Double the Trouble or Twice as Nice? by Charlene Sands

Charlene-with-BooksI married a twin of the fraternal variety and we were married nearly right out of high school, so it baffles me why it’s taken me this long to write a twins story!  For me, loving a twin has been twice as nice, and not double the trouble.  But that isn’t always the case. And so, I penned a story about a hunky father of twins, who meets up with trouble in the form of a spirited woman whose car has broken down along the side of the road.  Texas Style.  

In doing my research I found out some amazing trivia about twins:

The word twin is probably derived from an ancient German word twine, which means ‘two together.

1 in every 32 children born is a twin (1 in 65 pregnancies results in a twin birth). Twins account for 1.5% of all pregnancies or 3% of the population.The twinning rate has risen 50% in the last 20 years. This is attributed to an increase in maternal age, wider use of IVF and assisted conception and advancement of medical technology.

 Fraternal twins do run in the family but only on the maternal line. If a mother herself is a fraternal twin, the chance of conceiving twins increases four-fold.
 The rate for identical twins, or monozygotic, multiples is random and universal (no influencing factors) and occurs 1 in every 285 births. They are the same sex, have the same blood types, hair and eye color, hand and footprints and chromosomes, yet have different teeth marks and fingerprints.
 Mirror image twins account for about 25% of identical twins. Their hair falls in opposite directions, they have mirror image fingerprints and if one is right handed, the other is left handed.
 Twins and multiples have been known to develop their own ‘language’ that only they understand. This ‘twin talk’ is known as cryptophasia or idioglossia.
 The world’s oldest twins were born on Feb 14 1803 in Virginia and died at the ages of 108 and 113 respectively. The chances of identical twins surpassing the age of 100 is 1 in 700 million.
 The Yoruba tribe of Nigeria have the highest twinning rate in the entire world (3 sets of twins in every 19 births). The Nigerian people attribute it to their population’s consumption of a specific type of yam. China has the lowest twinning rate with only 1 in 300 pregnancies resulting in a twin birth.
 Up to 22 percent of twins are left-handed. In the non-twin population the number is just under 10 percent.
Twin types and genders are oddly symmetrical. 1/3rd of all twins are identical, 1/3rd are the same sex fraternal and 1/3rd are male/female fraternal. Of the identical twins, half are male/male, and half are female/female. Of the same sex fraternal, half are male/male, and half are female/female.
 Australia produced the world”s first test-tube twins in June 1981.

Twins for the Texan_Sand


Here’s what they are saying about Twins for the Texan! 

Their explosive attraction is just the beginning of an unexpected journey full of love, parenthood and second chances.  Expressive characters bring authenticity to the emotional and sometimes chaotic aspects of falling love while raising small children. This Billionaires and Babies romance is sizzling!…Romantic Times Book Reviews Magazine 

Wyatt is an amazing hero, a wonderful father and an incredible lover. Brooke cannot help but fall in love but she is not sure Wyatt is ready for more. The path to true love is never easy and this one has more than a few rocks to navigate. The story unfolds magnificently as Brooke helps Wyatt by serving as the nanny for his children. He accepts her help and hopes for some more time in other areas as well. It was also nice to visit with Brooke’s brother and her best friend. Charlene Sands knows how to capture us and keep us reading until the last word.  Debby Guyette, formerly of Cataromance 

Do twins run in your family, like they do in mine?  How would you feel about raising twins?  Any fun twin stories? I’ll tell you mine, if you tell me yours?  Post a comment and be entered in a drawing for my new western ebook release Bachelor For Hire or one of my print backlist books…




Playing The Flirtation Game


“Ever wonder why the word engagement describes

both a promise of marriage & war battle?”-Undercover Bride

Wedding-Week-sepiaMy husband was recently asked by a young man how he dated me before mobile phones and texting. We got a good laugh out of that one. Try explaining the concept of planning ahead to today’s spur-of-the-moment youths and see where that gets you.

It did get me thinking though; how did men and women come together without benefit of modern day technology?   At least my husband and I had access to what is now called a land phone. 

That’s when I discovered that “texting” isn’t all that new. Yep, you got that right. 19th century lads did indeed “text” and they didn’t need a modern day phone to do it. They simply passed out flirtation or escort cards asking permission to make a young woman’s acquaintance or escort her home. These preprinted cards were fun, clever and often rhymed.

If the answer was yes, the woman simply kept the card. If no, she would return it.  Would any of these cards win your heart?


Note: Many thanks to Alan Mays for his wonderful collection.


My granddaughter thinks her generation invented chat acronyms. No doubt she’d be surprised to learn that many were developed during the 1800s to save money in sending telegrams. “Hw r u ts mng?” meant “How are you this morning?” And instead of lol they used the more efficient Ha. Love and kisses in telegram talk was simply 88.


Not sure I would want to be “interviewed” by a suitor. I’d pass on this one.


I’d be wary of a man with a stack of cards that said “two hearts beat as one.”
This one seems more like a business arrangement. Monkey business?
The words “escort” and “strictly confidential” makes me wonder what’s really on his mind.

Since we’re celebrating love and marriage this week,

tell us how you met your significant other.


                              What Readers are Saying About Undercover Bride


“5 Stars!”

“A truly entertaining must read”

“A thrilling escapade”

“A creative plot and delightful characters”

“Good clean fun western romance”

“Thumbs up for mystery western”

“Wild west guns and grins”





MargaretBrownley-headerThe only good reason to ride a bull is to meet a nurse

Recently I read that the American cowboy wouldn’t have survived “lonesome” had it not been for his ihorse“guts and his hoss.” The author got it only partly right. For the cowboy had one more weapon of survival under his Stetson: his sense of humor.

Seeing the funny side of life in the Old West was just as vital, if not more so, than a cowboy’s horse or six-gun. Those early buckaroos survived long hours in the saddle under the most difficult conditions with jokes, horseplay and cock and bull stories.

fireNo campsite was complete without a tall tale or two. Cowboys didn’t experience weather like the rest of us. No sirree. One cowpuncher told about winter being so cold they couldn’t hear the foreman’s orders. “The words froze as they came outta his mouth. We had to break them off one by one so we could tell what he was sayin’.”

The wind was a popular subject. “You think this wind is bad? You ain’t seen nothin’.” Cowboys talked about feeding their chickens buckshot so they wouldn’t blow away in the wind. Not to be outdone some claimed it was so windy a chicken laid the same egg five times.

Don’t dig for water under the outhouse.

California’s current drought is nothing compared to what those cowboys of yesteryear experienced. “One teethdrought was so bad the cactus took to a-chasing after dogs.”

Texas was reportedly the healthiest state. So healthy, in fact, no one ever died there naturally. They needed the assistance of a bullet to accomplish that feat. More than one Texan was caught crossing the border just so he could “ride to the great beyond.”

Perhaps the most amusing rivalries in the Old West pitted cowboys against railroaders. Cowboys had little patience with the “bullheaded Irishmen” who stampeded their cattle. In turn, railroaders thought cowboys a bunch of troublemakers—and for good reason.

One railcar filled with smoke when a cowboy attempted to cook a steak on the train’s coal stove. Another cowpoke, on the way to meeting his best gal, shocked women passengers by stripping down to his long johns so he could don his new suit.

When a cowboy’s too old to set a bad example,

he hands out good advice.

One foreman befuddled railroad officials by sending a wire requesting cars to ship 2,500 sea lions. The foremen figured his cattle had swum across so many streams that “sea lions” aptly described his sirloins.

Railroaders dished out as good as they got. One cowboy learned the hard way not to travel without a ticket when the train he was riding came to a screeching stop and left him stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Another cowboy boarded a train and when asked for his ticket pulled out his six-gun, declaring it the only ticket he needed. The conductor convinced him otherwise by returning with a rifle and sticking it under the cowboy’s nose.

Cowboys didn’t just laugh at these antics like regular folks. Oh, no. They’d sit ’round a campfire “grinnin’ like a weasel peekin’ in a henhouse.”

So when is the last time you grinned like a weasel? What tall tale, anecdote or family memory would you share around a campfire?

What they’re saying about Undercover Bride

Expect some fun reading while the detective team attempts to unmask a pair of train robbers and murderers. That’s how Margaret Brownley writes. Western mystery with humor rolling throughout, like tumbleweeds on Main Street.-Harold Wolf, Amazon




Go Fly A Kite!

Photo WG2 smallHi, Winnie Griggs here. According to my ‘National Day Of…” calendar, yesterday was National Kite Flying Day (wonder why this falls in February rather than March?). And, since I was already looking into kites for a book I’m working on, I thought the timing was great for me to share a little of what I found out.

Exact dates are not available but the first written account found of kite flying occurred around 200 B.C. And it’s safe to say they were actually around much earlier. But would it surprise you to know that the first kites were not originally created for recreational purposes? Though most scholars believe kites originated in China there is some evidence that suggest that it might have actually originated in the South Pacific Island region—these were used as a fishing implements. The Chinese, on the other hand, developed theirs for military purposes.

In the 7th century Buddhist monks introduced kites to Japan. They were originally used there to ward off evil spirits and insure abundant harvests. But kite flying soon became popular there for recreational pleasure.

At the end of the 13th century, Marco Polo brought stories of kites to Europe. And in the 16th and 17th centuries, sailors brought kites back to Europe from a number of Asian countries. At first Europeans considered kites little more than curiosities. Then in the 18th and 19th century scientists began using them as vehicles for research – probably the most well known of these experimenters was Benjamin Franklin. But there were many others – Alexander Wilson, Sir George Caley, Lawrence Hargrave Alexander Graham Bell and the Wright brothers among them.

As flight became more commonplace, using kites for military or scientific purposes faded from popularity and recreational and competitive enthusiasts took over. Over the years, larger and more powerful kites were designed and several out-of-the-box uses were developed, such as pulling sleds and buggies over not only land but water and ice as well.

boy and kite


Now for some FUN FACTS

  • The smallest kite in the world that will actually fly is 5mm high (for those of us not up on the metric system, that’s approx .2 inches)
  • The longest kite in the world to fly is 1,034 meters (or 3,394 feet)
  • The greatest quantity of kites to fly on one line is 11,284
  • The record for how long a kite stayed up in one flight is 180 hours
  • The fastest recorded speed of a kite is over 120 mph
  • When building the suspension bridge over the turbulent Niagra River in 1848, the problem of establishing the first line across it was solved by a young boy who flew a kite across the chasm.
  • Kite flying is one of the fastest growing sports in the world
  • There is at least one Kite Festival every weekend year round in some part of the world.
  • Over 50 million kites are sold in the US annually
  • Kites are flown by more adults than children

So now it’s your turn.  Did any of these tidbits surprise you?  Have you ever flown a kite?  Do you have any special memories or fun stories involving kites?

Read more






A Filly Friend

Sometimes Only a Cowboy Will Do

 quotescover-JPG-98 cowboy 2

If you’re like me, you love to watch historical shows and movies, but really crave anything with a western flair.  There have too little of them lately, too few and far between.  My latest fan crush is OUTLANDER (Scottish–not western but wonderful) and my biggest gripe is that there were only 7 made for Showtime and the next full season doesn’t start until April 2015!  That’s a long time for an avid fan!  

Here’s a list of IMDb’s (Internet Movie Database) Highest Rated Western Television Shows.  I think you’d be surprised with some of them.  

1.    Deadwood   2004












2.    The Adventures of Brisco County   1993

3.    Trigun  1998 Animated

4.    Have Gun Will Travel  1957

5.     Saber Rider and The Star Sheriffs  1987 Animated 

6.      Hell on Wheels   2011

7.      Zorro  1957

8.    The Rifleman   1958

9.    Maverick    1959

10.   The Wild Wild West  1965

11.   Rawhide   1959

12.   Longmire   2012

13.   Gunsmoke  1955

14.   The Big Valley   1965

15.   King Fu   1972

Hell on Wheels





I was surprised Bonanza wasn’t in the top 15.  It came in at  #17, while Little House of the Prairie was #19 and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, was 20th. Looks like westerns rocked the television screens in the 1950’s.   Now, occasionally a good western will come our way, but not often enough if you ask me.

Is your favorite on this list?  What are your top 5 westerns, movies or television series?  

I have a great two-in-one Desire to give away to one blogger today!  (Suddenly Expecting and The Texas Renegade Returns)


LOOK FOR MY NEW HARLEQUIN ONLINE READ coming in January to kick off my Moonlight Beach Bachelors series! TITLE TBA

HER FORBIDDEN COWBOY coming in February!





Who Needs Fireworks?

newsletter_headerjpg - 2

Pioneers are famous for their ingenuity, and when it comes to celebrations, that pioneering spirit led to some crazy traditions. The 4th of July has been a treasured American holiday since we won our independence back in 1776 and our western forebears were determined to celebrate it with all the excitement it deserved.

Shooting the anvilWestern communities would often hold picnics for the 4th. People would gather from miles around to share in baking contests, horse races, children’s games, and lots of good eatin’. Yet they had no fireworks to shoot off in honor of the big day. A handful of rowdy cowboys might ride through town shooting off their guns, but that was nothing special. They needed something big. Something spectacular. Something so phenomenal, the womenfolk would all run for cover.

And that is how the art of anvil shooting was born.

No one knows which blacksmith was crazy enough to start the tradition, but it quickly caught on and became a staple of 19th century July 4th celebrations in the south.

First, you need two well-matched anvils then about a pound of black powder and a fuse. Turn the first anvil upside down on a flat, solid surface. Fill the hollow in the base with the black powder and add the fuse. Often a playing card would be placed over the powder to serve as a washer. Finally, the second anvil, or flier, would be placed right side up atop the first anvil, fitting base to base.

Once everyone was ready, the blacksmith (or other brave individual) would light the fuse and everyone would scurry to a safe distance. When the powder lit, the explosion would shake the ground and send the anvil up to 200 feet in the air. Once the anvil landed it could be shot again, and again, until the supply of powder ran out.

To carry on the tradition, when blacksmiths gather today at large conventions, anvils are usually shot. In fact, the video below is by a world champion anvil shooter.

As you celebrate the 4th of July today, enjoy your family and friends, and when those fireworks explode, you might look out for falling anvils!

  • What are your favorite 4th of July traditions?

First Modern Olympics included Guns and Whiskey, but No Gold

The Gun that Won the West…


With the capture of the Wild Bunch in 1896, gunfights in the Old West were winding down just as a different type of gun battle was heating up.  For that was the year the first modern Olympics were held in Athens, following a 1502 year hiatus.

American born John Paine convinced his gunsmith brother Sumner to enter the shooting competition with him. The two landed in Greece armed with an arsenal of weapons, including  colt revolvers and three thousand rounds of ammunition.

Like all American athletes, they were in for a shock.  Greece went by the Orthodox calendar which meant it was April 5th in Greece and only March 25th in America. Instead of having two weeks to prepare for competition, as planned, American athletes had only eight hours. Fortunately, that was all John and and his brother needed.

 …Also Won the Crown

 When the brothers were told that their Stevens 22s were “not usual” and inadmissible, the brothers switched to colt 45s. John easily won the military gun contest with his  colt.   In fact, he won so easily he thought it unsporting to continue and withdrew from the other events so as not to embarrass the host. (Can you imagine anyone doing that today?)  That left his brother to win the free pistol event, making them the first siblings to win medals in an Olympic event.

The brothers’ shooting skills were given less credit than the whiskey they sipped between rounds to relieve tension. Thinking booze would give them the winning edge, other marksmen started sporting flasks.

Since gold was considered “crass” first place winners went home with a silver medal and a crown of olive leaves.  I don’t know what John or Sumner did with their crowns, but the medal came in handy.

Several years later in 1901, Sumner found his wife in bed with his daughter’s music teacher.   He chased the man away with four pistol shots and was arrested for assault.  When the police learned he won an Olympic medal for shooting, they decided he must have missed on purpose and released him.

So are you planning to watch the Olympics this year?  What is your favorite Olympic sport?

Okay, here I go again; I’m not going to get hooked on the Olympics. I won’t. Absolutely not. This year I mean it.  Not going to do it.  Nope!

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Lucy book cover

Reality or Ridiculous? What Do You Watch When You're Not Reading?

Just when we think we couldn’t possibly see any more reality shows, more pop up every season. And some of them have lasted for years. Because I sometimes wonder about really weird and often pointless things, I recently googled the most-watched reality shows.  I shouldn”t have been surprised to see Judge Judy on the list. She’s had a daily afternoon slot since 1996.

I had no idea what several of these shows were even about. If you know, please fill us in. I didn’t see one of my husband’s faves on the list: Ice Road Truckers. My daughter likes The Bachelor. I used to watch Dog The Bounty Hunter.

I had a good laugh when I encapsulated each show into a one sentence description. I think you’ll laugh too, and you’ll wonder why we get sucked into some of these shows.


I admit to being an American Idol fan. I also enjoy So You Think You Can Dance. Sometimes I catch The Voice if it’s on. I’ve seen Pawn Stars, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it. I’ve watched Abbey Lee on Dance Moms on occasion. And when they show the entire season of Face Off before the season finale, I record it, because I get a kick out of the costume creation.


So here are the top 50 reality shows.


1.   Duck Dynasty (2012 TV Series)

a Louisiana bayou family living the American dream


2.   Amazing Race (2001 TV series)

multiple teams race around the globe to amazing locations to win a million dollars


3.   American Idol (2002 TV Series)

twelve finalists and future singers selected from America compete


4.   Dancing with the Stars (2005 TV Series)

celebrities partner with professional dancers and compete in weekly elimination rounds


5.   The Voice (2011 TV Series)

four famous musicians search for and mentor singers to become artists


6.   Splash (2013 TV Series)

entertainers jumping into a swimming pool


7.   Survivor (2000 TV Series)

group of contestants stranded in a remote location


8.   Cops (1989 TV Series)

police show follows real-life law enforcement officers

9.   The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (2010 TV Series)

peek into the lives of the fabulously wealthy


10.               The Real World (1992 TV Series)

seven – eight late teens to mid-20s to live together in a major city


11.               Pawn Stars (2009 TV Series)

Harrison family runs a pawn shop on the Las Vegas strip


12.               The Apprentice (2004 TV Series)

contestants compete to be apprenticed to billionaire Donald Trump


13.               Storage Wars (2010 TV Series)

People bid against each other for storage units


  14.  America”s Next Top Model (2003 TV Series)

U.S. women compete to be next “it girl” in the modeling world


15. Kitchen Nightmares (2007 TV Series)

Famous chef helps struggling restaurants


16. Hell”s Kitchen (2005 TV Series)

Famous chef puts aspiring young chefs through rigorous and devastating challenges


17. Project Runway (2004 TV Series)

aspiring fashion designers compete to break into the industry


18. Face Off (2011 TV Series)

competition between aspiring special-effects make-up artists


19. The Devil”s Ride (2012 TV Series)

Wannabe-tough biker guys ride around

20.  Keeping Up with the Kardashians (2007 TV Series)

exploits of Kardashian-Jenner family


21. The Real Housewives of Atlanta (2008 TV Series)


22.  Real Husbands of Hollywood (2013 TV Series )


23. Hardcore Pawn (2009 TV Series)

Les Gold and two children operatea  Detroit”s pawnshop.


24. Fashion Star (2012 TV Series)


25. The Face (2013 TV Series)

contestants are guided through weekly assignments


26. Snooki & JWOWW (2012 TV Series)


27. Dance Moms (2011 TV Series)

notoriously demanding dance instructor clashes with moms


28. Ridiculousness (2011 TV Series)


29. Jersey Shore (2009 TV Series)

New Jersey 20-somethings and their hook-ups.


30. Comic Book Men (2012 TV Series)

neighborhood comic book store and fanboy culture


31. Judge Judy (1996 TV Series)

former judge tackles real-life small claims cases

32. Fast N” Loud (2012 TV Series)

guys cruise for the classic cars


33. Monster Man (2011 TV Series)

Man makes monster and alien props


34. Shark Tank (2009 TV Series)

entrepreneurs compete


35.Stranded (2013 TV Series)

paranormal and psychological experiments


36. The Ultimate Fighter (2005 TV Series)

martial arts fighters compete for a UFC contract


37. Ax Men (2008 TV Series)

logging crews battle the elements to make a living


38. King of the Nerds (2013 TV Series)


39. The Biggest Loser (2004 TV Series)

contestants compete to lose the most weight


40. Kourtney & Kim Take Miami (2009 TV Series)

Two Kardashian sisters open a boutique and party



Teen Mom 2 (2011 TV Series)

challenges teen moms face


42. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (2012 TV Series)

Crew follows mom and daughter from Toddlers & Tiaras


43. Lizard Lick Towing (2011 TV Series)


44. The Bachelor (2002 TV Series)

single women compete to marry a stranger

45. Dog the Bounty Hunter (2003 TV Series)

real-life bounty hunter  and family chase fugitives in the Hawaiian Islands


46. Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (2006 TV Series)

Food Network”s Guy Fieri visits America”s favorite diners


47. The Taste (2013 TV Series)


48. Geordie Shore (2011 TV Series)


49. 16 and Pregnant (2009 TV Series)


50. The Rachel Zoe Project (2008 TV Series)

celebrity stylist takes her business to the next level


All right, time to confess which ones you’ve seen and which ones you make it a point to watch.



More Fun Facts from the 1800s

Now that I’ve met my latest deadline (PHEW) I’m coming up for air. During my free time this week I’ve addressed all those pesky little life details I let get away from me. I’ve attempted to clean house, organize tax papers, cleaned the inside of my car and scaled Mt. Laundry. I’ve also put some time into researching my next book, AKA immersing myself in the 1800s again. As promised here is a list of a few key moments and inventions in our American history, from the latter part of the decade.


First elevator installed in 5 story New York department store
“Dime Novels” become popular
Paper bags
George Crum”s potato chips in Saratoga Springs, NY
Gold used to fill dental cavities
First oil well in America
Sparrows imported to Brooklyn to eat caterpillars
Modern embalming methods
Los Angeles incorporated as a city
Darwin”s natural selection and evolution theories
Mailboxes on the streets of New York and Boston
The source of the Nile
Mr. Macy”s Store
Ice hockey


Chewing gum
The martini invented in San Francisco
First weekly fashion magazine, Harper’s Bazaar
Peep shows
The game of croquet imported from England
The corkscrew
Liquid soap
Laced shoes
The Zoëtrope motion picture projection machine
Mr. Pullman”s sleeping cars on trains
City-block long department store – A.T. Stewart & Co. New York
Badminton invented
Roller-skating in America
First professional baseball team the Cincinnati Red Stockings
The seventh-inning stretch and base-stealing introduced in baseball
The Ph.D. degrees
Pony Express begins fast mail service
Dynamite manufacturing in San Francisco
US is covered by rail as Union Pacific & Central Pacific linked
1st New York elevated train, the 9th Avenue El


Standard Oil Company opens for business
Mr. Proctor and Mr. Gamble”s floating soap, Ivory
Inter-collegiate football games played by the new Harvard Rules of Football
Pullman dining cars
Barnum & Bailey”s circus “The Greatest Show on Earth”
Kindergartens in schools
American-made bicycles
The Refrigerator
The Brooklyn Bridge
Alexander Graham Bell”s telephone
First Sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta
Woolworth”s 5¢ Store
Yellowstone – first National Park in America
The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs
Montgomery Ward mail order catalogues
American Bar Association
National Rifle Association (NRA) and the invention of the repeater rifle by Mannlicher


Edison makes electric light
Coca-Cola, Hire”s Root Beer and Dr. Pepper
The hamburger
Electric powered elevators
The hot dog
Central heating and plumbing
12 story is tallest building in New York – later to become Chelsea Hotel
The game of Bingo
The brass cylinder Music Box or idiophone
Mr. Gregg”s shorthand system
World”s first beauty contest at Spa, Belgium
Bicycle built for two
Tournament of Roses parade
National Geographic Society
The Roller coaster
Statue of Liberty presented to U.S. by France
First rodeo
The Pledge of Allegiance


First radio programs
B B guns
Fairy Floss or cotton candy introduced at American circuses
Sears Roebuck catalogues
Erector sets, Tinkertoys and Lincoln logs
The Wright Brothers airplane at Kitty Hawk
The ice cream cone
Ziegfeld girls, “It” girls
Baseball cards
I.Q. tests

telephone with separate earpiece and mouthpiece
First Auto Show at Madison Square Garden displays 31 cars
Boy Scouts
Halley”s comet
Plaza Hotel in New York
Emmeline Pankhurst”s woman”s suffragette meetings
Teddy bears

I could go on and on and on. I really had a hard time picking and choosing what to include here today.

What stuck out for you? Anything you didn”t already know?