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Friday, August 28, 2015

#NewRelease -- Gail L. Jenner's Prettiest Little Horse Thief and Kristy McCaffrey's A Westward Adventure

Gail L. Jenner's Prettiest Little Horse Thief

Rebecca Williams doesn’t need a man. One abusive husband was enough and now that she’s widowed, she resolves to make her own way in the world of horse trading – with only Shih-chai, her Navajo “grandfather,” as companion and hired hand. 

Colt Ryman is a stranger who happens upon Rebecca after a cowboy-turned-thief assaults her. He finds himself captivated by the beautiful but stubbornly independent widow, and he determines to make her his own. 

In the heat of the moment, and after Rebecca’s life and reputation are again threatened, the widow finds herself married to Colt Ryman. In spite of her protest, however, she comes to discover that this stranger is more husband than the late Frank Williams, and that love can sometimes, quite unexpectedly, have the power to heal.

Kristy McCaffrey's A Westward Adventure 

Aspiring novelist Amelia Mercer travels from New York City to Colorado to help her injured aunt recover. When the stage is robbed and her luggage stolen, bounty hunter Ned Waymire comes to her aid, acquainted with the harmless culprit and wanting to spare the boy. But Ned also seeks to impress the independent young woman. Amelia's wish to never marry, however, clashes with Ned's desire to keep her reputation intact. When a final bounty from Ned's past threatens their future, she knows that A Westward Adventure isn’t just the title of her novel, but the new course of her life.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

#NewRelease -- Kaye Spencer's A Permanent Woman and Jacquie Roger's Don’t Go Snaring My Heart--#Giveaway

 Kaye Spencer's A Permanent Woman

Widower Simon Driscoll lost his only son and daughter-in-law, with whom he was estranged, in a cholera epidemic. He receives a letter as next of kin granting him custody of his three grandchildren, whom he has never met. The children are in an orphanage, and he cannot take custody unless he shows up with a wife and the documentation to prove the marriage is legal. He has 90 days before he loses his grandchildren, and a month has already passed. Desperate men take desperate measures…

Reputation tarnished and professional career compromised, Tessa Morris wants to start a new life—somewhere, anywhere, as long as that place is far away from here. The problem is, where? Other than attending a university, she’s never lived anywhere else. As the community’s latest pariah, the life and career she’s built in her hometown is finished. At 42, her future seems grim at best. When she happens upon a recent edition of the Matrimony Courier, she finds herself intrigued by one of the advertisements for a wife. That she doesn’t meet any of the qualifications doesn’t bother her in the least, because desperate women take desperate measures…

Jacquie Roger's Don’t Go Snaring My Heart

Alone in the high-mountain desert, self-sufficient Betsy Lynch is determined to eke out a living selling goat cheese while she fulfills her father’s dream to find a rich silver lode. Claim jumpers threaten to take everything she holds dear, so Betsy uses a bullwhip, her wiles, traps, goats, and an attack rooster to defend her land. 

Rancher Dex Madsen needs to feed his hungry crew. He tracks a herd of pronghorn and shoots one, then steps into Betsy's snare and is jerked upside down. The goats and rooster attack before Betsy cuts him down, and soon he's neck deep in her fight to protect the claim. But can he get past that killer chicken to claim her heart? 

Return to southwest Idaho in the 1880s in Jacquie Roger's acclaimed Hearts of Owyhee series.

If you leave a comment for Kaye or Jacquie, you will be entered in a drawing for a free ecopy of both stories.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

499 Words, by Shayna Matthews

Me, author and weaver, Shayna Matthews, with my husband and heroes, John Rich and Big Kenny.
They are the inspiration which ultimately drove me to follow my dreams of writing.

     499 Words, by Shayna Matthews

     Don't be afraid to live out loud, my friends. When an opportunity rises, grab it by the throat and don't you dare let it go! We allow feeble excuses to contain us within a protective shell. Sometimes we fear crossing the boundaries of opportunity--after all, who knows what might be on the other side of a new idea, action or adventure. Far too often I have heard people say, "I don't know if I could ever do that," or, "why bother? What are the chances I might run away with..."(insert golden opportunity here). I know this to be true, because I've said them all before, myself. I've since learned my lesson.

     When I discovered my heroes, Big & Rich, were hosting an essay contest, I very nearly fell into that trap. The grand prize? Four days, all expenses paid, in Pensacola, Florida for a private concert and the opportunity to meet with Big & Rich for the ultimate fan experience.

"Should I enter? What are the chances?" The date I discovered the contest happened to fall on our tenth anniversary. Being such a special day, we wondered if karma might be trying to tell us something. Is that a faint knock on the door of opportunity, I hear? So I answered the knock at the door and wrote the essay. They wanted a love story paired with the hows and whys of being a true fan, and they wanted it under 500 words. My first draft was 1500. It took me three days to pair the entry down to 499. Just one word short of the mark. Those 499 written words changed everything! When the big news came in, I was one of five grand prize winners...well, not even a writer's words can express the shock of that moment. Luckily, they made us videotape our initial reaction, so I at least have reference material.

     Big & Rich sent my husband and I on an unbelievable journey to paradise, for the price of 499 words. I sit here, having only just returned, and still wonder if it was real, or merely a grand dream. A dream filled with blue waters, white sands, mermaids and cocktails, camera crews and new friends, grand music and lingering memories of the most vivid meeting of our large-as-life heroes.

     Don't be afraid of opportunity. I don't care if you're afraid or just intimidated by the sheer scale of odds stacked against you. Those odds? Maybe they aren't quite as high as you picture them in your mind. Maybe. Little can be gained from the richness life has to offer without trying. If the opportunity passes, you will still have succeeded in trying your best. Revel in what life has to offer, and don't be afraid to try new things. Opportunity doesn't have to come knocking in the form of a contest. It could be anything. Travel? Try something new, something bold. During our extraordinary journey, my husband and I found the opportunity to go para sailing. We took it, despite my fear of heights, and I'm so glad we did. What an unbelievable experience! Sailing five hundred feet in the air over the Gulf, the boat so tiny we could barely see the crew. It was terrifying. Exhilarating. Unbelievably of those adventures where you walk away on slightly quaking legs, having accomplished a feat for the writing of your own personal history book. That's what life is, a personalized history book, and only you can fill in the pages. Might as well make them memorable...just watch the word count.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Round 'Em Up and Send 'Em In!

Deadlines are fast approaching for submissions to a gaggle of Prairie Rose Publications anthologies. Editor-in-Chief Cheryl Pierson is still looking for submissions for the following:

Memories from Maple Street, USA: Leaving Childhood Behind

Theme: childhood memoir
Length: 1,500 to 3,000 words
Deadline: September 1, 2015

Growing up is a miraculous time. The journey from the freedom of childhood to the workaday life of modern adults is filled with both poignance and wonder. Along with fond memories of pedaling bikes through honeysuckle-scented streets with a pack of neighborhood friends, playing “kick the can” and stickball on warm summer evenings alight with fireflies, and the inevitable loss of people and places dear to the heart, everyone experiences a seminal moment when he or she knows they’re leaving childhood behind.

Was there a turning point in your life when you realized the world had shifted and nothing would ever be the same? We want your story. From the touching to the humorous, the inspirational to the adventurous, if you have a childhood memory you’ll never forget, now is the time to put pen to paper and recount that special moment.

We seek original manuscripts from women and men across the spectrum and at all levels of writing experience. Unpublished writers are encouraged to submit. All stories must be true, first-person memoirs of 1,500 to 3,000 words. Do not send fiction or “as told to by” accounts.

Attach the completed story to an email addressed to and include a brief synopsis in the body of the email. All manuscripts should be in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced.

A Mail-Order Christmas Bride 

Theme: western historical romance
Length: 10,000 to 15,000 words
Deadline: October 1, 2015

Christmas is the season of good cheer, family, and tradition. Imagine leaving the familiar comforts behind to marry a man you don’t know. Would that bring a bride long-awaited happiness or sorrow? Why would a man send for a bride during the season of joy?

Perhaps one or both of them have never known the spirit of Christmas, and they’re eager to discover what they’ve been missing. Maybe they’re desperate to escape the pain Christmas evokes. Did her family disown her? Is he isolated...or alone in a crowd? Whether they’re running to or from all that makes the holiday season special, it’s up to you to give them the most memorable Christmas ever with the best gift of all: love that will last a lifetime.

Send us your tale about a happily-ever-after Christmas in the old west. Manuscripts should be 10,000 to 15,000 words long and may have a heat level of sweet to spicy. No erotica, please. Attach the completed story to an email addressed to and include a brief synopsis in the body of the email. All manuscripts should be in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced.

One Christmas Knight 

Theme: medieval holiday romance
Length: 10,000 to 15,000 words
Deadline: October 1, 2015

Many of today’s Christmas traditions saw their genesis during the Middle Ages, when kings, knights, lords, and ladies lived in splendor while serfs and vassals endured squalid conditions.

What would make Christmas special for medieval heroes and heroines? Whether they’re fighting to retain all they own or battling to change their personal circumstances—or maybe the world at large—it’s up to you to unite a hero and heroine with the lifetime love of their dreams.

Prairie Rose Publications wants to see your story about Christmas love in a medieval land. Send your completed manuscript of 10,000 to 15,000 words to Include a brief synopsis in the body of the email. Tales may be sweet to spicy, but no erotica, please. All manuscripts should be in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced.

Memories from Maple Street, USA: The Best Christmas Ever 

Theme: Christmas memoir
Length: 1,500 to 3,000 words
Deadline: November 1, 2015

Christmas is a time of wonder and joy—especially for children. Can you remember one special Christmas that stood out from all the rest when you were growing up? Maybe you got a present you’d wanted more than anything else, or perhaps a loved one came home unexpectedly. Amidst all the excitement and good cheer with family and loved ones, maybe you had a quiet moment or two to think about the true meaning of Christmas…and that was the best gift of all.

We’re looking for these stories for the second volume in our Maple Street series: Memories from Maple Street, USA: The Best Christmas Ever. So wander back down Memory Lane and put your pen to paper to recount the very best childhood Christmas you remember. We’d love for you to share it with us.

Please remember: We are looking for true, first-person stories of 1,500 to 3,000 words. No “as told to by” accounts. Women and men across the spectrum, published or unpublished, are encouraged to submit. Attach the completed manuscript to an email addressed to and include a brief synopsis in the body of the email. All manuscripts should be in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced.

PRP enjoys working with both new and established storytellers. We look forward to seeing your short memoirs and holiday tales!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I'm Going Medieval on Y'all

I’m excited to be the debut author for Prairie Rose Publications’ new medieval imprint. Although PRP is best known for its Western romances, the new imprint isn't as out of place as you might think. Knights in dented armor and cowboys in not-quite-white hats are equally appealing heroes, even if they inhabit different worlds.

I write predominately in the 12th century, the era of Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Thomas of Beckett. A renaissance in learning, trade, and culture began in this period as the violent migrations of the previous centuries ceased and people could begin living, loving, and traveling in relative safety.
Like the Old West, the era was one of expanding possibilities, but the limits of those possibilities were much, much closer.
Individuals, loners, and people seeking a do-over populated the West. Whereas in Medieval Europe places to make a fresh start were in short supply.
Additionally, marriage was the means in which land would pass without chaos from one generation to the next in the Middle Ages. Because chaos meant war, war meant famine, and famine meant starvation, sickness and death, your role as an individual was to do your duty to prevent chaos.
Actually, the idea of an “individual” didn’t exist. That’s not to say that individuals didn’t have wants and needs or that individuals didn’t strive to have these fulfilled, but the shared values of society didn’t emphasize the individual and the individual certainly didn’t supersede the needs of society. Doing so was a sin.
That said, our medieval counterparts still desired love, passion and connections. 
The beauty in this lack of opportunity and tightly control social structure is it provides great conflict. In all my stories, the hero or heroine—often both—struggle against expectations and their own sense of duty as much as they fight against a villain.
Getting them to a happy ending within the confines of this world is always a challenge, but I love it when  story comes together and my knight errant gets his woman--even if he doesn't ride off into the sunset with her.
So do you read Westerns, contemporaries or historicals? What societal elements do you like best in your romances?

Keena Kincaid writes historical romances in which passion, magic and treachery collide to create unforgettable stories.  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Romaggi Stage Inn

Note old CA Highway 49 warning post by corner of the building
When I first started traveling from Angel's Camp to Sonora along Highway 49 through the Sierra-Nevada foothills, the road reached a point where if I or any other driver would accidentally veer off onto the shoulder, we would drive right into the corner of an old adobe building from the California Gold Rush days. When I say the building was right there next to the road, I mean it was RIGHT THERE. Fortunately, in 1985 the California Department of Transportation exhibited some wisdom and foresight that evidently was not available several decades before that. When they widened and resurfaced the road, they moved it over so the building is now several yards from the highway.

For years I wondered what that old building had been used for back in the day since there was no sign to identify it. It was several miles from the other 1850's buildings in Angel's Camp. Thanks to the restoration effort being made, the history of this old building is now readily available.

Constructed of adobe in 1852, the Romaggi Stage Inn served customers traveling between the gold mining towns of the California Mother Lode. Even when the gold played out, many towns such as Sonora became
supply centers for the surrounding towns where gold mining still took place. For example, between the Romaggi Stage Inn and Sonora was the gold mining town of Columbia. Even after the easy placer gold had panned out, mining companies were formed to continue hydraulic mining until the 1870's. 

The terrain proved to be steep and the region did not have sufficient population to support a railroad for some time to come, so miners, farmers, suppliers and other residents relied on walking, freight wagons, pack mules and stagecoaches for personal transportation, freight and mail. 

Courtesy of the Save the Romaggi Adobe Foundation
To service the stage lines and provide hospitality to other travelers along the route that is now known as California State Highway 49, This stage stop was built and maintained by James and Louisa Romaggi.

The following is from the history board posted next to the building ruins:


James Romaggi left his home in Romaggi, Italy near Genoa in 1850 for New York and sailed around the Horn to California. He then came to Albany Flat a town of about 3,000 in the1850's, where [the building is now standing]. He panned $1,000.00 worth of placer gold in Mud Gulch, in front of the area where he eventually built his home. In the town of Melones, the site of the present day reservoir, he bought into a mine and accumulated over $30,000.00 in less than five months, making him a wealthy man.

Courtesy of the Save the Romaggi Adobe Foundation
A stone mason, he built much of this home himself and it is almost identical to the home of his birth in Romaggi, where his descendents have resided for over 200 years. In 1857 James married Louisa Foppiano and they had six children. James developed his 100 acres to produce fruits, vegetables and grapes for wine to supply his store. Eventually he had a bar and card room for miners and travelers when the home became a stage coach stop.

Courtesy of the Save the Romaggi Adobe Foundation
After James and Louisa died in 1905 and 1917, respectively, the home rented and by the 1930's it stood vacant. Hobos burned the flooring for heat during the depression. In 1940, Mr. Ernest Wiltsee purchased the property and planned to restore the home, but died without a will in 1944. His wife and only son had died earlier. In 1957 the Bank of American Trust Company divided the home and estate into six equal shares and gave them to public service organizations such as the Lighthouse for the Blind.

In 1985, Cal-trans relocated Highway 49 that ran directly outside the front door of the home. Before that relocation a car had run into the south end of the building causing damage. Vandals and souvenir hunters caused further damage as have recent storms.


In 2002 "Save the Romaggi Adobe Foundation" was formed to restore the home to its original condition. It required two years for the Foundation to secure ownership of the property, perform the title search and register the property in the Foundation's name, which was finally completed at the end of December 2003.
Courtesy of the Save the Romaggi Adobe Foundation

In addition to restoring the home, plans call for replanting fruit trees, vineyards and a family garden as shown in a photo from the 1860's. The facility will be called the "Gold Country Family Museum" and feature a pictoral history of the families who came to California searching for gold, later becoming blacksmiths, storekeepers, farmers, lawyers and the citizens of this area and making it the place where so many want to live today.

Courtesy of the Save the Romaggi Adobe Foundation
The Gold Country Family Museum will include pictures and histories of these ancestors and feature a computer where their names can be researched to determine when they came from the old country or from the east to start a new life in California....."

More information or details on how to contribute can be found at their website HERE.



 Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels. Her novel, Family Secrets, was published by Fire Star Press in October 2014 and her novelette, A Christmas Promise, was published by Prairie Rose Publications in November 2014. The first two novellas in the Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series, Big Meadows Valentine and A Resurrected Heart, are now available.

The author is a member of Women Writing the West, American Night Writers Association, and Modesto Writers Meet Up. She currently lives with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite.” She enjoys any kind of history including family history. When she is not piecing together novel plots, she pieces together quilt blocks.

Please visit the Zina Abbott’s Amazon Author Page by clicking HERE.

Zina Abbott Author Links:

Website  |  Blog     |  Pinterest  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Book Dedications - Yes? No? Indifferent? by Kaye Spencer

I’ve written dedications for each of my books (not short stories), and nary a dedication is particularly memorable, witty, or clever. Each one falls into the standard dedication category of:

To So and So, because...

This is perfectly fine, and I'm satisfied. It's meaningful to me and to So-and-So. But way led on to way the more I thought about this, and curiosity set in until I found myself tumbling down a Google-search rabbit hole for book dedications in the hope I’d discover ideas for crafting my own wildly witty efforts. Furthermore, I rationalized going on this procrastination-from-writing-adventure was preparation for my *date-to-be-determined* release with Prairie Rose Publications.

Here are a few book dedication examples:

  • To all those who lead monotonous lives, in the hope that they may experience at second hand the delights and dangers of adventure. (The Secret Adversary - Agatha Christie)

  • To my wife Marganit and my children Ella Rose and Daniel Adam without whom this book would have been completed two years earlier. (An Introduction to Algebraic Topology - Joseph J. Rotman)
  • To Grandma, for being my first editor and giving me the best writing advice I've ever received: "Christoper, I think you should wait until you're done with elementary school before worrying about being a failed writer." (The Land of Stories - Chris Colfer)
  • To my wonderful readers: Sorry about that last cliff-hanger. Well, no, not really. HAHAHAHA. But seriously, I love you guys. (The House of Hades - Rick Riordan)
  • Let me note, finally, that most of the research for this book was done in the libraries of Harvard University, the size of whose holdings is matched only by the school’s determination to restrict access to them. I am delighted to have been able to use these resources, and it hardly matters that I was afforded this privilege only because the school thought I was someone else. (No Contest: The Case against Competition - Alfie Kohn)
  • Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot. BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR. (Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain)
  • For all the storytellers and tale spinners who entertained the public and kept themselves alive, for Alexandre Dumas and Charles Dickens, for Mark Twain and Baroness Orczy and the rest, and most of all, for Scheherazade, who was the storyteller and the story told. (Stories - Neil Gaiman, Al Sarrantonio)
  • So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation which, in the midst of civilization, artificially creates a hell on earth, and complicates with human fatality a destiny that is divine; so long as the three problems of the century–the degradation of man by the exploitation of his labor, the ruin of woman by starvation, and the atrophy of childhood by physical and spiritual night–are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a still broader point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, there should be a need for books such as this. –1862 (Les Misérables - Victor Hugo)
  • To my creditors, who remain a permanent source of inspiration. (The Steel Tsar - Michael Moorcock)
  • To caffeine and sugar, my companions through many a long night of writing. (Ship of Magic - Robb Hobb)
  • To Mom, Who took me to the library. (The Particle at the End of the Universe - Sean Carroll)
  • What can I say about a man who knows how I think and still sleeps next to me with the lights off? (Dark Places - Gillian Flynn)
So, what's your stand on book dedications as a reader reading them and/or as a writer writing them? Yes? No? Indifferent?

And a shameless plug for my upcoming release...

The Comanchero's Bride
A fiesta. A threat. A wedding. A deadly lie.
What Fate brings together, another man's greed rips apart.

Until next time,



Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Canyon Crossing

By Kristy McCaffrey

Last month Prairie Rose Publications celebrated ‘Christmas in July’ with a collection of short story releases. Included in this promotion was my tale, Canyon Crossing.

The idea for the story came from a hike I took in the Grand Canyon a few years ago with my husband and my dad. Grandview Trail, from the South Rim, is an access route from the rim to the Colorado River that’s been in use since 1890 when miner Pete Berry began working the Last Chance Mine. Before that, Hopi Indians gathered mineral paints in the area (Horseshoe Mesa) long before Berry arrived, creating early pathways.

The view from Grandview Trail.

Day hiking in Grand Canyon doesn’t require a permit, so on a chilly morning in March we set out to descend and climb back out before the sun set. Grandview Trail isn’t a beginner’s hike: the uppermost sections are steep, grueling switchbacks, and because long stretches were covered with ice and snow, very dangerous. One slip could easily lead to a plunge over the side. So, having my heroine tumble into the canyon was very realistic.

Me on one of the more precarious passages.

We spent three hours dropping 2500 feet in elevation. The scenery was breathtaking and I was amazed at the sheer cliffs we descended. We were forced to cling to the rocks like mountain goats in some parts, aided by micro-spikes attached to our hiking boots to tackle the icy patches.

My husband.

We made it as far as Horseshoe Mesa, a total of 3.2 miles. Several old copper mines are located in the area and the paths are fairly well-marked, along with signs warning of radiation. (Excessive amounts of radon are present.) We had hoped to continue out onto the Mesa and enjoy a view of the Colorado River, but were forced to turn around and head back to the top so we wouldn’t get caught on the trail after dark.

My dad and I close to Horseshoe Mesa.
A section of the trail.

Some of the trail was on rock.

In search of her brother, Annabel Cross enters Grand Canyon with a guide and a mule. When circumstances have her hanging from a cliff side, her rescue at the hands of U.S. Deputy Marshal Angus Docherty is fortuitous in more ways than one. He’s chasing the notorious Red Bandit, and it soon becomes clear that Annabel’s brother is mixed up with the criminal as well. While the marshal believes she may be in on a double-cross, she has a more pressing secret to hide. She can talk to deceased spirits, and she wonders whether to tell Angus about the old Apache ever near to him.

(This story previously appeared in the LASSOING A GROOM anthology.)

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