Tag: Karen Witemeyer

More Than Words Can Say has Released!!!

The wait is finally over!

More Than Words Can Say is now available!

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I’m so excited to share Zach and Abigail’s story with you. Dozens of readers wrote to tell me that they fell in love with Zacharias Hamilton in his big brother role in More Than Meets the Eye. I have to admit that I did, too. Finding the perfect heroine for him, was a challenge, but Abigail’s feisty independence, her big heart, and her dedication to family became a recipe for love that Zach couldn’t ignore. Oh, and she can bake like a dream. The old adage about the way to a man’s heart being through his stomach didn’t become a classic for nothing. Wink, wink.

I thought I’d introduce you to Abigail with a fun little excerpt.

Her cheeks were growing pink. Probably because he was just standing there staring at her like an idiot instead of saying something.

Tightening his grip on the square, he cleared his throat. “What kind of proposition?”

She thrust a set of papers at him, the sheets crinkling as the corners bent against his chest. “A business proposition. A rather . . . um . . . unconventional one, but one I believe will prove beneficial to both of us if you’ll look past the first hurdle.”

He reached for the papers. “That hurdle being?”

She straightened her posture, which was an impressive trick of engineering since she was already standing as stiff as the board he’d been working on moments ago. Then she met his gaze and something grabbed at his gut. “Marriage,” she said. “To me.”

A cough exploded in his throat. He ducked his chin and turned aside, the choking sensation worsening to the point that he had to brace his arms against the workbench as he struggled to control the spasms. He’d always wondered how his brother Seth felt when an asthma attack hit. Now he knew.

“It might appear to be a beggar’s bargain on the surface,” she said from behind him, “but I promise there are benefits.”

At the word benefits, images jumped immediately to Zach’s mind. Vivid images. Of bedsheets and unpinned hair. Of luscious curves, dimpled smiles, and welcoming glances.

His throat constricted further. Not even a cough could escape now.

“To start with, you can have all the sticky buns you like free of charge. For life.”

Breakfast. She was talking about breakfast.

Finally, a bit of air seeped into his lungs, allowing him to wrestle his unruly thoughts into submission as he turned to face Miss Kemp. He leaned back against the workbench, not yet trusting his knees to hold him upright on their own, and forced himself to meet his tormentor’s gaze.

He thrust the crumpled papers back at her. “I ain’t lookin’ for a wife.”

She made no move to collect the unwanted documents. “There’s a law,” she blurted. “A ridiculously archaic city ordinance that precludes women from owning businesses in Honey Grove. After my father died, the city council gave me three months to grieve, then approached me with an ultimatum. If I don’t sell the business, I can either partner with a male financial backer by the end of the month or have the marshal close the bakery doors for me. Permanently.”

Zach frowned. That seemed a bit extreme, but he didn’t doubt her word. Plenty of men believed that women belonged in the home and nowhere else. And he wouldn’t put it past them to enforce their will on her by dusting off some outdated legislation.

“That’s unfortunate, but I still don’t see what this has to do with me.”

Dimples appeared for the first time that afternoon as her lips curved in a triumphant grin. “You, my dear sir, are option number three.”

Grab your copy of Zach and Abigail’s story today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook
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  • What are your favorite baked items for romantic occasions?
  • What treats do you bake specifically for that special someone in your life?

By the way, today is my 27th wedding anniversary. Still living the happily ever after and loving it!

Hmm . . . maybe I should whip up some baked goodies for my heroic hubby. Does refrigerated cinnamon roll dough count?

Spring in Texas Means Bluebonnets (Plus a Giveaway!)

One of my favorite parts of spring is watching the roadsides for Texas bluebonnets. They cover entire hillsides in the area around Austin, but up in northwestern Texas, they are more of a rare find. There are certain places that I know to look each year, and about a week ago, I noticed the first patches of vibrant blue.

Two of my three kids have graduated from high school, and as part of their senior pictures, I made sure to get them out in a field of bluebonnets. There is a reliable patch out by our small airport, and we’ve made pictures there several times.

Many years ago, I snapped some photos of them myself in a field of bluebonnets in a vacant lot not too far from their school. Aren’t they adorable? (I’m not biased or anything.)

Peter, the youngest, won’t have his senior pictures made until next year, but here are Bethany and Wyatt in their bluebonnet photo shoots.

 

The year we made Bethany’s senior pictures, I also had a few author photos taken – yes, in the bluebonnets. Here are a couple of my favorite. (Unfortunately, it was very windy on the day we took the pictures, but I kept telling myself I was just like one of those models standing in front of a giant fan. Ha!)

  • Do you have favorite photo traditions in your family?
  • What are your favorite spring flowers?

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Oh, and one more thing . . .

A Huge Christian Historical Romance Giveaway!

If you love historical romance, this is the giveaway for you. Two winners will receive all 23 books pictured below. One winner will also receive a free e-reader. Authors participating include well-known names like Suzanne Woods Fisher, Susan May Warren, Misty Beller, and Rebecca deMarino. What a great way to discover new favorite authors!

I’m giving away a copy of More Than Meets the Eye, the prequel to my June release, More Than Words Can Say. Most of the books in the giveaway will be in e-book format, but some authors (including me) will offer the winners (if in the US) the option of choosing an autographed print copy. To enter, click here. The contest runs through April 17, so enter soon!

 

My Time Inside a Real Pullman Car

At the end of January, I had the chance to travel to historic Jefferson, Texas for a writer’s retreat. It was a history-lover’s delight! We stayed in an 1867 home, shopped in a 19th century mercantile, and stopped in at the oldest continuously run hotel in Texas. It was at the Excelsior Hotel, that we secured a tour of the authentic 1888 Pullman car stationed across the street.

Pullman cars offered sleeping berths for train travel in the 19th century. Usually only the wealthy could afford this luxury. But if you found yourself in the super-wealthy category, you might be able to afford a custom-built private sleeping car for personal use. Such was the case with railroad tycoon, Jay Gould.

Believe it or not, this tiny town of 2,000 was once the 4th largest city in Texas. Back at the height of the riverboat era, Jefferson was a bustling port with a thriving cotton culture and a population around 8,000. Jay Gould came to town and tried to convince them to let him run his railroad through Jefferson. Unfortunately, the town wanted nothing to do with his Yankee money and turned him down. Mr. Gould predicted the destruction of the town on his way out and decided to build his railroad through the tiny town of Dallas instead. Rather ironic that the town that once sent Jay Gould away made the effort to secure his Pullman car as part of their history years later. Hindsight, as they say, is 20-20.

The Pullman car was a wonder to behold. The lighting was both electric and gas. Electricity would be generated while the train was in motion, and gas would be piped in when the train was stationary.

You will notice jay birds featured in much of the decor. Jay Gould used the jay bird as his symbol. It was even part of his signature visible on the register in the Excelsior Hotel. You will see it etched into the glass globes around the lights and most decadently on the side of his bathtub.

The electric bulbs are lit, but notice the small pipe in the center. That is where the gas would burn. Also note the jay birds etched in the glass at the bottom.

Jay Gould’s private bathtub.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are other pictures I took. You might see some authors you recognize along the way.

Elizabeth Ludwig in the front compartment used for social gatherings or for conducting business.

A true water closet. The basin would pull down once the door was open.

Anne Mateer and Crystal Barnes in the hall admiring the lavatory.

One of the smaller staterooms that had seating below and a pull-down berth above.

One of the large staterooms with a full bed. This was used by Mrs. Gould.

The second small stateroom set up for tea with a removable table that hooked into the wall.

Elizabeth Ludwig and Regina Jennings peeking through the window from the hall – wanting to get in on the tea action.

These three photos show the kitchen. They start with the cold side where you will see an icebox and the sleeping berth for the cook. There is also a counter with a pass-through window area that leads to the hot side where the stove is situated.

Finally, the rear compartment. The overall set up had two staterooms on either side with the hall switching from the left to the right side halfway down the car near the kitchen area to balance out the weight of the car. Notice the stained glass transoms above the windows. These could be opened to create a breeze during warm days.

 

Even today this would be a luxurious way to travel.

What museums have you visited that made you want to travel back in time?

Mother of the American Valentine + A Giveaway

Did you know that the American Valentine greeting card business was started by a woman in 1847? Not only that, but she ran her extremely profitable business out of her home and employed other women in assembly-line craftsmanship years before Henry Ford made the business model famous.

Esther Howland was a college-educated woman who also happened to be the daughter of a stationer and bookseller. The year she graduated from the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1847, she received an English Valentine from one of her father’s associates. At this time, such cards were imported from Europe and very expensive. They would only be available for the wealthy elite. Yet, as she looked at this card, her entrepreneurial mind saw possibilities. Have you ever found something in a store with an outrageous price tag and thought, “I could make that for a fraction of the cost”? Well, Esther not only had that thought, but she created a business plan.

She asked her father to order lace paper, paper flowers, and other supplies from Europe, then she set about creating her own designs. When she had a dozen, she presented them to her brother who reluctantly agreed to take them with him on his next sales trip. She hoped to receive perhaps $200 worth of orders. She received $5,000!

She dedicated a room in her home as her manufacturing shop, recruited her friends to help, and got to work. She would create the patterns for each piece of the valentine, then pass them off to the other girls to duplicate. Each one would be in charge of a certain piece of the multi-layered card. By 1849, the assembly line had been perfected and her business was born. She began to advertise and eventually expanded into the Christmas and birthday card market as well. Her basic cards sold for five cents. Her more elaborate designs containing hidden doors, ribbon trimmings, and gilded lace would sell for as much as one dollar.

In 1870, she incorporated the New England Valentine Company, but she  continued running the business out of her home until 1879 when she moved it into a factory. She even allowed customized verse. All of her cards included four lines of poetic verse. However, if you fell in love with a particular card design but didn’t care for the verse, you could purchase The New England Valentine Co.’s Valentine Verse Book and simply cut one you like better from the 131 available in the book and paste it over the verse that didn’t suit. Clever woman!

********** GIVEAWAY **********

In honor of Valentine’s Day and clever women who create romantic masterpieces, I’d like to invite you to a Facebook party and offer a chance to win one of three fantastic Valentine prizes.

Sixteen fabulous historical authors are coming together to celebrate romance on Feb 13-14. We’ll be chatting live with readers during this party, and I’d love to see you there. My time slot is
7:00 pm CST on Feb 14th.

Click here to join the party.

Not only are we chatting at the party, but from now until the end of the party, there is a HUGE giveaway going on.

One winner will receive a $100 Amazon Gift Card.

Another winner will receive a copy of each of the 16 highlighted books – all romantic reads fit for an extended Valentine escape.

And a final winner will receive this fun Jane Austen inspired book bag.

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Click here to enter the giveaway.

Have you ever made a Valentine by hand?

What is the best Valentine’s gift you ever received?

Special Sale Through January 31

Just a quick note to let you know that the first book in my Archer Brothers series is on sale until the end of the month for only $1.99.

Four brothers. Four straws. One bride. Now’s the time to see why Short-Straw Bride has garnered over 4,500 five-star ratings on Goodreads! Fall in love with the Archer brothers for only $1.99 for the e-book at all online retailers.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christian Book

Starting a New Series

It’s always exciting, and a little daunting, to start a new series. Even though I still have two more projects coming in 2019 to complete my current series, I’ve already started work on a new group of stories that will debut in 2020.

The inspiration for this new series came from a mash-up of two televisions series I watched as a teen – one from the 1980s and one from the early 1990s.

Anyone remember these?

Well, I decided to create a four-man team of ex-cavalry officers bonded through the shared trauma of the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890. They hire themselves out to citizens in need of defense against unjust opposition. Haunted by the atrocities they participated in during wartime, they travel across Texas to right wrongs, using their military skills on behalf of those who have no one else to turn to and stumble across love along the way.

They are known as Hanger’s Horsemen.

*****

Meet the team:

Captain Matthew Hanger – Age 37, leader, hardened by army life, dedicated to keeping the frontier safe for women and children after his own family was murdered by a band of Comanche warriors in Parker County in 1860 when he was only five years old.

Trumpeter Mark Wallace – Age 27, charmer who deals with the horrors of war through superficial relationships, humor, and music. Comes from a privileged background. Enlisted in search of adventure.

Corporal Luke “Preach” Davenport – Age 31, nicknamed “Preach” because he always has a verse to quote. Not because of any real depth of spirituality, but because when he’d been a boy his punishment entailed memorizing and reciting scripture, and he got into trouble a lot. His father shipped him off to the military in hopes of instilling discipline and a respect for authority. His reckless spirit has made him lethal with a sabre and in hand-to-hand combat.

Sergeant Jonah Brooks – Age 30, buffalo soldier with the 10th Cavalry, expert marksman. Jonah is the quiet one, more intelligent that people give him credit for. He prefers to watch from the shadows and decide how to act after he’s weighed all the facts. But when he acts, he can be deadly.

*****

There will be three books in the series. The first pairs the captain with lady doctor, Josephine Burkett. My Posse helped my pick out inspiration images for Matt and Josephine. And we can’t forget Matt’s horse. Meet Phineas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hanger’s Horsemen won’t put in an official appearance until summer 2020, but they are coming to life on the page for me now as I write, and I wanted to share a hint of them with you.

  • Are there other 80’s TV shows you think should be turned into western romances?
  • Any A-Team or Magnificent Seven fans out there? Who were your favorite characters?

 

Merry Cowboy Christmas

Christmas is such a wonderful time to be together with family and share in healthy doses of love and laughter. My empty nest is back to peak capacity with my college student kiddos back home, and this mama is loving it! We have a puzzle going that my daughter and I work on together. We play board games nearly every night. Now if I could just find time to wrap all the gifts stuffed in my closet.

You know what I need? I need a cowboy hero to ride to my rescue and wrangle all those stray gifts, brand ’em with paper and bows, and herd them under the tree. Maybe what I need is this guy:

I don’t write for Harlequin, but I have to admit, this ad made me smile.

And with Christmas right around the corner, I have a great virtual stocking stuffer idea for you.

The Christmas Heirloom is on sale for only $2.99 for the e-book version at all major retailers through the end of December. Stuff your own stocking with a little Christmas cheer or surprise a friend with an e-gift. All you need is their email address to send them a copy.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christian Book

  • So if you could borrow a cowboy Christmas hero for the day, what would you have him do?

Merry Christmas!

COWBOYS & MISTLETOE ~ Day 2

 

November 26 – 29

Margaret Brownley

                              Old West Christmas Brides Collection

Margaret’s Story:

A Pony Express Christmas

Stranded alone in Nebraska Territory in 1862 with a broken wagon and two stubborn mules, Ellie-Mae Myers has no way to continue searching for her twin brother along the deserted Pony Express route or of returning home to Kentucky. Could a man on the verge of being hanged be the answer to her prayers?

B&N

iTunes

   Amazon

 

 

The Nutcracker Bride

A Novella

When Texas ranger, Chad Prescott, wakes up from a gunshot injury in Kansas, he finds himself surrounded by German nutcrackers and nursed by the feisty Lucy Langdon. Could this be the start of a beautiful friendship or just a bad dream?

Amazon

B&N

iTunes

 

 

I’m giving away a $10 AMAZON GIFT CARD! 

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

Karen Witemeyer

 

My latest release is a novella collection called The Christmas Heirloom which contains a collection of stories that are connected by a luckenbooth brooch that is handed down from mother to daughter across the generations, bringing true love to whomever possesses it. In my particular story, Gift of the Heart, I played with the biblical motif of Ruth and Boaz and added a dose of Beauty and the Beast along with a matchmaking cat. A widow and her young daughter move to Hope Springs for a fresh start, but with no money to secure a home, Ruth must convince a wealthy resort owner to accept her heirloom brooch as collateral. Will the pin that brought love to three generations soften the heart of a wounded recluse and give Ruth a second chance at love?

My Facebook fan group The Posse played an integral role in plotting this story, and I dedicated it to them in thanks for their help. They were the ones to spark the idea of Bo suffering residual pain from a childhood injury and needing to take the waters himself as well as creating Theodore, our matchmaking cat. The story would not have been the same without them.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christian Book

I’m giving away a $10 GIFT CARD TO AMAZON to one lucky reader today!
***Scroll down to the form below. Click the BOOKBUB link to my author page and FOLLOW ME, then note on the form that you followed. If you want to mention it here, too, feel free!***
Hope you win!

 

Winnie Griggs

I don’t have a Christmas novella, so instead I want to showcasethe re-release of one of my Christmas novels, The Christmas Journey, which is bundled with two other Christmas stories for a festive read.

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

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

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

I’m giving away a $10 GIFT CARD TO AMAZON to one lucky reader!
***Scroll down to the form below. Click the BOOKBUB link to my author page and FOLLOW ME, then note on the form that you followed. If you want to mention it here, too, feel free!*** 

Easy-peasy!  
Good Luck!

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

Be sure to check back to see if you won!

 

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Drawing Inspiration from History

When deciding on a setting for my stories, I alternate between real places and fictional ones. When I use real places, readers from that area will get excited about seeing a familiar place mentioned in a book they are reading. However, using a fictional place gives me the freedom to create the town and people exactly to my liking, so instead of fitting my story into an existing setting, I can shape the setting to fit my story. Both have their advantages and their challenges.

In my latest story,I decided to try to get the best of both worlds by creating a fictional setting that was based on an actual place. I stayed as true to the history of that town as possible while simply changing the names and a few key details.

Health seekers drinking from a fountain in Mineral Wells.

My fictional town of Hope Springs is based on the actual town of Mineral Wells, TX. I pass signs for Mineral Wells every time I drive down the highway, but I’ve never actually visited, even though it is only about 2 hours from where I live in Abilene. The history surrounding Mineral Wells, is fascinating, though, and I incorporated much of that history into the fictional resort town of Hope Springs.

In 1877, James Lynch and his family settled in the hills of Palo Pinto County. Water was scarce, so in 1880, they had a well drilled. The water tasted odd, but it didn’t seem to hurt the livestock, so the family started drinking it as well. James and his wife both suffered from rheumatism, and James suffered from complications of malaria. Soon after they started drinking the water, however, they began to feel better. News of the “healing waters” spread quickly and within a month, strangers started showing up asking about the water. Lynch’s well produced 100 gallons a day, but he soon struggled to meet demand. With the popularity of the site, however, the city of Mineral Wells was born, and developers arrived to drill more wells and establish hotels where bottled mineral water would be sold. By the turn of the century there were bathhouses, drinking pavilions, and spas throughout the city. The most famous brand was Crazy Water named because of the elderly lady who drank from the well twice a day and eventually overcame her dementia. The story could indeed be true, for the well water contains a significant amount of lithium, which is used to treat various mental health disorders today.

Click cover to order

My hero, Beauregard Azlin suffers nerve pain from an old injury, and when he hears about healing waters in Texas, he seeks out the cure. When the drinking and bathing treatments offer a measure of relief, he invests in the area and builds a resort to serve others who suffer similar afflictions. Due to his entrepreneurial spirit, he basically owns everything in town, and when a young widow arrives to take a position as a cook at one the local cafe’s and needs a loan to provide a roof over her daughter’s head, he is the only person she can turn to to seek a loan. And the only thing of value she can offer as collateral is a treasured heirloom brooch reputed to bring true love to whomever possesses it. Add in a matchmaking cat and a little Christmas magic, and romance is born.

Inspired by the biblical story of Ruth and Boaz with a touch of Beauty and the Beast thrown in for good measure, I hope you’ll enjoy Gift of the Heart, my contribution to The Christmas Heirloom anthology – a collection of novellas of love through the generations following an heirloom that is passed from mother to daughter.

  • Have you ever read a book set in a town you were familiar with? Did it help you enjoy the story more?
  • Do you prefer books set in real places or does it matter to you?

Karen Is Signing Books in Lubbock!

If you happen to live in West Texas, I’d love to see you this weekend. I’ll be signing books at the Barnes & Noble in the South Plains Mall in Lubbock. And the extra cool thing is that Jeff and Kristie Gilliam (the couple who I met in that same store in 2016 and who I named a character after in More Than Meets the Eye) will be there, too. Should be fun!

You can read the post I wrote about the Gilliams here.