Dare to Dream Blog Tour, Week Two

Dare Cover FinalBack by popular demand! I had so many kind and supportive people offer to host my Dare to Dream blog tour that I’m extending it to a second week. I will be drawing names from comments for giveaways, from books to coffee mugs to cowgirl and dreams-related items.

Here’s my itinerary for this week:

May 19: Linda Weaver Clark, http://lindaweaverclarke.blogspot.com/ Author interview. Book giveaway–your choice of Cowgirl Dreams, Follow the Dream or Dare to Dream.

May 20: Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Sharing With Writers http://sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com/2014/05/how-family-history-can-be-used-in.html “How Family History Can be Used in Fiction.”

May 21: C.M. Mayo’s Madam Mayo http://madammayo.blogspot.com/ “A Roundup of 5 Things to Know About Old-Time Rodeo Cowgirls”

May 22: Beverly Bateman’s Five Secrets, http://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/Five secrets about me and my “Cowgirl Dreams” trilogy

May 23: M.K. McClintock http://www.booksandbenches.com/  “A Sense of Place”

May 24: Shanna Hatfield http://shannahatfield.com/ An interview with Nettie Moser

Can an Angel Survive Hell on Wheels?

by Alethea Williams

WallsfortheWindcover4My dad’s uncle wrote a little family history booklet called Our Home on the Prairie. His parents, who lived near Liberty, married in 1887 and moved to western Kansas in 1906. At that time they had adopted a boy named Johnie, who was about three years old when they went to live in their soddy on the Kansas prairie. There was no explanation of where they got this boy.

When I first started writing Walls for the Wind, there wasn’t much on the Internet or elsewhere about orphan trains. In the years between the writing of the book and its sale, there has been an explosion of interest in these children, who were scooped off the streets and shipped out in the hundreds of thousands between 1854 and 1929. There are now many pages of books on orphan trains on Amazon, a PBS documentary available online, and a museum and research center devoted to them at the National Orphan Train Complex in Concordia, Kansas. The first to organize orphan trains to alleviate the problem of untended immigrant children roaming the streets of big Eastern cities was the founder of the Children’s Aid Society, Charles Loring Brace. But soon many religious organizations were following his example. I would be willing to bet that poor Johnie, who died of a rattlesnake bite at twelve years old, was an orphan placed by the nuns of a New York religious society with a devout German Catholic immigrant family residing on the Kansas plains.

I write about Wyoming, so that’s where my fictional orphan train headed. The building of the transcontinental railroad has always fascinated me, as has the ephemeral nature of the Hell on Wheels town that followed the building of the road. My fictional orphans make it all the way to Cheyenne, Dakota Territory, although few actual orphan train children ended up in Wyoming.

Here is a short synopsis of Walls for the Wind:

Can an angel survive Hell on Wheels? When Kit Calhoun leaves New York City with a train car full of foundlings from the Immigrant Children’s Home, she has no clue she might end up as adoptive mother to four of them in rip-roaring Cheyenne, Wyoming. Kit has spent her life in the Children’s Home and now she rides the Orphan Trains, distributing homeless children to the young nation’s farmers as fast as the rails are laid.

The first time handsome Patrick Kelley spies Kit in Julesburg, Colorado Territory, he wants her. But circumstances, and a spectral-looking demented gambler as well as Kit’s certainty no one in his right mind would want her cobbled-together family, conspire to keep them apart. As Patrick and Kit and her brood ride Hell on Wheels into their destiny, they’re all forced to leave behind everything they knew and forge new lives in the raw American West.

Buy links:

Whiskey Creek Press
Kindle
Nook

Author bio:author photo

Western history has been the great interest of my adult life. I’ve lived in Wyoming, Colorado, and Oregon. Although an amateur historian, I am happiest researching different times and places in the historical West. And while staying true to history, I try not to let the facts overwhelm my stories. Story always comes first in my novels, and plot arises from the relationships between my characters. I’m always open to reader response to my writing.

Website: http://aletheawilliams.weebly.com/

Blog: http://www.actuallyalethea.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AletheaWilliams.author

Google+: google.com/+AletheaWilliams

Twitter: @ActuallyAlethea https://twitter.com/actuallyalethea

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5753104.Alethea_Williams

LinkedIn: http://lnkd.in/by89znA

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Alethea-Williams/e/B0077CD2HW/

The Romance Reviews author page: http://www.theromancereviews.com/ActuallyAlethea

Cholama Moon Book Giveaway!

Congratulations to fellow Women Writing the West member, Anne Schroeder, who has just had her debut novel, Cholama Moon, published by Wild Oaks Press. Following is an excerpt from that novel. Please leave a comment with your contact info, and your name will be entered in a drawing for a copy of the book!

Synopsis: Homesteaders struggle to establish ranches in Central California in the 1870s, amid earthquakes, drought, banditos, remoteness and human failing. Young Virginia Nugent’s privileged life ends with the death of her mother and her father’s guilt-ridden descent into addiction. She is conflicted in her love of the ranch and her desire to escape until an old cowhand’s loyalty and a Southerner friend of her late mother offer hope that she can change her destiny.

Chapter One

By Anne Schroeder

CF - Cholama MoonThe herd stallion stood with its neck arched like a golden statue while rays of sunlight danced across his back. Nearby, his mares milled nervously, their ears jutted forward at the rumble of the earth beneath them. A piebald mare let out a scream and bolted, eyes wild. In the gathering madness a cloud of dust wafted up from a crack in the adobe earth. The mare reared, flaying her hooves in terror as the Great Tulare basin buckled and rolled toward them. Giant oaks crested with the undulation and returned to their places, their deep roots intact. Pine trees toppled, their shallow roots no match for the disturbance. Hawks screamed and took flight. Dust emerged from a dozen gashes in the earth and filled the air while the shaking continued. When it was over, the mare sank to her knees.

In the charged stillness, Sancho Roos felt the earth relax.

Minutes later, an aftershock split a crumbling bank and a thin ribbon of water escaped and flattened out across the sand. Sancho’s gelding fought his control. He reined it hard left, in a tight circle until the land settled and fear calmed. When it seemed that the earth was in no danger of splitting beneath his horse’s hooves, Sancho turned his attention to the strange valley they had just entered.

Four young vaqueros worked the mustang herd, calling out to the horses in soft voices that held no fear. The boys were good choices—native Californios more used to the earth’s quaking than their gringo bosses. Sancho spit a stream of chew onto the ground and spurred forward. Time enough for palavering later. They’d be recounting this day for some time.

A shout from one of the vaqueros—the mares had bolted. Some were running at full speed, saliva foaming from their mouths. The rest followed. “Hold ‘em back. Arrimate! Pull up! Pull ‘em up,” Sancho shouted. Their hooves plowed the trail into fine dust that settled in his eyes. Sancho coughed and spat another stream of spittle, wiping his mustache with the back of his hand at a dead run while he held his rein in the other. Suddenly a whiskey colored mare took off up the rise. From the corner of his eye a roan raced past. The herd stallion. It screamed a warning and charged after the mare, biting her hard enough that the mare squealed. As quickly as it began, the stampede ended.

“Hold ’em up, amigos. Bunch ‘em at the creek. Keep your eyes peeled for trouble. Been a hell of a day so far.”

Stirred by the April breeze, the glistening silver leaves of the cottonwood played across the stallion, darkening its coat to a blood red. The next aftershock passed with only his disdainful snort while the vaqueros pushed the mares. Trampling the narrow bank, the stallion kept watch as the mares lowered their heads and began to drink from the Big Cholame Creek.

“Yeeeeeeyeiiii!” A lean vaquero raced past. His silver conchos jangled as he crashed into the water suspended from the side of his horse, his lithe body held up only by a boot wedged against his left tapedero, his fancy covered stirrup, and the pressure of his knees. His right hand grasped the horse’s mane. His left hand, dangling inches from the ground, disappeared in a spray of water.
In the flick of a quirt the boy cleared the opposite bank. In the space of a blink the boy sat astride again, drinking from his cupped palm. The boy’s scarf, the color of a yellow billed magpie, fluttered in the breeze as he glanced around with a grin for anybody who was watching. Satisfied, he tipped his flat-brimmed hat and let out another whoop before he rode off, followed by his cheering amigos.

Sancho’s disgust brought the taste of bile to his tongue. A fool stunt on the heels of the earthquake—but what else could he expect. The boss had taken on four strutting bantams not old enough to shave, with their worldly fortune in their silver tack, tooled leather britches and buckskin jackets.

“Confoundit!” His growl was lost in the noise of the vaqueros’ laughter. A moment later he softened. Crazy, maybe, but they knew their horses. Already they were saying the earthquake was a good omen. Maybe they were right—a day for celebration.

Anne at Cuesta ParkAnne Schroeder made a recent move with her husband of 45-years and two dogs from her beloved Central California in search of new adventures. She now lives in Southern Oregon where she writes and hikes.

She is President-Elect of Women Writing the West and contest chair for the LAURA Short Fiction Contest. She has had dozens of published short stories and essays about the West published, and two memoirs, Ordinary Aphrodite and Branches on the Conejo. Cholama Moon is her first published novel. The second book of the series, Maria Ines, will be released later this year.

Don’t forget to comment for a chance at the Book Giveaway and leave your contact info!

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Thanks to Janet Oakley who tagged me for this Blog Hop historyweaver.wordpress.com

If you want to participate:
1. Answer these ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) on your blog

2. Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

3. The questions with your answers

Here’s mine:

What is the working title of your book? Nettie’s Cowgirls

Where did the idea come from for the book? This is the third in my “Dare to Dream” series, based on my grandmother who was a real Montana cowgirl. The first book is Cowgirl Dreams (EPIC Award winner) and Follow the Dream (WILLA Literary Award winner).

What genre does your book fall under? Western Historical.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? That’s a difficult question. My grandfather looked like Charlton Heston, but of course that’s impossible. Maybe Jake Gyllenhall. Not sure who would play Nettie, a petite, feisty ranch woman with auburn hair.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Despite World War II and the demise of women’s rodeo where they competed on rough stock with the men, Nettie continues to follow her dream by mentoring young trick riders.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I have no agent. The publisher of my first two novels is Treble Heart Books http://www.trebleheartbooks.com

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Too long! Two years.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? It’s hard to say. My series has been compared to the Little House on the Prairie books in some ways, but it’s different. It’s not a romance, but has sweet romance in it, it’s not an old-time “shoot-’em-up” western but it takes place in the west and around the ranching and rodeo world. It’s basically a fictionalized story about my grandmother, who rode bucking stock in rodeos, and was an avid horsewoman. This book is more fiction than the first two, however, and delves into “what might have been.”

Who or What inspired you to write this book? My grandmother, who seemed ahead of her time, a woman who was the epitome of “Cowgirl Up”–do the hard thing without complaining.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? It takes place in Montana during the 1940s and Nettie is faced with letting her son go off to war.

Thanks for stopping by this Blog Hop and please check out our host Susan Taitel http://susantaitel.com/2012/09/ and the other bloggers participating in this event, including historyweaver.wordpress.com, http://thomasaknight.com/, http://sydneyssong.net/blog/ and http://www.sieders.com/blog/

Also please peruse my blogroll links and visit some of my friends there!

 

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