Welcome Guest Author Lyn Horner

Lyn HornerIt’s my pleasure to host author Lyn Horner on the blog today. Lyn writes historical romances with a supernatural aura. Welcome, Lyn.

Tara, thank you for having me here today. I’d like to share some historical background for Dearest Druid, the third book in my Texas Devlins trilogy. Newly published, it’s a Native American romance with a supernatural aura. The heroine, Rose Devlin, possesses the ability to heal with her mind, an extraordinary gift that leads half-breed cowboy Jack Lafarge to kidnap her. In order to save someone he loves, Jack steals Rose from her brother’s Texas home and spirits her away to the Indian Territory (Oklahoma.)

A large part of this story takes place among the Kiowa Indians. My research for Dearest Druid delved into Kiowa history, their life on the Dearest Druid coverreservation, the soldiers who guarded them, and the land itself.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the Kiowa Indians were one of the preeminent horse tribes on the southern Great Plains. Long before that they were hunter-gatherers living in the northern Rockies, dependant upon dogs to haul travois. As the tribe migrated south they adapted to life on the plains, acquired horses, hunted buffalo and lived in hide tipis.

South of the Kiowa lived the Comanche. Far greater in number, they had acquired horses early on and ranged deep into Mexico on their raids. As early as the 1730s, the Kiowa had also become superb horsemen. The two tribes warred against each other for years, but around 1790 they made peace and formed an alliance. Together with other allies, they held off white settlers and the frontier Army for decades. The Comanche ruled the Staked Plains and a large portion of Texas, a vast domain called Comancheria. The Kiowa roved across the Texas Panhandle and southwestern Oklahoma.

This fierce confederation raided Spanish, Mexican and American settlements practically unchallenged until the mid-1800s. They stole horses, goods they could use or trade, scalps and captives – also tradable at forts and towns along the frontier. Their cruel treatment of those they captured or killed was notorious.

Palo Duro CanyonThe tribes were finally defeated in the 1870s. The death blow came on September 28, 1874, when troops of the 4th Cavalry, commanded by Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie, attacked a string of Indian villages in PaloDuroCanyon, in the Texas panhandle. Nearly all the Indians escaped up the walls of the canyon, but Col. Mackenzie ordered most of their 1,400 horses shot and their tipis and winter provisions destroyed.

Left afoot on the open prairie, without food and shelter, the tribes soon surrendered. They were confined on the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache reservation and guarded by the soldiers at FortSill, located in the shadow of the WichitaMountains in southwestern Indian Territory. The Kiowa mainly settled near RainyMountain, immortalized by N. Scott Momaday’s The Way to Rainy Mountain.

Life on the reservation wasn’t easy. The Indians were not allowed to leave on hunts for game except with the Army’s permission, and troopers were often sent along to make sure the hunters returned. Even when permitted to hunt, they found few buffalo, since the great herds had been virtually annihilated by white hunters.

During the reservation period (1868-1901), government officials tried to turn the Kiowa into farmers and ranchers. This attempt failed partly because the Indians resisted Three Kiowa Mensuch a drastic change to their traditional nomadic way of life. Drought conditions and inadequate Congressional funding also contributed to the failure.

Kiowa leaders were appointed “beef chiefs” who oversaw the distribution of beef annuities to the remnant bands of their tribe. The beef and other rations never stretched far enough. As a result, Indian families suffered hunger, malnutrition and illness. I touch upon their lack of food in Dearest Druid, but I’m sure the picture I painted is not nearly as bad as what the Kiowa and other tribes actually endured.

In 1886 the Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache began leasing reservation pasturage to Texas cattlemen for “grass money.” This improved their situation somewhat, but the government’s forced land allotment in 1901 reduced the tribes’ income. Most Kiowa lived in poverty for many decades.

Today the Kiowa are known for their crafts, especially their beautiful bead work. They have also produced famous painters and writers. Yet, many still live in rural Oklahoma, where their ancestors once roamed free.

Lyn’s shared a little about her book and an excerpt:

Dearest Druid Blurb:

Rose Devlin, like her older siblings, possesses a psychic talent inherited from a secret line of Irish Celtic Druids stretching far back in time. Rose has the extraordinary ability to heal with her mind, a gift that has caused her great pain in the past. She also keeps a terrible secret about herself that not even her brother and sister know.

Choctaw Jack, a half-breed cowboy introduced in Dashing Druid (Texas Devlins, Book II) hides secrets of his own. If they ever come to light, he stands to lose his job, possibly his life. Yet, he must risk everything to save someone he loves, even if it means kidnapping Rose. The greatest risk of all may be to his heart if he allows himself to care too much for his lovely paleface captive.

Book Excerpt:

In her rush to get going, Rose arrived at the corral earlier than usual. Jack wasn’t yet there. Hearing a clang of metal striking metal, she thought it came from behind the barn. Curious, she strolled in that direction and found a large, open shed, from whence came the metallic hammering. It was a blacksmith’s workshop, she realized. Acrid heat struck her as she approached the open portal.

Wearing no shirt, the smith stood working at an anvil with his back to her. Even so, she recognized Choctaw Jack by his long, midnight black hair, tied back with a leather thong at his nape, and by the healed red scar across his left shoulder blade. But what was he doing here, working in the smithy? No one had ever mentioned he was a blacksmith.

Coated with sweat in the heat from the forge, his muscular arms and torso gleamed like molten copper. Rose stared in awe as he skillfully wielded his hammer and tongs. A strange excitement curled through her insides at the sight. She must have made some sound, for he stopped in mid swing and pivoted to face her. A startled look crossed his face; then he pinned her with his black stare.

“Miss Rose,” he said with a nod. “Didn’t think it was time to meet you yet.”

“Uh, nay, ’tisn’t. I’m early. I-I heard the hammering.” She gestured toward the heavy tool in his hand. “I didn’t know ye were a blacksmith as well as a cowboy.”

He shrugged one shoulder and mopped his face with the bandana draped loosely around his neck. “Pays to know more than one way to earn my keep.”

Nodding, she cleared her throat nervously. “No doubt my brother and the Crawfords set great store by your skills.”

“Saves them a trip to the blacksmith in town,” he replied with another one-shouldered shrug. “While I’m here.”

“Mmm. And what are ye working on?” Rose asked, hoping her questions didn’t annoy him.

“I’m making up extra horseshoes. We’ll need them on the drive to Kansas.”

“Ah, I see.” Feeling awkward, she stammered, “Well, I-I’m sorry for disturbing ye.” She ought to turn and leave, but her feet seemed rooted in place. Her gaze skittered across his broad, glistening chest then darted uncertainly to his chiseled features.

He cocked a raven eyebrow and laid aside his tools. Setting hands to his hips, he sauntered forward until he stood no more than three feet away from her. His mouth curled into a smile. “I don’t mind being disturbed by a pretty lady.”

“Y-ye flatter me, sir.” Flustered by his compliment, so unusual coming from him, she fiddled with the open collar of her shirt, touched her cross and stared at the ground.

“No. Just speaking true.”

Intimidated by his male scent and sheer size, she backed away a couple steps. She peeked at him from beneath her lashes, seeing his smile give way to his usual expressionless mask.

“You afraid of me?” he asked, tone hardening.

“Nay, I-I…” Hunting for an excuse for her nervous behavior, she blurted, “I need air is all. ‘Tis hot in here.”

He crossed his arms, muscles bulging. “A smithy has to be hot.”

“I know.” Rose cleared her throat again and licked her dry lips. “But I’m not accustomed to the heat.” Which was true. Extracting a handkerchief from the cuff of her sleeve, she dabbed at her damp forehead.

“If you can’t take heat, Texas isn’t for you,” he said in a challenging tone.

Miffed, Rose met his onyx stare and snapped, “I’ll get used to it. Excuse me. I’ll go wait by the corral.” She started to turn away, but his voice stopped her.

“You sure you still want to ride out with me?”

“Of course.” Her pulse pounded in her ears. In truth, she was a wee bit afraid to be alone with him, away from the safety of the house — perhaps more than a wee bit –but she couldn’t bring herself to admit it. Besides, she dearly wished to take Brownie for a real ride. “I’ve looked forward to this day,” she added, lifting her chin.

He stared at her for a moment and said, “It’ll take me a few minutes to finish up here. Then I’ll clean up and fetch the horses.”

“Fine.” Nodding, Rose swung on her heel and hurried away.

Jack watched her hasty retreat. She might deny it, but she was afraid of him. Once again, he wondered if it was his being an Indian that spooked her. Scowling at the thought, he reheated the horseshoe he’d been forming and hammered it into shape, reminding himself that he wanted nothing to do with the red-blonde girl with shy blue eyes. Eyes that reminded him of beautiful blue agates he’d once seen mounted on an ornate cross.

To learn more about Lyn and her works:

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Dearest Druid

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Dearest Druid

Photos:

Photo of three Kiowa men found on Wikipedia

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

{{Information |Description=”’File name: ”’09_06_000112 ”’Cab no.: ”’Cab 23.41.1 ”’Title: ”’In Summer, Kiowa ”’Creator/Contributor: ”’Rinehart, F. A. (Frank A.) (photographer) ”’Copyright date: ”’1898 ”’Physical description: ”’1 photograph”

Photo of Palo Duro Canyon found on Wikipedia

Creative Commons: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Leaflet

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18 thoughts on “Welcome Guest Author Lyn Horner

  1. Tara, thanks again for hosting me today. It’s my pleasure to share a little of my research for Dearest Druid with your readers.

    I love your beautiful banner!

  2. Pingback: Guest Post Today | Lyn Horner's Texas Druids

  3. Hi Lane. I’m always glad to chat about historical research, one of my favorite topics. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  4. I ordered your book a few days ago. Can’t wait to read it! I love historicals that are a bit different than the average and your books fit that requirement to a a T. I also loved hearing about the Indian research Lyn. Very interesting!

    • Thank you, Sharla! You are a dear friend. I can’t wait to see your backlist and your new book in ebook format!

    • It’s my pleasure, Tara. So happy you like the excerpt. I’ll be talking about the when, where and how of tipi building on Monday at Cowboy Kisses [http://cowboykisses.blogspot.com]. Just in case you have a minute or two to spare. As if, right? 😉

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