Readers, please welcome author Karen Hulene Bartell!
Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog. It’s a pleasure to be here!
Writing Wild Rose Pass was a stretch for me because I’d never written in the Frontier, Western, or Historical genres before—no ghosts and nothing paranormal. Adding to my dilemma, the timeline was 1880 Texas, so every phrase they spoke, every idiom they used, every food they ate, every dress and uniform they wore, as well as the roles they played, all had to be double-checked for historical accuracy. Writing it was slow going.
And although romance is always a part of my novels, I’d never written a true “Romance” before, so I had to learn how to write from two points of view and speak in both the heroine’s and hero’s voices. With few exceptions, I’d always written from the female POV. Suddenly, I had to give equal time to a male POV, often in the same scene—but from the other’s perspective.
I learned how women and men communicate differently. Men are more concise in their speech. An article in The Guardian noted that the male brain is more visual-spatial and better adapted to mathematics, while the female brain is more adept at communication. A BBC post by Claudia Hammond stated that women speak 20,000 words per day compared to men’s 7,000 words per day—men prefer action to talk.
Because the men in Wild Rose Pass were officers in the cavalry, accustomed to giving orders, I wrote their dialogue in short, terse bursts, using simple subject-verb sentences. Additionally, the hero Ben had been raised by Comanches, who taught him that “Men keep their own counsel” and “Men don’t whine.” Trained to keep his thoughts to himself, he spoke guardedly, even when he wanted to express himself.
Besides those restraints, Ben had no formal schooling. Self-taught, he felt embarrassed about his lack of education—especially when compared to the heroine, who had attended school out East. With his feelings of inadequacy, he chose his words carefully, even when he “opened up.”
Despite my learning curve, I enjoyed writing Wild Rose Pass and had fun getting into the Old West mindset. Maybe it reminded me of the old Westerns I used to watch as a kid ��
Cadence McShane, free-spirited nonconformist, yearns to escape the rigid code, clothes, and sidesaddles of 1880s military society in Fort Davis, Texas. She finds the daring new lieutenant exhilarating, but as the daughter of the commanding officer, she is expected to keep with family tradition and marry West Point graduate James West.
Orphaned, Comanche-raised, and always the outsider looking in, Ben Williams yearns to belong. Cadence embodies everything he craves, but as a battlefield-commissioned officer with the Buffalo Soldiers instead of a West Point graduate, he is neither accepted into military society nor considered marriageable.
Can two people of different worlds, drawn together by conflicting needs, flout society and forge a life together on the frontier?
Reining his horse between catclaw and prickly-pear cactus, Ben Williams squinted at the late summer sun’s low angle. Though still midafternoon, shadows lengthened in the mountains. He clicked his tongue, urging his mare up the incline. “Show a little enthusiasm, Althea. If we’re not in Fort Davis by sunset, we’ll be bedding down with scorpions and rattlesnakes.”
As his detachment’s horses clambered up Wild Rose Pass, the only gap through west Texas’ rugged Davis Mountains, Ben kept alert for loose rocks or hidden roots, anything that might trip his mount. A thick layer of fallen leaves created a pastiche of color shrouding the trail from view. He glanced up at the lithe cottonwood trees lining the route, their limbs dancing in the breeze. More amber and persimmon leaves loosened, fell, and settled near the Indian pictographs on their tree trunks.
When he saw the red- and yellow-ochre drawings, he smiled, recalling the canyon’s name—Painted Comanche Camp.
“How far to Fort Davis, lieutenant?” called McCurry, one of his recruits.
“Three hours.” If we keep a steady pace.
Without warning, the soldier’s horse whinnied. Spooking, it reared on its hind legs, threw its rider, and galloped off.
As he sat up, the man groaned, caught his breath, and stared into the eyes of a coiled rattler, poised to strike. “What the…?” Flicking its tongue, hissing, tail rattling, the pit viper was inches from the man’s face.
A sheen of sweat appeared above the man’s lip. “Lieutenant—”
About the Author:
Author of the Trans-Pecos, Sacred Emblem, Sacred Journey, and Sacred Messenger series, Karen is a best-selling author, motivational keynote speaker, wife, and all-around pilgrim of life. She writes multicultural, offbeat love stories that lift the spirit. Born to rolling-stone parents who moved annually, Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Westerns spurred her to write (pun intended). Wanderlust inherent, Karen enjoyed traveling, although loathed changing schools. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings. Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, Karen resides in the Hill Country with her husband Peter and her “mews”—three rescued cats and a rescued *Cat*ahoula Leopard dog.
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