Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Harper Lee Remembered

Harper Lee’s funeral was attended by only closest friends and family. It was a reflection of the way she chose to live. Yet she will long be remembered for one classic American novel, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Like many English teachers, I taught the novel to sophomores in high school. According to THE WASHINGTON POST, the book still earns about three million dollars each year.

Ironically, I had just learned of Harper Lee’s death as I finished reading 
GO SET A WATCHMAN, the unimpressive prequel to MOCKINGBIRD recently published.

Did Lee have help from her friend Truman Capote or a sympathetic editor in creating MOCKINGBIRD? It hardly matters. Didn’t Shakespeare write his plays with input from other playwrights?

On the very day that Harper Lee passed away, my first cousin, Ros, also died. She didn’t leave behind a great work of American fiction. However, her three children and their families including six grandchildren were there at her funeral. There were, in fact, many friends and relatives who knew and loved her for the fine person she was.

There is more than one type of greatness. When we must shuffle off the mortal coil, being remembered by others keeps us alive in ways that matter.

Thoughts and comments always welcome.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

On Keeping Websites Updated

Today I updated my website by going into Layout on Blogger, entering Gadgets and adding my two latest novels. I then captioned most of my novels so interested readers will have some idea of what my books are about. Not all of my published books are listed, but there are enough for readers to get a good idea of my literature.

I write for adults, teens and children. I also write in a variety of genres and styles. I would say my novels are mainly mystery, suspense thrillers and romance. It’s important then that the captions reflect this.

Commitment to blogging means that websites need to be updated regularly. I don’t have the time to blog each day, although I wish I could. However, I think it is important for readers to know that I care about them as well as the quality of my writing. And so I’m trying to keep it current.

You will note that my latest novel for adult readers is an historical Western THE KILLING LAND. It should soon be coming into your local library. Ask for it if you don’t see it on the shelf.

STACY’S SONG is a coming-of-age/romance novel for teenage readers. It’s a completely rewritten and updated version of the previous print edition and now in all e-book formats.

DARK MOON RISING, another adult novel, is a paranormal gothic romance—a ghost story available both in print and all e-book formats as well.

Each of the newest novels comes from a different publisher and has had thorough editing.

And so for the moment, I am up-to-date on my website. Be back soon!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Celebrating Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day remains a favorite holiday for me. In fact, the entire month of February makes me smile. One reason is because it’s the shortest winter month; another reason is because we are getting more daylight again. A third reason is that my older son Andrew was born on February 29th. This year, we even get to celebrate his actual birthday.

But the best reason of all for me is that Andrew and his wife were married on Valentine’s Day. It was a joyful wedding, loving and romantic. No big fancy affair, just the bride and groom, my husband and myself, the bride’s best friend, and a judge happy to officiate, followed by a wedding breakfast at a local hotel. Afterwards the bride and groom had to take a long drive so that my son could represent in court a couple accused of white collar crime. Andy and Anna are still happily married and now have a lovely little daughter to help them celebrate their anniversary. This love story is one of many worldwide celebrated on the most romantic day of the year.

Love stories have always been an important part of history and literature. Cleopatra and Mark Anthony. Cleopatra and Julius Caesar (Cleopatra did get around). As Shakespeare said, “she was a woman of infinite variety.” Then there is the story of Napoleon and Josephine, another passionate love affair. In the Bible, we also find some of the world’s greatest and unforgettable love stories. What can be more romantic than the story of Ruth or Solomon and the Queen of Sheba? And there is the story of Esther which is celebrated on Purim.

A lot of the world’s most famous, classical love stories, of course, did not end happily: Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Helen of Troy and Paris, Lancelot, Arthur and Guinevere (a triangle). These are tragedies.

Some of the literary characters I consider unforgettable are those of the Bronte sisters: Healthcliff and Catherine, the tormented lovers in Emily’s Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester of Charlotte’s famous novel. Both romances are in the gothic tradition.

Thomas Hardy wrote a number of tragic love stories as well. For something lighter, I prefer Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth and Darcy are memorable. I’ve read and reread that novel numerous times. My own romances have happy endings as well since I prefer them.

Love quite literally makes the world go round. My favorite Valentine’s Day gift  would be a new romance novel. Candy makes me fat. Flowers wilt and die too soon. But a great romance can be read and reread and enjoyed.

 If you’re of a mind to read some romance to celebrate Valentine’s Day,
and enjoy romantic short stories, consider my collection BEYOND THE BO TREE, a book that combines romance, mystery, fantasy and the paranormal:

For teenage girls and their mothers to share, THE DEVIL AND DANNA WEBSTER is a clean read romance available in all e-book formats.

STACY’S SONG, another YA romance/coming-of-age novel, is also available from Clean Reads Press on Amazon:

For readers who enjoy adult romance and paranormal thrillers, check out my recent novel DARK MOON RISING available in print and all ebook formats:

Also available through the publisher Luminosity:

My most recent published novel is an romantic Western thriller
THE KILLING LAND published by Five Star/Cengage, available in hardcover and ebook:


Can you think of any romances you would recommend to readers? What sort of romance fiction do you particularly enjoy reading?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Print Giveaway for THE KILLING LAND

As promised, winners of print copies of THE KILLING LAND are announced today.
Four commentators have been drawn and will be mailed copies of the novel.
They have each been contacted and are as follows:
Susan Coryell

Patricia Gligor

Betty Gordon

Carole Price

I hope to do more giveaways in the future.

You can always request this book at your local library for a free read.

Some good news regarding THE KILLING LAND. It has just received an excellent review from the Historical Novel Society.

Here is an excerpt from the review:

"The Killing Land is set in the Arizona territory in the 1880s, and opens with an intriguing hook that snags the reader's attention quickly...Seewald does a fine job with character development, including with her secondary characters...The plot itself is quite detailed as well...Fans of western romance should be pleased with this novel."

Thank you for visiting. Please come by again!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Historic Western Novel THE KILLING LAND by Jacqueline Seewald

I’m pleased to announce that THE KILLING LAND, a romantic Western suspense thriller is now published by Five Star/Cengage in hardcover as well as ebooks. The novel was years in the making and is my seventh book with Five Star--a lucky number I hope!  A special note of thanks goes to Alice Duncan, my excellent editor at Five Star.

This novel is set principally in the Arizona Territory of the early l880's where a courageous settler from the East and an aristocratic cattle baron become involved in a love/hate relationship. The two, although attracted to each other, are initially distrustful and antagonistic toward one another. The dangers they face draw them together.

Mary suspects that Cal is responsible for trying to drive the homesteaders and sheepherders off the land cattlemen consider rightfully theirs. When her uncle is murdered, Mary intends to discover who is responsible and why. In so doing, she becomes a person of interest to a vicious outlaw.

Here’s an excerpt from near the beginning of the book:

“You’re a fool.”
Mary MacGreggor stared up at the ice-blue eyes of the handsome cowman in front of her with surprise bordering on shock. She simply did not believe he could be so rude. Surely, even in the West, people must learn manners? The tall rancher looked from Uncle Isaac to her, shook his head, and then dismounted.
“Am I to understand you won’t do business with me?” Isaac asked in a calm, quiet voice.
“Didn’t say that, Mr. Stafford.” The rancher glanced over at Mary, raking her boldly from head to toe with a single look she found embarrassing. Unconsciously, Mary’s hand went to her head to straighten her bonnet.
“I never discuss business in front of a lady, not even a pretty one.” His tone was arrogant and patronizing. But then, wasn’t that just the way with rich people, thinking and acting as if they were so much better than everyone else?
And there was no doubt this cowboy was rich. Uncle Isaac had explained to her that Cal Davis owned Rancho Royo and the Thunderbolt, both of which were large spreads, and taken together, the biggest cattle ranch in Arizona. Cal Davis’s property also included much in the way of forested acreage, which was what interested them.
“Mr. Davis, I should introduce you to my niece, Mary MacGreggor. She is also my partner in the farm, since half of the financial investment is hers. You’ll also find she has a good head for business.”
The rancher looked down at her with what she could only interpret as an amused air of superiority. She felt the blood rising to her face and averted her gaze.
“I was told that you planned to meet me here today to ask about buying some of my lumber,” Davis said in a flat voice.
“That’s right. We intend to build a permanent dwelling, and therefore, it should be the best structure we can afford.”
“Why don’t you join me while I pick up some things in the general store and we’ll talk this over.” Although his voice now sounded polite, his manner was still disdainful.
They followed Cal Davis into a store that bore the sign “Emporium” in the front window. Once inside, Mary looked around, noticing that harnesses hung from the ceiling, along with saddles and bridles. The store seemed to sell a little of everything; big sacks of sugar and flour were piled up in one corner, bolts of calico in another.
Cal Davis walked up to the counter and asked the store owner about checking over some accounts. Then he turned back to them once again. Mary surveyed the man. He seemed just as tall out of the saddle as he had looked in it. He was lean but well-built, with broad, muscular shoulders and narrow hips. The man wore fine black leather boots which extended to his knees. A brown work shirt, jeans, leather vest, and brown Stetson completed his wardrobe. Strapped to his thigh was a holstered revolver that made him look dangerous.
“There’s plenty of good pine and fir trees up in the hills. We’ve been blessed that way. But the fact is, I don’t think you’ll be needin’ it.”
Isaac wrinkled his brow, looking much older than his thirty-seven years. “What makes you say that?”
“Plain truth is the land you’ve claimed ain’t fit for farming.”
“I don’t understand,” Mary said. It was the first time she had spoken and both men looked at her. Mr. Davis, in particular, seemed surprised at having a woman comment during a business discussion.
As he removed his hat in what seemed to be a gesture of deference to her, she could not help but notice how sun-streaked his light brown hair was or how it fell in waves over his long forehead. There were slight creases at the corners of his eyes as if he were accustomed to squinting at the sun.
“ Ma’am, we’ve always used that land for grazing Thunderbolt cattle. It just ain’t fit for anything else.”
“My uncle thinks it could be.”
His mouth smiled, but his eyes were anything but friendly. She met his level gaze directly, looking up into the tanned, weather-beaten face.
* * * * *
Here’s what the first reviewer had to say about the novel:

"The rugged West, a greedy villain, violence, and true love…Jacqueline 
Seewald brings it all."  
Pamela Nowak 
2014 Colorado Book Award 
HOLT Medallion Winner 
Booklist Top 10 
2010 RMFW Writer of the Year 

You can check out THE KILLING LAND at:

and many other booksellers.

You can also put in a request for this novel at your local library.

I am offering a print giveaway of THE KILLING LAND. The ARCs were printed in trade paperback. Please leave an e-mail or web address in the comments section if interested. There will be a random drawing. The winner(s) will be announced here one week from today.

Thanks for dropping by!