Catherine Wolffe

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

C’mon, Writers! 5 Reasons To Ditch The Rivalry

C’mon, Writers! 5 Reasons To Ditch The Rivalry.

Link of the Week – Open Culture and Stephen King

Link of the Week – Open Culture and Stephen King.

Freckled Venom Copperhead by Juliette Douglas

One click to Amazon purchase

One click to Amazon purchase

The title had me hooked and I enjoyed talking with the author so much I invited her to be on my blog.  Here’s our conversation about Freckled Venom Copperhead with the lovely and talented, Juliette Douglas.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I’m not sure, all I know is that I kept waking up with these goofy westerns percolating around in my head. I guess I was going through a mid-life crisis or God was trying to tell me something. I just know as I would scrub boats I would write dialog and scenes in my head. I didn’t even own a computer or have internet when I began writing six years ago. Wow! Things have come a long way since then.

 

How did you come up with the title?

A very dear friend has a cousin who is a retired publisher. Not only did he love the rough, raw version I presented, he offered two titles, to replace the one I had. I chose Freckled Venom.

 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That when life dumps a wagon load of lemons on you and you don’t have ‛nuff sugar to make lemonade, Just keep plugging along, you will survive.

 

What are your current projects?

Finishing the third book in the Freckled Venom series: Freckled Venom Skeletons to be out in 2014.

 

Next up:

Perfume, Powder & Lead

The tale of three floozies who leave the red-light district, heading for the goldfields and stumble upon four dead Nuns and decide to change their habits…so to speak and begin robbing banks masquerading as Holy Sisters.

 

Shave-tail

 

Bed of Conspiracy: Fiction based upon fact, The Knights of the Golden Circle and Jesse James, President Grant.

And whatever else pops into my little pea-picking brain.

 

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Excerpt from Freckled Venom Copperhead

 

   

    Soft light began to fill the barn while he looked around, noting the three horses watching him with mild interest, There were three doors in the stable, the one behind him, and on the opposite wall, a single sliding door with another smaller one next to that. Turning slowly,  he took a good look at the Dillard boys. The three boys looked to be in their late teens to middle twenties, maybe a little older. Lanky to husky builds. Rawley had seen nasty looking hombres before, but these boys looked like sod busters, not killers. Tilting his head, he spoke to Lacy, asking, “You sure these are the Dillard brothers?”

Lacy nodded, pointing to the first one they’d brought in the barn, “That’s Aubrey, the youngest. That one is the middle brother. Name’s Keller. The dead one is the oldest, Ed.”

“Where they from? They look like sod buster.”

“They are, were, from Missouri. They’ve killed in every territory, well, almost every territory west of the Mississippi. Like I said, ‛Satan’s own spawn’,” Lacy finished, pressing her lips together.

Hearing a groan, they both turned toward the sound. Aubrey was beginning to awaken, after being smashed in the head by Lacy.

Anger began a slow burn deep inside of Lacy. She walked over to the boy and stared at the two-legged monster. This one had the scratches on his face from the Clancy woman. That made Lacy’s temper rise to a slow boil.

Aubrey looked up to see the purtiest l’il gal he’d seen in a while, flaming hair and big brown eyes you could melt into. He could feel himself rising.

Lacy’s anger continued to grow as did the bulge in his pants. She knew exactly what he was thinking.

That flaming temper overrode whatever sense Lacy had. Straddling the boy, she whipped out her knife. Bending over, she stuck it against the boy’s throbbing neck. His eyes quickly went from lust to fear.

Lacy whispered with deadly calm, “How ‛bout I do you like you did your last victim?” She asked, sliding the knife lightly drawing blood.

The boy blanched with fear. “Or better yet…” she began, brandishing the knife at the fly on his britches. She used it to pop off the buttons. She watched as the boy pressed himself against the post. “How ‛bout I just slice off your…,” her hand laid the edge of the blade across his bulge, then lightly sawed the blade back and forth, its edge beginning to cut through the material.

The bulge suddenly wilted. He looked at the knife, then, back up at her. The boy’s eyes wide with fear, he mumbled something against the bandana, shaking his head vigorously. Lacy’s eyes dripped venom as she added, “So you can’t play no more.”

She whisked the knife away only to continue her threatening attack on his torso. “How “bout…” as she sliced the buttons off his shirt and slit his underwear, exposing his gut. “How ‛bout…” she began as she slowly and lightly, sliced his skin upward. “I gut you like a hog at killing time, but I’ll leave you alive. Take your innards out.” Dark eyes never left the boy’s face. Lacy waved at the barn rafters. “Throw them up over those beams there, so you can watch your guts swinging from the rafters. Like sausages hanging from the beams of a smokehouse. How ‛bout that?” Lacy finished quietly.

Shocked at what he’d been witnessing, Rawley couldn’t move. His boots rooted to the dirt floor like a big oak. He’d never seen a female act like that before. Regaining focus, his ground eating stride placed him at Lacy’s side in seconds. He grabbed her wrist, swinging her around as he wrenched the knife out of her hand, scrutinizing the girl’s eyes. Lacy had traveled to somewhere deep within her soul. Moments later, her eyes came back into focus, fixing a deadly stare on him.

“That’s enough, Sunshine! I’m the law here. From now on you’ll do as I say!”

Freckled cheeks scorched with anger, she blasted the lawman, “I ought to whittle your ears off for that! Sides, you ain’t the only law around,” she told him through clinched teeth. Pushing around, him she moved toward the two boys, angrily tearing the guns out of their holsters. She shoved the pistols into his belly when she walked past him. Rawley caught them, barely. His eyes followed Lacy  as she struggled to slide open the barn door. He didn’t even bother to help, she’d pissed him off. The door continued protesting as the rusty wheels screeched from lack of use along its track. At last it slid open. She disappeared into the darkness.

 

Excerpt 2 from Freckled Venom Copperhead

 

 

 

Rawley’s eyes turned the color of a polished barrel,blue steel. He continued striding towardthe barn.He did not like what he saw, but kept his mouth shut as he loaded up Ed. Walking over to Aubrey, his hand grabbed a handful of hair, pulling up the boy’s head. Rawley looked into a purple and black swollen face, He was in no condition to walk. The boy needed to ride.

Lacy turned in her saddle to address the lawman, “Mount up. We got a good three days’ ride.”

Rawley advanced toward the girl, his anger flaring from beneath black lashes. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Aubrey can’t walk! He’s too badly hurt! Thanks to you! He needs to ride!”

Lacy leaned down toward the marshal, her eyes narrowing into slits, color brightening freckled cheeks in anger. “You listen to me good, Lovett. I’m not all brawn and muscle like you, so…” taking a finger and tapping her head, “I have to use my l’il pea-picking brain. Making my prisoners walk fifteen to twenty miles a day leaves them too tuckered out to argue with me at night, allowing me a little sleep. Keeping the food and water away, makes ‛em real tame. Now, mount up!”

That’s sadistic!”

“Is it? I call it self preservation. No one gets killed. No one gets hurt and we all arrive alive! Mount up!”

“You can’t keep taking your anger and your hatred out on the fugitives you catch, just because you don’t have the guts to confront your grandfather for what he did to you!” His eyes already frosty with anger, turned to diamond chips. “How many times do you have to kill your grandfather, before you give it up?”

Lacy recoiled as if she had been slapped.

“You have all the warmth and welcome of smallpox when it comes riding into town! You know that? He snapped. “I don’t know where you were in line when they passed out hearts. But, you sure as hell didn’t receive one!”

He saw Lacy drop her hooded look back into place, hiding her emotions, again.

Rawley spun angrily, walking back to Aubrey. Cutting enough rope to tie the boy in the saddle, he helped him up, eased him over to the horse, supporting him as he mounted. “I’ll get you to a doctor, soon as I can, son,” Rawley stated, finishing the knots.

Hearing the metallic click of a hammer being pulled back, Rawley stiffened, continuing to face the boy as he waited.

“The boy walks.”

“No. He rides,” he said. His already deep voice dropped lower. “Go ahead. Shoot me in the back. You do, I’ll see you hang,” Rawley threatened.

It seemed like ages before the marshal heard the hammer ease down with a soft click, a gun whispering back into its holster, leather creaking as horses moved off. Turning his head, his eyes followed the girl as she moved out. Keller, his hands tied by a rope half-hitched to Lacy’s saddle horn, struggled to remain on his feet as he was pulled along.

Rawley slowly expelled the breath he had been holding, “Damn kid. I’ve had enough,” he muttered. Whipping out his knife, he ran over to Keller, cleaning slicing the rope with a down turn of his wrist. The boy fell with the sudden slack.

Feeling the taunt rope go slack, Lacy spun around in the saddle, “Lovett! You bastard!” She yelled. Whirling Fancy around, she aimed the big grey on a collision course with the marshal. At the last second, Fancy swerved, throwing Lacy out of the saddle. She landed on top of Rawley, knocking both into the snow. Keller saw his chance. Scrambling up, he ran toward the nearest horse, his teeth chewing on the rope tying his hands. At last the knots loosened enough to where he could slide out his hands. Grabbing the reins, he mounted the big grey. Kicking heels into her ribs, he rode past the two still thrashing about in the snow.

“You damn little…she-devil!” Rawley grunted, taking another blow to his ribs.

Lacy scrambled out of his grasp. Standing, she locked both hands together, straightened her arms and swung, like an ax aiming at a large tree. The movement caught Rawley across his back, surprising, him and driving him to his knees. “That did it,” he mumbled, rising again.

Lacy had whirled, watching Keller ride off on her horse. Taking a few running steps, she suddenly landed face first in the snow. Rawley quickly grabbed both ankles lifting them up so the little hellion didn’t have any leverage. Lacy twisted. Turning and flopping like a hundred and fifteen pound catfish. “Lovett! I’ll kill you for this! I swear…I’ll kill you!” She yelled.

Rawley dragged her, sliding on her belly, pulling snow with her, like a plow, over to where Keller had dropped the rope. Bending down, he picked it up. Kneeling, he not so gently put a knee in her back. “Oww! You bastard! That hurt!” He trussed up her ankles, bending legs at the knees.

Lacy kept twisting, squirming, her body digging a hole in the snow, as she struggled to break the grip he had on her. Holding her kicking legs down with one hand, Rawley’s other hand, at last caught an irate arm, pulling that behind her, adding that to the ankles. Catching the other wrist, he added that to the three making a foursome. Breathing hard, he stood and surveyed his handiwork. Lacy twisted her neck. Seeing nothing, but snow covered boots and pants, she rolled on her side. She gave him the dirtiest look she could muster, “Lovett, you’re an ass! You let Keller get away!” She declared hotly.

The marshal heaved in more air for his starved lungs. Damn kid is quick. It had taken everything he had to subdue her. Fingers brushing his hair out of his eyes, he said, “Maybe that cold snow will cool down your temper some, Sunshine.”

Turning, he walked over to his hat. Picking it up, he brushed the snow off before resettling it back on his head. He threw one more look at the trussed up girl, then mounted. Two fingers brushed the brim of his hat as he nodded toward the girl, riding past her, heading off down the hill after Keller.

“Lovett?” Lacy yelled. “Where do you think you’re going? You can’t leave me like this! Lovett? Lovett…,” she yelled, dragging his name out to four or five syllables instead of the two. His name echoed against the granite backdrop of the mountains.

***

 

Who designed the covers?

We wanted striking, different covers to draw the readers eye right away. Cover photography is licensed from JC Leacock Photography out of Crested Butte, Co. His work is stunning. Bearhead Publishing LLC designed all the graphics and fonts found on the cover and inside under each chapter.

 

 

Who is your publisher and what are a few things you like about their business platform?

Bearhead Publishing LLC out of Brandenburg, Kentucky, a small press publishing company that is family owned. I liked the fact that they want their authors to retain their own unique writing voice. They offer all the same things a big company offers, but on a more personalized level. We have become good friends.

 

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope you have as much fun reading these western adventure/romance tales as I did writing them. Enjoy the ride!

 

 

Juliette Douglas, Author of Freck;ed Venom

Juliette Douglas, Author of Freckled Venom

Hello Folks,

 

I’m Juliette Douglas, new western author. I live in Kentucky where in real life I wash boats for a living. Yes, you read that right. I’m just a crusty, rusty old fart of a boat washer who has stories percolating around in my head as I scrub boats.

 

I live on an old farm with a passel of kids…uh…critters. Why do I write western action stories with a little romance thrown in…Go figure! I like to say it is a God thing. I have already published two western novels in 2013. Freckled Venom Copperhead and Freckled Venom Copperhead Strikes. Both receiving the 5-star rating from Readers’ Favorite. I am working on the third sequel in the Freckled Venom series, now. Titled: Freckled Venom – Skeletons making its debut summer 2014.

 

Take time to visit http://www.facebook.com/author.juliette.douglas for updates and events. I love to hear from fans of my books. Email me or friend me on facebook.  Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Freckled-Venom-Copperhead-Juliette-Douglas-ebook/dp/B00IEUXBV8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398947507&sr=1-1&keywords=freckled+venom

 

Genre: Western adventure/romance
Publisher: Bearhead Publishing LLC
 

Link of the Week

Link of the Week.  Had to share.  Some days require laughter.

Storm Warnings by Terri Hubbard Carle – Now on Sale!

One click for link to Amazon

One click for link to Amazon

I sat down with the lovely and talented author,  Terri Hubbard Carle and asked a few questions about her latest release – Storm Warnings, which is on sale now through Sunday at Amazon.  Here’s what she had to say…

What inspired you to write your first book?-  I enjoyed writing in high-school. My English teacher encouraged me to continue writing , she felt I had a gift for story telling in a unique way in my writing. 

 Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?–Always hold on to faith, when faith is all you have, stand!
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?—Catherine Wolffe she is awesome!!!!
What book are you reading now?–Catherine Wolffe’s Casey’s Gunslinger- If you have not read it, you really should, it is awesome! (Not just saying that because she is interviewing me either ) 
 
What are your current projects?–I just finished writing a horror short-story believe or not, about Hell.  It will soon be published more info to come  I am working on a novel hopefully a little more on the lighter funnier side with a little sexy and sweet side. The name is still not definite. I have been known to change my mind on so we will see. 
 
Who designed the covers?- Dawn Sullivan with the input of Author Nicole Garcia. They actually have a joint venture creating book covers and swag for Authors and they do an awesome job!
Thanks so much, Terri!
******Readers, remember, Storm Warnings is on sale now through Sunday for only 99 cents.******  Here’s the link:http://www.amazon.com/Storm-Warnings-Terri-Hubbard-Carle-ebook/dp/B00JIHV9FG/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1398942121&sr=1-1&keywords=terri+hubbard+carle

http://www.amazon.com/Storm-Warnings-Terri-Hubbard-Carle-ebook/dp/B00JIHV9FG/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1398942121&sr=1-1&keywords=terri+hubbard+carle

Terri Hubbard Carle – author of Storm Warnings

 

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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