Tag: western short stories

LOST SISTER, MY FAVE SHORT STORY–by Cheryl Pierson

I know we’ve mentioned Dorothy M. Johnson before, the iconic western short story writer who penned such classics as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Hanging Tree, and A Man Called Horse; but today, I wanted to tell you about another short story of hers that I read and absolutely loved. It’s quite possibly the best short story–in any genre—that I’ve ever read.

You may never have heard of it. It wasn’t made into a movie, because it too closely mirrored the true life of a real person, Cynthia Ann Parker, mother of Quanah Parker.  The story is called Lost Sister.

I’d heard this story mentioned before by a couple of friends, and thought, “I need to read that—I’ve never read much of Mrs. Johnson’s work but the movies have all been good.” I know. I hate it when people say that, too.  Anyhow, I bought a collection from Amazon that contained the three stories I mentioned in the first paragraph and Lost Sister as the fourth. Of course, I had to read The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, since that’s tied for my all-time favorite western movie, along with Shane. I was so disappointed. The characters in the short story were not the same as my beloved Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne! Hmmm. Well, even though I was disappointed, I decided to give Lost Sister a shot.

It more than made up for my lukewarm feelings for The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

Lost Sister is the story of a woman who has been kidnapped as a young child by “the hostiles”. She has an older sister, who remembers her well from childhood, and loves her with the devotion that most older sisters have for a younger sister. Through the forty years she has been gone, the oldest sister, Mary, has cherished memories of her younger sibling.

There are three younger sisters, as well, who have no recollection of the Lost Sister, Bessie. The older sister doesn’t live with them, but in a different town thousand miles away. The three sisters are notified that their sister, Bessie, has been “rescued” and is being brought back to them. The story is told from the eyes of a nine-year-old boy, whose mother lives with the sisters. She is the widow of their brother, who was killed by the Indians. The boy has dreams of growing up and avenging his father’s death, but something changes once his Aunt Bessie comes back to live with them.

Up until Bessie is returned to them, they have gotten much attention from the neighbors, and have been pitied as being the family who had a sister stolen by the savages so many years ago. Once Bessie is returned, their standing in the community takes a subtle twist. The other sisters don’t know how to handle Bessie’s homecoming. They make plans to go into her room and “visit” with her every day. One of them decides to read to Bessie from the Bible for thirty minutes each day. The others come up with similar plans, none of which include trying to understand Bessie’s feelings at being ripped away from her Indian family.

The oldest sister, Mary, comes to visit. What’s different? Mary loves Bessie, and accepts her; and Bessie loves her—they both remember their childhood time together. The language of love overcomes the barriers of the spoken language that neither of them can understand, for Bessie has forgotten English, and Mary doesn’t know Bessie’s Indian dialect.  But Bessie has a picture of her son, and Mary admires it, and by the time Mary is to go home, she has made arrangements for Bessie to come live with her—a huge relief to the other pious sisters who had made such sympathetic noises about her being reunited with them in the beginning.

In a fateful twist, Bessie makes her own decision about what she will do, taking her own life back, and helping her son avoid capture. This is one story you will not forget. Once you read it, it will stay with you and you’ll find yourself thinking about it again and again. It doesn’t fit the mold of a romance story, except for the fact that I think of Bessie being in love with her husband, having children with him, and then being “rescued” and forced to live in a society she had no ties with any longer…except one—the love and understanding of her older sister, Mary.

No specific Indian tribe is mentioned in the story, probably for a purpose. I think, one of the main reasons is to show us the cultural differences and how, in this case, the “civilized” world that Bessie had come from and been returned to was not as civilized as the “savages” who had kidnapped her.

Cynthia Ann Parker, Quanah Parker’s mother

 

Also, as I say, Cynthia Ann Parker’s story, at the time this story was published, was not that old. There were still raw feelings and rough relations between whites and Indians. But by leaving the particular tribe out of the story, it provides a broader base for humanity to examine the motives for “rescue” and the outcome for all concerned, of a situation such as this in which it would have been better to have let Bessie (Cynthia Ann) remain “lost.”

I’ve posted the link below for the story as it was printed in Collier’s Weekly on March 30, 1956. It’s also available on Amazon in several collections.

http://www.unz.org/Pub/Colliers-1956mar30-00066

WRITING–AND READING– “SHORT” CAN SPARK YOUR IMAGINATION by CHERYL PIERSON

Hi everyone! It’s near the end of winter, thank goodness, and spring is right around the corner. I have never been a “winter” person, and it seems like the older I get the less I like to see the approach of those cold, dreary winter months. We had our yearly ice storm—we get a lot of that here in Oklahoma—but it’s over!

Growing up, I don’t remember having “cabin fever”—I was always able to entertain myself with indoor activities—coloring, paper dolls, board games, reading,  and yes, even writing. This winter I was asked to participate in a little fun exercise that was very different, and not my “norm” for my writing self.

The story was to be a western historical very short piece. Two sentences were given: The shot rang out. I heard her scream at the same time the bottle crashed to the floor.

These sentences had to be used in this exact form—without any modification. The only “change” that was useable was the fact that they could come anywhere in the story, as long as they came together as shown here. And the story must be 500 words long—no longer. Mine came in at 497—and let me tell you, that was not easy for me!


It’s been a long time since I was this excited over something different like this—just something fun to try. There are 51 other participants as well–all published western authors–using these same two sentences. I’m so curious to see where this leads! The book will be sold for Kindle, but none of us are anticipating getting rich from it—whatever royalties it garners will go into a scholarship fund for a young writer. For me, the rewards were huge.

Also, keep your eyes peeled, as there’ll be one of these coming out each quarter. I just got my copy today, and plan to settle in this evening and see what everyone else wrote with their 500 words. My imagination took off, and I know my co-authors’ did, too.

I had such fun with this! Here it is—see what you think!

Two men, waiting for something. One of them is in for a huge surprise. What about the other one? Will he make it out alive?

I CAN WAIT by CHERYL PIERSON

FROM: THE SHOT RANG OUT!

“Let’s see…‘The shot rang out. I heard her scream at the same time the bottle crashed to the floor.’ That’s your story, right, fast gun?” Marshal Ferris smirked as he moved closer to the chair where his prisoner, Johnny Kilgore, was tied.

“Yeah,” Johnny muttered through split lips, blood streaming from the busted nose Ferris had given him. “It’s my story because that’s how it happened, pendejo.”

Ferris shot him a wary glance, unsure if he’d been insulted.

Johnny looked toward the narrow, barred window just in time to see a small hand disappear. Seeing things? Hoping for a miracle… He shook his head to clear it in the stifling air.

Ferris leaned down close, blocking Johnny’s view of the window. “You killed that woman, and you’re gonna admit it, you son of a bitch. We got all night. I can wait.” Ferris cracked his knuckles. Another vicious uppercut rocked Johnny’s head back. “You’re gonna write your confession.”

Who was the kid outside the window? Damn…why even think of that? I’ll be dead before midnight. There’s no help coming. No miracle for me…not this time… Wrong place, wrong time, just once too often…

He’d killed—but he’d never murdered a woman—especially not this one. Maria Lopez had been little more than a girl herself—and her scream from her upstairs room had been one of pure terror. By the time Johnny’d gotten to her, she was already dead. She wasn’t going to tell who did it, but Johnny had a fair idea from the dogged way Ferris kept after him about a confession.

Ferris crossed his arms. “It’s gonna be a long night. I got a powerful hunger. You just sit tight—I’ll be back after dinner. Just in time for you to confess…before you try to escape, and get killed doing it. Think about that while I’m gone,” he chortled as he walked away toward the outer office, banging the door shut like a death knell.

Johnny slipped his hands through the loose knots of the rope Ferris had tied him with. He untied his ankles, then stood and stumbled to the window. He told himself he didn’t believe in miracles anymore, but a pistol had been placed on the sill inside the bars—if that wasn’t a miracle, he didn’t know what was. He broke it open to be sure it was loaded. Six bullets.

“Señor.” The husky whisper with a hint of tears came from the outside wall. “Marshal Ferris killed my sister. I beg you…”

“Lo siento, m’ijo,” Johnny answered quietly. “I’ll do what I can. Thank you for this.”

The small hand appeared again, laying a hatpin on the ledge. His “key” to the cell door. Johnny smiled, even though it hurt.

One last miracle was his tonight, and with a little luck, he’d be halfway to the border by sunrise. After he killed Ferris.

He settled in behind the door. It’s gonna be a long night. But I can wait…

PROCEEDS GO TO A SCHOLARSHIP FUND FOR A YOUNG WRITER SET UP BY SCOTT HARRIS. You can’t find a better reading bargain anywhere for only .99!

BUY IT HERE: I APOLOGIZE–WORDPRESS IS NOT LETTING ME ADD THE LINK, BUT IF YOU GO TO AMAZON AND SEARCH FOR THE SHOT RANG OUT BY SCOTT HARRIS, IT WILL COME UP.  

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).

 

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: http://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

The Art of Victorian Hair Wreaths

hair wreath 1Since I’m writing this on Halloween (though you won’t see the blog for a couple of days) I want to introduce you to a slightly morbid Victorian art form – hair wreaths.

Not flower or leaf wreaths for your hair; not even an ornament made to wrap around a woman’s bun. I mean hair—woven into wreaths. Hair of a deceased family member or close friend, to be precise. A little creepy, isn’t it?!

In the Victorian age, the hair of the deceased was woven into a wreath to hang in the house as a memento, a form of mourning. And, of course, they didn’t stop with wreaths. Hair was made into wearable ornaments–bracelets, brooches, pins, watch chains, even buttons. Godey’s Lady’s Book even included instructions on this art form.

hair wreath 2Then Sear’s got into the act, advertising hair wreaths, with the caveat that the hair you receive may not be the hair you sent. With out the sentimental connection, the art died out.

To be fair, it wasn’t only for mourning that hair was clipped and woven. Hair was taken from living friends and relatives, too. According to Leila Cohoon, of Leila’s Hair Museum in Independence, Missouri, it was “a way of keeping track of families, before the camera was invented…” [See more at: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/11479#sthash.kwhXbEdo.dpuf; or http://www.leilashairmuseum.net/index.html.]

Now, I’m not creeped out by keeping hair. A snip of hair in a locket or a lock woven into a watch chain sounds normal, even sentimental. But a wreath to hang on the wall? Nope, couldn’t go there.

How about you? Creepy or creative?

NEW RELEASE AND GIVEAWAY BY CHERYL PIERSON

Cheryl2041I wanted to talk a bit about my single author anthology, DARK TRAIL RISING that just made its debut a few days back! Dark Trail Rising is a collection of four of my short stories, The Keepers of Camelot, The Kindness of Strangers, Shot for a Dog, and Hidden Trails.

These are all historical western stories with no romance except for Hidden Trails. Oh, shoot. How can I say any story that has Guinevere, Arthur, and Lancelot as characters ISN’T romantic? So I suppose in one sense of the word, The Keepers of Camelot has romance in it too, but not in the conventional way we think of when we think of western historical romance.

You know that question people always ask you about “Which one of these stories is your favorite?” In this case, I’d have to truly say they all are, but for different reasons.

SPDark Trail Rising Cheryl WebThe Keepers of Camelot was a favorite because it was so different. I love the concept of the three main characters of the Camelot legend meeting centuries later, and finally being able to understand that forgiveness will bring them peace. It’s a Christmas tale, but one of redemption, and keeping the legend of Camelot alive in a young boy who loves it –hundreds of years later—just as Arthur did in the beginning. The Keepers of Camelot was a finalist in the Western Fictioneers short story category in the 2013 Peacemaker Awards.

The Kindness of Strangers is a favorite because it’s the first one I wrote that had no romance in it. A man is searching for the raiders who killed his wife and daughters. But when he finds them…will revenge keep him from saving three children who need him now that their parents are dead? This story was my first submission to a Western Fictioneers anthology—another reason it’s special to me.

Shot for a Dog…you know, this one was one of those stories that just came to me—you know the type. You try to put it off, say “Let me finish this other one first…” But it just won’t leave you alone until you give it what it wants—to be written! So I did, and it really was one of those that just twisted me up inside and wouldn’t let go. Lucas is jealous of his younger brother to the point of madness. Once he goes over the edge, he doesn’t know if he’s got hydrophobia or if he’s going insane.

Hidden Trails is the “true” romance of the bunch. It’s one I had thought I would put in the Valentine anthology last year…but sometimes, a story just gets out of hand and won’t let you end it where you’d thought you might. It’s got a lot of twists and turns in it, and I really loved the way it turned out for everyone.

What I’m really happy about is that these were all single sells or in other anthologies, but this is the first time they’re all together and IN PRINT!

Release day happened a few days ago, and I’m giving away an e-copy to a lucky commenter!

Here are the blurbs to whet your appetite for more!

These four incredible western tales with a twist by Cheryl Pierson won’t let you rest until you’ve read the entire single author collection. DARK TRAIL RISING is an anthology of old west stories that will keep you wondering and thinking long after you read the last line.

THE KEEPERS OF CAMELOT—When King Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot are again united on the 1880’s western frontier, can forgiveness bring them the peace that has eluded them for centuries? It’s an unforgettable Christmas brought about through one young boy’s steadfast belief in rekindling the glorious hope of the greatest legend of all time. THE KEEPERS OF CAMELOT was a 2013 Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award finalist in the short story category.

THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS—Jericho Dean has one thing on his mind: revenge for the murders of his wife and two little girls. As he closes in on the ruthless gang of Comancheros responsible for the crime, he is joined by an odd cowboy, Freeman Hart, who possesses some powerful magic. The two men come upon the outlaw band as they are attacking another homestead, and Jericho must make a decision. Will the relentless pursuit of vengeance destroy him, or will he find redemption and a reason to live in the eyes of three orphans who are left with no one to care for them but him?

SHOT FOR A DOG—At sixteen, Lucas Marshal is eight years older than his half-brother, Jeremiah. His hatred and jealousy of Jeremiah is all-consuming, until one dark day, it gets the best of him. Luke does the unthinkable, and shoots the family dog, Shadow. In trying to prevent it, Jeremiah is killed, as well. Forced to leave home by what he has done, Luke finds he has a companion he didn’t count on, and can’t get rid of. A river runs with blood, he hears voices—does he have hydrophobia, or is he losing his mind? The doctor is his only chance. But when he gets to town, somehow, the townspeople already have learned what he’s done—and the sheriff has a terrible secret of his own that may, indeed, be the death of Lucas Marshal.

HIDDEN TRAILS—Levi Connor has never run from anything in his life, and he doesn’t intend to start now. Wounded and riding through a blinding February snowstorm, he discovers a reason to exist when a beautiful mixed-blood girl takes him in and heals him. Valentine Reneau lives in fear that her father will find her someday. Time runs out when a stranger shows up on her land with two hired guns—and the devil in his plans. Will Levi kill for a woman he barely knows? The chips are down, the guns blaze, and everything finally comes clear along these HIDDEN TRAILS…but who’ll be left alive?

Now if you just can’t wait to see if you won a copy, here are the links to jump over and snap one up! Thanks to everyone for stopping by today!

http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Trail-Rising-Four-Tales-ebook/dp/B0150SWII8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1442108201&sr=1-1&keywords=Dark+Trail+Rising

1887 Lever-Action Shotgun

IMG_0074

By the late 19th century, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company was well known for their lever-action firearms. Though designer John Browning—who designed most of the lever-action rifles that “won the west”—recommended the new shotgun be pump-action, Winchester management wanted to capitalize on their previous success. Early brand recognition!  The result?  The Winchester Model 1887 Lever-Action Shotgun. [That’s mine, a reproduction, pictured above.]

That brand recognition even extends into modern-day Hollywood — Arnold Schwarzenegger carried a Model 1887 in The Terminator.

The Model 1887 loads from the top or breech (picture on right). It had a magazine tube that would hold six shells plus one IMG_0077more in the chamber. Patterned after their lever action rifles, the shotgun lever design included an internal safety innovation that minimized the possibility of accidentally firing: the firing pin cannot strike the primer of the shell until the breech block is completely closed. That means the shot will go down the barrel and not up into the shooter’s face.

IMG_0078
The lever is exactly that—a lever. [See picture on the left] Opening it or pushing it down ejects the spent shell and moves another shell from the tube into firing position.

When a man or woman could carry multiple weapons that used the same cartridges, that meant more variety of firearms and less weight in lead to haul around. Winchester produced lever-action rifles that could fire several pistol-caliber cartridges (from right to left in the picture): .32-20, .38-40 & .44-40, all worked in FullSizeRenderthe Model 1873 rifle; and they made the Model 1886 rifle to use higher powered big game cartridges like the .45-70, the original “buffalo” cartridge.

Since shotgun shells of the time used black powder, the Model 1887 was designed and chambered for these less powerful shotshells. And, while both 10 and 12-gauge model 1887s were offered [two left shells above, respectively], it was quickly realized the 1887 wasn’t strong enough for the more powerful smokeless powder shells. That prompted a redesign that resulted in the Model 1901—but that’s another blog.

Here’s a short video showing how the Model 1887 breech-loading rolling block lever-action shotgun functions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE9WD9Fihks

And, of course: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9SpHLyZuP0

Tracy Garrett

PRPTracy Garrett Duo Web

 

 

Available Now ~ “A River’s Bend Duo,” featuring two short stories, WANTED:  THE SHERIFF & NO LESS THAN FOREVER.

A River’s Bend Duo

Tracy Garrett Duo Web

I’m really excited to have these two stories released in one volume, since it’s how I think of them–intertwined.  Originally released in the Lassoing a Groom & Lassoing a Bride anthologies, these stories take place at the same time—exactly the same time.

That timing, I admit, was an accident.  I was writing WANTED: THE SHERIFF, Matt & Martha’s story, and suddenly, in the middle of it, a young woman was brought to Martha’s brother, the doctor, for treatment.  While Matt & Martha were busy making calf eyes at each other, Dr. Franz discovered the love of his life. And pretty Rebekah Snow Redman turned out to be a fireball in spite of her fragile appearance.

 

 

A RIVER’S BEND DUO
Wanted: The Sheriff

Martha Bittner may be considered a spinster at twenty-seven, but she’s not planning to stay that way. For four years, she’s wanted the sheriff of River’s Bend, Missouri, to notice her as more than a friend and a really good cook. With the first annual spring dance only weeks away, Martha decides to announce her intentions — and declares the sheriff a wanted man.

Sheriff Matthew Tate always thought he was better off a bachelor. Growing up in Boston society, where marriage is a business transaction and wealth his greatest asset, he’s learned to distrust all women’s intentions. None of them even catch his eye anymore — until pretty Martha Bittner tells him exactly what she wants… and he wonders why he ever resisted capture.

No Less Than Forever

Doctor Franz Bittner is satisfied with his life as it is. He has a good practice in a place where he is respected, in spite of his German birth. He has good friends and enough income to provide him with a few comforts. A wife would only complicate things. Then a tiny blond stranger is pulled from the river and everything changes. With one smile she captures his attention—and steals his heart.

Rebekah Snow Redmann barely survived her abusive husband’s attack. Though she was given to him to pay her father’s debts, she’d rather die than go back. Then she ends up in the care of the handsome local doctor and he stitches up more than her wounds—he mends her soul. With him, she discovers everything that she believes she can never have…a love that will last forever.

Tracy Garrett
www.TracyGarrett.com

Texas Ranger Badges: Fact or Fiction?

Kathleen Rice Adams header

Texas Ranger badges are a hot commodity in the collectibles market, but the caveat “buyer beware” applies in a big way. The vast majority of items marketed as genuine Texas Ranger badges are reproductions, facsimiles, or toys. Very few legitimate badges exist outside museums and family collections, and those that do hardly ever are sold. There’s a very good reason for that: Manufacturing, possessing, or selling Texas Ranger insignia, even fakes that are “deceptively similar” to the real thing, violates Texas law except in specific circumstances.

According to Byron A. Johnson, executive director of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum (the official historical center for the Texas Ranger law-enforcement agency), “Spurious badges and fraudulent representation or transactions connected with them date back to the 1950s and are increasing. We receive anywhere from 10 to 30 inquiries a month on badges, the majority connected with sales on eBay.”

If you had to, could you identify a legitimate Texas Ranger badge? Test your knowledge: Which of the alleged badges below are genuine? Pick one from each set. (All images are ©Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco, Texas, and are used with permission. All Rights Reserved.)

Set 1

1889Badge_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

SpecialAgent130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

Answer: The left-hand badge, dated 1889, is the earliest authenticated Texas Ranger insignia in the collection of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. Badges weren’t standard issue for Rangers until 1935, although from 1874 onward, individual Rangers sometimes commissioned badges from jewelers or gunsmiths, who made them from Mexican coins. Relatively few Rangers wore a badge out in the open. As for the item on the right? There’s no such thing as a “Texas Ranger Special Agent.”

Set 2

FakeShield_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

1938Badge_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

Answer: On the right is an official shield-type badge issued between 1938 and 1957. Ranger captains received gold badges; the shields issued to lower ranks were silver. The badge on the left is a fake, though similar authentic badges exist.

Set 3

FrontierBattalionBadge_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

1957Badge_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

Answer: The badge on the right was the official badge of the Rangers from July 1957 to October 1962. Called the “blue bottle cap badge,” the solid, “modernized” design was universally reviled. The left-hand badge is a fake. According to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, “No genuine Texas Ranger badges are known to exist with ‘Frontier Battalion’ engraved on them.”

Set 4

1962Badge_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

COF_130

©TRHFM, Waco, TX

Answer: The left-hand badge, called the “wagon wheel badge,” has been the official Texas Ranger badge since October 1962. Each is made from a Mexican five-peso silver coin. The badge on the right is a “fantasy badge.” According to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, the most common designation on such badges is “Co. A.”

How did you do? If you answered correctly for more than one without benefiting from a lucky guess, you did better than most people, including Texans. Give yourself extra points if you knew Rangers proved their legitimacy with Warrants of Authority, not badges, prior to 1935.

For more information about the Texas Rangers—including the history of the organization, biographical sketches of individual Rangers, and all kinds of information about badges and other insignia—visit the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum online at TexasRanger.org. The museum and its staff have my utmost gratitude for their assistance with this post. They do the Rangers proud.

 

While we’re on the subject of Rangers…

TheSecond-BestRangerInTexas_200x300On June 1, Western Fictioneers, a professional organization for authors of western novels and short stories, announced the winners of the 2015 Peacemaker Awards. Presented annually, the Peacemakers recognize the best western historical fiction published during the previous calendar year.

I’m happy to say “The Second-Best Ranger in Texas” received the award for Best Western Short Fiction. “The Second-Best Ranger in Texas” tells the story of a washed-up Texas Ranger and a failed nun who find redemption in love.

The award marked the second time in two years a short story published by Prairie Rose Publications has been honored with a Peacemaker: Livia J. Washburn’s “Charlie’s Pie” received the Best Western Short Fiction award in 2014.

Available in paperback and e-book

In addition, Prodigal Gun, also published by Prairie Rose, was named a finalist in the Best Western First Novel category. Prodigal Gun is the first novel-length romance ever nominated for a Peacemaker.

I don’t say any of that to brag…

Oh, heck. Who am I trying to kid? I’m bragging. (Sorry, Mom!)

There really is a larger point, though: I think the award and nomination are important, but not because the books are mine. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right stories. There’s a hint at something much broader here: At long last, it seems, romances of all lengths are being recognized as “respectable literature” outside the romance category. That’s good news for all of us who enjoy a genre too often scoffed at and snubbed by the larger community of authors and readers.

Over the past eighteen months, a number of books published by Prairie Rose Publications have been nominated for or received awards of all kinds. If that’s any indication, PRP is off to a great start. Founded in August 2013 by Livia Washburn Reasoner and Cheryl Pierson, the company is and always will be dedicated to publishing traditional westerns and western romance written by women. Nevertheless, in less than two years, PRP has expanded to include young adult, inspirational, paranormal, and medieval lines. The “little publishing company” releases some darn fine fiction. I’m proud it publishes mine.

 

To celebrate good fortune in so many areas of my life, I’ll gift a copy of “The Second-Best Ranger in Texas” to two folks who are brave enough to tell us how many of the badges above they identified correctly. To the comments with you!

 

 

COMING HOME is Coming December 4

Tracy GarrettDo you remember the first time you were in a new place or met a new person and felt you belonged, that you’d finally come home? Maybe it’s a new house, where you walked in the front door and said to yourself “This is what I’ve been looking for.” Mine was the first date with my future husband. I knew this man was my “home” no matter where life took us—and it’s taken us quite a few places!

In my short story, COMING HOME, Jericho Hawken meets Maryland Henry and her three nieces and knows he’s found what he’s been searching for. But there are some big boulders in their path to happiness.

I’m so happy to share that Coming Home is being released as an electronic short story for only .99! [It was first released as part of the Hearts and Spurs anthology from Prairie Rose Publications.]

Coming Home CoverHere’s a little taste:

COMING HOME: Sometimes it takes two to make dreams come true.

When a man who believes he’ll never have a home and family…
Former U.S. Marshal Jericho Hawken should have been shepherding a wagon train to new territory, but he unwillingly left them vulnerable to a vicious raider. The murder of the settlers he was supposed to be guarding is the hardest thing he’s ever had to face…until he meets the sister of one of the settlers. 

…finds a woman who has lost everything…
Instead of a joyous reunion with her brother, Maryland Henry has come to River’s Bend to take responsibility for her three orphaned nieces. Fired from her teaching position and with no other family on whom to rely, Mary believes Jericho Hawken is responsible for all her woes. Or is he what she’s been searching for all along?

It takes a lot of forgiveness and a few fireworks to realize that together their dreams can come true.

 

Excerpt:
He watched Mary’s throat work as she battled back tears that made her blue eyes seem huge in her pale face. When she squared her shoulders and lifted her chin, he knew his time for avoiding the truth was over.

“What happened, Mr. Hawken?”

Self-loathing threatened to choke him. “I’m not sure.”

She glanced at Matt, then returned her piercing gaze to Jericho. “I don’t understand. Did it happen at night? Was it too dark for you to see?”

He gulped down the liquid in his glass and carefully set the crystal aside when he wanted to hurl it against the stone hearth. “I wasn’t there.”

“Where—”

“I was in jail.”

 

Coming Home will be released on DECEMBER 4. Stop by my website, www.TracyGarrett.com, to keep up on what’s new. And thanks for visiting today!

Tracy

 

 

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