…a McWonderful McGuest Post from my dear friend, Author, M.T. McGuire… #TBSU…


A delightful post from MT McGuire, which makes a good point.

Seumas Gallacher

…meet my great pal, Author, M.T. McGuire, I know yeez ‘ll enjoy her Guest Post …MTMcGuirePhoto

Oh no, it’s the M word. Yes. Marketing.

A couple of times on this blog recently, Seumas has been talking about singing and it got me thinking.

When I was a kid, I was in the church choir – not so much because I could sing as to make up the numbers. That said I liked the hymns and anthems and I could certainly make a lot of enthusiastic noise. Actually, I like singing, full stop. Preferably, at the highest volume possible, and the great thing about church is that no matter how out of tune I sing, they’re stuffed because it would be highly unchristian to tell me to shut up. But I digress… As I sang in the choir, I used to let my mind wander and daydream that the church was…

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Heroines I love to Write


Over on Amazon’s Meet Our Authors (MOA) forum several of western romance authors, including moi,  have been discussing what characteristics constitute a heroine in our stories. Today, I’ll share with you what makes my heroines are like.

My heroines are each different in their strengths and weaknesses. Jessie in Darlin’ Irish (Texas Devlins, Book I) is probably the most stereotypical. She’s beautiful, hot-tempered (she takes after her father and knows it’s a flaw) and impetuous, which gets her into trouble. But she’s also brave and willing to follow her dreams even if it puts her in danger. She matures during the course of the book but remains true to her basic character.

Lil Crawford in Dashing Irish (Texas Devlins, Book II) wears dungarees, totes a gun and herds cattle. She puts on a tough front, but underneath it she hides a world of hurt. She sees herself as a lanky, undesirable old maid who isn’t worthy of a man’s love. It takes the love of a handsome Irishman to convince her otherwise. Again, she remains true to her character, traveling alone into the Colorado mining frontier to track down her man, and vowing to stand beside him, gun drawn, against his enemies. Only he knows how feminine she really is, although she does take to wearing dresses toward the end.

In Dearest Irish (Texas Devlins, Book III), Rose Devlin emerges from years of seclusion in a convent. She’s timid and afraid of men, and has sworn never to wed. However, when faced with situations that push her to her limits, she proves there’s steel in her backbone after all. And since it’s a romance, she of course learns to trust and love the only man in the world for her.

All three of these heroines save their hero’s life in one way or another.

The heroine of my upcoming release has physical limitations and a huge responsibility she can’t reveal to anyone, even the hero. She doesn’t believe he truly finds her desirable, but will slowly come to trust his love as her story unfolds through a series of short books. She dislikes being dependent on him for assistance and protection but is strongly attracted to him. He will have to tear down the barriers she’s built around her heart. They are both wounded characters, the kind I like best to write.

 

To find out what other authors think a heroine should be like, visit: http://www.amazon.com/forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_pg_pg178?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdPage=178&cdThread=Tx28D3RJQGVSGBL

Thursday Tidbits: Crowned Heart Review for Rawhide ‘n Roses


R&R 2nd revise

Rawhide ‘n Roses, the Western romance anthology in which my short story The Lawman’s Lady appears, has received a glowing 4 1/2-star review from InD’Tale Magazine. Four stars or better is dubbed a “Crowned Heart” review. Woohoo!

I’d like to share the whole review here but fear that might be copyright infringement. Instead, here are a few delicious excerpts:

“In what other western romance will you find angels, petticoat patrols, time-travel, and roller skating?”

“. . . sparks of first love; and gun-totin’ fast-ridin’ wedding-dress-wearin’ brides, make for one rootin’ tootin’ rodeo of an anthology!”

“Each author has stamped their story with their own unique brand.”

“. . . boasts tales that are rounded out just as beautifully as their full-length counterparts.”

“In fact, this anthology has as many flavors as Baskin Robbins but they all come together to make a yummalicious triple-scoop sundae. So what could be better than kickin’ up yer spurred heels on a lazy porch swing and diggin’ in? Giddyup y’all!

by Sofia St. Angeles

Find on page 129 in the June/July issue of InD’Tale Magazine. http://www.indtale.com/

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If you would like to find out more about each of the 15 authors and their short stories, check out this dedicated blog site: http://rawhidenroses.blogspot.com/

Summer Reviews & Excerpts: Sorry It Ended!


Texas Devlins 4 Book Bundle 2Here’s a gem of a review from an Amazon customer for Texas Devlins 4 Book Bundle. It’s available in ebook format at a great bargain price!

5.0 out of 5 stars Sorry It Ended January 10, 2014

By MishkaGirl “Sue”

This is one of the best series I have read. The stories are introduced via the Chicago Fire in White Witch and it whets the appetite for what is to come. The next 3 books about 2 sisters, Jessie and Rose and their brother, Tye, keep you wanting to do nothing but read. They are definitely page turners. They kept me intrigued and interested from beginning to end. I was sorry they ended. I feel like I have lost my best friends. Well written and, with the paranormal element, they were different but enjoyable westerns. I highly recommend this series, you will not be disappointed.

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Now here’s an excerpt from Dashing Irish, Texas Devlins Book II (Tye’s Story) in which his empathic power gives him a taste of the family feud standing between him and Lil Crawford.

Tye laid aside his saw and stepped over to the water bucket for a drink. He took a long pull from the dipper, hung it back on the bucket and sauntered toward Lil. She was arranging covered dishes on a cloth-covered table. With her back to him, she didn’t see him approach.

“Good morning, Miss Crawford,” he said, halting a couple of paces behind her.

She whirled around, lips parted, brown eyes wide. Her chaotic mix of emotions – surprise, wariness and perhaps a hint of excitement — blasted him, bringing on a dull pain behind his eyes and causing his smile to slip for a moment. Seeing her nostrils flare delicately as if testing his scent, she made him think of a frightened doe poised to leap away.

“H-how do you know my name? I never . . . .” She paused, then answered her own question. “David and Jessie told you.”

“Aye, colleen, and I’ve been wondering, is it Lil for Lilly?”

“Th-that’s none of your business.”

Tye cocked an eyebrow but didn’t press her for an answer. “Ye look very lovely this fine day, if ye don’t mind me saying so.”

She stiffened and scowled at him, her color heightening to that angry, beautiful shade of rose he remembered so well. “Save your smooth words, mister. I know how I look, and I’m not lovely.”

“What?” He stared at her in disbelief, detecting the deep well of hurt from which her anger sprang. “Of course you’re –”

“Hello, Lil,” Jessie interrupted, startling him as she walked up to him. “I understand you’ve met my brother once before.”

Lil shot her a sharp glance; then her dark eyes drilled into him. “Yeah, we met a while back. Guess you heard all about it.”

“Aye, I mentioned getting directions from ye,” Tye said before Jessie could reply. He registered Lil’s anger at him for talking to his sister about her and felt her resentment toward Jessie. Mystified as to its cause, he went on, “But I neglected to properly introduce myself that day. The name’s Tye Devlin, and delighted I am to be seeing you again, Miss Crawford.” He winked, hoping to lighten her mood.

Her gaze darted uncertainly from him to Jessie and back again. She licked her lips and seemed to search for words. Before she managed to reply, a short, stout older woman marched up and clutched her arm. Her skin was darker than Lil’s, her features broader, but the two were plainly related.

“Come and help me,” she snapped, ignoring Tye and Jessie completely and paying no heed to Lil’s dismayed expression.

“Excuse me, Mrs. Crawford,” Jessie said with forced sweetness, “but I’d like ye to meet my brother, Tye Devlin. Tye, this is Rebecca Crawford, Lil’s mother.”

The woman’s black gaze whipped toward him. Hatred poured off of her, causing Tye’s mental barriers to slam shut against her.

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Thursday Tidbits: Book Cover Carousel


I used to have a blog on BlogSpot. I hardly ever received comments there, the main reason I gave it up, but a friend set up a lovely carousel of my book covers. A BIG carousel! I loved it.

Last evening I went poking around in the widgets here on WP and came across the gallery widget, which offers several ways to display a group of pictures, including a carousel. Excited and worried that I wouldn’t be able to set it up right, I gave it a try and discovered it’s not hard at all. Hooray!

After adding the four book covers for my Texas Devlins series, I hit publish. Or was it save? I’m not sure. Anyway, I immediately went to my front page to look at the carousel — and was very disappointed. The pictures are so small! Just look at it over there to the right. You can barely read my book titles. Sheesh!

So, I contacted a nice member of the WP support team who helped me solve another problem with the sidebar a few days ago. I asked her if it’s possible to enlarge the carousel images. She politely replied that the size is constrained by the dimensions of the carousel. In other words, no.

Am I frustrated? You know it!

Summer Reviews & Excerpts: “A Tantalizing Tale”


I’ve been struggling to revamp my homepage here on WordPress. So far this has involved changing the theme (general design), designing a custom header, paying for a customizing ap and enlisting help from the WP support team with faded sidebar images. Finally took care of that! Oh, and I chose a custom background. Isn’t it pretty?!! I still want to play around with custom fonts, but right now I’d like to give you some background for White Witch, a prequel novella introducing my Texas Devlins. An editorial review snippet and book excerpt will follow.

Revised Cover

While living near Chicago years ago – more than I care to admit – I became fascinated by the history of the Great Fire of 1871, which leveled most of the city. Prior to the fire, Chicago’s buildings, even the fine hotels and mercantile district, were built out of wood. That summer was hot and deadly dry. The city’s fire crews had their hands full fighting one fire after another, even managing to tame a vicious blaze the day before Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over her lantern (so the legend goes.) But there was no stopping the wind-driven monster that sent Chicagoans running for their lives on the night of Sunday, October 8, 1871.

Chicago in Flames -- The Rush for Lives Over Randolph Street Bridge

Chicagoans run for their lives across Randolph Street Bridge

How could anyone not be moved by such a tale? Certainly not me! With my imagination on fire (pun intended) I decided to use the fire as the opening for my first book. It didn’t sell, despite the efforts of two different agents and yours truly. Disappointed, I stuffed the manuscript away and kept writing in between raising two kids, being a soccer mom, a rabid band parent during the afore mentioned kids’ high school years, and running a boarding house for six unruly, lovable cats. See Six Cats In My Kitchen.

Eventually, after publishing the first two books in my Texas Devlins series, I decided to dust off the tale of the Chicago Fire, restructure it to fit the series and publish it as a prequel. This required adding a new story line illustrating the fact that my characters are psychics. How did that come about? That’s a story for another day!

As a novella, White Witch is necessarily short, but it spotlights the heroine’s clairvoyant ability in a highly dramatic fashion – at least I think it does – and sets up the great adventure she undertakes in search of the man of her dreams. For that story you’ll need to read Darlin’ Irish (Texas Devlins, Jessie’s Story).

You’ll also meet Jessie’s brother Tye in both the novella and Jessie’s book. He’s kind of a charming rascal, but Jessie loves him dearly. I hope you do, too, because he gets to strut his stuff in Dashing Irish (Texas Devlins, Tye’s Story). His encounter with a feisty Texas cowgirl begins a “stunning story set against the backdrop of the not-so-civilized state of Texas in the . . . 19th century.” – InD’Tale Magazine, September 2013
Oh, and don’t forget baby sister Rose! She doesn’t experience the terrifying fire, lucky girl, because she’s not living with her family at that time, but she’s tucked away in Tye and Jessie’s thoughts. Her secrets aren’t fully revealed until she meets her destiny, a hunky half-breed cowboy, in Dearest Irish (Texas Devlins, Rose’s Story).

My advice, dear reader, is take a deep breath and prepare for a wild ride from the ashes of Chicago, across the plains and mountains of the Old West, into the heart of Texas romance. Um, you might need a small fire extinguisher.

From: Editorial Reviews

5-Star Review
Lyn Horner weaves a tantalizing tale of a young girl beset by visions, . . . the story is short, but sets the stage well for the next installment, with great characters and a tempting story line. The descriptions of the Chicago fire are spellbinding . . . . “White Witch” is a well written snapshot of a climactic time in American history, as Jessie and her family find a way to make their lives and fortunes in the new frontier.

~ Ind’Tale Magazine, September 2013

 

Excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE

Chicago; August 1871

Jessie hiked up her skirts and stepped into the cool water of Lake Michigan, wading out until the gentle waves lapped at her knees. It felt wonderful on her sweaty skin. She wished she could immerse her whole body but didn’t relish walking home in sopping wet clothes.

“Jess, you’d best be careful,” her brother Tye called from a few feet away. “There could be a drop-off.”

“I know. I’ll not go any farther out. And take your own advice, brother dear.” She glanced at him enviously. Having stripped away his shirt and rolled up his pant legs, he was splashing water on his chest, not the least bit concerned about getting his trousers wet.

“Aye, I will, although I’m a fair swimmer, unlike you.” He grinned at her mischievously. “In case ye haven’t noticed, I’m not burdened by a skirt and petticoats either.”

“Humph! Go ahead and get your trousers soaked. Doubtless you’ll enjoy being ogled by every woman we pass on our way home, ye wicked devil.”

He laughed and sliced the water with the edge of his hand, sending a small geyser her way. It caught her in the face, causing her to shriek and duck away as droplets dampened the bodice of her worn gray gown.

“Don’t do that!” she scolded. “I don’t want to get all wet.” Wiping water from her eyes, she blinked several times to clear them. Once she was able to keep them open, she happened to glance into the distance across the lake . . . and froze.

The lake disappeared before her eyes, replaced by a burst of fire that soared high overhead, wringing a strangled cry from her lips. The fire turned into a hellish scene of flames leaping from building to building along a familiar street, a street filled with people running for their lives before the monstrous fire. It licked at the wooden paving block underfoot and at the walkways lining the thoroughfare.

Her view of the event shifted abruptly. Now she saw her family’s cottage going up in flames behind her as she was being whisked away.

“Nay, not our home!” she wailed without realizing she’d spoken. Then the scene changed again. Now she was looking toward the city from far across the lake, and what she saw made her scream in horror. The spell was broken. As suddenly as the vision had taken hold of her, it released her. Dizzy with shock, she lost her footing on the sandy lake bottom and tumbled face-first into the chilly water. The shock caused her to suck in water.

Choking, Jessie struggled desperately to push to her feet, but the skirts tangled around her legs held her trapped. Panic set in; her heart thundered in her chest. She was about to drown when a hand grasped her under one arm and hauled her upward. She broke the water’s surface coughing and fighting for breath.

“Thank God! Ye scared the bejaysus out of me, sis,” Tye said in a shaky voice as he held her steady, hands locked around her waist.

“I thought I was going to die,” she croaked when she could breathe again, clinging to his arms for support. “I would have if ye hadn’t pulled me up.”

“Aye, well, what are big brothers for?” He laughed, but she noticed his voice still shook. “Now tell me why I felt such a terrible burst of fear from ye just before ye screamed and toppled over.”

“Oh, Tye, I had the most horrible vision!” she said, not surprised by his comment. Her brother was a sensitive. He could feel what others were feeling, especially those close to him. She licked her quivering lips and stared into his eyes. “I saw the city burning.”

“What! Chicago ye mean?”

“Aye. There was fire everywhere. We were running for our lives.”

He swallowed, Adam’s apple bobbing. For a moment he stood staring at her; then he grasped her arm and towed her toward the shore. “Come on, we’d better get ye home and out of those wet things. Ye must tell Da what ye saw.”

“Nay! He’ll raise the roof if I even mention having a vision. Ye know that, and besides, he’d not believe me.”

“Nevertheless, he needs to hear it. If what ye saw is true, if your gift isn’t playing ye false, we must prepare for the worst.”

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