Tag: Linda Broday

The Old Farmers Almanac

You probably don’t realize it but the Old Farmer’s Almanac goes on sale every year on the 2nd Tuesday of September and farmers everywhere raced to get a copy. This is the oldest continuously published periodical in the U. S. It was first published in 1792 during George rWashington’s first term as president. The editor was Robert B. Thomas. It sold for six pence or nine cents a copy.

It originally carried the name of Farmer’s Almanac but the word “Old” was added to the title in 1848 after several other farmers almanacs came out by different companies. They didn’t want anyone to get confused.

Farmers and city dwellers alike have depended on the Old Farmer’s Almanac to know when to plant and what the weather for the next year will be like.

People living on the American Frontier used it as their Bible.  It was indispensable. But how did this little book get things right for so long?

A man named Robert Thomas, founder and editor of those first editions, came up with a complex formula using his observations of natural weather cycles to predict the forecast. He was fascinated by science and at age 16 read Ferguson’s Astronomy. He had amazing predictions and was said to be uncannily accurate 80 percent of the time. (Even today, his formula is kept locked away at the Almanac offices in Dublin, New Hampshire.)

Only thirteen editors have headed this book since its existence, the latest of which is a woman who took the helm in 2000. Her name is Janice Stillman.

But the Almanac does much more than predict the weather. It has advice on gardening, cooking, and fishing in addition to lunar cycles, and horoscopes. Sometimes there is a blend of trivia and human interest stories and even recipes. You can find most anything in one of these books from anecdotes to fashion predictions for the coming year.

In 1942, the almanac came close to halting publication when a German spy came ashore on Long Island, New York and was apprehended by the FBI. They found a copy of the 1942 Old Farmer’s Almanac in his pocket. It appeared the Germans were using the Almanac as a source of weather forecasts because it was so accurate. Indirectly the book was supplying information to the enemy. The editor at the time quickly changed the format to only show weather indications, not forecasts, until the war ended.

Last September, they predicted that Texas and Oklahoma would have the driest winter on record and, Lord knows, that certainly came true. Here in the Texas Panhandle, we went 192 days without getting any moisture. It was broken about two weeks ago with .22. We’re having bad fires and dangerous winds. I certainly hope it starts raining soon.

Today the Old Farmer’s Almanac sells for $6.99 in paper print and $5.90 for the Kindle edition. There are folks who swear by the information inside each copy.

Wherever you are, I hope you’re getting the weather you want. Sometimes I think it’s gone haywire.

Have you ever used the weather forecasts to tell you when to plant or fish? Or maybe you like the horoscope readings.

Deadwood’s Mount Moriah

This may seem morbid to some but I’ve always loved cemeteries. I love walking through them, reading the tombstones, imagining the person’s story. Did they achieve their hopes and dreams? Did they know love? Were they loved in return? How did they die? So many questions go through my mind. One of the most interesting trips my husband and I went on before he passed was to Deadwood. So much history there. Deadwood is where Wild Bill Hickok met his end in the Nuttal and Mann’s Saloon, shot by Jack McCall. Hickok, as well as Calamity Jane and a whole lot of others, is buried in the Mount Moriah cemetery.

Records show that in Deadwood’s first three years as a town there were 97 murders and suicides.

Here are few of Mount Moriah’s residents:

POTATO CREEK JOHNNY was a Welch immigrant at seventeen years old and looking for gold and excitement. Johnny (real name John Perrett) stood just 4’ 3” tall and as he grew older, he let his hair and whiskers grow long. Folks said he resembled one of Snow White’s dwarfs. Then one memorable day in May 1929, in working his mine, he discovered one of the largest gold nuggets anyone in South Dakota had ever seen. It weighed 73/4 troy ounces and valued at $45,000 at today’s currency rate. The find thrust him into celebrity status and he became a regular in all the parades. Folks from all around visited the cabin he built by himself in the woods. In 1943 at 77 years old, he took sick and died. He’s buried next to Wild Bill and Calamity Jane.

 

PREACHER SMITH was the first missionary in Black Hills and he was undoubtedly one of the most famous good guys. His real name was Henry Weston Smith and he walked into Deadwood with a wagon train in May 1876. He began preaching on the jam-packed street to the cutthroats, gamblers, prostitutes, and anyone who would listen. Tough, grizzled miners wearing guns would sit on the wooden planks or stand and listen to him. They always passed the hat at the end. August 20, 1876, he preached his last sermon and headed to a nearby town. He never made it. They found him three miles from Deadwood, shot through the heart. The killer was never found. All of Deadwood’s businesses shut down for the burial on Mount Moriah.

 

CHAMBERS DAVIS came to Deadwood in 1877 from the Denver Mint. He was an expert at ore testing an opened an assayer office on Main Street. He had a credit of $100,000 with which he was able to buy ore for California companies from eager prospectors. He was young and had a beautiful young wife, Adrienne. They were a popular young couple and were mentioned frequently in the social columns of the newspaper. In June 1878, she died very suddenly at the age of 33 of unknown causes. Then a year later in April, Chambers also died very suddenly and was buried next to his wife.

 

KITTY LEROY was Deadwood’s most famous soiled dove. The magnetic beauty was also a bigamist, married to five men all at the same time. Kitty was always armed to the teeth with two pistols, a couple of Bowie knives, and a dagger she tucked into her long brown curls. She wore huge diamonds in her ears and knew how to show a man a good time. In fact, men fought and killed over her. She was a professional dancer in the saloons and was often found at the card tables where she cheated men out of their hard-earned gold. Sam Curley, her fifth husband, was a faro dealer and very jealous. On Dec. 7, 1877, he caught Kitty in bed with another man and shot her, then shot himself. She was only 28 years old. Their funerals were held in the Lone Star saloon and they buried in a double grave. A month after the tragedy, ghostly apparitions were seen and continued until the saloon was demolished.

 

These are just a few of the interesting stories that are buried in Mt. Moriah cemetery. I’ll end this with a poem someone wrote upon the death of Marie Gaston, Deadwood’s first librarian.

How vainly we struggled to save her,

Around her how deeply we mourned,

When back to her Maker who gave it

Her beautiful spirit returned.

 

I just love visiting old cemeteries. In a plot next to my parents in the small country cemetery where they’re buried is a family who all died in the 1800s. The wife’s name was Texanna and I used her name as my heroine in a story I wrote for Give Me a Texas Ranger. I’m always finding something of interest. Do cemeteries interest you? Maybe you have one you’d like to share.

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Come With Me To Santa Anna!

Settings are very important to me in my stories and when I can, I go to visit the land. I stand, close my eyes and listen to what the wind tells me. Often I hear voices long past whispering in the breeze and I know this is what I’m supposed to write.

In the back of The Cowboy Who Came Calling, I explain that everything I put in the story is historical fact. I think readers want to know that.

This story is set in the small town of Santa Anna, Texas in the central part of the state. Both the town and the nearby mountain were named for the Comanche war chief, Santanna. He was an important chief and the first of his tribe to visit Washington, D.C. There, he saw what his people were up against and began advocating for peace. He was struck down and died in a cholera epidemic in 1849.

Here are the Santa Anna Mountains in the distance. Not very high at all. Most probably wouldn’t even call them a mountain range.

This monument was erected by the state to mark the site of Camp Colorado. It was part of a line of forts built in the 1800s to protect settlers against the Indians. There wasn’t anything left when I last visited here. It’s on private land now. Luke McClain joins a gang who use the old fort as a hideout in my story.

The town (only 8 miles from Coleman, TX) was never very large and today the population is a little over a thousand people. Here is a very old building and an old crumbling wall.

 

The picture below shows the thick vegetation and in the distance, the ridge of Santa Anna Mountains above the treeline.

Below is Bead Mountain that I mention in the story is actually a sacred Indian burial ground. When it rains, colorful beads wash down the sides. It’s actually reputed to be haunted.

Okay, that’s a quick look at my setting. I apologize for the poor quality pictures.

Here’s your question: How often do you look on the map for the place a story is set when you’re reading? Do you feel cheated just a bit when you find it’s a made-up place? I’m giving away four copies (winner’s choice of print or ebook) of The Cowboy Who Came Calling. Comment to enter the drawing.

A Cowboy Will Soon Come to Call!

Sometimes events in my life inspire a story. That was certainly true with Knight on the Texas Plains and my little playmate who’d been won in a poker game. And now again with THE COWBOY WHO CAME CALLING (Book #2 Texas Heroes series.)

When I wrote this story in 2002, I was locked in a battle to keep my eyesight. I’d been diagnosed with MS and the disease was determined to steal my vision no matter what doctors did. Each day found a drop in the things I could see. Then, I woke one morning unable to see anything but shapes and shadows. My neurologist put me in the hospital, gave me bags of steroids, and was able to bring much of it back. Although I still struggle with eyesight, I can do almost everything I want today.

In The Cowboy Who Came Calling, Glory Day is slowly going blind and this terrifies her. She’s the sole support of her younger sisters and her mother. If she doesn’t hunt, they don’t eat. To make matters worse, the bank is trying to take their farm.

On the trail of a wanted outlaw, Glory shoots former Texas Ranger Luke McClain then has to take him home with her and fix him up. She desperately needs the reward money to pay the bank and try to get her father out of prison before she loses all her vision. Luke desperately needs the outlaw as well in order to clear his name and get his job with the Texas Rangers back. But the outlaw Mad Dog Perkins slips away.

As Luke recuperates in the Day household, he sees all the things in bad need of repair and begins to make himself useful as soon as he’s able. Glory sees his help as pity and it gets under her skin so she starts calling him Mr. Fixer. But her deep irritation comes from attraction to him. He won’t want a blind wife.

The Cowboy Who Came Calling is in the vein of Little Women and Glory reminds me so much of Jo March. She’s embodied with such courage and strength. The book is a reissue and releases Feb. 6.

I have a Goodreads Giveaway going until release day. Here’s the link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35023957-the-cowboy-who-came-calling

(You have to have a Goodreads account or the giveaway won’t show.)

More News!!

The e-book version of Knight on the Texas Plains (Book #1 of this Texas Heroes series) is on sale for $1.99 until Monday, January 22nd on all outlets. Click HERE for the Amazon link.

Book #3 Texas Heroes — To Catch a Texas Star — releases July 2018.

My question:

Can you tell by maybe added depth when a story is inspired by an event in a writer’s life? Do you enjoy stories a little better when you know they came from an author’s life?

Two people who comment will win a copy of my handy-dandy 2018 calendar.

 

Ten New Year Thoughts

What a difference a year…or four days…make. Decorations are put away and the good times stored in my memory. It’s time to look forward to the future and I do think this will be an easier year.

In 2018, I’ll reissue The Cowboy Who Came Calling in February (Book #2 of Texas Heroes) and TO CATCH A TEXAS STAR in July (Book #3.) Those will wind up the series in a fine fashion before I start releasing Outlaws Mail Order Brides in January 2019.

But whoa there! I’m getting ahead of myself. 2017 has a few a more days left.

I’m supposed to write about resolutions except I don’t make New Year resolutions. Never have. So here’s a compromise—I’m just going to call these Ten New Year’s thoughts.

  • I want to write more books that not only entertain but leave you with something to ponder.
  • I want to make this a fun year as much as I’m able.
  • I plan to dance in the rain and celebrate a milestone birthday. Never mind which one.
  • I plan to self-publish a short book or two on my own.
  • I want to give with my whole heart in everything I do. Life’s too short to hold back.
  • I want to do my part to help this earth by recycling, keeping my corner clean, and stamping out litter.
  • I want to do what I can to help the homeless people and pets.
  • I want to be a better, kinder, more sympathetic person.
  • I want to listen with my heart instead of my ears.
  • I want to make my family proud every day.

There you have it. Ten thoughts for 2018—God willing and the creek don’t rise. I’m sure you have your own set of thoughts. I wish you peace, love, and harmony now and forever.

I’m giving away a Linda Broday 2018 small wall calendar. To enter the drawing, tell me about your weather or what Santa brought you or what book you’re reading. I’ll draw late Saturday.

 

 

A Little Christmas Cheer

Oh my goodness! I feel like I’ve been stuck on some amusement park ride all year. You know. The one that yanks you high in the air then drops you like a sack of potatoes and sometimes does some wild loops on the way down. But I did it. I released five books and I’m pretty proud of that. Still, I’m saying lots of prayers for an easier 2018. Not complaining. Just old and worn out.

So, Christmas is almost upon us with just a few more days left. I don’t do a lot of decorating. My tree is in the attic and that’s where it’ll stay. (I’m referencing the old and worn out part here.)

For the last 30 years no matter what, I’ve always put my Christmas angel out. She’s getting a bit frazzled (like me) but still looking beautiful.

I also decorate my dining table. This year, it’s candles and poinsettia. I lit the candles the other night when I ate and took a picture. It brightened up my spirits and put a warm glow in my heart.

I thought my French doors leading to my patio needed some cheer too. No one will see it but me but I kinda like it. It looks nice. By the way, that wreath is old too.

To celebrate this season, I’m offering two copies of CHRISTMAS IN A COWBOY’S ARMS. Six heart-warming stories by six very talented writers—including our own Margaret Brownley.

My story, The Christmas Stranger—

Alone, in a blizzard, 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. Spinster Sidalee King is returning from visiting a sick friend and sees a barking dog. The pet leads her to Hank. She digs him from the snow and takes him to her home on the Lone Star Ranch.

Her job in the mercantile represents the sum total of her life but the drifter’s plight touches her. Everyone needs someone to spend Christmas with. Could he be Miss Mamie’s lost son that she speaks of? And what are the ugly rocks Miss Mamie doles out as payment for kindnesses? Mystery and love abound this Christmas season as two lonely people receive an unexpected gift.

To enter the drawing for one of two copies of this anthology, tell me if you have a tradition at your house. Or just talk about anything. That’ll work.

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Feliz Navidad! Happy Hanukah!

God be with you all.

There’s a New Outlaw in Texas

I’m so happy, happy to FINALLY share TO MARRY A TEXAS OUTLAW with you! This release will make me twenty published books and short stories. Whew! I can’t believe it.

It seemed this third book of Men of Legend, the story you’ve all waited so patiently for, would never come. (A watched pot never boils.) I think you might find it well worth the wait. At least I’m hoping that’s the case.

At last, Luke Weston has the location for the man who pinned a federal judges’ murder on him. He’s searched for Ned Sweeney for two long years and finally has his location. He only has a one-hour window before Sweeney goes underground again. He’s riding to Dead Horse Creek when he sees a woman bound and gagged underneath a scrawny tree and covered in blood. He’s torn about what to do but his honor won’t let him ride on.

The woman doesn’t know her name, where she belongs, or how she got there. But she’s mad enough to whip someone.

Deliverance Canyon is close by. He decides to take her there to Tally Shannon and the other woman hiding out.

I often think of how scary it would be to wake up and not know who I was or where I lived. You would have no starting point or nothing to relate anything to. I can’t imagine. But Josie somehow keeps her sense of humor and stays optimistic for the most part. She trusts the outlaw Luke Legend and feels safe with him.

As pieces of her life slowly start to emerge, she falls deeper in love with Luke. It’s at that point she begins to pray she never finds out who she is because she senses it will change things between them. Something tells her that her past is riddled with bad people and she’s found contentment with Luke and hates the thought of that ending.

Despite the seriousness of her situation, she is so funny and sweet and I love that. I think you will too. But that doesn’t mean she’ll be a doormat for anyone. She’s quite a fighter.

I think that’s what Luke likes most about her. She takes whatever life throws at her and finds a silver lining.

This story is full of twists and turns and Luke will steal your heart—all over again. Will he clear his name and get to claim the Legend name? So many forces are working against him. And Josie too. You’ll just have to see. All I can say is you’d better hold on tight.

Many secrets are revealed, and love claimed. By the end of the book, Luke and the Legend family will forever remain etched in your memory.

In Texas some legends are born, some are made

…and some are created by destiny.

In this story, the legend is that whoever sleeps beneath the Texas star will find his true worth. Luke does that in this story and gets the affirmation he seeks.

Do you know of any legends? Maybe you’ve read about some in other books. Or maybe a book about amnesia. Leave some kind of comment to be entered in my giveaway for one of three copies of the book.

The Last Golden Girl of the West

The Panhandle was the last area of Texas to be settled and there are a million stories right here. In fact, the railroad takes the credit for taming this last wild part. Along the rails, towns sprang up which pushed out the outlaws and other undesirables thereby bringing law and order.

Amarillo, the largest town in the Panhandle, wasn’t settled until Oct. 1887. Before that, was Tascosa, which is a ghost town now, only 36 miles from here.

Tascosa loosely became a town in 1876. I say that because I don’t think it was ever incorporated. It was a wild and wooly place and occupied mostly by men on the run. Saloons and dancehalls sprang up and gunfights were a regular occurrence. It became known as the Cowboy Capital of the Plains. Temple Houston, son of Sam Houston, served as a district attorney in Tascosa from 1882 to 1884. He was a brilliant attorney by the way.

At the time Frenchy McCormick arrived, there were only three other white women in the whole Panhandle and they had to be as tough as shoe leather. Frenchy would be classified as that. The twenty-four-year-old worked in the saloons dealing Monte at the gaming tables and played cards with many old West legends.

No one really knows her real name. Some say Elizabeth McGraw. She was Irish and well-educated. It’s hard to understand why a well-educated woman chose this life. She could’ve done so many other things, but I suppose her heart led her to Tascosa. A cowboy gave her the name Frenchy because she spoke fluent French and came from Louisiana.

Around 1880, she fell in love with Mickey McCormick, an Irish gambler and livery stable owner. He always claimed as long as she was at his side at the gaming tables he never lost.

They were married in 1881.

When the railroad bypassed Tascosa a few years after, the town began to steadily decline. But Frenchy and Mickey kept living in their small adobe house, their devotion to each other evident by all.

Mickey died suddenly in 1912 at 64 years old, but Frenchy refused to leave Tascosa which had become a ghost town. She occupied their adobe house on Atascosa Creek and visited his grave every day. (The town is now on the property of the Cal Farley’s Boy’s Ranch and they have become diligent caretakers.)

She lived alone in the ghost town for 27 years without electricity or running water, tending Mickey’s grave. She died on January 12, 1941 at the age of 89 and was buried next to Mickey. True to the end. That was true love.

I have plans to go out there to the ghost town and visit their graves soon and I can’t wait. I wonder how many of us would show such devotion.

Do you know of other love stories? Maybe in your family or in books or movies.

In the Christmas Spirit

Time is flying by and it won’t be long before Santa will ride in on his sleigh. This year has been one big blur for me. I’ve released four books since January and have one more left next month—To Marry a Texas Outlaw. But today is the release party for CHRISTMAS IN A COWBOY’S ARMS and I’m so excited to have this out!

I felt really honored to have my story included in a book with Leigh Greenwood, our own Margaret Brownley, Rosanne Bittner, Anna Schmidt, and Amy Sandas. These six stories are guaranteed to warm your heart. Margaret’s especially.

My story – The Christmas Stranger – is about a drifter, Hank Destry, who has no home or family. No reason to celebrate anything. He’s riding through a huge blizzard with his dog and finds the drifts too large to continue. His coat is too thin and no protection. Unable to hold on to the reins, he slides from the saddle into the snow.

Sidalee King is returning from visiting a lonely old woman named Miss Mamie and finds him. She loads him into her wagon and takes him home to the Lone Star Ranch. She works in the mercantile for the Legend family. Cholera took her family years before but she’s determined to give Miss Mamie a good Christmas. If only she can reunite the old dear with her son George. That would be perfect.

This story is about finding that one place to belong, healing old wounds, and giving of yourself without expecting anything in return. Giving is what Christmas is all about and I think you’ll love the journey Hank and Sidalee take in finding the courage to open their hearts to a happily ever after.

Hank’s dog Beau almost stole the story and I guarantee he’ll make you laugh. Such a scamp.

Here’s a short Excerpt:

Hank slowly tugged the long silk ribbon from around her neck, trailing the red fabric down one arm. He leaned closer. “There’s some mistletoe right over your head. I hope I’m not pressing my luck, but do you mind if I kiss you?”

A happy, warm glow swept over her. “I don’t see anyone trying to fight you,” she whispered.

He pulled her up into his arms and drew the ribbon around her, tethering her to him. Sidalee had never felt more alive, more breathless, more…hot.

She tilted her face to him, feeling the wild beat of his heart that matched hers. He gently anchored her against the hard wall of his chest. The moment his lips touched hers, an aching hunger swept through her, turning her knees to pudding.

The yearning for him was so strong she clutched him to keep from falling in a puddle at his feet. One arm curled around his neck just under his hair. The strands brushed her skin like tiny feathers.

That’s when she knew she was falling in love with Hank Destry.

* * * *

What about Christmas do you love most? Is it the smells, the sounds, the food? Leave a comment to be included in the drawing for two copies (your choice of format.)

Hell on Wheels Towns

Nothing is more fascinating than the temporary towns that sprang up as the intercontinental railroad worked its way across the United States. For the most part, they were dirty and contained the dregs of society. But the fascination lies in how much people could tolerate in the way of creature comforts for some pretty good money. The buildings were comprised of nothing but canvas or sod and provided temporary homes for the workers and as the tracks progressed, so did the town. The businesses just pulled up stakes and moved, following the iron ribbon cutting across the prairie.

These places had just about everything—dentistry, hardware supplies, saloons, mercantiles, cafes. And of course, dance halls and prostitutes.

Most of the workers were single and veterans of the Civil War. They needed a job and the railroad needed men. All nationalities worked together.

The town of Benton, Wyoming was one such temporary town. It only existed for three months but it had a population of over 3,000. It had twenty-five saloons. I can’t even imagine this many people.

But many of the merchants were visionaries and saw great opportunity, therefore built sturdy structures. They stayed put when the temporary establishments moved on. They had faith that as long as the tracks remained, the people would come. It was also an exciting time for land developers, but such an atmosphere also planted seeds for the unscrupulous who cheated people out of their hard-earned money. They’d sell them land they didn’t own or they’d sell the same land to several different people which resulted in a nightmare.

Everyone wanted to cash in on the wealth that the railroad created.

A few of the cities that got temporary starts were: Billings, Laramie, Cheyenne, Reno, Tacoma, Fresno, and North Platte, Nebraska. There were hundreds more.

The historical western series Hell on Wheels was set in temporary towns as the Union Pacific laid down tracks in the race to Promontory Point where they drove the golden spike.

Fortunes were made and lost in creating the transcontinental railroad.

The human toll was staggering. Fifteen thousand men worked to build it. 1,500 died. White men earned $35 a month and that included room and board. The rest made $25 plus room and board. Using today’s inflation rate, that $35 amounts to $657.32.  Not much at all for the amount of backbreaking, dangerous work those guys did. The conditions were deplorable.

In which sector do you think the new boom will come from? Oil? Land? Technology? Maybe colonizing Mars or other planets?

Margaret Brownley and I have Christmas in a Cowboy’s Arms releasing on October 3rd. Six stories that will warm your heart and put you in the Christmas spirit. I’ll offer several in giveaways next month so be watching! 

 

 

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