Category: Western Novels

Dime Novels – The birth of the paperback

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Dime Novel - MalaeskaRight around the start of the Civil War, Erastus and Irwin Beadle published a new series of cheap paperbacks entitled Beadle’s Dime Novels. Thanks to increased literacy rates among the American people during this time, and the inexpensive price (yes, they truly did cost a dime), these thin, paper-bound books met with huge success. The debut novel – Malaeska, the Indian Wife of the White Hunter, by Ann Stephens (a woman – hooray!) sold more than 65,000 copies within the first few months of its publication. Those are the kind of numbers even today’s authors would get excited about – believe me! The book released on June 9, 1860 and was basically a reprint of a serialized story that had appeared in the Ladies’ Companion magazine back in 1839.

Dime novels varied in size and thickness, but the tended to be about 100 pages in length, about the equivalent to today’s novella. At first, dime novel covers had no cover art beyond the fancy title script. But it didn’t take long for the Beadles to move to illustrated covers, better designed to grab a browsing customer’s attention.

If you saw a homicidal squaw about to tomahawk a frontiersman, wouldn’t that grab your attention?  The next one is slightly less blatant with the rifleman helping a young woman escape danger, but there is certainly still an element of adventure and the breathless question of “What will happen next?”

Dime novels were famous for lurid, often melodramatic tales of the frontier. Heroes were larger than life and typically had exaggerated strength and skill. Not that the readers cared. The more jaw-dropping the story, the more fun it was to read. Hence the birth of genre paperback fiction.

In my latest release, A Worthy Pursuit, I have a lot of fun playing with these dime novel ideals. Young Lily is an avid, and rather bloodthirsty, fan of dime novels – her favorites being the tales of Dead-Eye Dan and his winsome companion Hammer Rockwell, who just happens to bear a striking similarity to Stone Hammond, our hero.

Here’s a sneak peak from one of the scenes where Stone and Lily are reading dime novels together:

Taking Dead-Eye Dan in hand, Stone fanned the pages to a random spot in the middle. “‘Dan dove behind a fallen tree as a hailstorm of bullets rained down around him. The Gatling Gang had come by their moniker honestly, laying down rapid fire that mimicked the output of the famed war gun. Unruffled by the deadly flurry, however, Dan flipped onto his back behind the log and reloaded his Henry repeater with methodical precision. The six-gun at his hip sported full chambers. The knife on his belt was razor-sharp and ready for action.'” Stone’s voice trailed off, cueing Lily.

She grinned, taking up the challenge like a seasoned gamester.

“‘Bullets blasted shards of bark all around Dan, but he just brushed the pieces off his chest with a flick of his wrist. Billy’s gang couldn’t aim worth a hill of beans. That’s why they always sprayed so much lead. It was the only way they ever hit anything. Too often, innocent civilians. Dan scowled, his jaw tightening as he rolled onto his side to steal a peek over the top of the log. One against seven were lousy odds, but Billy Cavanaugh and his crew were vermin that needed e-rad-i-cation.'” She stumbled slightly over the large word, but it didn’t stop her. She passed right over it and forged ahead. “‘He’d just wait for them to reload, then take them out one by one.'”

Stone closed the book and set it in his lap. “You do know this story is hugely exaggerated, right?” He tossed the dime novel to Lily and winked at her. “There were only five men in the Gatling Gang, not seven. And Daniel Barrett didn’t bring them all in on his own. He had help.”

A Worthy Pursuit

Click cover to order

Lily’s blue eyes glimmered as she rose up on her knees, bringing her face level with his. “Do you mean to tell me that you know Dead-Eye Dan?”

Stone blew a self-deprecating breath out of the side of his mouth. “Know him? Shoot. He and I were partners back in the day. ‘Course no one actually calls him Dead-Eye Dan. He’s a rancher now, foreman at a place called Hawk’s Haven up north a piece. Gave up chasin’ criminals in order to chase cows. He is a crack shot, though. Saved my sorry hide more than once.” He nudged Lily with his shoulder, nearly toppling her back onto the cushions. “‘Course I saved his hide a time or two, myself.”

“Wait a minute.” Lily drew in a breath so large, he expected her head to start swelling. “You’re . . . You’re . . . Hammer Rockwell. The man who shows up in the nick of time and takes the Gatling Gang by surprise by climbing down the box canyon wall with his knife clenched in his teeth!”

Hammer Rockwell? Knife in his teeth? “Of all the ridiculous, made-up, nonsense,” Stone sputtered. “I’ll have you know, all my knives were safely stowed in their sheaths when I made that climb.”

  • Do you like your fictional heroes larger than life? Or do you prefer more realistic story lines?

Texas Ranger Badges: Fact or Fiction?

Kathleen Rice Adams header

Texas Ranger badges are a hot commodity in the collectibles market, but the caveat “buyer beware” applies in a big way. The vast majority of items marketed as genuine Texas Ranger badges are reproductions, facsimiles, or toys. Very few legitimate badges exist outside museums and family collections, and those that do hardly ever are sold. There’s a very good reason for that: Manufacturing, possessing, or selling Texas Ranger insignia, even fakes that are “deceptively similar” to the real thing, violates Texas law except in specific circumstances.

According to Byron A. Johnson, executive director of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum (the official historical center for the Texas Ranger law-enforcement agency), “Spurious badges and fraudulent representation or transactions connected with them date back to the 1950s and are increasing. We receive anywhere from 10 to 30 inquiries a month on badges, the majority connected with sales on eBay.”

If you had to, could you identify a legitimate Texas Ranger badge? Test your knowledge: Which of the alleged badges below are genuine? Pick one from each set. (All images are ©Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco, Texas, and are used with permission. All Rights Reserved.)

Set 1

1889Badge_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

SpecialAgent130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

Answer: The left-hand badge, dated 1889, is the earliest authenticated Texas Ranger insignia in the collection of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. Badges weren’t standard issue for Rangers until 1935, although from 1874 onward, individual Rangers sometimes commissioned badges from jewelers or gunsmiths, who made them from Mexican coins. Relatively few Rangers wore a badge out in the open. As for the item on the right? There’s no such thing as a “Texas Ranger Special Agent.”

Set 2

FakeShield_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

1938Badge_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

Answer: On the right is an official shield-type badge issued between 1938 and 1957. Ranger captains received gold badges; the shields issued to lower ranks were silver. The badge on the left is a fake, though similar authentic badges exist.

Set 3

FrontierBattalionBadge_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

1957Badge_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

Answer: The badge on the right was the official badge of the Rangers from July 1957 to October 1962. Called the “blue bottle cap badge,” the solid, “modernized” design was universally reviled. The left-hand badge is a fake. According to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, “No genuine Texas Ranger badges are known to exist with ‘Frontier Battalion’ engraved on them.”

Set 4

1962Badge_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

COF_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

Answer: The left-hand badge, called the “wagon wheel badge,” has been the official Texas Ranger badge since October 1962. Each is made from a Mexican five-peso silver coin. The badge on the right is a “fantasy badge.” According to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, the most common designation on such badges is “Co. A.”

How did you do? If you answered correctly for more than one without benefiting from a lucky guess, you did better than most people, including Texans. Give yourself extra points if you knew Rangers proved their legitimacy with Warrants of Authority, not badges, prior to 1935.

For more information about the Texas Rangers—including the history of the organization, biographical sketches of individual Rangers, and all kinds of information about badges and other insignia—visit the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum online at TexasRanger.org. The museum and its staff have my utmost gratitude for their assistance with this post. They do the Rangers proud.

 

While we’re on the subject of Rangers…

TheSecond-BestRangerInTexas_200x300On June 1, Western Fictioneers, a professional organization for authors of western novels and short stories, announced the winners of the 2015 Peacemaker Awards. Presented annually, the Peacemakers recognize the best western historical fiction published during the previous calendar year.

I’m happy to say “The Second-Best Ranger in Texas” received the award for Best Western Short Fiction. “The Second-Best Ranger in Texas” tells the story of a washed-up Texas Ranger and a failed nun who find redemption in love.

The award marked the second time in two years a short story published by Prairie Rose Publications has been honored with a Peacemaker: Livia J. Washburn’s “Charlie’s Pie” received the Best Western Short Fiction award in 2014.

Available in paperback and e-book

In addition, Prodigal Gun, also published by Prairie Rose, was named a finalist in the Best Western First Novel category. Prodigal Gun is the first novel-length romance ever nominated for a Peacemaker.

I don’t say any of that to brag…

Oh, heck. Who am I trying to kid? I’m bragging. (Sorry, Mom!)

There really is a larger point, though: I think the award and nomination are important, but not because the books are mine. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right stories. There’s a hint at something much broader here: At long last, it seems, romances of all lengths are being recognized as “respectable literature” outside the romance category. That’s good news for all of us who enjoy a genre too often scoffed at and snubbed by the larger community of authors and readers.

Over the past eighteen months, a number of books published by Prairie Rose Publications have been nominated for or received awards of all kinds. If that’s any indication, PRP is off to a great start. Founded in August 2013 by Livia Washburn Reasoner and Cheryl Pierson, the company is and always will be dedicated to publishing traditional westerns and western romance written by women. Nevertheless, in less than two years, PRP has expanded to include young adult, inspirational, paranormal, and medieval lines. The “little publishing company” releases some darn fine fiction. I’m proud it publishes mine.

 

To celebrate good fortune in so many areas of my life, I’ll gift a copy of “The Second-Best Ranger in Texas” to two folks who are brave enough to tell us how many of the badges above they identified correctly. To the comments with you!

 

 

Feisty Women Fascinate Peter Leavell

The Fillies are happy to have Mr. Peter Leavell. He’s a western author with a love of history. Women’s voting rights greatly interests him. This is his first time to visit and we hope you make him welcome. He’s giving away a book so leave a comment.

Peter Leavell

 

My novels feature feisty women who change the world. Why? They’ve made our world a better place using methods that seem, to our Internet savvy minds, impossible. Take this snapshot of history loosely based on Colorado’s suffrage movement.

Pretend you’re a woman who wants to vote, but you live in the American frontier about 1910. And you, being feisty, aren’t about to let another day go by without making some progress toward this obvious (not to the men who are in charge) form of equality. You have no social media. No support. Nothing but your wits and a world that frowns on women making a stand for what’s right.

Where to start? Few care about women voting. Your husband is your mouthpiece, and his vote is your vote. With a male dominated society, you’re in for a battle.

Women Voting SignMy recommendation is to start a society. So you write a pamphlet with a list of rules and aims. You have a recognizable mission and direction. If people join, you can pool resources. It’s best to find a partner. Do you have a sister or a best friend? Working together on this is vital. There’s a lot of work to do.

She agrees. You both knock on friends’ doors and chat. Only half agree to attend a meeting you plan on Thursday. When Thursday arrives, you’re nervous, but explain your hope to garner support for women’s suffrage. Because you’ve educated yourself, you know the senate must approve items on the ballot. It comes down to getting enough people to sign a petition so you can have your say before the legislature. All twelve women who attend the meeting join the society.

For next month’s meeting, you take out an ad in the paper. The editor won’t run the story, so you use your own money. You go door to door during the day while husbands are working. The wives seem receptive.

Ratification of BillWhen meeting starts, too many people cram into the barn. You take initiative and move to the park. As you speak, they hang on your every word. They clap and cheer and are eager to help. Your next step is to gather signatures.

Eighty women go door to door, and while many turn you away, those in the society don’t lose hope. In just a few weeks, you have thousands of signatures. You’re tired, but you march straight to the senate headquarters and slap down the pages you’ve collected.

Senators listen respectfully months later, then quickly vote not to entertain the amendment.

You leave with broken heart. Except you receive word they held another vote. They will allow women to vote in school elections. The victory is so thrilling that women flock to your society. The next suffrage meeting is attended by so many women, the newspaper reports the event.

Susan B. Anthony notices, and sends a telegram that says if you can provide a small stipend, she will come speak. You cannot sleep that night. The thrill of the moment is too much to take in.

West For the Back HillsWhen she arrives, she tells women why they should care to vote.

Spurred by the speech, the women and few men work harder. The measure makes the ballot. The vote fails.

Many leave the society, and you’re discouraged, but your sister wonders why you couldn’t start your own magazine? You do, and the first edition sells 2,500 copies. You find open meetings less popular than reading about the movement at home.

You keep writing. Halfhearted support turns to firm dedication, and for years, you keep looking at the world through women’s rights. You’ve showed staying power, and other clubs join your society, such as Ladies Aid and Monday Literary Club.

One of your society members is voted onto the school board.

Ten years later, you have enough votes to make the state senate put the vote on the ballot.

You’ve been doing this for ten years. You know what to do. Meetings grow again, leaflets are passed out, house-to-house canvasses get the word out.

And you win. You’ve done it. You step into the voters booth, and it’s not just the ballot in front of you that gives you a thrill. Your voice has been heard. And the voice of thousands of your gender will be heard.

Why do I make my female protagonists feisty? Because the world needs to hear their stories.

Now I’d like to hear yours. What does having the right to vote mean to you? Leave a comment for a chance to win a print copy of WEST FOR THE BLACK HILLS!

First Petticoats & Pistols Giveaway of Now and Forever

Now and Forever Book #2 of the Wild at Heart Series is now shipping from Amazon!

To celebrate it’s release I’m posting an excerpt and giving away a signed copy to one lucky commentor. (please try and think of yourself as lucky!)

Matt Tucker could take people for only so long and then he had to get up in the mountains, all the way up where he was more likely to run into a golden eagle than a man. He’d wander in the thin pure air for a week or two, to clear his thoughts. Forget the smell and behavior of men.

This time it wasn’t men driving him to the high-up peaks. This time it was a certain head full of dark curls and a pair of shining blue eyes. Not a man—though no one would admit it—which was so odd he almost turned around.

In fact he wanted to turn around so bad he walked faster.

            He scooted past a boulder—and stomped on the toe of a bear cub.

A squall drew his eyes down. A roar dragged them up. He looked into the gaping maw of an angry mama grizzly. He hadn’t heard her or smelled her. Honestly, that was so careless and stupid he almost deserved to die.

            She swung a massive paw and he had no time to dodge. She knocked him over the side of that mountain. Not a cliff, but the next thing to it. He slammed into an aspen.

He bounced off and plummeted.

The next Aspen hit so hard his ribs howled in pain. He snagged. His arms, legs and back whipped forward but his haversack held. It saved him.

That’s when he heard a roar. It brought his head around.

The mama wasn’t satisfied with knocking him off a mountain. She was coming, and coming fast, finding a way down somehow.

Finally he slammed into level ground and stopped, sprawled flat on his back. He flickered his eyes open, knowing he had to get up and run. The bear was coming.

            His blurred vision filled with a cap of dark curls and the prettiest blue eyes he’d ever seen.

            Well, no. Not ever.

            Because he’d seen them before on the roof of Aaron and Kylie Masterson’s cabin. He wanted to just lay there and look forever.

            And then that dratted bear roared and those blue eyes, looking at him all worried, turned uphill and changed from concern to horror.

            The pretty little gal reached down, grabbed Tucker by the front of his shirt, and hauled him upright. What was she going to do, throw him over her shoulder and run? He didn’t think that was going to work. He was about six inches taller and outweighed her by a hundred pounds.

            But Mama Grizz was coming, so someone was going to have to do something. They couldn’t stay here, and Tucker wasn’t sure he was up to moving. Of course he’d only had about two second to think about it. He hadn’t really tried.

            “Hang on!” She shoved him backward, clinging so tight it was like he’d gotten a second pack hooked on.

            She screamed.

            They flew. There was no more rolling. No more aspens. No more rocks. They soared.

            Tucker saw the walls of the cliff rushing past and knew where they were. Worse yet, he knew where they were going to land. “Are you crazy?”

             They were falling to almost certain death. He’d just been killed by a woman as crazy as he was. Well, he wasn’t killed yet. But it was only a few minutes ahead of them.

            The bear roared overhead.

            The dark curled madwoman shouted, “I hope Bailey’s not too stubborn to tend my sheep.”

            “I hate sheep.”

            They hit the water so hard it was like slamming into granite.

 

Mary Connealy
Mary Connealy

Except over….Mary again.

Well, things only get worse for poor Tucker and Shannon right along with him. They’re a long while saving themselves and as a reward for doing it??? It turns out they spent five days alone together, day and night. Only a wedding will do.

It’s a lot of fun this adventure with Shannon and Tucker. Give it a chance.

 

NOW AND FOREVER

Saddle up for romance and adventure with the Wilde sisters!

Shannon Wilde is the middle sister–and the one who loves animals. She’s established her own homestead and is raising sheep for their wool. Things are going fine…until Shannon gets swept over a cliff by Matthew Tucker!

Tucker seizes every opportunity to get away from civilization, but one particular walk in the woods ends with him sprinting away from an angry grizzly and plunging into a raging river, accidentally taking Shannon Wilde with him. Their adventure in the wilderness results in the solitary mountain man finding himself hitched to a young woman with a passel of relatives, a homestead, and a flock of sheep to care for.

As Tucker and Shannon learn to live with each other, strange things begin to happen on Shannon’s land. Someone clearly wants to drive her off, but whoever it is apparently didn’t count on Tucker. Trying to scare Matthew Tucker just makes him mad–and trying to hurt the woman he’s falling in love with sets off something even he never expected.

 

Updated: May 18, 2015 — 1:28 pm

Gone Fishing . . . And Giveaway

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This week I am in Dallas at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. It is a giant conference for readers who love romance. I’ve never attended before, but I’m excited about the chance to participate. There are several other inspirational romance authors who will be there, and we are planning to host several workshops including an author panel, a fun reader Pictionary event called Saddle Up and Draw, and a chocolate party hosted by my publisher.

Since I am out of pocket today, I won’t be available to respond to comments, but I have a great incentive for you to leave one anyway. I’ll be giving away two contemporary western romances by the fabulous Robin Lee Hatcher to one commenter. Winner will be chosen on Sunday. (US addresses only)

Love Without EndWhenever You Come Around

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So for your chance to win, and since I’m at a booklover’s convention, tell me what your favorite type of romance storyline is.

Some examples could be:

  • Mail-order bride/marriage of convenience
  • Reformed rake/outlaw
  • Beauty and the beast – wounded hero
  • Cinderella story – downtrodden heroine rises above circumstances
  • Governess/widower needs woman to care for children
  • Love triangle

    Horses Beach Sunset

    Photo Credit: sahuaroshores via Compfight cc

  • Friends to lovers
  • Enemies/rivals to lovers
  • Amnesia
  • Blackmail/revenge
  • Fish out of water
  • Forbidden love
  • Guardian/ward
  • Opposites attract
  • Ugly duckling
  • Unrequited Love
  • Stranded together
  • Damsel in distress
  • Disguise – heroine dressed as a boy

I’m sure there are many more, and if you’re like me, you probably have many favorites on the list. All I need is one to enter you in the drawing.

Have fun!!!

THE GRATTAN MASSACRE & Book Giveaway

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juhlarik-HR-3Hey everyone! Thanks so much for having me over today! As I write stories, I love being able to weave historical events and figures into my fiction. In my first novella, Sioux Summer, published in The Oregon Trail Romance Collection, I was able to do just that. The Grattan Massacre was the conflict that spawned the First Sioux War, and it plays a part in my story.

In August, 1854, near Fort Laramie, Nebraska Territory (present day Wyoming), one lonely cow wandered away from a group of Mormon emigrants traveling the Oregon Trail. The bovine ambled into an encampment of Lakota Sioux containing roughly 4800 men, women, and children and was killed by a visiting Miniconjou warrior named High Forehead.

Young Bull

Photo credit: Andreas Krappweis.

The cow’s owner who had tracked it down, became fearful at the sight of the Indian encampment, so he went to Fort Laramie and explained the situation to Lt. Hugh Fleming. Fleming approached the Sioux chief, Conquering Bear, to negotiate a solution. The chief offered a horse from his own herd or a cow from the tribe’s herd, but the Mormon man demanded $25 cash. When terms couldn’t be reached, Fleming demanded the arrest of High Forehead. Conquering Bear wouldn’t agree since he had no authority over the Miniconjou tribe, so their negotiations ended in stalemate.

Second Lieutenant John Grattan, a new West Point graduate, took matters into his own hands. With little respect for the Sioux, he, an armed detachment of thirty soldiers, and an interpreter went searching for a fight. They marched into the Sioux encampment, intent on arresting High Forehead. The interpreter, who was drunk at the time, taunted the Sioux warriors, promising that the soldiers would kill them. Grattan demanded High Forehead’s surrender. When he refused, Grattan approached Conquering Bear. The chief once more offered a horse in exchange for the dead cow, but Grattan would accept only the arrest of High Forehead. Again, the negotiations ended in stalemate.

Red_Cloud

Government Archives

What Grattan didn’t know was that the Sioux warriors had flanked the detachment during the negotiations. As he returned to his horse, one soldier became so nervous he fired a shot, and the bullet struck and killed the Sioux chief. With bows and arrows, the Sioux killed Grattan and eleven others. The remaining men retreated to a rocky outcropping nearby, but the warriors, led by rising war chief Red Cloud, pursued and killed them all.

For days, the Sioux raided nearby settlers, trading posts, and Fort Laramie. Finally, the Indians abandoned the area for their respective hunting grounds, and in so doing, broke the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie. When a burial party went into the encampment, the thirty soldiers’ bodies were found mutilated almost beyond recognition.

Photo credit:Phil Konstantin.

Photo credit:Phil Konstantin.

 

News of the Grattan Massacre reached the War Department, and a plan for retaliation was formed. On September 3, 1855, a 700-soldier force led by Colonel William Harney descended on an encampment of 250 Brulé Sioux along Ash Creek. The soldiers killed more than one hundred Sioux men, women, and children and took roughly seventy prisoners. So began a long history of attacks and retaliations that continued for many years. And…the Battle of Ash Creek is directly linked to one of the most famous cases of retaliation in all of Indian war history. One of the young boys who witnessed the massacre at Ash Creek grew into the great Sioux warrior, Crazy Horse, who fought and killed Custer twenty-one years later at the Little Big Horn.

 

I hope you’ll be interested to see how The Grattan Massacre fits into my story, Sioux Summer.

You can find The Oregon Trail Romance Collection at bookstores everywhere, or purchase from Amazon. And to one lucky reader, I’ll be giving away an autographed copy. Leave a comment below to enter the drawing.

 

Oregon Trail Collection

To order click cover.

 

FRONTIER LIFE – AUSTRALIA AND AMERICA

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Glitter Text Generator

Margaret is giving away two books today. For a chance to win a copy of either  Frontier Belle or Fiery Possession (PDF downloads)  all you have to do is leave a comment.

Life on the American and Australian frontiers have a strikingly similar history. For example, take the American Homestead Act, and the Australian Act of Selection, which is the basis for my novels, Frontier Belle and Fiery Possession.

 

America: The original Homestead Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20th, 1862. It gave applicants freehold title to up to 160 acres of undeveloped federal land west of the Mississippi River. The law required only three steps from the applicant – file an application, improve the land, then file for a deed of title. Anyone who had never taken up arms against the U.S. government, including freed slaves, could file a claim on the provisions that they were over the age of twenty one and had lived on the land for five years.Tanner-FrontierBelle200x300

 

Most of us visualise the frontier home as a rustic log cabin nestled in a peaceful mountain valley or on a sweeping green plain. But in reality, the “little house on the prairie” was often not much more than a shack or a hastily scratched out hole in the ground. In the treeless lands of the plains and prairies, log cabins were out of the question so  homesteaders turned to the ground beneath their feet for shelter. The sod house, or “soddy,” was one of the most common dwellings in the frontier west.

 

 Of course, there were drawbacks to sod-house living. As the house was built of dirt and grass, it was constantly infested with bugs, mice, snakes. The sod roofs often leaked, which turned the dirt floor into a quagmire. Wet roofs took days to dry out and the enormous weight of the wet earth often caused roof cave-ins.

 

A typical American log cabin measured about ten by twenty feet, regardless of the number of inhabitants. Typically, frontier cabins featured only one room, which served as kitchen, dining room, living room, workroom, and bedroom.

 

Australia: In the colony of Victoria the 1860 Land Act allowed free selection of crown land.  This included land already occupied by the squatters, (ranchers) who had managed to circumvent the law for years and keep land that they did not legally own.

 

The Act allowed selectors access to the squatters’ land, and they could purchase between 40 and 320 acres of crown land, but after that, the authorities left them to fend for themselves. Not an easy task against the wealthy, often ruthless squatters who were incensed at what they thought was theft of their land.

 

The first permanent homesteads on the Australian frontier were constructed using posts and split timber slabs. Early settlers learnt from the aborigines that large sheets of bark could be cut and peeled off a variety of trees and used as sheets to clad the roof.

Anyone ever live in a log cabin or soddy?

http://www.bookswelove.net/tanner.php

http://www.margarettanner.com/

 

 Tanner-FieryPossession200x300

 Margaret Tanner is a multi-published Award winning Australian author. She loves delving into the pages of history as she carries out research for her historical romance novels, and prides herself on being historically accurate. Many of her novels have been inspired by true events, with one being written around the hardships and triumphs of her pioneering ancestors in frontier Australia.

Margaret is married with three grown up sons, and two gorgeous little granddaughters. Outside of her family and friends, writing is her passion.

 

 

 

Updated: March 14, 2014 — 6:49 am

A Gaggle of Great Deals

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I love a good sale. And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought . . .

What would be better than sharing some great, on-sale, reads with all my friends at the Junction? So that’s what I’m going to do today.

Click on the cover to order the Kindle version.

 

If you enjoy inspirational romance, you can’t go wrong with Tamera Alexander. She’s won nearly every award under the sun, hit the USA Today Bestseller List, and creates characters that grab your heart. Her Timber Ridge series (set in 1870’s Colorado Territory) has a great western flair, and today Beyond This Moment is on sale for only $1.99. A fabulous deal! The sale runs only until Monday, so get your copy while you can!

Click on cover for Kindle version.

 

Another inspirational western that is on sale this week is Yvonne Harris’s A River to Cross. I haven’t read this particular book, but I understand that she writes more in the style of traditional westerns, lots of action with a more gritty feel. This book is also on sale for only $1.99

 

Then, if you enjoy Civil War romance, there are several books that are currently free from Bethany House.

 

 

 

 

 

Click on cover to order.


For those of you who enjoy general market western romance, I happened to notice that one of Amazon’s featured deals for February was Brazen by Bobbi Smith. It has been discounted to only $1.99.

Many of Bobbi’s other books are on sale as well, most around $2.99.

Now, for those of you who have a Nook, all of the Bethany House titles mentioned above are available for the same promotional  price at B&N.

And if you don’t have an e-reader? Well, I understand. I held out a long time before finally getting one for Christmas last year. I still read paper books as well as e-books, but I like having one device that holds so many titles. And remember, you can download the Kindle app for free to your smartphone or tablet without having to purchase another device. You can even download the Kindle app to your PC.

What do you think about e-book sales? Do you look for discounted books or just get excited if you stumble across a good deal? Do you have an e-reader, or do you prefer paper books?

Happy Reading

and

Happy Valentine’s Day!

What Do You Look For in a Romance Novel?

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RITA AwardThe RITA Award is the premiere award given to romance novels each year and is sponsored by the Romance Writers of America (RWA) association. As a published member of RWA, I get to participate in the process as a judge. A couple weeks ago I received a box full of seven novels ready to be read. We are instructed to score the books in 4 major areas: The Romance, The Plot/Story, The Writing, and The Characters. I keep these elements in mind as I read, but truly what influences my score most of all is the experience I have as a reader.

If you read as much as I do, you’re bound to come up with some favorite elements. Perhaps a favorite type of heroine (feisty, bookish, tomboy, impulsive, etc.) or a favorite plot (marriage of convenience, beauty and the beast, Cinderella story, secret baby, etc.). You probably also have a few pet peeves. I, for example, am not a big fan of love triangle stories. I prefer my hero/heorine to have no other love interest competing for them while they are falling in love with each other. However, other readers might have this scenario on the top of their favorite plots list.

Reading is subjective. But that’s what makes it so fun. Everyone has their own preferences, and there are authors available to fit each reader’s list.

Since we focus on western romances here at the Junction, I thought I’d share some of my all-time favorite western romances (not including those written by my sister fillies – that would make this post waaaaay too long).

Favorite Christian Western Romances:

Redeeming LoveBride in the Bargain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite General Market Western Romances:

Texas Destiny Series

I loved this 3 book series – Texas Destiny, Texas Glory, and Texas Splendor

Another fabulous historical series - 4 books: The Man From Stone Creek, A Wanted Man, The Rustler, and The Bridegroom

Another fabulous historical series – 4 books: The Man From Stone Creek, A Wanted Man, The Rustler, and The Bridegroom

Jodi's Whispering Mountain series helped inspire my Archer brothers. Loved them all, but my favorites are the first 4 - Texas Rain; Texas Princess; Tall, Dark, and Texan; and The Lone Texan

Jodi’s Whispering Mountain series helped inspire my Archer brothers. Loved them all, but my favorites are the first 4 – Texas Rain; Texas Princess; Tall, Dark, and Texan; and The Lone Texan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any of Catherine Anderson's historicals. Her wounded characters always grab me by the heartstrings.

Any of Catherine Anderson’s historicals. Her wounded characters always grab me by the heartstrings.

 

So if you were a judge for the RITA contest, what elements would you be looking for?

 

What type of characters and plots are your favorite to read about?

 

What are some of your favorite western reads?

Carol Cox: Trouble in Store

 

While doing research for my latest novel, Trouble in Store, I realized I needed to learn more about Native American cliff dwellings. As enjoyable as it is to study about historic sites in books and online, it’s even more fun to visit them in person. Fortunately, a number of protected sites are within easy reach here in northern Arizona.

One of those is found at beautiful Walnut Canyon, a short drive east of Flagstaff. This site captured my imagination the first time I saw it at age nine, and over the years I’ve become more fascinated with each visit.

Inhabited by the Sinagua people some 900 years ago, the homes in Walnut Canyon were constructed within the limestone ledges in the canyon walls.

The ruins can be reached by way of a steep trail hugging the cliff walls. And that’s one of the things I love most about Walnut Canyon. Visitors don’t have to experience this glimpse into the past at arm’s length. Instead, they’re able to walk in the steps of those who came before, peer into the soot-stained rooms and touch the walls erected so long ago.

Hiking along the narrow path, I tried to envision myself living there centuries ago and wondering about the challenges a mother would have faced in that setting. Can you imagine what it would be like to keep track of a brood of young children, with no baby gates, no fenced lawn to keep them corralled? Or when your “front yard” was only a few feet wide . . . and one false step would lead straight down to the bottom of the rocky canyon?

I’m glad to be a mother in this century. Parenting has never been a simple task, but I’ll take most modern problems over the ones those ancient moms faced any day!

About 50 miles farther south is Montezuma Castle National Monument, located near Camp Verde.

Like the dwellings in Walnut Canyon, Montezuma Castle isn’t what most of us picture when we think of a Native American encampment. Instead of lodges or tepees clustered in a village, this centuries-old, high-rise apartment is nestled into the side of a towering limestone cliff. Try to imagine the logistics of something as simple as making a daily trek to gather food or get water!

These rooms didn’t boast a lot of closet space, so some of the residents’ food and other supplies were kept in storage caves at the bottom of the cliff wall—sort of a “downstairs pantry” concept.

While staring from the abandoned dwellings above to the caves below, I felt a tingle. Suddenly, I could see a similar cliff dwelling as part of the area surrounding my fictional town of Cedar Ridge. That mental image inspired the background for several pivotal scenes in the book.

That’s one of the things I love most about research—you just never know when some tidbit of information will prove to be the very thing that sparks an idea that breathes life into a scene!

Many thanks to Karen Witemeyer for inviting me to spend time with you today! I’ll be giving away a copy of Trouble in Store, so be sure to leave a comment in order to be included in the drawing.

 

I look forward to hearing from you! Visit me at authorcarolcox.com