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Billy the Kid

Some think Billy the Kid was a bad man. Some think he was an unsung hero. I personally think that he was a kid with a good heart who got portrayed as a villain as he vainly tried to bring justice to the world he lived in. I remember when I became interested in Billy the Kid when I watched the movie Young Guns as a child. Yes, the its a movie of historical fiction (just like my book, Me and Billy the Kid, is) but it was enough to get me thinking. I started researching the young cowboy and found so many ‘holes’ in history that didn’t make sense to me. And of course, different books portrayed him in different lights, which gave birth to my quote:

“Even the History Books tend to favor one side of the story.”

As with so many things in life, you have to make a decision about what to believe and what to ignore. For me, the fact that Billy stood on the right side of the law and was seeking to avenge his friend’s death makes him quite endearing. Yes, he killed people. But war is war. Death is inevitable in such situations. If you are faced with a kill-or-be-killed situation, I know I would do what I had to do to protect myself and the people I care about. That was exactly what Billy was doing. So in my book, I did my best to stick to the facts that most history books agreed upon, but it was my goal to do that in a way where all my readers could see Billy how I saw him. As the good guy. And I found an easy way to fill those ‘holes’. With a girl. A girl that maybe the history books left out, even thought she played an important role in Billy’s life and the events of the Lincoln County War.  A girl I called Angel. And with her help, I was able to put all the pieces of Billy’s life together, every last piece, to see the man he really was. A good man. A kind man. A man with a bad reputation he didn’t deserve. And thanks to Angel, I got to meet the real William H. Bonney, alias Billy the Kid.

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

In honor of the ‘Lover’s Holiday’ that is upon us today, here is an excerpt from my western romance book, Me and Billy the Kid.

***

Softly, Garrett asked me, “Angel, won’t you stay with me? Don’t go back to Billy.” My mouth fell open, but no words could be heard.

Garrett wasn’t finished; he held out a satchel, “Make up your mind Angel: stay here with me and let me protect you. I’d be good to you, Angel, and I’d be good for you. Or you can take this bag; inside there are twenty dollars, a change of clothes, your gun and knife, and enough food and water to last you a week, and you can run. Run as far as you can. Maybe Billy will take you back and maybe not. Either way, I’ll always love you, and I’ll be hoping you’ll come back here and knowing it won’t take long for me to win you over, really win you over. And I’ll be wishing you’ll come to love me, too.”

I hadn’t expected this. Garrett loved me? Sheriff Patrick Garrett loved me? Impossible, and yet, hadn’t I know that all along? Didn’t I see it in his eyes? Or tell by the way he walked beside me, protective and loyal? Yes. I had known. And hadn’t I been just the tiniest bit proud? Or maybe the right word was smug. Yes, that was true. But did I love him back? My heart pounded and I screamed at myself, ‘Traitor!’ as I finally unraveled one of the many feelings I had for that tall, dark eyed man that was beside me.

I felt a…fondness towards him. Of course, it was nothing like the deep love I had for Billy, but still, there was something. But if I had to choose, even if Billy didn’t love me anymore, I would never, could never, choose Garrett.

He was the Law. I ran from the Law. So why wasn’t I running now? My heart was pounding in my throat as I reached out and roughly took the satchel from Garrett’s hands. I turned, but not in time to miss seeing the immense hurt in his eyes. But the hurt was replaced almost instantly with determination. I could tell Garrett was going to try and earn my love.

I spurred my horse forward, hearing him call after me, “I still love you! I’ll be waiting for you! Angel, please!” I tried to block his words, but they found me, hurting and burning me like hot coals.

***

First review for Billy the Kid!!!

“I admit it, I’m a fan of Briana’s work. She’s definitely a voice to watch in the
YA category. She has the ability to bring a story and characters to life with
great economy and to make you really care about the people she describes. This
novella takes figures from history and re-imagines them, including a possible
diversion from standard lore, but you won’t find spoilers in this
review!!

I have found with all of Briana’s writing that she captures and
describes strong, feisty, thoroughly likable female protagonists particularly
well. The narrator of this tale shows great loyalty and courage, even in the
face of sometimes confusing and conflicting emotional scenarios.

If I have one criticism of the book it is perhaps its length – this has meant that
the initial introduction to other characters, including Billy the Kid himself,
was not as detailed as the narrator. I think the pace of the book initially may
have contributed to that. But this is a minor quibble – it probably just shows
that I like the way Briana draws her characters so much I’m a bit greedy for
more! I would say, though, if she ever wanted to re-visit this tale as a novel
rather than novella she has provided herself a firm foundation and a taste of
things to come for readers of her work!”

 

Thank you so much to my dear poet friend, Helen!

The Billy the Kid and D Files, Part 3

They were found on a roadside, deep in the Nevada desert. Part of a cache of documents obviously intended for a secure location, the files have been kept secret until today. Their earth-shattering contents will amaze, possibly frighten and answer the question: what happens when an infamous Old West gunslinger and a centuries-old time-travelling Druid meet up?

 Chaos. Card games. Drinking. And chaos.

Part 3: Cheers

D: Greetings on this lovely day! How is everyone!

Billy: D! Good to see you, pal! Goin’ great here! How in the heck are you?

D: Just grand, Billy. For once, I can say there is nothing wrong in my world (even A is behaving herself)!

Billy: This calls for a celebration! I don’t usually drink, but when the occasion calls for it…

Angel: Billy?

Billy: Yes?

Angel: Keep in mind that you’re talking to a real Irishman. He’d drink you under the table.

D: Ma’am, I am a Druid – I only drink when the rituals of my people call for it . . . of if my clan is celebrating a feast day. . . or if we’ve just won a great battle and are mourning the loss of our friends. . . or. . . Well, it’s been a while, Angel. I’m fairly certain Billy and I are evenly matched!!

Angel: In that case, I’ll go get the whiskey.

D: Billy – she’s a right keeper, that woman is! Angel in name and deed!

Billy: Yessir! Never met better. And beautiful to boot!

D: That’s a splendid combination! Will you lead us in the toast, Billy?

Billy: It would be my pleasure! Here’s to true friendship and never ending love! And my new best pal, D. Cheers!

Angel: Cheers!

D: Cheers – Sláinte . To your health, Billy and to your beauty, Angel!

Billy: Thanks D! Have another round! Sláinte !

Angel: You are really too kind, D. And no more for me, Billy.

D: Indeed – Cheers – to the wild men of the west, may they live on forever!

Billy: And to the free druids! May they be reunited with their lost loves and forever be victorious in battle!

D: Sláinte – Thank you, Billy! What do you say to that game we talked about earlier? Want to play a hand or two?

Billy: I’m in!

Angel: Oh no, now he’s going to be drunk and dirt poor. Billy, do remember that you’re playing against a friend. Give me your pistol.

D: Ma’am, it’s likely we’ll both be drunk and poor! And Billy, i haven’t a pistol, but I gladly surrender my long sword and the ceremonial dagger at my belt.

Angel: At least then it will be fair. And you can keep your sword and knife. Later I’ll call you out and see how good you are with that knife.

D: Trained with it since I was a lad of 3, ma’am. My father’s cousin was the clan man-at-arms and trained us all in the arts of war.

Angel: Then you are far too skilled for me. Richard started teaching me when I was eighteen, but before he died, he told me I was very good.

D: Oooh,I sense a story here – who is Richard? I have no doubt that you are very skilled. And in the state Billy and I could be in, you’d probably take me down easily!

Angel: Richard was my friend. He worked for the same man as Billy and I did. He became the closest thing to a brother I ever had. But then the war came and our boss was murdered. Richard led us into battle against those bad men. Then one day, he was gunned down. I was there with him as he took his last breath. I still have his knife. It is my most treasured possession.

D: Miss Angel, you give me the shivers. I’m sorry for your loss – it’s hard to lay to rest a man such as that. His memory lives on in you, and I think you do him proud.

Angel: The hardest part was, I didn’t even get to be there at his funeral. His killer wanted me dead, and Billy made me run away.

Billy: it was for the best, love.

D: I would have to agree. Sometimes we have to run in order to live and fight another day. I’ve run in my time. I’m not proud of it, but I’ve always ended up stronger for the fight to come.

Angel: I appreciate your kind words, D. You make me feel like what I did was not wrong. Thank you. Okay, now I think I need another drink.

Billy: Thanks D. I’ve been trying to tell her that for years.

D: We’ll raise a toast to you, Angel – a toast to living – to honoring those who have fallen.

Sometimes we just need to hear it from someone who isn’t as close to it as we are! I’m sure there is many a thing I’ve only come to understand now that my elders and friends tried to teach me long ago!

Angel: Sláinte ! Thank you, my friend.

Billy: Sláinte ! Say, D? I’m not sure if I can play cards anymore. I might have had a little too much……..

Angel: Billy? Hahahah! He passed out! I told him you’d drink him under the table, D!

D: Sláinte  – whoa, missed the chair! Hey Billy. . . what are you doing on the floor buddy. . . ?

Um . . . it looks nice and cool down there, Angel. . . I think I might. . . zzzzzzzzzzzzz……..

Angel: A? Briana? Little help? Please?

A: Oh boy. . . God, he had to be a big hulking Scot, didn’t he? Oof. . . he’s heavy. D! Yo! D! Wake up!

D: (Slurring) I’s a Pict, lady. . .

Brian: Billy! Come on! Get up! Rise and shine! Anyone have any ice water around?

A: Oh, please, Angel. Say you do. I will pay you to have ice water around.

Angel: It will be my pleasure, A. No money required. I’ve wanted to do this for years! But he always wore his gun and I didn’t want to get it wet…

A: Angel, you’re a life saver!! I can understand your restraint, but splash away, please!

Angel: Lovely. Watch out ladies!

Billy: Jiminy Christmas! What in the-?

D: Oh by the gods, that’s cold! Oh, A – Angel – Briana – how could you?! *shiver* Gods…

Billy, I don’t care what they say – women are most certainly tougher than men – meaner too. I think I have an ice cube lodged in my robe…

Billy: Darn womenfolk! Can’t live with ‘em and can’t live without ‘em! Come on D, let’s go find a towel or something!

D: Too right, Billy. I’m with you – see you, “ladies.”

Angel: Ta Ta.

Briana: Bye, guys.

A: Cheers, D. Bye Billy.

Billy: *frown* I guess that’s just tough love, D.

D: I suppose. I just wish they’d wipe those smiles from their faces!

Billy: If they smile any bigger, their jaws are going to dislocate theirselves.

D: Bloody harpies . . . no disrespect to Angel, of course. It’s just the glee. . . that’s what really gets to me.

Billy: Naw, look at her! Angel planned this! She’s laughing the hardest! Look, she’s crying!

Briana: You deserved it, Billy. She warned you.

Billy: I thought you said you’d let us men talk!

Briana: Angel needed help.

A: And you always deserve it, D. I was just happy to help!

Billy: Angel can take care of herself! Who put her up to the ice water?

Eh? She thought of it on her own, didn’t she?

A: *whistles* Um I’m pretty sure it was all of us… Sure. All of us.

D: Bloody woman.

Briana: Actually, I suggested it, but A was already thinking it. Angel just happened to have the ice on hand.

Billy: I give up. Let’s go find something to eat. Know of any diners that sell steak, baked potatoes, beans, and coffee at this hour? Apple pie would be good, too.

D: Collaborators. *Sigh* I think I know of a place. That child A purports to have raised eats well enough. Come with me. I’ll take you to a diner called Gus’ Drive-In. You like cars?

Billy: Cars? What’s that? Like horses?

Briana: More or less…

Billy: I’m not talking to you right now, Briana!

Briana: Actually, you just talked to me.

Billy: Confound it all! Let’s go, D!

D: Fancy horses, Billy – they’re the most marvelous things! See ya, ladies!

Billy: Sounds good! I had a real nice racehorse, once. Adios, girls!

Read more about D and A on their blog, http://dadialogues.wordpress.com/ 

Read Part 1 of the Billy the Kid and D Files.

Read Part 2 of the Billy the Kid and D Files.

Wondering how D and Billy met? It all started when A decided to go on hiatus