Category: Guest Author

What’s in a Name? ~ Kari Trumbo

Do you find you love your name? People can be quite opinionated about something they had little to no control over. One common problem authors have who write historical books is to pick names that were authentically used in the time period. A name like Jaylen or even Liam (unless your character has a very specific heritage and hasn’t been in the US long) would be almost unheard of.

Names are beautiful, but surprising, too. From my study of census data and comparing it to various books I have with actual accounts, I can only say that simply because a name wasn’t common in an era, doesn’t mean it wasn’t used. There are names that have been created in the last few decades which should be (of course) avoided in a historical novel, but I’m all for using what the past has left behind to enrich the future.

Does that mean we should fill our stories with Agneses and Jacobs, or should we personally accept that we’ll have a name we are unhappy with for eternity? I don’t think we need to go that far. Not to mention, how boring it would be! A wonderful resource I’ve found for naming characters is, frankly, so simple I’m surprised more people don’t do it. I find books with personal letters from people during the period in which I’m writing and use their names.

For instance, one of my favorite books in studying Gold-rush era California is a book called, They Saw the Elephant: Women in the California Gold Rush, by Jo Ann Levy. This book is a treasure of life experiences from that period. So many people think of the Oregon Trail as the most difficult trial a family of that time could face, but life in California was hard. These women saw it all, not only the Elephant (you’ll have to look up that phrase to find the meaning, it’s off-topic for this post).

These early pioneers had fantastic names: Arzelia, Julius, Luzena, Ledyard, Zeno, Lodisa, Angeline, Lucena, Clotilde, and Fayette. These are just skimming through the first quarter of the book without even really looking! Of course, there are Annes, Jennies, Marys, Margerets, Johns and Josephs and I think a lot of authors feel like they must use these names because it is expected in historical novels, but in my digging for historical names, I found something very interesting. Your name doesn’t have to define you or your era, not now, and not into eternity.

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In the first book in my Brothers of Belle Fourche series, Teach Me to Love, Izzy is abused by the husband she hastily married. She comes to the Broken Circle O to find peace, what she gets is so much more. Conrad can’t think of her as Izzy, not even as her given name, Isabella. He gives her a new name, for a new start, Isabelle.

In Revelations 2:17b we learn that the Lord will give us a new name, a name so intimate, so truly ours, that no one but the receiver and the Lord will know it.

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

I really wanted to explore that in Teach Me to Love, how important a name can be in healing from the past, from our mistakes, the ultimate forgiveness because we are completely and totally new. The Lord knows we don’t want to be the selves we left behind when we meet Him, so he makes us new, not only in body, but in name.

So, what’s in a name?

I’ve got an ebook copy of my collection, Brothers of Belle Fourche, Books 1-3
 for one commenter. Do you think names are important? Have you ever wished you had a different name or read a book where it felt like the name of the character didn’t quite fit (or maybe fit perfectly)?

 

 

Kari Trumbo is an International bestselling author of historical and contemporary Christian romance. She began her writing journey five years ago and has indie published almost forty titles. Prior to writing, she was a freelance developmental editor and beta reader.

Kari is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the American Christian Fiction Writers Association as well as her local chapter, MN N.I.C.E. She makes her home in central MN—where the trees and lakes are plentiful—with her husband of over twenty years, two daughters, two sons, a cat, a bunny, and one hungry woodstove.

 

 

 

Follow Kari at: http://www.KariTrumbo.com (free book to those who sign up to mailing list)

http://www.facebook.com/karitrumboauthor/

http://www.bookbub.com-authors-karitrumbo/

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Updated: December 12, 2018 — 12:32 pm

Amanda McIntyre: A Christmas on the Prairie

We’re very happy to have bestselling romance author Amanda McIntyre visiting today. No one lives and breathes cowboys more than Amanda and her books are always at the top of readers’ lists. Please make her welcome and leave a comment to win a copy of Worth the Wait and The Cowboy’s Christmas.

 

 

One of my favorite book series growing up (heck, even now!) is the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Later, of course, I would become infatuated by the television show based on the books. For reasons I can’t explain, I find myself drawn to the struggles, the pioneer spirit, and the determination to carve out a life in a world ravaged by blizzards, windstorms, wild critters, and more. Nature could be brutal. Life was hard. Yet traditions in families were strong, humble though they might be.

At Christmas, I think how even the simplest of gifts were given or received with such profound and sincere gratitude. Granted, there was no Macy’s, no Amazon, or UPS back then. No long lines. No exchanges. No gift cards. Gives one pause, I think. And while I admire the stout-hearted women, men and children of days gone by, I wonder if I could survive in the same vein. (Though writing and publishing a book equates in some ways, I won’t lie!)

My upbringing in a small rural Midwestern town probably has much to do with my love for Wilder’s books, and perhaps the inspiration for a short story I would later write about a lonely, old cowboy, out on Christmas Eve on a cattle drive. “A Cowboy’s Christmas,” would later make an appearance as a beloved holiday story read by Jed Kinnison, the cattlemen patriarch of the Kinnison clan and the three young teens Jed raised alone and who would later take over his ranch in End of the Line, Montana.

End of the Line, Montana (fictitious name, best of my knowledge) has roots in history as well. Back in the early 1800’s, it was part of the gold rush and one of the many mining towns that popped up along with the westward expansion. It followed on the heels of places like Deadwood, Leadville, and Reno to name a few. Interestingly, I was fortunate to be involved in a multi-author “mail-order brides” project that introduces mountain man, Christian Ezekiel Kinnsion to the little town of Noelle, Colorado. An ex Union Army man, he follows his brother west to Noelle in search of finding their claim of gold. Christian and his wife, Genevieve, will eventually travel north and be one of the founding families of End of the Line, Montana.

Family, tradition, honor, perseverance, integrity are all components I weave throughout my three related series; The Kinnison Legacy, the Last Hope Ranch, and End of the Line.

In my current release, Worth the Wait, a woman and her two boys discover the kindness of the ranch and the people in town to help her realize the worth of opening your heart to second chances.

 

When Hank, an old friend rescues Julie from an abusive marriage, he becomes a knight in shining armor to her and her boys. After a year of starting life over at the Last Hope ranch, Hank is ready to set the date. Julie likes the way things are. Can love overcome the pain of the past and prove that it’s all been…worth the wait? I hope you’ll visit End of the Line soon and meet the folks at the Last Hope Ranch!

Amazon buy link Worth the Wait  http://bit.ly/WorththeWaitAMcintyre

Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AmandasAuthorPage

Book Bub: http://bit.ly/AmandasBookbubPage

 

About Amanda: Published internationally in print, eBook, and Audio, bestselling author Amanda McIntyre finds inspiration from the American Heartland that she calls home. Best known for her Kinnison Legacy cowboys and Last Hope Ranch series, her passion is writing emotional, character-driven contemporary western and historical romance. Amanda truly believes that no matter what, love will always find a way.

Giveaway question:

What holiday traditions do you have for you or your family? * Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.

Giveaway: An eBook or Print copy of WORTH THE WAIT with a bonus of *The Cowboys Christmas standalone print copy to have or keep as a treasured holiday story. (Print copies US only) *My own private copy of The Cowboy’s Christmas.

Hurdy-Gurdy Girls of the Wild West ~ Janalyn Voigt

The American West was all about travel. Emigrants, drifters, outlaws, dance hall girls, and other characters made their way west. The rest is history. However, I couldn’t help but wonder during my research for the Montana Gold series how accurately that history is portrayed. The rise of dance hall girls was one of my deepest-held beliefs about the West. They’ve been carried forward through time as soiled doves with hearts of gold who willingly embraced their lifestyle. After learning about the hurdy-gurdy girls, I began to question this image.

Beginning in the 1840’s, pretty young women from Hessia (a past part of Germany) drew crowds by singing and dancing while playing a stringed instrument known as the hurdy gurdy. They did this during a financially-repressed time in order to sell brooms their families made. The fame they gained brought them to the attention of unscrupulous ‘soul merchants’ intent on procuring their services in the mining camps of America. Families were visited and contracts signed. The ‘hurdy-gurdy girls’ came to America. Their fortunes varied. Some did well for themselves, but others suffered. While some of the women simply entertained miners, others fell into prostitution.

This was a story that needed telling, I felt. As a former military wife, I knew firsthand how disorienting travel into a foreign land can be. When writing about the heroine’s struggles in Stagecoach to Liberty, I could call upon my own experiences. It’s hard to describe the confusion you feel when everything familiar slips away and you are faced with a completely new world.

This was Elsa’s situation at the opening of Stagecoach to Liberty. After signing a contract, she travels to America at the behest of a shady couple. Elsa is very much a maiden in distress when, on a stagecoach journey, she comes to the attention of a handsome Irishman with troubles of his own. By this time, she’s very much in need of help but fearful of trusting anyone. The freedom she sought by coming to America seems a distant dream.

Exploring the theme of freedom demanded that I answer some questions. What was true freedom (as opposed to the other kind)? Elsa’s journey in Stagecoach to Liberty reveals that, when we come to the end of our strength and reach out to God, we find liberty.

Amazon

Leave a comment, and I’ll give away reader’s choice of a digital version of Hills of Nevermore (Montana Gold, book 1) or Cheyenne Sunrise (Montana Gold, book 2).

    

 

 

Janalyn Voigt fell in love with literature at an early age when her father read chapters from classics as bedtime stories. When Janalyn grew older, she put herself to sleep with tales “written” in her head.

Today Janalyn is a storyteller who writes in multiple genres. The same elements–romance, mystery, adventure, history, and whimsy–appear in all her novels in proportions dictated by their genre.

Learn more about Janalyn Voigt and the books she writes at http://janalynvoigt.com

Website for authors: http://livewritebreathe.com

Sign up for Janalyn’s mailing list: http://janalynvoigt.com/join-e-letter

Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2KTIDhe

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JanalynVoigt

Goodreads Author Page: http://janalynvoigt.com/goodreads

Bookbub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/janalyn-voigt

Image Attributions:

The heroine of Stagecoach to Liberty plays a hurdy-gurdy like the one in this image by Didier Descouens [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia CommonsPainting of a Hessian peasant girl by Neue Galerie, circa 1864-1874 [Public domain]
Wells Fargo stagecoach by Prayitno / Thank you for (12 millions +) view from Los Angeles, USA [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Part of the story in Stagecoach to Liberty takes place along the Mullan Road, shown in modern times in this image by Ian Poellet [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Updated: December 5, 2018 — 9:16 pm

Welcome Guest – Kristy McCaffrey!!!


Christmas On The American Frontier
By Kristy McCaffrey

A Christmas filled with cowboys inevitably evokes images of the Old West. Back then, the holidays were celebrated much as they are today, with holiday decorations, Santa Claus, presents, and a Christmas feast. I thought I would share some historical recollections directly from the pioneers themselves.

In 1884, Mrs. George C. Wolffarth of Estacado, Texas, reflected, “Christmas day was warm and beautiful and we had a watermelon feast on the church house lawn. Isiah Cox … had stored the melons in his cellar and they were in fine condition for the Christmas feast.”

“Now, you really must hear about my Christmas dinner!” began Evelyn Hertslet of Lake County, California, in 1885. Her holiday meal was filled with items from her native England. “The plum-pudding and mince-pies were all that could be desired, and we had also tipsy cake, Victoria sandwiches, meringues, and dessert ….”

In 1849, Catherine Haun wrote, “Although very tired of tent life many of us spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in our canvas houses. I do not remember ever having had happier holiday times. For Christmas we had grizzly bear steak for which we paid $2.50, one cabbage for $1.00 and oh horrors, some more dried apples! And for a Christmas present the Sacramento River rose very high and flooded the whole town!”

Elizabeth Le Breton Gunn, who was living in Sonora, California, in 1851, wrote this letter:

“Yesterday was Christmas Day …. We filled the stockings on Christmas Eve …. The children filled theirs. They put in wafers, pens, toothbrushes, potatoes, and gingerbread, and a little medicine …. They received cake and candies, nuts and raisins, a few pieces of gold and a little money, and, instead of books, some letters. Their father and I each wrote them letters, and better than all and quite unexpected, they found yours, and were delighted. In my stocking were a toothbrush and a nailbrush (the latter I wanted very much) and some cakes and a letter from Lewis …. We had a nice roast of pork, and I made a plum pudding. Mr. Christman gave the children some very nice presents; each of the boys a pearl handled knife with three blades, Sarah a very pretty box, and Lizzie a pair of scissors, and each a paper of macaroons.”

Englishman William Redmond Kelly visited California in 1849-50. He celebrated Christmas at a mining camp near Middle Creek. “Our dinner-table was quite a spectacle in its way in the diggings … its bear meat, venison, and bacon, its apple-pies pleasingly distributed, its Gothic columns of plain and fancy breads … the plum-pudding alone being reserved for [a] second course …”

Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote of the preparations for Christmas on the Kansas Prairie: “Ma was busy all day long, cooking good things for Christmas. She baked salt-rising bread and r’n’Injun bread, and Swedish crackers, and huge pan of baked beans, with salt pork and molasses. She baked vinegar pies and dried-apple pies, and filled a big jar with cookies, and she let Laura and Mary lick the cake spoon.” That Christmas, Laura received a shiny new tin cup, a peppermint candy, a heart-shaped cake, and a brand new penny in her stocking.

How would you like seven brand new contemporary Christmas stories set in the West this holiday season?

The weather is cold, the atmosphere is festive, and the cowboys are hot. How do you keep a cowboy at Christmas?

Don’t miss this holiday collection of modern-day cowboys and the women they love, featuring the same USA Today, Amazon Bestselling, and Award-Winning authors from “A Cowboy to Keep,” which garnered 55 reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars.

CHRISTMAS, LIBERTY, AND THE THREE MINUTE MAN by Carra Copelin

Nashville event planner, Liberty Ann Hart, tries not to fall for a local carpenter, but his charisma is difficult to ignore, especially at Christmas and in the rustic setting of a Texas town called Mistletoe. Daniel Dylan Layman is determined to show the headstrong city woman a country life. Will a Christmas fundraiser spark a lifetime of love?

A CHRISTMAS CAROLE by Andrea Downing

Carrie Matheson is happy to start a new life at the Wyoming ranch she has inherited, but her six-year-old son wants to return to New York. As Christmas approaches and his pleas to Santa receive replies, it’s alarm bells not sleigh bells that start ringing. Tate Schrugge is amused by his new neighbor when she jogs over with some mis-delivered mail, but after she calls him Scrooge, she’s definitely not on his Christmas list. If these two can get together, it might be the Dickens of a romance.

THE PEPPERMINT TREE by Kristy McCaffrey

When an unexpected inheritance draws lawyer Skye Mallory home for the Christmas holidays, she’s surprised by a longing to set down roots in her Colorado hometown. Only one thing stands in her way—a cowboy who broke her heart in high school. Joe Carrigan has returned to the community he left years ago, ready to face his one regret in life—Skye Mallory. But this time, he won’t be so chivalrous.

THE DEVIL’S CHRISTMAS KISS by Devon McKay

Some things never change. Kristen Kelly’s hometown is still Christmas crazy. Her sister, Laney, will always need to be rescued. And Cole Lawson will never stop pestering her. The handsome

cowboy has picked right up where they left off, teasing her without mercy. And though her head tells her to run from Cole as fast as she can, her heart has a mind of its own.

SLAY BELLS by Hildie McQueen

Carmen and Jared can’t avoid the sparks that fly between them at first sight. But when a dead body surfaces at the Christmas festival, she becomes a witness and he becomes a suspect. Not exactly the recipe for a perfect match. Can they find love amidst the mayhem and sleigh bells?

THE BEST CHRISTMAS by Hebby Roman

Sofia Rossi and Gar McCulloch meet under challenging circumstances—her estranged son has been admitted to Gar’s ranch rehab-center. Sofia is a successful New York model who had an ill-advised liaison with a wealthy, married member of New York society and lost her son to her ex’s manipulation. Gar is divorced and lost his daughter to a drug overdose. When they bond together to reclaim Sofia’s son, the last thing they expect is to find redemption in each other’s arms, making this their best Christmas… ever.

COUNTING DOWN TO CHRISTMAS by Patti Sherry-Crews

Melody Evans, a professional wedding planner, views happily-ever-after endings with a skeptical eye, but she’s never lost her childlike enthusiasm for her favorite holiday—Christmas. To veterinarian rancher Leland Jennings IV, Christmas is just for kids. If he could, he’d skip the whole month of December. But he does believe there’s one woman out there for him, and he’s holding out for her. Melody revives Leland’s Christmas spirit, and he rekindles her heart.

Only 99 cents at Amazon or FREE in Kindle Unlimited

Leave a comment about what the cowboy on ‘A Christmas Cowboy To Keep’ might be bringing home for the holidays and one lucky winner will receive autographed print copies of A WEST TEXAS CHRISTMAS TRILOGY and BLUE SAGE!! Winner will be drawn tomorrow morning.

 

 

Welcome Guest Laura Drake

Constant Craving

Have you ever found yourself drawn by a specific emotion? As an author, I love them all—every shade and nuance. But I have to admit, I have a favorite child. There’s one that tugs at me. I’m fascinated by its multi-faceted complexity. But it’s more than that. It’s the thing, itself:

Yearning

The dictionary defines it as: “Deep longing, especially when accompanied tenderness or sadness”:

The masthead photo to this blog to me, conveys that feeling so well that I’ve used it on my business cards. It’s a thread that is woven into every book I write – not intentionally, but because I love it.

I think we all long for that which touches our soul. That illusive feeling that we seek in our environment, our relationships, even our careers. It’s what drives us to the next thing, and the next. We chase it like a butterfly through a field, just knowing that when we catch it, then we’ll be happy.

But what if what you yearn for depends on someone else for you to have it? That’s the problem I presented to my heroine, Carly Beauchamp in my December release, The Last True Cowboy. Here’s the blurb:

Carly Beauchamp has loved cowboy Austin Davis since first grade. Ask anyone in their dusty, backwater New Mexico town of Unforgiven, and they’ll say “Carly and Austin” the way some say “big trucks and country boys.” But after years of waiting for a wedding ring, Carly’s done with being a rodeo widow . . .

Austin never meant to put his career on the circuit before Carly. She’s always been his future, his one and only. But now that she’s moved on, he’s beginning to see where he went wrong, and he’ll do anything to win her back. The only thing is, Carly’s suddenly acting differently, and she’s definitely hiding a secret–one that will test the depth of their love and open up a whole new world of possibilities.

Carly’s dream depends on someone else to make it come true. Her happiness is in someone else’s hands. How awful would that be?

But don’t worry–Carly gets her HEA . . . just not the way she’d planned. This story was inspired by Carly Simon’s wonderful song, “Jesse” In case you haven’t heard it: https://youtu.be/T3W4Y85hx9Y

Just for a teaser, here’s a bit of the beginning of the story:

Addiction sucks. I should know. Papaw has his White Lightning. Nana has her Bingo-jones. My addiction has sad green eyes and my name tattooed across his left pec.

But my wedding-dress dreams always come in second to his rodeo. There’s even a term for it: Rodeo Widow.

Except to earn that title, I’d have to be married.

Squinting through the windshield glare, I shift the knob on the steering column to third and press on the gas, but the speedometer doesn’t budge. Dang it, at this rate I’m going to be late for the breakfast shift. Papaw bought the truck new about the time I was born, and Nana named it “Nellybelle.” Said she stole the name from a car on some TV show—Roy Somebody. All I know is, I’m stuck driving the beater, so Nana can drive the Camry to Bingo.

I’m less than a mile from the paved road when clanking starts under the hood. It sounds like the hammers of hell in there. I take it out of gear and lurch to the side of the washboard road and watch the dust billow up in the rearview mirror. “Now that’s just craptastic.” I’m no mechanic, but I’ve been driving since before I could reach the pedals. I know what a thrown rod sounds like. Nana would say, “Nellybelle’s sleeping with Jesus.” My luck she’ll want to have a funeral.

The book releases December 4, but can be preordered everywhere! https://books2read.com/u/mvjgQV

You know preorders help authors, right? 😉

I’m giving away an ebook copy to two lucky commenters!

Thanks for having me, P&P’s!

Updated: November 20, 2018 — 4:18 pm

Guest Linda Carroll-Bradd on Popular Music in the 1880s

In my latest release, Dulcina, book 5 in “The Widows of Wildcat Ridge” series, I feature a heroine who has a natural singing talent and, with her husband, owned a saloon in a gold mining town in Utah Territory. Her contribution was being the “talent” at the various saloons she and her husband owned over the eight years they were together. They ran a respectable establishment with no fancy ladies, relying on Dulcina’s singing talent to draw in the customers. Although she wasn’t well accepted by the women in the town, Dulcina looked on her talent as providing the right type of atmosphere to keep the atmosphere calm.

I’m an author who believes in including lots of historical facts in my stories. If you read about a certain product or tool or company, you can be sure that product existed at the time the story is set. Often, I’m lucky enough to find a resource that provides me with an image so I can describe what the products looked like to create an authentic visual. Researching what the popular music she would have performed proved enlightening, at least to me. I had no idea some of the songs that I’ve learned from various settings (elementary school choir, Girl Scouts, camps, music tapes for my children) were as old as they are.

Consider that many people who settled the western part of the United States after the Civil War were a vast mix of people. Some came from well-established homes in the East where too many sons existed and a third or fourth son wouldn’t inherit much. These individuals would have an upbringing that included music and many could play piano, including the women. Other settlers came from foreign countries and brought their own music and songs. For many, a piano, or a banjo, or a violin—or all three—and sheet music provided an entire evening’s entertainment with people of all ages joining in.

 

Photo credit: DeviantArt

In the 1870s and 1880s, the plays by W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan provided lots of songs. H.M.S. Pinafore was their first huge success and provided “Never Mind the Why and Wherefore”, “Things Are Seldom What They Seem” and “Sorry Her Lot Who Loves Too Well.” From Pirates of Penzance came “Away, Away, My Heart’s on Fire”, “A Rollickin’ Band of Pirates, We” and “I am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General” and from Iolanthe “When Britain Really Ruled the Waves”, “None Shall Part Us” and “Welcome to our Hearts Again.” Or other familiar tunes were “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”, “Farmer in the Dell”, “Oh, My Darling Clementine”, “Polly Wolly Doodle”, “The Fountain in the Park” (better known as “I Was Strolling in the Park One Day”), “There is a Tavern in the Town”, “Blow the Man Down” and “Sailing, Sailing.”

 

Photo credit: Picryl

Not only would the singing be a unifying activity for the family, or residents of a boarding house, or citizens traveling through a small town in a sparsely populated area, but it also put the people in touch with what was happening in other places in the world. What fun to perform songs that were also being sung in theater performances across the continent in New York or halfway around the world in London. Oftentimes, people living on the frontier had a limited scope of life, meaning they didn’t travel far from the place where they were raised, but music made them feel like they belonged to a larger society.

BLURB

Left widowed following a Utah mining disaster, Dulcina Crass faces running a saloon on her own when her previous contribution was solely as the singer. She struggles to learn the necessary tasks but her heart isn’t in being a saloon keeper. All she ever wanted was to be a famous singer. Will asking Gabriel Magnus, a neighbor from her New Mexico hometown, bring the help she needs or a new kind of trouble?

Gabriel Magnus isn’t fulfilled by his role as ranch hand on the family’s New Mexico sheep ranch. What he wants is the chance to prove his boot making skills are good enough to start his own business. When he receives a letter from recent widow Dulcina offering a partnership in the Last Chance Saloon, he recognizes the chance to come to the rescue of the vivacious girl he wanted to court a decade earlier. Upon his arrival, he presents her with a demand–her answer could decide both of their fates.

Amazon buy link: http://amzn.com/B07JL58L4B

Web Contacts:

Website: http://www.lindacarroll-bradd.com
Blog: http://blog.lindacarroll-bradd.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.carrollbradd
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/lcarrollbradd
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/lindacarroll-braddhttps://www.amazon.com/author/lindacarroll-bradd/abr?tag=pettpist-20 Bookbub page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/linda-carroll-braddhttp://eepurl.com/bjKueH

I’m giving away a print copy of A Year in Romance, Books 1-4 of “Dorado, Texas” series (US only, ecopy to international winner).

Updated: November 20, 2018 — 3:30 pm

Welcome Guest Faith Blum!

Last year, I had the opportunity to go to the location my first series was set in, Castle Town, Montana. It’s a ghost town now, although it is inhabited by cattle rather than ghosts. Even so, it was fun to see it. And now I feel like I need to rewrite my series. But I won’t.

Castle Town was a small mining town back in the late 1800s. There are lots of rocks, pine trees, and hills all around it. The only buildings left standing are the foundation of the general store and another building that is actually mostly standing yet.

I loved going there to see where my characters lived, even if it wasn’t quite the way I had imagined it. It had been a dream of mine for a few years to go to Montana mainly because of my books, and I was blessed to have a husband who willingly let me fulfill that dream.

I’m sharing a few pictures with some explanations from the area around Castle Town as well as Castle Town itself.

This sign guided us to the direction we were headed. But first we went to the right because there was a cute little church over there that we couldn’t resist looking at.

This sign was outside of the town. The bottom half says, “This road was the main street of Castle, Incorporated in 1891 with a population of about 1,500 people. The first mine registered was the North Carolina Mine in 1884. In the next 7 years, 991 claims were located. The rock basement is the remains of Baker’s General Store and Post Office. Berg’s Meat Market and Kidd’s Furniture Store were across the street. On the far hillside was Minnie’s Sporting House. The silver panic of 1893 caused the town to die a rapid death.

A panorama of the town.

A closeup of the foundation.

Obviously, there are some recent updates to the church, but doesn’t this look like something from a western?

This is the road leading to Castle Town. It is a one-lane road and you can only hope no one comes barrelling around the corner toward you. It definitely fit the rustic feel of the area.

These rocks lined the road. I don’t know if they were original to the area or put there from somewhere else.

It was so peaceful out there. The only creatures around were the cattle and the only sounds were of the cattle moving and the wind in the trees. I think I need to stop talking about it before I start wanting to back again.

If you ever find yourself near Bozeman, Montana, it’s only a two-hour drive north and a little east to get there. It’s a slow drive there, but fun.

What was your favorite vacation? Why was it your favorite?

Today, I am giving away one free ebook of my book that spends the most time in Castle Town, Montana,  Lily of the Valley. It is the fourth in the series, but it can be read as a standalone.

Updated: November 5, 2018 — 5:37 pm

Welcome Guest – Jolene Navarro!!!

Hola! Jolene Navarro checking in from my front porch in the Texas Hill Country. I’m so happy to be here today.

My family has been in Texas for seven generations, so when it comes to telling stories, I can’t help but draw from my own experiences. My family loves getting together for the holidays, and you can see this in all my stories.

Lone Star Christmas is my third Christmas story and the third book for my Bergmann sisters of Clear Water, Texas. The sisters have been so much fun to get to know. Family is everything to them, even when they drive each other crazy.

I have two sisters and a load of aunts. Even though we lost our mother eleven years ago we still get together with her family, including our grandmother (her mother).

A few years ago, my sisters and I along with a cousin or two, thought it would be easier and much more fun to rent a cabin in our family hometown of Leakey. What a perfect place to give thanks by the river and among the hills that we came from. It was one of the best decisions we had made. As a family we love the outdoors, the trees, river, sky the more we can explore the happier we are. And of course, we have the dishes that have been served even before I was born. One of my favorites is the cranberry sauce served in my great-grandmother’s bowl.

Now to be fair there are family fights…sauce from fresh cranberries or the stuff from the can?  Some people will only eat that stuff from the can, but I’m not here to judge. We welcome everyone…no matter how they take their cranberries.

So, hosting Thanksgiving in a cabin on the river became a new tradition. A few of us stay for three or four days to set up, clean up and just hang out. The rest of the family comes in for Thursday. How can I not incorporate this kind of family fun (and maybe a little drama) into my books? In Lone Star Hero, the big family gathering is new to my hero Max and his three younger brothers. They have never spent the holidays together let alone in such a huge setting. 

Click cover to order.

Thanksgiving is just a kickoff of the holidays. My all-time favorite time, Christmas. Therefore, I love writing Christmas stories. It can be a time of such joy and hope. On the other side a person could be swamped in darkness, grief, loss, or loneliness. I work with this theme a great deal just like Max and his brothers. The idea that as the author, I can right wrongs, give people new chances and hand out happy endings to the most broken.

Every Christmas Eve we drive over the hills, through the Frio River and down a long bumpy dirt road to my cousin’s ranch on the Frio River.

Surrounded by God’s creations has a way of healing the bumps and bruises the world leaves behind. How could I not bring this into my stories and share with the world? I love being a country girl.

Like I said, I love writing holidays and I use what I know, but there are so many traditions. I want to hear about some of yours.

Finish this sentence for me: I get that holiday feeling when……

If you leave a comment, you will be entered to win a gift bundle of all three Bergmann sister’s books: Texas Daddy, The Texan’s Twins, and Lone Star Christmas.

Welcome Guest – Nerys Leigh!!!

MARRIAGE, CONSENT, AND MAIL ORDER BRIDES
by Nerys Leigh

The issue of consent is very much a hot topic these days, and I think we would all agree that forcing one’s attentions on someone without their consent is wrong. But what about back in the nineteenth century, between a husband and wife? What was a mail order bride to do who had just married a man she didn’t know?

So far in my Escape to the West series, the issue hasn’t come up, with my brides for one reason or another not having to face the prospect of intimacy with a man they’ve only just met. But in More Than Gold, the sixth book in the series, all Gabriel wants is a woman to cook, clean, and warm his bed. In his world, people get married for practical purposes and nothing more. His new wife, however, has different ideas. Despite being forced to travel across the country to marry a man she’s never met, Grace refuses to give up on her dream of being loved and cared for.

So when Gabriel makes his move barely three hours after she arrives, he doesn’t get the response he’s expecting!

Excerpt from “More Than Gold” by Nerys Leigh.

Gabriel rose and walked across the room to her, stopping just a foot away when she turned around.

“You’re a real handsome woman, Grace,” he said, sliding his hands around her waist and leaning in for their first kiss.

A fist slammed into the side of his face, whipping his head round and sending him reeling backwards.

She grabbed a skillet from the cupboard and held it in front of her like a weapon. “What are you doing?!”

He shook his head to clear it. The woman had a right hook most men would have been proud of. “What do you think I’m doing? We’re married. We’re going to do what married folks do.”

It was a perfectly natural assumption, as far as he was concerned.

But not for her, apparently. “We’ve known each other for less than three hours and you expect me to just allow you to have your way with me?”

What was going on here? “Uh… yes?”

She gasped in a horrified breath. “You… you… uncouth brute!”

He was fairly sure uncouth was a bad thing.

Drawing himself up, he pointed his finger at her. “Now wait just a minute. We’re legally wed. It’s not like you’ll be whoring yourself out to me. I’m your husband.”

Her eyes looked like they could pop right out of her head. “Whoring?!”

It may have been a poor choice of words.

He raised both hands, palms out in surrender. “That ain’t what I meant. I’m just saying that it’s natural for a husband and wife to want to…”

“Well I don’t want to, so you keep your hands to yourself!” She brandished the pan, forcing him to step back.

He rubbed at his aching face. If she could do that with just her fist, no telling what kind of damage she could do with a skillet.

He decided to try reasoning with her, from a safe distance. “I know we haven’t been together for long, but we’d been writing letters to each other for nigh on three months before you came. I reckon we know each other plenty. I promise I’ll be real gentle and…”

“You won’t be gentle. You won’t be anything.” She waved the skillet. “Because it isn’t happening!”

So what do you think? Is intimacy simply a matter of being married? Or is it something deeper, coming out of the kind of love, care and respect that will last a lifetime?

 

Comment your thoughts below for the chance to win an ebook of your choice from my Escape to the West series!

Welcome Guest Author ~ Tina Dee!


Heritage and Legacy – Lessons from Rankin Ranch to an Author

Tina Dee author photo

Tina Dee with Molly

 

My name is Tina Dee and I write Christian romantic-comedy, both contemporary and historical.
My stories feature heroines with grit, gumption, and grace—and the heroes who fall in love with them. My characters are flawed but loveable.

I love the old west. But what I really love is bits of the old west’s grit, gumption, and grace preserved in today’s world. Dude or guest ranches fascinate me, especially ones that had their beginnings, of some sort, over a hundred years ago.

 

~ Researching Rankin Ranch ~

I found one such place while researching ranches for my Wildflower Ranch series—a fascinating 31,000-acre place called Rankin Ranch, located in what they describe as a ‘mountain valley deep in the heart of California’s Tehachapi mountains, and at the southern end of the Sequoia National forest.’

Rankin Ranch has all the makings of a great western story—it is a great western story, but I’m not going to retell it, since the Quarter Circle U Rankin Ranch has its own incredible story already shared on their website. I’ll just highlight a few things and invite you over via their link later in this post.

For now, I wanted to share what really pulled me into their story and why their place—their story—is an inspiration for a story I’m writing now (which will be out at the end of the month, called The Bonnets of Rescue Ranch, book 15 in the Whispers in Wyoming series), and why it’s my continued inspiration for my own series called, Short Stories from Wildflower Ranch (Wildflower Ranch, book 1 and Wrangled Into Love, book 2—with more stories to come this year and next).

Overland Team at Rankin Ranch barn

-The Quarter Circle U Rankin Ranch once served as a stage stop for the Overland mail route. The old barn where the teamsters’ horses were tended to is still used today for hay storage.

-The ranch is still run by 4th, 5th, and 6th generation Rankins.

The Rankin Family

For me, the most incredible part of the story comes during the 1950s when the matriarch of the family, Helen—who was newly widowed—had to make a decision about the ranch—to sell it, or to keep it. I invite you to read about the cattle ranch’s rich history here, and then read about its guest ranch history here. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Helen Rankin

In my stories, I always try to write about women with grit, gumption, and grace who are facing challenges that they feel are beyond them but they find their way to their future and their everyday-romantic-hero by those same virtues. Helen Rankin was an archetype of those very qualities; she was faced with overwhelming challenges that she met head-on, and generations later, the family and the ranch are still thriving.

Here’s a little blurb from my book …

 

Sometimes love blooms in the places you least expect…

Charlene “Charlie” Evans is ready for a new beginning after a terrible riding accident leaves her unable to compete in the Rodeo World Championship. When she receives a job offer, as foreman for a ranch, she gladly accepts. So what if she sort of passed herself off as a man in order to get the job?

Dan Richards is offered the ranch of his dreams from his terminally ill uncle for a price he can’t refuse. He jumps at the chance to own a ranch he has loved since childhood. However, when he arrives at the place it’s not what he had hoped for, or as he remembered. The ranch is in shambles. With no experience, where does he go from here?

Will Dan and Charlie let God help them find new dreams on Wildflower Ranch?

A Christian romantic-comedy novella.

Thank you for letting me share a bit about my Wildflower Ranch series and where the real-life inspiration for the ranch came from. 

For updates about my stories, I send out a newsletter twice a month with giveaways and other fun stuff. Please feel invited to sign up for my newsletter at Tina Dee Books Newsletter. You can also follow me on Amazon here.

I will be giving away a copy of Wildflower Ranch to three commenters. If you’re not chosen, you can still get the book on Amazon here.

Petticoats & Pistols © 2015