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March 3, 2015

Bad Women of the West

As a western writer, I spend a lot of time reading books about the time period. Much has been written about bad men, but what about outlaw or bad women of the west? From the beginning of time women, just like men have gone astray. In the current book I’m writing my heroine who is a bounty hunter, is working as a card dealer in a saloon to catch the man she’s hunting.
The idea came from reading a book called The Lady Was A Gambler: True Stories of Notorious Women of the Old West by Chris Enss. The book tells the tales of fifteen women who either gambled or were dealers at the saloons or gambling halls. Interesting reading of how women were used to distract men and help them lose their money.
Another book I’ve found very interesting for research is The Bedside Book of Bad Girls: Outlaw Women of the American West by Michael Rutter. The story about Kate Bender at Benders Bloody Inn was one of the scariest tales I’ve read. It made me think twice about stopping at a hotel for the night.
My latest read is a book called Tough Towns: True Tales from the Gritty Streets of the Old West by Robert Barr Smith. This book is about how ordinary citizens took back their towns from the bad guys who invaded. I haven’t finished this book yet, but so far it’s been interesting reading.

As an author this is where I garner the information for my men and women in my stories. Where I learn about the small towns, the people who lived and worked there. Nonfiction books on the west are invaluable to create your own world.

From the research I’ve done, there were no female bounty hunters in the west. They are a figment of my imagination. But I’ve had so much fun writing my badass girls. I like to write what I call are kick-ass heroines who are in bad situations who find a way to rise to the top. My girls are ordinary women who must overcome a difficult situation and in the process find true love. My heroes are deserving men that fall for the love of a strong woman.

Writing is a tough profession not for the faint of heart, but it’s also fun. I get to spend many hours of the day, playing in the world I create. Below is the blurb from the latest book in my Lipstick and Lead series. The third book in the series, Dangerous will be available February 13th. Currently, I’m writing Ruby’s story, Daring and have two other books plotted. After reading The Lady Was A Gambler…I know there will be a seventh book in this series and maybe more…
The Hunt of a Lifetime Becomes a Journey of the Heart
Annabelle McKenzie stays at home and takes care of the farm and the bookkeeping for their family bounty hunting business while her two sisters take all the risks. Except that she’s grown bored and longs for adventure. The chance to show her sisters that she’s just as capable of bringing a man to justice and collecting a bounty as they are. When opportunity bumps into her at the bank, she recklessly follows her prey out of town. Only she soon realizes she’s chosen the wrong man to hunt.

Beau Samuels has a dark secret that goes beyond the price on his head. And now there’s a wanted poster with his face plastered in every small Texas sheriff’s office.  As if things couldn’t get worse, now he has a novice in a skirt brandishing a gun and determined to collect his reward. Could he get away from the blonde spitfire with his heart intact?
When Annabelle unlocks the secrets to his heart and reveals the true man behind the wanted poster, can she lay aside her scruples and allow herself to love an outlaw?  

Amazon   iBooks    B&N   Kobo   Google 
Lipstick and Lead Series
Daring – April 2015
Determined – June 2015
Deceived—September 2015

If you would like a list of research books I recommend, send me an email at 


Phyllis said...

HI Sylvia, leaving this post BEFORE going to bed! I also considered writing some westerns twenty plus years ago. I did a lot of research at the various cowboy / western / Colorado history museums. Such a blast to see the tiny waist clothing and tiny feet shoes the women wore back then.

I also would go the Buckskin Joe's at Canon City a number of times This town was taken board by board and moved to the Royal Gorge, so it is very authentic.

I even rode a horse down the side of the gorge. Now THAT was an eye opener! I could not imagine doing that in the Colorado winter!

Phyllis said...

Oh yea, I also wanted to mention that the Tom Selleck and Sam Elliot shows - The Sackets were filmed at Buckskin Joe's at the Royal Gorge.

If you haven't been yet, Go. It will stir the imagination of like in those days.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Sylvia: *eyebrow raising* tales for sure. I read one about a gold mining town and the women who followed their men and became prostitutes after the men died. Quite tragic.

Thanks for sharing your research. I'm amazed at your productivity.

Sylvia said...

Hi Vicki,
OMG! I love doing research and it gets me into trouble.'s fun.

Sylvia said...

I've been to the Royal Gorge. Loved it, though I call it the bridge to nowhere. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law live in Penrose, which is close by. I rode horses in Colorado last summer. It was such a great reminder of how it feels and I can't imagine spending an entire day on a horse.

Kathleen Baldwin said...

Hi Sylvia!!!
What a fun series this is going to be. I love the covers and the concept!

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