Goodreads

Little by little I’m getting everything going. I’m on Goodreads now!

Next I will be working on a mailing list.

The August busy has taken over. With family in town, it has been really difficult to maintain my momentum in getting my writing work done. To add to it, I have a few kids getting ready to return to school. Once they start back, possibly I can get into a writing routine again. I’ll do what I can in the meantime.

The Legend of Little Sharpshooter has its first 4 star review on Amazon. It took me over a week to actually see the review. Not sure what the deal was there and it was very, very positive. So happy dance!

And Underground Book Reviews has it listed on their Pitch Perfect Picks website page.

Underground Book Reviews

Rankings are…

I failed to check my rankings yesterday on The Legend of Little Sharpshooter. Darn it all. Today is not so bad. I’m sure it was better yesterday. It is #14 in Young Adult Westerns. Woo hoo! It is like in the 50s for both 19th century and United States. A couple of weird places to be ranked but I put them there.

I was thinking about doing a post that was not just “I’m writing this and here’s that.” The thought that came to mind was about diversity. I gave it a lot of thought when I added a few characters in my story. Back in the 1880s there was a lot of racism. Native Americans were being forced onto reservations. Many Chinese people were migrating here to start businesses of there own and it wasn’t easy. I didn’t want to focus on the negatives. With Westerns there are lot cliched tropes that have played out. Especially when they were popular in the 1950s and 1960s.

On Native Americans, I almost wrote a scene where Randy, Bronson and Trevor have a run-in with a tribe around the four corners area of the United States. I wasn’t comfortable with it. In that area there were two reservations combined together of two tribes that had been enemies for generations. It was almost like the government put them together so they would destroy each other. That history bothered me but it also added some conflict that could have been interesting as the three passed through the reservation. But it didn’t really help the story, I couldn’t portray the Native Americans in a way that I felt comfortable with so it was better to leave it out.

There are three Native Americans in The Legend of Little Sharpshooter though. The first is Cheveyo. He is a close friend of Randy’s pa. The second was a close friend of Trevors. The third was the woman at the trading post. She was married to a white man. In that situation, I guess I have some Cherokee Indian in me. It comes from a great grandma or a great great grandma that married a white man. So I guess she was a little homage to my family history. They were all people that helped Randy on her journey.

The Chinese that came over to settle here during the gold rush days in the west have always intrigued me. They weren’t all looking for gold. They were starting businesses and established small communities of their own. Where I live, just down the hill from my house is a part of town called Garden City. It was the Chinatown of Boise and was called that because of the beautiful gardens they kept. In The Legend of Little Sharpshooter, Randy’s leg is saved by a Chinese Healer. He treats her with acupuncture. From there I wanted Randy and Trevor to have some trust with their community and that is a pretty important near the end of the story.

I really tried to be sensitive to the portrayal of the diverse characters that made appearances in this novel. I don’t mean to offend by including those characters. They were important parts of what made the West what it was in those days. I really wanted to show the values that Randy’s pa and Trevor’s  nana taught them.

The other thing I didn’t want to be preachy about but it was so important for me to have in a young adult novel was the respect Randy had for her gun. How her pa taught her the value of human life. Guns totally had their place back then. It was a survival tool. Whether it was hunting for food or for protection they were a part of daily life back then. Annie Oakley wasn’t the only girl out performing in a sharpshooting competitions. There were others.

Just for the record, my own daughters, all five of them, know how to shoot.

I’m going to wrap this up. I’m excited over the rankings today. Also, know I’m trying to depict history and showing sensitivity at the same time.

What’s next?

Even though the release of The Legend of Little Sharpshooter has had a slow start, I’m still hard at work. I have lots of work I can put out and from what I’ve researched, that is the best way to be discovered.

I’m writing Part Three to High Pressure System and editing the first novel of The Children of Dragons. If I keep at it, we will have August releases for both as promised. I’ve been doing loads of research-Always. That book will have a wide release outside Amazon. I have 2 covers now for the series so far. Just so you know, book two is complete. It will need intensive edits like most of my work but it will be out soon after. So I will put that on my agenda for what’s next. The covers are perfect and I love them. Ravenborn is the artist and she has offered to create more if I need them for the series and I will. I have more than 3 books planned. I have to go into my files and figure out just how much of the series has been written. It is epic.

I will share the cover once we are in final editing, close to release.

So I just learned about this from Hugh Howey. You can follow authors on their author pages on Amazon. Here is mine or you can go follow Hugh instead.

My Author page with all my books

In the meantime, I sit at my laptop fearful my kitten is going to attack me again. I love kittens but this little guy is wild this morning. Now he’s in my arms. Boy is it hard to type.

The Clock is Ticking…

We are close. So very close. It’s just a matter what stamina I have giving it a good read through so the typo monster doesn’t rear its ugly head with this one. Now I’m questioning the meaning of all words due to editing so much lately. Oh my…

The Legend of Little Sharpshooter– first chapter

“Randy!” Pa pounded on the bed with his foot. “Randy, that horse a’ yours is gonna break that door down again if you don’t get up and feed him. You’re fixin’ it this time if he breaks it.”

Randy sat bolt upright in her bed and pushed the brown mop of hair out of her eyes.

She could hear it. The Bang … Bang … Bang … of Al trying to kick down the door of his stall. There was very little wood left to reattach it to if he did it again.

Randy shoved her feet into her boots and didn’t have time to tie them. She ran through the hall then out the back door to the barn, running past the water pump. Water would have to wait until she told him good morning. He was more impatient than usual. No wonder. It was only morning and sweat beads were already forming on her forehead.

The barn door was already wide open. Pa had taken care of the other horses, Senora the cow, and the chickens. Pa would have nothing to do with Al because Al would have nothing to do with Pa.

“Good morning, Al-Hayibe!” Randy shouted as she grabbed an armful of hay.

Al stuck his head over the stall door and whinnied his morning greeting to her.

“Yes, I overslept and you’re one spoiled horse.” Randy rubbed the star in between his eyes, the only patch of white on the dappled grey Arabian. She was proud of her outstanding horse and his graceful look. With his perfect wedge-shaped head, dark grey mane, and long, delicate looking legs. Randy had never seen a horse that compared to him at the auctions in town. His breed wasn’t typically seen in the New Mexico territory.

Al-Hayibe meant “gift” in Arabian, and that was what Al was after Pa brought in the cattle rustlers that stole cattle from one of the biggest ranches in Texas. It was the last official job Pa did as a Texas Ranger. Part of his payment was the beautiful gelding. What they forgot to mention was Al-Hayibe had been gelded after he was deemed unfit for breeding because of his temperament. When Pa brought him home, he didn’t think the horse was a gift, more like the devil in a stunning horse disguise. Pa refused to call the horse by his full name. He was only called Al after that.

Randy brushed his sleek coat until it glistened, making his dappled coat look like sunlight reflecting off water.  It had been three years since Al was brought home when Randy was thirteen. It had taken Randy months to earn Al’s trust behind her pa’s back. Al’s appearance definitely put the other horses and Randy’s pony to shame. Pa grumbled all the time that he hoped horse thieves might run off with such a useless horse. But no one would be able to steal him even if they wanted to that badly. Al only let Randy touch him, feed him, and lead him around. Sometimes that was only when Al felt like it. Randy had been sick the entire week and Al had broken the stall door down more than once.

“Let’s go find some carrots.” Randy opened the crooked stall door, and he followed her like a pup. She carried a bucket to the waterspout and pumped the handle until water gushed into the bucket. Al was already drawing in long drinks. That gave Randy a minute to run to the vegetable garden before he followed her in the fence to have his fill. She pulled up two carrots that were not very impressive, but they would have to do. After she ran them through the water, she teased Al with the greens so he would follow her back willingly into the barn. She wanted to go on a ride since she hadn’t been on one in almost a week.

In the barn, she dangled the carrots in front of his face so he would let her put the bridle on. He flung his head up in the air and whinnied.

“Easy,” Randy tried to bribe him again but he pushed her back with his muzzle until she backed into the wall “What is it?”

Randy jumped and so did Al when several gunshots went off. She instinctively knew what to do, but it didn’t stop her heart from racing. In fact it climbed into a place it didn’t belong and she had to swallow hard. She kicked off her boots, climbing up the slats on the wall of the stall to Al’s bare back.

She had played this game with Pa all the time. But with Al’s warning, it couldn’t be a game. It must be the real thing. Al knew the game too as he slowly stepped out of the barn. When she saw it was clear, she squeezed his sides with her heels. She didn’t need reins as he trotted up the side of the house. Randy held his mane to maneuver so she could stand. He shifted his weight slightly.

“Steady,” Randy whispered. She placed her bare feet on Al’s back and curled her toes to hold on while she stood. Using the wall for balance, she tried not to get splinters from the sun-baked wood. She had to crouch as she moved the piece of wood that covered the hole in the eave. She hated the attic with its spiders, mice, rats and their nests, not to mention it was dusty and dark. All the things she hated, but she heaved her body up onto the wood planks her pa had placed there for this game. She clicked her tongue to signal Al to run off. She heard men talking as they roamed around in the house. She froze.

“You think he’s alone out here?”

“I dunno. That’s what we’re doin’ is checkin.”

“Well, ya gonna let him suffer?”

“Until we figure out if he has family here. We’ll let him watch us kill ‘em and then we finish him off. Ha! And looky here. A bed for one. And are these some girly clothes lyin’ here?”

On her hands and knees on the wood plank across the beams, she didn’t move. The men were in the room right below her. Her room. Some light came through the wood slat ceiling. She could tell when they moved. She squeezed her eyes shut. That was the shirt she didn’t bother to put on. She ran out in a camisole and her long bloomers. Exhaling slowly, she tried to move to safety in the middle of the house. Strips of heavy metal made a bullet proof platform in the center, placed over a large closet they wouldn’t find access to.  She moved her weight to one knee and the opposite hand. The board creaked and she froze. The two she heard below her laughed and snickered over something else they found.

“How old do ya think she is?” one of them said.

“Old enough. Let’s check the barn.” They left her room.

Randy moved up the board. It squeaked on the beam. She stopped. When she heard the click, she launched forward the rest of the way to safety as they fired through the roof. Searing pain shot through her leg before she made it to the metal. She bit down hard on her lip to stifle a cry of agony and held her leg.

The gunshots flushed out a couple large rats that scampered across the ceiling. The men kept firing until they had no shots left. Shafts of light appeared where bullets went through the roof. They reloaded and fired off several more times. Randy turned away when one of the rats was shot to pieces.

“What was that? Rats or a cat? I’m sure it ain’t the girl. Come on,” one said.

Randy had a stash of items on the steel around her. She felt around until she found her knife. Trembling uncontrollably, she cut the leg off of the bloomer above her gunshot wound. It was bleeding pretty heavily. She was lightheaded as she cut off the other bloomer leg. She used one to tie around her leg below the knee and the other was wrapped around the wound. Her calf was too bloody to tell if it went all the way through. The pain was worse than anything she had ever felt in her life.

Randy was frustrated that she couldn’t stop shaking, but she needed to scare the men off. Before she fell sick, she had been doing target practice from the attic through the little hinged doors her pa made in the roof. A double barrel shotgun, a Winchester rifle, and her Colt revolver with the Mother of Pearl grip rested on the metal beside her. Pa made her earn them by learning to shoot well and they were all hers. The revolver was her favorite. She named it Pearl. She loaded each one and listened for the location of the men. They were walking along the back side of the house.

“Should we burn the house?”

Randy gasped.

“No, fool. That would draw attention out here and could start a wildfire with all this sagebrush. No. He could be there for days before anyone finds him. Just leave it. That kid has to be here somewhere.”

“Ya think she’s at school?”

“Could be.”

Randy knew right where they were, but bearing weight on her injured leg would be awful. They more than likely shot her pa and he was possibly dead. The fury boiled up inside her. That was why he played games with her. Pa knew the outlaws would find them. He made his share of enemies as a Texas Ranger and lawman for hire.

They wouldn’t win, though. Wiping tears from her eyes, Randy let the rage drown out her pain. She propped up the hinged door on the roof so she could see them clearly. They wouldn’t spot her right away. Placing Pearl in her waistband, she readied the shotgun. She breathed slowly and deeply to control her trembling hands to steady her gun. Before they knew she was aiming for them, she shot at the ground. Dirt flew up at their feet.

They reached for their gun holsters. With her revolver, she fired twice, shooting at their grips before they knew where she was firing from. Randy cringed as they both screamed in pain. She must have hit their hands. They scurried for the guns they dropped. She fired at the ground between them and their revolvers. They backed away before running around the corner. Randy crouched down to grab the rifle. She propped open the door in the roof on the front side of the house, pointing the rifle at the men. They scrambled onto their horses and rode off screaming curses as they went. She wasn’t going to play God and kill them. Randy didn’t have a sure shot and there was no way she was going to shoot and hit a horse by accident. The horse didn’t do anything wrong.

Her pa was on the ground in front of the wagon he’d spent the past two days fixing. Dark red pooled around him covering what had been dull yellow dirt. She was sick to her stomach until she saw him move.

“Pa!” Randy cried. She whistled before crouching to crawl painfully over to the opening in the eaves. Easing her body down, she dangled only a few moments until Al was below her. She couldn’t bear weight on her leg or land on just one foot on his back without possibly falling off. She had to let go, hoping that landing on his back wouldn’t spook him. It wasn’t an easy landing when she hit her calf. Randy didn’t hold back crying out from the pain. Al didn’t budge until she urged him to. He walked smoothly over to her pa.

Randy slid off the horse’s back and fell to her knees at her pa’s side.

He coughed then moaned. The front of his shirt stuck to his chest, damp with blood.

“What do I do? Who should I get?” Randy’s hands hovered over him, afraid to touch anywhere.

He coughed again and shook his head. “Don’t waste time.” He reached for her hand.

Randy shook her head vehemently. “No, Pa. You aren’t allowed to do that. That’s not part of the game.”

“Did they hurt you?” he wheezed.

“Just a little. Not like you.” Tears streamed down her cheeks. She opened his shirt. Pa had a bullet hole in his shoulder and another in his stomach. His breath was more labored and wheezy.

“Now listen to me.” He struggled to breathe in. “I’m dying. Go to old Miss Marla. She promised to take good care of you if something happened to me.” He rested his bloody hand on her cheek and tried to smile. “You’re almost grown now. When you’re old enough, and only when you’re grown, and maybe found a man to love you, you take my ashes, Mama’s, and baby Jonah’s and take us to the ocean. We’ve talked about seeing the ocean and the place that sounds like heaven on earth. There’s no rush though.” His eyes watered. “I don’t want to leave you. Not this way.” He held her hand in his. “I love you, baby girl. I know I’ve taught you well.” Each breath he took was shallower than the one before.

Randy sobbed. “No, Papa. There’s no one else I want to be with, not Miss Marla. She’s too fussy. I can’t live without you. I need you.”

“I didn’t think I could live without Mama but you and me, we’ve done just fine.” His grip weakened on her hand. “I will love you forever.” He wheezed, his eyes widened and met hers. His head eased to the side when his face turned white and still.

“Papa! No!” She sobbed into his shoulder and called for him until she had nothing left inside her.

Get ready to meet Randy Carter

Guys, or all one or two of you that breeze by my blog, The Legend of Little Sharpshooter is nearing the end of edits. We are in the home stretch. If I can keep the migraines at bay this week and the kids entertained, we may have a release before the end of the month. I’m so excited! (please forgive any typos in this post, I’m pretty medicated today)

Randy Carter is one of my favorite characters. She’s 16, loves her obnoxious horse Al, and has a mind of her own at a time when it’s awful hard for a girl to gain respect for that. I would like to say this is a true Western. If I comped it to something, I would say it comps to True Grit and The Lone Ranger. Those comps are to movies though. But this book is about that much fun. Full of action and some young romance. A clean read, and my 17 year old absolutely loves it. People of all ages have told me how much they enjoy it too.

I’ll share some of the first chapter when we get a little bit closer but for now, here’s the cover:

Little Sharpshooter

Up and Coming

First little announcement- I just put High Pressure System Part Two in Kindle Unlimited. I wasn’t going to with the recent changes but if the first one is still there, and I have gotten plenty of downloads through the program before the change, I shouldn’t deny those readers the opportunity to read Part Two. So it is now available even though it wasn’t right when I published it. Thanks to the free days for Part One, I have some international downloads so there’s that too. Thank you if you downloaded it. My upcoming novels will not be in KU though. I will work on maintaining some of my work available on KU though.

A little history:

I’ve been writing a lot for years. 2014 started out rough though. I went into a serious lull. I struggled with my creativity when I did have time to write. I queried some but totally stopped with anything new. I’m sure I burned myself out. I actually have 4 complete novels, and 3 that were not quite finished or polished that are part of a series to one of the completed novels. That’s a lot. 3 of the complete novels were started during NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNo and I used one of the NaNos to work on scenes that went to the series. Wow, huh?

When my husband went to Alaska to work last summer, I was going to get busy on publishing, but life handed me a curve ball and then another. I had no time for months. When I finally had time to work on it, I was still floundering. It’s amazing how the start of this year has shifted in a whole new direction. The writing is coming back, the love for orchestrating words on a page is returning, and things are happening. I have a lot of stuff to get polished so new writing is on hold for a bit. Except for Part Three is still coming. Don’t worry.

I have my office back officially now. For a freshly published author without a ton of promotion, I feel my debut stories are doing okay. I have to embrace the fact that no matter how much proofreading I do, how many editors look at my work, how much time I take, I will not escape the typos. I’m still working on that. That is also why the first things I published were so short. I know myself well enough that I was going to make mistakes no matter how hard I’d strive to send out my best work.

My favorite story is halfway through edits. I have a new plan for checking for typos before publishing. Hopefully that will spare everyone my mess ups. Or at least keep them to a bare minimum.(I’m being realistic) Now I’m having to work around some time consuming bits of my real life. Darn that real life stuff. 😉 But I’m really working hard to get it out before the end of this month. Looking at the calendar, I really need to get busy.

Just so you can be as excited as I am about the release of The Legend of Little Sharpshooter, this is what a reader said about it the other day:

Just a small note to tell you, how much I ABSOLUTELY loved this story!!!
Once I started it yesterday, I could hardly put it down, 
except to have a sleep. Thank you for sharing you AMAZING TALENT with me! 
From a true fan of yours,

Release Day!

I’ve plugged at it all day long and now I can announce that High Pressure System Part Two is live!

High Pressure System Part Two on Amazon

HPF2

Right now I’m waiting for my current update to High Pressure System Part One to clear and that will be free for a few days to celebrate Part Two’s release.

I’m still editing like mad. I really want to release 2 novels this month and it will be a challenge. But I will do my best. And I have my office back and need to set it up the rest of the way before it is a usable writing space. I’m ready to get seriously busy.

High Pressure System Part Two

The great news: I have High Pressure System back from the editor! I’ve been battling with the site I use to format it for about an hour now. It looks like user error now after I had a weird glitch setting up the chapters. Ugh. It will get better the more I work with it. I hope…

I have my office back! I haven’t had it for a year now. But while I’ve been waiting for what I sent to the editors to come back, I’ve been moving stuff all over my upstairs. And I painted my daughter’s room since she was moving back in it and it was long overdue. So once I get settled back in there again, I believe production will go up.

As it is, I’m cruising. Two novel length works are going through editing. I’m hoping for a late July release for them both. We will see how well I can manage. I’m good at distracting myself with house stuff and summer stuff.

I have also started High Pressure System Part Three and I’m contemplating starting another serial set in space.

The glum news: I haven’t mastered commas as well as I hoped. Maybe going through all my work after editors do will help me get them under control. So I will continue to ask you all to ignore my comma shortcomings if you are a master of them.

To end this on a high note: High Pressure System Part One will be free for a few days once Part Two comes out. 🙂