Category: Guest Author

Welcome Guest Zina Abbott!

Postmasters & Political Patronage 
by Zina Abbott
 

 
Welcome! My name is Zina Abbott. I am pleased to have been invited as a guest blogger on Pistols & Petticoats today.
 
I have recently written two book for the series, The Widows of Wildcat Ridge. In my second book, Diantha, my character not only ends up taking over the Ridge Hotel in town after the death of her husband in a mining disaster that killed many townspeople, she also ended up taking over her late husband’s postmaster position. When readers first meet Diantha in my first book I wrote for the series, Nissa, she serves as the postmistress.
 

General Post Office Department, Washington, D.C. ca. 1900-1906

 

Before the Postal Reform Act of 1970, there was no United States Postal Service. Mail delivery in the United States was managed by the General Post Office Department, a federal agency based in Washington, D.C. The Post Office Department handled contracts for mail delivery, often awarding them to
freight train companies, stagecoach lines (think Butterfield and Wells &
Fargo, plus a host of one-man operations) and, later, railroads. Then there was that glorious year and a half where the freight company, Russell, Majors and Waddell, won the mail contract for the Pony Express.
 

Old Matagorda, Texas Post Office, built 1871

 
Postmaster positions, however, were an entirely different matter. They were a “political plum.” Awarding postmaster positions was not controlled by the General Post Office Department. They were appointed by the local congressman for the district in which the city or town was located in recognition (payment) for either the support, both financial and other means, helping the congressman win election or achieve his political aims. Men awarded postmaster positions in large cities were guaranteed a nice salary and steady employment—at least while that congressman stayed in office. In smaller towns where the citizens’ involvement in a congressman’s career was less, the awards may have been tempered by the selections also being narrowed down to who had the facilities and ability to run a post office operation. Either way, for many years, awarding postmaster positions was one means a congressman had of rewarding those who either served their country well, or furthered the congressman’s political career.

Seaside Post Office founded 1889

 
I became aware of this when I started working for the United States Postal Service in 1980 as a relief carrier (think vacation and sick day coverage). The reform act did away with political patronage for postal positions. By the time I applied, I submitted an application to the USPS, took a test, was awarded a score based on the test results, and was called in for interviews based on my test scores.

Unidentified Rural Free Delivery carrier – fortunately I drove a right-hand drive car.

 
However, I was hired to back up a man who had been hired as a rural carrier through political patronage. Like postmaster positions in his time, he submitted his application for the job to his local congressman, who took into consideration his military service, community service in addition to his political party. A second rural carrier in the office where I worked was also hired under the old rules of political patronage.
 
It is good to keep note that, back in the days of the old West, you might find a post office operation in a variety of businesses. Mercantile stores were good locations. Sometimes, a stagecoach business used a local hotel to pick up and drop off customers and the mail.
 
 
In my book, Diantha, Wells Fargo had its own business location. I used the hotel lobby for the local post office. Diantha, whose late husband had not involved her in either the hotel business or the post office operation prior to his death, figured once she notified the Post Office Department she was taking over her husband’s job to become the local postmistress, everything was settled. However, the local Utah Territorial Congressman had different ideas. It was his right to award the job as a reward for political support – and he did just that. Imagine how surprised Diantha, the Wells Fargo stagecoach employees, and the citizens of Wildcat Ridge were when Hank Cauley showed up in town and announced he was the new postmaster.
 
My two books in the series, The Widows of Wildcat Ridge, are written to be stand-alone novels. However, they do have several connections which readers will enjoy if they are read in order as a duet. Today I am offering a free ebook copy of my first book in the series, Nissa, to one person selected at random who leaves a comment in the comments section of this blog post.
 
 
 
Nissa and her two children used to live in the mine supervisor’s house before her husband was killed in the Gold King Mine disaster. Forced to leave, she is reduced to seeking a job washing the laundry for the Ridge Hotel. Dallin comes to Wildcat Ridge for a horse auction. Attracted to the lovely red-headed laundress, he decides he wants to leave Wildcat Ridge with more than new horses.
 
Hal, one of two wranglers working for Dallin, discovers the homely teller working for Crane Bank is hiding something—her beauty inside and out. He would like to take her back to the ranch where he works, but there is no place for her in a bunkhouse full of men. Birdie, hoping to earn enough to escape Wildcat Ridge and apply for a bank teller job in a large city, changes her mind after meeting the handsome wrangler.
 
To read the full book description and find the purchase link for Nissa, please CLICK HERE.
 
 
Diantha is forced to learn how to run a hotel and manage mail delivery after the death of her husband. Her world is turned upside down when a stranger shows up in town claiming to be the new postmaster. Hank’s business failed and he was forced to live with and work for his brother. Things look up when his brother uses his influence to get him a small postmaster position in Wildcat Ridge. However, he runs into trouble when the current postmistress is not willing to give up the job.
 
Buck, a wrangler who came to Wildcat Ridge for the horse auction with his boss, finds when he returns to the ranch, he cannot get that sassy, redhead, Hilaina, out of his mind. Hilaina is desperate to find a husband in a town full of widows, but will not leave Wildcat Ridge and her widowed mother behind.
 
To read the full book description and find the purchase link for Diantha, please CLICK HERE.
 
 
About
Zina Abbott
:
 
Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols
for her historical novels. A member of Women Writing the West, Western Writers of America, and American Night Writers Association. She currently lives with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite.”
When she is not piecing together novel plots, she pieces together quilt blocks.
 
 
Connect
with Zina Abbott
:
 
WEBSITE  |  BLOG  |  FACEBOOK  |  PINTEREST  |  TWITTER
 
 
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Updated: April 5, 2019 — 8:11 am

Our Friday Guest: Charlene Raddon

Miss Charlene Raddon has boarded the stage and will arrive Friday, March 15, 2019!

She’ll talk about the Women of Wildcat Ridge series that’s winding down. It’s been a heck of a ride!

And you’ll be happy to note that she’s toting giveaways!

Now, that’s welcome news and will have you heading over.

We’ll be here waiting and give you a big howdy.

So come and leave a comment to get in the drawing!

 

Updated: March 14, 2019 — 9:06 am

A Deal Made in Texas by Michelle Major

Thanks so much for having me here today. I’m really excited to be a part of Petticoats & Pistols.

I was taking a tiny break from writing recently and checking out Facebook (not procrastinating at all!). A trailer for a new Netflix movie caught my eye and I wanted to share because it was so intriguing.

Have you heard of ‘The Highwaymen’? It releases at the end of this month and stars Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson – which might be enough of a recommendation right there. They play two former Texas Rangers who are hired to track down the infamous duo, Bonnie and Clyde.

I’m familiar with Bonnie and Clyde but admit that some of that comes from the old Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway movie, which somewhat romanticized their violent crime spree. What I found so fascinating about the new movie is the contrast between the ‘newfangled’ innovations in law enforcement – it was the early 1930s and the FBI was now a part of things along with air surveillance and more modern technological advances. But the governor of Texas calls on the ‘cowboys’ to bring in the bad guys when everything else fails.

There’s something really special about the lore of the western lawman. To me, that history is what makes western romance so captivating – even when it’s contemporary. There’s the spirit of self-reliance coupled with a huge sense of community – those two things make a perfect backdrop for characters finding their way to love.

Which is why I’ve been honored to be part of the Fortunes of Texas continuity for the past several years. Writing is such solitary work most of the time so it’s fun—and sometimes challenging—to bounce ideas around with other authors and make sure character development and plotlines work together. Because all of us see the outline for each of the six books, I really enjoy reading the books when they release to see how each author has made the story their own.

In 2019 readers meet ‘The Lost Fortunes’ – and the miniseries kicked off with my hero, Gavin Fortunado, in A Deal Made in Texas. He is tired of his family’s matchmaking ways and embarks on a pretend engagement with longtime friend Christine Briscoe. But their feelings become real all too quickly and it was so fun to write the two of them struggling not to fall in love when they’re perfect for each other.

 

 

 I’ll be giving away 2 print copies of A Deal Made in Texas (US only). To win, tell me your favorite western movie or TV show.

I have a feeling ‘The Highwaymen’ might end up on my list of faves.

 

Here’s a little more about A Deal Made in Texas:

It’s like a page ripped from her diary when Christine Briscoe finds herself dancing with Gavin Fortunado at his sister’s wedding. It’s like a scene from her dreams when the flirtatious attorney asks her to be his—pretend—girlfriend. But there is nothing make-believe about the sparks between the quiet office manager and the sexy Fortune scion. Considering Gavin’s reputation, she might be heading for heartbreak. Or maybe, just maybe, straight down the aisle!

BUY on Amazon

The End of the Road with Tina Radcliffe

Thank you to the Petticoat & Pistols Fillies for welcoming me to their home on the range.

Let’s talk about series books today. Do you prefer your favorite cowboy books to be part of a series? As you start the book, do you begin to imagine the secondary characters having stories of their own? Have you ever written to an author to ask for a secondary character to have their own book?

I admit my answer is YES to all of the above.

What types of series do you prefer?

A standalone series linked by location or family or an incident? These series books usually include secondary character continuity in each book. The association between books in these types of series can be very loose or tightly connected. However, this series can be read out of order.

Or, do you prefer a series that keeps you guessing and reading each book in the series, in order, until an overall series question or mystery is revealed at the very end?

How many books do you like to see in a series–three, five or many, many more? And what are your thoughts on prologues, epilogues, and novellas connected to the original series?

I like as many books in a series as I can get my hands on as long as it’s easy to keep track of the characters.

My newest release is the last in a four-book series. Though each is a stand-alone, meaning you don’t have to read the earlier books to follow along, they all take place on Big Heart Ranch.

Each book deals with a cowboy or cowgirl who must deal with the pain of a broken childhood.  The series, set in Timber, Oklahoma, is based on a children’s ranch for orphaned, abused and neglected children owned and operated by the orphaned Maxwell siblings: Lucy, Travis & Emma.

FYI, Big Heart Ranch is modeled after a real ranch in Alabama. “BIG OAK RANCH – A Christian Home for Children Needing a Chance.” You can find out more about Big Oak Ranch here.

The final book is horse whisperer, Tripp Walker’s, story and probably the most emotional and tender of all the books in the series because it deals with a deeper level of pain and ultimate healing.

I have to admit that I’m sad that this is the last book, though I am enjoying reading the book myself as a reader instead of a writer. But I am suffering symptoms of a book hangover!

Have you ever had a book hangover as you come to the end of a special cowboy read?

A book hangover is a condition in which attachment to a book or series that has ended causes the reader traumatic emotional distress. It usually lasts for one to two weeks, or until a new book of higher-than-average quality enters the reader’s life.– Epic Reads

The inability to start a new book because you are still living in the old book’s world.– Urban Dictionary

The Last Cowboy Song

(Ed Bruce with Willie Nelson)

This the last cowboy song.

The end of a hundred year waltz.

The voices sound sad as they’re singin’ along.

Another piece of America’s lost.

 

He rides the feed lots, clerks in the markets,

On weekends sellin’ tobacco and beer.

And his dream’s of tomorrow, surrounded by fences,

But he’ll dream tonight of when fences weren’t here.

In honor of the last book in this series, I’ve picked up

 

To deal with book hangover, and celebrate the release of Her Last Chance Cowboy, I’ve got a few very therapeutic giveaways today for the readers of Petticoats & Pistols. Just leave a comment to my questions above to be entered.

  1. Two readers will receive a copy of Her Last Chance Cowboy and a canister of Romance Recovery Tea from Riddles Book &Tea Company. (US only)
  2. One reader will receive the entire Big Heart Ranch series and a canister of Romance Recovery Tea. (US Only)
  3. One reader will receive an ecopy of Her Last Chance Cowboy (US or international)

 

Her Last Chance Cowboy

She came seeking family…

Will she find love at Big Heart Ranch?

When pregnant single mother Hannah Vincent shows up professing to be the half sister of the Maxwells of Big Heart Ranch, horse trainer Tripp Walker is wary. Wounded before, he doesn’t trust easily. If only Hannah and her feisty five-year-old daughter weren’t so impossible to resist. Now, despite his doubts, joining this little family is quickly becoming the cautious cowboy’s greatest wish.

 

BUY on Amazon!

 

 

A freelance writer for over twenty years, Tina Radcliffe is an RWA Honor Roll member, a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, a three-time ACFW Carol Award nominee, and a 2018 ACFW Mentor of the Year recipient. Her 11th book for Harlequin Love Inspired, Her Last Chance Cowboy, released in February 2019.  In addition to novel-length fiction, Tina has sold over three dozen short stories to Woman’s World Magazine. A former library cataloger, Tina is a frequent presenter on writing topics and an online instructor. She currently resides in Arizona, where she writes fun, heartwarming romance.  Sign up for her author newsletter and her market newsletter at http://www.tinaradcliffe.com/

How to Date a Cowboy By Brenna Gallagher

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.

COMING FEBRUARY 28, 2019!

Available for Preorder on Amazon

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 . . . 

Gallagher’s Pride

Gallagher’s Hope

Gallagher’s Choice

An Angel Called Gallagher

Journey to Hawk’s Peak

 

Old Spanish Mines by Kristy McCaffrey and a Give Away!

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.

A sweet romance set in 1884 Utah Territory.

Available at One commenter will win a digital copy of Rosemary!

 

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.

 

(Photos courtesy of Deposit Photos)

 

Hallelujah! 19th Century Preachers and Revivals by Shirleen Davies

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.

Revivals

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

 

Buy Links for Bay’s Desire (released 1/29/2019)

iTunes

Shirleen’s Shop 

GooglePlay

Kobo 

Nook

The Rugged Rock and Guest Author Mary Sullivan!

 

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!

 

You can find it here: http://bit.ly/MontanaRodeoStar

 

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
of Toronto.  

Mary’s Website:  MarySullivanBooks.com   

Follow Mary on Facebook at Facebook.com/MarySullivanAuthor

 

Cowboy Brave with Guest Author Carolyn Brown

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.

Carolyn Brown Headshot

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!)

 
FYI: Books in order of publication
Cowboy Bold, May 2018
Cowboy Honor, September, 2018
Cowboy Brave, Now Available!
Cowboy Rebel, May 28, 2019
 
 
Buy Links for the books:

 

 

Send in the Cavalry! by Regina Jennings

Regina Jennings

 

Please welcome Regina Jennings

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.

Jennings Reno

 

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.

Jennings horse jumping

 

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 ~ 

 http://www.reginajennings.com

 

To purchase a copy of The Lieutenant’s Bargain ~ 

AMAZON  |  BARNES AND NOBLE  |  IBOOKS