Friday, February 21, 2020

Six More Weeks of Winter? The Origins of Groundhog Day


February second was less than three weeks ago, a “holiday” that comes and goes without much fanfare, except perhaps in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Many people associate Groundhog Day with the iconic 1993 film by the same name.

Groundhog, Woodchuck, or Whistle Pig,
Wikimedia Creative commons, {cc} 2007

On that day reporters reveal, tongue-in-cheek, whether or not Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow and predicted the length of the remaining winter. Just a few miles west of us at the Howell Nature Center, Woody, Michigan’s official woodchuck, also makes the same prediction.

Surprisingly, Groundhog Day’s roots come from a holy day celebrated from early Christian times of Jesus’s presentation as an infant in the Temple as recorded in Luke 2:22-40. There is evidence of this day going back to the fourth century A.D. in Jerusalem. The commemoration of Mary’s purification was added much later to the feast day. It takes place halfway between the winter solstice and the spring Equinox. Near the end of the 15th century it became known as Candlemas.

Sign in Punxsutawney, PA,
{cc} "Eddie," 2007
On Candlemas, throughout Europe, people would receive much needed candles which were blessed and distributed by the clergy for the cold, dark days of winter. The folklore of Christians in some European countries said that if Candlemas was a sunny day it meant 40 more days of a snowy, cold winter. As an old English saying went:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Then winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.


The Germans eventually came up with their own tradition of the legend which postulated that if a hedgehog or other small animal came out and saw its shadow on Candlemas, then winter would continue for 40 days. When German immigrants came to settle Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries, they brought this tradition with them. With the absence of hedgehogs in North America, they chose the native groundhog to forecast the weather for the remaining winter.

Punxsutawney Phil in 2018,
Wikimedia Commons, 
{cc}, Luke Surl, 2019 
In 1887 a newspaper editor by the name of Clymer Freas, talked fellow members of a groundhog-hunting club into the idea of Groundhog Day. The group was called the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. They gathered at a site called Gobbler’s Knob, where the groundhog, who saw his shadow, was the bearer of disappointing news. They proclaimed that the groundhog they named Punxsutawney Phil was a weather forecaster extraordinaire.

However, Phil is correct less than half the time. Groundhogs, also called woodchucks, are chubby little twelve to fifteen pound creatures who you may see waddling along in your backyard. They are a member of the ground squirrel family and go into hibernation in late autumn. In February, the males arise and start looking for a mate before they come completely out of hibernation in March.
Historic Gobbler's Knob,
Wikimedia Commons, {cc} 2013, Doug Kerr
While Punxsutawney legend has it that Phil is 133 years old due to drinking magical punch during the summer, there have been quite a few of them. Groundhogs usually live up to ten years in captivity. Towns and cities across the country now have their versions of the prognosticating rodent, but thousands of people still gather every year at Gobbler’s Knob to see men in top hats deliver the news as to whether Punxsutawney Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter.

Have you ever attended a Groundhog Day celebration? If not, do you think it would be fun? We love to know what you're thinking.

Kathleen Rouser is the multi-published author of the 2017 Bookvana Award winner, Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan, and its sequel, Secrets and Wishes. She is a longtime member in good standing of American Christian Fiction Writers. Kathleen wanted to be a writer before she could even read. She longs to create characters who resonate with readers and realize the need for a transforming Savior in their everyday lives. She lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of thirty-some years, and continues on the elusive quest to brew the perfect cup of coffee to enjoy while she is writing. Connect with Kathleen on her website at kathleenrouser.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kathleenerouser/, and on Twitter @KathleenRouser.

Bookvana Awards Winner

Sophie Biddle is an heiress on the run with a child in tow. Wary and self-reliant, Sophie is caught off guard when meeting a kind, but meddling and handsome minister at the local mercantile. Believing he has failed God and his former flock, the Reverend Ian McCormick is determined to start anew in Stone Creek, Michigan. While Sophie seeks acceptance for her child and a measure of respect for herself, the rumors swirl about her sordid past. Should Ian show concern for Sophie's plight? If he does, he'll risk losing everything — including his new position as pastor of Stone Creek. Will the scandals of their pasts bind them together, or drive both deeper into a spiral of shame?
 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Wild West Words We Use Today, Part 8

The theater, politics, and Andrew Jackson all come up in this installment in the Wild West Sayings We Use Today blog series. We’re making our way through the alphabet to discover the history of words that carry us back to a simpler time. Enjoy! 
This post is brought to you by Janalyn Voigt. 

Wild West Sayings We Use Today

Claptrap


Most people today have heard the word claptrap as a noun describing pretentious nonsense. This is actually a theater term from the 1700’s and was used for a stunt to attract applause (a clap trap). This word came to mean any artifice drawing attention to a political event. Later, it described nonsensical chatter. It’s not hard to understand the progression of this word from its theater origins to the political arena, and then on to foolish speech. Or is that just me?

Historical Reference: The earliest dictionary use of clap-trap appeared in The Universal Etymological English Dictionary (Vol. 2, 1727) by Nathan Bailey: “A CLAP Trap: A name given to the rant and rhimes that dramatick poets, to please the actors, let them go off with; as much as to say, a trap to catch a clap by way of applause from the spectators at a play.”

Example: I’m tired of hearing all that claptrap about how hard he has it at work.

Conniption Fit 

We still speak of a fit of hysterical excitement or anger as a conniption fit, just as people did in the Wild West. The origins of this expression are not clear. The fact that, centuries ago, ‘corruption’ was used interchangeably with ‘anger’ or ‘temper’ suggests one explanation. Another that seems more likely to me anyway is that conniption derived from ‘conapshus,’ a mispronunciation of captious, an adjective that means ‘tending to find fault or raise petty objections.’ 

Historical Reference: According to the podcast, Podictionary, a woman named Aunt Keziah became angry when Andrew Jackson canceled his visit to her small New England town. She fell down in what became the first recorded ‘conniption fit.’ It was 1833. 

Example: If my car keys don’t turn up, I’m going to have a conniption fit. 

Cotton To 

A person might say that he or she doesn’t ‘cotton to’ another person. This means the person is not drawn to or doesn’t like the other party. Or the opposite can be true. Saying that you cotton to another person means you mesh well. This phrase originated as a textile term in the fabric mills of 16th-century England. It became common in the southern United States, where cotton formed a primary crop. When fibers melded to form cotton cloth, they were said to cotton or cotton well. 

Historical Reference: The poet Sir George Wharton used ‘cotten’ as a verb to mean ‘make friendly advances’ in the 1648 pamphlet Mercurius Elencticus. 

Example: My mother really cottons to her new daughter-in-law. 

That’s it for this round. Thanks for indulging my interest in the history of words. Stop back next month (same time, same place) for another look at Wild West sayings we still use today.

About Janalyn Voigt

Janalyn Voigt fell in love with literature at an early age when her father read chapters from classics as bedtime stories. When Janalyn grew older, she put herself to sleep with tales "written" in her head. Today Janalyn is a storyteller who writes in several genres. Romance, mystery, adventure, history, and whimsy appear in all her novels in proportions dictated by their genre. Janalyn Voigt is represented by Wordserve Literary.

Learn more about Janalyn Voigt



Discover Montana Gold 

Based on actual historical events during a time of unrest in America, the Montana gold series explores faith, love, and courage in the wild west.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Irish Potato Famine

By Susan G Mathis

Ireland’s Great Hunger began in 1845 when a fungus spread throughout Ireland’s massive potato crop, ruining half the nation’s crop that year and almost three-quarters of the crop during the next seven years. The Irish poor, primarily Catholics and tenant farmers, relied on potatoes as their main source of food since the British landlords forced them to grow other crops such as peas and beans and raise livestock including fish and rabbits to export instead of consuming it themselves. 

Losing their primary food source meant that by 1852 about a million people starved to death and another million were forced to immigrate as refugees, most in what was dubbed “famine ships.” These cargo ships, roughly retrofitted to hold as many people as possible in terrible, squalid conditions, were also called “coffin ships” because so many died on the voyage. 

Can you imagine immigrating on a famine ship with six young children ages nine months to thirteen years? It must have been terrifying to say the least. And how did they feel leaving their homeland and moving to the New World? In my debut novel, The Fabric of Hope, I explore those experiences through my character’s eyes—from their decision to leave Ireland, through their voyage on a famine ship, until they settle on the Canadian island of Wolfe Island.  

When Irish immigrants came to the U.S. and Canada, they weren’t looking for a handout. They were looking for hope and a future for them and their children, a topic I cover in depth in my story.

Whether you have an Irish heritage or not, you do have a heritage—traditions, beliefs, and achievements that are a part of your history. Your heritage has laid a foundation for you, whether you are conscious of it or not. Exploring that heritage will enrich your life, if you take the time to do so. It sure did for me.

So Happy St. Patrick’s Day—a little early. If you haven’t had the chance to check out my story, I hope you’ll make it a St. Patrick’s Day gift to yourself. 
What more would you like to know about the Irish Hunger? 

Leave your answer or comments on the post below and join me on March 19th for my next post. 

Check out The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy
The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy is based on my family story—my great great grandmother, Margaret, and loosely based on my personal story as well. It’s a parallel story line so you who enjoy historical fiction and you who enjoy contemporary fiction will enjoy this novel.

An 1850s Irish immigrant and a 21st-century single mother are connected by faith, family, and a quilt. Will they both find hope for the future? After struggling to accept the changes forced upon her, Margaret Hawkins and her family take a perilous journey on an 1851 immigrant ship to the New World, bringing with her an Irish family quilt she is making. A hundred and sixty years later, her great granddaughter, Maggie, searches for the family quilt after her ex pawns it. But on their way to creating a family legacy, will these women find peace with the past and embrace hope for the future, or will they be imprisoned by fear and faithlessness?

About Susan: 
Susan G Mathis is a multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Katelyn’s Choice, the first in The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, is available now, and book two, Devyn’s Dilemma, releases in April, 2020. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family LegacyChristmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise are available now. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more.

Susan is also a published author of two premarital books with her husband, Dale, two children's picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs, enjoys traveling globally with her wonderful husband, Dale. 

Lighthouse Publishing: https://shoplpc.com/devyns-dilemma

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Arizona, a Valentine's Day Birthday

by Nancy J. Farrier


Photo by Wing-Chi Poon, Wikimedia Commons
Arizona is one of two States accepted into the union on Valentine’s Day, February 14th. Oregon joined in 1859, and Arizona in 1912. Since this is Valentine’s month, and Arizona is my home State, I thought it would be fun to see some of the wonderful benefits gained when we became part of the United States of America.

In 1528, the land mass that includes modern day Arizona, came under Spanish rule, or conquest. Then in 1821, Mexico gained control of the territory including Arizona. That is the same time period when the first trappers and traders came west from the United States of America. 

Lavender Pit: Bisbee
Wikimedia Commons
Then in 1848, the USA won the Mexican-American War, taking possession of all the country in Arizona north of the Gila River. That means where I live and Tucson, which is south of me, still belonged to Mexico. Then in 185,4 the Gadsden Purchase claimed all of modern day Arizona. Arizona became a territory of the United States of America in 1863.

In 1854, copper was first discovered in Arizona. Copper has been a major industry of the State and continues to be important today. Copper is extracted and exported and is one of three major exports we are known for: copper, cattle, and cotton. There are several productive mines still active and viable, though not as many as there used to be.

Grand Canyon: by Murray Foubister, Wikimedia Commons
In 1869 John Wesley Powell did the first trip through the Grand Canyon by boat. Powell lost an arm during the Civil War, but still had the heart of an explorer. He traveled from Green River, Wyoming, through Utah and through the Grand Canyon, mapping the way. The Grand Canyon became a National Park in 1919 and in 1940, Arizona became the Grand Canyon State.

Interesting fact: There have been almost 700 deaths at the Grand Canyon. Some of them have been accidental falls from the rim of the canyon. Several have been men jumping from one rock to another to get the best spot for a picture.

Meteor Crater by Tsaiproject, Wikimedia Commons
In Northern Arizona, you can find a geographical treat if you visit Meteor Crater. The crater is almost 4,000 feet across and over 550 feet deep. The enormous crater was first named Canyon Diablo crater when discovered in the 19th century. Scientists call it Barringer Crater after the man who first suggested a meteor impact caused the formation. The Barringer family owns the crater, which you can visit.

Wyatt Earp
Wikimedia Commons
Arizona added to the western gunfighter appeal when in 1881 Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday took on the Clanton gang who had been rustling cattle. The shootout has been written about and made into movies many times. The town of Tombstone, where the shootout took place, is a major tourist attraction. You can still visit that alley and see where the gunfight happened. Although this is the most famous old west gunfight, the actual fight only lasted thirty seconds.



Another legend of Arizona was the reign of Geronimo and the Chiricahua Apaches he led. They fought hard to
Geronimo (far right) and warriors
Wikimedia Commons
maintain their way of life, but on September 4, 1868, Geronimo surrendered and the fighting ceased. In 1905, Geronimo published his autobiography. He also met with President Theodore Roosevelt and tried in vain to convince him to allow the Apaches to return to their land. He was an incredible warrior who grieved the loss of his land and way of life.



Hoover Dam 1941 by Ansel Adams
Wikimedia Commons
Arizona is home to some famous dams. Roosevelt Dam, Coolidge Dam and Bartlett Dam were very important, but Hoover Dam was a major feat of engineering. At the time, Hoover Dam was the tallest in the world. The concrete used in the construction would have stretched across the country. The first summer of construction was extremely hot and they needed the poured concrete to cool quickly, so the engineers designed the world's largest refrigerator to put out enough ice to cool the freshly laid concrete and help speed the building process. 

The name of the dam was very controversial. After being named, Hoover Dam, after President Hoover, there was opposition. For years, the name was changed to Boulder Dam, until President Truman made the Hoover Dam the official name.

There are so many unique features in Arizona. From the mountains in the north to the deserts in the south, Arizona is a beautiful State and a wonderful addition to our country. Happy Birthday, Arizona.


Nancy J Farrier is an award-winning author who lives in Southern Arizona in the Sonoran Desert. She loves the Southwest with its interesting historical past. When Nancy isn’t writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her website: nancyjfarrier.com.


Monday, February 17, 2020

Have an Animal Cracker! - and a Giveaway


 By Davalynn Spencer

Crackers are my downfall. Especially those that are slightly sweet. Somehow, I feel less guilty for binging, um, I mean eating a few.

No cooking required, right? Add a hot cup of tea or coffee, and I have a perfect meal substitute to fuel me through a writing project. Maybe that’s why D.F. Stauffer's animal crackers showed up in my latest novella, Just in Time for Christmas.

The year 1875 in the Old West saw most people preparing their own food with few exceptions: those who could afford to hire a cook or eat at caf├ęs and hotels, and those who showed up on time during a cattle drive for whatever Cookie had prepared.

There were no fast-food places, unless one considered hard tack and jerked beef fast food. If so, that fare could be found a short reach away in one’s saddlebags.

American tastes for British “biscuits” (crackers) ensured the import of such delectables from England, which led domestic bakers to try their hand at the craft. (The term “cracker” was reportedly coined by New York baker Josiah Bent in 1801 for a crunchy biscuit/cookie.)


D.F. Stauffer and son Albert in the Stauffer's Steam Biscuit Bakery delivery wagon, 1989.
(Image from author's collection: 
A Cookbook, by D.F. Stauffer, York, PA Mennonite Biscuit Cookie Company)
D.F. Stauffer Biscuit Company’s famous animal-shaped crackers first showed up in York, Pennsylvania, in 1871. According to the introduction in A Cookbook, by D.F. Stauffer, David F. Stauffer began his venture with five barrels of crackers from a business founded in 1858 by Jacob Weiser. The Stauffer cracker barrels were delivered by wheelbarrow. Today, Stauffer's products are delivered by semi-tractor trailers across the United States and several other countries. 

Two additional Stauffer bakeries also produce animal crackers and other products in Cuba, New York, and Santa Ana, California. Some crackers come in unique flavors, such as cheddar-cheese whales and ginger-flavored “snaps,” but animal crackers remain their best seller. 
From author's "collection." Stauffer's Animal Crackers
In the 1800s, other domestic bakeries joined forces as the New York Biscuit Company in 1889. The National Biscuit Company formed in 1898, which we recognize today as Nabisco.

Over the years, conglomerate mergers have swallowed the once privately owned bakeries. But Stauffer’s Animal Crackers live on (not to be confused with Nabisco’s Barnum Animals of 1902 origin). 

From author's collection.
According to the stauffers.com web site, Stauffer's is currently owned by Meiji Seika of Japan. There are currently 13 animal-cracker shapes. My favorite, of course, was always the horse. 
Thirteen animal shapes still offered today by Stauffer's Animal Crackers.
Image courtesy Wikipedia.
What about you? Do you (or did you) have a favorite animal-cracker shape? Regardless of its origin, share your chosen animal shape in the comments below, and I’ll toss your name in the cookie tin for a drawing. The randomly-chosen winner will receive a signed print copy of A High-Country Christmas Romance Collection which includes Just in Time for Christmas.

Happy munching!




Davalynn Spencer can’t stop #lovingthecowboy. As the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, she writes romance for those who enjoy a Western tale with a rugged hero, both historical and contemporary. She holds the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction, teaches writing workshops, and plays the keyboard on her church worship team. When she’s not writing, teaching, or playing, she’s wrangling Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. Learn more about Davalynn and her books at www.davalynnspencer.com. Become a newsletter friend and receive a free historical novella: http://eepurl.com/xa81D.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

History of the Rodeo Clown


This week an icon in the PRCA rodeo passed away.

Lecile Harris (1937-2020), died in his sleep Wednesday night after the final show of the Dixie National Rodeo and Livestock Show in Mississippi, my home state. At 83 years young, Mr. Harris was still doing what he loved, being a rodeo clown. And he was good at it.

It was a shock to hear the news on Thursday morning, and it got me to thinking about the history of rodeo clowns.

When competitive rodeo became all the rage in the early 1900s, promoters hired cowboys to entertain the crowd between events. Prior to that, let’s just say the games and matches played out on the plains between cowboys matching skills and wits, there wasn’t really any need to “entertain” between the events that the cowboys themselves had come to see. But once there was a paying audience, those people wanted a lot of bang for their buck, and wanted to be entertained every second they were at the “show”. Much like the people at the medieval jousting matches and the Roman Coliseums.


The cowboys whose job it was to entertain the crowd started wearing oversized, baggy clothing, and some even painted their faces just as circus clowns do. The rodeo clown took a lot of cues from circus clowns and court jesters as their job—initially— was the same: to entertain the rowdy crowd. It wasn’t exactly dangerous… unless the crowd became unruly, I suppose.

But soon the crowds grew bored and wanted more danger and ill-tempered bulls were brought in for the bull-riding events. As most of us know, bull riders are only expected to stay on for 8 seconds and after that, that mean, ornery, I-will-trample-everything-in-my-path bull is out for blood.

[Photograph of Rodeo Clowns], photograph, June 24, 1959; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth531666/: accessed February 14, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Erath County Genealogical Society. 
So the rodeo clowns stepped up to distract the bulls from the rider so he could get to safety. Many times the clowns worked in pairs, and I’ve seen as many as three or four in the arena. In the 1930s, Jasbo Fulkerson introduced a wooden barrel as a barrier and a way to escape the enraged bull. These days, a heavy duty plastic barrel does the trick, but still, it all looks quite scary when you see a bull butting one of those things and you know a bullfighter is inside!

These men are professional athletes and the proper term for them is bullfighter all across the globe. Many still wear baggy bright clothes and all kinds of flashy things to get the bulls’ attention, but make no mistake, they are highly skilled at what they do. When a rider is injured or hung up, they risk their lives to free that rider. Honestly, they are some of the bravest, most skilled men I’ve ever seen in action.

In larger rodeos, there are bullfighters who are 100% focused on the bull, and then there’s the rodeo clown (sometimes called the barrelman) whose job is to poke fun at the bull, the riders, the other bullfighters and entertain the crowd, while also convincing everybody he’s the tough one out there in the ring. But even that seasoned old cowpoke who might be a bit over the hill has paid his dues, and at one time, he was the one with an angry bull breathing down his neck.



Such was the case with Lecile Harris. He started out wanting to ride bulls, but his tall, lanky frame wasn’t suited to the job. He fell into the job of bullfighter when another guy failed to show up one day, and the rest is history. He was a natural and was always a “class clown”, so he loved hamming it up for the crowd. At the age of 52, he was injured in the arena, which ended his career as a bullfighter, and he spent the next 30 plus years in the ring entertaining the crowds as the main attraction, the Rodeo Clown. Six decades in the ring, and he’d performed a few hours before he drew his last breath.

RIP, Lecile Harris.


Lecile Harris (1937-2020)
www.lecile.com


For more older photos of rodeo clowns, visit Lecile's FB page and scroll through the photos. Or go to Youtube and search for rodeo clowns or rodeo bullfighters to see some of these guys in action!


Today's the last day to get your print copy of
The Crossing at Cypress Creek for $5 from Tyndale.
Click here to order your copy today!





Saturday, February 15, 2020

Mid-Month Madness Party



 Welcome to the Mid-Month Madness Party! We really appreciate you coming by! We will be giving away six books so be sure to pay attention to how to enter.

To enter to win you MUST leave a comment WITH your email and you MUST ask one or more of the authors a question you'd like to know about them, their writing, or their books.

We are looking forward to getting to know you better and hope you'll get to know us better, too!


BE SURE TO DROP BY THE FACEBOOK PARTY FOR A CHANCE TO MINGLE WITH THE AUTHORS, AND EVEN MORE GREAT GIVEAWAYS! 

IT'S TODAY, SATURDAY FEBRUARY 15TH, FROM 11:00 to 1:30 
PACIFIC STANDARD TIME.



The Daughter’s Predicament 
~ The Quilting Circle Series Book 2



As Isabelle’s romance prospects turn in her favor, a family scandal derails her dreams. Isabelle’s half-sister becomes pregnant out of wedlock and Isabelle—the unfavored daughter—becomes the family sacrifice to save face. Despite gaining the attention of a handsome rancher, her parents are pressuring her to marry a man of their choosing to rescue her sister’s reputation. A third suitor waits silently, hoping for his chance. Will Isabelle capitulate and marry her parents’ choice, or will she rebel and marry the man they don’t approve of? Or will the man leaving secret love poems sweep her off her feet?





Gabriel’s Atonement
Book 1 in the Land Rush Dreams series




All Gabriel Coulter ever wanted was to live a comfortable life as a successful gambler, but a confrontation with a disgruntled cowboy who’d just lost his monthly pay to Gabe leads to a family man dying in his arms. Even though it was self-defense, the only way Gabe knows to get rid of his guilt is to return the money he won to the man’s wife.

Lara Talbot sees Gabe as a derelict like her husband and wants nothing to do with him--not even the much-needed money he's offered her. But as she struggles to provide for her family and makes plans to claim property in the upcoming Oklahoma land rush in hopes of finally having a permanent home, she wonders if God might have sent the meddling man to help.



Double Jeopardy



New York City socialite Becky Campbell inherited more than a speck of her father’s wanderlust. Now his murder bequeaths her a mystery, a ramshackle homestead, and a silver mine. 

Zeke Graumann signs on as Becky’s foreman to save his ranch. He shares the workers’ reservations about a woman boss, especially one who burns water and prances around in dungarees. Even though she did look awful good in them.

When a series of accidents add threat to tension, Becky and Zeke must choose between trusting each other or accomplishing their dreams. Because surely they can’t have both. Or can they?



Leaving Texas



I know the plans I have for you, plans for good, not evil.
Robbed of her true love by his mean-spirited mother, Charity is given no choice but to leave Texas and follow her Prince Charming to the Golden State. Instantly attracted to her, Morgan agrees to help the young beauty on her journey, but where all other ladies paled after first blush, his initial fascination only deepens with every turn of the wagon’s wheels. Though obvious to all those around the two—how perfect they are for each other—will the hard-headed, strong-willed girl ever realize?



Stealing Hearts




When Grace Baxton comes face-to-face with the thief who broke into her uncle's home, she isn't prepared for meeting Andrew Bradenton. The judge sentences Andrew Bradenton to work for the Baxton family, and Grace struggles with forgiveness. Out of guilt, Andrew offers to help Grace search for an heirloom book. When a handsome stranger appears with the book in hand, warming Grace's heart and finding favor with her uncle, Andrew tries to prove the stranger is up to no good. After key documents and money go missing from her uncle's safe, Andrew is seen as the guilty party. Will Grace discover the truth in time?











Bestselling, award-winning novelist MARY DAVIS has over thirty titles in both historical and contemporary themes. She is a member of ACFW and has led critique groups for two decades. Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-five years and two cats. She has three adult children and two adorable grandchildren. She enjoys playing board and card games, rain, and cats. She would enjoy gardening if she didn’t have a black thumb. Her hobbies are quilting, porcelain doll making, sewing, crafts, crocheting, and knitting. 





Caryl McAdoo writes for the Kingdom, praying each story gives God glory. Her highly acclaimed ten-book historical Texas Romance Family Saga is enhanced with six Companion Books featuring ancestors or descendants of its characters. She also writes contemporary romance, Biblical fiction, and for mid-grade and young adult readers. Hear her sing new songs God gives her at YouTube. Sharing four children and eighteen grandsugars with husband of fifty-plus years Ron, she counts them life’s biggest blessings. The McAdoos live in the woods of Red River County south of Clarksville in the far northeast corner of the Lone Star State.






Donna Schlachter writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of ACFW, Writers on the Rock, SinC, and CAN; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests.





Vickie McDonough is the best-selling author of 50 books and novellas. Vickie grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead, she married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams penning romance stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie’s books have won numerous awards including the Booksellers Best and the Inspirational Readers Choice awards. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, doing stained-glass projects, gardening, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website: www.vickiemcdonough.com





Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those childhood skills to become an award-winning and best-selling author and speaker who is also an advocate for literacy as an educational consultant with Usborne Books. She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, along with their two children and two dogs in Colorado. She has sold twenty (21) books so far and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. 



Direct a comment below to one or more of the authors for a chance to win her book giveaway! And don't forget to join the Mid-Month Madness Facebook party for even more great prizes!
  
Please be sure to include your email address in your comment using at and dot so we can notify you of your prize! Example: janedoe at gmail dot com