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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Book review: One Midsummer's Knight anthology

This summer's new medieval anthology grabbed my attention both with the cover and with the little hints of the stories contained behind that cover.  I'm highlighting the first two stories in this review blog and I'm looking forward to the rest of the stories coming up next!

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Who dares to seek love on a Midsummer’s Eve when the Otherworldly veil is thin, and anything can happen? Magic runs high, and passions flare on this special night made for taking chances. For this is the night when ritual fires burn bright and invite lovers to consummate the promise of their love—and anything can happen!

In this wonderful collection of medieval tales, ONE MIDSUMMER’S KNIGHT holds the key in each story to a “happy ever after” ending! Step into a realm of adventure and magic with these four spellbinding tales of daring, chance, and love with ONE MIDSUMMER’S KNIGHT!

UNICORN SUMMER—LINDSAY TOWNSEND: When the faery queen casts a spell on a knight to change him into a unicorn, there seems to be no hope for him—except the stronger magic of true love!

MIDSUMMER’S PROMISE—KEENA KINCAID: Can a mercenary find his heart’s home with a beautiful healer? Her brother, a seer, says they are not for each other—but can their love change fate?

A FAIR BARGAIN—MELISSA JARVIS: When a maiden trades her own future happiness for that of her sister, it seems all is lost to her—until an Otherworld prince comes to her rescue and seals a different kind of bargain—made of unexpected and forbidden love.

A MISTY KNIGHT--CYNTHIA BREEDING: Can a daring knight’s love bring happiness to a beautiful woman who others call a witch? He must find a way to rescue the stubborn lass before she is killed, but can he do it as a human?

My Reviews:

Unicorn Summer
Such a different and cute story! Ffion finds herself transported to a faery world and has lessons to learn...and to teach. Sir Randal is already there and has to prove he's learned his lessons and is ready to change.

Written with almost a lyrical rhythm, Unicorn Summer delivers an unique twist and a charming voice to share both valuable truths and a sweet hea.

Midsummer's Promise
Kathryn and Richard's story charmed me with their connection, with the touch of special/otherworldly, and with the depth of the world built. This story packs a hard punch and I loved it!

Purchase Links:


Thursday, July 25, 2019

New Release — Courting Anna: Women of Destiny by Cate Simon

Beautiful Anna Harrison has carved out her life as a small-town lawyer. Brilliantly intelligent and fiercely independent, a female attorney of her caliber is quite the oddity in 1880s Montana Territory! After losing her fiancé years before, she guards her heart as carefully as her treasured independence—until outlaw Jeremiah Brown comes into her life. Throwing caution to the wind is not in Anna—but what can one night with her handsome client hurt? He’s leaving town the next day…

Jeremiah Brown has been working hard to come clean and dodge bounty hunters who know him as Tommy Slade until the statute of limitations runs out on his past crimes. Though he’s irresistibly drawn to Anna, he’s well aware that sleeping with his beautiful attorney is a deadly game to play, even if it’s only “just” one night. Still, how can he resist?

But Fate has different plans for them, and they find themselves falling in love against their better judgment. How can they have a future with a price still on Jeremiah’s head? And how can Anna find happiness as a wife without losing her own hard-won independence? When circumstances spiral out of their control, they both discover that love is the most important thing of all. 

In the courtroom, in the wilderness, and in the face of scandal, Jeremiah’s biggest challenge is Courting Anna.


     "Someone here to see you boys," said the deputy, clearly relishing the fact that he was in on something.
     The men both smiled, through the bars of the sheriff’s lockup. The blond one had an open, friendly look, and a classically handsome face, but the dark-haired one, Jeremiah Brown, lit up the room with that broad smile of his. "Well, hello, ma'am," he said. "It's nice of you to come and call. But we were expecting…"
     "You were expecting a lawyer named Harrison, weren't you? Well, that's me, Anna Harrison."
Their smiles faded quickly. They thought it was a joke on them. She was used to it—most everyone who wasn’t from around those parts thought the same. That was the other reason the sheriff always called Nick in first.
     "No rule against it in this territory. My father was a lawyer before me, and he didn't have any sons to clerk for him, so I'm carrying on the family profession." She crossed her arms and looked squarely at them, the way she’d learned to do when anybody expected her to simper and blush. "Ask anyone around here…right, Deke?"  She glanced at the deputy, who winked at her.


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Castle Garden: The Precursor to Ellis Island

When we think of U.S. immigration, we often think of Ellis Island. But Ellis Island didn’t come into play until 1892. Millions of people came to the United States in the years prior.

From 1790 to 1820, immigration was virtually unregulated. It is estimated that between 5000 to 6000 people came freely to the young country. (These numbers do not include enslaved people.) Due to frequent overcrowding and often inadequate provisions on the ships that transported the newcomers, many of them arrived ill and exhausted.

In an effort to improve the conditions on these ships, captains were required to provide passenger lists to the U.S. customs officials beginning in 1820. Mostly, localities were left to help the new arrivals through entities like New York City’s Commissioners of Emigration. A July 24, 1855 New York Times article characterized the situation:

The “land sharks” included swindlers, thieves, or purveyors of undesirable jobs and atrocious accommodations.

The State of New York opened the first immigration station in the country at New York City’s Castle Garden in 1855 in an attempt to combat these problems.

Castle Garden began life as a military fort known as West Battery, constructed on an artificial island off the southern tip of Manhattan in the lead-up to the War of 1812. In 1815, it was renamed Castle Clinton in honor of the city’s mayor. Through an act of Congress, the fort was ceded to the city of New York in 1822. Two years later, it opened as an entertainment center called Castle Garden.

By the time Castle Garden began processing immigrants in 1855, the city had filled in land to connect it with Manhattan. It served as the main immigration depot in the United States for the next 35 years.

In addition to accounting for the immigrants, procedures were put into place to check the spread of contagious diseases by assessing their health conditions while still on the ship and then being rechecked once they arrived in Castle Garden.
Translators were provided for arrivals who did not speak English so they could be accurately registered. They could send letters or telegrams. Food and drink were available. Immigrants could exchange money and buy railroad tickets without fear of being swindled. Welfare agencies assisted those planning to stay in New York in securing legitimate employment and satisfactory accommodations.

By the time Castle Garden was closed in 1890, more than 8 million people had passed through its doors.

Today, Castle Garden is operated by the National Park Service as the Castle Clinton National Monument.

In my August newsletter, the third installment of the prequel to The Legacy details Anna's experience at Castle Garden. Sign up for my free newsletter at:

Ann Markim

    Buy Links:      Paperback at Amazon    Amazon Kindle 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Medieval Sweets and a summer treat. Pears in Syrup

Photo from Medieval Cookery page:

Every now and again I have a go at a recipe from the ancient or medieval worlds, officially for research purposes but mostly through a mixture of curiosity and greed. Since I now own a copy of Constance Hieatt's delectable book of authentic medieval recipes, Pleyn Delit, this time it was one of those deceptively simple but spicy, wine-warm sweets which the fourteenth and fifteenth century loved.

The recipe calls for 1 kilo/2 lb of pears, 500ml red wine, 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar, 125 gm sugar, 1tsp. cinnamon and 1/4tsp. ground ginger, plus an optional 6-8 whole cloves and a pinch of saffron. There are several methods of cooking this fifteenth-century delicacy in Prof. Hieatt's book (recipe 113: Wardonys in Syryp), and medieval cooks would have used pots over an open fire, but I like to keep it simple, so used a casserole and a fan oven.

Parboil the pears in water for a few minutes, then peel and quarter them and lay them in the casserole. Add the cinnamon and sugar to the wine in a saucepan and heat it through until the sugar has dissolved, then strain (if necessary) and pour the mixture over the pears. Cover the casserole and leave it in the oven for about an hour at around 250C (180C in a fan oven worked fine). Remove the casserole and add the wine vinegar, cloves and saffron. If necessary, remove some of the liquid and boil it for a few minutes to reduce it, which will slightly thicken and sweeten the syrup. Put the casserole back in the oven and give it another 15 minutes or so. 'Look that it be sharp and sweet (poinaunt an dowcet)', the recipe says. Cool, serve and eat.

For more detail, more cooking methods and a mass of other recipes, see Pleyn Delit. The medieval English cook may well have used Warden pears, grown at the Cistercian abbey of Old Warden in Bedfordshire, and the abbey's coat of arms shows three of them. A similar dish, 'peres en confyt', includes mulberries for darkness and appears in the fourteenth-century cookbook, Forme of Cury.

I write about more medieval sweets and sweet-making in my novella, Amice and the Mercenary. My heroine, Amice, is a mistress of sugar and spices and as such, partly as a result of her skills, is drawn into a dangerous intrigue at the royal court of the English King Edward the Third.

You can read more about Amice and my other black heroines in my free Medieval Black Heroines Free Sampler of Excerpts, posted here

Lindsay Townsend

Thursday, July 18, 2019

New Release — A Widow’s Salvation (Cotillion Ball Saga Book 8) by Becky Lower

New York City, 1862—

Beautiful Pepper Fitzpatrick Brown’s heart is broken when her husband, Michael, is killed on the bloody battlefield at Manassas. One of the first casualties of the Civil War, Michael’s death has left Pepper raising three small boys on her own—and trying to live without the man she believed she’d grow old with. Honoring Michael’s memory, she volunteers at the MacDougall Army Hospital in the Bronx, doing whatever she can to help the wounded.

The drab existence of handsome Colonel Elijah Williams, head surgeon at the Army hospital, has narrowed to nothing but the bloody war and the horrendous wounds he treats day after day. He carries a secret—a nightmare that holds him in its gory grip each time he falls asleep, reminding him of what awaits him in his waking hours. But when Pepper Brown walks into his life, everything changes—for both of them. 

Is Elijah ready to take on a ready-made family and the responsibilities that come with it? Can Pepper let go of her grief and embrace love once again? In a war-torn country that has suffered so much loss, Elijah and Pepper might stand a fighting chance at finding happiness together if they can save what’s left of their hearts!


     Hours later, Elijah shrugged his shoulders and stretched his back. The last of this batch of men was done. They’d all come through surgery. Now if infection stayed away, and the flies, they might have a chance. He washed his hands, cleaning the remaining blood from them, and splashed water on his face. He finally left the operating room, hoping to spend a few moments in his office.
     He immediately ran into the lovely countenance of Mrs. Brown. She waited outside the operating room, seemingly for him. But her dress was lavender, not green-sprigged.
     “Why are you still here?” He smiled at her. “Not that I’m complaining, but you’ve been here for hours.”
     “I’m not still here. I went home yesterday, took care of my children, slept, and now I’m back again.”
     He blinked and raised a suspicious eyebrow. “You mean it’s been more than twenty-four hours since we last spoke?” At her nod, he continued. “I confess I lose all track of time when I’m in the operating room. Well, welcome back, Mrs. Brown. That explains the change in your dress. As I remember, you had on a green-sprigged gown when I last was in your presence.”
     She ran her hands over her gown and glanced at the floor before lifting her eyes again. She seemed surprised by the comment. Even though she was a widow, had no one told her recently she was lovely?


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

It's All About The Dress

Part of the reason I love to write historicals is because of the lovely ball gowns I get to describe in glorious detail. I blame my mother for my obsession with 19th-century attire. Her housewarming gift to me when I purchased my first home way back when was a framed fashion plate torn from the pages of Godey’s Lady’s Book. I began haunting antique shops along the East Coast, adding to my collection of prints until I ran out of wall space.
My first fashion print

In Book Four of the Cotillion Ball Series, The Tempestuous Debutante, I take this obsession one step further and give my heroine, Jasmine Fitzpatrick, the profession of dress designer. At the time of my story — 1857 — it was highly unusual for women, regardless of their rank in society, to be shop owners, much less fashion designers. That occupation was reserved for men, most notably Charles Frederick Worth in Paris. To be wealthy enough to own a Worth gown was something all of society on both sides of the Atlantic aspired to, and there are a few of his breathtaking gowns remaining to this day, most of them in museums. The amount of work each one entailed is amazing, and when you see one of his dresses up close and personal, you can understand why they were so valued in the 1800s, and why they are so prized today. They weren’t merely dresses, they were, and are, works of art.
Worth Gown
In The Tempestuous Debutante, Jasmine designs a peach gown for herself, which she believes will be the dress she will wear when her suitor proposes to her. I spent hours, days even, researching the finer points of dress design while crafting the scene, and fell in love with my, or rather, Jasmine’s, creation, I fell in love with this peach gown. When it came time to destroy the dress in the book, which was necessary for the plot to move forward because of its symbolism, I cried. Jasmine, by that point, didn’t care if the dress was ripped asunder, but I felt every rip, every lost bead, every mark, as if it was a real, living, breathing thing. It was a painful scene for me to write.
Beautiful Worth Wedding Gown
Then, I went on a field trip with some fellow romance writers, to view a display of wedding gowns from the 1830s to modern day, and saw the jewel of the collection — a Charles Frederick Worth wedding gown. My obsession with the peach engagement dress faded into nothingness as I took in the details of the wedding gown. No dress, regardless of when it was crafted, began to compare with the Worth gown. Stunning doesn’t begin to describe it. Suddenly, I had a new obsession. I wanted to create, on paper, a wedding gown for Jasmine to wear.
It’s all about the dress, isn’t it?
Here's an excerpt from The Tempestuous Debutante
         She glanced up from the worktable and surveyed her surroundings. Satisfied with the way things at the shop were proceeding, she turned her attention to the dress she was remaking to wear at tonight’s birthday party for Amanda. Since this was to be her betrothal gown, she wanted it to be spectacular. Colleen had sewn the last few embellishments on it this morning and they now closed the curtain to the fitting room so Jasmine could be laced into it.   
        Colleen pulled the bodice tight before she stepped back to get the full effect of the dress.“Lordy, me, lass, but this is the most beautiful creation you’ve come up with yet.”
        “It is lovely, isn’t it?” Jasmine ran her hand over the rows of glass beads that Colleen had meticulously sewn onto the bodice. She shook out the skirt over the padding which created the slight bustle and turned sideways in the mirror, enjoying the swish of the lush fabric as she moved.
        “I want to check it over from all angles, Colleen, so you might as well get back to work on Eliza Logan’s gown.”
        “Aye, I do need to get going on that dress, if she’s to have it in time for her new show. If you’re sure you’re all right here…”        
        “Yes, yes, go on with you. I’ll call out when I want you to unlace me.”         
         Since merely looking at the fabric chosen for Eliza’s gown brought Parr’s eyes into her head again, she had no desire to oversee Colleen’s work on the dress. What she needed to do was to make certain hers was perfection. For Alistair.         
         She stood in front of the cheval mirror and stared at her image with a critical eye. She pinched her cheeks to bring color into them and ran her fingers down the gown. She brushed her hair from off her shoulders. The pale peach shade was close to her own skin color, presenting the illusion that she was nude. She smiled at her scandalous thoughts. That image would suit nicely. But, if one were to examine the dress more closely, they would begin to notice the details. The entire bodice was overlaid with lace, to which were sewn thousands of peach-colored glass beads, which caught the light, shooting off sparks as she turned this way and that. She spent several minutes turning back and forth, to make certain the light caught the beads regardless of her stance.         
         The bodice was dramatically cut into a deep V in the back, with  a band of silk ribbon a shade darker than the dress lacing up the back. A slight bustle took shape from the matching V shape at her hips. She adjusted the shoulders of the dress so they were almost off the shoulder and peered into the mirror again. Yes, slightly off the shoulder would do. The beads were sewn side-by-side for about an inch and a half around the cuff of the sleeve and around the edges of the bodice, adding a considerable weight to the fabric.  

Monday, July 15, 2019

Boot Hill, Boot Hill, Boot Hill

by Patti Sherry-Crews

Boot Hill, Tombstone, AZ

Did you think Boot Hill was located in a specific place. A spot on a map you could stick a pin in. It’s in one of those fabled Old West towns, right? Tombstone. Or were you thinking of Dodge City? Deadwood? Wait, where is Boot Hill?

Well, you better get a box of pins, because there isn’t one graveyard with a weathered, old sign creaking in the wind. In reality Boot Hills, plural, are a type of place in many towns. Wikipedia lists 40 cemeteries who've earned the moniker Boot Hill scattered across the American west from Tombstone, Arizona to Skagway, Alaska. The reputation being its residents  "they died with their boots on" or in other words, probably didn't die in their sleep in a warm cozy bed with some angel of mercy wiping their fevered brow. If they died with their boots on, they probably didn’t expect dying was on the agenda that day. Fell where they stood.

To put Boot Hills in the context of time and place, understand how towns sprang up almost overnight starting in the late 19th century America. Towns built around the mining or cattle industry swelled with those heading west seeking a quick fortune. Men made up a majority of the tide of people pouring in. Lacking the taming influence of wives and families, though having plenty of saloons and weapons, the scene was ripe for trouble. Things being what they were, people started dropping before you could finish the sentence “do you want to say that to my face?”. Where to put the growing number of bodies?

Dodge City, Kansas, situated on the Santa Fe Trail, claims the first Boot Hill. One day a black man called Tex was minding his own business, watching an exchange of gunfire in front of the saloon, like you do, when for no reason someone shot him dead. The shooter said he did it "just to see him kick". Case in point: tough places, these boom towns. The body lay in the street for a time while folks figured out what to do with this man who left behind nobody to mourn him or pay for his burial.

A nearby hill seemed like a good spot to bury Tex. Other such deaths followed and Boot Hill became a pauper's cemetery. Some bodies, buried without the benefit of even a pine box, suffered further indignity when coyotes dug them up.

But then someone noticed there was a nice view from that hill. Too nice a view to be wasted on dead paupers. The hill suddenly had potential. All the bodies were relocated. But people proved skittish about building on a former graveyard and the land didn't sell according to plan. Instead they put a grade school there (of course, they did. Kids were finding human bones in the playground for years). Today, though the original cemetery no longer exists, the Boot Hill Cemetery Museum in Dodge City is a tourist attraction.

Boot Hill and Hangman's Tree, Dodge City, Kansas

One of the best known Boot Hill cemeteries you can visit today is in Tombstone, Arizona. The rise and fall and rise again of this cemetery in a mining town typifies the cycle of a boom-town and its accompanying Boot Hill in the west.

It was in 1879 when the people of Tombstone starting using a dry, dusty, cactus-filled patch on the edge of town for burials. There was even a Chinese and a Jewish section. Among its most famous residents are the Cowboys who were on the losing end of the conflict known as shootout at the OK Corral. The Cowboys, Bill Clanton and the McLaury brothers, are buried here. The victors, Doc Holliday and the Earp brothers lived to fight another day, moved on, and eventually died to be buried elsewhere.

The last burial in this cemetery took place in 1884. Of those 300 burials, about 40% are of those who died before their expiration date. So noteworthy was a peaceful death that one grave marker reads, "M.E. Kellogg 1882, Died a Natural Death."

Number and causes of “premature” deaths in Tombstone Boothill:

2 Died in childbirth  
5 Suicide                  
7 Apaches                
10 Hanged                
21 Accident (mainly mining related or drownings)
21 Disease                
52 Gunshot, knife, or blunt instrument  

Of course, the cemetery wasn't called Boothill back in the day. It was simply the Tombstone Cemetery. Then in 1884 a new cemetery was built, and that other place with graves was called...the old cemetery. The old cemetery wasn't called Boothill until the 1920's when Dime store westerns became popular.

After the new City Cemetery was built many townspeople with money had their loved ones moved to where they weren’t spending eternal slumber alongside gunslingers and prostitutes. The old cemetery was neglected. The wooden slab markers were taken as souvenirs or used for firewood by vagrants, cattle roamed through, and in general the place became a dump, reverting back to nature.

But then the town of Tombstone got a second wind thanks to the interest in westerns and tourism. In the 1920’s there were enough old-timers around who knew where the bodies were buried. Literally. Well, they remembered where most of them were buried. Some had to have “Unknown” inscribed on the new wooden slabs, but they may have gone to the grave as unknowns the first time around as well.

So the old cemetery was recreated for the sake of tourism and called Boothill (one word here). And I hate tell you this but some of the more colorful epitaphs may have been embellished with the tourist trade in mind.

Not all boom-towns survived the decline of the industries that built them. Some morphed into ghost towns, which are kind of cool in their own way. Towns like Deadwood, Tombstone, and Dodge City with their Boot Hills and remaining structures have value. We can read about the events of the old west in books, but seeing the relics of those days adds a flavor you get from the sometimes dry pages of history. And how a people bury their dead often tells us more about the people who buried the bodies than about the dead themselves. Walking through boot hills you meet not only the major players such as Wild Bill in Deadwood.

But we also meet the lesser characters. Men and women from all walks of life and parts of the world who helped settle the west. People who would otherwise be lost to us such as two from China who died in Tombstone, Arizona a long way from home.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Book review: Beneath a Fugitive Moon by Elizabeth Clements

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Beautiful Jolene Reynolds is on a quest. Is there a man in this world who will love her, kiss her, and treasure her like her father does her mother? It seems that every bachelor in the territory is interested in her—and though the clock is ticking, she has to wonder…is it truly a pursuit of the heart, or is it because of what she’ll inherit? When handsome Mike Sutton rides back into her life her search is over—at least, in her own heart. Mike intrigues her with his laughing eyes and quick wit…but surely, if he felt the same interest, wouldn’t he try to steal one kiss? So…why hasn’t he?

Deputy U.S. Marshal Mike Sutton has been besotted with Jolene for two solid years—and now, he’s got her all to himself. But his honor won’t let him make the most of the perfect situation. He’s promised his best friend, Chase, that he’ll safeguard Jolene until her father’s return from his art show back East—and he’s not about to let Chase down. Though he’s faced deadly outlaws without flinching, he’s on shaky ground emotionally when he holds Jolene in his arms. Young, beautiful, and educated—she’s too good for him. One kiss could be his undoing.

Trouble that has been simmering comes to a dangerous boil, forcing Mike and Jolene to become fugitives—and depend only on one another. Can they finally be honest with their feelings and find love BENEATH A FUGITIVE MOON…

Saddle up! Author Elizabeth Clements is blessed with a true Western voice, which lassoes the reader and takes them on an emotional ride. —Deborah Macgillivray, author of the Dragons of Challon series

My Review:

When you dive into this story, be prepared for twists to flip what you expect around.

Jolene lives up to her mother's example and reputation by being a very strong and determined woman.  She knows she's ready to find a husband and build a family on a foundation of love (just as she's seen in her parents' lives) and she sets out to accomplish that.  Despite the lengths she needs to go to and no matter how determined she is, she still is young and has a vulnerability to her that shines through.  I loved getting to meet Molly and see Jolene's friendship with her grow.

Mike is unique in how widely his personality varied from confidence with dealing with threats and outlaws to his mix of insecurity in handling Jolene and his yearning for her.  He's at a loss to know how to balance the quickly growing feelings he has for his girl, win her love, and yet respect the close friendship he has with her father.  He's also young and despite being a US Marshall, still has a soft innocence to him that grew from a heart-breaking past.

This story was heavier on their relationship with hints of outside drama till closer to the end when the excitement built up a little more and carried the story through to a sweet finish.  I really liked watching Mike and Jolene dance around each other and then celebrated with them when they finally worked through their uncertainties to earn their hea.  Some parts of their story made me pause and wonder - but knowing that they fit each other well and would make it through their doubts and struggles kept me going.

I'm looking forward to the last of the trilogy to see how all the loose ends are tied up and the next couple gets their hea.  The hints for Molly and Josh have me intrigued and wanting more!

Purchase Links:


Thursday, July 11, 2019

New Release — Patrice’s Shame (The Barlow Wives Book 3) by Agnes Alexander

Beautiful Patrice Dickerson is all too happy to leave Philadelphia to claim half of a ranch in Wyoming—an unexpected windfall from an aunt she never knew. But the catch is, the other half has been left to a man that Patrice has never met. Patrice can think of nothing but the new start this gift means for her—to outrun the shame that has threatened her all her life. Her mother, a well-known prostitute, has lately been pressing Patrice to join her in “the business” with threats of letting everyone know Patrice is her daughter—and Patrice lives in fear that her society friends will discover who she really is. 

 Gavin Barlow has suddenly found himself the owner of half of the Hopewell Ranch—a spread that adjoins the Barlow family land. When the new joint owner from back East arrives, Gavin plans to ask him to sell out. A ranch the size of the Hopewell spread would expand the Barlow holdings significantly. Surely, an Eastern dandy will be eager to sell… 

 But when Patrice arrives in Wyoming, Gavin is unprepared for her haughty demeanor. He never expected his “partner” to be a woman—and a rude one, at that! His hopes to buy her out are dashed in the face of her self-importance—a façade to hide her secrets. 

 An accident steals Patrice’s memory. Who is she, and why is she in Wyoming? Her sweet personality is totally opposite the Patrice that Gavin has come to know and be wary of—but which “Patrice” is the real one? As their relationship blossoms into true love, each of them hopes for a life together on the ranch they’ve inherited, but is it possible? 

Patrice’s mother follows her to Wyoming with an evil plan of her own, threatening to expose Patrice’s background to Gavin. Can they still find true love in spite of PATRICE’S SHAME?


     Patrice shook her head. Were these people crazy? Who in the world would voluntarily let a horse throw him in such a manner? Didn’t he realize he could be killed?
     She shrugged. If someone had to lose their life, let it be Gavin Barlow. That way, she would own this ranch alone, wouldn’t she? Then, when she sold, she’d have twice the money.
     After touring the rest of the first floor, she turned and headed upstairs. In the hall, she hesitated in front of Gavin’s door. Wondering if the man’s room would be as unkempt as he seemed to be, she opened the door. Knowing no one would be the wiser, she bit her lip and stepped inside, expecting a mess.
     Instead, the room was not only tidy, but the bed had been made and there were no clothes strewn around. A pair of boots sat by the chair at the window and a stack of books lay on the table beside the chair. At least that tells me the man can read.
     She was about to reach for the wardrobe door when a deep voice said, “Looking for something, your highness?”
     She jumped and whirled around. “I…uh…I…”
     “Go right ahead and search the place, if you like. Since I tore my britches and it’d be indecent if I kept wearing them, all I intend to do is put on another pair. If you want to watch me do that, I have no objection.”
     As she ran out of the room, she heard Gavin laughing. 


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Story Inspiration and Excerpt from Hot Western Nights - western romance anthology - by Kaye Spencer #prairierosepubs #westernromance

Songs often provide inspiration for my stories. Marty Robbins’ song Meet Me Tonight in Laredo gave me the basic idea for my book 'The Comanchero’s Bride', and Ghostriders in the Sky is at the heart of my book 'The Gunfighter’s Woman'.

Once again, a song provided the starting point for my novelette that is included in the new western romance anthology from Prairie Rose Publications—HOT WESTERN NIGHTS. My story is Give My Love to Rose.

 Johnny Cash fans will recognize that same title as one of his early hits. The song provided the [quite loose] plot fodder for my story. I changed things around and Rose became the main character. The man who came across the dying man is a deputy U. S. marshal.

Here is Johnny Cash’s singing 'Give My Love to Rose'.


Gray sunrise at her back, milk bucket in one hand and a basket of eggs in the other, Rose Griffin gazed south beyond the river where the railroad tracks cut across the prairie. The tracks were too far away to see but, in her mind’s eye, she saw the abandoned water tower where Lon flagged down the train. She imagined him turning Molly out into the small fenced pasture with a natural spring and stowing his saddle and bridle under the lean-to.

Lon had allowed himself a week to take care of his business in Amarillo, including the travel there and back, which meant he should have returned by now. He was a man who allowed himself few celebrations in life. He wouldn’t miss being away from home at Christmastime unless he was dead. Truth be told, when they’d said goodbye, she’d known he wouldn’t make it home alive. Stoop-shouldered, eyes sunken, he’d wasted away these last many months and was in no shape to make the trip to his attorney. They all knew it, but there was no other way.

Lon’s plate was still at the head of the table. His mother, Bess, couldn’t bring herself to remove it. The sight of it represented the hope of his return, but too many days had passed to continue ignoring what had to be said. Rose didn’t relish the conversation they had to have, but Ma was a woman who found something good in everything and everyone. Her spirits seldom fell for long. She hadn’t said the words, but Ma knew as well as Rose they’d seen the last of Lon when he left home for Amarillo.

Bess Griffin was the mother Rose didn’t remember, and she loved Bess with all her heart, and those feelings were reciprocated. Since the day Lon had opened his door and invited her inside his house, Rose had whispered thanks for this blessing every night before she went to bed. Despite her upbringing, she wasn’t a religious woman, but she reasoned it couldn’t hurt to speak her gratitude aloud just in case there was someone out there listening.

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Until next time,
Kaye Spencer

Writing through history one romance upon a time

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