Review: The Lily of the West, from Western Writers of America's Roundup Magazine

Very proud and happy about this review from Roundup’s April 2019 Issue. Authors thrive on good reviews . . . to paraphrase Sally Field: “You like me, you really like me”! Thanks, WWA.

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Inspired by her find of the final resting place of Mary Katherine Haroney in Prescott, Arizona, Kathleen Morris wrote her first historical novel. An orphaned young Kate left her home in Davenport, Iowa, stowed away on a Mississippi riverboat and forged her way across the American frontier. This novel of Kate's life, written in first person, is based on historical research, letters and the author's excellent imagination. I was moved to tears many times by the story of Kate's love for Doc Holliday and impressed by the vivid detail with which the author painted the story of star-crossed lovers. A new take on the O.K. Corral, from a woman's point of view. -- Roundup Magazine, Western Writers of America

The Lily of the West: Booklist Review!

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So excited about this review from Booklist:

From Booklist Online:

The Lily of the West.
Morris, Kathleen (author).
Jan. 2019. 341p. Five Star, $25.95 (9781432847333). 813/.6.
REVIEW. First published December 15, 2018 (Booklist).

The tale of Kate Elder as told in her own words is a new take on the legend of the OK Corral. Born Katherine Horony, she’s just 14 when her aristocratic father’s career-slide takes them from Hungary to Iowa, where his death leaves Katherine on her own. When she loses her only child and her husband to cholera, Katherine—bright, talented, and well-educated at 22—recreates herself as Kate Elder, songstress in a St. Louis saloon. Kate falls in love with charming Doc Holliday, but after moving to Dodge City, Doc’s tuberculosis, his drinking, and the Earp family make life unpredictable, even dangerous. There’s plenty of gunplay, but Kate can defend herself. And how can she leave Doc when he needs her? Writing in first person, Morris gives the woman’s struggle an immediacy and poignancy not usually found in a traditional western. A good companion for Mary Doria Russell’s Doc (2011), this compelling debut will appeal to readers of any gender.

— Jeanne Greene

#thelilyofthewest #kathleenmorrisauthor #docholliday #bignosekate #fivestar #westernwriters

Murder Ballads: Some Dark Music to Write By...

If you're into country, bluegrass, western, appalachian or roots music, you've heard many a murder ballad, even if you weren't sure what that was. It was the haunting one, usually minor keyed, that sort of stuck in your mind, with just a guitar or banjo, sometimes a steel guitar. And yeah, somebody gets killed, for the usual reasons: love, vengeance or money. Good listening, and great inspiration for writers. Well, me anyway, 'cause the box of life isn't always full of the good chocolates, sometimes you get coconut. 

Just a few of the singers/groups that have recorded murder ballads are Colter Wall, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, Vandaveer, Civil Wars, John Paul White, Crooked Still, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, and lots more. For the ballads, some of these date back to the 1600s, many brought to America by Scots/Irish/English immigrants, while some of them are original compositions. Stagger Lee, Cruel Sister, Kate McCannon, Long Black Veil, Nebraska, You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive, there's too many to list, but one of the classics is Pretty Polly. I ran across this video of Vandaveer's version of Pretty Polly and it's so good I wanted to share. Hope  you like it, too.

#murderballads #rootsmusic #prettypolly #vandaveer #colterwall #katemccannon #longblackveil #johnnycash #civilwars #johnpaulwhite #you'llneverleaveharlanalive #cruelsister #nebraska

From "The Lily of the West"


From time to time, I will publish posts about what I'm writing, excerpts from finished work, perhaps an essay or a short story, words that will hopefully pique your interest or just be entertaining. Don't expect a regular schedule, because, you know, I'm a writer and for me, that means somewhat erratic about schedules and all. There's that muse thing. Today, here's a tidbit from Lily:

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Strident voices drifted through the open window.

“I’ll kill them sonsabitches this time, Ike, I swear to God I will. They won’t get away with treating us like dogs no more.”

“Frank, you got to calm down. I don’t even have a gun. Them bastards took it.”

As I leaned over and peered out the window, the book I’d been reading when I dozed off tumbled to the floor. Five men stood below with a couple of horses, and I recognized all of them—Cowboys.

Movement up the street caught my eye. Three men dressed in black strode purposefully towards the corral, their boots kicking up little puffs of dust. I dropped the curtain and fumbled through some of the buttons on my dress.

When I pulled back the curtain again, a fourth man—one I knew well—came around the corner, his long black duster doing little to disguise the shotgun in his right hand. He stood beside the other three, a silent choir of dark avenging angels.

“Throw up your hands, boys. I’ve come to disarm you.” Virgil’s voice was clear and steady.

Hell had come to Tombstone, and I was riding on its coattails.