Tag: Giveaway

Graduating to Adulthood

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May is always a crazy month in the Witemeyer house. Three of the five of us have birthdays, and on top of that, this year, my daughter (my oldest) is graduating from high school. On my 45th birthday. So in addition to the usual day job and writing and church schedules to keep up with, I’ve also been tackling graduation invitations and juggling numerous award ceremonies, scholarship recipient dinners, band concerts, baccalaureate events, etc. Whew! I’m exhausted already and I’m not even halfway through the month yet.

Tomorrow is Bethany’s 18th birthday. 18. Wow. Where did those years go?

Bethany 9 months old

Bethany 9 months old

First day of pre-school

First day of preschool

Princess Leia for Halloween

Princess Leia for Halloween

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now she’s all grown up . . .

In the bluebonnets

In the bluebonnets

With her flute

With her flute

Her favorite pasttime

Her favorite past time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bethany in Library 4 smallNext year she’ll be at Abilene Christian University studying Mathematics with possible minors in Computer Science and/or Physics. (Yes, she’s that smart. Graduating valedictorian at her 4A high school. No, I’m not proud or anything.)

FullSteamAhead Cover FinalSo in honor of my daughter’s big day, I’m giving away 2 copies of the book I dedicated to her – Full Steam Ahead. The heroine, Nicole Renard, is a math whiz in the book (just like my daughter) and the hero, Darius Thornton, is a self-taught engineer. A fitting story for a girl who loves numbers.

To enter, leave a comment about a favorite high school graduation memory.

And thank you for putting up with a very non-western post from a proud mama who’s got a tired brain. Ha! Although, Bethany is a Texan and I threw in some Texas bluebonnets, so maybe that helps it qualify. 🙂

 

Welcome ~ Jodi Thomas!

 

Look who has come for a visit to Wildflower Junction!  

Please  welcome New York Times Best Selling Author ~

Miss Jodi Thomas! 

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Jodi Tomas head shot

Living in the Panhandle of Texas I often feel very close to the past and to the land. There are places I can see wagon trails and on a ranch I often visit, an arrowhead isn’t impossible to fine.

When I begin writing a new story, I always do something I call “walking the land.” I take a few weeks, or sometimes a few months and wander through museums, bookstores, old houses, cemeteries and the stories begin. Since I’m doing books set on modern day ranches, I visit several ranches. My favorite is the Sanford ranch near Fritch, Texas. I also like to go to rodeosJodi Thomas horse and sale barns, etc.

And now and then when I’m listening to a windmill or trying not to smell the cows, a character walks by and my story begins.

Last month I went to the Dove Creek Ranch and Equine Rescue. I was tagging along with a friend doing an interview but within minutes of driving down into the small canyon, stories were popping in my mind. The lady who owned and ran the place had a true love for horses and spent a great deal of time helping horses that had been abused and abandoned.

She told me the first thing she does when she gets an animal who has been left alone in a small corral or barn for sometimes months is she lets them roam the land with the herd. She says they’ve forgotten how to be a horse.

I waJodi Thomas walks the lands around horses growing up and I’ve spent my time riding and brushing them down, but I’ve never seen them until I saw horses through her eyes. She said, “After my husband died and I was raising kids and trying to run the ranch, I would sometimes go out at night and just walk among the herd.”

Then, she made my day. She asked me if I wanted to go with her. We slipped through the fence and walked onto ranchland that used the walls of the canyon as its boundaries. We moved slow, not directing the herd, not invading, just joining. We moved closer. Just letting the horses slowly surround us.

I think it was one of the most peaceful, alive feelings I’ve ever had. She probably thought I was an idiot because I couldn’t stop smiling.

As a writer of over 40 books I sometimes feel I don’t live, I just do research. Like a person who doesn’t see Paris because he’s too busy taking selfies, I’m too consumed with stories dancing in my head to sometimes stop and enjoy the grand, wonderful things in life.

Like walking with a herd of horses on a cloudy day when the wind still whispers winter and the grass crunches beneath your boots.

I may never make it back to Dove Creek Ranch, but you can bet I’ll go there many more times in my mind.

So, walk the land of RANSOM CANYON in my new book, LONE HEART PASS. You’ll fall in love with the Texas plains and the people who live and love there.

Please leave a comment to enter a drawing for a copy of LONE HEART PASS.

 

flower bar 1Lone Heart PassWith a career and a relationship in ruins, Jubalee Hamilton is left reeling from a fast fall to the bottom. The run-down Texas farm she inherited is a far cry from the second chance she hoped for, but it and its abrasive foreman are all she’s got.

Every time Charley Collins has let a woman get close, he’s been burned. So Lone Heart ranch and the contrary woman who owns it are merely a means to an end, until Jubalee tempts him to take another risk—to stop resisting the attraction drawing them together despite all his hard-learned logic.

Desperation is all young Thatcher Jones knows. When he leads an injured Steeldust horse to a ramshackle ranch, he needs help. A horse-stealing ring is on his trail and the sheriff suspects him…and his only protection is the shelter of a man and woman who—just like him—need someone to trust.

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A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable

Kathryn’s Winner!

Winner 2Thank you all for joining in and sharing your thoughts on my blog yesterday!

I’ve “drawn a name from my Stetson.”

 Deanna Patterson

wins a copy of my newest release ~ Western Spring Weddings!

Congratulations Deanna! You may contact me at kathryn at kathrynalbright dot com with your address and I will send out the book!

Welcome ~ Pamela Tracy!


Pamela Tracy HeadshotPetticoats and Pistols is delighted to have Pamela Tracy ride back into the corral here at Wildflower Junction!

Please give her a big welcome!

She is giving away a digital copy of her newest release to one lucky person who comments. See below…

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I’ve visited Petticoats and Pistols many times and am thrilled to be a guest today.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer.  I’ve talked about my first attempts on other blogs, so I’ll tackle my college efforts today (I’ve tried to suppress the memory.)  So far, I’ve hidden the dark truth.  My first real attempt at plot, chapters, and black moment was science fiction <gasp>.  Truly.  When I was in college, I was enthralled by Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Don’t see the movie.  It REALLY doesn’t do the book justice.  And, if you haven’t read the book, you’ll just be annoyed.)  I was also big on Kurt Vonnegut.  Yes, I know, what was a nice girl like me doing hanging around with Deadeye Dick.

Fast forward (years!) to marriage, kids, writing romance books.  About 2008, I was happily writing suspense (and novellas and prayer books.)  Then, the opportunity came to write a contemporary romance for Love Inspired.  I thought, “Okay, I always wanted to do a prodigal son.”  I put my H & H on a ranch and wallah, my first cowboy hero.

Since then, I’ve written quite a few.  I can’t seem to stop.

I’m from Nebraska originally.  I didn’t have a horse, but there were properties all around me and I used to go stand on the fences and feed grass to the horses.  I asked every Christmas for a horse.  My parents got me a bike.  Okay, they tried.  It did move when I said giddy-yup though I had to peddle instead of knee.     Saddle and stand

I worked on a farm one weekend and rode a horse that got spooked.  We wound up in the middle of the cornfield.  It’s hard to get off the horse with stalks off corn pressing in.  Good thing I was a lot thinner then.

Me, I’m not a cowgirl, but I dated a cowboy in college.  I knew he was a cowboy because he had a buckle, chewed, and never wore shorts.  That was the 80’s.  What can I say.

I do love going to the rodeo, though.  I’ve been in Nebraska, Iowa, Arizona, and South Dakota.  Always a spectator.

My niece, who does rodeo and WINS….

Oh, and I took riding lessons in my 30’s.  I rarely fell off but then I also never rode a horse that went faster than a bike with a flat tire and brakes that were stuck in the STOP position.

My heroes and heroines, though, have all kinds of great.  Guess they were born that way like my grandniece.  She has the petticoat, just needs the pistol.

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I’ve been writing now for seventeen years.  And, I live in the third most populated city.  Guess that’s why over and over I write about small towns, girls horses, and cowboys who know how to treat a lady right.

I’ve a new book out this month.  It’s called the Bluebonnet Bride.   It has a bullrider who isn’t looking for love, a business owner who’s fighting to put down roots, a ranch that needs a little tender loving care, and a small town that’s the right size for both of them.  Ah, happily ever after…

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Pamela Tracy is giving away a digital copy of her newest release, the Bluebonnet Bride to one lucky person who comments today!

To connect with Pamela or to find out more about this book and others, please visit her website:  www.pamelatracy.com 

 

 

 

 

 

Kathryn’s Winner!

Kathryn has drawn the winner’s name from her Stetson!
(with the help of www.randomnumbergenerator.com)

Congratulations Miss Eliza!

Contact kathryn @ kathrynalbright dot com with your address for your copy of

Familiar Stranger in Clear Springs 

Thanks for stopping by and come back again!

Julian ~ The Ghost Town that Escaped

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The lifespan of a mining town in the old west was as volatile as the dynamite used to blow up the rock and release the ore. Seems that just as soon as most of the ore was hauled from the mines, the town would dry up and blow away, becoming ghost town. Two famous ones in California that boomed and are now nothing but ghost towns are Calico and Bodie.

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Calico Mining Crew

Calico in Yerma, California was established when silver was discovered in the mountains there in 1881. $20 million in silver ore came from the 500 mines surrounding the town over the next 12 years. Then, when silver lost its value, everyone packed up and left. Today, Calico is a historic site, restored for people to visit and see what life was like ‘back in the day.’ Calico makes for a very interesting destination today, but no one lives there anymore.

bodie

Bodie, California

The same thing happened to Bodie, California. The place was a small mining camp in the Sierra Nevada mountains when gold was discovered in 1859. Although nearby towns boomed, Bodie inched along until 1876 when more gold was discovered by the Sandard Company. Suddenly miners poured into the town and its population shot up to 7,000. $34 million in gold ore came from the mines there over the next eleven years. And then, like Calico, Bodie slowly died. In 1915 it was officially labeled a ghost town.

So how did Julian in San Diego’s back country escape the fate of becoming a ghost town? 

In 1870 gold was discovered 60 miles east of New San Diego and the Julian Mining District was formed. Over the next 6 years more than 600 people made Julian their home and enjoyed all that living in a boom town entailed. then in 1876 with most of the gold excavated out of the mines, the bulk of people left searching for better goldfields elsewhere. The population dropped to 100. What made Julian’s fate so different than Calico’s or Bodies had to do with a number of things–good soil, climate, and more than anything it seems, Julian became a place for family.

Although the town had its share of saloons and dance-halls and rowdy miners, it was never the “Wild West Town” like other mining towns. The early settlers of Julian saw to the opening of their first school–and the first year 100 children attended. When teacher after teacher married and had to stop teaching due to the law at the time that forbade married women to teach, the school trustees decided to hire a man for the position. When the miners learned of it, they threatened trouble, and the trustees relented and hired another woman.

When the mines played out, instead of leaving, a core group of 100 people remained and turned to agriculture. James Madison was the first to recognize the perfect soil a

Julian CA

Julian California

nd weather for apple growing and he, along with Thomas Brady started an orchard of young apple trees. Others followed suit, adding pear trees. Today Julian apples have won many awards and the town is world famous for its apple pies.

There were two main ways to socialize in town. One was through church (Free land was given for the establishment of churches.) The second was at the frequent dances. Dances and fundraising socials would often last through the night and into the early morning hours. The dance hall in town even had a separate room for mothers to leave their babies to sleep away the night so the mothers could continue dancing. A number of good-natured tricks were played on neighbors and friends in Julian. Couples tried to keep their romantic feelings a secret so they wouldn’t end up the recipient of these pranks. The people of Julian were known for enjoying each other and having fun in a big way. (To me, it sounds like the town had a lot of personality!)

Today, Julian is a tourist town with a small-town feel. It caters to those who want to get away from the city. They come for the mountain air, fresh apple pies, mining tours and–for many San Diegans (including me) — the snow in winter. I have always had a soft spot for Julian. As an author, it is great to vicariously live in the town of 1876 through the characters in my books. I am grateful it survived its gold rush heritage and has given me such inspiraFamiliar Stranger in Clear Springstion for my stories.

Do you have a soft spot for any particular place?

Leave a comment to be entered into my drawing for a copy of my latest book!

Familiar Stranger in Clear Springs

(Please see Giveaway Guidelines listed on this page)

KATHRYN’S WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

Another Chance to Win

Recently, I gave away two copies of my novella collection With This Ring? right here on Petticoats & Pistols, but I’m doing a large Facebook promotion this week, and I didn’t want my loyal P&P readers to be left out. So here’s another chance to win.

Fill out the entry form below and follow the instructions. Leaving a comment on the blog will not enter you in the contest.

I wish you the best!

Click here to view this promotion.

A Thanksgiving Recipe and Book Giveaway!!!

Photo Credit: StGrundy via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: StGrundy via Compfight cc

I know we’re all busy with holiday preparations, so I’m going to keep today’s post short and sweet. And the sweet is quite literal. In honor of the best eating holiday around, I thought I’d share my mother’s recipe for my favorite Thanksgiving dish – Candied Yams. Mmmmmm. They are so good. I never quite get mine to taste as good as hers, but they’re close enough to thoroughly enjoy.

Candied Yams

Wrap 5 large Red Garnet Yams in foil (poke a few vent holes with a short knife in each) and bake in a 400 degree oven until soft (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours). Let cool.

(Red Garnet Yams are much better than sweet potatoes, but if you can’t find them, sweet potatoes will work, too.)

candied yams

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of my mom’s yams, but this one came the closest. They won’t be syrupy, though. Just buttery and candied around the edges.

Unwrap yams, remove skin, and slice lengthwise into thin, oblong strips about 1/4 inch thick. Lay flat in a shallow baking dish (jelly roll pans work great), fitting them close together so almost no pan is visible. You will probably need at least 2 pans. Sprinkle generously with brown sugar. Drizzle (or spoon) melted butter over the yams until all the sugar is moistened. Bake in a 400 degree oven again until yams get dark (sticky and candied) around edges (usually 45-60 minutes).

Use a metal spatula to remove yams. Serve in a shallow dish.

Old-fashioned. Simple. And delicious!

Click Cover to Order

Click Cover to Order

The other sweet I’m offering today is a free book. WooHoo!!! Who doesn’t love a great Christmas story to curl up with around the holidays?

I had the honor of meeting author Jolene Navarro at a library event in the small Texas town of Llano. I snatched up a copy of her latest release, A Texas Christmas Wish, knowing all of my Petticoats & Pistols friends would love the chance to win a signed copy.

So, to enter for a chance to win, simply leave a comment about your favorite Thanksgiving dish.

Have a blessed day tomorrow with family and friends. May your hearts be filled with gratitude and your bellies be filled with delicious food.

 

 

Back to School

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Here in Texas, our children have returned to the classroom. My three kids were up early Monday morning, making lunches, packing backpacks, and rushing off to the first day of school. My oldest is starting her senior year of high school. Gasp! Not sure mom is quite ready for what that means. But whether mom is ready or not, it has begun.

In the American West, teachers were often little more than former students who had completed the 8th grade and gone on to pass a teacher’s examination. My youngest is starting 8th grade this year, and I can’t even imagine him having enough knowledge to turn around and teach.

As more settlers headed west and communities grew, so did the demand for teachers with a higher education. In the early 1800s, schoolmasters were men. They ruled their classrooms with discipline and authority. Yet in the 1830s when tax-supported common schools made education more widely available, the result was a teacher shortage that left the door open for women.

“God seems to have made woman peculiarly suited to guide and develop the infant mind, and it seems…very poor policy to pay a man 20 or 22 dollars a month, for teaching children the ABCs, when a female could do the work more successfully at one third of the price.” — Littleton School Committee, Littleton, Massachusetts, 1849

By the time of the Civil War, women dominated the teaching field. However, if a woman wanted to set herself apart, to establish herself as a professional, she required training that went beyond the rudimentary grammar schooling of her peers. She needed a diploma from a reputable Normal School.

Normal Schools were two-year academies designed to grant teachers a mastery of the subjects taught in the common schools as well as giving them a practical knowledge of teaching methodology. Normal Schools prided themselves on their thorough, cohesive, and “scientific” curriculum. They would provide a norm for all teachers (hence the term Normal School) that would assure a level of quality generally unavailable previously.

The Boston Normal School, for example, was established in 1872. According to a regulation manual published in 1888, a teacher studying there would have taken courses in the following areas:

  • Mental and Moral Science and Logic
  • Physiology and Hygiene
  • Natural Science
  • Study of Language
  • Elementary Studies
  • Principles of Education, School Economy, and Methods of Instruction
  • Vocal Music, Drawing, and Blackboard Illustration
  • Observation and Practice in the Training School
  • Observation and Practice in other public schools

Not so very different from our current teacher education programs, is it?

Click Cover to Order

Click Cover to Order

The heroine in my latest release is a teacher of exceptional youths, or what we would call today – gifted children or child prodigies.

In honor of teachers across the country who are getting back into their classrooms, I’ll be giving away an autographed copy of A Worthy Pursuit to one reader who leaves a comment.

Tell me about you favorite first-day-of-school memory. What made you excited, what you dreaded. How long it took you to pick out the perfect outfit. Anything related to the first day – kindergarten through college. Or maybe your first day as a teacher, if that is your profession. Anything is fair game.

Have fun! 🙂

 

It’s My Birthday…But YOU Get The Presents!

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Photo Credit: pyza* via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: pyza* via Compfight cc

Yes, today is the big double 4. But since I’ve always been a fan of the 11’s times table (who doesn’t love the fun of 11, 22, 33, 44, 55, 66, etc.?), I’m embracing the additional tally on my age column with good humor.

And since I’m in such a good mood, I thought – Why not give away 2 copies of my brand new release? Couldn’t think of any reason not to, so here we go.

I will choose two winners at random from those who leave comments below. (US addresses only.) And since it’s my birthday, let’s go with a theme question.

  • What is the craziest birthday gift you ever received? (It can be crazy good, crazy awful, crazy funny, or just crazy bizarre.)

And in the meantime, I thought I’d give you all a taste of A Worthy Pursuit. So here’s a excerpt from Charlotte and Stone’s story. In this scene, Stone Hammond has been knocked out, trussed up, and is being dragged to Charlotte Atherton’s doorstep. Having regained consciousness on the way, Stone decides to feign insensibility to covertly learn more about his target – the woman who abducted three children from their school in the dead of night. Only she’s not the cold-hearted kidnapper he expected to find.

A Worthy Pursuit

“Mr. Dobson? What on earth . . .?”

Fabric snapped back and forth in a rapid staccato as Miss Atherton hurried to see what her guard dog had drug in.

“He was up on the ridge, miss. Spying on you and the young’uns. With these.”

Ah. Well, at least Stone knew where his field glasses had ended up. The evidence they presented was rather damning, though. He could practically feel her gaze wandering over him, assessing the threat.

Then she was touching him. Her cool hand skimmed over his face until her fingertips rested against the pulse point at his neck. His blood surged at the contact.

“He has a vigorous pulse. I suppose we should be thankful for that.”

Too vigorous for an unconscious man. She didn’t say the words, but Stone heard the suspicion in her tone. The woman was no fool. He willed his breathing to slow, hoping to compensate for his unplanned reaction to her touch.

“I don’t see any blood. You didn’t shoot him, did you?”

“No, miss. Just knocked him a good one. He’ll rouse afore long. What do you want me to do with him?”

An excellent question, Stone thought. Time to see just how far the teacher was willing to go to keep her ill-gotten gains.

“You’ll have to help me get him into the house. I can’t tend to him properly out here in the yard.”

“Get him into the . . .” Dobson sputtered. “Have you lost your mind, woman? You can’t take him into your house. That ain’t what I was askin’. I was askin’ if you wanted me to cart him into Madisonville to the sheriff or take him out back and work out a more permanent solution. Sure as manure stinks, he’s Dorchester’s man.”

“Probably. But we don’t know that for certain. Perhaps he’s simply a cow hand with a penchant for bird watching.”

Bird watching? Stone nearly jumped to his feet to defend his manhood against the foul slur. Only sissified dandies wasted time on—

Her palm pressed against his chest.

As if signaling him to stay down. Had she read his mind?

“Bird watching?” Dobson’s incredulous voice soothed Stone’s pride. “What a load of bunkum. Look at him. He ain’t no bird watcher. He’s a mercenary.”

Retriever, Stone silently corrected. Not mercenary. His brain was for hire, not his gun.

“Even so,” the teacher said, “I can’t condone violence against him. The Bible instructs us to love both our neighbor and our enemy, so no matter which category this man falls into, it is our place to offer assistance. Now, help me carry him into the house.” Her hand finally slid from his chest, but Stone was too stunned to move a muscle.

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