Monday, June 25, 2012

Colorado Justice by Lee Aaron Wilson: Interview & Excerpt


Fresh out of prison, Colorado Justice must keep an appointment with a judge in his hometown in order to remain free. But seems like everyone and his brother – or sister – is determined to get in his way. On the road, he stops to help two ladies in distress and is robbed. Then the McKenna Gang is holding up banks and stages while traveling in the same direction as Colorado.

When he steps in and helps a lawman, he renews a feud with the McKennas that started in prison. And for some reason, those two ladies in distress show up again and again.

Along the way, he also meets Annie Laurie ... a beautiful woman with two kids and lots of secrets ... who catches his eye. His troubles just keep on coming as he fights his way toward home.

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At dawn, we were on our way. Third day of thirty to get home or go back to prison. Roan was about on her last legs. Weren't no way she'd take me home to Prescott, Arizona. Hell, every hill we climbed, I expected her to die halfway up. We come up on the Pawnee River, south Kansas, and followed along her.
I looked for a good place to strip and scrub. Disappointed I didn't get a real bath and soft bed in Dagget's Wells. But I was gonna get me a bath, one way or t'other. Roan breathed a sigh of relief when I fetched up to a rock bigger'n a house, one side in the water. I let her drink and rubbed her down. We was out of sight, and I'd seen no other body for two hours.
I spread my duds, hung my pistol belt and gun near the water, and peeled. Hobbled, the mare had gone to grazing. The water looked cold, but it was time to do 'er. I took my tin of soft soap and waded in. Mister, it was cold. But I had it to do, so I had at it. I scrubbed me all over twice and contemplated a third round.

A female screamed. A high-pitched squeal, sounded like a younger woman in mortal fear. It came from t'other side of my rock. I grabbed my six-gun where I'd left her hanging, and splashed around the rock. Looking back, I likely should've grabbed my pants, but right then it seemed to me that she was in trouble, and I didn't have no time to waste.

She squealed again. I hustled around that rock. Sounded awful young. I sure as hell didn't hold with hurting women or girls.

She was young. 'Bout eight years old, and naked as a jay-bird. She stood knee deep and held onto a littler boy. She yelled. "He's pretending he's a fish, trying to breathe under water."

The boy wasn't over three. He was trying to put his face in the water and she was trying to keep him from it. My heart slowed down a mite.

"What in tarnation you younguns doing out here?" I hollered. I was half-relieved it was little ones playing, and half-afraid they were runaways or lost.
"Who're you to ask?" The voice came from the wide, sandy bank. A pretty woman stood 0ankle deep in the river, wearing just as much as her kids and me. She was a bit upset by my arrival. That double-barreled shotgun she pointed at me didn't make me feel awful good, neither.
Looking at her, I couldn't think, let alone speak. She was round where she should be round, and looked soft where a woman should be soft, like a man dreams his woman will look. She was sure enough growed up, I had no doubts she was their ma.
My pistol was pointed at the sky, and I left it that way. Didn't figger I wanted to frighten that woman. "So-so--sorry, ma-ma-ma'am." I finally got my mouth to working. "I heard your younguns scream and was afraid they was in trouble. I'll be going now I see they're all right."
"See you do. Don't be coming back." She didn't let that gun barrel waver. "And don't be looking back." At that, she didn't put the gun to her shoulder.

"No, ma'am," I promised. I put my free hand over my private parts and backed out of sight. I dressed quick. Seemed if she had a man around, he woulda been watching, and likely I'd be picking buckshot outta my hide. That meant a woman alone with two kids out here in the wild. But what could I do?
The third day after my release, out of prison duds, and into new clothes, I looked respectable. But if something happened to that woman, and anyone discovered I was a convict, I'd be locked up. If they gave me a trial, and if I weren't convicted--unlikely in this time and place where no one held with bothering a woman--it'd make me late. More likely, they'd just hang me.

Much as I disliked going home to face Ma, hanging didn't seem like an awful good idee neither. My old pistol--Pa given it too me when I was sixteen--on my hip, I climbed the rock to look around. Not far enough for the woman to see me, just enough to see her horses. What I saw was two harness mules, no saddles. I watched to be sure they was all right, that's what I told myself. She was sure purty . . . pretty, I corrected myself. Now I was out of prison, it was time I watched my words. She had a nice shape to go with it. Her hair was dark brown, all over. Didn't notice what color her eyes was.
They came in sight, all dressed. She set the two little ones on one mule, scrambled onto the other, took their reins, and started away. She didn't look back. Was she that scared? Or did she know where I was and not want to admit she'd let me get that close again?
I tightened Roan's cinch. We'd follow, but not close. I had no desire to scare them any more than I likely had. "C'mon, Roan, we got us some escort duty to do."

With the judge's warning to get to Prescott on time, wasn't no way I could take on a woman and kids, even to the next town. What would I do if they was vagabonds? Or runaways? I wasn't the law. It weren't my worry. But I'd see 'er to a safe place.

The country was mostly open, trees along the river, and on hillsides. A few hills, nothing steep. Enough brush I could stay out of sight. In about a mile I saw the white tops of six covered wagons. She headed right for them.

A lean, rangy man in a buckskin short coat rode to meet them. He was about as big as me, wore a pistol on his right hip, butt forward, and moved like it was a part of him. He fell in beside them. The little girl pointed back, but the woman put her hand on the girl's arm.

The man glanced toward where I hid. I'd stayed pretty much in cover, and when I'd seen him, backed Roan behind a clump of hazelnut bushes. He had one of those no-fun-to-tangle-with faces. I surely didn't want to.

Anyhow, the woman and her younguns were safe. Why hadn't her man ridden with her? None of my business. Besides, I had to get to Prescott. I heaved a sigh of relief. It wasn't I was unfeeling, just right now I had enough trouble of my own without trying to take care of a woman and her younguns.

Hi Lee!  It's great to have you back - This time with another exciting Western for us! Thanks so uch for stopping by.  I know how busy you are so I just have a few questions for you today.  How do you describe your writing style?

I'm a story teller who's getting pretty good at writing them. I never will be a Hemingway or Ludlum, but I'm getting a following. I get emails and letters asking when my next will be out. At the lodges and clubs where I frequent, people ask about my next. Now that feels good.

Do you hear from your readers? What kinds of questions do they ask?

Yes. Sometimes when my next book will be out, sometimes when my next Angel story will be out. Send An Angel was my first one, and Kyla's Angel the second. Haven't gotten to the third yet, beyond a sketch. It's the same angel, different humans as the being moves from "mission" to "mission."

What do you think makes a good story?

The characters. When anyone talks about a story, they start with, "well, it's about this (guy, woman, kid) who . . . " Make your character real, good points and failings, and give him a problem readers can identify with, and have in solve it in a way they can accept, if not identify with. (Amanda in The Huntress series.) She's a killer. But she loves kids. (If time, talk about her, and the stories.)

Plotter or Pantser?

Why? Actually neither, but a little of each. If it's a mystery, at all, you have to get the clues in subtly and in order, that takes some plotting. Yet, if you have created a "real" character, you have to let go, and let him or her go a bit. I don't mean they really come to life, but they have the life you've given them. You have to be consistent. I remember almost hearing Amanda tell me, "that is not how I'd do that," and realize it was inconsistent with how I'd built her. What I rely on more is a timeline. Maybe that's a form of plotting.

What was the scariest moment of your life?

 I was flying a jet fighter and my sense of gravity turned 90 degrees on me. I thought I was dead. I had to shut off my feelings and land on my instruments and the voice in my earphones.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?

LOL Those who know me, and the life I've led, want to know what part of every novel is really autobiographical. I tell them "all of it!"

Since I can remember I've been making up stories. As the oldest grandchild I told stories to the younger kids at family get-togethers at the old farm in Michigan where I was born and grew up. An avid reader from about the fourth grade when I discovered the school library, I enjoy most genre. I started writing the next year when I decided we needed a school paper.
My undergraduate work was in physical chemistry, but my graduate work was in Psychology. I have worked at a social worker, in law enforcement, and as a probation officer. (My final few years of work were with probation, as a Criminal Psychologist.) There I did a lot of work similar to what the FBI now calls profiling. I did private counseling, as well.

I wrote SendAn Angel (Authorhouse, 2002). The story is a romantic suspense about people with substance abuse problems. Because we're all romantics, I have to put a little romance into my stories. The sequel Kyla's Angel, came out in October, 2008.It focuses on growth and forgiveness, as the angel reminds an estranged couple of their love as a means to save a principality in Europe.

My love of western lore produced Billy Killdeere in 1995. It sold out. The second edition of Billy Killdeere came out in February, 2008. Killdeere Way, the sequel, came out in February, 2007, both from Treble Heart Books. Treble Heart brought out PrairieRose, a historical romantic suspense in October, 2010, ToKill my Love, a romantic thriller, was brought out as an ebook and a trade paperback in September, 2011. In November, two short novels ($0.99), TheDownfall of Ross Dent, and The Mis-Placed Sapling, a romantic suspense, came out. Pa's Journal, The Legend of EpitaphCreek came out as an ebook in Feb, 2012 and is now out in paperback, with a hard cover due soon. Killdeere Challenge, a romantic western, and Colorado Justice, another romantic western just came out in June, 2012; both of them as e-books and trade paperback. eXstasy Books is preparing Blood On The Tiger's Eye as a three book series to come out soon. It's a paranormal romance, with shapeshifters.

Vital statics? I was born May 25 sometime in the last century. I'm married to the former Phyllis Sharp. Between us we have two sons, two daughters, a grandson, and a great grandson. Oh, and I have a 1965 Austin Healey 3000, Mark III, I rebuilt and drive when it’s in the mood.

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