Linda Broday Charts the Unknown


At the height of Western expansion, thousands of pioneers loaded up what belongings their wagons could hold and set out for the great unknown. With extreme hardship they made the trek across the rugged plains, wide rivers, and steep mountains. They had no idea what lay in store for them. But, that didn’t stop them from seeking a better life.


In exactly two days, I’m going to load up bag and baggage and move 200 miles away from here. 

movingboxesIt’s scary. 

I’ll be leaving behind the place where I raised three children and buried a husband. I have 39 years of memories here. That’s a lot of living. It’ll be tough to walk away. 

It’s time though to turn a new page, start a new chapter in my life. Time to move forward. 

As I pack up all the things I’ve accumulated over the years I wonder how my new life will be. I envision sharing good times and bad with my son and youngest daughter, watching my three smallest grandchildren grow up into young men and women, and finally being with family again. What joy! My immense loneliness should end. At least that’s the method behind my madness. 

I confess that starting out in a new town, new house, new life, terrifies the pants off me. I’ll have to learn new phone numbers and addresses (ugh!) and find all new doctors. And what if I hate it after I spend the time and money to move? After all, I’m sure lots of those pioneers regretted pulling up stakes and heading into the unknown. 

But a whole lot more loved their wonderful new life once they got settled. I’m going to think positive. I’m sure those pioneers embraced the whole adventure of the newness. They made new friends and carved out a place for themselves in their new surroundings. And that enriched lives and helped a nation grow. While I don’t hold those kinds of lofty aspirations, I confess I’m getting excited. The pluses definitely outweigh the minuses. That’s a good thing. It probably won’t take me long to find my way around Lubbock. I’ll be zipping along the freeway like I’ve been there all my life. Lubbock has a lot to offer newcomers and I intend to take advantage.


Meanwhile, I’m packing boxes and getting some last minute things done. I’ve had forty years to collect all this stuff so you can imagine how disheveled my house looks. Boxes are everywhere. Some (but not nearly enough) are already full and others are filling fast. Lord, please let me find boxes for everything! I have this fear of the movers having to cart my belongings onto the moving van piece by piece as I desperately try to finish. 

I just hope and pray I can find my sanity again after all this is over. 

And my toothbrush and nightgown. And computer. And my books! 

How about you? Have you recently moved or are planning a move? What are some things that went wrong?

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Wild West Banking

This is be a shorter blog than usual because my mother is in the hospital. She’s 99, and until now has been doing relatively well, but a cellulitis infection has ravaged her and she has little will to fight back. At the moment she’s holding her own, and I’m the frazzled one. So please forgive any errors.

I’d already decided to blog on old west banks today.   It seemed kind of fitting,  considering the state of their modern counterparts today. 

Banks arrived in new western towns almost as rapidly as the newspapers I’ve blogged about earlier, and the wild west also meant wild banking. It’s often one of the frequent plot lines of western movies and novels. How many have you read or watched in which a bank failure or foreclosure was the inciting incident?

There were no regulations for these “community” banks,, and fraud and mismanagement was not uncommon. Usually several people got together, pooled their money and opened the bank. Usually a company was organized on the basis of a small cash subscription, with paper money supplying the deficit of metallic currency. And most of the banks’ loans were “frozen assets,” long term loans for the land or seed.

The farmer needed money for at least a year at a time, and often much longer, so the rural bank had little option but to tie up its money in fairly permanent form, Even worse the security for the loan was often inadequate. Often the banker took the farmer’s own optimistic concept of the value of his property, but even with a good evaluation, trouble lurked. Land tended to become practically worthless with economic depression and falling prices. When the farmer could not pay interest on his loan, the bank could foreclose, but then it was left paying taxes on land that was not worth the amount of the mortgage, while the borrower and his friends became extremely and bitterly hostile. A bank robbery could also ruin one of those early institutions, along with the savings of its depositors.

There was also fraud – think of Ponzi schemes today. The “saddlebag bank” was notorious. A man would ride his horse into a small town with his saddlebags crammed with beautiful crisp new banknotes. Then he would set up an office and lend his paper money to all the neighboring farmers on easy terms and with but little security. After collecting all possible promissory notes, he disposed of them to the store owner or the innkeeper at a discount for cash and decamped with the proceeds. The local noteholder was thus left with the job of placating the irate farmers when they discovered that their attractive new bank notes were practically worthless.

Some things never seem to change, regulations or not.

Little wonder that banks were viewed with some skepticism and more than a little hostility.

According to “The Settler’s West,” bank currency issued in the west was, in the words of one printer, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” When a Missouri river steamboat captain tried to bargain for a few cords at a wood yard, the proprietor asked, “What kind of money do ye tote?”

 “The best on earth – the new Platte Valley Bank,” replied the captain.

“If that be so, I’ll trade cord for cord,” replied the proprietor.

But banks were particularly vital in the cattle towns. The sums exchanged in Kansas cattle towns during the eight years after the Civil War could be staggering. Drovers bought cattle in Texas on extended terms, likely as not to be paid for only upon their return with money in hands. They would then have to take out loans for supplies and to pay their hands while waiting for a buyer. As much as $50,000 to $100,000 occasionally changed hands in a single transaction between the owner/drover of a cattle herd and the cattle buyer, and few wanted to carry that kind of cash over long distances. Interest rates were high, and volume heavy, but a “panic” in 1873 led many banks to close, including Wichita’s First National Bank. Its president went to jail for having lapsed into fraudulent practices while trying to “repair” the damage.

Can you remember any plots based on bank failures or failure to get a loan?

One that immediately comes to my mind is “3:10 to Yuma” when the hero agreed to take a wanted man to Yuma after failing to get a loan. Any others?





B.J. Daniels ~ Out My Backdoor

     One of the questions I’m always asked is where I get my ideas.
     In my case, the answer is: Out my back door.
     Two years ago, my husband and I uprooted and moved from a bustling Montana university town north to a very small Montana town in the middle of nowhere.
     Actually it’s in the middle of rolling prairie where buffalo used to thunder past. No pine trees. No mountains except for the Little Rockies in the distance. Not even a stoplight in the town.
     Most everyone thought we were crazy.
     But there is a peacefulness, a splendor, a feeling of the Old West that made me fall in love with this isolated place and its past.
     Right away I knew I had to set a series here. I wanted readers to appreciate a very different part of Montana from what most had visited.
     The Whitehorse, Montana series started with six books but has grown to eighteen so far.   Fortunately readers fell in love with this part of Montana along with me.
     In April, Shotgun Bride, the eighth book in the series made the top ten on Borders bestseller series list. The book is the first of a mini series within the Whitehorse series called The Corbetts. Other books in the series have also made the list.
     I can’t tell you how excited that makes me because I get to stay in my fictional Whitehorse and keep writing about what I love – this part of the West.
     I had to laugh though. A local said she hoped readers didn’t like it so much that they all moved here. Yeah, like that is going to happen. It is a rare occasion when someone moves here. So rare the newspaper does a story on you and people often ask you what could have brought you here.
     For me, it’s no mystery. I get to “Romance the West” and let my imagination run wild, weaving in the area’s amazing history as I go.
     A friend jokingly says that the real love story in my books is between me and Montana. I suppose it’s true. That’s why most of my books are set here.
     There is nothing like watching a storm come across the prairie or seeing a sunset on the vast horizon. I not only get to write about the West. I get to live here. Sometimes I just want to pinch myself. How did I get so lucky?
     The Whitehorse series continues May, June, September and October with the rest of the Corbett clan. Starting next April, The Winchester family will be featured in the next six Whitehorse books.
Click on a cover to purchase
Remember that B.J. will be holding a drawing for her book.
To get your name in the drawing, leave a comment, then check back later to see if you won.

Winner of Charlene’s Drawing is …

Roberta Harwell. Thanks for your comment today! 

And thanks to all who have voted.

Looks like Eddie got  just a few more votes than Tim, so Eddie’s image will be whom I fashion my character after.

You all were great to vote and respond!  Have a great weekend and don’t forget to come back tomorrow for our fabulous Guest blogger!

Roberta.  Please email me at and let me know which of my available backlist of books you’d like as your prize!

SURFING FOR A HERO by Charlene Sands




At Harlequin, once we turn in our books to our editors, we are asked to write up a six page Art Fact Sheet, better knows as AFS.  Some of you might have read about how we are asked to describe the overall theme of our story, paint a synopsis of events, describe the hero and heroine to the letter and set the scene with description as well. We are also asked to come up with three scenes from our book that would make a good cover for the art department.


The art department needs everything in great detail so that they can best portray the tone, characters and theme of our stories on the cover.  Most authors groan about doing AFS.  We do them months after the book is finished and turned in and we’ve already moved onto our next stories. I’ve learned to be better about keeping files on my characters, so I can remember them for the AFS, when I’m asked to do them.


Ah, but something new had been added to the mix at Silhouette Desire.  We are now asked to send in photos of what our heroes and heroines look like.  Initially, there were grumbles and groans from the authors as you might  imagine!  More work, more time to sift through countless pictures finding THE right one that suits your characters.


I have to say that what I once thought of as a chore, is now quite fun and challenging.  Needless to say, I have a legitimate reason for surfing the net in search of the Ultimate Hero!!  It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it.


For my upcoming Desire Continuity for The Texas Cattleman’s Club, I’m the third of six books and for my story, the Texan’s Wedding Night Wager, I was given my characters’ profiles and photos.


Meet Kevin Novak … does he look familiar? 



 And this is his soon to be ex-wife, Cara.


 Okay, so now I’m writing a trilogy called Napa Valley Vows, set in California’s famous wine country.  I’ll have no trouble finding gorgeous vineyards and backdrops for the books.  In fact, my daughter, assistant managing editor for Vacation Homes and the Robb Report, did a piece on a stunning Napa Valley mansion that I will fashion for the Carlino Estate. 


I have to find three hunks for my stories that are all wealthy men with agendas of their own. The last thing they want is to run their late father’s winery.


Tony Carlino, the oldest brother is an ex-NASCAR champion. 

There’s only one man I’d envisioned for his character. All through the book, it had to be HUGH.



Joe Carlino, the middle brother is a computer nerd/genius.  He’s more comfortable sitting behind his desk, crunching numbers.  Joe’s a hottie, whether wearing his wire-rimmed glasses or not. Think Clark Kent/Superman. Years ago, I cut out a picture of a man in an advertisement and kept it in a file.  I knew one day, he’d be one of my heroes.  He’s Joe!





Now Nick Carlino has me a bit troubled.  I’ve got three possibilities for my third brother, the playboy charmer and youngest brother.  Nick’s never gonna settle down. He’s having too much fun playing the field. 




Eddie Cibrian






 Tim Daly


Colin Farrell

I’m reading Angels and Demons at the moment, hoping to finish it before the movie comes out and I picture Tom Hanks (whom I love) as the hero in the book because of his role in the movie. Same held true when I heard Tom Cruise had the lead role in The Firm. 

So, do you envision actors when reading a book or do you let your imagination take flight?

I need your help … whom do you think would make the best ladies man charmer, playboy type for my third story?  Or do you have another man in mind for Nick? Cast your vote either way or fill in another hero’s name and I’ll pick a winner randomly from your comments to recieve any book from my backlist of titles!! 

Eddie Cibrian

Tim Daly

Colin Farrell


Hero Surfing at its best!!