Monday, August 29, 2011

Norman Wilson: The Shaman's Quest

The Shaman's Quest
by Norman W Wilson, PhD
Buy links: Amazon * Smashwords * B&N

RTW: What got you interested in shamanism? Give us a short bio, please.

NWW: Have you ever met a shaman? I have. I was seven years old, and it triggered a lifelong curiosity for other worlds and cultures. Eventually, I wrote a series of essays on shamanism, which are now available as Shamanism: What It's All About.

My doctorate in the humanities allowed me to study other systems, particularly the myths of the Ancient Greeks, and to examine in depth the Romantic poets, novelists, painters, and musicians. Like those Romanticists, I too, have a deep abiding fascination with the world of mythology. That interest has wound its way into my novel The Shaman's Quest and the remaining five in my series, Shamanic Mysteries.

I live in the Puget Sound area of Washington State with my talented wife, photographer Suzanne V. Wilson, and we are ruled by three cats, who graciously allow us to reside in their abode.

Contest! Details Below.

RTW: Tell us about The Shaman's Quest.

NWW: Adam's deep and abiding ache for knowledge sends him on a quest for truth, but no one seems to have the answers, nor do they understand what he seeks. His journey to find answers and the peace they'll bring him is even more puzzling than the initial curiousity, sending him on a quest to seek and learn from a powerful shaman.

But the shaman is at first elusive, then speaks in riddles. Worst of all, the shaman insists Adam embark upon a Vision Quest that few survive.

RTW: What aspect of shamanism intrigues you the most? How did you work that into your book?

Norman W Wilson, PhD
NWW:The degree to which a shaman can alter his/her state of consciousness and the techniques used to achieve that have long been of interest to me. The main character undergoes his vision quest in an altered state of consciousness, he visits the world of the spirits, and travels in another dimension.

RTW: Your main character, Adam, is a bit lost at first, and a mentor plays a major role in this book. Talk about the lost art of mentoring, and why it’s so important.

NWW:This is fodder for a book unto itself. America has become such a "Me" country it has lost sight of the need to help others, that is, mentor them. As far as I am concerned, mentoring is just another aspect of 'paying it forward'. . . a philosophy in which I wholeheartedly believe. The young (and sometimes us older folks) needs someone to take them under their wing and show them the way.

RTW: Are there any common misconceptions about shamanism that bug you?

NWW:Yes, there are some misconceptions about shamanism that bug me. First, is the popular notion that one has to get juiced up on hallucinogenic drugs to be a shaman. Second, shaman are not bad guys; they are healers.

RTW: Why is Adam at such loose ends? Tell us a little of his backstory.

NWW: You are referring to the main character in my novel, The Shaman's Quest. Even as a young child, Adam had questions that never seemed to get answered. For example, when he is seven or eight years old, he is confronted by an old Indian woman who 'jabbers' at him. He witnessed his father give her a fresh caught fish which she immediately began to eat, raw, guts and all. When Adam asks what was going on, he is told she was left to die. " Why?" Adam asks. He was not given an answer. It is only when he meets up with the mystical shaman, Esaugetuh, does Adam begin to get his questions answered.

RTW: Please lead us into your excerpt.

The excerpt is from the first chapter, although not the very beginning.  Adam makes a decision to pursue the mysteries of life, because his curiousity has now become all-consuming.

EXCERPT: The Shaman's Quest
by Norman W Wilson, PhD
Copyright © 2011 Norman W Wilson, PhD

Oh sure, as a kid I always had to know, like all kids do. Unfortunately, that need to know carried over into my adult life. I remember my father used to say, "That boy needs to know the ass-hole of everything." Not until my teens did I realize the full intent of his comment. Dogs sniff one another's butts. Had he been near me when I realized that, I’m sure I would have punched him out.

Some of the indications from the Mik'Maq reinforced my nagging suspicion that the mysterious medicine man is something more. Perhaps he is the God, Glooscap in human form. Man, that sure would shake up the world.

Whoever or whatever he is, leads about him disappeared. Any discussion of a Mik’Maq shaman just dried up. Sure wasn’t much different than when I was a kid, and like then, I am not sure why people won't talk to me about him. By now he had become my shaman and it is very personal.

A rare few of the Mik’Maq developed certain innate abilities that allowed them to surpass all others in their perceptions, skills, and talents. I suspect such people had fine tuned their ability to tie into the nonlocal mind. Such persons, as do people do today, paid a high price for being different. Separated from the rest of the village, these power-given lived in deep forested areas, isolated and often feared. They came back into the village to seek a mate or for sacred rituals they were expected to perform, or to provide some of their ‘magic’ to heal a sick person. The medicine man, renamed by others as shaman, despite being shunned and forced to live outside of the village’s daily social activities, remained a very important person to the tribe.

The one I look for is said to be the last of the most powerful of the shaman— one who knows all things, capable of making miracles—the seventh of the seventh of the seventh. Rumor has it that he can come and go at will; that he travels in a different dimension in non-normal time. If these rumors are true, perhaps he really is Glooscap. Christians don’t have a lock on the idea of a divinity coming to Earth in human form.

I had gone to northeastern Canada in search of this last shaman hoping against hope to be able to spend time with him, to see if he could answer my questions. Of course, it all depended if he would let me. I had heard talk that he was antisocial and had a deep distrust of whites. My information, scarce as it is, was that he had gone to Florida to meet with some of the Creeks. No one seemed to know why. They just indicated that I should go south. And here I am sitting cramped-up in a rental car during a downpour.

RTW: Thanks for the excerpt, Norman. This is the first book in The Shamanic Mysteries. What’s the title of the second book and when will it be out?

NWW: The second book is The Shaman's Transformation. It's out in Kindle now and will be in print soon.

RTW: Anything else you’d like to add?

NWW: You have a wonderful blog here with some fascinating authors and contributors. You are to be congratulated.

Thanks, Norman!

Norman is giving away a free copy of The Shaman's Quest.  All you have to do to qualify for the drawing is leave a comment one one of this week's posts.  Don't forget to leave your email address!  Winner will be drawn September 3rd at 10pm Pacific Time.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

RTW Chicken Dinner: Cool Links & Announcements

August is coming to a close and with the kids going back to school, maybe there's a little more time for reading. Or not. But today, I'm going to give you some links to a few talented writers you might want to check out. Also, if you look in our archives, you'll find some terrific writers and excerpts of their books, including Kat and L.C. Martin, Paty Jager, A.K. Lanier, Debra Holland, and Karen Michelle Nutt.

Many writers are interested in more than one genre or sub-genre, so you might be surprised what else you'll find if you browse their websites.

For some of the best of western historical romance, try Caroline Clemmons. Sweethearts of the West recently ran The Exciting Story of Author Caroline Clemmons, so take a look at that, too.


If you're looking for traditional western short stories, Matthew Pizzolato could be the answer.  He writes both short stories and non-fiction articles on the Old West.  Matt also runs an outstanding website (besides his own), The Western Online, which I mentioned in last Sunday's Chicken Dinner post.

Bill Markley
 Writers of the West is featuring Bill Markley, who is an author, reenactor, and actor in A Visit with Bill Markley.  He's had an interesting life, writes both fiction and non-fiction, has appeared in several movies, and is an avid journaler.  Take a look at his books and see if there's anything you'd enjoy.  I'm sure there is.

Next week, Romancing The West is happy to host Norman W. Wilson, PhD, who is an expert on shamanism, and has written the Shamanic Mysteries, of which two of six are now available.

We have winners!

Karen Michell Nutt's Wanted goes to... Lisa Alexander Griffin!  Congratulations, Lisa.  I know you're just gonna love this book!

The winner of Much Ado About Marshals is... Judith Laik!  But not only did she already win a free book, she edited it!  So I'll give her a copy of the print book when it comes out, since she hasn't sprung for an ereader yet.  (Yes, telling tales.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Karen M. Nutt: Pearl Hart and the Last Stagecoach Robbery

Jack and Karen

Copyright © 2011 Karen Michelle Nutt
Raised by religious parents, Pearl (Taylor) Hart was provided the best available education. At sixteen, she was enrolled in a boarding school where she became enamored with a young man with the last name of Hart. It’s unclear what his given name was, but recorded accounts do state he was a rake, drunkard and gambler. Pearl and Hart eloped, but the marriage didn’t last. Hart was abusive. They reconciled many times, but Pearl finally left him. During their time together they had two children, a boy and a girl, which Pearl sent home to her mother who was then living in Ohio.
By 1898, Pearl Hart was living in Mammoth, Arizona. It’s sketchy how she earned a living there. Some claimed she worked as a cook in a boardinghouse, while others claimed she ran a brothel near a mine. Her financial outlook didn’t last when the mine closed. When she received news her mother was ill, she didn’t have the money to return home. Joe Boot (most likely an alias) was a good friend. Hoping to raise the money, the two worked Joe’s mining claim. When the mine didn’t produce gold, the two decided to rob the Globe to Florence Stagecoach.
On May 30, 1899 at the watering point near Cane Springs Canyon, they set the plan in motion. To disguise herself, Pearl cut her hair short and dressed in men’s clothing. Not something a Victorian woman at the time would do. She was armed with a .38 revolver and Joe Boot carried a Colt .45. Since the stagecoach hadn’t been robbed in years, the coach didn’t have a guard. Bart held the gun on the victims while Pearl took two firearms and $431.20 from the passengers. Before they rode off, Pearl decided to return $1 to each of the passengers.
Sheriff Truman led the posse who found Joe and Pearl on June 5, 1899. They were both asleep when they came upon them. Joe surrendered quietly while Pearl fought to avoid capture. Both Pearl and Joe were sent to Yuma Territorial Prison. Joe became a prison trusty, driving wagons to prison chain gangs outside the wall. One day, while driving a wagon, Joe escaped and was never seen again. At the time of his escape, he completed less than two years of his sentence.
The warden liked the attention Pearl Hart attracted and provided her with an oversized cell that included a small yard. He allowed her to entertain reporters and other guests as well as pose for photographs. Pearl was pardon in December of 1902 from Alexander Brodie. The sudden release is unclear. At the time, Pearl claimed she was needed in Kansas City to play the lead in a play written by her sister, about her life of crime. Later, a rumor emerged following the death of all parties involved, alleging Pearl was pardoned because she had become pregnant. There’s no evidence that Pearl had a third child. If the rumor was true, perhaps Pearl instigated the ploy herself to secure her release.
After leaving prison Pearl Hart had a short-lived show where she reenacted her crime and then spoke of the horrors of Yuma Territorial Prison. She also worked under an alias for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Accounts of her later years are sketchy. Some claim she returned to Globe and lived there until her death in 1955.

# # #
Thanks for the informative article, Karen.
And yes, Karen's giving away a free book!
Answer the questions and you’ll be entered in the drawing to win one e-book copy of Wanted.
  • What makes a hero or heroine in your eyes?
  • Who’s your favorite cowboy? It can be from TV, Movies or a favorite book. It doesn’t have to be the hero of the story either.
  • Is there a villain you loved to hate?
Please be sure to include your email address with your comment, because if Karen can't reach you, we'll have to pick another winner.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Karen Michelle Nutt: Wanted

by Karen Michelle Nutt
Buy links: Amazon * Smashwords * B&N

About Karen:
Karen Michelle Nutt resides in California with her husband, three fascinating children, and houseful of demanding pets. Jack, her Chihuahua/Yorkshire terrier is her writing buddy and sits long hours with her at the computer.

Her Book, Lost in the Mist of Time, was nominated for New Books Review Spotlight Best Fantasy Book of the Year Award 2006. A Twist of Fate was a nominee for Best Time Travel P.E.A.R.L. Award for 2008. Creighton Manor won Honorable Mention P.E.A.R.L. Award 2009.

Her new passion is creating book covers for Western Trail Blazers and Rebecca J. Vickery Publishing. In her spare time, she reviews books for PNR-Paranormal Romance Reviews.

Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.

About Wanted
Six year-old Emma is convinced her Christmas wish and premonition has come true when outlaw JoBeth Riley is brought into town. Emma’s father, Sheriff Jace Kelly, must keep JoBeth from being broken out by the leader of the outlaw gang. JoBeth finds the Kellys a strange lot when forced to spend Christmas with them. A little girl, who believes her dreams are tales of the future and the rugged sheriff whose kindness proves a distraction. She’s an outlaw for heaven’s sake, but Jace is bound and determined to steal her heart.

Win a Free Book!
Karen's offering an e-book copy of Wanted to one lucky winner. Read on and find out how you can be entered in the drawing. She promises to make it easy.

RTW: What aspect of life in the Old West intrigues you the most? Did you work that into Wanted?

Jack and Karen
KMN: I love history. I find everything about it fascinating, the people, the way they lived, and even what they did for fun. So the Old West does intrigue me.

My tale, Wanted, takes place near Flagstaff, Arizona around 1880. I didn’t pinpoint an exact date in the story, but hinted that Tombstone's heyday is in the past. So it gives the reader a time reference.

Women didn’t always follow the men out west. I find it interesting how the towns survived and how families were raised. To get a sense of the area surrounding Flagstaff, I needed to research the history and learn about the men and woman who braved the untamed West to seek their fortunes. The Riordan family was a prime example. In 1884, Dennis Riordan, the eldest of three brothers arrived in Flagstaff. He managed the Ayer Lumber Company. Later he brought his younger half-brothers into the business and their wives joined them, too. Together they developed the most beautiful homestead and brought culture to the Wild West.

I knew then it wouldn’t be far-fetched for my fictional town of Liberty to exist nestled near the Ponderosa Pines and south of the San Francisco Peaks. With a lumber company being their main source of income, families would make their homes there.

RTW: If you lived in the year your book is set, what modern convenience would you miss the most?

KMN: Indoor plumbing would be one. I love my warm showers. Lol Though, Jace did prepare a warm bath for JoBeth, heating the water on the stove. If I could find a man in that time period like him, it might not be so bad.

RTW: What types of errors or misconceptions bug you when reading western historical romances?

I can’t think of anything in particular that I’ve read, but I do know nothing kills a story for reader more than faulty research. You wouldn’t want to have your hero wearing a baseball cap before they were invented. LOL Clothing styles and products should be accurate for the decade. Too modern of vocabulary could also be a factor. With historical romances and western tales, you have to get the information right. Readers will catch the errors and your credibility will be shot.

RTW: Why is Jace perfect for JoBeth?

Jace means healer, a perfect name for my hero. My heroine needs to find peace in her life and set herself on the right path again.

I purposely combined two names for my heroine. She’s an outlaw so I chose Jo, giving her name a masculine ring. The wanted posters have her as Baby Face Jo. I wanted her tough, but not so much that you forget she’s a woman. I added Beth to her name to represent the woman she’d left behind when she ran off with the outlaw, Shane Maverick.

Jace definitely sees past JoBeth’s tough persona.

Excerpt from Wanted by Karen Michell Nutt
   “I don’t belong to any man, Sheriff. You best remember that.” She told him she wasn’t married to Shane. She never revealed that to anyone. “You know, I shouldn’t feel comfortable around you, yet I do. You’re a lawman and your kind don’t mix well with my kind.”
   His hand paused again, waiting for her to continue.
   “If I weren’t a wanted woman and you weren’t a sheriff, I think we could have been friends.”
   His low chuckle had her turning to stare at him again.
   “Friends?” He shook his head. “No, JoBeth, I believe we would be much more.” His heated gaze nearly melted her on the spot.
   Her eyes lingered on his lips. She licked her own, wishing she could taste him just once.
   “Don’t look at me that way,” he warned her.
   Her gaze met his again. “Too late.” Her hoarse whisper spoke the truth.
   She didn’t know if he moved or she had, but the next moment, his arms were around her. His lips pressed to hers, soft, hesitant before they became demanding. She opened for him, wanting all he would give her. He was a good man, a good father, a man she could fall in love with if she’d chosen a different path.
   She didn’t belong with him. Her being with him now only endangered him and his family. Shane thought of her as his property and he didn’t like to share. She pulled away, breathless and a little scared that for a moment she’d forgotten about Shane.
   Her heart raced in her chest, but she didn’t know if the fear rising in her was for Jace or her own unguarded heart.
RTW: Whew! Great Excerpt.  What are you cooking up for us next?

KMN: I’m working on a few projects. I’d like to do another story featuring my characters from Wanted. It would be Beau Bennett and Emma Kelly’s story.

I’ve started on the second book for my western/steampunk tale, Storm Riders and I’m working on the third book in my Fallen Angels Series, Gideon: Warriors for the Light.

RTW: Anything else you’d like to add?

KMN: I want to thank you for having me here on your lovely blog.

Now for the Contest details you’ve been waiting for!
Answer the questions and you’ll be entered in the drawing to win one e-book copy of Wanted.
  • What makes a hero or heroine in your eyes?
  • Who’s your favorite cowboy? It can be from TV, Movies or a favorite book. It doesn’t have to be the hero of the story either.
  • Is there a villain you loved to hate?
What a pleasure it has been to host Karen today. Please be sure to include your email address with your comment, because if Karen can't reach you, we'll have to pick another winner.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Chicken Dinner: RTW's Sunday Favorites

Want to read some traditional Western short stories? Try The Western Online. You'll find stories by Richard Prosch, Alec Cizak, J.R. Lindermuth, and lot of other great writers. Read the stories right there online. Can't beat that! And The Western Online is gearing up to celebrate its two-year anniversary, so check it out.

True West Magazine posted an interesting link on Twitter. On August 19, 1985: John Wesley Hardin killed in Texas. You can follow True West Magazine on Twitter: @TrueWestMag

Read a terrific interview with western writer Robert J. Randisi at the Western Fictioneers blog.

Love to chat about the western books you've read? There's a Facebook group for that: Western Book Readers. It's a great group! And it's a no-promo site, for the most part, so you won't be deluged with buy-me ads, just good old-fashioned conversation.

Speaking of which, do you know of any good western reading groups, either traditional, romance, or both, on Goodreads? If so, please share.

Next week, RTW's guest is the talented Karen Michelle Nutt. Can't wait!

We Have A Winner!

hotcha12 will receive a coupon for a free copy of Much Ado About Marshals

Let me know if you reviewed Much Ado About Marshals and I'll send you a sneak peek of the second book in the series, Much Ado About Madams. It's so new, I don't even have a web page for it yet!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cowboys: Knights of the Old West

by Jacquie Rogers
Copyright © 2011 Jacquie Rogers

A certain mythos of romance holds a strong place in my heart. And of course, when I talk about romance, I’m gonna talk about men. As a woman, and as a romance writer, men fascinate me. They’re so incredibly complicated but at the same time so basic. Women are complicated and basic in other ways, leaving the man/woman relationship mystifying as to how or why it ever works. The romance genre delves into this complexity in every book.

When a woman looks for a mate, and that’s what romance is all about, she’s hardwired to look for the three Ps in a prospective candidate: Provide, Protect, and Procreate. Now, nearly all men are ready at any time for the third P (although we ladies are a bit picky about who fathers our children), but quite a few men aren’t all that keen about the first two.

And that’s why we women love the whole idea of knights and cowboys. Yes, I lumped them into the same sentence. Take a look at the Texas Rangers oath for deputy rangers:

Karl Urban
Commanche Moon

  • Be Alert
  • Be Obedient
  • Defend the Weak
  • Never Desert a Friend
  • Never Take Unfair Advantage
  • Be Neat
  • Be Truthful
  • Uphold Justice
  • Live Cleanly
  • Have Faith in God
You'd probably guess that was the Texas Rangers oath even if I hadn't told you simply because its the crux of what an American cowboy is even now.

Now here’s the Knights Code of Chivalry described in the Song of Roland
  • To fear God and maintain His Church
  • To serve the liege lord in valour and faith
  • To protect the weak and defenceless
  • To give succour to widows and orphans
  • To refrain from the wanton giving of offence
  • To live by honour and for glory
  • To despise pecuniary reward
  • To fight for the welfare of all
  • To obey those placed in authority
  • To guard the honour of fellow knights
  • To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit
  • To keep faith
  • At all times to speak the truth
  • To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun
  • To respect the honour of women
  • Never to refuse a challenge from an equal
  • Never to turn the back upon a foe
 That’s just a longwinded way of saying the same thing as the Texas Rangers did.

Truth is, people haven’t changed much, if ever. Our idea of the US Navy SEAL, the 19th Century cowboy, or the 13th Century knight all bring to a woman’s mind the perfect man to give us children, provide for them, and to protect them from harm so they can thrive into adulthood.

Our ideal romance hero is intelligent, loyal, honest, brave, and oh-so-sexy. My cowboy in Much Ado About Marshals is placed in a situation that tests him, because if he is loyal, he can’t be honest, and if he’s honest, he will betray his best friend. What a dilemma for a man who lives by the Knight’s Code of Chivalry, even if he’d never heard of such a code, because that’s the way of the good guys in the Old West.

This same situation could have played out in Medieval England as well as in the American Old West. It was Sir Lancelot’s dilemma in the days of King Author and the glorious Round Table, and now it’s Cole Richards’ dilemma in Much Ado About Marshals, set in the dusty desert of Owyhee County, Idaho. The cowboy’s word is his bond. Honor is everything.

Men are men. They’re warriors, hunters, and protectors. It’s through that tough exterior that women find his core of loyalty, honor, and most of all, love. The sweetest of women can tame the hearts of the toughest of men. This is our fantasy--this is what we’ve dreamed about since we were little girls.

And that’s why men in chaps and spurs melt the ladies' hearts.

First printed in Wendy Laharnar's Calico Corner

Win a Free Book
One commenter will win a Smashwords coupon for a free copy of
Be sure to include your email address in your comment, or else another name will have to be drawn.  Drawing will be held Aug. 20, 2011, 10pm Pacific Time. Thanks for visiting with us at Romancing The West!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Jacquie Rogers: Much Ado About Marshals

Much Ado About Marshals
by Jacquie Rogers
Buy links: Amazon * Smashwords * B&N

Jacquie Rogers is a former software designer, campaign manager, deli clerk, and cow milker. She writes romance in three sub-genres: western historical, fantasy, and contemporary western. She calls Seattle home, and lives with her husband who is an audio/video engineer and a fantastic proofreader. They are allowed to reside in this house by Annie, a feral cat who has decided she likes to be warm, dry, and fed, although not held or petted.

About Much Ado About Marshals
Daisy wants to be a detective just like dime novel heroine Honey Beaulieu. But her parents insist she marry. What better solution than to marry the new marshal!

Cole, mistaken for the new marshal, faces a dilemma few men have to face--tell the truth and get hanged, or live a lie and end up married. Either way could cost him his freedom.

A lucky commenter will win a free copy of Much Ado About Marshals. Yay!

Editor's Note: So how exactly does one interview oneself?  Easy! My husband was pressed into duty, so he is "RTW" today.

RTW: Tell us a little about the setting for Much Ado About Marshals and why you made me drive to hell and gone to look at a stone building.

JR: I grew up on Owyhee County where this story takes place, although we lived quite a ways north of there in a farming community. Why Oreana? Because I always loved the sound of the name--it just sounds so lyrical. Oreana isn't exactly a major metropolitan area, but there is a beautiful stone church, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church. When I found out that church started as a general store, Gardner's Mercantile was born.

I orignally thought to set another story there, but when Cole Richards needed a place to recover from his wound after saving Bosco from robbing a bank, I thought of Oreana. Those who live in Owyhee County will know that I moved towns around a bit to suit my story, but hey, it's fiction. You can do that. :)

RTW: The heroine, Daisy Gardner, is obsessed with Honey Beaulieu, Lady Detective novels. How did Honey Beaulieu come into being? Why is this important to Daisy?

JR: My original notion of this story took on the tempo of the soundtrack for Cat Ballou and I could hear Nat 'King' Cole and Stubby Kaye singing as I wrote the opening scene. When I needed a lady detective, my critique partner, Judith Laik, came up with Honey, I supplied Ballou, and then she changed the spelling to Beaulieu, which I rather liked. So thank you, Judy!

Daisy is enamored with the whole idea of Honey Beaulieu because she's a take-charge woman who takes no crap from anyone and thrives in a man's world. For a small town girl like Daisy, who's expected to marry, make a home, and raise a passle of children, Honey Bealieu's adventures would seem glamorous, indeed. But even more than that, Daisy has an incurable curiosity about things and she really does want to be a detective.

RTW: What common misconception about the Old West most irritates you?

JR: About women. Writers nearly always portray western women as clones of eastern women, and firmly ensconsed in the Victorian way of doing things. Yes, some of the attitudes did prevail, but western women did what needed to be done whether it was "proper" or not. They had to in order to survive. They were tough ladies, and I'm in awe, actually. We could take a lesson or two today.

Also, marriage was desirable but not necessary. Had to be that way--there were very few preachers or judges around to do the marrying. If convenient for others in the community, a couple might have a wedding party, but not a legal marriage if there was no one available to marry them. As a result, a couple might have lived together several years and have two or three children before they ever actually tied the knot. No one thought a thing about it.

RTW: But yet Daisy's motivation for marrying the marshal was to avoid her parents forcing her into a match with a local farmer.

Rogers's g-g-grandmother
holding her g-grandson

JR: Yes, that's true. Women were expected to marry--but then they're expected to marry today as well. A friend of mine didn't marry until her mid-30s and her parents were highly relieved when she finally chose a husband.

Part of this is just because we all want true love, security, and to grow old with a spouse we adore and who loves us back just as much. It's the ulitmate happiness for many of us, and it's easy to see why parents would want this for their children.

To the left is a photo of my great-great-grandmother, Martha Gooding Walker, who is proudly holding her great-grandson.  She didn't marry until she was in her late 20s, and then to a a three-time widower (my g-g-grrandfather) who was in his 50s.  Because she waited so long to marry, talk of her inability to catch a man followed her most of her life.  Luckily, she outlived all her naysayers.

RTW: You'd better tell your readers about the strapping lad on the cover.

Kyle Walker as
Cole Richards
 JR: That's Kyle Walker, my nephew.  Handsome, ain't he?  And he'll be on the cover of Much Ado About Madams, too.  My niece, his cousin, will model as well.  But back to the marshal book and Kyle.  He's not a cowboy, actually, although his mom takes care of horses and he's very good with them.  You know he's a good guy because all animals love him.  He's a welder at his day job, and an excellent one, too.  Oh, and others on the jobsite are recognizing him now. :)

RTW: Please set up your excerpt.

JR: Cole has been shot in the leg while preventing Bosco from robbing a bank, and passed out from blood loss. Bosco took Cole to Oreana for medical treatment. Cole wakes up knowing he and Bosco are wanted for bank robbery.


Oreana, Idaho

"Yes, he's definitely the one." Her sweet tone belied her accusation. Most robbery victims wouldn't be so cheerful. Was he in jail? The aroma of sagebrush and alkali had been replaced by tincture of iodine, so he could be in the doctor's office.

"Fits the description exactly."

Cole's hopes sank at the lady's certainty. While he'd never had a doubt he and Bosco would be caught, he'd hoped to make it back to the ranch to set things right. And the lady didn't have to sound so damned happy about it.

"You're sure about that?" a man's voice asked.

"Well, Doc, he's tall, so he matches the six-foot-two height, he has dark brown hair, brown eyes, and he's wounded on the right leg just like the wire said."

Cole hoped that at least Bosco had made it to the ranch. He was goodhearted, a loyal friend, but not all that quick on the draw.

"Yes," the lady continued, "he's our new marshal, all right."

New marshal? Hell, he was wanted for bank robbery! This didn't seem exactly the right time to mention it, though.

"Good," the man named Doc responded, "then I'll bill the city for his care. The wife will be happy to hear I finally have a cash customer."

"You don't have a wife."

The doctor chuckled. "No, Miss Daisy, but I'd sure like you to change that."
"Not a chance," she teased.

They both laughed, but Cole knew how the doctor really felt. Some men were born to be alone.

A cool cloth smelling of borax mopped his forehead. He forced his eyes to open. He blinked a couple of times and focused on a beautiful woman, her brow wrinkled with concern.
"Come here, Doc," she said with quiet enthusiasm. "He's awake."

Cole heard water pouring as he stared at the lady who belonged to the sunny voice. Her green-eyed gaze bathed him with compassion and reminded him of sunset on Sinker Creek, where the rays glanced off the rapids, and the rippling of the water made a man's heart feel pure.

He wondered what she'd look like if he loosened her auburn hair that was pulled tightly into a bun. She was a beauty, all right.

A slight man dressed appropriately for a doctor, or an undertaker, rubbed his brown handlebar mustache while he mulled over Cole's condition. "His color's much better, Daisy, don't you think?"

"I'll go tell Dad that he won't have to rush over here for the marshal's last prayers." She pulled on her gloves and tossed a cloak over her shoulders.

Damn, a preacher's daughter. What a waste of womanly flesh.

"Look for him at your Aunt Grace's house," the doctor advised. "When I picked up the wire telling us the new marshal was riding in, Rayburn told me that your sister had just come home. Seems like some yahoos tried to hold up her bank--put quite a scare into her, too."

Daisy clapped her gloved hands to her cheeks. "Oh, no! Is Iris all right?"

"She's fine," replied the doctor, "but I hear one of the would-be robbers is somewhat worse for the wear. She claims she shot one."

"Oh, my!" Daisy picked up her parasol and reticule. "I'll get over there right away. She may need me!"

Cole's throat tightened as Daisy hurried to the door. She'd put two and two together as soon as she talked to her sister.

"God works in wonderful ways," she exclaimed triumphantly as she unlatched the door. "It's a miracle that our new marshal showed up when he did." She swept out of the room like a queen.

Stay calm and think. So Daisy's sister was the woman who'd shot him. What lousy luck. He had to get the hell out of here.

Especially since Miss Daisy thought he was the town's new marshal.

He didn't even know what town.

# # #

Yes, There's a Contest!

Comment on one of Jacquie's posts this week and you'll be entered in a drawing for Much Ado About Marshals (Smashwords coupon).  The lucky winner will be drawn August 20, 2011, at 10pm Pacific Time.  Please include your email address with your comment, or we'll have to draw another name.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chicken Dinner: RTW Fun Links & Announcements

Chicken Dinner: August 14, 2011

Lots going on with my author friends and I this time of year!  Much Ado About Marshals will be in print soon, and meantime, the reviews are rolling in.  "
For this week's links, let's take a look at two of the premier western actors.

The first is about Audie Murphy and was submitted by Chuck Tyrell on Twitter (@ChuckTyrell). We were talking about Jack Elam and Chuck found this article where Elam talks about Murphy and poker:
Read more about Audie Leon Murphy at wikepedia.
And here's the official Audie Murphy Memorial Website.

So back to Jack Elam

It turns out Jack Elam has quite a few fans over on Twitter, so I looked up a few articles about him.
Would you believe Elam was an accountant?!! by Ron Miller of
Elam's biography at
Here's Elam's bio on Wikipedia.
And here's his filmography on IMDB.

Yes, We Have A Winner!

Congratulations to

Cheryl Pierson
winner of  Debra Holland's

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Debra Holland: Experiencing the West Through Museums

Experiencing the West Through Museums
by Debra Holland
Copyright © 2011 Debra Holland

Whether you write Westerns or you just want to get a more realistic feel for the American West, museums offer opportunities to expand your knowledge. Museums provide lectures, seminars, discussions, hands-on workshops, music and festivals, performing arts, family activities, and historical archives. In museums, you can find artifacts that you previously might have only seen in pictures, television, or movies. Or, perhaps you’ve never seen a certain object, but have read about it in a book. A museum is a place where history can come alive for you.

Many times history museums are in our own backyard. Either we don’t know about them, or we do, but have never been there, or we went once in grade school and never again. Yet museums can be a rich source of information, stirring your imagination while at the same time offering an interesting learning experience.

I remember visiting the Museum of Westward Expansion in St. Louis when I attended the Romantic Times Convention in that city. The only reason I toured the museum was because it was at the foot of the famous Gateway Arch. While I waited for my tour of the Arch, I wandered around viewing the exhibits. I was struck by how both the Native American tipi and the Conestoga wagon looked much smaller in reality than on television.

I peeked into the tipi and realized that a family would have very little room to live. Absolutely no privacy, especially in the winter. As for the wagon, I couldn’t even imagine how a family could store their worldly possessions, plus the necessary provisions, as well as any family members not old enough (or healthy enough) to walk. For a family to entrust their lives to such a wagon was a risk beyond any I’d want to take. But it gave me a vast appreciation for the courage and tenacity of the settlers who did so. And, if I were to write about living in a tipi or traveling on a wagon, I now would have more of a feel for those experiences.

While writing my first book, Wild Montana Sky, I contacted the Gene Autry Museum in Los Angeles, (now called The Autry National Center because it merged with the Southwest Museum of the American Indian and the Women of the West Museum) for permission to do research in their archives. The only reason I knew the Gene Autry museum existed was because I’d read an article about it in the newspaper.

I had a chance to tour the exhibits, paying special attention to a dress from the 1890s. I took careful notes, and wrote down the descriptions. My heroine in Wild Montana Sky wears that dress in her book.

In the archive room, the archivist had set out books and journals pertaining to the topics I was interested in--clothing, food, every day life in 1893 Montana. I perused the books, finding pages that interested me. The archivist made copies of information I wanted to take home with me. (I paid for the copies.) The Gene Autry museum provided an invaluable research experience.

Most museums have an extensive online presence, and you can find pictures and information without leaving your house. Many also have curators and archivists you can call or email with questions. A quick call or email might save you hours of research.

Explore museums in your local area. You might find a previously unknown (to you) museum where you can do some research. Or, you may discover one near a place you plan to go on vacation. You can add a research visit to your vacation plans.

Here’s a partial list of museums you might want to check out.
American History Museum (Oklahoma)
Booth Western Art Museum (Georgia)
Buffalo Bill Historical Center (Wyoming)
C.M. Russell Museum (Montana)
Colorado History Museum
Denver Art Museum
Eiteljorg Museum of the American Indian and Western Art (Indiana)
Gilcrease Museum (Oklahoma)
Joslyn Art Museum (Nebraska)
Missouri History Museum
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (Oklahoma)
National Museum of the American Indian (New York)
National Museum of Wildlife Art (Wyoming)
Rockwell Museum of Western Art (New York)
Seaver Center for Western History Research (California)
Stark Museum of Art (Texas)

Debra Holland, Ph.D is a psychotherapist and a three time RWA Golden Heart® finalist and one time winner. Wild Montana Sky, a sweet historical Western, won the GH in 2001 but didn’t sell (despite the efforts of two agents) because it was sweet, not sexy. In April, Debra took matters into her own hands and self-published Wild Montana Sky and the next book series, Starry Montana Sky.

One lucky commenter will win a free ebook of
Wild Montana Sky!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Debra Holland: Wild Montana Sky

Wild Montana Sky
by Debra Holland
Buy links: Amazon * Smashwords * Barnes & Noble

Debra Holland, Ph.D is a psychotherapist and a three time RWA Golden Heart® finalist and one time winner. Wild Montana Sky, a sweet historical Western, won the GH in 2001 but didn’t sell (despite the efforts of two agents) because it was sweet, not sexy. In April, Debra took matters into her own hands and self-published Wild Montana Sky and the next book series, Starry Montana Sky.

About Wild Montana Sky:
A displaced Boston socialite travels to her friend's ranch in Montana. There she must adjust to the "wilds" of Montana and chose between the wealthy banker and the cowboy with only his heart to offer.

A lucky commenter can win a free ebook of Wild Montana Sky.  Yay!

RTW: What aspect of life in the Old West intrigues you the most? Did you work that into Wild Montana Sky?

DH: I’m intrigued by how life was completely different than it is now. How hard people had to work just to survive. The determination of the men and women to carve a new life for themselves and their families. How a woman could have more freedom in the West then she could in Eastern (or European) society.

I'm showing aspects of these concepts in the different books in the series.

RTW: If you lived in 1893, what modern convenience would you miss the most?

DH: My cell phone. Not only for making phone calls, but texting, checking my book sales, and reading emails. :)

RTW: What common errors in western historical romances bug you? Please enlighten us. :)

DH: It's not that it's an error, but I'm often bothered about the sex in historicals. Not that I'm against sex in romances, but for most women in history, sex was something that happened when they married. Ruined reputations and the very real possibility of having a child out of wedlock meant that they (and those around them) prized their virginity. Therefore, historical romance authors often have to really justify premarital sex, and sometimes they don't do a good job of it. In fact some of my favorite authors use the “I want to explore my sexuality” justification. The truth is for most unmarried women, as much as they enjoy sex, they have it because they care about the guy and want a relationship. This would be especially true for historical women, who (in many cultures) didn’t have the sexual freedom women do now.

RTW: Why is your hero, Nick Sanders drawn to your heroine, Elizabeth Hamilton? How did you form these characters?

DH: I was briefly dating a young cowboy, and we had nothing in common. (But he was cute and fun!) I thought, "If he and I lived 100 years ago in the West, who we are just might work." From there came my story. My hero, Nick, is physically based on my cowboy. Elizabeth is a little like me.

This is first scene in Wild Montana Sky:

Laurence married!

Elizabeth Hamilton leaned against the blue and gold papered wall of the entry hall and stared in shock at the telegram from her brother. Her vision blurred into dark whirls. She tried to breathe deeply lest she faint into a heap on the tiled floor, but with her lungs constricted by more than the tight lacings of her corset; she could only gasp for air.

Katie, the parlor maid, rushed forward, putting a steadying hand under Elizabeth’s elbow.

“Are you all right, Miss Hamilton?”

Elizabeth glanced at the anxious face of the maid and tried to pull herself together enough to dredge normal words from the maelstrom of her feelings. “I’m fine. Just a little faint.” She strove for a semblance of calm. “I need to sit down.”

Leaning on Katie, Elizabeth crossed the hall into the parlor. She sank into her favorite blue velvet wing chair, slumped against the cushions and closed her eyes.

“Should I bring your smelling salts, Miss Hamilton?”

Opening her eyes, Elizabeth shook her head. “I don’t have smelling salts. I’ve never needed them.”

“I could borrow Cook’s?”

“No, thank you.” Elizabeth tried to smile. “I’ll be fine.”

Katie’s indecision flickered in her brown eyes. She twisted her hands in her white ruffled apron. “I know it’s not my place to ask, Miss Hamilton, but is it bad news about Mr. Hamilton? Should I send for anyone?”

“Actually, it’s good news. I was just taken by surprise.” Elizabeth was too shaken to care if she broke protocol by not first sharing the news with the housekeeper.
“My brother has married.”

Katie drew in a hissing breath through her teeth. “Mr. Hamilton married?” The puzzled look on the maid’s face reflected Elizabeth’s own confused feelings. She looked again at the telegram in her hand.


“We’ll have a new mistress.” The girl covered her mouth, then dropped her hand. “Everything’s going to change,” she whispered.

Yes, everything.

Elizabeth tried to give her a reassuring smile. “We have a well-run household, Katie. I’m sure the new Mrs. Hamilton will make very few changes.” She waved her hand at the door. “I’m feeling better, thank you. You may go.”

The lump of pain lodged in Elizabeth’s throat belied her casual words to the maid. She’d no idea her brother had been courting anyone. Now suddenly he was married! And without inviting his own sister to the wedding. Hurt and betrayal burned through her chest. She stood up, balled her hands into fists, crushing the telegram, then threw it into the fireplace.

Unable to sit still, Elizabeth paced the room, trailing her fingers across the blue and silver striped wallpaper. When she had redecorated the parlor, she’d resisted the current fashion for darker shades of red. Instead, she’d spent many hours searching for soothing blues, which were a more personal statement of her tastes.

She had deluded herself into thinking this day would never come--that her brother would never marry, and she’d always serve as the mistress of his house and hostess for his business affairs. Yet at times she’d sensed the emptiness in his heart, hidden beneath a stiff exterior and busy business and social life, and wished he could find a congenial life companion.

She glanced up at the portrait of Laurence and herself painted twelve years ago, at the start of her first season. Callers always admired the picture of the tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed siblings. A much younger Elizabeth, dressed in the white silk and lace gown she’d worn to her debutante ball, sat in front of her brother. Laurence, in formal evening clothes, stood behind Elizabeth with his hand protectively on her shoulder.

Hope threaded through her hurt. Perhaps in Laurence’s bride she’d find a true sister--filling the empty place in her heart caused by her best friend’s marriage and move to Montana. Even though they’d been separated for ten years, she missed Pamela so much. How wonderful to have a close confidant once again--someone to help banish the loneliness trailing after her like a phantom.

A vision of her personal ghost slipped into Elizabeth’s mind. Tall and handsome, with laughing brown eyes and a playful grin--Richard, her beloved fiancĂ©.... The fingers of her right hand crept up to her chest--a familiar gesture--to clasp the gold locket containing his picture. If Richard had lived, he’d be teasing her now with outrageous descriptions of Laurence’s wife. In her laughter, she’d forget her pain. Of course, if he’d lived, this wouldn’t be an issue.

Somehow, after his death, eleven years had slipped by. Although she’d had offers, no one had measured up to Richard, and she’d refused to marry any man she didn’t love. Besides, her brother had always said he needed her.

Tears welled in her eyes. “I hope, Laurence--” she told the portrait “--you’ve found the kind of love Richard and I had.”

RTW: Thanks for the excerpt! What are you writing now? What's your next release? When?

DH: I'm writing the third book in the series, Stormy Montana Sky. I hope to have it out in the fall.

I also have the first two books of a paranormal series coming out in a few weeks.

RTW: Anything else you'd like to add?

DH: I’ve had fun becoming a self-published author. In ten weeks, I've sold over 5000 books! It's been a wonderful journey!

One lucky commenter will win a free ebook of
Wild Montana Sky!!!

Winner will be drawn on August 13 at 10pm Pacific Time.  Please remember to include your email address in your comment.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

RTW Saturday Announcements

Winner!!!  Actually two winners.  Both have won an e-copy of Cheryl Pierson's Time Plains Drifter.  Congratulations to:

Cheryl will send your books to you on Sunday.

Interesting Links I've Run Across

Old West Photographs and other good stuff
Check out Bad Hombres!  They're currently overhauling the site, which has been up since 2000, but this site contains a lot of interesting information.  They need volunteers, too, and there's a call out for writers and artists.  I really don't know a thing about this site other than it looked interesting, and I plan to check it out myself.

Gunmen I've known
Mr. Fred Sutton writes about Bill Tilghman, Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, and others at The Old West History Net.  At the bottom of the page the site owner writes, "Note ... Some have stated Mr. Fred Sutton is a creditable source. Be careful..."  So be careful.

Pistol Packin' Parables
And this page is a listing of several of the Old West articles I've written in the last few years: Jacquie's Research of the Old West.

Coming up!

On Monday, RTW is pleased that Debra Holland will be here with an interview and excerpt, and on Thursday she'll talk about the coolness of museums.  I absolutely love museums.  Really!  We generally plan our vacations around whatever museums are in the area we're visiting.

Did I mention she's giving away one book?  All you have to do is leave a comment on either of her posts, so you have all week to enter, and she'll draw one lucky commenter on Saturday.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Western Fictioneers: The Traditional West

The Traditional West: A Western Fictioneers Anthology
by 24 Western Authors including Cheryl Pierson
Publisher: Western Fictioneeers

Buy links:
Amazon * B&N * (Available in print soon!)

We heard about Cheryl's Time Plains Drifter from her post on Monday.  To win a pdf copy of this book, please leave a comment on any of her posts this week. 

And now, let's hear from Cheryl!
In the category of “dreams come true,” here is my latest one. I became a member of the Western Fictioneers group about a year ago with the help of one of my friends, Kit Prate. Kit’s a fantastic western writer who’s been doing this a lot longer than I have, with many more “notches in her belt”--figuratively speaking--in the writing world. She put my name before the group and I was accepted—a greenhorn in the truest sense of the word.

I’m still totally in awe. Robert Randisi, Jory Sherman, Peter Brandvold, Kit Prate, Kerry Newcomb, James Reasoner, Livia Washburn Reasoner... the list goes on--these are the members of the Western Fictioneers.
Cheryl Pierson

A few months after I joined up, they decided to put together their first anthology. Livia and James Reasoner worked tirelessly on it: collecting the stories from those of us who wanted to submit, editing, formatting, writing the introduction to the book, and even deciding the order of the stories. One of the other contributors, Pete Peterson, provided the gorgeous artwork for the cover of the book.

This book is not, by any means, a romance offering. But there are stories from 24 different authors with many different “takes” on the west. It’s the largest anthology of original western short stories ever put together, and though every one of them might not be to your liking, you’re sure to find some different authors you might want to try out for further reading pleasure from this fantastic collection.

My story is called The Kindness of Strangers. It has a lot of paranormal twist to it, but it’s one of my favorite projects I’ve ever worked on.

I’ll leave you with a blurb and an excerpt.

Jericho Dean is on a one-man mission: to track down the outlaw gang that murdered his wife and daughters. When Freeman Hart joins forces with him, Jericho isn’t sure which side this peculiar stranger is on. Determined to gain his revenge no matter the cost, Jericho finds redemption in a most unlikely circumstance. Will he take that fork in the road, or will his thirst for revenge end his chance for a new start?

Excerpt from The Kindness of Strangers by Cheryl Pierson, a short story in The Traditional West

Jericho gave Dan one final pat. “Ain’t many men lost as much as I did on that day, Freeman. My wife, my daughters, and my desire to exist in this world without them.” He pointed at the growing pile of wood. “No fire.”

Hart gave a sage nod. “I see. You’re expecting to be reunited once you complete your mission—kill the Comancheros. Once you die, you think you and Elena will be together again, along with Maria and Ana.”

Jericho stood completely still. How did this stranger know the names of his family?

How did he know Jericho’s own heart and purpose so clearly?

Hart dropped the last two pieces of wood on top of the pile, then dusted his hands. “We need to have a talk, Jericho. A good long visit about things. I don’t aim to do it in the cold. And make no mistake, this night’ll be an icy one—way too cold to spend without a fire. Trust me, boy. They ain’t gonna know—or care—if you spend it warm or freezin’. Got a match on you?”

Jericho sized up the other man once more, a shiver running up his spine. No, things were not what they seemed, but whether for good or evil, he didn’t know. He cursed his luck, either way. He didn’t want to be burdened with whatever it was this Freeman Hart brought to the table. He hadn’t asked for it, either way. He remembered that he had deliberately not prayed, carefully refrained from asking God for any favors, so he wouldn’t have to be in His debt. Well, he still didn’t plan on owing Him anything, no matter how this all worked out.

He finally forced his legs to move, walking stiffly to his saddlebags. He put the brush away, and drew out the box of matches wrapped in oilskin.

Hart caught them when Jericho tossed them over, opened the box and struck one of them on the bottom of his boot. The match head flared in the gathering semi-darkness and Hart hunkered down, cupping his hand around the flame as it caught the base kindling of the pyre and the wood above it began to burn.

Jericho stood watching as the fire flared to life, remembering how he’d burned the cabin. After he’d buried Elena, Maria and little Ana, he’d poured kerosene throughout their home. The smell of it had made his stomach twist and roll over. He’d poured it over the cabinetry he’d built so lovingly for Elena, remembering how proud she’d been to have a pantry in her kitchen. He’d poured it across the bed where they’d made love. Made children. Made a family together.

He’d opened up the old trunk that had been Elena’s, full of her keepsake treasures. He had taken only one thing from the chest before he’d saturated the rest of the contents with the kerosene remaining in the can. He’d stood at the door and tossed in the match, watching as the trail of fire raced across the dirt floor of the cabin and began to eat the furniture, the woodwork, and finally the walls.

Then, he had turned his back on the entire dream he’d created and then destroyed, riding away from it as it burned. It maybe burning still, he mused. That entire northern part of Indian Territory could be nothing but acres of smoldering blackness destroyed by his hand. Right now, if he could, he’d set the entire world ablaze.
Yes. A fire would be good to have tonight.

“Say, Jericho. You hungry? Me, I’m so hungry my stomach thinks my throat’s been cut. I’ve got some tins of beans and peaches we can open up.” Hart rose and crossed to where his saddlebags lay, rummaging for the tins of food. He pulled them out and came back toward Jericho, who stood rooted to the spot where he’d gone moments earlier to get the matches.

Hart nodded toward the fire. “C’mon. Let’s get some grub. Talk a spell. I can see you’ve got some questions.”

“Who are you?” Jericho’s voice was hoarse.

Hart laughed. “I knew that’d be the first one.”

* * * * *

Visit Cheryl's Amazon Author Page

Don't forget to leave a comment!  You'll be eligible to win a pdf copy of Cheryl's Time Plains Drifter!