Tag: Linda Broday

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PETTICOATS AND PISTOLS!

 

WOW! Twelve years! We’re almost a teenager. Exciting! 2007 seems like such a long time ago and yet, for me, it feels like it was only yesterday that I received an email from Pam Crooks one day in June. She asked me to embark on this wonderful journey with her and nine other authors.

My memory is a little fuzzy but if I recall in the email Pam outlined her vision of a website designed solely for western romance – both historical and contemporary—and devoted to promoting and talking about this genre. There were no sites out there like this.

Blogging itself was in the early stages and few were doing it. Hard to believe huh? It seems like the internet has always burst at the seams with these posts yet social media was just taking off.

Pam had to explain what a blog was. I felt like such a dummy! Totally clueless. I had never even seen a blog, even the word was foreign, but I did want to be in on this exciting adventure. We never expected to last long. Not one of us thought we’d be here TWELVE YEARS later.

I always wondered who gave Pam my name because I was an unknown back then. Hmmm.

Pam talks about forming in her own words: Long about May, 2007, Cheryl St.John and I got together over lunch and brainstormed the possibility of launching a site dedicated to western romance. Blogging was relatively new back then, and there wasn’t a site like we envisioned anywhere in the blogging world. We came up with a ton of ideas, more than we could even implement. We brainstormed names to call ourselves, discussed pages on the site, authors who might want to join us, possible guests to invite. Later, after a gazillion emails back and forth with our fellow western romance authors, the idea not only took off, but has proudly endured.

Here are the original group of Fillies:

  • Pam Crooks
  • Karen Kay
  • Charlene Sands
  • Cheryl St. John
  • Elizabeth Lane
  • Stacey Kane
  • Pat Potter
  • Geralyn Dawson
  • Lorraine Heath
  • Linda Broday

We became a family of sorts and a group of Fillies. 

We blogged twice a month back then which was pretty grueling. We were all so busy.

Charlene Sands kicked us off with her blog – Love Westerns? Welcome to the Club! I remember how scared I was. My fingers were shaking so bad that I kept hitting all the wrong keys in my comment and had to keep correcting the typos. I think it took about 45 minutes to type a three or four sentence comment! I kept erasing and starting over because there was that fear of sounding ignorant sitting in the back of my mind. So funny.

I didn’t know what I’d gotten into. It was terrifying. The thought hit me that if I couldn’t write a simple comment how was I going to write a blog post. Oh man!! Lots of sweating in those days. My main goal was not to look totally stupid. If I could manage that, I was happy.

My first post was Love Those Cowboys! It only consisted of two paragraphs. HaHaHa! But, I didn’t look back and eventually got the hang of it and they didn’t kick me out.

Now, here we are still going strong. How long will our run last? You, dear followers, will decide that. As long as you keep coming, we’ll keep writing blogs.

I know what they are now!!!!

What do we have planned next? Who knows. You’ll just have to stay tuned.

Tell me what you enjoy, what keeps you coming back, or tell me when you first learned of blogs and began following some, and I’ll put you in a drawing for one of three $10 Amazon gift cards.

It’s Yee-Haw Day!

Welcome to Yee-Haw Day, the once-a-month day we’ve reserved to share our news with you – all sorts of fun news!

So check out the post below to get the details on the kinds of things that make us go Yee-Haw!!

Karen Witemeyer

My brand new release is on an incredible sale until July 31.
Grab an e-copy of Zach and Abigail’s story for only $1.99 today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook

“Fans of Karen Witemeyer know that she excels at writing sweet, subtly sexy Western romances which are full of charm and joy. Her genuine, heartwarming stories never fail to bring a smile to my face and her latest book, More Than Words Can Say, completely met that expectation. . . fans of Inspirational romance will find a lot to love here, and I urge them to rush out and pick up a copy as soon as possible.”  ~All About Romance

Cheryl Pierson

Guess what, y’all! I just had a birthday yesterday! I know most people aren’t excited about getting older, but I am–even with all the aches and pains that come along with it. This is a big birthday for me–I’m 62! How many of us, when we were 16 years old and learning to drive a car, ever imagined that we would live to be as old as our grandparents were right then? LOL I sure didn’t. I couldn’t even THINK that far in the future–but now that I’m here, it doesn’t seem so old at all. 

The picture above left is me when I was 17, the end of my junior year of highschool–never dreaming I’d one day be old enough to collect my Social Security. Above right is a recent picture of me with my daughter, Jessica. She’ll be 33 this year, and she can’t imagine ever being 62, either. Growing older “ain’t” for sissies, but I’m glad to still be here, alive and kickin’! 

As a way to celebrate, I want to offer a digital giveaway of the Prairie Rose Publications boxed set UNDER A WESTERN SKY to two commenters who are interested in reading some excellent WHR stories!

I love this collection because it’s six books–full-length novels–by six different authors, all western historical romance! Just let me know if you’re interested and leave your e-mail info in your comment–I’ll be drawing two names! My story, FIRE EYES, is included, along with 5 other stories by Celia Yeary, Tracy Garrett, Kaye Spencer, Agnes Alexander, and Patti Sherry-Crews.

 

Y’all wish me a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 

Linda Broday

I have a book trailer for LONGING FOR A COWBOY CHRISTMAS!

It comes out Sept. 24, 2019!

AMAZON  |  B&N  |  APPLE  |  Indiebound

 

Jeannie Watt

I just got the cover to my August Tule Publishing release, Her Cowboy Boss. Brodie and McKenna had last seen each other in high school when she was part of the social elite and he was the quiet ranch kid who liked to draw. Now she’s a single mom building a new life and he’s her boss on a cattle ranch. He’s interested in building a relationship, but McKenna is fighting ghosts from her past.

Her Cowboy Boss will be available for pre-order soon.

Ruth Logan Herne

Ruthy is celebrating being a finalist in the Maggie Awards for Excellence, sponsored by Georgia Romance Writers! Winners are announced at GRW’s wonderful Moonlight & Magnolias conference in October, but Ruthy is thrilled to be a finalist with her Amazon bestseller “At Home in Wishing Bridge”! Thank you, GRW!

Pam Crooks

Coming VERY soon!

Book 2 in the C Bar C Ranch Series

Kidnapped by the Cowboy

 

Callie Mae Lockett is betrayed by the man who claims he’s responsible for her young brother’s tragic death. She chooses another to help carry on her precious legacy, the C Bar C Ranch , and he’s the farthest thing from a cowboy she’s ever met.

TJ Grier has always been one of the C Bar C’s best cowboys, but one horrible night destroys all he’s ever known.

Desperate to prove his innocence, he steals Callie Mae away, and together they plunge into danger to solve the secret that has torn them apart.

Watch for it!

The Ghosts of Old Tascosa

 

I hope you’re doing some fun things this summer. A few weeks ago, I drove thirty miles from where I live to what used to be only one of three towns in the entire Texas Panhandle. Tascosa used to be a thriving, but very dangerous, town that at its peak boasted 350 people. It was settled in 1876 by an ex-soldier and blacksmith named Henry Kimball and it became the assembling point for the Tascosa/Dodge City Cattle Trail. Surrounded by large ranches, the town quickly became known as the Cowboy Capital of the Plains and was an economic rival of Dodge City, Kansas.

It also became a place where outlaws and bad men outnumbered the law-abiding sort.

Here’s an adobe schoolhouse (built 1911). It’s the oldest one of adobe in Texas.

Due to the town being only thirty -five miles from the New Mexico line, Billy the Kid used to rustle cattle and bring them to Tascosa to sell. He made the trip many times. His campground is still marked today in a shady spot near a creek.

Pat Garrett was another regular to frequent Tascosa that in 1879 had a population of 150 with only 8 English speaking women who were not employed in the considerable brothels and saloons.

Inside of two years, there were twenty-eight deaths caused by shootings and Boot Hill saw much activity. Here’s the picture I took and the restored markers. I think it’s the first Boot Hill cemetery I’ve ever been in.

A post office opened in 1878 and in 1880 the county of Oldham (only the second county in the entire Texas Panhandle) was formed and a stone courthouse was built. That courthouse is still there and they’ve turned it into a museum. Here’s the picture I took during my visit.

Despite the lawlessness, romance was alive and well. A mysterious saloon girl and gambler named Frenchy fell deeply in love with Mickey McCormick who owned one of the saloons. They married and from then on, the two became inseparable. This huge, deformed tree and marker is all that remains of the spot where their adobe house sat.

         

Mickey died in 1912 and Frenchy walked to visit his grave every day—even after the town died and everyone moved away, she remained. She lived alone in the ghost town by herself with no running water or electricity for twenty-seven years, grieving for Mickey. Finally, in poor health and her house falling around her, the woman whose real name they never knew or where she was from let them move her to the nearby town of Channing where she stayed a little over a year before dying in 1941. As per her wishes, they brought her back and laid her to rest next to her beloved Mickey.

Other ghosts reside there also—like Ed King, Frank Valley, Fred Chilton, and Jesse Sheets who were killed in a gunfight in the wee hours of March 20, 1886.

The ghost town was bought by Julian Bivins who turned around and donated it to the Cal Farley Boy’s Ranch in 1939. The town sits on this private land and I believe the thousands of boys(and now girls also) who’ve lived there have purged the voices of the ghosts. I didn’t feel any restless spirits. Although it is on private land, they welcome visitors.

If you’ve read any of my Outlaw Mail Order Brides, you’ve seen the town of Tascosa in the stories. Here’s one segment in Tally Shannon’s point of view from Book 1 – The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride:

Life was full of ups and downs, and this wasn’t the worst that they would face. She’d heard the men talk about a bounty hunter Ridge had seen in Tascosa and the reward poster the man had been showing around. Foreboding told her the worst still lay in front of them.

Have you ever been to or read about a ghost town? I’m curious what you thought. I would love to have seen Tascosa at its peak but I wouldn’t have wanted to live there. Too rough for me!

 

Marriage Advice in 1894

 

“Give little, give seldom, and give grudgingly.”

This was what Ruth Smythers, wife of Reverend L.D. Smythers, wrote in 1894 in her advice book for husbands and wives. She went on to tell women that unbridled passion in bed even within marriage was seen as a dangerous pastime and should be avoided at all costs.

Here’s more:

“Finding joy in the act and overindulgence can lead to cancer and other illnesses.”

“Refrain from having careers because working is vulgar and demeaning to husbands, declaring him incompetent and unable to provide.”

Furthermore, she instructed the wife to turn a blind eye if a husband strayed because that lifted her marriage burden.

These archaic ideas are too funny and definitely not what any of my characters adhere to. Nor did I.

Jack and Nora in Saving the Mail Order Bride (#2 of Outlaw Mail Order Brides) share a healthy marriage and view each other as equals even down to taking care of the children. Jack loves kids and sees Sawyer and Willow as his own and he adores Nora—even when she dyes his hair blonde.

In The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride (#1 of the series), Clay and Tally struggle to learn how to trust. Both had been betrayed so the lesson didn’t come easy. However, they have no trouble in bed. 🙂

In my years of living, which have been considerable, I have a little advice of my own. However, I don’t claim to be an expert. No, no.

But maybe I’ll do better than Ruth Smythers. Here we go:

  • Develop mutual respect and make it the cornerstone of your marriage.
  • Marriage is a partnership.
  • Share all aspects of your lives. Never keep secrets.
  • Share the chores and the care of the children.
  • Talk
  • Share the finances equally.
  • Never go to bed angry.
  • Find joy in being together and make time every day.
  • Have a date night each week or several times a month.

 

These are just a few things I’ve learned after two marriages. Okay, it’s your turn. What is your advice? I’ll give both books of my Outlaw Mail Order Brides series to one commenter.

Santa Fe, Where History Collides With the Present!

After writing two books without much of a break, I decided it was time to get away. Actually, a good friend of mine twisted my arm. She kept talking about making adobe bricks in Santa Fe, NM and before I knew it, I told her I’d go along…just to keep her out of trouble. *wink*  But it didn’t take much persuasion. Despite being born in New Mexico and living there the early part of my life, I’d never been to Santa Fe or made real adobe bricks. And I wanted to go. Darn it, I earned the trip! 

So, on a recent Friday morning, we left Raton, NM and started down. These are buffalo we saw just outside of Cimarron.

                      

Then we meandered our way, enjoying the fresh air of the mountains. We met her parents for lunch in Española. I thought that would be a sleepy little town but it was pretty big. Lunch was excellent by the way. From there we wound around through several small communities to Chimaýo where there’s an amazing story. Sometime about 1810, a friar was performing penance when he saw a light bursting from a hill. He went up and found a crucifix. Three times a priest tried to take it to another place but it always disappeared and reappeared in Chimaýo so they built an adobe mission in 1816 and it quickly became known as a curative place. The sick and infirm came by the droves and claimed to be cured. They still do. The crucifix still resides on the chapel altar. The chapel is on the left and a children’s chapel on the right.

                                                 

Here’s camel rock, an usual rock formation outside of Santa Fe that we had to stop and take a picture of. 

We arrived in Santa Fe mid-afternoon and our first stop was the Loretto Chapel and it’s miraculous staircase that was built without nails (only wooden pegs) and has perplexed experts. The entire weight of the staircase rests on the bottom step. It has two 360° turns with no visible sign of support and the rare wood is not native to the American Southwest. Legend has it that a poor peasant appeared with a donkey and he only worked at night. When it was completed, he vanished without being paid.

In the center of Santa Fe is a beautiful park with the Hall of Governors building sitting across the street that was built in 1610 out of adobe. It looks exactly the same as it did when it was first built. Each Saturday, the Native Americans come with their jewelry and a large variety of other things they make by hand, spread a blanket and sell to the tourists. I loved this and bought several items.

The Palace of the Governors as it appears today. It is the oldest, continually occupied public building in the United States. Courtesy of Patricia Drury, Flickr-Commons

Then, we went down the street where they were making adobe bricks using the same method as their forefathers. Adobe is a mixture of clay, water, and straw. They let us try our hand and I found it a lot of fun. It’s a lot like working with dough. I had to pack it down firm into the form, being sure to get it into each corner. After I did that, they lifted the form and there was a brick. They leave it to dry for a week on each side and it takes about 6 weeks to get all the moisture content out of them. But an adobe building can last for hundreds of years. Each brick we made was four inches thick and weighs approx 25 pounds so a wall would be very solid.

                       

Drying Adobe Bricks

And of course, wagons on the Santa Fe Trail passed through here and provided a welcome stop where settlers could replenish their supplies and rest. They truly must’ve enjoyed it.

Art is everywhere in Santa Fe and it’s all beautiful. We ended our trip with a visit to the New Mexico History Museum and found so many interesting things there.

                                                     

Santa Fe was settled in 1609 by the Spanish and is the oldest capital city in the U.S. History is all around you as you walk through the streets. If you’re looking for an usual place to visit, this will be the one to come to.

Have you ever made adobe bricks or visited a place that seems lost in time? I’m giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card so leave a comment!

 

 

Left Foot, Right Foot

 

Do you remember what it was like to put your foot into the wrong shoe? Young children do this all the time. I still remember how uncomfortable it felt when I got in a hurry and wasn’t paying attention. Shoot, sometimes I still do this! It feels horrible.

But did you know that up until as late as 1850 shoemakers didn’t differentiate between the left and the right? They made both shoes straight with no curve in them. I can only imagine how awful they were to wear.

Change came with the invention of machinery for making shoes and they were finally able to produce left and right shoes.

I had so much fun writing SAVING THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE that releases in two weeks. Nora and Jack are so funny. Nora has a real problem with her shoes and the pair she wears coming West to marry are very worn. The heels are shaky and the shoes are too narrow.

The book opens with a stagecoach carrying her and an outlaw who’d just been arrested. Everything is so new to her.

Complication #1. He’s attached to a marshal by manacles (which are two handcuffs separated by a six-inch chain.) When the stagecoach wrecks and kills the marshal, Jack Bowdre asks Nora to get the key from the dead lawman’s pocket.

Complication #2. The second Nora unlocks the cuffs she slaps them around her own wrist and tosses the key away because she’s terrified Jack’ll leave her at the mercy of the man who’s following her.

To put it mildly, Jack is furious. Now he’s handcuffed to a woman he’s never seen and he’s about to lose his one chance of escape.

Before leaving the wreck, he removes the marshal’s boots, thinking they might come in handy. He and Nora spend a little time searching for the key but can’t find it and he hears riders up above the ravine, so he rushes her away.

Complication #3. Nora can’t keep up because of her shoes. He stops and yanks them off, wraps her feet in one of her petticoats, and puts the dead marshal’s boots on her. They can move much faster. Then later on, she switches those boots for a smaller pair that belong to the man chasing her.

They’re afoot with nothing but the clothes on their backs and a posse close behind. It’s five days to reach the safety of the outlaw town and the rugged terrain is unforgiving. The odds are stacked against them.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that Jack didn’t tell her he’s an outlaw—one of several things he left out of his letters. Nora has her trials.

I think you’ll love this fast-paced fun story, the second in my Outlaw Mail Order Brides.

Click HERE for a link to an excerpt.

I also have a Spring Sweepstakes going on. Enter to win an e-reader plus 25 historical western romances. Margaret Brownley has hers in this too. Click on the image to enter.

 

I have a huge problem with shoes myself because my feet and ankles swell. Dressy shoes are the hardest to find. I just can’t find any that fit well, look decent, and are comfortable. Boots really are the best but not with a dress. I’ve finally gone to the Clark’s brand and they work pretty well. Do any of you have a similar problem? What do you wear for everyday and dressy?

I’m giving away an autographed copy of the book to three people who comment.

  

The Music of Spurs by Linda Broday

I’m happy to kick off this Bustles and Spurs week. I just love writing everything about cowboys but especially the little visual details that can add so much to a story. The smooth way they walk. The way they talk—from the hard edge they add to their voice when they have to—to the quiet, gentle words reserved for their lady, kids, and animals. Then there are the sounds—the slap of leather chaps against their legs, their boot heels striking a wooden boardwalk.

Most of all, the clink of their spurs. Oh man! I love that music.

I began thinking about spurs and here are some facts that you might find interesting.

* The earliest spurs found go back to Julius Caesar and his Roman soldiers. Who knew?

* The type of metal used in those early spurs once indicated rank. Gold or gilded spurs were reserved for knights or royalty. Hence the expression, “earn your spurs.”

* The part of the spur that makes noise is the rowel that spins when the cowboy walks. The rowel is also the part he uses to make the horse do what he wants.

* The ornate Spanish influence is still evident today.

* Spurs from the second to about the fifteenth century were buried with their owners which is why few remain today.

* Any knight who failed to remove his spurs inside a church had them confiscated and had to pay a fine to get them back.

* The U.S. Cavalry uniform required boots and spurs and they were also worn during the Civil War. These were made of brass, slightly curved, with a small rowel, black straps, and a brass buckle.

* Today, artisan spurs are big business and depending on what they’re decorated with can be quite expensive. I recently saw a pair online selling for $925. Can you imagine?

* Sometimes cowboys attach jinglebobs to their spurs for even more noise.

I have a new book coming April 30 – SAVING THE MAIL ORDER BRIDE – #2 of Outlaw Mail Order Brides series. Jack Bowdre has been arrested and on his way to jail in a stagecoach the marshal flags down. The only other passenger is Lenora Kane who’s on her way to marry a man sight unseen. When the coach wrecks, Jack finds himself handcuffed to Lenora and they’re running for their lives, afoot, with nothing but the clothes on their backs and five days to safety. This has danger, suspense, humor, and romance and available for preorder.

AMAZON  |  B&N  |  iTUNES

Leave a comment mentioning some detail about a cowboy that really adds to what you love about him. Maybe it’s a bead of sweat trickling down his neck or the way he tips his hat to the ladies. Something small that gives you that tingle. You know the one. I’m giving away a western movie called Forsaken starring Kiefer and Donald Sutherland. It’s really good. I’m also giving a $10 Amazon gift card to another winner. Drawing will be Saturday.

 

 

The Value of Old Diaries

 

This country is amazing. Truly. Freedom is the bedrock of our foundation and when it came to settlement, the adventurers, the dreamers, the wealthy, and the down and out all had the same opportunities. I think a lot about those early men and women who took a chance. Thank goodness for a written record of their struggles which provide a glimpse into the rigors of such a journey. I don’t know about you, but I find it engrossing.

A friend gave me a copy of Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey by Lillian Schlissel and it’s fascinating reading. Here are a few of their entries:

“I write on my lap with the wind rocking my wagon.” Wrote Algeline Ashley.

The following are notations by Lydia Allen Rudd. She was traveling to Oregon with her husband Harry:

May 7…I found myself this morning with a severe headache from the effects of yesterday’s rain. There was a toll bridge across the stream kept by the Indians. The toll for our team in total was six bits. (about 75 cents)

May 8…We have come about 12 miles and made camp in the open prairie without any wood. We collected dry weeds and grass to make a fire and for supper cooked some meat and the last of our eggs with some hard bread with water.

May 9…We passed a new grave today…a man from Ohio. We also met a man that was going back. He had buried his wife this morning. She died from measles.

May 11…We passed another grave dug only this morning. The board stated he died of cholera and was from Indiana.

May 13…Soon after we stopped tonight a man, a Dutchman, came along with a wheel barrow going to California. He wheels his provisions and clothing all day and then stops for the night and sleeps on the ground in the open air. He ate raw meat and bread for his supper. I think he will get tired wheeling his way through the world.

May 14…Just after starting this morning we passed four men digging a grave. The man that had died was taken sick yesterday of cholera about noon and died last night. The corpse lay on the ground a few feet away. It was a sad sight. 

May 18…The wind has blown a perfect cloud of dust, covering us all with dirt. You could not tell the color of our skin.

October 27…We have reached Burlington. There is no house we can get to winter in. I expect that we shall not make a claim after all our trouble getting here. I shall have to be poor and dependent on a man my whole lifetime.

Another woman—Amelia Stewart Knight – is traveling with her husband and seven children and she’s pregnant with her eighth which she delivers by the roadside just before reaching Oregon. She mentions how the Native Americans along with way were much-needed guides and helpful in telling the men where to hunt.

May 14…Winds so high that we dare not make a fire and impossible to pitch a tent. The wagons can hardly stand the wind. Our wagon is full and some have to stay out in the storm. Some of the boys lost their hats.

May 17…We had a dreadful storm last night and very sharp lightning that killed one man and two oxen. The wind was so high I thought it would tear the wagon to pieces. Nothing but the stoutest canvas could stand it. The rain beat into the wagons so that everything was drenched. We woke surrounded by water and our saddles have been soaking in it all night and are almost ruined.

May 31…We traveled 25 miles today. This morning there were two large droves of cattle and about 50 wagons ahead of us. We either had to stay poking behind or attempt to pass them. The drovers threatened to drive the cattle over you if you tried to pass. They even took out their pistols. Husband came up just as one man pointed his pistol at Wilson Carl. We took out across the prairie and had a rather rough ride but were glad to be away from such a lawless bunch. We are now within 100 miles of Fort Laramie.

June 6…Still in camp. Husband and myself are sick. We supposed by drinking the river water that looked more like dirty suds.

July 28…Chatfield (her young son) is quite ill with scarlet fever.

Sept 5…Passed a sleepless night as a good many of the Indians camped around us were drunk and noisy and kept up a continual racket which made all our hands uneasy and kept our poor dog on watch.

Sept 17…Gave birth to my eighth child after which we ferried across the Columbia River. Here husband traded two yoke of oxen for a half section of land with one half acre planted in potatoes and a small log cabin and lean-to with no windows. We’re home.

These diaries are invaluable. To say the trip was difficult is an understatement. There was nothing to look forward to each day except more of the same that battered the mind and spirit. We owe them all our admiration and respect, especially the women who followed their men and given little say in the situation. They were truly hardy souls.

Would you have kept soldiering on day after day? I’d like to think I had what it took, but I really believe I would’ve been one of those who turned back.

I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card so leave a comment to enter the drawing.

Also, All of my Men of Legend are on sale or Free.  Now’s your chance.

AMAZON  |  B&N  |  iTUNES  |  KOBO

 

How Much of a Line Existed Between Outlaws and Lawmen?

 

A rough outlaw town…A man seeking redemption…A hunted woman with no place to turn except agree to be outlaw Clay Colby’s wife.

This is the scenario in The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride. In case you haven’t heard, this new series is a bleed over from my Men of Legend and Clay Colby (whom you met in The Heart of a Texas Cowboy) is tired of running. He’s determined to make a stand on the last bit of mostly unsettled Texas land in the panhandle. He yearns to settle down with a wife and have a family. To be normal. So he starts building a town on the site of an old hideout called Devil’s Crossing. While he builds, he writes to Tally Shannon and Luke Legend carries the letters back and forth. She and a group of women are hiding out in a canyon, hunted in order to be returned to the Creedmore Asylum for the Insane.

Tally and these women first made an appearance at the end of Men of Legend Book 1 – To Love a Texas Ranger when outlaw Luke Legend began providing food, clothing, and medicine.

But Tally has grown weary of living in the shadows and wants more for herself and her band of fugitives. For once she wants to know what it’s like to have someone care for her—to have strong arms around her, to be safe, protected. Although afraid to trust, she agrees to marry Clay.

“What drew Clay most was the defiance on her face, and the determined glint in her eyes. Hard eyes, that had seen too much pain. Tally wouldn’t back down easily—from anything. The Colt strapped around her waist bore witness to that.”

I’ve often thought about the line drawn between outlaws and lawmen on the American Frontier and find that at times it became so blurred it was almost invisible. A man could be a sheriff or U.S. Marshal one day and a fugitive outlaw the next, depending on the circumstances. Or vice versa.

Millions upon millions of acres of raw land comprised the American Frontier, stretching from the Missouri River all the way to the Pacific Ocean. There were no laws, no courts, and little or no government. The few lawmen that existed had to cover huge areas and there was no way they could.

Often, the only law was what a man found for himself. The gun determined the outcome.

To get an idea of what I’m talking about, consider this: A man is minding his own business and taking care of his family when someone rides up and shoots his wife and children. He catches the murderer and kills him. That makes him an outlaw and he’d be on the run.

Then maybe one of the railroad or cattle towns needed to curb their lawlessness so they would hire the outlaw and pin a badge on his chest. There are plenty of examples in history.

Many such men straddled the fence, being whatever anyone wanted. Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Virgil Earp, Bat Masterson, and Pat Garrett to name a few. You might say they were the good “bad” guys.

That’s what Clay and his friends are. Sure, they’ve killed but they only see it as administering justice. They were the law where there was none and now they’re ready to give up their role.

But will others let them?

If you’ve read the book, tell me your favorite part or favorite character. Or talk about outlaws. What is your view? Were they good? Or bad?

Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for one of three copies of the book. Or if you already have it, to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Off Your Rocker

You may think this an odd title for a post (Linda has finally lost it) but you’ll soon see how it fits. In exactly two weeks from today THE OUTLAW’S MAIL ORDER BRIDE will launch. This starts a new four-book series called Outlaw Mail Order Brides and I’m so excited about this project.

This series is a bleed-over from Men of Legend. Luke Legend and his wife Josie have started a private bride service for men and women living in the shadows. Clay Colby and Tally Shannon are characters that first appeared in Men of Legend. Clay was a trail boss for Houston in The Heart of a Texas Cowboy and Tally first appeared at the end of To Love a Texas Ranger and played a bigger part in To Marry a Texas Outlaw.

Tally and a group of women had escaped the Creedmore Lunatic Asylum and were hiding out in Deliverance Canyon. Readers wrote me, wanting their story so they’re getting it.

After two years living in fear of discovery, Tally decides it’s time for change. With Luke and Josie hand-carrying letters back and forth, Tally agrees to marry Clay. Only a wanted man will know how to protect her. Finally, she’ll be able to lift the burden from her shoulders and let someone care for her.

And Clay does from the start. She’s the wife he’s longed for and the little blind girl she brings with her becomes his daughter.

But I want to talk about the horrors of early mental institutions. Number one is that they had zero oversight. People who ran them could do whatever they wanted with these people. Nor did they require any proof of insanity. Often families wanted to get rid of certain ones and these institutions provided a way. Give them some money and they’d relieve you of your problem. In some cases it became big business.

That’s what Tally’s stepmother did. She wanted to wrench the family estate from Tally and have it all so she incapacitated her, drove her to the asylum and handed her over along with a bag of money along with instructions to make Tally’s life a living hell.

Here are some actual reasons on one mental institution’s books for taking a person:

  • Imaginary Female Trouble
  • Deranged Masturbation
  • Political Excitement
  • Asthma
  • Seduction and Disappointment
  • Fever and Jealousy
  • Domestic Trouble
  • Religious Enthusiasm
  • Blindness
  • Novel Reading (WHAT!!)

These are just ridiculous and there are lots more I didn’t list. Anything could be an excuse up until 1955 when some oversight finally came along. That it took so long is crazy!

Since we all read romance, we could’ve been institutionalized back then if our family didn’t want us!!

So, are you off your rocker or missing some marbles? Maybe you’re an overzealous cook or like to sit around daydreaming. You could be certifiable. What reason could your family have given? Have fun with this. I’m giving away THREE copies of THE OUTLAW’S MAIL ORDER BRIDE!! Plus, each will also get one of my calendars.

I’m also announcing a SALE! All of my Texas Heroes is marked down. If you haven’t read them and want to, now is the time to get them cheap. Or maybe you’re only missing one from the set. Now’s your chance.

 

 

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