Welcome to the Junction, Crystal L. Barnes!

Catherine forced her fingers on her right hand to loosen a fraction and slid them to the rope below her left. Her WLOD meme 2boot skidded on the rock face as she inched it lower to a small ledge. Her heart left residence in her chest to pound in her throat. She could do this. Just don’t look down.

Hand over hand, inch by inch, she descended the gorge’s wall, barely daring to breathe until her feet touched level ground. When they did, she gripped her shaky knees and stared up at the distance she’d covered. Straightening, she grinned. It was oddly liberating facing a fear and overcoming it. Maybe she might yet face the fears she had about Sam and come out the victor.

Shoving the thought aside for later perusal, Catherine kept to the ravine wall and started toward the outlaw camp. First she had to get her husband out alive, then she’d figure out how to live with him.
—from Win, Love, or Draw by Crystal L Barnes

Howdy y’all! Crystal L Barnes here. I’m so happy to be a guest today on Petticoats & Pistols and share some of the tidbits behind my first full-length, inspirational, western romance Win, Love, or Draw. Namely, the tidbits behind this scene. Have I scaled a rock wall? Yes, actually. A short one—but no rope. And I was going up, not down. Talk about heart in your throat. Oh but that’s not the big story behind this scene. No, that’s tied up in that feeling of victory at overcoming a fear. When did I experience this, you may ask? Why in a shoot out of course. (This is Petticoats & Pistols after all. J)

Now I hear you doubters out there. A shoot out? No way. Well, I didn’t say my opponent had a gun. No, he had scales and a forked tongue. Yep, you guessed it—a snake. To be specific, a chicken snake. And he’d slithered his two-to-three-foot-long self into the wrong place. My hen house. And in the very last hen nest, farthest from the door, no less. Which meant I’d have to go into the small coop to get rid of it. Oh joy of joys.

chickencoop(I know many of y’all are thinking the only good snake is a dead snake, but as long as they aren’t poisonous or endangering my critters (or me), I’m fine with them.)

I couldn’t have the chicken snake stealing my eggs or snacking on my chickens so I had no choice but to do something before he got away. Now I’ve killed a number of copperheads, but there’s something about going into a confined area with one of those forked-tongue creatures. (Probably because there’s not much running room if something goes awry. J ) The copperheads I decapitated with a shovel outside. I wasn’t about to take the risk of missing or even getting that close to a chicken snake. But shooting the creature had its own drawbacks. My brain kept shouting what if the bullet ricochets? What if the bullet comes back at me? What if I miss and the snake gets mad and attacks me? Oh, and did I mention I was on the phone with my mom this whole time? What did she do? She laughed. Thanks, Mom. Then she told me to just shoot it already. Why? ’Cause she’s done this countless times.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a country girl through and through. Grew up on a ranch and have done my fair share of processing wild game and such, but it was my parents who did the dirty work of killing snakes. Now it was my turn. Yippee.

After countless false starts and many more squeals when that snake moved (and more laughter from my mom), I finally hung up the phone, prayed, gathered my courage, prayed, reminded myself of Scriptures, prayed. Did I mention I prayed? And pulled the trigger. With ears ringing, I skedaddled from that hen house, leaving the snake with a hole the size of Dallas through its middle to slither off and die on its own. It didn’t make it very far. I had to scoop it out of the doorway later.

Nevertheless, the triumph I felt at overcoming my fear was quite a heady feeling. Makes you feel like you can conquer anything. Makes you wonder why you were ever scared in the first place. I know I couldn’t have done it without God’s help. He truly can and will help you do anything through His strength.

Have you ever felt that conquering thrill? Have you had to face a fear? How did you overcome?

Today I’m offering a copy of Win, Love, or Draw (winner’s choice of paperback or kindle) to one commenter who’s brave enough to share one of their fears or their experience of overcoming.

Happy Trails!


CLBarnes_avatarAn award-winning author, Crystal L Barnes is a born-n-raised Texan and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). She has a degree in Computing Science because she loves putting things into their proper place, and she enjoys writing because she gets to share her love of old-fashioned things and the Lord. You can connect with Crystal at her website, on her blog, her Amazon Author page, GoodreadsPinterestGoogle+, or on her Facebook author page. Want to be notified of her latest releases and other fun tidbits? Subscribe to her newsletter.






Win, Love, or Draw Blurb:

Catherine McGarrett is a strong woman. Life in Texas demands such. For five years, she has built a growing horse ranch while praying for the return of the one man who stole her heart and shattered it in a million pieces when he left.

Now he’s back.

Samuel McGarrett rides into Cater Springs, Texas toting two six-shooters and too many scars. The trouble and pain from the past erupts around the couple. And not just in their marriage.

Can Sam win Catherine’s trust? Will their love survive? Or will his final draw be his last?

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31 thoughts on “Welcome to the Junction, Crystal L. Barnes!”

    • I had to face my fear when I got stuck in an elevator fir thirty minutes by myself. I was at the hospital with my then 18 month old child who was in intensive care. I stepped out to go to another floor where there was a room set up for parents to rest. I stepped on the elevator , doors closed and the lights went out. By biggest fear was coming true. I did a lot of praying and clearly heard Gid tell me to stop worrying about my child. He had it under control. Finally I was able to push the doors open and step out. As I turned around to glance at the elevator I had just been trapped in, there was a sign that said “Out of Order.” Thst sign was not there when I got on. Guess Gid needed to have a talk with me about my son and needed my attention.

      • Wow. Yes, God definitely know how to get our attention. How frightening that must’ve been. I’m glad to hear how God met you there when you needed Him most. Thanks so much for sharing, Deana.

  1. Hi, Crystal! Thanks for stopping by! The only time I can remember having to face by fear was when the family wanted to go across a suspension bridge to see Lake Superior closer. I don’t like heights and moving heights are worse. But I made it across and the view was totally worth it!

  2. I am claustrophobic – so I have fear of enclosed spaces. I start thinking too much of how tight it is. I really do not have a solution to my fear as of yet :). I do not think I had that fear when I was younger. Do not know where it came from.

    • Hi Mary! I have a grandma who is claustrophobic. My mom loves to tell the story of how grandma had to deal with her fear in Carlsbad Caverns. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing.:-)

    • Hi Janine! Thanks for stopping by. I’m learning more and more that it’s God’s love that helps us conquer our fears. I’m sure he can help you too. Thanks again for sharing. Hope you have a great weekend. 🙂

  3. The only way to not let your fears overcome you is to face them head on. Just like you did in the hen house with that chicken snake. I have lots of silly fears. The fear of being alone at night. When I worked the fear of filling out applications and going for that job interview. My point is just what I said in my opening sentence. Never give into to your fears. Like you said overcoming your fears is accelerating. It’s nice to feel the relief and accomplishment when on the finishing side of your fears.

    • Very aptly put, Shirley! Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂 Yes, life is indeed filled with chances to overcome, if we’ll only take the initiative. 🙂 Hope you have a fun Friday!

  4. I’d say my largest fear is driving – not the close to home and where I know where I am but merging in traffic or going places where I am unsure of myself and how to get there. I have no sense of direction either so the thoughts of getting lost is very real. I still can’t just get in a car and go anywhere but I do force myself to go some places and it is a sense of accomplishment after I do.

  5. Glad to hear you face your fear, catslady. Yes, that sense of accomplishment is wonderful. I have a friend who hated the idea of getting lost, but she’s learned she has lots of friends she can call and she doesn’t let it hold her back like before.
    Personally, I LOVE road trips. 🙂 And we love to say how we never get lost; we just take the scenic route. 😉

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing! Have a blessed weekend!

  6. welcome,,and great story,,no im so scared of snakes that i probably would have just burned the chicken coop down,,or found a ak47 and machine gunned it to pieces,,proud you were so brave,,me not so much

  7. Welcome to Wildflower Junction Crystal! I very much enjoyed your post! I’m more timid than I’d like to be, but I’ve had my share of facing up to fears…You’re right…praying certainly helps.

    One thing I feared as a nurse was that I’d miss a clue, a symptom on a patient that needed to be seen. I’d pray before each work shift that God keep my eyes and ears open so that I could give the best possible care and help those in my care.

  8. Thanks so much for the welcome, Kathryn. I’m enjoying being here today. 🙂 I’m also glad you enjoyed the post.

    That was a very wise and wonderful practice you acquired. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. God does make all the difference. 🙂

  9. Snakes don’t bother me at all. If they are where they don’t belong, we just move them. If they are poisonous, we move them very carefully. My fear is spiders. Kind of silly, but I had a few allergic reactions to their bites when I was a kid. There is just something creepy about those 8 hairy legs. Even a tiny one would set me off. I got over that in a hurry when I went overseas as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I don’t think I saw many small spiders there. I used a mosquito net at night, but it was more for the mice(one did manage to get in one night. That was interesting), giant flying cockroaches, and really big spiders. I woke up one morning, turned toward the wall, and there was a spider the size of a tarantula right in front of my face. Got my heart started. They were just too big to squash. I did make one exception in 3 years. There was one right in the middle of my bedroom doorway and it wouldn’t let me out. I nudged it with my umbrella and it raised its front legs and flared its fangs. Smashed that one with a shoe. Now, I avoid them and am careful with those that are poisonous to be a problem.. I was even in charge of the tarantulas at the children’s museum where I worked. I tried to hold one, but just couldn’t manage it.

      • The mouse was no big deal, although it did get my attention. I wWhen I moved, something ran to the end of the bed. It was pretty dark, so I wasn’t 100% sure what it was at first. I didn’t want to get bitten (rabies was a problem in the area) and was trying not to scare it. I was finally able to pull the mosquito netting open and coax it out. I never did figure out how it got in. I would have been hysterical had it been a spider.

        • A mouse near your bed in the dark. Yeah, I could see that getting a gal’s attention. 🙂 My first experience dealing with a mouse included a feed sack. 🙂

          Thanks for sharing, Patricia. 🙂

  10. Welcome Crystal, I loved your post. I am fearful of driving on ice. A few years ago I worked over until 3:00am & drove my truck home on the icy roads; on the way I had to cross a bridge & wouldn’t you know I skidded side ways & ended up going the wrong way. I had to back across that bridge as it was too icy to turn around. Needless to say, I did a lot of praying.

    • Oh my! I’d have been praying hard too, Lois. Wow.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and I hope you get a chance to enjoy Win, Love, or Draw. 🙂

  11. I like to hike but I have a fear of heights. My son and D-I-L work for the National Park Service. A few times we’ve gone hiking out West. With my husband and son encouraging me on, I’ve managed to climb mountains in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Washington and Montana. I may have to hug the walls or even scoot around on my derriere but I haven’t had to turn back. I’ve seen the amazing beauty of our country and that’s what keeps me moving forward.

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