Born and raised in Scotland, I heard tales of the wild Highlanders who fought battles in little more than their plaids (if that). They slept beneath the stars and brandished swords and clubs, but I’d never heard of a cowboy until I ventured to Montana Territory in search of answers about my family. These men: cowboys, ranchers, horsemen, certainly are interesting specimens and I’ll admit I’ve become rather fascinated by them.
The first one I ever met stood tall and proud and behaved as a true gentleman. Of course, he was wearing strange and dusty clothes and an odd hat, but those deep, blue eyes of his bore through to my soul. His strong hands were warm to the touch, and his gruff demeanor couldn’t mask the heat in those eyes on that cold autumn day. Lucky for me, I married him. I’ve learned a few things since my first encounter and I’m here to share my meager expertise, so listen carefully.
A lady must know that a true cowboy is both charming and dangerous. He’s a little like the wild land on which he lives. It doesn’t take much more than a swish of skirts and a pretty face to get his attention, but he won’t be easy. If a lady wants to hold onto a cowboy, she must be strong and even a little stubborn. She has to show him that she has what it takes to survive in his world, but don’t worry ladies, he’ll make it worth your while.
A hard-working cowboy is independent, stubborn, and even a little fierce. He’ll charm you just as easily as he charms a bull so you’ll want to keep him on his toes. Show him you’re not a lady to be trifled with. He won’t be able to control you, but he’ll certainly want to keep you.
He’ll rarely tell you what’s on his mind and doesn’t like sharing his emotional feelings. If you want to understand your man, let him come to you. Don’t push or prod because he’ll make for the range. If you want to rope him in, you’d better learn how to handle the lasso.
Most importantly, a true cowboy is loyal to in life, and to the death. Be warned ladies—he expects that same in return. Treat your cowboy well and he’ll move heaven and earth for you.
WILD MONTANA WINDS
By MK McClintock
What happens when a mountain man tries to tame the heart of a Highland lass?
Ainslee McConnell turned down every eligible bachelor who asked for her hand, for she knew none could quiet her adventurous spirit. When she travels from Scotland to visit family and seek new experiences, she discovers a life more rewarding than she could have imagined.
Raised in the wilds of the Montana mountains, Colton Dawson lived as rancher, mountain man, and tracker. He was content . . . until one day a spirited Scottish lass crosses his path on her way to Hawk’s Peak. When a moment in Colton’s past revisits him, he fights to keep safe those he loves most.
Return to Briarwood and Hawk’s Peak to experience a timeless western romantic adventure that will sweep you away on the wild Montana winds.
Don’t miss the other books in the Gallagher series . . .
We are thrilled to welcome guest author Kristy McCaffrey to the Junction today. Kristy will be giving away a copy of her new book Rosemary to one lucky commenter!
Long before the westward expansion of the United States, the Spanish were present. Markings on a canyon wall in central Utah consisting of a cross symbol bear the date ‘1667’. Hieroglyphics and pictographs originally thought to be placed by Native Americans are actually markers along the Spanish Trail, which led from Mexico to the Uinta Mountains (in Utah) and beyond. This trail was the main link between Mexican and Spanish outposts, and it’s posited that they were religious outposts. The Spanish presence lasted well into the 1800’s, when packs of Mexicans were reportedly leaving the Uinta Mountains laden with gold.
Until the 1800’s, the tales of the Spanish gold mines were the subject of Native American history, with few white men knowing of the mines. The Spaniards used the Native Americans as slave labor, and after many years of oppression it’s believed that they revolted and killed most of their Spanish captors. Supposedly the Native Americans returned the gold bullion to the earth and sealed it in the very mines from which it had come.
Thomas Rhoades, a close assistant to Mormon Church leader Brigham Young, was one of the first white men to fully understand the implications of the Spanish mines. Young had become a religious mentor to a Ute Indian named Chief Walkara, who spoke of a secret cache of gold in the Uinta Mountains. The chief agreed to give the gold to the church, and Rhoades was selected to transport it to Salt Lake City.
Unfortunately, the Indians refused to remove the gold, believing it to be cursed. But it was easy for Rhoades to transport since it was already mined and left in bullion form. His first trip was said to have lasted two weeks, yielding more than sixty pounds of pure gold. For several years, Rhoades continued to transfer gold until, in 1887, he discovered additional mines located off Indian ground. This spurred interest in the lost Spanish gold mines, since it appeared there wasn’t just one mine to be found but many.
Prospector With Donkey
Searching for the mines could be deadly. In the early years, stories circulated of prospectors being shot and killed, often by Native
Americans protecting the sacred mines. Even as recently as 1990 there have been reports of modern-day prospectors being fired upon as a warning by Native Americans who protect the land near historic mining operations.
Old-timers in the Uinta Mountains have claimed there are seven mines lined with pure gold that supplied the Aztecs, serving as the basis for the seven golden cities of Cibola sought by early Spanish explorers.
In ROSEMARY, Book 11 of the Widows of Wildcat Ridge Series, Rosemary goes in search of the fabled Floriana mine in the wilderness of the Utah Territory in 1884. While The Floriana is a fictitious mine, I based it on tales of the time.
Rosemary Brennan is recovering from the loss of her husband five months prior in a devastating mine accident that took the lives of nearly all the men in Wildcat Ridge. The mine owner, Mortimer Crane, has given the widows an ultimatum—find husbands or he will evict them from their homes and businesses. Desperate to keep the assay office that her deceased husband had managed, she heads into the hills in search of an old Spanish mine called The Floriana in the hope she can lay claim to a bonanza of gold.
Ex-U.S. Deputy Marshal Miles McGinty arrives in Wildcat Ridge to pay his respects to Jack Brennan’s widow. He and Jack had a history, and Miles is heartsick over the loss of the young man he had come to think of as a brother. When he learns of Rosemary’s problems with the piggish Crane, he will do anything to help her—even offering marriage. But when it becomes clear that Crane knew of Jack’s criminal past and was blackmailing him over it, Miles must decide whether to tell Rosemary the truth, because doing so may drive her away. And to his surprise, Miles has fallen in love with his new wife.
Kristy McCaffrey writes historical western romances brimming with grit and emotion, along with contemporary adventure stories packed with smoldering romance and spine-tingling suspense. Her work is filled with compelling heroes, determined heroines, and her trademark mysticism. Kristy holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering, but writing has been her passion since she was very young. Her four children are nearly grown and gone, so she and her husband frequently pursue their love of travel to the far corners of the world. Kristy believes life should be lived with curiosity, compassion, and gratitude, and one should never be far from the enthusiasm of a dog. An Arizona native, she resides in the desert north of Phoenix. To learn more about her work, visit her website.
We are so pleased to welcome guest author Shirleen Davies to the Junction! Today Shirleen is giving away a copy of her latest book to one lucky person! Please join us in welcoming her!
In the 19th century, Methodists, Baptists, and other revivalists offered grassroots, non-traditional Christianity to settlers across the frontier. The sermons which were impassioned and spoken from the heart appealed to these frontier settlers.
Who were some of the more well-known preachers?
Barton Warren Stone believed in bible based teaching. His rallying cry was “The Bible only” when he headed west and served two Presbyterian parishes in Concord and Cane Ridge Kentucky. Other Presbyterian ministers criticized him for his unorthodox views, chiefly his denial of the Trinity, which he said was not found in the bible. In 1830 Stone met Alexander Campbell, another Bible only Presbyterian-turned-independent preacher. Their friendship and common passion led to a merger in 1832. Stone’s legacy endures in the large number of churches called “Disciples of Christ” or “Church of Christ,” which are committed to “Bible only” Christianity.
Peter Cartwright, one of the most colorful frontier ministers, joined the Methodist Episcopal Church at 16 at a camp meeting. Within two years, he was traveling the backwoods of the new nation, preaching the gospel. Crowds flocked to hear him throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, and Illinois. His meetings often ran day and night. The passion in his booming voice could make women weep and strong men tremble. Cartwright once warned General Jackson, who was later President of the United States, that he would be damned to Hell as quickly as any other man if he didn’t repent. Cartwright championed the creation of Methodist colleges to train more ministers. His autobiography became a classic as much for his good deeds as for the picture it painted of frontier life.
Lucy Wright, a woman, and a Shaker, was another popular religious figure. After joining the Shaker sect with her husband, they had to dissolve their marriage due to the denomination’s strict adherence to celibacy. Lucy then went back to using her maiden name. By the late 1780s, the Shakers divided into male and female orders due to their belief in God as Father-Mother. In 1787, Lucy was appointed as the leader in the female line. Nine years later, Joseph Meacham, the second successor to founder Mother Ann, by-passed his male assistant and appointed Lucy as Elder. At Meacham’s death, she took the Shaker helm as Mother Lucy. She broke a 12-year hiatus of Shaker evangelism and sent missionaries to the western frontier in 1804. Mother Lucy also brought singing back to the Shakers and added dancing, hand motions, and worship marches.
Francis Asbury was known as Mr. Circuit Rider. He rode horseback, or in a carriage when he was sick, about 300,000 miles during his 45-year ministry, delivering 16,500 sermons. He created districts of churches, each served by preachers who traveled from church to church. Asbury drove missionary expansion into Tennessee and Kentucky despite the constant threats of illness and Indian attacks on the frontier. Asbury founded five schools and promoted Sunday schools to teach children reading, writing, and arithmetic. He hated slavery and even petitioned George Washington to enact antislavery legislation. The Methodist church expanded to 200,000 strong under Francis Asbury’s leadership.
On the new frontier, church revivals took the form of camp meetings. James McGready initiated the camp meetings movement around 1800 in Kentucky.
Camp meetings soon became a colorful part of pioneer life. Families for miles around attended. The camp meetings usually began on Thursdays and ended on Sundays, but some lasted for up to two weeks. Several worship services were held daily, leading up to the big evening service. Often preachers from several denominations were on hand.
The religious message was clear and simple—stop sinning and repent now to save yourself from hellfire and damnation!
My newest release, Bay’s Desire, book nine in my MacLarens of Boundary Mountain series, is now available. I’m pleased to give away an eBook to today’s blog post lucky contest winner.
I’d love to read your comments. Also, please take a moment to sign up for my Newsletter and Follow Me on: BookBub
Please give a big Petticoats and Pistols welcome to our
Friday guest author ~ Mary Sullivan!
Miss Mary hails from Toronto, Canada and today is giving away a
copy of her newest release, MONTANA RODEO STAR
to one lucky person who responds to her questions at the end of this post.
Petticoats and Pistols, thank you so much for having me here today!
I write about cowboys, ranchers, sheriffs, and small towns. Often, I have wondered why I’m fascinated with ranching and farming life when I have never lived that life. I grew up in a large city.
The source of this interest, I believe, was my parents who grew up in rural Newfoundland on the eastern edge of Canada. I grew up listening to my mother’s stories of her childhood, her experience light years from my own urban childhood. Her family lived a life of self-sufficiency ruled by ‘island’ mentality. She was a small child during the Great Depression. Anything they needed or that had to be done or fixed had to be handled on their own. They were hardy and resourceful.
Newfoundland’s nickname of The Rock is justified. It’s rugged, to say the least.
Despite this, the family grew all of their own vegetables—potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, cabbages, and onions—and stored them winter-long in root cellars. Even the children had their daily chores. They were not idle.
They fished for cod and laid it out to dry on ‘fish flakes’ set up on a hillside in the sun. They also salted the fish.
They owned cows and chickens.
Every spring, they bought a pig that they fattened throughout the summer for butchering, curing and preserving in the fall. My mother, a great animal lover, doted on the pig every summer and would steal buttermilk after the cows were milked to rub over the pig’s back to make it soft!
Then, one day in the autumn, her family would send her off to visit friends or family so she wouldn’t be around when they killed the animal she had nurtured for months. It saddened her immensely. I asked her once how she felt about all of this and whether she could bring herself to enjoy the bacon and ham the pig produced. Her pragmatic response was, “Of course. I had to eat.”
Winters were harsh, with frigid temperatures for months on end and deep snow nearly covering ground floor windows. Winter started early and ended late.
The buckets and buckets of wild blueberries my mother picked and sold every summer bought her a new pair of shoes for the start of another school year in September.
I don’t romanticize how difficult her life was, but even given such a bare-bones existence, my mother had a happy and healthy childhood with loving parents. She had a wicked sense of humor, loved to play pranks and was adored by her one older and six younger siblings.
My brothers and sisters and I love to visit. The island and my extended family there hold captive a huge portion of my heart. Here’s a photo of me with my sisters wearing our tourist t-shirts during a recent visit!
I imagine large ranches as being much like islands, with life lived so close to the land and the harsh reality of nature and death a hairs-breadth away. I imagine self-sufficiency and pragmatism. I imagine tough, hard-working people.
My latest book, HOME ON THE RANCH: MONTANA RODEO STAR is the final, sixth book of my Rodeo, Montana, series. I have loved writing about the six women who labored to keep their small town afloat by reviving the local fair and rodeo.
Cocky but likable Dusty Lincoln meets his match in stubborn Maxine Porter.
If ever two opposite should not attract, it is these two, but attract they do!
I’m giving away a copy of MONTANA RODEO STAR to one of today’s blog visitors.
Please respond to the questions below for a chance to win.
Have you ever visited a ranch or wanted to?
Or did you grow up on one?
Or are you a die-hard city person?
Multi-published author, Mary Sullivan, finds fulfillment in writing heart-warming, small town romance.
Her first book, No Ordinary Cowboy, was a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart contest.
Her books have since won awards and glowing reviews. For Mary, writing a book is very much like putting
together a jigsaw puzzle without the final image. She indulges her passion for puzzles—particularly getting
her daily cryptic crossword fix and putting together real jigsaw puzzles without the box—in her hometown
Please give a warm ‘welcome back’ to our guest author Carolyn Brown!
She’s here to talk about the newest book in her Longhorn Canyon Series and also
to give one (plus a bonus!) as a gift for one lucky person who comments.
Author Carolyn Brown
For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Miss Carolyn
or her books, here’s a short introduction …
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Carolyn Brown was born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma. These days she and her husband make their home in Davis, Oklahoma, a small town of less than three thousand people where everyone knows everyone, knows what they are doing and with whom, and read the weekly newspaper to see who got caught.
A plaque hangs on her office wall that says “I know the voices are not real but they have such great ideas.” That is her motto and muse as she goes through the days with quirky characters in her head, telling their stories, one by one, and loving her job.
Howdy to all y’all at Petticoats and Pistols! Every time I see the name of your site, I think of my Christmas present last year. Mr. B bought me a lovely little five shot .38 caliber pink pistol. I didn’t want anything that fired 15 rounds in ten seconds. I figure if I can’t hit something with five bullets, then I shouldn’t be firin’ a gun.
I loved writing Cowboy Brave. Justin and Emily were such fun characters to have in my head for those weeks when we were writing the book. And I do say we, not I, because if I didn’t get the story just right, they kept me awake at night.
The blurb for the book tells you a little about Justin and Emily, so I thought maybe today we’d interview the Fab Five. That would be the five senior citizens in the retirement center where Emily works. I thought maybe I’d just give you a little excerpt to introduce you to them. Picture this (as Ma used to say on Golden Girls)—Bowie, Texas, last year. The Fab Five are all in the van on the way to Longhorn Canyon ranch for a week. They’re excited to be away from the retirement center for a whole week, and Emily is driving for them. She’ll be staying with the three ladies in the girls’ bunkhouse. Otis and Larry will live in the boys’ bunkhouse. Now get ready for the ride…
~ Excerpt ~
“Wagons, ho!” Otis shouted from the middle of the van.
“Wagons, my royal butt,” Patsy said. “We’re on tour and this is our tour bus. We’re off to do shows.”
“And what are you going to do?” Bess poked her sister in the arm. “You never could carry a tune, so it can’t be anything musical.”
“Oh, but, honey, I can dance, and I’ve been practicing my striptease dance. I bet Larry can figure out a way to fix me a pole so I can do my best work,” Pasty shot back.
Larry’s grin deepened the wrinkles. “I’ll get my dollar bills ready to stuff inside your under britches, darlin’.”
“Everyone buckled up?” Emily called out as she started the engine.
“Yep!” they all said in unison.
Emily put the van in reverse, popped the clutch, and spun out, leaving a skid mark on the concrete parking lot. “Then get ready for a ride. If you see flashing red lights, yell at me and I’ll go faster.”
“This ain’t a tour van, it’s a race car. When we get to the ranch, we should do some street racin’ in the pasture,” Sarah yelled from the back. “I love to drive fast.”
“You love anything fast. Did you take your heart pills this mornin’?” Patsy said.
“Did you?” Sarah shot back. “I just have to take one to keep my ticker goin’. You have to take three, so don’t be fussin’ at me.”
“Both of you hush and enjoy the fast ride,” Bess demanded.
“You got it, darlin’.” Sarah’s blue eyes glittered. “I’m like fast food. Hot, cheap, and ready in a minute.”
“That’s like Patsy in college,” Bess said.
“Oh, the sweet memories.” Patsy sighed.
Now that you’ve met the five, would you like to see what kind of trouble they’re going to get into, and how they try to play match maker between Emily and Justin Maguire?
But wait before you answer, there’s more. As a special treat this is a two in one book. You also get the Second Chance Cowboy by A. J. Pine. So happy reading to all y’all!!
(Don’t forget to comment to be included in the drawing for the giveaway!)
who starts off our Friday Guest Posts for the New Year!
Regina is a wife, a homeschooling mother of four,
a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University, and a voracious reader.
She is also the author of award-winning humorous,
inspirational, historical romantic fiction.
Miss Regina is giving away a print copy of her newest release ~ The Lieutenant’s Bargain
to one lucky person who comments!
By Regina Jennings
When I first heard about the competition, I couldn’t believe my luck. You mean there will be cavalry re-enactors showing off their cavalry skills at Fort Reno, the setting of my current series? Yeah, sign me up!
In late September, the U.S. Cavalry Association held their Bivouac and National Cavalry Competition at Fort Reno, Oklahoma—the setting of my current series. Once again, the fort sounded with pounding hooves, stirring bugles and that bluster and swagger that occurs before any contest. Now, I’m always supportive of events that honor our past, but this was at the fort…my fort! It was like I was standing beside Louisa and Major Adams watching the goings-on at the parade grounds.
In the first book of the series, Holding the Fort, most of the story takes place in the General’s House, which was the residence of the highest-ranking officer on the post. The General’s House had a central view of the parade grounds where the men drilled.
Here, in front of the General’s House, a participant competes in the Mounted Saber competition. The obstacle course includes spearing rings on the blade, slicing through apples, popping balloons and stabbing targets on the ground.
Another competition was Military Field Jumping. Behind this soldier you can see the long barracks that the troopers like Bradley Willis stayed in.
Besides combat horsemanship, mounted sabers, and military field jumping, they were also judged on the authenticity of the era they were portraying. Participants had several different categories that they could choose from. Naturally, I was drawn to those portraying soldiers from the Plains Indian Campaigns, since that’s the time I’m writing about.
These two soldiers are currently stationed at Fort Carson, but they were representing troopers from Fort Concho, Texas, during the Plains Indian Conflicts.
They are judged on the historical detail of their uniforms, weapons, gear and tack. Finding these guys is a researcher’s dream! I learned that they would’ve carried more ammo than food, because if you have ammo, usually you can get food. There’s not much room in those bags for fluff, but they liked having both a canteen and a tin cup.
And even though it was a toasty day, they favor the caped overcoat when they want to make an impression. I have to agree with them.
See the heart on the breast collar of the horse –
According to these presenters, the heart meant that the horse had already seen combat. Is that true? I haven’t found that referenced anywhere else, but I’m open to the possibility.
One of the funniest moments of the competition was when this guy was doing his historical authenticity interview. He rode up to the judges in a full Lawrence of Arabia get-up. He did his presentation to the cavalry judges, explaining that he’d been stationed in the Middle East and had put together his gear and clothing while there.
The two judges just listened in wonderment. Finally one of them said, “You’re giving me a lot of information, but I don’t have the foggiest idea of how to judge an Arab outfit. All I know is that horse is not an Arabian.”
Being at the Cavalry Competition set up the moment that will always be one of my favorite writer memories– the time my book cover came to life. One of the contestants was competing in the Mounted Saber course, when I realized that it was a scene straight out of The Lieutenant’s Bargain.
See that house behind him?
See the house on my book cover?
It’s the same! And while Lieutenant Jack isn’t wearing his caped coat on the cover, you’d better believe it’s a big part of the story!
I’m so grateful that our military encourages their young members to keep the legacy of their units alive through events like this, and I’m doubly grateful that they choose to hold the contests at historical sites. I’d imagine if walls could talk, the buildings at Fort Reno would say that they miss the rowdy cavalrymen and the spirited horses that used to populate their grounds.
If you’re free next September, get yourself to Oklahoma to support these brave men as they honor the heroes that came before them. And not to be pushy, but you might enjoy your visit even more if you’ve read a few fun books set there. Then you too can feel like you’re walking into history.
There’s just something right about bringing the cavalry back to Fort Reno.
Remember to comment to have your name entered into a drawing for a copy of The Lieutenant’s Bargain!
** ** ** ** ** ** **
Find out more about Miss Regina Jennings and her books at ~
Do you find you love your name? People can be quite opinionated about something they had little to no control over. One common problem authors have who write historical books is to pick names that were authentically used in the time period. A name like Jaylen or even Liam (unless your character has a very specific heritage and hasn’t been in the US long) would be almost unheard of.
Names are beautiful, but surprising, too. From my study of census data and comparing it to various books I have with actual accounts, I can only say that simply because a name wasn’t common in an era, doesn’t mean it wasn’t used. There are names that have been created in the last few decades which should be (of course) avoided in a historical novel, but I’m all for using what the past has left behind to enrich the future.
Does that mean we should fill our stories with Agneses and Jacobs, or should we personally accept that we’ll have a name we are unhappy with for eternity? I don’t think we need to go that far. Not to mention, how boring it would be! A wonderful resource I’ve found for naming characters is, frankly, so simple I’m surprised more people don’t do it. I find books with personal letters from people during the period in which I’m writing and use their names.
For instance, one of my favorite books in studying Gold-rush era California is a book called, They Saw the Elephant: Women in the California Gold Rush, by Jo Ann Levy. This book is a treasure of life experiences from that period. So many people think of the Oregon Trail as the most difficult trial a family of that time could face, but life in California was hard. These women saw it all, not only the Elephant (you’ll have to look up that phrase to find the meaning, it’s off-topic for this post).
These early pioneers had fantastic names: Arzelia, Julius, Luzena, Ledyard, Zeno, Lodisa, Angeline, Lucena, Clotilde, and Fayette. These are just skimming through the first quarter of the book without even really looking! Of course, there are Annes, Jennies, Marys, Margerets, Johns and Josephs and I think a lot of authors feel like they must use these names because it is expected in historical novels, but in my digging for historical names, I found something very interesting. Your name doesn’t have to define you or your era, not now, and not into eternity.
In the first book in my Brothers of Belle Fourche series, Teach Me to Love, Izzy is abused by the husband she hastily married. She comes to the Broken Circle O to find peace, what she gets is so much more. Conrad can’t think of her as Izzy, not even as her given name, Isabella. He gives her a new name, for a new start, Isabelle.
In Revelations 2:17b we learn that the Lord will give us a new name, a name so intimate, so truly ours, that no one but the receiver and the Lord will know it.
To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
I really wanted to explore that in Teach Me to Love, how important a name can be in healing from the past, from our mistakes, the ultimate forgiveness because we are completely and totally new. The Lord knows we don’t want to be the selves we left behind when we meet Him, so he makes us new, not only in body, but in name.
So, what’s in a name?
I’ve got an ebook copy of my collection, Brothers of Belle Fourche, Books 1-3 for one commenter. Do you think names are important? Have you ever wished you had a different name or read a book where it felt like the name of the character didn’t quite fit (or maybe fit perfectly)?
Kari Trumbo is an International bestselling author of historical and contemporary Christian romance. She began her writing journey five years ago and has indie published almost forty titles. Prior to writing, she was a freelance developmental editor and beta reader.
Kari is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the American Christian Fiction Writers Association as well as her local chapter, MN N.I.C.E. She makes her home in central MN—where the trees and lakes are plentiful—with her husband of over twenty years, two daughters, two sons, a cat, a bunny, and one hungry woodstove.
We’re very happy to have bestselling romance author Amanda McIntyre visiting today. No one lives and breathes cowboys more than Amanda and her books are always at the top of readers’ lists. Please make her welcome and leave a comment to win a copy of Worth the Wait and The Cowboy’s Christmas.
One of my favorite book series growing up (heck, even now!) is the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Later, of course, I would become infatuated by the television show based on the books. For reasons I can’t explain, I find myself drawn to the struggles, the pioneer spirit, and the determination to carve out a life in a world ravaged by blizzards, windstorms, wild critters, and more. Nature could be brutal. Life was hard. Yet traditions in families were strong, humble though they might be.
At Christmas, I think how even the simplest of gifts were given or received with such profound and sincere gratitude. Granted, there was no Macy’s, no Amazon, or UPS back then. No long lines. No exchanges. No gift cards. Gives one pause, I think. And while I admire the stout-hearted women, men and children of days gone by, I wonder if I could survive in the same vein. (Though writing and publishing a book equates in some ways, I won’t lie!)
My upbringing in a small rural Midwestern town probably has much to do with my love for Wilder’s books, and perhaps the inspiration for a short story I would later write about a lonely, old cowboy, out on Christmas Eve on a cattle drive. “A Cowboy’s Christmas,” would later make an appearance as a beloved holiday story read by Jed Kinnison, the cattlemen patriarch of the Kinnison clan and the three young teens Jed raised alone and who would later take over his ranch in End of the Line, Montana.
End of the Line, Montana (fictitious name, best of my knowledge) has roots in history as well. Back in the early 1800’s, it was part of the gold rush and one of the many mining towns that popped up along with the westward expansion. It followed on the heels of places like Deadwood, Leadville, and Reno to name a few. Interestingly, I was fortunate to be involved in a multi-author “mail-order brides” project that introduces mountain man, Christian Ezekiel Kinnsion to the little town of Noelle, Colorado. An ex Union Army man, he follows his brother west to Noelle in search of finding their claim of gold. Christian and his wife, Genevieve, will eventually travel north and be one of the founding families of End of the Line, Montana.
Family, tradition, honor, perseverance, integrity are all components I weave throughout my three related series; The Kinnison Legacy, the Last Hope Ranch, and End of the Line.
In my current release, Worth the Wait, a woman and her two boys discover the kindness of the ranch and the people in town to help her realize the worth of opening your heart to second chances.
When Hank, an old friend rescues Julie from an abusive marriage, he becomes a knight in shining armor to her and her boys. After a year of starting life over at the Last Hope ranch, Hank is ready to set the date. Julie likes the way things are. Can love overcome the pain of the past and prove that it’s all been…worth the wait? I hope you’ll visit End of the Line soon and meet the folks at the Last Hope Ranch!
About Amanda:Published internationally in print, eBook, and Audio, bestselling author Amanda McIntyre finds inspiration from the American Heartland that she calls home. Best known for her Kinnison Legacy cowboys and Last Hope Ranch series, her passion is writing emotional, character-driven contemporary western and historical romance. Amanda truly believes that no matter what, love will always find a way.
What holiday traditions do you have for you or your family? * Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.
Giveaway: An eBook or Print copy of WORTH THE WAIT with a bonus of *The Cowboys Christmas standalone print copy to have or keep as a treasured holiday story. (Print copies US only) *My own private copy of The Cowboy’s Christmas.
The American West was all about travel. Emigrants, drifters, outlaws, dance hall girls, and other characters made their way west. The rest is history. However, I couldn’t help but wonder during my research for the Montana Gold series how accurately that history is portrayed. The rise of dance hall girls was one of my deepest-held beliefs about the West. They’ve been carried forward through time as soiled doves with hearts of gold who willingly embraced their lifestyle. After learning about the hurdy-gurdy girls, I began to question this image.
Beginning in the 1840’s, pretty young women from Hessia (a past part of Germany) drew crowds by singing and dancing while playing a stringed instrument known as the hurdy gurdy. They did this during a financially-repressed time in order to sell brooms their families made. The fame they gained brought them to the attention of unscrupulous ‘soul merchants’ intent on procuring their services in the mining camps of America. Families were visited and contracts signed. The ‘hurdy-gurdy girls’ came to America. Their fortunes varied. Some did well for themselves, but others suffered. While some of the women simply entertained miners, others fell into prostitution.
This was a story that needed telling, I felt. As a former military wife, I knew firsthand how disorienting travel into a foreign land can be. When writing about the heroine’s struggles in Stagecoach to Liberty, I could call upon my own experiences. It’s hard to describe the confusion you feel when everything familiar slips away and you are faced with a completely new world.
This was Elsa’s situation at the opening of Stagecoach to Liberty. After signing a contract, she travels to America at the behest of a shady couple. Elsa is very much a maiden in distress when, on a stagecoach journey, she comes to the attention of a handsome Irishman with troubles of his own. By this time, she’s very much in need of help but fearful of trusting anyone. The freedom she sought by coming to America seems a distant dream.
Exploring the theme of freedom demanded that I answer some questions. What was true freedom (as opposed to the other kind)? Elsa’s journey in Stagecoach to Liberty reveals that, when we come to the end of our strength and reach out to God, we find liberty.
Leave a comment, and I’ll give away reader’s choice of a digital version of Hills of Nevermore (Montana Gold, book 1) or Cheyenne Sunrise (Montana Gold, book 2).
Janalyn Voigt fell in love with literature at an early age when her father read chapters from classics as bedtime stories. When Janalyn grew older, she put herself to sleep with tales “written” in her head.
Today Janalyn is a storyteller who writes in multiple genres. The same elements–romance, mystery, adventure, history, and whimsy–appear in all her novels in proportions dictated by their genre.
The heroine of Stagecoach to Liberty plays a hurdy-gurdy like the one in this image by Didier Descouens [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia CommonsPainting of a Hessian peasant girl by Neue Galerie, circa 1864-1874 [Public domain] Wells Fargo stagecoach by Prayitno / Thank you for (12 millions +) view from Los Angeles, USA [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons Part of the story in Stagecoach to Liberty takes place along the Mullan Road, shown in modern times in this image by Ian Poellet [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons
Christmas On The American Frontier By Kristy McCaffrey
A Christmas filled with cowboys inevitably evokes images of the Old West. Back then, the holidays were celebrated much as they are today, with holiday decorations, Santa Claus, presents, and a Christmas feast. I thought I would share some historical recollections directly from the pioneers themselves.
In 1884, Mrs. George C. Wolffarth of Estacado, Texas, reflected, “Christmas day was warm and beautiful and we had a watermelon feast on the church house lawn. Isiah Cox … had stored the melons in his cellar and they were in fine condition for the Christmas feast.”
“Now, you really must hear about my Christmas dinner!” began Evelyn Hertslet of Lake County, California, in 1885. Her holiday meal was filled with items from her native England. “The plum-pudding and mince-pies were all that could be desired, and we had also tipsy cake, Victoria sandwiches, meringues, and dessert ….”
In 1849, Catherine Haun wrote, “Although very tired of tent life many of us spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in our canvas houses. I do not remember ever having had happier holiday times. For Christmas we had grizzly bear steak for which we paid $2.50, one cabbage for $1.00 and oh horrors, some more dried apples! And for a Christmas present the Sacramento River rose very high and flooded the whole town!”
Elizabeth Le Breton Gunn, who was living in Sonora, California, in 1851, wrote this letter:
“Yesterday was Christmas Day …. We filled the stockings on Christmas Eve …. The children filled theirs. They put in wafers, pens, toothbrushes, potatoes, and gingerbread, and a little medicine …. They received cake and candies, nuts and raisins, a few pieces of gold and a little money, and, instead of books, some letters. Their father and I each wrote them letters, and better than all and quite unexpected, they found yours, and were delighted. In my stocking were a toothbrush and a nailbrush (the latter I wanted very much) and some cakes and a letter from Lewis …. We had a nice roast of pork, and I made a plum pudding. Mr. Christman gave the children some very nice presents; each of the boys a pearl handled knife with three blades, Sarah a very pretty box, and Lizzie a pair of scissors, and each a paper of macaroons.”
Englishman William Redmond Kelly visited California in 1849-50. He celebrated Christmas at a mining camp near Middle Creek. “Our dinner-table was quite a spectacle in its way in the diggings … its bear meat, venison, and bacon, its apple-pies pleasingly distributed, its Gothic columns of plain and fancy breads … the plum-pudding alone being reserved for [a] second course …”
Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote of the preparations for Christmas on the Kansas Prairie: “Ma was busy all day long, cooking good things for Christmas. She baked salt-rising bread and r’n’Injun bread, and Swedish crackers, and huge pan of baked beans, with salt pork and molasses. She baked vinegar pies and dried-apple pies, and filled a big jar with cookies, and she let Laura and Mary lick the cake spoon.” That Christmas, Laura received a shiny new tin cup, a peppermint candy, a heart-shaped cake, and a brand new penny in her stocking.
How would you like seven brand new contemporary Christmas stories set in the West this holiday season?
The weather is cold, the atmosphere is festive, and the cowboys are hot. How do you keep a cowboy at Christmas?
Don’t miss this holiday collection of modern-day cowboys and the women they love, featuring the same USA Today, Amazon Bestselling, and Award-Winning authors from “A Cowboy to Keep,” which garnered 55 reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars.
CHRISTMAS, LIBERTY, AND THE THREE MINUTE MAN by Carra Copelin
Nashville event planner, Liberty Ann Hart, tries not to fall for a local carpenter, but his charisma is difficult to ignore, especially at Christmas and in the rustic setting of a Texas town called Mistletoe. Daniel Dylan Layman is determined to show the headstrong city woman a country life. Will a Christmas fundraiser spark a lifetime of love?
A CHRISTMAS CAROLE by Andrea Downing
Carrie Matheson is happy to start a new life at the Wyoming ranch she has inherited, but her six-year-old son wants to return to New York. As Christmas approaches and his pleas to Santa receive replies, it’s alarm bells not sleigh bells that start ringing. Tate Schrugge is amused by his new neighbor when she jogs over with some mis-delivered mail, but after she calls him Scrooge, she’s definitely not on his Christmas list. If these two can get together, it might be the Dickens of a romance.
THE PEPPERMINT TREE by Kristy McCaffrey
When an unexpected inheritance draws lawyer Skye Mallory home for the Christmas holidays, she’s surprised by a longing to set down roots in her Colorado hometown. Only one thing stands in her way—a cowboy who broke her heart in high school. Joe Carrigan has returned to the community he left years ago, ready to face his one regret in life—Skye Mallory. But this time, he won’t be so chivalrous.
THE DEVIL’S CHRISTMAS KISS by Devon McKay
Some things never change. Kristen Kelly’s hometown is still Christmas crazy. Her sister, Laney, will always need to be rescued. And Cole Lawson will never stop pestering her. The handsome
cowboy has picked right up where they left off, teasing her without mercy. And though her head tells her to run from Cole as fast as she can, her heart has a mind of its own.
SLAY BELLS by Hildie McQueen
Carmen and Jared can’t avoid the sparks that fly between them at first sight. But when a dead body surfaces at the Christmas festival, she becomes a witness and he becomes a suspect. Not exactly the recipe for a perfect match. Can they find love amidst the mayhem and sleigh bells?
THE BEST CHRISTMAS by Hebby Roman
Sofia Rossi and Gar McCulloch meet under challenging circumstances—her estranged son has been admitted to Gar’s ranch rehab-center. Sofia is a successful New York model who had an ill-advised liaison with a wealthy, married member of New York society and lost her son to her ex’s manipulation. Gar is divorced and lost his daughter to a drug overdose. When they bond together to reclaim Sofia’s son, the last thing they expect is to find redemption in each other’s arms, making this their best Christmas… ever.
COUNTING DOWN TO CHRISTMAS by Patti Sherry-Crews
Melody Evans, a professional wedding planner, views happily-ever-after endings with a skeptical eye, but she’s never lost her childlike enthusiasm for her favorite holiday—Christmas. To veterinarian rancher Leland Jennings IV, Christmas is just for kids. If he could, he’d skip the whole month of December. But he does believe there’s one woman out there for him, and he’s holding out for her. Melody revives Leland’s Christmas spirit, and he rekindles her heart.
Only 99 cents at Amazon or FREE in Kindle Unlimited
Leave a comment about what the cowboy on ‘A Christmas Cowboy To Keep’ might be bringing home for the holidays and one lucky winner will receive autographed print copies of A WEST TEXAS CHRISTMAS TRILOGY and BLUE SAGE!! Winner will be drawn tomorrow morning.