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Saturday, March 15, 2014


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.  


  1. Jill, I've always been amazed that the American West continues to hold such a fascination for Europeans. I suppose the lure of the lawless frontier is universal, no? :-)

    American romance readers are fascinated with Regency England, Scottish clan wars, pirates, Arthurian tales...and American authors have about as much connection to that history as you have with cowboys, so I guess we're even. ;-)

    I'm looking forward to reading your first western romance -- the grittier, the better, I always say! I'm also looking forward to your short story in COWBOY CRAVINGS. I have no doubt you'll steam up the pages.

    We're so thrilled to have a sweet English Rose among the Prairie Roses. HUGS from across the pond!

    (Your two girls are adorable. I have the same problem with my four-legged kids. All of them are certain they could produce a best-seller if I'd just quit backspacing over their contributions. :-D )

  2. The West does have that affect of people, even those of us who live there. I see cowboys everyday and it never gets old.
    I think stories, when told with heart, are going to be a great read for it is the authors reality that we are reading. I am looking forward to your latest and wish you well on your work in progress.
    I have two cats that I have to shut out of the office or I would get nothing done, or it would be unreadable. (But then cats have minds of their own).
    Thank you for a fun and thoughtful post. Doris

  3. Jill, I really enjoyed your post and getting to know more about you. I had to laugh about the "women writing the west" thing. My husband says he can tell when a woman writes science fiction, or detective thrillers, which he reads a lot of. I think it's just a style, perhaps, that women have (maybe more finesse????LOL) just kidding!!!!!

    I never get tired of the west, and I've lived her just about all of my life with the exception of a few years spent in West Virginia when my dad got transferred out there (the eastern part of the US). I am always learning things. There is so much to know, I don't think we will ever be finished learning about the old west, even those of us who live here.

    Love your sweet babies! Mine is huge and can't fit on my lap at all. He just parks himself by my chair and stretches out where I can't get up.

    Great post, Jill. Can't wait to get Saint or Sinner out there, and to see your steamy short story! LOL


  4. Thank you for your lovely comments ladies! Just thinking about Cheryl's comment, and what was said to me the other day, do any of you believe you can tell if an author is male or female when you read their work? I honestly don't think I can.

    1. I loved One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus. I couldn't tell it had been written by a man (it's in a woman's POV) but my sister said she could tell it right away. She said she just "knew" by the feel of the writing, but I thought totally opposite.

  5. I'll have to look out for that one Cheryl! Could be an interesting exercise eh?

  6. Kathleen, I think the attraction of the 'Wild West' to us Brit Babes, is those gorgeous cowboys. Tight blue jeans, high heeled boots, stetsons, and - -oh those gleaming brown chests! LOL! Works for me anyway!!

  7. Hello Doris, don't think we've 'met' properly yet? Seems like you are a girl after my own heart! You never get tired of seeing those fellas! Neither would I. It's just a shame the guys here in UK aren't quite so attractive.

  8. Welcome to Women Writing the West! There are still some "boy's clubs" among the genre's authors, but women are starting to make some headway, I think. And with the ease of research on the internet, why shouldn't Brits write about the Old West?!

    Although I encourage you to pay a visit to the American Southwest sometime -- it's truly breathtaking.

  9. Don't think of your self as a foreigner Gill, I'm also from the U.K., I've been here for 24 yrs., The others have an accent not us. Haha. I remember all those cowboy shows and loved them and had crushes on the hero too. I'm sure that's why I like a cowboy romance. Good luck with Saint or Sinner, it sounds great.

  10. Hello JES. You're right, I think women, as writers in general, are beginning to be 'heard' more, and especially in Westerns(which are really going through an upsurge right now I think) As to Western Romances, well, do you think a man could write them as well as we do?

  11. Hello Julie, Greetings to a fellow (fellowess?) Brit! Where are you from, (wild guess - Yorkshire!!) Do you ever manage to get 'back home' for a visit these days? And what is it about Western Romances in pa
    rticular, that draws you in?

  12. It can be hard to write steamy, Jill. Sometimes, I still get embarrassed. :-) And my dad has read my books. Oy. But in the end, you just have to let the characters do and be what feels right to them.

    I remember reading once that you could always tell if a man wrote a romance (some do, under female pen names) because at some point the heroine would stop and admire herself in the mirror. Ha.

  13. No, I'm from the Midlands and I've never manage to visit "back home" I'm sorry to say, but I have plenty of visitors come across the pond to see me.
    I think it has to be the sexy cowboys Jill. I live in Calgary at the moment and they like to make cowboy movies and shows here because of the scenery, it's great.

  14. Hi Kristy, thanks for coming. I like that about women admiring themselves in the mirror! But hey, there are a heck of a lot of men who do that too, maybe we should write about a vanity obsessed cowboy? Think that would work?

    Julie, Well it was worth a guess. But I think if you did come back you would find it so changed it might be disappointing for you. My husband visited Calgary when he was posted to Canada in the Army, he loved it there. We applied for a job on a ranch near there, and got it, but the medical checks showed a shadow on Chris's lung so we were turned down. Big regret!!! Do you think the amount of cowboy shows they are making is increasing now? I think there is a feeling in the air that cowboys seem to be making a comeback, what do you reckon?

  15. That's amazing that your husband's heritage includes a Native American. I would be thrilled if I had even a distant Native American in my family tree.
    I understand how hard it must be for you to write authentic western stories. I live in the southeast in North Carolina, but at least I had the advantage of living in Nebraska and Texas, and I've visited most of the state's in the west. America is a big country with very diverse geography and social cultures. You do an amazing job of creating a western atmosphere in your books. Saint and Sinner looks like a terrific western story. I'm happy to get to know you, Jill
    All the best to your corner of the Earth.

    1. Hi Sarah! Nice to see you here. I was indeed very thrilled, (so was he of course!) You're right about the diverse geography, and that makes it hard for me to 'place' my work, never been there, so don't really know what I'm talking about when I try to explain the geography of the area I am working with. I try to make them quite generic I think, just to be on the safe side!, But as I get to know more of you lovely ladies, I will be liking you for information. So look out!I am working on one now which I will certainly need some geographical help with in fact! I'm sort of feeling I might just have bitten off more than I can chew with this idea!! Ho Hum! Thank you so much for your lovely comment about atmosphere Sarah, Have you managed to get one of my other books then? Saint or Sinner is not out yet, I'm intrigued? Regards to you. speak soon.

    2. I haven't had the chance to read Your book yet (although I look forward to reading it). I was referring to your ability to create a western story in a place where you've never been. I have to do research, too, even though I've been there. I have a map of Wyoming and added in my imaginary town of Hazard where I could use real areas around it. I had to look up plants and trees since I don't know what grows there naturally. It's a challenge. It's more difficult for you. I have the western lingo down. I have an English born character and I had to look up common English phrases so he would speak correctly. Do you ever have a problem with the language differences between Britsh English and American?

  16. Hello again Sarah. I see what you are meaning, I do hope it lives up to your expectations. I'm nervous now! Oh heck, do I have problems with the darn language!! Tell you what, I'll help you, you help me! LOL. I tend to use things which I think 'sound' right. Probably come from the films I watched eh?I had a bad habit of using the word 'tad' until Cheryl got her hands on it and wiped them out!I do struggle with the cussing. You seem to have such colorful phrases compared to us! Seriously, if I can help with the English phrases, I certainly will! Speak soon.

  17. Amazing post, Jill. I really enjoyed it.

  18. Hello libraryfaery! Lovely name! Sorry to be so formal. Thank you for the comment. I hope to be posting here again in due course. maybe then you will tell me who you really are? Till then Thanks again. J.