Monday, November 25, 2013


Are you bustling around preparing for Thanksgiving? For my family, this weekend launches the holidays as well as reminds us of all we have for which we’re thankful. But let me tell you about the first Thanksgiving. No, not the Pilgrims, but the first my husband and I celebrated as a couple.

Hero and I were married in January. Before our wedding, each of us had spent every Thanksgiving with our parents. On this holiday, my inlaws were coming to visit. I had been briefly married before and my inlaws did not really approve of their eldest son marrying a divorcee—in spite of the fact that I had been friends with their daughter since we were ten. Anyway, I was a nervous wreck wondering how I was going to prepare a traditional dinner without any klutzy mishaps.

As luck would have it, my best friend (Brenda) had moved nearby and her inlaws also were going to visit for the holiday. We figured the turkey was manageable due to each bird having cooking instructions on the wrapper. The dressing, however, stumped us. Brenda and I each wrote our mom and asked how to prepare the traditional Southern/Southwestern cornbread dressing. Each of us received the same recipe.

Crumble a pan of cornbread and add light breadAdd chopped onions and celery and eggs, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, and sage.  Add enough turkey broth until it looks right. Pour into a greased pan and cook until lightly brown on top.”

No amounts. No cooking time. No specifics. 

Arrrgggghhhh! Picture two young wives in panic.

For a seasoned cook, this probably would have been a recipe. For us, it made no sense. So, Brenda took a Betty Crocker Cook Book and I took Better Homes and Garden’s version. Taking our moms’ ingredients, we made our own recipe and compared notes, adjusted, and finalized our version of Cornbread Dressing. I have to say we came up with a winning recipe. My mom preferred my dressing to her own. Here is the result:

Cornbread Dressing
1 pan of cornbread
5 slices bread, dried and crumbled
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1 stick margarine or butter
1 cups pan drippings from turkey
2 cups turkey broth (I use the wings, neck, gizzard, and liver)
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp poultry seasoning
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons or more of sage
3 eggs

In saucepan of water, add the turkey neck, liver, gizzard, and wings. Cook on medium high for thirty minutes. Remove turkey parts and cool until they can be chopped. Reserve broth for dressing and gravy.
In small skillet, melt the stick of butter. Add celery, onion, and parsley. Sauté until onion becomes transparent. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, crumble cornbread and bread slices (or use Cuisinart). Add broth and drippings, sautéed mixture, and other ingredients. Add ¾ of the stewed meat (and reserve the other ¼ for the gravy). Taste dressing to adjust seasoning. Add more broth if dressing is too dry.

Pour into well buttered 3-quart casserole or pan. Cook at 325 degrees F for 30 to 45 minutes. Don’t overcook, as everything but the eggs have been cooked and you are just blending flavors and heating thoroughly.

Serve with baked turkey, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and other dishes.

This reminds me of a funny story. My mom was very, very sparing with spices. She saved her sage year after year and sometimes didn’t even bother to close the lid. By the second year, most of the taste had disappeared. Every time she prepared dressing, my dad would say, “Good, but it needs more sage.” One year, I bought a new, large can of sage and emptied about half the can into the dressing so my dad would enjoy the dish. I have to say that year's dressing brought tears to our eyes. Good thing we had gravy and cranberry sauce to cut the sage’s taste.

I hope your Thanksgiving plans include loved ones and a happy weekend. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Right Jolly Old Elf

Santa Claus by Thomas Nast, 1963

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

Though he called him St Nicholas, Clement C. Moore's most famous and beloved poem essentially invented the modern Santa Claus in 1823. The legend of a saint became the myth of a "jolly old elf" who drove a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer and could magically pop up and down family chimneys whether they were in a tenement in New York or a little house on the prairie.

What Moore described in words, illustrator and political cartoonist Thomas Nast manifested in pen and ink for Harper's Weekly in 1863.

Visiting the Camp by Thomas Nast, 1863
 America was at war. Nast supported the Union. His political cartoons and illustrations reflected his abolitionist beliefs. President Lincoln said of him: "Thomas Nast has been our best recruiting sergeant. His emblematic cartoons have never failed to arouse enthusiasm and patriotism, and have always seemed to come just when these articles were getting scarce."

It makes sense that Lincoln would go to Nast for an illustration of Santa Claus visiting the Union soldiers - a clever piece of Yankee propaganda.

Nast continued to refine his vision of Santa Claus over the years. By 1881, he had image that would be as easily recognized by children today as those who saw his art when it was first published.

Santa Claus by Thomas Nast, 1881

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

Other artists, particularly Norman Rockwell and Haddon Sundblom, would refine Santa's image, but Clement C. Moore and Thomas Nast defined it.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Stagecoach Travel in Texas-- Only The Hardy need Apply

I'd like to thank Linda Carroll-Bradd for filling in for me today.  I hope you enjoy her very thoughtful post about stage travel.  I know I did.

In the mid-1800s, people needed determination and patience to travel from one side of Texas to the other. Early in the Civil War, the government banished the Butterfield Overland route that had been an established route from St. Louis, Missouri to San Francisco through the southern states. Subsequent to the war, shorter routes were established between population centers. Stagecoaches ran on a weekly or bi-weekly schedule. A trip from St Louis to San Francisco involved about 25 days of travel. The coaches were drawn by six horses and stops were made every 12 miles for fresh teams. Depending on the terrain, coaches covered between 5 and 12 miles per day—running day and night. Passengers were grateful to get hot coffee, biscuits and jerky at these stops; on rare occasions, hot meals were available.
The suggested items to travel with would have filled a large satchel or three. In addition to their clothing, passengers were admonished to pack 6 pair of thick socks, woolen underdrawers, blankets—one in summer and two in winter, 3-4 towels, heavy overcoat, light coat, hat and their choice of pistol or knife for personal protection. A lady such as Jessamay Morgan from San Antonio reading that list and traveling in summer would probably not worry about the woolens or blankets.

Once Jessamay got inside the stagecoach, she would have had her choice of window or middle position (approximately 15” in width) on either a forward or backward-facing bench seat. She would not have wanted to be the last to board because that would leave her on the middle bench with no backrest. As she set out on her journey, she could read the rules about men forgoing swearing and smoking in a lady’s presence, but tobacco chewing was allowed, as long as the chewer spat downwind. I would hope so. Or if the person (presumed to be a male) couldn’t refrain from drinking alcohol, then he must pass the bottle around. Yum. Snoring loudly or using another passenger’s shoulder as a pillow was frowned upon. Improper advances toward a woman could get the male kicked off the stagecoach in the middle of nowhere. Forbidden topics of conversation were stagecoach robberies and Indian uprisings. Sounds like a smart rule. Passengers were encouraged not to jump from the stage in case of runaway horses so as not to be left victim to the weather, hostile Indians or hungry coyotes. Ouch.
Jessamay had a purpose and she looked at all these strictures as part of her great adventure. She was done with the life at Miss Veronica’s Pleasure Palace and wanted to see mountains—at least until she set her gaze on a handsome stage passenger, Slade Thomas. But nothing every goes as planned. The “excitement” of her first trip is interrupted by a holdup, and she and Slade fight the clock to outwit the bandits.

Capturing The Marshal’s heart is available only on Amazon

Monday, November 18, 2013

Christmas Reads

It’s almost here—the time for Christmas traditions old and new. 

A few tidbits: Prior to the 1850’s, Christmas trees in homes were rare. It wasn’t until after President Franklin Pierce set up the first Christmas tree in the White House in 1856, that the tradition took off. Forward thinking entrepreneurs had already been working on building the newly acquired American tradition with the first ‘Christmas Tree Lot’ appearing in New York City in 1851, and shortly thereafter companies such as FW Woolworth began selling glass ornaments and patterns for families to sew their own Christmas decorations.  

Electric lights, promising to be safer than the regularly used candles, were invented in 1882, but again, didn’t grow in popularity until after used in the White House by President Calvin Coolidge in 1923. A German company also created an artificial tree, again, in response to tree fires as well as the number of furs being cut down, but the artificial tree didn’t take off until the 1960’s during the era of plastic and the ‘hip’ silver aluminum trees. (Oh, yes, we had one of those.)

America can claim the turkey dinner as its own. Goose, ham, or beef roasts, are/were common other places, but the turkey, native to America, quickly became the most popular dish served. Benjamin Franklin nominated the turkey to be the ‘national bird’ but the bald eagle won that position.

Along with the tree and food, the holiday soon became a highly celebrated occasion, including family gatherings and community celebrations.  

Our family has many traditions, some old and some new. One of my personal favorites is reading Christmas stories. I gather books year round and save them to start reading as soon as Thanksgiving dinner has been served. 

On that note, I’m excited to have two new Christmas stories released this year. 

Christmas Cowboy Kisses. My story, Christmas with Her Cowboy, is part of this Harlequin Anthology that was released in October. 

Christmas with Her Cowboy by Lauri Robinson—Ranch hand Tanner Maxwell is not pleased that Anna Hagan has returned to the Double Bar for Christmas. But the little girl he once knew is now all grown up….

The other wonderful stories in this anthology include: 

 A Family for Christmas by Carolyn Davidson—When a handsome widower and his young boy are stranded at Joy Watson's Missouri homestead just before Christmas, the true meaning of love and family is revealed.

A Christmas Miracle by Carol Arens—Laira Lynne is striving to save her beloved town. New arrival Rayne Lantree is the only man with the power to make her dream come true…if he'll just believe in a little Christmas magic! 

My second one is in Harlequin’s Undone line, Snowbound with Sheriff will be released December 1st.

Southern Montana, 1886

When Chayston Williams agreed to act as sheriff of Spring Valley, Montana, he never dreamed his duties would include delivering his father's pretty young mail-order bride to the family ranch in time for a Christmas wedding!

Violet Ritter promised her late stepfather that she would marry the man of his choosing. But she's shocked to discover her husband-to-be is old enough to have a grown son of his own! And she's even more surprised by her attraction to the ornery young man….

When a blizzard strands them in the sheriff's office for two days—and two nights—how will Chayston and Violet stop the fire between them from blazing out of control?

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Charlene Raddon's Celebration - Release and Cover Reveal

Deserted by her father at the tender age of seven, Jenna Leigh-Whittington had taught herself to ride, shoot, brawl…and steer clear of the opposite sex. But now, in a lonely Utah canyon, the Pinkerton agent has drawn her gun on a rugged stranger—only to discover that, far from the dangerous outlaw she’d been tracking, he is Branch McCauley, hired gun…and the most irresistible rascal ever to tempt and torment a woman!
If there’s one thing McCauley trusts less than a female, it’s a female who packs a six-gun. But what a woman! Vowing to bring the sensuous hellcat to heel, McCauley has no inkling that their passionate battle of wills has just begun. Taming Jenna will be the most seductive—and satisfying—job he’s ever taken on.


Jenna scowled as she studied the man by the flickering glare of his campfire. He had the right build and appeared close to thirty, Mendoza's age. But something didn't fit.
The Denver police chief had described her quarry as a spoiled aristocrat, too busy wooing Lady Luck and every other female to be much of a train robber, let alone a killer. But the rogue in front of Jenna looked too lean and hard to be spoiled, too wary and aloof to be a ladies' man.
To Jenna he seemed the perfect gunslinger: cold, tough, and ready to spring. Like a big yellow cougar perched on a ledge. Or a rattler, tightly coiled. Either way, his bite would be deadly.
In spite of the cool night breeze, sweat oozed from her pores. She couldn't forget that lightning draw. Why had she come here? How had she expected to take an outlaw Pinkerton's other agents had failed to bring in? No, she refused to think that way. She was every bit as capable as any man to capture Mendoza. She had to believe that, the same way she had to do what she'd set out to do. Only one question remained: Was this Mendoza or not?
"Who are you, mister?"
"Who am I? Hell, who are you? "
Blast! Did no male exist in this empty wilderness who wasn't so taken with himself that he couldn't cooperate for a change?
She took a calming breath. A body could catch more flies with honey than vinegar, old Charley Long Bow used to say. Jenna figured flies might fancy the hairy creature facing her, so she decided to try being friendly. "Listen, I smelled your coffee and hoped you might spare a cup, is all. You can understand me being a mite leery of walking into a stranger's camp without knowing who I'm hooking up with."
Firelight glinted on the man's straight white teeth as his whiskers parted in a cold smile. "Don't recall inviting company, but I'll play your game. Name's Branch McCauley. Now it's your turn."
His smile unnerved her. It held no humor, only a lethal sort of grimness that cannoned her stomach into her throat and made her wish she'd wired William Pinkerton for instructions instead of going off half-cocked this way. "I'm Jim...Jim White," she lied.
"All right, Jim, how about some honesty? You come here looking for me?"
"I'm not looking for anyone named Branch McCauley. If that's who you are, you've nothing to worry about." 
The wide, innocent eyes McCauley studied held honesty. He relaxed. "In that glad to pour you some coffee." He reached for the battered graniteware pot. His visitor's next words froze him in a half-stoop: "I'd feel more welcome if you'd set aside your gun first."
Cool as Montana sleet, McCauley straightened, hand poised above his holster. "Reckon you would. Wouldn't do much for my sense of well-being, though."
So much for trying to be friendly, Jenna thought. What now? She clenched her knees together to still their shaking and swallowed the fear knotted in her throat.
"Look." McCauley shifted his weight to one leg. "Why don't you put your gun away and have a sit? Could be I might know something about the hombre you're hunting.
Hombre. Sounded Spanish. Like Mendoza. It must be him. She had to get his gun away from him. Surprise seemed the best means. She squeezed the trigger of the .44 Starr. The bullet kicked dirt onto the man's scuffed boots. He jumped and let out a yelp as though she'd set his feet afire.
"Dammit, kid, going up against me won't get you anything but a six-foot hole in the ground."
"Shut up and toss over your gun or I'll turn them boots into sieves. 'Course, my sights might be a bit off." She raised the muzzle toward his groin.
"You made your point," he growled as he unbuckled his gun belt and tossed it over.
Instead of the fancy weapon she had expected a gunslinger to own, an ordinary, six-gun lay at her feet. No ivory handle or engraved barrel. Only an ordinary .44 Peacemaker, crafted and worn for one reason—to kill. The thought did funny things to her innards.
"All right," she said, getting back to business. "You aren't going to like this, mister, but I don't know any other way to be sure who you are. Drop them trousers to your ankles."
"Do what?"

Charlene Raddon began her fiction career in the third grade when she announced in Show & Tell that a baby sister she never had was killed by a black widow spider. She often penned stories featuring mistreated young girls whose mother accused of crimes her sister had actually committed. Her first serious attempt at writing fiction came in 1980 when she woke up from a vivid dream that compelled her to drag out a portable typewriter and begin writing. She’s been at it ever since. An early love for romance novels and the Wild West led her to choose the historical romance genre but she also writes contemporary romance. At present, she has five books published in paperback by Kensington Books (one under the pseudonym Rachel Summers), and four eBooks published by Tirgearr Publishing.  
Charlene’s awards include: RWA Golden Heart Finalist, Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award Nomination, Affair de Coeur Magazine Reader/Writer Poll for Best Historical of the Year. Her books have won or place in several contests.
Currently, Charlene is working on her next release. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Shotgun Messenger

Whenever we are going somewhere my boys always yell shotgun to see who get’s to ride in the front seat. This often results in a race to the passenger side door and on occasion some pushing and shoving, which in turn leads to no one riding shotgun and frowning faces in the backseat. 

I didn’t know where the term had come from and being a historical writer, I delved into some research and this is what I found.
Riding Shotgun comes from the term Shotgun Messenger and was not actually used until 1919 in the movies.
Wells, Fargo strongbox

However, in the old west the stagecoach was the prime contender and often the only form of transportation for people, cash and gold. After many robberies, the stagecoach line hired shotgun riders. Their job was to sit beside the driver and protect the strongbox and it’s possessions, firing at anyone who tried to take it or attack them. 
Wells, Fargo stage with Shotgun Messengers 
When I think about this job, I generally assume you’d be a moving target—one easily pegged off by a band of outlaws, but that wasn’t the case. Most attacks were from highwaymen on foot. They’d hide in the bush where the stage had to slow down, usually a corner or steep hill. The highwayman would confront the stagecoach driver and his pal with guns drawn, stealing the loot within a few minutes and then going merrily on his way.

There were actually only two known cases in Arizona where the stage was robbed by a group of bandits and a shootout ensued.

Most bandits knew what to look for when casing a run. If there was no Shotgun Messenger seated beside the driver, there was likely no strongbox on that stage.
Wells, Fargo station
When Wells Fargo started up in 1852 word got around that they were an express, delivering gold, cash and bank drafts. In turn Wells, Fargo had their own agents riding shotgun in the front and back of the stage. The six horse drawn coach with the lettering Wells, Fargo & Co. painted on the side was sure to light up any bandits eyes. However, these Shotgun Messengers were well armed and very dangerous.

The Wells, Fargo was the most trusted name in delivery for many years because of this, and in 1866 combined all major western stage lines. Wells, Fargo & Co stagecoaches rolled over 3,000 miles from California to Nebraska and Colorado into the mining regions of Montana and Idaho.

You may ask yourself how common stagecoach robberies were back then and through some research I was able to find a few numbers.

In Arizona between 1875 and 1903, 130 stagecoach robberies took place.

1876 to 1878, stagecoach robberies on the Cheyenne to Deadwood trail were a steady source of income for Big Nose George and other outlaws.

The worst areas for stagecoach robberies were Tombstone and the Black Canyon Stage Line from Phoenix to Prescott.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Texas Hill Country & Ace Reid, Cowboy Cartoonist

New CK header

Recently Hubby and I visited friends in Kerrville, in the heart of the famed Texas Hill Country, a twenty-five county area of central and south Texas.

Texas Hill Country map

Texas Hill Country; Wikipedia Commons

This is a land of rugged hills topped by mountain cedar and green valleys (when not in a drought condition.) The Hill Country includes Enchanted Rock, the second largest granite dome in the U.S., and extends into San Antonio’s northern suburbs and the west side of Austin.

Bandera County

Hill Country, Bandera County; Wikipedia Commons

Enchanted Rock

Enchanted Rock; pink granite, 1825 ft. above sea level; Wikipedia Commons

Kerrville, a city of over 22,000, is named after Major James Kerr, a veteran of the Texas War for Independence from Mexico in 1836. Kerr was a friend of early settler Joshua Brown, who set up a shingle-making camp in the area in the 1850s. Kerr County was formed in 1856. That same year, Brown donated the town site from his extensive acreage along the Guadalupe River, which runs through Kerrville.

Kerrville around 1900

Kerrville around 1900; Wikipedia Commons

Ace Reid

Kerrville was also the longtime home of cowboy humorist Ace Reid (1925 – 1991), creator of the cartoon Cowpokes which, at one time, ran in over 400 weekly newspapers. He produced many popular cartoon books and calendars during his lifetime.

Reid was raised in Electra, Texas, near the state’s northern border, where he lived the life of a cowboy. He served in World War II as a machinist’s mate in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific. During his time at sea, he drew a cartoon called "The Sorry Salt" for his ship's newspaper. After the War, "The Sorry Salt" became "Jake," his main character in Cowpokes.

On September 11, 1949, Ace married Madge Parmley, daughter of the doctor in Electra, his home town. The couple moved to Kerrville in 1952. Ace’s first cartoon appeared in West Texas Livestock Weekly that same year. Two years later, their son and only child, Stan, was born.

Ace Reid achieved fame with his earthy characters, who spoke the language of farmers and ranchers, chronicling their trials and tribulations with honesty and humor. He died on November 10, 1991. His widow, Madge, still lives in Kerrville and has kept Cowpokes going ever since Ace's death.


The Museum of Western Art

While in Kerrville, we visited the Museum of Western Art, a beautiful showplace filled with paintings, prints and sculpture produced by western artists. In October, when we were there, the museum featured a large display of Ace Reid’s work. Fantastic!

Thanks to our friends, who are closely acquainted with Madge Reid, we were honored to meet her. I purchased three of her husband’s books and, with Madge’s kind permission, I’m posting one recipe from Cowpokes Cookbook and Cartoons.

And one remedy from Cowpokes Home Remedies.

                 Cowpokes Cookbook           Cowpokes Home Remedies

From Cowpokes Cookbook and Cartoons:

“When the ‘southerners’ came West they found the Mexicans had their own version of ‘Cornbread’ and the ‘hands’ on the frontier ranches such as those around Albany, Texas liked it too.”

1 1/2 cups yellow corn meal                              1 cup chopped onion

3 tsp. baking powder                                          1 cup or 8 1/2 oz. can cream style corn

1/2 tsp. salt                                                         5 or 6 jalapenos -- cut up

(Little sugar if you are for it. I don't.)                1 package commercial sour cream

1 cup grated yellow cheese

Mix all dry ingredients; then others. Beat well. Bake well. Bake in greased pan at 400 degrees 15 to 25 minutes, or until it cracks a little on top. [Pan size not specified]

From Cowpokes Home Remedies: WARNING: I DO NOT recommend you try this!


“When me and mama moved from up on the divide to Luckenbach on Grape Creek it seemed as the kids all the time had sore throats, weakly eyes and snotty noses. And they would cry.

The local remedy for the sore throat was to collect wild chili-p-teens and grind them plum up fine with powdered prickly ash leaves. We’d stick a straw or turkey quill in that mess and blow it down their sore throats. And they would cry.

They wouldn’t have the same kind of sore throat anymore.

We only did this to the younguns because the biguns learned to fight us.

Learnin’ is growin’ up and, then, to home remedies, kids grew up mity fast in Luckenbach.”

---Hondo Crouch

Ha! I’d fight this remedy too, wouldn’t you? Now, are you in the mood for a sweet, short Christmas romance? How about a scrumptious cookie recipe? Come take a taste of:

Christmas Cookies for Tristan

Happy Turkey Day and Joyous Noel!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Three New Stories from Jacquie Rogers #Christmas #western #romance @JacquieRogers

I’ve always written research articles for Cowboy Kisses, but this time not.  Why not?  Because I’ve been busy writing stories and books — lots of them.  That’s why I now have three new releases in just three weeks.  So today, I’ll tell you about them.

Christmas spirit, anyone?

Both Western Fictioneers and Prairie Rose Publications invited me to contribute to their Christmas anthologies.  It’s a pleasure and an honor to be included with such terrific writers.

Wolf Creek, Book 9: 
A Wolf Creek Christmas

This is a traditional western.  I mostly write western historical romance and this is only my second trad western story, but have always loved reading westerns so it’s only natural that I’d eventually end up writing them.  And of course I love Christmas stories; hence, two of them in one year.

The other authors in A Wolf Creek Christmas are Pulitzer Prize nominee Jory Sherman, Spur winner Meg Mims, Jerry Guin, Peacemaker and Spur winner Troy D. Smith, and James J. Griffin.  Here’s my story: 

’Twas the Fight Before Christmas 
by Jacquie Rogers

Gib Norwood owns a large dairy operation outside town, along with his brothers Peter and Paul (whom his late father conceived with a slave, Glory, who also lives with them.) Christmas finds them in a dispute with the troublesome ranch hands of cattle baron Andrew Rogers — a dispute that involves a wagonload of prostitutes from Abby Potter’s School for Wayward Girls, including Miss Abby herself.

When I came up with this idea, the notion of a Confederate veteran, a fifth-generation slave owner, whose only remaining family was his half-aunt, a quadroon who was his father’s and his slave, and her twin sons, who are also Gib’s half-brothers.  So here we have a man who fought for the South, but now his family are all considered “colored” even though the octoroon twins look Caucasian as long as they keep their hats on.  Gib sees the injustice here, and his goal is to create a prosperous living for his family, even though he knows they’ll never be accepted in white society.  But money always talks.

Abby Potter is the madam and owner of Miss Abby’s Boardinghouse, the high-class brothel in Wolf Creek.  She’s short in stature but tall in business acumen.  No one puts anything over on Abby.  And no one needs a Christmas more than her, either. 

Amazon and soon at other online stores and in print.

Wishing for a Cowboy

The other story is in the Prairie Rose Publications anthology, Wishing For a Cowboy, and these stories are western historical romances—eight of them.  The other authors are Phyliss Miranda, Cheryl Pierson, Sarah J. McNeal, Kathleen Rice Adams, Tracy Garrett, Tanya Hanson, and Livia J. Washburn.

A Gift for Rhoda 
by Jacquie Rogers 

A mail-order bride disaster!

Rhoda Johnson is stranded in a lonely cabin without a groom.  The townsfolk say she's better off without him, but her drunken groom sends a message that he'll claim her as his Christmas bride.  Gunman and ex-Confederate soldier Nate Harmon comes to Idaho to make peace with his abolitionist preacher father.  When half-frozen Nate reaches the cabin on a snowy Christmas Eve, instead of finding his folks, he's greeted by a pretty blonde with a shotgun who keeps calling him Mr. Snyder.  Will she shoot him, or melt his heart?

My first vision of this story was a huge bear of a man, Nate, huddled over from the cold, trudging up a mountain trail leading his tired horse.  What I didn’t know was why Nate would endure so much to get wherever he was going — but I knew his personality and how much he hurt inside.  I wrote the first scene and before I finished it, I saw Rhoda peeking through the cabin window.  She’s of mostly Swedish ancestry, a natural blond, but has had little available to eat so is thinner than she’d normally be.  Once I saw her, she jabbered in my ear to convince me she was the right woman for Nate — because I had my doubts.  She did sway me to her side, and I think Nate and Rhoda complement each other very well.

Bonus!  Each story in Wishing for a Cowboy is accompanied by a recipe — yes, eight delicious recipes!  Mine is Rhoda’s Wedding Custard.  And if you’re gluten-free, try my grain-free crust.  Yum.

Amazon | Smashwords | Print

And then, not Christmas related, I have a new western historical novel out, Sleight of Heart.

Sleight of hand? or
Sleight of Heart

A Straight-Laced Spinster
Lexie Campbell, more comfortable with neat and tidy numbers than messy emotions, is determined find the sharper who ruined her little sister and make him marry her. When his lookalike brother Burke appears, she greets him with a rifle and forces him to help her. Can she resist his magic charm? 

A Gambler With Magic Hands
To claim the family fortune, smooth-dealing Burke O’Shaughnessy has to find his brother Patrick, despite being saddled with an angry spinster. But when Lexie shows an astounding talent for counting cards and calculating odds, he figures she might be useful after all. Can he draw the queen of hearts?

Recipe for a hero: Take one Maverick, add in a little Remington Steele. Blend. Maybe throw in a little James Bond (shake, don’t stir), and mix in some of my dad’s unique brand of humor. Go off half-baked, and there you have it — Burke O’Shaughnessy, a ramblin' gamblin' man.

Available on Amazon (and other stores soon!)

Happy Reading!

Where to find Jacquie Rogers