Monday, February 18, 2019

African American's in the West

In my newest Tale from BidersClump, a family searching for a better life find themselves stranded in the tiny town at the foot of the Rockies. Despite their differences and doubts about the town's folks, they discover more than they had planned on.
Often African American's have been known as the other pioneers and many of them headed west after the Civil War seeking a better situation for themselves and their families. It was an unwritten rule in the west to take a man or a woman as who they were and many people started over in the wide open spaces of the American Frontier.

There are many famous examples of African American men and women who did exactly this.  Take for example Mary Fields.
Born a slave Mary Fields found herself in Montana when she rushed to tend Mother Amadeus who was suffering from pneumonia. Although Mary had worked for Mother Amadeus she was not what one would expect at the St. Peter's Mission and school for Native American girls.

Mary Fields was known to drink, cuss, and was not afraid to stand up for herself. On one occasion a disagreement with a male subordinate resulted in gunplay which led to the Bishop ordering Mary to leave the convent.

In 1895 at the age of sixty, Mary signed on as a mail carrier, a job she won because she was the fastest at hitching a six-horse team, making Mary the first African American woman to work for the US Postal service.  Mary worked the route between from Cascade Montana to St. Peter's Mission for eight years. In winter if the snow was too deep for the horses she delivered the mail using snowshoes and carrying the mail on her back.

Mary Field was well known in Cascade Montana. Not only did they close school each year to celebrate her birthday but when Montana passed a law forbidding women from entering a saloon, the mayor of Cascade made an exception for Mary.

Mary is just one example of how people could reinvent themselves in a new land.

In Winter's Worth Book Ten of Tales from Biders Clump, an African American family, led by their mother arrives in town seeking shelter from the cold and trials of winter. My character Agnes has the strength and fortitude that was needed by anyone setting out to start a new life in the west. Still finding friends in a time need would help. It was hard enough being a woman on your own in the wild west but to be a woman of color as well could potentially make it even harder. Fortunately, in the town of Biders Clump few people worry about things like that. Add to it a little Valentine's miracle and you'll find that sometimes you have to wait because the best is yet to come.

It took all sorts of people to build this country. People pulling together to build something great that could be enjoyed for generations to come.  I hope you'll take the time to get to know the people of my tiny town in the shadow of the mighty Rockies!

A Nez Perce Tale by Paty Jager

The solar eclipse and the lunar eclipse are such wonders of nature, that they dew masses of people to watch. As I watched, I wondered what the first people thought of these occurrences.

Did they think the world was ending? Did they believe their Gods or Creators were punishing them? Or did they take there miracles in stride as a sign that life was going as it should?

I need to do research and see if I can find some writings of what they thought. But for my imaginative writer brain, it conjures up so many 'what ifs'.

Here is a Nez Perce Coyote Story about the sun and the moon.

The Sun had two wives, Frog and another woman. At that time, the Sun moved across the sky so very hot that the people were nearly killed by the heat. They did not like this state of affairs. For that reason Coyote called a council of all the people; he knew Sun did not love Frog and would not invite her to come, so he begged her to com to the council and obey what Sun told her to do.

So she went and stood at the door, and said, "My husband, where am I to sit?" and he told her, "Here, on my eye." Then she advanced a few steps and jumped up to his eye; and the people tried to pull her off, but could not. And Coyote told the Sun, "You are acting badly for a chief"; and Coyote decided that Sun could become the night sun (Moon), and that the Moon should become the Sun. So the irregular one is now the Moon, and the frog is seen over his eye. 

This is from: Nez Perce Coyote Tales: The Myth Cycle by Deward E. Walker, Jr. in collaboration with Daniel N. Mathews.

I made mention in the latest book I'm writing about a story my Nez Perce character's grandfather told him about the stars and that is why I am reading books like this one. Trying to find a story I can have him retell, but so far I'm striking out. I may have to change it to a story about the moon or the sun, I am finding several about those.

This is one of the fun parts about research, the searching for the item that will enhance the story.

My latest western romance release is a contemporary western titled The Wrong Cowboy to Love. It's book 3 in my Tumbling Creek Ranch series. These books don't have to be read in order, it just shows how couples you might read about in each book came to be together.

The Wrong Cowboy to Love
Book Three in the Tumbling Creek Ranch series

Computer geek Ruby Cutter feels like a fish out of water with a makeover her cousin put her through for the bachelorette party and wedding. The only reason she went along with it…her high school crush will be at the wedding. She’d fantasized for years over him and plans to make him see her.

Dillon Wallis is minding his own business getting ready for a gig at a bar when a tipsy, blonde who is with a bachelorette party and doesn’t realize she’s gorgeous, tumbles into his arms and captures his heart.

The only problem…she’s in love with his cousin.

Universal Buy Link:

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 37 novels, 6 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

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Friday, February 15, 2019

The Hamill Brothers At Spindletop

The year I turned sixteen my mother moved us from Kentucky to Big Springs, Texas. It was 1988 and we’d made the journey in a late seventies model, faded yellow Datsun 210. The car wasn’t cool, and neither was the wind damage to my Aqua Net hairdo. I cranked up the volume on my Walkman, closed my eyes and tried to lose myself in Bad Medicine.
I was a rebellious teenager who wasn’t impressed by the dry, dusty landscape of the Permian Basin or the horrible smells coming from the oil refineries. But Texas has a way of soaking in deep to your soul. I quickly fell in love with the Lone Star State, its people, and history.  

With Breaking the Cowboy, the third and final book in my Coldiron Cowboys series scheduled for release in late summer, I started thinking about where I wanted to go with my next series, which secondary characters nailed their auditions and what stories I wanted to tell. I've been eager to write about Finn Durant ─ a roughneck, bad boy turned sheriff ─ since his appearance in the first Coldiron book. And I was curious about what I might find if Durant Drilling were a real company. I soon began to draw from those memories of the years I’d spent in West Texas, to the derricks and to the stories of the oil boomtowns.

This is where the romantic in me sighs heavily and sets back in her chair, ready to write.

At the latter part of the nineteenth century, the only resource ranchers and farmers wanted to spew from the ground was water and the black sludge contaminating their wells was a pestilence they could do without. Little did they know that it was about to spew forth in an abundance and thrust them into the biggest consumer boom known to man.  

Lyne Taliaferro Barrett is credited for drilling the first oil well in 1866 near Nacogdoches. But the state of the economy after the Civil War made finding investors for his endeavor difficult and the market for oil was limited. Fast forward thirty years, toss in names such as John D. Rockefeller and Joseph Stephen Cullinan, stir in a few politicians and you have the construction of the first pipeline and refinery in the Lone Star States history.

At the same time, in the southeastern part of the state, a man without financial investors or political influence was becoming the laughing stock of Beaumont. Holding tight to his notion that there was an ocean of oil looming under the towns salt dome, Pattillo Higgins placed his faith in God and a spiritually like-minded man who, along with other investors, agreed to finance the drilling at Spindletop.  In 1892 Higgins partnered with George Washington Carroll, George Washington O’Brien, and J.F. Lanier to form the Gladys City Oil, Gas, and Manufacturing Company.

A year and three shallow attempts later, oil was nowhere to be found. Higgins and Lanier parted ways with the company and four years later, Anthony F. Lucas leased the land. John H. Galey and James M. Guffey put forth the finances for drilling and brought in Al and Curt Hamill, two expert oil drillers.

(Cue the dramatic music as the origins of Durant Drilling pop into my head like beautifully written sonnets. Okay, maybe that was a bit much.)

Photo by the Texas Energy Museum Newsmakers
In the fall of 1900, the Hamill brothers brought new technology to the game of drilling by using a steam engine to pump through the sand at Spindletop. But the sand was too fine for progress and the walls soon collapsed. But the brothers devised a solution. Using cattle stomp, water, and dirt, they made mud and inserted it into the well to encase the walls.

On January 10, 1901, they hit the motherload. The geyser at Spindletop spewed oil one-hundred and fifty feet into the air and began producing over eighty-thousand barrels a day. 

The Hamill brothers became legends in the oil industry. In the months that follow, the Gladys City Company produced six more successful wells and over forty-thousand people flocked to the town of Beaumont. 

Forget the series, I'm ready to write a historical romance. 

The stories of oil boomtowns are filled with rich history, colorful characters, treachery, murder, deceit, money and of course, love and the writer in me is always fascinated by the stories that might have been. I can’t wait to write about the rugged Durant roughnecks and the ladies who love them. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

What is it About a Cowboy? by Rhonda Frankhouser

Here's my sexy cowboy!
So, what is it about a cowboy that makes us swoon? We've created a whole romance genre around the allure of these Stetson wearing easy riders, so what draws us? Since it's almost Valentines Day, I thought I'd talk about the allure of the cowboy.  
      A little background to start. The cowboy has become one of the most recognizable images of the American West, though, in truth, cowboys, the Vaqueros, originated in Spain, then migrated to Mexico. As the courageous pioneers made their way west across North America, many new settlers mimicked these skilled animal herders as a way to survive the harsh, new land.
    So what's so enticing about these dusty loners? Let's face it, they're job is not at all glamorous. They're on horseback for hours and days, weeks and even months, living off the land, sleeping on the cold ground and smelling to high heaven. They're most likely sore from riding, cranky from eating the same ole chow, and being exposed to the harsh winds and unrelenting sunshine. Not to mention predators looking for an easy target.
     Reality aside, somewhere along the way, American culture decided cowboys represented honesty, integrity and raw sexuality. Think John Wayne, Bonanza and Gunsmoke, to name just a few. What we wouldn't give to earn the love of these rugged cowboys. I remember my mom fanning herself over Clint Eastwood in the Outlaw Josie Wales. There was just something about his stoic, sad personality and wide-rimmed hat that sent a message. "I'll be loyal to mine, forever."
     Maybe its that simple? The steadfast character of the legendary cowboy is enticing because they seem so fearless. The idea that a man would fight for you until the end; love you fiercely and remain by your side, truly is a dream come true for many lonely lasses. Well, that's at least part of it. I know a good cowboy love story does it for me. That's probably why I love writing Western Romance.
     What about you? What do you find irresistible about a cowboy?
Thanks for listening, Rhonda

Check out some of my fantasy cowboys in the
Award-Winning Ruby's Ranch Series

 Book 3 - Legacy of  Ruby's Ranch due out August 2019
Book 4 - Revenge at Ruby's Ranch to follow!

Have a Fabulous Valentines Day!!!

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Me and my cowboy!

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019


Photo property of Doris McCraw
This is the third in the series of screenwriting, novel/story writing. You can read parts one and two here:

In screenwriting, a majority of films, especially the older films, are based on the three act structure. Below is an overview of the concept.
    The three act structure:
    • The great Greek philosopher Aristotle was the first to concluded, in his works "the Poetics", that stories should have a single whole action or a story arc.
      • Beginning – There must be a motivating event that kicks a story off. The purpose is to get the attention of the audience.
      • Middle – There must be trials and tribulations for the story to move through. Done correctly the purpose will build an emotional roller coaster connection with the audience.
      • End – This is the climax and resolution. Once the audience has built an emotional bond they expect a logical outcome.
    • Concerning the three act structure, Aristotle is only concluding that most individuals respond and comprehend the three act structure.

Think of your favorite story or movie. Does it fit the three act structure? I love the B Western movies with stars such as Allan ‘Rocky’ Lane, Bob Steele, and early John Wayne. Do they follow the three act structure? It begins with the conflict/ set up, then the stakes rise/rising action which eventually leads to resolution. If you study them, yes they do. To view 'Rocky' Lane on YouTube: Death Valley Gunfighter

Allan 'Rocky' Lane
How about the novel? Probably most of your favorite stories will follow this structure. Take a look and do your own examination.

So as we write our stories or screenplays, what that story arc is what we call plot.

  • Plot composition can be viewed as:
    • The “Arch plot” is the most common plot composition, and the obvious reason for that is that it’s generally build around a three act structure. As stated by Aristotle the audience typically wants a single whole action or a story arc to happen. The audience builds empathy or sympathy for the characters and would prefer those characters learn something on their journey from point “A” to point “B”.
    • Other plot structures include Mini Plot, Anti Plot, and Non Plot. These generally fall into the concept of shattering expectations.
  • Shattering expectations:
    • As stated a few times writing is NOT a list of rules, but a list of principles. Once mastering the art of writing the Arch plot three act structure story, one might want to venture into the unknown. This is where breaking the mold of the Arch plot can be enjoyable and hazardous to one’s career. If you plan to venture into Mini Plot, Anti Plot or Non Plot, be prepared for possible backlash and audience drop off. Most patrons have story expectations that are commonly found in Arch Plot / Three Act Structure stories. Taking those folks out of their comfort zones typically has undesirable effects. But these stories can also be very fulfilling to those people who enjoy different types of story.

So as you follow your dream of writing or as you are reading your favorite stories, think about the principles discussed in this series. For those who would like to delve deeper into this subject, below is some suggested reading.

  • Suggested Readings
    • Robert McKee – Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting
    • Carl Jung – The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious, (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.9 Part 1)
    • Jennifer Van Bergen – Archetypes for Writers: Using the Power of your Subconscious
    • Joseph Campbell – The Hero With a Thousand Faces
    • Christopher Vogler – The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition
    • Michael Tierno – Aristotle’s Poetics for Screenwriters: Storytelling secrets from the Greatest Mind in Western Civilization

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Weirdest Writer Research

I’d win the award for the weirdest research trip EVAH. Don't believe me? Read on.

I wrote a Women's Fiction, Days Made of Glass. My main character is a woman bullfighter. Not the Spanish,cape-and-tights kind, the American rodeo kind. When a bull rider is thrown, these guys step between a pissed-off bull and the downed rider.

Yeah, in a word - NUTS.

To my knowledge, there has never been a female professional bullfighter, so the concept and potential for conflict intrigued me for a long time. I was dying to write that book.

As a more than decade-long fan of bull riding, I know everything that could possibly be gleaned from watching it on TV, seeing events in person and talking to bull riders. I corresponded with several bullfighters, who generously offered to answer my questions (the photo above is of one of them). But to write about a woman who attends a bullfighting school, I would need to know a lot more.

Have I told you how much I love the internet?  I looked up rodeo schools in Texas, and came across Lyle Sankey's Rodeo School. I emailed him, and he wrote back right away, and told me to come on down!

Lyle Sankey (on the ground) and his staff.

My husband and I drove to New Caney, outside Houston, over the Memorial Day weekend. I really didn't know what to expect, but I showed up at 8 am on Saturday armed with a notebook, pen and tons of questions.

I learned a lot of technique and strategy, not only about bullfighting, but all the rough stock events: bull riding, saddle bronc and bareback riding. Even if that was all I'd learned, it would have made the trip worthwhile.

But I learned so much more.

The students ranged from 7 (!) to their mid-thirties. There were two girls. Some students wanted to do this for a living, some wanted to try it for the adventure. Lyle and his staff were amazing. Teaching someone to ride a bull requires more than just knowledge -- the instructors were constantly watching to be sure that the student wasn't only listening, but hearing. When you're scared out of your mind, you don't pay as close attention as you would otherwise. Many times I heard the bull-riding coach say, "Stop! Look at me." Then, in a calm voice, he'd make sure that what he was saying sank in. After every ride the coach would go over with the student what he did right, what he did wrong and how to do better the next time.

First, lots of practice.

7-year-old Carl, stretches before his ride.

The transformation in the students in three days was amazing. Not only in their skills, but I could see their confidence and self-esteem rise, hour by hour.

Lyle was teaching life lessons along with bull riding. At one point, a teen was getting ready and the bull leaned on his foot against the back of the chute. He whined. Lyle admonished him, "It's time to Cowboy Up. That isn't just a slogan on the bumper of a pickup, you know." The kid was embarrassed and mad. He rode for two jumps, was bucked off and stomped out of the arena. Lyle followed him, talking the whole way. The kid wasn't buying it. Lyle went back again ten minutes later, when the kid had calmed down and was more likely to listen.
You can't pay someone to care that much. Lyle is a special man, who really cares about people.

In listening to Buddy Bush, the bullfighting coach, I learned more about what a rodeo life is. They seem like dirt-road gypsies. The life is much harder than I'd realized. But watching Buddy's face as he told me stories, I could see how much he loves it. He believes he's the luckiest guy out there. Isn't that what everyone's looking for?

Me, with Buddy Bush, Bull fighter and coach

Thanks to the research, and Lyle Sankey, the bullfighting in my book is authentic.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I didn’t get on a bull, or in the arena with one.
But if I were twenty years younger, I would have!

Laura Drake is a New York published author of Women's Fiction and Romance. Her debut, The Sweet Spot, won the 2014 Romance Writers of America® RITA® award. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She's a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.
Writers in the Storm

Friday, February 8, 2019

Wild Women Reporters who Broke Boundaries

Historic Boundary Breakers Wild Women Reporters

By Jacqui Nelson

Life is an adventure to explore and investigate--and change. Here are two Wild Women Reporters who tested their worlds and reported on them in the hopes of making the world a better place for everyone...

Winifred Sweet Black Bonfils 

~ aka Annie Laurie ~ 

( born 1863 in Chilton, Wisconsin )

In 1890 (after writing for the Chicago Tribune as Winifred Black), she found work at William Randolph Hearst's San Francisco Examiner as Annie Laurie. The name Annie Laurie was a reference to her mother's favorite lullaby and a tribute to her contemporary Nellie Bly.

In 1900, she dressed as a boy and was the first reporter at the Galveston Hurricane. She delivered an exclusive and Hearst sent relief supplies by train.

In 1906, she covered the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

In 1907, she had a front-row seat at the murder trial of Harry Thaw. Her coverage of the trial and descriptions of Thaw's wife, Evelyn Nesbit, earned her the label of “sob sister” (a label given to female reporters who wrote human interest stories).

In addition to being a reporter, Winifred was a telegraph editor, biography writer, columnist, fundraiser, relief work organizer, and the author of two books (written under the name Annie Laurie) The Little Boy Who Lived on the Hill (a children’s book) and Roses and Rain.

Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman 

~ aka Nellie Bly ~ 

born 1864 in Cochran's Mills, Pennsylvania )

In 1880, Elizabeth moved with her family to Pittsburgh where she read a newspaper column titled What Girls Are Good For that said girls were principally for birthing children and keeping house—which prompted her to write a response under the pseudonym "Lonely Orphan Girl." Impressed with her passionate response, the editor of the newspaper ran an advertisement asking the author to identify herself. When she did, he hired her to write as "Nellie Bly," a pen name chosen from the title character in the song Nelly Bly by Stephen Foster.

In 1887 in New York City, she took an undercover assignment feigning insanity to investigate reports of brutality and neglect at the Women's Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell's Island. After ten days of experiencing the deplorable conditions firsthand, she was released at her newspaper’s behest and her report (later published in book form as Ten Days in a Mad-House), prompted the asylum to implement reforms and brought her lasting fame

In 1888, she suggested to her editor that she take a trip around the world, attempting to turn the fictional Around the World in Eighty Days into fact for the first time. On November 14, 1889 (with two days' notice and carrying only a small travel bag with a few essentials) she boarded a steamer and began her 24,898-mile (40,070-kilometer) journey. Just over seventy-two days later, she’d circumnavigated the globe and was back in New York.

During World War I, she reported stories on Europe's Eastern Front. She was the first woman and one of the first foreigners to visit the war zone between Serbia and Austria. She was even arrested when she was mistaken for a British spy.

In addition to being a reporter, Elizabeth was an activist, industrialist, inventor (with patents for a novel milk can and a stacking garbage can) and a charity worker.
~ * ~ 

I haven't written a story about a Wild Women reporter but...once again, after reading about these ladies I'm eager to. Unfortunately (once again) there are so many stories and not enough time to write them all :) 

Do you have a favorite story about a boundary-breaking 19th-century reporter? 

~ * ~

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where the men are steadfast & the women are adventurous.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Valentine’s Day & The Valentine Rose

The origins of Valentine’s Day stretch back to the 3rd century when Claudius II was Emperor of Rome. Believing single men made better soldiers, Claudius outlawed marriage for young men. A priest vehemently objected to Claudius’ order and began marrying young couples in secret. Father Valentine was found out and sentenced to death. While awaiting execution, his jailer’s daughter visited often and Valentine fell in love with her. Before he was executed on February 14, 270 AD, he sent her a letter and signed it, From Your Valentine. Somewhere around 460 AD, Pope Gelasius declared February 14th a day to honor Valentine, who was a saint by then.

The giving of flowers on Valentine’s Day traces back to two separate customs. The 1st is from 12th century France where random slips of paper were used to match men and women on Valentine’s Day. A man had to supply his woman with flowers every week for a year, as the match was expected to last that long. The 2nd custom dates back to the 18th century when Charles II of Sweden introduced sending floral bouquets in lieu of verbal messages. Each flower had a specific meaning, making it possible to have an entire conversation without actually speaking the words.

Roses became the popular flower to send on Valentine’s Day because of their vibrancy and hardy nature. Half of the roses sold in the United States are shipped from Columbia and Ecuador. After the roses are cut in their home land, they’re shipped here in a constantly chilled temperature, making it possible for them to arrive undamaged and ready for sale. Lore suggest the red rose became the color of choice due to the flower being the favorite of Roman goddess, Venus. It’s worth noting that the Netherlands are responsible for half the worlds’ flowers overall, and whether you gift flowers, cards, or candy, the Valentine’s Day industry earns over a billion dollars each year.

For your Valentine’s Day Reading:
Be Mine, Valentine


Quietly moving across the floor, he nudged the door open to find Jessie wearing her night clothes and sitting in a chair before the hearth, her blonde hair hanging loose down her back. She cradled a cup in her lap, caressed the rim while staring at the low-burning fire. He filled a cup and joined her.
“Can’t sleep,” he asked.
“Oh,” she startled, and arched her neck toward him. “I didn’t hear you.”
“I didn’t mean to frighten you.” He nodded toward the hearth. “May I join you?”
Her guarded gaze traveled the length of him. “Al-all right.” She shifted her attention back to the crackling wood.
He pulled a chair beside her and sat, took a long drink of the hot brew. “Are you up because you’re worried about the squatter?”
“No. The sheriff and the deputies will find him.” She kept her gaze on the flame. “They won’t allow harm to come to their wives and children.”
“Reckon you’re right about that.” He took another long swallow to settle the unease snaking through his gut. He had plenty to say to her, and hoped the words came out right.
“Why are you awake?” she asked.
“I’ve got a lot on my mind.”
“Most people do.” She leaned forward, pulled a log from a basket beside the hearth and added it to the fire. Sat back in her chair.
“Jessie,” he started, only to pause and take a deep breath. He let it out slow, prayed his gumption wouldn’t desert him. “I apologize for what I said to you earlier. You’re more than a waitress to me. You’re someone I care about very much.”
She sniffled and met his gaze. Except for the moisture clinging to her eyes, her expression was void of feeling. “So you’ve often said.” She cocked her head. “Are you willing to do something about that?”
He swallowed hard. “If you’re referring to marriage, than I’m sorry, but the answer is no. I can’t marry you.” He touched her arm. “But I can be your friend.” And love you with everything I am. “Someone you can depend upon for anything.”
“I have friends, Tom,” she said, stonily. “I want more than that.”

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

A Cowboy's Spring Romance

by Shanna Hatfield

With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, I thought I'd share a little piece of flash fiction I wrote to go with The Cowboy's Spring Romance.

“You are such an idiot.”

Trent Thompson ignored his younger brother’s commentary as they rode behind a few cows they’d just cut from the herd. He glanced at his watch, painfully aware of the looming approach of his date.
Maybe Travis was right. He shouldn’t have rashly asked Lindsay Pierce out when he spoke to her that morning. Who does that on Valentine’s Day?

“She’s probably picking out wedding invitations and calling a caterer as we speak.” Travis grinned and ducked when Trent took a playful punch at him. “I warned you Valentine’s Day comes with a truckload of expectations. Set the bar too high and she’ll expect those kinds of dates all the time. Set the bar too low and she won’t ever speak to you again. That’s why I avoid Valentine’s dates. It’s not worth the stress and hassle.”

“Cool it, Trav. It’s just a date, not an engagement party. Besides, I’ve only taken her out once. It’s not a big deal.” Trent thought he sounded calm and convincing even if panic had set in an hour ago. He had no idea where to take Lindsay and less than an hour to come up with something.

“Not a big deal?” Travis snorted and shook his head. “No doubt about it, you’re in deep trouble.”

Trent frowned at him. “Just shut it. Unless you can come up with something helpful, like a suggestion of where to take her this evening, be quiet.”

“I’m just saying…” Travis closed his mouth at Trent’s threatening glare.

After securing the cows in the calving barn, Trent’s long legs ate up the ground to the house. He jumped into the shower and shaved for a second time that day.

Overcome with nerves, he briefly considered texting Lindsay to cancel the date. For three long years, he’d pined after the woman. Now that she’d finally shown a little interest in him, he worried he’d mess up the opportunity to get to know her better.

Determined to do his best, he raced to get dressed, stomping his feet into his boots on the way to the kitchen. Trent slapped his black Stetson on his head and rushed out to his pickup.

On the drive to Lindsay’s place, he wondered how he’d gotten himself into this predicament. Visions of Lindsay’s long blond hair, alluring blue eyes, and beautiful face filled his thoughts. He knew exactly how it had happened.

Slowly pulling up in front of her house, he stared at the light on her porch and inhaled a deep, fortifying breath.

 Rose? Check.

Candy? Check.

Breath mint? Trent popped one in his mouth and slid out of the truck, sauntering down the walk and up the porch steps.

All his worry and anxiety melted away when she opened the door, enveloping him in the warmth of her smile.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Trent.”

Read more about Trent and Lindsay and how they spend Valentine's Day in The Cowboy's Spring Romance.

One lonesome cowboy needs a few 
      lessons in romance...

     Trent Thompson doesn't have many secrets, except for the torch he's carried for the new schoolteacher since she moved to Grass Valley more than three years ago. Instead of asking her out, he’s dated every single female in a thirty-mile radius, giving her the impression he holds no interest in knowing her.
     Lindsay Pierce moved to Grass Valley to teach and quickly fell in love with the small community as well as the delightful people who live there. Everyone welcomes her warmly except for one obnoxious cowboy who goes out of his way to ignore her.
     Will Trent be able to maintain the pretense when he has to babysit his niece, who happens to be in Lindsay’s class?
     Romance is in the air as spring fever hits the Triple T Ranch!

Wishing you all a fabulous and very Happy Valentine's Day!

   After spending her formative years on a farm in eastern Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky heroes.
   When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.

   Shanna loves to hear from readers. Follow her online at:

   Find Shanna’s books at: