August 1, 2012

Jack Elder

We've got another lawman, this time a Texas Ranger. Jack is everything you like about a man too stubborn for his own good. He carries a tender heart that's been boarded up tight to be able to do the job he does without complications. But Elizabeth Cole has complications of her own, which include delivering her baby by herself in the middle of nowhere. Neither planned for the other to be more than a bad memory the next day, but Jack can't leave Elizabeth and her newborn to the mercy of the frontier or the band of outlaws that might be after her. And how he handles that, and overcomes his own stubborn heart, earns him a spot on FHF.

From Winning the Widow's Heart by Sherri Shackelford:

          Horrifying images of Mrs. Parker's suffering flooded Elizabeth's thoughts. They were alone. With the storm raging, and the nearest farm quarantined, no help was coming. "Perhaps we could save these stories for another time?"
          "Oh, right." Jo flicked her head in a quick nod. "What is it Ma's always saying?" She snapped her fingers. "I remember now. She distracts 'em by talking, and telling 'em to concentrate on that beautiful baby they're bringing into the world."
          "That's better."
          "Hey, remember all those clothes we sewed this fall?"
          Elizabeth rolled her eyes. "You're the worst seamstress in the county. I sewed all those clothes while you complained you were dying from boredom. You'd rather be out shooting game than threading a needle."
          "See? You're doing better already." Jo sat back on her heels. "Now deliver this baby so we can decide what to do about that man I locked in the barn."
          "I'm a Texas Ranger."
          Jo gasped at the intrusion. Hands fisted, she twisted to block Elizabeth while keeping her defiant gaze fixed on the Ranger.
          Slanting a glance upward, Elizabeth found Mr. Elder filling the doorway and looking madder than a wet hen. His coat was torn at the shoulder, and an angry scratch slashed across his cheek.
          Gracious. This day just kept going from bad to worse.

Excerpt used with permission. All rights reserved.

Gallant Score: Jack's orange heads really stack up fast, beginning with not retaliating for being knocked out and locked in the barn. (Much, hehe.) Because we're allowed deep in his head by Sherri, we see he doesn't just do the right thing because of the badge he wears.Being honorable and saving the day are such a part of who he is under the vest, and we get to see that several times in the story. Unfortunately, his perceived failure he's desperate to correct grows out of this and gives him a wound we'll look at next.

Wounded Score: Jack messed up. Losing someone close to him clouded his professional judgment and now a man's life hangs in the balance of making that right. But so does Elizabeth's and her child's and he's being pulled two different directions like one toy between two kids. His wound isn't crippling his every waking moment, thus the one orange head instead of five, but it simmers beneath the surface of some hard decisions he must make.

Softie Score: These are all from the baby. There isn't a whole lot of soft to Jack Elder, Texas Ranger. If there were, he wouldn't be good at his job. But that cover says it all. =)

Stupid Strikes: Zero. Because I can't do a half-head. Well, I could but it would be a lot of photoshopping and truthfully I'm a little scared of Sherri and Jack both if I did it. :-p
It would be a spoiler to tell you why I think Jack deserves half an orange head but let's just say the women in his novel are no shrinking violets and really smart in their own rights. Jack ends up needing them as much as Elizabeth needs Jack.

Swoon Score: See cover! Tall, handsome, protective to a fault, Texas Ranger, great with babies, knows his way around a lady as well as his way around outlaws. Yes, Jack Elder is your quintessential Old West hero. Yet fresh and well-written, getting the bad guys and saving the damsel in distress who he has no idea is going to save him too.

About Jack Elder's novel (Released June 5, 2012):

When Texas Ranger Jack Elder stormed the isolated Kansas homestead, he expected to find a band of outlaws. Instead, the only occupant is a heavily pregnant woman--and she's just gone into labor. A loner uneasy with emotion, Jack helps deliver widow Elizabeth Cole's baby girl and can't get back on the trail fast enough. The robber and murderer he's after killed one of Jack's own, and he vows to catch the man. But when he returns to check on Elizabeth and her little one, he discovers that she may hold the key to his unsettled past--and his hoped-for future.

Amazon  Barnes & Noble

About Jack Elder's author:
A wife and mother of three, Sherri's hobbies include collecting mismatched socks, discovering new ways to avoid cleaning, and standing in the middle of the room while thinking, "Why did I just come in here?" A reformed pessimist and recent hopeful romantic, Sherri has a passion for writing. Her books are fun and fast-paced, with plenty of heart and soul. Sherri loves to hear from readers. Visit her at, or e-mail her at sherrishackelford at gmail dot com.

Now for the Fiction Hero Feature Exclusive not found in the novel--directly from the author:
Jack has a real weakness for sweets! He especially loves pastries. He knows every baker between Wichita and Paris, TX--and they're used to seeing him when he is in town. When Elizabeth needs to warm him up to something, she makes sure she bakes her famous Kolaches - peach are his favorite!

Now for the giveaways:
We have one print copy of Jack Elder's novel Winning the Widow's Heart (2011 Genesis Finalist I might add!) to give a randomly chosen commenter in the drawings at midnight 8/14/12. I say DRAWINGS (with an S) because you great blog readers loved the gift card option last post so much I'm going to do that for the life of FHF! But the sames rules will apply. You have to have already read the featured hero's novel and prove it to me. Like Jack Elder, I'm not very trusting, hehe. For the gift card drawing, name a secondary character from the novel that isn't Jack or Elizabeth, and once that character has been used, you have to pick a different one. And I'll take anybody, even the chicken, and yes, the dear sweet girl has a name!
By the way, Jo doesn't count. She's in the excerpt. =)
As always, if you aren't a blog follower, leave me your e-mail address in an anti-spammer format such as jackeldertexasranger at awesomehero dot come so I can notify you if you're name is drawn for Winning the Widow's Heart or for the $10 Amazon or B&N gift card (winner's choice.)


  1. Sherri ShackelfordAugust 1, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    I love your system! Thanks for hosting me :)

    1. Nancy KimballAugust 1, 2012 at 9:34 PM

      Thank you, Sherri! And thank you for stopping by. =)

  2. Dawn CrandallAugust 1, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    I love this new blog, Nancy! I think it's my absolute favorite. :) I haven't read this book yet, so I have no name name to share. :) Only that I love reading about these books and look forward to reading them. I read the one I won from you this week and have to say... I do agree with you about Sean O'Brien. :D

    1. Nancy KimballAugust 1, 2012 at 9:36 PM

      Thanks, Dawn! Tell your friends, LOL. You are in for the drawing for the book. This is my second favorite blog. Seekerville is my favorite, LOL :-p Glad you liked Sean. =)

  3. Sherri ShackelfordAugust 1, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    Hello, Dawn! I agree--love the format of this blog. And it takes effort from Nancy--I appreciate all the hard work she's put into the blog.

    1. Nancy KimballAugust 1, 2012 at 11:11 PM

      Thank you, Sherri. =)

  4. Melissa JagearsAugust 1, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    men with babies, well if they like babies that is, is such a great lovable trait. Please put me in the drawing.

    rmjagears AT gmail DOT com

    1. Sherri ShackelfordAugust 2, 2012 at 8:13 AM

      How can you not love a man cooing over a baby ;)

  5. Melissa JagearsAugust 1, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    Nancy, did you know that you can advertise your giveaways here?

    1. Nancy KimballAugust 1, 2012 at 11:11 PM

      Melissa, you are in the drawing for the print book. Jack loves babies, in spite of trying really hard not to, LOL. :-p
      Thank you for the referral and yes, the ladies of Fiction Addiction Fix are wonderful to me and FHF.

    2. Melissa JagearsAugust 4, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      Um, totally forgot to mention I already have this book. The chicken would be Myrtle the Mouser.

    3. Nancy KimballAugust 4, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      Yes, you did, LOL, but we're good! You are now in the gift card drawing (THREE TIMES) for Myrtle the Mouser.

  6. AnonymousAugust 2, 2012 at 6:39 AM

    I like your blog! And I would like to be entered in the giftcard giveaway, please.
    I am currently reading this book, oh, yeah, everything you've said is right and name of character? : Rachel!

    Sherri did a good job :-)


    ganise_4life (at) hotmail (dot) com

    1. Sherri ShackelfordAugust 2, 2012 at 8:14 AM

      Ganise, Thank you! I think I know the part that Nancy gave our hero 1/2 a stupid strike - it's near the end..

  7. Nancy KimballAugust 2, 2012 at 7:34 AM

    Ganise, thank you! I like knowing when readers agree with my assessment. And when they don't! Sherri did a great job for sure and you are in the gift card drawing.

  8. AnonymousAugust 2, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    Hi Nancy, have seen you on Seekers but first time to visit your blog! Love it. Please count me in for the gift card! Thanks.


    Jackie S.

    1. Nancy KimballAugust 2, 2012 at 9:12 AM

      Hi Jackie, and welcome. =)
      The gift card drawing is for anyone who has read the featured hero's novel already, so just need to leave me the name of a character that isn't Jack, Elizabeth, Jo or Rachel. Those have been used. I REALLY WANT someone to use the chicken, hehe.
      (Don't help them Sherri, LOL)

  9. Nancy KimballAugust 2, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    OKAY, the Winning the Widow's Heart reader who gives me the correct name of Elizabeth Cole's chicken gets THREE entries into the gift card drawing. There. =)

  10. Sherri ShackelfordAugust 2, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    That chicken will always have a special place in my heart....and *she's* based on a real chicken! See, you can find inspiration everywhere, even in the barnyard ;)

  11. MerryAugust 2, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    This Texas Ranger sounds like a real catch, I'd love tobe entered for Winning the Widow's Heart.

    1. Nancy KimballAugust 2, 2012 at 2:37 PM

      You got it, Merry, and welcome to FHF.

    2. Sherri ShackelfordAugust 2, 2012 at 4:12 PM

      Thank you, Merry. I definitely have a soft spot for Jack!

  12. AnonymousAugust 2, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    I read your book and really enjoyed it. Lucily, I kept it so think I can answer your question.
    The story takes place in Cinnamon Springs, Kansas and it starts when a Texas Ranger, Jack Elder, bursts into a house he thinks is housing the criminal he is after. Instead, he sees a woman that is going into labor,Elizabeth. and he helps her deliver the baby. Elizabeth is a woman of faith and a strong person withi deas and dreams and hope. That is what I liked about the book and I enjoyed the interactions with the other characters, especially JoBeth and the McCoy bothers.

    1. Nancy KimballAugust 2, 2012 at 2:42 PM

      Joye, don't be greedy and take all the McCoy brothers, hehe. Name me one so the others can play and welcome to FHF. =D

    2. Sherri ShackelfordAugust 2, 2012 at 4:13 PM

      Those McCoy boys are fashioned after my nephews. They were all sorts of willing to give me inspiration!

  13. Nancy KimballAugust 2, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Sherri, that review on Amazon from Todd S. must be your husband. I LOVED IT. =D

    1. Sherri ShackelfordAugust 2, 2012 at 4:14 PM

      Yes....that would be my hubby. He definitely makes me laugh :)

  14. Cheryl St.JohnAugust 2, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    How fun! Smiled all the way through.


    1. Nancy KimballAugust 2, 2012 at 10:55 PM

      Thank you, Cheryl.
      We're our own brand of hero crazy here at FHF. =)

  15. Barbara SheltonAugust 2, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    The cover of this book says LOVE! I enjoy looking at it. I won't be able to take place in the entire giveaway, but I'd be delighted to win the giveaway. Thanks for this giveaway and the chance to win a great read.

    Blessed by Grace,
    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

    1. Nancy KimballAugust 2, 2012 at 10:59 PM

      Barbara, welcome to FHF and you are in the drawing for the copy of Winning the Widow's Heart!

  16. Sherri ShackelfordAugust 2, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    <> I adore this quote, Barbara! Well said!! Of course, it's all the art department and nothing to do with me, but I'm grateful for their interpretation.

    1. Nancy KimballAugust 2, 2012 at 10:58 PM

      I'm glad to know that because I wanted to smack someone for putting a basket of laundry in Elizabeth's arms because I hate laundry and assume all women do, LOL. But then I figured it out that on that very subtle level it gave more of the story. He's holding the baby so she can do what she needs to do and I got that after a minute. Man those LIH people are GOOD!

  17. Sherri ShackelfordAugust 3, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    Those LIH people ARE good :)

  18. Nancy KimballAugust 4, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    CHARACTERS USED SO FAR for the giftcard drawing:

    Rachel (by Ganise)

    Myrtle the Mouser (by Melissa and yes, that was the chicken!)

    Did you guys know (I'm sure Sherri does!) the Official Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Waco, Texas?

  19. Sherri ShackelfordAugust 4, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    I learned that fact about the Texas Rangers during my research!

  20. Kym McNabneyAugust 4, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    I just love what you're doing on your blog. The cover looks great. Something I'd love to read.

    1. Nancy KimballAugust 4, 2012 at 7:40 PM

      Thank you, Kym. I happen to think the new format is fantastic and I love interacting with other readers and writers this way as great heroes bring us together.
      You are entered in the drawing for Winning the Widow's Heart and welcome to FHF. =)

  21. Nancy KimballAugust 14, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    Again thank you to and the list randomizer, and the amazing Sherri Shackelford for letting us pick apart Mr. Jack Elder. =)

    Kym McNabney wins the drawing for Winning the Widow's Heart

    Melissa Jagears wins the $10 Amazon or B&N giftcard

    Thank you everyone and our next hero features in less than 24 hours and I know this is one a lot of you have already read and if you haven't yet, you're going to want to for sure.

  22. Kym McNabneyAugust 14, 2012 at 7:25 AM

    Wow, so excited to have won! Can't wait to read, Winning the Widow's Heart. This will be my first read by this author. :-)