Category: Holiday

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! My Gift to You, an Old, Old Iroquois Legend — Also Free e-book Giveaway

It’s Christmas Time!  It’s a season for giving.  And today I will be giving away not only a free e-book of my latest release, BRAVE WOLF AND THE LADY, but I’ll also be giving away another free e-book of the first in this series, THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF. So come on in, leave a comment, and also please sure to check back here for the winners on either Wednesday or Thursday evening.

One of my most favorite Christmas memories is being told a story the night before Christmas in an attempt to get me to go to sleep.  It didn’t work very well (getting me to go to sleep).  But it is a wonderful memory.

And so I thought I’d regale you with this beautiful story, an ancient, timeless, American Indian Legend. I was late today making the post, and so I’ve posted the legend that I told you last year, but this year, because I’m late, I’m first going to tell you a beautiful story of The Gift of the Creator.  This story is taken from the book, LEGENDS OF THE IROQUIOS, by Tehanetorens.  Enjoy!

 

Long, long ago, an old, old man came into an Iroquois Village.  He was tired and hungry, and his clothing was tattered and torn.  As he walked through the village, he came first to a longhouse of the Turtle Clan.  Pulling on the entryway, he asked for food and lodging for the night.  But he was turned away because he looked to be an old beggar, and he was instructed to go away.

Next the old man came to the longhouse that had the symbol of a snipe on the house — a snipe is a kind of wading bird.  Again, he pulled back on the entryway and he asked for food.  But like before, he was scolded and turned away.  He moved on.

He walked on to the longhouses of many of the other clans, including the Wolf, the Eagle, Beaver and more.  Each time he asked for food and lodging, but each time he was turned away.

Exhausted now, the old man came at last to the very last longhouse in the Iroquois Village.  Pulling back on the cover across the entrance, he was met by an old woman.  Again, he asked for food and lodging for the night.

However, this time the old woman took pity on him, and asked him to come inside, where she treated him to a hearty meal, and invited him to stay for the night.  She made him welcome, giving him warm clothing and warm bedding.

However, the next day, the man was very ill, and he asked the woman to please help him by going into the forest and gathering the roots of a plant.

This she did for him.  When she returned, he guided her on how to make a soup and a tea from the plant, which he then consumed.  Soon he was well.  But it wasn’t long before he became ill once more, and again, he instructed the woman to go out into the forest and to gather the stalk of yet another plant.  This she did.  Again, he instructed her how to make a tea of it, which, when he drank the tea, he became well.

Over and over again, the man became sick, and sent the woman into the forest to pick different herbs and plants, and each time, when he drank the tea, he became well.  One day, the woman came home to the longhouse and found that the old man had become a handsome, young man. 

The old woman became frightened, but the young man told her to be calm.  He told her that he was the Creator, and that because of her kindness to him, he was going to bestow upon her, and the Bear Clan, a wonderful gift: the gift of healing.   And so it came to be.  The old woman became the most respected member of that tribe, and from that day forward, the Bear Clan, and all within it became the Keepers of the Medicine.  The lesson learned is that kindness, empathy, and good-will are always rewarded.  We may not always see it, as did the old woman in this story, and yet, we will, in our own way, be rewarded.

And now comes the story that is so beautiful to read about at this time of year.

 

This is the tale of a girl who married her one, true, love, a man who was a star.  It’s origin is Sioux — I don’t know if that’s Lakota or Dakota or Nakota.  All three are Sioux, just different dialects.  By the way this story comes to us from the book, Favorite North American Indian Legends, printed by Dover.  Before I start, I wanted to say that this story reminds me of a legend from one of my books, Soaring Eagle’s Embrace, which is now in e-books.  Although the story of Soaring Eagle’s Embrace is based on a similar legend as the one I’m telling you today, it is a little different.  Mainly in Soaring Eagle’s Embrace, it was the young man who fell in love with a star.  Okay, that said, let’s pretend we are sitting around a fire in a warm, warm teepee.  The scent of smoke is strong in the air, and loved ones surround us as we wrap ourselves in warm blankets.  And so the storyteller begins:

Long ago, there were two sisters, one whose name was Earth and the other’s name was Water.  This was at a time when all people and animals were in close communication with each other and so the animals supplied the sisters with all their needs.

 One night the sky was clear and beautiful and both sisters looked up to the sky through their wigwam — comment, now we know that this was most likely the Dakota since they were living in Wigwams — anyway, they looked up through the hole in their wigwam and admired the beautiful stars.

Earth said to her sister that she’d had a dream about a handsome young man and that she thought he might be a star.  Water responded saying that she, too, had seen a man in her dreams who was a brave man.

The sisters chose stars that they thought might be these men that they had dreamed of.  Water chose the brightest star for her husband.  Earth chose a little star that twinkled.

Then they slept.  When they awoke, they were in the land of the Sky.  The stars were, indeed, people.  Now it happened that the man that water chose was an older warrior and that the man that Earth chose was a young, handsome man.  Both sisters married these men and they were very happy.

One day the sisters went out onto the plains to dig turnips (a much favored food at this time in history).  Both of their husbands warned them not to strike the ground too hard.  But Earth, in her haste to dig the turnips, struck the ground so hard that she fell through the sky to the ground.

Earth was found and cared for by two older people who tried to help her.  But she was so upset about losing her husband that all she did is cry.  She could not even see her husband in the sky because he had blackened his face because he was now a widower.  Earth waited and waited for him to come to her, but he could not.  However, he did give her a most precious gift.

That night when she went to sleep, she dreamed of a beautiful red star.  It had never been in the sky before.  She knew at once that it was her son.

When she awoke, she found a handsome boy by her side — her son.  Although Earth’s husband could not come to rescue her, and though he loved his son deeply, he gave to his wife the only gift that he could — their son, Star Boy.  It was a gift from his heart..

‘Tis the season of giving.  I hope you have enjoyed this story, short and simple though it is.  I thought it was quite beautiful.

I’ll be giving away a free e-book of BRAVE WOLF AND THE LADY to some lucky blogger.  I’ll also be giving away a free e-book of THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF to some lucky blogger.  Please do read the Giveaway Guidelines that govern our give-aways — off to the right side of the page.

 BRAVE WOLF AND THE LADY is my most recent book.  By the way, the paperback is reduced in price from $14.99 to $11.99 for the Holiday season.

 

PHOT0043

THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF is on sale for the Holiday season for $.99, and the paperback is on sale for $11.99, as well.

The picture below and to the right is of myself and my husband with Chief Mountain in the background, the setting in the book, SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE — on the Blackfeet reservation.

And so from my heart to yours, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!  And, or, Happy Holidays!

Updated: December 4, 2018 — 9:45 am

Christmas Stockings

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. Are you one of those super organized holiday people who have up their Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving and mail out their Christmas cards the following week? I used to be, but I have to admit, not so much lately.  As of today just about the only decorating I’ve done is to hang up the Christmas stockings. (Mantle is looking mighty crowded these days – I LOVE it!!)

The four stockings made from the same fabric are ones I made for my kids when they were very young. I even crossed stitched their names and a holiday design on the cuff. When my oldest daughter got married I purchased her husband a stocking but cross stitched a cuff to add to it so that it matched the other four. Unfortunately, by the time my next daughter got married my cross stitching days were behind me. So I personalized the rest of them with jaunty embroidered patches.

 

As I was taking care of that fun bit of holiday tradition (and remembering holidays past), it made me wonder, where did the custom of hanging stockings come from.  So I decided to do a bit of research.

It turns out that there are two schools of thought on how this came to be, both shrouded in myth and tradition.

The most popular theory is that it is linked to the stories surrounding the generosity of the original St. Nicholas. Nicholas lived in the third century and was renowned for his concern for and generosity toward those in need. One story tells of a poor widower who had three daughters. The man was distraught over the fate his daughters were facing since he had now dowry to offer prospective husbands. The story goes that Nicholas heard of the family’s plight and secretly, so as to not gain honor for himself, entered their home and left gold coins in the girls stocking which were hung by the fire to dry. Thus the practice of hanging stockings by the fireplace in hopes of receiving a gift was born. Oh, and sometimes an alternate version is given that has Nicholas leaving a small gold ball in each stocking. This is supposedly where the custom of putting oranges in the toe of stockings comes from.

 

The second theory on the origin of the Christmas comes from a completely different belief system, that of Norse mythology. According to this version, children would fill their shoes with straw, root vegetables or sugar and leave them on the hearth for Odin’s flying horse  to eat. As a reward for their kindness Odin would replace their offering with one of his own, that of gifts or sweets.

This practice was widely spread through Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. Once Christianity was adopted, the legend of Odin’s benevolence merged with the stories of St. Nicholas evolving over time into today’s current practice.

 

Whatever the truth of the matter, I’m glad this fun tradition is part of our current day holiday celebrations.

 

So what about you? Does your family hang stockings? Is there a story behind any of the stockings themselves?

Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for one of two copies of the re-release of The Christmas Journey

Philadelphia lawyer Ryland Lassiter is everything Josephine Wylie wants – for a brother-in-law!  As the sole supporter of her family, Josie’s plans for herself have always had to wait.  But Ryland will be ideal as the new head of the Wylie clan…once he finally realizes how perfect he is for her sister.

 

Ry knows its time to settle down.  The newly appointed guardian to a friend’s daughter, he’s ready for a home and family.  All he needs is a bride…and Josie’s sister is not the Wylie who has caught his eye.  If only Josie would see the truth – that the only Christmas present he needs is her love.

Updated: December 2, 2018 — 10:47 pm

Cowboys & Mistletoe ~ WINNERS!

 

Ho – Ho – Ho!

 

We’ve enjoyed sharing our Christmas releases with all of you this week, but we’ve enjoyed meeting so many new friends even more.

We hope you’ll always keep coming back.

Each of you are very special to us.

 

Are you ready for another thing to enjoy about Christmas?

 

The Gifts!

 

Here we go – our 4 days of winners!

 

 Winners, please email us so we can send you your gift card!

 

Day 1

Pam Crooks – $10 Amazon Gift Card

pamcrooks1@gmail.com

Barbara Elness

 

Linda Broday – $10 Amazon Gift Card & Calendar

lindabroday@aol.com

Bernice Kennedy

 

Shanna Hatfield – $10 Amazon Gift Card

shanna@shannahatfield.com

Peggy Hann

 

Jeannie Watt – $10 Amazon Gift Card

jmsteinman@gmail.com

Anne Carrole

 

Day 2

Margaret Brownley – $10 Amazon Gift Card

margaretbrownley1@gmail.com

Brenda

 

Karen Witemeyer – $10 Amazon Gift Card

kwitemeyer@hotmail.com

Abbie Peterson

 

Winnie Griggs – $10 Amazon Gift Card

winnie@winniegriggs.com

Kate Sparks

 

Day 3

Cheryl Pierson – $10 Amazon Gift Card

fabkat_edit@yahoo.com

Anne

 

Trish Milburn – $10 Amazon Gift Card

trishmilburn@yahoo.com

Donna Hammer Durnell

 

Ruth Logan Herne – $10 Amazon Gift Card

loganherne@yahoo.com

Sarah Taylor

 

Kathryn Albright – $10 Amazon Gift Card

kathryn@kathrynalbright.com

Jen Karalfa

 

Day 4 

Mary Connealy – $10 Amazon Gift Card

maryconnealy@hotmail.com

Paula Rollins

 

Kit Morgan – $10 Amazon Gift Card

authorkitmorgan@gmail.com

Joy

 

Phyliss Miranda – $10 Amazon Gift Card

PhylissMiranda@aol.com

Julia Buzard

 

Merry Christmas to All!

 

Note: All Rafflecopter winners selected by random.org. US entries only.

Updated: December 2, 2018 — 8:31 am

COWBOYS & MISTLETOE ~ Day 4

November 26 – 29

Mary Connealy

Three Christmas Novellas: Longhorn Christmas * The Sweetest Gift * The Christmas Candle

Three previously released Christmas novellas now together in one book.

Longhorn Christmas Netty Lewis, a lonely young widow is saved from a raging mama longhorn by a passing cowboy who’s been wandering since the end of the Civil War. She needs help surviving her rugged life and caring for Jeremiah, her young son. And that means rounding up a nice-sized herd of wild-as-wolves longhorns.Netty and Roy, along with Jeremiah begin a journey toward Christmas, family, home and love…And a herd of longhorns are making the way hard.

A sweet re-telling of The Gift of the Magi–with a happy ending…The Sweetest Gift. She longs for music. He needs a valuable horse to improve his herd.When Christmas comes the gift they truly give is the gift of love.

The Christmas Candle, A lonely widower with a pair of out-of-control sons he never got to know while their mother was alive.A woman with a love of nature and beauty and scent…and the little boys seem determined to destroy her way of life. A feisty Ozark mountain granny who doesn’t put up with much nonsense.The gift of a candle for Christmas and a Christ child who is a perfect match for this scent of heaven.

***Scroll down to the form below. Click the BOOKBUB link to my author page and FOLLOW ME, then note on the form that you followed. If you want to mention it here, too, feel free!***
Amazon gift card.

Merry Christmas!!!

 

Kit Morgan

   

The Partridge will be celebrating its one year anniversary come December and is still going strong. A delightful tale about a little town struggling to survive. Their only hope, mail-order brides! 

Reverend Chase Hammond hoped was in a pickle. If he didn’t get the men of Noelle married, his and every other man’s hopes of having the railroad come would die, Noelle right along with it. But planning to marry the men off to save the town and actually doing it were two different things. Some didn’t like the idea, thinking a mining town should be mining, not marrying! But that was only one of Chase Hammond’s problems. Problems that if not fixed immediately, would seal Noelle’s fate …
 
Felicity Partridge was in trouble. Big trouble. An active voice for Suffragettes, she’d managed to get herself arrested more than a few times. Now her father demanded she marries to keep her out of more trouble. But how could she further the cause of women shackled to a husband? But when her father gave her the choice between marriage and jail, she decided it best to further her cause elsewhere, and Noelle, Colorado seemed just the place to do it! Especially when she found out who her husband to be was …
Unfortunately, he had other ideas about marrying.  Amazon Link

 

 

Christmas in Clear Creek, another Christmas favorite!

Bowen Drake had a gift. Unfortunately, he didn’t want it. He even went so far as to do ‘bad’ in order to thwart the ‘good’ that seemed to follow him everywhere! For when HE needed it the darn thing didn’t do HIM any good at all! He tried drinking, he tried womanizing, he even tried outlawing, but nothing worked. Finally, he stumbles into the little town of Clear Creek and there discovers why we’ve been given the gifts we have…

Elsie Waller came to Clear Creek after the death of her grandfather. She had high hopes for her life in the little town including looking for a husband. Imagine her elation when she happens upon the man of her dreams the very day after she arrives! Of course, the fact he was half frozen did put a damper on things, but once the townsfolk of Clear Creek thawed him out she endeavored to make sure Bowen Drake stayed around long enough to see she’d make him a mighty fine wife! The only question was, how?

Enjoy Bowen and Elsie’s fanciful tale of mishaps, miracles, and love!   Amazon Link

 

 

 

 

And to top things off, one lucky reader will receive a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card just for following me on BookBub/

***Scroll down to the form below. Click the BOOKBUB link to my author page and FOLLOW ME, then note on the form that you followed. If you want to mention it here, too, feel free!***

Phyliss Miranda

Although A Texas Christmas has been out since 2011, it is still one of our best selling anthologies. It hit New York Times and USA Today making is a popular holiday read.

On the eve before Christmas a blizzard arrives in Kasota Springs, Texas, transforming the small town into a night to remember.

Four ladies desperately in need of saving, four hard-ridin’ cowboys who aim to please. . . Four stories of holiday fun, and lots of laughter and love.

Amazon Link

 In A Christmas Miracle, Mattie Jo Ashley has lost too many people she loves. She is determined not to lose her baby sister to a mysterious disease. 

Dr. Grant Spencer has every confidence in his abilities as a third generation doctor, but is sorely in need of self worth in other areas of his life….

When Mattie Jo unleashes havoc in the community and takes Grant to the brink of testing his courage and fortitude as both a doctor and a man, all discover the true Christmas spirit and the power of genuine love and acceptance.  

Amazon Link

Prairie Rose Publications

***Scroll down to the form below. Click the BOOKBUB link to my author page and FOLLOW ME, then note on the form that you followed. If you want to mention it here, too,feel free!***

Winners will be verified and announced on Sunday, December 2nd.

Be sure to check back to see if you won!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Updated: November 27, 2018 — 8:51 am

COWBOYS & MISTLETOE ~ Day 3

November 26 – 29

Kathryn Albright

CHRISTMAS WITH THE OUTLAW  by KATHRYN ALBRIGHT

in A WESTERN CHRISTMAS HOMECOMING Anthology

A Western Christmas Homecoming

 

Abigail White reports the news for the Oak Grove Gazette – clearly, concisely and…rather critically, until the day outlaw Russ Carter stumbles through her back door, injured and seeking a place to hide.
** ** **
Russ never expected to see Abigail again. She’s all grown up now – sharp, smart and fascinating. Compassion is not her strength, but in this season of giving, a few elves are hard at work, and Abigail’s own heart might just be the cost.

 

Also included in this anthology ~ 

Christmas Day Wedding Bells by Lynna Banning
   Buttoned-up librarian Alice, is swept away by US marshal Rand Logan on a new adventure.

Snowbound in Big Springs by Lauri Robinson
      Welles must confront Sophie and their undeclared feelings.

HARLEQUIN | AMAZONBARNES & NOBLE  | 

** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

For some holiday spirit, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card!

***Scroll down to the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this page. Click the BOOKBUB link to my author page and FOLLOW ME, then note on the form that you followed. If you want to mention it here, too, feel free!***


Have a very merry Christmas and thanks for visiting us throughout the year here at Petticoats & Pistols!

 

Cheryl Pierson

 

KIDNAPPING KALLI by CHERYL PIERSON

Texas Ranger Shiloh Barrett loses his hotheaded older brother to a gunfight over a hand of cards. Now the “winner”—a wealthy landowner who’s coveted the Barrett homestead—finally has what he wants. But could there be something Seamus O’Connor desires more than the Barretts’ land?

O’Connor has not seen his beautiful daughter, Kalli, for thirteen years. He knows that she’s living with her mother’s Cherokee people in northeastern Indian Territory. Determined to have her kidnapped and brought to him, Seamus uses the deed he holds to the Barrett homestead to get what he wants. Even though it goes against everything Shiloh Barrett believes is right, O’Connor’s blackmail cannot be ignored.

But beautiful Kalliroe White Dove O’Connor has some tricks up her sleeve as the handsome ex-ranger spirits her away into the nearby San Bois Mountains. The tables turn when Shiloh is bitten by a rattlesnake their first day on the trail. Though Kalli tells herself she has no other choice but to stay with Shiloh—and she does want to reunite with her father—deep down, she knows there is another reason she can’t leave the handsome lawman. Could it be she’s falling in love with him?

In a final showdown with a cutthroat outlaw gang, Shiloh heads straight into the pit of vipers to buy some time for the man he despises—Kalli’s father. No matter how this all plays out, KIDNAPPING KALLI has been the best thing Shiloh Barrett’s ever done—if he only lives to see it through…

KIDNAPPING KALLI IS AVAILABLE AT AMAZON FOR ONLY .99!

https://amzn.to/2CZjvnI

 

THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON by CHERYL PIERSON

A woman with no home…

Beautiful Southern belle Julia Jackson has just been informed she and her niece must find a new home immediately—or else. With no family to turn to in Georgia, Julia takes a mighty gamble and answers an advertisement for a nursemaid in wild Indian Territory—for the child of a man she knows nothing about. Together, she and five-year-old Lauralee waste no time as they flee to the safety of the new position Julia has accepted. She can only hope this move will be the start of a bright future for them away from Lauralee’s dangerous much older half-brother.

A rancher with no heart…
The death of Devlin Campbell’s young daughter has ripped the light from his life. Though the birth of his son, little Jamie, should have been a source of happiness, the subsequent loss of his wife forces Dev to ignore his emotions and trudge through life’s joyless responsibilities. But all that changes with the arrival of Miss Julia Jackson from Atlanta! Not at all what Dev is expecting in response to his ad, his resentment boils over at her failure to mention her tag-along niece—a painful reminder of the loss of his own little girl just two years earlier. Yet, how can he deny the sunshine Julie brings into his drab existence with her very presence?

Can love find a way?

In the depths of Dev’s boundless sorrow and his accompanying anger, is there room in his life for anyone else as Christmas approaches? Can Julie convince him that love is the cure for a broken heart, and hope is the only recipe for a new beginning between THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON…

THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON IS AVAILABLE AT AMAZON FOR ONLY $2.99!

https://amzn.to/2P5tG1e

 

Who’s in the Christmas spirit? I’m giving away a $10 AMAZON GIFT CARD to help you get ready for the holidays!

HERE’S HOW TO BE ELIGIBLE TO WIN! 

***Scroll down to the form below. Click on the Petticoats & Pistols link, then COMMENT about your favorite homemade Christmas treat! (Mine is fudge–and I could eat a barrel of it!)***

Thank you for stopping by!

 

 

Trish Milburn

 

A Merry Mountain Christmas by Trish Milburn

Heidi Forrester has it all–a new promotion, great friends, and plans to purchase an awesome condo in downtown Chicago. But when her Christmas plans don’t pan out, she instead vacations solo in Merry, Montana–a picturesque mountain village where it’s Christmas year-round. Charmed, she jumps at the chance to join the festivities by assisting the incredibly handsome but understaffed owner of A World of Christmas, a two-story wonderland of Christmas decor, and finds more holiday spirit and fun than she ever did at glamorous resorts.

Ben McNamara can’t believe his luck when the beautiful visitor to his store offers to fill his seasonal help vacancy. Even more fortuitous, she’s a marketing genius who can help him make A World of Christmas more attractive to potential buyers. But as the date draws close for him to hand off his family’s legacy, Ben realizes that maybe it wasn’t the ever-present Christmas atmosphere that had bothered him, but rather the fact that he’d never had anyone to share it with.

Can Heidi convince Ben there’s so much more to love on Yule Mountain than just Christmas?

 

A Merry Mountain Christmas is available at the following retailers:

Amazon * iBooks * Kobo

 

I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one winner who answers the question, what would be your favorite Christmas vacation destination?

***Scroll down to the form below. Click the PETTICOATS & PISTOLS link to comment.***

Ruth Logan Herne

I love novellas… I love quick reads! From the time I was a child and read serials in McCalls magazine… and then Redbook… oh mylanta, I loved the anticipation of waiting for that next magazine to arrive! With binge watching and instant access we’ve removed some of the fun anticipation that we all enjoy at holiday time so here, today, I’m showing you two novella collections that will help bide the time between shopping, baking, church and Hallmark movies! First, lose yourself in Christmas of yesteryear with this beautiful edition of three pioneer Christmas novellas… All by yours truly! Glimpse the grace of the past through the eyes of the present as you join three strong women in their quest to survive the rugged, wild west in “Christmas on the Frontier”… AVAILABLE HERE!

 

And for those who love contemporary novellas, I was so excited to be part of this wonderful Western duo with the marvelous RITA-AWARD-WINNING Linda Goodnight for “A Cowboy Christmas” through Love Inspired! Join Linda and me as our characters face modern-day Western trials during a season of faith, hope and love… and the greatest of these 1s1.is love! 🙂

A COWBOY CHRISTMAS is AVAILABLE HERE!

 

 

 

 

To kick off the holiday fun, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card!

1. Scroll down to the form below. Click the BOOKBUB link to my author page and FOLLOW ME, then note on the form that you followed. If you want to mention it here, too, I’d love to hear from you.

2. Or Click the NEWSLETTER link to sign up for my newsletter.

3. Or Click the PETTICOATS & PISTOLS LINK to leave a comment below…

4. OR do all three and get three chances in the cowboy hat!

Wishing you all a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas season!

Winners will be verified and announced on Sunday, December 2nd.

Be sure to check back to see if you won!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Friendly Beasts of Faraday

It all started with a camel. 

And a living nativity in our little community.

A handful of years ago, Captain Cavedweller and I attended an outdoor living nativity performance. It was held in the parking light next to a drive-in burger place. The temps were below freezing. But there, among the people dressed in bathrobes and fake beards to create a wise man costume, along with a few bleating sheep and a cow who seemed more than ready to go home, stood a camel. 

Not just any camel, mind you, but one who was clearly there to steal the show. He loved the attention tossed his direction and eagerly accepted the affection of his new fans. 

As I stood there and watched CC pet the camel, the idea for a story began percolating in my imagination. Then, just as suddenly, the words to a Christmas carol began floating through my thoughts and I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wouldn’t write just one story, but a series inspired by the Christmas carol.

If you’ve never heard The Friendly Beasts, it’s a lovely, old carol about the animals that gathered around the manager when Jesus was born. The verses include a camel, a donkey, a cow (all red and white, of course), a sheep with a curly horn, and a dove in the rafters high. 

How fun would it be to write a sweet romance series including all these animals… but have them be the matchmakers?  

Super fun! It was super fun to write this series. 

The only thing was that it took me a while to be able to sit down and write an entire series all at once. In fact, when Christmas came and went last year without a moment to work these stories in, I decreed I wouldn’t write anything else in 2018 until I finished these stories. Which is what I did. I created a fictional mountain town named Faraday. If it actually existed, it would be  near Mount Hood in Oregon.

The first draft to the books were completed by February. The four stories include a camel, a donkey (with a puppy named Bacon as his sidekick), a cow and her baby, sheep and a dove.  

I reached out to the illustrator who did such a wonderful job on my children’s book, Steve the Mule. He brought my goofy, wacky, lovable Friendly Beasts to life. 

Aren’t they so cute!  Jasper the dove is sitting on Ivy, there’s Lolly the camel, Bacon, Shep the sheep, and Pete the donkey. 

The books will release every Friday beginning this week, November 16!

Here’s a little more about the series:

Scent of Cedar

She needed a change of pace. . .

No one said anything about a friendly camel or a hunky mechanic

Cedar Haynes has a choice: change her high-pressure lifestyle, or end up dead by the time she’s thirty. Not one to do things by half measures, she quits her demanding corporate job, swaps her sports car for an SUV, and moves to the peaceful mountain community of Faraday. She envisions a quiet, peaceful Christmas, surrounding by silence and sparkling snow. When a camel takes up residence on her porch, she realizes small-town life may be more quirky and complicated than she imagined. Thankfully, the local mechanic seems to have all the answers – plus good looks, bad-boy charm, and a mysterious aura that leaves her wanting to know more.

Rhett Riggs left big city life behind the moment his small-town uncle needed his help. To make ends meet, he takes over Faraday’s one and only garage and gas station. He gets more than he bargained for, though, when Uncle Will passes away, leaving Rhett a run-down farmhouse, a wacky camel named Lolly, and a deep-rooted love for the community he considers his home. With the holidays approaching, he watches with interest as a new neighbor moves in next door. He waits for Lolly to send the woman running, like she has the last handful of residents. Only this time, if his beautiful neighbor leaves, she’ll take his heart with her.

Between spilled secrets, mistaken identities, and a camel determined to spread a little love, it will take more than mistletoe and holiday magic to help Rhett and Cedar find their happy ending.

(On sale for just 99 cents on pre-orders!) 

Tidings of Joy

Will a donkey, an adorable puppy, and a big-hearted man

prove tidings of Joy last beyond the holiday season?

Quiet and unassuming, Drew Miller is more than just a mail carrier in the small town of Faraday. A typical day on his route includes fetching cats out of trees, changing flat tires, and good-naturedly enduring the pranks of the octogenarian crowd. Unexpectedly, he rescues a lovely young woman in distress. Drew’s convinced she’d never make the tiny community her permanent home, but he’s determined to give her a reason to stay.

Among the brightest, happiest memories from Joy Cooke’s childhood are the days she spent with her grandparents in Faraday. When she inherits their home with a stipulation requiring her to live there for six months, she eagerly moves to the mountain town. Then a freak snow storm leaves her at the mercy of the mail carrier, a handsome man she’s spent weeks watching out her office window. Through his steadfast care, she learns the true meaning of giving and selfless love.

 

Boughs of Holly

He’d never met a more annoying woman. . .

She’d never met a more intriguing man

Seth Stafford loves every square inch of the ranch where his grandfather raised him. He’s built a good life there, even if it does get lonely. But he doesn’t have time for such nonsense as dating. If the crazy redheaded woman who terrorizes him when he drives into Portland for supplies is any indication of the available females, he’ll stick with tending his cattle. When his grandfather sustains an injury and requires extended care, Seth is forced to open his home to the woman. He just has to decide if he despises or loves her.

Nurse Holly Jones has never had a real home or stayed in one place for more than a year. She never wanted to, until she took a job in Portland working with the elderly. Surprisingly, she finds herself living on a remote ranch outside the small town of Faraday. There, among the cattle, horses, and cowboys, she considers all she’s been missing with her nomadic lifestyle. What would happen if she gave up her wandering ways and allowed her soul to set down roots or her heart to fall in love?

Can a cow named Ivy and a meddling grandfather nudge a reluctant couple together?

 

Wings of An Angel

The last thing she needs is a romance . . .

The first thing he intends to do is make her fall in love

Veterinarian Angela Carol escaped her past and started a brand new life in the friendly community of Faraday. Her charming little boy, Nick, a thriving practice, and a comfortable home are all she needs to be happy. At least that’s what she continually tells herself. But her traitorous heart longs for Nick’s teacher, a man who’s become her best friend. With no intention of falling in love again, she struggles to keep her thoughts and heart in line where Drake is concerned. 

Drake Miller had plans to be the next NBA star, but when an injury left him sidelined in college, he decided to teach and return to his hometown of Faraday. There’s nothing he enjoys quite as much as shaping the minds of the first grade students in his classroom, unless it’s making Angela Carol smile. The first time he saw her, he knew he was a goner, but the widow has made it clear she has no interest in getting involved in a relationship. How can he prove to her that it’s worth taking a chance on love?

The unlikely team of Nick, along with his pet sheep, Shep, and a dove named Jasper, work to spread a little romance along with holiday cheer. Will their efforts be enough to unite Drake and Angela in time for a Christmas miracle?

Find THE FRIENDLY BEASTS OF FARADAY on Amazon!

What Christmas carol do you think should inspire a story or series? Share your answer in the comments! 

 

The Holiday Season — And So It Begins

Howdy!

And Welcome to the Tuesday Blog. 

In keeping with the spirit of Thanksgiving and the start of the Holiday Season, it seems to me it would be a good idea to give away a free e-book of my most recent release, Brave Wolf and the Lady to some lucky blogger.  All that needs to be done to enter into the drawing is to leave a comment here.  By the way, please refer to the Giveaway Guidelines that govern all our giveaways.  It’s off to the right here.

Well, today I thought we might talk about love, seeing as how this is the season of love — what’s it all about?  At this time of year, with the holidays and all the out-of-mind busy-ness that we seem to get in to — I thought it might be good to take time out and have a look at  a subject that we all…well, that we all love.  Love.

14-smooch1.jpgIt seems to me that there’s all sorts of different kinds of love.  There’s the obvious kind — the kind that we all write about, the absolute beauty of love and romance and the coming together of two souls to create new life.  I’m speaking of course about the love of a man and a woman, the love of family, the love of children.  May this love always flourish and prosper in our society — I only say that because, it’s become my opinion that the family is really under attack.  But I digress.  Oh, by the way the picture to the left is of myself and my husband and the background is the Grand Canyon.

Okay, so are there other kinds of love?  I think so.

7-pic[1]

.

1-LORA-1[1]There’s of course the love between friends?  That’s love, too, isn’t it?  I know you’ll all agree that we would, indeed, be strange beings if we didn’t have a close circle of friends that we love with all our hearts.  But it’s different kind of love, isn’t it?  However, just because it’s the love between friends doesn’t  make it any less a deep and abiding love.10-greiman[1]

There’s also the love for mankind in general — the love of those in other parts of the world that might be having a difficult time.11-thousandoaks[1]  For instance,Untitled-16[1] many of our American Indian people on the reservations.

And how about the love we have for other life forms?  Our pets, for instance.  That’s most definitely love, too.         dogs space 1

 Love.  If I were to define love, I’d take a page from friend and author, L. Ron Hubbard, and say that it seems to me that it is an intense feeling of admiration directed toward someone or something.  It doesn’t ask for anything, it is either freely given or it’s not really love.  It’s not a dominating or controlling force.  Not love.  Not by definition.

It’s more about giving than receiving, sharing instead of using another.

But so far I’m leaving out one of the greatest love stories of all time.  Can you guess what story that is?

Our joy at this time of year is because of this love story.  Even our calendars are a celebration of this love story and of this one man’s life.  It has been said and shown through historical writings that because of this man and because of his teachings of love, that he freed a whole people from bondage, a people who had been utterly enslaved.  It’s said and it’s written that he brought a true civilizing force to the world, and that this force was to love and to treat ones fellow man, even ones own enemies, as one might like to be treated oneself.   It’s said also that he saved mankind itself from doom because of this love story.  One of my prayers at this time of year will be that the world at large learn again this lesson, a lesson given so freely so long ago …

Love…  I’d really like to hear your own love stories and your thoughts in general about love, so please do leave a message.  By the way, the picture below is of myself and the one man in my life whom I love with all my heart.  May you all have a very, happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas!

12-grandcanyon1.jpe

 

Updated: November 5, 2018 — 4:52 pm

Glorious Autumn – and a Giveaway!

 

Autumn… glorious autumn is here!

I love summer. I adore spring. But I think autumn just might be my favorite season. There’s something so cozy and warm and inviting about this time of year. 

Here’s a few things I love about the season:

The crunch of leaves beneath my shoes.

The tangy scent that hangs in the air.

The juicy, crisp bite of a crimson-skinned apple.

The whoosh of wings and honking of geese flying overhead.

Cozy sweaters and colorful scarves.

Football games at the high school.

Piles of pumpkins.

Popcorn Cakes.

Spicy tea and hot apple cider.

Perfectly ripe pears.

Vibrant hues from burgundy and vermilion to gold that dot the landscape.

Warm afternoons and chilly evenings.

~*~

If you could bottle your favorite three things from autumn and save them in a jar to enjoy all year, what three things would they be? 

Be sure to post your answer for a chance to win a copy of Dream of Her Heart – a sweet World War II romance that releases tomorrow!

Freedom Isn’t Free

Before my son graduated from Texas A&M University and entered the Air Force, I took our freedom for granted. Since then articles on the plight of veterans hold a new meaning. My son was deployed twice but he is one of the lucky ones. He escaped any lasting trauma. Other veterans haven’t been as fortunate, because you know what? Freedom isn’t free.

For most of us, the Fourth of July means food, family, fireworks and fun. However, this isn’t the case for everyone. For those veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and some estimates say this is as many as one half million vets, this holiday is difficult. For them, fireworks sound like artillery and throw them back on the battlefield amid the death and destruction of war.

Some veterans have placed signs in their yards saying, “Combat veteran lives here. Please be courteous with fireworks.” They hope this will increase awareness and encourage discussions about PTSD. If you plan to shoot off fireworks tonight, please give any veterans living nearby a heads up. This allows them to prepare to deal with their possible reactions and keeps them from being caught unaware.

We owe these men and woman because of the cost they’ve paid for our freedom. We owe them whatever help we can offer. That brings up the question, what helps veterans deal with PTSD or the other issues plaguing them after serving our country? In doing research? I’ve discovered two agencies who work tirelessly to change veterans’ lives for the better.

While researching my current book, the third in my Wishing Texas Series, To Tame A Texas Cowboy, I visited Patriot Paws in Rockwall, Texas. This agency provides service dogs to veterans with physical disabilities or PTSD. Service dogs can perform tasks a disabled vet is unable to or provide emotional support. Either way, they help veterans regain control of their lives. Unfortunately, agencies such as Patriot Paws are too few and the wait lists too long. Veterans often wait YEARS to receive their service dog. For more information on go to http://www.patriotpaws.org.

Another wonderful agency helping veterans is Equest Therapeutic Horsemanship south of downtown Dallas. I discovered this wonderful organization when doing research for Roping the Rancher. My hero turned his horse ranch into a similar organization when he left the military. Like numerous veterans, he struggled to find a purpose with meaning after returning to civilian life. Equest’s program,

Hooves For Heroes, does amazing work helping veterans struggling with the lack of purpose issue, as well as, depression and PTSD. For more information go to http://www.equest.org.

No matter what your plans today, I wish everyone a safe and fun Fourth of July. But please take time to remember those veterans whose lives have been impacted serving our country. Some of them and their families have paid a very high price because Freedom isn’t free.

Leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of Roping the Rancher. 

Updated: July 4, 2018 — 6:41 am
Petticoats & Pistols © 2015