Friday, May 13, 2011



"Author of Westerns with Heart and Grit."

Members of the LDS, and western writing communities know Marsha Ward as an expert on the post-Civil War west, and an author whose tender/tough novels reflect that expertise. A author savvy in her own time period as well, Marsha Ward was one of the early novelists to foresee the potential of ebooks and she rushed to make sure all her beloved novels were formatted for ebook readers. She is now releasing some short stories in this popular format, and we're delighted to get the word out about these new offerings, as well as her highly popular books detaiing the Owen Family Saga.

The Man from Shenandoah

Young cavalryman Carl Owen returns from the Civil War to find the family farm destroyed, his favorite brother dead, food scarce, and his father determined to leave the Shenandoah Valley to build a cattle empire in Colorado Territory. Crossing the continent, Carl falls in love with his brother's fiancée while set to wed another girl, but he might lose everything if the murderous thug Berto Acosta has his way. Carl battles a band of outlaws, a prairie fire, blizzards, a trackless waterless desert, and his own brother—all for the hand of feisty Ellen Bates.

Ride to Raton

Thinking he's been treated unjustly by his father, James Owen leaves the family homestead to make a new life for himself. The turbulent world of post-Civil War Colorado Territory is fraught with danger and prejudice that increase his bitter loneliness as personal setbacks threaten to break him. Then James's journey brings him into contact with another wayfarer, beautiful young Amparo Garcés, who has come from Santa Fe to Colorado to marry a stranger. Through a twist of fate, their futures are changed forever when their lives are merged in a marriage of convenience. James and Amparo undertake a hazardous horseback trek over Raton Pass to Santa Fe, battling their personal demons, a challenging language barrier, and winter's raging storms.

Trail of Storms

Jessie Bingham put heartbreak away to tend to her sister's needs, but when she settled for second best in love, she didn't foresee that James Owen would come back into her life. The aftermath of the Civil War creates cruel circumstances for the Bingham family. A brutal attack on Jessie's sister, Hannah Fletcher, drives the extended family to flee to the West. They are soon joined by Heppie Bingham's beau George and his brother, Ned, who bring news that the Binghams are being pursued by cronies of Hannah's attacker. Even after they fight off that onslaught, poverty, bad weather, and Hannah's frightful secret plague their journey. Nursing her battered heart when she hears James Owen took a wife, Jessie accepts Ned's offer of marriage, but puts off the wedding until they reach Albuquerque. Then a stop on the trail holds surprises that launch Jessie into a bewildering tangle of values, emotions, and high adventure.

Short Stories and Poetry Collection:

No More Strangers:

Prose and Poetry of the West from acclaimed Western novelist Marsha Ward. Six short stories, three poems, and an excerpt from a forthcoming novel make up this collection of Western treasures, including the never-before-published "Thumps in the Night."

Stand-alone Short Stories

War Party

The Battle of Salt River Canyon took place at Skeleton Cave in Arizona Territory on December 28, 1872, and was an engagement of the decade-long Apache Wars in the late nineteenth century. In this short story, award winning writer Marsha Ward envisioned how it might have happened, when black smoke drew young Rolla Woods's eye, smoke where there should not be smoke. Then he heard the noise: high, piercing yips, and a woman's scream, and the flat report of gunshots. Bitter revenge and dawning awareness war within a young boy on the Arizona frontier.

The Usual Game

In another of Marsha Ward's taut short stories, Verl returns to his boarding house after a hard day working construction in the Verde Valley of the new State of Arizona. He's dreaming of going home to Phoenix soon with his wages, home to sweet Betty's arms. Then he finds his landlord, Fong, ensnared in the usual game run by the local card shark, Happy Sam. If Fong can't get away, he's going to lose the money he's been saving for years to send for his wife in China. High stakes action in early Arizona.

Marsha Ward is a busy writer, researcher and mentor, but we caught up with her and she answered a few interview questions for us.

Marsha, I know you have good news for your fans.

Yes, for a while now, everyone has been asking me if my books are on Kindle. They mean, of course, "Are they available as electronic books for the Kindle ereader at" While I have had the first two eBooks of my series available on in the mobi format—which is the Kindle format—for about 18 months, I didn't have the three novels on Amazon as eBooks. Well, now I do! I also finally uploaded the third one, Trail of Storms, to Smashwords, so users of other ereading devices can acquire it, as well as The Man from Shenandoah and Ride to Raton.

In addition, I've created and uploaded three other works to both Smashwords and Amazon. One is a short story and poetry collection, No More Strangers. The other two are stand-alone short stories, War Party and The Usual Game.

That is exciting! Those titles will make readers think you only enjoy westerns. Is that true?

I actually have a long background in writing for other genres, ranging from poetry to newspaper and magazine articles, to essays. However, there's something about historical fiction that really vibrates in my soul. I grew up listening to Patsy Cline on the radio, and hearing my daddy talking about his life on farms in Mexico and southern Arizona. They dug wells by hand; excavated great holes for lakes with horse drawn scrapers; raised beans and other dry-land crops on the "Bean Ranch" in Sonoita, Arizona; and escaped to the mountains to avoid the heat of summer. My grandfather was a teamster (as in driving a team of horses, not a union man), and a great hand with horses and other animals.

It does sound as if you were born to keep the old west alive for a new generation.

MW: I always felt like I was born in the wrong century. Except for the very enjoyable modern conveniences that I have today, I feel an affinity for those hard times. I believe that's why I write about the 19th Century American family.

The reasons people write are so diverse. Why do you write?

MW: According to my older sister, I wrote from the time I could hold a pencil. I believe her. There's never been a time that I didn't have some kind of story to tell.

My characters are real people to me, and I've driven them up some high, rough trees and put crocodiles at the bases, with sharp, snapping teeth. I have to get my people out of danger and give them satisfying conclusions.

I had an epiphany several years ago when I realized that I write to let people know there is always hope, and to show them through the experiences of fictional characters that they can get through hard times, even really, really terrible times, and find happiness at the end of it all.

You've mentored a lot of writers through the years. What's the best advice you can give a writer just starting out?

MW: Believe in yourself, but learn all you can about writing, too. No first drafts are set in stone. Don't hang around negative people. Write at least 25 words a day. Listen to people to learn the flow of language. Find a good, encouraging group of writers who will show you the ropes. Read, read, read! When you start writing in earnest, find a good critique group. Reach down and help another writer along the way. Is that enough?

What is your next project?
MW: I'm writing Marie Owen's book, Spinster's Folly. It's coming along very well. I put snippets up on "The Characters in Marsha's Head" blog from time to time, if you want to know more. That's found at [rushing over to write something fresh]

Where can readers find your books, both trade paperbacks and eBooks?
MW: All the online booksellers, such as and, have the trade paperback books. The easiest way to find all my online eBooks is to go to my author pages at Smashwords: and at Amazon:

Thank you, Marsha! As always, it was a pleasure.

MW: It was my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Visit Marsha's website at
Writer in the Pines blog at
The Characters in Marsha's Head blog at


  1. Thank you for interviewing me, Laurie. As always, it's a pleasure being your guest.

  2. Great Interview.

    I love Marsha and her stories.


  3. I've read all of Marsha Ward's novels and many of her short stories and enjoyed every one of them. This is great that they are available as ebooks. Thanks for the interview!

  4. What a great writing live, Marsha. You are an inspiration to me. We (My hubby and I) love your electronic work.