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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Viola author writes of cowboys, romance

Thursday, May 8, 2003

Salem resident Connie Vigil Platt, a fourth generation cattle rancher who grew up in the high desert area of southern Colorado, an area rich in legends of outlaws and the Wild West, realized a long- awaited dream with the recent publication of her first novel, Pair A Dice.

Tales told by her grandfather around the fireplace on cold winter nights before television was common inspired her to relate the stories she now writes about.

After attending a one-room school and graduating from high school in a class of seven, Platt took time out to raise a family. Now she devotes her time to writing western fiction.

Before her book was published Platt sold 11 short stories to Sterling-McFadden publishing. "I wanted to write since I was 10 years old," she recalls.

Platt's novel is a moving story of love, hate, lust and a woman's liberation in 1884. Pair A Dice tells the story of how a strong woman can conquer hardships. It's an intriguing tale of human emotions, Platt said.

The story opens as Jeb Campbell sells his daughter, Rose, a simple backwoods girl, to rich and powerful Levi Johnson for two loads of white oak lumber and $300.

Forced into a loveless marriage at 15 to an abusive man, Rose turns to Seth Lucas for comfort. Levi, known for his love of fast women and fast horses, owns most of Johnson City. For years Rose dreams of getting away and changing her circumstances. But her parents would never understand her desire for wanting to get away.

Her chance comes in the form of a wandering cowboy, Seth. But Seth leaves town to seek financial gain to secure their future. During Seth's absence Rose's husband is killed in a buggy accident which leaves her to raise four children, all under the age of 10, on her own.

Pair A Dice is a fascinating account of a cruel man, a strong, tenacious woman and a handsome cowboy who is willing to fight or die for her love.

To find out what happens to Rose readers will have to purchase the novel. It is available from local bookstores or it can be ordered online from www.Publish-America.com, Platt said.

Platt said she finished her novel over a year ago and searched for an agent-publisher until she found one. She said she always wanted to write but was too busy with family obligations.

Platt's family lived in the country on a ranch. With no friends close by, she made her own amusement by reading much of the time. Growing up on the ranch with horses and cattle to tend to made writing about cowboys second nature to her. She said her father was a cowboy, her mother a cowgirl and she was the cowhand. Her uncle lived in a line shack at a neighboring ranch, just like in the westerns.

She gave riding lessons in the early 1970s. "Anything you can do from a chair you can do from the back of a horse," Platt said.

Once her family was raised, Platt divorced her husband and moved to Viola in 1985. That is when her life took a dramatic turn, almost like something out of a romance novel. After arriving in Fulton County she contacted her high school sweetheart who was living in Pensacola, Fla. She traveled to Florida and no sooner had she exited the airplane than he asked her what date she wanted to get married. Two months later the couple married. She said, "Forty years later I married my high school sweetheart, Robert Platt."

The couple met at her senior prom. Robert attended the prom with buddies from the Army. Shortly after the prom he returned to the military. At the tender age of 17 Platt knew what a broken heart felt like. She said life went on without Robert but she never forgot her first love.

Her first short story was a biography of how the two found each other years later. She said she writes mostly westerns with cowboys because deep down everybody wants to be a cowboy.

She belongs to an online writing group which critiques her work for grammar, spelling and sentence structure.

For those interested in contacting Platt, her e-mail address is pair-a-dice@centurytel.net.

"I'm real excited about having my first book published. A dream come true. It proves that you can do whatever you want to. This is America," she said.

Platt said she hopes, with the renewed interest in the old West, her work of fiction will be of great interest to the public. She said if a movie director discovers her book and decides to make it into a motion picture she wants Tom Selleck to play the role of Seth.

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