Today is the second day of Reid’s Military Release of  Maps of Fate. I have only 25 pages left of Maps (which Reid sent me to review FTC rules I must state Maps of Fate was received free of charge for an honest review) and I don’t want it to end…..(pulling hair, running around in a circle while renting my clothes…no not the clothes, but I am pulling my hair.). I took Maps along today to the VA to help pass my time while I waited and reading it helped the time fly. In fact I was crying a good portion of the way home and I canna say why, it’s a spoiler!!!! Then someone meets their end and I am cheering, I canna say more….it’s a spoiler!!!!!  I cried more ….canna say more it’s a spoiler!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, we lost internet all morning so I finished Maps this morn and I hope Reid doesn’t take to long to get out Book 3- Upcompahgre, and I cried more! Since I couldn’t finish the blog up we went up to Denny’s da’s barn and took the wee ones to see the horses, here are the pics.

 Pap’s stallion Viper is a sweetheart, here he’s giving me a kiss.        For a stallion he has a real good disposition and his whiskers tickle.

 Here’s Viper kissing Denny, he needs his teeth brushed, he didn’t even think about biting. He’s a big tall Tennessee Walker. Here’s Ariella getting a little smooch too.    Viper was really calm with the two wee ones squealing in delight at the horses. Here is Vipers son Jack, he’s around a year or less old.     Now he was being spunky in his stall this morn. Ok kept losing internet, and finally after resetting the box I don’t know how many times and almost an hour on the cell with Suddenlink I am up and running again.

Maps of Fate is amazing, Reid has done such a good job introducing his characters, make them real, their interactions with each other. I love Rueben and I never knew there were Jewish cowboys, much less any that are as quick with a gun as he was in the story.   The interaction between Rueban and Rebecca  made  me I sigh….I know a little spoiler there for you. You feel invested in Reid’s characters and he does such a good job since there are many main characters, introducing new ones; making you like or love the good guys and well, really hating the bad ones. When the bad guy got what was coming I was bouncing around and shouted YES!!!! Scared Denny who was driving at the time. I’m going to be turning the blog over to Reid as I’m still in awe of Maps of Fate. I so hope this makes it to the TV movie phase.

********************Breaking News*********************

If you purchase Maps of Fate or Thread’s West today a $1.00 from each sale goes to a military charity. Here is the link   OUR EXCLUSIVE PROMO CODE IS MOF-VET. Remember the code is only good today. 

*****************Back to Our Feature*******************

Have I frustrated you yet??? Sorry I didna mean to but Maps of Fate is Freaking GOOD!!!!!!!!! If you go to the link above you can get some spoilers, it’s ok because I won’t be the one giving them out!! Shoot- here it is again.

I want to thank Karenna Kolcraft and Kathy Gaurti for helping me out with the little U-tube TV’s! I won’t know if it worked until it goes live, I’m not seeing what I want when I go to the preview.

Maps Of Fate Trailer

And hopefully here is the one for the first book in the epic series Thread’s West.

And Now I have the pleasure of Letting Reid take over:

It is great to be back here with you and your great posse of readers, Zina! I much appreciate the re-invite. Howdy to all your great blog followers!

You asked me to share three things with your readers. The first is how I balance ownership interests and management of a number of Western ranches in several states with what has become a virtual full-time writing career, both fiction and nonfiction. The short answer is barely! You requested I discuss how I research the historical nuggets – those juicy tidbits, all true – that are found in my Historical Western Romance novels, Threads West, An American Saga, sixteen book series. These are more than just history, they are the kernels of human interest in this story of us, and the courage, conflict, loves, losses, and view of history through the character’s eyes. These real-life morsels spice actual events with what really happened to real people in those days gone by. And, last, you wanted me to discuss the series a bit, and bring everybody up to speed on what’s been going on with that since Book Two’s terrific national release, Tuesday, April 17th. Lots of exciting news!

On one hand, ranching is obviously a huge time investment. Irrigation needs to happen in short water flow seasons, livestock is moved with the seasons, there’s harvest, hay, hay storage and sales. There’s also the day-to-day which is never-ending on a ranch, and exponentially so on multiple ranches in different locations. Fencing, livestock trespass, daily dealings with a myriad of government agencies such as the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, State Lands, and a host of others – not made any more it easy by the tidal wave of new, ridiculous regulations cascading from our out-of-control government in Washington, DC. And, there’s improvements, maintenance, resource projects, the normal caulking, painting, oiling, never-ending work which goes into structures-ranch houses, barns, sheds, etc. It’s the same as for anyone who owns real estate, and those of your readers in that position know full well what I’m referring to.

On the other hand, writing in the genres of the West, romance, and history is in some respects made easier by my fourth-generation land and cattle heritage, and my rancher avocation. I must admit, though from time to time, particularly over the last year, I become confused. Am I a rancher who writes, or an author who ranches? Right now I am a sleepless both!

The huge advantages however, is there is a synergy that flows from ranching. It is this up close and personal which make the land a character in my books. That energy is as much a personality as are the characters who live in the pages. It is the enduring character. It is the source of the universal energies which are the messages in my writing – the power of the land, romance, and the American spirit.

Being a rancher, having spent most of my time in the wild and remote (my nearest neighbor is 11 miles away) makes writing the setting and creating the theater in which the characters love, lose, triumph, act and interact, far easier. I can not fathom how an author who does not live within such an environment possibly writes one of these novels. Being a rancher and a cowboy affords me great familiarity with the varying landscapes of the West, many of which I’ve walked or ridden across. The physical environment and specific era of a Western are all-important. Many readers who follow the series will know that most chapters begin with a description of the scenes. It’s an ambiance that speaks to the characters, frames the moment, and (I hope) whispers to the readers. That peculiar angle of the sun, sky prisms following rain, shadows creeping with the ever-changing angle of light, is the written image on the page much as a photograph is the visual of film. These are never to be repeated seconds, the sensory underpinning of my writing. Mood, setting, a snapshot of the Earth, of the moment, of the motion, and the current. The pen becomes merely the shutter, and the paper, the film.

Living that life has tremendous advantages in writing detail, too. I know, first hand how the whispers of a Canyon breeze play gentle across my cheek. I am familiar with the smell the earth, sage, last year’s leaves and horse sweat. I have felt, thousands of times, that primordial transport back through eons while sitting in the saddle, rifle in the scabbard, hunting for the table. I’ve heard the bawling of cows, smelled their sweet stench, and breathed their dust. The cool waters of creeks and streams have soothed me, the sun has kept me warm, the chill of windy winter nights have crept through my bones, and I have often experienced the wonder of stars that never end above the friendly crackle of a campfire.

And while that makes writing easier, and faster, it is still a boat load of work to run a ranch, and a boat load of work to write a novel. The two together invokes that famous line from Jaws, “I need a bigger boat.”

My schedule changes with the seasons. From October 15 – December 1 is hunting season. It is virtually inviolate. Little writing gets done and not a whole bunch of ranching, either. Those are special times with family and friends. It is primal tradition. Is meat for the table. 99% of our diet is game.


The other times of year each have their own peculiarities. In the spring the ranch comes to life, ditches must be cleaned, irrigation equipment checked, the all-important water – the lifeblood of crops livestock and wildlife and fisheries – must be tended to. From time to time there is farming – replanting fields, and no till drill to increase vegetative population within a transect. Summer is the time to make sure things grow, look after yearlings scattered in the high country munching on mountain power grass and gaining weight. It’s the pounds that a rancher sells, not “the cows.” Then there’s late summer and early fall. Harvest time, the inevitable breakdowns of machinery, the chugging and diesel smoke of swathers, balers, and hay wagons. Late fall, after hunting season is maintenance time. The structures are tended to, the fences (which always seem to succumb to falling trees, high water, rambunctious yearlings, or stampeding elk) are inspected. Problem areas are noted for attention the following spring.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have the writing. I do love to write, and I am immersed in writing this series. I am especially thrilled that an exponentially growing number of folks are enjoying it – the story, the messages, and the universal energies. My writing time is generally those times when it is dark out. Dark makes already difficult ranch work virtually impossible. I probably accomplish 50% of my writing between December 1 and March 15 of each year. The rest of the time are stolen hours from five to eight or nine in the morning or, my most productive writing time – from eleven pm to three in the morning. It makes for long days and short nights. It’s a good thing I never much liked to sleep!.

None of this is a complaint. Both full-time careers nurture different parts of my soul. They are interrelated. In a way I write what I do as a touchstone to the past for Americans. I’m convinced that our history is the guide post to the future. Ironically perhaps, my tackling this ambitious sixteen novel series will help preserve not only the overall American spirit, but this particular facet of our values – an all-important, foundational facet of the American psyche, history, and spirit.

Then there’s the history. On the first book I did all the research myself. There were several nuggets that were unearthed by another researcher who was given credit in the book. She came up with some good ones – Capt. Kennedy, his dog, the saving of sailors, the poor woman who lost six children on the Edinburgh crossing. All true. People’s eyes widen in surprise when they ask me “How did you possibly think that up”, and I reply with a smile, “Didn’t have to – it really happened.”

You were particularly interested Mayo Ferdinando Wood of New York, circa 1855. That research I did myself. There are conflicting historical tales about this man. That he was – to be kind – a corrupt rascal, is undisputed. It got to the point, though I only briefly mention it in Threads West, (the first book of the series) where he was on such outs with the rest of the city and the City Council that he had his own police force which battled constantly with the city’s police force. A municipal civil war. There are historical references here and there as to his philandering’s, but much of that I had to interpolate. I’ve known many men in powerful positions. Their wiles with the opposite sex is almost universal. Judging from his pictures he was not an attractive man. While his power and his own personal police force I’m sure got a few gals between the sheets, others, as in Book One, Threads West, tried to resist his overtures and some – very clever (just like in real life) – not only blunted his advances but turned his ardor to their own advantage.

While writing Maps of Fate the new publishing group which took over the series (they are terrific) provided me with two researchers, one specializing in period clothing, and the other in general history across a very wide spectrum. Both of these ladies did a fantastic job. They put together the general. I did further research of my own to come up with some interesting tidbits (the Grattan massacre, the obnoxious lieutenants’ drunk interpreter’s insults resulting in the massacre of an entire platoon by the Sioux around Fort Laramie in 1854). I talked with elders in the Mormon church. Those threads of lives will be apparent in upcoming books, but were just introduced in Maps of Fate. My editor is a specialist in Native Americans and her husband is a full-blooded Sioux. Though I myself am an adopted second son of a Mohican Chief (that is yet another tale) being able to be historically accurate to the “nth” degree in how the Western Indians tended and felt about the most minute aspects of their lives, as portrayed in Maps of Fate, was invaluable.

 Maps of Fate not only reacquainted readers with the characters they knew and had come to love and follow, but introduced new characters – a renegade, his captive, the Sioux, and an older black couple – slaves setting the sails of their lives for freedom. I try hard to write from the perspective of each character. We are all shades of gray. In the worst of us there is a redeeming quality. In the best of us there is a dark facet. But, we are all Americans and it is together as a people that this country was built. It is the threads of disparate lives from uncommon social origins, locations, and backgrounds that made this nation great. Hence the name of the series.

I’m delighted to report – and a HUGE thank you to our readers, that Maps of Fate was a #1 best seller in a number of categories and genres (Western, Western Romance, Historical Fiction, Women of the West, Historical Romance, etc.) within hours of its release on April 17th. It has done terrifically well maintaining best seller status in many of those categories – which obviously fluctuate  – and as I write this we are embarking on our special Honor The Vet’s Military Release.

I and the publishers were approached months back by the American Veterans Co-Op Foundation, parent of many Vet Organizations. They asked if I would help with fundraising, honored me with an invite to be part of their annual Veteran’s Day Telethon, and asked if we would donate a portion of book sales to their Organizations, which create housing, jobs and start-up costs for Vets and new Veteran-owned businesses. It took one nano second for me to say YES!


Our veterans are the firewall between us, and in current turbulent times, all else on the planet. They are the guardians of our safety and the defenders of the American spirit. I’m delighted to have been contacted by the American Veterans Co-Op Foundation to assist. I’m looking forward to special events we have planned over Memorial Day, and being part of their annual National Telethon on Veteran’s Day this year.

I truly appreciate the opportunity to blog here again, Zina. I look forward to our next chat together! Hope you’re getting settled into the new digs in beautiful West Virginia.

Thank you Reid for coming by today, I know how busy you are with the release of Maps. BTW everyone, I took those lovely pictures from Reid’s Facebook and if you click on any of them it should take you to his page so you can check him out there. Reid has sent along a copy of Maps of Fate to go with the copy I have of Thread’s West to go to a lucky commenter today. You have til Friday to comment for a chance to receive these wonderful books.

We are getting settled although I canna wait til we can buy some land and build and I have the spot picked out. The highest point in the county and the views are wonderful.

                  Yes, it is very windy up there.

Thank you so much again Reid for stopping by and please everyone fell free to chat it up with Reid. Or you can go here!/RomancingTheWest

Z Seawitch