Ghost Busting at Fort Laramie by CJ Fosdick

I’m pleased to have with me this month both fellow author of The Wild Rose Press, and fellow member of Women Writing the West, CJ Fosdick. CJ was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wis. but has lived her adult life in Rochester, MN. where her writing career escalated from local and nationally published award-winning stories, articles, and anthologies to her first novel. The Accidental Wife began life as a short story that won a Laura Award from Women Writing the West in 2013. The debut novel was a top ten P & E winner for Best New Romance and Author and like the sequel that followed, a Golden Quill Finalist. For 15 years, she trained horses and children who rode them on her hilltop acreage called Mt. Pegasus, occasionally venturing down to research her next writing project. One of her stories is available on audio, and the most recent published in Distant Echoes, a British anthology of historical stories by award-winning international authors.


Vacations for writers are always rewarding when combined with research. The family vacation in 1977 that ignited my love of the historic west was mapped on poster board that had us following a route from Rochester, Minnesota through several states. Forts and battle sites were dots on our trail, along with wagon ruts, Register Cliff and Chimney Rock, but Ft. Laramie was the starring interest. I didn’t know it then, but the celebrated fort would invade several of my books.

Original buildings including the cavalry barracks, Old Bedlam, and the Burt

Old Burt House

house would become specific sets in my historical fiction and time travel suspense.

For much of the 19th century, the strategically-located garrison was a fueling station and protectorate for pioneers heading west. By mid century alone, over 50,000 emigrants stopped at the oasis. The railroad began to cork the wagon flow in 1869 but the fort flourished for 20 more years until it closed in 1890. Our 1977 counterpart of a pioneer conestoga was an orange Volkwagen camper with a tiny frige and seat cushions that converted to beds for two adults, two young children and a Schnauzer. Armed with cameras, notebooks and tape recorder, I was a kid in a candy store. A writer with a book in gestation. A gestation that would last decades. (A long story-involving moves, more children, horses, and a manuscript stored in a freezer.)

Hubby and I returned to Ft. Laramie after our nest…and barn emptied in 2014. The Ft. Laramie National Monument had improved greatly between visits. An 1876 bunkroom re-created in the Cavalry Quarters became a key site in Book two, The Accidental Stranger. Was it also coincidental that our tour guide was a distant cousin of one of my neighbors back home? By this time I was deep into Ft. Laramie history, intrigued by documentation of a young female ghost that appeared at the post every seven years, riding a black horse. The story is included in The Accidental Wife.

I was also corresponding with the great grandson of one of the post commanders and Sandra Lowry, the long-time fort archivist and librarian. I finally met Sandy in person during my second tour, before she took a medical leave that would end sadly. Happily, I had already dedicated The Accidental Wife to her, providing her a bit of immortality with a minor character in both books named Stella Lowry. She was amused by the coincidence since her mother in law’s name was Stella Lowry.

Historic locations always make me feel I am walking lockstep with ghostly figures who lived centuries ago. The “coincidences” associated with Old Ft.

1954 photo of Burt House

Laramie weren’t lost on me. After my stepmom died two years ago, I found old photos of her and my late father taken at Ft. Laramie on their 1954 honeymoon. I recognized one of them was taken in front of the old Burt House where the heroine of my novel series slips back in time at a re-created tea party. My stepmom loved The Accidental Wife, but never mentioned that she had actually been to Ft. Laramie as a new bride. Yet another coincidence…or ghostly sanction to finally give birth to a story that had to be told?

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THE ACCIDENTAL WIFE  

When Jessica Brewster inherits a mysterious teacup, she finds rubbing it transports her back to 1886, trading places with her look-alike great grandmother—wife to Mitch, her ancestor’s magnetic first husband and mother to his charming young daughter. True love, a gypsy, and her ancestor’s troubled brother amp up the charade she plays until she can find a portal back. But is her future in the past? Her life hangs in the balance.

 THE ACCIDENTAL STRANGER

Jessica Brewster is being watched…and things go missing from the remote Wyoming home she shares with her toddler. In a freak accident, she shoots the bearded thief stalking her before she recognizes the mesmerizing green eyes that belong to the only man she ever loved.

Has Mitch bridged time to find her? In a race to save his life and change hers forever, she takes him into her home and heart. But his memory loss and puzzling clues curry doubt and expose mystery and danger. Is he truly her son’s father or an irresistible stranger in her arms?

Excerpt from The Accidental Stranger:

I screamed as the heavy revolver exploded in my hand and fell to the ground. The bear moving toward Scout dropped, and I raced to scoop up my son before he toppled into the cold black stream. The dog shoved something wet against my leg and began to bark, running from me to the Beaverwoods, now cautiously circling the bear. The boys were armed with pieces of thick deadwood and Chuck picked up my smoking gun, cocked the trigger and ordered his sons to stand back. He aimed the gun to finish the animal off, then suddenly dropped his arm and knelt beside the still lump of fur.

Tommy grasped the growling dog by its collar, and in the sudden silence, I could hear a collective gasp. Someone uttered “Jeesus” like an invocation. Still cradling my son, exhausted by fear, I ventured closer and could see at once that it was no bear I shot. A man in a bearskin poncho lay on his side. Chuck rolled him over and pulled off the man’s hood. A mass of dark matted hair covered the part of his face that wasn’t blooming with blood, pooling into his left ear, running down his cheek and into his thick beard. “Is he, is he dead?” I whispered. Chuck took off his glove and wiped the man’s neck with it, then fumbled for a pulse. We all started when the man groaned and his eyes fluttered open. Green! His eyes were green, the rarest of all eye color. The fear in them more than the color registered with me as he searched our faces…stopping at mine.

Oh God, did I shoot the only man I ever loved?

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To find out more about CJ, find her at: http://www.cjfosdick.com  or sign up for her newsletter at http://www.cjfosdick.com/newsletters

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Madonna of the Trail by Kaye Spencer #westernromance #OldWestHistory

Native Coloradoan Kaye Spencer writes historical, paranormal-lite, and contemporary romances from her basement utopia in a small, rural town located in the heart of the infamous Dust Bowl area of the 1930s. Kaye grew up on a cattle ranch in northeastern Colorado, where she spent hours reading Louis L’Amour’s westerns, listening to Continue reading

THE SYSTEM DIET – OR, When Cheese Is a Powder in a Cellophane Packet

Life as an author is not always what it’s cracked up to be. Nowadays, we’re told sitting for any length of time is as bad as a pack a day, our eyes need to refocus on something in the distance every twenty minutes, and carpal tunnel syndrome will be ours from moving that mouse around. To add insult to injury, many of us, myself included, get a spreading derriere and pack on the pounds from that lack of exercise. Since we are now bombarded about system diets on television and newspapers, with pop-ups popping at us all over the place, I decided to be a guinea pig rather than just a fat pig and try one. Oh, okay, so a looming bathing suit vacation had a little to do with it . . . . Continue reading

NOW AVAILABLE ON AUDIBLE!

My western historical novella, Lawless Love, is now available on Audible, at all places Audible is sold.  Listen to the not-so-dulcet tones of Jeffrey Fallin as he reads, over at  https://www.amazon.com/Lawless-Love-Lawmen-and-Outlaws/dp/B078KH5WPS/

Lacey Everhart has carved out a tough existence in the wilds of 1880s Wyoming, working hard to build a secure life for herself and her younger brother, Luke. She will stop at nothing to protect what’s hers and keep them safe. Even if it means keeping a secret that could destroy their lives.

Marshal Dylan J. Kane is a man who considers everything as black and white, right or wrong. He’s never seen life any other way until he sets eyes on Lacey. Suddenly the straight and narrow that he’s followed has a few twists and turns. Loving Lacey offers the home life for which he hankers…but can he really love a woman who seems to be plain lawless?

We’re Playing Santa!

As I write this, there’s less than a month to go to Christmas and, for me, even less than that ‘til I may move house. I’m just waiting for a few things to fall into place—here in NYC, if you live in a Co-op, which I do, you need Board approval of your sale after contracts have been signed, and I’m still waiting to hear about that. So I have no real idea where I’ll be for Christmas, but wherever I lay my head, I do know I’ll have the comfort of my family and will be looking forward to a merry time. Continue reading

A Targeted Journey by Carmen Peone

I’m absolutely delighted to welcome back Carmen Peone.  Carmen is not only a fellow member of Women Writing the West, but is currently President Elect.  She lives on the Colville Confederated Reservation with husband, Joe. Carmen had worked with elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes-Sinyekst- Language and various cultural Continue reading

For Your Halloween Enjoyment

I never thought I’d write a so-called ‘paranormal’ western, but last year I did.  It appeared in the anthology The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly and is titled Long a Ghost, and Far Away.  Also in that anthology was Patti Sherry-Crews’ The Ghost and the Bridegroom.  Since the anthology only made a brief appearance but garnered a raft of good reviews, Patti and I decided to revive our stories in a duet now on sale at all good eBook-sellers.

The Wild West gets even wilder when Nat Tremayne sends out his agents from Psychic Specters Investigations offices in St. Louis and Denver. Across country and across time, these agents will stop at nothing to unravel the mysteries that beset poor unsuspecting ranchers and cowboys who have no idea what they’re seeing . . .or not, as the case may be.
In Patti’s The Ghost and The Bridegroom, P.S.I. Agent Healy Harrison is sent to Tucson to rid a rancher of the ghost in the bedroom interfering in his marriage to a mail-order bride. Healy doesn’t think she’s destined for romance–until she meets Pinkerton detective Aaron Turrell. But when their two cases dovetail, will their newfound love survive the ultimate showdown  between mortal and immortal.

In  my own Long A Ghost and Far Away, agent Dudley Worksop aims to unravel the mystery of Colby Gates’ dead wife. Lizzie not only seems to have reappeared as a ghost, but has time traveled from 2016 to the 1800s. Can revenge be had for her murder? And can the couple be reunited across country and across time?

Amazon Reviews from previous anthology edition:

Long A Ghost, and Far Away by Andrea Downing – is my absolute favourite as I love time travel stories & who doesn’t love added a unique twist like ghost. This story is brilliant written and unique. The character’s are very well developed and great to read about this amazing journey.

The Ghost and the Bridegroom by Patty Sherry-Crews- This novella is very well written and it is very compelling & leaves you wanting more. The character’s are realistic with real emotions and flaws.
I highly recommend reading this . . . as you will not be disappointed. Just in time for Halloween go grab it now. . . .

–Sophie Koufes

My favorite was Long A Ghost and Far Away. I loved Lizzie and Colby’s story. I actually laughed out loud at Lizzie and when she went back, I cried but I loved the ending. Great story.

–Susan K. Davis

The Ghost and the Bride Groom – 5*

Wow! What an amazing book! I have never read any books by this author before reading this book and i am so glad that i came across Patti Sherry-Crows as her books are so alive and vibrant (i would imagine her other books are the same as this).
You feel every single thing that happens in this book, you feel the fear and pain along with the hope of what could come and the sympathy you feel for the characters.
The book was written in a way that feels so real to you while you are reading it. It is a highly addictive read, compelling you to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next.
Healy is an amazing, inspiring character. I loved reading about how strong and independent she is, she relies on herself and is guarded but deep down she is so full of love that she believes she will never have.
I really enjoyed Aaron’s character. He has also got a strong and independent mindset making them the best match full of fire and passion. He comes across as a very charismatic and protective character.
I absolutely loved this book and i would recommend this book to everyone and anyone! A must read!

–Lyn McKenzie

Long A Ghost, and Far Away by Andrea Downing
What a great story! It shows that love is truly timeless and sometimes you just know who your soulmate is, even after a short time. However, this wasn’t a neatly wrapped with a bow story. It had some twists that I didn’t see coming, but that made it all the more enjoyable.

The Ghost and The Bridegroom by Patty Sherry-Crews
Healy and Aaron (Oh my!) had me laughing so much. Loved it!

–Dali

Long a Ghost and Far Away – Andrea Downing
I love the romance between Lizzie and Colby. That’s what one calls a love to test time! I liked how the author intertwined real life events into the story to make it seem more realistic too.

The Ghost and The Bridegroom – Patti Sherry-Crews
Healy and Aaron are rather comical together and also rather sweet. This was a really good tale. I liked the interaction with the elusive Nat Tremayne as well and what it hinted at. I also like the twist in the book.

–Jennydm

REVISITING THE SEVENTIES

I’ve been working on a novel that takes place in the seventies and it has proven eye-opening in what research has uncovered,, and what it’s brought to mind. Although I am old enough to have lived through that era, I spent most of it in the U.K. , which had problems other than the ones so divisive to the United States.

Haight Ashbury, courtesy of Arjun Sarup via Wikimedia Commons

Viet Nam and Watergate marked the decade, the former possibly sowing the seed of today’s divisions in our country, the latter being compared at times to the present government. But I’m not here for political proselytizing; I did not give (thus far) politics anything more than a passing mention in my book. I’ve used the seventies as background, and in so doing, have discovered quite a few Continue reading

A TRIP DOWN MEMORY ROAD

It’s a tradition that August is a time for travel and when someone says ‘travel’ nowadays, I think ‘Road Trip.’ While I’ve recently lost my main travel partner, my daughter, to marriage, I can speculate that some time in the hopefully not too distant future, I might be relegated to a back seat, overseeing child or children, while husband and wife share driving to some enchanting site I’ve longed to see. Continue reading

Carra Copelin

Although with working on an anthology  you rarely get to meet the other authors in person, you still get a good idea of them through your correspondence.  That said, it’s been a pleasure working with Carra Copelin. Carra is an award winning and Amazon Best Selling Author Continue reading