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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Kaye Spencer's 'story behind her story' in the Wild Texas Christmas anthology

A Gift of Christmas Hope is my contribution to the Prairie Rose Publications' Wild Texas Christmas anthology.

The gist of the story is a well-to-do lady gamblerLady Sapphire as she's known in the European gambling circuitsis traveling back home to Texas with a stagecoach full of 'treasure' when she encounters a con man on the look-out for another wealthy woman he can charm out of her money. The story unfolds with hints about the woman's mysterious true identity, what her 'treasure' really is, and how the con man, Neal, is a link in her life's chain of events.

That's the storyline, now here's the rest of the story...

Located in the Texas Panhandle, and just outside of Amarillo, is a facility with a history dating back to 1938. This facility is still in existence today. The facility, and what it came to stand for, was the life's work of a man with a vision who created a 'place' for homeless, wayward, and abandoned childrenboys to begin with and later girlsto live and have the opportunity to turn their lives around. It was a place where children could get a decent education, have enough food to eat, sleep with a roof over their heads, learn a trade or skill, be involved in athletics, receive medical attention, and have their spiritual needs met. It was a home where there was no home for these children.

This man with a vision was Cal Farley, and and the place he built for needy children is now called the Cal Farley Boys Ranch and Girlstown, U.S.A.

This is the website's url to the history of the ranch:  It is a heartwarming, makes-you-feel-good-about-your-fellow-man true story of generosity, kindness, and hope.

I incorporated the essence of the Cal Farley ranch as her driving force behind the heroine's determination to make it home for Christmas despite the blizzard that has upset her travel plans.

Here's an excerpt from A Gift of Christmas Hope.

“Hope! It’s always hope with you.” Neal threw up his arms and left the bed in a bound. He crossed the small room in quick strides to stand at the fireplace, one arm resting on the mantle as he gazed into the flames.

She sat motionless, frowning at his outburst. “Yes. Hope is all we have.”

“My parents had hope, too, and look where it got them.” His voice was hard and cold. When he turned, a dark shadow of regret and anger clouded the usual sparkle in his eyes. “They put every penny they had into the hope of a better life, and it was stolen from them. In the end, they didn’t even get to say goodbye to each other. They each died alone and hopeless eighteen hundred miles apart. I’ve carried that with me all these years. Here and here.” He touched his head then his heart. “We’re born, we endure—and then we die.”

Lady Sapphire left the bed in a whirling swirl of skirts, clutching both hands to her breast, her heart pounding, stomach churning. His cavalier sarcasm cut her to the bone. “You are not the only one who carries memories so painful that remembering them physically hurts.” Tears she’d kept bottled up for years came unbidden, streaming down her cheeks, fueled by the anguish she’d buried in the deepest part of her heart.

“I was orphaned before I was two years old. My mother was a young Mexican girl who died at the hands of a vicious patron.” She saw the recognition in his eyes. “Yes, she was a prostitute. I was too young to remember, but I’m told after she died, I was passed from one person to another because no one wanted me.” Her face contorted with the effort to stem the flow of tears...


Until next time,


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  1. Sounds like a great one! Best of success with this.

    Robyn Echols aka Zina Abbott

  2. Kaye,
    This sounds wonderful. I haven't read this anthology yet, but I always enjoy your stories and look forward to this one as well. Cheers!

  3. I love it when history inspires the stories we tell. Your telling of this one, well I think it is a winner. Doris

    1. Doris,

      I agree. One of the *things* I love about writing historical western romance is working in the little tidbits of history. While I've not written an alternate history story, I like reading stories that play with the *what if*.


  4. I think A Gift of Christmas Hope is going to be a very heartwarming story since it's based on the "real" Cal Farley's Boys Ranch and Girlstown, U.S.A. It's so wonderful to know every once in a while a true humanitarian lands on Earth with a vision to make things better.
    I loved your excerpt, Kaye.

    1. Sarah,

      I've been interested in the Cal Farley ranch for a long time, and the idea of "hope" that he offered to needy kids. It is heartwarming to have the humanitarian endeavors like the Cal Farley facility.


  5. Kaye, what a great story line. Especially during the holiday season. Sometimes in this life all we have is hope and its that hope that carries us through. I can feel the hurt that rips through Lady Sapphire's body as she talks about being an unwanted child. Left alone in this world with no one to truly love her or care for her. Talk about a tear jerker.

  6. Barb,

    Yes, hope is what keeps people going when all else is looking dark and dreary. I gravitate toward the themes of hope and loneliness in my stories.