The Story Behind the Story

Everyone wants to know the story behind the stories that we write. To be honest, probably only half of my stories have any real inspiration. Most of the time I stare at a blank screen until something congeals.

Characters sometimes have a little more to them, but not exactly. That’s because I use this person’s looks and that person’s personality. So by the time I’m done, it’s a jumbled mess.

People who knew my husband swear I write him into every hero. I don’t see how that is possible. But maybe I like certain types of males. I like a man who is intelligent. One who will hold a real conversation on things from metaphysics to how buttercups got their name or why political systems get corrupted. I also like a man who knows the difference between a screwdriver and a hammer and when to use each one. A man who can watch something and then do it. But I also like a man who can be tough as nails and totally gentle, sweet, kind, and loving. If he knows how to cook, clean, and do laundry, that’s even better. So maybe I do write my heroes to be somewhat like the man I married.

Heroines are a little different. I like strong but not overbearing. I think most women possess an inner strength. Even the shyest and timid women often have a very strong interior, probably because women are wired to protect and nurture their young.

Women come in all sizes, shapes and colors, and with their own idea of fashion…then and now. There are so many things to pull together when writing about women. So creating characters is fun.

Anyone is apt to become a character in my stories. I’ll see somebody and their hairstyle or hair color will catch my attention. Young or old, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if I see someone in person, on a screen, or on paper. And beauty…they don’t have to be beautiful. Very few people are beautiful, but most people are attractive. Most people have something about them that makes them attractive. Maybe it’s those little things that makes a person do a double take – that something that makes him or her stand out from everyone else.

I was watching and not watching a TV show at my daughter’s house. She always has the TV on. Anyway it was live cop show and the cop wasn’t what I would have called good looking. But he had the most beautiful blue eyes, mesmerizing blue eyes. But after watching this man for a few minutes, my brain has that big hunky guy firmly implanted in it and he’ll probably wind up as a hero in one of my stories. Lots of women love those big guys. Or at least, his eyes will make it into a story.

Think of some of the people you know or know of that don’t fit the norm for beauty. Barbra Streisand instantly comes to my mind. I’m certain James Brolin might differ on my opinion of her, but Barbra isn’t pretty. What is she? Extremely attractive! She’s taken her looks and learned how to make herself stand out. She’s got an incredible voice and a little chutzpah. Her very unusual looks and amazing talent made her famous. I think that’s a great thing.

There are very few ugly people in this world. Birth defects, disease, injuries, etc. often change the way people look. Yet, some of those who lack any sort of beauty seem to make up for it in personality. My mom’s best friend from the time they were little children was homely. Yet she was the most wonderful person that I knew. She was a very talented artist, and she was kindest, nicest person. When I was with her, I never once thought about the way she looked. When we accept people, appearance no longer matters.

The Internet has been a great equalizer. We’ve gotten to know people without ever meeting them or even seeing what they look like, except that is changing with selfies and posting pics. Today certain things are handled with surgery. One friend was born with six fingers on each hand. The extra fingers were immediately removed. Another friend was extremely cross-eyed. He recently underwent surgery to correct the problem. It’s made a huge difference in his appearance.

Thank goodness we can correct so many things today. But it wasn’t always that way. When I wrote A Husband for Matilda, I wrote a mail order bride, Mrs. Ketchem, into it. Most mail-order brides were women who had a difficult time finding a husband close to home.

They had a house full of children, mostly girls, and it was obvious that Mrs. Ketchem was producing more yarn than she could use. But what really impressed him was the house. He’d never seen a log cabin quite like this one.

“Did you build the house?” Zeke asked between mouthfuls.

“Ay, I did. I bought my own saw and cut the lumber.” Mr. Ketchem motioned to his wife. “We managed to do it together, but putting the roof on required help which I didn’t have. I built it on the ground and used ropes and a couple of oxen to get it up there.” He grabbed a child’s slate and drew a picture of the situation. “You planning on building one?”

“If I obtain the land I want, I might not have enough leftover for a house, but I’ll need one.”

“I’m from the Adirondack Mountains, and this area called to my heart. Bet you never heard of the Adirondack Mountains.”

“I know where they are. Tucked in the northern portion of the state of New York. Not far from Canada.” Zeke laughed. “I happened to like geography.”

“So did I. I was topographer with the railroad as they began to survey and make decisions as to where to put the tracks. I thought drawing maps would be exciting. I wanted to do something special with my life. Instead, I discovered I was bored.”

The man took another bite of food, chewed, and swallowed. “I came from a farm. We had apple and chestnut orchards to go along with our farm. We worked hard.”

“I know about that. I came from a farm outside of Philadelphia. My father would go into Philadelphia several times a week to sell produce.”

“I went all the way to California and as I came back, I knew this was where I wanted to be.”

“Were you already married?”

Mr. Ketchem shook his head and Mrs. Ketchem answered. “He wrote his mother and asked for a bride. I was twenty-two at the time and still not married.” She held up her hands. “Six fingers on each hand. No one wanted me. But my grandmother insisted that I write to Henry.

He said he didn’t care that I had extra fingers. He was more worried about my being able to move out here and if I could cook. He promised that he was a good man and would treat me well.”

Mr. Ketchem chuckled. “I don’t mind those extra fingers. She’s a hard working woman, and I couldn’t ask for a better or prettier wife.”

Zeke looked at the dark-haired woman with crystal blue eyes and porcelain white skin and smiled. He wouldn’t have called her pretty. He finished his meal and thanked both Ketchums several times before leaving for Homestead Canyon.

Love in the Colorado Territory

Cynthia Woolf lives in a small Colorado town with her wonderfully supportive husband Jim . She is an award-winning and best-selling author of twenty-five historical western romance books and two short stories with more books on the way.

Cynthia loves writing and reading romance. Her first western romance Tame A Wild Heart, was inspired by the story her mother told her of meeting Cynthia’s father on a ranch in Creede, Colorado. Although Tame A Wild Heart takes place in Creede that is the only similarity between the stories. Her father was a cowboy not a bounty hunter and her mother was a nursemaid (called a nanny now) not the ranch owner.

Colorado Bride

Matchmaker & Co.  Book 4

Emily Loring survived the last few years as a governess to a rich family’s children. But when the lord of the house can’t keep his hands to himself, she’s left with no option but to risk everything as a mail-order bride. Raised in a New York orphanage, she’s always dreamed of a husband and children of her own, but even that small dream always felt out of reach. The city is all she’s ever known, but the promise of a family, a place to call home, drives her to risk everything and head for the wilds of the Colorado Territory, and the arms of a stranger.

Ben Logan fell in love once, to a city girl who left him at the alter to run off with another man. A mail-order bride appears to be the answer to his need for a wife to warm his bed, as long as she loves the country life as he does. He doesn’t need much, but he won’t risk his heart again. When Emily arrives, her curves tempt him nearly as much as her smile. But his ex-fiancee is back, and determined to have Ben for herself, even if it means murder…

colorado_bride

While Ben unloaded the grain from the wagon, Emily walked over to one of the stalls. Inside were a beautiful golden horse and a pure white baby one.

“They’re so beautiful. The mama with her yellow coat and white hair on her neck is striking. Will the baby stay white or change color?”

“The mare is a palomino and, yes, more than likely, the colt will gain the same coloring as he gets older. But he could possibly stay white, which is what I’m hoping for.”

She turned to face him where he stood at the end of the wagon.

“Will you teach me how to ride? I don’t know anything about horses, but I believe that I should learn in case I need to go somewhere.”

He shrugged. “Sure I’ll teach you. I’m surprised you don’t know anything about ranching. I was pretty specific about it as one of my requirements.”

“You said you wanted someone with farming or ranching experience, I know how to milk cows and gather eggs which qualifies, and I’m willing to learn whatever else I need to. I’m a fast learner.”

The mare came up to the stall gate where Emily stood. She turned and reached over to pet the horse. Her nose and mouth felt like velvet.

“Oh, she’s so soft. I never imagined…”

Ben came up behind her.

“Her name is Champagne, because of her coloring. She doesn’t belong to anyone yet. Would you like her?”

“Oh, yes. Can she really be my horse?”

He must at least like me or he wouldn’t gift me with my own horse, and such a beautiful one to boot.

“Yes.”

She turned and Ben was standing right there. Emily reached up, snaked her hand behind his neck and brought his head down to hers. Remembering the kiss he’d given her at their wedding, she mimicked that kiss. She meshed her lips with his and opened just enough to put her tongue out and touch his lips. She felt him smile and open for her exploration.

He let her take what she needed, let her control the kiss and she was pleased. When she finally pulled back she was breathless and her body hummed with awareness of him.

He held her with his arms wrapped loosely around her waist.

“Well, that was some kiss, wife.”

“Just following your lead…husband.”

She liked the sound of that. Husband. She’d begun to believe that she’d never marry and certainly never to anyone like Ben. His arms were strong with muscle, she felt them through his shirt. His stomach was flat and hard. She felt that, too. And she could tell his manhood was primed for her as well and knew she blushed.

“Now, look at what you’ve done to me. I can’t go to the house like this. You better stop kissing me.”

She smiled and shook her head. “Nope. You can ask a lot of things of me, but that isn’t one of them. I’ll always kiss you. Even when we fight, I’ll kiss you because no fight is worth my marriage. And kissing reminds us that we are married.”

“All right, I agree. Besides, I like kissing you.”

She raised an eyebrow and cocked her head. “You should. I only know what you taught me.”

He tightened his hold on her. “And that pleases me.”

“Why? You’ve kissed other girls and that doesn’t bother me. Why should it bother you if I’d kissed another man?”

“Because I want to know that I’m the only man in your life, at least until we have sons.”

The thought of having babies and how babies are begot made her blush. At this rate she’d be colored pink all the time.

A Note from E. Ayers:

Cynthia Woolf is not just a fellow western author, she’s also a super dear friend. It’s easy to see why her stories have won so many awards and why her books are best sellers. Her stories are always sweet with just enough warmth to make them realistic without being too hot. She’s as comfortable in a saddle as she is at the keyboard of her computer. And there’s not much she doesn’t know about ranch life or being madly in love. I got my copy of her brand new book, Colorado Bride, and loaded it to my phone so I can read it anywhere.