The 12 days of Pioneer Christmas is here!

[My thanks to fabulous co-author Michelle Uhl for putting this article together, and her talented daughter for doing our schedule table and graphics!]

When Barbour Publishing announced they were looking for novellas for A Pioneer Christmas Collection, they had just a few parameters: the story needed to take place between the 1700s to the late 1800s, have a pioneer experience, and celebrate Christmas in a unique dwelling.

The stories that appear in A Pioneer Christmas Collection certainly met that criterion.
Ranging in time slots from Shannon McNear’s lead-off Revolutionary War story, to Michelle Ule’s final tale of the 1897 Alaskan gold rush, the novellas sweep across North American locales both familiar and little known.

Shannon McNear portrays a surprising romance between an escaped Tory prisoner, and a young woman patriot in charge of her siblings when her father goes to fight in Defending Truth. "People were all just struggling to live their lives, and the politics were as upsetting and confusing as today."

Celebrating Christmas in the cave where her hero was hiding, seemed a terrific idea, and certainly a unique one.

Kathleen Fuller has often driven past her setting for The Calling: the Unionville Tavern in northeast Ohio. “Once I found out the tavern was a stagecoach shop [in the early 19th century], I immediately came up with the idea of a traveler stopping at the tavern on a regular basis.”  In The Calling, the traveler is a young man convinced he’s called to preach to those heading west, rather than the settled east. It’s the tavern keeper’s daughter who catches a vision of who he really is.

How many of you have spent Christmas in a tavern?

Several writers deliberately sought often over-looked times and places.  Anna Urquhart had seldom heard of pioneers traveling by water and examined the opening of the Erie Canal in 1830’s which led to settlements in Michigan Territory. A Silent Night actually begins in Edinburgh, Scotland and follows the challenges of making a life in the big woods of the upper Midwest.

The drama of a marriage lost and found is played out over Christmas in a barn beside a smoldering cabin.

A Pony Express Christmas by Margaret Brownley takes readers to a spot most of us think 
we know—or do we? When a vigorous young woman goes in search of her long-lost express-riding brother, she saves a man from outlaws and drives him to help her search. Set during the Civil War era, A Pony Express Christmas leads us eventually to Chimney Rock and resolution.

What happened to those Pony Express stopping stations and could they make an abandoned spot a holiday site?

A Christmas Castle by Cynthia Hickey features a mail order bride who arrives in post-Civil War Arizona to discover her intended dead and a small child needing a mother. With outlaws trying to run her off her “inheritance,” she struggles with the help of a handsome neighbor to keep her land. Somehow she’s able to fashion a Christmas celebration in a virtual hole in the ground.

Who knew it could snow in Arizona in the winter? Have you ever had to cram a too-big Christmas tree into a too-small room?

Lauraine Snelling returns to an area familiar to her readers in The Cowboy’s Angel, set in 1875 Dakota Territory. With her long-overdue husband miles away seeking supplies, a pregnant woman is forced to give birth with a stranger in attendance. Snow socked them into a half-built claim with the farm animals a thin wall away.

Using meager resources in a rough home, a woman finds cause to be thankful. How often have you had to “make do” for Christmas?

Marcia Gruver takes us to sophisticated 1885 New York City in A Badlands Christmas, though we don’t stay there long. Inspired by the adventures of Theodore Roosevelt in the town of Medora, A Badlands Christmas shows the contrasts between festive scenes in the city and a Christmas spent in a dilapidated sod house in the middle of a brutal Dakota Territory winter.

While you may have dealt with the weather outside being frightful on December 25, did you ever live half under the ground?

Buckskin Bride by Vickie McDonough introduces us to a capable but desperate young woman who is more comfortable in buckskin than calico. She and her sisters are squatters on land the hero won in the 1889 Oklahoma land run. The handsome Irish landowner is kind but dare she trust him when her father warned her to avoid all men? With Christmas approaching, her father missing, and young sister injured, will she and her sisters spend Christmas alone in their tipi?

 Have you ever spent Christmas in a tent?

In The Gold Rush Christmas, Michelle Ule takes brother-sister twins and the boy-next-door to 1897 Skagway, Alaska where they meant to enjoy the season in the newly-constructed Union Church. Searching for a missionary father, however, lands them in a Tlingit cedar long house for a lesson in how to present the gospel in a way anyone could understand.

Who can beat salmon for Christmas dinner, even if eaten off a plank?

Interested in Christmas spent in novel ways, surprising settings, heroes and heroines filled with love and pluck? Why not try the nine stories found in A Pioneer Christmas Collection?

Please come back to my blog, and visit my co-authors, for more story tidbits, author interviews, and giveaways!

12 Days of A Pioneer Christmas

Monday, August 19 12 Days of Christmas Introduction
Tuesday, August 20 Cynthia Hickey on
Wednesday, August 21 Kathleen Fuller on
Thursday, August 22 Michelle Ule on
Friday, August 23 Marcia Gruver on Yielded Quill
Saturday, August 24 Shannon McNear on
Monday, August 26 Lauraine Snelling on
Tuesday, August 27 Kathleen Fuller on
Wednesday, August 28 Vickie McDonough on
Thursday, August 29 Anna Urquhart on The Silent Isle
Friday, August 30 Michelle Ule on Colonial Quills
Saturday, August 31 Michelle Ule on

Sunday, September 1

A Pioneer Christmas Collection Release!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Congrats again on being included in the Pioneer Christmas collection! I can't wait to read the stories.

  2. Thanks so much, Jen! I'm so excited to see it finally in print. :-)

  3. This looks like such a great collection! I can't wait to read your story, Shannon. You know I already love the sound of it!

  4. Thanks so much, Carla. I hope you like it!

  5. I am looking forward to reading this book, thank you for the chance to win a copy.



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