The official blog of Historical Fiction author, Mary Anne Yarde, and home to The Coffee Pot Book Club. Come and join Mary Anne on the hunt for everything historical, as well as mythological. Oh, and let's not forget the odd book or two! Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy...
Please give a warm
welcome to Western Romance author, Patti Sherry-Crews.
Sometimes as a writer, I
have to pull characters and plot lines out of thin air to craft a story. Other
times, I’m able to share stories that have lived in my head for years. Such was
the case with my first historical western, Margarita and the Hired Gun.
But where did the seeds
that took root to become this novel come from? Reading classic quest or
journey tales like the Odyssey and watching old movies with my grandma, that's
There’s something about
setting a character off on a journey, ending in self-discovery which piques my
interest. I love to watch a character being tested and meeting challenges to
come out at the end of the trail a stronger person.
Now, put two mismatched
strangers together on that journey and you’ve got a romance of epic
The African Queen
So, it with a nod to all
the great journey tales and odd-ball couple movies, I set Margarita and Michael
(AKA Rafferty) off on a journey.
Margarita McIntosh is a
westerner by birth, but after her mother dies she’s sent to boarding schools
out east. In her sheltered life, she’s never had to fend for herself. But,
there's a change in her fortunes, and the pampered princess finds herself
traveling for weeks on horseback, sleeping on the ground, battling the
elements, and facing danger all alongside a big, scary Irishman.
transformation is about finding her inner strength under trying circumstances,
Michael’s journey is more of a spiritual one. Forced to flee Ireland, he has
spent in years in America doing just about every bad thing a man can do in
order to survive. He entertains Margarita around the campfire with his stories
of time spent in a tenement in New York, his escape as a sharpshooter in the
Civil War, and riding with an outlaw gang.
is wounded, the pair have to hole up at an outlaw hideout for a few days,
posing as husband and wife. He meets up with some old acquaintances while
there. This part of their adventure inspired by my fondness for the Hole in the
Wall hideout scene in the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.)
Butch and Sundance’s cabin
Every step forward on
their journey together, Michael begins to shed his outer layers. As he starts
to see himself fresh through the naive young woman's eyes, he remembers the man
he once was and can possibly be again. He tells her his real name and every
time she uses it (which she frequently does), it’s like a wakeup call to his
soul. Margarita is his conscience personified.
One of the most poignant
moments in the book (in my opinion) is just as the two have had their first
flirty moment, they are attacked. Although Michael saves her, the act of
violence repulses Margarita. Michael is pulled right back to Rafferty.
He raised his hand and stroked her cheek with
the back of his fingers. Margarita recoiled. He reacted like she’d slapped him.
“I saved your life!” “I know, I know. I’m grateful.” The image came back to
her. Michael standing over that wounded man, his eyes so dark they looked like
cold, black stones, ready to cave the man’s head in with his boot. “This is
what I do. You knew that.” “Knowing and seeing are two different things.” He
sat back, looking away from her. “Ah, that’s it.” “In getting to know Michael
Byrne, I forgot about Rafferty.” He looked back at her with a pained
expression, but then his eyes hardened with anger. She sat back further away
from him. “Margarita, those two men are not like any men I hazard you’ve ever
met before. I know the kinds of things they’ve done. Do you know what they
would’ve done to you before they killed you?” He pulled a gun out of his pocket
and held it sideways in front of her face. “This is the gun I took off Brady.
Do you see the notches in the handle? Each notch represents a person he
killed.” “I imagine you’ve killed more.” “Maybe, but he was proud of the people
he killed. So proud, he struck a line in the handle of his gun for each kill. I
am never proud of killing a man. Every man I dispatch is one more notch in my soul.
I don’t need to put notches in my gun.” He stuck the gun back in his pocket.
His face contorted with anger. “Listen, I have killed men. Lots of them, and
killing is killing. I’m not excusing the things I’ve done. But I vowed when I
deserted from the army I would never shoot another innocent man. I’ve had to
pull the trigger on men who were ready to do the same to me, and I’ve been
hired to take out men who were acting out of the reach of the law. Murderers
and outlaws. I may be fooling myself, but I think the world is better off
without those men.” He stood up and began pacing, different emotions warring
over his face. Then, he turned to her and pointed his finger at her. “And don’t
you look down your nose at me. How do you think your father paid for your fancy
clothes and schools?” “You said my father didn’t kill innocent people.” “He
didn’t have to, because he hired me to persuade them to see things his way. I
didn’t have to kill any of them.” He stood up then, raking his hand through his
hair, putting his emotions back into order. “Come on, let’s find their horses.
You’d like your own mount again, wouldn’t you?” He held out a hand to her, but
she couldn’t make herself put her hand in his. He made a clucking sound and
turned away from her. Margarita hurried to walk behind him. Whatever else he
was, he was her protection, and she now knew there were things to be afraid of.
And, now, Margarita and
Michael hit the trail again along with five other full length novels in Under a
Western Sky! And what great company to be in along with Prairie Rose
Publications authors Cheryl Pierson, Kaye Spencer, Tracey Garrrett, Agnes
Alexander, and Celia Yeary.
Where do the very best
love stories blossom? UNDER A WESTERN SKY, of course! This fabulous boxed set
of six tales of danger and romance are sure to capture your imagination as you
are carried away to the old west. Handsome marshals, Texas Rangers,
gunslingers, and wealthy landowners meet their matches with the daring women
they happen to fall in love with, and you won’t want to put this boxed set down
until you’ve read the very last story!
Patti Sherry-Crews lives
in Evanston, Illinois with her husband and two children. She went to Grinnell
College and spent her junior year at the University of North Wales, UK. Sometimes
she likes to play with cowboys and Indians, other times with knights in shining
armor, and then there are times she stays in her own century.
McIntosh is not used to being forced to do things she doesn’t want to do—but
when her father, Jock, sends her away for her own safety, she has no choice.
The long journey from Flagstaff to Durango tests her personal strength of will
as never before, and the secret she carries in her saddlebag could be the death
A rough Irish gunman,
known to her only as “Rafferty”, is entrusted with getting her to her
destination “safe and intact”—something he fully intends to do to claim the reward
he’s been promised by Jock McIntosh. With a price on his head, the promised
money is Rafferty’s ticket to a new life, and he’s not going to jeopardize that
for anything—not even love.
But there are steamy
nights and dangers all along the arduous trail for MARGARITA AND THE HIRED GUN,
with deadly secrets between them that passion cannot erase. With her father’s
enemies after her and the secret she conceals, will Rafferty’s protection be
enough to save their lives? And will the heat of their passionate love be
enough to seal their future together—if they do survive?