Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sample Saturday - July 19, 2014

Welcome to Sample Saturday. In this piece from Gone for a Soldier, the Owen Family Saga novel that will be released later this year, Rulon Owen receives a gift from his father.
~~~

“You’ll be needing a horse.”

Rulon turned from scooping oats out of the grain bin to see his father leaning against the door frame. Since Pa almost never leaned against anything, Rulon wondered how long he’d been standing there surveying him.

“I reckon I will. What will you take in trade for the bay?”

“You’ve worked the farm since you were old enough to lift a shovel or hoe weeds in the field. I figure that labor is plenty in exchange for the bay and her tack.”

Rulon felt his throat constrict with sudden emotion. “I’m obliged,” he managed to get out in a husky voice.

“You sure it’s the bay you want? The sorrel is well mannered.”

“The bay has spirit and don’t spook easily. I reckon she would make a good battle mount.”

“That’s canny thinkin’, son. I agree. She will be steady under fire.”

Rulon nodded. In a matter of days, he would leave this farmstead to live in town with his bride. Soon after, he expected to be doing some kind of patrolling, or picket duty, or whatever it was a cavalryman did to defend his country. That is, if he ever got a reply to his letter. If he wasn’t acceptable to Captain Yancey and the Harrisonburg Cavalry troop, he would have to start his search all over again. He found himself chewing on the inside of his cheek.

“What has you worried, boy?”

“I ain’t heard from Harrisonburg yet.”

“Give it time, give it time. Yancey’s bound to be a busy man. A lawyer, I hear. It’s likely he’s wrapping up his business.”

“You’re right. But getting married also has me perplexed.” He shook his head. “The tasks Mary has been doing make my head swim.”

Pa chuckled. “The ladies like everything fancy, son. Take a deep breath. Enjoy your day. It will be here before you know it.”

“I wish I could believe that. It seems a lifetime away.”

Pa nodded his head in understanding. “The day will come. By the way, your ma says there is another item you’ll be needing. My ma passed down her weddin’ ring to me when she died. It was intended for your ma to wear, but she already had the one I give her when we married, and she preferred that one. She said you should have it to put on Miss Mary’s finger. She’ll give it to you when the day comes around.” He raised his eyebrow. “I wouldn’t have given a geegaw like that a thought, so I’m pleased she recalled the little ring.”

“Such a lot of to-do.” He whistled.

Pa came over and clapped his hand on Rulon’s shoulder. “Silken entanglements, boy. All these arrangements for fancy ceremony and parties and such sometimes seem unnecessary, but they keep the ladies happy. That’s what matters, after all. Keep the wife happy, and you’ll have a happy life.” He tightened his grip briefly, then removed his hand.

“That’s the sum total of your fatherly advice?” Rulon grinned wryly. “No words of wisdom for, other matters?” His face felt hot as he said the words.

Pa stared at him for a long time, and Rulon noticed a pink tinge on his father’s forehead.

“Words of wisdom?” Pa cleared his throat. “Be gentle.” He paused for a long moment, then added, “Work out the rest yourself.” He turned away, then looked back over his shoulder. “Treat the bay gentle. She’s a lady, too.”

He was gone in a moment, and Rulon was left alone to chew on both his cheek and the words that still seemed to hang in the air.

~~~

Thank you for visiting! Please come back next Saturday for another sample of my writing.

Bestselling author Marsha Ward wrote a novella, Faith and the Foremen, in the Timeless Romance Anthology Old West Collection. Her short story, Bloodied Leather, will be published in Battling Mahoney and Other Stories, an anthology from Fight Card Publications, in late August.

Ward is the author of the acclaimed novel series The Owen Family Saga, which features members of the fictional Owen family of Virginia. Her last published book, Spinster's Folly, won the 2013 USA Best Book Award for Western Fiction, and recently was named Finalist in Western Fiction in the 2014 International Book Awards. A former journalist, Ward has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association, a.k.a. ANWA.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fresh Book Friday - The Piano Player

Title: The Piano Player
Author: Carolyn Niethammer
Genre: Historical Women’s Western
Publisher: Oak Tree Press
Date of Publication: June 2014

Synopsis:
In 1882, Frisco Rosie, the saloon piano player, and Nellie, upstanding boarding house owner, form an improbable bond that takes them from Tombstone’s desert to a Mexican jail and eventually to Dawson City’s frozen creeks. Challenging society’s norms for proper womanhood, they each pursue their own dreams for success, postponing romance with the men who love them, until for one, it becomes too late.

Excerpt:
One evening we were trudging beside our sleds, talking about stopping to camp when the crackings and grumblings of the ice on the Yukon began to echo up and down the canyon. Panicked, I didn’t know whether to stop or make for the bank.

“What’s happening?” I shouted above the noise, turning to the others who were in single file behind me.

“The ice is readjusting itself,” Colin shouted. “Be careful and keep to the middle. The sides have to adjust to the strain.”

I went ahead and the others dropped behind with fifteen feet between each of us. Though it was nearly twilight, we pressed on, hoping to put another mile behind us. We’d gone only a hundred yards when the ice under my feet began swaying up and down in a sickening way. I dropped the towline to my sled to catch my balance. In seconds, with a loud crack, a dozen pieces of ice separated from the whole and began rushing downstream, taking me along. All around me was swirling, icy water, and I could see Nellie becoming part of the distance.

My tiny, icy life raft swept swiftly through the free water, tilting, bouncing, jarring, threatening every moment to dump me. I crouched down and spread my feet, hoping to give myself stability. I’d feel myself slipping into the dark water when unaccountably the ice would straighten and rush ahead with me still a passenger.

The darkness was deepening, and the passing trees became nothing but shadows. My only thought was that I was not ready to die, and this formed into silent words over and over when, with a bone-jarring crunch, my private ice floe crashed into the others that had stopped ahead of it. I screamed, my voice rolling off into the empty night, as I fell flat on my face.

I stayed on my belly, arms and legs outspread to carry my weight, as I inched my way through the freezing slush toward the riverbank. Finally my frozen fingers grasped the cold boulders and I pulled myself onto the muddy rocky shore.

Surrounding me was only the forest and blackness, the rest of the party far behind. As I huddled on the bank, I realized that already my coat was becoming stiff, the water it had soaked up turning to ice. Shivers overtook me, shaking me so violently that my teeth clattered, the only noise save for the rushing water. Then came the drowsiness and I lay on my side, still shivering but wanting only not to have to walk anymore. I’d survived the river, but I knew my body would be frozen solid by morning.
 

Buy Link:
Amazon

Author Bio:
Carolyn Niethammer grew up in the little mountain town of Prescott, Arizona. At that time, there were more cattle than people in Yavapai County. After studying journalism at the University of Arizona, she worked as a feature writer for newspapers and magazines and did a stint as a corporate writer. The subjects of her 10 books all relate to the Southwest – five on the foods of the region, including edible wild plants, three on Native American women, and one travelogue on Southeastern Arizona. The Piano Player is her first novel, and has been in production for decades.

She currently lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her husband, Ford Burkhart.


Find Carolyn:
Website

An adventure novel! Very cool!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sample Saturday - July 12, 2014

Welcome to Sample Saturday. In this piece from Gone for a Soldier, the Owen Family Saga novel that will be released later this year, Rulon Owen writes home about his activities with the army.
~~~


March 13, 1862
In Camp, Warrenton Junc. Via.
My Dearest Wife,

My joy upon hearing our blessed news new no bounds when I recved your letter the past week. I wood have ritten you at the time to thank you for producing a fine heir, but circumstances with the Enemy prevented me taking pen in hand.

The Yankees have come up in such numbers that our general Johnston decided to remove the army from the thret. As a consequence, many suplys had to be destroyed, along with a mountain of private soldiers baggage. Oh Sugar, the smell of bacon burning about drove us mad. Also grain was set afire to keep it from the Yankies hands. Flour broken from barrls and heeped on the ground resembld a strange snowfal. I warrant we wil rue the day we had to waste these provisions, but we had no way to carry them off from Manassas Junc.

My little Wife, I miss you with all my heart. Conserve your health in all ways. Kiss my Dear Son upon his brow and tell him of my boundless affection for him.

I remain, yur husband,
Rulon Owen

~~~

Thank you for visiting! Please come back next Saturday for another sample of my writing.

Bestselling author Marsha Ward wrote the novella, Faith and the Foremen, in the Timeless Romance Anthology Old West Collection. She is the author of an acclaimed novel series featuring the Owen family. Her last published book, Spinster's Folly, won the 2013 USA Best Book Award for Western Fiction, and recently was named Finalist in Western Fiction in the 2014 International Book Awards. A former journalist, Ward has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association, a.k.a. ANWA.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fresh Book Friday - Glimmering Light

Title: The End Begins: Glimmering Light
Author: Margot Hovley
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Date of Publication: March 2014

Synopsis:
Despite the looming threat of terrorism, Amélie's safe arrival in Salt Lake City should have been the triumphant conclusion to her harrowing journey. With the promise of a future with her true love, Zack, she finds a glimmer of light amidst the bleak unrest of the nation. But Amélie and Zack quickly realize their journey is far from finished. With the nation's power grid still compromised and enemy forces drawing closer, Utah is no longer a safe haven it s time to move on. And this time, they find themselves forced apart as they embark on separate missions that will test their endurance and threaten all they hold dear. Amélie can only wonder: does Missouri truly hold the key to their deliverance, or will they be forced to run forever?

Buy Links:
Amazon
Deseret Book
Seagull

Author Bio:
Margot Hovley was raised in rural Washington State, where she worked as a girl pig-herder and champion produce box-maker. She now lives and plays in Utah with her big family. When she's not storytelling, she's hanging out with family, teaching music to the somewhat-willing, and fooling with techy gadgets. She loves hiking, traveling, and concocting adventures.

Find Margot:
Website: http://www.margothovley.com
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/the_damsel
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/margot.hovley

An exciting end-of-times novel!

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Sample Saturday - July 5, 2014

Welcome to Sample Saturday. In this piece from Gone for a Soldier, the Owen Family Saga novel that will be released later this year, Rulon Owen tries to make a huge change in his life.
~~~


Mr. Hilbrands had such a dark look in his eye that Rulon thought he was about to twirl the broom above his head and bring it down on some miscreant’s shoulder. However, the time was now, or it would never happen, so he pressed forward through the throng and got within speaking distance of the man.

Rulon hoped he spoke loudly enough for Mr. Hilbrands to hear him above the hubbub in the room. “Mr. Hilbrands, sir, may I have a word?”

“Not now,” the man answered.

“I only need a moment,” Rulon said, feeling his confidence ebbing away.

“I’ll speak to you when I’ve dealt with this turmoil,” the man said, his dark brows drawn together.

“That suits me, sir. Do you need assistance?”

“Not this minute.” Mr. Hilbrands raised the broom above his head, in a startling imitation of Rulon’s imaginings, and thundered at his neighbors, “This is a place of business. I have work to do, customers to tend to. If you can’t moderate your voices, take your discussions to the street.”

Rulon had never heard such a speech from his prospective father-in-law. He wondered about the timing of his petition. How would it be received when the man was so worked up by the interruption of his commercial enterprise?

However, when the subdued men about the room had lowered their conversations to a reasonable level, Mr. Hilbrands was evidently satisfied by his efforts, and turned to Rulon, bearing a smile on his face.

“What can I do for you, young man?”

Rulon gulped, trying to think what to say right off. Every thought, every carefully planned sentence had fled from his brain.

Mr. Hilbrands arched an eyebrow, and Rulon hastened to find words to start his own speech.

“Nice . . . nice day, sir.”

The eyebrow inched higher.

“You must be aware that your daughter Mary and me have been keepin’ company for some time,” he began, feeling like a veritable dolt. Of course the man knew that. He’d sat in the parlor his fair share of time to accompany them.

Mr. Hilbrands nodded. “Yes, indeed. Go on.”

Rulon swallowed. “Sir, Miss Mary has agreed that we should, um, wed before I go to serve my country in this comin’ squabble.”

Both eyebrows rose toward the tin ceiling. The black, forbidding look had returned to Mr. Hilbrands’ features.
~~~

Thank you for visiting! Please come back next Saturday for another sample of my writing.

Bestselling author Marsha Ward wrote the novella, Faith and the Foremen, in the Timeless Romance Anthology Old West Collection. She is the author of an acclaimed novel series featuring the Owen family. Her last published book, Spinster's Folly, won the 2013 USA Best Book Award for Western Fiction, and recently was named Finalist in Western Fiction in the 2014 International Book Awards. A former journalist, Ward has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association, a.k.a. ANWA.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Independence Day - July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth of July!

This is the day on which we celebrate the beginning of this, the most remarkable nation on earth. Courageous men signed their names to a powerful document, pledging their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, to tell a king halfway around the world that they were through with his tyranny and were prepared to put all of the above on the line to back up their convictions.

I so admire the bravery of John Hancock, who boldly wrote his name so large that King George couldn't possibly miss it. These men meant what they said in signing that document.

And so, in honor of that document, the Declaration of Independence, I give you the most joyful, triumphant sound I know, The Gaither Vocal Band singing our National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner:

Monday, June 30, 2014

Madcap Monday - June 30, 2014

Hello folks!

The first exciting thing I have to tell you is that I have finished the first draft of my novel, Gone for a Soldier. What that means is, I've finished the storytelling, and now I move on to the re-write to make sure everything is consistent, spelled correctly, and without any egregious (horrible) errors. I know you are all waiting, so I'll go through the process as quickly as I can.


The second exciting thing is that Ride to Raton, the second book in the Owen Family Saga, will be on sale as an ebook for the entire month of July for just $1.00! Go to Smashwords.com tomorrow (that link takes you to the book's page). and use the coupon code SSW75 at checkout. Instructions for getting your chosen ebook format onto your device are on the website. Enjoy!

Have a wonderful July!
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