Western Romance, The Story of Us —— Part XIII


Under A Texas StarAlison Bruce has an honours degree in history and philosophy, which has nothing to do with any regular job she’s held since. A liberal arts education did prepare her to be a writer, however. She penned her first novel during lectures while pretending to take notes. She writes mysteries, romance, westerns and fantasy.

Copywriter and editor since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher and web designer in the past. She currently manages publications for Crime Writers Canada and is a volunteer with Action Read Family Literacy Center. A single mother, she lives in Guelph, Ontario with her two children, Kate and Sam.

The Canadian Connection

by Alison Bruce

Why would a Canadian set her story in Texas? Blame it on Mexico.

My sister and I had whooping cough. I was five; Joanne was two. She was the reason we had to seek out a warm, dry climate for Christmas instead of visiting family in Montreal. Since my parents weren’t exactly flush with funds, they packed up my fatMazatlanher’s company station wagon and we drove south, headed for Mazatlan.

With the self-centered clarity of a child, I only remember the parts of the trip that had an impact on me. I remember the switchback roads in the mountains. Dad loved them. Me – who was car sick on a straight road – loved them. Mum and Joanne were throwing up.

When we reached the beach, I stepped on a crab and was scared of the sand for years after. I remember eating peeled shrimp like candy… and my first real pineapple.

For some reason, I also remembered Laredo. I don’t remember much about the town except the name. It etched itself on my consciousness, the sound of the word was as exotic and exciting to me as Paris or Istanbul might be to someone else.

Travelling to Mexico became a family habit for a while – especially after we acquired a camper. It was in the camper that I started reading Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour. I had run out oLouis L'Amourf Georgette Heyer and had not yet developed an interest in the mysteries my mother brought along for the trip. Dad gave me a copy of Riders of the Purple Sage, followed by a couple of L’Amour’s short story collections. Suddenly I started taking an interest in the country we were travelling through. The United States – particularly Texas – ceased to be a geographic obstacle between home and our destination.

“Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.” – Louis L’Amour

When I needed to research Texas history and geography for Under A Texas Star, memories of those trips floated up to the surface.

One other trip cinched the deal – but it wasn’t one I took. My parents decided to go to Mexico when my mother retired. The family camper was long gone. Instead they outfitted a van with a kitchenette, bed and porta-potty. Feeling a bit envious, I wished them bon voyage one chill November morning. A couple of days later, they called from the Mexican border.

They had forgotten the vehicle permit. They couldn’t get into Mexico.

Stifling a laugh that I would have paid dearly for, I suggested they visit Texas while they were there – and bring back guide books. I was writing a western.

“What is writing texas-rangers-sketchbut an expression of my own life?” – Zane Grey

Over the years I’ve developed a great interest in the Texas Rangers and their history, especially in comparison to our Canadian Mounties. The Rangers are legendary. Their history goes back to the early years of the American colonization of Texas when Stephen F. Austin hired ten experienced frontiersmen as rangers for a punitive expedition against a band of Native Americans. In 1835, the Texas Rangers were formally created as a law enforcement and defensive organization. They fought for Mexico against Spain, against Mexico for independence, then against the United States for the Confederacy.

Organized into companies that were given the task of protecting and keeping the peaceTexasRangersCoB in their bailiwick, the Rangers were a paramilitary, ununiformed group.  Many didn’t even have badges. There was no uniform badge until 1936 – a hundred years after the official formation of the Rangers. As peacekeepers and lawmen, their star rose in 1874 with the formation of the first Special Force of the Texas Rangers by Captain Leander McNelly. This became the force that was immortalized in fact and fiction.

Meanwhile, in Canada…

With the Treaty of 1846, the 49th Parallel was established as the border between the United States and British-Canadian territories in the west. For almost three decades, the border wasn’t recognized by trappers, traders or natives. Then, in 1873, the North-West Group of MountiesMounted Police were established to police the Northwest Territories. This included what would become Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Modeled on the Royal Irish Constabulary, the Mounties recruited men of good character, able to speak and read English or French. No married men need apply.

Unlike the Texas Rangers, who were recruited from settlers already in country, the Mounties migrated west ahead of the European and eastern Canadian pioneers that would follow. Where the Rangers were initially recruited to fight “Indians” and outlaws, the Mounties were sent west to protect the natives as well as secure Canadian sovereignty in the territory.Mountie in color

The Mounties were a uniformed force. Many were former British Regulars or Colonial Militia soldiers. The officers included other professionals. The enlisted men included farmers, tradesmen, clerks, two policemen and a bartender. Over a third of the original force came from Ontario. Others came from Quebec and eastern Canada, Britain, Ireland, Europe and even the United States.

Regardless of the differences in their origins, the Texas Rangers and Canadian Mounties share significant similarities. Both organizations were tasked with keeping the peace with small forces in impractically large territories. Both were divided into battalions or troops that served their areas from a local base of operations. Both were more than police forces. They also served military and judiciary roles.

Both are the stuff of romantic heroes of the old and new west.

www.alisonbruce.ca       www.alisonebruce.blogspot.com  www.facebook.com/alisonbruce.books

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Western Romance, The Story of Us —– Part XII


Long Ago Memories.2Judith Ann McDowell is a novelist with four finished books. When not working on a manuscript, Judith and her husband Darrell like to travel to different cities such as New Orleans to learn about voodoo and talk with those who have experienced, first hand, true hauntings.
Judith is the mother of four grown sons: Guy, David, Rhett and Nick. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband Darrell and their two Pekingese, Chi and Tai, and their three cats, Isis, Lacy and Reefer. Judith is at present working on her next novel.

Long Ago Memories & Fated Memories, are currently being reformatted and will soon be available at World Castle Publishing.

Women’s Fiction or Romance?

by Judith Ann Mcdowell

I write in two different genres, western historical and paranormal. My two western historicals also cross genre lines. They have been called romances by some readers, women’s fiction by others. What’s the difference? That’s what I’m here to explain.

The first book I wrote is Long Ago Memories. It’s the story of Tia, a half-breed girl in search of her Montana roots. While on a visit to her grandparents’ ranch she comes across some astonishing truFated Memoriesths about her past and meets a handsome young man whose image has haunted her dreams for as long as she can remember. The results are not always happy.

I realized after I wrote Long Ago Memories that the story was a long way from finished. This is how I came to write Fated Memories, which tells the story of Tia’s mother, Jessie Thornton, the beautiful only child of one of the most powerful men in Montana. When Jessie dares to fall in love with a handsome Blackfeet Indian hired onto the Thornton Ranch, all hell breaks loose in 1903 Montana. Again, the results don’t make for the typical HEA (happy ever after) ending required in most romances. That’s one reason my books are often called women’s fiction.

The Shell SeekersHowever, there’s more to it than that. Women’s fiction focuses on issues that are important to women. Sometimes there’s a romance involved, but not always. The stories might also form a family saga consisting of several generations. Rosamunde Pilcher’s books are a good example. In addition, secondary characters are often more important in women’s fiction. I like to develop several characters in my stories, not just the hero and heroine. Each character has a story to tell, and I enjoy letting them tell it. outhouse.small

I also enjoy writing about the olden days when people didn’t have all the conveniences we now take for granted — such as an indoor bathroom. Instead, they had to walk out to an outhouse to take care of business. Or, have in the bedroom at night what was called The Honey Pot. I don’t think I need to describe it’s purpose. The point is I like to tell it like it really was for our pioneer ancestors, not romanticize their life.

Law and order was also handled a lot differently in the old west. Instead of law suits, wrong doings were handled on an individual basis. Meaning…individuals either settled the problem at hand with their fists or guns. Or, if gunfighttheir dispute made it before a judge, justice was swift and didn’t linger in the courts or wait for years of appeals. The sentence was handed down and the convicted one was either shipped off to prison where he did hard time until his sentence was up or he was taken out the next morning and hung by the neck until dead. Once again, I go for the nitty-gritty truth.

Another thing about frontier justice: it gave the town’s people something to watch and enjoy. Especially the women who had an excuse to get away from the everyday chores of making the family’s clothing, canning food for the winter, washing clothes in the creek, and bearing another baby each year. There wasn’t a lot of entertainment in those days and you had to take it where you found it.

In conclusion, I think the difference between women’s fiction and romance is the happy ending required in a romance but not in women’s fiction, the fuller development of secondary characters in women’s fiction, and a style of writing that’s more true to life. And if you stop and give it some thought you’ll realize most stories that have left a lasting impact are ones that don’t end in smiles but in tears. That my friend is called life.

I am glad stories of the old west have made a come back. I am sure we have all missed those good old days.

http://judithannmcdowell.webs.com/       Jude’s facebook page

Western Romance, The Story of Us —– Part XI


OdessaGinger Simpson officially became a published author in 2003 with the release of her first western historical romance, Prairie Peace. She retired early from the University of California to devote more time to her writing and has since signed more then twenty contracts. Although she’s dabbled in several genres, her favorite remains historical westerns. A steady TV diet of Bonanza, Have Gun Will Travel, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train and Rawhide as well as reading every Laura Ingalls Wilder book in grammar school led her down the rootin’ tootin’ path of cowboys and Indians, and now they are her passion. The cover of her latest release, Odessa, is featured today.

  • Odessa available on amazon.com

Civil War: Romance & History

by Ginger Simpson

There have been many historical romances built around the American Civil War, but the era (1861-1865) was far from a time filled with love, hearts and flowers. Given the reality, authors draw romantic interest based on the separation between hero and heroine, the obstacle (war) that keeps the characters apart, the pending possibility of a safe return, and the final joy of seeing a loved one appear unscathed from a battle that claimed so many lives. The joy and return is what is called an HEA (Happily Ever After), usually a staunch requirement in all romance novels. Gone With The Wind

At the mention of this particular historical era, we automatically picture tree-lined streets and exquisite architecture as seen in Gone with the Wind. Sexy heroes like Clark Gable and the imagery in the movie gave credence to romance in the south. Showing a story is a wonderful thing to stimulate the imagination.

Jenny's PassionA favorite author who writes in this particular genre is Diane Wylie. Her novels, Jenny’s Passion, Secrets and Sacrifices and Lila’s Vow are great examples of historical writing where love conquers all. You can find her at http://www.dianewylie.com. Bet you’ll fall in love with her writing just as I did.

But back to some interesting and true facts about the Civil War: In reality, eleven Southern states declared their intent to separate from the US and formed the Confederate army. Twenty-five states, comprised of mostly slave-free Northern states became the Union Army. Four more slave states joined the succession effort when the Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter in North Carolina.

It’s no surprise the Confederacy lost the war. Consider this information:

Civil War Flags1. The Union population exceeded the Confederacy 71% to 29%.

2. The slave population in the south (who of course wanted their freedom) was 3,500,000 as compared to 400,000 in the north.

3. The number of enlisted serving in the Union exceeded the South 67% to 33%.

4. Northern railway lines numbered 21,788 miles as compared to 8,838 Confederate miles.

5. Firearm production speaks for itself. North 97% – South 3%. Battle of  Antietam

The war ended when the Confederacy surrendered on April 9, 1865, yet on April 14, 1865, a southern sympathizer assassinated President Lincoln. The true number of casualties from the Civil War will never be known, but an estimated 623,026, or one out of eleven men, died during this period of time. If you combine the destruction of property, families, and the long road to reconstruction, things don’t look quite so romantic, do they?

Thank Goodness for fiction which allows authors to weave imaginary tales into historical facts to make them much more appealing. There’s nothing quite like a great Civil War romance. I’ll take mine with Tom Selleck playing the lead opposite me as the heroine.

The bottom line…being an historical fiction writer allows an author to take creative license with any era as long as the facts relating to the period are correct. There is nothing more dreaded by an historical author than losing one’s credibility because of a factual faus pax. Add as much character, sex, and romance as you’d like, but make sure you get your history straight.

http://www.gingersimpson.com          http://mizging.blogspot.com

Western Romance, The Story of Us —- Part X


book stack

Tracy Smith is an avid reader and book reviewer on goodreads.com. Like the authors contributing to this series, she loves Western Romance and hopes to see the genre flourish. We are very happy to have her with us.

Who Can Resist a Cowboy?

by Tracy Smith

cowboy gallopingWestern romance has always intrigued me. I had to be just a young teen when my mom allowed me to start reading some of the Harlequins, and it always seemed like I was drawn to the ones including those really “hot” cowboys. But even before that, I was drawn to anything with a country and western flair. From the Little House series, to Zane Gray novels, and then finally on to full-blown western romance, they’ve always been on my bedside table. From sweet and tender to hot and steamy, I wanted to read it all! And with my mom’s blessing, I was on my way.

Who can resist a story with a good-looking man, dressed in tight-fitting jeans, scuffed boots and a low-slung hat down over his eyes, telling you how he feels in that slow, heart-melting southern drawl voice? Can’t you just imagine the pull of your emotions in a situation like that? I can and that’s why I enjoy these stories so much. (In fact, the man I married used to dress very similarly to that when we were first together. Hmmmmmmm, think there’s some meaning behind that?)

Linda Lael MillerLinda Lael Miller and Diana Palmer are two of my favorite western romance authors of today, but I am always eager to try new authors. I also enjoy reviewing books on goodreads. I review a variety of genres and have found authors I love in many different ones, but western romance holds a special place in my heart. As long as there are more and more out there to enjoy, I will keep piling them at my beDiana Palmerdside.

Reading and reviewing these different genres has become my obsession. I am either reading, writing something down on paper about what I am reading, looking up new books and authors to follow, or typing up a new review to post to my blog. I have even come out of a sound sleep thinking about the book that I am currently reading. Yes, I am completely absorbed into this whole literary world. And to think, I just started blogging in April.

I am a big fan of goodreads and all it’s wonderful people and features. In fact, I usually post all my reviews there before I even post them to my blog. Don’t ask me why, it’s just something I do. I have posted many reviews there in the last few months and if you would like to check them out, I would be delighted. Any and all comments are welcomed!! You can find them here:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/5274696

Tracy posted a very nice review for Darlin’ Druid. Thanks, Tracy! ~~Lyn

Western Romance, The Story of Us —– Part IX


Nowhere Cover

Leanore Elliot began writing at the age of eight. Gifted with a creative pen, Mrs. Elliott enjoys writing paranormal erotic romances to keep the readers entertained. She has been married for many years to her true love and has 4 children; the ‘lights’ of her life. When she’s not writing, (which is rare) she’s spoiled by her loving husband who is not only an exquisite chef but a published author.

On her 150 moves, all across the US, Leanore has seen a lot and witnessed many interesting, paranormal sights. She has written 14 novels; ten are currently published. She lives in the Western Town of San Antone, Texas, home of the Alamo.

Nowhere, Arizona: http://captivesouls.weebly.com/nowhere-arizona.html

A Wicked Western

by Leanore Elliott 

A panoramic sky—blue and fathomless stretches over a dusty plain. A horse and rilone cowboyder move across the desolate land, as an eagle soars above. Restless and wild, the rider heads toward the hills as he leaves yet another old life behind him in the dust.

The lone horseman is focused on his destiny, in a world where the law doesn’t exist. He’s seen some sights that would turn a man cold, lived a life with a colt at his side and grit in his soul.

He is the west, a lone benefactor of a lawless age. He’s faced it all. The raw frontier with its bloody vengeance at the hands of savages, the hanging of men who’d gotten no fair trail, no jury of their peers. He’s ridden through the land of dry death, when he journeyed across the stark, endless desert with its mirages of useless dreams.

—Simply living with the violence of staying alive.

This lone rider, this man of the west, thought he’d lost his soul on the trail a long time back. He believed he had a hole in his chest where his heart should be. A hole bored out by blood spilt in the dusty streets, from one too many senseless duels. Emptiness loomed inside his soul from the splay of deadly bullets and the tear of slinging arrows.

He had believed in a living death, an existence with no feeling, no warmth—until he saw her.

His steely blue gaze met with flashing orbs of emerald green. The look in her eyes was one of defiance and spirit. As though she’d been against the high cliffs while facing a wrathful world, and had already stared death down with an avid will to live.

His heart moved in his chest. This so surprised him that he closed his eyes for a moment to feel—the sensation of being human. When he opened his eyes, she was gone. He squinted hard into the blaze of a noonday sun. Her silhouette was immersed in a shadow of dust, as she rode away with a group of riders.

The riders were Indian braves…

* * * *

This story is how I see the days and men of the West. It so fascinates me with it lawlessness and forsaken journeys. The rest of the story will have some erotic scenes, when these two hard-bitten souls do meet. rodeo clowns

When I was a little girl, my dad was a rodeo rider. He was an actual Bronc Buster. My childlike eyes were wide open with awe, as I went to rodeo after rodeo. I laughed at the clowns, and later I realized that they were the real courage masters.

My dad loved the old cereal box westerns such as Roy Rogers crooning with a yodel in his voice. My dad yodeled all through my childhood. His favorite music was Johnny Cash and Hank Williams.

When I started writing romance, it was not westerns, but Paranormal Erotics. Since my cowboy dreams became more grown up in content, I decided to dabble with a Paranormal Western and I came up with the novella Lace & Leather.

I felt that the only thing missing from those old Western movies and dime store Louis Lamoure novels was passion. A heat, which had nothing to do with the blazing western sun. In my view, it would’ve completed these great stories to have a stubborn, bull headed female, meeting up with a hard bodied cowboy. These love scenes would soar off the charts!

Two MulesFor instance, in Two Mules for Sister Sarah? A wicked saloon hall girl, Shirley McLain fools Clint Eastwood, when she deceives him into believing she’s a nun on a mission of mercy. At the end, when he finds out the truth? I wanted that extra scene, where he gives her some sweet, sexy payback.

I’ve imagined all of my favorite Westerns with these types of heat scenes as an ending at the very least, while they rode away into the sun. In my western world, the Duke would’ve shown the Angel just what a Bad Man really was.

Wicked, you might say? I laugh with a sparkle in my eyes as I wL&Londer how some of those hunky cowboys would have performed after they took their boots off. If I would’ve been the western heroine? I would have had only one breathless suggestion, “Just leave that sexy Stetson on for a while—Cowboy…”

Read my Paranormal Western Romance Lace & Leather for free at my Home webpage. Also, see my Modern-day Western Novel: Nowhere, Arizona.

 

Amazon Listmania: http://www.amazon.com/Books-by-Leanore-Elliott/lm/R3ELV11ZSQT7H2/ref=cm_lmt_srch_f_1_rsrsrs1

Friend her at Facebook and ask for a free novel: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1338668928

http://captivesouls.weebly.com/-leanores-home.html

Wonderful Customer Review!


Forgive me for interrupting the Western Romance series, but I found a terrific new customer review for Darlin’ Druid on my Amazon product page. Just have to share it.

“Wow! This was by far the best book I have read this year, possibly ever. I couldn’t put it down once I began reading. I can’t wait to read more from this author.”
~~ Jamie

If you’d like to read more reviews and sample DD for free, click on the book title above.

Western Romance, The Story of Us – Part VIII


HomeSweetTexasHomeCaroline Clemmons writes romance and adventures. Her earliest made up adventures featured her saving the West with Roy Rogers. Her career has included stay-at-home mom (her favorite job), newspaper reporter and featured columnist, assistant to the managing editor of a psychology journal, and bookkeeper. She and her husband live in rural North Central Texas with a menagerie of rescued pets. When not writing, she enjoys time with family, reading, travel, browsing antique malls and estate sales, and genealogy/family history. Her latest releases in print and e-book from The Wild Rose Press include THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, OUT OF THE BLUE, HOME SWEET TEXAS HOME. Her novella SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME is available as a download only. Her backlist of contemporary and historical romance is now at Smashwords and Kindle.

http://www.thewildrosepress.com/caroline-clemmons-m-638.html

Romance Western Style

by Caroline Clemmons

dime novelsAs Suzie Grant pointed out on July 25th, dime novels endeared western lore to the nation, even spreading throughout the world (read Julie Garwood’s PRINCE CHARMING). City people followed the exploits of legendary heroes in the West. The fact that most of the tales were pure drivel didn’t matter a whit. The lure was cGoneToTexasast, and many took the bait and headed to America’s West.

What began my personal love of the West? In the evenings, my dad often told stories of his family coming to Texas after the Civil War. I couldn’t hear enough of those tales. Even after I’d memorized them, I urged him to retell each one. Roy and Dale

Next came the movies: Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Lone Ranger, Hoppalong Cassidy. Have I forgotten any? Personally, I wanted to ride the range with Roy, saving the West from the bank robbers and rustlers I was certain plagued the land. We watched Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Rifleman, Maverick, and others and never tired of them. Then life intervened, as it did for all would-be cowgirls and cowboys. Crossfire Trail

As an adult, I discovered Louis L’Amour. Don’t hate me, but you can have Kathleen Woodiwiss’ books. You gasp, and I hope you’re not gathering tar and feathers! I readily admit she was a lovely person (I met her once in Houston), and her books were engaging. We owe her a huge debt for popularizing historical romance novels. As well, I love the books of Jodi Thomas, Patricia Potter, Linda Lael Miller, Celia Yeary, Paty Jager, and many more. (Celia, Paty and I are in a team blog http://sweetheartsofthewest.blogspot.com.) However, Louis L’Amour is my author hero. I’ve read each of his books at least twice, and several of them too many times to count.

I usually choose to write about 1870-1890 and the time of the Texas cattle drives. Yes, I also write contemporary cowboys, like the one pictured with this post, but none are more appealing to me than those of the late 19th century. So many things fascinate me about this time period. The Civil War and Reconstruction were over, yet law and order was far from established. Men–and women–were often isolated and had to defend themselves and their families. If there was an area lawman, he was often too far away to depend on for immediate help.

cattle driveWhen the Civil War was over, men returned home (if they still had one). In Texas and a few other states, many unbranded cattle who’d bred during the war ran wild. An industrious man could gather these and place his own brand on them, then drive them to market in Kansas. According to T. H. Fehrenback in his book LONE STAR: A HISTORY OF TEXAS AND THE TEXANS, cattle sold for two dollars a head in Texas in 1875, but brought ten dollars a head in Kansas. Since cowboys made the same wage per month and received the same food regardless of where they rode, it cost no more for a rancher to have his ranch hands drive cattle to market. Fortunes were built during this time! Comanche Indians by George Gatlin

The wealth didn’t come without cost. Danger lurked everywhere in the West, but on the trail hazards multiplied. Indians, rustlers posing as Indians, rustlers posing as lawmen, and a plethora of bad men wanted the benefit of others’ hard work. Then there were the natural disasters: swollen rivers, lightning storms, stampedes. Isn’t it a wonder any cattle made it to market?

Yes, you say, but there were no women on cattle drives. You’re right, you’re so right. Cowboys are a superstitious lot, and they believed women on a drive brought bad luck. In that way, cattle drives are far from romantic. It’s not the actual cattle drive that appeals to me, but the era. A young man with nothing could homestead land, gather unbranded cattle or buy a few head, and create a small ranch. With hard work and perseverance, he could expand. Of course, then he’d need a wife to share his life. They’d face trouble–it always came–and stand side by side to triumph. Well, that’s the way it happened in my novels.

mailorderbridesWomen from areas where most young men had died in the Civil War didn’t have to remain spinsters. They could travel West and marry, sometimes via mail-order arrangements. How many mail-order western romances have your read? I’ve read too many to count, but I still love them. There were wagon trains heading West (love those wagon train romances, too), then locomotives. By heading West, a single woman had an opportunity for a family of her own. I think I’d have risked it, wouldn’t you?wildmontana

Reading about people who adapt to new circumstances, meet obstacles they’d never imagined, and triumph while finding a soul mate is very romantic. Who wouldn’t love a tale like that? Hand me that book by Debra Holland, would you? I’m in the mood to read more about romance under Montana skies.

 

www.carolineclemmons.com          http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com caroline@carolineclemmons.com