I missed my regular Tuesday blog last week. There's no good excuse. The blog simply fell through the proverbial cracks because I was focused on other stuff:
Speaking of art classes, the one on Wednesday produced a painting that, while not actually "good," I do like. Funny that. In a LinkedIn post, I referenced the effort to some homespun wisdom that has characterized (or castigated) genre fiction for decades: Something doesn't have to be a masterpiece to be liked.
The two new projects were a godsend, especially after far too many weeks with a negligible income. Freelancing tends toward the "feast or famine" cycle and I fret when I'm in a famine cycle, especially when monthly royalties from book sales aren't enough to splurge on a fancy coffee. I've been scouring gig platforms and other sites, prospecting for freelance ghostwriting and editing jobs. I'm fairly picky and don't go after just everything. One of the jobs I managed to acquire through Facebook, which surprised me. I do a fair amount of networking through Facebook and LinkedIn, but Facebook has not heretofore been a source of work, despite having received some inquiries.
No, Virginia, professional editing is not free. Nor is it cheap.
Regardless, it's heartening to see years--yes, years--of networking beginning to pay off.
To build awareness of my books and maybe build my fan base, the Book of the Month has been accelerated to Books of the Month. Two books per month to be precise. One book will be offered for free for a weekend at mid-month and another book will be offered for free for a weekend at the end of the month. E-books, only, of course. To those who do take advantage and download free books, please, please, please leave a review!
As far as my own writing projects are concerned, I haven't done much at all. The as-yet unnamed sequel to Hogtied still languishes. The mind-preoccupying historical paranormal romance (yes, untitled) hasn't much gone anywhere either. And I still have three more novellas to write for the ghostwriting gig that never paid but that I decided I would produce and publish anyway. Unfortunately, nothing is calling me, none of the characters are speaking to me. It's awfully quiet inside my skull.
Until I try to sleep, that is.
Anyway, cross your fingers and send some good vibes my way in hope that those who embarked upon book writing projects are now in need of editors and will hire me to edit their manuscripts or realize that their writing skills aren't up to par and hire me to ghostwrite for them.
Adieu until next week.
Free This Weekend Only
Angels High: A woman who makes her living by winning at a man’s game learns to expect trouble, especially when the stakes are high. But when trouble finds her this time, Angelica Durant gets more than she bargained for.
Coming Home: Life is hard. No one knows this better than Dessie Humphrey who’s trying to hold onto the family farm. When aid comes in the form of a wanted gunslinger, she’s in no position to refuse.
The Escort: Buck hires on as an armed escort to accompany a rancher’s haughty daughter and her companion to Boston for her debut into polite society. Both young women are lovely, but the young companion catches Buck’s eye and warms his heart. He thinks he’s too old and jaded for this innocent girl; but, when danger strikes, he’ll risk his life for her.
Hair Trigger: A female gunslinger returns to her hometown to claim her inheritance and get justice for her father’s wrongful death, but crashes into a statute of limitations.
Heart of Gold: A dying man begs an honest cowboy to take a fortune in gold through a lawless territory with Indians on the warpath. He didn’t reckon on becoming responsible for keeping the man’s daughter safe along the way.
The Lesser of Evils: Cast from the native tribe that adopted her and the only home she’s ever known to make her way in the white man’s world, Sun Gold finds herself faced with a language barrier and a choice she never wanted.
The Mail Order Bride’s Choice: Looking to improve her circumstances, an indigent woman travels across the country as a mail order bride to meet a fiancé who has plans for her other than marriage.
Pride and Peace: It’s an open secret on the Lazy Five that Jessie North is a woman, but that doesn’t stop Daniel Harper from reacting badly when he learns about it. Can he overcome his prejudice when the proud half-breed saves his life?
Resurrection: Undertakers bury the dead; they don’t resurrect bodies left for dead. But that’s exactly what Antonio DiCarlo does when a lovely Swedish immigrant lands on his doorstep.
The Rancher’s First Love: When a gravely wounded Chinese woman collapses on Clint Cheswick’s front porch, he doesn’t expect to compete with his half-breed foreman for her affection.
The Saint: A wounded outlaw throws himself upon the mercy of a Mexican priest. His demand for sanctuary gains him more than just temporary safety.
Survival of the Fairest: A woman kills her abusive husband and flees, heading west to restart her life under an assumed name.
“So, how’d you find out Jessie was female?”
“She was wounded that night. I tended her.”
“So, she owes you her life.”
The foreman gestured with his empty hand toward the wranglers gathered around the campfire. “Prolly we’d all be dead if it weren’t for Jessie North. Her pa was Luther North and her uncle was Capt. Frank North.”
“So?” Dan scratched his head at the unfamiliar name.
“Even Wild Bill Hickock couldn’t match Frank. That girl’s got gun smoke running through her veins.” Since the look of disbelief hadn’t faded from the new man’s expres- sion, Cordell elaborated. “Capt. North and Luther led a troop of Pawnee scouts. It weren’t regulation, but Luther’s daughter tagged along with them. She been raised among Indian warriors and U.S. soldiers, and they taught her ever’thing they knew.”
Dan scratched his head again, trying to absorb the oddity of a woman who understood soldiering and gun- fighting and resenting that no one had let him in on the secret sooner. “If you say so.”
Cordell leveled a cold look at the other man. “You got any reason to complain about the job she’s doin’?”
The wrangler shook his head. He wracked his brain for some valid complaint regarding the woman’s perfor- mance, but he came up with nothing. The foreman nodded.
“You just continue to think of Jessie as one of the boys and you’ll be fine. If anyone in the crew catches you harras- sin’ her, then we’ll miss a good wrangler.”
Dan’s blood turned cold. “Is that a threat?”
“Let’s just say that the last hand who thought Jessie was fair game never finished the cattle drive.”
“Who killed him?”
“Who d’ya think?”
Book Of The Month
Gunslingers, ranchers, cowboys, gamblers, and more make their appearance in this exciting collection of short stories set in the American Old West.
Author Holly Bargo takes an unflinching look at this most romanticized of American eras with bigotry, oppression, and hardship leaving their marks. Resilient and resourceful characters rise above those and other challenges with strength and, oftentimes, humor. Clean, sweet romance weaves its magic through many of the stories.
The 12 stories contained within this book were previously published, six in the collaborative collection titled Six Shots Each Gun published with Amazon bestselling author Russ Towne and six published in Holly Bargo’s own collection titled Satin Boots.
Hunched over as she weeded a row of carrots, Des- sie leaned back on her heels and wiped the sweat from her forehead with the back of her sleeve. With a sigh, she turned to look at a man silhouetted against the afternoon sky. She took in what details she could: tall, broad shoul- ders, narrow waist, long legs. He wore a pistol at each hip. Cautious, because she did not recognize this stranger, Des- sie slid one hand into her pocket for the heavy pistol she’d begun to carry when her suitors didn’t want to take no for an answer.
“I’m not interested,” she replied, blinking against the sun.
“I ain’t sellin’.”
“Then why are you here?”
“I heard tell there was a woman lookin’ to manage her daddy’s farm all by herself and thought I’d see if she needed some assistance.”
Dessie pressed her lips together in a thin line. With her free hand, she waved to indicate her property. “I do, but I’m not looking to marry anyone just to get a helping hand.”
The man’s white teeth flashed beneath the lowered brim of his hat. “I ain’t lookin’ to get married, ma’am. I’m lookin’ for paid work.”
Dessie chewed on her bottom lip as she considered this new development. She most certainly could use a strong back and extra pair of hands, but she was short on resources. She decided to be honest with him.
“I don’t have much money, mister, but I can offer you a place to stay in the barn and three meals a day. You take care of the livestock and crops; I’ll take care of the house, chickens, and garden.” The cow in the barn lowed. She sighed and added, “And I’ll milk the cow.”
“And laundry,” the man added. “Add laundry and I’ll start this afternoon.”
She frowned, then decided to compromise. “I’ll wash your dirty clothes with mine, but I won’t be washing extra loads just for you.”
“Fair enough, ma’am.”
She rose to her feet, grunting as her knees protested, and held out her hand. “Do we have an agreement, mister?”
He took her hand and shook it. His palm was dry and dusty. He nodded and replied, “Yes, ma’am, we do.”
Dessie gestured toward the barn. “If you have a horse, you can stable it there. I’ve got some extra stalls available. Then pick up a sickle and head behind the barn. You’ll see a field of winter wheat. It needs harvesting.”
“Call me Dessie. What should I call you?” “John, John McClintock.”
She nodded at him and watched as he walked away from her, noticing the bow in his legs indicating a life spent in the saddle. She wondered just what she had welcomed into her life and hoped she hadn’t just made the biggest mistake ever.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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Looking for a place to swap blogs? Holly Bargo at Hen House Publishing is happy to reciprocate Blog Swaps in 2019.
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