Friday, November 20, 2015

Thank You, Ranch Romances is in the wings

My special story and the other four in the "Getting Connected" PAX group will be on the market NLT Sunday. I know the other four are great tales, too, but I am really excited about my own. I love "nostalgia" tales whether they are about the sixties (Midnight Cowboys) or even farther back, like this one. I'm a history buff, but this sub-genre falls just short of real history. There are lots of people around still who recall these times and to me, that's where "contemporary" ends and history begins. If it's before the memory of any living person or at best a very few who have lived far past the normal or average span, then it is history!

Ranch Romances is near the trailing end of that time frame. I'm not quite as old as dirt yet and so I know quite a few people do recall the 1940s, especially the tail end of them. It is kind of shocking though to realize just how many changes have come in this sixty some years!

Here again is the cover I am really enamored with. And below one more little excerpt about Darnell's arrival in New Mexico. To read more, you have to buy it ;-).


Wade didn’t want to get the kids’ hopes up too high or too soon. He had not told them about his effort and didn’t even announce that someone was coming. For now, everything went on as it had for the last twenty-some, long weeks. However, once the telegram came to tell him that D. Davis was indeed on the way and would arrive in less than twenty-four hours, he could hardly keep from saying something. Buck had gotten the yellow envelope, such an unusual occurrence that he was fidgeting like a little kid when Wade came in from checking fences so he could move most of the herd to the upper summer pasture.
Winnie met him at the kitchen door, stuttering with her excitement. “D-d-daddy, you got a special letter. Uncle Buck says it’s gotta be important ’cause a telly-gram is always real serious. What does it say?”
Wade ripped the envelope and pulled out the short message. “We’re going to have a visitor,” he said. “She may stay here and take care of the house for us if we like her and she likes us. But don’t get too fired up about it, okay? Don’t want to scare her off right away.”
He looked down at Winnie’s wide eyes, saw the hesitant smile tugging at her little mouth. “Oh! Like a new mama?”
Wade shook his head. “No, not like that, just a lady to cook and stuff. Maybe. Don’t be counting those chickens before the eggs are laid.”
The next morning, he fired up the old truck to drive down to the depot in Frontera. He thought about taking the team and the wagon. He’d done that a lot during the war when gas was rationed, but he figured an eastern woman, even if she said she could handle primitive and remote, might be put off by such transportation. Not that the truck was anything to brag about. Still, it did have a cab and a padded seat and roll-up windows. Not quite like the fancy new cars coming out of the factories now, but it was the best he had.
He got there about ten minutes before the eastbound arrived. The Sunset Limited was not the absolute top, but it was a classy train, one of Southern Pacific’s fine fleet that ran across the southwest to California. The big engine rolled in with a billowing cloud of steam and smoke and a piercing whistle. It came to a halt about half the train’s length past the platform. Not too many folks got off.
Wade waited, beginning to wonder what Miz Davis might look like. Would she be young, middle-aged, or grandmotherly? Tall or short, thin or hefty? No solitary woman appeared, though. There were three couples, one pair with two kids, and a couple of men that seemed to be alone. He waited.
Then one of the men started toward him. “Would you be Mr. Walters?”
Wade snapped around when he heard his name. “Yep, that’s me. How did you know my name? Where’s Miz Davis?”
Though the young man’s clothes were worn and the suitcase he carried had seen better days, he was neat and clean. He had a kind face and gentle blue eyes that contrasted with his very dark hair, hair that shone like a grackle’s wing in the strong morning sun.
“Miz? No, I’m Darnell Davis. I’m the one you sent a ticket to, the one who hopes to be the person you need for your family. I didn’t intend to mislead you. It just never occurred to me that you might think I was a lady.”
A mixture of anger and disappointment filled Wade for a moment, but on its heels came an odd sense of inevitability, the same hand of fate feeling that had overtaken him when he first saw that section in the magazine. Still, he had to voice some of his doubts and suspicions.
“Can you really cook, keep house, take care of children? That’s hardly a normal man’s work.”
Although Wade could read the fear the young man felt, young Davis squarely met his gaze. “Yes, sir. I can do that and do it well. As I told you initially, I did the housewife’s role while growing up since my mother was working, and there were four younger children in the family when my father disappeared. I’ve had about ten years of experience keeping house, and then I went through cook’s training in the army as well.”
“Then why couldn’t you get a job back east?”

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cover is Here!

Woo-hoo. I got the cover today and it is just perfect. I think you will like it too. It really has the feel and nostalgia look that I was hoping for and is just perfect for this 1949 set story. Here is the first public look anywhere!! Watch this space for more on this story which will be available at the usual new release 35% discount on November 22 and for a week following that date!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November's Release--Soon!!!

I still do not have a cover for Thank You, Ranch Romances but it should be along any day. Again this month we have two PAX collections coming out. The first I believe was released this past Sunday. It is a set of "beach comber" stories. Since that is so not my milieu, I did not get in on that one!

However the "Hooking Up" or "Getting Connected" group just triggered an instant idea, as I think I already explained. That collection will be released on Sunday, November 22. Since the first one is now 'on the street,' I am sure the staff at Amber Quill will be busy with the next one and that means I should have a cover very soon and I promise to share it the minute it hits my in-box. I'll also share an excerpt or two and links where you can read the story behind the story essay like I almost always do for each new release. I guess I say that about all my tales, or nearly so, but this one truly was special to me and I really want to share it with all my fans and regular readers so please keep your eyes on this space!

In the prior post, I introduced Wade. Now you get to meet Darnell:

Darnell sat, head in his hands. Although suicide was a sin, probably even worse than the other issue that had sent his life into a long downward spiral, he’d begun to think it might be the best option he had left. What could a twenty-seven-year-old man without a job do? He had little chances of getting one due to the Bad Conduct Discharge from the US Army. That felt like a scarlet letter branding him. Faggot, pussy, pervert. The hateful words gnawed at his soul. The younger siblings he’d worked to help Mama raise after Papa went missing were all scattered and doing okay as far as he knew. He would not go crawling to any of them for help. Mama had passed away while he was doing that terrible stint in Uncle Sam’s service. Where else could he go?
He’d just spent his next-to-last dime on a cup of coffee, and it was nearly empty. He’d gone into the diner to ask about a job—the placard in the fly-specked window read “dishwasher wanted” —but they said they’d just filled it. Hell, he couldn’t even wash dishes! And he’d done that and more during those hard years of his teens while Mama was working two and three jobs at the end of the Depression and the start of the war to keep a roof over their heads and a little food for them. He’d worked some, too, but a lot of the time took care of Dylan, Dinah, David, and baby Doreen.
As he stood, stiff as an old man, to start for the door, a magazine caught his eye. He would have sworn it was not there when he sat down at the table with his coffee but it sure was now. As he went to pick it up, just out of curiosity, it fell open to a page near the back. “Partners and Pen Pals” read the bold letters at the top. He skimmed down the page until one letter seemed to leap out at him.
“Widowed rancher needs a helpmate. Two small children have lost their mother. Struggling rancher cannot care for them, keep house, and also run his ranch. Applicant must be able to cook simple, healthy meals, keep house, and care for a five-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy. Must be willing to live forty miles from a real town on a remote ranch. Some modern conveniences including new REA electricity and indoor plumbing. A fair wage or possibly marriage for the selected person.”
Hardly daring to hope, Darnell picked up the magazine. In his rented room, his for a few more days, he had paper, a pen, and maybe even a stamp or two. By the next morning, his response was in the mail. He found enough odd jobs to pay rent for another week while he waited for an answer.