I have Loving Anabelle in edits as I speak. I wrote it for Debra Holland's Montana Sky Publishing. It will release this summer. I haven't had a historical western release in quite a long while. And there's another planned for this fall. So there's two coming this year plus a contemporary western.
I have a love/hate relationship with historical westerns when it comes to writing them. As you know I'm very picky about accuracy. And that sends me researching the strangest of things. That also means I fall down rabbit holes and get completely side-tracked gathering info that I will never use. But then again strange tidbits surface in the oddest of places.
Probably everyone knows about the jackrabbits that live in the west. They make our little eastern bunnies look like Toy Poodles next to Rottweilers. But did you know they are endangered? They are. As a child, I remember seeing them in my uncle's backyard in California. The jackrabbits made their homes amongst the orange groves that surrounded his house.
Maybe it's the jackalopes that have fascinated me since those early days of spotting the jackrabbits. We don't see them very often in the east, but taxidermy jackalopes do exist. Now try to explain to a six-year-old that the taxidermy jackalope isn't real. Of course not, just like that deer head is not alive. At six, I didn't get it. So when a local restaurant that claims western fame for their beef recently added a jackalope to their wall, I had to grab a picture.
Yes, I did it. I couldn't help myself. I wanted a picture. As I went to take the picture with
The child asked, "What is it?"
"Oh, it's a jackalope. They are very rare. Some believe they might be extinct."
"Really?" The mother looked at this strange head that would watch them eat.
I nodded. "Yes, I write historical westerns and preserving our American heritage is important to me."
The wife said, "It looks like a rabbit with horns."
I snapped a few pictures. "Yes. A jackrabbit deer mix."
"Oh. Interesting." The husband was now studying the creature. "And this is a jackalope?"
"Yes. It was probably fairly young. It's rather small and its rack doesn't have many points." I smiled brightly. "Thank you and enjoy your dinner."
I thought my friend was going to die trying to hold his laughter. (I promise, I was merely preserving the folklore of our American West.) My friend and I immediately left the restaurant and had a good laugh.
But my odd bits of trivia come out in the strangest of places in my stories. One of my manuscripts in edits is a modern sort of east meets west romance. And what did I do? I wrote about a jackalope. (Reporters are allowed to have a little fun, too.)
STILL UNTITLED WEDDING VOW SERIES
Part of the
Montgomery Family Saga
Marty Robinson looked at [Traci] and scowled. That watchdog environmental group constantly tried to make waves over the strangest of things. Of course, it didn't help when a fellow reporter for DSS with a little support from [Traci], convinced Marty that the jackrabbit hole wasn't a jackrabbit hole, but a jackalope burrow. And the fact that the jackalope were thought to be extinct... Therefore, it was a much more important hole than an endangered jackrabbit's. Marty walked into an environmental meeting ready to convince a state agency of the importance of preserving the land and not permitting any further development of that area. Traci and her cohort didn't stick around to watch what would happen.
Now back to the old west...
Now back to the old west...
Please join me with several fellow authors, including Debra Holland, for this fun, prize-filled party on Facebook. I'll be there with my other Montana Sky books that are being reissued this spring Loving Matilda and Loving Ellen. There's lot's more info about Loving Arabelle and all sorts of fun facts about the first two stories.
Hope to see you all at the Montana Sky Publishing Facebook party!