Here are some excerpts from my Westerns, and any links and other information I might come across.
I will place my short 'blurbs' on here too, I'd like your opinion on them.
* * * * * *
I thought I'd put the first chapter of my novella for my American publishers on here now. I really enjoyed writing this, I hope you enjoy reading it. It is available on Amazon as an e-book. It can also be found as part of an anthology, entitled 'Cowboy Kisses.'
'HEARTS AND RED RIBBONS'
As the last pink stripes of the soft early spring day sighed across the sky, a big buckskin gelding galloped hell for leather into the yard, skidding to a halt beside the trough, eyes rolling, nostrils stretched wide to pull the smallest breath of air into bursting lungs. Dropping his head, he sucked hard at the water.
His coat was dripping with sweat and large blobs of foam floated from his neck and shoulders. Panting heavily, the gelding lifted his head from the trough, water dripping from his soft muzzle as he stared with wild, white-edged eyes at his surroundings.
The two women had left the cabin when they heard the sound, and were standing at the open door watching as the horse drunk his fill. He had on a dusty, well-worn saddle with a rifle still in its boot, saddlebags and bedroll still in place.
The older woman clutched a shotgun, the younger was holding onto a revolver as they looked around to see if there were any more visitors.
"What in the hell?"
"Marlee, I?ve told you not to cuss like that."
"Yeah, but what the ..."
Certain that the horse was alone, the younger woman stepped slowly from the house and headed towards the gelding, as she went she released the hammer of the revolver, tucking it into the waistband of her woolen britches to leave her hands free.
At her approach, the animal snorted, pranced up onto his toes and backed off, panting and trembling, eyes wide and popping. Marlee Jones reached out her hand and stepped forward to touch the nose of the frightened animal. At the feel of her small fingers, the animal seemed to calm down a little.
"Easy there, feller, I won?t hurt you. Don?t you drink no more just yet; we don?t want you getting sick on us. Take it easy now, where's your master I wonder? Come on, let's go get you some sweet feed, and get that heavy saddle off you."
She reached out, took hold of the dangling reins and gathered them up, drawing close enough to the horse to be able to stroke his damp, strongly muscled neck and long black mane.
"Watch him Marlee. He?s frightened, mind he doesn?t go for you.?
"He?s fine, Momma, look at him, he's been running for a long while, he just needs a rest and some food, poor feller. What happened, boy? I sure wish you could talk to us, come on, come with me."
She walked slowly round the panting horse and pulled on the reins, he turned to follow and she led him over to the barn and into an empty stall. Taking a head collar from a peg, talking softly to him as she moved, Marlee eased it on to him and took off the bridle. Tying the rope of the halter to the stall post, she ran a gentle hand over his still trembling and twitching body.
Her mother?s soft voice startled the horse and he jerked his head up with a snort. Marlee calmed him again and went back to examining him.
"I think so, doesn?t seem to be any cuts or wounds, no injuries, not that I can feel, nor see anyway. Now, let's get this saddle off."
As she pulled at the cinch, the horse snorted, lifted a back leg, stamped, and switched his thick black tail, but soon stood more calmly as she tried to get the heavy saddle from his back.
"Momma, give me a hand here will you, this things damned heavy!"
Mrs. Jones put down her shotgun and quickly went to help her daughter take the saddle and its packs from the sweating, broad back. The horse stomped some, twitching his withers as the kit was lifted, and the straps were dragged across his back. Soon, he stood quietly in the stall, as Marlee and her Momma hoisted the saddle onto a rail, and went to get a net of hay and some sweet feed for him.
"I wonder what happened?"
Marlee was stuffing a net with hay, as her Momma filled a scoop with feed to drop into the bucket in the stall. She filled another bucket half full with fresh water and stood looking at the horse, as her daughter tied up the hay net and stepped back to stand beside her. The horse took another long drink.
Marlee found a brush and a cloth and groomed the worst of the dirt and sweat from his coat, throwing a thick blanket over his back so he didn?t get cold. Her mother stroked his soft nose thoughtfully.
"He?s a fine looking animal, must have been some sort of accident, you?ll need to go out tomorrow, Marlee, and look see if you can find his owner some place. He might be injured, need some help."
"Maybe I should ride out now?"
"You?ll do no such thing!"
"But, Momma, if he?s injured, it won?t be safe for him out there after dark!"
"And if you get injured, there?ll be no-one to help him, and if he?s dead, we can?t do him any good anyway. You?ll never find him in the dark. You can go after we've eaten in the morning.'
"You heard me. Come, wash up, if we get to our beds early, you?ll be able to set off at first light."
She picked up the shotgun and headed for the house.
"Oh, alright, but if we could have saved him tonight, and he's dead in the morning, I know whose fault it is."
Marlee flounced out of the barn across the darkening yard and back into the house behind her mother. The big buckskin gelding snorted softly into the hay and fell asleep.
This is the 'blurb' for "The Ghosts of Poynter'.
This was my first published book, by Robert Hale (Black Horse) in London.
'Chase Tyler is headed for the town of Poynter.
An attempted ambush, the tragic death of an innocent man, a Sheriff who won't play by the rules, added to a brother-in-law who can't be trusted, and a young man out for vengance, make for a pretty complicated visit.
When Chase also meets a woman who bears more than a passing resemblance to his lost love, there is very little hope of him laying old ghosts to rest.
* * * * *
Here's the cover art for the book. If you've read it, please let me know what you think won't you? I really do appreciate constructive criticism.
* * * *
This first one came out at the end of June 2012, published by Robert Hale Ltd. (Black Horse Westerns imprint). It has some lovely reviews on Amazon.
* * * *
Here is the final 'Blurb' for book number 2 entitled, 'Crazy Man Cade'. This is the version which Robert Hale wanted, quite a bit different to my original version, but see what you think?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Crazy Man Cade had done it all. Foiled a stagecoach robbery, stopped the vicious beating of an elderly man, and halted the kidnapping of a pretty young girl from a crooked sheriff and his gang. But his life is changed for ever when an Arapahoe brave walks out of the trees and into his camp, to tell him that Cade's oldest friend, Bear the trapper, is dying.
A perilous journey, and a bloody battle with a gang of thugs delay their progress, but earn Cade the respect of the Indians and they reach Bear in time to get him some help. Knowing that he would never be able to settle, will Cade deny his attraction to one of the Indian girls, and ride away from his old friend, and the possibility of a new life
* * * * * * * * * * *
Part of the first chapter of my second Western through Robert Hale, Enjoy!
CRAZY MAN CADE.
The man on the big paint horse rode light and easy in the saddle, reins resting low and loose, he wasn't in any great hurry. The horse loped along with a long, slow, loose stride, there was no urgency. It was going to be a few more days yet before they reached the town they were headed for.
The rider was relaxed, yet still alert, looking around him, eyes peeled, searching for, well, anything at all that might be out of the ordinary, but they?d had over a week of uneventful riding up to now, there was no reason to suspect there?d be any sort of trouble to come, so very close to their target. And if there were, he sure as Hell could handle most anything that might be thrown at him. Those who knew him, but didn't call him 'friend', and a great many who?d only ever heard of his exploits, called him ?Crazy Man Cade?.
His real name was Jedediah Cade. He?d gotten the handle of ?Crazy Man? due to the fierce, fighting spirit, which was permanently lurking deep down within his soul, and which reared it?s ugly head whenever the anger was on him. He carried around, deep inside of him, a ferocity that simmered deep and hot in his veins. The energy of it almost emanated from him, like the heat from the desert. Somehow or other, some people even seemed to be able to feel it, whenever they got close to him, and those folk who felt it usually gave him a wide berth, even if they had no sort of argument with him.
Cade?s name was known far and wide, when he mentioned it anywhere, people?s eyes widened at the recognition of it, and the knowledge of what usually followed. Standing at a good 6?4", and almost as broad, his tautly muscled body was well honed, with not a spare ounce of fat anywhere to be seen. Looking at him, most folk could see he was a force to be reckoned with.
His was an anger that burned, long, and slow, and silent, but could be mighty quick to explode given the right situation. He?d carried it deep within him for so long, that he'd learned to feel when the signs began brewing, and, for the most part, he was usually able to control it, to keep it just on the simmer, rather than letting it boil over. For the most part.
He didn?t really know where it had all begun, or when. He didn?t even want to know. The anger had become a part of his being now, just as much as any other part of him. It surged hotly around his veins, mingling with his blood, and it beat along with the rhythm of his restless heart. It didn?t do to get in Cade?s way when the anger was upon him. Then, someone would undoubtedly get hurt. It was sometimes Jed Cade, but mostly he was the only one left standing.
His violence was not fuelled by drink, as it often was with so many other men. It simply burned, deep within him permanently, it belonged with him, as much as his dark chestnut brown, shoulder length hair, and deep brown eyes. The anger simmered so close to the surface, that there was always a danger of it erupting at the wrong word, or simply even the wrong glance, in his direction, it just depended how he was feeling on that particular day.
A long, thick, jagged, white scar ran down the length of his left forearm, from elbow to wrist. It was a souvenir of too close an encounter with a tomahawk wielding Apache. A rogue Apache, who?d been on the wrong end of Cade?s famous anger, and had ended up as a dead, and scalped Apache, for his trouble. The scalp was decorating Cade?s belt even now.
Those brown eyes of his saw everything,and missed almost nothing, they were as sharp as cougar?s claws. Their gimlet sharpness had served to keep him alive on countless occasions. He made his living where he could, taking whatever kind of work might come his way, at whenever the time, not caring what side of the Law he ended up on, but for the most part staying on the right side of it.
Restlessly moving around from one side of the country to another, and from Mexico to Canada, Jed Cade seemed to be unable to settle down in any one place. He seemed to be searching for some indefinable 'thing', which always felt as though it was just out of his reach. His troubled soul could find no rest. His restless heart didn?t need it. His head though, well, his head just kept on telling him that, as he was getting older, he really ought to be thinking about settling down some time soon.
There was no woman, anywhere though, who had ever yet made him really feel the need to settle. Oh, he?d known many women in his time, a great many. Plenty of whom he?d thought of quite fondly for a little while. But there?d been none with whom he?d ever really contemplated settling down, and making a home.
The nearest he?d ever come to it was one time, way down in Mexico, she was a pretty little filly; name of Juanita Theresa. He visited her regularly, whenever he was in her area. He asked for her by name every time. The things she did for him during those visits made him feel real good, better than most any other woman he?d ever known. She knew just exactly how to please him, and she did it very well. She?d batted her long black lashes at him, to great effect at the time. For more than just a fleeting second, when ever he was with her, his mind began to think about home, a wife, maybe even kids some day.
But after one particularly exciting night with his little lady, she?d gone and spoiled the whole thought, when, come the first creeping pale shafts of the morning sun across the worn out carpet, she sat up in the crumpled, still warm, bed, in the room above the taverna, and held out her hand towards him.
"That?s five dollars Cade" she?d yawned, as she openly, and hungrily, watched him get dressed. He shook his head as he pulled on his boots. What on earth had he been thinking? Sure, good time girls had gotten wed before now, it wasn?t unheard of, but Cade knew that Juanita Theresa was never going to change her ways. He paid the five dollars. She had been well worth it. But as a wife, well, that wasn?t about to happen any time soon Cade realised. In fact he knew then that she was never going to be wife material. Her next customer was waiting outside of her door as Jed left. They exchanged glances, nodded, and skirted one another widely.
Maybe, just maybe, one day, there might be another Juanita somewhere for him, but one whom he wouldn?t have to pay off after a roll between the sheets. No matter how good it had been
And here is the cover art for 'Crazy Man Cade'
(A friend said this hero had the look of a young Charles Bronson, and I think I agree. What do you think?)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
See Ya Soon Folks!