Sunday, September 30, 2012

NYT Bestselling Author Margaret Brownley: Waiting for Morning #historicalromance

Waiting for Morning
(Brides of Last Chance Ranch)
by Margaret Brownley
N.Y. Times Bestselling Author

Romancing The West is always thrilled to host Margaret Brownley, a talented author who knows how to pull your heartstrings and tickle your funny bone. Welcome, Margaret! Please start off by telling us about the soon to be released Waiting for Morning.

Margaret: If Molly's purple attire doesn’t blind you, her dazzling smile will. She doesn’t just sing to the cattle, she puts on a whole show. If only she wasn’t so stubborn about her brother’s care. Or so distrustful of a certain handsome doctor...

There is nothing Molly Hatfield wouldn’t do for her teenaged brother, Donny. Blaming herself for the accident that left him wheel-chair bound, Molly has dedicated her life to his care.

But Molly didn’t bank on meeting Dr. Caleb Fairbanks, the town’s handsome and charismatic young doctor. Now nothing will ever be the same.

Margaret is giving away a copy of 
Dawn Comes Early
See below

RTW: We want to know all about the second book in your Brides of Last Chance Ranch series.

Margaret: First, thank you for letting me visit today.

Waiting for Morning will be published in December (BTW: each book in the series stands alone) and can be preordered now.

It’s the story of former dance hall girl Molly Hatfield who answers the Last Chance owner’s advertisement for an heiress. Some readers might recognize the hero, Dr. Caleb Fairbanks. He was Lucy’s teen brother in A Vision of Lucy. It’s now fifteen years later and he has fulfilled his dream of becoming a doctor. A reader suggested that Caleb have his own book. It’s so much fun when readers get involved.

RTW: Do you have some sort of overall theme that work you into all your books? And how is that theme shown in Waiting for Morning?

Margaret: The overall theme is probably forgiveness. Molly blames herself for the accident that put her brother in a wheelchair.

RTW: What was your favorite scene to write in the book?

Margaret Brownley,
NYT Bestselling Author
Margaret: It was probably the scene where Caleb and Molly first meet. They’re both on the road to the ranch. He’s driving a horseless buggy that keeps backfiring. Having heard about outlaws in the area Molly thinks he’s shooting at her; naturally she reaches for her shotgun and fires back. It’s a wonder they didn’t kill each other.

RTW: Tell us a little about the Last Chance Ranch

Margaret: For many people the ranch really is the last chance. It’s owned by Eleanor Walker, one of the most successful ranch owners in Arizona Territory. She’s a tough, feisty lady—and some might even say eccentric. Having no family of her own, she’s seeking an heiress just in case—heaven forbid—something should happen to her.

RTW: Sounds like a lot of fun. Please give us some back story on Molly Hatfield and tell us how she came to take this particular story journey. How does Dr. Caleb Fairbanks upset her applecart?

Margaret: In a word, Molly is desperate. Her hometown in ashes, she’s now needs a home for herself and her wheel-chair bound brother. She must convince the ranch owner that she’s capable of learning the ranching business even while taking care of her brother.

Molly and Caleb clash over her brother’s care even as they battle their feelings for one another. Caleb doesn’t just upset the applecart, he upsets her whole world.

RTW: Who was your favorite character to write?

Margaret: My favorite minor character to write was Aunt Bessie. She’s the town matchmaker and wedding planner and insists that the saloons close prior to all weddings so that guests remain sober. Her demands cause such an uproar that the marshal puts a one year moratorium on weddings.

RTW: I love animals in books because they can be so much fun. Please talk about the dog.

Margaret: I ran a “Your Dog in My Book” contest to benefit the Have a Heart Humane Society. The winner was an adorable Lhaso Apso named Magic. In Waiting for Morning, Magic is Caleb’s dog and I’m sure he’ll win your heart like he won mine. Lhaso Apsos didn’t arrive in America until the 1930s, so you wouldn’t have found one in the Old West. But with a name like Magic, anything is possible…

RTW: What are you working on now?

Margaret: I just completed the last book in the series. The next heroine is an undercover Pinkerton Detective.

I also just completed a novella for a collection titled A Bride for all Seasons with three of my favorite writers: Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher and Debra Clapton.

RTW: How can readers learn more about you and your books?

Margaret: Readers can reach me through my website. I’m also on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Thank you everyone!

Say howdy and you might win a copy of 
Be sure to tell me if you want a Kindle or hard copy.

Thanks for stopping by to visit with Margaret today! Be sure to check out her article: When a Lady Says “I Won’t!” on Thursday--you won't want to miss it.  Comments on that article will be included in the drawing as well, so you could get TWO chances to win!

Small print: Drawing will be held Oct. 6, 2012, at 9pm Pacific Time. You must leave your email address to be eligible to win (because otherwise we don't know where to send the book!). USA mailing only.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Conrad Kohrs: Montana's Great Cattle Baron by @MKMcClintockMT

MK McClintock, author
A Brief History of
Conrad Kohrs

Great Cattle Baron

by MK McClintock
author of Gallagher’s Pride

"The range cattle industry has seen its inception, zenith, and partial extinction all within a half-century. The changes of the past have been many; those of the future may be of more revolutionary character." – Conrad Kohrs

In a land of soaring mountain peaks, lush forests and abundant wildlife prevails a history rich in trappers, miners and nomads, each with their own remarkable story. The history of cattle ranching in Montana is not as old as others, but it was a beginning for what would become a long-lasting way of life for many people choosing to carve out a life in this rugged land. What was once home to millions of bison and the native peoples, became a land taken over by ranchers and farmers.

Conrad Kohrs
Between 1862 and 1864, gold was discovered in several places in southwest Montana. Prospectors came in droves and mining camps sprung up everywhere. Soon, there were thousands of miners to feed. Cattle ranches sprouted up all over western Montana to supply mining camps with meat. Most of the cattle were trailed from Oregon...Conrad Kohrs started as a butcher boy in a camp called Grasshopper Creek. When the rush to Alder Gulch began, he followed and established a beef market there. Kohrs eventually controlled and supplied the beef for nearly every gold camp. In 1866 he purchased the Grant ranch near Deer Lodge. He became the largest cattle owner in Montana and the entire Northwest.(2)

A native of Denmark, Conrad Kohrs emigrated at the age of 15 and eventually headed west in hopes of striking it rich like so many eager young men. With only some success in Canada and California, he joined the movement into western Montana and Grasshopper Creek where he realized the opportunities for wealth were greater by feeding the miners than competing with them. It was then he established a butcher shop and traveled around the territory searching for prime beef. He had several brushes with the highwaymen who plagued the isolated roads of Montana. Determined to stop these murderous bandits, Kohrs joined a group of Virginia City vigilantes, and helped track down and hang the outlaws. By 1864, robberies in the territory had plummeted.(3) Conrad was in need of land to house his growing cattle herd and purchased the Grant ranch near Deer Lodge, Montana in 1866 for $19,200 for the land, herds, buildings and equipment.(4)

The railroad into Montana, still a territory at this time, completed in the early 1880’s which made it possible to market the cattle and the roundups began, but not without serious challenges. Because of the challenges, Stockgrowers Associations were formed, the first in 1881. They discussed the Indians, predators, diseases, legislation and outlaws. The Indians were starving and often stole cattle; the white man had killed all their bison. Wolves were destructive predators, hunting in packs and killing cows, calves and many sheep and lambs.(2)

Conrad Kohrs, one of Montana's first cattle barons and greatest pioneers, passed away in Helena, Montana in 1920.

Quick Facts:
  • At age 15, he went to sea and over the next 17 years worked as a seaman, a butcher, a sausage salesman, ran log rafts down the Mississippi, and worked in a distillery.
  • Born in Holstein, he became a U.S. citizen in 1857.(5)
  • Sold by Kohrs grandson, The Grant-Kohrs Ranch was designated as a National Historic Landmark on December 19, 1960 to commemorate the Western cattle industry. The current park, created in 1972, is maintained as a working ranch by the National Park Service.(4)
  • The 1,500-acre park/ranch includes 90 structures, 26,000 artifacts and 100 shelved feet of business records kept since Kohrs acquired the ranch in 1866.(4)
  • Part of the original Grant-Kohrs Ranch, the land existing Rock Creek Cattle Company sits on was more specifically part of the Kohrs and Bielenberg Land and Livestock Company, which was sold in three large parcels after the dissolution of the Grant-Kohrs cattle empire.6
  • In 2008, Conrad Kohrs was deservedly inducted into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame.
  • Author Patricia Nell Warren is a descendant of Conrad Kohrs and lived on The Grant-Kohrs Ranch.

Conrad Kohrs in his living room
I can’t possibly do justice to the long history of cattle ranching in Montana or Conrad Kohrs extensive contributions to it, so I do hope that readers will take the time to learn more on their own.

Did you Know?
“Range Wars” between cattlemen and sheep growers didn’t happen in Montana. For a time, Montana cattlemen found it profitable to raise sheep. Then, when cattle became profitable again, they switched back to cattle. Montana ranges support a wide variety of grazing animals, both wild and domestic.(1) 


Our thanks to MK McClintock! 

Please comment to be one of the three lucky winners.
Yes, THREE will win copies of Gallagher's Hope!  

Drawing will be September 15 at 9pm Pacific Time.  
If you don't leave your email address, we can't contact you, so we'll have to draw another winner.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

MK McClintock: Gallagher's Hope

Gallagher's Hope
Gallagher Series, #2
by MK McClintock

McClintock is an entrepreneur, baker, photographer, tour host, reviewer and multi-genre author.

Over the years McClintock has traveled the country and abroad, experiencing the beauty of other lands and cultures. She dreams of a time when life was simpler, the land rougher, and the journey more rewarding. With her heart deeply rooted in the past and her mind always on adventure, McClintock will always call Montana home.

McClintock is a member of Romance Writers of America, Montana Romance Writers, and Women Writing the West.

About Gallagher's Hope

She sought a new beginning.
He sought what he didn't know was missing.
Together they would discover hope in unlikely places.

Isabelle Rousseau must escape New Orleans and the memory of her family's tragic loss. With her younger brother in tow, she accepts a position as the new schoolteacher in Briarwood, Montana. Desperate to keep what's left of her family together, Isabelle joins her life with a stranger only to discover that trust and hope go hand in hand.

Gabriel Gallagher lived each day as it came believing he had everything he could possibly want . . . until a determined woman and her brother arrive with a little luggage and a lot of secrets. It will take a drastic choice to protect her and give them both hope for the future.

RTW: What aspect of life in the Old West intrigues you the most? Did you work that into Gallagher’s Choice?

MKM: I like the simple idea of life in the old west. It was rougher and harder, but simpler and I believe, more rewarding because each and every accomplishment took so much effort. There is a bit of that in Gallagher’s Choice from the standpoint that life is much more difficult and the challenges harder to overcome, but the accomplishment and reward is so much more fulfilling. They don’t have computers, cars, and cell phones to ease their way—they’re tough, strong and they survive. I like that.

RTW: Is your life anything like the old west or do you only live it through your books?

MK McClintock, author
MKM: I live in Montana, so I probably have a better feel for it than many, but so much of it has changed and most of that ‘old west’ has been lost. I live not far from a dude ranch and once in a while you’ll see people in town wearing cowboy hats and riding horses down the road. I remember being on our small ranch in Colorado as a little girl, my sister and I would go out into the pasture and walk around on all fours with the horses or we’d play cowboys and Indians or bank robbers. It was a lot of fun—I’ve been hooked on the west ever since. These days I live it mostly through my writing and what I read.

RTW: Why must Gabriel take this story journey? What does he have to prove? Why is he the perfect match for Isabelle?

MKM: I’ll try not to throw out any spoilers...Gabriel actually appeared in the first book, Gallagher’s Pride, and so it’s not just him on this journey alone—it’s the family coming together for a common purpose. He does have his own story and in it, he must prove he’s not only strong enough to help the family find resolve, but also to quite literally save someone else’s family from their own worst fate. I matched him and Isabelle together because they have differing personalities and I enjoy opposites. She’s not someone he would have ever met had she not been facing her own set of circumstances and I appreciate when two people come together out of need or because of situations, not just because they’re attracted to one another.

RTW: How much actual history is in your book or is it purely all imagination?

MKM: Gallagher’s Choice has a bit more actual history than the first book did. Isabelle comes from New Orleans and not having been there I had to do some digging on what that city would have been like post-Civil War. There’s also a bit more of Montana history tied in, but only enough to lend the story credence. The rest is just me taking privilege with the west as I imagined it would have been (or hope it would have been).

RTW: Is every book in the series a stand-alone or do you need the next to understand the story?

MKM: You certainly can read as stand-alone, but I did write the books as a continual story so you don’t get to know the final outcome until the last book in the series is complete. There’s a main antagonist throughout the entire series, though he doesn’t play a prominent role in each book. Of course each story will have their own minor antagonists to complicate their lives and help to bring the individual stories to a head. I’ve left the first two books with cliffhangers at the end, but that is because the story is immediately picked up in the next book. The third book in the series will bring a resolution to all story lines, though it won’t be the last book of the series. Because of the cliffhangers, I’ll likely offer all three books in one volume at some point.

RTW: Can you give us a little preview without spoiling the end?

MKM: Sure, this small bit is in the prologue.

Rousseau Mansion, New Orleans—October 1883

Nothing existed of the life she had known.

Her slender arm wrapped around the little boy’s shoulder and pulled him closer to his side. She could feel his slight trembling and wished more than anything that she could take away his sadness. They were alone in the world. They had each other, and she prayed that would be enough for them both.

They stood and listened as the priest gave the final blessing, and two men lowered the caskets into the ground. The few other mourners who had been kind enough to attend the funeral asked her to leave with them, but she needed the closure. She needed her eyes to see what her heart refused to accept. ”An unfortunate affair,” everyone called the incident for it wasn’t every day that a man murdered his wife and then shot himself. Isabelle wished not to think on the possible reasons why, but she couldn’t seem to help herself. She never imagined her family to be anything but happy. Their father’s death, however, revealed the truth. No one spoke of it with them of course, but the lawyer had made the situation quite clear.

They were penniless.

RTW: What a hook! Where can we buy this book?

MKM: Gallagher's Hope is available at Amazon in Kindle and Print

RTW: Do you only write westerns?

MKM: Actually no, though more than anything else at this point and it will be focus until the series is complete. I have another series set in Victorian England that I’ll complete after the Gallaghers, more historical western romances and then a trilogy set in 18th c. Scotland, so I’ll be busy!

RTW: What’s next? Will you have a sequel to Gallagher’s Hope?

MKM: Yes, there’s more to come for the Gallagher’s. The third book, Gallagher’s Choice. I have two more books planned for the series after that, but with completely stand-alone story lines. Beyond that, I’ll just have to way to see what the Gallaghers have in store for us.

RTW: Anything else you’d like to add?

MKM: Guests to this blog may comment for a chance to win a copy of Gallagher’s Hope! Three eBooks and three winners!

It’s been fun and a big hello to all our readers! Thank you RTW!

Our thanks to MK McClintock! 
Please comment to be one of the three lucky winners.  
Drawing will be September 15 at 9pm Pacific Time.  
If you don't leave your email address, we can't contact you, so we'll have to draw another winner.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Robert J Randisi: Bullets and Lies #western

Bullets and Lies
by Robert J. Randisi

Berkley Books
Available September 4 at:
Amazon, B&N, BAM

Romancing The West welcomes one of the most prolific and talented authors of our day, Robert J. Randisi. He's the author of more than 540 books in the Western, Private Eye, Men's Adventure, and Horror genres. As J.R. Roberts he is the creator and author of the long running series "The Gunsmith." He also wrote a created the Tracker, Angel Eyes, Bounty Hunter, Mountain Jack Pike, Widowmaker, Gamblers, Sons of Daniel Shaye and Ryder series. 

Born in Brooklyn, New York he currently resides in Clarksville, Missouri--a town of 500 people overlooking the Mississippi River.  He's written more books than his town has people.  Think about it.
And now let's talk about his new book:

Overview of Bullets and Lies

A Mission for Dignity

When former Pinkerton Talbot Roper receives a job offer from an ailing Civil War veteran whose Medal of Honor is about to be revoked, he agrees to help his fellow serviceman. Some believe that Howard Westover's medal was undeserved, but Roper is determined to track down the men who served with him and get their signed affidavits to prove that his Medal of Honor was earned...

But Roper's journey is soon derailed when he discovers that two of his contacts are already dead--one hanged twenty years ago, one murdered minutes before his arrival. The men who served with Westover are being hunted down, and Roper's increasingly dangerous investigation earns him the next spot on the hit list. Aware that someone has been lying to him, Roper can stay one step ahead of the assassin. But the question remains: Will his quick wit be enough to save him from the line of fire and secure a dying man's legacy?

RTW: Why do you write Westerns? What aspect of life in the Old West intrigues you the most? Did you work that into Bullets and Lies?

RJR: I got started writing Westerns because I was asked, back in 1981, if I could. At the time I was thinking of myself as only a mystery writer, but the opportunities to break into the business were much more available if you wrote westerns in the 80's. So I said yes, and created The Gunsmith series, which has been appearing one a month since January 1982. After that I realized I enjoyed everything about writing westerns, including the research. So I have written as many as I could--about 400, to date.

RTW: And we're glad you did!  If you lived in 1884, what would you visit first? Is there something you’ve been curious about that you can’t find in your research sources?

RJR: If I lived in 1884 I'd have been a gambler, checking out all the gambling venues I could find, especially those in Portsmouth Square in San Francisco. And I certainly would have gone to the White Elephant in Fort Worth.

RTW: A gambler, eh?  I guess we gamble with every book we write, don't we?  If a person who had never read a Western (any sub-genre) asked you for a recommendation, what novel or movie would you recommend and why? What did the author do to bring the story alive for you?

RJR: I'd recommend movies that illustrate the realism of the west rather than the myth--something like Ride The High Country rather than Tombstone. Also Unforgiven, which shows the effect of killing for a living on a man. In print I always preferred reading series that showed the myth, like the Fargo series by John Benteen. But for realism I'd recommend something like Warlock by Oakley Hall.

RTW: Back to Bullets and Lies--why must Talbot Roper take this particular story journey? What does he have to prove?

RJR: The thing about Roper is that he has nothing to prove. He is a private detective in the changing West, the best, and he works for a living. That means that's what he does he does for money. Don't look for anything noble in why he starts a job, but as the job develops he may discover a dilemma that can only be solved through nobility.

Excerpt of Bullets and Lies
by Robert J. Randisi
Berkley Books, available September 4, 2012

After their pie—apple for White but cherry for Roper—White paid the bill and they walked outside. Roper was the first to hear the shot. He slammed his shoulder into White’s, taking him to the ground. From there he drew his gun and got himself to one knee. He heard someone running toward them and pointed his gun.

“Easy,” White said. “That’s my driver.”

“Are you all right, sir?”

“Yes, yes, I’m fine,” White said, “thanks to Mr. Roper.”

“Did you see where the shot came from, son?” Roper asked.

“No, sir,” the young man said, “I was down the street.”

Roper and White got to their feet.

“Come on,” White said, giving Roper a push, “let’s get to the carriage.”

Roper turned, saw that the bullet had missed the windows behind them and instead imbedded itself in the door of the restaurant. Inside diners had hit the floor, and were now warily getting to their feet.

“Come on!” White said. “Before somebody comes outside and starts asking questions.”

The three of them hurried down the street, Roper and the driver with their guns out, keeping White between them. It seemed to be the general consensus of opinion that he had been the intended target.

When they reached the carriage they climbed in. The young soldier leaped into his seat and got the horse going at a gallop.

Roper holstered his gun and asked, “Does this happen to you a lot?”

“Once in a while.”

“So not everyone in Washington thinks you’re a bullshit politician.”

“Apparently not.”

When they got back to the hotel the young driver stopped right in front, and drew his gun.

“I don’t think anyone followed us, Hopkins,” White said.

“Can’t be too sure, sir.”

“Good point,” White said. He looked at Roper.

“Well, thanks for an exciting evening,” Roper said.

“You know,” White said, “I’m not forcing you to leave tomorrow.”

“No, you’re right,” Roper said. “If I’m going to do this I better get to it. You watch your back.”

“And you yours.”

Roper climbed down.

“I never asked. How long have you been . . . in your current job?”

“Going on five years.”

“Do you like it?”

White thought a moment, then said, “I think that comes under the heading of be careful what you wish—and work—for.”

Roper said goodnight, told White he’d be in touch, then went inside and told the desk clerk to prepare his bill.

“Are you leaving now, sir?”

“First thing in the morning.”

He went up to his room.

# # #

RTW: What’s next? Is Bullets and Lies a part of a series?

RJR: This is the first in the series, the second, The Reluctant Pinkerton, will appear next year, but between now and then there will be many, many other books, westerns and mysteries. The Gunsmith is still appearing once a month, my new Rat Pack mystery, It Was a Very Bad Year, will be out in November.

RTW: Talbot Roper is a great character.  Anything else you’d like to add?

RJR: I'd like to point out that while Talbot Roper is a spin-off from The Gunsmith series, these books are published under my real name, not a pseudonym, and they arer NOT Adult Westerns. On the other hand, The Gunsmith series has enjoyed a recent increase in sales, even after 30 years. So go out and buy a Gunsmith, and a copy of Bullets and Lies!

Thank you, Robert, for stopping by today.

RTW readers: do you like free books? Do you love Robert J Randisi books? Of course you do. One commenter will win a copy of a Randisi book. You have four days to comment, but to qualify you have to leave your email address so we can get in touch with you. Winner will be drawn September 7th at 9pm Pacific Time.  USA mailing only, please.  Good luck!