Shane’s Deal (Montana Collection: Book 4) is Now Available!

For those of you who wanted to see the Montana Collection complete, Shane’s Deal is finally here! Thank you for being patient and waiting. 🙂 I know it’s been quite a while since I did Patty’s Gamble. I hadn’t originally planned to do a Book 4, but there were two loose ends that I had to wrap up: Madeline Thompson (who was mentioned in Boaz’s Wager) and the mayor (who got a mention in Boaz’s Wager and Patty’s Gamble).

The series is now complete!

Books in the Montana Collection:

  • Mitch’s Win
  • Boaz’s Wager
  • Patty’s Gamble
  • Shane’s Deal

Shane's Deal new ebook cover

Here’s the description:

Madeline Thompson, the woman the outlaws were looking for at the beginning of Boaz’s Wager (Book 2 in the Montana Collection), has finally arrived in Lewistown, Montana, but no one knew she was coming because she had disguised herself as a man. She was only going to stay in town long enough to get more supplies for her trip to Canada. But then fate intervened with a bullet to her shoulder…and now she’s not going anywhere.

When Marshal Shane Taft discovers Madeline’s true identity, he knows only a desperate woman would take such a big risk in traveling through the wild territory of Montana without a chaperone. That alone prompts him to protect her. Finding out she’s recently widowed and is carrying a child prompts him to propose marriage.

Madeline’s first husband left a lot to be desired. Besides thinking women had nothing worthwhile to contribute but an heir, he was cold toward her. She would say no to the deal Shane is offering, but necessity forces her to marry him. Nothing good can come from being under another man’s thumb.

That is, of course, unless he happens to be the right man.

You can find it at these retailers:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Apple

Smashwords

Note for those who use Google Play: The publisher has uploaded this book, and it says it’s live in the dashboard. BUT the store isn’t showing this book. I’m unable to give you a link. I am having the same problem with a couple of other books I recently put up to Google Play. There must be some kind of glitch going on over there right now. I’m not sure when this will be resolved.

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Shane’s Deal (Montana Collection: Book 4) is Due out April 5

I’ve gotten a few questions about when Shane’s Deal will be out, and I can now point everyone to the links were they can go to get it if they want to pre-order it. The only place it’s not on right now is Google Play, but my publisher does have it ready to go over there, so it will be there.

Shane's Deal new ebook cover

Click here for the pre-order links!

This is the last book in the Montana Collection. For easy reference, here are the other books:

Mitch's Win new ebook cover  Boaz's Wager new ebook cover  Patty's Gamble new ebook cover

When I was working on Shane’s Deal, I had the covers changed for the series has an updated look. That’s why you might not recognize them. 🙂

So, what can you expect in Shane’s Deal?

I left a loose thread at the end of Patty’s Gamble. It’s probably been a while since anyone’s read it since that book came out in July of 2014. (It was so long ago that I had to look it up!) But yes, it’s almost been five years. I did go through and reread the series to refresh my memory, which is good because I had forgotten the details of the loose thread I had left at the end of Patty’s Gamble. That loose thread was the mayor. I was originally going to resolve things with him at the end of Patty’s Gamble, but in the back of my mind, I knew it was best to do that in the fourth (and final) book. That’s when I decided to tack on Book 4 to the series.

Shane’s Deal picks up right after John Meyer got arrested for stealing cattle. If you’ll recall, Patty was upset because the mayor wasn’t arrested, too. If you’ll also recall from Boaz’s Wager, Boaz had a brief encounter with the mayor, and during that time, I hinted that the mayor was a real scumbag.

My problem for the past four years was that I needed a plot I wanted to write that would fit the hero and heroine of the book. I’d rather wait until I can get the book right than to rush something that is mediocre. I know it wasn’t easy to wait, but this is a book I’m really excited about. It gives the entire series a truly satisfying ending.

I wasn’t able to bring in Mitch, Heather, Greg, or Patty because those characters just didn’t fit anywhere. If I had put them in, it would have jarred everyone out of the story, and that’s something I don’t like to do. I was, however, able to bring Boaz, Eva, Herb, and Rachel back. In the timeline in the series, this book takes place before Boaz and Eva had any children of their own, so it’s just Leroy and Hannah (Boaz’s children from his first marriage) in here.

This book also features an alpha hero. I rarely do those, but for this story, the hero had to be an alpha character because he’s going to have to deal with criminal activities. I needed a hero who could do what was necessary no matter what was going on around him. I think this is the first book where I actually did a gunfight scene. I admit I was a little intimidated to write it since I hadn’t done that before. Action scenes aren’t my strength. But I was pleased by how it turned out. It wasn’t that long, but it didn’t need to be for what I had to accomplish in the scene (which is the hero saving his wife). I was listening to the instrumental music piece “Wizards in Winter” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra while writing it. (I realize that’s not a western type of song, but I was writing this in December, and I was playing music to go with the Christmas season.) The music had an upbeat and battle feel to it that fit what I needed.

The heroine in this story is the Madeline the bandits were looking for at the beginning of Boaz’s Wager. So maybe it was fitting that Boaz, Eva, Herb, and Rachel got a prominent role in this book. It helps to bring to conclusion who Madeline was and why she was on the run. Also, it tells us what in the world ever happened to her. Those were things I had wanted to address in the series, and it just never popped up in the course of writing Patty’s Gamble. That was another reason I had to add a fourth book.

I can’t give away much more without spoiling the story, so I’m going to end the post here. If anyone has questions about this book, I’ll answer them as long as it doesn’t spoil anything.

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Write What You Want To Write

This post is for writers, especially those who need some encouragement.

life is too short to be someone else

ID 44809591 © Ayse Ezgi Icmeli | Dreamstime.com

The quickest way to kill your enthusiasm for writing is to write what someone else wants you to write.

Seriously, it’s as simple as that. This is your story. You are the only one who can write it. While I know the urge to please everyone is a strong one, it’s an impossible goal. If your books reach enough people, there will be someone who hates it. Whether it’s the main character, the plot, some technical inaccuracy, the writing style, etc, there will be something someone doesn’t like. You can’t avoid it.

Go on and check your favorite traditionally published authors who’ve been around for years. Do they all get 5-star reviews? No. There are people who don’t like their books. Take a good look at the 1 and 2-star reviews. Now, keep in mind that these are your favorite authors. Do you agree with the reviewers who didn’t like those authors’ books? Or do you think, “Wow, those people don’t understand how brilliant these authors are”? Or maybe you can see some value in their criticism, but you enjoy the authors’ books anyway, so you really don’t care what the critics had to say.

I mention all of this because there’s one truth in writing that often gets overlooked.

Taste is subjective.

People’s tastes range in a variety of areas. Not everyone likes the same songs, same movies, same art, same food, or the same houses. I could go on, but you get my point. If we all liked the same thing, life would be boring. Case in point, I hate mysteries. If the only books available to read were mysteries, I’d never read anything. Also, there are certain types of heroes I can’t stand. I hate the hero who sleeps around. As soon as one pops up in a story, I toss the book out.

So you see, readers come to every book with a set of biases. Is that wrong? Of course not. Writers come to every story they write with a set of biases, too. I have my biases, and you have yours. This is why I am the only person qualified to write my story, and you are the only one qualified to write your story. Stories should be as unique as a fingerprint. People who love your work should be able to read your story and see “you” in it. Your voice, your writing style, the type of stories you write, and the types of characters you use should all be like a fingerprint.

Does this mean you should write the same stories over and over? No. You definitely want to write different stories. If you wrote the same kind of story all the time, it would bore people. But you will have things you lean toward. You’ll naturally lean toward a certain genre. You’ll naturally lean toward certain character types. You’ll naturally lean toward a certain time period, whether it be historical, contemporary, or futuristic.

The key is to embrace those things that most excite you. Instead of asking, “What does someone else want to read when they pick up a book?”, ask, “What do I want to read when I pick up a book?” If you are the person you are writing for, you will have an enthusiasm for writing that energizes you. You’ll come to your work with overflowing excitement. You’ll be anxious to get out of bed just so you can write.

I’ve approached writing both ways. I’ve written for others, and I’ve written for myself. Each and every story I’ve written for me has been my best work. When you write the story you want to write, you will naturally do your best. The characters will come alive. Everything will be like a movie playing out in your mind, and all you have to do is type out what you’re watching. The story takes on a life of its own. You end up falling in love with your own work.

This is what writing for passion is like. This is why writing for passion matters. Writing for passion means you write what you want to write. You kick out the critic who’s telling you what others want you to do, and you focus on the creative part of your brain that tells you what you want to do.

And as inspiring as all that sounds, I know it’s not easy to do. Sometimes you’ll be tempted to give into the critic. I get tempted, too. But I have good news.

There are some ways to help combat this temptation so you can focus on writing what you want.

1. Take yourself offline when you write. No emails, no messages, no texts. Set aside a routine where you get away from all distractions and just write. You can have your favorite music in the background, white noise, or silence. The point is you learn to write when you’re in a relaxed atmosphere where there are no distractions. After a while, it will get easier to focus on the creative side of your brain that wants to tell the story.

2. Embrace positive people. We need to watch who we choose to let into our circle. Writers who are negative will end up bringing you down. Now, we all have our bad days, and there’s nothing wrong with venting one’s frustrations. But if someone in your circle is continually negative, you’re better off parting ways. These people are toxic, and they end up draining you of your enthusiasm. Also, avoid the nitpickers who like to find fault with everything. They will never approve of anything you write. Don’t give them power over you.

3. Stop listening to authors who write to market. Their goal isn’t the same as someone who’s writing for passion. These authors want sales. They’re interested in the bottom line: money. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not going to help you find the inward fulfillment in writing that only passion can bring. If your goal is to have joy in writing, then you can’t focus on the same things they do. It’s easier to put your focus on where you want to go if you choose to listen to other authors who have the same mindset that you do. So find authors who also want to write for passion and listen to them.

4. Remember this is your book. You are the writer. It’s your name (or pen name) that is going on the cover. This should be something you’re proud of. It should be something you get fired up about. This should be something that you will want to read over and over again in the future. Yeah, I know that sound egotistical, but if you aren’t 100% excited about reading your book, then why should someone else be excited to read it?

5. Keep the end game in mind. The end game is for you to be happy with your book. If someone doesn’t like your book, it’s not the end of the world. There are so many books out there that there is NO reason why you have to write the book the critics want to read. They need to go find an author they can enjoy, and if they can’t do that, they are free to write their own stuff.

6. Focus on people who love your books. Ignore the critics. We are writers who write what we want to write, and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it. Take joy in what you do. I promise you that someone out there will love your book exactly the way you wrote it, and people who love what you do are the ones you should focus on. My advice is for you to print out the positive feedback you get on your books and put them in a place where you  can read them whenever you start to doubt yourself. Repeat this to yourself as much as you need to: “I do not write for everyone.” You will never please everyone. It’s pointless to try. But you can please yourself, and in doing so, you will please some people.

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