Archive for May, 2011

The Chastelayne Trilogy — Now On Kindle

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

I”m very happy to announce that all three books of my medieval trilogy are finally available on Amazon for Kindle. They’ve all been freshly edited and given glorious new covers.

Just in case you haven’t been keeping up:

In Honor Bound

IN HONOR BOUND

His father will stop at nothing to keep the royal bloodline “pure” –even murder. But his sins have nearly destroyed Prince Philip and the future of his reign.

Forced into a political marriage, Philip tells his bride, “I will not lie to you, I will not be unfaithful to you, and I will not love you. My heart is pledged to another and I am not a man to break an oath.”

His one true love is a lowly serving girl. When Philip refuses to set her aside in order to form a politically beneficial marriage, his father has the girl tried on false charges and executed. He then forces Philip to marry the beautiful and nobly born Lady Rosalynde. Devastated and embittered by his loss and his father’s betrayal, Philip is determined to never love again . . . not his father, not his wife, not his God. Although Rosalynde adores him, he withholds his heart from her, refusing to let even death end his devotion to the love he lost. Despite his coldness towards her, Rosalynde is determined to love him and teach him to love her — as determined as the God he has turned his back on. As civil war rages throughout the realm, Philip faces a greater struggle within himself. Will he open his heart to love again or let his pride destroy him and his kingdom?

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By Love Redeemed

BY LOVE REDEEMED

Complete strangers on their wedding day and separated by war since their honeymoon, can they find true love together?

Even though their time together has been short, Prince Tom is eager for his bride’s return. Though his love for her has grown, Elizabeth makes it clear that she considers him a stranger, not to be trusted. Not to be loved.
Certain the lavish love he claims to have for her cannot be genuine, Elizabeth turns to a deceitful friend who feeds her doubts and insecurities, poisoning her mind against her young husband. Just as Tom’s patient tenderness begins to soften her heart, he is left with a heavier burden. His brother the king receives news that threatens the stability of the kingdom and his marriage. Forced to go in secret to find the truth behind it, he leaves Tom to deal with the undercurrent of treason and treachery that lies beneath the deceptive quiet of the court. Will Tom be able to hold the kingdom together and win his wife’s heart? Or will she let a seductive stranger lead her away from his unconditional love?

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TO GRACE SURRENDERED

He has learned to love her with all his heart. Now he must learn to let her go.

There is peace in the kingdom at last and King Philip wants nothing more than to spend his days watching his children grow and enjoying the company of his beloved Rosalynde. Reghed, Lynaleigh’s neighbor to the north, suffers greatly under the heavy hand of its king, the evil and demented tyrant Sarto. But Philip resists God’s urging to bring aid to Reghed’s people until the night Rosalynde is torn from his arms and carried into Sarto’s dark realm. Despite the serious injuries he sustained trying to protect her from her captors, Philip insists on following after her and finds himself face to face with the suffering he has till now turned away from. Sarto eventually captures Philip, too, determined to kill him in order to fulfill his sinister plans. Can Philip free himself, Rosalynde and the people of Reghed? Or has his disobedience lost him the love and protection of God?

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Thank You, Veterans

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Thank you, veterans, for being willing to go places where most of us don’t want to go to do jobs most of us don’t want to do for pay most of us wouldn’t think sufficient. May God bless and keep you all.

Truly, America is the home of the free BECAUSE of the brave.

Throw The Devil Off The Train by Stephen Bly

Saturday, May 28th, 2011


IT’S 1880.
Catherine’s got to escape from her hometown in Virginia. She heads west to marry a childhood friend she hasn’t seen in 17 years. She needs a fresh start and he’s got a booming business in Paradise Springs. She’ll do almost anything to get there. . .except reveal her true last name.
Race heads west set to avenge his brother’s death, with a body aching for sleep, and determined to avoid the conniving lady with a throw-away heart. But it’s a long, cramped, chaotic train ride from Omaha to Sacramento.
The only thing these two agree upon: they despise each other. And something evil’s on board. As they gnaw on each other’s nerves, a holdup, hijack, kidnapping and gold mine swindle shove them together, then push them apart. Fiery, opinionated and quick to react, can they team up long enough to throw the devil off the train?

FINDING LOVE IN A CLASSIC WESTERN
Stephen Bly
Copyright©2011

“Hmmm. . .a compliment from Mr. Race Hillyard. Should I be suspicious?”
“I’d be disappointed if you weren’t.”
Catherine studied the faces in the train car window beside them. “You know, yesterday I held you in deep disgust.”
“Has that changed?”
“Yes, today I hold you in mediocre disdain.”

From Throw The Devil Off The Train

The kernel plot idea determines how much the love element majors in my westerns. Will women play a significant part at all? If so, how much? Will there be hints or scenes of romance? If so, what portion does it play?

For some western writers, especially those who focus on the romance market, those are big questions. In fact, I would presume that they factor the love interest first thing in their plotting. Me, not so much. If my main character’s a woman, which it has been for a number of my novels, then her relationship with the men, or her main man, will be key, of course.

A time or two I’ve written about strong women who turn down the potential love interest because of other considerations, such as a career (i.e. Miss Fontenot, Book #3, Heroines of the Golden West Series). My fans and a few editors screamed about this. But that was the way Miss Fontenot decided it. I had to respect her wishes.

Then out pops the idea for my new release, Throw The Devil Off The Train. It’s a road story inside a train headed west. The grandeur of the West from a train window. The very slow journey, compared to modern transportation, yet cramped, crowded, at times chaotic conditions.

Later, a theme evolved. . .that people are much more complex than first meetings reveal. That hurts and pains, victories and defeats of the past, affect responses in the present. My observation is that most of us hide spiritual and emotional hurts from others. . .and sometimes ourselves. We must be open to what God is doing around us, even through flawed people, to receive the help he sends.

That lead to. . .what if I tossed two cats into a burlap bag, then watched to see how they’d survive. . .or not? This had to be a male and a female. With a long train ride, sparks are going to hit the track. . .somehow, somewhere. Will it be eternal hate or meld into love?

The gal on the train. . .she heads west to escape from her past in Virginia, to a prosperous fiancé in Paradise Springs, a childhood friend. To get a new name. She’s desperate that no one knows her real last name.

She can be as honey-sweet as any southern belle, if she wants to. She and her twin sister, Catelynn, spent the war years in the north at an aunt’s house. While they missed witnessing the violence and ravages of the Civil War, they lost their parents and their estate. Catherine is not glamorous like her twin sister, but her good looks and confident air capture much attention. She’s willing to use her beauty and personality to get things done. . .her way.

He travels west to get justice for his brother’s death. His blunt, stubborn ways leave no room for charm or diplomacy. Independent, with focused courage, he’s in the habit of success at whatever he attempts. His set glare keeps most folks scooting away from him. That suits him fine. He has no use for a woman he considers shallow and manipulative. He also has no fear of dying, because he’s not sure he wants to live. When he sets his mind on a goal, he expects everyone to get out of the way.

After a few gouges and bites between Catherine Draper and Race Hillyard, I could see the trail markings of their story. That’s how I knew Throw The Devil Off The Train was a western romance first, front and center. In fact, my original working title was “Throw Away Heart.” But my editor objected. The Bly fans for this publisher look for a western first, romance optional.

Yet a question still remained right up to the end. Will the Miss Fontenot type independence reign? Of course, that’s up to Catherine. . .and Race. Romance comes late for them. . .perhaps too late.

Yep, they hate each other on sight. Meanwhile, traditional western stuff happens. A holdup, hijack, kidnapping and gold mine swindle swirl around them. . .and something else evil’s on board. Fiery, opinionated and quick to react, can they make a truce long enough to throw the devil off the train?

ON GETTING PLOT IDEAS
for Throw The Devil Off The Train

I don’t have a clue how I derived the idea for my newest release, Throw The Devil Off The Train. Sometimes plot ideas seem to fall out of the sky for me. When I recognize one that I like, I pick it up and run with it, to see where it leads.

I’ve set stories in Colorado and Arizona, in New Mexico and Nevada, in Montana and Idaho, in Wyoming and Nebraska, in Texas and South Dakota. The old western Stagecoach was a road story in a stage. Throw The Devil Off The Train is a road story inside a train headed west.

Idea germs that evolve:

The grandeur of the West from a train window.
The very slow journey, compared to modern transportation.
The theme that people are much more complex than first meetings reveal.
The hurts and pains, the victories and defeats of the past form a part in acts and responses in any given situation.

I tossed two cats into a burlap bag, then watched to see how they’d survive. . .or not. After a few gouges and bites between Catherine and Race, I could see the trail and markings of their story in Throw The Devil Off The Train..

Setting A Scene

You’d think after more than a hundred books in print, most of them set in the Old West, that I’d have exhausted every possible location. I’ve used cabins, saloons, dance halls, jails, hotels, cafes, sandbars and most any other place you could name. All, except one. In my newest book, Creede of Old Montana, I set a whole scene inside an outhouse.
As much as I like telling western tales, it was not the time for me to live in. Two reasons at least: health care and sanitation. That doesn’t mean a cowboy never used soap. Some even shaved every morning. Living in a wild and primitive land doesn’t mean you have to look uncivilized.
And I don’t want you to think I’m weak-willed and pasty skinned. I can survive just fine for days, weeks, even months in the wilderness. But I know that sooner or later I’ll be back in civilization that boasts hot showers, waste treatment plants, and flush toilets.
I wouldn’t even mind a footed bathtub. Many fun western movie episodes have centered on bubbly bathtub scenes. But hot baths were a real luxury and only the nicest of hotels would offer such an amenity. Some of the more modest hotels would advertise: Baths 25 cents; Used Water 15 cents. Which, in my opinion, is a great motivator to save up your money when on the trail or hang with friends who smell like you do.
Which brings me back to…setting a scene inside an outhouse.
On a trip to Yellowstone with our teen grandkids, Zachary and Miranda, we stopped to explore at Garnett, a Montana ghost town. One structure that captured the kids’ curiosity: the double set of outhouses behind the old hotel. There was a two-seater for gals and a two-seater for guys. Quite the deal on a busy Saturday night.
Ah, the romantic Old West.
And about that scene in the outhouse…you can read about it yourself after October 1st in Creede of Old Montana. I promise…it won’t be R-rated. That’s the thing about the classic western genre. Good triumphs over evil. There’s little or no bad language. And sensual details are relegated to the fightin’ and shootin’ only.

WRITING EXERCISE for you:

Create two strong characters. Make one the type the other tends to dislike. Make them so disgusted with each that cannot exist in the same room for several minutes without being at each other’s throats. Then, stick them in a place where they have to co-exist for hours, days, weeks: a cabin, a mine shaft, a train car, etc. Then, write the dialogue. Start out with no descriptions. No identifiers. No narration. Just two voices conversing. Make the words authentic as you can. Then, edit it later.

Do they wind up killing each other? Or total estrangement? Or a truce of some sort? Or a breakthrough to relationship?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stephen Bly is a Christy Award winner for westerns and author of 105 books of fiction and nonfiction, some of them co-authored with wife, Janet. They live in north-central Idaho at 4,000 ft. elev. on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation. They have 3 married sons, 4 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild.

Throw The Devil Off The Train can be ordered through your favorite local or online bookstore, such as www.Amazon.com. It’s also available through http://www.blybooks.com

In These Stressful Times . . .

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

We all know what a dangerous and depraved world it is out there. Sometimes it’s good to know our allies have a plan for everything. (Please forgive the inclusion of a couple of vulgar words. I didn’t write them.)

ALERTS TO THREATS IN 2011 EUROPE

BY JOHN CLEESE

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Libya and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France’s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbor” and “Lose.”

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be alright, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is canceled.” So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

John Cleese

— John Cleese, British writer, actor and tall person

The Fine Art of Insincerity by Angela Hunt

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Three Southern sisters with nine marriages between them — and more looming on the horizon – travel to St. Simons Island to empty their late grandmother’s house. Ginger, the eldest, wonders if she’s the only one who hasn’t inherited what their family calls “the Grandma Gene”— the tendency to enjoy the casualness of courtship more than the intimacy of marriage. Could it be that her sisters are fated to serially marry, just like their seven-times wed grandmother, Lillian Irene Harper Winslow Goldstein Carey James Bobrinski Gordon George? It takes a “girls only” weekend, closing up Grandma’s memory-filled beach cottage for the last time, for the sisters to unpack their family baggage, examine their relationship DNA, and discover the true legacy their much-marrying grandmother left behind.

The Fine Art of Insincerity is a stunning masterpiece. I was pulled into the lives of Ginger, Pennyroyal and Rosemary–sisters touched by tragedy, coping in their own ways. So real, so powerful. Pull out the tissues! This one will make you cry, laugh, and smile. I recommend it highly.
Traci DePree, author of The Lake Emily series

“Only Angela Hunt could write a relationship novel that’s a page-turner! As one of three sisters, I can promise you this: Ginger, Penny, and Rose Lawrence ring very true indeed. Their flaws and strengths make them different, yet their shared experiences and tender feelings make them family. From one crisis to the next, the Lawrence sisters are pulled apart, then knit back together, taking me right along with them. I worried about Ginger one moment, then Penny, and always Rose—a sure sign of a good novel, engaging both mind and heart. Come spend the weekend in coastal Georgia with three women who clean house in more ways than one!”
Liz Curtis Higgs, best-selling author of Here Burns My Candle

THE FINE ART OF INSINCERITY
ANGELA HUNT

Prologue
Ginger

“You can’t tell your sisters,” my grandmother once told me, “what I’m about to tell you.”

I listened, eyes big, heart open wide.

“Of all my grandchildren—” her hands spread as if to encompass a crowd infinitely larger than myself and my two siblings—“you’re my favorite.”

Then her arms enfolded me and I breathed in the scents of Shalimar and talcum powder as my face pressed the crepey softness of her cheek.

My grandmother married seven times, but not until I hit age ten or eleven did I realize that her accomplishment wasn’t necessarily praiseworthy. When Grandmother’s last husband died on her eighty-third birthday, she mentioned the possibility of marrying again, but I put my foot down and told her no more weddings. I suspect my edict suited her fine, because Grandmom always liked flirting better than marrying.

Later, one of the nurses at the home mentioned that my grandmother exhibited a charming personality quirk—“Perpetual Childhood Disorder,” she called it. PCD, all too common among elderly patients with dementia.

But Grandmother didn’t have dementia, and she had exhibited symptoms of PCD all her life. Though I didn’t know how to describe it in my younger years, I used to consider it a really fine quality.

During the summers when Daddy shipped me and my sisters off to Grandmom’s house, she used to wait until Rose and Penny were absorbed in their games, then she would call me into the blue bedroom upstairs. Sometimes she’d let me sort through the glass beaded “earbobs” in her jewelry box. Sometimes she’d sing to me. Sometimes she’d pull her lace-trimmed hanky from her pocketbook, fold it in half twice, and tell me the story of the well-dressed woman who sat on a bench and fell over backward. Then she’d flip her folded hankie and gleefully lift the woman’s skirt and petticoat, exposing two beribboned legs.

No matter how large her audience, the woman knew how to entertain.

I perched on the edge of the big iron bed and listened to her songs and stories, her earbobs clipped to the tender lobes of my ears, enduring the painful pinch because Grandmother said a woman had to suffer before she could be beautiful. Before I pulled off the torturous earbobs and left the room, she would draw me close and swear that out of all the girls in the world, I was the one she loved most.

Not until years later did I learn that she drew my sisters aside in the same way. I suppose she wanted to make sure we motherless girls knew we were treasured. But in those moments, I always felt truly special.

And for far too long, I believed her.

© 2012 by Angela Hunt, used by permission. Do not reprint without permission. For more information, visit www.angelahuntbooks.com

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www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1439182035/booksbyangelae0d

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