Margaret has published more than twenty-five novels. Waiting for Morning will be released in January, followed by Gunpowder Tea in October. Her work will also appear in June’s A Bride for All Season collection and A Pioneer Christmas Collection.
Order Margaret’s next book Waiting for Morning (Brides of Last Chance Ranch) by January 8th and you could win a $100 gift card from Amazon or B&N. Just copy the receipt and send or forward it to the publisher at email@example.com. That’s it!
More Love and Laughter from N.Y. Times Bestselling Author
Margaret is giving away a copy of her book, Waiting for Morning. Leave a comment and tell us something special about your Christmas or what Christmas means to you to be entered in the drawing.
Smile, Pardner—It’s Christmas!
If you’re like me, you’ve probably had your full of Christmas cheer and gift wrappings about now, and are longing for a little bit of that “peace on earth” we keep hearing about.
Still, no matter how hectic our lives might seem at the moment, nothing compares to Christmas in the old west. Instead of forging their way through crowded malls and reams of wrapping paper, early pioneer women living in canvas homes, soddies and log cabins battled blizzards, bitter cold and driving winds. In 1849, Catherine Haun wrote in her diary that her family’s Christmas present was the rising of the Sacramento River that flooded the whole town.
Those of you planning to travel this holiday season might empathize with the passengers who spent the Christmas of 1870 on the Kansas-Pacific train stuck in snow. Fortunately, soldiers from a nearby fort provided fresh buffalo meat, which is a whole lot more than you get today if stuck at the airport.
We don’t generally associate fireworks with Christmas, but for some early settlers it was the only way to celebrate. In 1895, a riot broke out and animals stampeded in Austin on Christmas Day when revelers shot off Roman candles. Fortunately, law and order was soon restored, but other parts of Texas weren’t so lucky. The Fort Worth Gazette reported several incidences of people being shot and stabbed on Christmas Day over the use of Roman candles. In some places, fireworks were encouraged as this piece in a 1880s newspaper attests: “Firecrackers are in evidence creating the genuine Christmas atmosphere of gunpowder smoke.”
While most pioneers decorated their Christmas trees with strung popcorn, berries and pictures from Arbuckle’s coffee, McCade, Texas takes the prize for the most unusual ornaments. On Christmas morning in 1883, three men were found hanging from a tree. If that wasn’t festive enough, the shootout that followed provided “genuine atmosphere” a-plenty.
What is Christmas without a feast? Even the poorest of families managed to splurge a little. Oysters were considered a luxury and one bride in Montana proudly served them to her guests on Christmas Day, unaware that the oysters had spoiled during transport.
Crime never takes a holiday and that was as true back then as it is now. On Christmas day in 1873, a group of Indians stole five army horses near the Concho River resulting in a shootout. In 1877 Sam Bass robbed a Fort Worth stagecoach of $11.25, and in 1889 Butch Cassidy pulled his first bank holdup on Christmas Eve at a Telluride, Colorado bank.
In case you were wondering, Christmas wasn’t all gunfire and fireworks. In 1881, Tombstone in Arizona Territory made news for having a “quiet” holiday. Not to worry, they made up for it the following year.
Come to think of it, maybe those crowded malls aren’t so bad, after all, even without the “genuine Christmas atmosphere.”
If Molly Hatfield’s purple attire doesn’t blind you, her dazzling smile will. She doesn’t just sing to the cattle, she puts on a whole show. If only she wasn’t so stubborn about her brother’s care. Or so distrustful of a certain handsome doctor...
Here’s the Amazon purchase link: http://www.amazon.com/Waiting-Morning-Brides-Chance-Ranch/dp/1595549706/ref=la_B002BLN5A8_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1350337511&sr=1-6