Tag: Longing for a Cowboy Christmas

Courting Candles

Courting in your ancestors’ days was entirely different from now. Suitors first called on the girl’s father and got his permission and a time was set. There was no pulling up in front of the house and honking the horn. Nope. There were rules to be obeyed.

At the appointed time of the young man’s arrival, the father would get out a courting candle—a metal contraption that consisted of a heavy coil. He’d set a taper in it and adjust it by turning the candle to whatever height he saw fit. It was purely at his discretion. He’d then place it either in the parlor or on the porch.

If he liked the suitor, he might set the candle high so it would burn for a while.

If he didn’t approve of the boy, he’d set the candle low.

But whether high or low, when the candle burned down to the top of the coil, time was up and the father would show the young man to the door. If the suitor argued about it, the dad might show him the toe of his boot! I’m sure many a one left that way.

On rare occasions when the suitor met with joyous approval, the father might let a second candle burn after the first was all the way down.

These courting candles were used by rich and poor families alike and set boundaries that must be adhered to. They provided a quiet yet firm reminder that the girl’s father was boss and his word was final.

I sort of like this old tradition where no words needed to be said. The candle spoke loud and clear.

The most recent courting scene that I wrote was in Catch a Texas Star when Roan Penny courted Marley Rose McClain. Duel didn’t much want them to see each other because Roan was a drifter. Roan didn’t like it a lot when Duel told him he’d have to prove he’d stick around. Which he did.

Longing for a Cowboy Christmas is out and I’m so happy. My story, The Christmas Wedding, is about Rebel and Travis from the outlaw town of Hope’s Crossing. To take her mind off the fact that Travis has been captured by a bounty hunter and she hasn’t seen him in months, she and the other women decide to celebrate the Advent and make the entire town the calendar.

Do you have a courting story to share or maybe one in a scene from a book? I’ll give away a copy of Longing for a Cowboy Christmas and will draw the winner on Saturday.

 

Mary Porter, Queen of the Fort Worth Madams

 

In almost every town in the old West lonely cowboys could find entertainment in a red light district. Fort Worth’s seedy part was bigger and a lot rowdier than most. Due to the notoriety, it became known as Hell’s Half Acre and it comprised Tenth to Fifteenth Streets while Houston, Main, and Rusk (now Commerce) crossed. Boarding houses (wink, wink,) gambling parlors, hotels and saloons lined the avenues and it became a hideout for outlaws and violent criminals. The murder rate was high on a nightly basis. But if a woman had enough guts and could stomach the hard life, she could make a good living.

One woman was Mary Porter. She was born in Ireland in 1844 and came to Fort Worth about 1885 where she operated a high-end brothel. She employed four girls: Kittie Wilson, Etta Daniels, Mabel Thomason, and May Keller.

From 1893 to 1897, Mary was arrested 130 times but never spent a night in jail. Her clients were the wealthy and powerful and they made sure they kept her in business. Her fines usually ran around $100 but she viewed that as the price of doing business.

She operated within the laws—didn’t advertise, kept fighting to a minimum, got regular medical checkups for her girls, and kept a clean house. She was well-respected as someone in that business, and her girls sang her praises. Still, depression, suicide, and murder were things they all faced.

In 1887 following the famous shootout between Jim Courtright and Luke Short, a prostitute named Miss Sally was discovered nailed to an outhouse door. The murderer was never caught.

As the years passed, Madame Mary Porter’s fame and coffers grew. But somewhere before the turn of the century, a committee made up of ladies of the Union Bethel Mission and accompanied by two officers paid her a visit. They demanded that she vacate the premises by Monday, that her house was needed for other purposes. If she refused to leave, she would be the subject of a grand jury investigation.

Mary thought long and hard, then told her girls to start packing. She moved out all right—into one just a few doors down. The committee didn’t bother her again. On the 1900 census, she listed her occupation as “boardinghouse keeper.”

She once entertained the Wild Bunch led by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid plus other notable outlaws.

June 10, 1905, Mary suddenly died leaving an estate valued at $20,000 ($500,000 in today’s currency.) They buried her in an unmarked grave in Oakwood Cemetery. Then in 2009, over 100 years of her death, a group of citizens got together and bought her a gravestone engraved with the simple words, “Call me madam.”

I love stories that give colorful accounts of what life must’ve been like before we became “modernized.” I can close my eyes and picture this seedy part of Fort Worth and the rough and tumble daily existence. I wish I knew more of Mary’s story and what led her to prostitution. Maybe she got trapped in it as so many other women were who found themselves alone. Occupations for women were very limited.

Can you imagine how scary it was for a woman alone back then? Especially if she had no one to turn to. What do you think of Mary Porter?

It’s almost time! Longing for a Cowboy Christmas releases on September 24th! Six heartwarming stories sure to put the Christmas spirit in your heart by Leigh Greenwood, Rosanne Bittner, Margaret Brownley, Anna Schmidt, Amy Sandas, and me.

AMAZON B&N  APPLE  |  KOBO

 

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!