Category: Courting

Winner of Charlene’s Twins Blog is:

 

Emma!  Congrats and thanks for blogging with us!  Simply send me the email address you’d like to have your Kindle or Nook ebook of Bachelor for Hire delivered to:  charlenesands@hotmail.com   or let me know if you’d prefer a print book from last year’s backlist.

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The Outlaw Kathleen Rice Adams Confesses

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Why do so many women named Kathleen become romance authors? They’re everywhere.

Filly Fun 2016Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Kathleen Kane, Kathleen O’Brien, Kathleen Baldwin, Kathleen Eagle, Kathleen Kellow, Kathleen Maxwell, Kathleen Bittner Roth, Kathleen M. Rodgers, Kathleen Ball, Kathleen Y’Barbo, Kathleen Winsor… They’re all somewhat celebrated, and some are still writing today.

Then there’s that other Kathleen—the one who finds humor in the most inappropriate places at the worst possible times. The Kathleen whose wardrobe consists primarily of egg on her face and the taste of shoe leather on her tongue. The Kathleen who encourages fictional characters to cuss and steal and murder and commit all manner of other dastardly deeds because they can get away with it and she can’t.

The troublemaking one. The one who reveres sarcasm as high art. The one who should be rich and famous by now if for no other reason than name association.

The Hideout

My current hideout. Forget you saw it.

To tell you the truth, I find it more satisfying to be poor and infamous—which is a good thing, since I’m a pro at both pursuits.

Here are a few more truths:

1)  I’m the eldest of four siblings: two girls and two boys. (Yes, four middle-aged hooligans with similar DNA remain at large. Be afraid.) Three of us are overachievers: My sister is a retired judge, the eldest of the boys is literally a rocket scientist, and the baby of the family is a computer systems engineer. And then there’s me.

2) My sister, brothers, and I played cowboys and Indians a lot when we were kids. I was always the outlaw. Why no one saw that as a warning remains a mystery.

3) I retired from the U.S. Air Force at the ripe old age of 22. No, I was not mustered out on a Section 8, although that would’ve surprised no one.

4) I still have my wisdom teeth, my appendix, and my tonsils. My mind, on the other hand, hasn’t been seen in years.

Hole in the Web Gang

The Hole in the Web Gang, clockwise from top left: Dog, age 12; Underdog, 7; Little Ol’ Biddy, 15; Mr. Ed, 4.

5) As a journalist, I’ve worked the scene of a major airline disaster, covered political scandals, written columns about poltergeist-infested commodes and human kindness, won awards…and found myself staring at the wrong end of a gun—twice. Thankfully, I’ve yet to be ventilated. (A more astute individual might have realized it’s unwise to antagonize crazy people.)

6) My author bio says I come from “a long line of ranchers, preachers, and teachers on one side and horse thieves and moonshiners on the other.” I did not make any of that up. Some of my relatives still ranch, preach, and teach. The horse thieves and moonshiners found other lines of work.

7) My paternal grandmother’s mother was American Indian. Grandma never knew what tribe; consequently, neither do I. In the late 1800s, Kentucky hillbillies considered marrying an Indian shameful, so no one talked about great-grandma’s heritage. My grandmother never met her mother’s relatives. (My dad, who as a child helped his father run moonshine, was the first in his family’s history to earn a college degree. He referred to himself as a “hillwilliam.”)

Peaches by Kathleen Rice Adams8) My short story “Peaches” was based on my maternal grandparents’ courtship. Granny, a young widow who taught in a one-room Texas schoolhouse and had her hands full with three rowdy boys, took a peach pie to a church social. The man who was to become my grandfather, a bachelor rancher in his 50s, won the accidentally over-seasoned pie at auction. He nearly choked to death on the first bite. His response? “I s’pose I ought to marry that little woman ‘fore she kills somebody.”

9) My house celebrated its 100th birthday last year. Compared to some of the other homes on Galveston Island, it’s a youg’un. The Capt. H.H. Hadley House (yes, it has a name) was completed in August 1915…two weeks before a deadly Category 4 hurricane struck. More than three dozen big blows later, it’s still standing.

The Dumont Brand by Kathleen Rice Adams10) Four Chihuahuas ranging in age from four to fifteen live in this house. Whatever they’ve told you about the intractability of their servant, don’t believe them. If they didn’t want to be deviled by a spoiled-rotten delinquent, they shouldn’t have rescued me.

There. Now you know all of my deep, dark secrets. Before you decide to pursue blackmail, read “The Ransom of Red Chief.”

To compensate for the loss of financial opportunity, I’ll give away a copy of The Dumont Brand, which contains the first two stories in a series about a Texas ranching dynasty with more skeletons in its closets than there are in a graveyard. “The Trouble with Honey,” a new story in the series, will be published this summer.

To enter the drawing, leave a comment revealing something about you. Oh, c’mon. It’ll be fun! Your life can’t be any more embarrassing than mine.  😉

 

Presidential Love Stories and a Giveaway!

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Hi everyone- Winnie Griggs here.

Within the next week we’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day, President’s Day and my birthday (that is a national holiday, isn’t it?). So in my post today I thought I’d find a way to give a nod to all three.

And what better way to do that than to talk about the love stories of two American presidents and then to hand out a birthday present by throwing in a giveaway at the end?

So here goes.

First Ladies have always played important roles for their husbands and American politics at large. They are personal confidants, philanthropists, and even trusted political advisors, and many become celebrated career women independent of their presidential husbands. One almost forgets that beyond the politics and the public image, the President and the First Lady are husband and wife: two people in love, bound by matrimony.

R&A Jackson

It doesn’t get much more heart-wrenching than the tragic love story between Andrew Jackson and his beloved wife Rachel, who technically never was a First Lady. Rachel was mid-divorce when they met and fell in love. Her first husband was cruel and manipulative, and dragged his feet on finalizing their divorce. Before it was official, she and Andrew eloped and started a life together, and Rachel’s family and community readily accepted her new husband. Her first husband, however, used this against her, and had her charged with adultery. To fight this in court, Rachel would have had to further delay the divorce. She accepted the black mark on her reputation in the name of love. The divorce was finalized, and Rachel and Andrew remarried for good.

By all accounts, they adored each other, and as Andrew’s political career progressed, she kept him humble and soothed his anxieties. They were in their sixties by the time he ran for president, and had lived many blissful years together as decent, respectable people, still as in love as they were in their youth.

The tragedy is that during Andrew’s presidential campaign, his enemies dug up the court documents on Rachel’s first marriage and the adultery charge, and she was viciously attacked by the press. Both of them- already elderly for the times and in poor health- took this very hard, and when Andrew won, there was no vindication for Rachel. The stress of the campaign had worn on her, and mere days before her beloved husband left for Washington to take office, she died of an apparent heart attack.

A&J Adams

But I won’t leave you with that sad tale. John and Abigail Adams had a famous romance for an entirely different and very literary reason: their courtship and fifty year marriage is beautifully documented in the thousand-plus detailed letters they wrote to each other. John’s political career often kept them apart for long stretches of time, and their relationship was built and strengthened and maintained through their letters.

Abigail Adams is remembered as a highly intelligent, compassionate, and influential First Lady, and her husband John considered her an intellectual equal in all areas of life. She was his wife, the manager of his home and family, and his closest political advisor. Though she didn’t have a formal education, she was a voracious reader. Growing up around the finest libraries in her home state of Massachusetts, she read and read, on all subjects, and had an impressively broad knowledge base.

On their first meeting, John was not especially impressed. However, a romance soon blossomed. In one early, flirtatious correspondence, John addresses her, “Miss Adorable.” As the relationship progressed, their letters reflected a deep love and a powerful mental connection. They even wrote, in their letters, how much they enjoyed exchanging their thoughts in writing, how much peace it brought them when they could not be together. John and Abigail’s letters paint a vivid picture of two people in love: they quarrel, they wax poetic, they discuss political issues, and they ponder their lives. After John lost the election of 1800, the letters stopped. After nearly forty years of letter correspondence, they finally settled down for good in Massachusetts, together, with no more need for letters.

Just think, these rich stories come from only two of the past presidents of this country. How many other amazing love stories are hidden behind the politics and formality?

Here’s wishing you an early Happy Valentine’s Day, and on an unlikely related note, an early happy Presidents’ Day, too!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And now for the giveaway.

Anyone who leaves a comment today, giving your thoughts on the stories above, or sharing your own romantic love story, will be entered in a drawing where the winner gets his or her choice of any book from my backlist.  (click here to view a complete list of my books)

Happy early birthday to me 🙂

(click here to view our giveaway guidelines)

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Updated: February 8, 2016 — 2:10 am

For Ever and Ever…Tanya Hanson

Wedding-Week-sepiaDon’t forget to leave a comment today! I’m giving away one of my backlist books because…it’s about a Bride, and it’s Wedding Week here in Wildflower Junction!  PLEASE check the comments later tonight for my “winner” as I don’t want to intrude on tomorrow’s filly…

The picture below is me and my posse in July 1974 at my bridal shower. (I’m seated on the right.) This womanly gathering owes its roots to a Dutch maiden three hundred years ago whose wealthy papa pooh-poohed her marital choice of a lowly miller. He refused her a  dowry, so her friends and neighbors “showered” her with enough household goods to start life with her true love.

In the 1890’s, gifts for the bride were actually placed into a Japanese parasol which was later opened over her head. Hopefully there wasn’t a cast iron frying pan or meat cleaver knife in there.

my bridal shower

The honored roll of Bridesmaid got its start during the bride-stealing days of the Anglo-Saxons. A gaggle of lovelies usually dressed identical to the bride even to their veils to confuse marauders and act as decoys. Later, the flock of bridesmaids was believed to ward off evil spirits who might curse the happy couple.

In those good old days of bride-stealing and kidnapping, the groom of course had to surround himself with pals ready to assist in abducting his woman. Sometimes the “groomsmen” snatched brides of their own from the herd of bridesmaids. Romantic? Can’t decide if there’s a historical romance plot in there somewhere. Or if it’s just downright inappropriate behavior no matter what century you’re in…

Anyway, here are some helpful proverbs for any superstitious brides out there.

  1. If you find a spider on your wedding gown, you’ll come into money. 
  2. If you see a flock of birds, your marriage will be blessed with fertility. 
  3. If it snows on your wedding day, you’ll be wealthy.
  4. If the sun is out, you’ll be happy.
  5. If you marry as the hands of the clock move up (after the half hour), you’ll have good fortune. 
  6. If you drop the ring during the ceremony, it’s best to start the whole thing over. 
  7. If you look in the mirror before walking down the aisle, you’ll leave a part of yourself behind. 
  8. If you cry on your wedding day, especially before the kiss, you’ll prevent tears during the marriage. 

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Above is an heirloom photo of my grandparents. The one below is my niece. As for Hubs and me…we’re still going strong after 41 years even though it did not snow on our wedding day. The sun shined bright, though, so that adage works.While we’re never been wealthy, we’ve never been in want. And of course I looked in the mirror. If any part of me got left behind, I haven’t missed it!Ethereal!

So…what’s the best bridal shower gift you ever got or gave? I’ll draw one name from the commenters  for a copy of MARRYING MINDA, my tale of a mail-order-bride who heads West and marries…the wrong man. (U.S. Residents only for print; others e-copy)MarryingMinda_w2706_680

Updated: June 24, 2015 — 3:29 pm

Taking a Chance—a Big Chance—on Love & Book Giveaway

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“Did you ever wonder why we use the word engagement
to describe both a promise of marriage and a war battle?”-Undercover Bride

My June release Undercover Bride is a mail order bride story with a twist. Maggie Michaels is a Pinkerton detective working undercover to nab the Whistle-Stop Bandit. To do this she is posing as his mail order bride. The clock is ticking; if she doesn’t find the proof she needs to put him in jail, she could end up as his wife!

My heroine has a good reason for doing what she’s doing, but what about the thousands of other women during the 1800s who left family and friends to travel west and into the arms of strangers?

Shortage of Men

mailThe original mail order bride business grew out of necessity. The lack of marriageable women in the west was partly responsible, but so was the Civil War. The war created thousands of widows and a shortage of men.

As a result, marriage brokers and “Heart and Hand” catalogues popped up all around the country. Ads averaged five to fifteen cents and letters were exchanged along with photographs. It took ten days for a letter to travel by Pony Express and often the wax seals would melt in the desert heat, causing letters to be thrown away before reaching their destinations.

According to an article in the Toledo Blade a lonely men even wrote to the Sears catalogue company asking for brides (the latest such letter received was from a lonely Marine during the Vietnam War).

                                      Cultural Attitudes

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Marriage was thought to be the only path to female respectability. Anyone not conforming to society’s expectations was often subjected to public scorn. Women who had reached the “age” of spinsterhood with no promising prospects were more likely to take a chance on answering a mail order bride ad than younger women.

Not Always Love at First Sight

For some mail-order couples, it was love (or lust) at first sight. In 1886, one man and his mail order bride were so enamored with each other they scandalized fellow passengers on the Union Pacific Railroad during their honeymoon.

Not every bride was so lucky. In her book Hearts West, Christ Enss tells the story of mail order bride Eleanor Berry. En route to her wedding her stage was held up at gunpoint by four masked men. Shortly after saying “I do,” and while signing the marriage license, she suddenly realized that her husband was one of the outlaws who had robbed her. The marriage lasted less than an hour.

Men: Do Not Be Deceivedmail2

Women weren’t the only ones who could be duped. Ads popped up warning men not to be seduced by artificial bosoms, bolstered hips, padded limbs, cosmetic paints and false hair.

Despite occasional pitfalls, historians say that most matches were successful. That’s because the ads were generally honest, painfully so in some cases. If a woman was fat and ugly she often said so. If not, photographs didn’t lie (at least not before Photoshop came along).

There may have been another reason for so much married bliss. A groom often signed a paper in front of three upstanding citizens promising not to abuse or mistreat his bride. She in turn promised not to nag or try to change him.

No one seems to know how many mail order brides there were during the 1800s, but the most successful matchmaker of all appears to be Fred Harvey who, by the turn of the century, had married off 5000 Harvey girls.

Okay, since it’s almost June and I’ve got brides on my mind how about sharing a wedding memory, either your own or someone else’s?  It can be funny, sweet, nightmarish or just plain special.  Fair warning: anything you say could be used in a book!  If all else fails just stop by and say hello and I’ll put your name in the old Stetson.

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Wild West Guns and Grins or How the West Was Fun

 Another Pinkerton Lady Detective is on the case. This time the female operative masquerades as a mail-order bride. Pretty funny overall plot to begin with, so expect some fun reading while the detective team attempts to unmask a pair of train robbers and murderers. That’s how Margaret Brownley writes. Western mystery with humor rolling throughout, like tumbleweeds on Main Street.

                                                           -Harold Wolf on Amazon

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When to Call a Spade a Shovel

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One of the challenges of writing historical fiction is getting the words right. How did they say goodbye in the 1700s? Or greet each other after the Civil War? And when did the guard on a train engine change from  horse catcher to cow catcher?

bookThese are just a couple of the treasures that can be found in my favorite research books I Hear America Talking and Listening to America Talk by Stuart Berg Flexner. The books not only give a fascinating peek into the past, but keep me from using a word before its time.

And  You Thought You Knew

Your Cowboys

Word meanings have changed through the years, sometimes dramatically. The word cowboy is a good example. Today, it might conjure up an image of a romantic hero, but it was originally a disparaging term for colonial settlers who let their cows roam rather than plow the land. Wait. It gets worse. During the Revolutionary War cowboy was a term for loyalist guerrillas who used cowbells to ambush patriotic farmers.

 

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Fooling Around Victorian Style

I write romance so I’m especially interested in courting terms. Oddly enough—terms changed every decade starting with the 17th century when couples billed and cooed. I find this interesting since TV and other media wasn’t around to influence language.

 

Skipping forward to the 1860s the word lollygag meant to kiss and caress. (Ten years later the word meant to waste time.) During the 1870s couples were said to be lovey dovey, but by the end of the decade couples walked out together.   By 1890 couples favored sitting in the parlor to walking. That’s because they were too busy making goo-goo eyes to watch where they were going.

Tush Matters

bearI recently had a heroine fall on her patootie.  That word has only been around since the 1920s and originally meant girl. So I knew I couldn’t use it. Oddly enough the backside seems to be the body part with the most synonyms. Much to my surprise I discovered that the word fanny has been around since the 1860s, though no one knows for sure who Fanny was and why her name was used in such an odd way. Back porch was used in the 1880s and the modern sounding butt appeared in writing as early as 1859.

 

With all this talk about rear ends, it’s surprising that Victorians considered the word legs crude. If they admitted to owning such things they always referred to them as limbs or stems. As for bosoms, they hardly seemed to exist much before World War II, at least in print.

 

cowboyjpgOh Perdition!

I’m careful not to use objectionable language, but there are times that “oh, darn” just doesn’t cut it. My characters tend to be a passionate lot. Fortunately for me, so were the Victorians as their many euphemisms for swear words attests. George, ginger, Godfrey, golly, gosh, gracious and gravy it are just a few of the ways annoyance or anger was expressed in polite society.

 

There was also gee willikens and gee wiz and of course doggone.   Surprisingly the term blankety blank has been around since the 1880s.

 

As for when to call a spade a shovel, we can all relax. Both words have been around since 900 A.D.

 

Thinking back to my childhood I realize some terms I grew up with no longer exist. A couch in our house was called a davenport back then–don’t ask me why. My husband still insists upon calling the ‘fridge an icebox. What about you? Any words or phrases in your past that are no longer relevant?

 

Get Ready for Margaret’s Exciting New

Undercover Ladies Series

Coming in December

 

Number 1

 

 

Updated: August 27, 2014 — 4:49 pm

The Victorian Parlor: aka The Chamber of Horrors

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This past week I wrote a scene in which my cowboy hero was forced to sit in a formal parlor. It was during the 19th century age of clutter which meant the front room was filled to capacity with ornate furniture, needlepoint cushions, framed photographs, musical instruments, and enough froufrou to create a dusting nightmare. The poor man in my story couldn’t move without knocking over a beaded fringed lamp or a delicate music box. Worse, he had to trust his six foot parlor6two bulk to a spindly chair since no “sincere” furniture existed.

Parlors Were Never Designed for Comfort

A proper parlor had one purpose and one purpose alone; to showcase a woman’s gentility to all who entered.

In his book Domesticated Americans Russell Lynes describes the parlor as a chamber of horrors for children. “It (the parlor) set husband against wife, daughter against father and swain against maiden.” It also took a lump out of the family budget.

A Hostess Must Avoid Any Allusion to the Age, Personal Defects or Ill-manners of Guests

No one really knew how to act in a parlor and this unleashed a steady stream of articles and books on the subject. Not only were people counseled on how to enter a parlor without “Jiggling their bodies” but how to leave it.  Phrases, such as”What-d-ye call it,” “Thingummy,” “What’s his name,” or any such substitutes for a proper name or place were to be avoided at all costs.

Go Already!

The Ladies Indispensable Assistant explained the rules of exiting in great detail. “Don’t stand hammering and fumbling, and saying ‘Well I guess I must be going.’ When you are ready go at once.”

parlor2Parlor rules existed for every possible situation, even courting. Never was a man to sit with his “arms akimbo” or strike an awkward pose. Nor was he to enter a parlor without the lady’s invitation.

God Made Weather to Give Us Something to Talk About

Visitors were cautioned against talking about religion, politics, disease, dress or, heaven forbid, one’s self. Cookbook and etiquette writer Miss Leslie wrote that inquiring about a hostess’s children was to be done “with discretion.” Saying that a son “was the very image of his father,” could be offensive if the father was not a handsome man. Even then the visitor could be treading on ice if “the mother was vain and wished the children to look like her.”

Sparlor1everal things happened to make the parlor with its endless rules fall out of favor. Women were admitted to college and soon after entered the work force. No longer was a woman judged by her parlor but rather by her contributions to society.

The westward movement should also receive credit for putting sanity into the home. Though some pioneer women tried to carry the tradition westward, many soon learned the folly of such ways—much to their husbands’ gratitude.

 

Not all parlors died a quiet death. Some lingered into the twentieth century. As a child, I remember our next door neighbor’s parlor—and yes, that’s what she called it. Everything in it including the lampshades was covered in plastic which made a crinkling sound if you wiggled. Did any of you spend time in such a room?

Working Undercover is no Job for a Lady!

Click cover to pre-order book 1 in Margaret’s exciting new series

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A Kiss is Just a Kiss—Or Is It? (Yay! Book Giveaway)

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A kiss can be a comma, a question mark or an exclamation point. That’s basic spelling that every woman should know. ~Mistinguet

You might wonder why I have kisses on my mind today. The answer is simple and it has something to do with my new release Four Weddings and a Kiss.

There are four novellas in the collection, written by Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher, Debra Clopton and me. But it’s the fifth story in the book which explains the kiss in the title.

A young minister bemoans having to break up with the woman he loves. She’s simply not suited to be a preacher’s wife. I mean we’re talking a woman who (gasp) plays rounders and sides with the church next door. That’s not all she does; she has also has the nerve to laugh in church!

 

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 I’ll let you find out how that particular story ends by reading the book, but   to get you in the right mood here are some fun facts about—what else?—kissing!

 

 

 

  • Did you know that kissing prevents wrinkles? It’s true. Kissing uses twenty-nine face muscles and all that exercise helps keep your skin firm and smooth.

  • Kissing for one minute burns 26 calories. Hitting the lips for an hour sounds like a whole lot more fun than hitting the gym.

  • The average woman kisses eighty men before she marries (Harrumph. Now they tell me.  I’m how many men short?).

  • On average, a person spends two weeks of their lives kissing. (I know I’ve spent at least the amount time writing about kissing. Hey, it’s harder than you think.)

  • Men who kiss their wives before going to work live on the average five years longer than men who leave slamming doors.

  • Is kissing learned or instinctual? No one really knows for sure.kiss3

  • The film with the most kisses was Don Juan (1926). John Barrymore and Mary Astor shared 127 kisses. Don’t believe me? Count them.

  • Kissing is good for the teeth. All that extra saliva. . . So if you want to save on dental bills, you now know what to do.

  • Kissing releases the same neurotransmitters in the brain as bungee jumping and parachuting. I’ll have to take their word for this because I’m a great believer in keeping my feet grounded.

  • We all know that Xs at the end of a written letter represents kisses. But did you also know that signing a telegram with the numbers 88 was how our ancestors showed love and kisses?

 

Tell us about your first kiss or a favorite movie kiss and you could win a copy of Four Weddings and a You-Know-What!  And don’t forget to enter the drawing below.  We’re giving away a mini iPad.  Just click the picture below.

 Margaret-Brownley.com

 

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Updated: June 26, 2014 — 8:16 am

SHORT AND SWEET and a GIVEAWAY!

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Hi Everyone!   I’m celebrating a milestone anniversary all week long.  I always say you have to live life in order to write about it. After all, most of what we write about comes from actual people we’ve known, places we’ve been, emotions we’ve experienced and love we’ve given and received.

So help me celebrate 40 years of love!  Yes, that’s right four decades married to a wonderful man whom I love dearly and who loves me back just as much.  I think that’s why I became a romance writer. For me, these stories are just an extension of my love for my own personal hero!

 Answer these fun questions:

Charlene and Don

Charlene and Don

1. Where was the above picture taken?

A.  At a wedding

B. At Charlene’s Class Reunion

C. At a Romance Writers Awards dinner

2.  Charlene and Don have:

A. One child

B. Two children

C. Three Children

3.  Charlene’s First Western novel was called:

A.  Bodine’s Bounty

B. Taming the Texan

C. Lily Gets Her Man

4  Charlene’s wedding reception was at:

A. The Secret Garden

B. Nob Hill

C. The Odyssey

5.  Charlene and Don’s favorite vacation spot is:

A. Palm Springs

B. Bass Lake

C. Lake Tahoe

D. All of the above.

Here’s a sneak peek at my next Desire.  I will give away 2 advance print copies of REDEEMING THE CEO COWBOY.  This is a July/ August release, so you’ll have to be patient.  As soon as I get my author copies, (think June) I’ll send one to the winners, before they even hit the shelves.  If you are willing to write a fair and honest review, all the better!  Just play the game and have fun.  I’ll be out celebrating, so I’ll pick my random winners on Sunday night…my real anniversary!

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!

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Updated: May 15, 2014 — 12:53 am

Lassoing Some Romance

LASSOING A BRIDE  &  LASSOING A GROOM

Two New Anthologies!

Coming from Prairie Rose Publications May 20, 2014

 

I’m so excited to announce my next two releases, new short stories that are set in the town of River’s Bend, Missouri. There’s one story in each of two anthologies being released on May 20! One features Martha Bittner & Sheriff Matthew Tate, whom we met in COMING HOME; the other introduces Rebekah Snow Redmann, who turns out to be the perfect match for Martha’s brother, Franz.

LASSOING A BRIDE has five new stories from five award winning authors. Here’s a little taste of my story.

NO LESS THAN FOREVER

Lassoing a Bride Web

Doctor Franz Bittner is satisfied with his life as it is. He has a good practice in a place where he is respected, in spite of his German birt

h. He has good friends and enough income to provide with him a few comforts. A wife would only complicate things. Then a tiny blond stranger is pulled from the river and everything changes. With one smile she captures his attention—and steals his heart.

Rebekah Snow Redmann barely survived her abusive husband’s attack. Though she was given to him to pay her father’s debts, she’d rather die than go back.  Then she ends up in the care of the handsome local doctor and he stitches up more than her wounds—he mends her soul. With him, she discovers everything that she believes she can never have…a love that will last forever.

EXCERPT

For the ride to the schoolhouse where the dance would be held, Rebekah sat close to Franz in the rear seat of the sheriff’s carriage. It might have been scandalous, but the heat of his body warmed her and made her feel safe. And the heat in his gaze made her helpless to resist. Glancing around her, she smiled. “I haven’t been in anything like this since I left Boston.”

“Did you grow up in such a lifestyle?”

“Papa liked people to see how important he was. I didn’t care, really, but I enjoyed not having to walk everywhere.”

 

“Ah.” Of course, he understood immediately. “Because of your hip.”

Rebekah nodded. Her disfigurement used to embarrass her, but she’d survived so much in the past four years, the fact that she limped now seemed insignificant. “I was thrown from a horse when I was five. Mama tried to tell Papa I was too small to ride alone, but he insisted that any daughter of his would be a natural horsewoman.  Funny, I actually remember their argument more than my fall.” She fell silent, her parents’ angry words replaying in her mind. “Papa shouted at Mama and startled the horse. I couldn’t hold on. Fortunately my head landed on his boot rather than the stone of the courtyard, but I wasn’t able to walk right after that.”

“Then you must stay warm.” He leaned close to tuck the blanket around her and she took the opportunity to enjoy the spicy scent of his soap. Franz spent the rest of the short ride pointing out the things he most liked about River’s Bend. When they arrived at the schoolhouse, he helped her from the carriage and introduced her to the couple her stood waiting on the landing.

Mary Hawken was a sweet, bubbly, very pregnant woman. Next to her husband, Jericho, she seemed tiny. But the dress Rebekah wore fit perfectly and she knew she wasn’t small. Many times, Reginald had pointed out that he felt as if he had a clumsy giantess at his side. Pushing aside all thoughts of the man, she nodded at Mary & Jericho. “Thank you for loaning me your dress. It’s really beautiful.”

“That dress looks much better on you than it ever did on me. You should keep it.”

Rebekah was so stunned, she stopped walking. Even her own mother had never parted with a frock simply because it looked better on one of her daughters. Martha laughed and urged her forward, promising she’d get used to Mary’s way. Then they stepped inside the schoolhouse and all thoughts of gowns and gifts flew from her mind. She stared around her at the dozens of flowers and ribbons in a rainbow of colors. “It’s so beautiful.”

Martha seemed thrilled. “How very lovely it is.” Then Mary ordered the men to open the shutters—actually told those three, huge, strong men what to do! And they did it with laughter and smiles and jokes, not with arguments and fists and… No, she wouldn’t go there tonight. Squaring her shoulders, Rebekah joined the women who were now flowing into the room to see if she could help.

Franz left her alone for nearly an hour before he gently suggested she be seated. “You are not quite as healed as you feel right now.”

“But I should help—”

“You have already

done your share. There are others who can do this now.”

The women nearby assured her they would take over, so she allowed Franz to lead her to a chair away from the open door. When he leaned close in order to be heard over the musicians, a shiver that had nothing to do with a draft skittered down her back. He pointed out the mayor and the schoolteacher, the butcher and his wife, and a dozen others whose names she’d never remember. The musicians played a reel and her toes began tapping in rhythm.

“You enjoy dancing.”

“I do,” she admitted, “although I’m not very good at it because of my hip.”

Rising, Franz held out his hand. “Will you try a few steps with me?”

Oh, how she wanted to say yes. To take his hand and join the bouncing line of laughing dancers. But she had to work very hard at not showing her limp when she danced and she was too tired to do that. “I don’t think—”

“I don’t care that you do not walk perfectly. I only want to hold you for a moment or two.”

His gentle words stole her breath and sent her heartbeat racing. “I would love to dance with you, Franz.”

 

* * * * * * *

 

And featuring six short stories, LASSOING A GROOM

WANTED:  THE SHERIFF

Lassoing a Groom WebMartha Bittner may be considered a spinster at twenty-seven, but she’s not planning to stay that way. For four years, she’s wanted the sheriff of River’s Bend, Missouri, to notice her as more than a friend and a really good cook. With the first annual spring dance only week

s away, Martha decides to announce her intentions—and declares the sheriff a wanted man.

Sheriff Matthew Tate always thought he was better off a bachelor. Growing up in Boston society, where marriage is a business transaction and wealth his greatest asset, he’s learned to distrust all women’s intentions. None of them even catch his eye anymore—until pretty Martha Bittner tells him exactly what she wants… and he wonders why he ever resisted capture.

EXCERPT
“How can I help? I’m not as talented as you in the kitchen, but I can be useful.”

Martha brandished the sharpened knife, pointing to the bowl of potatoes. “Peel.”

“Yes, ma’am.” With a smart bow to her, he dropped onto the bench at the big, scarred table and set to work. “This is a lot for three of us.”

Martha returned to her basting. “Franz invited the blacksmith to join us.”

“Ah, Daniel Arnault. I see. Do you want these whole or cut in pieces?”

Surely, she only imagined disappointment in his tone. Turning to Matt, she stared at the sight of the tall, handsome sheriff peeling potatoes at her kitchen table. Then, his question registered. “Pieces, please. About the size of your thumb,” she clarified. “That way they cook faster, and dinner will not be late.”

On cue, his stomach growled in anticipation. “Obviously, we can’t have that.”

Martha laughed with him, enjoying the moment. She could so easily imagine them in the kitchen together every night, talking over his day, sharing dreams and plans and—

“Martha, what do you think?”

“What?” Had he asked her a question?

“You always look as if you enjoy singing, and Mr. Hart seems to know his business.”

She took a breath to calm her nerves. He asked about singing. “Yes, I do enjoy being in the church choir. Mr. Hart is a fine director. He has helped us all be better singers and chooses music that enhances the Reverend’s message. I believe Sunday mornings are more enjoyable now for everyone.”

“And Reverend Oltmann seems to have shortened his sermons a bit to allow for more songs. Yes, I think I will.”

“Will what?”

Matthew grinned. “Join the choir.”

Martha just knew her mouth was gaping open like a landed trout. “You sing?”

“I did, many years ago. Rather enjoyed it, as I recall. It will be a good way to meet more of the townspeople, don’t you agree?”

Ja, I mean, yes.” She moved to take the meat from the oven, but Matthew reached around her to lift the heavy pan.

“Where?”

“On the table, please.” She spread several large towels to protect the surface from the heat. “Thank you.”

Matthew turned and stepped just a little closer. “My pleasure, ma’am.”

His voice was deeper, rougher. It sent pleasant chills chasing along her skin.

“Matthew! Come back, now.”

The sheriff flinched at the sound of Franz’s voice, then retreated a step. Obviously, he didn’t wish to be found standing too close. Martha licked her suddenly-dry lips, fascinated when his eyes narrowed and followed the movement.

“Martha.” His voice was soft as a wish, making her tremble. Moving slowly, he brushed a lock of hair behind her ear. “I’m looking forward to dinner.” His gaze, deep and intense, held hers for several seconds before her turned and strode from the room.

Martha stood rooted to the floor as his footsteps faded. Even knowing she was alone, she couldn’t seem to break the spell he’d woven. He couldn’t wait for dinner? Was that all he wanted?

The spattering of boiling water on the hot stove forced her into motion. Mechanically, she went about whipping the potatoes with milk, butter and salt, and adding flour and butter to thicken the gravy. Hadn’t she seen something more in his eyes than desire for a meal?

Having so little experience, she wasn’t certain, but she thought Sheriff Tate was interested in more than beef and potatoes.

That should be a good thing, ja? But what if she was wrong?

 

Mark your calendar and place your order for LASSOING A BRIDE & LASSOING A GROOM, both coming May 20, 2014.

Visit Tracy at www.TracyGarrett.com.

For more information on these and other books coming from Prairie Rose Publications, visit their website, www.PrairieRosePublications.com

Petticoats & Pistols © 2015