These boots are made for–staying home?

I had a research trip planned.

Doing research trips is new to me. I mostly have always done my research with John Wayne movies. Louis L’Amour books.

I operate on the theory that if John Wayne says it, and Louis L’Amour says it, then if they are wrong and I say something different…no one’s gonna believe me anyway.

So I accept that the ‘truth is out there’ whether it’s the truth or not, and honestly that’s a real easy way to research a book.

But the last three book series (you understand I’m on book 65 right now–so the last three series is nine books and that’s not a big chunk)…anyway, the last three book series, I’ve visited the places I’m writing about.

And oops, I take that back because the THIRD series is the one I’m writing now. And I was going out to Casper Wyoming, head along the Oregon Trail, you know…like being on a wagon train only with four lane interstates, hotels and fast food stops with clean restrooms. Not exactly that rugged pioneer spirit my ancestors have but still…we (my cowboy and I) were going.

And then the world closed down.

A very strange, upsetting and sad business this self-quarantining.

I’m frowning as I type. We’ll get through it. This might change the world in harsh ways and wonderful ways. We may face financial hardship and we may rediscover our homes and families.

So my boots, that were made for walkin’ on my research trip are instead, sitting parked in my bedroom. In fact, I went to the grocery store yesterday…I live in a small town, no cases of this mad virus anywhere (no known cases). So going to the grocery store isn’t particularly worrisome. The shelves are even fully stocked.

In fact, though I have plenty of toilet paper and hand sanitizer on hand, I feel an almost compulsive impulse to buy more of them. But they are there, on the shelves, so I controlled myself.

So I went to get ready to go to town and I realized…I couldn’t remember the last time I’d put boots on. Yes, I own and wear boots. I couldn’t remember the last time I hitched up the team. (okay, I mean started the car, but you get the drift).

I have discovered within myself an inner hermit. A recluse. A happy loner.

I’m a little worried that when we can wander far and wide again I’ll have to force myself to move.

I’m so sorry for all the worry and stress everywhere. My mom is in a nursing home and I see her three times a week. I haven’t seen her for nearly three weeks. Phone calls aren’t the same. She’s 91 years old, coming up on 92 and I feel like she’d failed a little since she can’t have company. Not a good situation.

Anyway, stay home if you can.

Whether you can or not, God bless you and keep you.

God bless America.

God bless the whole world.

Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of two books TWO books, ONE winner. Books one and two of the Brides of Hope Mountain series. Aiming for Love and Woman of Sunlight. Tell me what you’re doing. Are you staying in? Do you have a job that forces you to get out? Leave a comment and maybe win a book.

Let’s talk through the safety of the internet. 

http://www.maryconnealy.com

 

 

Mary Connealy
Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series
https://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules
Updated: March 26, 2020 — 5:09 pm

Julie Benson’s Winner!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by today to talk about our favorite footwear.

The winner of the boot socks and signed copy of To Catch A Texas Cowboy is:

Annie!

Congratulations! Look for an email from me on how to claim your giveaway. Thank you everyone who spent part of your day with me. Everyone, please take care and stay safe!

                                      Julie

Julie Benson
Julie Benson has written five novels for Harlequin American, and her Wishing, Texas series is available from Tule Publishing. Now that her three sons have left the nest in Dallas, when she isn't writing, Julie spends her time working on home improvement projects, rescuing dogs, and visiting Texas wineries with her husband. Visit her at www.juliebenson.net.
Updated: March 26, 2020 — 6:42 pm

These Boot Are Made For Giving!

After the Civil War, the boots cowboys were wearing weren’t cutting the muster on the job. While accounts differ whether this occurred in Kansas or Texas, most agree a cowboy went into a shoemaker asking for changes to the day’s boot style. Each feature the smart cowboy asked for fixed a problem. The pointed toe made it easier for him to get his foot in the stirrup. The taller shaft served the purpose of protecting his leg from mesquite tree thorns, barbed wire, snakes and other dangers. The bigger, thicker heel kept his foot from coming out of the stirrup. The boot’s tough leather protected a cowboy’s ankle from being bruised by the wooden stirrup.

The cowboy changed his footwear his footwear because it wasn’t working. A lot of my stories deal with something not working in my hero and/or heroine’s life. Sometimes they know they need to make a change. Sometimes not. Sometimes life forces them to make a change when it’s the last thing they want. But still, my characters tug on their boots, put one foot in front of the other, whether they’re happy about it or not, and walk toward the future.

In To Catch A Texas Cowboy, both AJ Quinn and Grace Henry are forced to make a change in their lives, and neither is very happy about it. Grace is laid off and her best friend talks her into coming to Texas to manage her bed and breakfast. AJ is undercover for the FBI taking the recently vacant job as chief of police to catch a forger. Both vow working in Wishing, Texas, is temporary. They know where they want their lives to go and this isn’t what they had in mind.

Their meeting is one of my favorites. Grace is driving into town and her breaks give out. She rear ends AJ’s truck. AJ tries to tell Grace who he is, but she won’t let him get the words out, instead saying they should exchange insurance info, call a tow truck and be on their way. AJ lists the reasons to call the police, her insurance company may require a police report, debris needs to be cleared from the road, and someone needs to divert traffic until their vehicles are moved. When Grace still resists, AJ asks if there’s a reason she doesn’t want the police called. Grace responds that all the police will do is complicate the issue and small-town police will be even worse about it. Talk about an awkward first meeting! I love when my characters dig themselves into a hole and refuse to put down the shovel!

Another thing I love to do is have the hero or heroine give a gift to the other during the story. Though they may not realize it at the time, the gift is a big turning point in their relationship. In To Catch A Texas Cowboy, Grace is a New York city girl. AJ tells Grace she can’t keep running around in flip-flops and gives her a box. What does AJ give her? What else? A pair of cowboy boots she admired!

I’m going to admit something…I love shoes and I love boots even more. I have four pairs of cowboy boots I wear in the winter and various open toe ankle boots I wear in the winter. Stop by today and leave a comment about your favorite footwear to be entered to win a signed copy of To Catch A Texas Cowboy and a pair of boot socks. 

Julie Benson
Julie Benson has written five novels for Harlequin American, and her Wishing, Texas series is available from Tule Publishing. Now that her three sons have left the nest in Dallas, when she isn't writing, Julie spends her time working on home improvement projects, rescuing dogs, and visiting Texas wineries with her husband. Visit her at www.juliebenson.net.
Updated: March 26, 2020 — 9:34 am

So You Think You Know How to Wear Cowboy Boots

Cowboy boots are fun to wear, but I recently discovered I’ve been wearing them wrong—all wrong. Fortunately, help is on the way. Some of the top designers including Calvin Klein and Fendi are about to send cowboy boots down the runway this spring and you know what that means; our sacred footwear is about to get a makeover.    

To keep you from being out-of-step, here are some tips from fashion experts:  

  • Don’t go for the costume-y look. If you’re wearing boots, avoid cowboy hats, ponchos, spurs, prairie dresses and overalls or you’ll end up looking ready for Halloween.
  • Leave the accessories at home. (I think this means don’t wear your diamonds.)
  • Avoid fringes and sequins (ruffled skirts, okay)
  • You can’t go wrong with jeans (not the faded ones) and turtlenecks. If you’re brave or  immune to stares, you can even wear boots with shorts.
  • Pair cowboy boots with animal prints.

If you’ve been wearing your boots all wrong, chances are the same can be said for the guys in your life.  According to fashion pundits, men should adhere to the following guidelines unless working on the range:

  • Avoid dressing like Woody in Toy Story. Ditch the bolo tie and chaps.
  • Forget the spurs (unless you’re playing a bad guy in a movie).
  • Hats are okay if you going to a rodeo or rounding up cattle. Otherwise, leave at home.
  • Avoid light colored jeans. Dark fitted jeans are best paired with cowboy boots.
  • If you’re wearing a tux, only black cowboy boots will do (polished to a shine).

Men, if this is too much for you, don’t despair.  Everyone loves Woody.  As for the rest of us, Happy Halloween.

What is the best or worst fashion advice you ever got?

 

What happens when four mail-order brides get cold feet?

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Margaret Brownley
Margaret has published more than 46 books and is a N.Y. Times Bestselling author and two-time Romance Writers of America Rita Finalist. She writes historical novels set--where else?--in the Old West! She has written for a day time soap and is currently working on a new series. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence.
Updated: March 19, 2020 — 10:46 am

Research Road Trip

As an author of historical novels, I love it when I get a chance to walk over the same ground as my characters. Most of my research is done online, but every once in a while, I get the chance to get my boots walking in the actual setting of a book I’m writing. This past January was just such an occasion.

During the last weekend of January, I took a research trip to explore the setting of my current work in progress. Not only did I get to dig into the local history of Kingsland, TX, but three writing friends met up with there and turned the weekend into a writing retreat. So wonderful to be blessed by the fellowship of fellow writers and friends.

Anne Mateer and I are in the ticket window with Nancy Kimball (left) and Crystal Barnes (right) in the main living area.

I love staying in historic places whenever possible, and especially when I’m trying to immerse myself in an historic setting. We pulled that off in Kingsland with The Antlers Hotel. The hotel was built by the railroad in 1901 a few years after the rail line came through town in 1892. Unfortunately, it’s about 6 years too modern to include in my story, but it offered fabulous accommodations. I took some photos inside the lobby as well as the exterior.

Since there were four of us, and retreats are much more fun when we can all stay together, we rented a separate building on the property. The Depot cabin we rented had been an actual railroad depot in Muldoon, TX in the 1890’s. I loved opening the door to discover two ticket windows still in place. So fun! Creaky wooden floorboards added to the historical ambiance.

After spending a couple hours on Friday afternoon in the local library’s genealogical section reading up on local families, I drove down to the railroad bridge that is still standing from 1892. I found a really cool tidbit about how folks from the Burnet side of the Colorado River could only get into Kingsland by rails – either on the train or by walking across the railroad bridge. I took a photo from the Burnet side showing the top of the track. I also took a picture from the Kingsland side to show the underside and the pillars. The 4 stone ones are original. The concrete supports were added later.At some point, one or more of my characters is going to be in peril on this bridge. I just need to figure out who and why.

Saturday morning, I took a drive down a country road (and I mean country – dirt, cattle guards, livestock free and ranging) to get some photos of Packsaddle Mountain. It was named for the dip in the middle that makes it resemble a packsaddle on a horse. A major plot point in my novel revolves around this mountain, so being able to see it in person will help me get the details right. A couple decades before my novel’s timeline, this was also the site of the last Indian battle in the region. The settlers, while greatly outnumbered, routed the raiding Apaches and ushered in a time of peace.

On my drive, I also ran into this fellow. Probably not historically accurate, but fun nonetheless.

We finished off the weekend by having brunch on Sunday at the Grand Central Cafe located on the same property where we were staying. It is a grand Victorian home built around the turn of the century and serves wonderful food.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend. So much history, so many great conversations, and great food for the imagination and the taste buds . (Crystal Barnes made us her famous farm fresh breakfast with ingredients straight from her very own cow and chickens Saturday morning and fried us up some fresh-off-the-hoof hamburgers for dinner. Yum!)

What are some of your favorite historical locations to visit?

Kingsland was only about a 3-hour drive from my home. Do you have places close to you that are rich in history?

 

Karen Witemeyer
For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She is an avid cross-stitcher, and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at: www.karenwitemeyer.com.

His Boots Are Made For Running!

Running for sheriff, that is!

Tug Moyer isn’t your average, every-day guy.

He’s a widower with two kids and great parents who jumped in when Tug lost his wife so they could help with the kids. Now… with Tug’s bid to become the next Grant County sheriff at hand… it’s Tug’s time to put his best foot forward, but when his smart and helpful daughter posts a video about her dad needing a new wife…

A video that goes viral within hours!

Tug’s got a mess on his hands.

The school is not amused. The sheriff’s department is not amused. And Evangeline’s teacher is the least amused of all. How could a sheriff’s deputy, a man who does teen-empowerment podcasts and blogcasts, not understand the dangers of kids let loose on the Internet???

Tug’s not your typical Western hero. He’s not a cowboy, but he wears boots. 🙂

He’s not riding range or roping calves or herding cattle, but he’s there, in the thick of a beautiful Western state that’s become a hub of agricultural beauty, vying for the sheriff’s office, fighting crime, helping kids and saving lives, unaware that his growing interest in Evangeline’s teacher might be his undoing.

Christa didn’t come into the ranks of teaching easily. The daughter of a Guatemalan immigrant, a woman who sacrificed so much to get her baby sister and daughter to America, Christa had a rough childhood that framed the solid person she is today. But when one of those youthful mistakes is made public, she knows she can become the downfall of the man she’s fallen in love with.

Boots aren’t just for riding, are they?

Wearing boots makes a statement.

Cool guys dare to wear them in Manhattan.

My son who moved to Texas 18 months ago now owns boots…

And loves them.

It’s not a fashion statement.

Perish the thought.

It’s a personal statement of self-confidence. And maybe a hint of swagger.

Having a hero running for office deepened Tug and Christa’s conflict, but it also gave the reader a better look at who Tug is. And his partner, Lorenzo Calloway, who will be the hero in the third Golden Grove book. Lorenzo is a boot-wearing deputy as well. Raised on a Central Washington beef ranch, Renzo wears the uniform but he’s on hand to help during busy times of calving, wrangling and getting calves to market. Unlike Tug, Renzo will not be running for any kind of office, but he’s the kind of man who stands tall in those boots, who stands firm for faith and family… but more about Renzo and Sarah later! 🙂

Boots sell movie tickets…. Tom Selleck, Dennis Weaver, Sam Elliott, Clint Eastwood, John Wayne… but look at the more recent Stetson wearing crew:

Tommie Lee Jones… Jeff Bridges… Kevin Costner… Kurt Russell… Val Kilmer…

Boots have crossed the marketing line. They’re not only acceptable anywhere, they’re beloved! And they go great with jeans, skirts, dresses…

Now I am not a fan of boots with shorts…. I’m just sayin’, that’s a little too oxymoron for me. If it’s hot enough for shorts, give me sandals or sneakers…. but that’s just me.

So what are your thoughts about boots? 

Here in the cold north, I’ve got snow boots and farm boots, but that’s a whole other blogpost! Share your boots thoughts below, and I’ll tuck you into a drawing for one of two copies of my just released “Learning to Trust”!

 

AND WE HAVE A WINNER FROM RUTHY’S EARILIER MARCH POST… and by earlier, she means before she had flu that ended up as pneumonia, when she could think a cognizant thought, darlings…. Luckily, she’s almost 100% healthy again!

Winner is Quilt Lady!!!! Congratulations, you’ve won a Kindle copy of Ruthy’s bestselling “Welcome to Wishing Bridge”!

Ruth Logan Herne
Multi-published, bestselling, award-winning author Ruth Logan Herne lives on a small farm in Western New York surrounded by grown kids, cute grandkids, cats, dogs, chickens, frogs, toads and snakes. That's why writing Westerns doesn't scare her. Not one smidge. Because she's surrounded by critters of all sorts, and has been known to teach lessons on snakes as available... She started writing Westerns by accident/invitation, and L-O-V-E-D it... matched with her love for both historicals and contemporaries, Ruthy's working on a new Western series for Love Inspired, New England mysteries for Guideposts and her historical Westerns for the indie market in 2018. She loves God, her family, her country and absolutely, positively loves what she does!

Amanda Cabot Has a Winner!

Thank you for such an interesting topic, Miss Amanda! We loved learning about Fort Bridger.

Now for the drawing………….

The winner of the print copy of OUT OF THE EMBERS is…………..

ALICE

Oh my heavens! How wonderful, Miss Alice!

Watch for Miss Amanda’s email asking for your address.

And everyone please come over next week for These Boots Are Made For Walking!

 

Felicia Filly
When I'm not keepin' all these Fillies in line, I'm practicing my roping so I can catch me a cowboy. Me and Jasper (my mule) are two peas in a pod. Both of us are as crotchety as all get-out.
Updated: March 22, 2020 — 12:35 pm

Don’t Forget – These Boots Are Made For Walking!

 

YOU’RE ALL INVITED!

THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKING!

Monday, March 23, 2020 to Friday, March 27, 2020

A full week of fun posts centered around cowboy boots.

You never know what you’ll get.

So put your boots on and sashay over here and maybe do a little do-si-do!

 

Felicia Filly
When I'm not keepin' all these Fillies in line, I'm practicing my roping so I can catch me a cowboy. Me and Jasper (my mule) are two peas in a pod. Both of us are as crotchety as all get-out.
Updated: March 19, 2020 — 11:56 am

Fort Bridger Across the Decades

Are you familiar with Fort Bridger? While it’s not as famous as Fort Laramie on the opposite side of the state, Fort Bridger has a colorful history that includes disputes over ownership, being burned, contributing to the creation of Wyoming’s first millionaire, and a somewhat surprising use in the early twentieth century. If you don’t believe me, the large sign that greets visitors to the museum depicts the various eras of the fort’s history.

Trading Fort

It all started in 1843 when Mountain Man Jim Bridger and his partner Louis Vasquez decided to establish a trading post in what is now southwestern Wyoming. Realizing that emigrants traveling the Oregon/California and Mormon Trails would need supplies, Bridger and Vasquez cobbled together a modest fort whose blacksmith’s shop was perhaps more valuable to the pioneers than the limited supplies available in the fort’s store.

When Mormon pioneers arrived in the valley four years after Bridger built his fort and found the store’s prices exorbitant, tensions began to rise between the settlers and Bridger. These culminated in the Mormons’ accusing Bridger of violating federal law by selling both ammunition and liquor to the native Americans. Unwilling to be arrested, when Bridger learned that the Mormon militia were coming after him, he fled, and the Mormons assumed control of the fort until 1857 when they burned it to prevent the United States Army from seizing control during what is sometimes called the Utah War.

Army Fort

A year later, the Army reestablished Fort Bridger, giving control of the commercial aspects of the fort to Judge William Alexander Carter. That proved to be a profitable association for Carter, who as sutler (fort trader) became Wyoming’s first millionaire, but the benefits were not only financial. When he rebuilt the fort, Carter established Wyoming’s first schoolhouse so that his children – both boys and girls – could be educated, and the education was so complete that students were readily accepted into Eastern colleges.

The site was an active Army fort until 1878, when it was closed for two years. After it reopened in 1880, it remained open until its final closure in 1890. As you can see from the picture of the commanding officer’s home, the late nineteenth century fort bore little resemblance to Bridger’s trading post.

Lincoln Highway Stop

Although many of the fort’s buildings were sold and dismantled, its history did not end in 1890. With the advent of the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental road of the automobile era, the area around Fort Bridger had a new purpose: serving travelers. As someone who enjoys traveling by car, I’ll admit that the “garage camp cabins” were my favorite part of this trip.  Not only did I find their bright orange color eye-catching, but I was intrigued by the fact that the garages were right next to the cabins themselves. The dark spots next to the doors are the garages.

As you might expect from the era (this was the 1930s), the interior was less appealing. While there was heat and electric light, you’ll notice the lack of running water. No wonder they called it a camp. Still, these cabins must have felt like pure luxury compared to sleeping in a tent.

So, what does all this have to do with my latest release? Absolutely nothing. Out of the Embers takes place in the Texas Hill Country with not an Army fort or garage camp cabin in sight. The heroine’s an orphan who winds up opening a restaurant, while the hero raises some of the finest quarter horses in the state but dreams of a very different life.

Does fort life intrigue you? Have you ever toured any of these old forts? I’m offering a signed copy to one person who comments. (Giveaway rules apply.)

 

A young woman with a tragic past has arrived in town . . . and trouble is following close behind

 Ten years after her parents were killed, Evelyn Radcliffe is once more homeless. The orphanage that was her refuge and later her workplace has burned to the ground, and only she and a young orphan girl have escaped. Convinced this must be related to her parents’ murders, Evelyn flees with the girl to Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country and finds shelter in the home of Wyatt Clark, a talented horse rancher whose plans don’t include a family of his own.

At first, Evelyn is a distraction. But when it becomes clear that trouble has followed her to Mesquite Springs, she becomes a full-blown disruption. Can Wyatt keep her safe from the man who wants her dead? And will his own plans become collateral damage?

Suspenseful and sweetly romantic, Out of the Embers is the first in a new series that invites you to the Texas Hill Country in the 1850s, when the West was wild, the men were noble, and the women were strong.

Buying Links

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Christian Book Distributors

 

Bio

Amanda Cabot’s dream of selling a book before her thirtieth birthday came true, and she’s now the author of more than thirty-five novels as well as eight novellas, four non-fiction books, and what she describes as enough technical articles to cure insomnia in a medium-sized city. Her inspirational romances have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists, have garnered a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and have been nominated for the ACFW Carol, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers Best awards. A popular workshop presenter, Amanda takes pleasure in helping other writers achieve their dreams of publication.

How to contact Amanda:

http://www.amandacabot.com

https://www.facebook.com/amanda.j.cabot

https://twitter.com/AmandaJoyCabot/

http://amandajoycabot.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

Guest Blogger
Updated: March 9, 2020 — 11:17 am

Coming! These Boots Are Made For Walking!

 

YOU’RE ALL INVITED!

THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKING!

Monday, March 23, 2020 to Friday, March 27, 2020

A full week of fun posts having something to do with cowboy boots.

You’ll never know what you’ll get.

So put your boots on and sashay over here and maybe do a little do-si-do!

 

Felicia Filly
When I'm not keepin' all these Fillies in line, I'm practicing my roping so I can catch me a cowboy. Me and Jasper (my mule) are two peas in a pod. Both of us are as crotchety as all get-out.
Updated: March 19, 2020 — 11:50 am