Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Last Train to Clarkdale

This story released last Saturday and is available this week on JMS's site at the discount all new releases enjoy for a week. You might want to grab it while you can. Here is the blurb and the evocative cover.  Here is the link: http://www.jms-books.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=29_94&products_id=2117&zenid=XNYwiogv,vpYRoGJ52oiz1

The actual Verde Canyon Railroad has a different look but they copyright all their photos and the ones I got on a trip a few years back would not work, Still I made good use of my memories of that trip in drafting this story. And I recommend the trip to anyone who might be passing through central Arizona's scenic Verde Valley and wanting to see some sights inaccessible by highway to marvel at the scenery, the wildlife and the engineering that went into building this precarious track close to a century ago!

Blurb:
For Clay, always a misfit and bullied at school, contact with the railroad and railroaders in the small
town where he grew up was a lifeline. He has gone on to a career in the industry although not out on the track. Some odd compulsion draws him back to his long departed home despite the painful memories he has of the place. A chance meeting with noted photo-journalist Jon and subsequent sharing of an afternoon’s tourist rail trip result from his impulse. 


Although Clay develops an instant crush on the big bluff man, what can a geeky clerical type rail buff offer to a famous world traveling scenic and wildlife photographer like Jon? When Jon offers a short term holiday romance, Clay cannot resist but can he be satisfied with a brief, hot vacation fling, all he dares to expect? Will the train back to Clarkdale be a finale for him or the start of a great new adventure?

Deirdre readers are in luck!

As it turned out, nt only are Game of Hearts and Last Train to Clarkdale already out but next weekend there will be third one from JMS books! Either Thank You, Ranch Romances or Red Tails in the Sunset will be out with the other following along soon, Both are stories I really liked, special to me in different ways.

Ranch Romances is one of my real favorite tales. If you might wonder now and then what lief was like in the no-longer-wild but still developing and far from modern west in the post WWII era, here is a glimpse into that time. Nobody had heard of politically correct at that point and gay rights were a very distant dream. That meant life could be pretty had for a gentle young man who'd been put out of the army with a bad conduct discharge for the mere rumor of having possibly indulged in homeosexual activity.

There really was a magazine called Ranch Romances and I read it avidly some years later than the time when this tale takes place. It did have pen pal columns, too, and before anyone had come up with eHarmony or Match.Com that as an acceptable method of finding friends and potential romance. I kept the Post Office busy corresponding with several lonely cowboys and servicemen for awhile while they did their share,too. This story was my small tribute to the service that and similar pulp magazines provided when telephone connections were a bit iffy and the main entertainment in rural areas was the radio and events at the schools and churches.

Here is the blurb for this story and the cover, which I loved since it really reflects the style of art used in the 1930-1970 period by this and similar publications! I got permission from the  artist (Trace Zebar) to use it on the re-release.

Blurb:
Widowed Wade is desperate to find someone to help him care for his two motherless children while he runs his hardscrabble ranch. After seeing a “match” column in a pulp magazine, he sends off a letter, unsure what he will get. When it turns up quiet, gentle Darnell, he is both shocked and intrigued. Can this unorthodox arrangement possibly work?

Darnell is at the end of his rope when he finds an ad in a magazine that appears as if put there for him. He takes a desperate chance and ends up on a remote ranch in New Mexico. He finds the motherless children very loveable and their father scarily attractive. But how, in the stiff and conservative environment of 1949, can he dare reach for intimacy with his new hero? Will he end up back in dire straits or settled in the home he deeply craves?

Red Tails celebrates the heroic pilots who carry water and slurry into the rugged terrain of the west where again this year wicked wild fires are raging in the forest and open lands, often threatening small towns and rural farms and ranches. Hot, dry conditions create a virtual tinderbox, ready to explode with the catalyst of lightning, untended campfires or even a carelessly tossed cigarette butt. Then these daring pilots lift off into danger to help battle the blazes. What heroes!

Blurb: 
Former military pilot Blaine Darby carries a load of guilt and pain from harm he may have caused in wartime. Now he seeks to earn some balancing good karma by fighting wild land fires while he holds
on to his great love of flying. Reporters like young Daz Contreras scare him, one of the few things that do, because he shuns the public eye. When a near tragedy develops he puts his life on the line to save a trapped hotshot firefighting crew. Will all this make the news?

Freelance investigative journalist Daz Contreras is convinced terrorists are behind at least some of the wild land fires plaguing New Mexico. All he needs is enough proof to break a story. As he pursues this he begins to follow pilot Blaine Darby and develops a big case of hero worship. Allowed to ride with his hero one time, he may have gotten the proof he seeks. But a heroic rescue may be an even bigger story. Will the reclusive Darby allow him to do it? 

This is another of Trace Zabar's fantastic covers which he graciously permited me to reuse. I love those eyes!! Yes, I know Blaine is gay and would not be drawn to me but I would gladly chase such a man around the block and do my best to catch him! However, I think he is going to find a good match with Daz once he gets over his prejudices about jounalists. Read the book to find out.