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05-19 Sarah Raplee – Riff on 7 yrs. Of SPAM & a Giveaway

Thursday, January 23, 2014



I wouldn’t call this a revolution in the literal sense, but it was a revolution for me, well maybe a light bulb moment. I have actually written a Western Romance. Admittedly it is only a short story, but I was tremendously excited when I was invited to contribute to this Western Anthology – Rawhide ‘n Roses, which is due out in early March 2014. There are fifteen top Western Romance authors and lil-ol-me. 

As many of you would know, I write Australian historical romance, but there are many similarities between the American West and Frontier Australia. Stories abound of brave men and women fighting a hostile environment, and overcoming tremendous odds in their endeavours to settle the far corners of our countries.

Of course, I have always liked reading western novels, Zane Grey was my favourite. I was enthralled by all the western shows on TV.  Little House On The Prairie, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, Bonanza and Rifleman, just to name a few, so when I think about it, I wonder why I didn’t try to write a western much earlier.

RAWHIDE ‘N ROSES – A Western Romance Anthology.

An extract from my contribution – The Gunslinger’s Angel.

Hot searing pain speared through Cal’s chest with every breath he took. He felt as if a red hot poker gouged his flesh, slowly twisting and turning to increase his torment. Sweat pouring into his eyes blurred his vision. His whole body burned with such intensity he wondered why he didn’t burst into flames.

“This is your first taste of hell, Caleb Devereaux,” he muttered. “Get used to it.” At least he had sent the Tolson brothers on ahead to meet Satan. The fires of hell were probably already burning those vicious hombres to a crisp.

A warm breath fanned his face, followed by the fleeting touch of soft hands stroking his forehead. His eyes creaked open and an angel’s face hovered above him. She had milky white skin, huge pale blue eyes and golden hair. A whiff of lavender infused his nostrils. Did angels smell of lavender?

He couldn’t see her wings, and she wore blue rather than white. There had to be a mistake. Why had he gone to heaven instead of hell? His life was not without blemish. He had killed a dozen or more men, but never shot a man in the back, didn’t need to when he was lightning fast on the draw. As a boy, he had stolen food after escaping the clutches of his drunken parents. Maybe he wasn’t evil enough for hell, but he was hardly suitable for heaven.

“Here, drink this.” The angel’s voice caressed him.

Water trickling down his throat washed away the dusty dryness.

“I have to stop the bleeding and get you home,” she murmured.

Laura glanced into the man’s ashen face, another couple of inches to the left and the bullet would have killed him. His horse grazed nearby, obviously well trained as he had deposited his master near this clump of trees and saved him from the searing heat that had baked the road.

The man wore his guns slung low over his hips. A gunfighter perhaps? She eased both guns out of the holsters and dashed over to her buckboard. She threw them under the seat before lowering the tailboard.

A black Stetson lay on the ground beside him, dusty and sweat stained like his clothes.  She didn’t have the strength to get him up on the front seat, but with her help he might be able to drag himself into the back.

She caught the trailing reins of his foam-flecked horse and secured it to the buckboard. That was the easy part, now she had to somehow move the man.

Her legs trembled as her anxiety escalated. What if he was an outlaw, a killer on the run? Dare she risk taking him to her ranch where she lived alone?

By the time she rode for help and returned he would be dead. She had removed his guns, his rifle was on his horse, and he was too weak to attack her, loss of blood and dehydration had seen to that.

“Stop dithering,” she muttered, “you can’t leave him here to die.”

She leaned over him and brushed a damp, tendril from his forehead. His breathing was harsh and labored his ashen face shiny with sweat.

“You have to stand up.” She tapped his cheek. He didn’t move, so she slapped him. “Wake up.”

He groaned, but his eyes remained closed. She hated doing it, but she grabbed him by the shoulder. He cussed with pain but his eyes opened.

“You must get up so I can take you home.”

“Home?” his voice was husky but not uncouth. “I’m not going anywhere, angel, I’m staying here in heaven with you.”

The man was obviously delirious. “I’m Laura.”

“Laura the angel?”

Margaret Tanner’s website:




Judith Ashley said...

So glad you got the invitation and accepted because I Love it!

Who are some of the other authors?

Sarah Raplee said...

Congratulations, Margaret. From this excerpt, I'd say you've done an outstanding job!

Margaret Tanner said...

Thanks Judith and Sarah,
I was thrilled with the invitation, Caroline Clemmons, Paty Jager, Susan Horsnell, Keta Diablo, Charlene Raddin, just to name a few, so it is goig to be an exciting ride.