It’s coming! Tomorrow will be August. On the 15th The Cowboys will be released. I’m so excited. In this post I thought I’d share the WHAT IF moment behind my novella Healing Hearts that appears in this collection.
My editor Pegg Thomas, from Smitten Historical Romance (an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) asked me if I’d be interested in being in a collection where the main character is a cowboy. Who doesn’t love a good cowboy story? Three other wonderful authors joined me in the adventure: Jennifer Uhlarik, Sandra Melville Hart and Linda W. Yezak, all wonderful, award-winning authors.
In romance the female character is the first character you met. The book starts by introducing her. But The Cowboy starts with scenes of the male lead. So that was an interesting challenge. Kansas was chosen as the setting for all the stories in the collection. After some emails circulating between the four authors we each chose our main characters setting, time period and dilemma. Cowboys rescue damsels in distress. 😊
I decided Healing Hearts would be set on an isolated ranch. The year 1866 sets me up for wonderful possibilities with the Civil War barely over.
I decided I wanted to introduce two cowboys. Identical twins Lonnie and Jed head to the Kansas ranch they inherited from their late uncle. Both brothers are pacifists. When the war broke out Jed chose a chaplaincy in the Union army. Lonnie chose to stay on the family Texas ranch and not take up arms. Both paid a price for their stand. They only have each other and the hope of a new start.
Lonnie is physically scarred and full of guilt and regret. Jed still has strong faith even with his physical weakness due to time in a confederate POW camp. My hero, Lonnie’s focus is helping his brother get well and keeping him safe. He has no time or patience for anything else. He’s a bit of a grump, and very protective of his remaining family member.
The woman who tames him
Now I needed to have a strong female character to become Lonnie’s love interest. Genny Collins grew up in wealth only to live in poverty because of her father’s gambling addiction. Her past is full of secrets and helpful experiences that play into the plot. She is weary of men and afraid for her future. The twins come upon her in their cabin and you’ll have to read the story to discover how she got there.
Add plot twists
Once they met I had to keep the two stubborn characters together long enough to get to know each other. Voila, a blizzard. Now they can’t send her packing. Then I added illness, a bit of mayhem and personality clashes to create a good start to a sweet romance. Throw in a few twists that tear at their hearts and Lonnie and Genny find their happily-ever-after. I love these characters. They were so fun to write.
A few historical tidbits I’ll mention that you’ll find in the book.
- Beef was growing as a food staple back east since the railroad made it easier to transport cattle from the west. Ranching would become a very profitable business in the nineteenth century.
- Marriage Licenses did not exist until 1867. This is a year after the setting of my novella. Until that time writing the name and date in the family Bible might be the only record of a marriage.
- Without refrigeration many ways were discovered to preserve eggs. The best method recommended and still used by those who prefer a pioneer lifestyle today is slat lye. Unwashed eggs were placed in a slat lye water mixture in a crock. It preserved them through the winter.
- Sourdough starter was the most common leaven for baking. It was easy to create and could be substituted for baking powder and soda as well as baker’s yeast.
If I have your interest:
Here is a link to the first chapter of Healing Hearts. The Cowboys is available for preorder. If you want to order an autographed copy from me here is a link to that page. You can order autograph copies of any of my books at this same link.
Over the next two weeks I’ll be posting guest blogs from my three co-authors. If you’ve not subsribed do it now so you don’t miss those posts.
Giveaway: Everytime you post a comment and share the posts about The Cowboys on social media over the next two weeks you’ll be put in a drawing for a $10 Amazon e-card. Today I’ll give you something to comment about to get you started. (All comments mjust be in this blog site to qualify.)
Tell me in the comments whose you’re favorite cowboy. I’ll start. Sam Elliot. His look and voice are the epitome of the imagine in my mind of the American cowboy. If you know a real life cowboy share a bit about him too.
You’ll have three more chances to enter when Jennifer, Linda and Sandy stop by for a visit.