe.”
“That’s what I get paid for.”
Sage shifted in her chair, irritation clear in her face. “We need to discuss this in private, Ian.”
The old man smiled indulgently. “We can do that, of course, but the result will be the same. You’re representing Marine Drilling International. You will be prominently engaged in entertaining the sheik, his daughter and son, and the rest of his party. Currently, there is a great deal of unrest in the Middle
East. Last night there was an incident right here in the city. Mr. Cantrell can handle whatever problem might come up.” He rose from his chair, and Jake and Sage stood up, too.
Ian turned to Jake. “When can you start?”
Part of him wanted to refuse the assignment. He didn’t want to deal with a bossy, cantankerous female. The other part was looking for something interesting to do after weeks of mostly sitting behind a desk. “If we only have a short time until they arrive,” he found himself saying, “we had start today.”
Sage’s spine went a little straighter. She fixed her gaze on Jake. Even with her ultra high heels she had to look up at him, which he could tell she didn’t like.
“Fine,” she said. “I’ll see you in my office in half an hour. Does that work for you?”
“I’ll be there.”
As soon as the door swooshed closed behind her, Jake heard Ian chuckle. “I knew she was going to pitch an all-out fit about this, but I want her safe. She means everything to me, Mr. Cantrell.”
“It’s just Jake. And you can count on me to take care of her–whether she likes it or not.”
Ian Dumont just smiled.
AGAINST THE SUN debuted at #17 on the New York Times Bestsellers list, and was a Romantic Times “top pick”! Here’s how to order.
Sometimes what you think is going to be a great idea for a book turns into a great big UGH! That’s what happens when the research takes on a life of its own and you have a whole lot more work to do than you had planned. Not that it isn’t usually interesting.
AGAINST THE SUN, the sixth book in my AGAINST series, deals with a visit toTexasby a Saudi Arabian sheik and his family. The sheik is there to negotiate a three hundred million dollar oil-well equipment sale with one of Marine Drilling International’s vice presidents, Sage Dumont.
That’s hero, big Jake Cantrell, first appeared in AGAINST THE LAW. At six-foot-five, two-hundred-forty pounds, tough and smart, I knew the minute he walked onto the page that Jake would make a great hero.
He also appeared in AGAINST THE NIGHT when Johnnie Riggs and Amy Brewer’s adventure took them to the jungles ofBelize. In AGAINST THE SUN, Jake is hired to act as Sage’s bodyguard during the Saudis’ visit. Being a Special Forces Marine who’s done corporate protection work in theMiddle East, Jake can also teach her the protocols she will need to know in order to make the deal.
That’s where the research came in. Fortunately, I have a close friend who’s an internationally famous bounty hunter. He’s also done a great deal of work as a bodyguard and even teaches classes on the subject inFlorida, now that he’s retired. When Bob Burton was inSanta Barbaralast year, I was able him to corner him for lunch. That’s when he mentioned the protocols that a businessman had to learn in order to negotiate a deal with the Saudis.
Customs like sitting with your legs crossed and showing someone the bottom of your foot, which is considered a grave insult. Or making a circle with your fingers for the okay sign. To a Saudi Arabian, that is considered giving someone the evil eye.
From that moment on, I knew I had my work cut out for me. The research involved in getting the customs, clothing, and attitudes of the Saudi visitors correct made AGAINST THE SUN one of the most difficult books I’ve ever written. And also one of the most interesting.
On top of the research, there was the problem of dealing with women’s rights inSaudi Arabiawithout offending anyone.
In the end, I think Sage and Jake are two of my strongest, most heroic characters. I hope readers with think their love story is equally strong.
I hope you’ll look for AGAINST THE SUN and the rest of the books in my AGAINST series, and that you enjoy them all.
I love New Year’s Eve. When I was younger, I was pretty much a wallflower who sat home year after year. I would watch the glass ball going down in Times Square and wish I was there. As an adult I’ve tried to make up for all those lost New Year’s Eves and rarely miss going out on the town.
I love to dress up in black sequins and high heels, and am fortunate that my husband is a knockout in a tuxedo. One of my favorite New Year’s parties was in Beverly Hills. I was invited to a function that was the height of elegance and even had celebrities in attendance. I remember seeing Hugh O’Brien, who used to be Wyatt Earp on TV, a really gorgeous guy back then, and Faye Dunaway, who was class personified.
For me New Year’s Eve is champagne and romance, and being a romance writer, why wouldn’t I adore it?
This year, besides going out on the town, I’ll be celebrating the re-release of one of my all time favorite books–HOT RAIN. The hero, Jake Dawson, would look gorgeous in a tux–or better yet, nothing at all. Allie Parker is blond and sexy, and the chemistry between them burns. Jake’s an undercover agent working to catch a gang of drug smugglers. Unfortunately, Allie Parker believes he’s one of the thugs who have taken her prison and stashed her on the yacht they are taking to Mexico.
Jake has a helluva time keeping Allie safe and at the same time playing the roll of her captor. There’s a lot of humor in this one, which is why my readers chose it back when it first came out as their all-time favorite.
The book has been out of print for nearly ten years, so I’m hoping readers who haven’t had a chance to read it will give it a try. It’s got a fabulous new cover and will be out in e-book format for the first time ever.
I hope you’ll try HOT RAIN and that you enjoy. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Very best wishes,
Kat’s giving away a kindle copy of HOT RAIN to one lucky commenter!