June Round Robin: An Explosive Scene

Round Robin bannerThis excerpt is from Follow the Dream, book two in my “Cowgirl Dreams” trilogy. Jake and Nettie have tried to put on a rodeo but had low attendance and poor earnings, so many cowboys didn’t get paid or were paid very little. I don’t have many “big” explosive moments in my novels, but this was fun to write.

A funereal mood enveloped Nettie along with the smell of stale cigarettes and yeasty beer when they walked though the swinging doors of the Ranchers Bar. She braced herself. This was the last place she wanted to be. She wished they could just go home.

Usually, after a rodeo, the saloon rollicked with laughter and shouts as the cowboys relived the highlights of their rides, embellishing the successes with each telling. Today the crowd was hushed. Men sat hunched over their drinks, and only a few forced laughs punctuated the low murmur.

Jake and Nettie settled on stools at the bar, and Jake summoned the bartender. “A round for the house, on me.” He downed his whiskey in one gulp, then turned to the room. “Gents, ladies, I’m very sorry about today’s poor purse. I’d like to buy you a drink to make it up to you.”

The pitch of the conversation rose a notch. Somebody shouted. “Hear, hear.”Dream Cover Final

“That’s the least you can do.” Another voice sang out.

A burly cowboy stepped up beside Jake. “It’ll take more’n one drink to make up for this.” With the speed of a rattlesnake, he drove his fist into Jake’s jaw.

“No!” Nettie shouted.

Jake’s head rocked back and he fell against the bar. His hand came up instinctively to feel for the damage to his face. Driving his weight forward, Jake ducked under a second punch. His return jab glanced off the cowboy’s shoulder. The man spun to the side. He recovered his balance with a roundhouse to Jake’s upraised arm.

The room erupted into a mare’s nest of shouts and commotion. The crowd surged forward to surround the two men. Nettie scrambled over the top of the bar, her drink flying, to land beside the bartender. She grabbed his arm. “Help. Stop them!”

He merely shrugged.

The two men rolled on the floor. Grunts punctuated slaps. She couldn’t tell who was landing punches where. The burly cowboy had Jake down.

No, now Jake rolled on top. He punched the cowboy in the nose. Blood squirted.

The cowboy heaved Jake off and swung a left to Jake’s eye. The onlookers shouted encouragement. “Git ’im. Punch his lights out.”

Nettie screamed. The din and confusion overwhelmed her with total helplessness. This couldn’t be happening. She had to stop this insanity. Where were the other women? Gone. No help from them.

Nettie slipped from behind the bar and out the back door. Her boot heels thundering on the wooden sidewalk, she ran down the street to the Sheriff’s office and yanked open the door.

“Bar fight. Help!” she yelled and ran back to the saloon. Sheriff Ingram lumbered behind.

 

boxingNow, please visit the following blogs for more on explosive scenes!

* Margaret Fieland at http://margaretfieland.com/my_blog

*Anne Stenhouse http://goo.gl/ILNek6

* Lynn Crain at http://lynncrain.blogspot.co.at/
* Beverley Bateman at http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
* Kay Sisk  http://kaysisk.blogspot.com
* Connie Vines at http://connievines.blogspot.com/
* Ginger Simpson at http://mizging.blogspot.com
* Rhobin Courtright at http://rhobinleecourtright.com

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Published in: on June 28, 2014 at 6:29 am  Comments (8)  
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Does Nettie Dare to Dream?

Dare Cover Final“Ready or not, rodeo world, I’m back. Nettie Moser inhaled the smell of rodeo—dust, animal sweat, manure—the scent of pure happiness. She strode to the arena fence near the chutes and climbed onto the top rail to watch the color guard parade the flag. A pretty teenaged cowgirl, long blonde curls bouncing under a white hat, led a group of equally lovely, brightly-clad ladies through their paces. The rodeo queen and her court.

Nettie shook her head. Some like the pomp and falderal, but I’ll take a rangy steer any day. She looked around at the crowd. Wonder where the other women riders are. She hopped down from her perch and headed for the registration booth where Jake already waited in line. “Here I am, ready to ride.”

It had been a long five years since her dear friend Marie Gibson was killed when her bronc collided with the pickup man’s horse. That accident had shattered Nettie’s rodeo dream but she finally overcame her fear with the help of her mentor’s unforgettable advice: Live your life, follow your dream.

“And I’m glad.” Jake pulled her into the circle of one arm. “But did you get a look at those steers, little gal? They look pretty big.” He winked at her.

Nettie took a couple of exaggerated, swaggering steps. “Never met a steer who could get the best of me.” She laughed out loud. It felt so good to be here in Cheyenne. The snorts and squeals and bawls of the rough stock in the pens, the shouts and cheers and curses of the cowboys were music to her ears. Anticipation skittering inside, she could almost feel the steer’s rough hide through her denims. She stuffed her leather gloves into her back pocket and leaned over to check pull the straps on her spurs tighter. She couldn’t wait to be on the back of a bucking, writhing animal, pitting her wiry102 pounds against its half-ton of muscle and bone.

Grandma on Horse

Montana cowgirl Nettie Brady Moser has overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles on the journey toward her dream of being a professional rodeo rider. In the 1920s she struggled against her family’s expectations and social prejudice against rodeo cowgirls. During the Great Depression, marrying Jake Moser and then raising their son took priority over rodeos. And then she was devastated by the death of her friend and mentor in a rodeo accident.

In the spring of 1941, Nettie, now age 36, is regaining her heart and spirit, and she is determined to ride again at an event in Cheyenne, Wyoming. To her dismay, the male-dominated Rodeo Association of America enforces its rule barring women from riding rough stock and denies her the chance to ride. Her fury at the discrimination can’t change things for women—yet.

Based on the life of my grandmother, who rode rough stock in Montana in the 1920s, this  rodeo saga parallels the evolution of women’s rodeo from the golden years of the 1920s, producing many world champion riders, and shows its decline, beginning in the 1930s and ending with World War II in 1941.

Published in: on June 20, 2014 at 6:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dishwater Tree Grows From Seed of Conversation

dishwater treeSeveral months ago, I had the opportunity for a sneak preview of Angela Janacaro’s debut novel, The Dishwater Tree, and enjoyed the story so much. Now that it is out, I wanted to share her journey with my readers.

Welcome, Angela. Where did this story come from?

Thank you, Heidi. This story came to me by way of a ninety-two year old woman who happened to mention a trip she and her husband were taking back to the Miles City, MT area to view her childhood homestead. When she returned I asked what she had seen and her reply was, “The only thing left was my mother’s dishwater tree.” Although I had never heard such a description of a tree, I knew immediately what it meant and it struck a chord with me and ignited my imagination.

 Have you always wanted to write? How did you get started?

I have always written, but never considered myself a writer. For me writing has always been a way to express something I am unable to verbalize. When I started having children, my writing increased exponentially because I had so many emotions for my children and my life as a stay-at-home mother. I began writing after the children’s bedtime and during naptime as a creative and emotional outlet. I also enrolled in an adult education course for writing. It met every month and I was required to bring something to class which set the sideboards on what I could realistically accomplish during the month. The most difficult aspect of the class was sharing what I had written with others because it felt so deeply personal to me. After a few classes, I discovered people responded well to my words and stories and it gave me the confidence to believe there was a novel in the pages I had written.

 

What did you learn from writing The Dishwater Tree? And what would you like your readers to learn from it?

Writing this book was such a wonderful experience! I know it sounds cliché, but it amazes me a seed of an idea could be given to me by way of a conversation with a friend, and it could grow into the story of The Dishwater Tree. I learned the emotions, situations and characteristics I write about are universal and embraced by anyone who reads this book. First and foremost, I want the readers of The Dishwater Tree to be immersed and entertained. Secondly, if a reader takes anything from the story I hope it is the feeling that life is beautiful. If we all had the privilege to make it to the epilogue of our own lives I think we would find both the bad and the good meant something, and brought us, and those we loved full circle.    

 Who is your favorite character, and why?

Hmmm….tough question because I love them all! It’s almost like answering which of my four children I love the most. My favorite character is Josephine Rourke. She is everything we all aspire to be; beautiful, rich, kind and loving. Yet, she also endures terrible hardship and loss which is something we can all relate to in our own lives.     

Do you write in chronological order or do you bounce around within the manuscript?

I have been asked that question many times and I can understand why because it’s almost as if there are two novels under one cover. I wrote the story from prologue to epilogue. While I was writing a chapter with Josephine and Jimmy in 1922 I knew what would have to happen in the following chapter with Worthy and Marie in 2002. Because the characters are so intertwined, the thought process flowed easily for me. I am almost embarrassed to admit this, but because I am such a rookie writer, I did not even use an outline.

 What books or authors have most influenced your life most?

The book, Dancing at the Rascal Fair by Ivan Doig because of its sweeping descriptions of the Montana landscape and raw human emotions. The author, Mildred Walker because her characters are so relatable and her writing style is clean and concise.

 What is the wisest thing anyone has said to you?AngelaJanacaroMed

“You’ll never know until you try.”

 How did you find your publisher, Raven Press?

My sister knew that I had a manuscript hidden away in a desk drawer and that I had never done anything with it because I really didn’t know what to do. She shared a newspaper article about Janet Muirhead Hill and Raven Publishing. I sent in a query, and the rest is history.

 Do you have another writing project underway?

I do! I am working on a book about a lifelong best friend relationship which is tested because of poor decisions made earlier in life and truths left untold.

The Dishwater Tree is available through Raven Publishing and Amazon.com

Synopsis: It’s 2002, and Worthy Chambers’ days are as numbered as the leaves on the dishwater tree at the end of Confederate Lane. Her final wish is to know who left her on the orphanage’s steps nearly eighty years ago. With few clues to follow and the clock ticking, her daughter Marie agrees to help in the search. Life-long questions are answered, love is rekindled, and secrets are revealed.

Alternating chapters take the reader back to 1922 to share in the life of Josephine Rourke, a young woman pledged by her parents to marry a hot-tempered man she doesn’t love. Meanwhile, a young Irish activist for the copper miners of Butte, MT, flees to Wallace, Idaho, to escape the threat of death. When he and Josephine fall in love, trouble brews for both of them.
The weeping willow tree on a barren hill in Miles City, Montana, plays a part in the hopes and dreams of three generations.

 

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