Tag Archive | our little secrets

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

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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Excerpt Wednesday – Our Little Secrets gets another look

Excerpt Wednesday! How about another little taste of Our Little Secrets? It’s currently still free, soooo….

Our Little Secrets

The alley was almost as busy as the main street, but with housewives hanging laundry in their yards and children playing rather than town commerce. Charlotte received a few curious smiles and nods. She waved back, feeling entirely satisfied with her choices. She hugged her carpetbag.

She sighed as she turned onto the side road that lead back to Main Street where the bank was. Could she do it? Was she really mad enough to marry a stranger in a frontier town?

Of course she could, she answered herself. Michael West presented her with the opportunity to start over with everything she wanted, a job, a home, and a purpose. It was more than her step-father had ever tempted her with.

As Charlotte reached Main Street her glance fell on a man crossing towards the saloon. She gasped as her heart dropped to her stomach. It was him. Even with the distance she recognized his scruffy beard and stocky build. She clutched her carpetbag close and jumped back to press against the wall of the nearest shop. In an instant she was trembling from head to toe.

What was he doing here? The man had failed to rob her in St. Louis, but the terror of those desperate minutes when she had fought him off in the dark still haunted her. He wouldn’t have followed her this far, would he? It wouldn’t be worth the effort. She didn’t have that much.

Unless he was after more than the contents of their carpetbag.

She gulped and took a breath before inching her way to peek around the corner.

The man was gone. The few people who walked in the street appeared to be townspeople. Charlotte dropped her shoulders and let out a breath.

She hadn’t imagined him, had she? Maybe? But no. She’d fought off the would-be robber in St. Louis. She was certain she’d seen the same man again in Denver. That was most definitely him just now.

Someone was following her.

Like I said, Our Little Secrets is still free. You can download it on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and everywhere else.

Starting next week, I’ll be featuring excerpts from the next book in the Hot on the Trail series, Trail of Longing, Emma and Dean’s story!


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Except Wednesday – Our Little Secrets

It’s Excerpt Wednesday once again! I thought this week I’d mix it up a little and highlight a book from my backlist, namely Our Little Secrets. So here you go!

Our Little Secrets

He shook his head, laughing. “I really did make a bad first impression if you would think—”

“Oh no, you made a very good first impression,” she rushed to cover yet another flub.

He shook his head. “In spite of Cold Springs’ abundance, Miss Baldwin, I am not in the habit of hiring company.”

“And no suitable young lady has offered herself up for the position?” Her cheeks were hot with embarrassment. “I find that hard to believe.”

He stared at her as if she was a jewel in a curiosity shop. “You wouldn’t if you knew the town and its gossip better.”

Her heart and mind raced. One leap of faith and she could change her life. As long as she could keep her past in the past.

“So I take it you would be looking for someone who could help run both a general store and a home.” She set her fork down and looked him in the eye.

“Well,” he mirrored her gesture and set his own fork down, “only if she knew what she was doing.”

“Someone with a college degree, perhaps, and a head for figures?”

“Yes, precisely.”

“Someone with a bit more sophistication than the locals? Who might be able to carry on a decent conversation over dinner or with clients even?”

A grin spread across his lips and his shoulders relaxed. “That would be a decided advantage.”

“Perhaps someone who wouldn’t ask too many questions about the past as long as not too many questions were asked in return?” Again she tapped her carpetbag with the toe of her boot to reassure herself it was still there.

He smiled in earnest. “Yes, exactly.”

She returned his smile and picked up her fork with an, “Oh,” and took another bite of her lunch.

He was silent as he watched her eat, his eyes dancing with deep consideration. He was struggling with his thoughts, debating with himself. She didn’t blame him. It was one thing to toy with an idea as outrageous as marrying a stranger, no questions asked, but it was a whole different kettle of fish to actually commit to it.

She let him consider, let him think it was his idea. For all she knew it was. He was the one who had invited her for lunch and he had mistaken her for one of Miss Helen’s girls. Miss Helen had insisted that her girls were brides not whores. It could have been the luckiest mistake of her life.

“Miss Baldwin, will you marry me?”

She glanced up to catch the puzzled, triumphant, expectant expression flushing his face. She could practically see his heart hammering in his chest at his gamble. Or maybe that was her own heart.

“I…I think I will.” She forced herself to be cautious, as much as she didn’t want to be. “But would you mind giving me the afternoon to think about it?”

“Not at all.” He nodded, once again the businessman considering a deal. “I’ll arrange for us to have supper at the hotel to talk more in depth. And I can reserve a room there for you if you’d like.”

“That’s very thoughtful of you, Michael.”

Impulsive or not, the facts were the facts. Life as Charlotte Baldwin was a disaster. Life as Charlie West would be a whole new world.

There you have it. And you’re in luck. Right now, Our Little Secrets is free on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and everywhere else. =D


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Somebody to Love – Release Day!

Somebody To Love_smallHold on a second…. There’s something just a little naughty about calling it a “release day” when you’re publishing a romance novel (if you know what I mean).

At last! Somebody to Love, Phin’s story, is out there! I’ve had Phin’s story in mind from the very beginning. In fact, I more or less thought of the idea for Ethan and Amelia’s story, Fool for Love first, followed almost immediately by Charlie and Michael’s story, Our Little Secrets, and Somebody to Love simultaneously. Behold! The workings of a writer’s mind!

I hope you’ll pop on over to the brand new page for Somebody to Love where you can read the first chapter and find all the links to buy it!

Enjoy! And remember, Read it, Review it, Share it! Oh, and feel free to sign up for my newsletter too so that you can be the first to know about new releases and more: http://eepurl.com/RQ-KX

Our Little Secrets, Revisited

In Your Arms_smallOkay, since In Your Arms, the third full-length novel in my Montana Romance series, comes out in three weeks, I thought I’d take the opportunity to revisit the other books in the series with some of my favorite scenes. And so, here is one of my favorite scenes from Our Little Secrets….

“Michael, can I ask you something?” Charlotte propped herself up on one arm in bed and looked down at Michael’s closed eyes. The morning sunlight was warm against her bare back, filling her with well-being like she hadn’t felt in years.

“No,” he mumbled. “We said no questions, remember?”

“It’s not that sort of question,” she giggled. Not that she hadn’t been trying to sneak questions about his past into every conversation for the last two weeks. “Can I ask you something different?”

“No,” he repeated, rolling from his back to his side facing her, eyes still closed. “It’s Saturday. Saturday’s are for sleeping in, not asking questions.”

Charlotte’s grin widened. Even half asleep her new husband found delightful ways to tease her. Although she wasn’t sure if he could still be called her new husband after two whole glorious weeks of marriage. Her new life was turning out to be everything she had hoped it would be and more. Continue reading