Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Magical Time for Magical Reads — and Giveaways

When I was a child, nary a Christmas passed without my father reading aloud Clement Clarke Moore’s A Visit from St. Nicholas, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. The Grinch was on TV, too, but somehow it wasn’t Christmas unless Daddy read us the story. He always played all the parts in each tale, making the characters come alive in a very special way.

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.

Holiday Hoax
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 for more information. (Click the graphic below to make it larger.)

A Texan to the bone, Kathleen Rice Adams spends her days chasing news stories and her nights and weekends shooting it out with Wild West desperadoes. Leave the upstanding, law-abiding heroes to other folks. In Kathleen’s stories, even the good guys wear black hats.

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


  1. Ah...the joys of getting to be an editor include getting to read some excellent books--as part of my job! My parents were avid readers, too, Kathleen--and the three of us sisters all loved to read. I remember all the Little Golden Books that were like old friends--my favorite was The Color Kittens. I think I still have that packed away somewhere! Great post--I'm sure there are a lot of these reads that will interest everyone, especially now that Christmas is upon us!

    1. I remember Little Golden Books! Those were special.

      I love Christmas romances. You too, huh?

  2. What a fantastic collection of Christmas stories!
    Sad, but I don't remember Mother or Daddy reading a book to me. My daddy couldn't read...or at least he was a very weak reader. He was allowed to leave school by 4th grade to work on the farm. Mother read everything to him..he subscribed to the Cowman's magazine, but he didn't read it....Now, I believe he most likely was very dyslexic..unknown in the 20s and 30s. But Mother was raised in town, so she was a good reader. I read to our babies the moment they could barely sit up. Both are brilliant adults...well, what else can I say?...and still are avid readers.
    I'll spread the word...

    1. Celia, why am I not surprised you read to your kids? Why am I not surprised they're brilliant adults? (Why am I not surprised you call them brilliant? ;-) )

      It sounds like your dad wanted to read, even though he couldn't. Your mother read to all of you. That must have been very special.

      I hope you and yours have a fabulous Christmas. Stay warm up yonder. The Hill Country can get a mite chilly. :-)

  3. The sad thing these days is that a lot of parents would rather hand their children an electronic toy that can keep them occupied so reading is being lost. I loved to read to my children and they are readers, too. Not avid, but that will come in time. Nice post, Kathleen.

    1. When your kids have kids that are old enough to read to, I bet they'll do more reading. ;-)

  4. We always do a gig saw puzzle on Christmas eve and visit with family and find out what is going on in their lives. My daughter and granddaughter are also avid readers and we enjoy talking about the current books that are being read.

    1. That sounds like a fun family gathering, Lynda! How fun to discuss books during the holidays. :-)

  5. I think you might be on to something there, Kathleen. Mom and Pop used to take turns reading to my sister and me--only they read from the Scottish book titled, Finn McCole and His Warrior Band. Each chapter was a wild adventure with Finn always victorious until the end in which he and his men ended up sleeping in a cave under a curse unless someone blew on the magical horn 3 times. It has been blown twice with only one more and they will awaken and save the day. (If only myths were true.) I loved the stories and I felt so safe and protected by my parents who read them to us. My imagination spiked and my emotions locked into the fate of the characters in those stories. Maybe that is why I became a writer.
    I miss my parents every single day. Mom made Christmas special and it hasn't been that for me since she's been gone.
    These Christmas stories look fantastic. PRP has such talented and extraordinary authors who have a magical way of writing exceptional tales.

    1. I've heard of Finn. Celtic legend, right? I'm not all that familiar with him, but perhaps I should find some books and read about him.

      PRP does have some authors -- including you! Get busy writing, my friend. We need some more Hazard, Wyoming, tales. :-)

  6. Kathleen,

    My parents were readers. My mom read books to me, and my dad read the Sunday newspaper comics to me. But it was my maternal grandpa who was the real reader. He read and read and read to me. Although I read to my three children, only two are avid readers as adults. My middle child reads "technical" information as part of his employment (and everything about guns and ammo), but he's not a recreational reader. My six grandchildren (ages 20 years to 18 months) are either avid readers or are blossoming into readers, and that just makes me happy all over. lol

    1. Maybe reading skips a generation in your family? ;-)

  7. My mother was an avid reader. She would read anything she could get her hands on. Dad wasn't a big reader until we started being published. He disovered a whole new world in his later years. We started reading to our kids as soon as they were born. Oldest started reading on her own at age 2, so our younger daughter had both of us and her big sister reading to her from day one. Needless to say, they do love to read, too. Loved this, since it brought back many fond memories.

    1. Why am I not surprised your daughters are big readers? :-D

      I'm glad your dad discovered reading because of you and James. Funny how that works sometimes, isn't it?

  8. We always went to Midnight Mass. Afterward, we'd open one of our Christmas presents.

    1. I have cousins who always opened their presents on Christmas Eve. That always seemed weird to me. How did they get their presents so early? Did Santa visit them first? ;-)

  9. Christmas Eve service and cookies.

    1. I have fond memories of Christmas Eve church services. Ours were mostly music -- Christmas hymns. I must admit, I was grateful for the change of pace. ;-)

  10. Kathleen, if you dare put one more Christmas read on your teetering pile it may topple. That's a lot of reading, but golly they are all so darn good, how a girl pass them up. Most of them on your list are on my tbr list sitting on my Kindle just waiting for the time I too can get to them. Never enough time. I'm the odd duck here, I guess. As a very young child before I could read, my father often read me stories, a few of the same ones over and over again. After I started school I don't think he ever read to me again. My mother didn't read--she could--but she always felt it was laziness to sit and read and encourage my borther and I to work. I used to hide under my blanket at night with a flash light and read. Sheer heaven. As a mother I always made sure I read to my sons and encouraged reading. And now I can't read or write enough. Who knew? Great post. Thanks and wishing you a very Happy Holiday.

    1. My dad's father tended to believe reading was laziness, too -- but I think much of that was because he didn't have much schooling. His wife, my grandmother, always felt bad because she couldn't read well. She loved for her grandchildren to read to her. I had forgotten that until you mentioned your mother.

      Have a wonderful holiday, Bev. Many blessings to you and yours. :-)

  11. Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

    The four anthologies go to...
    Morgan Mandel
    Lynda McCoy
    and Paisley Kirkpatrick!

    I'll be in touch shortly, ladies. :-)


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