Sunday, November 4, 2012

Spotlight and Giveaway: Beau: Cowboy Protector by Marin Thomas

The Number 1 Diner

In Beau: Cowboy Protector, the heroine, Sierra Byrne, owns and runs the town's diner.  Here's the back story behind the Number 1 Diner in Roundup, Montana.

The city of Roundup, MT was incorporated in 1908 and was built, owned and operated by the Republic Coal Company—aka the St. Paul-Milwaukee-Chicago Railroad. The first mine opened was known as Number 1, which was found at the base of the town, later moved south of the Musselshell River (the river was named by Lewis and Clark). A total of seven mines went into operation, but of those only four were good producers. The coal was shipped to South Dakota once mined, to power the railroad’s ventures.

When the book opens….Sierra's parents had died in plane crash five years prior and Sierra had used her inheritance to relocate to Roundup and open a diner.  Up until then, Sierra had run a catering business in Chicago—she's a graduate of the famous Le Cordon Bleu Program in Chicago also known as CHIC.  Sierra's mother had been born and raised in Roundup and Sierra had spent her summers growing up at their family cabin along the Musselshell River.  Since her great-grandfather had been a miner at the Number 1 Mine for years and had died when one of the mine shafts flooded, Sierra decided to name the diner in honor of her great-grandfather and the other miners who'd perished in the flood. 

When Sierra began her search for the perfect property to open a diner it turned out that the old newspaper building in town was for sale.  (The building had been used by A.W. Eiselein who began publishing the Roundup Record-Tribune in 1908.  The tribune has since become the oldest newspaper in Montana published by one family.)   Sierra got a great deal on the property and used the lower level of the building for the diner and the upper level as an apartment for herself. 

Here's a photo of downtown Roundup from years gone by, which helped me visualize the area while writing my book.

The sign above the diner door is a larger-than life coal bucket with chunks of coal spilling out…at night the coal chunks glow red. 

 The inside of the diner is decorated with old mining artifacts from the Number 1 Mine and several framed photographs of the deceased miners. 

Decorating the lunch counter and tables are miniature coals buckets, which hold condiments.  The booth tables are sparkly red Formica with black leather seats…same for the lunch counter and the floor is black and white tiled linoleum squares and of course the diner has a jukebox!  

Weekly Specials at the Number 1 Diner

Sunday: Roast Tip Sirloin of Beef Au Jus
Monday: Club Steak Sandwich
Tuesday: Meatloaf
Wednesday: Beef Stroganoff
Thursday Stuffed Peppers
Friday Chopped Steak Sandwich
Saturday: Homemade Beef Potpie

Beau's favorite meal….Roast Tip Sirloin

3 pounds sirloin tip roast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup dry red wine

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Trim excess fat from beef. Mix salt, mustard, garlic powder and pepper on waxed paper. Pat evenly over beef. Preheat a heavy skillet over high heat. Spray bottom of skillet with cooking spray; immediately add beef. Sear approximately 2 minutes per side. Be sure there's a nice crust before turning over.  Place beef in a roasting pan.
Blend ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine; pour over beef. Place in oven. Roast for 11/2 to 2 hours or until very tender. Remove beef from oven and let stand for several minutes. Cut into slices.

Beau's favorite dessert…Peach Cobbler
8 fresh peaches - peeled, pitted and sliced into thin wedges, 1/4 cup white sugar,1/4 cup brown sugar,1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon,1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg,1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice,2 teaspoons cornstarch,1 cup all-purpose flour,1/4 cup white sugar,1/4 cup brown sugar,1 teaspoon baking powder,1/2 teaspoon salt,6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces,1/4 cup boiling water, MIX TOGETHER: 3 tablespoons white sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). In a large bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly, and pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips, or a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined. Remove peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Sprinkle entire cobbler with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.

Giveaway: I will be giving away a copy of my Harts book Beau: Cowboy Protector and John Wayne Playing Cards to one lucky Winner. 

To Enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter Form Below and post a comment:
Have you ever eaten at an  old-fashioned diner?  If you did, what was the décor like? 

***** HARTS Blog Giveaway Alert : There will be a new giveaway posted here every week, where I will be giving away a copy of Beau: Cowboy Protector + Texas Gift to one lucky winner.
PLUS a GRAND PRIZE of $25 GC and a copy of Beau: Cowboy Protector to one lucky winner. ****
(To be eligible to win grand prize - you must have posted a comment on the weekly blog post)

About the Author
Marin Thomas Best-selling Harlequin author Marin Thomas grew up in Janesville, Wisconsin. She left the Midwest to attend college at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she played basketball for the Lady Wildcats and earned a B.A. in Radio-TV.  Following graduation she married her college sweetheart in a five-minute ceremony at the historical Little Chapel of the West in Las Vegas, Nevada. Over the years she and her husband and two children have lived in seven different states but have now come full circle and returned to Arizona where the rugged desert and breathtaking sunsets provide plenty of inspiration for Marin's cowboy books.  Beau: Cowboy Protector is Marin’s 22nd book for the American Romance line. For more information on Marin’s books visit and stop by her blog, All My Heroes are Cowboys, where Marin chats about the men who wear Stetsons and Wranglers


  1. I would love to eat an old-fashioned meal. It would be like going to Medieval Times just for the experience. This would be a Cowboy/Western experience for me.

  2. I have eaten at a few old diners. The theme is always Country

  3. I have never estrn at an old fashioned diner I just moved to Austin, TXand I am sure there are some here that I look forward to trying.

  4. Never. Just good ol' city diners which seem to have the sane decor. I love diner food.

  5. Old really does not qualify as old-fashioned. I love the thought of it though.

  6. Never, unless you consider Cracker Barrel one. I love the old time candy and items you can buy in their store. Lots of good country cooking.

  7. Sure I've eaten at a couple. One out in a small town in Colorado (not far from Denver) which had a mountain or western theme - for lack of better description. I've also been to the retro diners, like Johnny Rocket's, and that's neat if you like the 1950s. I've also been to several small town diners but they were more mom-and-pop places that looked sparse but had country touches.

  8. i haven't eat any old-fashioned diner

  9. We have a diner in the small town I work in here in Maine. It doesn't have a jukebox unfortunately but looks like a traditional diner in every other sense. And the food is wonderful!

  10. I love old diners, there are none around here but when we travel for vacation we always stop. The best food ever!

  11. Hi Ladies
    thanks for dropping by the Harst of the Rodeo Harlequinjunkie spotlight blog! For those of you who said you've eaten in diners and loved the food I'm right there with you. One of my favorite meals in diners is meatloaf and mashed potatoes--I've never had a bad peice of meatloaf in a diner. If you haven't tried a diner I'd encourage you to give one a try when you're traveling and give the experience a try. Most of the time you'll find freindly servers who love to chat and ask where you're from and where you're headed :-)

  12. I have ate at those diners before. Usually 50's or 60's them. Love going to them. Always have the best food.
    Sue B

  13. I love eating at old diners, they have the best food! Most of them have had a fifties and sixties theme. Thanks for all the info on Beau and the recipe sounds scrumptious!

  14. I haven't eaten at an old fashioned diner but if the chance came upon me I would love to eat at one. Thank you for the giveaway. :)

  15. Happy Tuesday everyone--great day in the States as we all head to the polls on election day. Cowboys, apple pie, baseball and the right to vote...add the American Diner and you have the quintessential American experience.
    Thanks for stopping by the blog katsrus, Christine and Yazmin!

  16. I haven't eaten an old fashioned diner but I would like to eat one.

  17. No, i dont think i have. But id love to!

  18. I've eaten in several different old fashioned diners and they all look very much like the picture you have above with two rows of booths and juke box. Also a diamond tiled floor ususally in black and white.

  19. Hi ladies, thanks for taking the time to stop by and enter the drawing. Good news to share...just learned Beau: Cowboy Protector has been nominated (along with three other books)for best Harlequin American Romance of 2012! So if you don't win this drawing keep coming back there will be more chances to win throughout the month and check my FB page for other spotlight/drawings throughout the month!

  20. wow sounds awesome would love to win.

  21. Would love love love to Win a copy please !!! Thank you ,Dana "Girl"Spille

  22. i have not eat any old-fashioned dinner.

    love cowboy story and the cover :)

  23. Hi Pat, Dana & Eli--thanks for stopping by the blog--hope you'll return next week for another blog and giveaway right here! In the meantime while you wait for the Sara to post the next giveaway from me drop by and leave a comment...I'm giving away a copy of Beau:Cowboy Protector over there :-)

  24. Yes I have. Back in the 70's there was a local ice cream parlor called Farrell's. Vinyl red booth seating and checkboard flooring. Huge ice cream sundaes and burgers! :D

  25. Hi Kyla--thanks for stopping by! Farrell's sounds like a greta place...anyone grow up with an old Woolworth's store in their town? If so, remember the great hotdogs with steamed buns? Loved that place!