Cowboys at Christmas – Donna Alward

donna-alward-christmas-coverYou know, I’m getting kinda used to this cowboy thing.  And while it’s nice to go off the ranch once in a while and write something different – I had scads of fun doing an office romance – it’s getting more like writing cowboys and ranchers is what I know.  Somehow, no matter what kind of story I’m working on, elements of those cowboys come through. 

I think part of it has to do with setting, to be honest.  I’ve always felt a strong connection to the land (even if it’s not ranch land per se) and so my characters often do too – there’s a respect and reverence for it.  It’s in the way the leaves on the cottonwoods rustle, or how the fields stretch out to touch the horizon, or just the sense of fulfillment one feels breathing in the fresh air, ripe with harvest.  Or, maybe even ripe with something else.  Even that – I don’t mind so much.  It smells to me of hard work and sustenance and roots.

Hard work – roots – those are things you’ll find over and over again in my books, so when I started work on my novella, “A Bride For Rocking H Ranch,” (Montana, Mistletoe, Marriage) I knew those twocowboysnow2 elements would play a big part.   After all, what could be better than a hard-working cowboy at Christmas?  *Pauses to ponder*…..

(I know.  I’m thinking sheepskin jacket, cowboy hat, snow dusting his shoulders as his dark eyes…)

But wait.  This time I did something different.  I put in a twist.

My hero’s not a cowboy.  He’s a CHEF.

My heroine’s the cowboy – or rather, cowgirl.  In fact, she’s the de facto manager of Rocking H Ranch outside Helena, Montana.  Kelley can hold her own and no one works harder – looking after the land AND the family.  She likes her jeans and boots and no-fuss flannel shirts.  She can’t cook and leaves the domestic side of things to her sister Amelia.  And due to some troubles within the Hughes clan, she’s agreed to cook Christmas dinner for the family.

Of course this is where Mack comes in.  Mack, despite being a chef, is still a Montana man even as he tries to deny it.  As the story goes on, that really starts to creep through until you realize he and Kelley aren’t so different after all. 

Hard work ethic.  Putting down roots.  Honour.  All things that our cowboy and rancher heroes have in spades, and maybe that’s why writing contemporary westerns is so much fun for me.  Those are the kinds of guys I’d want to marry.  I did marry one – not a cowboy, though he has the boots to say otherwise – but someone who believes in hard work and a fair shake and family.

Setting it all at Christmas?



Well, that’s just the bow on top of the present, now, isn’t it?

I’ll pick a random commenter to win a copy of Montana, Mistletoe, Marriage – featuring my novella A Bride For Rocking H Ranch as well as Snowbound Cowboy (Amelia’s story) by Patricia Thayer.


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41 thoughts on “Cowboys at Christmas – Donna Alward”

  1. Hi Donna, Welcome to Petticoats & Pistols! Beautiful cover! I love the way you’ve switched things up with a chef and a cowgirl. Cooking Christmas dinner can be a challenge indeed!

  2. Hello Donna, what do you think of our early winter here in NS? Brrr! Those sheepskin coats and cowboy hats sound very appealing this morning. So does a crackling fire.

    I love the idea of a chef and a cowgirl. Can’t wait to read that one. Just what every girl needs – a man with potential to turn her into a walking meatball.

  3. Good morning Donna!!

    I too, love that you switched up your story and have the girl as the “cowboy” lol… cowgirls are fun to read about-cuz they are usually very independent and strong willed! I think this story sounds wonderful and will be adding it to my list!

    Also-thanks for the picture of the cowboy in the snow-very nice way to start a Saturday morning! 😉

    Hope you have a lovely weekend!

  4. Hi and thanks all!

    Melissa – can you believe I’m looking out my window at SNOW? I was used to this when I lived in Alberta. In Nova Scotia? I thought we had another few weeks before risking the white stuff.

    And mixing it up was definitely intentional on my part. There’s an element of Kelley becoming more girly as the story goes on and willing to show her feminine side. As a writer it was lovely bringing that in.

  5. Welcome Donna! Oh how I love Christmas novels,they are my all time fave,I read them all year round to keep the special feeling I get when I read them,an yours sounds sooooooo good!Keeping my fingers an toes crossed for this one,thanks for dropping by!

  6. Hi Donna,

    great idea to do things alittle differently. Will be a nice book to read when the cold and snow comes along, which will be anytime here in Wi. 😉

  7. I love anthologies and Christmas ones are my favorite. I have a shelf full of keepers to prove it, most of them westerns. I like the premise of the story line and having the two sisters’ stories together in one book. We lived in Colorado for 3 years and really miss it. It was the best place we ever lived. Wish we could have retired there. So I just have to get my cowboy fix in books now. It really is a different mindset and ethic, whether the “cowboy” is the hero or heroine.
    Best of luck with the release of MONTANA, MISTLETOE, MARRIAGE. I’ll be looking for it to add to my shelf.

  8. Donna, so wonderful to have you back visiting us here in Wildflower Junction!

    Love, love, love your cover – and the premise of your story. I’ve noticed more and more men spending time in the kitchen these days, and putting a man in a ranch kitchen is just too fun!

    That book is going to fly off the shelves. Good job!

  9. Sounds great! A cowgirl and a chef, great twist! Just a hint…you might want to save the next cowboy description ’til the end of the post…I got distracted there for a bit! Hahahaha! 😉

    xoxo~ Renee

  10. Donna I love how you have mixed up the characters with the hereoin being the boss… I cannot wait to read this book… A cowgirl and chef.. Love it..

  11. Renee – When I wrote the post I was working on art sheets for a book I have coming up in April. Spent lots of time finding suitable pictures…what a hard job I have! LOL. That description was straight from one of the pics I found. While a lot of my books have Canadian settings, MMM is in Montana and my April book is set in Colorado. 🙂

    And thanks for popping by the Junction, everyone! The other thing you find in my books a lot is cooking, so you might not want to come hungry. Then again, Pat and I included a few recipes inside…

  12. Hi Donna, what a great post! I love me some cowboys and cowgirls! Your book sounds fabulous and I can’t wait to read it. I think the hard work is what makes a cowboy or girl! I love the cover of this book.

  13. A man who can COOK?!! Those don’t exist in my world! 😉

    Seriously, this book combines 2 of my favorite things…Christmas and westerns. The cover is so pretty, too. I love to read Christmas stories, and I will be starting my yearly tradition soon. I must add this book to the pile.

  14. Donna,

    Good Morning. Your book just went on my list of must reads. It sounds wonderful.

    The cover is really good. It alone will catch a person’s eye.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Walk in peace and harmony,


  15. Donna,

    I’m a little late today but want to extend a hearty welcome back. It’s always a treat to have you come blog with us.

    And I enjoyed your blog very much. I never get tired of talking cowboys. They get my blood flowing like few things do. Here in Texas cowboys are all around me. All I have to do is turn a corner and there he is. But as you pointed out the work they do is hard. But it has lots of fringe benefits. I really admire a man who can sit in the saddle for long stretches.

    Great cover for your Christmas anthology! Sure smacks of romance.

  16. I love your books. I will look forward to reading this one. I love holiday books and this one with the heroine being the cowboy and the hero a chef, what a combination.

  17. Enjoyed reading the comments. Hey, I’ll take a cowboy at Valentine’s Day, Easter, or any old day. But Christmas would be special too.
    Can’t wait to read this one.

  18. I LUV holiday books and this one sounds good!! I already have a few lined up, but I would add this one to the TBR pile. Thanks, Sue

  19. I think there is a little cowboy in all guys…chefs or horsemen. Love cowboys…thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

  20. I love the twist you added to this story, Donna! To me, there’s definitely something sexy about a man who’s a chef. LOL Maybe it’s because I’m like Kelley and my cooking skills leave a lot to be desired.

    Anyway, I can’t wait to read this story, and will be grabbing my copy as soon as they hit the shelves. 🙂

  21. Sounds like a great twist. My daughter would love this book since her husband does 90% of the cooking lol. I’m just getting in the mood for holiday books (usually I start reading them right around thanksgiving and yours sounds like just the ticket 🙂

  22. Oh, Donna, it sounds as if this book was written
    just for me! A chef and a cowgirl? Love the idea!
    Both of my sons, Texans born and bred, do the
    majority of the cooking in their homes. My SIL did
    most of the cooking for years, but DD1 is catching
    up with him!

    I’m looking forward to reading this book!

    Pat Cochran

  23. I’m having a bit of a chuckle at all of you. See, I knew people would get it. Cowboys are sexy. Men who can cook? SEXAY. Mmmhmmm.

    In fact – we’re about to have beef stroganoff. I was making Christmas ornaments with my girls this afternoon so the husband took over putting the beef on to simmer. It’s melt-in-your-mouth.

    His specialty? Barbequed ribs.

  24. Oh this sounds like a good anthology! I like your chef and cowgirl twist! And we all need hard work. Nice cover and great pic!
    Thanks and best wishes with the Christmas release!!

  25. Savory! Sizzling! Sweet & Spicing! Sounds like some SPARKS will be igniting in the kitchen!!

    WOW! Looking forward to attending Christmas dinner with: the chef,Mack and the cowgirl,Kelley.

    SNOW!! I don’t miss it! It is pretty around the holidays!!

  26. As far as things ripe in the air… Aside from having a good throwing arm for a rope, a teenage girl can transform that one to perfect aim with a road apple ;-D Many a game city kids played on foot we played on horseback and covered land and woods on faithful cowpony. Bareback was best for accomplishing some deeds. Like hide and seek beneath bushes where a saddle horn could get caught. Of course the best part of having a solid four hoofed companion was the ability to silently sneak up on one of those straight-legged jean wearing cowpokes. Those Hands only caught Simbad if I wanted them to, and that just depended on how big and attractive their laughing smile was. Around the campfire was where things were really cooked, and believe me, hungry cowboys do know how to barbecue. Toad-in-the-hole breakfasts were another favourite.

    Donna, your book sounds like an absolute winner, so thank you for creating a story to bring back memories and win a forgotten cowgirl’s heart.


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