Tag Archives: montana romance

Status Update – Why Series End

Mar 01, 2017

In my writing career so far, I have written eight different series (and a few odds and ends). Of those series, I only have two “active” right now (The Brides of Paradise Ranch and Nerds of Paradise). Four of those series are definitely done (The Noble Hearts, Montana Romance, Hot on the Trail, and Culpepper Cowboys). And the other two (Second Chances and Grace’s Moon)? Ugh, that’s where my heart and my head get into serious debates.

But first things first….

Why does an author choose to end a series? If you’re a reader, it might be heartbreaking to say goodbye to your favorite characters and a world you’ve fallen in love with. The same is true for the author too, but sometimes things have to end. Like with my Noble Hearts series. That decision was easy, because I realized Medieval Romance wasn’t the way I wanted to go. Or with Montana Romance, I felt like I’d told all the stories I needed to tell in that world and wanted to move on to other things. Hot on the Trail was a slightly different story, because I just got burnt out of writing about the Oregon Trail. I mean, there are only so many stories you can tell about people headed west in wagons. But you’ll notice, I sort of just rolled that world into Paradise Ranch, so it doesn’t really end, it just shifts.

Incidentally, I’m thinking that later this year, I might spin-off Paradise Ranch into a 3-5 novella series about the girls that Bonnie has rescued, educated, and helped to find a new life. And thanks to Elspeth and Gunn, those lives are as servants in British households…which would be a great transition from my historical westerns to the British Victorian stories I really want to start writing. It’s all organic, and everything fits together!

But I digress. For me, the Culpepper Cowboys books ended because the well went completely dry for those books. I got to the point where I was just blank. I had no new ideas for the length, tone, and atmosphere of that world. But that sort of rolled into Nerds of Paradise, which are longer, deeper, more complex, and deal with more serious issues. So if that’s the case for those books, what about Second Chances, my contemporary series set in Maine?

This is where I start to cringe on an emotional level. Because I LOVE those Maine books. I love Maine! And I’m very proud of what is now a trilogy. I have people asking me if I’m going to write more in that series all the time. And I hate to say it, but the farther away I get from the last one of those that I published, the less likely I am to continue the series. Because the thing about writers is that their writing brains are not static. I am constantly coming up with new ideas, new worlds, and new characters. Which is a wonderful thing! But the consequence is that other things can be left behind because there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Also, when other series and types of books start to pick up in sales, it’s really hard to forego that income to write something that will need a bigger marketing push. We gotta eat!

And finally… Grace’s Moon. *epic sigh* So, so few people have read my Sci-Fi books or even know they exist. The thing is, I love that genre. I love the books that I’ve already published in that series, and I love the ones that are still floating around in my head. And I keep saying that someday I AM going to come back to that series and write more. Unlike Second Chances, I’m unwilling to say, willingly or grudgingly, that I’m done with Grace. Because I have generation after generation of those characters already planned out. In my mind, that world is epic! Someday I’ll get back to it. Someday!

Character Interview – Michael West from Our Little Secrets

Jun 07, 2016

It’s come to my attention that I’ve written about a whole lot of people—I mean, a WHOLE lot—in the last almost 5 years, and not everyone has met all of these folks! So what better way to get new readers in touch with longstanding characters than to interview them? Let’s get started with one of my favorite characters of all time, Michael West, the hero of Our Little Secrets.

OurLittleSecrets_MontanaRomanceBook1

Merry: So Michael. Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Michael: Well, my name is…Michael West. My story begins in the town of Cold Springs, Montana in the year 1895, where I run the town’s general store. I’ve running the store for several years, and I live in the apartment upstairs. I’m originally from Philadelphia, however, where I was…um…involved in the family business. It’s not something I like to talk about.

Merry: Gotcha. Is that where part of the title for your book, Our Little Secrets, comes from?

Michael: (hesitates) Possibly.

Merry: I understand that a long-time friend of yours was involved in your decision to move to Cold Springs.

Michael: Yes. Phineas Bell, Cold Springs’s banker, and I went to college together. We’ve always been close, but Phin…let’s just say Phin ran into some trouble with his family and moved out West. That’s his story to tell, though. We kept in touch, and when I was going through a bad time in my life, Phin encouraged me to move out to Montana to start over.

Merry: And has that worked out for you?

Michael: Absolutely! It was a little awkward at first. I wasn’t in the best state of mind when I first moved to Cold Springs, so it took a while for the townsfolk to warm up to me and me to warm up to them. There were some understandings about…about the kind of man I was. But that all sorted itself out when Charlie came to town.

Merry: Charlie is your wife, right?

Michael: Right. Short for “Charlotte.” And she’s far and away the most wonderful woman I’ve ever known.

Merry: I understand she had some secrets she was keeping when she first arrived in town herself.

Michael: She did, but those are her secrets to tell. It’s funny, but the whole reason we started talking in the first place was due to a misunderstanding. Fate has a funny way of throwing people together, though. Within an hour, we both realized that we had what the other was lacking…in several ways. I’ve never made a decision as fast as the decision I made to marry her.

Merry: But it was rough going at first, wasn’t it?

Michael: It depends on what you mean by “rough going.” There were a lot of things we didn’t know about the other, and those things had to be worked out. I’ll admit, I made some rash decisions and had a knee-jerk reaction that ended up being more trouble than it was worth.

Merry: I know some readers have criticized you for…well, without giving anything away, let’s just say for doing something that might be considered betrayal.

Michael: In a way it was betrayal. But at the time I was working under false assumptions. I’m not sure anyone else would have done things differently, given the circumstances. But believe me, Charlie let me know exactly what she thought about all that, and she continues to bring it up whenever she’s upset about something today.

Merry: I bet! Charlie’s a fireball that way.

Michael: She certainly is. And in a few other ways too. (winks)

Merry: Speaking of which, how do you feel about being the hero in one of the steamiest historical romances that I’ve written?

Michael: (laughs) It fits our characters. If you consider my past…but we won’t talk about that. Rather, if you consider the chemistry between Charlie and I, the lack of inhibitions that we both displayed right from the beginning, it’s no wonder we turned out to be so heated. Plus we both have a bit of a wild streak to us, you have to admit. So all those scenes are just part of the natural progression of the way we interact with each other.

Merry: So how do you feel about the fact that you now have competition for the title of My Favorite Hero I’ve Written? It’s been you for years, but now, with Angus MacFarlane from Scotsman’s Siren, you have a challenger.

Michael: Well, all I can say is that readers will have to get to know me better, and they can decide for themselves who they love. But you and I both know I will always have a special place in your heart.

Merry: That’s certainly true! Thanks for stopping by to reintroduce yourself to people!

 

So, folks, that’s Michael West. You can read much more about him and Charlie in Our Little Secrets, which is free on Amazon, iBooks, B&N, and Kobo!

 

Stay tuned for more character interviews to come!

Being in the Now of Publishing

Nov 06, 2015
image courtesy of goXunuReviews via flickr commons

image courtesy of goXunuReviews via flickr commons

Earlier this week, I had a near confrontation with another author (and it was totally my fault, I own up to that 100%, this fellow author is a great person) about Amazon’s subscription program, Kindle Unlimited, or KU. Yes, this is what authors talk about and get all worked up about behind the scenes. The reason it was a near confrontation was because this fellow author made a statement to the effect of “I just don’t understand what the benefit of KU to authors is. I don’t get it, so I won’t be part of it.” And why did that make me see red? Other than the fact that I was sleep-deprived and PMSy?

Because I am really tired of one set of authors raging and frothing and gnashing their teeth while they scream at other authors to stop enrolling their books in KU because it’s ruining publishing for everyone.

Because I’m tired of other authors who are in a much more solid position with their careers telling me how I should be running my career.

Because removing the books that I have in the KU program (and it’s not all of them by any stretch) would constitute me taking a 60% pay cut and not being able to support myself with my writing.

It’s really easy to point fingers at someone else and tell them they should take a 60% pay cut when you’re making 6-7 figures a year. It’s far too easy to feel justified about personal career choices that work well for you at the point you are in with your career without stopping to consider that not everyone’s career is in the same place.

So here’s my take on KU as an author. 90% of my income comes from two series, Montana Romance and Hot on the Trail. Both are historical westerns. Montana Romance is much, much steamier, and the books are longer. (Yes, I have a few other books/series that sell well, but these are my series that pay the rent…literally). Montana Romance is in wide distribution (Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, etc.) and does very well out there. Hot on the Trail is currently exclusive to Amazon, i.e. part of KU. It does very, very well in KU (meaning I get a lot of page reads/borrows every month).

Now, the decision to pull Hot on the Trail from wide distribution to put it into KU was made very thoughtfully. I looked at a lot of sales figures and data over time. I compared. I kept spreadsheets. What all those numbers told me was that Hot on the Trail was not making even close to the kind of money at iBooks and B&N that Montana Romance was making. In spite of intense promotion (including BookBub) directed at those other sites. After nine plus months of being in wide distribution, it was like I couldn’t even give those books away. I agonized over the decision. I crunched numbers, worried, drank a lot of coffee, and fretted. Then I decided to put the books in KU for 90 days to see what happened.

What happened is that my income on those books shot up over 300% in borrows alone. What happened is that I started making more money in KU borrows from Hot on the Trail than I was making in straight sales from all of the rest of my books combined. What happened is that I was able to pay off some lingering debt, put money in my savings account, and breathe easy for the first time since becoming a full-time author.

The folks who like to go around pressuring authors to pull their books from KU and go wide because “it’s a better business decision” and because “Amazon could pull the rug out from under authors at any time and only pay them a fraction of a fraction for exclusive books” are, without realizing it, trying to take that cherished feeling of security away. They’re denigrating the months of research and the agonizing that went into making the decision in the first place.

Dude, this is my career, not yours. You don’t understand my numbers, so stop trying to pressure me and every other author like me to do what you think is best based on how your books sell when my career is an entirely different story with different rules and different moving parts. I’m not going to shoot myself in the foot so that your career can prosper.

Zen book

courtesy of francois schnell via flickr commons

Here’s the thing. Enrollment in KU/exclusivity with Amazon is not a permanent thing. Enrollment periods last for 90 days. You can put books in KU and you can take them out. Nothing is permanent. A lot of doom and gloom predictions are out there about all the ways Amazon plans to cheat indie authors and pull the rug out from under them. It’s like Code Red level panic.

But that hasn’t happened yet.

I’m not saying it won’t happen, but right now, today, in this 90 day enrollment period, this month, this week, things are okay. KU is working for me. It’s paying the rent and getting my books in the hands of more readers than they would be in otherwise. I know this because I did the math, remember? I tracked sales on other outlets, and even a first grader can tell you that the numbers I have now in KU are bigger than the numbers I had in wide distribution earlier.

Right now, things work.

They might not work next year, next 90 day period, next month. Yep. I fully accept and recognize that. But my participation in KU is not permanent. I continue to do the math, I continue to track sales, I continue to market strategically. I am in the now of publishing. I’ll worry about the tomorrow of publishing when it gets here.

It’s basic zen philosophy, really. Live in the moment. Yesterday is gone, you can’t change it. Tomorrow hasn’t gotten here yet, you can’t control it. The very best thing an indie author like me can do is pay attention, keep track of numbers, watch trends, and be prepared to change things when things need changing.

But they don’t for me. Not yet. Right now, what I’m doing works for me. For me. I’m not implying it works for anyone else. I won’t try to direct your career and you shouldn’t try to direct mine. For me right now, where my career is, where my personal life is, where my books are, KU works for the books I’ve enrolled in it.

Tomorrow, everything may change and all the apocalyptic predictions may come true.

I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, because the bridge I’m on now is nice and sturdy, whether you like it or not.

Excerpt…Um, Thursday? – Trail Blaze

Apr 02, 2015

Okay, okay, I had this grand plan to release this lovely little surprise novella that I’ve been sitting on for April Fool’s Day, and to post a bit of the first chapter to tease you. But Amazon had other plans (a really high volume of books submitted on the 31st, they tell me), so it’s a day late. Yep. But don’t despair! In honor of Thursday, here’s your first look at my gift to you, Trail Blaze:

TrailBlaze_3D

Along the Oregon Trail, 1858

It didn’t matter how many times her fellow passengers marveled over the relative speed and convenience of stagecoach travel, Darcy Howsam was done with it. For weeks she’d been rattling on over the prairie, racing toward the frontier and the future that she had pinned all of her hopes on. Stagecoach was the fastest way to travel—why, an intrepid adventurer could make it from St. Louis to San Francisco by stagecoach in a month—but it was far from the most comfortable.

“No need to fidget, dearie,” the older woman squashed against Darcy, Mrs. Folsom, told her with a long-suffering smile. “We’re almost there.”

“Are we?”

Darcy heaved a sigh and looked around the woman to see out the stagecoach window. The prairie had barely changed for the past two weeks. Everything around them was flat grassland, dotted by the occasional military outpost or new farm. The West was the land of opportunity. Anyone who wanted to pull up their roots and make a name and a life for themselves in the vast, fertile land had done exactly what Darcy herself was doing for more than a decade now. West was the direction of hope, the direction of promise.

Darcy pressed the letter she’d been carrying every step of her journey tighter between her sweating hands. West was her last hope. Mr. Conrad Huber was her last hope.

“If you don’t stop wringing that poor letter, you’re bound to destroy it,” Mrs. Folsom sighed. “You’ve been fiddling with it since we left St. Louis.” The older woman’s voice betrayed just how irksome she found Darcy’s fiddling.

“Sorry,” Darcy said, pressing the letter flat to her lap.

It was a challenge to resist reading the letter over and over. It contained the words that had changed her life. Ever since her parents and siblings had died in an epidemic, leaving her completely on her own, Darcy’s fortunes had sunk. She’d done her best to seek employment in a shop at home in Maryland, and when that failed, as a servant in a grand house. But something always seemed to go wrong. The shop-owner had gone out of business, and the lady of the house where she had become a maid didn’t like the way her husband looked at Darcy. Darcy didn’t like it either.

It was the leering looks of Mr. Tavener that had instilled in her the need to flee and given her an idea of how she could go. For more than a decade, men had been going west to seek their fortunes. Men. Not women. Wives were in demand on the furthest edges of the frontier. Darcy had sought out newspaper advertisements of men seeking wives to join them in places like California, the Oregon Territory, or the Nebraska Territory. She’d answered an advertisement from Mr. Huber, who said he needed a woman who could cook and clean for him in California. He’d replied to her inquiry, telling her to come and sending her the money for passage as far as Ft. Laramie.

That letter and the money it had contained was the different between a life of disgrace and moral danger for Darcy and the chance to build something new. Of course she would hold and read and press it to her heart as frequently as she could.

“Ft. Laramie,” the stagecoach driver called from his perch on the driver’s seat. “Ft. Laramie ahead.”

His voice was muffled through the stagecoach walls, but the weary travelers hummed and sighed with relief nonetheless.

“Saints be praised,” Mrs. Folsom groaned.

Darcy felt every bit of the woman’s impatience and thankfulness that the journey was finally over—although some of their fellow travelers would, no doubt, continue on by stagecoach. Not Darcy. She leaned over Mrs. Folsom as politely as she could to glance out the window. All she could see was prairie and more prairie. She wouldn’t be able to see straight forward or glance more than a tight patch of land out the window until the coach had stopped and she could get out.

“How do you expect to find your gentleman at a busy fort?” Mrs. Folsom asked.

Her uncomfortable grimace was enough to scold Darcy into sitting back in her seat, mashed against the man on the other side who had ignored her all week.

“He says here in his letter that he’ll be wearing a blue bandana around his neck,” Darcy told her.

“Oh?” Mrs. Folsom sniffed and stretched her back, then glanced out the window. She could likely see more than Darcy, but not much. “There appear to be quite a few wagons around the fort and even more people,” she reported. “Plenty of blue.”

“I’m sure Mr. Huber will be looking for me too,” Darcy said, as much to ease her own nerves as anything.

What if she couldn’t find him? What if he had changed his mind and didn’t come to meet her after all? What could a woman on her own with no money do in an empty land like this? She suspected she knew the answer, but even though the West was packed with saloons and saloon girls, she could never, ever see herself going down that desperate path. No, it was a respectable marriage or nothing.

“Ft. Laramie,” the stagecoach driver repeated his call as the coach slowed and gradually came to a stop. “Ft. Laramie. End of the line for some of you. For the rest, we’ll be heading out again in one hour.”

The driver’s voice moved from the front of the stagecoach to the side as he spoke. He hopped down from his seat and came around to the door. As one of Darcy’s fellow travelers threw the door open and began the exodus into the fresh air and sunshine, the coach rocked and pitched on its springs. Darcy tried to stand and make her way out, but a man who had been sitting behind her pushed her over, sending her sprawling against the bench in front of her. She dropped Mr. Huber’s letter and had to fish for it, being careful not to have her hand stepped on by exiting travelers.

By the time she snatched the letter and muscled herself to stand, the carriage had emptied. She scrambled out the door, landing with unsteady legs on a patch of packed dirt. Dust swirled around the hem of her skirt. One of the stagecoach hands knocked into her from the side as he received baggage being handed down to him from the coach’s roof. He didn’t bother to apologize. He might not even have seen her, small as she was.

Brushing away the insult, Darcy walked wide of the stagecoach, eager to get her first view of Ft. Laramie. It was similar to the other military outposts they’d passed through on the journey. There were forts every day’s ride or so. The military kept a strong presence along all routes west to discourage raids and attacks by Indians and bandits. They’d made it this far without being molested, for which Darcy was grateful. The difference between Ft. Laramie and many of the other forts was the mass of covered wagons that clustered around the fort’s east side. Darcy hadn’t seen so many wagons together since the stop they’d made at Independence, Missouri. Along with the sea of canvas and oxen were more people than she had seen in a week.

Too many people. She bit her lip and raised a hand to shield her eyes as she scanned them all, looking for a hint of a blue bandana.

“Miss. Miss, is this yours?”

The stagecoach hand finally noticed her. He thrust a worn old bag out to Darcy. It looked pathetic against the number of fancy bags and small trunks that the stagecoach also held. It was as thin and poor as her.

“Yes, thank you,” she told the gruff man with a smile.

He returned that smile with a half-hearted one as Darcy took her bag, then he ignored her and went back to work.

Darcy took a few more steps away from the stagecoach, clutching her bag in one hand and her letter in the other. A few people out of the crowd of wagons stared at the stagecoach, but none of them wore a blue bandana. Worry gnawed at Darcy’s gut. She couldn’t be abandoned. It simply wasn’t acceptable. Mr. Huber had to be—

A flash of blue caught her eye and she let out a breath of relief. A young man stood to the side of a wagon nearby, watching her with a smile. He was handsome too, with sandy-blond hair and a tanned face. He looked to be the kind of man who worked hard and had the physique to prove it. Best of all, he wore a blue shirt. That was even better than a bandana. Why, Darcy couldn’t have missed this man if she had arrived at night after being blinded by a wild animal attack. At last. At last she could rest easy, knowing that everything would be all right.

“Hey you,” a man shouted at the stagecoach driver behind her. “You were supposed to bring me a woman. A Darcy Howsam woman. Where the hell is she?”

Darcy’s throat constricted and her smile wilted on her lips. She pivoted toward the stagecoach and the voice. There, standing with his fists on his hips and a scowl as dark as midnight on his face, stood a paunchy, unshaven man who looked well over forty. He wore a bright blue bandana around his neck. Darcy’s heart sank to her toes.

“Right there,” the stagecoach driver said, pointing to Darcy with only a quick sideways glance.

The paunchy man turned to her and narrowed his eyes. A second, taller man—unkempt and unshaven—stood beside him. He leaned over and whispered something to the man with the blue bandana. The man with the bandana snorted and spit. He muttered a curse, then stomped toward Darcy. His eyes stayed narrowed as he stopped in front of her, raking her up and down with a gaze as though assessing a horse he wanted to buy.

“You Darcy Howsam?” he asked.

“I am.” Darcy’s voice cracked. She swallowed, then asked, “Are you Mr. Conrad Huber?”

“Yep,” he said.

The last bit of Darcy’s hope crumbled. She peeked sideways to see if the handsome man in the blue shirt was still watching her, hoping he wasn’t. She didn’t want him to see the disappointment in her eyes as a result of her own rash decisions. Unlucky for her, the handsome man was still watching, although his smile had gone and his arms were crossed over his broad chest.

No, Darcy thought to herself, focusing on the man in front of her—her Mr. Huber. This was a good thing. Appearances could be deceiving. Whatever might happen, life as the wife of this frontiersman would be better than life as a drudge back East or as a saloon girl. She forced herself to smile and take as sunny a view of the situation as she could.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you at last, Mr. Huber. I’ve been looking forward to it for weeks and weeks now,” she said, extending her hand to him.

Conrad Huber did not take her hand. He didn’t say a word. He scrunched up his nose and paced in a circle around her. Darcy stood perfectly still, holding her breath, smile plastered in place… dread itching its way down her back.

When Conrad came to a stop in front of her, he sniffed and said, “Nope. Too small. I don’t want you. Give me my money back.”

“What?” Darcy blinked, jaw dropping.

“The twenty dollars I sent you to get your sorry self out here,” Conrad went on. “I want it back.”

“But… but I don’t have it. I used it to pay for the stagecoach. That’s why you sent it to me.” Panic bubbled through her.

“Too bad,” he said. “You owe me. I want my money. You find it somehow and bring it to me.” He turned his back on her and started to walk over to his friend, who now wore a mean grin.

“Wait, Mr. Huber,” Darcy called after him, her heart beating in her throat.

Conrad stopped and twisted back to her with a grimace.

“I’m not too small,” Darcy insisted, a little more breathless than she wanted to be. “I might be short and slight, but I’m a hard worker and I’m strong. I’ve been working as a maid this past year and at a shop before that. I can do whatever you need me to do.”

“I doubt that,” he said, snorting then spitting.

The action turned Darcy’s stomach, but she had no choice but to press her case. “I can cook too. I cooked for my family before they died.”

“They die because of your cooking?” the other man asked, adding a vicious grin to his question.

“No, there was an epidemic of influenza.” Darcy choked back the grief of her memories and rushed on. “I can mend and sew too. And knit socks if you need them. That’s what your advertisement said you wanted.”

Conrad huffed. “I want someone who can cook and clean in a mining camp. It’s tough work. You don’t look like you got the mettle for it.”

“I do, I—”

“’sides, what if I decide I want sons? You look like birthing them would split you in two. Makin’ ’em too.”

Darcy recoiled. She’d assumed she’d end up fulfilling all of the duties of a wife, all of them, but the sudden thought of doing that with this man was almost as bad as the looks Mr. Tavener had given her.

No, she reminded herself again. It would be different if she was Conrad’s wife. It would be respectable, even if it was unpleasant. Respect outweighed the alternative, even if Conrad was… Conrad.

“I would be a good wife to you,” Darcy said, out of arguments. “I will be a good wife to you.”

Conrad gave her one more sweeping look, then shook his head and said, “Nope. All I want from you is my money.”

“But—”

“Don’t you think of goin’ nowhere ’til you get it to me neither.”

“I don’t have your money,” she called after him. “I don’t have any money.”

“Come on,” the other man said. “Let’s go get a drink.”

It was too late. Darcy could do nothing as Conrad walked away.

 

And yep, you can zip on over to Amazon to purchase Trail Blaze right now! Better still, if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, it’s free. *wiggles eyebrows*

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Dec 08, 2014

Santa's_ArrivalWell, I have just a small little history snippet for you today. It came about because I wanted to base a little Cold Springs Christmas short story around the classic poem, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. But since this story takes place in 1904, I wanted to figure out if the poem would have been in common usage by that time.

Guess what? It’s a really old poem! There are a lot of interesting facts around it too. Starting with its origin. Did you know that the poem was first published anonymously in the New York Sentinel in 1823? It was actually written by Clement Clarke Moore, but Moore’s name didn’t appear in print as the author until 1837. The poem was originally sent to the Sentinel by a friend of Moore’s, and it was so well received that it was frequently reprinted after that.

Also, as the legend would have it, although the character of St. Nicholas had been in popular culture in many ways and in many countries for a long time, Moore was the first one to describe Santa with the physical features that we see in the poem. Better still, Moore modeled his St. Nick off of a local Dutch handyman. This all might seem insignificant and fun, but it was Moore’s poem that ended up codifying what Santa looked like from one tradition to another throughout America and later the world. Also, Moore made up the names of the reindeer.

There is also some controversy around who really wrote the poem. While Moore has been credited as the author, there is also a large contingent that claims it was really written by Henry Livingston, Jr.

Personally, I don’t care who actually wrote it, only that it’s such a wonderful part of Christmas and has so many evocative memories associated with it. I remember learning it to recite at a Christmas pageant one year in elementary school. I still remember about half of it verbatim today. I think most of us do, right?

So yes, it was perfectly historically correct to have Michael West read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas aloud to his children and all of the other children of the characters in my Montana Romance series. And if you’d like to read that short story (it’s really funny), pop on over to Facebook and join the Pioneer Hearts group today! If you comment on my post over there, you can also win a $25 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of the first book in my Hot on the Trail series, Trail of Kisses. So what are you waiting for?

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