Friday, June 14, 2024

Central Overland Trail by Zina Abbott

While developing the plot for my most recent covered wagon story in the Prairie Roses Collection, I decided for the covered wagon accompanying some of my characters to travel the Central Overland Trail between Salt Lake City, Utah, and Carson, Nevada Territory.


The first bit of confusion I needed to clear up in my own mind was that there were two Central trails and routes which, although they somewhat connected, were not the same. The Overland Trail/Route, also known as the Overland Stage Line, started at the St. Joseph, Missouri and ended at Placerville, California.

The Central Overland Trail was a transportation route from Salt Lake City, Utah, south of the Great Salt Lake through the mountains of central Nevada to Carson City, Nevada. Particularly during the decade between 1859 through 1869, until the first Transcontinental Railroad was completed, it served as an important trail through Utah, Nevada, and California for emigrants, mail, freight, and stagecoach passengers. Once developed, many California-bound travelers chose it over the more-established California Trail that followed the Humboldt River.

Maj. Howard Egan

The trail was first scouted in 1855 by Howard Egan. He used it to drive livestock between Salt Lake City and California. Egan’s route went straight through the high mountain ranges of the Great Basin that most earlier explorers had worked so hard to avoid. However, he discovered a series of mountain passes and mountain springs that aligned to allow an almost straight path across the middle of Utah and Nevada. 


Although many of these places were named later, Egan discovered what we now know as the Schell Creek Range, which could be crossed at Schellbourne Pass. He crossed the Cherry Creek Range at what is now Egan Pass, the Ruby Mountains at Overland Pass, the Diamond Mountains at a different Overland Pass, the Toiyabe Range at Emigrant Pass, and the Desatoya Mountains as Basque Summit. There were other smaller ranges and two large deserts that also needed to be crossed. However, there were a series of springs along the route, which allowed travelers access to water.

Central Overland Trail marker

The advantage of this trail compared to the California Trail was that it was 280 miles shorter. Using the Central Overland Trail could save travelers two weeks of travel time—an important consideration for emigrants headed for California using the Emigrant/Carson Pass Trail.

About 1858, when the U.S. Army learned of this new route, they sent out a survey expedition led by Captain James H. Simpson. The goal was to determine if this would be a good route for delivering supplies to Fort Floyd in Utah. In 1859 and 1860, the Army then improved the trail and springs for use by wagons and stagecoaches.


The southwestern Butterfield Overland Mail route had followed the Gila River to California since 1858. In 1861, John Butterfield, also switched the Butterfield Overland Mail route to the Central Route to avoid possible hostilities with the approach the American Civil War.

George Chorpenning, who held a mail contract for the western part of the nation, immediately realized the value of this more direct route. He had been using the northerly Humboldt Route along the Humboldt River (California Trail), but switched to the Central Overland Trail. The various stage lines, by traveling day and night and changing their teams at about 10 to 20 mile intervals, could transport light freight, passengers, and mail to or from the Missouri River towns to California in about 25–28 days.

In May 1860, the transportation firm of Russell, Majors, and Waddell  acquired George Chorpenning’s contract for mail service from Utah to California. At that point, the Central Overland Trail was joined as part of the Central Overland California and Pike’s Peak Express (C.O.C. & P.P.) route. In addition to freight, they also operated a stagecoach line.

At the encouragement of William H. Russell, in 1860, they formed the Pony Express. With the COC&PP as the parent company and under the direction of Russell, the Pony Express route used the Central Overland Trail for part of the western leg of their fast 10-day mail delivery. Home and relay stations were built along the Central Overland Trail to support both the Pony Express and the stagecoach lines that traveled this route. The firm utilized its partner, William H. Russell’s, equipment and portions of his former Leavenworth & Pike’s Peak Express route, as well as purchasing other lines running to Salt Lake City.

However, the company faired very poorly. The Pony Express experienced heavy losses. After the completion of the Transcontinental Telegraph, the Pony Express became obsolete. The business ran out of cash, and soon the company employees referred to C.O.C.& P.P. Express as “Clean Out of Cash and Poor Pay.” The company collapsed in 1861, and the holdings were sold at a public sale for $100,000 to Ben Holladay on March 21, 1862,

 

Ruins of the Cold Springs Stagecoach Station ctsy Ramartin
 

That was not the end of the Central Overland Trail. California and Nevada produced gold and silver, which was transported as stagecoach cargo going east along that route to support the Civil War. Nearly all stage lines were heavily subsidized to carry the mail. After the American Civil War, Wells Fargo & Co. absorbed the Butterfield stage lines and ran stage coaches and freight wagons along the Central Overland Route. Wells Fargo also developed the first agriculture in the Ruby Valley in Nevada to help support their livestock. The Army established Fort Ruby at the southern end of Ruby Valley in Nevada to protect travelers against marauding Indians along the road.

The Central Overland Trail continued to be used by stagecoaches, freighters, and wagon trains until the coming of the First Transcontinental Railroad made the trail all but obsolete except for local traffic.

The desert regions of central Utah and Nevada are dry and mostly desolate desert. For some beautiful pictures of the location of Cold Springs Station, part of this route, please CLICK HERE

To view the ruins of both Cold Springs Station and Sand Springs Station please CLICK HERE


In my most recently published book, Lucy, part of the Prairie Roses Collection, I set a scene along the Central Overland Trail. Lucy is currently available as an ebook, for sale or at no additional cost with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. It is also available in paperback. To find the book description and purchase options, please CLICK HERE

 

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Overland_Route

https://www.legendsofamerica.com/central-overland/

https://www.legendsofamerica.com/leavenworth-pikes-peak/

https://researchworks.oclc.org/archivegrid/collection/data/122499640

https://noehill.com/nv_churchill/poi_central_trail_27.asp

https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/a-socially-distanced-excursion-to-original-pony-express-stations-in-nevada.htm

https://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-overlandstage/

 

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Buffalo Bill and the Sells Floto Circus in 1914

 




When I was doing research for my new book coming July 2, I was looking into historical events in 1914 in the town of Pendleton, where the story takes place.




One of the happenings that fit in with the time frame of my story was the arrival of the Sells Floto Circus and Buffalo Bill's Wild West in June, 1914.

From the article that ran in the Pendleton newspaper, it seems the residents were a bit disappointed with Buffalo Bill, since all he did was ride around the ring, but otherwise loved the circus. 

I have my hero and heroine attending the circus together. Thanks to several photographs and articles I found, it was fun to incorporate many details into the scene. 



The Sells Floto Circus was the result of the Floto Dog and Pony show and the Sells Brother Circus that merged  together.



 The first two owners were Frederick Gilmer Bonfils and Harry Heye Tammen, owners of the Denver Post as well as the Kansas City Post. The circus was created in 1902 and originally titled "Floto Dog and Pony Show." It was four years later that Sells was added to the title, when Willie Sells joined the show. The newspapers gave publicity to the circus and it thrived when others struggled financially.



Los Angeles Record, April 14, 1914


During 1914 and 1915, the show was called Sells-Floto Circus and Buffalo Bill Wild West,  with Buffalo Bill performing in the show. 

The circus traveled all over the United States and received glowing accolades in many newspaper articles, such as the one above from their performance in Los Angeles. 

In 1921, the circus was incorporated into the American Circus Corporation. In September 1929, the corporation's circuses were acquired by John Ringling, and by 1933 Sells-Floto ceased to exist. There was a  brief revival in 1937-38 as part of the Al G. Barnes and Sells-Floto Combined Circus. 

You can read about the circus from a fictional viewpoint my my book Luna, releasing July 2. I incorporated details from old photographs and newspaper articles to make the experience feel as realistic as possible.






She’s searching for peace and grace


He’s ready to step into his next big adventure

Haunted by memories of the fateful day that changed her life, Luna Campanelli seeks a fresh start in Pendleton, Oregon. Life in the wild western town is nothing like she imagined, although the rugged beauty of the area soothes her troubled spirit. An unlikely friendship with one of the area ranch hands lifts her hopes, until she discovers the cowboy isn’t who he’s led her to believe.

Hunter Douglas didn’t intend to hide his identity from the woman he met on the train, but when she assumed he was his sister’s hired hand, he didn’t correct her. He never anticipated forming such a deep connection to her, especially when thoughts of her continue to infiltrate his carefully made plans. As a recent college graduate with an inheritance he intends to use to start his own ranch in Pendleton, Hunter must decide if he is willing to open his heart and include Luna in his future.

Will they embrace the unexpected love that has blossomed between them, or let fear tear them apart?

This sweet and wholesome romance is a story of love, healing, and the power of hope in a delightful western setting. Join Luna and Hunter on their journey as they discover what it truly means to love unconditionally.


USA Today bestselling author Shanna Hatfield is a farm girl who loves to write. Her sweet historical and contemporary romances are filled with heart, humor, hope, and hunky heroes. When Shanna isn’t dreaming up unforgettable characters, twisting plots, or covertly seeking dark, decadent chocolate, she hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.
Shanna loves to hear from readers. 
Follow her online at: ShannaHatfield | Facebook | Newsletter

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

A Good Night's Sleep - comfort came at a price by Kimberly Grist


In the 19th Century, Goodholme's domestic cyclopedia of practical information listed the materials used for mattress stuffing in order of comfort: down, feathers, wool, wool flock, hair, cotton, wood shavings, sea moss, sawdust, and straw.


https://loveiissk.shop/product_details/22238826.html

No wonder our ancestors' bedtime worries included fighting off nocturnal visitors such as moths, bedbugs, fleas, mice, and rats. It was said that many pioneers took their shoes to bed to use as weapons to fight off the unwelcome guests.

https://laurelleaffarm.com/ticking-pillow-doll-bed.htm


In the 19th Century, feather beds became an achievable luxury for those willing to put in the effort to gather the fifty-plus pounds of feathers needed to create a mattress.


Cross-section of a late 18th-century American bed, with bedstead, straw mattress, and feather bed. Photo credit: Wintherur Museum.

Comfort came at a price, and not all of our feathered friends were considered equal.



Feathers from pigeons or chickens were considered inferior. White feathers from domestic geese were best. This led some families to keep flocks of barnyard geese for their meat and eggs and to eat bugs from the garden. Families would save feathers from years of plucking to accumulate the fifty to eighty pounds required to fill a mattress tick. 
https://laurelleaffarm.com/primitive-old-feather-tick.htm

 A tick is a linen or cotton bag filled with either straw, wool, cotton, or feathers without support and sewn shut. This type of mattress was usually put on top of another firmer mattress for support. While tickings eventually wear out and must be replaced, feathers last for years.
https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-d681-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

The upkeep of mattresses wasn’t easy. The feathers had to be aired out or changed out entirely several times a year when they began to stink. Even so, a feather mattress was considered a valuable possession worthy of being passed on as a gift of a comfortable place to sleep to the next generation.


Thursday, June 6, 2024

A History of Stuffed Animals

 


In my latest book, Miss Beatrice, the Brides of Fiddler’s Gap, Book 6,
 I have a scene where my hero presents the heroine’s baby with a stuffed toy. I originally had it as a teddy bear, then remembered they hadn’t been invented yet. My book takes place in 1889. So I had to do a little research and as usual, fell down the research rabbit hole! 

Long before the teddy bear stole our hearts, stuffed toys were already cuddling their way into our lives. These fuzzy beings, also known as plushies or stuffed animals, originated in Germany with the Steiff company in the late 19th century. They were made from materials like plush fabrics and synthetic fibers, they can take on the appearance of anything from a mythical creature to your favorite cartoon character. And let's face it, even as adults we can't resist adding to our collection of these irresistible fluffs influenced by fads and pop culture. Don't believe us? Just ask your overflowing shelf of Funko Pops. Oh yes, stuffed toys have been around long before Teddy ever came along.

Back in 1880, before iPhones and Netflix, the first stuffed felt elephant was created by Margarete Steiff. She called it a pincushion, but let's be real, it was just an excuse to have a cute animal friend. Meanwhile in America, the "Ithaca Kitty" was making waves as one of the first mass produced stuffed toys. Clearly, the world was in dire need of cuddly companions. And in 1903, we got just that when Richard Steiff made a soft bear named "55 PB" after being inspired by real bears at the zoo. 


Then Morris Michtom jumped on the bandwagon and made the first teddy bear ever because he thought President Roosevelt needed some love too. Beatrix Potter also hopped on the stuffed toy trend with her patented Peter Rabbit, while handmade sock monkeys became popular during the Great Depression (because who needs cash when you can have a monkey?). And let's not forget A. A. Milne buying a toy for his son that would inspire Winnie-the-Pooh - talk about successful marketing! Fast forward to modern times and we have unique and quirky characters like Uglydoll and Paddington Bear hitting shelves. Who says adults can't have stuffed animals too?

Until Next Time,

Kit 

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

OLD WALLPAPER AND APPLES: THE DEADLY TRUTH by Marisa Masterson

 

Consider how far we go for beauty. I remember sitting for what seemed like hours so I could have lovely curly hair. The perm smelled and never turned out the way I imagined. Or think about the people who have botulism injected into themselves. All to plump up lips or cheeks.

The wallpaper and the apples are a bit like that. Both involved the quest for beauty. Each could be deadly.

Deadly apples? Is this something straight out of Snow White?

Not quite. What I mean is the quest for a lovely apple, the kind we regularly buy in a grocery store. Once upon a time not all apples went to market looking like that. They might have worm holes from the codling moth. 

The 1800s saw the arrival of that pest to the United States. It hitched a ride on plants brought by immigrants to this country. There was one good way to stop them and grow lovely fruit--Paris Green.

Paris Green! Do you recognize the name? It was famous as a highly desired wallpaper.

The lovely green paper was dazzling. So vivid! So deadly!


It was infused with arsenic. People went slowly insane and some died from exposure to it.



Sadly, the same chemical in that paper was what allowed consumers to buy beautiful apples. Growers sprayed their orchards with Paris Green. I mention this in my novel Martha's Second Chance:


The trees had yet to be sprayed. “Uncle Chet’s apples sold better than some because they looked so perfect. We need to spray the trees before the codling moths lay their eggs.”

Emory remembered her evasiveness as he gripped the sprayer and pushed the rod through the metal tube. A poisonous mist spurted from the nozzle. The liquified Paris Green settled on the early fruit.

That was another reason Chet’s apples had always sold well. He had the earliest fruit in the area. Emory remembered the old man laying a finger beside his nose, signaling he was about to say a secret. “Brought grafts with me, I did. Carolina Reds and Spitzenberg apple trees.”

Carolina Reds were a July apple. It was why Emory was spraying the fruit at the start of summer. Even with the colder weather in May, little green apples dotted the trees. He certainly had his work cut out for him. He had a lot of fruit to spray in a short amount of time.

He would work night and day to finish this for Martha. Above all else, he did not want her working with the poison. She needed to be safe inside the house.

To guard his own health, he wore two shirts—buttoned tightly at his neck—and tied twine around his wrists. Thick leather gloves covered his hands. He had a hat on his head and three bandanas tied over his nose and mouth. Arsenic was nothing to take chances with, and he was forced to do that very thing to produce a lovely piece of fruit.

Wallpaper or apples, neither was quite as beautiful as they seemed. At least, not with the presence of poison.

By the end of the nineteenth century, growers stopped using the poisonous Paris Green. A zinc-based pesticide was invented. It was far less toxic.

Hmm! I wonder, as I bite into a perfect Gala apple, what might be sprayed on it. 


NOW AVAILABLE!

Love comes easier than trust and forgiveness in this second chance romance.

Only one thing mattered more than the apple orchard to Martha, and Emory had been it! Too bad he left her standing alone at the altar the prior year.
Her dying uncle arranged for her to become Emory's mail-order bride. At a loss after her mother's death, Martha grabbed the chance to have a husband and traveled to Oregon to get that. In the end, she has an orchard and not the groom who corresponded with her.
A year was not long enough to forgive Emory for abandoning her at the church. Martha realizes this when she opens her door to see him standing on her porch. Worse yet, he hands her proof that her dead uncle deeded half of the orchard to Emory.

Is there 
any such thing as a true second chance? Will working day in and day out with her former fiance allow Martha to learn to trust the man she never stopped loving?

  CLICK HERE!

Friday, May 31, 2024

Look what our authors published in May!



Our authors have worked hard to bring you your next 

favorite stories. 

Here is what we published in May!


Lucy: Prairie Roses Collection - Book 46

By Zina Abbott

     Lucy Baxter lives peacefully in Kansas with her aunt, Caroline Wilcox, her deceased mother’s sister until, by 1863, the War Between the States made life for two lone women insufferable—and dangerous. Her dream of teaching school is shattered. With her fiance, her Uncle Wilcox, and two Wilcox cousins assumed among the missing or dead, Aunt Caroline has decided the best option for getting both her and Lucy to safety is to travel to California and join Lucy’s father. Only, Lucy—never fond of her stepmother—stayed behind when her father left years early. That stepmother died on the trail, but now her father has married again. Will he and his new wife welcome her? Will the two half-brothers who were so young when they left even remember her? Even if she and Aunt Caroline survive the journey to California, what kind of future can she expect?
     Malachi Foster’s dreams of striking it rich in the gold and silver fields in the West left him disillusioned. Tired of living like a rodent in a burrow, he accepts a job with Will Clayton tending pack mules hauling goods between Nevada and California. When not doing that, we works with Will as a teamster driving oxen-pulled wagons loaded with supplies for the mining towns he walked away from. When Will asks him to help drive a small freight train to the Missouri River to bring back goods found only in the East, Malachi hesitates. He left home to escape the Copperhead sympathies of his Northern family. If he travels closer to the fighting, there might be those who question why he is not enlisted in one army or the other. In the end, a gut feeling—or maybe something whispering to his spirit—helps him decide. Perhaps he must help protect his friend. Perhaps there is another reason. Either way, he will go.

Release date: May 5, 2024

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0D37JVVHH

 

Enid's Exit: Westward Home and Hearts Book 43

By Marisa Masterson

She is running to save her child. Will he be the man who rescues them or be the one to send them away?

     Enid Hartwell needs to make a rapid exit once her stepson inherits the home where she lived for twenty years. Mildred Crenshaw stands ready to help her cousin and has the perfect groom waiting for a bride like Enid. Only, the man did not expect a bride with a handicapped child.

      Donald Bailey does not take well to living alone after his wife's sudden passing. When Ruby King suggests writing to the same agency that matched her with her husband, he does so with enthusiasm. He sent off the letter and waited--and waited!
      After a year without a match, he should be ecstatic to meet Enid Hartwell. If only she looked more like his first wife. And how is he supposed to be a father to a child who cannot speak or hear? Can he discover the hidden beauty within the woman who has taken his first wife's place?
      Will this older couple bend their expectations to discover their happily-ever-after as they work to make a home for a deaf and mute little girl?
If you've read Ruby's Risk, Sookie's Silence, or Wren's Wooer, you will enjoy this sweet and failth-filled story. It is a visit with those characters as well as a chance to see what is new in the town of Bailey's Meadow.
       The book can be read as a standalone romance. Reading the other three first will enhance a reader's enjoyment of the story.

Release date: May 21, 2024

https://www.amazon.com/Enids-Exit-Westward-Home-Hearts-ebook/dp/B0CY5QGH64     


Miss Hespa: Sweet Historical Western Romance (The Brides of Fiddler's Gap Book 5)

By Kit Morgan

A determined young woman with a dream.
A handsome doctor willing to help her.
And one big obstacle

Hespa Pendergrass dreams of becoming a veterinarian. But if she can't convince her parents she's got what it takes, her dream will never become a reality. Lucky for her, a professor at the college she wants to attend, agrees to meet with her. With this man's backing, she was sure to get in! There was only one problem. Okay, maybe two. Her parents still didn't think she had what it takes, and they carted her off to Fiddler's Gap for her best friend's wedding. So what if she agreed to be the maid of honor! If she didn't get back in time, she'd miss her one chance of speaking to the professor! How was she going to convince her parents to high tail it back to Baltimore?

Temple Garrett came to Fiddler's Gap for the peace and quiet. He even sent off for a mail-order bride. But when the Pendergrass family shows up in town for a wedding, his world is turned upside down. Hespa Pendergrass fancies herself a veterinarian in training, and wouldn't you know, she's good at it? After she helps with someone's plow horse and a few other animals, Temple is convinced she has want it takes to survive the training needed to become a veterinarian. Unfortunately, he should have paid closer attention to what his heart was doing while working with her. For once she went back to Baltimore, he'd never see her again. Did he have the strength to let her go and chase her dream? Find out in this sweet, heartwarming historical western full of love and laughter!

Release date: May 21, 2024

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0D4TFZMSM

 

Annabelle's Wedding Dilemma: The Matchmaker and the Mother-in-law

By Kimberly Grist

"Ordering a wife through the mail is unnatural. Having your mother order one on your behalf is infuriating.”
      Asa Bailey grew up hard, on a daily diet of driving cattle, drinking coffee, and eating dust. Since his father’s premature death, the weight of the responsibility for the success of the ranch and the added pressure of his mother’s contrary and snobbish nature weighs like a millstone strapped to his neck. Disappointment from the betrayal of his childhood sweetheart has left him skittish about matters of the heart. The last thing he wants is a wife. Unfortunately, his mother thinks differently and has taken matters into her own hands.
      Orphaned and then abandoned in a children's home, overlooked and often judged because of her grandmother’s Cherokee heritage, Annabelle Ryan knows the pain of rejection. Desperate, she accepts the advice of her pastor and applies to a matchmaking agency. Upon receiving correspondence from a friend who recommends a potential groom willing to overlook her background, Annabelle is thrilled. Ignoring the warning that her husband-to-be’s responsibilities include caring for a meddlesome and snobbish mother, she accepts the invitation and heads west.
      “One of the blessings of growing up in an orphanage is learning resilience. I’ve survived measles, a yellow fever epidemic, hunger, and abandonment; any trouble that might come from a meddlesome mother-in-law won't amount to a hill of beans.”

Release date: May 28. 2024

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CR8NTH3M

 

A Cowboy for Christmas (Confederate Widows, Spinsters, and Proxy Brides Book 1)

By P. Creeden

In Atlanta, Serena Carver was discovered as a child prodigy by a virtuoso pianist when she was thirteen years old and made an orphan by the war. Ever since, she’s abided by her adoptive father’s every rule, no matter how overbearing. But now, she’s only a month from her eighteenth birthday, and she discovers a nefarious plot by her benefactor that she just cannot abide. In order to avoid a future of enslavement or poverty, she marries a stranger by proxy.

Cowboy Theo Archer suddenly finds himself saddled with the ranch that was supposed to be his brother’s and his newborn nephew. He knows nothing about running a household or of raising a child. Though the pastor’s wife is helping him with the child, he can’t keep relying on other’s good graces. Then the pastor’s wife has an idea that might help, if he’s willing to marry a woman he’s never met.

Release date: May 29, 2024

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CZ1M8BR1

 Not all of our authors make their books available on pre-order. However, for those who do, those advance sales go a long way toward boosting their sales rankings. 

Here are future releases:

June Pre-orders:

Martha's Second Chance (Rejected Mail-Order Brides Book 10)

By Marisa Masterson

Forgiveness comes easier than trust and love in this second chance romance.

     Only one thing mattered more than the apple orchard to Martha, and Emory had been it! Too bad he left her standing alone at the altar the prior year .
     A year was not long enough to fall out of love with him. Martha realizes that when she finds him standing on her porch. Worse yet, he hands her proof that her wandering uncle had deeded his share of the orchard to Emory.
     Is there any such thing as a true second chance? Will working day in and day out allow Martha to learn to trust the man she never stopped loving?

Release Date June 3, 2024

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CP4H69K1

 

Bernard's Christmas Mail-Order Bride Historical Western Holiday Romance

By P. Creeden

This Christmas, love arrives unexpectedly—by stagecoach.

Can unexpected Christmas magic spark love’s flame between a man with no bride and the woman who has traveled so far to win his wary affection? This is a clean, wholesome series of standalone novellas written from a Christian worldview. Each story has a happily ever after and features down-to-earth characters with real world problems who overcome them by grace and love. There will be seven brides in this special holiday series ~ read them all!

(Individual Description to come soon...)

Release date: June 20, 2024

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CNPQ7QRW 

 

July Pre-orders:

 

Luna: A Sweet Historical Romance (Pendleton Petticoats Book 11)

By Shanna Hatfield

She’s searching for peace and grace

He’s ready to step into his next big adventure

Haunted by memories of the fateful day that changed her life, Luna Campanelli seeks a fresh start in Pendleton, Oregon. Life in the wild western town is nothing like she imagined, although the rugged beauty of the area soothes her troubled spirit. An unlikely friendship with one of the area ranch hands lifts her hopes, until she discovers the cowboy isn’t who he’s led her to believe.

Hunter Douglas didn’t intend to hide his identity from the woman he met on the train, but when she assumed he was his sister’s hired hand, he didn’t correct her. He never anticipated forming such a deep connection to her, especially when thoughts of her continue to infiltrate his carefully made plans. As a recent college graduate with an inheritance he intends to use to start his own ranch in Pendleton, Hunter must decide if he is willing to open his heart and include Luna in his future.

Will they embrace the unexpected love that has blossomed between them, or let fear tear them apart?

Release date: July 2, 2024

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0D5DL2MMK

 

A Child for Christmas: Confederate Widows, Spinsters, and Proxy Brides

By Marisa Masterson

A woman desperate to begin again. A man who longs for connection. Only a baby stands in the way of their happily ever after.

Charlotte Reynolds lost both her fiancĂ© and her father during the War of Northern Aggression. She and her sister Esther struggled to hang on to the family’s home in Alexandria, Virginia. Unfortunately, Esther sacrificed her virtue to pay the taxes and died as a result.

With no home, her sister's newborn, and the cool weather of winter in the offing, Charlotte seizes on the chance to marry a man in the West. The only catch is she must marry him sight unseen in a proxy ceremony. She will face any obstacle to keep her nephew safe, even marry a Yankee!

Butch Whaley needs a woman’s chatter to get through the winter. The previous year he nearly went mad spending the season by himself on the land he homesteaded, land he had gotten free as a veteran of the recent war. He craved the noise of another person. Everyone knew women talked a lot, so a wife was guaranteed to end his loneliness.

Only, he wants one without encumbrances. A woman who has never been married would suit him best. He is working hard to establish his ranch. He did not intend for stepchildren to inherit it. No, it would not be like what happened when Pa left his store to his stepson Ike instead of to Butch.
When he risks being caught in a snowstorm to collect his Christmas bride, he is in for a shock. The woman arrives with a baby she says is hers.
Will Butch honor the promise he made when he signed the proxy form or will he lose out on future happiness because of past hurt?

Release date: July 3, 2024

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0D1YT8R1N

 

Olivia's Odyssey (Westward Home and Hearts Mail-Orders Book 49)

By Jo-Ann Roberts

Things go from bad to worse after Olivia Talbot is let go from her position at the Butterick Pattern Company in Boston and her beloved Auntie Dee passes away. Left with only her sewing machine and a letter of introduction to Mildred Crenshaw, proprietress of the Westward Hearts and Homes Matrimonial Agency she soon finds herself corresponding with a cattleman from Cottonwood Falls, Kansas. 

As a proxy mail-order bride to a cattleman and mother to three children, she expected her life would change.
What she didn't expect upon her arrival was to discover Nate Forester, her intended, had perished in a suspicious fire.

Ty Forester's world is upended after tragedy leaves him caring for his brother's children. A cattleman's life is difficult enough. Yet, all he can do is pray he can raise the children and still run a ranch.

But it gets worse. His late brother’s mail-order bride arrives with a signed affidavit stating she will be sharing custody of the children with him. In disbelief, Ty intends to send Olivia Talbot straight back to wherever she came from.
Too bad the determined, tenacious woman has other plans.

Release date: July 15, 2024

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0D488ZQPF

 

Edwin's Christmas Mail-Order Bride -Historical Western Holiday Romance

By P. Creeden

This Christmas, love arrives unexpectedly—by stagecoach.

Can unexpected Christmas magic spark love’s flame between a man with no bride and the woman who has traveled so far to win his wary affection? This is a clean, wholesome series of standalone novellas written from a Christian worldview. Each story has a happily ever after and features down-to-earth characters with real world problems who overcome them by grace and love. There will be seven brides in this special holiday series ~ read them all!

(Individual Description to come soon...)

Release date: July 18, 2024

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CNPS9XQW