I am fascinated by the Southwest history that is filled with stories of strong and brave heroines, women who rolled up their sleeves and did what was necessary to make it.
Women tended the kitchen, the livestock, and the kids. They ran ranches, businesses and towns. And so do my contemporary heroines in Under the Desert Sky and Under the Desert Moon. Lacy and Annie are friends helping friends, even as their well-intentioned lives sometimes fringe the law.
Under the Desert Sky pays tribute to those Arizona families who struggle in boom or bust western mining towns. Lacy sees a job that needs doing and steps up to do it. Being a small-town mayor is not her first career choice, but she grows into the job. She hires the hero to rebuild her town. And against his free-wheeling spirit, Holt discovers new passions for settling down. Sometimes refurbishing the past can enhance the future.
In Under the Desert Moon, Annie bravely carries on the tradition of running her family apple farm. It’s not an easy job in Arizona, so hiring migrant workers is often the way it works for all. She finds herself south of the law but is determined to do the right thing. Brett is a man with his own traditions to uphold, and he has a badge to prove it. In this ageless story, a clash of traditions threatens their love. So, who will be the winner?
Each of these books is specially priced at .99 cents for a limited time. Step outside your comfort zone and escape to the wild Southwest, read and review. That’s how it works for writers.
REFRIGERATOR NOTES TO SELF
What used to be family communications taped to the refrigerator door now tend to be messages to myself. Something encouraging for my current project. But I wonder, are they helpful, truthful, worthwhile?
Here's one I like:
Don’t look back. You aren’t going that way. However, so much of life is serendipitous that I hate to limit the future with only what I know. Let the story flow. This is the philosophy for my heroine in my new novel. She needs to move forward but doesn't know in which direction. Yet.
I like this one even better:
Make sure every step is taking you in the direction you want to go. Even if it's a side step for now.
This gives me room to roam in my heroine's shoes. Gives her opportunity to discover. To sidestep. To find herself. Maybe to fall into love again.
What’s on your refrigerator door message board? Has it changed over the years? What do you tell yourself about letting go, looking back and heading forward? Do you have a better message for me and my heroine?
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Read my love stories and find yourself falling in love all over again.
SPEAK TO THE WIND – She dares to fall for an Apache leader.
RARE BREED – Two stories in one, 2 different eras, 2 irresistible Navajo men.
TEXAS SIZZLE – East Coast lady and Cowboy with a heart of gold steam it up Texas style.
In CALLAHAN'S GOLD
Where A Lady (Tory) and A Cowboy (Dodge) meet up in Tombstone.
The town too tough to die gives folks a chance to re-live the tough old days complete with dusty streets, 1880's costumed citizens, and a remake of the shootout at the OK Corral – daily.
Is love in the cards for opposites, Tori and Dodge, or it is all hot air? Oh, it's HOT all right! Check it out at half-price now. Here's an excerpt:
Her most vivid memory of her father. . .
was the day he told her he was leaving. She was six years old. Over the years, his face had faded into an obscure vision, reinforced only by a few photos her mother had kept. She did remember his eyes, not just blue, but a deep, almost violet color. And when she looked into the mirror as a child, she'd remind herself she had eyes like her daddy.
Her mother said they had the same beautiful black hair, black as a starless night. It was small consolation to the child who barely remembered him. When Tory Carsen was a lonely teenager, caught between being a woman and a child, she sometimes wondered if this man who'd once been her father were still alive somewhere and if he ever loved her. Her memory of him was foggy, consisting of fleeting glimpses. But one conversation, the last one, was distinct.
"Of course, I love you, Tory darlin'," he had vowed the day he left. "You'll always be my little girl."
Being a child who didn't accept answers easily, Tory followed him down the sidewalk to the rickety old Ford. "Then why are you going away, Daddy?"
He tossed two beat-up suitcases into the backseat. "I know it's hard for you to understand, Tory darlin', but I have other worlds to explore. The city life just isn't for me. I have to seek the sun. Someday I'll come back to you, and we'll be rich, and you can have anything you want."
"Yep. A whole corral full of ponies! And a room full of toys! And . . . anything you want!"
"But I don't want anything, Daddy. I just want you to stay here with me and Mommy."
"I can't, Tory. Your mom and I have grown-up problems."
"Then why can't I go with you?" she persisted stubbornly.
He shook his head and looked away. "It isn't a place for little girls."
"Maybe it isn't a place for daddies, either."
Gazing down at his tenacious daughter, Sharkey Carsen heaved a sigh. "Maybe not, darlin', but I have to find out." He lifted her up in his arms and kissed each chubby cheek. Then he set her down and walked out of her life forever.
Tory perched Indian-style on the sidewalk and watched her father drive away in that dingy blue Ford.
He never returned. Never brought her that pony he promised. They were never rich. By the end of the month, she and her mother had to move out of the neat little house on Beale Street and into an incessant string of apartments on L.A.'s south side.
Her father had claimed he'd gone off to find the sun, and Tory grew to despise him for leaving them.
Twenty years later, when Tory Carsen Talbot received the certified letter informing her of Sharkey Carsen's death, she scanned the letter coldly, with no emotion. By now it didn't matter that they had the same deep blue eyes, the same blue-black hair. He was like a total stranger to her, and she bore no grief for the man who had been her father.
But the second paragraph of the letter captured Tory's natural curiosity. She was named as an inheritor and was urged to attend the reading of the will. A mélange of emotions swept through her— of hate and anger, of curiosity and indifference, of concern . . . but definitely not love.
Spontaneously, she decided to go, not stopping to determine if her decision were a reasonable and logical one. An inheritance ... By God, he owed her that much.
Tory Talbot reached across a paper-cluttered desk and picked up the phone. Her ivory crepe sleeve brushed two unopened envelopes onto the floor, but she ignored them. They were only more bills.
"Megan, do you think you could handle the shop for a few days? Something's come up, and I need to go out of town. Pretty important. Could mean enough money to salvage Tall and Terrific. Incidentally, how do I fly to Tombstone, middle-of-nowhere, Arizona?"