Move Over Reindeer Games – Bring On the Cowboys

letterhead-header 2One of the things I look forward to most during the Christmas break is playing board games with the family. We tend to hang out in pajamas most days, and the card table  becomes a permanent living room fixture.

Bang 9Last year for Christmas, my brother-in-law (who is an avid board gamer) gave me the game Bang! I posted some details about it in a previous blog post here. It quickly became a favorite. It’s a strategic card game that plays fast with multiple levels of variation since no two games are ever alike. I would highly recommend this for family game night. (And at the end of this post, you’ll get a chance to win a copy!)

Curious to see what other western style games might be out there, I did a little searching. Here are a few I found. I have not actually tried any of these out, but they look promising.gunslinger

Gunslinger – A card game with bullets – pretty cool.

Cowboys: The Way of the Gun – Allows from 2-10 players. Could be a great party game.cowboys-board-game

Revolver: The Wild West Gunfighting Game – If you want to have a private battle of wits with a single opponent, this two-player game that pits lawmen against outlaws might be just what you were looking for.

revolversettlers-of-catan-trails-to-railsThen there are games I have played, and LOVED, that have western editions. Settlers of Catan is one of my favorite board games, and I recently saw that they game out with a version of the game set in the US as the railroad expands into the west. YeeHaw!

ticket-to-rideAnd Ticket to Ride is another personal favorite, again with the railroad theme. One year for Christmas, my husband and I both bought copies for each other for Christmas. I bought him the US edition, he bought me the Germany edition, and we decided to keep the German one. Nothing more classic than the westward expansion of the railroad conquering the western American frontier, though.

And now for the giveaway. With Christmas around the corner, it seemed the perfect time to give a little gift, so I’m offering a chance to win a copy of the board game Bang. The contest is set up through Amazon, and it is a random draw, so you’ll know instantly if you won or not. when I am notified of a winner, I will post in the comments. Please click on the link below to enter.

Amazon Giveaway of Bang!

Note: You can only enter by clicking on the link. Leaving a comment on the blog will not enter you in the contest. But please do leave me a comment 🙂 I’d love to chat with you.

  • Do you enjoy playing board games over the holidays?
  • What are your favorites?

 

Karen Witemeyer
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Winner of the ACFW Carol Award, the HOLT Medallion, and two-time RITA finalist, CBA bestselling author, Karen Witemeyer, writes historical romance for Bethany House believing the world needs more happily ever afters ... and hunky cowboy heroes. She's an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. She makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children.

An Old, Old American Indian Legend — My Christmas Gift to You

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It’s Christmas Time!  Please let me remind you — because I’ll be doing a free give-away today — to be sure to check back here at the blog on Wednesday or Thursday to see who is the winner.   Remember, we here at the Junction don’t contact you.  So please check back either tomorrow or the next day to see if you are the winner.  The books I’ll be giving away are Soaring Eagle’s Embrace, the mass market paperback version of the book, and Seneca Surrender, e-book.

Well, I’ve been thinking and thinking of what I could possibly blog today, since Christmas was not a celebrated holiday for Native Americans before the arrival of priests into this land called Turtle Island.  One of my most favorite Christmas memories is being told a story the night before Christmas in an attempt to get me to go to sleep.  It didn’t work very well (getting me to go to sleep).  But it is a wonderful memory.

And so I thought I’d regale you with a story.  Hopefully I won’t put you to sleep with this story.

This is the story of the girl who married a star.  It’s origin is Sioux — I don’t know if that’s Lakota or Dakota or Nakota.  All three are Sioux, just different dialects.  By the way this story comes to us from the book, Favorite North American Indian Legends, printed by Dover.  Before I start, I wanted to say that this legend reminds me of a similar one I used in Soaring Eagle’s Embrace, which is the book I’ll be giving away today.

Okay that said, imagine yourself in the long, long ago, all warm and cozy, curled up in front of a fire with your relatives sitting around you.  The Old Story Teller has arrived, and all is quiet as the story teller begins:

Long ago, there were two sisters, one whose name was Earth and the others name was Water.  This was at a time when all people and animals were in close communication with each other and so the animals supplied the sisters with all their needs.

 One night the sky was clear and beautiful and both sisters looked up to the sky through their wigwam — comment, now we know that this was most likely the Dakota since they were living in Wigwams — anyway, they looked up through the hole in their wigwam and admired the beautiful stars.

Earth said to her sister that she’d had a dream about a handsome young man and that she thought he might be a star.  Water responded saying that she, too, had seen a man in her dreams who was a brave man.

The sisters chose stars that they thought might be these men that they had dreamed of.  Water chose the brightest star for her husband.  Earth chose a little star that twinkled.

Then they slept.  When they awoke, they were in the land of the Sky.  The stars were, indeed, people.  Now it happened that the man that water chose was an older warrior and that the man that Earth chose was a young, handsome man.  Both sisters married these men and they were very happy.

One day the sisters went out to dig turnips (a much favored food at this time in history).  Both of their husbands warned them not to strike the ground too hard.  But Earth, in her haste to dig the turnips, struck the ground so hard that she fell through the sky to the ground.

Earth was found and cared for by two older people who tried to help her.  But she was so upset about losing her husband that all she did is cry.  She could not even see her husband in the sky because he had blackened his face because he was now a widower.  Earth waited and waited for him to come to her, but he could not.  However, he did give her a most precious gift.

That night when she went to sleep, she dreamed of a beautiful red star.  It had never been in the sky before.  She knew at once that it was her son.

When she awoke, she found a handsome boy by her side — her son.  Although Earth’s husband could not come to get her again, and though he loved his son deeply, he gave to his wife the only thing that he could — their son, Star Boy.  It was a gift from his heart.

‘Tis the season of giving.  I hope you have enjoyed this story.  I thought it was quite beautiful.

Now one more thing before I end.

Seneca Surrender was just recently released in October in ebook and Tradepaper — from Prairie Rose Publications.  Below is the cover.   I’ll be giving away a free copy of Seneca Surrender in ebook format today to some lucky blogger.   So that’s two chances you have to win a free book.  All you have to do to enter into the drawing is to leave a comment.  But please, over to right here is our Giveaway Guidelines.  Please do have a look at them.  The rules are few, but are important — so give them a read.

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The picture to the right is of my husband and myself with Chief Mountain in the background, the setting for Soaring Eagle’s Embrace — this is on the Blackfeet reservation.

And so from my heart to yours, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

 

Karen Kay
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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the author of 17 American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
Please refer to http://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules for all contest rules.
Updated: December 5, 2016 — 10:23 pm

E.E. Burke Has A Winner!

amobcc-thumbnailWow, big thanks to E.E. (Elisabeth) Burke for spreading some Christmas cheer! Fun!

I put all the names in my ten gallon hat and……

The winner is MELANIE BACKUS!

Woo-Hoo! Congratulations, Melanie! Miss Elisabeth will contact you and you can settle up.

 

Felicia Filly
at
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: December 6, 2016 — 9:54 am

E.E. Burke Is Dreaming of Christmas

EE Burke headshotTwo Brides, Three Wishes…an unforgettable Christmas

Thanks so much for having me back to visit. I’m eager to share about this Western historical romance Christmas collection that’s topped numerous lists at Amazon, including Historical and Western Romance.

 

 

 

amobcc-thumbnailAn American Mail-Order Bride Christmas Collection

 

Victoria, Bride of Kansas (#1 Amazon Bestseller)

Jilted society miss Victoria Lowell travels a thousand miles to marry a suitor whose romantic letters won her heart, unaware she’s been corresponding with the groom’s sister. The man she believes she loves isn’t the one she meets. In fact, he isn’t even expecting her. When the truth finally comes out, it will take a miracle to deliver a happily ever after.

 

Santa’s Mail-Order Bride

On a mission to bring toys to orphans for Christmas schoolteacher Maggie O’Brien is forced to go to her brother’s fiercest business competitor for help. Though he agrees, his benevolent gesture holds one catch—she must find him a bride. Will the love of a determined suitor and the spirit of the holiday capture the matchmaker’s heart?

 

The Christmas Wish

In this short story, a young orphan who has never known love gets his Christmas wish.

 

Some fun facts about this Christmas project

 

Victoria, Bride of Kansas, which became an Amazon bestseller, started as part of an unprecedented project with 45 other authors, the American Mail-Order Brides series. This book, about a lonely socialite who travels over a thousand miles to find true love, was a finalist in the 2016 Booksellers’ Best Awards and a semifinalist in the Kindle Best Book awards.

 

In this story, we meet a little girl, Fannie, who is mute. She hasn’t spoken since her mother left her two years earlier. Desperate to communicate with the troubled child, Victoria gives her a treasured doll and teaches her sign language.

 

girl-with-doll

 

Where did Victoria learn sign language? At the first American School for the Deaf in Hartsford, Conn., which opened its doors in 1817. Within forty years of the opening of the Hartford school, more than twenty other schools for the deaf had been established, the majority residential, teaching manual sign language.

David O’Brien doesn’t react well to Victoria teaching his daughter how to sign. If she doesn’t speak again and relies on sign language, he fears she will be excluded. His feelings reflect the general consensus of the time, which was fired by a fierce debate over the best way to teach the deaf to communicate. “Oralists” argued that the deaf should be taught to read lips and speak (English) in order assimilate into the broader society. Even Alexander Graham Bell, better known for his invention of the telephone, advocated banning sign language. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and the deaf were taught both sign language and lip reading.

 

Santa’s Mail-Order Bride is the top-rated sequel. I couldn’t let Victoria’s meddling sister-in-law remain a spinster! This well-intentioned matchmaker has plans for a scheming Santa that backfire, with unexpected consequences. And yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. I can’t wait for you to meet him.

 

This story incorporates a number of American Christmas traditions, including the beloved character of Santa Claus. Our version of Santa may appear contemporary, but the venerable gift-giver has a long history.

 

bishop-st-nicholas

 

Santa started with a real person. Saint Nicholas, born in the 3rd century in a village in present-day Turkey, is said to have spent his inheritance to help the needy, and he had a special love for children. It’s from his generous nature we get a gift-giving Santa.

 

colonial-dutch-santa

 

Fast forward to 18th century America where immigrants from Holland brought with them the tradition of Sinterklaas, who became “Santa Claus.” Woodcuts distributed in 1804 show images of an old man in a robe and long white beard filling colonial stockings with fruit and toys.

 

old-santa-on-roof

 

In 1823, an anonymous poem (later acknowledged to have been penned by Clement Clarke Moore, an Episcopal minister), took the legend another step. Entitled An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas or The Night Before Christmas. Moore’s poem is largely responsible for the image of Santa Claus as a “right jolly old elf” with a portly figure and the supernatural ability to ascend a chimney with a nod of his head. This is also where we first have references of flying reindeer and Santa’s sleigh.

 

nast-1881-santa-portrait

 

But we have American artist Thomas Nast to thank for the richest legends we have today surrounding Santa Claus. From 1863 through 1886, Nast contributed 33 Christmas drawings to Harper’s Weekly with references to Santa. Here is the most familiar Santa “portrait” he did in 1881. It is Nast who gave Santa his familiar suit, his North Pole workshop, the elves and his wife, Mrs. Claus.

America’s Victorians were very familiar with Santa and his legend. Department store Santa’s popped up at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century.

In fact, the hero in my book, who owns a general store, plays Santa in a parade. He wears what was traditional garb for Santa back then: a long green cape and stocking hat and a long flowing beard.

Santa’s on parade became a popular theme in towns and cities, and in the 1930s, Santa received “contemporary” red costume.

 

1831-santa

 

Yes, Santa’s reputation reaches far back in history, and at the heart of his character we find love and generosity, and a special kind of magic that makes the world a better place.

 

You can pick up your copy of An American Mail-Order Bride Christmas Collection for only 99 cents until Christmas.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fkw7e9

Nook: http://bit.ly/AMOBCCNook

Apple: http://bit.ly/AMOBCCApple

Google: http://bit.ly/AMOBCCApple

Kobo: http://bit.ly/AMOBCCKobo

Here’s a video to get you in the mood for this heartwarming Christmas read.

 

 

What gift did you treasure when you were a child? Commenters on this post will be entered into a drawing for a free copy of the audiobook, Santa’s Mail-Order Bride (US or UK), or the free eBook.

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Guest Blogger
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Regina Jennings Has a Winner!

for-the-recordI’m sorry I’m late with this. Whew! Too much going on for an old lady.

Winner of the print copy of FOR THE RECORD is…..

LOIS IMEL

Yippee! Congratulations, Lois. Miss Regina will contact you for your mailing particulars.

Felicia Filly
at
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: December 4, 2016 — 9:23 pm

Digging through the Footnotes of History

By Regina Jennings

At the library’s used book sale, I always head to the folding table covered with history books. I’m amazed by what my neighbors have had in their collections. A full-color, hard-backed encyclopedia of the Soviet Navy? A book on the history of boxing? An illustrated guide to historical cosmetics? I never know what I’ll find, but it’s guaranteed that I’ll leave with a paper sack full of resources.

When trying to think of ideas for my historical romances, it’s tempting to steer away from the old favorites. Some events in history have been so thoroughly probed and prodded, that it’d be difficult to come up with a new angle. Besides, as a writer who uses humor in her works, a lot of historical events don’t fit. A light-hearted romance about the Titantic? The Alamo? Nope. Not gonna happen. But I shouldn’t turn down books about those events too quickly. Often in studying the well-known stories, we find stray tidbits that can be quite valuable.

reg-camels-being-loaded-for-america

Camels being loaded for the trip to America. (National Archives)

When I picked up the book titled Orphans Preferred, I didn’t have any plans to write a romance about the Pony Express. After all, no woman of the times would set out to marry one of the poor, hard-working, ultimately dispensable riders, but my reading proved beneficial. Somewhere in the discussion of the mail delivery methods that were tried before the Pony Express was organized, there was a paragraph that taught me something new. Before the Civil War, the U. S. army attempted to replace their cavalry horses with camels in the southwest desert.

reg-us-camel-corp

(US Camel Corps) – “A member of the legendary southwestern ‘Camel Corps’ stands at ease at the Drum Barracks military facility, near California’s San Pedro harbor.”

Wait, what? Here was some interesting fodder for a story, but the book was about the pony express, not the camel express, so nothing more was told. Rushing to my online resources, I began combing through articles and books on the U. S. Camel Corps stationed near San Antonio. After chasing down leads, and following footnotes, I found the material I needed for a fresh story that will be new to fans of the Old West. That story will be coming out next winter in a collection with Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, and Melissa Jagears.

You can never predict where you’ll find that one spark that’ll light up a whole manuscript. Sometimes you already know the event, but you are searching for the right angle to tie the story together.

That’s what happened with my new release For the Record. The Ozark Mountain Romance series is set in…(drumroll)…the Ozarks, and we’d worked our way up into the Bald Knobber era. Now for those of you who haven’t been to Branson, the Bald Knobbers were a gang of vigilantes that tried to impose justice during a time of lawlessness in the mountains. Unfortunately, the masked gang soon turned their justice into revenge and they became the feared and hunted ones.

Sounds like a fun, light-hearted romance, right?

reg-bk-picture-from-shepherd-of-the-hills-1919

The Bald Knobber Gang from the 1919 movie “Shepherd of the Hills”.

So, where was the spark that could move this story away from the inherently dark history? Once again, it was just a line, perhaps an afterthought that the author decided to insert at the last moment. According to the source, because the local law enforcement officers found impartiality difficult in polarizing, post-war Missouri, Governor Marmaduke hired out-of-state sheriffs and deputies to come impose order.

Bingo! I had a handsome, young deputy from Texas from a previous book that just happened to be hero material. A “foreigner” from Texas sent in to straighten out blood feuds, how could that go wrong? There was plenty of conflict, room for misunderstandings and the perfect foil for my dear little heroine who was already convinced that she’d never meet the right man in Pine Gap, Missouri.

All from that one little mention in a Bald Knobbers book.

If writing has taught me anything, it’s to look for the stray, little-known facts that show up in well-researched history books. What someone dropped in as an aside can be the foundation for another story, because meandering down the road less traveled can lead you to the story yet to be told.

~~~~

 

 

Regina Jennings graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor, and has been reading historicals ever since. Regina has worked at the Mustang News along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She makes her home outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children.

Her latest release is For the Record. She loves to hear from readers at her website – http://www.reginajennings.com and on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

For the Record

Betsy Huckabee might be a small-town girl, but she has big-city dreams. Writing for her uncle’s newspaper will never lead to independence, and the bigger newspapers don’t seem interested in the Hart County news. Trying a new approach, Betsy pens a romanticized serial for the ladies’ pages, and the new deputy provides the perfect inspiration for her submissions. She’d be horrified if he read her breathless descriptions of him, but these articles are for a newspaper far away. No one in Pine Gap will ever know.
Deputy Joel Puckett didn’t want to leave Texas, but this job in tiny Pine Gap is his only shot at keeping his badge. With masked marauders riding every night, his skills and patience are tested, but even more challenging is the sassy journalist lady chasing him.

 

LEAVE A COMMENT TO ENTER THE DRAWING FOR A PAPERBACK COPY Of THE BOOK!

 

Guest Blogger
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Tanya’s Winners…

DebraG, you won a PDF or e-copy of A Cowboy Under the Mistletoe.

Please email me at tanya.hanson@gmail.com with your particulars. Hope you enjoy my story, Every Knee Shall Bend.

cowboy-under-the-mistletoe
Susan Berger, you’re in line for a pdf or e-copy of Christmas Lights. Please email me at

tanya.hanson@gmail.com with your info. Hope you enjoy my latest story at Hearts Crossing Ranch!

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Tanya Hanson
at
A California beach girl, I love cowboys and happy-ever-afters. My firefighter hubby and I enjoy travel, our two little grandsons, country music, McDonald's iced coffee, and volunteering at the local horse rescue. I was thrilled last year to receive the CTRR Award at Coffeetime Romance for Sanctuary, my tribute to my cancer-survin' hubby!
Updated: December 2, 2016 — 1:41 am

Every Knee Shall Bend~Tanya Hanson

(I’m giving away PDF or e-copies of my two Christmas releases, the inspirational novella Christmas Lights, an installment of my Hearts Crossing Ranch series, and A Cowboy Under the Mistletoe that includes my sweet short story, Every Knee Shall Bend and five other Western romances! Two winners. So please leave a comment and check back tomorrow.)

*****

Since I am a firm believer that animals are righteous, lead us, and help us heal, it is no surprise that both domestic and wild beasts have a special role in my Christmas story, Every Knee Shall Bend. But the story goes deeper than that. It deals with the grief of losing a dear friend, but also the hope that comes with Christmas. And of course, true love, the greatest gift of all.

This beautiful Arabian from our local horse rescue modeled "Fallen Angel" in the story.

This beautiful Arabian from our local horse rescue modeled “Fallen Angel” in the story.

Somewhere in my childhood, I heard that animals kneel at midnight on Christmas Eve. Maybe somebody read me Thomas Hardy’s poem, The Oxen. All these years later, the idea came to life in my story. But how about other animal antics at this wonderful time of the year?

Well, we already know reindeer fly, thanks to Clement Moore’s 1823 poem A Visit from St. Nicholas. Two years before, in his 1821 Sketches of Upper Canada, author John Howison related how a Native American told him deer kneel to the Great Spirit on Christmas Eve.

A kneeling deer from Wikipedia Commons

A kneeling deer from Wikipedia Commons

In 1879, a Reverend Hugh Taylor of England’s Northern Counties claimed bees assembled and hummed a Christmas Carol. And a parish in Whitebeck said oxen kneeled to a chorus of bees.

A legend from the German Alps tells how animals on Christmas Eve spoke out loud and foretold their owners’ deaths.

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In the sweet song The Friendly Beasts, the animals explain how they helped the Baby Jesus on His first night in the stable. The camel carried the gifts from the Wise Men, and the sheep gave wool for His blanket. The gift of the manger came from the cow, and the dove and her mate cooed Him to sleep.

The donkey, shaggy and brown, carried His mother safely to Bethlehem. And this sweet equine has its own holiday in France for similar reasons. The “Fete de L’Ane” celebrates the donkey who carried the Holy Family into Egypt and is praised with the chorus “Hail, Sir Donkey, Hail.”

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Have you heard any other legends about animals at Christmas?

 

The Oxen

By Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

1915.

 

cowboy-under-the-mistletoe

Blurb: in Every Knee Shall Bend,  vagabond Alder Dale leaves the mountains after many years to come to his brother’s Colorado homestead for Christmas. However, last thing he expects to find is a beautiful widow raising kids not her own. Suddenly the wide-open range he loves seems cold and lonely. Walls and hearth call out to him.

Mail-order bride Sadie Dahlstrom leaves Kansas for a new life,  unprepared for widowhood. When she kneads the war wound of a rugged yet gentle stranger, her heart swells with a warmth far different from a Christmas fireplace.

*******

In Christmas Lights, the tone is serious, too. It’s an installment for my Hearts Crossing Ranch series. The heroine Lori appears as an “ex” in a prior story, but I wanted her to have a happy ending all her own. She has to go through a lot to get there, but I’m glad she saw the “light”.

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Blurb:

The Christmas party at Hearts Crossing Ranch is the highlight of the Season in Mountain Cove, Colorado, but Lori Lazaro longs to be anywhere else.

Until a handsome cowboy driving a one-horse open sleigh starts a journey of the heart. Deep down, she doesn’t want it to end, but it must. Heston Calhoun lives life in the spotlight, and after past trauma, Lori needs the comfort of a life in the shadows.

Lori Lazaro stirs Heston like no woman ever has before. Sure, his family stars in a popular unscripted television show about ranch life, but he’s not going to let Lori’s skittishness end their story before it even begins. Having faced dark moments in his own past assures him God can brighten her future. He simply needs to convince Lori that together, they’ll write a happy ending after all.

 

 

Tanya Hanson
at
A California beach girl, I love cowboys and happy-ever-afters. My firefighter hubby and I enjoy travel, our two little grandsons, country music, McDonald's iced coffee, and volunteering at the local horse rescue. I was thrilled last year to receive the CTRR Award at Coffeetime Romance for Sanctuary, my tribute to my cancer-survin' hubby!
Updated: December 1, 2016 — 3:12 am

Regina Jennings Comes to Visit!

for-the-recordMiss Regina Jennings has climbed into the saddle and will arrive on Friday, December 2, 2016!

This dear author will talk about finding those golden nuggets that can make a story sparkle and shine.

She’s also toting a print copy of her new book to give away!

Yippee! 

Don’t lollygag around on Friday. Get over and join us!

 

Felicia Filly
at
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: November 29, 2016 — 5:14 pm

How to Talk Like a Texan, Place Names Edition

Kathleen Rice Adams header

 

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
How Texans pronounce place names ’round here.

Southeast Texas mapIn case y’all haven’t noticed, Texans do things our own way. Pronunciation, for example, is always a crapshoot when you’re from out of state. If you ever get lost in Texas, place names are good to know. Depending upon where you are in the state when you ask for directions using a mispronounced name, at best you’ll get a blank look. At worst, you’ll be laughed out of town.

 

First, a few universal basics:

Any name ending in “-boro” is pronounced “[name]buh-ruh”
Any name ending in “-shire” is pronounced “[name]shur.”
Most names ending in “-ville” are pronounced “[name]vuhl.”
Most names ending “-land” are pronounced “[name]lund.”
In Texas, “bayou” most often is pronounced “BI-oh,” not “BI-yoo.”

 

Mispronouncing any of the following is a dead giveaway you ain’t from around here:

Bexar: Bear

Blanco: BLANK-oh

Boerne: BUR-nee

Bosque: BAHS-key

Bowie: BOO-ee (C’mon, folks. Jim Bowie was one of the heroes of the Alamo. The least we can do is say his name right.)

Texas bayou

Texas bayou

Brazos: BRA-zuhs (short A, as in “gas”)

Eldorado: ell-duh-RAY-doh

Gruene: Green

Guadalupe: GWAH-dah-loop

Humble: UHM-buhl (Leave out the H, people!)

Luckenbach: LEW-ken-bahk (There is absolutely no excuse for getting this one wrong. Merle Haggard sang a number-one country hit about the town, for heaven’s sake.)

Manchaca: MAN-shack

Mexia: Muh-HAY-uh

Palacios: puh-LASH-us

Pecos: PAY-cuss

San Marcos: San MAR-cuss

Seguin: Seh-GEEN

Waxahachie: Wawks-uh-HATCH-ee

 

The following are more obscure.

We’ll forgive you for mispronouncing these. Many are spoken nothing like they’re spelled. Some are Texan-ized Spanish, German, or American Indian. Some are settlers’ surnames. The rest came from Lord only knows where.

Alvarado: Al-vuh-RAY-doh

Agua Dulce: Ah-wah DULE-sih

Anahuac: ANN-uh-wack

Aquilla: Uh-KWILL-uh

Balmorhea: Bal-muh-RAY

Banquete: Ban-KETT-ee

Bedias: BEE-dice

Bogata: Buh-GO-duh

Bolivar: BAHL-iv-er

Bronte: Brahnt

Brookshire: BROOK-shur

Buda: BYOO-duh

Bula: BYOO-luh

Buna: BYOO-nuh

Burnet: BURN-it

Texas bluebonnets at sunset

Texas bluebonnets at sunset

Carmine: Kar-MEEN

Celina: Suh-LIE-nuh

Christoval: Chris-TOE-vuhl

Cibolo: SEE-oh-low

Coahoma: Kuh-HO-muh

Colmesneil: COLE-mess-neel

Comal: KOH-muhl

Del Valle: Del VA-lee (like valley)

Erath: EE-rath

Falfurrias: Fal-FURY-us

Farrar: FAR-uh

Flatonia: Flat-TONE-yuh

Floresville: FLOORS-vuhl

Floydada: Floy-DAY-duh

Fredonia: Free-DOHN-yuh

Fulshear: FULL-shur

Grand Saline: Gran Suh-LEEN

Helotes: Hell-OH-tiss

Hico: HIGH-koh

Hochheim: HO-hime

Iraan: EYE-ruh-ANN

Jardin: JAR-duhn

Jermyn: JER-muhn (like German)

Jiba: HEE-buh

Jourdanton: JERD-n-tuhn

Juliff: JEW-liff

Kleberg: CLAY-berg

Knippa: Kuh-NIP-uh

Kountz: KOONTS

Kosciusko: Kuh-SHOOS-koh

Kuykendal: KIRK-en-doll

Lake Buchanan: Lake Buh-CAN-uhn

Lamarque: Luh-MARK

Lamesa: Luh-MEE-suh

Lampasas: Lam-PASS-us

Latexo: Luh-TEX-oh

Leakey: LAY-key

Levita: Luh-VIE-tuh

Lillian: LILL-yun

horses in pasture near Llano, Texas

horses in pasture near Llano, Texas

Llano: LAN-oh

Lorena: Low-REE-nuh

Manor: MAIN-er

Marathon: MARE-uh-thun

Marquez: mar-KAY

Miami: My-AM-uh (Texas ain’t Florida, after all.)

Medina: Muh-DEE-nuh

Montague: Mahn-TAG

Navarro: Nuh-VARE-uh

Nacogdoches: Nack-uh-DOH-chess

New Berlin: Noo BUR-lin

New Braunfels: New BRAWN-fuls

Nocona: Nuh-KOH-nuh

Olney: ALL-nee

Opelika: OPE-uh-LIKE-uh

Palestine: PAL-uh-steen (Nobody gets that one right unless they’re from Texas.)

Pedernales: Purr-den-AL-ess (Yes, the letters and sounds are all scrambled up. Just go with it.)

Pflugerville: FLOO-ger-ville (One exception to the “-vuhl” rule.)

Poth: POE-th

Quemado: Kuh-MAH-doh

Quitaque: KITTY-qway

Refugio: Reh-FURY-oh

Salado: Suh-LAY-doh

Salinero: Suh-LEEN-yo

Santa Elena: San-tuh LEE-na

Study Butte: STEW-dee BYOOT

Tawakoni: Tuh-WOK-uh-nee

Tivoli: Tih-VOH-luh

Tulia: TOOL-yuh

Uvalde: Yoo-VAL-dee

Weesatche: WEE-sash

Weslaco: WESS-luh-koh

 

Texans, what names aren’t on this list? The rest of y’all: What odd place names occur in your state? Leave a comment and let us know! I’ll give two commenters their choice of the Christmas ebooks Peaches or The Last Three Miles.

 

Peaches, by Kathleen Rice AdamsRunning a ranch and fending off three meddlesome aunts leaves Whit McCandless no time, and even less patience, for the prickly new schoolmarm’s greenhorn carelessness. The teacher needs educating before somebody gets hurt.

Ruth Avery can manage her children and her school just fine without interference from some philistine of a rancher. If he’d pay more attention to his cattle and less to her affairs, they’d both prosper.

He didn’t expect to need rescuing. She never intended to fall in love.

The Last Three Miles, by Kathleen Rice AdamsWhen an accident leaves Hamilton Hollister convinced he’ll never be more than half a man, he abandons construction of a railway spur his lumber mill needs to survive.

Believing no woman shackled by social convention can be complete, railroad heiress Katherine Brashear refuses to let the nearly finished track die.

The magic of Christmas in a small Texas town may help them bridge the distance…if they follow their hearts down The Last Three Miles. (spicy)

 

 

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Kathleen Rice Adams
at
A Texan to the bone, award-winning author Kathleen Rice Adams spends her days chasing news stories and her nights and weekends shooting it out with Wild West desperados. Leave the upstanding, law-abiding heroes to other folks. In Kathleen's tales, even the good guys wear black hats.

Her short story “The Second-Best Ranger in Texas” won the Peacemaker Award for Best Western Short Fiction. Her novel Prodigal Gun won the EPIC Award for Historical Romance and is the only western historical romance ever to final for a Peacemaker in a book-length category.

Visit her at the Hole in the Web Gang's hideout, KathleenRiceAdams.com. Or, connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
Petticoats & Pistols © 2015