The City Beneath with Guest Shanna Hatfield

E Oregon Wheat fieldsA steady diet of exciting adventures stories growing up and a childhood spent on a farm in the west created my life-long interest in history. It seemed natural to dive into writing sweet historical western romances, especially since I love researching all the details that bring the characters and stories to life.

When the idea for my Pendleton Petticoats series began bubbling in my head, I decided it Pendleton, Oregon, at the beginning of the 20th century, would provide the ideal setting.


Pendleton Petticoats block

Many people know Pendleton as the home of the world-famous Pendleton Round-Up and the Pendleton Woolen Mills. It billed itself as the “queen of a golden empire – golden wheat,” producing one percent of the nation’s wheat crop at the turn of the century.

As I began digging into the town’s past, I discovered, much to my surprise, Pendleton was a happening place to be in the early 1900s.

On any given day during that time, a person walking down the street could spy ladies and gentlemen attired in the latest fashions, as well as Chinese immigrants, Indians from the nearby reservation with colorful woolen blankets, miners, sheepherders, ranchers, and farmers.

women walking

Modern and progressive for its time, Pendleton offered a unique blend of Wild West and culture. Wild rowdies and plenty of crime established its rugged reputation. The 32 saloons and 18 bordellos open at that time also played a key factor in the seedier enterprises in town.

Pendleton boasted an opera house and theater, a teashop, a French restaurant, and a wide variety of businesses in the early years of the new century. The town had an enviable railway facility with trains running east and west daily.

Telephones as well as running water and sewer lines were available for those who could afford the services. It was the second city in the state to have paved streets and according to historic records; residents of Umatilla County had a rare passion for the newly introduced automobile.

There was one part of town, though, that “decent” women didn’t visit and discussed in whispers – The Underground, Pendleton’s city beneath the city.

Mystery and intrigue surrounded the tunnels of The Underground. What began as a way for businesses to deliver their goods from the depot, soon turned into a booming mini-city of saloons, card rooms, working girls, Chinese laundries and opium dens. According to local tales, the working girls used the tunnels to enter respectable businesses and do their shopping around town. Reportedly, a tunnel even ran to the doctor’s office for them to pay their visits undetected.

While the town didn’t lack for colorful characters, those portrayed in my Pendleton Petticoats series are purely fictional.

The women in Pendleton Petticoats come from all walks of life but find commonality in drawing strength from their courage and persevering in chasing their dreams. One woman longs to better her future, one to escape her past, one wants to find a place to call home, and one seeks hope.

Aundy, Caterina, Ilsa, and Marnie challenge the roles typically assigned to women of this era.  These strong, brave, woman are ones I so admire, even when (or perhaps especially because) one of them becomes intimately familiar with the city beneath the city.

Thank you for hosting me today. I’m so grateful for this wonderful opportunity to connect with your readers and share a little about a fun western town!


Shanna is giving away a copy of Aundy to the winner of the drawing! The winner can choose a paperback or Kindle copy.

Aundy Cover

Aundy Blurb:

Desperate to better her situation, Aundy Thorsen agrees to leave behind her life in Chicago to fulfill a farmer’s request for a mail-order bride in Pendleton, Oregon. When a tragic accident leaves her a widow soon after becoming a wife, Aundy takes on the challenge of learning how to manage a farm, even if it means her stubborn determination to succeed upsets a few of the neighbors.

Born and raised at Nash’s Folly, the family ranch, Garrett Nash loves life in the bustling community of Pendleton as the 20th century approaches. When his neighbor passes away and leaves behind a plucky widow, Garrett takes on the role of her protector and guardian. His admiration for her tenacious spirit soon turns to something more. He just needs to convince the strong-willed woman to give love another chance.


Shanna Hatfield verticalA hopeless romantic with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for good measure, Shanna Hatfield is a best-selling author of clean romantic fiction written with a healthy dose of humor. In addition to blogging and eating too much chocolate, she is completely smitten with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.

Shanna creates character-driven romances with realistic heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”

She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and Romance Writers of America.


Find Shanna’s books at:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Apple


Follow Shanna online:

ShannaHatfield | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | You Tube | Twitter


Email Shanna at


Excerpt Friday – Redeeming The CEO Cowboy

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.

From Author Charlene Sands – REDEEMING THE CEO COWBOY



Redeeming the CEO CowboyAs soon as Susanna Hart spotted the chrome-rimmed Cadillac SUV turning the corner and barreling down the street, her heart fisted deep in her chest. She knew this day would come. Casey Thomas was back in town.

She held her cousin Ally’s small hand and watched as the fairy tale princess ball rolled to a stop on the front lawn of Casey’s childhood home. Why wasn’t she graced with good luck and timing the way some women were? She darted a glance at her front door thirty feet away. It was too late to make a mad dash. The roar of the engine mellowed. He wasn’t far now. Thorny blades of grass pinched her bare toes where she stood like an immovable statue under the afternoon sun. Her palms began to sweat. She wiped her free hand on her denim jeans. “Oh, no,” she muttered.

Ally’s eyes immediately lifted to hers. Susanna fixed her lips into a pretend smile, scooped up the ball and handed it to the three-year-old. “Here you go, Muffin.”

The worry on Ally’s face crumbled and she giggled. “I’m not a muffin.” She hugged the ball to her chest and announced, “I bakeded muffins, Auntie.”

Susanna tapped a finger to the side of her mouth. “Oh yeah, that’s right. I forgot. You’re my best helper.”

Ally’s smile widened. Poor kid. Ever since Ally had come to live with her one month ago, she’d tried to find ways to put the child at ease and let her know she was wanted and loved. Little Ally had enough on her plate without worrying about her Aunt Susie’s sudden panic right now.

Even if Susanna hadn’t recognized the blond-haired breaker of her heart Casey Thomas commandeering the wheel of the custom-painted glossy black SUV, she would’ve guessed it was him. Flashy cars like his didn’t belong on Meadow Drive in the Reno suburbs. Neither did he anymore.

But as he drove his SUV into the driveway of his childhood home and cut the engine, there was no mistaking the man who’d taken her virginity nearly ten years ago.

Susanna stood rooted to the spot spinning thoughts of nonchalance in her head. She’d seen Casey a few times in the last ten years. This shouldn’t be so darn hard. They could simply pretend the whole taking-her-virginity incident never happened, like they did when he’d come to pay his respects at her father’s funeral. Like they did when Casey broke his back riding rodeo and Susanna, being Audrey’s best friend, went with his sister to pay him a visit in the hospital. Like they did when they’d bumped into each other at Sunset Ranch after Audrey had her beautiful baby girl, Ava Kasey Slade.

The driver’s door opened and a beagle-sized mutt scurried over Casey’s lap and leapt onto the driveway. Ally’s arms fluttered excitedly. “Doggy!”

The pup raced over to her, his peachy blond tail wagging like crazy.

“Charger!” Casey’s voice boomed.

Susanna swept Ally off the ground and into her arms. It wasn’t the puppy’s enthusiasm so much as Casey’s tone that lodged a threat in her mind.

“Sorry,” Casey said, lowering his voice. “He’s actually pretty harmless. Just too darn rambunctious.” He hinged his body out of the SUV, his movements fractionally slower than when he was younger, before he’d broken his back in the rodeo ring. As he straightened to his full six foot two height, he gritted his teeth and his jaw tightened. Back in the day, he saved that look for his sister Audrey when she’d done something wrong. Susanna wondered what put that look on his face today. Was he annoyed at the dog? Or was it residual pain from his injury causing him to frown? “I didn’t want him to frighten the child. Come here, dog.”

The puppy’s tail nosedived between his legs and he trotted toward Casey.

The pup and Casey had two things in common: lush shaggy blond hair and mischievous eyes. Casey strode to where the grass met the driveway, treating it like a barrier between them. “Hello, Susanna.”

Her toes curled deeper into the prickly grass. From what she could tell, Casey’s former life as the rodeo champion was gone now. Dressed in a russet brown shirt tucked into tan trousers, he was still ruggedly handsome if not a little more refined. Sunlight poured over his tanned face and charming white smile. “Hello.”

He cocked his head to one side. “Guess we’re going to be neighbors again.”

Temporarily. When she’d spoken to Audrey, she hadn’t been sure when Casey would arrive, but that he’d be staying a month, maybe two. On business. Secretly, Susanna died inside hearing the news, but couldn’t let on to her best friend how much being neighbors again to her super successful, gorgeous brother distressed her.

“I guess so.”

He nodded, his stark gaze piercing through barriers with unspoken words. Words she didn’t want to hear. Words that were better off unsaid. “Uh, this is Ally. She lives with me now.” She hugged Ally close and brushed her lips to the top of her head. Soft blond wisps tickled her mouth. “Say hello to Casey, Ally.”

Ally’s eyes shifted from the pup to the pup’s owner. “Hello.”

Casey came closer, stepping over the grass barrier, and smiled wide. “Hi, Ally.” He took her hand and gave it a gentle shake. “Nice to meet you.”

Ally turned back to Charger. “I like your doggy.”

Charger rose up on hind legs and pawed at Casey’s expensive dress pants, a mewling sound grounding from his little throat. “I think he likes you too.”

“Can I petted him?”

“That’s up to…” Casey turned to Susanna with a question on his lips.

“Aunt Susie,” she confirmed with a nod. She wasn’t really Ally’s aunt, but now wasn’t the time for explanations. “I think it’d be all right.”

Casey bent to pick up the puppy and Ally put her hand out ever so gently to stroke the puppy’s head. “He’s soft.”

“He is,” Casey said.

Lime and musk filled her nostrils. His scent reminded her of the last time they’d been this close. In the Thomas house, on the sofa, his arms strong and sure around her as she cried her eyes out. The images came through clearly as if they’d happened yesterday. Ten years later, and Casey still made her heart race.

If only he wasn’t going to live directly next door to her. If only he wasn’t Audrey’s brother. If only pressing business didn’t bring him back to Reno. Susanna gave herself a mental slap. The if onlys had to go. Casey Thomas was here for a short time and she’d have to deal with it, just like she’d dealt with everything else in her life. On her own terms.

“The street looks the same,” he said, glancing around.

“It is, for the most part.” She lived in a middle, middle class neighborhood, the homes groomed and tidy, but missing the fancy renovations upper middle income could provide. “Mrs. Martinez moved out. She’s living in a retirement home now. Peter Albertson got married right out of high school, but his mom and dad are still living here.”

“That so? I’ll have to stop over and say hello to Randy and Linda.”

Susanna smiled. “They’d like that. I think they miss Peter a lot.”

Casey glanced at his own house. No one had lived in it since Audrey moved out a year ago. Susanna watched over the property and made sure the gardener came twice a month to keep the lawn groomed.

“You still have a spare key?” Casey asked.

Susanna blinked. The question came out of left field. “Yes, do you want it back?”

Casey took in her sharp reaction and smiled slightly “No ma’am. I need to borrow it.” He set the pup down on the grass. “I left my place in Tahoe this morning without my key. Didn’t realize it until about twenty minutes ago. “

Whoops. Her shrewish answer had come out of left field also. She’d barked at him as if she was the canine on the property. “Oh, of course. I’ll go get it for you. Come on, Ally.”

Ally pushed against Susanna’s chest and threw her body weight toward the dog, pointing her index finger. “Charger. Charger.”

“We’ll come right back, sweetie.”

“I’ll watch her,” Casey said. He squatted down and ruffled the pup’s ears, then gazed at her, his blue eyes  full of reassurance. “If that’s okay with you?”

No it wasn’t okay with her. It wasn’t that she couldn’t trust Casey with Ally. He’d raised Audrey from a young age and knew the ropes. If anything, he’d been overprotective of his little sister. It wasn’t that. She didn’t want to get too chummy with her new, old next door neighbor. And she certainly didn’t want Ally getting close to him either.

Ally reached up and put her palms on Susie’s cheeks, looking into her eyes. “Pleeeeeze.”

The kid knew how to get to her; her plea zigzagged to her heart. She shouldn’t deny Ally a small measure of happiness because of pride. Ally had suffered enough sadness for someone so young.

With a shake of her head aimed at Casey, she lowered Ally to the ground. “Okay. You mind what Casey says, sweetie and stay close.”

The puppy immediately raced to Ally’s feet, his tail circling like a windmill on a breezy day.

They were becoming fast friends.

That wasn’t good.

Sighing, Susanna walked to her door, climbed up the steps and swiveled her head. She spotted Ally laughing as the bushy-haired pup did impressive belly rolls on the grass. Casey glanced over and their eyes met. A second ticked by, and then another. Having him here was impossible. She didn’t want him watching her. The corners of her lips pulled down and she snapped out of his momentary hold on her. Reaching for the screen door, she turned the handle and stepped inside her home.


When to Call a Spade a Shovel


One of the challenges of writing historical fiction is getting the words right. How did they say goodbye in the 1700s? Or greet each other after the Civil War? And when did the guard on a train engine change from  horse catcher to cow catcher?

bookThese are just a couple of the treasures that can be found in my favorite research books I Hear America Talking and Listening to America Talk by Stuart Berg Flexner. The books not only give a fascinating peek into the past, but keep me from using a word before its time.

And  You Thought You Knew

Your Cowboys

Word meanings have changed through the years, sometimes dramatically. The word cowboy is a good example. Today, it might conjure up an image of a romantic hero, but it was originally a disparaging term for colonial settlers who let their cows roam rather than plow the land. Wait. It gets worse. During the Revolutionary War cowboy was a term for loyalist guerrillas who used cowbells to ambush patriotic farmers.




Fooling Around Victorian Style

I write romance so I’m especially interested in courting terms. Oddly enough—terms changed every decade starting with the 17th century when couples billed and cooed. I find this interesting since TV and other media wasn’t around to influence language.


Skipping forward to the 1860s the word lollygag meant to kiss and caress. (Ten years later the word meant to waste time.) During the 1870s couples were said to be lovey dovey, but by the end of the decade couples walked out together.   By 1890 couples favored sitting in the parlor to walking. That’s because they were too busy making goo-goo eyes to watch where they were going.

Tush Matters

bearI recently had a heroine fall on her patootie.  That word has only been around since the 1920s and originally meant girl. So I knew I couldn’t use it. Oddly enough the backside seems to be the body part with the most synonyms. Much to my surprise I discovered that the word fanny has been around since the 1860s, though no one knows for sure who Fanny was and why her name was used in such an odd way. Back porch was used in the 1880s and the modern sounding butt appeared in writing as early as 1859.


With all this talk about rear ends, it’s surprising that Victorians considered the word legs crude. If they admitted to owning such things they always referred to them as limbs or stems. As for bosoms, they hardly seemed to exist much before World War II, at least in print.


cowboyjpgOh Perdition!

I’m careful not to use objectionable language, but there are times that “oh, darn” just doesn’t cut it. My characters tend to be a passionate lot. Fortunately for me, so were the Victorians as their many euphemisms for swear words attests. George, ginger, Godfrey, golly, gosh, gracious and gravy it are just a few of the ways annoyance or anger was expressed in polite society.


There was also gee willikens and gee wiz and of course doggone.   Surprisingly the term blankety blank has been around since the 1880s.


As for when to call a spade a shovel, we can all relax. Both words have been around since 900 A.D.


Thinking back to my childhood I realize some terms I grew up with no longer exist. A couch in our house was called a davenport back then–don’t ask me why. My husband still insists upon calling the ‘fridge an icebox. What about you? Any words or phrases in your past that are no longer relevant?


Get Ready for Margaret’s Exciting New

Undercover Ladies Series

Coming in December


Number 1



Welcome Guest – Carolyn Brown!

Hello, Fillies! Thank you for inviting me back to prop up my boots and visit for a spell.Carolyn Brown

It’s great to be back here to visit with y’all about my newest book that just hit the racks yesterday morning. I’m so excited to be starting a brand new series, The Palo Duro Series, with Long, Hot Texas Summer.

It’s Jackson and Loretta’s second chance story. Loretta is a fiery tempered, tall red head and Jackson is the tall, dark and handsome cowboy, who’s even sexier at forty than he was at eighteen.

They were married more than twenty years ago but they were both very young and it didn’t work. Loretta had doubts about Jackson’s love since she was pregnant when they got married. Jackson always felt like she could have done better than a rancher with her intelligence and ambition.

Now it’s twenty years later and their daughter, Nona, has decided to quit college and live at the ranch in the canyon. Loretta is bound, damned and determined to change Nona’s mind even if she has to live at the ranch during a long, hot Texas summer to convince her.

Jackson never stopped loving the red-haired spit fire that stole his heart in elementary school but hell’s bells it’s been twenty years and he’s moved on. At least that’s what he thought. Somehow his heart did not get that message or else it didn’t give a damn. After all, it wanted Loretta in the beginning and it hasn’t changed its mind one bit.

Still, Loretta has no right to move right into their old bedroom without an invitation and the battle lines are drawn. Nona is his only child. If she wants to learn the ranchin’ business, then she should be able to make up her own mind. She sure doesn’t need her mother getting in the way.

lhts4Loretta disagrees loudly and often and believe me, more than the weather got hot that summer and more than one decision was made. The past had to be dealt with before Loretta and Jackson could look forward to the future and enjoy the present to the fullest.

I really, really enjoyed writing this story. Having Loretta and Jackson, with their passion and their arguments, in my head all that time was quite an experience. The Palo Duro Canyon is a desolate area. I know because I visited it in all four seasons to get a feel for the place before I started this series. But something about that area called out to me, telling me that there was more than one story out there in the cow tongue cactus and the wild daisies.

The sequel to Long, Hot Texas Summer will hit the shelves in December. Daisies in the Canyon, also set there, carries the tale even further with a new set of characters, one of which my readers will meet in Long, Hot Texas Summer.

Tell me, have you ever stood in a place and felt something in the wind that told you there was a story there? Maybe one with a sexy, bull-headed cowboy and a sassy lady who wouldn’t take no for an answer?

Carolyn will be giving away two copies of Long, Hot Summer – one Kindle version, one print. So be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win!

Chivalry & the Code of the West


Yesterday, I had an experience that caused me to pause, stand back a bit and try to understand a phenomena that I have not experienced before.

Yesterday I had a flat tire.  Unfortunately for me, the tire went flat all at once and dramatically.  One moment all had been fine and then without warning, all was not well and I was trying to find a way off a freeway into a safer part of the road.

I took the first exit off the freeway, only to find myself on another very busy freeway — one between two of the major freeways where I live.  Had I been alone, it might not have been so hair-raising, but I was not alone. It was scary.

But what caught my attention and wouldn’t let go, was the lack of help all the way from my roadside assistance organization, to the people traveling so quickly on that freeway.  I was quickly brought to understand that no one cared to help.  No one stopped.

It took me 15 minutes to be able to talk with a live person with my roadside assistance organization, and it took them one hour to come and help me — and even then, I was given “a lick and a promise.”  The young man changed the tire, but threw the torn one into the trunk without battening it down, told me he “couldn’t” put the hub cap back on the tire, didn’t put the things back that he’d pulled out of my trunk and left in a hurry.  Wham!  Bam!  And off he left.

My roadside assistance told me they had called the police to see if they might be able to give me assistance.  No one came.  No one stopped.

Huh!  I thought to myself.

Now, I’ve traveled all over the United States, touring with my books, visiting family and friends, and I’ve always observed that if I have trouble on the road, someone usually will stop and try to assist me.  Having a roadside assistance organization, I sometimes don’t need that help — but the point is that someone almost always stops.


Is it the East Coast?  Because I now live on the East Coast, close to NY City.  Is it NY City — the City with a reputation of, “It’s all about me, fella, and not about you.”  The me…me…me…me…me…me…me attitude?  (As Toby Keith put it so well.)  Is it the fear of being sued because one tried to help?…  Shame on the judge that allowed that one to go through.

Or is it that our society has gone so far down that people fear to come to the aid of another?

cripple creek2I don’t know.  All I know is that in the West, any time I’ve had trouble on the road, someone has always stopped.  One fella changed a flat tire for me so quickly, I had to cancel my roadside assistance.

It was that — looking at the difference between the Western attitude and the Eastern attitude toward the subject of help that brought to mind the Code of the West…that to help a fellow traveler was considered important, and one’s duty.  It’s still alive in the West.

Is it dead in the East?  My experience yesterday would have me believe that it is here in the New York area, that there is no chivalry in what has been described as a cold, cold city.  But perhaps I’m prejudiced.  I am a Western girl, after all.  I love the West, probably always will.

And so I thought I’d leave you with an anecdote about something that happened to me recently.  I travel a lot — and just recently had traveled throughout the South Eastern states.  As I drive, I try to be polite to other drivers — i.e., letting people into line, etc.  Never a problem.

Then as I was approaching home more closely, I let a person in line to exit ahead of me because there was construction, and traffic was at a standstill anyway.  Immediately as soon as I kindly let this person in, someone in back of me honked, laying on the horn.  I thought to myself, “Gee, if I had been uncertain as to where I am, I’d know it now. ” No where I have traveled have I experienced such unkindness on the road.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on the matter?  Have I tramped on toes here?  Or do you, too, have an experience to relate?  Do come in and let’s chat.

A Wednesday Treat: Carolyn Brown!!

lhts4Miss Carolyn Brown will visit Wednesday, August 27!

This wonderful contemporary western romance writer always entertains. The Fillies dearly love having her. We’re glad her travels have brought her back. She keeps those cowboy boots pressing to the pedal of that pickup truck! Better watch out when she heads down the road.

Miss Carolyn pens some great romances full of love and laughter.


So come sit a spell on the front porch and have some sweet iced tea.

We dare you to miss it!

Old Timey Children's Games with Sherri Shackelford

I enjoy researching old customs to add authenticity to my stories. In my book, The Cattleman Meets His Match, I had a lot of fun recalling games from my own childhood. The book features four young orphan girls. Children have always been children, even in the harsh western plains. Games like hide-and-go-seek and kick-the-can have been around for ages. Clapping games have always been popular (especially with girls).

(found this video on YouTube – it’s not me!)

While researching these games, I came upon many examples from history. Is anyone old enough to remember, Pease Porridge Hot?

Pease porridge hot,
pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;
Some like it hot,
some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old

Many of the versions I came across either sounded too English or they were a little bit, well, suggestive:

Miss Lucy had a steamboat,
The steamboat had a bell,
Miss Lucy went to heaven
and the steamboat went to–
hello operator, give me number nine

You get the idea! Besides the modern reference, I wanted to avoid any rhymes with suggestive lyrics. For The Cattleman Meets His Match, I went back to my own childhood, and the songs I sang with my friends:

Three sailors went to sea, sea, sea
To see what they could see, see, see
But all that they could see, see, see
Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea. 

While I don’t know the exact origin of that song, there’s no reason to believe my 1880’s girls wouldn’t have known it-maybe they even made up the words themselves.

I reference Cat’s Cradle in The Engagement Bargain. This game is played with a string loop and two players who perform increasingly intricate trade-offs from player to player. A painting of two women playing a version of Cat’s Cradle dates back to 1795. While the game was often referred to as ‘Scratch Cradle’, I used the more modern reference for today’s readers.

Cat's Cradle

The girls from The Cattleman Meets His Match also used rhymes to decide who would be next on watch. (Remember deciding who was ‘it’?) In my neighborhood, everyone stuck their foot into the center, toes touching, the songs were sung, and the last one remaining was ‘it’. I’ve had other people tell me that everyone put in a fist. Either way, that was how democracy worked in our neighborhood.

My mother and your mother
Were hanging up clothes.
My mother socked your mother
Right in the nose. 
What color was the blood?
R-E-D spells ‘Red’ and 
You are not it!
you're it

The girls from The Cattleman Meets His Match also enjoy telling scary stories around the campfire. I can picture Pa Ingalls doing the same. Human nature hasn’t changed a whole lot in the past several hundred years, although I fear how children play together has changed. The games we played as children were passed down from generation to generation. While my kids enjoy riding bicycles, with so many other activities vying for their time, they don’t play as much as we used to.

What about you? What games and/or rhymes do you remember from your childhood?


cattleman review The Cattleman Meets His Match