State Trivia ~ Gems of Missouri

State Trivia Logo 03.25.14


Good morning & good Monday!

I’m excited to kick-off our STATE TRIVIA WEEK here at Petticoats and Pistols! The Fillies live all over the place, and, at the suggestion of one of you, our readers, we’re going to introduce you to our states. Mine?

“The Gateway to the West”

MO flag

Missouri was the 24th state in the USA, joining the union on August 10, 1821.
State Nickname – “The Show Me State”
State Motto – “Salus populi suprema lex esto ” – The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law
State Song – Missouri Waltz
State Capital – Jefferson City
Name for Residents – Missourians
Major Rivers – Mississippi River, Missouri River, Osage River
Major Lakes – Lake of the Ozarks, Table Rock Lake, Clearwater Lake, Lake Wappapello
Highest Point – Taum Sauk Mountain- 1,772 feet (540 m) above sea level
Number of Counties – 114 (plus one independent city, St. Louis)

Those are some of the “stats” of the state. But here are a few of the “gems”:

St. Charles, located on the Missouri River, was the location of the first state capitol. The site is a State Park:  Old St. Charles features many historic buildings from the early history of the state. Check out The Lewis & Clark Boathouse:

President Harry S. Truman was born in Lamar (near Joplin) on May 8, 1884 (he was the 33rd US President, serving from 1945 to 1953). He retired in Independence, in the house his wife, Bess, owned.


Samuel Clemens In TophatSamuel Langhome Clements (right), better know as Mark Twain, was born in Florida, MO, and  grew up in Hannibal. His most well-remembered character, Huckleberry Finn’s home is Hannibal. Colonel Potter’s, too, for you MASH fans

Independence was a jumping off point for many wagon trains heading west. I had so much fun exploring the museums in this delightful town.


The Gateway Arch
The nation’s tallest monument at 630 feet tall and 630 feet wide at the base, the Gateway Arch was completed in October, 1965. The vision of renowned architect Eero Saarinen, the Gateway Arch commemorates Thomas Jefferson and St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion of the United States.

St. Genevieve
French settlement on the Mississippi River, established in the early 1700s as part of the Illinois Country of the Upper Louisiana Territory.

The second battle of the Civil War, The Battle of Wilson’s Creek, took place near what is now the city of Springfield, MO.

The Gratiot Street Prison, run by the Union, was in St. Louis during the Civil War. The site is now the Ralston Purina headquarters.


The Lake of the Ozarks has more shoreline than California has coastline.

Missouri has so many Caves we’re known as “the cave state.” There’s Bridal Cave, Meramec Cavern, Fantastic Cavern, Onondaga, Cathedral… Check out all 6400 known caves–

I’ll stop now. But there are just so many cool things about my state!

Anyone of you readers live in Missouri? What did I miss?

Leave a comment and I’ll pick a name from the hat to win reader’s choice of the anthologies Wishing For a CowboyHearts and Spurs AND a Missouri keepsake keychain.



Jodi Thomas’s WINNERS!!


Betting the RainbowSeven years ago in August we “Bet the Rainbow” with P&P. It scared us to death. We didn’t know if we’d sink or swim. It changed all our lives.

Miss Jodi is giving away two copies of her latest.

The Winners are……………..


Woo-Hoo! I’m dancin’ up a storm for you ladies. Someone will contact you for your mailing particulars.

Betting the Rainbow with Jodi Thomas

Jodi in the Garden Headshot Good


The idea for my new book, BETTING THE RAINBOW, came from the question, “If you had a chance to change your life, what would you be willing to risk?”

My character Dusti Delaney and her sister were stuck on a small farm , on a little lake, near Harmony, Texas.  They made enough to live but nothing more.  Both had dreams of what could have been if one had been able to finish nursing school and the other had followed her dream of being a professional photographer.

On their once-a-month night out Dusti learns of a charity poker game and sees her one chance to change.  Though she has her goals too, she wants to see her sister follow her dream first.

One man knows enough about poker to teach her to win.  Only problem is, if she makes it to the final table, she’ll be playing against him.  As he teaches her about Texas Hold’em and love, she sees the possibility of her dream coming true.

Betting the RainbowI think I loved this story so much because I once pushed all my chips in on a dream.  I wanted to write but with teaching, going to grad school and raising two boys, there was never any time.  Finally, with the help of my husband, I quit, drew out my retirement and lived on it while I wrote.  Forty books later I’d say the gamble paid off.

The name, BETTING THE RAINBOW, comes from a poker term when a player shoves in all colors of his chips.

The game of Texas Hold’em originated in Texas. Legend has it that the first game was played by Robstown, Texas in a saloon in back of a mercantile.

Dallas already had card games called “Poker” that were popular.  Poker comes from the German word “pochen,” which means, “to knock.”

Many say that Texas Hold’em is a thinking man’s game.

Now, of course, if I’m going to write about poker, I’ve got to learn to play.  So I talked a friend of mind into letting me sit in on a game out in the country.  The men were very polite and nice.  The lesson cost me 30 dollars.

Then, a woman who plays poker in Las Vegas invited me to go along and watch her play.  I couldn’t turn that down, so Phyliss Miranda and I flew to Vegas and had a great time.

You’ll love meeting all the people who live on a little road called Rainbow Lane.  Three love stories will touch your heart and as always the folks of Harmony will welcome you in for a visit.

Let me know if you know of anyone who ever “bet the rainbow” with their life and if the gamble paid off.

To two lucky readers, I am giving away a copy of “Betting the Rainbow”!

“Thomas is a master at creating damaged yet appealing characters, and their expressions of love—as siblings, as friends, as partners—are intense and beautiful. Their paths to happiness are interwoven in an intricate tapestry with the tournament as backdrop, combining in an epic tale of the kind of love that lasts forever.”      Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Excerpt Friday – Hearts and Spurs: COMING HOME


Welcome to Excerpt Friday!  Each Friday we’ll be featuring excerpts from recent releases by our very own Fillies.  So grab a cup of coffee and read on.  And if you find you’re hooked by what you read (and we know you will be!) just click on the book cover to purchase the entire book.

From Author Tracy Garrett  – COMING HOME (from the  HEARTS AND SPURS ANTHOLOGY)


It takes a lot of forgiveness and a few fireworks to realize that together their dreams can come true. 

Hearts and Spurs MedEXCERPT:

He watched Mary’s throat work as she battled back tears that made her blue eyes seem huge in her pale face. When she squared her shoulders and lifted her chin, he knew his time for avoiding the truth was over.

“What happened, Mr. Hawken?”

Self-loathing threatened to choke him. “I’m not sure.”

She glanced at Matt, then returned her piercing gaze to Jericho. “I don’t understand. Did it happen at night? Was it too dark for you to see?”

He gulped down the liquid in his glass and carefully set the crystal aside when he wanted to hurl it against the stone hearth. “I wasn’t there.”


“I was in jail.”



Jodi Thomas Returns to the Junction!!


Betting the RainbowThe very talented Miss Jodi Thomas will visit on Saturday, March 29.

The Fillies are always excited when she comes. Miss Jodi writes the kind of books we love. She’s been a bestselling author since Heck was a pup and he’s a grown dog now. Her books make you laugh and cry and jump for joy.

And, you’ll be thrilled that she’s bringing copies of BETTING THE RAINBOW to give away!

So leave the chores and head over here come Saturday.

You have an invitation to join the party!

Why Nobody Laughed at Smiley’s Hanging

You are cordially invited to a hanging . . .

Ah, research. Don’t you just love it?  It takes us to all sort of places we never expected to go. Recently while researching nineteenth century wedding invitations I came across an invitation to a hanging.
It surprised me to learn that written invitations for neck-tie parties were not all that unusual.  When nineteenth century hangings went from being public spectacles to private affairs, the burden of inviting law enforcement officers, jurors and other public figures to the proceedings was the sheriff’s responsibility. What better way to spread the word than to send out printed cards?
These invitations were valued and any community leader not on the receiving end took great offense.
For the most part, respectful fonts and paper were employed for the macabre task. Though most invitations were hand-written, a surprising number were engraved.
Some went over the line in poor taste, as much as Sheriff Wattron of Navajo County who had the task of announcing the hanging of one George Smiley for murder. Here’s a copy of the actual invitation:


Somehow the invitation got into the hands of a journalist who saw that it was printed and newspaper across the country and abroad printed the story. Not only did the lawman use paper with a bright gold border, his tacky choice of words stirred a controversy that reached the White House. President McKinley was so incensed by what he read he issued a thirty day stay of execution.
The Governor of Arizona was especially incensed at all the negative press. He released the following statement:
“The Sheriff of Navajo County, whose duty it is to execute the condemned and bring about the just expiation of an awful crime, has seen fit to publicly advertise and issue cards of invitation to the execution of the condemned, in unseemly and flippant language, and in terms which have brought reproach upon the good name of this Territory.”
Bending under the pressure Sheriff Wattron rewrote the invitation and was careful to include a respectful black border. However, he showed his displeasure by mailing the invitations too late for the governor and other critics to attend.
The second invitation was a vast improvement over the first, but somehow you get the feeling that it was written under protest.
“With feelings of profound sorrow and regret, I hereby invite you to attend and witness the private, decent and humane execution of a human being; name, George Smiley, crime, murder. You are expected to deport yourself in a respectful manner and any “flippant” and “unseemly” language on your part will not be allowed.”

So now you know why nobody laughed when Smiley died.


To Preorder Just Click Cover

FourWeddings and a kiss

“A kiss seals the deal in this splendid collection of novellas. Forget something old, new, borrowed and blue––pitch perfect humor and romance are what tie the knot in Four Weddings and a Kiss.

~Tamera Alexander, USA Today bestselling author of To Whisper Her Name and The Inheritance

The Painted Lady

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Dressing TableThis weekend, my 15 year-old daughter and I passed another feminine milestone–the acquisition and application of cosmetics. Yep, my baby is now wearing make-up. Although, to be fair, it’s not by her choice. She and her closest friends have avoided this fate for as long as possible. In fact, the ONLY reason she agreed to the lessons this past Sunday evening was because the drill team she joined this year was having a photo shoot on Monday and make-up was a requirement.

As the mother of a teenage daughter, I am secretly counting my lucky stars that my daughter has no interest in the world of beauty products. Our girls grow up far too quickly today in my opinion, so I was happy to support her decision to skip the whole make-up mess. My only concern was teaching her how to do it properly so that when she did dive into those waters, she didn’t come out looking like one of those blue eye shadow disasters. Thankfully, she was content to let me pick out neutral shades to accentual her natural beauty instead of turning her into a painted lady.

“Painted Lady” – Remember the negative connotation such a name would imply back in the Victorian era? Any woman who would paint her face was considered of low moral character. Only actresses and prostitutes would use such ungodly enhancements to lure men down a sinful path.

You might recognize Marilyn Monroe's saloon girl character from the classic western, River of No Return.
You might recognize Marilyn Monroe’s saloon girl character from the classic western, River of No Return.

In the American West, the working girls at the saloons had this dubious distinction, dipping into the rouge pot to add a “youthful glow” to their cheeks or applied to lips to stain them an enticing red. Kohl would be used to darken the lashes or could be drawn on with a tiny brush like eyeliner. Powders and creams were used to help achieve a pale complexion.

However, it wasn’t only the “bad girls” who painted themselves. Wealthy women who had time and money on their hands often dabbled in the cosmetic arts as well, only they kept their tricks severely secret for if anyone found out they were using “paint” they would be ostracized. So they found ways to enhance their beauty in subtle ways, avoiding the painted lady look. They applied lemon juice to their skin to help fade freckles and promote the pale complexion that was so in fashion. In the evening, if they dared, they might even use a touch of rice powder. Beet juice could be used to add a touch of color to their cheek and lips, though many just tortured themselves with painful pinches to bring the blood to the surface. Instead of painting on kohl around their eyes, these women would add a touch of wax to their lashes the dust them with soot. Can you imagine having soot in your eyes all evening long? Yuck!

Gibson Girl
Gibson Girl

It wasn’t until the turn of the century with forces like the Gibson Girl, World War I, and the motion picture industry that the pendulum started to swing back the other way, opening the door for cosmetics. The Gibson Girl became the famous pin-up model that men idealized and women strove to imitate. World War I saw so many men overseas that the women at home entered the workplace, earning independence and their own discretionary income. New improvements in Hollywood by Max Factor created natural-looking cosmetics that  could be worn in off the movie set and still look beautiful, not like theater grease paint. Soon the female populace at large demanded access to these items as well, and the American cosmetic market was born.

So what do you think?

  • Are you glad we have cosmetics? Or do you wish the hassle was unnecessary?
  • If you lived back in the 1800’s, would you have been tempted to sneak a little beauty aid here or there?

We Have A Winner

banner 2We have a winner!  Again, two winners. And they are Alisa Boisclair and Jennifer Ackler.

Alisa and Jennifer, please contact me privately at karenkay(dot)author(at)earthlink(dot)net — so we can go over the books available and what you might like.

Congratulations to you both.  And please do check back in two weeks.  I will continue to give away free books in celebration of the release of THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR next week, as well.  And my hearty thanks to all those who came here today and left a comment.

Mythology, The Thunderer and THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR

banner 2Howdy!

Welcome to my blog today.  And yes, I’ll be giving away another free ebook to some lucky winner.   All you have to do to enter into the drawing is leave a comment.  So please do come on in and tell me your thoughts on the blog today.

AngelAndTheWarrior-The-CoverIf you’ve been following my recent writings, you might be aware that soon, within a week or so, THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR will be released in ebooks.   Because this book is the first in a series that is set not only within historical times, but within the framework of Native American Mythology, I thought it might be fun to talk about some of the legends of Native America.  And in particular, the legend of the Thunderer.

The Thunder Being (or sometimes referred to as the Thunder Bird or Thunder God or Thunderer) is one of the main characters in this latest series of my books.   His anger has been stirred by acts of violence against himself and his children by a clan that is part of the Blackfoot Indians – The Lost Clan as they are called in these stories.  Interestingly, the Thunder thCACKC4HUBeing plays a dominant role in most Native American tribes — perhaps because when one is living so closely to nature, the Thunderer, who can produce so much damage, would be a subject of much legend.  In this series of books, the Lost Clan has been  relegated into the “mist” by the Creator, who intervened on the people’s behalf when the Thunderer was bent on destroying every single member of the clan.  Imprisoned within that mist, each band within the Lost Clan is given a chance within every new generation to choose a boy to go out into the real world, who is charged with the task of undoing the curse, thus freeing his people from what would be an everlasting punishment (they are neither real, nor dead).  But, not only must the boy be brave and intelligent (there are puzzles to solve within every book), he must also show kindness to the enemy.

th[2]Let’s have a look at the Thunderer and some of the different lore about this being.  In Blackfeet lore, the Thunderer often steals women.  He also will often take the image of a very large bird — his wings creating the thunder and his eyes shooting out the lightning.  In Lakota lore, if one dreams about the Thunder god, he becomes a backwards person.   He must do everything backwards.  He washes in sand, become dirty in water, walks backwards, says exactly what he doesn’t mean, etc., etc.  The dream is so powerful that it is thought that if one fails to do these things, he courts certain death.  In THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, the hero is desperate because he only has until his 30th birthday to undo the curse, and the hero of the story is 29, with only a few months left to accomplish what he must.  Relying on visions and dreams, he is drawn toward a woman with hair the color of starlight.  But he regards her and his growing feelings toward her, as little more than a distraction.

thumbnail[5]There is also a legend of the Thunder Being in the Iroquois Nation.  In this legend, a young woman becomes the bride of the Thunderer and through him saves her village from a huge snake that burrows under her village, thus endangering the lives of everyone in her village.  There is still another legend about the Thunder which you can watch on the Movie called Dream Makers — well, I think that’s the name of the movie (if I am wrong about that name, please do correct me).   In this legend, which is also an Eastern Indian tribe, a young woman marries the Thunderer and goes to live with him in the above world, only to be returned to her own world when she becomes pregnant with his child.

stortell[1]What is very, very interesting to me is how many and how vast are the lores of Native America.  Though we often hear or even study the ancient lore of the Greeks, seldom do we read much our own lore — the mythology that belongs intimately with this land we call America — which by the way, to the Native Americans on the East Coast, America is known as Turtle Island.   Fascinatingly, there is a story for almost every creature on this continent, from the crow to the sparrow to the coyote (the trickster), the wolf and bear.  There are legends about the stars, the Big Dipper hosts legends about the Great Bear (Iroquois) and the Seven Brothers and their sister (Cheyenne and Blackfeet).  There are still other stories about the Morning Star and the Evening Star and marriages between the Gods and mortals.

july06-yukon-photo-4.jpgSo what do you think?  What do you think about the myths (do you think they are stories about a past time or do you think, like many scientists of our day, that they are the works of imagination).  Or are they stories to teach us more about ourselves and the world in which we live?

AngelAndTheWarrior-The-CoverDon’t forget that soon, April 1, 2014, THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR goes on sale.  Right now, you can pick up the book in a pre-sale promotion — practically for a song.  Here’s the link:

I’d love to hear from you today!