I first met my guest today about a year ago on another blog and when I saw that not only did she take photographs of horses but wrote about the west, the wild west, I knew she was someone I want to read. Where the Wind Blows totally captured me with the stark reality of the story.
The next book I read was Texas Twilight (McCutcheon Family Series) caught and held me from beginning to end.
So, let’s here how she went from shooting horses with a camera to writing about them along with the women and men of the west.
So often I hear authors say they knew from day one that they wanted to write. In the fifth or sixth grade, perhaps, they were inspired by a teacher who, after reading their creative work, urged them to keep at it. “Someday you’ll be published,” the teacher would say. For me, that scenario couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, I was an average student, getting by in my creative writing classes and having to work especially hard at spelling. I was so glad to finally graduate with my BA degree so that the torture of schoolwork would be over.
Then what did prompt me, at forty-one, to plop down at my keyboard and write a story about a girl so desperate to adopt a little orphan girl that she’d enlist the help of an unknown cowboy? Well, it was my career as an equine photographer, of course. LOL–well, it was! Ten years prior I’d begun a career in photography at the age of thirty. I began booking three-day shows throughout the year—and quickly found I needed something to do during the long breaks between classes and in the evenings at the hotel. So what did I do? I read. Voraciously. I was also, obviously, around horses constantly, especially the western breeds, which were my specialty. So that’s how I got the subject matter. Then, standing for hours in the middle of arenas gave me the quiet think time needed to devise the plot twists and double-backs of a page-turner. I’d mull over the book I was reading and how the author wove her story. Then I’d think how I might do it differently. Eventually, I’d thought about it so much I had to sit down and write my own story, or blow up. Well, that may be exaggerating a bit, but that’s how it felt at the time. So I sat down and began to write.
So, how did you come to find your profession? Conventional or unconventional, we’d like to know. And, yes, of course there’s a chance to win! One lucky commenter will win a copy of TEXAS TWILIGHT, my current release, and sequel to…MONTANA DAWN!
Here is a short excerpt of my first book, WHERE THE WIND BLOWS, being offered now at a discounted Christmas price!
Wyoming Territory, 1878
Chase Logan removed his hat and ran his hand through his hair, feeling it fall against the collar of his leather coat. How the hell was he going to break the news to Mrs. Strong? What if she swooned, or worse yet, started crying? He had little experience with women. Decent ones, anyway. Resting his arms on the smooth leather saddle horn, he gazed at his destination in the valley below. If not for the smoke curling from its chimney, he might think the cabin abandoned.
Agreeing to this was the stupidest thing he’d ever done. How on earth had he been talked into it? At the time, delivering the news to Nathan’s wife hadn’t seemed like much. He was heading to Cheyenne anyway. The cabin wasn’t far out of the way. But now that he was here…
No use stalling, he thought, shaking his head. Best just get it over with and be on his way.
He nudged his mount down the easy-sloping hill as the sun slipped behind a craggy black mountain. Streams of golden light reflected off of the open expanse of low-hanging clouds, painting the gray sky with swirls of pink and yellow, bringing to mind a freshly spun spider web. Chase drew his heavy collar around his neck and hunched his shoulders against the blustery October weather. It would be a cold one tonight.
Chase lingered at his mount’s side longer than needed. Then he walked through the barnyard to the door and knocked. The low metallic click of a gun being cocked resounded through the door.
“Who’s there?” a female voice asked uneasily.
“My name’s Chase Logan. I have a message for Mrs. Strong. Would that be you?”
“Yes,” she answered after three beats of his heart.
Anxiety clenched Chase’s chest. He wasn’t sure if it was the woman’s he was feeling, or his own.
“Say what you came to say, mister.”
“I rode with Nathan at the Bar T,” he said, still looking at the weathered boards in front of his face. “It’d be easier if we could speak without this door between us.” He waited as the cold nipped at his ears.
She didn’t respond. Chase glanced around the deserted yard, giving her as much time as she needed. Moments crept by. Finally, the door was unbarred and creaked open slowly, just wide enough to accommodate the tip of a shotgun barrel.
“Think you could put the gun down, ma’am, and open the door? I don’t mean any harm. I’m a friend of your husband.”
It felt like ages before the gun barrel gradually disappeared. The door protested loudly as it swung open to reveal several wooden chairs and a table. A rocker rested on a faded rag rug in front of the fireplace, and a cupboard sat forlornly next to the wall. Wood smoke and the wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread wafted on the air, making the room feel warm and homey. His stomach rumbled.
“I suppose it’s all right if you come in, being you’re an acquaintance of Nathan’s.”
Chase drew his gaze from the potbelly stove, where something was simmering, to the girl–no, woman–who stood before him. She was young, as though she should still be home with her ma and pa, tending to younger sisters and brothers. Not here alone, being a wife to Nathan, a man surely over twice her age. And pretty indeed, with hair as pale as corn silk falling thick down her back. Her eyes, bluer than any Wyoming sky, seemed already to know his news; they were fathomless and sad.
“You’re Nathan’s wife?” he asked, arching an eyebrow.
“That’s who you asked for, isn’t it?” A small smile pulled at the corners of her mouth.
“Yes, ma’am. Just expected someone a bit more…mature.”
Mrs. Strong’s chin edged up. “Have a seat at the table, Mr. Logan. A cup of coffee will warm your insides.”
He shifted his weight from one leg to the other. He turned his hat in his hands, and it slipped from his fingers and dropped to the floor. He quickly picked it up. Hell and damnation. Sweat beaded on his brow despite the coolness of the evening.
The woman poured two cups of coffee from a chipped enamel coffeepot. Her hands trembled lightly. “You have a message from Nathan?”
Chase swallowed. Best just to spit it out fast. “Yes, ma’am. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, surely I am, but…” He swallowed a second time. “Nathan is dead.”
Here you go…