Thursday, May 17, 2012

Debra Parmley on Western fiction

I've had reviewers say my western romance stories are gritty. The genre has allowed me to write about the harsh circumstances women were sometimes under in the wild west. A Desperate Journey is the story of a woman who was married to an abusive man who kidnapped their son. Normally it's one of those taboos to have a married heroine fall in love with the hero, but she learns her husband was a bigamist and their marriage wasn't legal. In Dangerous Ties, the hero finds the heroine strung up over a mine shaft and the rope is breaking. She's been tortured and is branded on one breast. Both women could be viewed as victims and at first they do view themselves that way. But their stories begin from the point of change just after some very bad things have happened and they move on from that point to see themselves as survivors. These stories are about women who adapt to changing circumstances, overcome obstacles, find and fall in love with their soul mates and triumph over their past circumstances to start a new life. I believe most western stories, whether they are straight westerns or western romance show how others face difficulties and through courage and intelligence and self reliance manage to survive and triumph. The stories can inspire readers to believe they too can do that and the stories can inspire while entertaining and paying homage to the history of our American past.

A personal quote you may have read before or heard me speak is this - "It is not the things that are done to us that define us. It is the things that come from inside of us." This is an underlying principle I believe in which carries through all of my writing, but I believe the western romances I've written have allowed me to show that in perhaps a stronger less subtle way than my other fiction.
Please comment and let Debra know you are interested in her work. All comments are read and all questions answered!

Nick's horse made her way carefully down the mountain, his pack horse following along behind.

He wasn't far from town, and looking forward to a warm bath to wash away the dust of the trip and then a good hot meal. Maybe if he were lucky there'd be a warm and willing woman too. He'd been a long time without a woman.

It was then he saw her. Long golden hair, which caught the rays of the setting sun, lighting those tresses up like a flame. Red-gold hair swinging in a gust of wind.

What the hell?

He blinked twice to clear his head, in case he was seeing some fools gold of a dream.

But when he opened his eyes she was still there, bound by her wrists, suspended over a wide mineshaft; her bare feet tied together at the ankles and her long hair blowing in the wind.

Who had strung her up and why?

He pulled his rifle out and rode closer, his senses on alert. The area appeared to have been abandoned, but he knew you could never trust appearances.

The appaloosa lost her footing briefly and rocks rumbled down the mountain. He tensed, waiting for a sound or for the end of a rifle to appear, but all was silent and still.

He slowly rode closer. The only sounds on the mountain were the wind and the steadier footsteps of his horse.

By the time he reached the woman it was clear there was no one else about.

He swallowed hard, shifted in the saddle as his thoughts shifted.

Damn, she's beautiful. The knots are all wrong. Whoever tied her was no cowboy. If she struggled those knots will only tighten more, hurting her worse.

His fist tightened around the reins.

That's no way to treat a woman.

Her long hair blew in the breeze again. He rode around to the other side. He had yet to see her face.
She heard horses through her dizziness, through a haze of pain. The horses' hooves steadily clopped closer and closer, bringing God only knew what. Her heart began to race.

Dear God, not them again. Please don't let it be them. Not again. I can't take much more. I don't want to die here, today.

The horses stopped and the only other sound was the wind. She could feel eyes upon her.

She didn't want to look, didn't want to open her eyes for fear of what she'd see.

But she forced herself to open them, fought the fear and the dizziness and for one brief moment her gaze met his.

Long enough to see his eyes were like summer lightning, intense and flashing with some dark emotion.

Then her world went black.

Dangerous Ties, release Feb 15, 2012, Desert Breeze Publishing
A Desperate Journey, March 2009, Samhain
contemporary romance:
Aboard the Wishing Star release Oct 2012, Desert Breeze Publishing

 "Spreading love one story at a time."

Buy Dangerous Ties today at


  1. Debra, thanks for joining in our Western Week. Your stories are definately Western Romance but with a twist and I really enjoyed reading about them.

  2. Adding to my TBR pile, both books. I wish I could add more time, too. Both stories sound so intriguing.

  3. Thank you for inviting me, Lynn! It's a pleasure to be here.
    So glad you're enjoying them. :-)

  4. Thank you Laurel! You made my day!

  5. Great post, Debra. And I can say I've read this book - AWESOME. I truly enjoyed it. Now after Lynette's Western Week, I've got more to read!!

  6. Thanks L! Gosh another wonderful comment! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
    Lynette's western week was so much fun! My to be read pile just gets bigger and bigger. :-)