Bestselling Author

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10th Anniversary Celebration: Passion and Photography

Steam train image by Matthew Malkiewicz; cover design by Erin Dameron-Hill

One of the greatest challenges and pleasures in self-publishing is partnering with other artists to conceive the book cover. It’s the physical representation of your story, and so it has to be right. For the Steam! Romance and Rails series, I didn’t just want pictures of trains, I wanted images that would capture the passion and drama of a long-ago time and bring it alive.

When I came across a website featuring the photographic art of Matthew Malkiewicz, I knew I’d found perfect fit. His photography visibly defines the era and captures the mood I want to evoke. His trains are featured on eight of my books, and his iconic images are also featured in the banner of my website and on my newsletter.

Contrary to what some might say, authors can’t launch and sustain careers without great partners, such as critique buddies, editors, illustrators, and designers, photographers, to name a few.  In this post, I wanted to extend a special thanks to someone who has been a valued partner and friend on the journey, Matthew Malkiewicz.

I’ll let him tell his story in his own words:

How did you get started “shooting” trains?

Photo by Matthew Malkiewicz

It was more an awakening than an idea, it all started at the age of 4 months. I have a photo of myself watching a toy train run around the Christmas tree as a baby, it must have hooked me well. As a kid I had a model train layout on a piece of plywood in the basement, and in my teens I received my first camera, which I aimed at every train I saw. After a long period in my life without cameras or trains a job assignment in Colorado (a train mecca) during 2005 rekindled both hobbies, driving me to buy my first digital camera. At the same time I discovered the power of Photoshop, soon after I created my website to showcase my rapidly growing collection of photographs. It’s been a snowball effect ever since.

What are some of your favorite locations or settings?

I concentrate on vintage steam locomotives from all across the United States. Now they have second lives as tourist operations, the fortunate trains that survived the scrapping after the fleet was retired in the middle of the last century. Modern day railroading, both passenger and freight revenue, are pulled by either diesel or electric engines. My passion gravitates to the machines of yesteryear, fire-breathing monsters that seem to be alive whether you have your hand against the polished steel or you are two bluffs away looking across acres of prairie grass. I envision how it must have been back in the day and try to create photographs as timeless as possible to depict what I consider a vibrantly better and sadly vanished time.

What drew you to photographing old steam engines?

Photo by Matthew Malkiewicz

The allure of capturing images that stimulate one’s senses is what drew me to photograph steam-powered locomotives. I wanted to bring to life the smells of the coal fueling the engine, the sound of the steam hissing, and the earth rattling as these magnificent machines sit idling or are in motion. These machines of steam are alive. Each is unique, its own personality, which changes from day to day. At a state of rest the locomotive is groaning, sweating, simmering, creaking, spitting. At speed it’s controlled madness – the ground shakes, sound deafening.

What’s the coolest train you’ve ever photographed and why?

Halloween weekend 2011 at the East Broad Top Railroad in Pennsylvania. Nothing, and I mean nothing; can keep me away from capturing that awe-inspiring shot of a majestic steam locomotive.  However, the Halloween nor’easter would certainly test my fortitude. The storm produced unusually early season snowfall across the northeastern United States, breaking records for total accumulations. As the morning passed on, the snow intensified. By the time the train made its way out of town for its first run of the day, we had experienced near whiteout conditions and things got real quiet. With a typical steam train, you would expect to hear wheels clacking against the rails and steam puffing from the stack. But to my surprise, the snow seemed to envelop and muffle the familiar sound of the locomotive. As the train bellowed down the snowy rails, it was visible that the pine trees struggled to support the weight of the fresh snow, and the cornfields became covered in a white blanket. The autumn-colored leaves indicated that perhaps the trees were also caught off-guard by the storm. An image from the day, aptly named “Train on a Snow Day”, placed second in the Center for Railroad Photography & Art’s 2014 Awards Program.

Photo by Matthew Malkiewicz

Do you enjoy seeing your work interpreted on book covers? Is it how you might have imagined, or completely different?

Yes I do. We all interpret a scene differently, it’s what makes us individuals. I enjoy seeing how others, such as the graphic artist of a book cover, takes my photograph and add their own style, flair, and techniques to enhance. The final results have been beyond my expectations; very pleasantly surprised every time.

Here are some of Matthew’s images on book covers designed by the very talented Erin Dameron-Hill.

Photograph by Matthew Malkiewicz; cover design by Erin Dameron-Hill

Photograph by Matthew Malkiewicz; cover design by Erin Dameron-Hill

Photograph by Matthew Malkiewicz; cover design by Erin Dameron-Hill

Photograph by Matthew Malkiewicz; cover design by Erin Dameron-Hill

Photograph by Matthew Malkiewicz; cover design by Erin Dameron-Hill

Photograph by Matthew Malkiewicz; cover design by Erin Dameron-Hill

What dreams have been realized as a result of your photography?

Throughout life, we all seek our own way in the pursuit of happiness, to find something that’s going to set us apart from the pack, mold our life into something special, and discover the sense in it all.  We test different things to determine what will help us in our quest, push us beyond our own limits, and achieve our dreams. My galleries capture my travels and experiences across our countryside.  Some near home, others far away and remote, all uniquely memorable.  It’s a passion that has taken me to where I am in life today.  My hope is that someday my portfolio will be an inspiration to others interested in this hobby I truly love.  I’m confident that one day I will capture my most spectacular image.  Until then, each photo tells the story of lost time, remembered.

While Matthew continues to pursue his dream of capturing soul-stirring images of an era long past, I continue to pursue my dream to write stories that will transport readers to the past and connect them to the hopes and dreams of others and themselves.

I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to share them with you, dear reader.

Enjoy a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

With fondness and gratitude,

E.E. Burke

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Don’t Miss This Special Promotion

For a limited time, you can pick up SEDUCING SUSANNAH for only 99 cents. 

When all else fails, try seduction.

Ross Hardt must marry a proper lady to reclaim his inheritance. Among the few remaining 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, demanding, unfeeling railroad agent.

As Fate—and Ross’s scheming—draws them closer, Susannah glimpses unexpected tenderness beneath his 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 an exciting series inspired by true events. Sweetly passionate, filled with wit and warmth–don’t miss this top-rated historical romance. 

NOW ON SALE FOR ONLY 99 CENTS

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Here’s an excerpt:

Ross stood to stretch his legs. Needing to move, he crossed to the large picture window, which had been shipped in by railroad for a dress shop that had failed to materialize. The previous land agent used the glass for the land office instead. Ross enjoyed being able to see outside. He hated to be cooped up in a dark room.

A petite woman walking briskly from the corner arrested his gaze. Susannah Braddock. He’d recognize her curvaceous form anywhere—or his body would, at any rate. Inconvenient, this strong attraction he had to a woman who despised him.

Talk about first impressions. She’d made a hell of an impression the day she’d arrived in town, smacked his face so hard his ears rang. Granted, he had it coming after losing his patience and embarrassing her. Since then, he’d tried to find the right time and place to apologize, even stooping so low as to seek her out at church and sit beside her, hoping to speak to her afterwards. She’d shooed him away in front of the entire congregation. He ought to call it a draw and let her be, but he couldn’t.

“Ross, there’s something I need to tell you.” Val’s solemn tone drew Ross’s attention. Why the look of concern?

“Is Mrs. Valentine ill?”

“No, she’s very well, thank you. She’s shopping. Rose won’t have time to stop by, but she sends her regards.” Val didn’t bat an eye or indicate he still struggled with jealousy.

Ross had a slight bump on the bridge of his nose as a reminder. “Give her my regards in return, and tell her thank you.”

“For what?”

“For not coming by to see me and tempting you to punch me in the nose again.” Ross’s smile faded when his friend didn’t respond to the dig. He’d never been interested in Rose Muldoon beyond a sort of brotherly affection. Surely Val realized that by now. “What’s the trouble? You appear concerned.”

“I am concerned. For you.”

Ross released a laugh that sounded rusty. He hadn’t found many things amusing lately, but this was a good joke. Val must’ve looked out the window and seen the feisty widow approaching, and couldn’t resist returning a jab. He’d been witness to the face-slapping incident. “Aside from being a bantam, I don’t believe she’s dangerous.”

“Mrs. Braddock?” Val rose from his chair and joined Ross at the window. “Ah. I disagree. A determined woman can be very dangerous.

Welcome to The Bride Train

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.

 

 

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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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Autumn brings blazing color and Hearts Ablaze

What’s more fun than a bonfire and s’mores? Having a sizzling story to read while you’re enjoying the westernboxedsetfall foliage. How about eight sizzling tales from the Old West?

I’m delighted to be part of a multi-bestselling author publishing project, HEARTS ABLAZE, a collection of eight Western historical romances set during the autumn months and blazing with passion and adventure.

This limited time boxed set is available for just 99 cents.  

http://bit.ly/BuyHeartsAblaze
When the eight of us first came together to work on this project, we quickly realized we had something very special–a collection that represents the varied and vibrant tapestry of the Old American West.

From the wild Pacific forests to the lonesome prairie, on wagon trains and at frontier outposts, you’ll fall in love with lumberjacks and soldiers, trailblazers and trick riders, courageous warriors and rugged cowboys.

For my part, I’ve revised and expanded my debut novella, which is featured as part of the collection.

Kate’s Outlaw is a suspenseful yarn about a half-breed desperado who abducts—and then rescues—a railroad heiress. On the run from danger, with enemies on both sides, Jake and Kate seek solace in each other’s arms, igniting a love as powerful as it is forbidden.

Read on to learn more about the other books included in this limited time collection:

In Whispered Love, bestselling author Kathleen Ball takes you to the wild Pacific Northwest, a land bristling with handsome, well-muscled lumberjacks. Foreman Samuel Pearse has only one rule; no women allowed. Until he finds one asleep in his bathtub—Pat Clarke, the company cook. With her secret revealed and her virtue at stake, Pat turns to the only man who can help her…the one man who sets fire to her heart.

The Officer and the Bostoner, from USA Today bestselling author Rose Gordon, follows the adventures of a well-to-do lady traveling cross-country to meet her intended. Instead, she finds herself stranded at a military fort and forced into an unwanted marriage. Can a hot-blooded officer spark love in his wife’s cold heart?

heartsablaze_ad1Fools Rush from USA Today bestselling author Ciara Knight. A young woman, desperate for independence from all men, embarks on a crazy cross-country wagon train adventure disguised as a man. Instead of finding her independence, a bounty hunter captures her under the guise of horse thieving, a crime punishable by hanging. Will a man she’s lied to for months save her, or will he surrender her to a monster with a badge?

Ridin’ For A Fall by Kirsten Lynn immerses you in a fiery tale of forever love. When circumstances force best friends and Wild West Show performers, Lena Boden and Kyle Allaway to marry and return to Wyoming, they must stand together against internal doubts and external forces seeking their destruction—or risk a fall that will knock them out of the saddle for good.

In A Warrior’s Heart, bestselling author Amanda McIntyre brings to life the passionate story of a bold Cherokee warrior and the brave white woman he rescues from certain death. Thrown together by circumstances not of their own making, they overcome betrayal and tragedy to find a love strong enough to bring nations together.

The Rancher, by bestselling author Hildie McQueen, transports readers to 1870s Montana Territory and into a sensual encounter between an injured rancher and a woman running for her life. Sometimes love enters at the worst moment…

In The Drifter, bestselling author Elizabeth Rose takes readers on an epic journey across the plains, as drifter Chase Masters shows up wounded at Nessa Pemberton’s stagecoach relay station mistaken as the bandit who killed her husband. Can a single mother learn to love again and put her trust in a man who is nothing but a drifter?hb-party

Let’s party!

On Thursday, Oct. 20, from 6-10 p.m. Eastern, we’re rounding up lovers of Western historical romance for a big celebration on Facebook. Joining me as hosts will be Hildie McQueen, Amanda McIntyre, Kathleen Ball, Rose Gordon, Ciara Knight and Elizabeth Rose. We’ll be turning up the heat (on each other), and providing readers with excerpts, fun facts, Flash giveaways, and a drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card!

Here’s the link to join the party. http://bit.ly/HeartsAblazeParty

 

 

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When a railroad plays matchmaker

Eve Find Your Adam in the Garden of the World!

Single young ladies of good reputation desiring to emigrate west for the purpose of marriage may apply to the Young Ladies Immigration Society for free travel to southeastern Kansas, where hardworking settlers are eager to make your acquaintance and become steadfast husbands. Applicants must be free to wed, of marriageable age, preferably between the years of 18 and 25, without deformities, debts or other encumbrances. Dance hall girls, circus performers and soiled doves need not apply. Must provide references.

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 4.20.42 PMWith this advertisement begins a journey for seven women who answer the call to become brides for settlers on the Western frontier. The Bride Train takes them to a land plagued by violence and unrest. A place ruled by passion that only a woman’s touch can tame into love.


The Bride Train

Taming the West one bride at a time.

The mail-order bride phenomenon in 19th century America spawned personal advertisements, matrimonial newspapers and matchmaking services—even railroads wanted a piece of the action.

The Bride Train is inspired by a series of true events that took place in southeastern Kansas shortly after the Civil War, when the government opened up former Cherokee land. The railroads used their political power purchase the large tract before preemption claims were certified, forcing those who had already settled in the territory to broker deals with the new owner.

By 1869, riots broke out in protest of railroad land policies. Angry settlers burned ties and tore up track as fast as the railroad could put it down. Things got so bad that President Grant sent troops into Kansas to quell the violence. A more peaceful solution was proposed: a program sponsoring the immigration of single young ladies into Kansas to become brides and provide a “calming influence” on the unruly men. I couldn’t find any evidence this program got off the ground, but what a great romance series idea!

The Bride Train is first mentioned in my debut romance novEEBurke_HerBodyguard_800el, Her Bodyguard, which is set against the same series of events in a different location. Click here to read a scene about the arrival of the first Bride Train.

That scene inspired me to conceive an entire series about the railroad matchmaking service. The first question that popped into my head was: “What kind of women would answer an advertisement to leave everything behind and go to an unknown and largely uncivilized land to marry virtual strangers? They would have to be desperate, or adventurous in the extreme.

Let me introduce you to the first bride:

Rose Muldoon, 20, is an Irish laundress from Five Points, a crime-ridden slum in New York City. After a terrible tragedy, she finds herself alone, destitute and with few good men to choose from. She decides to seek a hardworking husband out West and start a family to replace the one she’s lost.
ValentinesRose_FacebookAdWhen considering a hero who would be perfect for my Irish Rose, I thought, why not a dissolute English nobleman?

(Don’t you love mismatched couples?)

Constantine Valentine is the second son of an English Baron. His reckless, irresponsible lifestyle results in banishment and unexpected poverty. Never one to quit, Val decides to seek his fortune in America and then return home to repair his tarnished reputation.

The surname Valentine, of Anglo-Saxon origin, comes from a Latin name Valentinus, from the root word valens, which means strong and healthy. The word “valor” comes from this root. But even a strong man is bound to have a weakness. One that only his true love can help him overcome…

Click here to read an excerpt from Valentine’s Rose.

If you’d like to know more about the series and be notified when new books come out, sign up to receive my newsletter. Just for signing up, I’ll send you a FREE book.

All Aboard!

E.E. Burke

~ Train photography by Matthew Malkeiwicz, all rights reserved. Check out more of Matthew’s work on his website: Lost Tracks of Time.

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