Buy LEFT AT THE ALTAR on Amazon
Buy WITH THIS RING on Amazon
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.
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 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.
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.
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:
“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!”
“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.
During 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.
The 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.
One 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.
Last 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!)
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.
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.
Then 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!
And 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.
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.
Thank you to everyone who shared a comment about what reading has meant to you. I was so encouraged by those posts!
And now for the results . . .
The winner of Prize Package #1 is . . . Anne!
And the winner of Prize Package #2 is . . . Donna!
Congratulations, ladies. I’ll be emailing you with instructions on how to claim your prizes.
Happy reading, everyone!
Last month, I was honored to participate in the annual Romance Literacy Tea benefiting the Literacy Center in Richardson, Texas. Romance authors from around Texas and around the country, join together for a weekend full of events all set to raise money for the cause of literacy. And since it is in Texas, I had the chance to meet several Western Romance authors who were new to me.
Each author hosts a table and visits with readers who purchase tickets for the event. There are a ton of fabulous giveaways in the silent auction, books are sold, and a gorgeous handmade quilt is raffled. When the numbers were totaled, this year saw a record-breaking donation of over $20,000. YeeHaw!!!
The weekend got started with a book signing at a local Barnes & Noble. Thanks to my name being at the end of the alphabet, I was seated next to our keynote speaker, Jill Shalvis. Cool! Such a sweet lady. I enjoyed chatting with her and her husband.
After the book signing, we had dinner at the home of one of the volunteers. We ate yummy lasagne cups, signed our quilt blocks for the raffle, and mingled with the handful of readers who paid extra to join us for this private dinner.
Now, mingling is not my forte, but when I sat at the table, across from me was an avid reader who was an air force wife. When she started talking about California, I asked her where she met her husband. As it turns out, she grew up in Lompoc, my tiny California hometown where her husband was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Not only that, we both played in the Lompoc HS marching band (flute) and her friend’s sister (who I actually remembered!) graduated in the same class as I did. Talk about a small world! That was so fun!
The big event was on Sunday with the Literacy Tea. Each author brought favors to have on the tables. I gave away books, ladies handkerchiefs, and a variety of pocket watches to match the cover of my latest release, No Other Will Do. I shared a table with the lovely Amy Lillard, so all of our table mates got the bonus of two gifts. Being far more crafty than me, Amy made these fun masks for us to use in our pictures. If you check out the back row, you’ll see Melanie and Brittney, two P&P regulars.
What a fun event!
And since I was surrounded by great western romance authors, I couldn’t pass up the chance to support the cause of both literacy and western romance by buying a few books and getting them autographed. And that’s where the giveaway comes in! Jill Shalvis’s book isn’t exactly western but it is small town, so I threw it into the bunch as well.
I love a good western flick, and when my boys (who are computer nerds and Star Wars lovers) pleaded with me to take them to see the latest rendition of The Magnificent Seven, they didn’t have to twist my arm very hard to get me to say yes. So last night (Tuesday is bargain night at our local theater – I’m too cheap to pay full price for a first run movie, even a western LOL), we finally made the time to go see it.
It was a great, gritty western in the classic style. You just have to cheer for rough and tumble cowboys who find meaning for their lives by bonding together to help others.
Now, I have to admit that I never saw the original with Yul Brenner. After first meeting him as the king of Siam in The King and I, I just couldn’t quite picture him as a gunslinger. But as I perused the cast listed on the 1960 film, there are some pretty big names from the western genre – Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn – so I might need to reconsider.
However, I fell in love with the television series version from the late 1990s. It only ran a couple years, but I loved every minute of it. (It didn’t hurt that the cast was comprised of some pretty good looking cowboys.)
In the latest edition, Chris Pratt was the one who stole my heart. Gotta love a cowboy with a sense of humor along with a dangerous set of skills to ensure he is always taken seriously. Doesn’t the picture below just have western romance written all over it? The movie was about as far from a romance as you can get, but I can’t help but be inspired by this picture. Makes me want to spin off on another tale altogether.
Who are some of your favorite movie cowboys?
I have to admit to being a rabid Olympics fan. I’m a mediocre fan of sports overall. I enjoy watching grand slam tennis events and am known to watch football and baseball games if my husband has them on, but rarely do I purposely turn on the TV in search of sports. Until the Olympics come around. When Team USA plays, I set my schedule around being in front of the TV to cheer on my country.
Our first gold medal of the 2016 games was awarded to a young, 19-year-old shooter by the name of Virginia Thrasher. Watching this cool-as-a-cucumber athlete, reminded me of Annie Oakley and all the talented shooters who came from an era when guns were necessary to keep food on the table and danger from the door.
As it turns out, shooting was one of the original events at the first modern Olympics in 1896. There were 5 different shooting events, 2 for rifles and 3 for pistols. And of the 8 athletes representing the United States at the games in Athens, 2 of them were shooters. Brothers John and Sumner Paine from Harvard. Lieutenant John B. Paine happened to be a member of the Boston Athletic Club, which was the organization that sent a handful of athletes to compete at the newly organized games. John’s brother, Sumner was in Paris, France at the time, working as a gunsmith. After deciding to make the trip to Greece to compete, John stopped by France on his way in order to invite his brother to come along.
Not knowing what weapons they would need, they packed an arsenal: two Colt army revolvers, two Smith & Wesson Russian model revolvers, a Stevens .22 caliber pistol, a Wurfflein, two pocket weapons, and 3,500 rounds of ammunition.* They entered all 3 pistol events. Unfortunately, they were excluded from the rapid fire pistol competition because their .22 caliber pistols were disqualified as not being standard issue.
The shooting house was built of white marble, and they shot at a black bull’s-eye with a white dot inside.
Using their Colt revolvers, John and Sumner dominated the 25 meter military pistol event. John took first place with a score of 442. Sumner took second with a score of 380. The next closest opponent scored 205. The brothers had decided privately that whoever won the first event would bow out for the second, so John withdrew from the 30 meter free pistol event, leaving Sumner to capture first place easily with the same score his brother had earned in the previous round – 442. They only needed 96 rounds from the 3,500-round stash of ammunition to win their events.
John and Sumner Paine were the first US athletes to win gold at the Olympics.
Where does the whiskey come in, you ask? Well, according to eye-witness accounts, the Paine brothers paused between rounds to sip whiskey from flasks when tensions ran high. By the next day, all the other competitors decided to follow suit.* I don’t think these fellows would have passed the anti-doping regulations of today.
Being an Olympic shooting champion has it’s advantages, though. One night in 1901, Sumner Paine came home to find his wife in bed with his daughter’s music teacher. He drove the man away with four shots from a .32 caliber pistol. He was briefly jailed and charged with assault, but Paine was released when the police found his medal and realized he must have missed on purpose.
*Information taken from: