TOUGH WOMEN TAMED THE WEST
AND THE MEN
Dallas Starr, a Deputy CSI and Jessie Stone, reporter for a local rural newspaper clsh immediately in this first of the romantic suspense series set in Grace County, Arkansas. Sparks fly as they look into a cold case murder.
Twenty four years ago someone shot a man and buried him under a bluff. Now his head is gone.
Dal and Jessie clash in this tale when a body is dug up by dogs belonging to the local marijuana dealer who believes he's found a valuable Indian burial ground.
They soon find ways to placate each other and that leads to some romantic meetings in some strange and dark places. Deep in the woods on a moonless night Jessie goes after a suspect, and Dallas is forced to follow to solve the riddle of the missing skull.
Follow Dal Starr, the sexy Cherokee criminal investigator who touches spirits of those involved in violence and Jessica West, a reporter who touches Dal Starr every chance she gets. These two can fight like badgers over a kill and make love like wild bunnies. They solve some pretty tough crimes. This one challenges the pair to find what’s going on in the abandoned SEFOR plant. Once The Southwest Experimental Fast Oxide Reactor it’s been closed for years. Now residents are reporting strange lights and unusual traffic around the plant. When Jessie gets locked in the place she discovers what’s really going on which puts her in danger. The real danger may be her attraction to Dal Starr.
Watch for IMMORTAL HERO the sequel to BEYOND THE MOON, due out in April, 2021, from Oghma Creative Media, Inc.
Nothing could have prepared her for the encounter. Later, she couldn't have described his face at all. His eyes glittered golden in the sunlight, and appeared as fragile as fine crystal. In that brief first moment, they were all she saw. Multifaceted slivers of agony gleamed back at her. Not as if from a physical hurting, but more like fragments of a vicious emotional rape. She remembered, quite suddenly, seeing an injured hawk captured by well-meaning saviors. Its eyes, the color of Glen's, had that same expression as it alternately quivered in fear and lashed out in fury at all who offered help. Ultimately, the beautiful bird have given up, but the eyes never lost their wary despondency.
She forced herself to murmur a greeting and looked at the canvas on which he'd been working. Much like the samples in Spencer's office, yet she gasped and pinched her mouth to prevent crying out. The painting was hauntingly grotesque.
An ugly little pit bull christened Brad plus a hacked-off foot found in the burned-out shack of newcomer Treman Ledger kicks off the latest mystery involving reporter Jessie West and Cherokee deputy sheriff Dallas Starr in the small Grace County, Arkansas town of Cedarton. It’s time for Jessie to pay for what she did out in California, and that means her friends will be threatened by her old boyfriend Steve.
Dallas is shoved off a mountain and badly injured, and that’s only the beginning. Are two bodies that turn up connected to Steve’s revenge plot, or is there more afoot? Treman (call him Trey) has a secret Jessie is wild to uncover, her friend Tinker is convinced a guest at the local Bed & Breakfast has disappeared, and Sheriff Mac Richards is acting really strange. To add to that, there appears to be some gangster action underway when Witness Security Protection (WITSEC) gets involved.
Foster children are disappearing and caravans are spotted by climbers in the wilderness. When Jesse disappears it is left to Dal, a US Marshal. and a retired mountain climber to uncover the secrets of a cult using their identity to hide and transport stolen children. A mountainous trek brings danger to all and turns up some hidden secrets.
Someone new has moved into Hermitage House in Cedarton and strange occurrences are taking place at the remote house. Strange lights, loud noises, and signs of secret comings and goings keep the two busy. As usual Dal and Jessie find themselves stumbling over each other during his investigation as a deputy and her interviews for the Observer. Chasing kidnappers through the wilderness keeps them together and there a ideal places to take time out of their workday to make love. Still nothing gets in the way of solving crimes and getting a good story.
An outlaw on the last leg of their trip attracts Wilda's attention with his gallantry. To avoid marrying the lord of the manor in Victoria, she pays the outlaw to kidnap her, beginning a string of adventures out of the ordinary for this convent raised orphan. She soon learns the difficulties of living in this wilderness of Kansas and in the process fall in love with the handsome outlaw who isn't too happy with his trade. But can he give up his lawless ways for the lovely Wilda?
BEYOND THE MOON
Oghma Creative Media
Cover Design by Casey Cowan
Edited by Greg Camp
Beyond the pain. Beyond the darkness. Left behind enemy lines for nine years, tortured beyond endurance, Navy pilot and Vietnam veteran Glen Tanner survives for one reason—to destroy the wife who deserted him. Instead, a VA psychiatrist, Dr. Spencer, introduces Glen to Katie Kelly, an artist and teacher grieving her own devastating loss. Katie helps Glen stop painting nightmares on endless canvases, coaxing him back from hell and teaching him to love and trust again.
Caught between the bureaucracy of the VA and the designs of Glen's sister, Julia, he and Katie struggle to find solace in each other, to build a relationship out of broken lives in the rugged hills of the Arkansas Ozarks. Wounds from loss and the clinging terrors of combat tear at them. Can they get beyond the past to a life that lies so far out of reach that it feels beyond the Moon?
I finished reading Beyond the Moon tonight and loved it. Your ability to produce quantity and quality astounds me. Everything I've been trying to learn as a new writer I found in your writing; point of view, vivid description, exceptional plot, conflict, and the list goes on and on. I had a hard time putting down your book to get some work done. And to top it off, you made me cry.
As I was reading about Kate and Glen, I thought about the many women who take care of wounded warriors. That's true love. And you truly have written a fascinating incredible love story.
Mimi Martin Mathis
8 five-star reviews
Look for it in hard cover, paperback and ebook
Lenore believes that if she is virtuous and chaste, perhaps she won’t go mad.
What was it Edward said? “Lenore, you’re too perfect, too sweet, too frightened to love.” Unfortunately, he was probably right.
Then the demon paid her a visit and she realizes that no matter what she does, she is fated to kill herself, just like her mother had. It becomes only a matter of how and when.
My first audio book, from my first published book, Montana Promises, originally with Topaz/Penguin as Goldspun Promises, is now available with Jeff Justus, an awesome Western narrator. I want to thank all those who sent their fantastic auditions and I may get in touch for later books.
FALLEN ANGEL POSTED THIS REVIEW OCT. 4, 2012 NICE ONE.
Stone Heart's Woman
Since her fiancé had deserted her, Aiden Conner's life had changed drastically. She had been making a living singing and dancing for the gentleman of Benson, Nebraska, but it seems the women in town didn't appreciate that and have decided to run her out of town by chasing her down, carrying anything they can get their hands on.
Stone Heart wakes up to find everyone around him dead. After their escape from Fort Robinson, most of his people were freezing and starving to death and he knows that if he doesn't get back to them, the rest would also die. He has been shot twice and knows he has to find shelter or he won't make it himself. After his father betrayed his mother's people, he swore he would never speak the white man's tongue again and made a vow that the Northern Cheyenne would return home or die trying; at least they would die free.
Aiden thought she would die for sure, when she was attacked by Stone, the most beautiful, blond-haired Indian that she had ever seen. When a blizzard hits, Aiden and Stone are stranded in a deserted cabin and Stone knows that he needs to leave, but can't leave Aiden because he knows that she will die.
As they fight to survive, they find that they are more alike than they had though. They discover that they have feelings for each other, but when they make it to Fort Robinson, Aiden finds that she can't give Stone up and will do anything in her power to help him set his people free, even if it means letting him go.
I haven't read many books like this one since I usually like Regency Romance, but I have to say that I really enjoyed this book. It was heartbreaking, with young love that had two people who would do anything for the other. Both knowing that neither would end up with what they wanted and that was each other. I give high marks for the story line and the way it was written. It was an excellent book.
Reviewed by: Dee
Review of Wolf Song
Her newest novel, "Wolf Song," takes author Velda Brotherton a step out of her past books, which include romances, westerns, and a non-fiction biography, among others. But don't worry -- it's a good step.
Protagonist Olivia "Liv" Dahl's life is in a sort of limbo. Her parents died when she was just 18, forcing her to put her own plans on hold to raise her younger sister Lara. A year before the story begins, Liv, her boyfriend Brian, and Lara are driving on a mountain road and crash trying to avoid hitting a bicyclist. Liv and Brian are unharmed, but Lara is seriously injured, and has been in a coma since the crash.
Liv has sold her family's ranch and used the money from the sale, along with her parents' life insurance money, to pay for Lara's care in a long-term care facility. Her dream of using it to provide Lara the college education that she never had was another victim of the car crash. The last blow came when Liv's boyfriend left her, unable or unwilling to cope with her grief, her guilt, and the time she spends at her little sister's bedside.
Liv is living in a tiny cabin outside of the town of Pinedale, Wyoming. Each day she bicycles to town to her job in the town's museum, a museum of mountain men and local natural history. At night, her nightmares about the accident have been replaced by strange dreams of running with a pack of wolves led by a huge silver alpha male. When she starts seeing a sexy Cheyenne man whom she can touch, but who can also "melt" through walls, she can't decide if she's just plain going crazy, or if it's the stress of her sister's condition and the doctor's pressure. Since Lara went into the coma, she's been in a vegetative state with no hope of recovery; Liv's money is almost gone, the doctor -- and the mysterious sensual stranger -- think that Liv should turn off the machines that are keeping Lara's body alive, and set her spirit free.
From the opening scene, "Wolf Song" does sing. Brotherton's writing easily creates three-dimensional characters, both good and bad, and a vivid picture of this little valley town in Wyoming between the Grand Teton and Wind River mountains. A variety of events leads the reader through Liv's problems with her sister, the mysterious Cheyenne, a man called Singer, her best (and only) friend Ginni's work with wolf restoration, and the threats from ranchers and hunting guides that Ginni's blog provokes. The threats are followed by slaughtered wolves and a fire at Liv's cabin, and then things start getting really interesting.
With a matter of life and death, a sexy romance with what may be a shape-shifter, and the mystery of who is targeting both wolves and the people who are trying to save them, "Wolf Song" has something for every reader, both YA and adult.
Lori Orser (KimsMom on Amazon)
He's searching for a way to heal his shattered spirit. She's searching for her lost soul. They meet in the wilderness of the Ozarks where love finds the answer for both. But can it overpower the barriers life hands them?
Here's a professional review of The Boston Mountains: Lost in the Ozarks
LOST AMONG THE GHOSTS OF HISTORY: VELDA BROTHERTON'S THE BOSTON MOUNTAINS
Brotherton, Velda. The Boston Mountains: Lost in the Ozarks. Houston, TX: Old American Publishing Co., 2010.ISBN:978-0-818068-4-6.
You may have read stories about the ring-tailed roarers, the half-men half-alligators who whip their weight in wildcats in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. Each of these interesting characters had their origins in the tall tales of the Old Southwest, the region that ultimately became the states of Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri.
Unfortunately, the reading public has come to stereotype rural people, especially the salt of the Southern earth. While Jeff Foxworthy makes us look inward and discover that there is a little bit of "redneck" in each of us, sitcoms like The Beverly Hillbillies and The Dukes of Hazzard have perpetuated the myths that belie the actual people in the "flyover zone," especially those of the South.
Even movies such as True Grit have created the likes of Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn, himself a "half-man half-alligator," while building upon the reputation of "Hanging Judge" Parker.
Although such movie perceptions of the heroic fictional and historical characters may be for the good, it is through Velda Brotherton's The Boston Mountains: Lost in the Ozarks that we meet the real people behind what are otherwise media masks. She resurrects the old times and we tour the old towns, some dead, some dying, some prospering; and she introduces us to the tenacious settlers who invested the region with its present-day character.
Supplementing her image-rich prose in The Boston Mountains, Brotherton's photographs capture those people, their homes, and towns that otherwise would be lost to all but family albums and fading pictures in historical archives.
As she loses herself in the Boston Mountains, Brotherton takes the time to interview the descendants of the every-day Davy Crocketts and Daniel Boones who settled the Old Southwest. They planted themselves in the rich soil and grew crops never before imagined. They drank purer water and breathed purer air than they had ever known.
Brotherton's love for people, their places, and their histories is apparent on every page of The Boston Mountains. Drawing us into her world of times past and times present, she says, "The past whispers of secrets long kept, hushed murmurs that embrace me as I walk among the tumbled headstones in a long abandoned cemetery, place my hand on the trunk of a splendid maple that has shaded the ancient Ozark soil for a century or more, and turn my face to catch the kiss of afternoon sunlight that fires great oaks into a golden glow" (i).
Brotherton begins The Boston Mountains: Lost in the Ozarks with the history of the region, drawn not only from her first-hand observations of the region but also from historical documents. For example, we learn why Sequoya, the creator of the Cherokee written language, was called "pig in hiding."
We also learn why there is a factual basis for Thomas Bangs Thorpe's exaggerations in "The Big Bear of Arkansas." The "Big Bar," himself, bragged that he would never shoot a turkey that weighed less than forty pounds. According to him, Arkansas' soil runs to the center of the Earth. Moreover, it is so rich that when the "Big Bar's" sow slept one night on a kernel or two, "the corn shot up" before morning and "the percussion killed her dead."
Well, Arkansas soil is not that rich. But Brotherton cites "The Status of Medicine and Medical Men in Washington County, Arkansas 1854-1860," whose muted description of the land parallels that of Thorpe's exaggeration. "Lovely County: here was a county, in many respects unequaled in the producting (sic) of everything, calculated to bring about the best results to man and beast―a soil producting (sic) beyond the average ... . The labors of the husbandman always amply rewarded; orchards and fields always yielding an abundant harvest ... ." (iv).
After providing a brief history of the Boston Mountain region, Brotherton invites us to tour with her. As she says, "This is not a history book, but a book of the people who lived our history" (v). She does so in what could be deemed a travelogue, written with a deft touch, a delicate hand that makes it easy to be "lost in the Ozarks."
We learn that children went to school from two or three months a year; some eight months. In any event, they employed their 3Rs well. At the request of the United States Post Office, for example, John Hiram Mannon ingeniously calculated the distance between Blackburn and Winslow. He tied a white cloth to a buggy wheel's spokes and counted its revolutions. His calculation was off a mere few tenths of a mile.
That was a time when school started with prayer and when school buildings served as community halls and churches. We learn, too, that today's high school youths would have been considered adults in the nineteenth century. Girls married as early as 14; boys, at 17.
Brotherton writes of the "nobodies" who are the important "somebodies." They enriched the region, as well as each others' lives, often with main force and awkwardness in less-than idyllic circumstances.
Tolbert Malone's daughter, Wanda Malone Buckner, weighed only a pound-and-a-half at birth, but her grandmother Rachel Malone kept her "alive in a warming oven ... after doctors told her that baby would never live" (7). Not only did she live, Wanda later survived polio. She married and reared two sons.
Life had other dangers, including the flooded White River that sucked a mother, her infant-in-arms, and her two sons off their horse. In another instance, a sow carried off an infant and killed it, "despite efforts by older children and the family dog" (9).
Despite infants' deaths, floods, and disease, people lived a frugal life of joy and generosity. Audie Parker told Brotherton that two men his father hired to make railroad ties recycled their chewing tobacco. After "they'd extracted all the juices from their chaw," they dried it on a sun-lit stump and later smoked it in their corncob pipes (22).
Adeline Root told Brotherton country hospitality was the norm. "People didn't wait for invitations. They dropped in any time, always knowing they would be welcome. When the women prepared a meal they didn't know who or how many would be there to share it" (170).
Sharing was common even in an Ozark hardscrabble existence. According to a letter written by Jean Malone, Wanda Malone Buckner's younger sister, Mineral Springs second grade teacher Mary Stockburger "decided the children who had never celebrated Christmas or decorated a tree would have both. She collected contributions from parents and with the small amount of money rode horse-back to Fayetteville where she selected small gifts for every child in the community." As for the Christmas tree, she "persuaded a few young men to cut a large cedar" that they decorated with berries and popcorn (7).
There were other acts of generosity, too. The Low Gap (Fairview) School District No. 89 provided a cooperative hot lunch program, according to Juanita Patterson's letter. "One boy gained a pound a day for a week. Our discipline problems became almost nil. The children were busy helping with the cooking, serving and cleanup duties and they were happy." According to Brotherton, the wealthier area farmers provided the "vegetables, meat and bread for the meals" (63).
But not everyone dined so well. According to Glaythra (Chub) France, boys brought their dogs and rifles to the Chapel School District No. 160 as a matter of survival. At the end of the school day, the boys retrieved their rifles stacked in the corner of the schoolroom. Leaving the school grounds, the boys hunted game on their way home. Often, that "would be the only meat the family had to eat" (73).
And yes, there were the real-life ring-tail roarers who could whip their weight in wildcats at Old Skully in 1855. The way station was "a hang-out for the men from the surrounding mountains," who fought for the sheer pleasure of it, but without intentional "killing or maiming." Probably fighting to earn their names, Old Skully most certainly did "because of the many skulls that were beaten and bruised" (116). But the men were no match for Bob and Cole Younger and Jesse and Frank James. When the Old Skully posse chased them down, the gang shot the posse's horses out from under them and made a clean getaway.
We learn of others in history, such as Nathaniel "Texas Jack" Reed who escaped the noose of Fort Smith's Hanging Judge Isaac Parker. We shiver at the mention of the legendary "stranger on a black horse." And we chuckle at the odd names like Bugscuffle Road. Brotherton tells us of schools named Who'd A Thought It and Papa Gimme Nickel, and she tells us why a town came to be called Hog Eye.
Certainly, I wish that I would have been there when the post office ran away. But throughout The Boston Mountains, I am there. You can be, too, when Velda Brotherton visits Chapel School District No. 160. She writes: "But on this day, as I stand in the doorway of the eerily silent school house, I hear the clip-clop of horses' hooves. It's probably a couple of Henson boys riding in on horseback. And there come the Preston and Miller kids threading their way toward us through knee-high clumps of meadow grass. But with a second look, all is still, the only sound the chatter of the creek harmonizing with birdsong and a vivid imagination. I must have eavesdropped on the past, not an uncommon thing at all" (73).
As one who has spent many years living in the geologic Ozarks, it is a pleasure to tour with Velda Brotherton. I see new places through her sharp eyes, hear the voices of the Boston Mountain residents, and revisit places where my travels have taken me.
Loren Gruber is a freelance writer and professor of English and professor of Mass Communication at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo.
For ten years the author collected interviews, visited old community and cemetery sites and researched the four counties of the Boston Mountains of the Arkansas Ozarks included in this book. A collection of 197 old and new photos, drawings and maps, plus directions to the old sites make this book a "must have" for genealogists, historians and lovers of the Ozarks and its unique history.
We located this old store while searching for the Boston Community Building, which we also found. Photos of it are in the book as well.
While looking over the store, a horn sounded and someone shouted. Thinking we were in trouble for trespassing, though nothing was posted, I walked out to speak to the woman who'd parked at the cross road. She only stopped to tell us about the old building. That's how we learned that it was once a vital part of this lost community. Here people traded for goods and purchased everything from seeds and feed to overalls, from food to coal oil to little baby chicks.
On one side facing the road, the store had two huge rolling doors where wagons could pull up and unload what they'd brought, or load what they traded for.
During all our trips through the Boston Mountains, we encountered this type of friendliness. Everyone was anxious to tell us stories and give directions when we were searching for the old communities. It was as if we were all old friends and neighbors. That's the Boston Mountains.
The word Boston means a hard way to go and when one travels through this rugged terrain, it's easy to see where these ancient mountains got their name. By the way, they aren't actually mountains. Read the book to find out what really forms these beautiful Ozarks.
What explains the many train wrecks near this spot at Brentwood? It's hard to tell, but over the years there have been quite a few. This wreck happened just at the depot when two trains collided.
In the book you'll read the story of a father and son; railroad workers who saved the lives of everyone on a train speeding through the black of night toward a washout of the tracks during a hard rainstorm.
Many of the photos in this collection come from all kinds of sources; sadly some have no identification. But all show a way of life that has passed into the shadows of time. I am proud to bring them to my readers. Who knows? Someone may recognize family.
The six part series available in paperback follows historically the post-Civil War years involving the settlement of Montana. This romantic western historical follows couples from the gold strike in Virginia Cita, Montana into the land barons battles to own the state.
Exploring lesser known roads of remote portions of the Ozark Mountains, Brotherton has tracked down and interviewed many of the fine durable folk who settled this region. Travel with her, go within her thoughts and into the minds and hearts of these people. You may not want to leave. For video shown in the Arkansas Film Festival covering Velda's trips and interviews see https://vimeo.com/354804