Sunday, March 30, 2014

#SundaySnippet Six Whores and a Suffragist: MUCH ADO ABOUT MADAMS

Much Ado About Madams


A suffragist schoolteacher with a hidden past,

Six shopworn whores cooking up plans for a better future,

And a hunky cowhand who isn't quite sure what to do with all these women...

Life isn't always comfortable at The Comfort Palace!

There’s nothing quite like growing up in Owyhee County, Idaho, to fuel a young girl’s imagination. I lived on a dairy farm six miles southwest of Homedale. Stories popped into my head while I was feeding calves, or hoeing beets, or shucking corn. These stories placed me in another time, wild and exciting, full of adventure, handsome heroes, and heinous villains.

At no point did I ever want to be a writer, though. Instead, my fondest dream was to be a baseball announcer in TV. Obviously, that didn't work out, nor did my second dream of becoming an interpreter at the United Nations. Instead, I've milked cows, ran a deli, managed political campaigns, managed offices, and owned a software consulting company, among other things. Nothing holds my interest for long.

Writing came as a fluke after I'd been sick and did nothing but read for a couple months. I dreamed a book, so I wrote it. Now I have several published novels in a couple sub-genres. Who knew?

Excerpt from Much Ado About Madams
by Jacquie Rogers

Dere Miss Sharpe,
The skool bord of Dickshooter, Idaho, dooly invits you . . .
Fannie clenched the pen with a death grip and pursed her lips as she drew her letters. The five scantily clad women standing around her watching every mark she made, didn’t help matters a bit.

“Fer hell’s sake, woman, quit thinking so hard and write the damn letter,” grumbled Trinket. But then, Trinket always grumbled about something.

The frustrated madam blew a stray lock of dye-pot red hair out of her eyes. “You girls don’t have to stand there like chickens ready to pounce on a snake. You’re making me nervous.”

“You said you knew your letters,” accused Chrissy.

“Leave me alone. I went all the way to third grade, and I writ the ad fer the newspaper, didn’t I?”

“Yeah, but the newspaper man probably fixed it up some.”

“Can I make the letters on the envelope?” whispered Holly, who’d nearly been strangled by a no-good drifter the week before. She still couldn’t talk right. The bouncer had run the worm out at gunpoint and told him never to come back. Fannie had taken a liking to Holly, a young girl who, even though she served drinks in a whorehouse, was ignorant about the ways of the world—a lot like Fannie had been when her old man threw her out of his house so many years ago.

Fannie tapped the spare piece of precious paper lying on the desk. “You can practice on this once I’ve finished here.” That is, if she didn’t mess up this paper, she thought, and she probably would if she didn’t get some peace and quiet.

“This ain’t gonna work, anyway,” Trinket walked across the room, swaying her hips seductively out of years of habit. “What decent schoolmarm would teach a bunch of whores their letters? And how do you know she’ll marry Reese? Hell, he owns a whorehouse!”

Fannie couldn’t imagine a woman who wouldn’t want him. “Reese is a fine, upstanding man, and handsome as sin. She won’t be able to resist, and she’ll force him to close up shop so we can be on our way to new lives.”

“What if she’s some pinch-nosed Bible-thumper?” argued Trinket.

“If she’s ugly, Reese might not want her, but even if she tries to save our souls, at least we’ll all learn reading and writing to help get ourselves a respectable living. We can’t lose.”

Felicia sniffed. “Ha! We’re already losers, or we wouldn’t be stuck in this hellhole.” She’d whored in the best brothels in New Orleans until a crazy man had cut her face up.

Fannie tried to sympathize, but damn, why’d Felicia have to be so uppity? Fannie ignored her remark, like she always did. She’d have thrown Felicia out on her nose a long time ago, but knew no place else would take her.

“Once the mines up in Silver City bring in more customers, no decent businessman would shut this place down,” Felicia added.

Fannie thunked the pen down on the desk, ink splattering clear to the wall. She had to get these women out of the office or she’d never get this letter written. They had a plan, and it was up to her to make it work, but she sure as hell couldn’t do it with all these women pecking at her like a bunch of vultures. “Fer gawd’s sake, Petunia, take a bath! You stink like a bucket of last week’s slop.”

“Aw, Fannie, I just had a bath last Sunday.”

“Like I said, last week’s slop. Now, go!” Petunia left the office, mumbling all the way out the door.

Fannie turned to Felicia. “Go get your room ready before the gents come a calling. It always looks like a pigsty. I want the sheets changed and your butter dish cleaned.”

“Humph! Sadie should do that.”

“Honey, you’re not in some fancy New Orleans whorehouse any more. You have to do fer yourself.”

Two gone, three to go. “Chrissy, help Sadie with dinner.”

Chrissy jammed one hand on her hip and patted her tousled auburn hair with the other. “I ain’t no cook.”

“You are today.”

“It ain’t my turn. Besides, it’ll roughen my hands.”

“Your hands have been through worse.” Fannie waved toward the door. “Go on, now.”

She pulled a bottle of black dye from her desk drawer. “Trinket, your blonde roots are showing something fierce. Take care of it.”

“But the men will be coming in a few hours, and my hair won’t be dry.”

“Go stand in the sun. If you ever went outside, you’d know the sun’s shining today.” She handed Trinket the bottle. “If any of your callers come early, I’ll hold ‘em off for an hour.”

Holly whispered, “Do you want to get rid of me, too?”

Fannie didn’t, but the other girls would throw a fit if she let Holly stay. “Do some mending or something. Come back here in half an hour and I’ll let you make some letters.”

“Yes, ma’am.” She paused at the door. “Will I be serving drinks tonight?”

“It’s time. You’ve had a week off.” Fannie didn’t have the heart to make Holly take gents to her bed. The other girls grew more resentful all the time, but she doubted that Holly had ever had a man—and once she did, there was no going back.

The last of the girls finally gone, Fannie finished the letter.

Dere Miss Sharpe,
The skool bord of Dikshooter, Idaho Terr., dooly invits you as to be our noo skoolmarm, startin Septimbr 1, 1882.
Mr. Reese McAdams
♥ ♥ ♥
Much Ado About Madams

Visit these sites for more great excerpts!
1. Charlene Raddon's Chatterblog
2. Keta's Keep Romance
3. Fried Oreos
4. Taryn Raye
5. Never Squat With Your Spurs On
6. roseanne dowell author
7. Romancing The West with Jacquie Rogers
8. Double the Mystery - Meg Mims

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What red-blooded woman could resist? #CowboyCharmBlogHops

Are you ready for spring?  I dodged through sleet to get to yoga class today.  Enough already!  It's time for warm weather, azaleas, and the breeze carrying the aroma of outdoor-grilled steak.  Sara Walter Ellwood thought so, too, so she fired up the Springtime in the Country Blog Hop.

March and April are entirely unpredictable weather months in the area where the Hearts of Owyhee series is set.  I grew up there (Owyhee County, Idaho), and I remember a day where it was so warm, we dressed in shorts and tanktops.  On the way to a library meeting, we had the AC turned on high in the car.
Springtime at Graveyard Point, Owyhee County

Then the lightning flashed, and the rain sprinkled but soon turned into sleet, then snow.  We switched off the AC and turned the heater on full blast.  By the time we got where we were going, four inches of snow had fallen and we were freezing.  The windshield wipers stuck to the glass.  Our flip-flops froze to our feet as we dashed into the building.

An hour later, our meeting had ended and we dreaded walking the fifty yards to the car, but when we went outside, the sun shined bright and hot, every flake of snow had melted, and the birds chirped happily.

That is springtime in Owyhee County.

Now, can you imagine negotiating that erratic weather 150 years ago?  You'd have to be prepared for any weather because there were no cars with either AC or heaters.  Plus, you've gotta feel sorry for the poor horses pulling the wagon.

Luckily for my characters, Much Ado About Miners is set in the summer months.  It's hot in the morning, hotter in the afternoon, and hot in the evening.  Seldom is there any precipitation of any kind. No slickers or muffs needed.  I'm sure they'd have loved some air conditioning, though.

I like adventures and so does the heroine, Iris.  Well, she got one. :)  Think she can resist Kade McKinnon's charm?  Ha!

About Much Ado About Miners

Cupid’s bullet...
Hired gun Kade McKinnon interrupts a bank holdup and is shot by the teller, Iris Gardner, whose victims have a tendency to be the next groom in town. Will he be the groom this time?

Cupid’s bow...
Iris Gardner, a smart, independent bank clerk, fell in love with Kade when she was too young to know better. So when he walks back into her life and her bank, it's only fitting that she shoots him ... by accident, of course. But she’s a suffragist now, so his charms can’t affect her... right?

Cupid’s blindfold...
Kade doesn’t know Iris’s company is the one who hired him to escort a bullion shipment, and Iris doesn’t know Kade owns the security company, but they both know robbers are on their trail. Which is more likely to be stolen—the silver, or his heart?

This is the fourth book in the Hearts of Owyhee series.  Here's all of the books.

Contact Jacquie:

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$100 Gift Card
 to either Amazon or B&N 
(winner’s choice)

Open to both US and international commenters. Must be 18 years old or older eligible. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. See the Rafflecopter for all terms/conditions.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sneak Peek: Petticoat Patrol by Susan Horsnell in RAWHIDE 'N ROSES #excerpt

Petticoat Patrol
by Susan Horsnell

Romancing the West's guest today hales from Down Under but writes stories set in the American Old West.  She's a generous person, a friend, and a talented writer.  Thanks for joining us today, Susan Horsnell!  Susan ramrodded the Rawhide 'n Roses anthology, a collection of 2,000-word stories from 15 authors, herself included.  It's a sampler, really--a way to get a taste of new-to-you authors' writings.  You'll read about her writing journey and her stories today.

About Susan
I was a nurse, a career that spanned more than 35 years. During my career I specialised in caring for people with Alzheimer’s type Dementia, an area that fascinates me despite how heartbreaking it can be. My dear father-in-law is unfortunately afflicted with this disease and now resides in a Nursing Home. In the not too distant future I am hoping to pen a novel incorporating some of the stories I have heard from these amazing people. Part of my career was with the blind and I also cared for severely disabled children for a while too.

When I retired four years ago I decided it was time to get the stories out of my head and onto paper. From there I just hoped my stories were interesting and well written enough to attract readers.

I am married to the love of my life, we have two wonderful adult boys, and five amazing grandchildren. We also play substitute Mum and Dad to a beautiful, adopted young lady. We reside in sunny Qld, Australia in the midst of a Blackbutt Forest. We are surrounded by the peace and quiet of Mother Nature and wildlife abounds. It is a dream come true location for us.

Here's a listing of my books:
The Glenmore’s: Revenge
The Glenmore’s: Deputy
The Glenmore’s: Laura
The Glenmore’s: Caught
The Stuck-Up Governess
Blind Acceptance
Blind Achievement
Mail Order Marshall
Mountain Maidens
Colonials and Cowboys
Children’s ABC of Languages
The Mystery Under the House

15 Western Romance Authors wrote a fabulous anthology which came out March 15, 2014, titled...

(A Western Romance Anthology)

Each story in the anthology is a showcase of the author’s individual writing style and will hopefully encourage the reader to purchase full length novels of the authors they like. Every story will have a Western Romance theme but there will be everything from old west romance to time travel and contemporary. 

Something to suit every western reader’s taste. It will also give the reader an opportunity to discover some new authors. 

I am privileged to be associated with the very best of western writers and I know readers are going to be very impressed by the high quality of this work. The anthology came about from a comment I inadvertently made on a Western Romance Writer’s forum. From this comment the idea snowballed and I found myself nominated in charge of pushing the project forward. I cannot believe I am in such esteemed company and I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with such talented authors. 

The authors will be blog hopping to promote this anthology and their own work. I hope readers will keep an eye out on blogs and social media now that the book has been officially released.

The best part? The culmination of this hard work by so many talented people – The Anthology – will be a steal at just $2.99!

Sit back, grab a coffee and enjoy the excerpt from my short story: 

Petticoat Patrol
by Susan Horsnell

“Sissy, for heaven’s sake. Stop that damn wagon!” Lily screeched at the top of her voice. She crouched low over her galloping mare’s neck, reins in one hand and mane grasped in the other. As she drew alongside the wagon, which carried her sisters, she stood up in the stirrups and yelled again. “Stop that wagon now or so help me…”

Melissa, also known as Sissy, pushed her feet down hard to balance as she pulled back hard on the bay gelding’s reins. They all drew to a stop.

Lily lifted the hat from her head and swiped impatiently at the sweat on her brow. It was so hot she thought, if the damn dog was chasing the cat, they’d both be walking. “Why didn’t you stop when I called out?” 

“How am I supposed to hear you with the sound of Buck’s hooves and these two tittering in my ear?” Sissy retorted. 

The ‘two’ she referred to, as she flung her arm in the air, were their sixteen year old twin sisters – Amy and Emily. They had just discovered the appeal of two local boys and had been excitedly chattering.

“Why are you here, anyways? You’re supposed to be helpin’ Ma put a basket of food together. We gotta spend the night out with Pa watchin’ for rustlers and you know we get hungry.” Sissy pouted. She hated it when she thought her big sister was sent to watch over her. At eighteen years old she felt she was more than capable of doing things without being ‘chaperoned’.

“Ma sent me because she forgot a couple of things when she wrote out the list. It’s taken me all this time to catch up with you.”

“What else does she need?” Sissy enquired. 

Lily pulled the list from her pocket and thrust it into her sister’s hand. “I might as well come with you now. It’s only another mile to town and I can help with the supplies.” 

Sissy nodded before slapping the reins to get the big gelding moving. Lily urged her mount forward and they began walking at a leisurely pace. 

They were in sight of town when a loud crack heralded something had gone terribly wrong on the wagon. Sissy brought Buck to a stop and glanced at her older sister in despair. 

As Lily dismounted, the other girls jumped from the wagon. While the older two checked on the suspect wheel, Amy and Emily hovered nervously.

Lily crouched down and shook the wheel. It was looser than a whore in a cathouse. “Almost snapped clean off the axle,” she grumbled as she pushed herself to stand. “Sissy, unhitch Buck and we’ll walk the rest of the way. I’ll drop the horses at the livery and see what I can do about getting it fixed while you pick up the supplies.

Sissy did as requested and the girls began the short trek to town.

(A Western Romance Anthology)
Saddle up your horses and head out to the heart of the Wild West in this collection of short love stories by authors of Western Romance from all over the country and around the world.

Whether your passion is historical or contemporary, there's something inside for everyone.
Alison Bruce
Carol Spradling
Caroline Clemmons
Celia Yeary
Chad Strong
Charlene Raddon
Cheri Kay Clifton
Jacquie Rogers
Lyn Horner
Margaret Tanner
Paty Norman Jager
Peggy L Henderson
Rain Trueax
Simone Beaudelaire
Susan Horsnell

Susan's hangouts
Amazon Author Page

Saturday, March 8, 2014

#SundaySnippets MUCH ADO ABOUT MARSHALS: sex, lies, and chocolate in the Old West

Much Ado About Marshals
(Hearts of Owyhee series)

Thanks to Ginger Simpson for organizing Sunday Snippets.  Here's a little about my first go at this, and I'm taking the six paragraphs from Much Ado About Marshals, which kicks off the Hearts of Owyhee series.

In the sleepy western town:

A wannabe woman sleuth is determined to marry the recently-hired town marshal... But the man sworn in is wanted for bank robbery!  Then there's a real bank robber and the actual new marshal who both claim the job, too.

Alas, affairs of the heart mess up everything!

This book is a lighthearted look at what happens when you put an honest cowhand in a situation where if he tells the truth, he and his best friend could face hanging, but if he lies, he'll be sworn in as marshal. The kicker is that the mayor's daughter is bound and determined to marry the new marshal!

It's set in Oreana, which is in Owyhee County, Idaho (Territory, in 1885). My husband and I were driving around while we were visiting relatives — I grew up there. We stopped by the church in Oreana. Actually, the church is about the only thing there. It's an interesting building, built of stone. I was even more intrigued when I found out that the building was originally a general store. So there it was--my heroine's father owned that store!

I built a whole bustling town in my imagination, and that's how the setting for the story came about. Actually, there's not much there in real life. Certainly no marshal's office!

Sunday Snippet from
Much Ado About Marshals
(Hearts of Owyhee)
by Jacquie Rogers

Daisy realized Aunt Grace had spoken to her. "Pardon?"

"I said, all your hard work trying to get Oreana to hire a marshal paid off."

"It seemed ridiculous," Daisy glanced at her sister, who smiled back. "I mean, to build a jailhouse and not hire a marshal. Besides, it's too far from Silver City for the county sheriff to come for anything except major crimes, which I hope we never have." Daisy knew she'd lapsed into her campaign talk, but her mind kept wandering to the man on Doc's table.

"Well, then," her mother said, "you can get back to finding a husband. I heard the Stanton boys over in Henderson are looking for wives. Maybe you could snag one of them."

Daisy's stomach roiled, but she stifled any outward reaction. Not only did the Stantons live thirty miles from civilization, they were both short. She wanted to be a detective and solve crimes and to do that, she had to live in town. So she needed to be married to the marshal. The tall marshal.

"Now, Betsy." Aunt Grace patted her sister's hand. "There's no hurry for Daisy to marry."

"It certainly is time. We were both married and had babies by the time we were her age."
♥ ♥ ♥
And here's the video (with the print cover)

Visit these sites for more great excerpts!
1. Charlene Raddon's Chatterblog
2. Keta's Keep Romance
3. Fried Oreos
4. Taryn Raye
5. Never Squat With Your Spurs On
6. roseanne dowell author
7. Romancing The West with Jacquie Rogers
8. Double the Mystery - Meg Mims

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sneak Peek: Bluffing the Marshal (Rawhide 'n Roses) by Paty Jager #historicalromance

I’m a Sucker for Lawmen

When the subject was brought up, by the western romance authors on the Amazon forum started by an avid western reader, that we should make an anthology, I was ready to hop on board. Any time so many talented writers put together a sampling of their work is has to turn out as a win/win. Readers get great reads in one book and authors can cross promote.

The only catch—I couldn’t think of what to write. Then the very same avid reader who brought us together on the forum tossed out one of her monthly challenges to write a paragraph or more using five words. Marshal, Preacher, School Teacher, Undertaker, and Baker.

I was in the middle of two other projects but the more I thought about those words the opening for my short story, Bluffing the Marshal, came to me:

Nellie Preston stood at the top of the family cellar gnawing her bottom lip. What would Pa do when he discovered she had the preacher, school teacher, undertaker, and baker tied up in the cellar? Even more important—she hoped kidnapping the men would not only clear her brother’s name but show the handsome marshal she had the grit to be married to a lawman.

By-the-book Marshal Barkley should be charging down the road any minute. By now word would have spread she’d taken the missing men.

Her sour stomach rivaled the guilt eating away at her good sense. This had been a brash move to get the marshal out of town, but her brother’s life and her future depended on his arrival. She’d made the four men as comfortable as possible in the cellar. She’d even explained why they were here, but they hadn’t taken kindly to being kidnapped by Marcus Preston’s sister.

Dust plumed into the air a mile down the road to town. Nellie squinted, staring at the dust, hoping the marshal came alone. He’d be harder to convince if he brought a posse and his deputy. They’d say she was just like her brother—a no-good-killer.

She picked up the rifle leaning against the cellar door and prayed her parents and the younger kids didn’t come home early from visiting their grandparents two counties over. She wanted Marcus out of jail and things back to normal by the time Pa came home. Marcus was her twin, and she loved him dearly, but he did tend to get in fixes that most young men knew better to stay away from.

Pa always said of the two; she had the brains and Marcus had the muscle.

Some of her agitation fled when she spotted one horse and rider running hell bent up their lane. Marshal Tate Barkley had come by himself.

She smiled. He probably figured he didn’t need a posse to bring in one young woman.

Nellie cocked the gun and waited.
I have several books that have lawmen in them. The first book of my Halsey Series, Marshal in Petticoats has an accident prone young woman who is made marshal and the second book in the series, Outlaw in Petticoats has the two main characters ending up in law enforcement by the end of the book. All five of the Halsey Series books are available in an ebook box set.

Purchase the Halsey Brothers Series box set:

About Paty
With sixteen published books, four novellas, and two anthologies, award-winning author, Paty Jager is never at a loss for story ideas and characters in her head. Her rural life in central and eastern Oregon, and interests in local history and the world around her, keeps the mystery and romance ideas flowing. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

Where you can find Paty: