Most readers know me for my historical romances about lighthouses, orphan trains, and bride ships. But a western? Whoa! What’s that all about?
No, I’m not switching genres. My friends here on Petticoat and Pistols have the western genre well covered! But I am delving into a five-book family saga set in the high country of Colorado in the ranching area of South Park.
The Colorado Cowboys Series has all my usual trademarks—deeply emotional characters, fun plot twists, and sizzling romance. But this time the package includes hunky cowboys!
Most of the time when we think about cowboys in Colorado, we think of the ranches on the eastern plains, not the mountainous high country. But believe it or not, ranches started popping up in the mountains very early in Colorado’s history.
One of the first ranches in South Park (near Fairplay), was Hartsel Springs Ranch, founded as a homestead in 1862 by Samuel Hartsel. He started his ranch by buying oxen brought into the mountains by men arriving to mine for gold. The oxen were often worn out and worth little after making the long trek to the West. But Samuel fattened them and then turned around and sold them as beef to the mining community.
By 1864 Hartsel decided to branch out and diversify his livestock. He went to Missouri and purchased a herd of shorthorns that he then drove to Colorado along the Santa Fe Trail. It was a tough trip, but he eventually completed the cattle drive and made it back to his ranch with 150 head of short-horned cattle.
Hartsel went on to become a very successful rancher, capitalizing on the rich grassland in South Park that fed his cattle. He also took advantage of a natural hot spring near his land that he developed and used for tourists who wanted a chance to bathe in the “healing waters.”
A Cowboy for Keeps, the first book in the series, is inspired by this real life cowboy and ranch. The hero, Wyatt McQuaid, is attempting to make a go of homesteading and ranching. But with all the obstacles he faces, he’s having a hard time making a new home. When Fairplay’s mayor offers him a deal, one that involves taking a bride in exchange for cattle, Wyatt can’t resist.
If you like hunky cowboys, mail-order brides, and marriages of convenience, then I invite you to give A Cowboy for Keeps a chance!
Leave a comment on this post if you’d like the chance to win a signed copy of the book! (Sorry, U.S. mailing addresses only.) I will choose a random winner on January 16.
What’s your favorite thing about cowboy stories?
Jody Hedlund is the best-selling author of over thirty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award. She lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy teens, and five spoiled cats. Visit her at jodyhedlund.com
The Scots who came to settle the mountain regions of the United States were a hardy lot, especially those who hailed from the Scottish Highlands. They felt at home settling in these areas few other immigrants wanted – areas like the Appalachians or the Rocky Mountains. A large amount of my heritage can be found among this group. Eighty-three percent of my ancestry come from the British Isles with a mixture of Scot, English, and Irish.
This is what happens in Mountain Storms, the first book in my In from the Storms Trilogy. Ian MacGregor was wounded in the Civil War and left Maryland to hide away in a mountain cabin in Wyoming Territory. He had been rejected because of his war wounds and wanted to move from society. Aileas Campbell stumbles on the cabin in a snowstorm after she runs away from unwanted attention. Neither suspect the adventure they’re about to begin or the changes God has in store for them.
The family saga continues in Past Storms. Jeannie MacGregor, at seventeen, feels imprisoned in the secluded mountain cabin with her taciturn brother, so she runs away and goes back to her aunt in Maryland, hoping to have a social life and find a suitor. But nothing turns out as she expected, and within a few years, she finds herself on a train back to Wyoming with her young daughter in tow. The unexpected interest of three men there surprises her, but only one man makes her heart beat faster. However, he’s the new pastor, and what would a man of God want with someone like her. He could hardly find a more unsuitable wife.
In Dust Storms, Brady Sharpe, Aileas’s stepbrother, wanders his way to Texas after Aileas refuses to leave with him. He tries ranching and becomes a foreman but never feels he truly belongs. After catching some cattle rustlers, he decides to leave but discovers a young woman in desperate need of help. He does his best but ends up deciding to take her back to Wyoming and get Aileas to help her. In their journey, they battle many storms, including a major dust storm and storms of the heart.
I loved writing this trilogy. Originally, I hadn’t planned to write Dust Storms, but when I finished Past Storms, Brady said I needed to tell his story, so I did. This has happened before in my character-driven novels. Readers seem to like this series, too, because these books have been my best-sellers for months.
I would like to offer one of you the chance to win a free copy of Mountain Storms. In addition, as long as they last, I would also like to give free codes for audible editions of one of the 3 books to any who have an Audible account (which is free but required to redeem the code). You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will send you the code for the book you request. Have a blessed day, ask me any questions you’d like, and I hope to hear from you soon.
Today Carolyn Brown rides into the Junction to talk about her new book, Cowboy Courage, and the give away of signed copy of the book! Welcome, Carolyn!
Thank you to the fillies here at Petticoats and Pistols for inviting me to prop up my boots here on their front porch for a little while today. Y’all all grab a sweet tea and some cookies and let’s talk about Cowboy Courage, that just hit the shelves a couple of days ago.
When I first started this series, it was going to be three books, and then Emily Baker married the young brother, Justin, who was co-owner of the Longhorn Canyon. She had two brothers, Tag and Hud, back home out in the Texas Panhandle, and they missed their sister, so they bought the ranch next to The Longhorn Canyon. They brought along the Callahan brothers with them to help run their ranch and suddenly the series grew to seven books. Cowboy Courage is Hud’s story and it’s the sixth book in the series. CowboyStrong will be out in June and the series will officially wind up in the fall with a novella about Dixie and Landon, two secondary characters in Cowboy Courage and Cowboy Strong.
That said, let’s talk about Hud and Rose, the hero and heroine of Cowboy Courage. Writing about these two was so much fun that I dragged my feet on the last few chapters. I simply didn’t want to tell them goodbye. They met years ago when Rose went to school out in the panhandle with Hud, but then she moved away, and they never saw each other again. Evidently, first love, even if it does involve two fourteen-year-old kids, is difficult to forget. When they are reunited in Bowie, Texas, the old flame is still burning brightly.
After spending years traveling the world with the military, Rose O’Malley is ready for a change. Heading back to Texas to hold down the fort at her aunt’s bed-and-breakfast will give Rose just the break she needs. But while she may speak seven languages, she can’t repair a leaky sink to save her life. When Hudson Baker strides in like a hero and effortlessly figures out the fix, Rose can’t help wondering if the boy she once crushed on as a kid could now be her saving grace.
Hud has always been rock-solid and dependable-a quintessential cowboy to his core. But the moment Rose steps back into his life, his world is turned upside down by meddling family, a rescued baby, and one highly mischievous cat. Now he’ll have to decide if it’s time to throw caution to the wind and do whatever it takes to convince Rose that by her side is exactly where he wants to stay.
This book includes a first time ever in print novella, Wildflower Ranch, a continuation of Daisies in the Canyon. My readers have asked me for Shiloh and Bonnie’s stories for years. This is Shiloh’s story. Bonnie’s will be included in Cowboy Strong.
What is your favorite? Stand alone stories? Series? If you like series, what do you consider to be too many? Is three a good number or is seven plus a final novella something you’d consider a perfect number?
I will give away a signed copy of Cowboy Courage. Y’all pull up a rocking chair and prop your boots up on the porch rail with me. Got questions? I’ll be dropping by several times throughout the day to answer them!
Today we’re happy to welcome Heather Banton! Today Heather will tell you about her book, A Good Man Comes Around, and she will give away three copies of her book to three winners. If you prefer, you can choose a book from her back list. Welcome, Heather!
In the Tragedy, Find the Blessings…
Greed is good.
Greed is good?
Hardly. But the 19th-century discoveries of gold and silver inarguably drew men by the thousands to the American West. Some prospectors were good. Some were bad. All played their part in settling America’s frontier.
As I researched gold rushes for a few previous books, I was struck by one man’s random, utterly stunning gold strike, and the way it impacted his life. His tale is the basis for my book, , the expanded version releasing today!
Oliver Martin was one of the few men in the goldfields who was there more out of directionless boredom than Gold Fever. Ostensibly, he was in the gold camps to strike it rich. The fact was, though, Oliver was a good-for-nothing slacker who didn’t even own a pan. Hard work didn’t pull his trigger. He meandered around boom towns like El Dorado and Yuba, panning, drinking, doing odd jobs, but mostly, drinking. Drifting, lost, he had no real plans for his life.
Then tragedy struck. And in nearly the same instant, Oliver was handed an incredible, amazing blessing. I mean, a jaw-dropping fork in his road.
After an accident, the young man had to bury his lifeless best friend in the wilds of the Sierra Mountains. Grief-stricken and with no conscious thought to location, he merely chose the first spot he saw. Along a bustling creek, he dropped to his knees and started clawing at the sand. He had not dug down two feet when he found a nugget of gold that weighed in at over eighty-five pounds.
Eighty. Five. Pounds.
In modern money, the rock had an approximate value of $650,000. Digging less than a foot in any direction and Oliver would have missed the nugget entirely.
I was fascinated by this turn of events in the man’s life. Wham! Suddenly he had a pot of gold sitting in his lap. He had gained something of great value yet lost something priceless, irreplaceable, in one fell swoop. I thought of Job—God blessing him, then Satan cursing him.
Receiving an overwhelming financial windfall is definitely a blessing or a curse. Depends on how you use it. We know most of these stories don’t end well. The goldfields were killing fields, rife with thievery, murder, and mayhem. And even when the prospectors managed to hang on to their money, they often spent it on riotous living before they could get out of the mountains.
Oliver found himself facing an unfamiliar choice: squander the unimaginable wealth or use it wisely, to become a better person, maybe make the world a better place.
What would he do? He had spent much of his life breaking promises, abusing friends, and running from God. Now it was time for him to examine his heart. He was still reeling from the painful loss of his friend. How could his future be so bright and yet so grim? Was it even in him to be a better man?
Meanwhile, God was working on someone else’s heart. Moved by Oliver’s tragedy, Abigail Holt, the mail-order bride Oliver had rejected, offered him friendship and forgiveness.
So, the question is, did Oliver go the way of so many lottery winners? Did he drink and gamble the money into oblivion? Loan it to moneygrubbing friends more lost than he? Or did he grow up and find the path God had for him? Did Abigail play any part in his choices?
I hope you’ll read releasing today and find out what drew me to this true Gold Rush story.
What about you? Have you or anyone you know been able to look past an enormous tragedy and find a blessing in it? Comment to win your paperback copy OR any paperback by me of your choosing! I’ll do THREE (3) winners!
We are so happy to welcome Ann Roth to the Junction. Today Ann will introduce us to her stories and give away a copy of each of her 2-in-1 novels, which means there will be two lucky winners! Welcome, Ann!
Hey there, wonderful readers, and happy January!
Don’t you love ranchers and the ranching life? I do, and this month I have two 2-in-1 previously published books from Harlequin, both set in Montana ranching country. “Home On the Ranch, Montana Beginnings,” features two Ann Roth books set on ranches in fictional Prosperity, Montana: A Rancher’s Honor and A Rancher’s Redemption.
To whet your appetite, check out these teasers.
A Rancher’s Honor:
There’s no room in daycare owner Lana’s life for casual flings. After all, her dream of adopting a baby is closer than ever to becoming a reality. So why is she still mooning over the sexy cowboy who made her forget everything but the strong, sure feel of his arms around her?
It wasn’t supposed to be more than one unforgettable night between consenting strangers. But when Sly spots Lana’s photo in the local paper, he grabs at the chance to see her again. The guarded rancher is falling hard for her, but it can only end in heartbreak. Unless Sly can trust Lana with the secrets that keep him from believing that just maybe, they could have a future together.
A Rancher’s Redemption:
Since she was a teen, there’s been one guy that restaurateur Dani can always count on—her best friend, Nick. Their relationship is purely platonic…that is until a single kiss changes everything. Now Dani is falling hard for the one man she shouldn’t fall for—the one who can truly break her heart.
Nick accepts that he’s to blame for a string of failed relationships. Dani is the only woman he’s ever trusted. He doesn’t want to be just another guy who lets her down, but his new feelings for her are too strong to resist. Do they dare risk their lifelong friendship for a once-in-a-lifetime love?
The second 2-in-1, “Home on the Ranch, A Match Made in Montana,” includes The Rancher She Loved, set in fictional Saddlers Prairie, and a book from author Joanna Sims.
Here’s your teaser for The Rancher She Loved:
Learning she was adopted is the biggest shock of magazine writer Sarah’s life. Falling for champion bull rider Clay is a close second. Years ago, she shared a sizzling kiss with the handsome rodeo star, only to hear that he was a player.
But as Sarah searches for her birth mother, Clay is unexpectedly by her side. Can this really be the same man she considers a womanizer? As she gets closer to learning the stunning truth about her biological mom, Sarah also finds herself growing closer to Clay. Her head tells her it’s a mistake…but her heart isn’t so sure.
A little about me:
I live in the Pacific Northwest with my own hero. I met him in college, and we’ve been married for umpteen years.
Who doesn’t love a happy ending? Especially when two characters are so right for each other but don’t know it. I like to set my stories in small towns, where folks are nosy but also care about each other.
To date, I have published over 35 novels, as well as several short stories and novellas, through both New York publishers and as an indie author.
For a list of my novels and to sign up for my newsletter and get a free book, visit my website.
I would like to shine a light on five quilting myths most of us have believed to be true at one time or another.
QUILTING MYTH #1 ~ A common task for women during Colonial America times was quilting.
In Colonial times, quilting wasn’t a task of necessity or frugality. It was a pastime of the wealthy. The cottons and silks used in quilting at the time were expensive imported fabrics. Those who could afford the fine textiles quilted, but the ordinary person in early America was hard pressed to keep their family in clothes with days spent spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing, and various other chores for survival. No time for something as frivolous as quilting.
Around 1840 with the industrial revolution, the widespread production of affordable textiles made fabric plentiful and available for more women. As textiles were being mass-produced, some fabrics went from $5 a yard to 5-cents a yard.
Quilt from Elko Museum
QUILTING MYTH #2 ~The Underground Railroad used special quilt designs & patterns as signals.
This myth has great romantic appeal. I love the idea of slaves escaping from the South knowing where to find safe refuge by a quilt hung on a clothesline or a special block pattern in a window. But research on the Underground Railroad has found no evidence of such a practice.
QUILTING MYTH #3 ~ Scraps used for quilting was a frugal measure.
This myth implies that most if not all quilts were a product of needing to be frugal. Most women of the past bought fabrics specifically for making a quilt, much as we do today. True, they also used scraps from worn-out clothing or the leftovers from making garments, but they most used new fabric purchased for the quilt. Women didn’t use the worn-out portion of cloth because they would already be—well, worn out. The quilt would damage or tear easily, and all that work would be fruitless.
The frugal quilter theory suggests that quilting was out of necessity only. Many quilts were far too elaborate to be made for daily use. However, simpler quilts were made for everyday.
An old quilt my grandma made decades ago
QUILTING MYTH #4 ~ To show humility, mistakes were intentionally made in quilts from yesteryear.
Intentional mistakes in old (or new) quilts was never a common practice. All quilters make mistakes. It’s nearly impossible to make a perfect quilt no matter how hard one tries.
However, there are mistakes in quilts that have been put there purposefully, possibly for religious reasons or superstition.
It is believed that Amish and Mennonite women put a mistake in each quilt because it would be prideful to make something perfect, because only God is perfect. But to include a mistake on purpose would presuppose that one believed herself to be perfect and that would be prideful.
So, when you find a mistake in a quilt, it’s unlikely to have been made on purpose. It’s just the quilt maker being human.
QUILTING MYTH #5 ~ While migrating west, pioneer women pieced blocks and quilted.
On the long trek westward, a woman rarely worked on a quilt. Any able-bodied person, including women and children, walked most of the roughly 1,500 miles, so doing any form of sewing would have been pretty much impossible during the day. If a woman would have been fortunate enough to travel in the wagon the rough ride would have made fine sewing nearly impossible.
Once stopped at the end of a long day, there were many chores to be done; tending to the livestock, gathering wood, cooking, and so much more. If a woman had any energy after all that, the poor evening light would have made sewing hard, and so they preferred knitting that could be done in low light. Though a few pioneer women might have pieced blocks together for a quilt along the journey, it was uncommon.
So there you have it, five quilting myths that are sadly not true.
I’M GIVING AWAY A DIGITAL COPY OF THE WIDOW’S PLIGHT TODAY TO ONE LUCKY COMMENTER!
MARY DAVIS is a bestselling, award-winning novelist of over two dozen titles in both historical and contemporary themes. She has five titles releasing in 2018; “Holly & Ivy” in A Bouquet of Brides Collection in January, Courting Her Amish Heart in March, The Widow’s Plight in July, Courting Her Secret Heart September, & “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in MISSAdventure Brides Collection in December. She’s a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.
Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-three years and two cats. She has three adult children and two incredibly adorable grandchildren.
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THE WIDOW’S PLIGHT ~ A sweet historical romance that will tug at your heart. This is book 1 in the Quilting Circle series. Washington State, 1893
When Lily Lexington Bremmer arrives in Kamola with her young son, she’s reluctant to join the social center of her new community, the quilting circle, but the friendly ladies pull her in. She begins piecing a sunshine and shadows quilt because it mirrors her life. She has a secret that lurks in the shadows and hopes it doesn’t come out into the light. Dark places in her past are best forgotten, but her new life is full of sunshine. Will her secrets cast shadows on her bright future?
Widower Edric Hammond and his father are doing their best to raise his two young daughters. He meets Lily and her son when they arrive in town and helps her find a job and a place to live. Lily resists Edric’s charms at first but finds herself falling in love with this kind, gentle man and his two darling daughters. Lily has stolen his heart with her first warm smile, but he’s cautious about bringing another woman into his girls’ lives due to the harshness of their own mother. Can Edric forgive Lily her past to take hold of a promising chance at love?
THE WIDOW’S PLIGHT releases in ebook on July 1 and will be out in paperback by mid-June.
Look who has returned to Wildflower Junction! From “The Heart of the West”… I am tickled pink to welcome Rosanne Bittner to the corral!
Well, by the time this blog is posted I will have just returned from the big Romantic Times conference at the RIO in Las Vegas! As of this writing I’m not there yet, but I know it will be a blast, and I’ll get to meet Linda Broday! I’m so happy to finally meet her, and we have a lot to talk about!
Thank you for having me back. I love the blog name Petticoats and Pistols – so perfect for those of us who write westerns! And westerns are my favorite (and pretty much my only) genre. I have written about the Revolutionary War era, the Civil War era, the French and Indian Wars, the Mexican War, the Alamo, the building of the Union Pacific, the founding of Denver, Colorado, the very early years of Chicago, the gold rushes, silver rushes, the stagecoach era, the Indian wars, the land rushes in Oklahoma, the gradual demise of most of our Native American tribes, the War of 1812, outlaws and lawmen, vigilantes and bounty hunters, ranchers and townsmen, and everything in between. I guess you can see what I love – American History and for the most part – the Old West.
Some call my westerns gritty and sexy – and I love both descriptions. No “fluff” here. Few “Mr. Nice-Guys.” Very strong heroines to match very strong heroes who take no sh—but definitely know how to treat a woman! And through it all there is always a very strong, very touching and always memorable love story that stays with my readers long after they put down the book.
One of my best love stories was between Zeke and Abbie Monroe in my 7-book SAVAGE DESTINY series – over 30 years old and still selling! Now I think I’ve matched that great love in my OUTLAW series – OUTLAW HEARTS, DO NOT FORSAKE ME and LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE (coming September 2016). DO NOT FORSAKE ME is up for an award from Romantic Times for Best Historical Novel for 2015.
These three books are about wanted man Jake Harkner, a man haunted by a tortured boyhood and looking for the love he never had as a child – a man both ruthless and devotedly loving. When Jake meets Miranda Hayes in the first book, it’s as though God brought them together, because it’s Randy who changes Jake’s life forever. Ironically, in the first book Randy is so afraid of Jake that she shoots him! Yet they end up recklessly and hopelessly in love, and Randy bears a hard life for marrying a wanted man who (by book #2) becomes a U.S. Marshal – a man who already had enemies and makes more because of his job – enemies that threaten Jake and the beautiful family he has spawned over the years.
LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE continues to bring Jake and his family troubles from his haunted past that won’t leave him alone. In spite of being tough and rugged on the outside, and damn good with a gun, Jake still experiences the terror and fears of a little boy who lived with a demon for a father, whom Jake killed himself when very young. His constant inner struggle to hang on to the love he’s found in Randy and his family keeps getting Jake into trouble in his over-zealous attempts to protect them – and sometimes he isn’t just protecting them from cruel enemies – sometimes (in his mind) Jake is protecting them from himself.
These “Jake” books are, if I may say so myself, some of my best writing, mainly because I love all the psychology involved. It’s Jake’s boyhood that controls most of his emotions and actions. In modern times he would need counseling, but in the 1800’s such things were unheard of. Jake’s protection from his past is his gun – and his counselor is the woman he worships and adores – his Miranda. She and his devoted family keep Jake sane and on the straight and narrow … most of the time … until something devastating happens in book #3, LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE. You won’t want to miss it!
I am planning a fourth book – THE LAST OUTLAW. Hope my publisher takes it, because Jake’s story is still unfinished.
A big thank you to Linda Broday and Petticoats and Pistols – and to all my fans out there who keep asking for more! I’ll keep writing more stories as long as my brain and fingers work! Love to all – and enjoy LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE! Be sure to visit my website at www.rosannebittner.com, where you can “one-click” order many of my books, and read my blogs at www.rosannebittner.blogspot.com. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and many other sites!
I’m giving away two sets of my Jake Harkner books. (U.S. only.)