EskieMama & Dragon Lady Reads Midweek Spotlight w/Giveaway: Romance in the Rockies: The Lost Chapters by Heather Blanton


Welcome to EskieMama & Dragon Lady Reads
Midweek Spotlight!

Today we are spotlighting Heather Blanton's
Romance in the Rockies: The Lost Chapters!

Enter below for a chance to win an ecopy or paperback of 
A Promise in Defiance from Heather Blanton! (2 winners)

Heather Blanton's 
Romance in the Rockies: The Lost Chapters!

Now, get all three of the bestselling Defiance books in ONE collection, along with a BONUS, never-before-published prequel novella, The Lost Chapters.

Three beautiful, Christian sisters, ranging in ages and life experiences, find themselves stranded in the lawless mining town of Defiance, Colorado. But God is moving everything into place—planning for something good to come from their individual heartbreaks. Naomi, Rebecca, and Hannah have futures bright with hope—even if they can’t see it at first.

A Lady in Defiance
Charles McIntyre owns everything and everyone in Defiance. Still, he is intrigued enough by the sisters to allow them to open a hotel in his town, especially since he views feisty middle sister Naomi as his next conquest. Naomi, angry with God for widowing her, wants no part of Defiance or the saloon-owning, prostitute-keeping Mr. McIntyre. But the Lord may have other plans.

Hearts in Defiance
McIntyre built Defiance practically with his bare hands … and without any remorse for the lives he destroyed along the way. Then a glimpse of true love, both earthly and heavenly, changed him. The question is, how much? His wife is a beautiful, decent woman. She says she loves McIntyre, that God does, too, and the past is behind them now. But McIntyre struggles to believe he’s worth saving … worth loving. Unfortunately, the temptations in Defiance only reinforce his doubts. Eventually, old enemies and old weaknesses will come calling...

A Promise in Defiance
When McIntyre founded Defiance, he was more than happy to rule in hell rather than serve in heaven. But things have changed. Now, he has faith, a new wife...and a ten-year-old half-breed son. Logan Tillane carries a Bible in his hand, wears a gun on his hip, and fights for lost souls any way he can. Newly arrived in Defiance, though, he has trouble telling the saints from the sinners. When a scandalous madam flings open the doors to a raunchy saloon, these two good men will fight their personal demons to the death. Unfortunately, only one will survive.

The Lost Chapters – A Novella
In this prequel novella, set in North Carolina, meet Naomi’s first husband, her childhood sweetheart. He is faced with trying to hold the family together before a scandal and a greedy rich man can tear it apart. 

And what was it like for sixteen-year-old Hannah to deal with the shame of carrying a bastard child? Rumors are swirling. Did the father of the baby abandon them of his own accord, or was he forced to leave by a family bent on protecting a grand ambition?

Rich with gritty drama and historical detail, these tales are told by real, flawed women who fight for love and faith in a godless frontier town. The Ladies of Defiance.

Grab YOUR copy TODAY!

Tell us about Romance in the Rockies: The Lost Chapters.

My first novel, A Lady in Defiance, went through some serious re-writes before its publication in 2012. A lot of chapters, subplots, and even characters “fell to the cutting room floor,” as they say. This is a powerful story of three good, Christian sisters who are faced with the ultimate tests of their faith and love. I couldn’t imagine that every single word didn’t matter profoundly.

But editors and other authors warned me I had too much backstory. A Lady in Defiance opens with the death of Naomi’s husband, the event which strands the sisters in the wild-and-wooly mining town of Defiance. Everything that came before that—why they were there, why they were headed to California, why one sister was pregnant outside of marriage—all backstory.

So I cut the first 20,000+ words, tightened the opening, and A Lady in Defiance became a number one best-seller on Amazon for months.

As well as the book has done, though, I’ve always missed those opening chapters. Imagine my joy, then, when I found the original opening to A Lady in Defiance. I am convinced there is something of value in what I call The Lost Chapters. Naomi is devastated by the death of her husband in A Lady in Defiance. Now you get a deeper look at her relationship with the man who hung the moon and stars for her.

And what was it like for Naomi’s sixteen-year-old sister Hannah to deal with the shame of being pregnant outside of marriage? And the realization that she and the child were seen only as obstacles to an ambitious man’s plans for success?

The best thing about these chapters, however, is seeing God move everything into place—how he is planning for something good to come from the sisters’ heartbreaks—so that Naomi, Rebecca, and Hannah truly will have futures bright with hope.

What initially inspired you to write Romance in the Rockies: The Lost Chapters?

My sister Suzy passed away in 1999 due to breast cancer. She was my best friend and a mighty woman of God. She had an amazing testimony that started with being an unwed teenage mother and overcoming some incredible odds to become a nurse and a minister. I admired her so much and wanted to tell her story, but I decided to do so in a fictionalized version. You know, change the names (and the century) to protect the innocent. My sister is the inspiration behind my character of Hannah, the unwed teenage mother in the story.

Tell us little about the characters in Romance in the Rockies: The Lost Chapters.

There is a great cast of characters in A Lady in Defiance. And while all three of the sisters have their own story, their own destiny, I focus the most on Naomi. She is angry with God for taking her husband, for derailing her plans, and moving her out of her comfort zone by stranding her in the godless, lawless mining town of Defiance. In The Lost Chapters, I show her struggle to control her temper, the damage her unbridled mouth can do, and most importantly, the idols in her life. Idols that will be knocked down once she reaches Defiance, CO.

I also breathe life into her husband John. He is already dead when A Lady in Defiance opens, but he was a good, strong, loving husband who sought to honor his wife and God. He is by all accounts the opposite of the anti-hero Charles McIntyre who rules the town of Defiance. One man wants to serve in Heaven. The other wants to reign in Hell. The contrast between these two is jarring. Naomi does not let go of John easily, either. When she winds up in Defiance, McIntyre has to deal with the fact that for the first time in his life, he may not get what he wants. At least not the way he wants it.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Knowing that I had to write a character like John--loving, honorable, steady, and sexy--only for Naomi to have to lose him. It was truly painful. His death jerks the rug out from under her and makes her question God’s love.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

Hannah goes before her church to admit she’s pregnant outside of marriage and to ask forgiveness. Though my sister never did that specifically, we lived in a small town and sometimes the tongues wagged as fast as humming bird wings. Suzy was called everything from floozy to white trash. Some people were kind. A lot of them weren’t. I reflect much of that actual experience in that scene.

What are your future project(s)?

I’ve had so many requests not to end the series in Defiance, I will be releasing a fourth book this year, tentative titled A Destiny in Defiance. I also will be releasing book 2 in the Love and War in Johnson County series. I just LOVE history and research and weave quite a bit of truth in with my fiction. That’s especially true of the Johnson County War book Grace be a Lady.

Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers about this book/series?

I write Christian fiction, but not squeaky-clean, cheesy Christian fiction. I like to say life is messy and gritty and God loves us anyway. The Defiance books are stories about real, flawed humans. I’m not perfect. I can’t write perfect. I know the muck God has pulled me from. I want to show him doing the same with my characters. The content in the Defiance books is mature, but never gratuitous, and there no is bad language or sex, but it is implied. 

Hours later, standing again on the front porch in the fading, misty Carolina dusk, Naomi waved good-bye to her sisters. Rebecca draped a comforting arm around Hannah and the two ambled down the road. Naomi had urged them to to leave after dinner. They had discussed the situation six ways to Sunday, but with no resolution. Now she was eager to spend some time alone with John and get his views privately on this disaster. He’d accepted the news with a troubled brow, but hadn’t reprimanded or demeaned Hannah. Instead, characteristic of her beloved, he’d listened and pondered, asking questions gently.

Naomi tossed her sisters one last wave then slipped back inside. She found John staring into the cold grate of an empty fireplace, lost in thought. Weary to the bone, she plopped down on the settee next to him and waited. She knew that pensive look. He was reasoning out the pluses and minuses of the situation.

Stretching, he slipped an arm around Naomi and pinned her with penetrating hazel eyes. She had the urge to run her hands through his tousled blond hair, but his serious expression held her in check.

“I guess this is bad,” he said. “Everything is going to change for her. She’ll even have to stop teaching Sunday School, most likely.”

Naomi hadn’t thought of that. Hannah loved her children, and they adored her. Stepping down would break her heart.

John scratched his jaw. “And can you see her going to the harvest festival in October with her condition showing?”

Naomi could see it. The cold stares. The clustered groups of whispering women. Awkward glances at the ceiling as Hannah waddled by. Naomi squeezed her eyes shut, already angry over what lay ahead.

“John, I won’t be able to stand the way people are going to treat her. Hannah’s going to handle it better than I will. I’ll be in jail for smacking somebody.”

He chuckled and hugged her close. She pulled away just enough to look at him and show her indignation. “I wasn’t trying to be funny.”

He stroked her cheek. “I’m sorry. I was just thinking about ‘never give up, never back down.’”

Naomi’s shoulders sagged. She wasn’t necessarily proud of that assessment of her personality. She’d often prayed God would soften her quick tongue and quicker temper and give her the wisdom to let Him lead. She had a terrible habit of trying to fix every situation on her own. Her mouth, her temper, and her will had caused Naomi no end of trouble . . . or apologies.

That was from God, at least: the ability to apologize. In her first years as a Christian, I’m sorry hadn’t exactly rolled off her tongue, but God had been patient. Now she prayed He’d help her learn to back down a little rather than dive into quarrels with willful abandon. Perhaps just being able to listen to Hannah today and not scold her had been a first step.

“He’s still got a lot of work to do in me.”

Sharing a contented chuckle with her, John wrapped her in a big, warm hug. She melted into his broad chest and let his scent invade her mind. “Your grit is one of the things I love about you, woman. I can’t think of a man I would trust by my side more than you. You’re a little hot-headed, but I think I’ll keep ya.”

His charming joke didn’t soften her self-appraisal. Sometimes Naomi wondered why she couldn’t be more gentle and kind like Hannah, or mature and focused like Rebecca. Her life would be easier.

John kissed the top of her head then tugged on her braid, forcing her to look up at him. He brushed her lips gently, reassuringly. “You’re a work in progress. Give God time to finish it and quit second-guessing Him.”

He punctuated the sentence with a firm, slow kiss. The heat of it cascaded over Naomi’s body and she wrapped her arms around him to draw him in closer. In a move as smooth and supple as a panther’s he slid her delicate frame to the floor, slowly peppering her with sultry kisses from her mouth to her throat and back again. Her heart beat frantically. How could he still do this to her after all these years?

But she loved the way she felt in his big arms: small, delicate, feminine. Not the scrappy little wolverine who had to fight everyone’s battles. In John’s arms, she could just be . . . a woman. She ran her hands down his broad back, and savored the feel of the sinewy muscles moving underneath his flannel shirt. He kissed her with breath-stealing hunger. But then a mischievous grin tipped his lips as he moved down across her collarbone and tugged her top button free with his teeth.

He came back for another long, deep kiss, then, still wearing that grin, moved back to her buttons. Amazingly, another one slipped through its loop. Clearly pleased with his dexterity, his mouth slid down towards another button.

Feeling almost faint from the fire they were igniting, Naomi cupped his face in her hands and made him look at her. Chest heaving, she whispered, “Our room.” Without a moment’s hesitation, he swept her into his arms and headed toward the stairs, all the while kissing her like there was no tomorrow.

A former journalist, Heather is an avid researcher and skillfully weaves truth in among fictional story lines. She loves exploring the American West, especially ghost towns and museums. She has walked parts of the Oregon Trail, ridden horses through the Rockies, climbed to the top of Independence Rock, and even held an outlaw's note in her hand. Her daddy taught her shoot when she was five and still keeps up with practice, when she's not writing Western Romance.


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