Dylann Crush Comes to Visit!

Contemporary romance author Dylann Crush will pay us a visit on Friday, May 20, 2022! Yee-Haw!

This lady just bubbles over with romance and fun and she dearly loves her cowboys. We’ll need you to help us give her a big Wildflower Junction welcome that we’re famous for. Her pickup will soon be coming down this dusty road so give her a whoop and a big howdy.

She’ll talk about her new series Whiskey Wars. Where can a one-night stand take a girl? Well, we’re about to find out.

So head over on Friday and we’ll have us a party. It’ll be fun!

Pendleton Petticoats Get a Makeover

The past six weeks or so I’ve been working on a big project.

Oddly enough, it doesn’t involve writing, at least not directly.

Like clothes that get worn out or a house that needs painted, sometimes book covers need a makeover.

Then multiply that times ten because instead of giving one book a makeover, I gave a whole 10-book series a brand new look.

I’m excited to share these new Pendleton Petticoats covers with you today. In fact, you are the first to get to see them!

Before I share them though, I thought I’d walk you through some of the changes one or two of the covers have gone through since I first published the books.

When I originally released  Aundy, the first book in the series, I had zero budget for hiring someone to design covers or buying high quality images.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? This desperate measure was for me to pull on a blue calico wrapper my mom had made eons ago, pin eyelet lace inside it so it looked like a petticoat hanging out, and lace up a pair of reproduction Edwardian era boots (talk about pinched toes!) I’d had since high school days. I enlisted Captain Cavedweller to take the photo, then I added in the sheep and the wheat field in the background. I try not to cringe when I see it now. At the time, it filled a need!

Fast forward to 2017 when I had a subscription to a stock image website. By then, I’d picked up a few design skills (not nearly enough, but a few!).

This was the original graphic I used for the new Aundy cover. It had some great elements.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t quite gotten the hang of “dressing” models in photos. It’s a lot harder than it might seem when the model is in a reclined position like this. Again, it filled a need when I wanted an upgrade.

 

What do you think of the new and improved Aundy?

I love this so much, mostly because this is exactly how I picture Aundy, from the braided hair to the peach-hued gown, to her sheep grazing in the distance. I really did have a lot of fun designing this cover.

Here’s another makeover example.

 

 

It was impossible when I was working on Millie’s story to find any appropriate artwork for the cover. You see, Millie is strongly against alcohol being sold in town and becomes one of the leaders of the local temperance union. How to convey that in a cover shot?

Well, yours truly may or may not have ordered a corset, cinched it so tight I could barely breathe, and assembled a costume from things I had buried in the back of the closet (minus the axe, that was CC’s contribution to the photo). I photoshopped in the house in the background and the whiskey barrel.

When I changed the cover in 2017, I decided to ditch the whole temperance idea for the cover and focus on Millie’s job as a telephone operator.

This cover was better, but still not quite right.

 

The new and improved Millie makes my heart so happy. I adore the colors and the fact she’s sitting on a bench reading. It makes me want to sit with her and peek over her shoulder to see what story has her so enthralled.

 

Here they are! All 10 books with shiny new covers!

Set in the western town of Pendleton, Oregon, at the turn of the 20th century, each book in this series bears the name of the heroine, all brave yet very different.

Aundy (Book 1) — Aundy Thorsen, a stubborn mail-order bride, finds the courage to carry on when she’s widowed before ever truly becoming a wife, but opening her heart to love again may be more than she can bear.

Caterina (Book 2) — Running from a man intent on marrying her, Caterina Campanelli starts a new life in Pendleton, completely unprepared for the passionate feelings stirred in her by the town’s incredibly handsome deputy sheriff.

Ilsa (Book 3) — Desperate to escape her wicked aunt and an unthinkable future, Ilsa Thorsen finds herself on her sister’s ranch in Pendleton. Not only are the dust and smells more than she can bear, but Tony Campanelli seems bent on making her his special project.

Marnie (Book 4) — Beyond all hope for a happy future, Marnie Jones struggles to deal with her roiling emotions when U.S. Marshal Lars Thorsen rides into town, tearing down the walls she’s erected around her heart.

Lacy (Book 5) —  Bound by tradition and responsibilities, Lacy has to choose between the ties that bind her to the past and the unexpected love that will carry her into the future.

Bertie (Book 6) — Haunted by the trauma of her past, Bertie Hawkins must open her heart to love if she has any hope for the future.

Millie (Book 7) — Determined to bring prohibition to town, the last thing Millie Matlock expects is to fall for the charming owner of the Second Chance Saloon.

Dally (Book 8) — Eager to return home and begin his career, Doctor Nik Nash is caught by surprise when the spirited Dally Douglas captures his heart.

Quinn (Book 9) — Full of opinions and plans to help women, Quinn Fairfield has no time for such nonsense as falling in love.

Evie (Book 10) — Will a man focused on his work notice the love of a lifetime in his client’s effervescent nanny?

 

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, but I think it might just be Aundy. Or maybe Evie. Or Quinn. Or…

Which one is your favorite? 

Post your answer for a chance to win the Pendleton Petticoats boxed set which includes three Pendleton stories!

 

YUMMY COWBOY DIP–HAVE YOU EVER EATEN THIS?

Hi everyone! With summer coming on, there’ll be lots of opportunities for more family get-togethers, and I’m always on the lookout for something different that will be a hit when we all congregate here at the house—especially something that can be made ahead of time and serve a LOT of people.

Take a look at this warm dip—you can eat it with chips or veggies or even french fries (and my inquiring mind wants to know how it might also taste on the edge of a piece of pizza or a bread stick!)

This recipe came from a newsletter I get from the “Cooking Professionally” site (this scared me at first, because I’m NOT a professional cook by any means!)

I’m excited to find this recipe and I’m going to try it SOON. I have a feeling this might become a staple at my house! Do you have a favorite quick and easy recipe you make for family gatherings in the summer? PLEASE SHARE!!!

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE DIP:

  • 12 ounces hot Italian sausage links, casings removed
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups frozen sweet corn, thawed and drained
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1/2 cup fresh jalapeño peppers, diced
  • 1/2 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • cayenne pepper, to taste

 

FOR TOPPING:

  • 2 tablespoons sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon green onion, optional, sliced

 

DIRECTIONS:

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Step 2

Place the sausage links in a dry pan over medium heat until they start to sizzle.

Step 3

Use a spoon or flat wooden spatula to break up the sausage as it cooks and cook until browned and crumbly, about 10-12 minutes.

Step 4

Remove the sausage from the heat and drain the fat.

Step 5

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, 4 ounces cheddar cheese, corn, the cooked sausage, tomatoes with chiles, green chiles, jalapeño peppers, 1/2 cup green onions, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper, mixing until thoroughly combined.

Step 6

Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and smooth out the top.

Step 7

Top with the remaining cheddar cheese and the cayenne pepper.

Step 8

Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake until the cheese is melted and the dip is bubbling around the outside, about 30 minutes.

Step 9

Top with the remaining green onions and serve!

Left Foot, Right Foot

Do you remember what it was like to put your foot into the wrong shoe? Young children do this all the time. I still remember how uncomfortable it felt.

Children don’t pay a lot of attention to that and mostly it doesn’t seem to bother them. Adults are a different story.

But did you know that up until as late as 1850 shoemakers didn’t differentiate between the left and the right? They made both shoes straight with no curve in them to shape to the feet. I can only imagine how awful they were to wear.

I’ve often stared at shoes in a museum and think how they must’ve hurt the wearer’s poor feet.

My daughter took me shopping for some sandals for my birthday which is tomorrow and it took a while to find any that were comfortable. So I cannot imagine wearing a pair with both the left and right shaped the same. Good heavens!

And what if you were of the royal family or the queen and had to be graceful? It had to have taken strong will to hide a grimace.

Here are Queen Victoria’s wedding shoes. She wore a size 3 1/2 but was only 4’ 11” tall so I guess that’s in proportion to her.

Courtesy Northhampton Museum

Marie Antoinette of France owned 500 pairs of shoes. She also wore size 3. Of note, she lost a shoe going to the guillotine and her guards made her leave it. Coincidentally, she was 5’ 6”. Here are hers.

Musee des Beaux-Arts de Caen France

These are what Mary, Queen of Scots wore.

Ryder, J. T.; Mary, Queen of Scots’ Shoes; Museums Sheffield; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/mary-queen-of-scots-shoes-78267%5B/caption%5D

Two anonymous pair from the 18th century. Oh, my aching feet!!

[caption id="attachment_93542" align="aligncenter" width="860"] 18th Century Shoes The British Museum

 

Of note, women back then bound their toes in order to fit into smaller shoes. Especially the royals. They considered big feet to be distasteful. What I’m wondering is why they wanted sharp-toed shoes. The tip of the shoe turned up when worn and looks awful.

Big change came with the invention of machinery for making shoes and they were finally able to differentiate between left and right. Hallelujah! Or we’d still be forced to wear such horrible shoes or go back to strapping furs to our feet. I vote for furs!

My dad had little feet and had to wear a size 5 boys. My oldest sister always wore a women’s 5 and could rarely find shoes to fit. I wore a 5 until I had children then they grew to a 6 1/2.. Small feet came from my dad’s side. My mother wore a 9 and had trouble with her feet all her life.

What about you? Any family history to share or any thoughts about these uncomfortable shoes in the pictures?

Misty Beller Has a Winner!

Thank you so much for coming to visit, Misty. And thank you for sharing such a fascinating post.

Now for the random drawing……..

One commenter will get a print copy of A Warrior’s Heart!

And the winner is……….

KATHY RADAR

Yippee! I’m so happy for you, Kathy! Watch for Miss Misty’s email and have your address ready.

Everyone, come back all week. Don’t be strangers!

 

Misty M. Beller On Unusual Settings (and she has a giveaway!)

Hey, y’all!

It’s always such an honor to spend the day with you! The Petticoats and Pistols reader family is one of my favorite places to visit.

Are you a fan of unusual settings in books? I’ve always loved western settings, especially in the mountains. (especially the Rocky Mountains!) My latest release, A Healer’s Promise, has an especially unusual setting—a secret village hidden in caves in the Canadian Rockies. They’ve been completely cut off from the outside world for a hundred years!

This series has been so much fun to write, and I’m often asked if the hidden village of Laurent was a real place. My answer is…it’s possible! J

I was listening to a historical podcast a few years ago that talked about the Vikings and the female warriors who would sometimes gain fame among them. As the hosts talked about the first Viking raids to North America, I started thinking… “What if one of those groups went farther west than any of us thought? What if they found the Canadian Rockies and lived there in a hidden community for centuries?” The thought took hold, and little by little, the idea for the Brides of Laurent series came to life. I eventually changed the village to be a French settlement named Laurent.

Much of the book takes places in the mountains just outside of the village of Laurent, and some of my favorite parts are the snowy winter weather, hiding in a cave, a horse named Chaucer who saves the day…

And of course, our hero and heroine!

From my mind’s first glimpse of Levi and Audrey, I fell in love with them both. Levi is a British spy, and he’s one of those really good guys. He’s strong and capable. A gentleman, who struggles to protect Audrey, especially when his very presence is part of what puts her in danger. And add in the British accent… (happy sigh)

Audrey is one of those caring people who give freely of themselves to help others—and she really loves doing it! She’s a born nurturer, which is one of the reasons she helps Levi escape instead of letting him face unjust punishment because of his background.

Of course, no one is perfect and these two have their share of personal struggles. But I love their hearts throughout the story. And of course, the way things develop to a sizzle between them! I think you’ll love being part of their story as it unfolds. And I hope you love the wild majesty of the Canadian Rockies as much as I do. J

Today, I’m excited to give away a copy of book one in the series, A Warrior’s Heart.
I’d love to hear from you, what are some of your favorite book settings?

Misty M. Beller

Available for preorder! A Healer’s Promise
USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love. 

 

 

 

 

Pam’s Kitchen Tools Winner!

Well, it seems I’ve stumped most of you today, but I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing what homemakers in the past used in their kitchens.

stejoc1968 did an amazing job knowing what these tools are used for.  Steph, you got 6 out of 7 correct!  You’re my winner!!! Watch for my Facebook message, okay?

Here we go – the answers to the vintage kitchen tools!

 

Number One

Pot Strainer

These are still available today and are very helpful in draining water from pasta or grease from browned hamburger.  Whatever needs straining!

 

Number Two

 

Baking mold for Cookies, specifically Pizzelles.

 

Number Three

French Fry Cutter

I thought for sure no one would guess this one, but Steph knew it.  Good job, Steph!

 

Number Four

Cookie Scoop

This was a strange one for me, but you scoop out the cookie dough, squeeze the lever, and the dough drops onto the cookie sheet.

Number Five

Cake Breaker

Used for delicate cakes like Angel Food cakes.  Who knew?

 

Number Six

Ice Shaver

Snow cone, anyone?

Number Seven

Chopper

Used to chop vegetables like cabbage for slaw.  Just put the vegetables into a bowl and chop away!

(I actually have one similar to this from Pampered Chef, Steph.)

BONUS!

This is a classic found in many kitchens mid-century.  I remember my grandmother had one, and in my youngest years, so did my mother!

Do you know what it is?

Vintage Tools for a Day in the Kitchen by Pam Crooks

As I wrote in my blog last month, the heroine in my newest release, CHRISTIANA, is a pastry chef, a skill she learned in France, which compelled my visit to a French patisserie.  For research, you know.  Ha!  Inside, the chef (named Ed) offered amazing pastries that you would not find in a fried donut shop, let me tell you.

I promised a few more pictures:

 

 

A fruit tart – oh, my goodness.  The crust was made from vanilla wafers ground so perfectly fine, they were almost like a powder.  On Ed’s only day off, he goes to select food markets to buy his fruits, taking the time to smell each one before buying.  This tart was filled with a vanilla and orange zest custard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mille feuille- means “thousand sheets” in French and is composed of three layers of puff pastry filled with creamy vanilla cream and topped with chocolate and vanilla icing.  The high-quality dark chocolate is hand-swirled with a toothpick.  This pastry is comparable to a “Napolean.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Macarons (not to be confused with macaroons which are made of coconut). They were so beautiful in color, I had to buy one of each! The first thing I noticed (and didn’t expect) was that there was no crunch of the lemon macaron I chose. That’s because of the absence of sugar. What I got was a soft, chewy cookie that burst with the flavor of the lemon.  Fantastic!

 

 

 

The perfection and skill required to make these French pastries not only made me suspect that some things never change (as in how they were made in the 19th century when CHRISTIANA was set) but also made me curious what other kind of utensils cooks and bakers used in the past.

I found some unusual ones.  Try to guess what they are used for!

Number One

Number Two

 

Number Three

Number Four

Number Five

Number Six

Number Seven

Guess all seven correctly, and I’ll give away an ebook copy of CHRISTIANA.  If there are multiple winners, I’ll draw one winner from the pool of those who guessed them all correctly.  

Watch for my post tonight!

 

Sweet Historical Western Romance (Love Train Series Book 1)

When her mother is taken to jail, Christiana Turcotte loses the happiness of her childhood. By the time she’s a grown woman, she’s determined to escape the scandals in her past and live a respectable life. First, though, she must return for the diamond ring she’d hidden that terrible day.

As a rifleman for Union Pacific, Holt Maddock’s job is to protect the train from outlaws. But he’s been riding the rails too long, and it’s time to settle down. Only one thing stands in his way. The elusive beauty traveling on his train and the diamond ring she’s determined to keep.

Holt’s plans for the reward money threatens to destroy her dreams. Will stolen diamonds destroy their love, too?

Sweet Romance.

#kindleunlimited

BUY on Amazon

 

Misty Beller Returns on Friday!

Miss Misty Beller will return Friday, May 13, 2022 to talk about unique settings!

That’s a big Yee-Haw! Be thinking about favorite settings that you’ve read in stories and share those.

She’s giving away one autographed copy of A Warrior’s Heart!

In addition, she’ll talk about the unique setting of her Brides of Laurent series.

If you want to get smart and also be entertained, head over to chat on Friday.

We’ll be sittin’ on the front porch with our feet propped up, drinking cold iced tea.