Go West, Young Woman...

Update: Thanks to everyone who joined in the discussion today. Jennifer has chosen a winner. Congratulations to Emma Lai! She’ll be receiving an ebook of Rafe’s Redemption.

If you didn’t win this time, please pop back again. Next Monday my blog guest will be the talented Katharine Ashe!
Looking for something outside the Regency box?  You’re in for a treat today. Please help me welcome western historical romance author Jennifer Jakes. She was a 2010 Golden Heart finalist and is a fellow member of Ozark Romance Authors. (Even though I live in New England now, once I join a writer’s group, I’m in it for life!) I had a chance to have a little cyber-chat with Jennifer recently. Here’s your chance to listen in:
Mia: You buck the historical romance trend to write stories set in the American West. What drew you to this setting and time period?
Jennifer: I always say it’s all the Clint Eastwood movies my dad watched while I was a kid. And maybe that has some merit, but I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t enthralled by the American West. I’d spend my summers reading library books about Sacajawea and Pocahontas and when then the mini-series for “Centennial” came on TV, I never missed an episode.
Mia: According to your website, laundry for a pioneer woman was a three day event. How do you research your books? Have you ever taken part in a reeactment?
Jennifer: Let me answer in reverse. Yes, my family and I do Civil War re-enacting. My husband portrays a Corp. in the Union Army (an artillery man) and I portray his wife, traveling along with as an Army Laundress. Once I decided this would be who I would portray, that led me into research. I have one great picture I found of a woman in camp — along with her 3 small children — and she’s doing laundry. Since our daughters re-enact with us, the woman in the picture became my inspiration.
Mia: Please tell us about your debut title Rafe’s Redemption.
Jennifer: RAFE was the story I always wanted to write. The idea came to me when our oldest daughter was a baby. She was a non-sleeper, so I had many hours of floor-walking and chair-rocking
to do nothing but think. But I didn’t really have time to write, so I made notes and more notes and stuck them in a file titled ‘the story I’ll write someday’. That file went with me through 3 moves and second child ………LOL……..anyway, about twelve years after making that file, I decided it was someday and I started writing.

Mia: I’m always interested in other author’s writing process. Do you have critique partners?

Jennifer: Yes, I do. And I’d be nowhere without them!! * Hi Barb and Sara Ann* They read RAFE more times than a person should have to. LOL They helped me become a better writer. And now I’ve added two more great CPs * Hi Marci and Lisa* Together the five of us take turns submitting online pages to each other for critique.

Mia: Every writer hits a moment when she realizes something has clicked. Can you tell us about a turning point for you in your writing?

Jennifer: When RAFE’S REDEMPTION finaled in the RWA Golden Heart. I knew then that I was onto something.  LOL!

Mia: I’d say. The Golden Heart is the most prestigious contest for unpublished romance writers. Congrats on your subsequent sale and debut, Jennifer!

Cover Blurb:

Rafe's RedemptionHe rode into town to buy supplies, not a woman.

For hunted recluse Rafe McBride, the raven-haired beauty on the auction block  is exactly what he doesn’t need. A dependent woman will be another clue his vengeful stepbrother can use to find and kill him. But Rafe’s conscience won’t let him leave another innocent’s virginity to the riff-raff bidding. He buys her, promising to return her to St. Louis untouched. He only prays the impending blizzard holds off before her sultry beauty breaks his willpower.

She wanted freedom, not a lover.

Whisked to the auction block by her devious, gambling cousin, and then sold into the arms of a gorgeous stranger, outspoken artist Maggie Monroe isn’t about to go meekly. Especially when the rugged mountain man looks like sin and danger rolled into one. But a blizzard and temptation thrust them together, and Maggie yearns to explore her smoldering passion for Rafe.

But when the snow clears, will the danger and secrets that surround Rafe and Maggie tear them apart?



Maggie wanted freedom, not a lover…

Oh, Lord. He was going to kiss her. She shouldn’t want this. She was confused enough.

Respectable women didn’t kiss men they barely knew, certainly not men who made them have wild, exotic dreams.

It was crazy. He was making her want crazy things. Making her not give a damn about her reputation or her virginity. Or her long-awaited freedom. All she could think about was that dream, and the way his sinful mouth had felt. The table was only a step away, and honey was just as sweet as peach juice…

She swallowed hard and looked up into his hooded eyes.

“Maggie,” he groaned. “Don’t be scared. I’d never hurt you.”

Her mouth parted to object, but firm lips covered hers, hungry, demanding. She gasped, shocked at his hunger, but even more at the illicit response coursing through her. An aching heat unfurled low in her stomach, pulsed between her legs. Oh, yes. It started just like in the dream.

He deepened the kiss, coaxed her lips with his warm tongue. Long, languid strokes teased the inside of her mouth, encouraging, tempting before he pulled back to nibble the corners of her lips.

Oh, God. Is this what all kisses felt like? Hot, lethargic? Melting her like molasses over warm bread?

“Kiss me, Maggie,” he breathed.

About the Author

Jennifer JakesAfter trying several careers—everything from a beautician to a dump truck driver—Jennifer finally returned to her first love, writing. Maybe it was all those Clint Eastwood movies she watched growing up, but in her opinion there is no better read than a steamy western historical.

Married to her very own hero, she lives on fifteen acres along with two beautiful daughters, two elderly horses, two spoiled cats and two hyper dogs. During the summer she does Civil War re-enacting and has found it a great research tool, not to mention she has continued appreciation for her microwave and hot water heater.

Visit Jennifer at www.jenniferjakes.com

Jennifer is offering an ebook of Rafe’s Redemption to one lucky commenter, so be sure to leave a question for her to be entered in the random drawing.

41 thoughts on “Go West, Young Woman…

  1. AND THE WINNER IS…………..
    Emma Lai!! *confetti*
    Congrats, Emma.
    Please contact me for your free e-copy of RAFE.

  2. Hi Shirl –
    Yes, I completely agree. There is no end to the vast character wealth of people who headed west for some reason or another.
    Thanks so much for stopping by today! And good luck in the drawing.

  3. Shirl Henke says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    Having written Westerns most of my career, I’ve always loved the infinite variety of characters who went West. There’s so much a writer can do with them–and it sounds as if you’re taking advantage of that wonderful stage. Best of luck with “Rafe”! (Oh, and I also love Clint Eastwood :)

  4. tabby nuckols says:

    i have never read your books but this is one book i would like to read.i wish you luck and the book looks good too

    1. Hi Tabby –
      Thanks so much! I appreciate you stopping by today:)
      Good luck in the drawing!

  5. Jennifer, hello from another Westerner! I write contemporary Westerns for Sourcebooks, not historicals, but I’m a Clint Eastwood fan too – he’s mentioned in every book one way or another. Loved the excerpt! I’ll be looking for “Rafe’s Redemption.” I like Maggie already! Best of luck with the book and it’s nice to get to know you!

    1. Hi Joanne,
      Yay!! Another western writer. I knew “we” were out there. HA Just hard to find.
      Thanks so much. And it’s nice to meet you too.
      Please friend me on Facebook if you want. I’m under Jennifer Jakes. Would love to see what you’re up to in the writing world. Congrats on Sourcebooks by the way:)
      Thanks and good luck in the drawing.

  6. Hi Linda,
    Thank you so much! I think the cover artist did a wonderful job. She managed to capture exactly what I pictured in my mind. Glad you like the excerpt:)
    Thanks for stopping by tonight and good luck in the drawing!

  7. Linda says:

    Hi Jennifer
    Congratulations on Rafe’s Redemption. Love the cover of the book & the excerpt had my tingling down to my toes!

    1. Hi Linda! Thanks so much:) I get tingles when people tell me how much they’re looking forward to reading RAFE!!!
      Thanks for stopping by today and good luck in the drawing.

  8. Angela says:

    My My My!

    I keep reading the excerpt and the desire to read the whole thing never diminishes. Just been holding off for an eReader. Might have to cave in :-)

    You’ve earned every bit of recognition you get for Rafe. Enjoy it!

    1. Hi Angela! LOL:)
      Yes, TWRP does offer pdf version so people can read straight from their computer, but I know what you mean about wanting an e-reader. I don’t have one yet either!
      Thanks so much for the support.
      Good luck in the drawing!

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      I used to be an anti-ereader type, but now I’ve got a Kindle app on my cellphone and I love it! It’s so convenient, plus I don’t keep the DH awake when I read in bed. Since the screen is backlit, I don’t have to have a light on. No more “Aren’t you ever going to sleep?” at midnight…

  9. Colleen M says:

    Congratulations! As a fellow historical western romance author (pre-published!) I wanted to wish you all the best with your release – this looks like such a wonderful book. If I’m not lucky enough to win it here, it will for sure end up on my “to be read” list :)

    Colleen (w/a Molly Tanner)

    1. Hi Colleen! It’s great to “meet” another western historical writer. Friend me on FaceBook if you’d like. I’m under Jennifer Jakes and RAFE’s cover is my pic. Love your pen name BTW. I’ll be looking for Molly Tanner on the shelves soon! Keep the faith.
      Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the drawing.

  10. Edna Curry says:

    Love your post. Combining two of my favorites, westerns and time travel is brilliant. Love it.
    Edna Curry

    1. Thanks so much, Edna!
      Good luck in the drawing:)

  11. Hi Mia,
    I am looking forward to meeting you in May at ORA Meeting in Springfield.
    Everyone at the several writer’s groups, especially ORA in Springfield are talking about RAFE’S REDEMPTION. CONGRATS ON YOUR RECENT FIRST PLACE WIN!
    We are close to Wilson’s Creek Battlefield. They have a yearly reenactment. It is fun to go and see it.
    I am in my correct time. I could not have survived in the western times. Thanks to God, we have wonderful books to take us there safely without the work. In my mind I will imagine Rafe as a young Randolph Scott.
    LOL, Glad you ladies are having fun with your books.

    1. Hi Janet Kay –
      I will be at the ORA conference this summer and look forward to meeting you! I also hope to attend the Wilson Creek reenactment this fall, tho’ I’m not sure yet.
      Thanks so much about RAFE!
      And isn’t that the fun of reading? We can imagine the hero to look like whoever we want;)

      Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the drawing!

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      I can’t wait to get back to Missouri in May! Looking forward to meeting you too.

  12. Kat Duncan says:

    Great interview Mia and Jennifer. I used to do American Revolution reenactments. Lots of fun, even went to England to do them a couple of times. Pretty wild to find people in England who reenact the American Revolution. Love the excerpt, Jennifer! Putting Rafe’s Redemption on my TBR list. :)

    1. Hi Kat –
      I would love to see an American Rev. reenactment. Friends of ours from the CW group did some Lewis and Clark reenactments and those were interesting too.
      Yay! Glad you enjoyed the excerpt. And thanks for stopping by. Good luck in the drawing!

  13. Emma Lai says:

    Great interview, ladies! Jennifer, I keep meaning to ask about your experience as a dump truck driver. Isn’t that a predominantly male field? Was it eye-opening?

    1. Hi Emma –
      Yes, I was one of VERY few women driving a dump truck. I enjoyed it b/c I grew up with brothers and my cousins were all boys…..so it didn’t feel weird to me. The men: they pretty much fell into 2 categories. They either didn’t like a woman on the job site or they treated me like a princess. lol Mostly I was everyone’s little sister. When I had to give up driving b/c I was pregnant w/ our first child, the guys I’d been working with wanted to give me a baby-shower — in the garage, with a keg and decorate with tools and chains. They almost laughed themselves silly thinking of the look on their wives faces when they told them were giving a baby shower. (miss those guys, BTW)
      They gave me the CB handle, Pebbles, b/c I always pulled my hair up high and they said I looked like Pebbles Flintstone. Plus I hauled rock and they whole Fred/quarry thing. LOL
      Anyway, it was fun. I’d do it again.
      Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the drawing:)

      1. Emma Lai says:

        That sounds like a great experience. I saw the same thing as a female engineer. It was either “Did your daddy put you up to this?” or “What can we do to make your life easier?” Luckily it was more of the latter. (Probably why my project was always on time.) *Fingers crossed on winning Rafe* Oh, wait, I can’t actually win him. *Sigh* I’ll settle on the book then. :)

  14. Sandy says:

    I loved this interview, Mia.

    Jennifer, my best friend who now lives in Canada loves books that are about American history. She used to tell me she should’ve been born then. Smile. I’m going to forward Mia’s URL to her.

    1. Hi Sandy –
      Yay! Thanks for passing on the link.
      Sometimes I think I should’ve been born during RAFE’S era too.

      Thanks for stopping by today and good luck in the drawing:)

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      Thanks for sharing my blog with your friend, Sandy!

  15. Lisa says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    I love your interview. I learn something new about you all the time. I think I shall pack up my laundry and send it to you. :)

    1. Hi Lisa –
      LOL!! OK, I’ll get out my scrub board and tubs. I can tell you after a weekend of demos at a Civil War event, I sure appreciate my washing machine;)
      Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the drawing.

  16. Caroline says:

    Hi Jennifer and Mia—great interview!

    Congratulations, Jennifer, on your book. It’s such an exciting time for you. Rafe’s Redemption sounds intriguing. I’m a western historical romance author also. Can’t get enough of the ol’ West. LOL

    Also, I go to reenactments whenever I can. They’re so cool. Some of the tents are so authentic. And, some bring along beautiful big beds, settings, woodstoves, you name it. You can see I’m really a big fan.

    Have a great day!

    1. Hi Caroline –
      Yes, some people in our group have the beds with beautiful hand pieced quilts along with everything you mentioned. Tho’ it is mostly the commanders and their wives. The single guys mostly sleep in the small tents either on the ground or on top of straw.
      Anyway, thanks so much for stopping today and good luck in the drawing.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      I can’t take any credit, Caroline. Jennifer is a terrific guest.

  17. Sarah Grimm says:


    What a great interview! I love that you do reenactments with the whole family! Looking forward to reading Rafe’s Redemption.

    Oh, and jealous that you have such wonderful critique partners. One of these days I have to find myself one or two of those. :)


    1. Hi Sarah –
      Re-enacting is a lot of fun except when it 6 degrees. I hate the cold. But I promise it makes me appreciate our ancestors who lived through those hardships.

      Thanks for stopping by today!

  18. Maurine H says:

    Hi, Jennifer
    Congratulations on Rafe’s Redemption. I think it’s so cool that you do reenactments, too. I love reading westerns, whether they’re romances or action stories. Terry’s time travel story sounds like a fun read, too.

    Do you have any new manuscripts in the works? Care to share a little about it if you do?

    1. Hi Maurine!
      I have a novella which is set during the Civil War, but it is so NOT Civil War…lol That’s all I can say right now b/c I’m still working on it. And I’m also working on a full length novel set in Alaska, 1898 during the Gold Rush.

      Well, RAFE is a western with both romance and action. I guess my male side and my female side got their say in his story.:)

      Thanks for stopping by and good luck in drawing.

  19. Hi Mia ~
    Thanks very much for having me today:) Hopefully we’ll be sending some warmer weather from here in the Midwest to New England!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Oh, I wish you could. I’m getting so tired of gray skies, gray snow and gray everything.

  20. Hi Terry!
    Oooh, I love Time Travel Western. It was Madeline Baker (sp?) who did several of those in the 90s I believe. They were great!
    Anyway, I’ll be looking for you name on the shelves in Sept.
    Thanks so much for stopping by today and good luck in the contest:)

  21. Terry Spear says:

    I think it’s so cool that you do reenactments!!! I have always loved the West, also! In a western time travel I have coming out in Sept–I mention the heroine thinks she’s in some kind of historical reenactment–not in the real 19th Century.

    I loved how you wrote notes and then finally years later found the time to write one of the stories of your heart! Good luck, Jennifer!

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