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Thursday, December 3, 2015

#NewRelease: The Saga of Indian Em'ly — 99-cent Boxed Set

Twelve-year-old Wind That Knocks Down Lodges loves his little sister, Cactus Flower, and the wildness of the desert canyonland the Apache call home. But in one night of misunderstanding and mistakes, Knocks Down and Cactus Flower’s innocent world is shaken as they find themselves locked in the nearby fort with the pale face soldiers and their mother’s lifeless body. With no one to lean on but each other, Knocks Down and Cactus Flower must make their way as children of The People in the pale face world—pale faces who have now become the enemy.

After finding themselves at the mercy of the Army, far from Apache Territory and well on the trail to Colorado, Knocks Down must bring himself to trust the soldier Pale Face Joe. But Joe disappears, and when ordered to dispose of the children or else, the other Army soldiers waste no time in depositing them at the nearest Catholic orphanage.

They manage to escape the evil orphanage along with a new pale face friend, Kid McCoy. But they are set upon by a gang of murdering claim jumpers who steal Cactus. With Kid McCoy’s help, Knocks Down goes after her. When they encounter a soldier who was responsible for their mother’s death, they realize he’s set on seeing them dead, as well. How can a boy defeat a battle-hardened soldier? Just when Knocks Down is about to give up, the biggest surprise of all changes everything…

The Saga of Indian Em'ly Books 1-4 is a tale of bold adventure Middle Grade readers won't be able to put down. At only 99 cents, it's a bargain.

Something wasn’t right. The night animals ceased their songs in unison, and another troublesome cloud shrouded the moon. An icy shiver trickled down my backbone to the tune of silence. The happy drumming coming from the camp, telling the world of the birth of Red Lake’s firstborn son, had slowed to a stop. I froze, pulling Cactus Flower back onto her bottom. She rose from the hard-packed earth, her bottom lip puffed out and her inky eyebrows knitted together above her eyes. Before she could open her mouth to speak, a flock of beating wings sent me cowering, nose first, into the dirt beside her.

“Knocks Down, why did those birds –”

Instinctively, I slapped my hand over her mouth, taking care enough to be gentle. No sooner had she quieted, than another sound echoed through the solemn night air.

“Halt! Who goes there?”

I slipped my finger over my lips, wordlessly instructing Cactus Flower to remain silent. She nodded and I removed my hand from over her mouth.

Now Available

Thursday, October 1, 2015

#NewRelease and GIVEAWAY: On Solid Ground: The Jo Harper Collection Vol. II

Looking back, especially when you reach a certain age, time is more weirdly mercurial than ever. A year passes quickly, its fleeting months scattered like seed to the wind, but paradoxically the days were long and sometimes interminable.

Or it can be the other way around. Days fly by with busywork and odds and ends, but you wake up to think, My God! It’s still only February.

Sometimes it’s all slow. Or all fast.

More than a year has passed since “Waiting for a Comet,” the first Jo Harper story made its debut, and nearly twelve months now since Jo’s first four adventures were collected. Since then, four more stories have appeared from Painted Pony Press, a complete unpublished tale waits in the wings, an Early Days of Abby Drake story will appear this fall in an anthology of stories, and the audio version of “Waiting for a Comet” will be ready for the holidays.

It’s all been a dazzling roll through the calendar, and a thundering 2016 looks to be close at hand.

Time, for Jo and Frog, while filled with more adventure, passes more slowly. She turned 13 this year, and Frog turned 11. They might stay at that age for a while. Or they might not – I honestly didn’t intend for them to have birthdays. It just happened.

And for me, that’s an example of the most exciting aspect of writing Jo Harper. Nothing has been planned. For the first time in my experience writing fiction, I have a body of work that was not outlined, not pre-figured. Each of these stories found me sitting down, writing into the dark. When you read the first chapter and don’t know what’s going to happen next, rest assured that I didn’t either.

Jo Harper has put a lot of fun back into my writing. I hope this second volume of stories does the same for your reading.


Jo Harper rides the range again with Frog Beemer, Constable Abby Drake, McGee the dog, and a host of no good owlhoots. If you love rollicking old-fashioned adventure, grab this second volume of four novella-length stories.

In 1911, when trouble comes to Willowby, Wyoming, thirteen year-old Deputy Constable Jo Harper is usually on top of it. But trouble has a way of following Jo, and strangers aren't always what they seem.

When old friends prove to be enemies, and enemies might be friends, Jo relies on all her wits to seek justice.

And sometimes just to stay alive!

Jo Harper rides the range again with Frog Beemer, Constable Abby Drake, McGee the dog, and a host of no good owlhoots. If you love rollicking old-fashioned adventure, grab this second volume of four novella-length stories.

Richard Prosch's series about young Jo Harper and her friends, set in early 20th century Wyoming, just keeps getting better and better. — James J. Griffin, author of the Lone Star Ranger series

A part Mark Twain, part Rooster Cogburn, a dose of H.G. Wells... —Wayne D. Dundee

Please leave a comment below for a chance to win a free digital copy!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

#NewRelease and GIVEAWAY--The Cowboy Way by Cheryl Pierson, Frank Roderus, and James J. Griffin

Boxed Set of  YA Westerns only 99 cents at Amazon.

THE COWBOY WAY is a set of five wonderful stories for young boys of all ages—from  9 to 99! If you’re looking for some great western reads for yourself or a young reader you know, this is the collection for you—and at only .99, you can’t beat the value! And today, we'll be giving away one copy of this exciting set to one lucky commenter! Be sure to leave your contact information in your comment in case your name is drawn! Renowned western author Frank Roderus leads the collection off with his coming-of-age story, DUSTER, about a 15-year-old boy who joins a cattle drive in post Civil War days. Jim Griffin, known for his Texas Ranger tales, adds to the anthology with book one of his Lone Star Ranger series, A RANGER TO RIDE WITH. Cheryl Pierson’s complete Texas Legacy Trilogy rounds out this fantastic set of western tales. RED EAGLE’S WAR, RED EAGLE’S REVENGE, and TEXAS FOREVER tell the story of 10-year-old Will Green, saved from the Apache by Jacobi Kane—a man with a secret of his own. This anthology is full of action-packed stories that you will remember long after you read the last page! Come on and saddle up—you’ll ride the range with some mighty fine cowboys!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

#NewRelease -- Lone Star Ranger: Volume 6 , A Ranger Gone Bad by James J. Griffin -- #Giveaway

In the close to a year since Nate Stewart was orphaned in an outlaw raid on his family's ranch, then taken in by a company of Texas Rangers, he's grown up fast. Of necessity, he's had to mature much more quickly than most fourteen year olds. However, while he's now a lawman, he's still very much a boy, and prone to the mistakes boys make.

A RANGER GONE BAD continues Nate's adventures with the Rangers. However, he seems to make a terrible mistake when he decides to rustle a bunch of already rustled cows. Caught by his companions, arrested and thrown in jail, Nate embarks on a life of crime, hunted by both the law and the lawless. Will he be able to turn his life around? Has he really turned outlaw? Find out in the latest Nate Stewart adventure, LONE STAR RANGER 7: A RANGER GONE BAD.


Cattle rustling is about to get the best of some of the finest ranches in Texas—until the Rangers come to call. But while Nate, Hoot, and the rest of Captain Quincy’s Texas Rangers are out to arrest the outlaws, things take an unexpected turn for the worse. When Nate throws in with the renegade rustlers, his Ranger friends can hardly believe it. It seems that the compadre they’d trusted and accepted into their regiment as one of their own has turned on them—but can it be true?

Nate appears to enjoy the life of crime as he not only steals cattle, but robs banks and stagecoaches on his own before he joins up with Conrad Jordan’s gang of thieves. But in a deadly battle between the Rangers and the rustlers, which side will Nate pick? Will he remain true to the lawmen who’ve taken him in and made him one of their own—or is he truly A RANGER GONE BAD?


    “Deputy, what are the charges?”
    “Let’s see, Cap’n.” Woodson rubbed his jaw. “There’s drunk and disorderly, to start. Then there’s disturbin’ the peace, destruction of city property, and discharging a firearm within city limits.”
    “Is that all?” Bob asked.
    “Ain’t that enough, Lieutenant?” Woodson answered. “I could add on resisting arrest, and attempted assault on a peace officer, but I’ll let those slide, as long as you promise to take these two with you when you leave town.”
    “Hey, we didn’t try to assault any peace officer,” Nate protested.
    “You don’t think so, huh?” Woodson answered. “You don’t recall your friend takin’ a swing at me, so I had to subdue him by knockin’ him over his thick skull, then you startin’ for your six-gun, and me stoppin’ you by whackin’ you with my rifle, right in your…um, privates.”
    “Oh,” was all Nate could manage.

Be sure and leave Jim a comment to enter a drawing for a free ecopy of A Ranger Gone Bad.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fabulous Five: Five novels for Middle Grade Readers -- Boxed Set Only 99 Cents


The Texas Rangers’ job is to protect, so when Ranger Jackson’s great-great-great granddaughter needs help, he reports for duty! But how can Codi explain her ancestor’s ghost to her history project partner—and her dad?

Waiting For a Comet (Jo Harper Book 1)—Richard Prosch

Halley’s Comet brings a surprise Jo Harper never expected! Action, humor, and real life history combine for an exciting mystery about one girl’s summertime quest for family, friendship, and justice on the windburnt Wyoming range at the dawn of a new century.

Racing a Dog Star (Jo Harper Book 2)—Richard Prosch

Flung headlong into the Dog Days of summer by multiple mysteries that may or may not be related, Jo Harper and Frog Carpenter face them together and solve them! In this sequel to WAITING FOR A COMET, Jo, Frog and sure-shootin' lady Constable Abby Drake return for another visit to the exciting town of Willowby, Wyoming in the hot, dry summer of 1910.

The Apache and the Pale Face Soldiers (The Saga of Indian Em’ly Book 1)—Sara Barnard

With no one to lean on but each other and the fragile balance between the Apache and the soldiers irreparably upset, an Indian war begins. Knocks Down and Cactus Flower must make their way as children of The People, the Comanche,  in the pale face world – pale faces who have now become the enemy.

On the Colorado Trail (The Saga of Indian Em’ly Book 2)—Sara Barnard

After a dangerous failed attempt at escape by Knocks Down and his sister that leaves Cactus Flower injured, can Knocks Down bring himself to trust the soldier, Pale Face Joe? His life depends on it, and his little sister's does, as well!

Now Available

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

#NewRelease -- The Saga of Indian Em’ly Book 4: The Journey Home by Sara Barnard -- #Giveaway

Twelve-year-old Knocks Down and his little sister, Cactus Flower, manage to escape the evil orphanage along with a new pale face friend, Kid McCoy. But once they escape, they are set upon by a gang of murdering claim jumpers who steal Cactus and leave Knocks Down for dead. 

Determined to find his little sister, Knocks Down gets to the nearest town where they’ve taken her, only to discover she has been sold as a slave! With Kid McCoy’s help, Knocks Down goes after her. Escaping once more, they encounter an old nemesis, a soldier from the nearby fort that was responsible for their mother’s death—and he’s set on seeing Knocks Down and Cactus Flower dead, as well. 

How can a boy defeat a battle-hardened soldier? Just when Knocks Down is about to give up, the biggest surprise of all changes everything on THE JOURNEY HOME…

    The day passed quickly and in relative silence until Kid realized something. “Say Chief, where is it we’re headed, anyway?”
    I scanned the foreign horizon, an odd feeling suddenly gripping my backbone. “South,” I whispered, “back home, to the land of the Comanche.” Without thinking, I dropped to a crouch and let every sound fade away. Chirping birds, whistling wind, even the breath of Cactus and Kid. Every sound disappeared except the one that had pricked my ear and shot the rash of tingles in the first place. 
    “Something has happened nearby.” 
    Cactus slipped her hand into mine. “I hear it, too. Let’s go.”
    Kid scratched his head. “What’d I miss? I don’t hear nothin’.”

    By the time we arrived at what was left of the pale face camp, Kid heard it too. The dog’s whimpering had grown louder with each step, and more mournful. There hadn’t been but six people in camp, two of them children, and no survivors. The dog, a hulking black beast with pointed ears, low hips and a long tail, lay by the body of the girl. Whining, he licked her face and nuzzled her hands, as if trying to wake her from a deep sleep.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

#NewRelease -- Six-Gun Salad by Richard Prosch -- #FreeGiveaway

It's double-barreled excitement from Painted Pony Books with the release of the latest story in Richard Prosch's critically acclaimed Jo Harper series, SIX-GUN SALAD, as well as a free book promotion for the first story, WAITING FOR A COMET, from August 11 through August 14.


Would you cry over spilled potato salad? Would you risk your life for it? Jo Harper can't contain her frustration when a determined Danish lawyer and a hard-headed German farmer get ready to square off with guns over just that.

But things are more than they seem, and an old-world grudge means Jo has less than 48 hours to stop certain violence between these two!

It's an Elizabethan tragedy-in-the-making unless Jo, Frog and Abby can unravel the threads of a dangerous plot that threatens to tear apart not just two families, but the entire town of Willowby, Wyoming.


    Having roped a goat, knocked down three dolls with a rubber ball, pitched horseshoes, and guzzled a lemon soda, Jo Harper wiped a bead of sweat from her forehead.
     Happy cries, laughter, and shouts came from voices of every age, carried on the ever-present Wyoming summer wind, and the mouth-watering smells of grilled sausages and warm rhubarb pie weren't far behind. A passel of boys played baseball to her left.
    Directly behind the church, girls skipped rope.
    A loud clank to her right signaled a new game of horseshoes was underway. It looked like everybody in the community was at the picnic, and there was no way Jo could stay still any longer.
    She was ready for her next adventure.

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Don't miss the first book in this great series, WAITING FOR A COMET, which is now free for the Kindle through August 14!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

#NewRelease--DOGBREAD AND DIAMONDS by Richard Prosch--#Giveaway

Just about any small town, ranch, or farm has its share of special desserts, pastries, and secret recipes. When I was a kid in Nebraska, the main street Bakery had its dusted, frosted wares on display by 6:00 am and, if they weren't sold out by 9:30 whatever was left was hard as a rock.

You had to get there early.

If you did, you were more richly rewarded than the Divine Right kings of Europe or the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. Long Johns, Bizmarks, Apple Fritters: these were the jewels of the plains, warm and glistening with a sugar glaze.  These were riches beyond compare.

Remembering those mornings, digging into a grease-stained brown paper sack, made me wonder about Willowby, the fictional Wyoming town where Jo Harper lives. Was there a proper bakery back there in 1911, or were the breakfast treats of Jo's time more intimate, as befits a fledgling western settlement?

Before I married Gina, I met her Grandma Frida, a woman known well in her community for the pastries she made.  Delivered in bulk to work crews, field hands and the ladies at the bank--free of charge--Frida's fried doughnuts were the stuff of legend.  And the recipe unknown.

I decided that's the kind of breakfast Jo, Frog and Abby Drake would enjoy best. Home made, hand delivered --in the same brown paper sack I remember, with the same sensual overload.

Jewels of the plains. Diamonds in the rough.

Stolen diamonds is where this story begins...


In the wild west, decades before Willowby, Wyoming was founded, Stink Carmichael robbed a stage coach of the famous Dakota Diamonds and was never heard from again. When Jo Harper and her best friend Frog find the loot in a hidden cellar, old secrets come out and greed can't help but rear its ugly head. When Frog disappears and Jo is accused of pilfering the diamonds herself, things can't get any worse. But Constable Abby Drake has a few secrets of her own and a sack of warm, flaky breakfast rolls might just be the key to saving the day.


    "We shouldn't be here, Frog," said Jo Harper, her lace-up boot slipping on the next step down. "It's muddy."
    "It's damp," said Frog. “And since when have you ever in your whole life been worried about a little mud?"
    A cold draft swept up the slippery wood plank steps from the underground darkness below, bringing with it a smell of mildew and grime that threatened to close Jo's throat. 
    A grim welcome from the hidden cellar deep underneath the Beemer mansion in Willowby, Wyoming.  
    "It's not mud I'm worried about," said Jo, quickly cupping her hand around the wick of the flickering candle she carried. "This is the longest set of steps I've ever seen. It's falling and breaking my neck that worries me. Then who's going to bail you out of trouble?"
    "Ha-ha. Ain't you funny? You oughtta be in the movies, Jo."
    Again, eleven-year old Frog Beemer dropped away down into the dark, fearlessly taking the stairs two at a time.
    Jo waited for him to say something.
    "Frog?" she said, ears straining, eyes peering past the dim circle of candle light.  Jo willed her leg forward into space, sliding her toe out, over the worn edge of the step. "Frog, where are you?"
    She put her weight down on her right leg.
    A low squeal, like the settling of timber came from the hole ahead. 
    Timber. Or something else. Maybe something alive.

Leave a comment for a chance at a free copy of Richard Prosch's Dogbread and Diamonds.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

An Interview with Cheryl Pierson

by Richard Prosch

Along with her award-winning western romance and contemporary fiction,
Oklahoma native Cheryl Pierson wrote a slam-bang young reader western
trilogy. Red Eagle's War, Red Eagle's Revenge and Texas Forever make up
the Texas Legacy trilogy, now available from Painted Pony Books. Having
just finished the first book, and with the next two waiting on my
Kindle, I thought I'd take some time and visit with Cheryl about Will
Green's story.

Early in the first book, Jacobi Kane rescues Will Green from Red Eagle's
Apaches.  Did you do any historical research for those scenes? 
Being born and raised in Oklahoma, I have grown up with the different tribes—museums, artifacts, stories, legends, and so on. One of the greatest Apaches ever, Geronimo, is buried here in Oklahoma at Ft. Sill—which is down in the southwestern part of the state in the Wichita Mountains. Going down into that part of the country, which is (ironically) in Comanche County, has proven to be a great source of knowledge for me just for the terrain of the land—which is quite different than the part of Oklahoma I grew up in (central) and where my relatives were from in the southeastern part of the state, as well. Apaches were not considered one of the five “civilized” tribes…there’s a reason for that, as Will discovered.

Why Texas?

Everything I write is set in Oklahoma or Texas. This story starts out in Indian Territory, not far from the region I was telling you about. Red Eagle is headed back to his “home” territory, closer to the border of Texas and present-day Oklahoma when Jacobi rescues Will. Jacobi heads back to Texas with Will, to try to get to Fort Worth, a town of some size—where he might be able to find a place for Will or contact any family he might have left somewhere.  Texas is a natural setting for me, as well, since many of my ancestors came from there.

What can you tell us about the change in titles?
Those titles were changed when we brought the trilogy over to Painted Pony Books from another publishing company and made some revisions in the text. Also, I discovered that those “Kane” titles weren’t working to draw in younger readers—most everyone who bought those books seemed to be adults—which I was very happy about—but wanted the younger readers to be drawn to them as well.

Even though they're killed off-screen, before the story begins, Will's
father, Robert Green becomes a character unto himself with the many
words of wisdom he imparts to Will.  How much does Will's family reflect
your own?

Will’s father is a very harsh man. He has some regrets, which we discover through Will’s thoughts as the books progress, until his final understanding, or at least the fact that he is beginning to come to terms with it in TEXAS FOREVER. My dad and I were very close—not at all like Will and his father—but there were a lot of things I didn’t understand until I got older, and matured a little bit.

While not as violent as some books, there are a couple of tough scenes in
the first book. Did you have any second thoughts about how far to go or
did you follow the story where it necessarily led?
You know, I tried to write those books with the idea that, like most of my writing, I wanted it to be realistic—but not TOO graphic for that age group. I wanted the reader to know that Will (and Jacobi) both suffered, and that has to be shown—not just told about. Will is as real as I could make him—he uses some rough language for his age in a place or two, but who wouldn’t, after what he’d been through? And the violence—that’s how the west was in those days—but I don’t think it’s too much for YA readers, especially by today’s standards.

What would you like to see more of (or less of) in young reader/young
adult westerns?

Encouragement by teachers and parents. When you think about it, today’s kids that would fall into this age bracket were not even alive when 9/11 happened. If parents and teachers don’t try to interest their kids in reading historical fiction, eventually it will all become a thing of the past. Love of history has to be encouraged when kids are young. 
I think Painted Pony Books has gotten a great start on this by providing some excellent stories for young readers of all ages—your Jo Harper series, Jim Griffin’s “Ranger” series,  Sara Barnard’s “Indian Em’ly” series for middle grade readers, and some excellent books that aren’t series at all, such as Frank Roderus’s “Duster” and Livia and James Reasoner’s story Mockingbird and Big Earl.
Will there be more books about Will Green?
I’d love to write more stories about Will! I can’t say too much since you haven’t finished the 3rd one, but there are tons of unresolved issues that he can do nothing about until he’s a little older. So I’m hoping that I will be able to sit down and write “the rest of the story” soon!

Thanks so much for this interview, Rich! I appreciate it. During this Memorial Day weekend, I would like to give away one complete set of the TEXAS LEGACY trilogy to one lucky commenter. Just leave a comment for me and your e-mail address!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Whitman Authorized TV Editions

I can honestly report that without the genius of the Whitman Publishing Company's authorized editions, and specifically the TV tie-ins, there wouldn't be a Jo Harper series of stories.

As I wrote here and here, many of the Jo's adventures find their origins in the life of my grandpa's Aunt Rose, and my own great-grandma. But those stories wouldn't be in the short, fast-paced adventure format they are without the Whitman influence.

For the folks in Racine, it started in the '40s when the authorized editions broke new ground in presenting stories to young people. As harbingers for the media savvy publishers today, Whitman realized they could cash in on the popularity of radio and movie stars by leasing the rights to them and assigning new, original stories to experienced authors. Second, they were one of the first publishers to recognize the market potentialof properties aimed at a young female audience.

Both trends continued and by the 1960s, a new line of nearly 100 titles based on TV shows was underway. Stories from The Beverly Hillbillies, Bewitched, and The Mod Squad were available next to Annie Oakley, Gunsmoke, and Have Gun Will Travel.

The first western book I ever read was Annie Oakley in the Ghost Town Secret.  Originally belonging to my aunt, I remember it being on the shelf at my grandma's house for several years before I pulled it down and read it in an afternoon. 

I've collected quite a few of the westerns and read them as an adult. I'm happy to report that the books stand up well. In no small part, this is due to Racine's wisdom in signing top notch writers to the tie-in books. 

Many of the westerns were penned by proven scribes in the field: 

Cheyenne and the Lost Gold of Lion Park and Bonanza: Killer Lion, both by Steve Frazee.

Bonanza: Treachery Trail by Harry Whittington.

The Rebel by H.A. DeRosso

Roy Rogers and the Brasada Bandits by Cole Fanin. 

And many more.

These square bound hardbacks were ubiquitous and lmost any antique store in America will have a few copies available for reasonable prices. Along with those shows mentioned above, The Rifleman, Maverick, Rin-Tin-Tin, Tales of the Wells Fargo and Wagon Train also have fine entires.

For a fascinating look at the golden era of western television, licensing, and just plain good reads, give 'em a try! 

Meanwhile, I'll be giving away a copy of the latest Jo Harper adventure, Redbuds and Bullets to a commenter. Just leave a comment for me here or at Facebook (and please message me your email address).

After growing up on a Nebraska farm, Richard Prosch worked as a professional writer, artist, and teacher in Wyoming, South Carolina, and Missouri. His western crime fiction captures the fleeting history and lonely frontier stories of his youth where characters aren’t always what they seem, and the windburned landscapes are filled with swift, deadly danger. Read more at