Category: Valentine’s Day

With Love, from the Battlefield: Songs of the Civil War

Kathleen Rice Adams: classic tales of the Old West...that never forget the power of love.

Americans didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day as we know it until the mid-1800s. By 1856, the practice of sending somewhat sappy cards had become so widespread that newspapers began to call the blossoming tradition a “social disease.” Conservative elements in society tried to stamp out the celebration because they considered such unvarnished expression of fondness evidence of “moral deterioration.” The February 1856 edition of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine included a cartoon depicting card-giving as crass and self-indulgent.

window valentine, ca. 1864

A “window” valentine, ca. 1864. Such cards were called window valentines because front flaps opened to reveal a hidden message or image.

A scant five years later, as the Civil War began, Valentine’s Day took on new significance. Cards often depicted sweethearts parting. Many incorporated flaps that opened to reveal soldiers standing in tents or couples at the altar. Some included a lock of the giver’s hair.

In addition to cards, songs of love and loss became popular with Civil War soldiers on the battlefields. At night, encamped on opposite sides of imaginary lines only hundreds of yards apart, men wearing blue and men wearing gray sang as one. Some of the songs were meant to keep sweet memories alive; many mourned happiness never to be.

The following are a few of the most popular love songs of the Civil War.

The Yellow Rose of Texas

A popular marching tune all over the Confederacy, “The Yellow Rose of Texas” dates to the state’s early colonial period. The first known transcribed version — handwritten on a piece of plain paper — appeared around the time of the Texian victory at San Jacinto in April 1836. In its original form, the song tells the story of a black man who has been separated from his sweetheart and longs to reunite with her. This YouTube video contains the modified version Texas troops actually sang during the Civil War, complete with references to “Bobby Lee” and Hood’s Texas Brigade…with one exception. By the time of the war, the phrase “sweetest rose of color” had been replaced with “little flower” in order not to imply white soldiers were pining for a mulatto woman.

 

“Aura Lea” (also spelled “Aura Lee”)

Most people today recognize the melody to “Aura Lea” as “Love Me Tender,” which became an instant hit when Elvis Presley sang the song during his first appearance on the big screen in the 1956 movie of the same name. The original, composed in 1861 by W. W. Fosdick (words) and George R. Poulton (music), is one of the happier songs of the era. Nevertheless, this song and “Lorena” (below) were banned in some camps because they tended to provoke desertion, especially among Confederates from 1863 forward.

 

Lorena

The Rev. Henry D. L. Webster wrote the words to one of the most popular love songs of the Civil War in 1856 after his intended broke off their engagement. His friend Joseph Philbrick Webster composed the music. Western Writers of America listed “Lorena” as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time; an instrumental version appears in the iconic film Gone with the Wind.

 

Somebody’s Darling

Credit for the lyrics has been given to Marie Ravenal de la Costa and the melody to John Hill Hewett, though the story behind the song may be apocryphal. The version most generally accepted is that, in 1862, Miss de la Costa penned the words in the Atlanta church where she had gone to pray after receiving word of her fiancé’s death on the battlefield. She left the handwritten lyrics behind. One of the saddest songs of the period, “Somebody’s Darling” was as popular in the North as it was in its native South.

 

When I Saw Sweet Nellie Home

Also known as “Seeing Nellie Home” and “Aunt Dinah’s Quilting Party,” the original was composed by John Fletcher (music) and Frances Kyle (words) in 1859. In 1861, Otto W. Ludwig changed the words to create the strident Union ballad “Courage, Mother, I Am Going,” about a young man who believes he won’t return from a war he is morally obligated to fight. Needless to say, Confederates sang the original. The Union version faded into obscurity after the war.

 

Oh! Susanna

Published by Stephen Foster in 1848, “Oh! Susanna” was popular with both bluebellies and graybacks, who viewed the words through entirely different cultural lenses. This version contains the original second verse, which is controversial (and potentially offensive) because of the language.

 

My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night

Published by Stephen Foster in 1853, “My Old Kentucky Home” speaks of love for home and family. The song became enormously popular with both armies during the Civil War—which was odd in the case of the Confederacy, because Foster’s notes on the original handwritten sheet music clearly indicate he intended the song to be an abolitionist anthem inspired by Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. (Foster was a staunch abolitionist.)

 

Just Before the Battle, Mother

One of the saddest Civil War favorites speaks of love not for a sweetheart, but for a young’s man’s mother. With words and music (1862) by George F. Root, “Just Before the Battle, Mother” was strictly a Union song. (The lead-in on this version, performed by the 97th Regimental String Band, is long. The words start just before the one-minute mark.)

 

The Picture on the Wall

A sad song more popular among the folks at home than soldiers on the battlefield (for obvious reasons), Henry Clay Work’s “The Picture on the Wall” (1864) is almost unknown today. During the Civil War, it expressed tremendous grief about the loss of both sweethearts and sons.

 

Annie Laurie (also spelled “Annie Lawry”)

Brought to America from Scotland around 1832, authorship of the song is unknown. By the time of the Civil War, the words had changed from the original Scottish. Because the song was so well known, it was one of the most often sung across the lines, despite — or perhaps because of — the haunting chorus: “For bonnie Annie Laurie, I’d lay me down and die.”

 

Sweet Evalina

Composed in 1863 by Mrs. Parkhurst, the tune to “Sweet Evelina” is spritely even though the words come from the point of view of a young man fated never to marry the beautiful girl he loves. The song was incredibly popular among soldiers on both sides during the war but had all but disappeared by 1900.

 

Listen to the Mockingbird

Septimus Winner, using the name Alice Hawthorne, wrote the words to “Listen to the Mockingbird” in 1855 and set them to music composed by a guitarist friend. Despite the upbeat melody, the song tells the story of a man’s love for a young woman who has died. The tune was popular with both Billy Yanks and Johnny Rebs. As an aside: In 1862, Winner was arrested and charged with treason after he published “Give Us Back Our Old Commander: Little Mac, the People’s Pride.” The song protested Lincoln’s firing of Gen. George B. McClellan as commander of the Army of the Potomac. Federal authorities released Winner only after he promised to destroy all remaining copies of the sheet music…but calling back the 80,000 copies that sold in the first two days after the song’s publication proved impossible. (McClellan was an exceptionally popular man.)

 

An excellent album called Songs of the Civil War contains renditions of some of these songs by artists including The United States Military Academy Band, Waylon Jennings, Richie Havens, Hoyt Axton, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Kathy Mattea, and Jay Ungar and Molly Mason (of “Ashokan Farewell” fame). It’s available from Amazon on CD and audiocassette, as well as in MP3 format and via Amazon’s PrimeMusic.

 

Powerful emotion breeds enduring art of all kinds. As heart-stirring as some of the music, poetry, paintings, fiction, and other art forms of the mid-1800s, let’s hope we don’t see another such prolific period for a similar reason ever again.

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And speaking of Valentine’s Day…

Prairie Rose Publications Valentine's Day ExtravaganzaPrairie Rose Publications is offering a token of its love to readers all week: Fourteen free novels, anthologies, and boxed sets. Who doesn’t love free? Let me tell you something: There are a passel of hunky heroes in that herd I’d love to snuggle up to on Valentine’s Day or any other day. Fourteen more novels, boxed sets, and anthologies have been discounted to 99 cents.

Y’all can find a list of the books here. Go take look if you’re of a mind to spend some time lost in love with sigh-worthy heroes and feisty heroines.

 

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Valentine’s Day – The Day of Love

Today is the day of love and all over the U.S. (probably the world) couples will celebrate. My husband never really liked celebrating too many things but he loved Valentine’s Day. He’d always buy me a box of candy and a card. Never gave me flowers because he had asthma. I think he chose candy because he loved it and always ate at least half of what he gave me.

There was no doubt in my mind that he loved me though. I still have one of the cards that he made by hand (including his own words) and it remains one of my most treasured possessions.

A whopping six million men (and yes women) will propose on this day. And why not? It’s the day of romance and the mating of hearts.

I’ve written a marriage proposal (and/or wedding) into every one of my books. I just love validating the way my characters feel about each other and that’s the perfect way. Love means commitment and spending the rest of your life together. I’ve written two Valentine’s stories. One was “Cupid’s Arrow” in Be My Texas Valentine anthology with Jodi Thomas, Phyliss Miranda, and DeWanna Pace. We had great fun writing those stories. By the way, that’s still available online.

The other Valentine’s story was in the Hearts and Spurs anthology published by Prairie Rose. Cheryl Pierson posted about this anthology yesterday. My story’s title is THE WIDOW’S HEART.

Skye O’Rourke thinks her imagination is playing tricks on her when a man emerges from the shimmering desert heat. No one would willingly take a stroll under the scorching sun with a saddle slung on his back. She’s shocked to discover it’s Cade Coltrain, a man she once gave her heart to only to have him give it back.

Can she trust him not to abandon her this time? Yet, trusting each other is the only way they can survive. And love might just save them if they believe….

Hearts and Spurs is FREE this week. Here’s the link to download it.  http://a.co/bBfM69A

And here’s a short excerpt:

Cade Coltrain was a dangerous man. He’d always been someone to reckon with, but adding in the hardness that swept the length of him now he could put the fear of God in a man with only a look.

In her heart, she knew the truth. He’d become an outlaw.

But, it didn’t matter. Nothing did.

A sudden need to be held in those arms washed over her. She rested her head on the thick window pane and let the tears fall.

The loud ticking clock reminded her she had dishes to do. Raising her head, she brushed away her tears. Glancing out the window once more, she found Cade standing beside Matthew’s grave with his head bowed.

What would he say to the brother who’d married the woman Cade had cast aside when adventure called?

She prayed he’d move on soon, before she gave in to the desire that created such a powerful ache in her body.

Just to be held again, feel warm breath on her cheek; lay her palm on the hard muscles that rippled beneath the skin. Those desires were something she couldn’t put a price on. But they were the things she’d buy, if only she could.

Skye wanted to be a woman again. Someone cherished.

* * * *

Download the book and you’ll find lots of wonderful stories by Cheryl Pierson, Tracy Garrett, Phyliss Miranda, Tanya Hanson, Livia Washburn, Kathleen Rice Adams, Sarah McNeal, and Jacquie Rogers.

What do you hope to get from your honey for Valentines? Candy? Roses? Or something else?

ROMANTIC VALENTINE READS AND A GIVEAWAY! by Cheryl Pierson

Who loves a great Valentine’s Day story? I DO! I love to read them and write them! If there is a more romantic time of year, I don’t know what it is—and it’s especially so for me, since my hubby and I got married on February 10, 1979, thirty-eight years ago!

 

 

He’s my “real-life” hero, but I do love to write fiction—ROMANTIC fiction—so I couldn’t pass up the chance to let my imagination roam and write a few Valentine’s Day stories of my own, in both contemporary and historical genres. But goodness, we can’t limit ourselves just to ONE DAY, can we? I’ll be sure and mark the stories that have a Valentine’s Day theme—the others are just wonderfully romantic stories that you won’t want to pass up.

 

With flowers and candy at the top of the “romantic” list, I always indulge in a guilty pleasure or two and buy myself some VERY romantic stories to lose myself in at this time of year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few “picks” for you if you’re looking for some romantic Valentine’s Day reading…

HEARTS AND SPURS is a short story collection that features nine sensual Valentine’s Day love tales of the old west that will leave no doubt—Cupid is a cowboy, and he’s playing for keeps! How do you capture a cowboy’s heart? HEARTS AND SPURS includes stories by many of our P&P past and present “fillies” along with Livia J. Washburn, Sarah J. McNeal and Jacquie Rogers!

FOUND HEARTS by Cheryl Pierson—An enemy from the past threatens Alex Cameron’s future on the day he’s set to wed mail-order bride Evie Fremont. Can they survive their wedding day?

OPEN HEARTS by Tanya Hanson—A woman living as a man to practice the law she loves must guard her identity—and her heart—from a handsome sheriff, who discovers her secret and must decide whether to turn her in or fall in love.

THE WIDOW’S HEART by Linda Broday—Desperate and alone, Skye O’Rourke finds courage and a love she thought she’d lost when a man from her past emerges from the shimmering desert heat.

COMING HOME by Tracy Garrett—Sometimes it takes two to make dreams come true. When a man who believes he’ll never have a home and family finds a woman who has lost everything…It takes a lot of forgiveness and a few fireworks to realize that together, their dreams can come true.

TUMBLEWEEDS AND VALENTINES by Phyliss Miranda—The wildness of a tumbleweed and the sweetness of chocolate bring Amanda Love the love of a lifetime.

THE SECOND-BEST RANGER IN TEXAS by Kathleen Rice Adams—A washed-up Texas Ranger. A failed nun with a violent past. A love that will redeem them both. (WESTERN FICTIONEER PEACEMAKER AWARD WINNER!)

What a wonderful anthology this is, and it’s now FREE THIS WEEK for the digital edition. It’s also available in print!

For this excellent collection as well as many other FREE and .99 books, stories and anthologies Prairie Rose Publications is running a huge VALENTINE EXTRAVAGANZA! Go to the PRP WEBSITE below to see many more free Valentine’s Day special offers you won’t want to miss!

http://prairierosepublications.blogspot.com/

A HEART FOR A HEART is a contemporary Valentine’s Day novella you might enjoy… Kiera Leslie is all set to welcome Cory Tiger into her home as a foster child. Orphaned and with a learning disability, Cory is looking forward to living with his tutor. Until his uncle shows up… Sam Tiger returns from military duty to find his deceased brother’s son being taken in by a stranger. The boy needs his family—and Sam is it. He never expects the tutor to stand up to him and want to keep Cory. Then the worst happens—he finds himself attracted to Kiera. It’s Valentine’s Day, and Cupid’s got deadly aim!

 

 

HIDDEN TRAILS takes place right around Valentine’s Day in a blinding snowstorm.

Levi Connor has never run from anything in his life, and he doesn’t intend to start now. After killing the two bandits who’d followed him into Indian Territory, he finds himself wounded and riding through a blinding February snowstorm. With no purpose ahead of him and no past to guide him, he discovers a reason to exist—the beautiful mixed-blood girl who takes him in and heals him. Valentine Reneau lives in fear that her father will find her someday in the heart of Indian Territory and force her to return to Mississippi to take her mother’s place—in every way. She knows her time has run out when a stranger shows up on her land with two hired guns—and the devil in his plans. With some unlikely help, Valentine must try to escape the slave’s fate that her mother left behind so many years before. Will Levi kill for a woman he barely knows? The chips are down, the guns blaze, and everything finally comes clear along these HIDDEN TRAILS…but who’ll be left alive?

HIDDEN TRAILS was a finalist in the short fiction category of the Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Awards!

 

No, this one is not a Valentine’s Day themed story, but it has to be one of my all-time favorite love stories. If you have not read it yet, you won’t be disappointed! It’s Penelope Williamson’s THE OUTSIDER—an oldie but a goodie!

Throughout the years on her Montana homestead, Rachel Yoder had never been afraid—the creed of the Plain People had been her strength. Then the day came when lawless men killed Rachel’s husband in an act of blind greed. Now, at her darkest hour, an outsider walks across her meadow and into her life… Johnny Cain is bloody, near death, and armed to the teeth. A man hardened by his violent past, Cain has never known a woman like Rachel—someone who offers him a chance to heal more than his physical wounds. Cain’s lazy smile and teasing ways steal Rachel’s heart and confound her soul. Soon she must choose between all she holds dear—her faith, her family, perhaps her very salvation—and the man they call the Outsider.

Another excellent story by Penelope Williamson that I really enjoyed was HEART OF THE WEST…you can’t get enough of Penelope Williamson!

Here are some tales that are sexy, romantic, and wonderful!

HANNAH’S VOW by Pam Crooks

 

 

TEXAS REDEMPTION by Linda Broday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SENECA SURRENDER by Karen Kay writing as Gen Bailey

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEYOND THE FIRE by Cheryl Pierson

When Kendi Morgan witnesses an attempted murder near her home one stormy November night, she makes the only choice her heart will allow: she has to help the victim. But bringing the handsome stranger into her home traps her in the middle of a deadly drug war.

Wounded DEA agent Jackson Taylor is a man with nothing to lose and nothing to fear—until he falls for the beautiful woman who risks everything to save his life.

With his cover blown, Jackson knows he’s all that stands between Kendi and Benito Sanchez, a powerful drug cartel lord. Sanchez swears his vengeance, vowing to see Jackson and Kendi both dead.

Love comes fast when there may be only hours left…can it survive? Or will Jackson sacrifice his partner’s life—along with his own—in exchange for Kendi’s safety? Does a future exist for them BEYOND THE FIRE…
Previously published as Temptation’s Touch.

http://firestarpress.blogspot.com/

What’s the most romantic story you ever read? Leave your answer in the comments along with your contact information for a chance to win a digital copy of HIDDEN TRAILS! Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, everyone–and don’t forget to pop over to the PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS blog for tons of bargains from FEB. 13-17!!

http://prairierosepublications.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VALENTINE’S DAY IN THE 1880’s and 5 Sweetheart Ebook Giveaways!

 

Next Tuesday is Valentine’s Day, a day of love and romance.  Can you guess what the gift of choice will be this Valentine’s Day?  If you guessed flowers, you’d be right, coming in first place at 1.9 billion. In second place, for a measly 1.7 billion is candy! That’s right and I’d bet most of those edible delights would be chocolate.  While 38 % of us will go out to dinner, 20% will receive jewelry and 1.1 billion will be spent on greeting cards.

Amazing.

The Valentine Card first came about in the 1500’s and by the 1700’s people began sending lace and paper flowered cards to each other on printed cards.

But the first American Valentine’s card didn’t hit our shores until 1849 when Ester Howland of Massachusetts designed 12 beautiful cards made by hand and gave them to her brother who was a salesman. She was hoping to make a small profit of $200.OO by selling her cards and to her great surprise, her brother came back to her with orders for $5,000 worth of cards.

 

And Ester found herself in business.  Her valentines made her famous throughout the United States and she became known as the “The Mother of the American Valentine.”  She is also credited with developing the first “lift up” valentine and another design of layering lace and a three dimensional accordion effect where a bouquet of flowers can be moved by a pull down string to reveal a verse.  That concept is still used today.

Ester continued making her valentine cards for the next thirty years.  She sold her business in 1880 to George Whitney in order to care for her ill father.

 

 

Valentine cards have surely gone through a progression of change.  Friends, family, lovers, husbands, wives and even children indulge.  It’s a fun heart-filled day to enjoy and appreciate the ones we love.  These days hubby and I go out to dinner to celebrate the day. Do you have a favorite way to celebrate?  Candy?  Cards?  Do you have any Valentine’s Day traditions?   Today I’m giving away 5 sweet reading treats– my back list EBOOK of The Billionaire’s Daddy Test to 5 lucky bloggers!.  (check later tonight for a list of giveaway winners)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing you a very happy sweethearts day and please keep reading as I have two new events to share with you!

Yay!  Taming the Texas Cowboy is available for pre-order:

 

 

After a disaster destroyed nearly everything Maddie Brooks owned, Trey Walker offered the petite redhead shelter at 2 Hope Ranch. A veterinarian, Maddie was smart, sexy, and good with animals… Impossible to resist, yet Trey is convinced he is cursed when it comes to women.
The temporary arrangement Maddie made with Trey was supposed to be strictly business. Easy, since Maddie had tried and failed to catch the handsome cowboy’s eye for a year. She thought she was so over him…until he kissed her. 

AMAZON    https://www.amazon.com/Taming-Texas-Cowboy-Forever-Book-ebook/dp/B01N7RZPSA/?tag=pettpist-20

Barnes and Noble Nook –

 

Friends, if you’re in the southern California area, SAVE THE DATE, for this fun Reader Appreciation Day.  Come sit at the table I’ll be sharing with the awesome Christy Jeffries and join the conversation, play Book Bingo where you can win GREAT prizes, enjoy sweet treats and simply have a wonderful afternoon.  This is how it works: You buy a $5 ticket ahead of time to reserve your spot and pick the author you want to sit with for the event. It’s like an exclusive, backstage pass to Romancelandia. Then, you will get a $5 voucher for the onsite bookstore (so really, your ticket is FREE), fun tote bags with FREE swag (Christy and I are giving away a   GIRLS NIGHT IN gift bag to our readers) and books, plus a FREE raffle ticket for some amazing gift baskets. Did you catch the “free” part? It’s a Win Win for readers!  To purchase your ticket go to: TICKETLEAP

 

Updated: February 8, 2017 — 11:52 pm

ODD VINTAGE VALENTINE’S DAY CARDS AND GIVEAWAY!–by CHERYL PIERSON

Cheryl2041web

Hi everyone! Well, I’m a day late for Valentine’s Day, but I wanted to show you some strange vintage Valentine’s Day cards since I did this for Easter and for Christmas. I was excited to try to find some “different” Valentine’s Day greetings as well, but oddly enough, didn’t have as much luck as with the Easter and Christmas holidays. But there are some really interesting cards here from “back in the day”, even if they’re not as strange as the Easter ones were (those took the cake)–so let’s take a look!

VINTAGE VALENTINE--Flaming heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s an odd one–two cupids setting this heart aflame! I suppose it was “burning” with desire…still, a little freaky, since there is no explanation or verse.

VINTAGE VALENTINE-PUMPKIN

 

 

 

 

 

OK, here we have Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater professing his love to the lady in the pumpkin…I wonder if these people just wrote a verse that rhymed and then painted the picture to go with it?

VINTAGE VALENTINE--STUPID RHYME

 

 

 

 

 

But just when you think you have it figured out, there comes along a Valentine like this one, that doesn’t even pretend to rhyme or use the right number of syllables.

VINTAGE VALENTINE-day-clip-art-couple-smoking1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ah, the smoking couple, in love. Evidently, this was a “thing” around the turn of the century, and maybe even before, because my grandparents’ engagement picture was styled like this–with my grandfather’s cigar (drawn onto the photo) swirling smoke rings into the air, and my grandmother’s picture inside one of those smoke rings at the top of the picture.

VINTAGE VALENTINE victorian_broken_heart_

This is an odd one. Not sure what the inside sentiment is, but the picture is pretty off-putting. Who would buy this stuff?

vintage_valentines_day_victorian couple on the moon

OK, much better. I love these old fanciful scenes like this–much more romantic, and it lets your imagination take flight–which is what Valentine’s Day should do, right?

vintage valentine-card-kissing-couple-SPOONTIME

Here’s another one I just love–“one long Spoontime, Dearie!”

VINTAGE VALENTINE KITTEN

And last but not least, this dear little kitten…I’m not sure what he intends to do with the paintbrush, but I’m sure it’s something loving. After all, this IS for Valentine’s Day!

I hope you all enjoyed this look at some of the cards of the past, and that everyone enjoyed their Valentine’s Day yesterday!

What was the best Valentine’s Day you ever had, and why? Leave your comment and contact information for a chance to win my giveaway today!

Hearts and Spurs Med

I want to give away TWO copies of HEARTS AND SPURS, a wonderful Prairie Rose Publications anthology that was our first Valentine’s Day anthology back in 2014–but rest assured, these stories are wonderful ANY time of the year. If you just can’t wait to see if you won, here’s the Amazon link — and this book is on sale for a limited time for only .99! (Also availabe in print!)

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HU5SCYE?tag=pettpist-20

The Power and the Light!

Charlene-with-BooksWhen we think of the old west, we think of stagecoaches and sheriffs and landowners and cattle. We think of railroaders and Native American Indians and farmers.  Some of the natural disasters that affected the settlers were droughts and tornadoes and severe thunderstorms and floods.  But the one thing we don’t think about is black-outs or power outages.  The men and women of the west didn’t have to worry if a power grid went down.  They had no power grids.

In fact, it wasn’t until Thomas Ediston invented a viable electric light bulb in 1879 did some fortunate people actually have electrical power.  By the end of the 1880’s electrical stations were developed to provide power for city residents, but the service was limited to only a few city blocks.

It is estimated that by 1930, only 10% of the rural population in the U.S had electrical power.Thomas Edisonthomas edison

How far we have come.

Now, one of our biggest fears is that entire cities could be involved in a power outage.  Power
grids do go down occasionally.  One of the biggest black-outs in United States history happened in 1965 near Niagara Falls.  In a domino effect, soon the entire city of New York was in the dark.  At the height of rushhour, on a Tuesday night, the city was in chaos.  It is estimated that 800,000 people were trapped inside the subway. Can you imagine?

Well, I did.  Although, I’ve never been in a black-out, (the closest I’ve come was being trapped in an elevator with 2 co-workers for 45 minutes)  I started thinking about what would happen if two of my main characters were victims of a black-out situation.  And thus, my new release, One Secret Night, One Secret Baby, was, uh, born.

 

Have you ever been in a blackout or been in any sort of power outage?  If not, yay!  What would frighten you the most if you were ever in one?  And read on to see how one Los Angeles power outage affected my hero and heroine Dylan McKay and Emma Bloom.

 

An unforgettable baby dilemma. Only from USA TODAY bestselling author Charlene Sands. 

During a city-wide power outage, Emma Bloom turns to her old friend Dylan McKay for help. The Hollywood heartthrob comes to her rescue, action-hero style, and sees her safely home. But what happened next? The details are blurry—because Emma was tipsy, and an on-set accident leaves Dylan’s memory of that night in tatters.

But soon irrefutable evidence surfaces: Emma is pregnant. It’s hard enough sharing her secret with a man used to fending off scheming women. But Dylan does the right thing and proposes. And then, one day, his memory returns…

Post a comment here and be included in my Super Sweet Valentine’s Giveaway!!  Your name will go into a drawing I’m holding on my new blog right now! Commenting there as well, doubles your chances.  Prizes include  my 3 -in- 1 Napa Valley Vows series, a DVD, Love and Sunshine lotion and Hershey’s Sweet Messages chocolates.  Winner will be announced HERE, FB and on my BLOG on Sunday, so be sure to stop back.  Happy Sweethearts Day!  (Drawing guidelines are posted in the sidebar)

Valentine's Day

 

Happy Reading everyone!

One Secret Night, One Secret Baby

Available on AMAZON

Barnes and Noble

and ALL other Retailers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updated: February 11, 2016 — 9:45 am

Presidential Love Stories and a Giveaway!

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Hi everyone- Winnie Griggs here.

Within the next week we’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day, President’s Day and my birthday (that is a national holiday, isn’t it?). So in my post today I thought I’d find a way to give a nod to all three.

And what better way to do that than to talk about the love stories of two American presidents and then to hand out a birthday present by throwing in a giveaway at the end?

So here goes.

First Ladies have always played important roles for their husbands and American politics at large. They are personal confidants, philanthropists, and even trusted political advisors, and many become celebrated career women independent of their presidential husbands. One almost forgets that beyond the politics and the public image, the President and the First Lady are husband and wife: two people in love, bound by matrimony.

R&A Jackson

It doesn’t get much more heart-wrenching than the tragic love story between Andrew Jackson and his beloved wife Rachel, who technically never was a First Lady. Rachel was mid-divorce when they met and fell in love. Her first husband was cruel and manipulative, and dragged his feet on finalizing their divorce. Before it was official, she and Andrew eloped and started a life together, and Rachel’s family and community readily accepted her new husband. Her first husband, however, used this against her, and had her charged with adultery. To fight this in court, Rachel would have had to further delay the divorce. She accepted the black mark on her reputation in the name of love. The divorce was finalized, and Rachel and Andrew remarried for good.

By all accounts, they adored each other, and as Andrew’s political career progressed, she kept him humble and soothed his anxieties. They were in their sixties by the time he ran for president, and had lived many blissful years together as decent, respectable people, still as in love as they were in their youth.

The tragedy is that during Andrew’s presidential campaign, his enemies dug up the court documents on Rachel’s first marriage and the adultery charge, and she was viciously attacked by the press. Both of them- already elderly for the times and in poor health- took this very hard, and when Andrew won, there was no vindication for Rachel. The stress of the campaign had worn on her, and mere days before her beloved husband left for Washington to take office, she died of an apparent heart attack.

A&J Adams

But I won’t leave you with that sad tale. John and Abigail Adams had a famous romance for an entirely different and very literary reason: their courtship and fifty year marriage is beautifully documented in the thousand-plus detailed letters they wrote to each other. John’s political career often kept them apart for long stretches of time, and their relationship was built and strengthened and maintained through their letters.

Abigail Adams is remembered as a highly intelligent, compassionate, and influential First Lady, and her husband John considered her an intellectual equal in all areas of life. She was his wife, the manager of his home and family, and his closest political advisor. Though she didn’t have a formal education, she was a voracious reader. Growing up around the finest libraries in her home state of Massachusetts, she read and read, on all subjects, and had an impressively broad knowledge base.

On their first meeting, John was not especially impressed. However, a romance soon blossomed. In one early, flirtatious correspondence, John addresses her, “Miss Adorable.” As the relationship progressed, their letters reflected a deep love and a powerful mental connection. They even wrote, in their letters, how much they enjoyed exchanging their thoughts in writing, how much peace it brought them when they could not be together. John and Abigail’s letters paint a vivid picture of two people in love: they quarrel, they wax poetic, they discuss political issues, and they ponder their lives. After John lost the election of 1800, the letters stopped. After nearly forty years of letter correspondence, they finally settled down for good in Massachusetts, together, with no more need for letters.

Just think, these rich stories come from only two of the past presidents of this country. How many other amazing love stories are hidden behind the politics and formality?

Here’s wishing you an early Happy Valentine’s Day, and on an unlikely related note, an early happy Presidents’ Day, too!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And now for the giveaway.

Anyone who leaves a comment today, giving your thoughts on the stories above, or sharing your own romantic love story, will be entered in a drawing where the winner gets his or her choice of any book from my backlist.  (click here to view a complete list of my books)

Happy early birthday to me 🙂

(click here to view our giveaway guidelines)

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Updated: February 8, 2016 — 2:10 am

What Shape is YOUR Heart? ~Tanya Hanson

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Happy almost-Valentine’s Day to all y’all! Please leave a comment…three copies of my novella PICK ME are up for grabs today. (e-book or PDF) So please leave me a comment! (U.S. Residents only and compliance with P and P’s sweepstakes rules.) My magic question will appear at the end!

Do you remember the little talky-hearts from your school days?

sweethearts

 

I sure do! Indeed, it was Daniel Chase in 1866 who invented conversation hearts at the New England Confectionery Company, so they’re 150 years old this very year! The confectioner itself is America’s oldest candy company, dating from 1847. In 1901, it became NECCO® after merging with two other candy makers.

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Anyway, I was thrilled to be able to participate in this year’s multi-author “Candy Heart Series” at The Wild Rose Press, where authors picked a typical candy-heart slogan and ran with it. My story Pick Me is short and sweet, and my first-ever contemporary western.

(Mega-thanks to author Sydney St. Claire for this wonderful YouTube showcase of the entire series! I promise there’s a story and a heat-level for everybody!)

So what’s it about? Third-grade teacher KELSEY HUNTER has the brainstorm for her class to grow heart-shaped carrots as a Valentine treat for the horses at the rescue where she volunteers. Of course it looks just like the rescue where I volunteer…complete with the unique “pink moment” when sunset colors the hills themselves.

Pink Moment 1

Her search for answers leads her to a comfy organic farm where she meets hottie LANDRY MILLS. Thing is, she’s recovering from a recent heartbreak…Although he steals her breath, can she give him her heart? It’s not in the best shape…

Here’s her first meeting with him. She’s all hot and grubby and sweaty from mucking…

val hearts

Of course.

“Hey. I’m Landry Mills.” He touched the brim of a dark brown Stetson, then held out his hand. For a sec, she wondered if she’d explode if she put hers in his. But her fingers felt soft and safe inside his hard-working grasp.

Still, she ought to have taken another swig of water before leaving the car. Mucking at the horse rescue was hot, hard work. Her tongue was the size of a cucumber.

Familiarity caught her breath. She knew this gorgeous man, didn’t she? A friend, God forbid, of Gunnar? But no. She’d never have forgotten meeting such a man in the flesh, shoulders so broad, legs so long fitting in a truck’s crew cab would be impossible. Eyes sparkling like champagne…

But…

“Hi.” She coughed and swallowed hard. At least her voice sounded normal. “I’m Kelsey Hunter. I have a question about a possible class project. I teach third grade.”

“Pleased.” And his eyes let her know he meant it. Oh, nothing ogling or untoward. Just…she knew. Dang, he was tall. “Hope I know the answer. Gotta tell you up front, though. We don’t grow third-graders here.” His white teeth shone in his sun-kissed face.

Although she laughed back, felt a thrill, this wasn’t eHarmony. She grabbed onto professionalism right quick. “I, Mr. Mills, I hope this isn’t too out-there, but…is there any way my students could grow heart-shaped carrots?”

Brownish-blond hair peeked from the edges of the Stetson. “It’s Landry. Mr. Mills, uh, was my dad.” His face fell, just for a flash.

His smile returned, kind but manly at the same time, and he gave her a two-fingered salute at the edge of his brim. Part of her ached to show him her ringless left hand. She was finally breathing normally after Gunnar’s gut-punch, but…

…Last thing she needed was another guy to mess up her life, even in a good way…

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.BLURB: Volunteering at a horse rescue has helped heal schoolteacher Kelsey Hunter after her celebrity ex’s betrayal. Life in the rural California community suits her better than the bling of Hollywood. When she seeks help for a classroom project, she’s thrown into the sphere of a down-to-earth organic farmer and horseman who could really steal her heart… 

However….Landry Mills is really successful mega-spokesmodel for a famed Westernwear line, He’s returned to his hometown to regroup and reconsider signing the next contract. Meeting Kelsey explodes feelings in him he wants to make real. But finding out a fancy director’s son recently crushed her spirit has him take things slow. What will Kelsey do when she finds out he’s a celebrity in his own right? He might not be able to bear it…

 

SO…what’s YOUR favorite Valentine treat?

Updated: February 3, 2016 — 7:33 pm

Get Lucky in Love by Charlene Sands!!

VALENTINE'S

 

February is the month for love and romance!  What more can we say about Valentine’s Day?  Well, here’s a few quotes from people you may just recognize.  Read them and tell me which one pertains most to you or give me your own quote on the subject and you’ll be entered into a drawing for this fabulous 3 in 1 prize including Diana Palmer, Donna Alward and little ole me!  Unless of course, you don’t like Red Hot Reads, or Hunky Cowboys or Romance at all!!

One Night with the Red Hot Rancher

Famous Love Quotes:

“Men always want to be a woman’s first love — women like to be a man’s last romance.” — Oscar Wilde

 

“You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.” — Sam Keen

 

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” — Helen Keller

 

“Where there is love there is life.” – Gandhi

 

“When you are in love you can’t fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams.” — Dr. Seuss

 

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this: where I does not exist nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.” — Pablo Neruda, “Love Sonnet XVII”

 

“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” – Aristotle

 

“Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.” — Albert Einstein

 

“Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward in the same direction.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

 

“Love doesn’t make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” — Franklin P. Jones

 

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.” — Shakespeare

“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for a smile is the beginning of love.” — Mother Theresa

 

Funny Love Quotes:

“Falling in love is so hard on the knees.” – Aerosmith

 

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” — Charles M. Schulz

 

“True love comes quietly, without banners or flashinglights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked.” — Erich Segal

 

“Before I met my husband, I’d never fallen in love. I’d stepped in it a few times.” — Rita Rudner

 

“It’s better to have loved and lost than to have to do forty pounds of laundry a week.” — Laurence J. Peter

 

“I’m dating a woman now who, evidently, is unaware of it.” — Garry Shandling

 

“I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known.” — Walt Disney

 

“I love being married. It’s so great to find one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” — Rita Rudner

 

“Love is a grave mental disease.” – Plato

 

“I want a man who’s kind and understanding. Is that too much to ask of a millionaire?” — Zsa Zsa Gabor

 

Lots going on in February!

Are you reading my Free Harlequin Online Read — Secret Designs on the Billionaire?

It’s the tie-in story to my February release Her Forbidden Cowboy.

Have you picked up your copy?

Her Forbidden Cowboy Graphic

 

AMAZON http://tinyurl.com/og9s4j2

Barnes and Noble http://tinyurl.com/monffa9

 

Get lucky in love!   Come to our DESIRE FACEBOOK PARTY on Lucky Friday 13th.

Win prizes and Gift Cards. Chat with all the authors!

 

 

 

Get Lucky in Love Small

 

 

 

Updated: February 10, 2015 — 6:52 pm

Valentine’s Day is Nearly Here!

Phyliss Miranda sig line for P&P BluebonnetIt’s only a few weeks until our special “love day” will be here … Valentine’s Day. Just in time for the occasion, Prairie Rose Publications released one of my short stories, “Tumbleweeds and Valentines”.

A short story about family, love, protection, and caring; each of my family members have the same objectives. It all comes to a head on Valentine’s Day.

I thought it’d be fun to go behind the scenes and let you see how we come up with character’s names, decide on vocations, and what type of historical research we have to do. Using “Tumbleweeds and Valentines” as my example seemed to be a great way to bring this to you and; and, of course encourage you to order the short story from one of the links below.

Tumbleweeds and ValentinesEven the most established author will tell you that more times than not they don’t get the working-title they want for their books through major publishing houses. It’s all up to the house and the contract because they know more about the business than we do as authors. I got to keep my story title, although I knew ahead of time that the name of the collection was ”Hearts and Spurs”. In other words, give your story a title that you like and don’t get down in the dumps or upset when you find out it isn’t the one on the front of the cover … a cover that likely you got no input into either, unless again cover approval/input is part of your negotiated contract.

The first thing I needed, as any other writer, is the names of the hero and heroine (H/H) and the setting. It’s also very important with settings that they are historically accurate; however, you have creative permission to bend it to fit your story, if it’s reasonable. That’s the reason, although I write my western historical romances, in the Texas Panhandle, I stay somewhat accurate.

My setting is in Caprock, Texas. All of the towns that I write about, both historical and contemporary, are based on towns in and around the Caprock of the Texas Panhandle, where I was born and raised. Thus the name Caprock, Texas. Greene Street where Mandy lives is an original street in Amarillo, although it’s long been replaced with another name.

I used a phrase in the story similar to, “Caprock has grown like the merchants of Colorado City wanted….” If you switched the name to Amarillo, you’d be correct. The merchants of Colorado City, Texas, wanted a town to become a railhead plus a passage on up north, so they solicited a number of merchants to set up business in this area, believing the railroad would come through here. The railroad named us Oneida, but we eventually where changed to Amarillo Spanish for yellow soil. All the houses were painted yellow, once the town was settled up on higher ground instead of in a buffalo wallow called then and now Wildhorse Lake. And, yes, we still have a viable railroad and shipping yards for cattle. As a matter of fact, at one time during the mid-1800’s, there were so many cattle to be shipped that the pastures were filled with them and extended nearly 100 miles south and to the New Mexico border.

valentine-chocolateWhere do names come from? Sometimes they are meant to recognize someone, either negatively or positively. Other times, it’s simply a name that works. I’ve also looked up at my reference books shelves and found a name for a minor character. I use a “name your baby” type book sometimes other times folks I know. In this book, I wrote Mandy, which is the name of the daughter-in-law of a friend and of course her last name had to be “Love” for Valentine’s Day.

Her business partner in the confectionary shop is Emma Parker who has two nephews. Trey is the blacksmith and I needed him to be that vocation. Then came time to name his twin, so rhyme time kicked in. Trey and Clay, and their last name is Hemphill and is in honor of a long-time deceased friend of mine. By the way, Emma is my oldest granddaughter, while Parker is my youngest grandson. Jenny, in the book is Emma’s sister, while in real life that’s my youngest daughter’s name and also the name of a friend. I try to respect my friends and family and never use their names or one of their family names without asking. With my family, I use middles names, if at all possible and never their last names or where they live in a blog or anything public.

valentine-graphics-1The neat thing about names is that most authors have a little quirk with a name that is always in a book. In my case you’ll always find the name of a bull of the year or at least a famous bull.

How people dress, especially women, is so very critical. For an historical, I use a series of research books by John Peacock and particularly like “The Chronicle of Western Fashion” From Ancient Times to the Present Day. I find an outfit that fits the era and my lady and try to describe it. In this particular story, Amanda wears a pale blue and while calico dress. I depicted it adequately and then wrote her name next to it in Peacock’s book, so I know I’ve already used that outfit. The nice thing about these research books is at various places it author stops to physically describe the various clothing. I opened it to a random page. In 1605 this picture showed a noblewoman wearing her hair “dressed over pads and decorated with feathers and flowers; gown with high standing lace collar supported on wire frame, long hanging sleeves and wide skirt on cartwheel frame; high-heeled slashed shoes with wired bows.”

I love to cook, so you’ll see characters fixin’ candy, fried pies, and tarts in this story. I use them for actions tags instead of verbal tags for my heroine and her business partner. Since this is a short read and I didn’t have a lot of words to describe what they were makin’ for the Valentine’s barn dance, hootenanny, or shindig … whatever you may have called it in 1889.

There is so much more I’d like to write about, but I hope this gave you a taste, pun intended, of what this story is about and if you’re lucky you’ll win one of two free copies.

Please share with me your favorite Valentine’s goodie. My two most favorite are in the story. Let me hear from you ladies.

Updated: January 19, 2015 — 9:47 pm
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