Tag Archives: Western

Re-Reading Old Books…

Lately, I’ve been re-reading books I’ve already read.

GONE WITH THE WIND

I started thinking about this a few months ago as I embarked on listening to “Gone with GWTWthe Wind” on audio. I read it the first time a long, long time ago. Then I read it again after I saw the movie. Now I’ve listened to it as an audio book. The audio of this dramatic book is over 40 hours long and it’s just as  wonderful to hear it as it was to read it. The woman who narrates it does a great job.

I only hope the book and the movie survive what is going on in our society now. I fully expect to never see the movie on TV again.


HEART OF THE WEST

My next re-read was “Heart of the West” by Penelope Williamson. I’ve now re-read this book at least four times. This is what I call a “big” book. It’s a saga that spans years. The author captured the essence of the three main characters perfectly—oneHeart of the West  anti-hero who violates every rule there is, one a foundation-of- American-life hero who built the West and a a starchy Easterner heroine whose true grit makes her a more than worthy heroine. One of the things I often find in romance novels is that the heroines don’t live up to the magnitude of the heroes. Not true with this book. Maybe that’s why I like it. It’s a book to love with characters to root for whether you like Westerns or not.

Penelope Williamson is a great author. She wrote another book that is on my list of keepers, too, “The Outsider.” I haven’t re-read that one this year, but I might yet.


THE CROSSFIRE SERIES

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Now, I’m re-reading the 5-book Crossfire Series by Sylvia Day. Another book has been added since the picture on the left entitled “One with You.”

The hero Gideon and heroine Ava are the ultimate modern, hip, wealthy characters who meet an erotic relationship head-on. Again, Ava is a heroine worthy of the sexy, controlling and dynamic billionaire businessman, Gideon Cross.

This author was not one of my faves until I read this series. This story is sort of an offshoot of the notorious “Fifty Shades” series, but so much better written. I’m surprised a movie hasn’t been made of this story of obsession and lust.

I also re-read a shorter duet by this author. “Afterburn” and “Aftershock.” Good reads. Now that I’ve become a fan, I wish she wrote more in the contemporary genre.


THE STEPHANIE PLUM SERIES

I’ve gone back and started listening to the audio versions of the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich. The narrator is perfect for these books. You definitely get the New Jersey flavor from her voice.

The early books were so much better than the later ones, IMHO. I can’t fault Janet Evanovich too much for this though. I  can only imagine the challenge to keep a series that now has grown to more than 20 books fresh and interesting  I have a hard time writing a trilogy.


 So why re-read books you might ask…

For the same reason I add some books to my keeper shelf and don’t add others. Sometimes, something about a story or the writing  just catches me and I decide it’s worth a second read. If you’re a writer, a clever turn of phrase is like catnip. I always discover new things I passed over before and I sometimes find that I’ve forgotten something about it.

How about you? Do you re-read books? Feel free to add your comments about the books you give a second read and why. I’d love to read your comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Guest Author

Today, my guest is Caroline Clemmons, spinner of western tales of romance and adventure. Her newest and last book of her Bride Brigade series sounds great!

Thank you, Anna, for inviting me to be your guest today. Most readers enjoy series, and that includes me. I also love writing them. Watching the characters recur as the series progresses enhances them in my mind.

I just completed writing PRUDENCE, book 7 of the Bride Brigade Series, a historical western romance. I’ve loved each of the main characters of this series. Finishing was bittersweet because I’ve been with these people for a while now. Saying goodbye has been difficult. But, I have many more books to write, so I’ve begun my next work.


Here’s the synopsis of PRUDENCE:

Prudence Lynch’s beloved grandmother trained her in midwifery and in folk medicine. Wild desert landscapeAlways ostracized because they’re different—until someone needs their help—they live in poverty at the edge of a tiny Virginia backwoods village where rumors plague them. After Granny’s death, Prudence leaves for Richmond. There, Prudence is fortunate to be chosen to accompany Lydia Harrison to Tarnation, Texas. She believes she’s left trouble and gossip behind to establish her healing business and begin a new life. But, trouble follows Prudence.

Doctor Riley Gaston wants a wife and children. He’s threatened to move from Tarnation to seek a wife, but he would never actually leave the community he loves. One of the young women Lydia brings home mesmerizes Riley. That is, until he learns her so-called profession is folk healing, which he views as dangerous as it is worthless.

Prudence is as stubborn as Riley. Danger causes them to reconsider their opinions. Is their change of heart too late?


I came up with the idea of the Bride Brigade as a twist on mail-order brides. These seven women came as guests of a wealthy widow and lived in her home until they found the man they wished to marry. Except for their hostess, the town of Tarnation, Texas had no unmarried women except elderly widows. If they hadn’t found a groom, they could have stayed as long as they wished—or until they established themselves in business and chose to move out on their own.

Six of the women came from Virginia and one from Missouri. Each had a different back story, and so did the grooms. The town name of Tarnation makes me smile. I hope it does the same for readers. Texas does have numerous towns with odd names—such as Cut and Shoot, Lick Skillet, and Dime Box.

PRUDENCE, was released a week ago. Here are some of the reviews:

Caroline Clemmons never fails to deliver quality stories, and Prudence , Bride Brigade #7, is no exception…As this is the final Bride Brigade novel, I was both thrilled and sad to see it available. This entire series was extremely enjoyable.”

“It’s sad to think we will miss Tarnation but I hope we can visit in future. Amazing story of two individuals who have to overcome their beliefs and accept each other and love in the end!”

 “Couldn’t put it down. Loved it as much as I have enjoyed the whole series.” 

“The whole series has been wonderful. Please keep writing, you write so well and I have enjoyed all your books.”


Here’s an excerpt from PRUDENCE:

     “He walked slowly, hoping to read the sign, but it was covered by bunting. Soon enough, he’d be back and by then he could meet his new neighbor. Wait—there was no one new in town except the seven women who’d accompanied           Lydia.

He froze in his spot.

No, she couldn’t, not across the street from his office. He turned and hurried across the road. Disregarding the superstition of walking under a ladder causing bad luck, he walked into the office. Sure enough, there was Prudence setting out bottles and packets of this and that.

He walked up to her. “What do you think you’re doing?”

She barely glanced up. “I’m organizing my herbs and tinctures and salves for my grand opening on Saturday.”

He edged closer. “What are you playing at? Are you setting out to deliberately cause trouble with me?”

She continued arranging things on shelves. “Certainly not. Why would you even say that? In your opinion, which you’ve made known to me and probably most of the townspeople, you don’t believe we’re in the same business. Having me here shouldn’t have anything to do with you.”

He fought for calm but it wouldn’t come. “It’s as if you’re. . . you’re saying you’re in the medical profession the same as I am.”

She stopped messing about with the dratted shelves and faced him. “Dr. Gaston, I’ve never said that. I’m interested in helping people in any way I can. If that alarms you, that’s your problem.”

He leaned in so they were nose to nose. “You’re setting yourself up as a medical authority. That’s a big problem. You can do untold harm with your so-called healing.”

Sparks shot from her blue eyes. “So can you. Do I tell you how to run your office and treat your patients? No.” She poked him in the chest. “So, Doctor Gaston. Butt. Out.”

Fuming, Riley turned on his heel and strode from the building. He rushed toward Mrs. Eppes’ home. Where did Prudence get off thinking she could do this to him?

He’d come close to kissing her. Thank heavens he’d resisted.

Who was he fooling? If he were being truthful, only her anger stopped him. What was he going to do about Prudence?

More importantly, what was he going to do about what being near her did to him?”

The buy link at Amazon is http://a.co/3AZ9c6d and it’s also in Kindle Unlimited.


Caroline’s Bio

Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling and award winning author of historical and contemporary western romances. A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, she has taught workshops on characterization, point of view, and layering a novel.

Caroline and her husband live in the heart of Texas cowboy country with their menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not indulging her passion for writing, Caroline enjoys family, reading, travel, antiquing, genealogy, and getting together with friends. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, WattPad, Shelfari, and Pinterest.

Click on her Amazon Author Page for a complete list of her books and follow her there.

Subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter here to receive a FREE novella of HAPPY IS THE BRIDE, a humorous historical wedding disaster that ends happily—but you knew it would, didn’t you?

She loves to hear from her readers at caroline@carolineclemmons.com

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A Rocky Journey…

At last, I’m sneaking up on the end of THE HORSEMAN, Book #3 of the Sons of Texas trilogy and below is the blurb. I hope to release the e-book in July or August at the latest. I think the cover, designed by the wonderful Kim Killion, is awesome.

AnnaJeffrey_TheHorseman_200px (2)     Troy Rattigan devotes most of his time and energy to horses— rescuing them, training them, understanding them. Some might say he has a spiritual connection to the equine species. Because of a brutal schedule and an escalating series of attacks on his family, his own connections haven’t gone beyond meaningless hookups….His current workshop a week before Christmas, which is an inconvenient favor for an old friend, introduces him to a   fractious, blood-bay horse in his current workshop that raises all kinds of red flags. There’s something about that horse and something about the crippled, unassuming beauty on the other end of his lead rope that ignites his instinct to fix what’s broken—in both woman and horse.

     Single mom Samantha Karol is barely back on her feet after almost losing her life and her leg to a rattlesnake bite. One wrong step could cripple her for life. The worst step she could make? Accepting the too-rich, too-handsome, too-sweet-talking horse whisperer’s offer to teach her horse-crazy young son to work with her best friend’s problem horse….Having seen the worst of life, Samantha is too old and too jaded for her years. Yet, she can’t resist giving her son his wildest dream. ….. Is the deep, instant fit she feels with Troy simply a mutual understanding of loss and grief? Or is it a solid foundation upon which to build a lifetime of happiness? Is becoming connected to the wealthy and dynamic Lockhart family another risk to her own life as well as her young son’s?

THE TRILOGY

Those of you who might have read THE TYCOON and THE CATTLEMAN, Books 1 & 2 of the Sons of Texas trilogy, might recognize Troy Rattigan who is the hero in THE HORSEMAN. Troy, the bastard son of the Lockhart family’s current patriarch, William Drake Lockhart, Jr, (or, as he is referred to in the books, Bill Junior) is less than a heroic character in Books 1 & 2. In THE HORSEMAN, he strikes down the demonic forces that are affecting his life and comes to terms with the good man that has always resided within him.https://www.books2read.com/u/3kZrgW

https://amzn.com/B00N24Z2R2THIS TRILOGY MAKES up a family saga at the same time they are romance novels. Click on each picture on the left for more information. ….. THE HORSEMAN will bring the story to an end. It will complete the arc that has continued through the 3 books, which is the resolution of the rocky relationship between Bill Junior and his wife Betty, the parents of the 3 heroes. The villain who has been harassing the family and why will also be revealed.


THE IDEA

The basic idea for the story as I first imagined it was triggered by a conversation I read between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway that went as follows:     Fitzgerald: The rich are different from you and me.     Hemingway: Yes, they have more money.    

The premise of the story is to show that the rich really are not different in fundamental ways. They experience triumphs and joys, suffer weaknesses and tragedies just like everyone else. Hemingway, a master of irony, a student of human nature and the expert at saying the most with the fewest words, nailed it in 5 words.


IN CLOSING…

Writing THE LOVE OF A COWBOY was a writing journey for me. A dozen romance novels later, writing the 3 books  of the Sons of Texas trilogy has been no different. I’ve tried to show strengths and weaknesses of the main characters, be they heroic and laudable or less than admirable.  I hope I’ve succeeded. I hope readers will enjoy the characters and the story and will recognize the premise. After you read it, let me know…..

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That’s Entertainment…

Most people who read or write books also like plays and movies. I’ve even had the notion I should write a screenplay and started one a couple of times.

I’ve been a movie fan for as long as I can remember. It started at an early age. When I was a little kid, I lived with my grandparents in a rural West Texas town that wasn’t much more than a village. We had scant outside entertainment, no TV and  barely a radio broadcast, but we always had books, magazines and newspapers around the house. This is where I learned to read and love and sometimes, if I was lucky, watch fiction.

A movie was a rare treat. Two or three times a year, “tent movies” would come to town and stay for a week or so. They would set up a big tent in what passed for the town square, line up metal chairs for the audience to sit on and show a repertoire that included everything–silent movies accompanied by piano music or “talkies” that were more than a few years old. I’m sure that’s where I saw my first western movie. Sometimes we even had music where you could sing along, following the bouncing ball on the screen. I think the price of admission might have been a quarter or less.

I found this picture on a site called “Old Magazine Articles,” which tells about the traveling tent movies. It reminds me so much of my childhood. That girl with the dark sweater, skirt and shoes and socks could be me. If you want to read more about this slice of mid-20th Century Americana, check out this website. Just a lot of people know nothing about this. Here’s a link: http://www.oldmagazinearticles.com/Traveling-Movie-Theaters-pdf

I and my great-grandpa were enthralled by those old movies. He walked the couple of miles to town every night to watch whatever was shown on the screen, good or bad. He was past 80 and practically deaf, so he had to sit on the very front row, smoking his big cigar. I’m sure the movie watchers around him loved it. :-/

I sometimes got to go with him, though not every night. To me, what was even more fantastical than the movie was they had buttered popcorn and cotton candy. I was fascinated by cotton candy. As I recall, it cost a nickel.

Later, when TV finally came to our neck of the woods, my great-grandpa was consumed by TV. He watched every old western and never missed the wrestling matches. He usually watched alone because he had to have the volume turned up so loud no one could stand to be in the same room. Consequently, none of the rest of us watched TV and by then, the traveling movies had stopped coming to town.

I’m still trying to be a movie fan and that’s what my post is about. My husband is a movie fan, too. Or at least, he used to be. Last week, we decided to watch a 5-star movie on Netflix called “The Place beyond the Pines.” I don’t think we got half-way through it. Can you say dark and depressing?

We moved on from there to Amazon and another 5-star movie called “Winter’s Bone.” Didn’t finish that one either. More dark and depressing. Then we chose “Hello, My Name is Doris,” also well reviewed.  Didn’t even get a quarter of the way through that one and I used to be a fan of Sally Fields.

We ended up watching “50 First Dates” with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, a 516HQskatDL._AC_US327_QL65_movie that had terrible reviews by the critics, although it did have good reviews on Amazon from people who bought it. Believe it or not, we actually finished that one and furthermore, we liked it. Now if you knew my husband, you couldn’t imagine him watching a chick-flick like that one and enjoying it, but it presented an interesting situation and a real story. The performances were upbeat. Not one explosive car crash or loser at life.

I guess, whether it’s books or movies, I don’t want to be depressed while I’m trying to be entertained. Movies, as well as good books, were a happy part of my childhood and that’s what I still want to see. I don’t want to be broken-hearted or preached at about social issues I can’t remedy. Not that I don’t like a good drama. After all, I write “drama.” Bottom line, I just want to be entertained by a good story.

Every movie they make these days, if it isn’t car crashing and giant robots fighting, it’s dark, Dystopian themes telling me how grim the future is going to be. I don’t want to think about that. Dark and depressing isn’t where I park my imagination. God knows, I see enough of that on the news.

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Sometimes There’s Pain…

In Reading as well as Writing.

Some of you, if you’re still following this blog after I’ve neglected it for weeks, might have started to wonder what has happened to me.  I have been meeting myself coming and going, as usual. I had to prioritize and the blog moved down the list. Hopefully, now that I’ve cut back to 3 days a week at my real job, I’ll have more time to spend on things like the blog and the newsletter

Despite what else I might be doing, I’m always reading. It puts me to sleep at night if nothing else. I’ve started but not finished several books lately, which has become a pattern. In the past, I always finished a book I started no matter what. I don’t do that anymore. There are so many books I really want to read and I just don’t have the time to invest in reading a book that doesn’t excite me.

So I bought one a few days back in the Top 100 from the Kindle store for 99-cents. It started slow, but I recognized good writing and looked past the slow beginning. Amazon calls the book a romance, but in my mind, it’s more like “women’s fiction” and sometimes those book just do start slow.

I’m now about a quarter into it and I’m about to weep from boredom. I skipped ahead to the last couple of chapters and the Epilogue to see if the ending warranted my continuing to slog through the middle. In terms of being interesting, the ending chapters were worse than the opening. The sad thing is the writing is really good. There have been a few times when the quality of the writing trumped a slow story, but I’m starting to think this isn’t one of them.

I’m uneasy describing any author’s writing as “boring.” I’m plenty familiar with he butt-in-the-chair-time time to the neglect of all else. I know the blood, sweat and tears that go into writing a 400-page novel, even an unexciting one. And I’m no champion of great beginnings or endings myself. I try not to be hypercritical, but it is what it is, as they say.

So how about you? How many pages does it take for you to be invested enough in a book to continue reading it no matter what? Will a book with a slow beginning become a wall-banger for you? Will a book with a fast-paced beginning that turns out to have a sagging middle make you quit it? Will a bad ending make you hate the whole book?

Just curious because I have written various books with every one of those problems.  😦

On a side note, I thought I would never get it done, but THE LOVE OF A LAWMAN is now available in the Kindle store on Amazon for $2.99 and will be available at Barnes & Noble‘s Nook store at any time for the same price. This is the third and final book set in Callister, Idaho.

If you’re so inclined, I would appreciate your clicking the “Like” button at Amazon and adding some tags. Those two things affect the book’s Amazon ranking. And ranking affects sales.  🙂     Some suggested tags are at the bottom of this post. Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Lawman-Callister-Books-ebook/dp/B00A1AS466/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1352392553&sr=1-6&keywords=anna+jeffrey

AND HERE’S THE BLURB: Teenager Isabelle Rondeau ran away from her hometown of Callister, Idaho, with the town bad boy. Now, years later, he’s left her for another woman and she’s returned to Callister to rebuild her own life and connect with family for the sake of her ten-year-old daughter. In her travels away from Callister, she has become a cutting horse trainer of some renown. As the owner of two prize-winning mares and a highbred stallion, she intends to make a living in Callister breeding and training cutting horses. She’s through with men. That is, until she runs into the local sheriff, a man she knew in high school and hasn’t seen in eighteen years.

Divorced and broke, John Thomas Bradshaw, Jr., ex-ProRodeo star, has come back to Callister to lick his wounds and contemplate his future. Somehow, he’s let himself be persuaded to act as the temporary sheriff of Callister County until an election can be held. The last person he expects to run into is his old high school crush. She still has that unruly fiery hair and those mysterious brown eyes that mesmerized him as a teenager. All of the old desires return. He doesn’t want to love again, but can he keep from it when he and “Frizzy Izzy” was his first love and they have so much in common? When a local is murdered on his watch and Izzy has a connection, he’s forced to call on all of his courage and honor.

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