Comments, relating to the topic, are welcome, add a great deal to a blog, but must be in English, with no profanity, hate-filled insults, or links (unless pre-approved).

Saturday, May 28, 2016

a guest post by author MK McClintock

Once in awhile it's nice to see a guest post to get a different perspective on writing and inspiration. Incidentally, I am open to other guest posts. Maybe you are a photographer, a poet, or have a memoir you just finished, and if you'd like to write about your process, your dream, what you have done, email me and let me see what you have in mind. Because this blog is loosely structured (even I don't know what I'll be writing next week) there is opportunity for guest writers. :)

10 Favorite Book & Movie Heroes of the West
By MK McClintock

Sometimes a book or movie hero comes along who sparks an interest and remains with you long after you’ve closed the page. It’s tough to choose only a few because I have many favorites, and every time I read (or write) a new book, I risk finding another to add to my list. Rather than giving you my only “favorites,” here are the ones who readily come to mind from western books and movies.

Five Favorite Heroes from Books
-         Ethan Gallagher: Of course it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’d start with one of my own characters. I love all of the heroes in my book so very much, but Ethan from the Montana Gallagher series was my first hero which makes him extra special. For all of his faults and stubbornness, he is as close to my ideal hero as I can imagine. Chivalry, love of family, strength, and good looks only scratch the surface.
-         Morgan Longstreet: The hero in Jo Goodman’s novel In Want of a Wife, is like most of her other heroes—flawed, likeable, and kind of makes a girl want to time-travel to the 1800s just so she can be a mail-order bride for a man like this.
-         Chandos: The surly hero in Johanna Lindsey’s A Heart So Wild isn’t the usual dashing hero one might swoon over, and while I don’t swoon, I do happen to like everything about him from his sense of justice to his multitude of flaws.
-         Thomas Redstone: Kaki Warner’s hero in Home by Morning isn’t my typical choice of a favorite hero, but something about him stuck with me. Kind, wounded, strong, and a heart filled with love for one woman.
-         Charley Collins: This guy is on my mind simply because I recently read Jodi Thomas’s Lone Heart Pass. I rarely add a contemporary hero to my list of favorites, but gosh darn it, I liked Charley. Another wounded “warrior” (sense a theme here) and all-around good guy who’s just trying to do what’s best for his family.

Five Favorite Heroes (actors) from Movies
-         Tom Selleck: I like just about any western movie he’s been in which means pick a character and he’s on my list. Even Quigley Down Under (which isn’t an American Western) counts in my book. Come on, it’s Tom Selleck.
-         Sam Elliott: Ditto what I wrote about Tom Selleck, although I must say that his character Conn Conagher in the movie Conagher tops my list. Haven’t seen it? Watch it and you’ll know what I mean.
-         Val Kilmer: Doc Holiday isn’t what you’d call a mainstream hero, but Val Kilmer plays the role so well in Tombstone. Humor, more flaws than any one person needs, and loyal as the day is long.
-         John Wayne: I’m not sure you could have a favorite list without JW on it. I’m partial to True Grit and Cowboys.
-         Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall: They get to share a spot because they both did a fantastic job in Open Range. If you want to give them more bonus points for individual movies, remember Dances with Wolves, Broken Trail, and Lonesome Dove.
Author Bio
MK McClintock is the award-winning author of several books and short stories, including the popular "Montana Gallagher" series, the "Crooked Creek" series set in post-Civil War Montana, and the highly-acclaimed "British Agent" novels. She spins tales of romance, adventure, and mystery set in the 1800s. With her heart deeply rooted in the past and her mind always on adventure, she lives a quiet life in the Rocky Mountains.

Learn more about MK by visiting her website:

You can also connect with MK online at: Books & Benches | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter

The Montana Gallaghers
One man could not destroy them. Another could not tear them apart. They fought for their family, their love, and their legacy . . . and they survived.

"The Montana Gallagher Collection is adventurous and romantic with scenes that transport you into the wild west." —InD'Tale Magazine

Escape to the old west with classic novels of family, adventure, and love from the Montana Gallagher collection. Adventure, danger, and timeless love—The Montana Gallaghers is a series about a frontier family's legacy, healing old wounds, and fighting for the land they love. Get ready for a romantic and adventure ride through nineteenth-century Montana Territory.

Current Titles in the Montana Gallagher Series:
Gallagher’s Pride
Gallagher’s Hope
Gallagher’s Choice
An Angel Called Gallagher
Journey to Hawks Peak (Coming late 2016)

Sexual Content Rating: Subtle/Clean Romance
Genre: Historical Western Romance/Western Adventure

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

a high country vacation

For the last week, we've been on the road, with our truck and trailer, which means using a hotspot (they work quite well if you have cell coverage) for Internet. We've been enjoying the beauty of the high desert-- even with less than perfect weather, which went from hot to cold

In a campground, at Lava Beds NM, we met friends. This is in Northern California where there is history, mysticism, and natural beauty. For me, it's always been great to meet someone I've known only online. In this case, even online, I only knew one of the women, who has a future as a writer, I think. I didn't know her friend or husband. The men got along very well, and we three women enjoyed each other. We had some great conversations and shared bits of our lives. My friend and her husband have had catastrophic health problems, which are not resolved at this point, but their attitude toward what they face is courageous. They are living their lives as fully as they can, which is inspiring. I hope she writes some of her stories as they should be out there.

I think I will set a future contemporary paranormal in the Tule Lake and Lava Beds area-- lots of inspiration with its history and current conflicts over land use.  I will post more photos next week.

Being somewhere like that is how ideas for books come about. I don't use people I know or their stories. My characters come from my imagination, but the settings, which very much become characters in my books, they are real even if I have to change a name to avoid someone thinking I am using real people. Sometimes a setting calls out for a book as happened with me in December at Barrio Viejo or again in Northern California.

I like writing historical and contemporary books. Some writers feel they should use different names when they move into a different sub-genre, but I feel the heart of my books stays the same-- and people aren't as different as some might think even if cultural norms do change-- and have even in my lifetime.

With my new series, The Hemstreet Witches, it's been fun to work out a supernatural set of parameters and set the story in a place I love spending time-- Arizona. The stories won't all be in Tucson area although the first one will. The Enchantress' Secret is due out the end of May or first of June-- depending on when we get back to the farm as not easy to publish from the road.

 Images were all purchased from CanStock Photos. This will be in the eBook trailer

Saturday, May 21, 2016

May roses

There is no doubt in my mind that writing seriously, as opposed to writing for fun, is darned hard work. The work doesn't stop when the writer goes to bed or watches something on television. It is there all the time and requires many hours at a keyboard whether writing sitting on a sofa, standing up to a platform, or most commonly-- at a desk.

Those hours at a keyboard are bad for weight gain and not particularly healthy for the back, feet or legs. Some writers get around that by writing on a laptop on the sofa or getting a standing desk. But one way or the other, you're not moving around enough for health.

There are certain stages in writing a book that are easier for me than others.  There is always a satisfaction when I reach the end-- especially after the first major edit is over, and the book is off to beta readers, but..

But he that dares not grasp the thorn Should never crave the rose.
Read more at:
But he that dares not grasp the thorn Should never crave the rose.
Read more at:
 But he that dares not grasp the thorn 
Should never crave the rose. Anne Bronte
But he that dares not grasp the thorn Should never crave the rose.
Read more at:

In honor of that happening for my recent book on May 13th, yes, Friday the 13th, the following are photos of our rose garden this May. This has been a fantastic spring for the roses, helped along by Ranch Boss using chitosan and copper sulfphate a few weeks back as a protection from fungii, like black spot. Most of these are tea roses and their leaves look so healthy that it's unbelievable. It doesn't protect from insect problems, which is good since the bees need all the help they can get. 


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Western Oregon in May

It's May-- It's May, the lusty month of May. 

And it does feel that way with flowers in bloom, birds on their nests, bird calls in the air, and beauty everywhere I look.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

the guys on the covers

In romance novels, the heroes face challenges, often dangerous quests, and in the most inconvenient of times, they fall in love. These guys are generally stronger, luckier, and more handsome than the average man. For critics, that is their complaint with romance novels-- those guys aren't real. It's interesting that they can watch a movie starring Brad Pitt, Clark Gable, James Garner, George Clooney etc. and that's okay. But in a romance book, they sneer at these bigger than life guys, the kind if you saw them in a store, you'd have a hard time not turning and looking (but you wouldn't because you are polite-- uh huh).

I was thinking about this because of recently needing to go through images needed for putting together covers and trailers. Some, that I have bought,
never make it to covers or trailers. They still serve an important function in helping me keep my characters feeling real to me. I often buy images for secondary characters because they are also important in a story. I especially like my heroes to have another man they can look to for support or to tell them when they are off base.

In finding images for these heroes, I've gotten to know more about some of the models who have this as a business-- providing royalty free photos that work on a cover, that bring the hero to life

The guys in the business of cover images have to strike poses where they show emotions. They wear costuming to fit various time periods and actions. Many of them work at other jobs, because like writers, there isn't always a lot of money in what they do. Some have acting jobs as they are actors.

Having some of them as 'friends' on Facebook, I've gotten to know more about their work ethic, what they bring to the shoots, their kids and partners. There, I see them in casual settings as well in images I can use for my next covers. Personally, I like using models who are also nice people. I think a lot of that shows through photos. Some might say that working out to look as they do is about ego, but it's really about a business-- their body is their business.  

I am just glad they are out there doing it for writers like me who don't always make a lot of money and yet want their covers looking as professional as those from the top publishing houses. These guys (and their female counterparts) help that happen. The following are the ones, who will be in the trailers and on the covers for my next series.

Jimmy Thomas at Romance Novel Covers where he also posts other models. He also puts together a yearly convention, which brings together readers, writers, and models.

Vikkas Bhadwaj has his images at Vikkas Zone where he works to find costuming and emotional responses that writers need. He has some interesting videos also that show how these shoots are done.

The next three models are all on Period Images where they pose for assorted periods in history, romances, and battle sequences. They can do it all and Period Images is good at the costuming.

Brad and Foster

Grigoris Drakakis at his own site: My Photos

You will notice there are six of them. How can that be since these 5 books will all be romances-- which means one hero and one heroine? Simple-- one is a ghost.