Monday, November 28, 2011

Celia Yeary: Texas True

Texas True, Book II: The Cameron Sisters
by Celia Yeary

RTW: We're glad to have you visit Romancing The West today, Celia. Please tell us a little about yourself before we start talking books.

CY: I'm a seventh-generation Texan, and my life revolves around family, friends, and writing. San Marcos has been my home for thirty-five years. I have nine published romance novels, a short story, two novellas, three anthologies, and published essays with a local magazine. I'm a former science teacher, graduate of Texas Tech University and Texas State University, mother of two, grandmother of three boys, and wife of a wonderful, supportive Texan. My husband and I enjoy traveling, and we're involved in our church, the community, and the university. I meet with The Write Girls on Tuesdays at a local coffee house.

RTW: Photosynthesis is interesting, but tell us about Texas True, please.

CY: Texas True is the story of the younger Cameron sister. (Texas Promise is the story of the older Cameron sister.) As the Nineteenth Century fades, True Leigh Cameron has been raised like a hothouse flower, loved and protected by everyone. She meets oil field foreman Sam Deleon at a Governor's Ball in Austin and her life completely changes. Without wondering why a mere wildcatter would be at a posh ball, she falls in admonishments are gone unheard. She is determined to make the marriage and her new life work. True is as good as her name, but what kind of man is Sam? She will face disappointment, anger, and heartbreak, before she learns the whole truth...and begins to teach a hard man how to love.

Find out how you can win at the end of the excerpt.

RTW: What aspect of life in the Old West intrigues you the most? Did you work that into Texas True?

CY: The Old West history intrigues me, and I love to choose something and place a character there. In this case, I used Austin, Texas just as it was in a booming stage at the end of the Nineteenth Century, the infant oil industry, and also a sprawling Spanish Land Grant ranch in South Texas.

RTW: If you lived in 1899, what modern convenience would you miss the most?

Celia Yeary, author

CY: Running water. Austin, Texas had running water for many homes, and electricity, and a new Capitol building. But the oil camp where True lived when she followed Sam, not only lacked running water, it lacked electricity, too. Later in the story when Sam and True manage to get to the ranch, no running water there, either. You see? I'm obsessed with fear of not having enough water.

RTW: Are there any common errors in western historical romances that bug you? If so, please set us straight.

CY: I don't suppose it bugs me, because I do it, too! But honestly, Jacquie, have you looked at old Nineteenth Century photos? Of course, you have. Those people are generally not beautiful and handsome, with gorgeous hair or big muscled bodies--at least not how we picture them. We authors also fail to properly describe clothing.'s fiction!

RTW: Hahaha! Yes, and fiction is fantasy.  While we're on that topic, why is handsome Sam Deleon perfect for True Cameron?

CY: Actually, he's not. He's devious and mysterious--but only on the surface. Deep down, he longs to be a good, respected man. This theme--Redemption--is my very favorite theme for Western Historical Romances.

RTW: I love it, too! And now for an excerpt of Texas True by Celia Yeary!

True whispered to him, "Would you kiss me, Sam? Just a kiss? And maybe hold me a little? I've missed you very much."

Against his better judgment, he placed his arm around her waist and pulled her close, and with the other hand, tipped her chin up so he might give her that little kiss. Mistake. Her scent and warmth instantly set him on fire. He kept her mouth in place as he ravaged it with his tongue, teeth, and lips. With the other hand, he cupped her soft, full breast from the side.

Slowly turning in his arms, True leaned into him and began tugging his shirt from his pants. As soon as she could move her hands under the shirt, she placed her palms flat on his ribs and brought them around and up his back. His skin turned hot where she smoothed the corded muscles of his shoulders. Sliding her hands up, she neatly and efficiently pushed his shirt off his back. Mumbling against his mouth, she instructed in a low, husky voice, "Let me get this off your arms."

Startled, he came to his senses and hissed through clenched teeth, "Whoa, whoa. What are you doing? Stop, True. The children."

Speaking softly and quietly into his ear, she explained that an earthquake would not awaken them. "When they fall asleep, they don't move, and you would be hard pressed to wake them up. I assure you, they won't hear a thing. Please, Sam, make love to me?"

Oh, well, why the hell not, he thought, through the red haze in his brain.

RTW: Thanks for the terrific excerpt, Celia! Where can we buy Texas True?

CY: It's available at Amazon, B&N, and Desert Breeze Publishing

RTW : What do you have in store for us next, Celia?

CY: I have one 99cent Western Historical with Western Trail Blazers (Rebecca Vickery's pubs.) She has two more of mine, so I hope they'll be for sale sometimes in November. Titles: Angel and the Cowboy; Addie and the Gunslinger; and Charlotte and the Tenderfoot. Next WIP: Kat and the U.S.Marshal. All these are around 22,000 words. I find that I love to write these.

RTW : I love to read (and write) novellas, so I'll be looking forward to yours. Where can readers find you on the internet?

CY: To find out more about my books and me, go to my website. For general musings and a little fun, go to my personal blog, and for western research topics and authors, go to Sweethearts of the West. (RTW Note: SOTW is an awesome blog! Be sure to check it out.)

RTW: Anything else you’d like to add?

CY: I'm so pleased to be a guest with you, Jacquie, on Romancing the West. I hope readers who love Western Romances will try The Cameron Sisters series--Book I and Book II.

I'd love to give away more than one thing: a pdf of Texas True, a pdf of Texas Promise, and a pdf of Angel and the Cowboy. Jacquie will help me choose three visitors, I'll ask each winner which story she'd like to have.

Thanks so much, Celia!

Wow, three commenters this week will win! Celia will be here on Thursday with a wonderful article on Judge Roy Bean. Any comment all week enters you to win one of the three books Celia is offering. Be sure to include your email address or we'll have to pick aother winner.

Stop by Thursday for Celia's article on Judge Roy Bean.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

RTW Chicken Dinner: Christmas Book Party Winners

I'm in camp with those who think you should decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. So why did we have our Christmas Book Party during Thanksgiving week? Because December is the time when we're in the mood to read Christmas books, but you have to have them before you can read them. So last week was all about finding new reads before the holidays. After all, you need a little break from all the hustle and bustle that goes on in December.

Special thanks to Markee Anderson for creating a Chrismas Books Page so we can easily find just the perfect holiday read. Also, Markee gave coupons for three free Christmas books to all viewers of her post this week so I hope you took advantage of her offer.

Now for the daily winners...

A Warrior for Christmas and Somewhere the Bells Ring by Beth Trissel
(winner's choice) Eva (bossu49 at

Gifts from the Afterlife by Sarah J. McNeal
Cathy (cathyann40 at

A Dream to Share by Markee Anderson
No drawing--everyone who visited received three free books!

Feliz Navidad by Kit Prate
Drew G (ilmksc at

A Night for Miracles by Cheryl Pierson
terra (latemodelchica at

Faery Merry Christmas by Jacquie Rogers
Na (Cambonified at

And now, someone will win all six books
plus a $10 Amazon gift certificate!

That would be...
Amanda (chefamanda at

Happy Christmas Reading!

On Monday, Romancing The West features another outstanding author and all-around good person, Celia Yeary, so be sure to stop by and learn a little about her, and read an excerpt!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

RTW Christmas Book Party: Jacquie Rogers

Jacquie Rogers, author
by Jacquie Rogers

Christmas stories always put me in the mood for three things—romance, magic, and fun. Every year, I gobble up all the Christmas anthologies and novels I can find, and hey, sometimes the mood strikes me mid-summer when the heat soars and we’re all longing for some snow.

Family and friends are so important this time of year, and also we get a little nostalgic. In that tradition, quite a few of my family members are characters in the book, and 1956 was such a great year—Elvis, a Nash Metropolitan, Bing Crosby’s Christmas carols, drive-in restaurants. How cool is that? Or should I say neato!

Baseball. My first heart’s desire was to become a baseball announcer on television. I loved listening to the announcers almost as much as I loved the game. But, well, there’s no baseball at Christmas in Idaho.

So there you have my five favorite things—family, romance, magic, fun, and baseball. And that’s what Faery Merry Christmas is all about. What if faeries could come to Terra Humanus and compete with humans in professional sports? What rules would they have to obey?

But more importantly, what happens to the faery girl he leaves behind? She can use magic on Terra Humanus but he cannot. He’s having a lot of fun and she’s facing a disaster, he pitches for the Shoreline Sharks Baseball Club and she’s supposed to take over the Santa Claus detail in Faeryshire. And it all adds up to some faery hot romance!

New York Times Bestselling Author Stella Cameron said about Faery Merry Christmas, “What faery fun! A winsome sprite's barely still-ticking time clock. Mayhem in the land of Claus. And the man who could wave just the right magic wand obsessed with baseball. A Christmas story to cuddle up with--and keep you really warm."

Here’s what Faery Merry Christmas is all about:

Romance has gone awry in Faeryshire.

Who would’ve thought Mr. and Mrs. Claus’s daughter would be “on the shelf”? Yep, Cheshya’s all a’flutter because her 2,000th birthday, the last day she’s eligible to take a mate, is on Christmas, only four days away, but Liam of the Red Clan, the only man she has ever wanted is otherwise occupied . . .

Terra Humanus in 1956: carhops on roller skates, the submarine races, a pink Nash Metropolitan, Lucky Strikes, Little Richard, and the Shoreline Sharks Baseball Club starring ace pitcher Liam Stone.

For the past five years, Liam of the Red Clan has lived in Terra Humanus, pitching for the Shoreline Sharks and obsessed with signing as a major league pitcher with the Cincinnati Reds. The faery queen sends Cheshya to help him achieve his goal, but in signing with the Reds, will he lose out on his true heart’s desire?

What will it take to make a Faery Merry Christmas?

And here’s a sneak peek!

Faery Merry Christmas by Jacquie Rogers
Copyright © 2009 Jacquie Rogers

Faeryshire, in the Human Year 1956

'Twas December twenty-first, the day of Yule. Nearly every faery in the realm attended the ceremony.

I, Cheshya of the Brown Clan, ascended to the High Temple one flight at a time with my best posture, holding the wedding bouquet of posies and butterflies, my shimmering silver gown flowing behind me. Morkito and other pixies flew around the hem and kept it from snagging anything. My goal was to land gently in front of the altar without falling flat on my face in front of all my friends and my new mate.

For this was my wedding day.

Queen Merci sat on her throne above and behind the altar. Princess Kaylee, my best friend, stood beside her. Sweet tunes twinkled and fluttered through the High Temple on the glittering faery dust, caressing the most hardened of souls. I let it flow around me and through me, the joy of song lifting my spirit. Anxiety had been my constant companion for the last week while I stewed over the course of my future.

At last, I glided to the altar, quite gracefully, in fact. If it weren’t for my uncertain future, I could’ve relaxed, but as it was, I had no idea who Kaylee had chosen for me to be my husband.

The queen held her wand and scepter, the latter shooting sparks every few seconds. She raised an eyebrow at Kaylee. Kaylee shrugged and glanced around, her palms up.

"You may approach, Cheshya," Queen Merci said to me. I knelt in front of Her Highness. "Your groom is not present."

She sounded apologetic and even sad. I had to admit that while being jilted in front of five thousand of my closest friends and relatives wasn’t my idea of a thrill, neither was I enthusiastic over marrying a man I neither knew nor loved. But then, it was all my fault. My courting time was nearly gone so a groom had been picked for me, supposedly to best benefit all of Faeryshire.

Yes, I did love a man with all my heart, but he didn’t love me. I guess I have to say that being jilted was somewhat of a relief because I couldn’t imagine taking a partner for life (and faeries live a very long time) knowing I’d never connect with my true soul mate.

Faery Merry Christmas is available at Amazon (Kindle & Print), and Smashwords.

Enter to win a  free copy of Faery Merry Christmas by commenting on this article.  Your comment also enters you in the drawing for the RTW Christmas Book Party Grand Prize, announced on Sunday's Chicken Dinner post.  Be sure to include your email address with your comment or we'll have to draw another winner, and you'll be excluded from the Grand Prize drawing.  Thanks!

Happy Holiday Reading!

Romancing The West has featured wonderful Christmas books all week, and each day's author will be giving away a free book on Sunday, so check all the blog articles.

Prizes All Week!
You can still win the RTW Christmas Book Party Grand Prize!
Comment on all six blog entries for six chances to win.
Drawing will be held Nov. 26 at 11:59pm Pacific Time
and announced on Sunday's RTW Chicken Dinner.

Monday: A Warrior for Christmas by Beth Trissel
Tuesday: Gifts from the Afterlife by Sara J. McNeal
Wednesday: A Dream to Share by Markee Anderson
Thursday: Feliz Navidad by Kit Prate
FridayA Night of Miracles by Cheryl Pierson
Saturday: Faery Merry Christmas by Jacquie Rogers
Sunday: Chicken Dinner! Yes, one commenter this week (any post) will win a book from each author--that's SIX Christmas books--AND a $10 Amazon gift certificate

Love Christmas stories?
Markee Anderson listed a bunch of 'em at her Christmas page.

Friday, November 25, 2011

RTW Christmas Book Party: Cheryl Pierson

Cheryl Pierson, author
by Cheryl Pierson

Christmas has always been a miraculous time for me. It still is. When I was younger, it was because of the presents, and the anticipation that came with the season. My parents were not wealthy, but we had the necessities and a few of the luxuries. My mom was a great manager. She could make the smallest thing seem of the greatest value. She could transform our house into a marvelous Christmas haven with her decorations, wonderful cooking and a few well-wrapped packages. When I became an adult, the torch was passed, but the anticipation merely shifted. The excitement I felt was not for myself, but for my children–the joy I could bring to them.

Once I had written A Night for Miracles, I began to think about my heroine, Angela Bentley, and how I might have reacted had I been in her place. I would like to think that I would have done what she did–transformed her small cabin into a memorable Christmas castle that none of the children would ever forget, simply through a good meal, a warm fire, and a gift. But it was all of these things that made Angela’s “gift” — the gift of her heart — special. She put herself out on a limb, having been emotionally wounded before.

I thought about the old legend–that Christmas Eve is a “night for miracles” to happen. Angela was not a rich person by any means, but she gave what she had, freely. She took in the stranger and the three children from the cold, gave them warm beds and fed them. But then she went even further. She gave her heart to them, although it was a huge risk. She comes through with physical gifts, but the true giving was in her spirit. And that leads to a miracle.

A Night For Miracles is one of those short stories that I didn’t want to end. I love a happy ending, and this is one of the happiest of all, for everyone in the story.

Here's what A Night For Miracles by Cheryl Pierson is all about:

Legend says that miracles happen on Christmas Eve. Can a chance encounter between a gunfighter and a lonely widow herald a new beginning for them both? On this special night, they take a gamble that anything is possible–if they only believe!

And now for an excerpt!

Angela placed the whiskey-damp cloth against the jagged wound. The man flinched, but held himself hard against the pain. Finally, he opened his eyes. She looked into his sun-bronzed face, his deep blue gaze burning with a startling, compelling intensity as he watched her. He moistened his lips, reminding Angela that she should give him a drink. She laid the cloth in a bowl and turned to pour the water into the cup she’d brought.

He spoke first. “What…what’s your name?” His voice was raspy with pain, but held an underlying tone of gentleness. As if he were apologizing for putting her to this trouble, she thought. The sound of it comforted her. She didn’t know why, and she didn’t want to think about it. He’d be leaving soon.
“Angela.” She lifted his head and gently pressed the metal cup to his lips. “Angela Bentley.”

He took two deep swallows of the water. “Angel,” he said, as she drew the cup away and set it on the nightstand. “It fits.”

She looked down, unsure of the compliment and suddenly nervous. She walked to the low oak chest to retrieve the bandaging and dishpan. “And you are…”

“Nick Dalton, ma’am.” His eyes slid shut as she whirled to face him. A cynical smile touched his lips. “I see…you’ve heard of me.”

A killer. A gunfighter. A ruthless mercenary. What was he doing with these children? She’d heard of him, all right, bits and pieces, whispers at the back fence. Gossip, mainly. And the stories consisted of such variation there was no telling what was true and what wasn’t.

She’d heard. She just hadn’t expected him to be so handsome. Hadn’t expected to see kindness in his eyes. Hadn’t expected to have him show up on her doorstep carrying a piece of lead in him, and with three children in tow. She forced herself to respond through stiff lips. “Heard of you? Who hasn’t?”
He met her challenging stare. “I mean you no harm.”

She remained silent, and he closed his eyes once more. His hands rested on the edge of the sheet, and Angela noticed the traces of blood on his left thumb and index finger. He’d tried to stem the blood flow from his right side as he rode. “I’m only human, it seems, after all,” he muttered huskily. “Not a legend tonight. Just a man.”

He was too badly injured to be a threat, and somehow, looking into his face, shefound herself trusting him despite his fearsome reputation. She kept her expression blank and approached the bed with the dishpan and the bandaging tucked beneath her arm. She fought off the wave of compassion that threatened to engulf her. It was too dangerous. When she spoke, her tone was curt. “A soldier of fortune, from what I hear.”

He gave a faint smile. “Things aren’t always what they seem, Miss Bentley.”

A Night For Miracles is available at The Wild Rose Press, as well as Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
I also have another Christmas short story, a free read, available at The Wild Rose Press, Until the Last Star Burns Out.

For a complete list of all Cheryl’s work, go to her Amazon author page.  To find out more about Cheryl, visit her website or her blog.

Thank you, Cheryl!

Be sure to leave a comment to win a free copy of A Night for Miricles, and don't forget to leave your email address!  And remember, your comment also enters you in Sunday's Grand Prize.  Visit the previous RTW Christmas Book Party articles and comment there, too!  That gives you 6 chance to win!

Romancing The West is featuring wonderful Christmas books all week, and each day's author will be giving away a free book, so check back tomorrow for Jacquie Rogers.

Prizes Every Day!

Monday: A Warrior for Christmas and Somewhere the Bells Ring by Beth Trissel
Tuesday: Gifts from the Afterlife by Sara J. McNeal
Wednesday: A Dream to Share by Markee Anderson
Thursday: Feliz Navidad by Kit Prate
FridayA Night for Miracles by Cheryl Pierson
Saturday: Faery Merry Christmas by Jacquie Rogers
Sunday: Chicken Dinner! Yes, one commenter this week (any post) will win a book from each author--that's SIX Christmas books--AND a $10 Amazon gift certificate

Love Christmas stories?
Markee Anderson listed a bunch of 'em at her Christmas page.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

RTW Christmas Book Party: Kit Prate

by Kit Prate

First published in 1979, Kit Prate admits she enjoys fiction in general. Westerns are her first love, her favorite books to read and to write. Ms. Prate enjoys writing fan-fiction, especially about the TV western series, Lancer.

The widowed mother of four children who are grown and mostly on their own these days, Kit is returning to her love of writing. A background of working with the Bureau of Indian Affairs provides fodder for her healthy imagination and gave her a chance to travel to many of the locations she uses in her stories and novels.

RTW: Thanks for coming to the RTW Christmas Book Party, Kit! Please tell us what's special about Feliz Navidad and why you wrote a Christmas story.

KP: It seemed important to tell a story which included some of the elements of the first Christmas -- a journey, a baby, seeking shelter, gifts, and love.

RTW: Would you please give us a set up for the excerpt from Feliz Navidad?

KP: The death of a boy, a craving for vengeance, and two special women change Gabriel Hawkins' life forever. Will his reputation as El Angel de la Muerte--The Angel of Death--mean his own death as Christmas draws near?

And here's an excerpt from Feliz Navidad:

She heard the knocking, genuinely surprised someone would be at her door so late in the evening. Instinctively, she took the Henry rifle from its place next to the oak portal. Trouble was a rarity in this part of the country anymore, but a woman alone needed to be prudent. Hand on the latch, she called out the usual "¿Quién es?" (Who is it?)

She received a one word reply.


He fell forward when she opened the door; tilting himself sideways, his arms clutched against his chest.

She caught him, and eased him to the floor. And then she heard the baby cry.

Feliz Navidad is available at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

Thank you, Kit!

One commenter on Kit's post will win a pdf copy of Feliz Navidad, and all commenters all week are eligible to win the RTW Christmas Party Grand Prize!

Romancing The West is featuring wonderful Christmas books all week, and each day's author will be giving away a free book, so check back tomorrow for Cheryl Pierson.

Prizes Every Day!

Monday: A Warrior for Christmas and Somewhere the Bells Ring by Beth Trissel
Tuesday: Gifts from the Afterlife by Sara J. McNeal
Wednesday: A Dream to Share by Markee Anderson
Thursday: Feliz Navidad by Kit Prate
Friday: (TBA) by Cheryl Pierson
Saturday: Faery Merry Christmas by Jacquie Rogers
Sunday: Chicken Dinner! Yes, one commenter this week (any post) will win a book from each author--that's SIX Christmas books--AND a $10 Amazon gift certificate

Love Christmas stories?
Markee Anderson listed a bunch of 'em at her Christmas page.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

RTW Christmas Book Party: Markee Anderson

by Markee Anderson

I have more than one pen name, but today, I’m coming to you as Markee Anderson (see all my pen names on Sweet Tale Books). Because I write as more than one person, I don’t share head shots (I can’t be more than one person at once), but will include my Facebook picture, instead. All of my books are listed on the book page. Just click on a cover and you’ll be taken to the pen name’s website.

Originally trained to be a high school math teacher and later, a programmer, I’ve found more fun and satisfaction in writing. Since about 2000, I’ve been creating characters and conflict on paper. I published two books with an epublisher and got an agent, just to realize that my move toward traditional publishing wasn’t what I really wanted. I didn’t want to sacrifice my family for my writing job, by attending book signings, conferences, and schmoozing. Our son has Asperger’s Syndrome, so I needed to be at home for him. I decided in September when my agent contract was over, that I’d go 100% indie. I’ve never looked back and never regretted my decision.

This is why I wrote A Dream to Share. I followed my dreams and am so happy I did. In the story, Merry Woods is struggling with her fledgling law firm. It’s her dream to make it work, but there are a few things in her way, including issues in her personal life. It reminds me so much of my own life. Once I overcame my dream to climb to fame, my life fell into place. I was willing to take a back seat for my family.

A little about A Dream to Share ** Cupid Romance Series **

When lawyer Merry Woods meets the man who is literally in her dreams, Detective Alex McKay, she realizes her current fiancé isn’t someone she wants to marry. But to date Alex means they can’t talk about work, since some things have to stay confidential. However, other people keep trying to date both of them, pulling them apart at every turn.

Two cupids are on the job to guarantee Merry and Alex make it in their relationship, even though other cupids also have both of their client names on their contracts for other mates. Can they get Alex and Merry together against the odds, and prove the couple is truly the magical ‘Couple for the Ages’?

Here's a peek into A Dream to Share:

From the beginning

Meredith Woods stretched, feeling the satin sheets under her back. As she opened her eyes, she looked up from the bed to a vaulted light yellow ceiling with a ceiling fan hanging from it. "Where am I? What's going on? This isn't my bed." She grabbed the sheets, but they were too nice for what she was used to.

As she sat up, a hand touched her arm. "Sweetheart, you were in a deep sleep. Don't you remember? We're on our honeymoon. Can't you hear the waves?"

She turned, seeing a man she didn't know sitting beside her on the bed wearing nothing but dark blue boxer briefs. He was very handsome—dark brown slightly curly hair and the bluest eyes she'd ever seen. But she didn't know him.

She reached out, seeing her naked arm. Yikes. Was she naked all over? She had to look. Once she lowered her eyes, she saw her naked chest covered only in a sheet. "Who are you?" She pulled the sheets from the bed, and hopped up, wrapping herself in the silky cream-colored material. "What am I doing here?"

The man chuckled, the waves crashing in the distance. "Dear, come back to bed. You're just having a dream."

"I am?" Her hand flew to her forehead, covering her eyes while she closed them. "Right now? I'm asleep?" She moved her hand to see him, but the room suddenly darkened.

Merry sat straight up in her bed—her childhood bed in her parent's home. She must've been dreaming. Reality set in and she remembered. She was staying at the house with her fiancé, Billy, for Christmas.

What a dream she had, and that man was really good looking. She was married to him? She wanted to go back to the dream world, to see his face again and to find out who he was. But it was only a dream and she knew she had to come back to reality. That dream seemed so wonderful, the light filling the room. And the man—she'd never seen a man so gorgeous and naked in her life.

Yes, she was engaged to Billy, but she wanted to wait for marriage to get to know a man in that way. Otherwise, the honeymoon would just be a vacation and nothing special. From the look of that man in her dreams, special was an understatement.

She wondered if Billy would look that good to her on their honeymoon. Considering he was six-feet tall and weighed well over 250 pounds, he was nothing like the man in her dreams.

Was she having second thoughts? Was it because she couldn't talk to Billy about current events or her job? He just didn't understand anything that made him think. He'd be okay as a father, she guessed, but she worried because all education and common sense would be up to her.

After throwing back the blue blankets and pink sheets, she got out of her childhood bed and tiptoed to the bedroom door, so as not to wake her sister. They were forced to share a room once again, even though they'd both grown and moved away.

Her brother was in his old room with his wife, and their three children slept on blow-up mattresses in one guest bedroom, beside her parent's bedroom. Her sister's boyfriend and Billy were in the other guest bedroom.

The house was large, because her dad owned a toy company and was rather wealthy. This year, her mom forced everyone to come home for the holidays, since Merry's and Billy's wedding was to take place on New Year's Eve.

The thought of her wedding gave her a chill as she walked down the stairs to the huge home. Was she doing the right thing? Billy said he loved her—but did he, really? Did he even know what love was? Yes, he gave her the obligatory kiss when appropriate, but she didn't feel that excitement or rush when his lips touched hers. Why was she marrying him again? Was it because his last name was Christmas and she'd become Meredith—or Merry Christmas? No, it was because he kept her car in good condition since he worked at his dad's garage.

Was that the best she could do and the real reason she was marrying him? Did she even love him?

Read the rest of the first chapter here.

I love to write books, and I think Christmas books are some of my favorites. I noticed there are a lot of great Christmas books out there, but I couldn’t find just one place to peruse those books.

So, I started a virtual Christmas bookshelf. It’s a one-stop Christmas shop, and I encourage you to check it out. It contains books of every genre and every heat level!

*** For this week only, on this blog, I’m offering coupons for the following new Christmas books I recently published:

A Dream to Share by Markee Anderson:
Genre: contemporary romance (fantasy…contains cupids)
Coupon: GJ48Q good until 11/27/2011

Can Natalie Come Out to Play? by Andie Alexander
Genre: murder mystery (paranormal…contains a friendly ghost)
Coupon: YP69V good until 11/27/2011

Finding a Heart of Peace by Eryn Grace
Genre: Christian romance
(warning…I cry every time I read this thing, but it has a happy ending)
Coupon: HD56X good until 11/27/2011

I hope you enjoy them! ***

And for ONE lucky commenter on my post this week, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card!
Don't forget to include your email address with your comment or we'll have to draw another name.

Merry Christmas!!!

Thank you, Markee!

Romancing The West is featuring wonderful Christmas books all week, and each day's author will be giving away a free book, so check back tomorrow for Kit Prate.

Prizes Every Day!

Monday: A Warrior for Christmas and Somewhere the Bells Ring by Beth Trissel
Tuesday: Gifts from the Afterlife by Sara J. McNeal
Wednesday: A Dream to Share by Markee Anderson
Thursday: Feliz Navidad by Kit Prate
Friday: (TBA) by Cheryl Pierson
Saturday: Faery Merry Christmas by Jacquie Rogers
Sunday: Chicken Dinner! Yes, one commenter this week (any post) will win a book from each author--that's SIX Christmas books--AND a $10 Amazon gift certificate

Love Christmas stories?
Markee Anderson listed a bunch of 'em at her Christmas page.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

RTW Christmas Book Party: Sarah J. McNeal

by Sarah J. McNeal
Featured Title: Gifts From the Afterlife, 2011 Christmas Anthology

In recent years, I’ve spent a few Christmases alone. I found during those times when my Christmases were nothing like the warm, cozy stories on television, that I missed the people that I have lost in my life—my parents and my oldest sister.

When I decided to write a short story for the 2011 Christmas Anthology from Victory Tales Press, I thought I’d try to share that lost feeling of Christmas spent alone through my lead character, Lydia Sinclair. Of course, she gets a little help from some ghosts and an angel to find the strength to accept an alternative to her melancholy Christmas.

Exactly what is Gifts From the Afterlife about?  Here's the story blurb:

How dark must it get before Lydia sees the light?

Lydia Sinclair’s life has run off the rails. She has lost everyone she loves and Christmas has lost its meaning. As Christmas approaches, Lydia wants to go to sleep and never wake up again. Perhaps an angel, some ghosts and a childhood sweetheart can convince her that life is worth living again. Can Lydia let go of what once was, renew her joy in Christmas and find the promise of hope for her future?

And a little peek, just to give you a taste:

She felt the heat surge up her neck into her face. Lydia turned away from him and headed toward her house. If she ignored him, maybe he wouldn't insist on asking her about her feelings or about that kiss, and she could escape from her vulnerability.

Just as she reached her back door, he caught up with her, grasped her arm, and turned her around to face him. His sea green eyes were flecked with heated gold as he peered at her. "Don't just walk away. Tell me what I did wrong. Was it because I kissed you?"

She wanted to say something, to tell him that the kiss meant everything to her. It wasn't the kind of kiss that led straight to the bedroom. It felt more like a prelude to something richer, deeper, longer—like an unspoken promise. She tried to form the words but they resisted expression.

He pressed his fingertips to her lips. His voice, when he spoke, rose just above a whisper. "Wait. I know what you're going to say. It's too soon. Hell, you hardly remember me." He held on to her. The wind feathered his hair and swept it over his brow. "But for me, you've been here my whole life." He fisted his free hand and tapped his chest over his heart.

Snow gathered in his hair and melted on his face. He sighed. "All I ask is that you give me a chance. I know it's been hard for you in recent years—so many losses, so much sadness, but when you're ready..." His words trailed off.

Sarah J. McNeal, author
 Where to buy Sarah's story:
Amazon * Barnes and Noble * Smashwords * Lulu

Contact Sarah: Website * Blog * Facebook

Thank you, Sarah!

Comment to win a copy of Sarah's Gifts From the Afterlife and be sure to leave your email address!  Winner for each day, plus the Grand Prize winner will be announced on Sunday's Chicken Dinner post.

Romancing The West is featuring wonderful Christmas books all week, and each day's author will be giving away a free book, so check back tomorrow for Markee Anderson.

Prizes Every Day!

Monday: A Warrior for Christmas and Somewhere the Bells Ring by Beth Trissel
Tuesday: Gifts from the Afterlife by Sara J. McNeal
Wednesday: A Dream to Share by Markee Anderson
Thursday: Feliz Navidad by Kit Prate
Friday: (TBA) by Cheryl Pierson
Saturday: Faery Merry Christmas by Jacquie Rogers
Sunday: Chicken Dinner! Yes, one commenter this week (any post) will win a book from each author--that's SIX Christmas books--AND a $10 Amazon gift certificate

Love Christmas stories?
Markee Anderson listed a bunch of 'em at her Christmas page.

Monday, November 21, 2011

RTW Christmas Book Party: Beth Trissel

Beth Trissel and friends
by Beth Trissel

I’m not all about the ‘naughty Santa stuff’ kind of Christmas stories. I want stories with deeper sentiment, and heartfelt romance is always a plus. I’m also fascinated with the past, and Colonial America has an especially powerful draw on me. Something about Colonial America and Christmas go together very well. Think Williamsburg all decorated for the holidays.

Back to my story, years before I wrote A Warrior for Christmas, one of half a dozen novelettes in An American Rose Christmas anthology published by The Wild Rose Press, I pondered what it would be like for a young man taken captive by Eastern Woodland Indians (I favor the Shawnee in all my books, with a The Last of the Mohicans flavor) to return to ‘civilized society’ as a result of the treaty forced on the tribe in the fall of 1764.

If he’d grown accustomed to his rugged life and attached to his Native American family and friends, adjustment to upper class mid-18th century America would have been a challenge. Certainly, a very different world from what he’d come to know. He may well have wanted to run away and rejoin his Shawnee brethren. But what if he met an appealing young woman, one who could not embrace that life with him? Would he stay and reclaim the life he left behind years ago, or return to his newly forged identity in the colonial frontier?

Blurb: Reclaimed by his wealthy uncle, former Shawnee captive Corwin Whitfield finds life with his adopted people at an end and reluctantly enters the social world of 1764. His one aim is to run back to the colonial frontier at his first opportunity––until he meets Uncle Randolph’s ward, Dimity Scott.

Virginia home of Beth's grandfather & father

Now, flash forward. Somewhere the Bells Ring (the Wild Rose Press) is set in the gracious old Virginia homeplace, circa 1816, in the Shenandoah Valley where my father was born and raised, and I grew up visiting during the holidays. Nostalgia over the late 1960s (anyone else awash in sentiment?) inspired the time period and the story opens during the tumultuous age of hippies, Vietnam, and some of the best darn rock music ever written. An adolescent then, I well remember the thrill at my first pair of fishnet hose, Bonne Bell lip gloss, and utter wow when I heard Innagadadavida by Iron Butterfly. One of the top movies that year was Romeo and Juliet with Olivia Hussy and Leonard Whiting which branded me a romantic for life.

From 1968, the story flashes back to an earlier era, 1918 and the end of World War I. Having a Marine Corps captain grandfather who distinguished himself in France during the thick of the fighting (anyone familiar with the Battle of Belleau Wood) and then tragically died when my father was only three definitely influenced this story. Like ripples on a pond, the sadness over his untimely death flowed out to encompass future generations. I’ve dedicated this story to him. So if you enjoy an intriguing mystery with Gothic overtones set in vintage America and heart-tugging romance then Somewhere the Bells Ring is for you. Oh, and did I mention the ghost? I always did think that house was haunted.

Blurb: Caught with pot in her dorm room, Bailey Randolph is exiled to a relative's ancestral home in Virginia to straighten herself out. Banishment to Maple Hill is dismal, until a ghost appears requesting her help. Bailey is frightened but intrigued. Then her girlhood crush, Eric Burke, arrives and suddenly Maple Hill isn't so bad.

To Eric, wounded in Vietnam, his military career shattered, this homecoming feels no less like exile. But when he finds Bailey at Maple Hill, her fairy-like beauty gives him reason to hope--until she tells him about the ghost haunting the house. Then he wonders if her one experiment with pot has made her crazy.

As Bailey and Eric draw closer, he agrees to help her find a long-forgotten Christmas gift the ghost wants. But will the magic of Christmas be enough to make Eric believe--in Bailey and the ghost--before the Christmas bells ring?

For more on me and my work please visit:
My website * My blog * Twitter * Facebook

Win A Christmas Book!
All you have to do to enter to win a free ebook is leave a comment on Beth's post!  You'll also be entered for the RTW Chicken Dinner Christmas Book Drawing on Sunday. Be sure to leave your email address or we'll have to pick another name. Today's winner gets to choose either A Warrior for Christmas a novelette in An American Rose Christmas anthology) or Somewhere the Bells Ring.

Thank you, Beth!

Romancing The West is featuring wonderful Christmas books all week, and each day's author will be giving away a free book, so check back tomorrow for Sarah J. McNeal.

Prizes Every Day!

Monday: A Warrior for Christmas and Somewhere the Bells Ring by Beth Trissel
Tuesday: Gifts from the Afterlife by Sara J. McNeal
Wednesday: A Dream to Share by Markee Anderson
Thursday: Feliz Navidad by Kit Prate
Friday: (TBA) by Cheryl Pierson
Saturday: Faery Merry Christmas by Jacquie Rogers
Sunday: Chicken Dinner! Yes, one commenter this week (any post) will win a book from each author--that's SIX Christmas books--AND a $10 Amazon gift certificate

Love Christmas stories?
Markee Anderson listed a bunch of 'em at her Christmas page.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chicken Dinner: Cowpunching & Christmas Books

Ever want to know just how little boys and girls learn to be cowpunchers? Richard Prosch invited me to submit an article for his My Personal West section of Meridian Bridge, his website. I took a look and wow, there are some really talented authors there! So I took the plunge and he published my article this week. My Personal West: Jacquie Rogers is where you, too, can be a cowpuncher. If you have rocks for brains. Thanks, Richard, and thanks to all who visited over the last few days.

And while you're at Meridian Bridge, take a look around, then hop over to Amazon and buy Richard Prosch's Devils Nest.

There's a new kid on the western blog block: Ginger Simpson created Cowboy Kisses, obviously for western historical romance. I know she'd love for you to visit.

Enter to Win a Book Every Day This Week!

This next week is Christmas Week at Romancing The West. Each day, the featured author is giving away a book, so comment to win.

Plus, next Sunday's Chicken Dinner will have the Grand Prize Winner--six free books and a $10 Amazon gift certificate. All commenters this week are entered, so be sure to leave your email address with your comment.

We have a terrific lineup for you!

Monday: A Warrior for Christmas and Somewhere the Bells Ring by Beth Trissel
Tuesday: Gifts from the Afterlife by Sara J. McNeal
Wednesday: A Dream to Share by Markee Anderson
Thursday: Feliz Navidad by Kit Prate
Friday: (TBA) by Cheryl Pierson
Saturday: Faery Merry Christmas by Jacquie Rogers
Sunday: Chicken Dinner! Yes, one commenter will win a book from each author AND a $10 Amazon gift certificate

Love Christmas stories?
Markee Anderson listed a bunch of 'em at her Christmas page.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Will Fight No More Forever

Chief Joseph
by Jacquie Rogers

Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt (Chief Joseph) of the Nez Perce:

I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. Toohulhulsote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led the young men is dead. It is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are--perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.
The Nez Perce was a peaceful tribe willing to co-exist with the white settlers in present day Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Oregon. The Walla-Walla Treaty of 1855 ceded 6.4 million acres of Nez Perce land to the United States, leaving 7.5 million acres that was promised to be off limits to all non-Indians.

But then gold was discovered in 1860 and the white settlers moved in, so in 1863 the United States imposed the Lapwai Treaty, dubbed the "Thieves Treaty" by the Indians, that took 6 million acres of the remaining reservation land. Needless to say, many of the Nez Perce weren't thrilled about being kicked off their ancestral homes.

The Nez Perce were divided into two factions: the Christian group, which sided with the whites; and the Dreamer group, also called the non-treaty Indians, who refused to acknowledge the new reservation boundaries. Chief Joseph and Chief White Bird were Dreamers and members of the Wallowa Band of the Nez Perce. White Bird was the war chief and Joseph was the administrative chief.

Growing unease erupted into violence in 1877. The Battle of White Bird Canyon was a decisive victory for the Nez Perce, second only to the Sioux victory at the Battle of Little Big Horn. The army lost 34 men; the Nez Perce lost none. But the Battle of White Bird Canyon spelled the beginning of a four-month 1,500-mile escape by women, children, and grandparents, pursued by the US Army, and led by Chiefs White Bird and Joseph.

Finally, with the children and women both lost and dying, Joseph surrendered to General Nelson Miles. Chief White Bird refused, and took a small band to Canada, where they settled in Saskatchewan with Sitting Bull's people, never to return home again.

But those who stayed with Chief Joseph didn't get to return home, as he was given to understand before delivering his famous surrender speech.  The people were first taken to Kansas and then to the Indian Territory (Oklahoma) where nearly half died of disease and malnutrition.  When the survivors were finally allowed back in the Pacific Northwest, they were placed in reservations still far from home.

From PBS:
In his last years, Joseph spoke eloquently against the injustice of United States policy toward his people and held out the hope that America's promise of freedom and equality might one day be fulfilled for Native Americans as well. An indomitable voice of conscience for the West, he died in 1904, still in exile from his homeland, according to his doctor "of a broken heart."
Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt was never a war chief, but he will always life on as one of the bravest and wisest men of his time.

where Jacquie Rogers shares a little piece of her personal West.

Be sure to comment on Romancing The West's Monday article: Anna Small─Tame the Wild Wind for a chance to win a free copy of her book.  Also, check out her website (listed in the article) and enter to win a $10 Amazon gift certificate.



Monday, November 14, 2011

Anna Small: Tame the Wild Wind

Tame the Wild Wind
by Anna Small

Romancing The West welcomes self-proclaimed hopeless romantic Anna Small, author of western and contemporary romance. Anna, please tell us a little about yourself and how you started your writing journey.

AS: I wrote my first romance novel when I was 16. When I told my mom, she said I’d better not have any love scenes. Several years and manuscripts later, I am sorry to keep disappointing her! Seriously, she has been my editor, beta reader, and critic for more than 20 years. I live on Florida’s Gulf Coast near a quaint little town complete with ancient Indian mounds and rumored pirate ghosts. My husband of 15 years allows me to model all my heroes' hands on his own, and our two children continue to alternately inspire and drive me crazy.

RTW: Kids are famous for keeping us off-balance! Tell us about Tame the Wild Wind.

AS: Cassie Gibson heads west to the ranch her father left her. She is shocked to find the land already claimed--by a handsome stranger who won the land in a poker game. Neither of them possesses a legal deed, so they agree to share ownership. On the run from his past, Jed Hazard only wants a quiet life. But Cassie turns his life upside down.

This book has everything: a very romantic love story, a wildly attractive (and meddlesome) brother, saloon girls with hearts of gold, a really bad villain, and some of the sultriest nights ever described in the New Mexico desert!

You Could Win...
a free ecopy of Tame the Wild Wind!
and/or a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate!(details at the bottom of the post)

RTW: If you lived in the Old West, what modern convenience would you miss the most?

Anna Small, author
AS: It would be a toss-up between air conditioning and a computer! How can we live without the internet these days? I have shelves filled with research books and lately I’ve used the internet for a lot of research. Having said that, I wouldn’t mind being Cassie –- stuck in the middle of nowhere on a lonesome ranch with a blue-eyed hunk like Jed.

RTW : Are there any common errors in western historical romances that bug you?

AS: The portrayal of the Native American is probably the worst. I have never wanted to read a book that had a blonde, blue-eyed “Indian” as a hero. While I know that there were people with one native parent and one white, I still want to read about a hero who is a true Native American. Are the authors afraid that readers won’t believe a proper young miss won’t or can’t fall in love with a man who looks so different from what she’s used to? All anyone has to do is watch Dances with Wolves (Wind In His Hair is such a hunk!) or even Last of the Mohicans to see handsome and hunky Native American heroes.

RTW: Why is Jed perfect for Cassie?

AS: As the story begins, their personalities are very different. Cassie is willing to take a risk whereas Jed is careful and plans everything out. She sees marriage as the solution to their common dilemma, while he sees a partnership. Their comic banter came out of nowhere while I was writing this. I hadn’t meant to make her so sassy or him so scowling! As their friendship and love grows, they find that they complement each other.

RTW: You have an excerpt for us (thanks!). Please set the scene.

AS: Cassie and Jed have only known each other a few hours and have kept a polite distance. After a quiet supper, they head to the river to clean up. He goes one way, she another. Then, a sneaky, scary snake happens to show up!

Excerpt of Tame the Wild Wind by Anna Small

“It’s gone! You’re all right now,” he said, his voice muffled. He spat out a mouthful of her wet chemise, his heart hammering fiercely. He didn’t like snakes, but that wasn’t what agitated him.

Cassie was a distraction.

An unexpected, delicious, distraction. His hands roamed over her of their own accord, slipping over her soaked garment. He hadn’t meant to caress her, but the sudden heat of her skin hit him like a runaway locomotive. All he wanted was to hold her tighter.

And he did.

Whew! (fans self) Here are a few buy links for Anna's western historical romance, Tame the Wild Wind: Amazon, The Wild Rose Press.

RTW: What are you cooking up for us next?

AS: I’ve got four sequels planned, two of them for Jed and Cassie’s sons, and the other two for his brother Tyler’s daughters. I’m trying to get them all completed in a particular order so they could release one after the other. Tame the Wild Heart and Tame the Wild Land are for Jed’s boys, and Desert Rose and Desert Angel are for Tyler’s wild girls!

RTW : Anything else you’d like to add?

AS: I love reading and writing historical romance, and I hope it shows in my books. I truly love the world I created in Tame the Wild Wind, which is half the reason I have planned the sequels. It’s hard to let certain characters go sometimes I guess authors suffer from empty nest syndrome, too!

Win a Free Book!
A randomly chosen commenter  will win free e-book of Tame the Wild Wind!
Be sure to leave your email address in your comment or we'll have to choose another winner.
Win an Amazon Gift Certificate!
Comment on Anna's website, and you will also be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift certificate!

Thank you, Anna, for visiting Romancing The West.