Mar 18

Boom or Bust by Shirleen Davies

It’s my pleasure to welcome Shirleen Davies.

And it’s my pleasure to be here, Anna.

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Splendor, Montana, the setting of Wildfire Creek, has an undeniable ability to draw people in and keep them there. Luke and Dax, Rachel, Noah Brandt, Gabe Evans, and of course, Ginny Sorensen, are all transplants drawn to Splendor searching for economic opportunity. Its growing economy results in ample opportunity for enterprising, hardworking people to make their homes in the frontier town.

Boomtowns are a common theme in western narratives. Whether or not you can call Splendor a proper boomtown is debatable. Let’s take a look at the facts on boomtowns, shall we?

Boomtowns sprung up across the United States during the 19th century. The very nature of a boomtown rests on a positive feedback loop—people are drawn to a budding town for opportunity, their presence helps the economy grow, more people are drawn to the town, and so on. But boomtowns are also defined as much by their growing pains as they are by their actual growth.

Rapid, exponential expansion based on a single industry such as mining, often meant that boomtowns suffered from a lag in social services like healthcare, hospitality, and education. People who came to cash in on its booming industry often acquired big incomes to spend. Money created a serious demand for additional service industries.

Many of the transplanted residents of Splendor, Montana make their living attending to such needs. Rachel assists with her uncle’s medical practice, Ginny tends bar and helps with housekeeping at the boardinghouse, and Noah provides blacksmith and livery services. What most people think of when they hear the word “boomtown” goes something like this:

A town springs up around an industry, grows at an unsustainable rate, enjoys a temporary “boom” period of tenuous prosperity, then goes “bust” when local resources are depleted. Some variation on this is certainly true in many cases.

The town of Cripple Creek, Colorado, boasted a population of over 10,000 people in 1900, following the last great Colorado gold rush, but fell to an all-time low of 400 residents during the 1970s. A gold mind still operates in Cripple Creek, but the town’s recently climbing population is due more to its viability as a tourist attraction than gold.

Virginia City

Virginia City

Deadwood, South Dakota, never as large as Cripple Creek, is now more history than town, with a population of approximately 1200 people. The northern plains states in the US are dotted with ghost towns that went bust over lack of transport options and renewable income sources—Virginia City, Montana; Nevada City, Montana; and Barrack, Montana are examples.

Not all boomtowns fit that narrative— Denver, Colorado; Atlanta, Georgia; Houston, Texas; and San Francisco, California were all boomtowns at some point, and are now major metropolitan areas. Some towns gracefully transition out of the boom stage, creating well-rounded economies that support their populations in a more balanced fashion after the initial draw of the town is less viable.

Montana Ghost Town

Montana Ghost Town


Wildfire Creek presents Splendor at this critical moment in 1867 Montana. Will it continue to boom or will it bust, like so many before it? 

About the Book 

Wildfire Creek, Book Two, Redemption Mountain Historical Western Romance series 

Luke Pelletier is settling into his new life as a rancher and occasional Pinkerton Agent, leaving his past as an ex-Confederate major and Texas Ranger far behind. He wants nothing more than to work the ranch, charm the ladies, and live a life of carefree bachelorhood.

Ginny Sorensen has accepted her responsibility as the sole provider for herself and her younger sister. The desire to continue their journey to Oregon is crushed when the need for food and shelter keeps them in the growing frontier town of Splendor, Montana, forcing Ginny to accept work as a server in the local saloon.ShirleenDavies_WildfireCreek_200px

Luke has never met a woman as lovely and unspoiled as Ginny. He longs to know her, yet fears his wild ways and unsettled nature aren’t what she deserves. She’s a girl you marry, but that is nowhere in Luke’s plans.

Complicating their tenuous friendship, a twist in circumstances forces Ginny closer to the man she most wants to avoid—the man who can destroy her dreams, and who’s captured her heart.

Believing his bachelor status firm, Luke moves from danger to adventure, never dreaming each step he takes brings him closer to his true destiny and a life much different from what he imagines.


“Hold it right there.”

Ginny froze, not recognizing the deep growl coming from behind her.

“Put your hands up and turn around.”

She did as he asked, her heart pounding, wondering if someone had slipped by Hank to come in the front door. Slowly she turned, raising her eyes to meet those of the man holding a gun on her. Her breath caught at the sight of Luke, his face hard, his mouth in a thin line. She could see the instant recognition dawned. He lowered    the gun in a quick motion and slammed it into the holster.

“What the hell are you doing here? And why are you dressed like that?”

She swallowed the hard lump in her throat and took in a shuttering breath, anger replacing the fear she’d felt. “You scared the daylights out of me,” she hissed and pulled the hat off her head, exposing soft brown wisps of hair which had escaped the loose bun.

He held his ground, taking in the sight of her in men’s trousers, a too big shirt haphazardly tucked inside and held together by a wide leather belt. The coat he’d given her covered the ridiculous outfit. He let his gaze wander over her, his eyes softening at the same time his body tightened—a reaction he was powerless to control.

“I asked what you’re doing here, sneaking around the house. Stealing?”

“I am not stealing,” she threw back at him. “I work here.”

“What?” His voice took on a hard edge as his eyes narrowed, signaling his disbelief.

“Dax and Rachel hired me to take on Bernice’s job.”

He took a step forward, then thought better of it, crossing his arms over his chest, planting his feet shoulder width apart. Frustration warred with the desire he felt toward her. This was not what he’d expected to come home to—Ginny living at the ranch. It slammed into him that he’d see her every day, obliged to be around her, and forced to fight his constant attraction toward her. His jaw hardened as he processed the implication of her new position. He didn’t like it. Not one bit.

“We’ll see about that.” He turned and stormed from the room, walking into the study, slamming the door behind him.

Nevada City Ghost Town

Nevada City Ghost Town

Shirleen Loves to Hear from her Readers:

Write to her at: shirleen@shirleendavies.com
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Wildfire Creek Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RUYQB7K
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00RUYQB7K
Apple/iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/wildfire-creek/id955583047?mt=11
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wildfire-creek-shirleen-davies/1121005233?ean=2940046495669
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/508037
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/wildfire-creek
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24445763-wildfire-creek?from_search=true

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  1. Shirleen

    Good morning, Anna.
    Thanks so much for inviting me to be a guest on your blog today. Readers with questions or comments are welcome to contact me at sdavies@shirleendavies.com

    All the best!

  2. Lana Williams

    Interesting and enjoyed the excerpt! Tweeted as well.

    1. Shirleen

      Thanks so much Lana!

  3. Vicki Batman

    I have been to Cripple Creek and Victor many times. There is a route which goes past many old gold mines. And the old buildings in the city are very interesting. Another one is Virginia City in Nevada.

    1. Shirleen

      Hi Vicki,

      Yes, Virginia City is another town with an interesting past. I try to visit these ghost (or almost ghost) towns when I travel.

    2. Shirleen

      Again, thank you Anna for the opportunity to be a part of your blog. You have some wonderful readers!

      Have a great rest of week and weekend,
      Shirleen Davies

      1. Anna Markland

        Thanks again. It was a pleasure to have you as my guest.

  4. Sylvie Grayson

    I’m just glad I didn’t live then. I’d hate to give up my comforts of today. 🙂
    Very interesting,

    1. Shirleen

      It would be quite an adjustment!

  5. Jill Hughey

    I think Paradise, AZ is the only boomtown I ever visited. No one lives there now. Nice post.

    1. Shirleen

      Thanks, Jill.

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