Another book excerpt this week! This one from Deb Martin-Webster. Her third in her Montana series and this one is called Forever, Montana. (check out Love, Montana and Always,Montana too)Deb is also sponsoring a contest with her wonderful photography as the prize.
In 200 words or less what character would you like to break out from my Love, Montana Series (Love, Always, and Forever) and star in their own series and why. Winner will have their choice of a signed seasonal print suitable for framing from my Fine Art America website.
*Prints may vary in size.
SEASONAL PRINT CONTEST PRIZES – PICK ONE
“My greatest lament in life is not bein’ born in the cowboy era I love so much. Now I know a fella can’t pick when and where he’s born. But livin’ here in Montana with Montana blood runnin’ though my veins makes it easy to picture myself in some old western town sittin’ in a noisy saloon, having a shot of redeye with an old prospector who’s been searchin’ for that elusive deposit of gold. For that reason, like any good fiction writer, I live vicariously through my western characters instead.” – Lash Jackson Montana (Montana Joe)
“Hello and welcome to Big Sky Western Writers Magazine Weekly Radio Show. I’m your host, Jaycia Derasen, and today I’ll be interviewing one of my favorite cowboys, renowned western writer and Big Sky native, Lash Jackson Montana; or, as he’s better known to his millions of fans, Montana Joe.”
“Welcome Mr. Montana. It’s such a pleasure to meet you. I would . . .”
Lash: Whoa, let me stop you right there darlin’. Please, call me Joe – everybody else does.
Jaycia: Okay, welcome to our program Joe. We talked extensively prior to the interview, so I’ll get right to my first question. How do you begin writing your novels? Honestly, I don’t know how one individual is capable of creating so many charismatic characters and believable storylines. What’s your process?
Joe: Ha, never thought about the process darlin’. But there are times I have to remind myself that I’m a fiction writer and these characters are basically, well . . . they’re all ME. I believe writin’ novels takes teamwork. The team consists of the author, the characters, the editors, the publishers and the most important team is the readers. The readers are the glue that holds the teams together.
Jaycia: I bet all of those teams keep you awake at night. Am I right Joe?
Joe: Yep, darlin they do . . . and, with that bein’ said, I’d be kindly beholdin’ if someone could bring this tire ol’ fiction writer a cup of coffee – brewed, no instant please.
Potatoes, onions, sugar, milk, sweet feed, horse wormers, three boxes of horseshoe nails, barn door hinges, Jack Daniels, four pounds of coffee and two daffodils for my beautiful Rose Darlin’ .
I miss being called Rose Darlin’. Lash’s death was devastating to an entire generation of loyal Cowboy and Western Fiction fans, especially those in the Cowboy Writers Community. They’re still mourning his death. Many readers knew him only by his nom de plume of Montana Joe. I know some fans that took his death harder than I did. One particularly overzealous woman named Mona Moon Rae. I swear I received at least forty sympathy cards from her, but that’s another story in itself.
Our marriage was short lived; however, the union created a lifetime of memories and a beautiful daughter. I know Joe wouldn’t want me living in the past. As difficult as it was, I had to move on with my life.
I’m now married to Paul Saxton. I remember Lash telling me what a fine man Paul is and if anything were to happen to him, Paul was someone I could depend on. His work ethic impressed Lash, as did his great sense of humor. Lash would say, “He’s one dang entertaining bloke.” He never knew what Paul was talking about. British slang wasn’t Joe’s forte. I’m beginning to pick up some of his expressions. His accent still throws me a bit. He calls me, Poppet – it means sweetie. When Lash and I first met, he gave me the nickname of “Rose” and it stuck. So much so I rarely answer to my given name of Amelia. Our housekeeper Cecilia always addresses me as Amelia. It took her two years to stop calling me, Miss Amelia. In some ways she’s like a second mother to me. She stayed on at the ranch after Lash died and remains in charge of the family menus, shopping, and offers a steady shoulder to cry on when needed. I don’t know what I’d do without her.
On occasion Lash and his cowboy persona Montana Joe would drive into town to pick up a few odds-and-ends and mail autographed copies of his books to special fans. He enjoyed chatting with the locals at the post office and swapping tall tales about his travels at the High Ground Cafe coffee shop where he was a regular. The locals swore that Joe singlehandedly kept the shop in business.
I remember one old fellow saying, “I ain’t ever seen one man drink so much dang coffee in my life! I bet he pisses dark roast.” They always had a good laugh at his expense. He loved sitting at the counter eavesdropping on their cowboy history conversations. Despite his being a world renowned author, the townies, our friends, and family never treated him as such. To us he was Good Ol’ Lash the western writer or simply, Joe.
I read the creased-worn shopping list a few more times before tucking it back into the pocket of his old ranch jacket. I don’t know why I went through the pockets of that particular jacket. It had been hanging in the attic since before his death; however, today I felt as though he wanted me to find it. Maybe it was divine intervention on his part; especially today. Paul and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary. I read the list of things aloud and chuckled. I thought, no matter what I’d jot down, he’d always add two daffodils to the list. It was his way of telling me he was thinking of me. I miss them. I tried planting them but they didn’t do very well in Montana – too cold I suppose.
I also noticed a couple of old emails I’d printed and saved. They were always signed, your cowboy Joe or Love, Joe. Sometimes I believed he was Montana Joe. So much so I rarely called him Lash. The puzzling subject titles were his assurance that I’d open them. Funny, this particular email subject title stated it was part one of two; however, I never received part two of two. But that was Joe. I never knew what he was thinking. I started reading it aloud.
Fr: Montana Joe
Subject: Vincent Van Gogh Lends an Ear – Part 1 of 2
Evenin’ Rose Darlin’
I’m just about to check into my hotel room in Jackson Hole and of course my thoughts drift back to you and how much fun we had at this same old hotel. Sayin’ I love you is the same as sayin’ I love breathin’. You know my heart girl and I know yours. I can be away from you for days and when I see you it’s like I never left. What a pair we are, darlin’. The other night we had some serious talk about how quickly we fell in love…and how things could have gone drastically different if you hadn’t taken that trip out west or if I hadn’t taken that last minute book signing gig in Currysville. Life has a way of working out the way it’s supposed to darlin’. We are a perfect example of that. You brighten this ol’ cowboy’s life and I’ll always be beholdin’ to you for puttin’ up with me. Bein’ the peculiar ol’ cowboy writer that I am!
Speakin’ of peculiar, here’s the perfect example. I remember our visit to the museum to see the Van Gogh Exhibit. Here’s me, not knowin’ the difference between a Monet and a Matisse and you the smart and sexy art critic tryin’ to bring a little culture into this old cowboy’s life. I was askin’ you all kinds of silly questions about Van Gogh’s work. And, you were tryin’ not to laugh when I took off my cowboy hat and had that bandage stuck to my ear. Any other woman would have been embarrassed beyond words and walked out – but not my Rose darlin’. You just looked at me and said, “Do you know that Van Gogh had an extra testicle.” The folks around us were so outraged but we laughed so hard they kicked us out. I tell ya’ darlin’, that was one of the best days of my life. You’re a crazy girl and I’m crazy in love with ya’, more than I’ve ever loved any woman, much more than I deserve. Keep on lovin’ me girl. We can only get better. Goodnight darlin’.