Tag: Linda Broday

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.

 

 

AMAZON  |  B&N  |  iBOOKS  |  KOBO 


COWBOYS & MISTLETOE ~ Day 1

November 26 – 29

Pam Crooks

ONE MAGIC EVE

Lonely Sonja Kaplan doesn’t want to spend another Christmas alone. While she has her secret government work to fill her days, she longs for a husband to fill her nights.

Chet Lattimer doesn’t know the first thing about being a father when the six-year-old son he didn’t realize he had bursts into his life. Worse, it’s Christmas, and there’s no one to help him celebrate except the mysterious woman the gossips call the Bird Lady.

But a little boy hungry for love helps them all find truth and peace, and together they revel in the magic of Christmas.

#kindleunlimited

AMAZON

 

THE CATTLEMAN’S CHRISTMAS BRIDE

After Allethaire Gibson was kidnapped several years earlier in the wilds of Montana Territory, she tries hard to put her life back together in civilized Minnesota. She almost succeeds—until she’s framed for a crime she didn’t commit. With her reputation in shreds, she flees back to Montana to seek her father’s help in proving her innocence.

Mick Vasco never expects to see Allethaire again, but when he finds her in the middle of a train-robbery-in-progress, he has no choice but to kidnap her—again.

Together they race against time to find crucial answers. But during the blessed season of Christmas, they find wondrous gifts of forgiveness and love instead.

#kindleunlimited

 AMAZON

I’m giving away a $10 GIFT CARD TO AMAZON!  Who can’t use one of those at Christmastime, eh?

***Scroll down to the form below. Click the BOOKBUB link to my author page and FOLLOW ME, then note on the form that you followed. If you want to mention it here, too, feel free!***

That’s it! 

Linda Broday

 

THE CHRISTMAS STRANGER

Alone in a blinding snowstorm, no shelter in sight, Hank Destry pushes in all his chips and comes up losing. Half-frozen and unable to go any farther, he falls from the saddle into a snowbank. On a return visit from a sick friend, Pretty Sidalee King’s path is blocked by a barking dog. The pet leads her to Hank. She digs him from the snow and manages to get him into her wagon and take him to her home on the Lone Star Ranch.

With no family of her own, she feels for the drifter’s plight. Could he be Miss Mamie’s lost son that she speaks of? And what are the rocks Miss Mamie gives as payment for kindnesses? Mystery and love abound this Christmas season as two lonely people receive an unexpected gift.

Other stories in this anthology:

Father Christmas by Leigh Greenwood

A Texas Ranger for Christmas by Margaret Brownley

A Chick-A-Dee Christmas by Rosanne Bittner

A Christmas Baby by Anna Schmidt

A Christmas Reunion by Amy Sandas

AMAZON B&N  |  iBOOKS KOBO

I‘m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card and a 2019 calendar I put together!

***Scroll down to the form below. Click the AMAZON link to my author page and FOLLOW ME, then note on the form that you followed. If you want to mention it here, too, feel free!***

Good Luck!

Shanna Hatfield

 

RACING CHRISTMAS

Brylee Barton has just one goal in mind: win the barrel racing world championship. Not for the glory, but for the attached cash prize that could save her family’s ranch. When an injury leaves her at the mercy of the very same copper-headed, silver-tongued cowboy she once vowed to loathe forever, she has no choice but to swallow her pride and accept his help.

Fun-loving, easy-going Shaun Price has a million dollar smile, more charm than he can channel, and a string of ex-girlfriends rumored to have started their own support group. When the one woman he’s never quite managed to get out of his head or heart needs his assistance, he jumps at the chance to help. Little does he realize how challenging it will be to keep from falling for her all over again.

With the holiday season fast approaching, will Shaun and Brylee discover the gift of forgiveness, and experience their own happily-ever-after?

AMAZON

Consider reading all the Rodeo Romance series, available on Amazon

 

SLEIGH BELLS RING IN ROMANCE

 You’re never too old to fall in love . . .

Rancher Jess Milne lost his wife years ago, but he’s finally ready to give love a second chance. It’s a shame the one woman in Romance who captures his interest is a prickly, wasp-tongued she-devil. She used to be one of his closest friends until he asked her out. Her vocal, vehement refusal made her thoughts on dating him crystal clear. Despite her animosity, Jess can’t help but be attracted to her fire and spirit.

Widowed more than ten years, Doris Grundy tries to convince herself she’s content with her life. Her recently married grandson and his wife bring her joy. The ranch she’s lived on since she was a young bride gives her purpose. She’s an active member of their close-knit community. But the old coot who lives down the road continually invades her thoughts, keeping her from having any peace. Doris will be the last to admit she longs for the love and affection of her handsome neighbor.

When the two of them are unexpectedly thrown together, will they find a little holiday spirit and allow the love of the season to ring in their hearts?

AMAZON

 

THE CHRISTMAS BARGAIN

One Old West Cinderella discovers

Prince Charming is a. . . Cowboy?

The death of her mother left Philamena Booth grieving and at the mercy of her drunken father. After spending more than a decade held captive on their run-down farm, she’s left speechless when her father strikes a bargain to settle a long overdue debt. In lieu of payment, a handsome cowboy agrees to take Philamena. Mortified yet relieved to leave the farm, she finds herself married to the charismatic, caring man.

Luke Granger might own Hardman’s bank and the fanciest house in the Eastern Oregon town, but he’d much rather be outside riding his horses or wrangling his herd of cattle than keeping his account books straight. In a strange, unsettling turn of events, he finds himself accepting a farmer’s daughter instead of money to cover a loan. If the man hadn’t threatened to sell her to the saloon owner, Luke might have refused. He has no idea what to do with the beautiful Filly or their marriage of convenience, but he’s about to get far more than he bargained for.

AMAZON

That’s right. I’m joining the fun and giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

***Scroll down to the form below. Click the BOOKBUB link to my author page and FOLLOW ME, then note on the form that you followed. If you want to mention it here, too, feel free!***

Good Luck!

Jeannie Watt

 

Murphy Anderson is coming home for Christmas…

And as soon as she arrives, she’s putting the family ranch on the market. Her plan is to get in, get out, and head back to the city, where she belongs. Growing up on the hardscrabble property next door to the prosperous Marvell Ranch, and being constantly reminded of everything she didn’t have, left her with no love for ranching, or her handsome neighbors—especially Cody Marvell, who always rubbed her the wrong way. And maybe that’s why, when Cody shows an interest in the ranch, she hesitates to sell.

Cody Marvell has a way with people…unless that person is Murphy Anderson. Cody never understood what she was dealing with when they were younger. Murphy had a hard time while growing up, with no mom and a cold-hearted father. He made some mistakes, which he now regrets. He wants her ranch, and more than that, he wants her. 

When a Christmas flood makes Murphy’s home uninhabitable, he invites her to stay at the Marvell Ranch. With the help of country Christmas magic, Cody hopes she’ll start to see him with new eyes. 

AMAZON

Also consider the first book of the Men of the Marvell Ranch series — The Cowboy’s Last Rodeo

I‘m also giving away a $10 Amazon gift card!

***Scroll down to the form below. Click the BOOKBUB link to my author page and FOLLOW ME, then note on the form that you followed. If you want to mention it here, too, feel free!***

Good Luck!

Winners will be verified and announced on Sunday, December 2nd.

Be sure to check back to see if you won!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interesting Language and a Christmas Movie

Language is such an interesting subject and I’m always intrigued by the older terms and words. Our forefathers sure had a more colorful way of speaking. In fact, the vivid words drew pictures a lot better than today’s jargon. Since I write historicals I love finding one or two to throw in. Too many can make for difficult reading though. See how many you know. Some may be familiar.

 

Tub-thump – a forceful or violent way of speaking such as a politician

Carking – causing distress or worry such as: the carking of the homeless

Purse-proud – a showy or arrogant manner

Thunderstone – flint arrowheads or axes turned up by a plow and thought to have fallen from the sky

Slang-whanger – a political rant or a noisy talker (I know a lot of these!)

Sixes and Sevens – a condition of confusion or disarray

Mercurial – sudden or unpredictable changes of mood or mind

Omnishambles – a situation full of a string of blunders or miscalculations

Blue Skins – Presbyterians

Black leg – a gambler

Stanchion – a strong or durable support or barrier

Snipper-Snapper – an insignificant but pretentious person; a trifler

Booklore – book learning

Cactus-bloomers – longhorn cattle

Corpse and Cartridge Occasion – gun battle

Not born in the woods to be scared by an owl – not easily frightened

Do you have any to add to these? I’m giving away a 2019 calendar to two people.

* * *

Now that we’ve had some fun, I want to tell you about a Christmas movie that John Wayne starred in. How many have seen or heard of “The 3 Godfathers?” It came out in 1948 and was about three bank robbers running from a marshal when they stumble across a woman alone in a covered wagon giving birth. Before she dies, she makes them promise to take care of her baby and get him to the town of New Jerusalem. It’s a story of redemption. I watched it when I was young and remember some funny scenes as they try to take care of this infant. So if you’re wanting a different Christmas movie, you might try to find it. The trailer is on YouTube and the movie is on Amazon.

 

The Outlaws Are Coming and Cover Reveal!

A town of nothing but outlaws…Women needing protection, love, and hope

…People living in the shadows in desperate need of saving.

I’m launching a brand new series January 29, 2019 called Outlaw Mail Order Brides and here is the gorgeous cover for the first book!!

By the way, it’s available for preorder. Not that I’m begging or anything.

The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride is about Clay Colby and Tally Shannon. These are both characters from my Men of Legend series. Clay was Houston Legend’s right-hand man in The Heart of a Texas Cowboy and I’m thrilled to give him his own story. In fact, I’m beyond excited for my Legend series to bleed over into this one. Readers weren’t done with my Legend men and neither was I, so they’ll appear some in these. Luke probably will more than any because he and his wife Josie have formed a private mail order bride service to match men and women living outside the law for whatever reason.

I received a lot of mail asking if I’ll free the women in hiding. Yes, in this book.

You first met Tally Shannon and her band of women living in Deliverance Canyon in To Love a Texas Ranger (the first Men of Legend.) They’re in hiding after escaping the Creedmore Lunatic Asylum—only none are crazy. They were put in there by family members wanting to get rid of them. In fact, there’s quite a lucrative racket going in that horrible place.

Tally knows they can’t live in hiding forever and it’s time to walk in the sunshine. She volunteers to go first and try marriage. The outlaws can protect her but she’s struggling with trust issues. She doesn’t trust anyone—not even Clay. And this causes big problems between them. Still, she sees Clay’s huge heart and begins to lose her fear.

Tally begins to feel safe in Devil’s Crossing and loves working by Clay’s side in making it a town. He needs this as much as she. But there are lots of potholes in the road.

Can they smooth them out and stay alive long enough to make this marriage work? It’s anyone’s guess.

This cover perfectly depicts their rustic life. The big fire is in the center of the town where all the people gather and a lot of nights one of the men gets out his fiddle and they dance. I modeled Clay after the real life gunfighter and outlaw, Clay Allison, who loved to dance more than–well, shoot bad guys. So….do outlaws really dance? You bet’cha.

The book is available for preorder: AMAZON  B&N  |  iBOOKS

Book #2 – Saving the Mail Order Bride – follows a few months later on April 30, 2019.

 

 

Question: how do you like the cover? Is there anything that draws you? I just love the splash of red. If you don’t want to talk about the cover…how do you like fall so far?

* * * * * *

Let’s Go to the Movies with Wyatt Earp

Few things have made such a huge impact on our lives than the movie industry. I don’t know about you but I love sitting in a dark theater and watching magic unfold on the screen. I’m drawn into the story and love watching how the actors chose to portray each scene. Some are excellent and I lose myself to the magic to the point where I’m up there in the story with them. It’s a beautiful thing and deeply personal.

Roundhay Garden Scene was the first recorded short silent film in 1888 by a Frenchman named Louis Le Prince. It’s definitely the oldest surviving one. Amazing!

Thomas Edison started capturing motion on film around that same time. Everything was very short, approx. a minute or two.

The first film with a sustained plot was a 12 minute one titled The Great Train Robbery. Suddenly America had a new form of entertainment. They called those early films flickers and I’ll bet you can guess why.

They were all silent as no one had figured out yet how to record sound. The theaters hired men and women to play the piano while the movie showed. Slow songs, fast songs, medium songs designed for the biggest impact.

They built huge movie palaces with ornate lobbies, crystal chandeliers, and luxurious carpet. Instead of hiring one pianist, they had orchestras and they hooked the American public.

I recently watched an eight part documentary that Robert Redford made called The American West and it was so interesting. I found it on Amazon Prime. Redford started at the end of the Civil War and showed each step in the progression of the settlement of the west. President Grant actually opened up the west and offered cheap land as a last ditch effort to keep another Civil War from starting and hold the country together.

I didn’t know that.

At the end of the documentary, was a clip of Wyatt Earp on a film set in Hollywood. He was 80 years old and a young John Wayne (21) was working as a prop boy. John Wayne was enamored by the man he idolized and hanging out with Earp forever changed John Wayne. He imitated Earp’s manner of walking and talking and he adopted the Code of the West that Earp lived by.

Wyatt Earp must’ve been drawn to movie making. I’d love to have known what he thought. He was often found on movie sets and that’s where John Ford, the director met him. Ford got Earp to draw on paper exactly how the gunfight at the OK corral happened and he used the sketch to film the gunfight scene in My Darling Clementine.

Wyatt died in 1929 in Los Angeles and cowboy actors Tom Mix and William S. Hart were pallbearers.

Can you imagine a world without cinema? I can’t. I’m sure glad they invented sound though.

Tell me—do you like to go to the movies? If so, what is it that draws you? Maybe it’s the popcorn. Or what is one of your favorite movies?  I’m giving away a copy of either To Catch a Texas Star or Gunsmoke and Lace to two people who comment. In addition to title, winner chooses either print or ebook. I’ll draw the winners on Sunday.

                                                         

It’s All in a Name

 

Some ranches have the strangest names but probably all mean something personal to the owner. The ones I put in my stories all reflect the owner’s state of mind or what they value. Some that I see when I drive down the road leave me scratching my head though. Like the Dime Box and Hoof Prints ranches.

In the anthology Give Me a Texas Cowboy, Jack’s Bluff was the name of the ranch in mine and Phyliss Miranda’s stories. Jack, one of Tempest LeDoux’s many husbands, won the ranch after buffing in a card game. I thought it was perfect.

Here are others I’ve used:

Sullivan – A Texas Christmas

Long Odds – Texas Mail Order Bride

Last Hope – Twice a Texas Bride

Wild Horse – Forever His Texas Bride

Lone Star – Men of Legend series

Aces ’n Eights – Knight on the Texas Plains and To Catch a Texas Star

Each one tells a lot about the owner. Duel McClain in Knight on the Texas Plains and To Catch a Texas Star named his ranch for the poker hand he won Marley Rose with and he doesn’t ever want to forget the miracle of how she changed his life.

To Catch a Texas Star is a story of hope, forgiveness, self-discovery, and vanquishing evil. Marley Rose is on her way into town when she finds a man bleeding and unconscious by the side of the road. Roan Penny has seen the worst of humanity, but Marley and the McClain family restores his faith. As he recovers he falls in love with the dark beauty he calls his Texas Star and longs to make a life with her. But evil from the past finds them. Will it destroy the happiness Roan and Marley have found?

The book released on July 3 and is available everywhere in bookstores and online.

Here are a few of the old Texas ranches still in operation not far from me:

Sanford Ranch

Tongue River Ranch

Pitchfork

Four Sixes

Waggoner Ranch

Matador Land and Cattle

Yellow House Ranch

Spade Ranch

How about you? Can you name a ranch either in books/TV shows/movies, or that you’ve seen or heard about? I’m giving away one copy (winner’s choice of format.) Comment to enter the drawing to be held on Saturday, August 4. Giveaway Guidelines.

Cowboy Fever, Orphans, and a Giveaway!

 

 

Oh man! Do I have cowboy fever and it’s not just this week! Mine is a permanent condition. I love reading about them, writing their stories, and contemplating how it used to be before barbed wire and paved roads.

I’m sure some things are the same and cowboys still have the same kind of heart and love for the land and his way of life.

Next week, I’ll release TO CATCH A TEXAS STAR (Book #3 Texas Heroes.) In this story, Marley Rose McClain (the baby in Knight on the Texas Plains) is all grown up and looking to make her own way in the world. But she’s shattered to learn the secret Duel has kept from her all these years and to discover he and Jessie aren’t her parents. Who is she really?

A cowboy drifter named Roan Penny comes to see her as his Texas star and helps her sort it all out and find herself again. In the process they fall in love and plan for the future. But, will they live to see it?

I loved figuring out who Marley is and what she wanted. She loves writing stories for the many children her parents have taken in but sees no hope of getting them published. Roan has faith enough for both of them though.

This is the first time I’ve written about a character who writes and it was fun.

People ask why I write orphans into almost every story and here’s why.

The 1800s was overrun with orphans. New York City alone had 30,000 in 1850. Immigrants arrived and a good many died of disease and starvation, leaving their children with no place to go. The orphanages bulged at the seams and there were still so many living on the streets.

In an effort to curb the situation, they began shipping children out on orphan trains and offering them to any one willing to give them a home. From 1854 to 1929, a quarter of a million orphans rode on those trains. Yet, with no oversight, a good many faced horrible abuse.

Things weren’t much better in out west. People were dying in cholera epidemics, yellow fever, small pox, etc. Then you add in the numbers of the women dying in childbirth and it’s staggering. Then came the Civil War and left even more children without parents. On the American frontier, there were Indian uprisings in addition to everything else. It was a horrible time of upheaval and children bore the brunt.

Children are very dear to my heart. They represent the future and we should protect and nurture them. They are so vulnerable and helpless and I think we have a duty to be their voice.

What is your passion, what do you feel strongly about? Animals, children, equality, justice?  

To celebrate the release of TO CATCH A TEXAS STAR I’m giving away three copies of the book. Just leave a comment to enter the drawing that will take place on Saturday.

I hope you like it. I’m hard at work on a new series called Outlaw Mail Order Brides and launching Book #1 in January with Book #2 following soon after.

Gunsmoke and Lace and a Giveaway!

Today is going to be a very busy day for me. I’m going to West Texas A&M University to film a segment for PBS. It’s for a show called 24 Frames. It’s exciting but very scary. I hope I don’t mess up too bad. The segment will air in September. I’ll have more on that later. I may not get to all the comments right away.

But today I want to tell you about my short story collection that I’ve self-published. Gunsmoke and Lace is my first attempt to put something out myself and I found nothing about the process easy. I was supposed to have the ebook and print releasing simultaneously but it didn’t work that way. After two weeks, only the ebook is up. The print should be along soon I’m told.

I have four stories in this collection: The Telegraph Tree, Moon Dog Night, The Gunslinger, and Hard Luck.

The inspiration for The Telegraph Tree came after I attended a lecture about women who came West and the challenges at West Texas A&M University. The speaker quoted statistics about the number of women who committed suicide, unable to handle the constant hardships and loneliness. The women spent most of their time alone in the empty, vast space with their children (if they had any) and not having anyone to talk to broke their spirits until there was nothing left.

Listening to that reminded me of a Sam Elliott movie called Conagher that he made with his wife Katherine Ross. To combat her loneliness, she wrote poems and tied them to tumbleweeds. Maybe you remember it.

That’s where The Telegraph Tree was born and when I finished, I entered it in several writing contests. It placed 3rd in Women Writing the West and also in Wyoming Writers, Inc.

I wrote The Gunslinger (formerly The Widow’s Heart) for an anthology for Cheryl Pierson at Prairie Rose and was real proud how it turned out. I made a few changes to it though.

Moon Dog Night is about two children who ride into a bounty hunter’s camp on a cold winter night. They’re trailing the man who took their mama and they’re determined to get her back. Of course, Bonner Raine can’t let them go alone. But will they arrive in time to save her?

Hard Luck has a lot of humor as two cowboys try to rob a bank. Absolutely nothing goes right and I’ve saved a surprise at the last.

All these stories sprang from a deep well inside me and I think it’s time to share them.

The fabulous Charlene Raddon designed this gorgeous cover and I love everything about it. She’s so creative. The fantastic Jerri Lynn Hill did the editing and she’s an amazing woman. Jeri Walker formatted it. I couldn’t have succeeded without these ladies.

Gunsmoke and Lace is available everywhere online. But here are a few links:

AMAZON  |  B&N  |  iBooks  |  KOBO

 

My question for you is if you lived back in the 1800s in a desolate place, what would you have done to keep your sanity? Or would you have given in to despair?

I’m giving away a copy of Gunsmoke and Lace to three people who comment. If you’re willing to wait a few days for print, I’ll offer both formats.

Later this month, I’ll have a giveaway for my upcoming To Catch a Texas Star (July 3rd release.)

So don’t go anywhere. There’s more to come!

Poverty Parties

In the late 1800s at the tail end of the Gilded Age, the wealthy began having what they called “Poverty Parties.” They mostly provided entertainment for the snooty rich where they could poke fun of the poor and call it “all in good fun.” Believe me, the poor were having no fun.

One such party was at the home of D.W. Tripp in Athens, Pennsylvannia. Guests were instructed to wear flour sack clothes, no jewelry, and speak in dialect.

Here’s a portion of the invitation and it’s very difficult to read:

“Every womin what kums must ware a Poverty dress and apern, er something ekelly erpropriate, an leave her poodle dorg to hum.”

Fines were assessed for dressing too fine, having cigars in a man’s pocket, slicking his hair down, walking with a cane, etc. The party was a fundraiser and the money went toward building a new church.

The food consisted of corn meal mush served with an abundance of cream and sugar, brown and white bread sandwiches, apple and pumpkin pie, donuts and cookies. The table was bare. No tablecloth or napkins and the guests ate from tin plates and drank coffee from tin cups.

These parties established even a greater divide between the classes. These parties came at a time of great inequality. Immigrants were suffering and dying as well as black Americans. I’m sure they had a different view of these parties.

One snooty woman wrote an article in the 1905 copy of Bright Ideas for Entertaining that stressed that the tinware was always “borrowed” for the party. She wanted to make sure no one thought the rich would actually “own” any.

Yet, later on into the 1920s, one woman wrote that Poverty Parties should be used to shine a light on the less fortunate instead of making fun of them and that the guests should perform some real service to help the poor.

Southern fraternities and sororities carried over this form of entertainment well into the 1950s. Then they added unemployment parties where they stood in a bread line to get coffee and donuts.

I had never heard of these until I ran across an article a month or so back. My parents suffered through severe poverty and didn’t think it was much of a party.

What are your thoughts? Have you heard of these? What do you think about the subject?

Oh, and I plan to release a collection of short stories next month. My first attempt at self-publishing. It’ll be in both print and ebook. This isn’t up for sale yet. Soon, my little darlings.

Petticoats & Pistols © 2015