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Tag: The Bride Train

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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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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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

AmazonUS |  iBooks | B&N | KoboGoogle

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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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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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Get Aboard The Bride Train

NEW RELEASE! Patrick’s Charm, Book 2 in The Bride Train series

Patrick's Charm

Available on Amazon

She believes in nothing. He has nothing left to believe in, except his good luck charm.

Lady Luck hasn’t been kind to Patrick O’Shea. The Irish immigrant has suffered loss, betrayal and bitter disappointment since arriving in America. When a talented performer shows up at his saloon looking for a job, it appears his luck is about to change.

Charm LaBelle would rather take a job singing in a saloon than be forced to marry. The famous actress is on the run from danger and has learned the hard way not to entrust her life, or her heart, to any man…in particular, her charming employer.

Patrick is determined to hold onto his good luck through whatever means necessary, including marriage. But Charm won’t give up her freedom or her secrets, and it’s only a matter of time before luck runs out.

Read an excerpt from Patrick’s Charm.

Fun Facts about Patrick’s Charm…

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 1.10.54 PM

The Irish Brigade at the Battle of Fredericksburg.

Patrick’s Charm features a disabled veteran and a runaway actress who both desperately need a lucky break. Researching this book, I learned a great deal about the Irish experience in America’s Civil War. While the war was raging in the early 1860s, the Union turned to the immigration docks for new recruits. These young men were signed up “fresh off the boat” and sent into battle, often with little understanding of what they were up against.

This is how Patrick O’Shea starts his new life in America. Although he questions the wisdom of his decision to enlist, he nevertheless serves honorably, as did his countrymen, many of whom fought with the ill-fated Irish Brigade.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 8.08.07 PMPatrick’s permanent injuries are a constant reminder of his bad luck. Wounded soldiers were routinely dosed with opium for pain, and many of them, like Patrick, became dependent on the drug. Opium addiction among former troops was so widespread it was given the name Soldier’s Disease. Imagine the strength it would’ve taken to cope with injury, addiction and the rigors of starting a new life on the frontier. I think you’ll find Patrick a fascinating character.

Patrick meets his match in Charm LaBelle.

CharmCharm is a famous actress traveling incognito. She signed onto the bride train as a means of escaping danger with no intention of getting married. Instead, she takes a job as a saloon singer. Her decision has far-reaching effects. I won’t spoil the story by going into them.

Charm’s character is loosely based on a famous 19th century actress, Lotta Crabtree, who got her start as a child, entertaining miners in San Francisco. Pursuing acting as a profession in America in those days required a great deal of courage and fortitude. Traveling through the wilds was bad enough. Performances were held in mining camps, saloons, and on makeshift stages. Only the famous few appeared in large theaters. Actresses who traveled the West were strong-willed and independent and certainly didn’t fit the mold of Victorian womanhood, which it made it difficult for them to find suitable mates or form relationships with women outside their circle. It wasn’t an easy life.

In her impromptu audition, Charm sings two songs popular during the war and afterwards. One you might classify as a “fight song,” The Irish Volunteer. If you listen to this, you’ll want to jump up and dance like the men did at O’Shea’s saloon. The other, Lorena, is a ballad sure to bring tears to the eyes of former soldiers. 

It was great fun researching acts performed by traveling entertainers, which also included humorous skits created on the fly, and, surprisingly, lots of Shakespeare. Who knew the bard was so popular in the American West?

Both Charm and Patrick have lived with tragedy, bitter disappointment and betrayal. Trust isn’t something that comes easily for either of them. Both are wounded in different ways. They must come together to help each other, and then, through love, find healing.

I hope you enjoy Patrick’s Charm. Check back next month for information about the next book in the series. Until then…

Steam On!

E.E. Burke

~ How about those gorgeous trains on my covers! The images were taken by award-winning photographer Matthew Malkeiwicz. He travels the country capturing relics of the steam era, and his work is simply amazing. You can see more of it on his website, Lost Tracks of Time.

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