Guest Post - Author Sawyer Belle

Posted on Friday, August 29, 2014 12:01 AM

Thank you, Loren, for having me! I'm excited to be here.

Every author is asked the question at some point in their career. How do you come up with this stuff?

For me, inspiration begins with a place. I know my story’s setting before I ever know its characters. Every place has a vibe – a soul. It’s layered with years of history, of tragedy and triumph, of progress, destruction, and the fingerprints of all the personalities that went into its making. There are definite differences between walking down the streets of Rome, sloshing through the surf along a Caribbean shoreline, and the smell of sagebrush after a desert rain in the hills of Virginia City, Nevada.

Tapping into the heart of a place and being able to recreate it in fiction so that it comes alive to the reader is one of my greatest goals as a writer. When it happens, I feel that spark of life in my storyteller’s heart, and characters are quickly born.

As a writer of historical romance, I take advantage of the genre to educate my readers about places and events through the eyes of my characters. History is a far more colorful storyteller than any writer I’ve read. In the right setting, history has already mapped out the plot. All that’s left is to write characters who will do it justice, and that is no small task. In fact, it is the greatest one, but it ties back to that sense of place. If I really know a place, I will know the type of people who inhabited it.

I had an advantage when writing my newest release, Silver Nights With You, which takes place in northern Nevada during the early days of the silver boom, 1860s. I’m a native of southern Nevada, but lived up north for three years during college. I spent those years combing the hills around Virginia City, soaking up every exciting word of the town’s wild past. I read books, old newspapers, attended lectures, visited landmarks and graveyards, took tours and studied photographs – and this was long before I was even aware of the story culminating in my brain!
The desert, and therefore almost the entire state of Nevada, has an overlooked and underrated beauty. It’s raw and rugged, inviting the strongest and demanding their perseverance. In the words of the book’s hero, Morgan Kelly, “What survives here thrives.” When I mention the phrase “the wild west,” people rarely think of Nevada, and that is an injustice to both the state and the reputation it helped mold. I'm hoping my novel will change that.

In Silver Nights With You, readers follow the tale of two brothers, Morgan and Valentine, who find their fortune out west in the silver mines of Virginia City. The town sprouts up around them, inviting all manner of lawlessness, from bar fights to robberies to political corruption, and the danger doesn’t stop there. The risks of early mining, the natural perils of the environment and the pitfalls of a developing society all cause a stir for the brothers. But nothing could have prepared Morgan for the east coast debutante, and the frenzy she caused when she arrived in a stage coach full of bullet holes.

The book will be released on September 1st, available only through Amazon, both in print and Kindle format. I invite readers to enjoy this excerpt, and also encourage them to follow me on Facebook, Goodreads and my blog: For more information regarding my other published works and upcoming projects, please see my website:

Silver Nights With You - Excerpt

She shot straight up in her bed, sweat beading down her neck and back as she panted for air. Her throat felt thick with phlegm. She couldn't swallow past it no matter how she tried. The white curtains rustled near her open window, and she watched the moon hover in the sky. Her eyes stung with tears. It was the fifth nightmare she'd had since the robbery, and she felt the need to feel the breeze on her sweaty skin. She grabbed her robe, tied it over her nightgown and made her way out to the back porch.
The chairs were still scattered from the evening’s poker game. She sank into the nearest one and wept into her hands. The night wind rolled off the mountain with a soft moan and tossed dead leaves around. The deep call of a night owl moved on the air current. It was calming and peaceful. She leaned back against the chair and propped her feet up onto the edge of the seat so she could wrap her arms around her knees.
There was a movement in the shadows near the barn and she squinted to make it out. It moved toward her, almost like her dream, and she held her breath until she recognized Morgan. She exhaled sharply and wiped her eyes on her knees as he strode up the porch steps.
“Good evening,” he said. There was enough moonlight to read the concern on his face.
“What are you doing out here?” she asked.
“I couldn’t sleep,” he answered. “I see you have the same problem.”
“Oh, I can sleep. I just can’t seem to do it without nightmares.”
“You’re having nightmares?”
She nodded, then slowly brought her eyes up to connect with his. “You were right about what you said before. About the way you feel when you kill someone. It sticks with you.”
“It is one of the rare occasions when I detest being right,” he said with a smirk, and she smiled. After a brief pause, he continued. “Have you spoken to your father about this?”
“No.” She shook her head solidly. “My father is…well…he’s the sort of healer who absorbs the stress of his patients. It’s difficult to explain, but it’s as though he actually suffers with them, feels their agony. It takes a toll on him. He does it even more intensely with me so I don’t share my burdens with him.” She looked at the ground. “I do not even grieve around him.”
“That’s not fair to you.” He squatted before her so that she couldn’t avoid his eyes. “You have a father who loves you. You shouldn’t have to feel alone.”
She felt the urge to lean into him, to let him wrap his arms around her, soothe her cares and chase away her demons. The look on his face, the staid brown eyes reaching out to comfort her, all told her that he would welcome her, but she remained still.
“Right now I don’t feel alone,” she said softly. “You always seem to be there to catch me when I fall.”
A smile spread softly to the corners of his mouth. “And I always will be if you’ll let me.”
Emotion flowed freely between them, though neither said a word. She felt it deep, a spark of something unfamiliar but blissfully wonderful. It was something independent of the physical yearnings they shared, something reviving like the first breath of air above water, and it was the first time she didn’t feel the urge to run away from him. It made her smile.
“Know any good remedies to cure bad dreams?” she asked him.
He smacked his lips and tilted his head to the side. “I’m afraid the only way I know is to chase them away with good dreams.”
She chuckled and rolled her eyes. “Know any recipes for good dreams, then?”
They shared a smile, and she shivered against the cool air. He reached out and cupped her face. His thumbs moved in a slow caress along the heights of her cheekbones. The look he gave her was one of promise. He wasn’t asking permission for a kiss. He was telling her one was coming, and as he moved his mouth toward hers, she met him halfway until their lips touched.
It was tender. It was possessing.
Her lips parted, and she felt the gentle stroke of his tongue reaching in to taste hers. He tilted his head to fit their lips together as he slowly explored her mouth with his. She followed the longing of her body and moved her tongue in a slow, sensual dance with his. He was warm and unhurried and tasted of clove with a hint of whisky. It was a potent drug on her senses. The more she tasted, the more she wanted.
But he slowly pulled away and rested his forehead against hers with a sigh. When he lifted his head it was only to peer into her eyes for a moment before he placed a soft peck on her lips.
“Sweet dreams, Lila,” he whispered and released her. 

Loren Mathis


  1. Great post, Sawyer! I definitely agree with you that the better a setting is described for the reader, then the more realistic and enjoyable the story becomes.


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