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Monday, December 7, 2020

WILLIAM W. JOHSTONE' S CHRISTMAS THEMED WESTERNS

WILLIAM W. JOHNSTONE'S
CHRISTMAS THEMED
WESTERNS
Christmas Western novels are somewhat of a rarity. However, for the past ten years Kensington has been publishing yearly Western Christmas tales under their William W. Johnstone banner. These tales are populated by Kensington’s answer to Louis L’Amour’s Sackett books—the MacCallister and Jensen families, whose members either individually of together populate many of the most popular Johnstone Westerns.
 
This is frankly all part of Kensington’s master plan for the seemingly unstoppable publishing juggernaut that are the William W. Johnstone branded Western novels. For those unfamiliar with this phenomenon—shame on you—William W. Johnstone was the James Patterson of his day, both prolific and popular. For many years, Johnstone was assisted by his niece Jo Johnstone, who has become the brand figurehead since Johnstone’s death a decade or more ago. Today, a group of carefully selected and unidentified (under threat of a NDA) ghostwriters carry on many of the series Johnstone created as well as new series in a similar tradition. There’s a lot more to the story, but that’s really all anyone needs to know about how the wildly successful series of novels continues to be produced.

All of this is a boon for Westerns in general. The success of the Johnstone Westerns has led to a revitalization of a similar concept—which has lain fallow for a handful of years— from Signet. Today, their Ralph Compton Brand publishes two new Westerns a month written in the tradition of their most popular Western author. And that’s just the tip of the longhorn, so to speak, with Wolfpack Publishing actually leading the charge of independents when it comes to both new Westerns and the reprinting of some terrific Westerns for fans to enjoy again.
 
While most of the approximately 40 Johnstone brand Westerns published each year hover between a soft and hard PG-13 rating, their Christmas Westerns are more the equivalent of Hallmark Christmas movies. This, however, is not a bad thing. While bunkhouse, ranches, and sheriff offices are decorated with tinsel, decorated trees, and wreaths, there’s still action galore, but without any gore—and an abundance of good feelings, family ties, and the spirit of the season. Kensington definitely knows their audience, who devore these books in the spirit they are written. The characters are already established family with whom faithful readers enjoy spending time—and family is important especially during the holiday season.

If you click on any of the titles below, you will be linked to Amazon for further perusal...Any a happy Christmahannukwanzica to one and all...May the blessings of safety, health, and family (both fictional and real) be with you this season...
 
A MACCALLISTER CHRISTMAS
A special action-packed holiday western tale of peace on earth and bad will toward men...Ever since he left Scotland to start a new life in America, Duff MacCallister has stayed true to the values and traditions of his clan in the Highlands. But as Christmas approaches, he yearns to reconnect with his family—even the ones he hasn’t met yet. This year, two of his American cousins—twins Andrew and Rosanna—will be joining Duff for the holidays at the Sky Meadow Ranch. That is, if they manage to get there alive. The twins’ train is held up by not one, but two vicious outlaw gangs. The Jessup gang has been using the Spalding gang’s hideout to plan the robbery. The Jessups just lost two of their brothers in a bank job gone wrong—courtesy of Duff MacCallister—and they’re gunning for revenge. Together, these two bloodthirsty bands of killers and thieves are teaming up to make this one Christmas the MacCallisters will never forget. But Duff’s ready to deliver his own brand of gun-blazing justice, holidays be damned...
 
A JENSEN FAMILY CHRISTMAS
 The legendary members of the Jensen family gather together at the Sugarloaf Ranch for one Christmas homecoming they’ll never forget—if they live through it...Smoke Jensen looks forward to spending a quiet holiday with the family. But an unexpected arrival from south of the border has him reaching for his guns, defending his land—and risking everything he loves...Sally Jensen strikes up a friendship with a lovely Mexican woman—who turns out to be married to the mysterious stranger plotting to steal her ranch...Ace and Chance prepare to fight a gang of outlaws trying to kill the man who raised them—but they’re going to need the help of the father they never knew...Luke Jensen rescues three young children orphaned in a shootout—and heads home for a surprise reunion with children of his own...Preacher catches the eye of a beautiful and beguiling widow—but he can’t decide if she wants to marry him, kill him, or both...Every Christmas season, the Jensens pray for peace on earth. But then, for the Jensen family, danger is just another holiday tradition...
 
A HIGH SIERRA CHRISTMAS
 A Jensen family holiday takes a dark and dangerous turn—on the infamous Donner Pass...It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the High Sierras. But Smoke Jensen and his children, Louis and Denise, won’t let a little snow stop them from heading to Reno for the holidays. There are two ways for them to get there: the long way, going around the Sierra Nevada Mountains, or the short way, going right through them. Smoke decides to take a gamble. They’ll follow the trail that, decades earlier, brought the legendary Donner Party to a gruesome, tragic end...And so the journey begins. The Jensens share a stagecoach with a stranger who’s planning to rob a bank. Smoke wants to stop him, as well as his notorious gang of outlaws. But he’s outgunned and outnumbered. And when a blizzard traps them in the mountains, he’s out of luck too. Like the Donner Party before them, the Jensens will be forced to do whatever it takes to survive. This time, they’re hoping history doesn’t repeat itself. But sometimes, the ghosts of the past just won’t stay buried...
 
A FRONTIER CHRISTMAS
 A heart-racing story of frontier justice, pioneer spirit, and one town's last-chance miracle...Three weeks before Christmas, the little town of Chug Water in Wyoming Territory is stunned by a brutal crime. The mayor's family has been slaughtered in cold blood on their ranch outside of Raw Hide Butte. As the townsfolk gather to pay their last respects, Duff MacCallister saddles up to go after the killers. He returns with two outlaws--a cold-blooded, nasty pair of snakes, Jesse and T. Bob Cave. But the day before they're sentenced to hang, the Cave brothers escape their fate...Into this holiday hell-storm ride three friendly travelers. Smoke, Sally and Matt Jensen, come to spend Christmas with Duff. But a deadly diphtheria outbreak leaves the town beholden to the mercy of the Cave brothers. It's a desperate bind to be stuck in, but Duff and the Jensens will use every bullet they can find to shoot their way into a bloody but merry Christmas...
 
AN ARIZONA CHRISTMAS
A special holiday gift for devoted fans of the Jensen saga—a warmhearted story of burning revenge, blazing bullets, and other Jensen family traditions...Like most families, the Jensens gather together to celebrate the holidays. This year, since half the clan is scattered across the American West, they’ve decided to split the difference and meet up in Tucson. Matt and Luke will be there, for sure, and maybe Ace and Chance, too. That leaves Sally, Preacher, and Smoke Jensen, who’ve reserved three seats on a westbound stage to make sure they don’t miss out on the festivities. What could possibly go wrong? The first to strike is a sandstorm as blinding and deadly as any northern blizzard. Then comes an Apache ambush, forcing the passengers and drivers to seek shelter in a cave. Even if Smoke and Preacher manage to shoot their way out of this, they have another big surprise waiting—a ruthless gang of outlaws after the cargo of cash on the stage, happy to slaughter anyone who tries to stop them. If the Jensens hope to save Christmas this year, they’ll need to save their own lives first...
 
A COLORADO CHRISTMAS
At the Sugarloaf Ranch, Smoke and Sally Jensen prepare to welcome Preacher home for the holidays—unaware that their friend is trailed by a storm full of trouble. On a mission of vengeance, an old trapper is rescued by Ace and Chance Jensen from ruthless outlaws—and wanted by a driven bounty hunter named Luke Jensen. And, just released from prison, a criminal mastermind assembles a vicious gang of cutthroats to extract his final revenge against his enemy—the sheriff of Big Rock, Colorado...With a snowstorm brewing, a community in jeopardy, and a showdown ready to explode, these courageous pioneers are brought together by fate and fury to forge peace on earth. But they’re going to have to fight for it. With guns. With grit. With glory. Because this Christmas, the greatest gift of all is...staying alive.
 
A TEXAS HILL COUNTRY CHRISTMAS
 As winter descends on the great state of Texas, the Jensen family faces off with renegades, rivals, and one raging storm—in this special yuletide adventure from America’s beloved western storytellers…While most folks are busy preparing for Christmas, the tight-knit Jensen clan can only hope they’ll make it home. Luke Jensen is in San Antonio tracking down a dangerous outlaw. But when he finds the man leading a wholesome life—as a charity-working Hill Country pastor—Luke agrees to wait until after Christmas to bring him to justice. Meanwhile, Smoke and Sally Jensen head out from Fort Worth by stagecoach, only to be stranded by unrelenting rains—and stalked by a crazed Comanche killer. And in Austin, Ace Jensen falls head over heels in love with a girl he wants to marry. Unfortunately, she’s engaged to one of the outlaw gang that’s gunning for Luke’s bounty…This year, the Jensen family is in for a stormy Christmas they will never forget—and one deadly showdown they may never survive…
 
 A Western saga of courageous souls coming together, with a little help from the Jensen family...In the fall of 1873, a wagon train of immigrants sets off from Kansas City, Missouri, bound for the Montana Territory. Leading the group is newly elected wagon master Jamie Ian MacCallister, a giant of a man and frontier legend who swears he can get them there by Christmas--come hell or high snow drifts...Plagued by brutally harsh storms and rugged terrain, outlaws and hostile Indians, the journey will be the greatest challenge these pioneers will ever face. But when things look nearly hopeless, help arrives in the form of two unlikely saviors: an old mountain man known as Preacher and legendary frontiersman Smoke Jensen. Two hard-willed men who believe in the settlers' dreams with all their hearts--and who will get them to their destination by Christmas. Even if it takes a miracle...
 
A ROCKY MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS
 The families Jensen and MacCallister reunite in a gripping tale of tragedy, survival, love, betrayal, and maybe even a miracle...Three days before Christmas, Matt Jensen is traveling the Denver and Pacific railway when an avalanche slams down onto the train, trapping it in desolate Trout Creek Pass. But it wasn’t an act of nature that caused the accident; it was a gang of outlaws attempting to rescue their leader, who is being taken to Red Cliff to be hanged...As Smoke Jensen and Duff MacCallister frantically try to make their way to the scene, Matt struggles to save the survivors, among them a beautiful young woman with a dark past, a merchant seaman turned rancher, and a senator with his very ill young daughter. Starving under a bitter, driving snow in the brutal, unforgiving Rocky Mountains, and surrounded by armed and desperate outlaws, Matt still dreams of making it home for Christmas. But unless fate lends a hand, nobody will...
 
A LONE STAR CHRISTMAS
Smoke Jensen, Matt Jensen, Falcon And Duff MacCallister—Together For The First Time...They just wanted to get home for Christmas, but fate had other plans...It's December 1890. A Texas rancher named Big Jim Conyers has a deal with Scottish-born, Wyoming cattleman named Duff MacCallister. Along with Smoke and Matt Jensen, the party bears down on Dodge, Kansas, to make a cattle drive back to Forth Worth. But before they can get out of Dodge, guns go off and a rich man's son is killed...Soon the drive turns into a deadly pursuit, then a staggering series of clashes with bloodthirsty Indians and trigger-happy rustlers. And the worst is yet to come—the party rides into a devastating blizzard, a storm so fierce that their very survival is at stake...From America's greatest Western author, here is an epic tale of the unforgiving American frontier and how, amidst fierce storms of man and nature, miracles can still happen...

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