western romance

1887 Lever-Action Shotgun


By the late 19th century, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company was well known for their lever-action firearms. Though designer John Browning—who designed most of the lever-action rifles that “won the west”—recommended the new shotgun be pump-action, Winchester management wanted to capitalize on their previous success. Early brand recognition!  The result?  The Winchester Model 1887 Lever-Action Shotgun. [That’s mine, a reproduction, pictured above.]

That brand recognition even extends into modern-day Hollywood — Arnold Schwarzenegger carried a Model 1887 in The Terminator.

The Model 1887 loads from the top or breech (picture on right). It had a magazine tube that would hold six shells plus one IMG_0077more in the chamber. Patterned after their lever action rifles, the shotgun lever design included an internal safety innovation that minimized the possibility of accidentally firing: the firing pin cannot strike the primer of the shell until the breech block is completely closed. That means the shot will go down the barrel and not up into the shooter’s face.

The lever is exactly that—a lever. [See picture on the left] Opening it or pushing it down ejects the spent shell and moves another shell from the tube into firing position.

When a man or woman could carry multiple weapons that used the same cartridges, that meant more variety of firearms and less weight in lead to haul around. Winchester produced lever-action rifles that could fire several pistol-caliber cartridges (from right to left in the picture): .32-20, .38-40 & .44-40, all worked in FullSizeRenderthe Model 1873 rifle; and they made the Model 1886 rifle to use higher powered big game cartridges like the .45-70, the original “buffalo” cartridge.

Since shotgun shells of the time used black powder, the Model 1887 was designed and chambered for these less powerful shotshells. And, while both 10 and 12-gauge model 1887s were offered [two left shells above, respectively], it was quickly realized the 1887 wasn’t strong enough for the more powerful smokeless powder shells. That prompted a redesign that resulted in the Model 1901—but that’s another blog.

Here’s a short video showing how the Model 1887 breech-loading rolling block lever-action shotgun functions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE9WD9Fihks

And, of course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9SpHLyZuP0

Tracy Garrett

PRPTracy Garrett Duo Web



Available Now ~ “A River’s Bend Duo,” featuring two short stories, WANTED:  THE SHERIFF & NO LESS THAN FOREVER.

Black Jack Ketchum: An Outlaw Meets a Gruesome End

Kathleen Rice Adams header

“Can’t you hurry this up a bit? I hear they eat dinner in Hades at twelve sharp, and I don’t aim to be late.” —Black Jack Ketchum

"Black Jack" Ketchum as a young man. (Image: University of New Mexico)

Black Jack Ketchum as a young man. (Image: University of New Mexico)

Whether or not he aimed to be late, Thomas Edward “Black Jack” Ketchum missed the dinner bell by more than an hour on April 26, 1901. In fact, his original 9 a.m. appointment on the gallows was delayed by more than four hours while authorities tried to ensure Ketchum’s execution was both humane and permanent.

They got the permanent part right.

Ketchum, the youngest of five children, was born in San Saba County, Texas, on Halloween 1863. His father, a prosperous farmer, died when Black Jack was five years old; his mother when he was ten. Because the family’s property went to the eldest son, Black Jack and his other brother, Sam, made their living cowboying in Texas. The work never suited either of them. By 1890, both had left the state.

By 1892, they were robbing trains.

Together with a gang of other young men—all of whom were described as well-mannered and well-dressed, riding good horses, and flashing plenty of money—between 1892 and 1899 the Ketchum gang liberated payrolls and other large sums of cash from trains passing through the Four Corners area of the Southwest. In 1895 and 1896, the gang included Kid Curry and his brother Lonnie Curry, who reportedly departed after a dispute over the division of proceeds from a holdup.

(Image: Herzstein Memorial Museum, Union County, New Mexico)

(Image: Herzstein Memorial Museum,
Union County, New Mexico)

In 1897 alone, the Ketchums heisted more than $100,000: $42,000 from a Wells Fargo safe outside Langtry, Texas, in May and another $60,000 in gold and silver near Twin Mountain, New Mexico Territory, in September.

Two years later, in July 1899, Sam Ketchum partnered with Wild Bunch members Will Carver and William Ellsworth “Elzy” Lay to rob the Twin Mountain train a second time. A posse chased the outlaws into Turkey Creek Canyon near Cimarron, New Mexico, where Sam was wounded in a shootout. He died of his wounds in Santa Fe Territorial Prison a few weeks later.

In August 1899, unaware of his elder brother’s fate, Black Jack lost his right arm to a shotgun blast fired by the conductor of a train he attempted to rob alone. “The handsome train robber” didn’t resist when either a posse or a railroad crew (there’s a dispute) found him near the tracks the following morning.

At trial, Ketchum was sentenced to hang, but the date of execution was delayed several times by arguments about where final justice should take place, since several towns wanted the honor. Finally, reacting to a rumor that the old gang planned to break Black Jack out of jail, the hanging became the center of a carnival in Clayton, Union County, New Mexico. Despite an extended debate about the length and strength of the rope necessary for the deed, something went horribly wrong.

"Black Jack" Ketchum, center. (Image: National Archives)

Black Jack Ketchum, center. (Image: National Archives)

Shortly after 1 p.m., the scaffold’s trapdoor opened and Ketchum, 37, plunged through. He died instantly, decapitated by the fall.

Black Jack Ketchum bears the dubious distinction of being the only man sentenced to die in New Mexico for “felonious assault upon a railway train.” Apparently his botched execution set the residents of Union County back a mite, because Black Jack also was the only man ever hanged in Union County. Until serial murderer Eva Dugan suffered the same fate at the Pinal County, Arizona, prison in 1930, Black Jack Ketchum was the only person in the U.S. who literally lost his head to a hangman’s noose ordered by a court.


No train robberies or grisly executions take place in the Civil War-era duet The Dumont Brand, although the hanging of a cattle rustler in her past plays a role in one heroine’s present. The book, which contains two stories about two brothers, debuted July 24. It’s the first in a trilogy about a Southeast Texas ranching dynasty with more skeletons than you can shake a stick at in its closets. Links and excerpts are on my website.

Here’s the blurb, and below that is a video trailer.

The Dumont BrandThe Civil War burned Texas…and fanned the flames of love.

On the eve of the Civil War, family secrets threaten everything a ranching dynasty has built…until one son finds salvation in the wrong woman’s love. In the aftermath of battle, a woman destroyed by betrayal brings peace to his brother’s wounded soul.

The Big Uneasy: To escape the unthinkable with a man about whom she knows too much, New Orleans belle Josephine LaPierre agrees to marry a Texan about whom she knows nothing. Falling in love with his brother was not part of her plan.

Making Peace: After four long years in hell, Confederate cavalry officer Bennett Collier just wants to go home—assuming home still exists. Widowed Jayhawker Maggie Fannin will hold onto her home at any cost…even if she must face down the imposing Rebel soldier who accuses her of squatting.

Welcome Guest Cheryl St. John!!!

SEQUINSandSPURS9780373298433Howdy to all the Fillies and everyone at Wildflower Junction! I always enjoy seeing what everyone’s been up to and learning about all the new books. If you’re thinking there was a stretch of time between my last western romance and now, you’re right. I worked on a few other projects and I took about a year off. Now I’m excited to have a new release to share with you.

Take a sexy cowboy, a spirited wild-haired beauty, horses, kids and an orphan and mix them with betrayal, hope, compassion and a steamy romance, and we have Sequins and Spurs.

My working title for this story was Song of Home, because my heroine, Ruby Dearing, is a singer. I worked in a few songs appropriate to the year, which was fun. Ruby ran away from home at a young age, learned that life on the road wasn’t all that glamorous, and returns to the Nebraska farm where she was born to beg forgiveness of her family. There’s an unexpected flaw in her plan: There’s no one left to forgive her.

Forgiveness and second-chances often play a big part in my stories, and this time it’s about accepting the fact that sometimes forgiveness is not forthcoming. It’s also about being able to forgive oneself.

botanical_album_quiltI happen to love Pinterest. I create an inspiration board for each story, where I keep track of research, likenesses to portray characters, clothing, and visual details of the story. You can see the board for this story here.

Among those pictures you’ll see a vintage quilt. Ruby’s mother had a quilt that reminds Ruby of good times. Ruby learns to make quilt blocks out of old clothing. Recently my husband and I got to see the Homefront and Battlefield Quilts and Context in the Civil War, before it returned to the textile museum in Lowell Pennsylvania, where the display items were sent back to their original locations. It was amazing to gaze upon those hand-sewn pieces of history sewn by wives and mothers of soldiers, some made for their men, others for auctions to raise money for supplies. They are pieces of family history that have become the threads of our nation’s history.

I’m giving away a digital copy of Sequins and Spurs to one person who leaves a reply one of these two questions today:

  1. Is there a quilt in your family that embodies history—or have you made a quilt for family members that will become an heirloom?
  2. What’s the most thought-provoking thing you’ve ever seen in a museum?

Thanks for stopping to chat!

photo for website


Cheryl St. John is the award-winning author of fifty Harlequin and Silhouette books, which include historical romance as well as contemporary. In describing her stories of second chances and redemption, readers and reviewers use words like, “emotional punch, hometown feel, core values, believable characters and real life situations.”

Cheryl enjoys hearing from readers. Email her at SaintJohn@aol.com.
Find her online at:
Website: CherylStJohn.net
Blog: From the Heart
Facebook author page



Jodi Thomas Author PicThis month my 41st novel (not counting 14 novellas) comes out and I’m excited.  A new series!  The best and deepest I’ve ever written.  RANSOM CANYON


Like most writers I get the same question again and again.  “Where do your ideas come from?”


Sometimes I have no idea where the seed of an idea started to grow in my mind.  But, then I get out Grandma Kirkland’s button box….


Button TinWhen I was little, her big box of buttons always fascinated me.  I played with it for hours.  Now, in an upstairs room off my office, I gather the grandkids (6,5,4,2) around the old sewing machine.  They all get excited as I open the box and let each one pick a button.  Old rusty ones, bright diamond bling, tiny pearl ones, some still have tiny pieces of fabric connected from worn out clothes.


Then as each shows his or her button, I tell the story of where it came from. 


Winter's CampThat was your great uncle Austin’s button. He was called Wildhorse and had three ships shot out from under him during World War 2.


That pearl one belonged to Mema Bailey.  She went to church every time the door was open and died at 92 still singing hymns.


That metal one belonged to a pirate who sailed the Galveston coast and buried his gold on Pelican Island.  Some say the tree he was hanged from was the very site where he buried his loot, but no one dares go near it because his ghost haunts the place.


That silver one is magic.  Just holding it for a minute will make you talk backward.  Now it’s time to say, “Night Good.”


And on and on we go.  With all the games and videos downstairs, they still love the old button box.


Ransom CanyonI’ve often said creativity is a muscle.  The more you use it, the stronger it gets.  I’ve been in the gym of my mind working out all my life.


The idea for RANSOM CANYON came from living in the Texas Panhandle.  I wanted to write about the real west of today.  I wanted my people to be like the men and women I grew up with, honest and true.  Not the cowboy on a book cover who has never been on a horse, but the cowboy who gets up at five to load his own horse and make it to the ranch before dawn.  He doesn’t work by the hour, but by the day.


As I began my first book in the series, Staten Kirkland jumped off the page.  He’s strong and good, a rancher everyone looks up to, but he’s broken and only one woman can calm his heart.


So come along with me on a series set in today’s West.  You’ll love it.


By the way, if you have a Button Box or Jar or Tin, tell me about it.  You might win a copy of the first book of RANSOM CANYON. Meanwhile, WINTER’S CAMP is free to download at these links:  AMAZON        B&N




Jodi Thomas



What is it with Sisters? ~Tanya Hanson

Anybody who knows me knows that reading Little Women when I was eight set my goal to be a writer. Someday, somehow.

lw antique cover

Celebrating my recent release, Sisters--two stories in one! I decided to regale you with trivia about those March sisters and their stories. See how well you do. (answers at the end.) And please leave a comment today…I’m giving away three Kindle copies of Sisters.

  1. Who is the oldest March sister:  a) Amy; b) Jo; c) Meg; d) Beth.


  1. Jo works for: a) Aunt March;   b) The Boston Beacon;   c) the Weekly Volcano;   d) Mr. Laurence.


  1. When Amy burns Joe’s treasured manuscript (horrors! No back-up or Dropbox…) what melts Jo’s fury?   a) Amy marries Laurie so Jo doesn’t have to.   b) Amy contracts scarlet fever.   c)Aunt March threatens to send Amy to art school in Paris.   d) Amy falls through the ice on a frozen pond.


  1. Beth becomes ill with:   a) consumption;    b) scarlet fever;    c) influenza;    d) appendicitis.


  1. Meg marries:  a) Ned Moffat;  b) John Brooke;  c) Friedrich Bhaer;  d) No, she doesn’t. She remains single.

lw cover

  1. Beth dies at age:  a) 19;  b) 18;  c) 17;  d) 16.  
  1. Originally a two-parter, the second half of Little Women (Part 2 today) was called:  a) Good Wives;  b) Army Wives (this was, after all, Civil War times.)  c) Little Children;  d) The Last March.


  1. Aunt March’s home is called:  a) Fruitlands;  b) Orchard House;  c) Apple Farm;  d) Plumfield.


  1. Meg’s children are officially christened:  a) Jack and Jill;   b) Jack and Daisy;  c) John and Jane;  d) John and Margaret.


  1. Little Women led to two sequels:  a) Little Men, and Little Children;  b) Jo’s Boys, and Meg’s   Twins;  c) The Finale March, and The Final Chapter;  d) Little Men, and Jo’s Boys.


So, what’s with Sisters? Well, in Her Hurry-up Husband, debutante Elspeth Maroney leaves her stinkin’, cheatin’ bridegroom at the altar, but realizes she needs a husband for just one month. And by then, she just might need to run screaming from her bridegroom’s crazy granny…


However, she finds her heart fluttering when her intended, handsome Colorado rancher Hezekiah Steller wants a wife for life. And an heir as quick as possible.  Sigh. How can they let each other go?


Anyway, my editor (the talented, ever patient and most excellent Cheryl Pierson) flat out said…Elspeth’s sister Judith has GOT to get away from their awful mama. Hence…(this this is an important word in the story…) Judith has her own set of adventures and romance in Her Thief of Hearts. Beautiful socialite (her). Darling orphan and…An outlaw! Bad-boy “Black Ankles” holds up a speeding train, and she’s on it. Along with Elspeth’s spurned bridegroom and the sisters’ former childhood governess! Oh no. Can her beloved Tremaine rescue her in time?

Tanya Sisters Double 2 Web (2)

So, both stories are now together in one pretty package. And  to make it more fun, Tremaine’s brother Ronnie has his own love story coming out at Christmas…because he’s really outlaw Black Ankles and so needs love and redemption.

All right. Here are the answers!

1-c; 2-a; 3-d; 4-b; 5-b; 6-a; 7-a; 8-d; 9-d; 10-d


Now, who’s your favorite March sister and why?


sceneryThe Final Chapter!

This is the last book in my exciting Bachelors of Battle Creek series and I think I’ve saved the best for last. It will be out on December 1, 2015!


Their love flamed to life in a dark jail cell after the sheriff shot Brett Liberty then arrested him.

Brett struggled to his feet and clung to the metal bars to keep from falling. “Once and for all, tell me…what did I do? What am I guilty of?”

“You were born,” the sheriff snapped. Without more, he turned and walked to the front of the jail.

His only crime was being Indian and the sheriff, driven by hate for Brett’s kind, ordered him to be hung. Brett’s only chance was his brothers- Cooper Thorne and Rand Sinclair. But they were 70 miles away.

ForeverTexasBridemedI love this cover. The amazing people in Sourcebooks’ art department just continually amaze me. Last month when I went to NYC, I met the lady who is so gifted. Dawn Adams told me a little about her process and how her main goal with each cover is capturing the emotion. She certainly does this on this cover. Notice how the man will not look directly into the eyes of the woman he’s holding? That was exactly Brett. He’s been reviled and hunted because he’s American Indian and he doesn’t want Rayna to suffer the same fate. So he can’t show her how he really feels and the love he carries deep in his heart.

Here’s the back blurb:

“There’s this thing between us that refuses to die. I’d like nothing better than to be able to…” His words faded. He’d give anything to change people’s views about his race…to be able to make her his wife.

But the world wasn’t that simple. Not for people like them.

All his life, Brett Liberty has straddled two worlds: white and Iroquois. The only place he’s truly at peace is with his wild mustangs. Arrested for the color of his skin, he discovers Rayna Harper in the cell next to him. Rough and tumble Rayna has known little kindness, but Brett sees the depth of her heart hidden beneath layers of hurt and fear, and he refuses to leave without her.

Something about the damaged, flame-haired beauty calls to him. Yet even as the two outcasts are drawn together, terrible danger at the hands men eaten with hate threatens to tear them apart. Brett knows he should let her go, but he’s taken with the woman who looks at him as if he were just any other man…and melts in his arms as if the brush of his lips is enough to chase all her demons away…

* * *

I’ll be telling more about this in the coming months. It releases on December 1, 2015.

Here are links where you can preorder:   AMAZON      BARNES AND NOBLE

In the meantime…..I’ve just completed Book one of a brand new series called MEN OF LEGEND. I’m looking forward to telling you more about this.

SIGNUP FOR MY NEWSLETTER AT http://lindabroday.com/  You’ll find it in the column on the right side of the page.

A River’s Bend Duo

Tracy Garrett Duo Web

I’m really excited to have these two stories released in one volume, since it’s how I think of them–intertwined.  Originally released in the Lassoing a Groom & Lassoing a Bride anthologies, these stories take place at the same time—exactly the same time.

That timing, I admit, was an accident.  I was writing WANTED: THE SHERIFF, Matt & Martha’s story, and suddenly, in the middle of it, a young woman was brought to Martha’s brother, the doctor, for treatment.  While Matt & Martha were busy making calf eyes at each other, Dr. Franz discovered the love of his life. And pretty Rebekah Snow Redman turned out to be a fireball in spite of her fragile appearance.



Wanted: The Sheriff

Martha Bittner may be considered a spinster at twenty-seven, but she’s not planning to stay that way. For four years, she’s wanted the sheriff of River’s Bend, Missouri, to notice her as more than a friend and a really good cook. With the first annual spring dance only weeks away, Martha decides to announce her intentions — and declares the sheriff a wanted man.

Sheriff Matthew Tate always thought he was better off a bachelor. Growing up in Boston society, where marriage is a business transaction and wealth his greatest asset, he’s learned to distrust all women’s intentions. None of them even catch his eye anymore — until pretty Martha Bittner tells him exactly what she wants… and he wonders why he ever resisted capture.

No Less Than Forever

Doctor Franz Bittner is satisfied with his life as it is. He has a good practice in a place where he is respected, in spite of his German birth. He has good friends and enough income to provide him with a few comforts. A wife would only complicate things. Then a tiny blond stranger is pulled from the river and everything changes. With one smile she captures his attention—and steals his heart.

Rebekah Snow Redmann barely survived her abusive husband’s attack. Though she was given to him to pay her father’s debts, she’d rather die than go back. Then she ends up in the care of the handsome local doctor and he stitches up more than her wounds—he mends her soul. With him, she discovers everything that she believes she can never have…a love that will last forever.

Tracy Garrett

Rainmaker, Rainmaker Make Us Some Rain…

MargaretBrownley-headerThe success of a rain dance has a lot to do with timing


As you may have heard California is going through a terrible drought. Most of my neighbors have either let their lawns die or replaced them with artificial turf. Others have simply come up with a way of stealing water. Yep, that’s right; we now have water thieves to contend with.

grassMy husband came up with yet another solution; he simply painted our grass green (see before and after photo). Yep, there’s actually grass paint that you can spray on and it works!

Watching all this craziness around me made me wonder about droughts in the past. I’m pretty sure they didn’t have grass paint back in the 1800s.

For many years people believed that cloudbursts were caused by noise. Plutarch was the first to note that a rainstorm followed every great battle. He thought it was nature’s way of purifying the ground after bloodshed.

He wasn’t the only one who believed in the “concussion theory of rainmaking;” Napoleon was among the many military leaders convinced that artillery fire caused rain. After losing the battle of Waterloo due to the muddy battleground, he came up with the strategy of firing weapons in the air in hopes that a deluge would disable the enemy.

Amazingly, more than 150 major civil war battles were followed by rainstorms. Witnessing the rain that fell after the battle of Bull Run, J.C. Lewis blamed it on the “discharge of heavy artillery.”

Not everybody agreed that rain was generated by blasts. Meteorologist James Pollard Espy, known as thecannon Storm King, insisted it wasn’t the noise, but rather the heat of battle that opened the clouds. To prove his theory he asked that he be allowed to set a 600 mile stretch of land on fire. Congress turned down his request.

Heat or noise, no one really knew for sure. Brigadier General Robert Dyrenforth decided to settle the matter once and for all by conducting a series of rain-making experiments in Texas. He used artillery and balloon-carrying explosives. Instead of rain, he set a series of prairie fires and was given the name Dry-Henchforth.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the west was going through another drought and water wars raged. It was the perfect environment for a former sewing machine salesman by the name of Charles Hatfield aka Robin Hood of the Clouds.


      Hatfield’s Rain Tower

Offering his services to farmers he built high towers and released a chemical concoction he created. Because of clever timing he had some initial success, which is why the city of San Diego hired him. In 1916 he climbed his newly built tower and tossed his chemicals into the air.

Lo and behold, the sky opened up dumping thirty-five inches of rain on the city and causing a tremendous amount of damage. The city wanted Hatfield to take responsibility for what was called the Hatfield flood, but he refused, claiming it was an act of God. When the city failed to pay him his $10,000, he sued, but after twenty-two years the case was finally thrown out of court.

Scientists are still trying to figure out how to summon rain and so far their efforts have met with little success. Maybe it’s time to bring out the cannons.

So which rain theory makes the most sense to you?

Noise or heat?



                              What Readers are Saying About Undercover Bride


“5 Stars!”

“A truly entertaining must read”

“A thrilling escapade”

“A creative plot and delightful characters”

“Good clean fun western romance”

“Thumbs up for mystery western”

“Wild west guns and grins”





Love in the Time of Miscegenation

Kathleen Rice Adams header

She’s the sweetest rose of color this darky ever knew,
Her eyes are bright as diamonds, they sparkle like the dew;
You may talk about your dearest May, and sing of Rosa Lee,
But the Yellow Rose of Texas beats the belles of Tennessee.

Those are the original words to the chorus of “The Yellow Rose Texas,” a folksong dating to early colonial Texas. The first known transcribed version—handwritten on a piece of plain paper—appeared around the time of the Texian victory at San Jacinto in April 1836.

Marie Laveau 1774-1881 Marie Laveau by Franck Schneider

“New Orleans’ Voodoo Queen” Marie Laveau (1774-1881) was a free Creole of mixed race.

In its original form, the song tells the story of a black man (“darky”) who has been separated from his sweetheart and longs to reunite with her. The lyrics indicate the sweetheart was a free mulatto woman—a person of mixed black and white heritage. In those days, “person of color” was considered a polite way to refer to black people who were not slaves. “Yellow” was a common term for people of mixed race.

During the Civil War, “The Yellow Rose of Texas” became a popular marching tune for troops all over the Confederacy; consequently, the lyrics changed. White Confederates were not eager to refer to themselves as darkies, so “darky” became “soldier.” In addition, “rose of color” became “little flower.”

Aside from the obvious racist reasons for the modifications, legal doctrine played into the picture as well. Until the U.S. Supreme Court declared the practice unconstitutional in 1967, all eleven formerly Confederate states plus Delaware, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and West Virginia outlawed marriage and sexual relations between whites and blacks. In four of the former Confederate states—Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia—marriage or sexual relations between whites and any non-white was labeled a felony. Such laws were called anti-miscegenation laws, or simply miscegenation laws. In order to draw what attorneys term a “bright line” between legal and illegal behavior, many states codified the “single-drop rule,” which held that a person with a single drop of Negro blood was black, regardless the color of his or her skin.

Texas’s miscegenation law, enacted in 1837, prescribed among the most severe penalties nationwide: A white person convicted of marrying, attempting to marry, or having sex with a person of another ethnicity was subject to a prison sentence of two to five years. Well into the twentieth century, it was not uncommon for the non-white half of the illicit relationship to be severely beaten or killed by irate local citizens.

The first American miscegenation laws arose in the colonies in the 1600s. The laws breathed their last gasp in 2001, when Alabama finally removed the anti-miscegenation clause from its state constitution after a referendum barely passed with only sixty percent of the popular vote.

Texas’s miscegenation law plays a role in “The Big Uneasy,” one half of the duet of stories in my new release, The Dumont Brand. The father of the heroine’s intended “lives in sin” with a free Creole of color. Under a tradition known as plaçage, wealthy white men openly kept well-bred women of color as mistresses in the heroine’s hometown, New Orleans. Texans frowned on the practice nonetheless. The situation causes no end of heartache for the heroine.

The Dumont Brand releases Friday, along with 20 other books, as part of Prairie Rose PublicationsChristmas in July event. About half of the books are holiday tales (like The Last Three Miles), and the other half are stories set in other seasons (like The Dumont Brand). Each of them will warm readers’ hearts all year long. Prairie Rose will host an extra-special Facebook fandango to celebrate the mountain of releases July 28-29. You can RSVP here. Did I mention the Prairie Roses will be giving away free books, jewelry, and other fun prizes?

The Dumont Brand 2 Web


On the eve of the Civil War, family secrets threaten everything a ranching dynasty has built…until Amon Collier finds salvation in the wrong woman’s love. In the aftermath of battle, a woman destroyed by betrayal brings peace to his brother Ben’s wounded soul.

The Big Uneasy: To escape the unthinkable with a man about whom she knows too much, New Orleans belle Josephine LaPierre agrees to marry a Texan about whom she knows nothing. Falling in love with his brother was not part of her plan.

Making Peace: After four long years in hell, Confederate cavalry officer Bennett Collier just wants to go home—assuming home still exists. Widowed Jayhawker Maggie Fannin will hold onto her home at any cost…even if she must face down the imposing Rebel soldier who accuses her of squatting.


The-Last-3-Miles-Kathleen-2-Web_FinalThe Last Three Miles also will debut Friday as part of PRP’s Christmas in July:

When an accident leaves Hamilton Hollister convinced he’ll never be more than half a man, he abandons construction of a railway spur his lumber mill needs to survive. Believing no woman shackled by social convention can be complete, railroad heiress Katherine Brashear refuses to let the nearly finished track die.

The magic of Christmas in a small Texas town may help them bridge the distance…if they follow their hearts down The Last Three Miles.

You can read excerpts from both books and peruse a complete list of the titles that are part of PRP’s Christmas in July event here.


To do a little celebrating of my own, I’ll give an e-copy of The Dumont Brand to one of today’s commenters and an e-copy of The Last Three Miles to another.

Please note: Both are available only as ebooks.


Kaki Warner: Persevering and a Giveaway!

Kaki WarnerThank you Petticoats & Pistols for inviting me to visit today—it’s always a treat to hang out with the Fillies.


This has been a hectic year for my husband and me. Remember that big forest fire in Washington State last summer? It burned to within yards of our house and turned 60 acres of timber at the back of our property to ash. Then the floods came. Then we were sideswiped in our new car, suffered a devastating loss in the family, and I had two knee replacement surgeries. But like Chief Dan George advised in Josey Wales, we endeavored to persevere. And it worked! Our house was saved, insurance paid for the lost timber, our car is all fixed and no one was hurt, our grief is easing, and my knees are getting better every day. Plus, I lost 50 pounds through it all. Double win!


So how is this relevant?


Writing is a lot like life—full of ups and downs, disappointments, euphoria, and sometimes a lot of self-doubt. But if you endeavor to persevere, you’ll get through it to the good stuff. I’m living proof of that.


Throughout all this drama, I was trying to write the most difficult book I’ve ever attempted—HOME BY MORNING, the story of Thomas (the Cheyenne Dog Soldier) and Pru (the educated daughter of a white plantation owner and a slave). This couple had been introduced as secondary characters in the first book of my runaway bride series—HEARTBREAK CREEK. Their story wove through the next four novels, generating a lot of mail and questions about when they would get their own book. But I had my doubts.


Home By MorningDid I have enough story left for a book?


How in the world would I get into the heads of characters so far beyond my own life experiences?


Could I do justice to their story without getting mired down in political correctness, politics, or trying not to make them victims, or too modern in their thinking and experience?


Then I realized…they’re just people, regardless of their culture, race, background. They want what we all want—love, acceptance, and respect. So I put my head down and started writing.


And then a wonderful thing happened. A whole new character showed up, with the voice and the spirit and the charisma to help me bring Thomas and Pru’s story into the light. Lillian, Lillie, Katse’e.


She taught me a lot. How to reach outside my comfort zone and take a risk on new ideas, different cultures and experiences. How to tame the doubt with humor and courage. How to listen.


Those are worthy lessons for any writer. (Too bad I couldn’t have figured it out thirty years ago…but then some of us are slow learners, I guess). Has that ever happened to you? When a person, or a character, or an experience reaches inside your mind and tweaks it just enough so that everything falls into place and makes sense? Not yet? Then endeavor to persevere. It’ll come when it’s time.


I hope you’ll get a chance to read HOME BY MORNING. If you do, let me know what you think. I can be reached on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kakiwarner.


And to show you how much I appreciate you dropping by and leaving a comment, I’ll be giving away two signed copies of HOME BY MORNING.



After Kaki, her husband and their coonhound retired to the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State, Kaki decided to get serious about writing. She sold her first book to Berkley (Penguin Random House) the year she went on Social Security. Since then, she’s penned nine novels, a novella and a short story. It’s been a fun, wild ride, and along the way she’s been blessed with kind reviews, a Maggie, a RITA, and four RITA nominations. But what she values most are the wonderful people she’s met…both readers and other authors. So her advice: don’t let anyone tell you you’re too old to start writing, or it’s too late to try something new. The rewards can be astounding. So just do it.

Petticoats & Pistols © 2015