Wednesday, March 8, 2017


By Celia Yeary

Lee King, the hero in TEXAS DREAMER, first appeared in Texas Blue, my very first novel. He was three, a wild little boy who galloped around the yard on an imaginary horse, played with his bigger brother Dalton, and often ran to his mother in little children do.

I have used other characters from Texas Blue to write more stories, but somehow I always overlooked the little guy, the baby of the family, Lee.
Now, it's his turn.

Lee King became my Texas "dreamer."
For some reason even I can't explain, Lee King ran away from his perfectly good home at age fourteen and began to wander, always moving west.

What happened to him?
Ah, at last, I had my fourth Texas novel: TEXAS DREAMER.
TEXAS DREAMER moves into the early Twentieth Century. This presented a problem, because I want to write stories set in the Nineteenth Century. In addition, I managed to confuse some readers when they got to the elevator and learned Lee's brother owned one of the automobiles. Some readers questioned me about the time frame of the story.

However, during those early days of the new century, Texans lived much like they had during the 1900's. This mean coal oil lamps and no running water and outhouses.

What makes Lee King different? Well, as a rancher, he also becomes one of the early successful oil men in Texas. He dreams big and goes about making his dreams come true.

While researching early Texas oilmen in North Texas, I ran across Sherman McIlRoy, a pioneer oilman. Sherman moved from Arkansas with his family to North Texas and remained until he was old enough to leave home. When he did, he followed the lure of the gold rush.
This man gave me a story for my character, Lee King.

By age seventeen, hero Lee King landed in an old gold mining town in Colorado as a homeless drunk. Two grizzled old men took him in, and soon Lee King had discovered a gold mine. The gold mine, though, was cattle, and then...well, I had to create a scenario to keep Lee King in Texas, and to make him not only a successful rancher, but a fortunate oilman, too.

Houston in 1910 had 78,000 residents and numerous "high rise" buildings...which meant most were about 10 stories. There were 800 automobiles in town, owned by the very wealthy. Most residents walked, rode the streetcars, rode a horse, or used a horse and buggy. The multi-story buildings boasted electric elevators, run by a young man in a red suit and hat.
Lee travels from his ranch just west of Fort Worth to Houston to find his older brother Dalton. Dalton is eager to help his little brother, but learns that Lee only wants to find someone to work with him, a capable man around oil. Dalton leads him to Tex McDougal.
She turned in a circle with her head thrown back, looking at the ceiling. "Ohhhh, damn you!"
Whoa. The lady cursed. Lee wanted to laugh. She was tall and very slender, and maybe a good wind could blow her over. But no, she had grit and a backbone. Good for her.
Lee lowered his voice and spoke very quietly. "Where is he, Miss McDougal. You are his daughter, aren't you?"
"You know, you have gall to step up here on my porch and make demands. I nor my father know you, nor do we owe you the time of day, let alone a private meeting. I'm asking you, what's your name?"
"Is that your given name or surname?"
"Given. All right, I'm Lee King, and yes, I'm related to Dalton King. He's my older brother and he sent me to find your father. Now. With that out of the way, where may I locate the gentleman?"
Her shoulders sagged and she sighed. Lowering her chin and looking at the toes of her well-worn lace-up boots, she spoke. "At the barns, the stables, where this neighborhood keeps its horses. Give me a minute, and I'll take you."
Lee stepped back and touched the brim of his Western hat. "Thank you, ma'am. I'll just wait here on the porch."
When she walked away and up the stairs, he sat down in one of the two chairs on the porch. The thing looked rickety, made of some kind of straw, but it held him well enough. Like Dalton, he carried some weight. Being over six feet tall, hard work kept fat off him, but it sure did build up his body. He checked his callused hands, making sure he'd properly removed all the built-up grime.
The lady walked out the door, pulling the main door shut behind her.
"My name is Emilie. You may call me Miss McDougal."
"Yes, ma'am." He grinned to himself. Now look at her, all prim and proper with her pretty straw bonnet on her shining dark hair, carrying some kind of tiny bag on her wrist. None of it matched the worn calico ankle-length dress she wore, the sleeves now rolled down and buttoned at the wrist, and the neck buttoned up tight. He liked her height, not too tall, but enough so that he wouldn't have to bend down if he were to kiss...Damn. Where did that come from?
Miss McDougal was a study in contrasts. He wondered about her background, her education, if she had any, and why was she living alone with her father?
The father. Tex McDougal. What kind of man was he, anyway?
He remained silent as she walked with him down a few blocks to a big open space, a corral filled with horses. The stables were on either side of the area, and she turned to the left, opened an iron gate, and led him down a walkway to a line of stables. At the sixth one, she stopped and opened the half door to the stall. She stepped aside and motioned for him to enter.
The sight stunned him. There was no horse in the stall, but an older man slept rolled up into a ball on a pile of straw. The clothes he wore probably had not been changed for two weeks. The pants were filthy and the shirt faded and sweat-stained. Dried manure and straw covered his boots.
The man, obviously Tex McDougal, snored, intermingled with gurgles and snorts. His hat lay in the dirt. He was out cold.
He was dead drunk.
"There he is, Mr. King. Go ahead. Talk to him. Ask him for help with all his knowledge and expertise. If you can rouse him."
Lee stared at the man, and then at the young woman. Tears shimmered in her eyes. She stood with her shoulders stiff and her chin raised high, with her hands clasped tightly in front of her. Her chin trembled.
"Go away, Mr. King. Don't bother us again."
She turned to leave, but Lee got to the door first. On his way out, he picked up an empty bucket and took it to the water pump. When it was full, he carried it back to the stall and threw the water on Mr. Tex McDougal, well-respected oil man.
Instead of berating him as he expected, Emilie turned and began to walk away.
She stopped and turned halfway. "Yes?"
"Go home and make some strong coffee and have plenty of sugar to put in it. We'll be there directly."
Surprisingly, she turned and sedately walked away in the direction of home.
Now what? Lee's gut burned with disgust mingled with some empathy.
He saw himself ten years ago in Colorado, broke, lost, alone...lonely...without a direction. The memories made him shudder. At barely age seventeen, he was washed up, a drunk, good for nothing and good for nobody. But he remembered the two grizzled miners in the camp who found him behind the woodpile, puking up his guts, sick in body, mind, and spirit. They said little, made no comments, did not criticize. They just hauled his backside up the hill to their makeshift cabin and threw him on a dirty bed. From there, events began to turn in his favor, and before he knew it, he'd struck gold.
The gold he found, though, wasn't in the hills of Colorado. The priceless commodity turned out to be land in northwest Texas near the Panhandle. How he acquired those thousands of acres had been a stroke of luck. A pure stroke of unexpected luck.  A turn of the cards.
* * * * *
Lee King is a dreamer. When he realizes he was born under a lucky star, he went for the jackpot and won. But winning a big prize isn't the same as keeping it safe from interlopers and greedy fortune hunters--including women. When oilman Tex McDougal crosses his path, Lee believes he has found the perfect man to help him. His daughter, Emilie McDougal, while not a buxom beauty, impresses him with her intelligence, her courage, and her selflessness. Could he strike a financial bargain with her? One that would suit them both?
Emilie McDougal has no family except her father, Tex, and she has followed in his footsteps from age one. When Lee King enters their lives, she begins to dream--for the first time in her life. She only wants one thing from Lee, one tiny thing that would make her life complete.
Would he agree to her counter-bargain?
Second Excerpt:
She circled her arms around the mare's neck and whispered in her ear. The mare nodded, as though saying, "yes" to something. Emilie laughed, rubbed her ears, and patted her neck. She walked all around the horse, touching and talking softly, as though wooing a lover.
Lee couldn't take his eyes off Emilie. Here was her soft side he'd never seen. Would she treat a man...a lover...the same way? Whispering, softly laughing, touching?
TEXAS DREAMER-From Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery.
March 5-11


  1. Celia,

    I love Lee and Emilie's story. Your heroes are so skillfully drawn - just he right amount of manliness and tenderness. Maggie

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Maggie. I appreciate the to sell some books!

  2. I can see your daddy's influence in this story, Celia. Oil fields are something you know about because of him.
    I liked the part in the excerpt where Lee remembers what it was like to be young, lonely, and lost. He's not squishy soft, but he does have deep empathy because of his own experiences. I loved all the "Texas" stories. They are exceptional stories as are all of your stories. I particularly like reading stories in a series.
    I wish you all the best, my friend.

    1. You are absolutely correct--oil fields, oil fields...I got my first kiss out in the country while "parked" with a boy beside an oil pump!
      I hate to see this series end, but it has. However, I could write a series called The DeLeons of Texas--this would be Sam Deleon and True Cameron from Texas True. They ended up with three offspring who would make good characters. But when? Thanks so much for dropping by!!!

  3. Loved the post, Celia. We can't help drawing on our own pasts for our stories, can we? This was a particularly good one!

    1. Why let a good past go to waste? Right? Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Oh, I love this. Nothing like a strong man to heal a wounded woman. I love your reference to the elevator. It was invented earlier than most people realize. The Metropole in Waco had one in 1890. Best of luck with this story.

  5. Thanks, Linda. It's been out a while and has not sold like the other Texas books. One reader complained about the elevator because she though she was reading a western historical--not a contemporary novel---see? Confusing. Another made mention of the car, too. Since this Read an eBook week campaign, it has picked up some readers! Wow, is promotion difficult and time-consuming.

  6. Very interesting. I might need me a western read.


Thank you for visiting Sweethearts of the West! We are very sad to require comment moderation now due to the actions of a few spam comments. Thank you for your patience.