Tag: Karen Witemeyer

Karen’s Winners of Heart on the Line!

 

I love hearing everyone’s description of the ideal man. So many wonderful traits! And many of you are married to your ideal or had a father or sibling who demonstrated these characteristics for you. I love that!

Thanks to Random.org I have two winners.

Congratulations goes to . . .

Cindy

&

Hannah Weber

Be watching your email inbox, ladies, for instructions on how to claim your prize.

Heart on the Line – Excerpt & Giveaway

It’s release week! WooHoo!

Heart on the Line is finally available for purchase. The third story in the Ladies of Harper’s Station features our shy yet she-carried-a-derringer-in-her-handbag heroine Grace Mallory who has been using Harper’s Station as a refuge to hide from the man who killed her father.

Now when it came time to find the perfect hero for Grace, inspiration came from a source close to home.

The romance genre in general is dominated by alpha-male heroes. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good alpha, but this time around, I wanted to switch things up a bit and remind readers that sweet, caring guys can be swoon-worthy too. Maybe it ties in to the fact that my own hero in real life is a glasses-wearing, bike-riding, computer nerd. His passionate love for me and our family, his devotion to God, his kind demeanor, and his dry sense of humor make him my ideal man. So when I started crafting Amos Bledsoe, Grace’s “online” suitor (on the telegraph line), I followed the same pattern. As a telegraph operator, Amos is a 19th century technology nerd. He prefers bicycles to horses. He wears spectacles. He’s smart, kind, funny, and sacrifices himself for those he loves without regret. A true hero in every sense of the word.

Here’s a excerpt that shows them courting over the wire before they ever meet in person:

It was him. Mr. A. She’d recognize his quick touch at the key anywhere. So crisp and precise. A metronome couldn’t create spaces any more rhythmic. She’d long admired his deft hand at the key. Setting her tea on the table, Grace slid into her office chair, a giddy tickle in her stomach despite her best efforts to maintain a sense of detachment.

Yes, Station Dn. I’m here.

Excellent! I worried I had waited too long to call. Dinner at my sister’s took longer than expected.

I hope you didn’t rush away on my account, Grace tapped.

I was eager to escape. Believe me.

What dastardly plague did they set upon you? Grace grinned to herself as she tapped out the words. Mr. A always seemed to have a humorous story to tell about his family, his life so wonderfully normal that whenever she listened to him, she managed to forget all about danger and unseen foes. For a few blessed minutes, she was simply a girl talking to a young man, no worries in sight.

I dare not tell you, for fear of spreading the contagion. It seems to strike the women around me with alarming regularity.

Intrigued, Grace leaned forward. Surely the distance between us will serve as adequate protection.

My mother and sister have both been afflicted for some time, I’m sorry to say, but tonight their symptoms worsened.

That sounds dire, indeed. Did you call a physician?

No point. There is only one cure to their ailment. And apparently I am the one who must distribute the healing dose.

Then you should do so at once, Grace replied, grinning as she reached for her tea. Mr. A never failed to entertain.

I would, of course, he said, but I find the key ingredient in the required elixir to be frustratingly elusive.

Can you not simply visit a druggist?

I’m afraid not. You see, the item I must find in order to cure this plague of interference is . . . a wife.

The tea Grace had just sipped spewed from her mouth to splatter over the table in front of her. Coughs spasmed in her throat.

A wife?

A strange fluttery sensation danced through her belly. So, he wasn’t married. Why did that particular piece of knowledge please her so well? Her hand trembled as she reached for the key. She had to make some kind of response to that. But what exactly should she say?

I’m sure they only have your best interests at heart.

They do. But a twenty-eight year-old man doesn’t really want his personal life dictated by his female relations.

Twenty-eight. A man in his prime. A man who was suddenly sharing more personal details with her than he ever had before.

Grace dabbed at the spilled tea with a handkerchief fetched from her skirt pocket, her mind spinning. Was he fishing for details in return? She wanted to reciprocate. It was what a friend would do. Yet she couldn’t afford to say too much.

I can’t claim as many years of experience dealing with meddling relations as you can, but a couple friends of mine have recently decided that marriage is not without its advantages. Thankfully, they have as yet avoided seeing me as a matchmaking prospect.

Grace yanked her hand from the telegraph key and made a fist, her heart pumping in a wild rhythm. Details cloaked in vagueness. Would he understand what she’d just revealed? The wire remained silent for an eternally long moment.

Count your blessings, he finally sent, his usually metronome-like precision stuttering slightly. Perhaps we could meet sometime to commiserate. I would—

Clear the line, a brash staccato tapping interrupted. I need to break in. This is an emergency.

Grace nearly jumped from her chair at the pounding intrusion. It exploded across the wire like cannon fire in a still forest.

Proceed, came the answer from Mr. A. Immediate. Meticulous. All hint of personal vulnerability gone.

Grace replied in kind, though she feared her touch on the key had yet to reassert its professional tone.

Hs. Dv station has a message to relay. Are you on the wire?

A message from the Denver station? Grace shivered even as she lurched forward to answer. Yes. This is Hs station. G on the wire. Go ahead.

Message relayed from R as follows: He knows where you are. Coming for you. Sorry.

Everything in Grace stilled. Numbness spread from her mind to her limbs and finally to her heart. Her day of reckoning had arrived. Chaucer Haversham had found her.

  • What characteristics does your ideal man embody?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Leave a comment for a chance to win an autographed copy of Heart on the Line along with a set of these fabulous, handmade, heart-shaped, crocheted dishcloths/trivets. Multipurpose, washable, colorful, and a wonderful romantic reminder to follow your heart.

I’ll draw two winners from those who leave comments.

US addresses only are eligible for the prize.

Last Chance to Win Big!!!

 

A Triple Filly Giveaway!

Just a reminder, there are three fillies participating in a pair of BookSweeps contests this month. The contest is only open for another few days, so if you want a chance to win some great summer reads, now’s the time to enter.

In the Inspirational Category, Margaret and I have books included.

Linda is included in the American Historical grouping.

All you have to do to enter is follow us on either Amazon or BookBub. Pretty painless. I’m giving away my RITA nominated novella, The Husband Maneuver. Margaret is giving away her new book A Match Made in Texas, and Linda is giving away The Heart of a Texas Cowboy.

Click either graphic to be taken to the contest site for those groups or click here to go to the host site for all the contest groups.

The more authors you follow, the greater your chance of winning.

  • Grand Prize – Kindle Fire and all the books in the overall promotion (including the other categories of historical romance such as Regency, Scottish, etc.)
  • First Prize – All the books in the Christian Historical Romance or American category
  • Second Prize – $25 gift card to the book store of your choice

One other last chance for today only (May 31).

No Other Will Do On Sale!

The first book in the Ladies of Harper’s Station series is on sale just in time to prepare you for the release of Heart on the Line (book 2) next week.

Emma and Malachi’s story can be downloaded for only $2.99 (or less – Amazon’s price has been as low as $1.99) for the entire month of May. Grab a copy or email a copy to a friend while you still can for this low price.

Click here to download from Amazon. It’s available on Nook and all other digital retailers as well.

A Contest . . . A Discount . . . And a Research Trip to the Deli

You just never know what you might find at the local WalMart deli. On Sunday, I went in to do my weekly grocery shopping and patiently waited my turn at the deli counter. A nice man was assisting several customers, of which I was the last. I asked for a pound of thinly sliced Virgina Ham, and what I got was a research gold mine.

First, this gentleman told me that the meat was technically Virginia Smoked Ham, though they just added a little flavor to it these days instead of smoking it to preserve it like they did back in the day – letting it hang in a smoke house for months and carving off pieces as they needed. He apparently grew up in a small Virginia town in the 1960’s that still had a mercantile. And one day when he was off exploring the woods as a kid, he smelled popcorn and followed his nose. It turned out he’d stumbled across a “shiner” making corn whiskey. The man had a shotgun and a dog, but our intrepid deli man was not afraid. He’d been reading up on the art of making moonshine in the Foxfire books, you see.

To learn more about the Foxfire project, click here.

What are the Foxfire books, you might ask? Well, they are a series of books chronicling the lost arts of survival in the wild as revealed by the residents of Appalachia who preserved this historic way of life by being closed off from the rest of the world. Well, as soon as I got home with my lovely deli ham, I had to look these books up. Sure enough, first published in 1972, The Foxfire Book set to paper everything you need to know about hog dressing, log cabin building, soap making, basket weaving, planting by the signs, preserving foods, making butter, snake lore, hunting tales, faith healing, and–you guessed it–moonshining.

My research brain quickly began taking notes. What a treasure trove of concrete knowledge for a historical writer! Apparently the first Foxfire book was so popular, they came out with 11 additional volumes covering such topics as: wagon making, banjos and dulcimers, hide tanning, springhouses, horse training, wood carving, knife making, cheesemaking, ironmaking, blacksmithing, flintlock rifles, bear hunting, cucumber dolls, wooden locks, shoemaking, and water-powered sawmills just to name a few.

Who knew that visiting the deli would uncover such research riches?

No Other Will Do On Sale!

The first book in the Ladies of Harper’s Station series is on sale just in time to prepare you for the release of Heart on the Line (book 2) next month.

Emma and Malachi’s story is on sale for only $2.99 (or less – Amazon’s price has been as low as $1.99) for the entire month of May. Yay! Grab a copy or email a copy to a friend. It would make a great Mother’s Day gift, too. Instant delivery for less than the cost of a card.

Click here to download from Amazon. It’s available on Nook and all other digital retailers as well.

Fun Giveaway!

And that’s not all . . .

There’s another big giveaway going on with BookSweeps. Two of the Fillies are participating – me and Margaret Brownley. All you have to do to enter is follow us on either Amazon or BookBub. Pretty painless. I’m giving away my RITA nominated novella, The Husband Maneuver. All the books in this grouping are classified as Christian historicals.

The more authors you follow, the greater your chance of winning.

  • Grand Prize – Kindle Fire and all the books in the overall promotion (including the other categories of historical romance such as Regency, Scottish, American, etc.)
  • First Prize – All the books in the Christian Historical Romance category
  • Second Prize – $25 gift card to the book store of your choice

Click here to enter the contest.

  • So what is the strangest place you have ever learned something interesting?

New Release and Giant Western Romance Giveaway!!!

Worth the Wait is here!!!

YeeHaw! It’s always fun to see hard work come to fruition, and this last week my latest addition to the Ladies of Harper’s Station series was released into the world. Worth the Wait is a sequel to No Other Will Do, but it can be read on its own if you haven’t read the first one.

This e-novella pairs shopkeeper Victoria Adams with freighter  Benjamin Porter. Tori is a single mom with a four-year-old son and has been hurt in the past by men. She tries to keep Ben at a distance despite his honorable ways and kindness toward her and her son, but when an opportunity to expand both their businesses by forging a partnership in a delivery service presents itself, she can’t say no. Ben woos her with patience and practicality, and Tori slowly begins to warm to the idea of letting a man inside her heart. But when an accident strikes, and the ugly truth about her past is exposed, their chance at love may be lost forever.

This is a quick read and priced at only $1.99. I hope you’ll give it a try. You can click the cover to order.

Giant Western Giveaway!!!

And just in case my new release isn’t enough to get you excited, there is a huge western romance giveaway going on this week that I can’t wait to tell you about. Four of the Fillies from right here at Petticoats & Pistols are participating, but so are 50 other authors. That’s right. You can win up to 54 western romance novels. How awesome is that?

Grand Prize is a Kindle fire and the 54 books.

First Prize is all 54 books.

All of the prize books will be in digital format.

To enter, click on the graphic above and you will be taken to the BookSweeps page.

The books included in this giveaway run the gamut from sweet to spicy, but they all feature swoon-worthy cowboys and western adventure that will put the giddy in your giddy-up.

The graphic to the right shows all the titles being given away, many by authors who have been featured guests here at P&P.

Be sure to click on one of the graphics to be taken to the contest page. Leaving a comment here will not enter you in the contest.

However, I would still like to hear from you.

  • What do you love best about western romance?

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Animals in Our Stories

Writers who pen westerns must have a deep-seated respect for animals. All those horses and cattle. The loyal dogs. The villainous rattlesnakes. Shoot, even the chickens have a role to play. Out on the lonely prairie, a fella was more apt to talk to his horse than another person for days on end.

I love animals. But I have a confession to make . . . I don’t own any. Part of the reason is that my husband has allergies, especially where cats and other long-haired critters are concerned. Another contributing factor is the three children living with us who already demand a lot of attention and cleaning up after. Also, with all the traveling I do for my writing career, the hassle of finding and paying for dog sitters is not terribly attractive at this point. Maybe once our nest is empty and all the kids have left, we’ll consider some four-legged children, but for now we only support the two-legged variety.

I had dogs and cats as a child – all outdoor animals. We had seven acres with lots of room to roam. But even then, the animals always loved my brother more than me. It seemed dreadfully unfair until I realized that he was the one who lived outside with them. Playing. Going on adventures. More often than not I was in my room reading about animals. All those great Black Stallion books. Old Yeller. Sounder. Where the Red Fern Grows. (Why are the dog books always so sad???) I would imagine myself racing across the plains on my trusty steed, but in truth I’ve only ever ridden about a dozen times in my life and mostly those were at a walking pace. Sigh.

But the imagination is a wonderful thing. I can create heroines who ride, shoot, and spit better than any man if I so desire. Or give a boy a dog that becomes his most trusted confidant. So that’s what I do. I add animals to my books, name them, and give them special connections with their owners. Then I live vicariously through my characters to enjoy all the benefits of animal love without any of the unromantic poop scooping or hair vacuuming.

Hermes – Note the small patch of white on his belly.

Helios – Black belly

In my latest release, my animal-loving heart had free reign. My hero, Benjamin Porter, is a freighter who is a gifted horse trainer. He has a pair of beautifully matched black Shires who pull his heavy freight wagon. They both have white socks and blazes, but only one has a white belly. It’s the only way others can tell the two draft horses apart. Thanks to a childhood fascination with Greek mythology, he named them Helios and Hermes. Hermes for the Greek god of trade and the guardian of travelers; and Helios for the Greek god of the sun who relied on mighty steeds to pull his golden chariot through the sky.

In my story, Ben is attempting to court his business partner, shopkeeper Victoria Adams. Tori has a young son named Lewis, and on one of their business trips, she barters goods in exchange for a puppy for Lewis. I, of course decided to keep with the black and white color scheme and adorableness, so I chose an Australian shepherd pup.

Here’s the scene where the puppy comes into play:

Too cute for words, right?

“Sarah said I could name him.” Lewis grinned, all trepidation vanishing as excitement took over. “He’s the biggest pup of the litter, so I thought I’d call him Hercules. What do you think? Just like the strong man in the stories you tell me.”

Satisfied that the horses were calm, Ben put a hand to Lewis’s shoulder and steered him a couple paces away. He hunkered down and offered his fingers for the pup to smell, enduring the friendly licks and shameless begging for attention before giving in and ruffling the dog’s ears.

When he and his brother had been kids, they’d run across a book on Greek mythology in their teacher’s collection and had enjoyed the adventure stories so well, they’d started naming all their animals after the ancient characters. They still did as adults, though Bartholomew had more of an opportunity, running a livery in Seymour. Ben had saved the names he’d chosen until he’d found the draft horses that lived up to them. Hermes for the Greek god of trade and the guardian of travelers; and Helios for the Greek god of the sun who relied on mighty steeds to pull his golden chariot through the sky.

“Hercules is a big name for such a little pup.” Ben raised a brow in feigned concern. “You sure he deserves such a tag?”

Lewis looked down at the fuzzy fur ball, scrunched his forehead in thought, then lifted his chin in the same stubborn way his ma did. “Well, even Hercules started as a baby.” He lifted the puppy into Ben’s face until they practically touched noses. “He’ll grow, just like the other Hercules did. He’ll get strong and brave and be the best dog ever!”

Click cover to pre-order novella for $1.99. It releases January 31.

“I reckon you’re right.” Ben eased the pup away from his face then pushed to his feet, rubbing Lewis’s hair as he stood. “It was Hercules’s actions that made him a legend, not his name. A man should always remember that. It isn’t his name or his clothes or how much money he has that matters. It’s the way he conducts himself—with honor, kindness, and courage—that makes a lasting difference in the world.”

“So you like the name?” The boy blinked up at him, giving Ben no idea if his attempt at conveying a life lesson had penetrated.

Oh, well. He winked at the boy. “I think it’s an outstanding name.” He tilted his head and scrutinized the pup a second time. “This one’s definitely hero material. You picked well, Lewis.”

The boy beamed and ran back to the little girl waiting for him by the trough. Ben’s heart gave a tug as he watched the two put their heads together and giggle over the puppies’ antics. Lewis had wormed his way into Ben’s heart months ago. It hadn’t taken long. The kid was so eager to please and so hungry for male attention, a rare commodity in a town full of womenfolk. Now, Ben couldn’t imagine his life without the little guy.

Although . . . a secret smile slid across Ben’s face as he watched the two young’uns crawl around in the dirt like pups themselves . . . he could imagine giving Lewis a little brother or sister to play with. That would be a pleasure indeed.

  • So what are your favorite animals to share real or imagined adventures with?

Christmas Love Letter

letterhead-header 2

img_3620During this holiday season, it’s fun to think about Santa and the joy of giving. To look at Christmas lights and sing carols. To bake yummy sweets and play games. But as I pondered about the holiday letter I would like to share with you, only one thought came to mind – the greatest Christmas love letter ever written.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned … This is the verdict: Light has come into the world … whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

God's LoveThe most powerful being in existence took on the helpless form of a babe. The King of Kings chose to arrive in a humble, muck-filled stable. All to start the greatest love story every told. He came because he loved you. He loved me. He loved all who came before and all who will come after. And he will go to any lengths not only to prove his love but to win our hearts in return. Even to the point of sacrificing his life to gain our freedom.

So as we drive through neighborhoods, oohing and aahing over the beautiful Christmas lights, let us remember the Light who came into the world. As we experience the joy of giving, let us remember the One who gave everything to win our hearts. And as we enjoy the precious gift of time spent with family, let us remember the Father who loves us unconditionally with an everlasting love.

Since I love a good carol, here are some good old country boys singing about the greatest gift ever given.

Merry Christmas!

Move Over Reindeer Games – Bring On the Cowboys

letterhead-header 2One of the things I look forward to most during the Christmas break is playing board games with the family. We tend to hang out in pajamas most days, and the card table  becomes a permanent living room fixture.

Bang 9Last year for Christmas, my brother-in-law (who is an avid board gamer) gave me the game Bang! I posted some details about it in a previous blog post here. It quickly became a favorite. It’s a strategic card game that plays fast with multiple levels of variation since no two games are ever alike. I would highly recommend this for family game night. (And at the end of this post, you’ll get a chance to win a copy!)

Curious to see what other western style games might be out there, I did a little searching. Here are a few I found. I have not actually tried any of these out, but they look promising.gunslinger

Gunslinger – A card game with bullets – pretty cool.

Cowboys: The Way of the Gun – Allows from 2-10 players. Could be a great party game.cowboys-board-game

Revolver: The Wild West Gunfighting Game – If you want to have a private battle of wits with a single opponent, this two-player game that pits lawmen against outlaws might be just what you were looking for.

revolversettlers-of-catan-trails-to-railsThen there are games I have played, and LOVED, that have western editions. Settlers of Catan is one of my favorite board games, and I recently saw that they game out with a version of the game set in the US as the railroad expands into the west. YeeHaw!

ticket-to-rideAnd Ticket to Ride is another personal favorite, again with the railroad theme. One year for Christmas, my husband and I both bought copies for each other for Christmas. I bought him the US edition, he bought me the Germany edition, and we decided to keep the German one. Nothing more classic than the westward expansion of the railroad conquering the western American frontier, though.

And now for the giveaway. With Christmas around the corner, it seemed the perfect time to give a little gift, so I’m offering a chance to win a copy of the board game Bang. The contest is set up through Amazon, and it is a random draw, so you’ll know instantly if you won or not. when I am notified of a winner, I will post in the comments. Please click on the link below to enter.

Amazon Giveaway of Bang!

Note: You can only enter by clicking on the link. Leaving a comment on the blog will not enter you in the contest. But please do leave me a comment 🙂 I’d love to chat with you.

  • Do you enjoy playing board games over the holidays?
  • What are your favorites?

 

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