The Long Trails Box Set is Finally OUT!

Hello! I hope your spring is coming in beautifully in the northern hemisphere and that those of you in the southern one have battened down the hatches! I’ve been busy doing just that down here in NZ, while preparing an equine vet dentistry course for next week, reloading all of my books with improved blurbs (have just finished reissuing them with new covers!) and soon to be starting to put them all out as AUDIOBOOKS! Equipment’s waiting!  And then to finish Tatiana I! And a vet book for horse owners. And the Scottish Highlands story… (I’d best stop before I get a heart attack…).

New Covers

I don’t think I’ve shown you all my new covers!  You can check them out on my website here but here they are in short form:

Lizzi Tremayne Sampler

Tatiana

So on to even more exciting things: as usual, Matt’s right again… my upcoming book Tatiana was meant to be a novel. Nothing too long, just a novel. He just laughed. And laughed.

“More like War and Peace, it’ll be,” he said, when he could breathe again.

“No, it won’t,” I muttered.

Well, he pegged it…  but it’ll be four volumes, not one.

So you see why it’s taking me so long?

And it’ll be its own series, too. Big sigh. 

Anyway, back to something that’s finished already: looking for some spring/summer time reading? Seek no more!

The Long Trails Box Set!

Binge reading time?

Can an orphan, with only her Mustang and a Cossack sword, survive alone on the frontier?

From the deserts of Utah, through the gold mines of California, to the turbulent wilderness of New Zealand, Aleksandra rides, loves, and fights—with only her Cossack skills to keep her alive.

** From multiple award winning author Lizzi Tremayne **

The Long Trails Box Set, comprising three full novels–over 1400 pages of historical fiction set in 1860s Utah, Nevada (which was still Utah Territory at the time of the stories), California, and Colonial New Zealand,  I hope you love it! And before you ask if it’ll be out in paper, sorry, no, it won’t.  Amazon won’t print more than just over 800 pages in each book and if I start splitting books in the middle, you might as well buy one of each! 🙂

The biggest complaint I’ve had is that people didn’t have the next book to hand… but this way, the first three books in The Long Trails series will be at your fingertips!

You can find it here!

Take good care all, and enjoy!

Let me know how you like it!  And as always, reviews are SO welcome.

xx

Lizzi Tremayne

Once Upon a Vet School… This Time in New Zealand!

Hi all!

Can’t wait for the release of our 2018 Christmas Boxed Set! I think you’ll love it!

And I think you’ll like my contribution. It’s set in New Zealand. Yep, same heroine, different country. 🙂

Oh, and quite a few people have asked me, of this SEMI-autobiographical series, which parts are real and which are made-up?

As I tell them, sorry, that’s going to remain my secret. 🙂

We’re having a little jump, like from # to #10.  Trust me, it’ll be better this way. 🙂  Though each story is designed to be read independently, it’ll be fun when it’s a complete series.

The plan is to make the series applicable to readers of the heroine’s age. That means, as horse crazy Lena first hears she needs good grades to get into veterinary school as a seven-year-old, Book One will be written for readers of that age group, ie: young readers. And so on. 🙂

So young, and ever-older  readers can relate to the stories as Lena grows with them.

So it’s your turn, readers:  what do you think of the idea of having reader-age-linked stories in the same series?

My story for the upcoming  boxed set: 

Lena loves her new adopted country of New Zealand, its horses and dairy stock, her veterinary workmates and her boss… but her luck with men is, shall we say, not ideal. She’d love a ‘good Kiwi bloke’, but they’re proving as elusive as their nocturnal namesake.

Nigel’s staying away from females, unless they’re cows, horses, or his mother. After his first marriage went off the rails, or the road, anyway, he just plain won’t be responsible for anyone else’s life… but Lena’s a bit of a different kettle of fish… or is she?

Sparks fly when they meet for the first time—the first official time, anyway. Not the time they conversed over the dirty instruments after she’d just survived an afternoon of malodorous veterinary treatments. They seem to be made for each other… but then Nigel remembers when they first met. And the questions start. Can they get past their past to see to the future they both want so badly?

And there’s more!

Jude Knighton, one of our authors, mentioned the Bluestocking Belles’ box set a few weeks ago, and I talked about it but couldn’t talk about it because we hadn’t had our cover reveal party yet!

SO HERE IT IS!  Follow Your Star Home.

Somewhere Like Home:

From the Highlands to Waterloo—can love prevail over fate?

1813, Scottish Highlands

When Robert refuses to become clan tacksman after his father, he is disowned and off down the road to build a life for himself and his beloved Sofia.

Sofia’s waiting turns to despair when her mother buys safety during the clearance of their village at Sofia’s expense, leaving her to the lusts of the laird’s son.

Rob emerges from the hell of Waterloo wanting only to see Sofia again…and his father.

Meet my hero and heroine!

 

Follow Your Star Home is available for preorder now right here!

 

And once again, I ask:  what do you think of the idea of having reader-age-linked stories in the same series?

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Take good care, and happy reading!

xx

Lizzi Tremayne

 

Interview with Lizzi and Aleksandra!

Hello All! How about an interview with Authors of Main Street author Lizzi Tremayne, and an interview with Aleksandra Lekarski, heroine of The Long Trails series!

First, an interview with Aleksandra!

Where are you from?

I was born in Vienna, but my family ran to the United States when I was just an infant. We ended up trapping in the wilderness of Utah Territory, where I live now.

Tell us a bit about A Long Trail Rolling.

It’s the story where I meet the love of my life, nearly lose my life, and get to do something no girl has ever done before, ride the Pony Express!

What did you think the first time you saw Xavier?

Wow…chocolate brown eyes, deeply tanned Latino visage, gorgeous smile, and what a hunk.

 

What was your second thought?

Well…(looking down at my shuffling feet)…I…sort of…drew my shashka* and held it to his throat?

interview

Did you feel it was love at first sight?

I think it was, but then my training to protect my family’s secret kicked in. I’m a bit slow on the uptake sometimes, and it took some time for me to realize he was really the man of my dreams.

 

What do you like most about him?

Hmmm…that’s a hard one. It would have to be the way he holds me when I think the world’s going to end, and murmurs love words in Spanish…he’s incredibly sexy. Did you know, ‘te quiero’, in Español, means both ‘I love you’, and ‘I want you’?  That’s how close they’re linked to a Latino. J

 

How would you describe him?

Well, my sexy Latino lover is strong, sensitive, and loves me to bits (despite my stroppy temper and reluctance to let anyone else have any say). You should hear how he talks to frightened horses, and rides.  Mmmmmmmm…  He does have a few issues with trust…well, a lot of them…and a history of abuse from his stepfather, who he thought was his father until just recently.

 

How would he describe you?

Do I really have to answer that? (Big sigh.) He’d say (I’ve heard him say, anyway) I’m lovely (he can’t get enough of my golden curls that reach past my derrière), an unparalleled rider (I was trained by my father in dzhigitovka, Cossack defense riding, now similar to trick riding, smart (I speak five languages and do math in my head), sensitive, generous to a fault, and a lot of fun. But…he’d also say I’m opinionated, bossy, inclined to always want to do things my own way, and difficult to get to know. J But he loves me anyway.

What made you choose teaching as a career?

Well, when the Pony Express shut down because the Pah-Ute Indians burned down most of the stations for over a hundred miles (not that I blamed them) and I could no longer ride for them, masquerading as a boy, Xavier and I went to Virginia City and got married. Since the Pony wasn’t running, my choices were to teach, work in a livery stable (which didn’t impress Xavier) or clean house.  Guess what won?

 

What is your biggest fear?

That someone will discover our family’s secret and give it to the tsar of Russia, and he will use it to run over all of Europe, and then Papa’s death was for naught.

 

How do you relax?

What’s a relax? Oh, like when I’m injured so much I can’t keep going? I like to lay back in Xavier’s arms and be cuddled and kissed…and other things, but this is a clean blog. J

 

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?

Wow, that’s a hard one. We didn’t have many books, out there in Utah Territory…let’s see…that would have to be Vanessa March, in Airs Above the Ground, by Mary Stewart. The book wasn’t written when I was alive, but a little time travel let me read it. Vanessa’s a classy, feisty veterinarian with real heart. She’s great under pressure and I adore her.

interview

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

Papa told me again and again to never get excited in a fight. If I kept breathing, my brain would keep me alive. It’s worked, so far. Thanks, Papa!

 

*shashka: Cossack short, hiltless sword

 

And now, here’s an interview with author of The Long Trails and Once Upon a Vet School series’, Lizzi Tremayne!

Interview

 

What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why?

That would have to be Airs Above the Ground, combining a great heroine (I like the same things about her that Aleksandra does), veterinary medicine (my dream from seven years old) and the Lipizzaner horses, (also my dream from even earlier). This was the first Historical Romantic Suspense I ever read, and at a young age. I seem to see her in most of my heroines! I’ve been hooked on Historical Romantic Suspense ever since. Phillipa Gregory’s books have taught me a lot of history and I love her way with words and her ability to make the history live. Diana Gabaldon combines many genres in her work. I love her books and she’s shown me I can write the books in my heart that cross genres and get away with it!

Interview

What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel?

Possibly this wasn’t an actual single event, but it was a relationship. A man I adored had ‘attachment issues’ from abuse in his young life. As much as I wanted to try to ‘fix’ him, I learned it was something I couldn’t do. He had to want it enough to make the changes that could have let him be happier in his life.  Xavier, however, had no such choice. J As my character, I could encourage him to look at his issues for what they were. I could use my bit of control freak on this poor fictional character to make him fix himself. He’ll still have trouble with it through this book, and in other books in the series, but he’s genuinely trying to get better and face his fears.  He’s winning. J It was Xavier’s major issue in the story, so it impacted it by becoming his Achilles heel.

interview

 

Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them?

Well, I’m my own publisher. It’s called Blue Mist Publishing. I’ve pitched to several publishers and agents. Most have requested, but in reviewing my submissions, decided they didn’t know where to place the story, as it crossed genres. As a publisher might have encouraged, I’ve entered plenty of contests. I have won some, placed in others, and put the ribbons on my cover. In the course of all this, my writing’s improved, and I will continue to work on my craft till my dying day!

 

 

A Long Trail Rolling

interview

She didn’t expect to become a target…but she is one now.

 

Aleksandra is alone and running to prevent her father’s killer from discovering their family secret. Disguised as a Pony Express rider in 1860’s Utah, Aleksandra winds up in even deeper trouble when she rides full speed into the Paiute Indian War. With Xavier, her compelling Californio boss, can she escape the Indians on the warpath and evade the man who’s already killed her father—and set his sights on her?

.

Free on Kindle Unlimited or buy here: https://lizzitremayne.com/LongTrailRoll

 

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#horses #AmerInd #sword #awarded #OldWest #PonyExpress #historicalfiction #Adult #YA #recipes #history #historical #historicalromance #historicalromanticsuspense

Ever Thought of Riding the Pony Express?

I sure did…probably obsessed on riding the Pony Express, too, when I was a little girl riding out in the hills around La Honda, California.

Maybe that’s why my first novel, A Long Trail Rolling, ended up being about the Pony Express…and a girl rider.

Many have asked why I wrote about this for my first novel. For those of you who don’t know my history, suffice it to say I grew up on Highway 84 in La Honda, California, where the Younger Brothers used to hang out after big heists, the Stage ran through, and the Peek-a Boo Inn (yes, it is what it sounds like…), the eleven bars and three churches and one store were the standard, back in the day.

I went away to university and finally finished veterinary school. I had to be a hoss-doc, didn’t I? I moved on to Placerville, of Gold Country fame, on the Pony Express Trail.  You might say I was rather steeped in the Old West.

Things led to things and I found myself in New Zealand, where I’ve lived for the past 22 years. I’ve now finished my third historical fiction (with romantic elements, of course) and my first contemporary vet girl story, Once Upon a Vet School #7: Lena Takes a Foal.

It’s actually included in our Christmas boxed set, Christmas Babies on Main Street! You’ll see it in the right sidebar, all dressed in midnight blue!

Back to History and the Pony Express!

I discovered some pretty cool things can happen when you’re researching a story. 

Thanks to Pony Express History –

The Pony Express Re-Ride runs every year, all the way from St. Jo, Missouri, to Sacramento, California. Patrick Hearty, past president of the National Pony Express Association (NPEA), wrote the Foreword of A Long Trail Rolling for me. He and his wife, Linda, hosted my son Elliot and I a few years ago, and again last year, when they invited me to ride in the re-ride and lent me their horses for the famed ride. It was awe-inspiring to ride over the same trail as all those young men, so many years ago. It is strange to realize that the portion I rode over is less populated than it was back in the day!

The  Pony Express Re-Ride continues!

This rider is putting the “mochila,” (the leather pad with the mail pockets, below) over his horse’s saddle. It’s transferred from horse to horse all the way from St. Joseph to Old Sacramento for the western run, and another one is transferred at the same time, in the reverse direction…all the way from Old Sac to St. Joseph for the eastward run.  Members of the NPEA and others may insert a commemorative letter at one end and have them delivered to the other.

Credit to Ryan Long, Deseret News

Patrick has put a commemorative letter in for me every year since we met and I cherish the growing stack of letters, knowing how many miles those letters have gone, carried by horse after horse in their locked “cantinas”, over 2000 miles of hot summer sweat and dust, prairies, rivers, and the Sierra Nevada Ranges.

Map of the Pony Express Route

http://dinosaurcowboys.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/pony-express-map.jpgThanks to Union Pacific and http://bit.ly/11K21Oh

To join the NPEA or follow the mochilas on their yearly trip, you can visit the XPHome Site

Thanks to Tom Crews!

This is Patee House, the eastward terminus of the  Pony Express, or “Pony”, as it was called.

https://i2.wp.com/www.legendsofamerica.com/photos-missouri/StJoePateeHotel-600.jpg

Thanks to Kathy Weiser, owner/editor, Legends of America

 

Pony_Express_Map

Patrick Hearty and Dr. Joseph Hatch of Utah speaking on the Pony Express

 

Patrick Hearty The Pony Express Stations in Utah

Patrick Hearty The Pony Express Stations in Utah

Photo above: Patrick and Joseph’s book. Photo to right: Joseph L. Hatch, left, and Patrick Hearty talk about the history of the Pony Express. (Thanks to Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

Traveler’s Rest Pony Express Station, Near Salt Lake City, Utah

Travellers rest station

Here is the Traveler’s Rest (or Absalom Smith) Station, with the front torn down, but the pic shows the first part built.  Thanks to the University of Utah

 

Simpson’s Springs (Somewhere out in the Utah Salt Desert!).

Simpson's Springs Station

Painting of Simpson’s Springs Station

Lookout Pass, Where my Heroine, Aleksandra, Finds a “Bit of Strife”

Lookout Pass - Pony Express Trail Thanks to Roger Douglass 

It’s in Lookout Pass that Aleksandra, my heroine, is ambushed by Paiute Indians and… (but that would be telling!)…. you’ll just have to read the book!

INDIAN ARROWE AND ECHO STATION PE STATION KEEPERS

“Mose Wright described the Indian arrow-poison. The rattlesnake – the copperhead and the moccasin he ignored – is caught with a forked stick planted over its neck, and is allowed to fix its fangs in an antelope’s liver. The meat, which turns green, is carried upon a skewer when wanted for use: the flint head of an arrow, made purposely to break in the wound, is thrust into the poison, and when withdrawn is covered with a thin coat of glue. Ammonia is considered a cure for it and the Indians treat snake bites with the actual cautery. . .”

Yep, it gets messy, but then, it often did.

The “Pony”, as the Pony Express was called, only actually ran for 18 months or so, a bit less because Indian attacks caused it to shut down for about a month and a half…  (Why, you say? Well, when all the stations for over 50 miles are burned down, stock stolen and station tenders killed, it’s pretty hard to maintain a route!)

Thanks to  David David Gallery / SuperStock

The opening of  the new trans-continental telegraph line sounded the death knell of the “Pony”, but it had served its purpose in keeping California in the Union, preventing its secession to the South! This is actually the main storyline of Book 2 in the series, The Hills of Gold Unchanging. 

Thanks to Trips into History 

That’s my bit of history for today, I hope you enjoyed hearing about the “Pony”.

Back to Today!

As you probably know, The Authors of Main Street have just put out our Christmas Boxes Set!

If you haven’t  read it yet, go for it, there are nine heartwarming stories from your favorite, and new favorite, we hope, authors, all for only 99c!

If you love the stories, we’d sure appreciate your reviews on Amazon!

Take good care.

XX from NZ,

Lizzi and the rest at Authors of Main Street

 

Ready for Another Release? A Sea of Green Unfolding is Out!

Good morning!  Thanks for coming along!

I’m very excited to tell you that 

A Sea of Green Unfolding 
is
Now Available!

(and I redid the cover!  I hope you like it!)

It’s out in ebook and will soon be available in print as well!

I Can’t Wait for You to Read

A Sea of Green Unfolding !

It’s the third book in
The Long Trails series.

~ When you’ve lost everything,
the only way to go is up—
isn’t it? ~

Tragedy strikes in Aleksandra and Xavier’s newly-found paradise on their California Rancho de las Pulgas. Von Tempsky invites them on a journey to a new life in peaceful New Zealand, but change is in the wind. When they reach Aotearoa, they disembark into a turbulent wilderness—where the wars between the European settlers and the local Māori have only just begun.

Here’s this month’s giveaway!

If you’d like to go into the draw to win a copy of the regular print edition of newly-released A Sea of Green Unfolding (when it’s available, soon!),

1-leave a review of A Sea of Green Unfolding where you purchased your eBook or paperback, then

2-message me on the contact form at the bottom of this page with your email address and the site (URL ideally!) where you left your review

and you’ll be in the draw!

It’s available on Amazon right now for just $2.99 USD!

Amazon        iBooks         Kobo        Nook

(will be released on other sites on the 10th)

If you’d like to be kept up to date on new releases, special offers and the inside story, you can subscribe here!

And an excerpt!

 

March 1863  Rancho de las Pulgas,  San Mateo County,  California

Aleksandra Argüello’s brother-in-law peeked out through the slits between his lashes, and his bloodshot eyes widened at her in horror. He scrambled to his feet and bolted for the kitchen door—but she beat him to it.

“I repeat, Sancho, what did you mean when you said our baby was born out of wedlock, and that she’d never inherit the rancho?” she said past gritted teeth, as she stood against the plank of solid oak barring his way.

No se, no se, I don’t know,” he stammered, and began to spin toward the window, then froze at the sharp edge of Aleksandra’s sword across his throat.

Xavier Argüello chose that moment to open the door, and stopped short.

¿Cómo? What’s going on?” Aleksandra’s husband’s eyes narrowed at the pair of them.

“That’s what I’d like to know,” Aleksandra said. Sancho turned his head and she winced, blinking at the alcohol fumes wafting from his breath.

“Sancho?” Xavier’s long legs covered the distance to them in two steps.

Aleksandra tightened her grip on the sword and the miscreant inhaled sharply, but otherwise didn’t move.

Su hermano,” she said, directing her words to Xavier, though she never looked away from Sancho, “your brother, showed up three hours ago, just after you left for morning feeding, reeking of tequila and looking like he’d been out drinking all night. He was mumbling something about Melissandra, ‘our poor little girl’, I think he said, ‘pobre niña’.”

“That’s right,” Xavier said.

“And that Rancho de las Pulgas should be hers, but it was ‘too bad she was born out of wedlock’. Then he passed out on the floor. When he finally stirred just now, I asked him to repeat what he’d said, and to explain himself. He tried to bolt, so I’m encouraging him to stay and talk awhile.” She gave Xavier the hint of a grin.

 

Xavier’s brows shot up as he flicked his head sideways, his frown now fully on his brother. “Illegitimate, eh, hermano? ¿Come se dice? What did you say? Out with it.”

With a desperate sideways glance, Sancho ducked and spun, swinging a fist at Aleksandra as he pulled away. Xavier’s punch caught him first, and Sancho’s head snapped back and he dropped to the floor.

Aleksandra ducked down beside him to check his pulse, then stood up, shaking her head, as she sheathed her shashka.

“Are you even carrying your sword around the house?” Xavier asked, his dark brows lowering.

“It’s only been two weeks since your daughter and I were kidnapped, from this house,” she said, fixing him with a stare. “I’m happier with it by my side.” She shook her head. Xavier must be upset to even think of asking about it.

Xavier shifted his gaze to his brother.

“I thought he’d stopped the drinking episodes,” he said.

“So did I, but he left three days ago, so I guess he had plenty of time to get drunk.”

Xavier’s jaw was tight as he reached for her. He closed his eyes for a moment as he pulled her in close, and slid his fingers along her arms.

“Mmmmm. You’ve been baking. You’re covered in flour.” He looked down at her with a hint of a smile, then a frown. “And you’ve gotten dough in your hair,” he said, picking up her long blonde braid from where it hung down nearly to her knees.

Aleksandra shook her head. “It happens,” she said, and glanced toward the kitchen table. “Adelita’s already begun making the tortillas without me, while we’ve been playing here.”

“I’m worried about Sancho. Mama is too,” he murmured.

“Xavier, do you know anything about what he said?”

“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” he said, and turned toward their Indian sirvienta, who stared at them all, her mouth agape. He nodded to her.

Buenos tardes, Adelita,” he said, as he reached for the water jug. He poured himself a cup and took a long drink. “We were married in Virginia City,” he told the woman. “Sancho is drunk.”

 

“But what if it were true?” Aleksandra looked sideways at him. “My mama and papa would turn over in their Catholic graves if it were.”

Xavier stilled. The black fringe of his forelock half-hid his brown eyes, flecked with gold, as he shifted his gaze to his brother.

“Sancho,” he said, loudly.

Nothing.

“It’s an issue easily resolved for us, really,” Xavier said, as he knelt beside Sancho and shook him, “but it could be a little tricky in that Melissandra should by rights be first in line to inherit Rancho de las Pulgas. Mi hermano knows it well.

“Sancho,” he barked, but his younger brother never flinched. He shook his head.

“What if he knows something we don’t?” Aleksandra said, shivering as a chill settled in her gut. Sancho could be telling the truth. “The Methodist pastor in Virginia City thought he could perform the ceremony in the absence of a priest, but what if…”

Señor Argüello,” Adelita bit her lip, and looked at them, her brow furrowed, “a letter came for you and la señorita,” she nodded at Aleksandra, “from Virginia City, but I don’t know who it was from. I put it on the desk of el señorito.”

“Sancho’s desk? When was that, Adelita?”

,” she nodded. “It was many months ago, just before you returned from picking up the colts from Utah and Molly and Sebastian from Virginia City. Before the bebé was born.”

“I think it’s time to look around the office,” Xavier said. “Let us know if he moves, por favor, Adelita?”

They left her patting out tortillas, between nervous glances at Sancho, and headed for the rancho office.

Sí, sí, por supuesto,” she called after them.

They searched the desk and shelves for an hour, but found only piles of long-overdue bills and a stack of notes with odd, illegible scribbles. The only figures decipherable on them were the rather large dollar amounts scrawled upon their face.

“More bills, no doubt,” Xavier said, with a shake of his head. “Guess I’ll have to take over the books, too.”

“We should’ve looked before, but…Sancho has been a bit displaced, with your return.” Aleksandra winced.

“I wanted to leave him a little pride,” Xavier lifted a brow, “but we need to keep the rancho solvent.” He looked at the heap of chits, his lips in a hard line. “Difficult enough, without having creditors breathing down our necks. I wondered why all the storekeepers were giving me sour looks.”

“We’ve found nothing here. Perhaps he’s ready to wake up now,” Aleksandra said.

This time, when Xavier shook his shoulder, Sancho struggled to a sitting position.

“Wha—? Oh, Xavier,” he said, his brows narrowing at his brother for a moment, then he shrugged and rubbed his eyes.

Buenos días, hermano.” Xavier sat on a stool beside him and regarded him over his coffee. “Hard night?”

“Must’ve been. I feel like—”

“—don’t say it,” Aleksandra cut in. “My Spanish is improving.”

He turned to face her, an odd look upon his face.

 

“I was wondering,” she went on, “what you meant when you said Melissandra was born out of wedlock, earlier?”

Sancho’s mouth dropped slowly open and his eyes widened, then he glanced toward the doorway. He lunged toward it, but Xavier had him in a head lock before he took three steps.

“Tell us about it, hermano,” Xavier said, his voice cold steel.

“Ah, ah…I was going to give you the letter, but I…lost it.”

“You can do better than that,” Xavier growled low.

“Maybe, if you let me go, I can…”

Xavier’s jaw locked, along with the grip on his brother’s throat.

“Where are we looking?” Xavier enunciated each word.

“The office,” he whispered, eyes closed.

Xavier hustled him along before him, his arm still locked around his neck.

“You can let go, now,” Sancho whined.

“If you like,” Xavier said, and shoved him through the open office doorway.

After Aleksandra entered, the door slammed shut behind her, and a key scraped in the lock. Xavier pocketed it.

“Now, tell us about it,” he said.

“Well, it should be here.” Sancho riffled through piles on the desk, then glanced at the drawers down the side.

“Granted, we don’t know exactly what we’re looking for,” Xavier said, “but we’ve already looked.”

Sancho stopped, mid-shuffle, and turned, a tight smile on his face.

“Then, I don’t know what you’re talking about. She’s lying.” He looked at Aleksandra in triumph.

Xavier narrowed his eyes at them both for a moment.

She raised her brows in return.

“Absolutely not,” she said, and drew her shashka from its place at her hip. She walked with measured tread toward Sancho. Morning sunlight glinted off the polished metal of the short Cossack sword.

Her brother-in-law paled and took a step back, before he whipped around toward the window. He stopped short just before he got there, with a whimper.

 

If you’d like to read more, it’s out TODAY

on Amazon here

for only $2.99 USD

Available in paperback soon.

Thanks for coming by!

Hope to hear back from you soon!

xx

Lizzi

Lizzi grew up riding wild in the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods, became an equine vet and emigrated to New Zealand. With her first novel, Lizzi placed or won RWNZ contests in 2013, 2014 and 2015. She can’t wait to get into her first contemporary vet-girl novella—to be published for Christmas with Authors of Main Street!

 

 

 

Casket or Coffin? The rivulets down which writers may find themselves…and does it really matter?

Not to be getting morbid on you this early in the piece, but really, it’s important. Getting the detail right makes a difference to the discerning reader. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, a writer may have to leave the main stream and travel down smaller and smaller rivulets until the detail becomes clear—and correct, to the best of their understanding.

I’ve known this for quite some time, but was reminded the other day, when writing a scene for one of my 1863 historical fictions. In the interest of avoiding word repetition—by using varied words to say the same thing, I used the word coffin in one line, and casket in the next…and then, as I often do, began to wonder whether substituting one for the other was appropriate…for now, and as well as 1863. As my best friend, a techie, tells me whenever I ask him a question, “Google is your friend.”

So I went online…once again.

As any writer of historical works will tell you, do your research before you begin. I do, I do…but ‘when in the course of human events, it become necessary’ to figure out the plausibility of, for example, substituting ‘casket’ for ‘coffin’, one must hit the proverbial books again.

In this case, it turned out that mere word substitution was definitely not OK.

The name selected for the burial container of your historical heroine’s uncle implies vastly different things, with respect to the period in which he lived, his cultural affiliations, and his social status as well. The number of sides? Coffins have six or eight, while caskets, in North America, at least, have four, and are designed to look like a bed—apparently, to ease the mourning process—sheltering those left behind by making the deceased seem less dead than they are. (Really? No amount of makeup could have made my grandfather look alive, to my eight-year-old eyes.) Are they shaped like the deceased, as in the anthropoid shape of a coffin, wide at the shoulders and narrow toward the feet, or rectangular like a casket? How many layers?  And the composition of those layers? While common in England a few centuries ago, a tri-layered coffin, with the middle one of lead, would have been difficult to manufacture for burial of one’s loved husband while crossing the Sierras in a covered wagon. There certainly wasn’t the space to carry a spare.

So you see why it takes a writer so long to finish even a simple paragraph?

Likewise, some readers are pretty particular about their hobby. Take, for instance, horsey people. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been riding since I was seven, and luckily, made a career out of my love for horses. I’m not a snob in general, but when I pick up a book that has a horse in it, and its characters do something a horse person would consider just plain stupid, I tend to drop the book. Say, if a character does something like whip their reins around a hitching rail (your horse will rip their mouth to shreds if they panic and pull back), wrap the reins or lead rope around their hand (good way to lose fingers), or drive a pair or team from the wrong side of a carriage (the reins are buckled together at different lengths, specifically for the side on which the driver traditionally sits). I don’t want to read any more.

Some may call it snobbery, but it’s really more that the author has just lost credibility in the reader’s eyes. If they couldn’t bother to research enough to get that simple detail right, what else could be a lie in the story?  Research, research, research, and then run it by a person in that hobby. An author won’t always get it right, but they earn points with me for doing their best.

Detail, detail, and more detail.

During The Great Flood of Sacramento, having your fictional steamboat pilot tying his boat up to the dock would have local history buffs jumping up and down in hysterics, because the pier was beneath three stories of water.

The piles for said docks were just not that long. There was an awful lot of water filling up Sacramento, not to mention the whole Central Valley of California.

In fact, there was so much water that Leland Stanford had to go to his inauguration in downtown Sacramento in a rowboat. I can suppose his wife would not have been amused. Imagine the difficulty that would have posed for management of her crinoline, and keeping her ankles covered.

HOWEVER, and this is a big one…one can research and research…and then put it all into the story.

No, you say? Whatever can you mean? I’ve discovered all this information, and I want to tell the world, now that I’m an ‘expert’ on the topic!

It won’t fly. It just won’t.

If a reader wanted a history book, they would seek out a history book.

If one is writing historical fiction, the historical detail must be used with delicacy. Subtlety. It is far too easy to launch into historical exposition, and bury the story in pet research.

I know. I did it. And I must constantly prevent myself from doing it again.

Other authors ask why I released a 3rd edition of A Long Trail Rolling.

“Move forward,” they said. “It’s your first novel, get on with the next book!”.

I couldn’t.

This may have been my first book, but it was also the launching pad for my first series. The suboptimal reviews I’ve received (from the first edition) have complained of historical exposition, or history book-type rants about what I loved from my research. As Stephen King says, “Kill your darlings”. To those of you who offered these comments, thank you—it’s helped my writing evolve.

Writing historicals can be an exercise in trying to get out of the research and into putting words down on the page—for me, anyway—but maybe I’m just easily distracted. It’s also my excuse to keep delving deeper into the period in which I’m engaged. I love it, but it’s a bit of an addiction, this research. I can’t seem to get enough, and it will probably remain a compulsion, best kept under control.

Maybe we can start a new club. RA—Researchers Anonymous.

Maybe I’ll write a contemporary. A short one. I might finish it a lot faster…

Oh yeah, I’m doing that…soon…for Authors of Main Street’s next Christmas Boxed Set!

Here’s a teaser for that story…horsey girl in veterinary school…what she gets up to—and beyond.

 

   

I’m getting set to release Book Three in The Long Trails series of historical romantic thrillers, called A Sea of Green Unfolding, in digital and paperback.

During the run-up to release day, I’ll be offering digital copies of Book One of the series, A Long Trail Rolling, for only 99c, and preorders for A Sea of Green Unfolding at a discounted rate until release day!  Come on by my author site to sign up for my newsletter to stay informed!

Thanks so much for reading, I’ll see you again soon!

xx

Lizzi

Lizzi Tremayne

A New Member on Main Street: Lizzi Tremayne

Hello!

I’m Lizzi Tremayne, an award-winning author of historical romantic thriller/suspense, veterinary non-fiction and soon, veterinary small town contemporary fiction! I have two novels out now, and two more in the works!

I’m ecstatic to have been asked to join Authors on Main Street, because I feel so at home with the people here, not only the author members, but also those of you who comment on the blogs.

I grew up in the little town of La Honda, in the redwoods of California, but my small town is now Waihi, New Zealand, where I live on my six acre riverside farmlet with my horse, cows, dogs, cats and chickens. This pic was taken on a little island in the middle of the river, only 40 metres from my house!aut-island-paradise-3mb

I’m excited to be writing my first contemporary fiction for our 2017 Christmas Boxed Set—hint..I’m an equine (horse) veterinarian, so it might have something to do with that!

The excerpt below is from THE HILLS OF GOLD UNCHANGING, book 2 of The Long Trails series, released only two weeks ago!  My books are available in digital, paperback (in both standard and large print), and book 1, A LONG TRAIL ROLLING, is also available in three forms of hardcover!

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About The Hills of Gold Unchanging:

No one will stand in their way—

                                                and live.

 

As the Civil War rages, secessionists menace California.

Trying to get back home, Aleksandra and Xavier journey through the mining camps of 1860’s Nevada and California, the Sacramento floods and Old San Francisco to Xavier’s Californio Rancho de las Pulgas.

Embroiled in the Confederate’s fight to drag the new state from the Union and make it their own, can Aleks and Xavier survive? The secessionists mean business.

This is Book Two of The Long Trails Series of historical romantic thriller sagas, following Lizzi’s characters from the wilderness of 1860’s Utah to Colonial New Zealand

Setup for the excerpt:

This is the beginning of the book…

The Excerpt:

June 1860, Echo Canyon, Wasatch Mountains, Utah Territory

His blade glinted in the sunlight as he lunged toward her, but she ducked and spun, her own sword flashing in figure eights while she retreated, and his strike met with only air. He recovered and set himself up for the onslaught he knew would come, coughing as the dust kicked up by their boots thickened.

Blade up, he parried the blows she rained down upon him. He managed to get in one of his own, and retreated for a moment, breathing hard. She stepped back as well, her breasts heaving beneath the thin linen. Blue eyes glittered below brows narrowed with concentration, before her sword returned to action with a vengeance. They circled, dodging and striking in turn. Her skill was far greater, but the girl’s injuries from her last fight, combined with his greater reach and fitness were beginning to tell. A movement tugged at the edge of his vision—he glanced up from her sword to see her hat tumble off. Her hair cascaded down in a tangle to her thighs, and his heart surged.

She’s mine now.

He offered the ghost of a smile as he moved in to disarm her with a passing lunge and struck at her sword arm.

The air left his lungs and he tasted dirt in his mouth as he hit the unforgiving ground face-first. He groaned and rolled over, expecting the worst.

Above him, her laughing visage met his eyes. Her glorious curls, molten gold, fell around his face like a veil as she bent to wipe his face and kiss his lips. She slid the hilt of his sword from his hand.

“All right, halte, hold, you two,” their instructor said, in his heavy Russian accent. “There’s still work to be done, Xavier, but you’ve done well.”

Xavier Argüello took the hand his opponent offered, hopped to his feet and dusted off his clothes.

“Well done, Querido,” said his intended, Aleksandra Lekarski, as she returned his sword.

“Xavier, come here, please,” Vladimir Chabardine said, from the doorway of the cabin, where he was propped up in his sickbed. “You have worked hard. I am impressed, and it is rare that I am compelled to say that. That shashka now belongs to you. Use it in good health.”

Xavier stared at him, then at the Don Cossack saber in his hand, its leather grip smooth with years of use. He was silent for long moments.

“But it’s yours, Vladimir,” he finally said.

“It was one of mine, yes. Now it is yours. Tatiana brought my other two shashkas with her from Russia. One is for Nikolai, when he is ready, and this one is for you. It’s the least I can do, after my part in,” he looked at Aleksandra and grimaced, “your papa’s death.”

She nodded, her face grim, in acknowledgement.

“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart,” Xavier said, shaking his head at the Russian, as he ran a finger from the tooled embellishment on the pommel through to the rawhide bouton and strip they used for their practice sessions. He slid the protectors off and his new shashka whispered into its scabbard. He turned to face Aleksandra, and bowed to her. “Thank you,” he said, then turned to Vladimir, “and again, to you.”

She returned the bow and smiled at them both.

“You’re not quite done,” Vladimir said. “Xavier, replace the guard.”

“What would you like?” Aleksandra asked.

“One more bout. En garde,” he said, and they prepared.

Prêt.” They nodded.

Allez,” Vladimir snapped, and they began.

Aleksandra feinted, then moved to strike, but Xavier saw a hole in her defense and lunged. She twirled way, with a laugh, then drew back, looking frightened, her body twisted strangely to the right.

Was she injured?

His gaze lifted to her face, but no pain resided there, though her brow was furrowed. What a chance! Her whole left side was unguarded, and he went for the opening.

Before he could alter his course, she unwound and her shashka flashed toward him. For the second time in his life, he froze as he found her blade across his throat.

¿Recuerdas? Remember this?” she said, her eyes merry.

“How could I forget, Querida,” he spoke for her ears alone, “our first meeting?”

Hands clapped behind them and they spun as one, hands on their sword hilts.

“No need fer that, no need fer that,” said a man, mounted on a chestnut horse. Beside the horse walked a black man, tied by the wrists to the rope in the rider’s hands.

“What do you wan—” Xavier began, then clamped his jaw, as his breath came short. Blood pounded in his ears and his face heated. “What can I help you with,” he finally managed, past gritted teeth, as he walked away from the house door, toward their callers.

“Well, hello theah,” the rider said, his Southern accent heavy. “Good fightin’, and fer a girl, too.” He looked sideways at Aleksandra.

“Aleks,” Xavier hissed, as he felt, rather than saw, her bristle beside him. He glanced at her knuckles showing white on the pommel of her saber. He reached out and covered her sword hand with his own and she took a deep breath and stilled.

“We’re yer new neighbors down th’road. Y’all wanna buy a slave? We’ve jus’ done come West ‘n now we’ve done finished buildin’ the house, he’s,” he nodded at the man at the end of his tether, “jus’ ‘noth’r mouth t’feed. Ca’int use ‘im to grow nuthin’ in this rock y’call dirt around heah.” He stopped and looked at the yard and cabin. “Nice place y’all got here.”

Xavier nodded, silent.

The man’s brows narrowed, then he continued. “Well, ah wondered if y’all had a breedin—ah, a woman slave I could trade fer him. The missus wants help in t’house, an’ I could use a little…too.” The glint in his beady eyes turned his grin into a leer.

Xavier closed his eyes and clenched his fists. “This territory may allow slavery, but nobody holds with it around here.”

The Southerner was silent for a moment, then answered with a voice dripping with sarcasm. “Now that’s mahty neighborly of ya. Are y’all some o’them ab’litionists we come West to git away from?”

“As you wish.” Xavier raised a brow at him, then shifted his gaze to the man on foot, staring at the dirt. “I apologize to you, sir, but you’ll have to go home with him again. May you find yourself a better life soon.”

The corners of the slave’s mouth lifted briefly. His eyes flickered up to Xavier’s, brightened, then dulled again as he dropped them to the ground.

“C’mon Jordan,” the rider growled, “we’re not welc’m here, by all accounts.” He jerked his horse around and they retreated the way they’d come.

Xavier stood silent, watching them go, then began to shake. He closed his eyes, willing himself to control the anger, and the deepening darkness. He inhaled sharply. When he opened his eyes, Aleksandra was staring at him.

“Are you all right?” she said, her brow furrowed.

“Yes.” Xavier nodded.

“More Southerners,” Aleksandra scowled as she wiped sweat from her brow with the back of her sleeve, “running from home before the government takes their slaves away?”

“That’ll never happen,” Xavier said, from between clenched jaws. “Too strong, too wealthy—cotton—slaves. Poor beggars down South.” He peered around. “Even here. I can’t believe it.”

“Believe it,” she said. “They’re coming.”

He shook his head. “I just wish we could stop it—the abuse, the owning.”

Aleksandra wrapped her arms around him, held him close until the tremors quieted. She leaned back in his arms and studied his face, then seemed satisfied with what she saw.

“Having you here makes it bearable, I think,” he said, and kissed her.

“I’m so used to you being the strong one…sometimes I forget the demons that still eat at you,” she said.

The Hills of Gold Unchanging

Awards for the series:

With A Long Trail Rolling:

Finalist 2013 RWNZ Great Beginnings

Winner 2014 RWNZ Pacific Hearts Award

Winner 2015 RWNZ Koru Award for Best First Novel

Third place 2015 RWNZ Koru Long Novel section

Finalist 2015 Best Indie Book Award

Hope you love the story! See you soon!

xx

Lizzi

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