Category: Guest Author

Guest Linda Carroll-Bradd on Popular Music in the 1880s

In my latest release, Dulcina, book 5 in “The Widows of Wildcat Ridge” series, I feature a heroine who has a natural singing talent and, with her husband, owned a saloon in a gold mining town in Utah Territory. Her contribution was being the “talent” at the various saloons she and her husband owned over the eight years they were together. They ran a respectable establishment with no fancy ladies, relying on Dulcina’s singing talent to draw in the customers. Although she wasn’t well accepted by the women in the town, Dulcina looked on her talent as providing the right type of atmosphere to keep the atmosphere calm.

I’m an author who believes in including lots of historical facts in my stories. If you read about a certain product or tool or company, you can be sure that product existed at the time the story is set. Often, I’m lucky enough to find a resource that provides me with an image so I can describe what the products looked like to create an authentic visual. Researching what the popular music she would have performed proved enlightening, at least to me. I had no idea some of the songs that I’ve learned from various settings (elementary school choir, Girl Scouts, camps, music tapes for my children) were as old as they are.

Consider that many people who settled the western part of the United States after the Civil War were a vast mix of people. Some came from well-established homes in the East where too many sons existed and a third or fourth son wouldn’t inherit much. These individuals would have an upbringing that included music and many could play piano, including the women. Other settlers came from foreign countries and brought their own music and songs. For many, a piano, or a banjo, or a violin—or all three—and sheet music provided an entire evening’s entertainment with people of all ages joining in.

 

Photo credit: DeviantArt

In the 1870s and 1880s, the plays by W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan provided lots of songs. H.M.S. Pinafore was their first huge success and provided “Never Mind the Why and Wherefore”, “Things Are Seldom What They Seem” and “Sorry Her Lot Who Loves Too Well.” From Pirates of Penzance came “Away, Away, My Heart’s on Fire”, “A Rollickin’ Band of Pirates, We” and “I am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General” and from Iolanthe “When Britain Really Ruled the Waves”, “None Shall Part Us” and “Welcome to our Hearts Again.” Or other familiar tunes were “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”, “Farmer in the Dell”, “Oh, My Darling Clementine”, “Polly Wolly Doodle”, “The Fountain in the Park” (better known as “I Was Strolling in the Park One Day”), “There is a Tavern in the Town”, “Blow the Man Down” and “Sailing, Sailing.”

 

Photo credit: Picryl

Not only would the singing be a unifying activity for the family, or residents of a boarding house, or citizens traveling through a small town in a sparsely populated area, but it also put the people in touch with what was happening in other places in the world. What fun to perform songs that were also being sung in theater performances across the continent in New York or halfway around the world in London. Oftentimes, people living on the frontier had a limited scope of life, meaning they didn’t travel far from the place where they were raised, but music made them feel like they belonged to a larger society.

BLURB

Left widowed following a Utah mining disaster, Dulcina Crass faces running a saloon on her own when her previous contribution was solely as the singer. She struggles to learn the necessary tasks but her heart isn’t in being a saloon keeper. All she ever wanted was to be a famous singer. Will asking Gabriel Magnus, a neighbor from her New Mexico hometown, bring the help she needs or a new kind of trouble?

Gabriel Magnus isn’t fulfilled by his role as ranch hand on the family’s New Mexico sheep ranch. What he wants is the chance to prove his boot making skills are good enough to start his own business. When he receives a letter from recent widow Dulcina offering a partnership in the Last Chance Saloon, he recognizes the chance to come to the rescue of the vivacious girl he wanted to court a decade earlier. Upon his arrival, he presents her with a demand–her answer could decide both of their fates.

Amazon buy link: http://amzn.com/B07JL58L4B

Web Contacts:

Website: http://www.lindacarroll-bradd.com
Blog: http://blog.lindacarroll-bradd.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.carrollbradd
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/lcarrollbradd
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/lindacarroll-braddhttps://www.amazon.com/author/lindacarroll-bradd/abr?tag=pettpist-20 Bookbub page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/linda-carroll-braddhttp://eepurl.com/bjKueH

I’m giving away a print copy of A Year in Romance, Books 1-4 of “Dorado, Texas” series (US only, ecopy to international winner).

Updated: November 20, 2018 — 3:30 pm

Welcome Guest Faith Blum!

Last year, I had the opportunity to go to the location my first series was set in, Castle Town, Montana. It’s a ghost town now, although it is inhabited by cattle rather than ghosts. Even so, it was fun to see it. And now I feel like I need to rewrite my series. But I won’t.

Castle Town was a small mining town back in the late 1800s. There are lots of rocks, pine trees, and hills all around it. The only buildings left standing are the foundation of the general store and another building that is actually mostly standing yet.

I loved going there to see where my characters lived, even if it wasn’t quite the way I had imagined it. It had been a dream of mine for a few years to go to Montana mainly because of my books, and I was blessed to have a husband who willingly let me fulfill that dream.

I’m sharing a few pictures with some explanations from the area around Castle Town as well as Castle Town itself.

This sign guided us to the direction we were headed. But first we went to the right because there was a cute little church over there that we couldn’t resist looking at.

This sign was outside of the town. The bottom half says, “This road was the main street of Castle, Incorporated in 1891 with a population of about 1,500 people. The first mine registered was the North Carolina Mine in 1884. In the next 7 years, 991 claims were located. The rock basement is the remains of Baker’s General Store and Post Office. Berg’s Meat Market and Kidd’s Furniture Store were across the street. On the far hillside was Minnie’s Sporting House. The silver panic of 1893 caused the town to die a rapid death.

A panorama of the town.

A closeup of the foundation.

Obviously, there are some recent updates to the church, but doesn’t this look like something from a western?

This is the road leading to Castle Town. It is a one-lane road and you can only hope no one comes barrelling around the corner toward you. It definitely fit the rustic feel of the area.

These rocks lined the road. I don’t know if they were original to the area or put there from somewhere else.

It was so peaceful out there. The only creatures around were the cattle and the only sounds were of the cattle moving and the wind in the trees. I think I need to stop talking about it before I start wanting to back again.

If you ever find yourself near Bozeman, Montana, it’s only a two-hour drive north and a little east to get there. It’s a slow drive there, but fun.

What was your favorite vacation? Why was it your favorite?

Today, I am giving away one free ebook of my book that spends the most time in Castle Town, Montana,  Lily of the Valley. It is the fourth in the series, but it can be read as a standalone.

Updated: November 5, 2018 — 5:37 pm

Welcome Guest – Jolene Navarro!!!

Hola! Jolene Navarro checking in from my front porch in the Texas Hill Country. I’m so happy to be here today.

My family has been in Texas for seven generations, so when it comes to telling stories, I can’t help but draw from my own experiences. My family loves getting together for the holidays, and you can see this in all my stories.

Lone Star Christmas is my third Christmas story and the third book for my Bergmann sisters of Clear Water, Texas. The sisters have been so much fun to get to know. Family is everything to them, even when they drive each other crazy.

I have two sisters and a load of aunts. Even though we lost our mother eleven years ago we still get together with her family, including our grandmother (her mother).

A few years ago, my sisters and I along with a cousin or two, thought it would be easier and much more fun to rent a cabin in our family hometown of Leakey. What a perfect place to give thanks by the river and among the hills that we came from. It was one of the best decisions we had made. As a family we love the outdoors, the trees, river, sky the more we can explore the happier we are. And of course, we have the dishes that have been served even before I was born. One of my favorites is the cranberry sauce served in my great-grandmother’s bowl.

Now to be fair there are family fights…sauce from fresh cranberries or the stuff from the can?  Some people will only eat that stuff from the can, but I’m not here to judge. We welcome everyone…no matter how they take their cranberries.

So, hosting Thanksgiving in a cabin on the river became a new tradition. A few of us stay for three or four days to set up, clean up and just hang out. The rest of the family comes in for Thursday. How can I not incorporate this kind of family fun (and maybe a little drama) into my books? In Lone Star Hero, the big family gathering is new to my hero Max and his three younger brothers. They have never spent the holidays together let alone in such a huge setting. 

Click cover to order.

Thanksgiving is just a kickoff of the holidays. My all-time favorite time, Christmas. Therefore, I love writing Christmas stories. It can be a time of such joy and hope. On the other side a person could be swamped in darkness, grief, loss, or loneliness. I work with this theme a great deal just like Max and his brothers. The idea that as the author, I can right wrongs, give people new chances and hand out happy endings to the most broken.

Every Christmas Eve we drive over the hills, through the Frio River and down a long bumpy dirt road to my cousin’s ranch on the Frio River.

Surrounded by God’s creations has a way of healing the bumps and bruises the world leaves behind. How could I not bring this into my stories and share with the world? I love being a country girl.

Like I said, I love writing holidays and I use what I know, but there are so many traditions. I want to hear about some of yours.

Finish this sentence for me: I get that holiday feeling when……

If you leave a comment, you will be entered to win a gift bundle of all three Bergmann sister’s books: Texas Daddy, The Texan’s Twins, and Lone Star Christmas.

Welcome Guest – Nerys Leigh!!!

MARRIAGE, CONSENT, AND MAIL ORDER BRIDES
by Nerys Leigh

The issue of consent is very much a hot topic these days, and I think we would all agree that forcing one’s attentions on someone without their consent is wrong. But what about back in the nineteenth century, between a husband and wife? What was a mail order bride to do who had just married a man she didn’t know?

So far in my Escape to the West series, the issue hasn’t come up, with my brides for one reason or another not having to face the prospect of intimacy with a man they’ve only just met. But in More Than Gold, the sixth book in the series, all Gabriel wants is a woman to cook, clean, and warm his bed. In his world, people get married for practical purposes and nothing more. His new wife, however, has different ideas. Despite being forced to travel across the country to marry a man she’s never met, Grace refuses to give up on her dream of being loved and cared for.

So when Gabriel makes his move barely three hours after she arrives, he doesn’t get the response he’s expecting!

Excerpt from “More Than Gold” by Nerys Leigh.

Gabriel rose and walked across the room to her, stopping just a foot away when she turned around.

“You’re a real handsome woman, Grace,” he said, sliding his hands around her waist and leaning in for their first kiss.

A fist slammed into the side of his face, whipping his head round and sending him reeling backwards.

She grabbed a skillet from the cupboard and held it in front of her like a weapon. “What are you doing?!”

He shook his head to clear it. The woman had a right hook most men would have been proud of. “What do you think I’m doing? We’re married. We’re going to do what married folks do.”

It was a perfectly natural assumption, as far as he was concerned.

But not for her, apparently. “We’ve known each other for less than three hours and you expect me to just allow you to have your way with me?”

What was going on here? “Uh… yes?”

She gasped in a horrified breath. “You… you… uncouth brute!”

He was fairly sure uncouth was a bad thing.

Drawing himself up, he pointed his finger at her. “Now wait just a minute. We’re legally wed. It’s not like you’ll be whoring yourself out to me. I’m your husband.”

Her eyes looked like they could pop right out of her head. “Whoring?!”

It may have been a poor choice of words.

He raised both hands, palms out in surrender. “That ain’t what I meant. I’m just saying that it’s natural for a husband and wife to want to…”

“Well I don’t want to, so you keep your hands to yourself!” She brandished the pan, forcing him to step back.

He rubbed at his aching face. If she could do that with just her fist, no telling what kind of damage she could do with a skillet.

He decided to try reasoning with her, from a safe distance. “I know we haven’t been together for long, but we’d been writing letters to each other for nigh on three months before you came. I reckon we know each other plenty. I promise I’ll be real gentle and…”

“You won’t be gentle. You won’t be anything.” She waved the skillet. “Because it isn’t happening!”

So what do you think? Is intimacy simply a matter of being married? Or is it something deeper, coming out of the kind of love, care and respect that will last a lifetime?

 

Comment your thoughts below for the chance to win an ebook of your choice from my Escape to the West series!

Welcome Guest Author ~ Tina Dee!


Heritage and Legacy – Lessons from Rankin Ranch to an Author

Tina Dee author photo

Tina Dee with Molly

 

My name is Tina Dee and I write Christian romantic-comedy, both contemporary and historical.
My stories feature heroines with grit, gumption, and grace—and the heroes who fall in love with them. My characters are flawed but loveable.

I love the old west. But what I really love is bits of the old west’s grit, gumption, and grace preserved in today’s world. Dude or guest ranches fascinate me, especially ones that had their beginnings, of some sort, over a hundred years ago.

 

~ Researching Rankin Ranch ~

I found one such place while researching ranches for my Wildflower Ranch series—a fascinating 31,000-acre place called Rankin Ranch, located in what they describe as a ‘mountain valley deep in the heart of California’s Tehachapi mountains, and at the southern end of the Sequoia National forest.’

Rankin Ranch has all the makings of a great western story—it is a great western story, but I’m not going to retell it, since the Quarter Circle U Rankin Ranch has its own incredible story already shared on their website. I’ll just highlight a few things and invite you over via their link later in this post.

For now, I wanted to share what really pulled me into their story and why their place—their story—is an inspiration for a story I’m writing now (which will be out at the end of the month, called The Bonnets of Rescue Ranch, book 15 in the Whispers in Wyoming series), and why it’s my continued inspiration for my own series called, Short Stories from Wildflower Ranch (Wildflower Ranch, book 1 and Wrangled Into Love, book 2—with more stories to come this year and next).

Overland Team at Rankin Ranch barn

-The Quarter Circle U Rankin Ranch once served as a stage stop for the Overland mail route. The old barn where the teamsters’ horses were tended to is still used today for hay storage.

-The ranch is still run by 4th, 5th, and 6th generation Rankins.

The Rankin Family

For me, the most incredible part of the story comes during the 1950s when the matriarch of the family, Helen—who was newly widowed—had to make a decision about the ranch—to sell it, or to keep it. I invite you to read about the cattle ranch’s rich history here, and then read about its guest ranch history here. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Helen Rankin

In my stories, I always try to write about women with grit, gumption, and grace who are facing challenges that they feel are beyond them but they find their way to their future and their everyday-romantic-hero by those same virtues. Helen Rankin was an archetype of those very qualities; she was faced with overwhelming challenges that she met head-on, and generations later, the family and the ranch are still thriving.

Here’s a little blurb from my book …

 

Sometimes love blooms in the places you least expect…

Charlene “Charlie” Evans is ready for a new beginning after a terrible riding accident leaves her unable to compete in the Rodeo World Championship. When she receives a job offer, as foreman for a ranch, she gladly accepts. So what if she sort of passed herself off as a man in order to get the job?

Dan Richards is offered the ranch of his dreams from his terminally ill uncle for a price he can’t refuse. He jumps at the chance to own a ranch he has loved since childhood. However, when he arrives at the place it’s not what he had hoped for, or as he remembered. The ranch is in shambles. With no experience, where does he go from here?

Will Dan and Charlie let God help them find new dreams on Wildflower Ranch?

A Christian romantic-comedy novella.

Thank you for letting me share a bit about my Wildflower Ranch series and where the real-life inspiration for the ranch came from. 

For updates about my stories, I send out a newsletter twice a month with giveaways and other fun stuff. Please feel invited to sign up for my newsletter at Tina Dee Books Newsletter. You can also follow me on Amazon here.

I will be giving away a copy of Wildflower Ranch to three commenters. If you’re not chosen, you can still get the book on Amazon here.

Guest Author Sophie Dawson!


Please welcome author Sophie Dawson
to the corral today! 

Sophie Dawson Author PictureSophie Dawson has been making up stories in her head ever since she was a child. She has written fiction and non-fiction, contemporary and historical romance, and has also ventured into the increasingly popular arena of audio books.
She lives with her husband on the family farm in Illinois.
Two grown sons, a daughter-in-law and granddaughter round out her immediate family.

Sophie is giving away a copy of each book she talks about today,
one to each of two commenters. 

 

Disaster Comes To Silverpines

 

Women were scarce in the West in the 1800’s. We all know that. Mail Order Brides were, maybe not as common as in romance novels of today, but one way men could find wives. How scary would it be to leave all you knew, whether it was a good situation or terrible, travel the arduous hundreds of miles of empty land, then marry a man you only knew from a few letters? In our novels, every couple has a happily ever after ending. We know this wasn’t the case. Common sense and human nature tells us that.

But, what if you lived in a mining and logging town in Oregon, having moved there or been born and raised there and suddenly all the men, or those who were marriageable or husbands already, died in a disaster leaving the women to pick up the pieces of the town and their lives? That’s the premise of the Silverpines Series.

Many women in the West were widowed and left with children they needed to support and raise. Men were widowed too in the same situation. It wasn’t unusual for these grieving people to rapidly marry, sometimes the same day they buried their spouse. She needed a protector, a supporter, a father for her children. He needed someone to take care of his children, be their mother, and to do the work in the home so they could all eat, stay healthy, and teach the children as there might not be a school nearby.

In Silverpines, Oregon in 1899 there weren’t men in town to marry. And there were many women left as widows or young women who wanted to marry someday. The solution… Send for Mail Order Grooms. I’ve written two books in the series so far; Wanted: Shopkeeper and Wanted: Bookkeeper.

 

Shopkeeper book cover

Millie Messer is the widow of the mercantile owner with four young children to raise. One still in diapers. She needs to run the store, do her regular work tending the children, help those in need, and be wary of the con men who’ve come to town in the wake of the disasters.

Clay Cutler answers her advertisement. He’s experienced in running a store. His family owned on and he’d been raised in it. He seems the answer to her prayers. There’s just one detail he forgot to mention; he has five children. Millie finds out when they get off the train. Needless to say, she is not pleased.

Do they get their HEA? What antics do nine children come up with as they blend the two families? What danger lies ahead for all of them? What secret is Clay keeping from Millie?

Find out in Wanted: Shopkeeper.

 

Bookkeeper book cover

Poor Tilde Lasek, she’s lost her father and brother in the disaster. her mother is overwhelmed with her grief. She’s left to run the bank they own by her herself and is in way over her head. Then there’s the attempted bank robbery. Thankfully, it was foiled and she wasn’t kidnapped or injured. BUT, it was the last straw. Not telling her mother, who is against the idea, Tilde advertises for a husband.  She’s smart enough not to mention the job he’ll do is in a bank.

Joel Richards is her choice.  They marry hours after he arrives in Silverpines, without informing her mother who isn’t happy with the marriage. Then there are the changes Joel hopes to make at the bank. Tilde’s not happy with those.

Can Joel convince Tilde to bring Silverpines bank into the 20th century? Will Tilde be able to be the wife he wants without letting him bring even more change to her life? Will Mabel Lasek ever accept her daughter’s marriage? Will there be a Happily Ever After with all three living in the same house?

Read to find out.  Wanted: Bookkeeper.

 

Get these and the other great Silverpines Series books on Amazon Kindle, print and KU.

Sophie Dawson is an award winning author of sweet historical romance set after the Civil War, as well as Contemporary romances. She’s participated in several Multi-Author Projects with her newest one being The Pinkerton Matchmaker. Her novel, An Agent for Mina debuts November 9. Check her Amazon author page for details. http://amazon.com/author/sophiedawson

Sophie Dawson Reader Friends group:  http://www.facebook.com/groups/139425236751751/ 

Website:  http://sophie-dawson.com

Welcome Guest – Sunny Marie Baker!!

Hello. I’m Sunny Marie Baker and I’m thrilled to be a guest blogger today at Petticoats and Pistols. From the time I was a child I loved the old west. Watching Roy Rogers and Gene Autry on T.V. I got lost in the stories. I became one of the characters continuing the adventure outside in my yard long after the T.V. show ended. Every Christmas my special gift from Santa was a new pair of cowboy boots. There’s a pair of red ones sitting in my closet right now. Yep, once a cowgirl, always a cowgirl.

Is it any wonder when I began my writing career that I would write western themed novels? It was a no brainer. I write both Western Historical and Contemporary Western Romance, sometimes with a supernatural twist.

I’m currently completing my Texas Strong Series. In this series each book tells the story of a woman who by dire circumstances is transplanted to rural Texas in the 1800’s. Each enters into a marriage of convenience and must become Texas Strong to survive the consequences of her choice.

 

Claree’s Plan, Book Two in the Texas Strong Series, released on August 24th 2018

 

 

 

Claree May Whitney needs a husband and she needs him now!

Claree’s father pledges her as collateral in a high stakes poker game with Angus MacGregor, a repulsive man with the girth of a bull, and Angus wins.

Claree is determined she’ll not marry a bald, drooling man three times her age. On the pretense of a shopping trip to purchase sleeping garments to please her soon-to-be husband, Claree, with the help of her friend, Marguerite, makes her escape. She buys a ticket aboard a rarely-used mail stage to the farthest place her money will take her — Bryce Canyon, Texas.

Rumor has it men are plentiful in Texas and many looking for a wife. She’ll have her pick. Marrying someone else will make null and void the marriage contract her father forced upon her. Yes, that’s what she’ll do, marry a man of her choosing, and Angus MacGregor be damned.

Claree puts her plan into action. What could go wrong?

 

Book One in the Texas Strong Series is Cora’s Promise. One lucky winner chosen by Petticoats and Pistols will win a signed print copy of this first book in the series.

Cora Sutton keeps her promises

She makes a treacherous journey to fulfill a vow to her dying friend, and delivers Berta’s most cherished possession to Ramsey Locke in Rabbit Glen, Texas. Now what? Cora doesn’t have a thought. Doesn’t have a plan. Doesn’t have anywhere to be.

Ramsey is caught by surprise. He never anticipated such a gift. The truth is, he spends hours in the saddle running his ranch and doesn’t have the time required to honor and preserve Berta’s Treasure. He strikes a deal with Cora. She’ll stay on to tend the household duties and make sure Berta’s last wish is upheld. He’ll sleep in the barn.

When the town biddies discern that Cora is pregnant, the church demands Ramsey take responsibility for her condition. “I’ve never so much as kissed the woman,” Ramsey protests. “I’m not the father of her baby.” However, the church folks get out their calendars, and it all adds up for them.

Ramsey gives Cora his name to save her reputation, but will he ever give her his heart?   

Book Three of the Texas Strong Series, Camille’s Purpose is scheduled for release in late 2019.

Thanks again for the opportunity to share these western themed stories of strong women here on Petticoats and Pistols.

(click on covers above to learn more about these books and/or to purchase)

Updated: September 26, 2018 — 1:41 pm

Welcome Guest – Jodi Thomas!!

Hello everyone, Jodi Thomas here.
In a few weeks MISTLETOE MIRACLES will be out as the 7th book in the Ransom Canyon series.  I’m very excited about this one. 

Hold on to your hats this is going to be a wild, funny ride.

I had a series of events, like every writer experiences sometimes, tumble down on me when facing the deadline on this book.  One roadblock after another happened.  Sometimes the real world interrupts my fantasy world. 😉 So, all of a sudden I had a book due, I was suffering from exhaustion, and the holiday season was nearing.

“Rest.” The doctor insisted.  Great.  No talks, no travel, no lectures. I stayed in my pj’s and wrote. The book took over my brain—in truth it wasn’t much of a fight.

All at once the characters were living in my mind, not just subleasing a few hours a day.

I got better and finished the book.  My editor loved it.  Christmas, three love stories, a horse ranch.  I turned it in right after Christmas, getting to live both in real life and in my mind for the holidays.

Then life rushed in.  Travel, talks, business, relatives. I’m behind again. This time on Number 8 that will be out in 2019.

No problem. Then came the head-on car crash. I’m back at home–with a broken leg. Not in fantasy this time. I wrote half the book in a month with my leg propped up.

I’m starting to see why BREAK A LEG means good luck.  Maybe whoever made it up was talking to me.

So, I googled it:

A phrase of encouragement typically said to one who is about to perform before an audience, especially an actor. It is thought to be used due to the superstition that wishing one “good luck” will result in the opposite, but the exact origin of the phrase is unknown.

I also researched jobs and found that being a cowboy ranks at the 4th more dangerous job in America.   All of us who’ve been tossed from a horse are yelling, “Amen” right now.

So ladies and gentlemen, enjoy my MISTLETOE MIRACLES this fall with my three cowboys on the Maverick Ranch because next spring while I’m writing book number 9, one of my heroes is going to break a leg for a change, and I plan to stay healthy.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of Mistletoe Miracles to kick off your holiday reading.  I’d love to hear what your lucky saying is.

And don’t forget to sign up for a three-day stay at my hideout in Red River, New Mexico.  You pick the season, they’re all beautiful.  Just check the rules on my website:  jodithomas.com.    

Heather Blanton – The Ghosts of Horses Past Live On

Hello everyone. Please welcome Heather Blanton to the Junction. Heather is sponsoring a very generous 4 item giveaway today – three individuals will receive her e-book box set of the Romance in the Rockies trilogy and one will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. So join  in the discussion by leaving a comment to get your name tossed in the hat for your chance at one of these prizes. 
Now, let’s hear from Heather:


Legends, myths, ghost stories. Experts say they are all rooted in at least some fact. Recently, I had the honor to see some Spanish ponies—genetically-proven descendants of horses left in the West by Spanish explorer Coronado in 1519. Five hundred years ago.

Oh, what I wouldn’t have given to hear the stories the braves and the medicine men and chiefs told about seeing those amazing, beautiful animals for the first time.

The initial sightings did, indeed, spawn some amazing tales. I heard a few of them when I was in South Dakota this summer, and my favorite is the Legend of Swift Blue One.

One day a brave was out hunting, and he saw a horse draped in flowing, blue raiment with a man covered in shiny metal on its back. Afraid, but determined to show courage, the warrior shot an arrow at this amazing animal. It struck a crack in the man’s metal and he fell to the ground. The brave rushed up and was going to shoot again, but, the stallion, a mystical blue-gray color, pawed angrily at the ground, screamed, and bared his teeth when the brave approached.

The brave wanted very badly to possess this animal, but each time he came near, the blue horse chased him away. Through signs, the man on the ground said if the warrior would save his life, he would teach him to talk to the horse called Swift Blue One.

The warrior agreed, and he and the man rode the horse back to his tribe, amazing everyone in camp at this spectacle. But the horse was fierce, kicking and attempting to bite anyone who came too close. The man taught the young brave how to talk to blue horse, but soon died from his wound. The only other one who could ride the magnificent animal, the brave still did not remove the covers that draped around Swift Blue Horse. He believed they kept the stallion from harming anyone in camp.

The blue horse was the fastest creature the tribe had ever seen. They said he had lightning in his hoofs. When the brave died in battle, though, the elders turned the horse out for no one else could talk to him. For a long time they would see him racing about, kicking up his hoofs, calling for others to join him.

Soon, Swift Blue One had gathered many horses to himself and was chief of them all. His herd grew large and his offspring were many. His descendants still roam the great plains of the West today. Some say if you look hard enough, you will see the ghost of Swift Blue One running among his children, his blue raiment flickering in the sun.

I love that story. During a visit to the Black Hills Wild Horse Preserve I saw the Spanish ponies——and the Swift Blue Ones were there, too.

 

Click on cover to learn more

There is an old poem in my forthcoming release, Daughter of Defiance, that a reader gave me about a horse with four white socks. Supposedly, not a good thing.

I am giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and digital copies of my Defiance books—all of which were just optioned by a movie producer! To WIN, just comment with any story, old wives’ tale, or legend you know about a horse. I’d LOVE to hear them!

And if you’d like to learn more about wild horses and their stories, I hope you’ll check out the Black Hills Wild Horse Preserve.

 

 

 

Updated: September 5, 2018 — 11:54 am

Welcome Guest – Charlene Raddon!!!


Placer Mining

Gold is found in tough clay. To dissolve the clay the miner fills a pan made of sheet-iron or tinned iron, with a flat bottom about a foot in diameter, and sides six inches high, inclining outwards at an angle of thirty or forty degrees. At a river bank, he squats down, puts his pan under water, and shakes it horizontally. Once the mass is thoroughly soaked, he picks out the larger stones, mashes up the largest and toughest lumps of clay, and again shakes his pan. When all the dirt appears to be dissolved, allowing the heavier gold to move to the bottom, he tilts up the pan a little to let the thin mud and light sand run out, until he has washed out all except the metal, which remains in the pan.

The arrastra, a Mexican contrivance, rude, but effective, was used in the early days to pulverize the ore. Winnowing, or “drywashing” was also practiced by the Mexicans where the ore was found too far away from a sufficient supply of water to make any other practice possible. The wind bears away the dust and light particles of earth, and leaves the gold dust, which is heavier.

The rocker resembles a child’s cradle. On the upper end is a riddle, made with a bottom of sheet-iron punched with holes. This is filled with pay dirt and rocked with one hand, while, with a dipper, the miner pours water into the riddle with the other. Being agitated, the liquid dissolves the clay and carries it down with the gold into the floor of the rocker, where the metal is caught by traverse riffles, or cleats. The mud, water, and sand run off at the lower end of the rocker, which is left open. The riddle can be removed, allowing the miner to throw out the larger stones mixed with the clay.

The chief want of the placer miner was an abundant, convenient supply of water not always readily available. One resolution was an artificial channel about two miles long. After eight years, six thousand miles of mining canals supplied water to all the principal placer districts of Nevada and furnished the means for obtaining the greater portion of the gold yield.

Where the surface of the ground furnished the proper grade, a ditch was dug. Where it did not, flumes were built of wood, sustained in the air by framework that rose sometimes to a height of three hundred feet in crossing deep ravines, and extending for miles at an elevation of 100-200 feet. Aqueducts of wood, and pipes of iron, were suspended upon cables of wire, or sustained on bridges of wood; and inverted siphons carried water up the sides of one hill by the heavier pressure from the higher side of another.

In Nevada, a total length of 6,000 miles of canals and flumes were created. The largest mine, the Eureka, had 205 miles of ditches, constructed at a cost of $900,000. As placers were gradually exhausted, the demand for water and the profits of ditch companies decreased. Flumes, blown down by severe storms, carried away by floods, or destroyed by the decay of the wood, were not repaired.

The sluice was a broad trough from 100-1000 feet long, with transverse cleats at the lower end to catch the gold. With a descent of one foot in twenty, the water rushes through it like a torrent, bearing down large stones, and tearing the lumps of clay to pieces. The miners had little to do save throw in the dirt and take out the gold.

In Hydraulic mining a stream of water is directed under heavy pressure against a bank or hillside, tearing the earth down and carrying it into the sluice to be washed. The force of a stream of water rushing through a two-inch pipe, under a pressure of two hundred feet perpendicular caused hills to crumble as if piles of cloud blown away by a breath of wind. When dried by months of constant heat and drought, the clay becomes so hard, not even the hydraulic stream, with all its

momentum, could steadily dissolve it. Often the miner would cut a tunnel into the heart of his claim, and blast the clay loose with powder, so that it yielded more readily to the action of water.

The erection of a long sluice, the cutting of drains (often necessary to carry off the tailings), and the purchase of water from the ditch company, required capital; and the manner of clearing up rendered it impossible for workers to steal much of the gold. Thus, the custom of hiring miners for wages became common in placer diggings.

Even today, men continue to search for gold and some manage to find enough to keep them going. Others give up and return home. I found gold once, at Knotts Berry Farm in California. I was eight years old. I wish I still had that miniscule vial of gold flakes, but it was lost long ago.

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Priscilla is Book 1 in The Widows of Wildcat Ridge Series. It is on preorder now and will be released on 9/15. There will be 17 books (or more) released the first and fifteenth of each month. Book 2, Blessing, by Caroline Clemmons is also up for preorder. There are ten authors: Charlene Raddon, Caroline Clemmons, Zina Abbot, Tracy Garrett, Christine Sterling, Linda Carroll-Bradd, Pam Crooks, Kit Morgan, Margaret Tanner, and Kristy McCaffrey. The series is about a Utah gold mining town in which the mine has been destroyed, killing off most of the men and leaving the women and children destitute and at the mercy of a greedy mine owner who also owns the town. To save their town they must remarry. Forty-six strong, determined women set out to save their town and find love at the same time.

After losing her father and husband in a mine disaster, Priscilla Heartsel faces poverty and eviction from her home by a heartless mine owner. Tricked into a bank robbery gone wrong, Braxton Gamble finds himself shot and unconscious in Priscilla’s bed. Can they survive long enough to find a love more precious than gold?

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Charlene will be giving away two e-books.
One will a be copy of her brand new release – Priscilla (delivered 9/15).
Another will be the winner’s choice of any of her backlist titles.
You can find all of her books listed on her website
here.
Leave a comment for a chance to win!

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