Saturday, April 26, 2014

Kaye Spencer, western romance author – New to Western Fictioneers

Hello everyone.

I'm romance author Kaye Spencer, and I'm a new member with Western Fictioneers. Since today is the first of my regular blogging contributions for Western Fictioneers, which will occur on the fourth Saturday of each month, I thought it appropriate to share a little about myself and where my fascination with the American Old West came from.

I'm a native Coloradoan, and I also write under the pen name, A.L. Debran. I grew up on a cattle ranch in northeastern Colorado and, during those childhood and teenage years from the mid-1950s through the early 1970s, I spent hour upon hour reading Louis L'Amour's westerns and listening to Marty Robbins' gunfighter ballads. I watched all the *classic* television westerns when they were the primetime shows, and I didn’t miss a western movie when it came to the downtown theater or to the double-feature drive-in.

I loved the 'Sons of Katie Elder' so much (well... maybe I had a teeny-weeny crush on Dean Martin), that my grandfather carved a wooden pistol for me and carved in the name 'Tom Elder'. I had a bucking-barrel in my backyard so I could pretend to be a rodeo cowboy. I used my allowance to buy candy and gum cigarettes and roll caps for my pistols and rifle so I could run around the yard pretending to be whichever Hollywood cowboy I was currently obsessed with.

I was nine years old when I got my first horse—a black and white Welsh pony named Corky. It was Katie bar the door after that. I couldn’t get a saddle on Corky, but bareback was okay with me. Since he rode with a hackamore, I didn’t have to struggle with getting a bit in his mouth. All I had to do was sidle him up to the rail fence and hop on.

When I needed a new storyline to act out in my sibling-less imagination, I wrote my own, even though they were clearly retellings of episodes of the Virginian, High Chaparral, or even Yancy Derringer. This is where my writing began. I believed early on in my life that I was born in the wrong century. I’ll even confess that I named my oldest son Heath (after Heath Barkley) and my youngest son’s name is Cameron (after Cameron Mitchell – Uncle Buck on High Chaparral). My daughter, the middle child, is named Robyne—oops! A story there, just not a 'western' one. :-) 
I can, and often do, get lost in historical research of just about any time period, but it’s the Old West that I love the most—myths and truths alike.

My first novel, Lonely Places, published in June 2006,is a western romance that I started some 27 years before I finally decided to polish it up and submit it for publication. My western novella, Gunslingers & Ghostriders, followed in October. While my choice of story-writing genre is historical, particularly westerns, I’ve penned a vampire and a couple of contemporary stories—cowboys included.

My latest western is in an anthology from Prairie Rose Publications, which will release in a couple of months. The anthology is called Lassoing a Mail-Order Bride, and my story is A Permanent Woman.

I retired June 1, 2013 from a long career in public education that included administration and teaching English and history. I am loving every writing minute of retirement. ;-) I'm a review editor for the romance review site, Joyfully Reviewed, and I take on occasional manuscript editing projects.

I’m excited to be a member of Western Fictioneers, and I’m looking forward to sharing my love of the American Old West here on the fourth Saturday of each month. I’ve been reading the WF blog for a year or so, and I’ve learned so much from the wealth of Old West history that many of you have shared in your blog posts.

To read reviews of my books, watch my book videos, or download my old family recipes, visit my website and blog –

You’ll find me on Twitter – @kayespencer – sharing daily history trivia, and I’ve recently started a recurring blogging topic on my blog called “Spotlight on History”.
Until next time,


Fall in love…faster, harder, deeper with Kaye Spencer romances


  1. Kaye--Thanks so much for sharing something about you and your fascination with the West. I'm sure more than a few of use used our meager allowances for candy and gum cigarettes and roll caps for our weapons. But the bucking-barrel in the backyard--what a unique twist.

    1. The bucking barrel was great fun, even after I broke my arm using it. Funny thing is, I wasn't riding it, I was one of the four "rope" buckers and the other three were adults. Apparently, I pulled at just the wrong time, and snapped my wrist. I was nine years old. ;-)

      My two oldest granddaughters looked cross-eyed at me when I told them about 'smoking' candy and gum cigarettes. :-)

  2. Kaye,
    I envy you being a native. I came to the state fairly early, but not early enough. An avid history researcher, Colorado and the West have been a 'gold mine' for me. Being a compulsive reader also helps. The image of your childhood brought a few memories of my own in the mid-west of telling and writing stores, a number of them based on those same Western shows. Look forward to your posts in the future. Doris

    1. Colorado is a gold mine of Old West history. I grew up in Fort Morgan (northeastern corner) and now I live in Springfield (southeastern corner).

      I'm envious of the native Texans and Oklahomans for their Old West history. I'm glad I took you down memory lane in a good way.

    2. Kaye, I have a friend whose family came from the Ft. Morgan area.

      I live in a city (550,000+ in the metro area) and enjoy the wealth of history and research I get to do here. Love it and love me some mountains and the history of the Cripple Creek/Victor area. Have written on that subject a fair amount.


  3. Kaye,

    My neighbors in Colorado call me the squatter, since I've only been here about twelve years.

    I carry a pistol everywhere I go, and not just for the wild animals.

    Funny how natives believe that if your great grandparents weren't born in Colorado and didn't arrive in the 1800's then you are an outsider and will always remain so.

    Or so they tell me...

    Keep up with the writing and wishing much success.


    1. Some of my family came to Colorado around 1880 and others didn't make it until 1920 or so. I spent three years in Cleveland, Ohio racing thoroughbred horses at Thistledown Racetrack, and I couldn't wait to get back to Colorado. I'm a prairie girl and Cleveland was too wet and tree-populated ;-) .

  4. Kaye,

    Welcome to the Western Fictioneers blog! Excellent post, and I love that you named you boys after western figures. LOL (Mine was given an ol' fashioned baseball name--Casey.)

    Can't wait for these new anthologies of ours over at PRP to be out. They're chock full of great stories. Speaking of which, I think you need to work in the fact that your grandfather carved you a gun into one of your stories. That was a labor of love!

    Thanks so much for telling us about yourself today!

    1. That was a pretty special gun and, sadly, it was lost in a house fire many, many years ago. But I remember it clearly. My grandfather was a crafty fellow. He made all sorts of wooden toys for me. I still have some of my wooden Barbie furniture and a horse drawn cart that went with one of my plastic model horses that he made for me (hmmm... wordy sentence there. lol)

      I'll tuck your suggestion away in the back of my story-plotting mind about including a carved wooden gun. That's a great idea. Thanks. ;-)

  5. Thanks for sharing your stories with us, Kaye. You had a dream childhood! I love your home state, in every season. Wondering if you have heard the song with the lyrics, "If God doesn't live in Colorado, I'll bet that's where He spends most of His time."

    1. I did have a dream childhood: broken bones, concussion, stitches, fishhooks in fingers, hunting, 4-H, horseback riding all over the place, swimming in the big irrigation ditch (canal) that ran through our land, showing horses... Lots of good memories.

      'm a die hard prairie lover, but I like to visit the mountains. IYou can't see mountains from where I live, but if you drive 50 miles west, you'll see the Spanish Peaks just another 70 miles farther. Where I grew up in Fort Morgan, I could see Long's Peak about 100 miles away.

      If my country music memory serves me, I believe those lyrics are Merle Haggard's. ;-)

  6. Thank you for the post, Kaye. I was out hiking most of yesterday. You seem to have had an idyllic childhood. I look forward to your future posts.


    1. Well, idyllic is stretching it, but it was a good one. ;-)

  7. You lucky thing to have had a horse. Maybe we all dream of having a horse or a pony in our childhoods, but it would be rather difficult to have a horse grazing on a city lot. My bicycle (a passed down thing from my oldest sister) was my "horse". I can't wait to read your story in the anthology. All the best to you, Kaye.

    1. I had a bicycle, too, but the dirt roads and stickers made it challenging to keep the tires up. It was fun to stay with friends who lived in town so I could ride my bike there.

  8. Welcome to WF, Kaye! It's convenient that you grew up on a cattle ranch. I was stuck with Holsteins on a dairy farm in Idaho. LOL.

  9. We also had a little farm ground for growing corn then we'd cut it for ensilage in the fall and feed it throughout the winter to our cattle. My dad also worked at the local sugar beet processing factory so we feed beet tops and beet pulp to the cattle during the winter.

    For many years, my dad would buy a truck load of Holstein calves (100 or so at a time) and they would invariably arrive from Wisconsin in the dead of winter in the middle of the night in bad weather. ;-) We bottle fed them. It was a lot of work, but so much fun, too.

  10. Replies
    1. Thank you. ;-) I already feel quite at home here.

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