Monday, July 5, 2021

Monsters in the Old West by Marilyn Barr #paranormal #western


Authors march to a different beat. When your muse calls, you have to follow. Marilyn had one of those callings so we're in for a fun post. Read on...

               A paranormal western? Is there such a thing?” This was echoed by my critique partners when I floated the idea past them of a homesteader who accidentally married a monster. I love paranormal romances where the “monstrous person” has a heart of gold and finds love in the end. I wanted to bring this concept to Wylder Wyoming Territory, but first I needed an American monster who terrorized the Wild West around 1878.

            My initial findings were filled with monsters in Native American mythology. I was disappointed that the cannibal dwarves were extinct by 1878 but filed them away for another terrifying romance in the future. From the spider who created the earth (Chebbeniathan) to the sea monster who befriends warriors (Hiincabiit), there were many masculine monsters. With the focus on the rugged cowboys in other western romances, I wanted to refine my initial idea to a terrifying female monster.

            Stumbling my way through the history of Wyoming, I found that the territory was inhabited by many species of giant bears that are now extinct. As towns sprung up along the east-west railway line, these bears grew in reputation. The original Ephraim legend (as far as I could trace) comes from an 1811 pamphlet detailing the banishment of a man to the mountains from his town. The fur trader was a swindler, a thief, and subsequently forced to winter in the mountains. When he was found by hunters the following spring, he was more bear than man. It was said he “shifted (changed) into an Ephraim”.

What if one of these mountain men had a feral family with feral children? What if one of these children got separated from the group and had to fend for him/herself? An Ephraim child wouldn’t have the option of the foster system in the wild west. Roaming the wilderness would nurture them into a feral adult, right?

These questions became the backstory for Olive Muegge in my upcoming release “Dance to a Wylder Beat”. She relocates to the civilized town of Wylder (1878 Wyoming Territory) at the request of a cryptic telegraph ad. When Olive arrives, Nartan wonders if his request was misinterpreted or if spirit guides have decided to mess with him…again.  Will Olive destroy Nartan’s life like a true Ephraim or find a place in the Wylder community as part of his family? 

Here’s a snippet from Dance to a Wylder Beat where you can decide how much trouble one woman can stir up in a small town:

A noise has me whirling toward the station. My stagecoach is carrying on to the next stop. Blasted driver doesn’t even tip his hat in my direction as it passes…still containing my shoes. Sorrell Horse used a whole week’s rations outfitting me like a lady and paying my way. I have already let him down by starting a ruckus and losing my shoes. I need to try something extra to make Nartan happy, perhaps I’ll try keeping my trap shut.

When I turn back, the men are wrestling in a cloud of dust. Dead Eyes’ friends hoot like owls while a small crowd gathers around the scene. Being half-drunk, Dead Eyes is two steps slower than Nartan, who is landing punches on both sides. When Dead Eyes slams his gun on the ground in surrender, the dust settles, and I can study my future husband.

Nartan’s muscular body straddles the smaller man while his broad chest billows. His hat has blown off in the scuffle, revealing two thick black braids adorned with feathers. Tendrils of raven-black hair wave around his head. “Quiet wife for a quiet life” my bloomin’ butt. This man is a sweet lick of passion wrapped in a delicious exterior. I think I’m gonna like being Mrs. Sagebrush just fine. I can handle an odd stick as long as he has the countenance of Nartan because I’m not as normal as I appear myself. 

Dance to a Wylder Beat is on pre-order until its release on 7/21/2021. Reserve your copy for $0.99 on
Amazon ( or iTunes ( 

About the Author:

Marilyn Barr currently resides in the wilds of Kentucky with her husband, son, and rescue cats. She has a diverse background containing experiences as a child prodigy turned medical school reject, published microbiologist, special education/inclusion science teacher, homeschool mother of a savant, certified spiritual & energy healer, and advocate for the autistic community. This puts her in the position to bring tales containing heroes who are regular people with different ability levels and body types, in a light where they are powerful, lovable, and appreciated. 

When engaging with the real world, she is collecting characters, empty coffee cups, and unused homeschool curricula. She is a sucker (haha) for cheesy horror movies, Italian food, punk music, black cats, bad puns, and all things witchy.





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  1. Replies
    1. Always a pleasure, Marilyn. Good luck with the book!

  2. Oh, this sounds fascinating! Best of luck with it.

    1. Thank you so much! I had a blast with this project.

  3. Great idea for a story! Best on the sales.

  4. I love the way you researched regional monsters for your story!

    1. I love research and have a tendency to fall down many rabbit holes. Monster legends would have to be one of my favorite topics.

  5. Sounds fun1 Best wishes on the release!

  6. The concept sounds interesting and entertaining! Best of Luck!

    1. Thank you so much! There is just something about monsters.

  7. So interesting! Good luck with the new release!

  8. This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. This is very nice one and gives indepth information. Thanks for this nice article. tempmailo