Category: Guest Author

The Calgary Stampede with Linda Ford

Today our guest is Linda Ford, who is here to give us some background on the rough and rowdy Calgary Stampede.  Linda will also introduce us to her Big Sky series and give away a book to one lucky commentor!

The year is 1912 and the hero of the story is Guy Weadick, a man born in New York. He ran away from his boyhood home to Montana where he learned to ride and rope and talk like a cowboy. Weadick considered himself to be ‘half cowboy and three-quarters showman.’ Along with other performers, he toured with a vaudeville troupe, barnstorming across the country and even performing in England.

Enter our heroine, Flores LaDue, the stage name of Grace Maud Bensell raised in Montevideo, Minnesota next to an Indian Reserve where she learned riding and roping early in life. At a young age, she ran away from home to join the circus.  A talented athlete, she was famous for roping five running horses while lying down on the arena floor. It is said Guy fell in love with her the first time he saw the petite horsewoman (she was less than five feet tall) hanging upside down from her horse while swinging her rope overhead. Flores was a little more reserved about committing to the re

lationship. She was an independent woman with no interest in marriage. Nevertheless, she couldn’t resist the handsome cowboy and they were married five weeks after being together. He was 21, she was 23. They were partners in a way that was unusual for that day and age. Guy treated her as an equal. After her death, Guy had these words place on her tombstone “A Real Partner.”

Back to the story of 1912. Guy was concerned that the cowboy skills of the West were disappearing as the flood of settlers increased. He approached the Canadian Pacific Railway livestock agent with the idea of staging a rodeo to preserve the old west. He talked some local ranchers into financing his venture and thus the Calgary Stampede was born. From the beginning Guy use this boastful brand that has continued to this day, ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth.’ Guy considered Flores the business woman behind this venture. He considered himself the talker—the salesman.

Guy was determined this would be a Big show—$20,000 offered for prizes, 200 imported Mexican longhorn cattle, 300 of the meanest horses, a replica of the notorious Fort Whoop-Up and many other wonderful offerings. He didn’t want to leave out anyone and invited Treaty 7 First Nations to participate. The Stampede opened with a grand parade through the town. Among those watching the performances were the Duke and Duchess of Connaught and daughter, Princess Patricia.

Courtesy of the Calgary Stampede Archives

Top North American cowboy and cowgirl performers came to compete. Mexican Bandit Pancho Villa even sent his best rider.

A number of women contestants participated alongside men in events such as steer roping and bucking horse competition.

One of the most exciting events featured a local bronc rider, a Blood Indian by the name of Tom Three Persons. He drew the bucking horse, Cyclone, a big black gelding that had rarely been ridden. People shook their heads and predicted that poor Tom was done. The horse exploded from the chute and bucked his best but Tom held on and won the most important contest of the show.  The thousands of spectators erupted into a roar of applause.

Several competent trick riders gave Flores La Due stiff competition for the title of World Champion Trick and Fancy Roper but she won the prize in the end.

For some wonderful pictures of the Stampede and the people involved go to http://www.glenbow.org and search Calgary Stampede under the archived photos.
The Calgary Stampede continues to this day—still at tribute to the cowboy skills of the west.

My stories have never included the Calgary Stampede but do honor the cowboy life. My book, Montana Cowboy’s Baby, is out in July. It is the third book in my 6-book Big Sky Country series. It’s a story about a baby left on the doorstep of the hero with a note saying the baby is his. He knows it’s not. This series is set in Montana—in case you didn’t catch that—and features three Marshall young men, their sister and two close friends. Montana Cowboy Daddy was out in Oct. 2016. Montana Cowboy Family was out Jan. 2017. The fourth book—Montana Bride by Christmas—will be released in Oct. 2017. I am really looking forward to that story. It has many sweet elements. At least I think so. I’ve just turned in the fifth book and it’s about Annie Marshall’s friend, Carly, who is prepared to do anything to save her ranch and her home…including marrying a complete stranger.

I will be giving away a copy of Montana Cowboy’s Baby to one of those who comments on this post. (Or one of the earlier titles according to your wish).

Welcome, Shanna Hatfield

Shanna Hatfield joins us at the Junction  to discuss the methods she uses to research her books. Shanna is also giving away two books! Please join us in welcoming her!

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What a treat to be back on Petticoats & Pistols as a guest today. Thank you to all the Fillies for this wonderful opportunity!

Although I write both contemporary and historical sweet romances, I love researching tidbits from the past for my historical books.

One resource I often turn to when I’m writing my Pendleton Petticoats series is the online version of the town’s newspaper from back in the day.

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Browsing through the newspaper gives me a general idea of what life was like at that particular time. The advertisements alone offer such an amazing peek into the past, a clear look at popular fashions, and words that may have been all the rage.

The newsworthy events and articles also help me create a realistic world for my fictional characters. It is easy to picture them sitting down for supper and recapping something they might have read in the newspaper or heard in town (or the nosy ones may have gleaned gossip by listening in on the party lines of the telephone). Would an attempted bank robbery in a neighboring town be that evening’s hot topic? Or would their interest turn more to an upcoming event that has the town all abuzz?

I’ve been researching information during the autumn of 1910 for the latest book in the series. During that time, very first Pendleton Round-Up took place in conjunction with the annual county fair. For nearly an entire month leading up to the events, the newspaper published at least one article (sometimes more) about the fair and rodeo each day.

I could write pages and pages of historical facts about the Round-Up, but I thought I’d share something a little different today.

One article I found very amusing was a recap of the baby show that took place the last day of the fair. It was fun to realize proud mothers showed off their babies even back then.

Portrait of beautiful blue-eyed girl

Deposit Photo

A judge from a distant town was coerced into the unenviable job of judging the contest.

According to the article, mothers remained confident their little darlings were the “prettiest, sweetest, and best regardless of the decisions of Judge Addison Bennet.”

After announcing the first, second and third place winners, the article went on to state that Judge Bennet “escaped with his life on the first train.”

Who knew baby contests were such a cutthroat business even way back then?

Just for fun, here’s an old tune that seems rather fitting…

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To enter for a chance to win autographed copies of the first two books in the Pendleton Petticoats series along with some other goodies, please share your response to this question:

What is your favorite county fair event?

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For more information about the Pendleton Petticoat series, you can find the books here:

Dacey (Prequel)

Aundy (Book 1)

Caterina (Book 2)

 Ilsa (Book 3)

Marnie (Book 4)

Lacy (Book 5)

Bertie (Book 6)

Millie (Book 7)

Dally (Book 8)

USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”

Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen, one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.

Please connect with Shanna online. She loves to hear from readers.

ShannaHatfield | Facebook | Newsletter | Pinterest

 

Choose Your Weapon with Crystal L. Barnes

Hey everyone! Today Crystal L. Barnes joins us at the Junction to discuss weapons of choice and to give away one of her books. Please join us in welcoming Crystal!

What would the Old West be without the Colt Peacemaker or Winchester Repeating rifle? Or maybe your character’s choice would be the Henry Repeater? Or a lady’s favorite, the derringer?

Howdy y’all! Crystal Barnes here and what better place to talk about guns than on Petticoats and Pistols. (Thanks so much for having me back.) Recently I attended my local ACFW chapter meeting where fellow writer and fight scene consultant Carla Hoch spoke on Writing Your Fight Scenes Right. To start off the discussion, we all introduced ourselves and stated our (or our character’s) weapon of choice. Let me tell you, we got some great laughs out of this. We got answers that ranged from magic swords to swinging sickles. Maybe that’s part of the reason that has stuck with me.

What was my weapon of choice, you ask?

A Cast-iron skillet.

Not what you expected, right? I also mentioned the Colt Peacemaker for my hero, but I had to mention the skillet because I’d just recently written a scene in my WIP Hook, Line, & Suitor (Marriage & Mayhem,  Book 3) where my heroine cold-conked the guy with one.

I’m sure you Disney-loving fans are thinking of Tangled and Rapunzel’s hilarious use of the skillet, and I have to admit that’s probably where part of that idea stemmed from but not entirely. We joke around in my family and call cast-iron skillets an “equalizer.” J

In book two of my Marriage and Mayhem series, Love, Stock, & Barrel, I did a ton of research on guns because my heroine grew up helping in her father’s gunsmith shop. She played with stocks, locks, and barrels more than she did with toys and tops. J Which is why, when she’s caught in a shotgun wedding with the barrel pointed at her, she can name the type of gun without blinking.

They say when a firearm is pointed at someone their focus fixates on the barrel opening. So how could my heroine still name the gun? I’m so glad you asked. J

In my research, I stumbled upon a Confederate sharpshooter rifle that was so unique a trained marksman could hit a man-sized target at a thousand yards easy. Some could boast two thousand. The price of the rifle was so comparatively high that only the best of the best got them. What made it so unique? Well, a Whitworth sharpshooter rifle had a hexagonal-shaped barrel, instead of the normal octagon opening. Thus, my heroine could stare down the barrel and know its make and model and her odds of getting away unscathed. Very slim to say the least.

Another interesting pair of weapons worth mentioning is the 1873 Winchester Repeating Rifle and the .44-40 Colt SAA revolver (aka the Peacemaker). I used these as my sheriff’s weapons of choice. Why? Because both firearms shot the same .44-40 ammunition. Pretty convenient for a lawman, right?

 

How about you? What is your (or your character’s) weapon of choice?

I’ll be giving away a FREE copy (ebook or paperback) of one of my stories to one of this post’s commentors. (Winner’s choice of title. Paperback for contiguous US winners only.)

An award-winning author, bona fide country girl, and former competitive gymnast, Crystal L Barnes tells stories of fun, faith, and friction that allow her to share her love of Texas, old-fashioned things, and the Lord—not necessarily in that order. When she’s not writing, reading, singing, or acting, Crystal enjoys exploring on road-trips, spending time with family, and watching old movies/sitcoms. I Love Lucy and Little House on the Prairie are two of her favorites. You can find out more and connect with Crystal at http://www.crystal-barnes.com.

Find her also on her blog, the Stitches Thru Time group blog, her , GoodreadsPinterestGoogle+, or on her Facebook author page.

Want to be notified of her latest releases and other fun tidbits? Subscribe to her newsletter.

Cowboy Homecoming with Louise M. Gouge

Today Louise M. Gouge joins us at the Junction and she’ll be giving away a copy of her new book, Cowboy Homecoming! Let’s give her a warm welcome!

I’m so happy to be a returning guest here on Petticoats and Pistols. Thank you all for inviting me back! Let me tell you what I’ve been up to in the realm of historical western romance.

When writing a series of novels, we romance authors face a challenge. To keep the series exciting to our readers from one book to the next, we must create a unique romantic conflict between the hero and heroine of each story. For my editor, I also must have an interesting, overarching conflict the couple needs to solve together. It can be anything from unravelling a mystery to reaching a destination on the other side of a deep, dark valley or building a new hotel in a small town.

My brand-new April release, Cowboy Homecoming, the fifth book in my Four Stones Ranch series, is no different. Cowgirl Laurie Eberly already cares for cowboy and newly minted lawyer Tolley Northam. They grew up together on neighboring ranches, and their fathers often spoke of wanting a marriage between the two families. (They have plenty of sons and daughters, so it’s possible for that to happen!) Only problem is, Laurie can’t trust former bad boy Tolley. Does he truly love her, or is he showing interest in her because he desperately wants to please his father?

In the meantime, Laurie and Tolley end up living in the same boarding house so they can help dear old widow Foster, who’s fallen down the stairs while carrying a bucket of water upstairs to clean her boarders’ rooms. Laid up with a sprained leg and broken arm, Mrs. Foster can’t take care of her house or boarders. Tolley comes up with the idea of installing a bathroom on the second floor of the house so the lady will never have to carry water upstairs again. Laurie loves the idea, but she and Tolley have different ideas about how to get the job done, so that adds to the fun of the story.

But were there bathrooms in 1885 homes in small town Colorado? And if so, how would such a room be built in an already completed house? Believe me, I had to check several sources to bring it all together. My best go-to book for the series is A Bridge to Yesterday by Emma M. Riggenbach, which tells the history of Monte Vista, Colorado, the town on which I based my fictional town of Esperanza. Set in the San Luis Valley, this cozy town holds many surprises for people who think all historical western stories are the same.

For instance, in 1889, a grand, three-story hotel was built in Monte Vista. It was constructed of pink stone quarried seven miles from town. In the hotel, artesian water was pumped to all three floors. Taking literary license with that information, I reasoned that because Boston’s Tremont Hotel had full bathrooms since 1830
, and many Boston homes had them by the 1880s, bathrooms were no doubt popping up all over the West. Since my hero has just spent two years in Bean Town, he rather likes the modern convenience and wants to bring it to his hometown. Laurie has spent some time in Denver, and she’s enjoyed bathrooms in finer hotels.

To find out how Laurie and Tolley accomplish their goal of helping dear Mrs. Foster by installing a bathroom in her house AND finding the way to their very own happily-ever-after, you may want to pick up a copy of Cowboy Homecoming. Or you can enter our drawing for a free copy by leaving a comment or question about the history of bathrooms (U. S. residents only).

COWBOY HOMECOMING — After two years, Tolley Northam returns home, transformed from a mischievous youth into an ambitious lawyer confident of winning his father’s approval at last. But he soon begins to wonder if the only way to do so is to marry family friend Laurie Eberly—a woman his father has always liked. If only she weren’t so adamant about refusing Tolley’s proposal…

Laurie’s childhood friend is now a handsome, accomplished lawyer with undeniable charm. But she can’t accept Tolley’s proposal; she believes it’s just to earn his father’s praise. First he’ll have to prove to her that he wants her for a wife not because his father thinks she’s the perfect match, but because he does.

Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical fiction for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historical Romances. She received the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award in 2005 and placed in 2011, 2015, and 2016; and placed in the Laurel Wreath in 2012. When she isn’t writing, she and David, her husband of fifty-plus years, enjoy visiting historical sites and museums. Please visit her Web site at http://blog.Louisemgouge.com, https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLouiseMGouge/, Twitter: @Louisemgouge

My Fascination with George and Libbie Custer ~ by Diane Kalas

My current release is HONOR BRIGHT, An Inspirational Historical Romance Set in the West, Officers of the 7th Cavalry Series 1.

George and Libby CusterGeorge and Libbie Custer are secondary characters and hometown neighbors of my heroine in book 1. The story takes place two years before Custer’s last campaign, a time when tensions were escalating on both sides of the issues. Each book in Officers of the 7th Cavalry Series, takes the reader closer to the final event in the Little Bighorn Valley.

How did I become interested in the Custer story? I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and knew that Custer spent some of his childhood in my home state. A job transfer moved us to Ohio for several years where we traveled the I-75 north through Monroe, Michigan to visit family. Alongside the highway in Monroe is a huge billboard with Custer in uniform stating: Monroe, Michigan – boyhood home of the boy-general. A few years later, a temporary job transfer brought us back to Michigan for a year. My husband rented a house on Lake Erie in Monroe County.

At that time, I had no plans about Custer being in one of my future books. Out of curiosity, however, I visited the small Custer museum in Monroe, and a neighborhood bookstore where I purchased several books about George and Libbie Custer written by a local Custer historian. Next, I stopped by the Monroe County Library that has a fantastic Custer Collection.

The librarian informed me that next to Presidents Washington and Lincoln, no other historical figure in our country has as many books written about him as George A. Custer. She also mentioned that people living in Japan and Italy have made inquiries about Custer’s career. After all this time, people want to learn more details about the controversial boy-general!

At a county flea market, I found an original edition of Libbie Custer’s BOOTS AND SADDLES or Life in Dakota with General Custer, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1885. That was the first book Libbie wrote, years after George died. Cost: $6.00. I do not really believe in coincidences. I finished four other stories, before starting my current release: HONOR BRIGHT, An Inspirational Historical Romance Set in the West, Officers of the 7th Cavalry Series 1.

George Armstrong Custer’s prankish career at the United States Military Academy put him last in his 1861 graduating class. Afterward, his flamboyant cavalry escapes during the Civil War brought a continual interest from the press of the day. Old men admired his courage and women saw him as a dashing figure. Today, however, mention Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer and his 7th Regiment of Cavalry, given to Custer as a reward for his Civil War record, and images of war against the Plains Indians come to mind. Current authors and historians write more books about Custer as villain, because of the post-Civil War years, than as hero.

When people react negatively to Custer’s name, it is because as a military officer he represented our government and its policies at that time. Our point of view today, concerning the western expansion after the Civil War, is sympathetic toward the Indians and highly critical of our actions against Native Americans.

The list of officers mentioned here guided and/or ordered Custer’s military career. General Alfred Terry, Custer’s immediate superior; Major-General Phil Sheridan, his close friend and mentor; Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman; President Ulysses S. Grant, commander in chief (all Civil War generals). In other words, Custer did not act alone.

My bibliography for Officers of the 7th Cavalry Series has exceeded my budget. Last month, I purchased two additional books on Custer. I’m hooked on research.

Some called the Little Bighorn Battle “a clash of cultures and Custer, a man of his time.” My hope is that the reader will enjoy the fictional story with interesting characters, set against the backdrop of an isolated fort in the Dakota Territory in 1874.

About the house on the cover of Honor Bright

The cover of HONOR BRIGHT, Officers of the 7th Cavalry Series 1, features the 1989, rebuilt home and command headquarters for the famous 7th Cavalry. This was George and Libbie Custer’s first home built for them by the U. S. government, and the reassembled 7th Cavalry Regiment since it was formed after the Civil War. Location is Fort Abraham Lincoln, across the Missouri River from Bismarck, Dakota Territory (ND today).

The Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation raised funds and constructed the home after years of research and planning. The estimated total cost to develop Cavalry Square was $6 million, with $2 million appropriated by the U. S. Congress. The Custer House cost almost $400,000. The North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department now operates the Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park.

As the centerpiece of Fort Abraham Lincoln, the Custer house is the third built on the exact same lot as the original Custer residence. The first was built in 1873, one of seven buildings that formed Officers’ Row on the fort’s western perimeter. In the center of three duplexes for bachelor or married officers, is the Custer home.

Fire destroyed the original house in the middle of the night in February 1874. George and Libbie barely escaped with their lives. Donations quickly replaced just about everything they lost. Libbie called their frontier home elegant, especially after she requested the installation of the bay window in her parlor, and George provided funds for the railing to the second story (balustrade) made of butternut, a difficult wood that required 80 hours of labor to construct.

 

Honor Bright by Diane KalasHONOR BRIGHT, Officers of the 7th Cavalry Series 1

Spring 1874. Rebecca Brewster arrives at Fort Abraham Lincoln to preview life on the far western frontier, before her marriage to an officer in Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer’s famous 7th Cavalry Regiment. Becca is soon disillusioned with her childhood love who is critical of her tomboyish ways. He insists she behave as a lady in the footsteps of Libbie Custer.

Major Randall Steelman, second in command under Custer, finds Becca’s fun-loving spirit and open affectionate ways charming. As an officer, however, Rand’s strict code of conduct forbids him to act on his interest in a woman when it involves a brother officer. How can he stand by and watch Becca marry an arrogant hothead with unbridled ambition, when he finds Becca more irresistible each day?

Amid increasing tension between the hostile Sioux Indians and the government that Custer represents, Rand walks a tightrope balancing professional duties and a friendship with his commander. Custer’s reputation is two-fold: Capable cavalry officer and fearless leader; arrogant and petty tyrant.

With one-year left to serve his country, Rand is determined to retire with a blemish-free record and with his rank intact. Becca must make a life-changing decision, before it’s too late and she marries the wrong man.

The book is available on Amazon.

 

About the author

Diane KalasDiane Kalas collects antique books written by men and women who lived through the American Civil War, and/or who pioneered out West. With a degree in interior design, she enjoys touring historical sites, especially Federal era homes with period furniture. Published writers Pamela Griffin, Gina Welborn, and Kathleen Maher have been critique partners and mentors. Diane’s biggest challenge is writing Inspirational Historical Romance. Her biggest distraction is her fascination with historical research. Diane is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Find Diane online at:
Facebook
Forget Me Not Romances
Blog: Transporting you back in time
Pinterest: 19th Century history, architecture, and fashion
Twitter

Other books by Diane Kalas:
PATRIOT HEART, Journey Home Series 1
FAITHFUL HEART, Journey Home Series 2
HOPEFUL HEART, Journey Home Series 3

Diane will give either an e-book or paperback copy of HONOR BRIGHT, Officers of the 7th Cavalry Series 1, to someone who leaves a comment, so y’all head on down yonder and say howdy!

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The Allure of Fort Laramie ~ by Amanda Cabot

When you picture a western fort from the nineteenth century, do you envision small, perhaps even dilapidated wooden buildings surrounded by a wooden stockade?  I did until I visited Fort Laramie.  It was the summer of 2004, only a few months after my husband and I had moved from the East Coast to Cheyenne.  We needed a break from the unpacking, picture hanging, and other tasks associated with moving into a new house, so we headed for the Fort Laramie National Historic Site.

Old Fort Laramie store foundation

Foreground: foundation of barracks; background: part of officer’s row, including the post trader’s store (the one-story building in the center back)

It was not what I expected.  There was no stockade, the buildings were far from primitive, and the way they flanked the central parade ground made it reminiscent of a New England village, not one of the military forts those old Westerns made popular.

Old Fort Laramie dining room

Nothing primitive about this dining room.

Old Fort Laramie birdbath

An in-ground birdbath.

As we entered the Visitor Center, the surprises continued, and I found myself fascinated by the elegant lifestyle the officers and their wives experienced during the last decade of the fort’s existence (the 1880s).Houses were surrounded by picket fences, many yards had flower gardens, and women strolled along the boardwalks carrying parasols.  There were even birdbaths.  Of course, since this was Wyoming with its famous winds, the birdbaths weren’t the typical basin-on-a-pedestal style that you might expect.  Instead, they were circular depressions in the ground. As I said, it was not at all what I had expected, but what I saw started my brain whirling, and I knew this would not be my only visit to the fort.

Old Fort Laramie Officers Row

Partially reconstructed officers’ housing and Old Bedlam (the two-story white frame building)

Old Fort Laramie Burt house

Andrew and Elizabeth Burt’s home. The red SUV in the background was definitely not there when they lived at the fort!

There’s a lot to see.  While many of the buildings have been destroyed, a number have been restored to their former glory to give visitors a sense of what life was like at the fort that was a major landmark on the Oregon Trail.  The most famous of those buildings is Old Bedlam, the oldest military structure in Wyoming.  Curious about the nickname?  It was originally constructed for bachelor officers’ housing, and those officers were a little … shall we say rowdy?  Later in its existence, it was used as post headquarters, and only a few years ago it was the site of a wedding.  I suspect the guests were better behaved than those bachelor officers of 150 years ago.One of the restored houses is the one where Lt. Col. Andrew Burt and his wife Elizabeth lived during their two tours of duty at the fort.  If you’ve never heard of the Burts, their story is told in Indians, Infants and Infantry: Andrew and Elizabeth Burt on the Frontier by Merrill J. Mattes, a book I highly recommend to anyone who wants an authentic view of life at nineteenth century forts.  The author used Elizabeth’s Burt’s diaries and letters to create a story filled with fascinating details of real life.

What does all this have to do with my current release?  Absolutely nothing.  A Stolen Heart is set in a charming town in the Texas Hill Country, not on a military fort.  Its hero is a sheriff, not a soldier.  Its heroine is a schoolteacher who becomes a confectioner, not a woman dealing with tasteless dried potatoes.  But Fort Laramie is such a wonderful place that I couldn’t resist taking this opportunity to tell you more about it.  If you visit Wyoming, I hope you’ll consider spending a day at Fort Laramie.  It’s well worth the detour.

And now to the highlight of the post: the giveaway.  I’m offering a signed copy of either Summer of Promise, which takes place at Fort Laramie during its elegant decade, or my new release, A Stolen Heart, to one commenter.

 

A stolen Heart

The future she dreamed of is gone. But perhaps a better one awaits . . .

From afar, Cimarron Creek seems like an idyllic town tucked in the Texas Hill Country. But when former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford steps onto its dusty streets in 1880, she finds a town with a deep-seated resentment of Northerners—like her. Lydia won’t let that get her down, though. All will be well when she’s reunited with her fiancé.

But when she discovers he has disappeared—and that he left behind a pregnant wife—Lydia is at a loss about what to do next. The handsome sheriff urges her to trust him, but can she trust anyone in this town where secrets are as prevalent as bluebonnets in spring?

The book is available at Barnes & Noble, and Christian Book Distributors.

 

Amanda CabotBestselling author Amanda Cabot invites you into Texas’s storied past to experience adventure, mystery—and love. She more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, the Texas Crossroad trilogy, and Christmas Roses. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages.  Amanda is delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming.

Find her online at:
AmandaCabot.com
Facebook
Twitter
Blog

 

 

Welcome Guest Author Tracie Peterson!

Hello all of you wonderful readers,

This month I’m debuting a new series titled Heart of the Frontier. Book one is titled Treasured Grace and is the story of three sisters in 1847. The focal setting of the story is the Whitman Mission in the area of present day Walla Walla, Washington.Whitman Mission, Walla Walla, Washington

Whitman Mission aerial of grounds layout

This is a model of the mission layout with the main mission house to the right, the blacksmith shop in the center and the Emigrant’s House on the left. The mill pond (upper left) was where they also had a grist mill.

Treasured Grace by Tracie PetersonThis location was the site of the Whitman Mission Massacre that took place November 29, 1847. It was this massacre that truly changed the course of westward expansion and brought on the setting up of military forts along the Oregon Trail.

Marcus and Narcissa Whitman (she was one of the first two white women who crossed the Rocky Mountains) had tried for over ten years to win the hearts and minds of the Cayuse Indians in their area. However, a measles epidemic struck and killed a great many Cayuse, as well as whites. The Cayuse were convinced that Whitman (who was a doctor as well as a preacher) was trying to kill them and so on November 29th, they attacked and killed the doctor and Narcissa, along with most of the other men who were living at the mission. The remaining fifty-four women and children were taken hostage and held for nearly a month by the Cayuse.

The mission site is part of the National Parks system and open to visitors.

On my many visits there to glean information for my series, I found the park rangers to be some of the best I’ve encountered while doing research.  It was fascinating to learn about the Cayuse people. They were a nomadic people who were known for their horses and horsemanship. They were also considered to have some of the fiercest warriors.

They lived in tulle mat lodges and traveled with the seasons to harvest various roots and vegetation, as well as take advantage of the salmon fishing.

In the 1840’s this area of America was called Oregon Country. It was mostly inhabited by Native Americans and the British. The latter ran a string of Hudson’s Bay Company forts and traded with both the Native Americas and whites who came west. I mention this because another fascinating aspect of this massacre and the aftermath was the part the Hudson’s Bay Company played.

When it was learned that 54 white women and children were being held captive, Peter Skene Ogden (one of the factors at Fort Vancouver – now present day Vancouver, Washington) went to work to secure their release.  He and Chief Factor James Douglas put together a ransom hoping they could convinced the Cayuse to let the women and children go without harm. The ransom included 62 blankets, 63 cotton shirts, 12 Hudson Bay rifles, 600 loads of ammunition, 7 pounds of tobacco and 12 flints.  Eventually the Cayuse did agree to this and the women and children were set free. I thought it quite interesting, if not touching that The Hudson’s Bay Company never billed the American settlers for the ransom. I thought it equally interesting that reimbursement by the American government was never offered.

If you’d like to read a brief summary of the actual attack, this website should help.

I had a lot of fun researching this series and hope you enjoy it.  Book 2 Beloved Hope will come out in June and Book 3 Cherished Mercy is due out in September.Tracie Peterson

 

Tracie will send one of today’s commenters a lovely gift basket containing Treasured Grace and five more of her latest book, plus some other goodies. Take our word for it: You’ll love the prize!

 

Find Tracie online at her website, TraciePeterson.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome Guest – Pam Meyers

 

The Pioneer City Rodeo – A Perfect Setting for Second Chance Love

I’ve loved everything cowboy since I was a child, and dreamed of living where I could have a horse. But, unfortunately, that wasn’t a dream my parents shared, and as I grew into adulthood, I moved on to other interests. Like many in Wisconsin, or Illinois where I live now, I used to think that all rodeos happened in the west. Just yesterday at church a woman was surprised I was interested in rodeo or that rodeos occur so close to us. There are a lot of rodeos going on in my home state of Wisconsin and all around the Midwest during the warmer months. A fact I learned about a dozen years ago when a friend invited me to a rodeo.

The Pioneer City Rodeo, where Second Chance Love is set, is a real event that happens every Labor Day weekend, which I attend every year now. Like in my story, there are rodeos on three consecutive evenings, and we attend all three. Located in the tiny village of Palestine, a southern Illinois town nestled along the Wabash River, the rodeo offers a wonderful getaway to cap off the summer. We meet a lot of the locals sitting around us in the stands and on Main Street during the street fair. Although some of the retail establishments in my story are from my imagination, many are real, including the Back Porch Smokehouse and the Wabash Coffee House, located a short distance upriver from Palestine.

When I decided to write the story, it was a natural to make my hero, Jace McGowan, a bull rider, since that’s one of my favorite events. My heroine, Sydney Knight, is a born and bred Chicagoan and can no more picture herself living on Jace’s Texas ranch than he can see himself hanging up his bull rope and living in a Chicago apartment building. This conflict leads to a lot of tension, but they both have baggage beyond that which must be overcome before they can move forward and learn how much they really do have in common. I hope you’ll read my story to find out.

Second Chance Love

Chicago lawyer Sydney Knight and Texas bull rider Jace McGowan have nothing in common but everything to lose when they are thrust together during a weekend rodeo in rural Illinois. Neither one of them would have imagined two years ago that the deep attraction they sensed during a day-long outing would resurface when Sydney’s boss assigns her to Jace’s legal case.

Sydney has been through a world of hurt since losing her dad when she was sixteen, then being dumped the morning of her wedding. She’s sworn off romance and instead devotes her time toward a partnership in her father’s law office.

Jace has found faith in God and wants out of his sponsor contract with a risqué restaurant chain that requires him to pose with scantily-clad women. He’s about to bail on the contract and pay steep penalties—something he can ill afford, given that his deceased father left the family with unpaid taxes.

Sydney is determined she’ll get Jace out of his contract and return to Chicago with her heart intact, but Jace is just as determined to help her see they are meant to be together. Can a city girl with roots deep in Chicago and a bull-riding rancher with roots deep in Texas give themselves a second-chance love?

Giveaway!

Pam will give one lucky reader a Kindle version of Second Chance Love. Leave a comment to enter.

  • What is your favorite rodeo event?

Arizona’s ‘Capital on Wheels’ ~ by Susan Page Davis

For my book My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains, my characters needed some transportation in Arizona during the territorial period after the Civil War. There weren’t any trains there yet, so stagecoaches it was.

The first stagecoach appeared in Arizona in 1857, and this mode of transportation had come to stay.

Before the Civil War, the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach line had a regular route across Texas and what is now New Mexico and Arizona, to southern California. When the war broke out, however, they abandoned it and used their northern route, through Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming.

But people still needed to travel in Arizona. When the war ended, the capital was at Prescott, which had remained Union territory. People in more populated southern locations, such as Tucson, needed to go back and forth to the capital. Several independent stage lines sprang up and developed their routes with varying success.

When I went to Prescott to do research for the book, the stagecoach problem was one of my focuses. The place where I found the most help was in the archives at the Sharlot Hall Museum. There I learned about several enterprising men who gave it a good try, and it was tough in those times.

The owners and workers found a great many obstacles to maintaining regular stage service over hundreds of miles of desert, and having to deal with increasingly hostile Indian tribes as well as the inhospitable terrain and climate. Indians stole hundreds of horses from mining operations and stagecoach stations. Some of the station agents had to haul in feed and water for the animals.

My characters attempted to make a stagecoach journey from Tucson to the fledgling mining town of Wickenburg, and from there on up to Prescott. As readers will see, this journey was interrupted several times.

The capital itself was a thorny problem during that period, and it was changed so often it got the nickname “Capital on Wheels.”

After the Confederate Territory of Arizona was formed in 1862, and in February, 1863 officially got Tucson as its capital with Jefferson Davis’s approval, Abraham Lincoln signed the law officially creating the Arizona Territory with Prescott as its capital. The territory was divided into north and south for a while, and for the rest of the Civil War it had two capitals.

Superstition MountainsAfter the war, in 1867, the capital was moved back to Tucson for the reunited Arizona Territory. At that time, Tucson was more developed than any other city in the territory.

However, in 1879, the legislature voted to move the seat of government back to Prescott. That move lasted ten years.

The capital had been located in each location for about the same length of time all told, and some people began to feel it should be moved to a neutral location, somewhere between Tucson and Prescott. By this time, more towns had been founded, and some of them mushroomed. Phoenix was not in existence at the time of my story, but twenty years later it was thriving. In 1889 the capital was moved permanently to Phoenix. Arizona became a state in 1912.

Today we can swiftly drive the length of Arizona in air-conditioned cars in a few hours. We can enjoy the vistas of the beautiful desert without discomfort. But our modern travels are a far cry from what Carmela Wade experienced.

 

About My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains

A Chance for Escape Takes Two Unlikely Allies on a Romantic Adventure through the Desert

Since she was orphaned at age twelve, Carmela Wade has lived a lie orchestrated by her uncle, pretending to be a survivor of an Indian kidnapping and profiting from telling her made-up story on the speaker circuit. But as she matures into adulthood, Carmela hates the lies and longs to be free. On a stagecoach in Arizona Territory, Carmela and her uncle are fellow passengers with US Marshal Freeland McKay and his handcuffed prisoner.

The stage is attacked. Suddenly a chance to make a new life may be within Carmela’s reach. . .if she can survive the harsh terrain and being handcuffed to an unconscious man.

 

Desert Moon

 

 

Susan will give a copy of My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains to one person who comments on today’s post, and a copy of Desert Moon to another commenter. The winners may choose to receive either print or digital format.

 

 

Susan Page Davis

 

Susan Page Davis is the author of more than seventy published novels. She’s a two-time winner of the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award and the Will Rogers Medallion, and also a winner of the Carol Award and a finalist in the WILLA Literary Awards. A Maine native, she now lives in Kentucky. Visit her website at SusanPageDavis.com, where you can see all her books, sign up for her occasional newsletter, and read a short story on her romance page.

Buy My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains: http://amzn.to/2kGDjPz

 

 

The History of Paint – by Faith Blum

 

 

The first book in my new series releases in 16 days! I’m excited to share a little tidbit of research I had to do during the proofreader stage of my writing. Here are a few things I found interesting about paint from various time periods:

Ancient Egypt

In Dendera, there is a house that has paint that looks as if it were painted just yesterday, but it was painted thousands of years ago! Can you imagine having paint like that today? No more repainting due to the sun fading or chipping.

1200-1400 A.D.

There were quite a few artisans and craftsmen who were hired to paint houses. My guess is that these would be the houses of the rich, not the paupers.

14th Century England

Housepainters created a guild of their own and divided into two groups: The Painter’s Company and The Stainer’s Company. A few hundred years later they merged to become the “Worshipful Company of Painters and Stainers.”

1600s America

House paint was a thing to be avoided as the Puritans and Pilgrims thought that a colorful home expressed vanity and excess of happiness.

1700

Thomas Child starts the first recorded paint mill in Boston.

 

1718

Marshall Smith invented a “Machine for the Grinding of Colours” which caused a race to find the best way to produce color for paints. By the 1800s, linseed oil began to be used as a less expensive binding agent that also protected the wood.

1833

Benjamin Moore began operations in making paint and when Sherwin-Williams opened for business, they became a rivalry that continues to this day.

1866

Henry Sherwin, Alanson Osborn, and Edward Williams formed Sherwin, Williams, & Co. in Cleveland, Ohio.  They later developed a tin can that was able to reseal.

1982

Benjamin Moore’s company designed the computer based color-matching system that helps to pick the perfect color for your home.

 

To conclude, I’ll leave you with a short excerpt from my book mentioning paint. Be sure to comment with the facts you found most interesting. Three lucky commenters will receive a free eBook of Savior, Like a Shepherd. I’d also love it if you could come to my Facebook Party celebrating the release of two of my books! Here is the link.

 

“Why is this not a place for children? Didn’t you grow up here?”

“Yes. Trust me, I hated it.”

“So sell it or buy and build someplace you would love.”

He shook his head, a faint smile on his face. “You are so much like Louisa. She would have said exactly the same thing. Unfortunately, Father made it so I can’t sell the house.”

I looked around and stood up. After making a full, slow circuit of the room, I stopped in front of him. “So transform this house into something you would like to live in.”

He stared at me. “How?”

“For starters, take down all the dark and dreary drapes, paint the walls bright and cheery colors, and open up the windows on nice days.”

Mr. Meyer raised his eyebrows. “We’ll see.”

About the Book

When an illegitimate young man is orphaned, he must take care of his sister and brother as winter approaches, all while not being allowed to work anywhere.

Now available for a special preorder price, just $0.99! Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and more: http://books2read.com/SaviorLikeAShepherd.

About the Author

Faith Blum is a 20-something author of multiple books in various genres. She loves to write, read, play piano, knit, crochet, sew, watch movies, and play games with her family.  She lives in Wisconsin with her family on a small family farm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.protectpainters.com/our-blog/2016/april/a-brief-history-of-house-paint-color/

https://www.franklinpainting.com/blog/home/a-brief-history-of-house-painting/

 

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