Have you ever noticed that parents who read to their children raise children who love to read? All four of us kids — my two brothers, sister, and I — became avid readers. We still are.
Ask authors “Why did you become a writer?” and many will tell you they’ve always written, from the time they could pick up a pencil. Me? I trace my joy in creating fantastical worlds to escaping with Daddy into the stories he read to us throughout the year. Those were magical days.
Daddy’s been gone for twenty years, and I always miss him — and Momma, too — something fierce at Christmas. Though my parents gave their children many precious gifts, I think the gift of reading is among the best gifts of all.
I’ve got a lot of reading to do this year just to catch up with new Christmas stories set in the Wild West. Here are the ones in my teetering to-be-read pile:
A Cowboy Under the Mistletoe
Rediscovered feelings and unexpected new love bring six couples together during the holidays.
Kissing Until Christmas
A mail-order bride isn’t exactly who she seems — but her unwilling groom hides a dangerous secret of his own.
I Heard the Brides on Christmas Day
Hec Murdock orders up two brides — one for himself and one for his brother, Zeke. But somehow, Hec neglects to let Zeke know what he’s done.
The Gift of Forgiveness
A reformed gunman takes up his guns one more time to help a widow find her kidnapped son. In the bargain, he receives the gift of love.
Widow Vera Sanders agrees to switch places with younger and prettier Adele MacIntyre, another mail-order bride. They’re both in for rude surprises, however, after trying to pull a holiday hoax on two very different grooms
A Marriage of Convenience
A debutante on the run from a monster finds her salvation in a jaded Indian Territory lawman. The marshal can protect her with a Christmas wedding … but can he protect his heart?
Her Holiday Husband
Secrets and surprises are in store when families meddle with a beautiful single mother and an outlaw-turned-respectable. Phoebe Pierce may have too many secrets of her own to keep her holiday husband.
Store Bought Ornaments
Ella’s cryptic letter brings her husband’s brother, Caleb, home for Christmas. Can they finally claim the love they’ve been denied for so long?
The Keepers of Camelot
An unusual twist on the King Arthur legend finds Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot embroiled in an Apache attack at a stage station. Only a homeless boy recognizes the three, reminding Arthur The Once and Future King will return when the world needs him most.
Dance with Destiny
A half-Ojibwa drifter sees a fair-haired woman in a vision. An abandoned army wife with four young children needs help to survive the harsh Ohio winter. Will the love that grows between them endure, or is it doomed from the start?
My stack also contains a few medieval Christmas books. Medieval stories are something new for me, but whoever coined the phrase “variety is the spice of life” knew what he or she was talking about.
One Winter Knight
Eight Yuletide tales of love lost and found, laced with holiday traditions and the excitement of a bold, dangerous era.
To save her family’s fortunes, Lady Alisoun must wed an elderly earl the day after Christmas. But in the chapel on Christmas Eve, her heart collides with that of an elegant, mysterious stranger. Is he her salvation … or an enemy spy?
An Unexpected Gift
An outlaw vows to protect a homeless woman from the men who want to kill her unborn son. In the struggle against the cold and would-be kings, Meryk and Ada discover love is the most unexpected gift of all, but will they survive long enough to claim it?
Sir Baldwin and the Christmas Ghosts
An arrogant young knight and a woman with the gift of sight must work together to make a true Christmas for the survivors of a plague — and the spirits of those who did not survive.
On a stormy Christmas Eve night filled with danger, fate makes unexpected allies of a bitter man and an angry woman. Will passion ignite as a result ... or will they even survive to find out?
And because we all enjoy becoming children again once in a while, I always have one or two young adult Christmas reads in my stack this time of year.
The Christmas Spider
Christmas should be a happy time, but this year will be bittersweet for Samantha McCaslin. Following the death of her mother, the thirteen-year-old tomboy must grow up quickly, especially when a bully targets her American Indian friends. Thanks to the magic of Christmas and the power of love, Sam learns what family really means.
The Donkey that Carried Mary
A warm and funny story about Mary, the mother of Jesus, as told by her donkey, Sarah. This one won’t be out until Dec. 20, but I’m so looking forward to such a sweet-sounding read.
To help make your holidays merry and bright, I'll give away four anthologies in e-book form: A Cowboy Under the Mistletoe, A Mail-Order Christmas Bride, One Winter Knight, and One Christmas Knight. To be eligible, tell me what holiday tradition is most special to you.
One more thing before I forget: Prairie Rose Publications is looking for reviewers. If you enjoy reading and telling people about good books you've read, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. (Click the graphic below to make it larger.)
Her short story “The Second-Best Ranger in Texas” won the Peacemaker Award for Best Western Short Fiction. Her novel Prodigal Gun won the EPIC Award for Historical Romance and is the only western historical romance ever to final for a Peacemaker in a book-length category.
Visit her hideout on the web at KathleenRiceAdams.com.