Friday, September 30, 2011

How E-Readers Have Improved Our Writing

I started on this journey years ago, believing in and hoping fans would abandon paperbacks and get on the e-book train.  It's hard to believe it's happening.  Although I have mixed emotions about the closing of some major bookstores, I can't help but celebrate being part of this growing enterprise. 

Clearly, the sales of over one million Kindles during the holiday season last year proved that people are reading e-books.  At last, my pitiful royalty checks have grown into something worth bragging about, and I'm stimulated to write and publish more.  The old stigma about self-publishing has faded with the appearance of so many pre-contracted authors striking out on their own.  I hope to join them before long but I wouldn't trade my contracted experiences for anything.  Listing all the things I've learned would take an entire page.

My first editorial session in my debut novel focused on passive voice, historical facts, showing versus telling, and punctuation.  Although at the time, the term "show versus tell" wasn't used, I certainly learned the difference.  I was encouraged to make a great story into an even better novel by including the reader in each scene.   I'd been a "reader" for years, but I never put two and two together to figure out what constituted a great book for me.  If I heaved a contented sigh at the end, then the novel was a keeper.  *lol*

Through the years and many more editorial sessions, I've discovered numerous facets that create a great read, but with Kindle offering a generous sample of the story, authors should have figured out by now that they'd better write an engaging first chapter to hook the reader into wanting more.  Sales can be made or lost in just a few opening paragraphs, so I'm concentrating on that fact in any new or revised work that I present. 

To give you an example, here's a major revision to a book that I'm working on now for re-release:

PRESENT Version:  Each time she shifted her weight, the cold, white paper covering the examining table cracked.  She chewed her bottom lip, reached around, and pulled the flimsy plastic gown around her bare behind.   ... (after three pages) She heaved a huge sigh, trying to ignore the voice in her head that told her if she took all the pills at once her problems would be over.

NEW Version:  The nagging voice in Cassie Fremont's head urged her to end it all.  She sighed and shifted her weight, crinkling the cold, white paper covering the examining table.  Perhaps this overdue visit to see Doctor Owens would restore some sanity to her life. She shook her head to clear her suicidal thoughts and shivered beneath the overhead vent.

Why a complete examination? She only needed medication to fight her depression. It was just like her long-time physician to be thorough. Cassie chewed her bottom lip, reached around and tugged the flimsy plastic gown around her bare behind.  What was taking the man so long, and why was the air-conditioning set so damned high?

My thoughts:  In my opinion, I've set a desperate scene that drove the woman to see a doctor.  Rather than have the reader sift through three pages to find out this fact, I've moved it up to create tension and curiosity.  What made her depressed?  Why is she contemplating something as serious as suicide?  I'll make many more improvements before I'm finished, but armed with what I've learned and now recognize as necessary in an award-winning novel, I intend to be a contender.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blog Hop Thursday

QUESTION: With the advancement of e-publishing and e-books, what new methods of marketing do you think authors should employ? Question provided by author: Lark LaTroy 

What a dynamic question, Lark.  Given the rapid interest shown in ebooks since over one million Kindles sold during the Christmas holiday, we definitely have to look at new ways to market ourselves.  Since most authors are going the e-book route alone, we need to rely on new innovations like Kindlegraph to sign copies to personalize our sales, and we also have to be very active on the Kindle loops that are genre specific to what we write.  More and more readers are investigating the loops to find bargains and books, so it's imperative that we make ourselves known.  I've continued to have my books available in both e and print, but it wasn't long until I discovered that people are more likely, during this economy, to pay less for a download copy than the inflated prices we have to charge for our printed work.  The royalty return is much better on e sales than print, by far.  To find out more about Kindlegraph, click on the name.  I also advise authors to familiarize themselves with Twitter and learn the advantages of using hashtags (#) to reach your target audience.  If we don't keep our names in the limelight, it will be very easy to forget who we are given the huge number of new authors releasing work each and every day.

To read the answers given by other authors, please return to An Alternative Read and click on the links in the Blog Hop arena.

You can find me on Twitter @  Please feel free to follow me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ask Miz Ging

If it's Wednesday, it must be Ask Miz Ging day.  I was counting on people out there to provide me with a myriad of questions to cover a broad spectrum of topics and I wasn't disappointed.  So, let's get on with why we're here:

My first question comes from Anna K.  Why is the sky blue?

First and foremost this question brought back shivers of being in science class during high school. It wasn't my favorite topic mainly because I sat behind a guy who didn't know about soap.  :)

As for the color of the sky...there is, of course, a logical reason that has to do with gases and light waves in the atmosphere. Hey, I deserve a star for remembering that all these years.  :)

You'll notice the sky is blue during the day but changes at sunrise and sunset, allowing in different hues of pinks, oranges, yellows, and even purple.  I could go on all day trying to explain prisms, rainbows, lightwaves, and while I could cheat and look up the "scientific" answer, because there is an answer for everything on the Web...I choose to say the sky is blue because if it were white you wouldn't be able to see the clouds.

But in keeping with accuracy and research, as I try to do with my writing, I'll point you to an official explanation, if you can understand it.  Geez, and they say this is simple?  That's the most confusing answer I've ever seen.

Next, Karen asks...what advice can you give new authors at their first book signing event? Is there anything you've done that was really a hit to the people there?
Well, new author, people like anything for free.  I'm certainly not a veteran signer, but I've found that candy lures them in like flies...chocolate especially.  When I do a signing, I try to have a few freebies to offer, and I think it's the shame of scooping up goodies that makes them stop and actually buy a book.  Before you go, practice pouting in the mirror.  Make sure you get the look down perfectly to flash at those who just meander by and show little or no interest after they've nabbed a chocolate from you dish.  Guilt works wonders.  I've used it on my kids for years.

Lionmother has a burning question that women have asked for years...Mis Ging, why are men so stubborn?  

Well, my friend, I fear we've made them that way. I think some people, men especially, dig in their heels when they aren't in control, and let's face are never in control of their emotions, from the time they're born until they die.  They always have a woman telling them what to do.  Mom takes care of keeping him in line until he marries, and then the wife steps in.  Being stubborn is the only way someone of male persuasion gives the illusion of control.  I don't think we can change that.

Diane wants to know...  why we have to wait for tomorrow? I am impatience-challenged and don't think I can wait that long to ask my burning question.

Diane, in this case I'm in charge, and if I put everything on my blog today I wouldn't have anything for tomorrow.  Your impatience-challenged self will just have to suffer.  *lol*

Tanja has the most difficult question of all, why?

Because.  That's the best I can do with that one, Tanja.  Now if there was something attached to the why, like "why oh why can't I," I might be able to come up with an answer of more substance.

Vonn Lane poses this...Miz Ging, why does my cat bypass every piece of comfortable furniture in my house only to sleep on my black slacks laid out for work the next morning?

It's pretty evident to me.  This follows the same path as stubborn men.  Cats are territorial, but unlike men, hardly ever in control because they just don't give a crap about things that don't directly affect them.  By shedding on your black pants, your cat is making a statement.  "Steer clear, this woman already has a pet."  I'm pretty sure everyone at work has commented behind your back that you surely own a cat because of the hair you display all the time.  If the cat just shed on the furniture, how would the message get out? 


Friends, I have been simply overwhelmed with the helpful questions sent.  I'm stopping here today so I'll have some left over for next Wednesday.  I have already four, but let's not stop there.  I know there are lots out there needing sage advice.  In the absence of it, I offer up my own.  Tell you friends to tell their friends, and so on and so on.  Let's make Ask Miz Ging another Dear Abby, only more fun.  Don't forget to tune in next week for more fascinating questions and answers.  Ask Miz Ging...she'll tell you what she thinks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Reviving, Ask Miz Ging

Blogging is hard business.  For the first four years, I came up with original ideas, had lots of friends over to blog about their books, and kept this place hopping.  Now that I've been a little under the weather and moving to a new house, I find my mind is void of anything interesting to discuss.

So dear friends, at the urging of absolutely NO ONE, I'm reviving, Ask Miz Ging.  Tomorrow will be the official day of the week for burning questions.

As I said before, you cannot hold me liable if you follow my advice.  I have absolutely NO credentials for advising, NO license to practice medicine, law or any other valid field, but I do have my version of a Ph.D. in life experience.  Besides, I worked for a large university for over twenty years and discovered that B.S. stands for "bulls**t,"  M.S. stands for "more s**t," and Ph.D. is the abbreviation for "piled higher and deeper."  Now, I've probably ticked off anyone who has a degree, but that was my attempt at humor.  I envy anyone who can wave around that magnificent piece of paper because it shows your "sticktoitaviness."  Congratulations, so ask me a question already and I'll use them to form my blog articles until I get working brain back. 

Go ahead, don't be shy.  Ask Miz Ging!!!  Did I mention that all questions received today will appear on my blog tomorrow?  Thanks for coming and providing me fodder.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

I'M BAAACK!  Gosh, being sick is a drag, but I'm better and signed up for today's Six Sentence Sunday.  Hooray!  I'm going to continue with bits of my latest release, Joy's Revelation available on Amazon and at Muse Publishing.  Joy has already given her fiance her virginity, but how is her discovery going to affect their upcoming wedding?

Lead in...Joy Garrett is preparing to marry the man of her dreams and needs her birth certificate in order to get a passport for her honeymoon.  For some reason her mom wants to avoid the issue and urges her to enjoy the good ol' USA.  While pilfering in her mother's things in the attic, Joy comes across a birth certificate, and although the date, hospital and doctor are a match with her, the paper certifies the birth of someone else... What secret is her mother keeping?

“Joey Andrew Garrett.” Born the same day, same hospital, and delivered by the same doctor
her mother had mentioned. But a male child? Joy touched her abdomen—the scar. A million
questions roared in her mind, but none she wanted to ask. The answers might be too frightening.

If you want to read more six sentence offerings, click here and be on your way.  Thanks for visiting and please come back.  :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's Like Saying Goodbye to Family...

As much as I've poked fun at soap operas, I've always openly admitted that I'm addicted to a few of them.  Today is the last episode of my very favorite, All My Children.  I've grown up watching the characters on that show as they've married, divorced, died, been reincarnated or brought back for more $$$.  It's hard to realize that you can become so fond of people on television but I'll truly miss Erika, Tad, Jackson, David, Bianca, Kendall, and all the others who made up the cast.  They've entertained and amazed me for more years than I can count.  I watched the very first episode in 1970 and I'll watch the last one today.  How sad to see them go.

I'm comforted by the way the actors remained human.  I watched Tad age, gain weight, and still maintain his "Tad the Cad" attitude.  His love for Dixie touched me deeply, and it was an amazing idea to have her come back to life for the finale.

  I've watched Erika...eternally young and sexy Erika, age despite her efforts to control wrinkles and sagging skin.  Even as thin as she is, gravity still gave her sagging upper arms and a neck that looks like crepe paper, only stretched over bones.  She has the weirdest looking neck I've ever seen.  It took her thirty years to win an Emmy but she finally got that honor and accepted it with class that only Erika Kane could possess.  I wonder how Susan Lucci feels about losing the persona she's played for so long.

There were some very real moments in the show--times I as a viewer could identify with and celebrate or suffer. I cried when the actors who played favorite characters passed away in real life--Myrtle Fargate, Palmer Cortland... or left because their characters were killed off.  It's been a rocky ride for over 30 years, and I'm proud to have been part of the viewing audience.  I bid All My Children adieu, and thank you for many years of viewing pleasure.  You will be missed.  I don't know how I'm going to fill that hour on my DVR.  The Chew doesn't really look like a very interesting replacement...especially for those like me who hate to cook.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reruns on TV, why not Blogs?

I don't especially like reruns, but I loved this blog post from 2009 and am going to share it again.  I want to get back to the days when all my characters talked to me.  Just an FYI...All but In Search of Joshua are published now, so I really did get my butt in gear.   2010 was a banner year for me.  Now if I can just find where I put Joshua's manuscript, maybe he'll start talking to me while I wait for Hattie to get over her pissy mood.  :)

If The Voices in My Head Could Talk to One Another

I wonder now at people condemned to asylums because they insisted they had "voices in their heads." Could they have been authors? Especially, 'pantsers' and don't do any plotting?

I never had voices in my head before I started I have more than I can handle in this lifetime...all screaming their ideas at me and wanting me to tell their story. I find myself so confused at times, I don't know which one to listen to, so I just don't work on any. I've tried revising my writing style to plotting, but I just can't do it. I need my characters to lead me, but when they're all shouting???

Here's a typical day in my life, from the perspective of me and my 'crew.'

Odessa: It's been days since you've typed a word of my story. Here I am, all goosebumpy over the fellow who found me in the middle of the desert, I'm dying to kiss him, and you've just left me hanging. Get on with it, would you? Odessa should be a first priority.

Carrie: Whoa, hold on Dessie. Wait your turn. Ginger started First Degree Innocence long before your silly tale. You just jumped in and interrupted her with the ploy about your pa being trapped under a wagon or some such nonsense. Your urgency is a "kiss"? Really. I'm stuck in prison for something I didn't do, some ballsy chick called Jet is after me to help her set up a friend by planting a shiv, and all you can worry about is when you're gonna get kissed. Give me a break.

Meagan: Shut up, both of you. I gave Ginger the idea for a story that just might qualify for the Harlequin Undone series, even though she's not so great with steamy love scenes. *whispering* Don't tell anyone, but I think she's a prude at times.*back to yelling* The story requirement is only 15,000 words, so if you'll just take a seat and hold your tongues, maybe she can get creative and finish the damn thing. Crap...this just in. She shared the story with some cronies of hers and they tell her it's not hot enough. Now she's got this crazy idea to just make it an historical novella, called Tender Return. Geez, and I gave up my virginity for this?

Clarence: God, is bickering all you women ever do? I have murder cases to solve and lives to save. Sort of makes your silly little plot lines look weak, don't you think? I think The Locket should take precedence. Right now, I've only had two deaths and I'm working on the cases, but unless Ginger gets her butt in gear and pushes on with the story, I'll never find out who gets the necklace next, or where the darned thing came from. So stop your yammering so she can listen to me!

Faith: *sniffing* What about me? I'm still waiting for her to start In Search of Joshua. How am I ever going to find happiness if all you keep taking cuts.

Clarence: Taking cuts, my ass. You already have a book published with you as the heroine. Give someone else a chance. Geez, talk about greedy.

Faith: Well, it's not just me that's anxious. The people who read the first the least a couple of reviewers, didn't care much for the ending because I didn't connect with Joshua. I have to find him.

Carrie: Take a chill pill, Faith. Try living behind bars and worrying your cellmate is going to snuff you out during the night and then come talk to me. I wish I knew if I was going to survive this story or not. I'm not getting any younger, ya know.

Joy: Hey...don't forget me. I know she only typed a paragraph of my story, but I have a wonderful one to tell...and with a twist none of you have come up with. I think she's stalling on mine because she just can't get kinky. But, I intend to keep yelling in her ear until she finishes Joy's Revelation.

Odessa: Revelation, smevelation. It's late. We all have a gripe, but we'd better shut up so Miss EPPIE nominee can get some sleep or she'll never finish anything. At least we know she must have some talent. *laughing*. Good night guys. Talk to you tomorrow.

Clarence: Okay, Goodnight. But I get first crack at her in the morning. It's only fair because lives are involved.

Faith: Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. Whoever screams the loudest... Goodnight too John Boy!

*group giggles*

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Life's Trials and Tribulations

My good intent keeps being undermined by health issues.  Not serious ones, mind you, just annoying ones that put me in the hospital for a few days.  I always keep in mind how fortunate I am that I've so far (and hopefully forever) have been spared from anything terminal.  I'm seeing a surgeon tomorrow that I hope will alleviate the problem so I can get back to being an author and blogger.

In the meantime, while my muse has been recuperating, I've had a lot of time to spend on FB and watching TV.  I don't know which is more frustrating.  I wish people playing games would ignore the need to "share" their information on my page.  I tried to find a way to stop it, as well as the announcement that "Ginger Simpson is playing Farkle."  Why not just a flashing banner that tells the world that I'm wasting time?  Does everyone need to know a person's every move?  FB has become like Big Brother.  Now they've taken the liberty to decide what is interesting to me by placing a "blue corner" on the post.  When did I become so brain dead that I can't decide that for myself?  Honestly, stop with the daily changes.  Our lives are challenging enough without constantly trying to figure out how to maneuver FB.

Television, especially the news is off limits.  Too depressing.  After listening to a blow-by-blow description of the economy, failing businesses and rising unemployment, I had to swallow hard to accept the news that the USA has been baling out Palestine to the tune of millions.  What sense does it make?  If we can't support our own tax-paying citizens, why are we shelling out money to others?  The more you give Palestine, the more they want, and when did we become their caretakers?  I might be stupid but it doesn't make a lot of sense to me that we would support a group of people who shelter the Hamas and their terrorist ways while turning our back on Israel, our oldest, strongest, and most dependable ally.  Did I mention Hamas, another Muslim terrorist group?  Why would our president support them?  Hmmmm!  I imagine I'd be even more shocked if I saw the past years budget of where money has drifted abroad to help other nations.  Wonder how many Muslim Mosques we've built.  Where does this madness end?

Okay...I got off on a political rant.  I'm sorry about that, but given the situation and news today, it's hard not to want to scream.  I'm not looking at party lines...I'm looking at candidates before I make my choice.

Back to blogging as an author.  I just finished edits on "Just the Right Fit," an upcoming short story from Muse Publishing.  I'm waiting for the cover art before I do any promoting, but I think this one will be of interest to those who like older heroines.  Actually, it's written based on something a good friend shared with me about her own personal life.  Before you panic, she is okay with me passing along her story.  :)

Tune in tomorrow and I promise to be more professional.  :)  Right!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Coming in December - The Sparrow

The Grand Canyon
Kristy McCaffrey

Grand Canyon National Park is known for its overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape. Over time, the elements have scoured and carved the dramatically splendid Grand Canyon, known as one of the world’s seven natural wonders. The distance from the South Rim to the North Rim varies from half a mile to eighteen miles, and the canyon has a maximum depth of 6,000 feet. This great range in elevation allows for a variety of climate, flora, and fauna; of the seven life zones on the North American continent, four can be experienced within Grand Canyon.

The first documented expedition of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon was accomplished by Major John Wesley Powell in 1869. Powell, a Civil War veteran with only one arm, and nine companions became the first men to journey 1,000 miles on the river, part of it through Grand Canyon. They braved rapids, heat, plummeting morale, and the loss of three men. Powell’s account of this expedition, Exploration of the Colorado River of the West and Its Tributaries, made him a national hero as well as brought the canyon to the attention of the country. The Paiutes called the plateau that the canyon cuts through ”Kaibab” or “Mountain Lying Down,” but it was Powell who first consistently used and published the name “Grand Canyon” in the 1870’s.

The Colorado River, meaning “red” in Spanish, was named in 1776 by a Spanish missionary, Padre Francisco Tomás Garcés.  It was a description of the brown, muddy river at the time. However, since the construction of Glen Canyon Dam in 1964 the river is now clear, clean, and cold.
The river begins as a tiny stream in Rocky Mountain National Park, eventually flowing into Lake Powell, formed by the Glen Canyon Dam. Below the dam it begins its journey through Marble Canyon by joining with the Paria River. At the confluence of the Little Colorado River does the Colorado finally enter Grand Canyon National Park, flowing 217 miles until it reaches Lake Mead Recreation Area.

One of the most colorful characters in Grand Canyon history was Captain John Hance. Born in 1840, he served in both the Confederate and Union armies and is thought to be the first non-Native American resident of the Grand Canyon. Arriving in 1883 he first attempted mining asbestos, but failed due to the expense of removing it from the canyon. He soon started giving tours, opening the first tourist trail in the Canyon in the late nineteenth century. He’s credited with carving a number of trails which often followed old American Indian paths.
John Hance loved the canyon and remained until his death in 1919. In his memory there’s a Hance Trail, Hance Creek, Hance Canyon, Hance Spring, Hance Mine, Hance Rapid, and a Hance’s Cove. He was famous throughout Arizona for his tall tales. In one, he stated that the Colorado River got so muddy that the only way to quench his thirst was to cut a piece of water off and chew it.

Kristy McCaffrey’s newest book, THE SPARROW, will be released in December 2011. Join Emma Hart as she guides a wooden dory on the Colorado River through Grand Canyon in 1877, accompanied by Texas Ranger Nathan Blackmore. Visit Kristy’s website at for more inf

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Interesting Question About the Old West

Are Western Heroes Always The Sheriff?

 (Question from Jannine Corti Petska)

            The field of occupations in the 19th century American West was wide open, yet heroes in historical romance books are either a sheriff, a marshal, a cowboy, a desperado (with heart), or a gambler. But what about other jobs that shaped the West?
            I’ve been reading historical western romances for over 30 years. There were heroes of all kinds, but my favorite was (and still is) the ex-gunslinger. What exactly is a gunslinger, you ask? He can be for hire, seemingly on the wrong side of the law. In today’s terms, he’d have been a bad ass. Or he can shoot-‘em-up to survive the evil men chasing after him. He’s either made a mistake or was falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Beneath his dark past lurks a good guy, even though he was a hardened man who was a crack shot with a rifle or gun. The kind of man you’d love to see transformed by the end of the book all because of a determined yet caring heroine.
Below are a few occupations that aren’t new to the western romance genre, but neither are they the norm. A writer’s imagination can romanticize about the hero who is a trapper or miner. Sure, the sheriff hero seems stronger, more appealing, the upstanding citizen, but I’m willing to read a romance with any hero who has a job outside the norm. It’s all about the author’s vision.  

Mountain Men, Trappers, Fur Traders: Who wouldn’t want to see a tall, solidly muscled hero in buckskins? These men lived off nature and usually preferred making their home in the mountains. They mingled with the Indians, traded, and sold their goods to anyone with money. But the life these men led was lonely and dangerous. Accidents and illness killed many, especially those high up in the mountains who had no way of getting help.
The Hawken rifle was their constant companion. They owned metal traps large and small, bearskin gloves, sharp knives for scraping hides, utility knives, ash-frame snowshoes, and so much more, all of it practical and useful. In reality, trappers, et. al, were filthy with little regard to personal hygiene. Of course, in a romance novel, this hero—while attractively grubby—prefers to be clean, or as clean as possible.  
            Now take a heroine, add a trapper in trouble—maybe she stumbled upon him injured—and throw in a believable conflict. A romance writer’s imagination can run with just that bit of an idea. At least, that’s all it takes for me to realize there’s story material in there waiting to jump onto the pages.

            Miners: The hero needs money. He pans for gold. But is he the miner? Of course not! I have a story simmering on the back burner with a heroine who is a miner. This is the American West, so that’s not an impossibility. Women back then were made sturdy and had a strong constitution. What if your hero and heroine are both miners? What if they stake a claim on the exact same spot?
            Wherever gold was found, towns shot up almost overnight. Of course, when the gold was depleted, a town disappeared rather quickly. Is there something in this new town that has drawn your hero or heroine? Again, are they after the same thing? When these “gold” towns sprang up, laws were set by vigilante miners’ courts. They didn’t mess around. Justice came swift. A-ha! Is your miner hero about to be hanged?

            With a little research (the era of the internet is a God-send to writers; but always double-check your facts), a writer can find an occupation seldom written about for her hero. Or heroine. You’ll make your readers happy because you’ll give them a refreshing look at the Old West. I don’t recall reading any westerns with a hero who was a doctor or lawyer. I tend to go after the rough and ready guy with a stubbly chin and jaw (a perennial 5:00 shadow). You never know who might pick up your book to read. You could be responsible for turning a reader, who never cared for the American West, on to historical western romances. Whatever the case, let your imagination spread as far and wide as the West. You’d be surprised by what you’ll find.

Writers, what are some of the different types of jobs you’ve given your hero. Readers, what jobs for a hero would you like to see? (Jump in with thoughts about jobs for heroines, too!)

Now that your mind is thinking about about checking out Rebel Heart:

When the woman he's sworn to protect finds herself in the middle of a range war,
Beau Hamilton fights against losing his heart while defending Courtney Danning against the unscrupulous man fixing to run her out of town.

But when their passion turns as hot as the Santa Fe sun, will their love in the untamed West prevail? Or will Beau's dark past tear them apart?

Buy links

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Welcome Jannine Corti Petska

Love’s Sweet Wager
By Jannine Corti Petska


Her gambler father murdered, Rachel Garrett joins a wagon train west to be with her aunt and the fiancé she's never met.  Her dream is to forget the life she led performing on stage to earn the money her father gambled away and settle down in one place.  But along the trail, she is helplessly drawn to a priest--forbidden fruit--and her hopes are shattered.

Professional gambler Reno Hunter is wanted for the murder of  James Garrett.  His disguise as a priest on a wagon train is foolproof, until he discovers the woman the old gambler wagered in that fatal card game and Rachel Garrett are one and the same.  Can he protect his identity and his heart, or will he surrender to his desire for Rachel and risk being apprehended by the law?


In this scene near the river, Rachel discovers that Father Caldwell is really Reno Hunter, the man accused of killing her father. 
    Rachel’s open palm cracked across his face, snapping his head to the side. His ear rang but his reflexes were quick and he caught both her wrists, experience warning him that a woman didn’t stop at one slap. She struggled, fighting with all her strength. When he began to lose his grip, he clamped his fingers tighter around her small bones, forcing    her arms behind her back.
    “You know who I am, don’t you?” Reno demanded an answer.
    Tears glistened in her eyes, but rage contorted her mouth. “Reno Hunter is supposed to be locked up in St. Jo.”
    “The sheriff’s deputy was persuaded to release me.”
    “I don’t believe you. You broke out with the help of your brothers.”
    “They helped me escape because they know my freedom is the only way I can prove I didn’t kill James Garrett.” He released her and she stumbled back against the tree. He noticed the sudden change in her eyes, and he turned his anger on himself for making her suffer. “You’re afraid of me now, aren’t you? Just a few minutes ago you offered to confess your terrible sins to me. Now you’re looking at me as if I’m a heathen.”
    Reno’s cynical smile caused her to shudder. Compassion fled when he thought about how she deceived him with her chore girl pretense. His own disguise flirted with his mind. He wasn’t happy that he deceived her as well, but she wasn’t in possession of a marker claiming to own another human being.
    “I never thought I’d find Garrett’s daughter on a wagon train.”
    “If you hadn’t killed my father, I would have traveled more comfortably by stage.” Bitterness seeped into her accusation.
    “I didn’t kill him.”
    “It was your gun, wasn’t it?” Her gaze dropped to the gleaming weapon visible beneath his parted frock coat.
    “It wasn’t me who shot him,” he insisted, wishing she’d believe him. “You can rest assured I will find the man who killed Garrett and left me to take the blame.” He purposely softened the severity in his stance and his voice. “Can I trust you not to interfere?”
    “I should turn you in to Mr. Kane.” Her strident threat plucked a raw nerve.
    “You won’t because you know damn well I didn’t kill your father. If I had, I wouldn’t have gone to such lengths to disguise myself.” He pointed out his uncomfortable clothing. “I would have run off and hid until the murder of your two-bit gambler father is dust in the wind.”
    “How dare you speak of my father—”
    “It’s the truth,” Reno barked, startling her into silence. Her bottom lip quivered. “Oh, for Christ’s sake. Don’t start bawling.”

Book Video:

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Note from Ginger:
I just finished this book and could hardly put it down.  It's one of the best westerns I've read in a long time.  Well done, Jannine.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Meet Gus - From "A Gallows Waited"

My name is Gus. Folks know me as Mr. Tower’s ramrod, a good man—if I say so myself—though I never was anything more than a hired hand. I’m here to tell ya a bit about A Gallows Waited. Larion wrote the story, and she wrote good, being educated more than me, but still she asked me to come tell ya a bit about it, to get ya interested and all.
When that little thing got off the train, I couldn’t feel nothing more than sorry fer her. Elizabeth was plain as a mouse, and laced into a drab shapeless dress that looked like her mother should’a been wearing it, not a woman no more than 25. Her hair was so light, pulled back tight the way it was, she looked nearly skinned. Elisabeth looked, well, not scared, more like just nothing. Ya know, that blank look on her face like maybe she was a bit simple minded. Mr. Tower sent me right off to fetch her luggage. Dang if she didn’t bring a dog with her. That didn’t set too well with Mr. Tower, I can tell ya. He told her right off he’d tolerate no animals in the house. Thought I saw something in her then, like resignation, like the poor little thing just give up on life. She didn’t argue none, just climbed up on the wagon seat for Mr. Tower to take her to the boarding house where she’d stay ‘till they got married. Fool thing for the man to do if you ask me. He was old enough to be her father, friend of her father’s, and it was him that arranged the marriage. Don’t think Elizabeth had much to say about it or maybe she just didn’t care, coming all the way from back east to marry a man she’d never seen afore. Wasn’t right. I may be no more than a hired hand, maybe getting on in years, too, but there ought to be love in a marriage. Was in mine. Loved my wife and loved that baby girl she gave to me before I lost them both to cholera. My little girl would be the same age as Elizabeth. Elizabeth has them same big blue eyes, reminding me of that babe I lost every time she looked up enough to see them eyes. Guess maybe that’s why I wanted to help her so much that same day her and Mr. Tower got hitched when Tim Bowman rode into the ranch and shot Mr. Tower dead.
Now that Bowman, he fascinated me from the minute I laid eyes on him. Had me a short time talking to him, me talking mostly, afore Mr. Tower got home from wedding Elizabeth.  I knew right off he weren’t no run of the mill grub line rider. Looked poor, but he rode and talked proud, had a voice you could hear yards away without him even raising it, when he bothered to speak, that was. Not a talking man and it didn’t take me long to learn he had him a big hate, riding him hard. He was mad, deep down and clear through, at everyone and all the world, but as soon as he opened his eyesneed to back track her a bit. See as soon as Mr. Tower seen Bowman, he pulled out his gun and started shooting. He got lucky with one of his wild shots as far as winging Bowman, but Bowman’s single shot back dropped Tower to the ground dying. What followed was the crazy thing I ever did see. Tower went to confessing, though I never did get the straight of that, and made me promise to see to Bowman being cleared. Not only that, he went and left half his belongings, the ranch included, to the man that just shot and killed him. I had to go after that there Bowman, and I’ll tell ya true, I was a bit nervous about it. Drug him back to the ranch and as soon as he opened his eyes, there was Elizabeth and those big blue eyes he saw.
Working out the riddle of the wild story Tower told as he was dying about that Bowman fella, weren’t easy, ‘specially when Bowman swore he weren’t the man Tower thought he was. I had my hands full, let me tell ya, what with keeping my promise to Tower and trying to teach Elizabeth she didn’t have to pay any mind to what other folks said and should speak up fer herself. Elizabeth had been treated bad by that daddy of hers, but she had a spark in her that just needed lighting. That Bowman, now he did some lighting. She come out fighting when the sheriff thought to hang him.
Now that’s all Larion wants me to be telling ya. She says telling too much now will spoil the story so’s I’ll just shut my yap. Y’all want ta see how Elizabeth turned out and how Bowman found out there was more in the world than hate, yar just gonna have ta read the book. I don’t reckon you’ll be sorry. I’ll let her tell ya all them other things like whar ya can buy it and such.
Thank you, Gus. I’ll just add this much, A Gallows Waited historical, western sweet romance is available at:  
 For more information, blurbs, excerpts and such, on A Gallows Waited as well as other in my western collection, drop by my site.
Larion Wills, a multi-genre author, also writes under the name of Larriane Wills. From science fiction to western romances she holds up to her tag of ‘two names, one author, thousands of stories.’
About the author:
 Born in Oklahoma, but raised in Arizona she feels a native to the state and has settled in the high desert country. In a quiet, rural area with a family who tolerates her writer’s single-mindedness, she presents us with a series of unique westerns while still producing contemporary romances, many laced with paranormal settings, all with strong characterizations and suspenseful plots, capable of dragging you into a story in a genre you thought before you didn’t care for. Under her pen of Larriane she writes science fiction and fantasy.
Larriane AKA Larion Wills, two names one author, thousands of stories
buy links: with nine to choose from
my links:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What Happened?

This was supposed to be my western-themed time of the month, and I did receive a few great posts to share with Annette's from a few days back.  Unfortunately, I made a little trip to the ER which resulted in a five day hospital stay, and then the house we made an offer on closed within a mere two week period, and we moved.  When you aren't around to remind folks of their blogging appointment and to post to FB and Twitter, things sort of fall apart.  I apologize, but do hope you'll stay tuned for those folks who did submit something from the "old west."

Today is the anniversary of a very tragic time in US history.  Like all other atrocities, rather than relive them, today I chose to say a small prayer for those seeking comfort of the bad memories and ask that I be used as an instrument to continue to do good things in a world so divided.  If you are one who is mourning a loss today, I send you a virtual hug, but life is for the living, so let's celebrate the moment.  :)

Living is what Odessa wanted to continue to do in her story.  When her father dies beneath the crushing weight of their over-turned wagon, her determination drives her to find a way out of the desert and back to civilization.  Sometimes, even when you set your mind to something, it doesn't always work and a little divine intervention works wonders.

Enter Zach Johnson, a would-be outlaw, who is wrestling with his conscience.  I could give away the story when hero and heroine travel together, but you'll have to read to find out what happens when Zach meets up with the leader of a gang determined to lighten the load of a wage-bearing stagecoach and a trusted companion who helps him find Odessa when she is carted away by grudge-bearing gunslinger.  Things aren't always as they seem.

Thanks for continuing to come back to Dishin' It Out, and now that I'm in and settled once again, perhaps I can get back to the pleasure of writing and blogging.  In the meantime I'm waiting for the bills to start pouring in from the tag-team of doctors who visited me in the hospital.  Thank God for health insurance and please...keep Obamacare from my doorstep.  Oops...that was political, wasn't it.  Sorry. :)

Oh, next Sunday, I'll be back to Six Sentence Sunday which I've missed because I get to share such great tidbits from others.  I almost forgot to add that Odessa is offered by Eternal Press and on and Barnes & plus a myriad of other places on the Web.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Welcome Annette Snyder, Mega Western Author

I was talking to a friend one day having one of those conversations that started with, “Did you try that recipe for pizza?” and ended with, “That would make a great story.” 
I was recalling a day with my great grandfather. In his nineties when I was five or six, he had Alzheimer’s but to me he was just as normal as anyone else.  He sat on the swing in his front yard one spring day in his dirty grey bowler hat, jacket zipped up to the collar.  His beautiful whistle echoed across the yard.  
That morning I was drawn to my great grandparent’s house next door and I asked Doda to teach me how to whistle.  
A glimmer of recognition came to his face.  In broken English, he said, “Nunda, make your mouth like this and blow.” 
I did but only a weird howl came out.  I was born with a birth defect that stole any chance of whistling away but still, Doda tried. 
As suddenly as the swing moved backward, his memory slipped away. 
That was the  story I recounted to my friend followed by a tale of Doda’s migration to the United States as man in his late twenties. Bringing along a fifteen year old bride, arranged in marriage by her parents, Doda and Babbie used all their money to purchase one way ships passage to America. 
More than sixty years later, children, grand children and great grandchildren that included me, Doda lived a full life and seemed content to sit on that swing under the big elm tree in the front yard of his one bedroom house that sat on the lot next to ours and, in his lucid moments, he told stories to me. 
And I paid attention because, even when I was young, something inside said those stories were important.  I knew I had to remember the excitement in Doda’s voice as he spoke of his first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty.  I knew how lucky I was to be born into a family where my great grandparents were alive to tell me stories that seemed so foreign and unimaginable.  My great grandparents were like living storybooks, as old as their tales and as wise as their words portrayed. 
The day during the conversation with my friend, she added the story of her family.  Ancestors she didn’t know migrated to the new land.  From which country, she had no clue, but she knew of the baby they found on the edge of a river.  His parents killed by people they supposed were Indians, the baby left to die in his massacred mother’s arms.  By the prodding of what I can only guess was Gods lead, the infant survived and, when he was old enough, he married their daughter and took the family name. 
Covered wagons, harsh winters, disease, struggle, love, commitment and the will to make a better life was the goal of the immigrants and I combined all that I was lucky enough to hear as a child to write my historical romance Travis Pass Series. 
I presented my friend with the first chapter of Travis Pass and she read every page right then.  With tears in her eyes she said, “This is amazing.  You should try and get it published.” 
So I did.  For her, and Doda--and my own children who grew up with their own trove of stories told by my grandmothers, their great grandmothers, who lived into their nineties. Many times my children sat listening to bohemian accents flavoring each sentence, wrinkled hands gracing the air as if movement could open a curtain to the past. 
And maybe someday, my great grandchildren will ask about my life which, as the past makes way for the future, may seem so strange to them that something will draw them to take notice.  Perhaps they’ll be inspired as I was.
Visit my website and read the essay I wrote about Doda’s whistle and learn about the rest of my work.  or my unique blog which includes writing talent and promoters -Fifty Authors from Fifty States


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