The Innocents by CA Asbrey

I enjoyed “The Innocents” so much!. The spirit of the Wild West rides again. I thought it was a very well researched and character driven story. A female Pinkerton sets out to bring in train robbers. Fast paced and magnificent. Not a dull moment. You should follow the link and get your own copy!


Pinkerton Detective Abigail MacKay is a master of disguises—and of new crime-solving technology! But she’ll have to move fast to stay a step ahead of Nat Quinn and Jake Conroy.

Nat and Jake are the ringleaders of The Innocents, a western gang that specializes in holding up trains carrying payrolls—and Nat is pretty savvy when it comes to using the new sciences of 1868 in committing his crimes.

Charismatic Nat and handsome Jake are on the run, and they’ve always gotten away before—before Abi. But when Abi is caught by another band of outlaws during the chase, there’s no other choice for Nat and Jake but to save her life. Abi owes them, and she agrees to help them bring in the murderer of a family friend.

The web of criminal activity grows more entangled with each passing day, but Nat, Jake, and Abi are united in their efforts to find the murderer. Once that happens, all bets are off, and Abi will be turning Nat and Jake over to the law. But can she do it? She finds herself falling for Nat, but is that growing attraction real? Or is he just using her to learn more about the Pinkertons’ methods? Abi always gets her man—but she may have met her match in her “best enemies”—THE INNOCENTS.

The Innocents CAAsbrey final cover

All the deets:

Blog – C.A Asbrey – all things obscure and strange in the Victorian period

The Innocents Mystery Series Group 

Facebook –

Amazon –

Twitter –

Link to latest book

The lovely C.A. Asbrey

Hey everyone, I recently found this author and I did something totally not like me. I sent her a message through her website She replied! She has a new book coming out and we would love for you to give it a read. P.S. You won’t have to wait long for the next books to come out. Pre-order and they’ll magically show up on your reader. 😉

Where are you from?
Ha, not always an easy question to answer. I was born in the Far East lived most of my formative years in Scotland and have worked all over the world. I now live in England. I’m in the process of moving to York.
When and why did you begin writing?
I have always wanted to write, but life got in the way, as it does for so many women. I was laid up with an injury and was on enforced bed-rest while they bolted my leg back together. I missed playing music and felt the need to do something else creative when my old ambition came creeping back.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I suppose when people wanted to read my work and enjoyed it. Getting a publisher was a challenge. Many told me that they didn’t take Westerns, others that it wasn’t Western enough. The books are hard to fit into any distinct category. They are historical mysteries set everywhere the Pinkertons actually worked. They are 19th century American Mysteries. I was lucky to find a home for the stories at Prairie Rose Publications.
Who is the most famous person you have ever met?
That would be either the Pope or the Queen – on a protection duty. When the Pope visited Scotland I was the police officer at the bottom of the aircraft steps. We then moved with him into the city. As a fun aside, the glass-covered vehicle he used was nicknamed the Pope Mobile by the press. The crowds were all still there when we returned to the airport in the Pope mobile without him. We stood in full uniform waving flowers out the top to cheering crowds as we drove the full length of Prince’s Street in Edinburgh (the big main street in Scotland’s capital city). The crowd cheered us and waved flags as we passed. Only a Scottish crowd could hail a car full of police officers like that. Great fun.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
That would be in my work as a young police officer. I learned that talking people down from spiraling emotions is a powerful tool in keeping people safe, and more potent than violence. I also learned that listening to detail is vital too. Noting the small things helped to push cases along in gathering evidence. I also learned the complex and intricate ways people use language to put you down and grab power in a situation. Understanding that really helps you stay in control of a situation.
What inspired you to write your first book?
History has always held a draw and the colourful stories of the older female officers piqued my interest, making me look even further back.
The very first women in law enforcement had been in France, working for the Sûreté in the early 19th century. They were, however, no more than a network of spies and prostitutes, the most infamous being the notorious ‘Violette’.
The first truly professional women in law enforcement worked for the Pinkerton Agency, and they were trained by the first female agent Kate Warne, an ex-actress and an expert in working undercover. Kate Warne was an expert at disguise, adopting roles, and accents. She was said to be daring and able to pass her characters off, even in close quarters. In the only known photograph of her she is dressed as a man. This was a skill set my childhood had prepared me to understand.
These women were fully-fledged agents, with their skills being held in high regard by Alan Pinkerton who once said, “In my service you will serve your country better than on the field. I have several female operatives. If you agree to come aboard you will go in training with the head of my female detectives, Kate Warne. She has never let me down.” I started to wonder why one of the female agents couldn’t be a Scottish Immigrant. After all, Alan Pinkerton was one. He came from Glasgow. Being a Scot in another land is something I know well and they say you should write what you know.
How long did you spend researching before beginning your book The Innocents?
Copious amounts. The Innocents has taken years of research into the work of the early Pinkertons, especially the female agents and the kind of work they did, including their methodologies. My work has taken me all over the world, but working in the USA and visiting the places where these women worked deepened my passion for finding out more about how they lived. I also researched the tools and equipment available to them at the time. Connections to police and Home Office experts allowed me to research the birth of forensics with people who knew their subject intimately.
I research everything, even the stationary which was in use and the correct codes for the telegraph stations mentioned in the books. The theatrical make up used as disguises in the book began to flourish right around the period the books are set in as lighting improved and people could see the flaws in the rudimentary stuff previously only lit by candles. The forensics are fascinating to dig into too. You name it I researched it.
What is different about your books and the new release in particular?
My female Pinkerton is a real detective, with real-world skills, and she is nobody’s sidekick. She’s as flawed as she is skilled in that her life is empty after family tragedy and she she fills the void with work and is afraid of connecting with people as that might open her up to more loss. She finds she is drawn to Nat Quinn, a charismatic and clever criminal, and the feeling is mutual. His criminal skills also dovetail perfectly into hers to make a perfect team to investigate murder in the first book. However, they had a temporary truce, which is over by the time they meet again in book two.
The second book was actually written some time ago but it somehow chimes perfectly with the current political climate with it’s themes of the children of immigrants being demonised for political purposes and the damage that does to both people and society at large. It becomes clear that Jake’s P.T.S D. was caused by his traumatic childhood, and that his fractured family led him and his nephew Nat into a life of crime.
We also get to see how brave the real women were who did this job back in the 19th century a well as some of the early forensics available at the time.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
‘The Innocents’ is most definitely part of a larger body of work. It’s the first of a trilogy, but people have asked me to keep them going. I would still continue with each book being a self-contained mystery with the larger universe of the characters providing an over-arching connection between the books through the characters and the dangers they face. The third book is written and out this November. I’m currently writing the fourth.
Doesn’t this cover make you want to go to Amazon and follow the mystery?
The Innocents CAAsbrey final cover
If that isn’t enough here’s an excerpt from the second book!


Innocent As Sin CAAsbrey final cover

She raised her head and looked straight into his eyes. “Because I’m doing everything in my power to stop that happening to you or anyone else.”
“You expect me to believe you?” he bellowed.

“Yes. It’s the truth, and deep down you know it. I’ve been here for months, and I had nothing to do with you turning up. You know how you chose which bank to rob and I had no influence on your choice.”

Jake gazed into her rich, cinnamon eyes, so full of earnest determination. He trembled as his emotions engulfed him. Confusion mixed with his fury, his mind unable to define which path he should take. His face drained of color before he snarled his reply. “I don’t know anythin’ about you anymore.”

He stepped forward and grasped her dress at the throat with one strong hand, visions of Nat’s crumpled body floating around his head, mingling with memories of his sister’s blood filling the troughs and cracks between the cobblestones flooding back from his childhood. Never again, not if he could help it, but a germ of uncertainty wormed into his mind that prevented him from making the ultimate move. “Tell me why you’re with McCully.”

She hesitated, struggling to speak against the tightening fabric of her dress crushing her windpipe, her nails dragging at Jake’s tight wrist as she stared into his cold, blank eyes. His pupils narrowed as his mind gave in to the haunting horrors of the past. His mind shut down, playing only the fears, and blocking out the here and now until he was lost to reality and to the harsh effect of his throttling grasp as his hand twisted the cloth even tighter.

“Jake!” They both turned at the sound of beating hooves as Nat galloped into the clearing on a sweating horse. He took in the scene and dropped from his horse before he walked over to them, maintaining eye contact with Jake all the way. “Jake, I know about McCully. Let her go.” Nat’s voice remained steady and composed as though he was calming a skittish horse.

Jake ignored him, lost in the nightmare of his youth. Nat frowned and took in the furious man before him. He had seen Jake like this before, during the war, when they had come across the remains of a family decimated by a marauding party. One straggler had still been there, taking his time with an unconscious thirteen-year-old girl. Jake Conroy had descended into a spiral of ferocity. There was little point in trying to reason with him when he was like this. He was running purely on emotions and nightmarish traumas from his childhood, so Nat had to depend on the decent essence at the man’s core. He knew Abi was struggling for air, but he also knew she’d be dead by now if Jake Conroy really meant to kill her. His best tactic was to distract Jake and bring him back to reality, leading him away from his fractured past and toward the man he had become. Experience had taught Nat that telling Jake what to do would enrage him more. Jake wasn’t reasoning. He was emoting.

Nat’s gaze turned to Abigail’s before he returned to Jake. He raised his eyebrows in query. “Did she tell you she was handing us over to McCully?”

“She didn’t have to!”

Abigail’s face was turning puce but Nat was in no hurry. “What did she say?”

“She lied. What do you expect?”

Nat put his weight on one leg as he hooked his thumbs in his belt and continued. “So? How you gonna kill her then?”

Abigail punched at Jake’s arm in desperation as she dropped to her knees, able to suck no more than a tiny amount of air.

“You gonna strangle her with your bare hands? Not sophisticated, but it’ll get the job done I suppose.”

Jake turned his chilling gaze back to the woman writhing at the end of his arm before Nat drew his attention back to him again. “A shot to the head would be quicker. Want me to do it?”

Abigail’s eyes watered as she choked and struggled against Jake’s grip, while Nat’s brown eyes drifted over to her, drawn by her fight for life.

“There’s a river over there. How about drowning? Drowning’d work.” Nat pondered and seemed to think the better of it. “No, you’re right. Too wet. Or hanging maybe? What about hanging? One thing’s for sure. I wouldn’t do it that way.”

Jake snorted in frustration.

“We both got knives. No, I guess you’ve thought it through. Far too messy.” Nat examined Jake’s grip before looking straight into his face. “Maybe both hands and put them right around her throat? That fabric’s starting to tear.” He toyed with the grass with the toes of his boots for a few seconds before he spoke again. “Or a rope? You want me to get you a rope?”

Jake Conroy exploded at his annoying partner. “Oh, for cryin’ out loud! You know how to do everythin’ better, don’t ya?”

Jake threw Abigail aside and strode over to Nat, facing him down, irritated beyond belief at his constant criticism, while Abigail lay on her side gasping for air and ineffectually trying to crawl away. Nat gave Jake a satisfied nod and shook his head with a smile of relief. He grabbed his uncle by both arms and smiled a life-affirming grin. “No. Now that you ask. I don’t want either of us to do it. It took you a while, but we got there in the end.”

Nat led Jake over to a tree and pushed him to a seated position. “Take a minute. I’ll see to her. It’s all fine, Jake. We’re all safe. Relax. Breathe, and sit still. You were strangling her.”

Nat watched Jake’s empty eyes fill with both humanity and confusion. “I never! I just grabbed her.”

“You were twisting the collar of her dress, Jake. It got so tight she was going bright red and dropped to her knees.”

Jake paused, his missing memories confounding him. “No. I just grabbed her. I wanted answers. I would never—”

Nat patted his arm. “You got her real winded. What you saw wasn’t what you were doing. It was like Kansas again. You haven’t been like this for years. I know what came over you. I found out about McCully.” He glanced over at Abi pushing herself to a sitting position. “She’s fine. Sort yourself out while I get to the bottom of this.”

All the deets:

Blog – C.A Asbrey – all things obscure and strange in the Victorian period

The Innocents Mystery Series Group 

Facebook –

Amazon –

Twitter –

Link to latest book

Family, Whatcha Gonna Do?

The thing that only my family understands is my sense of humor. It’s dry and its real. Sometimes non family members realize that my jokes are things that really happened or that I really think, and they get a little freaked out.

The reason that I always park relatively far from a store is because Polio hit my dad’s family so hard. 2/3’s of my dads siblings suffered through. Spending a large amount of time in Atlanta at the CDC. One of my uncles was in a wheelchair from the age of 12, another was on crutches from the age of 11. My dad and his younger brother about age 9 and 7 wore back braces for years. My dad has no lasting outward physical problems while the other back brace brother (/escape artist from the back brace) has a limp that has only gotten worse over the years.

The brothers can laugh at just about anything because of that, they passed that along to my brothers, me, and our cousins. I’m grateful to walk, run, and move my body without impediment.bec16-20182bbadge2bblog2bchallenge-rev2b640x640

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Inventions #MFRW

What would I invent if I was stuck on a deserted island.

I’m going to make the assumption here that there is fresh water stream inland from the beach. I would make a working aqueduct. Then I would have freshwater wherever I put my house and that would allow me to bath, drink, and have a running toilet in my tree house.

The Worst Writing Advice #MFRWauthor

What is the worst writing advice I’ve been given you ask?

How much to write everyday and that I should write everyday.

Everyone is different. Some people need to outline everything and others have to make it up on the fly. I personally am different for every story. Olivia I had planned out completely but only in my head. I didn’t put an outline down on paper. I could write a full chapter 6-8 thousand words in a couple of hours, with only a vague outline in mind. Then with Maeve I had the whole thing outlined in a long weekend driving through the mountains, I put it to paper one morning, and I took 7 weeks to write it all out start to finish. Quinn was outlined but I had a tendency to change things and move my timeline around the way the story demanded.

Then you have my science fiction series, book three is completely outlined and ready to be written, but I only have a vague idea of how the first two books are to go. But I know I need to write them before the third.

I personally have a problem writing everyday. I’m not a perfectionist but I also don’t like just writing to delete whole scenes. I want to know I’m getting the core of the scene and can tweak it after I’m done with the whole thing.

Every writer is different. Just as you have to find your own voice you also have to find how you can write to finish a project. Finishing the project is the key and ultimate goal.

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Bucket List #MFRWauthor

Bucket Lists are interesting. They can change so much in such a short time and once you accomplish a list there is a new list. Isn’t there always something new and interesting coming along that could be added? But this post is going to be short and sweet. 😉

#5 Award Winning Books written and published by the time I’m 40, in both Romance and Science Fiction Genre’s.

#4 Take a vacation to Tahiti or Maldives before my 40th birthday.

#3 Live Stream Yoga consistently to help more people find the benefits of Yoga in their lives. Especially those who live to far outside of cities to take classes in the studio.

#2 Take my children to Europe and show them what other parts of the world are like.

#1 Write and traditionally Publish a Best selling book

Would you like to buy or leave a review for Olivia? Follow the links below, and Thank you!

Amazon     Goodreads     Twitter

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Weak Vs Strong Female Characters

Over the last few years, I’ve heard/read many writers talking about not seeing female characters that were strong, and that was their inspiration for writing their first novel. Que me on my couch like “yes! I want strong female characters. They stand up for what they want, they make their own decisions, and they own what they have done, good or bad.”

And then I read the authors book. And I get sad. Because their female character is putting up with behavior I would never put up with. They covet the stalkerish behavior of the billionaire showing up and taking over their company decisions. Their first sexual encounter, she says she wants things to slow down and he says no and pushes for them to go forward when she is obviously not comfortable, and she then does a 180 on her position and is orgasaming all over the place. (mixed signals much)

There may be a small part of the female population that does enjoy being pushed, becasue this is not pursel, but it isn’t being a strong female.

Strong is being where you want to be, doing what you want to do, and walking away from a man who pushes you to do things that you aren’t ready to do yet.

Why can’t a woman do what she wants? Why can’t she want to have sex with whomever and whenever she wants? Why does she have to act unreasonable and the man then has to make excuses and take on the blame, when the woman was being irrational? Why is he apologizing for the idiotic, irrational, un-thought out things that she did? He did nothing wrong.

This is not a healthy relationship. Why is it under the romance genre. These people will not stay together in this relationship for long after the book ends.

A relationship is give and take. It is admitting when you did something stupid, wrong, or irrational. It’s taking responsibility for our past, current, and future actions. It’s forgiving. It’s standing next to the person not behind, or in front, but beside. It’s talking about things, making decisions together, and doing those things with each other.

We all have ideas of what romance is. I get it. But can we come together on what costiutes abusive behavior both on the male and female side and not put that material in our romance stories? Please, oh pretty please.


Influential Authors #MFRWauthor

Because of the way I grew up, my reference was a little skewed from the norm. For instance I failed the test to get into kindergarten, not because I couldn’t do what they asked but because I did it different. When ask what a picture was I didn’t say bird, I said that’s a dove. Apparently specificity is not what they wanted for a kindergartner.

I also didn’t read well for whatever reason and was put in a special group to get my skills up to par in the second grade. It took a year and half but I finally tested out of that skills group. I was never special ed, but my school thankfully didn’t need me to test into special ed in order to get the help I needed. Unlike today’s school system, but that is a whole other post.

I was so borderline that I didn’t get a pass onto to the next grade from a teacher until after the fifth grade. Up until then my teacher would leave that part of my report card blank and leave it up to my parents on whether or not I would go to the next grade. When my tiny rural school closed it’s doors and we were all transferred to a neighboring (larger) district my parents wanted to hold me back. This spurred me to make better grades, barely.

I some how made it into the higher math class in Jr High, but I barely stayed in it with my C average that could dive perilously close to a D. Then I started reading…. a lot of reading. It helped me cope with the bullying I dealt with on a daily basis, not so much from the girls in my class, but the boys. And somewhere about the time I hit 9th grade my brain changed. I suddenly started being able to do the math and remember facts from history, my grades slowly improved till I was in the top ten percent of our class by graduation. I went onto get a Math degree and I currently teach Jr High math at a rural school. Where I try to see the potential in my students that they don’t see in themselves. The same potential that my Jr High math teacher saw in me.

Thanks Mrs J! (math teacher) And thank you Mrs Rhinehart (english teacher) for teaching a literature class my Junior year that just let me read for an hour everyday. You let us pick any book we wanted, Romance novels to classics like Jane Eyre and Fellowship of the Ring all the way over to The Fountainhead that year.

With all that being said here are some the books that have had the most influence on me over the years.

Dan Simmons (Sci fi extraordinaire)

Nora Roberts (My favored Romance novelist. Down to earth stories and people.)

Anne Rice (Teenage me loved paranormal.)

Danielle Steele (Sweet accessible stories of my teenage years)

Sandra Brown (Accessible romances that aren’t bogged down in details. They allowed my imagination to fill in the gaps)

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Four Stars…

So what does it feel like to get your first positive review from someone who isn’t invested in you in any way?

I kind of know. This morning a friend who had recently read my book “Olivia” was asking how she can write a review. So to make sure my directions were correct I went to Amazon and scrolled to the bottom, and woot woot I had another review. One by a stranger!

The review was in depth as well. Not just a one liner, but paragraphs of information about my book. And while I would of course love to have all five star reviews, let’s be realistic. Four stars is a positive review. If all an item gets is five stars I actually get suspicious of the product. I call it a win.

Unfortunately the strong wind we had yesterday blew in all the cedar pollen from down in West Texas resulting in me getting up at 2AM to take Benedryl and I’m still trying to leave the Benadryl hangover behind me at four o’clock in the afternoon.

I’m excited. I’m proud of me. I’m sure of it, even if my head feels like it is still hovering a few feet above my body and not attached properly.

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