Take a journey with Huck Finn

“When I was a boy, there was but one permanent ambition among my comrades in our village on the west bank of the Mississippi River. That was, to be a steamboatman. We had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates. These ambitions faded out, each in its turn; but the ambition to be a steamboatman always remained.” ~ Mark Twain

Embark on a new adventure with an old friend

TAMING HUCK FINN, inspired by Mark Twain’s iconic adventurer, begins in the summer of 1870 in Atchison, Kansas, which served as a bustling port along the Missouri River.

In those days, steamboats transported goods to settlements and army forts up and down the river, as well as hauling miners traveling to and from the Montana gold fields. Freedom-loving Huck Finn works as a part-time steamboat pilot when he’s not off searching for gold.

The sprawling, unpredictable Missouri River provides the perfect landscape for my story about a restless man whose goal is to stay one step ahead of civilization.

In those days, it took nerves of steel to pilot a steamboat on the wild, untamed Missouri River. A few of the things steamboat pilots encountered: elusive, ill-defined and ever-changing channels, getting stranded in low water, innumerable and often invisible snags, whirlpools, Indian attacks–to name but a few.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, close to 300 steamboats went down in the river between 1830 and 1902.  Historians estimate almost half of all the boats that plied the Missouri were lost to various accidents, with snags taking most of them to their watery grave. The “Muddy Mo” had a voracious appetite for steamboats!

Near Kansas City, a construction company dug up a steamboat from the 1850s out of a farm field (the river had long since changed course). While there were no human casualties, the boat went down with its entire load of supplies. The Steamboat Arabia exhibit at the Kansas City riverfront is filled with some of the most well preserved displays of 19th century goods you’ll find anywhere.

Far West pilothouse replica
 courtesy Dave Thomson Gallery

The type of boat Huck pilots is a “mountain boat.” These sternwheelers were smaller and lighter, equipped with spars, which were a bit like stilts to help the boat “walk” over obstacles. One of the best-known mountain boats was the Far West, piloted by Captain Grant Marsh.

A replica of the Far West pilothouse shows a pair of antelope antlers mounted in front to indicate it was a “fast boat” — Grant made a record-breaking run down the Missouri River in 1876 after he picked up the wounded from the Battle of Little Big Horn.

Packet steamboating on the Missouri River lasted from the 1820s to the 1880s, with the greatest period of activity between 1840 and 1860. The railroads contributed primarily to the demise of steamboat business by siphoning off long-haul passenger and freight business. In 1867, there were 71 steamers regularly plying the Missouri River. Three years later there were only 9. (Wild River, Wooden Boats, Michael Gillespie, Heritage Press).

Some of the landing points mentioned in Taming Huck Finn were busy ports in the 1870s: Weston, Missouri, Sioux City, Iowa, Fort Sully in the Dakota Territory, Kansas City, and eventually St. Louis, where the Missouri and Mississippi rivers converge.

His greatest adventure is about to catch up with him.

Steamboat pilot Huck Finn lives life on his own terms and steers clear of messy entanglements that might tie him down—until he takes charge of an orphaned boy that needs rescuing.

Starched and proper, Miss Hallie MacBride is determined to atone for past sins by raising her estranged sister’s son. She doesn’t expect footloose Mr. Finn to challenge her, much less up and run off with her nephew.

On a wild journey fraught with danger, a freedom-loving adventurer and an avowed spinster battle over the destiny of a young boy, who is doing his level best to convince them they belong together.

Excerpt:

June 2, 1870, Atchison, Kansas

“What you layin’ in there for, mister?”

A childish voice disturbed Huck’s sleep. He screwed his eyes tightly shut, willing his mind to return to dreams of pleasanter things than inquisitive children.

Something struck the bottom of his boot. He jerked awake, his head connecting with a crack against the inside of the hogshead barrel. “Ow! Blame it.”

Gingerly, he touched a rising lump and grimaced at the painful reminder of where he’d ended up. After celebrating into the wee hours, it appeared a convenient place to await the next packet chugging up the Missouri River. Sobriety declared it a bad idea. Only halfwits and drunks slept in discarded barrels. Not men who commanded steamboats.

Curling around, he squinted at the opening where his legs were exposed. Daylight outlined the figure of a child. Hopeful it was just a dream Huck shut his eyes. When he opened them again, the boy had bent to peer inside the barrel.

Gap-toothed smile, snub nose, merry eyes that held the promise of mischief… “Tom?” Huck rasped.

The boy giggled.

No, he couldn’t possibly be. Tom had been nearly full-grown fifteen years ago.

Huck rubbed his stinging eyes. He must’ve gotten ahold of some bad brew like the Fire Rod his old man used to swig by the jug full; that stuff made Pap see crazier things than a boy that wasn’t there.

The spitting image of Tom laughed again. “Uncle Huck?”

Uncle? Huck shook his head to clear it. By God, he’d swear off whiskey forever if it brought on these strange imaginings, and it had to be his imagination. Huck Finn weren’t nobody’s uncle.

Pick up your copy of Taming Huck Finn at the following retailers:

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

On April 1, I’ll be giving away an autographed copy of Taming Huck Finn in a random drawing from comments left on my blog.

I’ve always wanted to go back in time and take a steamboat journey up the Missouri River. If yo Add Video Player u could travel in a time machine, what kind of adventure would you want to pursue?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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His greatest adventure is about to catch up with him

TAMING HUCK FINN by E.E. Burke

Steamboat pilot Huck Finn lives life on his own terms, steering clear of the kind of messy entanglements that would tie a man down–until he takes charge of an orphan and defies the “old maid” determined to raise him.

What follows is a wild journey filled with humor, high jinx and heart-pounding danger, as a freedom-loving adventurer and an avowed spinster battle over the destiny of a young boy who is doing his level best to convince them they belong together.

Embark on an unforgettable adventure from award-winning author E.E. Burke in a novel inspired by one of America’s most beloved characters.

Read an excerpt

Order your copy today:

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E.E. answers your questions:

Where did you get the idea for this story?

I’m a big fan of Mark Twain’s original story and always had a soft spot for Huck. I wondered what kind of man he would grow up to be. This is the story Huck gave me when I asked him what happened to him after he “set out for the Territory.”

How did you decide what occupation Huck would have as an adult?

It didn’t seem a far stretch to imagine Huck growing up to be a steamboat pilot. He was a child of the river, and I couldn’t see him straying far. Plus, he had the intelligence and temperament to pilot steamboats, which requires a unique combination of skills, instinct, excellent reflexes, and steely nerve.

Of course, I couldn’t write a book about Huck being a steamboat pilot without referring to Mark Twain’s Life On The Mississippi, which is largely based on Samuel Clemens own apprenticeship as a riverboat pilot. Reading the diaries of Missouri River pilots helped me place Huck on a different river, one that I think it fits his personality.

Why put the story on the Missouri River rather than the Mississippi – the original setting?

In Taming Huck Finn, as in Twain’s original book, the river itself is a character.
The Missouri River of today is nothing like what it was at the time of Huck’s story (1870). Before being dredged and tamed by the Army Corps of Engineers in the early 20th century, the “Big Muddy” was sprawling and unpredictable. I have a map that shows where steamboats sank along the old path of the river, and it is littered with wrecks. Taking a steamboat on the Missouri River was a dangerous undertaking, especially into the north part of the river where it was shallower and rocky and prone to flooding. Just the kind of challenge Huck Finn would relish.

During this same time, the era of the steamboat was giving way to the steady advancement of the railroads. Huck sees himself, the old boats and even the river, as relics of a past that is quickly fading. He’s struggling to figure out how he fits into a new world rapidly catching up with him. Does he keep running? Or does he risk his freedom for the one thing that’s eluded him all these years?

You’ll have to read the book to find out.

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Seventeen stories for one great cause.

How can you get your Wild West “fix” and also support a great cause? Buy a limited edition copy of Wild Deadwood Tales.

This anthology, written exclusively to benefit rodeo athletes, brings the wild town of Deadwood to life in 17 original works of short fiction, including contemporary and historical romance, western and young adult fiction, even a few ghost stories.

Contributing authors include USA Today and Amazon bestselling authors: E.E. Burke, Zoe Blake, Paty Jager, Teresa Keefer, Megan Kelly, Sylvia McDaniel, Amanda McIntyre, Peggy McKenzie, Angi Morgan, Nancy Naigle, Jacqui Nelson, Terri Osburn, Ginger Ring, Maggie Ryan, Lizbeth Selvig, Tina Susedik and A.C. Wilson.

My contribution is Unexpected Calamity, a tale featuring two larger-than-life historical legends, Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok. Here’s a brief excerpt.

Martha Jane Cannary, aka Calamity Jane, has returned to Deadwood two years to the day after Wild Bill was shot to death during a poker game. 

Jane slapped her hand on the smooth surface to get the booze clerk’s attention. “Pour me two fingers of oh-be-joyful,” she bellowed.

The bartender wiped out a glass with his apron and set it in front of her. For some reason, he held the bottle upright instead of pouring. “That’ll be two bits.”

“I’ll pay when I’m finished.” She reached for the bottle.

He held it away and narrowed his eyes. “Here, you pay before you drink.”

If she had anything to pay with, she’d have pulled out the coins. As it was, she was broke. She could always pay later. “How do I know it ain’t bluestone swill?”

“Pay or go elsewhere,” he insisted.

“Don’t you recognize me?” She took off her hat. “Calamity Jane. I’ve been featured in dime books with Deadwood Dick. That’s worth a free drink.”

“Not in here it isn’t.”

“I’ll buy her a drink.” From behind, a man reached out and laid two bits on the bar. She glimpsed his strong, long-fingered hand and neatly trimmed nails, almost familiar…

When she spun to look at him, she couldn’t see his face on account of it being so dark inside and him having a wide hat brim pulled low over his eyes. But she could make out the light brown mustache framing his mouth.

A shiver rippled over her skin like an unexpected cold snap.

As he sauntered away, she stared in disbelief at the fine frock coat stretched across his shoulders, the long golden hair hanging from beneath the hat. With his back to her, he dragged out a chair. It looked like he was rejoining a poker game with four others.

A gambler. Of course, he just reminded her of Wild Bill.

“Hey, mister,” she called out.

He didn’t turn around. Some of the other men glanced up at her but went right back to playing cards.

“Here’s your drink,” the bartender said.

Jane gave her attention to the whiskey long enough to toss it back in one burning gulp, set the glass on the bar and turned to give the stranger her thanks.

He was gone. In fact, there wasn’t even a chair where he’d been sitting.

***

Wild Deadwood Tales is available as an eBook or paperback.

Amazon  |  iBooks  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Every Purchase is a Donation 

Proceeds from Wild Deadwood Tales go to the Western Sports Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing a wide range of assistance to athletes competing in Western lifestyle sports.  Whether they need help getting back on their feet or planning for their future, the WSF is there for them.

Where to buy your limited edition copy:

Amazon  |  iBooks  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Available in eBook and Paperback

PBR Velocity Tour Rodeo June 8-9:   At the Deadwood PBR Velocity Tour Rodeo on Friday, June 8, and Saturday, June 9, have your book autographed by the authors. While you’re there, enter to win signed posters, receive fun swag, and meet the authors! You can also enter to win the spectacular multi-author sponsored raffle basket being given away at the Wild Deadwood Reads book signing on Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM, at the Deadwood Mountain Grand. All proceeds go to WSF.

Wild Deadwood Reads, June 7-9,  Deadwood Mountain Grand Hotel: Conference attendees can purchase signed copies of Wild Deadwood Tales at the Meet and Greet on Thursday night, or at the Book Fair on Saturday morning. Preorder your paperback copy and have it waiting for you at one of the events (this option is only available for conference attendees). This year’s conference features 80 authors representing a variety of genres. Scheduled events include a special VIP Rodeo Experience “Behind the Chutes.” Learn more: www.WildDeadwoodReads.com.

Purchase WILD DEADWOOD TALES today and we’ll turn it into a donation!  LIKE us on Facebook and help us spread the word about this great cause!

Amazon  |  iBooks  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

To find out more about the Western Sports Foundation visit their website: www.westernsportsfoundation.org

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THE DRUM wraps up a bestselling series!

On the 12th day of Christmas, will love overcome a lifetime of bad luck?

Behind her back, they call her Bad Luck Penny. After being twice widowed before the age of thirty, misfortune follows her all the way to Colorado, culminating in humiliation when the third groom skips town on the day they’re to be wed.

Mayor Charles Hardt will do anything to save Noelle, the town he founded, as long as it doesn’t involve taking a wife. But then a jilted bride shows up at his door begging for a ride out of town on the day before the town must deliver twelve married couples as part of a deal to secure Noelle’s survival.

Under no circumstances will Charlie allow the last bride to escape, even if Penny is certain Noelle can’t take any more of her bad luck… For that matter, neither can Charlie.

Available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/12Drum

Twelve men. Twelve brides. Twelve days to save a town.

The Drum is the last book in the series, Twelve Days of Christmas Mail-Order Brides written by twelve bestselling authors, who put a new twist on an old song in this heartwarming historical romance series.

If you haven’t had a chance to sample the series, here is a link to the entire series: Twelve Days of Christmas Mail-Order Brides.

Where’s Noelle?

The mining town where the Twelve Days of Christmas Mail-Order Brides series is set is a fictional place, but we drew inspiration from the history of Leadville.

This Colorado boomtown located ten thousand feet high in a valley of the Rockies, became famous for its silver mine. But the town got its start when gold was discovered there around 1860. The stream gorge, named California Gulch, instantly became the site of a rip-roaring gold rush, and crude dwellings and businesses sprang up along the narrow gulch. Two years later, the gold ran out and miners abandoned the town in droves.

It stood deserted for thirteen years until another prospector became curious about the black sand and underlying rock and had a sample assayed, which proved to be a lode of carbonate of lead rich with silver. By 1877, the silver rush was on! The town’s name came from its lead and silver mining. Later, copper and zinc would be shipped out of the mineral-rich valley.

 

If you haven’t had a chance to sample the series, here is a link to the entire series: Twelve Days of Christmas Mail-Order Brides.

 

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The Bride Train Series Collection

The Bride Train Series Collection Introductory Offer

Taming the West one bride at a time

Four women answer a railroad advertisement seeking single young ladies as brides for settlers on the Western frontier. The Bride Train carries them to a land plagued by violence and unrest…a place where passion rules…and only a woman’s touch can tame it into love.

Valentine’s Rose

An English nobleman searching for riches, an Irish laundress seeking love… Only in American would Fate be foolish enough to put them together.

Patrick’s Charm

A disabled veteran’s fortunes improve after he hires a beautiful and talented performer…but when her past catches up will his luck run out?

Tempting Prudence

An upright spinster is kidnapped to become the bride of a notorious bootlegger and finds an unexpected chance at love…if she’ll risk everything, including her reputation.

Seducing Susannah

The arrogant railroad agent must marry a proper lady to reclaim his inheritance, but the woman he wants despises him passionately.

Prequel: A Bride’s Journey

“BONUS!! Prequel: A Bride’s Journey Enjoy this brief introduction to The Bride Train Series, which provides a glimpse into the journal of one of the brides traveling west.

This series features a cast of characters taken straight from the pages of history. Why not try your hand at matching them? Who would YOU put together and why?

All four of the Bride Train books have become Amazon bestsellers, and Tempting Prudence won a readers’ and bloggers’ book award for Best Western Romance in 2016.

The Bride Train Series Collection

Take a ride on the Bride Train out to the American West and fall in love!

Purchase the collection today!

 

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Meet a legendary Lone Star family

Say hello to Maybe Baby, the first installment in my new contemporary romance series, Texas Hardts.

Jen Chandler can’t ignore the urgent ticking of her biological clock, no matter how many hours she puts in at work. The nesting instinct has kicked in big-time, and she wants a baby. After too many failed relationships, she isn’t looking for a husband. Instead, she sets out in search of a sperm donor to make her dream come true.

Logan Hardt, a laid-back cowboy who shows up at her Atlanta home one day, turns out to have the right genes, as well as a pressing need for cash. But he’s seduced by more than Jen’s generous offer, and the closer the time comes to say goodbye, the less willing he is to honor a contract that would require him to walk away and never look back.

Will a contract between them lead to more than a baby? Maybe.

See what early reviewers are saying…

“If you want a good, fun romance that makes you laugh until your sides hurt, this is the book for you.” ~Linda Broday, NYT Bestselling author

“E.E. Burke’s Maybe Baby just catapulted itself into the front runner as my favorite.” ~ Amazon reviewer

“Maybe Baby fills all the spaces in our heart with a warmhearted story of two people finding love in the most unexpected ways.” ~ Goodreads reviewer

I’m over-the-moon excited to see that readers are loving Logan and Jen’s story. The series follows Logan and his brothers, as the Texas Hardts come together to save their family’s ancestral ranch.

Pick up your copy of Maybe Baby at the following online retailers:
Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo

Texas Hardts: The Origins

Logan Hardt, one of the main characters in Maybe Baby, is a direct descendant of two of my historical characters in The Bride Train series. Ross and Susannah Hardt. You can read their story in Seducing Susannah. Here’s the blurb:

When all else fails, try seduction.

 Ross Hardt must marry a proper lady in order to reclaim his inheritance. Among the few prospects in town is a beautiful, sassy widow who has tantalized him from the day they first met–the same day she slapped his face. 

Susannah Braddock journeys west on The Bride Train in search of good father for her young son, but on the lawless frontier few candidates meet her requirements, least of all the arrogant, demanding, unfeeling railroad agent.

 As Fate—and Ross’s scheming—draws them closer, Susannah glimpses unexpected tenderness beneath Ross’s harsh exterior, and she’s tempted by the fiery passion that flares between them. But when a secret comes out that threatens to destroy their budding relationship, passion isn’t enough. Only love can weather the oncoming storm.

SEDUCING SUSANNAH is Book 4 in The Bride Train, an exciting historical romance series inspired by true events. 

Texas Hardts: The Series 

Logan’s story will introduce readers to a sizzling new contemporary romance series coming out later this year, Texas Hardts.

Meet the Texas Hardts. They’ve survived war, drought and pestilence to build a ranching empire. Loyalty, they understand. These cowboys have a few things to learn about love…

Do you know why it’s called the Double H? Both Hardt men explain in  Seducing Susannah and Maybe Baby.

The Double H brand might give you a hint as to the meaning.

Click here to check out an excerpt from Maybe Baby.

This summer, I’m giving away five paperback copies on Goodreads. You can enter here:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Maybe Baby by E.E. Burke

Maybe Baby

by E.E. Burke

Giveaway ends June 20, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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The Bride Train arrives with a new story

NEW! Seducing Susannah, Book 4, The Bride Train

When all else fails, try seduction.  

Ross Hardt must marry a proper lady to reclaim his inheritance. Among the few prospects in town is a beautiful, sassy widow who has tantalized him from the day they first met–the same day she slapped his face.

Susannah Braddock journeyed west on The Bride Train in search of a good father for her young son, but on the lawless frontier few candidates meet her requirements, least of all the arrogant, unfeeling railroad agent.

As Fate—and Ross’s scheming—draws them closer, Susannah glimpses tenderness beneath her suitor’s harsh exterior, and she’s tempted by the fiery passion that flares between them. But when a secret comes out that threatens to destroy their budding relationship, passion isn’t enough. Only love can weather the oncoming storm.

Amazon |  iBooks | B&N | Kobo

 The Bride Train Series 

Four women answer a railroad advertisement seeking single young ladies as brides for settlers on the Western frontier. The Bride Train takes them to a land plagued by violence and unrest, a place where passion rules, and only a woman’s touch can tame it into love.

Valentine’s Rose, Book 1 

An English nobleman, an Irish laundress… Only in America would Fate would be foolish enough to put them together.

Start the series FREE with Valentine’s Rose when you sign up for my newsletter. Or you can buy it here.

Patrick’s Charm, Book 2

A disabled Union veteran down on his luck and a famous actress on the run from danger find shelter in each other’s arms, and love where they least expect it.

ON SALE FOR ONLY 99 CENTS!

Buy it today.

Tempting Prudence,  Book 3

A spinster kidnapped to become the bride for a bootlegger finds an unexpected chance at love.

Buy it today.

Seducing Susannah, Book 4

Ross must marry a proper lady to reclaim his inheritance. Susannah is the one he wants, but she hates him…passionately. When all else fails, try seduction.

Order your copy.

 

 

 

 

 

ENTER TO WIN MY #BOOKBIRTHDAY PRIZES: A $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD OR A SIGNED COPY OF SEDUCING SUSANNAH WITH A SILVER BOOKMARK.

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