The Music of Spurs by Linda Broday

I’m happy to kick off this Bustles and Spurs week. I just love writing everything about cowboys but especially the little visual details that can add so much to a story. The smooth way they walk. The way they talk—from the hard edge they add to their voice when they have to—to the quiet, gentle words reserved for their lady, kids, and animals. Then there are the sounds—the slap of leather chaps against their legs, their boot heels striking a wooden boardwalk.

Most of all, the clink of their spurs. Oh man! I love that music.

I began thinking about spurs and here are some facts that you might find interesting.

* The earliest spurs found go back to Julius Caesar and his Roman soldiers. Who knew?

* The type of metal used in those early spurs once indicated rank. Gold or gilded spurs were reserved for knights or royalty. Hence the expression, “earn your spurs.”

* The part of the spur that makes noise is the rowel that spins when the cowboy walks. The rowel is also the part he uses to make the horse do what he wants.

* The ornate Spanish influence is still evident today.

* Spurs from the second to about the fifteenth century were buried with their owners which is why few remain today.

* Any knight who failed to remove his spurs inside a church had them confiscated and had to pay a fine to get them back.

* The U.S. Cavalry uniform required boots and spurs and they were also worn during the Civil War. These were made of brass, slightly curved, with a small rowel, black straps, and a brass buckle.

* Today, artisan spurs are big business and depending on what they’re decorated with can be quite expensive. I recently saw a pair online selling for $925. Can you imagine?

* Sometimes cowboys attach jinglebobs to their spurs for even more noise.

I have a new book coming April 30 – SAVING THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE – #2 of Outlaw Mail Order Brides series. Jack Bowdre has been arrested and on his way to jail in a stagecoach the marshal flags down. The only other passenger is Lenora Kane who’s on her way to marry a man sight unseen. When the coach wrecks, Jack finds himself handcuffed to Lenora and they’re running for their lives, afoot, with nothing but the clothes on their backs and five days to safety. This has danger, suspense, humor, and romance and available for preorder.

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Leave a comment mentioning some detail about a cowboy that really adds to what you love about him. Maybe it’s a bead of sweat trickling down his neck or the way he tips his hat to the ladies. Something small that gives you that tingle. You know the one. I’m giving away a western movie called Forsaken starring Kiefer and Donald Sutherland. It’s really good. I’m also giving a $10 Amazon gift card to another winner. Drawing will be Saturday.

 

 

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!
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Win 30 Books and an E-Reader!

Yep!  That’s right. THIRTY Books and an E-Reader

of your choice ~ Kindle or Nook.

Thirty Sweet Small Town Romances, that is.

It’s easy!  Just click on the link below and FOLLOW US

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March 18 – March 27

Pam Crooks – A COWBOY AND A PROMISE

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Fillies
Updated: March 24, 2019 — 11:16 am

Amanda Cabot Has a Winner!

Thank you so much for coming to visit, Miss Amanda! Texas Rangers make great heroes.

Now for the drawing……………

A print copy of A Tender Hope goes to…………….

ROSIE

Woo-Hoo! I’m excited for you, Rosie. You’ll love this.

Watch for Miss Amanda’s email.

 

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: March 24, 2019 — 10:10 am

Don’t Forget the Bustles and Spurs Party!

 

YOU’RE INVITED!

A BUSTLES AND SPURS PARTY!

When: Monday, March 25 to Friday, March 29, 2019

Where: Right Here at P&P

IT’LL BE FUN!

YOU MIGHT WIN SOMETHING!

OR YOU MIGHT LEARN SOMETHING NEW!

OR A COWBOY MIGHT WANT TO DO-SI-DO!

 

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: March 17, 2019 — 12:26 pm

Texas Rangers: What You May Not Know ~ Amanda Cabot

If the very words “Texas Rangers” make you think of heroes, you’re not alone.  For many of us, those men who wear the star are legendary, their stories larger than life.  That’s one of the reasons I made Jackson Guthrie, the hero of A Tender Hope, a Ranger.  But as I researched the Rangers, I discovered a number of things that surprised me.

It started with the stars.  Did you know that the early Rangers did not necessarily wear badges, and if they did, they were ones they’d either created or purchased?  It’s true.  The state did not issue badges to Rangers until 1935.  Prior to that, the only official proof that they were Rangers was the documentation the state provided, a description of their physical appearance that served to identify them.  The early badges were often

The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco celebrates this man, who – like many Rangers of his era – had a number of careers besides Ranger.

made from Mexican silver eight-real coins or simply tin.

Then we come to the uniforms.  There were none in the early days.  While Rangers are often shown wearing slouch hats, those were not mandatory.  Instead, those particular hats were chosen for their practicality, keeping the sun and rain out of the Ranger’s face.

Do you picture the Ranger carrying his Colt revolver?  While it’s true that many of them had Colts after Jack Hays, who was famous for his one-man stand against a band of Comanche near Enchanted Rock, introduced them to the Rangers, they weren’t something the state provided.  The first time the state issued firearms to Rangers was in 1870 when they provided breech-loading cavalry carbines.  But – and this is a big but – the cost was deducted from the Rangers’ pay.

Ever wonder what a hobble for a horse looks like? Here’s one from The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum

So, what did the state provide to its famed peacekeepers?  Food, forage for their mounts, ammunition, and medical assistance.  The Rangers were responsible for their horses, their weapons, and their clothing.

Until 1874, the Rangers were citizen-soldiers, meaning that they were called when needed and disbanded when the need was over.  While the 1866 legislature established three battalions of Rangers, the bill to finance them failed.  In 1870, the legislature authorized the creation of twenty companies of Rangers, but only fourteen were actually established.

The creation of the Frontier Battalion in 1874 marked a significant

This exhibit within the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum shows not only a Ranger and his horse but also the famous Colt Revolver.

change for the Rangers, creating a professional law enforcement agency with civil police powers.  The Frontier Battalion consisted of six companies, each with a captain, two lieutenants, and 72 men who enlisted for twelve months.

How much were these men paid?  In 1835, the daily pay was $1.25.  You might have thought that by 1874, the pay would have increased, but a private’s monthly pay was only $30 and a corporal’s was $40.  Sergeants made $50, lieutenants $75, and captains $100.  Since pay day was once a quarter, I suspect that the state-provided meals were critical to a Ranger’s survival.

Does all this make you want to enlist?  I didn’t think so.  The men who joined the Rangers were men who believed in justice, men who wanted to keep their home safe, men who sought adventure rather than comfort.  Men like Jackson Guthrie.

(Note: These are all photos I took at the Ranger Museum in Waco.  We won’t talk about the challenge of getting these pictures from a machine running Windows 95 to one with Windows 10.  Such fun!)

As far as Thea Michener is concerned, it’s time for a change. With her husband murdered and her much-anticipated baby stillborn, there is nothing left for her in Ladreville. Having accepted a position as Cimarron Creek’s midwife, she has no intention of remarrying. So when a handsome Texas Ranger appears on her doorstep with an abandoned baby, Thea isn’t sure her heart can take it.

Ranger Jackson Guthrie isn’t concerned only with the baby’s welfare. He’s been looking for Thea, convinced that her late husband was part of the gang that killed his brother. But it soon becomes clear that the situation is far more complicated than he anticipated—and he’ll need Thea’s help if he’s ever to find the justice he seeks.

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I’m giving away a print copy of A Tender Hope to a US winner.

Just leave a comment to be eligible to win!

 

 

Amanda Cabot’s dream of selling a book before her thirtieth birthday came true, and she’s now the author of more than thirty-five novels as well as eight novellas, four non-fiction books, and what she describes as enough technical articles to cure insomnia in a medium-sized city.  Her inspirational romances have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists, have garnered a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and have been nominated for the ACFW Carol, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers Best awards.  A popular workshop presenter, Amanda takes pleasure in helping other writers achieve their dreams of publication.

Social Media Links

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Guest Blogger

A Bustles and Spurs Party!

 

YOU’RE INVITED!

A BUSTLES AND SPURS PARTY!

When: Monday, March 25 to Friday, March 29, 2019

Where: Right Here at P&P

IT’LL BE FUN!

YOU MIGHT WIN SOMETHING!

OR YOU MIGHT LEARN SOMETHING NEW!

OR A COWBOY MIGHT WANT TO DO-SI-DO!

 

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: March 17, 2019 — 12:20 pm

Taking a Chance–A Big Chance–On Love

Wanted a Wife

I am looking for a lady to make her my wife

as I am heartily tired of bachelor life.

I’ve always loved mail-order bride stories and am delighted to be currently writing one.  My heroine has a good reason for taking a a chance on love, but what about the thousands of other women who’d left family and friends to travel west and into the arms of strangers?

Shortage of Men—and Women

The original mail-order bride business grew out of necessity.  The lack of women in the west was partly responsible, but so was the Civil War.  The war not only created thousands of widows and grieving girlfriends, but a shortage of men, especially in the south.

As a result, marriage brokers and “Heart and Hand” catalogues popped up all around the country. Ads averaged five to fifteen cents and letters were exchanged along with photographs.

According to an article in the Toledo Blade lonely men even wrote to the Sears catalogue company asking for brides (the latest such letter received was from a lonely Marine during the Vietnam War).

Cultural Attitudes

Marriage was thought to be the only path to female respectability. Anyone not conforming to society’s expectations was often subjected to public scorn.  Also, many women needed marriage just for survival.  Single women had a hard time making it alone in the East. This was especially true of widows with young children to support.

Women who had reached the “age” of spinsterhood with no promising prospects were more likely to take a chance on answering a mail-order bride ad than younger women.

Not Always Love at First Sight

Courtesy of the Smithsonian Postal Museum

For some mail-order couples, it was love (or lust) at first sight. In 1886, one man and his mail order bride were so enamored with each other they scandalized fellow passengers on the Union Pacific Railroad during their honeymoon.

Not every bride was so lucky.  In her book Hearts West, Christ Enss tells the story of mail-order bride Eleanor Berry. En route to her wedding her stage was held up at gunpoint by four masked men.  Shortly after saying “I do,” and while signing the marriage license, she suddenly realized that her husband was one of the outlaws who had robbed her. The marriage lasted less than an hour.

The mail-order business was not without deception.  Lonely people sometimes found themselves victims of dishonest marriage brokers, who took their money and ran.

Some ads were exaggerated or misleading. Men had a tendency to overstate their financial means. Women, on the other hand, were more likely to embellish their looks. The Matrimonial News in the 1870s printed warnings by Judge Arbuckle that any man deceived by false hair, cosmetic paints, artificial bosoms, bolstered hips, or padded limbs could have his marriage nulled, if he so desired.   

Despite all the things that could and sometimes did go wrong, historians say that most matches were successful.

No one seems to know how many mail-order brides there were during the 1800s, but the most successful matchmaker of all appears to be Fred Harvey. He wasn’t in the mail-order bride business, but, by the turn of the century, five thousand Harvey Girls had found husbands while working in his restaurants.   

Under what circumstances might you have considered becoming a mail order bride in the Old West? 

Meet the Brides of Haywire, Texas!

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Coming in May!

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Margaret Brownley
Margaret has published more than 40 books and is a N.Y. Times Bestselling author and two-time Romance Writers of America Rita Finalist. She writes historical novels set--where else?--in the Old West! She has written for a day time soap and is currently working on a new series. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence.
Updated: March 17, 2019 — 8:35 am

Amanda Cabot Visits on Friday

Miss Amanda Cabot has saddled up and will arrive on Friday, March 22, 2019!

This talented author will talk about the Texas Rangers and will have interesting things to say.

Also…she has a new book out and is giving a print copy away!

So don’t be shy. Or lazy. Come over and join us.

No telling what all we’ll find to talk about!

Spring has sprung and green things are sprouting. Don’t let the grass grow under your feet.

Don’t forget now, you hear?

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: March 17, 2019 — 11:46 am

Three-Week Winter

I honestly thought we were not going to get winter this year. It happens. When February 2nd rolled around and the ranch still looked like this–

I had a bad feeling that it was not going to be a good water year. And then we had our first winter storm–three days before we were supposed to drive to Nevada for the Ranch Hand Rodeo, where I have a vendor booth. The highway was closed for two days, but when it opened we assumed the worst was over and headed south. While we were gone, the cold snap hit, and it was much colder than anticipated, or we would not have left. My mom texted on our first day at the rodeo to tell me that when they fed the cattle that morning, it was -38 degrees F. Cue really bad feelings.

When we got back to Montana, the first big question was, could we get to the ranch. My folks  spent hours on the tractor to open up a road across a field to give us access. The official driveway was too drifted to tackle.

We made it home and took over feeding. It was still well below zero and we had to suit up.

There was a lot of snow. We’re supposed to give vaccinations soon, but with the condition of the chute, that isn’t going to happen for a while.

We spread straw so that the cows had a comfy place to cozy up together and weather out the temperatures.

My husband and stepdad worked for days to open up the driveway, working against time because once the melt started, the field would turn into a bog and we would have no way out of the place. Finally they broke through and we had an escape route. 

Today’s temperature, 25 days after our first storm? Almost 50 degrees F. The cows, and the feed crew, are very happy.

Jeannie Watt
Jeannie Watt lives off the grid in an historic cattle ranching area and loves all things western. When she's not writing, Jeannie enjoys sewing, making mosaic mirrors, riding her horses and buying hay. Lots and lots of hay.

The Horse and Carriage Age …

Hi, Kit Morgan here and today I wanted to talk a little bit about the horse and carriage age.

When we think of horses and carriages we also think of romance. Or, some might think of a bumpy, hot ride. There was stagecoach travel in the west and then came the trains. But we equate different things to each of them. Those of us who love to read historical western romance sometimes forget why the easterners wanted to come west in the first place. Why leave the bustling city where everything you needed was there …  

Ahem, okay, now that we’ve got an idea of just how bustling a city could be, we have an idea. Instead of cars, carriages and wagons filled the streets and was parking any better? Nope. In our present day, we worry about finding parking at the airport. In the 1800s it was the train station. Yikes! Still, the romance of the carriage hovers over the old fashioned conveyance and we yearn for carriage rides when we see them in tourist areas of different cities. Or maybe someone is giving carriage or wagon rides at a local fair or event. Let’s face it, we’re drawn to them.

Like your car, your carriage said a lot about you back in the day. A lady’s carriage was not so much a means of transport but far more a way of life. The more expensive the horses and the carriage, the less they were used. No first-rate carriage horse was expected to travel more than fourteen miles a day at a maximum speed of 9 to 10 m.p.h., which was well below its maximum range and speed.  In the wealthiest establishments, a large, expensive retinue of coachmen, grooms and stable boys was maintained so that my lady could drive out in grand style for one and a half hours a day, six days a week. This daily display of idle opulence had a far more serious purpose than modern readers of historicals may think. The ladies smiled, nodded or bowed to other ladies according to their degree of intimacy; or if they happened to see a male acquaintance on the sidewalk, or if riding through a park, a footpath. 

And what about the horses that pulled all of those carriages? Well, to be a good judge of a horse was no gambler’s sport but a serious necessity that could save hundreds of dollars or even life itself. Horse dealing was at the heart of Victorian life and carried into the west. Every city and town and communities formed by settlers out west had their collection of horsey characters who congregated at dealer’s yards, auction rooms, country fairs, particular inns and other places where the talk always came straight from the horse’s mouth and everyone had some knowledge of a better bargain to be had. Most horse dealers were reputable men, but some were copers who practiced every trick of their dishonest trade to deceive the ignorant and the gullible amongst whom clergymen and old ladies were often in supply. A frisky lively horse, which might become a runaway, was given what copers called the “ginger” — a sound thrashing for a few minutes to make it appear quiet and manageable — right before it was displayed to the intended victim along with soft and soothing words.

If the horse was lame in one leg, the coper would restore nature’s balance by making it lame in the other leg, too, so that the inexpert eye would be deceived into thinking both legs were sound. This was achieved by hammering in a little stone, called a “pea” or a “plug”, between the shoe and the most sensitive part of the hoof from which a small sliver had been removed. We’ve come a long way since those days! 

So the next time you think of carriage rides, or see a fancy carriage in a movie or picture, think of everything else involved with that common mode of transportation of the past. And, of course, be glad you don’t have to try to find a spot to park your wagon or carriage when you have to go to the train station …

 

 

Kit Morgan
Kit Morgan is the author of over 80 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: March 19, 2019 — 11:06 am
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