Monday 19 February 2024

Head back to 1954 in Lynn Downey's latest novel - Dude or Die


Dude or Die
By Lynn Downey

Publication Date: October 15, 2023
Publisher: Pronghorn Press
Page Length: 328
Genre: Historical Fiction

It’s 1954, and San Francisco writer Phoebe Kelley is enjoying the success of her first novel, Lady in the Desert. When Phoebe’s sister-in-law asks her to return to Tribulation, Arizona to help run the H Double Bar Dude Ranch, she doesn’t hesitate. There’s competition from a new dude ranch this year, so the H Double Bar puts on a rodeo featuring a trick rider with a mysterious past. When accidents begin to happen around the ranch, Phoebe jumps in to figure out why, and confronts an unexpected foe. And a man from her own past forces her to confront feelings long buried. Dude or Die is the second book in the award-winning H Double Bar Dude Ranch series. 


“Thank you, Mrs. Watts. I am very happy to be here, and I can tell you that Berry-Wise is, too. I live in Sebastopol, which is in northern California, and where my family were farmers. For many years I’ve been working for the owner of the largest berry farm in the area, called Western Pride.

“The owner, Mr. Ivar Danielson, saw that I loved horses and let me exercise some of his animals after I finished mucking out the stables and doing other chores. He raised quarter horses and one day he bought a young roan he named Berry-Wise.”

One of the boys interrupted just then and got his question out before his mother shushed him.

“Why is he called that?”

Eden smiled and asked the boy his name. “Jason McIntyre,” he said as his brothers, Christopher and Matthew, rolled their eyes and their mother, Gladys, tried not to. Fred, the boys’ father, was a script reader for a TV series in Los Angeles, and he was as interested in Eden’s story as his son was.

“Well, Jason, he’s a strawberry roan, he lives on a strawberry farm, and he’s a very wise horse. So, that’s why he’s called Berry-Wise. Anyway, Mr. Danielson hired me to start exercising his horses, too, and Berry-Wise was my favorite. About the same time, I went to some local rodeos and saw young people doing trick riding stunts, which looked like a lot of fun, so I decided to learn some of them for myself when I was taking Berry out for his run. One day, Mr. Danielson saw what I was doing.”

She paused, and as expected, she had everyone’s full attention. She then turned back to Jason and said, “What do you think happened next?”

“You got in trouble!” he said without the slightest hesitation, and everyone laughed.

Eden joined in and said, “Well, guess what? I didn’t get in trouble. In fact, Mr. Danielson was so impressed he gave me time to practice the tricks I was learning with Berry-Wise. I entered the rodeos around where I lived, and started winning prizes. Berry’s owner then made me a bargain: if I would help advertise the berry farm, he would sponsor me to travel even farther to show was a great trick riding horse Berry-Wise is.”

Pick up your copy HERE!
This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.

Lynn Downey

Lynn Downey is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, historian of the West, and native Californian.

She was the Historian for Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco for 25 years. Her adventures as ambassador for company history took her around the world, where she spoke to television audiences, magazine editors, and university students, appeared in numerous documentaries, and on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She wrote many books and articles about the history of the company and the jeans, and her biography, Levi Strauss: The Man Who Gave Blue Jeans to the World, won the Foreword Reviews silver INDIE award.

Lynn got interested in dude ranches during her time at Levi’s. Her debut historical novel, Dudes Rush In, is set on an Arizona dude ranch in the 1950s; Arizona because she’s a desert rat at heart, and the 1950s because the clothes were fabulous.

Dudes Rush In won a Will Rogers Medallion Award, and placed first in Arizona Historical Fiction at the New Mexico-Arizona book awards. The next book in this series, Dude or Die, was released in 2023. And just for fun, Lynn wrote a screenplay based on Dudes Rush In, which is currently making the rounds of reviewers and competitions.

She pens short stories, as well. “The Wind and the Widow” took Honorable Mention in the History Through Fiction story contest, and “Incident at the Circle H” was a Finalist for the Longhorn Prize from Saddlebag Dispatches. The story “Goldie Hawn at the Good Karma Café,” won second place in The LAURA Short Fiction contest from Women Writing the West, and is based on her experiences in a San Francisco religious cult in the 1970s. (That will be another book one of these days.)  

Lynn’s latest nonfiction book is American Dude Ranch: A Touch of the Cowboy and the Thrill of the West, a cultural history of the dude ranch. It was reviewed in The Wall Street Journal, True West, Cowgirl, and The Denver Post, and was a Finalist for the Next Generation INDIE Award in Nonfiction. Kirkus Reviews said the book is “…deeply engaging and balances accessible writing style with solid research.”

When she’s not writing, Lynn works as a consulting archivist and historian for museums, libraries, cultural institutions, and businesses. She is the past president of Women Writing the West, a member of the Western Writers of America, and is on numerous boards devoted to archives and historic preservation. 

Lynn lives in Sonoma, California, where she sometimes makes wine from the Pinot Noir grapes in her back yard vineyard.

Connect with Lynn:

#DudeRanch #HistoricalFiction #WomensFiction #WesternWomen #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting Lynn Downey today!

    Take care,
    Cathie xx
    The Coffee Pot Book Club


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Mary Anne xxx