Historical Novels

The Gilded CageI find history fascinating, especially those revolving around women.

The era of the Wild West is my favorite; I have done in-depth research on women that lived during this era and have written books about them as you can see below.

Recently I authored a novel taking place in Chicago— a place dear to me: The Gilded Cage. It’s a fiction but is based on historical facts. Mrs. Potter Palmer is the main character based on a real-life woman of the same name.


THE GILDED CAGEThe Gilded Cage

Available now! Released on April 18th, 2016.

Visit this book’s own page to see gobs o’ information about this exciting new book!

Two exciting excerpts from the book are available for your perusing enjoyment.

Excerpt #1Excerpt #2


LIBBIELibbie

Her name is Elizabeth Bacon Custer, but her friends call her Libbie. The newly-wedded wife of General George Armstrong Custer, Libbie is small and delicate, accustomed to the “finer things in life,” seemingly unfit for the rigors of army life.

Excerpt: I knew that history would make a plaything of Autie, and when that happened, all my battles would be lost again. Autie rarely lost a battle – save that last big one-and his fights were always glorious, painted on a broad screen by the clamoring newsmen if not by himself. My battles were small and silent and private, but oh! they were important to me, and I had managed to hold the line. I would not see it all wiped away with the muckraking cry that Autie’s overweening ambition had led him to disaster at Little Bighorn. I would make sure that the world saw the George Armstrong Custer I wanted seen. Only this private journal-to be burned upon my death-records my own wars.

Twelve years is not very long in a lifetime, yet it seemed my whole life was lived in those brief years of marriage. I had fought battles of my own, hard battles, to marry Autie, and once married, I thought myself the happiest and luckiest of women-married to the great boy-general, the hero of the Civil War. We would, I knew, grow old together, savoring the best of life, the last for which the first was made, so the poet wrote. I’m not sure when, exactly, that I knew that dream was not to be, that a love as intense as ours could not survive, that two people as willful as we could not be bound so tightly together. And yet, when all was said and done, I would not have traded those twelve years for anything on earth. Were they worth a lifetime? There is no answer, but even to think about it, I must begin earlier, back in Monroe…. I remember yet one snowy night when I was but sixteen years old.

A wondrous, intimate story of an unsung heroine of the West.” ~Romantic Times

Rings authentically true… Brilliant and memorable… Kudos to Ms. Alter for a refreshingly unique story.” ~Affair de Coeur

Libbie is probably the book Mrs. Custer would have written had she not been determined to protect her husband’s name.” ~Elmer Kelton

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CHEROKEE ROSECherokee Rose

Raised on an Oklahoma ranch in the early twentieth century, Tommy Jo Burns shuns traditional female roles and instead learns to rope and ride.

Judy Alter melds romance and western genres effectively… an entertaining novel with a memorable heroine and a great passion for life.” ~Booklist

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SUNDANCE, BUTCH AND MESundance, Butch and Me

She was born Martha Baird, but history will always remember her as Etta Place, the woman who rode with the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang. Sundance, Butch and Me is history transformed into an exciting fiction a novel that captures all the drama, passion, and adventure of one of the West’s most amazing lives…”…a realistic portrayal of historic events that touches the imagination and stirs the spirit.” ~The Literary Times

…meticulously researched… a skillful first-person narrative.” ~Publishers Weekly

Note: Years ago, I wrote a short story, “Reunion,” that builds on one rumor about what happened to her after Sundance died in a hail of bullets in Bolivia. I’ve studied the research and no, I don’t believe she died in South America. Nor do I believe the oft-told tale that she died of appendicitis in a Denver hospital. I find it credible that she returned to Fort Worth, a city she loved, and opened a respectable boardinghouse. To read the short story, at no cost, click here.

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A BALLAD FOR SALLIEA Ballad For Sallie

THE GUNFIGHTER
Longhair Jim Courtright had been both a marshal and a desperado-and in Hell’s Half Acre, the roughest part of Fort Worth, he was a living legend. His skill with a gun had made him a hero in some people’s eyes…and a killer in others’.

THE ORPHAN
Scrappy Lizzie Jones was one tough kid. She had to be. If she didn’t look out for herself, no one would do it for her. But she still had a few hard lessons to learn if she wanted to survive.

THE WIDOW
As soon as young widow Sallie McNutt stepped off the stage from Tennessee, her refined manners and proper attire set her apart from the other women of the Half Acre. And it wasn’t long before something else set her apart – someone wanted her dead.

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MATTIEMattie

Against the backdrop of sparsely settled western Nebraska at the turn of the 20th century, Mattie tells the story of a pioneer woman physician. Through the years of her practice, Mattie’s life is filled with romance and disappointments, battles won and loved ones lost, challenges met and opportunities passed. Through it all she endures. And as the years pass, her life takes on a richness and quality she knows she could not have found anywhere else or at any other time. Mattie offers a realistic and haunting portrait of life on the plains and of a most unforgettable woman.

Excerpt: My mother was an unmarried mother, fallen woman, they called her back in Princeton, Missouri. They called her that and a lot worse names, most of which I didn’t understand at the time, thank goodness. It wasn’t just that Mama made one mistake—me—but I had a little brother, Will Henry, and neither of us had a father that we knew about. Will Henry was seven years younger than me, and you’d think I’d remember a man being around the house about that time to account for my brother’s appearance, but I didn’t. I used to wonder if Mama had somehow gotten caught in the great war just passed or if my father had fought in that war. For much of my growing-up years, Mama never told us if we had the same father or not. When either of us asked, Mama became flustered and impatient and usually just said, “I don’t want to talk about it.” There would be tears in her eyes that made me feel guilty and cruel, so I would abandon the subject. … Download the rest of Chapter 1 excerpt (.pdf)

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Sue Ellen Learns to DanceSUE ELLEN LEARNS TO DANCE AND OTHER STORIES

Fifteen stories that are funny and sad, modern and historical, urban and rural. They focus on women in the American West speaking in their own voices, sharing the universal female complexities of time and place. Characters – old women, ingenue, bride, mother, lover, widow, homemaker, teacher, adventuress-in settings of dance hall, ranch, town, wilderness, and home, each on a journey of finding self, getting by, making do, becoming, longing, recognizing sorrow, rejoicing.

Excerpt: My mother doesn’t make candles any more. Her candles used to be the smoothest and straightest in North Texas. They burned bright with an even flame and never smoked. Ma ran candles in late fall, when Pa had killed a steer and she had rendered the fallow. … Download the rest of this excerpt (.pdf)

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JessieJESSIE

Educated, ambitious, and brilliant in a time not quite ready for her, Jessie elopes with the young explorer Charles Frémont, at the age of 17, defying the wishes of her father, the powerful Senator Thomas Hart Benton.

Jessie expected a life of boundless adventure. Instead, the two most important men in her life are about to alter the course of 19th century American history—but only with her help.

REVIEWS:
Lulls the reader into forgetting this is fiction.” ~Publishers Weekly

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