Renee Ryan here and I have an apology to make. The last time I blogged I announced the winner of a copy of one of my books. Unfortunately, the post got lost in cyber space due to a problem with our site. So…I plan to make up the oversight here today. You have to read to the end of the blog to see what I have in mind.
I’m working on my next book. It’s Book 9 (and the final book) in my Charity House. The book is set in the 1890s in Denver, Colorado. The hero is one of the first “orphans” to live at Charity House. Jonathon (formerly Johnny) Hawkins is all grown up and has made good. In fact, he owns a chain of hotels across the United States. When I first started thinking about what my all-grown-up Johnny was like I did what I always I do. I researched. When I came across Conrad Hilton, the founder of the Hilton Hotel chains, I knew I’d met the model for Jonathon.
If I shared everything I learned about Connie here today this blog post would be several pages long. Instead of overwhelming you, here are a few of the more interesting Fast Facts about this incredibly interesting man.
- Conrad Hilton founded the Hilton Hotel chains
- He was born on Christmas day in 1887
- He died January 3, 1979
- He was born in San Antonio, New Mexico Territory
- He had 8 siblings
- His father, Augustus Halvorsen Hilton, was an immigrant from Norway
- His mother, Mary Genevieve, was a Catholic American of German descent
- He was married three times, most notably to Zsa Zsa Gabor
- He had a degree in mining from New Mexico Military Institute
- He was a great philanthropist, which was influenced by his strong Catholic beliefs
- His mother taught him that prayer was the best investment he could ever make
- He fought in WWI
- He built his first hotel in 1925, the Dallas Hotel
- His great granddaughters are Paris and Nikki Hilton
I could go on, but I’ll save “how” he built his empire for another blog post. Leave a comment and I’ll put in a drawing to receive a copy of my September release, HIS MOST SUITABLE BRIDE, where Jonathon has a strong secondary role.
Now, about my last post…
Because of the confusion due to site issues, I’ve decided to give the following people a copy of my September release, or any book from my backlist they choose. Britney Adams, Cindy Wodard, Colleen, Connie J, Cori and Lori…email me your snail mail address and book preference at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get the book to you as soon as I can.
Fellow Filly sister, Karen Witemeyer, blogged a few months back about the Montgomery Ward catalog in the 1800s. Well, I immediately went to Amazon and bought a copy. Not only was the extensive list of merchandise interesting but I loved the fine print in the front.
They assure the purchaser that they employ no agents or traveling collectors and lay out their rules for ordering.
“We will ship goods by freight to ANYONE if money accompanies the order. We will ship goods in our name and collect the bill through your banker if sufficient money is sent with the order to cover the freight charges. Be sure to give us the name and location of your bank.”
“Goods will be sent by express, C.O.D. (collect on delivery) when, in our opinion, the articles ordered are suitable. Value, bulk, weight, class, distance, etc., will determine our acceptance or refusal of all such orders. We will not send C.O.D. for amounts under $5.00.” (It goes on to say that the purchaser has to pay all possible shipping charges up front and that no goods will be sent to points off a railway unless paid for in advance. It seems the prepayment of the shipping was a big deal.
Mail Shipments (sending prepaid goods through the U.S. mail): “Postage by mail is 1 cent per ounce or 16 cents per pound. No one package must exceed 4 pounds, but any number of packages may be sent to the same address weighing 4 lbs. or less each. Packages can be sent by registered mail for 8 cents per package extra. We positively require cash in advance for both goods and postage. We will return the amount overpaid, if any. Explosives, poisonous or inflammable articles are unmailable. Sharp pointed instruments and glass such as needles, knives, pens, lantern slides etc. can go in mailing cases at an extra cost of 5 cents.”
And then there’s a section on insuring the merchandise ordered by mail. The cost was 5 cents for each package of $5.00 or under in value. Value of goods from $5 to $10 was 10 cents. Over that was an extra 5 cents additional. They tell the customer to be sure to write “Insure” on their order and enclose the appropriate fee.
Discounts for cash. They gave 2% discount on orders $20 to $50. 3% on 50 to $100 and on up to 5% for orders over $150. But this only applied to cash sales. They even addressed how to send money for those paying in cash—Bank Draft, Postal Money Order, or Express Money Order.
And of course there’s a section addressing returned goods. Their motto was money back guarantee and they stood behind their promise to the customer.
Of Interest: There are 36 pages of books of all kinds listed in this 1895 catalog.
This book is an invaluable resource of historical writers or just anyone who loves history. You can find a copy on Amazon.com. http://amzn.com/0486223779
As you read this, I’ll be en route to San Antonio, Texas for the huge Romance of America conference. Don’t let that stop you. Come on in and leave a comment and I’ll respond when I can.
My winner for the digital copy of LASSOING A MAIL ORDER BRIDE is…….. JANINE!
My winner for the digital copy of COWBOY CRAVINGS is……CORI!
And my winner for the signed print copy of TIME PLAINS DRIFTER is….PATRICIAB!
Ladies, if you will please e-mail me at email@example.com to claim your prizes I will be thrilled to see that you get them ASAP. Janine and Cori, I will need your e-mail addresses, and Patricia, I will need your “snail mail” addy!
Thanks again for all the loving support you have all shown us this first year of business at PRP and we hope for many more to come!
In August, 2013, my business partner, Livia Reasoner and I decided to take the plunge and open our own publishing house. So many little companies were bursting on the scene that we wondered if we would be able to make much of a difference in the publishing world. Less than a year later, I want to share with you all what we’ve done. To start with, I better talk a little about why we wanted to start Prairie Rose Publications to begin with. Livia and I both belong to a professional western writing group, the WESTERN FICTIONEERS, of which we are both very proud to be members. I am currently acting as President of the Western Fictioneers until 2016. We had both noticed that there were many women writers—good women writers—who were having trouble “breaking in” to the western genre.
Many of these women wrote “gritty” western stories—not so heavy on the romance as on the “western” aspect; many of them wrote shorter stories than the normal popular length for a novel, or novella; and many were having trouble just because they were women—with the name to prove it.
Lots of publishers don’t like taking a chance on westerns anymore, written by man or woman—but when they have a choice, they’ll be publishing the ones by men—since men are more apt to buy western and science fiction works by another man than by a woman.
Livia and I agreed that one of the submissions requirements for our publishing house would be first and foremost, to submit, you had to be a woman. We have not been sorry, and have had more business than we can handle at times.
SOME OF OUR PRP AUTHORS
Another thing we wanted to do was encourage new writers as well as seasoned ones. We’ve got a fantastic mix of both, and have thoroughly enjoyed working with them all. Our royalty rate is one of the best anywhere, paying 80% net to the authors, who work so hard to write these wonderful tales and hope with everything in them to find a home for their stories. After years of being offered the traditional meager 35% for e-books and 7% for print, our authors are extremely happy with the royalty payments, and so are we.
We can do this because we don’t accept anything that requires heavy editing, so we are able to produce more quality stories and novels in a shorter time span.
It wasn’t long after we opened Prairie Rose Publications that we were asked if we published children’s westerns. And what about contemporary and science fiction? Well, did we also have an imprint for youngsters’ contemporary or fantasy stories? The answer became YES very quickly.
Painted Pony Books is our imprint for Middle Grade, YA and New Adult western fare; Tornado Alley Publications is the sister imprint for Middle Grade, YA, and New Adult contemporary stories, and Fire Star Press satisfies contemporary, science fiction and fantasy categories for adults. All of our imprints except Prairie Rose Publications are open to ANYONE to submit to—men and women, alike; newbies and experienced writers. Since opening our doors, we have published many anthologies at PRP—Wishing For a Cowboy (Christmas 2013), Hearts and Spurs (Valentine’s Day 2014), Lassoing a Bride, Lassoing a Groom, Lassoing a Mail Order Bride, and Cowboy Cravings (Summer stories, 2014). We’ve also put out 14 novels in the PRP line, as well as 6 novellas. In the Painted Pony Books imprint, we’ve published 9 books, some for all three of our age groups.
In the Tornado Alley Publications imprint, we published our first anthology, THIS SUMMER STORM, for YA readers just a few weeks ago in time for summer reading for ages 13-17. We also released a “retro” novel about the Viet Nam era, Echoes in the Night, and will be releasing two more about that era in the next couple of months. Fire Star Press has seen the release of one novella and one novel, with many more on the way.
Part of what we want to do with our company is to inspire people in many ways, and one of these ways is by helping others. We have partnered with some charities that are so rewarding and exciting to work with. One of them, The Lighthouse For Recovery Ministries, has many branches that reach out to all segments of the Birmingham, Alabama community—the homeless, abused animals, addiction programs, and programs for veterans who need help. http://www.thelighthouseforrecoveryministries.org/
Another of our “pet projects” has been helping with Westie rescue expenses by donating books to the Westie Rescue Missouri Fundraising Auction (here is the Facebook page for their event, for anyone who might be interested): https://www.facebook.com/groups/WestieRSQMissouriAuction/
What do we have coming up in the next year? More of the same! Prairie Rose Publications will have its first Halloween anthology, Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico making a debut in late September. But there’ll also be an anthology from Tornado Alley Publications for Middle Grade Readers this fall called My Dog Can Do Magic! For New Adult readers, we’ll have an anthology just in time for Halloween—It Could Happen—stories that have a love story with a Halloween twist.
We have submission calls open for all three of these anthologies, if you have a story you might meet the requirements!
Christmas will see two anthologies, Present for a Cowboy and Present for a Cowgirl in our PRP line. And Valentine’s Day will be marked by another new anthology to be released in the middle part of January.
But even more immediately, we have a special CHRISTMAS IN JULY event coming up from July 25-Aug. 1! During that time period, we’ll have many new Christmas-themed novellas and short stories available for purchase at our brand new website! We’ll have a lot of giveaways going on, too! We hope you’ll come join us during National Week of the Cowboy, the week we’ve chosen for our Christmas in July event—and get to know our authors.
But don’t wait until then—here’s the link, come on over and join us now!
PRP blog: www.prairierosepublications.blogspot.com
Questions? Ideas? Thoughts? Please leave a comment with your contact information! I will be drawing the names of 3 lucky winners today!
1 signed print copy of TIME PLAINS DRIFTER
1 digital copy of COWBOY CRAVINGS
1 digital copy of LASSOING A MAIL ORDER BRIDE
Winners will be announced tonight! Thanks so much for stopping by and celebrating with me!
The Fillies are happy to have Tessa Berkley come and chat with us. She’s such a delightful guest.
As a writer, I love how inspiration sometimes pulls from the truth to find the perfect solution for a story. I’ve been doing some work on a modern historical. I suppose since we’ve turned the corner some 15 years on the new century it would still be considered a historical. My focus has been on the early history of oil in Texas and the wildcatters who made up the work force. Little did these men realize their efforts to bring black gold or Texas ‘T’ to the surface would bring a huge change and usher in the modern age with one determined individual, Captain Anthony Lucas.
Lucas served in the Austrian Navy and was a trained engineer as well as a salt miner. He’d worked for the Gladys City Gas, Oil, and Manufacturing under Patillo Higgins who believed there was oil beneath the salt dome in an area near Beaumont, Texas. Drilling was hard in Texas. Sand made up most of the soil instead of the rock formations most drillers had experienced in the Pennsylvania oil fields. Anyone who has gone to the beach and dug deep into the sand understands the ease in which such loose grains can create cave ins. Ingenuity was the mother of invention, one of men under Lucas suggested pumping water into the hole thus stabilizing it. After two months of drilling and facing setbacks, on January 10th, 1901, the men found oil in a small place called Spindle Top, which will be the setting for my novella coming early next year.
My hero, Chase, is Clark Gable in disguise. No, not Rhett Butler, but the Gable seen in It Happened One Night. And yes, he is ruggedly handsome! Deep down, he believes there is oil beneath the salt lined sand on the St. James ranch.
My heroine, Lucy St. James, is the cynic. She’s the one that doesn’t believe in the new-fangled automobile, that fouls the air and frightens cattle and horses. She fights him tooth and nail to get him to see the error of his ways.
Of course, there are scally wags, cheats, and unscrupulous men who will dare to try and take advantage of them, but we all know its romance and where would we be without that happily ever after. I guess you are wondering how and why I began this little piece with the idea of inspiration pulling from real life. Oddly, Lucy’s father who plays a part in pulling the two together is named Lucas. Did I know about his finding oil at Spindle Top? Nope, not until after the first forty pages were done. Muses, God bless em.
Leave a comment and have a chance to win my latest ebook historical release, Lord Heartless.
Tessa Berkley loves to hear from readers. You can find her on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tessa.berkley.7
or at her web page http://tessaberkley.wix.com/tessaberkleyromance
Listed below are the upcoming releases from our talented writers here at Wildflower Junction. To purchase any of these fine books, just click on the book covers. And to learn more about the authors, click on their names. And look for fun excerpts from these fine books on upcoming Fridays!
By Tanya Hanson
Sixteen months since the foolish death of her husband, attorney Rachel Martin aches to move on as much as she fears the future. Cutting back on her practice and moving back to her childhood ranch means her three-year old son has all the attention he needs. Finding love again is the last thing on her mind…until she meets Brayton Metcalf.
After ten year’s of self-blame for his wife’s death in a plane crash, successful businessman Brayton Metcalf is instantly drawn to Rachel when he brings his his daughter to Hearts Crossing Ranch for therapy riding lessons. But Rachel backs off at his impetuous personality. He whittles away at her doubts…until he jumps head-fist into a business decision that will affect her family. Rachel, her trust in Brayton endangered, turns to trusting in God. Can the couple’s shared grief and guilt permit them to see daylight once again?
THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF (The Lost Clan, Book 2)
By Karen Kay
The end of a curse hides behind a riddle—and the final clue in the heart of a woman...
Grey Coyote stands on the knife edge of desperation. An ancient curse dooms his people to a half-life in the mists, neither living nor dead—unless he can solve a deceptively simple riddle. As time runs short, he’s sure the answer lies in beating a white trapper in a game of chance.
Among the trapper’s possessions, though, is a prize he never expected. A golden-haired woman as beautiful, delicate and stubborn as a prairie rose.
One moment Marietta Welsford is wondering how long it will take her hired guide to finish his game so she can hurry home to Rosemead, the English estate to which she hopes to lay claim. The next, she is abandoned with a man whose magnetism tugs at her body and soul, and makes her heart out-thunder the storm.
With so little time to lift the enchantment, Grey Coyote at first views Marietta as a trickster-sent distraction. But as sure as the star that guides him, it soon becomes clear she is the clue that could ultimately free his people…and capture his heart.
The dear lady will talk about early oil in Texas and specifically the Spindletop. And dear Lord bless my soul, she’s bringing pictures of Clark Gable and John Wayne! I dearly love those men.
Miss Tessa is bringing an e-version of LORD HEARTLESS to give away.
Get the lead out come Saturday and hightail it over here.
We’ll have a tall glass of sweet tea waiting.
I set REDEEMING the CEO COWBOY primarily in Reno, Nevada because it’s an extension of The Slades of Sunset Ranch Series and my hero Casey Thomas, is the CEO of Sentinel Construction from the Lake Tahoe area. Casey was born and raised in Reno and he’s come back to expand the business in his hometown. Well, that’s only one of the reasons…Susanna Hart has a little to do with the other reasons.
Reno was known in earlier days as “Sin City”, gaining its name and reputation for underground gambling and prostitution. After gold was discovered Virginia City, Charles Fuller decided to construct a bridge over the Truckee River charging a toll to cross, but the bridge wasn’t sturdy enough and his venture failed. Right before the Central Pacific Railroad came through the area, Myron Lake bought the bridge and land surrounding the area. The sturdier bridge he had constructed soon became known as Lake’s Crossing. In 1868 Lake’s Crossing was renamed Reno after Civil War hero, General Jesse Reno.
Reno became an important freight and passenger center. In 1928, the Reno City Council decided “Sin City” wouldn’t do, they needed a new slogan for their town and started a “motto” competition. The winner received $100.00 and the new slogan and now famous arch that hovers over the main street in town reads: The Biggest Little City in the World!
Susanna Hart owns a home-based business, Sweet Susie’s Pastries and More in Reno, Nevada. Here’s one of her recipes!
Rocky Road Chocolate Muffins (credit to Cupcakes Made Simple)
6 TBSP sunflower oil OR 6 TSP butter, melted and cooled
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
2 ounces unsweetened cocoa
Pinch of salt
1 TBSP baking powder
½ Cup super fine sugar
½ Cup white chocolate chips
1 ¼ ounces white mini-marshmallows cut in half
I Cup of milk
Grease a 12 hole muffin pan. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Stir in sugar, white chocolate chips and marshmallows.
Beat eggs in large bowl, add milk and oil and beat gently. Make a well with dry ingredients and add in beaten liquid ingredients. Stir gently until just combined. Spoon batter into muffin pans.
Bake in pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Enjoy!
Romantic Times Book Reviews: Sands continues the Slades of Sunset Ranch series with a heartfelt story, three-dimensional characters and a storyline that flows with relative ease. This is a SURE BET! Reviewed by: Susannah Balch
REDEEMING THE CEO COWBOY is available for pre-order and in bookstores August 1st.
Ten years ago = ancient history…right?
So what if former rodeo champion turned construction mogul Casey Thomas is back…living right next door? Susanna Hart is busy running her Sweet Susie’s pastry business and raising her two-year-old cousin. Why pay any attention to the man who took her virginity ten years ago, then left town?
Casey still feels guilty for taking advantage of his little sister’s best friend. A helping hand is just what her business—and his conscience—need. But guilt isn’t his only motivation. Casey’s got a sweet tooth for Susie. And the more she resists, the sweeter it gets!
Do you have a favorite muffin or cupcake recipe? How would you feel about your EX- moving in next door? Have you ever been to Reno or Lake Tahoe? Impressions? I’d love to hear from you!
Post a comment to any or all of these questions and a random blogger will be drawn over the weekend to win a $10.00 Amazon or BN Gift Card!