Estella K! Congrats! You’ve won an Amazon Gift Card from Charlene Sands!
Please contact me with the email address you’d prefer your Amazon GC to be sent to at this addy:
Estella K! Congrats! You’ve won an Amazon Gift Card from Charlene Sands!
Please contact me with the email address you’d prefer your Amazon GC to be sent to at this addy:
In my story The Texan’s One-Night Standoff, we first meet Ruby Lopez and Brooks Newport at the C’mon Inn in the small town of Cool Springs, Texas. Ruby catches Brooks’ eye immediately as he sips a drink at the rustic bar, watching her dazzle her opponent with expert billiard skills. When a drunken man approaches her with unwanted and persistent advances, Brooks is off his chair ready to come to her rescue, but the feisty capable woman tosses the guy over her petite shoulders, laying him out flat.
The scene could’ve been written in an old time western saloon as well, where men imbibed far too much whiskey, otherwise known as bottled courage, bug juice, coffin varnish, dynamite, joy juice, neck oil, nose paint and fire water.
The first place that was actually called a saloon, rather than cantina (found mostly in Taos, Santa Fe and New Mexico) was in Brown’s Hole, near the Wyoming, Utah, Colorado border. The saloon, known as Brown’s Saloon was established in 1822 and catered to mostly trappers during the peak of the fur trapping era.
Though in our mind’s eye our image of an old time Western saloon would be set on the main street of town with a wooden sidewalk, hitching post, swinging doors and a shining polished long bar, the first saloons were actually lean-tos or tents where a cowboy, soldier or fur trader could quench his parched throat.
As well in the 1920’s, Bent’s Fort in Colorado was among the earlier saloons catering to soldiers, where others were constructed in Dodge City and Kansas where cowboys would wind up after a long cattle drive. By the time the gold rush hit in California, a settlement housing one cantina, soon entertained 30 saloons. In the early 1880’s the town of Livingston, Montana, population 3,000, had 33 saloons.
In those early days, the whiskey was made up of burnt sugar, raw alcohol with a touch of chewing tobacco. Ugh. There were other concoctions as well and some barkeeps would
cut 100 proof with turpentine, ammonia or cayenne. I can’t imagine! Out West, and as time went on the whiskey became more refined and a shot of bourbon or rye was expected to be downed in one big gulp.
Personally, I am a “frilly drinker”. Give me a strawberry or mango margarita, a pina colada or a Bailey’s coffee and I’m happy. I’ve never enjoyed the benefit of hard liquor, but it’s a booming industry keeping many of our bars and saloons happy in big cities and small towns, like at the fictional C’mon Inn. But surely, we can all agree it’s a place where men and women come together and sometimes, if the stars align and the bubbly sparkles, romance can be found!
Your thoughts? Do you enjoy a drink now and then? Wine, beer, cocktails or the hard stuff? Any fun saloon/bar stories you can tell in public? Ha! Post a comment and one lucky blogger will be picked at random to receive a $10 Amazon gift card! Be sure to check back by the end of the day for the prize winner announcement!
Available on AMAZON and all online and print bookstores.
In my new release THE TEXAN’S ONE-NIGHT STANDOFF, my heroine Ruby Lopez is an expert horse wrangler and trainer. As a result I had to do some extensive research on the subject of training horses. I found some inspiration in the Australian television series Downunder Horseman, a tutorial on how to train horses. Believe it or not, horses aren’t exactly docile and they have many fears that they need to overcome, such as approaching a body of water, or going into the water. It is not necessarily an inherent trait. Ruby is a gentle soul when it comes to animals, but she’s a spitfire and an independent woman, who isn’t opposed to flipping a man over her shoulders when he deserves it. She was so much fun to write, seeing how the man she nicknamed Galahad, because he rushed to her defense one night, softens her rough edges.
How many of these fun horse facts did you know? I was amazed at some of them!
Horses can sleep both lying down and standing up.
Horses can run shortly after birth.
Domestic horses have a lifespan of around 25 years.
A 19th century horse named ‘Old Billy’ is said to have lived 62 years.
Horses have around 205 bones in their skeleton
Horses have been domesticated for over 5000 years
A horse’s teeth take up more space in the head than a horse’s brain.
Horses drink at least 25 gallons of water a day, more in hotter climates.
Horses are herbivores (plant eaters).
Because horse’s eyes are on the side of their head they are capable of seeing nearly 360 degrees at one time.
Horses gallop at around 27 mph.
The fastest recorded sprinting speed of a horse was 55 mph.
Estimates suggest that there are around 60 million horses in the world.
Scientists believe that horses have evolved over the past 50 million years from much smaller creatures.
When horses look like they’re laughing, they’re actually engaging in a special nose-enhancing technique known as “flehmen” to determine if the smell is bad or good.
Horses have bigger eyes than any other mammal that lives on land. (That’s amazing!)
I’ve been running this fun prize package on Facebook, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Prize includes DVD, Bracelet Bling, two Charlene Sands’ books and Santa Kisses! Please stop by and enter to win my Twelve Days of Desire Giveaway!
And Happy Holidays from me to you!
AVAILABLE NOW ACROSS ALL BOARDS AND IN STORES!
Hi Y’all. I’m head deep in my next Texas Cattleman’s Club book, working on a deadline and hoping you’d like a sneak peek at my upcoming Desire. The early reviews of this book have been wonderful garnering an average of 4.75 Stars out of 5 on Goodreads.
And now for a little peek under the Christmas tree:
Brooks Newport swiveled around on the bar stool at the C’mon Inn, his gaze fastening on the raven-haired Latina beauty bending over a pool table, challenging her opponent with a fiercely competitive glint in her eyes. With blue jeans hugging her hips and creamy skin exposed from the cropped red plaid blouse she wore, the lady made his mouth go dry. He wasn’t alone. Every Stetson-wearing Texan in the joint seemed to be watching her too.
His hand fisting around the bottle, Brooks took a sip of beer, gulping down hard. The woman’s moves around the pool table were as smooth and as polished as his new Justin boots.
“Five ball, corner pocket,” she said, her voice sultry with a side of sass, as if she knew she wasn’t going to miss. Then she took her shot. The cue ball met its mark and sure enough, the five-ball rolled right into the pocket.
She straightened to full height, her chest expanding to near button-popping proportions. She couldn’t be more than five foot two, but what she had in that small package was enough to make him break out in a sweat. And that was saying something, since he’d come to Texas for one reason, and one reason only.
To meet his biological father for the first time in his life.
He’d spent the better part of his adulthood trying to find the man who’d abandoned him and his twin brother, Graham in Chicago. Sutton Winchester, his bitter older rival and the man Brooks thought might be his biological father turned out not to be his blood kin after all. Thank God.
But Sutton had known the truth of his parenthood all along and all Brooks could figure was the ailing man, plagued by a bout of conscience, had finally given up the name and location of his and Graham’s father.
Brooks would have been speaking with his real father at Look Away Ranch in Cool Springs right now, if he hadn’t gotten a bad case of nerves. So much was riding on this. The trek to get to this place in time, to solving the mystery surrounding the birth of the Newport twins, as well as his younger brother Carson, would finally come to fruition.
So, yeah, the powerful CEO of the Newport Corporation from Chicago had turned chicken. Those bawking noises played out in his head. He’d never run scared before and yet as he was breezing through this dusty town the Welcome sign and Christmas lights outside the doors of the C’mon Inn had called to him. He’d pulled to a stop and entered the lodge in need of a fortifying drink and a good night’s rest. He had a lot to think about and meeting Beau Preston in the light of day seemed a better idea.
He kept his gaze trained on the prettiest thing in the joint. The woman. She yielded the pool cue like a weapon and began wiggling her perfectly trim ass in an effort to make a clean shot. He sipped beer to cool his jets, yet he couldn’t tear his gaze away. He had visions of taking that bend on the pool table with her and bringing them both to heaven.
Long strands of her hair hung down to touch her breasts and as she leaned over even further to line up her shot, those strands caressed green felt. She announced her next shot and bam, the ball banked the left side and then ricocheted straight into the center pocket.
The whiskered man she was playing against hung his head. “Man, Ruby. You don’t give a guy a chance.”
She chuckled. “That’s the rule I live by, Stan. You know that.”
“But you could miss once in a while. Make it interesting.”
So, her name was Ruby. Brooks liked the sound of it, all right. It fit.
He had no business lusting after her. Woman trouble was the last thing he needed. Yet, his brain wasn’t doing a good job of convincing his groin to back off.
The game continued until she handed the older guy his vitals on a silver platter. “Sorry, Stan.”
“You’d think after all these years a man could do better against a teeny tiny woman.”
She grinned, showing off a smile that lit the place on fire, then set a sympathetic hand on the man’s shoulder and reached up to kiss his cheek.
The old guy’s face turned beet red. “You know that’s the only reason I endure this torture. For that kiss at the end.”
Her deep, provocative chuckle rumbled in Brooks’ ears. “You’re sweet for saying that, Stan. Now go on home to Betsy. And kiss your sweet grandson for me.”
Nodding, Stan smiled at her. “Will do. You be good now, you hear?”
“I can always try,” she said, hooking her cue stick on the wall next to a holly wreath.
Stan walked off and Ruby did this little number with her head that landed all of her thick silky hair on one shoulder. Brooks’ groin tightened some more. If she was any indication of what Cool Springs was like, he was quickly growing an affinity for the place.
The woman spotted him. Her deep-set eyes, the color of dark cocoa, met his for a second and time seemed to stop. Blood rushed through his veins. She blinked a time or two and then let him go, as if she recognized him to be an out-of-towner.
He finished off his beer and rose, tossing some bills onto the bar and giving the barkeep a nod.
“Hey, sweet doll,” a man called out, coming from the darkest depths of the bar to stand in front of her. “How about giving me a go-round?”
Ruby tilted her head up. “No thanks. I’m through for the night.”
“You ain’t through until you’ve seen me wield my stick. It’s impressive.” The big oaf wiggled his brows and crowded her against the pool table.
She rolled her eyes. “Pleeeeze.”
“Yeah babe, that’s exactly what you’ll be crying out once we’re done playing.”
“Sorry, but if that’s your best come-on line you’re in sad shape, buster.”
She inched her body away, brushing by him trying not to make contact with the bruiser. But the jerk grabbed her arm from behind and gave a sharp tug. She struggled to wiggle free. “Let go,” she said.
Brooks scanned the room. All eyes were still on Ruby, but no one was making a move. Instead, they all had smug looks on their faces. Forget what he’d thought about this town; they were all jerks.
The muscles in his arms bunched and his hands tightened into fists as Brooks stepped toward the two of them. He couldn’t stand by and watch this scene play out, not when the petite pool shark was in trouble. “Get your hands—”
The words weren’t out of his mouth, before Ruby elbowed the guy in the gut. “Oof.” He doubled over, clutching his stomach, and cursed her up and down using filthy names.
Crap. Now she was in deep. The guy’s head came up; the unabashed fury in his eyes was aimed her way. Brooks immediately pulled his arm back, fists at the ready, but before he could land a punch, Ruby grabbed the guy’s forearm. The twist of her body came so fast, Brooks blinked, and before he knew it, she’d tossed the big oaf over her shoulder WWF-style and had him down for the count. As in, she’d laid him out flat on his back.
Someone from the bar groused, “No one messes with Ruby unless she wants to be messed with.”
Apparently, the oaf didn’t know that. And neither did Brooks. But hell, the rest of them had known.
She stepped over the man to face Brooks, her gaze on the right hook he’d been ready to land. “Thanks anyway,” she said, out of breath. Apparently she wasn’t Supergirl. The effort had taxed her and he found himself enjoying how the ebb and flow of her labored breaths stretched the material of her blouse.
He stood there somewhat in awe, a grin spreading his mouth wide. “You didn’t let me do my gladiator routine.”
“Sorry, maybe next time.” Her lips quirked up.
Behind her, the bartender and another man began dragging the patron away.
“Does that happen often?” he asked her.
“Often enough,” she said. “But not with guys who know me.”
He rubbed at his chin. “No. I wouldn’t imagine.”
He kept his gaze trained on her, astonished at what he’d just witnessed. Her eyes danced in amusement, probably at his befuddled expression. And then someone turned up the volume on the country song playing, and his thoughts ran wild. He was too intrigued to let the night end. This woman wasn’t your typical Texas beauty queen. She had spunk and grit and so much more. Hell, he hadn’t been this turned on in a long, long time.
A country Christmas ballad piped in through the speakers surrounding the room. “Would you like to dance?” he asked.
She smiled sweetly, the kind of smile that suggested softness. And he would’ve believed that, if he hadn’t seen her just deck a man. A big man.
Her head tilted to the left and she gauged him thoughtfully.
He was still standing, so that was a plus. She didn’t find him out of line.
“Sure. I’d like that, Galahad.”
I hope you enjoyed my sneak peek! Check out my website next week for more details on this fun surprise that I’d like to share with you. To celebrate the fall, I’ve teamed up with more than 60 fantastic contemporary cowboy romance authors to give away a huge collection of novels, PLUS a Kindle Fire to one lucky winner! Here’s what’s happening starting NEXT WEEK. And remember to visit me on Facebook and on my website.
The Texan’s One-Night Standoff is available for pre-order on Amazon and all other stores today.
Congratulations! Thanks for blogging with me on Thursday! Please be sure to contact me at email@example.com for your prize of one available backlist book of your choice. Take a peek at my website at charlenesands.com for your choices.
Thanks to all who stopped by on Thursday!
Today I’d love to share with you my recent travels to Northern California for a dear friend’s wedding, and as we drove past San Francisco, via the Golden Gate Bridge, we were treated to some of the most glorious scenery I’ve ever witnessed. Vineyards abounded all along the highway and the inroads of small towns and bigger cities, until we reached the historic town of Healdsburg in Sonoma County, where we spent a few fun days. Thousands of years ago, Sonoma was home to the Pomo Indians, but now ranks as a top seller of fine wines. Now, I ask you, is this not a beautiful sight?
Healdsburg was voted one of the Top Ten Smallest Towns in America due to the three most important award-winning wine producing regions of Dry Creek, Alexander and Russian River in Sonoma County. Healdsburg population is 11, 254. After the Gold Strike in 1849, many who didn’t find riches in gold, found something almost equally beneficial in this verdant rich farmland.
In 1857 there was a “squatters rights” war called the Westside Road War and Harmon Heald, an Ohio entrepreneur was one of the winners and Healdburg was founded. Harmon Heald was quick to construct a post office and general store in what is now called Downtown Healdsburg. He laid out a town grid and sold lots for $15 each and plotted his town in the Spanish style plaza design. The plaza still stands today and is host to free concerts, picnics and lively events. The town flourished with the arrival of the Northwestern Pacific Railway. Here are some pics of the plaza and a gorgeous horse sculpture near the entrance of City Hall. And of course, where do we choose to eat lunch while in Healdsburg in the heart of wine country? Well, at a brewery, of course! I’m not sorry, the fish and fries were delicious!Oh and the dessert was wonderful too.
As we toured around the amazing wineries of Sonoma and the miles and miles of vineyards, I found many that have been in business for over 100 years!
Here we are attending the wedding in Santa Rosa, just 12 miles from Healdsburg at the Paradise Ridge Winery. I tell a harrowing story on Facebook about how we got completely lost in the maze of vineyards and if not for a lovely older couple guiding us out, we would never have made the wedding in time. But in the end, we did and much fun was had.
I love learning the history of regions we travel. I find it so intriguing how towns get started and get their names. Do you love learning tidbits about places you visit? Does your town have an unusual history? Do you drink wine (if so, what’s your fav?) or are you more a beer or soda kind of person? I’d love to give away a backlist book and other goodies to one blogger today. Winner announced over the weekend! Be sure to check back!
Please reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org for your prize!!
Thanks to all who enjoyed taking A WALK IN THE COUNTRY with me!!
As I watched CMA’s Music Festival from the comfort of my own home the other evening, I was smiling and singing along with the artists as they sashayed across a stage that reached thousands in the audience and millions through their television screens.
Gosh, I love country music so much that it never occurred to me that there were so many different variations of what was once known as hillbilly music. As I delved into country music’s bright history, I learned that this new form of music derived in the southern United States was brought forth in the 1920’s and originated in Atlanta, Georgia, not Nashville, Tennessee. It has been argued that Atlanta be known for the birth of Country Music. Country music was delivered by way of working class Americans bringing their own backgrounds and culture to the city by blending popular songs, Irish and Celtic fiddle tunes, blues, cowboy songs and traditional ballads. And nearly a century later country music has climbed the ranks to become the most listened to rush hour music during the evening commute, coming a close second to the most listened to morning rush hour commute.
Some of the most renowned artists of the 1920’s were “Fiddlin’ John Carson in 1923 (Okey Records) and Samantha Bumgarner in 1924 (Columbia Records) and then in 1927 RCA Victor Records (remember them?) recorded the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. During the Great Depression radio sales were down, but country music became a very popular form of entertainment with “barn dance” shows that transmitted all over the South and from Chicago to California. In 1925 the Grand Ole Opry made its debut from Nashville and it continues on in glorious fashion today.
The first commercial recordings of what was considered country music were “Arkansas Traveler” and “Turkey in the Straw” on June 30, 1922, for Victor Records and released in April 1923. Columbia began issuing records with “hillbilly” music (series 15000D “Old Familiar Tunes”) as early as 1924.
And later, the popularity of movie westerns only seemed to spur on (pardon the pun) the country music industry. But like everything else in the world, country music evolved and branched off into different genres from bluegrass to gospel, from hillbilly to country boogie, from honkytonk to rockabilly and country rock. In 1956 the number two, three and four songs on Billboard’s charts for that year were Elvis Presley, “Heartbreak Hotel“; Johnny Cash, “I Walk the Line“; and Carl Perkins, “Blue Suede Shoes“.
Willie Nelson helped coin the genre “country outlaw” and megastars like Taylor Swift have delivered us “pop country.” While Carrie Underwood (my favorite female vocalist) has been branded a “country rock” musician. I might also mention icons such as Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers and Barbara Mandrell, who all made an indelible mark on country music.
Do you remember Barbara Mandrell sayin’ “I was country when country wasn’t cool.”
So much music, so little time!
Do you like country music? What type of country appeals to you most? And if you could meet one of the legends of country either living or dead, who would you choose? Can you guess who I’d choose? Play along for a chance to win a copy of one of my available backlist books of your choice! Winner chosen at random on Saturday so be sure to check back!
(PS, not Carrie, although I would love to meet her!)
Grand Ole Opry pic by Deirdre 11:55, 27 February 2007 (UTC) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Today I’m in sunny San Diego at the Romance Writers of America conference and unable to post to you live, but I will give you a brief idea of what we do, as I write this ahead of my departure.
It’s a week of meeting up with friends I usually see only online, having dinner with my editors, going to writing workshops during the day and nighttime is saved for parties. On Tuesday the plan is to take the trolley to join my Tule friends and publisher at historic Old Town San Diego. I am excited about walking through the history and seeing sights that had first inspired me to write westerns!
Wednesday morning is open and Tanya Hanson (my roomie) and I will be doing a touristy walk of the spectacular Marina. The afternoon is filled with the annual Writer’s for Life Literacy booksigning. Picture a room with 400 authors, ready and willing to sign books to benefit the worthy charity. I’ll be signing my Desire Twins for the Texan. After the signing, there’s an off-site party at an author’s home that we’ll attend as well.
By now, I am halfway to exhausted with a few more exciting things planned for the end of the week. Thursday means workshops, the Keynote Speaker luncheon and dinner with my two Harlequin editors. Afterward, the Desire editors are hosting a poolside cookie party for all of the Desire authors. (I hope the walking I do will offset the calories I intake—one can hope!) Friday means breakfast buffet with the gals from Petticoats and later that night I will be dressing up in Ralph Lauren for the always fabulous Harlequin party held in a ballroom at another magnificent hotel.
Saturday night I’m home and will need all of Sunday to recuperate!
If you follow me on Facebook you will probably see some of my fun pictures of these events. I hope you have a lovely rest of the week!! Just curious, have you ever been to San Diego? If not, what is your favorite historical spot?
My surprise is that by now, Claim Me, Cowboy should be FREE for a limited time on all major online retailers. Be sure to pick up a copy!! (You will also see it on your Bookbub ad on July 19th) Not signed up? Sign up here and don’t miss another release or discounted book from me!
CONGRATS TO CINDY W AND MELISSA C!! YOU BOTH WILL BE GIFTED WITH AN EBOOK COPY OF BACHELOR FOR HIRE! Simply email me at email@example.com and tell me which you prefer the Kindle or Nook version and the email where the book should be sent!!
Thanks all for spending time with me this week and have a Happy Independence Day!