Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Woman's Place

Hi Bri,
Thanks for inviting me to be a guest on your blog. I’m glad to be here.

A Woman’s Place

            Last week, BookStrand released my third mainstream western romance, A Woman’s Place and so my personal adventure continues. In other words, Yippee! I always dreamed of someday being a writer. Then I wanted to be a published writer and this is when I quote the cliché, “You’re never given a dream without being given the power to make it come true.” You may have to work for it however.

A Woman’s Place follows my first historical for BookStrand, A Man’s World. In that book, a woman masqueraded as a gunfighter in 1887 Washington (state) Territory – actually, Trace was a pretty good gunfighter – everybody just thought she was a man except the hero who figured it out and helped save her from the outlaw who stalked her. When A Woman’s Place begins, Trace and Zeb have been married for just over six months. Then renegades rob the bank she owns in the town of Junction City.

So, our hero, Rad Morgan, the marshal of Junction City sets off to capture the miscreants. Along the way, he meets his match, and Iraqi War veteran/homicide detective Beth Chambers takes no prisoners. She’ll fit right into 1888 Washington Territory. Of course, I had to figure out how to get a woman from 2012 to the Old West and why she was even there, but that was part of the adventure and the paranormal elements kept escalating.  Much to Rad’s initial dismay, Beth and Trace become fast friends.
It took a long time for me to create this world and in the spring of 2010 I was delighted when BookStrand offered for the first book, after I spent years writing, rewriting, and rewriting the story again. In comparison, researching for the novel was actually easier than the plotting and writing process.  I grew up in the 1960’s and ‘70’s in what Barbara Streisand called, a “No, You Don’t World – over-run with rules,” in the movie, A Star is Born. It was the way life was, especially for some young girls. My father ruled with an iron fist – no velvet glove - and questioning authority was not tolerated in “his” house. I thought that was the way it had always been, men dominating and women as second-class citizens.

Libraries provided a sanctuary from home, even if I couldn’t take the books back to “his” house, and I began to learn the world was bigger than I was told. No wonder women marching in the streets in support of the Equal Rights Amendment fascinated me. That fascination guided my choices for the next several years, i.e. joining the Army Reserve, taking classes at Skagit Valley Community College and eventually I was able to attend Washington State University where I majored in English and History. That led to courses in what was called American Studies and Women’s History where I discovered something new and forbidden in my father’s house.

            Women did things and they’d been doing them for centuries.

I read about Abigail Adams who wanted the vote for women during the American Revolution and tried to convince her husband to include it in the Constitution. There were so many other women, abolitionists, suffragists, suffragettes, writers, poets, teachers, scientists, soldiers, doctors, nurses who were actively engaged in building America.

And so much of the information was recorded. It could be found in diaries, letters, newspaper articles and books written by the women who lived during those times. If they didn’t write about it, they were written about! And being at Washington State University I had access not only to fabulous libraries, but also amazing professors who taught me how to find information. Research was a new adventure since I was the first woman in my extended family to go to college, but I was also the first to graduate from high school.

I have shelves of books in my office and I can pass up anything but a bookstore, or thrift store, or second-hand store. For fun, I check out the materials available in the antique stores in the town of Snohomish – did you know it was the Snohomish county seat for years until the newly established company town of Everett offered train stations for votes?

While writing A Man’s World and A Woman’s Place, the research didn’t stop. I would hit the library when my own books proved insufficient to find details I needed to know.  Yes, I do quite a bit of research on my computer now, but I have to admit that I still enjoy hunting down facts the old-fashioned way.  I don’t need to hide at the library anymore, but in my mind it’s the gate to Adventure-Land. I read everything I can find about life in Western Washington, collecting oral histories, textbooks and memoirs. I visit museums and historical societies and listen to the stories that older residents told of their lives. I never know what I will find, but a treasure trove of trivia waits and some barely known fact will spark the next novel in my “Liberty Valley” series.

In addition to writing mainstream western romances, I also write writing young adult novels. I spend a lot of time with teens both at the family riding stable and as a substitute middle/high school teacher. I love hearing what they think and say – the books seemed to come about naturally out of both those venues. And of course, it’s always easy to find “beta” readers at the barn or the schools who are happy to tell me when I make a mistake and need to rewrite, sort of a “turnabout is fair play,” time.

I’m delighted the Stewart Falls Cheerleaders found a home with Black Opal Publishing. I have a terrific cover and my own real puppy is on it. I still don’t know how we got him to hold still for the picture – he’s a whirling, horse-chasing, sister-puppy –attacking, cat-romping fellow at the best of times. But I have to admit that when he’s sleeping, he’s downright adorable. He loved our snow in January, but he does think that the cones I use to teach the kids to steer their horses are actually made for puppies.

The Stewart Falls Cheerleaders are about a cheer squad at a private high school in western Washington, because “Sometimes, you have to be your own cheerleader.” And these books have a special place in my heart – I think I have a new “fave.”  In the series, selected girls overcome problems that life hurls at them.  The start of the series is Throw Away Teen. It’s the story of one of those girls, B.J. Larson. She grew up in foster care, bouncing from home to home since she was a toddler and now she’s in my fictional town of Stewart Falls, Washington living with an older couple, Liz and Ted Driscoll.  As B.J. says, they’re different – kind of what she always thought grandparents would be like, only nice. And Ted even gives her a puppy that she names, Guard-dog. Still, it doesn’t matter what anyone tells her, she knows she’s passing through and will soon be back in the group home or on the streets of Seattle.

The second book, Asking For It is about dating violence. The flyer of the squad, Sarah Flynn thinks she’s found the boy of her dreams, only to discover she’s living in a nightmare. No matter how hard she tries, she can’t seem to please him.  When she disagrees with him, it grows harder and harder to explain her constant injuries. Will she even survive to Homecoming, much less the end of football season?  Can she get out of this relationship alive?

I have two different websites so if you like cowboys and western romances, pop in for a visit at or if you’re ready to go to Stewart Falls, see me at

Either way, it was good to meet you!
Shannon Kennedy

Trailing a serial killer, Homicide Detective Beth Chambers is thrust into 1888 Washington Territory where she encounters injured Rad Morgan, a ruggedly handsome marshal who believes A Woman’s Place is behind her man. Now, Beth must save Rad’s life, apprehend the killer, and prove herself capable as a law officer.
Former soldier and survivor of Andersonville Prison Camp, Marshal Rad Morgan faces his toughest challenge in Beth Chambers, a determined woman from the future who’s never learned “her place.”  But when he is shot and left for dead, he must put himself in Beth’s hands if they both want to survive.
Can these two headstrong people put their pride aside and work together to find the deadly killer and stop him before he destroys this world and their future?  As they fight for justice, love helps them discover A Woman’s Place is what and where she chooses to make it.
As a child, I loved to dream away the days in an old cherry tree on my family’s pony farm. In my imagination, the tree became a beautiful Arabian stallion, a medieval castle and even a pirate ship. I got in trouble for making my little sisters walk the plank, but hey, they never broke any bones. On rainy days, I headed for my fort in the hayloft. While the rain thudded on the cedar shingled roof, I read books, eventually trading Carolyn Keene for Georgette Heyer. I used the setting of the pony farm for my second romance from BookStrand. The Daddy Spell is a finalist in the Colorado RWA Award of Excellence contest.

Today I live on the family ranch in the Cascade foothills of Washington State in what was once a summer vacation cabin. It’s been modernized and even has indoor plumbing – woo-hoo!  I share the cabin with my two cats or maybe, they share it with me. I usually write at night after a long day on the ranch. Some days are longer and harder than others, but I still write from 8PM to 2AM, seven days a week. As a substitute school teacher, I love the school breaks but I’m just as busy, since there are 36 horses to look after, along with other assorted animals.

With all the critters on the ranch, I don’t have time for a husband. As for kids, I have to give back the ones who come to learn how to ride at the end of each day. Now, I’m teaching the kids and grandkids of the ones I taught way back when we started. I’ve had a lot of adventures over the years – and in my next 50 years, I plan to write all about them. I hope you enjoy reading about them!

Wow Jamie! I love it. You are a very diversified author. I too love history and I'll have you know I am a descendant of Abigail Adams. My daughter was here for their history day at school We love her.  Thank you so much for joining me and I wish you tons of luck.

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