As some of you know, I am the first British writer to be signed by Prairie Rose Publications. (Thank you ladies!) I have to admit to being quite nervous though. Mainly because, as a ‘foreigner’ who has never set foot in America, my impressions of the country have been coloured by the Western films and series, which I watched avidly as a youngster.
I was interested to read Cheryl's earlier post about her own cowboy heroes, and to see that she shared some of mine! Strangely, I think I had actually believed that you ladies in America wouldn't need to watch films about cowboy heroes, all your men were cowboys weren't they? Those handsome, rugged fellas were all around you, I was jealous!
I remember my first ‘crush’ being on ‘Little Joe’ in Bonanza, unfortunately, millions of other girls were in love with him at the same time. Later, we transferred our fickle young attentions to Clint Eastwood in ‘Rawhide’. But there were so many Westerns around then, us young ladies were never short of a new handsome young cowboy to fall in love (or should that be ‘lust’) with.
Along with the two just mentioned, we could watch - ‘Stagecoach West’, ‘Laramie’, ‘Cheyenne’ ‘Maverick’, Wagon Train’, and ‘The High Chaparral’ among others. Then later, there was one named ‘The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams’. How many of you remember these? Or were they not shown in USA? I do know that Cheryl recently mentioned a series named ‘Lancer’. We didn’t have that one in UK unfortunately (not that I remember anyway.).
We could also go to the Saturday cinema matinees, and watch the series of either - ‘Batman’, or ‘The Lone Ranger’, guess which one I went to? I was in totally in love with Tonto then, he was the hero for me, after all, wasn’t it Tonto who always got the white man out of the scrapes he got himself into? I haven't yet had the chance to see the new Lone Ranger film, with Johnny Depp as Tonto, but as I am crazy about Johnny and still quite keen on Tonto, maybe it'll be a winner!
How realistic all these series actually were I really don’t know, and if you ladies in USA watched them, you would most probably point to any amount of errors, but to us, they were exotic, and exciting. And as young teenagers, did we care about historical accuracy? Not one jot! Anyway, I was always rootin' for the Injuns!
Can you imagine how amazing it was, when, just a couple of years ago, after many years of research, we found out that my husband’s real father had been an American serviceman, who also turned out to be a full Chippewa Indian, and the grandson of a chief! So from being so interested in Indians, I was actually married to one!! We were able to get in touch with his American family who live in California and Wisconsin.
We were both given Indian name when Chris's cousin and his partner came over for a few days. (Thank goodness we were able to find out who his real father was before my dear Chris passed away last March).
I suppose that the heroes in my books are composites of my heroes from those old programs, handsome, strong, lean and tough, quick to anger, but kind to horses and old ladies, and fiercely loyal to their friends and their women.
Of course, we all have many reference books, and the Internet is overflowing with information, but it doesn’t really compare with actually going to a place and soaking up the atmosphere does it? Therefore, I am hoping that, if you do read my books, you will all forgive me if there are any obvious geographical errors, and better still, I hope you will let me know if you spot any glaring mistakes.
I have two hard back Westerns out here in England with Robert Hale, (my author name for them is Amos Carr), the first of which, ‘The Ghosts of Poynter’ is now also out in large print world-wide, the second, ‘Crazy Man Cade’ will also be out in large print later this year. There are only four or five female Western writers in UK who write for Hale. Interestingly, we all write under male names, (bar one who only uses her initials!) That’s probably because Hale doesn’t really like to put a lot of Romance in their books. They are mostly the old-fashioned shoot ‘em up kind of tales, and to have a female name on the spine might just unconsciously make the reader believe there was too much Romance in them.
Funny how our minds work isn’t it? We all know that women are just as capable of writing violence, death and destruction as men don’t we, but it seems that Society in general still believes women write ‘softer’ than men. In fact I was speaking to someone only yesterday who was telling me he'd read my first one, and he could tell it was by a woman because it 'felt more feminine somehow'. Not quite sure what he actually meant by that? (Now there’s a subject for heated discussion eh?)
PRP are publishing my third Western, ‘Saint or Sinner’ quite soon, but under the pen name of Gil McDonald, which of course, can be either a male or female name! This is the cover for it, which Livia has done a great job of.
They are also taking one of my short stories for their summer anthology ‘Cowboy Cravings’ later this year. That is my first attempt at ‘steamy’ writing. Until now, I have always looked over my shoulder to make sure no-one was watching if I ever I was tempted to write 'steamy'. In fact none of it has ever stuck around long enough to make it into print! Maybe the embarrassment got the better of me? This time I reckoned, as it was a short story, there didn’t need to be a great deal of ‘steam’ in it, so it would be easier to handle! Let me know if it works won’t you?
‘Saint or Sinner’ is quite a ‘gritty’ story, telling the tale of a tough bounty hunter, Leroy Vance, who goes to buy a horse and encounters a family ruled by cruelty. A woman and young boy are badly beaten and abused by the men. When Vance sees the frail, beaten woman, he falls in Love. Then, against his better judgement, he attempts to rescue the woman and boy. The three of them go on the run. Danger follows, Love blossoms, and tragedy strikes. Can there be a happy ending? (*Warning, there are scenes of domestic abuse. Which, thankfully, I have never experienced.)
This was originally written for Hale, but again, there was too much Romance for them (how can there ever be too much ?) Then I found PRP! It is only recently that I have realized I actually enjoy writing ‘real’ Romance. Now I can run away with my Romantic side at last!
Like most of you, I can’t stop writing. There is always something going on in my ‘imaginary world’. I like to work on a few projects at the same time. Not that I have eight arms or anything! There are a few projects on the go because, if I get ‘stuck’ on one, I can then have a change of pace and work on another, until my ‘friends’ pop back into my head to continue with their story! As well as a new one for PRP, I am working on another one for Hale, a teenage Fantasy trilogy, and my animal crammed autobiography, (that one is more for my family really, but it would also be nice to think that eventually it might get published) among others! I also write a lot of poetry.
I am 'helped' in my endeavors by my two 'girls', Miniature Schnauzers, Poppy and Pepper, Poppy, (the black one) believes she can write better than me, and often sits beside me and plonks her paw on the keyboard! She invents some very strange words! They need clipping in this picture, but I quite like them looking like mini sheep!
Thank you for dropping by today. I look forward to getting to know you all much better in the future.