Double the Trouble or Twice as Nice? by Charlene Sands

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

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

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

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

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

Twins for the Texan_Sand


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

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

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

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




Movies to Set the Cowboy Mood by Charlene Sands

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The other night I was in the mood for something “country” and it was too late to pick up a book, so I found “Pure Country” on television and got cozy in my bed to watch it.  I mean, if you can’t take watching a young George Strait at 10 PM, then what good are you anyway, right?   Though, his acting isn’t up to par with his beautiful voice, I enjoyed seeing this movie again.  I like the old fashioned ideals of being true to yourself, no matter the cost.  And I liked the love story, but when it was over, I realized that dear George didn’t kiss the heroine once.  Not even at the end, which I replayed to make sure.

Don’t you wish there were more good romantic movies with a western theme on the horizon?

I mean no one loves a present day cowboy fantasy more than we do, right?913feoxm+CL._SL1500_



Here’s the synopsis for Pure Country:    One of the biggest stars in country music, Dusty Wyatt Chandler (George Strait) grows disillusioned with the hollow performances and overly produced arena shows he’s contractually obligated to play. In an effort to become grounded, Chandler walks away from the spotlight and goes back to the country town of his youth. After finding work at a ranch, he falls for the owner’s daughter, Lula Rogers (Lesley Ann Warren). However, his manager (Isabel Glasser) is determined to keep the show going.

Last month, I saw “The Longest Ride,” starring Scott Eastwood, Clint’s very handsome son who looks very much like his father did in the olden days, only more muscled, more broad.   (Am I painting an appealing picture?)   As my friend and I were driving out of town to catch the one cinema still playing the movie (I did need to see this for my rodeo story research) she turned to me to say, “You know, this only got a 2 star rating.”

Okay, I don’t bank much on movie ratings by highly cynical reviewers, so I went in with an open mind.  And I laughed a little, and cried a lot, and came away feeling emotionally satisfied with the story.  “And that only got 2 stars,” my friend said after the ending credits.  We both loved that story which was really a story within a story.   Two for the price of one!  You have to go see it to find out what I mean.  I actually want to read the book to see how author Nicholas Sparks, managed to do it in print.  Sometimes, I think it’s easier to SHOW the story than TELL the story, but that may only be me talking with my writer hat on.

Here’s the synopsis for The Longest Ride:The Longest Ride

Former bull-riding champion Luke (Scott Eastwood) and college student Sophia (Britt Robertson) are in love, but conflicting paths and ideals threaten to tear them apart: Luke hopes to make a comeback on the rodeo circuit, and Sophia is about to embark on her dream job in New York’s art world. As the couple ponder their romantic future, they find inspiration in Ira (Alan Alda), an elderly man whose decades-long romance with his beloved wife withstood the test of time.

I’m in need of inspiration and love a good cowboy who gets the girl story.  So tell me, are there any really good present-day western themed romance stories out there that you’ve seen lately in the movies or on TV?bookmark

To celebrate the release of my 2nd Moonlight Beach Bachelors series, The Billionaire’s Daddy Test, I have a special prize today, one of these beautiful Brighton Bookmarks along with a copy of one of my backlist books goes to one blogger today.   

Also starting on June 14th and June 16th respectively check out The Billionaire’s Daddy Test as a Goodreads Giveaway and the .99 cent sale of The Secret Heir of Sunset Ranch!

Goodreads Giveaway


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Sin City, Cowboys and Cupcakes by Charlene Sands

I set REDEEMING the CEO COWBOY primarily in Reno, Nevada because it’s an extension of The Slades of Sunset Ranch Series and my hero Casey Thomas, is the CEO of Sentinel Construction from the Lake Tahoe area.  Casey was born and raised in Reno and he’s come back to expand the business in his hometown.   Well, that’s only one of the reasons…Susanna Hart has a little to do with the other reasons.

Reno was known in earlier days as “Sin City”, gaining its name and reputation for underground gambling and prostitution.  After gold was discovered Virginia City, Charles Fuller decided to construct a bridge over the Truckee River charging a toll to cross, but the bridge wasn’t sturdy enough and his venture failed. Right before the Central Pacific Railroad came through the area, Myron Lake bought the bridge and land surrounding the area.  The sturdier bridge he had constructed soon became known as Lake’s Crossing.  In 1868 Lake’s Crossing was renamed Reno after Civil War hero, General Jesse Reno.reno arch

Reno became an important freight and passenger center. In 1928, the Reno City Council decided “Sin City” wouldn’t do, they needed a new slogan for their town and started a “motto” competition.  The winner received $100.00 and the new slogan and now famous arch that hovers over the main street in town reads: The Biggest Little City in the World!


Susanna Hart owns a home-based business, Sweet Susie’s Pastries and More in Reno, Nevada.   Here’s one of her  recipes!

Rocky Road Chocolate Muffins (credit to Cupcakes Made Simple)

rocky road chocolate muffin

6 TBSP sunflower oil OR 6 TSP butter, melted and cooled

1 ½ cup all purpose flour

2 ounces unsweetened cocoa

Pinch of salt

1 TBSP baking powder

½ Cup super fine sugar

½ Cup white chocolate chips

1 ¼ ounces white mini-marshmallows cut in half

2 eggs

I Cup of milk

Grease a 12 hole muffin pan.  Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Stir in sugar, white chocolate chips and marshmallows.

Beat eggs in large bowl, add milk and oil and beat gently.  Make a well with dry ingredients and add in beaten liquid ingredients.  Stir gently until just combined. Spoon batter into muffin pans.

Bake in pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Let cool in pan for 5 minutes.  Enjoy!


Romantic Times Book Reviews: Sands continues the Slades of Sunset Ranch series with a heartfelt story, three-dimensional characters and a storyline that flows with relative ease. This is a SURE BET! Reviewed by: Susannah Balch



REDEEMING THE CEO COWBOY is available for pre-order and in bookstores August 1st.

Ten years ago = ancient history…right?

So what if former rodeo champion turned construction mogul Casey Thomas is back…living right next door? Susanna Hart is busy running her Sweet Susie’s pastry business and raising her two-year-old cousin. Why pay any attention to the man who took her virginity ten years ago, then left town?

Casey still feels guilty for taking advantage of his little sister’s best friend. A helping hand is just what her business—and his conscience—need. But guilt isn’t his only motivation. Casey’s got a sweet tooth for Susie. And the more she resists, the sweeter it gets!

Do you have a favorite muffin or cupcake recipe?  How would you feel about your EX- moving in next door?  Have you ever been to Reno or Lake Tahoe? Impressions?  I’d love to hear from you!  

Post a comment to any or all of these questions and a random blogger will be drawn over the weekend to win a $10.00 Amazon or BN Gift Card! 


Welcome to Retro Week ~ The Chicago Palm Pistol by Tracy Garrett

Happy Monday!  This week at Petticoats & Pistols we’re revisiting five of our favorite blogs. I’m pleased to start things off with the very first gun blog I posted at P&P in 2009:  The Chicago Palm Pistol. I hope you enjoy it.

Look what I discovered the other night. I’m always on the lookout for a proper weapon of choice for a character. While catching up on the to-be-watched shows on my DVR, I ran across one about old guns, including this little beauty:

The Chicago Palm Pistol

Originally called the Minneapolis Protector Palm Pistol, The Chicago Palm Pistol began as a copy of the French Turbiaux pistol, Le Protecteur.

The design for this palm-sized weapon was patented in 1883 by the Minneapolis Firearms Company, then sold to Peter Finnegan of Austin, Illinois. Mr. Finnegan created the Chicago Firearms Company and immediately contracted with Ames Sword Company of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, to manufacture the pistol in time to introduce it at The Columbian Exhibition–The Chicago World’s Fair of 1892. Because of manufacturer delays, it didn’t make it in time for the Fair, and, in 1898, Mr. Finnegan ended up with 13, 000 pistols to sell.

The moment I saw it, I knew this would be an excellent concealed weapon for a character to carry, whether he’s the hero or the villain. Since it was billed as a small enough weapon to be easily handled by a woman, I suppose my heroine might have one tucked into a pocket or her reticule, as well.

Here, you can see the actual size.

It wasn’t a very powerful gun, so no shootouts from twenty paces, but for an ambush, or a last ditch attempt at protecting the one the hero (or heroine) loves, it would be perfect.

So what do you think of the Palm Pistol? Would you like to discover a heroine carried one to defend herself? Or it is just too tiny to be taken seriously?

Charlene Sands is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter.










Charlene Sands and Cheryl St. John’s Christmas in October

Since Cheryl St. John and I both have short Christmas stories in Western Winter Wedding Bells we thought it would be fun to chat with you together. We both love the holiday season and I feel blessed authoring this anthology with two very talented writers!  Hope you enjoy this fun little perspective about our stories!

How would you describe your heroes, Alpha or Beta?    Do you want to slap his face or wash his underwear?

CHERYL SAYS:  I usually write a beta hero. That seems to be the way I’m wired when it comes to creating characters. I do occasionally make a concentrated effort to do an alpha male, and it’s a lot of fun. If I made a list of all the heros in all my books, the percentage would lean heavily toward betas.

CHARLENE SAYS:  Oh, slap his face, to be sure!   I write mostly Alpha heroes, who have a soft side that they rarely show.  Cooper Garnett is hot, sexy, tortured and on a secret mission to hunt down the man responsible for his wife and child’s murder.  He’s not happy that a robbery left him injured on the Double J Ranch with a widow woman and boy tending him. They are a painful reminder of the family he’d lost.  Though, there’s some underwear washing going on too!

Is there someone in your story that STEALS the show?  Any cute kids, pets or secondary characters we might see again?

CHARLENE SAYS:  Eighteen-month old Johnny Bodine slowly worms his way Cooper’s hardened heart.  He’s the same age as the boy Cooper lost many months ago and he’s quite adorable, if I say so myself.  Probably won’t be seeing him again, but he’s a keeper!   

CHERYL SAYS: She doesn’t steal the show, but Owen’s youngest sister JoDee captured my interest. She’s a gifted musician in a small town, and Owen plans to send her to a conservatory. She might show up again.

It takes skill to create a satisfying story in the short novella format.  Do you have any tips for writing to this length?

CHERYL SAYS:  A novella needs all the same elements as a full-length novel: Engaging sympathetic characters, internal and external conflict, believable motivation, a realistic setting and hooks that keep the reader turning pages. However, you have a lot fewer pages in which to do all that. Here are a few techniques I use.

*  The first place I look for a story is in my idea file where I’ve saved ideas that didn’t have enough conflict to support a full-length novel. Don’t ever throw out an idea—the archives are a gold mine when you need a novella.

*  It can be helpful if the hero and heroine already know each other. There is less set up and getting-to-know-you time involved.

*  When developing your characters, don’t give both major story people complicated pasts or set them both up with difficult to resolve motivations or conflicts. Keep the major stumbling block to falling in love focused on one character.

*  One character may already be in love with the other or have admired them from afar.

*  Use a secondary character from a previous book as your hero or heroine. You already have their names and descriptions decided and most likely your setting has been established, so your job is easier.

*   Secondary characters are important, but one character may serve several purposes. Look to combine characters if the cast gets too large.

*  Use stereotypes for secondary characters. The reader already has expectations and a mental image.

CHARLENE SAYS:  Pretty much what Cheryl said, but I’ll emphasize that reunion stories work very well.  If they know each other first, then they have past history. But I broke the rules in Wearing the Rancher’s Ring– Cooper’s mission to hunt down his family’s murderer, works well because the conflict to see justice to the end, wars with the eventual love he feels for Rachel and Johnny. He’s torn and that’s makes for a very strong conflict. 

Also, I write only 8 chapters in an anthology, keep the pace fast and the story moving forward. Each scene has to be important. No room for dallying, as they say.

How did you come up with a story to fit the Christmas or Springtime theme?


CHARLENE SAYS:  The setting played an important role with this Christmas themed story. When you think Christmas, you immediately think of snow, cold winter days and sizzling fireplaces.  So I was lucky with this story since I’d left one heroine hanging, without a story in my full-length western historical, Bodine’s Bounty.  Rachel’s tale had to be told.  And she lived in northern California, where, guess what?  There’s snow, cold winter days and fireplaces.  The same holds true for Mother’s Day or Spring Brides themes. Though they CAN be set anywhere, I tend to think of them as clear blue-sky places, a western setting on the plains or small towns of the Old West.

CHERYL SAYS:  Anthologies are most often released in time for Mother’s Day or Christmas, so those themes are already established. My novellas have always been part of a western collection, so that narrows the possibilities even further. I just start thinking cowboy hero or small town holiday or babies, and an idea comes to me. As I mentioned in my previous list of novella tips, I sometimes have a story set aside because it wouldn’t work for a full-length book, and this is a good place to use it. I often use a secondary character from a previous book whose story begs to be told.

What one word would describe your heroine?  

CHERYL SAYS:  Tenacious.  Chloe does not give up. She is bound and determined to save her grandfather’s church, and she’s fighting with all her resources–as well as Owen’s–to see the task completed before the deadline.

CHARLENE SAYS:  Survivor.   Rachel has endured much loss and suffering in her life, but as a young widow with a little son to raise, she still manages to keep her heartache to herself and keep the ranch going.

Now tell us why?

CHERYL SAYS :  She’s alone and always has been. The church is her connection to the only family she ever had–her grandfather. She will do anything in her power to save it from demolition.

CHARLENE SAYS:  Rachel doesn’t try to find a new beau, or a man to marry. She was deeply in love with her husband and never thought she would find love again.  The appearance of Cooper Garnett on her ranch and the yearning she feels for him makes her realize how lonely she truly is. 

Any special Christmas traditions in your story?  And what holiday traditions do you enjoy today with your family?

CHARLENE SAYS:  In Wearing the Rancher’s Ring, Rachel maintains the same traditions that she had enjoyed with her husband Josh.  She asks Cooper to chop down a small pine tree and then she invites her ranch hands inside the house to string popcorn and help decorate the tree.  Her humble home is open to friends and they sing carols, enjoy her pumpkin muffins and cakes as she hands out knitted gifts to her close friends and her loyal employees.  

Our family spends Christmas Eve together every year at my sister’s house.  It’s a fun night of eating honey-baked ham with all the fixings and playing games.  We open gifts and eat some more!  The most wonderful thing about Christmas is that the entire family is together. 

CHERYL SAYS: Christmas in Red Willow features a family gathering with all the chaos that makes the day special and memorable. Owen’s family plays parlor games, to which Chloe has never been exposed.

My family plays board games on winter holidays. We play Masterpiece, Monopoly, Scrabble, Aggravation, Clue, Uno and more recently, Life. I introduced the younger kids to Apples to Apples a long time ago. They were all excellent readers at a very young age and the game helped their vocabulary skills as well as being fun. We just like to laugh, and that is parallel to Owen’s family.  

CHARLENE SAYS:  Would you believe that I found fully decorated Christmas trees in a department store in the middle of September?  Which warrants this question:  What kind of holiday shopper are you?  Do you shop early and often?  Do you wait until after Thanksgiving?  Or are you a last minute shopper, waiting until the week of Christmas?

One lucky commenter today will win a $10 Amazon Gift Card and for a bigger Amazon Holiday Shopping Spree go to Charlene’s website at and visit her Win Stuff page.