Born and raised in Scotland, I heard tales of the wild Highlanders who fought battles in little more than their plaids (if that). They slept beneath the stars and brandished swords and clubs, but I’d never heard of a cowboy until I ventured to Montana Territory in search of answers about my family. These men: cowboys, ranchers, horsemen, certainly are interesting specimens and I’ll admit I’ve become rather fascinated by them.
The first one I ever met stood tall and proud and behaved as a true gentleman. Of course, he was wearing strange and dusty clothes and an odd hat, but those deep, blue eyes of his bore through to my soul. His strong hands were warm to the touch, and his gruff demeanor couldn’t mask the heat in those eyes on that cold autumn day. Lucky for me, I married him. I’ve learned a few things since my first encounter and I’m here to share my meager expertise, so listen carefully.
A lady must know that a true cowboy is both charming and dangerous. He’s a little like the wild land on which he lives. It doesn’t take much more than a swish of skirts and a pretty face to get his attention, but he won’t be easy. If a lady wants to hold onto a cowboy, she must be strong and even a little stubborn. She has to show him that she has what it takes to survive in his world, but don’t worry ladies, he’ll make it worth your while.
A hard-working cowboy is independent, stubborn, and even a little fierce. He’ll charm you just as easily as he charms a bull so you’ll want to keep him on his toes. Show him you’re not a lady to be trifled with. He won’t be able to control you, but he’ll certainly want to keep you.
He’ll rarely tell you what’s on his mind and doesn’t like sharing his emotional feelings. If you want to understand your man, let him come to you. Don’t push or prod because he’ll make for the range. If you want to rope him in, you’d better learn how to handle the lasso.
Most importantly, a true cowboy is loyal to in life, and to the death. Be warned ladies—he expects that same in return. Treat your cowboy well and he’ll move heaven and earth for you.
WILD MONTANA WINDS
By MK McClintock
What happens when a mountain man tries to tame the heart of a Highland lass?
Ainslee McConnell turned down every eligible bachelor who asked for her hand, for she knew none could quiet her adventurous spirit. When she travels from Scotland to visit family and seek new experiences, she discovers a life more rewarding than she could have imagined.
Raised in the wilds of the Montana mountains, Colton Dawson lived as rancher, mountain man, and tracker. He was content . . . until one day a spirited Scottish lass crosses his path on her way to Hawk’s Peak. When a moment in Colton’s past revisits him, he fights to keep safe those he loves most.
Frontierwoman Penny Scott and a Pinkerton Agent from Philadelphia John McCall are kidnapped and taken on a twisting turning ride, deep into the wilderness. He’s unconscious. She’s blindfolded and under a tarp. They manage to escape but running for their lives takes them over a cliff, down a river and finally into a violent rainstorm.
They are so lost.
When Penny manages to drag them both out of the wilderness a week later, they find the whole state of Nevada searching for Penny and her kidnapper…John.
Now a fire-and-brimstone breathing sheriff–goaded by his fervently scandalized wife (a man and a woman, alone together, for DAYS!!! And not even ashamed??? And right in front of the woman’s seven children???) Either John’s a kidnapper and needs to be hanged on the spot…or there needs to be a wedding.
A week spent with the city boy about drove Penny mad. Now she’s supposed to spend a LIFETIME WITH HIM??? After enough hesitation to seriously annoy John, Penny agrees to the wedding.
John’s not sure where that law about a hanging or a wedding is in the Nevada state constitution or the Bible. But right now the sheriff’s got a gun and a noose and John’s got to marry a woman in leather britches, with a big old gun and a mean attitude…especially toward him.
Now, unhappily married, they’ve still got a kidnapper to find. John may not know his way around in the woods, but he’s blue blazes investigating a crime and no one’s going to knock him out, kidnap him and almost murder him and not go to jail.
This is a side of her incompetent “husband” Penny’s never seen before. Now he’s the one who knows where he’s going and she’s the incompetent one being dragged along.
They were taken by a shadowy figure looking for evidence they don’t have and he’s still coming. Only by the time John and Penny are done, he’s going to wish he’d’ve never started this whole thing.
They must bring a powerful, ruthless man to justice, even as this city man and country woman fight a very inconvenient attraction to each other.
In my research for this book I just grew deeply fascinated with the extend of the wilderness in this country. Could you do it? In a lush land, in good weather, with a gun and a skinning knife…with food all around you although in very raw form….could you survive? For a week?
is releasing March 5th.
Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of
A rough outlaw town…A man seeking redemption…A hunted woman with no place to turn except agree to be outlaw Clay Colby’s wife.
This is the scenario in The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride. In case you haven’t heard, this new series is a bleed over from my Men of Legend and Clay Colby (whom you met in The Heart of a Texas Cowboy) is tired of running. He’s determined to make a stand on the last bit of mostly unsettled Texas land in the panhandle. He yearns to settle down with a wife and have a family. To be normal. So he starts building a town on the site of an old hideout called Devil’s Crossing. While he builds, he writes to Tally Shannon and Luke Legend carries the letters back and forth. She and a group of women are hiding out in a canyon, hunted in order to be returned to the Creedmore Asylum for the Insane.
Tally and these women first made an appearance at the end of Men of Legend Book 1 – To Love a Texas Ranger when outlaw Luke Legend began providing food, clothing, and medicine.
But Tally has grown weary of living in the shadows and wants more for herself and her band of fugitives. For once she wants to know what it’s like to have someone care for her—to have strong arms around her, to be safe, protected. Although afraid to trust, she agrees to marry Clay.
“What drew Clay most was the defiance on her face, and the determined glint in her eyes. Hard eyes, that had seen too much pain. Tally wouldn’t back down easily—from anything. The Colt strapped around her waist bore witness to that.”
I’ve often thought about the line drawn between outlaws and lawmen on the American Frontier and find that at times it became so blurred it was almost invisible. A man could be a sheriff or U.S. Marshal one day and a fugitive outlaw the next, depending on the circumstances. Or vice versa.
Millions upon millions of acres of raw land comprised the American Frontier, stretching from the Missouri River all the way to the Pacific Ocean. There were no laws, no courts, and little or no government. The few lawmen that existed had to cover huge areas and there was no way they could.
Often, the only law was what a man found for himself. The gun determined the outcome.
To get an idea of what I’m talking about, consider this: A man is minding his own business and taking care of his family when someone rides up and shoots his wife and children. He catches the murderer and kills him. That makes him an outlaw and he’d be on the run.
Then maybe one of the railroad or cattle towns needed to curb their lawlessness so they would hire the outlaw and pin a badge on his chest. There are plenty of examples in history.
Many such men straddled the fence, being whatever anyone wanted. Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Virgil Earp, Bat Masterson, and Pat Garrett to name a few. You might say they were the good “bad” guys.
That’s what Clay and his friends are. Sure, they’ve killed but they only see it as administering justice. They were the law where there was none and now they’re ready to give up their role.
But will others let them?
If you’ve read the book, tell me your favorite part or favorite character. Or talk about outlaws. What is your view? Were they good? Or bad?
Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for one of three copies of the book. Or if you already have it, to win a $10 Amazon gift card.
We are so pleased to welcome guest author Shirleen Davies to the Junction! Today Shirleen is giving away a copy of her latest book to one lucky person! Please join us in welcoming her!
In the 19th century, Methodists, Baptists, and other revivalists offered grassroots, non-traditional Christianity to settlers across the frontier. The sermons which were impassioned and spoken from the heart appealed to these frontier settlers.
Who were some of the more well-known preachers?
Barton Warren Stone believed in bible based teaching. His rallying cry was “The Bible only” when he headed west and served two Presbyterian parishes in Concord and Cane Ridge Kentucky. Other Presbyterian ministers criticized him for his unorthodox views, chiefly his denial of the Trinity, which he said was not found in the bible. In 1830 Stone met Alexander Campbell, another Bible only Presbyterian-turned-independent preacher. Their friendship and common passion led to a merger in 1832. Stone’s legacy endures in the large number of churches called “Disciples of Christ” or “Church of Christ,” which are committed to “Bible only” Christianity.
Peter Cartwright, one of the most colorful frontier ministers, joined the Methodist Episcopal Church at 16 at a camp meeting. Within two years, he was traveling the backwoods of the new nation, preaching the gospel. Crowds flocked to hear him throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, and Illinois. His meetings often ran day and night. The passion in his booming voice could make women weep and strong men tremble. Cartwright once warned General Jackson, who was later President of the United States, that he would be damned to Hell as quickly as any other man if he didn’t repent. Cartwright championed the creation of Methodist colleges to train more ministers. His autobiography became a classic as much for his good deeds as for the picture it painted of frontier life.
Lucy Wright, a woman, and a Shaker, was another popular religious figure. After joining the Shaker sect with her husband, they had to dissolve their marriage due to the denomination’s strict adherence to celibacy. Lucy then went back to using her maiden name. By the late 1780s, the Shakers divided into male and female orders due to their belief in God as Father-Mother. In 1787, Lucy was appointed as the leader in the female line. Nine years later, Joseph Meacham, the second successor to founder Mother Ann, by-passed his male assistant and appointed Lucy as Elder. At Meacham’s death, she took the Shaker helm as Mother Lucy. She broke a 12-year hiatus of Shaker evangelism and sent missionaries to the western frontier in 1804. Mother Lucy also brought singing back to the Shakers and added dancing, hand motions, and worship marches.
Francis Asbury was known as Mr. Circuit Rider. He rode horseback, or in a carriage when he was sick, about 300,000 miles during his 45-year ministry, delivering 16,500 sermons. He created districts of churches, each served by preachers who traveled from church to church. Asbury drove missionary expansion into Tennessee and Kentucky despite the constant threats of illness and Indian attacks on the frontier. Asbury founded five schools and promoted Sunday schools to teach children reading, writing, and arithmetic. He hated slavery and even petitioned George Washington to enact antislavery legislation. The Methodist church expanded to 200,000 strong under Francis Asbury’s leadership.
On the new frontier, church revivals took the form of camp meetings. James McGready initiated the camp meetings movement around 1800 in Kentucky.
Camp meetings soon became a colorful part of pioneer life. Families for miles around attended. The camp meetings usually began on Thursdays and ended on Sundays, but some lasted for up to two weeks. Several worship services were held daily, leading up to the big evening service. Often preachers from several denominations were on hand.
The religious message was clear and simple—stop sinning and repent now to save yourself from hellfire and damnation!
My newest release, Bay’s Desire, book nine in my MacLarens of Boundary Mountain series, is now available. I’m pleased to give away an eBook to today’s blog post lucky contest winner.
I’d love to read your comments. Also, please take a moment to sign up for my Newsletter and Follow Me on: BookBub
I don’t know about you, but I’m a visual person. I need to see it to retain it. I see better than I hear. When I see a list, I get tasks done. And organizing with colored notecards or Post-Its?
Be still my heart.
Just the way my brain works.
So it’s no wonder that I need images when I write. The words form much easier, flow much faster. And like any visual writer who is neck-deep in a manuscript and needing some help, I head straight for my friend, Pinterest.
Writing my contemporary western, A COWBOY AND A PROMISE, by Tule Publishing, was no different. If you’ve had a chance to read the book, you might enjoy seeing some of the images that inspired me.
When I saw this image for Beau Paxton, my hero, I thought “This is IT!” Beau to a T. Love, love.
While writing A COWBOY AND A PROMISE, my husband and I were totally binge-watching the thriller series, Homeland, and I was completely captivated by the lead character, played by Claire Danes. Hence, Ava Howell was born.
When Ava first arrives to the Blackstone Ranch and enters the little cabin where she’ll be staying while working, one of the first things she sees is a bouquet of Indian blanket that Beau’s mother thoughtfully picked for her in welcome. The wildflower is common in the Texas Hill Country. Beautiful, aren’t they?
This is a diagram of a Shotgun House, which I mention in the renovation of the Paxton family’s ghost town resort on the Blackstone Ranch. They say that a shotgun blast from the front door will go straight through the house and out the back door. I guess it’s true, eh?
Beau buys Ava her first cowboy hat, something she resists, but this is the one she picked out. On clearance, of course!
Another gift from Beau that Ava absolutely loves. Can you blame her?
Something really scary happens to Beau on the ranch, and that’s all I’ll say! But this hole was my inspiration!
And now I’m going to stop! I can’t give everything away, can I?
But you can see how much I depend on Pinterest. I took a Pinterest class recently, and my teacher said Pinterest is another Google. She’s right. It truly is!
Did you know Petticoats & Pistols has its own Pinterest account? Our sister filly, Julie Benson, keeps it up and running for us, and it’s hugely popular with almost 64,000 views per month! Come follow us and check out our boards. https://www.pinterest.com/thefillies/
How about you? Do you use the site to find recipes? Get help with ideas on re-decorating? Find gifts? Learn how to plant a garden? The list is endless, and I’d love to hear if you enjoy it as much as I do!
You may think this an odd title for a post (Linda has finally lost it) but you’ll soon see how it fits. In exactly two weeks from today THE OUTLAW’S MAIL ORDER BRIDE will launch. This starts a new four-book series called Outlaw Mail Order Brides and I’m so excited about this project.
This series is a bleed-over from Men of Legend. Luke Legend and his wife Josie have started a private bride service for men and women living in the shadows. Clay Colby and Tally Shannon are characters that first appeared in Men of Legend. Clay was a trail boss for Houston in The Heart of a Texas Cowboy and Tally first appeared at the end of To Love a Texas Ranger and played a bigger part in To Marry a Texas Outlaw.
Tally and a group of women had escaped the Creedmore Lunatic Asylum and were hiding out in Deliverance Canyon. Readers wrote me, wanting their story so they’re getting it.
After two years living in fear of discovery, Tally decides it’s time for change. With Luke and Josie hand-carrying letters back and forth, Tally agrees to marry Clay. Only a wanted man will know how to protect her. Finally, she’ll be able to lift the burden from her shoulders and let someone care for her.
And Clay does from the start. She’s the wife he’s longed for and the little blind girl she brings with her becomes his daughter.
But I want to talk about the horrors of early mental institutions. Number one is that they had zero oversight. People who ran them could do whatever they wanted with these people. Nor did they require any proof of insanity. Often families wanted to get rid of certain ones and these institutions provided a way. Give them some money and they’d relieve you of your problem. In some cases it became big business.
That’s what Tally’s stepmother did. She wanted to wrench the family estate from Tally and have it all so she incapacitated her, drove her to the asylum and handed her over along with a bag of money along with instructions to make Tally’s life a living hell.
Here are some actual reasons on one mental institution’s books for taking a person:
Imaginary Female Trouble
Seduction and Disappointment
Fever and Jealousy
Novel Reading (WHAT!!)
These are just ridiculous and there are lots more I didn’t list. Anything could be an excuse up until 1955 when some oversight finally came along. That it took so long is crazy!
Since we all read romance, we could’ve been institutionalized back then if our family didn’t want us!!
So, are you off your rocker or missing some marbles? Maybe you’re an overzealous cook or like to sit around daydreaming. You could be certifiable. What reason could your family have given? Have fun with this. I’m giving away THREE copies of THE OUTLAW’S MAIL ORDER BRIDE!! Plus, each will also get one of my calendars.
I’m also announcing a SALE! All of my Texas Heroes is marked down. If you haven’t read them and want to, now is the time to get them cheap. Or maybe you’re only missing one from the set. Now’s your chance.
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!
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.
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.
No one ever said a successful author was lazy. No one ever said being a writer was easy, either. Since I last visited with y’all a month ago, I have learned (once again) truer words were never spoken.
For an author to succeed, she has to put herself out there. Take part in promotions and opportunities with her sister authors. She has to put time into social media, emails, writing groups. Marketing is a full time job, and in order to have something to market, you have to write it. And then there’s that crazy thing called LIFE that gets in the way.
Let me give you a peek into my month, in no particular order:
I’ve taken 3 classes – one on Pinterest and one on Google apps at one of the local colleges. I’ve also taken a month-long online class on Goodreads through KOD chapter.
I’ve re-formatted my historical western romance, WANTED! and uploaded it to Amazon as an ebook. It had been a few years since I’d done it, and it took a little refreshing. But the end result was very satisfying. #kindleunlimited
I’ve gotten deep into my latest work, another historical western romance entitled ELEANORA, which is Book #8 in the Widows of Wildcat Ridge series I’m doing with a group of authors. The book will be released on January 1.
Once I got WANTED! up, I knew I had to get my Christmas novellas uploaded. It’s the time of year when the novellas are super popular. First came ONE MAGIC EVE. Since it was a novella, it went much faster. Since it was my second upload in a couple of weeks, and the process was still fresh in my mind, it went even faster. #kindleunlimited
Then I got this idea that the fillies should have a big promotion to celebrate our Christmas books. We hammered out the details, I came up with some festive memes, and the blogs are coming together. Stay tuned! We’re super excited for this one. November 26-29.
My husband was diagnosed with a detached retina, which meant not one but two urgent surgeries. Dang. It’s been an ordeal. He developed complications, and that meant extra trips to the pharmacy, the doctor’s office and me doing most of the chores he used to do because, darn it, the eye just wasn’t cooperating, and it HURT.
I uploaded THE CATTLEMAN’S CHRISTMAS BRIDE to Amazon. Third time, the novella went pretty smooth. Again, satisfying. I love the book. #kindleunlimited
Halloween rolled around. Time to plan our family’s annual Halloween Bash complete with costumes and Halloween-themed food. Can you say Guacamole Ghouls?
My new grandson was born. Theodore Samuel is our 10th grandchild, and oh, my, we are so in love with this little boy-angel.
I was honored to be asked by my sister filly, Shanna Hatfield, to help in her 5th Annual Cowboys and Christmas Facebook Party to raise funds for cowboys who have suffered catastrophic injuries. You think I’m busy? That girl is something—she’s super organized for a big project like this one, with lots of readers and authors and enthusiasm. There’ll be games, giveaways and FUN. That’s today—and I’m up at 3:20 this afternoon CT. Looking forward to that a whole bunch. PLEASE JOIN US! The party starts at Noon CT. Just click on the Facebook link!
Did I say I have to write ELEANORA? And time is ticking.
Ah, well. They say if you want something done, ask a busy person. I happen to be one of those people that thrive on deadlines. They make me focused and a little stressed (okay, A LOT stressed) but it all seems to get done.
That’s what I love about being a writer. Busy is good.
Tell me about your month. Have you been busy, too? Did anything unexpected happen to throw your month off kilter—like a detached retina or a new baby in the family?
Tell us about it, and you’ll be eligible to win your choice of ONE MAGIC EVE, THE CATTLEMAN’S CHRISTMAS BRIDE OR WANTED! ebook!
Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. For various reasons that I won’t go into here, I haven’t had a new release out this year, so I was doubly happy to learn Love Inspired was re-releasing two of my earlier novels as part of their two-in-one program. And both of the books they chose are very special to me (of course I feel that way about most of my books).
Late October saw the release of an anthology that included The Christmas Journey and two novellas, Christmas Bells for Dry Creek by Janet Tronstad and The Christmas Secret by Sara Mitchell. This book is special to me because it was the first book of my 3 book and a novella Knotty Pines series. It was also based on a premise I’d been mulling over for a number of years, that of a heroine who longs to travel and have adventures but is held back by family obligations. Her solution is to try to find a husband for her widowed sister so she can transfer those responsibilities to him and chase her dreams guilt-free.
Here is an excerpt:
Jo resisted the urge to stomp her foot.
It wasn’t fair that Ry had everything she wanted and seemed so discontent. Yet he judged her for daring to set her sights beyond Knotty Pine. He wouldn’t think her life was so rosy if he were the one living it. Too bad they couldn’t up and change places. If he had all her family responsibilities…
She stilled. What if he did have her responsibilities? It was obvious the family already liked him. And he seemed equally taken with them. If she could somehow make him an actual part of the family, he was the sort of man who’d do everything he could to provide for and protect those in his care.
Cora Beth admired him. Jo could see he liked her too. As for the rest of the family, after that ruckus in the livery Danny practically hero-worshipped him. Ry had shown he could deal with her nieces – why, he even got along with Uncle Grover. They’d all be in good hands.
As for Ry’s part, what man wouldn’t be attracted to Cora Beth? She had that sweet domestic air about her that drew men looking for a wife like bees to honey.
If Ry and Cora Beth were to get hitched, she would be free to leave Knotty Pine knowing the family was well cared for.
So what if she’d been doing a bit of daydreaming over him herself? It was just because he’d been so all-fired heroic the other day and, to be honest, handsome as all get out. But, even if the thought stung a bit, she was realistic enough to know a man like Ryland Lassiter wouldn’t fall for a girl like her.
Besides, she didn’t need a man to tie her down. Just the opposite – she wanted to cut her tightly-knotted bonds to this place so she could fly free.
In that respect, Ry was the answer to her prayers. God’s hand had been in the timing of his trip through Knotty Pine, she was certain of it.
Jo lifted her chin. If this tug of attraction she felt for him was a way of testing her resolve, she was more than up to the challenge. All she needed for her plan to work would be for someone to give Ry and Cora Beth a little push.
And no matter how much her silly heart protested, she was just the person to do it.
My second book on the 2018 re-release list The Hand-Me-Down Family will come out in December and it’s paired with Victoria Bylin’s The Maverick Preacher. This book was the very first one I published with Love Inspired Historical and it is based on a premise I’d been trying to develop for several years – that of a mail order bride that married her husband by proxy before she left home and then arrived in her new home to discover she was already a widow. It wasn’t until I married this with another tidbit from my ‘idea file’, that of a hero who left home to get out from under his ‘perfect’ brother’s shadow, that the story finally came together.
Here is an excerpt:
The minutes drew out as the driver unloaded luggage and parcels from the back of the stagecoach. It was hotter here in Texas than it had been in Ohio. Callie longed to loosen her tight-fitting bonnet, or better yet, take it off altogether, but she dare not. Not until she was away from prying eyes and safely inside her new home.
A number of townsfolk stopped to speak to her fellow passenger, Jack, but though she received a friendly nod or two, and more than one curious glance, no one stepped forward to greet her.
Finally, the last of the baggage and cargo was unloaded and the driver stepped inside the hotel with a mail sack. The man Jack lifted two of the bags, easily hefting the larger one up to his shoulder.
Callie couldn’t help but wonder – would her new husband be as fine and strong a figure of a man as this Jack?
As if feeling her eyes on him, the man paused and met her gaze. His expression was gruff and a muscle twitched at the corner of his mouth. “Is someone meeting you?”
She smiled, grateful for his show of concern, reluctant though it might be. “Yes, thank you. I’m certain my husband will be along soon.”
Something akin to surprise flashed across his features at the word husband, but it was gone in an instant.
“Good.” He nodded and allowed his friend to take one of his bags. “If you’re sure you don’t need any help…”
But as Callie watched him walk away, it was as if the last link to her old life were being severed. A foolish notion since she really didn’t know this man at all. But before she could stop herself, she took a small step forward. “Excuse me.”
Both men turned, facing her with questioning glances.
“Ma’am?” Jack prompted.
“I was wondering if perhaps either of you know a Mr. Leland Tyler? He was sup…” Her voice tapered off as she saw their startled reactions.
Jack’s jaw tightened visibly. “Why would you be looking for Lanny?”
Callie noticed his familiar use of her husband’s name. “So you do know him.”
That tic near the corner of his mouth made another appearance. “Yes.” He didn’t expand on his one-word answer, and his expression remained closed, unreadable. “But you didn’t answer my question. How do you know Leland?”
Callie offered up a quick prayer that Mr. Tyler would arrive soon. He should be the one making the introductions to his neighbors and friends. “I’m Callista Johnson Tyler, his wife.”
“Wife!” Jack set his bag down with a loud thump and sent a sharp look his companion’s way. “You know what she’s talking about, Virgil?”
The other man shook his head. “Lanny never said anything about a new wife.”
They certainly were reacting strongly to her news. She knew Julia had only been gone about four months, but it wasn’t unusual for a widower to remarry so soon, especially when he had a young child to care for.
For that matter, why didn’t they already know about her? Surely Leland wouldn’t have kept such momentous news from his friends and neighbors? Unless he’d worried she wouldn’t show up.
Or was there another, more disturbing reason? Her heart beat faster as possibilities whirled through her mind.
Realizing the men were watching her, Callie tried to hide her confusion behind a confident air. “I’m not certain why Mr. Tyler chose to keep this a secret. Perhaps he was planning to surprise everyone. But be that as it may, I assure you, I am indeed Mrs. Leland Tyler. If you’ll be so good as to tell me where my husband can be found, I’m certain he’ll verify my identity.”
Jack took another step forward. “Perhaps we should introduce ourselves first.” He swept an arm toward his companion. “This is Virgil Wilson.”
She smiled and nodded acknowledgement. “Mr. Wilson.”
The farmer touched the brim of his hat, ducking his head respectfully. “Ma’am.”
When she turned back to Jack he was studying her intently, as if trying to read something from her countenance. Holding her gaze, he extended his hand. “And I’m Leland’s brother Jack.”
So what do you think? Did one of these two stories pique your interest more than the other? If so, let me know why. I’m going to select two names from those responding and give each their choice of one of these two books.
I know it’s only November first, but I am in that Christmas spirit because that’s kind of how publishing rolls, my friends and as the publishers roll… Well, so do the authors! And this author has some fun stuff to celebrate this fall…
First, my just released (non-cowboy!) book “At Home in Wishing Bridge“, the second book of my “Wishing Bridge” series, has been on the Amazon bestseller list for weeks and spent a lot of time at #1 so there is a reason to celebrate right there… and readers are loving it. And that makes authors the happiest of all.
And Love Inspired has re-issued this beautiful story from my “Kirkwood Lake” series. “The Lawman’s Holiday Wish is a story of old wrongs, quick judgments and slow healing… but when God gives us a whole new beginning… a beginning with three precocious five-year-olds… well, that’s the kind of Christmas dream we all love to see! Love Inspired doubled the fun by pairing me with Gail Martin and her book “The Christmas Kite”. You can find this on AMAZON, and in Walmart now!
But being a Western blog, let’s see if I can pull something out of my Christmas Stetson!
First, we’ve got an amazingly fun duo with my good Western buddy Linda Goodnight. I was blessed to be part of a novella duo with her… Western-and-cowboy-themed…. and so I was able to add a “Shepherd’s Crossing” novella to my series set in Western Idaho. The “Shepherd’s Crossing” series brings three Southern beauties… real Steel Magnolias… to a sheep ranch left to them by a benevolent uncle. And there just may be some rugged cowboys who know a good thing when they see it and have the brains enough to keep these girls well above the Mason-Dixon line… despite the cold and wind and snow. Shepherd’s Crossing… where love conquers all. Eventually. 🙂
This beautiful story pairs a single mother with a cowboy who’s spent a bunch of years alone… but Christmas isn’t just a season of miracles. It’s a season of family… friends… and second chances. And Ty Carrington gets his second chance in “Falling for the Christmas Cowboy” my half “A Cowboy Christmas”! And today I’ve got two copies of “A Cowboy Christmas” to send out this week (it’s catch up week on the farm now that pumpkin season is over!)… so you can win it before you can buy it! This book hits stores in two weeks… and on sale for Kindle December 1st!!! PREORDER HERE! (I can’t make it much plainer than that, can I, darlings???)
On sale nationwide in two weeks!
And then, for the historical lovers among us (of which I am one!) here is my historical novella Christmas collection “Christmas on the Frontier”.
This three-novella book takes you back to a simpler time… but faith, hope and love still ruled the day as we built this great nation.
Three great pioneer Christmas stories bring us back to a simpler time… maybe a holier time… a time before Christmas became synonymous with commercialism. A time when a baby in the manger was enough to make us bow our heads… take a knee… pray as one. A time to be grateful for the little things. A time when little was taken for granted because our very hold on life and liberty was tenuous back then and no one had the luxury to be jaded.
“Her Christmas Cowboy”, “A Town Called Christmas” and “His Beloved Bride” make up a wonderful collection from my heart… to yours.
I’m also giving away two Kindle copies of “Christmas on the Frontier” today…. to start your November off right.
Leave a comment about holidays below… what you love? What you don’t love! What makes you laugh or cry? Are you a Hallmark binge watcher? Or a binge reader? Are you Pinterest crazy? Or do you wing it with cookies from Wegmans or Harris Teeter and a Stouffer’s lasagna in the oven?
Because there’s value and joy in both ways!
Four winners today to kick off our Christmas season, then rejoin me in a month when we celebrate Christmas novellas here with the fillies… and I’ll be giving away copies again. Keepin’ it simple. Keepin’ it real. Keepin’ it prayerful in times of trouble…
“For unto you is born this day a Savior which is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign unto you. You will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Luke 2, 11-12
Oh, those shepherds! Those angels!
Can you even imagine what that must have been like?
And today I get to kick of this holy and happy season with you! Bring on the eggnog, my friends! And the cookies. (Who doesn’t love cookies?) And let us rejoice together!