Sunday, December 23, 2012

L.J. Martin: Nemesis #western

by L.J. Martin

Romancing The West welcomes author L. J. Martin, the author of over 30 book length works from such major NY publishers as Bantam, Avon, and Pinnacle. He also writes the daily conservative political blog, From The Pea Patch. His works of fiction include westerns, thrillers, mysteries, and historicals; and of non-fiction include a book on killing cancer (he’s a two time cancer survivor), a cookbook, a how-to book on writing, a book of cartoons, and a political thesis. His avocations include photography (with over 100 videos on, search ljmartinwolfpack), cooking, travel, gardening, shooting, fishing and hunting.

L. J. lives in Montana with his wife, Kat, an NYT bestselling internationally published author of over 55 historical and romantic suspense novels. When not writing, the Martin’s travel extensively, both stateside and abroad, gaining new material, making new friends, and enjoying this great world. They live in Montana in the shadow of that state’s beautiful Sapphire Mountains, on a small horse ranch with the two million acre Lolo National Forest as their backyard, and winter in California near the Santa Barbara channel.

He's a member of The Society of Professional Journalists, Mystery Writers of America, Western Writers of America, Western Fictioneers, and Thriller Writers of America. Accomplished in Western History, he’s available as a speaker on that subject and writing (see his Write Compelling Fiction), and has spoken and given seminars at several writer’s conferences. More about the Martin’s on ljmartin, wolfpackranch, and katmartin, (all .com). Or on facebook at L. J. Martin, Larry J. Martin, The Kitchen at Wolfpack Ranch, From The Pea Patch, and Kat Martin (both friend and fan page).

RTW: Here's the back cover blurb for Nemesis:

The fools killed his family...then made him a lawman. This wild and wooly western, in the Louis L'amore tradition, comes from renowned author L. J. Martin, whose over 25 novels have brought compelling reading to so many. McBain, broken and beaten from the Civil war, is reluctant to return to his family, as a snake dwells in his belly and he can't get the images out of his mind...until he learns his sister and her family have been murdered. Then it's retribution time.

RTW: Another book for my TBR! Why do you write Westerns? What aspect of life in the Old West intrigues you the most? Did you work that into Nemesis?

L.J. Martin, author
LJM: I was raised in central California, but in the state's number one cattle and sheep county. I wrangled horses and packed for a boys camp when I was young. I come from a long line of Texans and Okies and speak the language of the west, so it was natural to both read, and eventually write, westerns. I also, of course, write thrillers, mysteries, and some non-fiction.

RTW: If you lived in 1872, what would you visit first? Is there something you’ve been curious about that you can’t find in your research sources?

LJM: If I had to pick an individual city it would be San Francisco, then Sacramento. At the terminus of the transcontinental railroad, both cities were fascinating and the most eclectic cities in the world, just subsequent to the largest migration in the history of the world at the time, the California gold rush.

RTW: 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?

LJM: Lots of great western movies out there. Lonesome Dove, Dances With Wolves, Open Range, and on and on. And an equal amount of great novels. My list is long as my arm.

RTW: Why must McBain take this particular story journey? What does he have to prove?

LJM: McBain is on a journey of retribution, and revenge, and gets it. A number of secondary characters effect him and his story.

RTW: Set us up for your excerpt, please.

LJM: If a novel doesn't hook you in the beginning, the novelist has not done his/her job, so here's the first couple of paragraphs of Nemesis:

Excerpt of Nemesis
by L.J. Martin

It’s been fifteen years since I’ve killed a man.

At least a man against whom I held a grudge, the recent unpleasentries excluded as in the smoke and haze of battle you seldom saw the face of a man you dispatched. And that whole affair seemed President Lincoln’s grudge and only my duty as a sworn soldier. Not that the taste in your mouth is any sweeter for the small difference. After all, killing is killing. But that man fifteen years ago, when I was a younger of only fifteen years, came against my family, and he was well known to me and mine.

I have now carefully cleaned and sighted my weapons again, and cast a few bullets, as I have a task before me.

But I hoped the task would never shadow my door nor sour the taste in my mouth again. I’d hoped no man would offend or threaten me or mine so much I’d feel the need…the requirement…to put them in hell.

The devil of it is it looks like I now have an even half dozen lowlifes on my list of chores.

Five of the six offenders, seeming dry and dusty, rode into my sister’s homestead, three hundred twenty acres in the middle of thousands more of federal free-graze land, feigning needing the well for their horses and their own parched throats. Sarah McBain MacIntosh was as fine an upstanding Christian woman, a lady, a sister—and at one time a friend—as God ever created, and would never turn a man away from a mere drink of water or a hot meal for that matter.

Available at Amazon

RTW: You hooked me, that's for sure. So what’s next? Is Nemesis a part of a series?

LJM: Yes, and I'm putting Mr. Pettigrew up this week as a print book (a novella), it's already up on Amazon as an ebook.

RTW: Anything else you’d like to add?

LJM: If you enjoy good history with your novels, try my Rush To Destiny, accurately based on the west's most unsung quintessential hero, Edward Fitzgerald Beale. My six book series, the Clint Ryan Series, is set in California during our Mexican war, and shortly thereafter, and has lots of good history included. My Montana Series is also a half dozen books, all in the classic Louis L'Amour tradition.

RTW: In the spirit of Christmas, a little mouse told me you have a nice gift for all of us!

LJM: I will give anyone a free ebook copy of my cookbook, Cooking Wild and Wonderful, just for the asking.

RTW: Thanks so much for visiting with us today, L.J.  And what a gracious offer--this is a wonderful cookbook!  

Lots of  delicious recipes are included in Cooking Wild and Wonderful, and L.J. gives easy to understand step-by-step instruction--anyone can cook if you follow his recipes.  As he says, you can make the mundane into magnificent.  So leave a comment and you'll get a free cookbook.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Amber Scott: Wanted #freetimetravelromance #westernroundup

Western Roundup
Free Books
You Gotta Have!

A Transported Through Time book
by Amber Scott

"I loved Jesse.  He was a hero straight out of my heart.  I've always been a sucker for wranglers and boots on a guy, and Amber completely captured my secret desires in the pages of the book."
-Close Encounters of the Night Kind

Time in a bottle...

Her inheritance amounted to a treasure map, a bottle of whiskey, and a wanted poster of the Old West gentleman outlaw she had resented her whole life.

One sip of the amber liquid tumbles her back in time and into the arms of the very man she resents.

But live and in person, his penetrating eyes and cocky swagger put her heart on the line. And his life...Wanted--Dead or Alive.

More acclaim for Wanted...

"Samantha is thrown back in time, face to face with sexy bandit Jesse Kincaid. This hot romance will scorch your fingers with each fast turn of the page."
-Elena Gray,
Author, Widowmaker

Check out Wanted and some other terrific FREE western novels at the 
December 18 and 19 only!

L.J. Washburn: The Hallam Collection #freemystery #westernroundup

Western Roundup
Free Books
You Gotta Have!

1920s Lucas Hallam Mystery Series
by L.J. Washburn

Hallam is the first appearance of Lucas Hallam, a cowboy who has outlived the days of the old west to become a gun-toting private eye and stuntman in the early days of motion pictures in California. Originally published in The Eye's Have It, 1984.

In The Blue Burro, Hallam's search for a kidnapping victim leads him to a shady bordertown nightclub and plunges him into a deadly tangle of international intrigue with high stakes. Originally published in Lone Star Law in 2005.

Ladysmith, an adventure from Hallam's days as a Pinkerton agent that was originally published in Guns of the West in 2002, finds him delivering a legacy for an old friend who has passed away, a chore that has him riding right into unexpected danger.

Hollywood Flesh, published in The Book of all Flesh 2001. It's a good thing Lucas Hallam is a hard-headed old cowboy and doesn't believe in such nonsense as Zombies, or this case might give him nightmares.

Under the names Livia J. Washburn and L.J. Washburn, Livia Reasoner has been writing award-winning, critically acclaimed mystery, western, romance, and historical novels for almost thirty years. She began to write in collaboration with her husband, author James Reasoner, and soon branched out into telling her own stories.

In addition to writing, Livia enjoys photography, arts, crafts, and cooking, but she also loves having a pile of lumber, a circular saw, and a building project. An accomplished carpenter, she has framed houses and built more sets of bookshelves than she can remember, some of which have been filled with the books she's written. A good day for her includes having time to create something new in the kitchen, on a story, and in the garage.

Livia lives in the Texas countryside with her husband, and her dogs.
Website * Blog

Check out Hallam and some other terrific FREE western novels at the 
December 18 and 19 only!

Colby Jackson: Hangman's Law #FreeWesternNovel #westernroundup

Western Roundup
Free Books You Gotta Read!

Hangrope Law
a Rancho Diablo novel
by Colby Jackson

All Sam Blaylock wants to do is make a home for himself and his family on the Texas ranch known as Rancho Diablo. But then his son finds a wounded man alongside the Brazos River, and a deadly danger from the past soon threatens to ruin everything Sam is trying to build. Only gunsmoke and hot lead will make things right and give the Blaylocks a fighting chance for the future!

HANGROPE LAW is the second volume in the exciting new Rancho Diablo series.

Find other compelling westerns and even a cookbook at the 
December 18 and 19 only!

L.J. Martin: Cooking Wild & Wonderful #freecookbook #westernroundup

Western Roundup
Free Books 
You Gotta Read!

L.J. Martin's Cooking Wild & Wonderful rebels against this robotic spirit, and his love for the art of cookery shows through in the lyrical language. ~ Adam

His prose entertains all while giving the reader the confidence it might take to try a really new or different take on an old family favorite. ~ Lori Gertz

This book is a wonderful glimpse inside the kitchen at the Wolfpack Ranch, where L.J. Martin takes fresh, local, seasonal produce and meats, and works his gourmet magic. ~ George Peters

L. J. Martin has been a cook most of his life, since age 8, and cooked his way through college as a lunch fry cook for 1,600. He's owned restaurants and cooked in hunt camps in the high Sierras and Rockies. This cook book has lots of narrative for those of you who like stories with your strudel.

Check out this and some terrific FREE western novels at the 
December 18 and 19 only!

We'll have more from L.J. and even a recipe on Thursday!

L.J. Martin: Rush to Destiny

L. J. Martin is the author of 32 book length works (westerns, historicals, mysteries, thrillers, and non-ficiton), and has a number of screenplays, one of which was optioned by a major NBC approved producer.

His five non-fiction books include: KILLING CANCER (he's a two time cancer survivor), WRITE COMPELLING FICTION, an instructional work for aspiring authors, MYRTLE MAE & THE CREW, a book of cartoons, FROM THE PEA PATCH, a conservative political series of essays, and COOKING WILD & WONDERFUL, a cookbook with story content.

He and his wife Kat live in Montana in the Spring, Summer, and Fall and on the California coast in the Winter. His wife, Kat Martin, is a NYT bestsellling, internationally published, romantic suspense and historical romance author published in over a dozen foreign languages and in 2 dozen countries. When not writing, L. J. is cooking and developing recipes for his webpage, hunting, fishing, or hauling his cameras around the high country, or promoting their careers. He has two dozen novels and non-fiction works listed on Amazon and Kindle. Join him on Facebook on his author page L. J. Martin, his cooking page The Kitchen at Wolfpack Ranch, and his personal page Larry J. Martin. Search youtube for ljmartinwolfpack to view one of the one hundred videos he has posted.

And speaking of videos, we're in for a treat because the interview today is by video!

And here's the trailer for Rush To Destiny:

And for a special treat to Kat Martin's fans, her latest, Against All Odds, is now available!

Thanks to L.J. Martin and Kat Martin for giving us so many years of reading pleasure.  Keep it coming!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Victorian Unmentionables...Oh My! by @cnord2

Cindy Nord, author
Oh My!
by Cindy Nord

Today we call them panties or underpants, briefs or for a few brave souls, a thong or Gee-string. But in the early-to-mid 1800s, modesty and coverage was foremost. 

Fashion pantalettes
The proper ladies of the era called these items her ‘unmentionables’ in a crowd, but behind fluttering fans she knew them by their more authentic word: the split or crotchless pantalettes (two separate legs joined at the waist and left open for hygienic reasons). When we say we’re wearing a ‘pair of panties’—this is where that saying derived. Nonetheless, originating from France in the early 19th century, the feminine pantalettes were designed after leggings or long drawers.  

These undergarments spread in popularity to Britain and America and covered many a fashionable limb. But, according to the Godey’s Lady’s Book in December 1860, a new plainer style of ‘under-garment’ was introduced.

Pantalettes on string waistband
Drawers (so stated because underwear was ‘drawn on’), was gathered to the waistband in the front and pulled through a casing to fit the waist. And throughout the 1860s woman wore these fashionable drawers, at calf-length with a wide open leg and the hems decorated with scallops or elegant embroidery. Still worn open-crotched, these unmentionables were made mostly from white linen or silk and decorated with tucks, lace, and cutwork or broderie anglaise. Secured at the waist with a tie or a back button closure, these garments were always part of the wardrobe and worn for decency’s sake as ladies limbs were never exposed.

French ruffle bloomers
Beginning from simple fashions of the early 1800s pantalettes, by the Mid-Victorian era, drawers had become a work of art. Women found fashion inspiration and patterns from Godey's Lady's Book and Petterson’s, both periodicals featured new looks each month. And ‘underwear’ was no exception. The elegant woman of the time wore about five pounds of undergarments including drawers, camisole, underslip, corset and overslip. During the colder months of winter, warmer undergarments were also added. Many issues during this time period included patterns with measurements, and an illustration of the completed garment.

Camisole & bloomer
But by 1870s, the fashion changed yet again, and the pantalettes/drawers legs were no longer worn as wide, separate tubes. They became joined to prevent chafing caused by damp skin rubbing together. The length also rose to gather just below the knee. Bloomers, worn knee-length, these ‘under things’ were inspired by the harem pants of countries like Syria. The distinguishing difference was the tapered legs. Elizabeth Smith Miller developed this newest garment in the mid-19th century and Amelia Jenks Bloomer, an American women’s rights activist at the time, popularized them. This new style was an attempt to provide “decent” underpants options for women who wanted the ability to engage in more rigorous activities where skirts might be a hindrance.

However, many Victorians did not embrace the style, and the undergarments were nicknamed “bloomers,” after Amelia’s fashion choices. Though bloomers were not well received by most, they did have practical uses, and by the late 19th century, women on athletic teams often wore the knee length pair of bloomers with black stockings as part of a woman’s swimming costume. In context of wearing them for certain sports, bloomers were considered acceptable. They were certainly more comfortable for activities like bike riding.

Ultimately, underpants functioned to preserve modesty, and in a century when people covered their chair and table legs because of their suggestive nature, make no mistake in knowing that there were numerous layers of undergarments worn by a properly dressed Victorian lady. And by far the most important piece, other than the corset which defined a woman’s silhouette of that era, was her ‘underwear.’ Whatever the time period, history has managed to define women’s ‘under things’ by such delightful names as pantaloons, drawers, bloomers or even the comical ‘knickerbockers.’

Cindy Nord is author of No Greater Glory, a Civil War romance with over twenty 5-star reviews on Amazon.  

Reviewer Katherine Boyer writes, "Ms. Nord has a command of the language of the day, just as Colonel Cutteridge had command of his troops. She knows the history of the period. She writes an engrossing story of love between enemies, as opposed to fighting brother against brother."

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cindy Nord: No Greater Glory #civilwar #romance @cnord2

No Greater Glory
by Cindy Nord

Romancing The West welcomes Cindy Nord, 19th Century fashionista (you'll get the complete rundown of underwear on Thursday, so don't miss it!) and author of the fabulous No Greater Glory. Here's her bio:

Born in Arizona, Cindy Nord moved from the southwestern desert to southwestern Indiana during her teenage years, then attended college, married and traveled around the country with her husband. Eventually, she found her niche in the secretarial pool..."I could type fast but had no clue where commas went," she says with a laugh.

After the birth of her two sons, she became a stay-at-home mom. When the boys went down for naps, she settled in to read and escape into the world of historical novels. A thousand stories and a long overdue divorce later, Cindy pulled out her father's Tower typewriter and decided she would write a saga that contained the elements she liked best in a hero.

Cindy met her current husband, Tom, on a Civil War battlefield, where he was portraying a Captain of the 14th Indiana Infantry. Right then and there, she decided to don a corset and become part of a unique little hobby called 'Civil War Reenacting'; something she and her two young sons could enjoy together as a family. The rest, as they say, is history...and Cindy and Tom were married in June 1993. Since then, they've toured many a battlefield, built their dream home, and raised the children to productive adults.

Through the years, Cindy was always surrounded by she knows how they tick. As the only sister between two brothers, she learned how to keep her head above the turbulent waters of male rivalry. She carried that particular understanding into raising her sons. She knows how the male mind works and brings these intriguing elements into the creation of every one of her heroes. And yes, her sassy heroines know exactly how to push their buttons.

Cindy Nord, author
Cindy's writing is fresh and intense, and conflict keeps the pages turning. Born into a family of educators, she eventually learned where all the commas went. And a dozen years later, she handled the grief of her parents' death by pounding away again at the old Tower typewriter. Several manuscripts later, she landed herself a New York Agent who believes her engaging characters should not live in a box under her bed forever.

A member of numerous writers groups, Cindy's work has finaled or won countless times in chapter competitions, including the prestigious Romance Writers of America National Golden Heart Contest. A luscious blend of history and romance, her stories meld both genres around fast-paced action and emotionally driven characters.

RTW: Thanks for joining us today, Cindy! First, please tell us about No Greater Glory.

CN: The year is 1862 and the Army of the Potomac is pushing southward into Virginia. Her home just happens to lie in their path.

Amid the carnage of war, Colonel Reece Cutteridge commandeers far more than just her home. Widowed plantation owner Emaline McDaniels has struggled to hold on to her late husband’s dreams. Despite the responsibilities resting on her slender shoulders, she’ll not let anyone wrest away what’s left of her way of life—particularly a Yankee officer who wants to set up winter camp on her land.

With a defiance born of desperation, she defends her home as though it were the child she never had…and no mother gives up her child without a fight.

Despite the brazen wisp of a woman pointing a gun at his head, Colonel Reece Cutteridge has his orders. Requisition Shapinsay—and its valuable livestock—for his regiment’s use, and pay her with Union vouchers. He never expected her fierce determination, then her concern for his wounded, to upend his heart—and possibly his career.

As the armies go dormant for the winter, battle lines are drawn inside the mansion. Yet just as their clash of wills shifts to forbidden passion, the tides of war sweep Reece away. And now their most desperate battle is to survive the war with their lives—and their love—intact.

Available at Amazon and

RTW: Who would have thought Civil war & romance went together?

CN: American Civil War was such a tumultuous time in our country’s history, and romance is all about the heated struggles to find a happily ever after; both country and couple striving for the same results. This concept intrigued me and I wanted to blend both my love of Civil War history with my romantic idealisms. Having been a Civil War Reenactor for many years and a lover of all things Victorian, I set out to combine the best of these two elements into a single love story reflective of that turbulent time.

RTW: How much research went into writing your story?

CN: My knowledge of the Civil War years and the woman’s role in it comes from a long-standing interest in living history involvement and the research required to obtain the correct portrayal, so I already possessed a good understanding of what I wanted for my character Emaline. My husband also has a love of history and a vast library of Civil War research material which allowed me to produce a solid military framework for my hero.

RTW: If you could revisit the past, what would be your favorite and least favorite part?

CN: Oh, the favorite part is easy: The clothing. Luscious materials and styles. Elegant and graceful. Rich in detailing. The Victorian silhouette of an 1860s woman encased in her six-tiered, steel-banded crinoline defines the lady of that era. The way they looked, the way they carried themselves. My least favorite. The lack of plumbing. I love my showers and my Whirlpool washer and dryer.

RTW: How long did it take you to complete No Greater Glory and what kept you motivated to keep writing?

CN: For years I dabbled with the story and for the most part, it sat in a box under my bed. But in 2007, I blew off the dust, entered the manuscript into the Romance Writers of America National Golden Heart® contest, and became (much to my surprise) a finalist. From that point on I worked diligently on learning the trade and things finally came together when I signed with my agent, the incredible Louise Fury with the Lori Perkins Literary Agency. Louise sold my story to Samhain.

RTW: What's next?

CN: The e-book version of No Greater Glory debuted on July 31st. Within two days it became the #1 Civil War romance at Amazon as well as appearing on their Top 100 historical romances New Release list. I was ecstatic, to say the least. My world-wide Audiobook released the end of September, and the trade-paperback debuts on June 3rd. I’ve just finished my second novel, Saving Callie—a western set in the Southwestern Arizona territory in 1866 is the love story between the colonel’s sister, Callie Cutteridge, and his second-in-command, Jackson Neale.

Great hosting you, Cindy! And we look forward to reading your article on Thursday, Victorian Unmentionables...Oh My!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Women Who Conquered the West by Velda Brotherton

Velda Brotherton,
Women Who 
the West

Women from all manner of families went West after the Civil War, when a great influx of wagon trains snaked along the trails, some extending a mile or more. The Oregon Trail, the California and Cherokee and Santa Fe Trails, all carried hopeful emigrants to their new life on the frontier. While most women were young, both married and unmarried, many were accompanied by their mothers and fathers.

It is well known that the youngest fared the best. They found ways to have fun, many of them walked almost the entire way, only climbing in the wagons at night to sleep. The men slept under the wagons. Usually a large train could make only about five to eight miles per day, where some lone wagons might do better—if they weren't singled out for attack by wandering Indians. However, far fewer Indian attacks took place than are portrayed in the movies.

Adolph Roenigh wrote for the Kansas State Historical Society of an Indian raid in 1869 the year after the Union Pacific Railroad, Eastern Division opened for business. Indians had broken out of Ft. Supply, probably Cheyenne, but he doesn't say, and about 40 of them passed by the small settlement of Russell, Kansas and began tearing up the railroad spikes and ties and setting them on fire. It is difficult to tell from his report whether the white men shot first or the Indians, but quite a battle ensued in which the white men were penned down in what he called the main dugout. There lived the boarding boss and his wife and it also served as a dining room.  When the train came, the engineer did not understand that a bale of hay burning in the center of the track meant he should slow down, and the engine ran into the ditch where the tracks were torn up.

It's not unusual that women were mentioned only in passing by men when they wrote reports. That's just the way the West was in the early days. Oft times women were not even known by their name, but became Mrs. John Smith from their wedding day till a headstone was erected over them in a cemetery.

Fortunately, women tended to keep diaries and journals, and many of these have been published. So we can learn more about these courageous women. While we tend to picture the large Conestoga style wagons and long trains as being the only conveyance into the wilderness of the West, many women followed their friends and family by taking a stagecoach. The pioneer stage from coast to coast was said to be the Vermont Sanderson.

Carrie Stearns Smith wrote "The stage swung around a corner with a great circling sweep of eight white horses, accoutered in all of harness and ornaments that could catch the sun and the eye...we were all listed and crowded in—wedged would better express the arrangement. The driver cracked his whip and away dashed the beautiful horses."

For her full story of that trip, read Pioneer Women: Voices From the Kansas Frontier by Joanna L. Stratton. The book is filled with stories about women told by women, and is a treasure.

Though the Internet is my main source of research, I still look for books like this which I can read and study at my leisure. I often run across some obscure fact that I would never search for online, and which I can use in my books.

For more stories of women in the West ranging from California to Wyoming, check out The Adventures of The Woman Homesteader: The Life and Letters of Elinore Pruitt Stewart by Susanne K. George.

Elinore was half-Chickasaw, born at White Bead Hill West of Pauls Valley in Indian Territory in 1876. Her mother died in 1893 bearing her ninth child. Elinore's story spans a life lived fully and well. She and her husband homesteaded in Wyoming. Elinore became a published writer in 1911 or 1912 when the Atlantic Monthly published her first letters telling about her life.

In the popular cowpuncher book, We Pointed Them North: Recollections of a Cowpuncher, written by E.C. Abbott, known as Teddy Blue, he writes of women and their existence on the Montana ranch owned by Granville Stuart. Teddy courted Granville's daughter Mary. He writes that the Stuart girls were half-breeds but they had every advantage that could be offered at the time. A schoolteacher lived at the D H S ranch for the Stuart and Anderson children growing up there.

The popularity of Indian women for wives, he explains, was that obedience was highly favored by Indians and the women learned early in life to be obedient to the men, and that's why white men searched them out and were so happy married to them.

I wrote that as Teddy Blue referred to people of his time, because that's the way it was in 1886 when he was cowpunching.

These are just a small example of the women who went West to build a new life. Women who suggest to this writer just how strong, courageous and faithful the characters I write about must be.

My western historical romances about gutsy women who won the West, are all available on Kindle. You can find a complete listing on my Amazon author page, or visit me at my website or blog.

Wilda's Outlaw: 
The Victorians
Dec. 5 thru 9

Leave a comment and be in a drawing for an ebook copy of Stone Heart's Woman, and don't forget that Wilda's Outlaw is free Dec 5 thru 9 on Kindle, courtesy of my publisher, The Wild Rose Press. It will then be available there for $2.99 until the print version is released in Feb. 2013.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Wilda's Outlaw by Velda Brotherton #western #historicalromance

Wilda's Outlaw: 
The Victorians
by Velda Brotherton

Romancing The West welcomes back Velda Brotherton, who writes of romance in the old west with an authenticity that makes her many historical characters ring true. A knowledge of the rich history of our country comes through in both her fiction and nonfiction books, as well as in her writing workshops and speaking engagements. She just as easily steps out of the past into contemporary settings to create novels about women with the ability to conquer life’s difficult challenges. Tough heroines, strong and gentle heroes, villains to die for, all live in the pages of her novels and books.

RTW: Happy to have you visit again, Velda! Please tell us about your new book!

VB: Calder Raines and his outlaw gang may be more than Wilda bargained for. All she wanted was to escape a disagreeable marriage, now she finds herself in the arms of a tantalizing man whose warm kisses arouse a storm of forbidden desires. Calder never wanted to rob banks, but it's a family tradition. When he embraces the alluring redhead, passion conquers good sense and he imagines a life he cannot have.

Dec. 5 to 9
Also, I'm giving away an Ebook copy of Stone Heart's Woman to the winner whose name is drawn from comments to this blog.

RTW: Why do you write Westerns? What aspect of life in the Old West intrigues you the most? Did you work that into Wilda's Outlaw?

VB: I write Westerns for a variety of reasons. Family influence for one. My grandpa on my mother's side had book shelves loaded with Zane Grey books and when we visited I would read them. My dad loved to tell stories of growing up in Texas and his favorite songs to sing were western ballads. At an early age I devoured Western movies and that just sort of morphed into books and my writing. My first contest win was for three chapters of a Western book. I was encouraged by the judge, Dusty Richards, to submit the book to an editor from Penguin when we attended a Western Writers of America Conference. The editor told me that if I would turn that story--it had a female protagonist--into a romance, it would sell. I did, called him and told him I'd done as he suggested and he took another look. He passed it on to the desk of a Topaz editor and she offered me a two-book contract. So there I was, a Western romance writer, and there I've pretty much remained, though I do occasionally write something else.

Velda Brotherton,
As I research for my books, I'm intrigued by the strength and courage of the women who went West. They learned to live a variety of lives. Some took on men's work to survive, others became outlaws or women of the evening known as doves, still others managed to bear and raise up to a dozen children while helping in the fields or on ranches. What fortitude it must have taken to adapt to such a rigorous life.

All of my books are about "gutsy" women who conquered the West, each in her own way. None of them come to me as whiners, weaklings or women who have to depend solely on a man to survive. Yet each realizes that the love and support of a man is important in such a tough existence.

RTW: If you lived in the Old West, what would you visit first? Is there something you’ve been curious about that you can’t find in your research sources?

VB: A few years ago my husband and I drove through Kansas on a research trip. We went through Marysville where I had hoped to set a book, and then happened to run across Victoria. Nothing much is left to prove Victorians once lived there. There's a huge beautiful church built by the Germans who moved to the area after the Victorians left. I became intrigued by the story of the Grant experiment. I wished then that the lovely stone castles and Victorian homes, the huge hotel Manor House built by Grant to house the emigrants while they built homes and businesses...were still there. I wanted to see them. I had no book in mind at the time, but knew one would grow as I traveled in my mind's eye into Victoria of the 1870s. So, by writing the book I went there every day until it was finished.

In any history, there are gaps, information we can't find. And there comes a time when we have to stop digging and make up something suitable to bridge that gap. That's where fiction veers away from fact and reaches into our vivid imagination. That's what writing fiction is all about. I'd like to know what happened to the stones from those destroyed castles. There were cameras in those days, where are the pictures that must've been taken? I never found any, but maybe if I'd dug a little deeper, spent a little more time on the research I could've come up with some.

What we did find a while later on a trip through Texas was a Victorian town, also known as Victoria, which is intact. Churches and homes depict those Victorians who settled there and I took a lot of pictures.

RTW: 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?

VB: No question about it, I'd advise they read Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, then watch the series made for TV. McMurtry at his best gives the reader the flavor of memorable characters we can love, plots that twist and turn, an underlying humor that relieves the reader when things get too tough. The love story tugs at the heart, for McMurtry knows that a story without love is hollow and unfulfilling. For fun and excitement, any of Clint Eastwood's spaghetti Western movies should give readers a taste of the grittier side of the old West.

RTW: Why must your protagonist take this particular story journey? What does she have to prove? How do other characters or the setting affect her journey?

VB: When I sit down to write a romance, I only know a few things for sure about my character. She will be tough so she can survive what I'm going to put her through and she will have much to overcome. I have no idea for theme, or her journey or what she has to prove. I'm also not sure who will come along to affect her journey. This is not the easy way to write a book, but it's my way. I get to know her as she gets to know me. Page by page. What happens will happen and she's as surprised as I am when it does. You might say I'm just along for the ride. The only thing I know for sure is the history I've researched in order to develop a situation in which she will live and interact.

I make notes by hand as I go, but only so I won't forget the color of the character's eyes, their names, information about them I'll need to know as I go along. This results in stacks of recycled paper next to my keyboard on which are jotted all manner of items. By the third chapter I'm getting to know her, her faults and strengths, desires and feelings of loss. The hero has appeared and I know something about him. Then I go back to the beginning and I'm off and running. The book flows then with little trouble.

RTW: Please set up the scene of your excerpt.

VB: Wilda awakens on the train taking the new emigrants to Victoria. She sees a roguish outlaw standing in the aisle looking down at her and thinks she's dreaming. She's not.

Here's the excerpt from
Wilda's Outlaw: The Victorians
by Velda Brotherton

Still asleep? Still dreaming?

A startled O escaped her lips. Her heart raced. Frozen in a hunched position, she peered at him. He wasn’t real, he couldn’t be. Of course she was still dreaming, had conjured one of her cousin’s favorite fantasies of an old west outlaw. A beautiful one, at that, or at least what she could see of him. Above the dusty bandana that covered the lower half of his face, green eyes flashed with amusement, as if he shared a secret with her.

No one in the car paid him the least attention. Obviously she hadn’t awakened after all, but still slept, not in her room back in Manchester, but on a train in the middle of nowhere.

How to react to a scruffy outlaw who arrives in a dream? No harm had ever come to her while dreaming, so she might as well play this out. Be calm, speak to him. All she managed was a stiff smile. Odd how her tongue lay numb, her throat dry as a ball of cotton. How silly, for what harm could it do to befriend such a lovely figment of her imagination?

Bronzed skin crinkled around his eyes, and he lifted the gun barrel to push up the brim of a disreputable, sweaty hat. She imagined he returned her smile, for the skin around those incredible eyes crinkled. He placed a gloved finger over lips she couldn’t see. Winked.

The outrageous man! She gasped, sneaked another look around. Attempted to shout and alert the other passengers. Nothing came out. Some slept — no doubt enjoying their own dreams — while others gazed out the window. Surely one would glance up, see him. But they didn’t.

Fine. Dreams being what they were, she'd have some fun. No one appeared to notice the man with a gun. Not even Tyra, who bounced about and gazed out the window. Weird how real everything seemed. The smell of cinder laden smoke, the hot wind on her face, the trickle of perspiration down her back, the heavy intolerable weight of her traveling toilette. So heavy she slipped down into her seat, glanced around once again.

Was he still there? Had he disappeared because she’d taken her eyes off him? Dare she look one more time?

Holding her breath, she peered through nearly closed lids. No, he hadn’t left. He continued to watch her as if he had all day. A shiver raced up her spine and she offered a gloved hand. With graceful ease, he took it, bent over and gently kissed her bare wrist above the cuff.
♥ ♥ ♥

RTW: What’s next? Tell us about the other books planned in this series.

VB: This series, The Victorians, will feature Wilda's sister Rowena and Lord Blair Prescott in the second book, and their young cousin Tyra, who will embrace the West and leave her Victorian ties in the third. Tyra will journey to Victoria, Texas where I plan to set more books if everything works out.

RTW: Anything else you’d like to add?

VB: Only that I'm happy to be writing fiction again, after a hiatus of a few years writing regional nonfiction. The emergence of small publishers taking up the slack left by the midlist crisis in New York and the popularity of ereaders has been a Godsend for many writers who are now embracing indie publishing and ebooks.

Leave a comment and be in a drawing for an ebook copy of Stone Heart's Woman.  Be sure to leave your email address or we'll have to choose another winner.

Wilda's Outlaw is free Dec 5 to 9 on Kindle, courtesy of my publisher, The Wild Rose Press.

It will then be available there for $2.99 until the print version is released in Feb. 2013.