A Good Western : A Hill of Beans


Even though this is #3 in the series, it was quite easy to read without having read the previous ones. I don’t think I missed out by jumping in at #3.

William W. Johnstone is the author of over 300 books, and while that kind of productivity as an author is staggering, this was my first introduction to his writing. It’s my understanding that this book was one of many written by either a basic outline or an unfinished manuscript by William W. Johnstone, after his death. While I found that tidbit interesting, as both an author and a reader, it did not detract from the story.

Let’s talk about the less-than-wonderful parts first.
There were a number of sentences that went on far too long. One in particular that stands out was an entire paragraph long. No, it was not dialogue. Passages like that can tire the reader. But I plowed on.
I would have liked to have been shown the land they rode through a bit more often. A better description of the cattle too.

Now, all that being said, this novel did have strengths.
The main character was well-developed, both in a easy-to-see sort of way and psychologically. His motivations were clear, relatable and he was a genuinely good guy.
Conflicts in the plot were resolved in a way that made sense for the land and the time.
It was an entertaining story that was easy to read and highly enjoyable.

I’m very glad Netgalley and the publisher granted me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Free! For A Limited Time Only!


Like everyone else, I’m cursing this insidious, sneaky and frightening virus we’ve called COVID-19. It has touched so many people all across the world, on so many levels, and it’s not done with us yet. We’ll feel the effects for some time to come, I’m afraid. We need to rise above the overwhelm, and one of the ways we can do that is by reading.

Read novels, poetry, short stories, whatever strikes your fancy. In order to help you do that, I’ve put Undercover Justice on sale. For free. If the Old West is your thing, or you just simply like going back to an era where good battled evil and the moral code was easy to understand, you might like Undercover Justice.

It’s a short read, you can read it wherever and whenever you like. In whatever format you like, epub mobi pdf lrf pdb txt HTML. Slip over to Smashwords and check it out. If you like it, I’d be grateful if you left a review! Anyway, here’s the link you need to get the short story.

Happy reading!


What Makes A Good Female Sleuth?



I ramble around the web looking for blogs of interest while I eat my breakfast, and this morning I stumbled across a blog that had an article so interesting, I read it twice!

The author of the post discusses qualities that female sleuth ought to have in order for the reader to make a connection, and in order for the detective to maintain any sort of credibility. I found myself nodding as I read. I’m less tempted to shout at the main character if they know better than to go into a dark house with no flashlight in a storm, knowing the serial killer is somewhere in the house. (But so many do this very thing!) Other qualities are also mentioned, such as having ambitions greater than bagging a man, continue investigating once (and if) they marry, be reasonably smart and independent…and the list continues.

I felt this was a well-written post and one that has encouraged me to give the rest of the site a closer look. If you enjoy mysteries of any stripe with a female lead or even a sidekick with a head on her shoulders, I encourage you to head over and give the piece a read. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. Follow this link, and then let me know what you thought!

Pussy Willows, Justice & More!


A shiny new issue of the Worlds & Words newsletter has just flown free!

Did you get it?

No? You can capture a copy here.

In the meantime, I’m curious. What type of fiction do you like to read? Short? novels? What genre?

Drop me a line in the comments section below and recommend your favourite!

Wild Times

Wild Times

An aged Western showman reflects over his long and colorful career 
Few bother to separate the myth of Colonel Hugh Cardiff from his real life. The nation knows him as a sharpshooter, buffalo hunter, moving pictures pioneer, and one-time proprietor of the greatest Wild West show the nation has ever seen. Some of the stories are true, some exaggerated, and some rank among the wildest of tall tales. But for a man who has lived like Colonel Cardiff, the facts trump the myth. In the spring of 1868, Denver is the richest, wildest city west of the Mississippi. When an overweight Easterner named Dr. Bogardus rolls into town to announce a shooting contest with a $1,000 prize, ears prick up. Young Hugh wins the shoot with an ancient muzzle-loading rifle, knocking glass balls out of the air and missing only four out of one hundred targets. He is famous at nineteen, and the Colonel’s wild life is just getting started.

I had read the paperback version of this book years ago – a copy from my library. I fell in love with the story. I was so glad to see it in ebook form years later, I had to buy it. It is every bit as charming and engaging as I remember. Fantastical in some aspects, surprisingly real in others. (There really was a Capt. Bogardus that was a champion shooter!) I will read, and re-read this book again and again. I highly recommend this book to every Western fan.

If you’re into Westerns, you can find this book in your favourite format at your favourite bookseller. Have you read this one yet?

Mail Order Bride


Austin’s killed a man. Escaping his nefarious past and running from those who would force him to live as a woman, Austin dreams of becoming an upstanding man and homesteading alone on the fringes of the wild frontier.
The burgeoning tent township of Molasses Pond is clenched in the bloody fist of the deadliest gunslinger the country has ever known, Lightning Jack McKade. McKade knows who Austin is. In fact, McKade knows more about Austin’s past than Austin does. He had a hand in creating it.
On the last stagecoach until spring, a mail order bride, Sahara Miller, arrives in Molasses Pond. She claims to be Austin’s and has the documentation to prove it. But McKade’s gang will do anything to have her. Now Austin must choose: Strap on his twin six-shooters to protect the bride he never wanted, or turn a blind eye and keep his dream alive.
This is a brilliant book that meets every convention of Western fiction, but then goes far beyond. There are a couple of fascinating sub-plots that really added to my overall enjoyment of the book. The characters are all unique and memorable, and there seem to be more bad guys than good. A couple of them don’t make their allegiances clear right away, and we’re left wondering whose side they’re on. At times, it seemed like the townsfolk hated Austin, and then they didn’t, then did…so we’re left guessing. And there are twists! Twists written so well that they seemed to make perfect sense.
Now, I know a thing or three about the old muzzle-loaders. I know how to load a flintlock, and a percussion-cap, and I know first-hand how heavy Two-Feather’s Hawken is. So I can tell you that the author knows their stuff when they write about the guns in this novel.Yes, there are a couple of places that the book stumbles into a speed-bump, but overall, the pacing is great. This is a debut, and it’s not going to be perfect. it’s hard to write a book, y’all. But ignore those speedbumps and let yourself get sucked into the story.

I loved every moment of this book. It’s going to the top of my read-this-one-over-and-over-again pile.
Thank you to the author for writing the best Western I’ve read in years. Thank you to Bold Strokes for taking a chance on a Western and letting transgender folks see themselves represented. (And the cover artist needs a raise!) Thank you for letting me read such a great book in exchange for me gushing about it.

Did I mention I loved this book?