Category: Historical Romance Series

STAMPEDE! ~ Pam Crooks

 

http://amzn.to/2TPWiJgIn UNTAMED COWBOY, my heroine, Carina Lockett, is a cattle woman who owns the C Bar C Ranch. Unfortunately, she is blackmailed by the father of her precious daughter for a huge sum of money, her entire herd of cattle. To get  her daughter back after she’s been kidnapped, Carina must drive the herd to Dodge City and pay the ransom with the sale money.

Enter Penn McClure, one of her ranch hands who has burning revenge for the man blackmailing Carina. Penn is only too happy to help Carina get to Dodge City and settle his score.

Now, my friends, cattle drives ain’t easy. All kinds of things can go wrong and usually do. One of the worst is a stampede. 

You wouldn’t think animals weighing a thousand pounds each would get scared of the littlest thing, but they do. A rabbit, a fox, a coyote–or even the strike of a match on a quiet night–could spook the herd and send them running. And that’s exactly what happens in UNTAMED COWBOY.

Here’s an excerpt:

The cattle had turned themselves around and were heading south, losing the ground they’d gained all day. He had to get to the front of them and turn the leaders so the rest would follow. Their hooves hammered against the ground, surrounded him with a deafening roar. Dust clouded his vision, thickened in his throat, but he lay over the gelding’s neck and rode even faster.

In the moonlight, those three thousand head of wild-eyed, horn-swinging cattle were a dark mass of terrifying power. Penn hoped fervently none of the men would be trampled. Or gored. One wrong move, and it could happen. It’d be easy, so easy. Dangerous for anyone, but especially a woman…

He closed his mind to Carina Lockett, to the worry that she was out here with him and the rest of her outfit. He pressed on, at last passing the thundering longhorns. Moving in amongst them, he swung his bullwhip again and again, aware if his horse found a prairie dog hole, or a hidden ravine, he’d go down, stomped to his death by those heavy hooves.

Yelling, relentless, he fought to turn the animals into the center of the herd. Then, to the side of him, there was Woollie, Stinky Dale and Jesse, and damn it, the she-boss, too, lashing her quirt, as desperate as the rest of them to get her herd to shift direction.

Finally, finally, the cattle began to veer into a wide circle, changing their straight run into a giant wheel of heaving cowhide. The switch got them bellowing to one another in confusion, and relief flowed through Penn at the sound, a sign their stampede was nearing an end. Gradually, they slowed and shuddered to an exhausted halt.

Penn halted, too. Breathing hard, he vowed vengeance on the night-herders responsible. Orlin Fahey was one, and he’d better have one hell of a good reason for those steers to run like they did.

The stampede is a crucial point in the book and sends Penn and Carina’s relationship in a whole new direction. A romantic one, of course!

Like with most all disasters, someone was responsible, and I hope you’ll read UNTAMED COWBOY to learn more about the stampede that made all hell break loose for Penn and Carina.

http://amzn.to/2TPWiJg Amazon

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Let’s Chat!  Have you ever done something that created havoc?  

Has someone in your family? Or a pet?

 

I’ll go first. This winter, while visiting my sister in New Mexico, our Golden Retriever had to potty at 2:00 am. I put him off for a solid hour, but by 3:00 am, the poor dog just had to go out. When I opened the door to their patio, their alarm system went off. Lights flashed and sirens peeled. Their dog barked. The kids got scared. My brother-in-law came running toward me in his underwear . . . I felt awful, and I was so embarrassed. Yikes!

Updated: April 11, 2019 — 1:29 am

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
 
 
Please sign up to receive my NEWSLETTER
 
 

 

 
Updated: April 5, 2019 — 8:11 am

Taking a Chance–A Big Chance–On Love

Wanted a Wife

I am looking for a lady to make her my wife

as I am heartily tired of bachelor life.

I’ve always loved mail-order bride stories and am delighted to be currently writing one.  My heroine has a good reason for taking a a chance on love, but what about the thousands of other women who’d left family and friends to travel west and into the arms of strangers?

Shortage of Men—and Women

The original mail-order bride business grew out of necessity.  The lack of women in the west was partly responsible, but so was the Civil War.  The war not only created thousands of widows and grieving girlfriends, but a shortage of men, especially in the south.

As a result, marriage brokers and “Heart and Hand” catalogues popped up all around the country. Ads averaged five to fifteen cents and letters were exchanged along with photographs.

According to an article in the Toledo Blade lonely men even wrote to the Sears catalogue company asking for brides (the latest such letter received was from a lonely Marine during the Vietnam War).

Cultural Attitudes

Marriage was thought to be the only path to female respectability. Anyone not conforming to society’s expectations was often subjected to public scorn.  Also, many women needed marriage just for survival.  Single women had a hard time making it alone in the East. This was especially true of widows with young children to support.

Women who had reached the “age” of spinsterhood with no promising prospects were more likely to take a chance on answering a mail-order bride ad than younger women.

Not Always Love at First Sight

Courtesy of the Smithsonian Postal Museum

For some mail-order couples, it was love (or lust) at first sight. In 1886, one man and his mail order bride were so enamored with each other they scandalized fellow passengers on the Union Pacific Railroad during their honeymoon.

Not every bride was so lucky.  In her book Hearts West, Christ Enss tells the story of mail-order bride Eleanor Berry. En route to her wedding her stage was held up at gunpoint by four masked men.  Shortly after saying “I do,” and while signing the marriage license, she suddenly realized that her husband was one of the outlaws who had robbed her. The marriage lasted less than an hour.

The mail-order business was not without deception.  Lonely people sometimes found themselves victims of dishonest marriage brokers, who took their money and ran.

Some ads were exaggerated or misleading. Men had a tendency to overstate their financial means. Women, on the other hand, were more likely to embellish their looks. The Matrimonial News in the 1870s printed warnings by Judge Arbuckle that any man deceived by false hair, cosmetic paints, artificial bosoms, bolstered hips, or padded limbs could have his marriage nulled, if he so desired.   

Despite all the things that could and sometimes did go wrong, historians say that most matches were successful.

No one seems to know how many mail-order brides there were during the 1800s, but the most successful matchmaker of all appears to be Fred Harvey. He wasn’t in the mail-order bride business, but, by the turn of the century, five thousand Harvey Girls had found husbands while working in his restaurants.   

Under what circumstances might you have considered becoming a mail order bride in the Old West? 

Meet the Brides of Haywire, Texas!

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Coming in May!

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Updated: March 17, 2019 — 8:35 am

Cadence – Widows of Wildcat Ridge by Charlene Raddon

Cadence is Book 13 of The Widows of Wildcat Ridge. The series is winding down. Only three more to go. Are we getting eager to see whether Mortimer Crane gets his comeuppance? You bet. You can get a taste of this in Cadence.

A foolish mistake left Cadence Biggler and her little sister, Regina, at the mercy of strangers in a strange town—until Mortimer Crane stepped in, paid her bills and offered her a job as a maid at his Gentlemen Only Salon in Wildcat Ridge, Utah Territory. Soon, she realizes Crane wants more from her than her labor. More than she’s willing to give.

Since the salon is no place for a child, he takes Regina to stay with a family, then refuses to tell Cady where the little girl is.

Garrick Brant became a traveling photographer to make a living and search for his missing sister, July. He’s drawn to Cady the first time he sees her, but Mortimer Crane orders his thugs to keep him away from her. How can Garrick and Cady’s romance develop under such restrictions? Can Garrick help Cady find Regina and free her from Crane’s clutches? Can Cady help him find his sister, July?

One thing is certain, they’ll have to fight Mortimer Crane every inch of the way.

Here is an excerpt:

For a long time, Cady petted the cat and let her thoughts ramble. Nothing was going right. Would she ever see Regina again? The thought was a sword in her side, like Garrick’s bullet wound.

Would he recover fully? Would he forgive her?

Thoughts whirled through her mind like a dervish keeping her from achieving a deep sleep.

As she dozed, she heard the door open. Her breath caught. “Garrick?”

Rooster stirred beside her and growled. She swallowed. Maybe it wasn’t Garrick. He should be in bed. He wasn’t well enough yet to be up wandering around.

“Please answer me, Garrick. Is that you?”

Nothing.

Maybe she was wrong, but who else could it be and why wouldn’t they answer?

She sat up and fumbled for matches to light the lamp. “Whoever you are, I heard the door open. Don’t play games with me, plea—”

A sudden weight knocked her back onto the bed, crushing her into the feather mattress.

Cady laughed. “Goodness, you don’t need to be so rough.”

The only answer she received was strong hands encircling her neck.

“What are you doing? That hurts.”

All doubts fled. This wasn’t Garrick. No matter how angry he might be with her, he wouldn’t hurt her.

The hands squeezed harder, and she gasped for air. The scents of body odor, dirt and whiskey filled her nostrils. Whoever lay atop her was shorter than Garrick but weighed more.

Mortimer?

No, he wasn’t this thick around the waist.

She shoved at him fruitlessly. Her screams came out as muffled groans.

He meant to kill her.

Air. She needed air.

Cady clawed at the hands choking her. Clawed at his face.

Rooster’s snarling and hissing came to her, sounding close.

With an exclamation of pain, the man jerked, cussed, released Cady and swung backward. Rooster cried out.

Cady attempted to roll away, but the man’s weight returned to pin her in place. She tried to buck him off, tried to jab him in the eyes. He cursed and squeezed harder.

The room swirled around her. Her fingers went numb and lost the ability to grip, while her own will to fight faded.

Her lungs screamed for air but could find none.

“Die, you damned she-dog,” a rough voice growled in her ear. “Die.”

BUY LINK: mybook.to/CadenceWOWR

I’ll be giving away a $10 gift card to one winner

and a copy from my backlist to another. 

Just leave a comment to be eligible!

Charlene Raddon has been writing for nearly 40 years. Originally published by Kensington Books, she is now an Indie Author. Her first book was a Golden Heart Finalist. She also received a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award Nomination, Romantic Times Pioneer Award and won or placed in several contests. Besides writing, she also designs book covers, specializing in western historical.

http://charleneraddon.com

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

http://www.facebook.com/CharleneRaddon

http://www.silversagebookcovers.com

 

 

Updated: March 12, 2019 — 11:33 am

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/