Monthly Archives: February 2012

ANYONE LIKE CHICKEN SOUP?

Hi everyone,

I wanted to let you all know that I have a new release coming up in a few days with Chicken Soup for the Soul. This book is sub-titled “Messages From Heaven”, and the description reads like this: “The 101 true and miraculous stories in this book of signs and messages from beyond show that death may take away the physical presence of our loved ones, but not their spirit. This book is for everyone, religious or secular, as regular people share their amazing experiences with the other side.” It’s available now for pre-order and will be on sale on February 28.

My story in this collection is called “A TOUCH FROM HEAVEN” and is about something that happened after my mother passed away in 2008, just three weeks after my dad passed in December that let me know she was still there with me, still watching over me. On three separate occasions, I knew she was beside me by something that happened. Many months later, my sister asked me if I had experienced “anything” since Mom had passed. “Like what?” I asked her.  “She called my name,” my sister said, “and it was so clear that I … I answered her!” I could tell it was hard for her to talk to me about it, because it sounded so odd. But when I told her about my experiences, we knew there was no doubt that Mom had been with us each time.  This book has lots of varied stories about comforting, uplifting occurrences that have happened after a loved one has passed on.

This experience gave me an idea for another fictional western story that I started on not long after I wrote this story for the Chicken Soup collection, and I know that is another bit of encouragement from my mom.

Do you have a story to share about something similar that might have happened to you? I’d love to hear it if you do!

I also have two other stories in another Chicken Soup collection, CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE EMPTY NESTERS SOUL, an insightfull anthology of stories about those of us who are going through the period of learning to live without our kids, and not just necessarily when it’s time to go to college.

CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: MESSAGES FROM HEAVEN may be ordered at:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_27?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=chicken+soup+messages+from+heaven&sprefix=chicken+soup+messages+from+%2Caps%2C257

Regina Jennings Rides Into the Junction On Friday

 

On Friday, February 24th Miss Regina Jennings will ride smack dab into the middle of Wildflower Junction.

Miss Regina has a mind to talk about the whys, wherefores, and dangers of the cattle drive. She’ll tell us some things we might already know and some that’ll be new. I guarantee it won’t be boring.

Also, Miss Regina will tell us about her new book called “Sixty Acres and a Bride.” Looks good.

But one thing that’ll make you sit up and take notice… she’ll give away one copy to a commenter.

Now you can’t beat that with a stick.

So don’t lollygag around. You have a personal invite to ride along with Miss Regina and the rest of us.

That’s Friday, February 24th right here at the Junction.

Brides of the West: Something Old, Something New

That’s the theme for the upcoming Love Inspired Historical spring wedding anthology, Brides of the West.  It won’t be out until April, but my author copies arrived in a nice big box. Time for a giveaway!  Leave a comment and I’ll toss your name in the Stetson–a white one to honor weddings.  Sometime tonight I’ll pull out two names and post the winners.

I’m delighted to be sharing the antho with two wonderful LIH authors, Janet Dean and Pamela Nissen.

Here’s our back cover copy:

Josie’s Wedding Dress by Victoria Bylin

Desperate for someone to help her save her ranch, Josie Bright makes a deal with Ty Donner. Now the man who left her waiting at the altar is making her hope for things she had long stopped wishing for.

Last Minute Bride by Janet Dean

Elise Langley was stung to the quick when her would-be suitor suddenly left town. But when David Wellman returns and they are thrown together organizing their friends’ wedding, can she open her heart again.

Her Ideal Husband by Pamela Nissen

As a girl, Lydia Townsend hoped to marry Jebediah Gentry–until his rejection spoiled her dreams. When family duty brings her home, it’s Jeb’s chance to show Lydia that now is the time for wedding dreams to come true.

Now here’s an excerpt from Josie’s Wedding Dress. It’s taken from the middle of the first scene. We’re in a church cemetery and in Ty’s point of view as he faces the woman he left at the altar…

 EXCERPT

The buggy halted, then creaked as the female climbed down. With his neck bent, Ty listened to the squeak of the gate as she opened it. He tried to follow her movements, but the grass muted her steps. He listened for the rustle of her skirt but heard nothing. Frozen and alert, he thought of the years he’d waited in a prison cell. He’d learned to be patient. He could be patient now. He wouldn’t budge until the woman went on her way. He thought of the graves he’d seen. Was she visiting the small one that belonged to a child? A newer one with a name he didn’t recognize?

A rose-like fragrance drifted on the air, becoming stronger as the woman approached. Josie liked fancy soaps. She also liked roses. A soft gasp confirmed his deepest fear. This woman knew him. This woman was Josie.

“Ty? is that you?”

He turned enough to see the hem of her skirt. It took him back to the day before the wedding and the banter about “something borrowed, something blue.” She’d whispered in his ear about a blue garter, and he’d loved her more than ever. Now he looked up slowly, taking in the hard line of her mouth. Gone was the cheerful girl who’d teased him with mischievous smiles. In her place he saw a woman burdened by life. Her eyes were still turquoise and her chestnut hair gleamed under a straw bonnet, but she’d lost her sparkle.

Ty had come home for this very moment, yet he felt unprepared as he matched her gaze. Instead of the words he’d practiced, he stared into her eyes, feasting on the past until he found his tongue. “Hello, Josie,” he said in a drawl. “I’m hoping we can talk.”

 Don’t forget to leave a comment to be eligible for the drawing.  For fun, let’s share our favorite wedding memories.  What made you smile or laugh?  Or do you tear up like I do?  My favorite part of any wedding is when the bride and groom exchange their vows.    

The Music of Native America

Good Morning!

Probably some of you have been to pow-wows and have heard the music of Native America.  Some might think of music in Native America as nothing more than drums and wooden flutes.  But there is so much more to the music and to the songs of our First Americans.  For a start, let’s have a look at Native American songs.  Interestingly, though many Native American songs are like any other song, there are different considerations that attach themselves to Indian songs.

Here’s a good place to start, where you can listen to some pow-wow music — the drum (this is a group — called the drum — it’s usually several men who sit around a drum and drum and sing — it is called simply a drum) for the opening song is Thunder Hill — but you can listen to some different drums, as well.  Here’s the link:  www.gatheringofnations.com/music/thunder_morning.htm

This is a picture of a drum.  Some people might say “drum group,” but the usual language is simply “drum.”  Off to the right here is a  picture of a young man dancing.  These pictures were gotten,by the way, from the 26th Annual Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque.  The photographer is Derek Mathews.

Here’s a video/music of round dance music — if you want to go and have a look:  www.youtube/watch?v=75TWwbdelFI

And here’s some incredible pictures of some of the singers in different drums.  Many of these songs are passed down from generation to generation.  Some, however, are new.  Here’s some more pictures of these incredible singers.09_drumrollcall13109_drumrollcall28109_drumrollcall31109_drumrollcall21  All of these pictures,by the way were taken by Le Andra Peters andis from the website www.gatheringofnations.com

Here’s some more pow-wow music:  www.gatheringofnations.com/music/GON-25.htm

Now, just a little bit of info about Indian songs.  This is from the book, The Indian How Book by Author C. Parker, who lived amongst the Indians.  Every song has a purpose and no one sings outright for fear of awakening spirits that are attracted to the song you’re singing.  The scales didn’t necessarily follow what we know of as the chromatic scale, which follow our string instruments, more or less.  But songs were owned and no one could sing another’s song without permission.

Many of the songs made you want to get up and dance — and dance and dance.  Once again, referring to Arthur C. Parker and his book, The Indian How Book, he says, “It may be that these old Indians were pagans, whatever that word may mean, but certainly they knew how to make men feel that there was a Great Spirit in whom we lived and moved and had our being.  Oddly enough, I have known white men and women, who felt the same way about the songs of the red people, and they have returned again and again to the councils of the Indians to drink in this feeling of mystery, this sense of unseen powers.

Below are some pictures of my own dancing at pow-wows.  It seems like forever since I’ve been to a pow-wow, but oh, how I love to dance, when I  do get to attend.  Something about the music gets into your soul and before you know it, you’re out there with the other dancers, dancing your cares away.

21

 

endtour1Hope you’ve enjoyed my blog today.  And now for a little picture tour of the books that I have out and ones that are soon to be released.  LAKOTA SURRENDER, LAKOTA PRINCESS, PROUD WOLF’S WOMAN and GRAY HAWK’S LADY  are all on sale and if you hurry, you can pick up an ebook copy of PROUD WOLF’S WOMAN and GRAY HAWK’S LADY for a song.  Here’s the link:  http://store.samhainpublishing.com/karen-kay-pa-1676.html and here’s the cover copy tour…  Come on in and let’s chat — by the way, please go back if you please and look at the winner’s of last week’s books.  I still haven’t heard from you and I do need an email from you both in order to know where to send the books.  Thanks!  Come on in and let’s chat!

A Boat With REAL Horsepower

The other day I was doing a bit of research into ferry travel in the nineteenth century and came across a little snippet of information that immediately sent me down a rabbit trail to find out more.  Did you know that ferry boats were powered by horses at one time?  I didn’t.  Of course I knew about the horses and mules that walked along the banks of the Erie canal, tethered to barges that they pulled along.

But this is something entirely different.  These boats had either a turntable or treadmill type device mounted on or below the deck of the ship.  These platforms were connected to a gear which was in turn connected to the paddle wheels that propelled the boat forward.  When horses walked on the platforms of these mechanisms it set the whole thing in motion.

A number of these horse-powered boats, of several different designs, could be found on the waterways of North America starting in the late eighteenth century and continuing through the early years of the twentieth century.  They reached their heyday in the 1840s and 1850s.

During the early years of our country they were used on any number of rivers and lakes in the northeast, especially Lake Champlain and the Hudson River.  From there their use spread west to the Great Lakes, to the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers as well as other waterways that fed from these.  Of course they were generally only used for journeys of a few miles.

These boats came in various sizes.  One of the largest was powered by eight horse and could carry 200-plus passengers at about the same speed as a steamboat of its day.

There were a number of factors that led to the decline in the use of horseferrys, most notably the industrialization that occurred in America during the latter part of the nineteenth century.  With the expansion of bridge construction and railroad networks, there was less need for ferrys of any sort.  And when the internal combustion engine came along the death knell was finally sounded.

The only known surviving example of one of these horseferrys sits beneath the murky waters of Burlington Bay on Lake Champlain.  It was discovered during an underwater archaeological expedition in 1894 and today is part of Vermont’s Underwater Historical Preserve System.  It has also been added to the national Park Service’s National Register of Historical Places.

So is this something you already knew about, or was it as new to you as it was to me?  And are there other unusual ways you’ve heard of animals being used to power manmade devices that you’d like to share?

 

Jenna Kernan Has a Winner

 

I’ll bet Miss Jenna whetted your appetite real good for her Cahill Cowboy. Sure did mine.

I folded up all the names and put them in my old floppy hat and…………

The winner is………………………………

COLLEEN

Woo-Hoo!! I’m tickled pink for you Colleen. Someone will contact you for your mailing particulars so keep an eye out.

And the rest of you ladies keep visiting the Junction. You never know what we’ll give away next.

Jenna Kernan Talks About The Cahill Cowboys

THE LAST CAHILL COWBOY rides into Cahill Crossing this month, completing the miniseries, CAHILL COWBOYS Texas’s Finest.  Author Jenna Kernan talks about writing a continuity series.

Ever wonder what it would be like to write four stories with four authors in four months? 

That’s what the authors of the Harlequin Historical series, CAHILL COWBOYS Texas’s Finest did exactly.  I had the joy and responsibility for winding up the series.  I remember thinking, Boy, I hope I don’t disappoint the other authors.   Not the readers, or my editor—the other writers.  Here’s why…

Three talented women passed on their own precious heroes and heroines to my control.   All of them would appear in my story.  I’d never written a story with a character who was not holy my own creation and that was very disconcerting.   And I didn’t have to face the same, because my hero, Chance Cahill, doesn’t appear in their stories except by reference.  Plus, I didn’t get to see the others stories, as we were all working on them nearly simultaneously.  Was my vision of Quin, Bowie and Leanna the same as their creators?

The best part for me was the creative collaboration on the overarching mystery, of who killed the patriarchs.  That was a bunch of fun.  Why, we even had our own yahoo group that filled up with images, photos, landscapes, maps, character details, story synopses.  You can’t imagine the number of messages (431) we had back and forth. What color is Bowie’s horse?  Who ran the saddle shop?  What does the inside of Leanna’s saloon look like exactly?  Questions and more questions.

The best part of this series, for me, was working with Carol Finch, Carol Arens and Debra Cowan.

I hope you get to meet all four of the Cahills, The Rancher, Quin, The Marshal, Bowie, Saloon owner Leanna and my favorite, Bounty Hunter Chance.  In case you want a short introduction to story, THE LAST CAHILL COWBOY, here’s a little excerpt from the opening, after Chance rescues Ellie from a crazed gambler by shooting him.

EXCERPT

“Welcome home, Chance,” Ellie murmured.

He nodded, thinking about hugging her again.

“I’ve heard you’re a bounty hunter and that you’ve killed over a dozen outlaws.”

Chance said nothing to this.  Did the number impress her or sicken her? 

“But not one person mentioned you had a death wish.”

Chance drew up short.  Ellie halted beside him regarding him with a disconcerting fixed stare.  It took him a moment to mask his surprise.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”           

“I saw you back there, Chance Cahill.  Are you trying to kill yourself?”

He gave her a look that made grown men run, but she continued to stare, her thin brows now descending low over her eyes.  This was Ellie, and she knew him or had known him back when he was another person.  The little spitfire didn’t retreat.  Instead, she stood toe-to-toe and lifted her chin in a defiant attitude.  If a man looked at him like that, he’d knock him down.  As it was he’d a good mind to kiss her, just to teach her a lesson.

“Why do you care?”

“Your mother would roll right over in her grave if she saw what you pulled in there.  You were going to let that man shoot you.”

He folded his arms across his chest.  “What do you want me to say, that sometimes I think about it?  Well, I do.  Now get out of my way, Ellen Louise, or I swear you’ll be sorry.”

Her jaw dropped open, though whether from the threat or what he had said before that, he wasn’t certain.  He left her there, wondering what possessed him to tell her the truth.  And why was it that Ellen Jenkins was the only one who had noticed that he no longer cared if he lived or died? 

Her voice followed him.  “What’s happened to you?”

He kept walking.

Excerpt THE LAST CAHILL COWBOY © Jenna Kernan

 
LEAVE A COMMENT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF THE LAST CAHILL COWBOY.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Award-winning author, Jenna Kernan has over a dozen novels published including Western historical & paranormal romance.  She has received two RITA nominations & won the Book Buyers Best Award in 2010.  Follow Jenna on twitter jennakernan@twitter.com or at www.jennakernan.com

We Have a WINNER!

Thank you all for your fun comments.  The women who bucked convention and remained single during the 1800s were certainly brave. Aren’t we lucky that women today have so many more options?   A copy of my book Dawn Comes Early  goes to:

 

ERIN SHEPHERD

Erin send your mailing address to me at

margaret@margaretbrownley.com/

I don’t have my author copies yet so it might be two or three

weeks before it reaches you.  So hold your horses tight till it gets

there. Hee-Haw!

Spinsters of Yesteryear–And Book Giveaway!

 

 Being an old maid is like death by drowning, a really delightful sensation after you cease to struggle.

- Edna  Ferber

 

In 1861 fifty ladies of the first Church of Milford in New York formed a society of old maids. It cost five dollars to join the group and members had to vow never to marry. The interest earned from the money paid for the annual dinner, with the principal going to the woman who remained unmarried the longest. 

 

According to an article in the New York Times thirty years later in 1891 all but fifteen of the original fifty had married.  By then the prize money had risen to a thousand dollars.  I’ve not been able to find the winner’s name—and I sincerely hope there wasn’t one— but the best part of being a writer is where real life fails, inspiration takes over.  That’s how the idea for my new series The Brides of Last Chance Ranch was born. The first book Dawn Comes Early will be out in March.

 

My heroine Kate is a disgraced dime novelist who has the chance to inherit a cattle ranch in Arizona territory.  However, she must first sign a legal document forbidding her to marry—ever! 

 

Before I could write the book I wanted to find out why anyone—and especially a group of church women—would choose not to marry?  In the 1800s such a decision would be considered unnatural and even shameful.

 

There would be more spinsters marrying if other women didn’t marry so much!

 

I wasn’t able to track down information on the Milford church ladies but I did learn some interesting facts.  In the 1800s a woman was considered a spinster if she was still unmarried at age 25 and in some cases, younger.  The word spinster literally means one who spins.  In Dutch households no woman was fit to wed until she had spun table and bed linens. Thus  the task of spinning was relegated to unmarried women. 

 

 So why were there so many Victorian Spinsters? 

  

  • Some women balked at the idea of losing ownership of assets. When a woman wed land, money–everything, even patents–had to be put in her husband’s name.  (Elias Howe credited his wife with inventing the sewing machine but of course the patent was in his name.)   

 

  • Some professions such as teaching required a woman to remain single. During the early 1900s British telephone operators were not allowed to marry. And we’ve all heard stories of the spinster librarian deemed to love only her books.

 

  • College educated women had a difficult time finding men with similar educations.  In Dawn Comes Early Kate Tenney is a college educated woman and Luke Adams a “simple blacksmith.”  It makes for an interesting conflict as he doesn’t even know what she’s talking about half the time.

 

  • Many women lost fiancés or beaus during the Civil War. More than 62,000 men died and this created a generation of southern women doomed to spinsterhood.  

 

  •  Women entering the paid workforce in the 1860s became more independent.  No longer did a woman have to marry for financial security. There was little possibility of combining motherhood with a career and a woman who couldn’t be a mother was considered to be no woman at all.

 

  • The war on suffragettes:  Newspapers were filled with disparaging remarks about the Spinster Suffragette.  “Her clothes and physical appearance emphasize that she is a failed woman and wannabe man. The lady wants to vote because she couldn’t get a date.”

  

  • Family responsibilities sometimes prevented marriage. Some women (usually the oldest daughter) were so burdened with caring for parents or siblings there was no time for a private life.

 

  •  The Glorified Spinster:  This movement was called a new model for the Old Maid which allowed women to pursue independence through voluntary (gasp!) spinsterhood.

 

 

So why would a beautiful young woman like Kate Tenney agree to sign a document forbidding marriage?  You’ll have to read the book for that answer.  Right now if you want a chance to win a copy of Dawn Comes Early  tell us about your favorite spinster.  Mine is Rosie in African Queen.   

 

 www.margaretbrownley.com

 

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