Marsha Ward


Marsha Ward was born in the sleepy little town of Phoenix, Arizona, and grew up with chickens, citrus trees, and lots of room to roam. She began telling stories at a very early age, regaling neighborhood chums with her tales over homemade sugar cookies and milk. Her love of 19th Century Western history was reinforced by visits to her cousins on their ranch and listening to her father's stories of homesteading in Old Mexico and in the Tucson area.

Over the years, Marsha became an award-winning poet, writer and editor, with over 900 pieces of published work. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association and a member of Western Writers of America, Indie Author Hub, and Arizona Professional Writers. She makes her home in a tiny forest hamlet in Arizona. When she is not writing, she loves to give talks, meet readers, and sign books.

Smashwords Interview

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a place that grew up to forget its past, but despite that, I had what amounted to a rural upbringing in a fast-growing urban area. This place was smack-dab in the heart of the Old West. My dad told us stories of ranching and family and values that dug deep into my soul and left a lasting impression. Those are the things I try to pass along to my readers.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes! Back in third or fourth grade, our class studied about the Acadian people's ouster from Canada and their trek to Louisiana. I wrote a one-page play about them. I don't think the play was ever distributed for acting out in the classroom, but nonetheless, it's the first literary piece I remember writing.
Read more of this interview.

Where to buy in print


The Owen Family Saga
The Owen Family: headed by Rod Owen, with his wife Julia at his side to hand him a daily dose of love and humility. The sons and daughters are fun-loving and a bit rowdy, but intensely loyal to God, Virginia, and family. Not even the Civil War and its hardships can quell their spirits, but in quiet times, the losses seem overwhelming. Journey with them to Colorado Territory and beyond for action, adventure, and romance. Novels with heart and grit. **Book order revised 8/2016 to indicate the optimal chronology for reading**
Gone for a Soldier
Price: $5.99 USD.
The Man from Shenandoah
Price: $0.99 USD.
Spinster's Folly
Price: $3.99 USD.
Ride to Raton
Price: $3.99 USD.
Trail of Storms
Price: $3.99 USD.
The Owen Family
New Adventures featuring characters in The Owen Family Saga that fill in gaps between the novella and novels of that series. Don't miss the delicious recipes (and some delightful fiction) in From Julia's Kitchen!
Men of Haught Springs
Haught Springs, Texas: a rowdy frontier town bursting at the seams with action, adventure, and intrigue. Join author Marsha Ward in a new world of hard-working, rough and tumble men who sometimes aren't exactly who or what they seem to be.
Blood at Haught Springs
Price: $2.99 USD.
Promised Valley
For the early Mormon Saints, the Great Basin became their refuge in the West, beginning with the Great Salt Lake Valley. That was their land of promise. Historical novelist Marsha Ward begins her new series with the story of Elijah Marshall. Other tales featuring familiar characters, as well as new ones, will follow. Come for the adventure, and stay to fall in love.
The Zion Trail
Price: $3.99 USD.


The Blacksmith's Apprentice
Series: The Owen Family Saga, Book 6. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 48,230. Language: English. Published: July 6, 2023. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Western, Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier
Clay Owen’s ambition is to raise horses on his family’s homestead, but he needs specialized skills to do the job. He spends two years away from home in an apprenticeship, but falling in love with a red-headed girl with strong opinions isn’t part of his plan. Book 6 of The Owen Family Saga is a sweet romance featuring characters with sizzling chemistry, on the Colorado frontier in the late 1860s.
Roses Are Red
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,570. Language: English. Published: May 18, 2022. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Short stories, Fiction » Romance » Workplace
Bill’s second job, at the plant nursery owned by his girl’s father, might be in jeopardy because of an honest mistake. But AJ’s angry accusation might be the mistake, instead. Can Bill figure out what went wrong before AJ calls off their engagement?
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 74,320. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2022. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal » Vampires
Laura hopes a ski vacation will let her forget that her baby died and so has her marriage. While Nick chases an international jewel thief, all he thinks about is Laura, but inattention might get him killed. Laura meets a dashing European; Nick meets a bullet. Appearances may not be reality. Who is in the most jeopardy?
Surprising Charity
Series: Shenandoah Neighbors. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 100,050. Language: English. Published: September 22, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Historical » American, Fiction » Cultural & ethnic themes » Hispanic & Latino
August 1867: When Pedro Chaves arrives in Albuquerque begging Charity Bingham to marry him at the behest of her late husband's ghost, she is stunned. She thought her life would be lived out baking pies and bread for hotel guests and loving on her increasing brood of grandchildren. Now, this man she barely knows wants a marriage of convenience. A sensual story with mature-age characters.
Lies & Secrets: Three Historical Short Stories
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 19,180. Language: English. Published: June 27, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Historical » General, Fiction » Coming of age
Historical Short Stories in the Owen Universe. Scandalous: Young Julianna Owen didn't think flirting with Parley Morgan at the barn raising would lead him to put his hands where they ought not to be. Broken: Rida Owen didn’t know married life on the Colorado frontier could be so difficult. Bloodied Leather: Isabelle Gilbert chafes against the restrictions that Victorian life puts on a young lady.
Ned's Choice: A Shenandoah Neighbors Story
Series: Shenandoah Neighbors. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,240. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier, Fiction » Romance » Western
Ned Heizer has fixed a big mistake in his life and now is going after the girl he wants to marry. She's a Mississippi Mormon traveling by wagon to the Great Salt Lake Valley. He's a Virginian who fought for the North. Is his hope of happiness worth taking on huge obstacles? *Mormon religious beliefs are a large part of this story*
Broken: A Shenandoah Neighbors Story
Series: Shenandoah Neighbors. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,700. Language: English. Published: January 19, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Historical » General, Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier
Rida Owen didn't know her husband would be a womanizing wife-beater, and hides the situation from her in-laws. Then a former neighbor visits and reveals his own secret. A Shenandoah Neighbors story that illuminates a dark corner of the Owen Family universe while offering hope.
Scandalous: An Owen Family Story
Series: The Owen Family. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,950. Language: English. Published: January 6, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier, Fiction » Coming of age
Young Julianna Owen didn't think flirting with Parley Morgan at the barn raising would lead him to put his hands where they ought not to be. Worse yet, her sister discovers them. Parley abandons her, running off into the woods. Scandalous shines a light on teen hormones run amok during a trying time in the Owen family's story, as it ties up a loose thread from Spinster's Folly.
The Apple Pie Prize: An Owen Family Story
Series: The Owen Family. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,530. Language: English. Published: December 15, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Historical » General, Fiction » Historical » USA
No one in Shenandoah County would say Rod Owen lacked vigor. The evidence is clear, with six young’uns running around the farm and his wife Julia about to call in the midwife. But a pie crust and a small boy with a sack of dead squirrels can be vexing impediments when such a man wants a little kissin' in the kitchen. A short story packed with insights into early times at the Owen Family farm.
Mended by Moonlight: A Shenandoah Neighbors Novella
Series: Shenandoah Neighbors. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 33,790. Language: English. Published: November 25, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Historical » General, Fiction » Historical » USA
A grief-stricken Confederate widow. A Union surgeon plagued by guilt. What possible set of circumstances would bring them to a meeting of the minds? Can there be a happily-ever-after for Ella Ruth and Alex during Reconstruction? Mended by Moonlight is best enjoyed if read after the Owen Family Saga novel, Gone for a Soldier.
Bloodied Leather: A Shenandoah Neighbors Story
Series: Shenandoah Neighbors. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,430. Language: English. Published: August 12, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Victorian, Fiction » Historical » USA
Isabelle Gilbert chafes against the restrictions that Victorian life puts on a young lady. An unwanted betrothal, inattentive parents, and long-hidden family secrets her mother reveals add to her unsettled state of mind. This Shenandoah Neighbors story ties in to Marsha Ward's popular Owen Family Saga series of novels.
That Tender Light: An Owen Family Novella
Series: The Owen Family Saga. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 14,340. Language: English. Published: July 14, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Historical » General, Fiction » Historical » USA
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
In this short novella, acclaimed author Marsha Ward tells the story of the Owen Family origins, describing in her delicate language the tender feelings of two people who need to find each other in a very small window of time.
The Checklist: Indie Publishing My Way
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 27,520. Language: English. Published: May 1, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Publishing » Self-publishing, Nonfiction » Reference » Publishing & books
The Checklist: Indie Publishing My Way gives author and mentor Marsha Ward's perspective and the checklist of the processes she uses to publish her books . . . her way. A step-by-step, easy to follow handbook to the publication process.
From Julia's Kitchen: Owen Family Cookery
Series: The Owen Family. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 9,610. Language: English. Published: March 10, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » American / Southern States, Nonfiction » History » History of things
When Julia Susannah Helm was just a little girl in Pennsylvania, she discovered a “receipt” for hash in a kitchen drawer, written out in the hand of her father’s former housekeeper. Her brother Jonathan made her a small wooden box to keep it in. That was the beginning of her recipe collection, which became one of her most cherished possessions.
The Complete Owen Family Saga
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 404,300. Language: English. Published: September 28, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA, Fiction » Romance » Western
(5.00 from 1 review)
The Complete Owen Family Saga is a Chronological Collection of the five novels within: Gone for a Soldier, The Man from Shenandoah, Spinster's Folly, Ride to Raton, and Trail of Storms. Join Rod and Julia Owen, their sons, daughters, and neighbors in Colorado Territory and beyond for action, adventure and romance in 19th Century America.
Faith and the Foreman
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 15,730. Language: English. Published: July 11, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Western, Fiction » Romance » Western
New Yorker Faith Bannister's circumstances force her to become a school teacher in faraway Arizona Territory. Harsh conditions don't seem so overwhelming when Faith meets lanky Slim McHenry. But menacing Rance Hunter stands in the way of Faith and Slim's happiness. Both must rally all their resources and act to overcome evil before it spreads.
Blood at Haught Springs
Series: Men of Haught Springs. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 25,480. Language: English. Published: May 25, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier, Fiction » Western
Wes Haught wants his brother to grow up and tend to his share of the chores at the family's general store. Lonnie Haught dreams of being a gunfighter. Lies unravel and lives hang in the balance as brother fights against brother. Fiery emotions and vengeful acts erupt in a smoldering new Western adventure novella from the author of the acclaimed Owen Family Saga. Two bonus stories included.
The Zion Trail
Series: Promised Valley. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 57,760. Language: English. Published: February 19, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Religious, Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier
On a hot summer day, young Elijah Marshall stops plowing to give a drink of water to two strangers and invite them to lunch with his family. His neighborly act sets in motion events that will drastically change his future. In a 19th century coming-of-age story ranging from Pennsylvania to the Great Salt Lake Valley, Elijah plunges into harrowing adventures filled with sorrow, danger, and romance.
Western Stories: Four Tales of the West
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 10,920. Language: English. Published: February 21, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Western, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Western Stories: Four Tales of the West, by best-selling author Marsha Ward. This short story collection includes newly edited editions of Cottonwood Cowboys, The Usual Game, War Party, and No More Strangers.
Happy Halloween
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,030. Language: English. Published: September 23, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary, Fiction » Holiday » Halloween
Mary Beth Larson emerges from the fog of loss in a new location with two young children, determined to start her life again. Glen Hampton and his little kids have already survived their own tragedy. Maybe this Halloween means something besides Trick or Treat. A "Misty Moments" story.
Gone for a Soldier
Series: The Owen Family Saga, Book 1. Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 103,980. Language: American English. Published: August 20, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Historical » General, Fiction » Historical » USA
Book 1: The Owen Family Saga. Rulon Owen enlists in the cavalry to fight Yankees, but he needs good fortune to survive and make it home to his wife, Mary, and their young son. At home, Mary faces her own soul-draining battles. Separated by war and circumstance, Rulon and Mary discover that not all enemies wear the Union blue. 2014 Whitney Award Finalist for Historical Fiction
Spinster's Folly
Series: The Owen Family Saga, Book 3. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 74,640. Language: English. Published: November 3, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier, Fiction » Western
Book 3: The Owen Family Saga. 2013 Winner USA Best Books Award, Westerns. Marie Owen longs for a loving husband, but marriage prospects on the Colorado frontier are limited. Her desperation at the prospect of remaining unmarried, fueled by her younger sister's taunting jibes about her becoming a spinster, drives Marie into the arms of a sweet-talking predator, landing her in unimaginable dangers.
Thumps and Losers: Two Short Stories
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,130. Language: English. Published: May 5, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Adventure » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
Two short tales from master storyteller Marsha Ward. A lone woman faces down a "bear" in her remote county home in "Thumps in the Night," and a ten-year-old boy finds a wallet full of cash in "Losers Weepers."
Cottonwood Cowboys
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,840. Language: English. Published: May 4, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
In a short story designed to make you chuckle, award-winning Western writer Marsha Ward brings you a pair of young men trying to fit the unexpected chore of cutting up a fallen cottonwood tree with a two-man saw into their plans to attend a dance on Saturday night.
The Usual Game
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,630. Language: English. Published: May 2, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Western, Fiction » Literature » Plays & Screenplays
The Usual Game: a short story set in early-day Jerome, Arizona. Verl might not make it home to Phoenix this weekend. His landlord is stuck in Happy Sam's usual poker game, and it looks like he's losing his entire savings. "Marsha Ward has the ability to grab readers by the lapels, yank them into her stories, and make them care deeply about her characters." ~Phyllis Dugan, Writer
War Party
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,750. Language: English. Published: May 1, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier, Fiction » Coming of age
Western Short Story: "Black smoke drew Rolla's eye, smoke where there should not be smoke. Then he heard the noise: high, piercing yips, and a woman's scream, and the flat report of gunshots." With revenge in his heart, young Rolla takes part in the Battle of Salt River Canyon at Skeleton Cave in Arizona Territory.
Trail of Storms
Series: The Owen Family Saga, Book 5. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 85,620. Language: English. Published: April 25, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier, Fiction » Romance » Western
(4.00 from 1 review)
Book 5: The Owen Family Saga. Jessie Bingham put heartbreak away to tend to her sister's needs, but when she settled for second best in love, she didn't know James Owen would come back into her life. Award-winning author Marsha Ward reunites Jessie and James in a bewildering tangle of values, emotions and high adventure. Rape scene and Mormon beliefs included.
No More Strangers
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 13,230. Language: English. Published: April 22, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Anthologies » Poetry - single author
Prose and Poetry of the West from acclaimed Western novelist Marsha Ward. Six short stories, three poems, and an excerpt from a forthcoming novel make up this collection of Western treasures, including the never-before-published "Thumps in the Night." "Marsha Ward spins an authentic yarn of a good ol' Western tale." ~Joyce DiPastena, author of "Illuminations of the Heart"
Rapid Recipes for Writers . . . And Other Busy People
Price: Free! Words: 2,520. Language: English. Published: December 23, 2010. Categories: Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » General cookbooks, Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » Methods / Quick & Easy
(4.25 from 4 reviews)
31 Quick and Easy Retro Recipes: One new thing to eat each day for a month. Your family will never suspect that you've been slaving over a hot keyboard all day long if you spring these quick and yummy recipes from the 80s on them.
Ride to Raton
Series: The Owen Family Saga, Book 4. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 73,470. Language: English. Published: December 30, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier, Fiction » Western
(4.25 from 4 reviews)
Book 4: The Owen Family Saga. James Owen leaves home to make a new life for himself, and discovers that post-Civil War Colorado is a dangerous place for an ex-Confederate. He meets beautiful young Amparo Garcés, who came from Santa Fe to marry a stranger, and a twist of fate changes their lives forever.
The Man from Shenandoah
Series: The Owen Family Saga, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 77,000. Language: English. Published: October 27, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier, Fiction » Western
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
Book 2: The Owen Family Saga. Returning from the Civil War, Carl Owen finds the farm ruined and his father set to leave Virginia. Then Carl falls in love, and he battles a band of outlaws, a prairie fire, blizzards, a trackless waterless desert, and his own brother—all for the hand of feisty Ellen Bates. ++New Cover++

Marsha Ward's tag cloud

19th century    abuse    abusive husband    abusive spouse    action    action adventure    adventure    america 1800s    american civil war    american west fiction    animal    apache wars    apaches    arizona    arizona territory    assassin hero    attraction    battle against evil    battles    bear    beta readers    blacksmith    broken hearts    card game    cattle    children    choices    chores    christian    christian mormon adventure    civil war    civil war historical romance    classic western    clean and wholesome    clean wholesome    colorado    colorado territory    coming of age    coming of age fiction    coming of age novel    conflict    contemporary romance    covers    cowboy    cowboy adventure    cowboy humor    cowboys    creative nonfiction    crisis    curiosity    depression era    diving    drama    early arizona    early mormon church era    easy and quick cooking    easy and simple chicken recipes    easy dinner recipes    easy meals    easy recipes for busy moms    editors    enemies to lovers    engaged couple    family life    family saga    family values    farm    fiance    fiction    fiesta de quince anos    flirting    flower shop    formatting guide    found money    frontier adventure    frontier and homestead cookery    frontier and pioneer life    ghost    government job    grief and loss    grief recovery    hacienda    hispanic hero    hispanic meals    historical western drama    holy water    homefront    hopes    horse team    horses    humor    indian wars battle    indie book publishing    inspirational    isolated    jerome arizona    jump the reservation    kissing    lds historical romance    life of a soldier    looming threat    loss and grief    love at first sight    love story    marriage of convenience    marsha ward    matchmaking    mature age characters    medicine    mix up    mormon beliefs    mormon pioneer romance    mormon pioneers    multi cultural love story    multicultural    multicultural romance    new mexico territory    novel    novella    old west    origin story    owen family series    physical abuse    pioneering    pioneers    plants roses cacti    poetry    poker    post american civil war    post civil war    post civil war era    quick and easy recipes    raiding party    ranch foreman    reconstruction    relationships    religion    religious beliefs    retro cuisine    romance    romance and adventure    runaway horses    rural    rustling    sacrifice    salt river canyon    san francisco    san pedro river    sanitarium    saturday night dance    saving money    selflessness    series    settlers    shenandoah county    shenandoah valley    short story    simple recipes    skeleton cave    ski resort    southern recipes    spinster    stepbystep instruction    stories    strong female    sweet and clean romance    teen angst    the great depression    threat    tragedy    trick or treat    twoman saw    vengeance    victorian era    victorian life    virginia    virginia civil war    wagon travel    war between the states    weapons    wedding date    wedding gift    westering    western    western action adventure    western action adventure romance    western fiction    western migration    western novel    western romance    western settlement    western short stories    westerns    wild west    yavapai    yearning    youth   

Smashwords book reviews by Marsha Ward

  • Distant Cousin on May 10, 2010

    I was just galloping through this excellent novel by Al Past on my iPod touch when BAM! I came to the end of the sample. "Oh no," I said to myself. "I thought I bought this book!" Well, I guess I hadn't, but I've fixed that oversight, and now I'm ready to race on toward the ending. Thank you, Al! Both for writing this book, and for enabling a generous sample. Smart move. It makes it virtually impossible not to buy the whole thing.
  • The Chronicles of Gan: The Thorn on Dec. 15, 2010

    Earlier this year, I was asked to participated in the Blog Tour for Daron D. Fraley's debut novel The Thorn: Book One of The Chronicles of Gan. I agreed, even though I don't read speculative fiction for pleasure. My tastes run more toward mysteries, Regencies, and historical fiction. I began reading the pdf file on my computer. This had its difficulties, because epic works of this type have a multitude of characters and often, an off-world setting. Although there was a Glossary containing both places and characters (for which I was very thankful), flipping back to it in a computer file was not an easy task. Later, the physical book arrived, and I was much more comfortable in accessing both the Glossary and the Map of Gan, which the pdf had lacked. Before I received the physical book, however, for ease of carrying the novel with me, I converted it to a format that could be read on my iPod touch. This made the reading go faster, as I wasn't tied to my computer. I even got used to the fact that I had inadvertently stripped out much of the formatting, so the chapter breaks and italics were gone. As I got immersed in the book, that didn't matter anymore. (This is no longer a problem with the publication of the Smashwords edition.) I was gratified to find my fear of being bored was unfounded. Fraley weaves a grand story of action, intrigue, and loyalty that is not boring. Crisp writing and interesting characters mingle with a well-conceived plot. Although it occurs in a galaxy far, far away, the tale is not set in the distant future, but in the past, concurrent to the period in Earth's history slightly before the birth of Christ. The following is from the original print edition's back cover: "Three tribes are at war on the planet Gan, unaware that the sign of Christ's birth on an unknown world--Earth--is about to appear in the heavens. "During a bloody skirmish with Gideonite troops, Jonathan of Daniel spares Pekah, a young enemy soldier, gaining his trust forever. These distant brothers from estranged tribes covenant with each other to end the war being waged by a self-proclaimed emperor, and soon discover the intentions of a far more dangerous foe--a sinister general bent on ruling those he can bring into subjection and destroying all others." I did have occasion to wonder if Fraley's children are all boys, because some of the horse-play between a few characters seemed a mite juvenile, but that was a minor niggle. I look forward to reading the second book in the projected three-book series, Heaven's Garden. I give The Thorn four stars.