<![CDATA[Shirleen Davies, Author - Blog]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:12:22 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Ghost Towns and Boom Towns of the American West]]>Wed, 01 Jun 2016 02:42:24 GMThttp://shirleendavies.com/blog/ghost-towns-and-boom-towns-of-the-american-westPicture
   Risk and reward, boom or bust: essential to our concept of the Western frontier. The possibilities were endless, but the risks were great and the rewards never guaranteed. For families like the MacLarens (from my newest series MacLarens of Boundary Mountain), settling in a boomtown like Conviction was the ultimate payoff for an arduous, risky journey. Of course, our hero Colin MacLaren wants more out of life than to live in a nice, stable, thriving town, but more on him later…
 
Boomtowns sprung up across the United States during the rapid growth of the 19th century. Adventurous travelers and those seeking a better life were drawn to a bourgeoning town for opportunity. Their presence helped the economy grow, more people were drawn to the town, and the growth cycle continued.
 
Gold rush fever was responsible for many 19th century boomtowns, some of which remain stable economies to this day. Even Denver, Colorado and San Francisco were once new, exciting western boomtowns. Conviction, the setting for the MacLarens of Boundary Mountain series, was inspired by two real towns first settled in the 1850s. Together they formed a bustling metropolis with a strong economy.
 
   Marysville and neighboring Yuba City, both in northern California on the Feather River, owe their early development to the promise of gold. Marysville became one of the largest cities in California within a decade of being incorporated in 1851. Its location was prime for a commercial center to serve thousands of gold miners. By 1857 it had a population nearly ten thousand strong, and a full, diverse economy of different industries and a rich community of people. Across the river, Yuba City benefited from the same travel routes and quietly thrived on a smaller scale, eventually becoming the county seat of Sutter County, California.
 
   Marysville’s growth came to an essentially permanent halt when Feather River became impassable by riverboats. However, they never met the dreaded fate of so many other western boomtowns. They never went “bust.”
 
   Boomtowns are defined as much by their growing pains and potential for failure as they are by initial growth and success. Because these towns grew so rapidly, growth was often unsustainable. Many towns never caught up to their long-term needs and went “bust” after a period of tenuous prosperity. This was an all-too-common tale that has resulted in the American West being dotted with abandoned “ghost towns.”

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Bodie, California is an eerily well-preserved ghost town in northern California. It enjoyed its clandestine boom in the 1870s and 1880s thanks to the discovery of gold. At its peak, Bodie boasted 65 saloons along its main street, a population of around 7,000 people, newspapers that published several times a week, a red light district, volunteer fire fighters, and even a local brass band.
 
Bodie’s sudden decline occurred when more promising mining towns like Butte, Montana and Tombstone, Arizona lured off most of the miners. The people who remained in Bodie were families. The town’s economy and population never recovered. By 1920, scarcely over one hundred people called Bodie home. In 1942, the last gold mine closed. In1961, the town was designated a National Historic Landmark and has been maintained as such ever since, in a state of “arrested decay.”
 
   These narratives were essential to the tone of life in the American West. Towns boomed and busted. Families settled and created stable lives, all the while aware the economy could turn with little notice. It took special people with an adventurous nature and never quit attitude to take the extreme changes in the western frontier.
  
   If you were in a position to change your life, uproot your family for a dream, would you do it? Would you believe in your heart, as the MacLarens did, that there was more to life and greater opportunity hundreds or thousands of miles away? If so, what would you give up to secure it?

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The author of over seventeen books, Shirleen Davies writes romance—historical, contemporary, and romantic suspense. She grew up in Southern California, attended Oregon State University, and has degrees from San Diego State University and the University of Maryland. During the day she provides consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses. But her real passion is writing emotionally charged stories of flawed people who find redemption through love and acceptance.  She now lives with her husband in a beautiful town in northern Arizona.
 
Shirleen loves to hear from her readers.
 
Write to her at:  shirleen@shirleendavies.com
Visit her website:   http://www.shirleendavies.com
Check out her book: http://www.shirleendavies.com/books.html
Comment on her blog:   http://www.shirleendavies.com/blog.html
Facebook Fan Page:   https://www.facebook.com/ShirleenDaviesAuthor
Twitter:   http://twitter.com/shirleendavies
Google+:   http://www.gplusid.com/shirleendavies
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/shirleendaviesauthor
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/shirleendavies
Tsu: http://www.tsu.co/shirleendavies

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<![CDATA[ The Resurgence of the Historical Western Romance: Why Readers Love Those Cowboys ]]>Fri, 08 Apr 2016 04:07:53 GMThttp://shirleendavies.com/blog/-the-resurgence-of-the-historical-western-romance-why-readers-love-those-cowboysLast month, Sarah A. Chrisman wrote an article for Vox Media (http://www.vox.com/2015/9/9/9275611/victorian-era-life) in which she details her very Victorian life. If you didn’t read it, I can tell you that she and her husband, Gabriel, are very committed. They wear tailor-made reproductions of period-appropriate clothes, ride copies of antique high-wheel bicycles, and heat their home (built in 1888 in Port Townsend, WA, a Victorian Seaport town) with antique kerosene and gas heaters.
 
So why do they live like this? Because they were quite taken with a dynamic, fascinating, much-admired and often misunderstood time period. They choose to immerse themselves in it, studying it in the most intimate way.
 
I can relate to this in small ways, as I am sure a lot of us can. Nostalgia is as American as apple pie, and I’m no exception. The American west is my greatest inspiration, near and dear to my heart. I was raised in the west, and I feel lucky, invigorated, and inspired every time I look out the window in my home and see beautiful Arizona mountain ranges outside. I’m not quite ready to give up my computer and car (let alone my lovely home) to live the life of a frontier woman, but I’m one of many who is wowed and inspired by this period in American history. And my readers agree.
 
Americans take a lot of pride in their Western frontier ancestors, and they always have, even when it was a fairly recent past. The Western was the most popular genre of Hollywood film from the early 20th century all the way through the 1960s. Though their massive popularity dropped off in the latter half of the century, these films and the time period they represent remain major influences for popular directors like Quentin Tarantino.
 
What is it we find so fascinating, so compelling, about this time period? For one thing, it was a time of great hardship. The men and women of the frontier were building lives from scratch, with little social, economic, or political support. These were people of discipline, strength, and ingenuity, who when faced with a challenge, had no choice but to work hard and find a solution. Any one of us would have a hard time if we were dropped into even the most advanced and thriving metropolis of the late 19th century. On the Western frontier, people had it even harder.
 
They were tough, rugged people who endured lives more difficult than what most of us can imagine, and even so, we associate these people with honor, integrity, and deeply held values. These people, for whom survival itself was such a challenge, still had the emotional strength to be good to one another, to keep their word, and to cultivate virtues, not for any kind of reward or recognition, but simply because that is what was done.
 
These days, a lot of people feel we’ve collectively lost our way, and that we as a society, and as individuals, are suffering a crisis of morals. Our values and virtues are not nearly so clear or strong as they once were, and so we look to other times for inspiration and guidance.
 
That is the crux of our admiration for the people of the western frontier. Men and women of discipline, honor, and independence are so very appealing to readers, whether they live on the early western frontier or a modern city or town.
 
Today, virtues are not the cultural cornerstone they once were. However, we can count on our ancestors. We can count on the past to show us examples of good people, surviving and thriving, and doing so with kindness and grace.

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I hope my stories provide readers with characters that exemplify these qualities. Dixie Moon, book four in the Redemption Mountain Historical Western Series, weaves a story of romance, adventure, tough choices, and honor.
 
Gabe Evans is a man of his word with strong convictions and steadfast loyalty. As the sheriff of Splendor, Montana, the ex-Union Colonel and oldest of four boys from an affluent family, Gabe understands the meaning of responsibility. The last thing he wants is another commitment—especially of the female variety.
Until he meets Lena Campanel...
Lena’s past is one she intends to keep buried. Overcoming a childhood of setbacks and obstacles, she and her friend, Nick, have succeeded in creating a life of financial success and devout loyalty to one another. 
When an unexpected death leaves Gabe the sole heir of a considerable estate, partnering with Nick and Lena is a lucrative decision…forcing Gabe and Lena to work together. As their desire grows, Lena refuses to let down her guard, vowing to keep her past hidden—even from a perfect man like Gabe.
But secrets never stay buried…
When revealed, Gabe realizes Lena’s secrets are deeper than he ever imagined. For a man of his character, deception and lies of omission aren’t negotiable. Will he be able to forgive the deceit? Or is the damage too great to ever repair? 
Buy Links:
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B013Z06II4
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B013Z06II4
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B013Z06II4/
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1031327933
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1122692970?ean=2940151067553
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/search?Query=Dixie+Moon
GooglePlay:https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Shirleen_Davies_Dixie_Moon?id=ULJhCgAAQBAJ&hl=en
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/579811


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The author of over seventeen books, Shirleen Davies writes romance—historical, contemporary, and romantic suspense. She grew up in Southern California, attended Oregon State University, and has degrees from San Diego State University and the University of Maryland. During the day she provides consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses. But her real passion is writing emotionally charged stories of flawed people who find redemption through love and acceptance.  She now lives with her husband in a beautiful town in northern Arizona.
 
Shirleen loves to hear from her readers.
 
Write to her at:  shirleen@shirleendavies.com
Visit her website:   http://www.shirleendavies.com
Check out her book: http://www.shirleendavies.com/books.html
Comment on her blog:   http://www.shirleendavies.com/blog.html
Facebook Fan Page:   https://www.facebook.com/ShirleenDaviesAuthor
Twitter:   http://twitter.com/shirleendavies
Google+:   http://www.gplusid.com/shirleendavies
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/shirleendaviesauthor
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/shirleendavies
Tsu: http://www.tsu.co/shirleendavies


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<![CDATA[Going Back in Time: A Woman’s Life on the American Frontier]]>Fri, 18 Mar 2016 19:31:46 GMThttp://shirleendavies.com/blog/going-back-in-time-a-womans-life-on-the-american-frontierPicture
The period of western expansion and settlement challenged settlers in ways inconceivable to us today. It’s hard to believe, with all our modern conveniences and creature comforts, that our ancestors were ever so resourceful, determined, and resilient in the face of monumental difficulties.
When you start to do a little digging, it doesn’t take long to discover that women who traveled west—alone or with their families—had unprecedented responsibility on the frontier. By necessity, women did a great deal more physical labor on the frontier than we’re accustomed to today.

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Most women on the frontier who took jobs to survive, worked in traditionally female roles such as teaching, nursing, and service work. However, these jobs made women’s labor integral to the growth of western communities.
 
The challenge of frontier life started with the journey. Women were responsible for preparing their families for the long, dangerous trip westward. One of the most important pieces of that puzzle was outfitting a wagon. Women hand-sewed wagon covers (often in groups as a social event) as well as clothes for the journey. These items were necessary to surviving harsh and varied climates which included burning heat in the plains and deserts, and freezing cold in the mountains. Wagons were stocked with the bare necessities, forcing tough choices when it came to leaving precious heirlooms behind. Families needed to be kept clean, fed, and clothed, but saving space and weight in the wagon made this a delicate balancing act between preparedness and minimalism.
 
When families reached the frontier, priorities shifted away from basic survival toward establishing sustainable lives in the new land. Women were vastly outnumbered by men. Some figures place it at three or four men for every woman. However, women still shouldered a great portion of the work.
 
Men worked jobs that drew them west in the first place, while women took charge of home management as well as assisting with farming and ranching chores. Unmarried women often cleaned rooms in hotels and boarding houses, worked in saloons, and assisted in medical clinics that benefited local families as well as the huge number of single men who lived in or passed through their towns. Providing laundry and seamstress services also gave women with no family a way to survive. Women as a whole often pooled time, skill, and capital to provide care for the entire town’s children, bachelors, transients, ill, and injured.

Women also shouldered the responsibility for orchestrating social and leisure time. Church boards and ladies’ groups were often a town’s most important asset in terms of creating a homey, enjoyable social life in frontier towns that were isolated and detached from the rest of the country.

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Mining town life, however, drew a different type of woman. Many traveled from camp to camp, working in saloons and offering their favors in the sex trade. Brothels sprung up overnight in such camps and were extremely popular. Women who didn’t make it in this trade occasionally became outlaws. There are accounts of numerous females who became accomplished at robbing stagecoaches, banks, and unsuspecting newcomers to the west.


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Many women were drawn westward for teaching opportunities. One of the reasons that so many women were able to get jobs in education is that one could get away with paying female teachers less than male teachers. Still, education jobs were considered valuable opportunities, enticing women to strike out for the western territory. Female educators did their best with little to no supplies, bare classrooms, overcrowding, and nothing more than the Bible for reading material. Schools also operated according to ranch and farming schedules, which meant some schools were in session for as few as three months out of the year. As a group, determined, altruistic female teachers were responsible for educating an entire generation of western Americans in basic academic and life skills.
 
Because there were so many more men, women were “in demand” among those who wanted to settle down in the west. This meant that unmarried women could afford to be picky, and many women held more social and financial capital than they could have in the east.
 
Participating in local politics became more common among women in the west. Tough, resourceful, enterprising women, earned the respect and admiration of the town’s men through their mettle and fortitude, proving themselves through their countless contributions to the economy of frontier towns. In some towns, women secured their rights earlier than their eastern sisters. Believe it or not, women in the western territories had the right to vote well before the 19th amendment, and well before most of their sisters on the eastern seaboard.

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Unending work, hardships, and unparalleled opportunity awaited those women willing to make the sacrifices necessary for a life on the frontier. Could I have lived during the western expansion? Of course. Any of us could. Would I want to do it given present day conveniences and jobs? Hmmm…that’s a whole other question.
 
What would you do?

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<![CDATA[ Contemporary Romance Must-Haves ]]>Tue, 19 May 2015 20:47:23 GMThttp://shirleendavies.com/blog/-contemporary-romance-must-havesPicture
What does a contemporary romance novel need—aside from a sexy leading man—to make it engaging, believable, and delicious to read? The answers are at once obvious and subtle. Here are five elements that are integral to a good contemporary western romance.

1. The right supporting cast

A hunky leading man alone does not a contemporary romance make. If he’s not surrounded by cast of richly drawn friends, enemies, and background townspeople, he and the leading lady won’t be very convincing. The other characters in the story do wonders to establish the setting and tone of the novel, plus the supporting cast is integral to fleshing out the leads and adding dimension to the stories.

 

2. The great outdoors

Who ever heard of a action-oriented hero who stays inside? Romantic leads are connected to the outdoors by their nature, and it’s very common for leading men to have their own special outdoor places that they particularly love. I love showcasing the natural beauty of the American West in my books. It’s a great place for a man to go to clear his head, think about his future, or just decompress in his own domain. It’s a natural element to a story set in the west!

3. Tension

Once the leads in a romance meet, they are almost never fast, easy companions—no matter what drove them together. In fact, they usually have plenty of reasons to stay away from each other (but not quite enough, of course!) and a fair amount of conflict. And that conflict? It’s great. Tension is great. Building those things up and exploring them before the story climaxes makes the romance richer and more rewarding in the end.

4. External conflict

No matter how important the leads are to the story, no matter how much their romance draws you in, the story needs more than that. It needs problems rooted in the environment, the people around them, and the circumstances of the time. Those problems aren’t strictly external, of course— they’ll bleed into the lives of everyone in the story, including the leads.

Having all of these things swirling around a central relationship amplifies enriches the romance. Any good story needs a certain amount of background and context, and these are the particular, yet general, needs of a contemporary western romance.


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<![CDATA[Boom or Bust. The Undeniable Appeal of the Flourishing Frontier Town]]>Thu, 09 Apr 2015 16:48:17 GMThttp://shirleendavies.com/blog/boom-or-bust-the-undeniable-appeal-of-the-flourishing-frontier-town
Splendor, Montana, the setting of Wildfire Creek, has an undeniable ability to draw people in and keep them there. Luke and Dax, Rachel, Noah Brandt, Gabe Evans, and of course, Ginny Sorensen, are all transplants drawn to Splendor searching for economic opportunity. Its growing economy results in ample opportunity for enterprising, hardworking people to make their homes in the frontier town.

     Boomtowns are a common theme in western narratives. Whether or not you can call Splendor a proper boomtown is debatable. Let’s take a look at the facts on boomtowns, shall we?

     Boomtowns sprung up across the United States during the 19th century. The very nature of a boomtown rests on a positive feedback loop—people are drawn to a budding town for opportunity, their presence helps the economy grow, more people are drawn to the town, and so on. But boomtowns are also defined as much by their growing pains as they are by their actual growth.

     Rapid, exponential expansion based on a single industry such as mining, often meant that boomtowns suffered from a lag in social services like healthcare, hospitality, and education. People who came to cash in on its booming industry often acquired big incomes to spend. Money created a serious demand for additional service industries.

     Many of the transplanted residents of Splendor, Montana make their living attending to such needs. Rachel assists with her uncle’s medical practice, Ginny tends bar and helps with housekeeping at the boardinghouse, and Noah provides blacksmith and livery services. What most people think of when they hear the word “boomtown” goes something like this:

     A town springs up around an industry, grows at an unsustainable rate, enjoys a temporary “boom” period of tenuous prosperity, then goes “bust” when local resources are depleted. Some variation on this is certainly true in many cases.

     The town of Cripple Creek, Colorado, boasted a population of over 10,000 people in 1900, following the last great Colorado gold rush, but fell to an all-time low of 400 residents during the 1970s. A gold mind still operates in Cripple Creek, but the town’s recently climbing population is due more to its viability as a tourist attraction than gold.

     Deadwood, South Dakota, never as large as Cripple Creek, is now more history than town, with a population of approximately 1200 people. The northern plains states in the US are dotted with ghost towns that went bust over lack of transport options and renewable income sources—Virginia City, Montana; Nevada City, Montana; and Barrack, Montana are examples.

     Not all boomtowns fit that narrative— Denver, Colorado; Atlanta, Georgia; Houston, Texas; and San Francisco, California were all boomtowns at some point,      and are now major metropolitan areas. Some towns gracefully transition out of the boom stage, creating well-rounded economies that support their populations in a more balanced fashion after the initial draw of the town is less viable.

     Wildfire Creek presents Splendor at this critical moment in 1867 Montana. Will it continue to boom or will it bust, like so many before it? 

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<![CDATA[My Writing Process]]>Mon, 05 May 2014 16:03:15 GMThttp://shirleendavies.com/blog/my-writing-processPicture
This post is part of an author blog tour about the writing process. Thanks, Elena Dillon, for tagging me in this blog tour!

What am I working on now?

There is lots going on. Book six in the MacLarens of Fire Mountain series, Wilder than the Rest, and book three in the MacLarens of Fire Mountain contemporary series, One More Day, are in the editing process.

My new series, Redemption Mountain, is officially in progress. It takes place in the mid-1800s. The books will be historical western romances and I’m very excited to finally get these stories on paper my readers.

Another historical western romance series is planned for 2015. I am very busy!

How does my work differ from others in my genre?

Readers tell me my writing is character focused, meaning that the reader gets to know and connect with the main characters as well as sub-characters. There is a feeling of “I know them,” which is very satisfying.

Most of my writing is within a series, so a sense of connection with characters is important to drive the stories from one book to another.

Another difference is the action and adventure associated with my books. My stories are romance, yet there is much more to the stories than boy meets girl, then they fall in love. At times readers will find equal parts of romance and action in my stories. For me, this combination moves the story along more quickly than with many other romance books. I have quite a number of male readers and I believe my stories appeal to them due to the fast-paced style.

Why do I write what I do?

My major in college started out as American History. Through the years the major changed, but my love of historical America did not. My favorite period has always been 1765 through 1890, and it is within this time span that my historicals are based. Although I enjoy writing contemporary romance with hints of romantic suspense, my heart is always drawn back to historicals.

How does my writing process work?

Ideas come from everywhere—dreams, people watching, other stories. For me, they mainly just pop into my head. I jot down every story idea, not ignoring any thought as I never know when a theme will develop into a full novel.

I use spiral bound notebooks for each series and one for each story within a series. These are used to outline basic story ideas, record character names, ages, locations, and themes. At some point all this is transferred onto spreadsheets. These ‘tools’ are used as the basis for each story.

The difficult part of the process is getting the uninterrupted time to write. It’s hard to write every day. That’s my goal and some days I write 4000 – 5000 words, while others I stall at 1000. The important thing for me is to make time to write each day.

I’d love to hear your comments and questions.

Next up on the blog tour for authors: Carmen DeSousa

A romantic-suspense writer, Carmen writes novels that overflow with romance, mystery, suspense, and sometimes a hint of paranormal. And, of course—tragedy—after all, what would a great story be without a heartrending event setting the stage?

You can check out Carmen’s post on May 12 at: http://www.carmendesousa.com/


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<![CDATA[Second Summer is Live on Amazon and on Tour!]]>Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:08:09 GMThttp://shirleendavies.com/blog/second-summer-is-live-on-amazon-and-on-tour Picture
Second Summer – Book One in the MacLarens of Fire Mountain Contemporary Romance Novella Series.

In this passionate Contemporary Romance, author Shirleen Davies introduces her readers to the modern day MacLarens starting with Heath MacLaren, the head of the family. The Chairman of both the MacLaren Cattle Co. and MacLaren Land Development, he is a success professionally—his personal life is another matter.

Following a divorce after a long, loveless marriage Heath spends his time with women who are beautiful and passionate, yet unable to provide what he longs for . . .

Heath has never experienced love even though he witnesses it every day between his younger brother, Jace, and wife, Caroline. He wants what they have yet spends his time with women too young to understand what drives him and too focused on themselves to be true companions.

It’s been two years since Annie’s husband died, leaving her to build a new life. He was her soul-mate and confidante, she has no desire to find a replacement, yet longs for male friendship . . .

Annie’s closest friend in Fire Mountain, Caroline MacLaren, is determined to see Annie come out of her shell after almost two years of mourning. A chance meeting with Heath turns into an offer to be a part of the MacLaren Foundation Board and an opportunity for a life outside her home sanctuary which has also become her prison. The platonic friendship that builds between Annie and Heath points to a future where each may rely on the other without the bonds a romance would entail.

However, without consciously seeking it, each yearns for more . . .

The MacLaren Development Company is booming with Heath at the helm. His meetings at a partner company with the young, beautiful marketing director, who makes no secret of her desire for him, are a temptation. But is she the type of woman he truly wants?

Annie’s acceptance of the deep, yet passionless, friendship with Heath sustains her, lulling her to believe it is all she needs. At least until Heath drops a bombshell, forcing Annie to realize that what she took for friendship is actually a deep, lasting love. One she doesn’t want to lose. 

Each must decide to settle—or fight for it all.

Second Summer is the first book in the MacLarens of Fire Mountain Contemporary novella series—heartwarming stories of difficult choices, loyalty, and lasting romance. Watch for Hard Landing in the Spring of 2014.

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<![CDATA[I'm on Tour!]]>Thu, 06 Feb 2014 15:59:59 GMThttp://shirleendavies.com/blog/im-on-tour I'm so excited to be touring the Internet with my latest book, Stronger Than the Rest! There are excerpts, interviews, spotlights, and a Rafflecopter! Won't you join me in the festivities?

Stronger Than The Rest Banner

 

~ Schedule ~

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<![CDATA[Indie Authors Beware of New Vanity Press Disguised in a New Package]]>Wed, 05 Feb 2014 15:16:18 GMThttp://shirleendavies.com/blog/indie-authors-beware-of-new-vanity-press-disguised-in-a-new-packagePicture
PublishAmerica, a vanity press that has had series public relations issues over the last nine years has spawned a new enterprise. Unfortunately for Indie Authors, under the clothing is still the same predatory beast from the past.

If you go to PublishAmerica.com, you are now directed to their new attempt to lure new authors into their turbulent offering. America Star Books, from all appearance, looks like the same vanity press that PublishAmerica has always been. This business is focused on non-American writers, yet American based authors are also welcome.

Beware before you cross that welcome mat. See the full article and check-out the American Star Books through this link.
http://www.teleread.com/self-publishing/new-publishamerica-sock-puppet-america-star-books-wants-to-pull-its-wool-over-your-eyes/


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<![CDATA[Where is Fire Mountain, home of the MacLaren family?]]>Sat, 01 Feb 2014 06:37:27 GMThttp://shirleendavies.com/blog/where-is-fire-mountainPictureBig Bug, Arizona Territory
Where is Fire Mountain and is it a real place?
Fire Mountain is the home of the four MacLaren brothers. It is a town in 1870s Arizona territory that resides only in my mind. Ok, that is not entirely accurate. It is based on several areas of north central Arizona that I have come to love. These areas inspire the stories of the MacLaren brothers and provide the backdrop for each book.

PictureTip Top, Arizona Territory.
Contrary to what many believe, Arizona is not just made up of dry desert, cactus, and rattlers. Oh, don’t get me wrong; there are huge areas of desert wilderness, cactus aplenty, tumbleweeds and a good number of critters, both slithery and walking.
    What many don’t realize is that Arizona also contains vast pine forests, hidden lakes, and rugged mountains. Temperatures in this area can reach 95 in the summer, falling to 15 and below when there is snow in the winter. Most of this region retains little of the snow and avoids the high temps of southern Arizona. Overall, is it much more temperate than most imagine.
                This is where Fire Mountain can be found.


PictureCrown King Saloon
Historical settlements in this region include Congress, Big Bug, Jerome, Camp Verde, Crown King, Bumble Bee, Prescott, Chaparral, Antelope Junction, and Tip Top. Some of these are still with us today, such as the thriving city of Prescott and hilltop town of Jerome. Others are no more than an abandoned pile of Arizona history. All offer their own ghosts from the past and inspire much of the scenery in my books about the MacLaren brothers.

Let me know if you have a special place where your mind goes when you write or read. A place you'd use as a setting for you next book. 

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