Thursday, February 28, 2013


 Please join me in welcoming Andrea Downing to The Roses of Prose today. And what fun to have her - she has a give away. Read to the bottom of the post and see how you can win!

     Tomorrow, sadly, is March 1st.  Why sadly?  Because in some years, tomorrow would be February 29th when a young lady has full license to ask out a man or even to propose marriage.   If you are stuck with a commitment-phobe boyfriend, have been dying to go out with that good-looking guy in your office or have just been stuck at home for the last three Saturdays dying for a date, Leap Year would be the time to take on the responsibility that usually falls to the man—doing the asking.
      The tradition of a woman proposing on Leap Year seems to have started in the Scandinavian countries where, if such a proposal was refused, there was a penalty of buying gloves or dress cloth for the woman.  Hardly good recompense for having a marriage proposal turned down!  This tradition was then brought over to Scotland by a Queen Margaret (there were several Margarets) in 1288 who had been living with her court in what is now Norway; since Margaret was aged 5 at the time this was made law, it is hardly likely to have been her idea.  Nevertheless, by the 17th Century the tradition was in place in Great Britain and eventually spread to Ireland. 
      But without Leap Year what can you do?
      Well, you can wait for November 15th, Sadie Hawkins' Day.  Sadie Hawkins' Day was started as a plot device by cartoonist Al Capp in his L'il Abner cartoon strip.  Poor ol' Sadie was said to be the ugliest woman in Dogpatch.  When she remained unwed at the ripe old age of 35, her father, the prominent, powerful and wealthy Hekzebiah Hawkins, declared a footrace in which the town's eligible bachelors were given a head start over Sadie.  But whomever Sadie caught had to marry her!  Extensive research has not divulged to me the name of the unfortunate forced into wedlock in this manner, but it has revealed that way back in 1937 when the cartoon strip appeared, it began a tradition on U.S. college campuses of Sadie Hawkins dances and races.   Think how prescient this was prior to Women's Lib!
     Nowadays, Sadie Hawkins' Day is often confused with leap year and the name applied to February 29th—but do we really need it?  Most young women I know—and my own sweet daughter is one of them—have no problem in asking men out on 'a date.'   But propose marriage?  Ah—that's a different proposition!

     I'm very happy to give away an e-copy of my book, Loveland, to the first person who can prove to me that his or her birthday is February 29th!  OK, ok:  I'll give away one free e-copy of Loveland to the first person who can find out the name of Sadie Hawkins' husband!  No?  Can't find it?  Well, my character, Lady Alexandra Calthorpe, was way before her time in pursuing a career.  If you can head on over to my website at and tell me what career Alex was pursuing and put it on a comment on the 'About the Author' page, I'll send a free e-copy of Loveland to the first person to answer correctly.  That's 3 chances to win. Good luck!

When Lady Alexandra Calthorpe returns to the Loveland, Colorado, ranch owned by her father, the Duke, she has little idea of how the experience will alter her future. Headstrong and willful, Alex tries to overcome a disastrous marriage in England and be free of the strictures of Victorian society --and become independent of men. That is, until Jesse Makepeace saunters back into her life...
     Hot-tempered and hot-blooded cowpuncher Jesse Makepeace can’t seem to accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him. Fighting rustlers proves a whole lot easier than fighting Alex when he’s got to keep more than his temper under control.
     Arguments abound as Alex pursues her career as an artist and Jesse faces the prejudice of the English social order. The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?


     As the round-up wound down, the Reps took
their stock back to their outfits, and soon the men
were back at headquarters or at the camps. Alex
knew word had more or less got out and found the
punchers were gentler now around her, had a sort of
quiet respect for her, and she hated it. She tried to
bully them a bit to show them she was still the same
girl, jolly them into joshing with her as they had
before. It was slow work. At the same time, she
yearned to see Jesse, to speak with him, to try to get
life back to the way it was before the argument at
the corral, and before he saw the scars. The
opportunity didn’t present itself. She would see him
from a distance some days, riding with the herd,
sitting his horse with that peculiar grace he had,
throwing his lariat out with an ease that reminded
her of people on a dock waving their hankies in
farewell. Hoping to just be near him, she slid into
one of the corrals one evening to practice her roping.
     The light was failing and the birds were settling
with their evening calls. Somewhere in the pasture a
horse nickered. She sensed Jesse was there,
watching, but she never turned as he stood at the
fence. She heard him climb over and ease up behind
her. He took the coiled rope from her in his left hand
and slid his right hand over hers on the swing end,
almost forcing her backward into his arms.
     She thought of paintings and statues she had
seen, imagining his naked arms now, how the
muscles would form them into long oblique curves,
how he probably had soft downy fair hair on his
forearms, how his muscle would slightly bulge as he
bent his arm. His voice was soft in her ear, and she
could feel his breath on her neck like a whispered
     “Gentle-like, right to left, right to left to widen
the noose, keep your eye on the post—are you
watchin’ where we’re goin’?”
     He made the throw and pulled in the rope to
tighten the noose. Alex stood there, his hand still
entwined with hers and, for a moment, she wished
they could stand like that forever. Then she took her
hand away and faced him. For a second he rested his
chin on the top of her head, then straightened again
and went to get the noose off the post while coiling in
the rope. She looked up at him in the fading light
and saw nothing but kindness in his face, simplicity
and gentleness that was most inviting. A smile
spread across her face as he handed her the coiled
rope and sauntered away, turning once to look back
at her before he opened the gate. Emptiness filled
her like a poisoned vapor seeking every corner of her
being, and she stood with the rope in her hand
listening to the ring of his spurs as his footsteps

Contact Andrea at:
Twitter at @andidowning
and FB page is

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How Grandmas Show Love

By Vonnie Davis ~
Our Brenda is anxiously waiting the arrival of her first grandchild--and we are all eager for her birth announcement. I'm the grandmother of six, ranging in age from thirteen to twenty-four--a wonderment since I'm only twenty-nine.

Mention the word "grandma" and a stereotypical grey-haired lady often comes to mind. But we all know this is not necessarily so. Many grandmas are young, vibrant and active. Yes, we still bake cookies. We still play wordgames late into the night when the grandkids are over. My grandkids expect all-night James Bond marathons when they come to visit, complete with homemade pizzas and popcorn. But in today's world grandmas also text and tweet and post on facebook.

My grandchildren live in Indiana and Maryland, while Calvin and I reside in southern Virginia. I keep in touch via social media and the grandkids think it's cool I know this stuff. Of course, they also use it to their advantage from time-to-time. Take my fifteen-year-old grandson who sent me a text Monday evening: I love u, G-ma. I mean I rlly love u, BTW I got all A's this marking pd. How's that for being "hit up" for his reward? You see, I started the tradition years ago: A straight "A" report card is worth a hundred dollars. Kids, they never forget.
One of my granddaughters is a college freshman. She posts a gazillion pictures on facebook. Here's one of her "studying" with her friends. She's the one in yellow. If she sees I'm online, she instant messages. The night she had her heart broken, we texted for hours as she poured out her heart in teenage angst. "But grandma, I loooooove him soooooo much!!!!!!!!" I'm thinking she has a heavy-duty exclaimation point on the laptop I bought her. Of course I was concerned, texting and IM'ing her everyday for several weeks. I sent her care packages and a big cuddly baboon with a sign hanging around his neck: "Mr. Right".
They know I'm a sucker for books and often email me with a book wish list. Yup, like most grandmas, I'm a softie where they're concerned. They know a few days after they hit SEND on that email, a package from Amazon will arrive.
I miss them. I've missed a lot of their lives living as far away as we do. Still, like most grandparents, we travel to see them in many of their activities--dance recitals, baseball and football games, bowling tournaments and wrestling meets. Graduations from high school and Army Basic Training. Sure there are the traditional letters and goofy cards, but more and more we rely on social media to keep in touch. And, surprisingly, it seems more personal. Who would have thought? When my grandson was in Afghanistan, we emailed and texted almost daily. Josh needed a few words from me and I needed to know he was okay. When two of his buddies were killed in front of him, I was the one of the first people he contacted with a long, rambling email.
Every grandma has her own way of showing love. The important thing is that we DO. We add an extra layer of security and unconditional love to their lives.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I am reminded how many faces of love there are ...

A dear friend of mine died earlier this month. This was not a tragedy; he had been ill and his death really was a release.

During his life, I was often struck by what an odd relationship he & his wife had. They appeared to argue a lot, disagreeing about just about everything. She was fast, he was slow. He was a hoarder, she was a tosser. They both did love to travel, but they seemed to disagree about routes, what to pack, etc.

She was so distraught at the funeral that his favorite songs weren't played. He was a minister and he probably had a slew of favorite songs, but she was quite upset that one particular song didn't get played. When she and I talked afterward, she said that she was upset because he liked that song so much. No one else probably realized that, but it made a big difference to her.

I think she's feeling a great sense of relief that she no longer has the caregiver role. He wasn't going to get well, and there was nothing she could do to mitigate his misery, which was such a stress for her. I remember when my father was ill, how my mother relaxed so much when he died because she was no longer responsible for his quality of life.

When I see things like this, I am always reminded that there are many ways to show love -- some that aren't readily seen by others. So it reminds me to pause before I critique anyone's relationships, because who knows what is going on in their lives?

Food for thought, always....


Monday, February 25, 2013

Wedding Romance and Hot Heroes by guest Linda Engman

Everyone loves a wedding, right? Our guest today, Linda Engman, sure thinks so. Join me in welcoming Linda to The Roses of Prose.
There’s something about weddings.  I’ve noticed a trend in my stories to include romantic, candlelit weddings.  Maybe this is the reason why I decided to go write a romance about a wedding planner.  Or it could be the fact my daughter suggested my next heroine should be in the wedding planning business.  Whatever the reason, my latest romance, My Sexiest Wedding, was a thrill to write.  Not only did I get to include a sizzling, sexy-fun wedding into the story but my lead character was all about weddings.

In each of my books, I like to make the wedding scenes as romantic and unique as I possibly can for each couple.  Sometimes it’s the main characters who happen to be the ones repeating vows and sometimes they’re attending as guests.  I have to admit it’s a lot of fun to do research to write a wedding scene.  I get to spend time looking over beautiful bridal gowns, pretty flowers, scrumptious looking cakes, and decided what music will be played and what kind of champagne to served.  Along with adding personal touches from the hero and heroine which could be a keepsake, special song, or even a heartfelt vow.
In my Cedar Point series, I’ve Got You, the heroine Amber Bradley meets the hero Josh Craig at a wedding and decides he’s not what she’s looking for.  Luckily the guy doesn’t give up.  In my second Cedar Point book,  Falling For You, there’s a romantic Valentine’s night wedding with tons of red roses, flickering candles...besides lots of drama.  My heroine, Heather Grant and hero, Cooper Gerhardt have quite the tear-filled scene to play out.  In my romance, Manhattan Holiday, the hero, Roman Vasquez whisks the heroine April Sutton way for a breathtaking wedding over a holiday weekend.  And now in my latest romance, My Sexiest Wedding, the heroine, wedding planner Spring James, can’t believe her one-night stand, sexy Spanish cowboy Rafael Quintero, has show up in her hometown looking for love.  You’ll have to read the story to find out if he gets her to the altar.  Not easy.  Even though she loves planning weddings—marriage is the last thing on her mind.
If you’re looking for romance and marriage—here’s a personal “wedding” invitation to enjoy one of my romances.

Thanks so much to the ladies of Roses of Prose for hosting me here today!

My Sexiest Wedding- Blurb:
          As a wedding planner, getting couples down the aisle is all part of the work week for Spring James.  But when it comes to her own love life—marriage is the last thing on her mind.  Until her one-night stand arrives in her hometown unannounced.  Tall, dark and handsome is only a start.  Nothing but lean, taut muscle, he’s ruggedly charismatic and good with kids, besides.  Prompting her to reconsider her no marriage rule.
          For the past month, Spanish cowboy Rafael Quintero, has been haunted by what happened between them in Miami while there on business.  He’s spent the time since on his ranch in Argentina, with a crushed ego, and his male pride keeping him from going after her.  Now a twist of fate has brought them back together and all bets are off.
          Set in the small town of Bernie, Ohio, Rafael and Spring’s romantic-steamy love story will capture your heart as they discover the secret to falling in love.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Share the Love - A New Baby in the House by Brenda Whiteside

As I type, the new baby hasn't exactly shown herself yet. It could be today...or tomorrow...she's very close. I thought it best to type my blog before we all break out in excitement and blogging is the last thing on my mind.

This will be my first grandchild and that is a joy I didn't think I'd ever get to know. Our son said he'd never bring a child into this world but love of the right woman changed that...share the love.

It's been many years since I experienced pregnancy. Wow, have things changed. My daughter-in-law is so knowledgeable about her body and her girl child. "Birthing centers" are a new phenomenon too. For me anyway. I shared a typical hospital room with another woman and Frank went home at the end of the day. For dinner I had a greasy ham and cheese sandwich because the hospital kitchen had closed. My son and his wife will stay, together, in what amounts to a nice hotel room where he'll be able to sleep on a pull out bed. They'll have a nice steak dinner for their first meal. Birthing centers really know how to share the love.

I must be in a baby state of mind. There's a baby expected in my current novel I'm writing - a first for me. Lots of sharing of love in this book. But then that's what romance is about, right? I'm having a little trouble concentrating on the new book with the baby due any moment. It's a sure bet that my daughter-in-law will deliver before my book does.

Visit Brenda at
She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at
She blogs about prairie life and writing at