Category: Uncategorized

Cattle Rustling During WWII

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I truly do love researching details for my sweet historical romances. 

While I was digging through books and sifting through online information for my upcoming release, Dream of Her Heart (Book 3 in the Hearts of the War series), set in World War II, I found several fascinating details that I hadn’t read before.

One of the most interesting was the surge in cattle rustling that took place once rationing went into effect. The war caused shortages of many things like rubber, metal and nylon stockings, but the rationed food affected just about everyone on a daily basis. 

The short supply of food was due to a variety of reasons. Much of the processed and canned food was reserved for our military and Allies. Due to gasoline and rubber rations, transporting food  to civilians was not a priority when soldiers needed food and war supplies needed to be shipped. Restrictions on imports, like sugar and coffee was limited. 

The U.S. Office of Price Administration established a system that would, in theory, fairly distribute food in short supply through ration books. The books contained removable stamps good for certain items like sugar, meat, oil and canned goods. A person could not legally purchase a rationed item without having the right ration stamp. 

That’s where the black market of food came into play during World War II – and rustlers found a ripe opportunity for stealing cattle and selling the meat.

Cattle rustling has been around as long as there have been cattle to rustle. In the old West, a no nonsense kind of place, cattle rustling was considered a serious offence which often resulted in the offender hanging from a rope by a group of vigilantes. Whether the cattle were stolen for food, or to sell, thievery took place all too often. 

Some people will say the transition from open range to fenced in grazing reduced the practice of rustling. In fact, rustlers knew cattle country and adapted to the changes.

Most rustlers could rope, brand and trail with ease. One only needed to buy a few cows, register a brand, and start branding “strays” to build up their own herds. Unbranded calves were a popular target and easy to steal, especially if they were “orphans.” 

Other rustlers relied on the catching ranchers by surprise, stampeding herds and driving them off. Herds that grazed on the western ranges were a favorite of rustlers, especially where canyons or high brush afforded hiding places. They also had rebranding down to an art.  

Altering brands was a common practice among rustlers, using a “running iron,” which was a straight rod with a curve at the heated end. 

Cattle rustling prevailed through range wars and settling of the West.

While many might think rustling died down with the advent of vehicles and modern inventions, it continued. Thieves equipped with trucks stole cattle at night, butchered them, and sold the meat the next day, perhaps hundreds of miles away. The extent of the thievery, and the fact the rustlers often crossed state lines, led Congress to pass the National Cattle Theft Act in August 1941. 

The act was instituted “To provide for the punishment of persons transporting stolen cattle in interstate commerce, and for other purposes. ” Interstate commerce included transporting stolen cattle from one state, territory or the District of Columbia to another state, territory, District of Columbia, foreign country or from a foreign country to anywhere in the United States. 

The penalty for being caught transporting, receiving, concealing, storing, bartering, buying, selling, or
disposing of any cattle known to be stolen was a $5,000 fine, or imprisonment of not more than five years, or both. 

However, the implementation of the act wasn’t enough to deter cattle rustlers during World War II. Between the rising costs of meat and then rationing of beef and pork, rustlers grew bold, stealing as little as one or two cattle to dozens, butchering them, and selling the meat on the black market. 

The fact cattle branding became such a big issue during World War II caught me by surprise. It’s not something you even think twice about happening in the 1800s. But the 1940s? However, it was a huge problem for many ranchers and farmers.

I couldn’t let a little nugget of history like that slip by, so I included it in Dream of Her Heart. And how do you work in cattle rustling when the hero is a pilot in the Pacific? You make him from a ranch in Texas, of course. 

 Is there room for love in a time of war?

Days before he must ship out to prepare for a dangerous mission in the Pacific, Lieutenant Zane West crosses Oregon to see a good friend who has been wounded in action. He arrives at the veteran’s hospital, only to discover the army captain has disappeared without a trace. As Zane searches for answers, he finds himself captivated by a beautiful and spunky nurse who offers her help. Is she the key to his future, or an unwelcome distraction from his important wartime mission?

Nurse Billie Brighton puts her heart and boundless energy into caring for wounded soldiers, but she vowed long ago never to let one of the dashing rogues turn her head. That is, until a handsome lieutenant arrives seeking his missing friend. Thoroughly enchanted, she can’t help but break her own rules. Has she finally found the love she secretly longs for, or is she headed for heartbreak?

Step back in time to 1942 with a sweet, charming World War II romance full of history, heart, and a happily ever after.

The book is available for pre-order from Amazon and releases Sept. 27!


If you were living in a time of ration coupons, what one thing would you most prize? 

(My choice would definitely be sugar!)

One randomly chosen winner from those who post a comment

will receive an ebook of their choice from any I’ve written. 





Updated: September 11, 2018 — 8:17 pm

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


Yes, we do have a winner, but before I announce who that is, please let me take a moment to thank each and every one of you who came to the blog today and who left a message.  I loved hearing your thoughts and learning about your own experiences and memories.

As an aside, all names are written down and then drawn, so that the chance of winning is purely luck.

The winner this month is:

Patricia B.

Congratulations Patricia.  Please email me privately so we can discuss which book you would like and how to get the book to you:  karenkay(dot)author(at)earthlink(dot)net.

My thanks to every one of you who came to the blog today.

Updated: September 5, 2018 — 10:06 am

And Then He Kissed Me — A Look Back at an Astounding Era — E-book Giveaway


I grew up in the 50’s — Okay, I’m giving away my age, but then, probably most of you know I’m a Grandmother — that gives away my age, as well.

Oh, how I loved that Motown sound of the 50’s and 60’s.  Do you remember it?   The Crystals, The Ronettes, Little Anthony?

If you’re too young to remember, come experience the magic of the 50’s music (for us young’ins).  I’m going to leave some links:

The Ronettes, Be My Baby — One of my favorites:

How many of you remember the dance names that they are doing in this link?  Can you believe that I do remember?  The main one, I believe, is the Bird, and in the middle they switch briefly to the Jerk.  Oh, how I loved those dances.  Did you?

And for all us romance lovers:  The Crystals, And Then He Kissed Me —

I still know all the words to this song.  Do you?

Me and hubby and a smooch — off to the right here.

Not to be outdone:  Anthony and the Imperials, Hurts So Bad —

Oh, how I love this song.

Do you remember The Duke of Earl — another song I sing to my Grandchildren:  Gene Chandler and The Duke of Earl:

Okay, and how many of you remember the dance those girls are doing in the background?  Would that be the Twine?  I think it is.  Did you do this dance?

And how about Rockabilly — that’s rock and country all in one.  Do you remember the Everly Brothers?  Oh, my gosh, how I loved all their songs:

Here’s one of my favorites — beautiful, romantic, magical — Let It Be Me — — oh, my goodness, I melt when I listen to this

And how about one of their humorous songs:  Bird Dog — just recently I was singing this song to my grandchildren, who laughed and laughed and laughed and couldn’t believe it was an actual song.  So of course I had to find it online and play it for them:  Love this: — When men’s hairstyles defied gravity…

Of course, we can’t leave out The Beatles:  Here’s one of my favorites:  The Things We Said Today —

You might argue, that the Beatles are the 60’s — but oh, well, I can’t leave them out — they are probably the most inspirational band of all time.

Here are some of my other favorite Beatles songs:  Love in the Open Air, by James Paul McCartney — A very under rated song that I believe might be the most beautiful song written in the last Century.

And of course, the most beautiful song, in my opinion, from the Album, Revolver:  Here, There, and Everywhere: — This, in my opinion, is a runner up for first place in what might be the most beautiful song of the last Century.

What, you might ask, does this have to do with Native American Romance?  Well, perhaps a great deal, in several different ways.  One is always searching for inspiring music to write by — I think we, as authors, often write to music.  And for a lively scene, nothing beats the 50’s and 60’s music in my opinion.  But there is also this little bit of fact:  Did you know that the Native American Men who toured Europe  mirrored the Romantic Inspiration and female response as that of many rock stars?

And why not?  Many of those men were extraordinarily handsome.  All these photos here are of a couple of the men who were with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. 

Well, that’s all for today.  Come on in and leave a comment and let me know what you think.

As always, many of us writers are a bit busy and so we depend on your coming to the blog on Wednesday or Thursday to check to see if you are the winner of the Give-away.

And most of all, thank you for coming to the blog today.  And then he kissed me.



Updated: September 2, 2018 — 8:57 am

Winnie’s Winner!!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to share about their summer – I really enjoyed the little peak into your world.

I threw everyone’s name in a hat and drew out

Kathy Bailey

Congratulations Kathy.  Visit my website to have a look at my backlist and then use the contact button to let me know which book you’d like to have along with your mailing info.

Updated: September 4, 2018 — 2:15 pm

How I Spent My Summer

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. Happy Labor Day!

Since I’ve already done a post on Labor Day history and trivia in a previous post (you can read it HERE ), I thought I’d do something a little different this year – take a look back on my summer.

As you may or may not remember, I had foot surgery back in mid-February. It was a long healing process – 12 weeks where I couldn’t let my foot touch the floor and another 2 weeks where I could walk, but only if I wore a medical boot.  This was me at the end of those 14 weeks.

That took me to the end of May. So as summer began I was ready to make up for lost time.  I made a trip to my hairdresser – such a relief to get rid of 4 months worth of shagginess!  Then we made a trip down to my Mom’s – so good to be able to visit with her and some of my siblings again.

It was also in June that my future daughter-in-law invited me to accompany her and her bridesmaids (which included my daughters) to shop for their dresses. The wedding gown she picked is breath taking and the bridesmaids dresses are lovely and I was very happy I got to tag along and be part of the day.

Another thing I was once more able to do was have all my kids and their families over to my house, which is just what we did to celebrate my husband with a Father’s Day family lunch.

The month of June ended with me dogsitting for my daughter’s sweet and frisky Dean while she and her husband went on vacation. Dean made sure that I got my exercise, no matter how hot it was outside!

July was all about the Romance Writers of America national conference – something I look forward to every year. Preparations included getting my notes together for the workshop I was scheduled to present, making sure I was prepared for the board meeting (I’m currently a member of the RWA board), doing a little shopping and getting my hair and nails done.

But I also began to feel that something was still not quite right with my foot. A visit to my doctor three days before my scheduled departure for Denver confirmed my fears. He told me to resume wearing my medical boot and he scheduled a CT scan for the week after I returned.

Determined to find the silver lining, I posted this picture, saying that it had definitely lightened my suitcase to only have to pack left shoes!

Despite having to wear the boot, I had a great time at the conference in Denver.  My agent, the fabulous Michelle Grajkowski, along with her associate Cori Deyoe, invited all their clients who were at the conference to tour the fabulous Molly Brown House Museum with them. The place was a fabulous step back in time and I learned a lot of things I hadn’t previously known about this remarkable woman.

The rest of the conference went equally well. While there were some things I couldn’t do – no dance party for me – I focused on the things I could do.  The workshop Renee Ryan and I presented was well attended and well received. I had opportunities to visit with several editors I’d targeted, my agent and I had a productive career planning session and I was able to meet all of my volunteer obligations. But one of my favorite parts of the conference is getting to spend time with friends, some of whom I only get to see this one time a year. Here are pics of just a few of those friends I reconnected with this year.

Three days after I got home from the conference I was back in the doctor’s office listening to the results of the CT scan. It seems one of the metal screws they inserted in February had shifted and was causing problems that only another surgery could correct. A week later it was done and I was back in a post-op cast with strict instructions not to let my right foot so much as touch the floor. This time I was a little more prepared for the process, but cabin fever is what it is. The only time I get out of the house these days is to visit the doctor. On the bright side, I’m enjoying being able to being able to do a lot more reading guilt free 🙂

Since my surgery I’ve gone through two more casts.  The doctor lets me pick my cast color so I tend to pick colors that make me happy.  I think my next one will be a bright blue 🙂


However, there was a wedding shower scheduled for my son and his fiancee down at my Mom’s (a 5 hour drive from me) that I was determined not to miss. So my three daughters agreed to drive me down in my van and get me there.  It meant packing up my wheelchair, knee scooter and assorted other paraphenalia, and setting up the van so I could sit with my foot propped off the floor for the entire trip.  Here’s what the back of my van looked like for an overnight trip.

But it was well worth it!  The shower was lovely, the guests were all family so it was great having a chance to visit. Here’s a picture of the happy couple along with the cake my very talented sister made for them.

So that was what my summer was like.

How about you? Did you take a fun vacation or stay-cation? Have any memorable moments? 

Leave a comment and I’ll pick one person to win their chice of any book in my backlist.

Updated: September 2, 2018 — 6:32 pm

Ruthy’s Winners!!!

Reunion love… an engaging child, wishing for a mom… and a ranch that needs both of them to succeed….

Connie and Colleen, your names were drawn out of the cowboy hat for Ruthy’s post on “A Place in This World”….

Congratulations! E-mail Ruthy at to give her your snail mail information! And have a great weekend!

Updated: August 31, 2018 — 4:36 am

A Place In This World

This is a thoughtful post, brought on by how quickly things have changed in so many parts of our country…

And how there are places where things stay solidly the same.

I live in a small town outside of Rochester, New York. We own a pumpkin farm and we raised our family here, and other than centralized schooling (which I’m not a big fan of, but that’s a post for a different blog!) and some new neighborhoods, we’ve been fairly unchanged for decades and decades.

Our town burned before I moved there. The fire was in the 60’s… and it was rebuilt then, but for the most part the old buildings that used to thrive are still there. Some of them are falling apart but caught in legalities… and some of them (an old vegetable processing facility on the railroad line) is now a fabric and knitting store and storage facility… )

And the old furniture store that became a popular antique cooperative burned years ago… and now a modern dental office stands in its place.

It’s comforting and amazing how while a few things change, most of the town has remained the same, even as storefronts change….

Towns get worn… people leave… then new people come….

Is this good or bad? And when I’m writing a Western, and setting up a town, is that lack of change expected? Or different? And part of the fun of writing cowboys and westerns is that cowboys are a breed apart. Like cops and military and adventurers… and I like to write cowboys that are looking for their place in this world.

Did you ever hear the song “My Place in This World” by Michael W. Smith? Michael is a Christian recording artist, I have a bunch of his tapes…. are you laughing yet??? 🙂 I used to play him all the time in my station wagon and the cassette player and I thought I was SO COOL to have a car with a cassette player. My first car barely had a radio.

And I’m not even sure it had FM, LOL!

Anyway, that song speaks to me figuratively and literally and helps me to create not only the physical setting of time and place, but the emotional settings for the characters.  It’s never easy to either be the odd man out or a woman who’s starting over, is it? Some of us have been there. Some of us haven’t, but we know folks who have. 

Guys of all ages hunt for their place in this world… they don’t have to be big to be lonely…

My old pastor used to offer a homily about the black sheep… the disenchanted child, the one who doesn’t fall into line when all the rest of the family does.

I bet a lot of cowboys fit that mold. Or make their own mold.

A little bit different. A different drummer. Searching for something. Or someone?

When we watch a John Wayne or a Clint Eastwood or Matt Damon movie, we sense that discontent. That past that drags a man down. Or a past that mires a woman in guilt and reckoning.

The “Shepherd’s Crossing” series for Love Inspired books offered me the chance to use diverse characters and mixed relationships and cute blond baby twins and a darling biracial boy named Zeke… and a Native American little girl called “Dovie” and the children of a deceased horse breeding couple… who are trying to find their place in the world now that their lives have been irrevocably changed by tragedy.


Book one of this series! Reunion love… an engaging child, wishing for a mom… and a ranch that needs both of them to succeed….

Fred Rogers used to teach children that when things go bad, when scary things happen, when everything seems to be falling apart around you… “Look for the helpers,” he told them. “Look around and find the people who are helping others. There are always helpers, in every situation, so you need to look for them. Go to them. Look for the helpers.”

What great advice.

When we create story lines or series or single title books, we usually have “helpers”, too. Those sage voices, the sensible folks who jump in to help, no questions asked.

Look for the helpers…

Look for what you need and want to find your place in the world and also to take your place in the world.

In the “Shepherd’s Crossing” series,  Corrie Lee Satterly is the helper. The voice of wisdom. A warm-hearted black nanny who raised three rich little white girls and gave them the love they were denied for over thirty years… and followed them north when that’s where they had to go.

Corrie found her place in this world, not by geography… but by love. The sacrificial love of a surrogate mother.

My three Steel Magnolias find life and love in western Idaho, but it’s not just about the beautiful romance waiting for them…

It’s about the character-building emotions they pack along the way and how time, love and faith pave that new road to happy-ever-afters.

But of course there is always a little help from their friends… and the good Lord’s timing! 

I have TWO COPIES of this opening book to give away today… Let me know about your place in the world, or how much you love romance… and I’ll put your name into the cowboy hat for the drawing!





Updated: August 28, 2018 — 3:35 pm

And Then the Cavalry Saved the Day by Hebby Roman


If you were a child of the 1950’s or 60’s, you would be familiar with the above phrase. In western movies and television, when things got really rough, the U.S. cavalry would ride in, trumpets blaring, and save anyone who might be in peril. I noticed in historical western romance, though, most of the heroes were ranchers, cowboys, assorted lawmen, Texas rangers, and even the occasional bounty hunter. What has happened to the heroic soldier in blue with gold buttons and epaulets, charging into battle?


That’s when I decided my next historical romance series would focus on that particularly western branch of the U.S. Army, the cavalry. I decided to focus on west Texas forts, since I grew up only a few miles from Fort Clark. Unlike many other forts prominent in the Indian Wars, Fort Clark remained an active post for almost one hundred years. It was founded in 1852 and deactivated in the mid-1940’s. It was bought by a private company, and over several decades was partially reconstructed and all the buildings were renovated. Fort Clark, where I danced in the community hall as a teenager, has become a unique retirement community.

I thought, like most people who’ve lived in west Texas, I knew a lot about the cavalry and fort life. But when I began researching the backgrounds for my series of cavalry books, called: A West Texas Frontier Trilogy, I soon found I had lots to learn.


Here are some of the more interesting facts I uncovered: frontier forts in the Southwest, unlike back East, were seldom built with walls. It was believed the firepower of the soldiers was more than adequate for overcoming the hostiles. At first, still mired in an Army culture caught up in the methods of the late eighteenth century, infantry troops were marched over hundreds of miles, under extreme conditions, to garrison the western forts. These infantry troops were ineffective in battling the Native American tribes. The Comanche, Apache, Kiowa, Kickapoo, and other tribes of Texas had long since adopted the horse as an effective means of quick raids and dare-devil escapes. The infantry would would pursue the marauding hostiles on foot, and the Native Americans would ride circles around them.


Next, in the cavalry’s life came the strange blend of soldier, known as the dragoon. A dragoon was a cavalryman who rode on horseback, but he dismounted to fight and shoot his single-balled, musket-loading weapon. This interesting mix of fighting didn’t last long—the Civil War changed the cavalry’s tactics overnight and when the west Texas forts were redeployed after the war, they were made up of primarily cavalry soldiers—men who fought on horseback.

Some of the more interesting facts I ran across about daily fort living were: the soldiers usually built their own living quarters, at first surviving in tents or quasi-log huts with tented roofs. This was common, even for officers who’d brought their families with them. Enlisted men were expected to live in barracks, and they couldn’t marry without special approval. As a necessary fire prevention method, most kitchens, unlike in our familiar films, were detached structures, built behind the living quarters. And the the most interesting fact I learned was that rank in the Army, when it came to officers’ quarters, reigned supreme. A mere Captain with a family of four could be turned out into smaller quarters by the arrival of a bachelor Major, who would be given the larger structure. Not very democratic by today’s standards, but the nineteenth century U.S. Army was organized along strict lines of rank and seniority.

Mallory: The Mail Order Bride is the third book in my West Texas Frontier Trilogy. It’s set in scenic Fort Davis, Texas. The fort, which is now a National Historic Site and run by Park Rangers, nestles at the foot of dramatic mountains in a box canyon. When I revisited the fort, a few weeks ago, I learned all of the structures are original, except for their porches and roofs. I’ve included several pictures I took of the fort’s buildings.

Hebby is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and digital copies of her three West Texas Frontier Trilogy books. To win, comment and guess the function of the four buildings pictured A, B, C, and D. The winner will picked at random from those who comment. Good luck!

Hebby Roman is a New York traditionally published, small-press published, and Indie published #1 Amazon best-selling author of historical and contemporary romances. Her WEST TEXAS CHRISTMAS TRILOGY is an Amazon Bestselling and Award-Winning series. SUMMER DREAMS, was #1 in Amazon fiction and romance. Her medieval historical romance, THE PRINCESS AND THE TEMPLAR, was selected for the Amazon Encore program and was #1 in medieval fiction. She won a national Harlequin contest. Her book, BORDER HEAT, was a Los Angeles Times Book Festival selection. She has been a RONE Finalist three times and in three different categories.

Updated: August 14, 2018 — 2:47 pm
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