If you enjoy sweet historical romance, I’ve got a contest for you!
Click on graphic to enter.
This contest was originally slated to end on July 18, but it received an extension, so now you have until July 23 to enter. I’m giving away a copy of my latest release, More Than Meets the Eye (print or digital, winner’s choice), but you’ll recognize several other western romance authors who have been guests here on Petticoats & Pistols.
Kimberly Woodhouse / Tracie Peterson
Everyone who enters receives 4 free e-books, first place winner will receive all 20 books listed, and the grand prize winner will receive all 20 books plus a new e-reader.
Don’t let the chance to win pass you by! Click on one of the contest graphics to access the entry form.
(Leaving a comment on this post will not enter you in this giveaway. You must visit the contest site.)
While I was writing Trusting Grace and beginning to develop the character of my heroine’s ailing father, it was as if God himself intruded into the sub-plot development with His own idea and what I was about to type totally changed. You know, it’s been said that a piece of an author finds its way into their writing subconsciously. Either way—in my proposal, I had the ailing father suffering from a stroke, but when I began to write about his symptoms it seemed God had other ideas in mind so I went with it. Who wouldn’t when the creator of the world wrote His love story to us?
The centerpiece of my historical romance story is about learning to trust and about finding love again for my heroine and hero who were both widowed. It speaks to the depth of how their characters faced trials through dependence on God. However, as the sub-plot eked onto the page, I finally acknowledged that I would need to do a little research before I went any further—something I hadn’t intended to do. To give you a little background—for five years my husband has suffered from a chronic and rare disease, CIDP, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy. It was clear God wanted me to make CIDP the heroine’s father’s illness and not merely a stroke. Could that have even been a possibility during this historical time frame of 1866? I laughed. I rather doubted it, but to my complete surprise I found that CIDP had its beginning as Multiple Neuritis discovered by Robert Graces in 1843 when little was known about the disease. I also found that some experts believe Franklin D. Roosevelt may have suffered from CIDP instead of polio. Wow, God! You knew all along. I smiled and went back to writing.
So what only started out with a story of love and loss for the hero and heroine also became a story of a father/daughter relationship battling illness with lovingkindness and the resilience of the caregiver, my heroine, Grace. It’s very true that God gives us more grace than we deserve, but even more so when we are facing huge battles whether it is death, illness, loss of love, job, financial or spiritual crisis. It was no mistake that three years before when I sent this series proposal to my editor, I called my heroine Grace.
One thing I’ve always enjoyed while writing was the research and it’s easy to get lost in it. So for all you historical writers of the West, when a random or crazy plot line you think couldn’t possibly work for your story, dig deeper into your research. Hopefully, you’ll be wildly surprised as I was and can add that to your novel.
If my story of love, hope, trust and restoration can help anyone who is a widow or have a spouse with a chronic illness help lift their spirits and give them insight, then I’ve written what I was supposed to write.
I’m giving away a copy of Trusting Grace-only in the US, please-for those who comment. The winner will be randomly selected by Petticoats and Pistols.
Have you been a caregiver for an ailing family member? What was the biggest challenge, and how did you overcome?
Why I wrote the JOURNEY HOME SERIES: Back in 1990-91, a US military operation called Desert Storm took place in the Middle East. Not long afterward, the veterans involved returned home with invisible scars that later became known as PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The heartbreaking stories about the men and women who couldn’t keep jobs or relationships soon became a regular feature on the nightly news. The shocking numbers of veteran suicides have increased over the years.
I write historical fiction and wanted to know how Civil War veterans who suffered with the same symptoms of PTSD were treated. Nineteenth century doctors diagnosed those afflicted with the condition as Soldier’s Fatigue. They offered bed rest in a soldier’s convalescent home, or recommended a discharge and a train ticket home. Often the soldier had a note pinned to his uniform, giving his name and destination, because he was incapable of communicating. Let the veteran’s family deal with the troubled man. If the family couldn’t handle their loved one, suffering acute mania, for instance, then the Government Hospital for the Insane in Washington, D.C. (St. Elizabeth’s) was the destination. Two cemeteries on the grounds of St. Elizabeth hold hundreds of Civil War soldier’s remains today.
As my story ideas came together, I especially wanted to write my heroes as strong Christians and show how they dealt with the horrors of Andersonville Prison for Union soldiers. Perhaps a 21st century veteran’s spouse, mother, sister, or girlfriend will read PATRIOT HEART, FAITHFUL HEART, AND HOPEFUL HEART and see there is hope for their loved one. Hope for the future in God, the Father, and salvation through Jesus Christ, His son.
HOPEFUL HEART is the last story in my 3-book Journey Home Series. The series is about three Civil War POWs who met in the infamous Andersonville Prison for Union soldiers and survive because of their friendship and Christian faith. Each book features one of the memorable heroes and a unique heroine that’s perfect for him.
HOPEFUL HEART, Journey Home Series 3
An inspirational historical romance set in the West
Pennsylvania. November 1866 –Lucy Garner is a recent widow who just buried her stillborn. Grieving the loss of two people she loved the most in her world, she decides to journey out West and escape her adopted father’s stepson whose intentions strike terror into her being. She goes to work for a difficult and unprepared family, headed to Oregon by wagon train.
Missouri. November 1866 – Nat Renshaw’s boyish good looks disguise his intense personality.
Before the war, his cheating wife died and he gave up on marriage. He joined the Union Army and became a Confederate POW with enough anger to power a locomotive. These events did not improve his outlook on life. Since the war ended, he’s elected sheriff for a river town.
Oregon Trail. March 1867 – Lucy’s arresting features and gentle spirit attract Nat Renshaw’s unwanted interest as he scouts for Lucy’s wagon train. Lucy’s distrustful of Nat’s determination for romance, but ends up admiring his courage and faith in God. Can Lucy open her heart for another chance at love amid the trials of the Oregon Trail?
HAVE YOU EVER VISITED A VETERAN’S GRAVE? LEAVE A COMMENT TO ENTER A DRAWING FOR ONE COPY OF HOPEFUL HEART (PRINT OR EBOOK!)
Thank you so much, Karen, for inviting me to be here today! I must say I feel like the city cousin at a barn dance, because although my upcoming release, Irish Meadows, is a historical romance, it is not western-themed, nor does it involve cowboys!
The one commonality it does have is that the story takes place on a horse farm. Irish Meadows is the name of my fictional farm in Long Island, New York, where the O’Leary family raise, train, and board thoroughbreds. I wanted the O’Learys to be fairly affluent, yet not as wealthy as some of their Long Island neighbors. I also needed to put Irish Meadows in financial jeopardy to drive the main conflict of the story.
As I was researching horse racing in the 1911 time period, I discovered an interesting fact: that horse racing had been banned in the state of New York at this time. This played perfectly into my conflict!
James O’Leary becomes very worried because some of his clients are pulling their horses out of his stables. This anxiety increases James’ deep-seated motivation to find rich husbands for his two eldest daughters— he wants to secure their place in society and make sure they never revert back to his parents’ time of poverty.
My heroine, Brianna O’Leary, has grown up at Irish Meadows, and her love of horses made her into a bit of a tomboy when she was younger. Now that she is about to turn 18, her father has restricted her riding time in the hopes that she will become more feminine and hopefully attract a suitable husband. Naturally Brianna does not like this turn of events one bit!
My hero, Gilbert Whelan, has been raised by the O’Leary family as their ward and as a pseudo-sibling of the O’Leary children. Horses are his passion, and his main goal is to one day start his own breeding farm. (His other secret passion is Brianna O’Leary!) When James asks Gil to court the banker’s daughter in order to assure the business loan he needs, Gil goes against his better judgment and agrees to help save Irish Meadows. After all, he can’t sit back and let the O’Learys lose their home and business, can he?
Some of my favorite scenes in the book revolve around the horses and the stables – namely Brianna’s wild ride on a prize stallion (which goes terribly awry), and the birth of a foal anticipated to be a champion (but who ends up a huge disappointment and another blow for the ranch.)
So although there are no cowboys in my story, I hope all you horse lovers out there will pick up a copy of my book and fall in love with Irish Meadows and the O’Leary family!
Irish Meadows releases with Bethany House Publishing on July 7, 2015. Ebook releases June 30th.
Blurb:Brianna and Colleen O’Leary know their Irish immigrant father expects them to marry well. Recently he’s put even more pressure on them, insinuating that the very future of their Long Island horse farm, Irish Meadows, depends on their ability to land prosperous husbands. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures.
Brianna, the quiet sister with a quick mind, dreams of attending college. Vivacious Colleen, meanwhile, is happy to marry—as long as her father’s choice meets her exacting standards of the perfect man. When former stable hand Gilbert Whelan returns from business school and distant family member Rylan Montgomery stops in on his way to the seminary in Boston, the two men quickly complicate everyone’s plans.
As financial ruin looms ever closer, James O’Leary grows more desperate. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to avoid becoming pawns in their father’s schemes and follow their hearts. Yet even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach?
Susan is giving away a print Advance Reading Copy! Leave a comment to enter the drawing!
Susan Anne Mason describes her writing style as “romance sprinkled with faith.” She particularly enjoys exploring the themes of forgiveness and redemption in her stories. Irish Meadows is her first historical novel and won the Fiction from the Heartland contest sponsored by the Mid-American Romance Author chapter of RWA. Susan lives outside of Toronto, Ontario, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Learn more about Susan and her books at www.susanannemason.com.
I love cowboys just like all of you. I’m surrounded by them here in the center of Texas and very happy about that. It really helps me write a good cowboy and makes research very easy. I created my series, COWBOYS OF SUNRISE RANCH, in part because I’ve gone with the youth from our church to Cowboy Camp for the last 5 years. Talk about exhausting! It is but it is also a unique camp experience, and as rough as they come but the kids and sponsors love it.
This camp could not work if it weren’t for the countless cowboys who volunteer to work it. This awesome, caring group of cowboys come up with the games, the faith elements, the challenges and then they are there to work with the 600 plus number of kids. Cowboys are everywhere you look helping the kids have a great experience. Many of the kids have never even touched a horse or ever thought they’d get in the pen with a cow and then learn to wrestle it to the ground! The looks on the kid’s faces when they push themselves to try these new experiences is priceless.
I wanted to create men like this for my series and came up with Morgan, Rowdy and Tucker McDermott who along with their dad and grandmother who as a family run and operate the Sunrise Ranch. It is a 10,000 acre working Texas cattle ranch that has incorporated the dream of the brothers’ deceased mother and created a foster home there for 16 abandoned boys at a time ranging from age 8 to 18. Her dream was to offer their lifestyle and ranch with boys who had nothing. It’s been a fun and rewarding experience writing these 3 books. It has enabled me to use some of my experiences from camp within the stories. Book 1 HER UNFORGETTABLE COWBOY, Morgan’s story, came out in May 2013 and finally Rowdy’s story is almost here, January 1, HER UNEXPECTED COWBOY goes on sale! Tucker’s story, HER UNLIKELY COWBOY follows in June. I hope you’ll preorder a copy of HER UNEXPECTED COWBOY today, it will make you smile and maybe tear up a little as it touches your heart! Click on the cover and it’ll take you to Amazon.
Rowdy McDermott has a plan. Stay on the straight and narrow, help the foster boys on Sunrise Ranch and forget about love. The last thing he expects is his pretty new neighbor falling literally into his arms. Lucy Calvert is glad the handsome cowboy broke her fall, but isn’t ready for the feelings he’s stirring in her heart. She’s heard rumors about his past, and is steering clear from the kind of man he used to be. With a little help from his boys, can Rowdy show her that people— and hearts—can change?
Cowboys of Sunrise Ranch: These men have hearts as big as Texas.
Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for a paperback copy of HER UNFORGETTABLE COWBOY!