Texas-style Romance

Please welcome a wonderful author and friend:

 Caroline Clemmons

Hello, I’m Caroline Clemmons and I write contemporary and historical romance, many of which include a little mystery and mayhem. Although I live in Hurst, a busy suburb of Fort Worth, Texas, I love small towns as a setting for romance.

The fictional town of Tarnation is set about sixty miles west of Fort Worth at the foot of the Palo Pinto Mountains. RACHEL is about a woman who was framed for embezzlement and spent from 1870-1873 in prison. Now she’s moved west to Tarnation, Texas to rebuild her life and is working as bookkeeper for Zane Evans, who owns a freight business.

Here’s the excerpt from RACHEL, Bride Brigade book 5:

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Her beautiful, coffee-colored eyes appeared sad. “You’re going to miss the dance.”

He longed to crush her against his chest and comfort her. “Hate that, but I’ll make it up to you.”

She colored and lowered her gaze. “N-No need, I simply meant I’m sorry you’ll miss the fun. Everyone in town is invited.”

“In the meantime, I have a surprise today.”

The door opened and Mr. Gallagher entered carrying a violin.

“Have a seat in my office, Colin, and make yourself comfortable.”

“I only have an hour today. Doctor’s waiting for me to work on his house.” The carpenter walked into the back office.

Rachel stared at him, obviously puzzled.

From the next room came the sound of a violin being tuned.

“My dear, since I have to miss the dance, I asked Colin here to play for us so I can have the privilege of dancing with you.”

Her eyes widened and he could swear there were diamonds there. “That’s incredibly thoughtful, Zane.”

The music broke into a schottische. Zane grabbed her and they twirled around the office as if there were more dancers.

She laughed and her eyes sparkled with humor. “I see you’re taking care not to bump into other couples.”

“I’m a good dancer, don’t you agree?”

“Excellent, the best on the dance floor.”

They danced a quadrille next. “I’m glad everyone makes way for us.”

He smiled at her. “It’s the gruff stares I give them if they come too close.”

The next half hour, Colin played from one dance straight into another before he called, “Next one is the last one. I’ll make it a waltz.”

Zane pulled her into his arms, perhaps a little too closely, but he didn’t care. There was no one else to see. They sailed around the room as if they were one.

Rachel gazed up at him. “I love the waltz.”

“As do I,” he whispered against her ear. “Especially when I’m holding you.” He nuzzled against her hair.

She melted against him as he’d dreamed since he’d met her. The sensation was even better than he’d imagined. He wanted this time to go on and on forever.

Unfortunately, the music ceased. Colin appeared, carrying his violin. “Sorry, but I have to get back to the doc’s house. Promised him I’d only be gone an hour.”

 

RACHEL, Bride Brigade book 5, is available at Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Bride-Brigade-Book-5-ebook/dp/B01LZP40HG

Please Welcome

This year the authors on Main Street decided to invite Nan O’Berry to join our Christmas boxed set. If you are a western reader, you probably know about her. Nan is local to me and has been a published author for years. She writes both obe-ad-smhistorical and contemporary romances, mostly in the western genre. Her “backyard” is filled with chickens, cattle, and horses. She’s probably more at home on a horse than anyplace else. Between working and caring for her family, she manages to squeeze in writing romances. Her latest release Road to Redemption remained on Kindle Worlds’ #1 and #2 slot for historical for two months after release and she’s still in the top 10!

Yeah, I’m the one who kept trading places with her and that was so much fun! She mentored me when I first started writing in the romance genre, so it was student and teacher trading places, sometimes as often as four times during a day.

Everyone on Main Street is excited to have her join us this year because Nan is the epitome of a Main Street author. She’s that small town gal who writes with the values that she has lived and raised her children to cherish.

I’ve already read her story, Candi Cain Kisses, and I can promise that you will love it! (Just don’t read the ending in public if you don’t want people to see you cry!)  Please welcome Nan O’Berry.

The holidays are just around the corner.

There’s nothing better than writing a story set about the norman-rockwellholidays. Holidays bring people home. We recall the Norman Rockwell painting depicting Thanksgiving dinner. The warmth and desire to belong transcends paint and canvas to nurture the deep need among us to go home again, to feel a part of something, to become again an innocent in a world of uncertainty. That being said, I am thrilled to have been asked by the Authors on Main Street to join their Christmas box set.

Each of our stories features an Inn. In Candi Cain Kisses, ‘my Inn’ is the Candy Cane Inn, an old Victorian on Main Street inebook-candi-cain-4x6-xsm Mistletoe, Texas. This building serves as the small town hotel. One of the parlors on the main floor has been transformed into a tearoom. Here, the citizens of Mistletoe can come at the end of a hard days shopping and enjoy a homemade pastry, a slice of cake¸ or cookie decorated for the season. It is here, where my heroine, Candi Cain meets Jonathan Barlow and his adorable daughter, Felicia.

One of my favorite movies is To Kill a Mockingbird. My hero, Jonathan Barlow is Atticus Finch without his glasses. He’s come to Mistletoe for a ‘do-over’. Losing his wife¸ he feels labeled “the widower”. Coming to Mistletoe, will allow him a fresh start with his precious daughter Felicia. No longer will he be, Tiffany Barlow’s husband.

northern-girlHis daughter, Felicia is a heart stopper. Picture her as the little dark-haired sweetheart from the Northern Bath Tissue. She is drawn to Candi and Candi’s intuition senses the lost waif and understands her issues. Candi’s own mother returned to Mistletoe and her family after Candi’s father’s death.

Of course, love blossoms. However as we know, true love never takes the easy path. I hope you all will take a peek at Candi Cane Kisses and enjoy the journey toward true love for Candi and Jonathan.

Nan O’Berry

Cowboys and Indians

The Rifleman, Wagon Train, The Lone Ranger, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Rawhide, The Virginian. I grew up on those TV shows. I had a knife, fork, and spoon set with Hopalong Cassidy on the handles. It was something leftover from my brothers.

I had a shiny metal gun with a wooden looking handle that fit into a fancy tooled leather holster, and I fed a roll of cap paper into it so it would make a sharp bang when I pulled the trigger. And I had the felt cowboy hat and matching leather vest.

At the bottom of my toy box I had a leather band that wrapped my head and contained dyed feathers in the most outrageous colors. It came with a tomahawk. The wooden handle contained more of those colorful feathers and the blade end was made of rubber. I wasn’t allowed to throw it, probably because of the handle. I also had a rubber knife and I wasn’t allowed to throw that either.

The other thing I wasn’t allowed to do was scream while I was playing. It scared my mother and she feared for my life. That roll of paper caps had to last, so most of the time I didn’t use them. We merely shouted bang-bang. And the Indian always had to fall. No one ever wanted to be the Indian. The Indians were always the bad guys and they always got shot. The cowboys were the victors.

I was six years old when I saw my very first Native American. He was Navajo, and he wore jeans and a regular shirt. My mother wanted to kill me for I looked right at him and asked if he were a real Indian. He frowned and my mother apologized to the man. I had no clue why she was upset with me. This man, who probably wasn’t much more than twenty years old, mesmerized me. At that young age, I knew he was handsome and so completely different from the blond men in my family. Yet he wasn’t wearing buckskins or feathers. He didn’t look like the Indians on TV – he looked like a regular man only darker with beautiful dark hair and a lock that fell across his forehead. I can still see him clearly in my mind.

That encounter made me very aware that what was portrayed on TV wasn’t very realistic. At the tender age of six, I learned an important lesson about stereotyping. And I began to look for books that contained real stories of Indians. Unfortunately there wasn’t much available and soon my fascination waned. It lay dormant for years.

When I started seriously writing, my first stories, which have never been released, are about a young girl whose father and aunt are Native Americans. That tale sent me scouring the web for information. It also opened my eyes to things I never knew about our Native Americans.

How could I write about the west and not include our Native Americans? There are plenty who still live on the reservations, andA Snowy Christmas in Wyoming many more who live down the street, work for local companies, send their children to the neighborhood school, take the family skiing over the winter holiday, and have never attended a powwow in their life. When I wrote A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming, I made the hero tall, dark, handsome, and a Crow. Why a Crow? The reservation is nearby.

The back-story in that book goes all the way back to the Coleman family who settled in Wyoming in the late 1840’s. But when readers began to ask for the diary, I had to seriously start researching the history of Wyoming and the Crow tribe. I’m hoping to have that book out before the end of this year.

Debra Holland knew I was working on the Diary of Clare Coleman when she asked me to be part of her Sweetwater Springs Christmas anthology. I was allowed to use my own characters, but since Debra’s story is set in 1895, I had to use the grandson (Frank) of Clare and Jessie Coleman. That prompted a new round of research into the history and clothing of the time period.

Writing for the anthology set off another story. A Rancher’s Woman should be available by the 18th of this month. It’s about a young woman and her growth from victim to independence, and a 3c30192rCrow Indian who wanted to do more for his people by establishing a ranch on the reservation. It’s the story of his hardships and prejudices that he faced along the way, and the feeling of living between a white man’s world and his heritage as a proud Crow. It was a time when the only good Indian was a dead Indian and it was illegal to marry anyone of color. Yet, in spite of the problems, their love continued to grow.

You know me, I can’t write a fluffy romance. I’m glad I picked the Crow tribe when I started writing because the more I learn about the tribe; the more I respect and love them for their amazing lib of congress Crowheritage. This isn’t a whitewashed Victorian story. Instead, it’s a glimpse of real western life in the late 1890’s. A man caught between two worlds who had fallen in love and the woman who loved him. I promise, love has nothing to do with the color of our skin or our social status. I dare you not to fall in love with this wonderful, intelligent, proud, and brazen Native American.

Reviews: The Good, the Bad, the Really Ugly, and Prevention.

Reviews are very powerful things that readers have at their disposal, but most don’t know how to review a book. So I thought I might try to provide some insight on the subject, and with luck make it more reader and author friendly. Webster’s Dictionary defines review as to write a critical examination of.

 To start, a review is not a book report. There is no need to tell the whole story or to give away the ending. If everyone knows the ending, why would they want to read the book? We call them spoilers. Don’t spoil the story for everyone. There’s also no reason to write a complete synopsis of the book.

Four and Five Star Reviews:

If you love the book, don’t be afraid to say it. Was that hero so sexy that you wanted to curl up in his arms and stay there forever? If the answer is yes, then write that in your review. If you couldn’t stop reading until you reached the end and then cried because the book had ended, put that in the review. If you laughed out loud, and everyone on the subway stared at you. Stick it in the review. People want to know those things!

Two and Three Star Reviews:

But what if you read something, and it so-so? Remember your mom telling you that if you couldn’t say something nice, don’t say it? I think the vast majority of readers fall into that category, and they don’t bother reviewing the book. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong to say something if you are so inclined. Seriously, if you bought the book and you just didn’t like the hero because you don’t like macho cops and he was a real alpha, pain-in-the-bum, swaggering, know-it-all detective, yes, you may say it. It’s called freedom of speech, and you are entitled to an opinion. Just remember that there are plenty of readers who love those guys. But before you tear into that book with all your claws because you didn’t like the hero, was the book well written? Did the writing flow smoothly carrying you to the next page or chapter? Be nice about it if you are going to condemn the book and don’t give away the plot!

I’ve actually seen three star reviews that were quite nice. The whole world will not like every book that has ever been written. As authors we accept that fact.

One and Two Star Reviews:

As fiction writers we dread them. Want to know why? They are usually useless and say things sometimes totally unrelated to the story or they could have been written about any story. “This was so bad I couldn’t finish it. It sucked from page one to the very end.” Sorry, but that didn’t tell anyone anything about the book. It’s not constructive criticism and for all we know the reviewer could have been talking about a completely different book.

If the hero forced the school bus off the road and over the cliff during a high-speed chase, and it was never mentioned again, it’s call a plot hole. Yes, they are bad. Stick a few of those in a novel and I’d probably be thinking one star review. But would I write one? Never say never, but I can’t imagine that I ever would.

I read a time-travel book many years ago, and the heroine was backed into a corner with a swordsman ready to remove her head, but suddenly a gate opened up and she fell back into today. (I’m rolling my eyes and groaning.) The whole book was filled with these just-in-the nick-of-time gates. It’s why I don’t read paranormal, etc. Did it make that a bad book? No. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. So why did I read it? Well, I bought it to support the author who I knew.

Did I review it? Yes. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I was honest. I said it was well written and not a genre that I usually read. As a reader I had to buy into the whole fantasy of dropping in and out of time which didn’t feel right to me, but the historic details were very accurate, had been carefully researched, and then woven into the story. If someone liked time travel with lots of action and adventure…Just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean it was a bad book. Just because I didn’t like it, didn’t make it a terrible book!

The other thing that often crops up in a review is reference to comma and spelling errors. Yes, I have a spelling error in one of my books. My heroine wound up with books instead of boots on her feet. It is the only spelling error in that book. In the original copy that sent to be formatted, it is correct. Did something happen during conversion? I’ll never know, but I did recently read a book where the hero stroked her cheek with his thump. Huh? Thumb? Could the b have become a p during the conversion? It’s very possible.

And as for comma errors, they are in every book! Plus there is more than one style for grammar. MLA says one thing, NYT says another, and Chicago Manual has a different take. Add to it, most readers don’t know if they are reading an author from New Zealand or Australia, and they don’t use the same punctuation as we do in America. It seems as if they strip punctuation out of their books. The general and accepted rule of thumb is quite simple. Does the sentence make sense? If the grammar is so poor, no one wants to read it, because it is difficult to read. But most books are carefully edited. Yet, mistakes slip through anyway.

Prevention:

The best thing any reader can do is read the blurb. Then read that sample! The blurb usually will give you the gist of the story. If you don’t like those swaggering macho cops, then why did you buy the book? If the book is filled with a million spelling and comma errors, and it drives you nuts, you’ll see it in those sample pages. So don’t buy the book!

I’ve read some wonderful fiction and non-fiction that were excellent, but the spelling errors and grammar mistakes were abundant. Yes, it was annoying, but the books were great.  In fact, one book was removed from the market, re-edited, and re-released. The story hasn’t changed one iota, it just reads smoother without the mistakes. It was a great story even before it was re-edited.

Reviews are always welcomed especially the nice ones. If you feel compelled to write a three to one star review, think hard before you write it. Are you matching the review to the correct book? Is your only complaint the fact that you didn’t like it? And if it was a poorly written book, filled with errors that made it difficult to read, and plot holes big enough for the school bus to fall through, be specific so that others who read the review can decide if your poison is their meat. Choose your words carefully.

I’ve never read a bad four or five star review. I’ve read plenty of three star reviews, which usually tells me the reader just didn’t grasp the story. But most, not all, two and one star reviews are so poorly written that it shows the ignorance of the reviewer. Don’t make that mistake.

Yes, there are plenty of books that don’t deserve to be books. They are poorly written, not properly vetted (lacking in content and edits), and yet they are there. But there are some terrific reads with minor flaws, and they don’t deserve to be trashed because a reader found what he or she feels is a comma error or sixteen of them within an 80K word book.

I can point to a known author with a big NY publisher and her book went out with an error. That book had been through at least eight different editors, and no one spotted the error until a fan pointed it out six months after it had been published. The rider had been throne from his horse. No author wants those mistakes, but they happen. I’m also willing to bet that the vast majority of you are going back to reread that sentence to see what was wrong. Fortunately, our brain inserts the right word as we read. Unfortunately, the editors’ brains inserted the correct word, and the mistake was never seen. There is no such thing as a perfectly written book.

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  I released my newest sweet western romance, A Love Song in Wyoming, this weekend. It’s live on Amazon and Smashwords, but it won’t show up elsewhere until later this month. It’s the third novella set in Creeds Crossing, Wyoming. A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming and A Cowboy’s Kiss in Wyoming are on the Amazon’s best western romance list. So I’ll make a deal with you. If you love it, please tell the world and write a review, and if you hate it tell me!

Angie has a problem. Country music star, Johnny Rockthorne bought the property next to her family’s ranch. She loves his attention and it makes her heart sing, but she doesn’t want to be a rich boy’s toy. Then her first love shows up and claims he’s returned for her. Both men promise her a better life. One can give her everything she’s ever wanted, and the other can give her anything she wants.