NEW RELEASE: CHRISTMAS STROLL!!

After his wife’s betrayal and years on the Western Front in Europe, Will Connor has lost his faith in humanity and has no use for love. He’s content in his bitterness. That is, until the holiday season brings him face to face with little Meggie Barrow. Meghan isn’t so little anymore, but she still looks at him like he lassoed the moon and set it in place. But what can a broken man who has lost his soul offer a beautiful young woman with more heart than anyone he’s ever met?

Meghan Barrow has loved William Connor since she was ten years old. She’s endured years of watching him marry a woman who didn’t love him, and more years of worrying about him when he leaves Wyoming to fight another country’s war. Now that the handsome cowboy is back, Meghan is determined to fill Will’s life with joy, and prove he’s all the man she needs.

With the help of friends and a Christmas stroll, these hearts might learn to walk through life together.

See MY BOOKS TAB for Buy Links!!

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MERRY CHRISTMAS IN SHERIDAN, WYOMING!!

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Sorry, I didn’t get a Christmas story written this year, but the characters in my current project are the jealous types and didn’t give me time to think of anyone else.  That and Cookie invited the whole clan up for Christmas and we’ve been busy cleanin’ up the camp and gatherin’ the festive grub.  Fact is, Cookie’s out beatin’ the blankets as we speak.

Don’t look at me like that ya ol’ rawhide, get to beatin’, there’s buttons to be put on the gingerbread men when you’re done with that.

As I was saying, while working on different projects, I’ve been sidetracked more than once by one of my favorite parts of research…looking through old newspapers.  Thought it might be entertaining (not as entertaining as watchin’ Cookie swearin’ as he beats blankets and decorates sugar cookies) to share a few of the Yuletide traditions and fun articles I’ve found thumbing through the Sheridan papers of yesteryear.

Personally, I love digging through these treasure troves of information. Newspapers used to cover everything from world events, local gatherings, who’s visiting who, whose cow was found in whose pasture.    

At the turn of the Century, the Sheridan Inn offered its annual Christmas dinner a menu including. According to the Sheridan Post the Inn would be serving dinner from 5-7 with a menu of:

Oysters, caviar, young pig with apple sauce, goose stuffed with chestnuts, Belgian Hare, Venison. For those with discriminating tastes:  Opossum, braised, with Sweet Potatoes.  After your opossum you can indulge in green apple, mince, lemon-meringue pie, or English plum pudding with hard or brandy sauce. (I’d like the brandy to wash down the opossum, thank you.)

Coffeen’s  store offered a wide selection of dolls, drums, toy stoves, whistles, swords, books as well as candy and nuts for the young’uns Christmas joys in 1900. We all know where good St. Nick was doing his shopping that year.

santaiceskatestoysxmaspc1Of course, romance is always a welcome story during the Christmas season.  The wedding of Angus Beaton of Manderson, Wyoming and Miss Catherine McBeth of Torrindon, Rosehire, Scotland, reported in 1909 saw a ten year romance find a happily ever after (or at least I like to think so):

“Bride Comes from Scotland to Marry”

“Eight years ago Beaton came to America to seek his fortune and his sweetheart agreed to wait until he should send for her. Beaton settled in Wyoming and is now fairly well-to-do. Miss Beaton came from Scotland unaccompanied and arrived a few days before the wedding, being interim the guest of Mrs. Rogers of this place.”

The same edition of the Daily Enterprise advertised bobsled rides to the Beckton dance. Couples who could afford a dollar, per couple, could dash through the snow to the little community just outside Sheridan for an evening of dancing, refreshments and maybe their own romance.

Some years saw Christmas take on a new meaning in Sheridan.  In 1917, as the shadow of the Great War oozed over the United States, Sheridanites prepared with pleas for Peace and Good Will. Combating the doom, papers announced traditional celebrations would continue.

Instead of advertisements filled with special goodies Sheridan stores announced gift giving would take the form of useful things to wear and keep with toys still going to the youngsters.  Only, many stores were not joyfully filling full-page ads with all the games and toys.

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A new face appeared in the papers. The Red Cross declared a huge success to their         Christmas fund drive.  The funds would go towards a vast number of programs including:   “hospital distributing service sends supplies to 3425 French military hospitals and preparing immense stores of emergency supplies for our own army. ..Operating six canteens for use of French soldiers… and children’s refuge and hospital at a point in the war zone.”

In the midst of scaling back on giving and digging deeper for charity, the people of Sheridan and the surrounding area did indeed find time to celebrate the peace they still enjoyed. Churches announced musical programs, masses and special programs for children and adults.

Individuals and social groups opened their homes and community centers for dances and socials.

“The guests at the Foster House are entertaining their friends at a very enjoyable dancing parting this evening. The rooms are festive with holiday decorations, excellent music has been engaged and the good spirits co-incident with the season will make the occasion memorable for its pleasure…”

“Mr. and Mrs. L.H. Brooks were hosts Thursday evening to a company of friends, entertainment taking the form of a musicale. Dancing and the serving of light refreshments concluded the evening.”

Still the message Christmas 1917 was summed up in the following letter in the Sheridan Post.

“Therefore at this Yuletide, which may be the last in which we all gather about the old fireside, we put from us temporarily all thought of things abhorrent and enjoy in American fashion the pleasures of family and reunions, feasting and gift giving, mindful of a supreme power and grateful to the same for having postponed for so long a time (of) evil days that may be in store for us. In the midst of national peril and with what hope we can summon for brighter things, we wish the people of our country the happiest Christmas possible to them.”

What a transformation occurred the very next year in the December 24, 1918 edition. Despite the flu epidemic and the resulting cancellation of a few children’s programs, reading the articles and advertisements one feel the relief, hope and excitement of a country witnessing the end of war and praying they won’t see it again.

As always the Post gave a running account of the movements of Sheridan County residents and visitors crossing the county’s borders.

“Hon. A.M. Halbert and family left Tuesday for a holiday visit to their former home in Missouri.”

“Mrs. Silas Cotey of Wheatland is visiting her sister, Mrs. John Winterling. She will remain several weeks.”

Traditional Christmas programs resumed, but as stated in an announcement:  “On earth, peace”,  takes on a deeper meaning than ever before and the feeling of “Good will toward men,” is universal.   

Churches celebrated the birth of Christ with special programs and “Christmas trees and treats for the little kiddies.”  Also promised, were festive Christmas trees lighting the windows of Sheridan.

 The Red Cross’ column, the previous year filled with gloom, proclaimed a feast fit for the returning heroes.  The train depot in Sheridan was turned into a dining hall.

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“Returning soldier boys who fail to reach their homes but who are fortunate enough to pass through Sheridan during the holidays are not going to miss the good cheer of Christmas time. The Red Cross depot canteen workers are seeing to this and have provided such a feed as to almost make the boys cease to regret their absence from mother’s table.  Roast turkey, roast chicken, cakes.”

Of all the articles and ads in the 1918 issue one seized my attention and touched my heart. Its message is simple, but in all the early 20th Century language and questionable grammar lies a joy for the season we all should strive to attain, and lessons we should put into actions. I didn’t change a thing. It’s exactly as it appeared in the Post almost a century ago, but it’s my message to you. Merry Christmas, y’all!

GOOD CHEER TO ALL THIS CHRISTMAS DAY by DeLos E. Brandon

“Christmas this year will be the best of all. We have won the war and that, in itself, is cause enough for rejoicing. The past year has been one of the most prosperous of all. America has maintained its name as the champion of freedom. The boys, victorious, are returning home. Some of them will arrive home in time for this wonderful day. Some homes will receive a letter that the son or husband will be home in the spring. Others, that are on their way now. O’…there are a million things one could mention!

And you are happy. You are trudging home late tonight, your arms loaded with bundles—presents for all. You haven’t overlooked a single one. And they, too, will be happy.

What a wonderful world this really is. Despite all the sufferings and hardships. Christmas comes at just the right time of the year. Should it come in summer, spring or fall, it would not, could not be appreciated as it is now.  There is something in the spirit of Christmas, coming in the winter season, that endears it to the heart.  In the tropics, this day of the year is never appreciated as it is in the northern climes.

Maybe it is the contrast between the cold, dreary  outside and the warm hearth with the loving ones at home. Maybe it is—well, you know what I mean. There is an undefinable something that we have learned to love. 

And, with all the happiness that will come to you, the many and varied presents, are you going to overlook the more unfortunate friends, neighbors, or acquaintances this year? Let’s not. Try and do something that will bring joy to some needy family or some lonesome person of whom you know. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and

A Merry, Merry Christmas to all!

SOURCES:

Sheridan Post, Tuesday, December 24, 1918. Pgs 1-10

Sheridan Post, Tuesday, December 25, 1917. Pgs 1-8

Sheridan Post, Thursday, December 20, 1900, Pg 4

Sheridan Daily Enterprise, Friday, December 24, 1909, Pg 2

WINNER OF WISHING FOR A COWBOY IS….

Cookie, knock it off with the drum roll!   The winner is Alison R.!!!      mpE9T0q1KiIvb5yVSitPisw

Thanks so much Alison and everyone else who stopped by Cookie’s fandango and wishing Tex lots of success!!!

Tex, may this be your first step down the trail to New York Times Bestseller!!!

See y’all round the campfire soon!

–Kirsten Lynn

 

WISHING ON A COWBOY FANDANGO COOKIE STYLE!!

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Sorry, we’re a bit late gettin’ this fandango started, but Cookie had to get the cake juuuust right…I swear sometimes that man can drive me to drink tainted water. Yeah, I’m talkin’ ’bout you Mr. Top Chef…Get on over there and start cuttin’ that dad-burned cake and let’s get this party started…

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mpE9T0q1KiIvb5yVSitPiswWHOOO-EEEEE, YEEEEE-HAW, AND RING THE DINNER BELL, HOOT AND HOLLER!!  We’re celebratin’ like it’s Christmas round the campfire and that’s because the brand new publisher, Prairie Rose Publications has just released it’s brand spankin’ new Christmas anthology WISHING FOR A COWBOY (and let’s be serious who’d turn away a cowboy if ya found one under the tree). Eight beautiful, heartwarming, tear educing, perfect holiday stories by eight beautiful, heartwarming and bordering on perfect authors!!

 

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ANNND as excited as we all are here round the campfire for all the wonderful authors and the new publishing house, our buttons are plumb bustin’ for Kathleen Rice Adams, aka Tex!!! YIPPEEEEE KI YAY!!! This is Kathleen’s big premiere, but it won’t be her last. I read her story PEACHES in the anthology and if your heart doesn’t grow three sizes too big after finishing it then I’ll send Cookie round to slap ya upside the head with the cast iron skillet ’cause you are guaranteed to fall in love with Whit, Ruth, the children and yes even those three busybodies! Seriously, one of the best Christmas stories I’ve read!!

I can’t wait to read the other offerings! Knowing Cheryl Pierson, Livia Washburn, Phyliss Miranda, Tracy Garrett, Sarah J. McNeal, Jacquie Rogers, and Tanya Hanson each will be a sweet treat for the season!

Here’s a sneak peek of all the stories in WISHING FOR A COWBOY! AND FOLKS TEX IS OFFERIN’ UP A FREE E-COPY OF THE ANTHOLOGY TO ONE LUCKY COMMENTER!! YEP, IT’S A PARTY FOR HER AND SHE’S BRINGIN’ THE GIFT!! (Winner will be announced Sunday, November 3rd since Cookie held up the works…Don’t give me the skunk eye duffer, I told ya the first cake was fine…)

So, grab a hunk of cake (please just the cake not Cookie), a mug of Arbuckles and wish these fabulous authors and Prairie Rose all the best and smooth trails!! And Tex a big ol’ welcome to the ranks of published author and here’s to many, many, many more for everyone at Prairie Rose!!

“A Christmas Miracle” by Phyliss Miranda
Mattie Jo Ashley has lost too many people she loves. First, her outlaw father then her mother. She is determined not to lose her baby sister to a mysterious disease.
Because she feels shamed by the problems her father forced upon the townspeople of Carroll Creek, Texas and now suffers their disdain, Mattie Jo cannot turn to her community for help. She has no choice but to seek aid from the shy, but skilled local doctor.
Dr. Grant Spencer has every confidence in his abilities as a third generation doctor, but is sorely in need of self worth in other areas of his life.
When Mattie Jo unleashes havoc in the community and takes Grant to the brink of testing his courage and fortitude as both a doctor and a man, all discover the true Christmas spirit and the power of genuine love and acceptance.

“Outlaw’s Kiss” by Cheryl Pierson
Talia Delano has been humiliated before the entire town of Rock Creek by Jake Morgan. A known gunman, Jake has bid an outrageous sum for Talia’s “boxed supper”, a kiss, and the gift of her time for the rest of the Independence Day celebration. But, as always, Jake changes the rules and takes more than he should—especially with the whole town watching. Talia’s chance of happiness is dashed, along with her reputation, when Jake leaves Rock Creek suddenly.
When he shows up five months later at her farmhouse, wounded, and in the midst of a blinding snowstorm, she can’t turn him away—even though she knows being along with him will cause tongues to wag once more. But with Christmas
only two days away, how can she harden her heart against the handsome outlaw who has no place else to go—even if he is being trailed by someone just as dangerous? Magic and danger are woven together in the OUTLAW’S KISS.

“A Husband for Christmas” by Sarah J. McNeal
Jane Pierpont and her son, Robin, survived the Titanic, but her husband went down with the ship and the emotional scars of that night have kept her and her son locked into that frightening event. Robin is terrified of deep water and Jane has nightmares and survivor’s guilt. She yearns for a family, a loving husband and maybe another child, but she feels disloyal to Michael’s memory whenever Teekonka Red Sky comes near her.
Teekonka Red Sky loves Jane and her son, but all his efforts to help them past their painful memories of the night Michael Pierpont died have been unsuccessful. Unwilling to give up, can his Lakota beliefs help him bring peace to Robin and free Jane to love again?

“Peaches” by Kathleen Rice Adams
Running a ranch and fending off three meddlesome aunts leaves Whit McCandless no time, and even less patience, for the prickly new schoolmarm’s greenhorn carelessness. The teacher needs educating before somebody gets hurt. Ruth Avery can manage her children and her school just fine without interference from some philistine of a rancher. If he’d pay more attention to his cattle and less to her affairs, they’d both prosper.
He didn’t expect to need rescuing. She never intended to fall in love.

“A Gift For Rhoda” by Jacquie Rogers
A mail-order bride disaster!
Rhoda Johnson is stranded in a lonely cabin without a groom. The townsfolk say she’s better off without him, but her drunken groom sends a message that he’ll claim her as his Christmas bride. Gunman and ex-Confederate soldier Nate Harmon comes to Idaho to make peace with his abolitionist preacher father. When half-frozen Nate reaches the cabin on a snowy Christmas Eve, instead of his parents, he’s greeted by a pretty blonde with a shotgun who keeps calling him Mr. Snyder. Will she shoot him, or melt his heart?

“Her Christmas Wish” by Tracy Garrett
Even a woman capable of living on her own…
Kathryn McConnell is a widow celebrating a milestone birthday alone. Though she feels a woman should be able to mourn the passing of her thirtieth birthday any way she wants, she won’t turn away a cowboy in need of lodging—until she learns it’s the man she’d expected to marry thirteen years earlier.
…never forgets her first love.
Will O’Brien had challenged his father’s prejudice against the woman he loved only to discover he was unable to stand against his family’s wealth and connections. Without a way to support his bride, Will struck out for the west, determined to earn a living for them both. When he returned after two years with no word from Katie, he found she’d married another and moved away. Heartbroken, he returns to his work, but never stops hoping to find her.
When chance lands Will at the remote stagecoach station run by the widowed Kathryn, he grabs at the opportunity he’s been handed, hoping to win back the only woman he has ever loved.

“Covenant” by Tanya Hanson
Alone, abandoned, struck with guilt and grief, mail order bride Ella Green refuses to celebrate their first wedding anniversary by herself on the Nebraska homestead. Her fault Charlotte died.
Her fault her husband couldn’t stick around. So it’s back to Pennsylvania. Until the snow hits.
But do the springerle cookie molds depicting her life–Carsten’s hand-carved courtship gifts to her across the miles–still have more story to tell?
Or is it truly The End?
Widower Carsten Green took on a bride merely to tend his little daughter. Unbeknownst to Ella, he gave her his heart instantly. Yet he believed she’s got no reason to stay after the child’s death. So he’s left her first.
How can the Christmas blizzard separating them warm their hearts, brighten their future, and ignite love gone cold?

“Charlie’s Pie” by Livia J. Washburn
Lauralee Brannam just wants to bake her son’s favorite pie for his birthday, which happens to fall on Christmas Eve. But then a wounded stranger shows up on her Texas ranch, and his fateful visit leads to violence, tragedy, and redemption in this stirring Western tale.

HUGE CONGRATS GALS!!!

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HALLOWEEN ROUND THE CAMPFIRE!!

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“Get out from under yer bedroll ya ol’ coot and get the coffee brewin’!”

Sorry, folks we’ll just havta get along with what’s left in the pot. We’re tellin’ ghost stories round the campfire today and ol’ Cookie’s shiverin’ in his boots.

Wyoming has her share of ghouls, ghosts, legends and lore that’s for sure.  And here at the foot of the Bighorns we’re carving pumpkins and stockin’ up on candy for the little gobblins who will be knockin’ on our doors this Halloween.  So, it’s a good time to share about those haunting voices carried on the Wyoming winds and the bumps in the night that send our heads under our pillows.

Here in Sheridan there are tales of Miss Kate Arnold still keeping watch over her beloved Sheridan Inn. Miss Kate arrived in Sheridan in the early 1900s and worked and lived at the inn until her death in the 1960s. She loved the Inn so much, she requested her ashes to be buried there and it’s said they were buried the wall of her room.  Miss Kate is joined in her haunts by the son-in-law of Buffalo Bill Cody who took his life at the Inn after a series of business and personal failings. There is some speculation, however, that he didn’t take his life, but it was taken from him.  These are joined by many other tales from beyond from Sheridan to Buffalo and everywhere in between. Today,  I’d like to visit the in between at Lake DeSmet.

motel backgroundLake DeSmet is named for Father Pierre-Jean DeSmet a Jesuit missionary priest to the Indians in the 1800s. The lake is a beautiful, tranquil body of water attracting fishermen and tourists.  Pioneers, however, reported horses and dogs wouldn’t go near the lake and strange noises echoed across the water at night. Hidden under this gem of blue water are legends and secrets best left undisturbed…but we’re going to disturb them.

The low moans of a heart breaking it’s said belong to a Crow warrior, Little Moon.  His band was camped along the lake, when Little Moon asked his sweetheart, Star Dust, to meet him at the edge of the water once the others went to sleep.  Little Moon arrived at the spot before Star Dust. While he waited a mist hung over the lake and in the mist was the face of a beautiful girl, more beautiful than any girl he had ever seen.The vision beckoned Little Moon with a smile.

Hypnotized by the water enchantress, Little Moon viciously pushed Star Dust aside when she arrived and tried to put her arms around him.  He turned back to the face in the mist to see it gone.

Star Dust cast herself into the water when repulsed by her lover. The next morning Star Dust’s body was found drowned by the red bluff north of the lake. Her father demanded revenge against Little Moon. The men of the band bound Little Moon to the rock and left him there to watch for his mysterious maiden.

Now, when the wind moans over the lake it’s said to be the faithless lover caller; the howls of a disloyal sweetheart. His spirit destined to wander around the shore looking for his maiden.

Another legend is that of one of the first Indian bands to camp near the lake.  They tried to use the water for drinking and cooking, but found it to be bitter. Nothing in the area explained why the water would be acrid, so they believed its bitterness to be due to the presence of an evil spirit.

That night, terrifying sounds echoed around them and suddenly the lake was infested by great hordes of sea gulls.  Throughout the night they soared and cried and swarmed.  At dawn the gulls disbanded en masse and disappeared.

But the worst was yet to come. After breakfast the champion swimmer among the tribe ran to the lake’s edge, gave a happy whoop and plunged into the water. As the others watched he turned and opened his mouth as if to scream, his eyes widened in horror and he was sucked below the surface.  They circled the lake, not daring to enter the water, but after a time when all was lost, they grabbed their belongings and fled the lake in terror.

Local ranchers and early pioneers reported a monster appearing from the mist and rising above the waters.Smetty, because every water monster needs a truly terrifying name, is a legendary creature thought to dwell in the subterranean caverns of Lake DeSmet. These caverns are speculated to be a faraway outlet from the Pacific Ocean.

Those who have seen Smetty report a monster 30 to 40 feet long with bony ridges along the back. His head is said to resemble that of a horse and rises from the water in a swimming motion.  Others report a large alligator like creature and still others compare Smetty to the legendary Nessie of Loch Ness fame.

One rancher, whose home was near the lake, rose early and went into the fields. He heard a strange noise coming from the lake and turned to see a huge sea serpent rise from the water. It stayed only a second and then disappeared.  His description of Smetty approached more of a dinosaur than any other.

Does a monster lurk under the waters of the lake? And does a Crow warrior still wail for his lost love? Well, guess you’ll just have to pitch a tent by the water and find out for yourself.  (I’d bring a fishing pole with ya cause chances are better of catchin’ a trout) 

“Now get out here Cookie! For Pete’s sake, we can hear your teeth chatterin’ clear over by the fire! And ya still need to get that ol’ tub filled for bobbin’ for apples!”

Guess we shouldn’t ‘ave set up camp so close to the Lake DeSmet. MwahaMwahahahaha…**dissolves into choking**

Happy Halloween folks!!         231015_304845066294873_1340043569_n