Monday, May 27, 2013

Robert Vaughan: When Hell Came to Texas #western

When Hell 
Came to Texas

Romancing The West is pleased to host one of the most prolific authors today, Robert Vaughan.  He's written several hundred books in many genres under dozens of pseudonyms and was awarded the 2013 Western Fictioneers Lifetime Achievement award.  Why?  Because he's written several hundred novels (a couple hundred westerns, two dozen romances, and other genres), a couple NYT Bestsellers, his novel Andersonville was made into a TV mini-series,  he wrote, produced, and appeared in the History Channel documentary Vietnam Homecoming.  That's just skimming the surface.  

He's a US Army vet, helicopter pilot, and served tours in Vietnam, Korea, and Germany.  On this Memorial Day, I'm especially thankful for his and others' service and protection.  He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, The Bronze Star with three oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal for valor with 35 oak leaf clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

RTW: Welcome, Robert.  We're all eagerly waiting for you latest release (May 28!), so please give us an overview of When Hell Came to Texas.

RV: In the days after the Civil War, a solitary rider traveled the open frontier—but he wasn’t alone, for Death seemed to travel with him. Or maybe it was the Devil himself who gave him the lethal pistol shot that earned him the name “Death’s Acolyte.” And when the stranger with the scarred face, Ded Axton, one-time Episcopal Priest who now calls himself Ken Casey, turned deadly gunfighter to revenge the killing of his family....Hell Came To Texas.

RTW: What is it about Ded Axton that made you write his story? Tell us the process you went through to conjure up his character.

RV: I've always enjoyed stories about someone who is more than they appear to be...someone with a mysterious past. And I thought that the story of a one-time priest, turned gunfighter would be an interesting concept.

RTW: If a person who had never read a Western (any sub-genre) asked you for a recommendation, which of your novels would you recommend and why? What scenario brought the story alive for you?

RV: Other than this one, of course, I would recommend any of my Hawke series, which has a similar scenario, in this case a concert pianist turned gunfighter. Yeah,like I said, I am intrigued by that theme.

RTW: You’ve written a bazillion books—how many? And how many of those are under Robert Vaughan? Many readers don’t know about house names or ghostwriting, so please explain that part of the publishing industry.

Robert Vaughan, Author
RV: I'm not sure exactly how many I've written...somewhere between four and five hundred, probably closer to five hundred, under about 80 pseudonyms. Probably no more than 60 or 70 under my own name. That is a two-edged sword, I can't complain about my ghost-writing, I've made good money in a profession that I love, but I can't help but think, sometime...that I have prostituted myself for money, and I have destroyed any legacy I might have built. At this point in my life I look back and see it as just one of those many turns I wish I could take again.....such as getting married and losing my appointment to West Point.

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

RV: Ded has 5 journeys:

1) He gives up his West Point commission to fight for the South then, after the war, he is forced to betray his friends when they continue on the outlaw trail. That sends him into the depths of self-loathing and alcoholism.

2) At the very bottom...he recovers, goes to seminary and becomes a priest. He marries a good woman, has a child, and a wonderful and supportive church. But his one-time friends break into the church, kill his family and several parishoners.

3) He gives up the priesthood...goes on the quest for revenge, becomes a bounty hunter, then, when an innocent child is killed, he goes on a new path.

4) He assumes a new name, wanders around from place to place taking jobs as a cook, trying to start a new life.

5) In the end, he is forced back into a life of violence.

RTW: Which sets up the excerpt for us!

Excerpt of
When Hell Came to Texas
by Robert Vaughan

The shadowed interior of the saloon gave the illusion of coolness, though it was an illusion only. There was no sun, but the air was hot, still, and redolent with the sour smells of beer and whiskey and the stench of sweating, unwashed bodies.

Ded Ackerman put a nickel down on the bar and ordered a beer, then, as he was waiting, turned to survey the saloon. A cloud of tobacco smoke hovered just under the ceiling, and two, scantily clad bar girls moved among the half dozen tables, laughing, flirting, and teasing the dozen or more men into buying more drinks.

A graduate of Stewart Theological College in Clarksville, Tennessee, Ded had been circuit-riding Episcopal supply-priest before hostilities broke out between the North and South. He gave up his ministry to join the Confederacy, a cause which he ardently supported. But, by participating in the bloody savagery that ensued, Ded found himself unable return to the life he had before the war; in fact, were he to go back to the priesthood, he would consider it an act of heresy,. There was nothing left for Ded, but to ride the outlaw trail, and that is exactly what he did.

In the beginning Ded limited has activity to stealing from the Yankee army. After all, how could this really be considered a crime. Hadn’t he done this very thing during the war? And while the Confederacy may have surrendered, he had not. But when those pickings ran slim he expanded his operation. He started robbing stagecoaches, but he was very careful never to rob any individuals. If the stagecoach was not carrying a money shipment, he let it go, telling the passengers to get back on board, and even wishing them “a pleasant trip.”

There were times, however, when the outlaw trail led to violent confrontations and, Ded, who had developed quite a talent with the pistol during the war, honed his skills even further. He had never killed any of his robbery victims, but he had killed men who were trying to kill him, mostly bounty hunters who were looking to collect on the ever increasing price that was placed on his head, most in face to face gunfights. However, he had not killed as many as his growing reputation intimated.

The bartender put a beer in front of him. “Mister, are you the one they call Death’s Acolyte?”

“That’s not a name I answer to,” Ded replied.

The bartender smiled, broadly. “It is you, ain’t it? I knew it. I seen you up in Sweet Water, when Cody Mathis called you out. He drawed first, but you still beat him, and you plugged him dead center.”

Ded didn’t respond, instead he took his beer to a table that was near the black iron stove, cold now because it was summer, though the smell of last winter’s fires still hung around it.
Available May 28:

RTW: Fabulous excerpt, and we can read the whole book soon!  What’s next? Is When Hell Came to Texas a part of a series?

RV: Well, my next book, the only one I can mention here, would be one of the romance novels my wife and I write jointly, as Sara Luck. (Ruth's grandmother's name) It comes out the same week as When Hell Came to Texas. The title is Marci's Desire and it is a story about Fort Yellowstone at the end of the 19th Century. [RTW Note: Both these books can be pre-ordered through Amazon.]

RTW: Thanks so much for agreeing to visit and share your new release with us.  It sounds spectacular!  Anything else you’d like to add?

RV: I appreciate the camaraderie and mutual support of all the Western Writers. We are a band of brothers and sisters in a very exclusive society.

And we appreciate you.  Thanks so much for giving us so much reading entertainment. What a special gift!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

#Excerpt MUCH ADO ABOUT MAVERICKS #western #historicalromance #beachread

Much Ado About
Hearts of Owyhee #3

Of all the heroines in my books, I got the biggest kick out of Jake O'Keefe.  Eh, Jake?  A woman? 

That's what hero Ben Lawrence thought, too.  Here's an excerpt of Much Ado About Mavericks where the two of them introduce themselves.

Much Ado About Mavericks
Copyright © 2013 Jacquie Rogers

Ben Lawrence could hardly wait to see his mother and sister, even if his stomach soured every time he thought about his childhood home.  But he had to take care of the family and ranch now that his father had died.  Worse, he had to contend with Jake O’Keefe because Pa thought his own son too incompetent to hire good people, even after four years at Harvard and nine years of practicing law.

The soda was refreshing and he took his time while she waited, not patiently, shifting her weight from left to right, then tossing a few pebbles.

“I think we should reintroduce ourselves.”  He placed the mug on the boardwalk and offered his hand.  “How do you do?  I’m Benjamin Lawrence, visiting from Boston.”

“Janelle Kathryn.”  She grabbed his hand and shook it vigorously.  “I’m surely pleased to meet you.”

He tested his shoulder to see if it still functioned after her hearty handshake.  Then, just to knock her off guard, he took her hand and kissed the back of it with grandiose gallantry.  “My pleasure, Miss Janelle.”
♥  ♥  ♥
Jumpin’ juniper berries!  Jake snatched her scorching hand away from Skeeter’s lips.  His well-placed little smacker burned hotter than a branding iron in August.  Only better, but she sure as shootin’ wouldn’t admit it to a soul.  Ever.  Of course, she had no intention of washing her hand for a month either.  That hot kiss sent goosebumps clean down to her toes.

She sucked in a deep breath and cleared her throat.  “Let’s go.”  She hopped onto the wagon and picked up the reins.

Ben leapt onto the seat and took the reins from her.  “I’ll drive.”

His thigh rubbed hers.  She didn’t know how he could think right if he tingled anything like she did.  But, he probably didn’t.  She inched away from him as the buckboard moved out of town.  She focused on the sagebrush—at least it didn’t knock her plumb senseless.  He was too damned good-looking in a dandified sort of way.  Taller than she was, too, by a few inches.  Few men were.  She stood even with Whip, who, although bent with years of hard work, was taller than the rest of the men.

It ate at her that Skeeter muddled her mind so, and she had no idea what got into her to tell him her real name.  She’d better set him straight.

“Just so’s you know, I ain’t no simpering female.  Folks around here call me Jake.  Jake O’Keefe.  I expect you ought to call me that, too.”

She nearly laughed at his horrified expression.

“Jake O’Keefe?  My foreman?”

Just what she needed—a greenhorn who didn’t think she could do a man’s work.  Well hell, she’d already proven herself better than any hand in the territory, and she wasn’t about to do it again—especially to a feller they called Skeeter.  “Yup.  And just so’s you know, Harley Blacker hired me on with the Flying B, so as soon as I show you the ropes, I’ll be leaving the Bar EL.”

He set his lips firm like he was cogitating.  She didn’t know what there was to think about—she’d laid out the deal square enough.

Finally, he said, “All right then, Jake, just so you know, my name is Ben.  Benjamin Lawrence.  I expect to be called that.”  His jaw tensed and his cheek twitched just a might.  “And I’d appreciate it if you’d stay on the Bar EL, at least until I get the family affairs settled.  I’ll be going back to Boston as soon as I can.”

“Got a woman?”  Jake could’ve slapped her own fool face.  Why the hell would she care?  But that tickly feeling deep inside seemed to make her lose all her brains.

“I have a law practice there.  And friends.”  He pulled on the right reins and flicked the left side, turning the team onto the Lawrence road.  “A lady friend, too.”

Probably some frilly-assed, sappy female who batted her eyelashes at him and giggled at any harebrained thing he said.  Men seemed to like such silly critters, although, for the life of her, she couldn’t see why.  “Well, I ain’t staying, so you’d better be on the lookout for a new foreman.  Fred’s probably your man—he’s been sourer than five-day-old pissed-in milk since the old man chose me over him.”

“Don’t want him.  I need you.”


“How much is Blacker paying you?”

“Eighty dollars and found.”

“I’ll give you a hundred.”

She shook her head.  “One-twenty and found.”


“And found—ain’t interested in eating my own cooking.”  She’d starve to death if she did.  Whip had taught her how to rope, shoot, and just about everything else, but he never could teach her how to cook.  Every concoction she had tried ended up looking and smelling like fresh-branded cowhide.  Not that she’d wanted to learn in the first damned place.

He nodded.  “And found.”

“I’ll take it.  Six months I’ll give you.  But come spring, I’m working my own ranch, so you better get used to the idea.”

“One-twenty and found for any months you work after six.”

“I ain’t budging.”

“All right, for now I’ll take six months at a hundred and ten dollars and found.  Shake?”

She wasn’t so sure she wanted to feel his hand on hers again—more dangerous than a rattlesnake with a toothache.  Grabbing his hand, she gave it one shake and let go immediately, wiping her hand on her pants.  “Deal.”

But it would be a helluva long six months if she buzzed like her guts were filled with bumblebees every time Ben Lawrence took a gander at her.

Hearts of Owyhee
Where the Old West really happened!
Much Ado About Marshals
Much Ado About Madams
Much Ado About Mavericks

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

America's Secret War by @TomRizzoWrites #civilwar #western

America's Secret War

In my novel, Last Stand At Bitter Creek, the main character is Grant Bonner, a burned-out Union Army spy who emerges from three years behind enemy lines, ready to move on to the next chapter in his life. He has no way of knowing, of course, that life on the other side of the battle line is just as dangerous and unpredictable.

When Bonner became an operative, the Confederacy had the upper hand when it came to spying. Neither side, however, had much of a formal intelligence network in place.

The Confederacy managed to establish the Secret Service Bureau, an arm of the Confederate Signal Corps, which operated a spy network in the federal capital of Washington, DC, early on in the war. Washington happened to be home to many southern sympathizers.

Union General Ulysses S. Grant, however, didn't realize the need for a reliable spy system until the Battle of Shiloh when a Confederate force surprised the Federals and stormed through their camps forcing a Union retreat.

In the two weeks before the battle, Grant hadn’t bothered to dispatch any spies or scouts.

According to the facts, as he knew them, Confederates were camped at least twenty miles away. But this information came from dispirited Confederate deserters. Grant and his troops eventually drove the Confederates back, and his actions helped shape his reputation as an effective field commander—but at a cost of more than 10,000 Union soldiers killed or wounded.

Grant once wrote, "The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can and as often as you can, and keep moving on.” He hadn't realized—until Shiloh—that locating the enemy could best be accomplished through espionage.

After this battle, Grant helped forge what would be called the Bureau of Military Information.

The new agency utilized around 70 field agents during the war—ten whom were killed. The bureau also gathered information by interrogating prisoners of war, and refugees. In addition, agents combed through newspapers, and documents left on the battlefield by Confederate officers who retreated, or had been killed.

At the outset of the war, casual gossiping and newspaper clippings served as the main sources for intelligence gathering, until both sides decided to formalize spying operations, even to the point of involving cavalry forces.

Two different organizations carried out espionage activities for the Union. Scouts—as they were called— wore uniforms, and served as an army’s advance force. Their mission: to determine the location and size of the enemy, and weapons capability. Spies—like Grant Bonner—operated mostly behind enemy lines, and in civilian attire.

One daring band of mounted Union Army scouts wore Confederate uniforms, and operated behind enemy lines.

This force was, composed of eager young volunteers who didn’t mind extra dangerous duty, fell under the leadership of Major General John C. Frémont. He dubbed them the Jessie Scouts, named after his wife.

These volunteers risked their lives to collect intelligence on the locations and intentions of enemy forces in their particular area so they could provide a sufficient warning of any possible surprise attacks being planned against Union forces.

Jessie Scouts, however, risked death if caught wearing the enemy’s uniform because this—as defined by the rules of war—represented as an act of espionage, and punishable by death if captured. These scouts used their own ingenuity to keep in touch, and to distinguish each other from real Confederate soldiers.

Some Jessie Scouts units wore white scarves knotted in a particular way. Others used conversational code where they would use a conventional phrase (such as “Good morning”) that would provoke a response from another Jessie that wouldn’t sound strange if overheard by a real Confederate soldier.

Confederate cavalry units also engaged in similar scouting missions.

As their Northern counterparts, Confederate scouts also operated independently, and wore the uniform of the enemy to improve their ability to get access to certain areas, and information. They too risked summary execution, if caught.

Some families, however, suffered at the hands of Confederate scouts. For example, scouts in Union uniforms often asked for help from families that lived between opposing battle lines. If such help materialized, these scouts often returned the next day, wearing their regular uniforms, accompanied by a military force, and burn the homes of those who thought they were giving aid and comfort to Union forces.

Regardless of the army, scouts were special types of soldiers.

For the most part, they were fearless, who embraced such duty without regard for the potential danger they were putting themselves in. According to William Gilmore Beymer’s Scouts and Spies of the Civil War, other soldiers – fearless and brave on their own – found they could not tolerate the kind of pressure experienced by these special scouts.

Overall, the Union experienced more success rate at espionage and counterintelligence. The Confederacy, on the other hand, excelled at covert operations. Both succeeded at conducting a secret war within America’s Civil War. And, in the end, the efforts of both sides established the foundation for the future of military intelligence.

2013 Peacemaker Nominee
Best Western First Novel
Last Stand at Bitter Creek
by Tom Rizzo
including an excerpt from 
Last Stand at Bitter Creek

Thanks to Tom for guesting at Romancing The West this week!
You can learn more about or contact Tom at:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tom Rizzo: Last Stand at Bitter Creek #western @TomRizzoWrites

Last Stand at
Bitter Creek

Romancing The West welcomes Tom Rizzo, who has been a writer all his life, including a stint at Associated Press.  Now he's moved on from news stories, ads, and obituaries to fiction  which is luck for us.  His first novel, Last Stand at Bitter Creek has been received very well, and if it's not in your TBR pile, you're missing out!  Now, to Tom.  First, please tell us what the book is all about.

TR: Union Army spy Grant Bonner, tired of living a life of deception, desperately wants to put his past behind him, but agrees to one last assignment—the routine surveillance of a cunning, battle-hardened military commander gone rogue.

When the mission is compromised, events spiral out of control, and Bonner finds himself entangled in an intricate conspiracy that could cost him everything—including his life. Undeterred by relentless odds, he emerges from hiding to pursue a single clue he hopes leads to the one person responsible for trying to destroy him. The hunted and the hunter are on a collision course.

RTW: What aspect of life in the Old West intrigues you the most? Did you work that into Last Stand at Bitter Creek? What didn’t you include that you wish you could have?

TR: So many things intrigue me about the Old West. For starters, its immense and stunning landscape—a borderless canvas that often evokes powerful emotions within me. Natural beauty aside, the most intriguing aspect of those years—particularly the last half of the 19th century—was the spirit of individualism, the courage, and the determination of those who pioneered and populated the frontier. History of the American frontier reads like a novel, with real-life heroes who had to find ways to cope with incredible odds—the land, wildlife, brutal weather conditions, and actual villains to established and, more importantly, to preserve a special ways of life. I tried, and hoped I succeeded in showing how my cast of characters embraced those qualities.

RTW: Time travel to the year your book is set. You’re the same age as Grant Bonner — what/where would you visit first? (Yes, you have a few dollars burning a hole in your change purse.) What would your occupation be, and what danger would you find?

TR: I'd head to Cheyenne, Wyoming, on special assignment as a newspaper reporter and get a room at the Union Pacific Hotel - considered a "first class hotel on the Plains" – and use it as my base of operations. My assignment would be to cover the Wyoming Cattle Boom, to learn how much of its expansion is linked to Eastern and European investors and determine who's benefitting the most and who is not, and why.

Any danger I'd encounter would no doubt revolve around my poking around for information, some of which would be considered private and privileged, and none of my damn business.

RTW: Would Grant Bonner get along better with Ulysses S Grant, Jesse James, Virgil Earp, or Wild Bill Hickok? Why?

TR: Ironically, Bonner would get along with both. As a former spy, he walked both sides of the street when it came to law and order. And, he's perfectly comfortable in the company of heroes or rogues because of his ability to adapt to different situations.

RTW: What song best portrays Last Stand at Bitter Creek? Who would star as Grant Bonner? What character would Tom Rizzo play?
Tom Rizzo, Author

TR: Well, Jacquie, I would want an original — and inspiring — score of music created for the film. I haven't yet given serious thought to the individual I'd want to play Grant Bonner — as if I would have any say in it! But, I'll give it more thought when Hollywood calls. As far as what character I'd like to play, it's probably the role of Sheriff Will Denton, who Bonner encounters along the way. A man comfortable with himself, but uncomfortable knowing too much about another man's motives. A man who likes all contingencies covered.

RTW: Why must Grant Bonner take this particular story journey? Excluding his outward quest for exoneration and justice, what does he have to prove to himself?

TR: He has a burning need to carry out the original assignment he was given, despite the odds and despite the dangers involved. He also needs to know what makes a man like Marcus Steele tick—what makes a man like him think he can control others by only willing it. And, what is behind Steele's willingness to sacrifice the lives of others to achieve his own brand of success. As much as anything, Bonner wants to know why he was singled out for Steele's relentless wrath.

RTW: It's our lucky day because you have an excerpt for us.  Please set it up for us.

TR: This is Chapter 4, which helps define what Bonner is up against.

Excerpt of
Last Stand at Bitter Creek
by Tom Rizzo

Marcus Steele clenched his fists, regretting the exchange with the junior officer. He should have ignored the incident, but worried about those pine boxes getting damaged. No real harm done, he decided, as he approached the cowboy slouching on the bench a few yards behind him, legs outstretched in front of him.

"Are we all set?" the colonel asked, finding difficulty suppressing the gnawing sensation, which often accompanied him into any important battle. He would rest easier, once finished with this unpleasantness.

"Yep," said the man, tipping his hat back and sitting up straighter, and looking past Steele at Bonner. "Problems?"

"A little too inquisitive for his own good."

"Looks harmless to me," the man said.

"Appearances and reality can often be at odds." Steele glanced back at the lieutenant. "I'm not sure what it is, but there's more to him than he's letting on."

"He gonna be at the livery with the others?"

"I have different plans for him. Actually, he is going to be quite useful. He just doesn't know it."

The man nodded, and Steele thought he detected a spare smile. He admired this kind of physical economy—a man of few words, known only by his surname. The most eloquent statements this cowboy made came from his gun. When the man left, Steele saw the lieutenant standing where he left him. He's up to something. Over the years, he learned to rely on an acute sense of intuition, and it served him well.

The lieutenant's remark about the manifest troubled him. In his experience, most men weren't so observant—unless he happened to be on the lookout for something specific. Steele embraced, as did many of his peers, an adage of Frederick the Great, It is pardonable to be defeated, but never to be surprised.

He brushed the incident aside, and stepped across the siding into a small clearing where a group of men on horseback waited, looking restless. Some wore faded and wrinkled Union blue; others were dressed in soiled, gray Confederate uniforms, and the rest in civilian clothes. He looked up at the lead rider and nodded. The cowboy raised his hand into the air, wheeled his horse around, and led the group out. Two riders stayed behind. When the dust cleared, Steele joined them.

"Everything in place? And are you clear about where to transport the merchandise?"

"Yep. All set."

"There has been an unforeseen development, which requires a slight adjustment to the plan," Steele told them. "Here's what I want you to do..."

RTW: Whew, boy, Bonner's in trouble!  Loved the book video, too.  What’s next? Is Last Stand at Bitter Creek a part of a series? Has it been nominated for any awards lately?

TR: I'm at work now on a sequel; I'm bringing back a few of the characters that readers expressed interest in—such as, Bonner, of course, along with David Webster, the black Union Army officer who played such a key role in the story.

And, I'm pleased to say Last Stand At Bitter Creek is a finalist for a Peacemaker Award for Western Fictioneers' Best Western First Novel.

RTW: Congratulations for the well-deserved nomination!  That's a very high honor and I wish you luck in the final judging.  Anything else you’d like to add?

TR: I'm all talked out, at least for this moment. But I appreciate your invitation to join you on Romancing the West. I've had fun with your questions.

Thanks, Tom, for joining us this week.  
See you Thursday!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Gila Wars by Larry D. Sweazy #western #newrelease @larrydsweazy

The Gila Wars
by Larry D. Sweazy

Romancing The West welcomes Larry D. Sweazy, author of Josiah Wolfe, Texas Ranger series for Berkley.  I "met" him online as a member of Western Fictioneers.  He's an award-winning author, including the SPUR Award for The Coyote Tracker, the fifth book in the Josiah Wolfe series.  Now let's learn a little about him when he's not writing!

About Larry
Outside of writing, I'm also a full time freelance back of the book indexer. I've indexed over 650 books in 12 years, covering a broad range of topics; religion, politics, business, and a ton of computer books for Pearson Education and Cengage. I also volunteer weekly for a local bird rehabber, and my wife of 26 years, Rose, do everything from clean cages to feed the owls and hawks their daily rats. I've held everything from a baby hummingbird all the way up to a bald eagle--which was one of the most amazing and scary experiences of my life.

About the Book
Larry D. Sweazy,
Texas Ranger Josiah Wolfe and his friend Scrap Elliot are ready to extinguish the loathsome Juan Cortina. Unfortunately, their direct orders are only to spy on Cortina’s cattle rustlers, which makes them two easy gringo targets. So much so that their first scuffle leaves Josiah seriously injured and Scrap to pursue Cortina’s men on his own.

Recovering from his deadly injury, Josiah is hit with a Dear John letter from his sweetheart. Luckily, a Mexican girl, Francesca, is there to help heal his wounds. But when Scrap returns, full of malice directed towards his former comrade, Josiah can no longer tell who his friends are and where his heart lies. Only one thing is certain—he must put an end to Cortina’s reign before it’s too late.

Excerpt of
The Gila Wars
by Larry D. Sweazy

The room was empty. Darkness surrounded Josiah, and for a long moment he listened to see if he could hear anything other than his own breathing and heartbeat. There was nothing, not even the distant cluck of a chicken. A black cloak had fallen over the world, covering him along with it

He stared at the ceiling, glad that he felt very little pain His face still stung, but the salve that had been placed there seemed to have worked. The bandage was off, and thankfully, infection hadn’t set into that wound. Taking a branding iron to his face was beyond the grasp of his imagination. The pain would last long beyond the initial sizzle, and the scar would ride with him for the rest of his life A reminder of his failure to see what was coming next with the two unnamed men in the cantina. A closer fight, one with worthier opponents, and the same outcome would have been easier to carry. But he didn’t have to worry about that. The deeper scar he would carry, if he lived on to see another day, would be hidden, like most of his other scars

Ron Scheer hosted Larry, where they discuss the book in more depth. Excellent interview at Buddies In The Saddle!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cowboys and Lawmen Blog Hop: Much Ado About Marshals #CowboysLawmen #giftcard

Blog Hop
May 2-6

Special thanks to Sara Ellwood for organizing this fabulous event!

Which should we talk about first--cowboys or lawmen?  Because they generally weren't the same.  And cowboys weren't called cowboys, either.  They were called drovers, cowhands, ranch hands, cowpunchers, and a lot of other names, good and bad.  But not cowboys.  That was actually a derogatory term.

Lawmen might have been cowhands at one time, but usually not.  Quite a few of the more famous lawmen had been buffalo hunters at one time, though.  Wild Bill Hickok and Wyatt Earp both took a turn at it.

As luck would have it, I have a book where a cowhand poses as a lawman--perfect for this blog hop!  It's Much Ado About Marshals, available in print or ebook.

This book is a lighthearted look at what happens when you put an honest cowhand in a situation where if he tells the truth, he and his best friend could face hanging, but if he lies, he'll be sworn in as marshal.  The kicker is that the mayor's daughter is bound and determined to marry the new marshal!

It's set in Oreana, which is in Owyhee County, Idaho (Territory, in 1885).  My husband and I were driving around while we were visiting relatives--I grew up there.  We stopped by the church in Oreana.  Actually, the church is about the only thing there.  It's an interesting building, built of stone.  I was even more intrigued when I found out that the building was originally a general store.  So there it was--my heroine's father owned that store!

I built a whole bustling town in my imagination, and that's how the setting for the story came about.  Actually, there's not much there in real life.  Certainly no marshal's office!

Want to give the book a try?  
Comment below and you'll be entered to 
win one of 
five Kindle copies of 

And you'll also be entered to win:
$100 Gift Card
either Amazon or Barnes & Noble
Winner's Choice!

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Drawing for Much Ado About Marshals will be on May 7.

Where the Old West really happened!
Much Ado About Marshals
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