Moving — Today v. American Indian Style and Free Give-Away


Welcome to another Tuesday and another free give-away.  Today I’ll be giving away a free e-book copy of BLACK EAGLE.  Please do review the Give-away Guidelines on the front page.  They’re pretty simple, but please remember that unlike some other sites, we don’t necessarily contact you when you are a winner.  We hope that you’ll come back in a few days to see if you won, and if you did, that you contact us (or me as the case may be) personally.  So please do check back.

The above is a painting by George Catlin of an Indian encampment on the move.  Because my family has been in the act of moving (my children as well as my husband and me), I thought I might point out some differences — some are pretty obvious — and some likenesses.

We’ve all done it or will do it in the future — moving from one place to another.  To my mind it is never fun and it includes boxing up everything, and then unboxing it as soon as one is “settled.”  So let’s compare:

1)  Boxing things up:  Today (me and husband) — about one month — perhaps a little longer.

1a)  Boxing things up,  American Indian Style:  getting one’s possessions ready to go:  Approximately 3-4 hours.

2)  Mode of transportation:  Today (me and husband as well as my daughters), trucks — in addition to hiring a moving company, which cost can be a little outrageous.

2a) Mode of transportation, American Indian Style: the travois, as pictured above.  The cost?  A horse — usually the family owned at least one horse, and if not a horse, then a trusted dog (hopefully a rather large dog).

3) Time to unpack:  Today — gee whiz, we’re still unpacking boxes after six (6) months.  Goodness!

3a)  Time to unpack, American Indian Style:  In addition to unpacking one’s possessions, one also needed to raise the tepee.  Time requirement to do all the above:  a few hours.

Before we go too much farther, let’s define a travois.  According to,  travois is defined as:

noun, plural travois (truh-voiz)

“A transport device, formerly used by the Plains Indians, consisting of two poles joined by a frame and drawn by an animal.”

So that bring me to my next comparison,

4)  Duties:  Who does what?  Today — moving furniture (either the man of the family or the moving company, composed usually of men.  Yes, it’s true that I helped move some of the furniture, but my help was minimal, I’m afraid.  My husband may not weigh more than 20-30 pounds more than I do, but he is very much stronger that I am.  So what were my contributions?  Unpacking those boxes and determining where everything went (of course my husband helped with this, too).  Time involved:  Days –sometimes weeks.  In fact, much to my dismay, I’m still involved in this.

4a)  Duties:  Who does what?  American Indian — the men cut the poles for the travois and helped to attach them to the horses.  The men then gathered up any of their means of protecting the camp (guns, bows and arrows, knives, etc.), and prepared to guard the entire camp on the march.  Some men would go in front, leading the way, some would take up the rear, protecting the camp from that direction, and others would directly flank the camp as it moved, protecting it from that position.

The women?  The women were responsible for taking down the tepee and setting it up again, gathering up all the family’s possessions and getting them ready to go.  They were also responsible fore erecting the tepee once their new camping place was established and setting up the tepee for living.  Time involved:  A few hours at the most.

I once read an account from George Catlin of an Indian encampment on the move.  He was utterly amazed at the quickness by which it could be done.  Word that the camp was on the move was made in the morning, and by noon, the entire camp was taken down, all the women, children, dogs and horses were on the move.  Scouts and others would erase all traces of the camp so that one couldn’t detect easily that there had once been an encampment there.  But he was even more amazed at how quickly the camp was set up — within a matter of hours.  He said even the best drilled army couldn’t have done it in as organized a fashion, let alone within hours.As another comparison, once, at a rodeo in Blackfeet Country, I saw a contest between contestants to set up and take down a camp in as little time as possible.  I watched as each of the contestants set up the tepees and other articles and took it all down — within minutes.  Of course, this was a contest and a rodeo and so it doesn’t compare with moving an entire camp, but nevertheless, I was impressed.
Oh, moving woes.  I am in the midst of them and moving is NOT my favorite thing to do.  So, if you feel so inclined, please come on in and tell me about your own moving stories — I bet we each one have at least one.  I’d love to hear them.




It’s All About Choices

Choices Banner

HEAs or Happily Ever Afters are the DNA of romance. Romance always has a satisfying ending to the story of a relationship. Most readers who pick up a romance or watch a romantic comedy understand that. It’s not so much about winning the girl or the cowboy, but about how the two individuals grow and change and become a better version of themselves…so that they deserve their happy ending.

It comes down to choices.

Throughout the story it is the choices they make to take control of their life and step out from fear into courage.  (I love seeing that metamorphosis!)

All writers go about writing their stories differently. What works for one writer won’t necessarily work for another. That is what makes storytelling an art form.

When I begin a new story, I usually don’t start out with the idea “My main character is going to learn ____________” or “This story is about ___________.” My story and what he or she learns evolves as I write and get to know the characters better and deeper. It’s about learning about the choices they have made in the past, the regrets, the “soul” wounds and scars that happened to them and made them who they are. It’s about who they start out as at the beginning of the story and who they must become if they are ever to grasp their full potential and partake of the joy and fullness of life.

Never Regret

It all comes down to choices.

The Gunslinger & the HeiressOne of my favorite stories is The Gunslinger and the Heiress because the choice Hannah makes takes her away from a future with Caleb.

In The Gunslinger and the Heiress, Caleb has been snubbed by his childhood friend, someone he has always cared about as a little sister. The fact that he has had a rough and tumble upbringing as an orphan and she has grown up in opulence and wealth didn’t matter back then, but when things start to change between them, suddenly she shuts him out. He’s not sure why, but attributes it to the differences in their backgrounds and class. Over the years, this gives him quite a large chip on his shoulder.

This is where the story opens.

The thing about Hannah’s choice is that she doesn’t regret it. And Caleb must come to terms with that—which is not an easy thing for a man. I didn’t actually understand that this would be the message until after the rough draft was written. I don’t look for “messages” in my writing, they seem to evolve with the story as I revise and edit and get to know my characters. To me, that is the struggle and also the interesting part of writing.

Whispers small


What I hope my readers take away from The Gunslinger and the Heiress is that choices, good or bad, make up the sum total of who a person is and create the direction of a life.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers so I will stop here, but I hope you will check out this book for yourself. And I’ll leave you with this blessing ~


A huge choice in my own life was deciding to marry and therefore remain in the Midwest.
It has impacted every aspect of my life ever since.

What is a choice you have made that completely changed the trajectory of your life?

Comment for a chance to win a copy of The Gunslinger and the Heiress!

Welcome Guest: Jaime Jo Wright

jaime-wright-media-12 (2)Dwelling in the past is something I love to do. Especially, when it involves ghost towns, gold, rivers, and hardy heroes. When I wrote my latest novella, “Gold Haven Heiress” from The California Gold Rush Romance Collection, it was very intriguing to find that ghost towns existed in the 1850’s! After towns were tapped out of gold, miners would pack up and hit the road for the next big hit and the buildings were left behind as memories of a bustling time filled with hopes of prosperity.

I loved planting my heroine, Thalia, smack in the middle of a ghost town. Stuck in a place where she could be alone and dwell in the murky pain of her past. Then I wondered to myself, how often do we plant ourselves in our own little ghost towns. Memories of where we once lived, who we once were, or what we once had. I believe in memories, they’re precious pieces of life that help us in the quiet moments. But to live there? To dwell there? It probably isn’t healthy when what before us are new memories, new beginnings, new hope.

My grandmother lived in New Mexico the majority of my growing up years. I recall hanging on the fence as my uncle worked the horses, riding the back of a hay bale pretending it was a bronco, and catching tarantulas with my cousins. Gramma always said that a piece of her heart lived in New Mexico and always would. But, she left it and returned to Wisconsin after my Grampa passed away.

I believe Gramma had the perfect equation of memories vs. living in the past. Pictures of New Mexico littered her bookshelf. A blue glass cowboy boot sat on her coffee table. A ceramic steer clock with leather ribbons hanging from its horns hung on the wall. An Aztec-patterned blanket draped over the back of her chair. But next to them all were the signs of new beginning. Even after the loss of her soul mate. The pictures of her great-grandchildren, the gardening gloves tossed on the kitchen table from tendering her flowers, the pressure cooker on the stove for canning, and her Sunday dress hung on the door ready to put on come service time.

Gramma always kept on keeping on. She moved forward even when memories tugged her back toward that ghost town. Toward the memories that perhaps seemed richer and more enticing than the future. She had hope in things eternal. In a land not-so-far away that would one day be that glorious place she’d call Home. My Gramma was an heiress to riches far greater than the ghost-town-memories.

I have memories too. They’re little golden nuggets I pocket in my heart. But like my Gramma taught me, I wave farewell to the ghost towns and journey down that dusty ol’ road. Adventure lays around the bend, you know, and there’s always the truth that more memories will be made.

What are some of your precious memories? Have you ever been to a real ghost town and felt the hovering of people’s memories in the vacant doorways?

I’m giving away one copy of THE CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH COLLECTION. Winner chooses either print or e-book.


The California Gold Rush CollectionBarbour Publishing
Release Date: August 1st, 2016 |  ISBN:

Gold Disappoints But Love Rewards

Rush to California after the 1848 gold discovery alongside thousands of hopeful men and women. Meet news reporters, English gentry, miners, morticians, marriage brokers, bankers, fugitives, preachers, imposters, trail guides, map makers, cooks, missionaries, town builders, soiled doves, and more people who take advantage of the opportunities to make their fortunes in places where the population swelled overnight. But can faith and romance transform lives where gold is king?

Gold Haven Heiress
?– Jaime Jo Wright

Jack Taylor determines to use his new wealth to restart a ghost town to help others. But one person challenges his conviction to embrace all the disillusioned and lost. Thalia wasn’t supposed to be hiding in the tiny little garden behind the ghostly saloon. And he never intended to fall hard for a used-up prostitute.


Professional coffee drinker?Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy Tinkerbell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue.  Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at
Web site:?

Periscope: @jaimejowright

The Pathfinders – Jim Bridger

No Way Up facebookCvr

Jim Bridger was a scout, guide and trapper. But he is perhaps best known for his exploits as a mountainman and for his tall tales.

Jim Bridger – Pathfinder

He was born in Virginia in 1804, an infant at the time of the Louis and Clark Expedition.

His family moved to St. Louis and his parents died when he was 13, leaving him an orphan. He’d never been to school and would never learn to read. But he was apprenticed to a blacksmith and earned a living that way, until, at the age of 18 he signed on with the Upper Missouri Expedition—a group who were seeking to get into the fur trading business. He made friends with Jedidiah Smith and other men who gained skills in living on the frontier.

Beginning at age 18, Bridger would spend thirty years exploring the west, trapping and guiding others.

He was part owner of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, which competed well with John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company.

And he was counted (with some dispute) to be the first white man to see the Great Salt Lake.

Bridger married three times, twice widowed, to a Flathead woman and to two Shoshone chieftain’s daughters.

He was also one of the men who assured the Donner Party that the new trail they wanted to take would be fine. (Apparently HE never had any trouble getting through that pass! WTG Jim!)

But it was as a guide that he really changed the world. Jim Bridger

explored extensively in the mountains and found a pass that cut 60 miles off the Oregon Trail. It was named for him, Bridger Pass and the Union Pacific Railroad and later Interstate 80 would use this same trail.

He also found an alternate trail when the Bozemen Trail became too dangerous with the Indians hostile to the invasion of settlers. It because known as the Bridger Trail

13993 NO WAY UP_mck.indd
No Way Up Click Here to Buy

He was so well known for his tall tales that when he talked of the wonders of the geysers in Yellowstone, no one believed him.

He was personal friends of Jedidiah Smith, John C. Fremont and Kit Carson, among many other well-known mountain men.

When age made living in the rugged mountains difficult, he headed back to St. Louis. He lived there from the age of about 50 until his death at age 77. So many of these rugged mountainmen lived short lives. But Jim Bridger, a man who opened the west in huge and important ways, would live to see his trail chosen for the Transcontinental Railroad…the Union Pacific.


The Fight for the Cimarron Ranch Has Just Begun!

When Cimarron ranch patriarch Chance Boden is caught in an avalanche, only the quick actions of hired hand Heath Kincaid save him. Before leaving by train to receive treatment to save his leg–and possibly his life–Chance demands that Heath read the patriarch’s will and see its conditions enforced immediately. If Chance’s three bickering adult children, Justin, Sadie, and Cole, don’t live and work at the home for an entire year, ownership of the ranch will pass to a despised distant relative.

Before long, however, Heath discovers that the avalanche may have been intentionally set–and that more danger lurks ominously. Finding his own future–and a desired future with Sadie–locked up in saving the Cimarron Ranch, Heath and the Boden siblings must work together against outside forces that threaten them all.

Guest Kari Trumbo Talks Train Wrecks

Kari Trumbo is one of those people who sneaks up on you — in a good way. She’s not loud or rowdy (like some of us who won’t be named…ahem). Dig beneath the surface, though, and you’ll find a warm heart, a passion for family and fiction, and a sincere desire to live the precept “love thy neighbor.” She’s come to visit with a “story behind the story” of her new western historical romance.


To Love and ComfortIn my latest novel, To Love and Comfort, Margot must face a train disaster. Now, I had only read minimally about train accidents in history with my children (we homeschool). When the story started veering in that direction I had to stop and do some research.

Most of the big train accidents happened earlier than the setting of my story. That is not to say they didn’t happen in 1901, just that the majority of these incidents happened earlier in history. They happened by and large because of brake systems that could wear out and bridges that were built quickly and not maintained well. Trains weren’t new, but what had to be done to maintain a 50-year-old bridge was.

I also had to research what large river my character was likely to cross and what the terrain might be where it crossed. This proved to be incredibly difficult, as the U.S. has a lot of rivers and the terrain varies a lot even within small distances. In the end, I ended up going with the terrain the way my character described it and made the disaster over the Ohio river, as that was the river it was most likely they would have been traveling over.

In the end, I found the train disaster fascinating and terrible to research. Putting my character through that situation was daunting. I am so thankful for history and survivor testimonies to help us know that our writing about feelings and what situations would be like are as accurate as they can be.

To Love and Comfort

Margot Fleur is devastated by a secret kept by the man she’s known as her father, tearing her heart to pieces. Struggling with feelings of isolation, she desperately wants to be part of something more; to be whole.

Tyler Wilson longs to sweep Margot off of her feet. Seeing past her imperfections, he loves her for the sparkling spirit and bright dreams she once held so dear and only wants to see her smile again. Strong and determined, he sets out to win her heart but will a stubborn unwillingness to hear the call of the Lord forever keep them apart? And if he doesn’t learn, will Margot be lost forever?


“Where did the 72 depart from?” But he knew the answer before he asked. His face pinched with pain before the answer was even given.

“Philadelphia, sir. The wreck is about thirty miles straight west of here. Follow the tracks out of town, but be careful. They’ll be trains coming along soon to bring those passengers back. You might want to wait here if you knew someone on the train. Might miss them.”

Tyler backed out the door, his mind a mess of what he’d just heard. She had to be alive. He’d know if she were dead, wouldn’t he? That dreadful feeling meant she needed him, not that she was gone…right? He turned as Jax approached him.

“What did you learn?” He grabbed Tyler’s shoulder and shook him.

“I need a horse, a fast one.”

Jax grabbed his other shoulder. “Just where do you think you’re going?”

Tyler looked up at him and shrugged his hands off. “I have to go get her and the stage will slow me down.”

“You’re sure you know where you’re going?”

“I’ve never been more certain of anything in my life.”


Kari TrumboKari Trumbo is a writer of Christian Historical Romance and a stay-at-home mom to four vibrant children. When she isn’t writing, editing, or blogging, she homeschools her children and pretends to keep up with them. She is the author of the Western Vows series and co-author of the Best-Selling Cutter’s Creek series. Kari loves reading, listening to contemporary Christian music, singing with the worship team, and curling up near the wood stove when winter hits. She makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband of nineteen years, two daughters, two sons, and three cats.

Places to follow Kari:

Website           Facebook        Twitter            Pinterest          Amazon          BookBub



Just What WAS in Those Saddlebags?


I’ve always been curious about the contents cowboys carried in their saddlebags. In the movies, it often seemed that they held everything except a kitchen stove. Strange how those men pulled out exactly what they needed. But what did they actually tote along?


  • Jerky and hardtack when unable to build a fire
  • Matches
  • One or two Tin Plates, forks and knives
  • Extra Ammunition
  • A Curry Comb and Brush
  • Picket Pin to stake your horse at night
  • A Horseshoe and nails
  • A Change of Clothes
  • Other Small Personal Items—maybe a book or something to write on
  • Maybe a small amount of grain or oats for your horse


A gunnysack tied to the pommel and hanging off the side would hold things like a small coffeepot and coffee, a small skillet, a jar of lard, or more of the contents listed above.


They either hung a canteen of water off the side or stuck it in the saddlebags if they had room.

Although, they were careful not to load the horse down too much or they couldn’t travel far without stopping to rest. For long distances, the cowboy usually had a packhorse along to carry all this and more. That was ideal.

In my upcoming story, TO LOVE A TEXAS RANGER, Sam Legend steals a group of outlaw’s horses. When he, Sierra Hunt and Luke Weston go through their saddlebags, they find dry clothes which they sorely needed, coffee and a coffeepot. Plus, stolen loot in the amount of $650.

Later after Sam and Sierra cross the raging Brazos River, the matches, coffee and coffeepot in their saddlebags get them warm.

old west saddlebags

The contents of those traveling suitcases often saved not only the cowboy but his horse.

TO LOVE A TEXAS RANGER comes out October 4 and is available for preorder online on bookstore sites. You can find an excerpt on my website. Click HERE and it’ll take you.

What do you think about life on the trail and living out of saddlebags? Could you have fit in everything you needed?

heart line divider2