We’re Playing Santa!

As I write this, there’s less than a month to go to Christmas and, for me, even less than that ‘til I may move house. I’m just waiting for a few things to fall into place—here in NYC, if you live in a Co-op, which I do, you need Board approval of your sale after contracts have been signed, and I’m still waiting to hear about that. So I have no real idea where I’ll be for Christmas, but wherever I lay my head, I do know I’ll have the comfort of my family and will be looking forward to a merry time.

I’ll also, of course, be looking forward to time with friends, whether in person or via Skype and Facetime, or just sharing Christmas events via email. As I’ve written before, we all now have friends we may never have met in person but feel we know well via this cyber world we inhabit. In the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of working on anthologies with several authors whom I now count among friends, and I’ve been delighted to meet two of them in person. We’ve got together again here with some thoughts about the holiday season. We’re also going to play Santa Claus and do some present-giving of our books to folks who leave a comment below.

My own ‘gift’ will be an Audible copy of my multi-award-winning, western historical mail-order bride novella, Dearest Darling.

He’s waiting for a different woman, she’s looking for a different life. Can love make a difference to them both?

 All our winners will be announced here on or about December 20th. For now, my very best wishes for the Happiest and Healthiest Holiday Season ever!


Christmas Ornaments

                           By Kristy McCaffrey 

Christmas tree ornaments often tell family stories.

One of my favorite decorations is a small pine cone glued to a wooden base and sprinkled with glitter that was made by my eldest son, Sam, when he was three years old. It’s such a simple design and has held up well over the years, reminding me of that special time when he was young, and I was a new mother.

There is a lovely clear ball given to my youngest daughter, Hannah, from her swimming teacher many years ago—in the center is a photo of her and the other children in her class. Besides being a beautiful ornament, it helps me recall how Hannah, at the age of five, loved to swim.

The ornament that commemorates the birth of my younger son, Ben, is also a favorite. It’s a bear with a pacifier in its mouth and my son’s name and birthdate imprinted in red ink on the belly. My son was born big and cuddly and right on time (whereas the others came early).

While in grade school my other daughter, Kate, painted a ceramic cross with a yellow background and purple dots. As a youngster she quite enjoyed the act of creation and always took great joy in the spiritual side of her life. The cross is a favorite of mine.

I have a nice collection of ornaments from my close friends while we raised our children together. In any other situation we might never have been chums, but sharing the experience of watching our offspring grow created a connection like no other.

A Christmas tree can be a vault of family memories, alive with the pulse of your loved ones.

Kristy will be gifting an eBook of  The Dove (Wings of the West, Book Two) [The Wren (Wings of the West, Book One) is permafree at all eBook vendors.  https://books2read.com/TheWren]

Reunited with Logan Ryan on the steps of the White Dove Saloon, Claire Waters hides under the guise of a fancy girl…and lets the ex-deputy believe the worst.

Visit Kristy at http://kmccaffrey.com/



The Best Christmas Present Ever!

                                     By Devon McKay

I love Christmas. In fact, there’s not one thing I don’t love about the holiday. The chilly temps and the scent of pine and cinnamon in the air. The cheerful holiday wishes. The bright, colorful lights decorating houses. The trimming of the tree. Yes, even the Christmas songs. I love it all.

This year Christmas came early for us and we received a very special gift. Anyone who knows us, knows we are animal people. We love our furry friends and have quite a handful of them to prove it. We have three dogs, two cats, three long horn steers, two pygmy goats, and chickens who run amuck here at the farm. Definitely animal people. We have our hands full, but, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Needless to say when my son moved into his own apartment, he wasn’t allowed a pet. This is hard for a young man who has always been surrounded by critters. He did end up investing in a fish tank, and though it’s filled with beautiful, vividly hued fish, it simply isn’t the same as a dog or a cat.


After three years, the apartment building owners have finally decided to allow small dogs and cats. Enter Gracie. The absolutely cutest little gal ever. Her spunky personality has already won our hearts and brought a smile to my son’s face that I haven’t seen in quite a while.

Though she only weighs a pound or two and can fit in the palm of one hand, this furry bundle of joy is full of mischief and curiosity. More so than any of our other animals.

At the moment, our Christmas tree has caught her eye. And though it’s over 6 feet tall, it has drawn her complete attention. I can only imagine the thoughts going on in her cute little head. That being said, this Christmas should be full of laughter from a tiny pup’s silly antics.

I’m looking forward to every minute of it.

Devon will be gifting a copy of Lead Me into Temptation

Violet Webster is a mail-order bride on the run. Garrett Sutherlin is the cowboy determined to catch her.

Visit Devon at http://authordevonmckay.com 


What I Like About Christmas

By Patti Sherry-Crews

What I’m looking forward to the most on Christmas is doing nothing. November is like birthdaypalooza for my family with three of them in that month, not to mention Thanksgiving which we host. I feel like November is a version of speed dating for extended family get- togethers.

Before the turkey leftovers are even put away, we start the Christmas shopping, cookie baking, tree decorating madness. This period of intense activity, which needs a master list of things-to-do, doesn’t end until Christmas Eve. I love Christmas Eve which is all about elegance and family traditions in my home.

By the time Christmas day comes around, I appreciate the quiet. The lack of expectations. The stillness. With almost everything closed, you’re forced into a state of muffled togetherness, which is how it feels to me. We sit around in our pajamas eating Christmas stocking candy. We might play a board game or sit and read books Santa left under the tree.

Later in the day, I venture out for a walk. The streets that were bustling with noise and activity since Black Friday are empty on Christmas day. I can casually take in the shop windows, now with their slightly ravaged-looking holiday displays. There’s always that one coffee shop that’s open, but it’s fun to run into friends and neighbors.

I love to cook, but by December 25, I’ve been stuck in my kitchen since November between birthdays, Thanksgiving, and our special Christmas Eve dinner. So, a few years ago we started a new tradition. Chinese take-out Christmas dinner! We set out all the white paper containers, buffet-style, not bothering with dressing things up. Then everyone finds a spot on the big sectional sofa and we watch movies—some family members are likely to still be in their pajamas.


Patti will be gifting a copy of Desert Heat

Single mom, Angel Harper, only has time for her son and trying to keep her guest ranch afloat, in that order. She’s not willing to risk all for romance, but when sexy fireman and cowboy, Boone Donovan, happens to fall into her life, he’s not taking no for an answer. Will she let go of past injuries and give him a chance?




Visit Patti at http://pattisherrycrews16.wix.com/author-blog



A Targeted Journey by Carmen Peone

I’m absolutely delighted to welcome back Carmen Peone.  Carmen is not only a fellow member of Women Writing the West, but is currently President Elect.  She lives on the Colville Confederated Reservation with husband, Joe. Carmen had worked with elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes-Sinyekst- Language and various cultural Continue reading

For Your Halloween Enjoyment

I never thought I’d write a so-called ‘paranormal’ western, but last year I did.  It appeared in the anthology The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly and is titled Long a Ghost, and Far Away.  Also in that anthology was Patti Sherry-Crews’ The Ghost and the Bridegroom.  Since the anthology only made a brief appearance but garnered a raft of good reviews, Patti and I decided to revive our stories in a duet now on sale at all good eBook-sellers.

The Wild West gets even wilder when Nat Tremayne sends out his agents from Psychic Specters Investigations offices in St. Louis and Denver. Across country and across time, these agents will stop at nothing to unravel the mysteries that beset poor unsuspecting ranchers and cowboys who have no idea what they’re seeing . . .or not, as the case may be.
In Patti’s The Ghost and The Bridegroom, P.S.I. Agent Healy Harrison is sent to Tucson to rid a rancher of the ghost in the bedroom interfering in his marriage to a mail-order bride. Healy doesn’t think she’s destined for romance–until she meets Pinkerton detective Aaron Turrell. But when their two cases dovetail, will their newfound love survive the ultimate showdown  between mortal and immortal.

In  my own Long A Ghost and Far Away, agent Dudley Worksop aims to unravel the mystery of Colby Gates’ dead wife. Lizzie not only seems to have reappeared as a ghost, but has time traveled from 2016 to the 1800s. Can revenge be had for her murder? And can the couple be reunited across country and across time?

Amazon Reviews from previous anthology edition:

Long A Ghost, and Far Away by Andrea Downing – is my absolute favourite as I love time travel stories & who doesn’t love added a unique twist like ghost. This story is brilliant written and unique. The character’s are very well developed and great to read about this amazing journey.

The Ghost and the Bridegroom by Patty Sherry-Crews- This novella is very well written and it is very compelling & leaves you wanting more. The character’s are realistic with real emotions and flaws.
I highly recommend reading this . . . as you will not be disappointed. Just in time for Halloween go grab it now. . . .

–Sophie Koufes

My favorite was Long A Ghost and Far Away. I loved Lizzie and Colby’s story. I actually laughed out loud at Lizzie and when she went back, I cried but I loved the ending. Great story.

–Susan K. Davis

The Ghost and the Bride Groom – 5*

Wow! What an amazing book! I have never read any books by this author before reading this book and i am so glad that i came across Patti Sherry-Crows as her books are so alive and vibrant (i would imagine her other books are the same as this).
You feel every single thing that happens in this book, you feel the fear and pain along with the hope of what could come and the sympathy you feel for the characters.
The book was written in a way that feels so real to you while you are reading it. It is a highly addictive read, compelling you to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next.
Healy is an amazing, inspiring character. I loved reading about how strong and independent she is, she relies on herself and is guarded but deep down she is so full of love that she believes she will never have.
I really enjoyed Aaron’s character. He has also got a strong and independent mindset making them the best match full of fire and passion. He comes across as a very charismatic and protective character.
I absolutely loved this book and i would recommend this book to everyone and anyone! A must read!

–Lyn McKenzie

Long A Ghost, and Far Away by Andrea Downing
What a great story! It shows that love is truly timeless and sometimes you just know who your soulmate is, even after a short time. However, this wasn’t a neatly wrapped with a bow story. It had some twists that I didn’t see coming, but that made it all the more enjoyable.

The Ghost and The Bridegroom by Patty Sherry-Crews
Healy and Aaron (Oh my!) had me laughing so much. Loved it!


Long a Ghost and Far Away – Andrea Downing
I love the romance between Lizzie and Colby. That’s what one calls a love to test time! I liked how the author intertwined real life events into the story to make it seem more realistic too.

The Ghost and The Bridegroom – Patti Sherry-Crews
Healy and Aaron are rather comical together and also rather sweet. This was a really good tale. I liked the interaction with the elusive Nat Tremayne as well and what it hinted at. I also like the twist in the book.



I’ve been working on a novel that takes place in the seventies and it has proven eye-opening in what research has uncovered,, and what it’s brought to mind. Although I am old enough to have lived through that era, I spent most of it in the U.K. , which had problems other than the ones so divisive to the United States.

Haight Ashbury, courtesy of Arjun Sarup via Wikimedia Commons

Viet Nam and Watergate marked the decade, the former possibly sowing the seed of today’s divisions in our country, the latter being compared at times to the present government. But I’m not here for political proselytizing; I did not give (thus far) politics anything more than a passing mention in my book. I’ve used the seventies as background, and in so doing, have discovered quite a few Continue reading


It’s a tradition that August is a time for travel and when someone says ‘travel’ nowadays, I think ‘Road Trip.’ While I’ve recently lost my main travel partner, my daughter, to marriage, I can speculate that some time in the hopefully not too distant future, I might be relegated to a back seat, overseeing child or children, while husband and wife share driving to some enchanting site I’ve longed to see. Continue reading

Carra Copelin

Although with working on an anthology  you rarely get to meet the other authors in person, you still get a good idea of them through your correspondence.  That said, it’s been a pleasure working with Carra Copelin. Carra is an award winning and Amazon Best Selling Author Continue reading

Bad Boy, Big Heart by Andrea Downing

Romance Novels for the Beach

The trickiest thing when it comes to summer romances? There’s always a time limit. Sooner or later, the summer must come to an end.

What’s it About? 

bad boy, big heart

When New Yorker K.C. Daniels heads to Wyoming for a summer job, she wants nothing more than to fit in with the staff of the Lazy S Ranch. Yearning to be independent of her mom and dad, and have a taste of the west before she starts her Master’s degree, getting involved with a cowboy is the last thing on her mind—especially when she’s greeted with warnings about ‘Bad Boy’ Chay Ridgway.

High school dropout Chay Ridgway sees summer as his time to be a rodeo star and win a girl in his life, while facing the responsibilities he has for his father. Although working to bring in cash to help his dad, he’s never had a problem finding a woman who’s happy…

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Bad Boy, Big Heart by Andrea Downing

Source: Bad Boy, Big Heart by Andrea Downing

Hildie McQueen

I still have a coaster on my desk from the first author’s conference I ever attended back in 2012–it’s pink with the now familiar name of Hildie McQueen on it.  So imagine my delight to now find myself in an anthology with Hildie.

Hildie is a USA Today Bestselling author who loves unusual situations and getting into interesting adventures, which is what her characters do as well. She writes romance because she is in love with love! Author of Romance in Highland historical, Western Historical and contemporary, she writes something every reader can enjoy. Continue reading

Patti Sherry-Crews

This is the third anthology on which I’ve had the  pleasure of working with Patti Sherry-Crews, and I’m not sure I could proceed to work on one without her!  She has been a redoubtable ally against the foibles of publishing, and has stopped me from pulling my hair out on many an occasion with her delightful wit and sense of humor. Patti Sherry-Crews lives in Evanston, IL Continue reading