Reece Butler http://reecebutler.net Cowboys and Kilts! Tue, 08 Aug 2017 18:45:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.6 More Highland Ménage research in Scotland http://reecebutler.net/more-highland-menage-research-in-scotland/ Tue, 08 Aug 2017 18:45:34 +0000 http://reecebutler.net/?p=1473

There are six more MacDougal brothers eager for their stories to be told in my Highland Ménage series. I’ve found an excellent tour which will bring me where I need to go, so I will be taking another research trip to the Highlands and islands.

There will be one big difference in the last three sets of brothers. In the first five sets (10 150-page books), a set of brothers and a heroine had a Happily Ever After ending; then something horrid happened and in the second book they got their Happily Ever After Forever.

My writing style is longer books, and so the last three sets of brothers will have one book apiece, a longer one (~300 pages).

The Highland book in progress, featuring Torquil and Ewan, happens on Clan MacDougal land, which I researched in September 2014.

The next book has Artair and Zander, the youngest MacDougal brothers, heading east across lands belonging to the Earl of Argyle (a dastardly Campbell) on the way to visit Tearlach and Rory (and wife Isabel Graham) at Calltuin Castle on the far side of Loch Lomond (see King’s Pawn, Highland Ménage 7 and King’s Knight, Highland Ménage 8).

They plan to stay overnight with the MacNaughtons at Dunderave Castle on Upper Loch Fyne before moving on. All that’s left of the once-vast MacDougal land is that blue blob, surrounded by Campbell yellow, east of the Isle of Mull. MacNaugton land has been cut away until all they have is that blob of pinky-brown at the north-east tip of Loch Fyne.

Laird MacNaughton is near death, all his sons slain in battles with the Campbells. If his remaining child, a daughter, does not find a husband quickly she will be forced to marry a Campbell. That will annihilate their clan.  I believe the lady ends up locking the lads in the dungeon to ensure their cooperation. I haven’t been in this area yet so after my tour is over I will be spending three days hiking and touring.

In the last book Fin and Dougal sail with Laird Fraser as he visits many clans on orders of King James VI, on the mainland and various islands.

We will be visiting the Isle of Skye, home to the MacDonalds of Clan Donald North (Duntulm Castle in Trotternish, and Armadale Castle in Sleat), the Macleods of Lewis in Waternish), the Macleods of Harris (Dunvegan Castle), and the Mackinnons.

map, Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye, Scotland

We will be going to the Isles of Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides, and the Orkneys , north of John o’Groats.

The tour ends in Edinburgh, arriving in time to attend the season’s last Edinburgh Tattoo.

The tour includes breakfasts and a number of dinners. To save time, we’ve already picked what we’ll be eating at some of our lunches and dinners. I splurged for our dinner at the Hotel Hebrides on the Isle of Lewis because it might be something the locals would have eaten a few centuries ago. By that I mean Pan Seared Isle of Lewis Hand Dived Scallops.

One of the included dinners, at the absolutely wonderful Glenspean Lodge near Fort William, will be Inverlochy smoked salmon; Steak and ale pie; Bramley apple pie with custard.  That area is Clan Cameron land: Angus and Gillis brought Fiona there in Captive Bride, Highland Ménage 7.

That counts as research, right?

 

 

]]>
Still writing, and researching, and plotting…. http://reecebutler.net/still-writing-and-researching-and-plotting/ Fri, 05 May 2017 16:50:07 +0000 http://reecebutler.net/?p=1453

While I’ve been working on the 6th book in my Climax, Montana contemporary cowboy series, I’m also putting effort toward the last three sets of MacDougal brothers in my Highland Ménage series, set in the late 1580s.

I’ll be heading to Scotland this fall to complete research on the last three sets of MacDougal brothers so they can find their Happily Ever Afters. As before,  historical figures will appear (they are marked here with an asterisk), and the land, people, history and customs will be as accurate as possible.

Gylen Castle

Gylen Castle on Clan MacDougall’s Isle of Kerrera, photo credit geograph.org.uk

Before I could book my flights to Scotland I had to know the plots for these last books to ensure I visit the clans and lands that will feature the three sets of MacDougal brothers who have yet to find their Happily Ever After.

If you follow my Facebook site (reece.butler.568) you’ll know the next set of brothers to be featured are Torquil, a warrior badly scarred inside and out, and Ewan, who has the ‘Sight’ and is blasted with visions if he comes near most people. Even a small touch by anyone but Torquil is excruciating.

So, of course their Happily Ever After must involve a woman who is not disgusted by Torquil’s scars (inside, or out), and who Ewan can touch and experience pleasure. That woman is Brigid O’Donnell of Ireland, a seventh child of a seventh child with a healing touch.

Dunderawe castle painting

Clan Macnaughten Castle on Loch Fyne

The next set of brothers, Artair and Zander, head off across Campbell land to spend the winter at Calltuin with Isabel Graham and twins Tearlach and Rory (see books 7/8,  King’s Pawn and King’s Knight). They get across Campbell land to relative safety at Clan Macnaughten’s castle on Loch Fyne but wake up in the dungeon after celebrating with the men.

Though the two clans are allies against the Campbells, Chief Malcolm Macnaughten of Dunderawe* has heard horror stories about the MacDougals. Near death, he must marry his only surviving child a warrior-trained, uppity daughter to someone other than a Campbell, whether they agree or not.

The last set of brothers, Dougal and Finn, haven’t traveled much past the borders of Clan MacDougal. That changes when Alexander Fraser, 4th Lord Lovat* invites them to accompany him as he escorts a herald of King James VI to ensure various clan chiefs are following his edicts.

drawing of Keiss Castle, Wick

Keiss Castle, Caithness, one of a series of drawings by Andrew Spratt

They visit along the way, of course. Alana, daughter of George Sinclair, 4th Earl of Caithness* has settled into Keiss Castle with James and Cormac (books 3/4, A Lady’s Seduction and A Lady’s Vengeance). Alexander Ross, 9th of Balnagowan* is still a thorn in their side, as is Alana’s father with all his intrigues.

Though King James VI* wants to stop clan feuding, Archibald Campbell, the Earl of Argyll* continues to scheme with his relatives to expand Clan Campbell land and power.

Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenorchy* hasn’t forgotten Gillis and Angus MacDougal stealing Fiona Fraser Menzies from his grasp (books 1/2, Captive Bride and Captive Love).

Worse, after his daughter Margaret was married by proxy to Somerled MacDougal by King James VI*, she did things which made him look a fool, or worse (books 9/10 Bedding the Enemy and Loving the Enemy).

Dunvegan Castle

Dunvegan Castle on Skye, photo credit Mihael Grmek from Wikipedia

Dougal and Finn will find their Happily Ever After with a daughter of either Clan MacLeod of Lewis or Clan Macleod of Harris (during this time they disagreed in far more than the spelling of their clan name). Laird Fraser will take the Herald to visit the isles of Lewis and Harris and of course Dunvegan Castle on Skye, the oldest continually inhabited castle in Scotland and MacLeod stronghold for almost 800 years.

And you, dear reader, will travel with them. Completing these novels will take time, but it is my intention to complete the series, as well as continue with the families in Climax, Montana.  (https://www.amazon.com/Reece-Butler/e/B00316UJEC)

]]>
Best wishes for 2017 http://reecebutler.net/best-wishes-for-2017/ Fri, 30 Dec 2016 17:14:18 +0000 http://reecebutler.net/?p=1446 It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything here. I’ve been writing but unable to complete a novel.

I’ve worked on Climax, Montana #6 with Ashley Elliott and a pair of ex-NFL foster kids. Then there’s #11 of the Highland Menage historical series where Torquil and Ewan find Brigid and her wolfhounds.

Even worked on a traditional (non-erotic, non-menage) romance set in the Australian Outback that I last worked on in 2006.

All the time, I worried what I wrote wasn’t good enough for those of you who enjoy my work. And I researched a heck of a lot, about a whole lot of things.

I’m hoping 2017 will break this cycle, as I really want to finish those books!

Best wishes for the new year,

Reece

]]>
Back on the road to Climax http://reecebutler.net/back-on-the-road-to-climax/ Sat, 02 Jul 2016 18:33:36 +0000 http://reecebutler.net/?p=1425

sign shows exit to Climax

On the road again…finally

It’s been over a year since I sent my last book, Loving the Enemy: Highland Ménage 10 to my publisher.

I’d finished ten books, almost 1,500 pages, in ten months. Half-way through Torquil and Ewan’s first book (the eleventh of sixteen in the series) I realized I was burned out.

While I loved the characters and the story (and will finish their full story) there was no zing to my words.

So I got back on the road to Climax and some hot contemporary cowboys. Newly divorced and penniless, Ashley Elliott had just returned to the Bitterroot Ranch. She had no idea that the two men she’d fantasized about for years, ex-NFL linebackers Dax Smith and Hunter Jones, were living there.

I was on the road, but hit a detour.

I started writing romance in 2003. Eager to learn, excited though unpublished, working full time with a family yet wanting to write well. I was first published in 2009. Since then my knowledge of the craft of writing, and my standards, has one up. I want to write wonderful characters with depth, people who come alive in my mind and that of my readers. I want dialogue that sparkles, plot conflicts and challenges, realistic D/s relationships, and hot stuff between the heroine and her heroes.

Creating these types of characters requires a huge amount of thinking as to why they think a certain way react in such a manner. To know what conflicts they have with themselves, and with each other. And then there’s all sorts of technical research, most of which involved tired eyes staring at a screen rather than hands-on fun (though there was some of that :).)

For most of the last 12 months I researched and wrote and revised, and researched more and revised even more. I’m one of those authors who has to start a story the beginning and write it in chronological order. So every time the beginning changed, I had to revise everything. And then I had an operation and my brain went wonky for a few weeks (all good now).

By February 2016 I had 169 pages written and edited. Almost 49,000 wonderful words between the three characters, showing their personalities with goals, motivations, conflicts, and the consequences of all that. Unfortunately they were just starting to get frisky. Unless I ripped out all sorts of things I’d end up with a 450 page book. Price is based on length and, no matter how well written, few readers will pay $9.99 for a e-book.

After requesting feedback from experienced readers of erotic menage romance I started over. And then another royalty statement arrived and, once more, the numbers were down. Discouraged, I wondered if I’d passed my peak and my writing was no longer good enough.

Though I didn’t know it until today, I’d hit the dreaded mid-career slump.

When you start out you have little to lose but time and effort. Thirteen years later I have lots to lose. I have more knowledge of the craft of writing and my author voice so my standards are higher.

When you’re starting out you likely don’t have many readers counting on you.

Facebook has allowed me to connect with many readers and authors, and I’ve been delighted to meet some of you in person. You tell me you enjoy my work, and want more. A few mave said how one of my books changed the way you thought, or even the course of your life.

While I apologize for taking so much time with this book, I won’t disappoint you by producing a substandard reading experience.

So, even though I wrote, ripped apart, and rewrote about the same characters for a year (instead of producing two or three books), I haven’t given up on Ashley, Dax, and Hunter. Their story is coming along well, as is the outline for the next Climax book.

Thank you for your understanding. This blog post has (believe it or not) taken me six hours to write and I haven’t left my chair since I started.

Taking all that time to write, delete, revise and rewrite has allowed me to realize that a mid-career slump and feelings of inadequacy — even fear — are not unusual.

And that it’s time to get back on the road.

I think I’ll hop in with Hunter Jones, a six foot six Texan bad boy, as he cruises in his cherry red heavy duty F350 V8 turbo-diesel complete with chrome fender trim and rocker panels. He tells me the stainless steel bull bar and crossover tool box are useful on a cattle ranch though he’ll have a hard time keeping dust off all that gleaming chrome.

I don’t tell him he’ll soon have to choose between spending time with a polishing cloth or filling his hands with Ashley Elliott. Though Dax Smith, an inch taller and far more dominant, may keep her all to himself. Unless she convinces them to share…

Reece Butler writes erotic ménage romance featuring kickass heroines and the dominant men they love to challenge.

]]>
Mid-career crisis, as reader or writer http://reecebutler.net/mid-career-crisis-as-reader-or-writer/ Mon, 28 Mar 2016 14:43:25 +0000 http://reecebutler.net/?p=1410

litcat

Getting the blahs is tough.

Story ideas are easy. It’s writing them, and doing it well, that is difficult. Readers can have a tough time as well. There are many wonderful authors but finding new ones can be like digging through a dunghill to find emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and diamonds.

Writers and readers change over time, expecting more from themselves, and the authors they love to read. It’s like a mid-career crisis where you know what you want but you can’t do it, or find it.

Writers, if they are serious about their craft, constantly strive to improve their work, wanting their readers to have an ever better experience. They want their books to be jewels, well-loved and read with joy, again and again.

At first they may be bursting with story ideas, rattling their keyboards before and after work, and when moments can be stolen from other tasks. It is a wondrous time, like a baby bravely raising its head, gumming a drooling grin in sheer wonder of a new and amazing world.

The next stage—discovering your characters’ backgrounds, their goals, motivations and conflicts, their fears, both acknowledged and hidden—is like a toddler exploring their world. They get bumps and bruises but it’s all an adventure, full of possibilities and potential.

Beginning to write a story is like pre-school. It’s more structured than home, but is creative and fun. There’s crayons and paint, new people to meet, and you can do all sorts of things you aren’t allowed to do at home. You can write about your fantasies, telling yourself you’re writing what readers want. After all, you are a reader as well. You love reading and there’s so much to chose from!

Hannah Howell library 2007 001And then school starts for real. You’ve joined a writer’s group or read books to learn the craft of writing and now it’s time to do it.

Each day starts out with a bright morning of splashing through puddles in bright yellow boots. By the end you are tired, but it’s a good tired. You fall into bed with a smile and sleep deeply after writing pages that sparkle in your newbie eyes.

And then there’s the dreaded adolescence, full of angst and self-doubt. You’re a failure. Your feet drag every morning, and you toss and turn each night.

Your story doesn’t fit what’s popular. It’s not good enough. The critical editor in you says there’s no spark in the dialogue. The motivations and actions of your characters are silly, not quirky. Their conflicts are trite. Your heroine has acne and braces and has just been told she needs glasses. Ugly ones.

This is what, in a story, is called the sagging middle. It happens in careers as well as stories when your need for visible improvement crushes your creativity. You think your work isn’t good enough, and become stalled.

Like the common cold, knowing it is normal does not make it easier to deal with. Your brain is fogged, you sniffle, and you crave chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol.

Frustrated that you can’t write as well as you want, you hope to get inspired by re-reading books by some of your favorite authors. It’s obvious how their writing sings while yours is off-key.

Surely those mega-stars never felt this doubt!

Original by Tim Flatch for Whiskas Cat Food

Original by Tim Flatch for Whiskas Cat Food

Yes, they likely have. Even Nora Roberts got rejection letters for a couple of years before her first book was published in 1981. (And not one since, with well over 200 published.)

Give yourself compassion for all your hard work writing, all those tears and laughs while reading. There’s more in you than you may sometimes believe.

Take a moment and look back. You’ve changed, the world has changed, yet romance continues.

If you are struggling to write, take heart that you will do well if you keep improving, learning, and trusting yourself to write what readers wish to read.

If you are a reader swamped by gadzillions of badly written e-books, keep digging as you will find a few gems in that slush pile.

Romance is about hope, and the joys of life. I wish you the best in finding it.

]]>
Donny Frost explains tradition of sharing wives http://reecebutler.net/donny-frost-explains-tradition-of-sharing-wives/ Sat, 16 Jan 2016 16:02:31 +0000 http://reecebutler.net/?p=1389

Excerpt from The Merry Widow of Tanner’s Ford, which takes place in 1988. Donny Adams is helping Marci Meshevski with barn chores. It’s the morning after she moved in with Simon MacDougal to care for him due to his broken leg. Cover of The Merry Widow of Tanner's Ford

“Few men are suited to share their wife with a brother, cousin, or close friend,” said Donny. He didn’t stop working, or look at her. “But ranchers in Tanner’s Ford, and a few others, have been doing it for generations. It started in 1870 after the war ended and gold was discovered. All sorts of men headed west for gold, land, or just to escape bad memories. That left many women in the East without a chance for a husband, especially ones with education or an attitude. Back then were at least 300 single men for every available woman in Montana Territory, so a Bride Train was set up to haul those unmarried women here.”

He caught her eye and grinned. “Mostly, the women who rode that train didn’t fit Eastern society. They refused the husband their father chose, were too outspoken to be acceptable, were too tall, or not pretty enough. They figured they had a better chance of finding a husband and gaining a family out here, so hopped on the train. The ones who came to Tanner’s Ford married three men each.”

1870s housework

Cleaning up after breakfast, 1870s: Nevada City living history museum (photo by Reece Butler)


“Nobody objected?”

“The aunts wouldn’t let us kids see those diaries, but from the way they blushed when anyone asked, I figure they were happy. Most of them had a bunch of children.”

His grin faded to serious. He set his fork down again. She stopped as well.

“You have to understand, Marci, that there was a lot of danger back then. Everything was done by men, women, children, or animals.”

“The more people, the more workers,” she said.

“Exactly. Having three men share the ranch and family worked well. If one of them died, there were two more to keep things going. Bad things could happen to widows left alone.”

“It makes sense the way you explain it.”

“The next generation dropped mostly to two husbands each, so it was three adults. It’s stayed that way since. If you grow up with two dads, and half the kids in school do as well, it’s normal to you. It’s just the new people coming in who look at us strange.” He winked. “Though there’s some outside women who don’t mind having two men love them. Aggie being one. We met her at college. She was a country girl at heart, but her family loved their tiny tenth-storey downtown apartment. We invited her to visit for a weekend, and, well, we’ve got four kids now.”

Right side of cabin, everything nearby for cooking. Nevada City

Right side of cabin, everything nearby for cooking. Nevada City

She smiled in reaction to his slight flush. “If Keith’s anything like you, Aggie made a smart decision. I lived the so-called good life in the city. I had the clothes, the house, and the wealthy, self-important husband who ignored me unless I was convenient to him.”

“You had the trappings of a house, but none of the heart of a home.”

Marci slowly nodded. “I don’t think Ted had a heart. I was bored and unhappy, but trapped in a marriage I didn’t know how to escape. But he died, so now I’m free.”

Her mother got almost nothing from the men who’d left her pregnant and alone. But at least they’d had access to electricity, running water, heat, and warm clothes, unlike the pioneer women. Most people today didn’t have to work sixteen hours a day just to survive, though her mother did because she had too much pride to take charity. Their single-wide trailer wasn’t much bigger than the original MacDougal cabin, which was now Simon’s kitchen.

“Those women must have been strong to put up with three men while living in a small cabin, working dawn to dark,” she said.

“They were,” replied Donny. “Beth Elliott was the first. She married Trace, along with his twin brothers Simon and Jack, in 1871. Your Simon was real fond of her. She used to read him stories from her journals.” Donny chuckled. “We found out later she skipped parts because she didn’t want him to hear all the shenanigans she and the others got up to.”

Early morning view from MacDougal ranch, across the valley, photo by Reece Butler, 2010

Early morning view from MacDougal ranch, across the valley, photo by Reece Butler, 2010

“He’s not my Simon,” she muttered to herself as she put her hand on her back and stretched out.

His face suddenly appeared over the stall. He winked. “Maybe you’ll cuddle by the fireplace and take turns reading them out loud. Could be you’ll act out a few scenes as well. Great-Granny Elliott was wild.”

“You saw me in the kitchen!” she squeaked. She knew her face flamed. He waved it off.

“That table’s been used for generations to bring pleasure, both physical and food-wise. Just like the matching one at the Rocking E.” His slow smile reached his eyes. “I guess whatever you were up to this morning makes you an honorary member of the family.”

She groaned and covered her face.

“Don’t get all embarrassed, Marci. You were doing nothing that me, Keith, and Aggie haven’t done. Mind you, there ain’t much that the three of us haven’t tried at some time or another.” His chuckle sounded so kind that she had to look at him. Donny gave her another big wink.

“Beth Elliott enjoyed the body God gave her and didn’t hold back. ” heard a couple of my aunts giggling after reading about her taking all three husbands on a picnic at the Double Diamond’s hot spring. They must have been in their eighties but nothing can stop a determined woman, especially three men who’ve loved her for over fifty years.”

She heard the sound of his high-stacked wheelbarrow trundle away. Someone had actually stayed married that long, and still loved each other, physically and emotionally? Was there something in the water here?

]]>
Tom White snippet (1990) http://reecebutler.net/tom-white-snippet-1990/ Fri, 18 Dec 2015 15:43:13 +0000 http://reecebutler.net/?p=1355

Tom White is an enigmatic character who appears throughout the Climax, Montana series, solving problems off the official grid. This snippet is from the epilogue in Having It All.

His black ops training led him to South America where he met Eric Frost. In 1988 he flew a ‘borrowed’ military helicopter to Climax before heading off on a dangerous covert two-year assignment, one he accepted as he had nothing to lose but his life.

That night he met Dorothy, waitress at the Climax Roadhouse. It was love at first sight. She promised to wait for him but it’s been more than two years. He survived months of torture in a hellhole by thinking of Dorothy waiting for him. But would she still want him?

1988: Lila, Eric, and Matt Frost of the Circle C

1988: Lila, Eric, and Matt Frost

“Look at all those rug rats. You farmers have been busy.”

“That’s ranchers,” corrected Eric.

He didn’t correct Tom’s comment about children. In a few minutes Tom would have a whole different view of life. Eric kept a close eye on his old friend. Tom wore loose Army fatigues. Lines of pain were drawn on his cheeks. The level of noise erupting from the Climax Community Center didn’t help.

Officially it was the Saturday morning Well-Child Clinic, but the ranch kids looked upon it as party time. Depending on the work, many of them didn’t see anyone but family during the week. They’d just finished haying, a long, grueling time. The hay was stored before a hail storm, drying winds, or torrential rain could destroy the crop.

Every kid under the age of five was inside with their mothers. The rest of them pounded and yelled on the playground with their fathers. There were almost twice as many adults outside, of course.

Tom pointed to a sturdy blonde toddler. She towered over the slender boy on one side, though the husky one on the other was only an inch shorter than her. Considering she wore a T-shirt and overalls, the only way to tell she was a girl was by the pigtails. Eric had put those pigtails on her that morning, though she’d added a princess crown. It was left at home, though she’d brought her stuffed kitty in case she got tired. Eric gave the wheelchair a kick. Gently, and on the opposite side of his buddy’s injured leg.

“Yep, that’s my Lila. She’ll be as tall as her momma. She’s always with Danny and TJ.”

“TJ?” asked Tom hoarsely. He stared at the three toddlers.

“That’s what Dot named your son,” said Lance MacDougal.

Scarred hands gripped the handles of the wheelchair. “I have a son?”

The children turned to chase a ball. Lila was just like Nikki, and her cousin Danny MacDougal was much like Simon. But the second boy was the spitting image of Staff Sergeant Tom White.

“You were right about the condom breaking,” said Eric cheerfully. “All it took was one night for Dot to have a little something to remember you by.”

He rested his hand on Tom’s trembling shoulder. Lance touched Tom’s other side, likely sending energy to calm and heal the man. Eric wasn’t sure what Lance did, but he was grateful for anything that helped Tom recover.

“How is she?” The croaked whisper was just loud enough for Eric to hear.

“Dot got really wound up when the two-year mark approached a few weeks back.” Eric knew it would hurt Tom, knowing he wasn’t there for her, but it was the truth. “Nikki said she went from hoping you’d come back, then insisting she had no hold on you. When the days went past without a word, she was always just a hug away from tears.” Eric squeezed Tom’s shoulder. “Sort of like you right about now.”

“She wants me back, even like this?”

Lance smacked Tom in the side of the head. It was more for show than anything else. “You damn fool! She wants you any way she can! You’re alive, and here, and that’s what matters.”

“Hand me those crutches!” Tom struggled to stand. “I’m not going to propose to my woman from a wheelchair.” He got upright, balanced on the wooden sticks, and continued to stare in the room.
“Where is she?”

1988: old community center may look like this: photo taken by author in Jackson, MT, 2011

1988: old community center may look like this: photo taken by author in Jackson, MT, 2011


Marci noticed the men standing outside the door. She spoke to a buxom woman with soft brown hair curling to her shoulders, and pointed. The woman looked, then staggered with her hand over her chest. She took a step toward the door. Lance hauled the door open and the two lovebirds stared for a second.

“Tommy?” Her white face showed up freckles and a nose red from crying. Her green eyes watered.

“Oh, my God, Dorothy, you are so beautiful.”

Dot burst into tears and ran straight at them.

“Hold him up,” warned Lance just before Tom would have been tackled by a woman two inches shorter and fifty pounds heavier. But she stopped in time, tears streaming down her face.

“You came back.”

“Said I would, didn’t I?” Tom sniffed. “Got a bum leg. Might take a while before I can give you that ride in the whirlybird.”

“I can wait.” She half turned, pointing over her shoulder. “We have a son. He looks just like you.”

“You named him right.” Another sniff. “Anyone who’d seen me in the Roadhouse that night would’ve figured out PDQ where he came from.”

“You want to see him?”

“Not until we have us a talk. Lance said he’ll get the preacher here soon as you say you’re ready.”

“Ready?”

“Help me down,” demanded Tom.

Eric and Lance didn’t argue. They moved the crutches, took his biceps and lowered him. His bad knee couldn’t take the pressure, so they held him just above the ground.

“Dorothy Sherman, will you be my lawfully wedded wife? I’m all banged up, but—”

“Oh, yes, Tommy! I do. I mean, I will. Haul him up so I can kiss him!” She grabbed the front of Tom’s fatigues and brought him into a lip-lock.

Eric took all the oh, baby, I’ve missed you and God I want you he could stand, which was about ten second’s worth.

“That’s it! Time!” When that wouldn’t work, he smacked Dot on the backside. She shrieked and glared, clutching her right cheek. “Don’t punch me for that Tom, there’s better places to get reacquainted than in the hallway with an audience.”

Tom looked up. Cheers broke out. He waved sheepishly as Lance helped him into his wheelchair.

“Dot, why don’t you take Tom to the office,” suggested Eric. “You’ll have more privacy to, ah, talk.”

“The door locks from the inside. Use it,” added Lance. He nodded at the wall clock. “You’ve got an hour before TJ will be wanting his momma. Now git!”

Dot lost no time in pushing her man down the hallway.

“How much you bet there’ll be another of Tom’s kids in this room next year?” suggested Lance, watching them go.

“Dot’s forty-two,” answered Eric. “But this is Climax. Anything could happen.”

]]>
Creating Lila Frost proved I wasn’t stupid after all http://reecebutler.net/creating-lila-frost-proved-i-wasnt-stupid-after-all/ http://reecebutler.net/creating-lila-frost-proved-i-wasnt-stupid-after-all/#comments Sat, 28 Nov 2015 19:08:11 +0000 http://reecebutler.net/?p=1338

Lila Frost, the determined rancher featured in No Strings Attached, had issues being organized and focused.

It wasn’t until I was nearing the end of the book that I realized the character I created had the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactive disorder, though I never mention ADHD in the book.

Lila was easily distracted and impulsive and had poor organizational skills. She was called lazy, scatterbrained, and was accused of reacting without considering consequences. No matter how hard she tried, even knowing she could lose her position on the ranch, she still screwed up.

When I pulled Lila Frost from my subconscious I had no idea how doing so would change my life.

cover of Climax Montana 4, No Strings Attached

No Strings Attached: Lila Frost of the Circle C Ranch

I spent a crazy year writing ten Highland Ménage books before I could think of anything else. When I did, I realized I had a few of Lila’s symptoms.

I researched further, discovering many women are being diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. So I checked out an ADHD self-test form for women.

And there in front of me was a list of things I’d blamed myself for, which were common in women with the (inherited) disorder. Things I thought I should be able to do if only I tried harder…

* I spend a lot of time looking for things

* Though my home is clean it has papers and books and projects sitting out. Other people don’t have that cluttered look, so I must clean it up before inviting anyone over. So I never do…

* I have a hard time organizing to act on my ideas, no matter how good they are (I think, not do)

* I often start the day determined to get organized/ clean up, but it doesn’t happen

* I’ve watched so many others of equal (or less) intelligence and education pass me by

* I am amazed at how others seemed to be so organized. I can’t figure out where things should go so I will remember where they are (and that they exist), so I leave them out

Where I work: have to see it or I forget it

Where I work: have to see it or I forget it

All my life I’d been accused of being lazy, messy, and disorganized. I refuse to listen or work up to potential. I must not care enough about someone if I can’t remember what happened unless I have a photograph.

I didn’t get along with girls as I couldn’t understand their social requirements and boys didn’t mind as much when I blurted things out or changed subjects in mid-sentence.

You expect me to concentrate here?

You expect me to concentrate here?

In 2012 I was forced into early retirement by a boss who insisted I could concentrate in a giant room with a hundred cubicles, and should be able to learn organizational skills, if only I really tried. Now I knew why I got panic attacks at the thought.

I read how medication, along with learning tips and tricks and changing how I do things, could change my life. One year after Lila Frost was published my doctor sent me to a psychologist to be tested.

Imagine if these were constantly moving, flashing, and making sounds....

Imagine if these were constantly moving, flashing, and making sounds….

Turns out I am a classic case of AHDH-combined (both impulsive and distracted), at a moderate level. Smart enough to get by yet almost always under-employed. Feeling stupid and lazy and obviously a failure at the things women are supposed to be good at (organizational skills, clean home, a social life).

Three months after I started I’ve taken charge of my life, knowing I may not do things the same as other women, but what I do works for me. And that is okay. I’m not stupid. My ADHD allows my mind to jump all over the place, creating characters and plots and more. If I keep myself under control…

I note that writing this has taken me six hours, focused so much that I barely moved from my chair, when I really should be completing Climax, Montana 6.

And no, unlike Lila Frost I do not have a pair of tall, handsome dominant men.

Yet…

I highly recommend checking out the online “ADDitudemag” which has strategies and support for ADHD. They have a special site for women, who are often diagnosed with depression or an anxiety disorder (which may be secondary conditions) instead of being treating their ADHD.

Note that ADHD is a neuropsychiatric condition that is genetically transmitted — you inherited it. It is a biological condition that you were born with, not a moral weakness, or failure of your will.

Your parents, siblings, or children may have symptoms. If you grew up in an AHDH home you may not have learned cleaning and organizing systems.

There are many sites on the Internet that can help, and you might find a local support group.

]]>
http://reecebutler.net/creating-lila-frost-proved-i-wasnt-stupid-after-all/feed/ 2
Illegally downloading books is theft. Plagiarism is emotional assault http://reecebutler.net/illegally-downloading-books-is-theft-plagiarism-is-emotional-assault/ Sun, 25 Oct 2015 15:10:46 +0000 http://reecebutler.net/?p=1319

I know my books are being illegally downloaded by trolls stealing my income. That is theft, plain and simple.

But when a thief makes a few minor changes and publishes it under the thief’s own name, for the thief’s profit, it is far more than theft, it is plagiarism.

A level of plagiarism so extensive as to be called emotional assault.

What I think of plagiarism

What I think of plagiarism

An attack on the author who put her heart and soul into creating characters that will come alive for her readers, and on the readers as well.

Romance books are about life. Emotions. Plots that draw her readers in to find joy, sadness, or to experience on a page they cannot believe could happened to them.

When a reader sees how a heroine could find happiness in spite of it all, sometimes that reader believes it might be possible for them, as well.

This is the magic of romance.

Everything an artist experiences, from memories so far distant she’s not even aware they exist, to events that happened today, becomes part of the well she draws on to create.

Though they are not always pleasant, every event enriches an artist.

It is knowing the depths of despair, as well as the joys of passion and love, that help an author craft a deeper, more vibrant story.

One such event happened yesterday. I discovered an author friend, a caring, loving woman who has dozens of books published, had one of her books copied, a few changes made, and was then published by another author.

When words are stolen there is more than a loss of income at stake.

We romance authors write about life. About people finding the courage to trust again and, though never easy, to find a Happily Ever After.

Stealing our words is a personal attack. It is the theft of what we have created from nothing but our minds, our hearts, and our souls.

My characters are alive to me. I created them from deep inside myself and, villain or hero, every one has a part of me in them.

I worked on Montana ranches to learn the reality of that life. I walked the very stones of Dunstaffnage Castle, built in the early 1200s by the MacDougalls, to write about the sixteenth century fictional MacDougals.

From that research, and the entire whole of my past and present, I brought people into existence.

Cover of Barefoot Bride for ThreeBeth Elliott, who arrived in Tanner’s Ford on the first Bride Train and died in 1949 after a wild night of dancing during her 100th birthday party. Beth is such a strong character that she’s returned as a spirit to help her descendants find love.

Beth is alive inside me. So are all the others I’ve created.

Having someone else claim Beth, Tom White, and Katie and her wild grandmother Hildy as their own, feels like coming home to discover my front door smashed.

Finding my bedroom strewn with clothing. Knowing someone ran their fingers through fabric that has touched my most intimate parts.

Yes, clothing can be washed. Doors can be repaired. But that feeling of defilement will linger. One gets over such things in time, but it has an effect. It becomes another event on which to draw to create deeper characters.

Unfortunately, the author is not the only one devastated. So are readers.

Romance readers fall into books they love. They live the stories with your characters, page by page. They have ‘book hangovers’ when they finish a good one, and demand more.

Never enough books or time to read them

Never enough books or time to read them

If they follow your work they learn about you through your books, and meet you at conferences.

A friend I’ve not yet met except over Facebook, I’ll call her Kay, innocently read the work this author falsely said was her own, and enthusiastically suggested other readers might wish to buy it.
Kay, as with many readers, has health issues and spends a lot of time at home. She puts her own heart and soul, and many hours, into helping readers find good authors, and authors find readers.
When Kay discovered a book she had loudly proclaimed as magnificent had been stolen from another author, she was devastated.

She believed she had, though unwittingly, betrayed the true author.

Her enthusiasm and joy in the writing had, by encouraging others to read the stolen book, contributed to the thief’s income.

Kay’s belief in herself, in her joy of suggesting and reviewing wonderful books, has been attacked. If she didn’t live thousands of miles away I would be hugging her, telling her not to let a despicable attack by a vile person make her think badly of herself.

Happily Ever After

Happily Ever After

And now?

Kay is trying to come to terms with her trust in authors being smashed to pieces.

Authors are scrambling to find out if their work was also stolen.

The plagiarizing author has pulled ten books from her self-published site. I can only assume these books were the ones she’d stolen. The others are still available on Amazon.

And all of us are a little wiser and a little sadder.

What can we do? Find a tiny ray of sunshine in the clouds and smile up at it.

Pick up a romance book and dive into it for a few hours knowing that, eventually, there will be a Happily Ever After.

]]>
MacDougals in North America http://reecebutler.net/macdougals-in-north-america/ Sun, 04 Oct 2015 19:58:06 +0000 http://reecebutler.net/?p=1304

Fed up with starvation and too irascible to get along with his clan, in 1835 Finan MacDougal left the Scottish Highlands for Canada. He came as an assisted immigrant, one of many to receive passage money in return for relieving his clan of the need to feed and house him.

Fort Laramie, 1874

Fort Laramie, 1874

Disdaining the city of Montreal, his fellow countrymen, and especially the English, he headed west. In 1844 he arrived in Fort Laramie with his Scottish wife, Phoebe, and sons Fin, Hugh, and wee Gillis.

Phoebe was in labor and, though Louisa Elliott did all she could to save her, did not survive the birth. Needing milk for his newborn daughter Finan went outside the fort and found Sunbird, a Cheyenne woman whose infant son had died.

Sunbird was starving, having been brought far from her home and people. She quietly accepted the large, angry red-haired Scot as her husband.

When the MacDougal and Elliott families learned from Sunbird that there was a fertile valley to the northwest, they followed her to what became Tanner’s Ford. Few whites lived in the area other than Mountain Men. Women were almost unheard of.

Old Walt Chamberlain was a mountain man, proud of his skill with his rifle as well as his knife

Old Walt Chamberlain was a mountain man, proud of his skill with his rifle as well as his knife

In 1863 gold was found in Grasshopper Creek, near Alder Gulch, and hordes headed west. Fed up with too many people Finan left his full-blooded Scot sons, Finan Junior, Hugh, and Gillis, and dragged his family, and the younger, orphaned Elliotts, to Texas.

Nuggets found before the gold rush were a good size

Nuggets found before the gold rush were a good size

They created the Bar M-D Ranch using gold nuggets gathered from local streams and hidden long before outsiders learned of it.

By 1867 Gillis, Ross, and Nevin had taken over running the M-D Connected, pleased that their brutal older brothers were in Texas with their even more brutal father.

Unfortunately, their youngest brother and the four younger Elliotts, their only sister, Jess, twins Ranger and Ben, and young Patrick, were forced to stay in Texas as free labor.6a00d83452354569e2011570e55256970b-800wi

Today, Simon MacDougal is still searching for the location of hidden casks of these nuggets.

]]>