Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Louis L’Amour. I cut my teeth on his westerns. As a kid I could spend hours lost in his Old West. His heroes were not always good men, not always on the side of the law, but there was an unshakable core of values they held to, even if they differed from society’s at large. They were strong. They had to be to survive not only the villain or the rigors of Western life, but to survive the land. The land is a character in his books, one with a large presence. For me, no other writer brings the land to vivid, living life in quite the same way.

To this day, I can pick up one of his books and be transported to a past that has heroes who have that everyman quality, strong heroines who don’t give up, and that land. Westerns remain one of my favorite genres.

Mr. L’Amour's books definitely influenced my writing. I think you can see it in DISOBEDIENCE,  book one in my new series, Harker’s Hell. Below is a short excerpt, I hope you enjoy it.

From the lost journal of Harker Shand Delais

We weren’t prepared for the reality we found, the vast, billowing seas of grass, heat that bleached white the bones of the unwary, and mountains. Mountains that stood on end, their jagged peaks splitting wide a blue dome such as we’d never before beheld.
We named it the Badlands. A hell-spawned, wild, brash, land, filled with vicious thorns tipped with barbs and poison; where seemingly solid ground hid death pits covered by thin layers of volcanic glass. It was stark, seared, fit only for coyote and cactus.
It was here we made our home. 

And one more…

 Eyes burning, she stared out over the harsh landscape as mile after mile of straggly grass, cactus and rock rolled by with unrelenting slowness. The arid expanse, sculpted by the blast of harsh suns, was so very different from her home.
The Smoky Mountains, part of Teton Territory, were achingly lovely. Clouds ghosted around their jagged peaks like wisps of early morning wood smoke, hollows hid grass and trees as green as poison, and myriad shallow streams chuckled their way over rocks slippery with moss, to gather and swirl in small ponds and lakes. No, no one could deny the beauty of the Smokies.
She hated them.
As stark, as forbidding as this land was, it drew her in some indefinable way. There was an honesty in the twisted, tortured formations, in the sprawling patches of low-growing cacti and in the wicked thorns glinting on the scattered brush. Unlike her home that cloaked danger in the illusion of safety with green, cool shadows. Only a fool wouldn’t recognize the danger in this land.
Waves of heat shimmered off the red sands, glistened on shards of black volcanic glass. In the distance, columns of Joshua trees towered over the vast wasteland; macabre sentinels that watched the passing of time, unfazed by the life and death struggles taking place around them.
Only the sound of the traces and the creak of wood and leather broke the stillness. Heat poured off the sand like an oven, making it hard to catch a decent breath. Dis licked her lips, tasting salt.

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