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Goodbyes Are Not Forever

Dear Readers,

This will be my last blog for Petticoats and Pistols but instead of goodbye, I’ll say “see you down the road!”

I want to thank all of you for taking the time to read and comment on the travel adventures I’ve shared with you over the past year. It’s been a lot of fun getting to know you and learning about your travels, too!

I’ve recently begun working as a caregiver for the elderly and have taken on more responsibility for my eighty-one-year-old father—the handsome high school jock in the plaid shorts!

These new obligations require that I scale back my writing commitments, but I still plan to carve out time in the coming months to work on a story that I plotted this past spring. Once a writer—always a writer!

I’d love to stay in touch with you and continue to share my travels, news about my books and future giveaways.

If you haven’t already done so, I invite you to subscribe to my Newsletter.


You can also connect with me on…







Stay well and be happy!










What Makes a Great Beach Read?


Oh my stars, can you believe it, that it is not snowing like almost anywhere, except perhaps in the highest of high peaks? And what goes along with summer? So many things!!!

Ice pops (or freeze pops, here).



Sun…. leaves…. color… green!!!!… heat… warmth…. blue skies… thunderstorms… scampering critters…. birds…. birdsong… frogs croaking… bugs chirping… baby birds out of the nest… Oh, so many things! But what’s one of the most recognizable things about summer?

Bathing suits. Sunscreen. Sun umbrellas. Flowered towels. Plastic water bottles. Sandbuckets. Plastic shovels. And


Why are beach reads a thing? Well… because folks are relaxing on the beach. Sunbathing or lounging or just hanging out on vacation and what do tons of people take with them to the beach? A book. Or an e-reader, a Kindle or even their phone!

Nowadays you can read on just about anything and folks aren’t worried to death about getting sand in a $29.00 E-reader… like they used to be about a $129.00 Kindle…

Times change, but people don’t. Not really. And when they go to the beach, or to the shore, or hanging out in the air conditioned hotel room or rented condo, a great read is a marvelous thing.

And it can be any kind of read, but for my money, you can’t beat a great western or romance. Now I like my romances sweet. We all know that. But I like my stories to go deep… to strengthen the backbone of the romance with some real life things and it just so happens that one of those wonderful westerns has just gone on sale for $1.99 for the e-reader version.

A Cinderella-type story… with a country star cowboy prince… and the sacrificial heart that makes all the difference.

In spite of their differences, Trey Walker Stafford knows he owes his life to cowboy and legendary rancher Sam Stafford—the uncle who rescued him after his parents’ death. Trey had left the Double S Ranch to pursue music against Sam’s wishes, but returns to central Washington when he learns he’s the best match for a procedure that could save Sam’s life. Although Trey’s found country music fame and success, he’s also endured the tragic loss of his wife. He croons about love, but struggles with a yawning emptiness he can’t explain.

Overwhelmed by a growing list of challenges, but mistrustful of Stafford men, single mother Lucy Carlton reluctantly accepts Trey’s help to revive her crumbling farm when Sam instructs him to repay the overdue debt to her family.

As the two grow closer, Trey slowly begins to open his heart to this beautiful woman and strives to let go of the grief he’s held for years. Lucy has a complicated history of her own. Can Trey accept her as she is, learn to forgive the past, and find the elusive peace he’s sought for so long?

Okay, so that’s the “skinny” on the story, but there’s more… so much more. Because this story isn’t just about a romance between two unlikely characters… this is a story that was in part inspired by Jimmy Wayne’s history, how he was taken in by a couple who opened their doors to him…

It’s a story that could take place anywhere… so why in the west? Why on a ranch?

Because this story was made for a cowboy. This series was centered around that cowboy code, sometimes misplaced by geography and timing, but never gone for good… because the true heart of a cowboy, of how a man treats a woman… and a dog… and a or cow and a calf and a horse and a kitten… it’s in that ‘putting others first’ example we all love so much.

Now, okay, it is fiction, of course… Men are men, the world is round, and life goes on. But there is a romance that’s bound in the image of a cowboy, taking care to see things done right, and that’s the kind of story I wrote for “Peace in the Valley”. A story of a man who isn’t afraid to step off the big stage, walk away from tens of thousands of screaming fans, and help re-build a barn for the gal next door. Or fill a shopping cart full of food. Or give a little girl a shoulder ride, so she sees the world from new heights.

A caring man is a wonderful thing, but when we slap that caring man on a horse and give him the perfect tilt to his hat, well, then…

Now you’ve got something.

And for the next two weeks, that “something” is on sale for $1.99 at AMAZON,BARNES & NOBLE .

The perfect beach read. The perfect romance. And a story that fills in all the sorry holes of a longing heart.

And as a fun glimpse at why I picked that title, (besides the obvious fact that the books are set in the beautiful Kittitas Valley of Central Washington state) here’s a link to Elvis Presley singing “Peace in the Valley” in that beautiful voice of his.

I hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day. It’s a blessed day to remember the courage and conviction of men and women who stood strong in the face of unfairness and adversity… who stood strong even though they were grossly outnumbered by an enemy with much greater fire power than they ever hoped to have…

And men and women who descended from those brave first immigrants, the pilgrams who fled to the shores of a new land searching for religious freedom. Including the freedom to sing things like “Peace in the Valley”, pray in the church of their choosing… or on the trail… and raise their children to be God-fearing people who strove to make their way… On Independence Day I think about those who came to this country… built this country… defended this country… and worked so hard to make a difference in the lives of others.

Courage of conviction. Another quality our cowboys carry into their work, every single day. Just like those that went before them.

Happy summer and don’t forget the BEACH READS, DARLINGS!!!!








We Have a Winner for Karen Kay’s new release, BRAVE WOLF AND THE LADY


Well, must admit that I am very excited about this new release.  I’d like to thank you all for coming to the blog yesterday, and for leaving a comment.  So appreciated.

We do have a winner for the free e-book.  As you might know, I do actually write down everyone’s name and pull the name, so it truly is chance.

The winner of the free e-book is:

Carol Luciano

Congratulations to you, Carol.  In order to claim you prize, please contact me personally at karenkay(dot)author(at)earthlink(dot)net and we’re talk about how to get the book to you.

Many thanks to everyone who came to the blog yesterday.  I enjoyed talking with you all.


Updated: June 20, 2018 — 7:36 pm


The winner of an ebook copy of

Ten Plagues



And because I’m excited and scared about the released I’m giving a second copy to

Patricia B

Thank you all so much for stopping in at Petticoats and Pistols!

Click to Buy as an ebook on Amazon and….it is coming soon as a paperback!!! (for some reason that takes longer to get set up???)

IT RELEASES TOMORROW!!! aaaahhhh!!!!

Debra and Patricia I will email you to get your addresses.

If you do not hear from me, email me at


Updated: June 17, 2018 — 9:29 pm

Outside the box!

I’m experimenting right now.


I’ve got six … no seven maybe … books coming out that are NOT historical western romance.

The first one is coming next week and it is a re-release that is WAAAY outside the box.

The others are contemporary Texas lawmen suspense romances (Is that even a thing?). Makes no difference it’s my thing.

I’m still writing the romantic comedy with cowboys, fear not.

But for right now, I’m getting this next book released, like I said it’s been out there for a while but I regained my rights and am republishing it. And then hopefully next month, the new books begin.

So fasten your seatbelts and hang on tight for the first one.


This was written before I was published, I had twenty finished books on my computer when the first one sold. And a whole bunch of those twenty books are now in print. But there were a few…………and I managed to sell Ten Plagues but then I went back to my first love Romantic Comedy with Cowboys.

And there sat five books on my computer. Books I really loved. But not the right genre. At the urging of several rather bossy people, I am indie publishing them!


But I’ll talk about them later. Today, here is Ten Plagues, available for preorder on Amazon and it’s coming out next week! I’m doing a print version, too. I’m not sure if that’s right but I did it.

— Not for the faint of heart!


A demon possessed serial killer acts out the ten plagues of Egypt on the city of Chicago. An inner city mission pastor and a lady cop with the spiritual gift of discerning spirits race against time as the killer targets the mission to find his victims.
Can they stop his reign of death? Or will they find themselves his final targets for the plague of the first born and the plague of darkness? Ten Plagues has been out of print and is now available again.

Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for an ebook copy of Ten Plagues

And as if this wild and, I think, really fun, thrilling and action-packed book isn’t enough…I got my picture taken. Yikes, no matter the talent of the photographer……… still just looks like me!!!


Updated: June 14, 2018 — 11:44 am

Lone Star Father…New Release!

This month I’m celebrating the release of Lone Star Father—the final book in my Cowboys of Stampede, Texas series from Harlequin Western Romance. The stories revolve around three brothers who are doing their best to look after the family ranch and their grandfather, the mayor of Stampede. When Grandpa Emmett’s former high-school flame, Amelia Rinehart, sets her sights on renovating the old pueblo, Grandpa digs his boot heels in. Amelia enlists the help of her great nieces from Wisconsin and suddenly the Hardell brothers are having second thoughts about assisting their grandfather in derailing the town matriarch’s plans.


Reid Hardell never imagined he’d become a single dad or that he’d ever return to his family’s ranch in Stampede, Texas. But for his newfound daughter’s sake, Reid is coming home, hoping his estranged brothers can help him master fatherhood. Life in Stampede has an unexpected perk—reconnecting with gorgeous Scarlett Johnson. Until Reid discovers she’s the new social worker on his custody case.

In working with Reid and his daughter, Scarlett finds a connection she thought was impossible. She wants more than anything to be part of their family, but a relationship could jeopardize their case and her job. How can she turn away from having everything she’s ever wanted—even if it’s the right thing to do?


I’ve written lots of contemporary westerns using different locations for my stories and Texas Hill Country remains my favorite. Even though I love Texas, my roots are planted deep in my blue-collar hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin. When I create towns for my stories, I always include bits and pieces of my old stomping grounds. More often than not you’ll find an old Woolworth building in my stories. I have fond memories of shopping at Woolworth with my grandmother and eating hotdogs at the lunch counter. The basement of the old Woolworth store in Janesville sold goldfish and pet supplies. The main floor sold clothing, shoes, health and beauty products along with household goods and gadgets. The third floor sold fabric and sewing supplies.

The fictitious Woolworth store in Stampede, Texas, closed its doors decades ago and now the basement houses the town library. You’ll find other tidbits of my childhood in this series like traveling carnivals, petting zoos, wheel barrow rides, tree houses, and a beautiful Victorian home much like the one I grew up down the block from. And what would a series be without a vintage motel in it?




For a chance to win a signed copy of the first book in my Cowboys of Stampede series, The Cowboy’s Accidental Baby, share something you enjoyed doing as a child with a grandparent or parent.  ***The winner will be named in the comment section of this blog post on Sunday June tenth!



Bronc rider Gunner Hardell never plans past the next stop on the rodeo. When he’s home in Stampede, Texas, he’s part-time manager of the run-down Moonlight Motel, to get his crotchety grandpa off his back. Then he meets interior designer Lydia Canter—hired to renovate the motel—and suddenly the gig gets a whole lot more appealing…

Lydia is looking for love, but there’s nothing wrong with some Mr. Right Now while she waits for Mr. Right. But one steamy night with Gunner has unexpected consequences. And she would rather raise their baby alone than give the good-time cowboy a chance to break her heart. When Gunner learns he’s going to be a daddy, he’s determined to prove to Lydia he really is her Mr. Right!

Until Next Time…Happy Trails!




Updated: May 19, 2018 — 11:52 am

We Have a Winner for Karen Kay’s E-book Give-away


Many, many thanks go out to all of you who came to the blog on Tuesday, and who left a comment.  I read them all, and I do my best to answer them all, as well.

We do a drawing for winners and the winner of a free e-book of mine — your choice — is:

Linda Orr

Congratulations, Linda.  Please contact me personally at karenkay(dot)author(at)earthlink(dot)net — meanwhile, you can go to my website at: and look through them, read the excerpts, and let me know which book you might like to receive as the gift.

Again, thank you all for coming to the blog yesterday.  I loved all of your comments.

Updated: June 6, 2018 — 8:58 am

Ballet, ballet, ballet

Good Morning!

Thought I’d take a little liberty and post a few pictures of family and our beautiful ballerina.  End of school, summer vacation sometimes brings on recitals, and so I thought I’d share these with you today.

I’ll start with some photos from last Christmas.


I love both of these pictures so very much.

Now we had quite a few snowstorms this year — and a not inconsiderable amount of snow fallen.  Inches and inches.

The next photo was taken during one of those snowstorms — you can see the accumulation, can’t you?  I think by the time it was finished, it was about 15 inches.

My husband and our dog are out there shoveling that snow. 

Off to the right here is the ballerina and her half-sister, my step-granddaughter.  So beautiful.

The next photo — off to the left — is my daughter and the ballerina, coming out to receive all the flowers and say hello to us all.

Next picture is from left to right: Grandma, my daughter and of course the ballerina.


And the next photo off to the right,, and below, are the girls and one boy.


This last photo is from Memorial Day.  Hubby and I went out to hike and see some waterfalls and enjoy the day where we all celebrate and give honor to those who gave all they had to give for their country and for all of us Americans.

What did you do for Memorial Day?

Although I’m going to be giving away a free e-book to some lucky blogger, I must tell you that the recently passed regulations in the UK makes me hesitate — at least until I learn a little bit more about it.  Let me reiterate here that off to the left are the Give-Away Guidelines — if you haven’t already read them, please do so at your earliest convenience.  Let me state a couple of them that are important:  the give-away applies to those living in the USA only; also, one must be 18 years or older to be a winner.  Another that sometimes gets overlooked is that we do depend on your coming to the blog within a couple of days to see if you have won.  Often we authors work more than one job, and so this consideration helps us a lot.

Also, on my own website, I have a new privacy disclosure in order to comply as best we can with the new regulations from the UK.  Here is the link:

The new book, BRAVE WOLF AND THE LADY, is almost ready for release.  It is currently in its third round of edits — so soon…(knock on wood).

Do come on in and leave a message — I read them all and I answer them all as best I can — sometimes I can’t read them until the next day, but I do read them all.  Join me again on Tuesday in two weeks.







Updated: June 4, 2018 — 1:49 pm
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