Category: Uncategorized

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


Finally, and at last we got internet service late last night — about 11:30PM.  Seems odd.  You know, one thing I noticed during this time period is how much time I had on my hands without the internet.  It was eye-opening, to tell the truth.

Anyway, we do have a winner for the free e-book of WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH and that winner is:

Annette V

Congratulations Annette.  Hopefully you will contact me to claim your prize.  Because we authors often work more than one job, we are quite busy — as are many people these days — and so often we can’t contact you personally, and we rely on you contacting us.  So please email me privately so that I can get your book to you.  My address is:  karenkay(dot)net(at)earthlink(dot)net

Many thanks you many of you who came to the blog on Tuesday and who left message.  I loved hearing from you all.

Updated: May 24, 2018 — 9:17 am

Cowboy Coffee

I’m a coffee drinker, as were many of the folks who settled the west. Pioneers, cowboys, ranchers, farmers, miners and townsfolk all loved coffee, but the process of making it wasn’t as simple as it is today. Green beans were roasted in a skillet over a fire, then put into a cloth bag and crushed with a heavy object. The grounds were dropped into a pot of water and boiled. The roasting beans had to be tended to carefully, because if one bean burnt, the flavor of it ruined the entire batch. Home roasted coffee could be quite foul if the roasting process went amiss.

Before the Civil War, real coffee was expensive, so many people drank mock coffee made of rye, okra seeds, parched corn or bran. (Parched corn is dried corn roasted over a fire.) In the mid-1860s, Jabez Burns developed a commercial coffee roaster about the same time that affordable paper bags became available. A man named John Arbuckle developed a special glazing process using egg and sugar to preserve the flavor of the beans, and then bought the rights to a patented packaging system and began selling roasted coffee beans in one-pound paper bags. By 1881, his company was operating 85 coffee roasters. His coffee was billed as the “coffee that won the west”.

Now back to cowboy coffee. While on the trail, cowboys had to stay alert during bad weather and hard times and coffee helped them do that. It also kept their insides warm and helped wash down meals. A camp cook usually kept several pots of coffee going at once, and it wasn’t uncommon to leave the old grounds in the pot and simply add new. One camp cook wrote that he used about 175 pounds of beans a month.

There are several ways to make cowboy coffee, but they all involve putting the grounds directly into the water.  Some people advocate bringing the water to a boil, then throwing the grounds in (a 1 to 8 ratio — 1/8 cup coffee per cup of water). Others (including me) put the grounds in the water and bring the coffee to a full boil. Regardless of when you add the coffee, the next step in to settle the grounds. To do that, you either pour cold water through the spout, or add crushed eggshells. (I’m a water gal.) If this is done correctly, there should be very few grounds in your cup when you finish drinking.

And then there’s always this recipe from Western Words: A Dictionary of Range, Cow Camp and Trail that you might consider trying:  “Take two pounds of Arbuckle’s coffee, put in enough water to wet it down, boil it for two hours, then throw in a hoss shoe. If the hoss shoe sinks, she ain’t ready.”

Have a great Wednesday!


Romantic Times Booklovers Convention!!! Reporting in!

Hi from beautiful downtown Reno.

This is the view out my hotel room window. The mountains are surrounding us, the sky is blue and cloudy. It’s beautiful to just look outside.

We’re in the Peppermill Resort and Casino.

Are there supposed to be video poker games on the table where you want to eat?

It’s a beautiful hotel and possibly the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on.

I am going from meeting (session?) to meeting. Trying to learn, when anyone who knows anything about me knows my brain is least effective in a hectic, noisy, active situation. We’ll see if I remember anything.

I’m on a panel called Sweetly Spicy about Inspirational Romance tomorrow. I’m trying not to think about it. but now, well, what are they gonna do? Close the whole magazine because of my lame performance?????


I’ve been cruising along thinking, “Well, if I come again, I’ll understand better how things work…” only to find out just now today that Romantic Times Magazine and the convention is ending effective immediately. (well, they’re going to let us finish the convention).

I loved the reviews I got from RT and the most recent one was the sweetest, my first ever Top Pick (I got one once before for a novella collection I did with Karen Witemeyer, but I figured I got it riding on her coattails!!!) This is my first…..and I guess last….on a stand-alone book. I did usually get nice reviews there and those were bragging rights. I used to post about them and include them on my website and blogs (including here). I’m really going to miss Romantic Times.

I was even a reviewer for RT many moons ago, because I was published and decided to stop.

So as I wandered the hectic, noisy, exciting, casino, constantly lost, who should I run into but my very own filly sister from Petticoats and Pistols…Shanna Hatfield!

She was at a wild west historical romance event and all dressed up, her and a bunch of other authors. It was fun to meet her and see all the authors in action and watch all the reads come and meet their favorites.

I’ll be here at RT again tomorrow, then Friday, My Cowboy (who is here somewhere!) and I are taking a bus trip to Lake Tahoe and Virginia City, home of the Comstock Lode, which figures in my current series High Sierra Sweethearts. It’s too late to fix details (should I see places I got things wrong) on The Accidental Guardian, but there are two more books coming! There is time for them!


Updated: May 16, 2018 — 9:40 pm

Wigwam Motel & Bucket of Blood Saloon

Visiting the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook this past summer was another item on my bucket list that I was able to cross off during our Route 66 travels along northern Arizona. I was really surprised the teepees looked exactly like what I’d seen in photographs.

There were once seven Wigwam Villages in the United States but today only three are open to the public—Cave Creek, Kentucky, Holbrook, Arizona, which is listed on the National Register of Historical Places, and Rialto, California.

The “village” concept for the motel was designed by Frank A. Redford and the first motel was opened in 1937. Chester Lewis, an Arizona motel owner, bought the rights to the wigwam design from Redford and built four more “villages”, including the one in Holbrook. Each teepee is 25 feet wide at the base and 28 feet high. Vintage automobiles decorate the parking lot and you won’t find an ice machine on the property or a telephone inside a teepee, but the rooms all have air conditioners and cable TV.


The Wigwam Motel in Holbrook closed in 1982, and shortly after in 1986 Chester Lewis died. After restoring the Holbrook Motel, Chester’s widow and children reopened the rooms in 1988. The 15 teepees are spread out in a semi-circle around the main office, which operates a museum open to the public and includes Mr. Lewis’s Indian artifacts and Civil War memorabilia along with his petrified wood collection.


While my husband browsed through the museum I struck up a conversation with another tourist and the lady had asked me if I had seen the remains of the Bucket of Blood saloon across town. I hadn’t, and as luck would have it, my husband and I were on a tight schedule and didn’t have time that day to see the remains of the saloon. But I did wonder if any historical western romance authors had ever referenced the saloon or Holbrook, Arizona, in their stories.



I found the following images and history of Holbrook and the Bucket of Blood Saloon HERE.

In the mid-1880s, Holbrook was known as a place “too tough for women and churches.” At the time there was little law enforcement when several cow punchers from the Aztec Cattle Company moved into the area. They called themselves the Hashknife Outfit, and they rustled livestock from other cattle companies. They also played a major role in the Pleasant Valley Feud, one of the longest and bloodiest land and cattle feuds in the history of the United States.

In 1886 there were 26 shooting deaths in Holbrook, which at the time only had a population of around 250. Many of the shootings were attributed directly or indirectly to the Hashknife Outfit. The Bucket of Blood Saloon got its nickname after a gunfight between the Hashknife Outfit and a group of cowboys who accused them of stealing cattle. The gun battle ended in so much death that the floors were said to be slick with a “bucket of blood.”

Years later the street that runs in front of the old saloon in Holbrook was renamed from “Central” to “Bucket of Blood St”. The new name landed on several top ten lists citing the most unusual street names.

For fun…have you ever lived on a street with an unusual name?


Until Next Time…Happy Trails!










Praying Cowboy

Cowboy, hat in hand, pausing in prayer. End of day… head bowed… asking for help or thanking the sweet Lord above?

This is an image I love.

I use it from time to time, to add to memes or blog posts, or tweets.


Because there is something intrinsically beautiful and downright appealing about a big, strong cowboy going down on his knees in humility.

Asking for help.

Begging, even.

It immediately begs the question “why”? What’s gone wrong? Why the supplication?

It’s funny that we don’t see this as normal. Like, oh, gosh, the cowboy stops by the ranch cross and prays every day.

Now he might. But like the rest of us, he might be so caught up in the daily give and take, back-and-forth, the rigors of running a ranch or a farm, of being a dad, a son, a husband, a boss, a worker…. he might get too darned busy to stop and think or pause and pray on a regular basis.

So why now?

Did he lose a calf and cow?

Did his wife leave him?

Did he lose a child to drugs?

Did he just hold his father’s hand as he breathed his last Western breath?

Is the ranch being foreclosed?

Is he dying?

Is he faced with a future he didn’t ask for and doesn’t want?

Is he praying for the birth of a healthy child?

Or is he mourning the loss of his wife?

The pose presents a realm of stories, and I’ve just scratched the tip of the iceberg. Why here? Why now? And when he stands and sets that hat back on his head, what’s next?

What will he face?

Will he find rest? Food? Does he even care about food?

At this point an author begins to take the story in the direction he or she needs to go. What waits this man at home?

Motherless children? (You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Lucille)

Bad cattle prices?

Overdue bills?

Now we need to leverage some hope into this realm of sad possibilities. We all know that things happen. Sadness and grief couple in life…

So this is where the reader needs to glimpse hope….

What would bring hope to this kind of scenario as that cowboy approaches his home?

I want you to decide. Tell me what kind of scene at home would make you sense a glimmer of hope. I’d love to hear your ideas… because we know I’ve got plenty of my own!





He gained a son but lost a wife five long years ago… and now his best friend has gone and left partial ownership of Pine Ridge Ranch to Heath… and Heath’s first love. Can he learn to forgive or at least overlook the past to save her uncle’s magnificent Idaho ranch?

Updated: May 2, 2018 — 1:32 pm

We Have a Winner for Karen Kay’s E-book, The Princess and the Wolf


Yes, we do have a winner for the free e-book copy of The Princess and the Wolf.  But before I announce the winner, I want to take a moment to thank every reader who came to the blog on Tuesday, and who left a message.  I appreciate you all.

The winner of the free e-book is:


Gladys, if you could please contact me personally at — we’ll go over how to get the book to you.

Again, I so appreciate you all coming to the blog yesterday.  Please keep checking back, since you probably are aware that I often give away free e-books.

Updated: April 25, 2018 — 11:13 am

The American Indian and Moral Code


Welcome to another terrific Tuesday.  While edits of Brave Wolf and the Lady are in progress, I find myself involved in plotting out my next story, and so of course I have my nose in much research.  Lately, I’m reading the book, The Soul of the Indian, An Interpretation by Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa) — a Sioux Indian who wrote several books in the early part of the last century.  A Chapter entitled BARBARISM AND THE MORAL CODE is one of extreme interest, and so I though I’d share with you a little bit from this chapter, as I find it fascinating.

To the right here is a picture of a young Charles Eastman.  He was of mixed descent.  His maternal grandmother, daughter of Chief Cloudman of the Mdewankton Sioux, was married to a well-known western artist, Captain Seth Eastman, and in 1847 their daughter, Mary Nancy Eastman became the wife of Chief Many Lightnings, a Wahpeton Sioux.  Their fifth child, Charles Alexander Eastman, as a four-year-old was given the name Ohiyesa (the Winner).  During the Sioux Uprising of 1862, Ohiyesa became separated from his father — his mother had died soon after his birth — and fled from the reservation in Minnesota to Canada under the protection of his grandmother and uncle.  There he was schooled in the Indian ways until the age of fifteen, when he was reunited with his father, who took him back to his homestead in present South Dakota.

Eastman went on to become one of the best-known Indians of his time, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from Dartmouth in 1887 and a medical degree from Boston University three years later.  From his first appointment as a physician at Pine Ridge Agency, where he witnessed the events that culminated in the Wounded Knee massacre, he sought to bring understanding between Native and non-Native Americans.   Source Reference from the back blurb of the book, The Soul of the Indian, An Interpretation.


To the left here is a picture of Adam Beach who played Charles Eastman in the film, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.  They look so very similar, don’t they?  Of course, I’m a Adam Beach fan.

So here we go, here are some gems that I’ve underlined in this chapter of his book:

“The man who preserves his selfhood ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence — not a leaf, as it were, astir on the tree; not a ripple upon the surface of shining pool — his, in the mind of the unlettered sage, is the ideal attitude and conduct of life.”

And since we write romance, I thought I’d call attention to this gem:

“No man can hope to maintain such a temple of the spirit beyond the period of adolescence, unless he is able to curb his indulgence in the pleasures of the senses.  Upon this truth the Indian built a rigid system of physical training, a social and moral code that was the law of his life.

“There was aroused in him as a child a high ideal of manly strength and beauty, the attainment of which must depend upon strict temperance in eating and in sexual relation, together with severe and persistent exercise. … He was required to fast from time to time for short periods, and to work off his superfluous energy by means of hard running, swimming, and the vapor-bath.  The bodily fatigue thus induced, especially when coupled with a reduced diet, is a reliable cure for undue sexual desires.”

This is a link to a short video about this book and about Charles Eastman:


Here’s another quote from the book that I found intriguing:

“The public or tribal position of the Indian is entirely dependent upon his private virtue, and he is never permitted to forget that he does not live to himself alone, but to his tribe and his clan.”


And here’s a clip from the movie, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee:

I hope you have enjoyed this blog today, and I hope you will each on leave a comment.  I will be offering a free copy of my latest book THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF.

Updated: April 23, 2018 — 8:04 pm


The winner of a copy of All for Love is

Emma S

Emma I will email you and get an address to mail the book



And the winner of an ebook copy of Cowboys of Summer (it is ebook only) is

Debra G

I will get an email address from you, Debra, for the book.

Remember if you do NOT have an ereader, you can download one for free to your smartphone or laptop or tablet or other device of this sort.

Updated: April 22, 2018 — 10:08 am
Petticoats & Pistols © 2015