Monday, January 16, 2017

Guest - MK McClintock

Why I Write Historical Romantic Westerns
MK McClintock

It began with me romping around the pastures on all fours with the horses and playing cowboys and Indians with my siblings. I was eight years old and my family had a small ranch in Colorado, but for years before we moved to the Rockies, we had vacationed each summer to the mountains. I grew up with a deep appreciation for the majestic landscape of rolling hills and open meadows surrounded by the mighty Rocky Mountains. 

At a young age, I didn’t think that one day I would write novels. I wrote stories as children often do, but they were for school or pleasure, and because I had a vivid imagination that found a variety of ways to manifest itself. Writing longer works of fiction came about as a slow and natural progression, and when the early ideas forms, they were a combination of Victorian romance and western.

The idea for the first Gallagher book wouldn’t come about until many years after I moved to Montana. It was a surprise that the land I came to love figured so prominently in my books. Writing historical romantic westerns gives me the opportunity to combine three of my favorite things: history, romance, and the American West.

I want readers to see the land as I do, to smell the pine trees and watch eagles fly overhead, and to feel the crisp and clean autumn air as the weather turns and snow covers the peaks. The Gallagher family needed a home within Montana, and thus the Hawk’s Peak ranch was born. The more time I spent with the Gallaghers, their family, the ranch hands, and the delightful people in the fictional town of Briarwood, I knew something special had happened. I knew letting go wouldn’t be easy . . . so I didn’t.

Journey to Hawk’s Peak, book five in the Montana Gallagher series, is the latest adventure I’ve had the joy of taking with the Gallaghers and their friends. Their journey has been filled with surprises: heartache, new beginnings, second chances, and a deep love for both the land the people who have touched their lives.

I hope you’ll join me on a journey filled with the remarkable men and women of Hawk’s Peak and Briarwood.  

MK will give one person who comments a paperback book if in the U.S. and ebook if you live outside the U.S.  Be sure to leave your email so we can contact you.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Giveaway and Find Great Authors! #LitRing #Prizes

 A group of authors, me included, have put together a fun way to find new authors and great books.What Will You Read Next? -- Quiz and Giveaway, by LitRing.

Take the quiz and you are eligible for the great prizes listed below and you have chances to pick up some wonderful books at great prices! The prizes are awesome:

  • 1 $500 gift card
  • 4 $100 gift cards
  • 1 Kindle Fire
  • 1 Nook Color
  • 1 iPad Mini
  • 1 Kobo Aura
All you have to do is take a fun quiz.  How cool is that?

Monday, January 09, 2017

Guest Blogger- Pam Cowan

Suspense…and Snakes 

There are two broad subcategories of thriller, mystery and suspense. In a mystery novel the reader doesn’t know who the bad guy is and hopes to figure it out by the end. In a suspense novel the reader knows who the bad guy is, but the main character doesn’t. 

I like mystery—but I love suspense. 

Something about knowing stuff the characters don’t, really keeps me on the edge of my seat. I go through all kinds of emotions: excitement, frustration, hope, anticipation and anxiety. When I’m reading a good suspense novel by writers like John Sandford or Lisa Scottoline, for instance, I want to climb into the book, grab the protagonist and yell, “No, you’re going in the wrong direction. It’s that guy!”

That’s what I want for people who read my books, an intense, gripping, immersive experience, where they are cheering for the good guy. Like, Kayla Shaffer, the good guy in my latest suspense thriller, Cold Kill. (Well, gal in this case.) 

I stumbled across the idea that grew into Cold Kill ten years ago, while researching an article on unusual laws still on the books in the United States. I remembered reading somewhere that Klamath Falls, the town I grew up in, had a law against kicking the heads off of snakes. That seemed like a good starting place, so I opened a browser and ran a search for strange laws, Klamath, courts and a few other terms I can’t recall.
The first link took me to a letter of complaint mailed to the Klamath County Courts. The letter writer had been pulled over in a snow storm for not putting chains on his RV. He was then arrested for possibly drinking under the influence. A test proved he was not drunk and he was released.

It should have ended there but… The man was a commercial fisherman in Alaska and every time he took his boat into Canadian waters, because of the arrest on his record, he was required to post a $3,000 bond. He wanted the arrest removed. The county refused. 

His story and his frustration, so clear in the letter, stayed with me. When I decided I wanted to write another novel based in murderous (and luckily fictional) Eulalona County, Oregon, I decided he’d be the perfect starting place. I began to play the “what ifs.”

What if his wife had been with him, left in the RV in a blizzard? What if she caught a cold when they got home and died? What if he blamed the police who pulled him over and arrested him? What if, instead of going after Eulalona’s finest, he targeted their wives and girlfriends—and one of them was a former deputy as well as an amputee?

I can’t say more about Cold Kill without spoiling the suspense, but I can share what I learned about snakes in Klamath Falls 

It turns out that, back in the days of wooden sidewalks, snakes would come up between the wooden planks to sun themselves. Kids and cowboys would kick and stomp their heads to kill them but their bodies would fall back under the boards. The smell and resulting flies were not pleasant, so a law was written to make it illegal to kick the heads off snakes. A law that isn’t so strange—if you know the reason behind it—and now you do.

Former Sheriff’s Deputy Keyla Shaffer, is recovering from the shooting that left her an amputee. All she wants is to prove her worth. But when an angry man seeking revenge makes her his target, will she be prepared to meet the challenge and survive?

Pre-order here.

Pamela Cowan is a Pacific Northwest author best known for her contemporary crime novels. Cowan is the author of the Storm series which includes Storm Justice and Storm Vengeance, books which follow probation officer, Storm McKenzie, on her single-minded quest for justice. She is also the author of two stand-alone novels based in fictional Eulalona County, Oregon, Something in the Dark and Cold Kill. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Finding Flaws for Characters

I'm currently working on a short contemporary western for an anthology. I gave the heroine a unique flaw. She is dyslexic.

It's interesting that the idea to pick this problem for my character came several years ago. I've had the idea in a folder. Now I have even more facts about dyslexia because I have a granddaughter with the disorder.

I wanted to make the heroine strong in that while she has struggled to read she has till made it on her own. I also gave her a background of being a foster child who went from home to home which never gave a teacher or foster parent enough time with her to figure out her problem.  It of course took a toll on her self-confidence but she found a job and place to live where she didn't need to read. And she found ways to overcome her problem.

Along with her flaw and insecurities, I've given her strength and purpose. She's content with where she's at even though she does have money stashed to hopefully someday have her own boarding stable. It's dream she uses to keep herself optimistic she won't be a stable hand her whole life.

That is until she runs into a man who gives her hope that she could have a normal life and work in a job that is more than scooping poop and grooming horses.

 Catch the Rain will be out in an Anthology in June. Stay tuned to find out how to get the anthology.

Catch the Rain
Contemporary Western Romance

Zach MacDonald is the new veterinarian in town. He’s focusing on his career...Until he sees a frustrated, pretty, young woman at a bar on karaoke night. Not only does her voice and violet eyes mesmerize him, but her behavior intrigues him.

Kitty Baxter is running from her past and dreams of becoming more than her education will allow. When that past catches up to her on the same night she connects with a handsome man way out of her league, she finds herself championed by the stranger and believing he cares. But just like trying to read is like trying to catch the rain, she struggles with allowing herself to believe she is worthy of love. 

photo source: Canstock