Charlene Sands is a USA Today Bestselling Author of 35 novels, writing both western and contemporary romance. She's a lover of all things romantic, especially her bold, rugged, heartstopping "real good men" heroes! She's the recepient of the National Readers' Choice Award, the Bookseller's Best Award and the Cataromance Reviwer's Choice Award. When not writing, she spends time with her "hero" husband, enjoying Pacific Beaches and drinking iced mocha cappucinos!
Charlene loves to hear from her readers.
Drop her a line at www.charlenesands.com or write her at PO. Box 4883, West Hills, CA 91308
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I remember when I first started out writing, our dear filly sister, Margaret Brownley , who was once a mentor of mine, told me if I wanted to write western historical novels, I should target a 10 to 15 year period and become very familiar with the events and inventions of those times. Since I love history, this was not a chore and with a little luck, some talent and a lot of hard work, Harlequin published my first historical, Lily Gets Her Man. I don’t know if Margaret knows this, but I attribute my writing that book to her! Thank you, Margaret!
Here’s a bit of the timeline and historic events I used to guide me when writing my historical novels dated from 1875 to 1890:
Wyatt Earp begins a career as a law officer in Kansas
Gold is found by Black Hills miners in Deadwood Creek, South Dakota
Grasshoppers ravage the plains.
Mark Twain writes The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The telephone was demonstrated by Alexander Graham Bell
Bat Masterson became a deputy marshal of Dodge City, Kansas, serving along with his brother Jim.
First Woolworth store opens in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
The San Francisco California Electrical Company is the first in the world to begin selling electrical services
Hide hunters have shot buffalo to near extinction
Cattle business booms in the West.
The Tombstone Epitaph begins publication in Arizona
Polygamy is outlawed
William F. Cody initiated the first Wild West exhibition
The Northern Pacific Railroad connecting the northwestern states to points east is finally completed after 19 years of struggle.
Statue of Liberty unveiled
Prairie fires burn millions of acres in North Dakota
Ohio Valley floods
There’s a financial crisis in New York
Oregon is the first state to recognize Labor Day as a legal holiday
Silver is discovered in Leadsville, Colorado
On November 8, Doc Holliday died of tuberculosis in Colorado
The first Oklahoma Land Run occurs where 50,000 plus– rush to grab almost 2 million acres of once Indian Territory land.
Idaho and Wyoming are admitted to the Union
The massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota ends the Indian Wars
North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Washington are admitted to the Union.
Anne Sewell writes Black Beauty
The US Department of the Interior announces that the frontier is closed.
Fast Forward to 2017
I want to thank each and every one of you wonderful loyal bloggers for coming to my blogs here at Petticoats and Pistols. I’ve had a wonderful ten year run with these fine ladies and it’s my time to bid you ado. I will still be writing my modern day western heroes and will be stopping by to say hello!
For the authors: I’m saying a Special Big Thank You for being supportive, hard-working and diligent in making this blog one of the finest! I love you all!!
For our bloggers: Please know that these authors, many of whom have become life-long friends are the very best of the best. I leave you in their capable hands. And to celebrate my years here at Petticoats, I’m giving away five, $5.00 Amazon Gift cards to random winners to show my appreciation! Check back later in the day!
So Happy Trails and love to all,
Visit me at http://www.charlenesands.com for all my new releases and latest news! And be sure to look for the 3rd book in the Forever Texan Series titled Redeeming the Texas Rancher – August 2017
Today I’m super excited to share with you the first scene in my upcoming story.. LOVING THE TEXAS LAWMAN! It’s book 2 of the Forever Texan Series, but can certainly be ready as a stand alone. Here’s a sneak peek and keep on reading for the giveaway!
Gravel crunched under Sheriff Jack Walker’s boots as he exited his patrol car and headed for the cherry red sports car parked alongside the road just outside of Hope Wells. The Texas night sky twinkled above with bright stars, but on the ground his flashlight was his guide. Years of wearing a badge made him ready for anything and he knew better than to think he’d find a driver in that car, not with Wishing Wells, the town’s natural flowing hot pool just fifty feet away. Lovers and others often frequented the waters past closing time, past curfew, sometimes breaking other Texas statutes as well. His mouth cocked up at the notion. He’d broken a law or two at the wells in his younger days. But Jack didn’t rightly recognize the car and that put him on alert.
He crossed the road where gravel became wildflowers and then headed down the familiar path. As he came upon the gate, the chain link didn’t appear to be jimmied, but that didn’t mean much since the gate was more than climbable. There’d never been a need to secure Wishing Wells with anything more than a strong link fence, Hope Wells being a peaceable town for the most part.
The honeyed sweet scent of star jasmine flavored the air as he drew closer. His ears perked at a disturbance in the wells, a quiet swishing that only occurred when someone was upsetting the soothing waters.
“Who’s there? You’re trespassing at this hour. This is Sheriff Jack Walker.” Giving fair enough warning for a trespasser, he climbed over the gate. He hoped like hell he wouldn’t find two lovers going at it hot and heavy.
His flashlight illuminated the springs with a blast of brightness. Nope not two lovers at all, but one scantily clad woman.
A woman he recognized.
His eyes burned hot and his senses blurred.
He shined the light just below the soulful, baby blue eyes of the trespasser.
What was she doing here? He didn’t think he’d ever see her again. It’d been years since Jillian had washed her hands of Hope Wells… and of him. He was over her, but cool and casual wasn’t what pounded in his chest now. Instant disappointment at his reaction to her sent him back eleven years.
Her soft sultry voice filled him up with memories. “I see you’re still breaking laws, Jillian.”
A smile surfaced and the baby blues that had once done incredible things to him, seemed just as potent now. She had charm and grace to spare, a trait he’d once thought was exclusive only to him. He’d thought he’d known her mind too, but she’d proved him wrong in the end and his grief had lasted too long to admit, even to himself.
“As I recall, you helped me break more than a few, Jack.”
The moonlit waters flowed freely around Jillian’s bare shoulders. What in hell was the famous lingerie designer wearing underneath all that pooling water? A bikini? A thong? The woman ran a successful million-dollar company aptly named Barely There. Maybe Jillian wore next to nothing.
Jack drew a deep breath reminding him that Jillian wasn’t the girl from the wrong side of the tracks anymore. She wasn’t that poor misunderstood wild child that had once touched his heart and made him want to protect and cherish her. But seeing her at the wells again, unguarded, smiling up at him with a gleam in her eyes and that come-here look on her face, had him stumbling for a comeback.
She had moved on. So had he. Both had made something of themselves. It was best to let it alone. “Now. I protect the law, Jillian.”
She looked away, staring out into the darkness. “And the fine people of Hope Wells.”
“One in the same.”
She stroked the water, her hands playing over the pooling liquid like a delicate instrument. “You were meant to be sheriff. It suits you.”
“Don’t see as I could be anything else, what with my father and his father before him, being sheriff. It’s in our blood, I suppose.”
“It’s a good thing, Jack. I understand you saved a little boy’s life. You’re the town hero.”
“I’m no hero, Jillian.”
His gut twisted. Visions of that fateful day tormented him still. That winter night six months ago, rain had poured down so heavily the banks couldn’t hold and the river overflowed in large gulps. The blinding deluge and a set of bad tires had the driver of a sedan skidding off the road and plunging into the raging water. Trapped inside the car was a family of three, a young boy and his parents. Jack had seen it all happen from his patrol car and hadn’t hesitated to jump into the river. Frantically, he’d searched for the passengers, hoping to help, hoping to save everyone. And then he’d seen it, the small arms of the boy flailing wildly from inside the car, his parents offering up the boy through the darkness as if to say, take him. Take him. Their faces strained in panic as they realized their fate. Jack would never forget that scene, as the swift current carried the car and the boy’s parents under and away. There wasn’t anything Jack could do for them but bring the boy to safety.
“I did what any other man would do in that situation.”
“Not every man, Jack.”
A breeze blew by and Jillian trembled. She’d been in the water too long. Typical Jillian. “I think it’s time you got out.”
“You mean I can’t make a wish in the wells?”
“Is that what you’re doing, wishing?”
She gave her head a tilt. “Maybe.”
“It’s cold tonight. You should get out.”
“Is that an order, sheriff?” A teasing smile played on her lips.
“It’s a firm suggestion.”
“Will you hand me that towel over there?”
Jack reached for the towel hanging over a tree branch and walked closer to the wells as Jillian stepped out of the waters. Dewey droplets cascaded down her body adding a glimmering sheen on tanned, healthy-looking skin. He held the towel open, dipping his gaze to take a peek of frilly black silk covering her near naked body. Male fantasy wet silk.
“Thanks,” she said, tucking herself into the towel.
“It’s late. You’d best get to wherever you’re going.” He kept his focus on her face and off the tempting swells pushing the barriers of her towel.
“I’ve already been there,” she said breathlessly, running a hand through wet hair, “and the Winslows weren’t home.”
Jack arched a brow, ignoring how the honey blonde strands fell against her bare shoulders. “You’re staying at the Winslow place?”
“Yes. They said I’m welcome anytime.”
Jack twisted his lips and shook his head. He had a thousand questions for her, but only one pounded hard in his head repeatedly. Why was she here? What brought her back to Hope Wells after all this time? “Damn, Jillian. As far as I know, they’re gone for the weekend. Won’t be back until Monday.”
Jillian shrugged. “That’s okay. I’ll get a room at the motel or something.”
Jack took his hat off and ran a hand through his hair. Leave it to Jillian not to see things through. She’d always been the impulsive one, the make-love-to-me now and damn the consequences, kind of girl. Jack had been the one to hold back, to want to wait, to do right by her. Jillian had been a temptation from the start, a girl he’d wanted above all else, but he’d been the responsible one. Sometimes, he hated that about himself.
“Doubtful. The rodeo’s in town this weekend. You won’t find a room anywhere.”
Her face fell. “Oh.”
She chewed on her lower lip and Jack’s temperature rose watching her tongue dart in and out of her mouth as she contemplated her next move. He dragged his gaze off her mouth and glanced at his watch. It was almost eleven–too late for her to go traipsing along the highway looking for a place to stay. Jack doubted she’d find a vacancy for fifty miles or so.
Another breeze blew by and she shivered. Goosebumps erupted on her arms as she hugged the towel tighter. Ah, hell. “Follow my patrol car. I know a place you can stay.”
A nervous little laugh erupted and she shook her head. “No way, Jack. I’m not staying at the jail.”
Jack didn’t hide a wicked grin. “You don’t have too many options, now do you? Get dressed. I’ll wait for you by your car.”
Do you enjoy stories about lawmen? What did you think of the excerpt? Some of my favorite television shows revolving around lawmen are Gunsmoke, Justified and Blue Bloods. What are yours? Post a comment and one blogger will be picked randomly and announced at the very end of the day to win a gift ebook copy of Taming the Texas Cowboy, book 1 or another of my available titles.
LOVING THE TEXAS LAWMAN is available for PRE-ORDER and released on May 22nd.
Most of the romantic series I’ve written are family sagas, with the stories centering around one set of family members or friends and usually, (but not always) the stories are set in the same town, territory, or city. But the key factor is how to tie in the stories, while still making the plot easy to follow for readers who have not read the other books. Authors often say the books are part of a series, but they can also be read as a STAND ALONE, meaning they have all the elements in the story to make for a satisfying read even if you haven’t read the other books. It’s the task and joy for the writer to make sure the story holds up and is a cohesive enough to stand alone.
My series are usually a set of three stories, but sometimes as I’m writing, another character pops up that needs his or her to be told. So there’s no hard and fast rule about how many books can be in a series. If an author has a vision for six or ten or fifteen stories and the readers are invested enough and love the stories, the writing, and the setting, more the better.
What’s Fun About Writing a Series:
The Setting—once the town or ranch or territory is established, readers (and the authors) love to revisit familiar places from the earlier books. In my Forever Texan series we often see the Bluebonnet Bakery and Wishing Wells and 2 Hope Ranch.
The Characters—it’s fun to see the characters interact together from one story to another. Brothers, sisters, cousins, moms and dads and best friends all play a role, but the writers strive to make sure the romance between the hero and heroine is the main event in every story. The secondary characters often get their own stories later down the road.
The Theme – Often there’s an underlying theme that connects the stories. It can something as simple as a holiday, Thanksgiving or Christmas maybe, or a special event such as a rodeo coming to town. It can also be a wedding or a pregnancy that connects the stories. The themes know no bounds. I was once part of a multi-author series about a Bachelor Auction. I’ve also written a series centered around a winery called Napa Valley Vows, a series centered around a hotel called Suite Secrets and around a ranching family called The Slades of Sunset Ranch.
The Love– Not between hero and heroine, because that’s a given, but for the author. Once I’ve established my town and the people in it and yes, even the stories I plot and plan out, I sorta fall in love with the whole idea. These people are my friends, this town is somewhere I’d love to live and it’s the journey and the challenge to make the series click and stick, as I say. One thing I know for certain, once the love is gone, once the writer tires of the setting or runs out of story, it’s time to move on, to be inspired once again.
I’m really proud of my new Forever Texan story set in Hope Wells, Texas. The stories center around two cousins and their best friend. It’s been a labor of love for me, as I started this series long ago and have finally found the right time and place to publish this trio of amazing Texans. I’ve been lucky enough to have input in the covers, the titles and series name. It makes this all the more special for me.
You may already know the first book in the series Taming the Texas Cowboy starring Trey and Maddie Walker, but I’m happy to say the second book in the series (Jack and Jillian’s story) is available for pre-order. And this is the OFFICIAL COVER REVEAL for Loving the Texas Lawman. I know, it’s a hardship looking at this guy, isn’t it?
The last thing honorable Sheriff Jack Walker needs is a blast from the past, but that’s exactly what he gets when his high school love, now sexy lingerie designer, Jillian Lane arrives on his doorstep needing his help and protection.
Jillian is desperate to save her company, Barely There and turning to Jack Walker, the town hero, is her only option. The trouble she left behind in California has followed her home, leaving Jack no choice but to protect her. Unwittingly, Jillian’s put everything Jack has ever wanted in life at risk.
The years have not made it easier for Jack to say no to his first love, but saying yes may threaten all he holds dear. Jack may have a solution: marriage–the temporary kind. And how can a girl from the wrong side of the tracks refuse a marriage proposal from her one-time love?
For Fun: Take a guess at the names of my hero and heroine from FOREVER TEXAN Book 3 titled, Redeeming the Texas Rancher coming this August. Post either number ONE, TWO OR THREE and be entered into a random drawing to win a backlist book of your choice, either print or digital from my available titles. Random drawing winner will be posted later tonight. Be sure to stop by again!
“What is in a name?
That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,
So Romeo would were he not Romeo called retain such dear perfection to which he owes without that title,
Romeo, Doth thy name!
And for that name which is no part of thee, take all thyself.”
We all know William Shakespeare penned this famous line and so I got to thinking about the most popular names from the 1800’s and how they differ from the names of today. Of my four little munchkins born in this decade, Everley, Kyra, Madison and Lila, can you guess which name made the present day Top
If you guessed Madison, you’d be right. But wait, why don’t you close your eyes (so you don’t see the list below) and guess which boy and girl names were most popular in the 1880’s. And then take a guess at which boy and girls’ names made the list from 2010-2015. Can you guess what boy and girl names were the only ones to make the Top Ten from both time periods? Hint-both names are of English royalty.
What do these names mean? I have to credit The Best Name for Your Baby book. It’s helped me immeasurably in garnering names of my characters and seeing if the name origin fits with my character’s traits. Let’s take the Top Boy and Girl names of 1880.
John is Hebrew for “God’s grace.” The Celtic variations of John are Ian and Sean.
Mary is the New Testament’s form of Miriam which is Hebrew for “bitter”. Namesakes, Mary Queen of Scots, William and Mary. Pairs well with Jane, Alice and Ellen. Variations are Maria, Mariette, Mara, Marian and Madonna
William is Old German for “valiant protector”. And of course who comes to mind when you think in royal terms? Prince William! Variations are Willie, Wilhelm, Wiley, Wilfred and Bill.
Anna is from Anne which is Hebrew for “gracious.” Namesakes are Princess Anne of England and Anne Boleyn. Variations are Ann, Annis, Anya, Anika, and Anita.
Here are the meaning of the names of hero and heroine in my newly released Taming the Texas Cowboy!
Maddie comes from Madeline which is Hebrew for “tower of strength” Variations are Marlene, Magdelena, Madlin, Madge and Madalena. Also May, Lena or Lene
Trey is Middle English for “third born”.
Did you play along? Did you guess any of the Old Names? What do you think of the names of today? Post a comment and win a $5 Amazon Gift Card picked at random. Winner will be announced at the end of the day!! Thanks for playing along!!
Hi Everybody and thanks for blogging with me today. Since there’s just 8 of you in contention for the prize and well, it’s a day full of romance and fun, I decided to give each one of you an ebook copy of The Billionaire’s Daddy Test! Check to see your name on the list and then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the preferred email address and I’ll send you a copy via Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Let me know which you use.
Shelley K, Eliza, Colleen, Janine, Susan P, Joy E, DebraG and PatriciaB!
Happy Valentine’s Day!! And don’t forget to look for my newest release Taming the Texas Cowboy!
Next Tuesday is Valentine’s Day, a day of love and romance. Can you guess what the gift of choice will be this Valentine’s Day? If you guessed flowers, you’d be right, coming in first place at 1.9 billion. In second place, for a measly 1.7 billion is candy! That’s right and I’d bet most of those edible delights would be chocolate. While 38 % of us will go out to dinner, 20% will receive jewelry and 1.1 billion will be spent on greeting cards.
The Valentine Card first came about in the 1500’s and by the 1700’s people began sending lace and paper flowered cards to each other on printed cards.
But the first American Valentine’s card didn’t hit our shores until 1849 when Ester Howland of Massachusetts designed 12 beautiful cards made by hand and gave them to her brother who was a salesman. She was hoping to make a small profit of $200.OO by selling her cards and to her great surprise, her brother came back to her with orders for $5,000 worth of cards.
And Ester found herself in business. Her valentines made her famous throughout the United States and she became known as the “The Mother of the American Valentine.” She is also credited with developing the first “lift up” valentine and another design of layering lace and a three dimensional accordion effect where a bouquet of flowers can be moved by a pull down string to reveal a verse. That concept is still used today.
Ester continued making her valentine cards for the next thirty years. She sold her business in 1880 to George Whitney in order to care for her ill father.
Valentine cards have surely gone through a progression of change. Friends, family, lovers, husbands, wives and even children indulge. It’s a fun heart-filled day to enjoy and appreciate the ones we love. These days hubby and I go out to dinner to celebrate the day. Do you have a favorite way to celebrate? Candy? Cards? Do you have any Valentine’s Day traditions? Today I’m giving away 5 sweet reading treats– my back list EBOOK of The Billionaire’s Daddy Test to 5 lucky bloggers!. (check later tonight for a list of giveaway winners)
Wishing you a very happy sweethearts day and please keep reading as I have two new events to share with you!
Yay! Taming the Texas Cowboy is available for pre-order:
After a disaster destroyed nearly everything Maddie Brooks owned, Trey Walker offered the petite redhead shelter at 2 Hope Ranch. A veterinarian, Maddie was smart, sexy, and good with animals… Impossible to resist, yet Trey is convinced he is cursed when it comes to women.
The temporary arrangement Maddie made with Trey was supposed to be strictly business. Easy, since Maddie had tried and failed to catch the handsome cowboy’s eye for a year. She thought she was so over him…until he kissed her.
Friends, if you’re in the southern California area, SAVE THE DATE, for this fun Reader Appreciation Day. Come sit at the table I’ll be sharing with the awesome Christy Jeffries and join the conversation, play Book Bingo where you can win GREAT prizes, enjoy sweet treats and simply have a wonderful afternoon. This is how it works: You buy a $5 ticket ahead of time to reserve your spot and pick the author you want to sit with for the event. It’s like an exclusive, backstage pass to Romancelandia. Then, you will get a $5 voucher for the onsite bookstore (so really, your ticket is FREE), fun tote bags with FREE swag (Christy and I are giving away a GIRLS NIGHT IN gift bag to our readers) and books, plus a FREE raffle ticket for some amazing gift baskets. Did you catch the “free” part? It’s a Win Win for readers! To purchase your ticket go to: TICKETLEAP