Do you like short stories? I love them, both as a writer and as a reader. I’m so thrilled that they’re making a comeback in today’s world! I remember as a teenager in high school English class, some of the short stories that were taught at the time. You can probably recall these classes, too—we read many short stories and novels that couldn’t reach into our world and touch us, not at that age.
It’s odd to me that had some of the selections been different, or more age-appropriate, this might have fostered a love of reading the short story rather than dread for so many. The essay questions at the end of the story seemed hard for many of the students to understand, much less formulate answers to in order to show what they learned from the story. As high school freshmen in the 14-15 year-old age range, and with our limited knowledge of the world, it was difficult for some to be able to grasp symbolism or foreshadowing among other story elements. I realized later on that some people never grasp it, no matter how old they are. Reading with that kind of intuitive understanding is not something everyone is able to do.
Being forced to read something for a grade rather than enjoyment was something I didn’t understand. For one thing, I enjoyed reading. As with any kid, some things held my interest more than others. But I never could fathom some of my classmates who actually said, “I hate to read.”
I had some favorite short stories, even out of the ones we were forced to read. Who could forget Whitney and Rainsford in Richard Connell’s THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME? Frank Stockton’s THE LADY OR THE TIGER? Or, TO BUILD A FIRE, by Jack London?
Those stories were what inspired me to want to write “like that” and I often wondered in later years, seeing my kids’ English books and the stories they contained, where our next generation of writers would come from? There was certainly nothing “inspiring” in those stories. I was wishing there were some of the stories from “the good ol’ days” in their books, even though at the time I had been their age, many of my classmates had detested those same stories that I loved so much.
But one day, my daughter came home from school and said, “Mom, we read a story today that was so good! It’s about a guy who is trying to survive in the cold and he tries to build a fire…” And a few years later, my son couldn’t wait to tell me about a story they’d read about an island, where men were hunted…
Not everyone who loves to read wants to become a writer. So I’m wondering…was there a particular short story that you read when you were younger that made you want to write? Or one that made you become an avid reader? Since so many of us write westerns, was there a western short story that influenced you when you were younger? The one that I loved was not really a short story, but a short novel, Fred Gipson’s OLD YELLER.
In later years, another one that stood out was Shirley Jackson’s THE LOTTERY.
I’d have to say one of my all-time favorite short stories is Dorothy M. Johnson’s LOST SISTER–this is a fictional story based on Cynthia Ann Parker’s real life story of being kidnapped by the Comanche, and marrying a Comanche chief. She later became the mother of another prominent chief, Quanah Parker. LOST SISTER is a story that you will remember long after you finish reading it!
What’s your favorite short story? It doesn’t have to be a western. I’d love to hear what your favorite(s) are. My TBR list is bursting at the seams anyhow, but I can’t stop myself from adding to it when I hear about MORE great reads!
I’m giving away a free print copy of one of my short story collections today, DARK TRAIL RISING. All you have to do is comment, and check back later this evening to see if you won!
For all of my work, you can click here:
Who loves a great Valentine’s Day story? I DO! I love to read them and write them! If there is a more romantic time of year, I don’t know what it is—and it’s especially so for me, since my hubby and I got married on February 10, 1979, thirty-eight years ago!
He’s my “real-life” hero, but I do love to write fiction—ROMANTIC fiction—so I couldn’t pass up the chance to let my imagination roam and write a few Valentine’s Day stories of my own, in both contemporary and historical genres. But goodness, we can’t limit ourselves just to ONE DAY, can we? I’ll be sure and mark the stories that have a Valentine’s Day theme—the others are just wonderfully romantic stories that you won’t want to pass up.
With flowers and candy at the top of the “romantic” list, I always indulge in a guilty pleasure or two and buy myself some VERY romantic stories to lose myself in at this time of year!
Here are a few “picks” for you if you’re looking for some romantic Valentine’s Day reading…
HEARTS AND SPURS is a short story collection that features nine sensual Valentine’s Day love tales of the old west that will leave no doubt—Cupid is a cowboy, and he’s playing for keeps! How do you capture a cowboy’s heart? HEARTS AND SPURS includes stories by many of our P&P past and present “fillies” along with Livia J. Washburn, Sarah J. McNeal and Jacquie Rogers!
FOUND HEARTS by Cheryl Pierson—An enemy from the past threatens Alex Cameron’s future on the day he’s set to wed mail-order bride Evie Fremont. Can they survive their wedding day?
OPEN HEARTS by Tanya Hanson—A woman living as a man to practice the law she loves must guard her identity—and her heart—from a handsome sheriff, who discovers her secret and must decide whether to turn her in or fall in love.
THE WIDOW’S HEART by Linda Broday—Desperate and alone, Skye O’Rourke finds courage and a love she thought she’d lost when a man from her past emerges from the shimmering desert heat.
COMING HOME by Tracy Garrett—Sometimes it takes two to make dreams come true. When a man who believes he’ll never have a home and family finds a woman who has lost everything…It takes a lot of forgiveness and a few fireworks to realize that together, their dreams can come true.
TUMBLEWEEDS AND VALENTINES by Phyliss Miranda—The wildness of a tumbleweed and the sweetness of chocolate bring Amanda Love the love of a lifetime.
THE SECOND-BEST RANGER IN TEXAS by Kathleen Rice Adams—A washed-up Texas Ranger. A failed nun with a violent past. A love that will redeem them both. (WESTERN FICTIONEER PEACEMAKER AWARD WINNER!)
What a wonderful anthology this is, and it’s now FREE THIS WEEK for the digital edition. It’s also available in print!
For this excellent collection as well as many other FREE and .99 books, stories and anthologies Prairie Rose Publications is running a huge VALENTINE EXTRAVAGANZA! Go to the PRP WEBSITE below to see many more free Valentine’s Day special offers you won’t want to miss!
A HEART FOR A HEART is a contemporary Valentine’s Day novella you might enjoy… Kiera Leslie is all set to welcome Cory Tiger into her home as a foster child. Orphaned and with a learning disability, Cory is looking forward to living with his tutor. Until his uncle shows up… Sam Tiger returns from military duty to find his deceased brother’s son being taken in by a stranger. The boy needs his family—and Sam is it. He never expects the tutor to stand up to him and want to keep Cory. Then the worst happens—he finds himself attracted to Kiera. It’s Valentine’s Day, and Cupid’s got deadly aim!
HIDDEN TRAILS takes place right around Valentine’s Day in a blinding snowstorm.
Levi Connor has never run from anything in his life, and he doesn’t intend to start now. After killing the two bandits who’d followed him into Indian Territory, he finds himself wounded and riding through a blinding February snowstorm. With no purpose ahead of him and no past to guide him, he discovers a reason to exist—the beautiful mixed-blood girl who takes him in and heals him. Valentine Reneau lives in fear that her father will find her someday in the heart of Indian Territory and force her to return to Mississippi to take her mother’s place—in every way. She knows her time has run out when a stranger shows up on her land with two hired guns—and the devil in his plans. With some unlikely help, Valentine must try to escape the slave’s fate that her mother left behind so many years before. Will Levi kill for a woman he barely knows? The chips are down, the guns blaze, and everything finally comes clear along these HIDDEN TRAILS…but who’ll be left alive?
HIDDEN TRAILS was a finalist in the short fiction category of the Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Awards!
No, this one is not a Valentine’s Day themed story, but it has to be one of my all-time favorite love stories. If you have not read it yet, you won’t be disappointed! It’s Penelope Williamson’s THE OUTSIDER—an oldie but a goodie!
Throughout the years on her Montana homestead, Rachel Yoder had never been afraid—the creed of the Plain People had been her strength. Then the day came when lawless men killed Rachel’s husband in an act of blind greed. Now, at her darkest hour, an outsider walks across her meadow and into her life… Johnny Cain is bloody, near death, and armed to the teeth. A man hardened by his violent past, Cain has never known a woman like Rachel—someone who offers him a chance to heal more than his physical wounds. Cain’s lazy smile and teasing ways steal Rachel’s heart and confound her soul. Soon she must choose between all she holds dear—her faith, her family, perhaps her very salvation—and the man they call the Outsider.
Another excellent story by Penelope Williamson that I really enjoyed was HEART OF THE WEST…you can’t get enough of Penelope Williamson!
Here are some tales that are sexy, romantic, and wonderful!
HANNAH’S VOW by Pam Crooks
TEXAS REDEMPTION by Linda Broday
SENECA SURRENDER by Karen Kay writing as Gen Bailey
BEYOND THE FIRE by Cheryl Pierson
When Kendi Morgan witnesses an attempted murder near her home one stormy November night, she makes the only choice her heart will allow: she has to help the victim. But bringing the handsome stranger into her home traps her in the middle of a deadly drug war.
Wounded DEA agent Jackson Taylor is a man with nothing to lose and nothing to fear—until he falls for the beautiful woman who risks everything to save his life.
With his cover blown, Jackson knows he’s all that stands between Kendi and Benito Sanchez, a powerful drug cartel lord. Sanchez swears his vengeance, vowing to see Jackson and Kendi both dead.
Love comes fast when there may be only hours left…can it survive? Or will Jackson sacrifice his partner’s life—along with his own—in exchange for Kendi’s safety? Does a future exist for them BEYOND THE FIRE…
Previously published as Temptation’s Touch.
What’s the most romantic story you ever read? Leave your answer in the comments along with your contact information for a chance to win a digital copy of HIDDEN TRAILS! Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, everyone–and don’t forget to pop over to the PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS blog for tons of bargains from FEB. 13-17!!
Do you have a favorite romance story that takes place at Christmas? One that really stands out and makes you smile to remember it?
You would think a Christmas romance would be one of the easiest tales to tell, wouldn’t you? I mean, what could be better than a backdrop of snow and mistletoe, the warmth of a fire in a great room, a twinkling Christmas tree…but what about creating a little excitement?
As romance readers, we want something that’s going to keep us turning the pages, no matter what time of year it might be—and let’s face it, sitting in front of a fire, half-asleep, with a book on our laps and a full stomach is not all that exciting—or romantic, either.
But sometimes, it can be a little tough to create a full length novel around a short time span—with the entire story being told in a month’s (or less) time. And for me…I’m not ever sure if my characters are going to decide if a short story is going to do their tale justice—or if they’re going to want MORE.
I’ve written quite a few WHR novellas for Christmas boxed sets and anthologies, with some single-author collections of my own that take place for the most part during the Christmas season. But as for full-length novels that take place a Christmas, I haven’t tackled that yet, though I’d love to write one someday.
Here’s a wonderful boxed set of western historical romance stories from Prairie Rose Publications that is available in print and e-book. It also features a wonderful story by fellow filly TANYA HANSON, among others!
What are your favorite romance stories that take place at Christmas? Got some to share? I always love holiday Regency stories—and it seems there are more of those that are full-length novels than other genres. Lisa Kleypas is a favorite of mine with her older Wallflower series.
Each takes place in a different season, but there is the Christmas installment, A WALLFLOWER CHRISTMAS. It’s not a western, but this is a wonderful series, and I especially loved the Christmas tale.
Here are some heartwarming tales that make for some good holiday reading for yourself and for others!
A HERO FOR CHRISTMAS is a collection of four stories that take place at Christmas, each with a little “something extra” that happens within the story. It’s available in print and also in Kindle format. I will be giving away an e-copy of A HERO FOR CHRISTMAS today to one commenter!
Fellow filly Tracy Garrett penned this heart-wrenching tale of lost love found again. You won’t want to miss this one!
WILD TEXAS CHRISTMAS is an anthology that I’m proud to have a story in along with Kaye Spencer, Jacquie Rogers, C. Marie Bowen, and fellow filly “sister” Kathleen Rice Adams.
And here’s my latest Christmas short single sell, A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE. I will be giving away an e-copy of this short story today as well! Be sure to leave a comment!
Now, let’s hear from you! What are some of YOUR favorite holiday romance tales?
I am fascinated by Cherokee leader Stand Watie. I’ve used him as a character in many of my stories. I think the reason I can’t seem to get enough of him is because of his remarkable life and accomplishments. Here’s a little bit about Stand Watie and what he did–and then I’ll tell you about my stories he appears in.
Only two Native Americans on either side of the States’ War rose to the rank of brigadier general. Standhope Watie (Uwatie), fighting for the Confederacy, was one of those two. Yet, what makes this accomplishment so incredible is the fact that while he was fighting for the Confederate States of America, he was also fighting other Cherokee tribal leaders who held opposing political views and very different visions for the Cherokee nation.
Stand Watie commanded the Confederate Indian Cavalry of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi. While the cavalry unit was comprised mainly of Cherokee, some Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole tribal members also served.
Born in Oothcaloga in the Cherokee Nation, State of Georgia, Uwatie (or Oowatie) was also known as Isaac. He was educated in a Moravian mission school. In his early adulthood, he occasionally wrote articles for the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper. The State of Georgia confiscated Cherokee lands in 1832 when gold was discovered, including the thriving plantation owned by Stand’s father and mother. Stand and his brothers, part of the powerful Ridge-Watie-Boudinot faction of the Cherokee council, stood in favor of the Cherokee Removal. Their signing of the Treaty of New Echota facilitated the removal of the Cherokee people to Indian Territory—what is now Oklahoma.
Another faction of Cherokees following John Ross refused to ratify the treaty signing. This segment was known as The Anti-Removal National Party. Members of this group targeted Stand Watie and his brother, Elias Boudinot, along with their uncle, Major Ridge, and cousin, John Ridge for assassination. Stand was the only one who survived the assassination attempt. Although Watie’s family had left Georgia before the forcible removal of all Cherokees in 1838, another brother, Thomas, was murdered by Ross’s men in 1845.
In October, 1861, Watie was commissioned as colonel in the First Mounted Cherokee Rifles. Besides fighting Federal troops in the States’ War, his men also fought opposing factions of Cherokee, as well as Seminole and Creek (Muscogee) warriors who supported the Union.
In 1862, Stand Watie was elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, through dissension continued among John Ross’s supporters.
On June 15, 1864, Watie’s troops captured the Federal steamboat J. R. Williams on the Arkansas River off the banks of Pleasant Bluff near Tamaha, Indian Territory. The next morning, Colonel John Ritchie’s men, who were stationed at the mouth of the Illinois River near where the two rivers met, engaged Watie’s men as they attempted to confiscate the cargo. The river was rising, and they fought to a standoff. When Watie learned of the advance of Union troops from Fort Smith, Arkansas, (within about 40 miles), he burned the ship and much of the remaining cargo, then sank it.
Watie surrendered a year later in June of 1865, the last Confederate general to lay down his arms.
In my debut novel, Fire Eyes, I weave this bit of history into my plot. The villain, Andrew Fallon, and his gang have come upon the site where the J.R. Williams was sunk four years earlier. Fallon speculates there could have been gold aboard, and sets his men to dive for it. As mercurial as his temper is, none of them dare question his order. Here’s what happens:
FROM FIRE EYES:
“Damn! I know where we are.” Dobie Perrin said.
Andrew Fallon turned in the saddle, glaring at Perrin, the afternoon sun dappling them through the leaves of the thick canopy of trees. “So do I, you idiot! So do we all, now.”
The secluded cemetery sat on a bluff, overlooking the Arkansas River. They had been wandering for two days, ever since retracing their steps to the first small creek they’d come to. The one Fallon felt sure would give them their bearings. Now, at last, he recognized where they were. He’d figured it out ten miles back.
“Tamaha,” Denver Rutledge muttered. “I was raised up over yonder.” He inclined his head toward the riverbank. “Over in Vian.”
“Then why didn’t you know where we were?” Fallon’s anger surged. “I am surrounded by idiots!”
“I shore ’nuff shoulda known, General,” Rutledge said apologetically. “Right yonder’s where we sunk the J.R. Williams. Rebs, I mean. Stand Watie’s bunch.”
Fallon jerked his head toward the other man. “Right where, soldier?”
Rutledge kneed his horse, coming abreast of Fallon. “Why, right yonder, General. It was in June of ’64. She was a Union ship, the Williams was.”
“What was she carrying?”
Rutledge shrugged. “Don’t rightly know. Supplies, maybe.”
“Payroll? Gold?” Fallon fingered his curling moustache. “Could be anything, eh, Rutledge? But the Yankees were known to cache their gold profits in casks. Maybe that’s what the J.R. Williams was carrying. Casks that weren’t really supplies, but were filled with gold.”
“Could be, I ‘spect.” Rutledge’s voice was hesitant.
Fallon nodded toward the river. “I think maybe we’ll try to find out.”
The next story Chief Watie was included in was my time-travel western novella, MEANT TO BE. Here’s a little bit about this Civil War story:
Robin Mallory is facing another Christmas all alone when she decides to surprise her aunt and uncle several hours away. A flat tire leaves her stranded near a desolate section of interstate. With a snowstorm on the way, Robin has no choice but to walk, hoping to find shelter before the storm hits full force. But the road she chooses leads her back in time, to a battleground she’s only read about in history books.
Confederate Jake Devlin, an officer in Stand Watie’s Cherokee forces, is shocked when the spy he captures turns out to be a girl. She’s dressed oddly, but her speech and the ideas she has are even stranger than her clothing. Where did she come from, and what is he going to do with her? Will he be able to hold on to his heart? Is it possible for a love this strong to span centuries? It is, if it was MEANT TO BE…
My most recent story that Stand Watie appears in is my first venture into “alternate history” in the alternate history anthology, TALES FROM THE OTHERVERSE released through Rough Edges Press. If you aren’t familiar with alternate history, it’s fascinating to read and to write–because you can change history to suit the story you want to tell. My novella is called MRS. LINCOLN’S DINNER PARTY–a very different story about how the Civil War ended, thanks to Varina Davis, Mary Lincoln, and of all people, Stand Watie. Hmmm…let’s just see what’s going on at this odd dinner party of Mrs. Lincoln’s, shall we?
“If you’ll excuse me, sir,” Mary said, “I must return to the receiving line. You’ve had a long journey—if you’d like a moment to freshen up, Mr. Pennington can show you to your quarters—” She nodded at the guard standing behind the general.
“Yes, please. I’d like to know where I need to place my bag,” the general said.
Mary glared at Mr. Pennington, who squirmed uncomfortably.
“Thought maybe there was a mistake, Mrs. Lincoln—”
“Mr. Pennington. There is no mistake. And I will not tolerate rudeness. Please, show General Watie to his quarters—and you carry his bag.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Pennington answered. “This way, sir.”
General Watie gave Mary a rare smile. “Thank you. I will see you at dinner, Mrs. Lincoln.”
Mary felt Abe’s eyes boring into her as she moved across the floor, back into her place in line.
“I’m…surprised at you, Mary.”
Mary felt the hot flush creep up her neck, into her cheeks.
“I’m wondering, what other—guests—you may have invited without my knowledge.”
Oh, how she did wish he’d keep his voice down! She didn’t want the children to see the discord between them—especially here in public, where it was so easy for others to read between the lines, pick up on any issues that were best kept private. As Robert had said earlier, they could all find themselves on the front page of the papers along with unflattering descriptions and comments if they weren’t careful.
She didn’t answer Abe’s prodding, becoming suddenly resentful of being placed in such a predicament. She wouldn’t have had to resort to this if Abe and the others who had started this war had been more reasonable.
And though, in her heart, she believed fathers loved their children dearly…she couldn’t yet reconcile how fathers could call for sons to go to war. War! Where the children mothers had fought so hard to keep safe and whole all their childhood years could—in one moment—be maimed, or left to die a horrific death at the hands of their enemy…The enemy—people who had, just two scant years earlier, been their neighbors, their friends—even their own families!
She couldn’t sit by any longer and do nothing. Robert would be heading off to West Point in the fall…then Eddie and Willie would follow.
She was not going to lose her precious boys to this confounded idiocy.
“My God,” Abe swore, his tone calling her back to the present. “Is that—”
“Varina Davis. Yes. It is.” Mary turned to look up at her husband. “It looks as if Jefferson declined the invitation. Would you care to accompany me to greet her, or—”
“Yes, I’ll come,” he all but growled. “Mary, we have some talking to do.”
But Mary was already on her way across the floor to greet Varina Davis, Confederate President Jefferson Davis’s wife.
BUY IT HERE: https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Otherverse-James-Reasoner-ebook/dp/B018CQF05I/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1476584467&sr=1-1&keywords=Tales+From+the+Otherverse+by+Cheryl+Pierson&tag=pettpist-20
I want to thank everyone for joining me today! Please leave a comment and you will be entered in my drawing for a copy (DIGITAL OR PRINT–YOUR CHOICE!) of FIRE EYES and I’m also giving away a copy of MEANT TO BE!
I’m so excited! Is there anything better than a BOXED SET of western historical romance stories by five different authors–authors you either know and love, or DON’T know yet and are getting the joy of just discovering? I know many of our readers are already familiar with many of us who have a story in the latest Prairie Rose Publications wonderful boxed set, A KISS TO REMEMBER–but you might not know all of us.
Here is a sneak peek at the stories included in this set–and the best part? The ENTIRE set is only .99! What a steal!
Are you ready for FIVE books in one of the best western historical romance boxed sets to debut this year? Prairie Rose Publications has got just the stories you’ve been craving! Get ready for some wonderful hours of pleasure-filled reading as you settle back in your easy chair and get lost in these wonderful tales of romance that you won’t be able to get enough of! Here’s the link in case you just can’t wait to see if you are my winner of the giveaway!
HER SANCTUARY by Tracy Garrett
Beautiful Maggie Flanaghan’s heart is broken when her father dies suddenly and the westward bound wagon train moves on without her, leaving her stranded in River’s Bend. But Reverend Kristoph Oltmann discovers the tender beginnings of love as he comforts Maggie, only to find she harbors a secret that could make their relationship impossible.
GABRIEL’S LAW by Cheryl Pierson
Brandon Gabriel is hired by the citizens of Spring Branch to hunt down the notorious Clayton Gang, never suspecting a double-cross. When Allison Taylor rides into town for supplies, she doesn’t expect to be sickened by the sight of a man being beaten to death by a mob—a man she recognizes from her past. Spring Branch’s upstanding citizens gather round to see a murder, but everything changes with the click of a gun—and GABRIEL’S LAW.
OUTLAW HEART by Tanya Hanson
Making a new start has never been harder! Bronx Sanderson is determined to leave his old outlaw ways behind and become a decent man. Lila Brewster is certain that her destiny lies in keeping her late husband’s dream alive—a mission house for the down-and-out of Leadville, Colorado. But dreams change when love flares between an angel and a man with an OUTLAW HEART…
THE DUMONT WAY by Kathleen Rice Adams
The biggest ranch in Texas will give her all to save her children…but only the right woman’s love can save a man’s tortured soul. This trilogy of stories about the Dumont family contains a new, never-before-published tale by Kathleen Rice Adams! Nothing will stop this powerful family from doing things THE DUMONT WAY…
YESTERDAY’S FLAME by Livia J. Washburn
When smoke jumper Annabel Lowell’s duties propelled her from San Francisco 2000 back to 1906, she faces one of the worst earthquakes in history. But she also finds the passion of a lifetime in fellow fireman Cole Brady. Now she must choose between a future of certain danger—and a present of certain love—no matter how short-lived it may be… “A timeless and haunting tale of love.”~ The Literary Times
I will give away a Kindle copy of this boxed set to ONE LUCKY WINNER! Just leave a comment about what got you started reading romance books and be sure to leave your contact info in the comment section, as well! You just might be my winner!
On July 28—that’s only three days from now—A Kiss to Remember will release. It’s an anthology of five books by authors we know and (hopefully) love to read.
Her Sanctuary by Tracy Garrett
Beautiful Maggie Flanaghan’s heart is broken when her father dies suddenly and the westward-bound wagon train moves on without her, leaving her stranded in River’s Bend. But Reverend Kristoph Oltmann discovers the tender beginnings of love as he comforts Maggie, only to find she harbors a secret that could make their relationship impossible
Gabriel’s Law by Cheryl Pierson
Brandon Gabriel is hired by the citizens of Spring Branch to hunt down the notorious Clayton Gang, never suspecting a double-cross. When Allison Taylor rides into town for supplies, she doesn’t expect to be sickened by the sight of a man being beaten to death by a mob—a man she recognizes from her past. Spring Branch’s upstanding citizens gather round to see a murder, but everything changes with the click of a gun—and Gabriel’s Law.
Outlaw Heart, by Tanya Hanson
Making a new start has never been harder! Bronx Sanderson is determined to leave his old outlaw ways behind and become a decent man. Lila Brewster is certain that her destiny lies in keeping her late husband’s dream alive: a mission house for the down-and-out of Leadville, Colorado. But dreams change when love flares between an angel and a man with an Outlaw Heart.
The Dumont Way by Kathleen Rice Adams
The biggest ranch in Texas will give her all to save her children…but only the right woman’s love can save a man’s tortured soul. This trilogy of stories about the Dumont family contains The Trouble with Honey, a new, never-before-published novella. Nothing will stop this powerful family from doing things The Dumont Way.
Yesterday’s Flame by Livia J. Washburn
When smoke jumper Annabel Lowell’s duties propel her from San Francisco in 2000 back to 1906, she faces one of the worst earthquakes in history. But she also finds the passion of a lifetime in fellow fireman Cole Brady. Now she must choose between a future of certain danger and a present of certain love—no matter how short-lived it may be. “A timeless and haunting tale of love.” ~ The Literary Times
I’m thrilled to be a part of this anthology with such amazing talents. So thrilled, I’m giving away one electronic (mobi) copy! All you have to do to enter is tell me why you love western historical romance in a comment (include your email address) and I’ll pick a winner tomorrow (July 26).
I suppose everyone is “strange” in their own weird ways, aren’t they? But I was definitely “the one” in my family! We all have a tendency to be “the oddball” or “the black sheep” or the one who is somewhat “different” in one way or another. So instead of just naming 10 things you might not know about me, I thought I’d talk about this phenomena of being “the weird one” in the family.
First of all, I was a mistake. Yep, my sisters were 10 and 12 when I was born—so I was definitely a “bonus baby”—and one my poor parents weren’t sure of what to do with. Picture this: Mom and Dad were both born in a very tiny town in Oklahoma in 1922. They had a graduating class of 12 seniors. They were highschool sweethearts, married, and made it all the way through the 1950’s with two daughters (my sisters) who were well…typical 1950’s adolescents. Smooth sailing!
But…I came along in 1957 and grew up in the 60’s and 70’s—enough said. So another weird fact about me is that my parents gave me the oddest name in our entire family. I’ve mentioned this before, so if you know this already, just skip on down to the next segment. My name is Cheryl. But it’s pronounced CHAIR-yl, not SHARE-yl. I’m sure my parents thought they were just being different…but that’s the point. I’ve spent part of my early lifetime correcting people and finally—I just gave up. But it still feels weird when someone calls me SHARE-yl. And as if that weren’t enough? My dad decided to name me “KATHLYN” – not Kathleen, not Kathryn. I will be 59 this month, and in my entire life, I’ve met 2 other women named Kathlyn and 2 others named CHAIR-yl rather than SHARE-yl. That’s not a lot, but at least I know I’m not alone. And I named my daughter Jessica…no complications there.
Growing up, I was lucky enough (or not, depending on how you look at it!) to be accepted as a student by a very perfectionistic, meticulous piano teacher. So one surprising fact about me is that I’m a classically trained pianist. This is doubly surprising considering the small Oklahoma town I grew up in!
Here I am at age 6, goofing around with my Aunt Emogene who was a self-taught pianist and could make that keyboard ring.
The next strange or surprising thing about me is that I actually achieved the dream of becoming a writer—something I’d wanted to do since I could hold a pen. In fact, I was the “problem child” who got in trouble for writing in my books—not drawing—but adding my own text. (Never mind that it didn’t make sense—it was a hodgepodge of letters that didn’t make words, but to me, what I was doing was really important!) From THE COLOR KITTENS to FIRE EYES!
Another thing that is “strange” was how I met my husband. My father worked in the oilfields, and the summer before I started my senior year in high school in Seminole, OK, he was transferred to Charleston, West Virginia. Yep. I had to leave all my friends that I’d gone to school with since first grade! I graduated from Winfield, WV, and started college. There, I met my “older man”—a Vietnam vet with an ex-wife and two kids. He had just gotten a job with the Federal Aviation Administration, who had their main training facility in…OKLAHOMA CITY! So after a few years of marriage, I got to come back to Oklahoma when my hubby took a job at the FAA Academy, and we’ve been here ever since.
Another little known fact is that I am able to drive a stick shift. We are the last of a dying breed! AND I learned to do it in West Virginia—which is in the Appalachians and full of curvy roads, twist, turns, and…did I mention NARROW lanes? I learned on our little Capri—a car I still love with all my heart and am so sorry that we had to trade in on something else. I found this picture on the internet–this is the exact copy of the car we had back in ’76!
Did you know (I bet you didn’t!) that I started my published writing career as a short story author for Chicken Soup, Rocking Chair Reader, and also a feature writer for our local newspaper? I had been working on the “great American novel” for quite a while, but I had to “break in” somehow—and this was it. Here’s a picture of the first anthology I ever had a story published in. It was called PENNY MEMORIES. What a thrill!
Probably the thing that surprised even me was going into the publishing business. Livia Reasoner and I started Prairie Rose Publications a scant three years ago. We now have expanded to six imprints and I have loved every minute of it! Helping other authors realize their dream of publication has been a thrill I never could have imagined—and now, it’s a reality.
And last but not least, another strange or surprising fact about me is that in recent years I have become an animal rights activist. Oh, no—not that kind that sprays spray paint on people wearing fur coats and that kind of thing—but I started out by sharing shelter animals that needed homes on Facebook. This might seem like a small thing, but guess what? I matched up at least six homeless animals with their “forever” homes just by sharing! What a great feeling. As time has gone by, I try to share petitions to stop animal cruelty as well as the shelter animals that are running out of time. It’s easy. It’s free. And it really does work. I’ve learned that every small thing we do toward keeping animals safe and loved all adds up in “the big picture.” Here’s a picture of my own rescue dog, Embry, when he was a puppy 7 years ago. He’s now a 200 pound bundle of love!
And that does it for me. Thanks so much for stopping by today!
What makes us write what we write? I can’t speak for everyone, but I can tell you why I penned my debut novel, A Heart on Hold.
I wrote A Heart on Hold for two reasons. One: I really wanted to read it. Two: I had to go get lots of stuff off my chest and it’s hard to afford therapy on a sergeant’s salary. (That was a tongue in cheek joke, by the way.)
My husband was deployed to Afghanistan and I was home by myself with three children under five – one a preemie and just six weeks old. We moved to my hometown, Odessa, Texas, to be near my folks and lucked into renting a house right around the corner from them. However, that didn’t ward off the bad juju to come.
I wish I could say pining away at home for a serviceman was romantic, but if I did, I would be lying. It was stressful, strained our marriage, and put a hurting on our already fragile finances. In the off chance he was able to call, he was a different person – an angry person. Then, Flu-B swept our household, hitting everyone except the newborn. We recovered, only to be struck down with the dreaded H1N1 Flu virus. I honestly wasn’t sure if we were coming out of that one or not. But once again, everyone recovered and lived to tell the proverbial tale.
My husband’s tales from the battlefield were enough to curdle my blood and keep me up at night, on my knees, asking God to keep him safe. His stories, coupled with the ever-present grim news reports, saw me begin to lose weight at an astronomical speed. I figured stress was the culprit. Boy was I wrong.
My thyroid gland was dying and kicking up a fuss, so it had to come out. All of it, right away, and hopefully it wasn’t cancer. Well, the docs piddled and pondered over this all through my husband’s mid-tour leave. Then, once he was safely back in Afghanistan, they decided to schedule a date to operate. The Army didn’t let him come home.
These tales are just a few that are woven through the pages of A Heart on Hold, set against the backdrop of one woman’s undying love for her soldier, no matter what the situation back home brings.
War isn’t romantic, but love can be the silk thread that holds the broken hearts and shattered spirits together that follows in war’s wake. I hope you read A Heart on Hold. I hope you fall in love with Charlotte and Sanderson and Minerva and Jackson. I hope you find kernels of truth that you can take with you in your life. The human spirit is resilient and can bounce back from many pains. Charlotte did. So did I.
Have you ever wondered if you’d survive something? Did your love–or someone else’s–sustain you? I’d love to hear about it! Leave me a comment for a chance to win a digital copy of A HEART ON HOLD.
What’s A HEART ON HOLD about? It’s the first of a 4-book series to be re-issued with Prairie Rose Publications. Book 2, A HEART BROKEN, will be out in June, and I can hardly wait to see these stories “out there” again. They mean so much to me! Here’s the blurb from A HEART ON HOLD:
How long can a heart hold on before it breaks?
Charlotte Adamsland is separated from her husband, Sanderson Redding, the day after their marriage. A captain in the Confederate Army, Sanderson must return to his unit, leaving Charlotte alone on their Arkansas homestead to fend for herself. Yankees camp around the town of Altrose, bringing their own kind of lawless danger. And then, one dark day, a Southern soldier arrives with terrible news…Sanderson has been killed trying to escape a Yankee prison.
Sanderson has found salvation and hell in a single turn of events he could never have imagined—his much-younger brother, Jackson, is his Yankee guard. When Jackson’s cruel commanding officer learns of the brothers’ family ties, he devises a wicked plan to see them both dead. Jackson is determined to get his brother to safety—but a last-minute betrayal by another prisoner could be the death of both brothers.
Charlotte can’t accept the news of Sanderson’s death—he promised to come back to her. She heads north armed with only her faith in God and her beloved horse to bring her love home—one way or the other. Will she be able to rescue him? Or will her love remained locked forever in A HEART ON HOLD…
And here’s an excerpt from A HEART ON HOLD to whet your appetite!
“I had a more romantic howdy planned for you, my dear,” Sanderson said.
His words sounded far away in her sleep-heavy ears as she struggled to wake up.
“I suppose I fell asleep,” Charlotte mumbled. A cold knot formed in her stomach as she realized she had tilted over from her sitting position when she dozed off, allowing her head to land smack dab on Sanderson’s chest. His hand was still stroking her hair.
“Just like Uncle Jake,” Sanderson mused. “It must be nice to be able to sleep wherever your head winds up.”
“Well, it’s about time you woke up,” Charlotte teased sleepily. Although worry strained her voice, she flashed him a smile. “Your color’s coming back, too. Rest and sunshine are good medicine.”
The sunlight streamed in through the holes worn in the transparent linsey-woolsey curtain that she’d tacked up over the precious glass window. The small, muted rays appeared to have shone life back into Sanderson.
“What happened?” he asked as his fingers traced the curve of her face.
He gave Charlotte his full attention as his hand meandered from her face to the back of her neck. As it nestled in her hair, Charlotte felt a rash of goose bumps crop up under his flesh and spread up her neck. A blush colored her face, but wasn’t rightly sure as to why.
It’s just Sanderson.
His free hand found hers atop the quilt. He fingered the delicate golden ring on her finger and smiled that impish smile, revealing the dimples that made the girls in town turn their heads just to watch him pass.
Just the most beautiful, astounding man to ever grace the earth with his footsteps.
Charlotte’s voice came out a bit shaky. “It…ah—seems that you were so happy to see me when you arrived that you fainted dead away and slept for two straight days before you could even kiss me hello.”
Sanderson pushed himself up in Charlotte’s bed. “We shall have to remedy that then, won’t we?” Grinning, he leaned forward and swept her into his arms, cradling her in his lap. “I’ve missed you, my darling Charlotte.”
She closed her eyes and let her senses soak up this moment. Sanderson’s warm breath was moist on her lips and his skin, though roughened by Army life, felt like sunshine wrapped in silk as it brushed against hers.
His kiss fell upon her. His fingers combed through her hair as her arms tightened around his neck.
Charlotte’s tell-tale heartbeat quickened to a gallop in her chest as Sanderson’s hand trailed the length of her tresses coming to rest over her pounding heart. Unable to stay contained within the sumptuous arms of her love, she kissed Sanderson with such carefree enthusiasm that the moment escalated before either of them could escape the other’s grasp. Sanderson’s tender kisses found her neck as Charlotte clasped his muscular biceps, her breath raspy and jagged.
“I love you,” Charlotte whispered, her quiet voice cracking.
Thanks for stopping by today and visiting! For more of my stories and “about me”, I can be found here:
If you just can’t wait to see if you won, A HEART ON HOLD can be found at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online bookstores in both print and digital formats.
Here’s the Amazon Kindle link:
Hi everyone! Well, I’m a day late for Valentine’s Day, but I wanted to show you some strange vintage Valentine’s Day cards since I did this for Easter and for Christmas. I was excited to try to find some “different” Valentine’s Day greetings as well, but oddly enough, didn’t have as much luck as with the Easter and Christmas holidays. But there are some really interesting cards here from “back in the day”, even if they’re not as strange as the Easter ones were (those took the cake)–so let’s take a look!
Here’s an odd one–two cupids setting this heart aflame! I suppose it was “burning” with desire…still, a little freaky, since there is no explanation or verse.
OK, here we have Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater professing his love to the lady in the pumpkin…I wonder if these people just wrote a verse that rhymed and then painted the picture to go with it?
But just when you think you have it figured out, there comes along a Valentine like this one, that doesn’t even pretend to rhyme or use the right number of syllables.
Ah, the smoking couple, in love. Evidently, this was a “thing” around the turn of the century, and maybe even before, because my grandparents’ engagement picture was styled like this–with my grandfather’s cigar (drawn onto the photo) swirling smoke rings into the air, and my grandmother’s picture inside one of those smoke rings at the top of the picture.
This is an odd one. Not sure what the inside sentiment is, but the picture is pretty off-putting. Who would buy this stuff?
OK, much better. I love these old fanciful scenes like this–much more romantic, and it lets your imagination take flight–which is what Valentine’s Day should do, right?
Here’s another one I just love–“one long Spoontime, Dearie!”
And last but not least, this dear little kitten…I’m not sure what he intends to do with the paintbrush, but I’m sure it’s something loving. After all, this IS for Valentine’s Day!
I hope you all enjoyed this look at some of the cards of the past, and that everyone enjoyed their Valentine’s Day yesterday!
What was the best Valentine’s Day you ever had, and why? Leave your comment and contact information for a chance to win my giveaway today!
I want to give away TWO copies of HEARTS AND SPURS, a wonderful Prairie Rose Publications anthology that was our first Valentine’s Day anthology back in 2014–but rest assured, these stories are wonderful ANY time of the year. If you just can’t wait to see if you won, here’s the Amazon link — and this book is on sale for a limited time for only .99! (Also availabe in print!)
Many dishes that are prides of the American table today once were ways to avoid wasting food. Shipping of all but basic staples didn’t begin until the latter half of the 19th century; perishables weren’t shipped at all until refrigerated containers, or “reefers,” were invented in 1869. Even then, perishable cargo could be carried only a few miles before the ice melted.
The first successful long-distance reefer transport occurred in the early 1880s. The first grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, opened in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1916.
Consequently, settlers on the American frontier and American Indians used every part of the animals and plants they grew or gathered in order to avoid starvation. Frontier and farming families stewed poultry necks, tails, and wings because the meat and bones offered precious protein. Slaves in the American south prepared animal innards like chitterlings (intestines) and vegetable leavings like potato skins in a variety of ways because their masters considered those things offal. Anyone who has visited a restaurant in the past twenty years recognizes chicken wings and potato skins as trendy appetizers. At “soul food” eateries, chitlins are standard fare. (Yes, I have eaten them. No, I won’t do so again.)
Because carbohydrates offer a quick source of energy, bread, too, was a precious commodity. Many frontier families baked with cornmeal or corn flour. The latter was obtained by repeatedly pouring cornmeal from burlap sack to burlap sack and shaking loose the fine powder left clinging to the bags. Bread made with wheat flour was a treat…even though merchants in frontier towns often “extended” wheat flour by adding plaster dust. Frontier families might make a multi-day journey into town for supplies once or twice a year.
Since the early 11th century, “po’ folks” have turned stale bread into bread pudding in order to use every last ounce of food they could scrounge. Originally, the concoction was a savory main dish containing bread, water, and suet. Scraps of meat and vegetables might be added if the cook had those on hand.
What we think of as bread pudding today came into its own in New Orleans in the early 1800s. Creative cooks turned the dish into a dessert by combining stale bread with eggs, milk, spices, and a sweetener like molasses, honey, or sugar. Some also included bits of fruit, berries, and/or nuts.
My family and friends talk me into baking bread pudding each Christmas, and sometimes for other special occasions during the rest of the year. They don’t have to do much arm-twisting, because the rich dessert is easy to make, relatively inexpensive, and delicious.
One thing to know about bread pudding: Making it “wrong” is darn nigh impossible. Any kind of bread can be used, including sweet breads like donuts and croissants. Likewise, spices are left to the cook’s imagination, fruits and nuts are optional, and sauces are a matter of “pour something over the top.”
Through years of trial and error, I’ve created a recipe that works for me. Have fun experimenting with the basics (bread, milk, butter, and eggs) until you come up with one that works for you. I prefer mine fairly plain, but you may want to add or top with raisins (a New Orleans classic), chocolate, bananas, cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, rum sauce, caramel sauce, powdered-sugar drizzle, or almost anything else you can imagine.
Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
(can be doubled for a crowd)
(makes 10-12 servings)
3 large eggs
1½ cups heavy (whipping) cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ cup bourbon
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3 cups milk
1 16oz. loaf stale French bread, cut or torn into 1-inch cubes
Heat oven to 325.
Stir together eggs, cream, granulated and brown sugars, bourbon, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla in a large bowl.
Place bread cubes into a lightly buttered 13×9-inch pan.
Heat milk and butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until butter is melted. Do not boil.
Stir ¼ cup of hot milk mixture into egg mixture. When well-combined, slowly add remaining milk mixture, stirring constantly.
Pour egg mixture evenly over bread. For a fluffier pudding, lightly press bread into egg mixture so all bread cubes are coated with the liquid. For a dense pudding, allow the pan to sit for 20 mins. before baking.
Bake for 45-55 mins., until top is browned and no liquid is visible around the edges. (The center will look soft. Don’t bother with the toothpick test—it won’t tell you anything.)
Allow pudding to stand for 20-30 mins. Top with bourbon sauce and serve.
(This will knock folks across the room, so be careful how much you pour on each pudding serving. 2 tsp. vanilla or other extract may be substituted for bourbon, if desired.)
1 cup heavy cream
½ Tbsp. corn starch
1 Tbsp. water
3 Tbsp. sugar
¼ cup bourbon
In small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to a boil.
Whisk together corn starch and water, then add the mixture to the cream, whisking constantly.
Bring the mixture to a boil.
Whisk and simmer until thickened, taking care not to scorch the cream on the bottom.
Stir in sugar and bourbon. Taste. Add more sugar and/or bourbon to taste.
Ladle sauce over each serving of warm-from-the-oven or room-temperature pudding.
Serve and enjoy!
Bread pudding wouldn’t be on the menu in the dingy cafe on the wrong side of Fort Worth where the heroine in my latest story works. The job is a big step down from her previous life as a pampered socialite. “A Long Way from St. Louis” appears with stories from seven other authors—including filly sisters Cheryl Pierson and Tanya Hanson—in Prairie Rose Publications’ new holiday anthology, A Mail-Order Christmas Bride.
A Long Way from St. Louis
Cast out by St. Louis society after her husband leaves her for another, Elizabeth Adair goes west to marry a wealthy Texas rancher. Burning with anger when she discovers the deceit of a groom who is neither wealthy nor Texan, she refuses to wed and ends up on the backstreets of Fort Worth.
Ten years after Elizabeth’s father ran him out of St. Louis, Brendan Sheppard’s memory still sizzles with the rich man’s contempt. Riffraff. Alley trash. Son of an Irish drunkard. Yet, desire for a beautiful, unattainable girl continues to blaze in his heart.
When the debutante and the back-alley brawler collide a long way from St. Louis, they’ll either douse an old flame…or forge a new love.
Here’s an excerpt:
If the lazy beast lounging on a bench beside the depot’s doors were any indication, the west was neither wooly nor wild. As a porter took her hand to assist her from the railway car, Elizabeth Adair stared. The cowboy’s worn boots crossed at the ends of denim-clad legs slung way out in front of him. Chin resting on his chest, hat covering his face, the man presented the perfect picture of indolence.
Surely her husband-to-be employed a more industrious type of Texan.
Her gaze fixed on the cowboy’s peculiar hat. A broad brim surrounded a crown with a dent carved down the center. Sweat stains decorated the buff-colored felt. Splotches of drying mud decorated the rest of him.
Lazy and slovenly.
Pellets of ice sprinkled from the gray sky, melting the instant they touched her traveling cloak. Already she shivered. Another few minutes in this horrid weather, and the garment would be soaked through.
The porter raised his voice over the din of the bustling crowd. “Miss, let’s get you inside before you take a chill. I’ll bring your trunks right away.”
Taking her by the elbow, he hastened toward doors fitted with dozens of glass panes. Ragtag children darted among the passengers hurrying for shelter. Without overcoats, the urchins must be freezing.
She glanced around the platform. Where was her groom? She had assumed a wealthy rancher would meet his fiancée upon her arrival. Perhaps he waited within the depot’s presumed warmth. Her hope for a smattering of sophistication dwindled, but a woman in her circumstances could ill afford to be picky.
A group of ragamuffins gathered around the cowboy. As the porter hustled her past, the Texan reached into his sheepskin jacket and withdrew a handful of peppermint sticks. A whiff of the candy’s scent evoked the memory of a young man she once knew—a ne’er-do-well removed from St. Louis at her father’s insistence, and none too soon.
After depositing her beside a potbellied stove, the porter disappeared into the multitude. The tang of wood smoke drifted around her, so much more pleasant than the oily stench of coal. Peering through the throng, she slipped her hands from her muff and allowed the hand-warmer to settle against her waist on its long chain. She’d best reserve the accessory for special occasions. Judging by the people milling about the room, she doubted she’d find Persian lamb in Fort Worth unless she stooped to ordering from a mail-order catalog.
Mail-order. At least the marriage contract removed her from the whispered speculation, the piteous glances.
The shame heaped upon her by the parents she’d tried so hard to please.
Elizabeth put her back to the frigid gusts that swept in every time the doors opened, extending gloved palms toward the warmth cast by the stove.
Heavy steps tromped up behind her. Peppermint tickled her nose.
A gasp leapt down her throat, colliding with her heart’s upward surge. Her palm flew to the base of her collar. Bets? Deep and smooth, the voice triggered a ten-year-old memory: If ye were aulder, little girl, I’d teach ye more than how to kiss.
She whirled to find the lazy cowboy, his stained hat dangling from one hand. Her gaze rose to a face weathered by the elements, but the blue eyes, the crooked nose…
What’s your favorite holiday dessert? I’ll give an ebook copy of A Mail-Order Christmas Bride to one of today’s commenters who answers that question. (All Petticoats and Pistols sweepstakes rules apply to this giveaway.)