My new release, The Gunfighter's Woman, is a paranormal western romance inspired by the old cowboy song, Ghostriders in the Sky, (Stan Jones 1948).
There are a plethora of recordings of this song including those by Vaughn Monroe, Bing Crosby, Frankie Laine, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Christopher Lee (the actor), Eddie Arnold, Peggy Lee, Gene Autry, Burl Ives, Sons of the Pioneers, Judy Collins, Roy Clark, Lawrence Welk, Baja Marimba Band, Slim Whitman,Tom Jones, Boston Pops Orchestra, Elvis Presley, Chris LeDoux. Blues Brothers, Dean Martin, and my favorite, Marty Robbins.
The legend of the ghost rider has its roots in Europe, particularly Britanny, Ireland, Wales, Scandinavia, Spain, France, and Germany. Jacob Grimm of the fairy tales Brothers Grimm, developed the idea of the 'wild hunt' through comparative mythology that he published as Deutsche Mythologie (1835) "...as a folkloristic survival of Germanic pagan tradition, but comparable folk myths are found throughout Northern, Western and Central Europe...The Wild Hunt is an ancient myth of a spectral or otherworldly hunting party that sometimes appears at night."*
|The Wild Hunt: Asgårdsreien (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo**|
I incorporate the wild hunt in the form of the cowboy ghost riders in The Gunfighter's Woman as a motivating force in the hero's life to change his ways. This story was originally published in 2006 as a novella, and now, nine years later and with a significant amount of plot added to the story, it is novel length with a deeper romance and a nastier villain. The ghost riders still want to claim the hero's soul, but he's not going down without a fight now that he's found the love of a good woman.
When beautiful widow Brenna Gérard comes upon semi-conscious gunfighter Matt Caddock, all hell is about to break loose. An unholy storm’s a-brewin’, and Brenna makes a split-second decision to save Matt from the spectral fire-eyed cowboys who forever chase the devil’s herd—and pick up lost souls along the way.
Once they reach the safety of the ranch, Brenna cares for Matt’s wounds and makes him welcome—no questions asked. But Matt must learn to accept the fact that Brenna is being guarded for a while longer by her deceased husband’s spirit—and he’s not leaving her just yet.
Though Matt and Brenna are fast falling in love, there’s the matter of a fortune in gold that stands between them—gold that Matt never wanted, but now must find and use to keep Brenna’s ranch from failing. Archer, an outlaw who Matt once partnered with, wants that gold just as badly—and he’s prepared to kill for it.
Can Matt settle the score with Archer and keep Brenna safe? And when the ghost riders return on the next lightning-laced storm, will they be taking Matt with them? Or will the love of THE GUNFIGHTER’S WOMAN be enough to ensure the future they hope for together?
“Brenna!” Matt left the bed in one frantic heart-pounding leap, sending the bedside table crashing. “Brenna!” With a Colt clamped in his fist, he stood with his back to the far wall. Raking his gaze over every inch of the moonlit room, he searched the shadows and corners.
The door flew open. “Matt! What—” Whirling out of modesty, she put her back to him.
Matt made a catapulting leap onto the bed, snatched up his trousers, and grabbed Brenna’s arm on his way out of the room. Hustling her along through the kitchen, he hit the porch door with such force it wedged open and ripped the cheesecloth from the upper half.
Words came fast as he pulled on his trousers while clutching his revolver. “Someone… A man. There was a man standing at the foot of my bed. One second he was there and the next he was gone. Just gone. What in hell fire was that? Who was that?”
Brenna’s smile turned to giggles. “Gregory.”
Comprehension arrived on frowning silence. “But…he’s… Hell, you said he was dead. How could he be in that bedroom?” He shook his gun toward the door.
“That was our bedroom, and he died there. I changed bedrooms after he started visiting me in the night. I didn’t think he would return to that bedroom once he began rocking in his chair by the fireplace. Obviously, I was wrong.”
Matt stepped back, his gun arm lowering. “He rocks in a chair?” He blew out a slow, hard breath. “That’s plumb crazy.” Wagging a finger at her, he accused, “I think you’ve been alone out here too long. You’ve got a case of prairie madness.”
Brenna crossed her arms. “Then we’re both crazy. You saw him, too.”
Matt opened his mouth then clamped it shut. “Damn.” Shoving his Colt into the waistband of his trousers, he went to the edge of the porch and stood in the doorway...
I'll give away two digital copies of The Gunfighter's Woman from comments left on this post. Please leave your contact information with your comment, so I'll have a way to contact you in case I draw your name. I’ll keep this comment-to-win opportunity open until 6:00 p.m. MDT October 15th, 2016.
Until next time,
Writing the West one romance upon a time