Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Margaret Brownley: A Cowboy Comes A-Courting

Margaret Brownley
New York Times Bestselling Author
Dawn Comes Early
(Brides of Last Chance Ranch)

by Margaret Brownley

Heiress Wanted
Looking for hard-working, professional woman
of good character and pleasant disposition
willing to learn the ranching business in Arizona Territory.
Must be single and prepared to remain so now and forever more.

Her latest dime novel banned, twenty-nine-year old Kate Tenney answers an advertisement for heiress to an Arizona cattle ranch. It seems like the perfect solution for a disgraced novelist with no intention of getting married—ever.

Trouble begins the moment she steps foot in Arizona Territory. The west is nothing like she wrote about in her books. Not only does she have to deal with a hard-nosed ranch owner, and nefarious outlaw, but a traitorous heart. Kate does not trust men and has no intention of falling for Luke Adam's charm. She’s determined to learn the ranching business and prove to the doubting ranch owner that she’s up to the task—if it kills her. If only she could stay away from a certain handsome blacksmith and his two matchmaking aunts.

A Cowboy Comes A-Courting

Dawn Comes Early is the first book in my new series Brides of Last Chance Ranch. The story takes place on a cattle ranch in Arizona Territory. As you might have guessed, there’s a whole lot of ropin’ going on—which has nothing or little to do with cattle.

Cowboys had a way with words so it’s not too surprising that they used some pur-ty colorful terms to describe matters of the heart, and that included courting. “Gittin’ hitched” was serious business and spooning or sparking no less so.

Amazon ~ B&N

Nothing changed the concept of marriage and courting as much as the westward movement. Marriage offered a semblance of security in an unsettled land. For a widow or widower with children finding a spouse was a dire necessity.

Rules that had defined courtships for centuries went out the window. Marriages arranged by well-meaning parents were no longer the norm.

Women asserting their rights politically also demanded matrimony democracy as well. Demographics in the west were on their side for women were vastly outnumbered by men. In the mid 1800s one man lamented that there was only sixty or seventy women in all of Houston. He never said how many of those women he’d be willing to take home to mom.

Couples took buggy rides; went on picnics; cuddled in the hayloft; and danced at socials.

A man having fancy for a woman might give her a token. If he was serious he might even start hoarding coffee.

Yes, that’s right coffee. The coffee that won the west may have owed its popularity more to courtship than to taste or convenience. John Arbuckle came up with what at the time was a unique marketing plan; He added coupons or vouchers to packages of coffee that could be redeemed for goods. Arbuckle’s catalog contained thousands of items. Twenty-eight coupons could you get you a razor, for example, but the most popular item was the finger ring.

During the 1890s Arbuckle Brothers was the largest distributor of finger rings in the world. In “Arbuckles” author Francis Fugate quotes a company official who bears this out: “One of our premiums is a wedding ring, and if all the rings of this pattern serve their intended purpose then we have been participants in eighty thousand weddings a year.”

Getting married wasn’t always that easy. Some communities didn’t have a regular preacher and had to depend on a circuit preacher who might not show up for months at a time. It wasn’t unusual for a saddle preacher to ride into town and find couples waiting to get married with toddlers in hand.

It might have been the gun that won the Wild, Wild West but it was love that tamed it.

About Margaret

Thrills, mystery, suspense, romance: Margaret penned it all. Nothing wrong with this—except Margaret happened to be writing for the church newsletter. After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, her former pastor took her aside and said, "Maybe God's calling you to write fiction."

So that’s what Margaret did. She’s now a New York Times bestselling author and a Romance Writers of America RITA® finalist with more than 25 novels to her credit

The first book in her Brides of Last Chance Ranch series Dawn Comes Early was published March 2012. The book will be followed by Waiting for Morning.

You can find out more about Margaret on her website or contact her on Facebook and Twitter.

Comment to Win!
Margaret has graciously offered a free copy of
Dawn Comes Early
Winner's choice of print or ebook.

Just leave a comment and you're eligible to win!
Be sure to leave your email address so Margaret can get in touch with you!
Winner will be drawn Saturday, March 24th at 9pm Pacific Time
USA mailing only


  1. I am looking forward to reading this book and the series...


  2. Extra special thanks to Margaret for joining us all this week. I just love the Arbuckles wedding ring slant. :)

  3. Dawn Comes Early looks just wonderful...would love a copy (It's currently on my very long wish list!)


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