Grass Valley Brides

Years ago, a dear friend invited me to spend the weekend with her at her parents’ home in Sherman County, Oregon. I’d never been in that part of the state, but quickly fell in “awe” with the rolling hills of wheat and sky that stretched forever. A few years after that, I found myself driving through the area and when I entered the tiny town of Grass Valley, the idea for a book began hopping around in my head. By the time I got home, I could hardly wait to get started writing it.

 

And one book led to another, until there were six in the sweet, contemporary Grass Valley Cowboys series. The stories are all set in and around Grass Valley, focusing on the Thompson and Morgan families.

The cowboys in the stories are the kind of heroes that give you happy daydreams (and may even make you swoon). They can be tender, teasing, flirty, furious, mischievous, rascally, protective, and proud, and that’s all before breakfast!

I’ve often thought about how fun it would be to write about the first families who came to Grass Valley, at least the families connected to those in my stories. 

 

The settlement of Grass Valley began with the establishment of a few stock ranches. Settlers began to arrive in the area and were soon plowing the cattle-sustaining grass to plant wheat fields.  Dr. Charles R. Rollins, a physician from New Hampshire, is credited with establishing Grass Valley when he arrived in the area with a small party of pioneers.  Dr. Rollins had an easy time choosing a name for the location since the rye grass grew thick and tall in the alkaline soil. Rollins built a large two-story hotel, which included a clinic from which he prescribed and sold medicine.  The town of Grass Valley was officially established in 1878.

I knew train service didn’t arrive in the area until around 1900, so I started digging into more history.

If you look at the map above, you see the John Day River, the Columbia River, and the Deschutes River make up the boundaries of quite a large area. Reportedly, Dr. Rollins was the only physician “between the rivers” for a while as communities popped up around the county. 

Originally, I’d wanted to set the story in 1878, when Grass Valley was established, but getting my characters there was proving to be a challenge. So, I kicked the timeline up to 1884 when train service ran all the way across the country and made a stop in The Dalles. From there, it was simple enough to board the stagecoach that ran daily from The Dalles to Canyon City to the southeast. Just to reach Grass Valley took most of the day with stops at stations to switch out the teams for fresh horses. I could just picture a cast of characters bouncing along on that long ride, eager to reach Grass Valley.

When I was asked to participate in a new project with three other authors, I knew it was time to write the story of the first Thompson to arrive in Grass Valley. 

I’m so pleased and happy to be part of the Regional Romance Series with our own Kit Morgan, as well as Kari Trumbo and Peggy L. Henderson. What makes this series so fun and unique is that each of us is writing three connected stories that are bundled into one book. If you purchase all four books in the series, you actually get twelve (12!) brand new romances! 

My contribution to the series is Grass Valley Brides.

I can hardly wait for you to read these stories, because they were ridiculously delightful to write! Oh, boy, did I have a good time! Mostly because of Taggart Thompson.

He is a rascally, good-looking rancher who fancies himself to be quite the matchmaker. And the real matchmaker is ready to throttle him! 

What’s a matchmaker to do when the husband-to-be rejects the bride?

     Again . . .

Widowed as a young wife, Cara Cargill turned her head for business and love of romance into a successful mail-order bride enterprise. She’s never had a problem matching couples until one mule-headed man continues to refuse to wed the women she sends to meet him in Grass Valley, Oregon. In an effort to make a match he’ll keep and uphold her sterling reputation, Cara is desperate to find the perfect bride.

Daisy – When her fiancé leaves her at the altar, Daisy Bancroft knows it is far past time for a change. Her dearest friend, Cara, offers to send her to a newly established town in Oregon, where possibilities abound and the grass is rumored to be as tall as a man’s head. Daisy arrives with plans to wed Tagg Thompson, only to find the obstinate rancher has foisted her off on his best friend.

Birdie – Tired of waiting for her Mister Right to magically appear and whisk her away to a happily-ever-after, Bridget “Birdie” Byrne convinces her sister, a renowned matchmaker, to send her as the bride to Tagg Thompson. The man who greets her upon her arrival isn’t Tagg, but Birdie is certain she’s finally discovered the man she is meant to marry.  

Cara – Fed up with Tagg Thompson and his refusals of every bride she’s sent to Grass Valley for him to wed, Cara decides to meet the exasperating man in person. Her feet are barely on the ground in the rustic town before she’s nearly bowled over by a herd of stampeding cattle and swept into the brawny arms of a cowboy with the bluest eyes she’s ever seen.

Will true love find its home in the hearts of these Grass Valley Brides.

 

Dear Mrs. Cargill,

At the rate you’re finding me a wife, I may be too old to have any kids by the time I get married. Speaking of children, Sally Oliver, she was the first bride you sent, wanted me to pass on the news to you that she and her husband, Mr. Buster Martin, will be parents in March. Good thing you’ve got me to help find these women a happy home.

Are you sure you know what you’re doing? You came highly recommended as one of the top matchmakers in the country, but if you have this much trouble with everyone who engages your services, I don’t see how you stay in business.

Please let me know when you have another bride ready to send my way. I look forward to making her acquaintance, and can only pray she’ll be better suited as a ranch wife than the last four you sent.

Respectfully,

Mr. T. Thompson

Grass Valley, Oregon

 

What do you think? Will Cara find a bride to please Tagg?

 

 

 

 

CHERYL ST. JOHN IS HERE WITH A GIVEAWAY!

I’m delighted to visit Petticoats and Pistols and check in with all my friends. After twenty-five years under contract, I took a year and a half away from writing to care for and nurture a new grandbaby. During that wonderful and exhausting time, I refreshed my mojo so that I could write with renewed energy. I also promised myself that from then on, I would only write books I love. And that’s what I’ve been doing.

One of the things I especially like to do is take a character out of their place of comfort and put them into a new and difficult situation to see how they react. This is exactly what I did when I created Raylene Cranford, a gently-raised Southern belle whose new husband and father were killed in the brother’s war. She and her childhood friend survived through the winter in the burned-out remains of her family home, living on acorns and scrawny rabbits, and eventually made their way north to safety.

Determined and resourceful, the two are able to turn a family member’s home into a boarding house to support themselves. The system of male-dominated households existed to protect the weaker gentler sex. All Raylene knows how to do is maintain appearances and reputation, and to perfect the feminine graces—like modesty, piety and meekness—qualities that made a Southern woman the center of attention.

Here’s an interesting article about how the war left these young women at a loss with no way to fulfill the roles they’d been primed to fill:

https://daily.jstor.org/life-really-like-southern-belles-civil-war/

 

Raylene’s behavior does not go over well with the gaggle of more practical, capable and single women of Twin Springs, Colorado. Nor does her exaggerated drawl endear her to the former Union Army captain who spent months in a confederate prison.

But Tanner Bell has bigger problems. He’s just become solely responsible for a newborn. He owns a livery, where he lives in a tiny back room. His current arrangement will not do for taking care of a newborn. The most convenient solution is to rent a room at the boarding house. Also convenient is asking his industrious new landlady to help him care for the baby.

All Raylene knows is the past. Tanner is focused on the future. It might seem they have nothing in common, but the more they come to know about each other, the more similar they truly are. Both have faced loss and endured hardships. Both are acutely aware of racial injustice and are making a difference by helping change lives and hearts in their community. Both want the best for the tiny girl who has won their hearts.

Raylene’s journey is one of self-discovery. I enjoyed unwrapping these characters to get to the heart of matters, and I hope readers will enjoy reading their story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

 

Have you ever been out of your comfort zone and having to learn how to reinvent yourself? I’m offering three e-books from the choice of my backlist! 

Thank you so much to all the Fillies for the warm welcome, and a big howdy to all my friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH! — VILLAINS AND TREACHERY! by Cheryl Pierson

Oh, how I love a good villain! Whether I’m reading about one or watching him/her on film, or best of all—WRITING ONE!

What makes a good villain? Well, in my opinion, first and foremost he can’t be one-dimensional. I know in our “real world” there are those people that seem to be evil just for the sake of it and some of them probably are. But in our reading/writing, we want to know WHY. What made this person turn out like he did—a diabolical, cunning, demonic person that will stop at nothing to accomplish what he’s set out to do?

 

This leads to the question, is there anything at all that would stop him from carrying out his evil plans? Would a memory stop him, or trigger him? Would any one person be able to reason with him? Would a “new plan” divert him from carrying out the blueprint for disaster for the hero/heroine that he’s already come up with?

 

 

But there are other things that have to be reckoned with. Those things that might have happened to him in his past to create and mold him into the kind of person who would be so bold and determined to use anything—no matter how it hurts others—to his own advantage are important. But what are the factors that drive him presently? A circumstance of opportunity? A long-seated need for revenge and the path to that revenge being presented? Greed? Burning jealousy? Maybe even the death of a loved one that he may not have wanted to embarrass by his actions while they were still living—now that they’re gone, all bets are off! THE DEVIL AND MISS JULIA JACKSON has the heroine caught between a distant relative who throws her and her niece out of their home and the job as nursemaid she takes in Indian Territory, working for a man who is, at first, cold and unresponsive. The villain in this story shifts between the man who threw Julia out of her home to someone else who means to destroy her employer.

 

 

 

 

I’ve had so many villains I’ve created in my writing that were motivated by different things. My first one, Andrew Fallon, appeared in FIRE EYES. He was just pure evil. He didn’t care about anything or anyone—even his family, as his brother found out when he came looking for him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my first contemporary romantic suspense, SWEET DANGER, Tabor Hardin has his revenge handed to him on a silver platter, being in the right place at the right time to turn the tables on the undercover cop who put him in jail—before his escape. He’s a man with nothing to lose at this point, and Jesse Nightwalker, the cop, has a new life hovering on the horizon—if he can survive.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The villain is paranormal in TIME PLAINS DRIFTER—a demon who can shape-shift. How in the world will the innocents he’s after survive? They have a reluctant angel or two on their side, but the demon is powerful. Can they overcome his strength?

 

 

Greed comes into play in BEYOND THE FIRE, when undercover DEA agent Jackson Taylor’s cover is blown and a drug lord comes after him, trying to use Jack’s undercover partner against him. But there is a secret that even Jack hasn’t known about his partner—and the woman he’s falling in love with. Is it enough to defeat the powerful drug cartel and keep Jackson, Kendi, and his partner safe?

Treachery comes in all forms and it’s most often quite a surprise. No matter how vigilant our heroes are, they come up against some very foreboding, sharp cunning from the villains—after all, they have to have a worthy opponent, right?

 

 

Speaking of worthy opponents, I’ll talk a little about my contemporary romantic suspense CAPTURE THE NIGHT—where the villain, Kieran McShane, runs his own rogue faction of the Irish Republican Army and plans to murder Great Britain’s Prime Minister while he’s on vacation in Dallas. Johnny Logan is an undercover Dallas cop, staying in the hotel as added protection for the prime minister; Alexa Bailey is treating herself to a one-year divorce anniversary vacation. When McShane takes over the entire hotel, it’s only a matter of time before he discovers them up on the roof in the maintenance housing—and collateral damage means nothing to him. With the hostages brought to the roof, McShane threatens to begin throwing them over one by one—unless his demands are met. Can Johnny and Alexa survive the whims of a madman, bent on political revenge?

 

One of my favorite recent stories is SABRINA, one of four novels that appears in the boxed set MAIL ORDER BRIDES FOR SALE: THE REMINGTON  SISTERS. Four sisters are at the mercy of their stepfather who plans to sell them to the highest bidder now that their mother is dead. But these girls have other plans. Can they manage to get away? Will they be able to keep themselves safe from Josiah Bloodworth no matter how far away they go? This is a very fun set of four full length novels, each sister’s story penned by a different author. Livia Washburn Reasoner—Lizzy; Jacquie Rogers—Belle; Celia Yeary—Lola; and Cheryl Pierson—Sabrina.  

Here’s an excerpt of Sabrina facing down the villain, her stepfather, in the dressmaker’s shop. Cam is listening to it all from the back, waiting for his chance to save her, his sister, and the proprietor of the shop. Here’s what happens:

“So you see, dear Sabrina, you have no true choice about what you do—and neither do your sisters.” Bloodworth spread his hands as he spoke. “You will, indeed, come home to Pennsylvania from this godforsaken place and do exactly as you are told. You will marry a man—a proper gentleman—of my choosing.” He took a step closer to her.

She faced him unflinchingly, her head held high. “I will no more return to Philadelphia with you than fly to the moon. You would do well to carry your pompous, maggot-ridden self away from here and get as far east as you can go posthaste—before my husband returns for us—and sends you straight to hell.” She spoke as regally as a queen to the lowliest dregs of society, without a trace of fear.

A thin smile touched Bloodworth’s lips, but the calm iciness in his pale eyes was what put Cam on alert. This man was determined, and he believed no one could stop him.

His muscle-bound cohort stood near the door, keeping watch so that Bloodworth didn’t need to worry about any distractions—from the two other women, or from any of the townspeople.

“My dear Sabrina, you are most definitely going to do exactly as I tell you. Or else.”

Else what? You’ll drag me back by my hair like the brute that you truly are?”

Bloodworth chuckled. “Well, well. Our little Sabrina has come into her own, hasn’t she?” He stroked his chin. “Actually, I don’t believe I shall have to drag you back. I think you most likely will do anything I say once I lay my hands on that half-breed husband of yours…even if I tell you to climb up on this counter and spread your legs like the whore you are…just like your mother was—”

The slap Sabrina gave Bloodworth echoed through the room, and brought a spot of blood to the corner of his mouth. Unruffled, he took out his handkerchief and dabbed at it.

“I’m going to kill your husband, Sabrina Rose. It will be a long…slow…and very, very painful death. And you will have only yourself to blame.”

 

So many wonderful reasons for becoming a villain! The motivations are just endless, aren’t they? It’s a fine line to walk, making them evil, yet sympathetic in some instances, and letting our readers see a glimpse of their humanity—if they have any left.

Do you have a favorite villain you’ve written or read? What about your favorite film villain?

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Online Dating in the 19th Century

With guest blogger Becca Whitham.

Online dating is not a new phenomenon…at least matching two people over a distance before they meet in person isn’t. During the 1800’s, it manifested itself as mail-order brides. The Telegraph Proposal is the final book in what Gina and I call our “mail-order brides gone wrong” series. We wanted to explore pitfalls of modern online dating using an historical setting. In our first story, The Promise Bride, we looked at what happens if the person you’ve been corresponding with was lying with malicious intent. The second story, The Kitchen Marriage, explored what happens when the family of the person you’ve been dating thinks only desperate and dishonest people resort to matchmaking services. And the final book looks at what happens when the dating service matches you with someone you not only know but don’t like.

Our research turned up fascinating stories which, if you changed the dates and a few particulars, read like they were ripped from today’s news stories. Women were often lured away from home with the promise of something better only to find themselves lost in the underworld of drugs and prostitution. There were stories of individuals falsely representing themselves to get money. Here’s a quote from The Chicago Tribune (which we added to the opening of The Kitchen Marriage): “…(Here’s) a fact that all women who ever answered a matrimonial advertisement or ever intend to answer one should remember: No man who has the ability or the means to support a wife in comfort needs to advertise for one.” The article was written December 28, 1884, but doesn’t it sound like advice you hear today?

 

To combat the perception that only desperate people would advertise for a spouse, services bloomed to help vet prospective candidates. Today we have Match.com, eHarmony, ChristianMingle, and others. My husband vetted someone. He was a pastor in Washington State at the time, and one of our congregants had been corresponding with a woman in Florida. Her pastor called my husband and said, “Okay. Tell me about this Greg fellow. Is he who he claims to be?” My husband was able to assure the Florida pastor that Greg was indeed telling the truth about himself. A few months later, after the woman had come to Washington for some in-person courting, my husband performed their wedding.

In the 1800’s, matchmaking agencies offered vetting services. For The Telegraph Proposal, our principal characters were tricked into a correspondence courtship by a well-intentioned but deceptive member of such an agency. However, instead of letting the ruse stand, we blew it up early in the story. I don’t know about you, but I hated how the movie “You’ve Got Mail” ended. Had I been Meg Ryan’s character, I would not have lovingly wrapped my arms around Tom Hanks’ neck and kissed him on that bridge after discovering how he’d tricked me. I’d have slapped his face and stomped off! So that’s what happens in The Telegraph Proposal. Our characters had to learn how to find their way back to love after such a disaster.

This skill is something we all need. My husband and I have conducted close to a hundred marriage retreats, and we always talk about how couples need to learn how to fall in love with the person they actually married as opposed to the one they thought they had. Some couples figure it out before marriage, others—like my husband and me—must figure it out afterwards. The opening sentence of The Telegraph Proposal sums it up: “Marriage did not make women experts on men.”

Becca Whitham (WIT-um) Award-winning author, paper crafter, and Army wife, Becca and her twelve-foot long craft cabinet follow her husband of thirty-five years wherever the army needs a good chaplain. She thinks the cabinet should count as a dependent. So far, neither the army nor the IRS is convinced. In between moves from one part of the country to the other, she writes stories combining faith and fiction that touch the heart. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. You can find her online at http://www.beccawhitham.com

 

Ruthy here: Becca has graciously offered to give away a copy of The Telegraph Proposal! Leave a comment below to be entered… and tell us what you think of online dating. The good… the bad… and if you’ve got a great story to share (like Ruthy’s nephew and his lovely wife, married 12 years and three kids, met at Match.com) we’d love to hear it!

STAND WATIE–A MOST UNCOMMON MAN by CHERYL PIERSON

 

I am fascinated by Cherokee leader Stand Watie. I’ve used him as a character in many of my stories. I think the reason I can’t seem to get enough of him is because of his remarkable life and accomplishments. Here’s a little bit about Stand Watie and what he did–and then I’ll tell you about my stories he appears in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

215px-stand_watie

Only two Native Americans on either side of the States’ War rose to the rank of brigadier general.  Standhope Watie (Uwatie), fighting for the Confederacy, was one of those two.  Yet, what makes this accomplishment so incredible is the fact that while he was fighting for the Confederate States of America, he was also fighting other Cherokee tribal leaders who held opposing political views and very different visions for the Cherokee nation.

Stand Watie commanded the Confederate Indian Cavalry of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi.  While the cavalry unit was comprised mainly of Cherokee, some Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole tribal members also served.

Born in Oothcaloga in the Cherokee Nation, State of Georgia, Uwatie (or Oowatie) was also known as Isaac.  He was educated in a Moravian mission school.  In his early adulthood, he occasionally wrote articles for the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper.  The State of Georgia confiscated Cherokee lands in 1832 when gold was discovered, including the thriving plantation owned by Stand’s father and mother.  Stand and his brothers, part of the powerful Ridge-Watie-Boudinot faction of the WA040Cherokee council, stood in favor of the Cherokee Removal. Their signing of the Treaty of New Echota facilitated the removal of the Cherokee people to Indian Territory—what is now Oklahoma.

Another faction of Cherokees following John Ross refused to ratify the treaty signing.  This segment was known as The Anti-Removal National Party.  Members of this group targeted Stand Watie and his brother, Elias Boudinot, along with their uncle, Major Ridge, and cousin, John Ridge for assassination.  Stand was the only one who survived the assassination attempt.  Although Watie’s family had left Georgia before the forcible removal of all Cherokees in 1838, another brother, Thomas, was murdered by Ross’s men in 1845.

In October, 1861, Watie was commissioned as colonel in the First Mounted Cherokee Rifles. Besides fighting Federal troops in the States’ War, his men also fought opposing factions of Cherokee, as well as Seminole and Creek (Muscogee) warriors who supported the Union.

In 1862, Stand Watie was elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, through dissension continued among John Ross’s supporters.

On June 15, 1864, Watie’s troops captured the Federal steamboat J. R. Williams on the Arkansas River off the banks of stand_watie_memorial_editedPleasant Bluff near Tamaha, Indian Territory.  The next morning, Colonel John Ritchie’s men, who were stationed at the mouth of the Illinois River near where the two rivers met, engaged Watie’s men as they attempted to confiscate the cargo.  The river was rising, and they fought to a standoff.  When Watie learned of the advance of Union troops from Fort Smith, Arkansas, (within about 40 miles), he burned the ship and much of the remaining cargo, then sank it.

Watie surrendered a year later in June of 1865, the last Confederate general to lay down his arms.

In my debut novel, Fire Eyes, I weave this bit of history into my plot.  The villain, Andrew Fallon, and his gang have come upon the site where the J.R. Williams was sunk four years earlier.  Fallon speculates there could have been gold aboard, and sets his men to dive for it.  As mercurial as his temper is, none of them dare question his order.  Here’s what happens:

PRPFire Eyes 2 web

FROM FIRE EYES:

“Damn! I know where we are.” Dobie Perrin said.

Andrew Fallon turned in the saddle, glaring at Perrin, the afternoon sun dappling them through the leaves of the thick canopy of trees. “So do I, you idiot! So do we all, now.”

The secluded cemetery sat on a bluff, overlooking the Arkansas River. They had been wandering for two days, ever since retracing their steps to the first small creek they’d come to. The one Fallon felt sure would give them their bearings. Now, at last, he recognized where they were. He’d figured it out ten miles back.

“Tamaha,” Denver Rutledge muttered. “I was raised up over yonder.” He inclined his head toward the riverbank. “Over in Vian.”

“Then why didn’t you know where we were?” Fallon’s anger surged. “I am surrounded by idiots!”

“I shore ’nuff shoulda known, General,” Rutledge said apologetically. “Right yonder’s where we sunk the J.R. Williams. Rebs, I mean. Stand Watie’s bunch.”

Fallon jerked his head toward the other man. “Right where, soldier?”

Rutledge kneed his horse, coming abreast of Fallon. “Why, right yonder, General. It was in June of ’64. She was a Union ship, the Williams was.”

“What was she carrying?”

Rutledge shrugged. “Don’t rightly know. Supplies, maybe.”

“Payroll? Gold?” Fallon fingered his curling moustache. “Could be anything, eh, Rutledge? But the Yankees were known to cache their gold profits in casks. Maybe that’s what the J.R. Williams was carrying. Casks that weren’t really supplies, but were filled with gold.”

“Could be, I ‘spect.” Rutledge’s voice was hesitant.

Fallon nodded toward the river. “I think maybe we’ll try to find out.”

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prp-meant-to-be-1-webThe next story Chief Watie was included in was my time-travel western novella, MEANT TO BE.  Here’s a little bit about this Civil War story:

Robin Mallory is facing another Christmas all alone when she decides to surprise her aunt and uncle several hours away. A flat tire leaves her stranded near a desolate section of interstate. With a snowstorm on the way, Robin has no choice but to walk, hoping to find shelter before the storm hits full force. But the road she chooses leads her back in time, to a battleground she’s only read about in history books.

Confederate Jake Devlin, an officer in Stand Watie’s Cherokee forces, is shocked when the spy he captures turns out to be a girl. She’s dressed oddly, but her speech and the ideas she has are even stranger than her clothing. Where did she come from, and what is he going to do with her? Will he be able to hold on to his heart? Is it possible for a love this strong to span centuries? It is, if it was MEANT TO BE…

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tales-from-the-otherverse-web

My most recent story that Stand Watie appears in is my first venture into “alternate history” in the alternate history anthology, TALES FROM THE OTHERVERSE released through Rough Edges Press. If you aren’t familiar with alternate history, it’s fascinating to read and to write–because you can change history to suit the story you want to tell. My novella is called MRS. LINCOLN’S DINNER PARTY–a very different story about how the Civil War ended, thanks to Varina Davis, Mary Lincoln, and of all people, Stand Watie. Hmmm…let’s just see what’s going on at this odd dinner party of Mrs. Lincoln’s, shall we?

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“If you’ll excuse me, sir,” Mary said, “I must return to the receiving line. You’ve had a long journey—if you’d like a moment to freshen up, Mr. Pennington can show you to your quarters—” She nodded at the guard standing behind the general.

“Yes, please. I’d like to know where I need to place my bag,” the general said.

Mary glared at Mr. Pennington, who squirmed uncomfortably.

“Thought maybe there was a mistake, Mrs. Lincoln—”

Mr. Pennington. There is no mistake. And I will not tolerate rudeness. Please, show General Watie to his quarters—and you carry his bag.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Pennington answered. “This way, sir.”

General Watie gave Mary a rare smile. “Thank you. I will see you at dinner, Mrs. Lincoln.”

Mary felt Abe’s eyes boring into her as she moved across the floor, back into her place in line.

“I’m…surprised at you, Mary.”

Mary felt the hot flush creep up her neck, into her cheeks.

“I’m wondering, what other—guests—you may have invited without my knowledge.”

Oh, how she did wish he’d keep his voice down! She didn’t want the children to see the discord between them—especially here in public, where it was so easy for others to read between the lines, pick up on any issues that were best kept private. As Robert had said earlier, they could all find themselves on the front page of the papers along with unflattering descriptions and comments if they weren’t careful.

She didn’t answer Abe’s prodding, becoming suddenly resentful of being placed in such a predicament. She wouldn’t have had to resort to this if Abe and the others who had started this war had been more reasonable.

And though, in her heart, she believed fathers loved their children dearly…she couldn’t yet reconcile how fathers could call for sons to go to war. War! Where the children mothers had fought so hard to keep safe and whole all their childhood years could—in one moment—be maimed, or left to die a horrific death at the hands of their enemy…The enemy—people who had, just two scant years earlier, been their neighbors, their friends—even their own families!

She couldn’t sit by any longer and do nothing. Robert would be heading off to West Point in the fall…then Eddie and Willie would follow.

She was not going to lose her precious boys to this confounded idiocy.

“My God,” Abe swore, his tone calling her back to the present. “Is that—”

“Varina Davis. Yes. It is.” Mary turned to look up at her husband. “It looks as if Jefferson declined the invitation. Would you care to accompany me to greet her, or—”

“Yes, I’ll come,” he all but growled. “Mary, we have some talking to do.”

But Mary was already on her way across the floor to greet Varina Davis, Confederate President Jefferson Davis’s wife.

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I want to thank everyone for joining me today! Do you have a favorite historical character you like to see included in fictional tales? 

BYE-BYE MAIL ORDER BRIDES? by CHERYL PIERSON #blogabookscene #westernromance #prairierosepub

Well, I learned something new the other day on Facebook! It seems that, for a large group of readers, mail-order bride stories are a thing of the past—not interesting anymore. Is it possible to use up every single imaginable scenario for a mail-order bride to find herself in? I wonder…

I remember my mom saying several times during my growing up years how sad she thought it would be if every combination of notes had been used, and there was no possibility of any new music being written. Mom was a wonderful vocalist, and I played the piano. Admittedly, I had never thought about that until she mentioned it. But you can bet, after she did, my mind went to work on that idea—what a tragedy it would be if that were to happen! And…COULD it happen? I laid awake at night, my 10-year-old brain running amok.

 

So, in writing, I guess I applied that same thought to telling stories. With so many people in the world who write, isn’t that a lot like composing a certain kind of musical piece? One with your own flair for storytelling and your own “tune” as you weave the characters, the plot, the setting and the inevitable “angst” that has to happen to come to a crashing finale—a satisfying end that leaves the reader with a smile and a desire to read more!

I have to say, I was disappointed to hear that MOB books are not looked upon with as much favor as they once were. To me, those stories, done well, are some of the very best. I think, for me, at least, part of the appeal comes from the thought that mail-order brides were very real—not just something made up that never actually happened in our history. And coupled with imagining all the hardships so many of them went through, I’m not sure I could ever run out of MOB ideas.

The very idea of being desperate enough to leave everything you’d known and held dear to go to a place where nothing was familiar is one that is hard for me to even consider DOING. I think this is so because I do not like surprises. I’m not much of a gambler, or a risk-taker. But I do understand that many of those women felt they had no choice but to go—and again, when I imagine the depths of desperation they must have felt, I believe there is no end to possible circumstances that might have placed these women in the situations they found themselves in.

But the circumstance that forces these women to seek a husband in a faraway place is only the beginning of the story for that couple. For surely, the “other half”, the groom, must have his own reasons for being willing to marry a woman sight unseen, as well. If she needs the security of a man to support her, what are the reasons he needs a permanent woman—rather than a lady of the night?

How can they agree on anything? How can they fall in love in such a forced way? How can they make a marriage last for a lifetime, as so many did? What happened when it didn’t? So many questions—so many stories.

Do you have a favorite MOB story? Or are you sick of them? I’m working on a MOB story right now—so I’m hoping that there are still some readers out there who still love the MOB premise. As for me, I love so many different types of stories, and read so much, I can’t ever say I would get tired of MOB stories, as long as they’re not too “contrived” and strain believability.

How about you? What do you think?

Here’s an excerpt from my last MOB story, SABRINA, which was part of a four-book set called MAIL-ORDER BRIDES FOR SALE: THE REMINGTON SISTERS. The other authors in this boxed set are Livia J. Washburn, Jacquie Rogers, and Celia Yeary.

BLURB:

Boxed set of four full length mail order bride novels.

Brought up in the wealth and comfort of Eastern “old money” in staid and proper Philadelphia, the Remington sisters are forced to scatter to the four winds and become mail-order brides. In order to gain a fortune, their sinister step-father, Josiah Bloodworth, has made plans to marry them off in loveless marriages. Time is running out, and no matter what lies ahead in their uncertain futures, it has to be better than the evil they’re running from…

EXCERPT FROM SABRINA:

Both Cam and Sabrina have secrets–Cam has pretended to be his brother, Robert, in an effort to find out if Sabrina could care about him. Being half Cherokee is a burden he knows too well–and he knows he’s got to have the right kind of wife to survive in Indian Territory. But Sabrina has not been entirely forthcoming with her situation, either. Let’s take a look…

“I’d—I’d like an explanation,” she said frostily.

“And I’m gonna give you one, Sabrina. The best I can, any-how.” Cam raked a hand through his hair. “Let’s sit down over here—”

“No, thank you. I’ll stand.” Her voice was prim, proper, and as icy as a frozen pond in January.

Cam sighed, hooking his thumbs in his gun belt and tilting his head back to look at the night sky. “You’re not making this any easier.”

“No. I don’t intend to. You’ve deceived me. You’ve made me feel…foolish.” She let out a deep breath. With it went some of her anger. “I trusted you, C-Cameron.” It was still hard to think of him as “Cameron” rather than “Robert”—and it was going to take some getting used to.

Cam took a step toward the boulder he’d sat on earlier. “I’m sorry for that. It was wrong of me, ’Brina. But I had to be sure—”

“Sure? Of what? I’m the one who’s given up everything to come here to a place where I don’t know anyone—evidently, even my husband—to a land that is unfamiliar—”

“Sabrina, you haven’t given up everything. Even though, right now, you may not recognize it, I’m your best bet for any protection you might need.”

“From?”

He bent a dark, searching stare on her. “You’re running from someone—your stepfather, maybe others—there in Philadelphia. When they get here—”

Sabrina’s eyes were wide, and she felt the blood drain from her face. He hadn’t said “if”—he’d said “when”. He believed they were coming. It had been in the back of her mind, ever since she’d boarded the stage west, but to hear it voiced by Cam… Still, he didn’t really even know the full circumstances of her leaving Philadelphia…he couldn’t be sure she’d be followed.

“You believe they’ll follow…for certain.” She shuddered.

Cam’s expression changed, letting her know he’d only speculated up to now; her reaction had let him know he was right. “I’d like the full story. When you’re ready.”

Thanks so much for stopping by today!

CHERYL’S WEBSITE: http://www.prairierosepublications.com

CHERYL’S AMAZON PAGE:

CHERYL’S FACEBOOK PAGE: http://www.facebook.com/cheryl.pierson.92

TIME PLAINS DRIFTER–APRIL SHOWERS BRING MAY FLOWERS (AND LOVE!) by Cheryl Pierson

Did someone say ‘paranormal time travel historical western’? That’s what my novel, Time Plains Drifter, is—a very different kind of romance novel than anything I’ve ever read. It’s an “oldie but goodie”–one of my favorite stories that I ever worked on.

The publication of Time Plains Drifter is a story unto itself—but it has its very own ‘happily ever after’ ending. Here’s what happened. After being released in December of 2009 with an unscrupulous publisher, I took my rights back after only three months and spent the next year searching for another home for it. In the spring of 2011, it was placed with WESTERN TRAIL BLAZER, an imprint of PUBLISHING BY REBECCA J. VICKERY.

But that’s not where it ends. When Livia and I opened Prairie Rose Publications, I made the decision to move Time Plains Drifter over from WTB to Prairie Rose. With a brand new cover and a few minor changes, this book can be offered not only in the Prairie Rose Publications line, but also in our New Adult (ages 18-24) category in the Painted Pony Books imprint.

 

That being said, let me tell you why Time Plains Drifter is so hard to pigeonhole and why that may be a bit scary in today’s market…this is also the very reason it’s a perfect fit for PRP.

I knew Time Plains Drifter was going to have to be classified as a time-travel romance; that’s how the H/h meet one another. She’s from the 21st century—he’s from 1879. That was the easy part. The part that was a bit harder to work around was that he was dead. I just couldn’t get past the premise that Rafe d’Angelico was going to be the “paranormal element” of the story. I didn’t want him to be a werewolf, vampire, or shapeshifter. So that left angels, demons, zombies and so forth. I chose for him to be an angel.

Working with Rafe—an angel who didn’t want to be an angel—was a challenge. I told him he had a pretty good deal going. He told me, “I want to be human again.” In the end, I realized he was right, and that was the only way to resolve the issue of time-travel-paranormal-angel-demon-human issues.

Jenni Dalton, the heroine, was completely unsuspecting in all this. She went out on a stargazing field trip with seven of her high school students one night and they never came home. Instead, they ended up in Indian Territory, 1895; one hundred-twenty years in the past.

Jenni’s got it rough, trying to deal with her seven charges, four of them the senior class troublemakers. It takes Rafe to bring them to heel and get them to toe the mark, until the gravity of their situation causes them to all make some surprising adjustments.

As Rafe and Jenni realize their growing attraction to one another is fated, they also understand there is no way anything can come of it on a permanent basis—Rafe is an angel, and Jenni is human—and they will eventually go back to their own times and places in the universe.

The twists and turns that finally bring the book around to the HEA were the most fun to come up with for me. But the story itself, being so unique, is tough to categorize. I think now, it has the best of both worlds. It’s in a place where it can appeal to two separate readerships.

Time Plains Drifter was the recipient of The Reviewer’s Top Pick Award by Karen M. Nutt, PNR reviews. It also received a 4.5 star review, the highest rating given, from Romantic Times Magazine. I was selected as the recipient of the Honorable Mention—Best New Paranormal Author category in PNR’s PEARL Awards (March 2010), for Time Plains Drifter.

I’ve got a sequel in the works, Time Plains Guardian, which has been a delight to work on. There are different twists than what we saw in the first book, and some familiar characters will be the stars of the show this time around since the story is built around Rafe’s brother, Cris, and Jenni’s sister, Victoria.

 

Time Plains Drifter is now available in both print and Kindle. I’ve also written some short stories that have a paranormal twist to them: A NIGHT FOR MIRACLES, THE GUNFIGHTER’S GIRL, HOMECOMING, (these three are Christmas stories) ALWAYS AND FOREVER, (Halloween story) THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS (western) and THE KEEPERS OF CAMELOT (western). Take a look at my Amazon page to order. (See link below.)

Cheryl’s Amazon Author Page:

   

 

 

 

I’ve included the blurb and an excerpt below. I’d love to know what you think you might do if you found yourself in Jenni Dalton’s situation–tossed back in time over 100 years earlier with the responsibility of 7 high schoolers on your hands! ( I  know I would not handle it as well as she did!) Please leave a comment–I always love to hear from readers and other authors.

 

BLURB:

Trapped in Indian Territory of 1895 by a quirk of nature, high school teacher Jenni Dalton must find a way to get her seven students back to the 21st century. Handsome U.S. Marshal Rafe d’Angelico seems like the answer to her prayers; he is, after all, an angel. In a race against time and evil, Rafe has one chance to save Jenni’s life and her soul from The Dark One—but can their love survive?

 

EXCERPT from TIME PLAINS DRIFTER:

Jenni had been so preoccupied with staying in the saddle for the past four hours and worried about Joel that she hadn’t noticed the wind had quickened, the sky darkening as the thunderheads rolled in.

“We better stop here,” Rafe told her reluctantly, nodding toward a small ramshackle house in the distance. “Wait the storm out. Looks like it’s going to be a bad one.”

Jenni nodded, swallowing her protest as she glanced up, seeing the roiling black clouds for the first time. It was true, she reminded herself, some things never did change, no matter what year it was. It was April in Oklahoma—tornado season.

They had to find shelter immediately.

She followed Rafe toward the cottage, relieved to see a lean-to for the horses a few yards away.

As they rode into the overgrown yard, it was obvious the tenants had long since vacated. The runners of morning glory vines climbed along the front porch posts boasting new growth, the purple flowers adding a splash of color to the drab weathered wood.

Rafe swung down, calling a cursory greeting. He opened the front door at the answering silence, his gun drawn. As Jenni made a motion to dismount, he lifted a staying hand, not sparing a backward glance before he disappeared into the little cottage.

Jenni could hear him walking slowly through the house, his footfalls deliberate and hollow-sounding on the bare plank floors. She bit her lip anxiously, wondering what he was looking for. She didn’t like being separated from him, she realized. This was crazy. She thought of Kody and Anna, how quickly they’d come to care so deeply for each other.

Was she in love with Rafe d’Angelico? The idea was absurd. She barely knew him. Yet, when she’d ridden behind him, her arms encircling the lean grid of his waist, she’d felt—something. He’d noticed it too. “Can you feel it, Jen?” he’d asked.

Yes. She still did, stronger now than ever.

Rafe put his head outside the door, ducking through the narrow frame.

“Come on,” he said, reaching up to help her down. “I’ll get our gear, you go on inside out of this wind,” he yelled to make himself heard above the wail and rush of the storm.

Jenni nodded. “The horses—we can’t leave them out here!” she shouted.

He cast a glance back at the animals. “I’ll get ’em in the lean-to! Go on inside!”

Jenni slid off quickly and handed Rafe her reins, then hurried up onto the porch. She watched as Rafe quickly got the horses under the lean-to and looped the reins around the hitching post there, then ran back to her through the tall grass. Just then, the skies opened and rain pelted him.

Small pieces of hail fell. The horses whickered nervously as it hit the wooden structure over them. Rafe took Jenni’s hand, leading her back into the house. He was soaked, and Jenni hurried into the kitchen to see if there were any linens in the top of the pantry.

Whoever had lived here must have loved the place. The kitchen had been cleaned, and as Jenni opened a cabinet door, she noted the sparse pans lined up tidily against the wall. She opened another door to discover a beautiful china sugar bowl that was half full, and a can of beans on top of a can of condensed milk.

She found a clean but ragged towel and brought it to him, offering to dry his back as he shrugged out of his sodden shirt. But he took it from her, shaking his head. “I can do it,” he murmured, turning away from her quickly. “Thanks.” After a moment, he sat down on the chair, watching Jenni explore as he finished drying off.

She came toward him slowly, wrapping her arms around herself tightly. To have been so full of questions before, she certainly was at a loss for words now, she thought. A wry grin curved her mouth.

Rafe patted the side of the bed in invitation, and she sat down next to him. The hail was sporadic now, although rain was hitting the snug little cabin in sheets.

Water for the morning glories, if the hail doesn’t destroy them, Jenni thought, her gaze going out the front window to the thirsty flowers winding their way along the rough posts and roof of the porch. “It’ll wash out the trail,” she whispered to herself.

Rafe’s teeth glinted white against the stubbled growth of beard. His dark eyes were warm with a teasing light. “I think I can still find my way to Fort Sill. I’m pretty familiar with the lay of the land.” He gave her a wink. “This is my territory, Jenni. I don’t need to follow a trail to find them.” He shifted and began to pull off his boots.

“How long will it take us to get there?” Jenni turned to face him.

“At the rate we’re going—”

She grimaced at the teasing note in his voice. “I know I’m holding you up. If I wasn’t with you, you might have already caught them rather than having to go all the way to Fort Sill.”

“I don’t mind. It’s just—time’s not on our side.”

The wind cried around the corner of the cabin, and Jenni thought how much it sounded like the sorrowful wail of a woman. Then there was silence, stretching out between them, broken only by the noise of the storm.

“Who are you, Rafe? Really?”

~*~

GET IT HERE:

Again, I apologize this month–Wordpress is stripping my links for both my Amazon Author Page and for the Time Plains Drifter order page. You can locate both of these by  searching at Amazon.

 

Party Games of the 1800’s

Kathryn Albright Banner 2018

Party games! Don’t you love them? My household is a family of “gamers.” Over the years, snow-days and holidays and birthday parties, whenever we were all together, we would usually have a game of some sorts going. It has come in handy this winter, which has been quite a LONGGGGG one! We are all ready to see some spring flowers here in the Midwest.

What would we have played if we all lived in the 1800’s? Some of the social games from then survived into my childhood, such as Blind Man’s Buff and Twenty Questions and Musical Chairs. But no matter the year, games have always provided a way for people to have fun, “let down their hair” a little, laugh, interact socially, flirt, and enjoy socially approved physical contact.

The spirit of these social games in the 1800s involving boys and girls, men and women of the middle and upper classes, was that an overly competitive attitude was considered “poor form.” The idea was to have fun together and not to “out-do” another player to the point that feelings were hurt. Camaraderie, a relaxing of inhibitions, and laughing at one’s self were the important aspect of social games. I imagine that cowboys, used to a barn dance or two, would feel out of place playing some of these games, but I bet they would have brought an entirely new competitive atmosphere to them!

Barn danceHere are a few examples of games from the 1800s that involve a mixing of the genders ~

Puss, Puss in the Corner

For the game, all that you need is a fairly square room with four corners and the furniture moved out of the way. If played outside, you need something to denote the four corners such as bean bags or chairs. I suppose a baseball diamond could be used, but such a large area would make for a very energetic game. The game requires five or more players. One stands in the center of the square, while the others stand in each corner. The central player calls out: “Puss, puss in the corner!” On the word “corner” everyone moves to a different corner. Since there are five players, one will always be left out and that one becomes the new “Puss.” If more players are involved, the one left out of a corner goes to the end of a line of the others waiting to play, and the first in that line becomes the new “Puss.” Sometimes when this game was played, a “forfeit” was demanded of the one who became the new Puss.

Twirl the Trencher

In this game, everyone sits in a large circle (with or without chairs depending on the age of participants.) Each player is assigned either a number, an animals name, or a flower’s name. The starter goes to the center of the circle and spins a plate on its edge (wooden or some other unbreakable plate or disc.) He calls out a number or one of the names and dashes to his seat. The person being called out, must jump up and rush to the plate to spin it again and call out another player. The play continues until someone is not quick enough and the plate falls. That player, then must pay a forfeit.

The Key of the King’s Garden

This is a memory game much like Grandmother’s Trunk. Players sit in a circle. The one starting begins by saying “I sell you the Key to the King’s Garden.” Then indicates a player on his right or left. That player adds to the sentence. For example, by saying, “I sell you the chain that held the Key of the King’s Garden.” Then it is the next person’s turn in the circle. “I sell you the dog that wore the chain that held the Key of the King’s Garden.” This continues around until everyone has played. If someone does not repeat the words exactly, a forfeit is demanded.

 

Forfeits
(My favorite part!)

These games were played for fun with a light-hearted attitude. Keeping score (numerically) wasn’t done. However, there was such a thing as “forfeits” which added tremendously to the fun. (Personally, I think these should make a comeback!)

Forfeits occurred when someone made a mistake, lost their chance to a seat or space in the game, or lost in some way. That player would write their name on a piece of paper, which would then be placed in a bowl or basket. At the end of the game (or the evening,) a judge would be chosen. A second player would select a paper from the bowl and announce: “I have a forfeit to be redeemed.” The judge would ask whether it belonged to a lady or a gentleman. Upon learning which it was, he would then assign a task for the person to perform (not knowing the actual person’s identity.)

Examples of “forfeit” tasks ~

The Imitation
A man puts on a lady’s hat and imitates the owner. Or a woman puts on a man’s hat and imitates the owner.

The Statue
The “forfeiter” is posed by a selected number of other players, usually in ridiculous positions.

Bow to the Prettiest, Kneel to the Wittiest, and Kiss the One You Love Best
This is reserved for a man. (Hopefully he will do all three tasks with the same lady!)

The Nun’s Kiss
A lady kisses a man chosen by the judge, performing the kiss through the bars of a chair.

The Counsel
The person must give a piece of advice to all (or just one) players. (Always done in the spirit of fun and good humor.)

The Will
The person leaves to each other player an item or a quality he thinks he possesses. (Also done in the spirit of fun and good humor.)

Kiss the One You Love without Revealing Who It Is
The individual must kiss all the players of opposite gender, without letting on which player is the one he or she loves.

There are many others – as varied as the imagination of the judge!

* * * * * * * * * *

With teenagers constantly watching their phones
rather than communicating face to face,
I can’t help but think that these would be fun to bring back!

Who is with me?

What is a social game of yours that you have enjoyed playing?

Comment to be entered into my giveaway drawing for my newest release!

“This book was a pure delight.”
The Prairie Doctor’s Bride/San Francisco Review of Books

WEBSITE

 

Arizona’s ‘Capital on Wheels’ ~ by Susan Page Davis

For my book My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains, my characters needed some transportation in Arizona during the territorial period after the Civil War. There weren’t any trains there yet, so stagecoaches it was.

The first stagecoach appeared in Arizona in 1857, and this mode of transportation had come to stay.

Before the Civil War, the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach line had a regular route across Texas and what is now New Mexico and Arizona, to southern California. When the war broke out, however, they abandoned it and used their northern route, through Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming.

But people still needed to travel in Arizona. When the war ended, the capital was at Prescott, which had remained Union territory. People in more populated southern locations, such as Tucson, needed to go back and forth to the capital. Several independent stage lines sprang up and developed their routes with varying success.

When I went to Prescott to do research for the book, the stagecoach problem was one of my focuses. The place where I found the most help was in the archives at the Sharlot Hall Museum. There I learned about several enterprising men who gave it a good try, and it was tough in those times.

The owners and workers found a great many obstacles to maintaining regular stage service over hundreds of miles of desert, and having to deal with increasingly hostile Indian tribes as well as the inhospitable terrain and climate. Indians stole hundreds of horses from mining operations and stagecoach stations. Some of the station agents had to haul in feed and water for the animals.

My characters attempted to make a stagecoach journey from Tucson to the fledgling mining town of Wickenburg, and from there on up to Prescott. As readers will see, this journey was interrupted several times.

The capital itself was a thorny problem during that period, and it was changed so often it got the nickname “Capital on Wheels.”

After the Confederate Territory of Arizona was formed in 1862, and in February, 1863 officially got Tucson as its capital with Jefferson Davis’s approval, Abraham Lincoln signed the law officially creating the Arizona Territory with Prescott as its capital. The territory was divided into north and south for a while, and for the rest of the Civil War it had two capitals.

Superstition MountainsAfter the war, in 1867, the capital was moved back to Tucson for the reunited Arizona Territory. At that time, Tucson was more developed than any other city in the territory.

However, in 1879, the legislature voted to move the seat of government back to Prescott. That move lasted ten years.

The capital had been located in each location for about the same length of time all told, and some people began to feel it should be moved to a neutral location, somewhere between Tucson and Prescott. By this time, more towns had been founded, and some of them mushroomed. Phoenix was not in existence at the time of my story, but twenty years later it was thriving. In 1889 the capital was moved permanently to Phoenix. Arizona became a state in 1912.

Today we can swiftly drive the length of Arizona in air-conditioned cars in a few hours. We can enjoy the vistas of the beautiful desert without discomfort. But our modern travels are a far cry from what Carmela Wade experienced.

 

About My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains

A Chance for Escape Takes Two Unlikely Allies on a Romantic Adventure through the Desert

Since she was orphaned at age twelve, Carmela Wade has lived a lie orchestrated by her uncle, pretending to be a survivor of an Indian kidnapping and profiting from telling her made-up story on the speaker circuit. But as she matures into adulthood, Carmela hates the lies and longs to be free. On a stagecoach in Arizona Territory, Carmela and her uncle are fellow passengers with US Marshal Freeland McKay and his handcuffed prisoner.

The stage is attacked. Suddenly a chance to make a new life may be within Carmela’s reach. . .if she can survive the harsh terrain and being handcuffed to an unconscious man.

 

Desert Moon

 

 

Susan will give a copy of My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains to one person who comments on today’s post, and a copy of Desert Moon to another commenter. The winners may choose to receive either print or digital format.

 

 

Susan Page Davis

 

Susan Page Davis is the author of more than seventy published novels. She’s a two-time winner of the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award and the Will Rogers Medallion, and also a winner of the Carol Award and a finalist in the WILLA Literary Awards. A Maine native, she now lives in Kentucky. Visit her website at SusanPageDavis.com, where you can see all her books, sign up for her occasional newsletter, and read a short story on her romance page.

Buy My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains: http://amzn.to/2kGDjPz

 

 

Welcome to Shanna Hatfield–and three books, three winners!

It is a pleasure and a treat to be a guest once again here at Petticoats and Pistols. Thank you to all the fillies for hosting me today. I’ll be giving away THREE ecopies of The Christmas Quandary, so please leave a comment.

bookmark-back

I love history and digging into tidbits of the past as I research details for my sweet western romances.

In my latest release, The Christmas Quandary, I happened upon a toy that captured my interest.

zoetrope-1

A zoetrope is one of several animation devices (pre-motion pictures) that produce the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of drawings or photographs, shown in progressive phases of motion.

The name Zoetrope was composed from the Greek root words “life” and “wheel” – meaning “wheel of life.”

zoetrope-2

A cylinder with slits cut vertically in the sides is the basic component of the zoetrope. The inner surface of the cylinder features a band with images from a set of sequenced pictures. As the cylinder spins, the user looks through the slits at the pictures. The slits keeps the pictures from simply blurring together, and the user sees a rapid succession of images, producing the illusion of motion.

A 5,000-year-old earthenware bowl from Iran is considered a predecessor of the zoetrope. The bowl, decorated in a series of sequential images, portrays a goat jumping toward a tree and eating its leaves. zoetrope-4

Variations existed on the idea of the zoetrope, but it wasn’t until December 1866, when an American company, Milton Bradley and Co., advertised a zoetrope.

Zoetropes were eventually displaced by more advanced technology, notably film and later television. Today, some zoetropes can still be found in special art projects and performances.

In The Christmas Quandary, one of the characters purchases a zoetrope for his daughter’s Christmas present. The only quandary surrounding the gift is whether or not the child’s uncles will wear it out before Christmas morning since they can’t seem to stop playing with it.

Have you ever been in a quandary? Had a dilemma?

Share your answers for a chance to win one of three copies of The Christmas Quandary (Book 5 in the Hardman Holidays series).

And if you haven’t read any of the Hardman books, The Christmas Bargain (book 1) will be available for free digital downloads on Monday!

christmas-quandary

~*~

Shanna Hatfield 2Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield is out to make it happen, one story at a time. Her sweet historical and contemporary romances combine humor and heart-pumping moments with characters that seem incredibly real.

When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.

Find Shanna’s books at:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Apple

Shanna loves to hear from readers! Follow her online:

ShannaHatfield | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | You Tube | Twitter

Make sure you sign up for her Newsletter to get the latest on new releases

and exclusive giveaways (including a free short story set in the old west)!

christmas-quandry