western romance

Rainmaker, Rainmaker Make Us Some Rain…

MargaretBrownley-headerThe success of a rain dance has a lot to do with timing


As you may have heard California is going through a terrible drought. Most of my neighbors have either let their lawns die or replaced them with artificial turf. Others have simply come up with a way of stealing water. Yep, that’s right; we now have water thieves to contend with.

grassMy husband came up with yet another solution; he simply painted our grass green (see before and after photo). Yep, there’s actually grass paint that you can spray on and it works!

Watching all this craziness around me made me wonder about droughts in the past. I’m pretty sure they didn’t have grass paint back in the 1800s.

For many years people believed that cloudbursts were caused by noise. Plutarch was the first to note that a rainstorm followed every great battle. He thought it was nature’s way of purifying the ground after bloodshed.

He wasn’t the only one who believed in the “concussion theory of rainmaking;” Napoleon was among the many military leaders convinced that artillery fire caused rain. After losing the battle of Waterloo due to the muddy battleground, he came up with the strategy of firing weapons in the air in hopes that a deluge would disable the enemy.

Amazingly, more than 150 major civil war battles were followed by rainstorms. Witnessing the rain that fell after the battle of Bull Run, J.C. Lewis blamed it on the “discharge of heavy artillery.”

Not everybody agreed that rain was generated by blasts. Meteorologist James Pollard Espy, known as thecannon Storm King, insisted it wasn’t the noise, but rather the heat of battle that opened the clouds. To prove his theory he asked that he be allowed to set a 600 mile stretch of land on fire. Congress turned down his request.

Heat or noise, no one really knew for sure. Brigadier General Robert Dyrenforth decided to settle the matter once and for all by conducting a series of rain-making experiments in Texas. He used artillery and balloon-carrying explosives. Instead of rain, he set a series of prairie fires and was given the name Dry-Henchforth.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the west was going through another drought and water wars raged. It was the perfect environment for a former sewing machine salesman by the name of Charles Hatfield aka Robin Hood of the Clouds.


      Hatfield’s Rain Tower

Offering his services to farmers he built high towers and released a chemical concoction he created. Because of clever timing he had some initial success, which is why the city of San Diego hired him. In 1916 he climbed his newly built tower and tossed his chemicals into the air.

Lo and behold, the sky opened up dumping thirty-five inches of rain on the city and causing a tremendous amount of damage. The city wanted Hatfield to take responsibility for what was called the Hatfield flood, but he refused, claiming it was an act of God. When the city failed to pay him his $10,000, he sued, but after twenty-two years the case was finally thrown out of court.

Scientists are still trying to figure out how to summon rain and so far their efforts have met with little success. Maybe it’s time to bring out the cannons.

So which rain theory makes the most sense to you?

Noise or heat?



                              What Readers are Saying About Undercover Bride


“5 Stars!”

“A truly entertaining must read”

“A thrilling escapade”

“A creative plot and delightful characters”

“Good clean fun western romance”

“Thumbs up for mystery western”

“Wild west guns and grins”





Love in the Time of Miscegenation

Kathleen Rice Adams header

She’s the sweetest rose of color this darky ever knew,
Her eyes are bright as diamonds, they sparkle like the dew;
You may talk about your dearest May, and sing of Rosa Lee,
But the Yellow Rose of Texas beats the belles of Tennessee.

Those are the original words to the chorus of “The Yellow Rose Texas,” a folksong dating to early colonial Texas. 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.

Marie Laveau 1774-1881 Marie Laveau by Franck Schneider

“New Orleans’ Voodoo Queen” Marie Laveau (1774-1881) was a free Creole of mixed race.

In its original form, the song tells the story of a black man (“darky”) who has been separated from his sweetheart and longs to reunite with her. The lyrics indicate the sweetheart was a free mulatto woman—a person of mixed black and white heritage. In those days, “person of color” was considered a polite way to refer to black people who were not slaves. “Yellow” was a common term for people of mixed race.

During the Civil War, “The Yellow Rose of Texas” became a popular marching tune for troops all over the Confederacy; consequently, the lyrics changed. White Confederates were not eager to refer to themselves as darkies, so “darky” became “soldier.” In addition, “rose of color” became “little flower.”

Aside from the obvious racist reasons for the modifications, legal doctrine played into the picture as well. Until the U.S. Supreme Court declared the practice unconstitutional in 1967, all eleven formerly Confederate states plus Delaware, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and West Virginia outlawed marriage and sexual relations between whites and blacks. In four of the former Confederate states—Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia—marriage or sexual relations between whites and any non-white was labeled a felony. Such laws were called anti-miscegenation laws, or simply miscegenation laws. In order to draw what attorneys term a “bright line” between legal and illegal behavior, many states codified the “single-drop rule,” which held that a person with a single drop of Negro blood was black, regardless the color of his or her skin.

Texas’s miscegenation law, enacted in 1837, prescribed among the most severe penalties nationwide: A white person convicted of marrying, attempting to marry, or having sex with a person of another ethnicity was subject to a prison sentence of two to five years. Well into the twentieth century, it was not uncommon for the non-white half of the illicit relationship to be severely beaten or killed by irate local citizens.

The first American miscegenation laws arose in the colonies in the 1600s. The laws breathed their last gasp in 2001, when Alabama finally removed the anti-miscegenation clause from its state constitution after a referendum barely passed with only sixty percent of the popular vote.

Texas’s miscegenation law plays a role in “The Big Uneasy,” one half of the duet of stories in my new release, The Dumont Brand. The father of the heroine’s intended “lives in sin” with a free Creole of color. Under a tradition known as plaçage, wealthy white men openly kept well-bred women of color as mistresses in the heroine’s hometown, New Orleans. Texans frowned on the practice nonetheless. The situation causes no end of heartache for the heroine.

The Dumont Brand releases Friday, along with 20 other books, as part of Prairie Rose PublicationsChristmas in July event. About half of the books are holiday tales (like The Last Three Miles), and the other half are stories set in other seasons (like The Dumont Brand). Each of them will warm readers’ hearts all year long. Prairie Rose will host an extra-special Facebook fandango to celebrate the mountain of releases July 28-29. You can RSVP here. Did I mention the Prairie Roses will be giving away free books, jewelry, and other fun prizes?

The Dumont Brand 2 Web


On the eve of the Civil War, family secrets threaten everything a ranching dynasty has built…until Amon Collier finds salvation in the wrong woman’s love. In the aftermath of battle, a woman destroyed by betrayal brings peace to his brother Ben’s wounded soul.

The Big Uneasy: To escape the unthinkable with a man about whom she knows too much, New Orleans belle Josephine LaPierre agrees to marry a Texan about whom she knows nothing. Falling in love with his brother was not part of her plan.

Making Peace: After four long years in hell, Confederate cavalry officer Bennett Collier just wants to go home—assuming home still exists. Widowed Jayhawker Maggie Fannin will hold onto her home at any cost…even if she must face down the imposing Rebel soldier who accuses her of squatting.


The-Last-3-Miles-Kathleen-2-Web_FinalThe Last Three Miles also will debut Friday as part of PRP’s Christmas in July:

When an accident leaves Hamilton Hollister convinced he’ll never be more than half a man, he abandons construction of a railway spur his lumber mill needs to survive. Believing no woman shackled by social convention can be complete, railroad heiress Katherine Brashear refuses to let the nearly finished track die.

The magic of Christmas in a small Texas town may help them bridge the distance…if they follow their hearts down The Last Three Miles.

You can read excerpts from both books and peruse a complete list of the titles that are part of PRP’s Christmas in July event here.


To do a little celebrating of my own, I’ll give an e-copy of The Dumont Brand to one of today’s commenters and an e-copy of The Last Three Miles to another.

Please note: Both are available only as ebooks.


Kaki Warner: Persevering and a Giveaway!

Kaki WarnerThank you Petticoats & Pistols for inviting me to visit today—it’s always a treat to hang out with the Fillies.


This has been a hectic year for my husband and me. Remember that big forest fire in Washington State last summer? It burned to within yards of our house and turned 60 acres of timber at the back of our property to ash. Then the floods came. Then we were sideswiped in our new car, suffered a devastating loss in the family, and I had two knee replacement surgeries. But like Chief Dan George advised in Josey Wales, we endeavored to persevere. And it worked! Our house was saved, insurance paid for the lost timber, our car is all fixed and no one was hurt, our grief is easing, and my knees are getting better every day. Plus, I lost 50 pounds through it all. Double win!


So how is this relevant?


Writing is a lot like life—full of ups and downs, disappointments, euphoria, and sometimes a lot of self-doubt. But if you endeavor to persevere, you’ll get through it to the good stuff. I’m living proof of that.


Throughout all this drama, I was trying to write the most difficult book I’ve ever attempted—HOME BY MORNING, the story of Thomas (the Cheyenne Dog Soldier) and Pru (the educated daughter of a white plantation owner and a slave). This couple had been introduced as secondary characters in the first book of my runaway bride series—HEARTBREAK CREEK. Their story wove through the next four novels, generating a lot of mail and questions about when they would get their own book. But I had my doubts.


Home By MorningDid I have enough story left for a book?


How in the world would I get into the heads of characters so far beyond my own life experiences?


Could I do justice to their story without getting mired down in political correctness, politics, or trying not to make them victims, or too modern in their thinking and experience?


Then I realized…they’re just people, regardless of their culture, race, background. They want what we all want—love, acceptance, and respect. So I put my head down and started writing.


And then a wonderful thing happened. A whole new character showed up, with the voice and the spirit and the charisma to help me bring Thomas and Pru’s story into the light. Lillian, Lillie, Katse’e.


She taught me a lot. How to reach outside my comfort zone and take a risk on new ideas, different cultures and experiences. How to tame the doubt with humor and courage. How to listen.


Those are worthy lessons for any writer. (Too bad I couldn’t have figured it out thirty years ago…but then some of us are slow learners, I guess). Has that ever happened to you? When a person, or a character, or an experience reaches inside your mind and tweaks it just enough so that everything falls into place and makes sense? Not yet? Then endeavor to persevere. It’ll come when it’s time.


I hope you’ll get a chance to read HOME BY MORNING. If you do, let me know what you think. I can be reached on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kakiwarner.


And to show you how much I appreciate you dropping by and leaving a comment, I’ll be giving away two signed copies of HOME BY MORNING.



After Kaki, her husband and their coonhound retired to the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State, Kaki decided to get serious about writing. She sold her first book to Berkley (Penguin Random House) the year she went on Social Security. Since then, she’s penned nine novels, a novella and a short story. It’s been a fun, wild ride, and along the way she’s been blessed with kind reviews, a Maggie, a RITA, and four RITA nominations. But what she values most are the wonderful people she’s met…both readers and other authors. So her advice: don’t let anyone tell you you’re too old to start writing, or it’s too late to try something new. The rewards can be astounding. So just do it.


Cheryl2041webHi everyone! Ready for some great western historical romance reading at some fantastic bargain prices? Well, let me tell you about Prairie Rose Publications’ 2nd annual CHRISTMAS IN JULY event!

Christmas in July is a chance for us to be able to showcase our authors’ short stories from the past year’s anthologies as single sell stories. Many of the stories are Christmas stories, but there are others, as well, and also for the duration of our Christmas in July event some of our full length novels will be reduced to only .99!

Our Christmas in July event will start on July 24 (this Friday) and will last through the next Friday, the 31st. One fun thing we always try to do when we have these sales is a Facebook party called a “FANDANGO” for our authors and readers to connect and get to know one another. During this year’s Christmas in July, our Fandango will take place on Monday, the 27th and Tuesday, the 28th. We decided on those days because Jacquie Rogers, one of our authors who is always so wonderful at setting up these shindigs for us, has a birthday on the 27th, and mine is on the 28th!

Here’s a collection of the 21 short stories and duos that will be available, but we’ll have more books available at “Christmas in July sale prices”!

PRPChristmas+in+July+2015 FINALI’ll post the links below so everyone can sign up, if you’d like to attend, and come join us for two afternoons/evenings of lots of fun, chatter, and PRIZES! What is Christmas without gifts?

Here’s a sneak peek at our fillies who will be participating with some of their stories in the Prairie Rose Publications Christmas in July event!


PRPThe Last 3 Miles Kathleen 2 WebKathleen R. Adams The Last Three Miles

When an accident leaves Hamilton Hollister convinced he’ll never be more than half a man, he abandons construction of a railway spur his lumber mill needs to survive.


Believing no woman shackled by social convention can be complete, railroad heiress Katherine Brashear refuses to let the nearly- finished track die. The magic of Christmas in a small Texas town may help them bridge the distance…if they follow their hearts down The Last Three Miles.



PRPTanya Sisters Double 2 WebTanya Hanson: Sisters: Her Hurry-Up Husband

Prim and proper socialite Elspeth Maroney flees from an indiscretion to the Wild West of Colorado as a mail order bride. She doesn’t plan to stay long, only a month. Rancher Hezekiah Steller needs a wife quick to get himself an heir, but what will the stagecoach deliver to his doorstep?

Their worlds collide deliciously until Ellie must confess her mistakes. Will Hez still want her tomorrow?

Her Thief of Hearts

To escape her domineering mother, Omaha socialite Judith Maroney heads to her sister’s Colorado ranch on the morning train…a train that’s ambushed by the very cowboy who stole her heart on her last visit!

Taking on the disguise of his outlaw twin brother, Tremaine Heisler holds up a train to retrieve a family treasure—and finds his gun pointed at the woman he loves. Is there any way out for either of them?


PRPTracy Garrett Duo WebTracy Garrett—A RIVER’S BEND DUO

Wanted: The Sheriff

Martha Bittner may be considered a spinster at twenty-seven, but she’s not planning to stay that way. For four years, she’s wanted the sheriff of River’s Bend, Missouri, to notice her as more than a friend and a really good cook. With the first annual spring dance only weeks away, Martha decides to announce her intentions — and declares the sheriff a wanted man.

Sheriff Matthew Tate always thought he was better off a bachelor. Growing up in Boston society, where marriage is a business transaction and wealth his greatest asset, he’s learned to distrust all women’s intentions. None of them even catch his eye anymore — until pretty Martha Bittner tells him exactly what she wants… and he wonders why he ever resisted capture.

No Less Than Forever

Doctor Franz Bittner is satisfied with his life as it is. He has a good practice in a place where he is respected, in spite of his German birth. He has good friends and enough income to provide him with a few comforts. A wife would only complicate things. Then a tiny blond stranger is pulled from the river and everything changes. With one smile she captures his attention—and steals his heart.

Rebekah Snow Redmann barely survived her abusive husband’s attack. Though she was given to him to pay her father’s debts, she’d rather die than go back. Then she ends up in the care of the handsome local doctor and he stitches up more than her wounds—he mends her soul. With him, she discovers everything that she believes she can never have…a love that will last forever.

PRPThese Rough Dreams Cheryl WebCheryl Pierson: These Rough Dreams

When Southern socialite Gabrielle Mason discovers she’s pregnant, she takes her future into her own hands. She has her family name to consider, and a husband is what she needs. She answers an ad for a mail-order bride in Indian Territory. But the man who proposes isn’t the man she ends up marrying.

Johnny Rainbolt is not a family man by any stretch of the imagination…but Fate is about to give him no choice. His late sister’s three children will be arriving on the next stage, and he has no idea what to do with them. When cultured Gabby Mason is left waiting for her prospective groom at the stage station, Johnny sees a way to solve everyone’s problems.

Some dreams get off to a rough start. A mail-order marriage is only the beginning. When one of the children is stolen, Johnny and Gabby are forced to depend on one another in an unimaginable circumstance that could turn tragic… or show them what might become of THESE ROUGH DREAMS.

These are just a few of the wonderful stories that will be available on the 24th!

Visit our website at http://www.prairierosepublications.com on July 24 to see the unveiling of over 21 wonderful books, duos, and short stories that we’ll have available for Christmas in July!

To join up for the 2015 Christmas in July PRP Fandango at Facebook, go here and click “JOIN”—this event will start both the 27th and the 28th at 5:00 EASTERN STANDARD TIME, so don’t forget to make the adjustment for whichever time zone you live in! I promise, you won’t want to miss out on one minute of the fun!


We look forward to seeing you there!

Guest Blogger Renee Ryan


(Read the entire post to learn how to be entered for a FABULOUS giveaway Renee is offering)

Good mR.Ryanorning, Renee Ryan here. I want to thank Winnie for letting me stop by today. It’s great to be back in the junction with my favorite fillies. I’ve always loved westerns and am still writing them, even though I’m no longer a contributing member of this blog. In honor of my temporary return I have a special giveaway today, but more on that later.

It’s been nearly thirty years since I read my first romance novel. I was in college, pursuing a double major in Economics and Religious Studies. Both subjects required intensive reading of complicated material, including several religious texts in the original Greek and Hebrew. A sorority sister noticed my eyes crossing after a long night of studying in the chapter room and took pity on me. She handed me a Harlequin Romance novel and said, “Take a break.”

Skeptical, I did as she requested. Two hours later, I was hooked for life. And so began a fascination with romance novels. Reading these happily-ever-after stories became my greatest treat after a long day of studying or test taking. At the time, I never dreamed I’d one day write a novel (see my majors up above) or that I would write for the company where it all began that late spring evening. I certainly never dreamed I would incorporate some of very same themes I enjoyed all those years ago.

My first western historical romance was written by Teresa Medeiros called Nobody’s Darling. I’d found my favorite time period. I still enjoy reading Harlequin books and I still enjoy reading westerns. As a writer I’ve learned to incorporate my favorite romance novel themes (AKA tropes) in my favorite time period (the Old West). I especially love the following:

  • Marriage of Convenience
  • Reunion/Old Flame
  • Fish out of water (i.e. city girl on a ranch, etc.)
  • Cowboy
  • Rancher
  • Cowboy
  • Cowboy
  • Cowboy
  • Matchmaker/Matchmaker kids
  • Widow/widower
  • Single parent
  • Twins
  • Cowboy
  • Mistaken identity
  • Cowboy
  • Cowboy
  • Temporary Nanny
  • Guardian/Protector/Lawman
  • Bad boy meets Good girl
  • COWBOY!!!

Anyone see a theme? :)

Within each of the above tropes there are a million different storylines.  I’ve used one or more in all of my published novels. For example, in THE OUTLAW’S REDEMPTION I used cowboy and guardian/protector and bad boy meets good girl tropes. MISTAKEN BRIDE I had twins, mistaken identity, nanny, single parent, and widower.

I guess it’s true what they say, there are no new stories just new ways to tell them.

What about you?  When did you first start reading romance novels and what are your favorite themes?  Leave a comment and you’ll be eligible to win a copy of my latest Charity House book, THE MARRIAGE AGREEMENT. The book has the marriage of convenience and bad boy meets good girl and matchmaker tropes.

I’ll be giving away one copy of this book to a lucky reader and one full set of the entire Charity House series to one grand prize winner. THE MARRIAGE AGREEMENT is book 9 of 9 and wraps up the series. Bringing this series to an end has been bittersweet for me. Charity House is no ordinary orphanage, but rather a unique home for the by-blows of prostitutes and gunslingers.  By its very nature, Charity House lends itself to unique stories about people facing a world that didn’t want their “kind” and THE MARRIAGE AGREEMENT highlights one of the original orphans, Jonathon Hawkins, or Johnny.



The Marriage Agreement coverartTHE MARRIAGE AGREEMENT

Promoted to Wife?

Always the dutiful daughter, Fanny Mitchell surprised everyone when she broke her engagement. Now she’s working at the fancy Hotel Dupree and falling for the mysterious, handsome owner, Jonathon Hawkins. But when she and her boss are caught in an unexpected kiss at a ball, will her reputation be tarnished forever?

The son of a woman of ill repute, Jonathon knows that gossip can destroy lives in an instant. And he won’t allow sweet, lovely Fanny to suffer the consequences. When he proposes a marriage of convenience, Jonathon believes he can keep his heart to himself. But the more time he spends with Fanny, the more he realizes he may just be in love with his wife.

Charity House: Offering an oasis of hope, faith and love on the rugged Colorado frontier.


(To purchase a copy or learn more about this book, click on the book cover)

Rosanne Bittner: What’s in a Hero?

Rosanne Header

I have recently needed to re-read several of my older titles for conversion to e-books.  After 60 titles and 32 years of writing, I can’t always remember exactly what happened in every book I wrote or who the hero and heroine were.  So far I have been pleasantly surprised at how good the stories are and how “hot” the heroes and the love scenes are.  Somehow I had the idea that “way back then” I was hesitant to get too racy with my love scenes, but gosh, they ain’t bad!

Rosanne BittnerThrough all of this, I am noticing something about my heroes – they tend to be a lot alike – i.e. rugged, take no sh–, well built, extremely able with fists, guns or in the case of the Native Americans, sometimes knife, tomahawk or lance.  They are survivors.  I am falling in love all over again with each one of them as I read these older books and am re-discovering some great characters – both the heroes and the heroines.  Even the heroines are, for the most part, very strong women who “match” the men they’ve chosen to love and can stand right up to them (and often wrap them right around their little fingers)!   I was afraid I would find some “fainting flowers” in some of those older books, but so far I haven’t.

Let’s face it.  Women love to read about the bad-ass who’s vulnerable in some way when it comes to his woman – a man who would die for her, who loves her unconditionally (actually he adores her) – who always has her back and who is true to her.  He might be hard to live with, but what woman wants to live without him!

OUTLAW HEARTS COVERI am noticing with great relief that it’s only the bad-ass aspect that is very similar in most of my heroes.  Each one so far is turning out to be unique in his background and his reasons for turning out as he has.  I never want to be accused of writing the same man over and over.  Each hero has to be his own man with his own special story – and not all of them are tall and dark and have 6-pack abs, although that seems to be the preferred description.  My hero Mitch Brady in DESPERATE HEARTS (September 2014) has sandy hair and very blue eyes, but he is, of course, tall and has those abs!

I like to write a hero (and often a heroine) who has some kind of tragedy in his past that has caused him to turn out the way he has, either some traumatic childhood experience, or the horrors of the Civil War or Indian wars, or he’s been robbed of everything he called his own or his inheritance – or has lost a wife or child tragically – something that makes the heroine’s (and the reader’s) heart ache for the poor guy and want to just hug him and tell him everything will be all right – but of course he’s rugged and stoic and refuses (at first) to admit that he needs that hug.  After all, in the “old days” a man just didn’t cry.  When they do in my books, it tears your heart out because he’s such a macho man that it is a real surprise when he even gets tears in his eyes, let alone actually weeping.  No cry-babies here.  Just men who have suffered and have finally met a woman who understands that at least once he has to “let it all out.”

DO NOT FORSAKE MEI think another required “ingredient” for a hero is that he doesn’t just love and want the heroine – he NEEDS the heroine.  He should feel he couldn’t go on without her – feelings he of course fights at first, but feelings he can’t ignore forever.  In my books the hero often feels he is unworthy of the heroine’s love, or feels he could never be the kind of man he “thinks” she wants or needs.  I usually always find a way for hero and heroine to finally be together without either of them having to give up his and her own dreams.  That’s the way most romances turn out, but I refuse to do it the “soft, flowery” way.  Hero and heroine have to fight together to realize their dreams and to be able to spend their lives together.

It’s really fun reading these older books. But for now, you can read about one of the best heroes I’ve ever written – Jake Harkner – in OUTLAW HEARTS (June 2015) and DO NOT FORSAKE ME (July 2015).  I am currently working on the third book of this trilogy, LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE (scheduled for September 2016).  All three books comprise a great love story you will never forget.  Jake was horribly abused as a child, which led him into an outlaw life, but along comes Miranda, a woman fate brings into his pathway and who won’t get out of the way.  Miranda understands the “little boy” inside the macho man who is Jake Harkner … ruthless … lawless … a real bad-ass … a wanted man, which means life with Jake means life on the run (in OUTLAW HEARTS) but things work out and in Book #2 (DO NOT FORSAKE ME) Jake is a U.S. Marshal in Oklahoma – and still as bad-ass as they come!!

RT cover 2015As explained in a great spread I had in Romantic Times magazine(DO NOT FORSAKE ME was a “top pick”), these books are packed with powerful emotions, which make them tear-jerker stories you won’t soon forget.  Much like my SAVAGE DESTINY books, the Harkner books will be keepers!!  I can’t wait for you to read them and am anxious to hear back from my readers!

And by the way, for those of you who need fresh, new copies of all 7 of my SAVAGE DESTINY books – or for my new readers who have never read those first books I wrote 30 years ago – you can NOW GET ALL 7 SAVAGE DESTINY BOOKS IN PRINT WITH NEW COVERS!!  Just check them out on Amazon’s “print-on-demand” offers.  The new covers are beautiful (by Hot Dam Designs).  These were my first books and are still out-selling everything else … although sales for my “Jake” books are looking smashing!!  I have to say that Zeke from SAVAGE DESTINY and Jake from my OUTLAW TRILOGY are my favorite heroes of all time!

What are your favorite western romances? Doesn’t have to be historical.

Thanks for your support!  Rosanne Bittner

Rosanne is giving away 3 sets of both Outlaw Hearts and Do Not Forsake Me. Leave a comment to enter the drawing!


About Rosanne:

rosanneRosanne has been writing most of her life, beginning with poetry at a young age, then moving on to writing her first book 36 years ago. After writing a total of nine books after that, it was the ninth book that finally sold 33 years ago, SWEET PRAIRIE PASSION, which was then published in 1983 and became the first book of a 7-book series about the settling of Colorado called SAVAGE DESTINY. All 7 books are still selling and Amazon recently reissued all 7 books for print-on-demand with new covers!  Rosanne went on to write 53 more books since then, for a total of 60 published novels to date with #61 coming in 2016.

Rosanne wrote through many personal challenges and worked full time at secretarial work for the first several years of her writing. She’s been married 50 years and has two sons and three grandsons, and she helps run a family business in a small town in southwest Michigan. She attributes her success to the fact that her books are filled with real American history, which she brings alive through her fictitious characters, so well that fans often write wanting to know if those people really lived. Her books span the West, from Indiana to California and Mexico to Canada.

Rosanne has traveled to every location about which she writes, and her love for the magnificent western landscape shows through in her writing with descriptions of vast prairies and plains, and incredibly beautiful descriptions of  the Sierras and the Rockies.   When you read a Bittner book you are carried away into another time and into landscapes that once were virgin and unsettled. She has covered nearly every major historical event and has written many Native American stories.

Rosanne has a huge library of her own research books and has studied America’s history, especially the Old West and Native Americans, for forty years. She has won numerous writing awards, including the prestigious WILLA AWARD from Women Writing the West, and was named Queen of Western Romance and one of the “legends” of western romance by Romantic Times magazine.

Rosanne is available for speaking engagements and has conducted writers workshops at many writing conferences.

You can contact her:


19th Century Advice to Brides and the Men that Lasso Them

Webheader 2009 2


Oh my!  In the 1800s there were many advice books for women (and a few for men) on what to expect in conjugal relationships in marriage. All I can say is, I’m glad I was born in this century when it comes to marriage advice!

~ For the ladies ~

20150702_115717_resized (2)To the sensitive young woman who has had the benefits of proper upbringing, the wedding day is, ironically, both the happiest and most terrifying day of her life. On the positive side, there is the wedding itself, in which the bride is the central attraction in a beautiful and inspiring ceremony, symbolizing her triumph in securing a male to provide for all her needs for the rest of her life. On the negative side, there is the wedding night, during which the bride must pay the piper, so to speak, by facing for the first time the terrible experience of sex.    

At this point, dear reader, let me concede one shocking truth. Some young women actually anticipate the wedding night ordeal with curiosity and pleasure! Beware such an attitude! A selfish and sensual husband can easily take advantage of such a bride. One cardinal rule of marriage should never be forgotten: GIVE LITTLE, GIVE SELDOM, AND ABOVE ALL, GIVE GRUDGINGLY. Otherwise what could have been a proper marriage could become an orgy of sexual lust.

On the other hand, the bride’s terror need not be extreme. While sex is at best revolting and at worse rather painful, it has to be endured, and has been by women since the beginning of time, and is compensated for by the monogamous home and by the children produced through it. It is useless, in most cases, for the bride to prevail upon the groom to forego the sexual initiation. While the ideal husband would be one who would approach his bride only at her request and only for the purpose of begetting offspring, such nobility and unselfishness cannot be expected from the average man.
Ruth Smythers~ Instruction & Advice for the Young Bride Copyright 1894 The Madison Institute.

Cowboy Boot~And now for the men ~

Besides being the universal aggressor, he (man) is obliged…to break her into the harness of passion, by dint of both stratagem and perseverance. 

She may seem slow to accord to you the privileges of married life, but defer to her will; do nothing rashly. It will be quite a shock to feminine modesty when she, a pure-minded maiden, shall be called upon to lie down in the same bed with a man. It will seem repulsive at first, because she will feel that that lying down robs her of her feminine prerogative, and puts her person in the power of another.

Be a martyr for your own sake, if nothing else; let the world know just as little about your wretchedness as possible; put on, in society, a cheerful exterior, though domestic unhappiness should be feeding upon your very vitals. Better that, than a home broken up, and two, or perhaps a half-dozen lives blighted forever.    The Marriage Guide for Young Men: A Manual of Courtship and Marriage by George W. Hudson, 1883

Granted, I chose some of the more outlandish examples by today’s sensibilities and these authors did have other more sage advice, but with these attitudes, it is a wonder men and women married at all! I guess the ‘War between the Sexes’ was alive and well in the 19th Century!

I am fortunate to have a great example of an amazing union in my parent’s marriage. Sixty-five years and counting! The respect & love (not to mention fun) they afford each other has been an inspiration to my own marriage. The picture above is of my grandparent’s marriage in the early 1920s.

What advice have you heard or would you give a couple getting “hitched” today? 

(It definitely does not have to be about the marriage night!)

Comment to enter a drawing for the anthology Wild West Christmas. Dance With A Cowboy (my story in the anthology) received a 2015 Holt Medallion Award of Merit!

I have enjoyed this Wedding Week here at Petticoats & Pistols! What fun, informative posts. Everyone have a safe, fun 4th tomorrow!

Playing The Flirtation Game


“Ever wonder why the word engagement describes

both a promise of marriage & war battle?”-Undercover Bride

Wedding-Week-sepiaMy husband was recently asked by a young man how he dated me before mobile phones and texting. We got a good laugh out of that one. Try explaining the concept of planning ahead to today’s spur-of-the-moment youths and see where that gets you.

It did get me thinking though; how did men and women come together without benefit of modern day technology?   At least my husband and I had access to what is now called a land phone. 

That’s when I discovered that “texting” isn’t all that new. Yep, you got that right. 19th century lads did indeed “text” and they didn’t need a modern day phone to do it. They simply passed out flirtation or escort cards asking permission to make a young woman’s acquaintance or escort her home. These preprinted cards were fun, clever and often rhymed.

If the answer was yes, the woman simply kept the card. If no, she would return it.  Would any of these cards win your heart?


Note: Many thanks to Alan Mays for his wonderful collection.


My granddaughter thinks her generation invented chat acronyms. No doubt she’d be surprised to learn that many were developed during the 1800s to save money in sending telegrams. “Hw r u ts mng?” meant “How are you this morning?” And instead of lol they used the more efficient Ha. Love and kisses in telegram talk was simply 88.


Not sure I would want to be “interviewed” by a suitor. I’d pass on this one.


I’d be wary of a man with a stack of cards that said “two hearts beat as one.”

This one seems more like a business arrangement. Monkey business?

The words “escort” and “strictly confidential” makes me wonder what’s really on his mind.

Since we’re celebrating love and marriage this week,

tell us how you met your significant other.


                              What Readers are Saying About Undercover Bride


“5 Stars!”

“A truly entertaining must read”

“A thrilling escapade”

“A creative plot and delightful characters”

“Good clean fun western romance”

“Thumbs up for mystery western”

“Wild west guns and grins”





MargaretBrownley-headerThe only good reason to ride a bull is to meet a nurse

Recently I read that the American cowboy wouldn’t have survived “lonesome” had it not been for his ihorse“guts and his hoss.” The author got it only partly right. For the cowboy had one more weapon of survival under his Stetson: his sense of humor.

Seeing the funny side of life in the Old West was just as vital, if not more so, than a cowboy’s horse or six-gun. Those early buckaroos survived long hours in the saddle under the most difficult conditions with jokes, horseplay and cock and bull stories.

fireNo campsite was complete without a tall tale or two. Cowboys didn’t experience weather like the rest of us. No sirree. One cowpuncher told about winter being so cold they couldn’t hear the foreman’s orders. “The words froze as they came outta his mouth. We had to break them off one by one so we could tell what he was sayin’.”

The wind was a popular subject. “You think this wind is bad? You ain’t seen nothin’.” Cowboys talked about feeding their chickens buckshot so they wouldn’t blow away in the wind. Not to be outdone some claimed it was so windy a chicken laid the same egg five times.

Don’t dig for water under the outhouse.

California’s current drought is nothing compared to what those cowboys of yesteryear experienced. “One teethdrought was so bad the cactus took to a-chasing after dogs.”

Texas was reportedly the healthiest state. So healthy, in fact, no one ever died there naturally. They needed the assistance of a bullet to accomplish that feat. More than one Texan was caught crossing the border just so he could “ride to the great beyond.”

Perhaps the most amusing rivalries in the Old West pitted cowboys against railroaders. Cowboys had little patience with the “bullheaded Irishmen” who stampeded their cattle. In turn, railroaders thought cowboys a bunch of troublemakers—and for good reason.

One railcar filled with smoke when a cowboy attempted to cook a steak on the train’s coal stove. Another cowpoke, on the way to meeting his best gal, shocked women passengers by stripping down to his long johns so he could don his new suit.

When a cowboy’s too old to set a bad example,

he hands out good advice.

One foreman befuddled railroad officials by sending a wire requesting cars to ship 2,500 sea lions. The foremen figured his cattle had swum across so many streams that “sea lions” aptly described his sirloins.

Railroaders dished out as good as they got. One cowboy learned the hard way not to travel without a ticket when the train he was riding came to a screeching stop and left him stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Another cowboy boarded a train and when asked for his ticket pulled out his six-gun, declaring it the only ticket he needed. The conductor convinced him otherwise by returning with a rifle and sticking it under the cowboy’s nose.

Cowboys didn’t just laugh at these antics like regular folks. Oh, no. They’d sit ’round a campfire “grinnin’ like a weasel peekin’ in a henhouse.”

So when is the last time you grinned like a weasel? What tall tale, anecdote or family memory would you share around a campfire?

What they’re saying about Undercover Bride

Expect some fun reading while the detective team attempts to unmask a pair of train robbers and murderers. That’s how Margaret Brownley writes. Western mystery with humor rolling throughout, like tumbleweeds on Main Street.-Harold Wolf, Amazon




What!! Clothes For Your Walls?

Linda Brodaypink flowersI love wallpaper. Always have. I still remember the flowered kind that covered the walls in the bedroom I shared with my little sister in the 1950s. The image on the right is similar to it.

Back then, everyone used wallpaper and it must not have been something only for the privileged because our parents didn’t have squat. That paper had to be awfully cheap and my mama and daddy pasted it on themselves.

To me wallpaper is like clothes for the walls.

Here are some that you’ve probably seen.

1800s wallpaper


Pink wallpaper







It can set a mood. Fun? Whimsical? Sassy? Daring? Elegant?

elegant wallpaper

pretty wallpaperwallpaper2







Bordello? Funeral parlor? The first sample is from Downton Abbey.

downton abbey wallpaper

red wallpaper









In Twice a Texas Bride, Rand Sinclair buys a rundown ranch. Everything needs tons of work and the house is no exception.

After he finds Callie Quinn hiding in one of his outbuildings in the dead of winter and hires her to cook for him, he talks her into sitting in the parlor with him. One night after a long cold day while relaxing by the fire, he asks her opinion about how to fix up the house.

gold wallpaperCallie tells him she had once gone into a fancy hotel in Kansas City and fell in love with the wallpaper in the lobby. It was gold and a very elegant design. Rand decides then and there that he’s going to put that in the parlor. If he gets the house fixed up real nice, maybe she’ll stay. Except for his brothers, everyone else always leaves.

I think this sample is closest to what she describes.

Now, what about you. Are you a wallpaper or paint person? Do you have any favorites of the above?

By the way, I’ve seen the cover for FOREVER HIS TEXAS BRIDE – the third book and final book in the Bachelors of Battle Creek – and you’re gonna love it. Keep watching for it. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in the portrayal of Brett Liberty.

Mail Order BrideTwice a Texas Bride











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