Stop the Presses! Big News: Silver Belles and Stetsons has received a 5-STAR Review from Dii – TOP 500 Reviewer on Amazon! You can read it on the product page: Amazon
Now, please welcome one of my favorite author friends, Paty Jager, who has dropped by for a visit today. Paty is sharing special memories of Christmas as a child along with a scrumptious cookie recipe that will make your mouth water. She also serves up a tasty excerpt from her novella, Christmas Redemption, one of ten stories included in Silver Belles and Stetsons, a new release you don’t want to miss.
by Paty Jager
There is nothing better than walking into a kitchen in December. The smells bring back so many memories. My grandmother lived in a two story farm house with us until I was twelve, making Christmas at our house a mixture of my grandmother’s favorite goodies and my mom’s. Grandma’s specialties were cookies, cinnamon brittle, peanut brittle, and divinity. My mom’s specialties were sugared nuts, popcorn balls, fudge, toffee, and liquor laced fruitcake.
Our house was full of wonderful smells the whole month of December. My brother’s and I loved the failed batches. The batches my mom and grandma deemed not good enough to give to friends, but good enough to make the kids happy.
My favorite cookie my grandma made at Christmas was the spritz cookie. They are the ones that are put through a cookie press and make designs, like trees and stars. There was one disc that I think was a dog but we called it a reindeer at Christmas time. The cookies melted in your mouth and were just the right touch of sweet and almond.
Here’s the recipe:
2 ½ cups flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
½ tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1) Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Sift together the flour and salt; set aside.
2) In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in the egg, almond extract, and vanilla extract. Gradually, blend in the sifted ingredients. Fill a cookie press with dough and shoot cookies about 1 ½ inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. If you like, decorate with sugar or sprinkles before baking.
3) Bake for 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven.
Makes 3 dozen.
In my Christmas novella, Christmas Redemption, that can be found in the historical western romance anthology, Silver Belles and Stetsons, the hero returns home after being in prison and walks into his mother’s kitchen while she’s baking.
Van Donovan returns to Pleasant Valley, Oregon where twelve years earlier as a boy of fifteen he left in handcuffs after standing guard for a bank robbery. He’s learned a trade and excelled at it and is ready to prove to his father and the town he can amount to something.
Upon his return he learns the fate of the daughter of an innocent man who died in the robbery crossfire. To make amends he takes her out of the saloon and gives her a job, not realizing she’d been squatting in the very building he’d purchased for his business.
Can two battered hearts find solace or will the past continue to haunt their lives?
The leafless cottonwood trees appeared stark and ominous hovering around the farm house. The two-story structure held pleasant memories. His mother’s cooking and laughter. Would she welcome him back or follow her husband’s lead? His stomach knotted, and he once again wished Tessa were by his side.
A multi-colored mutt ran out of the barn barking. Half-way to the wagon he stopped and looked back toward the barn. A girl of about eight strolled out of the building wrapped in a heavy coat, scarf, and mittens.
“Button. Stop barking,” she said when he stopped the wagon in front of the house. His mother’s eyes stared at him from the child’s face. This was his sister Grace.
“Is your ma or pa home?” he asked uncertain what to do. He wanted to pick her up and hug her, but reasoned she wouldn’t care for a stranger grabbing her.
“Ma’s in the kitchen. Christmas is coming.” She put a hand on the dog’s head.
“It sure is. How about you take me to the house then rustle your ma out of the kitchen so I can talk with her?” He started walking to the familiar front door.
Grace grabbed his hand. “We can’t go in that door. Ma doesn’t like snow on her wool rug.” She tugged him to the back of the house.
Van smiled and allowed his sister to haul him around to the back of the house. The garden patch looked larger. And the cellar which he’d help dig was grown over sprouting pale weeds through the six inches of snow.
Grace pulled the screen door open, then shoved the door into the kitchen. Familiar aromas wafted around Van’s head. He sniffed and savored each spicy nuance.
His ma turned. “Grace, shut the door, I have bread ris—”
Ma was the same other than gray wisps in her dark brown hair. She blinked, and her hands clasped in front of her chest.
“Van?” She took a step toward him. He smiled and nodded, and she lunged into his arms, crying.
He hugged her tight as tears burned his eye sockets. His heart, which had been torn in two when he never heard from her, slowly melded back together. “I’ve missed you,” he said, holding on, wishing he had all those years back.
She drew out of his arms and studied him. “My, you turned into one handsome man.” She wiped at the tears on her face with her apron. Then motioned to Grace. “Come say hello to your big brother.” His mother’s smile warmed him like a toasty fire on a cold day.
“My brother? I thought pa said—” Grace stared up at him quizzically.
Silver Belles and Stetsons
Ten Western Romance Christmas Novellas ~ Available as a boxed set for a limited time
Bestselling and Award-Winning Authors bring you ten western romance novellas featuring alpha-cowboys from the past. This boxed set will take you back in time when men were rugged and handsome and the women who loved them, courageous and daring.
The Greatest Gift: A Montana Cowboy Christmas by Kathleen Ball. Amazon Bestselling and Award- Winning Author. Looking for the man who ran out on her, Ginger finds a cowboy worthy of love but he doesn’t want or need love.
Catherine’s Cowboy by Cait Braxton, Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning Author. During a supernatural dust storm, Fate steps in when rugged army tracker, Elam, helps Catherine deliver her child.
Stone Mountain Christmas by Caroline Clemmons, Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning Author. Can Celia restore the town’s Christmas spirit? “A beautifully written story about love and hope and all the emotions Christmas brings out in people.” Karren Lucas
Angel and the Texan from County Cork by Carra Copelin. Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning Author. Does Angel trust marriage to the man she suspects of killing her husband or the stranger who promises to pay off her debt and set her free if she decides their marriage of convenience won’t work?
The Drifter’s Proposal by Kristin Holt, Amazon Bestselling Author. The baker’s man is home for Christmas… “Compelling. Heartwarming. Tender.” ~Diane Darcy, USA Today Bestselling Author
The Perfect Gift, A Texas Devlins Christmas by Lyn Horner. Friendship has blossomed into young love, but it seems destined to die on the vine…until an unexpected Christmas gift promises happiness.
Marshal Mistletoe by Susan Horsnell. She married the wrong man. Will fate intervene?
Christmas Redemption by Paty Jager, Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning Author. Can two battered hearts find solace or will the past continue to haunt their lives? “A story of forgiveness that has a wonderful hero who has worked hard to redeem himself.”
A Hard Candy Christmas by Hebby Roman, Amazon Bestselling Author. Two damaged souls. Can their budding love and the healing power of Christmas bring them together?
Cowboy Christmas by Margaret Tanner. Will a miracle Christmas baby unite two tortured souls, or will it forever keep them apart?
BUY LINK: Amazon
Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. On her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story.
You can learn more about Paty at
her blog; Writing into the Sunset
her website; http://www.patyjager.net
Newsletter: Paty’s Prattle: http://eepurl.com/1CFgX
Paty’s Posse: https://www.facebook.com/groups/402519373168442/?ref=bookmarks
Great memories Paty, I think this is what Christmas is all about. The food sounds yummy.
I agree, food, family and friends is what Christmas is about.
Congratulations, Paty, on a your story CHRISTMAS REDEMPTION. I read it and enjoyed it fully. I enjoyed this blog post, too, and my own recollections of how powerful those olfactory memories are, especially at Christmastime. Thank you!
HI Kristin, Thanks for stopping in! Good to hear you enjoyed Christmas Redemption. I agree. The senses can bring back good memories.
Lyn, Thank you for swapping blogs with me today.
Hi Hebby! Thanks for stopping in! I’m glad you enjoyed my story in the anthology.
Paty, it’s always a pleasure to have over here, and to be on your site. Many thanks.
Paty, thanks so much for your cookie recipe, it sounds yummy! I enjoy hearing about other people’s Christmas memories because we seldom got back to my grandmother’s houses for Christmas because they live so far away. Loved your book, too. Great excerpt!