Catherine Wolffe

Author of Comanche Haven, The Loflin Legacy and The Western Werewolf Legend

Walls For The Wind

Help me welcome Alethea Williams, author of Walls for the Wind.  She’ll share several excerpts from her work in this stop along her blog tour.  Welcome, Alethea!

WallsfortheWindcover4

 

Title: Walls for the Wind

Author: Alethea Williams

Genre: Western historical

Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press

Date of publication: April 2014

 

Synopsis:

Can an angel survive Hell on Wheels? When Kit Calhoun leaves New York City with a train car full of foundlings from the Immigrant Children’s Home, she has no clue she might end up as adoptive mother to four of them in rip-roaring Cheyenne, Wyoming. Kit has spent her life in the Children’s Home and now she rides the Orphan Trains, distributing homeless children to the young nation’s farmers as fast as the rails are laid.

The first time handsome Patrick Kelley spies Kit in Julesburg, Colorado Territory, he wants her. But circumstances, and a spectral-looking demented gambler as well as Kit’s certainty no one in his right mind would want her cobbled-together family, conspire to keep them apart. As Patrick and Kit and her brood ride Hell on Wheels into their destiny, they’re all forced to leave behind everything they knew and forge new lives in the raw American West.

 

Excerpt 1:

Cheyenne, Dakota Territory, January 1868

 

Panic bloomed, threatening to choke Kit as she gasped for breath. Where could she be, the small girl brought all the way out to the wilds of Wyoming from New York City? So certain she could make the best decisions for the little golden-haired girl, Kit had gone against her own upbringing as well as the stern advice of those older and wiser in order to make this journey west. Now here was her little family plunked down in the raw boomtown of Cheyenne, and she had lost not only her own direction but also the child entrusted to her care.

Where could Hannah be? Where?

The streets slimy with melting snow and horse manure, Kit struggled to keep her footing as she ran frantically up one and down another, screaming Hannah’s name. Unable to think where to look next, at last she stood helplessly wringing her hands. Tears made slow, cold tracks down her face.

A door opened behind her, and a voice full of concern said, “Kit. As luck would have it, I was just coming to look for you.”

And wouldn’t you know it? The voice of the very man who seemed to turn up at every instance of her bad luck. Indeed, he might be the root cause of her ill luck ever since she left New York City. And to think he had once promised to be her salvation, did Patrick Kelley of the dancing Irish green eyes.

But what were his true intentions as he took hold of her arm? To save her? Or to be her final ruination, as she suspected?

“Let me go.” She tried to wrench her arm away. “Hannah is missing. She’s lost. I must find her!”

“Ah, leannán, don’t take on so,” he said in a soft, cajoling voice. “Hannah is safe and sound. I have her.”

Kit’s bones suddenly felt soft, as if they had turned to mush, and her knees started to sag. Ah, God, and wasn’t her luck running true? Patrick Kelley, the very man! Of all the places in Cheyenne that Hannah might take refuge, of course it would turn out to be with saloon-keeper, and the means of the erosion of many a young woman’s morals, Patrick Kelley.

“Come inside, please, Kit,” he insisted, tugging her arm. Her feet were frozen inside boots soaked with street muck. She felt herself weakening toward him, the warmth and light of him, and of the place behind him, beckoning seductively to her.

She had come so far, all the while thinking she knew what she was doing. Most of a year had passed since setting out. She had followed a path on a journey of more than two thousand miles, a path of righteousness that she thought would answer all eventualities.

And then her path, and the paths of the children, crossed Patrick Kelley’s.

Now once more she must break down and choose between her lofty principles and a future tied to Patrick Kelley. And she found, to her utter consternation as she stared into eyes the color of shamrocks, she…still…couldn’t… decide.

 

Excerpt 2:

“Frau Goff, you must listen,” she said softly. “Your son was arrested by the constable. Helmut will not be coming home. Reverend Howe is trying to convince the magistrate to release the boy into our custody, rather than have him spend ten days in the public Juvenile Asylum under the influence of the older, hardened hooligans incarcerated there. It was Helmut, Frau Goff, who told us where to find you.”

At the news, the woman’s hand flew to her mouth. Her eyes distant now even though they never left Kit’s face, she moaned, rocking the little girl back and forth. “Ah, Gott in heaven, what shall we do now?” she pleaded under her breath.

“You need to go to the hospital, Frau Goff,” Kit urged, even though she knew the charity wards were full to bursting with sick and dying immigrants. Reverend Howe, however, was prepared to use all his considerable influence to convince the Baldwin sisters to take just these three more into their already overburdened care.

“I cannot go to hospital.” The woman covered her mouth, throat rasping as she coughed up more blood. Twin spots of fever-induced color suffused her sallow cheeks. “Then Hannah would have no one.”

The woman’s hands lovingly kneaded the little girl. Kit waited, fingertips resting on the woman’s arm. Puffs of vapor escaped the child’s rosebud mouth, freezing as her warm breath hit the cold air. Hannah’s eyelids drooped as she lay quietly now in her mother’s arms, and she blinked sleepily.

“It makes no difference if I agree, yah? All you have to do is wait. When I die,” the sick woman said in a dull rasp, “my children will truly be left all alone.”

Kit swallowed the reply that wanted to spill from her lips, words of false hope and promise that the woman would recover. Perhaps, with time, good food, rest and a change of climate, there might have been a chance. But as it was, destitute and starving and already ravaged by her illness, there was in truth little the medical profession could do for Helga Goff.

“Will you sign?” Kit asked in German, fingers tightening on the woman’s skeletal arm. Educated at the asylum in languages, as well as painting and piano, at least some of her training stood her in good stead this day. “Will you give us the opportunity to shepherd your children toward a better life?”

The widow Goff studied Kit with burning eyes. “You will keep Helmut and Hannah together?” she pleaded, also in her native tongue. “Brother and sister always. You will not separate them? Make your solemn pledge to me now, before Almighty God.”

“I assure you the asylum will educate them and find them a home.”

“No! To you! To you alone will I give up my children. Promise me they will be together. Always.” Her voice fading, the woman’s last word ended on a sigh. Her small strength in defense of her children spent, her head drooped toward her chest.

Kit craned her neck, looking frantically over her shoulder to Reverend Howe for guidance. He held out his hands, palms up. “You have chosen to do this work, Katherine.”

Finding no help from the bear of a man in the massive greatcoat, Kit turned her gaze back toward the woman and child. Looking down on the little girl’s soft, golden curls, she said, “Very well, Frau Goff. I promise you that Helmut and Hannah will remain together.”

The sick woman raised her head. For an instant she searched Kit’s face. Then apparently reading truth there, she reached unsteadily for the pen that Reverend Howe had already dipped in ink. Her lips moved as she struggled to read aloud in English:

This document certifies that I am the mother and sole legal guardian of Helmut Goff, age eight, and Hannah Goff, age two. I hereby willingly agree for the Immigrant Children’s Asylum to provide them a home until they are of age. I further promise never to interfere in any arrangements made on their behalf.

Once more she raised fever-bright eyes to Kit’s, as if seeking a way out of signing away her children. But both of them knew it was too late. There was no rescue in this world for Frau Helga Goff. Shoulders rounded in defeat, she lowered her eyes to the release form and signed in a spidery European hand.

 

Excerpt 3:

Toward Hell on Wheels, somewhere near Brule, Nebraska, early spring 1867

 

The sun rose, bringing another day to the vast Western plains. The gambler stood fingering his new silk vest in the faint warmth of the rising sun. Ever since he was a small boy, he’d received much of his sensory information through touch. The feel of the new vest’s cool smoothness pleased him. It soothed for a time the constant jittery feeling that dwelled in his head somewhere behind his eyeballs. His new prize was fine. Very fine. It was even more pleasing to him that he’d wiped out everyone at the card table down to their undergarments in such a short time. He was good at what he did, the cards. It was the only thing he’d ever been good at. He had the touch.

Sometimes, not often, his thoughts drifted back in time. He wouldn’t have made any kind of farmer, that was for sure. His real father had been a farmer back in Iowa. A good one, too, come from a long line of farmers and knew what he was doing. And still it hadn’t made any difference in the end. He’d still lost it all. Lost it, ironically, on a bad turn of the cards while he was deep in his cups. Old Dad had a problem with the drink: couldn’t stop once he started. So he’d squandered it all: the land, the equipment, the livestock. The gambler remembered the bleak, hopeless look on his mother’s face as the last steer was led away, her life and her children’s, everything they knew and depended on, brought to abrupt ruin.

And yet his father hadn’t been a bad man. Not in the way some of the men his mother brought home later, after her husband deserted them, had been bad. Bad for young boys, at least, who hadn’t the strength to fight them off in the dark of night after the woman had stopped her drunken shrieking and moaning, and collapsed in a sodden heap. For one who absorbed fully, seeming with his whole body, the feather lightest of touches, those long-ago hours of endured pain at the hands of men his mother insisted he call father had been horrifying and excruciating.

He was relieved to finally be on the move again. He’d spent the winter in St. Louis after the railroad company shut down operations for the winter at North Platte. The Nebraska town newly sprouted from the prairie grasses possessed an ice house, a wash house, a blacksmith shop, stock pens and a slaughterhouse. All the comforts a town built to service the Union Pacific could need. What North Platte didn’t have was liquor. North Platte was a dry town, the single dry town with a temperance house in existence out on the plains.

Since the gambler’s business depended on the rotgut whiskey that greased the wheels of his commerce, he had quickly decided to head for Denver and then parts southward and eastward for the cold months, instead of staying in North Platte. He’d followed the Missouri from Omaha to Kansas City, where he fortuitously met up with his brother, whom he hadn’t seen in a while. They’d made their way thence to St. Louis, almost scouring clean the purses of that town’s overwintering trappers and emigrants before spring found the two making their way back upriver to open their mobile tent-based business, following the railroad. He got itchy to get on the road again as soon as the weather gave hints of warming. And St. Louis hadn’t been sorry to see them go either, the Brothers Grim, as some witty French tavern keeper had dubbed them.

The gambler felt her before he heard her, some overdeveloped sense warning him of her presence in the door flap of the small tent behind him even before he smelled the pungent perfume that failed to completely cover the musk of the night’s copulation emanating from her.

“What are you staring at?” she asked.

He turned unfeeling eyes on her, watched her shiver slightly when he did although she tried hard always not to show fear of him. They were business partners, of a sort. Had once been more, although any bud of sentiment had always been tended on her part and not his. He was numb toward women. Toward almost all people, if the truth were known. He just had very little capacity for emotion; it had been beaten out of him in darkness until only black emptiness was left.

Wordlessly she handed him some gold pieces, his cut of her business dealings for the night. He liked the feel of those, too, their round contours lying cool in his palm. She knew that, and let the coins fall one at a time from her hand to his, teasingly, as if she might dare think to withhold one or two. She started to smile, lips curving a little.

He slapped her suddenly. Hard.

She licked blood from the corner of her mouth, head tilted and eyeing him with only the mildest of reproaches. After all this time, she knew better than to say anything out loud.

“I’m not in the mood for your games,” he said. She was commonly called Maud the Bawd, but any humor in the rhyme had long since worn off for both of them and he never used it, seldom called her anything.

“Go away,” he added so quietly she almost couldn’t make out the words.

But she obeyed, instantly, with a swish of long skirts whose hem was caked stiff with mud and other unmentionable grime. The gambler continued to stand alone with his thoughts, watching the sun rise and trying to tamp down the jitteriness that had resumed with the whore’s interruption. Tonight had been just a little diversion in a temporary tent on the side of the road that continued to build westward, toward the next Hell on Wheels. Soon they would be able to set up like royalty and begin their work of stripping the railroad workers’ pockets all over again. He looked forward to erecting the Big Tent, with its mirrors and paintings of reclining naked women that drew the gawking yokels night after night like gnats to sweat. The whore was already recruiting new doves from Chicago for her flesh business. Soon they’d both get back to what they knew best: making money.

Slowly he secreted away his cut of her earnings in the pocket of his shiny new vest. No one else approached him, and in truth few who knew him dared. Only the faintest trace of woman’s scent indicated anyone else had stood near him.

 

Buy links:

Whiskey Creek Press
Kindle
Nook

 

Author bio:

Western history has been the great interest of my adult life. I’ve lived in Wyoming, Colorado, and Oregon. Although an amateur historian, I am happiest researching different times and places in the historical West. And while staying true to history, I try not to let the facts overwhelm my stories. Story always comes first in my novels, and plot arises from the relationships between my characters. I’m always open to reader response to my writing.

Website: http://aletheawilliams.weebly.com/

Blog: http://www.actuallyalethea.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AletheaWilliams.author

Google+: google.com/+AletheaWilliams

Twitter: @ActuallyAlethea https://twitter.com/actuallyalethea

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5753104.Alethea_Williams

LinkedIn: http://lnkd.in/by89znA

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Alethea-Williams/e/B0077CD2HW/

The Romance Reviews author page: http://www.theromancereviews.com/ActuallyAlethea

Thanks for dropping by.

 

 

…when yeez are a Self-Publishing Author, yeez can’t say, ‘…it’s not my job!’… #TBSU…

…when yeez are a Self-Publishing Author, yeez can’t say, ‘…it’s not my job!’… #TBSU….

Who Designed Your Cover?

Ally Thomas of course!  Here’s the link to the fantabulous, Ally Thomas’ extra on her cover art.  Check it out!

http://allythomas.wordpress.com/extras/cover-designs-by-ally/

“Difficulties are Inevitable, Discouragement is a Choice.”

Reblogged from Southern Writers Magazine.

http://tinyurl.com/kvq4cfg

Grand Prize Winners of Casey’s Gunslinger Giveaways Announced! #giveaways #Amazon #prizes #books

Congratulations to the winners of Catherine Wolffe’s grand prize drawing for Casey’s Gunslinger‘s release.  The event was so much fun and we had so many readers drop by!  I asked each person to share several links and then share in the comment section of the grand prize post when they were done.  I’m pleased to announce we have three winners.  The first place winner will have the choice of three different prize packages.  The second place winner will pick between two awesome bundles and the third place winner will get a wonderful gift along with my utmost thanks for all their help!

First place goes to Kathy Osborn!        Second place goes to Michelle Thomas!    Third place goes to Angelina Brown!

Kathy Osborn will have her choice of one of the three bundles from me – Catherine Wolffe, Wendy Ely and Ally Thomas.

Michelle Thomas will choose between the remaining two bundles and Angelina Brown will receive the remaining prize packet.

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Congratulations to Sherri Williamson – the Winner of A Final Kiss by Wendy Ely!

Help me congratulate the winner of an ebook copy of A Final Kiss by Wendy Ely!  Sherri Williamson left  a comment on the interview post I did with Wendy.  Celebrating the release of a new book is a wonderful time for an author and Sherri helped with the celebration.  Thanks again for all the followers who commented and keep watching.  Another chance to win will come soon.

1AmazonBuy here: http://amzn.com/B00IUKTKLC

Win a Copy of A Final Kiss by Wendy Ely

 

I’m thrilled to have one of my favorite authors on my blog today.  Wendy Ely is a contemporary romance author with several published novels.  Today she’s visiting to share about her new release, A Final Kiss.  Please help me welcome her and check out the giveaway I have for you!   Settle in with your coffee or hot chocolate and learn about A Final Kiss.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My first published book is Jesse’s Brother. Before I wrote the book I was dating two men. One night I was out with one of the guys. Guy #2 called me when guy #1 went to the bathroom. They both knew about each other and I told guy #2 I was on a date at the moment. Then I started thinking about what a great story that would be and started writing the book.

And the guys? I ended up being friends with both of them for a while.

Do you have a specific writing style or approach to writing your books?

I’m a pantser. That means that I don’t plot my books in advance. I usually do some character outlines to get to know them and then I start writing. My book is done when the story naturally ends.

How did you come up with the title?

My newest release is A Final Kiss. This novel had a different name until I wrote the last scene. You see, I figure out titles while I’m writing. A word or phrase grabs usually grabs me and that is how I figure out the title. When I wrote the part where Kate’s stalker wants to give her a final kiss, I knew that would be the new name.

Here’s the blurb from A Final Kiss:

Kate Morris is so close to finally having what she wants in life; a supportive group of female friends, a potential new career she’d almost given up on, and a romance on the horizon. No matter how right things go for her, trouble bites at her heart at every turn. Someone is out there always watching her. She can feel it all the way down to her bones.

And he is waiting for his perfect moment to step into her life permanently. He almost had the perfect woman once before, but one thing stepped in his way then. He needs a new woman and Kate fits the bill perfectly. Nothing will come between him and Kate. Once Wade reveals his love to Kate, she’ll love him too. After all, they were meant to be together at all costs… even if it means taking away anyone else who might interfere.

Tony walked out of Kate’s life so many years ago, leaving a wrecked girl in his wake. One trip to the Phoenix airport shoves the all-woman version of Kate back into his life. He wants to get to know her again, but she isn’t playing easy with him this time. If given one more chance to make up for lost time, he would never leave again. Gone on his deployment, he decides to email her anyway. Through the emails she starts slowly warming up… enough to express her concern about a stalker. With the police officer’s lack of help, Tony heads to Phoenix instead of home upon his return to the states. Kate doesn’t trust herself around Tony, so he takes matters into his own hands. Will he be able to watch over Kate without her finding out and resist falling in love with her all over again? Will Tony be able to catch the stalker before Kate is harmed?

Join both of us as we celebrate the release of her book tomorrow with an event on Facebook.  The party starts at 4pm MST and runs through 7:30pm.  There will be loads of fun and giveaways.  Wendy has some awesome prizes she’d like to give to some luck winners, so sign up now!  Click on the book cover to be transported to the party!
 1Amazon
I ‘d like to get the ball rolling with a giveaway of a ebook copy of A Final Kiss to one lucky reader that leaves a comment here on my page.  See you all at the party!!

Seven Sexy Sentences

Seven Sexy Sentences.

Casey’s Gunslinger Release March 7th #western #romance

Today is Release day! If you like this excerpt from the second book in my series, The Loflin Legacy, be sure to join  us TONIGHT for the Facebook event for Casey’s Gunslinger. Click here or on the banner below to join.

Buy Links > Amazon  | Smashwords
EXCERPT from Casey’s Gunslinger
The young woman acknowledged his presence with the slightest flicker of her cornflower blue eyes before stepping backward. She lost the support of the platform and started clutching at thin air. Since the platform rose several feet off the ground, her apprehension developed quickly. A panicked whimper of alarm erupted from her lush lips, as those lovely eyes grew wide in a plea for help.Reacting on instinct, Charles’ hand shot out, grabbing her arm before hauling her in against his solid body.Their eyes met under the shade of his Stetson. The blue in her gaze quickly shifted to stormy clouds of confusion and fear. A minute passed before she released the breath she’d been holding and shoved at his chest.“Easy, sweet thing. I’ve got you.” Charles had found his tongue. However, he wasn’t sure about the hoarseness in his reply.“Do you mind, sir?” Cool and crisp, the words coming from her lips sounded like music to his ears. Never had a songbird sounded sweeter.It took Charles another minute to understand she’d been able to regain her footing and wanted him to let go. As if waking from a dream, Charles snapped to attention, each fiber in his frame aware of her proximity. “My apologies, ma’am. Are you unharmed?” Mentally shaking himself, he marveled at his stupidity. Unharmed? The only one not harmed was her. He’d been dealt a mortal blow. A smoldering heat radiated up from his toes all the way to the point on his chest where her breasts had slammed against him a few minutes ago. His gut clinched at the crystal clear glint in her eyes. At the moment, he wasn’t high on her list of respectable persons.

“I’d appreciate you unhanding me, sir.”

He still held her wrist. Christ, she’d most likely have a bruise. “Forgive me for startling you. It wasn’t my intention. I hope you’re all right. My name is—”

“I’m fine,” she snapped. Sidestepping him, the young woman tried again to gather herself before heading back to the ticket window.

Dazed and confused. Charles seldom had the particular reaction to anything or anyone. This being the exception. He’d try again. Surely, he could make amends for such a social blunder. Perhaps a meal at the hotel would smooth her ruffled feathers.
(Copyright 2014 Catherine Wolffe)

Photo: EXCERPT from Casey's Gunslinger - COMING SOON<br />The young woman acknowledged his presence with the slightest flicker of her cornflower blue eyes before stepping backward. She lost the support of the platform and started clutching at thin air.  Since the platform rose several feet off the ground, her apprehension developed quickly. A panicked whimper of alarm erupted from her lush lips, as those lovely eyes grew wide in a plea for help.</p><p>Reacting on instinct, Charles’ hand shot out, grabbing her arm before hauling her in against his solid body.</p><p>Their eyes met under the shade of his Stetson.  The blue in her gaze quickly shifted to stormy clouds of confusion and fear.  A minute passed before she released the breath she’d been holding and shoved at his chest.</p><p>“Easy, sweet thing.  I’ve got you.”  Charles had found his tongue.  However, he wasn’t sure about the hoarseness in his reply.</p><p>“Do you mind, sir?”  Cool and crisp, the words coming from her lips sounded like music to his ears.  Never had a songbird sounded sweeter.</p><p>It took Charles another minute to understand she’d been able to regain her footing and wanted him to let go.  As if waking from a dream, Charles snapped to attention, each fiber in his frame aware of her proximity.  “My apologies, ma’am.  Are you unharmed?”  Mentally shaking himself, he marveled at his stupidity.  Unharmed?  The only one not harmed was her.  He’d been dealt a mortal blow.  A smoldering heat radiated up from his toes all the way to the point on his chest where her breasts had slammed against him a few minutes ago.  His gut clinched at the crystal clear glint in her eyes.  At the moment, he wasn’t high on her list of respectable persons.</p><p>“I’d appreciate you unhanding me, sir.”</p><p>He still held her wrist.  Christ, she’d most likely have a bruise.  “Forgive me for startling you.  It wasn’t my intention.  I hope you’re all right.  My name is—”</p><p>“I’m fine,” she snapped.  Sidestepping him, the young woman tried again to gather herself before heading back to the ticket window.</p><p>Dazed and confused.  Charles seldom had the particular reaction to anything or anyone.  This being the exception.  He’d try again.  Surely, he could make amends for such a social blunder.  Perhaps a meal at the hotel would smooth her ruffled feathers.<br />(Copyright 2014 Catherine Wolffe)

New Western Romance by Catherine Wolffe (with Naughty Excerpt)

 

New Western Romance by Catherine Wolffe (with Naughty Excerpt).

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