Today, Tracy Garrett & Phyliss Miranda are sharing their two stories from WISHING FOR A COWBOY.
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM TRACY GARRETT
When I started writing Her Christmas Wish and first “met” Katie & Will, I knew they were opposites in so many ways. Where Katie was fiery tempered, Will was calm and deliberate. Katie came from a working-class Irish family, where money was tight and special sweets like Christmas cakes and cookies were anticipated even more because they were only made once a year. Even a simple pound cake, like the one Katie made for Will in Her Christmas Wish was a rare treat because of the sheer number of ingredients it took. Katie would have had to save her pin money for many months to be able to afford a dozen eggs, a pound of butter, a pound of sugar and rose water just to make a cake.
Will, on the other hand, was from a wealthy family, and something as simple as a pound cake could be served whenever a member of the family wanted it. But, even with his privilege, Will worked. He knew the value of his inheritance because he knew what it took to earn it.
And that had to make him love his Katie even more.When Katie made Will an old-fashioned pound cake, he loved it not only because it was his favorite, but because of what Katie sacrificed to buy the ingredients—maybe fabric for a new dress or hair ribbons or a hot cocoa after ice-skating with her friends.
Have you tried Katie’s Old-Fashioned Pound Cake? The recipe is included in the Anthology, Wishing For a Cowboy. In fact, there are eight recipes in all – one from each of the short stories. Check them all out!
HER CHRISTMAS WISH Her only wish for Christmas was the man who left her behind.
Even a woman capable of living on her own… Kathryn McConnell is a widow celebrating a milestone birthday alone. Though she feels a woman should be able to mourn the passing of her thirtieth birthday any way she wants, she won’t turn away a cowboy in need of lodging—until she learns it’s the man she’d expected to marry thirteen years earlier.
…never forgets her first love. Will O’Brien had challenged his father’s prejudice against the woman he loved only to discover he was unable to stand against his family’s wealth and connections. Without a way to support his bride, Will struck out for the west, determined to earn a living for them both. When he returned after two years with no word from Katie, he found she’d married another and moved away. Heartbroken, he returns to his work, but never stops hoping to find her.
When chance lands Will at the remote stagecoach station run by the widowed Kathryn, he grabs at the opportunity he’s been handed, hoping to win back the only woman he has ever loved.
Happy Holidays to you all from Phyliss!
When I agreed to write a short story for Wishing for a Cowboy, one of the requirements was to have a recipe to share with our readers. The concept was easy for me since each of my single title books have a recipe in the story and then it’s listed in the back of the book. In A Christmas Miracle, I selected date nut loaf candy which my grannie made every year for Christmas. It was only fitting, plus the ingredients are indicative of what would be available in 1889.
Here’s a little excerpt from my story in Wishing for a Cowboy:
Children should not suffer for the sins of their fathers, Mattie Jo Ashley thought, as she put two mugs of beer on the table for a couple of regulars of the Longhorn Saloon.
Lucas Jones had posted the House Rules on each wall. Although the watering hole was one of only two in the temperance colony known as Carroll Creek, Texas, its owner wanted to make sure everyone understood what he expected. He wouldn’t stand for a rowdy crowd that might run away his patrons who never missed three opportunities. A good tent meeting. A good church sermon. And, a good drink with a quiet game of cards.
Mattie Jo looked up at the rules posted prominently at eye level.
Rule 1: Check your weapons at the door.
Rule 2: No cussing allowed.
Rule 3: Rowdy behavior will not be tolerated.
Rule 4: No touching my ladies.
Rule 5: Only women are allowed upstairs.
The swinging doors flew open and her friend and fellow saloon girl Violet rushed in. Not bothering to acknowledge anyone around, she literally screamed, “Mattie Jo!” She rushed on without taking a breath. “The baby’s taken a turn for the worse.”
Blood ran like cold well water through Mattie Jo’s veins. “Slow down, Violet, and tell me what is going on with her.” Her heart beat out of control. She couldn’t lose another family member.
“Tell me exactly what’s going on.” Mattie Jo’s asked again. With each word her legs got weaker. It wasn’t typical of Violet to get so upset, even though it involved Mattie Jo’s baby sister, Katie.
“She won’t eat. Her eyes are more matted than ever. One is completely shut.”
“Her fever has gone up. Cool towels haven’t helped, so I gave her a cold bath. By the time I left, it still hadn’t brought down her fever. I don’t want to upset you, but it’s a whole bunch higher. She’s even more listless, refusing her bottle and is coughing more. I think she seems to be having a little trouble breathing.”
All of the worsening conditions Violet described balled up and hit Mattie Jo between the eyes. She swallowed hard and looked over the crowded saloon at her boss, Lucas Jones, who was delivering a tray of drinks to another table of card-playing cowboys. Tears brimmed in her eyes, just thinking about the possibility that she might lose her precious sister. She needed to go home and take care of her, but also had to work her shift because the jar in the kitchen out at her place had only three pennies and a dime in it. Not enough to pay for the doctor to make a house call especially three miles outside of town.
Phyliss and Tracy will give away copies of the anthology to two winners, so they can try all of our recipes next Christmas … if not before. Happy Holidays!
Cheryl Pierson and I are doubling-up today! Our heart-felt wishes for a beautiful, blessed and brilliant 2014!
In my humble opinion, the best stories are set at Christmastime. Right now, I’m finishing up reading B.J. Daniel’s suspense romance, Christmas at Cardwell Ranch. Which, despite the murder, is keeping me in the Christmas spirit with the snow snow SNOW. And the best of the bazillion Hallmark movies I’ve recorded since November 5 have had snowy Christmas Eves…
That’s because I live where it doesn’t ever snow snow SNOW. In fact, I spent Christmas Day celebrating in shorts and a tank top. The top has silver sparklies running through it, festive in its way, but I did have a cute plaid Scottie dog long-sleeved shirt as my original couture. Which was too hot hot HOT to wear.
And because it was 80 degrees, we didn’t light the fireplace. Fortunately, a TV channel displayed a flickering fire most of Christmas Day to keep us in the spirit of things.
I’m not really a chef—hubby is. He made Red enchiladas (cheese) and Green enchiladas (chicken) for Christmas dinner which I thought was extremely clever besides being yummy. But I did get some baking in, mostly notably, gingerbread men. Afterward, though, they were so hard…I had to find a remedy online to soften them up to edible status. Adding slices of apple to their airtight container worked magic. They ended up chewy and delicious, after all.
Christmas afternoon, we took our grandsons to the beach where they cavorted through the sand dunes. I considered making a snow sandman, or would it be simply sandman? But it seemed a lot of work. Probably the main memory of Christmas 2013 is Elf Baby.
Little “Buddy” from the movie looks So Much Like our two-year old grandbaby that both Rhys, and the seven year old, Carter, claimed the photo was Rhysie. (Kinda too bad it wasn’t; he’d have a pretty decent college fund by now. Oh well, the timing is a bit off. The flick is ten years old.)
I digress. Back to literature. Even though it’s not a Christmas story, my all-time favorite book, Little Women does start out with Jo’s complaint that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without any presents…
Well, I got just what I wanted for Christmas–an invitation to contribute to the debut romance of Prairie Rose Publications, the Christmas anthology Wishing for a Cowboy that also features stories by Cheryl and two other filly sisters–Phyliss Miranda, and Tracy Garrett. Yes, in Covenant, there’s snow. Lots of it. It’s set in Nebraska, after all, on Christmas Eve. (WFAC was followed just weeks later with the release of my first-ever, full-length inspirational western romance, Claiming His Heart. Yes, there’s snow here, too, even though it’s April…A spring blizzard snowbounds the couple…)
So I’m gonna close out my last 2013 post with a sigh, a prayer for rain at least, some blurbs, and a promise to y’all that we fillies here at Petticoats and Pistols have more new releases, more wonderful guest bloggers, and even better posts planned for 2014!
God bless you all, everyone.
Blurb for my story, Covenant:
Alone, abandoned, struck with guilt and grief, mail order bride Ella Green refuses to celebrate their first wedding anniversary by herself on the Nebraska homestead. Her fault Charlotte died.
Her fault her husband couldn’t stick around. So it’s back to Pennsylvania. Until the snow hits.
But do the spingerle cookie molds depicting her life–Carsten’s hand-carved courtship gifts to her across the miles–still have more story to tell?
Or is it truly The End?
Widower Carsten Green took on a bride merely to tend his little daughter. Unbeknownst to Ella, he gave her his heart instantly. Yet he believed she’s got no reason to stay after the child’s death. So he’s left her first.
How can the Christmas blizzard separating them warm their hearts, brighten their future, and ignite love gone cold?
Cheryl Pierson’s Blurb: The Outlaw’s Kiss
Talia Delano has been humiliated before the entire town of Rock Creek by Jake Morgan. A known gunman, Jake has bid an outrageous sum for Talia’s “boxed supper”, a kiss, and the gift of her time for the rest of the Independence Day celebration.
But, as always, Jake changes the rules and takes more than he should—especially with the whole town watching.
Talia’s chance of happiness is dashed, along with her reputation, when Jake leaves Rock Creek suddenly. When he shows up five months later at her farmhouse, wounded, and in the midst of a blinding snowstorm, she can’t turn him away — even though she knows being along with him will cause tongues to wag once more.
With Christmas only two days away, how can she harden her heart against the handsome outlaw who has no place else to go—even if he is being trailed by someone just as dangerous?
Blurb: My Claiming His Heart
Caught between a noose and a cave-in, Tulsa Sanderson must do anything possible to prove his brother’s innocence…even if it means marrying a gold miner’s daughter he just met. He needs every nugget and flake he can pull from her worn-out claim, but he sure doesn’t need a wife. Save his brother and he’ll be back on the Texas cattle trails. God, and trusting Him, are things of the past.
Charlotte Amalie lost her heart, her virtue, and her money to the last mysterious outsider in the valley. Faith? That’s wavered, too, after too many family tragedies. But she has no choice but to wed the handsome Tull. He bears terrible family secrets that need to be kept behind closed doors. Although she’s eager to leave the valley to find a new life for herself and medical treatments for her wounded brother, her unwanted marriage douses her plans, yet stirs up hope and love for Tull…and begins to fortify her weakened faith.
Can the two of them find a future–and faith–together even with their haunted pasts?
Oh, I nearly forgot. My story Covenant features the German molded Christmas cookie, springerle.
If you’re interested in the recipe, Kig Arthur Flour generously allowed me to use theirs, and their pix. Click here: http://tinyurl.com/n4mxbgo
Traditions and gatherings are a huge part of who we are as a family. This year, with my niece’s first pregnancy’s due date fluctuating from December 22 to December 25, our family left it up to the higher powers to decide what we’d do about our holiday celebration this year. Basically we were playing it by ear. All 18 of us, were waiting on the baby. My sister, Carol always hosts Christmas, and if the baby came, the party would shift to my house, as she and her hubby would travel the hour’s distance to the hospital to be with Angela and Kent.
On December 2oth, Angie’s doctor predicted that the baby was nowhere ready to be delivered. It would be a January baby. Okay, said all…we’ll celebrate together! But after teaching childbirth classes for over 20 years…all I could do was sigh. Because I knew, the minute the Dr. made that announcement, we’d be seeing the baby soon! It’s Murphy’s Law!
And sure enough, THE NEXT MORNING our little Angie went into labor. She entered the hospital at 5:30 in the morning. My hubby and I traveled to the hospital to be with my sister and lend support. What should have been an hour’s drive, turned into a traffic nightmare and we arrived 2 1/2 hours later. Nothing much was happening labor-wise. We wound up playing cards with my nephew and his wife and going to dinner. The labor went into the late evening. By that time, I’d been in to see Angie after her epidural put a smile on her face . She was breathing through her contractions and watching Christmas movies! After midnight, she was still not fully dilated and by 2:30 am, she finally started pushing. Little Zane William was born at 3:20 AM. It was a blessing to see him minutes after his birth! He was a beautiful, perfect little baby. Dear hubby and I drove home and climbed into our own bed by 5:30 AM.
Our Christmas gift was here. It was all we could ask.
And our celebration, minus the new family, went on. Zane was far too young to travel and baby shouldn’t be around so many people mere days after his birth. We all missed them, but they had their own “family” Christmas at home, the new threesome. And before our dinner, our family all took a special moment, to open Angela’s gifts to us. Our thoughtful girl, created from clay and hand painted ornaments for each one of us. She’d made them months in advance. It was such a touching sweet moment.
Wishing you a Happy Joyful New Year! We’ll see you in 2014!
What happened in 2013? Nothing catastrophic comes to mind, which is always nice, except I’m afraid that if I think long enough something will come to mind, so I’ll type fast.
I’m getting my books written a little faster than before. My 27th book released in September and number 28, 29, 30 & 31 are coming in 2014, (I’ve counted that a couple of times. Is that right? Four books in 2014? How’d that end up happening?) with more contracted for 2015 & 16.
I may be running around a little more than when I was working full time but I think I’m going to stop doing that pretty soon. (you may all be hearing a huge collective sigh of relief from my children, that Mama’s visits will be tapering off)
My Cowboy is doing well. We have the calves sold now, which we always do in December. That’s always a huge effort to get them all loaded and shipped, then it’s a big day when we go for the auction in Dunlap, Iowa, after a year’s hard work. They sold well and now we have about a two month break and…wait, WHAT? the first baby calf HAS ALREADY BEEN BORN??? When My Cowboy saw a baby calf out in the pasture, well, his language was of a sort that we aren’t going to mention here on a blog the whole world can read. We’re naming the calf…due in FEBRUARY but for some reason born in DECEMBER….OOPSIE.
Now that I’ve got a little more spare time, with the day job only part time and the books getting done a little faster, I’ve been trying to figure out a bucket list for all the things I want to do before I die. But to my surprise every time I start making one I find myself making a REVERSE bucket list.
Does that happen to anyone else?
It’s like I think of some DREAM I have. Something I’ve ‘always wanted to do.’ I put quotation marks around that because I have to fish around deep in my brain to try and remember some dream from my youth. Honestly, mostly I sit around and try to AVOID doing things. Like I try and get My Cowboy to go to town and get milk and bread. Or I try and get him to walk out and get the mail so I don’t have to. Or I drive around with the car too close to empty so I don’t have to get out and put gas in. So that’s how excited I am about getting out.
So… I reflect on what I’ve ‘always wanted to do,’ and I’ll hit on something in some shadowy corner of my brain. Examples: I remembered I wanted to parachute out of a plane.
Now I think, “What kind of moron jumps out of a perfectly good plane? FORGET IT! OFF THE LIST!”
Or I think, ‘How cool would it be to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon?’
And of course it would be cool, but, oops that’s a long walk. I’m old and fat. I’ll die. So I cross it off the bucket list and think, “I had a lucky escape there.”
See? Reverse Bucket List. If I apply myself, I can get this bucket list down to nothing without ever leaving the house. I think I might be doing ‘Bucket List’ wrong!
So, I’ll maybe come up with some dream someday that’s so cool I don’t want to kick it off the list and convince My Cowboy it’s a good idea (that’s no small trick, he might have a reverse bucket list of his own, plus he might take secret pleasure in thwarting me).
Or, maybe I could have a bucket list made up entirely of things I can go shopping for online. I could handle that. An AMAZON.COM BUCKET LIST.
Hey, that’s cool. I’m starting that.
Amazon has something similar already. Forget it.
Well, then I’ll just go back to whittling down my Reverse Bucket List and in the meantime, I’ll keep busy pestering My Cowboy to get the mail.
Today I wanted to share the story behind one of the Christmas decorations that goes up at my house every year. The little table top tree pictured below is actually one that sat in my grandparent’s living room when I was a little girl. The bubble lights are built into it and were the only decorations the little tree needed. I used to sit and just watch it, transfixed by the motion of those beautiful lights. To me it was like magic.
Years later, when my grandparents were gone and we were cleaning out their home, my sister beat me to the punch and laid claim to that tree. Then, several years later, she told me she hadn’t ever been able to get it to work, but couldn’t bear to throw it out. Knowing I was a collector of family memorabilia, she asked if I wanted it. Of course I jumped at the chance to have it, if merely for the nostalgia of it. But imagine my delight when I got it to work again. It is beginning to show it’s age (it is over 50 years old!!) but I still love looking at it and watching the merry bubble lights, just as I did at my grandmother’s all those years ago.