Friday, August 13, 2021

My Story Inspiration for Between Love & Lies

  My Story Inspiration
By Jacqui Nelson

What inspires a story? For me, it's often reading about history and then saying, "What if...?" 

That's what happened when I read about Dodge City, the Queen of Cattle Towns, and the damage something as tiny as a tick could do—and might do in my story. 

Below is the Story Inspiration page (a page I've included in the back of all of my books) for Between Love and Lies (book 1 in my Gambling Hearts series)...

Between Love and Lies book cover


Story Inspiration page ~ from the back of the book

The spark for Between Love & Lies came from the letter below and my collection of Time-Life Old West books containing these lines: “The longhorns were carriers of a microscopic tick. The Texas animals were immune to the parasite, but the same tick produced deadly splenic fever in local cattle.”

I imagined a small farm, held together only by the grit and hard work of its owner, might not survive such an event. I wondered what might happen next, both on that unlucky farm and in the nearest town: Dodge City, the Queen of Cattle Towns—where life would be challenging for a woman who luck had deserted.

January 1, 1878 - Letter in the Washington, D. C. Evening Star

“Dodge City is a wicked little town. Here those nomads in regions remote from the restraints of moral, civil, social, and law enforcing life, the Texas cattle drovers, from the very tendencies of their situation the embodiment of waywardness and wantonness, end the journey with their herds, and here they loiter and dissipate, sometimes for months, and share the boughten dalliances of fallen women.”

Welcome to Dodge City, the Sin City of the 1870s. Secrets, lies, and danger lurk around every corner.


Gambling Hearts Series, Book 1

Dodge City, Kansas – 1877

Sadie Sullivan lost everything when a herd of longhorn cattle bound for Dodge City destroyed her farm. Now she works in Dodge—one of the most wicked and lawless towns in the West—at the Northern Star Saloon. But her survival in this new world of sin and violence depends on maintaining a lie so deadly it could end her life before the town of Dodge can.

The one man capable of unraveling Sadie’s secrets is Noah Ballantyne, the Texan rancher whose herd destroyed her home. Back in town and taking up the role of deputy alongside legendary lawman Bat Masterson, Noah vows he won’t leave until he’s made things right. But with the saloon’s madam unwilling to release Sadie and a rich cattle baron wanting her as well, the odds aren’t in favor of finding love…or leaving town alive.

In a town ruled by sin, will he earn her love or her lies?

Book review "I loved all the action in addition to the romance of the story."


Between Love & Lies, book 1
Between Home & Heartbreak, book 2

The Gambling Hearts series. Love is a gamble, especially if you're holding a losing hand.

Hope you enjoyed my writing inspiration and that your Friday and your August are...filled with many relaxing moments enjoying the summerand lots of good books too! ❤️📚

~ * ~

Jacqui's author photo

Join me on 

Follow me on 


Julie Lence said...

It's always fun to see where a 'what if' takes the imagination. Thank you for sharing the letters for your inspiration for a great story!

Jacqui Nelson said...

Thanks, Julie! For commenting & being the always-awesome you! ❤️