Tag: western historical romance

Arizona’s ‘Capital on Wheels’ ~ by Susan Page Davis

For my book My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains, my characters needed some transportation in Arizona during the territorial period after the Civil War. There weren’t any trains there yet, so stagecoaches it was.

The first stagecoach appeared in Arizona in 1857, and this mode of transportation had come to stay.

Before the Civil War, the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach line had a regular route across Texas and what is now New Mexico and Arizona, to southern California. When the war broke out, however, they abandoned it and used their northern route, through Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming.

But people still needed to travel in Arizona. When the war ended, the capital was at Prescott, which had remained Union territory. People in more populated southern locations, such as Tucson, needed to go back and forth to the capital. Several independent stage lines sprang up and developed their routes with varying success.

When I went to Prescott to do research for the book, the stagecoach problem was one of my focuses. The place where I found the most help was in the archives at the Sharlot Hall Museum. There I learned about several enterprising men who gave it a good try, and it was tough in those times.

The owners and workers found a great many obstacles to maintaining regular stage service over hundreds of miles of desert, and having to deal with increasingly hostile Indian tribes as well as the inhospitable terrain and climate. Indians stole hundreds of horses from mining operations and stagecoach stations. Some of the station agents had to haul in feed and water for the animals.

My characters attempted to make a stagecoach journey from Tucson to the fledgling mining town of Wickenburg, and from there on up to Prescott. As readers will see, this journey was interrupted several times.

The capital itself was a thorny problem during that period, and it was changed so often it got the nickname “Capital on Wheels.”

After the Confederate Territory of Arizona was formed in 1862, and in February, 1863 officially got Tucson as its capital with Jefferson Davis’s approval, Abraham Lincoln signed the law officially creating the Arizona Territory with Prescott as its capital. The territory was divided into north and south for a while, and for the rest of the Civil War it had two capitals.

Superstition MountainsAfter the war, in 1867, the capital was moved back to Tucson for the reunited Arizona Territory. At that time, Tucson was more developed than any other city in the territory.

However, in 1879, the legislature voted to move the seat of government back to Prescott. That move lasted ten years.

The capital had been located in each location for about the same length of time all told, and some people began to feel it should be moved to a neutral location, somewhere between Tucson and Prescott. By this time, more towns had been founded, and some of them mushroomed. Phoenix was not in existence at the time of my story, but twenty years later it was thriving. In 1889 the capital was moved permanently to Phoenix. Arizona became a state in 1912.

Today we can swiftly drive the length of Arizona in air-conditioned cars in a few hours. We can enjoy the vistas of the beautiful desert without discomfort. But our modern travels are a far cry from what Carmela Wade experienced.

 

About My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains

A Chance for Escape Takes Two Unlikely Allies on a Romantic Adventure through the Desert

Since she was orphaned at age twelve, Carmela Wade has lived a lie orchestrated by her uncle, pretending to be a survivor of an Indian kidnapping and profiting from telling her made-up story on the speaker circuit. But as she matures into adulthood, Carmela hates the lies and longs to be free. On a stagecoach in Arizona Territory, Carmela and her uncle are fellow passengers with US Marshal Freeland McKay and his handcuffed prisoner.

The stage is attacked. Suddenly a chance to make a new life may be within Carmela’s reach. . .if she can survive the harsh terrain and being handcuffed to an unconscious man.

 

Desert Moon

 

 

Susan will give a copy of My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains to one person who comments on today’s post, and a copy of Desert Moon to another commenter. The winners may choose to receive either print or digital format.

 

 

Susan Page Davis

 

Susan Page Davis is the author of more than seventy published novels. She’s a two-time winner of the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award and the Will Rogers Medallion, and also a winner of the Carol Award and a finalist in the WILLA Literary Awards. A Maine native, she now lives in Kentucky. Visit her website at SusanPageDavis.com, where you can see all her books, sign up for her occasional newsletter, and read a short story on her romance page.

Buy My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains: http://amzn.to/2kGDjPz

 

 

Welcome to Shanna Hatfield–and three books, three winners!

It is a pleasure and a treat to be a guest once again here at Petticoats and Pistols. Thank you to all the fillies for hosting me today. I’ll be giving away THREE ecopies of The Christmas Quandary, so please leave a comment.

bookmark-back

I love history and digging into tidbits of the past as I research details for my sweet western romances.

In my latest release, The Christmas Quandary, I happened upon a toy that captured my interest.

zoetrope-1

A zoetrope is one of several animation devices (pre-motion pictures) that produce the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of drawings or photographs, shown in progressive phases of motion.

The name Zoetrope was composed from the Greek root words “life” and “wheel” – meaning “wheel of life.”

zoetrope-2

A cylinder with slits cut vertically in the sides is the basic component of the zoetrope. The inner surface of the cylinder features a band with images from a set of sequenced pictures. As the cylinder spins, the user looks through the slits at the pictures. The slits keeps the pictures from simply blurring together, and the user sees a rapid succession of images, producing the illusion of motion.

A 5,000-year-old earthenware bowl from Iran is considered a predecessor of the zoetrope. The bowl, decorated in a series of sequential images, portrays a goat jumping toward a tree and eating its leaves. zoetrope-4

Variations existed on the idea of the zoetrope, but it wasn’t until December 1866, when an American company, Milton Bradley and Co., advertised a zoetrope.

Zoetropes were eventually displaced by more advanced technology, notably film and later television. Today, some zoetropes can still be found in special art projects and performances.

In The Christmas Quandary, one of the characters purchases a zoetrope for his daughter’s Christmas present. The only quandary surrounding the gift is whether or not the child’s uncles will wear it out before Christmas morning since they can’t seem to stop playing with it.

Have you ever been in a quandary? Had a dilemma?

Share your answers for a chance to win one of three copies of The Christmas Quandary (Book 5 in the Hardman Holidays series).

And if you haven’t read any of the Hardman books, The Christmas Bargain (book 1) will be available for free digital downloads on Monday!

christmas-quandary

~*~

Shanna Hatfield 2Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield is out to make it happen, one story at a time. Her sweet historical and contemporary romances combine humor and heart-pumping moments with characters that seem incredibly real.

When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.

Find Shanna’s books at:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Apple

Shanna loves to hear from readers! Follow her online:

ShannaHatfield | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | You Tube | Twitter

Make sure you sign up for her Newsletter to get the latest on new releases

and exclusive giveaways (including a free short story set in the old west)!

christmas-quandry

El Muerto: The Headless Horseman of Texas

Kathleen Rice Adams header

First published in 1820, Washington Irving’s short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” has been terrifying children for almost 200 years. Though the tale of a hapless schoolmaster’s midnight gallop through the New York woods made the phrase “headless horseman” a household term in America, by the time Irving’s story appeared headless horsemen had been staples of European folklore for centuries. German, Irish, Scandinavian, and English legends all offered versions of the ghoulish phantoms, who usually were said to appear to proud, arrogant people as a warning.

headless horsemanTexas has its own gruesome headless horseman legend. Unlike Irving’s unforgettable spook, though, Texas’s headless horseman rode among the living once upon a time.

Some say he still does.

In the summer of 1850, a Mexican bandido by the name of Vidal made an egregious error: He and several compadres rustled a sizable herd of horses from several ranches south of San Antonio. One of the ranches belonged to Texas Ranger Creed Taylor, a veteran of the Texas War for Independence and a man not inclined to forgive his enemies. (Taylor later would be one of the participants in the Sutton-Taylor Feud, a bloody, years-long running gun battle that resulted in four times as many deaths as the better-known fracas between the Hatfields and McCoys.)

Rustling cattle already had earned Vidal’s head a dead-or-alive bounty. Stealing a Texas Ranger’s horses was the proverbial last straw. Together with fellow Ranger William A.A. “Big Foot” Wallace and another local rancher, Taylor set out to put a stop to Vidal’s unbearable insolence.

The Headless Horseman: A Strange Tale of Texas, 1865

Capt. Mayne Reid’s version of a Texas Legend, published in 1865, received a mention in Charles Dickens’s final novel, Our Mutual Friend.

As a group, the early Texas Rangers were hard men. Tasked with protecting an enormous patch of land rife with outlaws and Indians, the early Rangers were expert trackers, accomplished gunmen, and not opposed to meting out immediate — and often brutal — “frontier justice.” Vidal was about to discover that in a very personal way.

After tracking the bandidos to their camp, Taylor, Wallace, and the third man mounted a surprise attack while the outlaws were asleep. Killing the desperados was not enough for Taylor and Wallace, though. The entire Ranger force was fed up with the rash of rustling plaguing Texas at the time. Not even leaving bodies hanging from trees or hacking them to pieces and using the bits for predator bait had made a strong enough statement.

So, Wallace got creative. After beheading Vidal, he secured the corpse upright on the back of the wildest of the rustled horses, lashed the bandido’s hands to the saddle horn and his feet to the stirrups, and tied the stirrups beneath the animal’s belly. Just to make sure anyone who saw the ghoulish specter got the message, he looped a rawhide thong through the head’s jaws and around Vidal’s sombrero, and slung the bloody bundle from the saddle’s pommel. Then Wallace and his friends sent the terrified mustang galloping off into the night.

William A.A. "Big Foot" Wallace, ca. 1872

Big Foot Wallace, ca. 1872

Not long thereafter, vaqueros began to report seeing a headless horseman rampaging through the scrub on a dark, wild horse. As sightings spread, some claimed flames shot from the animal’s nostrils and lightning bolts from its hooves. Bullets seemed to have no effect on the grisly marauder. They dubbed the apparition el Muerto — the dead man — and attributed all sorts of evil and misfortune to the mysterious rider.

Eventually, a posse of cowboys brought down the horse at a watering hole near Ben Bolt, Texas. By then the dried-up body had been riddled with bullets and arrows, and the head had shriveled in the sun. The posse laid Vidal’s remains to rest in an unmarked grave on the La Trinidad Ranch. Only then did Wallace and Taylor take public credit for the deed. The episode contributed to Wallace’s reputation and had the intended effect on rustling.

Even the revelation of the truth behind the legend did not end el Muerto’s reign of terror. Until nearby Fort Inge was decommissioned in 1869, soldiers reported seeing a headless rider roaming the countryside around Uvalde, near Taylor’s ranch. Thirty years later, a rise in the ground 250 miles to the southeast, near San Patricio, Texas, was christened Headless Horseman Hill after a wagon train reported an encounter with el Muerto. A sighting occurred in 1917 outside San Diego, Texas, and another near Freer in 1969.

El Muerto reportedly still roams the mesquite-covered range in Duval, Jim Wells, and Live Oak counties — still fearsome, still headless, and still reminding those who see him that Texas Rangers didn’t come by their tough-hombre reputation by accident.

bat flourish

Robbing Banks Stealing HeartsI haven’t written any tales about headless horsemen — yet — but ghosts play a significant role in one of my short novellas. Family Tradition is one of two stories that compose Robbing Banks, Stealing Hearts.

Everyone should have career at which they excel. At failing to commit crimes, nobody is better than Laredo and Tombstone Hawkins. Maybe they can bumble their way into love.

Family Tradition
Haunted by his kin’s tradition of spectacular failure, bank robber Tombstone Hawkins is honor-bound to prove his family tree produced at least one bad apple. When carnival fortuneteller Pansy Gilchrist tries to help, she accidentally summons a pair of dishonest-to-goodness ghosts. Getting into the spirit of a crime is one thing…but how do you get the spirits out?

 

Here’s a brief excerpt:

Stone blinked at the apparitions. If not for Madame Minerva’s confirmation, he’d have sworn he was seeing things—and he hadn’t touched a drop of whiskey in weeks.

He eased backward a step.

So did she, sidling up next to him until her hipbone collided with his leg.

The two ghosts floated around the table, one on each side, and planted themselves close enough for Stone to poke a hand through either misty shape. Forcing a swallow down his throat, he squinted at the nearest. He’d been on the receiving end of that old man’s irritated glare far too often.

Heart racing fast enough to outrun a mule with a butt full of buckshot, Stone faded back another step.

The fake gypsy stayed with him, as though she were glued to his side.

The gauzy forms kept pace.

“Emile?” Madame Minerva’s voice squeaked like a schoolgirl’s.

Even on a ghost, disappointment was easy to spot. A pained frown gripped one apparition’s face. “I’m not part of the con any longer, Pansy. You can’t call me father just once?”

Stone ducked his head and tossed the woman a sidelong glance. “Pansy?”

“Said Tombstone,” she hissed.

The second ghost spoke up, his voice strangely hollow but recognizable. “Boy, you got nothin’ to say to your ol’ pop?”

“I uh… I…” Stone’s tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth.

Thank God, Emile picked up the conversation. “I see my little girl is keeping the family tradition alive.”

“I am.” Pansy’s breathy whisper carried a hint of tears. “Oh, Emile, I wish you had stayed.”

“I’ve been here all along. You just haven’t looked for me before.” Emile’s specter extended a hand to cup his daughter’s cheek. Pansy leaned into the phantom caress.

Stone snatched her before she toppled over. Too late, he discovered she weighed little more than a ghost herself. His grab yanked her off her feet and slammed her into his chest.

He exercised quite a bit more care setting her back on the dirt floor.

 

 

Save

Susan Page Davis and the Oregon Trail!

susan-2Susan Page Davis here. History is all about people—individuals. I’ve encountered some intriguing people in my research and the Oregon pioneers are a good example.

Thousands of people went to Oregon in the 1850s, and those pioneers have always fascinated me. When I got married and moved to Oregon with my husband, who grew up there, I was very conscious of retracing the steps of those who blazed the western trails. When it came time to write my Prairie Dreams series, I needed to present Oregon’s history accurately, and I found I had a lot to learn!

In these books, starting with The Lady’s Maid, I sent two English ladies over the Oregon Trail on a wagon train. They don’t actually reach the territory until the end of the first book. In writing the section where the wagon train winds along the Snake River for a ways, I began my Oregon research in earnest.

For that first book in the series, I mainly studied the trail itself, and places along the way. It was in very rough shape when my ladies arrived in 1855. I’ve been to the End of the Trail Museum in Oregon City, and to the Oregon Trail Museum near Baker City, on the Idaho side of the state—both wonderful resources with very different collections. I’ve seen the ruts on the prairie and peered into Conestoga wagons. All of that was percolating in the back of my mind, and I was able to find the additional information I needed.
Copyright Historic Oregon City www.historicoregoncity.org

Copyright Historic Oregon City http://www.historicoregoncity.org[/caption%5D

Fort Dalles was one place I used in my books. My brother-in-law lives in The Dalles, and on one visit, he took us to see what is left of the fort. It isn’t much. The surgeon’s house is wonderful, but there is precious little left of the actual military installation. I had to rely on books and Internet sites to bring the fort to life for me. Oregon City was easier, because it’s still there, and many sources exist to tell me about what it was like in “the day.”

In the second book of my series, Lady Anne’s Quest, real historical figures began to show up. Some of them screamed to be included in my story. My two fictional ladies had separated. Elise had married a scout turned rancher, and Lady Anne went on to find her missing uncle. His last known address was near Eugene.

I had a lot of fun researching the Eugene area. It’s where my husband was born. He grew up in Junction City, just a few susan-5miles outside Eugene, and we lived within the city limits after we got married. But Junction City wasn’t there in 1855.

What I did find in my time travel was fascinating people. One was Eugene Skinner, larger than life. He was the founder of the city, and it is named after him. I was also familiar with Skinner’s Butte, which towers over the city and where Eugene Skinner lived for a while. In his active life, he was not only a founder, a farmer, and a ferry operator, but he helped lay out the town and served as a lawyer, postmaster, and county clerk.

One of the first settlers in Lane County, Skinner arrived in 1846. He built the first cabin in what is now the city of Eugene, on the side of the

hill at Skinner’s Butte. He used it as a trading post, and later as a post office. I put the post office and both Mr. and Mrs. Skinner in my story.susan-6

I also learned about Joseph Lafayette Meek, or “Joe Meek,” the famous mountain man. He lived his later years in Oregon and was appointed the first U.S. Marshal for the Oregon Territory.susan

I needed a marshal in my story, but by the time of the tale, Joe had given up the office. He served as Territorial Marshal from 1848 to 1853, and was succeeded by James Nesmith, so Marshal Nesmith is the one who made it into my book. Even so, I enjoyed a rabbit trail of reading about Joe Meek and his family. Maybe he will show up in another book someday.  susan-4

I am making a list of Oregon places I’d like to visit the next time we go there to see family. It’s amazing how many historical sites I managed NOT to visit during the time I lived in the beautiful state of Oregon! Usually those places are associated with people. While I do delve into the plants, animals, and terrain of the regions I write about, most of my research is still about people.

Today I’m giving away a copy of A Lady in the Making from the Prairie Dreams series.susan-3

 

 

A Lady in the Making: Millie Evans boards a stagecoach and finds that one of the passengers is David Stone—a man she and her brother once tried to swindle. As she tries to convince David she’s different now, her brother’s gang holds up the stagecoach. Millie must trust God to show David the truth that she has changed, but will he see before it’s too late?

Susan Page Davis is the author of more than 60 novels, including the Ladies’ Shooting Club series, Texas Trails series, and Frasier Island Series. Her newest books include the historical romances River Rest, Mountain Christmas Brides, The 12 Brides of Summer, and Heart of a Cowboy. She now lives in western Kentucky. Visit her website at: http://www.susanpagedavis.com

 

Apple Days & a Giveaway

apple-days-3

Apples are on my mind!

I visited a local apple orchard yesterday with my family and came back loaded with apples, cider, fudge and pumpkin butter–and we only went for the apple donuts!

One of the things I enjoyed when I was a child was to take family trips in autumn to see the colors and enjoy the Apple Days celebration in Julian, CA. Perhaps that is a reason I set my stories there. Nostalgia. In each of my books I’ve given a nod to the thing that kept Julian on the map after the gold rush there had played out — Apples.

James Madison, a widower, came to the area in 1867 looking for a good area for a ranch. He was born in New York, but grew up in New Orleans. He began breeding race horses (the Shiloh breed of quarter horse) and also Durham cattle. In the early 1870s, he and Thomas Brady traveled to San Bernardino, brought back a wagon-load of apple trees and planted an orchard.

The higher elevation and increased rainfall in the land around Julian, along with the type of apple-orchard-5soil, made the it perfect location for a different kind of fruit other than the lemons and grapefruits and avocado trees that did so well nearer the coast. Before long, Madison also had blackberries, peaches, grapes and almond trees that produced exemplary fruit. (He also grew wheat as well as had a half-share in the Hubbard Mine. He was a very busy man!)

Many other inhabitants of the area, began planting orchards.  By the 1890’s apples from Julian were shipped throughout the country and winning county fairs. They won blue ribbons at the 1893 Worlds’ Fair in Chicago and in 1904 at the St. Louis Fair. In 1907, Julian apples won eight gold medals in the Jamestown Virginia Exposition, one of them being the Wilder Medal, which is the highest award given by the American Pomological Society.

Apple facts

(Courtesy http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com/2014/07/22/history-of-apples)

  • No other fruit has had the popularity of apples in art, literature, poems, and songs.
  • The original wild apple comes from Kazakhstan. This was found through following the DNA trail. These wild apples are still prevalent there today.
  • The original wild version can be terrifically sour. It is known as the “spitter” because the initial reaction upon taking a bite is to spit it out. It is only domestication and grafting that developed the sweet and tart flavors.
  • John Chapman (a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed) collected seeds from Pennsylvania cider mills and carried them west, starting orchards in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. These apples were too sour for eating and were used to make liquor.
  • The Temperance Movement in the 1880s viewed the apple as sinful (see previous) and pushed for the burning of apple trees.little_leaves1-e1459470207517-300x177
Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp

This is my standard recipe for Apple Crisp that I’ve been making for my family for years. (I prefer it warm, with a splash of milk to balance the sweetness.)

In an 8” x 8” buttered pan:

Fill pan with sliced apples OR 1 large can of apple pie filling.

In a bowl mix:

1 cup flour
¾  cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
Add one beaten egg and mix with fork until crumbly.

Spread over fruit.
Melt one stick of butter and pour over mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

little_leaves1-e1459470207517-300x177

What is your favorite way to enjoy apples?

Comment for a chance to win a copy of Western Spring Weddings,
set in Clear Springs (a.k.a. Julian!)

Psst! My favorite eating apple is the Honey Crisp. What’s yours?

Visit Kathryn at her website and Facebook!

BJ AKIN TALKS ABOUT HER BOOK “NATIVE LOVE” AND GIVEAWAY!

PPBLOG horse me bio shots

HOWDY!   EVERYONE! WHAT A YEAR!!!

It has been such an exciting time! I am proud to say that Native Love, my second book came out last fall keeping me busy with book signings and promotions. I have been donating my books to local libraries that I visit and last fall at the Old West Days in Valentine I was lucky enough to meet a Cowgirl Poet from Alberta, Canada. Doris Daley. She was kind enough to take a set of my books back to her local library there in Alberta, so the books they are “atraveling” all over!

In appreciation of this trip to the land of the ‘Petticoats & Pistols’ I will be giving away two of the printed copies of my book, Native Love! So keep a sharp eye out on how to win!

The book is an action packed adventure of Red Feather and an Indian girl, Montana that he has fallen in love with…

PPBLOG NATIVE LOVE COVER FOR BUSINESS CARDS

When Montana, a young Indian maiden, is kidnapped by two ruthless outlaws, she knows there is little chance of rescue. Despite this, she wonders if her new friend, Red Feather, will search for her. That couldn’t possibly happen; he doesn’t even know she’s missing. But if he did, would he risk his future to find her?

Against her adoptive white parents’ wishes, Red Feather has decided to court Montana. But first he must return back East to finish the white man’s medical school. When he is notified that Montana is missing he knows he might lose her before he has the chance to tell her how he feels. There’s only one thing he can do; return to the Sand hills and save the Love of his heart…..

 

My new book is, The Texas Ranger. A man who finishes what he starts and the adventures that lead him from Southern Texas up into the Sandhills of the Nebraska Territory. Will he find the criminals he is tracking or will a certain young lady lead him away from his goal?

Sorry, but you will have to wait for the story! Ha! So watch for its release within the next year. For the rest of the Summer…. Enjoy your lives with love and excitement at the ready!

Once again thanks a million to Petticoats and Pistols for this adventure and thank you all the readers that make ‘our’ dreams come true!!!

Here are some pictures of our local Sandhills Cowboys hard at work!

Blayne Bradley at his family’s branding…Cowboy up!!!

PPBLOGBlayne branding (1)

 

 

 

 

 

And little brother Zach, on the right, holding down the ‘beef’!

PPBLOGZach branding

 

 

 

 

 

Remember, I will be giving away two copies of my new book, Native Love, to two lucky winners!!!

 

HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU ALL!

BJ AKIN

 

New Release and a Giveaway!

KathrynAlbrightBanner

Spring is wedding season!

In the 1800s, I have a feeling spring weddings had something to do with the availability of beautiful flowers, and the (ahem) need for a wedding after the long, cold winter. Tomorrow is release day for Western Spring Weddings of which my story, His Springtime Bride , is roped with two other novellas, each involving a spring wedding.  I am offering a print copy (or Kindle copy) to one lucky person leaving a comment today. (See guidelines on upper right of this page!) Here’s a little bit about the plot and an excerpt that occurs near the beginning of the story.

flower bar 1

Released from prison, half-breed Gabe Coulter must work for his enemy to earn back the deed to his own ranch.
But when his boss’s daughter, Riley Rawlins, returns home with a rebellious son after years away in the east, nothing will stop him from discovering the truth.

Riley no longer trust the man she once loved so completely.
Years of old hurts and his violent past make it impossible to forgive and allow him back into her life or that of her son.

But one thing Gabe has is pure cowboy grit. Will it be enough to make Riley see that she and her son should a part of his future?

flower bar 1

Excerpt ~ His Springtime Bride

 

Western Spring Weddings“Name is Coulter. I want to talk to Frank Rawlins.”

“Johnson. Foreman.” His gaze narrowed and he scratched his scruffy dirt-colored beard. “Coulter? From around these parts?”

Gabe lifted his chin in acknowledgment.

“Most Injuns never make it to prison if they kill a white man. And if they do—they don’t make it out.”

Gabe stiffened. He’d heard the same thing before from guards at the prison—their tone much uglier. It wasn’t the only time his father’s blood had saved him, but it was the most important time. In a world where both whites and Indians looked upon him with suspicion, he had quickly learned to trust no one. He had fought it when he was young, trying to fit in, but it did no good. Now all he wanted was to be left in peace. Obviously, Johnson had heard of him and didn’t care about that.

“Then it’s a good thing I’m half-white. Tell him I’m here,” Gabe said. By his tone, he made it clear he wasn’t asking.

The foreman eyed him for a moment longer and then clomped up the steps and, after a sharp rap on the door, let himself into the house.

Three minutes later, Johnson ushered him inside.

Gabe had been in the house a few times when he was young. His folks had been invited to a ten-year wedding anniversary party for Rawlins and his wife. That’s when he’d first met Riley. He had been quiet and she had been all gangly tomboy arms and legs and talked up a storm. He remembered swinging on the rope swing that hung from the old oak in the side yard with her and a few other children. He had never seen blond hair before that, and each time he tried to touch her braids, she would whip them around just out of his reach to tease him. She laughed and the other kids laughed right along with her, which made him mad—mostly at his own awkwardness.

Had Riley ever come back to visit her father? Once she had loved the ranch and vowed never to leave, despite her mother’s schemes to position her for a rich husband back east. By now she probably had that rich husband along with a baby or two. With effort, he pushed his memories of Riley to the back of his mind. Thoughts of her would only complicate the confrontation ahead with Rawlins.

He squared his shoulders and followed Johnson. The foreman stopped in the hallway before the study and indicated Gabe was to enter. “No such thing as a half Injun,” he said, his eyes cold as Gabe passed by. “Bad blood taints the good.”

Rawlins sat behind a massive cherrywood desk, his expression inscrutable. He had to be in his early fifties now, with silver-streaked hair and black hawkish brows over striking blue eyes. A small amount of paunch around his middle where there hadn’t been any before spoke to his more sedentary days of late. As Gabe stepped farther into the study, Rawlins walked slowly around from behind his desk and hiked one hip onto the corner to sit. “So you are out.”Spring horses

Gabe wasn’t here for small talk. “I was down to my land today. Saw the sign. Looked new.”

Rawlins nodded…watching him carefully. “The sheriff in Nuevo mentioned your release. I thought you might head this way. I also thought you should be clear about the situation here.”

“You mean the part about not owning my own land?”

In the doorway, Johnson straightened, alert to the underlying tension in the room. He rested his hand lightly on his gun handle.

“Taxes hadn’t been paid in three years,” Rawlins said. “I paid them.”

“Stole the place, you mean. And you know why I couldn’t get them paid.”

He nodded again. “Your incarceration was mentioned in the newspaper. I had my eye on that property a long time, Coulter. Has a nice little stream running through it down from the mountain this time of year.”

“I noticed your cattle were enjoying it.”

“Hasn’t been grazed in years. There is a nice thick carpet.”

Of course it hadn’t been grazed. After his father’s death by the cougar, Gabe’s mother had had to slowly sell off the stock to make ends meet. Few would do business with a Kumeyaay woman and her kid. He blew out a breath, unused to having to ask for anything and not liking that he was going to now. He’d best keep calm. “What will it take to get it back?”

Rawlins tilted his head. “Who says I’m interested in selling?”

“I do.”

flower bar 1

His Springtime Bride/Western Spring Weddings Anthology © by Kathryn Albright
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.

For a different excerpt from this novella, visit my website!

My favorite part of weddings is hearing the heart-felt vows. Now it’s your turn!

What is your favorite part of a wedding?

Comment for a chance to win a copy of Western Spring Weddings!

Road trip!

KathrynAlbrightBanner

I  just returned home to the Midwest from my folks place in San Diego.

Road trip

One of my sons’ came to visit me!

When my boys were young we would enjoy road trip s, picking out different routes so that we could see the country. We had some amazing trips but we always ended up in San Diego so that they could visit with my side of the family. On these drives, my mind would always wander and I would try to envision what it must have been like for the early pioneers, settlers and Native Americans. All of it became inspiration for the stories that I write.

Road trip Arkansas B&N

A young Arkansas fan in Barnes & Noble (Actually it is nice to have strategically placed relatives)

For many years now I’ve flown. It is just not the same as driving. There is something lost in not being able to roll down my window and smell the sage, or pines, or ocean and feel the wind on my face. When my husband agreed to make the drive this year I was thrilled. I flew out to have a long visit and then he drove out later to spend Christmas with me. My sons also came for a shorter visit. Then together we drove back to the Midwest. It took some planning. We had to dodge El Nino effects and so we stayed SOUTH! Oklahoma roads were completely shut down with ice, Denver was a blizzard, a tornado tore through Texas. and the Mississippi River was flooding all over the place at the time we planned to cross. Never a dull moment. I was glad to get home safely.

How did the pioneers handle this!

 

I cannot imagine what it must have been like for women in the 1800s. Mail-order brides and those who traveled to a new destination looking for free land to farm or ranch often would never see their loved ones again. They must have experienced terrible bouts of homesickness. It’s no wonder that church and social gatherings played such an important place in their lives. And traveling, they couldn’t check for bad weather on their phone and adjust their route to avoid it the way I could on this trip. I’m so glad I live today and not in the 1800s!

 

Road Trip

A bit strange to see this site getting closer in front of me! We were both going the same direction–EAST!

How do you like to travel and where would you choose to go in the
continental United States given the opportunity? 

Familiar Stranger in Clear SpringsComment for a chance to win a print copy of my newest release!
(See P&P sweepstake rules here.)


Familiar Stranger in Clear Springs

 

I am holding a contest on my website for the month of January to celebrate my current release.

You can check it out here.

Welcome to The Junction, Celia Yeary!

CeliaLOVE’S FIRST TOUCH
By Celia Yeary

In today’s world, we fall in love and get married, or dream of falling in love, or we thought we were in love but learned better.

I’ve often wondered about our forefathers…our “foremothers?”…falling in love and marrying the man they chose. Did they?

My paternal grandfather at age twenty left home and wandered about for a while, until he came to the Moore farm in North Texas and asked for a job. The family had a fourteen-year-old daughter. After a while he decided he wanted to marry her. The father promised him he could marry his daughter when she became a little older. I believe my grandmother loved my grandfather. They lived a good happy life, had one daughter, and five sons.

Most pioneer women had little choice for one reason or another, but being the romantic I am, I do love to fantasize about these unique women marrying the man they chose. In fact, some of our well-known Texas pioneer women did just that.

Henrietta Chamberlain married Robert King, and together they built a ranching empire—TheHenriettaKing King Ranch in the Wild Horse Desert of South Texas. Henrietta was a tall, lovely young woman when she met and married Robert King. In her own words, she describes her happiness:

“When I came as a bride in 1854, a little ranch home then — a mere jacal as Mexicans would call it — was our abode for many months until our main ranch dwelling was completed. But I doubt if it falls to the lot of any a bride to have had so happy a honeymoon. On horseback we roamed the broad prairies. When I grew tired my husband would spread a Mexican blanket for me and then I would take my siesta under the shade of the mesquite tree.”

This was a happy marriage.

Molly GoodnightMolly Ann Dyer married rancher Charles Goodnight. In May of 1877, Charles and Molly built a two-room cabin in Palo Duro Canyon in the Panhandle of Texas. The nearest neighbors were 75 miles away from where Molly Goodnight established the first ranch household in the Texas Panhandle. In her biography, she explains how happy she was, although left alone much of the time. She loved her husband.

 

Luvenia Conway Roberts was called Lou by her beloved husband Dan Roberts. At DanielWRoberts_mediumage 33, Dan Roberts was a fine specimen of a man, tall, lanky, and strong. He joined Company D of the Frontier Battalion of the Texas Rangers in 1874, when the rangers were reorganized to offer protection to pioneers on the Texas frontier. When Dan was ordered to go into Indian country, he asked to take his new wife along. She agreed and was eager to travel with the Rangers.

In her own words:

“My friends thought I was courageous; in fact quite nervy to leave civilization and go into Indian country. But it did not require either. I was much in love with my gallant captain and willing to share his fate wherever and whatever it might be. Besides, the romantic side of it appealed to me strongly. I was thrilled with the idea of going to the frontier, the home of the pioneer.”

Ahhh, true love.

Prairie Rose Publications is growing by leaps and bounds. I was so pleased they wanted to include one of my sweet love stories in a Boxed Set titled “Love’s First Touch.” It includes stories from five authors.

Love's First Touch

LOVE’S FIRST TOUCH is powerful and sweet. It can move the heart to realize the true depth of emotion that only a first love can bring to a relationship. There’s some exciting reading ahead in these five full-length novels! Come join these wonderful characters as they experience awakening feelings and tumultuous relationships that can only be discovered with LOVE’S FIRST TOUCH!
WISH FOR THE MOON by Celia Yeary—Sixteen-year-old Annie McGinnis wishes for a chance to see more of the world, since all she’s ever known is the family farm in North Texas. Then she meets Max Landry.

FLY AWAY HEART by Sarah J. McNeal—Lilith Wilding can’t remember a time when she didn’t love the English born Robin Pierpont.

DOUBLE OR NOTHING by Meg Mims— Lily Granville, heiress, rebels against her uncle’s rules. Ace Diamond, determined to win Lily, invests in a dynamite factory.

DRINA’S CHOICE by Agnes Alexander— To escape her abusive father, Drina Hamilton feels she has no choice but to become the wife of a rancher she only knows from the one letter his uncle has written her.

DIGGING HOLES IN PARADISE by Karen Mihaljevich—In 1859 Missouri, Josette Stratton discovers that a chance identity switch gives her an out from a marriage mandated by her father—and allows her to work as a seamstress.

 

I would love to Gift an ebook copy of this Boxed Set to a lucky person who leaves a comment.

 

Celia Yeary-Romance…and a little bit ‘o Texas

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/celiayeary

My Website

My Blog

Sweethearts of the West-Blog

My Facebook Page

 

Sources:
The Handbook of Texas On-Line
Wikimedia
Wikipedia
Texas Tears and Texas Sunshine

Linda Broday’s Highlights of 2015

I always enjoy looking back at the end of the year and measuring my progress. Each year needs to show how far I’ve come. If it doesn’t then I slept through it. No sleeping for me this time. Man, I was busy! But 2015 was a stellar year. For the first time in my life I had three new releases–all in my Bachelors of Battle Creek series. January started off with a bang with TEXAS MAIL ORDER BRIDE. The month of May saw TWICE A TEXAS BRIDE and December wound up the series with FOREVER HIS TEXAS BRIDE.

Bachelors of Battle Creek BANNER

I also did quite a bit of traveling. Put a lot of miles on my car and on my body too!

My trip to New York City lingers in my mind as one of the best places I’ve ever gone. I’d always yearned to see it just once before I died. And I did. I toured the Sourcebooks Publishing NY office, did a walking tour of the financial district, saw the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Statue of Libertysm

George WashingtonsmTimes Square at Nightsm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not all was related to my career. Our family had a family reunion in East Texas and that was fun. I won the Hula-Hoop competition. I beat out my little sister. My oldest daughter got married and my oldest granddaughter graduated from Texas Tech University Suma Cum Laude.

M&R

Melinda and Katie

 

I wound up the year back in Dallas at Richardson when I attended the annual Buns and Roses Literacy Event. So much fun.

My Christmas celebration was low-key. I dragged out my Charlie Brown tree that I’ve had forever and hung little cowboy boots and hats on it. Then I sat a bunch of little doggies wearing six shooters and deputy badges on their vests around it with my cowboy statue guarding everything.

Boot Tree

In between all the travel and book releases I enjoyed being with my friends. I have some of the best friendships ever made.

But now I’m ready to get back to work. I need to finish up book #2 of my Men of Legend series and get the third one written. I’m really loving this series that has the big feel of Bonanza about it. A father and his three sons live on a huge ranch called The Lone Star. Their last name is Legend. I think readers will love it. And I have to turn in a proposal for another series that will come after Men of Legend. One thing about it, writers never have much time to sit around twiddling their thumbs. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

 

Petticoats & Pistols © 2015