Category: Family

Life is Tough. Read Romance.

Why do I write romance? I haven’t been asked that question as much as I expected, but there’s a simple answer. Life is tough.

I’m sitting at Starbucks staring out the window at the gray, misty world around me, and realize the weather matches my mood. As usual, life and my procrastination means I’m writing this closer to my deadline than I’d hoped, and recent events are weighing heavy on my mind and my heart.

Yup, life is darn tough. Recent hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, et al have wreaked havoc with people’s lives. While those natural disasters are devastating, what truly tears at my heart is what destruction we inflict on each other. When did we get to the point where so many people believe the answer to their problems is violence against their fellow man? Someone cuts you off on my highway? Pull out a gun and shoot ‘em. Gone is a girl about to be a college freshman, along with all the good she could have done in the world. Something not right in your life? Take an arsenal with you to a Las Vegas hotel room and kill fifty-nine people who’ve done absolutely nothing to you. My heart breaks for the lives lost and those irreversibly changed because of the violence we perpetrate on each other.

Which brings me back to why I write romance. When I read, I don’t want to come away depressed. Life has a way of doing that on its own. The lyrics to Tom Petty’s song “I Won’t Back Down” have run through my head since his death on the heels of the Vegas tragedy. “No, I’ll stand my ground, won’t be turned around. And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down. Gonna stand my ground and I won’t back down.” I write romance for the same reason I read it—to keep the world from draggin’ me down.

In my books my characters have been knocked around by life. In To Love A Texas Cowboy, when Cassie’s sister and brother-in-law are killed in a plane crash, she moves from New York to Texas because she become guardian to her niece. In Roping the Rancher, Colt, a single father to a teenage girl who’s left the military, struggles to find purpose and meaning in his life.

I write about characters discovering a strength they never knew they possessed and receiving help when they least expect it, but need it the most. Themes of finding an untraditional family when theirs has failed them time and time again run through my stories. Good always triumphs. The bad guys always get what they deserve in true Western fashion. My characters face life’s difficulties, but receive the reward for facing them and getting through the dark tunnel. At the end they find love, strength and happiness.

So that’s why I write romance—because life is tough. I hope when people read my books they escaped for a little while, and maybe they are filled with hope that they too, can find their happy ending.

Comment and let me know why you read romance to be entered in the drawing to win a Texas Starbucks mug, a gift card and either Roping the Rancher or To Love a Texas Cowboy.

 

Updated: October 3, 2017 — 7:58 pm

My Favorite Small Town Getaway

Last summer after dropping off our youngest son at college in New Jersey, we visited wineries on the return trip to break up the endless miles. Once home we discovered quite a few wineries in our area. Now I had a goal I could really get behind–visiting local wineries!

I found Valley View, Texas because of a billboard advertising its local winery. What I never expected was to also find a Texas getaway gem in this town of seven hundred fifty-seven people.

The minute I drove into Valley View, my tension drifted away with the warm Texas breeze, and that was even before I had a glass of Firelight Vineyard’s sangria! The town reminded me of my childhood spent at my grandparent’s farm in northeastern Iowa. There was open space, trees, horses and cows. Often all in one front yard. There life doesn’t speed by. Neighbors know each other. Everyone’s friendly and laid back. Whenever I’m there I run into someone who wants to talk. Whether it’s someone at the winery, a local business owner, or an Army/Air Force Veteran. Whenever I hear Josh Gallagher’s “Pick Any Small Town” Valley View’s the one I’d pick.

The last year has been stressful, so for our anniversary, my hubby and I headed to Valley View for a getaway weekend. We wanted to spend time away from email, texts, social media, and other city commitments. For us, when we’re away from the city and in the country, life’s troubles fade away and we focus on what’s important—each other and family. The drive to our B&B, Towering Oaks Haven, took us on a gravel road, once again reminding me of my childhood. The fast-paced-need-to-get-ahead-world disappeared. We spent the weekend wandering around antique stores, shopping at my favorite boutique Rustic Ranch, and becoming reacquainted with each other. We weren’t on our phones constantly. We weren’t worried about spotty internet service. We connected with those around us, rather than those on social media sites. We listened to stories, told some of our own, and were simply in the moment. We ate fantastic gourmet pizza from Lil’ Brick Oven delivered to us at the winery. After that, we listened to the David Alexander Trio while sitting on the Firelight Vineyard’s patio chatting with someone my husband knew from years back and a wonderful couple from Oklahoma.

Life was simpler, personal and connected. And I loved every minute of it.

I remembered why I write stories set in small towns, because of the feelings I rediscovered in Valley View. Because of the way I felt at my grandparents’ farm and in their small town.

I can back rejuvenated and my head spinning with story ideas! A Texas winery owner heroine and a rancher in a small Texas town trying to revitalize the town square. Hmmm. It’s a start.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me about your favorite getaway spot that rejuvenates your body and soul. Enter a comment for a chance to win the wine charms and a wineglass from FIrelight Vineyards.

 

 

Ranches, Horses and Cowboys, Oh My!

Lately I’ve wondered how an Iowa city girl ended up writing romances with cowboy heroes. Or, I’ve wondered about the reasons other than the obvious—that cowboys are incredibly sexy. For my first official blog as a filly at Petticoats and Pistols, I’m sharing what fascinates me about cowboys.

For me, a cowboy isn’t as much about the occupation as the state of mind and attitude. Sure when I think of a cowboy, I see a man in form fitting Levi’s or Wranglers. I see dusty, worn cowboy boots and a cowboy hat, but it’s more than that, too. There’s something about the way he moves in a slow, yet deliberate way, that says he’ll take his time with what matters in life. If you’ve seen Scott Eastwood in The Longest Ride, you know what I mean. If not, watch it now. I’ll wait.

Now that we’re done drooling over Scott, back to the topic at hand. Cowboys have a connection to the land that goes deeper than most people’s. That taps into my love of my grandparents’ farm in Decorah, Iowa. I spent hours wandering over that land spinning stories and imaging my life living on a similar place. Writing about my heroes and heroines strolling over their land or walking along Wishing’s streets fill me with the same warm affection. That intense bond with the ZSAER%^land was a big inspiration behind my Wishing, Texas series. For those heroes, their link Ty Barnett’s ranch, The Bar 7 and each other anchor their lives.

As to a cowboy’s attitude and mind-set—people see him as a loner, and he is, but I also see his strong tie to family. Family, however he defines it, is allowed past his guard. When I wrote my first novel for Harlequin, I wanted my hero so desperate for money he’d model in New York. But I wanted something different. What does a cowboy love more than his ranch and horse? His mama. That one detail told me everything I needed to know about my hero.

A cowboy has a sense of honor that factors into every decision. In my first Wishing, Texas book, To Love A Texas Cowboy, Ty Barnett’s world is turned upside down because of a promise to a friend. One he’ll keep even if it means dealing with Cassie Reynolds. This unwavering honor paired with a good dose of Alpha male, makes writing stories with cowboy heroes fun when I turn the tables on them. In To Catch A Texas Cowboy, AJ Quinn’s sick of hearing “let’s just be friends” from women. Poor cowboy. I had a blast torturing AJ giving him what he asked, but not what he bargained for, in New Yorker Grace Henry.

For me, these characteristics make cowboys fascinating, and oh so hero-worthy. Now it’s your turn. Tell me what it about cowboys makes you swoon or say that’s a hero?

I’m giving away a copy of To Catch A Texas Cowboy and a wine glass. Post a comment to enter.

 

Updated: August 1, 2017 — 8:54 am

My Southwestern Vacation

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here.

I’ve just recently returned from a week long family vacation to Arizona where we had an absolute blast.  There were twelve members in our group, though we didn’t all travel together. Me, my husband and two of our kids flew together into Flagstaff.  My oldest daughter and her husband flew into with plans to drive to the Grand Canyon from there.  And my youngest daughter and her extended family (a group of 6) decided to drive and make several stops along the way.  All through the week our groups came together in a very fluid way, different combinations breaking off on different days to do things of particular interest to them. But by mid-week we were all together at Bright Angel Lodge on the southern rim of the Grand Canyon.  For about half the group it was their first time to view this awesome wonder in person and they were blown away by the views.  For the rest of us, revisiting the place had almost as big an impact as seeing it for the first time.

Anyway, I thought I’d give you all a little taste of what we experienced by sharing just some of the many pictures we took.

Flagstaff was our home base for this trip. Our first full day there, we took the scenic drive from Flagstaff to Sedona, stopping at several points along the way to admire the scenery and take pictures.

When we returned to Flagstaff we decided to take a trip out to the nearby Lowell Observatory. We were lucky in that there was a cloudless sky and we were able to get clear views of the sun, moon, Saturn and  Jupiter through the many telescopes they had set out.  Seeing the actual rings of Saturn as well as the pencil dot moons was VERY cool.

The next day we all headed out to the Grand Canyon Notional Park.  Six of us decided to take the two hour train ride out of nearby Williams to get there. Williams is a fun place right on Route 66. They are set up to entertain tourists and there are fun little Wild West shows at the train station you can watch while waiting on departure time.  The train ride itself was fun (it was my first time on a train) and as you can see from the photo below it was quite comfy 🙂

We spent two days at the park itself, staying in cabins at the wonderful Bright Angel Lodge which is located right on the south rim itself.

Our first day there we  just enjoyed the area around the lodge and got the lay of the land. Our second day, we all headed in different directions.  Four of our group decided to hike down into the canyon along the Bright Angel Trail (it goes without saying I wasn’t one of their number!).

The rest of us went on various exploration trips. Hubby and I saw both the Desert View Watchtower and Hermit’s Rest, two structures designed in the early twentieth century by Mary Colter, one of the few females architects of her time.

We also stopped at a lot of the viewing sights along the way. At one particular spot hubby spotted a rock formation that resembled a human profile. I took a photo of it – can you make it out? We also spotted several elk along the roadside and folks in our group managed to get photos of two of them.

After two days at the Grand Canyon, we headed out, again splitting into two groups, those that were driving the whole way started home, the rest of us headed back to Flagstaff. Along the way, though, we visited a wildlife park called Bearizona.  There were lots of different kinds of animals there – mountain goats, buffalo, wolves and more – but my favorites were the bears. And we got photos of two especially enterprising ones that found a way to cool off.

Our last day out we revisited Sedona for a jeep tour of the area.  It was a teeth-rattling bumpy ride but so worth it for the views.  Here is a picture our driver took of the four of us.

When we returned to Flagstaff we decided to cap off our vacation with a trip to the Snowbowl. It’s a ski lift that operates in the off season to take tourists up to the top of the peak. It’s a thirty minute ride that carries you up to an ear-popping elevation of 11,500 feet.

And then it was time to head home.

As I said it was a wonderful vacation, one that will make me smile whenever I remember it.

What about you? Have you ever visited this part of our country? And do you have a favorite vacation you look back on fondly?

 

 

 

A Horse is a Horse, Of Course, Of Course by Charlene Sands

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In my new release THE TEXAN’S ONE-NIGHT STANDOFF, my heroine Ruby Lopez is an expert horse wrangler and trainer.  As a result I had to do some extensive research on the subject of training horses.  I found some inspiration in the Australian television series Downunder Horseman, a tutorial on how to train horses. Believe it or not, horses aren’t exactly docile and they have many fears that they need to overcome, such as approaching a body of water, or going into the water.  It is not necessarily an inherent trait.  Ruby is a gentle soul when it comes to animals, but she’s a spitfire and an independent woman, who isn’t opposed to flipping a man over her shoulders when he deserves it.  She was so much fun to write, seeing how the man she nicknamed Galahad, because he rushed to her defense one night, softens her rough edges.

 

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How many of these fun horse facts did you know?  I was amazed at some of them!

Horses can sleep both lying down and standing up.

Horses can run shortly after birth.

Domestic horses have a lifespan of around 25 years.

A 19th century horse named ‘Old Billy’ is said to have lived 62 years.

Horses have around 205 bones in their skeleton

Horses have been domesticated for over 5000 years

A horse’s teeth take up more space in the head than a horse’s brain.

Horses drink at least 25 gallons of water a day, more in hotter climates.

Horses are herbivores (plant eaters).

Because horse’s eyes are on the side of their head they are capable of seeing nearly 360 degrees at one time.

Horses gallop at around  27 mph.

The fastest recorded sprinting speed of a horse was 55 mph.

Estimates suggest that there are around 60 million horses in the world.

Scientists believe that horses have evolved over the past 50 million years from much smaller creatures.

When horses look like they’re laughing, they’re actually engaging in a special nose-enhancing technique known as “flehmen” to determine if the smell is bad or good.

Horses have bigger eyes than any other mammal that lives on land.   (That’s amazing!)

 

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I’ve been running this fun prize package on Facebook, yesterday, today and tomorrow.  Prize includes DVD, Bracelet Bling,  two Charlene Sands’ books and Santa Kisses!   Please stop by and enter to win my Twelve Days of Desire Giveaway!

And Happy Holidays from me to you!

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AVAILABLE NOW ACROSS ALL BOARDS AND IN STORES!

Updated: December 5, 2016 — 2:48 pm

10 Things You May Not Know About Me…Winnie Griggs

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Hello all, Winnie Griggs here. It’s my turn to share little known facts about who the ‘true Winnie Griggs’ is. So here goes:

  1. This may sound like heresy to some of you, but as a kid I just did not care for Nancy Drew – I only read the series when I was hard up for reading material and there was nothing else available. But I was a BIG fan of Trixie Belden, The Hardy Boys and dozens of other teen adventure/mystery series. I still own many of those old books.
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  2. The first real story I ever wrote from start to finish was of the fan fiction variety. I was about ten years old and it featured Roy Rogers and the gang from the old Saturday morning TV show. I guess Westerns were in my blood even then.
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  3. Among the other very special things about me is that I have two middle names. That’s right, I am officially Winnie Mae Marie.
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  4. I’m one of those odd ducks who really enjoys math and puzzles. In fact, that was my major in college. I got a BS in Mathematics, with minors in Computer Science and Accounting – how much geeekier can you get!
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  5. I am the oldest of five siblings- my sisters and brother hint (strongly) that this makes me bossy. I prefer to think of myself as confident.
    As a side note, my youngest sister is 20 years younger than me – I got the news my mother was pregnant at the end of my sophomore year of college – how’s that for a shocker! My boyfriend was with me when my dad told me. That boyfriend is now my husband so I guess it didn’t scare him off.
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  6. One of my younger sisters got married before I did, so, true to tradition, I danced barefoot at her wedding.
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  7. And speaking of dancing, I absolutely LOVE to dance, it’s hard for me to be still when there is music playing. Unfortunately I’m totally uncoordinated and I’m not a pretty sight on the dance floor.
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  8. I almost didn’t attend the college where I eventually ended up. I’ve always been a homebody so I had picked out two universities that were within a two hour drive of home. When I went in to take my ACT test, howeverr, there was a place on the test form that asks you to list 3 colleges you’re considering. I listed the two I wanted, but I’m a bit OCD about forms and couldn’t leave the last spot blank. So I remembered that just that morning, my best friend had casually mentioned a college she was looking into that was nearly 400 miles away, so I quickly added that one to the form and promptly forgot all about it. Until a month later when the admissions department contacted me and offered me a full ride scholarship based on my score. It’s kind of scary and awesome how my whole life changed direction based on that one off hand incident. Because that college is where I met the man who would eventually become my husband.
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  9. And speaking of meant-to-be, I’d always dreamed of having three kids – it just seemed the ideal family size to me. But apparently the Good Lord had other plans for me. My last pregnancy resulted in twins! Now I have four grown, remarkable, wonderful children whom I wouldn’t change for the world.
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  10. Summer before last we took a family vacation to Hawaii, where I not only had a fabulous time but I got to check something off my bucket list. My husband and I took a ride around the island in a helicopter. I loved it – very exhilarating and the views were breathtaking!
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So now you know more than you ever wanted to know about who I am. Is there anything on this list you can relate to? And how about you reciprocate by sharing one or two fun facts about yourself? Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for your choice of any book from my backlist. Drawing will take place sometime tomorrow.

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In Search of a Groom 

After a life of drudgery on her family’s farm, Cassie Lynn Vickers relishes her freedom working in town as a paid companion for feisty Mrs. Flanagan. When her father suddenly demands she come home, she has no choice. Unless she can find a husband. If only she could convince handsome town newcomer Riley Walker to marry her… 

Riley is on the run. He’s desperate to keep his niece and nephew safe from his crooked half brother. But a delay in Turnabout, Texas, shows him everything he didn’t know he was missing: home, family—and Cassie Lynn. Can he find a way to become her Prince Charming…and build a real family with the children and Cassie Lynn?

Updated: September 26, 2016 — 8:59 am

Susan Page Davis and the Oregon Trail!

susan-2Susan Page Davis here. History is all about people—individuals. I’ve encountered some intriguing people in my research and the Oregon pioneers are a good example.

Thousands of people went to Oregon in the 1850s, and those pioneers have always fascinated me. When I got married and moved to Oregon with my husband, who grew up there, I was very conscious of retracing the steps of those who blazed the western trails. When it came time to write my Prairie Dreams series, I needed to present Oregon’s history accurately, and I found I had a lot to learn!

In these books, starting with The Lady’s Maid, I sent two English ladies over the Oregon Trail on a wagon train. They don’t actually reach the territory until the end of the first book. In writing the section where the wagon train winds along the Snake River for a ways, I began my Oregon research in earnest.

For that first book in the series, I mainly studied the trail itself, and places along the way. It was in very rough shape when my ladies arrived in 1855. I’ve been to the End of the Trail Museum in Oregon City, and to the Oregon Trail Museum near Baker City, on the Idaho side of the state—both wonderful resources with very different collections. I’ve seen the ruts on the prairie and peered into Conestoga wagons. All of that was percolating in the back of my mind, and I was able to find the additional information I needed.
Copyright Historic Oregon City www.historicoregoncity.org

Copyright Historic Oregon City http://www.historicoregoncity.org[/caption%5D

Fort Dalles was one place I used in my books. My brother-in-law lives in The Dalles, and on one visit, he took us to see what is left of the fort. It isn’t much. The surgeon’s house is wonderful, but there is precious little left of the actual military installation. I had to rely on books and Internet sites to bring the fort to life for me. Oregon City was easier, because it’s still there, and many sources exist to tell me about what it was like in “the day.”

In the second book of my series, Lady Anne’s Quest, real historical figures began to show up. Some of them screamed to be included in my story. My two fictional ladies had separated. Elise had married a scout turned rancher, and Lady Anne went on to find her missing uncle. His last known address was near Eugene.

I had a lot of fun researching the Eugene area. It’s where my husband was born. He grew up in Junction City, just a few susan-5miles outside Eugene, and we lived within the city limits after we got married. But Junction City wasn’t there in 1855.

What I did find in my time travel was fascinating people. One was Eugene Skinner, larger than life. He was the founder of the city, and it is named after him. I was also familiar with Skinner’s Butte, which towers over the city and where Eugene Skinner lived for a while. In his active life, he was not only a founder, a farmer, and a ferry operator, but he helped lay out the town and served as a lawyer, postmaster, and county clerk.

One of the first settlers in Lane County, Skinner arrived in 1846. He built the first cabin in what is now the city of Eugene, on the side of the

hill at Skinner’s Butte. He used it as a trading post, and later as a post office. I put the post office and both Mr. and Mrs. Skinner in my story.susan-6

I also learned about Joseph Lafayette Meek, or “Joe Meek,” the famous mountain man. He lived his later years in Oregon and was appointed the first U.S. Marshal for the Oregon Territory.susan

I needed a marshal in my story, but by the time of the tale, Joe had given up the office. He served as Territorial Marshal from 1848 to 1853, and was succeeded by James Nesmith, so Marshal Nesmith is the one who made it into my book. Even so, I enjoyed a rabbit trail of reading about Joe Meek and his family. Maybe he will show up in another book someday.  susan-4

I am making a list of Oregon places I’d like to visit the next time we go there to see family. It’s amazing how many historical sites I managed NOT to visit during the time I lived in the beautiful state of Oregon! Usually those places are associated with people. While I do delve into the plants, animals, and terrain of the regions I write about, most of my research is still about people.

Today I’m giving away a copy of A Lady in the Making from the Prairie Dreams series.susan-3

 

 

A Lady in the Making: Millie Evans boards a stagecoach and finds that one of the passengers is David Stone—a man she and her brother once tried to swindle. As she tries to convince David she’s different now, her brother’s gang holds up the stagecoach. Millie must trust God to show David the truth that she has changed, but will he see before it’s too late?

Susan Page Davis is the author of more than 60 novels, including the Ladies’ Shooting Club series, Texas Trails series, and Frasier Island Series. Her newest books include the historical romances River Rest, Mountain Christmas Brides, The 12 Brides of Summer, and Heart of a Cowboy. She now lives in western Kentucky. Visit her website at: http://www.susanpagedavis.com

 

Snow White and A Kiss To Remember ~Tanya Hanson

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(Please leave a comment today for a chance to win our boxed set A Kiss To Remember.)

Today or tomorrow, or some day really, really soon, will be a magical day for Hubs and me. Our first granddaughter and already spoiled princess is due to be born any second.  

So what does Snow White have to do with anything? Well, this is the picture that started it all.

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Our daughter has been a Snow White freak since she was little. This Disneyland poster hung in her childhood room and went to college with her, and now has the place of honor in Her Royal Highness’s nursery. Honestly, that rearview looks exactly like our daughter did way back when.

Enter the heirloom mirror inherited from HRH’s great-grandma. And a nursery theme was born.

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Sleep tight, sweet princess!

Sleep tight, sweet princess!

The red Ikea chair is from the other great-gramma..the yellow toy chest from Gramma and Grampa..apple footstool...

The red Ikea chair is from the other great-gramma..the yellow toy chest from Gramma and Grampa..apple footstool…

 And also the coolest theme baby shower ever, thanks to our daughter’s beloved sorority sister Danielle!)

Shower invitation!

Shower invitation!

Wishing Well water...(there was also a blueberry one)

Wishing Well water…(there was also a blueberry one)

Danielle's beautiful wedding china (she got married last Christmas) with teensie Magic Mirror napking rings and medieval-themed charters...absolute perfection!)

Danielle’s beautiful wedding china (she got married last Christmas) with teensie Magic Mirror napkin rings and medieval-themed chargers…absolute perfection!)

Her Royal Highness's cake.

Her Royal Highness’s cake.

Poison apple favors (although they were actually harmless cinnamon)

Poison apple favors (although they were actually harmless cinnamon)

Wall decor!

Wall decor!

Centerpieces.

Centerpieces.

You-Know-Who

You-Know-Who

My daughter opening the gift from Charlene...several adorable outfits. (Charlene has four princesses of her own, so I'm taking notes.)

My daughter opening the gift from Charlene…several adorable outfits. (Charlene has four princesses of her own, so I’m taking notes.)

So…former schoolteacher that I am, I need to share with you now, some:  

Cliff Notes on the “real” Snow White

The Germany fairy tale was published in 1812 by the Brothers Grimm, original title Sneewittchen.

The fairy tale features the now-classic Magic Mirror, poisoned apple, glass coffin, Evil Queen-Evil Stepmother, a sleeping enchantment, and of course, dwarfs. Oh the best part: glass coffin and a delicious prince.

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Basically, a widowed king marries a second wife who is pathologically jealous of his beautiful daughter. Mostly because her Magic Mirror revealing the fairest of them all one day reveals– The Princess. Evil Queen orders hunter to kill our beautiful princess. Gasp. Of course Snow White’s so lovely, he just can’t. Instead, she finds refuge in a tiny cottage of little men. Queen finds her, disguised as a peddler with delicious apples. Only…they are poisoned! Snow White falls to the floor, is believed dead and laid to rest in a glass coffin. Whereupon our hero Prince finds her .

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Well, research by a German historian 20 years ago claims Snow White is inspired by the life of Margaretha von Waldeck, a countess who fell in love with a prince, the future Philip II of Spain. Sweet Margaretha died at age 21, and it is believed Spanish agents of her lover’s father poisoned her.

Or not. Another scholar thinks Snow White is based on Maria Sophia von Erthal. (The ancestral castle is now a museum in Bavaria). Its “talking mirror” , actually an acoustical toy made in 1720, was part of the household when Maria’s nasty stepmother Claudia Elisabeth Maria von Venningen moved in. The mirror itself is on display in the Spessart Museum!

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The creepiest thing is…one legend has the Evil Queen attending the royal prince’s wedding … See picture above. So far…she has No Idea the bride is Snow White. Upon discovery of her presence, a pair of red-hot iron shoes are brought in to Punish Her…she is forced to step into the horrific footwear and dance until, sob, she dies!

All I know is, our little princess is the Fairest of All. I know for sure, because I’ve seen the ultra sound. Talk about magic!

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Okay…so what’s your favorite fairy tale? Did you read fairy tales as a child? Did you ever want to be a princess? Have you ever visited a castle?

And for something else exciting: Our boxed set…the best dollar you’ll ever spend! Leave a comment today for a chance to win, and check back tomorrow!

Tracy Garrett: HER SANCTUARY. Through loss, betrayal, and loneliness, love offers sanctuary for the heart.

Kathleen Rice Adams: THE DUMONT WAY. The Civil War burned Texas…and fanned the flames of love.

Cheryl Pierson: GABRIEL’S LAW. Nobody expects to hear the click of a gun in the hands of an angel.

Livia Washburn: YESTERDAY’s FLAME. Amid the ashes of San Francisco, they find the passion of a lifetime.

Tanya Hanson: OUTLAW HEART. A beautiful woman, a Pinkerton, and Doc Holliday…Respectability will be harder than the outlaw thought.

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http://tinyurl.com/jbca82l

Updated: August 2, 2016 — 6:20 pm

The Wind Beneath My Wings & Book Giveaway

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This is the last photo of the two of us together. It was taken at Christmas.

I’m dedicating today’s blog to my husband, George, who passed away on April 3rd.   He was the hero I so often write about in my books and I miss him more than words can say.

Some of you may have noticed that many of the couples in my stories are complete opposites. That’s how it was with George and me.   He met at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Hollywood and even though we had nothing in common, he proposed on the first date. I thought he was crazy. Never one to give up, he persisted until I finally said yes.  Our pastor made us take a premarital compatibility test, which we failed miserably.  Based on the low scores, he tried talking us out of marriage.  Three kids and six grandchildren George said, “I wonder what would have happened had we passed that test.”

When Bette Midler came out with the song The Wind Beneath My Wings from Beaches in 1988 our daughter Robyn was convinced that her father was the inspiration behind it. There’s no better way to describe him.

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Photo of George and me taken at Melody Ranch during a cowboy festival.

He spent his entire life helping and supporting others. He was my right hand man and encouraged me to keep writing during all the years of rejection.  A film editor by trade, he never really understood the craziness of the publishing business, but he supported me in every way he could. If any of you reading this won one of my books, you can be sure he wrapped and mailed it.  With each new release, he did the Walmart flybys to make sure my books were displayed properly.

Every conference, convention and book signing found him standing in the shadows, directing any glory my way.   Every day at four p.m. he banged on a pot. That was his signal for me to quit work and join him.  Some days he’d have a cup of tea waiting.  He always seemed to sense when I had a bad day of writing. Those were the days a glass of wine greeted me.  

My dear sweet husband will be remembered for his kind loving heart, gentle warm spirit, abiding faith and ability to make others laugh. He was truly my hero and the wind beneath my wings.

 

Calico Spy V3

To order click on cover.

Tomorrow, April 29th is George’s birthday.  In his honor I’m giving away a copy of Calico Spy, a story about a Pinkerton detective working undercover as a Harvey girl. The last trip my husband and I took together was to Vegas. We stopped in Barstow, California so I could check out the old Harvey restaurant which turned out to be the model for the book.  While I took notes, he took photos for me.  That was the last research trip we took together.

Updated: April 27, 2016 — 7:28 am

The Outlaw Kathleen Rice Adams Confesses

Kathleen Rice Adams header

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.  😉

 

Petticoats & Pistols © 2015