Tag: western historical romance

Road trip!

KathrynAlbrightBanner

I  just returned home to the Midwest from my folks place in San Diego.

Road trip

One of my sons’ came to visit me!

When my boys were young we would enjoy road trip s, picking out different routes so that we could see the country. We had some amazing trips but we always ended up in San Diego so that they could visit with my side of the family. On these drives, my mind would always wander and I would try to envision what it must have been like for the early pioneers, settlers and Native Americans. All of it became inspiration for the stories that I write.

Road trip Arkansas B&N

A young Arkansas fan in Barnes & Noble (Actually it is nice to have strategically placed relatives)

For many years now I’ve flown. It is just not the same as driving. There is something lost in not being able to roll down my window and smell the sage, or pines, or ocean and feel the wind on my face. When my husband agreed to make the drive this year I was thrilled. I flew out to have a long visit and then he drove out later to spend Christmas with me. My sons also came for a shorter visit. Then together we drove back to the Midwest. It took some planning. We had to dodge El Nino effects and so we stayed SOUTH! Oklahoma roads were completely shut down with ice, Denver was a blizzard, a tornado tore through Texas. and the Mississippi River was flooding all over the place at the time we planned to cross. Never a dull moment. I was glad to get home safely.

How did the pioneers handle this!

 

I cannot imagine what it must have been like for women in the 1800s. Mail-order brides and those who traveled to a new destination looking for free land to farm or ranch often would never see their loved ones again. They must have experienced terrible bouts of homesickness. It’s no wonder that church and social gatherings played such an important place in their lives. And traveling, they couldn’t check for bad weather on their phone and adjust their route to avoid it the way I could on this trip. I’m so glad I live today and not in the 1800s!

 

Road Trip

A bit strange to see this site getting closer in front of me! We were both going the same direction–EAST!

How do you like to travel and where would you choose to go in the
continental United States given the opportunity? 

Familiar Stranger in Clear SpringsComment for a chance to win a print copy of my newest release!
(See P&P sweepstake rules here.)


Familiar Stranger in Clear Springs

 

I am holding a contest on my website for the month of January to celebrate my current release.

You can check it out here.

Welcome to The Junction, Celia Yeary!

CeliaLOVE’S FIRST TOUCH
By Celia Yeary

In today’s world, we fall in love and get married, or dream of falling in love, or we thought we were in love but learned better.

I’ve often wondered about our forefathers…our “foremothers?”…falling in love and marrying the man they chose. Did they?

My paternal grandfather at age twenty left home and wandered about for a while, until he came to the Moore farm in North Texas and asked for a job. The family had a fourteen-year-old daughter. After a while he decided he wanted to marry her. The father promised him he could marry his daughter when she became a little older. I believe my grandmother loved my grandfather. They lived a good happy life, had one daughter, and five sons.

Most pioneer women had little choice for one reason or another, but being the romantic I am, I do love to fantasize about these unique women marrying the man they chose. In fact, some of our well-known Texas pioneer women did just that.

Henrietta Chamberlain married Robert King, and together they built a ranching empire—TheHenriettaKing King Ranch in the Wild Horse Desert of South Texas. Henrietta was a tall, lovely young woman when she met and married Robert King. In her own words, she describes her happiness:

“When I came as a bride in 1854, a little ranch home then — a mere jacal as Mexicans would call it — was our abode for many months until our main ranch dwelling was completed. But I doubt if it falls to the lot of any a bride to have had so happy a honeymoon. On horseback we roamed the broad prairies. When I grew tired my husband would spread a Mexican blanket for me and then I would take my siesta under the shade of the mesquite tree.”

This was a happy marriage.

Molly GoodnightMolly Ann Dyer married rancher Charles Goodnight. In May of 1877, Charles and Molly built a two-room cabin in Palo Duro Canyon in the Panhandle of Texas. The nearest neighbors were 75 miles away from where Molly Goodnight established the first ranch household in the Texas Panhandle. In her biography, she explains how happy she was, although left alone much of the time. She loved her husband.

 

Luvenia Conway Roberts was called Lou by her beloved husband Dan Roberts. At DanielWRoberts_mediumage 33, Dan Roberts was a fine specimen of a man, tall, lanky, and strong. He joined Company D of the Frontier Battalion of the Texas Rangers in 1874, when the rangers were reorganized to offer protection to pioneers on the Texas frontier. When Dan was ordered to go into Indian country, he asked to take his new wife along. She agreed and was eager to travel with the Rangers.

In her own words:

“My friends thought I was courageous; in fact quite nervy to leave civilization and go into Indian country. But it did not require either. I was much in love with my gallant captain and willing to share his fate wherever and whatever it might be. Besides, the romantic side of it appealed to me strongly. I was thrilled with the idea of going to the frontier, the home of the pioneer.”

Ahhh, true love.

Prairie Rose Publications is growing by leaps and bounds. I was so pleased they wanted to include one of my sweet love stories in a Boxed Set titled “Love’s First Touch.” It includes stories from five authors.

Love's First Touch

LOVE’S FIRST TOUCH is powerful and sweet. It can move the heart to realize the true depth of emotion that only a first love can bring to a relationship. There’s some exciting reading ahead in these five full-length novels! Come join these wonderful characters as they experience awakening feelings and tumultuous relationships that can only be discovered with LOVE’S FIRST TOUCH!
WISH FOR THE MOON by Celia Yeary—Sixteen-year-old Annie McGinnis wishes for a chance to see more of the world, since all she’s ever known is the family farm in North Texas. Then she meets Max Landry.

FLY AWAY HEART by Sarah J. McNeal—Lilith Wilding can’t remember a time when she didn’t love the English born Robin Pierpont.

DOUBLE OR NOTHING by Meg Mims— Lily Granville, heiress, rebels against her uncle’s rules. Ace Diamond, determined to win Lily, invests in a dynamite factory.

DRINA’S CHOICE by Agnes Alexander— To escape her abusive father, Drina Hamilton feels she has no choice but to become the wife of a rancher she only knows from the one letter his uncle has written her.

DIGGING HOLES IN PARADISE by Karen Mihaljevich—In 1859 Missouri, Josette Stratton discovers that a chance identity switch gives her an out from a marriage mandated by her father—and allows her to work as a seamstress.

 

I would love to Gift an ebook copy of this Boxed Set to a lucky person who leaves a comment.

 

Celia Yeary-Romance…and a little bit ‘o Texas

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/celiayeary

My Website

My Blog

Sweethearts of the West-Blog

My Facebook Page

 

Sources:
The Handbook of Texas On-Line
Wikimedia
Wikipedia
Texas Tears and Texas Sunshine

Linda Broday’s Highlights of 2015

I always enjoy looking back at the end of the year and measuring my progress. Each year needs to show how far I’ve come. If it doesn’t then I slept through it. No sleeping for me this time. Man, I was busy! But 2015 was a stellar year. For the first time in my life I had three new releases–all in my Bachelors of Battle Creek series. January started off with a bang with TEXAS MAIL ORDER BRIDE. The month of May saw TWICE A TEXAS BRIDE and December wound up the series with FOREVER HIS TEXAS BRIDE.

Bachelors of Battle Creek BANNER

I also did quite a bit of traveling. Put a lot of miles on my car and on my body too!

My trip to New York City lingers in my mind as one of the best places I’ve ever gone. I’d always yearned to see it just once before I died. And I did. I toured the Sourcebooks Publishing NY office, did a walking tour of the financial district, saw the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Statue of Libertysm

George WashingtonsmTimes Square at Nightsm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not all was related to my career. Our family had a family reunion in East Texas and that was fun. I won the Hula-Hoop competition. I beat out my little sister. My oldest daughter got married and my oldest granddaughter graduated from Texas Tech University Suma Cum Laude.

M&R

Melinda and Katie

 

I wound up the year back in Dallas at Richardson when I attended the annual Buns and Roses Literacy Event. So much fun.

My Christmas celebration was low-key. I dragged out my Charlie Brown tree that I’ve had forever and hung little cowboy boots and hats on it. Then I sat a bunch of little doggies wearing six shooters and deputy badges on their vests around it with my cowboy statue guarding everything.

Boot Tree

In between all the travel and book releases I enjoyed being with my friends. I have some of the best friendships ever made.

But now I’m ready to get back to work. I need to finish up book #2 of my Men of Legend series and get the third one written. I’m really loving this series that has the big feel of Bonanza about it. A father and his three sons live on a huge ranch called The Lone Star. Their last name is Legend. I think readers will love it. And I have to turn in a proposal for another series that will come after Men of Legend. One thing about it, writers never have much time to sit around twiddling their thumbs. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

 

WINTER MAGIC NEW RELEASE AND GIVEAWAY BY CHERYL PIERSON

PRPWINTER MAGIC Cheryl Final WebHi everyone! I wanted to talk a little bit about my brand new single-author western romance anthology, WINTER MAGIC.

This is a collection of three stories that appeared in some of Prairie Rose Publications’ anthologies over the last year. Sometimes, it’s hard to tie stories together with a logline, but I love this one we came up with: Three criminals who’ve lost everything…three women who have nothing to lose…is it love or magic that bring them together in these three romantic tales of the old west?

PRP Cowboy Cravings Web FINALThe first story, HEARTS AND DIAMONDS, was a part of the Cowboy Cravings anthology (June 2014). Hired gun Nick Diamond is determined to ruin the life of his nemesis, Carlton Ridgeway, by claiming Ridgeway’s bride at the altar with a damning lie. He never gives a thought as to how his actions might affect the bride, Liberty Blankenship, who is ready to sacrifice herself for respectability—though she longs for love with all her heart. When Ridgeway comes looking for a fight, Nick obliges—and all hell breaks loose—but will Liberty get her heart’s desire in the end?

Since I had brought the subject of brothers up in Nick and Libby’s conversation, and since Jake, the youngest brother, made a short appearance in HEARTS AND DIAMONDS, I decided to introduce the middle brother, Brett, in SPELLBOUND, my contribution to the Cowboys, Creatures and Calico II (Oct. 2014) anthology. We had so many wonderful submissions for our Halloween anthologies in 2014 we had to make a second volume! My story appeared in this anthology because of the element of magic—and the fact that the heroine, Angie Colton, is a witch—but it actually takes place closer to Christmas. In fact, the Christmas tree is the entire reason the showdown happens like it does between safecracker Brett Diamond and the villain, Teller Magdon. Without a bit of magic, things might not have turned out as they do!PRP CCC+Box+12+Rev NINETY NINE CENTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRPWild Texas Christmas WebFinally, in LUCK OF THE DRAW, the youngest brother, gambler Jake Diamond gets his own story. This tale appeared in WILD TEXAS CHRISTMAS (Nov. 2014) and I love the fact that “family” is the theme—with it being so close to Christmas. Jake has a bit of a history with the heroine, Lainie Barrett. She’s been held hostage with him for several days in Brett’s story, SPELLBOUND. They’ve said some things to one another under duress that maybe shouldn’t have been said. But when Jake accompanies Lainie back to visit her mother to let her know she’s all right, they make an incredible “find” that shows them Lainie’s odd “gift” and solidifies their relationship. Can a gambling man and a novice witch risk everything on each other?

EXCERPT:

Here’s an excerpt from the first story in the collection, HEARTS AND DIAMONDS. Nick has just forced Libby to marry him. They’re in the honeymoon suite having their first “heart to heart” talk…                                   

“Be honest, Libby,” Nick said softly. “You weren’t any more in love with Carlton Ridgeway than you are with me. So what difference does it make you which one of us you marry?”

Libby was surprised at how quickly her little ladylike hand uncoiled from her proper stance and unerringly slapped his handsome face, only inches from hers. The noise it made was like a gunshot, and he flinched as he stepped back, his own hand going automatically to his cheek.

“You’re right, Mr. Diamond. I’m not in love with Carlton Ridgeway. The most I had to look forward to was a scrap of respectability—if not for myself, then for my parents. Now, that, too, is gone. So, the only choice is to go forward from this point and—and make the best of things between us. But I will not be used, any more than I have been already, Mr. Diamond.”

“Nick,” he corrected unthinkingly. “And we—can get an annulment, if that’s what you want.”

Libby’s smile held all the promise and danger that was stored in the reckless wildness of her spirit.

“I wouldn’t dream of disappointing you so, Nick,” she said sweetly. “No, we’ll make our dreams come true together,” she continued. “A home of our own, filled with children and, of course, true love.”

His lips quirked at her words. “That sounds pretty damn good to me, Libby. Uh…you do know what makes babies, don’t you?”

Though she only had a vague idea of how it was done, she wouldn’t give him the upper hand. She nodded sagely. “Oh, yes. And I’m looking forward to it.”

As if he knew her secret, Nick Diamond had the audacity to laugh aloud at that. Her face burned.

“I believe you’ll enjoy it more with me than you would have with Ridgeway.”

She moistened her lips and tried to settle the frantic pounding her heart had begun. “Well, then. Perhaps we should—start—immediately. With our family. Our baby.”

Nick stood silent as she floundered. Finally, he said, “Let’s have some dinner first, shall we? I’ll have the bellboy lay a fire for us so we’ll be comfortable when we come back from eating. You’ll need your strength for tonight…when the ‘baby making’ begins. I have a hell of an appetite—for good food and…good sex,” he added wickedly.

 

WINTER MAGIC BLURB:

The Diamond brothers are cast out into the world by a crooked business deal at a young age. They’ve lost everything—including their father. Although they are forced to make their own way, brotherly bonds remain unbreakable: It’s all for one and one for all.

HEARTS AND DIAMONDS—Revenge sets hired gun Nick Diamond after a bride, and nothing will stand in his way. But when that bride happens to be outspoken firebrand Liberty Blankenship, all bets are off. Anything can happen when HEARTS AND DIAMONDS collide!

SPELLBOUND—Safecracker Brett Diamond and witch Angie Colton take on a border gang leader who is pure evil. Can Angie’s supernatural powers save them? No matter what, Brett and Angie are hopelessly SPELLBOUND.

LUCK OF THE DRAW—Handsome gambler Jake Diamond and beautiful fledgling sorceress Lainie Barrett make a last-ditch effort to reunite Lainie and her mother for Christmas. Along the way, Jake and Lainie realize there’s no escape from the powerful attraction they feel toward one another. But do they know each other well enough to become a family when they rescue an abandoned infant? With their own particular talents, they discover life is one big poker table—and love can be had if they are willing to risk it all!

 

Thanks so much to everyone who has stopped by today! I want to give away a digital copy of WINTER MAGIC to one lucky commenter, and also a digital copy of the boxed set of COWBOYS, CREATURES, and CALICO I and II–which is now available for only .99 at Amazon for a limited time, so please leave your contact info in your comment in case you win!

 

If you can’t wait to see if you won, here are the buy links for each of these collections!

WINTER MAGIC:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015M5HZR8

COWBOYS, CREATURES AND CALICO BOXED SET–ONLY .99 CENTS!!: http://www.amazon.com/Cowboys-Creatures-Calico-Boxed-Set-ebook/dp/B00OXAP3UA/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1445119268&sr=1-3&keywords=Cowboys+Creatures+and+Calico

Authors & Readers for Literacy

B&R
As I write this blog, I’m sitting in the morning sun in Richardson, Texas, where I’ve traveled for the 10th Annual Buns & Roses Romance Tea for Literacy.

Ten years ago, a partnership was formed between the Richardson Library and romance authors in the Dallas area. Every year, a gathering would be hosted and funds raised to help the Richardson Adult Literacy Center provide English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for adults living in the Richardson area so they can gain better employment, help their children in school and become more involved community members.

Eleven Facts about Literacy in America
1) 16% of the world’s population is non-literate. Of those with low literacy skills, two-thirds are women.
2) Legal immigrants who are English proficient earn between tea13-24% more than immigrants who are not English proficient.
3) The effects of low literacy cost the U.S. more than $225 billion each year in non-productivity in the workforce and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment.
4) When immigrants have access to language and literacy instruction, they assimilate more quickly and effectively into communities and become more engaged in the economy.
5) Individuals at the lowest level of literacy have a higher rate of unemployment than the national average – 14.5 in 2011.
6) Among those with the lowest literacy rates, 43% live in poverty.
7) 75% of state prison inmates and 59% of federal prison inmates did not complete high school or can be classified as low literate.
8) 35% of immigrants make less than $25,000 a year. Most believe they cannot better their lives or get a better job until they improve their English.
9) Low literacy adds an estimated $230 billion to the country’s annual health care costs.
10) 19,050 of adults who live in the RALC service area don’t speak English well or at all.
11) 17,918 of residents who live in the RALC service area speak a language other than English at home and live below the poverty level.

Linda & TracyThis year I had the pleasure of sitting with fellow P&P Author Linda Broday!

I took part in the first couple of Buns & Roses events before I moved to Missouri. What has always struck me — and it’s no different this time, though I’m attending as a reader instead of an author table hostess — is the amazing energy and joy to be found in a room full of women talking about what they love. In this case, books and romance. And, over it all, is a fierce dedication to Adult Literacy, helping others learn to read so they can enjoy what we take for granted.

As I moved around the room, greeting friends I haven’t seen in years and making new ones, everyone smiles, laughs and talks about books. What do you write? What’s your new favorite book? What are you reading now? It’s amazing.

As a writer, I love that people enjoy reading all those words I struggled over, getting them just right before sending my book into the world. As a reader, getting to hear of authors I’ve not yet discovered and books that left a lasting impression with someone is just as fun.

So– What’s your new favorite book?

A River's Bend Duo
A RIVER’S BEND DUO

Wanted: The Sheriff

Martha Bittner may be considered a spinster at twenty-seven, but she’s not planning to stay that way. For four years, she’s wanted the sheriff of River’s Bend, Missouri, to notice her as more than a friend and a really good cook. With the first annual spring dance only weeks away, Martha decides to announce her intentions — and declares the sheriff a wanted man.

Sheriff Matthew Tate always thought he was better off a bachelor. Growing up in Boston society, where marriage is a business transaction and wealth his greatest asset, he’s learned to distrust all women’s intentions. None of them even catch his eye anymore — until pretty Martha Bittner tells him exactly what she wants… and he wonders why he ever resisted capture.

No Less Than Forever

Doctor Franz Bittner is satisfied with his life as it is. He has a good practice in a place where he is respected, in spite of his German birth. He has good friends and enough income to provide him with a few comforts. A wife would only complicate things. Then a tiny blond stranger is pulled from the river and everything changes. With one smile she captures his attention—and steals his heart.

Rebekah Snow Redmann barely survived her abusive husband’s attack. Though she was given to him to pay her father’s debts, she’d rather die than go back. Then she ends up in the care of the handsome local doctor and he stitches up more than her wounds—he mends her soul. With him, she discovers everything that she believes she can never have…a love that will last forever.

Visit me at www.TracyGarrett.com, www.Twitter.com/TGarrett_Author, or www.Facebook.com/TracyGarrett.Author

Parrots, Birdcages and a Giveaway

WG Logo 2015-04

Hello everyone.  Winnie Griggs here.  I’m very excited about the recent release of The Road Home, the new novella I wrote as part of the Journeys of the Heart collection.  This story is one I’ve been wanting to write for some time, but it’s a little bit of a departure for me.  For one thing Anisha, my heroine, has a mother who was born in India and a father who is an American merchant sea captain.

For another, I pictured her with a pet that was a bit out of the ordinary, something to match her own exotic appearance.  And since her father was a sea captain who sailed all over the world, I wasn’t limited to animals in her native country. After trying out several animals, I finally settled on a parrot.  But this in turn spurred me to additional research.  I never realized there were so many species!  From small to quite large, from colorful to drab-in fact there are more than 350 species that belong to the order parrots are members of.  It was quite fun to browse through all the pictures I could find of these colorful, exotic birds.

But I had to narrow my search so I came up with a list of criteria for what characteristics I wanted her feathered companion to have.  He needed to be long-lived, intelligent, loyal, imposing and able to talk (not all parrots can).  I finally settle on the African Grey parrot.  African grey’s, while not the most colorful of the parrot family, have a lot to recommend them.  They are long-lived, in fact have been known to live for upwards of 80 years.  But more importantly, they are considered the most intelligent of the parrot family and can develop quite an extensive vocabulary.  They have been described as having  “… the intelligence level of up to a five-year old with the temperament of a two-year old…”  Bingo – this was exactly what I was looking for.  And thus Anisha’s companion, Sundar (which means ‘beautiful’ in Hindi) came to life for me.

Parrot

 

My research into parrots, however, led me down a fun rabbit trail of additional research.  During all of my digging into keeping pet parrots, I found some really gorgeous Victorian birdcages. Some of them were unbelievably extravagant. You can get a peak at some of them using this link.

 

 

So what about you?  Do you have first hand experience with parrots?  If not, how do you feel about them as potential pets – can you picture yourself with one?  Leave a comment today and be entered into the drawing for a copy of the novella collection that contains my story, The Road Home.

 

 

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White Spacer

 Here’s a short excerpt from the opening of the story:

Where had they gotten off to?

Wyatt Murdoch’s irritation was turning into worry. This was the third time his two young charges had tried to slip away from him on their journey from Indiana to Texas, and they’d only made it as far as Arkansas.  Thank goodness they’d arrive at their destination tomorrow.  Of course, that assumed he found them before the train left.  This was the longest they’d managed to keep out of his sight and the train would be resuming its journey in less than twenty minutes.

Why did they keep running away when they had no place to go? And how could a ten year old girl and eight year old boy have so completely disappeared when he’d only turned his back for a moment?

He supposed he couldn’t really blame them for wanting to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and warm spring sunshine, especially when they’d been cooped up on the train for four very long days.  But they could have just asked him.

He scanned the horizon and caught sight of the circus tents off in the distance. Of course. That would have drawn Hallie and Jonah like ants to a picnic.

He started off in that direction at a fast walk. If they missed the train because of this nonsense…

He was some distance from the circus tents when he caught sight of his charges. But they weren’t alone. A woman, small in stature but big in presence, walked between them holding onto a hand of each. There was something faintly exotic-looking about her—it had something to do with the warm golden color of her skin and the shape of her eyes.

There was also the fact that she wore some kind of padded leather affair on her left shoulder, and regally perched upon that shoulder was what looked like a large gray parrot.

Someone associated with the circus, no doubt. Was she an actual performer or just an assistant?

More importantly, had she caught the children trying to sneak into the big top or one of the side shows? Or worse yet, had they gotten too close to her parrot and hurt it in some way?

He hoped she was looking for their caretaker—namely him—and not the sheriff. But from the frown on her face and stiff determination of her posture, she was obviously unhappy about something.

He quickened his pace. “You two have a lot to answer for,” he said as soon as he reached them.

But it was the woman who responded. “You are the person responsible for these children?”

He noticed that she had a faint accent of some sort, but he couldn’t quite place it. “I am. And I apologize for whatever they—”

She cut through his apology. “It appears you are not doing a very good job of watching out for them.”

Her accusation and tone got his back up. “Keeping up with them is not the easiest job in the world.”

“So watching over them is your job? Are you their nanny?”

“Are you their nanny?” The parrot squawked. “Are you their nanny?”

There were muffled giggles from the children at the bird’s echoed words, which Wyatt chose to ignore.

He tugged on his cuff, trying to maintain his dignity. “No, I am not their nanny,” he said. “I am their escort. Now if you will just hand them over, we have a train to catch.”

If anything, the woman clasped their hands tighter. “They tell me they ran away because you have not been treating them well.”

Wyatt glanced from Hallie to Jonah, making his displeasure clear. Another loud squawk from the bird did nothing to smooth his temper. “What you should know about these two runaways is that they are not only slippery, but they also lie.”

Her frown only deepened. “Those are harsh words to use about children, sir.”

How in the world had he gotten into this ridiculous discussion with a circus performer? Before he could respond, she turned to the children.

Her expression was that of a schoolmarm handing a failing grade to a favorite student. “Have you been telling me untruths?”

Both children shook their heads vigorously.

“He doesn’t let us do anything fun and he’s always fussing,” Hallie said.

“Anyone can tell he doesn’t even like us,” Jonah added.

The woman once again turned an accusing look his way.

But it was his turn to cut her off before she could speak. “That is neither here nor there, madam. It is my job to escort these children safely into the keeping of their great-uncle, and I intend to do just that. Now, I don’t have time to stand here and argue with you. We need to be on that train when it pulls out from the station.” He held out his left hand, keeping his right carefully down at his side. “Come along you two.”

The children looked up to their circus-performer friend, obviously ready to ask for her support. Had they formed such a quick bond because of the exciting nature of her life? Or was it just that they thought anyone better than he?

To his surprise, the stranger gave them a shake of her head. “Go on with your escort as he asks. It’s his job to keep you safe. And you should apologize for causing him worry, even if you don’t think he likes you. He may not be the most pleasant of people, but he is trying to look out for you, and you should respect him for that, not make his task more difficult.” She shot him a quick glance, then turned back to the children. “Besides, I’m sure he’s not really a bad man at heart.”

Was that condescension in her tone? His irritation changed to shock when the children came to him without further argument.

“We’re sorry, Mr. Murdoch,” Hallie said. “Aren’t we, Jonah?”

Jonah nodded.

Wyatt was dumbfounded. How had she gotten these two mischief makers to obey her without argument?divider002a

 

 

 

JOTH_mediumJourneys Of The Heart

From merry old England to the wilds of Texas, take a delightful journey into adventure and romance in these novellas written by authors Camille Elliot, Winnie Griggs and Erica Vetsch.  In these three stories you’ll travel alongside a feisty spinster, an English lord, a trail boss, a determined widow, and an unusual train companion—a parrot.

The Road Home by Winnie Griggs

Wyatt Murdoch feels his life is over—his career certainly is.  In fact, he’s agreed to escort two orphans halfway across the country mainly because he needs a distraction.  But when the task proves more than he bargained for, he seeks help from the exotic beauty with the talkative parrot who befriended the children when they slipped away from him.

Anisha Hayes, who’s hiding wounds of her own, has left her uncomfortable home to seek adventure.  However, something about this unorthodox trio touches her heart, so when Wyatt asks for her help she agrees to put her plans on hold to accompany them. After all, it’s only a temporary detour.

But when they reach their destination, both Wyatt and Anisha find it’s not as easy to part ways as they’d planned…

Rosanne Bittner: What’s in a Hero?

Rosanne Header

I have recently needed to re-read several of my older titles for conversion to e-books.  After 60 titles and 32 years of writing, I can’t always remember exactly what happened in every book I wrote or who the hero and heroine were.  So far I have been pleasantly surprised at how good the stories are and how “hot” the heroes and the love scenes are.  Somehow I had the idea that “way back then” I was hesitant to get too racy with my love scenes, but gosh, they ain’t bad!


Rosanne BittnerThrough all of this, I am noticing something about my heroes – they tend to be a lot alike – i.e. rugged, take no sh–, well built, extremely able with fists, guns or in the case of the Native Americans, sometimes knife, tomahawk or lance.  They are survivors.  I am falling in love all over again with each one of them as I read these older books and am re-discovering some great characters – both the heroes and the heroines.  Even the heroines are, for the most part, very strong women who “match” the men they’ve chosen to love and can stand right up to them (and often wrap them right around their little fingers)!   I was afraid I would find some “fainting flowers” in some of those older books, but so far I haven’t.

Let’s face it.  Women love to read about the bad-ass who’s vulnerable in some way when it comes to his woman – a man who would die for her, who loves her unconditionally (actually he adores her) – who always has her back and who is true to her.  He might be hard to live with, but what woman wants to live without him!

OUTLAW HEARTS COVERI am noticing with great relief that it’s only the bad-ass aspect that is very similar in most of my heroes.  Each one so far is turning out to be unique in his background and his reasons for turning out as he has.  I never want to be accused of writing the same man over and over.  Each hero has to be his own man with his own special story – and not all of them are tall and dark and have 6-pack abs, although that seems to be the preferred description.  My hero Mitch Brady in DESPERATE HEARTS (September 2014) has sandy hair and very blue eyes, but he is, of course, tall and has those abs!

I like to write a hero (and often a heroine) who has some kind of tragedy in his past that has caused him to turn out the way he has, either some traumatic childhood experience, or the horrors of the Civil War or Indian wars, or he’s been robbed of everything he called his own or his inheritance – or has lost a wife or child tragically – something that makes the heroine’s (and the reader’s) heart ache for the poor guy and want to just hug him and tell him everything will be all right – but of course he’s rugged and stoic and refuses (at first) to admit that he needs that hug.  After all, in the “old days” a man just didn’t cry.  When they do in my books, it tears your heart out because he’s such a macho man that it is a real surprise when he even gets tears in his eyes, let alone actually weeping.  No cry-babies here.  Just men who have suffered and have finally met a woman who understands that at least once he has to “let it all out.”

DO NOT FORSAKE MEI think another required “ingredient” for a hero is that he doesn’t just love and want the heroine – he NEEDS the heroine.  He should feel he couldn’t go on without her – feelings he of course fights at first, but feelings he can’t ignore forever.  In my books the hero often feels he is unworthy of the heroine’s love, or feels he could never be the kind of man he “thinks” she wants or needs.  I usually always find a way for hero and heroine to finally be together without either of them having to give up his and her own dreams.  That’s the way most romances turn out, but I refuse to do it the “soft, flowery” way.  Hero and heroine have to fight together to realize their dreams and to be able to spend their lives together.

It’s really fun reading these older books. But for now, you can read about one of the best heroes I’ve ever written – Jake Harkner – in OUTLAW HEARTS (June 2015) and DO NOT FORSAKE ME (July 2015).  I am currently working on the third book of this trilogy, LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE (scheduled for September 2016).  All three books comprise a great love story you will never forget.  Jake was horribly abused as a child, which led him into an outlaw life, but along comes Miranda, a woman fate brings into his pathway and who won’t get out of the way.  Miranda understands the “little boy” inside the macho man who is Jake Harkner … ruthless … lawless … a real bad-ass … a wanted man, which means life with Jake means life on the run (in OUTLAW HEARTS) but things work out and in Book #2 (DO NOT FORSAKE ME) Jake is a U.S. Marshal in Oklahoma – and still as bad-ass as they come!!

RT cover 2015As explained in a great spread I had in Romantic Times magazine(DO NOT FORSAKE ME was a “top pick”), these books are packed with powerful emotions, which make them tear-jerker stories you won’t soon forget.  Much like my SAVAGE DESTINY books, the Harkner books will be keepers!!  I can’t wait for you to read them and am anxious to hear back from my readers!

And by the way, for those of you who need fresh, new copies of all 7 of my SAVAGE DESTINY books – or for my new readers who have never read those first books I wrote 30 years ago – you can NOW GET ALL 7 SAVAGE DESTINY BOOKS IN PRINT WITH NEW COVERS!!  Just check them out on Amazon’s “print-on-demand” offers.  The new covers are beautiful (by Hot Dam Designs).  These were my first books and are still out-selling everything else … although sales for my “Jake” books are looking smashing!!  I have to say that Zeke from SAVAGE DESTINY and Jake from my OUTLAW TRILOGY are my favorite heroes of all time!

What are your favorite western romances? Doesn’t have to be historical.

Thanks for your support!  Rosanne Bittner

Rosanne is giving away 3 sets of both Outlaw Hearts and Do Not Forsake Me. Leave a comment to enter the drawing!

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About Rosanne:

rosanneRosanne has been writing most of her life, beginning with poetry at a young age, then moving on to writing her first book 36 years ago. After writing a total of nine books after that, it was the ninth book that finally sold 33 years ago, SWEET PRAIRIE PASSION, which was then published in 1983 and became the first book of a 7-book series about the settling of Colorado called SAVAGE DESTINY. All 7 books are still selling and Amazon recently reissued all 7 books for print-on-demand with new covers!  Rosanne went on to write 53 more books since then, for a total of 60 published novels to date with #61 coming in 2016.

Rosanne wrote through many personal challenges and worked full time at secretarial work for the first several years of her writing. She’s been married 50 years and has two sons and three grandsons, and she helps run a family business in a small town in southwest Michigan. She attributes her success to the fact that her books are filled with real American history, which she brings alive through her fictitious characters, so well that fans often write wanting to know if those people really lived. Her books span the West, from Indiana to California and Mexico to Canada.

Rosanne has traveled to every location about which she writes, and her love for the magnificent western landscape shows through in her writing with descriptions of vast prairies and plains, and incredibly beautiful descriptions of  the Sierras and the Rockies.   When you read a Bittner book you are carried away into another time and into landscapes that once were virgin and unsettled. She has covered nearly every major historical event and has written many Native American stories.

Rosanne has a huge library of her own research books and has studied America’s history, especially the Old West and Native Americans, for forty years. She has won numerous writing awards, including the prestigious WILLA AWARD from Women Writing the West, and was named Queen of Western Romance and one of the “legends” of western romance by Romantic Times magazine.

Rosanne is available for speaking engagements and has conducted writers workshops at many writing conferences.

You can contact her:

WEBSITE  FACEBOOK  TWITTER  GOODREADS

Texas Ranger Badges: Fact or Fiction?

Kathleen Rice Adams header

Texas Ranger badges are a hot commodity in the collectibles market, but the caveat “buyer beware” applies in a big way. The vast majority of items marketed as genuine Texas Ranger badges are reproductions, facsimiles, or toys. Very few legitimate badges exist outside museums and family collections, and those that do hardly ever are sold. There’s a very good reason for that: Manufacturing, possessing, or selling Texas Ranger insignia, even fakes that are “deceptively similar” to the real thing, violates Texas law except in specific circumstances.

According to Byron A. Johnson, executive director of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum (the official historical center for the Texas Ranger law-enforcement agency), “Spurious badges and fraudulent representation or transactions connected with them date back to the 1950s and are increasing. We receive anywhere from 10 to 30 inquiries a month on badges, the majority connected with sales on eBay.”

If you had to, could you identify a legitimate Texas Ranger badge? Test your knowledge: Which of the alleged badges below are genuine? Pick one from each set. (All images are ©Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco, Texas, and are used with permission. All Rights Reserved.)

Set 1

1889Badge_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

SpecialAgent130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

Answer: The left-hand badge, dated 1889, is the earliest authenticated Texas Ranger insignia in the collection of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. Badges weren’t standard issue for Rangers until 1935, although from 1874 onward, individual Rangers sometimes commissioned badges from jewelers or gunsmiths, who made them from Mexican coins. Relatively few Rangers wore a badge out in the open. As for the item on the right? There’s no such thing as a “Texas Ranger Special Agent.”

Set 2

FakeShield_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

1938Badge_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

Answer: On the right is an official shield-type badge issued between 1938 and 1957. Ranger captains received gold badges; the shields issued to lower ranks were silver. The badge on the left is a fake, though similar authentic badges exist.

Set 3

FrontierBattalionBadge_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

1957Badge_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

Answer: The badge on the right was the official badge of the Rangers from July 1957 to October 1962. Called the “blue bottle cap badge,” the solid, “modernized” design was universally reviled. The left-hand badge is a fake. According to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, “No genuine Texas Ranger badges are known to exist with ‘Frontier Battalion’ engraved on them.”

Set 4

1962Badge_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

COF_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

Answer: The left-hand badge, called the “wagon wheel badge,” has been the official Texas Ranger badge since October 1962. Each is made from a Mexican five-peso silver coin. The badge on the right is a “fantasy badge.” According to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, the most common designation on such badges is “Co. A.”

How did you do? If you answered correctly for more than one without benefiting from a lucky guess, you did better than most people, including Texans. Give yourself extra points if you knew Rangers proved their legitimacy with Warrants of Authority, not badges, prior to 1935.

For more information about the Texas Rangers—including the history of the organization, biographical sketches of individual Rangers, and all kinds of information about badges and other insignia—visit the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum online at TexasRanger.org. The museum and its staff have my utmost gratitude for their assistance with this post. They do the Rangers proud.

 

While we’re on the subject of Rangers…

TheSecond-BestRangerInTexas_200x300On June 1, Western Fictioneers, a professional organization for authors of western novels and short stories, announced the winners of the 2015 Peacemaker Awards. Presented annually, the Peacemakers recognize the best western historical fiction published during the previous calendar year.

I’m happy to say “The Second-Best Ranger in Texas” received the award for Best Western Short Fiction. “The Second-Best Ranger in Texas” tells the story of a washed-up Texas Ranger and a failed nun who find redemption in love.

The award marked the second time in two years a short story published by Prairie Rose Publications has been honored with a Peacemaker: Livia J. Washburn’s “Charlie’s Pie” received the Best Western Short Fiction award in 2014.

Available in paperback and e-book

In addition, Prodigal Gun, also published by Prairie Rose, was named a finalist in the Best Western First Novel category. Prodigal Gun is the first novel-length romance ever nominated for a Peacemaker.

I don’t say any of that to brag…

Oh, heck. Who am I trying to kid? I’m bragging. (Sorry, Mom!)

There really is a larger point, though: I think the award and nomination are important, but not because the books are mine. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right stories. There’s a hint at something much broader here: At long last, it seems, romances of all lengths are being recognized as “respectable literature” outside the romance category. That’s good news for all of us who enjoy a genre too often scoffed at and snubbed by the larger community of authors and readers.

Over the past eighteen months, a number of books published by Prairie Rose Publications have been nominated for or received awards of all kinds. If that’s any indication, PRP is off to a great start. Founded in August 2013 by Livia Washburn Reasoner and Cheryl Pierson, the company is and always will be dedicated to publishing traditional westerns and western romance written by women. Nevertheless, in less than two years, PRP has expanded to include young adult, inspirational, paranormal, and medieval lines. The “little publishing company” releases some darn fine fiction. I’m proud it publishes mine.

 

To celebrate good fortune in so many areas of my life, I’ll gift a copy of “The Second-Best Ranger in Texas” to two folks who are brave enough to tell us how many of the badges above they identified correctly. To the comments with you!

 

 

Guest Susan Page Davis: East Vs. West

Susan Page DavisBeing an Eastern girl, when I married a westerner and moved to Oregon, I noticed a lot of things were different in the West.

For instance, things are a lot farther apart in the West.

It’s true—towns, trees, everything is more spread out in the West than in the East, particularly in contrast to New England, where I grew up.

A corollary to this is: People are willing to travel farther. It seemed to me that folks in Oregon were willing to drive a hundred miles at the drop of a hat.

Another thing: When I moved to Oregon, I thought nothing there was more than 200 years old, but then I discovered that the West has ancient things, too. Older than the Viking runes in Maine.

I won’t even start on the snakes.

But the reptiles in general—well, they’re different. Once in Idaho, my kids started squealing and laughing and hopping around when they saw a little lizard. A native Idahoan expressed surprise at their antics.

Outlaw Takes a Bride“We don’t have lizards where we come from, and they’ve never seen one before,” I explained.
“Where are you from?” she asked.
I said, “Maine.”
The woman blinked. “You mean Main Street?”
I said, “No, the state of Maine.”
She said. “I don’t know where that is.”
I said. “Oh. Don’t they teach you that in school?” I mean, really. WE knew where Idaho was.

I’m sure most people west of the Mississippi know about the East. This was probably a rare specimen I was talking to. Anyway, things are different on the two sides of the country. Trust me.

Okay, I’ll say one thing about snakes. In Maine, we didn’t have poison ones. And that’s all I’m saying about that.

My newest book is a western, and I hope you enjoy it. In The Outlaw Takes a Bride, Johnny Paynter flees Denver to escape being hanged for a murder he didn’t commit. At his brother Mark’s ranch in Texas, where he thought he could take refuge, he finds his brother dead. Johnny strongly resembles his brother, and the people in town think he is Mark. Reluctantly at first, Johnny assumes Mark’s identity. But what will he do when he learns Mark has been corresponding with a widow in St. Louis? Sally Golding is en route to be a mail-order bride to Mark. Johnny must decide whether or not to go through with the wedding, posing as his brother. How will a marriage survive amid this deception?

I’m giving away a print copy of this book, The Outlaw Takes a Bride.

Click on the book cover to order from Amazon!


Susan Page DavisSusan Page Davis is the author of more than fifty published novels and novellas. Her historical novels have won numerous awards, including the Carol Award, the Will Rogers Medallion for Western Fiction, and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest. She lives in western Kentucky. Visit her website at: www.susanpagedavis.com

 

Twice a Texas Bride – Book Release and GIVEAWAY!

sceneryWhat price would you pay for love? Would you risk everything?

IT’S FINALLY HERE! Twice a Texas Bride is officially out.

Book two of the Bachelors of Battle Creek series features middle brother Rand Sinclair. I knew he had a powerful story to tell when I introduced him in Texas Mail Order Bride, but I didn’t know how fiercely he’d fight for the woman he loves. Or what he was willing to risk.

ONE CHANCE. ONE LOVE.

ONE OUTLAW WHO’S COMING FOR THEM.

Former saloon owner, Rand Sinclair, finally has his dream—land and a ranch. He knows two certainties—he’ll never fall in love again. Never Marry. Everyone in his life always walks out on him—from his parents to every woman he took a chance with and opened his heart to. No more pain and crushing disappointment. He’s closed his heart.

Twice a Texas BrideIn the dead of winter, he discovers a woman and six-year-old boy hiding in one of his outbuildings. They’re half-frozen and starving. He takes them into his home, feeds them and gets them warm. One look at Callie Quinn tells Rand she’s running from something or someone. He can’t send her back out in the cold. So he offers her a job cooking for him and the future ranch hands he intends to hire.

In the days and weeks that follow, he learns a killer outlaw is after her and the boy. Rand assures Callie that whoever wants to harm her will have to go through him—and that will be a mighty tough job.

While Rand fights his attraction for her and knows that he’s losing, the outlaw Nate Fleming finds them and demands the boy, saying he’ll let Callie live if they’ll hand him over. Rand pushes all his chips to the center of the table.

He risks everything…his name…his heart… his life for the woman who’s awakened a fierce hunger for love.

Locked in a desperate battle to rid themselves of the outlaw’s special brand of terror, he reaches deep inside for every weapon in his arsenal.

One of them will die. Who will it be?

I hope you’ll take this thrilling journey with me in this story of learning to trust again, of taking one more chance, of defeating the odds.

What would you do, or have done, for love? What would you risk? Would you wager everything you have?

To celebrate the release, I’m giving away five copies (your choice of print or ebook) of TWICE A TEXAS BRIDE!

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