CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS IN JULY WITH PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS!

Cheryl2041webHi everyone! Ready for some great western historical romance reading at some fantastic bargain prices? Well, let me tell you about Prairie Rose Publications’ 2nd annual CHRISTMAS IN JULY event!

Christmas in July is a chance for us to be able to showcase our authors’ short stories from the past year’s anthologies as single sell stories. Many of the stories are Christmas stories, but there are others, as well, and also for the duration of our Christmas in July event some of our full length novels will be reduced to only .99!

Our Christmas in July event will start on July 24 (this Friday) and will last through the next Friday, the 31st. One fun thing we always try to do when we have these sales is a Facebook party called a “FANDANGO” for our authors and readers to connect and get to know one another. During this year’s Christmas in July, our Fandango will take place on Monday, the 27th and Tuesday, the 28th. We decided on those days because Jacquie Rogers, one of our authors who is always so wonderful at setting up these shindigs for us, has a birthday on the 27th, and mine is on the 28th!

Here’s a collection of the 21 short stories and duos that will be available, but we’ll have more books available at “Christmas in July sale prices”!

PRPChristmas+in+July+2015 FINALI’ll post the links below so everyone can sign up, if you’d like to attend, and come join us for two afternoons/evenings of lots of fun, chatter, and PRIZES! What is Christmas without gifts?

Here’s a sneak peek at our fillies who will be participating with some of their stories in the Prairie Rose Publications Christmas in July event!

 

PRPThe Last 3 Miles Kathleen 2 WebKathleen R. Adams The Last Three Miles

When an accident leaves Hamilton Hollister convinced he’ll never be more than half a man, he abandons construction of a railway spur his lumber mill needs to survive.

 

Believing no woman shackled by social convention can be complete, railroad heiress Katherine Brashear refuses to let the nearly- finished track die. The magic of Christmas in a small Texas town may help them bridge the distance…if they follow their hearts down The Last Three Miles.

 

A PRAIRIE ROSE DUO–TWO STORIES UNDER ONE COVER!

PRPTanya Sisters Double 2 WebTanya Hanson: Sisters: Her Hurry-Up Husband

Prim and proper socialite Elspeth Maroney flees from an indiscretion to the Wild West of Colorado as a mail order bride. She doesn’t plan to stay long, only a month. Rancher Hezekiah Steller needs a wife quick to get himself an heir, but what will the stagecoach deliver to his doorstep?

Their worlds collide deliciously until Ellie must confess her mistakes. Will Hez still want her tomorrow?

Her Thief of Hearts

To escape her domineering mother, Omaha socialite Judith Maroney heads to her sister’s Colorado ranch on the morning train…a train that’s ambushed by the very cowboy who stole her heart on her last visit!

Taking on the disguise of his outlaw twin brother, Tremaine Heisler holds up a train to retrieve a family treasure—and finds his gun pointed at the woman he loves. Is there any way out for either of them?

A PRAIRIE ROSE DUO–TWO STORIES UNDER ONE COVER!

PRPTracy Garrett Duo WebTracy Garrett—A RIVER’S BEND DUO

Wanted: The Sheriff

Martha Bittner may be considered a spinster at twenty-seven, but she’s not planning to stay that way. For four years, she’s wanted the sheriff of River’s Bend, Missouri, to notice her as more than a friend and a really good cook. With the first annual spring dance only weeks away, Martha decides to announce her intentions — and declares the sheriff a wanted man.

Sheriff Matthew Tate always thought he was better off a bachelor. Growing up in Boston society, where marriage is a business transaction and wealth his greatest asset, he’s learned to distrust all women’s intentions. None of them even catch his eye anymore — until pretty Martha Bittner tells him exactly what she wants… and he wonders why he ever resisted capture.

No Less Than Forever

Doctor Franz Bittner is satisfied with his life as it is. He has a good practice in a place where he is respected, in spite of his German birth. He has good friends and enough income to provide him with a few comforts. A wife would only complicate things. Then a tiny blond stranger is pulled from the river and everything changes. With one smile she captures his attention—and steals his heart.

Rebekah Snow Redmann barely survived her abusive husband’s attack. Though she was given to him to pay her father’s debts, she’d rather die than go back. Then she ends up in the care of the handsome local doctor and he stitches up more than her wounds—he mends her soul. With him, she discovers everything that she believes she can never have…a love that will last forever.

PRPThese Rough Dreams Cheryl WebCheryl Pierson: These Rough Dreams

When Southern socialite Gabrielle Mason discovers she’s pregnant, she takes her future into her own hands. She has her family name to consider, and a husband is what she needs. She answers an ad for a mail-order bride in Indian Territory. But the man who proposes isn’t the man she ends up marrying.

Johnny Rainbolt is not a family man by any stretch of the imagination…but Fate is about to give him no choice. His late sister’s three children will be arriving on the next stage, and he has no idea what to do with them. When cultured Gabby Mason is left waiting for her prospective groom at the stage station, Johnny sees a way to solve everyone’s problems.

Some dreams get off to a rough start. A mail-order marriage is only the beginning. When one of the children is stolen, Johnny and Gabby are forced to depend on one another in an unimaginable circumstance that could turn tragic… or show them what might become of THESE ROUGH DREAMS.

These are just a few of the wonderful stories that will be available on the 24th!

Visit our website at http://www.prairierosepublications.com on July 24 to see the unveiling of over 21 wonderful books, duos, and short stories that we’ll have available for Christmas in July!

To join up for the 2015 Christmas in July PRP Fandango at Facebook, go here and click “JOIN”—this event will start both the 27th and the 28th at 5:00 EASTERN STANDARD TIME, so don’t forget to make the adjustment for whichever time zone you live in! I promise, you won’t want to miss out on one minute of the fun!

http://www.facebook.com/events/1608290686092159/

We look forward to seeing you there!

Guest Blogger Renee Ryan

 

(Read the entire post to learn how to be entered for a FABULOUS giveaway Renee is offering)

Good mR.Ryanorning, Renee Ryan here. I want to thank Winnie for letting me stop by today. It’s great to be back in the junction with my favorite fillies. I’ve always loved westerns and am still writing them, even though I’m no longer a contributing member of this blog. In honor of my temporary return I have a special giveaway today, but more on that later.

It’s been nearly thirty years since I read my first romance novel. I was in college, pursuing a double major in Economics and Religious Studies. Both subjects required intensive reading of complicated material, including several religious texts in the original Greek and Hebrew. A sorority sister noticed my eyes crossing after a long night of studying in the chapter room and took pity on me. She handed me a Harlequin Romance novel and said, “Take a break.”

Skeptical, I did as she requested. Two hours later, I was hooked for life. And so began a fascination with romance novels. Reading these happily-ever-after stories became my greatest treat after a long day of studying or test taking. At the time, I never dreamed I’d one day write a novel (see my majors up above) or that I would write for the company where it all began that late spring evening. I certainly never dreamed I would incorporate some of very same themes I enjoyed all those years ago.

My first western historical romance was written by Teresa Medeiros called Nobody’s Darling. I’d found my favorite time period. I still enjoy reading Harlequin books and I still enjoy reading westerns. As a writer I’ve learned to incorporate my favorite romance novel themes (AKA tropes) in my favorite time period (the Old West). I especially love the following:

  • Marriage of Convenience
  • Reunion/Old Flame
  • Fish out of water (i.e. city girl on a ranch, etc.)
  • Cowboy
  • Rancher
  • Cowboy
  • Cowboy
  • Cowboy
  • Matchmaker/Matchmaker kids
  • Widow/widower
  • Single parent
  • Twins
  • Cowboy
  • Mistaken identity
  • Cowboy
  • Cowboy
  • Temporary Nanny
  • Guardian/Protector/Lawman
  • Bad boy meets Good girl
  • COWBOY!!!

Anyone see a theme? 🙂

Within each of the above tropes there are a million different storylines.  I’ve used one or more in all of my published novels. For example, in THE OUTLAW’S REDEMPTION I used cowboy and guardian/protector and bad boy meets good girl tropes. MISTAKEN BRIDE I had twins, mistaken identity, nanny, single parent, and widower.

I guess it’s true what they say, there are no new stories just new ways to tell them.

What about you?  When did you first start reading romance novels and what are your favorite themes?  Leave a comment and you’ll be eligible to win a copy of my latest Charity House book, THE MARRIAGE AGREEMENT. The book has the marriage of convenience and bad boy meets good girl and matchmaker tropes.

I’ll be giving away one copy of this book to a lucky reader and one full set of the entire Charity House series to one grand prize winner. THE MARRIAGE AGREEMENT is book 9 of 9 and wraps up the series. Bringing this series to an end has been bittersweet for me. Charity House is no ordinary orphanage, but rather a unique home for the by-blows of prostitutes and gunslingers.  By its very nature, Charity House lends itself to unique stories about people facing a world that didn’t want their “kind” and THE MARRIAGE AGREEMENT highlights one of the original orphans, Jonathon Hawkins, or Johnny.

 

 

The Marriage Agreement coverartTHE MARRIAGE AGREEMENT

Promoted to Wife?

Always the dutiful daughter, Fanny Mitchell surprised everyone when she broke her engagement. Now she’s working at the fancy Hotel Dupree and falling for the mysterious, handsome owner, Jonathon Hawkins. But when she and her boss are caught in an unexpected kiss at a ball, will her reputation be tarnished forever?

The son of a woman of ill repute, Jonathon knows that gossip can destroy lives in an instant. And he won’t allow sweet, lovely Fanny to suffer the consequences. When he proposes a marriage of convenience, Jonathon believes he can keep his heart to himself. But the more time he spends with Fanny, the more he realizes he may just be in love with his wife.

Charity House: Offering an oasis of hope, faith and love on the rugged Colorado frontier.

 

(To purchase a copy or learn more about this book, click on the book cover)

HOW THE WEST WAS FUN!

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

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Amazon

B&N

Dime Novels – The birth of the paperback

letterhead-header 2

Dime Novel - MalaeskaRight around the start of the Civil War, Erastus and Irwin Beadle published a new series of cheap paperbacks entitled Beadle’s Dime Novels. Thanks to increased literacy rates among the American people during this time, and the inexpensive price (yes, they truly did cost a dime), these thin, paper-bound books met with huge success. The debut novel – Malaeska, the Indian Wife of the White Hunter, by Ann Stephens (a woman – hooray!) sold more than 65,000 copies within the first few months of its publication. Those are the kind of numbers even today’s authors would get excited about – believe me! The book released on June 9, 1860 and was basically a reprint of a serialized story that had appeared in the Ladies’ Companion magazine back in 1839.

Dime novels varied in size and thickness, but the tended to be about 100 pages in length, about the equivalent to today’s novella. At first, dime novel covers had no cover art beyond the fancy title script. But it didn’t take long for the Beadles to move to illustrated covers, better designed to grab a browsing customer’s attention.

If you saw a homicidal squaw about to tomahawk a frontiersman, wouldn’t that grab your attention?  The next one is slightly less blatant with the rifleman helping a young woman escape danger, but there is certainly still an element of adventure and the breathless question of “What will happen next?”

Dime novels were famous for lurid, often melodramatic tales of the frontier. Heroes were larger than life and typically had exaggerated strength and skill. Not that the readers cared. The more jaw-dropping the story, the more fun it was to read. Hence the birth of genre paperback fiction.

In my latest release, A Worthy Pursuit, I have a lot of fun playing with these dime novel ideals. Young Lily is an avid, and rather bloodthirsty, fan of dime novels – her favorites being the tales of Dead-Eye Dan and his winsome companion Hammer Rockwell, who just happens to bear a striking similarity to Stone Hammond, our hero.

Here’s a sneak peak from one of the scenes where Stone and Lily are reading dime novels together:

Taking Dead-Eye Dan in hand, Stone fanned the pages to a random spot in the middle. “‘Dan dove behind a fallen tree as a hailstorm of bullets rained down around him. The Gatling Gang had come by their moniker honestly, laying down rapid fire that mimicked the output of the famed war gun. Unruffled by the deadly flurry, however, Dan flipped onto his back behind the log and reloaded his Henry repeater with methodical precision. The six-gun at his hip sported full chambers. The knife on his belt was razor-sharp and ready for action.'” Stone’s voice trailed off, cueing Lily.

She grinned, taking up the challenge like a seasoned gamester.

“‘Bullets blasted shards of bark all around Dan, but he just brushed the pieces off his chest with a flick of his wrist. Billy’s gang couldn’t aim worth a hill of beans. That’s why they always sprayed so much lead. It was the only way they ever hit anything. Too often, innocent civilians. Dan scowled, his jaw tightening as he rolled onto his side to steal a peek over the top of the log. One against seven were lousy odds, but Billy Cavanaugh and his crew were vermin that needed e-rad-i-cation.'” She stumbled slightly over the large word, but it didn’t stop her. She passed right over it and forged ahead. “‘He’d just wait for them to reload, then take them out one by one.'”

Stone closed the book and set it in his lap. “You do know this story is hugely exaggerated, right?” He tossed the dime novel to Lily and winked at her. “There were only five men in the Gatling Gang, not seven. And Daniel Barrett didn’t bring them all in on his own. He had help.”

A Worthy Pursuit
Click cover to order

Lily’s blue eyes glimmered as she rose up on her knees, bringing her face level with his. “Do you mean to tell me that you know Dead-Eye Dan?”

Stone blew a self-deprecating breath out of the side of his mouth. “Know him? Shoot. He and I were partners back in the day. ‘Course no one actually calls him Dead-Eye Dan. He’s a rancher now, foreman at a place called Hawk’s Haven up north a piece. Gave up chasin’ criminals in order to chase cows. He is a crack shot, though. Saved my sorry hide more than once.” He nudged Lily with his shoulder, nearly toppling her back onto the cushions. “‘Course I saved his hide a time or two, myself.”

“Wait a minute.” Lily drew in a breath so large, he expected her head to start swelling. “You’re . . . You’re . . . Hammer Rockwell. The man who shows up in the nick of time and takes the Gatling Gang by surprise by climbing down the box canyon wall with his knife clenched in his teeth!”

Hammer Rockwell? Knife in his teeth? “Of all the ridiculous, made-up, nonsense,” Stone sputtered. “I’ll have you know, all my knives were safely stowed in their sheaths when I made that climb.”

  • Do you like your fictional heroes larger than life? Or do you prefer more realistic story lines?

Texas Ranger Badges: Fact or Fiction?

Kathleen Rice Adams header

Texas Ranger badges are a hot commodity in the collectibles market, but the caveat “buyer beware” applies in a big way. The vast majority of items marketed as genuine Texas Ranger badges are reproductions, facsimiles, or toys. Very few legitimate badges exist outside museums and family collections, and those that do hardly ever are sold. There’s a very good reason for that: Manufacturing, possessing, or selling Texas Ranger insignia, even fakes that are “deceptively similar” to the real thing, violates Texas law except in specific circumstances.

According to Byron A. Johnson, executive director of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum (the official historical center for the Texas Ranger law-enforcement agency), “Spurious badges and fraudulent representation or transactions connected with them date back to the 1950s and are increasing. We receive anywhere from 10 to 30 inquiries a month on badges, the majority connected with sales on eBay.”

If you had to, could you identify a legitimate Texas Ranger badge? Test your knowledge: Which of the alleged badges below are genuine? Pick one from each set. (All images are ©Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco, Texas, and are used with permission. All Rights Reserved.)

Set 1

1889Badge_130
©TRHFM, Waco, TX

SpecialAgent130
©TRHFM, Waco, TX

Answer: The left-hand badge, dated 1889, is the earliest authenticated Texas Ranger insignia in the collection of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. Badges weren’t standard issue for Rangers until 1935, although from 1874 onward, individual Rangers sometimes commissioned badges from jewelers or gunsmiths, who made them from Mexican coins. Relatively few Rangers wore a badge out in the open. As for the item on the right? There’s no such thing as a “Texas Ranger Special Agent.”

Set 2

FakeShield_130
©TRHFM, Waco, TX

1938Badge_130
©TRHFM, Waco, TX

Answer: On the right is an official shield-type badge issued between 1938 and 1957. Ranger captains received gold badges; the shields issued to lower ranks were silver. The badge on the left is a fake, though similar authentic badges exist.

Set 3

FrontierBattalionBadge_130
©TRHFM, Waco, TX

1957Badge_130
©TRHFM, Waco, TX

Answer: The badge on the right was the official badge of the Rangers from July 1957 to October 1962. Called the “blue bottle cap badge,” the solid, “modernized” design was universally reviled. The left-hand badge is a fake. According to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, “No genuine Texas Ranger badges are known to exist with ‘Frontier Battalion’ engraved on them.”

Set 4

1962Badge_130
©TRHFM, Waco, TX

COF_130
©TRHFM, Waco, TX

Answer: The left-hand badge, called the “wagon wheel badge,” has been the official Texas Ranger badge since October 1962. Each is made from a Mexican five-peso silver coin. The badge on the right is a “fantasy badge.” According to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, the most common designation on such badges is “Co. A.”

How did you do? If you answered correctly for more than one without benefiting from a lucky guess, you did better than most people, including Texans. Give yourself extra points if you knew Rangers proved their legitimacy with Warrants of Authority, not badges, prior to 1935.

For more information about the Texas Rangers—including the history of the organization, biographical sketches of individual Rangers, and all kinds of information about badges and other insignia—visit the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum online at TexasRanger.org. The museum and its staff have my utmost gratitude for their assistance with this post. They do the Rangers proud.

 

While we’re on the subject of Rangers…

TheSecond-BestRangerInTexas_200x300On June 1, Western Fictioneers, a professional organization for authors of western novels and short stories, announced the winners of the 2015 Peacemaker Awards. Presented annually, the Peacemakers recognize the best western historical fiction published during the previous calendar year.

I’m happy to say “The Second-Best Ranger in Texas” received the award for Best Western Short Fiction. “The Second-Best Ranger in Texas” tells the story of a washed-up Texas Ranger and a failed nun who find redemption in love.

The award marked the second time in two years a short story published by Prairie Rose Publications has been honored with a Peacemaker: Livia J. Washburn’s “Charlie’s Pie” received the Best Western Short Fiction award in 2014.

Available in paperback and e-book

In addition, Prodigal Gun, also published by Prairie Rose, was named a finalist in the Best Western First Novel category. Prodigal Gun is the first novel-length romance ever nominated for a Peacemaker.

I don’t say any of that to brag…

Oh, heck. Who am I trying to kid? I’m bragging. (Sorry, Mom!)

There really is a larger point, though: I think the award and nomination are important, but not because the books are mine. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right stories. There’s a hint at something much broader here: At long last, it seems, romances of all lengths are being recognized as “respectable literature” outside the romance category. That’s good news for all of us who enjoy a genre too often scoffed at and snubbed by the larger community of authors and readers.

Over the past eighteen months, a number of books published by Prairie Rose Publications have been nominated for or received awards of all kinds. If that’s any indication, PRP is off to a great start. Founded in August 2013 by Livia Washburn Reasoner and Cheryl Pierson, the company is and always will be dedicated to publishing traditional westerns and western romance written by women. Nevertheless, in less than two years, PRP has expanded to include young adult, inspirational, paranormal, and medieval lines. The “little publishing company” releases some darn fine fiction. I’m proud it publishes mine.

 

To celebrate good fortune in so many areas of my life, I’ll gift a copy of “The Second-Best Ranger in Texas” to two folks who are brave enough to tell us how many of the badges above they identified correctly. To the comments with you!

 

 

Feisty Women Fascinate Peter Leavell

The Fillies are happy to have Mr. Peter Leavell. He’s a western author with a love of history. Women’s voting rights greatly interests him. This is his first time to visit and we hope you make him welcome. He’s giving away a book so leave a comment.

Peter Leavell

 

My novels feature feisty women who change the world. Why? They’ve made our world a better place using methods that seem, to our Internet savvy minds, impossible. Take this snapshot of history loosely based on Colorado’s suffrage movement.

Pretend you’re a woman who wants to vote, but you live in the American frontier about 1910. And you, being feisty, aren’t about to let another day go by without making some progress toward this obvious (not to the men who are in charge) form of equality. You have no social media. No support. Nothing but your wits and a world that frowns on women making a stand for what’s right.

Where to start? Few care about women voting. Your husband is your mouthpiece, and his vote is your vote. With a male dominated society, you’re in for a battle.

Women Voting SignMy recommendation is to start a society. So you write a pamphlet with a list of rules and aims. You have a recognizable mission and direction. If people join, you can pool resources. It’s best to find a partner. Do you have a sister or a best friend? Working together on this is vital. There’s a lot of work to do.

She agrees. You both knock on friends’ doors and chat. Only half agree to attend a meeting you plan on Thursday. When Thursday arrives, you’re nervous, but explain your hope to garner support for women’s suffrage. Because you’ve educated yourself, you know the senate must approve items on the ballot. It comes down to getting enough people to sign a petition so you can have your say before the legislature. All twelve women who attend the meeting join the society.

For next month’s meeting, you take out an ad in the paper. The editor won’t run the story, so you use your own money. You go door to door during the day while husbands are working. The wives seem receptive.

Ratification of BillWhen meeting starts, too many people cram into the barn. You take initiative and move to the park. As you speak, they hang on your every word. They clap and cheer and are eager to help. Your next step is to gather signatures.

Eighty women go door to door, and while many turn you away, those in the society don’t lose hope. In just a few weeks, you have thousands of signatures. You’re tired, but you march straight to the senate headquarters and slap down the pages you’ve collected.

Senators listen respectfully months later, then quickly vote not to entertain the amendment.

You leave with broken heart. Except you receive word they held another vote. They will allow women to vote in school elections. The victory is so thrilling that women flock to your society. The next suffrage meeting is attended by so many women, the newspaper reports the event.

Susan B. Anthony notices, and sends a telegram that says if you can provide a small stipend, she will come speak. You cannot sleep that night. The thrill of the moment is too much to take in.

West For the Back HillsWhen she arrives, she tells women why they should care to vote.

Spurred by the speech, the women and few men work harder. The measure makes the ballot. The vote fails.

Many leave the society, and you’re discouraged, but your sister wonders why you couldn’t start your own magazine? You do, and the first edition sells 2,500 copies. You find open meetings less popular than reading about the movement at home.

You keep writing. Halfhearted support turns to firm dedication, and for years, you keep looking at the world through women’s rights. You’ve showed staying power, and other clubs join your society, such as Ladies Aid and Monday Literary Club.

One of your society members is voted onto the school board.

Ten years later, you have enough votes to make the state senate put the vote on the ballot.

You’ve been doing this for ten years. You know what to do. Meetings grow again, leaflets are passed out, house-to-house canvasses get the word out.

And you win. You’ve done it. You step into the voters booth, and it’s not just the ballot in front of you that gives you a thrill. Your voice has been heard. And the voice of thousands of your gender will be heard.

Why do I make my female protagonists feisty? Because the world needs to hear their stories.

Now I’d like to hear yours. What does having the right to vote mean to you? Leave a comment for a chance to win a print copy of WEST FOR THE BLACK HILLS!

First Petticoats & Pistols Giveaway of Now and Forever

Now and Forever
Click to Buy Now and Forever 

 

Now and Forever Book #2 of the Wild at Heart Series is now shipping from Amazon!

To celebrate it’s release I’m posting an excerpt and giving away a signed copy to one lucky commentor. (please try and think of yourself as lucky!)

Matt Tucker could take people for only so long and then he had to get up in the mountains, all the way up where he was more likely to run into a golden eagle than a man. He’d wander in the thin pure air for a week or two, to clear his thoughts. Forget the smell and behavior of men.

This time it wasn’t men driving him to the high-up peaks. This time it was a certain head full of dark curls and a pair of shining blue eyes. Not a man—though no one would admit it—which was so odd he almost turned around.

In fact he wanted to turn around so bad he walked faster.

            He scooted past a boulder—and stomped on the toe of a bear cub.

A squall drew his eyes down. A roar dragged them up. He looked into the gaping maw of an angry mama grizzly. He hadn’t heard her or smelled her. Honestly, that was so careless and stupid he almost deserved to die.

            She swung a massive paw and he had no time to dodge. She knocked him over the side of that mountain. Not a cliff, but the next thing to it. He slammed into an aspen.

He bounced off and plummeted.

The next Aspen hit so hard his ribs howled in pain. He snagged. His arms, legs and back whipped forward but his haversack held. It saved him.

That’s when he heard a roar. It brought his head around.

The mama wasn’t satisfied with knocking him off a mountain. She was coming, and coming fast, finding a way down somehow.

Finally he slammed into level ground and stopped, sprawled flat on his back. He flickered his eyes open, knowing he had to get up and run. The bear was coming.

            His blurred vision filled with a cap of dark curls and the prettiest blue eyes he’d ever seen.

            Well, no. Not ever.

            Because he’d seen them before on the roof of Aaron and Kylie Masterson’s cabin. He wanted to just lay there and look forever.

            And then that dratted bear roared and those blue eyes, looking at him all worried, turned uphill and changed from concern to horror.

            The pretty little gal reached down, grabbed Tucker by the front of his shirt, and hauled him upright. What was she going to do, throw him over her shoulder and run? He didn’t think that was going to work. He was about six inches taller and outweighed her by a hundred pounds.

            But Mama Grizz was coming, so someone was going to have to do something. They couldn’t stay here, and Tucker wasn’t sure he was up to moving. Of course he’d only had about two second to think about it. He hadn’t really tried.

            “Hang on!” She shoved him backward, clinging so tight it was like he’d gotten a second pack hooked on.

            She screamed.

            They flew. There was no more rolling. No more aspens. No more rocks. They soared.

            Tucker saw the walls of the cliff rushing past and knew where they were. Worse yet, he knew where they were going to land. “Are you crazy?”

             They were falling to almost certain death. He’d just been killed by a woman as crazy as he was. Well, he wasn’t killed yet. But it was only a few minutes ahead of them.

            The bear roared overhead.

            The dark curled madwoman shouted, “I hope Bailey’s not too stubborn to tend my sheep.”

            “I hate sheep.”

            They hit the water so hard it was like slamming into granite.

 

Mary Connealy
Mary Connealy

Except over….Mary again.

Well, things only get worse for poor Tucker and Shannon right along with him. They’re a long while saving themselves and as a reward for doing it??? It turns out they spent five days alone together, day and night. Only a wedding will do.

It’s a lot of fun this adventure with Shannon and Tucker. Give it a chance.

 

NOW AND FOREVER

Saddle up for romance and adventure with the Wilde sisters!

Shannon Wilde is the middle sister–and the one who loves animals. She’s established her own homestead and is raising sheep for their wool. Things are going fine…until Shannon gets swept over a cliff by Matthew Tucker!

Tucker seizes every opportunity to get away from civilization, but one particular walk in the woods ends with him sprinting away from an angry grizzly and plunging into a raging river, accidentally taking Shannon Wilde with him. Their adventure in the wilderness results in the solitary mountain man finding himself hitched to a young woman with a passel of relatives, a homestead, and a flock of sheep to care for.

As Tucker and Shannon learn to live with each other, strange things begin to happen on Shannon’s land. Someone clearly wants to drive her off, but whoever it is apparently didn’t count on Tucker. Trying to scare Matthew Tucker just makes him mad–and trying to hurt the woman he’s falling in love with sets off something even he never expected.

 

Gone Fishing . . . And Giveaway

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This week I am in Dallas at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. It is a giant conference for readers who love romance. I’ve never attended before, but I’m excited about the chance to participate. There are several other inspirational romance authors who will be there, and we are planning to host several workshops including an author panel, a fun reader Pictionary event called Saddle Up and Draw, and a chocolate party hosted by my publisher.

Since I am out of pocket today, I won’t be available to respond to comments, but I have a great incentive for you to leave one anyway. I’ll be giving away two contemporary western romances by the fabulous Robin Lee Hatcher to one commenter. Winner will be chosen on Sunday. (US addresses only)

Love Without EndWhenever You Come Around

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So for your chance to win, and since I’m at a booklover’s convention, tell me what your favorite type of romance storyline is.

Some examples could be:

  • Mail-order bride/marriage of convenience
  • Reformed rake/outlaw
  • Beauty and the beast – wounded hero
  • Cinderella story – downtrodden heroine rises above circumstances
  • Governess/widower needs woman to care for children
  • Love triangle

    Horses Beach Sunset
    Photo Credit: sahuaroshores via Compfight cc
  • Friends to lovers
  • Enemies/rivals to lovers
  • Amnesia
  • Blackmail/revenge
  • Fish out of water
  • Forbidden love
  • Guardian/ward
  • Opposites attract
  • Ugly duckling
  • Unrequited Love
  • Stranded together
  • Damsel in distress
  • Disguise – heroine dressed as a boy

I’m sure there are many more, and if you’re like me, you probably have many favorites on the list. All I need is one to enter you in the drawing.

Have fun!!!

THE GRATTAN MASSACRE & Book Giveaway

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juhlarik-HR-3Hey everyone! Thanks so much for having me over today! As I write stories, I love being able to weave historical events and figures into my fiction. In my first novella, Sioux Summer, published in The Oregon Trail Romance Collection, I was able to do just that. The Grattan Massacre was the conflict that spawned the First Sioux War, and it plays a part in my story.

In August, 1854, near Fort Laramie, Nebraska Territory (present day Wyoming), one lonely cow wandered away from a group of Mormon emigrants traveling the Oregon Trail. The bovine ambled into an encampment of Lakota Sioux containing roughly 4800 men, women, and children and was killed by a visiting Miniconjou warrior named High Forehead.

Young Bull
Photo credit: Andreas Krappweis.

The cow’s owner who had tracked it down, became fearful at the sight of the Indian encampment, so he went to Fort Laramie and explained the situation to Lt. Hugh Fleming. Fleming approached the Sioux chief, Conquering Bear, to negotiate a solution. The chief offered a horse from his own herd or a cow from the tribe’s herd, but the Mormon man demanded $25 cash. When terms couldn’t be reached, Fleming demanded the arrest of High Forehead. Conquering Bear wouldn’t agree since he had no authority over the Miniconjou tribe, so their negotiations ended in stalemate.

Second Lieutenant John Grattan, a new West Point graduate, took matters into his own hands. With little respect for the Sioux, he, an armed detachment of thirty soldiers, and an interpreter went searching for a fight. They marched into the Sioux encampment, intent on arresting High Forehead. The interpreter, who was drunk at the time, taunted the Sioux warriors, promising that the soldiers would kill them. Grattan demanded High Forehead’s surrender. When he refused, Grattan approached Conquering Bear. The chief once more offered a horse in exchange for the dead cow, but Grattan would accept only the arrest of High Forehead. Again, the negotiations ended in stalemate.

Red_Cloud
Government Archives

What Grattan didn’t know was that the Sioux warriors had flanked the detachment during the negotiations. As he returned to his horse, one soldier became so nervous he fired a shot, and the bullet struck and killed the Sioux chief. With bows and arrows, the Sioux killed Grattan and eleven others. The remaining men retreated to a rocky outcropping nearby, but the warriors, led by rising war chief Red Cloud, pursued and killed them all.

For days, the Sioux raided nearby settlers, trading posts, and Fort Laramie. Finally, the Indians abandoned the area for their respective hunting grounds, and in so doing, broke the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie. When a burial party went into the encampment, the thirty soldiers’ bodies were found mutilated almost beyond recognition.

Photo credit:Phil Konstantin.
Photo credit:Phil Konstantin.

 

News of the Grattan Massacre reached the War Department, and a plan for retaliation was formed. On September 3, 1855, a 700-soldier force led by Colonel William Harney descended on an encampment of 250 Brulé Sioux along Ash Creek. The soldiers killed more than one hundred Sioux men, women, and children and took roughly seventy prisoners. So began a long history of attacks and retaliations that continued for many years. And…the Battle of Ash Creek is directly linked to one of the most famous cases of retaliation in all of Indian war history. One of the young boys who witnessed the massacre at Ash Creek grew into the great Sioux warrior, Crazy Horse, who fought and killed Custer twenty-one years later at the Little Big Horn.

 

I hope you’ll be interested to see how The Grattan Massacre fits into my story, Sioux Summer.

You can find The Oregon Trail Romance Collection at bookstores everywhere, or purchase from Amazon. And to one lucky reader, I’ll be giving away an autographed copy. Leave a comment below to enter the drawing.

 

Oregon Trail Collection
To order click cover.

 

FRONTIER LIFE – AUSTRALIA AND AMERICA

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Glitter Text Generator

Margaret is giving away two books today. For a chance to win a copy of either  Frontier Belle or Fiery Possession (PDF downloads)  all you have to do is leave a comment.

Life on the American and Australian frontiers have a strikingly similar history. For example, take the American Homestead Act, and the Australian Act of Selection, which is the basis for my novels, Frontier Belle and Fiery Possession.

 

America: The original Homestead Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20th, 1862. It gave applicants freehold title to up to 160 acres of undeveloped federal land west of the Mississippi River. The law required only three steps from the applicant – file an application, improve the land, then file for a deed of title. Anyone who had never taken up arms against the U.S. government, including freed slaves, could file a claim on the provisions that they were over the age of twenty one and had lived on the land for five years.Tanner-FrontierBelle200x300

 

Most of us visualise the frontier home as a rustic log cabin nestled in a peaceful mountain valley or on a sweeping green plain. But in reality, the “little house on the prairie” was often not much more than a shack or a hastily scratched out hole in the ground. In the treeless lands of the plains and prairies, log cabins were out of the question so  homesteaders turned to the ground beneath their feet for shelter. The sod house, or “soddy,” was one of the most common dwellings in the frontier west.

 

 Of course, there were drawbacks to sod-house living. As the house was built of dirt and grass, it was constantly infested with bugs, mice, snakes. The sod roofs often leaked, which turned the dirt floor into a quagmire. Wet roofs took days to dry out and the enormous weight of the wet earth often caused roof cave-ins.

 

A typical American log cabin measured about ten by twenty feet, regardless of the number of inhabitants. Typically, frontier cabins featured only one room, which served as kitchen, dining room, living room, workroom, and bedroom.

 

Australia: In the colony of Victoria the 1860 Land Act allowed free selection of crown land.  This included land already occupied by the squatters, (ranchers) who had managed to circumvent the law for years and keep land that they did not legally own.

 

The Act allowed selectors access to the squatters’ land, and they could purchase between 40 and 320 acres of crown land, but after that, the authorities left them to fend for themselves. Not an easy task against the wealthy, often ruthless squatters who were incensed at what they thought was theft of their land.

 

The first permanent homesteads on the Australian frontier were constructed using posts and split timber slabs. Early settlers learnt from the aborigines that large sheets of bark could be cut and peeled off a variety of trees and used as sheets to clad the roof.

Anyone ever live in a log cabin or soddy?

http://www.bookswelove.net/tanner.php

http://www.margarettanner.com/

 

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 Margaret Tanner is a multi-published Award winning Australian author. She loves delving into the pages of history as she carries out research for her historical romance novels, and prides herself on being historically accurate. Many of her novels have been inspired by true events, with one being written around the hardships and triumphs of her pioneering ancestors in frontier Australia.

Margaret is married with three grown up sons, and two gorgeous little granddaughters. Outside of her family and friends, writing is her passion.