Category Archives: historical fiction

Writing news update

Uh, not much happening. I didn’t do NaNoWriMo this year–first time I haven’t in a long time–but I didn’t have an idea or premise–and I haven’t finished editing last year’s novel! And I’m waiting still to hear from editors about my latest submissions. I have been working on promotional projects. That’s always important ’cause I don’t want to forget my published works, such as Detour Trail, my western novel:

Detour Trail:  After being dumped by the wagon master of the train she and her murdered uncle were traveling with, Lorrie Emerson must form her own wagon train; she recruits those needing her help–a brother and sister, a family, and a couple of escaping slaves. Lorrie and her party slog through mud and mountain passes before taking a detour. Because the family desperately needed help, Lorrie must leave the trail with her small group of wagons, fighting off thieves, storms, and ambushes along the way. Finding supplies isn’t easy either, especially during blizzards. However, she makes friends along the way, and Jake, the heroic mule, joins her train too.

Later, Lorrie rescues Barrett Lee. After this man from the wilderness recovers, he and Gray Cloud the wolf leave–with a push from her. Will he return? Will these two independent people make room for each other in their lives? And would he let her keep her independence as she continues to take on more adventures?



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Filed under Detour Trail, historical fiction, romance, westerns

Jake the mule’s interview

Live on Lisa Burton Radio: an interview with Jake the mule from Detour Trail:  Meet Jake and Lisa (robot girl)

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Detour Trail excerpt

Detour Trail excerpt: 

She came out when she heard the sound of Jake’s hooves nearing the cabin and stopped at the door within reach of her favorite rifle; then she saw him coming down the path from the Summers.  She would have know him even without the gray wolf at his side.  He was pale and thinner than when she’d first seen him, but he walked easily.  She knew he’d had to hang on to the furniture when he first got up.  Star had told her.
He stopped at the bottom of the porch steps, but the wolf came on up.  “I’ve come to thank you.  They told me you saved my life.”
“You owe a lot to your wolf also,” she said.  “What’s his name?  I’ve often wondered.’
“Grey Cloud.”  He looked down at the wolf.  “Good Cloud,” he said softly.  “Good boy.”  He looked back at her, “and I’m Barrett Lee.”
“Lorena Emerson,” she said holding out her hand.  He came up the steps to take it.  They both knew each other’s names actually–but only second hand.  However, it was the polite thing to do and enabled them to start a conversation.  …
Further into summer, Barrett’s leg was stronger, and he began running down the path and up again.  Exercising it, she realized.  He also seemed less content during his visits and looked up at the muntain now and then.  One day he asked, “Is there anything I can do for you?  I’m beholden to you; I can help with wood cutting.  I see you don’t have any wood yet for the coming winter.”
He looked at the cabin door, and she coaxed him in with an offer of cornbread.  He studied the fireplace.  “That uses a lot of wood.  You don’t have a woodstove, I see.”
“Nope.”  She didn’t tell him that she’d ordered one and it was its way.  She also didn’t tell him that she was going to pick it up soon.  He’d volunteer for that.  He could help her and get out of the cabins that were possibly begining to stifle him.  Brock had told her something about mountain men.  As a matter of fact, he’d mentioned it more often lately.
And that reminded her of a conversation a couple women had had in the general store a while back while she was there picking up more potatoes, salt, and some candy. “It’s not always easy getting a man to come up to scratch,” the older woman told the younger one.  “It’s a lot easier scaring them off by getting romantic and possessive.”  It sounded to Lorrie as if she spoke from personal experience.
Lorrie began her attack on the porch as they sat munching cornbread.  She touched his arm and batted her eyes.  “It’s so nice having a man around the cabin,” she said.  “You sure make a woman feel safe.”  She batted her eyes again and hoped she wouldn’t puke.  Or maybe he would.  “You should come down for breakfast some morning.  Real early.”  This time she didn’t bat her eyes.  She pressed his arm instead.
She wasn’t surprised when he slid away, stood up, and mumbled something about getting back to help Brock milk the horses or something.  Men, she thought, in relief and maybe a hint of regret.  She wasn’t surprised when Brock came down the next afternoon and told her that their visitor had gone.  Brock had taken him to town to buy a horse and was now on his way home.  “What did you say to him, girl?”  he demanded.
She shook her head and grinned.  “Men are so predictable,” was all she’d say.
Detour Trail is available from Melange Books, the publisher, and elsewhere online :



Filed under Detour Trail, historical fiction, westerns

A Christmas gift that is perfect for the season.

I enjoyed learning about the Jewish culture and how he could have grown and learned with the historical background. Well written.

*Jesus of Nazareth, Boy and Man: A Novel of the Lost Years* by the award-winning short story writer and novelist G. Miki Hayden tells the story of Jesus from his early preaching as a boy in the Temple to his discovery of who he is in relationship to “our Father.” A lifelong spiritual student, Hayden…

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History from True West Magazine

I just got the June issue of True West Magazine; it’s another great issue full of historical articles and photos. One of those articles–the background of the murderous Bender family–especially interested me because while I don’t recall them specifically, I must have been aware of them or others possibly because I included a similar situation in Lorrie’s adventures in Detour Trail.

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Freud’s Lost Journals: A Novel

Want to meet Freud? Here’s an interesting historical science fiction novel focusing on Freud:

“After being astounded by how holographic technology’s resurrected scores of celebrities and historical figures, Professor Alex Carson gets swept up in a struggle between Red Chinese and neo-Nazi forces who both want Sigmund Freud’s early journals, journals stolen by a young Gestapo agent in March 1938 during the second Nazi raid on Freud’s apartment—a raid ending with Anna Freud’s terrifying abduction and interrogation at Gestapo headquarters. …

Periodically, readers are treated to excerpts from the Lost Journals, which accurately depict the evolution of Freud’s revolutionary methods and theories. Freud’s Lost Journals is a thinking person’s thriller.”

Check it out here: Freud’s Lost Journals

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Westward–and homeward–bound

Here’s a selection of books on Amazon about exploring and settling the frontier:

Detour Trail by Joy V. Smith Life in a Covered Wagon by Paul A. Erickson

If You Traveled West In A Covered Wagon by Ellen Levine

A Pioneer Sampler: The Daily Life of a Pioneer Family in 1840
by Barbara Greenwood

Pioneer Days: Discover the Past with Fun Projects, Games, Activities, and Recipes
by David C. King

History Pockets: Moving West, Grades 4-6+ by Martha Cheney

How We Crossed The West: The Adventures Of Lewis And Clark
by Rosalyn Schanzer

Westward Expansion (True Books) by Teresa Domnauer

Westward Expansion: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose Books)
by Allison Lassieur

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Filed under historical fiction, history

Guest post: History in Mystery (part one)

Includes interesting background on the real life judge, Louis C. Drapeau, Senior, who was the law partner of Erle Stanley Gardner at one time, btw.

via Guest post: History in Mystery (part one) by Joyce T Strand. :

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Detour Trail gets another 5 star review

I’m happy to announce that Detour Trail, my western novel, got a 5 star review from Readers’ Favorite: Detour Trail review


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Joy V. Smith interview (link)

My interview is up today at Author Alliance:

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Filed under Author interviews, historical fiction, westerns, writing, Writing blogs