E.E. Burke's BEST OF THE WEST: New Release from Award-Winning Author Jacqui Nelson

We're in for a real treat today. An exclusive look at a brand new series from multi-award winning author Jacqui Nelson.

"Thank you Elisabeth and Get Lost in a Story for inviting me back to your blog! The last time I was here I shared an upcoming release that I believed would be ready very soon (in a month or two). Well, it’s almost a year later and finally that book is ready! Between Love & Lies released yesterday, August 30th."

Purchase on Amazon
In a town ruled by sin, will he earn her love or her lies?

Sadie Sullivan lost everything when a herd of longhorn cattle bound for Dodge City trampled and destroyed her farm. Now she works in Dodge—one of the most wicked and lawless towns in the West—at the Northern Star Saloon. But her survival in this new world of sin and violence depends on maintaining a lie so deadly it could end her life before the town of Dodge can.

The one man capable of unraveling all of Sadie's secrets is Noah Ballantyne, the Texan rancher whose herd destroyed her home. Back in town and taking up the role of deputy alongside legendary lawman Bat Masterson, Noah vows he won't leave until he's made things right. But with the saloon’s madam unwilling to release Sadie and a rich cattle baron wanting her as well, the odds aren’t good for finding love…or leaving town alive.

Here's a never-before-seen excerpt:

     Noah swore under his breath. “I’m getting you out of Dodge if I have to carry you out.”

     “The first chance I got, I’d leave you and come back.”      
     The silence that followed gnawed at Sadie’s resolve not to give in to him in any way. But it was her dread of what she might see if she looked at him that kept her gaze pinned on the door.
     “You’d rather stay here than leave with me?” he asked in a much too quiet voice.
     “I’d rather say goodbye to Dodge on my own terms. That way I won’t be a whore—to you or anyone else.”
     “It’s too late for that.”
     His words hit her like a slap in the face, rocking her on her heels. She squeezed shut her eyes to hide her pain from him.
     “Damn it, Sadie.” His breath left him in hiss. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. I don’t think of you as a—”
     She forced herself to cut him off. “I work in a saloon with a brothel above it. Don’t lie to yourself. I’m a whore. But right now my illness saves me from those duties. The doctor, Gertie, Cora— If I do what they say, they leave me alone, and so do the men. If you had control over one thing in your life, would you give it up?”
     “Sadie, you can’t go on like this. Whatever happened when you first came to work at the Star, it doesn’t have to be like that. Let me show you.”
     Disbelief made her gaze careen back to his. He couldn’t mean—
     “Will you listen to reason?” he asked.
     “You haven’t said anything reasonable.”
     “You’re right. I was never good with words, but I’ll listen. Tell me to stop and I will.”
     For every stride he moved closer, she took one back until the wall against her spine halted her. He planted one palm on the faded wallpaper next to her head. She waited for him to raise his other hand and hem her in. He didn’t. He’d given her a chance to escape.
     She didn’t take it. She was too busy trying to stop herself from leaning into his strength. “I was fine before you came along, last week and a year ago on my farm.” Her growing anticipation made her thoughts tumble out uncensored. “Every time you show up, you kick the foundation from under everything I’ve struggled to build.”
     He leaned down until his lips hovered over hers. “Let me make it up to you. Let me in, Sadie.” 

Meet Jacqui
Jacqui Nelson writes historical romantic adventures set in the American West. Her stories include an Oregon Trail scout, an ex-Rebel spy turned government rabble rouser, and a Dodge City cardsharp gambling with life and death. Those are her heroines. Wait till you meet her heroes! Her love for the Old West came from watching classic Western movies while growing up on a cattle farm. She’s been nominated for over 20 awards and won the Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® for historical romance & the Laramie® for western romance drama.

Here's where you can find her and her books:


E.E.: What is your hero and heroine’s “kryptonite”? What will bring them instantly to their knees?
Jacqui: Last time I shared my hero, Noah’s kryptonite—the guilt he carries and can’t ignore. This time I’ll add my heroine, Sadie’s—she’s determined to keep her vow to her friend, but unfortunately doing so might be the quick route to a grave in Boot Hill.

E.E.: Who’s your favorite villain?
Jacqui: My favorite villain is Al Swearengen (played by Ian McShane) in the Old West TV series Deadwood. Sometimes cutthroat, other times compassionate, Al is one complex individual and the fact that he has an equally complex right-hand man named Dan...well, that makes things even better.

E.E.: Which of your characters would you most like to invite to dinner?
Jacqui: A year ago, I chose legendary lawman Bat Masterson because he was the most fun to write. His meddling ways and sharp wit really had me smiling.

This time around, I’ll choose my villain’s right-hand man. Handsome John works for the madam who owns the Northern Star Saloon and all the girls working there—including Sadie. Sadie describes John as a “box herder” who keeps the girls inline if they get any ideas of independence. John’s full of surprises though. He also has his fair share of scars. I added the Handsome to his name because he’s the opposite of that. The same way Little John (in Robin Hood) isn’t little.

E.E.: Describe an absolutely perfect day.
Jacqui: Sleep in and then write all day in my pajamas. Start with coffee (to get me going) and end with a glass of wine (to celebrate being one day closer to finishing another story).

E.E.: If you could interview one person, who would it be?
Jacqui: Annie Oakley because I’m planning to make my heroine (in Book 2 of my Gambling Hearts series) a sharpshooter who joins a Wild West show and then comes home to the quiet life where she grew up—the land around Noah and Lewis’ ranches. My “little sure shot” heroine thinks Lewis’ land is hers. Who will win? Maybe they both will :)

E.E.: Were there any last minute changes to Between Love & Lies?
Jacqui: In the last hour of editing, I changed the name of my doctor (who will be the hero of Book 3 in my Gambling Hearts series). He went from Isaac Ingram to Doctor Rhodes. I don’t know why, but he just did. I don’t mention Doctor Rhodes’ first name in Book 1, but I’ll tell you here...it’s Theodore, or Theo.

E.E.: You’ve written a novella in the Steam! Romance and Rails series. Does your new story have any trains?
Jacqui: Yes! There’s a scene where Sadie decides she can no longer stay in Dodge, and she executes a well-planned escape via a cattle train bound for the Union Stockyards in Chicago. The best laid plans usually go wrong, and they do for Sadie.

E.E.: Complete this sentence. When I want to relax, I. . .
Jacqui: Go to my mom’s house and have a beer with her in her beautiful garden. Chances are high that if you’re following me on Facebook, you’ll have seen one of my drinking-in-the-garden photos.

E.E.: Does you hero or heroine have a trusty horse?
Jacqui: Noah has a faithful gray named Pepper. He’s called Pepper because he had a lot of sass and spice when he was young, but now he’s older and steadfast, just like Noah. They’ve been together so long they can sense each other’s wishes. Noah’s riding Pepper when his herd of longhorns destroys Sadie’s farm. And a year later, Pepper carries Noah back up the hundreds of miles between Texas and Dodge in search of Sadie.

Today, Jacqui is giving away a FREE ebook, Between Love and Lies, Book 1 of the Gambling Hearts series. Share your favorite Western book, movie, TV series or actor—John Wayne, Client Eastwood, Anson Mount—or just say hello!

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Great news... all winners!

Great news to all those who commented on Parris Afton Bonds' post:

She is giving a book of hers to each of you! (Or to those we have contact information for...)

Congratulations to all the commenters... all winners!


Historical Highlights and Highjinks with Parris Afton Bonds

My guest today is historical romance author Parris Afton Bonds talking about some interesting things she found while researching her novels. Declared by ABC’s Nightline as one of the three best-selling authors of romantic fiction, Parris has been interviewed by such luminaries as Charlie Rose and featured in major newspapers as well as published in more than a dozen languages. She donates her time to teaching creative writing to both grade school children and female inmates. The Parris Award was established in her name by the Southwest Writers Workshop to honor a published writer who has given outstandingly of time and talent to other writers. Prestigious recipients of the Parris Award include Tony Hillerman and the Pulitzer nominee Norman Zollinger.

Today she is sharing fascinating tidbits of trivia, the truth that was, indeed, stranger than fiction she discovered while researching her sagas, historical fiction, and historical romances. In Parris’ words, “I have stumbled over many that I was unable to use at the time.”

Her list:

While doing background research for Blue Moon, I learned that the Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa was never captured. In 1923 he was murdered by his former followers in Hidalgo del Parral, south of Chihuahua City. Villa’s last words were, “Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something.”

Interestingly, two of the aristocratic Spanish-Mexican refugees from Villa’s rampage went on to become Hollywood film stars: Gilbert Roland from Chihuahua and Dolores Del Rio from Durango. Miss Del Rio’s family name, Lopez Negrete, was the same as that of the Durango hacendados whose son Villa claimed had raped his sister. Coincidence?

Pancho Villa
Tom Mix, one of Villa’s lieutenants at the First Battle of Juarez in 1911 rode off on his horse, Tony, to become one of the heroes of the early Hollywood westerns.  He later became famous for branding ~ no, not as in branding irons, but as in incessant promotion.  He had his initials embossed on everything:  on his diamond and platinum belt buckles, his house, and his cars.  A neon sign mounted atop his Hollywood mansion sported the eye-blinding TM logo.  His initials were also imbedded into the tread of his yellow Cord’s tires so that when he drove down the dirt streets of Hollywood, he left his mark everywhere.

And speaking of Tonys, Tony Lama, an El Paso shoemaker, outfitted the 1917 Punitive Expedition against Villa with hand cobbled boots. Finally, the troops of the Punitive Expedition had the lowest rate of syphilis among American soldiers, due to General Pershing’s insistence on their use of prophylactics.

And then there was my work to write For All Time. If there is such a thing as karma, young U.S. General Ranald ‘Bad Hand’ MacKenzie suffered a tragic ending.  In 1873 MacKenzie's violent and unauthorized raid across the Texas border against peaceful Kickapoo Indians farming in Mexico went uncensored by the United States.  Nevertheless, his mental and physical condition began to deteriorate rapidly within a decade of the Mexico expedition.   

By 1883 "he was incapable of carrying out his duties and through secret stratagems was relieved and sent to the Bloomingdale Asylum in New York, where he was diagnosed with "general paralysis of the insane," and died at the youthful age of forty-eight.

Ranald MacKenzie
While doing research for my book Indian Affairs, I discovered that U.S. Interior Secretary Albert Fall became the first American cabinet figure to be sent to prison for a crime committed in office.  The resulting Teapot Dome affair is considered the worst modern political scandal before Watergate.  Because he was the only person convicted in the scandal, the term “Fall Guy” became a part of the American language. 

In the midst of my research for Lavender Blue, I came across an interesting fact: Both the first battle of the Mexican-American War and the last battle of the Civil War were fought near Brownsville, Texas. The last battle of the Civil War occurred more than a month after Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox, and the captors, the Confederacy, ironically became the captured.

Finally, during the course of my work on Star Dust, I discovered that Nellie Tayloe Ross was the first woman to be elected governor of a U.S. state and remains the only woman to have served as governor of Wyoming. President Franklin Roosevelt appointed her as the first female director of the U. S. Mint in 1933, where she served five full terms until her retirement in 1953. She is famous for creating the Franklin half dollar and launching the making of proof coins for public sale. 

Paris asks… General Patton won a gold medal in the 1912 Olympics. For what? One lucky commenter will win her book Blue Moon in which the question is answered!

If you'd like to read some of Parris' delightful historical romances, you can see them on her website and you can connect with her on Facebook. 


Vicki Batman: Say HOWDY! to Kelly Lee & her new book, Murdering Eve

Kelly Lee is an award-winning author who lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, two daughters, and three dogs.
Her first book, Murdering Eve, won the 2011 Readers Favorite award for best Fantasy Romance, and was a finalist in the Golden Quill awards for Best First Book. She is a proud member of the Romance Writers of America, and Dallas Area Romance Authors.
Kelly holds an MBA, and when her alter ego is not toiling away at a full time corporate gig, reading, or writing, she travels as much as humanly possible, drinks copious amounts of wine with incredibly supportive girlfriends, and eats as much sushi as she can realistically endure.

Exiled to magic-barren Earth Realm, Whit Blackstone has resigned himself to never seeing his family or clan again. But when a mysterious woman appears, wielding as much power as the goddess who banished him, primal desire and his desperation to return home collide.

Immortal… After twenty-nine years of believing herself human, Eve Moore can’t wrap her brain around the word. But even immortals can’t always cheat death, especially if a bloodthirsty God of War threatens your soul. Betrayed and hunted by a relentless assassin, newly immortal Eve Moore has no choice but to trust the heart-stopping stranger she’s been tasked to find and return to Olympus.
As their chemistry ignites, Eve discovers the depth of her emerging powers, and the inescapable connection she and Whit share.  When the time comes, will Eve hand him over and walk away? Or will the long buried secrets of her past doom both their lives, and their very souls?

Find Murdering Eve at:  Amazon         Barnes & Noble
For additional buy links and to read an excerpt, visit www.kellyleefiction.com

And now for the fun stuff--my Q and A with Kelly!
Vicki:  I’m a huge handbag girl. What is your favorite accessory? Kelly: I like handbags too, but I’m too lazy to change them out as frequently as I’d like. My fav accessory is a big, chunky necklace. The long ones look great with either casualwear or fanciness. Remember Carrie Bradshaw wearing the long string of pearls to bed in the Sex in the City movie? Yeah, pretty much that. Vicki: I do that too!

Vicki: What sound or noise do you love? Kelly: My children’s laughter. Hands down.

Vicki: What is your biggest vice? Kelly: snacking. All the time. :)

Vicki: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Kelly: Pop a bottle of champagne. Expensive ones, cheap ones. Doesn’t matter as long as I’ve got bubbly. Vicki: my favorite beverage!

Vicki: What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know? Kelly: I’m a textbook introvert. Big crowds of people I don’t know make me hugely uncomfortable. I’m not unfriendly, I swear, I simply suck at small talk. But if I’m with people I know, I’m usually laughing the loudest making the biggest scene. Go figure.
Vicki: Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why? Kelly: Without a doubt, I would invite Holly Okeanos to dinner. She’s my favorite character from the whole series. In fact, I think she’s too cool to have dinner with me. Knowing Holly, she’d either decline or stand me up. Which is really rude, considering I MADE HER.

Vicki: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing? Kelly: Um, YES!  I don’t know anyone that doesn’t, and probably wouldn’t believe them if they claimed they didn’t. Reviews don’t necessarily influence my writing, because opinions are so subjective but I admit I get really happy when I read good ones.

Vicki: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
Kelly: There’s something magical about writing stories and creating characters that I feel are real with my whole heart, and knowing they came purely from my imagination. The pride that comes along with creating something out of nothing, sharing it, and having other people enjoy it? That surpasses anything else I might have dreamed. Vicki: I agree!

Vicki: What color would you make the sky if it wasn’t going to be blue anymore and why? Kelly: I’d make the sky yellow with purple clouds. When I wrote Iron Defiance (Book 3 in the Four Realms series), I enjoyed a beautiful sunset in Mexico on vacation. The citrine sky met darkened clouds over the ocean, and I immediately thought “that’s what the sky must look like in Faery.” So I wrote it.

FIND  Kelly Lee at:  Email  Website  Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads 

What's UP NEXT for Kelly? Battle Heat – Book 2 in the Four Realms series – featuring the sassy assassin you love to hate from Murdering Eve!

Giveaway: I would love to offer a digital copy of Murdering Eve either Kindle, Nook, or Kobo formats.
Note: Please leave an email address for notification. Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.

Question to readers and if you will answer for the drawing with an email address:  If you could be any age for a week, what age would you choose, and why?