Tag Archives: Historical Fiction

Embrace the Wild Blitz

 

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Inspired by Equestrian Explorer Isabella Bird

 

Historical Fiction

Published: February 2021

Publisher: Wind Dancer Press

Free spirit and fearless explorer Isabella Lucy Bird’s desire to travel and write about her adventures is not what her Evangelical parents had in mind for their daughter. A strong-willed woman with a keen intellect and curious mind drove her forward, but frail health prevented Isabella from leading the vibrant life she so desired. At the age of forty, she pushed all social convention aside, ignored failed remedies of the doctors and embarked on a world voyage in 1873 that changed her forever.

A six month detour in the lush Hawaiian Islands gave her new strength and stamina. A tenacious horsewoman she rode with Hawaiian natives up the flank of Kilauea to the fiery home of the Goddess Pele’s and into the depths of Waipio Valley where the gods come close. From there, she determined to explore the wonders of Colorado, where she rode 800 miles solo on her mare Birdie. In Estes Park she met an unlikely soulmate in the form of the mercurial character named Rocky Mountain Jim. She prevailed upon him to guide her up Longs Peak. Jim shared the majesty of his realm, allowed her to know the embrace of the wild and opened the floodgate to repressed sensuality.

Hers is a story of raw courage, tenacity and unflagging desire to be true to her destiny.

Excerpt from Embrace of the Wild

Hilo or Bust

The narrow track now slippery with red mud was treacherous. My mare struggled for traction with her legs sliding out from under her. Cascades streaking white down the cleft of the pali dislodged rocks that rattled down the mountain. At times the rain was so dense, I lost sight of Kilani who forged ahead undaunted. We crossed several smaller gulches with rushing water up to my horses belly without incident. But, when we arrived at the lip of Hakalau gulch lost my conviction. Foaming water broiling in a riotous rush to the sea had risen half way up the side of the water corridor. Limbs of trees and leaves swirled in a muddy chaos below. The thunderous sound of breakers crashing on the sea cliffs filled me with dread. If I didn’t drown in the river, I would surely be crushed on the rocks by the pounding sea. I decided I would prefer spending a night in the rain on the shore over attempting this crossing.

Two native men on the other side of the raging torrent had lassoed the horse of a woman trying to reach the other side. With ropes tied to trees they were pulling her to the shore. Her horse floundered falling backwards into the brew. The woman went into the drink. She clung to the horn of the saddle while her body was caught in the current. With a herculean effort the men pulled the flailing animal to the shore. The horse found purchase and the woman was rescued.

Kilani was not dissuaded by the perilous crossing we just witnessed. She stood on the edge of the gulch prepared to jump into a certain death. The men threw the lasso over her horses head and she pressed her horse forward. My heart was in my throat as I watched her being picked up by the roiling water and sent spinning downstream. I screamed over the wild chorus of the river for her to face the flow. She was attempting to cross sideways with her horse completely submerged up to its head. She managed to swing around to face the torrent and the men were able to pull the wretched animal towards the shore. The horse’s eyes rolled white with fear, snorting and puffing as it struggled with every ounce of it’s being to find footing on slippery rocks while the rain pounded even more intensely. Kilani managed to gather herself back onto the horse as it lurched up the far bank of the river. I could only hope for her that her husband’s affections would be rewarded in kind.

I made my decision not to follow her lead to a sudden death. But, as I was about to turn back a lasso was draped around my mare’s neck. Without so much as an “Are you ready?” I was pulled into the roiling drink. Instantly immersed up to my neck, I had no choice but to press forward. I spurred the hapless animal beneath me with all my might. She was swimming toward the far side, but we were drifting towards the sea. I yelled for help over the roar to no avail. My screams were swallowed in the roar of the ceaseless foaming rollers below. This looked to be a sad ending to my new found freedom.

From shore Kilani screamed “Spur. Spur. Spur.” Both men were on the rope they pulled taunt around my horse’s neck. They secured their feet on boulders and grunted with each pull giving a small release so they did not choke her to death. The animal was gasping, and gave out a sorrowful whinny that shook her entire body. I was lifted by the water out of the saddle. My arms were being pulled out of their sockets as I clung to the big horn of the Mexican saddle. The rain was blinding and I was about to let go and join the spirits in the underworld of Po. Suddenly, my mare found a reserve of strength and lurched forward. With the help of the men pulling her, she was able to swim close enough to the shore to scramble up the slick wall of mud and out of the torrent.

Upa finally arrived with a mule in tow. The men tossed him the rope that he put around the creatures neck. He deftly hopped rocks, dove into the muddy brew and navigated the charging river like an amphibious creature leading the mule behind him. He laughed loudly when he reached our party on the other side.

Lucky we get here today,” Upa said.

My horse stood trembling. My teeth chattered involuntarily. The tumult of blinding rain had not ceased. I didn’t feel lucky.

Embrace the Wild tablet


About The Author

Linda Ballou


Linda Ballou has long admired Isabella Bird, the plucky Englishwoman who rode with abandon in the Hawaiian Islands and the Rocky Mountains in 1873-74. Her article Riding in the Hoof Prints of Isabella Bird won the Solas Award offered by Travel Tales publications. Embrace of the Wild is a tribute to a courageous woman who crashed through social barriers to become the best loved travel writer of her time. This historical novel also demonstrates Linda’s personal conviction that nature can be our salvation. A theme that runs through all of her work.

Nothing pleases adventure-travel writer Linda Ballou, more than seeing gorgeous country from the back of a good horse. She has had the pleasure of staying at guest ranches in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and California, along with horse treks in Ireland and Ecuador. Her articles have appeared in Equus, Horse Illustrated, California Riding Magazine and numerous travel publications. Her story Irish Mist recounting her cross-country jumping adventure in Ireland appeared in the anthology Why We Ride. Writing The Cowgirl Jumped Over Moon, a novel that takes you from the Grand Pix jumping circuit to the John Muir Wilderness, was her way of dealing with an injury that forced her to leave the jumping world behind. Cowgirl was a finalist in the Indie Excellence Awards, and was the Founder’s Choice at the 2017 Equus Film Fest in New York.

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Carlos Crosses the Line Blitz

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Historical Fiction

Published: August 2020

Publisher: Casa de los Sueños Publishing

 

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A Tale of Immigration, Temptation, and Betrayal in the Sixties 

Most Americans don’t understand or respect the importance of Mexican
migrant workers to the American economy. They have provided a workforce that
accepts the difficult jobs most refuse to do, and accept extremely low
wages. Carlos Crosses the Line is a novel that is set against a 60’s
background that reveals abuse, cruelty, and racism.

Carlos Montoya crossed one line by forsaking his culture’s
unquestioning faith. He leaped past another as he entered California
illegally during the free-love irreligious 1960s. There, three women tempted
him to abandon more of his limits.

 

—One sought to comfort him.

—One used him against her husband—his employer—in marital
combat.

—One demanded everything.

That summer of 1968 he fled California, falsely accused, beaten, and
terrified.

 

Twenty-six years later, in Michocán Mexico, the beautiful Lilia
Gomez arrives on Carlos’s doorstep, challenging him to recall those
days and to question his old transgressions. And lurking in his background,
what must never be revealed, is the major crime that haunts his past.

 

 

Carlos Crosses the Line paperback

 

 

About the Author

Edward D. Webster

Edward D. Webster’s wide-ranging interests have led him to diverse
careers from teaching Navajo students to managing regulatory compliance to
helping establish a center for abused children.

He is the author of an eclectic collection of books as well as articles
appearing in publications from The Boston Globe to Your Cat magazine. His
writing has been honored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association,
the Foreword Indies, the Boomer Times, and Ed’s favorite:
Hackwriters.com, among others.

Ed admits to a fascination with unique, quirky, and bizarre human behavior,
and he doesn’t exempt himself from the mix. His acclaimed memoir, A
Year of Sundays (Taking the Plunge and our Cat to Explore Europe) shares the
eccentric tale of his yearlong adventure in Europe with his spirited, blind
wife, Marguerite, and their headstrong, deaf, elderly cat, Felicia.

In his historical novel, Soul of Toledo, about Spain in the 1440s, the
diabolical nature of mankind stands out as madmen take over the city of
Toledo and torture suspected Jews thirty years before the Spanish
Inquisition.

Webster also likes to tinker by putting strange characters together to see
what they’ll do with/to each other. In his novel The Gentle
Bomber’s Melody, a nutty woman, bearing a stolen baby, lands on the
doorstep of a fugitive bomber hiding from the FBI. The result: irresistible
insanity.

From the happily unusual of A Year of Sundays to the cruelly perverse in
Soul of Toledo, Webster shines a light on offbeat aspects of human
nature.

In his latest novel, Carlos Crosses the Line, Webster casts his eye in new
directions: the 1960s, the immigration quagmire, free love, the validity of
borders between people and countries, the question of what to believe if you
don’t accept your culture’s traditional values.

Webster lives in Southern California with his divine wife and two amazing
cats.

 

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The Marauders of Pitchfork Pass Blitz

 

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Historical Fiction, Old West, Western

 

Date Published: August 2020

 

Publisher: Gunslinger, A Next Chapter Imprint

It’s 1873, only a few years after the Civil War, and the West is changing. But there is still one town where good citizens can feel safe.

When the sheriff of Silver Vein is killed, it’s up to saloon keeper Curly Barnes – an admitted coward – to see that justice is done. Along for the ride are two legendary Texas Rangers, the soon-to-be-famous outlaw Johnny Ringo, and a couple of brothers who like to play with dynamite.

But after the dust settles, who will be the last man standing?

The Marauders of Pitchfork Pass tablet, phone, paperback


About The Author

Clay Houston Shivers


Clay Houston Shivers is an American novelist currently living in San Francisco. He grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, but spent every summer at his grandparents’ ranch near Georgetown, Texas. He first became fascinated by the American frontier and discovered his love for westerns. He attended college at SMU in Dallas, Texas. For the last twenty years he has worked as an advertising copywriter.

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The Ninth Passage Blitz

 

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Historical Fiction

 

Publisher: Newman Springs Publishing

Controversy abounds when a WWII veteran turned choir teacher has romantic relationship with student.

Alec Driver, a WWII veteran with advanced degree in hand, secures the post of choir teacher at a small town high school on Florida’s west coast. He quickly falls in love with a bright, talented and attractive student. Community outrage demands his dismissal prompting influential citizens to affect his rescue. National recognition for his choirs unprecedented performance of Beethoven’s NinthSymphony vindicates his supporters, or so it seems.

 

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About The Author

Dale O. Cloninger is Professor Emeritus and former Dean at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and now the author of two novels (Death on Demand his first). While fiction, The Ninth Passage is based on his experiences while growing up on Florida’s west coast during the 1950’s.

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Lily Fairchild Blitz

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Historical Fiction

 

Lily Fairchild follows the life of a pioneer woman on the Canadian frontier over 77 years of her long life. She is witness to and a pawn of the great historical events of that period: the Underground Railroad, the clearing of the forest, the coming of the railroads, the discovery of oil, the two Riel Rebellions in the West and the flu pandemic of 1918. A story of love and survival.

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Long-haul, multigenerational historical fiction such as this is often a victim of skewed perspective, as authors, deeply ensconced in often years of research, often overestimate how much detail their readers will want to endure. Gutteridge’s narrative is prodigiously researched (and includes a bibliography), but he never overloads his audience; instead, he seamlessly works the historical grounding into what is, first and foremost, an intensely personal story. The book’s large and varied cast is uniformly well drawn, but Lily towers over the rest; from her earliest scenes, she’s by far the most compelling figure in the narrative. Gutteridge believably and effectively captures her youthful exuberance, as well as her resilience, even in the face of a heartbreaking tragedy in the book’s final pages. He combines his character study with beautifully evocative prose; at one point, for instance, after sunset, “Lily was sure she could hear the River tuning up for its nightsong”; at another, a character’s skin is described as having “the pallor and touch of gray-white mushrooms too long in the rain.” Overall, the author does an excellent job of giving his narrative the feel of a life as it is lived. Readers of such books as Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove (1985) or Anna Waldo’s Sacajawea (1978) will see a similar kind of storytelling here; it’s a difficult feat to manage, but Gutteridge does so. A long but intensely involving tale of a tempestuous life.

 

About the Author

Don Gutteridge is the author of 71 books, including 22 novels and 39 books of poetry. He is a graduate of Western University, where he is currently Professor Emeritus. He lives in London, Ontario.

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