Coming SOON!


Murder, especially mass murder, will out. When civilian investigators stumble upon part of Number Seven’s schemes in the summer of 1870, Lt. Col. Clint Donovan and two of his teammates must race halfway across Texas to save their lives and find out what they know. But even that may solve only half of the problem—especially when Clint and his men meet the ladies involved.

Life on the frontier has plenty of risks of its own, however, and not just from the elements. A husband-hunting New York socialite runs away to Loyal Valley, only to discover that dime novels don’t reflect what Texas is really like. And she’s not the only one in danger when an old enemy returns to wreak more havoc of his own accord.

There’s more to war than bullets, wits, and nerve. Who will keep his head and his life, and who will lose his freedom… or his heart?

Yes, Loyal Valley: Captives is now available for ebook pre-orders through Smashwords and KindleDirect! I aim to have paperbacks available by the time the ebooks officially release on Aug. 31.

Also, for new readers, I’m offering the first two books in the series for 99¢ apiece on Smashwords for a limited time! Use coupon code ZB26E for Assassination and DR88E for Bystanders. Please note, however, that these coupons are good only at Smashwords and only through September 9!

A Tale of Two Stepfathers

A while back, I was over at my parents’ house for supper, and we watched an episode of Adam-12 that… stuck with me, I guess. I had intended to write about it then, but life happened. Still, with the recent news out of the NFL (not to mention the NCAA and Rotherham), the subject is as timely as ever.
Also, a brief note before I begin: The stories I’m about to relate happen to deal with men, but… let’s just say that the wicked stepmother trope also exists for a reason.

(I’ll put the episode synopsis behind a cut, just in case there are any Mark Oshiro-level spoilerphobes reading!) Continue reading “A Tale of Two Stepfathers”

Just in time for West Texas Heritage Days:


An unconventional enemy resorts to unconventional tactics. Determined to lure Lt. Col. Clint Donovan and his military intelligence team to their deaths, Number Seven’s operatives make a deal with an Apache warrior whose cruelty is legendary even among his own people and whose involvement stirs up the torturous ghosts of Bella Donovan’s past. A widowed horse rancher sends Clint timely warning, but even that can’t prevent the Apaches from taking a neighbor’s sons as bait for an ambush, and Clint’s informant finds herself on the wrong end of Number Seven’s wrath as a result of her actions. As Clint’s choices set the stage for a cavalryman’s finest hour and a town’s hard lesson in courage, the same question arises time and again:
Is there such a thing as an innocent bystander?

Due to time constraints, ebooks will most likely have to wait until after I get back from Fort McKavett, but you can order the paperbacks now from Amazon and CreateSpace (regular and large print). And if you’re planning to come to Fort McKavett next weekend, it might be wise for you to order now, since my stock will be limited!


*skids to a halt and plonks down breathless at computer* “So little to do, so much time… strike that, reverse it.”
I’m really looking forward to April. Maybe by then I’ll have time to actually breathe when I’m not being sidelined with health stuff. o_o

Thanks to everyone who’s read Look Behind You so far! I have only a couple more ducks to get into line before publication, so I do expect to make my planned release date of March 2. Watch this space for more details!
Also, if you’re in the Highland Lakes (Texas) area this week, I’ll be presenting “It All Began with an Airplane: The Lesser-Known History behind Loyal Valley” at Lakeshore Library in Buchanan Dam on Tuesday at 2:30. Copies of Loyal Valley: Assassination will be available for purchase afterward.
And finally, to prove I’m not a total slacker, have a hot-off-the-keyboard excerpt from Loyal Valley: Bystanders:

“Well, if they got this part worked out [asked Bella], why not add some kind of clockwork loading mechanism?”

[Marty replied,] “Blessed if I know. Maybe it wouldn’t fit in the tree; maybe they figured more moving parts meant more that could go wrong. Or maybe this was the only way the gunfighters would go for it.”

“Perhaps this fellow will be able to tell us,” said Mr. Meusebach, coming onto the porch just then with Mike. The two of them were half-carrying the man Mike had shot [in the shoulder], who had regained consciousness and was swearing his head off. Ashley stood in the doorway and growled threateningly.

Mike grabbed one of the porch chairs, shoved the prisoner into it, and cuffed him lightly on the ear. “Don’t talk like that in front of a lady.”

The prisoner looked at Bella and sneered. “That ain’t no lady, that’s a—”

Mike backhanded him hard enough to draw blood.

Bella found herself drawing up to her full height. “If you get blood on my porch, Captain….”

Mike shot her an amused glance. “Understood, ma’am.”

Marty coughed, apparently to keep from laughing. Then he turned his head toward Ashley. “That’s enough, girl.”

Ashley sat down in the doorway and stopped growling audibly, but her ruff was still raised and her ears back.

“Who sent you out here?” Mike demanded of the prisoner.

The prisoner snorted. “I ain’t talkin’ to no—”

Ashley cut him off with a flurry of furious barks until Marty called her down again. Then Mr. Meusebach stepped around in front of the prisoner, and as Mike stepped aside to give him room, Bella was astonished at the change that came over their dear friend and neighbor. Gone was the affable gentleman farmer; in his place stood the nobleman who’d so impressed the Comanches that they’d nicknamed him after a god.

“Let me make one thing perfectly clear,” said Baron von Meusebach in a steady, dangerous voice. “You have three choices. You will talk to us; you will talk to the sheriff; or you will talk to the State Police.”

For the first time, the prisoner looked slightly nervous. “I don’t gotta talk to nobody. I got rights.”

“Oh, yes, you have rights. But we have evidence—enough evidence that the sheriff will most assuredly charge you with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. I would think that you are wanted for other crimes, also, perhaps even actual murder.”

The prisoner looked more nervous.

Mr. Meusebach raised an eyebrow. “Ach, so, you are a murderer, and you know that you will hang for that. There is, however, the possibility….” He paused—deliberately, Bella suspected.

And the prisoner took the bait. “Of what? P-possibility of what?”

“Well, I cannot speak for Gov. Davis, but there may be a chance of clemency if you will tell us all you know.”

The prisoner started shaking, though Bella wasn’t sure if it was from fear or blood loss. “Don’t I get a lawyer or nothin’?”

Mr. Meusebach shrugged. “It may take several days, perhaps even weeks, for one to be found who is willing to travel this far from Austin.”

“Weeks?! But I ain’t got—” The prisoner caught himself.

“You don’t have weeks,” Mike rumbled. “Because your gang expects to finish off Mrs. Hancock and Mr. Donovan in a matter of days, and if they come back from Lost Creek to find you’ve been captured before you could kill us….”

The prisoner was definitely afraid now. “You don’t know nothin’.”

Or do they? Stay tuned….

(Post title inspired by the catchphrase for the Horrible Histories movie, BILL, which just started filming last week!)

We interrupt your scheduled reading…

… with a news update: I am now officially planning to have Loyal Valley: Bystanders out no later than March 21 because I will indeed be launching it at West Texas Heritage Days at Fort McKavett! I’m scheduled to speak during lunch on the 22nd (Saturday), but I’ll be available to sign all weekend, in addition to my calligraphy demonstration.
Also, if anyone’s planning to come to my signing at Lakeshore Library in Buchanan Dam on Feb. 18, I will be presenting my talk “It All Began with an Airplane: The Lesser-Known History behind Loyal Valley” and will have copies available for purchase afterward.

Looking back, looking forward

Well, I didn’t quite make my goal of posting every day of the twelve days of Christmas. But that’s okay–I got close and wrote some things I hadn’t planned, and I pray some of it blessed people.
What it did teach me, though, is that I’m not cut out to be a blogger who posts every day. Even when I’ve got a clear idea of what I want to post, which I didn’t always for this series, blogging takes up energy that I need to expend on writing other things. And again, that’s okay. I didn’t set out to become a big-name blogger. It just means this isn’t going to be that sort of blog, and I’ll figure out the sort of blog it is going to be as we go along.

That said:

Starting Monday, I’ll be trying something completely different by posting the first book in my second series, Look Behind You, here before I release the ebook and paperback versions on March 2. I’ll be posting one chapter each on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for the rest of this month. I also plan to post a PayPal button where you can preorder autographed hard copies as well as autographed copies of Loyal Valley: Assassination–and I hope you will, because I’ll be working on Loyal Valley: Bystanders at the same time with a goal of releasing it later in March, and any income I can get from writing means less time I need to spend making money from other projects.
And if you can’t buy anything right now… just pray for me.