Listed below are the upcoming releases from our talented writers here at Wildflower Junction. To purchase any of these fine books, just click on the book covers. And to learn more about the authors, click on thier names.
Cowboy entrepreneur Jackson Worth wakes up next to trouble…literally. His new business partner, boot boutique owner Sammie Gold, should have been off-limits, but something about her sweet vulnerability has gotten under his skin. Working with her is torture, as are the memories of what happened in Vegas….
A one-night stand with the cowboy? What on earth was Sammie thinking? Jackson Worth is drop-dead gorgeous and completely out of her league.
But if Sammie wants her happily-ever-after, she’ll have to shed her girl-next-door image to seduce the confirmed bachelor once and for all!
Two broken hearts find a second chance at love, but only if they manage to survive– When Kendi Morgan witnesses an attempted murder near her home one night, she makes the only choice possible: help the victim. But bringing the handsome stranger into her home traps her in the middle of a deadly drug war.
Wounded DEA agent Jackson Taylor is a man with nothing to lose and nothing to fear–until he falls for a beautiful woman who risked everything to save his life. With his sting operation gone awry,Jackson realizes he is all that stands between Kendi and a powerful drug lord seeking revenge. Can their newfound love survive? Or willJackson sacrifice his partner’s life and his own in exchange for Kendi’s safety and their future together?
SIX GUNS AND SLAY BELLS: A CREEPY COWBOY CHRISTMAS Multi-author Anthology
This Western Fictioneers Christmas anthology is a new take on the old west, filled with Christmas stories that entertain you with a paranormal twist. This multi-authored collection includes short stories by some of the finest writers in the genre, and gives you something different in the way of holiday stories, while keeping to the ‘old west’ theme.
Arthur and Guinevere have reappeared during the 1880’s to the western frontier. Under an Apache attack, Arthur and the other stagecoach occupants are forced to take shelter at a nearby stage station where he discovers Guinever living her new life as the wife of the station proprietor. As the Apaches attack once more, Arthur recognizes their leader as none other than Lancelot du Lac. He knows that Guinevere has recognized him, as well. They’ve each lived a thousand lives since that last fateful day they spent together, when Lance rescued Ginny and fought with Arthur, but has their dream of Camelot faded completely? One of the occupants of the stagecoach, a young boy, touches the forgotten vision within Arthur, centuries after Camelot’s loss. The prophecy says Arthur will return when the world needs him most–but why are Lance and Ginny here? And can the steadfast belief of one homeless boy rekindle the glorious hope of the greatest legend of all time?
There’s no place like home, a Western home that is. I’m not talking about a home located in the West but a home decorated Western. Since Petticoats and Pistols is for readers who love the West, old and new, I figured some of you probably bring that love of the West into your homes as I do. I admit I may have gone a little overboard but what can I say, I’m a Western writer and I have a big imagination.
Return with me now to yesteryear as Ben Cartwright and his sons gather in the main room of the Ponderosa Ranch house to discuss the latest cattle rustler or homesteader. A massive stone fireplace dominates the room with an opening big enough to hold a cord of wood. The smoke-blackened mantle is fronted with a pair of mounted longhorns to remind folks what the Ponderosa is all about. Though just a set, the Cartwright’s home and decor exemplified the Old West. Granted not the real Old West, but the Old West of our imaginations, our hearts and Hollywood.
Finding Western furniture and accessories is not the challenge it used to be, but if you want your decorating to have “heart,” you need to haunt junk and antique stores, garage sales and the back rooms of feed stores. That’s where the treasures are. There are no rules for this kind of decorating. In fact, you need to think outside the box and give everyday things an unexpected use. An old cast iron stove makes a terrific bedside table. Throw a colorful serape over your dining table and serve potatoes and rolls in granite ware. Never mind the chips and scars. Some of the best granite ware serving pieces lived their former lives as spittoons, chamber pots and thunder mugs, but I suggest you wait until after everyone has eaten before you saying anything.
Call it cowboy style, cowboy chic, lone star living, bunkhouse design or simply Western decorating—it’s a decorating style that brings the past into the present that reminds us of our heritage and of a simpler way of life.
Above is one of my guest bedrooms—it’s Western, Native American and Mexican. It reflects my love of color and the genre I write in. The most expensive item in the room is the bed ($700), which was custom made but only because at that time there were no stores carrying Western furniture. The desert scene side table my daughter found in an abandoned condo. The Indian headdress came from a yard sale. The tins were collected over a decade. I found the poster of Joaquin Murrietta online and had it framed. (My first book, Touch The Dawn, is about Joaquin Murrietta). The valances cost about $40. I sewed two together and hung them from a rod—super easy and lots of effect. There is a cowhide rug on the tile floor, which you can’t see.
Above is another guest bedroom and it has a more Victorian flare. The walls are faux painted to look old. The velvet drapes are right out of Gone With The Wind. My grandmother’s handmade crazy quilt hangs over the bed and another quilt that I found at an antique store serves as a bedspread. The cabinet is at least one hundred years old; the drawers are all dove-tailed. On top of it, are several old quilts I picked up at yard sales. I found the iron bed at a yard sale for $60. This room was more like a museum than a guest room and sadly has since been torn apart and most of the items sold off. The room now houses sick or orphaned kittens and cats for Have A Heart Humane Society, the pet rescue me, my daughter and my husband operate.
I bought this old cast iron stove from someone who had it tucked away in their garage, oiled it up and outfitted it with dried peonies from my yard and collectibles.
Some years back, Country Sampler decorating magazine did an article on my house following a bathroom addition and a kitchen remodel. After reading their magazine for several years and seeing very little on Western decorating, I called them and next thing I knew, they were flying out to photograph my house. When I was decorating this bathroom, I tried to tell the faux painter that I wanted the walls to look like old adobe, the way I imagined the adobe homes of Tucson to look in the 1870’s. You could say I was in the moment because I was writing about 1871 Tucson at that time and still am—I love that time period! The bathroom floor is vinyl and very easy to clean. The wood is oiled oak. That is not the morning sun coming through the window but a lighting trick their photographer used. The boots, the pot, the cactus all help the Western feel. The bathroom is entered via a chipped batwing door just like in the saloons.
Sometimes the best ideas come from our worst mistakes. I thought the ceilings in the dining room would be the same in the kitchen because the two rooms were connected. Wrong. The solution—a tin ceiling which was not expensive but tricky to hang because the tin edges were sharp as razor blades. I wanted the kitchen/dining room to look like an old general store, thus the chicken wire on the cabinets. The French doors open to a former bedroom that is now my office. You can see a small—and I do mean small—sampling of my Western research books and papers.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the mini tour of my home, which is in a rural area of a small California town on 2.5 acres. Instead of a herd of cattle, we have a herd of dogs—that we rescue and find new homes for.
The Peacemaker and The Seeker are Ebooks available at Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble. The Healer will be out in October. And finally, Oscar Goes Camping, an adorable little book that helps support homeless pets, also on Amazon. Please visit my website at ChelleyKitzmiller.com and join my newsletter (Chelley@ChelleyKitzMiller.com) so you can keep up with my books and find out what’s going on with the pet rescue.
I’m giving away a $5 gift card for some wonderful See’s Candy to one person who leaves a comment.
Teaching has never been an easy profession, but frontier teachers not only trained young minds, they also had to help tame the west.
Why would a woman leave family and friends for a low paying job in an unsettled, hostile land. Part of the answer lies with Catherine Beecher who did for education what her sister Harriet did for slavery. In The Duty of American Women to Their Country, she encouraged women to go west and meet the demand for teachers, arguing that women are “…the best, as well as the cheapest, guardian and teacher of childhood, in the school as well as in the nursery.”
Beecher was right about women being the cheapest; female teachers earned only forty to sixty percent of what male teachers earned, but that didn’t keep them from rising to the occasion. Between 1847 and 1858, more than six hundred female teachers traveled west to teach under the most difficult conditions imaginable and the numbers kept growing.
Armies, Indians and Things that Fly
In 1849 twenty-two year old Olive Isbel left Ohio with her husband to open the first school for American children in California. She taught a class of twenty students while cradling a loaded rifle in one hand and a book in the other. The Mission where she taught was under fire by the Mexican army trying to reclaim land believed to belong to Mexico.
Twenty-three years later in 1872, Sister Blandina Segale of Colorado didn’t have it much easier. Her classroom was periodically disturbed by attacking Ute Indians, who sided with the Mexicans.
While Sister Segale handled her Indian problem with prayer, Frontier teacher Harriet Bishop handled hers with diplomacy. When her school was attacked by fifty Sioux firing guns, she hid the children behind her voluptuous skirts and managed to persuade the Indians to leave by telling them that, “The children’s hearts are not strong like ours.”
Attacking armies and Indians weren’t the only problems frontier teachers faced. Isaben Fodge Cornish wrote about attending a sod school: “The floor was of dirt and during the cold winter of 1884 the teacher’s feet were frosted. Later a quantity of straw was put on the floor which made it warmer but proved to be a breeding place for fleas. This was not conductive to quiet study but did afford the children some bodily activity.” (No child obesity back then and now you know why.)
Tonight’s Homework: Read Ten Headstones
Teachers often lacked even the most basic necessities. Blackboards were considered a luxury and books were in short supply. Teachers were forced to use whatever was on hand. Eliza Mott, who taught school in Nevada in 1851, was so hard-pressed for books she conducted class in the local cemetery where she taught her pupils to read the epitaphs on gravestones.
Isbell also had to teach without benefit of paper, pens or slates. Her students printed their school work on their hands with pieces of charcoal and she scratched her lesson plans upon the dirt floor with a stick.
Sister Segale was short desks and classroom space and this time she chose action over diplomacy. She solved the first problem by sawing what desks she had on hand in half, thus giving each pupil a place to sit. She then borrowed a crowbar and demolished the school, hoping that good-hearted citizens would take pity and build her a new one. Her plan worked.
Conditions were poor, the rules tough and pay low, but the heroic teachers who traveled west laid the foundation that shaped young minds and helped turn America into the land of opportunity it is today.
We’re delighted to have Miss Chelley Kitzmiller with us again on Saturday, September 29th.
Miss Chelley writes those wonderful books about American Indians. Of course, it’s historical romance. And her heroes are too sexy for their own good. Next to cowboys what can be better than a man in a breechcloth. And the one on this cover has me drooling. Oh my Lord! So strong. So manly. And so handsome.
Not sure if Miss Chelley is toting anything to give away in her saddlebags. But if you don’t saddle up and ride along with her you won’t find out.
So rise and shine on Saturday and hightail it to the Junction.
We’ve spent the week talking about one room country schools and we’re talking about long ago history.
But I have a little different version of these tiny schools.
I went to one. My cowboy husband went to one.
Our four children went to one.
One room country school houses aren’t all buried in the distant past.
In Nebraska, and other rural states, they still exist.
In fact the school my children attended had Connealys in it going back five generations, to the founding of the school.
My roots weren’t nearly so deep in my rural neighborhood, because only my father had gone to the school I attended. My grandfather and grandmother were from nearby, but back in their day there was a school almost every mile. And many of those schools were crowded.
The real change I saw when I was sending my kids to school was how the populations in rural America was diminishing. A farm was 80 acres, a man could support his family of eight kids on 80 acres. My mother in law, who’d been in the school district my children went to for sixty years, talked of all the homes that had been. There were little houses all over in the country back then. Now a farm needs to be two thousand or five thousand acres to support a family and one man can handle it himself with a huge tractor and stunningly expensive combines and trucks and bins to store his grain. And that farmer is likely to only have two kids. The tiny schools have closed slowly and steadily for fifty years.
We live a long way out. I know people who are farther from town. In fact in western Nebraska it isn’t unheard of to have a forty mile drive, one way, to the nearest town. My children drove 15 miles every day to high school. When the distances are great, it is wonderful to have a school nearby.
Our school, at its largest in my children’s years, had 13 students. The numbers fluxuated and at times we were down to five. My oldest daughter started school with one boy in her grade. By eigth grade she was alone in her class. There were eight grades, though some classes had no students. Our teacher had very few papers to correct but imagine the lesson plans. She had to do lesson plans for multiple grades, keep track of the progress through-out all levels of elementary school.
We had computers and the internet. In fact we had a computer for every kid in the class. I think Bill Gates donated them to us. There was a lot of paper work involved.
We took great field trips, get one mom to drive and off we’d go. We often had museums almost to ourselves.
We had up-to-date text books and access to videos and all the supplies any school has.
I’m defending the very unusual school my kids went to because I loved it. It was a mile down the road to school every morning, they often road their bikes. I had a huge amount of influence in that school, something that is very unusual in a school today where parents are invited in under very controlled circumstances only. The teacher became a good friend and we made a great team educating my children.
I know they missed out on some socializing, but I’ve noticed my girls have a great attitude with boys. They learned to think of boys as their friends, not as romances and not as icky. There just weren’t enough kids. They had to learn to get along and play with each other and I think that’s helped them get along in all aspects of their lives and have a healthy view of romantic relationships, too.
There was no shirking in class. If you’re alone in your grade, or maybe one of two or three, no one’s gonna slip through the cracks, no matter how hard they try.
The little blonde girl facing the governor in this picture is my daughter, now a mother of two, so it’s not a new picture. 🙂
The school my children went to is closed now, but there are still rural schools in Nebraska and other states. In remote areas it just makes sense to educate a child near home. I feel blessed that my children got this experience.I have four daughters…all college graduates. One of them had a friend who had been admitted to law school at an Ivy League college and my daughter went along to help her move in.
She went with her friend to a ‘welcome to college’ party and every student was wealthy. Every one of them was working on their second or third advanced degree. Not a one of them had ever had to make the rent or worry about the cost of his clothes or drive an old beater car.
And she looked around at that priviledged crowd and just thought, ‘these are the people who are going to be running our country someday and none of them have one bit of practical experience at taking care of themselves.’
I told her she should have just said out loud, “You know what? I went to a one room country school house. I know how to drive a tractor. I’ve been kicked by a cow. I got out of college and had to get a job and I’m PROUD of that. I’m proud of supporting myself and hustling to find an apartment I can afford and finding an roommate to make it affordable and just MANAGING MY OWN LIFE. And guess what? I think I”m better than all of you.”
My daughter of course, did NOT say any of that. Probably because she’d been taught better behavior than that at her One Room Country School.
During my college days in Nebraska, a favorite pastime was picking up treasures at farm auctions. Upon opening one such bargain, an antique trunk, I found a spelling book a little girl had scribbled in many years ago.
Her spelling book, The Graded World Class Speller was written by Mortimer A. Warren and published by Taintor Brothers, Merrill and Co, NY, 1876. The curriculum was described as containing several thousand words grouped in classes, and arranged to form a progressive course in spelling.
Near as I can tell, her name was Lucy J. V. Bucher. (In my imagination, she is Lucy Joanna Victoria). I’m certain a parent inscribed this for her…(it looks fairly mature) but she was learning cursive.
This page in the back of the book, Chapter VI, is a “List of Words Whose Pronunciation or Whose Spelling I have Found Difficult” seems to have a mature penmanship first, hers to follow, for practice sake.
I suspect she was about nine in 1890. Apparently she lived in Thayer, Nebraska, one of the nine villages in York County (est. 1855) in the south eastern part of the state. I like to think her schoolmaster looked something like this, my great-grandfather who taught school for many years. Indeed, in his classes, boys and girls were separated on separated sides of the room.
Lucy likely attended a one-room school where five or six age and grade levels were given lessons at different times. When applicable, the same lesson might be taught to the entire class. Textbooks were purchased by families and often passed down within the family until the book was tattered and worn. Lucy’s book, copywrite 1876, might have been used and battered by older siblings. Hence its disreputable condition. Lucy’s pencil might have been “yellow” by then. Originally pencils were left unpainted to showcase the natural wood, but yellow paint came into fashion about 1890 to showcase use of Chinese graphite. Older children used pen and ink, but sparingly.
I think Lucy would have looked like this.
It’s fun trying to make a long ago little girl a bit more real. My five year old grandson has already resisted the concept of homework. He complained to his daddy about having to write his name ten times, explaining “You’re not my boss.” I wonder if Lucy felt the same, considering all the doodling in her practice pages,, and of course, the mysteries she left behind.
One scribbly page claims “Fred is go to mery Lily Boile.” (Another page claims “Martha is go to mery..” somebody also but I can’t read the name.) Anyway, did they? Marry, I mean, a couple of decades down the road?
Perhaps the dearest things that fire my imagination are: “What is my doll name?” Mixed in with numbers and math.
And…the mysterious name Charlie Mix?…was she writing his name because he was her first grade school crush? Or was he, boringly, simply another kid who used the book?