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.
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.
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 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.
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.)
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!
The West is full of old towns left over from the glory days and each one is filled with interesting stories. An hour and half from where I live is a place once called Hidetown. It was originally a camp on Sweetwater Creek set up by buffalo hunters in 1874. By all accounts, it was a rough and wooly place.
The following year, the U.S. government established Fort Cantonment (later called Fort Elliott) two miles away to keep law and order and make sure the Indians stayed on reservations in Indian Territory. I think they had their job cut out for them. Those buffalo hunters were used to doing things their own way.
Three businessmen came down from Dodge City around that time to open a trading post and the population in Hidetown grew to 150. They soon boasted a laundry, a restaurant, a dance hall, and several saloons. The buildings were crude at best. Some no more than tents. Hardened outlaws, bullwhackers, buffalo hunters, and gamblers made up the majority.
Of the population, only fifteen were women. Of those only one was a virtuous woman. That was a recipe for disaster right there.
Bat Masterson arrived in 1875 and worked as a faro dealer in one of the saloons. He became embroiled in a fight over dance hall beauty Mollie Brennan with a sergeant from the fort. Guns erupted and the sergeant was killed—only the bullet passed through him and struck Mollie killing her also. The sergeant’s bullet struck Bat in the pelvis and he walked with a limp for the rest of his life. He returned to Dodge City and took a lawman job.
In 1878, Hidetown became the organized, lawless town of Mobeetie and Pat Garrett visited.
This picture on the right was taken in 1900 and it’s interesting to see the windmill and businesses.
Charles Goodnight said, “Mobeetie was patronized by outlaws, thieves, cut-throats, and buffalo hunters, with a large percent of prostitutes. Taking it all, I think it was the hardest place I ever saw on the frontier except Cheyenne, Wyoming.”
Mobeetie was a Comanche word that meant “buffalo dung.” But the town thrived and throughout the 1880s it was a commercial center for much of the Texas Panhandle.
In 1880 the first courthouse of the panhandle was built by Irish stonemasons and Texas Ranger George Arrington became sheriff. Lawyers arrived as well. One was Sam Houston’s son, Temple. He served a term as district attorney before being elected to the Senate. He proved a very able attorney and one of his courtroom arguments is still being taught in law schools today.
When the army closed Fort Elliott, the town boasted a population of 400. That was the most it would ever be. In 1898, it was struck by a tornado that destroyed most of the buildings and took seven lives. People began to move away and left its notoriety and brief glory to crumble in the dust. Today it’s a ghost town.
I always enjoy a trip up there and each time try to imagine the way it once was, to picture Bat Masterson, Pat Garrett, and George Arrington strolling down the dirt street. When I go, I love to visit Mollie Brennan’s grave and try to imagine what her hopes and dreams were.
I mention Mobeetie in Book #3 Men of Legend—To Marry a Texas Outlaw. So I’ll be saying more about this later on when that book releases.
There’s something really sad about ghost towns though, reclaimed by the earth as though they were never there. Have you ever visited one? Or is there one you’d like to visit that you haven’t?
Hi! Linda Broday and Winnie Griggs here. We’re very happy to kick off this 10 year Anniversary celebration for Petticoats and Pistols! It’s so exciting to reach this milestone.
Cowboys on the American Frontier loved to sing, no two ways about it. They sang to the cows, to the moon, to their fair ladies. Cowboys today still sing–probably more than they ever did. And others love to sing ABOUT cowboys. So, in honor of our tenth anniversary, we thought we’d share with you some of our favorites, both old and new.
So we put our heads together and came up with the list below. And if you have a yearning to listen to any of them, turn up your volume and click on the name.
I’m so excited! I have a new book out tomorrow! Actually, this is a re-release of a 2002 book but since it got no exposure back then, this is like brand new. It’s the first in a series called Texas Heroes and is about a cowboy with nothing to live for who wins a baby in a poker game. I’ll tell you more about it further down.
Some ranches have the strangest names but they must mean something to the owner. The ones I put in my stories all do. But some that I see when I drive down the road leave me scratching my head.
In the anthology Give Me a Texas Cowboy, Jack’s Bluff was the name of the ranch in my and Phyliss’s stories. Jack, one of Tempest LeDoux’s many husbands, won the ranch after buffing in a card game. We thought it was perfect name for her ranch.
Here are a few of the others I’ve used:
Long Odds – Texas Mail Order Bride
Last Hope – Twice a Texas Bride
Wild Horse – Forever His Texas Bride
Lone Star – Men of Legend series
Each one told a lot about the owner. Duel McClain in Knight on the Texas Plains names his ranch Aces ’n Eights later on in Book #3 of this Texas Heroes series.
The name means so much to him. It’s the hand he wins baby Marley Rose with and he doesn’t ever want to forget how she comes into his life. That baby girl gives him the will to live again.
Aces ’n Eights is also called the Deadman’s Hand and is comprised of a pair of black aces, black eights and a hole card. It was called the Deadman’s hand because those were the cards Wild Bill Hickok was holding when he was shot and killed. His hole card was the Queen of Hearts.
Here’s the back blurb for this book:
Duel McClain has lost everything he’s ever loved: his wife, his son, his sense of self. But when a strange twist of fate—and a poker game he’ll never forget—leaves an innocent little girl in his care, Duel vows to defend his new family to his very last breath. If only he knew a single thing about taking care of babies…
Just as Duel swears his life can’t get any more complicated, a beautiful woman stumbles into the light of his campfire, desperate for help. Jessie Foltry is hungry, tired, and running for her life. She agrees to help Duel care for the child in exchange for his protection, even as she fights to guard her broken heart. But Duel will do whatever it takes to make Jessie see that the Texas plains have more than one kind of knight, and perhaps their salvation is closer than either of them could have dreamed…
There are some places that draw me over and over again. The St. James Hotel in Cimarron, New Mexico is one. Each time I pass through there, I have to stop. So much history happened there. I never fail to feel as though I brush shoulders with the many outlaws, ranchers and historic figures that once walked through those doors. Gunfights were a regular occurrence. But then, Cimarron was a rough place with no law.
The St. James Hotel was established in 1872 and continues to operate today. How I wish those adobe walls could talk. It seems as though I walk back in time. Henri Lambert, who was once a chef for President Abraham Lincoln, and his wife built the establishment–and trouble soon began.
Cimarron is Spanish for wild or unruly, and man, did the town live up to its name! The fastest guns quickly settled disputes and to say the undertaker was kept very busy is no exaggeration. The newspaper in nearby Las Vegas, New Mexico wrote in 1874 that things were awfully quiet in Cimarron because no one had been killed in three days. That must’ve been truly remarkable. At least 26 people lost their lives in the hotel and its saloon. After that they stopped counting. When the ceiling of the saloon was replaced in 1901, they discovered over 400 bullet holes. Yet, despite the gunplay, the business thrived.
Many well-known and influential people visited the St. James Hotel. The Earp Brothers stopped for several days on their way to Tombstone, Arizona. The Territorial Governor of New Mexico, Lew Wallace, wrote part of his novel BEN HUR there during visits to the area. This was where Buffalo Bill Cody laid down plans for his Wild West Show. Author Zane Grey began writing his novel, Fighting Caravans, while staying in Room 22.
The outlaws who sought lodging were too numerous to list but among them was Jesse James who always stayed in Room 14, Black Jack Ketchum, Clay Allison, Bob Ford, Pat Garrett, Doc Holliday, and Billy the Kid.
I found it interesting that David “Davy” Crockett, nephew of the famous Davy, was a regular at the hotel. He struck up a friendship with Clay Allison, then was killed one night by an unknown assailant and today lies buried in the Cimarron Cemetery.
I put Clay Allison in The Heart of a Texas Cowboy as Houston Legend’s head drover on that cattle drive and used his actual name. But my editor fell in love with him and wanted me to give Clay his own story, so I had to change his last name to Colby. I’m currently writing this story now and it’s due in two weeks. I love how the story came together and I think readers will love it too.
The real Clay Allison was responsible for killing 7 men in the St. James Hotel from 1872 to 1875. He loved to dance and did every chance he got and I incorporate that into my fictional Clay. Allison’s most quoted saying was this, “I never killed anyone who didn’t need it.” And from all the accounts he didn’t. He never bothered anyone who was doing right. He was well-liked and had a lot of friends. In 1881 he married America Medora McCulloch and they had two daughters. He bought a ranch outside of Pecos, Texas and had a freak accident in 1887 involving a wagon and was killed. He was 46 years old.
I just love visiting the St. James Hotel and do every chance I get. History presses around me and if I close my eyes, I can smell gunpowder in the air.
What do you like best about visiting historical places? Have any left a lasting impression?