Tag: western romance

Allison B. Collins Dreams Up Her Stories

I’m so excited to be here on Petticoats & Pistols today! What a wonderful group of women who all love cowboys as much as I do.  Thank you for having me here, ladies!

A couple of years ago I had a dream about five brothers who ran a ranch with their dad. In this dream I saw the oldest brother was a wounded Army veteran returning home, there was a veterinarian, a charmer, a very cynical man burned by love, and a rebel cowboy.  I even saw their assorted girlfriends or wives.  The only anomaly was that the dream ended with a fashion show in which they all participated. (That was my day job insinuating itself into my cowboy dream!)

When I woke up from the dream, it was still so vivid in my mind I had to write it all down. And it stuck with me so much I knew I had to turn it into a book. Or rather, five books.

The first book in the series about a wounded rancher debuts this month, published by Harlequin. I’m so very excited that “A Family for the Rancher” is finally here.  This quote from Pinnochio has been running through my mind all week: “I’m a real boy!”  Well, for me now “It’s a real book!”

I’m a fifth generation Texan, so I’ve got the Old West running deep in my veins. I was born and raised in El Paso, which is THE farthest west you can go in Texas.  Among my ancestors are a Texas Ranger and a spy for Robert E. Lee. Future stories? You better believe it.

I live in Dallas now, practically at the base of Southfork Ranch. Remember J.R., Bobby, Sue Ellen, and Pam? It’s still a thrill every time I drive by that house, and the theme song runs on continuous loop in my head.

I guess my love of cowboys has been with me all my life.  I love sweet tea, bluebonnets, cowboy boots, and western hats.  Heck, the Resistol Hat factory is practically around the corner from my house!  Cowboys have a code of honor bone deep, one they live their entire lives by. They’re good to their mommas, their sweethearts, and their animals.

Perhaps John Wayne said it best: “A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job.”  My Sullivan brothers follow that creed.

For the Cowboys to Grooms series I took the story to Montana. Where else could I write about vast open lands, soaring mountains, sunny summer days, and cold winter days where the hero and heroine are snowbound in a log cabin for days on end?

My husband and I spent some time in Montana a few years ago, and I just fell in love with the whole state. Crystal clear water, abundant wildlife, and cowboys!  In fact, the scene in which Kelsey sees a bear while kissing Nash was inspired by my first bear sighting on that trip.

As I write, I have to visualize the characters, so Pinterest is my best friend.  If you’d like to see who my inspiration is for each of the five Sullivan brothers, here’s a link to my board:  https://tinyurl.com/ycrflp2

Oh, and since I also love weddings, I couldn’t resist writing a little twist into the last scene of each book—it’s what determines which brother’s book comes next in the Cowboys to Grooms series!

* * * *

Nash Sullivan doesn’t need help from anyone. Not his father, not his brothers and sure as heck not from a physical therapist—even a darn feisty one like Kelsey Summers. He lost his leg during his overseas deployment and he just wants to be left alone. Besides, the last thing a woman like Kelsey needs is half a man.

Single mom Kelsey knows all too well that the scars on the inside run the deepest. She needs to move on from her own tragic past, but the Sullivan ranch is starting to feel a little too much like home. And she can’t stop thinking about her wounded—and gorgeous—patient. Could Nash be the cure for her own broken heart?

* * * *

If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of “A Family for the Rancher” (Kindle ebook or autographed print book – winner’s choice), let me know who your favorite cowboys are (old or new), and why.  I’d love to chat with you here on Petticoats & Pistols!

Author Evelyn M. Hill…His Forgotten Fiancée 

 

 Welcome Evelyn M. Hill, author of His Forgotten Fiancée!  

 

 

                                    Book Description

                                                   BUY

Liza Fitzpatrick is stunned when her fiancé finally arrives in Oregon City — with amnesia. Matthew Dean refuses to honor a marriage proposal he doesn’t recall making, but Liza needs his help now to bring in the harvest, and maybe she can help him remember…

Matthew is attracted to the spirited Liza, and as she tries to help him regain his old memories, the new ones they’re creating together start to make him feel whole. Even as he falls for her again, though, someone’s determined to keep them apart. Will his memory return in time to save their future?

 

I will never write about a character who goes bungee jumping.

When possible, I try out the tasks my characters have to do. I want to know what it is like to cook biscuits on a cast iron griddle, how heavy a rifle is when I hold it, how wearing a prairie bonnet limits my peripheral vision like a horse with blinders and what it’s like to use a scythe.

When I wrote His Forgotten Fiancée, I had to write about Matthew using a scythe to harvest crops. He was a lawyer by profession; he knew as much as I do on the subject. I read about people scything, but that’s not nearly as effective as hands-on research.

Googling lead me to Scythe Supply. They sell scythes that are customized to your height, so you can use them comfortably.

                                                               Winslow Homer, Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

They made it sound so easy to use one. And I did want to know what it felt like to scythe. Besides, my lawn was looking something like this:

                                                          Jim Clark, USFWS, Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

All right, I have to confess. It wasn’t only for research. There were other reasons to try using a scythe. While my lawn is really too small to hire someone to come take care of it, I can’t cut the grass with a gas-powered lawnmower. Something about these lawnmowers triggers an allergic reaction. I don’t have problems with a push-reel mower, but those don’t do as good a job when the grass is wet. And in the Pacific Northwest, in spring and fall, the grass is pretty much always wet. Using a scythe appealed on more than one level.

So I got one and tried it out. I have to say that I loved, loved, loved how quiet the experience was. I hate the sound of my neighbors’ gas-powered motors. When I scythed, I could hear the birds singing over the swish of the scythe through the grass, and I had no problems breathing. Bonus, my arms got a workout. They felt a little sore when I was done, but not horribly so. And my lawn ended up looking like this:

This is what I wrote for Matthew’s experience of scything for the first time:

Matthew discovered he liked using the scythe. Gripping the snath, he swept the blade in an arc, keeping it low to the ground. The cradle attached to one side of the scythe scooped up the wheat stalks and laid them out on the ground to his left. Then he stepped forward and swept the scythe again. Another step, another sweep of the blade. He could mark his passage through the field by the ever-lengthening row of stalks lying on the ground on his left. The kitten watched for a little while before going off to explore the bushes along the stream.

Liza followed behind him. She gathered up the stalks, winding another stalk of wheat around the bundle and tying it into a knot. He stole a glance at her. Her fair face was flushed, and sweat trickled down and she wiped her brow, but she did not stop bending over and gather up the stalks.

It was laborious work at first, but soon he developed a rhythm. The heat of the sun beat through the thin cotton of his shirt, and sweat trickled between his shoulder blades. But soon, he lost awareness of everything but the swish of the scythe, the sound of bird song, and the sense that he was participating in life, becoming part of something greater than himself. There was a definite feeling of satisfaction when he reached the end of the row and looked back and see what he had accomplished. Here, the results of his efforts were tangible and immediately rewarding, not just moving paper from the In tray to the Out tray.  —

GIVEAWAY!

For a chance to win a signed copy of His Forgotten Fiancée answer Evelyn’s question and  leave a comment on this blog post.  

QUESTION: Have you tried using a scythe? I admit, I’m not sure I’d like to have to use one to harvest the south 40, but for a tiny, rain-soaked lawn? It’s got a lot to recommend it.

 

 

Evelyn M. Hill 

According to family tradition, Evelyn M. Hill is descended from a long line of Texas horse thieves. (But when your family is not only Texan, but Irish, tall tales come with the territory.) This might explain why she devoted much of her childhood to writing stories about horses. Once she grew up, the stories naturally featured a tall, handsome cowboy as well. She lives at the end of the Oregon Trail, where she gets to do all her historical research in person, and she loves to hear from readers!

His Forgotten Fiancée released January 1, 2018  

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Tombstone: The Town Too Tough To Die

Tombstone is a step back in time!

Two years ago my husband and I traveled to Tombstone, Arizona. I’d been to the town once before but for some reason we never walked through the Bird Cage Saloon. Visiting the infamous building was on the top of my list this last time. I hope you enjoy my photos from this trip!

 Tombstone is located in southeastern Arizona and was the site of the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral and Boothill Graveyard.

   

The town suffered two devastating fires: one in 1881 and again in 1882, but the Bird Cage Saloon survived both.The saloon was located in the heart of the red-light district on the corner of Allen Street and 6th Street. The photo below shows what the Bird Cage looked like before the outside was renovated. 

The building remained boarded up for the next fifty years before it reopened as a tourist attraction. The outside of the structure was remodeled to protect it from the elements. Inside the Bird Cage you will find the original wood floors that Doc Holiday, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Luke Short and the Clanton family all walked across. Even the mirrors behind the bar are original. The only part of the inside that has been renovated is the staircase leading to the basement.

 

  The Bird Cage served many purposes as listed on this sign.

The saloon was considered a “house of negotiable affection” and for $25 a gentleman could buy a bottle of whiskey and time with a lady in one of the 13 “cages” or cribs suspended above the gambling parlor. 

Twenty-fours hours a day the vaudeville circuit played on the stage.

 

 

 

The piano in the picture has sat in that same spot since 1881. The piano was the first to arrive in Tombstone and was part of a five-piece band that played in the saloon from 1881-1889.

The saloon also had a barber if any cowboy wanted to “spiff up” before visiting the ladies in the upstairs cribs. 

 

Curly Bill

Outlaw Curly Bill was recognized getting a haircut in this chair and was later tracked down and killed by Wyatt Earp. The table is the original table in the gaming parlor where Doc Holliday was often seen playing and dealing Fargo.

       

 

The Longest Poker Game Ever Played

The basement of the saloon is where the serious gambling took place and was the location of the longest poker game ever played in history. The game lasted eight years, five months and three days. Twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. There was a $1,000 buy-in and a continuous list of gamblers waiting to get into the game. The saloon employed runners to go out on the street and find the next player on the list when someone folded or left the game which averaged every 3 to 4 days. 

Below are pictures of the basement gaming area. I was surprised at how small it was. In the photos you’ll see the original service bar that served drinks to the gamblers as well as the men visiting the two bordello rooms in the basement. The mirrors behind the bar have hung in the same place since 1881. The whiskey keg and heating stove are originals and have been in the same place since the Birdcage closed its doors. The gaming tables, chairs, dealers box and money boxes all sit where they were during the “longest game.”

  

 

The Infamous Sadie Jo

One of Tombstones most famous soiled doves, Sarah Josephine Marcus, who went by the name of Sadie Jo & Shady Sadie worked at the Bird Cage in the basement. Below is the room where she and Wyatt Earp had their romantic liaisons while she was engaged to the then sheriff of Tombstone, John Harris Behan. At the time Wyatt lived in a covered wagon fifty feet away from the Bird Cage with his common law wife Mattie. Wyatt left Mattie for Josephine and Mattie was forced into prostitution in Prescott, AZ. and later committed suicide by overdosing on laudanum.

Haunted Bird Cage 

You know me and my fascination with ghosts…well, it is said that 27 ghosts inhabit the Bird Cage Saloon—the same number of people believed to have been killed in the building.

Employees say they often smell perfume and cigar smoke when working as well as seeing apparitions. Ghost tours are given at night, and one day I’d love to return to Tombstone and take the tour.

Before I sign off, I have to share one more photo of this little cowboy I came across on my trip to Tombstone.

Giveaway

To be entered into a giveaway for a Kindle copy of all three books in my series share this blog post and put the link where you shared it in the comment section! I’ll post the winner’s name on Saturday Oct 14th in the comment section of this blog post.

Until Next Time….Happy Trails!

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Jeannie Watt – Catch Me, Cowboy Excerpt and Give Away

Jeannie Watt 2Hello and Happy Wednesday! Today I’m in Florida, attending a writing conference and hanging out with my fellow authors. My husband is home packing the house for our move to Montana, which earns him a Great Guy Award.

Today I’m posting an excerpt from Catch Me Cowboy — Book 1 of Tule Publishing’s 78th Copper Mountain Rodeo series. For a chance to win a digital copy, leave a comment telling me your favorite thing about western romances. My favorite thing is the challenges rural people face in the course of their everyday lives and how they overcome.

CATCH ME, COWBOY

watt-2016rodeo-300dpi

Shelby O’Connor heard gravel crunch under tires on the opposite side of the barn, but didn’t take her eyes off the horse circling her in the round pen. If she broke focus, so would the young gelding, and now that she’d made a small amount of headway in the respect department, she wasn’t stopping. She gently slapped the coils of rope she held against her thigh and waved a hand to urge the horse to trot faster. A truck door slammed and boots hit the ground.

Please be UPS.

If it wasn’t, she could handle it.

The round pen was set up behind the barn, to keep the horses from being distracted while Shelby worked them, but unfortunately that also kept her from seeing who’d just driven in to the Forty-Six Ranch. Just because she’d gotten a couple of heads up texts early that morning informing her Ty Harding was back in town, it didn’t mean he’d come to see her. Why would he? She’d made her feelings clear as glass when he’d left four years ago. Shelby raised her hand and the gelding flicked an ear and shot a look at her out of one eye as he trotted around the perimeter of the pen, a sign he was starting to focus on her instead of escape. Finally.

She slowly walked up to the horse, extending a hand and waiting until the horse bumped it with his nose. “You did good.”

She rubbed the gelding’s forehead before snapping the lead rope onto the halter and starting toward the gate, her heart thumping just a little harder as she crossed the sandy pen. Moment of reckoning. Who is our mystery guest today? Package delivery guy? Some lost soul looking for the nearly invisible turn-off to the River Road?

Or… Ty.

Her heart slammed against her ribs at the sight of the man who’d once been her whole world, leaning against his truck, the late morning sun behind him, looking every inch the cowboy he was. Dark hair escaped from beneath his Resistol and, even though the brim shaded his face, she could see his features were harder, more sculpted than before. Four years had changed him, but it had not dulled her reaction to him. Part of her wanted to rush into his arms, as she would have done before he’d so easily abandoned her, and another part wanted to smack him. Hard. Fortunately for both of them, the sane part of her prevailed, although it was a battle, and she kept her expression carefully distant as she crossed the drive.

“Shelby.”

“You’re back.”

She spoke on a flat note, as if her heart wasn’t beating a mile a minute— which it shouldn’t be. They’d tried to make a go of it once. Failed. If he was back to make nice so they could live together in the same community…fine. She wasn’t looking forward to it, but, hey…free country and all that.

“I am.” He shifted his weight, hooking a thumb in his belt, a sure sign he wasn’t as certain of himself as he appeared. But even when Ty wasn’t sure of himself, he was a formidable opponent. She knew from the confrontations they’d had when he’d asked her to come with him on the road. As if she could just leave grad school, her grandfather, and go. Right. It would have been easier for him to give up saddle bronc, or to ride only in the Montana Circuit instead of chasing the big titles. But no.

“And…?” Again she tried to sound polite, yet distant, as if he were an acquaintance who’d stopped by for an unknown reason. As if he hadn’t knocked her heart around, but good. He shrugged, those gray-blue eyes of his holding her, causing her to lift her chin as she came closer. Ty was tall for a bronc rider. Long and lean. Cowboy tough. And that had been the problem. He was cowboy tough and cowboy stubborn.

The gelding took a couple sideways steps when she came to a stop and Shelby automatically adjusted the lead, bringing the horse back to where he was supposed to be, standing with his head at her shoulder. She brought her attention back to the man in front of her… the man who wasn’t exactly bursting with explanations.

“Why are you here, Ty?”

“I’m back in Marietta for a while. I wanted to see you.” Direct. To the point. As Ty always was—when he talked about stuff. Good, because she was in no mood for polite games. She wanted him gone before her grandfather realized he was there.

“I see.”

“We have unfinished business, Shelby.”

The laugh burst out of her lips before she could stop it, startling the horse, who danced a few steps before stilling. “The business between us is long finished.”

Good luck! I’ll post the winner on Saturday, September 24th. Stay tuned.

Good To Be Home, Even If I Can’t Charge My Phone

Our houseHey everyone and happy Wednesday! When I got back from the Romance Writers of America National conference one week ago today, I was greeted by a house with no electricity or water, and a slightly stressed out husband. He also had to replace the refrigerator while I was gone. I was kind of getting afraid to answer the phone while I was in San Diego.

I had a book due shortly after returning home, but with no electricity, finishing it proved to be a problem. Fortunately, I had a neighbor whose power sources were still running, so I’d meet him at the end of my driveway on his way home from work, hand off my laptop, he would take it home and charge it and then we’d meet at the end of the driveway when he headed back to work the next morning. I was so glad to have a fifteen hour battery.

Life off the grid can be a challenge, but my power source is up and running again, and I’m writing away. To celebrate, I’m posting an excerpt from my September Harlequin Western Romance (formerly Harlequin American Romance), The Bull Rider’s Homecoming.

My bull rider hero is babysitting the heroine’s twin daughters during an emergency. He’s never been around kids and is learning the ropes as he goes. I hope you enjoy.

“Now what?”

Well, he certainly couldn’t leave the macaroni cooking and go home. “What do you guys…girls…usually do while waiting for supper to cook?”

“We do our schoolwork.”

“Or watch TV.”

“Or play on the computer.”

Or play dolls.”

Katie’s face brightened. “Yeah. You can be the boy dolls!”

“I…”

But Kristen was already on her way out of the room, Katie close behind her. A moment later they came back carrying a box of dolls and small clothing.

Trace pushed the hair back from his forehead. This was foreign territory.

Katie set three fashion dolls in various states of dress on the table then looked up at Trace. “Who do you want to be?”

“Uh…where’s that guy doll you were talking about?”

Kristen dug into the bin and pulled out two identical boy dolls—one wearing striped pajamas and the other wearing jeans and a white shirt with an aluminum foil buckle on his small belt. “This is Tyler and this is Jess. They’re twins. Like us.”

Trace knew Tyler and Jess Hayward, the bull-riding twins. He wondered if they knew they had tiny doppelgangers.

“We don’t have many boy clothes,” Katie said.

“And they don’t fit in the girl jeans, so Tyler has to wear his pajamas.”

“Or his beach shorts.” Katie pulled out a pair of flowered swim trunks.

Trace picked up Tyler. “So, what’s my job?”

“We have to get the horses and then we play rodeo.”

Not what he’d been expecting.

“Uncle Grady got us a bull, too, so Tyler and Jess can ride the bull.”

“In his pajamas?” Trace asked.

“Well, he has to wear something,” Katie remarked in a grown-up tone as she headed out of the room. She reappeared a few minutes later with a crate of horses and sure enough, there was a Brahma bull in with the plastic model horses.

“I’ll get the cans,” Kristen said.

“Cans?”

“For barrel racing,” Katie said as if he was slow on the uptake.

And so Trace got down on the floor and played rodeo with the girls. Tyler did very well riding the bull, but Jess got tossed off and landed in the sink of soapy water with a big splash, much to the girls’ delight.

“Mom never lets us do that.”

“Mom…” He almost said “doesn’t need to know” before he realized that was not a very wise thing to say to two impressionable seven-year-olds. “Mom knows best,” he amended.

He got to his feet and fished Jess out of the sink and left him to dry on the drain rack before sitting back down again. Out of curiosity, he asked, “Do you guys ever play anything but rodeo?”

“Sometimes we play school and sometimes we play going-on-a-date, but mostly we play rodeo.”

“You can go on a date to a rodeo,” Kristen announced. “That’s where Uncle Grady and Lex went on their first date.”

“We went, too!” Katie added.

“That must have been some first date.”

“It was,” Kristen said, suddenly solemn. “Lex got scared and sad because her dad died at a rodeo, but Uncle Grady helped her get not afraid.”

“And now they’re getting married,” Katie interjected.

“We’re flower girls!”

The Bull Rider’s Homecoming is available for pre-order from Amazon. Thanks for stopping by!

THERE’S A NEW BOOK A COMIN’

A Kiss to Remember

On July 28—that’s only three days from now—A Kiss to Remember will release. It’s an anthology of five books by authors we know and (hopefully) love to read.

Her Sanctuary

 

Her Sanctuary by Tracy Garrett

Beautiful Maggie Flanaghan’s heart is broken when her father dies suddenly and the westward-bound wagon train moves on without her, leaving her stranded in River’s Bend. But Reverend Kristoph Oltmann discovers the tender beginnings of love as he comforts Maggie, only to find she harbors a secret that could make their relationship impossible

 

 

Gabriels-Law-Web

 

 

 

Gabriel’s Law by Cheryl Pierson

Brandon Gabriel is hired by the citizens of Spring Branch to hunt down the notorious Clayton Gang, never suspecting a double-cross. When Allison Taylor rides into town for supplies, she doesn’t expect to be sickened by the sight of a man being beaten to death by a mob—a man she recognizes from her past. Spring Branch’s upstanding citizens gather round to see a murder, but everything changes with the click of a gun—and Gabriel’s Law.

 

Outlaw Heart

 

Outlaw Heart, by Tanya Hanson

Making a new start has never been harder! Bronx Sanderson is determined to leave his old outlaw ways behind and become a decent man. Lila Brewster is certain that her destiny lies in keeping her late husband’s dream alive: a mission house for the down-and-out of Leadville, Colorado. But dreams change when love flares between an angel and a man with an Outlaw Heart.

 

 

 

 

The Dumont Way

The Dumont Way by Kathleen Rice Adams

The biggest ranch in Texas will give her all to save her children…but only the right woman’s love can save a man’s tortured soul. This trilogy of stories about the Dumont family contains The Trouble with Honey, a new, never-before-published novella. Nothing will stop this powerful family from doing things The Dumont Way.

 

 

 

 

YESTERDAYS FLAME PRP WebYesterday’s Flame by Livia J. Washburn

When smoke jumper Annabel Lowell’s duties propel her from San Francisco in 2000 back to 1906, she faces one of the worst earthquakes in history. But she also finds the passion of a lifetime in fellow fireman Cole Brady. Now she must choose between a future of certain danger and a present of certain love—no matter how short-lived it may be. “A timeless and haunting tale of love.” ~ The Literary Times

 

 

 

 

I’m thrilled to be a part of this anthology with such amazing talents. So thrilled, I’m giving away one electronic (mobi) copy! All you have to do to enter is tell me why you love western historical romance in a comment (include your email address) and I’ll pick a winner tomorrow (July 26).

 

Wait… What?

Filly Fun 2016 Design to use

 

Good Thursday, all! Glad you could join me. The topic of the day is Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Tracy Garrett. So, let’s see—Tracy Garrett

  1. I’m a middle child. My older brother was born a hazel-eyed redhead, my younger sister a blue-eyed blond. Me? “Brown, brown, brown, brown, brown!” (Anyone know what that quote is from?)
  2. If you’ve read my bio, you know I’m a musician, but did you know I’d planned to be a school music teacher? I was a Music Education major right up until my senior year.   It only took two days of student teaching for me to realize I was in the wrong place! Yikes! With the help of my professors—and a couple of extra special study classes—I graduated on time with a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance. Then I headed to graduate school for a Master of Music in Flute Performance. And, before the real world called, I did post-grad work in voice performance. So now, naturally, I’m a romance writer. lol
  3. I still use my music. I’m the Assistant Director for the Greater Lake Area Chorale, a group of 60-70 volunteer musicians who perform two concert seasons a year. And every year since 2008, my mom (pianist), my sister (vocalist), a couple of other vocalists and I have given a concert to raise funds for local charities. This August will mark our ninth annual Evening With The Classics.
  4. LOTOWe live on beautiful Lake of the Ozarks. The Lake has more shoreline than California has coastline. We moved here because our parents all decided to retire here—and because Dan has been coming to this lake all his life (his first time on the water here was when his mother was pregnant with him).
  5. I’m a certified sailboat skipper. I have the training (and the papers) to pilot up to a 50’ sailboat. I didn’t grow up on the water, though. I took up sailing because my husband grew up on the water. I figured I needed to be able to get us to shore if he got conked on the head by the boom. I’ve been sailing in Florida and the Caribbean eight or nine times. After a sailboat, piloting our 25’ pontoon is a piece of cake.
  6. I’ve snorkeled with manta rays! This giant of the sea has a tip-to-tip wingspaMantan of up to 23’ and can weigh in at 4,400 lbs!  Just imagine:  you’re the only snorkeler on a dive boat after dark; once all the divers are in the water, you gear up and step off the back of the boat into the cold Pacific Ocean water; you surface and signal to the driver that you’re good to go, turn around—and come face to face with this!!! I promise I can spell hyperventilate now!
  7. You all know I’m a Cowboy Action Shooter by the name of Ozark Belle. What you might not realize is I’d never shot a gun until we took up the sport three years ago. (I don’t count firing my brother’s BB gun at the woodpecker who decided my bedroom window was a fine place to drill at four in the morning. Both shots missed.)
  8. I’ve got about a dozen states to go to visit all fifty. I’ve been to DC, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, too.
  9. IStBasilsCathedral spent 28 days with a college class exploring The Soviet Union when Brezhnev was in power. It’s an amazing country. Standing in a thousand year old chapel—it’s hard to describe what that’s like.
  10. Counting Russia, I’ve visited twelve countries besides the good old United States of America (thirteen if you count a layover in the airport in Helsinki, Finland). One of those was former East Germany. We worshipped in Thomaskirche, the Leipzig church where J.S. Bach and Felix Mendelssohn played. Way cool!

That’s about it, I think.  Thanks again for visiting with me. Happy Reading!

Tracy

Spring Cleaning Time

spring clean·ing

noun: spring clean; plural noun: spring cleans; noun: spring cleaning; plural noun: spring cleanings

  1. a thorough cleaning of a house or room, typically undertaken in spring.

verb: spring-clean; 3rd person present: spring-cleans; past tense: spring-cleaned; past participle: spring-cleaned; gerund or present participle: spring-cleaning

  1. clean (a home or room) thoroughly.

cleaning ladySince this is the first weekend since Easter that dh’s and my calendars were empty, and it was supposed to rain and storm (note I said “supposed”) – it is the perfect weekend for staying off the boat and off the lake and getting our spring cleaning done.

Now, understand, I hate cleaning! About the only thing I enjoy that even remotely resembles cleaning is straightening up my bookshelves, and I don’t do that very often. Dusting? Why?? I’ll only have to do it again in a week. I’ve never understood why Carol Burnett’s iconic cleaning lady smiled, either!

However, in Missouri in the spring, we have this phenomenon known as “oak pollen.” It makes people cough and sneeze, it coats everything left outside with a sticky yellow dust that rolls into breadsticks when you try to clean it up. In a word: nasty!

Spring cleaning here in the Garrett household has less to do with the inside than getting that sticky, nasty mess off the patio furniture, the railings and the floor. So, to make myself feel less like I’m wasting my time, I opted for some quick research on, you guessed it, spring cleaning.

Of course, there’s no way to know when or why this tradition began, but I found it interesting that some researchers trace the origin of spring cleaning to the ancient Jewish practice of thoroughly cleansing the home in anticipation of Passover, during which they are to rid their homes of even small remnants of chametz (leavened foods) for the length of the holiday. Therefore, observant Jews conducted a thorough “spring cleaning” of the house.

Catholic churches thoroughly cleans the church altar and everything associated with it on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, in the Spring. In the Orthodox churches it is traditional to clean the house thoroughly either right before or during the first week of Great Lent, referred to as Clean Week, that corresponds with the Julian New Year, or April 1.

The Iranian practice “khooneh tekouni”, which means “shaking the house” and happens just before the Persian new year on the first day of spring, means a serious cleaning of everything from the drapes to the furniture. The Scottish do “New Year’s cleaning” on Hogmanay (December 31), a practice now also widespread in Ireland, New Zealand, and to North America.

In North America and northern Europe, the custom found an especially practical value due to those regions’ continental and wet climates. During the 19th century in America, March was often the best time for a thorough cleaning because it was getting warm enough to stop using the fireplaces and coal furnaces, open windows and doorLOTOs, and get the dust, ash and soot out of the house.   [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_cleaning]

Now, all the historical precedent in the world isn’t going to make me enjoy spring cleaning, but I do like the results when we enjoy our morning coffee on our nice clean deck.

WHAT’S YOUR MOST DREADED SPRING CHORE? (Or are you one of those unnatural types that actually like cleaning?)

 

COMING MAY 19–HER SANCTUARY.
Another story in the continuing River’s Bend series.

 

Welcome Becca Whitham and a Give Away!

Welcome to Becca Whitham! Today Becca  is giving away a print copy of The Cowboy’s Bride Collection, but she won’t be able to mail the book until April. Anticipation is a good thing, right? Join me in welcoming Becca!

I’m exciCowboys Bride coverted to be a guest on Petticoats and Pistols today. A big thank you to Karen Witemeyer for hosting me.

My latest release is a novella called “Cowboy Competition” which is part of The Cowboy’s Bride Collection.  While researching, I discovered a distressing story about horses starving to death on the Great Plains during the mid-1800’s. The story was connected to the US Cavalry which imported people and horses from all over the country. Born and bred on richer grasses, the horses couldn’t survive on the less nutritious prairie grass so oats and corn were shipped in.  If a train carrying the supplemental food was delayed, the horses died. Several solutions were devised. One was to grow corn and oats in Texas, and the hazards these farmers faced are worth a story of their own. The second was to take horses born and bred on the plains and train them to be cavalry horses.

The reaction to this second idea was mixed, and that’s what I used in myBlaze story. My hero, Toby, is certain the army will pay fistfuls for trained horses that can survive without supplemental oats and corn. The fastest and cheapest way to start was to round up wild mustangs who roamed the plains. My heroine, Nia, thinks Toby’s loco because mustangs are called wild for a reason! If you’ve ever seen a bronco busting rodeo event, you understand why Nia was concerned.

History records that, starting in 1849, the army began to purchase prairie bred horses—as many as they could get their hands on. Bronco busting became big business. (Try saying that five times fast!) So Toby was right. But Nia was right, too. Not everyone can tame a wild mustang. It takes a very special person to do it.  If you don’t believe me, here’s a link to a movie called Wild Horse, Wild Ride.

The enduring appeal of a cowboy is centered on a man tough enough to tame a wild mustang but gentle enough to earn its trust. These men are the stuff of legend…and romance.

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12528Becca Whitham (WIT-um) is a multi-published author who has always loved reading and writing stories. After raising two children, she and her husband faced the empty nest years by following their dreams: he joined the army as a chaplain, and she began her journey toward publication. Becca loves to tell stories marrying real historical events with modern-day applications to inspire readers to live Christ-reflecting lives. She’s traveled to almost every state in the U.S. for speaking and singing engagements and has lived in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Alaska. Website.

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