Smart Girls Read Romance

Smart Girls Read Romance -- so do the bestselling and award-winning Authors who write this blog.
Join them as they dish about Books, Romance, Love, and Life.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

The Marshal's Lady


 by Rain Trueax


Growing up, westerns were my favorite series TV and movies. The good guys used guns and they always won in the end over the bad guys. There was no problem figuring out who was who. As I have mentioned, right now I am watching no TV; but even before, I didn't go to the channels with the old westerns. Maybe someday I will, but right now they don't draw me to them.

There were a lot of television westerns that I loved back in the day. One of them was called Gunsmoke, about the marshal of Dodge City, Kansas and the woman he loved. Oh, I know the woman he loved never came to fruition while in the shows, but it was there in the expressions and the looks Matt and Kitty gave each other. If it had been in a different time, maybe it would have, but in those days the hero either had to marry the heroine or it needed to stay suggested. The emphasis was always on the marshal and his job.

What I came across on YouTube is, how many people had created the love story we all craved to have seen, the one we imagined. There are a lot of these videos. They go back ten years or even more where the music is put to clips from the shows. Here's one--

Behind Closed Doors

Gunsmoke ran from 1955 to 1975, following an earlier radio show. In the last year, Kitty had left the show. Maybe the star got tired of never geting her marshal.  

This question is whether the heroine and hero never connecting (many in those days) led many western writers to want to create romances where happily ever after was required. If I had begun publishing my own books back in the 50s, it did influence not allowing a marshal to have as a lover, a saloon owner (or bordello madam). Could they kiss? Not a chance. 

My first books were written in the 60s but I didn't have the sex in them either-- the rough drafts that is, as in those years I wrote but didn't publish. By the mid 1970s, the word for romance novels changed and steamy was part of the plots. Personally, I think it was good for women to read such books where healthy sexuality was a part of a serious romance (well, some weren't probably so healthy back then). 

My first historical western where the hero was a marshal was Book 2 in the Arizona series. The marshal had been in book 1 as had the future heroine. How to make their story challenging led to a lot of research as to what being a US Marshal meant back in those days. Many towns, like Tucson, had a marshal and a sheriff. The marshal's job was more federally political while the sheriff was run more by local partisan politics. But, both were political.

The Marshal's Lady (original titled Tucson Moon) dealt with a man and woman with very opposite ideas on guns among other things. He used one as part of his responsibilities. She despised them. What really brought them together, to find a way past this, was the arrival of his estranged nine year-old daughter when he had no idea how to be a father. The heroine stepped in with her sympathy for the girl and from there romance grew.

Unlike Gunsmoke, I had no compunction against bringing these two together sexually, but it had to make sense that it could happen and it had to take into account the nature of the times politically and culturally. Because it was set in Southern Arizona, I enjoyed writing it as it moved outside of Tucson and involved characters from my first Arizona book. 

The Marshal's Lady is a taste of what life was like back in the 1880s and a book where a happily ever after is going to happen-- even after many struggles (of course). Although the link is just for Amazon, the book is at Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, etc.

The Marshal's Lady

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Stop And Gather The Flowers - Laurean Brooks

My latest manuscript is now in the editor's hands, giving me a short window to relax. On Friday, I used that window to literally stop and smell the flowers.

On my walk with the dogs, I left our country road and crossed a large field on the return trip home. Beautiful elongated red flowers as far as the eye could see, beckoned to me. I picked a handful of these. I later learned they were Crimson Clover.

Golden Ragwort grew among the Crimson Clover. I thought how together they'd make a lovely bouquet. Then it struck me that a few white flowers were necessary to pull the arrangement together.

When I reached the house and saw the English Daisies growing at the edge of the yard, I knew they were my answer, so I added them to the mix . I thought as I admired them, that these wildflowers combined, are as pretty as any florist could arrange. I placed them in a vase and set it on my kitchen island. I was happy with them until...

...I ventured down the road to where a house once stood and discovered a cluster of white flowers with yellow-cupped centers. At first look, I thought they were Buttercups, but on closer inspection, I saw, unlike Buttercups, the petals were open.

These flowers have the heady scent of Jasmine, but the petals are different. After a lengthy online search, I believe these gems are White Narcissus. I added them to the bouquet. As I type this, the gorgeous bouquet is before me and I am inhaling the sweet fragrance of the Narcissus.   Ahhh...

We all need to enjoy the beauty around us and, if you can, bring some of it inside your house. 

Tell us which nature scenes you find most refreshing. Would you like to sit on the bank of a stream and dangle your toes in the water? Do you like mountain hikes, or would you rather lie on a beach and listen to the lapping waves of the ocean?

This book will always be dearest to my heart because it is based on my mother's life and set in 1938. 

When the family's cotton crop failed, Jenny took a train north to find a job to support her mother and siblings. Not familiar with electricity,  she is first introduced to it when she catches up to the handsome blond stranger who has run off with her vanity case.

Jenny breathes a sigh of relief when she retrieves the bag--relief that she will never again lay eyes on the obnoxious Austin.

Wrong! Austin shows up at Aunt Violet's church to beg for money for his so-called mission project. the money going for a mission, or into Austin's back pocket?

 Jenny joins the mission trip to help rebuild a town destroyed by tornadoes. What better way to keep an eye on the illustrious Austin? 

Her attraction to Austin grows by the day. One unexpected kiss makes her swoon. But then, Jenny spies Austin taking money from the mission strongbox. Does she have the heart to report him?


Friday, April 16, 2021

No Fool Like an April Fool by Joan Reeves

April is the month when spring gets a foothold on the weather and treats us to a lovely mix of rain showers and golden sunshineo.

Then the rain and the sun bring an abundance of blooming flowers.

Something else that blooms in spring is love. This season is noted for turning a young man's fancy to love—a young woman's too.

Sometimes, the would-be lovers  need a helping hand in the love department. (In the romance business, we call that helping hand a matchmaker.)

As Lorelei Lorelle, a famous historical romance author, once said, "It's easy to make a man and woman fall in love. I do it every time I sit down at the computer."

April Fool Proposition

Ms. Lorelle decides Brenna and Travis need that helping hand.

She plants the seed of an idea in Brenna's imagination and lets nature take its course.

Brenna is the middle button—that's what her grandmother who raised her and her older sister and younger brother—called her. Her sister was the wild child; her brother is the smart, happy-go-lucky girl-in-every-port bachelor. 

Brenna is the responsible one who takes care of everyone. In her quest to fulfill that role, she's given up every part of herself and become the even-tempered, calm, responsible young woman on whom everyone depends.

She doesn't realize she's put her personal life on hold until friend's mom—Lorelei Lorelle—tells her  that her sister won't commit to the man she loves because she doesn't want Brenna to be alone.

She advises Brenna to pretend to have a lover of her own and proposes Dr. Travis Larsen as the perfect man to play the part of her pretend lover.

Several days later, Fate seems to lend a hand, and she collides with Travis. As Colette once said, “You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.” Brenna embraces that philosophy enthusiastically!

Introducing Travis Larsen

Oh, you're going to like Travis! He needs no persuasion to play pretend lover because...well, I guess you should find out for yourself.

April Fool Proposition is my latest release, and it's only 99¢ during the month of April.

Speaking of propositions, pretend lovers, and enthusiastic women who want a real life, let me leave you with some wisdom from that philopher Rita Rudner who observed, "Men reach their sexual peak at 18. Women reach theirs at 35. Do you get the feeling that God is playing a practical joke?"

Have a wonderful April!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

What's the Magic Word? by Bea Tifton

If someone walked up to a small child, or even a Millennial, and asked, “What are the magic words?” would they even know what that person was asking?  It’s been years since I’ve heard the expression, and “Please” and “Thank you” do seem to be at a premium these days.

But are people really getting ruder? Most sociologists seem to agree they are. Social media has enveloped us in separate, narcissistic bubbles, even people who ought to know better have forgotten their manners. Rudeness, it appears, is contagious. 

 I was always very aware of what I saw as rude behavior. When I was about four, my parents took my sister and me to the circus. Never a big fan of circuses, but there we were, sitting close to the front as the elephants paraded past us. Just in front of us, one large elephant, um, unburdened himself. As people wrinkled their noses, I said, in that piercing voice only the young seem to have, “Well! How RUDE!”

I’m an old soul. I love old television programs, movies, and historical fiction. When I read books from the Dark Ages, I marvel that anyone actually survived given the way people treated each other. So much for rudeness being new. And the mystery series I’m currently reading takes place in the Victorian-era United States. Yes, the Victorians had many strict codes of etiquette, but it was artificial in many ways. People treated each other terribly. I think we’ve had polite people and rude people both as long as we’ve had people. Social media and the news just make those stories of rudeness more accessible.

No one thinks they are the rude ones. But we know. Since we can’t change inherent rudeness, we  can at least have a little fun with it in our own heads. Why not describe this behavior in more colorful terms? Let’s resurrect some slang to cope with today’s world. 

Victorian Slang Terms for Undesirable Behavior:

Hornswoggler- a fraud or cheat.

Mumbling Cove-shabby person or unpleasant landlord.

Rat Bag- a bad person

Wooden Spoon- an idiot or someone who displays astounding stupidity.

Western United States Slang 1800s:

Bigmouth- a person who talks too much, usually about a subject the other person doesn’t want discussed or disclosed.

Bottom feeder- a dislikeable person, someone who abuses others.

Lunk or Lunkhead- slow- witted person

Sidewinder- someone who can’t be trusted, devious person

Whippersnapper- young, smart-aleck person. 


1920s Slang:

Bad Egg-a bad person

Pill- unlikeable or bratty person

Upstage- snob

Wurp- wet blanket-type person


If you are a polite person, as I know you are, Dear Reader, all you can do is just keep your cool and respond to rudeness with politeness. After all, we know the Magic Words.