Most of you know I’m a Cowboy Action Shooter known as “Ozark Belle.” This past weekend I participated in the Southern Missouri Rangers’ annual shoot, the Show-Me-Shootout! Besides lots of fun laughing with fellow cowboy and cowgirl shooting enthusiasts, and sending a lot of lead down-range, we spent our down time chatting, getting to know each other, and renewing friendships.
On Thursday, while waiting for the shooting to start—literally—someone asked: if you were going to be sent back in time to the late 1800s, what would you want to take with you?
Some of the answers were:
Flushing toilet & toilet paper
Electricity (that was available on the east coast, it just took a while to get west)
Running water (this wasn’t far off, either)
But the consensus was—
Don’t you wonder who might have been saved and how different our world might be if we’d had penicillin sooner?
What about you? If you were returned to the Old West, circa 1870, what would you just HAVE to have?
I’ll give away one autographed copy of either “Lassoing a Bride” or “Lassoing a Groom” – winner’s choice. All you have to do to enter is join in the discussion (and leave your email address).
See you on the Range!
P.S.> My fellow authors at Prairie Rose have just released a pair of Halloween anthologies, Cowboys, Creatures & Calico, Volumes 1 & 2. Don’t miss out on the creepy fun!
Coming from Prairie Rose Publications May 20, 2014
I’m so excited to announce my next two releases, new short stories that are set in the town of River’s Bend, Missouri. There’s one story in each of two anthologies being released on May 20! One features Martha Bittner & Sheriff Matthew Tate, whom we met in COMING HOME; the other introduces Rebekah Snow Redmann, who turns out to be the perfect match for Martha’s brother, Franz.
LASSOING A BRIDE has five new stories from five award winning authors. Here’s a little taste of my story.
NO LESS THAN FOREVER
Doctor Franz Bittner is satisfied with his life as it is. He has a good practice in a place where he is respected, in spite of his German birt
h. He has good friends and enough income to provide with him a few comforts. A wife would only complicate things. Then a tiny blond stranger is pulled from the river and everything changes. With one smile she captures his attention—and steals his heart.
Rebekah Snow Redmann barely survived her abusive husband’s attack. Though she was given to him to pay her father’s debts, she’d rather die than go back. Then she ends up in the care of the handsome local doctor and he stitches up more than her wounds—he mends her soul. With him, she discovers everything that she believes she can never have…a love that will last forever.
For the ride to the schoolhouse where the dance would be held, Rebekah sat close to Franz in the rear seat of the sheriff’s carriage. It might have been scandalous, but the heat of his body warmed her and made her feel safe. And the heat in his gaze made her helpless to resist. Glancing around her, she smiled. “I haven’t been in anything like this since I left Boston.”
“Did you grow up in such a lifestyle?”
“Papa liked people to see how important he was. I didn’t care, really, but I enjoyed not having to walk everywhere.”
“Ah.” Of course, he understood immediately. “Because of your hip.”
Rebekah nodded. Her disfigurement used to embarrass her, but she’d survived so much in the past four years, the fact that she limped now seemed insignificant. “I was thrown from a horse when I was five. Mama tried to tell Papa I was too small to ride alone, but he insisted that any daughter of his would be a natural horsewoman. Funny, I actually remember their argument more than my fall.” She fell silent, her parents’ angry words replaying in her mind. “Papa shouted at Mama and startled the horse. I couldn’t hold on. Fortunately my head landed on his boot rather than the stone of the courtyard, but I wasn’t able to walk right after that.”
“Then you must stay warm.” He leaned close to tuck the blanket around her and she took the opportunity to enjoy the spicy scent of his soap. Franz spent the rest of the short ride pointing out the things he most liked about River’s Bend. When they arrived at the schoolhouse, he helped her from the carriage and introduced her to the couple her stood waiting on the landing.
Mary Hawken was a sweet, bubbly, very pregnant woman. Next to her husband, Jericho, she seemed tiny. But the dress Rebekah wore fit perfectly and she knew she wasn’t small. Many times, Reginald had pointed out that he felt as if he had a clumsy giantess at his side. Pushing aside all thoughts of the man, she nodded at Mary & Jericho. “Thank you for loaning me your dress. It’s really beautiful.”
“That dress looks much better on you than it ever did on me. You should keep it.”
Rebekah was so stunned, she stopped walking. Even her own mother had never parted with a frock simply because it looked better on one of her daughters. Martha laughed and urged her forward, promising she’d get used to Mary’s way. Then they stepped inside the schoolhouse and all thoughts of gowns and gifts flew from her mind. She stared around her at the dozens of flowers and ribbons in a rainbow of colors. “It’s so beautiful.”
Martha seemed thrilled. “How very lovely it is.” Then Mary ordered the men to open the shutters—actually told those three, huge, strong men what to do! And they did it with laughter and smiles and jokes, not with arguments and fists and… No, she wouldn’t go there tonight. Squaring her shoulders, Rebekah joined the women who were now flowing into the room to see if she could help.
Franz left her alone for nearly an hour before he gently suggested she be seated. “You are not quite as healed as you feel right now.”
“But I should help—”
“You have already
done your share. There are others who can do this now.”
The women nearby assured her they would take over, so she allowed Franz to lead her to a chair away from the open door. When he leaned close in order to be heard over the musicians, a shiver that had nothing to do with a draft skittered down her back. He pointed out the mayor and the schoolteacher, the butcher and his wife, and a dozen others whose names she’d never remember. The musicians played a reel and her toes began tapping in rhythm.
“You enjoy dancing.”
“I do,” she admitted, “although I’m not very good at it because of my hip.”
Rising, Franz held out his hand. “Will you try a few steps with me?”
Oh, how she wanted to say yes. To take his hand and join the bouncing line of laughing dancers. But she had to work very hard at not showing her limp when she danced and she was too tired to do that. “I don’t think—”
“I don’t care that you do not walk perfectly. I only want to hold you for a moment or two.”
His gentle words stole her breath and sent her heartbeat racing. “I would love to dance with you, Franz.”
* * * * * * *
And featuring six short stories, LASSOING A GROOM—
WANTED: THE SHERIFF
Martha Bittner may be considered a spinster at twenty-seven, but she’s not planning to stay that way. For four years, she’s wanted the sheriff of River’s Bend, Missouri, to notice her as more than a friend and a really good cook. With the first annual spring dance only week
s away, Martha decides to announce her intentions—and declares the sheriff a wanted man.
Sheriff Matthew Tate always thought he was better off a bachelor. Growing up in Boston society, where marriage is a business transaction and wealth his greatest asset, he’s learned to distrust all women’s intentions. None of them even catch his eye anymore—until pretty Martha Bittner tells him exactly what she wants… and he wonders why he ever resisted capture.
EXCERPT “How can I help? I’m not as talented as you in the kitchen, but I can be useful.”
Martha brandished the sharpened knife, pointing to the bowl of potatoes. “Peel.”
“Yes, ma’am.” With a smart bow to her, he dropped onto the bench at the big, scarred table and set to work. “This is a lot for three of us.”
Martha returned to her basting. “Franz invited the blacksmith to join us.”
“Ah, Daniel Arnault. I see. Do you want these whole or cut in pieces?”
Surely, she only imagined disappointment in his tone. Turning to Matt, she stared at the sight of the tall, handsome sheriff peeling potatoes at her kitchen table. Then, his question registered. “Pieces, please. About the size of your thumb,” she clarified. “That way they cook faster, and dinner will not be late.”
On cue, his stomach growled in anticipation. “Obviously, we can’t have that.”
Martha laughed with him, enjoying the moment. She could so easily imagine them in the kitchen together every night, talking over his day, sharing dreams and plans and—
“Martha, what do you think?”
“What?” Had he asked her a question?
“You always look as if you enjoy singing, and Mr. Hart seems to know his business.”
She took a breath to calm her nerves. He asked about singing. “Yes, I do enjoy being in the church choir. Mr. Hart is a fine director. He has helped us all be better singers and chooses music that enhances the Reverend’s message. I believe Sunday mornings are more enjoyable now for everyone.”
“And Reverend Oltmann seems to have shortened his sermons a bit to allow for more songs. Yes, I think I will.”
Matthew grinned. “Join the choir.”
Martha just knew her mouth was gaping open like a landed trout. “You sing?”
“I did, many years ago. Rather enjoyed it, as I recall. It will be a good way to meet more of the townspeople, don’t you agree?”
“Ja, I mean, yes.” She moved to take the meat from the oven, but Matthew reached around her to lift the heavy pan.
“On the table, please.” She spread several large towels to protect the surface from the heat. “Thank you.”
Matthew turned and stepped just a little closer. “My pleasure, ma’am.”
His voice was deeper, rougher. It sent pleasant chills chasing along her skin.
“Matthew! Come back, now.”
The sheriff flinched at the sound of Franz’s voice, then retreated a step. Obviously, he didn’t wish to be found standing too close. Martha licked her suddenly-dry lips, fascinated when his eyes narrowed and followed the movement.
“Martha.” His voice was soft as a wish, making her tremble. Moving slowly, he brushed a lock of hair behind her ear. “I’m looking forward to dinner.” His gaze, deep and intense, held hers for several seconds before her turned and strode from the room.
Martha stood rooted to the floor as his footsteps faded. Even knowing she was alone, she couldn’t seem to break the spell he’d woven. He couldn’t wait for dinner? Was that all he wanted?
The spattering of boiling water on the hot stove forced her into motion. Mechanically, she went about whipping the potatoes with milk, butter and salt, and adding flour and butter to thicken the gravy. Hadn’t she seen something more in his eyes than desire for a meal?
Having so little experience, she wasn’t certain, but she thought Sheriff Tate was interested in more than beef and potatoes.
That should be a good thing, ja? But what if she was wrong?
Mark your calendar and place your order for LASSOING A BRIDE & LASSOING A GROOM, both coming May 20, 2014.
Over the holidays, Filly sister Linda Broday got to pop the champagne cork and announce the Hearts and Spurs anthology, coming from Prairie Rose Publications. Today I want to introduce you to my story in the anthology:
Sometimes it takes two to make dreams come true.
When a man who believes he’ll never have a home and family… Former U.S. Marshal Jericho Hawken should have been shepherding a wagon train to new territory, but he left them vulnerable to a vicious raider. The murder of the settlers he was supposed to be guarding is the hardest thing he’s ever had to face…until he meets the sister of one of the settlers.
…meets a woman who has lost everything… Instead of a joyous reunion with her brother, Maryland Henry has come to River’s Bend to take responsibility for her three orphaned nieces. Fired from her teaching position and with no other family on whom to rely, Mary believes Jericho Hawken is responsible for all her woes. Or is he what she’s been searching for all along?
It’ll take a lot of forgiveness and a few fireworks to realize that together their dreams can come true.
The research for this story was a lot of fun. I don’t live that far from Kansas City and St. Joseph and Independence, Missouri, the big jumping off points for wagon trains heading west. All I had to do was convince my dear hubby to go on a research trip—and that’s never very difficult.
(Photo from the State Historical Society, Columbia, MO)
Now, all you western historical readers out there, go grab your calendar, pick up a pen and, on January 15, 2014, write “Get Hearts and Spurs.” Then sit back and enjoy nine stories by some of your favorite authors!
Happy “New Books” Year!
On January 13, I’ll be at Prairie Rose Publication’s new BLOG. Hope you drop by for a visit! And keep an eye on my website, www.TracyGarrett.com, for more book news.
Today, Tracy Garrett & Phyliss Miranda are sharing their two stories from WISHING FOR A COWBOY.
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM TRACY GARRETT
When I started writing Her Christmas Wish and first “met” Katie & Will, I knew they were opposites in so many ways. Where Katie was fiery tempered, Will was calm and deliberate. Katie came from a working-class Irish family, where money was tight and special sweets like Christmas cakes and cookies were anticipated even more because they were only made once a year. Even a simple pound cake, like the one Katie made for Will in Her Christmas Wish was a rare treat because of the sheer number of ingredients it took. Katie would have had to save her pin money for many months to be able to afford a dozen eggs, a pound of butter, a pound of sugar and rose water just to make a cake.
Will, on the other hand, was from a wealthy family, and something as simple as a pound cake could be served whenever a member of the family wanted it. But, even with his privilege, Will worked. He knew the value of his inheritance because he knew what it took to earn it.
And that had to make him love his Katie even more.When Katie made Will an old-fashioned pound cake, he loved it not only because it was his favorite, but because of what Katie sacrificed to buy the ingredients—maybe fabric for a new dress or hair ribbons or a hot cocoa after ice-skating with her friends.
Have you tried Katie’s Old-Fashioned Pound Cake? The recipe is included in the Anthology, Wishing For a Cowboy. In fact, there are eight recipes in all – one from each of the short stories. Check them all out!
HER CHRISTMAS WISH Her only wish for Christmas was the man who left her behind.
Even a woman capable of living on her own… Kathryn McConnell is a widow celebrating a milestone birthday alone. Though she feels a woman should be able to mourn the passing of her thirtieth birthday any way she wants, she won’t turn away a cowboy in need of lodging—until she learns it’s the man she’d expected to marry thirteen years earlier.
…never forgets her first love. Will O’Brien had challenged his father’s prejudice against the woman he loved only to discover he was unable to stand against his family’s wealth and connections. Without a way to support his bride, Will struck out for the west, determined to earn a living for them both. When he returned after two years with no word from Katie, he found she’d married another and moved away. Heartbroken, he returns to his work, but never stops hoping to find her.
When chance lands Will at the remote stagecoach station run by the widowed Kathryn, he grabs at the opportunity he’s been handed, hoping to win back the only woman he has ever loved.
Happy Holidays to you all from Phyliss!
When I agreed to write a short story for Wishing for a Cowboy, one of the requirements was to have a recipe to share with our readers. The concept was easy for me since each of my single title books have a recipe in the story and then it’s listed in the back of the book. In A Christmas Miracle, I selected date nut loaf candy which my grannie made every year for Christmas. It was only fitting, plus the ingredients are indicative of what would be available in 1889.
Here’s a little excerpt from my story in Wishing for a Cowboy:
Children should not suffer for the sins of their fathers, Mattie Jo Ashley thought, as she put two mugs of beer on the table for a couple of regulars of the Longhorn Saloon.
Lucas Jones had posted the House Rules on each wall. Although the watering hole was one of only two in the temperance colony known as Carroll Creek, Texas, its owner wanted to make sure everyone understood what he expected. He wouldn’t stand for a rowdy crowd that might run away his patrons who never missed three opportunities. A good tent meeting. A good church sermon. And, a good drink with a quiet game of cards.
Mattie Jo looked up at the rules posted prominently at eye level.
Rule 1: Check your weapons at the door.
Rule 2: No cussing allowed.
Rule 3: Rowdy behavior will not be tolerated.
Rule 4: No touching my ladies.
Rule 5: Only women are allowed upstairs.
The swinging doors flew open and her friend and fellow saloon girl Violet rushed in. Not bothering to acknowledge anyone around, she literally screamed, “Mattie Jo!” She rushed on without taking a breath. “The baby’s taken a turn for the worse.”
Blood ran like cold well water through Mattie Jo’s veins. “Slow down, Violet, and tell me what is going on with her.” Her heart beat out of control. She couldn’t lose another family member.
“Tell me exactly what’s going on.” Mattie Jo’s asked again. With each word her legs got weaker. It wasn’t typical of Violet to get so upset, even though it involved Mattie Jo’s baby sister, Katie.
“She won’t eat. Her eyes are more matted than ever. One is completely shut.”
“Her fever has gone up. Cool towels haven’t helped, so I gave her a cold bath. By the time I left, it still hadn’t brought down her fever. I don’t want to upset you, but it’s a whole bunch higher. She’s even more listless, refusing her bottle and is coughing more. I think she seems to be having a little trouble breathing.”
All of the worsening conditions Violet described balled up and hit Mattie Jo between the eyes. She swallowed hard and looked over the crowded saloon at her boss, Lucas Jones, who was delivering a tray of drinks to another table of card-playing cowboys. Tears brimmed in her eyes, just thinking about the possibility that she might lose her precious sister. She needed to go home and take care of her, but also had to work her shift because the jar in the kitchen out at her place had only three pennies and a dime in it. Not enough to pay for the doctor to make a house call especially three miles outside of town.
Phyliss and Tracy will give away copies of the anthology to two winners, so they can try all of our recipes next Christmas … if not before. Happy Holidays!
Do you like short stories? I love them, both as a writer and as a reader. I’m so thrilled that they’re making a comeback in today’s world! I remember as a teenager in high school English class, some of the short stories that were taught at the time. You can probably recall these classes, too—we read many short stories and novels that couldn’t reach into our world and touch us, not at that age.
It’s odd to me that had some of the selections been different, or more age-appropriate, this might have fostered a love of reading the short story rather than dread for so many. The essay questions at the end of the story seemed hard for many of the students to understand, much less formulate answers to in order to show what they learned from the story. As high school freshmen in the 14-15 year-old age range, and with our limited knowledge of the world, it was difficult for some to be able to grasp symbolism or foreshadowing among other story elements. I realized later on that some people never grasp it, no matter how old they are. Reading with that kind of intuitive understanding is not something everyone is able to do.
Being forced to read something for a grade rather than enjoyment was something I didn’t understand. For one thing, I enjoyed reading. As with any kid, some things held my interest more than others. But I never could fathom some of my classmates who actually said, “I hate to read.”
I had some favorite short stories, even out of the ones we were forced to read. Who could forget Whitney and Rainsford in Richard Connell’s THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME? Frank Stockton’s THE LADY OR THE TIGER? Or, TO BUILD A FIRE, by Jack London?
Those stories were what inspired me to want to write “like that” and I often wondered in later years, seeing my kids’ English books and the stories they contained, where our next generation of writers would come from? There was certainly nothing “inspiring” in those stories. I was wishing there were some of the stories from “the good ol’ days” in their books, even though at the time I had been their age, many of my classmates had detested those same stories that I loved so much.
But one day, my daughter came home from school and said, “Mom, we read a story today that was so good! It’s about a guy who is trying to survive in the cold and he tries to build a fire…” And a few years later, my son couldn’t wait to tell me about a story they’d read about an island, where men were hunted…
Not everyone who loves to read wants to become a writer. So I’m wondering…was there a particular short story that you read when you were younger that made you want to write? Or even just made you become an avid reader? Since so many of us write westerns, was there a western short story that influenced you when you
were younger? The one that I loved was not really a short story, but a short novel, Fred Gipson’s OLD YELLER. In later years, another one that stood out was Shirley Jackson’s THE LOTTERY.
I’m giving away a free copy of one of my short stories today, THE GUNFIGHTER’S GIRL. This is a re-issue of one of my earlier stories, SCARLET RIBBONS. All you have to do is comment, and check back later this evening after 9:00 to see if you won!
I’ve talked a bit about the Wolf Creek series before here. It’s one of my most favorite projects I’ve ever worked on, anywhere, anytime.
The series is the brainchild of Troy Smith, a good friend of mine and an excellent writer and “idea man”. His thought was to create a bible to be used by the participants of the series to work from for the fictional post Civil War town of Wolf Creek, Kansas. Any member of the Western Fictioneer professional writing organization could contribute when their character was called for in the plot structure.
Now this is quite a daunting task when you think of having at least 23 (and climbing!) people who wanted to contribute, having to come up with plots that would involve at least 6 characters in each book–some of them the same as a common thread– and keep all the books fresh and interesting. But Troy managed to do it.
The latest book, Wolf Creek Book 6: Hell on the Prairie, differs. It’s an anthology of short stories by some of the contributors about their characters. Here’s the blurb for it:
Welcome to Wolf Creek.
Here you will find many of your favorite authors, working together as Ford Fargo to weave a complex and textured series of Old West adventures like no one has ever seen. Each author writes from the perspective of his or her own unique character, blended together into a single novel.
In this volume -an anthology of stand-alone short stories: … Marshal Sam Gardner confronts a notorious gunfighter who hates lawmen; Deputy Quint Croy learns the secrets of Asa Pepper’s place; Billy Below learns to be a cowboy; Doc Logan contends with a specter from his past; Derrick McCain faces family secrets; Ben Tolliver gets the shock of his life; and strangers get caught up in the Danby Raid…
I loved this idea because each participant is able to write a short story featuring their character(s) and show a depth to their character they might not be able to convey in a collaborative effort such as the other books before this have been. My story is called IT TAKES A MAN, and of course, Derrick McCain, my foremost character, is at the center of this one. When Derrick and his mother are ominously summoned to the Cherokee settlement of Briartown, Derrick is determined to set things straight with the man he’s learned is his real father. But once he arrives, he’s distracted by the beautiful cousin, Leah Martin, of his best friend’s wife. Leah is hiding a secret—one that could be the death of her. Once Derrick discovers it, will he walk away? Or will he save her…and possibly himself? IT TAKES A MAN to do what his heart tells him.
Just last week, all three of the Wolf Creek books I contributed to (Bloody Trail–Book 1, Showdown at Demon’s Drop–Book 5, and Hell on the Prairie–Book 6) were on the Kindle top 100 bestselling western list! Wolf Creek Book 1–Bloody Trail, is on sale right now for only .99 to get you started on the Wolf Creek series. The others are available for only $2.99.
I will be gifting one lucky commenter with a Kindle version of Wolf Creek Book 6: Hell on the Prairie today! Just leave a comment and be sure to check back after 9:00 to see if you won! Meanwhile, if you just can’t wait, go to my author page at Amazon to see these and all my other works here:
NEWSFLASH! I wanted to add that two of my publishers are having CHRISTMAS IN JULY events with lots of freebies and near-freebie reads. Click on the links below to go to the ONCE UPON A WORD blog where there is a list of free reads, and the 2nd link will take you to the WESTERN FICTIONEERS blog where there are a ton of .99 reads, both short stories AND full length books. Be sure to double check the price before you click to buy at Amazon, to be sure they have them all listed as they should be. You can’t go wrong with CHRISTMAS IN JULY!
Summer has started off with a bang for me, in a fantastic way. I wanted to share with you all what my year has been like (the good parts of it!)
I always think when summer rolls around I will have more time. I think this started when my kids were little and I looked forward to not having to get up and make the school run every single morning, and then again in the afternoon. Even though it never happened the way I thought it would, for some crazy reason, I believed it would be that way year after year.
The one thing I did get a little more of in the summer was reading time. At least, it seemed that way. This summer I’ve had several new releases of my own I want to tell you about. Some of these are re-releases in a different format, but others are brand new!
KANE’S DESTINY is the third and final book in the Kane trilogy. It was released a few months ago. Each of these books were released separately (KANE’S REDEMPTION, KANE’S PROMISE, and KANE’S DESTINY) but then we decided to release them all under one cover as KANE’SCHANCE. Why? There are a couple of contests I’d like to enter, but there is no category for these shorter works. With a bit of editing and shaping, the stories were made into one continuous novel.
KANE’S CHANCE was released earlier this month and is available in both print and digital formats.
These “KANE” stories are for all ages, young and old alike. And everyone in the middle. They’re a “coming of age” tale about Will Green, a young boy who is kidnapped by a band of renegade Apaches after his family is killed. The first two books deal with that part of his life, and the last one, KANE’S REDEMPTION, deal with one of his biggest fears—his Bostonian grandfather coming west to claim him and trying to force him to leave Texas and go back East with him.
When KANE’S CHANCE begins, Will is ten years old, and by the end of the book, he’s thirteen. The adventures he has, the changes he goes through, and the inner torment he deals with throughout the stories speak not only of the maturing process every young man must go through, but also, his realization that the deaths of his entire family hinged on the poor judgment of his father. This is not a romance, but I hope you’ll find it to your liking all the same. Here’s the blurb for KANE’S CHANCE:
My name is Will Green and I have to share the story of how I met Jacobi Kane or I’ll bust from holding it in. Apache renegades murdered my family and took me prisoner when I was ten. I never believed I’d live to see another sunrise, but Kane appeared as if from nowhere and fought to save me. Never saw a man so determined before, but I did have to step in and help a bit.
I didn’t know at the time that Kane kept a secret from me, one which might change my high opinion of him. Then he met Laura, and she helped both of us heal in different ways.
Later on, once we settled down on a place of our own, Kane led a band of lawmen in their mission to annihilate the renegades responsible for killing my folks – and Kane’s first wife and children. Laura sent me along after them, just to be sure Kane stayed safe. It turned out to be good planning on her part.
Once I turned thirteen, my own doubts crept in as to whether I actually should be with the Kane family. Then my wealthy grandfather showed up from back East, determined to take me to Boston. Took some doing for me to learn the true meaning of family and just where I belonged. In the end, my grandfather and I faced a fight for our lives and, once more, our survival relied on Jacobi Kane and me. Now, I’ve got a family fortune to deal with – one I never knew about or wanted – one someone else wants bad enough to kill me for.
But I’ve found my place in life, with Kane’s help, and I don’t plan on giving it up anytime soon…
And speaking of romance, I have a brand new western historical romance, GABRIEL’S LAW, available NOW! It’s published through WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER, and if this cover doesn’t make you grab a fan I don’t know what will! That Jimmy Thomas looks hotter every time I see him! Here’s the blurb for it:
When hired gunman Brandon Gabriel is double-crossed, it seems that his luck has run out. But Gabriel has more than luck; he has Allison Taylor, a lost angel from his troubled past who turns up and turns the tables. Old love blooms and new wounds begin to heal as Brandon and Allie tentatively make plans, but danger and self-doubt cast shadows on their hopes. When Allie and her ranch are threatened by an old enemy, long-buried secrets come to light and the stakes have never been higher. Will Brandon discover his chance at happiness in time to fight for it? Can Brandon and Allie confront the past, face down their demons, and forge their dreams into a future?
One thing Brandon doesn’t count on is the fact that Allie has already set a plan in motion that includes bringing orphans to her home—orphans like she and Brandon had been, early in life. Remember Travis Morgan from Fire Eyes? OK, that’s all I’m gonna say!
Christmas in July at WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER will see another of my short stories (Christmas, of course!) released as a “single sell” story for .99. THE WISHING TREE was first released in the VICTORY TALES PRESS A 2012 CHRISTMAS COLLECTON. Now, it’s being offered as a stand alone story, and I’m thrilled. I don’t have the cover for it yet, but will try to share it as soon as I can–I know it will be another good one–Karen M. Nutt is a genius with covers!
Pete Cochran, a war veteran with both visible and invisible scars, is mostly a loner, rather than scare children. Then a special woman with a son walks into his life as he works at his father’s Christmas tree lot – a woman with problems he can’t ignore.
Maria Sanchez and her son Miguel eke out an existence on her part-time earnings, but share an abundance of love, except when terrorized by her drug addict relative. When she meets Pete, she sees him not as a frightening man, but a wounded hero returned from war. Her son seems immediately drawn to the unusual Christmas tree vendor.
Will a special tree – a wishing tree – contain enough magic to fulfill all their Christmas desires?
This is a lovely, heartwarming story that I hope will touch you as it did me.
By the way, Wolf Creek: Book 1 Bloody Trail is now ON SALE at Amazon for only .99! It is ranked around #40 in the Kindle Best Westerns list presently! I provided the link above.
Here’s the blurb for Wolf Creek Book 5: Showdown at Demon’s Drop:
The brutal Danby gang paid dearly for their raid on Wolf Creek. But some of them escaped, and their new leader Clark Davis is hungry for revenge -on the town, and on the man that he believes betrayed the gang, Derrick McCain. Seminole scout Charley Blackfeather, meanwhile, wants his own revenge on Davis for his actions in the war…at the Centralia Massacre. Blood is going to flow… Appearing as Ford Fargo in this volume: Robert J. Randisi, Bill Crider, L. J. Martin, Wayne Dundee. Cheryl Pierson, and Troy D. Smith.
This edition of Wolf Creek is also ranked in the mid 40’s on the Kindle Best Westerns top 100 list! Here’s the Amazon link for it:
Last but not least, another delicious entrée from the Wolf Creek writers is hot of the presses as of last week! Wolf Creek Book 6 :HELL ON THE PRAIRIE, is different than the others. It’s the first Wolf Creek anthology. I loved this idea because each participant is able to write a short story featuring their character(s) and show a depth to their character they might not be able to convey in a collaborative effort such as the other books before this have been. My story is called IT TAKES A MAN, and of course, Derrick is at the center of this one. And guess what? It, too, is on the Kindle Best Western top 100 charts–last I checked in the mid 30 range! I’m so thrilled to have all three of these Wolf Creek books I contributed to in the top 100 all at once!
Here’s the blurb for my story IT TAKES A MAN:
When Derrick and his mother are ominously summoned to the Cherokee settlement of Briartown, Derrick is determined to set things straight with the man he’s learned is his real father. But once he arrives, he’s distracted by the beautiful cousin, Leah Martin, of his best friend’s wife. Leah is hiding a secret—one that could be the death of her. Once Derrick discovers it, will he walk away? Or will he save her…and possibly himself? IT TAKES A MAN to do what his heart tells him.
Here’s the link for Wolf Creek Book 6: HELL ON THE PRAIRIE.
I sure hope this will provide you with some ideas for some stories you might enjoy over the summer! There’s something here for everyone! For more great reading, please visit my AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE here : http://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson
Please be sure to leave a comment before you go–I’m giving away a digital copy of KANE’S CHANCE and also one of WOLF CREEK BOOK 1: BLOODY TRAIL today! Don’t forget to leave your contact information!
I know we’ve talked before about Dorothy M. Johnson, the iconic western short story writer who penned such classics as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Hanging Tree, and A Man Called Horse; but today, I wanted to tell you about another short story of hers that I read a few days ago. Quite possibly, the best short story –in any genre—that I’ve ever read.
You may never have heard of it. It wasn’t made into a movie, because it too closely mirrored the true life of a real person, Cynthia Ann Parker, mother of Quanah Parker. The story is called Lost Sister.
I’d heard this story mentioned before by a couple of friends, and thought, “I need to read that—I’ve never read much of Mrs. Johnson’s work but the movies have all been good.” I know. I hate it when people say that, too. Anyhow, I bought a collection from Amazon that contained the three stories I mentioned in the first paragraph and Lost Sister as the fourth. Of course, I had to read The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, since that’s tied for my all-time favorite western movie, along with Shane. I was so disappointed. The characters in the short story were not the same as my beloved Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne! Hmmm. Well, even though I was disappointed, I decided to give Lost Sister a shot.
It more than made up for my lukewarm feelings for The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
Lost Sister is the story of a woman who has been kidnapped as a young child by “the hostiles”. She has an older sister, who remembers her well from childhood, and loves her with the devotion that most older sisters have for a younger sister. Through the forty years she has been gone, the oldest sister, Mary, has cherished memories of her younger sibling.
There are three younger sisters, as well, who have no recollection of the Lost Sister, Bessie. The older sister doesn’t live with them, but in a different town thousand miles away. The three sisters are notified that their sister, Bessie, has been “rescued” and is being brought back to them. The story is told from the eyes of a nine-year-old boy, whose mother lives with the sisters. She is the widow of their brother, who was killed by the Indians. The boy has dreams of growing up and avenging his father’s death, but something changes once his Aunt Bessie comes back to live with them.
Up until Bessie is returned to them, they have gotten much attention from the neighbors, and have been pitied as being the family who had a sister stolen by the savages so many years ago. Once Bessie is returned, their standing in the community takes a subtle twist. The other sisters don’t know how to handle Bessie’s homecoming. They make plans to go into her room and “visit” with her every day. One of them decides to read to Bessie from the Bible for thirty minutes each day. The others come up with similar plans, none of which include trying to understand Bessie’s feelings at being ripped away from her Indian family.
The oldest sister, Mary, comes to visit. What’s different? Mary loves Bessie, and accepts her; and Bessie loves her—they both remember their childhood time together. The language of love overcomes the barriers of the spoken language that neither of them can understand, for Bessie has forgotten English, and Mary doesn’t know Bessie’s Indian dialect. But Bessie has a picture of her son, and Mary admires it, and by the time Mary is to go home, she has made arrangements for Bessie to come live with her—a huge relief to the other pious sisters who had made such sympathetic noises about her being reunited with them in the beginning.
In a fateful twist, Bessie makes her own decision about what she will do, taking her own life back, and helping her son avoid capture. This is one story you will not forget. Once you read it, it will stay with you and you’ll find yourself thinking about it again and again. It doesn’t fit the mold of a romance story, except for the fact that I think of Bessie being in love with her husband, having children with him, and then being “rescued” and forced to live in a society she had no ties with any longer…except one—the love and understanding of her older sister, Mary.
No specific Indian tribe is mentioned in the story, probably for a purpose. I think, one of the main reasons is to show us the cultural differences and how, in this case, the “civilized” world that Bessie had come from and been returned to was not as civilized as the “savages” who had kidnapped her.
Also, as I say, Cynthia Ann Parker’s story, at the time this story was published, was not that old. There were still raw feelings and rough relations between whites and Indians. But by leaving the particular tribe out of the story, it provides a broader base for humanity to examine the motives for “rescue” and the outcome for all concerned, of a situation such as this in which it would have been better to have let Bessie (Cynthia Ann) remain “lost.”
I’ve posted the link below for the story as it was printed in Collier’s Weekly on March 30, 1956. It’s also available on Amazon in several collections.
It’s lovely to be back at Petticoats and Pistols, one of my favorite watering holes on the web. Today, I want to talk about mixing fiction and history.
How do you feel about real-life historical figures in romance? I occasionally like to use them as minor characters—possibly because I’m a research junkie and can’t resist including some of the most interesting bits I come across in my reading. I had great fun brushing shoulders with Jesse James in my first book, Harvest of Dreams. He only appeared in one scene and had few lines of dialogue, but his presence added a nice sinister touch.
My current novella, The Treasure of Como Bluff, is set in Wyoming in 1879, during the fascinating period known as the Bone Wars. In 1877, enormous deposits of fossils were discovered in the barren hillsides of Como Bluff, about one hundred miles northwest of Cheyenne near Medicine Bow. Two eastern professors, O. C. Marsh of Yale (photo on the right) and Edward D. Cope of the University of Pennsylvania, waged war on each other (largely through surrogates) in a decades-long campaign. They instructed their hired bone hunters to do everything in their power to gain the upper hand, from misdirecting shipments of fossils to dynamiting the rival’s dig site.
It might seem an unconventional choice of setting for a romance, but I had wanted to write a story about the Bone Wars for several years before starting The Treasure of Como Bluff. I love feisty, independent heroines, and a female paleontologist in the American West seemed just the ticket. I also wanted to capture the excitement of the blossoming of scientific discovery in this country in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
My search for source material took me to Mark Jaffe’s terrific book, The Gilded Dinosaur. It’s a detailed account of the long rivalry, complete with original documents such as a letter to Marsh from a pair of bone hunters using the aliases of Harlow and Edwards describing their initial finds and asking for financial support.That letter painted such a vivid portrait of the two railroad workers-turned-dinosaur hunters that I included them in a scene but had them working for Cope (a valid choice since they changed sides depending on whichever sponsor paid the best at the moment).
I gave Professor O. C. Marsh a more prominent role, although he, too, has limited page time. My heroine, Caroline Hubbard, is excavating at Como Bluff, having tricked Marsh into hiring her, believing her to be a man. When the professor arrives unexpectedly to check on her progress, she has to persuade Nick Bancroft (the hero) to play the part of her husband, the paleontologist Marsh believes he hired. As you can imagine, mayhem ensues.
I don’t always include historical characters in my books, but when I do they mingle happily with the fictional ones. How about you? Do you enjoy real-life historical figures popping in to visit your make-believe world, or do you prefer that they confine their activities to sedate non-fiction? Let me know, and I’ll send a pdf of The Treasure of Como Bluff to one lucky commenter. Here’s the blurb to whet your appetite:
In her race against rival bone hunters, the last complication paleontologist Caroline Hubbard needs is an unconscious stranger cluttering up her dig site. Nicholas Bancroft might have the chiseled features and sculpted physique of a classical statue, but she’s not about to let him hamper her quest to unearth a new species of dinosaur and make her mark on the scientific world.
Nick has come to Wyoming in search of silver but, after a blow to the head, finds himself at the mercy of a feisty, determined female scientist. Despite his insistence that he’s just passing through, he agrees to masquerade as Caroline’s husband to help save her job. Once their deception plays out, they face a crucial decision. Will they be able to see beyond their separate goals and recognize the treasure right in front of them?
Thanks so much to the lovely fillies at Petticoats and Pistols for hosting me today, and thank all of you for stopping by to visit. You can read more about me and my books at www.alisonhenderson.com.
Well, who wouldn’t want a hero for Christmas…or FOUR of them? And they’ll all fit snugly in a stocking or on your e-reader!
Yep, I’m talking about my latest release, A HERO FOR CHRISTMAS, which is a collection of four of my Christmas themed historical romantic short stories! These are all available separately, as “single sell” short stories for only .99 through Western Trail Blazer, as well. But I was thrilled when my publisher suggested putting them all under one gorgeous cover and offering them as a collection.
A Night for Miracles is the first story in the collection. It will always be near and dear to my heart because it was the first holiday story I ever wrote, as well as being the first short story (which really turned into a novelette.) I still just love the story of Angela Bentley and Nick Dalton. Angela’s a widow, alone on Christmas Eve. Gunman Nick Dalton stops at her cabin in gathering wintry twilight. Wounded, and with three children in tow, there’s no chance of Angela telling him he has to ride on. Will this be A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES for them?
Legend says that miracles happen on Christmas Eve. Can a chance encounter between a gunfighter and a lonely widow herald a new beginning for them both? On this special night, they take a gamble that anything is possible–if they only believe! Available now with WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER PUBLISHING!
The second story is a very different kind of Christmas story, HOMECOMING. I wrote this story long before I ever even thought of selling it. In fact, I wasn’t sure I COULD sell it. But it turned out better than I ever imagined, with so much power and emotion, I’ve had many, many compliments on it. It still humbles me, to think of this story that came from nowhere, one I wasn’t sure would ever see the light of day—has now become one that so many people have enjoyed.
A holiday skirmish sends Union officer, Jack Durham, on an unlikely mission to fulfill his promise of honor to a dying Confederate soldier—his enemy. In an odd twist of fate, a simple assurance to carry young Billy Anderson’s meager belongings home to his family a few miles away becomes more than what it seems.
As he nears his destination, the memories of the soldier’s final moments mingle with his own thoughts of the losses he’s suffered because of the War, including his fiancee, Sarah. Despite his suffering, can Jack remember what it means to be fully human before he arrives at the end of his journey? Will the miracle of Christmas be able to heal his heart in the face of what awaits him?
MEANT TO BE is the third story in the collection. It’s a time travel story of love that crosses centuries. The heroine, Robin Mallory, is stranded on Christmas Eve and begins to walk for help, only to find that she’s walked down a road to the past and into the arms of handsome a Confederate soldier, Jake Devlin. Will she stay in 1864, or will she return to the lonely life she left behind? (If he looked like Jimmy Thomas, that would be a very easy decision!)
Robin Mallory is facing another Christmas all alone when she decides to surprise her aunt and uncle several hours away. A flat tire leaves her stranded near a desolate section of interstate. With a snowstorm on the way, Robin has no choice but to walk, hoping to find shelter before the storm hits full force. But the road she chooses leads her back in time, to a battleground she’s only read about in history books.
Confederate Jake Devlin, an officer in Stand Watie’s Cherokee forces, is shocked when the spy he jumps turns out to be a girl. She’s dressed oddly, but her speech and the ideas she has are even stranger than her clothing. Where did she come from, and what is he going to do with her? Will he be able to hold on to his heart? Is it possible for a love this strong to span centuries? It is, if it was MEANT TO BE…
And last but not least is a story I have wanted to write since I was a little girl. If you’ve ever heard the old folk song, SCARLET RIBBONS, perhaps you’ll understand why. In the song, the singer (I love the Harry Belafonte version more than any other) tells of hearing his little girl praying for some scarlet ribbons for her hair. Everything is closed for the night, and there’s no hope of him being able to buy them for her; such a simple request and no way to grant it. All night long he’s thinking about it and finally goes to peek in on her only to find her asleep, the scarlet ribbons on her bed. “If I live to be a hundred, I will never know from where…came those lovely scarlet ribbons, scarlet ribbons for her hair…” Well, I can never get through that song without getting misty eyed, but I always wondered about the story behind the scarlet ribbons…so I wrote one.
Miguel Rivera is known as El Diablo, The Devil. Men avoid meeting his eyes for fear of his gun. Upon returning to a town where he once knew a brief happiness, Miguel is persuaded by a street vendor to make a foolish holiday purchase; two scarlet ribbons.
When Catalina, his former lover, allows him to take a room at her boarding house, Miguel soon discovers a secret. Realizing that he needs the scarlet ribbons after all, he is stunned to find them missing. Can a meeting with a mysterious priest and the miracle of the Scarlet Ribbons set Miguel on a new path?