Saturday, June 11, 2011

Adventures on the Cattle Trail

Okay...I know that I am a sci-fi writer. You know that I'm a sci-fi writer. But guess what? I have always (ALWAYS) had a soft spot for westerns. As a kid I remember Saturdays at my Grandpa's house spending the day with John Wayne in the background.

I love the idea of the western setting. The rodeo, the cattle drives, the dust...okay, maybe not so much the dust. You get the idea. Today I brought author Barbara Scott on to talk about her latest western romance, West of Heaven.

How do you say it? Oh yeah! "Ya-hoo! Take it away, Barbara!"


The cattle trail has been the setting for a number of entertaining books, though not usually stories that involve women in important ways. In my historical romance, Somewhere West of Heaven, Marcella McGovern, a gently-raised heiress, and her crew of soiled doves turned cow-girls take to the trail led by disgraced trail boss, Jean Luc Desloge.

Marcella McGovern arrives in Onion Creek, Texas for the reading of the will of her unknown benefactress which will change her life forever. Accompanied by the ancient attorney who has managed her education but kept the secret of her parenthood, she soon discovers more shocks than her prim upbringing has prepared her to face. The late proprietress of the local house of ill repute, Miss Sophie Castleman, and Clint Harte, wealthy cattle baron of the Heart O’ Gold Ranch, were murdered in each others arms, leaving behind the will that names Marcella as their secret daughter and the inheritor of Sophie’s bawdy house and all Harte’s marketable cattle.

Complicating the inheritance is Jean Luc Desloge, Sophie’s disreputable but all too-tempting majordomo, a prime suspect in the murders, and all Sophie’s working girls who are in hiding in her boarded-up house. Then Clint Harte’s angry widow issues Marcella an ultimatum, get the cattle off the Heart O’ Gold or pay the price. Could Sophie's girls be trained to take the place of the cowboys who are forbidden to sign on with Marcella?

Tom brought up a hardy mousey brown horse that should suit her. He had a sleekness to him and a wise look. He stood solid while Jean Luc saddled him. Marcella came up to take his reins, stroking the horse's nose and talking to him in soft reassuring tones.

"Does this one have a name, Tom?" Marcella asked.

"Redemption they called him."

"Redemption." From her mouth, the name whispered through the morning air like a word of endearment. The critter ate it up like sugar lumps.

"You got a way with horses." Jean Luc pulled the cinches tight. "Sweet-talking might be all you need to keep you seated. Maybe he won't buck at all. He ain't puttin' up a fight now, but, just in case, try to sit back and catch his rhythm and ride with it."

"Until I land in the dirt with the best of them." She whispered something else to the horse as Jean Luc came around to give her a leg up.

"Have a good ride." He stepped back to clear the way.

Marcella steered Redemption toward the center of the corral, taking an easy pace, show-ing a confidence that let the horse know he was in good hands. He responded with a cooperation that thrilled Jean Luc. They walked the boundary of the corral without a bump or a bother. A mumble of appreciation rippled through the townsfolk who'd been attracted by the unusual Sun-day morning goings-on.

When she looked up, Jean Luc signaled his encouragement by snatching off his hat and waving it in the air. Ezra and Tom nodded enthusiastically. She urged Redemption into a post trot, raising herself in her stirrups so she was half-sitting and half standing, her body bobbing up and down in perfect rhythm to the horse's gait. On this go round she beamed at Polly's barely contained excitement and at Glory with her hands on her hips, no doubt puzzling out why she hadn't drawn Marcella's horse instead of the one she'd chosen.

In truth, Jean Luc suspected it was Tom's horse sense that had reserved this mount for her. Not too shy to show off, Marcella directed Redemption into some quick turns and stops be-fore taking him one more time around. She brought him to a smooth stop in front of Jean Luc and dismounted.

Tilting back her hat, Marcella took off her bandana and used it to dab at the sweat on her brow. "I don't know, Jean Luc, do you really think I had to change clothes for that ride?"

Jean Luc rubbed his chin. "Well, how else do you think that horse knew you meant busi-ness? Now, ready for some breakfast? Or should we start right in on ropin' and tyin'?"


Available at Amazon for Kindle, Barnes & Noble for the Nook, Sony, Kobo and Apple's iBookstore or direct from DBP

Barbara Scott believes the Blarney Stone is in Ireland for good reason and thanks her strong Irish roots for her own story telling abilities.

Her first two books, Golden Heart Winner, TUG OF WAR and HAUNTS OF THE HEART are in the collection of the State Historical Society Library in Columbia, Missouri.

As a special education teacher, Scott found that teaching and writing were compatible careers except on those days when both students and characters refused to cooperate. She shares a house in the Midwest with her sister and three rambunctious terriers.

For more about Barbara, visit


  1. Barbara, thank you so much for coming by to visit!

  2. I'm another SF writer who LOVES westerns (what's a SF novel if not a Western with starships instead of horses, and alien civilizaions instead of Indians and unknown territories?)

    Loved the except Barbara. As a horse lover and owner, anything with horses draws me in!