Wednesday, September 29, 2021


You'll Want to Read This New Release, An Irresistible Tale of Love, Friendship, and Courage

Today, September 29, is a special day for me. It's my birthday and LAND OF HEROES is now available on Amazon in both print and eBook formats! 

You may have met Alexander MacKay in my last book, BUCKSKIN ANGEL, where his cousin Rory Wyllie became the hero and Jessica Harrison the heroine. In LAND OF HEROES, Alexander becomes a truly heroic figure and plays a prominent role in the Battle of Nacogdoches (na·kuh·dow·chuhs), an often overlooked but important battle for freedom. Fearing for her father and brother’s safety, Alexa Anderson opposes the formation of a Texian militia. Rebels risked being shot by firing squads at the Mexican army’s fort in Nacogdoches. 

Nacogdoches is believed to be the oldest town in Texas and is located in beautiful East Texas, about five hours north and east of our ranch in Central Texas. This historic town made a great setting for a story that occurs in 1824, although the battle actually occurred six years later in 1832. 

I hope this novel helps my readers to understand what it might have been like in Texas in 1824. Many of us have ancestors who invested their lives and blood to settle this country and we owe it to them to remember their sacrifices and incredible courage. In fact, it was my husband's ancestors, very early settlers of Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas that inspired all fourteen of my novels. (See them all here on Amazon.)

As I imagined what James Bowie, one of the main characters in the book, might have said"Texians are here at the invitation of first Spain and then Mexico both of which wanted Americans to fight Indians for them and to grow crops and raise livestock. They have come from all over America, traveled hundreds of miles, and endured great hardships to get here. They have bled upon, plowed, and nurtured this land with calloused hands."

This memorial honors all 253 participants of the Battle of Nacogdoches. 

We know the names of only 80.

The Old Stone Fort Museum is located on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University, in the city and county of Nacogdoches, Texas. It is a 1936 replica of a structure that had been erected circa 1779 by Nacogdoches militia commander Antonio Gil Y'Barbo.

These are my heroesthe Wyllies and MacKays!


"Amazing storyline and grand adventure! This book is filled with real-life heroes and those the author used her literary license to magnify the story. Based on the actual lives of some of those who lived in the era of 1824, the realism written keeps the reader enraptured with events. Jim Bowie is alive and well in this story; the Stephen Wyllie family is expanding and involved in freeing Texians and fellow citizens from the grips of Mexican cruelty; and, there’s the romance of the young as they meet, court, and marry. There are moments where I ran out of Kleenex but kept on reading. Thanks to the author for keeping me totally entertained, even through tears."- Amazon Review by Marlene

"Ms. Wiley is one of my go-to authors of historical fiction set in the expansion of the West. It has always been one of my favorite periods in history. She brings a realism to each story and each of the characters that makes me feel like I am there. I can't wait to read what she pens next."- Reviewer JoAnne Weiss

The first three books in the series have a 4.8 average star rating from 270+ reader reviews. These novels are tastefully romantic and authentic historicals set against the stunning backdrop of the wilderness. Each book is a stand-alone, full-length novel.



Monday, September 27, 2021

Fall in Love with MARISSA

 Good morning and welcome to Cowboy Kisses! 

I hope you are having a great start for the Fall season. I’m enjoying all the colors red, yellow, brown and green during the change of seasons, but I’m also sad to see Summer end. Yes, I’m a sun worshipper.

There’s something about the cooler weather in Fall that gets me in a cooking mood and it lasts through January. Then of course, I’m mad at myself for gaining a few extra inches around my waist. Sound familiar? 

Speaking of cooking goodies my favorite memories as a child is coming home from school and smelling before I ever went in the house the sweet aroma of cookies baking in Grandma Moore’s oven. I remember it like it was yesterday. There was a nice warm chinook wind blowing the leaves all around. And with that wind I smelled the cookies. Grandma Moore loved to bake. She was the best cook I’ve ever known. So this morning I got in a cooking mood and went back out to my apple tree with my big bowl and picked a bunch more apples. I made homemade apple cider for the first time in my life. It turned out great! And when the apples were boiling I made 5 dozen chocolate chip cookies with walnuts for my honey, son and grandkids to eat with their lunches this week. Last night I picked apples from my apple tree and made apple sauce. The grandkids loved it! 

My recipe is simple. 6 apples, fresh lemon and some lime juice, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Boil on low for about twenty five minutes then smash like mashed taters. I put mine in the blinder for a few seconds. My grandkids wanted theirs on toast, but there’s many more options. Over ice cream is yummy. A side dish for dinner especially for pork chops is good as well. 



Don’t you just love a sweet small country wedding? I sure do. I guess that’s why in my Chasing Time series there’s always a small wedding. Did any of you have a small, simple, but elegant in its own way ceremony? If so, was it in a little chapel like in the pictures below?

My daughter Hollie’s best friend Brittany (since middle school) was married yesterday. Congratulations Britt!! She had a small wedding and it reminded me of this small Wildwood Chapel.

This is my youngest son Jon Kyle and my fearless dog Jasper.
I had him stand just inside the door so you could tell how small the chapel is.

I’ve always been intrigued by this little road side chapel and I searched my camera roll so I could share these pictures with you. I snapped them a few weeks ago when my family and I took a drive up HWY 20. It’s the gateway to the majestic Cascade Mountains. If you’ve never taken the drive through the Cascade mountains you’re really missing out for it is absolutely breathtaking. 

The small building is nestled between trees across from the old Clark’s Resort, now the Glacier Peak Resort and Winery. After a little research I learned the chapel was brought here after a fire and vandalism almost destroyed it in the 1970’s at its original home in Monroe, Washington. 

Tootsie and Ruddy Clark (I wrote another blog about Tootsie a few months ago that you might of read) decided to salvage what was left of the structure where it was first built in the early 1900’s and had it brought to their property a couple of miles from Marble Mount, Washington where it has been the delight of many travelers and I’m sure it raised their curiosity like it did me as well.

The Wildwood Chapel is still maintained. as you can see by the first photo, and used today. Many small weddings occur on it’s humble premises. The building sits anywhere from nine to twelve people depending on their size, of course. So, if you want a small wedding and you want it to be in a church, the Wildwood Chapel might be perfect for you. There’s cabins you can rent, nice places to hike, swim, canoe or whatever you like to do. And the restaurant serves delicious food. Did I mention they have a small wine tasting area and make their own fudge. Perfect if you ask me. 

I can imagine the outside covered with wild daisies, and a a roped off area winding down from the Wildwood Chapel to the trail that leads to the Skagit river. There would be a table full of delicious food, and another with only the cake, napkins and plates. And one more for refreshments. The music would be a couple of men strumming on their guitars and singing old bluegrass songs. 

Oops, sorry. Once I get started my mind just opens up and goes wild. Lol. 


New Release!

I’m excited to announce MARISSA (3rd in my Chasing Time series) is now available on Amazon! 

I love the Clark’s and I’m sure you will as well. This series was previously named “Tombstone Ghost Cowboy” but my new editor Gerald L Guy advised  me that we should rewrite the stories in another point of view instead of the first, and give them a more fitting name with new book covers that fit the time travel theme.  I can’t tell you how pleased I am with how they turned out. New chapters added and others taken away. 

So, if you’ve read the first version I urge you to take a look at the new version. through different eyes.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

The Rankins of Rawlins by Zina Abbott


I am expanding on part of the Author’s Notes I included in a recent release, A Bride for Devlin.

The Rankin family, by the names I used in my story, actually did live in Rawlins during 1878, the timeframe of my story. I introduced readers to the Rankins in an earlier novel, Mail Order Blythe. I found mention of members of the family from a few historical sites about Rawlins. However, the best details I found came from the 1880 U.S. Census, Find-a-Grave, and the Wyoming Online Digital Collection editions of the Carbon County Journal and Carbon County News newspapers.


The first Rankins in America were Alexander and Martha Rankin who were born in Northern Ireland and died in Pennsylvania, USA). Alexander was born in the 1760s. He died before the 1850 census when his wife is shown as widowed, but after his appearance in the 1840 census. Martha’s birth year is given as 1769, her death date also unknown.

The children who ended up in Rawlins were born to his couple’s oldest son and second of six children, Robert (1800 in Limavady, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland-1874 in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, USA) and his wife, Mary Renkin Rankin (1814-1899). They were married on June 25, 1835 in Plumcreek Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. There all their children were born, as follows: John M. (1836-1900), Matthew A. (1839-1864), James G. (1841-1914), Joseph P. (1844-1919), Mary E. Rankin Browlee (1846-1926), Robert T. (1848-1917), Martha J. “Jennie,” Margaret I. (Rankin) Johnston, William D. (1856-1934), and T. Newton Rankin (1856-1936).

The second son, Matthew was killed during the American Civil War in the Battle of Petersburg, Petersburg City, Virginia, 64 days before he was to muster out. He served as a corporal in the "Morgan Guards" in Company G of the 63d Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers and fought beside his younger brother, Joe. Joseph was at his brother’s side at the time Matthew was killed.

James G. Rankin
Of the four siblings who moved from Pennsylvania to Rawlins, Wyoming, James G. Rankin was the oldest. From the historical information and 1880 census records, James was the county sheriff. Find-a-Grave says he was sheriff starting in 1878, although April, 1878, issues of the Carbon County News list I. M. Lawry as sheriff, and James G. Rankin as both a deputy sheriff for Carbon County as well as a deputy U. S. marshal. 

The first online history I found stated Isaac Lawry was sheriff, James a deputy sheriff. He was also a Deputy U.S. Marshal in 1878. This was the scenario I used in this book and Mail Order Blythe. Both the 1880 U.S. Census and newspaper articles indicate he was sheriff in 1880.

Here is what Find-a-Grave has to say:

Jim was the third of 10 children, and the third of seven sons, of Robert Rankin and Jane Rankin. He was named for James Gray, the husband of his father's sister, Mary. Jim Rankin served in Co. A, 135th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry from August 14, 1862, to May 24, 1863; as a sergeant in Co. K, 159th Regiment, 14th Cavalry from March 15, 1864 through July 31, 1865; and in in Co. B, 159th Regiment, 14th Cavalry during the Civil War. Jim was the Sheriff of Carbon County, Wyoming Territory from 1878 through 1885.

James Rankin and his wife (Ueleta on the 1880 U.S. census, but Gilleta Smith on Find-a-Grave) and children lived in Rawlins. His brother, Robert Rankin, was the jailer. One source stated Robert’s wife (Rose on the 1880 census, but Rosetta on Find-a-Grave) assisted with the jail, which was common for that time. Since Robert’s sister, Mary, lived with the family and was listed with the occupation of servant, it might be possible she also assisted with the jail.

Joseph P. Rankin

The third brother, Joseph P. Rankin, was listed as a livery keeper and unmarried on the 1880 census (per Find-a-Grave, he married
Cornelia E. Vail on December 26, 1893 in Cheyenne, Wyoming.


Joseph served as a private in the "Morgan Guards" in Company G of the 63d Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers where he fought alongside his older brother, Matthew, and saw him killed at the Battle of Petersburg on June 16, 1864. He served as a scout under the command of Maj. Thomas T. Thornburgh at Fort Fred Steele, only a few miles from Rawlins. He was famous for his twenty-four-hour ride on September 29, 1879 to alert Fort Douglas of the besieged soldiers in need of relief after the Milk Creek Massacre.



Both Joseph and a sister, Mary Rankin, lived with Robert in 1880.


Sources claim all three brothers allegedly owned the livery, Early advertisements in the Carbon County News indicate J. G. Rankin was the sole owner, but by late 1879, advertisements in the Carbon County Journal state Rankin Bros., proprietors.

Mary Rankin was in Rawlins in 1880. According to Find-a-Grave, she married John Brownlee, a man eighteen years her junior, in October 1903 in Encampment, Wyoming. Her death took place at Buck Creek, Tippecanoe County, Indiana and her burial was in Oregon, same place as Mr. Brownlee.

One source stated the stagecoach ran between the Rankin Livery in Rawlins to Baggs. I wrote under the assumption that the Rankins owned the stagecoach service, although that might not have been the case. The Rawlins to Baggs route appears to have been longer than the Wamsutta to Dixon run, but Rawlins was a major railroad stop. 


The route probably traveled through the Muddy Creek area which was well-known for its abundance of game. All these factors led me to use this stagecoach in A Bride for Devlin.



Tuesday, September 21, 2021

WESTERN TOWNS - REAL OR FICTITIOUS By Kathleen Lawless @kathleenlawless

When I choose a historical book setting, I usually pick an existing town that boasted a railway station in the 19th century, then create a fictitious town not too far away.  That way, my character can travel most of the way West by train as opposed to stage coach, but I can be free with my creativity wherever I plunk them for the story. 

It was exciting to find this photo of Durango in the 1880’s, a year before the first train stopped there in August 1881.  Ridgemont is my latest fictitious town an indeterminate distance away.  The name seemed to fit, given there are mountain ridges all over the area. 

The first book to feature Ridgemont takes place when the town is in its infancy, settled there by Shane and Lacey Blackman in A BRIDE FOR SHANE, currently on sale today only for 99cents.

Fast forward a few years, the town is growing and requires someone to uphold the law.  Enter Weston, the town sheriff seeking a mail order bride in A BRIDE FOR WESTON.  Weston releases this Friday, the 24th. Or you can pre-order now to ensure you have it delivered to your kindle early Friday morning.  Here’s a preview!

         Seeking an unusual woman for matrimony.  A helpmate in the serving of justice.  Marriage in name only.  Sheriff Holmes, Ridgemont, Colorado. 

          Talia spent most of the trip West praying she wasn’t making the biggest mistake of her life.  And Lord knew, there’d been plenty of mistakes thus far in her twenty-some years on earth.  She took solace from the fact that a group of women she knew and trusted from the church back home were convinced this was the right choice. 

          To date, the group had matched dozens of destitute, young, female parishioners with lonely, God-fearing bachelors on the other side of the country.  Two of them even remembered Sheriff Holmes’s father, a preacher who had, unfortunately, been killed doing the Lord’s work.  They encouraged her to put her name forward.    

          “What does marriage in name only mean?” she had asked one of the older ladies from the church who was helping her pen her response to the sheriff.

          “He means it won’t be necessary for you to share his bed.”

          Talia wasn’t sure what kind of helper the sheriff needed, office work perhaps, but compared to working off her deceased husband’s tavern debts, this chance to make a fresh start far from the Brooklyn docks and the tenement where she grew up seemed like the answer to a prayer, and before long she had a train ticket in her hand.

          Her heart rate sped up as the train began to slow.  “Next stop, Durango,” yelled the conductor.  Talia rose and wiped her damp palms on the front of her best skirt.  A dull-colored, serviceable cotton, it had been nothing special to start with, even before it became wrinkled and dusty from the trip.  As she prepared to disembark, she wondered what kind of woman the sheriff was expecting, and prayed he was a kind man.            

          As she stared at her surroundings, inhaling the unfamiliar, dry, desert air, a man approached, dark-hair visible beneath his brown Stetson, sunlight hitting a silver star pinned to his chest.  She smiled tentatively, but he walked right past her as if she was invisible. 

          “Sheriff?” she called.  “Sheriff Holmes?”

          He turned and his eyes raked over her in an impatient way that left her feeling wanting.  He took a tentative step toward her, eyes narrowed.  “Mrs. Frank?”

          Relief flooded through her as she nodded. 

          He came right up to her then.  Tall and broad-shouldered, he loomed over her, making her feel insignificant.  You’re Mrs. Frank?”

Get your copy here:

A BRIDE FOR WESTON is Book 8 of a 9 book series.  See what titles you might have missed here.      

And in case you’re wondering, Ridgemont is growing on me.  My hero, Grant Chisholm, in MAIL ORDER NOELLE, which releases November 30th, makes a cameo appearance in A BRIDE FOR Weston.  A wealthy cattleman and known womanizer, Chisholm also calls Ridgemont home.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Making Ice cream like it's 1899

 I recently purchased an ice cream maker and in looking for what I wanted it was amazing to see how many options are out there. I went with the old traditional bucket style ice cream maker but one with a motor to do the hard job of cranking for me. 

Ice cream makers like this have been around since the mid 1800s and have changed little over the ages. The original ice cream maker was invented by American Nancy Johnson, in 1846. Johnson developed the very first ice cream maker. It works with a crank and coarse salt. 

Summer has traditionally been a time for making and eating ice cream but it is also common in the north to use snow to make ice cream in an old fashioned churn. Oddly, these old fashioned, muscle driven machines are now quite expensive and fashionable. 

Throughout the history of homemade ice cream making people have tried to make that hard churn easier by using a variety of machines to turn the handle for them. These attempts have included using the tractor engine, or pullies to make the crank turn. More often than not, however, the ice cream was made by turning the handle until it couldn't be turned any more. 

"I shall never forget my amazement at seeing a brisk Yankee housewife lay hold of the handle of the ponderous tin cylinder, and whirl it with such will and celerity, back and forth, back and forth, that the desired end came to pass in three-quarters of an hour."

A black and white photograph of a woman in a black dress with a corset, puffy sleeves and a full skirt sitting at a small table on which is a tea set. The woman is holding something in her right hand and looking directly at the camera.
Portrait of Marion Harland from "Marion Harland's Complete Cook Book," 1906 (

Ice cream was a huge hit on those hot summer days and as refrigeration improved it became more common, though still a spectacular treat to the majority of people. 

In my recent book, Catherine's Conundrum, two suitors for Catherine's hand, square off at the crank handle to see who can go the longest without taking a break. If you've ever made hand churned ice cream you know how hard it is and just how much you hand and arm hurt by the time it is all done. 

To be honest, as much as I love my new electric ice cream maker, I miss the old bucket and crank my parents kept in the basement so long ago. There is something ageless and endearing about the hand cranked machines. 

I wonder if the competition at the ice cream churn will help Catherine know her heart. 


Catherine Harvey has been given an ultimatum but is it one she can live with? Her family has determined that she must wed and have presented her with two choices, but how does she choose between her best friend and a dashing man of means?                                       

       Jaden Ackerman has been friends with Catherine his whole life. She’s a sweet, intelligent, and kindhearted girl but there has never been any spark between them. Will friendship sacrifice everything to protect her from a devious pretender?                                       

 When Catherine runs away from the conflict will one man find the courage to win her heart?

Friday, September 17, 2021

Butternut Squash Recipe


1 butternut squash-peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil 
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and ground pepper to taste
Step 1:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Step 2: Toss butternut squash with olive oil and garlic in a large bowl. Season with salt and black pepper. Arrange coated squash on baking sheet. 
Step 3:  Roast in the preheated oven until squash is tender and lightly browned, 25 - 30 minutes.

​NOTE:  If you don't want to cube butternut squash, you can simply cut in half, take seeds out, and then season with olive oil, garlic, and salt/pepper. It may take a little longer to cook. Take out when tender and browned.

See you next month,

Lianna Hawkins
Award-Winning Author of Western Romance