Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Hello, Cowboy Kisses! My name is Dorothy Wiley and I'm so excited to be writing my first blog here. Thank you, Julie Lence, for inviting me. Julie suggested that I use the first blog to introduce myself. So here it is in a Q. & A. format answering the questions I get most often.

How long have you been writing?
I majored in journalism at The University of Texas at Austin and graduated with honors in 1977.
During my career as a PR and marketing executive, I used my writing skills every day but I didn’t publish a book until 2014. That year, I “retired” and published two novels that I had worked on part-time for years.

How many books have you published? I’ve published twelve full-length novels and I’m working on the thirteenth now. I have three multi-generational family sagas—American Wilderness Series (6 books), Wilderness Hearts Series (4 books), and Wilderness Dawning Series (2 books so far). Each book may be read independently, but they are best read in order because many of the characters from the first series also appear in the second and third series.

American Wilderness Series

Wilderness Hearts Series

Wilderness Dawning Series

What's the latest? My newest release is LAND OF STARS. This extensively researched story of the frontier and the pursuit of the American dream is a romantic historical set against the stunning backdrop of the Province of Texas, an exceedingly dangerous and volatile place in 1824.

What's coming up? BUCKSKIN ANGEL. This will be a novel about two of my most popular characters, Captain Sam and Bear, and their two sons, Alexander and Rory. They travel from Kentucky to the Province of Texas in 1824 to see family. Here's the beautiful cover designed by Kim Killion:
Coming soon!

Heat level? My first series is the most sensuous, but it is still very clean. Every love scene is between a married couple with an emphasis on love, not body parts! My other six novels would be considered sweet, yet they are tastefully romantic.

How do you feel about your awards? My awards are a source of pride for me, particularly the gold medal from Readers’ Favorite for NEW FRONTIER OF LOVE. But I am even prouder of and honored by, the ratings and reviews I have received from my readers. On Amazon, I have more than 1,500 five-star reviews and my twelve novels have an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. That makes me smile!

Why do you write? I enjoy the process of blending historical research with creativity. And developing complex characters and vivid setting descriptions that come alive for readers is so rewarding. Also, unraveling a compelling tale is a lot of fun. Most of the time, I have no idea what’s going to happen when I sit down to write. My stories are character-driven which means I try to let my hero or heroine tell me what they want to do. I just follow them. I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen next myself!

When did you know this is what you wanted to do? When I finished the first chapter of the first book. It was so exciting for me to read it and share it with others. I knew I wanted to write books that were both realistic and idealistic. Bad things sometimes happen in my books because the stories must acknowledge the harsh realities of the frontier. But my novels are also idealistic and include the values and ideals I admire—heroic courage, boundless hope, strong family, deep faith, and of course, forever love.

Why historical and western romance? I love U.S. history and westward expansion was one of the most extraordinary periods in our country’s history. The wilderness was beautiful but challenging in so many ways. My novels convey what my characters might have actually experienced in early America between 1797 – 1824. I wanted to write about those challenges to honor the brave pioneers who settled America’s first frontiers. We should remember them with grateful hearts.

I’ve loved westerns for so long it’s hard to remember exactly when I fell in love with the genre. It may have started in junior high when I read all the Little House on the Prairie books or in high school when I watched a young Clint Eastwood on Rawhide. I loved all those old western shows like Death Valley Days, Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, The Big Valley, and Bonanza. I still love them. Even as a freshman in a high school in southern California during the big days of surfing, I remember telling my friends that I wanted to live on a ranch someday. And now I do.

And I’m a romantic. Like most people, I enjoy love stories. So blending history and romance was a perfect fit for me. My books are foremost moving love stories set on the dangerous frontier at a time when first Kentucky and then Texas were the “West.” They are gritty, emotional, gripping adventures wrapped around a love story.

Who is your audience? My audience is mostly women, but a have some male fans. Women like my novels because of their emphasis on love and family. And men say they like them because they teem with heart-pounding action. Like watching a John Wayne movie, there’s something for everyone. Here’s a five-star review a man recently left on Amazon, “Great series. This is a series that most men will probably pass up. That would be a mistake. IF you love the history of the American frontier you will enjoy the series. Personally, I was skeptical but early on in book one, I was hooked. I just finished book 6. Thank you, Dorothy Wiley.”

Life philosophy? My life philosophy is to love and honor Jesus, my family, and my country and help others to do the same.

Who inspires you? People who strive for success and believe they can do good things despite the adversities they face whether it be age, economic situation, education, health, or family issues.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you? I’m a breast cancer survivor and a strong advocate for annual mammograms. Mine saved my life. Praise God, I have been cancer-free for almost eight years.

Family? My husband Larry and I have been happily married since 1977! He’s my real-life hero and a 7th generation Texan. His ancestors inspired my novels. We have a daughter, Melissa, and a son, Robert. Both have successful careers, are married to fantastic spouses, and have beautiful children that I love dearly. Our grandchildren are 18, 13, and 3.

Anything else you think is worth mentioning? With every book I write, my gratitude to my loyal readers grows. I enormously appreciate all their kind reviews, thoughtful notes sent to me through my website, and caring Facebook comments. I keep writing because of readers like this one:
“Ms. Wiley is a genius! I've read every book in her first series, American Wilderness a while back. Loved every single one of them! Her description of people and places are so realistic that you feel like you're right there in the moment with them. Even if the events and people are pure fiction, her ability to capture your imagination is real. This book, Love's Whisper, is my first in the Wilderness Hearts series, and it's just what I expected. There was suspense, excitement, humor, and of course romance. There were a few times I even cried. Dorothy Wiley is such a talented and gifted author to be able to continue the Wyllie family saga through multiple books and even intertwine other characters and historical events in each book. I'd consider these a "clean romance" however they are far from boring. I have all the other books in the Wilderness Hearts series and then I look forward to reading all of the Wilderness Dawning series as well. Best wilderness series, ever!!!👍

Hobbies? Most of my spare time is spent reading. I love to read. Other things I enjoy are spending time with family, baking, photography, and walking.

How do readers follow you?
Readers can also follow me on Amazon and BookBub.

Where can your books be purchased? Ebooks and print, and some audiobooks, at

Thanks everyone for letting me share a little about myself and my books. If you have any other questions or comments, please send them to me through my website DOROTHYWILEY.COM under the Contact tab.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Who's your favorite Cowboy?

Who’s your favorite cowboy?

I grew up in the golden age of the TV western. From 1950 to 1968 several hundred cowboy opera’s were the prime staple of early television. Not a night went by that you weren’t allowed to saddle up and ride the romantic west. They filled the nights and ushered in the afternoon after school time to accommodate mothers cooking supper.

I can remember putting on my turquoise skirt, vest, and strapping on my pearl handled .45 to watch Annie Oakley. On Saturday mornings, there was My Friend, Flicka, Fury of Broken Wheel Ranch, and of course, The Cisco Kid which only lasted 4 seasons but produced 156 episodes. That’s a lot of film folks. For every minute of filming there has to be a page of dialogue.

What were the tropes these writers used?
Cowboy hero in his element on a ranch or out of his comfort zone in town falling for a woman.
There was always a Fling, the cowboy or ranch owner involved in a relationship with a woman to save her ranch, her herd, avenge her father or brother’s death, but we always knew our hero would not get the girl. No, he had to be available for next week’s adventure.

Cisco and the Lone Ranger often used disguise in order to rat out the villain.

Law Enforcement – Well, we know that Gunsmoke falls under that category. But who else remember Laredo about the Texas Rangers. And Cimarron Strip which followed the adventures of Steward Whittman as the sheriff. 

I don’t think my father ever missed an episode of Wagon Train or Death Valley Days.

Bonanza premiered in 1959 and ran until 1973. It is the second longest after Gunsmoke. It is said that Bonanza and Michael Landon spurred the purchase of color TV sets because ladies wanted to see what color his eyes truly were. There were 430 episodes filmed.

These shows spurred my desire to write westerns, ride horses, and raise cattle. I have been so very lucky to have achieved some of the dreams.

This brings me to what’s coming up. I am going to release a new series in July. My love of Laredo, The Wild Wild West, Maverick, Have Gun Will Travel and Gunsmoke have led to this series. I plan on following four Texas Rangers are they struggle to find out who wants to destroy Texas. 

Now, let’s see who is your favorite western hero?

James Joseph Horne
Matt Dillon
John Cannon
Buck Cannon
Blue Boy
Jared Barkley
Nick Barkley
Ben Cartwright
Hoss Cartwright
Adam Cartwright
Joseph Cartwright
Hannibal Hayes
Kid Curry
James West
Artemus Gordon
Sugar Foot
 Until next time.....

Friday, May 22, 2020

Forts Fletcher & Hays by Zina Abbott

Fort Fletcher, which later became Fort Hays, in Ellis County, Kansas, was an important U.S. Army post established in 1865. The mission of the fort was to protect military roads, guard the mails, and defend construction crews on the Union Pacific Railway. Fort Hays also served as a major supply depot for other U. S. Army posts in western Kansas. It was also to protect the white settlers who moved into the region.
Fort Fletcher, Smoky Hill Trail & B.O.D.
Originally designated Fort Fletcher (after Governor Thomas C. Fletcher of Missouri), it was located five miles south of present-day Walker and became operational on October 11, 1865. Troops stationed at Fort Fletcher were to protect the stage and freight wagons on the Butterfield Overland Despatch (BOD) traveling along the Smoky Hill Trail to Denver. Despite the presence of the soldiers, Southern Cheyenne and Southern Arapaho Indians continued to confront traffic along the trail. Due to reduced use of the Smoky Hill Trail, Fort Fletcher was closed May 5, 1866.
Fort Hays 1867 by Alexander Gardiner
On October 11, 1866, Fort Fletcher was reopened approximately one-fourth mile north of its previous location, at the confluence of Big Creek and the North Fork of Big Creek. In November 1866 Fort Fletcher was renamed Fort Hays in honor of Brigadier General Alexander Hays, who was killed during the Civil War.
Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division construction train east of Fort Hays
The Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division, was being constructed westward roughly paralleling the Smoky Hill Trail and construction workers needed the protection of the U.S. Army. As the railroad approached Fort Hays, it became apparent that it would pass approximately five miles to the north of the post.
Fort Hays Military Reservation
A flood in June 1867 nearly wiped out Fort Hays killing nine soldiers and civilians. This forced the relocation of the fort. The army wanted the fort to be used as a supply depot for other forts in the area, this provided the momentum to relocate the fort close to the railroad line. Two weeks later, on June 23, the new Fort Hays was built and occupied fifteen miles west of the previous location and near the railroad right-of-way.  With the arrival of the railway a few months later, the goal of a large supply depot to service forts to the south and west was realized.
Buffalo Soldiers & US Express Overland starting from Hays to Denver, Colorado
African American soldiers, sometimes called Buffalo Soldiers, members of the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry regiments had been deployed to the fort in response to an increase in conflicts with Plains Indians. At various times, Fort Hays served as home to the 7th U.S. Cavalry. Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer commanded the 7th Cavalry and visited, but did not live at Fort Hays. Buffalo Bill Cody also spent time at the fort.

Many of the records about the fort came from the post surgeon’s reports. These records detailed the cholera epidemic of 1867. Cholera plagued several of the forts in Kansas that year. The first case of cholera at Fort Hays appeared July 11, 1867. The post hospital had not yet been built so soldiers and civilian patients were housed in tents. The epidemic lasted two months, killing 36 soldiers and approximately 150 civilians.
Fort Hays
The post surgeon’s reports can also tell us about the civilians at Fort Hays. Rose Glennan was working as a servant in the home of Lieutenant Colonel Bliss in August 1881. Glennan used kerosene to light a fire in the kitchen stove, but was engulfed in flame when the oil can exploded. She ran to the front part of the house, where Bliss threw a blanket around her to extinguish the fire. She suffered second and third degree burns on her hands, arms, underarms, and legs from ankles to hips. The surgeon reported that flour was applied and the burns were dressed with raw cotton. “She was doing well,” the surgeon wrote, “although ulceration of the duodenum supervened during the second week, death was at one time imminent.”
Officer Quarters- restored
There is little information about the children of Fort Hays. From among them came the history of the Maier family. Charity Humphries Maier was married to Christian Maier, a sergeant in the 18th Infantry. Charity gave birth to three daughters while her husband was stationed at Fort Hays. The oldest, whose name we do not know, was born in 1885 and died at the age of seven months from cholera. The next daughter, Jessie, was born in 1886, followed in 1888 by Gertrude, who died at the age of two months from an “inflammation of stomach and bowels.”
Fort Hays Block House
The post surgeon’s records mentioned the everyday ailments suffered by soldiers, including “boils, colic, contusions, diarrhea, frostbite, sprains, and ulcers.”

Fort Hays was abandoned in 1889. 

Fort Hays Guardhouse - made of stone
After its closing, the land and buildings of Fort Hays were turned over to the Department of the Interior, which later transferred them to the state of Kansas in 1900. Most was sold to private businesses and individuals. When Frontier Historical Park was opened at the site in 1929, Of the original fort buildings, only the blockhouse and guardhouse remained. The two officers' quarters had been sold at auction in 1902 and moved into town at the time the other buildings were being sold for scrap. The officers' quarters were relocated in 1964 and 1987. The visitor center was built in 1967. Today it operates as Fort Hays State Historic Site.

I have two books so far in which Fort Ellsworth serves as part of the setting. In Hannah’s Handkerchief, book 24 in the Lockets & Lace series set in 1865, Jake Burdock often finds his quartermaster duties take him to Fort Ellsworth. Hannah’s Handkerchief is now available. To find the book description and purchase link, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
In Mail Order Roslyn, book 9 in the Widows, Brides & Secret Babies series set in 1866, my heroine finds herself and her baby in the Ellsworth Stage Station near the town and Fort Ellsworth. At that time, hostile tribes, particularly the Cheyenne, frequently attacked stagecoaches and stations in an attempt to capture livestock and either kill or drive away the white Americans invading their favored hunting grounds. This book is now available. To find the book description and purchase link, PLEASE CLICK HERE.