A Dogtown Christmas

Introducing an exciting new release by Callie Hutton ~

A Dogtown Christmas.pspimage99(1)

Guthrie, Oklahoma, 1912. Priscilla Cochran intends to prove to the world she is a grown up woman, able to take care of herself. She accepts a job as a teacher in Dogtown, Colorado where the man who hired her thinks she is a woman of ‘mature years.’

Mitch Beaumont is tired of young women who come to Dogtown and leave in tears because it is not a built up city with entertainment a young woman would want. He has finally secured a teacher for the town who has assured him she is a middle aged spinster, and will be able to last through the hard winters.

Then twenty year old Priscilla steps off the mail coach and falls at his feet in the mud.

Callie Hutton has had a busy year.  Her new releases include:

My review of A Dogtown Christmas:

I absolutely love the Oklahoma Lovers series by Callie Hutton. This book was no exception. I started reading it and could not put it down until the end. There is something romantic to me about the historic west and simpler times. Priscilla and Mitch have an up-and-down relationship as they explore each other’s past. Neither one is as they seem at face value.

While a reader does not need to be familiar with the other books in the Oklahoma Lovers series first, I am glad that I had the other books read. This book was like going home to close friends, and spending time catching up on old times that I’d missed between the last book and this one. Callie Hutton is a talented author who draws the reader in and holds one’s attention throughout. It’s nice to have the consistency of knowing her story is going to be one that I can’t put down until the very last word.

* I received an ARC for my honest review. *


Oklahoma Lovers Series by Callie Hutton

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Excerpt from A Dogtown Christmas ~

She didn’t know why, but the idea of sharing a holiday meal with Mitch and Ian seemed the right thing to do. Of course, had he told her of plans that involved other people, she would have spent the day alone, catching up on school work. For all her desire to get away from an over enthusiastic family, the thought of being alone on a major holiday was depressing.

“There have been years when we were snowed in for Thanksgiving.”

“Really? Snow comes that early?”

“It sure does.” He leaned forward, as if sharing a confidence. “Yes, and there have been occasions when we are snowed in for weeks at a time.”

She leaned in. “Oh, my. And what does one do when snowed in for weeks?”

“Try to keep occupied.” He brushed a lock of hair behind her ear.

Priscilla swallowed and whispered, “What sort of occupation would keep one busy for weeks at a time?”

“I can think of lots of things to do snowed in for weeks.” His voice grew thick.

Priscilla stared into his eyes wondering what the heck she was doing. “Care to explain that, Mr. Beaumont?”

“In some cases, actions speak louder than words, Miss Cochran.” Leaning his elbows on the table, he cupped her cheeks and covered her mouth with his own. She felt the jolt all the way to her toes, which curled in her half boots. She’d never been truly kissed before now, and was slightly annoyed that she’d grown to twenty years and never experienced the heady feeling of joining her mouth with another’s.

Mitch angled her head so he could go deeper into the cavern of her mouth. His tongue, tasting of coffee, skimmed over her gums, touching parts of her mouth she had no idea were sensitive. She moved closer and placed her hands on his warm face, feeling the slight bristle of a beard. It felt like sandpaper on her fingertips and she wondered how it would feel against the sensitive skin of her neck.

His fingers slipped into her hair, bunching it in his fists as he assaulted her mouth. A slight moan filled the air between them and she wasn’t even sure who had made the sound. Slowly, he released her lips and sat back, his hands dropping to the table. She opened her eyes and stared at him.

He cleared his throat. “I think I better go.”

“Yes, I think that’s for the best.” She didn’t rise when he stood, just watched him from her chair, her fingertips touching her swollen lips.


Callie Hutton, USA Today bestselling author of The Elusive Wife, writes both Western Historical and Regency romance with “historic elements and sensory details” (The Romance Reviews). She also pens an occasional contemporary or two.

Callie lives in Oklahoma with several rescue dogs, two adult children, a daughter-in-law, twin grandsons and her top cheerleader husband of thirty-eight years (although thankfully not all in the same home!). Living in the Midwest provides plenty of opportunities for Callie do pursue her interests: researching American history, meeting readers, spending time with family and discovering new adventures.

Callie loves to hear from readers and welcomes the opportunity to become friends, both in person or virtually.

Callie’s books can be found in the Pioneer Hearts Bookstore, an amazing resource for readers of historical western romance, by clicking here.

Find her online: WebsiteFacebook Twitter  NewsletterCallie’s Cohorts Street Team

Old West Bakeries

Old West Bakeries
~ by Kristin Holt

Fans of the Wild West are familiar with most businesses on the quintessential Main Street of Old West Town, USA: Livery and Blacksmith, Land & title office, Hotel or boarding house, Restaurant, Jail, Mercantile, Saloon, Brothel, a Bathhouse, a Laundry (particularly on the West Coast where many Chinese immigrants opened these businesses out of necessity), maybe a doctor’s office, a dentist (if the town-folk were lucky), and more.

Add to this list: a bakery.

This photo of the 400 block of Oak Street (Minok, IL) was taken in the 1890’s. None of the buildings shown are still standing. On the corner is the McGrail Hotel. Other businesses in the block were a bakery and the OK Saloon.

Why did bakeries Prosper?

Men and women alike gladly paid reasonable prices for freshly baked bread, a staple of the Western diet. Few had the resources to bake bread in anything but a cast iron Dutch oven in a bed of coals, and some certainly did. Bakeries fronted the capital necessary to purchase large wood- or coal-burning iron stoves or build the kind of traditional brick ovens originating in Europe.

Bakeries specialized in large batches of bread of different varieties, cookies, cakes, pies, and other time-consuming perishables more expensive to make on a small scale.

Henry Joseph Walk (age 37) and 2 sons on Globe Bakery Wagon, circa 1892, Salt Lake City

My soon-to-be released title, The Drifter’s Proposal, is set in my fictitious town of Mountain Home, Colorado in mid-December, 1900.

The baker’s man is home for Christmas…

Spinster Adaline Whipple runs the family’s business, Whipple Bakery, since her father’s demise three months ago. She’s stunned by a surprise mortgage her father made with a bank in Denver City six months before he died. Now that the loan is sixty days overdue, the big-town banker wants his money. If the Whipples can’t pay, he’ll evict them. Little does he care Christmas is one week away and the widow and daughters have nowhere to go. Adaline’s sure the handsome drifter Malloy’s proposal of… marriage?… won’t do her any good. But his mere offer to help feeds the attraction she’s felt for him, and before she knows it, she trusts the one man who can break her heart.

This 25,000 word (100 paperback pages) novella is available now within the Silver Belles and Stetsons anthology by ten award-winning and bestselling authors. Release date, November 2, 2015. The single-title novella, with the cover pictured, above, is also available as a stand-alone novella, with a release date of November 16, 2015.

Copyright © 2015 Kristin Holt, LC

holt7 Kristin Holt is an author of Sweet (clean, wholesome) Historical Romances set in the 19th Century American West. Some are Mail-Order Bride, some Romantic Comedies, some Christmas novellas— all about love’s triumph over the odds.

She’s an active member of Pioneer Hearts and loves hearing from readers. Please stop by and say hello!

Kirstin can also be found on the Pioneer Hearts Bookstore online.

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How the Texan Stole Christmas

How The Texan Stole Christmas #NewRelease by @JacquieRogers Giveaway!

~ by Jacquie Rogers

How did folks celebrate Christmas in the Old West? How about the single gals? What did they do?

The best way to find out (and fun, too!) is to read newspapers that cover the time and place of my stories. When I was researching for my Hearts of Owyhee series, I ran across this item from the December 21, 1872 issue of The Owyhee Avalanche (the oldest newspaper in Idaho, still operating out of my hometown, Homedale, Idaho):

THE CHRISTMAS TREE. The Christmas Tree Festival will be held in Jones & Bonney’s Hall. We will stake in addition to what was said in our last issue, that the Brass Band, composed at present of Messrs. Charles Leonard, Joe Gross, Benj. Davis, Rufus King, Ferd. W. Frost and E. Douglas, will perform some of their best pieces, which will add greatly to the pleasure of the occasion.

The singing, accompanied by the organ, will be done principally by young girls who have learned all the music they know in Silver City, and who by virtue of talent, industry and a good teaching have acquired, in our judgment, wonderful proficiency in the beautiful art over which the Muses preside. They are our little folks, and not imported singers, which will make it all the more interesting; that they will do their part in first-class style for their ages, we have not the least doubt, in fact, we know they will.

The tree will be a prolific one no doubt. The Argosy of Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, & Co. arrived at the port of San Francisco four days ago, as we are informed per telegram, and a large cargo of its merchandise is on its way up here, and will not fail to arrive in time. ~~

I could just see the hustle and bustle of Silver City.

Brass bands were wildly popular all over the West then. Yes, they decorated and put up Christmas trees. They had dances and concerts. And Santa was on his way!

So why not have a Secret Christmas Angel event for all the single men and women in town? Seems like something they’d do. And that’s what How the Texan Stole Christmas (a Hearts of Owyhee single read) is all about. Here’s the blurb:

Winnifred Spangler has thrown herself into community work to ward off the pangs of her lonely heart. Fairview, Idaho Territory, is snowed in—and cabin fever has set in with a vengeance. Winnie organizes a gift exchange for the town’s single young adults. Her hope is that a few of them will find the loves of their lives.

Judd Shaw, a Texas cowhand, hates the ice and cold. As soon as the roads are passable, he’s headed back to Texas. But thanks to his childhood friend, he’s caught up in the Secret Christmas Angel game, and the name he draws is the prettiest widow in all of Idaho—Winnie.

Can Winnie’s smile melt his hardened Texas heart?

How the Texan Stole Christmasa Hearts of Owyhee single read
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Leave a comment for a chance to win Much Ado About Madams by Jacquie Rogers!

Visit Jacquie at the Pioneer Hearts Book Store for a list of her books!

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FRONTIER LIFE – AUSTRALIA AND AMERICA

by Margaret Tanner, Western/Australian Historical Romance Author

Life on the American and Australian frontiers have a strikingly similar history. For example, take the The American Homestead Act, and the Australian Act of Selection, which is the basis for my novel, Frontier Belle.

America: The original Homestead Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20th, 1862. It gave applicants freehold title to up to 160 acres of undeveloped federal land west of the Mississippi River. The law required only three steps from the applicant – file an application, improve the land, then file for a deed of title. Anyone who had never taken up arms against the U.S. government, including freed slaves, could file a claim on the provisions that they were over the age of twenty one and had lived on the land for five years.

The Homestead Act’s lenient terms proved to be ill-fated for many settlers. Claimants didn’t have to own farming implements or even to have had any farming experience. The allocated tracts of land may have been adequate in humid regions, but were not large enough to support plains settlers where lack of water reduced yields.

Speculators often got control of homestead land by hiring phony claimants or buying up abandoned farms.

Most of us visualise the frontier home as a rustic log cabin nestled in a peaceful mountain valley or on a sweeping green plain. But in reality, the “little house on the prairie” was often not much more than a shack or a hastily scratched out hole in the ground. In the treeless lands of the plains and prairies, log cabins were out of the question so   homesteaders turned to the ground beneath their feet for shelter. The sod house, or “soddy,” was one of the most common dwellings in the frontier west. The long, tough grasses of the plains had tight, intricate root systems, and the earth in which they were contained could be cut into flexible, yet strong, bricks.

Ground soaked by rains or melting snow was ideal for starting sod house construction. When the earth was soft and moist, homesteaders would break the soil with an ox- or horse-drawn sod cutter, which was an instrument similar to a farming plough. Sod cutters produced long, narrow strips of sod, which could then be chopped into bricks with an axe. These two- to three-foot square, four-inch thick sod bricks were then stacked to form the walls of the sod house. A soddy roof was constructed by creating a thin layer of interlacing twigs, thin branches, and hay, which were then covered over with another layer of sod. To save time many sod houses were built into the sides of hills or banks. Some settlers gouged a hole in a hill side, so they only had to build a front wall and roof. As a result of their extremely thick walls, soddies were cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Soddies were also extremely cheap to build. Of course, there were drawbacks to sod-house living. As the house was built of dirt and grass, it was constantly infested with bugs, mice and snakes. The sod roofs often leaked, which turned the dirt floor into a quagmire. Wet roofs took days to dry out and the enormous weight of the wet earth often caused roof cave-ins. Even in the very best weather, sod houses were plagued with problems. When the sod roof became extremely dry, dirt and grass continually rained down on the occupants of the house.

A typical American log cabin measured about ten by twenty feet, regardless of the number of inhabitants. Settlers often built lofts across the cabin roof or lean-tos across the rear of the cabin to give the family more space. Typically, frontier cabins featured only one room, which served as kitchen, dining room, living room, workroom, and bedroom.

Homesteaders could often build a log cabin in a matter of days, using only an axe and auger. No nails were required for the task. The first step in construction was to build a stone or rock foundation, to keep the logs off the ground and prevent rot. Once the foundation was laid, settlers would cut down trees and square off the logs. These logs were then “notched” in the top and bottom of each end then stacked to form walls. The notched logs fitted snugly together at the corners of the cabin, and held the walls in place. After the logs were stacked, gaps remained in the walls. Settlers had to jam sticks and wood chips into the gaps, then they filled in the remaining gaps with cement made out of earth, sand, and water. Fireplaces were built of stone, and often had stick-and-mud chimneys. Most cabins had dirt or gravel floors, which had to be raked daily to preserve their evenness.


Australia: In the colony of Victoria the 1860 Land Act allowed free selection of crown land. This included land already occupied by the squatters, (wealthy land owners) who had managed to circumvent the law for years and keep land that they did not legally own.

The Act allowed selectors access to the squatters’ land, and they could purchase between 40 and 320 acres of crown land, but after that, the authorities left them to fend for themselves. Not an easy task against the wealthy, often ruthless squatters who were incensed at what they thought was theft of their land.

In 1861, the Act of Selection was intended to encourage closer settlement, based on intensive agriculture. Selectors often came into conflict with squatters, who already occupied land and were prepared to fight to keep it. The bitterness ran deep for many years, often erupting into violence.

The first permanent homesteads on the Australian frontier were constructed using posts and split timber slabs. The posts were set into the ground, about three feet apart, according to the desired layout. Slabs of timber were then dropped into the slots. A sapling or similar, straight piece of timber ran across the top of the posts, which allowed them to be tied together so they could support the roof. Clay was often plugged in between the joins and splits of the cladding to stop draughts. The internal walls were sometimes plastered with clay and straw, lined with hessian/calico, white washed or simply left as split timber. Roofs were pitched using saplings straight from the bush and often clad with bark. Early settlers learnt from the aborigines that large sheets of bark could be cut and peeled off a variety of trees and used as sheets to clad the roof.

So, as you can see, there is not much difference between our two countries in this respect.


quakerMargaret Tanner writes Australian frontier romance, and has recently published two western romances, Cowboy Christmas, and The Cowboy And The Quaker. Cowboy Christmas is included in the Western Christmas Anthology, Silver Belles And Stetsons. (Ten Christmas novellas set in the old west, from top selling and award winning authors. Only 99 cents as a special introductory offer).

Margaret’s books can be found at the Pioneer Hearts Bookstore on Amazon. Click on the above titles for purchasing information.

Margaret can also be found online at:

http://www.margarettanner.com/

http://mjljtanner.wix.com/loveleftbehind#!cowboy-christmas/cadi

Frontier Belle is also published by Books We Love Publishing at

http://bookswelove.net/authors/tanner-margaret/

You’re Invited to PARTY!

Please join us at the online Cowboys & Christmas Facebook Party on Thursday, Nov. 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (PST).

Drop in anytime during those four hours to enter to win great prizes, chat with guest authors, and more (many of the giveaways will stay open until the following morning)!

Here’s the link to the party: http://tinyurl.com/cowboychristmasparty2


The party kicks off the 2nd annual Cowboys and Christmas blog tour, which raises funds and awareness for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund.

Ring in the Holidays with a Helping Hand

JCCF logoNovember 1 through December 24, ten percent of the net proceeds from all Shanna Hatfield book sales will be donated to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. The JCCF is a non-profit organization that assists rodeo athletes who’ve sustained catastrophic injuries and are unable to work for an extended period. Every book purchased during this promotional period adds to the donation total. Don’t forget to add Shanna’s books to your Christmas lists!

Shanna Hatfield’s books can all be found by visiting the Pioneer Hearts Books store online at Amazon.


New Releases

To kick off the second annual Cowboys and Christmas Blog Tour and the JCCF campaign, Shanna releases two brand new holiday romances on Nov. 12!

Capturing Christmas CoverCapturing Christmas is the third installment in the sweet holiday western Rodeo Romance series.

Life is hectic on a good day for rodeo stock contractor Kash Kressley. Between dodging flying hooves and babying cranky bulls, he barely has time to sleep. The last thing Kash needs is the entanglement of a sweet romance, especially with a woman as full of fire and sass as the redheaded photographer he rescues at a rodeo.

Determined to capture the best images possible, rodeo photographer Celia McGraw is fearless and feisty. Not one to back down from a challenge, her biggest risk isn’t in her work. Danger lurks in the way her heart responds to one incredibly handsome stock contractor. Will Kash and Celia capture the spirit of the season?

The Christmas Vow Cover


The Christmas Vow is the fourth book in the Hardman Holidays sweet Victorian romance series.

Columbia River Pilot Adam Guthry returns to his hometown of Hardman, Oregon, after the sudden death of his best friend. Emotions he can’t contain bubble to the surface the moment he sees the girl who shattered his heart eleven years ago.

Widow Tia Devereux escapes her restrictive life in Portland, returning to the home she knew and adored as a girl in Hardman. She and her four-year-old son, Toby, settle into the small Eastern Oregon community, eager for the holiday season. Unfortunately, the only man she’s ever loved shows up, stirring the embers of a long-dead romance into a blazing flame. When her former father-in-law, a corrupt judge, decides he wants to raise Toby, Adam may be the only hope she has of keeping her son.


Thank you, Shanna, for your generosity and giving spirit this holiday season!

A Prairie Grass Primer

~ By Catherine Haustein

Imagine coming from a world of lush forests into the wide-open prairie. What a shock it must have been to find oneself surrounded by sky and windblown grass. What did early pioneers see as they entered the prairie?

Prairies are North American temperate grasslands. Grasslands are found in areas between forests and deserts, or in the case of the North American prairie, between forests and the Rocky Mountains. Upon first glance, they must have looked barren without trees. However, the unique grasses and their changing colors gave the prairie a kinetic beauty.

The easternmost prairie, the tallgrass, was dotted with wetlands and held over 70 types of grass, the most common being big bluestem, Indian grass, and switchgrass.

Big bluestem reaches a height of eight feet. The top of the plant branches into three stems holding seeds, giving it the nick name Turkey Foot. Grazing animals find it most tasty! Indian grass is known for its colors. In the summer it’s blue-grey. Yellow flowers appear in late season as it becomes dark orange and purple. Switch grass is a cheery light green in summer and a bright yellow in the fall.

West of the tall grass prairie was the mixed prairie composed of little bluestem, blue grama, and types of wheat. Little bluestem reaches a height of three feet. It’s blue-grey during the growing season and becomes rusty maroon with soft silvery tufts. Blue grama averages a foot and a half in height with flowers that resemble crescent moons.

The far Western shortgrass prairie held blue-green buffalo grass along with the large mammals that ate it. It is truly a short grass, growing to a maximum of just eight inches. When dormant following a frost, it turns light brown.

The lush prairie soil is perfect for agriculture and our prairies are among the world’s most endangered ecosystems. My home state of Iowa was once 85% covered with tallgrass prairie. Now only 0.1% of the land remains prairie, scattered in patches known as remnants. Prairie loss is a tragedy. Not only do they boast tremendous biological diversity, prairies remove carbon from the atmosphere. How wonderful it would be to have more prairies restored so we can experience what it was like when buffalo roamed.


To get ahead she’ll have to become a man — and a man, she always thought, never lets love get in the way…

Clementine dreams of being a naturalist — dreams that leave no time for romance. To sneak on an adventurous prospecting expedition, Clementine will have to convince everyone she’s a man. A mysterious tonic offers her just that disguise.

But “Calvin”, as she calls herself now, had no idea what she was giving up. When Wesley, the expedition’s gentle preacher, catches her eye, she can’t get him out of her head; not his lush lips, wide brown eyes … or broad chest. Dare she reveal her secret to him, and can she keep her career if she does?

Among run-ins with cowboys, natural disasters, and traveling shows, Wesley’s most fascinating adventure is meeting Calvin. Though Wesley’s betrothed, the cute, clever naturalist threatens to make him fall into temptation…


Catherine Haustein is a chemist and the author of Natural Attraction, a novel about a female scientist in 1871.  Follow Catherine on her website at http://catherinehaustein.com/

Natural Attraction is available through the Pioneer Hearts Book store and as a print and ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Lybrary.  Visit Penner Publishing for additional links to buy online.

EXCITING NEWS! American Mail Order Brides Series

Did you miss it? The big reveal has happened for the Sooper Sekrit project! 45 = 50! 45 authors wrote 50 books focusing on a general theme, the American Mail-Order Bride Series.

Do you have questions? Read more about it below to find answers. We are so excited to join this historical event with these amazing authors!

What is the Sooper Sekrit project?

• The Sooper Sekrit project is 50 mail-order bride romance stories, one for each state of the Union, occurring in 1890-1891. The books all have a common theme, which starts in a little garment factory in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in September of 1890.

• Forty-five amazing authors collaborated to put together this series of intertwined books. The series starts off with The Prequel, which is currently available free at http://www.newwesternromance.com/

Will the prequel be on Amazon?

• The prequel is currently available on Amazon

Will some or all of the books be on Kindle Unlimited?

• Yes, most of the books will be available on Kindle Unlimited.

Is there a certain order in which I should read the books?

• You should read the prequel first, but the books can be read in any order. However, the books are being RELEASED in the order that each State gained statehood.

What is the steam level of the books?
• All books are considered a ‘PG’ rating or cleaner.

When will the books be released?

• They will release one a day, beginning November 19, 2015, with Lottie, Bride of Delaware by Kit Morgan. Every day, November 19th through January 7, 2016, a new book in the series will be released.  The first three book covers that will be released are listed below.

Can I pre-order any of the books?

• Books that are available for pre-order can be found by selecting specific book titles on the American Mail Order Brides Series website at http://www.newwesternromance.com or on the Pioneer Hearts Book store.  There are currently 24 titles available for pre-order and more are being added weekly!

How can I find out more information about this awesome series?

• Visit the American Mail Order Brides Series website at http://www.newwesternromance.com/

• Visit the American Mail Order Bride page on Facebook

Did I read something about a Sooper prize?

• Yes, beginning November 19th, readers may share the book of the day from the Facebook page and be entered into a Grand Prize drawing. At the end of the release period (January 7th, 2016), a Kindle will be given away along with one ebook from each author’s list of books.  So, November 19th, start sharing to win!  NOTE: the books on the Kindle will not be the American Mail Order Bride Series books.

Click here for a checklist of available book titles as you order them (or as you read each one!)