Descriptions for heat levels in book list

------holding hands, perhaps a gentle kiss
♥♥ ---- more kisses but no tongue-- no foreplay
♥♥♥ ---kissing, tongue, caressing, foreplay & pillow talk
♥♥♥♥ --all of above, full sexual experience including climax
♥♥♥♥♥ -all of above including coarser language and sex more frequent

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tucson Moon Trailer

Tucson Moon is one of those books that nearly wrote itself which happens once in awhile for a writer. It helps when you are working with characters you created for an earlier book as I had in this case with Arizona Sunset.

Its trailer was even easier as the book was full of imagery from the characters and part of Arizona I love so much. It is officially out the 29th but turns out Amazon worked quickly and both the paperback Tucson Moon and Kindle Tucson Moon are available.

The story begins right before the Christmas holidays which makes it a perfect time to release it.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Discussing 'Tucson Moon'

When you write a book, pretty much any book, there are a lot of elements that go into deciding what is being included. Romances like 'Tucson Moon' are, of course, about falling in love and then working out what is possible for two people. A novel is about a lot more than that, especially an historic novel with a geographic setting. There will always be a lot of decisions as to what elements belong in the story.

To add to what goes into it, writing a book is not just about getting to a certain number of words but instead how many words and events are needed to truly tell this story and to get to where writer and reader feel it has come to a good conclusion.

Last week for Tucson Moon I did a video discussion, something for assorted reasons, that I hadn't been doing as much of recently. It goes into some of the elements that I felt belonged in this particular  book. It was a fun story to write and came together very rapidly beginning as soon as I got home from a trip to Tucson with writing beginning in January 2013 and a rough draft finished in about a month.

Then came editing. Editing and editing again to be sure my story was consistent. Writing isn't just about telling a story but about telling it well. That's where I hope I got with Tucson Moon available as eBook and paperback November 29th.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tucson Moon

Writing is a lifestyle that is constantly evolving and filled with so many things going on that it's hard to stop and think where am I in all of that?

Currently looking at the paperbacks, as they come in as proofs, to determine if they are ready is one aspect even though I have yet to figure out what I can really do with them next. I won't order as many in the future but since we plan to be back in Tucson in January, stores there might be interested-- or not. See how wise I am in all of this!

Then there is readying promos for the book coming out on November 29th-- Tucson Moon. I love that story as it's about not only the couple falling in love, but picks up the characters from Arizona Sunset and brings them to 1886. It's about communities, the desert, relationships, holidays, metaphysics, family, and the impact of our choices on ourselves and others. It's another adult romance but maybe not quite as spicy as Arizona Sunset. I try with my stories to put sex into them where the sex is part of the story and needed. I don't pressure characters to have sex but let it happen when I believe it would occur.

I enjoyed the historic research that went into learning more about Arizona Territory and Tucson in the mid-1880s. A lot was going on. Three cities were vying to be Arizona's capitol. Becoming a state was years in the future. Tucson was going through a transition from sleepy pueblo to a real city thanks to the arrival of the railroad. The broader political spectrum in the growing nation impacted my hero as a United States Deputy Marshal. These men were very much involved in not only keeping the law but politics as United States Marshals were appointed in Washington D.C. and changed when the party in power changed (although mostly the Deputy Marshals stayed the same but with a new boss). I found a great book on the jobs of these frontier marshals which helped a lot.

Tucson Moon will come out as both Kindle and paperback. They have gone to offering a matte finish for the books which improved the covers immensely-- too bad they didn't do it before we had ordered 10 Arizona Sunsets with the shinier cover...

moon from our Tucson home

Meanwhile, although I was supposed to be getting back into the fourth Oregon historical, I had a dream... and the dream has led to so far 10,000 words on what will either be a novella or novelette depending on how many it takes to tell the story of that dream. The dream was amazing, came from seemingly out of nowhere and yet had connections to my own experiences. I liked it so much that I wanted to expand it into a book. Fleshing it out has been what I've been writing this last week-- as even a short story takes more details than a dream offers. So far I've been enjoying this development a lot.

And if you read my other blog, you know I lost my beloved four-year old cat to a terminal illness. We began to look for a kitten as we wanted our remaining 8 year-old cat not to be alone. Until July he lived in a house where he was one of three cats. We found (Craigslist) the new addition after some adventures in that arena. Raven is 6 months old, coal black with golden eyes like Blackie and is settling in with the two of them adjusting to each other.

So promoting, writing, and living a life. That's about it for now.

Excerpt from the soon to be released Tucson Moon:

Priscilla came back through the door. “Ben said he’s innocent,” she said without preamble.
“Most men in a jail say that.”
“I believe him. It sounds like a misunderstanding.”
“Other than the broken arm, you mean?”
“A man has to defend himself.”
“Some people are more dangerous to defend yourself against than others.”
“And that would be Mr. Presley, who had him work for him and then denied him pay.”
“You know him?”
“A lawyer if I recall in Phoenix.”
“Exactly. And he had important friends in the court system. He didn’t take well to the injury.”
“Which he deserved for cheating.” He suppressed the smile. She was quite the spitfire herself when she got started. He well recalled her many times of putting him down. He supposed he was about to experience yet another one of them.
“Isn’t there anything I can do for him?” she asked.
“I suppose if Judge Emerson blocked his move to Prescott… denied federal court jurisdiction, and levied a fine, possibly it might be the end of it on the federal side.” He knew he could get in trouble for saying any of that but it wasn’t as though he wanted Ben put in the federal prison system for what likely was unfairness. Worse would be if they decided he needed to be put into one of the mental hospitals that were warehouses not treatment centers.
“You think he might do any of that?”
“He got burned recently on a federal case. It’s possible.”
“Well then I think I will find out about that,” Priscilla said with a wider smile. “So you won’t object if such a thing should come to pass.”
“Not me.”
If he hadn’t known better, he’d have taken those beautiful lips to have softened with a flirty smile and the look in her eyes saying things he knew weren’t meant for him other than possibly how she handled all men—wrapping them around her delicate little finger.
“Well what about another idea of mine. Will you object to that?”
“I am always cautious when I hear that kind of proposal without specifics. What kind of idea?”
“Grace and I were on our way to lunch at the Palace. Will you join us?”
He considered thoughtfully for a moment. “I wish I could but unfortunately I have processes and writs to serve.” And a warrant if Blake Johnson was home.
“Ah more abuses of the law?” she asked with at teasing smile.
“Depends on who is being served as to who gets abused.” With that teasing expression still on her face, he felt tempted to give her the kiss for which she seemed to be asking. Stupid thought as that’s one thing he knew he’d never be doing—kissing the beautiful Miss Wesley.
“I will forgive you for not joining us,” she said, if you will come to dinner Friday night.”
He knew part of having Grace at her home was to allow him gradual access to her life, but dinner at Priscilla’s home. That was a step beyond what he’d planned.
“There is a catch, of course,” she said.
He snorted. There usually was. He looked down at Grace who was looking from one of them to another. “You know what it is?” he asked his daughter. She shook her head.
“So what is the catch?” he asked wondering if it meant he’d have to put up with Martin Matthews company for an evening.
“James was supposed to go to the mountains and cut a Christmas tree but he’s got another bout of his lumbago. I hate to ask him to do it. Do you suppose you could? We’d decorate it then after dinner.”
He’d seen Christmas trees but hadn’t ever cut one, or even thought of decorating one. With the holiday so close, he supposed he should have expected this, but he had not. It wasn’t that he couldn’t do it. It would take half a day but he knew areas where the right size pine could most likely be found. Finally he nodded. “How tall?” He felt as though his fate was sealed.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

There's a lot going on

Launching a new book in a little over a week and receiving the final paperback copies (after more than a couple of proofs) of the book that came before it, has been an interesting juxtaposition of energies. The funny part is, and this probably isn't unusual for writers, I have several other things going on at the same time to the point I don't quite know where to put my own energy.

We bought ten copies of the paperback in order to show it to independent bookstores with the original idea they might like to carry the books on consignment but also because several friends indicated they would like paper copies. I learned that this particular book will cost a friend $8.87 as we will sell to them at our cost for the book, shipping to us, and then mailing the book to the friend.

I was in shock of how much books mailings have gone up. I remember when the Post Office offered a really cheap rate for books-- it's still less than any other package but no way is it cheap as it was. And UPS is even worse. It'd make it a joke to mail it to someone with the idea of saving them money from Amazon's price.

Amazon (if the buyer had free shipping through Prime or enough orders), currently (as in today) has Arizona Sunset listed at $10.08 except we actually said it should retail at $11.95 which, as best I can tell, they have never ever sold it at. They say any bookstore would have to sell it at retail but they don't. Sound complicated yet?

I am not sure if bookstores could really sell it at $11.95 and have any profit; so they might not be possible and that's mostly due to shipping costs as the book itself only ran $5.07 but you can't leave out the shipping unless a person could pick them up where they are created. I am thinking shorter books may work better in the paperback as this is a long one which makes it more costly to buy and ship. Numbers we got numbers...

At the same time of trying to figure out how to promote that paperback, I am getting ready for its sequel (kind of), Tucson Moon. I did a video to discuss the new book but haven't posted that yet. If someone liked Arizona Sunset, I think they'd like Tucson Moon as it does carry on the lead characters who now become secondary. More coming on it during the next week which is a busy one.

Going along with that has been beginning writing on my fourth Oregon historical, none of which are out, but the new book is much on my mind as I get a better handle on its characters.

When I started to record the discussion of Tucson Moon, I realized I was actually starting a discussion of the book that will be called Love Waits-- and it does have to wait its turn. I stopped that discussion and made my mind go where it needed to be. Fortunately I had earlier created Tucson Moon's book trailer which will be out a few days ahead of the book. I am not sure if the paperback will be the same time-- as that depends on the first proof which is on its way as I write this.

Besides the approaching holidays, adding to my personal angst, my much beloved, youngest cat had to be put down due to a terminal illness. I wrote more about that in my other blog and won't do it here; but if you have had pets and understand the love we have for them, to have a sweet, young cat take ill so suddenly sucks out a lot of emotional energy in accepting it's happening and then dealing with it.

So Arizona Sunset paperback and Kindle available, (two other paperbacks soon follow), and coming November 29th, Tucson Moon where Cord O'Brian (that family is in several of my contemporary books-- Desert Inferno, Evening Star, and Bannister's Way) is the hero who is about to learn about the many faces of love.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Author Lyn Horner

Author Bio:

Lyn Horner resides in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband and several very spoiled cats. Trained in the visual arts, Lyn worked as a fashion illustrator and art instructor. After quitting work to raise her children, she took up writing as a creative outlet. This hobby grew into a love of research and the crafting of passionate love stories based on that research.

The author says, "Writing a book is much like putting together a really big jigsaw puzzle. It requires endless patience and stubborn determination to see your ideas come to life, and once hooked on the process, you're forever addicted."

Who inspired you to become a writer?

First of all, thank you, Rain, for inviting me to your lovely blog. I’m delighted to be here.

Who inspired me to write? It was a group of ground breaking romance authors, women such as Rosemary Rogers, Kathleen Woodiwiss and LaVyrle Spenser. I fell in love with their stories and when I quit work to raise my children I decided to try my hand at writing books in the same vein as theirs.

You mostly seem to write paranormal type historical romances. Have you had experiences in your life that led you to these stories?

Yes, I experienced prophetic dreams when I was younger that led me to give the heroine of my first book, Darlin’ Irish, the gift of second sight. For instance, she has a vision of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 several weeks before it occurred. From that beginning, I decided to give her brother and sister other psychic gifts.

In that vein, do you believe in reincarnation, ghosts, mystical experiences in reality?

Again, I have to say yes. I was influenced by books about reincarnation in my youth, and for me it just makes sense. I think our creator gives us repeated chances to learn from past mistakes until we “get it right.” As I said above, I believe in psychic gifts because of my own experiences. Additionally, I’m fascinated by myths from ancient times about legendary races such as the Celts and their Druid mystics.

When it comes to ghosts, I’m on the fence. I’ve never met a spirit from beyond the veil, but I have heard enough credible stories to at least concede ghosts may be real.

What do you think in your life has most led you to write the kinds of books you do?

Well, there were those early romances I read as a young adult, but long before that I was greatly influenced by my dad. Coming from Texas, he loved western movies, TV series and novels. I watched many an old western with him as a kid and, instead of the usual “girl’s” books, I devoured novels by Zane Grey, Louis L’Amour and other great western authors.

This long-standing interest in the Old West, plus my belief in extrasensory talents and my love of historical romances, led me to combine the three things in my writing.

Do you ever get depressed about the marketing end of writing?

I sure do. Juggling writing time with marketing demands is not easy, and all too often a day passes without me writing a word in my current WIP (work in progress). I envy authors who have help from family members or who can afford to hire an assistant to handle promotional commitments. Like many writers, I’m basically a hermit. I love alone time when I can draw out the stories in my imagination. Not writing is what really depresses me.

When you have time to read for pleasure, what kinds of books most attract you?

My favorites are still historical romances, not only westerns, but stories set in other periods and locations. I also read an occasional mystery or police procedural. However, most of my reading time is spent on research, either on the internet or with my nose in a history book. Most recently I’ve been studying Ireland and the workings of motorcycles for my new series, which is a total break from my western romances. This one is contemporary with, as you might expect, a dose of paranormal.

From where do you find your inspiration for heroes and heroines?

That varies quite a bit. Jessie Devlin, the heroine of my first book, was inspired by reading about the Irish immigrants who settled in Chicago during the 1800s. She’s a stereotypical Irish colleen with fiery hair and a temper to match. (I’ve been criticized for that, but she’s still my favorite female character.)

Jessie’s hero, David Taylor, grew out of all the bigger than life cowboy figures I idolized in movies. (Think John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.) The ensuing books in my Texas Devlins trilogy feature heroes and heroines who were secondary characters in the preceding book(s). I enjoy showing how these people evolve from Darlin' Irish.

With that in mind, I’d like to tell you about Rose Devlin and Choctaw Jack, the stars of Dearest Irish,
Texas Devlins, book three.

Rose Devlin, like her older siblings, possesses psychic talent inherited from a hidden line of Irish Celtic Druids stretching far back in time. Rose is blessed with the extraordinary ability to heal with her mind, a secret gift which has caused her great pain in the past. She also keeps another terrible secret that may prevent her from ever finding love.

Choctaw Jack, a half-breed cowboy introduced in Dashing Irish, book two of the trilogy, straddles two worlds, dividing his loyalties between his mother’s people and the family of a friend who died in the Civil War. Like Rose, he keeps shocking secrets. If they ever come to light, he stands to lose his job, possibly his life. Yet, after his chance discovery of Rose’s unique gift, he risks everything, kidnapping her from her brother’s Texas ranch in the belief she can save his dying mother.


Rose Devlin stood outside the corral fence, tensely watching her brother Tye struggle to stay on the brown stallion he was attempting to subdue. Horse breaking, he called it, but man breaking seemed a better description. With head down, the infuriated animal kicked out both hind legs, raising his rump high in the air. Somehow, Tye hung on, but when the stallion performed a wild twisting movement, he succeeded in throwing his rider. Rose cried out in alarm, but to her amazement, her brother hit the ground rolling to avoid the horse’s hooves and rose nimbly to his feet.
Brushing himself off, he cornered the horse with help from a ranch hand named Micah Johnson, an older cowboy who mainly worked around the homestead. Mr. Johnson had lost the use of his left arm in the War Between the States, but he deftly threw his lasso over the horse’s head with his good right arm. While he controlled the animal, Tye climbed back into the saddle.
Rose clutched the small gold cross suspended on a delicate chain at her throat and whispered a prayer as the battle between man and beast resumed. She gave a start when a man walked up beside her. Going rigid, she stared at him as he folded his arms along the top rail of the fence. She’d never laid eyes on him before. If she had, there’d be no forgetting him. Almost a head taller than her, with copper colored skin and long black hair, he wore a wide-brimmed black hat with a black-tipped white feather jutting from the leather hatband.
“Howdy, Miss Devlin,” he said, casually glancing at her.
“Ye . . . ye know who I am, sir?” she asked, wondering who he was and where he’d come from. She thought she’d met all the Double C hands over the past three months.
He turned his head and studied her with eyes as dark as night. “Everybody on the place knows you’re Tye Devlin’s little sister.”
Embarrassed by his close inspection, she looked away, but her curiosity got the better of her. “Who are ye?” she blurted. Then, instantly regretting her bluntness, she stammered, “I-I mean I’ve never seen ye before. Are ye new here?” Darting a sidelong glance at him, she was relieved to see him watching Tye and the bucking, snorting horse instead of her.
“Depends how you look at it,” he replied. “I just rode in yesterday. That’s why we haven’t crossed paths before. I return about this time every year to help out with the roundup and the drive north.”
“Oh, I see.” Rose knew he referred to the yearly cattle drive to Kansas. She’d listened to Tye and his in-laws discuss plans for this year’s drive several times. Herding thousands of cattle over such a long distance sounded like a daunting task to her.
“I heard you fixed your brother’s eyes,” the stranger remarked. “How’d you do it?”
Rose licked her lips and clasped her cross again, seeking an answer that wouldn’t require mentioning her unusual ability. Before she could find words, the horse Tye was on emitted an enraged shriek and ran straight at the fence where Rose and her companion were standing.
“Look out!” Tye shouted.
       Frozen in terror, Rose stared at the charging animal. She gasped when two arms closed around her from behind and whirled her aside just as the crazed horse reared and slammed his front hooves down on the top rail of the fence. The wood split with a loud crack, accompanied by a pain-filled neigh from the horse. A hiss of pain also sounded from the man pressed to Rose’s back, his broad shoulders hunched around her.

Lyn Horner blog:
Amazon Central: 

Darlin' Irish

Dashing Irish
Dearest Irish
Social links:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What we hold sacred

Bear Butte after the big fire

"The four cardinal virtues so valued by the Lakota: bravery, generosity, fortitude (in regard to both dignity and the ability to endure physical hardship) and wisdom. ... the fourth was more difficult to acquire, springing in part from a combination of the first three but also from additional attributes -- experience, intelligence, spirituality, and  superior judgment in all matters."      
From 'A Terrible Glory' by James Donovan

I love these values also and only wish we looked for the same in our leaders... Too often we settle instead for rhetoric and image-- for someone who says what we wish to hear.

The United States did not defeat the Lakota and Cheyenne because we were a superior people but because we had superiority in power and numbers. I am not one who believes the Native American way of life was always superior to the European, but there are some values that I feel we are losing track of even from my childhood years.  Is it too late to change our values to something more positive in our own lives and even more in what we expect from those we vote for as leaders?

it is said that Crazy Horse spoke to the People from here

prayer tree along path and from top of Bear Butte

a Native American encampment at the base of the mountain

Three times I have been on Bear Butte where I always have gone with a feeling of sacredness. I will write more about those times-- when things quiet down a bit here.

Bear Butte was and is still sacred to the Plains peoples. The story goes that Crazy Horse, a rather mythic leader, though never a chief (he was a 'shirt wearer' which had spiritual significance until he made a decision in his personal life that lost him that designation), was born at its base and is secretly buried on its side. 

To find my own photos, I had to send my husband to the attic to retrieve full boxes; so I could scan them. I wanted them on my computer. I want to return and perhaps will when we visit where my husband's people came west from-- Iowa and Missouri, and my birth family's ancestral grounds-- the Black Hills. Ironic isn't it... 

When I have been to Bear Butte, I just couldn't bring myself to go to the Black Hills, Pahá Sápa, but now I want to see the graveyard there of my family. It was so important to them that some died in Oregon and had their bodies returned to the Black Hills for burial.

Whenever I go, I will try to not think about the unfairness involved with its acquisition, the commercialism, and appreciate the beauty that I have been told is in this very special place.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Today's guest author-- Paty Jager

 Today's guest author is western historical romance writer, Paty Jager as she shares how she created her series about the Halsey family. 

Farther down, you will find more information, as well as a blurb and excerpt from her latest book, Laying Claim, the newest Halsey family book--  as well as info on Paty's giveaway in celebration of this new release.

How I built a family one book at a time.
By Paty Jager

Rain, Thank you for having me on your blog during my blog tour.

The Halsey family wasn’t even in my head when I started writing Marshal in Petticoats. It was the sixth historical western romance book I’d written and happened to be the first book to get published.

Marshal in Petticoats was about an accident prone young woman, Darcy Duncan, who ended up in a down-on-its-luck town in the middle of gold country. I was looking for a place to put this story when I read a book about the area I planned to use as the setting. When I discovered a town that had its post office, building and all, stolen in the middle of the night by disgruntled miners who didn’t want to walk down the mountain to check for mail, I knew I had my setting.

After establishing the heroine and the town, I gave the heroine a younger brother so that her actions had merit for why she dressed like a young man and accepted the job of marshal. She had a strong family commitment, which meant the hero, Gil Halsey, wouldn’t, or at least thought he didn’t deserve to be in a family. He’d left home at a young age believing his brothers blamed him for the deaths of their parents and younger brother.

Gil had been a drifter until he met Darcy. When the subject of his brothers came up as I was writing the story, I thought a minute and gave them each a name: Ethan, Hank, Clay, and Zeke. And the next thing I know, Darcy drags Gil home and a reunion takes place. The four older brothers are determined to help Gil clear Darcy’s name, and they all ended up as secondary characters in the book. Once readers had a taste of the brothers, they asked for more Halsey books.

Since Zeke was mooning over a school marm in the first book, he and the school marm were the main characters in the next book, Outlaw in Petticoats. To keep Ethan, the oldest from being shut out of married life, I made the third book, Miner in Petticoats. Ethan as the eldest is determined he has to make the family mine take care of all the growing families. He’s come up with a way to make money for the family and help the other miners, but he needs land from the Widow Miller. She’s not about to sell. In that book, Clay is injured and that sets him up for his story with Dr.Rachel Tarkiel in Doctor in Petticoats.  And last, poor Hank, he had to wait until everyone else was happy before he could go after his dream and in the process fall in love with a very unlikely match. Not only is Kelda handy in the kitchen, but she’s handy with a whipsaw as well. At the end of Logger in Petticoats, I set up the possiblity of continuing the Halsey saga with younger members of the cast, by mentioning Jeremy, Darcy’s younger brother, had gone to Alaska to seek his fortune.

When I finished the five books, I took a break from the Halsey family, but I kept receiving emails asking for more Halsey books. I thought on it a bit and decided I could do a trilogy with the young men who were brought into the Halsey family through marriages. First Jeremy Duncan, Darcy’s brother, then Colin Healy Miller, stepson to Ethan, and the third will be the blind boy, Donny, who was befriended by Clay and brought to Sumpter to help him with his buisness. 

These three books will be the Halsey Homecoming Trilogy. Each one will have been away from home and are coming back. Jeremy’s story is, Laying Claim. Below is the blurb and exceprt.

This post is part of a week-long blog tour. I love to give, and you could be the winner! I will be giving away an e-copy of my Christmas novella, Christmas Redemption, to one commenter at each blog stop where there are at least ten commenters. You can find the blog tour hosts at my blog: or my website:

Laying Claim Blurb:
Jeremy Duncan commits to haul one last load of supplies across the great interior of the Yukon before heading home. But, he has to trade his pack animals for sled dogs and leave Skagway in the middle of a blizzard due to one strong-willed, business-minded beauty.

Determined to find her older brother, Clara Bixbee doesn’t care how she gets across the pass, as long as she does, and soon. Hiring handsome pack guide Jeremy Duncan seems to be her best choice. Especially after she saves a young girl being beaten by the local gang leader and needs to escape Skagway fast.

Someone roughly shook Clara. She shoved her arms out of her sleeping bag and opened her eyes. The lanterns were glowing, backlighting the dark, furry head so close she could smell his sour breath.
“Get away from me!” she said loudly. Where is Jeremy? She shot a glance to the floor. His sleeping bag was empty.
“What have you done with Jeremy?” She sat up, forcing the body looming over her to have to back up.
“We decided you ain’t goin’ with him.”
She stared at the man in front of her. It was one of the first men they’d been introduced to. And one of the men who’d made her nervous the way he stared at her.
“You have no say over what I can and can’t do.” Inside her body quivered and her stomach squeezed with fear. Outside, she scowled and clenched her fists. Working at the warehouse, she’d learned to be strong on the outside no matter what she felt on the inside. Men always thought they could bully her.
Clara dropped her arm over the side of the cot and groped the floor for something to use as a weapon. Her trusty umbrella was packed in one of the sleds.
“It ain’t right for a young thing like you to be goin’ into the wilderness. You could get ate by a bear or worse.” The man nodded his head.
Several voices behind him agreed. She looked beyond the man in her space and spotted four more. Panic clamped her jaw shut. Jeremy, where are you?
Her hand found something long, round, and cold. She grasped it and pulled Jeremy’s rifle onto her lap. Before the man could move to take it from her, she swung the business end toward him.
“Back off!” She glared at all of them. “All of you. Get back.”
They all backed up, apologizing and glaring at the back of the man she held the rifle on.
“Where is Jeremy? Did you do something to him?” She quickly scanned the room. “Where’s Snooker Pete?” She clicked the pointy thing on the top of the rifle just like she’d watched Jeremy do when he prepared to shoot a rabbit on the trail.
“Don’t go shooting me. They’re both fine.” The bearded man’s eyes moved in his head like bubbles in a pot of boiling water.
Clara nodded to the others. “Bring Pete and Jeremy here, or in five minutes I’m going to shoot this man in the foot.” She let the end of the barrel drop enough to see the man’s big boot.
They others scattered out of the tent, leaving her with the rifle aimed at the man’s foot.
“There’s no reason to be so ornery,” the man said, his voice shaking.
“There was no reason for you to meddle in my life. That’s one thing I don’t take kindly to— men meddling in my affairs.” She glared at the man and hoped Jeremy arrived soon. She didn’t know how to keep the gun from firing.


Who is Paty Jager?
With sixteen published books, three novellas, and an anthology, award-winning author Paty Jager is never at a loss for story ideas and characters. Her rural life in central and eastern Oregon and interests in local history and the world around her keeps the mystery and romance ideas flowing. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.  
You can learn more about Paty at her blog;  her website; or on Facebook;!/paty.jager and twitter;  @patyjag.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Keta Diablo-- guest author

Diverse, award winning author, Keta Diablo is guesting today. She is sharing one of her historical books but also a review she did on Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and how it inspired her.  I hope you enjoy both.

About Sky Tinted Water

Note: This is a ‘sweet’ historical romance
Malevolent schemes and passion collide in this sweet historical novel. Set in Minnesota during the Civil War and the Sioux uprising, this is the story of Rory Hudson, the exquisite Irish lass with an unbreakable spirit and the enigmatic Dawson Finch, a man bound by honor, duty and loyalty.
When Dawson enlists in the army to bring peace to nation divided, Rory’s world plummets into a tailspin. War, distance and time separate them, but nothing can dispel the haunting memories of their love. Not even death can destroy their fierce passion or a love so strong it beats the odds of the impossible.

Available Here:

Click on link above to visit my Amazon page

 A review of To Kill a Mockingbird 

A Sultry Childhood Journey . . . .

by Keta Diablo

The dictionary says sultry means to be hot with passion or to be capable of exciting strong sexual desire. But sultry can also mean sweltering or torrid.

Have you ever heard a word that reminds you of a certain time and place, almost like a Déjà vu? Whenever I hear the word sultry it reminds of one thing – To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I know, it’s an odd analogy. Most of the time sultry should remind one of steamed heat or perhaps conjure an image of Marilyn Monroe standing over a street vent, her short skirt billowing about her.

Not me. When I hear the word sultry I’m taken on a journey back to my childhood, seventh grade to be exact. That year, my teacher placed a copy of To Kill A Mockingbird on my desk with a simple note, “Read this. I hope it opens many doors for you.”

At the time, I thought it a strange note, but then Miss Holmquist was rather strange. (Picture a short, stout woman with flabby upper arms that jiggled when she worked the chalkboard).  Still, the woman piqued my interest with her odd message. How could books open doors? Why would I want to read about an old lawyer in a southern state I knew nothing about? And, what’s more, what kind of a man would name his children Jem and Scout?

I took the book home and several days passed before I opened it and read the first line, "When he was thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow." Hmm, this Ms. Harper Lee, whoever she is, has my attention now,” I said. Who is Jem and how did he break his arm?

From that moment I was hooked – mesmerized over the story, in awe over the character names, Boo Radley, Aunt Avery, Dill, Atticus, Calpurnia, and even the girl who was supposedly raped, Mayella. I’m still in awe of the plot, the personalities, and the vivid neighborhood descriptions.

So why does the word “sultry” remind me of To Kill A Mockingbird? Because for the first time in my life I realized that by simply turning the pages, I could feel the sultry heat, taste the prejudice and agonize over the hatred between black and white.

“So what did you discover in this book?” Miss Holmquist asked me two weeks later.  I didn’t know where to begin. Should I tell her about the rollercoaster of emotions I went through while reading? Do I dare ask her why the jury convicted Tom even though I prayed they wouldn’t? Or maybe I should tell her how brave Scout was when she diffused an explosive situation between Atticus and the old-timers of the town with a simple, “Hey there, Mr. Ewell, how’s your boy doing?”

I didn’t ask the questions, but I did tell her about every sentiment I felt. Mostly, I told her about the bitter taste in my mouth over a word called prejudice, and I told her I felt the hot, sultry sun of Maycomb County.

Some days, I wish I could go back to 7th grade and ask Miss Holmquist if she knew one day To Kill A Mockingbird would be one of the best-loved stories of all time, that it would earn many distinctions since its original publication in 1960. I’d ask her if she thought it would win the Pulitzer Prize one day and be translated into more than forty languages. And, “Miss Holmquist, do you think it will sell more than thirty million copies worldwide and be made into an enormously popular movie?”

You know, I think Miss Holmquist would have said, “Yes, I do think Miss Lee’s novel will achieve all those things and more, but the more importantaly, Keta, To Kill A Mockingbird will transport you to the sultry heat of the deep south and take you to places you never dreamed existed.”

I would say, “Thank you, Miss Holmquist.”

* * *
Keta Diablo writes erotic historical romance and paranormal/suspense romance. Her latest paranormal shifter novel Where The Rain Is Made has been nominated for a Bookie Award by Authors After Dark in the BEST enovel category. You can find out more about Where The Rain Is Made here (don’t forget to read the reviews):

You can find Keta on the Web at the following places:
The Stuff of Myth and Men,


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Stories in Stone

Petroglyphs and pictographs have always fascinated me. Why would they not, as like writers, they are telling a story. It is up to us to determine what that story is even as the Native American people usually have ideas but they aren't always the same.

The following are all in the Columbia River Gorge at Columbia Hills State Park. Some have always been where they are today. Some were saved from Petroglyph Canyon when it was flooded by the Dalles Dam.

And for me, of all the many petroglyphs I have seen, the ultimate one that had been on my list was Tsagagalal, She Who Watches. She has set above the Columbia River many years and today can only be seen on an arranged tour. Her story would have to be an interesting one as to why she was created to be where she is and all that she's seen since that time.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cultural differences in books

 Over the many years that I have enjoyed writing, one of the elements to my books that I realize returns again and again are people, from different levels of our culture, coming together. I hadn't really thought about how many times that was an issue until I was thinking of sharing a clip from Her Dark Angel and this is the one that came up. The hero and heroine are married but her mother isn't accepting it. She believed her daughter deserved more; so she set up a reception dinner to show the hero how inferior he is.
  His plate was whisked away with someone else setting another in front of him. Again Dill was presented with the silverware puzzle. He hated this. Hated the pretensions, hated the expectant eyes, eyes waiting for him to fail, but he reached for a utensil, no longer caring whether he had the right one, no longer looking to see what anyone else took after him.
   Dill longed for Katy, wanted her beside him but was forced to sit and eat, listen to the boring conversation, hearing people talk about things which he'd never heard and had less interest in knowing. What is the state of travel to Turkey this year? What did you think of Toffler's last work? Did you hear about the latest archaeological dig near Cuzco? Dill barely restrained himself from asking if that was the one where they found a buried alien. He suspected they’d not have found it funny.
   He was out of his element, but it wasn’t a surprise. He had nothing in common with these people and saw it brilliantly highlighted as Richard Jordan switched smoothly from conversation to conversation, adding something knowledgeable to each topic, managing to flatter all the ages of the ladies.
   The longer the dinner went on, the more Dill’s mood darkened. He didn't blame these people. They were who they were. Margaret Hayward had intended to make a point with this reception, and she had. The play was to be the final stroke of the blade. If he hadn’t gone through what he had at Tahoe, it might have succeeded. As it was, it just meant he had a lot of work ahead to fit with the people in Katy’s life. He would hate it, be bored to death by it, but he would do it.
He is a young man who grew up on his own a lot of the time and came from commune living where many didn't pay much attention to the kids with a father and mother not ready to be parents.  He missed out on the cultural experiences common to so many. Suddenly through love, he's been thrust into this other world where tuxedos were required. This is a guy who's bought all his clothes in used stores.

In writing the book I found it fun to play around with a lot of the differences and in the end showing that it's not as significant as some may think. There are values that matter far more. Why though has this element always been so appealing to me? I think because I also came from another world, not as far removed from cultural fineness as his, but I didn't go to a really nice restaurant until I was in my late teens and dating. Then I was uneasy about how would it go?

I have grown to be more comfortable in such settings but still am not prone to want the luxuries that many equate with culture and riches. I guess it makes sense I'd write about people from two different worlds coming together to make one world for themselves. As writers, I think those parts of our own lives often will show up one way or another in the plots we choose. It's  part of the fun of writing.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

George Armstrong Custer

 "Get your facts first; then you can distort them as you please." Mark Twain

George Armstrong Custer, Autie to his friends and loved ones, had a fiery love that lasted until his death. From all accounts his marriage to Elizabeth Bacon was passionate and involved a woman willing to risk danger to follow on the campaigns and be with the love of her life. Did he have affairs? Did she? Those questions won't be answered but whatever they went through in the 12 years of their marriage, they were madly in love the day he was killed on a ridge above the Little Bighorn.

The story of their relationship exists in their letters, The Custer Story edited by Marguerite Merington, put together by her friend after Elizabeth had died. It exists in the books they each wrote, hers titled Boots and Saddles, Tenting on the Plains and Following the Guidon; his titled Life on the Plains and written about one of his most famous campaigns-- until the last one. They are all worth reading as part of understanding this famous couple.

There is a humanity you get from reading actual journals and whether they sugarcoated the tough parts, that tends to be how we do. Did they tell their truth as they saw it or wished it to be? All the kinds of things we will never know for sure.

Until I read Elizabeth's books, I never understood why she didn't remarry after Autie's death. She was beautiful and only 34. But then with her words, the life she had led with him, what man could have ever measured up? I finally did understand.

The criticism of Armstrong both at the time and through the generations has been that he was a glory hound. His own book doesn't remotely show that as he constantly gives others credit. He over and over praises his Crow and white scouts. I think some of this talk of glory hound was because he dressed flamboyantly. He has his reasons for that and to me they made sense.

When Armstrong left West Point, it was one year before normally cadets graduated. At twenty-one, he was thrust into being a cavalry leader in one of the most vicious and bloody wars the United States has ever known or hopefully will know. He fought in many of the biggest battles and was often cited for bravery. He fought at the head of his men, not necessarily the norm for brevet generals which is what he became during the war. He said the bright red scarf was so his men would always know where he was to see what he wanted to do next.

Being showy also increased his fame and frankly how do you think he would have done it otherwise having not come from a military family nor one of wealth. He was a self-made man who liked the military life.

As a hunter and warrior, his physical skills were part of his fame. He could ride all night and fight all day which clearly wasn't necessarily true for all those who fought under him. When he demanded discipline of his soldiers many resented the orders. He could be curt and concise for what he wanted done which may have played a role in his eventual death. If he was hated, he was also admired and even loved by many of the Indian tribes who he had fought and who also served as his scouts.

I think it's worth reading the books about the politics of his time like by James Donovan, A Terrible Glory, because it does help us see the mythology of the hero but also of our times. We haven't really learned a lot and that's sad.

photo of the painting in the visitor center at The Little Bighorn National Monument

As to what happened that last day, did he make the tragic blunder that so many claim? He did die and with him 210 of his men, but did he have more of a plan than some claim. Did he try to do what he felt was best and it was the one time the Custer luck ran out?

Here's how I see that last day, and it's based on many of the books as well as my own thinking regarding what makes sense. He was riding to battle with two officers who either hated or disliked him. He had to know that based on what they had said and their actions. Could he trust either? He had troops who weren't seasoned thanks to the US government demanding he spend the months ahead of the campaign in DC where he testified about government abuse in cheating the Reservation Indians and the soldiers for quality of food. He made no friends that way, but he told the truth as he knew it and he told it in such a way that the media of its time could relay his words.

Remember he was a celebrity. Some hoped he would run for president with the next election. He was an ardent Democrat, who had not favored equal rights for the blacks, but who had fought to make it happen. Democrats were encouraging him to run. As a war hero, he could well have had a shot at being President. Were there those who didn't want that to happen?

So that last day riding out with these troops who weren't that well trained, he divided his force from the full 600 some soldiers to three groups. That's where he is criticized, but I think he had a reason and a very logical reason which fate played a hand he could not have anticipated-- not with any amount of reconnaissance.

What we know based on Benteen and Reno's testimony is he told Benteen, who made no secret of his hate for Custer, to head one direction and look for Indians running away. He had Reno attack the village from another. Did he explain his motive to them the night before or did they really not understand the plan?

He took his men and tried to cross the Little Bighorn but was stymied by an unknown factor-- quicksand. His goal was stopping the battle, no matter how huge the force of the Sioux and Cheyenne, based on capturing and taking hostage their women and children. It had worked at the Washita because he understood the way the Indians reacted to threats to their families. It could have worked here, but he couldn't get across. The Indians knew where to cross and soon he was fighting for his survival and hoping two officers who hated him would come to his aid. They didn't.

Custer, unlike his men, was not mutilated. He had been shot twice, was stripped of his clothing, holes poked his both his ears and evidently that arrow up his penis which I still have to wonder what the symbolism of that was. While the troopers had been mutilated in sometimes horrible ways, why wasn't he? The likelihood is the Indians that day only knew it was Custer after he'd been killed. Some would have recognized his body. Was that why no mutilation? Other ideas have been suggested and who knows the truth of it.

There is a lot of spiritual mythology about the battle and its aftermath which I won't go into here but one story I liked  which indicated there is often a lot more involved in life and death than we will likely ever understand.
    "How information about the Little Bighorn and the terrible wipeout of Custer traveled is a mystery. Only an hour or two after the battle had ended, General Crook began to notice that his native scouts began to look sad, wailing and generally expressing a sense of calamity. But what did they know, and how did they come to know it?
    "The question has never really been answered to my satisfaction or anyone's. The natives mourned something they could not have seen, and knew something they could not have come to know by conventional methods.
    "General Crook worried this question for the rest of his life, without ever coming to a satisfactory conclusion. Could it have been smoke signals, or hand mirrors, or what? Crook went to his grave not knowing."  Larry McMurtry in Custer
Stories of ghosts, strange happenings have been repeated even to some claiming to have seen Custer and Sitting Bull standing together at Wounded Knee and showing by their faces sadness at the carnage. Both had been killed by that time. Did they actually understand and respect each other better than any outside the life of a true warrior could ever understand?