Monday, August 26, 2013


By Andrea Downing

When I was growing up I loved horses.  Many little girls do, but I daydreamed about them and it was my constant wish to just get on one and ride away—from New York! That love of horses in turn led to a love of westerns on t.v.  You name one, I watched it:  every one from Bonanza through The High Chaparral on to Alias Smith and Jones right up to…well, Hell on Wheels.  But it wasn’t until I had a daughter who also loved horses, that I was finally able to do something about this great love affair with The West.  We started vacationing on ranches.

     The idea of dude ranches came about as “needs must” after the desperate winter of 1886 when many ranches, for a time, could not support themselves.  Nowadays, dude ranches are as varied as the land upon which they sit.  They can be nothing short of luxury resorts, with well-appointed casitas and numerous facilities, to hard-riding, working cattle ranches where the guests help out.  To date, my daughter and I have clocked up about 18 different ranches.  There are a few to which we’ve returned, or would like to return, but the desire for a change of country and riding terrain hits us and we generally head for new vistas.


Last May was the first time we stayed at a ranch in Nevada.  It was a working cattle ranch and we rode out to look for strays, helped a bit in the kitchen, and watched the cowboys at branding time.  One of the young cowboys was there only for the summer.  A student at a college in CA, his father had been a cowboy and he was, for a time, following in his dad’s footsteps.  He was a hard worker, caring and watchful when we rode out with him, and he sang like Jamey Johnson.  His name was Dylan J. Kane and, while he wouldn’t trade me his spurs as hard as I tried to convince him, I agreed with him that his name was perfect for a western hero. 

 It’s the name of my hero—the marshal—in Lawless Love.
(The real Dylan J. Kane in the photo on the right, the one with the beard.)



Lacey Everhart has carved out a tough existence in the wilds of 1880s Wyoming, working hard to build a secure life for herself and her younger brother, Luke. She will stop at nothing to protect what’s hers and keep them safe. Even if it means keeping a secret that could destroy their lives.

Marshal Dylan J. Kane is a man who considers everything as black and white, right or wrong. He's never seen life any other way until he sets eyes on Lacey. Suddenly the straight and narrow that he's followed has a few twists and turns. Loving Lacey offers the home life for which he hankers...but can he really love a woman who seems to be plain lawless? 


     Lacey thought of fluttering her eyelashes, but it was such a silly thing to do. How could women act like that? She just looked up at the marshal and waited, the possibilities turning over in her mind, flitting through her head but never settling.
 “You wanna tell me what really happened now so we can try to sort this matter? All I can do is promise I’ll do everything in my power to sort it for you, but I cain’t help you less’n you tell the truth. You tell me lies and make me look a dang fool, there’s nothin’ I can do. You understand that?”

Along with the tiniest nod, she clasped her hands together. She looked up at Dylan Kane and saw kindness in that face, a face she could so easily have loved had things been different. She could sense the heat radiating from his body and knew if she touched his chest, a strength would exist where his heart beat. If she ran her hand down his arms, she would find that same strength in his muscle. How she wanted those arms around her! All her life, it seemed, she had looked after herself, cared for her brother, struggled to make a home for the two of them. What would it have been like if Morgan had not...
 “Lacey?” Dylan’s soft voice brought her back from her reveries. “You ready to tell the truth?” With one gentle finger, he lifted her chin so their gazes met for a moment before they each stepped back from the brink of something neither could control. “Lacey?” he repeated.

“Yes, I’m ready.”
In celebration of the forthcoming release of Lawless Love Andrea will send a copy to one lucky person who leaves a comment--to be randomly selected.  Happy Reading
Twitter:  @andidowning

Lawless Love is currently only available on Amazon at    

It will be published and available on all sites Sept. 4.
Loveland, a finalist for the RONE Awards tab this Friday, is available at


  1. Great post, Andrea. Thanks for sharing today. Wishing you continued success.

  2. Nice to see you at Sweethearts, Andrea! Visiting dude ranches -- what a fun way to do research. Some people collect knick-knacks during their travels, but your "collection" of dude-ranch experiences also fuels your writing, allowing readers to "collect" right along with you.

    Best wishes for success with your new release! :-)

  3. Hi there all, I'm really pleased to be here today. Thanks for your kind words, Caroline and Kathleen. I'm certainly looking forward to Sept. 4 when the book comes out!

  4. My family lived on an old dude ranch until a few months before I was born. I've never been able to find it's history other than it was active as a dude ranch in the twenties. When I'm back "home" in Montana, I seem to run out of steam or time before I get very far. But you know, Andrea, you may have kicked my desire to know more into high gear. Enjoyed Lawless.Interesting you took his name from a real live cowboy.

  5. Oops I forgot. I guess I ought to explain to the others reading this that I read Lawless in manuscript form as you have read some of my manuscripts for me.

  6. Hi, Andrea--I apologize for leaving off "Love" in the title--
    "Lawless Love," when I promoted it around this morning. The first thing I did was get a cup of coffee, take one sip, and started sending my note around. That's what happens when I try to work with only one eye open--the other one was still asleep, I guess.
    But it does sound like a wonderful story. Best wishes on its debut in September, and remind us again.
    Thanks for being our guest--Celia

  7. I really love it when an author writes from real experiences. When you run across a person with a cool name, you just can't help putting that name in a story.
    I enjoyed the excerpt.
    I've only ridden a horse once when I lived in Nebraska...not a horse woman at all, but I love to read about them.
    I hope you and your daughter continue to enjoy different dude ranches. You could write a recommendation about them for a travel magazine. You probably already thought of that.
    Great blog, Andrea. I wish you the very best.

  8. Celia, no problem about the Lawless Love, Love bit being left out. I suspect most visitors either come to a blog because of the topic or the person, not the book!!

    Eunice, you and I will have to try to sort out which ranch your parents were on and whether it is still a dude ranch!!

    And Sarah, and anyone else who is interested, there is an excellent guide/now a website to dude ranches maintained by Eugene Gilgore. Gilgore's book, before internet, was our bible for choosing which ranch next!

  9. Enjoyed learning about Andrea, and the book sounds great. Love to have a copy.

  10. I'll put your name in the hat, Charlene! Good luck and thanks for stopping but.

  11. Andrea, Reads like you have another winner here. Also enjoyed learning of you and your daughter's fascination with dude ranches. Sounds like a perfect way to spend time together. Will definitely have to read this one.

  12. I love the beautiful cover. I'm one of those sissy girls that are afraid of horses, but I love reading about them. Best of success with this new story.
    Eight Months of Flowers Giveaway: Zinnias From My Garden To Yours

  13. Hi Andrea, I had the great pleasure of spending time at the Silver Spur Guest Ranch in Bandera, Texas a few years ago. It so rocked. And I have used much of my experience in my inspirational contemporaries. The most fun I ever had, though, was a wagon train trip around the Tetons, sponsored by a ranch outside Jackson, Wyoming. Ah.

    Best of luck with the new release; awesome cover and excerpt.

  14. Thanks for your good wishes, Velda and Lynda. Tanya, were you at the Silver Spur for TWRP retreat? I went to the last one there, last year, and had a lovely time. I'm also curious as to which ranch outside of jackson sponsored your wagon train? I've been to two there, and Jackson is my adopted home.

  15. A great post thank you. I've never been to a Dude Ranch, but it could be loads of fun.

  16. Well, after reading about your love of horses, dude ranches and all things West, I will be waiting for Sept. 4 so I can get my book copy of "Lawless." Your excerpt sold me :)

    Loved getting to know a bit more about you, Andi :) See you in KC!


  17. Andrea, what a wonderful connection you and your daughter have. I've been to a dude ranch twice and loved it though at my age I wasn't up to helping do anything.

    Lawless sounds like a winner! Best of luck with sales!


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