“Hay-loween” Fun

 

Today is free day here at Petticoats and Pistols, and it’s my turn. Yay! It’s also Halloween. Now, it’s been a long time since my kids were young enough to dress up in costumes and walk around the neighborhood, and I don’t yet have any grandchildren or other youngins’ to dote on and enjoy. We neighbor gals get together, set up a table in front of someone’s house, have hot chocolate or apple cider and pass out candy while chit-chatting. It’s great fun and a way for me to really enjoy the holiday more than just dispensing candy at the door.

Back in the day, both when I was a kid and when I had kids, we not only dressed up in costumes, we dressed up our horses – and had a grand time. Well, you here at Petticoat & Pistols know that I love pictures. So, after searching the internet for a while, I came up with these adorable kids and their horses or ponies in costumes. I absolutely love people’s imagination and talent.

 

                                       

Batman and Robin                                         Pirate and their parrot

 

                   

Super Mario                                                                 McDonalds

 

                           

A knight and their horse                                                               Alice and the Mad Hatter

                           

A farmer riding his John Deer tractor                                        Buzz Lightyear

 

Darth Vader and Storm Trooper

 

This is one of my favorites. A barista and Starbucks coffee.

 

 

And, okay, while this technically isn’t a horse costume, it is pretty cute. You have to admit it 🙂

 

So, what are your plans for tonight? Whatever they may be, stay safe and have fun!

Old Fashioned Halloween Games and a Giveaway!

Okay, so I can’t resist a blog about Halloween. After all, it is October.
Earlier this month our very own fillie, Julie Benson, wrote about how much Halloween has changed over the years. And boy has it. But you don’t realize how much until you learn about some of the things they did in the past. I’m only going as far back as the 1800s when folks in America tried to make the holiday less scary and more about community and fun family get-togethers. In fact, by the late 1800’s Halloween parties were celebrated by children and adults alike. The media of the day wanted parents to take the “scary” out of Halloween celebrations and replace it with fun. So, parties became more focused on playing games. There were the familiar ones. Pin the Tail on The Donkey, Bobbing for Apples, Blind Man’s Bluff and scavenger hunts were always a popular pastime at children’s parties. There was even a game called Halloween Pudding. This game, was for young men and women. The host of the party baked a fruit cake with five different things hidden inside. A thimble, a coin, a button, a key, and a ring.

When nine o’clock rolled around, the oldest person in attendance quietly cut the cake then handed the pieces out. The first words spoken after the cake was cut would be prophetic for the year. As were the objects in the cake. Whomever got the ring was said to be getting married that year. The person who got the coin, would be wealthy, (for our time, that would be akin to winning the lottery), the person who got the thimble would become an old maid or a life-long bachelor, (you can bet no one wanted the blasted thimble) and the key meant you were going on a journey. And, if lucky, you got the button. It meant you would meet your true love.

Speaking of true love, there was also a game in which a single gal would go into a dark room with a mirror and a candle. She’d take an apple with her. She had to peel it in one long piece or slice the apple. And she had to watch the mirror while she was doing it. The Victorians believed your true love’s face would appear in the mirror as you watched. Unless of course you were going to die that year, then a skull would appear. Somehow, I don’t see that as being a very popular game, but those were the Victorians for you. They were really into that kind of stuff.

There was also the Victorian version of Green Ghost for those of you who remember that game. Young women would go into a dark room one by one. This was done after everyone told them the room was haunted. There was a dresser in the room with boxes hidden in the drawers. The object of the game was to go into the room in silence, reach into a drawer and retrieve a box from it. All without screaming. Those familiar with Green Ghost, remember reaching into little boxes or containers that were full of plastic rats, bats and what not, or for the adventurous types, gooey stuff that your mom mixed up in the kitchen. Our mom used Jello squares or cold oatmeal. Naturally we played Green Ghost in the dark, creepy attic of our house. In the 1800’s version, the hidden boxes held party favors for the other party guests. Personally, I think the Victorians would have failed at Green Ghost. We screamed like little banshees when we stuck our fingers in cold oatmeal. Only one container contained the plastic rats, bats and cats that came with the game. Oh, and a little green ghost.

I, myself, have never written a book centered around Halloween, but I do have a book that takes place around Harvest Moon. And my hero and heroine meet in a pumpkin patch. He’s also an undertaker.

What’s your favorite fun thing to do at this time of year? I know a lot of folks don’t celebrate Halloween but still like to carve a pumpkin or enjoy foods of the season. What’s your favorite thing about this time of year, whether it’s Halloween or something else? I’ll pick a random winner from the comments to receive a free e-copy of my book, Love at Harvest Moon.

Boy has Halloween Changed Since My Childhood!

Halloween sign I made for by my front door.

Once again, I’m wondering. I don’t know why but this year, fall and Halloween really has me thinking. This month, I’m pondering how Halloween has grown and changed since I was a kid. You know, back in the stone age.

When I was a child, carving a Jack-O’-Lantern, my costume, and trick or treating were the big deals, but that was the extent of it. Now, according to research, Halloween has become big business, right behind Christmas. What I read said consumers will spend $10.14 billion on Halloween this year! That’s mind blowing. (Just so you know and can impress your friends at this years’ Halloween parties, that’s up over $2 billion from last year when COVID prevented a lot of festivities.) Each of us is predicted to spend over $100 on Halloween.

We spend the most on costumes–$3.32 billion. I’m imaging a heaping pile of costumes the size of Texas for that kind of money! What I read said that almost 2 million kids will be Spider-Man and over a million will be Batman. Adults favor witches, vampires, ghosts, and pirates. Not very imaginative considering all the ideas on the Internet. More people than I expected said they’d get a costume for their dog. I laughed. If I tried that, first of all, none of my dogs would let me dress them up. But say by some miracle I managed that Herculean task, they’d have the costume off and in shreds in five minutes tops.

Alex and Zachary Halloween
My oldest two boys, Zachary (left) and Alex.

I don’t remember my childhood costumes, except one. We took a green garbage bad, cut it like a Green Giant or Robin Hood tunic. I added a belt, tights, and boots and went as either the Jolly Green Giant or Robin Hood. I won a prize for that one! I loved sewing costumes for my boys. One ambitious year I made a firefighter’s coat for one son and a SWAT vest for the other. And yes, the firefighter’s coat was a bear to sew. Those days felt so hectic then, but I sure do miss them now!

 

We’ll spend darn near as much as we do on costumes, $3.17 billion, on decorations. When I was a kid, maybe one cool house decorated outside. Our neighborhood had a house like that. They had a strange little girl sitting on a swing, a huge spider on the roof, and I don’t remember what else. I was so bummed when they moved. Now almost everyone decorates at least a little outside. I started with a couple of cute signs and pumpkins, but I tend to decorate more on the whimsical side of Halloween. Every year I keep saying I’ll make more tombstones, (I bought this one when my kids were little) but I haven’t accomplished that goal yet. My favorite is the skeleton in the tree with the skeleton dog below like he’s chased the poor fellow up the tree.

                     

 

I still decorate the house a little even though my children are grown. It helps put me in the holiday moods. I think what I enjoy most are my Jack-O’-Lantern light and the candles. I love lighting them every night after dinner, turning off the lights, and just sitting in the glow. Most of the items I’ve had for years. I picked them up when there used to craft mall in empty stores. I admit, I miss those places.

This is such a fun time of year. I love going from the Halloween decorations to fall/Thanksgiving to Christmas. The house feels more festive. More alive, even last year when we curtailed a lot of our celebrations. For me, that helped me focus on family, and it was refreshing to be released from some holiday commitments. Admit it. Did you really miss work holiday parties? But as usual, I digress. Whether you decorate or not, go to parties or don’t, I wish you a wonderful Halloween.

Giveaway:  To be entered for today’s random giveaway for the Mudpie eat, drink, & be scary dishtowel, leave a comment on your favorite Halloween costume or decoration.

When Halloween Meant Scaring Up a Little Romance

 

It seems to me that Halloween has grown darker over the years.  Growing up in Michigan, we dressed up as beggars and yelled “Help the poor.”  I don’t remember anyone wearing scary costumes.  Another place where you probably wouldn’t have seen werewolves or zombies is in the Old West.

During the 1800s it was considered a night of romance. Many of the tricks and treats of those Victorian Halloween parties were designed with romance in mind.

 In the Old West, Halloween dances were held in schoolhouses, barns or churches.  Guests were required to jump over a broom upon arrival to assure future happiness.  Masquerade balls were popular, too, but mostly held in the east.   

Apples played an important part in these Halloween rituals but so did tin soldiers.  An article in the El Paso Daily paper in 1899 described the ritual of melting tin soldiers.  A young woman would then drip the melted tin from a spoon into cold water. The tin would harden in all manner of shapes, thus foretelling a maiden’s future.  If, for example, the tin looked like a shoe, she would marry a shoemaker.  A ship meant her future husband would be a sailor and a hammer foretold a carpenter in her future.

Bobbing for apples was a must, but with an interesting twist. The apples would each contain the name of a male guest.  A woman lucky enough to sink her teeth into a pippin would come up with more than just a wet face; she’d also know the name of her future mate.

 Some enterprising hostesses who owned apple trees went one step further.  While the apples were still green they glued the initials of single males onto the apples.  When the apples ripened, the paper was washed off revealing the green initials on the rosy cheeks.   Upon arriving at the party, female guests would draw an apple from the tub to find out the name of her dance partner.

 Another popular game involving apples required careful paring so that the peels were cut into one long strip. These were then thrown over the left shoulder.  The initial the peel made on the floor was the initial of a future love.

 Peelings were also hung from barn doors and female guests were given a number. If for example, you got number two, then the second male through the door was your true love.

 Another crowd-pleaser was the cobweb game.  Guests were each given two bright colored threads attached to a cardboard heart in some remote corner. The threads ran through the room in an intricate pattern. The idea was to unravel your thread by bobbing under a red thread or slipping through a tangle of green or blue threads until you reached the heart which named your partner for the night.

Halloween games also included the game of Proposal.  Each woman was given a stack of cardboard hearts and lemons.  The males had to go around the room and propose to each woman. He had thirty seconds to convince her to marry him. When the bell rang, she would either give him a lemon for no or a heart for yes.  At the end of the game, the man with the most hearts won. 

With all the ghosts and goblins of today, it’s hard to imagine a time when Halloween was just another word for romance                             

        How are you and your family planning to spend this pandemic Halloween? 

You’ll Find a List of Margaret’s Books Here:

Amazon

 

Let’s Play a HALLOWEEN Game! ~ Pam Crooks

 

The This ‘n That Game!

 

I’ve played this game with my readers in numerous Facebook parties, and it’s always a hit. The game is limited only by the participants’ responses.  

To allow for more of those responses, let’s include FALL with HALLOWEEN, okay?

Just respond to the comment above you, then add one of your own that’s something Halloween or Fall (opposites are more fun), and you’re off. 

Join in, and you can win a $10 Amazon Gift Card. (Winner announced later tonight.)

Join in as often as you’d like!  

Examples:

Spooky or Cute   

or   

Spring or Fall

 

Have Fun!

Happy Cabbage Night!

I knew Halloween evolved from the Celtic festival of Samhain and All Hallow’s Eve, but that was about all I knew. This year I decided to change that and dove into researching Halloween. First, I learned in New England the night before Halloween is Cabbage Night. Right now, I’m glad I live in Texas, because this tradition involves “pranksters” leaving rotten vegetables near a neighbor’s front door! I doubt this did much to promote good neighbor relations! Despite that, Happy Cabbage Night y’all.

Now on to Halloween…

I discovered many Halloween traditions revolved around helping women identify her potential husband or reassuring her she would indeed find a one. In 18th century Ireland, a cook would bury a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween. The hope was that the ring would bring the finder true love.

In Scotland, fortune tellers instructed marriage-minded women to name her hazelnuts after her suitors. Boy does that sound odd. 🙂 Then she was to toss them, the hazelnuts not her suitors, 🙂 into the fire. The nut that burned completely rather than exploding represented her future husband. Another legend insisted if a woman ate a sweet treat of walnuts, hazelnuts and nutmeg on Halloween, she would dream of her future husband that night.

Women would throw apple peelings over their shoulders in hopes of forming the initials of her future husband’s name. I wonder if there was strategic throwing involved with this tradition to get a desired result. Another legend told a woman to stand in front of a mirror in a dark room holding a candle. The hope was if she peered into the mirror, would see her husband’s face over her shoulder.

Halloween parties could get competitive regarding matrimony. For example, the first guest to find a burr on a chestnut hunt would be the next one to marry. The first one to successfully bob for apples was predicted to walk down the aisle soon. This tradition had visions of unmarried women practicing their bobbing for apple skills before Halloween parties to ensure a victory to pop into my head!

Because beliefs of different European countries mixed with American Indian traditions, America developed its own unique version of Halloween. At first, celebrations featured “play parties” to celebrate the harvest. Neighbors shared stories about the dead, told fortunes, danced and sang. The night also included mischief. But in the late 1800’s, people tried to shift the holiday away from ghosts, pranks and witchcraft to a more community or neighborly get together holiday. Parents were encouraged to remove anything frightening, grotesque or scary from their Halloween celebrations. Despite this community-centered focus, adding parades and town-wide parties, by the 1920’s and 30’s, vandalism became prevalent.

However, by the 1950’s communities had tampered down on the vandalism and Halloween became a more child-centered holiday. This probably was a result of all those post-war babies, too. Communities revived the tradition of trick-or-treating after it was halted due to sugar rationing during WWII. The thought was people could prevent being pranked by giving children a small treat.

Today, Halloween is America’s second largest commercial holiday, surpassed only by Christmas. We spend around 9 billion, yup with a billion with B, annually. That’s a lot of candy, costumes and yard art. It works out to an average American shelling out $86.79.

Speaking of candy…we haven’t even touched that delicious subject. But let’s do that now. Leave a comment on what’s your favorite trick-or-treat candy and why or what one makes you you want to pull a trick on someone to be entered for today’s giveaway. One random commenter will receive the pumpkin coasters and a copy of Family Ties.

Halloween, Ghost Stories, and Weddings! What? Weddings?

 

Yup, you read that right.  How do I get from the first two to the later? It’s easy when the wedding is in Estes Park, Colorado, at The Stanley Hotel, the famed inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining.

First a little history. Freelan Oscar Stanley and his wife Flora, missing the east’s grandeur, opened The Stanley Hotel complete with electric lights, telephones, en suite bathrooms, uniformed staff and a fleet of automobiles in 1909 among the Rocky Mountains in Estes Park, Colorado. However, by the 1970’s the hotel’s splendor had faded, and it might have been demolished if not for Stephen King.

The famed author stayed in Room 217 and a dream here inspired The Shining. The room is thought to be haunted by Elizabeth Wilson. Injured in 1911 in an explosion lighting lanterns in Room 217, when recovered, Mrs. Wilson became head chambermaid and worked at the hotel until her death. Since then, guests have reported luggage being unpacked (now this I’d appreciate ?) and lights being turned on and off. Mrs. Wilson, not a fan of unmarried couples sharing the room, has been known to show her displeasure by climbing into bed between them!

The Concert Hall is another room frequented by otherworldly inhabitants including Flora Stanley. When the hotel opened, F.O. presented Flora with a Steinway Grand Piano. Since her passing, guests and staff claim Flora can still be heard playing. Paul, a jack-of-all trades at the hotel, enjoys frequenting this room as well. Charged with enforcing the hotel’s curfew during his tenure, guests and workers claim Paul can be heard saying “get out” after hours. He’s also said to “nudge” construction workers and flicker flashlights for tour groups here.

On the hotel’s fourth floor, originally a cavernous attic where female staff, nannies and children stayed, guests report hearing children running, laughing, giggling and playing. People also claim a certain closet opens and closes on its own. In room 428, guests report footsteps and furniture being moved above them. However, many claim this impossible due to the roof’s slope. But the room’s most frequent ghostly visitor is a “friendly cowboy” appearing by the bed. Now that’s the room for me! What a great opportunity for hero research!

These are a small sample of the ghost stories associated with The Stanley Hotel. If you’re interested in more tales, I recommend Ghost Stories of the Estes Valley Volumes 1 and 2 by Celeste Lasky. (I purchased mine at The Stanley but they’re available on Amazon.)

If you visit Estes Park, maybe you’ll be inspired as I was. That’s where the idea for my first novel sold to Harlequin, Big City Cowboy, literally walked up to me. But that’s a story for another blog…

If you stay at The Stanley Hotel, could you’ll encounter F.O. Stanley hovering behind his staff at the reception desk. ? If you do, keep these tips from tripsavvy.com on how to capture ghosts on camera in mind. “Take five or six quick shots to capture a fleeting spirit. Oh, and bring up back-up batteries because paranormal experts will tell you if spirits are present, they’ll have a draining effect on your batteries.”

Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment about a place where you’ve encountered a ghost or that’s left you feeling a bit creepy to be entered in my give away. And oh, yes, Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

Here We Come a Wassailing

Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year … Halloween!  Not only did I have a granddaughter born on Halloween and she’ll turn 21 tomorrow, but I love the kids, their costumes, and giving out treats.  I took ten bags of candy to the church today for our annual Trunk or Treat.  So many wonderful memories.

But oh do I love apple wassail to kick off the holiday season.  I didn’t realize the tradition of Apple Wassail, which is a form of wassailing practiced in the cider orchards of southern England during the winter some five centuries ago.  The first recorded mention was at Fordwich, Kent, in 1585.  Groups of young men would go between orchards performing the rite for a reward. The practice was sometimes referred to as “howling”.  On the Twelfth Night, men would go with their wassail bowl into apple orchards.  Slices of bread or toast were laid at the roots and sometimes tied to branches.  Cider was also poured over the tree roots.  The ceremony is said to “bless” the trees to produce a good crop the next season.

A folktale from Somerset reflecting this custom tells of the Apple Tree Man, the spirit of the oldest apple tree in an orchard, and in whom the fertility of the orchard is thought to reside.  In the tale a man offers his last mug of mulled cider to the trees in his orchard and is rewarded by the Apple Tree Man who reveals to him the location of buried gold.

Here’s a couple of well know and fun traditional Apple Wassail rhymes.

“Stand fast root, bear well to

Pray for God send us a howling good crop.

Every twig apple big.

Every Bough, apples now.”

                                                                            19th century Sussex, Surrey

“But by far here’s the one we all know.

Here we come a wassailing

Among the leaves so green,

Here we come a wandering

So fair to be seen.

Love and joy come to you,

And to you your wassail too.

And God bless you and send you a happy New Year.

And God send you a happy New Year.”

                                                            Somerset, 1971

The wassail recipe is very easy and fun to make and drink.

  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 1 quart cranberry juice
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 16 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 stick (6 inch size) cinnamon.

Tie the spices in a cheesecloth bag.  Add the spice bag and all remaining ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.

For a party or a carry-in, heat in a crock pot on low temperature.

Optional:  Garnish individual servings with a cinnamon stick and orange slice.  Serves 24.

My question to you:  What is your favorite holiday beverage?

 

To one reader who leaves a comment, I will give away an eBook of my latest Kasota Springs Romance “Out of a Texas Night”.

Happy Halloween!

 

Today is one of the happiest days for children and adults, outside of Christmas and birthdays. Or at least that’s my opinion.  I’m fortunate to share my blog with Fellow Filly Shanna Hatfield.  I’m going to blog about some history and fun facts; before turning it over to Shanna to tell you a little about her special Pumpkins Cookies, yummy!

To my surprise, Halloween has roots in age-old European traditions. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.  In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating and carving jack-o-lanterns. Around the world, as days grow shorter and nights get colder, people continue to usher in the season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.

In the late 1800’s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers. In the 1920’s and 1930’s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide Halloween parties as the featured entertainment. Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration.  In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats.

Thus, a new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion, yes with a “B”, annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday after Christmas.

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you all about how Halloween traditions fit in with young women identifying their future husbands and reassuring them that they would someday…with luck by next Halloween…be married. In the 18th century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it.

Another fascinating tradition was when young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands’ initials; and, some also tried to learn about their futures by peering at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water.

One of the beloved events is our church’s Trunk or Treat which is a safe and fun environment for kids to go trick or treating out of the trunk of member’s cars in the parking lot. It’s open to the public, not just the youth of our home church.

I’m happy to have Shanna Hatfield chiming in with one of her favorite Halloween treats.

“I’m a pumpkin fanatic! The fascination with pumpkin treats started with my aunt’s decadent pumpkin roll and ends with pumpkin pie (which I would eat any time of year). This recipe for pumpkin cookies is a fast, easy way to satisfy a pumpkin craving… and a sweet tooth! Happy Haunting!”

From Shanna Hatfield, USA Today Bestselling Author

Pumpkin Cookies

1 box of spice cake mix

1 small can of pumpkin pie filling

1 cup cream cheese frosting

toppings (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix cake mix and pumpkin until thoroughly blended.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment and drop spoonfuls of the dough onto the cookie sheet.

Bake about ten minutes, until the cookies are just set, but not yet starting to brown.

Remove from oven and let cool.

Warm cream cheese frosting in the microwave for about 12 seconds, or until thin enough to pour. Drizzle over cookies. Top with toffee bits, cinnamon, sprinkles or candied nuts if you want to get all fancy-pants (which I generally do).

Enjoy!

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

To one lucky reader who leaves a comment, I will give away a copy

of any of my eBooks from Amazon!  Happy Holiday, Phyliss

 

And, thank you, Shanna, for sharing your recipe with us. 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Into Romance by Shanna Hatfield

Like many of you, I love the autumn season. In our little corner of the world, we have four very distinct seasons and in the last few weeks it has definitely transitioned into fall.

The leaves have set aside their verdant shades of green and seemingly overnight slipped on the jeweled hues of crimson, gold, amber, and tangerine.

The air smells spicy and rich, laced with a hint of wood smoke from the neighbor’s fireplace. It’s cool enough to dig out my sweaters and scarves, to unearth my warm lap blanket I like to curl up under in the evenings when the early dusk brings nose-nipping temperatures.

Then there are the glorious, wondrous flavors of fall… pumpkin and caramel and apple. Yum. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

In an effort to capture some of the sweetest, most wonderful aspects of fall, a group of sweet romance authors got together and wrote ten brand-new novellas all centered around a Fall Festival that raises funds for an animal shelter while finding homes for pets. The stories are bundled together in a boxed set.

The stories all take place in the fictional town of Romance, Oregon. If it really existed, visitors would find it about an hour south of Portland, where autumn is particularly beautiful and the sights, sounds, and scents of fall weave around the romance lingering in the air.

My contribution to the boxed set is Blown Into Romance, the story of a free-spirited artist and a feet-firmly-on-the-ground rancher.  And piglets! Five of them, to be exact, all named after characters from a favorite children’s book. Winnie, the mama pig, and her four babies (Roo, Tigger, Eeyore, and Robin) need a home and Brooke needs a little company in her newly-opened blown glass shop.

(See the disaster coming… five pigs in a blown glass shop?)

I wanted Brooke to adopt something other than a dog or a cat. How much crazier could she get than five pigs?

Luckily for her, Blayne Grundy knows about pigs as well as cattle and horses. He offers her a hand when she needs it most and soon realizes she’s stolen his heart.

Blurb —

Artist Brooke Roberts spent her life without roots, wandering from town to town. When she seeks refuge from a freak storm in the town of Romance, she decides to stay and open a blown glass studio. Determined to immerse herself in the community, she adopts a family of pigs. Brooke is unprepared for the chaos and comfort they bring to her world, or the dashing cowboy who rescues her heart.

Solid, dependable Blayne Grundy runs a busy ranch, volunteers on various committees, and takes in stray animals too large to stay at the local animal rescue. Then a chance encounter with a beautiful, beguiling woman leaves him so befuddled, he can barely remember his own name. His predictable organized life is about to be blown away by free-spirited Brooke.

A sweet, lighthearted novella, Blown Into Romance highlights the mighty power of love and letting go.

 

Excerpt —

She arched an eyebrow. “Did you adopt a new pet, too?”

“I’m actually more of a temporary home before a permanent place can be found. Brent had a donkey and a bunch of chickens that needed a place to go. Grams handled the chickens, but I’m in charge of the donkey.”

“A donkey, huh?” Brooke grinned again. “That might be incentive to visit your ranch.”

“Kong would like to think it is.”

A laugh spilled out of her. “You named the donkey Kong? Are you kidding me?”

“Nope. That was his name before Brent took him in. I’m not sure if Donkey Kong or King Kong would have been worse.”

“Okay, you win. I have to meet this donkey. I have a project I need to finish and it has to be shipped Thursday morning. If it works with your schedule, I could come out that evening.” Brooke walked Blayne over to his pickup.

“That will work great. In case you think about changing your mind, I could probably come up with a more compelling reason for you to come.” He looked at her with an intense light glowing in his eyes.

Rather than back away from him, as he feared, she stood her ground. “What reason might that be cowboy?”

“Just this one.” Blayne stepped close to her, holding her gaze. He wrapped one hand around her waist and slid the other into her messy hair. Before she could protest or pull away, his lips skimmed across hers in a light, tentative kiss. When she moved closer to him, he kissed her again. The long, lingering kiss erupted an explosion of fireworks behind his eyes while her body turned limp in his arms.

When he lifted his head, he kissed her cheek and slowly released his hold on her, making sure she was steady on her feet before backing away. “I’ll let you consider if that’s a compelling reason. If not, let me know. I can come back later and do a better job.”

Giveaway —

If you could adopt ANY pet, what would it be? Post your answer for a chance to win a digital copy of Fall Into Romance. Three lucky winners will be chosen!

Fall Into Romance is available for a limited time for just 99 cents at these online retailers:

Kobo

A ma zon

iBooks

Google Play

B&N