Category: Guest Author

Eureka! It’s the Gold Diggers by Caryl McAdoo

Eureka! It’s the GOLD DIGGERS come to Pistols & Petticoats, and Jewel Jones—of JEWEL’S GOLD—is from a long line of gold diggers! Her daddy (Joshua Jones) and his daddy before him (Moses Jones, first met in book four SINS OF THE MOTHER of my Texas Romance Family Saga) mined gold in California all the way back to the 1850s during the Gold Rush of 1849. God blessed them, and the family is set financially for generations.

But Jewel’s father wanted to make it on his own, find the mother lode for himself on the claims he’d purchased on Troublesome Creek in Alaska. He just hadn’t found enough gold to warrant opening a mine before he perished. He had faith the mother lode was there though. Jewel loved traveling north with him, helping him in the wilderness in her teen years.

It’s 1895, and now Jewel is a grown, intelligent, headstrong Daddy’s girl bent on proving he was right about the Alaskan mine. Her mother’s dead set against the whole dreadful idea of going there again, but had made the bargain…

Why, you ask, did I decide to organize a collection for Gold Diggers?


So, back in December, my husband Ron and I took off on a research journey to ride the Oregon / California Trail for a covered wagon story. It was indeed a fabulous trip I highly recommend for western history lovers! But towards its end, we made a surprise stop at Sutter’s Mill on the American River. It was an unplanned treasure trove of fun and information.


It’s a park and museum with old buildings and replicas. Seeing the place where the California Gold Rush started in Coloma was awesome! When I talked Ron into going, on the map it only looked like twenty to twenty-five minutes.  But the road winding around the mountain down to the beautiful river was an experience in itself!

The place was originally John Sutter’s lumber camp back in 1847. His foreman building the sawmill for him, John Marshall, discovered less than an ounce of shiny metal in January 1848. Some of the other workers started finding gold in their off hours. Rumors were first confirmed in the San Francisco newspaper that March, and by December that year, President James Polk made it official in an address to Congress that gold had been discovered in California, and the Gold Rush of 1849 was on!

 


The S.S. California was one of the steamships that made the voyage. She left New York in early January 1849 on her maiden mail run, scrambling to fill their vacant rooms with passengers. By the time the steamship got around Cape Horn and to Panama City on the Pacific, there were seven hundred people waiting to board to get to California.


In 1849, 40,000 miners took about ten million dollars in gold; the next year, forty-one million worth was mined. And the following year, that amount doubled to EIGHTY-ONE MILLION taken by a hundred thousand miners! After that year, mining levels declined until by 1865, mining brought in less than eighteen million. Isn’t that amazing?


Jewel’s father Joshua (born in book four SINS OF THE MOTHER of theTexas Romance Family Saga) had mining in his blood and passed it on to his daughter. I fell in love with Jewel. When writing, one needs to remember “unity of opposites” which is a nice way of saying the villain needs to be almost invincible, stronger, and more cunning than the heroine. This man we found in the character of Boaz Branson, the son of a con man set to salt Jewel’s mine to increase its value as his father had won a percentage of it in a poker game, but will he turn into a hero? And if he does, then who’s really the bad guy? It is a story that includes adventure, gumption, high stakes, murder, and mystery . . . oh, yes, and romance of course!

JEWEL’S GOLD is Book Four in a wonderful multi-author collection, including Amy Lillard, Chautona Having, Jennifer Beckstrand and myself! If you love the history of the wild west, you’re sure to enjoy the Gold Diggers Collection, launched this past month!
JEWEL’S GOLD  is book four in the 2019 Gold Diggers Collection .


Caryl’s offering a free e-book copy of JEWEL’S GOLD to one of the commenters who answer this question:

Would you have followed your husband or want to go yourself to prospect for gold?

~*~

Best-selling author Caryl McAdoo is all about loving God and giving Him glory! Though western historical Christian romance is her favorite genre—especially family sagas—she also writes contemporary Red River Romances, Biblical fiction, and young adults and mid-grade readers. The prolific hybrid author loves singing the new songs the Lord gives her, too. (Take a listen at YouTube) Caryl counts four children and sixteen grandsugars life’s biggest blessings. She and high school sweetheart-husband Ron (fifty-plus years) live in the woods of Red River County about five miles south of Clarksville in the far northeast corner of the Lone Star State, waiting for God to open the next door.

Website: http://www.CarylMcAdoo.com

Newsletter: http://carylmcadoo.com/sign-up-to-the-caryler/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CarylMcAdoo.author

GoodReads: http://tinyurl.com/GoodReadsCaryl

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CarylMcAdoo

How I fell in Love with New Mexico and the Diné People by Laura Drake

My husband and I have crisscrossed New Mexico on a motorcycle several times, and I fell in love with its harsh beauty. But it wasn’t until we did a bicycle tour across the state that I felt New Mexico. A bicycle is much slower, so you have hours and hours alone on the road to notice: the huge expressive sky that can change moods in minutes; the crumbling walls of rock with striations of color from off-white to ochre; the lonely wind, ruffling the grasses. The land spoke to me in ways no other has; it left marks on my soul.

 Along the way, we learned of the rich history of The People—The Navajo. We rode our bicycles 75 to 100 miles a day, visiting ruins, missions and pueblos.

I even got to pet a wolf! 

 

At night, we met the local tribe. Several shared a meal with us, danced and imparted some of their rich culture and history.

 

I came away with a deep respect for their wisdom, how they live, and how they view the world.

I wanted to honor them in some small way, and my July release, Home at Chestnut Creek, is my attempt at that.

It features a Navaho hero, Joseph ‘Fishing Eagle’ King, a man driven by his past to preserve his culture—who falls in love with a damaged white woman.

Our ‘Tour of the Nations’ bicycle ride is a memory now, but the land and people? They’re in my heart.

 

Home at Chestnut Creek is the second in the Chestnut Creek series, set in the fictional town of Unforgiven, New Mexico.

Find Home at Chestnut Creek here: https://books2read.com/u/49Djad

To enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of Home at Chestnut Creek (US only, please), just post a comment answering this question:

Would you take a bike tour? Where would you go? 

Author Bio:

Laura has always been a storyteller.  It began on her front porch, telling ghost stories to the neighborhood kids.  They ran screaming, but kept coming back for more. If she wasn’t telling a story, she had her nose in one, bumping into students in the halls on her way to classes.

Her settings are Western, but Laura grew up in the suburbs outside Detroit.  Always tomboy, she’s always loved the outdoors and adventure. In 1980 she and her sister packed everything they owned into their Pintos and moved to California, sight unseen. There Laura met her husband, a motorcycling, bleed-maroon Texas Aggie, and her love affair with the West began. Discover more about Laura’s books on her website:https://www.lauradrakebooks.com/

THE GILBERT GIRLS ARE HERE! by CAT CAHILL

Hi there! I’m Cat Cahill, author of the Gilbert Girls series. Thank you for letting me sit a while here with you today. I’m going to chat about one of my favorite things—inspiration!

 

I love that moment when a new book idea hits me. It can be quiet or loud, detailed or vague, and sometimes it’s an older idea that’s changed into something new and different. The inspiration behind my Gilbert Girls series was the latter.

 

Several years ago, I was on a long road trip out West and we’d stopped for a few days at the Grand Canyon. If you’ve been, you might remember how steeped in history the Canyon is. From the buildings on the South Rim to the stories of brave souls paddling down the Colorado River, history is everywhere you turn. But one display in a building on the South Rim caught my attention for longer than anything else. It was about the Harvey Girls, and for the life of me, I couldn’t even tell you what was in that display now!

 

         El Tovar, the former Harvey hotel at the Grand Canyon.

 

2 HORSE CARRIAGE TO RIGHT OF FRONT ENTRANCE, EL TOVAR HOTEL. FAMILY ON PORCH. CIRCA 1908

I won’t go much into the history of the Harvey Girls, since there are already several excellent posts on this blog about them. But I was fascinated! I picked up a book about them in the gift shop and devoured it when I returned home. And that was it . . . until a couple of years ago when I got the idea that I wanted to write western historical romance. The Harvey Girls immediately popped into my head. I dug out that book again, did some more research, and I was hooked. But after tons of research, I realized something critical—I couldn’t write about the actual Harvey Girls.

 

I wanted to write a historical western, but most of the existing information about the Harvey Girls dates to 1900 or later; very little is available about the earlier, nineteenth century years. With little to go on and a desire to set my books in the beautiful Wet Mountain Valley of Colorado, I invented my own version of the Harvey Girls — the Gilbert Girls. This gave me the freedom to use the Harvey Girls as inspiration but invent facts where none existed before. What I love most about historical fiction is that it’s a beautiful blend of real-life history and, well, fiction.

 

It allowed me to create a new hotel with invented rules and characters from my head. For example, the Gilbert Girls aren’t allowed to be courted while they’re under contract at the hotel—you can guess how well that goes in a sweet romance book! I can bring in characters of all sorts, like Monroe, the hotel’s builder in the first book, Building Forever, who tries to bury his guilt over losing his wife with his work. Or Penny, in Wild Forever, the most recent book, who is starting over far away from a past that gave her no options at home.

 

Inspiration is a wonderful thing, even if you’re not a writer. I hope you find inspiration in your life, whether it’s to create, to spend more time doing what you love or with the people you cherish, or to think more about the philosophies by which you live your life.

 

What inspires you? Comment below, and you’ll be entered to win one set of signed paperback copies of the first two Gilbert Girls books (if you live outside the US, you’ll receive ebooks through Amazon).

 

Cat’s Bio:

A sunset. Snow on the mountains. A roaring river in the spring. A man and a woman who can’t fight the love that pulls them together. The danger and uncertainty of life in the Old West. This is what inspires Cat to write. She hopes you find an escape in her books!?

Cat lives with her family, a hound dog, and a few cats in Kentucky. When she’s not writing, she’s losing herself in a good book, planning her next travel adventure, doing a puzzle, attempting to garden, or wrangling her kids.?

You can visit Cat at her website, or follow her on Facebook to get all the latest Gilbert Girls news. You can also follow her on Amazon. Or sign up for her newsletter, where she’ll send you Forbidden Forever, the series prequel novella.

 

 

THE LANGUAGE OF YELLOWSTONE by KAREN BARNETT

If I were to drop the words “dudes” and “sagebrush” into a conversation, you might picture cow-punchers out riding the range. Those words probably wouldn’t make you think about hotel maids at Yellowstone National Park, would they? But that’s exactly where my mind goes!

 

Elsie Brookes, the heroine of my new novel, Ever Faithful, works as a hotel housekeeper in 1933 Yellowstone in order to save money for her lifelong dream of attending college. These words are slang terms she and her friends would probably utter on a daily basis. While doing research for the story, I spent several days leafing through historic documents in Yellowstone’s Heritage and Research Center [https://www.yellowstone.org/heritage-and-research-center/] located in Gardiner, Montana. The archivist told me that the college kids who worked for the Yellowstone Park Company’s hotels, lodges, and campgrounds back in the 1930s were known as the “savages” and actually had a unique lingo all their own. Rather than calling themselves maids, dishwashers, and waitresses they were pillow punchers, pearl divers, and heavers. Porters were known as packrats, and the good-looking fellows hired to drive the yellow tour buses answered to “gear-jammer.”  

 

Even the visitors were labeled in fun ways. A tourist who booked a trip on the park’s stagecoaches or touring buses was called a “dude” or “dudette.” Those who stayed overnight in the auto campgrounds were “sagebrushers.”

 

I couldn’t wait to start peppering this slang into my characters’ dialogue. But one of the best finds was yet to come. When I discovered the term for romantic relationships in Yellowstone, I knew I’d struck story gold: rotten-logging. Doesn’t that make you picture an adorable couple sneaking away to smooch in the woods?

So when my novel’s hero, Nate Webber, takes Elsie for a romantic walk, the other “savages” would joke that he’s out “rotten-logging with a pillow-puncher.”

Tell me that doesn’t make you smile!

 

How about this song from the Yosemite Park Camping Company songbook? (Shared courtesy of the Yellowstone Heritage Center).

 

Rotten logging, rotten logging,
That’s what we do each night;
Strolling along under Yellowstone skies
Whispering secrets and making up lies.
They may all say, to hug and to kiss is a crime,
But as soon as it’s dark in Yellowstone Park
It’s rotten logging time.

The fun stories and songs made working in Yellowstone’s hotels sound a bit like going to summer camp, though I imagine the labor wasn’t easy. Last month I took my family to the park to celebrate Ever Faithful’s release, and I had a chance to talk with modern-day equivalents to my characters. Many things have changed since the 1930s. When I asked about the slang terms, they all agreed that no one used them anymore, though they could rattle them off without prompting.

As one of the housekeepers at the Old Faithful Inn fixed a problem in our room, I talked to her about what it was like to work in the hotel. She mostly had positive things to say, though I’m sure they’re warned about complaining to the “dudes.” When I asked about her future plans, she gave me a huge smile and told me she’s been working hard and saving her money. She dreams of going to college.

 

I guess some things don’t change.

 

 

To celebrate the release of this new novel, let’s give away a paperback copy of Ever Faithful! (Winner must be 18 years and older and have a US mailing address).

 

 

So, if you were going to sign up for a summer job in a national park, which one would you choose? Please tell me in the comments below!

 

 

 

Bio: KAREN BARNETT is the award-winning author of Where the Fire Falls and The Road to Paradise and five other novels. A former park ranger and outdoor enthusiast, she loves to share her passion for God’s creation in her books. Karen lives in Oregon with her husband, two teens, and three attention-starved dachshunds.

DAUGHTERS OF THE MAYFLOWER SERIES by KIMBERLEY WOODHOUSE

 

 

When Barbour asked me to anchor the Daughters of the Mayflower series and to write several books for the series, I was thrilled. And completely fascinated with the idea of following a family line through US history from the Mayflower all the way through WWII.

What I didn’t realize was what the research would do for me personally. I love history. Love the west. But what a thrill it was to learn so much more depth about our country’s great history.

 

 

 

For instance, in The Mayflower Bride, (1620) I had to use all the historical people who were actually on the ship and only fictionalized my hero, heroine, and her best friend. Research for this book, I must admit, was brutal. But oh, so worth it. One person in particular has caused hundreds of readers to write in: John Howland. His escapade of falling overboard that I used in the book, really did happen. How he managed to grab the topsail halyard is truly a miracle in and of itself. What’s the most interesting tidbit to me about his whole story is that he ended up having ten children, eighty-eight grandchildren and now? There’s almost two million descendants of his in the United States. Out of all the passengers aboard, he has the most descendants. By almost double. Imagine what would have happened if he had been lost to sea that day.

 

 

Then there was The Patriot Bride (1774-1776). Researching the American Revolution was extraordinary. But in my research, I became engrossed in biographies of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. So, of course, I had to use them in the story. You’ll have to read the book to find out about how I incorporated Ben’s quirkiness and use of “air baths” – and let’s not forget his love of swimming.

 

 

 

 

 

In The Golden Bride, I learned about all the ships buried beneath San Francisco’s streets, and how they expanded the city’s shoreline by building on the landfill. The gold rush of 1849 was not a time and place I would have enjoyed living in!

 

 

Which brings me to The Express Bride, my latest release in the series which takes place in 1860 during the impressive and short era of the Pony Express. For this book, the tagline is: The wilderness is a great place to hide…

 

 

 

 

And it was. The picture from Karen Rochon is a good idea of what the area looks like today – and back then. Hasn’t changed a whole lot. Except for electricity. ? She posted this picture in an avid readers group when she read my book. Can you imagine being that far from “civilization” back then? But the Pony Express stations had to be every 10-20 miles so that the riders had places to stop and eat/sleep, and so there were fresh horses since they rode at breakneck speeds. It cost a small fortune to send something via the Pony Express (approximately $145 equivalent today – to mail a letter!) and yet it was highly used.

 

IMG 3346 credit – Karen Rochon (this picture is about 50 miles east of the Carson Sink Station area from The Express Bride and is what the terrain looks like.)

 

A strong theme of forgiveness is woven through the story with the heroine finding out hidden secrets of her past. And there’s a bit of suspense and espionage too.

Through this series, it’s fun to explore significant events in US history and to find the love of family and friends standing the test of time. Make sure you check out all the other great authors in the series as well. The Express Bride released on July 1, 2019 and it is the 9th in the series.
Thanks for journeying with me today!

God Bless you!

Kimberley

 

 

Giveaway: Leave a comment about your favorite event in US history or your favorite historical character and you’ll be entered in the drawing. I’ll be giving away three signed copies of THE EXPRESS BRIDE along with other goodies.

THE TREASURE OF FAMILY by MISTY M. BELLER

Hi folks, I’m so excited to join you fillies during this special 4th of July week!

I’m an old-fashioned girl. Always have been. And growing up on the family farm, with grandparents in the old farmhouse next door and cousins living all around us, I can’t imagine my life without family. Now that I’m married with four kids of my own, I treasure my family even more—both immediate and extended!

In my books, I tend to weave the importance of family into each story somewhere, and my newest release, This Healing Journey, is no exception! It’s the story of a father, seeking out the son he gave up as an infant. The story of unconditional love.

I first met these characters in book 1 of this series, This Treacherous Journey, beginning the book with Simeon Grant—a father who was grieving the loss of his wife and feeling as if he has no choice but to give his newborn twins to another family to raise. I wrote this part of the story a week after my third daughter was born, and I cried buckets through the writing!

Now in my newest book, the baby boy is all grown up. And Simeon finally puts action to that longing to know the son he loves more than he can say.

The story has an even stronger emotional connection for me, because my younger brother and sister were both adopted into our family. I can’t imagine their birth parents having the courage to give them up for adoption unless they knew without a doubt it was the best choice for those sweet babies!

As we reach the halfway point of 2019, the year has already brought many changes to our family! We just welcomed a new baby to our family on June 5th—a sweet little boy named Matthew. His three sisters are definitely in love! 

My brother and his wife also added to their family, bringing a new baby girl to snuggle. I never tire of hearing “Aunt Misty” from a sweet toddler voice. On the other hand, my grandparents—my heroes—seem to age a little more each day, reminding me again that time is precious. I must seize every moment I can to enjoy those God has given me a special connection to.

So, as you enter the summer months, it’s my prayer that you’ll take a moment to cherish your own family. Remember all the special moments. Spend extra time with those you love. Relish the treasures God placed in your life!

What about you? Do you have a special family memory to share? Or maybe you’ve seen changes in your family this year! Share in the comments below for a chance to win a signed paperback of This Healing Journey. I can’t wait to hear your stories!

Bio:

Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author, writing romantic mountain stories set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and daughters now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters. 

Misty loves to connect at her website, FacebookGoodreadsTwitter, Bookbub, and Pinterest

 

 

This Healing Journey: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PXF6VGR/a/strong/p?tag=pettpist-20

The mountain wilderness of her family’s home in the Canadian Rockies is all Hannah Grant has ever known. Now at the age of twenty-four, she’s on a journey to help her father to find the son he gave up for adoption three decades before. This is Hannah’s chance to discover the life she’s missed out on so far—and hopefully find a husband along the way. But she certainly doesn’t plan to fall for the first man she meets. 

Years in the cavalry provided Nathaniel Peak with more than his share of violence and adventure. That life behind him, he wants nothing more than to settle down in the beautiful Montana mountains and raise his own stock—in peace. The last thing he expects is the savagely wounded child who shows up in his barn. Nor the woman he comes to rely on for the girl’s care. 

Hannah can’t help but fall in love with the brave Indian child who so desperately needs her, but no matter what, she can’t let herself fall for the man whose past choices go against everything she believes in. As the situation grows worse, Hannah and Nathaniel are forced to make a heart-rending decision to save the girl’s life. Little do they imagine, the choice they make could spell disaster for them all.

 

We Never Sleep–The Pinkerton Detective Agency

“With shelves of books behind him, Clyde David Robert III settled in his library chair  … he grabbed the rolled up paper [inside his desk] from the Pinkerton Detective Agency.

“Spreading out the gold sheet, he examined it once more along with the agency’s guarantee of finding his daughter. The document was dated March 21, 1896. Where was she? How could his daughter have escaped without detection?”

-An excerpt from Janet Syas Nitsick’s recent release, The Heiress Comes to Town.

          Slipping out of her father’s New York mansion on her wedding day, Nina Robert . . . leaves her luxurious life to settle on the Plains where she discovers romance, but all could end with her father’s hiring of the Pinkerton Detective Agency to find her and enable him to fulfill his arranged marriage contract.

The Pinkerton Detective Agency

Motto: We Never Sleep

Formation and Prominence

          The private-eye detective business began with the formation of the Pinkerton Detective Agency by Allan Pinkerton in 1850.

          But they did not become famous until credited with foiling a plot to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln, as he was to take the reins of his first term.  

          How did the Pinkerton Agency claim to do this? With the help of the first female detective hire, Kate Warne, a widow, this woman and other agents arranged for President-elect Lincoln to board an overnight train hours before he was publicly scheduled to appear.

Abraham Lincoln posed as Warne’s invalid brother, and agency’s operatives cut telegraph lines, so Southern sympathizers could not communicate with one another.

The Civil War

          The detective agency continued to make its mark during the Civil War with its enemy spy rings of Southern sympathizers in the North. The operation did not always go well.

          One such misstep was in the 1862s during the Peninsula Campaign when spy intelligent agents reported Confederate forces around Richmond were more than twice as large as their actual number.

          The result was General George B. McClellan delayed the Union’s advance in part due to his request for more troops. But the intelligence was wrong since McClellan’s Army of the Potomac was in fact much bigger than the Confederates.

Wild West Bounty Hunters

          The Reno Gang

          The Pinkerton Agency often was employed to chase after Wild West bandits, which began with the Reno gang of John and Simeon Reno holding up an Ohio and Mississippi railroad train in Jackson County Indiana. What was different about their holdup?

           A booty of $13,000 and no detection since they committed their crime on a moving train – the first such type train robbery – while traveling in a sparsely populated area. However, the Pinkerton agents often get their man, and they did the same to the Reno gang by infiltrating it.

          Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch

          Remember Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch? Well, the Pinkerton detectives chased after them, too.

          Jesse James and his Gang: A Pinkerton Failure

          The pursuit of bank robbers, Jesse and Frank James, by the Pinkerton agents started in the 1870s.

          One detective attempted to infiltrate the Missouri-based gang but was exposed and then murdered. Then two more agents died in a shootout.

           If this was not bad enough, the hunt for the James brothers ended in 1876 during a raid on his mother’s home. The famous brothers had been tipped off and had left the premises.

          The Pinkertons questioned James’ mother. An argument pursued. During the standoff, a posse member tossed an incendiary device through a window, which blew off part of her arm and killed James’ 8-year-old half brother.

          Journalists portrayed the Pinkerton agents as murderers. Humiliated by their depiction of his detectives and the public outrage, Allen Pinkerton stopped pursuing the James gang. Thus Jesse James was able to continue his havoc for seven more years until 1882 when an assassin’s bullet killed him.         

Larger than the United States Army

          In the 1890s, the agency grew until it had 2,000 detectives and 30,000 reserves. This was larger than the United States Army at the time.

The Agency Exists Today 

It operates today as Pinkerton and is a private security and guard service.

 

*Janet Syas Nitsick is offering a signed paperback copy of The Heiress Comes to Town, a Christian, historical, page-turner mystery and clean romance to one person picked at random from those who leave a comment today.

The Heiress Comes to Town

by Janet Syas Nitsick is on Nook, Kobo, iBooks.

 Click here for the Kindle and paperback link on Amazon:

Janet Syas Nitsick

Shy, natural redhead Janet Syas Nitsick’s writing passion began as a child when she wrote a neighborhood play at 10-years-old. In 2010 Janet’s story, “The Silver Lining,” placed 10th in the Writer’s Digest mainstream/literary competition.

Janet writes suspenseful, clean, Christian, historical, homespun-romantic tales set in Nebraska. She is married and has four sons – two with autism. Her late father, Nebraska State Sen. George Syas, served 26 years in the Unicameral.

Click here to check out Janet’s website, blog or Facebook page.

Updated: June 21, 2019 — 9:05 am

Who Was Calamity Jane?

Jennifer Uhlarik

Hi everyone. I’m celebrating this month! June 1 marked the release of Cameo Courtships, a 4-in-1 novella collection which I am part of. My story in the collection is Taming Petra, and my heroine goes by the name of “Buckskin Pete Hollingsworth.” Buckskin Pete is a buckskin-wearing, gun-toting, tomahawk-throwing tomboy, loosely modeled after Old West icon Calamity Jane.

If you’re like me, you know of Calamity Jane, but only in the most general way. So who was Calamity Jane?

She was born Martha Jane Cannary, on May 1, 1852, the eldest child of a gambler father and a prostitute mother. She had two brothers and three sisters. As the family traveled from Martha Jane’s birthplace in Missouri to Virginia City, Montana, her mother fell ill with pneumonia and died. A year later, her father also succumbed to death, leaving Martha Jane, who was just fourteen years old at the time, to take charge of her five younger siblings and support her family. The six siblings settled in Piedmont, Wyoming, where Martha Jane took whatever jobs she could find—from dishwasher, to waitress, to nurse, to ox-team driver, to sometimes prostitute.

 

As her younger siblings grew up and moved on, it freed Martha Jane to strike out on her own as well. In the 1870s, she is said to have acted as scout for the Army, an Indian fighter, as well as displaying excellent aim as a sharpshooter.

Calamity in a dress

When asked how she came to be called “Calamity,” she told the following story in a short biographical pamphlet. While working with the Army near Goose Creek, Wyoming, they were sent out to subdue an Indian uprising. On the way back to the post, they were ambushed about a mile and a half out. As she charged through the fray, being fired upon, she turned in time to see Captain Egan struck and reeling in his saddle. Jane turned back to help, caught the officer before he fell, and pulled him onto her own horse in front of her. Once safely back at the post and the captain recovering, he jokingly stated that he would dub her Calamity Jane, the heroine of the plains, and she proudly wore the name from that point forward.

While the story is an entertaining one, several details call its credibility into question. For one, Calamity Jane was functionally illiterate, so she would have had to dictate such a story to someone else for the pamphlet. It’s possible she did just that. But in the story itself, she claims to have singlehandedly pulled a wounded and reeling man from him horse onto her own and held him in the saddle until they reached the safety of the army post. The likelihood of such feats of strength do cause one to question the story. Another alternative for how she came to be known as Calamity Jane is that she would warn any man who crossed her that he was “courting calamity” by doing so.

She is known to have had a kind and generous side. In Deadwood, S.D., she is rumored to have nursed the sick during an outbreak of smallpox. And she was also known to have helped those in need, providing food she’d hunted herself or given money to those unable to provide for themselves.

Calamity Jane at Wild Bill Hickok’s gravesite

Rumors link Calamity Jane to another well-known Western icon—James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok. Some rumors state they were friends. Others tout the pair were lovers. Calamity Jane herself stated that she and Wild Bill were married in 1873 and had a daughter, who was later adopted by another family. No marriage license has been found to support a legal union between the two characters. Of course, Wild Bill died by a shooter’s bullet in 1876, so any romance that may have existed lasted only briefly.

The later years of Calamity Jane’s life saw her become a hard-drinking alcoholic, often down on her luck, living life mostly alone. For a brief time, she performed with Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show as a storyteller and sharpshooter, but otherwise, she drifted from town to town. She died of pneumonia on August 1, 1903, at the age of 51. She and Wild Bill Hickok are buried next to each other in Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood.

My heroine, Buckskin Pete Hollingsworth, is loosely based on Calamity Jane—in their shared propensity to wear men’s buckskin trousers, their ability to scout and track, and their soft sides that enabled both to help those in need. Do you enjoy reading fictional characters you know are based on a true person from history, or do you prefer purely fictional characters that are wholly original? Why or why not? Leave your thoughts to be entered in a drawing for an autographed paperback copy of Cameo Courtships.

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has finaled and won in numerous writing competitions, and been on the ECPA best-seller list numerous times. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers, Women Writing the West, and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, college-aged son, and four fur children. Check out her website and Facebook page or follow her on Twitter or Pinterest.

 

 

Updated: June 13, 2019 — 8:01 pm

An Interview With Tag Baker

Carolyn Brown Headshot

Author Carolyn Brown

Good mornin’ all y’all! Thank you for inviting me back to Petticoats and Pistols to talk about Cowboy Rebel. I’m so excited about this book, and can’t wait to begin to get reviews from the readers. It’s the fourth book in the Longhorn Canyon series. Don’t you just love looking at Tag Baker with his clear blue eyes on the cover?

I thought maybe I’d let all y’all hang out with him a little today, and get to know him. So I have him here with me to answer questions. He’s got a glass of sweet tea in his hand and has motioned that he’s ready so fire away.

Question: Why did you leave the huge ranch out in the Texas panhandle and come to the hill country in the north central part of the state?

Tag: Well, darlin’, it’s like this. My twin brother, Hud, and I’ve always wanted to buy a place that we could call our very own. We wanted something just like Canyon Creek Ranch with the potential of building it into a dynasty like our folks did with the Rockin’ B Ranch. Besides all that, our sister, Emily, married Justin Maguire over on the neighbor ranch a few months ago. We missed her when she left the panhandle a few years ago, and now we get to live close to her.

Question: What did you think of Nikki the first time you met her?

Tag: I met her at Emily’s wedding a few months before we moved out here to Sunset, Texas. She struck me then as a little independent and a whole lot sassy. My opinion didn’t change when I met her the second time in the hospital emergency room—but that time there were sparks between us, and I just had to get to know her better.

Question: So what did you do to get her to consider going out with you?

Tag: (With a chuckle) I bought her a gold fish.

Question: Why would you do that?

Tag: She said she’d always wanted a pet, but it wouldn’t be fair to leave it alone so many hours while she worked as a nurse at the hospital.

Question: I heard you were considered a bad boy before you came to Sunset. Is that right?

Tag: (Ducks his head) I’m afraid that’s the truth. I’m tryin’ to change my ways and be more responsible.

Question: Who all works on the ranch with you and your brother?

Tag: We hired two of our friends, Maverick and Paxton, and they’ve joined us on the ranch now. We’ve pretty much known them our whole lives, and we’ve worked right along beside them since we all got out of high school.

Carolyn: We’ve only got time for one more question, so that little lady in the back wearing a pink cowboy hat…what would you like to know?

Question: Will Hud’s story get told?

Tag: (With that brilliant smile that makes a woman’s bloomers begin to crawl down to her ankles) I believe that’s in the works, but first Maverick’s story, Christmas With a Cowboy, will come out in September.

Carolyn: Thank you all for letting Tag and I pop by today. I’m giving away a signed copy of Cowboy Rebel. Just tell me in the comments what it is about a good cowboy book that draws you to it? Cover, back copy, first paragraph, part of a series? Talk to me, folks!!

 

Updated: May 29, 2019 — 11:03 am

Welcome Guest – Caryl McAdoo!!!


The WILD WEST, UP CLOSE and PERSONAL!

Readers voted at Sweet Wild West Reads! They wanted more stories with covered wagons and cattle drives. The new multi-author Prairie Roses Collection was born with that poll almost a year ago. And the 2019 stories have just launched. Our heroines are the roses: Sadie, Remi, Hope, Grace, and Julia, and do they create a lovely bouquet of fiction for Mothers Day! The award-winning, best-selling western authors writing for Prairie Roses Collection are: Patricia PacJac Carroll, myself, Barb Goss, Indiana Wake, and Vickie McDonough. All the books are covered wagon stories.

My story, REMI, begins with a young woman’s seasickness aversion which influences her choice not to accompany her step-father and mother to the Riviera, but to travel west to California to search for the father she’s never met. In 1853, she and her bondwoman journey to Saint Joseph to join a wagon train. Readers first meet her in UNIQUELY COMMON, my April 2019 release with all the same characters.

What a blessing to go and ride along the same trail as the early, courageous pioneers traveling two thousand miles in wagon trains—a journey plagued with hardships and troubles—to settle the West. Last December, traveling from our home in Clarksville, Texas a full day to Saint Joseph, Missouri, I did just that! I couldn’t wait to see the Oregon/California Trail.

Once the pioneers crossed the Missouri, they were no longer in the U.S., but the government still helped, building forts along the way where wagon trains would rest a day or three, do their repairs and restock.

I found it so interesting to discover they sold food at cost or even gave it away free to those who couldn’t pay. They also sent the Army Corp to work on the passes such as at Scott’s Bluff.

It was an amazing sight and right when Remi and Edwina passed by here, the U.S. Army Corp were there!

I know that my 4300+ mile trip made Remi such a much better story. I pray it comes alive for you in the pages of my novel. I didn’t make it all peaches and cream. This wagon train suffered measles, water shortages—plenty of hardships, including fatal accidents. I hoped to portray the difficulties these settlers faced.

It flabbergasted me to come upon Fort Laramie in Wyoming. The main building, erected in 1851, has been completely refurbished in recent years. I rejoiced with Asher and Remi, Dusty and Edwina, and Ethan and Christina Cord as they saw it, too. A bit of civility in the wilderness. The government set their eyes on the manifest destiny of the nation being from sea to shining sea one day.

And then there was Independence Rock which for me, was a bit of a spiritual experience. Hundreds, thousands of those in the covered wagons stopped here and celebrated being at Independence Rock in early July because that meant they would make it over the Rockies before the winter storms! While at this heart-warming landmark, the men, women, and even some children carved their names all over this Independence Rock so they would be remembered.

Here’s an artist’s rendition I photographed at Independence Rock See how many wagon trains would be there to circle up a couple of celebratory days.

I touched the very rock my friends Remi and Samantha carved their names on in 1853. My characters are that real to me, and I believe they will be to you! I hope you’ll enjoy visiting all these historical sights in the West when you read REMI and the other Prairie Roses Collection stories!

Thank you so much, Karen, for the invitation to Petticoats & Pistols!

 

I’d like to gift THREE eBook copies of Remi to THREE WINNERS as it debuted on my birthday, May 3rd !

Leave a comment below for a chance to win!

REMI jacket copy: It isn’t within man to guide his own steps—or a woman. Caught between a wagon train and the deep blue sea, Agnes Remington Dalrumple, Remi for short, chooses the overland journey west over crossing the Atlantic with her mother and step-father. Though the introvert has never been on her own, she decides to go to California and try to find the father she’s never known. Thwarted at every turn, almost every effort is dashed until a widower’s thirteen-year-old daughter intervenes on her behalf. How can the headstrong young woman place herself under the responsibility of the girl’s father, a perfect stranger? But if she doesn’t, her journey ends right there in Saint Joseph, Missouri. On the Oregon/California trail, will pride and independence deter her from the destiny God has prepared?

Caryl’s bio: Award-winning author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory! Her best-selling novels are blessed with a lion’s share of 5-Star ratings! With forty-three-and-counting titles, she loves writing as well as singing the new songs the Lord gives her—listen to a few at YouTube. Sharing four children and eighteen grandsugars, Ron and Caryl live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County, in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.

Contact links for Caryl: