How My Love for the Wild West Started … And How It’s Going! by Tanya Agler

Hello! I’m Tanya Agler, and this is my first guest blog post on Petticoats & Pistols. It’s an honor to be here and thank you so much for the opportunity to sit back and spend some time with you.

Growing up, my love for stories with a Western setting began by listening to my grandmother talk about visiting the nickelodeon whenever her favorite cowboy, Tom Mix, starred in the movies. Grandma Jinx would watch him on the silver screen and then go home and recreate those scenes in her backyard. Not only was my grandmother a huge fan of cowboy movies, so was my father, who loved John Ford movies. Dad always made it a point to watch The Searchers with John Wayne and Natalie Wood whenever it was on television, and he’d treat me to an afternoon at the movies whenever a new Clint Eastwood film was released. I spent many summer vacations reading historical pioneer romances with stoic cowboys and strong heroines. The stories captivated me with their Western settings and interesting plots.

So, I was thrilled when I found out I had a chance to write a Western romance for Harlequin Heartwarming. There’s something about the West with its independent spirit and wide-open vistas that calls out for stories to be written about it. No sooner than I started the proposal than the idea for the town of Violet Ridge was born. While I spent time fashioning stories around the three rodeo friends who became a family and the cornerstone of the Rodeo Stars of Violet Ridge series, I also researched small towns in Colorado and fashioned a backstory for Violet Ridge. Soon, the town’s history came alive to me with pioneer settler Linus Irwin naming the town after his beloved wife Tilly’s favorite flower: violets. Linus and Tilly were energetic visionaries who built a town around a small ranching community and purchased land for what would become the Double I Ranch. In my mind, this young couple struggled against the elements and prospered. Soon after Linus and Tilly founded Violet Ridge, the Sullivans, a family of dreamers and schemers, settled nearby and staked a claim for the Silver Horseshoe Ranch, which has now been in their family for generations. Through the years, the Irwin and Sullivan families have been neighbors as their descendants continued their legacy of ranching. The Double I Ranch is the setting for my latest book, Her Temporary Cowgirl, in which rancher Elizabeth Irwin wants to build bunkhouses for female employees and introduce a new breed of cattle to the ranch while preparing for her father’s wedding to a world-famous bluegrass singer. Linus and Tilly would be proud knowing their love of the land continues in Elizabeth.

Recently, my love for all things Western has come full circle when my family traveled to Colorado for vacation. We visited state parks, hiked to red rock formations and waterfalls, and explored various areas. Someday I hope to return there and vacation at a dude ranch like the fictional Lazy River Dude Ranch owned by the Virtue family in my upcoming series revolving around four siblings, whose grandparents own and operate the facility.


What is your favorite Western town, fictional or real? I’d love to chat in the comments about some of your favorite places out West. I’ll be giving away one e-copy of Caught by the Cowgirl (the first in the Rodeo Stars of Violet Ridge) series to one commenter!

The Women Who Ran the Range and a Giveaway!

Howdy, y’all! Heather Blanton here. I’ve got a new box set out this week from my Burning Dress Ranch series. The Burning Dress is a ranch run by women for women. Some would think that’s a tall tale. A woman can’t run a ranch.

If you think that, you’ve never met Kittie Wilkins, Margaret Borland, or Ellen Watson, to name a few ranching pioneers.

From the late 1880s and into the 20th Century, Kittie Wilkins was quite literally the Horse Queen of Idaho. At one point she had a herd of over 10,000 fine animals. And fine was the name of her game. Kittie’s horses were spectacular.


Her father was a horse trader. She picked up the skill from him and ran with it. She had an uncanny eye for horse flesh, a strong work ethic, a quick mind, and–probably most importantly–the respect of her ranch hands. Kittie is credited with negotiating the largest horse trade in US history. In one deal, she sold 8000 horses to England for use in the Boer War. She was also a darling of the press because of her business acumen and feminine ways.


In 1873, Margaret Borland owned a good-sized spread in Texas, but cattle in Texas weren’t worth much. About $8 a head. Up the road in Kansas, though, beef was bringing $23 a head! Margaret, not being a dummy, defied convention and organized her own cattle drive. What’s more, she also served as the trail boss! But she arrived at this situation more out of necessity than desire.

Widowed three times, she had to step up repeatedly if she wanted to keep her ranch running and her children fed. Each tragic death solidified in her the fortitude to fight on, as well as offered the opportunity for her to learn the cattle business. Surviving these trials by fire, Margaret became the only female rancher to run a cattle drive up the Chisholm trail.

And then there’s Ellen Watson, a young woman who took advantage of the Wyoming Homestead Act and procured 160 acres for herself in 1887. With Jim Averell, most likely her secret husband, she filed for squatter’s rights on land adjacent to his and continued expanding her herd. Jim ran a restaurant and general store, but Ellen tended to the ranch with the help of a few reliable hands.

Ellen was becoming a successful rancher when she ran afoul of neighboring cattle baron Albert Bothwell. Bothwell coveted Ellen’s land and eventually, his greed led to her death. Ellen and Jim were lynched by Bothwell in July of 1889. To protect the wealthy cattlemen involved in the murders, the press dubbed Ellen “Cattle Kate” and declared her a cattle thief and prostitute.

They might have taken her ranch, her life, and her reputation, but they didn’t take away her accomplishments as a fine rancher.

Women like these inspired Burning Dress Ranch. Everything the women do in my stories, from wrangling cattle to shoeing horses to bending iron on an anvil is real, true history. Just like my historical heroes, my fictional heroines come away with a new vocation, a bright future, and their happily ever after!

So, what do you think? Are women every bit the rancher a man can be? Maybe with different expectations and parameters? Is the idea believable?


The Burning Dress Ranch Box Set of all five books is available now, but for your chance to win it, leave a comment and tell me what you think about these feisty, determined women.

I’m giving my box set away to 5 lucky commenters!

You can find the box set on Amazon

Lady Gold Rushers and a Giveaway!

Hello there! I’m Linda Shenton Machett, and I’m here to talk about Lady Goldrushers!

While visiting my dad, I was in the midst of deciding what to write for my next series. We were watching Gold Rush: Alaska, one of his favorite shows which got me to thinking about the early gold and silver rushes here in America. Research nerd that I am, I immediately pulled out my smart phone and started hunting for information. I stumbled on Joann Levy’s book They Saw the Elephant: Women in the California Gold Rush and was intrigued. Female gold rushers?

Hooked, my mind raced as I continued to research. The book’s title came from the forty-niners themselves who announced they were “going to see the elephant.” Those who turned back claimed they had seen “the elephant’s tracks” or the “elephant’s tail,” and that was enough for them. Filled with first person accounts, Ms. Levy’s book immersed me into a woman’s world of packing up their worldly goods and headed west on horseback or in wagons to seek their fortune. Some convinced their husbands, fathers, or brothers to go, but a large percentage of the women set out on their own. The reasons they went were as numerous as the women themselves.

The US has been home to lots of gold rushes (as well as silver and other precious metals and gems). Most people have heard of the California and Alaskan rushes, but the first rush of any size occurred in northern Georgia two decades before the California rush. In 1829, the tiny town of Dahlonega was overrun with men seeking their fortune after hearing about a find in the mountains. I decided that’s where my series would begin. The series continues with the Pikes Peak rush in 1859, followed by the 1899 Nome rush.

Guts, grit, and determination defined these women whose journals and diaries contained such entries as:

“One of the party shot him {a snake}; he measured nine feet, about as large as my arm a little above the wrist. In the course of the day, another came down the tree very near us, but a different species, not so large, which was very soon dispatched. The gentlemen took them to the village, to show what big things they had done.”

“We spent three days very pleasantly although all were nearly starved for want of wholesome food but you know my stomach is not lined with pink satin, the bristles on the pork, the weavels {sic} in the rice, and worms in the bread did not start me at all.”

But despite the hardships, the women continued to prospect:

“This morning the gold fever raged so high that I went again to dig with the rest but got very little gold…came home tired tonight. Still in good spirits.”

How many women participated in the gold rushes is not known. Most lived anonymously, and left little record behind. I hope in some small way, Gold Rush Hannah honors these stalwart women.

Question for readers: What would make you leave everything you know to travel a great distance to try your hand at prospecting for gold? Comment for your chance to win an ebook edition of Gold Rush Bride Hannah.

Here’s a little more about Gold Rush Bride Hannah:

A brand-new widow, she’s doesn’t need another man in her life. He’s not looking for a wife. But when danger thrusts them together, will they change their minds…and hearts?

Hannah Lauman’s husband has been murdered, but rather than grief, she feels…relief. She decides to remain in Georgia to work their gold claim, but a series of incidents makes it clear someone wants her gone…dead or alive. Is a chance at being a woman of means and independence worth risking her life?

Jess Vogel never breaks a promise, so when he receives a letter from a former platoon mate about being in danger, he drops everything to help his old friend. Unfortunately, he arrives just in time for the funeral. Can he convince the man’s widow he’s there for her protection not for her money?

Purchase Link 

Linda Shenton Matchett writes happily ever after historical Christian fiction about second chances and women who overcome life’s challenges to be better versions of themselves. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Linda has been scribbling stories since her parents gifted her a notebook in the third grade. She now resides in central New Hampshire where she works as a Human Resources professional and volunteers as a docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of World War II.

Social Media Links:
Newsletter sign up 

Pioneer Clothing – Function Over Fashion and a Giveaway!


A hat is nothing until a woman has lived some of her life in it. ~Kaitlene Dee

Hello there! Kaitlene Dee here. Have you ever thought you might enjoy the clothing from another era? In my recently released covered wagon romance, Emma, the characters are traveling from a gold rush town in northern California to San Diego in a small, covered wagon train. Because I don’t enjoy heat—in fact, I prefer California winter weather—I set the story in the earlier part of the year when the temps are cool.
Clothing for the time period, along with food, is always favorite detail to include in a story. Clothes were handmade back then, made mostly of linen, wool, or a wool-linen called linsey-woolsey.
Footwear was boots for both men and women—the sturdy type, if they had them. While men wore loose trousers, women wore layers with their long dress of gingham or calico or wool with linen petticoats underneath. Some dresses were shorter than ankle length, which would’ve been nicer for walking or having less material to mind while working close to campfires when cooking. Over top of the dress, they wore an apron, a shoulder kerchief, and perhaps a shawl.
Men’s full shirts were open at the neck and made of cotton. Men didn’t layer much, they wore belts or suspenders, and a twilled coat in winter. Children were dressed pretty much the same as the adults once they were past toddlerhood. Younger than toddlers wore a one piece, such as a nightgown type garment.

Hats were essential protection from sun and wind. For men, hats were made of straw, felt, or fur. Which they wore depended on the weather. Women wore poke bonnets if they had them. Though poke bonnets first came into fashion in the early 1800s, a simpler version of them was perfect travel protection for pioneers who traveled many months over rugged terrain. As many women usually walked beside the wagons, these bonnets shielded the face from the sun and guarded it against the winds while they traveled the rough terrain over in the rocky mountain passes, sunny and dry deserts, and windy grasslands.
The poke bonnet, which tied beneath the chin, had a large, rounded brim that projected forward, both around and well past the face in the front. It also had a small crown that afforded room to poke up or hold the woman’s hair in that crown area. Here’s a replica poke bonnet, this one for sale on Amazon by Graceart: Cotton Pioneer Prairie Bonnet

In Emma, and in the story that follows her sister Viola, you never see either sister in night clothes. With the covered wagon bed being not much larger than a full-sized bed there wasn’t much room for anything not needed. Tools, food for people, supplemental food for the animals, cookware, in addition to the items folks wanted to bring to make their new life functional, had to all fit inside that tiny wagon space.

It had to pain those folks deeply to have to leave things on the side of the trail when they realized that if they didn’t, they might not be able to complete their journey. Because they didn’t have the luxury of space, nightgowns didn’t make it into my stories. The travelers wore nearly the same thing to bed as what they had worn all day that day.
I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad to have the modern comforts of a choice of clothing for weather conditions and time of day (such as pajamas and a nightgown), but I do sometimes entertain the idea of making a pioneer dress for a historical ball.

Have you ever wanted to wear something from the past? Let me know if you have made, worn, or bought something historical and what the occasion was.  I’m giving away a lovely ceramic travel mug to one lucky commenter!

Thank you so much for spending time with me today!

Kaitlene Dee lives on the west coast, enjoys outings along the coast and in the nearby mountains, hiking, supporting dog rescues and outdoor cooking and camping. She also writes contemporary western Christian romances as Tina Dee. Kaitlene and Tina’s books can be found on Amazon.
Please feel invited to join my newsletter at and receive a couple of free stories for subscribing: Kaitlene & Tina Dee’s Newsletter
Please follow me on Bookbub at Kaitlene Dee
Emma, and Viola, have both recently released as part of the Prairie Roses Collection and can be found on Amazon or read in Kindle Unlimited here. 

The Wild West…Not Just Cactus! And a Giveaway!

Hi! LeAnne Bristow here. A few days ago, I was driving on the outskirts of Tucson and I saw a large sign that read. “Open Range. Watch for Cattle.” I was surrounded by housing developments and there was a school just down the street, but it wasn’t unusual for cattle to be seen grazing on the side of the road. It made me think about the culture shock I received when I moved to Arizona from Texas.
Growing up, I loved everything about the rolling hills of central Texas and never thought about leaving. Texas is the home of King Ranch, George Strait and longhorn cattle. I learned how to two-step before I could walk, and while I can never claim to be a cowgirl, I certainly know how to ride a horse. What’s not to love? And why would anyone ever want to leave? Then, I met my husband, an Arizona native, who was stationed at Ford Hood while he served in the US Army.
After Desert Storm, his enlistment was up, so he moved back to Arizona to find us a place to live while I finished that semester of college. I flew to Arizona to visit during spring break. I wanted to see exactly what I was getting myself into. After all, Arizona was nothing but cactus, rattlesnakes and dirt, right?

My first glimpse of Arizona from the window of the airplane didn’t give me much hope. I was sure my days of seeing green grass and trees were over. When he picked me up, we had to drive three hours to his family home. On the way, I saw more cottonfields than I’d ever seen in my life, and I finally understood what he meant when he said Texas was too flat. The next day we took the Coronado Trail through the White Mountains and my mind was blown.
I grew up in the hill country, but there were no rolling hills where we went. The White Mountains of Arizona were unlike anything I’d ever seen and I immediately fell in love. By the end of the day, I’d played in snow drifts higher than my head, caught my first glimpse of an elk, saw a bald eagle flying over an ice-covered lake and realized that Arizona was a lot more than I ever expected.
But that was just the beginning of things I needed to learn.

After I moved to Arizona, my husband and I spent a lot of time driving around back roads (if that’s what you want to call them).
The first time he stopped to open a closed gate, I had a fit. Didn’t he know he couldn’t go on private land like that? That’s when I learned that Arizona, like many places in the West, had more public land than it did private, so we were able to go through gates at will. Aside from giving us something to do on the weekends, my husband claimed these backroad adventures were necessary for deer scouting.
Scouting for deer was another foreign concept to me. Back home, when I wanted to see deer, I went to my family’s deer lease, climbed into the deer stand and waited. Not so in Arizona. Deer feeders are illegal. If you want to hunt deer, you have to get out and find them. It’s hard work. And they’re hard to find! No matter how remote the areas we traveled to was, it wasn’t unusual to come across cowboys searching for cattle that wandered too far from their home range, checking water tanks or checking the fences that were few and far between. Instead of being mad that we were in their area, they always tipped their hats and waved. Sometimes they had time to stop and chat with us, often letting us know where they saw a big buck or warning us when a mountain lion had been spotted in the area.

After thirty years of living in Arizona, I’m still amazed by the diversity of the western landscape. From the snow covered mountains, to the vast desert, there really is something for everyone. Even a small town Texas girl like me, who is now a proud desert rat.

What is your favorite thing about the west? I’d love to chat with you about it. But warning, I might use it in a book! I’ll be giving away a copy of the latest book in my Coronado series, Her Hometown Secret, to one lucky commenter!


Nourishing the Journey: The Foods That Fueled the Oregon Trail and a Giveaway!

Hi! I’m Kirsten Osbourne, and today I’d like to talk about the foods that fueled the Oregon Trail.

In the mid-19th century, at least 500,000 emigrants embarked on one of the arduous trails across the American Wester. The most popular of these being the Oregon Trail. Their hopes and dreams were on the promise of fertile lands and new beginnings, these pioneers faced not just the physical challenges posed by the terrain but also the daily necessity of nourishment on their long journey. The foods that sustained these travelers offer us a poignant glimpse into a pivotal moment in American history, reflecting both the ruggedness of the trail and the strength of those who traversed it.

A Pantry on Wheels
The wagons that creaked and groaned their way towards Oregon were more than just vehicles of migration; they were mobile pantries, carrying the essentials that would sustain families for months on end. Among the staples were flour, hardtack (a durable, dry biscuit), cornmeal, beans, rice, and dried meats such as bacon and salt pork. These items were chosen for their longevity and ease of transport, crucial qualities for food that needed to last through journeys that could span half a year or more.

Simplicity and Sustainability
Cooking on the trail was an exercise in simplicity and sustainability. Meals were often prepared over campfires, with Dutch ovens being a favored tool for their versatility. Beans, a staple of the trail diet, could be simmered slowly in these pots, their hearty and filling nature providing the much-needed energy for the day’s endeavors. Bacon, another trail mainstay, added flavor and calories to otherwise sparse meals. For breakfast, a simple concoction of flour, salt, and water known as “Johnnycakes” or flapjacks would be fried up, providing a quick, energizing start to a long day of travel.

Foraging and Hunting
While the wagon provided the basics, the land itself sometimes offered sustenance to the observant traveler. Wild berries, nuts, and edible plants could supplement the pioneers’ diet, adding variety and vital nutrients. Hunting was another means of procuring fresh food, with buffalo, deer, and rabbits often in the sights of the travelers’ rifles. These practices not only diversified the pioneers’ meals but also connected them deeply to the landscape they were passing through, a reminder of the land’s abundance and the skills required to harvest it.

Unity and Community
Perhaps most importantly, mealtime on the Oregon Trail was a communal affair. It was a time for rest and reflection, for sharing stories and strength. The act of gathering around a fire to break bread (or hardtack) together fostered a sense of unity and mutual support crucial for facing the challenges of the trail. Food, in its essence, became more than just sustenance; it was a symbol of hope and community, a tangible connection to the dreams that propelled the pioneers forward.

A Legacy of Strength
The foods eaten on the Oregon Trail speak to the resilience and adaptability of those who ventured westward. In their simplicity, we find a profound testament to the human spirit’s capacity to endure and thrive in the face of adversity. Today, as we sit down to our meals, we might pause to reflect on the trails we traverse in our own lives and the sustenance, both physical and spiritual, that fuels our journeys. The legacy of the Oregon Trail lives on, not just in the pages of history books but in the stories of perseverance and camaraderie that continue to inspire us.

Working Together
Even the children on the trail had a job that would help their families eat. They carried sharp sticks and bags, and they would poke the sticks into piles of manure. If the stick came out clean, then the manure was dry and suitable for fires. If not, no one would start a fire from it.

If you were to travel the Oregon Trail, what do you think you would miss most about modern life? I’m giving away one free audiobook copy of Hannah’s Hanky to one lucky commenter! 

Kara O’Neal Shares Her Newest Series – Plus a Giveaway!

It’s such a pleasure to be here today! I’m so excited to share my newest series – Wildflowers Of Texas – with y’all. This series combines several of my favorite things – heroes, heroines, true love, romance, family, and last…


I adore them. I don’t care what kind they are, or what color, or how cheap, I love them ALL. And as long as my husband gets me flowers on Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t care less what else he gives me. There’s something about them that just makes my heart sigh.

My favorites are Texas wildflowers. God bless my state and what happens in the Spring, because nothing else equals it. Not in my opinion anyway. My absolute favorite flower is the Bluebonnet.

Growing up, we’d go on “bluebonnet hunts”. We’d search for the best fields that showcased all of the beauty God had to offer and got to tour Texas at the same time.

One of the coolest places to visit is the Antique Rose Emporium. They’ve been a nursery for over a hundred years and have centuries old roses. I can wander the Emporium’s meandering paths for hours, and I’m not even a gardener.

Flowers inspire me. I think each one has character. And I’ve decided to write heroines who match with the “personality” of Texas wildflowers.

The first is MISS GREEN EYES. It’s available for pre-order now and will release on April 30th.

I chose the Texas Green Eye for my first heroine in the series, Annalee Gillespie. Not only are her eyes a startling green, but her flower is hardy and strong. It can grow in dry soil.

And Annalee, despite the tragedy she’s had in her life, or perhaps because of it, is just as strong and just as hardy. I enjoyed writing her story so much!

I’d like to give away a copy of “MISS GREEN EYES” to two lucky winners! Please comment with your favorite flower and you might win!

Thank you so much for letting me be here today. I hope you “visited” the Emporium and saw how lovely it all is.


Jodi Thomas Celebrating Two Books!

Netflix started the shooting for Ransom Canyon in February, and I can’t help feeling it’s come full circle. When I first thought of writing this series, I had only planned on doing six books about ranches around a small canyon. Ransom Canyon is a few miles from Lubbock, Texas, and I used to drive around there when I was in college at Texas Tech. I always thought it was a beautiful place, and I wanted to write a story about ranch life around there.

I knew I wanted to write six books, but I wanted to keep one storyline of four kids, from the time they were fifteen to when they were twenty-three, threading through the series. So, when Random House formally offered me the contract for my Ransom Canyon series, buying only two books, I turned it down. I have never turned that much money down in my life. And I was thinking, “Oh man, I could use that money.”  But I still said no.

Afterward, I called Gail Fortune, my agent, and told her I had turned down the contract. And she said, “Harlequin has been waiting to talk to you.” So, I left the office, and I went for a walk in the mall. About an hour later, Harlequin called me, a conference call with the editor in chief, an editor, and their publicist; they wanted six books and two short stories. So, I went to work on Ransom Canyon.

I knew I was taking a risk with this series because I was writing a very Western series, even though it is contemporary. It was a risk because Westerns are not as popular as other genres. But I had to write it.

To begin this series, I turned the little room out back of our house that we call the bunk house into Ransom Canyon. HQN gave me six months to put the proposals together. And during that time, I built Ransom Canyon’s world and wrote the short story “Winter’s Camp.” I did a lot of research to make the series just right, and it’s very dear to my heart. I love it because it is so character rich!

The first book of this series is called Ransom Canyon. It set up all the stories in the books to come. My main character is Staten; he is a successful rancher, an honest man, a strong man, and totally broken because he has lost both his wife and his son. He turns to his life-long friend Quinn because they both need someone. I loved writing their story, and I can’t wait to see it come to life on the screen. I always dreamed of having one of my books become a movie or TV show, and it has been so exciting to watch.

I look back on when I first started this series, and I’m so glad I wrote the story I wanted. I’ve loved this journey, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. But before we all climb into the saddle this fall to watch the TV show Ransom Canyon, travel back with me to Someday Valley and read my new book The Wild Lavender Bookshop, coming out April 23!

For a chance to win this new book, tell me who you’re most looking forward to seeing brought to life on the screen.

Misty M. Beller – Storytelling vs. Historical Authenticity

It’s such an honor to sit around the campfire with ya’ll again! The Petticoats and Pistols family is one of my favorite places to hang out.

I’ve been a fan of historical fiction for as long as I can remember, all the way back to the Mandie books by Lois Gladys Leppard and the Sadie Rose books by Hilda Stahl. Does anyone remember those series?

When I started thinking about my first novel, there was no doubt it would be a Christian Historical Romance set in the west. By my second book in, I had narrowed my focus to frontier life in the Rockies. My happy place!

It can be challenging to write about a time I haven’t experienced and cultures that don’t exist in the same form anymore. I love reading first-hand accounts to help me bring a particular time period to life. I often visit historic forts and talk with those who have studied the time period and setting in greater depth.

(Misty and her son in Badlands National Park)









Three years ago, my family and I set out on a 28-day epic road trip to tour many of the state and national parks across the country. We spent about half of our time in Wyoming and Montana, exploring Yellowstone and Glacier, and touring historic and ghost towns. We spent more than one night tent camping without bathrooms and showers!

These experiences definitely make it easier for me to slip into that world as I write. The characters come alive in my mind, and I see the story like a movie in my head. Writing Earning the Mountain Man’s Trust was especially fun to write, as we return to the Coulter Ranch. I fell in love with not just Naomi and Eric, but also sweet little Mary Ellen, their one-year-old daughter whom Eric meets for the first time in this book.

Purchase Links:

Back Cover Blurb:

In the wild mountains of the Montana Territory, the Coulter ranch is a place of family, second chances…and a hidden fortune.

Naomi Wyatt has finally given up on the man who once promised to love her for the rest of his life—then disappeared after a business trip, never responding to her letters. She’s now alone with a beautiful baby to provide for, a daughter whose red hair reminds her daily of the man she gave her heart to. She has to move on, though, and she did, going west with her sister. When Jonah Coulter asks for her hand in marriage, she knows she would be hard-pressed to find a better father for her sweet child. He’s a Coulter, after all, and he’s proven to be a good friend during her darkest hours.

Eric LaGrange thought he’d lost Naomi forever. But when he finally gets word that she’s in the Montana Territory, he drops everything to go after her…and their daughter? How could Naomi have kept their beautiful child from him? And how could she move on so quickly that she’s already engaged to another man? He loves Naomi so much that he’ll accept whatever choice is best for her, but is that him…or this settled rancher who clearly cares for them. No matter what, he’s determined to know his daughter and become the father he always wanted to be.

With Eric’s sudden appearance, Naomi’s heart is shredded once again. She barely has time to catch her breath before a new threat appears on the horizon. This time she has far more at stake than her heart, and only a Divine hand can turn this disaster for their good.

From a USA Today bestselling author comes a mountain family saga filled with a second chance romance, love triangle, hidden treasure, and faith that heals wounded hearts.

I pray the story comes to life for readers as much as it has for me!

I’m excited to give away a signed copy of the first three books in the Brothers of Sapphire Ranch series to one winner.

To be entered, I’d love to know your thoughts on whether you prefer to read historical romance with a lot historical details, or whether you’d rather have the focus be on the story and characters. Leave a comment below to share.



Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

Raised on a farm and surrounded by family, Misty developed her love for horses, history, and adventure. These days, her husband and children provide fresh adventure every day, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

Misty’s passion is to create inspiring Christian fiction infused with the grandeur of the mountains, writing historical romance that displays God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Sharing her stories with readers is a dream come true for Misty. She writes from her country home in South Carolina and escapes to the mountains any chance she gets.


Author Links:

Meet Mandi Blake, and Hear Her Amazing Journey!


Hi! I’m Mandi Blake, and I’ve been invited to be a guest author on the blog today.

A little about me…

I write Christian cowboy and small town romance. I live in Alabama where I grew up on a cattle farm. If I’m not reading or writing, I love to travel with my family and explore new places all over the world.

I started writing about six years ago, and I published my first book five years ago. Time is flying on this amazing journey, and I am excited to see what new and wonderful surprises are coming next.

I started off writing small-town romance set in Georgia. It was close to home, and I’m a small town girl through and through.

But once that series was over, I decided to shake things up a bit and write a cowboy series set in Wyoming.

Don’t ask me why. I have no idea why I chose Wyoming. I’d never been there, and I had no plans to go there. Sounds like a challenge, but I was ready to research and see what I could learn. I knew a little about raising cattle. I’d been around it my whole life. I wouldn’t trade growing up on a farm for anything because I had the best childhood.

I wanted that love of the land and hard work to shine through in my stories. The weather isn’t always cooperative in Wyoming, so I assumed an already difficult job had to be ten times harder in the harsh climate.

That was the beginning of the Blackwater Ranch series. Each book followed one of the tough-as-nails Harding brothers, and the last book was about their cousin who also lived on the ranch.

The Blackwater Ranch series was everything I’d hoped it would be and more. I grew so much writing those books. I loved right along with the characters and readers. I met so many people who just happened to pick up the books and like them. Readers became some of my dearest friends.

When the series was over, I wasn’t ready to let go of Blackwater. I immediately started a spin-off series about a dude ranch in the same town, and Wolf Creek Ranch took everything that Blackwater Ranch did for me and quadrupled it. These contemporary Western romances were the stories of my heart, and as they say, the rest is history.

When the Wolf Creek Ranch series came to an end, guess who still wasn’t ready to leave this fictional town of Blackwater. Me!

Through the last twelve books set in this little town, I’d introduced tons of side characters, so I decided to make my next series, the Love in Blackwater series, about some of them.

Since these new books are still so close to the ranches, I get to include my older characters in the newer books!

Y’all, I’m having too much fun.

Have you ever gotten so drawn into a book that you think about the characters when it’s over? My aunt, who is an avid reader, always told me she would envision what the characters might be doing once their story was over.

I get to show readers pieces of the ongoing lives of the characters they’ve known and loved. They sometimes play a big part in other stories, and their “lives” continue long after “The End.”

The first book in the Blackwater Ranch series is Remembering the Cowboy. Noah and Camille’s love story started it all, but even after their happily ever after, we got to see Camille fighting for justice in a courtroom in Better Together, the fourth book in the Wolf Creek Ranch series. We get to see how she juggles a family and a successful career all while being a rock for her friends when they need a hand.

One of my favorite scenes in the book I’m writing now is a wedding where all of the people in town are gathered together. Some of the Hardings have kids! Their fictional lives are being lived in new stories, and I’m so excited for these possibilities.

As something special for you, I’ve put the Blackwater Ranch series on sale. For April 5-6 only, you can get both of the three ebook box sets for this series for 99 cents each (in the US and UK only). You can read the whole series for two dollars or borrow them and read for free in Kindle Unlimited.

I also have a giveaway!

In the comments, tell me about the first book you read that sparked your love of all things Western. One winner will receive a signed paperback copy of the first book in my Blackwater Ranch series, Remembering the Cowboy. I’ll also throw in a matching bookmark and some other little goodies. A winner will be chosen on Sunday, April 7th. This giveaway is open to US residents only.

Thank you so much for having me on the blog today. I hope to “meet” you again sometime.