Janette Kenny: Wyoming Tea Party

one_real_man_janette_kenny.jpgThough I write historical fiction, I try to make my novels as factually accurate as I can.  There is always a ton of research that goes into any work, even if some things stayed pretty constant for a given time period, because there are exceptions that apply to certain places.

I’ve always loved Wyoming, because to me it holds the heart of the west in an era where minding your own business was shared by all.  That egalitarian independence is fertile ground for heroes wanting to hide from their pasts, and for strong-minded heroines who weren’t content to be a man’s ornament. 

Throughout the world, women by and large were regarded as their husband’s property.  They couldn’t vote, couldn’t hold a government office, and in most places, they couldn’t own or inherit property.  justice_esthermorris_130.jpgThe latter was a problem Esther Hobart Slack faced when she was widowed in 1845 and, under Illinois law, she was unable to inherit her husband’s property.  Though the successful milliner wasn’t depicted as a rabid woman’s suffragette, Esther went on to become a champion for woman worldwide. She married John Morris, and traveled with him to South Pass City, Wyoming where he attempted to make a fortune in the gold mines.  A greater treasure awaited Esther, for when a political office became vacant in the mining town in 1869, then Territorial Secretary Edward Lee appointed her as the Justice of the Peace of South Pass City.  Esther was the first woman in the world to hold such an office.  During her tenure, she never had a case repealed.  

morris.jpgMany credit Secretary Lee with opening the door to women’s rights for he was a prominent suffragist.  At a tea party hosted by Esther Morris and attended by legislators and forward-thinking citizens, the seed was sown to give women equality in the Wyoming Territory. 

Many viewed the proposed bill as a lure for women to settle in Wyoming, for men outnumbered women six to one.  Those winters get mighty long and lonely!  

Later that year, Senator William Bright drafted the final bill titled “An Act to Grant to the Women of Wyoming Territory the Right of Suffrage and to Hold Office.” 

Those some opposed it, nobody fought to stop it.  The equality bill passed and became law, which surprised some in the Wyoming Territory and shocked the world. 

While a national conference was taking place in Washington, DC regarding women’s rights, Wyoming women were already making history. 

Mary Symons became the first woman bailiff in the world in 1870. 

Louisa Swain became the world’s first woman voter under “laws guaranteeing absolute political equality.” 

Eliza Boyd was the first woman selected to serve on a grand jury in 1870. 

204px-nellie_tayloe_ross.jpgIn 1894, Estelle Reed Meyer was the first woman statewide elected official when she won the vote for the Superintendent of Public Instruction. 

In 1925, Nellie Tayloe Ross was the first woman governor. 

And the city of Jackson, Wyoming became the first city in the world entirely governed by women in 1920.  

southpasscity.jpgSettings are very important in our novels.  The heroine in my second novel was a woman who’d escaped one man’s oppression and now wanted to run her guest ranch and be afforded respect.  I hope you’ll read One Real Man and agree that Wyoming was the perfect setting for Josie’s and Gil’s road to romance. 

Thanks to the Petticoats and Pistols gals for having me back.  I’ll draw a name from the comments and give away an autographed copy of One Real Man.

Guest Susan May Warren: Just a cowgirl…

susanmaywarrenphoto72dpi.jpgWhen I was a little, I had a horse named Sun Dancer.  He lived in my basement, in the corner, and his springs squeaked when I rode him.  He ate things like Cheerios and potato chips, and on him, I galloped the rolling hills of Montana, chasing down them varmints who stole my pappy’s land.   

Yeah, I wanted to be a cowgirl.   But it ain’t easy to emulate Annie Oakley when you live in the suburbs.  So I read a lot of Louis L’amour and dreamed of the day when I’d move west and start my dude ranch.   But my vision of ranching was Bonanza, and little Joe, and cute cowboys in Stetsons, and horses.  It was Oklahoma and square dancing and rodeo.  Boiled down, I thought ranching was a country music song.   

cowgirl.jpgI got news for you.  It ain’t.  I know because I spent a week playing cowgirl on a real ranch, helping the owners dig a water line, and riding fence.  It’s hot, smelly work, with cows that don’t like being told what to do, and horses that’d just rather go home.  And not only that, but the ranch, well, it was on the backside of nowhere, over the river and through and through and through the woods until we came to a place not on any map.  I got a big red star in the middle of Montana when I Mapquested it.   

And being there, I learned something.  Sometimes the dream is better than reality.  Sometimes the smell of the pumpkin-nutmeg latte is better than the taste, the look of the leather pants on the mannequin better than in the two-way mirror.  Which, frankly, is why I like to read books, why I like to write.  My imagination is richer.  It contains a soundtrack, and lots of handsome, tan cowboys. Besides, no one really wants to hear about the hours spent watering the bulls.  We want to cut to the fun parts, like when the bull chased me into the truck.  Or when the stars came out over the Montana night and seemed close enough to pluck from the sky.   

I had dinner recently with a friend who says, “I never read fiction because it isn’t true.”  Yeah, well, that’s why it’s called, uh, you know, FICTION.  But he says he doesn’t like to spend time focusing on things that don’t let him engage in the world.   (He reads a lot of theology and political books – way too much brain food for me).  

Here’s me saying that sometimes I don’t WANT to engage in the world.  Like when the washing machine seal breaks and floods my basement.  Or when the dog eats all the chocolate cake and his face blows up like a balloon. Or when my husband gets food poisoning and is sick in bed for two days.   I need to close my door to the world and escape into Montana, or Alaska, or even the Lifetime movie channel.  Because, hello, no one is sick in my imaginary world.  It’s cleaner.  And less smelly.   

In short, give me my fiction, some chocolate and close the door behind you when you leave.   

So, here’s to handsome cowboys and Bonanza and the FAKE world of ranching.   Now, I wonder what it’s like to be a fire fighter…. 

tamingrafecover72dpi.jpgSusan May Warren let her imagination run wild in her new suspense/romance series set in modern day Montana. Book 1, Reclaiming Nick, won the 2007 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award.  Book 2, Taming Rafe, is the story of broken bull-rider and the woman who helps him find his footing again.  Taming Rafe is also nominated for a 2007 Rita away. 

Read an excerpt at http://whosrafe.susanmaywarren.com, and check out all of Susan’s books at: www.susanmaywarren.com

In honor of the Petticoats and Pistols’ Spring Round-Up, I’m having a fun, “Petticoat” contest. Leave a comment on this post telling me who your favorite western hero is (books or movies!) and why and I’ll randomly choose one lucky person to win a $50 gift certificate to Victoria’s Secret, the place for fancy petticoats!

Guest Blogger: Carol Ann Didier

chandler-seated.jpgDear Reader, 

Someone asked me how I became so interested in our Native American Indians and this was my reply—“At 12 years-of-age, I fell in love with a dead Jewish actor who played a dead Indian”. 

It was the movie star Jeff Chandler who played the part of the Chiricahua Apache leader, Cochise, in the movie BROKEN ARROW made in the l950’s.  After that every term paper or book report I did in school was about our westward expansion and Apache Indians.   

broken-arrow.jpgMany years later, I went to work for the producer of The PTL Club televisions show in North Carolina.  We started doing a series of shows we called Days: Truckers of America Day, Italian American Day, Athletes of America Day, etc..  I asked my boss if we could do something on American Indians and have a Native American Indian Day show for them.  He said to research it because he didn’t know anyone working with American Indians and that if I checked it out and it looked promising, he would see what we could come up with. 

Well, I knew of a work in Farmington, NM, and I’d read a heart-wrenching story of a Cheyenne girl named “Crying Wind,” that had touched my heart. It was the story of a teenage girl who when ran away from home and the reservation to try to make it in the white man’s world.  Trying to fit it, she died her hair blond, dressed older, (she was under 16), and did a lot of things that had bad consequences for her until a Presbyterian Minister came into her life.  He turned her to Jesus, who healed her broken spirit, and made a big difference in her life.  So armed with these two people, the missionary in Farmington and Crying Wind, I went back to my boss and presented them to him. 

In the meantime, someone had found a father and daughter singing team called “Pam and Tom Thumb,” and we did our “Indian Day Program.” Unfortunately, for me and for the show, it did not go over well. But through that program, a missionary working with Apaches in Cibicue, AZ wrote to my boss and said she knew some more things that God was doing with American Indians and if we ever did another an Indian Day Program, would we please contact her for more information. Needless to say, my boss did not want to hear anything more about Native Americans, but I truly felt the letter had come for my benefit anyway, so I took it home and answered it and the missionary and I became friends.   

cochise.gifFor the next ten years I spent all my summer vacations with her on the Apache and Navajo Reservations and attend Native American Pastor convocations. I met many wonderful Apache and Navajos, as well as people from many other tribes.  I was grieved and touched by their poor living conditions on the reservations and was appalled that we would let the real First Americans live like that in this day and age.  That started my empathy and love for them as a people. 

carol_didier_webblurbpic.jpgOne day in l982 while my son and I were getting ready for work and school, a famous romance writer was on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, discussing her latest best seller.  I turned to my son as we passed each other in the living room and I said: “I’ve read her books and I know I could write one every bit as good as hers.”  

And my son said, “If you can, do it,” putting the dare before me to write a historical novel.  So I took him up on it and I wrote the first book in three months.

It is a romantic historical saga about an Eastern Baltimore belle and an Apache warrior caught up in a taboo love that has the power to heal or harm a broken people.  Set in historical SE Arizona of l860-1880, Apache Warrior proves love knows no color, creed or race.  It happens in the heart, when and where you least expect it and if allowed to grow, can conquer differences in culture, hatred and personal loss.  

carold.jpgKensington has asked for a second book on another tribe and setting, so I have started the second book.  It will feature a Navajo medicine man and a pastor’s daughter from Virginia.  I hope you will look for it in 2009.   

Thanks for taking the time to read my posting.  I hope you will enjoy APACHE WARRIOR. I’m giving away one copy of it to someone who posts a comment or a question. Good luck!

Carol Ann   

Charlotte Hubbard’s Drawing Winners

gabriels-_lady_charlotte_hubbard.jpga_patchwork_family_charlotte_hubbard.jpgTwo lucky readers will be getting their choice of either “Gabriel’s Lady” or “A Patchwork Family” by Charloette Hubbard!

And the winners are:

Brenda Mazur

and Kimberly Killion

Congrats ladies!  Please send your address and your choice of book to me at : SaintJohn@aol.com so Charlotte can sign those and send them out to you.

Check back for more authors and prizes all week long!

Charlotte Hubbard: Watching Fictional Kids Grow Up

charlotte_hubbard.jpgWhat a nice surprise, to get an invitation from Cheryl St.John to blog here! Cheryl and I met a looooong time ago at a writer’s conference, and one of the best parts of being a writer has always been the friendships we make in this biz! It’s a real pleasure to be here among so many other Western titles and authors, because Western romances have always been my favorites!

In the early ‘90’s when Cheryl and I met, I was writing for the Zebra Heartfire line. Spicy-hot stories about feisty young heroines who won the day–and their heroes–their way! Lots of action/adventure, and lots of sex.

Well, my stories and my covers have changed! The books in this Angels of Mercy series were first labeled “inspirational,” and they’re all faith-and-family stories…like, the Waltons are visiting LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE!

journey_to_love_charlotte_hubbard.jpgBut the star of GABRIEL’S LADY comes closest to being like my first adventurous heroines, in that she can outride and outshoot any man in Abilene! Solace Monroe was riding before she could walk, always with a Border collie tagging along (gee, where did I get the idea for putting a litter of Border collie pups in this series?! Say hi to Ramona!) She was born during a blizzard in the first book of my Angels of Mercy series, A PATCHWORK FAMILY and now that she’s eighteen she has a matched team of bays, Lincoln and Lee, and she’s trained them to performance perfection. Her new dog Rex is a real ham…but bless his heart, he can sit so still–trusts Solace SO much–that she can shoot an apple off his head!

Solace is so busy training horses, dreaming of riding in a Wild West show, she has little time for guys…until Gabe Getty comes back into her picture in a big way. Gabe, too, first appeared in A PATCHWORK FAMILY as a kid gone mute from watching Indians massacre his family and burn his home. Those same puppies brought him out of his silence, and he grew up with the kids Mercy and Judd Monroe took in during the first book.

a_patchwork_family_charlotte_hubbard.jpgAs GABRIEL’S LADY opens, Gabe–who is 9 or 10 years older than Solace–is marrying the gorgeous socialite Letitia Bancroft, and is junior partner in Mr. Bancroft’s law firm. He thinks of Solace as his best friend’s kid sister, and poor 12-year-old Solace feels like a sparrow among swans at the wedding. Her unruly waves, broad shoulders and tanned, fit body just don’t fit 1886 society’s expectations for a lady.

But six years later, the tables have turned: Gabe is widowed, deeply torn because his pretty wife was addicted to laudanum and took their unborn child to the grave with her. Letitia’s diary revealed some shocking secrets and Gabe finds himself jobless, homeless and hopeless…

Until he sees Solace straddling those two matched bays, barefoot, with her hair blowing in the breeze as she urges them into a full gallop. And Rex hops on with her! Is it any wonder Gabe’s heart beats faster? MY heart certainly did when I wrote these scenes!

angels_embrace_charlotte_hubbard.jpgThe tension cranks up when Solace joins Apache Pete’s Wild West Extravaganza–disguises herself as a young man–and is then framed for murdering the show’s lady sharpshooter, Crack-Shot Cora. Good thing Gabe’s a lawyer–but then, he can’t defend her case because he’s become a judge in the court where she’s to be tried! Things get complicated! And leave it to little redheaded curly-top Bernadette to save the day for Aunt Solace–at least in the courtroom.

Of course, it all works out for Solace and Gabe in the end–and I throw in a few surprises along the way. I got a few thrown at me, too, when a little boy named Charlie showed up OUT OF THE BLUE…and wow, did I love that kid from the moment he asks Gabe, “You from the orphanage, mister? Come to fetch me back ‘cause I runned away again?”

My goal is always to make my readers laugh–and cry–and come back for more! I love pulling your strings! My Angels of Mercy series (named for Mercy Monroe, heroine of A PATCHWORK FAMILY) has been a joy to write because I get to see all the kids who show up in the first book grow up and have stories of their own, while the West and our nation changes so much, as well! And lots of readers write me, saying, “Write them faster! We can’t wait to see what happens to Billy–or Solace–or–”

gabriels-_lady_charlotte_hubbard.jpgThe challenge of writing a series? Making sure that readers who pick up, say, GABRIEL’S LADY, will love and understand the characters for who they are in this book–enough to go back and start from the series beginning. It’s a fine line, deciding how much back story from the Monroe-Malloy family to include: I know my longtime readers want to catch up to what those characters are doing…how they’ve changed as they’ve matured. Mercy, the mom of the series, begins as a Kansas settler in her 20’s, and by the series end she’ll be celebrating her 60th birthday! It’s a rare treat for a writer to live with a character this long, but Mercy’s a very special mom, and I’ve loved every one of her angels more than I ever dreamed possible when I conceived this series years ago.

So what do you think about series? Do you enjoy seeing characters grow and change through the course of several books? Or, when you see a book is in a series, do you put it back because you’d rather not hunt down the earlier books? I’ve got a signed copy of GABRIEL’S LADY or a signed copy of A PATCHWORK FAMILY for the two of you who give me the best insights about this!

Thanks so much, Fillies, for inviting me to your corral! I’ve enjoyed reading your entries–and I’ve enjoyed lots of your books for years!

Magnificent Monday Winners!

P&P ButtonWell, wasn’t it another amazing day in Wildflower Junction?  Thanks to Linda and Debbie for their contributions to our Spring Author Round Up!  You did us proud, ladies.

 And now all your names are in the fish bowl, and we’re drawing two more winners.

an autographed copy of Linda Ford’s THE ROAD TO LOVE goes to DEBORAH DALE!

an autographed copy of Debra Clopton’s HER BABY DREAMS goes to AMELIA!

spring_author_roundup_logo.tifCongrats Deborah and Amelia.  Please send me your addresses at SaintJohn@aol.com and the authors will send those books right out to you!

Check back every day – you could win the next drawing!

Debra Clopton: Gotta Love Those Cowboys!

debra-clopton.jpegHi everyone! Spring is in the air and I am thrilled, thrilled, thrilled…my toes stay cold all winter and that makes me grumpy, so I welcome the sunshine with open arms and warm toes. J

For those who don’t know me, I’m Debra Clopton, and I have an ongoing series with Love Inspired called the Mule Hollow series. No, it isn’t historical but it is about Texas and cowboys—which I absolutely love as much as springtime.  I adore watching and reading about all types of cowboys. The dark brooding cowboys with deep dark secrets, the dangerous cowboys that make a girl want to risk everything for love, the confused cowboy who has absolutely no idea what to do with a gal who refuses to stay out of trouble, the hurting cowboy who needs a gal to step in and rescue him.

cowboys-in-silverado.jpgThere are all types of cowboys and I believe a cowboy at heart is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I love the movie Silverado—what’s not to love? You’ve got every type of hero. You’ve got Emmet (Scott Glen) your tough guy with tortured past. Mal (Danny Glover) the good guy who only wanted to live a quiet life but had to step up to save his sister.

silverado.jpgsilverado-kevin-kline.jpgPaden (Kevin Kline) your bad-boy-with-a-heart who is redeemed by love…but it is the one and only Jake who stole the show for me back in 1985 when the movie aired.  

The happy- go-lucky-all-I-want-to-do-is-have-a-good time younger brother who is like the other three cowboys when it comes to risking everything to save his brother’s son and the town from the greedy cattle barren.

silverado70.jpgBut the thing that set Jake apart from the rest of these cowboys was the fact that Jake went into battle with a smile…and oh what a smile it was! Played by an unknown actor at the time by the name Kevin Costner <g> I fell in love the moment the playful cowboy entered the scene. And of course everyone else did too. I will never forget a few years later when I was watching Kevin’s breakout movie (which I can’t even remember the name of at the moment!) and the light bulb in my memory blasted on and I realized I was seeing Jake on screen again! True, it was this movie (the one I can’t remember the name of) that made Kevin a household name. But I loved him before I even knew his name and still think that flirting cowboy from Silverado is his best role…at least it’s the role that makes me smile. 

her-baby-dreams.jpgWhen I created Dan Dawson, the hero of my April book HER BABY DREAMS I wanted that kind of cowboy. I wanted a guy that just made me feel good.  So I created a modern day version of Jake, with a to-die-for smile and a lets-play attitude. I think Dan is the perfect man with which to curl up with on a beautiful Spring afternoon. Although my heroine, Ashby Templeton isn’t buying it. She’s dreaming of marriage and babies and not at all pleased that the only cowboy in all of Mule Hollow who is asking her out is playboy Dan!  

cowboytakesbride.jpgMy next cowboy was equally fun to create. In my July book THE COWBOY TAKES A BRIDE I decided to switch things up and make my cowboy dream of weddings. All Ross Denton wants is to see his name on wedding certificate and all city gal Sugar Rae Lenox wants is to see her name up on a Hollywood marquee…getting these two together was loads of fun.  So, I hope if you’re looking for a smile you’ll pick up a copy of one of my books. The gang in Mule Hollow promise you’ll leave with a big ole grin on your face.  

You can find out more about me and my books at debraclopton.com. Thanks for having me here, ladies, I really enjoyed it!