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Have you ever wondered what women from two different centuries would discuss?

Today, you can listen in as Filly Granger and Kenzie Morgan dish on life, love, and the holidays.

Amanda Righetti makes such a lovely Filly.

Amanda Righetti makes such a lovely Filly.

Filly is a wife, mother, and involved community member in The Christmas Bargain, a sweet Victorian romance taking place in 1893.

Daniela Ruha is exactly how I picture Kenzie.

Daniela Ruha is exactly how I picture Kenzie.

Kenzie Morgan is from the contemporary sweet romance The Christmas Cowboy. She works from home as a direct sales corporate program developer, is a wife and mother.

Welcome to you both. Tell us a little about your home.

Filly: I live in the small but bustling community of Hardman, Oregon in Eastern Oregon. We have several churches, a school, a newspaper office, skating rink and mercantile there. My husband, Luke, and I live in the house where he grew up on the edge of town where we raise cattle and a few horses. He owns and manages the Hardman Bank and is very involved in the community.

Kenzie: Tate, that’s my husband, and I live on the ranch that his grandfather started back in the early 1900s. We’re about thirty miles from Kennewick, Washington. We primarily raise beef cattle, wheat, and hay.

What is your single most favorite modern convenience?

Filly: Indoor plumbing. And my washing machines. I feel quite spoiled to have two but it is such a big help on laundry day.

Kenzie: Since indoor plumbing is something we all take for granted these days, I’d say my cell phone is my favorite convenience. (Smiles and shows Filly her phone, giving her brief demonstration of how it works.)

Filly: (Wide-eyed, holds the phone in her hand) This is the most miraculous invention. I dearly wish I could show Luke. He’d be utterly entranced.

What’s your favorite thing about your home?

Kenzie: (Smiles) Tate and our son, Gideon. They make a place home for me.

Filly: You have a son?

Kenzie: We sure do. He’ll be two soon. (Pulls up a photo of the baby on her phone and hands it to Filly.)

Filly: He’s adorable. His curls put me in mind of our own little Maura. She’s just a few months old. (Filly removes a small photograph from her reticule and gives it to Kenzie.)

Kenzie: What a lovely family. Your husband is very handsome.

Filly: Mr. Morgan appears quite dashing with those dimples and bright blue eyes. Oh, and to answer the question, my favorite thing about home is Luke and Maura. It would just be a house without them there.

Here are three fun questions…

Coffee or tea?

Kenzie: Most of the time coffee, but sometimes I enjoy a good cup of tea. Tate thinks I make special Christmas tea, but I buy it from the store.

Filly: (Grins at Kenzie) I prefer tea as does Luke, although he hates to admit it to anyone. We also have spicy tea we make at Christmas. It’s so fragrant and delicious.

Skirts or pants?

Filly: Women wear pants?

Kenzie: (Opens a site on her phone with women’s fashions) All the time. I’m used to wearing skirts when I’m working so I put one on today. Otherwise, I’d be dressed in jeans and boots.

Filly: Jeans? As in denim trousers?

Kenzie: (Nods and shows Filly a photo) This is me with my horse, Goldie.

Filly: (Studies the photo and grins) Oh, how I wish I could wear jeans to ride. They look much more comfortable than the split skirts I wear. Your boots are wonderful.

Sweet or savory?

Filly and Kenzie: Sweet!

Filly: I enjoy sweets, especially chocolate.

Kenzie: Me, too!

Tell us one thing you admire about your husband.

Kenzie: It’s hard to choose just one. Tate is one of the most optimistic, positive people I’ve ever met. He always looks for the good in situations and in others. I’d say that’s probably what I admire about him most. He’s also loyal, determined, gentle, and kind. And handsome!

Filly: Luke has the biggest heart of anyone I know. He rescued me when I needed it most. He’s definitely my hero, champion, and best friend. I also think he’s quite charming and handsome.

Thank you both for joining us. Any parting words for our readers?

Kenzie: If you enjoy historical fiction, sweet romances, or good westerns, I hope you’ll consider reading our stories in the Hardman Holidays and Rodeo Romance series.

Filly: Be sure to check out The Christmas Calamity, releasing Nov. 13. Luke’s assistant Arlan really gets into the magic of the season with the arrival of a prestidigitator in town.

Kenzie: I’ve never met a prestidigitator, although I’ve been around some great rodeo clowns when Tate rode in the rodeo.

(The two women stand.)

Filly: If you aren’t in a hurry, do you mind if I peruse a few things on that? (Gestures to Kenzie’s cell phone)

Kenzie: (Hands Filly the phone) Go right ahead. By the way, do you think you could share that tea recipe…

Where to Find The Books

The Christmas Cowboy

Start the Rodeo Romance Series with The Christmas Cowboy.

Kindle | Paperback | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Apple | Audible

christmas bargain coverTravel back to a different time with the historic Hardman Holiday Series,

beginning with The Christmas Bargain.

Kindle | Paperback

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bronc 2dThe sight of a cowboy in a pair of dusty boots with his hat settled just so on his head never fails to make me smile.

My appreciation of cowboys and the western way of life came naturally, growing up as a horse-crazy girl on our farm in Eastern Oregon.

The fact my oldest brother spent weeks (and sometimes) months at a time working on remote ranches next door to the edge of nowhere only added to my fascination. He’d arrive home full of exciting tales of daring that made me sit up and take notice. Sometimes, he brought along a fellow cowpoke in need of a home-cooked meal and a few days of rest before they headed back to boonies.

As a little girl, I’d listen to them talk about a way of life that seemed to be all but disappearing. They always smelled like leather and horses and sunshine – a scent I still love to this day.

When I began writing sweet romances, it was a natural fit for me to make most of my heroes cowboys. Some of my stories take place in historical settings, others are modern day, but the common thread is that the men live by an unspoken code of honor I always associate with cowboys. With those boots and hats, it can be a lethal combination to the hearts of unsuspecting women.

Tate graphicIn The Christmas Cowboy and Wrestlin’ Christmas, the first two books in the Rodeo Romance series, neither heroine wants to fall for a cowboy.

The Christmas Cowboy

Here’s an excerpt from The Christmas Cowboy

Quickly jumping off the fence, Tate jogged toward the stands. Kenzie looked around, getting her bearings, as he hustled up the steps and squatted down beside her.

“Dewdrop, I didn’t think you’d be able to make it.” He took her hand in his and squeezed her fingers. The warmth in her eyes as she gazed at him made his heartbeat kick into overdrive. Maybe she cared about him more than she wanted to admit.

The jubilant smile on his face made her glad she raced through her presentation, ran through the hotel as if the building was aflame, and pleaded with the taxi driver to put some hustle in it so she’d arrive at the rodeo on time.

Wrestlin-Christmas-promo-2

And an excerpt from Wrestlin’ Christmas

Tall and brawny, Cort McGraw happened to be one of the most handsome men she’d ever seen. From his silvery-gray eyes rimmed with black eyelashes to the dimple in his all-too-attractive chin, she wished Kenzie had given her some warning. If she’d known what he looked like, that he was so young, rugged, and hunky, she would have told Tate not to bother sending Cort to her place.

Mercy, he smelled good, too. Even now, his manly, musky fragrance filled her senses. Annoyed with herself for savoring his heady scent, she brushed at her nose, hoping to chase away the lingering aroma of his aftershave.

Where to Find The Books

The Christmas CowboyStart the Rodeo Romance Series with The Christmas Cowboy.

Kindle | Paperback | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Apple | Audible

Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund®

NoJCCF logow through Dec. 24, I’ll donate 10 percent of the net proceeds from all book sales 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.

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I thought it might be fun to share in interview with two hunky, sweet rodeo cowboys from my Rodeo Romance series today.

kellan lutzKellan Lutz – my idea of a perfect Tate Morgan.

 Tate Morgan is a saddle bronc rider out to claim a championship title and the girl he loves in The Christmas Cowboy, the first book in the series.

Colin Wayne with shirtColin Wayne – the perfect Cort McGraw

Wrestlin’ Christmas, the second installment, shares Cort McGraw’s story as a sidelined steer wrestler who falls for a widow down on her luck.

Welcome to you both. Tell us a little about you.

Tate: I live on the ranch that my grandfather started back in the early 1900s. We’re about thirty miles from Kennewick, Washington, where we primarily raise beef cattle, wheat, and hay.

Cort: I used to live near Boise, Idaho, until my sister shanghaied me and dumped me at Tate’s door. Now, I’m working on a ranch about fifteen minutes away from the Morgan place.

What happened with your rodeo career?

Cort: In April, I did a number on my knee when I jumped off my horse to wrestle a steer at a rodeo. I knew the moment I hit the ground I wasn’t walking out of the arena. The doctors have all assured me I either stop competing or cripple myself for life. Since I like the ability to walk, I guess my rodeo career is effectively over.

Tate: It isn’t the end of the world, man. You never know what great thing is waiting just around the corner.

Are you always so optimistic, Tate?

Tate: (Shrugs) Usually. Might as well think positive. It can’t hurt anything.

Cort: (Rolls his eyes) He should add that he’s super annoying to his friends with that can-do attitude.

What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

Cort: Eating. (Chuckles and rubs a hand over his flat stomach). I do enjoy all the treats that seem to accompany the holiday season, but I think Christmas Eve is my favorite part of the holiday. My family goes to church, then we sit around a crackling fire and visit before my Dad reads to us. It’s just a nice time to connect and unwind with the people I care about most.

Tate: I agree with Cort on all accounts. It’s the time spent connecting with those we love that make the holiday special – and the treats. I never turn down a good holiday cookie.

Cort: Or cake, or pie. Or…

(Tate playfully slugs his arm)

You’ve both sustained major injuries competing in rodeo. Can you tell us a little about the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund?

Tate: It’s an amazing organization that steps in to help injured rodeo athletes when they’ll be out of work for while and are facing financial hardship.

Cort: Both of us were fortunate not to require assistance, but the JCCF is a lifesaver for some rodeo families.

Thank you both for joining us. Any parting words for our readers?

Tate: If you enjoy, sweet western romances, I hope you’ll consider reading our stories in The Christmas Cowboy and Wrestlin Christmas.

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hugLast week was one wild, crazy, exciting, unbelievably wonderful ride for this girl.

For those of you who missed being bombarded with all my news (Sorry! – Did I mention I was excited?), the following went on last week:

* I kicked off the promotion I’m doing through Christmas Eve with the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund.

* I took my promotion and my two latest books on a virtual book tour with more than 50 bloggers.

* I released The Christmas Calamity, Book 3 in the Hardman Holidays series.

* I ran a free promotion with The Christmas Bargain, Book 1 in the Hardman Holidays series.

* I hosted a Facebook Party to celebrate all the above and had the most wonderful time with such amazing people. I was astounded by how many people jumped into the fun and so thankful to the eight guest authors who contributed both time and prizes to the party! You all are ROCK STARS!

* I made a flying trip to Redmond, Oregon, where Women Writing the West will hold the 2015 Conference in October of next year. I’m co-chairing the conference and we needed to meet before the snow flew (which it did, hours after I arrived back home).

Due to all the excitement and (admittedly) anxiety, I’ve been running on about half the amount of sleep I require to function with any degree of normalcy and have yet to calm down enough to really relax.

But the one thing  – the thing that makes me feel weepy with gratitude – has been the generous outpouring of support for my efforts from both strangers and friends. You came to the party, you purchased my books, you shared my promotion and information on through your social media outlets and by telling your friends, you hosted me on your blogs without knowing a thing about me, you posted the most wonderful reviews that make me teary eyed, and you’ve made me feel so appreciated and loved.

If you want to know what happiness looks like for me today, it’s a big, smooshy heart full of love and gratitude to you all.

Thank you more than words can say…

Thank you for Promo help

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Shanna-Hatfield-Nov-Blog-TourSince a big part of this week’s blog tour is to promote the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, I thought I’d share a little today about how I came to be  involved with them and  the  Rodeo Romance series.

Last year, as I wrote The Christmas Cowboy, the first book in the Rodeo Romance series, I found myself questioning how much medical care an injured cowboy would receive at a rodeo versus going to the hospital.

In the story, the hero is a saddle bronc rider named Tate who sustains an injury at a rodeo. In an attempt to get my facts straight for the story, I reached out to the Justin Sportsmedicine Team®. Through mobile medical centers, they provide care at more than 125 PRCA rodeos annually. Their response to my questions was extremely helpful and I was so impressed with them, I wanted to do a little something in return.

The Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund provides assistance to professional rodeo athletes who’ve been seriously injured and may be out of work for an extended period of time. Information about JCCF is included at the back of The Christmas Cowboy with a link to their website, but I wanted to do more than just mention the fund in my book. So last year I launched a campaign to donate a portion of my book sales to the JCCF during the month of December.

This year, I hope to make an even bigger contribution, so I started the campaign a month earlier. Now through December 24, I will donate 10 percent of my net proceeds from every book sold to the JCCF. It’s my way of giving back to a sport I love watching and to an organization that truly fills a huge gap.

2014 Flyer

The blog tour is all about getting the word out about JCCF and the promotion. If you haven’t shared the information with a friend, why not do it today? You’d be helping out a very worthwhile cause.

As it happens, I became quite smitten with the characters in The Christmas Cowboy and decided to make it the first of many books in the Rodeo Romance series.

 

Wrestlin' Christmas CoverThe second book, Wrestlin’ Christmas, is about Tate’s best friend, Cort McGraw, a steer wrestler who sustains a life-changing injury during a rodeo that leaves him sidelined.

The book trailer just came out yesterday, so I thought it would be loads of fun to share it with you today! It mentions the JCCF at the end of the trailer.

 

And here’s a little excerpt from the book:

Tate Morgan called the previous afternoon and said he knew someone experienced willing to work for what she could pay. Unable to believe her good fortune, she expected a grizzled old ranch hand in his retirement years, not a good-looking giant of a man in his prime.

Tall and brawny, Cort McGraw happened to be one of the most handsome men she’d ever seen. From his silvery-gray eyes rimmed with black eyelashes to the dimple in his all-too-attractive chin, she wished Kenzie had given her some warning. If she’d known what he looked like, that he was so young, rugged, and hunky, she would have told Tate not to bother sending Cort to her place.

Mercy, he smelled good, too. Even now, his manly, musky fragrance filled her senses. Annoyed with herself for savoring his heady scent, she brushed at her nose, hoping to chase away the lingering aroma of his aftershave.

You can find Wrestlin’ Christmas and my other books on:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Apple | Audible

Look for them on  goodreads badge

And browse through the exciting book boards on Pinterest_Logo (everything from hunky cowboys to recipes and craft projects included in the stories!)

Remember, every book purchased (digital or paperback – and they make great gifts!) now through Christmas Eve helps an injured rodeo athlete!

2014 Flyer2

 

 

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bronc 2d

Captain Cavedweller and I spent the weekend in Pendleton, Oregon, where I had two book signings, we watched the Westward Ho! Parade (the longest non-motorized parade in the country), and attended the Pendleton Round-Up.

I think I’m still smiling from all the fun we experienced.

fredThe weekend got off to a great start Thursday when I arrived at Hamley & Co. Western Store to do a book signing and discovered I’d be sharing the table with eight-time tie-down roping world champion Fred Whitfield.

gold buckles don't lieHe was at the store to sign copies of his book Gold Buckles Don’t Lie. If I’d had my head on straight, I’d have taken a photo of him signing the books.

What I observed about Fred while I sat next to him for a few hours is this: he’s a courteous, professional, witty guy who made every person who came up to the table feel special. Oh, and he has some secret youth elixir because he seriously does not look his age – at all.

Check out Fred’s fascinating story and get an autographed copy of the book through his website.

Friday found us lining up with hundreds (or was it thousands?) of others along Pendleton’s two main streets to take in the Westward Ho! Parade. We may be weird, but both of us have such a good time watching this parade. I took so many photos, CC had to run to a store down the street and get another card for my camera.

indian pony 2 The colors and detail of this horse and rider’s regalia were amazing.

Indian ponyDon’t ask me why, but I was in love with this horse. I also liked the colors the rider wore along with the saddle blanket.

I have many, many other photos of the parade, but will save them to post another time.

After one of us found  a new pair of boots they couldn’t live without and CC ran them all the way back to the rig, we indulged in a beefy lunch of barbecued steak that was undeniably delicious.

Making our way into the stands, we settled into our seats and watched the countdown on the clock as it neared time for the Pendleton Round-Up to begin.

bronc 6

There are many things that make the experience at this rodeo different from others.

bronc rider 4For one thing, the rodeo arena’s grass floor is one-of-a-kind in the world of rodeo, adding a unique challenge for competitors. The Native American encampment is the largest in North America with more than 300 teepees annually joining in the event. It was also the first rodeo to have rodeo royalty, starting with the very first Round-Up in 1910.

bareback 1People come from all over the world to see the rodeo and take in the entire Pendleton Round-Up experience. I know that for a fact because I shook hands with a man from Norway, directed a woman from England to a restroom and listened to Japanese tourists gush over the bling-y offerings at one of the vendor booths.

bareback3 bobby moteYou’ll also find the top names in rodeo talent competing at the Pendleton Round-Up, like Bobby Mote (above).

CORTSCHEER_Cort Scheer is the name of a saddle bronc rider you should know if you don’t. Some of you might recall that I met his super-sweet mom and sister when I was in Las Vegas during the finals in December.

Cort 2It was exciting for us to watch Cort ride to victory Friday with an 84-point score.

Cort 1He went on to claim the Saddle Bronc championship title Saturday with a 91-point ride! Way to go, Cort! Big congrats to you! There’s a great article about his win on ProRodeo.com

steer wrestlerOf course, I took some photos of the bulldoggers, especially since Wrestlin’ Christmas just came out this month.

indian dancersThe Native American dancers provided a colorful presentation in the arena.

indian girl 1Aren’t the outfits gorgeous? (And the horse, too!). The outfits and trappings are often passed down through many, many generations.

indian girl 2 rosesI was in love with the roses on this one. Just beautiful!

chaps 2I even got inspired to take a few creative / artsy kind of photos – like this one.

bullrider 1The bulls tend to hug the chutes which makes it hard to get a good photo from our seats. This guy cooperated though. I like the dust billowing up from his hooves as the rider tries to make it the full eight seconds.

STEVE WOOLSEYSpeaking of bull riders, I got to meet Steve Woolsey – who just happened to win the Bull Riding event at the Round-Up.

IMG_9259Last year, when I was writing The Christmas Cowboy, I got in touch with the incredibly nice and helpful Rick Foster, program director of the Justin Sports Medicine Team. They take trailers to PRCA rodeos and provide medical assistance to injured rodeo athletes. Anyhoo, I met with Rick after the rodeo just to say hello and he kindly showed me the inside of the trailer. That’s where I met Steve, who seemed like a genuinely nice guy.  So congrats to you, too, Steve!

hamley storeSaturday found me back at Hamley & Co. signing books. It’s hard work when this is the view from your “office” for the day. (It was mostly hard keeping my wallet tucked away and not buying all the cute things that caught my eye!).

Since this is supposed to be my “Happiness Monday Blog Post” here are my words of wisdom – every once in a while, leave behind all the worries and stress and to-do lists and go enjoy yourself. Immerse yourself in something that makes you ridiculously happy.

I’m sure glad we did!

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