“Look out!” Nick hollered and stepped in front of Susannah, intending to protect her by putting himself in harm’s way.
Instead, he missed his chance when the toe of his cowboy boot caught on a rock buried beneath the snow, nearly causing him to lose his balance. To his surprise and, he admitted, his chagrin, Susannah grabbed hold of his elbow to steady him before _____ (verb) sideways, her hands outstretched.
What was she thinking? A petite thing like Susannah, no matter how _____ (adjective) she was, could never stand up to such a rampaging menace. Nick scrambled up but before he could intervene, Susannah whipped out a large, brightly-colored kerchief and waved it with unladylike vigor. To Nick’s stunned surprise the confused troublemaker veered away, crashing into the tree and felling it before running off as quickly as it had appeared.
It’s Day 2 and the fun continues. If you missed yesterday’s post with the instructions about how to enter the giveaways, you can read it here. Besides, you won’t want to miss out on reading the first three segments of our Mad Lib Christmas story.
Here’s a quick refresher about how to play:
Go to the Look Inside feature for each author.
Find the required noun, verb, or adjective.
Note your chosen words in a comment for a chance to win gift cards.
Now, our story continues . . .
Susannah shook her head, dislodging snow from her hair. Nick dropped to one knee beside her as her rosy lips turned up in a beguiling smile. “It was a good thing I landed on my ______ (noun).”
Nick gave a low sigh as Susannah moved a step away from him. Impressing her was not going to be as easy as he’d hoped–especially with no way to bring in the _________(adjective) tree that she had her heart set on. What could he do? Offer to bring her back tomorrow? There were other men in town waiting in line for their chance to help Miss Susannah Sweetpeach with her holiday preparations, and she might just take one of them up on it.
“Susannah,” he blurted. “Uh…will you–I mean can you wait until tomorrow afternoon to get the tree? I’ll bring my spare axe, and we can come back–”
“Oh, I can’t tomorrow, Nick. I’ve already made plans.”
Welcome to the P&P Christmas Mad Libs Romance Story!
Since we love our readers, we thought it would be fun for all of the Fillies to work together to create a short story for you to enjoy. But this isn’t an ordinary story. This one requires participation from YOU!
Here is how the game will work:
Each day for four days, we will post three segments of our story. Each segment will be missing a word. It could be a noun, a verb, or an adjective. Your job is to fill in the blank with an appropriate word found in our secret hiding place.
Where is our secret hiding place? Within each Filly’s “Look Inside” feature on Amazon. Click the link to the Filly’s book, then use the “look inside” feature to browse the prologue/first chapter. Find a word you think will make a fun addition to our story and jot that word down.
For example, in our first segment, we are looking for a noun. Peruse the beginning of Karen’s Under the Texas Mistletoe to find a noun that makes you smile. In the second segment, we are looking for a verb. Scan the first few pages of Linda’s A Cowboy Christmas Legend to find a verb you love. In today’s final segment, we are looking for an adjective. You will use Jeannie’s The Cowboy’s Christmas to find that one.
Each Filly will award one $10 Amazon gift card to a reader who leaves a comment with the appropriate part of speech taken from their book for their segment . Readers who comment on any day will be entered to win the grand prize of a $120 Amazon gift card. Enter all four days for extra chances to win!
To enter, leave a comment with your chosen words numbered to match the segment they fit into.
Let’s see how many different – and silly! – words we can come up with for each segment!
On Sunday, we will post the full story with the winning words inserted for a MadLib giggle fest. Winners will be announced for each of the individual segment prizes as well as the grand prize of a $120 Amazon gift card. Let’s get started!
A Christmas Courtship
Nicholas Hunkston eyed the spindly fir in front of him. “You sure this is the one you want?”
“Oh, yes. It’s perfect!” The blue-eyed beauty at his side clapped her mittened hands in delight. “Widow Ellison has a soft spot for things others tend to overlook. She will love this tree.”
Susannah Sweetpeach smiled at him, and all thought of how silly he might look carting this lopsided tree through town to the widow’s house fled Nick’s mind. He’d thought to impress the fair Susannah with his manly skills and chop down a monster tree, but if she wanted this small one with the ugly bald spot and crooked trunk, his pride would just have to take the hit.
Nick unhooked the ax from his saddle and flexed his _____ (noun). “If this is the one you want, this is the one you’ll get.”
The broken axe handle flew through the air toward Susannah. She jumped back, caught her heel on a fallen branch and fell into the snow. Nick dashed toward her. “Are you hurt?” he asked, a _______ (adjective) expression playing on his handsome face.
Thanks to the Homestead Act of 1862, the West was populated by farmers and ranchers who took their chances with 160 acres and a dream. But from 1828 in Georgia through the early 1900s in Alaska, thousands more flocked across the U.S. and its territories seeking their fortune.
Have you seen photographs of those intrepid miners: scruffy-looking, bearded men in dirt-encrusted garments, a man wearing a broad smile and holding a lump of ore, and men on mules or standing in a river gripping what looks like an oversized dinner plate? If you look further, you might stumble on pictures of women in these same poses.
You didn’t misread that last sentence. A small percentage of women worked alongside the men who converged on the the gold, silver, and copper fields. The reasons for the women’s presence are as varied as the women themselves. Some came with husbands, fathers, or brothers, then stayed after said male relative died. Other ladies were already in the area and decided to give mining a go. Still others heard about the possibilities for riches and were adventuresome enough to try mining on their own. A few came out of desperation.
However, men were not happy to have the women “horn in” on their domain, so many of the ladies dressed as men to blend in or fool their competitors. Apparently, the practice was so common during the California gold rush that when a newspaper photographer advertised for a “lad” to help him, he specified that “no women in disguise need apply.”
Widespread prejudice from the men made life as a female prospector difficult. Claim jumping and stealing by the men were common practices among themselves, but some reports indicate it may have been worse for the ladies. The women also had a tough time selling the claims they did keep. Then it became official when the United States National Bureau of Mines banned the women from mining in 1915. But still they persevered.
Because of the lack of sources, it is unknown how many women prospectors were successful, but there are articles and books about some of the more “colorful” characters such as Fannie Quigley who started her career as a dance hall girl, then headed to the Alaskan gold fields to cook for the miners.
She eventually staked her first claim in 1907, going on to own twenty-five more. Her personal life was less successful-she left two husbands during her search for gold. Then there’s Lillian Malcom (also part of the Klondike rush) who was a Broadway actress. Several of her claims were stolen by men, so she moved to Nevada, acting out her Alaskan adventures along the way to fund her journey. The picture below is of a gold nugget in 1920.
Panning for gold the old-fashioned way is a simple, yet backbreaking process of scooping gravel from a river into a pan, swirling and dipping the pan to let the current carry most of the silt away, then repeating the action until there are about three tablespoons of sand from which to pick out the eyelash-sized flakes. And just in case you’re wondering, prospectors typically worked from sunup to sundown.
Would you have taken your chances as a prospector in the Old West?
I WILL GIVE AWAY AN EBOOK EDITION OF GOLD RUSH BRIDE HANNAH TO ONE RANDOMLY SELECTED COMMENTER.
Gold Rush Bride Hannah
(Book 1, Gold Rush Brides):
A brand-new widow, she doesn’t need another man in her life. He’s not looking for a wife. But when danger thrusts them together, will they change their minds…and hearts?
Hannah Lauman’s husband has been murdered, but rather than grief, she feels…relief. She decides to remain in Georgia to work their gold claim, but a series of incidents makes it clear someone wants her gone…dead or alive. Is a chance at being a woman of means and independence worth risking her life?
Jess Vogel never breaks a promise, so when he receives a letter from a former platoon mate about being in danger, he drops everything to help his old friend. Unfortunately, he arrives just in time for the funeral. Can he convince the man’s widow he’s there for her protection not for her money?
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE! If you’ve found a moment to stop by today (or even a day or two later), I hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with friends, family, good cheer, and delicious food. One of things I’m most thankful for this year is to have become a part of Petticoats and Pistols. I feel like I found my second family and am so delighted to have met you, the many wonderful readers.
I had the delight and honor recently of being interviewed by The Categorically Romance Podcast (here’s a link in case anyone is interested in having a listen: Cathy McDaivd’s Podcast – I’m episode #78).
So, one of the questions my lovely hosts asked me was about my current and upcoming writing projects. I mentioned that, after the book I’m working on now (an inspirational suspense), I’d be finishing the last book in my Wishing Well series for Harlequin Heartwarming. I then laughingly admitted it was my eight wedding-themed book in a row for Heartwarming and would be my last for a while as I’d grown a little tired of writing about weddings.
That said, I’ve had such fun with the books. I spent a lot of time researching weddings and learned about some lovely, quaint, and, okay, a little crazy, traditions. Everyrone knows about throwing rice, of course – which is now the more feathered friend friendly version of throwing bird seed. It’s a way of wishing the newlyweds good luck, prosperity and fertility. But here’s the scoop on just a few common American wedding traditions you may not have known:
1) Nowadays, brides often carry bouquets of flowers. In ancient Greece and Rome, she carried a bouquet of herbs and spices to ward off evil spirits.
2) Queen Victoria is said to have started the fashion trend of brides wearing white dresses. In ancient cultures, blue was more often considered the color of purity.
3) Also, Roman times is when the practice started of attendants wearing matching dresses, again for good luck. Not only each other, their dresses matched those of the bride in order to confuse evil spirits. Roman brides wore a veil for the same reason – to protect her and hide her from the pesky evil spirits who might steal her away. As you can see, superstitions played a large role in the origins of some modern traditions.
4) The reason for wedding rings being worn on the third finger of the left hand dates back to Egyptians (well, some also say Romans, again) who believed there is a vein that runs from that finger directly to the heart.
5) If you receive a wedding invitation with the wording “the honour of your presence”, the ”u” in the word honour is to let guests know the ceremony will take place in a church or place of worship.
6) Giving away the bride stems back to the times when marriages were arranged and the bride was “transferred” from her father to her husband. Yes, like property. These days, the gesture is more often a sign of affection.
7) Bridal showers started out as a way to raise money for the bride’s dowry.
Tell me, what traditions did you have in your wedding or want to have in your wedding? I wore something old (leave the past behind), something new (embrace the future), something borrowed (good luck) and something blue (purity and warding off that evil spirit again). Maybe you had an unusual tradition or one with a special meaning for your family or culture? I’d love to hear about it. I do have that last wedding book to write!
P.S. – Don’t forget to join us on November 29th for Cowboys and Mistletoes – a super fun story and game for our readers and plenty of chances to win a nifty prize!
I love the holidays, even if they come with their own special brand of stress. Right now my stress is the question of will the turkey thaw in time? It’s been in the fridge since Saturday, and I swear it still has ice crystals. If it is thawed by tomorrow I’m going to use my industrial strength shears to cut the backbone out and then butterfly it onto a baking sheet. I’ve always wanted to spatchcock a turkey and this is my year. The only thing I’ll miss is the in the bird stuffing, but I’m willing to take the hit in exchange for more even cooking, which according to my online reading, is the benefit of spatchcocking.
I don’t know yet it I’ll collect enough fat to make gravy, but if not, I’m not above breaking out the gravy mix, something that would have horrified me a decade ago, because I was deeply into “the way things are supposed to be done”. In other words, tradition.
Well, family traditions start somewhere, and new ones can be added. This year, in addition to the spatchcocked turkey, I’m making cranberry sauce with a healthy dose of bourbon and ginger, bread stuffing that incorporates mashed potatoes, and gluten free pumpkin cupcakes for dessert—all new dishes. If they work out, great! They may be added to the repertoire. If not, so be it. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m going to have a fearless Thanksgiving and maybe find something to add to tradition…if that darned turkey ever thaws. ?
Do you have a special tradition for Thanksgiving? Have you added a new tradition in recent years? I’d love to know.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Be safe! And please drop in for Cowboys and Mistletoe, coming next week! It’s going to be so much fun!