Behind the Book ~ A look at Cattle

All of a sudden, I realized that Harlequin is releasing my Christmas novella TODAY!
I am not ready for Christmas. NOT. ONE. BIT. Autumn hasn’t even officially arrived here!

So…at the end of this post I will share a blurb about A Western Christmas Homecoming,
which is the last book in the Oak Grove Series that I have been writing with Lauri Robinson. 

Texas Longhorns

Recently, I had to research different types of cattle here in America for my story, Wedding at Rocking S Ranch that takes place on a ranch. Oak Grove was a railroad town that blossomed as a result of its location and the cattle drives from Texas. Sure, Longhorns came from Texas, but was that the kind of cattle that would be found on a ranch in Kansas? My grandfather and uncle raised Black Angus cattle here in the Midwest their entire lives and I have yet to see a Texas Longhorn this far north. So when, and where, did the switch occur? I also had to check the history of barbed wire.

1870 marked the start of the big cattle drives into Kansas. 300,00 arrived that year. The next year that amount doubled. Three-fifths of the cattle were “stock cattle” which means they were yearlings, heifers, cows and steers younger than four years old. Abilene, Kansas, Wichita and Dodge City became the towns (and later cities) that truly boomed with the transporting of cattle to market.

Many of the Longhorns didn’t immediately board the train and head to points farther east, but wintered in Kansas, existing on the buffalo-grass prairie. Although barbed wire had been invented and was in use, the sectioning off of large parcels of land hadn’t happened yet in Kansas in 1879 at the time my story takes place. Cattle still roamed free and had to be watched over by cowboys. At the Rocking S Ranch, the ranch-house and the crops had fences around them to keep the cattle out of the corn and alfalfa and off the porch. This was known as “fenced out.” Further east, a farmer would use wood and barbed wire to enclose a pasture, which was known as “fenced in.”

In my story, I have the owner of the ranch looking into crossbreeding his longhorns with another breed of cattle to make a healthier, more profitable herd. He has brought in Black Angus to give this a try. Black Angus first came to Kansas in 1873 when George Grant transported them from Scotland. Where the longhorns were hardy, they were a tougher meat and had a wild-streak and could be difficult to manage. Angus had a gentle nature but were more susceptible to extremes in weather. Their meat is more tender and has a better flavor that the longhorns. Angus weigh between 850 and 1000 pounds when mature.

When Grant took his four Angus bulls to the fair at the Kansas City Livestock Exposition that year, the local people didn’t know what to think of them. These cattle had no horns! (Called polled, which means naturally hornless.) But Grant had the last laugh when he successfully crossed his bulls with native Texas longhorns. The calves were hardier, hornless, and weighed more. They were also a bit more docile. Between 1878 and 1883, twelve hundred Angus cattle were imported to the Midwest. Cross-breeding has steadily improved the hardiness of the Angus here in America.

And there are Red Angus! Red Angus occur as the result of a recessive gene. They are the same as their black relatives except they are actually more tolerant of the hot weather. At one time, The Angus Association barred the registration of Red Angus in an attempt to promote a solid black breed. Likely that is one of the reasons they are fewer in number. Eventually, The Red Angus Association of America formed when breeders searched out and collected the Red Angus from the black herds.

Although I used a lot of this information in Wedding at Rocking S Ranch, it was sprinkled in with a light touch. After all, in historical romance it is the relationship between the two protagonists that carry the story!

* * * * * * * * * * *

And now for my New Release!      

Three festive stories ~ Christmas in the Wild West!

A Western Christmas Homecoming

CHRISTMAS WITH THE OUTLAW by Kathryn Albright
SNOWBOUND IN BIG SPRINGS by Lauri Robinson
CHRISTMAS DAY WEDDING BELLS by Lynna Banning

In Christmas Day Wedding Bells by Lynna Banning, buttoned-up librarian Alice is swept away by US marshal Rand Logan on a new adventure.
Then, Welles is Snowbound in Big Springs in this novella by Lauri Robinson, where he must confront Sophie and their undeclared feelings…
Finally, rugged outlaw Russ rescues Abigail from spending the festive season alone in Christmas with the Outlaw by Kathryn Albright!

Available at HarlequinAmazonBarnes and Noble

Visit my website for excerpts and more information on all my books!

Kathryn Albright
Kathryn Albright writes sweet western historical romance. Her stories celebrate courage and hope with a dash of adventure. Kathryn’s stories have been finalists in the distinguished RWA Golden Heart® and the HOLT Medallion as well as several other industry awards. When she isn't caught up in a good story, she enjoys road trips with her husband (when he drives) and planning her next home improvement adventure. She lives with her family in the rural Midwest. Visit her at http://www.kathrynalbright.com.

The Horse Race that Signaled the End of the Old West

Hi, Kit Morgan here, and for those of you that don’t know, my little sister is a professional racehorse jockey. Marijo has been racing for as long as I can remember and made a life-long career out of it. She left high school early to start galloping at the track and train to become a jockey. Her love of horses drove her, not to mention a keen competitive nature. She has recently given up racing for something a bit safer, like training Hunter/Jumper horses. Ahem … anyway … this post isn’t about my sister, but about one particular race held in 1893. But hey, it’s hard to mention anything about horse racing without bringing her up!

In 1893 the western plains were largely settled. By now much of the land was farmed and fenced in. There were no more wild buffalo roaming the plains, no more Indian wars (for the most part) because the Native Americans had been moved to reservations. Telegraph wires were strung up everywhere and Telephone lines were quickly stretching west. The country was moving on and the wild west was dying out.

Then along came a race, one that started out as a gimmick. The brainchild of a crafty businessman named John Maher, (who by the way was one of the first to report from the scene of the Wounded Knee Massacre) devised the race as a way to draw attention to the tiny town of Chadron, Nebraska, which was struggling at the time. What started out as a mere gimmick, turned into something much more.

Hundreds of hard-bitten cowboys, both locals and those that rode in, wanted to be in the race that came to be known as The Great Cowboy Race. One fellow was a western outlaw and horse rustler! A desperado by the name of “Doc” Middleton. The race drew all sorts of folks to it, all eager to enter and win. The route spanned a thousand miles, beginning in Chadron and ending at Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West showground which was right next to the World’s Fair in Chicago. The prize? A new leather saddle, a golden Colt revolver, and a fat cash purse. The race took the entrants over the Nebraska Sand Hills, through the Iowa cornfields, across both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and through the wheat fields of Illinois. 

Driving them on was the truth of their own old age. As they rode they saw changes in the land. Changes that would keep growing, pushing out the old cowboy and his ways. Perhaps they could tell the boys that gawked at Model T Fords what it was like to race across the land on a horse, to have the country watching them. Regale the boys with stories of the old west when they, themselves, were young. They could tell them about the small towns of America, those along the race route, and how the blacksmiths would pound on their anvils, signaling the riders were coming. People lined the streets to watch them and shout encouragement. Boys especially cheered them on. Newspapers also covered the race, bringing to life the old west once more. 

For one summer this race created an unforgettable image of the old west that would live on in the minds of many. Cowboys atop thundering horses, racing to their destination and carrying them into cowboy immortality. 

And this is just one of the reasons I love to write westerns! Maybe it’s about time I wrote a story about a horse race, hmm?

If you would like to check out my books, you can find them at http://www.authorkitmorgan.com

Kit Morgan
Kit Morgan is the author of over 70 books of historical and contemporary western romance! Her stories are fun, sweet stories full of love, laughter, and just a little bit of mayhem! Kit creates her stories in her little log cabin in the woods in the Pacific Northwest. An avid reader and knitter, when not writing, she can be found with either a book or a pair of knitting needles in her hands! Oh, and the occasional smidge of chocolate!
Updated: September 17, 2018 — 1:12 pm

Jodi Thomas Has a Winner!

 

Thank you for coming, Miss Jodi! We sure loved having you, broken leg and all.

And now for the drawing………………….

A print copy of Mistletoe Miracles goes to………………

SHERRY ALLMAN

Yippee! I’m happy for you, Sherry! Watch your email and be ready with your address.

 

Felicia Filly
When I'm not keepin' all these Fillies in line, I'm practicing my roping so I can catch me a cowboy. Me and Jasper (my mule) are two peas in a pod. Both of us are as crotchety as all get-out.
Updated: September 16, 2018 — 11:54 am

Linda Broday Has Winners!

 

Many thanks to everyone who came to read my blog last Tuesday about the movies and John Wayne meeting Wyatt Earp. That was so much fun.

In a random drawing, I chose two winners…………………

JOY ELLIS

ANNE

You get to choose either of these two books in print or ebook. If you don’t get an email from me, contact me linda (at) lindabroday (dot) com.

  

Linda Broday
I live in the Texas Panhandle where we love our cowboys.There's just something about a man in a Stetson that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!
http://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules/
Updated: September 16, 2018 — 12:29 pm

We Have a Winner!!!

The winner of an ebook copy of

is

Kathleen O’Donnell

I will contact you to alert you to an incoming book, then send it on it’s way.

Mary Connealy
Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series
http://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules

Updated: September 14, 2018 — 7:01 pm

Welcome Guest – Jodi Thomas!!

Hello everyone, Jodi Thomas here.
In a few weeks MISTLETOE MIRACLES will be out as the 7th book in the Ransom Canyon series.  I’m very excited about this one. 

Hold on to your hats this is going to be a wild, funny ride.

I had a series of events, like every writer experiences sometimes, tumble down on me when facing the deadline on this book.  One roadblock after another happened.  Sometimes the real world interrupts my fantasy world. 😉 So, all of a sudden I had a book due, I was suffering from exhaustion, and the holiday season was nearing.

“Rest.” The doctor insisted.  Great.  No talks, no travel, no lectures. I stayed in my pj’s and wrote. The book took over my brain—in truth it wasn’t much of a fight.

All at once the characters were living in my mind, not just subleasing a few hours a day.

I got better and finished the book.  My editor loved it.  Christmas, three love stories, a horse ranch.  I turned it in right after Christmas, getting to live both in real life and in my mind for the holidays.

Then life rushed in.  Travel, talks, business, relatives. I’m behind again. This time on Number 8 that will be out in 2019.

No problem. Then came the head-on car crash. I’m back at home–with a broken leg. Not in fantasy this time. I wrote half the book in a month with my leg propped up.

I’m starting to see why BREAK A LEG means good luck.  Maybe whoever made it up was talking to me.

So, I googled it:

A phrase of encouragement typically said to one who is about to perform before an audience, especially an actor. It is thought to be used due to the superstition that wishing one “good luck” will result in the opposite, but the exact origin of the phrase is unknown.

I also researched jobs and found that being a cowboy ranks at the 4th more dangerous job in America.   All of us who’ve been tossed from a horse are yelling, “Amen” right now.

So ladies and gentlemen, enjoy my MISTLETOE MIRACLES this fall with my three cowboys on the Maverick Ranch because next spring while I’m writing book number 9, one of my heroes is going to break a leg for a change, and I plan to stay healthy.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of Mistletoe Miracles to kick off your holiday reading.  I’d love to hear what your lucky saying is.

And don’t forget to sign up for a three-day stay at my hideout in Red River, New Mexico.  You pick the season, they’re all beautiful.  Just check the rules on my website:  jodithomas.com.    

Guest Blogger

Loving the Texas Negotiator–Garrison’s Law book #3

Book three in my Garrison’s Law series is OUT!

Loving the Texas Negotiator

Garrison’s Law book #3

Loving the Texas Negotiator

Not all the Garrisons are guys.

Beth Garrison is the top hostage negotiator in Rocky Ridge, Texas. She’s called to serve on a task force to investigate a killing that is a copycat of her first bust as a rookie.

Tate McCade has a reputation for steamrolling anyone who gets in his way and he’s had a run-in with Beth and her oversized ego before. He’s got a bruise on his face to prove it.

They have to work together and sparks are flying that aren’t all about the job.

Two more to go but we take a break in releasing them now because next month I’ve got book #2 of the High Sierra Sweethearts series, The Reluctant Warrior.

The Reluctant Warrior

Union army officer Cameron Scott is used to being obeyed, but nothing about this

journey to Lake Tahoe has gone as expected. He’s come to fetch his daughter and nephew, and seek revenge on the people who killed his brother. Instead he finds himself trapped by a blizzard with two children who are terrified of him and stubborn but beautiful Gwen Harkness, who he worries may be trying to keep the children.

When danger descends on the cabin where they’re huddled, Cam is hurt trying to

protect everyone and now finds Gwen caring for him too. He soon realizes why the kids love her so much and wonders if it might be best for him to move on without them. When she sees his broken heart, Gwen decides to help him win back their affection–and in the process he might just win her heart as well.

Read an Except from The Reluctant Warrior

Some Reviews

Connealy’s Latest Filled with a Blend of Humor, History, and Cowboys
• “Connealy crafts relatable characters who will inspire readers with their love,
loyalty, and fortitude.”—
Publishers Weekly
• Bestselling author Connealy reaches her fans regularly on popular book
blog Seekerville
• In 1860s Lake Tahoe, a band of high mountain cowboys must overcome a
dangerous enemy

The fun thing about my two books is one is contemporary, one is historical. They are both, I think, romantic comedy with cowboys. Although my contemporary ‘cowboy’ is a cop. But they hero and heroine are both from Texas and they go home to the family ranch for the happily ever after.

Today, let’s talk contemporary romance vs historical romance. Why do you like one or the other. Westerns, more than most other genres, can span historical and contemporary, as many modern day western romances as historical.

Which is your favorite. No right or wrong answers, just a fun conversation. Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for an ebook copy of Loving the Texas Negotiator.

Mary Connealy
Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series
http://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules
Updated: September 13, 2018 — 12:20 am

Congrats to Shanna’s Winner

Big congrats to Katie A! She is the winner of a digital book of her choice from any Shanna has written!

Congrats, Katie, and thanks to all who entered!

Shanna Hatfield
After spending her formative years on a farm in Eastern Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky western heroes.
When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.
Updated: September 12, 2018 — 10:20 pm

Jodi Thomas is Coming Friday!

Our old friend, Miss Jodi Thomas, is coming Friday, September 14, 2018!

We’re so excited. We always love her personal stories and this one is a humdinger. 

You don’t want to miss this.

Plus, she’s toting a print copy of her new book to give away.

Please join us on Friday or all weekend through.

But leave a comment to enter the drawing for Mistletoe Miracles!

 

 

Felicia Filly
When I'm not keepin' all these Fillies in line, I'm practicing my roping so I can catch me a cowboy. Me and Jasper (my mule) are two peas in a pod. Both of us are as crotchety as all get-out.
Updated: September 10, 2018 — 4:00 pm

Cattle Rustling During WWII

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I truly do love researching details for my sweet historical romances. 

While I was digging through books and sifting through online information for my upcoming release, Dream of Her Heart (Book 3 in the Hearts of the War series), set in World War II, I found several fascinating details that I hadn’t read before.

One of the most interesting was the surge in cattle rustling that took place once rationing went into effect. The war caused shortages of many things like rubber, metal and nylon stockings, but the rationed food affected just about everyone on a daily basis. 

The short supply of food was due to a variety of reasons. Much of the processed and canned food was reserved for our military and Allies. Due to gasoline and rubber rations, transporting food  to civilians was not a priority when soldiers needed food and war supplies needed to be shipped. Restrictions on imports, like sugar and coffee was limited. 

The U.S. Office of Price Administration established a system that would, in theory, fairly distribute food in short supply through ration books. The books contained removable stamps good for certain items like sugar, meat, oil and canned goods. A person could not legally purchase a rationed item without having the right ration stamp. 

That’s where the black market of food came into play during World War II – and rustlers found a ripe opportunity for stealing cattle and selling the meat.

Cattle rustling has been around as long as there have been cattle to rustle. In the old West, a no nonsense kind of place, cattle rustling was considered a serious offence which often resulted in the offender hanging from a rope by a group of vigilantes. Whether the cattle were stolen for food, or to sell, thievery took place all too often. 

Some people will say the transition from open range to fenced in grazing reduced the practice of rustling. In fact, rustlers knew cattle country and adapted to the changes.

Most rustlers could rope, brand and trail with ease. One only needed to buy a few cows, register a brand, and start branding “strays” to build up their own herds. Unbranded calves were a popular target and easy to steal, especially if they were “orphans.” 

Other rustlers relied on the catching ranchers by surprise, stampeding herds and driving them off. Herds that grazed on the western ranges were a favorite of rustlers, especially where canyons or high brush afforded hiding places. They also had rebranding down to an art.  

Altering brands was a common practice among rustlers, using a “running iron,” which was a straight rod with a curve at the heated end. 

Cattle rustling prevailed through range wars and settling of the West.

While many might think rustling died down with the advent of vehicles and modern inventions, it continued. Thieves equipped with trucks stole cattle at night, butchered them, and sold the meat the next day, perhaps hundreds of miles away. The extent of the thievery, and the fact the rustlers often crossed state lines, led Congress to pass the National Cattle Theft Act in August 1941. 

The act was instituted “To provide for the punishment of persons transporting stolen cattle in interstate commerce, and for other purposes. ” Interstate commerce included transporting stolen cattle from one state, territory or the District of Columbia to another state, territory, District of Columbia, foreign country or from a foreign country to anywhere in the United States. 

The penalty for being caught transporting, receiving, concealing, storing, bartering, buying, selling, or
disposing of any cattle known to be stolen was a $5,000 fine, or imprisonment of not more than five years, or both. 

However, the implementation of the act wasn’t enough to deter cattle rustlers during World War II. Between the rising costs of meat and then rationing of beef and pork, rustlers grew bold, stealing as little as one or two cattle to dozens, butchering them, and selling the meat on the black market. 

The fact cattle branding became such a big issue during World War II caught me by surprise. It’s not something you even think twice about happening in the 1800s. But the 1940s? However, it was a huge problem for many ranchers and farmers.

I couldn’t let a little nugget of history like that slip by, so I included it in Dream of Her Heart. And how do you work in cattle rustling when the hero is a pilot in the Pacific? You make him from a ranch in Texas, of course. 

 Is there room for love in a time of war?

Days before he must ship out to prepare for a dangerous mission in the Pacific, Lieutenant Zane West crosses Oregon to see a good friend who has been wounded in action. He arrives at the veteran’s hospital, only to discover the army captain has disappeared without a trace. As Zane searches for answers, he finds himself captivated by a beautiful and spunky nurse who offers her help. Is she the key to his future, or an unwelcome distraction from his important wartime mission?

Nurse Billie Brighton puts her heart and boundless energy into caring for wounded soldiers, but she vowed long ago never to let one of the dashing rogues turn her head. That is, until a handsome lieutenant arrives seeking his missing friend. Thoroughly enchanted, she can’t help but break her own rules. Has she finally found the love she secretly longs for, or is she headed for heartbreak?

Step back in time to 1942 with a sweet, charming World War II romance full of history, heart, and a happily ever after.

The book is available for pre-order from Amazon and releases Sept. 27!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GSDZ9ZZ//a/p?tag=pettpist-20

 

If you were living in a time of ration coupons, what one thing would you most prize? 

(My choice would definitely be sugar!)

One randomly chosen winner from those who post a comment

will receive an ebook of their choice from any I’ve written. 

 

 

 

 

 
Shanna Hatfield
After spending her formative years on a farm in Eastern Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky western heroes.
When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.
Updated: September 11, 2018 — 8:17 pm
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