Cowboy Up with Guest Author Andrea Downing

A big welcome to Andrea Downing, author of Lawless LoveLoveland and the soon-to-be-released Dearest Darling


With my first book, Loveland, currently on sale until 26th September,  it’s rather a reflective period for me.  I remember the research trip to Colorado and Wyoming I did—the first of several—and the pile of memoirs I consulted to get the language and characters correct.  Other facts I had to research for Loveland were the household products in use in the 1880s, as well as the foods they consumed.  Perhaps the most famous of these for cowpunchers was Arbuckles’ Coffee.  

Right up through the Civil War, coffee was primarily sold ‘green’ to be roasted by the consumer.  This was done in a skillet over the campfire on the range or in a wood burning stove at home in small batches:  while green coffee beans could be stored indefinitely, roasted beans could be rancid within a couple of weeks.  Furthermore, such individual roasting was inconsistent, and one burnt bean could ruin an entire batch. Beans sold by grocers pre-roasted were subject to not only this inconsistency but also to mixed quality and to the vagaries of the grocers’ scales.  

In 1871, the Arbuckles Bros. Co. was formed.  The Arbuckles’ innovation was to pack roasted coffee beans, ready for the customer.  John Arbuckle then went on to invent an egg and sugar glaze that “closes the pores of the coffee, and thereby all the original strength and aroma are retained.” (from the back of an Arbuckles’ trade card, circa 1890s). In its l lb. packages, the coffee was an instant hit and Arbuckles’ Ariosa Coffee was born.  By the 1880s, Arbuckles’ was the largest coffee importer in the world.

Part of their success was due to their marketing innovations.  The bags of coffee were packed in sturdy crates, which eventually found their use in grocery store shelving and other impromptu uses such as repairing homes for the Navajo in AZ.  Now collectible, one crate that survived intact recently sold at auction for $300.  The bags themselves had an attractive, bright red and yellow label and contained a peppermint stick; this proved to be a means by which Cookie could bribe cowboys to grind the beans.  Arbuckles’ was also the first, in 1873, to advertise coffee on a full color handbill.  And best promotions of all were the coupons along with trade cards.  The trade cards were works of art in themselves, and the different series included all the US states, countries of the world, humorous sketches, patriotic scenes, and maps.  The reverse side could be anything from an ordinary postcard backing to advertising slogans, recipes, or a picture of the factory. Now collectors’ items, they are often available on eBay, and a cookbook of the recipes has also been released.

  Although the company changed hands several times, it has recently been resurrected and so, you can ‘Cowboy Up’ with a cup of Arbuckles’ and settle down to read Loveland.  And when you’ve finished that, you might just go on to Dearest Darling, coming out October 8th.

Thanks so much for having me here today, Gloria.  Much appreciated!


LOVELAND is on sale from 12-26 September. 

LOVELAND  by Andrea Downing

Genre:  western historical romance
Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press

When Lady Alexandra Calthorpe returns to the Loveland, Colorado, ranch owned by her father, the Duke, she has little idea of how the experience will alter her future. Headstrong and willful, Alex tries to overcome a disastrous marriage in England and be free of the strictures of Victorian society --and become independent of men. That is, until Jesse Makepeace saunters back into her life...

Hot-tempered and hot-blooded cowpuncher Jesse Makepeace can’t seem to accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him. Fighting rustlers proves a whole lot easier than fighting Alex when he’s got to keep more than his temper under control.

Arguments abound as Alex pursues her career as an artist and Jesse faces the prejudice of the English social order. The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?


The light was failing and the birds were settling with their evening calls. Somewhere in the pasture a horse nickered. She sensed Jesse was there, watching, but she never turned as he stood at the fence. She heard him climb over and ease up behind her. He took the coiled rope from her in his left hand and slid his right hand over hers on the swing end, almost forcing her backward into his arms.

She thought of paintings and statues she had seen, imagining his naked arms now, how the muscles would form them into long oblique curves, how he probably had soft downy fair hair on his forearms, how his muscle would slightly bulge as he bent his arm. His voice was soft in her ear, and she could feel his breath on her neck like a whispered secret.

“Gentle-like, right to left, right to left to widen the noose, keep your eye on the post—are you watchin’ where we’re goin’?”

He made the throw and pulled in the rope to tighten the noose. Alex stood there, his hand still entwined with hers and, for a moment, she wished they could stand like that forever. Then she took her hand away and faced him. For a second he rested his chin on the top of her head, then straightened again and went to get the noose off the post while coiling in the rope. She looked up at him in the fading light and saw nothing but kindness in his face, simplicity and gentleness that was most inviting. A smile spread across her face as he handed her the coiled rope and sauntered away, turning once to look back at her before he opened the gate. Emptiness filled her like a poisoned vapor seeking every corner of her being, and she stood with the rope in her hand listening to the ring of his spurs as his footsteps retreated.  

About Andrea:

Andrea Downing likes to say that when she decided to do a Masters Degree, she made the mistake of turning left out of New York, where she was born,  instead of right to the west, and ended up in the UK.   She eventually married there, raising a beautiful daughter and staying for longer than she cares to admit.  Teaching, editing a poetry magazine, writing travel articles, and a short stint in Nigeria filled those years until in 2008 she returned to NYC.  She now divides her time between the city and the shore, and often trades the canyons of New York for the wide open spaces of Wyoming.  Family vacations are often out west and, to date, she and her daughter have been to some 20 ranches throughout the west.  Loveland, her first book, was a finalist for Best American Historical at the 2013 RONE Awards.  Lawless Love, a short story, part of The Wild Rose Press ‘Lawmen and Outlaws’ series, was a finalist for Best Historical Novella at the RONE Awards.   Dearest Darling, a novella, is part of The Wild Rose Press Love Letters series, and comes (came?) out Oct. 8th and Dances of the Heart, another full length novel, comes out in the next few months.

Links to social media/website/etc.:   



Twitter:  @andidowning




Buy Links for LOVELAND:  

Amazon:  (print)

Barnes and Noble: (ebook)

The Wild Rose Press:

Review snippets:

"… Secondary characters are especially well developed and distinct. Love scenes are sensual. Loveland appears to be Downing's first published novel, which makes it an even more remarkable achievement.  This is one of those rare occasions when I'd go higher than five stars and the author truly deserves it."

Melissa Snark, Snarkology

"…Great storytelling! Even though the happy ending is a given, the journey was much more satisfying because of the snappy dialogue, the pivotal plotting, and the realistic progression of Alex and Jesse's emotional connection. I'm happy to give this book Five Stars!

Lynda Coker, Between the Pages


 Be sure to get your copy of Dearest Darling beginning on October 8, 2014.

 Stuck in a life of servitude to her penny-pinching brother, Emily Darling longs for a more exciting existence. When a packet with travel tickets, meant for one Ethel Darton, accidentally lands on her doormat, Emily sees a chance for escape. Having turned down the dreary suitors that have come her way, is it possible a new existence also offers a different kind of man?

Daniel Saunders has carved out a life for himself in Wyoming—a life missing one thing: a wife. Having scrimped and saved to bring his mail-order bride from New York, he is outraged to find in her stead a runaway fraud. Even worse, the impostor is the sister of his old enemy.

But people are not always as they seem, and sometimes the heart knows more than the hea


  1. Thanks so much for having me here today, Gloria. Much appreciated!


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