An Interview and an e-Book giveaway

Howdy!

Welcome!  Welcome to a terrifically beautiful Tuesday!

Recently, I was interviewed by Tory Richards at Coffee Time Romance concerning the book, SHE STEALS MY BREATH.  She asked me some interesting questions and so I thought I’d share the interview with you.  Tory is the author of many erotica romances.  So, without further ado, here is the interview:

Interview for Coffee Time Romance and More

Welcome, today we are talking with Karen Kay! I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy writing schedule to answer a few questions. First, let’s delve into who you are. Some of the questions may be untraditional but you’d be surprised at what readers connect to, and sometimes the simplest ‘I can relate to that’ grabs their interest where nothing else can.

**Can you share a little something about Karen Kay that’s not mentioned in your bio on your website? 

This question got me to thinking a bit, because, on my website, I really do tend to share my life with my readers.  But, here’s something I don’t usually share:  I’m pretty much a food purist, so to speak.  I don’t eat anything that comes in a box and nothing processed by another.  I make all my own catsup, mustard, sauces, sweets, etc.  Takes a bit more kitchen time and tends to make my life constantly busy.  It has taken me a bit of time, a lot of research and a couple of illnesses to reach this point, because I have loved fast food as much as anyone else.  But, not any more. 

 

**How long have you been writing? 

Twenty-six years round about.

 

**What have you found most challenging about it? 

Golly, what don’t I find challenging about it?  I’m not a slow writer, but I’m also not a fast writer.  I ache and struggle over sentences and descriptions that really matter.  Promotion also tends to make me a little high strung when a new release comes out. 

But, the things I do love, which keeps me going, is the research about the American Indian long-ago way of life — I’m always learning…taking on new things, i.e. recently I’ve become very interested in really learning to “speak” the gesture/sign language in common use all over America before English came in and replaced it.  And, love.  I truly believe that the love and love-making between a man and a woman who are truly committed to each other are probably one of the most beautiful creations on earth, their love, of course, creating a whole new generation. 

There are factions at work, in my opinion, who work to make us think that this (love-making) is filthy or dirty and they go out of their way to make it appear this is true. 

But, love and love-making between two people committed to one another is God’s plan, and, being God’s plan, is naturally one of the most beautiful things still found on this earth.  I do believe this to be true, and so in my stories, I try my best to make the love scenes as beautiful as I possibly can.

 

**What does writing do for you? Is it fun, cathartic, do you get emotional? 

Great question — I had to go and look up the word, cathartic, to make sure I understood it…and it means using some sort of medium to purge or cleanse some emotional aspect about something.  Okay, so I admit that sometimes when it comes to the bad guys in my story, I sometimes am writing real dialogue and real happenings — not always — but I’ve noticed when it comes to the bad guys in the story, I generally am working from real life, unfortunately.

 A story where I specifically remember doing this is PROUD WOLF’S WOMAN — and even then, I went back and edited out much of the bad parts because I thought no one would ever belief a man could say such things to a woman.

 Actually, I get very emotional about the stories and try to make them as light-hearted as possible, given the subject and the fact that one is writing a novel which must contain conflict.  In Native America, there is so much real trauma from the past, and even today, that I like to make my stories somewhat light-hearted, even when dealing with subjects that are not light-hearted.

 And, of course, they must always end well.

 

**Describe what your writing routine looks like. Are you disciplined with a strict schedule or do you have to be in the mood?

 I’m pretty disciplined.  I’d had to be when I wrote for two major publishing houses in New York.

 No, I don’t have to be in the mood.  But, I do like to look at pictures of what I’m writing about or pictures of a possible hero before I sit down to write.  I’ve tried to get rid of that habit, but I still do it, nonetheless.

 

**Did you go into writing thinking that it would be a hobby or a job?

Actually, no to both.  When I was growing up, my life was filled with music — I play piano and clarinet.  I practiced everyday and I loved it.  It filled a creative need.  When I had young children and my ex-husband was often gone (out-of-town), I began to feel the need to bring a creative influence back into my life.

I began to read love stories to fill that gap, but even this wasn’t enough.  I began to yearn for a piano or clarinet to play.  We were mighty poor and the thought of getting a piano was out of the question.  But, I discovered that it didn’t take much cash to buy paper and pen.  That’s when I started to write.

 

**What inspires you?

Golly, a lot.  My husband is number one inspiration.  Native America and doing my best to “set the record straight” on what happened here in America also inspires me.  It makes me hunger for doing the research and so I have my nose in some sort of book almost constantly — history books or another Indian book.  And, I love to tell stories.  When I pick my grand kids up at school, I often tell them stories I’ve heard, but sometimes I make them up.

**Let’s move on and give readers some insight into your personal life.

** What are your pet peeves?

Many of the old movies tend to irritate me.  They tell bad history, tell lies about Native Americans, usually have non-Indian people playing the major roles and don’t show the facts as they were.  Rarely, do they present the truth of the people who were first here.  And, almost always those old movies end in a bad way for the Indians.

The truth is that the Native American of old was honest almost to a fault, deeply spiritual and religious, trained his body so that he could run miles in order to save his people if the need ever arose.  He respected (as a rule) women and their voices and their roles in the Indian culture.  He was often wise, could track better than anything we’ve ever known, and if he were a true medicine man, his ethics had to be without fault.  He did not deal in magic, as the movies depict — this is the true medicine man I’m talking about — he healed by being completely ethical in his life so that God could work through him to heal others.

Yes, some men pretending to be medicine men who were yet not true medicine men, went astray and often, when they let hate fill their spirit, ended up on the black side of magic and sometimes were cruel or used their “medicine” against others.  But, these were not the men whom God chose to work through.  History tells us that the God of Creation abandoned them.

I’m only learning this now because of the series I’m writing about the medicine man.

** Who is your hero?

My husband.

 

**Give us one thing on your bucket list.

Okay, back to the dictionary…I didn’t know what a bucket list is.  Am I showing my age?  I’d say the one thing on my bucket list is what I try to do in my writing is to depict the American Indian of the past in as true a picture as I can paint him, given that I am writing some 150 years after the fact.  I try to do this by reading and learning the writings of George Catlin, James Willard Schultz and others, who lived with the Indians and saw them with a contemporary view.

 

**What would readers find surprising about you?

Perhaps that I love reading and learning about law and common law, as well as our Founding Fathers.  Often, I search for and read their own documents, not what others say about them.  There’s a book entitled, the Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers.  Although I haven’t read it cover to cover, it certainly is interesting.

 

**If you could go to heaven, who would you visit?

Many people.  My parents, my sister, many of my friends, and people I admire, including but not inclusive of: John Trudell, Russell Means, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Thomas Jefferson and L. Ron Hubbard.  The first five I didn’t know personally in this life, but the last I did, and he was always one of my best friends.

**Just for fun. What is your least favorite:

Least favorite Hero type –  Probably men who murder for a living.

Body part – Hmmmm.  Not sure on this one.

Overused word in a title – Hmmmm.  Again, not sure.

Least favorite Genre – I tend to read in many different genres, but I’d say any genre that makes fun of being human and/or being humane.

Least favorite Dirty word – I’d say it would be any word that takes the name of the Lord in vain.

 

**Now that our readers know who Karen Kay is let’s get down to the business of your book, She Steals My Breath, The Medicine Man Book 1, which just came out in March of this year.

 Please tell us a little bit about, She Steals My Breath.

This book was inspired by being in a point in my life when I truly desired to have a tough, rugged hero who was also very kind.  The story was one I began to tell to my grandchildren, but was also inspired by several different things, one of them being that in Montana there is a lot of snow and many blizzards that can kill a man in minutes.  I’d never written a story set in the snow.  While visiting on the Blackfeet reservation a few years ago, I became aware that they’d had 8 feet of snow that winter.  Eight feet!  Wow!  This added to wanting to write a story set in the snow.

At this time period in history, there were supposed to be no white women in the West, but this wasn’t quite true…although almost true.  There were women married to traders and those women and their daughters sometimes made the journey upriver.  While they may not have gone completely up to Fort Union, why not?  They often traveled on the steamships and went north and this was considered acceptable at this time.

So the heroine is the daughter of a trader and the hero is a Blackfoot medicine man, who has come to the fort to find his missing brother.  When the hero first sees the white woman, she is so beautiful that she takes his breath away, thus the title of the book.

She is caught out in a roaring blizzard, and, when the hero discovers this and that she is out there alone, he leaves the fort to go and find her and save her if he can.

**What was your hardest challenge writing this book?

The ending of the story.  All the while I was writing the book, I had no idea how to end the story.  Yes, I knew how things had to be at the end, but how to get there.  I brainstormed with some of my readers and a good friend, as well as my husband and it was their imput — especially my husband’s– that showed me how I might get from where I was to where I needed to be to end the story.  Those readers who were corresponding with me at the time often heard me mention that I had no idea how to end the story.  Finally, I had to sit down, and, using the ideas from my husband, I just wrote it and then went back through it several — many, many times — to get it “right.”  I hope I accomplished it.

**What kind of research did you have to do?

 Lots of research on the medicine man including a book on an Apache medicine man, two medicine men of the Lakota, Fools Crow and Black Elk.  Also, the writings of James Willard Schultz and his observations of the medicine men and women.  Also, I had to research snow storms and blizzards and shelters and gullies and Fort Union and the surrounding landscape, as well as a little about steamboats.

**What in your opinion makes good chemistry between your leading characters?

 For me, I think they have to really be in love with each other, though it’s not acknowledged, and they each one have to have solid, hard and firm reasons or beliefs why a union between them is not possible now or ever.  Their beliefs can be completely 180 degrees different.  The American Indian culture makes this a little easier than other sub-genres in romance, I think.

 **How many books do you plan in the series?

 Right now I plan four books in this series. 

 **Any other works in progress?

 The book I’m writing now is about half done and is the next book in The Medicine Man series and right now is called, SHE CAPTURES MY HEART. 

**Any advice for aspiring authors? 

It’s my belief that storytelling is the most important thing in writing a fictionalized novel.  I would say to forget about grammar, spelling, punctuation and other things if you don’t think them helpful or if knowing about them keep you from writing what is in your heart.  You can go in later and fix them. 

Set a time each day and write.  Don’t worry about page count, just write as much as you can and don’t beat yourself up if you sit for 4-5 hours staring at a blank screen.  Get in there the next day, same time, and write.  Tell your story. 

This is what I would suggest. 

 **Final words? 

Although my heritage is mostly European, I figure I am about 1/8 or thereabouts, Choctaw Indian.  My grandmother used to talk to her best friend about her Indian heritage and I learned that she was proud of it.  When I was growing up, I was sure that I must have had some kind of Indian heritage.  One has only to look at my features to see it is there.  But, my mother insisted there was none in our family tree and I know she did this to protect me because we lived in a small, southern town.  But, when I finally discovered the history passed down verbally from my grandmother, I, at last, knew why I had always felt I had so much in common with the American Indian.  And, so I did.

Please include the following links: 

Website:  https://novels-by-KarenKay.com

Blog:  https://petticoatsandpistols.com — I blog usually the second Tuesday in the month.

Email: karenkay.author@startmail.com — I love to hear from readers

 

SHE STEALS MY BREATH:

Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/4y6kdvaa

Barnes & Noble: https://tinyurl.com/4anbp4az

Itunes:  https://tinyurl.com/2w6f7epv

KOBO:  https://tinyurl.com/pwa88n3v

Google:  https://tinyurl.com/mr2byszp

 

 NOTE:  To enter into the drawing for the free e-book giveaway, please look at the give-away rules over to the right here and just leave a comment.  Be sure to check back in a couple of days to see if you are the winner.

 

 

 

 

Ahh, Let the Fresh Air in!

My newest book A MAN OF LEGEND is now available everywhere. This is Book 3 of the Lone Star Legends series and brings it to a gripping conclusion.

Quite a bit of research was necessary, some because I wasn’t sure about the early 1900s as I’d never set a book during that time period. It was really an interesting time with thousands of inventions and improvements in just about every part of life. Automobiles were just beginning to be driven and phones used.

One thing I wanted to add that I had questions about were screen doors and windows. In the 1880s, when diseases caused by mosquitoes and flies began to reach the public, folks started paying attention and installing screens. Then by the 1890s, companies began to mass produce and make them rust-poof and they really took off.

Since my story is set in 1908, I put them on the doors and windows at ranch headquarters of the Lone Star. I mention them quite a bit since Stoker Legend refused to have very much to do with innovations. Up in years at 83, he preferred the old ways.

A lot of people, including Charles Goodnight, slept on screen-in porches. A lot of folks did.

When I was growing up, we didn’t have air-conditioning and always slept with the windows up and doors open in the summer. I can still smell the fragrant night air coming in. I loved that smell. That was some good sleeping. It’s too bad those days are gone now, replaced by manufactured air.

Do you have any favorite memories of a screened porch or open windows? And sometimes we could overhear things we weren’t supposed to. I’m giving away three more copies of A MAN OF LEGEND so leave a comment.

About the book

Crockett Legend has always loved Paisley Mahone, but a family feud sure can ruin a romance. When her father turned against the powerful Legend clan, she took her family’s side and broke Crockett’s heart into pieces. Now her father’s dead and Paisley and her last remaining brother are convinced the Legends are to blame.

If only he can find a way to prove their innocence…

A chance meeting throws the couple together, and when their train is held up by outlaws, Crockett and Paisley have to team up to save a young boy from dying. A tenuous truce is born. Together they may have a chance of bringing the truth to light…if they can get to the bottom of who’s been trying to turn the two powerful families against each other. With so many secrets to unbury, it isn’t long before Paisley finds herself in the crosshairs, but Crockett vows there’ll be hell to pay if anyone hurts the woman he loves…or stands in the way of a Legend in the making.

Here’s my book trailer:

 

 

SHE STEALS MY BREATH — Why Montana? And Why a Snow Storm?

Howdy!

Welcome!  Welcome!

This is one of our fun days here at the P & P Blog, where we get to talk about things we don’t usually blog about.  Now, interestingly,, Linda Broday asked me recently (when we were talking about the blog) how I decide on the places I write about — the locations.

It was a question I’d never given much thought to until she suggested it and then decided it would be great to talk about it.  Particularly this most recent story.

Usually, the story itself sets the location, as well as the tribe I’m writing about.  The Wild West Series was a fun series to write because it was a Western set in both England and New York, which I found to be exciting.

This new story, She Steals My Breath, was inspired by the passing of a good friend of mine and my husband’s — Native American Actor, Steve Reevis.  Because he is Blackfeet, this took my story line to Montana, of course.  But, a couple of years ago, I had visited my Blackfeet sister on the reservation and she mentioned they’d had eight feet of snow that winter.

Eight feet!  Wow!

And then I realized that, although I’ve written books about the Blackfeet before, they were always set in the summer, and yet where the Blackfeet are in Montana, they have long winters and often there are blizzards and squalls, much snow and below zero temperatures.  There is a book I was reading recently entitled, “Yellow Wolf, His Own Story,” by L. V. McWhorter and in that story Yellow Wolf makes the point that even hardy men, used to the weather changes in the northern regions could freeze in a matter of minutes if they weren’t prepared for it.

And so, I decided to set a Blackfeet tale in the winter months in Montana.  By the way, the picture here to the left is Steve Reevis in the Movie, The Last of the Dogmen.

This recent book, She Steals my Breath, is book #1 in the Medicine Man series.  This is a bit of a different kind of story for me since this series lends itself into going a little deeper into the customs and mores of the Blackfeet and in particular the medicine men.  I have to admit that I have a lot to learn about these men, who were trusted by their people to help them through hard times.  And, one of the things I found that has fascinated me is that they realized their ethics had to be without fault, because if they were to go down the path of darkness even a little or black magic (so to speak), they would lose their ability to help and perhaps to heal the people who came to them for help.  Their code of ethics was strict.  It had to be and they felt such an obligation to their people, few ever stepped off this moral and ethical high ground.

Here is a fact I had little knowledge of prior to my study:  The Medicine Men had many rituals that weren’t really about magic, but were rituals to enable them to become like a “hollow bone,” so the Creator (God) could work through them.  This comes to me from the book, Fools Crow by Thomas E. Mails.  In writing about the medicine men, I am realizing more and more that I’ve had a rather false idea of them due to Hollywood movies.  I have always realized Hollywood’s depiction of the Indian warrior was not a true image, but I hadn’t taken into account that their depiction of the medicine man might also be one which is very far from the truth.  I am still learning.

I’m going to leave you with an interview recently done with me about this book, SHE STEALS MY BREATH, and then I thought I’d share an excerpt of the book with you.  Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas about this, about the interview, the medicine men or the excerpt or anything else you’d like to say or ask.  So, without further ado, here at the start is this short interview:

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write She Steals My Breath?

Lately, I’ve been at a point in my life where I really wanted a story where the hero was, indeed, a very muscular and handsome hero, but also a very kind hero. The Native American Medicine Man could be such a person. If the man were to be a true medicine man, he understood his power came from God, or whatever it was in his own language that he called God. Because of this, they had to adhere to a very strict code of ethics, and part of that code was kindness.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of She Steals My Breath, what would they be?

“You Raise Me Up.”

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

Romance to both questions. I enjoy all sub-genres of Romance. But, my heart is particularly drawn to Historical, Native American, Romance.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

Adolf Hungry Wolf; and “Blackfeet Tales of Glacier National Park,” by James Willard Schultz

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

I think the very beginning scene in chapter one, where the hero and heroine first meet each other and speak to each other in sign language.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

Not really, although I might take this as a suggestion and try to adopt some training pattern of one kind or another.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Upon thinking about this, perhaps it might be that the real path to spiritual enlightenment is a very narrow path. One would do well to read about the philosophy of the Lakota Medicine Man, Fools Crow, and that one has to be strong to resist the temptation to commit an evil act.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

Again, I had to ponder this for a bit. And I think it might be this: that there was, and still is, a lot to be learned about these ways of life that might be passing away under the thrust of “civilization.”

 

 

Karen Kay is the author of the new book She Steals My Breath

Connect with Karen Kay

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B09TNDS67H cover image

And now, I’d like to leave this post with an excerpt from the book:

SHE STEALS MY BREATH, by Karen Kay

Eagle Heart was honestly worried, and, to counter this, he reached out into the environment, looking for She-steals-my-breath in the age-old manner of communication known and practiced by and between medicine men, as well as the Indian scout.  Was she still alive?

He could no longer check his path for accuracy.  The snow was too thick and spinning about the ground, and he could not see even a few hand lengths in front of him.  There was now danger of losing his direction, as well.  But, he wouldn’t be turned away.  No woman as beautiful as she should be made to die because her man did not understand the dangers of this land.

He reached out to her with his mind until he thought he’d found her, then said to her in the ancient way of medicine men, “I am coming for you.  You must talk back to me with your mind so I can locate where you are.  The snow is too dense, and I could lose my way.  Can you speak to me with your mind so I can find you?”

“Yes,” came her response.

With relief, he let out a deep breath.  She had heard him and had even spoken back.  He reached out again with his mind and said, “It is I, Eagle Heart, from the Pikuni tribe.  Are you cold?”

“Yes.  My fingers are frozen, I fear.”

“Are you hurt?”

“Yes,” she answered with her mind.  “I can’t move my right leg and my right arm.  I fell upon them.  My spine is hurt, too, I think.  Maybe it’s broken, for the agony in my spine when I try to move is very painful.”

“I understand.  You must remain warm, for the blizzard is coming upon us fast.  I am going to see if there are wolves close to you who might come and surround you to keep you warm until I can get to you.”

“Wolves?  I’m afraid of wolves.”

“You will not be afraid of these.  I will try to find them and speak to them so they can come to you.  If I locate them, they will help you and keep you from freezing.  Do not be afraid of them.”

“But, how can you do this?” she asked.  “Talk to wolves?”

“I am speaking to you this way.  I can also speak thusly to the wolves.  I will send them to you.  Do not be afraid of them.”

The communication between them stopped, and, quickly, he reached out to her again and said, using the same ancient manner of communication, “You must keep talking to me with your mind even if I do not answer, for I am also seeking to find the wolves.  Wait!  I have found them.  They are close and will come to help you.  Let them keep you warm.”

“I will try,” she silently spoke back to him.  “If I am to continue talking to you, as you say, what shall I tell you?  I know not how to help you find me, and I am afraid for my life because I am so cold.  Is there something else I could talk to you about to keep my mind off my fear?”

“Tell me about yourself.  Why are you here?  Are you in love with the man you are to marry?”

He sensed she might have found a little humor in his question.  This was good.  If she could laugh—even a little—perhaps she wouldn’t center all her attention on her fear.

She silently spoke again in the mind-to-mind speak and said, “My name is Laylah McIntosh, and I have come here to help my father and also to marry the man I am engaged to.”

“Do you love him?”

“Why do you ask?”

“It matters.”

“Then I will tell you honestly,” she told him, “that I don’t know if I love him or not.  I have believed I am in love with him, but recently I am beginning to experience doubts.”

“How old are you?”

“I am eighteen years old.  How old are you?”

“I am twenty and four snows.”

“Snows?  Do you mean years?”

“Yes.”

“Mr. Eagle Heart, the wolves are here.  I am afraid of them.”

“Do not be.  Let them lie next to you.  They have answered my plea and are there to help you.  You are close to me now.  I have found the coulee, for I almost fell into it when I dismounted from my horse.”

“Are you certain it is the coulee I am in?”

“Yes.  The snow here is already deep.  I do not wish my horses to lose their footing, so they and I must climb down to you slowly, one step after another.”

“I understand.  Should I keep talking to you with my mind?”

“Yes.”

It was a slow, tortuous climb down the incline.  But, at last, he and his ponies managed to step onto a more level ground and he found her lying there before him.  Indeed, he almost stepped on one of the wolves who had come to surround her.  He then said to her with his mind only, “I am here, but you must continue to speak to me silently and with your mind, for I must construct a shelter for us.  Do not let yourself sleep.  Stay awake.”

“Very well.  Should I continue to talk, then?”

“Yes.  Can you see me?”

“No.  The swirling of the snow is too thick.”

“I am going to bend down toward you.  Do not fear me.  I am going to feel your body for injury.  I shall try to touch your arm, your leg and your spine.”

So saying, he bent toward her while the wind blew the snow around them.  Reaching out to her, he felt underneath the blankets placed over her and ran his hands along her right arm and right leg.  He said in Blackfeet, “I believe both your arm and your leg might be broken.  I cannot feel your spine at this moment.  I will need to move you carefully into a shelter, where I can determine if you have broken bones or if your muscles are merely strained.”

“I don’t understand you,” she said in English, but he was aware of the concept of what she said anyway.

He nodded, then realized the snow was so thick, she couldn’t see the movement.  He repeated his words, but with the mind-to-mind talk only.  Then he told her, “I must make us a shelter and a travois so I can move you without further injury.  Do you understand?”

“I do.”

“I have a warm buffalo robe to place over you to keep you as warm as possible.  Stay close to the wolves and allow them to share the robe while I make a shelter and a travois to carry you. You have only to reach out to me with your mind if you need me.  Thank you, my friends.  My family.  Please stay with her a little while longer.  And, even when the storm passes, please stay close to me if you can.  I might need your help again.”

Only then did he rise to his feet, and he soon left to build a shelter that might keep them warm against the storm.  And, it had to be quickly done.

CHAPTER THREE

Laylah felt a little warmer, but she was still very cold.  It seemed as if the temperature had dipped even further, causing her to wonder if the air in the canyon was well below freezing.  She couldn’t feel her fingers anymore and her toes were now following the same pattern as her fingers.

With her mind, she reached out to Eagle Heart and said, “I believe I am freezing to death.”

He didn’t answer.  Was he still there?  She panicked.  “Eagle Heart, are you still here?” she yelled out in English.

“I have not left you,” he answered without words.  “I must secure a shelter.  Keep awake.  Do not freeze.  It will be ready soon.  Instead of the cold and snow, think of a fire and how warm you are as you sit beside it.”

“I will try.”

The communication dropped then between them, and she felt so sleepy of a sudden, she could barely keep her eyes open.  But, she tried to envision a fire and its warmth.

She wasn’t aware how long it was before she felt him beside her again.  Carefully, and yet with manly strength, she could feel him lifting her onto some contraption that she thought must be made out of wood, for she could feel some of its branches beneath her.  Then, she was aware they were moving through the spinning, heavily-falling snow.

But soon, a particular kind of tiredness closed in upon her.

“Do not sleep,” he said, using his mind only.

“I must.”

“No, do not do it.  We are almost at the shelter.  Keep awake.  Speak to me, either with your mind or words.”

“I can’t.”

“Yes, you can.”

“I tried thinking of the fire.  But, I was so cold, I couldn’t do it any longer.”

“Then, tell me of things you find joy in.”

“Christmas, new clothes.  Fashion.  Strips of cloth I use to curl my hair.  And you.  I am suddenly thinking you bring me joy.”

“You flatter me.  We are here at the shelter at last.  Do not leave me.”

“It’s so hard to keep from sleeping.”

Suddenly, his arms were around her, and she was so cold she didn’t feel the pain when he picked her up.  Soon, he was carrying her into a place of warmth.

He deposited her onto something soft, and, without pausing a moment, he began to rub her hands and then her feet.  It went on and on.  She felt his hands all over her.

Suddenly he was speaking to her in concepts only again.  “Do not be alarmed.  I must remove your clothing, for it is wet and frozen.  I have a warm robe that is not wet, and I will wrap you in it.  I will have to move you a little to remove the clothing from you.  I might have to cut some of your clothing from you.”

She didn’t answer.  It was beyond her.

Again, with his mind alone, he said, “Talk to me.”  When she didn’t answer, she heard him speak to her in his own language.  She tried to communicate back to him, but found she couldn’t and so remained silent.

However, she held on to the sound of his voice, afraid to sleep for fear she might not wake up.  There was a quality about his words she found beautiful, and she responded to his voice and to him, refusing to give in to the darkness.  Indeed, it was as though with his touch and his voice alone, he was keeping her alive and conscious.

She felt him pick her up and wrap her in something very warm, and, as she settled back into its heat and against her bed, sleep claimed her at last.

************************************************************************
Well, that’s all for today.  Don’t forget to come on in and leave a comment.

 

Guest Linda Shenton Matchett – Law Enforcement in the Old West

Photo credit: Pixababy/ArtTower

I settled on Gunnison, Colorado as the setting for my upcoming release, Ellie’s Escape. I’ve been fascinated with the state since visiting on business many years ago. The rugged mountains, deep canyons, and expansive vistas captivated me, and when I discovered that my boss is from Crested Butte (the next town over), I knew I had my location. He shared lots of photos and information that only a “local” would be privy to.

The premise for Ellie’s story is that she is an eye witness to a bank robbery and can identify the thieves. Frightened for her life, she decides to leave the area and agrees to become a mail-order bride. I knew very little about law enforcement in the Old West, so dug into my research with gusto.

Most folks think a constant stream of gun duels, shootouts, hangings, and chasing stage and train robbers made up the typical career of a lawman in the Old West, but in reality most of their work involved mundane and routine tasks such as collecting taxes, ensuring licenses were current, preventing the illegal sale of liquor, checking that businesses were locked up tight after hours, cleaning the streets, and keeping order in the saloons, gambling sites, or other entertainment venues.

Photo credit: Pixabay/Prawny

Sheriffs and marshals were the two main types of lawmen. U.S. Marshals have been appointed by the U.S. Marshal Service since its inception in 1789. They are not elected, and as federal employees their jurisdiction extends beyond county lines, often working with an assigned territory. Prior to 1896 when they were put on salary, marshals worked on a fee system, collecting set amounts for performing certain tasks. Between 1790 and 1870, marshals were responsible for taking the census every ten years. Up until 1861 when Congress created the Department of Justice, they reported to the Secretary of State.

Town marshals were elected or appointed depending on town laws and worked strictly within town limits. Towns and counties were also served by sheriffs (again depending on their laws). Privileges and responsibilities varied widely by territory and state. Most hired their own deputies and only rounded up a posse when necessary. In states that have not expressly repealed it by statute, forming a posse is still legal. Additionally, in some places the sheriff had the authority to carry out death sentences, most frequently by hanging.

The majority of lawmen were good and honest people, performing their jobs to the best of their abilities. Others were dependable only when wearing their badge, but lived outside the law during their off-hours. Still others were evil, using their powers and authority to break the law.

Photo credit: Pixabay/ddzphoto

A fun tidbit I unearthed is that famous marshal Wyatt Earp spent the winter of 1882-1883 in Gunnison. His cohorts Warren Earl, Doc Holliday, Texas George, and Big Tip were with him, all well-armed with a team of mules and entire camp outfit. Earp is said to have run the faro bank at one of the local saloons. Described as a fine-looking man, Earp had a drooping mustache that curled at the ends.

Gunnison “busted” shortly after that year, losing nearly half its population. The ore deposits had been exaggerated, with most mines producing low amounts and quickly running dry. Those who remained soon turned to cattle, ranching, and timber.

What areas of the Old West, if any, have you visited or lived in? I WILL GIVE AWAY AN EBOOK EDITION OF ELLIE’S ESCAPE TO ONE RANDOMLY SELECTED COMMENTER.

 

Ellie’s Escape

She’s running for her life. He needs a trophy wife. They didn’t count on falling in love.

 

Ellie Wagner is fine being a spinster school teacher. Then she witnesses a bank hold up and can identify the bandits. Fellow robbery victim Milly Crenshaw happens to run the Westward Home & Hearts Matrimonial Agency so she arranges for Ellie to head West as a mail-order bride. But her groom only wants a business arrangement. Can she survive a loveless marriage?

 

Banker Julian Sheffield is more comfortable with numbers than with people, but he’s done well for himself. Then the bank president tells him that in order to advance further he must marry in six weeks’ time. The candid, unsophisticated woman sent by the agency is nothing like he expected, but time is running out. When her past comes calling, does he have what it takes to ensure their future?

 

Purchase HERE 

Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. She writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. Her books are regularly praised for their accuracy and realism. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is also a trustee for her local public library.

She was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland and has lived in historic places all her life. Now located in central New Hampshire, Linda’s favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.

Joined by a Fence

It’s a fact that communication on a large ranch was one of the biggest problems. At times it was crucial to get some way to relay information to the cowboys on the range as quickly as possible. Or for them to notify headquarters in the event of a medical emergency or wildfire. Before the late 1800s, it was done by sending a fast rider out.

I found an interesting article in my Texas Electric Co-op magazine about this and have to share.

One of the largest ranches in the world was the massive XIT in the Texas Panhandle at over three million acres, all fenced. That’s hard to fathom. The powers that be there heard about a way of attaching a very basic form of telephone onto the barbed wire fences and letting the wire carry the transmission. Though the quality was horrible, it sure proved to be a blessing. And all at no charge. They didn’t have to pay the phone service anything and they could even connect neighboring ranches with each other.

Later, when the phone company began to provide rural service, they took that idea and used existing power lines instead of stringing new.

I have a new release on March 29th—A Man of Legend. It takes place in 1908 in the middle of an industrialization boom and although the patriarch Stoker Legend wouldn’t allow telephones or automobiles on the Lone Star Ranch, they were widely available.

There’s a crucial scene near the end of the book where Crockett Legend needs to get word quickly to his grandfather of the trouble and bemoans the lack of telephone access. It all works out and Crockett had to hitch a ride in an acquaintance’s new automobile to arrive in time to help save the day.

Here’s a short excerpt from that scene:

Crockett glanced up into John’s laughing eyes. The only person the man would do a favor like this for was Farrel Mahone. His gut twisted, and he broke out in a cold sweat. Suddenly, it all made sense. John was supposed to get Crockett off the ranch. He froze.

Farrel was going to make good on his promise to kill either Paisley or Hilda or both.

Or maybe he intended to abduct Tye. Maybe all three. 

Crockett stood so fast, he knocked his chair over. He had to get to a telegraph. He hurried out and collided with a woman in the hall. “Pardon me, ma’am. This is life and death.”

Cursing the fact that Stoker had yet to install a telephone at headquarters, Crockett rushed down the street and sent a message to the Lone Star.

“I’ll wait for a reply,” he told the operator. Ten minutes passed. Crockett paced, praying for a miracle. Then the machine began to tap while the man scribbled it down.

“Here you go.” The operator handed the paper to him.

Too late. Boy has disappeared, and women riding to get him back.

A moment later, Crockett fired off another, asking about his dad. The return message said he and Stoker had gone to Medicine Springs to pick up a shipment.

He sagged. Too late. He read the first message again. What women? Paisley and Hilda? Where were the men? Had they all left the ranch? He thrust a hand through his hair. He had to get home.

“Isn’t there a noon train to Medicine Springs?” he asked the operator.

“Not today.”

“Thank you.” Crockett‘s thoughts whirled. He couldn’t wait that long. He was eighty miles away. If he bought a horse and rode it hard, he still wouldn’t make it by dark. He’d have to wait on the train. That would get him to Medicine Springs by eight, then forty-five minutes to the ranch.

That was it. All the air went out of him. Whatever was going on, the women were on their own. He dropped into the nearest seat and put his head in his hands.

* * * *

I put a talking parrot named Casanova in this book that provides a lot of comical relief. He is quite taken with Paisley Mahone and fancies himself her boyfriend. And since Paisley becomes a nurse on the ranch, there are heartwarming scenes with her patients. Crockett watches all with love in his heart for this special woman.

Click HERE for more information and a longer excerpt.

This is the first series I’ve written set in the 1900s. What is your favorite time period to read? Do modern conveniences bother you? I’m giving away a copy of A Man of Legend (print or ebook) to three people who comment.

This book concludes the Lone Star Legends. I have another exciting project that’s completely different that I’ll talk more about in the coming days so stay tuned.

It’s Fun to Research Western Romance!

Howdy! Jan Scarbrough here! Before writing The Dawsons of Montana, I surfed the Internet for the setting and found a dude ranch in Southwestern Montana near Yellowstone National Park. I had also researched professional bull riding for an earlier book. Most of the setting for my fictitious dude ranch was made up and, of course, so were the characters.

In January, I added the fourth book to the series, Ben, and completed The Dawsons of Montana.

When my husband and I had a chance to go out west in 2016, I wanted to go to a dude ranch. After Internet research, I discovered The Covered Wagon Ranch in Gallatin Gateway, Montana. We made reservations and planned our trip for three days in July.

OMG! It was fun—two days on horseback riding into the mountains, gourmet meals prepared by a professional chef eaten in a rustic dining room with other friendly “dudes.” The owners, wranglers and staff were super friendly. Like many of the returning guests, we felt right at home at the ranch.

And yes, there were real working cowboys, men and women who make a living wrangling horses and caring for us city slickers. Their knowledge, love and respect for the land, and their devotion and caring for the horses impressed me.

I was given my own horse for the two-day stay. He was a six-year-old Tennessee walking horse named Mr. Black. He didn’t trot but performed a running walk. We never got up enough speed to go that fast because we were climbing up the sides of mountains! The view from the top looking down over the ranch property was scary. Believe me!

I could have had more fun trail riding but acquired a case of altitude sickness. The 6000+ feet of southwestern Montana mountains were very much higher than the 500 feet Ohio Valley where I live. I began to feel better on the second day, just in time to leave.

We also took a day trip to Paradise Valley, the actual setting of the Dawson ranch in my series, and ate lunch at a place called Chico Hot Springs near Emigrant, Montana.

On the trip, I got to see firsthand the mountains, canyons, and valleys that make this part of Montana so beautiful. Sagebrush is real. And so are lodgepole pine trees and aspens with their green and silver leaves shimmering in the wind. Of course, I came home pondering another Western series set in this beautiful part of the United States of America.

If you were going to write a Western novel, where would you like to visit?

Check out my two Contemporary Western Series, both on Kindle Unlimited.


The Dawsons of Montana tells the stories of rancher Jim Dawson’s widow Liz, and his children Brody, Mercer, and Ben. Can they find happiness and love in the aftermath of the heartache of the patriarch’s untimely death?

Hank brings two series together: the romantic The Dawsons of Montana and the romantic mystery Ghost Mountain Ranch!


Ghost Mountain Ranch, where old secrets are stirring, secrets someone might be willing to kill to keep. Can they finally lay the old ghosts to rest, or will the echoes of a decades-old murder destroy their second chance at love?

I’ll give away two ebook copies of Darby drawn from the comments left on the blog. Please answer my question: If you were going to write a Western novel, where would you like to visit?

About the book. DARBY: Thirty years ago, Darby Heston fled her family’s Montana dude ranch. Now she must return to help her father. Would the boyfriend she’d abandoned still be there? Hank Slade has never stopped loving Darby, but is he willing to risk his heart again? Secrets tore them apart once. Given a second chance at love, will more shocking secrets from the past destroy their hopes for the future?


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Journey of 100 Books

I firmly believe every journey begins with a step. Just one step.

My writing journey started with a nudge from my husband.

One cold, winter day twelve years ago, I’d just finished reading a book that was horrible. I turned to my husband, Captain Cavedweller, and said, “I can’t believe a publisher put this into print. I can do better than this.”

“So do it,” he said, throwing down the gauntlet of challenge, then returned to watching the football game I’d interrupted.

On a February day, much like this one, I worked up my courage, sat down at my computer,  and decided to give writing a romance novel a try. For months, the idea for a story had been simmering in my thoughts, but I hadn’t known what to do with it. Now I did. I had a challenge thanks to CC and a purpose – to take the story in my head and write a book. The contemporary sweet western romance was about a 30-something couple on the brink of walking away from their marriage. I titled the book Heart of Clay.

Although I had no idea what I was doing, the words poured out and in less than three weeks, I’d written a full-length novel. I spent the next several months rewriting, editing, and enduring a few anxiety-driven panic attacks. Finally, I decided it was ready to submit to an agent. Visions of royalty checks, fame and fortune danced in my head as I eagerly sent out one letter after another, attempting to convince someone my book was the next bestseller just waiting to happen.

A few months later, I’d received my 67th rejection letter, most of them stating they weren’t interested in a romance with a cowboy. (Isn’t it always a good time for a cowboy romance?) In spite of the multitude of rejections, many of them arrived with personal notes that were encouraging.

Frustrated yet determined, I reached out to a good friend who happened to be friends with the author Jane Kirkpatrick. She introduced the two of us and Jane kindly allowed me to pick her brain for ideas. To this day, I consider Jane a dear friend and mentor. But in that first conversation we had, she suggested I give digital self-publishing a try.

I was clueless. Self-publishing? What was that? So, I dove into researching the possibilities and what it would entail. It took me less than a week to decide this was what I wanted to do.  I loved the thought of having complete control over all aspects of my books. It seemed like an ideal option for someone like me who prefers to pilot my own boat. Rather than immediately upload my wanna-be bestseller to all the digital book outlets available, I followed the advice I’d found on self-publishing websites that recommended indie authors build their bookshelves wide and deep, meaning authors should ideally have a variety of books (the width) and a number of books in a series (the depth).

I jumped into writing two more full-length sweet romances and a short story, all connected to Heart of Clay, creating a series of three books with a prequel. I titled the series The Women of Tenacity. I liked that word, tenacity, because my dad had mentioned more than once that I had a tendency to be tenacious.

In June 2011, I released all four stories online. Nervous, excited, and uncertain, I had no idea what to expect. Within a few hours, some awesome, wonderful person purchased a Kindle version of the second book in the series – my very first book sale. That month, I sold a whopping 12 books.

Despite my lackluster sales, I was hooked on writing sweet romances and the self-publishing process. So I used every spare minute to write.

That November, I released The Cowboy’s Christmas Plan, the first Christmas book I’d written and also the first book in the popular Grass Valley Cowboys series.

Throughout 2012, I continued working full-time at my day job, working part-time with a home products direct-sales company, and writing in my spare time. In November of that year, I published my first historical romance. I had no clue what it would involve to write a historical book, but I’ve always loved history and thought it might be interesting to try.

I hadn’t planned on writing a holiday story, but it ended up being titled The Christmas Bargain, about a banker who accepts a bride in lieu of payment on a loan during the holiday season. The story is set in Hardman, Oregon, which is now a ghost town, but at one time was a bustling stop on a stage route. I had such a good time writing that first book, there are now nine books in the series with plans for more.

It was while I was writing The Christmas Bargain I discovered how much I enjoy doing the research for historical stories. I love digging up little tidbits of history that I can incorporate into my books to add depth to the stories and the characters, while offering a glimpse into everyday life during a specific era.

By the start of 2013, I gave up the part-time direct-sales job, determined to spend more time writing. That spring, I released the first book in my Pendleton Petticoats series about a bride from Chicago who comes to be a farmer’s wife.

Aundy, has been one of my readers’ favorites.

The summer of 2013 was a pivotal point in my writing career. I was working between 50-60 hours a week at a job that was becoming increasing stressful and challenging. Every spare second I had went to my writing.

On a hot summer morning, not long after I arrived at work, Captain Cavedweller called me at my office and encouraged me to give my notice and begin writing full time. “You can do this,” he said. In spite of my fears, I took a leap of faith, buoyed by CC’s belief in me.

It was a huge leap—to leave behind the security of a steady job and paycheck, to walk away from benefits and paid vacation days—but I’m so glad I took it and I’m so grateful for my husband’s support that made it possible.

So I gave my notice and left my job on August 9, 2013, to begin the career of my dreams.

Every day, I feel so blessed to be able to do something I love so much. Writing has always been something I loved, and now it’s my career, my hobby, my joy – my bliss!

When I sat down to write Heart of Clay twelve years ago, I never, not even once, imagined that I’d be celebrating the release of my 100th book.  But here I am!

The Snowman’s Sweetheart, my 100th book, released January 27.

It’s been an amazing, incredible journey to get here that started with one step, one little nudge in the form of challenge from Captain Cavedweller.  I’m thankful for every single step on this marvelous adventure. And I am deeply, profoundly grateful for each and every person who has touched my life during the journey. Thank you for reading my books, for offering encouragement and support, for extending friendship and wisdom, and leaving my heart so full and my life so blessed.

Thank you!

 

 

I have a special giveaway of a $100 Amazon Gift Card.

Just hop over to this form to enter for a chance to win. 

 

And before you go, I’d love to hear about a special step in your life’s journey. 

 

And With the Bang of the Gavel…

Judges today have a lot of control and clout, but nothing like in the 1800s. And except for federal judges, they have to answer to the people who elect them. In the past, state judges were appointed by the governor and wielded a lot more of power. In addition to hearing cases, they could:

  1. Appoint Deputy U.S. Marshals (the president appointed U.S. Marshals)
  2. Form a posse
  3. Notify a traveling hangman that he was needed following a verdict
  4. Oversee hangings if a sheriff either refused or couldn’t
  5. Step in and take over for a crooked sheriff and/or appoint a new one until election time
  6. In some cases, he could form a sort of task force (or single person) to handle a particular problem
  7. Choose jurors
  8. Oversee census taking and other duties of a lawman if there was none

So you see, they were pretty powerful and answered to no one. As a result, there were a lot of corrupt judges. But the majority were dedicated, followed the law, and did their jobs well.

I’ve never written a judge hero…until now.

In my March book, Crockett Legend is a judge working out of Quanah, Texas. Quanah is only forty miles from the Lone Star Ranch so he spends a lot of time on the ranch, traveling back and forth by train.

However, the Legends’ neighbor the Mahones have started a feud with them, killing their cattle and shooting at range riders. The feud ramps up when Joe Mahone dies under mysterious circumstances and Joe’s only son, Farrel, accuses them of murder.

Crockett has always loved Paisley Mahone only now she’s taken a stand with her brother in the feud and she refuses to talk to him. Crockett doesn’t give up and hopes she’ll soon see reason. It takes a hilarious matchmaking talking parrot to bring them back together.

The theme of this story is things aren’t always as they seem, and perseverance is crucial when it involves softening a woman’s heart. This concludes the Lone Star Legends series but never fear. I’ve started a brand new series that I think you’ll love.

I’m a little sad that I’m leaving the Legend Family behind. I’ve done three series using them in various degrees. That’s ten books.

Question for you: How do you feel about the length of a series? Do some get too long? At some point, do you ever feel they’ve run their course? I sometimes do.

A Man of Legend comes out on March 29th. It’s available for preorder now HERE. Please don’t confuse this with the first book of the series – A Cowboy of Legend. The two are completely different.

I’ll have more next month about A Man of Legend and some giveaways so watch for that.

Right now I have a sale to announce. The Mail Order Bride’s Secret is at $1.99 and will be the rest of the month. If you missed it, you can get it cheap. Click HERE. This is Book #3 of Outlaw Mail Order Brides. She came with a secret that would destroy the man she’d come to love.

Traveling, Christmas, and a Give Away!

Hello, P&P readers. Lacy Williams with you today asking a couple of questions: How far would you travel to be with your loved ones at Christmas? What are you willing to go through to get there?

During my freshman year of college, we had a massive, unusual-for-us snowstorm here in Oklahoma. It delivered a massive twelve inches of snow and the (few) snowplows couldn’t keep up. I was living on campus, and even though I was only ten miles away from home, I can still remember the adrenaline rush and my white knuckles as I drove home for Christmas break with my laundry basket of belongings in the back of my small car.

Probably the worst experience I’ve had traveling home at Christmas was flying cross-country to visit my in-laws for the holiday. This was before we had kids, and between my husband and I one of us is the kind of person who likes to have a list and be packed and double-check the night before. The other one likes to throw things in a bag just before we walk out the door. I will let you try to figure out which is which.

Hubby and I arrived at the airport with what we thought was enough time to check our bags and get through security, but it turned out we were wrong. The airline wouldn’t let us check our bags because it was too close to the flight time and it was possible they might not get on board the plane. We had gifts for his family packed in our luggage and we couldn’t leave them behind or combine them into our carry-on luggage, so basically we missed our flight because of our luggage.

It was devastating for two broke college kids (we were paying our way through night school at the time) to think we had missed our chance to be with our family. Luckily, we were able to get on another flight a few hours later. It could’ve turned out much worse than the couple hundred dollars it cost us.

(Am I wrong or does Hallmark have a sub-genre of their Christmas movies like this? Films about travel gone awry where either the hero or heroine gets stranded in a small town and falls in love while they are trying to get through all the obstacles it takes to get home.)

Fighting to get home for Christmas is the premise of my new release, Christmas Homecoming. Set in 1914, my hero Walt is on a train ready to take the wanted criminal in his custody to a judge where he will face justice. Surprise! His younger sister and her beautiful friend hop on the train mid-journey and suddenly Walt is getting lectures about why he should come home for Christmas when he hasn’t been home in years due to a broken relationship with his father and brother. Before he can blink, the train is part of a hold-up and Walt finds himself in a heap of trouble. It’s gonna take a lot more than he thought to get home for Christmas and to rescue the woman he’s falling for from the bad guys.

This new book is an adventurous romance. Tell me about your most disastrous trip home for the holidays. If you don’t have a story like that, tell me your favorite holiday food.

I would love to give away a paperback copy plus a $10 gift card to one of the readers who makes a comment today.

Thanks for chatting with me today!


About the book:
All traveling nurse Libby wanted was a quiet Christmas to grieve losing her younger brother. She’s on a westbound train heading home when she and a friend find themselves in the middle of a hijacking and then taken hostage by a gang of outlaws.

Walt White is a U.S. Marshal who has been chasing down the Seymour gang for years. But he’s kidnapped along with two innocent women, he must figure out how to keep them alive—and it doesn’t help that he’s completely distracted by the beautiful Libby. He’ll need his wits about him if he hopes to save them.

As they work to engineer an escape, Walt realizes that Libby is resilient and cunning—and vulnerable, though she hides it well. He must give his all to protect her heart and bring her home in time for Christmas.


Find it on Amazon    
Available soon on OverDrive!


Author bio:
Lacy Williams wishes her writing career was more like what you see on Hallmark movies: dreamy brainstorming from a French chateau or a few minutes at the computer in a million-dollar New York City penthouse. In reality, she’s up before the sun, putting words on the page before her kids wake up for the day. Those early-morning and late-night writing sessions add up, and Lacy has published fifty books in almost a decade, first with a big five publisher and then as an indie author. When she needs to refill the well, you can find Lacy birdwatching, gardening, biking with the kiddos, or walking the dog. Find tons of bonus scenes and reader extras by becoming a VIP reader at http://www.lacywilliams.net/vip .

Various Valentine’s Day Ramblings

For this month’s post I started researching the history of Valentine’s Day, but ended up traveling down various rabbit holes. Today I’m sharing that journey and my musings with you. First, I discovered there’s confusion as to which St. Valentine the day honors. Apparently, there were two men named Valentine that are possibilities. The day has roots in a Pagan festival and became an official holiday in the 1300s. Valentines weren’t sent until the 15th century and mass-produced ones came to be in the 1840s. The tradition of giving flowers started in the 17th century, with the heart-shaped chocolate boxes we see everywhere arriving in 1861. Oh, and the discovery that surprised me was those hearts with the sayings were originally lozenges! (The messages were added in 1866.)

As I scrolled down under related content I found “7 Momentous Kisses in History.” They listed the first “post-married” kisses of Kate and William, Harry and Meghan, Ross and Rachel’s kiss on Friends, and others. Most—other than the on V-J Day 1945 and the interracial kiss between Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura, didn’t seem that iconic to me. But those kisses started me thinking about about epic movie kisses. Again, I found myself disagreeing with what I found. The kiss in Gone With the Wind after Rhett Butler tells Scarlett O’Hara in she needs kissing badly was there. So was the potter’s wheel kiss in Ghost. But the other kisses didn’t seem that memorable or epic in my opinion. So I began wondering about great Western movie kisses. When I Googled that I pretty much came up with nothin’ other than The Longest Ride—a great movie by-the-way and Brokeback Mountain. With all the great Western romances written, how come there weren’t more Western romance movies? Or at least romantic movies or romantic comedies with cowboys? Boy is Hollywood missing out on a great market there.

Lastly, my thoughts wandered to asking why this day has such a focus on romantic love. Why do we do that people when it makes people who aren’t in a relationship feel as if they’re not complete or less than they should be? And why is it such a big deal to get engaged on Valentine’s Day? Instead, we should simply celebrate love in general. Love between friends, parent and child, grandparents and grandchildren, and the list is endless. Love and kindness should be showered everywhere like confetti. That’s where we should place the emphasis—on sharing love and kindness to those who most need it and to those who are central to our lives. If we did that rather than focus so much on romantic love Valentine’s Day would be more inclusive and not as painful for some. Also, can you imagine the ripple effect and the changes that could result from seeing Valentine’s Day this way.

To be entered in today’s giveaway for the Valentine’s Day t-shirt and A Cure for the Vet tell me what’s your favorite romantic movie and why it’s so wonderful. Some of my favs are The Sure ThingAn American PresidentOperation Petticoat, and Father Goose. I can’t wait to hear yours. I need some new movies to watch!