Hi everyone, my name is Sandi Hampton, and I write western romances.  This is my VERY FIRST BLOG, and I’m delighted it’s for Petticoats and Pistols, a fantastic site for readers, and writers, of western romances.  I think we love our westerns because they epitomize the American spirit, full of emotions and passions, the sacrifice and struggles of those pioneers and their courage to triumph over hardship.

My love affair with westerns began a long time ago when John Wayne and Claire Trevor rode a stagecoach through Monument Valley.  I thought Ringo’s and Dallas’ story was so romantic.  I think I’ve watched the movie Stagecoach at least five times and will probably watch it five more.

Before I sat down to write this blog, I took a look at some of the previous blogs in the archives and was immediately INTIMIDATED.  What could I possibly say that these multi-talented, multi-published ladies (and all you readers) would like to read since my first novel is not even out yet?   

One event in my novel “Last Chance for Love” is a trail drive.  The hero helps the heroine get her herd to market to save her ranch.  So, not knowing very much about a cattle drive, I did a little research.  In the 20 year period from 1867 to the mid-1880s, approximately ten million cattle were driven north from Texas to railheads in Kansas and Missouri, Wyoming, Colorado and even into Canada over five main routes:  Shawnee Trail, Chisholm Trail, Western Trail, Goodnight-Loving Trail and Fletcher’s Route.  Most drives lasted about four months.  

During those four months, the drovers faced incredible hardship and danger.  The weather was always unpredictable:  scorching heat, freezing cold, hail and drought.  Prairie fires, quicksand and riding accidents added to the danger.  And, of course, there was always the dreaded stampede.    In addition to facing those hardships, a cowboy usually spent 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, in the saddle, and it was an unwritten code that they couldn’t whine or complain.  And all this for about $100 per trip. 

The size of the herd determined how many drovers were necessary.  The ratio of men to cows ranged from 1 man per 250 head to 1 man per 400 head.  The trail boss (remember Mr. Favor!! on Rawhide) led the drive, riding ahead to find water and pasture, with the chuckwagon also near the front of the herd.  Point riders rode behind him, followed by swing riders, then flank riders and drag riders brought up the rear, as well as the remuda (spare horses).  A wrangler was in charge of the remuda. 

The chuckwagon was a remarkable vehicle.  Although it had been in use for some time, Charles Goodnight remodeled it into a unique vehicle by adding a chuck box at the rear of the wagon facing out.  A hinged lid pulled down onto a leg to form a worktable.  The box contained any drawers and cubicles for utensils and supplies.   The meals served to the cowboys included dishes such as Sonofabitch Stew, Cowboy Beans, Sourdough Biscuits (made from sourdough starter), Red Bean Pie, Vinegar Pie, Range Riders Stew, Chuckwagon Stew, Cowboy Fry Bread, Dakota Fried Tomatoes, Indian Breakfast, and Lazy B Corn Fritters, just to name a few.  The cook was called the Old Woman, Skillet, Old Pud, Coosie, Belly Cheater, Biscuit Roller, Dough Puncher, Grub Worm, Sourdough and many more.

1.   Since this was my first blog and I felt very intimidated, have any of you readers been scared to death to try something for the first time?  And if so, what?

2.  What was the worst fear you ever faced?  One of the worst fears I’ve ever faced is public speaking.  It petrifies me, and over the years I’ve never gotten any better at it.  Anyone else?

3.  My heroine didn’t like her first name and refused to use it:  my nickname growing up was “Pug” and I hated it.  Anyone else got a nickname or first name you dislike?

4. Has anyone ever been to a dude ranch, or a working ranch, and gone on a trail drive?

Let us know, and you’ll be eligible for a $10 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble!

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46 thoughts on “Sandi Hampton–LAST CHANCE FOR LOVE”

  1. Good Morning!

    For a “first” blog you did very well..this is interesting stuff. I’ve never been on a trail drive; like you, the scariest thing I’ve done was public speaking, but I’ve come to love it; my name is ok, so is my nickname. I’ve been on ranches but never been on a trail drive.

    Wonderful post – may God bless you with numerous sales of your FIRST book! This is a great acomplishment – CONGRATULATIONS!


  2. Good Morning
    4 months and $100 wow! About the scariest thing I have even done was sing in church, My knees where shaking so bad (lol). Never been to a dude ranch but I would love go.

    Congratulations on your first book.

  3. Welcome Sandi! That’s really cool info about the trail, a lot I didn’t know. 😀 Congrats on your first book’s upcoming release.

    If I had to name something that scares me to death, it would probably be public speaking. I don’t do much of it, never have…so I’m not sure I’d even be able to if needed. I work better with written word than spoken.

    I guess the worst fear I ever faced was giving birth to my daughter. First baby, first experience- I wasn’t sure what I was really in for.

    I actually like my name(Holly) and the few nicknames I’ve had over the years never bothered me (My dad calls me Holree- a blend of my first and middle names Holly and Raye). The one that probably bothered me most was being called Red, cause of my hair color, but that was rare occasions, at best and usually by carnies. UGH!
    “Hey Red, you want to win a prize?” LOL

    I’ve never been to a dude ranch, but I did grow up around horses, mules, ponies and so forth. My grandpa had about 30 at one point. No trail drives though.

  4. Hi Sandi. You did a great job with your first blog.
    I fear public speaking too. I work at a university and when I have to be in front of a group of students I am so nervous and shaky.
    I have never been to a ranch of any kind but I would love too.

  5. Hi Sandi! Great blog! Thanks so much for being part of Petticoats and Pistols Sizzlin’ Summer Stampede!

    I think I was nervous when I first began speaking in public, but I’ve learned that by just being yourself and sharing your knowledge, people will warm to you. I enjoy it a lot now, though I have to have my notes. But then my talks don’t exactly fill convention centers. LOL

    When I was a kid, I didn’t much like my name, but I guess after enough years I figured out I was stuck with it. My Grandma gave it to me, so now I appreciate it.

    Please don’t be a stranger in Wildflower Junction. We’re not really all that intimidating now, are we?

  6. Good morning Pam, Sherry, Taryn, Crystal and Cheryl, thanks for your comments. Sorry I didn’t respond earlier but I was up late working on edits (and slept in). Seems there are a lot of us who don’t like public speaking. I missed a public speaking class once in college; the next class I had to stick my hand in a jar and grab a paper with a subject on it, had 5 minutes, then had to give a 5 minute speech. I never missed that class again! Thanks all. Sandi

  7. Good morning, Sandi – Congrats on your first blog! We’re happy you chose to do it here at Petticoats and Pistols. I love a good trail drive story and when doing research I had to laugh at all the silly names they called the cook! I think my favorite is Dough Puncher.

    Thanks for being here today!

  8. Sandi, welcome to the blog! That is so exciting that this is your first blog! You could not have picked a better place to have one 🙂

    I was scared to death when ever I had to go to a new school…which was when I began high school and college. It was always scary to learn a whole new place… and leave your “comfort” place behind.

    I’ve never been on a trail drive, but that is something that I would really enjoy doing!

  9. Sandi, congratulations on your book AND writing such a stupendous blog! I think “Goodnight Loving” is the best name ever. Two of my fictional heroes are point-riders on it LOL.

    As a little girl, I was nicknamed Ditsy. I hated it…but must admit it is still apt. 🙁

    Next summer my fam. plans a covered-wagon horse-riding four-day adventure in Jackson Hole. I think that’s as close as I’ll ever get to the real thing.

    What’s terrifying me right now is the pitches I have to do at RWA. I’m a great big weenie and not very confident. Whew.

    Thanks again for the wonderful research. I know I’ll be coming back to review it from time to time. And tons of luck with your book! Yowza.

  10. Sandi, Super Blog. Really enjoyed reading the information most of which was new to me.
    I have never minded my name but learned early on not too say how much I hated the name Constance. Told the shoe clerk that when I was about 7 years old to which she replied, “That’s my name.”
    My uncle always called me Johnnie Keane, which was a combination of my first and middle names. I always new who was speaking to me when he did, even if I hadn’t seen him yet.

  11. Sandi,

    Thanks for the great info on trail drives. I loved watching all those western movies as a kid. “Head’m up, move’m out!”

    One of the scariest things that happened to me was that I almost drowned in the Meditteranean Sea. I’d never swam in an ocean or anything with a ridtide. I was jumping into waves and before I knew it I was up to my neck in water and a very long ways from shore. A huge wave crashed over my head, pulling me up. I barely survived getting back to shore and only did with God’s help. Haven’t swam in an ocean since.

    I also hate public speaking and getting up in front of people. And my grangpa used to call me Red Speck. Ugh! I hated that name.

  12. Hi, Sandi. It sounds like you did great research for your cattle drive story. I’ve got a cattle drive story coming in…adding, subtracting, opening windows calendar, taking off shoes so I can count higher…
    February-ish 2010.
    Got that? 🙂 So I have time to read your book and find more details and get it right.

    In mine my heroine AND HER FOUR DAUGHTERS–including one in diapers–and one hapless cowboy who’s horrified at the crew, take 1000 cattle across a narrow, death defying stretch of the Rockies to save her ranch.

    All he can think of is, once word gets out that he took a baby on a cattle drive he’d be such a laughingstock in the west that he might as well just shoot himself now.

    I was surprised the cattle drive era was so short. The trains started going through at that point I suppose. You know, we see trains in westerns all the time. Bandits holding them up. Butch and Sundance blowing them up. But have you ever seen a train loaded with cattle? There must have been a lot of them, and yet I’ve never seen that depicted on a movie or in a book. But I’ll bet more cattle road those rails than people. A serious oversight in western romance.

    Who worked those trains? What was that like? I think I see a book in that.

  13. Wonderful 1rst Blog!! my scriest thing i done was drive 16 hours to see someone i was dating and alone i might add!! What a experience i can say, no guy is worth all that especially when you get lost!!
    I had a nick name LoLo which my name is Lori so…go figure glad people forgot about that!! Good Luck with your 1rst book sounds wonderful!! and love the cover!

  14. Hey, Sandi,

    See? This blog stuff is fun! You’re sounding like a pro already!

    Thanks SO much for being with us at Petticoats & Pistols. You’re a real sweetheart!

  15. Hi Sandi,

    A big welcome to you! We’re so glad to have you P&P. Loved your interesting information on cattle drives. Those cowboys earned every cent they made. Talk about hard work. They had to be awful tough to do it.

    Being all alone frightens me. Just knowing that I have no one to fall back on when the going gets tough scares me to death. I’m also terrified of public speaking. I manage to do what I have to, but I don’t enjoy it. And like Cheryl, I have to have lots of notes. I really envy people who can stand up before a crowd and talk without any notes at all. That’s not me though and never will be.

    Your book looks great. Who’s the publisher? Thanks for blogging with us. Hope you enjoy your stay.

  16. Such an interesting blog – thank you! And congrats on the book. Public speaking stills gives me the heebee-geebees after 60+ years.

    I’ve never been on a ranch – but enjoy reading all the great stories.

  17. Well for your first blog, this is fantastic! You done good, my dear!

    Humm, the one thing that scared the life out of me was putting my first manuscript in the mail to a publisher. I had never been so scared and was even physically sick to my stomach for hours afterwards. You know the clammy, nauseous, light-headed feeling? I guess this would be the answer to your first two questions.

    My name is Judy and I have to tell you, I never cared for it. Then I read the story about Judith in the Bible and you know, I came to really like my name. She was such a remarkable woman and it made me proud to share her name.

    I work for a university agriculture department, so we stay in contact with many of the local ranchers. They have some beautiful places in SW Louisiana. Some run cattle, others have horses (quarter and thoroughbred), but they are all working facilities. I even own a mare. She full blood Appaloosa. I love her so much!

    As for your first blog, I give you a big Kudos on it! Keep up the good work, Sandi!

  18. Well, public speaking is probably the worst.

    Mice…they really do something deeply psychotic to me. I just cannot control the jumping and shrieking.

    My daughters were all excellent public speakers on the Speech Team in high school.
    I can’t figure out where that came from.
    One of them had a t-shirt that said “We do for fun what other people fear more than death”

    This is based on some survey taken about phobias.

    number one phobia in the world
    Public Speaking
    Number Two?

    That about describes it for me.

  19. Enjoyed the comments. I am always looking for new authors to read and I have added your name to my TBR list. I think your blog was interesting and you did a good job for a first timer.
    I lived on a dude ranch in Gunnison, Colorado one summer so I could paint the beautiful area. I rode horses but no trail drive.

  20. Hello Sandi, Thanks for sharing with us today! 😀
    Me scared… yup… anything new tends to worry me. But I get through it!
    Nickname: My father always called me Mcfly as a kid, like from BACK TO THE FUTURE. I hated it… it made me feel stupid!
    Dude ranch… never had the pleasure of visiting one… would love to one day!!! 😀

  21. Welcome to your first blog! You picked a good place to begin. This is a friendly, lively place filled with loads of really nice people. 🙂

    My fears that I have had to overcome have included speaking in public, flying, and walking on the beach in my swimsuit! 😉

  22. I’ll echo others’ opinions and say you did a great job for the first time. Kudos to you.

    I loved watching those Westerns on TV and really enjoyed Bonanza where a lot of the story was on their ranch.

    1) the first Ferry ride I took was unexplainably terrifying; I was alone and treading new territory so this did not help. It was an older Ferry and the pots and pans in the kitchen even rattled. I thought we might not make it but did.
    2) I have so many fears and many are the worse; i.e. mice, snakes, heights…
    3) I hated when I got called Robin Red Breast (Robyn is my name)
    4) I’ve been to a ranch.

  23. Hi guys, thanks ever so much for your comments. I must admit I was amazed at so many great responses. Seems like most everyone is happy with their name and/or nicknames. I think the scariest thing (other than walking on the beach in a bath suit-I feel the same way LOL) was getting caught in that riptide. I live in Florida and we’re always warned about them, but I’ve never got caught in one. My friend has, and he said it was a terrifying experience. I really appreciate everyone’s kind comments and the fantastic welcome I received at P&P. We’ve just had a horrible rainstorm and I lost power for a little while, so sorry it took so long to respond.

  24. Hi Sandi,
    The thing that scared me to death was giving birth for the first time. As I got closer to my due date I realized that this baby was getting bigger and I really didn’t want to go through the pain but, of course, the pain was worth it.

  25. Oh, my yes! Speaking in public is definitely one of my worst fears. The only time I wasn’t afraid of it was when I was furious at my school mate who was supposed to be there speaking in public in front of the class with me, but she pretended to be ill that day. She came to school the next day, full of excuses. I just was too mad to be afraid.

  26. I have been enjoying this unique blog. I have never been to a dude ranch but living in the Southwest is an adventure in itself. I love it and cowboys and westerns are my love. Being apprehensive about many things makes life complicated. Heights are a definite no-no and driving in the winter as well.

  27. Hello there everyone! Sorry to be late to the party. The day job kept me from coming in earlier.

    Sandi is my critique partner, and I must tell you she is a wonderful storyteller. Reading her stories brings tears to my eyes.

    Sandi, you did a wonderful job on your first attempt on a blog! Terrific information about the trail and those cattle drives!

    I must admit that I am scared of public speaking as well. Standing in front of a group of people and speaking doesn’t come natural to me. Another one is fear of rejection, but I believe that everyone experiences that in the literary world.

    Sandi, I wish you the greatest success with your first book and since I know that you have many more stories to tell, this won’t be your last one!


  28. Nice to have you here Sandi and a great blog today. Fears are always something that I face no matter what. Public speaking at school was hard but I conquered that one and managed. Interviews are an experience that can be unpleasant and nervewracking. I think that ranch living and a dude ranch experience would be wonderful.

  29. Last Chance for Love sounds really good! I have enever been on a dude ranch, working ranch or trail drive so can’t comment about that. Not sure how well I would do though since I hate roughing it. A fear I faced was going snorkeling. I am not much of a swimmer so it was pretty scary for me. Not something I want to do again but at least I gave it a try.

  30. I guess I was mentally blocking(also known as selective memory loss 🙂 ) the Public Speaking class I had to take when I mentioned something that was intimidating. I know the class is supposed to help you to become a better public speaker, but I am still terrified whenever I have to speak in front of a large group of people…adults in particular!

    My nickname was “Twin” b/c I have a twin sister and people found it was easier to use that name(and faster) than to figure out which one I was! LOL

  31. Tanya, your family outing to Jackson Hole sounds great, but at my age I probably couldn’t even get on a horse. Mary, can’t wait to read about your cattle drive story. Lori, love the nickname Lolo; Colleen, don’t think I’d like being called McFly lol. Joye, thanks for adding me to your TBR list. Since my daughter is now 40 (she’d hate me for telling that), I’ve kind of forgot the fear of childbirth, but they’re worth it!! Robyn, just went on vacation with my sisters to Texas – we drove a couple of hundred miles out of our way because none of us wanted to drive the car up on a ferry! Now we regret it. Jamie, thanks, pardner, for being there for me all these years. Appreciate ALL the comments. Signing off for a while to start supper,

  32. Forgot one thing – my publisher is The Wild Rose Press. My second novel is “Samantha’s Sacrifice” hopefully coming out by the end of the year, also from The Wild Rose Press.

  33. Like so many others, I was majorly phobic when it
    came to public speaking. Which makes it difficult
    to understand my signing up in our parish to become a lector (scripture reader.) This was in 1975 when women were allowed to start playing a larger role in the Mass. I was the second woman in the parish to sign up for this ministry. My first assigned day arrived and I read the a voice so quavery that the children and some of the adults thought I was crying!! It took several months for improvement to make itself evident,
    but it did come about. Now, after 33 years in
    the ministry I’m one of the team leaders and a
    very good lector, but I still don’t like “cold

    Pat Cochran

  34. Hi, Sandi! How terrific to read your post today! Congrats on your latest release!

    As for facing fears, the public speaking thing is big for me, too–I don’t even enjoy small groups (I still get tense when it’s my turn to lead our bible study group), but I have gotten where I’m OK with preschoolers 😉 I also really dislike heights, and that is one that I’ve found I can numb somewhat with repeated exposure–I worked on stage lighting in college, and after a while, climbing ladders got easier. But since I’ve avoided that lately, I’m sure not about start now 🙂

    As for names, I really didn’t appreciate mine much growing up–I wanted something a little more common, something I could find on notepads at the stationery store. I’m grown to appreciate its uniqueness as an adult 😉

    And no, I haven’t been to a dude ranch or similar, but would love to experience one!

  35. I am like everyone else public speaking is a problem. We had to do a power point presentation when I was in school and I was scared to death, but I persevered, got a 100% on it. Also I don’t like snakes or heights. There was a snake in my back yard the other day, I was getting a hoe to kill it and my son picked it and put it in a bucket. I just about died, I was so scared.

  36. Yeah, I tend to stay away from snakes too! I’m okay with them as long as they stay far far far away from me 🙂 LOL

  37. Great post Sandi!
    I also have a problem speaking in front of a lot of people.
    I have never been to a dude ranch.
    I like my first name, because it it different.

  38. Hi Sandi,

    I am coming in late because of work related responsibilites but I just wanted to say Congratulations! That’s just wonderful about getting your first book published. You must be thrilled.

    I also think you had a great blog today (and frankly I don’t know anyone that is thrilled about public speaking.)

    Congratulations again!!!

  39. HELLO and congrats on your book!!! So happy you decided to blog here!

    The answer to question 1~a roller coaster…the 1st time I ever got on one..I nearly needed a paper sack to breathe into!! LOL

    The answer to question of the worst fears I’ve ever faced was giving birth

    The answer to question 3~my cousins called me “Melizzard” my whole they’ve shortened it to just “lizzard”..LOL…..I dont mind it much though

    The answer to question 4~no..I have not been to one and would LOVE to go!

    this was a fun blog!!! you did a great job!

  40. Thanks so much to everyone who responded and for the warm welcome. I really enjoyed all the responses. Thanks so much to P&P for having me. Blessings to all,

    Good night,
    Sandi Hampton

  41. Great first virgin blog 🙂 I hate public speaking too and just got up and gave a small speech at my daughter’s wedding – I couldn’t pass that up! A glass of wine first helped lol.

  42. Okay, I’m late getting in today, but I wanted to say that this year I seem to have an abnormal fear of ticks. They’re only here from May-July but this year they came out in April.

    Since we sold our Guinea Hens, we seem to get a tick hitchhiker whenever we go outside. My son has already had 1 infection on his nape this year. I’ve had them before on my upper inside thigh and it really creeped me out. My bil found one in his navel. My son in his ear.

    I’ve barely gone outside this year b/c of it. My hubby is doing the gardening which is surrounded by trees. The ticks were still outside last week.

    I’m praying they can read b/c next week is AUGUST!!!

  43. Congrats on your book. When I was 16 I went to Loretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch and I loved it. At the time her twin daughters were there and it was great meeting them.

  44. Hi there! It appears as thoughb I may be your first male response. Well first off, congratulations! Writing a blog IS intimidating – trying to carry some sort of wit and entertainment to anonymous readers. But you’ve done well. Being a HUGE fan of westerns, of course I had to read this. I really enjoy how you explained why “we” love westens and that part if our American history. I agree 100%! I am an artist, focusing primarily on Western Art. Do you have any cover for your book? Will it be an eBook? Anyway, good luck with everything! This was truly a nice find. 🙂
    P.S. My worst fear ever faced was how to raise 2 boys as a single father, on one income. (My ex left me 2yrs ago – THANK GOD!- and it has been a challenge, but a blessed one!)

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