I’ve always thought of myself as having dual citizenship—that is, I had a Yankee (Hoosier) father, but I was born in Temple, Texas and my mother was a Texan. Because we were an Army family, I ended up in Ohio, but every year we made the trek down to Texas to visit family there in Austin, Brownwood, San Angelo and a little country town called Christoval. During those times, I absorbed the amazing history and lore of that wonderful state and its plain-spoken, salt-of-the earth people, and began to appreciate the vastness of the state with its varied climates and topography—tropical, high plains, piney woods, hill country, mountains, desert. Texas has it all.


Then my dad was stationed in Korea for a year, and Mom and I went to live in Texas among aunts, uncles and cousins, including one who was a real cowboy, and certainly looked the part. I learned that there had been Cherokees in Texas, and that Cherokee blood sang in my veins, along with Scots-Irish, Huguenot and German. After that year I ended up with a Texas twang that comes back naturally when I’m among fellow Texans, and when I had to go back north, a sense that I was a Texan-in-exile. Returning to Texas always makes me feel like I’m coming home—especially if I arrive in spring’s “bluebonnet season.” At one time, I considered moving back to Texas, but my children live here, my other job (as an E.R. nurse) is here, and it seems I’ve grown some roots in Ohio, too.


I’d spent a lot of time in West Texas and Austin, and seeing places that sacred shrine to Texas heroes, the Alamo, but it wasn’t until I was showing my daughters the glories of Texas, though, that I was really introduced to the Hill Country of central Texas, that area of Texas bounded on the east and south by the Balcones Escarpment and on the west and north by plains and prairies. Its rolling countryside, studded with blue hills, cactus, cedar, liveoaks and mesquite and clear green streams, called to me. We were on the way to one set of relatives from the other, took a wrong turn and ended up in quaintly beautiful Fredericksburg in the heart of “German Texas.” German Texas?


My heritage was German on my father’s side, but I was intrigued by these Germans who had fled European turmoil and came to Texas when it was still a nation of its own, wresting a living from the rocky ground and living in mostly at peace with the Comanches. I resolved to come back and study the place, and I did, and eventually one of my books written as Laurie Grant, Midnight Satin, (Leisure, 2004) featured a German immigrant heroine.


As Laurie Grant, I’ve set books in a book in Texas cotton country, written a Texas cattle drover-hero in Abilene, Kansas, and had a Texas outlaw meeting an English duchess in Colorado, but most of my books have been set in the Hill Country, using imaginary Texas towns based on real places like Fredericksburg, Llano, Boerne, Wimberley and Comfort—with a dash of West Texas Christoval thrown in. I usually use a time period between the end of the Civil War and the 1890’s, when Texas was still plagued with outlaws and Indian raids, barbed-wire fencing wasn’t yet in use, and cowboys were in their heyday.


Now, writing inspirational historical romances for Steeple Hill Love Inspired under my own name, I’m still using the Hill Country for my setting. HILL COUNTRY CHRISTMAS, releasing in mid-October, is the story of Delia Keller, an impoverished young woman in post-Civil War Texas. Overnight, Delia has gone from the late preacher’s granddaughter to a rich young heiress. She’s determined to use her money to find the security she’s always lacked. Building herself a new house by Christmas is her first priority. But handsome Jude Tucker is challenging her plans and her heart….


The former Civil War chaplain hasn’t felt peace in a very long time, and he has a hard time letting go of his past. But as Jude gets to know the spirited Delia, he longs to show her what true Christmas joy means. In the rugged Texas Hill country, he’ll reach for a miracle to restore his faith…and give Delia his love for all seasons.


I’ll let you “Petticoats and Pistols” readers in on a little secret—this book wasn’t originally written as a Christmas book. But when Melissa Endlich, my wonderful editor at Steeple Hill, asked me to consider making it one, I was soon glad she did. Researching mid-1800’s Texas Christmas customs was a joy, and the cover is gorgeous with its blue hills background, and small-town Christmassy scene. I’m honored that Hill Country Christmas is Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historicals’ very first Christmas story.


Thanks to Petticoats and Pistols and especially to Cheryl St. John for inviting me to be a visiting blogger here. It’s the best western site around! I hope we can visit again when my next (still untitled) book is release in August ’09, featuring a lady photographer and a handsome, half-Mexican outlaw. I hope you’ll come visit me on my website and blog at  


One lucky reader who comments this weekend will receive an autographed copy of HILL COUNTRY CHRISTMAS!

                           ORDER A COPY FROM AMAZON ———–>

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  1. Hi Laurie, welcome here a Petticoats and Pistols. I really enjoyed your post. I feel like a know a little about you now after reading your post.

    I find your book very intriguing. I would love to read it. It sounds like a great read and I love a good Christmas book.

  2. Hi Laurie,
    I have never been to Texas but do enjoy reading about it and now is a great time for Christmas stories as the air is turning cooler.

  3. Hi Laurie, Love the pictures of Texas! I read HILL COUNTRY CHRISTMAS a few days ago and loved it. It’s a delicious romance with a page-turning plot. Jude Tucker’s my kind of hero!

    It’s fun to see the pictures of Texas after reading the book. I can see why you were so inspired.

  4. Hi Laurie, good to hear about another Christmas book I love the holiday books I have 3 lately and looking for more this year. I love to read about Texas I have never been but reading all the posts it makes me feel like I am there or have been there.
    Can’t wait to read your book.
    Have a great weekend!!!!!!

  5. I love reading historical romances and Christmas stories, and when they are combined it is a joy for me to read! Your Christmas historical sounds like a wonderful story, and the cover is gorgeous.

  6. Hi Laurie!

    It’s so great to have you here with us. We’re thrilled and honored.

    I absolutely love the Hill Country. I live in North Texas and drive down every chance I get. Especially in the spring when all the bluebonnets are out. It’s just beautiful. And so peaceful. That’s one reason I’m going to look for “Hill Country Christmas.” I know it’ll be a great read. Besides, I love Christmas stories!

    Hope you have a great day and come back again soon.

  7. Hi Laurie! I love the cover of your book and it is on my list of books to buy. I also love Texas. At least I have loved visiting. Have driven across the state from north to south, going to Macallen and to South Padre. I find the rough and tumble history fasinating. Visiting the Missions was awe inspiring as was the Alamo.
    Have a great day and I will be looking for the next book.

  8. I love Christmas stories… the goodwill, the holiday cheer, your book sounds wonderful… Thanks for sharing! 😀

  9. My husband was an airforce brat and got to travel the world – I always thought it makes you a more well rounded person seeing such diversity. Your book sounds wonderful.

  10. Hi Laurie. Good to see you here. Thank you for sharing with us. Hill Country Christmas sounds wonderful. Beautiful cover. 🙂

  11. Hi Laurie,
    I’ve got some of your older medieval books on my keeper shelf and I’d love to read some of your books from Texas, an interesting place.This Christmas book sounds great.

  12. I have an aunt who lives in the hill country in Texas (Kerrville). I think she would get a kick out of your read.

  13. Hi Laurie! Thank you for sharing with us today. I love your description of Texas. Hill Country Christmas sounds like a wonderful book. The cover is absolutely gorgeous!

  14. Welcome to the blog Laurie! Thanks for letting us get to know you better. And I’m so glad your editor asked you to make this a Christmas book! Christmas books are my favorite and when they are set in a western setting, they are even better! Can’t wait to find out what happens between Jude and Delia!

  15. Once a Texan, always a Texan! You can never really
    leave The Great State of Texas forever! It seems
    to entangle itself about your heart and keeps hold
    of you, even if it is just a “teeny tiny” hold on

    I’m looking forward to reading your book – I love
    Christmas books. Add a baby and I’m in reader

    Pat Cochran

  16. Hi Laurie,I love,love Christmas books!they are my all time favorite to read,so cant wait to read this one too,an I too am a nurse,retired now but still in my blood,lol,thanks for coming today

  17. Hi, Laurie, count me in as another reader who loves Christmas stories. I’ve never visited Texas (at least not yet!) but love reading about it. I’m looking forward to reading your latest!

  18. Hey Laurie, your book has a gorgeous cover. I love blue and snow and your cover reminds me of the blue shadows on snow.

    I also love Christmas, Steeple Hill books and Historical novels.

    So if I don’t win your book here, you can be sure I’ll be buying it anyway. (But yes, I’d rather win it. *g*)

  19. Hi Laurie! Enjoyed your post! Thank you for sharing with us today. Hill Country Christmas sounds very intriguing. Christmas stories always seem to hold a special place in our hearts. I look forward to reading your story.

  20. Hi,

    I also enjoyed your post and have to say I really like reading Christmas stories. I have read some of your books written under Laurie Grant and really liked them.

  21. I wish I could go back to Texas. I spent a year in Bay City, Texas. I loved it there but my husband didn’t. He was a pipefitter/welder and helped build the power plant. I sure did love the surf fishing there.
    I see we both have Cherokee blood running through our veins. I get it from my Grandma. I was taught to be proud of it.
    So nice to meet you.

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