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Sunday, June 28, 2020

Book review: Banking on Temperance by Becky Lower

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When beautiful Temperance Jones and her mother enter Basil Fitzpatrick’s St. Louis bank, the handsome ladies’ man believes he’ll only be conducting a monetary transaction for the down-on-their-luck Jones family.  But Fate intervenes, and that first meeting becomes so much more to both Temperance and Basil.

 Dying of consumption, Preacher Jones extracts a promise from his daughter Temperance that she will do whatever it takes to get the rest of the large family to Oregon. With the threat of civil war looming, he wants to see his sons safely away from conflict.

With Basil’s help, the Jones family begins to put down roots, and the faraway dream of traveling on to Oregon loses its luster for everyone but Temperance.  She knows she must go on, no matter what—if not for her promise to her father, then to protect her own heart from Basil—for she has loved him since the moment they met.

Is Basil ready for a permanent commitment? To love Temperance would mean taking on the burden of providing for her mother and siblings, as well—a tall order for a man who, up to now, has only looked out for himself. Drawn to the tiny spitfire like a magnet, Basil must decide if he’ll let Temperance travel the Oregon Trail with another man, or will he gladly spend the rest of his life BANKING ON TEMPERANCE?

My Review:

Basil and Temperance have one of the most stubborn-filled claim-your-person-already stories I've read in a long time!  So much so, there for a minute I was almost ready to start rootin' for the other man in Temperance's life.  hahaha!

While stubbornness and determination can serve you well, such blind devotion can definitely cause heartache - which, of course since this is a romance story, we know the heartache will be overcome... eventually.

I adored Temperance's devotion to her family and how she remained true to herself.  Watching her fall in love with Basil and work through those emotions was a sight to see.... even if I wanted to shake her sometimes.  I appreciated how even though most of these feelings were new to her, she owned up pretty quickly that Basil was hers, even if she didn't know what to do with that knowledge.  As the eldest child, Temperance was a strong leader in her family, however she had some growing up to do and lessons to learn.

Same for Basil - that man had some heart-wounds in his past to process, but then despite being a successful business owner and a leader in the community, he also had alot of growing up to do and needed his own wake up call (or two... or three.... or....).  He needed someone like Temperance in his life who would make him work for and earn the good stuff, not just keep coasting on surface level deepness and having things handed to him without much effort.  Some of the road-blocks for him, while I could understand it, it also hurt me to feel that pain for Temperance.

I loved the small side story we got with Temperance's mom (actually, I'd really like to read a book from her pov from when they first set out from PA and then what happened in St. Louis during this story) and getting to know Ginger (Basil's sister) and Joseph (from an earlier book in this series).  Ginger was a hoot and I had to agree with her opinion of her brother on several occasions! lol

If you enjoy a slow burn with lots of heated attraction kinda story, this is a good one to pick up.

Purchase Links:


Thursday, June 25, 2020

New Release --A British Heiress in America (Revolutionary Women Book 1) by Becky Lower

Lady Philippa Worthington wants to marry young and sexy. 
Her father plans for her to marry stodgy…old…and rich. 
What’s a beautiful British heiress to do if she’s going to escape a life of passionless marriage? With her father planning to sell her off to the highest bidder in order to support his own lavish lifestyle, Pippa knows there’s only one thing she can do to save herself.
Lady Philippa dons boys’ clothing and stows away on a London ship destined for the American colonies and a new life. One full of hope, freedom, and the chance to finally live up to her feisty nickname among the rough sailors—‘Pip.’ 
But instead of finding independence on the high seas, Pippa is plunged deep into the dangerous world of espionage–and the arms of handsome Daniel Simmons, a merchant sailor for the British—who is also an American Revolutionary spy! 
Torn between allegiance to her home country and the passion she’s always been searching for, Pippa now faces an unexpected threat—and it may cost Pippa and Daniel the very freedom—and love—they’ve both been searching for. 
If they manage to survive the very heart of the beginnings of the Revolutionary War, can the daring spy find love in the arms of A BRITISH HEIRESS IN AMERICA?


Off the Coast of England, 1775

     The minute the ship began to move out of the docks, Pippa’s courage faltered, as if it took a swan dive over the railing and began dog paddling toward the pilings. The shores of her home country faded in the distance, along with her ability to change her course. She desperately wanted a cheroot but couldn’t light up and give herself away even if she had one. Instead, she curled up between the water barrels and closed her eyes, hoping her stomach would settle if she didn’t witness the rocking of the ship. She let the up and down motion lull her into a stupor.
     “Blimey! What ‘ave we here?” One of the crew of the Gladys Maria jostled a barrel away, exposing Pippa’s hiding place. She fell backward, hitting her head on the deck, the sun blinding her. She winced, at both the crack to her head, and at the harsh sunlight. One hand shielded her eyes, the other cradled the back of her head, leaving her body exposed.
     A swift kick in Pippa’s ribs made her yelp in pain. She curled into a ball, but meaty hands grabbed at her and forced her to her feet. She doubled over and grabbed her midsection, retching.
     “Well, iffen it ain’t a little stowaway.” The deckhand laughed as he grabbed the back of Pippa’s shirt and tugged her upright. “Cap’n will not be pleased to see the likes of you.”
     Pippa swallowed her bile and struggled as the man grabbed her trousers as well as the nape of her shirt and half-carried her below deck. “I can walk by meself, guv’ner.” She intentionally lowered her voice, but still it sounded more like a socialite than a boy to her ears. Could she pull this off? Her limbs were shaking so badly she wasn’t at all certain she could walk by herself.
     He dropped her to the floor once they got below deck but still kept a hand at the nape of her shirt, bunching the fabric in his large hand. “So walk then, laddie.” He shoved her forward, and she stumbled, but kept her balance.
     He’d called her a lad. She blew out a breath. At least one man bought her disguise.


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Finally, Progress

     In 1890, suffragists were finally united behind one national organization. After twenty years of competition, the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association joined to become the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Efforts to unite the two organizations began shortly after the split of women’s rights activists over the Fifteenth Amendment in 1869. (The American association supported it, even though women were not included. The National association opposed it, believing the exclusion of women from the amendment would prolong the fight for women’s suffrage.) Alice Stone Blackwell (daughter of American association founder, Lucy Stone) led the negotiations to merge the two groups.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony

     Elizabeth Cady Stanton became the first president of the combined organization, but she didn’t like the administrative duties associated with leadership. Her good friend Susan B. Anthony stepped up and took over most of the tasks involved in leading the new association during Cady’s two-year term. NAWSA turned its focus to winning the right to vote on a state-by-state basis.
     In 1892, Anthony was elected to the presidency. Since she was already 72 years old at that point, she groomed two protégées during her time in office, Carrie Chapman Catt and Anna Howard Shaw. Catt became head of the organization when Anthony resigned from her leadership position in 1900.
     The NAWSA did not exclude African American women from membership at the national level. However, state and local organizations were allowed to bar them and many did so. National conventions held in the south (like Atlanta in 1895 and New Orleans in 1903) were segregated.
     But encouraging developments brought hope to the suffragists.

A privately-minted stamp (to be used alongside regular postage) put out by suffragists celebrating the four States in which women can presently vote on the same basis as men. (Source: National Federation of Democratic Women web site)
     In 1890, Wyoming became the first state to enter the union with women already having the right to vote in the territory.
     Three years later, the question of women’s suffrage was put up for a statewide referendum in Colorado. Carrie Chapman Catt led the effort on behalf of the NAWSA. The Colorado Non-Partisan Equal Suffrage Association, a grassroots coalition, rallied across the state in support of votes for women. The measure passed and Colorado women won the right to vote. 

     When Utah Territory applied for statehood, women convinced politicians to include women’s suffrage in the new state Constitution. This became the law with statehood in January of 1896.    

     At the 1889 Constitutional Convention held to found the state of Idaho, women’ suffrage was a highly controversial topic of discussion. Northwest suffragist Abigail Scott Dunaway and Women's Christian Temperance Union President Harriet Skelton were invited to address the convention. Consequently, temperance and women’s suffrage became linked as they were in many states. The women were unable to persuade the state founders to grant women the right to vote that year, but seven years later Idaho became the fourth state to enfranchise women.
     However, not all efforts to win the right to vote in western states were successful.

     Washington was one of the first territories to attempt granting rights to women. In 1854, a legislative measure was defeated by one vote. After years of trying to work with the legislature to win the vote, they next tried to secure the vote via voter referendums in 1889 and again in 1898. Both bids were unsuccessful.  
     In Kansas, suffrage for women and suffrage for blacks were both put before voters in November 1867. Both referendums failed.
South Dakota clipping
     At the South Dakota statehood convention in October 1889, after contentious discussions over full suffrage for women, politicians granted only partial suffrage, legislating that ‘any woman having the required qualifications as to age, residence and citizenship may vote at any election held solely for school purposes. As State and county superintendents are elected at general and not special elections, women can vote only for school trustees. They have no vote on bonds or appropriations.’ Later that month, the South Dakota Equal Suffrage Association was formed and Anna Shaw led the effort for the NAWSA.
     When South Dakota became a state in November, the first state legislature voted to put the issue up for a referendum in 1890. Although women campaigned diligently for full suffrage, the measure was defeated.

     Several years of concerted efforts by suffragists on the national and state levels led to the 1896 referendum on votes for women in California. That measure also failed.
     While this is not an exhaustive list of all initiatives to win rights for women to vote during this time period, these are some of the most high-profile efforts. By 1900, women in only four states had secured full suffrage.    
     After dedicating their lives to fighting for equal rights for women, especially the right to vote, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony turned leadership of the National American Woman Suffrage Association over to a new generation at the end of the century. Stanton died in 1902. Anthony died in 1906. Neither had won the legal right to vote even in her own state. It would be thirteen years after Anthony’s death before the goal she and Stanton had spent much of their lives fighting for would finally be achieved.
Previous installments:
Voting in Colonial America:


The Fight Begins:

A Rupture in the Cause

Hope Emerges

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The Inspiration behind my "Master Cook and the Maiden". Plus a new excerpt

Vengeance…or love? Will Alfwen have to choose between them? And what part will the handsome Master Cook, Swein, play in her life?

People sometimes ask me: "Where do you get your ideas from?" In the case of my Master Cook and the Maiden, it came from a real historical event.

In the early 14th century, a nun called Joan of Leeds "crafted a dummy... to mislead...She had no shame in procuring its burial in a sacred space" according to the Archbishop of York, William Melton.

By means of the dummy, she faked her own death and fled the convent of Saint Clement by York. Later gossip placed her in the city of Beverley and she was ordered to return to the monastic life by her Archbishop.

Joan's absconding from the convent is not the only one recorded. In 1301 another nun, called Cecily, stripped off her habit, disguised herself and rode off to live with one Gregory de Thornton. 

Clearly, the relgious life was not for everyone. 

In the case of my heroine Alfwen, she is not yet a nun. She fakes her death by drowning, a fate that could happen all too easily to laundresses who had to deal with heavy, waterlogged sheets and clothes in their local rivers. She gambles that the church authorities will consider her body swept away and so makes her escape.

Why she does so forms the catalyst of the story.

Vengeance…or love? Will Alfwen have to choose between them? And what part will the handsome Master Cook, Swein, play in her life? UK #Romance #MedievalRomance #RomanceNovel

New Excerpt

They made good time now to a moated manor house where Swein had agreed, via messages and parchment delivered by a very condescending herald, that he would interrupt his Lent to cook for a knight and lady. As Nutmeg clattered the waggon over the drawbridge, Swein took in a sharp breath and looked at her. “Take care here. It feels amiss.” “Then I am glad I am with you and left Teazel safely back at home,” Alfwen replied, with a calm she did not feel, but wanting to support this man who had rescued and always helped her. Rewarded by a flare of light in his amber eyes and a quick rumble of laughter she turned to face whatever trouble they found. “Will you call me Alf?” she ventured. “It is a part of my name.” He snorted, his humour restored. “If I must!” Alf was certainly better than “You, boy!” which Alfwen endured from the moment she stepped down from the waggon. “You, boy!” yelled a sweating, bearded giant of a man in a filthy tunic as Swein handed her a new leather apron, “Since you are finally here to work get to the well and fetch water, and then rake out the ovens, and then—” Further orders were stopped by Swein stepping up to the taller man so close their boots collided. “Stay, please,” he said to Alfwen, adding in the same breath, “Where is the head cook?” He smacked the letter of introduction against the giant’s chest, allowing all in the kitchen yard to see the lord’s seal. The bearded giant lost his ruddy colour and his bluster, pointing back at the windowless soot-stained building he had just emerged from. “I will introduce us,” Swein went on, glancing at the giant’s meaty fists. “You should get to the well and wash your hands.” He deliberately pushed by the cook and slammed open the door, ignoring the yowl of “Shut it!” from within. Instead he held it wider, allowing Alfwen to see what looked to be a scene from hell. By the light of flickering torches, half-naked, sweating bodies tended glowing orange fires and turned pieces of some kind of flesh on smoking griddles. In the middle of the kitchen, sitting on a bench that was raised to be almost a throne, a dumpy man with a cloth cap similar to Swein’s punched the air, cursed and exhorted “any of you bastards” to close the door. Swein did so and guided her away. “We need to see the lord,” was all he said, followed by “No wonder the lady is sick and needs special dishes made,” and “I hate bullies,” a few moments later. He offered Alfwen his arm, exactly as she dimly recalled Walter offering Enid his, and swept her away, clearly not caring if the round-eyed onlookers thought she was a lad.  
Lindsay Townsend
PS. Swein is the great-grandson of Magnus and Elfrida, (The Knight and the Witch Series) and has inherited his size and honour from Magnus and his talent in forms of magic from Elfrida

Thursday, June 18, 2020

New Release -- The Claim: A Stryker Legacy Novel by Ann Markim

Erik Stryker is determined to make his mark in the world on his own, by establishing a brewing and distilling business in the Yukon. After striking gold in 1896, Erik continues to mine but spends his time and energy pursuing his dream--expanding his beloved spirits business.

Katie Garrick is a beautiful young actress and singer from San Francisco who arrives in the Klondike alone, expecting to marry the unscrupulous suitor who has sent for her--but she is not the only bride-to-be he's sent for! Now, Katie's choices are limited--become a prostitute to survive, or work on the mining claim for Erik's partner and his wife.

As Katie and Erik work together in the harsh conditions, they discover a respect and passion for each other as challenging as the life they have built on the claim. But when Katie can finally afford to return to her beloved San Francisco, will Erik be able to give up all he's worked for? Is love worth the sacrifice of a dream?


Cedar Falls, Iowa, April, 1896
     “Moder! Moder!” Erik Stryker called as he roamed through her large house. Energy surged through his every step.
     His mother hurried down the stairs. Beneath her housedress, her feet were bare. Her blond hair had been plaited into a long braid, which she hadn’t yet wound into a knot at the back of her head.
     “Erik, what is it?”
     “I’m leaving for the Alaska Territory on Friday.”
     She stared at him with wide eyes, then blinked. “What?”
     “Albert Duncan’s uncle has been prospecting near the Yukon River for nearly five years. Albert and I have been corresponding with him about the possibility of selling beer to trading posts and saloons in the area.” The words tumbled out of Erik’s mouth. “And now he has discovered gold!”


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Evacuation Day

British ships leaving Boston Harbor
Unless you live in or near Boston, MA, you’ve probably never heard of Evacuation Day. But Bostonians celebrate it every March 17, since it marks the day in 1776 that the British forces finally left Boston, after being encamped there for eleven months. What prompted this final evacuation is a feat of human endurance, the likes of which we haven’t seen in years. There were cannons in Fort Ticonderoga, NY, over 300 miles away from Boston. General George Washington placed the transfer of these heavy cannon to the then 25-year-old Colonel Henry Knox. 
Henry Knox

They had to wait until the ground was frozen, otherwise the heavy equipment would become lodged in the soft dirt while in transit. The first part of the journey involved floating the fifty-nine cannons and mortars down Lake George, hoping to get them on land at the southern border of the lake before the water completely froze over. It took three days to traverse the lake. Then, the hard part began. The cannon parts were loaded onto forty-two sleds tugged by eighty oxen, over mountainous terrain. The journey took fifty-six days to accomplish. At the end of it, more than 1000 Bostonians gathered at Dorchester Heights overlooking Boston Harbor and reassembled the cannons. 
What the British didn’t realize was while the cannons may look dangerous to their troops in the harbor, the Americans had only enough gunpowder and cannon balls to issue warning shots. The fifty-nine cannons only looked impressive. Even more impressive was the fact some of the cannons facing the harbor were not cannons at all, but were logs painted black to resemble cannons, at least from a distance. 
The cleverness of the Americans was enough to do the trick, and the British forces left the harbor, finally. George Washington stood on the Heights above the city of Boston and watched as the ships evacuated the city and moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia. 
I write about Evacuation Day in A British Heiress in America, the first book in my new Revolutionary Women series. The heroine, Pippa, has to don a boy’s clothing to move about the city by herself, and in her disguise, she is recruited to help assemble the cannons and paint the fake cannons. Here’s an excerpt: 

Shots rang out from the direction of Cambridge.
“The distraction’s begun, men,” Henry Knox called out. “Let’s get these cannons to Dorchester.”
Daniel glanced up as the snow swirled around the line of sleds and oxen. Several thousand men, by his rough estimate, had come together to help and were lending a hand at each sled. “Thank God. We have reinforcements.”
Ben chuckled. “The Brits won’t know what hit ‘em.”
With little fanfare, the men started reassembling the cannons and rolling them into place. The gunshots continued to ring out from Cambridge. With any luck, the cannons would be in position before the fighting stopped.
They unloaded one sled after another, and the oxen were led away to the closest farm with a corral large enough to hold them. The oxen’s hard work was finished, but the waiting men, and the cannons still had work to do. The gun battle whimpered to a close and the cannons were all in place. The fake guns, made from painted logs, had been placed in the farthest spots, but they appeared real enough, at least from a distance. Daniel ran his hand down one of the logs, admiring the ingenuity.
“I painted that one myself.”
He’d recognize that voice anywhere. Daniel wheeled and Pippa stood next to him, dressed in her cabin boy clothing and with a smirk on her face.
He grabbed her elbow. “What are you doing here?”
“Isn’t it obvious? I’m doing my part for the Revolution.” She wrenched her elbow away from his grasp. “I’ve decided to side with America instead of England.”
Daniel’s drooping body was like a plant which had just been given a healthy dose of water. He straightened and stared at her. Even in her boy’s clothing, with her hair tied back in a queue, she was exquisite. “So, you’re not running back across the Atlantic at your first opportunity?”
She shook her head. “No. I’ll need to take care of my business from afar and hope for the best. But no, I can’t side with the British anymore.”

A British Heiress in America is available for pre-order now here:

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Book review: Texas Rose by Tracy Garrett

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Texas, 1847~


A loner with a heart of ice and nerves of steel. A dangerous, fast gun for hire. Jaret Walker has only his honor and the reputation he’s built for himself to call his own. When a promise sends him to isolated Two Roses Ranch and Isabel Bennett, the woman he’s come to protect, all he can think of is making her his—in every way. But she’s the kind of woman a man like him can never have—for he’s a man with a past that haunts him, and with no future to share.


The moment Isabel Bennett lays eyes on Jaret Walker, the dreams she’s pushed aside for so long suddenly seem possible. She’s sworn never to marry and give a man control over her ranch. But when Jaret rides into her life, she’s tempted to taste what she’s sworn to give up—a passion that burns out of control with each kiss…desire that consumes them both…and a bold challenge from the future that neither of them believed in…until now…

My review:

What else besides sparks and explosions could happen when you mix a hard-headed bossy cowboy with a protective streak with a strong-willed independent Spanish beauty.

I loved the instant attraction between Jaret and Isabel - it knocked both of them for a loop and it was fun watching them dance around each other.  While I did wanna shake both of their stubborn hides a time or two for being more like Lucifer (the horse) than adults, it provided some sweet moments within the chaos.

Jaret's sense of honor and responsibility kept him close to Isabel, even though he fought through feelings of impostor/inadequacies.  Although in my opinion, he was definitely worthy of the home and love that was just waiting for him to grab hold of.  I was so happy when he finally got his head sorted out!

Isabel sure had a strong stubborn will and gumption, which served her well most of the time.  There were a few times she had lessons to learn on when to give in and let go.  But I did love it when she had an opportunity to hold an intense grudge, and she didn't - that was a beautiful gift she gave herself (and Jaret).

The mystery kept me guessing and the drama kept on rollin' up to the very end. If you're looking for a historical romance where the sparks ignite a passion and you're swept into the adventure, this is a story to escape into.

Purchase links:


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

A memory trip down Anthology Lane by Kaye Spencer #westernromance #anthology #prairierosepubs

June 2014—  Six years ago... Prairie Rose Publications released the mail-order bride anthology that included the first story I wrote for PRP.

Ain’t it funny how time slips away? ;-)

Back to our regular broadcast after that commercial interruption from Willie.

This anthology is Lassoing a Mail-Order Bride, and it has four novellas:

  • THESE ROUGH DREAMS—Cheryl Pierson
  • THE BIG UNEASY—Kathleen Rice Adams
  • A PERMANENT WOMAN—Kaye Spencer

Available on Amazon. Click HERE.

Set-up for an excerpt from 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 al letter as next of kin granting him custody of his three grandchildren, who 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 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 bother her in the least, because desperate women take desperate measures…


“Excuse me. Mr. Perlman directed me here. I’m responding to an advertisement in the Matrimony Courier. Are you Simon Driscoll?”

Simon closed his eyes, fortifying himself to face another woman with a façade of interest. “Yes, I’m Simon Driscoll. Your name?”

“Tessa Morris.”

He opened his eyes, frowning as he mentally ticked off the names on the list. Still gazing out the window, he asked, “Did you send a letter under a different name? I don’t recall a Mrs. Morris.”

“Miss. Miss Morris. I’ve never been married and, no, I didn’t send a letter. In fact, I came across your advertisement but five days ago.”

Simon turned. “I’m sorry, but the deadline—” The words died on his lips. Ben was in the doorway, pointing to the woman and nodding.

“Mr. Driscoll, is something wrong?” She followed Simon’s stare and looked over her shoulder right as Ben stepped out of the doorway.

His insides went topsy-turvy. Ben had a way with people. He couldn’t leave him to talk to this woman alone.

No letter of introduction. He didn’t know anything about her, and he sure as hell didn’t know what to say.

“You’re quite pale, Mr. Driscoll. I think you should sit.”

He cut her a sidelong glance. She was close enough that he could feel her body heat, and the scent of her perfume made him a little lightheaded. When she took hold of his hand, the soft warmth of her touch made his heart leap into his throat. She led him to a chair and, situating herself beside him, positioned hers so their knees touched. His breath hitched, and he scooted his chair, which prompted her to move her chair even closer. He was too old for parlor games, and she seemed determined to make him uncomfortable with her casual familiarity. The other women had kept a safe, proper distance across the table barricade.

She filled a glass with water from the pitcher at hand and gave it to him. “Here, drink this. You’ll feel better.”

Dumbly, he accepted the water, but she didn’t let go when he wrapped his big hand around the glass, trapping her fingers under his. It gave him a start, and he released his grasp like he’d been burned. That’s when he looked at her. Really looked.


A Permanent Woman is also available as a single-sell.
Click HERE.

Until next time,
Kaye Spencer

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