Let’s Hear it for Librarians!

newsletter_headerjpg - 2
Libraries are such wonderful places. I still get a little rush of excitement every time I walk into one. I feel a little like Belle from Beauty and the Beast when the beast first shows her his library. So many stories. So much potential. So much imagination all in one room/building. Goosebumps!

In honor of these wonderful friends and colleagues, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite librarians with you today:

  • Evelyn “Evie” Carnahan from The Mummy movies
    Evie from The Mummy

    I love librarians with inner spunk, and Evie is just such a woman. For years she’s been living adventurously through her books, educating herself on ancient Egypt, but she isn’t one to shy away from true danger when it comes her way. And who could forget that classic line of librarian pride – “I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O’Connell, but I am proud of what I am… I am a librarian.” Love it!

  •  Marian Paroo from The Music Man
    MarionMusicManLibrarian

    A singing librarian? Perfect! I love books and I love to sing, so this musical about a con man who is reformed by the love of a dedicated librarian is a winner on multiple levels. And who wouldn’t love the classic romantic ballad – Marian the Librarian? My heart’s melting a bit just thinking about it.

  • Flynn Carsen from The Librarian (made for TV movies) 
    The Librarian Trilogy

    You might have met Noah Wylie as a young doctor on the hit show ER, but he truly stole my heart as the reluctant yet adventurous Flynn Carsen in this trilogy of movies about man who goes to work for “The Library” not realizing  that it is actually a secret organization that has been around for centuries and is in charge of procuring artifacts before they can fall into the wrong hands and have their power used for evil. Flynn is addicted to learning, having obtained 22 different degrees including 4 PhDs by the time he is 31 years old. He’s slightly bumbling, yet comes into his own as an adventurer during the course of these films. Gotta love the nerd turned action hero.

On a personal note, one of my favorite librarians is a dear friend who was the first person I ever trusted enough to show my writing to. She was my first critique partner and the one who helped me believe my dreams of writing novels weren’t completely out of reach. I’m thankful that God brought her into my life and continues to bless me with her friendship.

So who are your favorite librarians? Real or fictional.

I have to give a shout out to my own librarian heroine, Eden Spencer from To Win Her Heart.
You know I love librarians when I use books to bring the wealthy daughter of the town founder and a speech-impaired blacksmith together. Ah . . . the power of the written word. Sigh.
Go hug a librarian today!

Crop Circles, Aliens & the Native American Myth

bannerHowdy!

Strange title, eh?  Or maybe not.  My latest book, THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR is based on a myth that is common throughout the American Indian myths — tribe to tribe.  The story of the Thunderer.

But there’s another myth that caught my interest early on — and it is the one I thought I’d discuss with you today.  At the time I came upon this myth, I knew nothing about crop circles — had never heard of them — but this myth in the Americas brings these things so closely to mind.

One of my books, SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE is based in no small degree upon this myth, and the book actually starts with the hero and heroine and the myth.  Interestingly, I found this myth not in just one tribe — but several — and the thing is, it was told almost (but not quite) identically.  The myth I’m about to tell you is from the Shawnee.stortell[1]

I believe that the name of the hero (it’s from a children’s book that I’m quoting) is Red Hawk, and the name of the book is RED HAWK AND THE SKY SISTERS by Gloria Dominic and Charles Reasoner.  Again, this legend is repeated in several different tribes — although the hero’s name is often different.

Red Hawk is a great hunter.  But he is puzzled because he sees the same thing in the prairie each time he goes to hunt.  It is a circle — a perfect circle — but there are no paths leading up to it — or going away from it.  There is evidence that something was there and made the circle — but how?  Red Hawk decides to spend the night, hiding himself from view.

51GoIbPuXOL._SL110_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-sm,TopRight,10,-13_OU01_[1]And so he does.  He discovers by hiding himself, that a basket gently falls to the earth and that there is singing from feminine voices.  As the basket comes to land softly on the earth, the sisters alight from the basket and dance around it in a circle.  Red Hawk watches this for many nights until one night he falls in love with one of the sisters — the youngest I believe.  And so, once again hiding himself, he waits until the sisters are about to get into the basket and go back into the sky — but suddenly he jumps out from his hiding place and captures the woman of his heart.

They marry and are happy, but she misses her home in the sky (she is a star).  They have a  child and she wishes to take the child and return to visit her home in the sky.  Our hero lets her go, but keeps the child with him, hoping that the child will be enough to cause her to return.  When she doesn’t return, our hero again captures her, and she falls in love with him all over and they live happily ever after.

th[1]I did find that the ending varies a bit from tribe to tribe, and I’m uncertain of how this book ends the story — I have this book, but of course, needing to find it for this post, the book eludes me.  : ) 

So what does this have to do with crop circles and aliens.  Well, I found it very interesting that crop circles seem similar and are also tied to aliens — here’s a link, if you’ve never heard of crop circles:  http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/cutting/cropcirc.htm

flower[1]Here is a picture of an actual crop circle — where the crops have been bent back without any footprints to or from the circle.   They are usually made at night — and made within one night.

Although attributed to more modern times, it’s interesting to me that our legend goes back centuries — to come to us today — to perhaps make the crop circle even more mysterious.

AngelAndTheWarrior-The-CoverHope you’ve enjoyed the post today.  And I hope I’ve created some interest in the American Indian myth. 

THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR is on sale — pick up your copy today.  http://store.samhainpublishing.com/angel-warrior-p-73302.html

 

 

Cast Iron Cooking

I have several cast iron pans from my mother-in-law. If you”re familiar with cast iron, it weighs a ton. The skillets are not washed with soap, but rinsed in water and scoured with salt when necessary. A good pan will “season” and become non-stick over time. Those who love cast iron swear by them. While I don”t always use them to cook, I do have a few recipes that absolutely require a good skillet.

skillet

Dutch Baby Pancake (Sometimes called a puff pancake)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups assorted fresh berries

Powdered sugar, if desired

Puff Pankcake

Heat oven to 400°F. In seasoned cast iron skillet, melt butter in oven; brush butter over bottom and side of pie pan.

In medium bowl, beat eggs slightly with wire whisk or hand beater. Beat in flour, milk and salt just until mixed (do not overbeat). Pour into skillet.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until puffy and deep golden brown. Serve pancake immediately topped with berries. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Another favorite? Roasted Brussels sprouts

brussels sprouts

INGREDIENTS

1 pound Brussels sprouts, rinsed, ends trimmed

1 Tbsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 Tbsp olive oil

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Place Brussels sprouts in a cast iron frying pan. Toss in the garlic. Sprinkle Brussels sprouts with lemon juice. Toss with oil so that the sprouts are well coated. Sprinkle generously with salt (at least a half teaspoon) and a few turns of black pepper.

2 Put Brussels sprouts in oven on top rack, cook for 20 minutes, then stir so that the sprouts get coated with the oil in the pan. Cook for another 10 minutes. Then sprinkle with Parmesan (if using) and cook for another 5 minutes.

The sprouts should be nicely browned, some of the outside leaves crunchy, the interior should be cooked through.

Add more salt to taste. (Salting sufficiently is the key to success with this recipe.)

Sherri is currently working on three more books for her Cimarron Springs series. Her current books include Winning the Widow’s Heart and The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family. The Cattleman Meets His Match releases in August of 2014.

The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family

Susan Mobley of Romantic Times Magazine says, “A lovely marriage-of-convenience story, the interaction between the two main characters is a joy to start.”

The marshal

Gentlemen don”t court feisty straight shooters like JoBeth McCoy. Just as she”s resigned to a lifetime alone, a misunderstanding forces the spunky telegraph operator into a marriage of convenience. Wedding the town”s handsome new marshal offers JoBeth a chance at motherhood, caring for the orphaned little girl she”s come to love.

Garrett Cain will lose guardianship of his niece, Cora, if he stays single, but he knows no woman could accept the secrets he”s hidden about his past. The lawman can”t jeopardize Cora”s future by admitting the truth. Yet when unexpected danger in the small town threatens to expose Garrett”s long-buried secret, only a leap of faith can turn a makeshift union into a real family.

 

 

There’s Just Something About Those Cowboys…

Becky is giving away a copy of Meant to Be Mine to one lucky responder!

Authorshot
Hi, everyone!  It’s a treat to join you here.  Many thanks to Karen Witemeyer for inviting me to visit.
I was raised in California, met my husband at Baylor University, and have lived in Dallas for seventeen years now.  My time in the Lone Star State have given this transplanted beach girl an appreciation for many facets of Texas life. One in particular?

The cowboy

There’s just something timeless about the appeal of the cowboy, isn’t there?  Cowboys are rugged, masculine, independent, humble, capable, brave, and good.  And if they happen to be handsome, too, it doesn’t hurt a bit.
bullridingpic1I have a ten year old son who has loved all things ‘cowboy’ since the age of four.  He’s been to the rodeo a few times, and about three years ago, I took him to a professional bull riding event.  He enjoyed it and let me tell you, I enjoyed it.  I left the bull riding arena filled with inspiration to write a pro bull riding hero.
As you may know, bull riding has a long history.  It began in the 16th century on the haciendas of old Mexico where ranch hands competed in skills of horsemanship including bull riding.  Initially, bull riding was similar to bull fighting, in that it ended in the death of the bull.
By the mid-1800’s bull riding as competition had spread to the southwest, Texas and California especially.  In 1852, the Lone Star Fair in Corpus Christi, Texas, featured bull riding.  Around the same time, Wild West shows began including steer riding in their acts.  (Steers were easier to handle than bulls).
The popularity of the sport grew steadily.  In 1992, twenty bull-riding cowboys left the traditional rodeo circuit to bullridingpic2found the Professional Bull Riders.  They believed that bull riding could stand on its own as an event.  They were right.  The PBR has enjoyed great success.
In order to spark ideas for my own bull riding hero I began with the sort of research that hardly seems like “research” at all: reality TV.  Back in 2006 a show called Beyond The Bull followed the lives of three pro bull riders.  I rented the DVD and watched all ten episodes.  Beyond The Bull wasn’t great television — but it did give me great behind-the-scenes insight into the daily lives of bull riders.
Once I began writing Ty Porter’s book, bull riding questions occurred to me regularly.  I don’t let myself slow my forward progress with research while I’m writing the rough draft.  So I noted each of my questions.  When it came time to revise, I took a two-pronged approach to research.  1) I hunted around online.  2) I called the PBR and spoke with a female staffer.  She very graciously answered each of my remaining questions and provided additional insight.

With that — Voila! — Ty Porter and his unusual profession began to come to life within the pages of Meant to Be Mine.  Naturally, I gave Ty a heroine very disinclined to appreciate bull-riding cowboys.  But my heroine finds, as the story unfolds, that she has the same soft spot for them that this author has.
As time goes by, despite her excellent intentions, Celia finds Ty a little more and a little more impossible to resist.
After all, there’s just something about those cowboys….

Have you watched bull riding live at either a rodeo or a professional bull riding event?

Becky makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her CBA debut, My Stubborn Heart, was a finalist in both the RITA and INSPY awards.  Undeniably Yours kicked off her Texas-set Porter Family series.  Her newest contemporary romance, Meant to Be Mine, has just hit shelves!

 To preorder click on covermtbm

Photo Credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/29312295@N06/5583537489/”>dingatx</a> via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>

Photo Credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/66028951@N00/4743300603/”>watsonsinelgin</a> via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

 

Excerpt Friday – The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family

Excerpt Friday Logo

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.

White Spacer

From Author Sherri Shackleford  – The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family

White Spacer

Sherri will be giving away a book or an amazon kindle edition to one person who leaves a comment on today’s post.

 

The marshal's ready-made familyJoBeth McCoy knew Marshal Garrett Cain’s life was about to change forever—and all she could do was sit with his young niece until he heard the tragic news about his sister.

The towering double doors behind Jo and five-year-old Cora creaked open, and Reverend Miller cleared his throat. “You can send in the child now.” He held out his hand for Cora. “Marshal Cain has been informed of his sister’s passing.”

Her heart heavy, Jo stood, then hesitated in the dappled sunlight. A soft breeze sent pear blossoms from the trees on either side of the shallow church steps fluttering over them like fragrant snow petals.

Cora rose and snatched Jo’s hand. “Will you go with me?”

A riot of flaxen curls tumbled merrily around the little girl’s face, but her Cupid’s-bow mouth was solemn beneath her enormous, cornflower-blue eyes. Cora clutched a paper funnel filled with lemon drops in her left hand. Her battered rag doll remained anchored to her right side.

Jo met the reverend’s sympathetic gaze, grateful for his almost imperceptible nod of agreement. He was a squat, sturdy man in his middle fifties with thinning gray hair and a kind smile.

The three of them stepped into the church vestibule, and Reverend Miller directed them toward his tiny, cluttered office. Jo paused as her eyes adjusted in the dim light.

Marshal Cain sat on a sturdy wooden chair before the desk, his expression grim. Her heart skittered, but she swallowed back her nerves and forced her steps closer.

His eyes were red, and the tail end of a hastily stowed handkerchief peeked out from his breast pocket. As though embarrassed by his tears, he didn’t meet her gaze. Instead, he focused his attention on the petite fingers clutching Jo’s waist. He didn’t stand or approach them and for that Jo was grateful, especially since Cora cowered behind her.

He caught sight of his niece’s frightened gaze and blinked rapidly. “Hello, Cora. I know we’ve never met, but your mother and I were brother and sister.”

Jo had only seen the marshal a handful of times, but he was an imposing sight sitting down, let alone standing. Well over six feet tall, he wore his dark hair neatly trimmed. Though he didn’t sport a beard, a five-o’clock shadow perpetually darkened his jaw.

His face was all hard lines and tough angles, with a deep cleft dividing his chin. An inch-long scar slashed at an angle from his forehead through one thick, dark eyebrow. Other women might prefer a gentler face, but Jo found his distinctive features fascinating. Not that she looked. A woman simply couldn’t help but notice things once in a while.

Becky Wade Rides This Way

 

mtbmRomance author Miss Becky Wade has saddled up and will ride into the Junction on Saturday, April 26.

Ever wonder about those rough, tough as shoe leather cowboys who ride bulls for a living? Well, Miss Becky will tell us about that. Seems she’s done a fair amount of “lo0king into it.” Hee-Hee!

We should have a good time discussing the subject.

Ride along with us as Miss Becky gives us the low-down.

Oh, and she’s toting an autographed copy of her book to give away!

I wrote a novella–and I'm giving it away free!

Trouble in Texas and Me

It’s NOT a romance. It’s not very funny, there just wasn’t much comedy to be mined for me in Andersonville Prison. It’s not even a real story

Chapter #1 of 13 of how my heroes from Trouble in Texas met and how they became so loyal to each other.

Book #1 Swept Away — Luke’s Story
Book #2 Fired Up –Dare’s Story
Book #3 Stuck Together –Vince’s Story–releases in June 3.
Closer Than Brothers

This is the beginning of Chapter 1. I wrote a novella that I’m giving away free, one chapter at a time. Chapter two went up today so read them in order!

http://www.mconnealy.blogspot.com Come and join me in an experiment (suddenly I sound like…Dr. Frankenstein!)

Beginning Saturday, April 19. And I’ll post each new chapter and remind you

on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/maryconnealy when a new chapter is done!)

Chapter One

Vince—The Invincible

Burning hot. No way out. Surrounded by real bad people.

            A description of hell if Vince had ever heard of one.
            And it described Andersonville Prison pretty well.
            Vince  Yates heard a soft footstep and he braced himself. He’d known this was coming
from the minute he pulled those filthy Raiders off that kid.
            The kid had been greeted just like every newcomer to Andersonville, with violence.
Vince knew better, but he couldn’t let that kid get beaten by a fellow Yankee.
            One of those thieves had picked himself up and backed away from Vince’s fury with a
parting threat. “A man who don’t mind his own business, don’t survive.”
            “Lots of ways to die in this pit,” Vince had told the low down coyote. “Might as well
die with some honor instead of live with a yellow streak down my back—like
you.” Vince knew he signed his own death warrant but he couldn’t leave the kid
to his fate.
            There’d been three Raiders and, with the kid’s help, two against three, they drove them
off. But those Raiders had friends, dozens, maybe hundreds.
            They were coming back in a pack like wolves.
            Vince was weak already. Starved down to skin and bones after six months in here.
            The  footsteps came closer. Vince prayed the most heartfelt prayer of his life, and
it wasn’t for help. He figured none was coming. And the prayer wasn’t to win
this fight. With the exception of a few Bible stories—David and some stones—Samson
and the jawbone of an ass—most of the time, when one man stood alone, that man
lost.
            Nope, he  just prayed that he’d meet his Savior. He wasn’t even all that sorry to go. It
was time to be getting out of this place and that was about the only doorway
Vince could see. He put all his hope in the next life.
This one was over.
            “Yates?” A Texas twang, laced with gravel. Vince knew that voice. The Kid.
            Not a lot of Texans penned up in here. Texans fought for the Rebs.
            “I’m here.” Speaking barely above a whisper, Vince stepped out of the shadows.
            “I don’t reckon I’ll let you protect me and not return the favor. You can use someone at
your back tonight.” A kid at least five years younger than Vince. He’d done
well against those three men but he was losing when Vince stepped in.
            “I stepped into your trouble, and I was a fool to do it. Be smarter than me, Kid.
Get out of here.”
            A dry laugh with no humor in it answered, “Won’t be the first time someone accused me
of being a fool. I’ll buy in.” The boy was close enough in the starless night
that Vince finally saw the black shape of him.
            “No  sense both of us getting whipped, Kid.”
            “No  sense.” The kid came closer. “I’ve heard my pa say I got none, so I’ll stay.
Name’s Luke Stone, from Texas.”
~~~~~Part #1 of 13 episodes of how my heroes from Trouble in Texas met and how they became so loyal to each other. I’ll have the book posted in it’s entirety by the time Book #3 Stuck Together –Vince’s story–releases in June 3. Read More Here