Lance Isn’t a Western Name

western women

In a western mode today. My latest western historical romance, Rowena’s Hellion: The Victorians – Book Two was released last week. Check it out on Amazon or The Wild Rose Press site where the Ebook version is discounted to half price. In order to find names of people in the book, for they came over from England and Scotland, I had to research the names of that time and place. There was a list on one of the sites I went to that named all the people who came in the first emigration to Victoria, Kansas. I stole first and last names, but mixed them all up so they wouldn’t be the real people. The one real name I used was the founder of Victoria, George Grant.

The Victorians - TwoThe following story, which I ran across during other research for a nonfiction article, might well have influenced Larry McMurtry when he wrote the fabulous Lonesome Dove.

Mason Holcomb was scheduled to hang on the gallows at Fort Smith on April 17, 1885. A native of Kentucky, he had migrated to Missouri after being mustered out of the Union Army. He married a woman known only as Miss Bridgeman, and took her to Arkansas where they lived for a while near Jasper in Newton County. From there he moved to Franklin County near Ozark, then migrated into Indian Territory. For seven months prior to the killing that would hand him a hanging sentence, he lived on the Canadian River near McAlester.

Later, folks claimed it was the devil in whiskey that brought about the killing, and it would seem so. For Mason and his friend Siegel Fisher were working in the hay fields and on July 23, the two became intoxicated. Late one evening they started home and on the way Mason killed Fisher. Who knows why? He claimed it was a fight Fisher started that escalated into the killing.There was no witness to the deed, and leaving the body out in the open, Mason fled to his native state of Kentucky. In 1884 he was arrested by a brother of the man he had murdered and taken to Fort Smith for trial.

He pled not guilty, saying that Fisher had a pistol and he pulled it, so the killing was in self-defense. The trial lasted over a week. Because Fisher was shot in the back and there was no evidence of a struggle in the grassy area where the body was found, the jury returned with a guilty verdict.

gallows Ft. Smith

The gallows at Ft. Smith, Arkansas where many a man hung from a rope during the reign of Judge Isaac Parker

I found a list in the same article which told of several outlaws who received “guilty” verdicts, over a period of those few days prior to April 17, 1885 when Holcomb was sentenced to be hanged, and they were commuted to life. Among them was a white man who lived under the name of Blue Duck.

I can see McMurtry, paging through those old records and running across that fascinating name, filing it away somewhere in his writer’s mind and pulling it out when he began to create his characters for Lonesome Dove. Or perhaps he found the name somewhere else, or maybe he simply made it up. Yet I prefer to think he read the same article I did and remembered the name.

In one of my earlier western historical romances, Angels’ Gold, available on Kindle, I used an old telephone directory from the small town of Circleville, Kansas, where the book takes place. Mixing first and last names I came up with some good names that fit the time and the place. Western historical writers have to be careful not to use names like Lance and Dylan, Madison and Shelby. Way too modern and misplaced for the early American West.      Gold and an outlaw rescue Angel



Posted in westerns | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Getting it Right

Pre-release book blast for sensual contemporary Western romance

             Getting It Right -72dpi-1500x2000 (1)Last of a long line of agrarian witches, Selene Pertunda thinks she will never meet the right man…until with the help of a little magic, she finds Beck McNeal.

Named for the Goddess of Desire, can she dream of lasting happiness with only one man?

Selene Pertunda has no trouble attracting a man. She just can’t seem to find the right one. From abusive husband Robert to tattooed bad boy lover Kevin, Selene draws men to her like bears to her honeypot. The problem is that none of them proves to be a good fit.

Sure she will never find a shared happiness, Selene has no way to suspect she’s drawn the attention of a powerful goddess. So she scoffs at the idea that the handsome man who begins to  play a large part in her life could be her destiny. After all, what could worldly, educated Beck McNeal want with a small-town girl like Selene?

Selene and Beck try to their best to resist the inexplicable mutual magnetism flaring between them. But can two ordinary people avoid the decree of the Goddess of Desire?

Getting It Right is the first novel-length work in the Wyoming Series of contemporary romances by Christi Williams.

Click this Amazon pre-order link for Getting It Right!

Other books by Christi Williams:

“To the One I Never Forgot” is a short story that launched the Wyoming Series. Gianna and Zack were too young for love when they were separated. Now, all grown up, can Gianna be reunited with the one she never forgot?

Christi Williams is also the author of two novels and a novella in the Hawk Point Romances series. Take a Chance on Love is the story of the chance encounter of widow Chancie de Leur and hot Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper Micah Taylor. Perilous Promises is Perris and Noah Dalton’s story of recovery from breast cancer and the effort to revive their formerly wonderful marriage. The novella Clay’s Quest is the tale of a hot Wyoming cop who comes up with a wacky plan to save his marriage when he just won’t accept that his beautiful wife wants to find someone else to father her baby.

Christi writes sensual, entertaining love stories of unforgettable modern Western men and women. Readers say…Sensual: “Taken a touchy subject and made it heartfelt and humorous, but she’s made it H.O.T.!!” Humorous: “Cracked me up!” Love: “To be loved like that!” Stories: “Character driven fiction.”

Blog Website Facebook  Google+ Pinterest Goodreads LibraryThing Twitter: @WriterChristi

Links to Take a Chance on Love:    Torrid Press Kindle Nook ARe

Links to Perilous Promises:   Torrid Press Kindle Nook

Links to Clay’s Quest:   Torrid Press Kindle Nook ARe

Link to “To the One I Never Forgot”Kindle

To celebrate the upcoming release of

Getting It Right

Win!  $50 Amazon gift certificate!    a Rafflecopter giveaway

gift card

Posted in promoting fiction | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment


Writers at work

Writers at work


 Twice a year I lead a writer’s workshop. The locale is so beautiful this time of the year that sightseeing is on the agenda of those who attend, so some of them plan on spending either Friday or Saturday night or both in the area. We gather at Ozark Folkways which is on top of the Boston Mountains of our Arkansas Ozarks. We always hope October will bring the peak of the change of colors, but a lot depends on the weather. It’s been so rainy all summer that our trees are still a deep green, never having gone to that faded shade brought on by a hot, dry summer.

 By this Saturday, Oct. 25, when the workshop is scheduled, there will be splashes of red and gold amid all the green. Standing on the ridge, one can gaze across the peaks and valleys that reach as far as the eye can see to the horizon. Inside, however, seated in the long, well-lit room across the back of the old stone building, work will begin at 10 a.m. when students, seated with a cup of coffee and perhaps a slice of cranberry cake from my mother’s recipe collection, get down to work.

 You’ll be asked to bring a work in progress (WIP) or just a head filled with ideas and we will go to work by learning such things as our character’s defining moment, who our story belongs to, what POV is and how to use it, etc., then we will write a paragraph based on the defining moment of our character. Reading and discussion will follow.

 One thing I’ve learned after giving these workshops for more than ten years is to listen to the ideas voiced by everyone in the class. It’s amazing what can come of these discussions. Someone will say, “well, what if …?” Or, “how would it work if …? and so on. Or a member of the group will have tried something that worked so well they want to share it.

 After lunch together at Grandmas, a mile down the road, where homemade food is delightful and the pies that come out of the oven there are so scrumptious everyone wants to take an extra slice home for later, we’ll return to discuss the subjects brought up on the handout, answer questions, talk about writers today, the market today, publishing books, short stories, the opportunities that abound for new and experienced writers. How and where to find answers to questions no one can answer.

 I always welcome novice, published and unpublished, brand new and very experienced writers to my workshops and we share all our knowledge with each other. There’s still time if you’d like to attend, we have a few slots open. Call Ozark Folkways and register, then you can pay at the door when you arrive. You can find their phone number online at and further information on my workshop is available at my website or here on my blog. Join us if you’d like.


Posted in workshop | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Driving Mr. Jack


Just one of the many unusual things that come up for wounded warrior wives and their warriors.

Originally posted on Wounded Warrior Wife:

jack's chevy.
Jack’s first car was a ’47 Chevy. At sixteen, he’d work all week at the creosote plant, cash his paycheck on Friday, load the car with friends who were still attending Americus High School, and they’d head for Panama City. Get back at dawn-thirty Monday morning, just in time for his buddies to get back to classes and him to get to work.
After Vietnam, when he was driving 100 miles each day, back and forth between work and home and Sacramento State, he had a conversion van. As I understand it, a lot of adventures took place in the back of that van. He had a Porsche when we started dating twenty-five years ago. He drove another conversion van on a stumbling-four-breakdown trip the length of Mexico pulling a thirty-five foot trailer with me in the captain chair beside him and a wrinkled Sharpei dog on his lap…

View original 602 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Stuff you never knew about ….

stack of booksReading and Writing are what I do best, but here are random facts about my life from a posting in July, 2007. What is in bold was added today.

1. From the deck of our house we see a creek named Sinclair and pronounced Sinkler, and the Boston Mountains.

2. I have no formal education beyond 12th grade, yet I have at one time or another been city editor, features writer and editor of three newspapers.

3. When we were building our home in the Ozarks we lived in a converted chicken house and bathed in the cold waters of Sinkler Creek, women first, then men.

4. I wrote three novels on a Sears electric typewriter before acquiring a computer which was actually nothing more than a word processor with a six by six inch screen.

5. None of those novels were ever published, but I’m reworking the first one, Beyond The Moon, which I finished in 1986. This book was published this month by Oghma Creative Media and is now available.

6. I met my husband when I was 14. We were high school sweethearts, and I only dated two other boys before marrying him 3 years later.

7. The Ozark National Forest is our next door neighbor and occasionally a black bear visits us.

8. I cannot think of another thing I would like to do if I could no longer write.

  1. When it comes to writing, I’m not sure what I enjoy the most: Western historical: watch for Rowena’s Hellion Oct. 24; mysteries: look for A Telltale Stone, the second in the Twist of Poe series, in April, 2015; or mainstream love stories: see Once there were Sad Songs and Beyond the Moon. Coming up is a horror, A Savage Grace, that will be released for Halloween in 2015.
  2. My favorite flower is the fragrant lilac, I enjoy movies in my spare time.

I was 71 when I wrote the above eight facts. Today I added nine and ten. Now that you’ve read a blog entirely about me, don’t you wish I’d write something about you? Well, I will. If you would like to have a post featured here, please let me know and we’ll get together on your ten favorite things. Write me at vebrotherton at gmail dot com.

Posted in Writers | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

From Whose Head is Your Story?

A Writer's Post

A Writer’s Post

This first section is reprinted from March 2, 2007 Blog

Realizing the importance of this subject, I decided to repost several of my blogs which go deep into point of view for writers who continue to have problems. Hope this will help all those who are confused by POV.

POV, or point of view continues to present problems for writers. Here’s a description of all the points of view and how they are used. In my next post I’ll go into using deep point of view in your fiction writing and how much more imminent it makes your stories.
First Person: The “I” of fiction. The person is both character and narrator.
Second Person: The “you” of fiction. You are both character and narrator.
Third Person: Traditional “he” or “she” of storytelling. There are clear
distinctions between the characters and the author. More than one character
can be POV character. Beginners should stick to one POV per scene, though
experienced writers often have more.

There are three other types of third person POV. They are called the
Omniscient: The author can enter any character’s head, see through any
character’s eyes or muck around any character’s heart. This is not really “as
God,” because readers only need to be told as much as they need to know.
Normally, though dipping into all characters, a writer should stay with two or
three main characters to keep from muddying the waters and confusing the
reader as to who is most important. Not for beginners.
Limited: The protagonist is the only pov character. Writer is objective toward
secondary characters, but delves deeply into pov character’s heart and mind
and soul. This is an easy pov and one that beginners should try first.
Objective: A cool, impersonal tone is created and writer makes no value
judgments. Moral distinctions are left solely up to the reader. Writer is as
objective of the main character as he is of all the others. It’s like watching
someone else’s home movie. No internalization. This is rarely used in today’s
fiction except in experimental works. End of early post.

Now, today, I’d like to talk more about the use of POV in modern writing. Think about it this way. When you step into a room with windows and doors, your point of view shows you what is in the room, what you can see out the windows and what you learn when you open a door. If someone walks into that room, then in your point of view you listen to their dialogue, but you cannot hear what they are thinking or what they know unless they tell you. If a dog barks outside, you cannot know what kind of dog it is or who it is barking at or why unless you go to the door, open it and step outside.

There you may see someone, maybe you recognize him. When he hollers at the dog you can hear in your point of view what he says, see his gestures. But you cannot know why the dog is barking unless you see something amiss. There is no guesswork allowed here unless it is in your internalization. Not in that of the dog owner or anyone in the room with you.

So when you write a story you must first decide whose story it is, and then remain in his or her point of view throughout the story, using the rules of this room I illustrated to you. Your character cannot see his own expressions other than being aware that he frowns or laughs, smiles or cries. But what he looks like doing this is not available unless someone says, “boy you sure look weird when you laugh or cry or whatever.”

Writing from a singular point of view is the best way for beginners to write. And don’t tell me it can’t be done and tell your story. My latest book, Beyond the Moon, is 565 pages long written from a singular point of view. It has five other characters who play a large part in the plot, yet it gets told very well from my main characters POV. Or so I’ve heard from readers and my editor and publisher.

As an experienced writer, some of my books are written from dual or more points of view, but there are rules that must be learned very well so they can occasionally be broken. And those should come later in your craft after you’ve accomplished the ability to write very well in singular POV.

My Writer’s Workshops are held in the spring and fall of the year at Ozark Folkways on top of the Boston Mountains south of Winslow, Arkansas. If you are interested in taking this fall’s workshop, the date is Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $35. Please go to my website or the News Page here on Word Press for more information on the workshop.

Posted in Writers | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

It Drives Me Nuts

I'm so confused

I’m so confused

First, I have to say I am the contest chair for Ozark Creative Writers Conference contest. Some weeks I block on writing a blog. That probably shows up in the ones I do write. This week has been H E Double L.

The weekend spent at the hospital with my husband, who was taken from home by ambulance and put in the cardiac section. Turned out to be either a hiatal hernia or gall bladder. We still don’t know.

Then, after sitting three hours waiting to get him out—cause who wants to work on Sunday, even in a hospital?—and him lying there punching his button and moaning “I want to go home.” every three seconds—we finally trailed in about six o’clock. Then he had to be fed because he was starving. That green stuff looked like a cow’s cud and the chicken was nested on something foreign he couldn’t identify and would not put near his mouth.

Waiting patiently on my computer were messages, pleas asking me to make sure a certain contest submission got in the contest. People who wait till the last minute drive me nuts, but I do understand. It’s just that I can’t handle that. I have to be organized,

Going Nuts

Going Nuts

have all my ducks in a row and be ahead of schedule on everything, so naturally people who don’t drive me nutty. I still love them, don’t get me wrong. Friends and acquaintances, writers and family galore, I love them all. Some just drive me nuts. As I no doubt do them. About now, if my editor could see that sentence, he’d be turning purple.

So here I am, all the entries sorted to where they belong, envelopes to judges addressed, letters written telling them when to return their choices so I can get them in to the lady who writes the checks and fills out the certificates. I’m ready. But I have to wait for those late comers. Please don’t write me how you were sick, or broke your arm or had your appendix out. I already know and I do understand. But, and that’s a big but, there are those who absolutely cannot be ahead of schedule. They just can’t work that way, even without a broken arm.

I am a gentler, kinder contest chair. You leave your name on the pages, if you only have a few pages, I’ll black it out and send it on to the judge. Most chairs return them. If it’s too many pages to mess with, I make a phone call with a chance to fix it if there’s time.

Next time you enter a contest, please consider that contest chair who has to handle each and every submission, make sure the rules have not been broken before she sorts them into the proper files, and eventually number and remove your cover sheet and mails the bundles off to the individual judges. So, read the rules and follow them explicitly. Don’t drive her nuts.further nuts

It’s almost over. I can mail them all Friday morning and relax. But wait. The judges have been reminded that I must have the results by September 26. I can start going nuts again because at least one or two will wait till midnight that night to send theirs. Is there no end to my dilemma? I guess not.

My latest book, Beyond the Moon will officially be out Sept. 30, and will anyone do the stuff that needs to be done? No, not until the last minute, effectively hitting my nuts button once again. It’s just the way the world works. I’m the one who is out of step. Everyone else is doing a fabulous job promoting the book, designing posters and cards. The book is gorgeous. It’s available on preorder for ebook at a discount. So what’s my problem?

Celebrate with joy

Celebrate with joy

How do you handle working with people who don’t understand that you need stuff done weeks ahead of time, not at the last minute? Or maybe you are one of them that drives me nuts.





Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

You Want Me To Do What?

stack of books

Attend a ribbon cutting at Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Why would I do that? Because it’s for a company like no other I’ve ever been associated with. They wanted me and their other authors to be there when they officially cut the ribbon for Oghma Creative Media, a Promotional and Publishing House. Right here in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where there are so many authors you can’t stir ‘em with a stick, as my grandma used to say.

Several months ago I signed with these guys, having no idea what I was getting in to, but impressed by the pure energy exuded by Casey Cowan, its founder, who along with Patty Stith came up with the novel idea of promoting authors, artists, musicians, and artistbusinesses. And by golly, it was working.So I decided to try them out. I signed for promotion of a three book series I had on Kindle, something from my backlist. Known as the Montana Series—yeah, I know, that’s not very creative—the three books had slacked off from earlier booming sales and were clumping along with sales of five to ten books each month.musicians

I’d see what they could do for me to improve those sales. Immediately, Casey began to promote not only the Montana series, but what was more important, me as a writer and my work on the whole. Things rocked along. Casey said Tweet these subjects five times a week and so I did. Only one of them had anything to do with my books. The rest were information, entertainment, socializing. I continued to blog and Tweet and hit the social media route online, and there I would see stuff about me and my work, posted by the people at Oghma Creative Media.

Then the unbelievable happened. Casey decided if they could promote writers, why not publish them as well. He went to work learning the ropes. If you know him, you know he doesn’t mess around. He gets right to the core and it wasn’t long before he’d contracted M.G. Miller for a reprint of his incredibly fabulous book, Bayou Jesus, and Pamela Foster for Noisy Creek, her poignant story of aging gracefully in a small southern town. Then he asked me if I didn’t have a book. I said, sure, I’ve got several, but I was “fixin” —that’s Arkie for preparing—to put them on Kindle. “Let us see one of them,” he and Greg said in unison. So I did and the rest is history.

Beyond the Moon, the book of my heart and soul, will be released September 30 from Oghma Creative Media’s Foyle Press in Ebook, Hard cover and paperback, and I couldn’t be more excited. If you were at the ribbon cutting you know that Casey announced that Oghma is nominating Beyond the Moon for a Pulitzer Prize in Literature, which has me “beyond the moon.” Even more so than when I got the New York call back in 1993 that started all of this insanity.ny skylineOh, by the way, I’ve signed for two other books that will be out next year. The second of The Twist of Poe Series, The Telltale Stone, in April 2015 and a little evil thing I call A Savage Grace, scheduled for a Halloween release in 2015. You’ll be surprised that such a wicked story could come out of my sweet little self. Oh, and my cookbook will be re-released sometime during all this excitement. There’s talk of more, but why go on?

Casey is brilliant, Greg is a top notch editor, Staci and Jess and all the others who have a part in building this new business are super hard workers, always ready to lend a hand to any one of this stable of authors that is growing by leaps and bounds.

When Casey looks at me now and says, “I need you to …” I don’t hesitate, not any more.


Posted in promotion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments


wild west

Many times I’m asked where I get ideas for my western historical romances.  It’s simple, really. In fact I have enough stuff scribbled down to write these books for another twenty years or so. I prefer to write about the 1860s through the 1880s, though that’s not a set rule. Each time I go on a trip through that era in my research the most fascinating thing happens. Characters begin to appear and talk to me. Tell me what it’s like to live in the time and place I’ve stepped into. They speak to me of amazing feats, how tough life can sometimes be, how enjoyable certain facets of that life are. First it’s the women who visit with me, but it isn’t long before some strong heroes show up and give me the lowdown on being a man who sticks by his woman.

Soon I begin to ask questions. Where does she live? What sort of family  does she have and are they close? Sometimes I find myself hoping she is alone, because for my type of book that works out best. I need a heroine who has overcome many barriers on her own to get what she wants. Then she meets the man of her dreams and up pop more barriers that they must overcome together.pensive woman

Women were second class citizens, and I have to remember that. They weren’t much more than slaves to some men. So perhaps she’s trapped in this sort of situation. But because it’s a romance, she’s not married unless it was arranged. Her “master” may be her father or an elder brother who’s now the head of the family. He might be the man she works for, as in cooking, cleaning, washing. Or she could be an innocent girl caught up in the life of a “soiled dove,” or a widow battling being alone again.

Consider the set-up of several of my books to see how these women are situated: In IMAGES IN SCARLET, an original from Topaz and now available from Kindle, my heroine, Allison Caine, lives in Missouri. It’s 1866. Her father, a photographer during the Civil War, has died.  Trained by him in his craft,  she sets out alone with her camera equipment in what was known as a “what’s it” wagon to go to Santa Fe where she wants to set up a photography business. Oh, I forgot to tell you, she’s armed with a Navy Colt, just in case. Inspired by an article on women photographers of the day.

woman horseIn Goldspun Promises, also from Topaz and now available through Kindle as  MONTANA PROMISES, seventeen-year-old Tressie buries her mother and a stillborn child and is left alone on the prairie. She is obsessed with getting revenge on her father who deserted them to go hunt for gold. The only way she can do this is with some help. And in rides Reed Bannon, badly wounded and in bad trouble. She has to save him before he can help her out of her dire situation. The gold rush to Virginia City Montana inspired this, the first of the Montana books.

Moonspun Dreams from Topaz, is now available through Kindle as MONTANA DREAMS.  Our heroine Dessa Fallon travels from Kansas City to Virginia City because her parents have learned that her brother, missing since the end of the war, may be alive. During a horrendous stage ride, she is kidnapped by a gang of robbers. Unknown to her at the time,  the mercantile her parents own has burned down and  both died in the fire. Now she’s in a pretty fix, huh? Except for the reclusive Ben Poole who may be the answer to her prayers. Driving the golden spike to connect the east and west coast by rail inspired this tale of a mythical train ride.

I think that’s enough to give you an idea of how to place a heroine in a precarious situation to kick off a book about the wild West and the people who lived there as well as where the inspiration comes from.her saddle


Posted in western women | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments



armed woman Republished from July, 2012 with some updating

Besides being a writer, I’m a woman, a wife, mother, grandmother and a great grandmother. And I’m a human being, an American, a daughter of pioneers. My great grandmother on my mother’s side went west with her Victorian parents when she was 13. She was born in 1865 soon after the end of the Civil War. She married a lawman in Winfield, Kansas and they had four daughters. My grandmother lived in Montana after her marriage until they moved to Arkansas. Here she rode side saddle and carried a 22 revolver. I was told she was quite fearless as a young woman. One of her sisters went to work for the Winfield Newspaper when that was not really the thing a woman did. Another was a true rebel, what today might be called a flower child. So it is in my blood to do what I do.

Navy Nurse Corps

Navy Nurse Corps

Over the past 30 years that I’ve written and been published, I’ve seen the role of women in novels and stories evolve from the meek to the mighty. Some could say this has happened much too slowly, some could add that the female role has become a bit ridiculous in some instances. Women who fight and conquer monsters might seem to some to be outrageously impossible. Yet isn’t that what has been done since that day in 1920 when the lowly female of the species was at last allowed to cast her vote? It was once outrageously impossible. A monster which women conquered.

I can’t help but point out, being a writer of much that is western in fiction and non fiction, that the first time women were allowed to vote and hold public office took place in Wyoming as early as 1858. I have long wondered why this happened there, of all places. Could it be that because women were in such short supply on the western frontier, they were deemed more important? Or more probably, there weren’t any men who would consider holding these offices, and so it fell to women. Let’s hope it was because the women were stronger and more stubborn, having survived the challenges involved in going west and living on the frontier.

I know that is true of such job offerings as post masters of small towns on the early frontier. The pay was so small that no man would apply for the job. It was also work that could be done from home while tending to the washing and ironing, the scrubbing and cooking, the birthing and raising of children. Today, women are fulfilling all sorts of jobs, not because it’s easy, but because it’s difficult.

My favorite quote, and here again I’m paraphrasing: Women who behave don’t make history. In other words, if we don’t raise all holy Ned, then our names and our deeds will soon be forgotten. Take my very distant cousin, Clara Barton. She did what most other women of her day disapproved of. She cared for the sick, including the male of the species. My grandmother was so infuriated by such actions that she would not lay claim to our relationship to this courageous woman who began the Red Cross in this country. Barton dedicated her life to seeing that soldiers and indeed all those who fell ill or were injured, received the care they deserved.

Women who move beyond the limits set by their culture often gain other women’s disapproval. For instance, Mabel Dodge, who dared marry the man she loved who happened to be not only a Tewa Indian, but a man who worked as her chauffeur. She and her husband  went on to build The Sagebrush Inn in Taos, New Mexico.

My book, Fly With The Mourning Dove, is about a strong and determined woman, who from early childhood enjoyed the freedom of ranch life. A difficult life lived on the high desert of New Mexico where women were breaking out of the mold in so many ways. Edna Smith Hiller, who lived the life I wrote about, faced plenty of adversity, much of which the book doesn’t touch on. During her 92nd  and 93rd year, she shared her stories with me, the great adventures of her life, going back to the age of six. Her memories were precise, her stories amazing, and she recalled so much of the early Anglo settlements in New Mexico around Taos and Santa Fe. This admirable and amazing woman is also a sidesaddledistant cousin. At 97 she handed over the management of her ranches to her daughter and son-in-law. Until she passed away last year, a few months short of her 100th birthday, Edna had a hand in managing two of the ranches that have been in her family since the homesteading days after World War I. As far as Anglos and this United States are concerned, New Mexico is young compared to other states.

My header reads Sexy Dark and Gritty stories of Gutsy women from all walks of life. When all I wrote were western historical novels, it read Stories of Gutsy women who won the west, but now that I’ve branched out into women’s fiction of a contemporary and recent nature, we’ve changed that a tad so it includes all my fiction and nonfiction, including the new mystery series.

Women like those who were courageous and strong enough to settle unknown country, build homes, families, churches, businesses, molded our lives in so many ways, for which we should all be grateful. We are who we are because of these women.







Posted in women | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments