Category: Giveaways

Guest Author Sophie Dawson!


Please welcome author Sophie Dawson
to the corral today! 

Sophie Dawson Author PictureSophie Dawson has been making up stories in her head ever since she was a child. She has written fiction and non-fiction, contemporary and historical romance, and has also ventured into the increasingly popular arena of audio books.
She lives with her husband on the family farm in Illinois.
Two grown sons, a daughter-in-law and granddaughter round out her immediate family.

Sophie is giving away a copy of each book she talks about today,
one to each of two commenters. 

 

Disaster Comes To Silverpines

 

Women were scarce in the West in the 1800’s. We all know that. Mail Order Brides were, maybe not as common as in romance novels of today, but one way men could find wives. How scary would it be to leave all you knew, whether it was a good situation or terrible, travel the arduous hundreds of miles of empty land, then marry a man you only knew from a few letters? In our novels, every couple has a happily ever after ending. We know this wasn’t the case. Common sense and human nature tells us that.

But, what if you lived in a mining and logging town in Oregon, having moved there or been born and raised there and suddenly all the men, or those who were marriageable or husbands already, died in a disaster leaving the women to pick up the pieces of the town and their lives? That’s the premise of the Silverpines Series.

Many women in the West were widowed and left with children they needed to support and raise. Men were widowed too in the same situation. It wasn’t unusual for these grieving people to rapidly marry, sometimes the same day they buried their spouse. She needed a protector, a supporter, a father for her children. He needed someone to take care of his children, be their mother, and to do the work in the home so they could all eat, stay healthy, and teach the children as there might not be a school nearby.

In Silverpines, Oregon in 1899 there weren’t men in town to marry. And there were many women left as widows or young women who wanted to marry someday. The solution… Send for Mail Order Grooms. I’ve written two books in the series so far; Wanted: Shopkeeper and Wanted: Bookkeeper.

 

Shopkeeper book cover

Millie Messer is the widow of the mercantile owner with four young children to raise. One still in diapers. She needs to run the store, do her regular work tending the children, help those in need, and be wary of the con men who’ve come to town in the wake of the disasters.

Clay Cutler answers her advertisement. He’s experienced in running a store. His family owned on and he’d been raised in it. He seems the answer to her prayers. There’s just one detail he forgot to mention; he has five children. Millie finds out when they get off the train. Needless to say, she is not pleased.

Do they get their HEA? What antics do nine children come up with as they blend the two families? What danger lies ahead for all of them? What secret is Clay keeping from Millie?

Find out in Wanted: Shopkeeper.

 

Bookkeeper book cover

Poor Tilde Lasek, she’s lost her father and brother in the disaster. her mother is overwhelmed with her grief. She’s left to run the bank they own by her herself and is in way over her head. Then there’s the attempted bank robbery. Thankfully, it was foiled and she wasn’t kidnapped or injured. BUT, it was the last straw. Not telling her mother, who is against the idea, Tilde advertises for a husband.  She’s smart enough not to mention the job he’ll do is in a bank.

Joel Richards is her choice.  They marry hours after he arrives in Silverpines, without informing her mother who isn’t happy with the marriage. Then there are the changes Joel hopes to make at the bank. Tilde’s not happy with those.

Can Joel convince Tilde to bring Silverpines bank into the 20th century? Will Tilde be able to be the wife he wants without letting him bring even more change to her life? Will Mabel Lasek ever accept her daughter’s marriage? Will there be a Happily Ever After with all three living in the same house?

Read to find out.  Wanted: Bookkeeper.

 

Get these and the other great Silverpines Series books on Amazon Kindle, print and KU.

Sophie Dawson is an award winning author of sweet historical romance set after the Civil War, as well as Contemporary romances. She’s participated in several Multi-Author Projects with her newest one being The Pinkerton Matchmaker. Her novel, An Agent for Mina debuts November 9. Check her Amazon author page for details. http://amazon.com/author/sophiedawson

Sophie Dawson Reader Friends group:  http://www.facebook.com/groups/139425236751751/ 

Website:  http://sophie-dawson.com

Guest Author Tina Radcliffe!

Lets give a big Wildflower Junction Welcome to author Tina Radcliffe! Many of you already know her and her stories! They’ve won all sorts of hi-falutin’ awards. Most recently Claiming Her Cowboy was a finalist in the 2018 ACFW Carol Awards. She has always been one to “give a hand up” to others and was honored recently as the 2018 ACFW Mentor of the Year. Tina is giving away two copies of her book, Christmas With the Cowboy to two lucky folk who comment!

 

Victorioan Christmas Card

Christmas Card Circa 1880 ~ Public Domain

 

Christmas in the 1800s wasn’t that much different from our celebrations today. But out West, it was most certainly simpler. Many prairie families couldn’t even fit a tree inside their small dwellings. Decorations were homemade and the presents beneath less fanciful and more practical. While cowboys on the trail didn’t have the luxury of a fireplace with stockings or a tree in the corner, caroling, and libations were still in order.

Researching this topic piqued my curiosity about the food prepared to celebrate the holiday season.

I’m all about the food!

According to Food Timeline’s review of the time period,Christmas menus reflect traditional foods of the celebrant’s original culture.” 

From “American System of Cookery,”by  Mrs. T. J. Crowen [T.J. Crowen:New York] 1847 

“To Arrange a Christmas Dinner. Place a high pyramid of evergreens (made as before directed) in the centre of the table. Let a roasted turkey of uncommon size occupy the middle or centre of one side of the table, on one end let there be a cold boiled ham, and at the other, fricasseed chicken or a roast pig; with the turkey serve mashed potatoes and turnips, boiled onions and dressed celery, or other salad with apple sauce–near the ham place fried or mashed potatoes and pickles or mangoes: and with the pig or fricassee, the same as with the turkey; large pitchers of sweet cider (or where that is not desired, ice water) should be placed diagonally opposite each other, on two corners of the table; boiled turkey with oyster sauce may occupy the place of the fricassee, or instead, a fine oyster pie. For dessert, there should be only two very large and ornamental mince pies, one sufficiently large that each of the company may be helped from it, in token of common interest, is desirable. Ice creams and jellies and jams and ripe fruits and nuts, with sweet cider and syrup water of different sorts, or wines, complete the dessert. Biscuit and jelly sandwich may be served at dessert, or paste puffs and charlotte de russe or blancmange with strands of jelly.”

Charlotte de Russe?

Betty Crocker tells us that the Charlottes are molded desserts. “The mold is lined with cake and filled with fruit and custard or cream mixed with gelatin. Charlotte Russe, made with ladyfingers and rich Bavarian cream, is served with fruit sauce.”

And Blancmange?

“Blancmange is a sweet dessert commonly made with milk or cream and sugar thickened with gelatin, cornstarch or Irish moss, and often flavored with almonds. It is usually set in a mold and served cold. Although traditionally white, blancmanges are frequently given alternative colors.” Wikipedia

 * * * * * * * * * *

Sounds a bit fancy for prairie homes and cowboys on the trail who made due with what they could obtain.
A perfect example would be Black Pudding and Butterless, Eggless, Milkless Cake.

Black Pudding

From Wink Crigler, owner of the X Diamond Ranch and curator of The Little House Museum in the White Mountains.

6 Eggs
1 Cup Sweet Milk
2 Cups Flour
1 Tsp Soda
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Cup Molasses

Mix well.  Pour into 1-pound can and steam for 2 to 3 hours by placing in a kettle of boiling water. Keep covered.
This is to be served with a vinegar sauce:

1 Cup Sugar
1 Tbsp.  Butter
1 Tbsp. Flour
2 Tbsp. Vinegar
½ Tsp Nutmeg

Put in enough boiling water for the amount of sauce wanted.
Add two slightly beaten eggs and cook stirring constantly to the desired consistency.

 

Butterless, Eggless, Milkless Cake

 Adapted from the Homesteading Handbook

Boil a cup of brown sugar in a cup of cold water with 1 and 1/2 cup raisins.
Add a teaspoon each of salt and cloves, and cinnamon.
Also, add 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1/3 cup of shortening.
Boil for 3 minutes and let cool.

Dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in 5 teaspoons of hot water, add 2 cups of flour, and half a teaspoon baking powder. Add the baking soda mix with the first mixture.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 350 F.

 * * * * * * * * * *

This talk of food circles back to my holiday release, Christmas with the Cowboy
and the favorite food in the story, made by the heroine, Emma Maxwell Norman.

Emma’s Chocolate Muffins

Enjoy!

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1?2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1?4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1?2 cup butter, melted
1?2 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 cup cupcake tin or use liners.
Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda in a large bowl, mix together.
Add eggs, milk, chips and melted butter. Stir until well blended. Spoon into muffin tins.
Bake 18-20 minutes.

Dust with powdered sugar or sprinkle with extra mini chips (optional).

Adapted from Genius Kitchen.

 * * * * * * * * * * *

Now that I’ve made you hungry, leave a comment or even a recipe sharing about your own historic family recipes. Two commenters will be drawn for a print (or ecopy for international winners) of Christmas with the Cowboy.

 

Merry Early Christmas to you the Fillies and you readers!

 

Home for the holidays

A second chance at love on Big Heart Ranch

 

Former navy SEAL Zach Norman has been avoiding his ranching roots—and the woman he couldn’t have. Back to visit his brother’s widow, Emma Maxwell Norman, and her adorable toddler twins, the bah-humbug cowboy is roped into helping prepare the ranch for the holidays. Working side by side, can Emma and Zach overcome their troubled past…and receive the greatest Christmas gift of all—love?

AMAZON BUY LINK 

 

Connect with Tina

Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Webpage 

 
A freelance writer for over twenty years, Tina Radcliffe is an RWA Honor Roll member, a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, and three-time ACFW Carol Award nominee.  She is a 2018 ACFW Mentor of the Year recipient and a 2018 Carol Award finalist. Her 10th book for Harlequin released in October 2018.  In addition to novel-length fiction, Tina has sold over two dozen short stories to Woman’s World Magazine. A former library cataloger, Tina is a frequent presenter on writing topics and an online instructor. She currently resides in Arizona, where she writes fun, heartwarming romance.

 

Autumn Beauty, Seasons of Celebration and Give-Away

Yummmmm…  Autumn — crisp air, scented delicately with falling leaves and the smoke from wood stoves;  Cinnamon and fresh apple cider, pumpkin pie, turkey and cranberry sauce, apple pie, the last of the corn on the cob…

And what about the “feels” of autumn? Traipsing through leaves, racking them up and jumping in them; picking up a leaf and tracing its pattern; warm days, cool nights, the pleasure of feeling Mother Earth prepare for a few months’ sleep.

And how about the sounds of autumn?  Cold nights and warm blankets, football games announcing the players; the sounds of cheerleaders and marching bands; long practices — even the quiet sound of leaves falling to the ground.  How I love it.

thanksgivingOf course, to the people who lived close to the earth in our not-so-distant past, these senses that declared this time of year were all very beloved, much as they are loved today.  So much was this the case that the Iroquois devoted an entire festival of fun and merriment to autumn — and that festival was called the Harvest Festival.

Naturally, we are all pretty much aware that our Thanksgiving comes from the Eastern Indians, and in particular Squanto — and if you didn’t know about Squanto, I would highly recommend the movie, Squanto, starring a young and dreamy Adam Beach.  Sigh…

Autumn was very much loved by Native Americans.  In fact, it was one of many, many ceremonies honoring the seasons of the earth, and Thanksgiving (still a few month’s away) was part of an ancient celebration of the American Indians to give Thanks to He who is known as the Creator.

Now this autumn ceremony was common to all Eastern tribes.  And as I’ve already mentioned, these ceremonies tended to follow the different seasons.

The Iroquois celebrated six festivals, wherein they gave thanks to the Creator for all they had.  These festivals would open usually with speeches by leaders, teachers, and elders.  And of course there was much dancing, which was done not only for the fun of simply dancing, but it was also a sense of worship.  It was thought that because the Creator needed some sort of amusement, He gave the people dancing.  Let me tell you a little about some of these celebrations.

In spring — early March — it was time to collect together tree bark and sap – this was needed to repair houses and other things, such as canoes, bowls, etc.   Spring was also the time for planting.  This was the maple festival.  Next was the Planting festival.  Here prayers were sent to the Creator to bless their seed.

The Iroquois’ main food source was corn, beans and squash (the three sisters), and of course deer meat or other meat when available.  Family gardens were separated by borders that were broad and grassy — they would even camp on these borders and sometimes they were raise watch towers.

The next festival of the Iroquois was the Strawberry Festival.  This is where the people gave thanks to the Creator for their many fruits (like strawberries).  It was summertime.  The women gathered wild nuts and other foods, while the men hunted, fished and provided various meats for cooking.  Again, each festival was greeted with much dancing and merriment.  Did you know that the some Iroquois believed the way to the Creator was paved with strawberries?

The festival after that was the Green Corn Festival.  Again, the people thanked the Creator for the bounty of food that had been raised all through the summer.  Dancers danced to please the Creator and musicians sang and beat the drum.  Again there were many speeches to honor the people and the Creator.  There were team sports.  Lacrosse was the game that was most admired and it was played with great abandon by the men.  Women played games, too, and often their games were as competitive as the men’s.

The festival following that was…are you ready?  You’re right — The Harvest Festival.  By this time the women had harvested the corn, beans and squash.  Much of it would be dried.  Much went to feed families.  Husks were made into many different items.  Dolls, rugs, mats.  Did you know that the dolls didn’t have faces?  Now was the time to gather more nuts and berries.  Men were busy, too, hunting far away.  Bear, moose, beaver were all sought after and hunted.  Again, there was much celebration.  Dancing, speeches, prayer.  And of course — food.  It was this particular festival that was shared with the newcomers to this continent.

Can you guess what the next festival was?  Although this is a Christmas tree, it was not a celebration of Christmas — but if you guessed this, you were very close.  The next and last festival of the year was New Year’s.  At this time, a white dog was sacrificed as a gift to the Creator.  This was also a time for renewing the mind and body.  (Does that not remind you of our New Year’s resolutions?)  At this time, the False Face Society members would wear masks to help others to cleanse themselves of their bad minds and restore only their good minds.  There was again much celebration, much dancing, much merriment and enjoyment as each person would settle in for the long winter ahead of them.

The First Americans indeed did give this country very much, not only its festivals which we still remember to this day, but also it gave to this nation a fighting spirit for freedom.  In these times when there seems to be a forgetfulness about our American roots, it is wonderful to remember that the American Indian and the Love of Freedom went hand-in-hand.  What seems interesting to me is that our Thanksgiving festival still honors the custom of giving thanks for those gifts that He, The Creator, has given us.  To the American Indian all of these festivals contained this special element — that of giving Thanks to our Maker.

Perhaps it’s only because this one festival — Thanksgiving — was shared by American Indian and Colonist alike that set the tone of Thanksgiving for future generations.  And I do believe that the love of autumn and giving thanks for that which belongs to us has its roots in The Harvest Festival, so beloved to the Eastern Indian Tribes.

What do you think?

I’ll be giving away a free e-book of SENECA SURRENDER, to some lucky blogger — Giveaway Guidelines are off to the right here on the main webpage, and they apply to all our giveaways — so please do read them. Now, the book, Seneca Surrender, is set in the autumn, in upper state New York.  The time is around the 1750’s — The French and Indian War.  Now, I did deliberately set the novel at this time of year, because I think that I have never seen an autumn quite like those that one sees here in the East.  So very beautiful, and so SENECA SURRENDER, as well as the book, BLACK EAGLE, honor this time of year.  Here’s the link to go and read an excerpt:  https://www.amazon.com/Seneca-Surrender-Warriors-Iroquois-Book-ebook/dp/B07HXTN4B1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539032028&sr=8-1&keywords=seneca+surrender+by+karen+kay%3C%2Fp%3E&tag=pettpist-20

Hope you will enjoy!

Updated: October 8, 2018 — 4:09 pm

Chicken Soup, Lemons, and Small Towns

One reason I enjoy writing stories set in small western towns is the sense of community. In one book I joked if someone sneezed, half the town would be at the door with chicken soup before day’s end. From the small towns I’ve known, this isn’t too far from the truth.

Life is hard. In the city I’ve become so accustomed to the polite and well-meaning “hello, how are you today” greetings everywhere, I can respond on auto-pilot. No matter how hard life is knocking me around, I can plaster a smile on my face and reply I’m fine. But in small towns, that’s harder to pull off because people know each other. They’re more likely to see past an overly bright smile and notice something is off. More importantly, they’re likely to ask and care about the answer. Not that this doesn’t happen in the city. It does. I just find it harder to create those mini-communities of support in the city.

Another difference I’ve discovered, is to receive help in the city, I am more likely to have to ask for it friends in my mini-community. My grandparents lived on a farm outside Decorah, Iowa, a town of eight thousand. If someone was struggling financially, if a death occurred in the family, or someone was sick, most of the town knew. For example, my dear friend Lori Turner Halligan shared a story about her father’s death during prime planting time in Iowa twenty-three years ago on April 28. Farmers arrived with equipment and planted her family’s fields before planting their own. Other families brought food to feed those working the fields. Her mother didn’t have to ask. The Turners needed help, and the community turned out. This is the sense of community I tried to create in both my Estes Park Series and my Wishing Texas Series.

Western women are known for their strength. In the old west, they helped carve a life out of the wilderness. While many of my heroines start out as “Eastern city women,” they possess a western soul. One that refuses to let them give up or give in. When fate lobs lemons at my heroines like hand grenades, they put on a hard hat and make lemonade,but sometimes even the strongest of women get weary.

Take Cassie in To Love A Texas Cowboy. When her niece is orphaned, Cassie moves from New York to Texas because that’s what’s best for Ella. Without family to count on, she’s learned to rely on herself, but keeping her art career going, raising a child and keeping a roof over their heads would shake Wonder Woman’s confidence. Like so many of us, Cassie realizes she can’t do it all alone. For her, help comes from the most unexpected place–Ty, a cowboy who at first glance appears to be on the opposite side of every issue and a small Texas town.

Whether we live in the city, small town or a ranch, whether our support comes from those related to us by blood, or a family we create in less traditional ways, we need people we can count on when life gets rough. 

And a special thank you to my BFF Lori for help with this blog and life in general. Everyone should be blessed with a friend like you.

Take a moment to leave a comment and be entered to win the dish towel, wine glass and a copy of Colorado Rescue.

To read an excerpt of To Love A Texas Cowboy, click here

Updated: October 2, 2018 — 4:33 pm

Autumn brings gold…a precious color that cannot stay

Cattle drive by two cowboys in Colorado.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

——————-Robert Frost

 

To Celebrate these golden days of Autumn, leave a comment about your favorite things about fall. The golden and orange leaves. Bright pumpkins. Children in costumes and buckets of candy. The cool evenings. The end of mowing and bugs. The oncoming holiday season.

One lucky commentor will win a copy of The Reluctant Warrior:

 

…Union army officer Cameron Scott is used to being obeyed, but nothing about this journey to Lake Tahoe has gone as expected. He’s come to fetch his daughter and nephew, and seek revenge on the people who killed his brother. Instead he finds himself trapped by a blizzard with two children who are terrified of him and stubborn but beautiful Gwen Harkness, who he worries may be trying to keep the children.

When danger descends on the cabin where they’re huddled, Cam is hurt trying to protect everyone and now finds Gwen caring for him too. He soon realizes why the kids love her so much and wonders if it might be best for him to move on without them. When she sees his broken heart, Gwen decides to help him win back their affection–and in the process he might just win her heart as well. Click to buy

 

 

 

 

Updated: September 28, 2018 — 10:10 am

Fall Colors, Scents and the Beauty of Autumn — Give Away

Howdy! 

I love Autumn.  Love the scents, the colors, the fall into slumber for trees, the shrubs, the grass, the ever-flowering plants (and the bears).  : )  It’s such a beautiful time of year, that it’s hard to stay inside, isn’t it?  Doesn’t it make you want to get out there and rake leaves and then, of course, jump into that pile?

I grew up in the Mid-West, where autumn was long and gorgeous with golden, yellow, orange and brown leaves and fresh scents.  But…I didn’t know/hadn’t experienced the absolute beauty of the East in the Fall of the year.  My goodness!  Orange, sugar maples, deep red-leaf maple trees,  Japanese maples, ash, oak and golden birch trees, just to name a few.  Takes one’s breath away.

But that’s only using one of our senses to describe this time of year.  How about the scents of falling leaves, the smell of smoke and wood-burning stoves, the cinnamon-ie smells of baked goods, apple cider, the knowledge that Halloween and dress-up is around the corner?  The feel of the earth beneath your feet as it, too, gears up for the winter ahead?  The cool fragrance?  The touch of tree bark and leaves, the sound of leaves falling?  What beauty.

One of my series’ — the Iroquois series — is set in the fall of the year.  When writing that series, I deliberately placed the story in the autumn because in my consideration there is no where in the world like autumn in New England, and the Iroquois Confederation was, of course in New York, deep in the area of the Adirondack Mountains.  A couple of those covers show off the beauty of New England. 

Those books are Black Eagle and Seneca Surrender.  And to the left here are those beautiful covers — one cover from Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and the other from Prairie Rose Publications.

 

 

 


Yes, there will be a give-away today and in celebration of this event, I’ll be giving away three different e-books (please refer to our Giveaway Guidelines).  One of those books will be BLACK EAGLE, since it is set in the Fall.  I’ll also be giving away the e-book, The Princess and the Wolf and the e-book, Brave Wolf and the Lady.   Those covers are off to the right here:  

Now because there is a scene in both BLACK EAGLE and SENECA SURRENDER that describes the fall of that year, I thought I would leave you with an excerpt of that scene.

From the book, BLACK EAGLE and SENECA SURRENDER

By Karen Kay, writing as Gen Bailey

 

White Thunder rested his weight upon his flintlock, looking west, toward the sky, where the sun was a low, half pinkish-orange orb on the horizon, announcing its departure from the day in glorious streaks of sunlight. Shafts of light, streaming from the clouds, beamed down to the earth, looking as though heaven itself smiled kindly upon the land. And what a magnificent land it was. The birch trees were yellow, the maples red, and the oaks announced their descent into a long winter’s sleep with browns, oranges and golds. The hills were alive with autumn hues, while the air was filled with the rich, musky scent of falling leaves.

It was a beautiful time of year, when the days were still warm, but the nights were cool. But it wasn’t the beauty that was set off before him that had drawn him toward the lake this day. He’d been hunting, when something had called to him upon the breeze.  Perhaps it was the rustle of the water that had announced that there was a subtle difference between the lake environment of yesterday and how it was today. But what?

Stepping quietly toward the lake, he squatted and set his musket onto his lap as he bent over to partake of a drink from the water’s cool depths.

Instantly he sat up, alert. From out the corner of his eye he caught the movement of something, and, glancing toward it, he recognized a piece of clothing. A woman’s skirt? Rising, he stepped toward it to get a better look at the thing, if only to satisfy his curiosity.

That’s when he saw her. She was a white woman, blonde-haired and slim.

Was she alive?

After hauling himself onto the rock where she lay, he stepped toward her and bent to look at her. He placed his fingers against her neck, feeling for a pulse. Her body was so very cold, and he was more than a little surprised when he felt the sure sign of life within her. The pulse was weak, but it was still there.

Turning her slightly, he was intrigued by her pale beauty. Of course, being Seneca and from the Ohio Valley, he’d had opportunity to witness the unusual skin color of the white people. But it wasn’t as familiar a sight to him as one might reckon.

Who was she? How had she gotten here? And what had happened to her?

Glancing in all directions, he took in the spectacular sights of the forest. Where did she belong? Who did she belong to?

There was nothing here to answer him, nothing to be seen, no other human presence to be felt. Nothing but the ever expansive rhythm of nature.

Using his right hand to brush her hair back from her face, he noted again how cold she was. However, he couldn’t help but be aware of how soft her skin was, as well. Putting his fingers against her nostrils, he felt the weak intake and outflow of breath. She was alive, barely.

Did he dare take her away from here? A white woman?

He hesitated and waited. He watched. Nyoh, he was the only one here, the only one to settle her fate.

That decided him. If she were to live through the night, he had best take care of her. She needed warmth, nourishment and a chance to heal.

Bending at the waist, he laid his hands over her torso. Depending on the type of injury he might discover, he would either nurse her here or take her to a more protected spot. He ran his fingers gently over each of her arms, including her hands and fingers. He felt for anything broken.

He could detect nothing. Widening his range, he sent his graze over the sides of her ribs, ignoring her ample breasts. Though his scrutiny was fast, it was thorough. Were there any bruises? Was anything broken? Amazingly, he found nothing.

He continued his search down each of her legs. Surely, there must be some clue that would tell of her recent history. Perhaps she had broken her neck, or back? With an easy touch, he tested the theory, sending his fingertips down over the muscles and bone structure of her neck. Nothing. Nothing substantial to indicate a problem that would claim her life. Turning her lightly onto her side, he felt along her spinal column. Several bones were out of place, but nothing was broken. Her body seemed intact.

He frowned. Again, he wondered what had happened to her.

Was it the spirits of the water?  The falls?  This was a dangerous area. Had the force of the rapids claimed another victim?

But why would she have been near the falls? A white woman in the woods alone? His jaw clenched. There had to be someone close by. Glancing up and looking around again, he realized that the puzzle of her appearance would not be solved here. His examination of her had at least established one fact. She was fit to travel.

Taking her into his arms, he was more than aware that she felt light in his grasp. He stepped down off the rock. Not knowing exactly how she had come to be here, he kept his attention attuned to the environment, listening for a sign of other life, anything to indicate the presence of another in the surroundings. She was a beautiful woman. Whomever she belonged to would miss her.

Again, he could sense nothing unusual in the environment around him—not anything that would give him any idea as to what had happened.

Enough. She required care.

Gathering her in his arms, he rushed toward the security of the woods. If someone were here watching, the trees and bushes offered sanctuary. At least there he could hide himself and her, as they fled deeper into the woods. But where would he take her? He hadn’t yet constructed his own shelter for the night, and it was already late in the day.

If his memory served him correctly, there was a cave nearby that might lend itself well for their purposes, provided that a bear or other animal hadn’t laid claim to it. It was a quiet place, if he remembered rightly, away from the all-seeing eyes of the forest. Plus, it was little known by his own and other tribes. Long ago, his grandfather had shown it to him, indicating it might serve well if ever he were in trouble.

As White Thunder hurried toward that spot, he gazed down into the pleasing features of the woman, realizing that his curiosity about her hadn’t abated. However, there would be time enough to discover who she was once they were safely sheltered. For now, he had best make haste to see if the cave were occupied or vacant.

Balancing her weight and his musket into more secure positions, he darted through the forest, disappearing into it.

Below is the cover of SENECA SURRENDER by Samhain Publishing, as it was going to be published before Samhain closed its doors.  It’s a beauty and I thought I’d share it with you.  Please leave a comment and let me know your memories of this time of year.  I’d love to talk to you.

 

Updated: September 26, 2018 — 2:39 pm

Welcome Guest – Sunny Marie Baker!!

Hello. I’m Sunny Marie Baker and I’m thrilled to be a guest blogger today at Petticoats and Pistols. From the time I was a child I loved the old west. Watching Roy Rogers and Gene Autry on T.V. I got lost in the stories. I became one of the characters continuing the adventure outside in my yard long after the T.V. show ended. Every Christmas my special gift from Santa was a new pair of cowboy boots. There’s a pair of red ones sitting in my closet right now. Yep, once a cowgirl, always a cowgirl.

Is it any wonder when I began my writing career that I would write western themed novels? It was a no brainer. I write both Western Historical and Contemporary Western Romance, sometimes with a supernatural twist.

I’m currently completing my Texas Strong Series. In this series each book tells the story of a woman who by dire circumstances is transplanted to rural Texas in the 1800’s. Each enters into a marriage of convenience and must become Texas Strong to survive the consequences of her choice.

 

Claree’s Plan, Book Two in the Texas Strong Series, released on August 24th 2018

 

 

 

Claree May Whitney needs a husband and she needs him now!

Claree’s father pledges her as collateral in a high stakes poker game with Angus MacGregor, a repulsive man with the girth of a bull, and Angus wins.

Claree is determined she’ll not marry a bald, drooling man three times her age. On the pretense of a shopping trip to purchase sleeping garments to please her soon-to-be husband, Claree, with the help of her friend, Marguerite, makes her escape. She buys a ticket aboard a rarely-used mail stage to the farthest place her money will take her — Bryce Canyon, Texas.

Rumor has it men are plentiful in Texas and many looking for a wife. She’ll have her pick. Marrying someone else will make null and void the marriage contract her father forced upon her. Yes, that’s what she’ll do, marry a man of her choosing, and Angus MacGregor be damned.

Claree puts her plan into action. What could go wrong?

 

Book One in the Texas Strong Series is Cora’s Promise. One lucky winner chosen by Petticoats and Pistols will win a signed print copy of this first book in the series.

Cora Sutton keeps her promises

She makes a treacherous journey to fulfill a vow to her dying friend, and delivers Berta’s most cherished possession to Ramsey Locke in Rabbit Glen, Texas. Now what? Cora doesn’t have a thought. Doesn’t have a plan. Doesn’t have anywhere to be.

Ramsey is caught by surprise. He never anticipated such a gift. The truth is, he spends hours in the saddle running his ranch and doesn’t have the time required to honor and preserve Berta’s Treasure. He strikes a deal with Cora. She’ll stay on to tend the household duties and make sure Berta’s last wish is upheld. He’ll sleep in the barn.

When the town biddies discern that Cora is pregnant, the church demands Ramsey take responsibility for her condition. “I’ve never so much as kissed the woman,” Ramsey protests. “I’m not the father of her baby.” However, the church folks get out their calendars, and it all adds up for them.

Ramsey gives Cora his name to save her reputation, but will he ever give her his heart?   

Book Three of the Texas Strong Series, Camille’s Purpose is scheduled for release in late 2019.

Thanks again for the opportunity to share these western themed stories of strong women here on Petticoats and Pistols.

(click on covers above to learn more about these books and/or to purchase)

Updated: September 26, 2018 — 1:41 pm

Welcome Guest – Jodi Thomas!!

Hello everyone, Jodi Thomas here.
In a few weeks MISTLETOE MIRACLES will be out as the 7th book in the Ransom Canyon series.  I’m very excited about this one. 

Hold on to your hats this is going to be a wild, funny ride.

I had a series of events, like every writer experiences sometimes, tumble down on me when facing the deadline on this book.  One roadblock after another happened.  Sometimes the real world interrupts my fantasy world. 😉 So, all of a sudden I had a book due, I was suffering from exhaustion, and the holiday season was nearing.

“Rest.” The doctor insisted.  Great.  No talks, no travel, no lectures. I stayed in my pj’s and wrote. The book took over my brain—in truth it wasn’t much of a fight.

All at once the characters were living in my mind, not just subleasing a few hours a day.

I got better and finished the book.  My editor loved it.  Christmas, three love stories, a horse ranch.  I turned it in right after Christmas, getting to live both in real life and in my mind for the holidays.

Then life rushed in.  Travel, talks, business, relatives. I’m behind again. This time on Number 8 that will be out in 2019.

No problem. Then came the head-on car crash. I’m back at home–with a broken leg. Not in fantasy this time. I wrote half the book in a month with my leg propped up.

I’m starting to see why BREAK A LEG means good luck.  Maybe whoever made it up was talking to me.

So, I googled it:

A phrase of encouragement typically said to one who is about to perform before an audience, especially an actor. It is thought to be used due to the superstition that wishing one “good luck” will result in the opposite, but the exact origin of the phrase is unknown.

I also researched jobs and found that being a cowboy ranks at the 4th more dangerous job in America.   All of us who’ve been tossed from a horse are yelling, “Amen” right now.

So ladies and gentlemen, enjoy my MISTLETOE MIRACLES this fall with my three cowboys on the Maverick Ranch because next spring while I’m writing book number 9, one of my heroes is going to break a leg for a change, and I plan to stay healthy.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of Mistletoe Miracles to kick off your holiday reading.  I’d love to hear what your lucky saying is.

And don’t forget to sign up for a three-day stay at my hideout in Red River, New Mexico.  You pick the season, they’re all beautiful.  Just check the rules on my website:  jodithomas.com.    

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