Paint the Wind

“A sprawling entertainment that is also an admirable work of fiction.” – Booklist

“Cathy Cash Spellman has spun an unforgettable tale of love, ambition and adventure.” – The Literary Guild Main Selection

Paint the Wind Plot


Wide as the continent and wild as the west, Paint the Wind is the epic saga of one unforgettable woman and three strong men who risk everything to possess her.

1864. A plantation is ravaged by boarder raiders.  Ten year old Fancy Deverell is saved by a wise old slave named Atticus, who sets her on an extraordinary journey into the rough and tumble days of the Old West.  The novel sweeps along with the relentless rhythm of those turbulent times… from a westering circus train, to the gold and silver fields of Colorado… from the cutthroat world of the New York stage and the arcane shadows of magic and mysticism, to the legendary struggles of Geronimo and the Apache Nation.

To survive, Fancy must learn what it takes for a woman to climb from poverty to fame and fortune in a universe that belongs to the ruthless and the male.  Before she’s through, there isn’t much that she won’t have done, or bargained, or sold for her dreams…and the price of her deliverance.

For Paint The Wind is the story of feisty, tempestuous, vulnerable Fancy Deverell.  Far too beautiful for her own good, she wants it all – love, power, money, and security.  And she’ll get it, too, if she can keep her heart out of the way of the three men who so desperately want her:

CHANCE McALLISTER – his gambler’s luck is legendary, like his prowess in bed, and Chance is precisely the kind of rogue Fancy desires.

HART McALLISTER– a giant of a man with a soul and a talent to match, Chance’s brother is an artist whose paintings of the dying Apache Nation will hang in the Louvre…but it won’t mean a damn to him if he can’t have Fancy.

JASON MADIGAN– a wizard at making deals and breaking lesser men, he’s someone who kills for sport.  And Fancy is the only woman he has ever needed to own, whatever the cost.

The men and women who bring their dreams and their drives to this story are as colorful and varied as the thousands who journeyed west; the stalwart, honorable madam and the gunfighter who loves her…the brilliant dwarf with the secret past…the cunning Chinese wise man who knows the cure for Opium addiction…the old prosecutor who would sacrifice everything but integrity for the Mother Lode…the thespian who yearns for one last great role to play…the mysterious Gypsy who mastered the forbidden arts and now must win back her immortal soul.

Against this huge, vividly rendered, multi-charactered canvas, three resolute men do battle for the woman called Fancy in a novel that for its scope and grandeur belongs on the shelf with the classic epics of our time.

 


Paint the Wind Excerpt

Prologue


From the Journal of Matthew Hart McAllister

They called her Any Man’s Fancy – but it wasn’t true, of course.  She loved two men in her life, and perhaps a third, at least a little.  But that’s hardly very much in a life like hers, and not near as many as there might have been if she’d been less particular.


Because of her I bankrupted one man, ruined another’s reputation, and killed a third, and would again if it needed doing.  But that’s the end of my tale and not the start, so perhaps we’d best get to the beginning….

Hart McAllister let the pen come to rest and raised his eyes, unseeing above the paper.  It was not the wall of his study that met his unfocused gaze.

He was a man of mammoth proportion.  Age had blurred the strong jaw, tarnished the auburn hair with featherings of gray, and dimmed the deep blue of the eyes that had once been keen enough to scout for Geronimo and paint two works that hung side by side in the Louvre.  But time had not substantially altered the six-foot-six-inch frame, the buffalo shoulders and head that were carried with the quiet dignity of one meant by fate to rise above other men.  He resumed his writing.

My brother Chance and I were born in Kansas in the late 1840’s fifteen months apart, he being the older.  It was a hard land in those days, a place of outlaws and raging prairie winds; a land that asked lifeblood in return for it’s bounty.  That world has long since vanished…cities thrive where cattle grazed, corn and wheat fields stretch their golden harvest toward forever, so you could be fooled into thinking that was the way God made it.  But back then, it was a life of sunbaked hardship.  No tree for a bird to sing in and no reward you hadn’t wrestled out of Fate’s uncompromising hand.

My brother’s christening name was Charles Yancy McAllister, but Chance is all anybody ever called him.  And with good reason.  He was a daredevil.  There was deviltry in his nature, but there was no meanness.

He was the best brother anyone could have in thick or thin.  And nothing ever really came between us, not even Fancy. But that’s a long story and maybe not one you’ll understand.

Hart paused and his great head sank toward his chest, in reverent memory.  How do I tell their story now? He wondered.  How can a generation bred in safety understand what forges characters the likes of Chance and Fancy… Fancy and Chance…a sound somewhere between a sigh and a groan escaped him.

“Christ!” he whispered into the silent room.  “How I loved them both.”

History isn’t written in history books-it’s seared into the hearts of men and women…branded deep and washed with their sweat, their toil, and their hearts blood.

Resolutely, the old man raised his pen again and let his mind drift back and back to what might be called the beginning.  There were two beginnings, really.  Theirs and Fancy’s.  She was the center of it all…the catalyst and the loadstar.  Without Fancy, perhaps none of this would have happened.  Or, if it did, perhaps it wouldn’t have broken his heart…


Paint the Wind Reviews

“An energetic plot that never takes a breather.”

– Kirkus Reviews

“A western extravaganza… a plot teeming with outsize characters.  A vibrantly colored yarn that’s good entertainment.”

Publisher’s Weekly

“The kind of epic story that will not soon be forgotten.”

Atlanta Daily News

“A sprawling entertainment that is also an admirable work of fiction.”

Booklist

“A good read that will keep you turning pages night after night… Ms. Spellman should be proud of this one.”

The Dallas Morning News

“A remarkable journey into the vastness of early America, and a woman’s consciousness…”

Lynn Andrews, author of Medicine Woman

“A wonderful story… I was caught up with the very start and found the characters as vivid and larger-than-life as the Old West itself.  Cathy is a born storyteller…”

Eileen Goudge, author of Garden of Lies

“The Gone With the Wind of the West.”

Gerald Browne, author of 11 Harrowhouse and Stone 588

“Dramatic, heroic, and yes, spellbinding… a combination of the authentic and detailed writing of Larry McMurtry in Lonesome Dove and the vivacious, impassioned writing of Margaret Mitchell in Gone With the Wind.

The Macon Beacon

“A fast-moving story… and intriguing mix of characters… an exciting finish.”

– Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“A delight… rich in history and drama… consistently exciting.”

The Chattanooga Times

“A big, sprawling novel… one of those books you can dive into and lose yourself for hours.”

The Desert Sun

“Spellman is an accomplished writer… this time she bursts the bounds of imagination to pen the type of story that will live in people’s minds for years.”

Ocala Star-Banner

“A god read that will keep you turning pages night after night… Ms. Spellman should  be proud of this one.”

The Dallas Morning News

“A seamless entity, a wondrous, transporting novel that leaves you with a sharper, more exuberant sense of living and the universe… Fancy became so real, I dreamed about her.  Chance and Hart are the kind of men I used to wish for when there were people like Clark Gable and John Wayne to play them.”

Lenore Hershey, Editor Ladies Home Journal

“A most enjoyable story which I can genuinely recommend.”

Jeffrey Archer, author of First Among Equals

“I enjoyed this and liked the author’s knowledge of Indian customs and life… Her characters were well drawn and I am sure her research, impeccable.”

Rosamunde Pilcher, author of The Shell Seekers

“Feisty, beautiful Fancy Deverell is the quintessential heroine for the settling of the American west.”

The Atlanta Journal & Constitution

“I love this book!”

Georgette Mosbacher, USA Today