Deborah Keith! You’ve won a free E-copy of
(Widows of Wildcat Ridge, Book 12)
Deborah Keith! You’ve won a free E-copy of
(Widows of Wildcat Ridge, Book 12)
We can’t wait to welcome her back. This dear lady loves writing about cowboys and the way life used to be. And anyone who likes cowboys sure finds a friend here.
She has a brand new book and is toting one to give away.
Come Friday, don’t be shy. Follow the trail to the Juction!
Sit a spell around the campfire and visit.
We love these Fridays when we can chat and drink coffee.
You might even win her book!
Kit Morgan here and today I want to talk about farm life in the Dakota territory. (Okay, and a little about modern-day Oregon.)
In the early 1870s the soil in the Dakota territory was wonderfully fertile. Wheat was the main crop on most Northern Plains farms and the early settlers totally expected said wheat to not only sustain their family but bring them wealth — so long as they worked hard and managed their farms well, that is. When wheat crops failed to meet that promise, women stepped into the areas of poultry and butter production to sustain the family and maintain their hold on the farm. Between the decreasing fertility of the land, wild weather patterns and unstable prices, wheat farming soon became an unreliable source of income. This made women’s productive activities on a farm central to their family’s survival and success.
Most women raised poultry and milked cows to provide food for the family and as surplus for sale or trade. Their work might have yielded only a small portion of the income derived from their farm, but it was steady and substantial enough to meet the basic needs of their family no matter the conditions of the crops or the state of nearby agricultural markets. We had it going on back then and knew how to bring home the bacon! Or in this case the chickens and the milk. Productive American farm women enjoyed the respect of their families and communities even though they didn’t gain additional political or economic rights as a result of their work.
Historians have studied Pioneer farm families and discovered that as families settled, they moved through similar stages. Sort of like your first house, and then you get a bigger one later or add on when you have a child or two. Well, for pioneer families, their first house was usually a crude shelter they built to live in while breaking grass bound sod and expanding crop acreage. After that, they usually acquired some draft stock, milk cows and poultry. They found markets for their crops next and relied on a combination of grain sales and the trade of surplus eggs, butter and garden produce to generate enough income to maintain the family and improve the farm.
If they managed to remain on their farm through the first few years they might even build a barn! Maybe they’d add onto their house, acquire more land or better equipment. But none of this did you much good if you were too far away from markets and trade centers. This was a problem for the earliest settlers. Later settlers didn’t have it so bad as by then towns had cropped up. Later still there were grain elevators and railroads. Whew! What a life they had!
In my latest book, Claire, (Widows of Wildcat Ridge book 12) my heroine takes in sewing and laundry to get by. Life was hard even with the support of a family in those days. A woman alone had a much harder time of it. We’ve all heard stories from our parents, grandparents or great grandparents of tough times back in the day. For a free copy of Claire (which will release on March 1) do you recall a story that a loved one has shared with you about the things women did to make ends meet and keep their family fed? I’ll pick a random winner from the comments.
My cousins are wheat farmers, and I remember going to their ranch in eastern Oregon in the summer during the wheat harvest. Labor was never a problem for my aunt and uncle as they had 12 children. As they got older, they could work the harvest. Good times, I remember, but lots of work. Myself, I worked at making mud-pies with my cousins still too young to help. But I do remember how tired everyone looked when they got back to the ranch house. And yes, the pictures are from their ranch!
Thank you so much for coming to the blog yesterday. I loved all of your stories — so inspirational. My husband came to the blog and said that the stories he read were truly wonderful. So thank you!
We do have two winners for the free e-book of GRAY HAWK’S LADY.
Those winners are:
Tammie King & Jerri Lynn Hill
Congratulations to you both. Please do email me privately so we can talk about getting the book to you. You can email me here: karenkay(dot)author(at)earthlink(dot)net.
I’ll end by saying I truly did love hearing your stories. It warmed my heart. Truly. Thank you for that.
Congratulations going out to Caryl Kane and Deanne Patterson, winners of “The Sewing Sisters’ Society” anthology! Gals, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get this going! And thank you all so much for stopping by to kiss January goodbye and welcome February with open arms!
By Filly Ruth Logan Herne!
First, this is so much fun…. because every now and again I have to do the “To thine own self be true” thing and write a historical something…. Because I am in such admiration and awe of the courage and tenacity these women showed as they moved west and helped settle a rugged, wide open country.
It amazes me. What kind of courage did it take to pack a wagon with whatever it would hold (and still have room for children as needed) and WALK to the west.
Yep, that’s the ticket.
They WALKED to the west.
Imagine that. Imagine that in a time when folks fight in parking lots for the closest spot to park their cars!!!
Or people wheedle into handicapped parking spots, or the wheelchair accessible spots marked by bold yellow stripes…. because they’re only going to be a “minute”…
Soddies and dugouts made the log cabins of the first settlers look LUSH! 🙂 Trees for walls instead of thatch and dirt??? Yes, please!
And think of the people smart enough to cross the Atlantic with a skill… the first millers and grinders and lumberers…. the first people to settle on rivers and creeks strong enough to power equipment with paddle wheels long before we could power it with hyrdroelectric power….
OH MY STARS!!!!!
So this novella trilogy kicks off a three-book series set in the little town of “Second Chance”, South Dakota in the late 1880’s, just as President Harrison grants statehood to North and South Dakota in no particular order because they were constantly bickering…. (that sounds oddly familiar, doesn’t it?)
Now there’s some shenanigans going on here… Hattie McGillicuddy, the middle-aged seamstress who came west because staying in Boston offended her sensibilities after losing her family to illness and her temper to narrow-minded men… So Hattie moved west with a sewing machine, some cold, hard cash and a great work ethic but when Second Chance falls on hard times (like many start up towns and companies!) a lot of people go back east. Plagues of bugs and locusts, drought and blizzards took their toll… and Hattie realizes that Second Chance needs more folks, plain and simple, and specifically more women. And thus it begins as Hattie and her old friend Jean Ellen pick likely women to come west for a new job with Hattie… and a new life in Second Chance. Cover design and content edit by Beth Jamison, Jamison Editing.
Macy arrives with a secret, a baby boy whose future would be bleak with a single mother. So like Moses’ mother, Macy leaves little Will on the pastor’s porch and pretends to arrive the following day with her secret– and her beloved son– safe and secure. But she never counted on falling in love with the pastor, a man with a secret past of his own. Can they move beyond the pains of the past and trust the good Lord for their future?
Now Nellie comes to town with more than a little flourish! Hounded by the elitists of Pittsburgh and accused of a crime she didn’t commit, Nellie brings an amazing skill with her. She’s got a way with tucks and gathers, and what town doesn’t need more tucks and gathers? And she sees the world through shining eyes and a suffragist’s mindset, a woman who believes that all are created equal so why should men be more equal than women? When she meets up with staid and somewhat stern Levi Eichas, he’s not at all sure what to do… well, except when her pretty gown catches fire in his workshop, and then the only thing to do is to throw dirty foundry water on her fancy layered dress. An ignominious beginning for what could never be a long and abiding love… or does our Nellie turn out to be exactly what Levi needs to shake him out of his dull existence?
And when Ann comes to town, it’s with a broken heart firmly entrenched. She’s angry and grief-stricken and mightily depressed for having lost her husband and two children in a boating accident back in Pennsylvania. She scarcely knows how to breathe, much less do anything else, but when Jean Ellen’s friend needs someone who can turn a nice hem… and Ann does turn very nice hems!… she agrees to take the train west to help an ailing Hattie. And when she realizes the job means turning hems while keeping Sol Eichas’s two small children hale and hearty on the prairie, she’s ready to take the first train back east. But she gave her word, and who but a clueless man would bring two small children west, and think he can work the smithy adjacent to the wagon shop and work a claim and watch two kids? As the children and Sol claim her heart, Ann needs to decide if she’s strong enough to try again, here in Second Chance.
Paperback edition coming soon!!!!!
So these three novellas (which I had originally written a few years ago for anthologies with writer friends like Mary Connealy and Pam Hillman and Julie Lessman) are all in one book now…. and in March they will be joined by my first full-length historical novel “A Most Inconvenient Love”…
Because it seems Levi Eichas has three sisters, all of whom we meet in these novellas… and with their stern and unyielding father now deceased, the three Eichas women will get a chance to shrug off the gray shapeless dresses he had them wear and embrace life as others do, with calicos and prints and maybe even a touch of satin and lace! Once Nellie enters the family, well… all bets are off and color invades the Eichas claims outside of town… color…. and a chance for each woman to shine in her own way.
Rachel’s story releases in March… and then the other sisters over the following year… and to thank you for joining me in this release party, I want to offer two Kindle copies of “The Sewing Sisters’ Society” to two lucky folks. And for extra chances thrown into the water bucket (with no water at the moment!) you can do these two wonderful things:
Let me know that I can include you on my newsletter list (I’d love to, if you’re not already there!) by either emailing me at email@example.com or telling me in the comments below. I send them out about every six weeks or so…
And for another chance, hop on over and follow me on Bookbub… Bookbub Link Here!
I’ll gladly throw an extra chance into the water bucket!
Bookbub is lovely. They’ll simply pop you an e-mail anytime I release something new OR when one of my publishers runs a sale… Bookbub lets all of my followers know so no one misses out. It’s a great place to indicate the authors you LOVE so you never miss out on great deals.
And speaking of sales, Book one of my Double S Ranch series is ON SALE RIGHT NOW for $1.99 on Amazon for Kindle! Great book, great reviews, a wonderful beginning to a bestselling cowboy series!
It’s been a long time since Colt Stafford shrugged off his cowboy legacy for shiny Manhattan loafers and a promising career on Wall Street. But when stock market manipulations leave him financially strapped, the oldest son of legendary rancher Sam Stafford decides to return to the sprawling Double S ranch in Gray’s Glen, Washington. He’s broke, but not broken, and it’s time to check in with his ailing father, and get his legs back under him by climbing into the saddle again.
He doesn’t expect to come home to a stranger pointing a loaded gun at his chest— a tough yet beautiful woman that Sam hired as the house manager. Colt senses there’s more to Angelina Morales than meets the eye and he’s determined to find out what she’s hiding…and why.
The winner of a copy of To Catch a Texas Cowboy is…
Please contact me privately at Julie@juliebenson.net with your snail mail address.
Thank you to everyone who stopped by to chat.
Hi, Kit Morgan here and as I’m at my daughter’s in New York, I was in a bit of a quandary as to what to write about. But then I remembered I have a few books here and thought I’d share with you some lovely fashion plates from one of them. After all, there’s always fashion going’s on around here. My daughter is a fashion photographer and music video director. Since my arrival, she’s shot for a major cosmetics company and done several fashion shoots as well. She even did a puppy shoot for a friend, then toddled off to San Francisco to shoot a music video. Currently, she’s in Scotland. Ah the life! At any rate, I have a book I bought at Strand’s Book Store in Manhattan last year with some lovely photos in it. My how fashion changes over the years. A lot of my stories take place on the Oregon prairie or the orchard covered rolling hills of what is now apple country in Washington state. My characters are dressed in simple attire, calico prairie dresses and aprons with simple white bonnets. But these, well, maybe I’ll write some stories in a different setting just so I can dress my characters in some of the fancier dresses of the day! Oh, by the way, that’s Rowena, the long-haired chihuahua in the above picture. Cute isn’t she? If she lived back in the 1800s, what would her owner be wearing? Well, it would depend on the decade …
The 1850’s … 1860’s …
1870’s … Oh, those sleeves!
1880’s … I guess they got tired of said sleeves …
1890’s … And by now decided to draw attention to the front of one’s skirt instead of the bustle in the back!
My, my! How things changed! I could spend hours on sites like Pinterest making historical fashion boards, and have! It’s part of what makes writing historical westerns so much fun! But which is your favorite? They didn’t carry little dogs in their reticules back then, so Rowena the chihuahua is better off living in modern-day Brooklyn. But I think her owner, had she lived back in the day, would look lovely in the 1870’s evening gown with the rose-covered skirt! What’s your favorite pick?