Monday, September 19, 2011

Barbara Scott: West of Heaven

Featured title: West of Heaven
by Barbara Scott
Buy links: Amazon * Desert Breeze Publishing * Also available at Amazon for Kindle, Barnes & Noble for the Nook, Sony, Kobo and Apple's iBookstore

RTW: Welcome to RTW, Barbara! Tell us about your book.

In my cattle trail historical, West of Heaven, Marcella McGovern unexpectedly inherits the cattle of her ranch owner father and the bawdy house of her mother. To get the cattle to market, she is forced to recruit the women who formerly worked at the bawdy house and hire disgraced trail boss and murder suspect Jean Luc Desloge.

To find out how you can win a goody bag containing 2 books and other surprises, see entry details at the end of this blog.

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

BS: I have always been fascinated by the role of women in the Old West. Their stereotyped image in Western movies has often been limited to prostitute/saloon gal or steadfast wife and mother with an occasional female outlaw thrown in for good measure. Sinner or saint were the only choices assigned to them.

I wondered how the hard work of a cattle trail would be managed by women and decided to cast my sinner and saint characters into the crew on a trailherding expedition. West of Heaven is the result.

RTW: If you lived in 1871, what modern convenience would you miss the most?

BS: The modern convenience I would definitely miss most would be the one designated by that very term, the convenience, the indoor toilet. Although I know they existed in some up-to-date homes at that time, they were not common. The thought of going to the outhouse on a bleak, rainy night keeps me from dreaming about adventuring in the past in any other way than with my keyboard.

RTW: Are there any common errors in western historical romances that bug you? If so, please set us straight.

BS: An error I almost committed was to send my herd into the deep, turbulent waters of the Brazos River crossing at Waco on their way north. I did not discover my mistake until research I did for the final edit that the Waco Suspension Bridge for cattle and other traffic was opened January 1, 1870. You can read about the bridge in my August 28th blog at Seduced by History.

RTW: Why is Jean Luc Desloge perfect for Maureen?

BS: Jean Luc, who is known as Lucky, and Maureen are perfect for each other. She needs a man who reminds her that a chosen family can be as close and supportive as the one you are born into. Lucky needs a woman who reminds him that redemption is possible no matter the mistakes of your past.

RTW: Intriguing! Please lead us into your excerpt.

BS: Hans Weiss wants to become cook for Marcella's crew to practice his recipes for the restaurant he plans to open in Kansas when he gets there. Beans, biscuits and the occasional stew are not enough for Hans.

Here's an excerpt from West of Heaven describing Hans's preferred bill of fare:

Copyright © 2011 Barbara Scott

Last night after hearing Jean Luc's reasoning and instructions for slowing the herd, Marcella had recruited Nell and the two of them went out to collect cow chips. Hans stored them in the possum belly, a basket that hung under the wagon, to use for fuel on the treeless prairie. But this chore did not keep her away from camp long enough. She returned in time to hear the question that had already become a habit with Jean Luc, "Hans, what's for supper? -- or dinner? -- or breakfast?" depending on the time of day.

To which Hans would reply Shinken mit rotkohl " -- or "Linsensuppe" -- or "Biernebrod."

And Jean Luc would throw his head back and walk off laughing.

Yet, when meal times rolled around, she noticed he ate the ham with red cabbage, the lentil soup, or the dried apple bread with gusto, all compliments to the chef, just like the rest of them...

Later after the successful slowing of the herd:

Too soon, it seemed, the signal was passed to break for the night. The herd was put to pasture and first watch began. The rest of the crew gathered to wash up and wait for supper.
When most were assembled, Jean Luc sauntered up. He rocked back on his heels and stroked his stubbly chin. Jake mirrored his actions in almost comical style, though no one dared laugh.

"Hans, what's for supper?"

"Geffulte." Hans replied.

Instead of his customary laugh, Jean Luc nodded his head. "Ahh, large noodles filled with meat, onions and parsley then boiled in beef broth. Very good."

Then it was Jake's turn. "Herr Weiss, what's for dessert?"

"Pfefferkuchen mit honig."

"Ahh, gingerbread cake with honey. Very, very good."

This time no one could suppress their good-natured laughter. Not even Marcella.

After a moment, Jean Luc gestured them to silence. "Hans has made us a gingerbread cake to celebrate.Congratulations, wranglers, you have successfully guided the herd past the first milestone. You are no longer tenderfoots."

RTW: Thanks for the excerpt, Barbara! What are you cooking up for us next?

BS: I have a contemporary romantic comedy Talk of the Town coming out October 1st. I'm working on a book set in very early colonial Virginia. The story has a touch of magical realism.

RTW: Sounds great. Anything else you’d like to add?

BS: West of Heaven was my first historical Western romance. It earned the following quote from Romancing the Book: "Barbara Scott blends the perfect amount of suspense, romance, history, and humor into a wonderfully engaging novel. I definitely recommend this novel with 4 stars (Lovely Rose!) and two thumbs up! "

As your readers appreciate, the historical West is an era rich in character and story. I hope my muse leads me back there again soon. Thank you for the space today. I will be back Thursday with more about the history of the cattle trail.

Thank you, Barbara!

Win a Prize Package of Great Stuff!
All you have to do to enter to win a goody bag containing TWO books and other surprises, is leave a comment on one of Barbara's posts this week.  One lucky winner gets it all!  Be sure to leave your email address or we'll have to draw another winner.


  1. Thanks for inviting me to share with your blog readers.

  2. My favorite genre is historical fiction. Romancing The West ingeniously combines a balance of humor, romance and historical fiction to, not only feed my insatitiable desire for historical information, but also adds a little spice to what could be very tedious, dry reading. Very well done! The imagery, character development, choosing to tell the tale of real American women in the American West - absolutely totally, engaged, entertained and educated me from beginning to end. Thank you for telling the story of the American West in a totally unique way. Yay for women in history!

  3. Sorry, forgot my contact info -

  4. I like the sound of this book because the combination of prostitutes and cattle drive is really novel. I've put this book on my tbr pile.

    melorabrock {at} gmail {dot} com

  5. Barbara, I also am intrigued by the situation and characters in WEST OF HEAVEN. Best of luck with this book and your others!

  6. I like Hans for his recipes. Mmmm! better than brains, kidney and liver - although I bet he used them just as much. ;-D


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