Tag Archives: Montana

Pot ‘O Gold Bookish Event

celtic design behind Pot 'O Gold Bookish Event title

I’m participating in N.N. Light’s Pot ‘O Gold Bookish Event featuring 15 authors who’ve released stories related to St. Patrick’s Day. Three authors are featured each day and my highlight will be on March  14th. Those who enter have a chance at winning an Amazon gift card . Open Internationally, but you must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.

shamrock behind book cover with text A Pot 'O gold Bookish event pick

My title is St. Patrick’s Shenanigans, a wholesome contemporary cozy mystery set in Butte, Montana.

BLURB:

The new Butte Chamber of Commerce manager, Mitzi Lambrecht, has to organize the board of directors’ entry for the St. Patrick’s Day float.  Her suggested frontier theme is opposed by a handsome but infuriating jokester.

Proud of his Irish roots, charmer Declan Rourke views softening the uptight manager a challenge he can’t resist.

When elements of their float disappear, Declan and Mitzi must work together to discover who is sabotaging their efforts. Can they work together as a team, or will Mitzi fail at her first big assignment?

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EXCERPT

Mitzi lowered to the edge of the bench, mesmerized by the fluid action of this dog so clearly loving this activity.

The owner swept a hand toward the side of the field, and the dog sped toward a final jump, then turned and bounced on his hind legs, pawing the air, until the owner enveloped the animal’s shoulders in an embrace.

A lump formed in her throat. Seeing that bond between human and canine reminded her of what she lost last year when Sadie, her beloved Beagle, walked the rainbow bridge. After watching a few more performances, she shivered, registering goose bumps along her skin. So she stood and set off toward her car.

Almost at the parking lot, she glanced over her shoulder at the dog activity. If she wore warmer clothes, she might consider staying. She caught sight of a familiar man, his broad shoulders covered by a gray sweatshirt. A billed cap advertising his fly-fishing shop topped a head of wavy auburn hair. Mitzi paused, curious about his presence at this activity and what type of dog he owned.

Dogs revealed so much about their owners. And she’d been intrigued about this particular man since they’re first encounter.

Declan Rourke unhooked a leash from the collar of a cinnamon-colored dog.

Mitzi didn’t recognize this particular breed. The smallish dog, with prick ears and a curled tail, reminded her of a fox.

Using hand signals and snapping fingers, Declan guided the dog over the obstacles while remaining in the center of the course. The alert animal barely looked his way as it maneuvered over and through the various apparatus with certainty and speed.

Her favorite part was when the dogs wove their bodies through eight upright poles, jumping right and left in quick succession. Smaller dogs held a definite advantage in this activity.

For the final ten feet, Declan followed along at a jog as his dog sailed over the last jump. Outside the course, he stood with arms outstretched as the dog circled before launching into his embrace. “Good work. That’s the way, girl.” Grinning, Declan glanced to the side and spotted her.

Mitzi couldn’t drag her gaze from the joy she saw in his green eyes. She’d only met him once, at the December Chamber executive board meeting. After that single session with the ten business owners, she’d labeled him—just like the icy steps leading to her office—as a potential problem. Arriving ten minutes late, he displayed no respect for the starting time of the scheduled meeting. On discussion issues, he always wanted the members to reach consensus instead of going with the more efficient majority vote. The vibe she got told her he expected everyone to find him charming. Although, the man did have a really great smile.

Declan’s eyebrow rose into an arch.

Stiffening, she focused on the tips of her shoes. She’s stared for too long. With a nod, she turned and headed toward the parking lot.

“Mitzi, wait up.”

That deep voice halted her step and tightened her shoulders. But she would not let her attitude show in her expression. Their paths would cross at least once a month. After a deep inhale, she turned and plastered on a smile. “Morning, Mr. Rourke.”

“It’s Declan, please. I thought we were past formalities.”

Everything about you is informal. “I prefer to maintain professional decorum.” She crossed her arms over her chest. The man was too handsome for her sanity with his wide smile, straight nose, and wide-set eyes. Focusing on the cute dog sitting at his feet seemed safer. She crouched and held out a hand, fingers down. “I’ve never seen a dog like yours. What breed is she?”

“Keiko’s a Japanese breed, a Shiba Inu.”

The dog inched forward and stretched her neck to sniff Mitzi’s offered hand. Her curly tail wagged, and she took another step.

“Hey, Keiko likes you. Usually she’s a bit standoffish.” Declan lowered to a squat and ran a hand down the dog’s back.

Being accepted was special. “I believe dogs sense when people are animal lovers.”

“Oh, do you have a dog? What breed?” His hand stilled.

“Sadie. She was a Beagle.” Suddenly, her eyes burned, and she had to blink fast to keep tears from spilling. Sadie had been with her since her high school years, and she missed her every day since her passing.

Declan pressed a hand onto her knee. “I’m sorry for your loss. I didn’t know.”

The gesture was unexpected but instantly reminded her of the personal connection she missed since moving here. Fighting for composure, she focused on Keiko and gave the dog a friendly scratch under her chin. The fur was fluffy and thick. She stroked the dog’s side a couple of times. Such a dear face, with alert black eyes that stared unblinkingly back. Somehow, the simple act of petting this warm body settled Mitzi’s ragged emotions. “Thanks.” Finally in control, she lifted her head. “What’s this activity called?”

“Dog agility.” He reached up to readjust his cap. “Our group gets together a couple of times a week to practice. Some of us attend weekend competitions throughout the state.”

She straightened to a stand. “Well, I’ll let you get back to it.”

Rising, Declan held a flattened hand toward the dog. “Do you jog here often?”

“Most mornings and always on the weekends.” She tugged on the hem of her hoodie, suddenly aware of how different her tight exercise clothes were from her usual business suits.

“Alone?” His eyebrows rose.

“Yes.” His surprise made her pulse accelerate. She narrowed her eyes. “Do you know something I don’t? Is this area unsafe?”

“Just that a woman”—he paused and gave her a long look, head to toe—“looking like you do should take precautions.”

Of course. Leave it to Declan to wreck a pleasant conversation.

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Release Day–2 titles in Holiday Pet Sleuths

Today my first cozy mystery, St. Patrick’s Shenanigans, released. This contemporary title is part of the Holiday Pet Sleuths multi-author series where either a cat or a dog help the protagonists solve a mystery. I’d set my last historical in Butte, Montana, and learned so many interesting facts about the town and its inhabitants that I knew this story needed to happen there. The added bonus is that the cover features my beloved dog, Keiko, who acts a lot like the one in the story.

The first task for new Butte Chamber of Commerce manager, Mitzi Lambrecht, is to organize the board of directors’ entry for the St. Patrick’s Day float.  She’s advocating for a frontier theme honoring early settler like her ancestors. But she’s opposing by a handsome but infuriating jokester.

Declan Rourke is proud of his Irish roots and wants their contribution included in the float’s design. Softening the uptight manager presents a challenge the ladies’ man can’t resist.

But when elements of their float disappear, Declan and Mitzi must work together to figure out who is sabotaging their efforts. Can they work together as a team, or will Mitzi fail at her first big assignment?

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This series has releases featuring both a cat and dog story per holiday. The companion release for St. Patrick’s Day is Paddy’s Mission by Marlene Bierworth.

Unbeknownst to Fionn Graham, her financial troubles have come to her granddaughter Hannah’s attention. Will solutions come from the first-prize money for the bike contest, the kind neighbor, Mr. O’Malley, or will it be a lost treasure that sets her free?

The family heirloom is on the verge of being rediscovered by the least likely duo. Hannah, and her kitten, Paddy are on a mission to find the gem-studded cat collar before the troublesome leprechauns can steal it on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day.
Tales of the O’Toole Irish ancestry, St. Patrick’s legacy, and all the folklore attached to the holiday aid in the search of the gem-studded cat collar.

Join Grannie Graham, Mother Catsie, Hannah, Paddy, and their sidekick, Mr. O’Malley, as they experience not only the fun, nonsensical aspects of the holiday but learn that the love St. Patrick preached so many years ago is still alive and well in their midst.

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We hope you enjoy these fun stories.

Guest Release Promotion–Targeted by Beverley Bateman

Targeted is the third book in the series. I was at a conference In Victoria, BC, Canada, up on the mezzanine overlooking the expensive lobby with marble floors. I sorted of squatted down and peeked through the carved posts and had this image of a cowboy in spurs striding through the lobby. I then became the heroine, watching him arrive with mixed feelings. And that was the start of Hunted, the first book in the series. I love ranches and cowboys, and I developed this small town in Montana.

Targeted_Oct 2

BLURB

After an eleven-year absence Janna Kincaid inherits a ranch and must return to a town she remembers with unhappiness, a man she briefly married and never wants to see again, and someone is trying to kill her.

Kye Hawkins has loved Janna since they met. They were married, but right after she left without an explanation. He hasn’t figured out why. Now she’s coming back. Can he rekindle the romance, and prevent her from being killed?

Janna doesn’t want Kye’s help, yet he’s always there when she’s in trouble. Can they work together to stop a killer, and find romance again?

BUY LINKS

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EXCERPT

Someone had shot her back tire. Janna gripped the wheel to keep the vehicle on the road. She debated whether to try and outrun the shooter, wherever he was, or find cover. The windshield shattered as a third bullet entered the passenger side.

So much for outrunning the shooter.

She scanned the area and spotted an outcropping of rocks a few feet ahead on her right. She aimed the vehicle in that direction.

Two more shots, and both the back tires went down.

Definitely find cover.

Janna ducked low behind the steering wheel until the vehicle reached the rocks. When the car stopped, she grabbed the keys from the ignition and her purse and dove out the door. Bullets bounced off the rocks behind her as she scrambled for cover. Whoever was doing the shooting was serous. Anyone of the shots could have hit her.

She reached the rocks, keeping low until she got to the middle where she curled up as tightly as possible, her back against a rock. Her heart pounded in her ears, her breathing came in gasps. This was getting to be a habit. First someone tried to kill her in Seattle, and now, out in this god-forsaken country.

What the hell is going on? Why are they shooting at me? Was it the same person who shot at me in Seattle? That doesn’t seem likely, but who even knew I was coming here? Maybe it’s someone just trying to rob a stranger.

Yeah right, be honest, Janna, does this road look like many strangers came this way? And if they did, would they have a lot to steal? You really think this person selected a spot in the rocks where he would have a good shot at my vehicle. Coincidence? Not damn likely.

At least she’d worn boots and jeans—even if they were designer jeans. Now they were filthy, and so was her red sweater and jean jacket.

Another shot hit the rock behind her. She rolled over onto her stomach, shaded her eyes, and squinted into the sun. He must be up on the cliffs straight ahead. She wasn’t sure, but she thought she might have glimpsed a light, maybe a reflection off his scope.

Terrific! Now what? My gun is in my purse. I could fire back, but that would be a waste of bullets at this distance.

She yanked out her cell and punched in 9-1-1.

Damn—no reception.

A pounding pulsed through the ground and came closer. Janna could feel the vibrations. It felt like horses. She glanced around, without raising her head, to see what was coming.

Suddenly there was a hand in front of her face.

“Grab it and jump on.”

The deep, rumbling voice was not asking. It was an order.

Janna grabbed the strong hand. In one smooth motion, she swung up behind a man on his horse. Seconds later, she had her hands wrapped around his well-developed, muscular chest, as the big chestnut thundered across the ground, out of the bullets’ range.

The man wore a leather jacket over a sweater. Her hands slid under the jacket for better grip. Even through the sweater she could feel sinewy muscles. She laid her head against his back and his braid. She took a breath in, inhaling the rich scent of leather, trying to calm her racing heart rate.

She glanced behind her. The cliffs were fading into the distance. The muscles of his well-developed shoulders bunched and relaxed as he led the horse at a gallop across the field. She felt safe for some unfathomable reason.

He had a familiar woodsy scent that made her think of sex under pine trees, not that she’d ever made love there. In fact, her sex life was pretty negligible these days.

They’d been riding for several minutes when Janna leaned forward. “You can put me down any place. I can manage now.”

“Really? And just what are you going to do out here, miles from town, by yourself, with someone shooting at you?”

The voice was deep, but soft, and rolled over her like warmed brandy. It triggered something in the back of her memory. The earthy scent, the sinewy body, the braid, the voice… She knew this person who had ridden up out of nowhere to save her.

“I have my cell. I’ve already called 9-1-1,” she snapped.

“And did you get an answer?”

Janna yanked her cell phone up where she could see the screen again and re-tapped in 9-1-1. And then there was that famous phrase—No Service.

There was a deep chuckle. “That’s what I thought. There’s no service in this area. The mountains block it.”

BevB_Oct2

Beverley Bateman exchanged the Okanagan vineyards and orchards for the ranches and farms of Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she lives with her Shiba Inu dogs. Winters she snowbirds and continues to write her latest romantic suspense books. Hunted, Missing and Targeted are part of her Hawkins Ranch series.

 

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Guest Interview—Caroline Clemmons

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I’ve been writing romantic fiction full time since 1994 but only sold my first novel in 1998, a contemporary western titled Be My Guest to Kensington. Since then, I’ve written numerous contemporary and historical western romances. Since 2011, I’ve been a self-published author and love the control (plus I make far more money on my own than I did with a publisher).

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Heartwarming romance and adventure.

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

First I see characters, which are engaged in some scene in the story—usually the inciting incident. The plot comes from there.

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

I write with classical music. I do email with light rock, swing, or jazz—depending on my mood at the time.

What is the starting point for research—story concept or when you get stuck while writing?

I prefer to do my research first and save it to the book’s folder. That helps me plan the plot. If something else crops up, I research at the time.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

Most. My latest two are set in Montana and Washington state, and I’ve never been either place. I relied on extensive research and advice from people who have been there. Most of my books are set in Texas, which is where I live. I’ve been to all of the settings in those books.

Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?

I have written several contemporary western romances and will have more releasing in 2016. I’ve written a couple of mysteries but probably won’t do more.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

A month in Ireland. After two trips there, my husband and I decided that IF we return, we’ll rent a cottage and spend a month touring at our leisure. We also enjoy England, Scotland, Switzerland, and southern Germany, but our favorite is Ireland.

Do you use visual aids (storyboards, Pinterest, collages) when plotting or writing?

I use a storyboard. Years ago my plotting group heard Laura Baker and Robin Perini present their “Story Magic” plotting method. I imagine there was a light bulb flashing on over my head during the workshop. The method made so much sense to me and helped me overcome many of my plotting problems. Yet, a few who heard that presentation didn’t find it helpful. We’re all different, aren’t we?

In what genre do you read?

Telling you what I don’t read is easier. I never read true crime, horror,  zombies, or much sci-fi. I especially enjoy western historical and western contemporary, women’s fiction, and WWII mysteries such as those by Leeann Harris and Susan Elia Macneal, and British mysteries and Regency.

What resources do you use for picking character names?

If writing a historical, I use names from my family genealogy. If writing contemporary, I Google names popular twenty-five to thirty years ago. Names are important and require the right sound. For instance, hard consonants make a hero sound stronger. For a historical heroine, I prefer an unusual name or after someone in my family or both—as in Parmelia in Long Way Home. Sometimes a heroine’s name can be a contrast to her personality.

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

My husband and I have one dog and three cats, all rescues. Our little Shih Tzu is almost blind and is hard of hearing now, so he is not adventurous and doesn’t play as he used to do. Our cats are each very different. Sebastian is a huge tuxedo who lets only me pet him and usually sleeps beside me. Max is a Manx and always into mischief. Jasmine is a rag doll that is a shy, sweet, cuddly cat.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope they reach the end of the book with a happy sigh for the pleasant experience, a temporary escape from their problems, and entertainment.

AMANDA'S RANCHER FOR LINDA

BLURB

One desperate young woman.

A chance meeting.

A life-changing outcome.

Growing up in a brothel, Mara O’Sullivan battled public disdain and contempt, but always remained kind-hearted and gracious. After testifying against vicious bank robbers, her life is threatened and Mara must find sanctuary far from everything she knows.

One train ride changes her life as she fatefully meets a half-sister and a niece she never knew existed. But when circumstances end her sister’s life, Mara makes a promise that she’ll raise her niece as her own and take her sister’s place as Preston Kincaid’s mail-order-bride. As Mara and Preston grow closer, their marriage no longer seems like a ruse, but a relationship of love, passion, and desire.

Mara’s past comes back to haunt her and she finds herself in danger—will her new husband forgive Mara’s deceit and protect her as his own?

BUY LINK

Amazon

EXCERPT

They reached the church and Preston jumped down from the wagon and came around to help her alight. With a smile, he lifted Iris high over his head before he set her on the ground. Her giggle brought tears to Amanda’s eyes.

That was the first time she’d ever heard her daughter make the girlish sound. Iris had smiled, spoken, but never laughed until she met Preston Kincaid. For that alone, Amanda would be the best wife she knew how to be.

Inside the church, Mrs. Norton handed Amanda a bouquet of daisies secured with a white ribbon. The interior was plain with wooden benches and an altar raised one step above the rest of the floor. Although there were several windows, none had stained-glass as did the churches she’d seen in Georgia.

The minister was waiting at the front of the church and wore a black frock coat and matching string tie. His brown hair and beard were thickly streaked with gray. He stood at a simple lectern with what looked like a Bible in one hand while he conversed with another man.

Amanda was surprised only one other person besides Reverend and Mrs. Norton were in the sanctuary. She’d supposed Preston had many friends in the area and thought at least his ranch hands would attend. The second man turned and proved to be an older version of her groom who came forward to greet her.

Preston cupped her elbow. “Amanda and Iris, this is my father. Most folks call him Tom, but I call him Papa.”

Amanda smiled at the handsome man who must be around fifty. He was tall, but maybe an inch shorter than his son. Silver sprinkled the same dark hair. “May I call you Papa, too?”

He beamed his pleasure and his blue eyes crinkled at the corners. “I’d be honored. And in the absence of your father, may I walk you down the aisle?”

“Would you? I’d be ever so grateful.” She laid her hand on his arm. Nerves had set in and she needed his support or her knees might give way.

Preston said, “Iris, why don’t you stand with me while my papa walks Mama to meet us?”

Iris shook her head. “Mommy, not my old mama?”

Preston frowned. “Old mama?”

Panic sent bile into her throat that threatened to choke her. Don’t throw up on your wedding dress. “Perhaps you remember my mother recently died.”

Sympathy shone from his blue eyes. “Of course.” He took Iris’ hand in his and strode to the front.

Mrs. Norton began playing the piano. She nodded toward Amanda. Papa Kincaid gently led her up the aisle.

Walking toward her husband, Amanda was conscious of Preston’s stare, as if he could see into her mind and knew her for an impostor. Although he held Iris’ hand, the intensity of his blue gaze unnerved her. She wondered if he was disappointed or if he were as numb as she.

Thankful for the presence of her future father-in-law beside her, she tightened her hold on Mr. Kincaid’s arm.

In response, he patted her hand her where it laid on his sleeve. Without looking at her, he whispered. “Steady as you go. We’re almost there.”

Iris gave a tiny wave and Amanda couldn’t resist smiling at the child. The little girl truly was a blessing. Focusing on Iris gave Amanda a target she could face.

When they reached the front, Mrs. Norton ceased playing. Preston took the bouquet from Amanda’s hands. “Iris, would you hold this for Mommy so she and I can be married?”

Iris looked at him adoringly and reached to receive the flowers. Reverend Norton opened his Bible and began the ceremony. Preston took Amanda’s hands in his. She was conscious of his calluses, but also of the size and strength of his palms dwarfing hers.

When the minister indicated, Preston slipped a ring onto her finger. This new one belongs to me, even if my groom doesn’t know my true name.

After the ceremony, Preston brushed his lips gently against hers.

Iris clapped a hand across her mouth in surprise then said, “Mommy? That man kissed you.”

Preston knelt eye-to-eye with her. “I’m your new Daddy, remember? Mommy and I were just married and now I can kiss her whenever she says it’s okay. Do you think you can call me Daddy?”

Iris nodded. “Are you gonna kiss me too?”

He smiled broadly. “I certainly am.” He leaned forward and gave her a loud smack on the cheek.

The child giggled. Twice in one day this kind man had made Iris happy. Amanda owed Preston all her wifely devotion.

Giveaway

Caroline is gifting an ebook of the winner’s choice.Name to be selected from those who leave a comment.

Snippet from a 5-star review

“When I first started reading this book, I thought that it was going to go a different route than it did. The way that it turned out was fantastic. Loved the characters, and I would like to have more stories about Vern and Ben, they need their own books. Thank you for writing such a great story about Ranching and Farming.”

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. Subscribe to her newsletter here to receive a FREE novella of Happy Is The Bride.