Whew! I don’t about you but I’m really glad the Christmas and New Year holidays are over. It’s wonderful, but I’m pooped and I’m more than ready to get back to my writing.
Speaking of writing, last week Lyn Horner one of my favorite authors and a long time friend called to tell me about her new and exciting project. I invited her here today to tell you all about it.
Howdy, Partners. Many thanks to Sharla Rae for hosting me today! Sharla is one of my favorite authors and a great friend.
I want to tell you about a project I’m involved in, but first a bit about myself. California-born and Minnesota-bred, I have lived in Texas for over thirty years. I’m married to a wonderful man and we have two grown children.
My father was a Texas boy, my mom a Minnesota girl, explaining why we moved from San Francisco to “the land of ten thousand lakes” when I was a little tyke. But my Texan dad loved tales of the Old West and he instilled the same love in me. Years later, I fell head over heels for western historical romances. Eventually, I began writing them.
I published my first book in 2010. Titled Darlin’ Irish, it garnered good reviews and evolved into the Texas Devlins series. More recently, I branched out with a paranormal-romantic suspense series, Romancing the Guardians, and have contributed to two western anthologies.
Which leads me to my fun new project. A few months ago I was invited to collaborate with five other authors on a new anthology of western short stories. Titled The Posse, each story features – you guessed it – a posse. There is a Facebook page where all you lovely readers can find out about the cover reveal, giveaways and the release date (tentatively mid-March.) I hope you will stop by, give the page a like and recommend it to your friends.
Meanwhile, here’s an excerpt from my short story, The Schoolmarm’s Hero.
Setting: Lentzburg, Colorado; autumn 1880
Marshall Trace Balfour and schoolmarm Matilda Schoenbrun are attending a church picnic when gunshots ring out from Main Street. Trace races to stop trouble.
“Throw down your guns!” Trace shouted, drawing his .45 and striding toward the troublemakers.
The three pivoted to face him. Two were young, the third somewhat older, and from the look of them, all were liquored up. The older one, whose Stetson hung by chin straps down his back, glared belligerently from beneath bushy brows the same rusty orange as his curly hair. “Who says so, mister?” he challenged.
“I do. The name’s Balfour. I’m the law in this town and I’m ordering you to lay down your guns. Now.”
“Like hell we will!” the wild-eyed waddy yelled. He fired a shot at Trace, missing by a foot or more.
Trace threw himself behind a nearby horse trough and fired back. He missed but his bullet convinced the hothead it was time to git. Hollering for his cronies to run, he bounded into the street and dashed to his horse, reined to a hitching post a few feet away. The other two followed his lead.
Determined to prevent their escape, Trace jumped to his feet and aimed at the leader, but at that moment Jake Driscoll, the saloon keeper, charged out of his establishment carrying a shotgun. He stomped down the boardwalk steps into the street as the three cowboys spurred their mounts toward the south end of town. Big and burly as the name of his place implied, the man blocked Trace’s aim.
“You bastards killed my piano player! You ain’t gettin’ away scot-free!” he bellowed. Raising his shotgun, he fired both barrels. The blast exploded with a deafening roar and knocked one of the young riders off his horse. He hit the ground face-down in the dirt and didn’t move.
“Shep!” yelled one of the others, a dark-haired kid on a paint horse. He started to pull up.
“He’s done for. Ride!” shouted the curly-haired galoot.
The two tried to make a run for it, but by now several shopkeepers and other men blocked the street, most pointing guns at the cowboys – now outlaws – racing toward them. Seeing their way blocked, the pair swung around and galloped back the way they’d come.
Trace had started to run after them, meaning to grab his horse at the jail and pursue them out of town. Now, he halted and fired off a shot as they raced past him in the opposite direction. He winged the dark-haired youth. The kid cried out, rocked from side to side but managed to stay on his horse. As he and his gun-happy companion neared the north end of town, Trace saw more citizens gather. Fresh from the picnic, they included several families. Again, some of the men blocked the street, carrying firearms.
Trapped, the fleeing pair jerked their horses to a dusty, skidding halt. Trace’s stomach knotted. Fearing what the fugitives might do, he ran, spurs jingling, toward the threatening conflict. Before he could get there, the carrot-topped cabrón prodded his horse into a group of shrieking women and children, bent down and grabbed one of the women. She screamed as he hauled her up in front of him. Spotting her blue dress and flying dark hair, Trace realized it was Mattie. He shouted her name and ran faster, heart hammering in his chest.
“Let us pass or I’ll kill her,” her captor hollered at the crowd. He pressed the barrel of his six-shooter to her head.
“No!” Trace roared. He didn’t know if he was shouting at the bastard not to shoot or at the crowd not to let him get away with Mattie in his clutches. It didn’t matter as the townsfolk parted, allowing the outlaws through. Seeing them thunder off, Trace froze, flooded by fear for the woman he’d so recently come to respect and desire.