Category: Guest Author

A SALUTE TO THE SPAGHETTI WESTERN by TINA RADCLIFFE

Saloon, telegraph office and wooden water tower along the dirt road of an old American western town

Spaghetti Western, also known as Italian Western or Macaroni Western, is a broad subgenre of Western films that emerged in the mid-1960s in the wake of Sergio Leone’s film-making style and international box-office success. –Wikipedia.

Are you familiar with Spaghetti Westerns? Over five hundred of these films were made in the sixties and they are now cult classics. Wildly popular in Europe, they were low budget and released first in Europe and then in the states.

Probably the most well-known of the Spaghetti Westerns are Clint Eastwood’s Dollar Trilogy, also known as The Man with No Name Trilogy and included, A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Clint Eastwood became the first megastar of the Spaghetti Western with these films.

Where American Westerns featured the white hat hero with strong moral fiber, the heroes of the Spaghetti Western were cynical loners with a less than honorable past. These heroes are what is referred to as the Delta Hero. He’s dark and dangerous. Typically, a damaged hero who exiles himself from society and takes on loner/outlaw status. Will he do the right thing in the end? The only thing that’s certain is that he is unpredictable.

The cinematographic style of Spaghetti Westerns made the scenery another character in these movies. Desolate, dusty, dry towns and countryside evoked an imagery of death and doom. The films over-utilized long shots, suspense and the element of surprise.

The musical score too is far more memorable and intrinsic to these film than the American Western, often utilizing rock scores and the electric guitar heavily. The music built an increasing sense of tension and suspense. You most likely can remember the music to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Can you recall the thematic music to any American Western? I’m guessing not.

Fistful of Dollars
For a Few Dollars More
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

From the Spaghetti Western Database, I give you the top ten Spaghetti Westerns voted the essential classics of the genre.

1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly -1966 starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach.

2. Once Upon a Time in the West -1966 starring Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale and Jason Robards.

3. For a Few Dollars More -196 starring Clint Eastwood, Klaus Kinski and Lee Van Cleef.

4. The Great Silence -1968 starring Klaus Kinski and Jean-Louis Trintignant.

5. A Fistful of Dollars -1964 starring Clint Eastwood.

6. Django -1966 starring Franco Nero.

7. The Big Gundown -1966 starring Lee Van Cleef.

8. The Mercenary -1968 starring Franco Nero and Jack Palance.

9. Companeros –1970 starring Franco Nero.

10. Death Rides a Horse -1967 starring Lee Van Cleef.

How about some favorite lines from Spaghetti Westerns?

When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk. – Eli Wallach, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig. -Clint Eastwood, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

Alive or dead, it’s your choice. –Clint Eastwood, For a Few Dollars More.

The heart, Ramon. Don’t forget the heart. Aim for the heart, or you’ll never stop me. –Clint Eastwood, A Fistful of Dollars.

Are you a fan of the Spaghetti Western? Any favorites?

Leave a comment today for an opportunity to win a print or ecopy of Falling for the Cowgirl. Two winners! International readers welcome!

Falling for the Cowgirl (Big Heart Ranch Book 2)

She won the job…

Can he win her heart?

Hiring Amanda “AJ” McAlester as his assistant at the Big Heart Ranch isn’t foreman Travis Maxwell’s first choice—but his sisters insist she’s perfect for the job. And AJ’s determined to prove she’s just as qualified as any man. But with money on the line, AJ and her innovative ideas could put him at risk of losing everything…including his heart.

Order link   http://a.co/exgvsmo

 

 

 

A freelance writer for over twenty years, Tina Radcliffe has sold over two dozen romances to Woman’s World. Tina is an RWA Honor Roll member, a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, and a 2014 ACFW Carol Award winner. She is a 2018 ACFW Mentor of the Year and a 2018 Carol Award finalist. She currently resides in Arizona, where she writes fun, heartwarming romance. Visit her on the web at http://www.tinaradcliffe.com/ 

Mules in Mines? Julie Lence Shares Her Research

Hello Petticoats & Pistols! I am honored to help Linda Broday by joining you today. (Have fun at RWA, Linda!) For those you don’t know me, or may have forgotten, I’m western romance author, Julie Lence, blogging about a subject I knew nothing about and had fun researching: Mules Working in the Coal Mines.

In the summer of 2016, the Pastor of our church retired and our other priest was transferred to a different parish. We welcomed a new Pastor and another priest and looked forward to getting to know them. During their sermons, each priest will sometimes mention something from their childhood or personal experience to tie into the day’s Gospel. One such Sunday, one of them began talking about mules living in coal mines. My first thought was comical, and my second thought was this would make for a great blog. I’ve never heard of a mule living in a coal mine and wrote a quick note to research.

Throughout civilization horses and mules have been used to help man with lifting or hauling something heavy. This practice was carried over in Montana when it came to working in a coal mine. Pulling carts laden with ore was hard labor for man, so mules were brought down into the mines to help. Horses couldn’t be used, as the cages used to get to the bottom of the mine were small. A typical cage proved difficult trying to cram in six men, but could hold one mule. To get the mule onto the cage and to the bottom required a few days planning. The initial step involved not feeding the mule or giving him water for three days because there was a risk the mule would succumb to a ruptured bladder or suffocation while being lowered. Before being led into the cage, the mule was blindfolded so he wouldn’t spook and his legs were bound in a leather truss to keep him still. The mule was placed inside the cage on his rear and lowered to the bottom. Sometimes, he tried to kick, but usually he settled down to the quiet of the mine and rode the cage just fine.

Once down at the bottom, mules were put to work pulling the ore carts. They worked their eight-hour shift and then were taken to a lit stable inside the mine for food and rest. Muleskinners cared for the animals, and along with their food, made sure the mule had a tub of ice water to drink each night. The muleskinner also scrubbed the mule’s hooves with soap and water to rid him of the deadly copper water he plodded through during the day. The copper was capable of eating away at the hoof and if this happened, the mule would end up useless.

Mules adjusted well to the mines, with many knowing the mine better than the minors. Tales abound of many a mule saving miners from fires and other dangers. One such tale involved a miner who made a hole through a wall the size of his head to see what was on the other side. He discovered a lake but thought nothing of it until the next day. His mule began acting strange, and cutting him free from his job, the mule took off for higher ground. Knowing a mule’s instinct was good, the minor and his coworkers were able to escape quickly when, at the same moment the mule dashed off, the hole the miner had made crashed open, with water gushing toward them from the lake.

Though a mule labored beneath the ground, he wasn’t left there his entire life. If a mule was injured or sick, he was brought above ground immediately. The same applied to the duration of the mine shutting down for vacation or the miners going on strike. And mules weren’t treated cruelly. Miners and mule skinners learned early on to care for the mule. If treated poorly, the mule usually got even with either kicking a man in the ribs or head, or squeezing him against the wall. Trained mules were valuable, worth as much as $200, and always received medical treatment and rubdowns when needed.

The use of mules in mines pulling ore carts came to an end in December of 1965. An Act of Legislature outlawed the underground stable, making it illegal to house animals in mines.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to stop by and read about the mules. They truly were exceptional in that time period. To connect with me and learn more about my writing, you can catch me here:

Website: http://www.julielence.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/#!/Julielence

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JulieLence

Amazon: http://a.co/czoevJ4

As an added bonus, I’m giving away 3 ebook copies of my 1st book, Luck of the Draw. To be eligible to win, leave a comment here regarding your favorite thing about the old west. Until next time, have a great day.

WRITING THE OLD WEST: IT’S IN THE LOCAL PAPERS by Kathleen Y’Barbo

I love historical research almost as much as I love writing historical romance—some days, depending on how the writing is going, I love research even more! One of my favorite ways to get acquainted with my setting is by finding old newspapers writing during that time and, if possible, in that location.

By the mid-1800s, nearly every Western town of any size had at least one newspaper that kept a printing press busy. Many had more than one, and press wars—while they seem to be current—really do originate way back when. In their quest to be the best, as they do now, reporters were always looking for a blockbuster story. Sometimes they made it up, but newspapermen—and newspaperwomen—who cared about their craft would go to great lengths to get the story. In a time when photographs were not so easily available, words had to do the job of showing the reader the story.

When I created the character of Madeline Latour, my intrepid reporter for the New Orleans Picayune who goes west to get her story in my novel My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas (Barbour Books, July 2018), I knew she would have to be the type of person whose editor would trust to bring in the big story. She had to have a spirit of adventure to go along with her desire to bring the truth to her readers. Since Galveston, Texas is a real location, Madeline also had to exist within the framework of what was actually happening in Galveston—and in Texas–in the spring of 1880.

And that is where the real fun began. I went to the archives of the Galveston Daily News and read everything I could get my hand—or rather eyes—on. My favorite part of putting real life into historical fiction was to read the social column and the advertisements.

  I found a mention of a party that happened in the same week my characters arrived in Texas, so of course Madeline and Jonah attended. As well as this mention in the society column, a story chronicling the benefits of Dr. C. McLane’s Liver Pills and an advertisement for the Hazard Powder Company Blasting and Mining Powder actually appeared in the March 26, 1880 edition on the third page. Obviously there was no gossip about my fictional characters in that episode, although there were other interesting articles and advertisements. These included one for Jenkins’s Annihilator cure for rheumatism, gout and neuralgia, and another assuring readers that a cure for opium addiction could be found by purchasing morphine from the doctor who placed the ad. The name of the doctor in the opium cure ad is too blurry to read, which is probably just as well.

So the next time you’re curious about an area or an era, an incident or a person of historical significance in the Old West, check out the local papers. Imagine what your Old West character could do with some blasting and mining powder or a vial or two of morphine. Not only can you find out where he or she could have purchased it, but you can probably find an article or two detailing what happened afterward.

I will be giving away one copy of MY HEART BELONGS IN GALVESTON, TEXAS to one commenter from the UNITED STATES.

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 BIO: Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee and author of more than ninety books with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well a Reader’s Choice Award and several Top Picks by Romantic Times magazine. She is a member of ACFW, Novelists Inc., and the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division.

 Kathleen celebrated her fifteenth year as a published author by receiving the Romantic Times Inspirational Romance Book of the Year Award for her historical romantic suspense Sadie’s Secret, a Secret Lives of Will Tucker novel. Her novels celebrate life, love and the Lord—and whenever she can manage it, her home state of Texas.  Recent releases include 2018 CBA Bestseller The Pirate Bride and the newly released My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas.

 To find out more about Kathleen or connect with her through social media, check out her website at http://www.kathleenybarbo.com.

 

 

 

Welcome Guest – Amy Sandas!!!

 

Bounty Hunters of the Wild West

The westward expansion in the United States began before the Civil War, spurred by a yearning for exploration and discovery. Early settlers were also influenced by the lure of gold and inexpensive land and the belief in something termed “Manifest Destiny.” After the war, there was another catalyst that sent people westward; the desire for a new beginning. But the American west was wild and the way was difficult and dangerous.

Violence was a fact of life as people fought for a foothold in the vast and dangerous landscapes. And lawful governance was hard to come by. In this wide, uncertain world of the western frontier, outlaws thrived. There weren’t nearly enough lawmen to cover all the territories and sheriffs and deputies often found themselves with more than enough to deal with in their small communities. Besides, lawmen were greatly hindered by the limited scope and breadth of their authority. Chasing down outlaws who moved from one place to another was either outside their jurisdiction or beyond the capacity of their manpower.

Relief came as a result of a court decision in 1872 which gave certain individuals the power to track down, imprison (indefinitely, if need be), and turn in anyone who had escaped bail or had a warrant for their arrest. These bounty hunters worked on the side of law but were not regulated by the same rules that tied the hands of true lawmen. They could cross state and territory lines. They did not need a warrant to force entry to a fugitive’s property. They had the unique benefit of anonymity and often had to act outside the law in order to accomplish their tasks.

As you can imagine, this combination of power and independence and the lack of checks and balances attracted a variety of people. Many who took on the role of bounty hunter were former military men who possessed exceptional skill with firearms and the know-how to track and, if necessary, kill known outlaws. One of the most successful and well-known bounty hunters was Charlie Siringo, a Pinkerton Detective. Other bounty hunters were barely a half step away from being outlaws themselves. Some were even convicted fugitives who were recruited to turn on their former partners and rivals.

When it came to outlaws and lawmen in the Wild West, the two were often one and the same. Outlaws became lawmen, lawmen became outlaws, and some men managed to live as both at the same time. That was possibly never truer than when it came to those who took on the mantle of bounty hunter.

In THE GUNSLINGER’S VOW, the first title in my new historical western series, Malcolm Kincaid started out as a vigilante on the hunt for justice. While tracking down the men responsible for his brother’s death, he just sort of fell into the occupation of bounty hunter. Though at his core he has the noble goal of finally seeing justice prevail, he has no problem making sure that happens by whatever means necessary. Unfortunately, he falls for a woman whose life might depend on him giving up his vengeful vendetta once and for all.

Whether set in Regency England or the American West, I write historical romance about dashing and sometimes dangerous men who know just how to get what they want and women who at times may be reckless, bold, and unconventional, but who always have the courage to embrace what love and life have to offer.

Visit me on my website, on Facebook, or Twitter.

THE GUNSLIGER’S VOW is available now! Click the cover to order from Amazon.

*****
GIVEAWAY
*****

Amy is giving away two print copies of The Gunslinger’s Vow.
Leave a comment below for a chance to win.

QUILTING MYTHS by MARY DAVIS

I would like to shine a light on five quilting myths most of us have believed to be true at one time or another.

QUILTING MYTH #1 ~ A common task for women during Colonial America times was quilting.

In Colonial times, quilting wasn’t a task of necessity or frugality. It was a pastime of the wealthy. The cottons and silks used in quilting at the time were expensive imported fabrics. Those who could afford the fine textiles quilted, but the ordinary person in early America was hard pressed to keep their family in clothes with days spent spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing, and various other chores for survival. No time for something as frivolous as quilting.

Around 1840 with the industrial revolution, the widespread production of affordable textiles made fabric plentiful and available for more women. As textiles were being mass-produced, some fabrics went from $5 a yard to 5-cents a yard.


                                                                        Quilt from Elko Museum

QUILTING MYTH #2 ~The Underground Railroad used special quilt designs & patterns as signals.

This myth has great romantic appeal. I love the idea of slaves escaping from the South knowing where to find safe refuge by a quilt hung on a clothesline or a special block pattern in a window. But research on the Underground Railroad has found no evidence of such a practice.

QUILTING MYTH #3 ~ Scraps used for quilting was a frugal measure.

This myth implies that most if not all quilts were a product of needing to be frugal. Most women of the past bought fabrics specifically for making a quilt, much as we do today. True, they also used scraps from worn-out clothing or the leftovers from making garments, but they most used new fabric purchased for the quilt. Women didn’t use the worn-out portion of cloth because they would already be—well, worn out. The quilt would damage or tear easily, and all that work would be fruitless.

The frugal quilter theory suggests that quilting was out of necessity only. Many quilts were far too elaborate to be made for daily use. However, simpler quilts were made for everyday.


An old quilt my grandma made decades ago

QUILTING MYTH #4 ~ To show humility, mistakes were intentionally made in quilts from yesteryear.

Intentional mistakes in old (or new) quilts was never a common practice. All quilters make mistakes. It’s nearly impossible to make a perfect quilt no matter how hard one tries.

However, there are mistakes in quilts that have been put there purposefully, possibly for religious reasons or superstition.

It is believed that Amish and Mennonite women put a mistake in each quilt because it would be prideful to make something perfect, because only God is perfect. But to include a mistake on purpose would presuppose that one believed herself to be perfect and that would be prideful.

So, when you find a mistake in a quilt, it’s unlikely to have been made on purpose. It’s just the quilt maker being human.

QUILTING MYTH #5 ~ While migrating west, pioneer women pieced blocks and quilted.

On the long trek westward, a woman rarely worked on a quilt. Any able-bodied person, including women and children, walked most of the roughly 1,500 miles, so doing any form of sewing would have been pretty much impossible during the day. If a woman would have been fortunate enough to travel in the wagon the rough ride would have made fine sewing nearly impossible.

Once stopped at the end of a long day, there were many chores to be done; tending to the livestock, gathering wood, cooking, and so much more. If a woman had any energy after all that, the poor evening light would have made sewing hard, and so they preferred knitting that could be done in low light. Though a few pioneer women might have pieced blocks together for a quilt along the journey, it was uncommon.

So there you have it, five quilting myths that are sadly not true.

I’M GIVING AWAY A DIGITAL COPY OF THE WIDOW’S PLIGHT TODAY TO ONE LUCKY COMMENTER!

MARY DAVIS is a bestselling, award-winning novelist of over two dozen titles in both historical and contemporary themes. She has five titles releasing in 2018; “Holly & Ivy” in A Bouquet of Brides Collection in January, Courting Her Amish Heart in March, The Widow’s Plight in July, Courting Her Secret Heart September, & “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in MISSAdventure Brides Collection in December. She’s a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.

Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-three years and two cats. She has three adult children and two incredibly adorable grandchildren.

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THE WIDOW’S PLIGHT ~ A sweet historical romance that will tug at your heart. This is book 1 in the Quilting Circle series. Washington State, 1893


When Lily Lexington Bremmer arrives in Kamola with her young son, she’s reluctant to join the social center of her new community, the quilting circle, but the friendly ladies pull her in. She begins piecing a sunshine and shadows quilt because it mirrors her life. She has a secret that lurks in the shadows and hopes it doesn’t come out into the light. Dark places in her past are best forgotten, but her new life is full of sunshine. Will her secrets cast shadows on her bright future?

Widower Edric Hammond and his father are doing their best to raise his two young daughters. He meets Lily and her son when they arrive in town and helps her find a job and a place to live. Lily resists Edric’s charms at first but finds herself falling in love with this kind, gentle man and his two darling daughters. Lily has stolen his heart with her first warm smile, but he’s cautious about bringing another woman into his girls’ lives due to the harshness of their own mother. Can Edric forgive Lily her past to take hold of a promising chance at love?

THE WIDOW’S PLIGHT releases in ebook on July 1 and will be out in paperback by mid-June.

Buy link:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CV4XDLH/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1525466464&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=mary+davis+the+widow%27s+light%3C%2Fa%3E&tag=pettpist-20

Bad Women of the West

Welcome Guest – Sylvia McDaniel

As a western writer, I spend a lot of time reading books about the time period. Much has been written about bad men, but what about outlaw or bad women of the west? From the beginning of time women, just like men have gone astray.  In my Lipstick and Lead series, my heroine’s are all bounty hunters.

The idea came from reading a book called The Lady Was A Gambler: True Stories of Notorious Women of the Old West by Chris Enss. The book tells the tales of fifteen women who either gambled or were dealers at the saloons or gambling halls. Interesting reading of how women were used to distract men and help them lose their money.

Another book I’ve found very interesting for research is The Bedside Book of Bad Girls: Outlaw Women of the American West by Michael Rutter. The story about Kate Bender at Benders Bloody Inn was one of the scariest tales I’ve read. It made me think twice about stopping at a hotel for the night.

My latest read is a book called Tough Towns: True Tales from the Gritty Streets of the Old West by Robert Barr Smith. This book is about how ordinary citizens took back their towns from the bad guys who invaded. I haven’t finished this book yet, but so far it’s been interesting reading.

As an author this is where I garner the information for my men and women in my stories. Where I learn about the small towns, the people who lived and worked there. Nonfiction books on the west are invaluable to create your own world.

From the research I’ve done, there were no female bounty hunters in the west. They are a figment of my imagination. But I’ve had so much fun writing my badass girls. I like to write what I call are kick-ass heroines who are in bad situations who find a way to rise to the top. My girls are ordinary women who must overcome a difficult situation and in the process find true love. My heroes are deserving men that fall for the love of a strong woman.

Writing is a tough profession not for the faint of heart, but it’s also fun. I get to spend many hours of the day, playing in the world I create. Below is the blurb from the latest book in my Lipstick and Lead series. After reading The Lady Was A Gambler…I know there will be a seventh book in this series and maybe more…

Lipstick and Lead Series

Defiant — Coming in 2018

If you would like a list of research books I recommend, send me an email at SylviaVirtualBookseller@gmail.com

Sylvia has graciously agreed to give away a signed paperback and an ebook of Decieved. Two books. Two winners! Be sure to leave a comment to get your name in the drawing!

Sylvia McDaniel

USA Today bestselling author Sylvia McDaniel has published more than thirty western historical romance, contemporary romance and even a few sci-fi novels. Known for her sweet, funny, family-oriented romances, Sylvia is the author of The Burnett Brides a historical western series, The Cuvier Widows, a Louisiana historical series, Lipstick and Lead, a western historical series and several short contemporary romances.

Former President of the Dallas Area Romance Authors, a member of the Romance Writers of America®, and a member of Novelists Inc, her novel, A Hero’s Heart was a 1996 Golden Heart Finalist. Several other books have placed or won in the San Antonio Romance Authors Contest, LERA Contest, and she was a Golden Network Finalist.

Married for over twenty years to her best friend, they have one dachshund that reigns Queen Supreme over the house, a new puppy who is challenging the queen and a good-looking, grown son who thinks there’s no place like home. She loves gardening, hiking, shopping, knitting and football (Cowboys and Bronco’s fan), but not necessarily in that order.

http://www.sylviamcdaniel.com/

http://www.facebook.com/SylviaMcDanielAuthor

 

Welcome Cindy Holby!

We’re thrilled to welcome guest author Cindy Holby to the Junction on this fine Friday. Cindy will give away a copy of her book, Colorado Heart, to one lucky poster. Thanks for joining us, Cindy!

A few years ago, I was asked by Kate Seaver, an editor at Berkley, to write a historical western series. At that time I was really struggling, career wise. I’d been orphaned by Dorchester Publishing, where I’d written the Wind Series, a sweeping saga about the Duncan family that took place in 1880’s Wyoming. I had several irons in the fire, having written paranormal, futuristic and young adult, but my first love of writing had come from my western historicals and years of watching every western show or movie that came along.

So, yes, I jumped right on that offer. My agent contacted me early Friday afternoon. I was kind of stunned, but said I’d get back to her. I had an errand to run and my mind was a bit preoccupied with the thought of creating a brand new series. I was also rather desperate for a contract.

And that’s when Cade Gentry walked into my life. An idea formed for the hero and Cade was the first name that came to mind. Perfect. But he needed a last name. I live in a small town, population of around 2000. There’s a hardware store that’s been here for over a hundred years. Gentry’s hardware. Cade Gentry. His entire story came to me in the five minutes it took for me to drive through our tiny downtown area.

You see Cade was desperate also. Desperate for a change in his life. He’s wounded and on the run from some terrible people because for once he did the right thing. Then he stumbles into a preacher’s campsite.  I won’t tell you the rest of the story, because, hey, I want you to read it for yourself. I will tell you that Cade’s story is a story of faith. It also walks a rather delicate line between inspirational and romance.

When recently editing Cade’s story for self publishing, I realized how much Cade’s quest for faith paralleled my own story, both when I wrote it, and now. Cade was stumbling about, making mistakes and thinking that God had forgotten about him. I felt the same way. I knew I had this gift for writing stories so why couldn’t I sell anything? I’d broken in with my Wind Series, fairly easily, selling off the slush pile with my first book and within a year of submission. Then after I was orphaned, I struggled. But just like Cade, God was telling me to wait, that my time would come and when it did, it would be perfect, because his timing always is. Although it’s very hard for us to realize it when we’re struggling.

I’ve been struggling again. The past four years I haven’t written a complete book, although I’ve started several. My sales on my backlist are way down and I’m trying to figure out a way to pay the bills. But then I read Cade’s story again and realized that I had to hold on to my faith and believe that it will all work out in the end. God’s perfect timing.

Cade’s story is titled Angel’s End. It’s about a funny little town tucked up in the mountains of Colorado. The town is built around a large statue of an angel with out-stretched arms and wings. No one knows how the statue got there, they just figured some fool tried to haul it to Oregon and realized they weren’t going to make it with such a heavy load and left it there, standing in a pleasant little valley with a windy creek and a gentle rise. The perfect place for a town and colorful characters like Leah Findley, the sheriff’s widow, her son, Banks, Jake Reece, a rancher, Dusty, who owns a café called the Devil’s Table, and Ward Phillips, the mysterious owner of Heaven’s Gate, the local saloon.

There’s also quite a menagerie of animals because I love them and work in rescue. So this is my story of how I came to create a town called Angel’s End. It’s a story of faith.

I will be giving away a print copy of Angel’s End and its sequel, Colorado Heart to one lucky reader. I hope the rest of you will pay a visit to my charming little town.

Award winning author Cindy Holby doesn’t let genre define her writing. She is published in historical, sci/fi, paranormal, dystopian, fantasy, and young adult. Her stories are character driven with action and adventure throughout. Reviewers note that her characters and plot blend flawlessly for well-rounded stories and hard-won happily ever afters. She takes us on an incredible journey of love, betrayal and the will to survive. Cindy Holby (writing as Colby Hodge) takes us on adventure at a breath-taking clip. She (writing as Kassy Tayler) writes with haunting precision and you’ll fall in love with her characters.

Before her writing career took off, Cindy Holby held many jobs that ranged from bartending at a local disco to teaching first graders how to read. She lives in the foothills of North Carolina with her husband Rob, three rescue cats and a rescue dog named Riley. She is the proud mother of two sons who live close by. When she isn’t writing, she creates beautiful quilts and works in animal rescue. Readers can find her at http://www.cindyholby.com and on all social media outlets.

Buy link to Angel’s End

 

Jodie Wolfe: 125th Anniversary of the Cherokee Strip Land Run

Today our special guest at the Junction is Jodie Wolfe. Jodie will be giving away a copy of her book To Claim Her Heart to one lucky commentor. We’re thrilled to have you here today, Jodie!

Thank you for inviting me here!

Almost twenty years ago my mother-in-law introduced me to the history of the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893. It was a topic especially dear to her since she had several relatives who participated in the race. In 1998, we made a trip from Kansas to Texas, stopping in Oklahoma to see the original permanent homestead. By then, it was crumbling, but I could already picture characters taking up residence on the property.

September 16th marks the 125th anniversary of the last great race for land in the United States. The run took place from nine different starting places in Kansas and Oklahoma. Almost 6.5 million acres were up for grab. It’s estimated that over 115,000 showed up to race.

My book, To Claim Her Heart gives a small glimpse to what life was like during this time. I had the pleasure of including some of the history from my husband’s family. Two fun items that are the most fascinating involve outlaws and quilts.

When potential land owners gathered for the race they came on foot, rail, bicycle, horseback, or all types of conveyances. Some came with nothing other than the shirt on their back while others came with wagons fully loaded with all their worldly possessions in tow. One of the things my husband’s relatives carried with them was a quilt that had been passed down to the oldest daughter in each family.

This Rose of Sharon quilt is believed to have been stitched anywhere from 1834-1854. I’ve learned that they were ‘signature’ quilts—one of the twelve different covers typically stitched for a bride of wealth. This one was quite unique. It was typically brought out on special occasions, like a wedding anniversary.

I’m blessed to own this priceless quilt originally stitched by my husband’s great, great, great, great grandmother, Magdalene Tomber, when she was a girl. With having no sons, my mother-in-law gave it to me. One day I’ll bestow it to one of my granddaughters.

One other fun fact in my story again involves my husband’s family, and the Dick Yeager Gang. I won’t spoil it by telling you about it here since the depiction in To Claim Her Heart is pretty close to what happened. Let’s just say… what would you do if an outlaw showed up at your door?

In celebration of the release of my book, I’ll be giving away one copy. Here’s the back cover blurb:

In 1893, on the eve of the great race for land, Benjamin David prays for God to guide him to his ‘Promised Land. Finding property and preaching to the lost are his only ways of honoring his deceased fiancée. He hasn’t counted on Elmer (Elsie) Smith claiming the same plot and refusing to leave. Not only is she a burr in his side, but she is full of the homesteading know-how he is sadly lacking.

Obtaining a claim in the Cherokee Strip Land Run is Elsie Smith’s only hope for survival, and not just any plot, she has a specific one in mind. The land’s not only a way to honor her pa and his life, but also to provide a livelihood for herself. She’s willing to put in whatever it takes to get that piece of property, and Elsie’s determined to keep it.

Her bitterness is what protects her, and she has no intentions of allowing that preacher to lay claim to her land . . . or her heart.

Thank you for having me here today!

Circuit Riders By Tamera Lynn Kraft

Hello and happy Friday at the Junction. Today guest author Tamera Lynn Kraft joins us to spread the word about circuit riders and to give away a copy of her new book Red Sky Over America. Please join me in welcoming Tamera!

I’ve always been fascinated with circuit riders. Men traveled from place to place in the Old West preaching the Gospel to the families that settled there. They went where most preachers wouldn’t go and risked their lives doing it. Because they visited a number of small gatherings without pastors every week, they traveled on horseback. They were never called circuit riders by their denominations, but the name stuck. They would preach in cabins, fields, courthouses, meeting houses, basements, and even street corners. They would go wherever they could find people to listen.

Francis Asbury was the founder of circuit riding. He traveled 270,000 miles and preached 16,000 sermons in his lifetime. Peter Cartwright, another circuit rider, wrote an autobiography about the life of a traveling preacher. He described the hardships of being a missionary in the West. He faced storms, swamps, climbing mountains, and sleeping wet and hungry in his saddle-bag. Circuit riders also faced persecution. Circuit rider Freeborn Garrettson wrote, “I was pursued by the wicked, knocked down, and left almost dead on the highway, my face scarred and bleeding and then imprisoned.” In 1847, more than half of traveling preachers died before the age of 30.

The circuit riding preachers of the West remind me of the missionary spirit that swept across the United States during the 1800s. In my new novel, Red Sky Over America, America has that missionary spirit. She wants to go to China to become a missionary, but first she has to travel to Kentucky to confront her father about owning slaves. This is a picture of the John Parker House of the Ohio side of the river across from where America lived. John Parker was a free black man who helped slaves cross the river.

Here’s a little bit more about Red Sky Over America, Book 1, Ladies of Oberlin Series.

William and America confront evil, but will it cost them everything?

In 1857, America, the daughter of a slave owner, is an abolitionist and a student at Oberlin College, a school known for its radical ideas. America goes home to Kentucky during school break to confront her father about freeing his slaves.

America’s classmate, William, goes to Kentucky to preach abolition to churches that condone slavery. America and William find themselves in the center of the approaching storm sweeping the nation and may not make it home to Ohio or live through the struggle.

I’m giving away an autographed copy of Red Sky Over America to someone commenting on this post.

Buy Link for Amazon

CHOCOLATE: A VICTORIAN TREAT? OR MORE? by Charlene Raddon

Today we have guest author Charlene Raddon with us here at the Junction. Charlene is not only discussing one of the best things in this world–chocolate!–she is also giving away two books! One lucky commentor will win an e-copy of To Have and To Hold and another will win an e-copy of Divine Gamble. Take it away, Charlene!

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am thoroughly addicted to chocolate. Dark chocolate, to be precise. I rarely eat milk chocolate. Dark varieties have less calories and are good for the heart (that comes straight from my doctor).

Almost everybody loves chocolate, right? But how long has it really been around? The Victorians adored drinking the liquid version, but did they invent, grow, develop chocolate? No.

The first chocolate house in London opened in 1657, advertising the sale of “an excellent West India drink.” In 1689, a noted physician, Hans Sloane, developed a milk chocolate drink, which was initially used by apothecaries. Later Sloane’s recipe was sold to the Cadbury brothers. London chocolate houses became trendy meeting places for the elite London society that savored the new luxury.

But chocolate goes back much farther than the seventeenth century. The fermented, roasted, and ground beans of the Theobroma cacao (chocolate), can be traced to the Mokaya and other pre-Olmec people, with evidence of cacao beverages dating back to 1900 B.C.

The Maya are credited with creating a drink by mixing water, chili peppers, cornmeal, and ground cacao seeds. The Aztecs acquired the cacao seeds by trading with the Maya. For both cultures, chocolate became an important part of royal and religious ceremonies. Priests presented cacao seeds as offerings to the gods and served chocolate drinks during sacred ceremonies. Chocolate was so revered the Aztecs used it as both a food and currency. All areas conquered by the Aztecs that grew cacao beans were ordered to pay them as a tax, or as the Aztecs called it, a “tribute”.

In 1521, during the conquest of Mexico, the Spanish conquistadors discovered the seeds and took them home to Spain. The Spaniards mixed the beans with sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and cinnamon. The result was coveted and reserved for the Spanish nobility. Spain managed to keep chocolate a secret from the rest of the world for almost 100 years. Once discovered, the drink spread throughout Europe.

Somewhere along the way, some European decided a special pot to serve the beverage in was needed. The earliest pots were silver and copper. Later, European porcelain manufactures began producing them as well. These pots had a right-angle handle and a hole in the lid in which a wooden stirrer, called a molinet or molinillo, stirred the mixture. Rather than a log spout which began in the middle of the side of the pot, like coffee and tea pots have, the chocolate pot has a flared spout at the top.

If you look on e-Bay, you’ll see pots of both styles, those with the long side spouts offered as combination coffee or chocolate pots. Prices vary considerably, but a good pot can run as much as $1,000.00, and a set, with cups and saucers and sometimes sugar and creamer, can be as high as $3,000. Although none of mine are this valuable, my personal assortment of chocolate pots numbers around thirty-five. The photographs shown here are from my collection.

The origin of the word “chocolate” probably comes from the Classical Nahunt word xocol?t (meaning “bitter water”) and entered the English language from Spanish. How the word “chocolate” came into Spanish is not certain. The most cited explanation is that “chocolate” comes from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, from the word “chocolat,” which many sources derived from the Nahuatl word “xocolat” (pronounced [ ?o?kola?t]) made up from the words “xococ” meaning sour or bitter, and “at” meaning water or drink. Trouble is, the word “chocolat” doesn’t occur in central Mexican colonial sources.

Chocolate first appeared in The United States in 1755. Ten years later, the first U.S. chocolate factory went into production.

I learned all this doing research for my historical romance, To Have and To Hold. In the story, the heroine has a friend who owns a bakery in town and, when Tempest comes to visit, Violet serves her hot cocoa with a chocolate pot.

Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma of Spain published the first recipe for a chocolate drink in 1644 by in his book, A Curious Treatise of the Nature and Quality of Chocolate. The spices included hot chiles, and the recipe goes as follows:

  • 100 cacao beans
  • 2 chiles (black pepper may be substituted)
  • A handful of anise
  • “Ear flower”  *
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 ounces cinnamon
  • 12 almonds or hazelnuts
  • pound sugar
  • Achiote (annatto seeds) to taste –

Ingredients were boiled together and then frothed with a molinillo, the traditional Aztec carved wooden tool. The achiote was used to redden the color of the drink. *Also known as “xochinacaztli” (Nahuatl) or “orejuela” (Spanish).

“Chiles and Chocolate” goes on to provide another chocolate recipe published in France 50 years later. This one has significantly reduced the amount of chili peppers. The recipe was published in 1692 by M. St. Disdier of France, who was in the chocolate business:

  • 2 pounds prepared cacao
  • 1 pound fine sugar
  • 1/3 ounce cinnamon
  • 1/24 ounce powdered cloves
  • 1/24 ounce Indian pepper (chile)
  • 1 1/4 ounce vanilla

A paste was made of these dried ingredients on a heated stone and then it was boiled to make hot chocolate.

Today, the main difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate is that hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder, which lacks the fat of cocoa butter. Hot chocolate is made from melted chocolate bars mixed with cream.

Charlene Raddon is the award-winning author of nine American historical romance novels and a book cover artist at http://silversagebookcovers.com. She began writing in 1980 and first published in 1994 with Zebra Books (Kensington Books imprint). Her work has received high reviews, won contests and awards. Her latest book, Divine Gamble, is currently up for a Rone.

Find Charlene at:

http://www.charleneraddon.com

http://www.twitter.com/CRaddon

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1232154.Charlene_Raddon

http://www.facebook.com/charleneb.b.raddon

http://www.silversagebookcovers.com

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