Once again, I’m thrilled to have E.E. Elisabeth Burke back to talk about her Christmas boxed set. These stories set in the old West are timeless and will thrill your heart. They’ll definitely put you in the Christmas mood! Plus, she’s giving one set away. Yippee! So get to commenting!
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Elisabeth: Linda, thank you so much for inviting me back to talk about my new release for Christmas. I love getting gifts at Christmas, don’t you? I love giving gifts even more. Here’s a gift for readers this season…
An American Mail-Order Bride Christmas 2-Book Collection (limited time edition)
Two bestselling, highly acclaimed holiday historical romances and a short story for only 99 cents from Nov. 3 through Christmas.
Romance and adventure spark the spirit of Christmas for two mail-order brides.
Victoria, Bride of Kansas (#1 Amazon Bestseller)
A lonely society miss travels a thousand miles to marry a suitor whose romantic letters won her heart. But the man she meets at the train station seems more like Scrooge.
Santa’s Mail-Order Bride
A well-intentioned matchmaker has plans for a scheming Santa. But her plans go awry with unexpected consequences.
The Christmas Wish
In this short story, a young orphan who has never known love gets his Christmas wish.
Award-winning author E.E. Burke presents a special historical romance collection from the heart of America that will make you believe in the miracle of love.
Where did you get the idea for these books?
When I set out to write two historical romances set during my favorite holiday, I wanted to include themes that for me define the true meaning of Christmas: family ties, hope, faith, the spirit of compassion and generosity, and above all, love…the kind of love that shines through the darkness of our circumstances, even the darkness in our hearts.
Victoria, Bride of Kansas, which became an Amazon bestseller, started as part of an unprecedented project with 45 other authors, the American Mail-Order Brides series. This book, about a lonely socialite who travels over a thousand miles to find true love, was also a finalist in the 2016 Booksellers’ Best Awards and a semifinalist in the Kindle Best Book awards.
Santa’s Mail-Order Bride is the sequel to Victoria. I couldn’t let her meddling sister-in-law remain a spinster! This well-intentioned matchmaker has plans for a scheming Santa that backfire, with unexpected consequences.
And yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. I can’t wait for you to meet him!
These two books are set in the late 1800s in Fort Scott, Kansas, and feature characters from my first novel, Her Bodyguard (set 20 years earlier). I had so much fun learning about the history of this quaint town and the pioneers who settled here. I hope through these books you’ll come to love Fort Scott as much as I do.
Where does inspiration come from?
Oh gosh, everywhere, but mostly history. I do a lot of research when I’m preparing to write a book. I also like to travel to the locations I write about. There’s something about physically being at a place and seeing it and experiencing it that makes it so much more real to me, which helps with my writing. I visit historical sites and museums. Go into the library or wherever they keep historical pictures and documents. In Fort Scott, two leaders in the local Historical Preservation Society gave me access to their private libraries and amazing collection of vintage photographs. What a treasure! I cherish those gifts.
I’m a visual thinker, so I like to gather images of people, too. I pin research and inspiration images on my Pinterest site. https://www.pinterest.com/authoreeburke/
Here are a couple images that provided inspiration for Victoria’s hero, David O’Brien and Maggie’s hero, Gordon Sumner.
Here’s an excerpt from Victoria, Bride of Kansas
“David?” Maggie peered out the front window and waved for him to come into the store. His sister usually got Fannie her breakfast before they ventured downstairs. Had his daughter wandered off again?
With a sigh, he returned inside. He’d never be able to keep up with a curious six-year-old and run the store without his sister’s help. If he put off expanding, he might be able to hire someone. But Fannie needed more than a caretaker. She needed a mother.
Fannie stood by the counter wrapped in her heaviest coat. Being bundled up to her eyeballs should make it more difficult for her to slip away. Her aunt had secured a woolen scarf around her head and face, not even a strand of hair remained visible, only a pair of inquisitive eyes.
Maggie laid her hands on Fannie’s padded shoulders. “Sweetie, why don’t you go out back and check on the kittens. Have you named them yet? What about that orange tabby?”
David waited, sent up a silent prayer. Dear God, please. How long could his daughter remain silent? The doctors’ advice had proved useless. Bribes hadn’t worked. He didn’t have the heart to follow through with threats. His poor child had suffered enough. Having a new mother might help. He’d run out of other ideas.
“No names yet? All right, well, go on with you, then,” Maggie said with a cheerful smile.
He released dismay in a heavy breath. He no longer shared Maggie’s optimism, and he had long since stopped being cheerful.
Dutifully, Fannie turned and disappeared into the back room, sent on the errand, no doubt, so Maggie could speak with him privately. Otherwise, his sister would’ve gone along. She loved playing with the kittens as much as Fannie did.
Maggie waited a moment and then checked the back room. Perhaps to make sure Fannie was out of earshot. There was nothing wrong with the child’s hearing. Satisfied, his sister moved quickly in his direction.
She wore the light blue suit with velvet trim he’d purchased as a gift after she’d graduated from that teaching school in Emporia. Her dark hair was styled on top of her head in a loose arrangement she called “careless.” Maggie was never careless with anything, save her hair.
“You look very nice this morning. What’s the special occasion?”
“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.” She fingered a small gold watch she wore pinned to her bodice, a sure indication she was nervous about something. Her hand went into a deep pocket sewn into the side of her skirt. She often kept hard candies hidden away for herself or Fannie, candy she swiped from the jar on the counter while he pretended not to look. “I have a confession to make.”
“Candy thievery? I already know about that. We’ll negotiate jail time.”
“No, it’s something worse, or better, depending on how you look at it.”
David tightened his hold on the broom. A part of him wished to sweep her away before she could tell him what he already knew; she had accepted a teaching job near Kansas City, three hours away by train. “You’re leaving after Christmas. You already told me.”
“Don’t look so worried.” She went up on her toes and dropped a kiss on his cheek. “I won’t leave you without help.”
He released a pent-up breath. Thank God, she’d changed her mind. The thought of marrying again put him in a sweat. “I knew you’d reconsider.”
Maggie responded with a look of sad reproach. It went without saying that he was being selfish. He couldn’t expect his sister to put her life on hold indefinitely. She deserved to pursue her dreams, which was why he had to go through with his plan.
A year ago, he’d told her he intended to send off for a mail-order bride. She’d declared it romantic. Ordering a bride was the least romantic thing he could imagine. Besides, he wasn’t looking to find love and didn’t want love to find him. He’d had enough of that unreliable emotion, thank you. He would take a more reasonable approach to marriage this time.
“I’m about finished with the advertisement.” He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out the notice, which had been tinkered with and folded so many times it was smudged and dog-eared.
Maggie averted her gaze. The natural pinkness in her cheeks darkened, or was he seeing things? The day was early and the interior of the store remained dim. He would turn up the lights if gas weren’t so expensive.
Overcoming his reluctance, he held out the paper. “Do you have any suggestions for wording?” He took pride in his sister’s education, and she had a gift for writing. He barely got by. “I promise I’ll post it tomorrow.”
“You don’t have to post the ad.”
His spirits lifted, despite his best intentions to be selfless. “You’ll stay?”
“No.” Her tone had a sharp edge. He met a pair of eyes so dark it was difficult to tell where the irises ended and the pupils began, eyes the same color as those he saw in the mirror each morning. His father had told him their “black eyes” were handed down from some long-ago Celtic warrior. He and Maggie had also inherited that ancestor’s fighting spirit. Generally, they didn’t face off against each other, so her irritation with him made no sense.
“What is it you’re saying?”
She pulled something out of her pocket that looked like several envelopes tied with twine. “These are letters from Miss Victoria Lowell. Letters she wrote to you.”
He set the broom against a table. Surely, he hadn’t heard what he thought she’d said. “Letters to me? Who’s Vic—?”
“I suspect Miss Lowell will have your letters when she arrives.”
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I pray this holiday season brings peace, hope and healing, for our great country and for our families.
What is one of the most memorable Christmas gifts you’ve received?
Leave a comment and I’ll enter you into a drawing for an ebook copy of An American Mail-Order Bride Christmas Collection.
You can also read Her Bodyguard for free. Just sign up for my newsletter. (Offer good for new subscribers only). http://eeburke.com/newsletter/