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Sunday, February 16, 2014



Hello everyone! As some of you may know, I am the first British writer to be signed by Prairie Rose Publishing. (And I thank you very much ladies!) This blog is simply a way of introducing myself to you all, and letting you get to know a little about this tangerine haired 'foreigner' in your ranks!

This is my very first blog post for PRP and I have to admit, I am nervous. Mainly because, as a ‘foreigner’ who has never set foot in America, my impressions of the country have been colored by the Western films and series I watched avidly as a youngster. Of course, I have many reference books, and the Internet is full of information, but it can’t compare with going to a place, and soaking up the atmosphere. Therefore, I do hope you will forgive me if there are any obvious errors in my work, and better still, I hope you will let me know if you do spot any glaring mistakes. With your help, my work will improve. Also, should any of you want to know anything about UK for any reason, please don’t hesitate to ask, and I will do my very best to help you.  

Bye the way, please note that I might not be able to post a reply to you immediately, My 87 year old Mother is unwell and I am going to her house for the nights, there is no signal for Wi-fi where she lives, but I will certainly pick you all up when I get home, and due to our time differences that might be immediate, might be a day or two, but rest assured I will answer you all. Back to the blog!

PRP are publishing my book ‘Saint or Sinner’, under the pen name of Gil McDonald, and they are possibly taking one of my short stories for their Summer anthology entitled ‘Cowboy Cravings’ later this year.
I have two hard back Westerns already out here in England, with a publisher named Robert Hale, (their Western imprint is ‘Black Horse’, and my author name with them is Amos Carr), those two are also out in large print world-wide this year. I am one of only four or five female Western writers in UK for Hale. 

Unfortunately Hale don’t put new works onto Kindle, only works from their back catalog. Also unfortunately, they tend to concentrate more on the ‘old style’ Westerns, rough, tough, shoot ‘em up stories, with very little Romance. It works well for Hale, they actually publish around twelve new Westerns a month now, so I was very lucky to be chosen by them. However, I consider myself to be even more lucky to be signed by Prairie Rose, after all, what is a cowboy without his horse, his gun, and his True Love?

I have only recently realized that I really enjoy writing ‘real’ Romance. How delighted I was when I found out about PRP! I can run away with my Romantic side at last! Since coming across this startling revelation about myself, I have also written two Contemporary Romance novels, (one is out with an agent at present).  I am also working on my next book for Hale, another one for PRP,  a Teen Fantasy trilogy, and a couple of other projects. I really don’t think it hurts to have a few irons in the fire!

Previously I have written articles for papers and magazines, and lots of poetry, some of which has been in magazines and anthologies. I have a ton of short stories in lever files on my shelves, one of which won me the ‘Writer of the Year’ trophy from the prestigious Lancashire Authors Association’ way back in 1999 (the association is over 100 years old). One of my shorts, ‘Eddie and the Devil’ is now on a website called Alfie dog fiction, where readers pay a small amount to download and read the stories.

Most of the authors who have appeared on this blog have exciting tales to tell about their lives and adventures. Sadly, I don’t think I ever had a ‘real adventure’ (unless you count a day trip to France, where I lost my passport, and spent half the day in a French Police Station trying to make them understand me!) My life has been filled to bursting with animals and birds of many kinds though; and, along with all my other projects, I have a huge amount of paperwork with stories of my family, and our animal friends, I would dearly love to have an animal autobiography published one day! In fact I have enough to be able to fill two, or even three books.

Animals are so important in all our lives. I know that, for a variety of reasons there are many people who live without them. Fair enough, they have jobs, families, busy lives, and that is their choice. But for me, and from what I have seen, many of the PRP authors, animals are a big part of life. Although I was born in the city of Liverpool, my parents moved from there when I was a baby, and we traveled a lot. During our travels, we lived on farms, and in flats above pet shops and dog grooming parlors. My Mother has worked with animals, and bred dogs since she was 13, she’s now 87, and breeds rabbits! She also used to breed and show Samoyeds (Big fluffy white Husky looking dogs) and did so well with them that she got to the famous Crufts Dog Show in London, with one of them.

Of course, being surrounded by animals of so many kinds from birth, it was obvious I would be an animal person. Since I married, I have kept many different kinds of animals and birds. I ran a small animal rescue center when we lived in Kent, we were there ten years, and had a smallholding, with a large collection of animals, and from which we sold fruit and vegetables. I started to ride horses from the age of four, (after riding cows for a couple of years!) I gave up horse riding in my twenties, but recently went back to it, in my 60s, although I can’t go very often, due to health problems, and the fact that I now spend most of my time writing of course. Right now, I just have two lovely Miniature Schnauzer girls, litter sisters, Poppy and Pepper, who between them have had 11 puppies for me. I do miss all the hens and ducks and other creatures who used to fill my life and time, but the girls keep me amused, and are very good company.

As I said at the start, everything I know about ‘Cowboys’ came from television series and films. I was an avid cinema goer in my teens, every Saturday would see me at the matinee with my bag of sweets, engrossed in the adventures of The Lone Ranger, whilst my evenings were filled with ‘Rawhide’ Wagon Train’ ‘Stagecoach West’ and Laramie’(among others!) I don’t really know what attracted me to Westerns in the first place, but I know none of the real boys who I met ever matched up to those rugged, wind-blown, handsome men!  

I have relied on my still quite vivid memories of those films and series, to set my novels. I do hope they work.
I am often asked how I got into writing Westerns, they are not an obvious choice for an English Rose! Any of you who have been to my website will have read the story. But for those of you who haven’t, here goes – Take your pick. A ghost made me do it! It came to me in a dream! Actually both are true. Bear with me, I’m not as crazy as I sound, honest! I have had a keen interest in Native Americans since being very young, I watched Cowboys all the time, and I was a horse rider, so why this genre hadn’t occurred to me way before it did I shall never know. One morning, I woke up from a vivid dream, with the title, and almost the whole story for my first Western running through my head like a film. I started writing it straight onto the computer, until then I had always hand written everything, then transferred it later, but there was a real sense of urgency about this, so I skipped a step, and all of my work since then has been done this way.  A few months later, I sent it off to Robert Hale. They accepted it straight away, and with very little alteration ‘The Ghosts of Poynter’ under the author name Amos Carr, was published in June 2012.

When I told my mother I was going to be published at last and told her the genre, she gasped. It turned out that her father, (who had died before I was old enough to know much about him) only ever read Westerns! There were no other books in the house, and until that moment, I had no idea what he had read of course. Now I think Grandad Harold was the one who ‘gave’ me that story! He also gave me my second Western, ‘Crazy Man Cade’ which ‘came’ in the same way, and was again published by Hale, in October 2012. He has given me the ideas for three more for the same publisher. I have almost finished my third for them.  So I think I must be called a real ‘ghost writer’!  I do like that!

Grandad Harold however, did not have anything to do with the works I am now producing for PRP, these are all mine! And the heroes are all men of my dreams, rather than from my dreams! I suppose it often happens to writers, but I fall in love with all my heroes! There is always something about them which attracts me, and I hope that my readers can feel a similar attraction for them.

Okay, that’s it for now folks. If you want to find out more about this mad English woman who listens to ghosts, do go to my website and please leave me a comment there. I look forward to getting to know you all in the future. (By the way, the website name comes from my given Indian name. But that’s another story!)

You can also get me on Twitter, -  JillMcDC  and on Facebook – Jill McDonald-Constable. (I am also on LinkedIn under this name.)

‘The Ghosts of Poynter’ by Amos Carr.  Pub. – Robert Hale, London.
‘Crazy Man Cade’  by Amos Carr.          Pub.- Robert Hale, London.
‘Saint or Sinner’ by Gil McDonald         Pub. – Prairie Rose Publications. Launch date TBA.



  1. Jill, how lucky we are to have you join us! Congrats on your new release with PRP, and best wishes to you and your mum.

  2. Thank you so much Jacquie. Its a pleasure to be here. (at last, since my computer almost died on me yesterday!) I hope to be bringing you many more stories in the future.

  3. Welcome to our group, Gillian. It looks to me you've done just fine writing Webster's even though you're an English girl writing from research and imagination. Although I have visited Wyoming where all my westerners take place and I lived in Nebraska and central Texas each for a year, I have lived most of my life in North Carolina. I still have the advantage over you. I know how hard it can be having to research so much, but, IF you love westerners the way I do, it's all fun and adventure.
    Your love of animals certainly endeared you to me.
    Congratulations on your most prestigious award.
    All the best to your corner of the earth.

  4. Thank you very much Sarah. The research is the hard part and I can't always find the right answers, or up to now that is! Now I am a part of PRP and have contact with so many ladies all over the USA, my research will get lots easier, I just have to shout out for help to you all!! Did that this week and got some lovely responses. And yes Sarah, I do love animals, especially horses and dogs. How can people not? I look forwardto 'talking' to you some more in the future. Thanks again for your comments.

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  6. Sorry there is a removed comment ladies. Its because I clicked twice by accident and so it came up twice! Silly me! Let's carry on shall we?

  7. Jill, we're delighted to have an English Rose among the Prairie Roses. :-)

    I've always been amazed and amused by the enduring popularity of the western genre in Europe, particularly in the UK and Germany. I guess maybe people are curious about the "wild" eras in other countries' history. Americans remain fascinated with the UK's Medieval period, for example, perhaps because it's been romanticized over here in the same way the Old West has been romanticized over there.

    Researching and writing about people and places one has never experienced is a time-honored tradition among fiction authors. Many American romance authors are devoted to the Victorian and Regency periods in England, even though the authors have never visited Europe. Imagine how boring the fiction landscape might be if we all stuck to our own corners of the Earth. :-D

  8. Hello Kathleen, Thanks. Oh, I love the Medieval! I think you are right that we are curious, that's a human trait isn't it, (or should that read 'nosey'!) And you are right that fiction would be boring if we all stuck to the places we know well, might as well write fact in that case eh? Hope we can speak again soon?

  9. Gillian, how wonderful to know more about you. I'm glad you've found a home at PRP. I think it's really amazing that you "listen" to your dreams and the "ghosts" as you call them. I wouldn't be surprised if it's your grandfather who's nurturing your love for westerns and cowboys. I've had a love for them since I was eight years old. I knew it was what I wanted to write. In fact, I couldn't imagine writing anything else. Still can't. No other genre interests me. I wish you mother well and hope she feels better soon. To me, you lead an amazing life! I'd give my eyeteeth to see France, even if it's the inside of a passport office. How horrible to lose your passport and be unable to prove who you are.

    Wishing you tons of success as you continue to write westerns and the Old West!!

  10. Aww, thanks Linda for your lovely comments. I also knew I wanted to be a 'real writer' since I was little, but didn't know in what genre I wanted to write. It's taken a long time, but maybe finally, I'm home to roost!!

  11. Great to get to know you Jill. I agree with Kathleen, how boring if we all wrote only what we knew. Although I'm close to some of the locations I write about, there are many I just can't get to. At the moment, I'm writing about the second highest mountain in the world, located on the Pakistan-China border. I know I will never go there. But it has always called to me. I think it's wonderful that you listened to your gut and wrote your stories anyway, despite being so far removed from the locations. And, I would live to have a ghost feeding me stories!

  12. Hi Kristy. It's strange how some places do seem to 'call' to us isn't it? Could someone in your family, way back, ever have lived there? It could be in your blood from then? I have always had a great love for Scotland, but it was only a few years ago when doing Family Tree research that I realized many of my Great Great ancestors are actually from there! And I feel very lucky to have an outside source to feed me my stories, don't think I would have come up with the first couple by myself ! Hope we get to 'speak' soon.

  13. Hi Jill! I'm so glad you got your computer issues resolved--I think the same thing must have been happening here last night, too, because my e-mail was really crazy, but thank goodness my blogs and so on weren't affected.

    What a great post. I feel like we just sat down across a table and shared a cup of tea (or a morning Dr. Pepper, in my case!) and had a nice chat. It's really nice to have you here at PRP and I always love getting to know others better like this. You did a great job.

    I'm a true animal lover myself, and thank goodness for Facebook now, where so many rescues and people who want to help can connect and share and try to find homes for these animals, as well as raise money for the medical costs.

    I have always wanted to write, too--ever since I was a little child. But it seems like I wanted to write westerns from the very beginning, although I have branched out some as an adult. Westerns will always be my first love.

    Sure hope your mother is feeling better by now. You take care, too! My goodness, you are churning out the stories, aren't you? That is great! You go, girl!!!!

    I'm enjoying your Saint or Sinner very much.


  14. Hi Cheryl! What lovely comments. Thank you.Yes the computer was behaving like an unbroke filly! i think it's sorted for now, thank goodness! I was freaking a bit, but I'm here now, and prepared for anything anyone can throw at me!Mum's getting there, It's been a horrible 12 months for all of the family, especially her, and at 87 she was hit hard. Hopefully she's on the mend now. I am really looking forward to my 'Saint or Sinner' coming out with you, and I'm glad you are enjoying the preview!!

  15. I love that some of your stories came from your grandfather. Mine read a lot of westerns and detective stories. He also was a brakeman on the railroad. Didn't know him as well as I perhaps would like, but he is the only other one on both sides of my family who read as voraciously as I do.
    What a great life you seem to have and had. It is a pleasure to meet you. Doris

  16. Oh, thank you Doris. My grandfather worked with heavy horses on the docks, and one of my great grandfathers worked on barges. My Dad's brother was a signalman on the railways!!