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A Destiny in Defiance Through the Eyes of a … Cougar

Something strange about my new release…

My editor was very complimentary about the twist and turns I worked into A Destiny in Defiance as well as the extreme suspense and tension in the last chapters. She found herself so engrossed in the story, there were several places where she forgot to edit because she was too busy reading! (We’ve worked diligently to find and edit those places!)

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 11.55.36 AM One of the fun things I did was actually tell a little bit of the story through the eyes of a cougar. Very Rudyard Kipling, I suppose, what, with Two Spears being–I just realized–a type of Mowgli character.

Anyway, the story was tremendous fun to write, took me almost a year (it’s 96,000 words!), and it covers a lot of ground. It’s like a whole TV season in one book. I hope it moves you to tears, anger, heartbreak, and peace.

Oh, and I’m planning on following it up with either a couple of short stories or novellas in 2020!

Questions this book might answer:

Will the rivalry between Charles and Matthew destroy them both? Do Naomi and Two Spears get caught in the middle? Can Naomi keep her beloved from turning back to his dark past? What secret is the new nurse in town hiding? Will Billy and Hannah ever tie the knot or is she thinking about pursuing other goals? Does Emilio love Mollie or is his heart still stuck on Hannah? Why is ranch foreman Lane Chandler such an awesome character? So, so many good storylines! Can’t wait for y’all to read A Destiny in Defiance!

A Destiny in Defiance releases on November 1.

Right now it’s only $2.99 for a VERY limited time. This is a mammoth book (over 96,000 words) so the price will be going up.

Get your copy today while it’s still at this special price.

OR, you can always read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited. I hope you’ll tell a friend about it and, please,
leave me a review when you have a moment.

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Does a New Romance Have a Destiny in Defiance?

Can two people from very different worlds make a romance happen? I just adored writing the sub-plot of Hope and Lane and their potential romance in my new book A Destiny in Defiance. He’s such a pure Texas cowboy and she’s such a feminist–or so she thinks. Here’s a snippet of one of my favorite scenes:

Hope drifted her fingers softly along the edge of the deep cut gouging its way across the man’s palm and frowned. “I’d say this is more than slight, Mr. Chandler. You’re going to need several stitches. Otherwise, this will never heal properly.”

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Famous Western star, L.Q. Jones, the inspiration for Lane Chandler

 “Dang,” he whispered. “It’s my ropin’ hand.”

“Precisely why we need to stitch it. Without closing it up, a wound this long and deep will scar terribly, reducing your mobility. You want your hand back in working order don’t you?”

“Yes, ma’am.” He grinned sheepishly. “I reckon I do.”

“I’ll numb it. The stitches won’t hurt.”

“Ah, pshaw,” he waved away her concern. “I dug a Comanche arrow outta my own shoulder once. After that kind of pain, I can tolerate an itty bitty sewing needle.”

Hope tilted her head, admittedly a little too intrigued by the man. She found the way he told the story of a Comanche arrow in his shoulder and then used the word itty bitty in the next breath…charming. And, my, but wasn’t he handsome?

 She frowned at the repetitive thought and forced herself to focus on the tools of her trade. “This will hurt. I’m sorry.” She clutched his hand and poured alcohol in the wound. Mr. Chandler winced but that was the extent of his reaction. “All right, let’s get the stitches in. You’re ready?”

“As I ever will be.”

Amused by his bravado, she smirked slightly and laced a needle with the catgut. “Did your shoulder heal all right?” she asked conversationally.

“Yes, ma’am. Just an occasional soreness. Mostly on cold mornings.”

“You’re very fortunate to have survived such an ordeal.” She guided his hand to the table, resting it palm up, and cautiously put in the first suture; he seemed to barely notice.

“Yes, ma’am. Texas was a wild and wooly place ten-fifteen years ago. It’s only a little better now. We whooped the Indians but the rougher elements have been flocking there since the war ended.”

“Why is that, do you suppose?”

“I reckon ‘cause the law ain’t too intrusive there. A man can pretty much do what he wants, long as he doesn’t cause too much of a ruckus.”

“Will you be going back any time soon?”

He took a moment to answer and Hope for some reason felt certain he was studying her. “I had planned to give McIntyre a year. Help him build his herd and his ranch. I might give it a little longer. Especially now.”

 

A Destiny in Defiance releases on November 1.

Right now the pre-order price is $2.99. This is a mammoth book (over 90,000 words) so the price will be going up.

Get your copy today while it’s still at the pre-order price.

OR, you can always read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited.

Not a KU subscriber? You can get it here!

By the way, my newsletter subscribers get FREE stuff, exclusive excerpts, contests, pithy commentary. Why don’t you join me in case WordPress goes as anti-conservative as the other big tech companies?! I’d love to have you along with us!

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I’m Your Density — My New Release

My density has brought me to you.

Okay, sorry, if you are not a Back to the Future fan. Density translates to Destiny. But I have a destiny for you. A Destiny in Defiance.

Releasing November 1, it is book 4 in the Romance in the Rockies saga. A Promise in Defiance, Book 3, was supposed to be the last book but you guys just can’t get enough of Charles McIntyre!

destiny_promo1 I have a lot to say about book 4–its great characters, its politically incorrect views, its robust length–but I thought today I’d share some random insights and a little background on the story.

So, as it often happens, I started A Destiny in Defiance with one idea but some of the other characters simply wouldn’t be quiet. Hence, the story definitely heats up the rivalry between Charles and Matthew, but Naomi has her own set of problems revolving around the men in her life–namely, Charles and Two Spears. There is Hannah, trying to figure out if a woman truly can have it all–love, career, family–or does something gotta give? And Mollie and Emilio move forward. A little.

The biggest surprise, though, came from two new/semi-new characters: Lane Chandler, the foreman at the King M ranch, and Dr. Hope Clark. Lane started leaping off the page, waving at me to give him a bigger part. He turns out to be quite the cowboy. And Hope is a complex character who is tired of being the rope in a tug of war between her fiance and her father. At some point, she needs to figure out what–and who–she wants out of life. Will she find real romance in Defiance?

I’ve posted BELOW a short excerpt from A Destiny in Defiance. Read it and comment on it. I’d love to hear your thoughts. We’re still doing final edits and wordsmithing, but I think this snippet is passably entertaining.

A Destiny in Defiance releases on November 1.

Right now the pre-order price is $2.99. This is a mammoth book (over 90,000 words) so the price will be going up.

Get your copy today while it’s still at the pre-order price.

OR, you can always read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited.

Not a KU subscriber? You can get it here!

By the way, my newsletter subscribers get FREE stuff, exclusive excerpts, contests, pithy commentary. Why don’t you join me in case WordPress goes as anti-conservative as the other big tech companies?! I’d love to have you along with us!

Or you can follow me here:

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Bookbub

Amazon Author Page 

Now, READ ON:

**Rebecca and Hannah are discussing the mysterious new nurse in town:

A cup of coffee pressed to her lips, Rebecca watched Hannah drizzle melted butter over a steaming biscuit, tear off tiny pieces and feed them to Little Billy. Her glassy stare, however, said her mind was elsewhere. Around them, the Trinity Inn’s restaurant reverberated with chatting customers, tinkling silverware and the clank of dishes.

“Billy thinks I should just ask her outright.”

Rebecca set the cup down. “Why don’t you?”

“Oh, I suppose eventually I will. I just thought by now she would have revealed a little more of her story to me.”

“You said she’s a private person. Those kind don’t open up easily.”

“I guess. It’s just that sometimes when she talks, it’s like she’s saying one thing but thinking another. I don’t know.” She picked up a napkin and dabbed at her son’s face. “I can’t explain it.”

“Awkward pauses? Sentences that seem to redirect abruptly?”

Hannah looked up. “Yes.”

Rebecca nodded. “When I interviewed her, I had that same sense. As if she almost says one thing, but then quickly corrects and says something else.”

“So, what do you think? Do you agree with me that’s something amiss? But not necessarily something terrible,” Hannah was quick to add.

“Possibly.”

“I think it has something to do with Edward.”

“This is all conjecture.” Rebecca took another sip then grasped the cup in both hands. “Pointless speculation until…”

“Until what?”

“Until I actually do a little digging.”

 

Nellie Bly vs. Ellie Blair–the Gals Behind Mail-Order Deception

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Nellie in Mexico

Nellie Bly (AKA Elizabeth Jane Cochran) is the young gal who put the word “intrepid” in the phrase “intrepid reporter.” At the age of 18, when most women were still working as domestic technicians, this firebrand had a job working for the Pittsburgh Dispatch, reporting on the horrible working conditions of women in factories. When that got her in trouble with factory owners, the paper moved her over to nice feminine topics like fashion, society, gardening…

MOD Uh, yeah. Disgusted with such boring stories, she went to Mexico for a bit and reported on life there. Her dispatches about the government got her in trouble with the country’s dictator and she had to flee the country. Not long after this, she made the big time in New York City after feigning insanity and spending ten days in a madhouse. Now, that’s intrepid. But Nellie wasn’t done. She then made her legendary jaunt around the world in 72 days in 1889-90.

Now here’s the rub and how it ties in with my story, Mail-Order Deception. Nellie was on fire; she was unstoppable. Her curiosity was insatiable. One would think she would have been the intrepid reporter on into her golden years.

But, nay, this was not the case. In 1895, at the age of 31, Nellie married Robert Seaman, a wealthy industrialist some 40 years her senior. She left journalism for over two decades to tend to him and help run his business. It was only after bankruptcy that she fell back on journalism and covered much of WWI. But it seemed her passion had wained.

Passion, like a fuse, burns out. Especially when you have the chance to experience something real and lasting like true love. Everything else will pale in comparison. Colors dull. Thrills fade. Nellie and my character of Ellie learned a very important lesson about life–you can’t go it alone. No matter how intrepid you are. Love is the only thing that gives life meaning.

Don’t you agree?

Mail-Order Deception is on sale this week for only .99. Get your copy today!

on_sale_MOD

All my books are in Kindle Unlimited right now which means you can read them for FREE. Not a KU subscriber? You can get it here!

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In Defiance of Failure. Trust God and Fish or Cut Bait…

Last time, if you will recall, I related that in back in 2000 I had started writing A Lady in Defiance and my computer crashed.

Several thousand words into the story I lost ALL of it.

Well, I had my hands full with a baby. I shrugged and thought I would probably come back to the story one day. If it wasn’t dead and buried for good. Maybe God would resurrect it…Who knew?

Fast forward to 2007.

I took a job working for a vanity press doing author promotions. One day at a book signing, I was watching the author talk about his story and the thought came to me, “I can do this.” Meaning, write a book. I didn’t know anything about plot structure, character arcs, POVs, but I had to write. It felt almost like a compulsion.

The story of three sisters stranded in a lawless mining town roared back to life in my brain. I dove in and had the first draft finished in March of ‘08, mere weeks before the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

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Only, my first attendance was in 2008

I honestly don’t even know who suggested I attend a writers conference. I’d never given it any thought and I’d never heard of this one. It was (and still is) held in Black Mountain, NC though, and I was up for any excuse to visit my mountains.

When I looked into it, I discovered that I could have a critique done on my first 30 pages by a seasoned professional writer, and even pitch the story to editors and agents! The possibilities were exciting and terrifying. I told my boys–five, eight, and forty-seven at the time–that I had no idea what to expect or even pray for. I just knew there was an adventure waiting.

I remember my eight-year-old said the most interesting thing then. He said, “It’s like that scene from Indiana Jones when he steps out into thin air. But there’s really a bridge there to catch him.”

bridge

Wow. That’s called a Leap of Faith. And what a picture of how God holds us up and leads us. Instantly I knew I was supposed to go to this conference.

It turned out to be a life-changing event.

More next time…

Oh, and I’d love to have you sign up for my newsletter. You’ll get a FREE story and so much more. I promise you’ll find encouragement for chasing your own dreams! Sign up today!

Don’t miss out on this chance to get some FREE books!

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Time is running out!

Pick an author from this fabulous group, sign up for her insanely interesting newsletter, and you will receive a FREE book. Sign up for as many as you like. I’ve included one of my favorite stories as a giveaway. Grace be a Lady is just too incredible to be based on a real person! And the other authors in the group are:

Lynnette Bonner <> Kari Trumbo <> Mary Lu Tyndall <> Dorothy Adamek <> Lisa Prysock <> Sondra Kraak <> Stephenia H. McGee <> Angela Breidenbach

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Go get your FREE books here!

Of Popcorn and Prostitutes

I didn’t expect the research for A Lady in Defiance to break my heart.

If you have read my Defiance books, you know I’ve gone to great pains to bring the old west mining town of Defiance to life. Those “great pains” were hours of research. Admittedly, since I’m a history freak, I enjoyed most of it.

Some of it, not so much. Here’s what I didn’t enjoy: learning just how awful the lives of prostitutes in these lawless towns were.

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While disease was the number one cause of death, the number two cause was customer violence. But get this: one report I read said that partner suicide was statistically valid. Meaning, the number of girls who made suicide pacts was not nominal. When life got so awful, so unbearable, many soiled doves agreed to end their lives together.

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In Telluride at the height of the silver boom, there was one street in the red light district where the doors swung open and shut so fast it was nicknamed Popcorn Alley.

Think about that for a second.

In A Lady in Defiance, there is a scene in which a soiled dove opens the Bible and learns how Jesus dealt with a woman accused of adultery. I literally cried writing that part. I cried over my character finding hope…and over all the real prostitutes who never did.

Today, I pray for all the innocents abducted and forced into this lifestyle. Seems we’ve come full circle. Or, more accurately, outdone ourselves. Today, human trafficking has surpassed the illegal sale of arms. It will surpass the illegal sale of drugs in the next few years. Up to 300,000 Americans under 18 are lured into the commercial sex trade every year.

A hundred years ago, the citizenry rose up and ran brothels out of business either by force or by electing politicians who fined such houses out of existence. Today, all we seem to want to do is tear down Confederate statutes and blame each other for slavery that happened a hundred-plus years ago.

Here’s a thought: let’s turn our energy to something more positive. Let’s deal with today’s modern problem of sex trafficking and slavery and save some of the men, women, and children who have been forced into this horrid lifestyle.A Lady in Defiance by Heather Blanton

Just my politically incorrect two cents.

(Check out https://arkofhopeforchildren.org/child-trafficking/child-trafficking-statistics)

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By the way, A Lady in Defiance is on sale right now for only .99 if you’d like to pick up a copy!

 

 

 

Pen Names–In Defiance of Compromise

I’m not afraid to wade into controversy, but I was a little surprised by the passionate reactions to a question I asked on social media yesterday about using pen names.

 

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My original post went like this: Recently I was discussing pen names with a fellow author. She thinks they are fine and give an author leeway to write in different genres without losing fans or confusing them. Ooooookay. My argument is too many authors nowadays seem to use pen names to play both sides of the moral fence. Specifically, if an author is a follower of Christ shouldn’t everything they write reflect that world view–if not the Gospel–no matter the genre or pen name?

Read that last sentence again. If an author is a follower of Christ shouldn’t everything they write reflect that world view–if not the Gospel–no matter the genre or pen name?

My answer to the question is simply, yes. Reflect it. Not necessarily preach it, hammer it, shout it or even mention Jesus by name. But write a story that is grounded in a Biblical worldview.

If an author is a follower of Christ shouldn’t everything they write reflect that world view–if not the Gospel–no matter the genre or pen name?

I am seeing too many authors using pen names to write, frankly, some pretty ungodly stuff. Sweet, clean novels posted and sold in Christian fiction circles, and the author actively works to develop a following of readers who like her work. Then that same author turns around, changes her name and writes some pretty steamy–even erotic–stuff, or other types of stories that DO NOT ultimately glorify God. I have a problem with this. I feel betrayed. Used. Lied to.

In the discussion over on one of the bigger Christian groups, folks were quick to point out that pen names serve a lot of purposes–they protect a writer’s private life, family details, security clearances, certain relationships. Also, some authors argue, they don’t want to offend a fan who likes them for one particular genre by accidentally pulling them into a book in a different genre. Therefore, different names are a signal this is a book in a different genre.

I certainly don’t mean to imply that I am the Pen Name Police. Yes, authors certainly CAN write in any genre. They SHOULD write in any genre. But if you call yourself a follower of Christ, it is my argument a reader should ALWAYS be able to expect certain values to be a foundation in your work–for example, your book shouldn’t condone or glorify sin of any kind. And THAT is the crux of my argument. Some of these pen names are simply being used to mask, obfuscate, hide the true heart of the author.

So, as far as my work goes, it may not always be pretty. Sometimes it will be gritty. Occasionally, I go outside my genre. Heck, my stories may not win any awards, but the rock beneath my keyboard is Christ. Period.

 

For more discussions, exclusive content, first looks, giveaways, contests, and just plain fun, I hope you’ll consider signing up for my newsletter. We have a lot of fun! 

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The Fact Behind the Fiction is Even More Amazing

I know most often I focus on ladies in defiance–women who do amazing things or survive incredible situations. However, I was having a conversation about how truth is stranger and often more incredible than fiction. To prove my point, I shared the story of the man who is the inspiration behind my character of Dent Hernandez in Hang Your Heart on Christmas. I thought you might find it interesting as well. Enjoy!

The legendary Elfego Baca is the inspiration for my hero.

Image result for elfego baca Elfego’s father Francisco was a lawman, and, on occasion, he allowed his son to ride with him in pursuit of some pretty tough hombres. Francisco taught his son to shoot, to ride, to fight, and to wear the badge like a man of justice, not vengeance. He could not have foreseen how well the lessons would stick.

In 1884, nineteen-year-old Elfego learned that the rowdy cowhands from John Slaughter’s ranch were running roughshod over the mostly-Spanish community of Lower Frisco, NM. Raping, pillaging, the usual outlaw behavior. Outraged, Elfego somehow wrangled a badge (real, fake, the details are fuzzy) and headed off to clean up the town.

Not long after his arrival, he was alerted to the ungentlemanly behavior of one Charlie McCarty. Drunk and belligerent, McCarty was howling at the moon, firing his gun indiscriminately, and generally scaring the townsfolk silly. Baca arrested the cowhand straightaway.

As is always the case in these situations, things quickly spiraled out of control and Elfego Baca found himself hiding in a jacal (ha-cal – a flimsy structure-like a shack) and being shot at by between forty and eighty very annoyed cowboys. Hundreds of thousands of rounds were fired at him during a thirty-three-hour siege. Just the door to the one room, cedar-and-mud structure was hit nearly four hundred times!

Elfego survived unscathed.

He did, however, kill one cowboy, shoot one horse (which then fell on its rider and killed him), and wound several of his attackers.

When the siege was over, our young lawman still wasn’t done. He sent a letter to the cowboys who had tried to kill him. It read, “I have a warrant here for your arrest. Please come in by March 15 and give yourself up. If you don’t, I’ll know you intend to resist arrest, and I will feel justified in shooting you on sight when I come after you.”

Most of the men couldn’t surrender fast enough.

Elfego’s good fortune and startling bravado was the foundation of his legendary status. He lived a colorful, sometimes controversial, life as a lawman, attorney, politician, and hero. He left behind a statue and some tall tales. I thank him for being the inspiration behind Hang Your Heart on Christmas.

__________

By the way, Hang Your Heart is not only .99 this week, I just released the AUDIO version as well. Soooo many ways to enjoy a great story!

Who Were the Men Who Made Charles McIntyre?

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Quirt Evans

I often get asked if any of my characters are based on an actual person. Sometimes, they are, sometimes they’re straight out of my imagination. I thought it would be fun to share with you today who I saw in my head when I was writing one of my favorite and most popular characters, Charles McIntyre.

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Charles McIntyre

Who can resist a man running from love because he knows it will be his undoing? Think John Wayne’s classic character of Quirt Evans in Angel and the Bad Man. Well, Charles McIntyre is my sexy Southern scallywag (now mostly redeemed), lord of Defiance and the main man in my Defiance books. His character was born when I watched the movie The Harvey Girls. The actor who played opposite superstar Judy Garland in this flick was the up-and-coming John Hodiak.

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Ned Trent

Hodiak was one of the first to play a saloon owner AND bad boy redeemed by a good woman. Ned Trent was the name. Selling whiskey and women was his game.

Keeping these archetype characters in the back of my mind, I fell in love later on with Eric McCormack’s looks and portrayal of Clayton Mosby, entrepreneur, saloon owner, and bad boy in Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years. When I sat down to write the first Defiance book, A Lady in Defiance, these three characters and actors swirled in my head.

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Clayton Mosby

 

Eventually, of course, HBO released the graphic and gritty western Deadwood. The ruggedly handsome English actor Ian McShane played Al Swearengen, an entrepreneur, saloon owner, and bad boy with apparently no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I only watched one episode of Deadwood and that was a good three or four years after I’d finished ALID. The profanity, violence, and sex in this show went waaaay beyond my limits, so I can honestly say there is no direct link between my McIntyre and Swearengen.

But I will say this for McShane’s character: Swearengen was exactly the kind of soulless villain Charles McIntyre was based on. And the darker the soul, the more amazing the transformation when light touches it.

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Al Swearengen

I adore those tough men brought to their knees by love. Charles McIntyre is my absolute hero. One reader called him swoon-worthy. I love that. He was unrepentantly cruel, selfish, violent but turned to jello in Naomi’s hands–because real love, both of a good woman and of a perfect Savior, cannot/will not leave a man unchanged.

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