Christmas is such a wonderful time to be together with family and share in healthy doses of love and laughter. My empty nest is back to peak capacity with my college student kiddos back home, and this mama is loving it! We have a puzzle going that my daughter and I work on together. We play board games nearly every night. Now if I could just find time to wrap all the gifts stuffed in my closet.
You know what I need? I need a cowboy hero to ride to my rescue and wrangle all those stray gifts, brand ’em with paper and bows, and herd them under the tree. Maybe what I need is this guy:
I don’t write for Harlequin, but I have to admit, this ad made me smile.
And with Christmas right around the corner, I have a great virtual stocking stuffer idea for you.
The Christmas Heirloomis on sale for only $2.99 for the e-book version at all major retailers through the end of December. Stuff your own stocking with a little Christmas cheer or surprise a friend with an e-gift. All you need is their email address to send them a copy.
Do you remember the excitement of getting the Wish Book in the mail? To me, that event marked the beginning of the Christmas season. My brother and I would pore over the pages, marking the things we wanted. One of my most fervent wishes was to receive a full-on cowgirl outfit, so those pages of the Wish Book were always well worn by the time Christmas rolled around.
Because of my Wish Book cowgirl outfit mania, I thought I’d share some catalog pages showing western wear from bygone eras. Do these bring back memories for any of you? And was anyone lucky enough to actually get one of these outfits? (If so, I’m officially jealous.)
Aren’t these outfits great? Playing the game I played as a kid, I would have wanted either the boy outfit with the rearing horses on the chaps, or the red girl outfit.
Roy Rogers was such a huge influence on me–and everyone else, it seems–back in the day. I didn’t know anyone who tucked their pants into their boots back then, but Roy carries it off well. And, now that I have fancy boots, I’ve been known to do the same!
I always thought that boys got the best western clothing. Look at the cool fringe jacket hidden in the lower corner. One thing that I really like is the fake boot tops in the lower left of the picture above. What a great way to handle not needing or being able to buy cowboy boots. I was one of the lucky ones in that regard. While growing up, I had four pairs of shoes for the year–school shoes, dress shoes, sneakers and…yes…cowboy boots. But if I hadn’t had cowboy boots, I would have had the tops to make my school shoes into cowboy boots.
Oh my goodness! Leopard print cowboy wear! Does it get any better than that?
Okay–I can’t help myself. I still want a full-on 1950s cowgirl outfit. I wonder if I have time to shoot off a quick letter to Santa?
Now the give away part! I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift certificate, that you can put toward a cowboy outfit or something else of your choosing. Just leave a comment to be entered. The winner will be announced in the comments on Wednesday, so check back tomorrow afternoon.
One caveat–I am going to the dentist today, so my replies will be a little late, but I’m excited to check in with everyone.
I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!
Hi, Kit Morgan here! As some of you know I grew up in a log cabin in the woods. My father, a homicide detective for nearly 30 years, moved us from a big old nifty Dutch colonial in what was then a middle-class neighborhood in the sixties (he bought the house for 13k, now those homes are close to a million bucks) to our cabin thinking that the country life was better for us kiddies.
All in all, it was. My brother, little sis and I were, of course, too young to miss city life. My older sister wasn’t. She missed her school friends and neighborhood buddies and wasn’t keen on being thrust into the middle of a deep, dark forest. But, like the rest of us, she adapted to our new surroundings and we all have fond childhood memories from our days growing up in such an enchanted place. Not to mention a few … uh … interesting ones. It was the deep dark woods, after all. Things happen in the woods and Christmas was no exception. No witnesses to Santa’s doings for one.
One year my brother heard sleigh bells on Christmas Eve and over the years my little sister and I heard our share of bumps and thumps in the living room after being sent off to bed. As children our first thought was always, it’s Santa! But stern warnings from our mother kept us from creeping into the living room to catch a peek of him.
Then came the year we got brave and went to investigate the odd thumping, bumping and, on this particular Christmas Eve, colorful language being spit out at odd intervals.
“Daddy?” my little sis was the first to say when she spotted him. Daddy schmaddy ! My eyes were glued to the guy with the Santa hat bent over a HUGE box on the other side of the Christmas tree.
“What are you kids doing up?” our father snapped. “Get back to bed or you’ll get skunked by the fat guy for sure!”
“He doesn’t look fat to me,” I said, eyes still glued to the man in question.
“Me neither,” said my little sis, eyes big as platters now.
Dad, slick guy that he was, came back with, “Oh, yes, well, Santa’s been on a diet, lately. Mrs. Claus had to cut him off the cookies. Gets in the way of his golf game.”
When you’re six with a dad who plays golf, this was a plausible answer. I just wanted to get a look at Santa’s white beard and see if it was real. Never mind the fact that old St. Nick was wearing a brown windbreaker and a pair of black trousers instead of a red and white trimmed suit. At least from what I could see. Maybe he took his traditional suit off and put on his work clothes? I mean, that box was gigantic! In fact, Santa stayed bent over the box, still as a statue. He knew that if he stood and turned around, the jig would be up. He’d be recognized and our belief in the jolly old elf would be blown to smithereens.
You see everyone in town knew and loved Mr. Prokop. He owned the local TV sales and repair shop. Dad had bought our first color TV and Mr. Prokop was delivering it. He was also a neighbor so we were last on his delivery list that night. It’s not easy to hide a present like a console TV, so he took it upon himself to deliver folks’ televisions on Christmas Eve. But this was just the beginning of the story …
Early Christmas morning my little sis and I awoke to an interesting smell. Actually, it was awful. Oh, gads! Had something happened to the marvelous present Santa delivered? We got up and ran into the living room. To our horror, there were broken ornaments everywhere! Not only that, but some large animal (or animals) had, well, had lots of “accidents” on the floor, and not the kind you just spray some cleaner on and mop up. “All the EWS and ACKS woke our parents, big sis, and brother. And of course our rambunctious Great Dane, Muxel, who came happily upon the scene looking as innocent as a dove. But never mind about that, the most important thing was that the giant box was still there and wrapped no less!
“Great Scott, what happened in here?!” our mother cried – that’s the edited version.
Dad saunters in, looks at my sister and me and says, “Oh my, um … looks like Santa let some of his reindeer into the house. See what happens when you let reindeer into the house, girls?” He then tossed a murderous look at the dog.
My little sister and I glanced at each other, horrified once again. Who knew reindeer could do such a thing?
My older sister (nine years older) was less sensitive to our tender beliefs in Santa. “Muxel! You stupid dog!” She got a glare from our father. “Oh, I mean … ew! The reindeer did have an accident!”
My mother sighed. “Well Carol, if you hadn’t left so many cookies out for Santa and put them in the cookie jar like I told you, then maybe the reindeer wouldn’t have gotten into them, got a sick stomach and messed (edited again) all over the floor.” Glancing at the floor she added, “and knocked half my ornaments off the tree! Who was supposed to block the living room off?”
Silence from my sister. My dad shut up too.
After a moment of this, all of them looked at Muxel. Sans my brother, he was still a believer. To heck with the reindeer having indigestion, breaking ornaments and making messes on the floor. Our eyes had gravitated to the box in the corner. Dad had mentioned he asked Santa from something special for the family. Was I going to be the lucky one to get to unwrap it? Or was I going to have to fight my brother or little sis for the honor?
“All right, Carol, since you left the cookies out,” my mom said, “you get to help clean up the mess.”
“What? Me! Why me?”
“Stop arguing and help your mother,” our father said. “Besides, it could be a lot worse.”
Carol stared at the disaster. “How?”
“You could have left my slice of leftover carrot cake out. Just think what that would have done to the reindeer!”
This drew my younger sister’s and my attention again. Reindeer probably would have loved carrot cake. And we couldn’t deny the living room did resemble a mini war zone. But reindeer weren’t small. In our young minds, we could see how half the ornaments could be knocked off the tree as they gobbled cookies. Which, in turn, would result in any number of catastrophes, depending on how sensitive a reindeer’s stomach was.
There was a debate between my little sis and me later as to whether the reindeer hit the tree before, during or after they ate the cookies, but when you’re five and six, debates end quickly. Soon the messes were cleaned up, the glass shards swept away, (preventing future hazards) and Christmas began. And the TV? It was the best Christmas present ever! It didn’t matter that it was for the whole family. We now had a color television! Back in the sixties that was a big deal. It even overshadowed the fact that Reindeer had desecrated our living room the night before!
Years later we learned the truth of the story. We still have a polaroid photo dad took of Mr. Prokop that night. Muxel our Great Dane was never allowed to eat cookies again, (or get near another Christmas tree) and our new color TV lasted for many, many years. My little sis and I own the log cabin in the woods now, and my current television was purchased from, guess who? Santa! Who in his eighties still owns the TV and repair shop in town, and is still our neighbor up the road.
Do you have a funny Christmas or holiday story? Do share! I’ll pick one lucky winner from the comments to receive an e-copy of my newest book (releasing next weekend) Holidays with the Weavers! I’ll announce the winner on Thursday so be checking back!
To check out my other books you can find them on my Amazon page.
We have a winner!
You’ve won a free E-book copy of Holidays with the Weavers!
Do you find you love your name? People can be quite opinionated about something they had little to no control over. One common problem authors have who write historical books is to pick names that were authentically used in the time period. A name like Jaylen or even Liam (unless your character has a very specific heritage and hasn’t been in the US long) would be almost unheard of.
Names are beautiful, but surprising, too. From my study of census data and comparing it to various books I have with actual accounts, I can only say that simply because a name wasn’t common in an era, doesn’t mean it wasn’t used. There are names that have been created in the last few decades which should be (of course) avoided in a historical novel, but I’m all for using what the past has left behind to enrich the future.
Does that mean we should fill our stories with Agneses and Jacobs, or should we personally accept that we’ll have a name we are unhappy with for eternity? I don’t think we need to go that far. Not to mention, how boring it would be! A wonderful resource I’ve found for naming characters is, frankly, so simple I’m surprised more people don’t do it. I find books with personal letters from people during the period in which I’m writing and use their names.
For instance, one of my favorite books in studying Gold-rush era California is a book called, They Saw the Elephant: Women in the California Gold Rush, by Jo Ann Levy. This book is a treasure of life experiences from that period. So many people think of the Oregon Trail as the most difficult trial a family of that time could face, but life in California was hard. These women saw it all, not only the Elephant (you’ll have to look up that phrase to find the meaning, it’s off-topic for this post).
These early pioneers had fantastic names: Arzelia, Julius, Luzena, Ledyard, Zeno, Lodisa, Angeline, Lucena, Clotilde, and Fayette. These are just skimming through the first quarter of the book without even really looking! Of course, there are Annes, Jennies, Marys, Margerets, Johns and Josephs and I think a lot of authors feel like they must use these names because it is expected in historical novels, but in my digging for historical names, I found something very interesting. Your name doesn’t have to define you or your era, not now, and not into eternity.
In the first book in my Brothers of Belle Fourche series, Teach Me to Love, Izzy is abused by the husband she hastily married. She comes to the Broken Circle O to find peace, what she gets is so much more. Conrad can’t think of her as Izzy, not even as her given name, Isabella. He gives her a new name, for a new start, Isabelle.
In Revelations 2:17b we learn that the Lord will give us a new name, a name so intimate, so truly ours, that no one but the receiver and the Lord will know it.
To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
I really wanted to explore that in Teach Me to Love, how important a name can be in healing from the past, from our mistakes, the ultimate forgiveness because we are completely and totally new. The Lord knows we don’t want to be the selves we left behind when we meet Him, so he makes us new, not only in body, but in name.
So, what’s in a name?
I’ve got an ebook copy of my collection, Brothers of Belle Fourche, Books 1-3 for one commenter. Do you think names are important? Have you ever wished you had a different name or read a book where it felt like the name of the character didn’t quite fit (or maybe fit perfectly)?
Kari Trumbo is an International bestselling author of historical and contemporary Christian romance. She began her writing journey five years ago and has indie published almost forty titles. Prior to writing, she was a freelance developmental editor and beta reader.
Kari is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the American Christian Fiction Writers Association as well as her local chapter, MN N.I.C.E. She makes her home in central MN—where the trees and lakes are plentiful—with her husband of over twenty years, two daughters, two sons, a cat, a bunny, and one hungry woodstove.
This is a holy season and a time for sweet treats and books so sweet and warm they make you sigh.
All the better if the books hold within them the true meaning of Christmas.
To celebrate Christmas two things
A sweet treat:
Seriously if you haven’t got the recipe and/or have never made this (Heaven knows I’ve posted it before)
You will be back here in Petticoats & Pistols thanking me!
It is just so delicious.
Connealy Crunch 2 pound package Almond Bark (melted) Melt in microwave 1 ½ minutes. Stir. Melt 1 ½ minutes. That should be enough. You might need slightly longer. Almond bark doesn’t lose its shape when it melts so you have to stir it to see if it’s enough. Add: 3 C. Captain Crunch Peanut Butter Cereal 3 C. miniature marshmallows 3 C. Rice Krispies 3 C. mixed nuts Spread out on waxed paper. Let cool. Break into pieces.
Talk about the Sweetest Gift–a new granddaughter!
And a Sweet Book
I am giving away a signed copy of my Christmas Novella collection called:
Three Christmas Novellas
Those three books are all previously released, but two have never been in print before, just ebooks.
The middle book, The Sweetest Gift, is a fictionalized story about my grandparents marriage of convenience. I’ve changed times and dates and locations, for example my grandpa was a farmer in eastern Nebraska, in this book he’s a cowboy in western Nebraska. But the fundamentals, the train ride, the widower, the deathbed promise my grandpa made to married his dying wife’s college friend, the piano…though it wasn’t gained in quite so dramatic a way as in the book, my grandparents old country farmhouse had a grand piano in it, so big, in this room that was so small you couldn’t walk around the piano. I never knew how it got in there and I imagined they built the room around it, left a wall open to get it in, then boarded up the wall.
My mom (the fourth child born to this marriage) didn’t know when they’d gotten the piano, how they’d gotten it in that room or how long they’d had it. And you’d think she’d know that. And when my grandma died that piano vanished. (this part of the story isn’t in the book)
Now I’m sure someone just took it and either has it or sold it but it’s not known to me or my mom where it went.
I always thought of that piano as a bit magical. It appeared in that little country farmhouse and when my grandma died it disappeared.
An assassin takes a shot and hits two people with one bullet. Natalie Brewster, a deep undercover agent for a group that doesn’t officially exist, saw the gunman aiming. He definitely waited, lined up the shot, and tried to kill both of them. Nat and Case Garrison hit the ground bleeding. They both come up shooting and kill the assassin—but that just makes him mad. Now Case and Nat, who have never before met, have to figure out what they have in common to make them prey for a killer. And they have to do it while running for their lives because, despite the two of them being highly skilled at keeping a low profile, the killer keeps finding them. They are running at break-neck speed, hiding with all the skill of long-time undercover agents, and falling in love with a passion that might be part of what brought a killer down on them.