Should’ve Been a Cowboy~ guest Jamie Adams

Emma's Second Chance

“I should’ve learned to rope and ride. . .”

Don’t you just love Toby Keith’s song? Well, maybe that’s a personal preference, but I’m sure most everyone will agree when I say—there’s just something about a cowboy. Those dedicated and heroic men are driven.  It’s not just a Stetson hat, roper-boots, bandanas, spurs and chaps. It’s a way of life, a code that shapes the man and what he does.

I love cowboys, but then I ought to, I was raised by one. The oldest in a family with six children and his widowed mother, my father had to drop out of school and work on a cattle ranch to support his family during the depression.

He had that gallant quality that shadows the cowboy spirit and loved the way of life. If a western was on, you can bet we were watching. Whether it was Sam Elliot’s deep western drawl, the Duke’s trademark swagger, Jimmy Stewart and his country boy persona or Gary Cooper’s smoldering good looks, we knew the good guy always won the girl.

I was hooked.

The Code of the West wasn’t framed and mounted on our wall, but it should have been. It’s what my father taught us.

  1. 1.      Live each day with courage.
  2. 2.      Take pride in your work.
  3. 3.      Always finish what you start.
  4. 4.      Do what has to be done.
  5. 5.      Be tough, but fair.
  6. 6.      When you make a promise, keep it.
  7. 7.      Ride for the brand.
  8. 8.      Talk less and say more.
  9. 9.      Remember that some things aren’t for sale.
  10. Know where to draw the line.

These rugged and handsome heroes show up not only on the big screen, but from the pages of some of the best books written. Western romance authors have gifted us with memories of some amazing cowboys. One of my favorites is Jericho from Karen Witemeyer’s Tailor-Made Bride. I must confess, I sometimes reread the scene where he saves Hannah from the flooded river just because I want to revisit the emotional it stirs. Then there’s Silas Harden in Mary Connealy’s The Husband Tree leading Belle and her girls home, racing time and snow. What a man to have on your side!

Too many to mention, I better stop before I really get carried away.

Thank you for letting me share my passion for the old west with you all today. My fifth book, Emma’s Second Chance is available on Amazon. The cowboy in the story, Sam Hayes, is a small town Marshall who takes his job seriously. Sort of like Matt Dillon with OCD. He’s ruggedly handsome, brave and honest. Everyone loves him and why not, he’s everything you could want in a lawman, only he needs to lighten up. Emma Ward is a strong-willed woman running from poor choices. If anyone can rein in this female-resistant lawman it’s her. But first he has to convince her she wants to.

Tell us about your favorite cowboy, from a movie, book or real life, and be entered into a drawing to win a digital copy of Emma’s Second Chance.


An 1880’s Boston school teacher learns her intended’s heart belongs to another—the night before the wedding. Fleeing to her cousins’ farm in Idaho Territory, Emma  Ward meets a suspicious lawman determined to find out what she’s hiding,  unaware that her jilted fiancé is hot on her trail.

Marshall Sam Hayes has an obsessive concern for law and order. The town’s matchmaker tries to pair him up with the mysterious woman from Boston, but Sam resists. He believes it’s a responsible lawman’s duty to stay single.

 When an angry stranger arrives in town everything changes.

Jamie's headshot


Jamie Adams fell in love with books at an early age. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott opened her imagination and sparked a dream to be a writer. She wrote her first book as a school project in 6th grade.

A graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature as well as member of American Christian Fiction Writers, The Writing Desk and several critique groups she spends most of her time writing, reading or learning more about the craft dear to her heart.

She loves to connect with other fans of inspirational romances.


Twitter: @Roosgal

Excerpt Friday – The Secret Heir of Sunset Ranch

Welcome to Excerpt Friday!  Each Friday we’ll be featuring excerpts from recent releases by our very own Fillies.  So grab a cup of coffee and read on.  And if you find you’re hooked by what you read (and we know you will be!) just click on the book cover to purchase the entire book.



Hi from Charlene

Here’s just a bitty sample from my book  The Secret Heir of Sunset Ranch.  It’s war hero, Justin’s turn this time from The Slades of Sunset Ranch.  A cowboy, a secretive heroine and one sweet baby all rolled up into one, I hope you enjoy this snippet.



Secret HeirJustin Slade was home. It’d been three days now.

His Ford F-150 truck barreled down the highway with enough horsepower to match the equine force of Sunset Ranch’s best thoroughbreds, radio blasting Luke Bryan’s latest country hit. It was beat-tapping music. At any other time, Justin would be pounding the dashboard in sync with the rhythm.

But today, he wasn’t enjoying the music, the blue Nevada sky or the morning weather, which was clear and crisp enough to remind him winter was on the distant horizon. His gut churned in half a dozen ways as he faced what he was about to do. The marine in him hadn’t a doubt he was doing the right thing. He had to come clean for Matilda Applegate’s sake and for…Brett.

He punched the off button on the radio and Luke’s voice disappeared.

Appropriate silence filled the air.

A cold shiver of dread hung around him like an invisible cloak, refusing to be shrugged off with upbeat music or good weather. Brett Applegate was dead. It was Justin’s fault, and Brett’s aunt, his only living relative, needed to know the truth.

He pressed his foot to the pedal and glanced around the outskirts of Silver Springs as a sultry female voice on his GPS gave him the coordinates. Gravel spit under his tires.

The deserted road narrowed and a knot in the pit of his stomach begged for this to be over. He’d been on dangerous missions in Afghanistan that hadn’t caused him this much anxiety. Guilt and apprehension sucked as constant companions.

Justin popped two antacids into his mouth. He’d been living on the darn things lately.

“In fifty feet, turn right,” the GPS voice instructed.

Justin made the turn and drove his truck down a dusty dirt path that wound its way toward a one-story ranch house matured by frigid winters, hotter-than-hell summers and a string of bad months in between. Seeing Brett’s home in such a state of neglect was a sharp shot of reality, testament to the economic misery the Applegates had suffered over the years. Brett had always said his uncle Ralph would’ve gotten heartsick seeing what had happened to his once-proud home.

As the truck ambled closer, Justin caught a glimpse of a disabled car near the house, the back tire flatter than a flapjack, and a woman bending over, her head deep in the bowels of the trunk. Her jewel-pocketed derriere pointed skyward, drawing his immediate gaze. Hell, it was a beacon for any man in his right mind to stop and help out.

Justin pressed on the brake, keeping his eyes trained on a sight he hadn’t seen in a long time: a gorgeous, perfectly shaped female ass. It was enough to get his juices flowing. Heck, after nine years in the marines, it didn’t take much. But hot damn, the view was fine.

He swallowed and climbed down from the cab of his truck. His boots ate gravel as he neared the back of her car. The woman’s silky blouse climbed her waist while she continued to search the trunk, and his eyes locked on to five inches of soft-as-butter, creamy skin.

“Sweet heaven, what else is going to go wrong?” Her voice flowed over him like smooth bourbon. He grabbed a peek of that exposed skin again.

Man, oh, man.

He cleared his throat. Darn his mama for teaching him gentlemanly manners. Forcing his gaze away from her beautiful bottom, he focused on her curly, platinum-blond hair.

“Excuse me, miss. Can I lend a hand?” She jerked up and hit her head on the inside of the trunk. “Ow.”

She scowled as her hand went to her head, rubbing away the pain. “Oh, I didn’t see you—”

Their gazes locked. Her hand froze in her shoulder-length platinum locks. Her brows pulled tight and her lips rounded. “Oh.”

She was a stunner.

A twinge of recollection jarred him out of his lusty thoughts.

He remembered those deep jade eyes, that pouty mouth and Marilyn Monroe hair only a few women could pull off. He would’ve bet his last dollar he’d never see her again. And now, here she was…in the flesh.

On Matilda Applegate’s homestead, no less.

He didn’t much believe in coincidences. And this one was too big to ignore. His gut churned again, begging for another antacid.

Maybe he was wrong. It had been over a year and a half ago. Maybe she only looked like the woman he’d met in New York City that one weekend.

Justin removed his Stetson and her eyes flickered at the gesture.

“Sorry if I startled you, miss.”

Seconds ticked by as she took note of his shiny black boots, new jeans, silver belt buckle and tan shirt opened at the collar. She studied his face and gazed deeply into his eyes. With her hand in her hair, her fingers wove through the silver-blond strands as if she was fashioning some new upswept hairdo. With her arm raised and bent at the elbow, she tilted her head to one side and gave him thoughtful consideration. The move exposed the delicate softness of her throat. A breathless sigh escaped from her mouth.

That bit of body language was unique to the woman he’d known. Sexy. Not forced. Genuine. A jolt hit him smack between the eyes.

It had to be her. He thought back to that night at the Golden Palace Bar.

“I don’t date soldiers,” she’d said as he stood by her table.

He’d taken a seat and smiled anyway. “But you’ll make an exception for me.”

Jamie Adams Visits the Junction


Emma's Second ChanceMiss Jamie Adams has laced up her boots and tied her bonnet tight. She’ll arrive on Saturday, November 30.

This will be her first time so the Fillies would like everyone to make her feel welcome.

One thing you’ll learn fast about Miss Jamie. She’s passionate about the old West…and her cowboys. Part of that might lie in the fact she was raised by one who taught her how to live the Code of the West. I fancy you’ll have a few questions for her.

She’s toting an e-copy of her book EMMA’S SECOND CHANCE to give away.

Okay, dearies. That’s the scoop.

Leave the chores, leave the mister, the kids.

Hightail it over here come Saturday!!

Tidbits about Texas and the Texas Rangers


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love the Texas Rangers and have written about them in several books.  I thought it’d be fun to share some of the little known facts about the texas-ranger-logo.jpglegendary Rangers.  One tidbit that I’m still excited about is that our 2010 anthology “Give Me a Texas Ranger” with Linda Broday, Jodi Thomas, DeWanna Pace and myself was placed in the Texas Ranger Museum and Hall of Fame Pop Culture Section.

Since 1823, the Texas Rangers have represented the highest ideals of Texas and America to admirers around the world. Individually, they are some of the most colorful, toughest heroes in American history.

Together, they brought peace to an untamed frontier, and in the process became one of the most famous and respected crime-fighting forces anywhere.

Texas Ranger Uniform. Before the 1950’s there was no official uniform, although some companies tried to administer the coordination of outfits that proved unpopular.

texas-ranger-of-today.jpgTraditionally, Texas Ranger clothing is conservative western attire, specifically with white or tan hats, cowboy boots, white western cut shirt, tie, pants, and belt. But there is one requirement. A Ranger must wear an “appropriate” Texas Ranger hat, which is light-colored and shaped in a businessman’s style, commonly called the Rancher or Cattleman. Brims must not exceed 4 inches or be flat with edges rolled up. Hats excessively crushed, rolled, or dipped are not acceptable. The elite lawmen own both a quality straw and a felt hat to be worn as determined by the weather or assignment.

the-alamo.jpgThe Texas Rangers and the Alamo. In answer to Col. Travis’ request for assistance in defending the Alamo, a party of Texas Rangers responded. The Gonzales Ranging Company of Mounted Volunteers answered the call, fought, and died alongside the other valiant defenders of the Alamo.

Santa Ann escaped death because he was a Mason. This myth isn’t about the Texas Rangers, but I thought it fit with today’s discussion of little known facts. Although not all historians agree, this statement can be dispelled by truths. In April of 1836, Santa Anna was captured after the defeat of the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto. Legend has it that he saved himself from execution by giving secret “Masonic signs” when he was seized, and later when he was brought before General texas-ranger-badge-and-gun.jpgSam Houston. Some historians believe that he simply filled the air with Masonic signs and gave a distress signal grip to Houston because he feared for his life. However, they were under no obligation to save him for several reasons. First, Santa Anna had disowned the Masonic fraternity and outlawed its practice in Mexico, thus placing him outside the protection of any Masonic obligations. Secondly, Santa Anna was worth more to Texas alive than dead. Incidentally, President Andrew Jackson and General Houston were members of the same Masonic lodge, the Cumberland Lodge No. 8 in Nashville, Tennessee. Jackson wrote to Houston and asked him to spare Santa Anna’s life, reminding Houston that “while he is in your power, the difficulties of your enemy, in raising another army, will be great…. Let not his blood be shed unless imperious necessity demands it….” Could it be that President Jackson intended to seek humanity and wisdom to halt an enemy?

Hitler and the Texas Rangers. The name “Rangers” is synonymous with the Texas Rangers, and never was it more clear than during WWII. On August 19, 1942, us-army-rangers-during-wwii.jpgthree Commando units of the British 2nd Canadian Division landed in France. The purpose was to create an illusion of a major invasion and force Hitler to halt troops bound for the Russian front. However, somewhere along the line the British Commandos became the Texas Rangers. Apparently the confusion came with leaks that a special American combat unit, the legendary U.S. Army Rangers, who were modeled after the main5bottom_r3_c7.jpgsuccessful British Commandos, had invaded. Hitler was rumored to have watched Amerikanische westliche Filme (American westerns,) and only knew of the Texas Rangers who were depicted in American movies that played in European theaters during the 20’s and 30’s. As a result, the only American “Rangers” known to Hitler were heroic men in white hats, who single-handedly cleaned up entire towns with blazing guns. Ironically, the Texas Rangers did volunteer to go to Europe but were not allowed to do so by our military. For a short period of time, thanks to rumor, the legend of the Texas Rangers offered hope to the residents of occupied France, two years before the Allies successfully landed on the beaches of Normandy.

books.jpgIn western historical romances, Texas Rangers make a terrific hero because of the qualities they are known for. I have to admit, I love ‘um too, although my favorites to write are crusty ol’ retired Ranger sidekicks.

Whether it’s television, movies, or books, who is your favorite Texas Ranger?

We’ve had a great holiday so far with our Christmas anthologies!  Kensington re-released “A Texas Christmas” at all Walmarts and Sam’s Clubs.  I joined several Fillies in the debut anthology “Wishing for a Cowboy” for Prairie Rose Publications.  With the bad weather across the country, if you want a book or two, whether it’s an eBook or printed book, to curl up and read in front of the fireplace, I can promise you’ll enjoy both anthologies.  They will really get you in the holiday mood.

ATexasChristmas3Wishing for a Cowboy-sm

Reloading a Cap and Ball Revolver

revolverIn past blogs, we’ve talked about the limitations of a cap and ball weapon because it can’t be reloaded quickly. A muzzle-loaded long gun gives you one shot. A cap and ball revolver with six shots is just that—six shots. Your hero won’t be reloading it while running from the bad guys or riding to the rescue. Keep reading and you’ll understand why.

Unlike a modern cartridge, where the bullet, powder and primer are enclosed in a brass case, reloading cap and ball takes 6 steps for each chamber. That’s six steps times six chambers to fully reload a revolver.

I took most of these pictures of my friend and fellow cowboy action shooter, Major Misalot  reloading his cap and ball revolver cylinder. The reloading can be done while the cylinder is in place on the revolver, too.

The loading is done in reverse order of the firing process, from the barrel side of the cylinder:


1. Add powder






lead ball


2. Place a lead ball on the powder in each cylinder








3. Ram the ball home, all the way down into the chamber. Major Misalot is using his modern reloader, but this can be done using the ramming rod on the revolver, as in the picture to the right. The rod is firmly pressed into the chamber then the cylinder is rotated until all six lead balls have been rammed pushed into place.

ramming rod









4. Grease the cylinder to prohibit chain firing – where the burning powder from one shot ignites the others in the cylinder = obviously not a good thing!





Cap nipple


5. Cap the nipple (think blasting cap here)






NOW its finally ready to fire.

With practice, it doesn’t take all that long to reload a cylinder, but you really can’t pour powder, ram a ball, cap the nipple and grease the chamber at a gallop. I can certainly see why many who relied on a cap and ball revolver carried fully loaded spare cylinders.

And, just to remind you that someone shooting black powder can’t hide…









Her Christmas Wish in “Wishing For a Cowboy” Anthology – available now from Prairie Rose Publications.

Wishing for a Cowboy-sm

Janet Tronstad’s Winner!


Tronstad coverBrrrrrr! Jack Frost is nipping at my nose and my toes. Had to traipse out and feed that blasted mule!

But this’ll warm you right up.



Woo-Hoo!! Dancin’ a jig for you, Colleen! Someone will contact you for your mailing particulars.

Keep warm! It’s a good day for readin’ a book!

When a Terrible War Leads to Romance~guest Janet Tronstad

A big Wildflower Welcome to Janet today! Please leave a comment for the name draw for a print version of Mail-Order Mistletoe Brides!

I’m Janet Tronstad (USA Today Bestselling author with Harlequin Love Inspired) – waving to those I’ve chatted with when I’ve been a guest here before.  I’m delighted to be with you again today. This time I’m talking about a time when a dreadful war led to widespread romance – the story of the Civil War and the Old West mail-order bride.

Tronstad_Janet-close_crop (2)

My good friend, Jillian Hart, and I recently did some interviews with Amazing Books, a modest Chicago-based cable program, and I talked about the impact the Civil War had on matrimony in the United States. See excerpt of my part on You-Tube at   

So many men died in the war, primarily on the east coast, that for decades later there was a lack of marriageable men and, with the Civil War widows, an increase in women seeking marriage.  Estimates say that in 1865 there were as many as 30,000 single women on the east coast – women who wanted to marry and had no hope of doing so.

I’m going to stop right now and ask you. What would you be willing to risk to find love? How far would you travel? What uncertainty would you face?

Tronstad cover

These women in the late 1800’s were willing to risk everything to find a husband. As we all know, single women had limited economic resources in those days. What jobs they might find were generally poorly paid and often came with an uncertain future. Being single, they would also have no children, a fact that grieved many of them.

They were truly desperate for marriage, but they weren’t the only ones.

A large number of men in the Plains also had little chance of matrimony because so few single women lived there. This led some enterprising souls to set up ‘heart and hand’ catalogs, folded double sheets and broadsides devoted exclusively to ads for people seeking marriage. In addition magazines like Ladies Home Journal started running regular matrimonial columns (at one point, the magazine declared Wyoming a heaven for spinsters and widows).Tronstad Christmas bride

I have been fascinated with the lives of these women who were willing to risk marriage to a stranger in hopes of finding love and family. When I became aware of the plight of these women, I started to imagine the meetings that took place at railroad stations all across the West as the brides met their promised husbands for the first time.

This is the inspiration and backdrop for the series of Mail-Order bride books that Jillian Hart and I have written for the last several Christmases.  Each of these stories starts when the train arrives in town. The third of these annual books, ‘Mail-Order Mistletoe Brides,’ comes out on December 1.  It tells the stories of Mercy Jacobs who marries for the sake of her young son and Maeve Flanagan who has a secret her promised husband knows nothing about.  Each bride arrives in the Montana Territory just before Christmas.

Tronstad Holiday bride

Again, I’d like you to picture yourself in their place.  Would you marry a stranger for security?  For the hope of children?  For help raising (and in some cases feeding) the children you already have? After you answer, put yourself in the time period of these women, with the limitations you would have in your life. Then decide how you would answer.

Trust me, these are questions I have wrestled with as I’ve written these books (we have three mail-order bride books out now – see covers of the two others here).  Let me know your answers.  I’m curious.


Excerpt Friday – Finally a Bride

Welcome to Excerpt Friday!  Each Friday we’ll be featuring excerpts from recent releases by our very own Fillies.  So grab a cup of coffee and read on.  And if you find you’re hooked by what you read (and we know you will be!) just click on the book cover to purchase the entire book.


From Author Renee Ryan – FINALLY A BRIDE

Good morning!  I’m so excited to present my latest release, FINALLY A BRIDE, Book 7 in my Charity House series.  Here is an excerpt below.  Let me know what you think and I’ll put your name in a drawing for a copy of this book.  Another lucky winner will receive all seven books in the series.  That’s right, leave a comment and you will be eligible to win a copy of all of my Charity House books.  Enjoy!

FINALLYABRIDEcoverartMolly Taylor Scott knew most people considered her a delightfully charming, sometimes frivolous young woman who loved being engaged almost as much as she loved the Lord. Molly would agree with this summation of her character, mostly. However, she would argue one key point. She was never frivolous.
Especially when it came to matters of the heart. Thus, as she stood outside Denver’s most exclusive millinery shop, surrounded by several would-be suitors, she treated the situation with utmost gravity.

Twirling her parasol, she gave the men her undivided attention. A rather difficult task, when one of the four seemed determined to monopolize the conversation. Molly stopped listening to the conversation as something—someone— exited the Arapahoe County Courthouse one block north.

Senses poised, she turned her head ever so slightly and caught sight of Garrett Mitchell moving at a clipped pace in her direction. He looked incredibly handsome today, every bit the successful attorney he’d become in the past few years.

Eyes cast forward, he made swift progress down the lane, never once looking at Molly or acknowledging her presence. Still, her breathing quickened and her heart stuttered.

Stupid, stupid heart. An undertow of anger rolled through her. Interesting thing, anger; it signified she still cared.

She really shouldn’t still care.

Not about Garrett Mitchell. Or those sculpted features framed inside dark blond hair, or that brilliant mind lurking behind the oh-so-handsome face, or that cowboy swagger that had stayed with him long after leaving his family’s ranch.

Why, why, why did he still affect her so? He’d walked away from her seven years ago. And I let him.

Molly sighed. Better that, than give in to fresh despair.


Don’t forget, leave me a comment with your thoughts on this excerpt to get your name in the drawing for the books in this series.