Welcome, Shanna Hatfield

Shanna Hatfield joins us at the Junction  to discuss the methods she uses to research her books. Shanna is also giving away two books! Please join us in welcoming her!

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What a treat to be back on Petticoats & Pistols as a guest today. Thank you to all the Fillies for this wonderful opportunity!

Although I write both contemporary and historical sweet romances, I love researching tidbits from the past for my historical books.

One resource I often turn to when I’m writing my Pendleton Petticoats series is the online version of the town’s newspaper from back in the day.

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Browsing through the newspaper gives me a general idea of what life was like at that particular time. The advertisements alone offer such an amazing peek into the past, a clear look at popular fashions, and words that may have been all the rage.

The newsworthy events and articles also help me create a realistic world for my fictional characters. It is easy to picture them sitting down for supper and recapping something they might have read in the newspaper or heard in town (or the nosy ones may have gleaned gossip by listening in on the party lines of the telephone). Would an attempted bank robbery in a neighboring town be that evening’s hot topic? Or would their interest turn more to an upcoming event that has the town all abuzz?

I’ve been researching information during the autumn of 1910 for the latest book in the series. During that time, very first Pendleton Round-Up took place in conjunction with the annual county fair. For nearly an entire month leading up to the events, the newspaper published at least one article (sometimes more) about the fair and rodeo each day.

I could write pages and pages of historical facts about the Round-Up, but I thought I’d share something a little different today.

One article I found very amusing was a recap of the baby show that took place the last day of the fair. It was fun to realize proud mothers showed off their babies even back then.

Portrait of beautiful blue-eyed girl
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A judge from a distant town was coerced into the unenviable job of judging the contest.

According to the article, mothers remained confident their little darlings were the “prettiest, sweetest, and best regardless of the decisions of Judge Addison Bennet.”

After announcing the first, second and third place winners, the article went on to state that Judge Bennet “escaped with his life on the first train.”

Who knew baby contests were such a cutthroat business even way back then?

Just for fun, here’s an old tune that seems rather fitting…


To enter for a chance to win autographed copies of the first two books in the Pendleton Petticoats series along with some other goodies, please share your response to this question:

What is your favorite county fair event?


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For more information about the Pendleton Petticoat series, you can find the books here:

Dacey (Prequel)

Aundy (Book 1)

Caterina (Book 2)

 Ilsa (Book 3)

Marnie (Book 4)

Lacy (Book 5)

Bertie (Book 6)

Millie (Book 7)

Dally (Book 8)

USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable 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.”

Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen, one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.

Please connect with Shanna online. She loves to hear from readers.

ShannaHatfield | Facebook | Newsletter | Pinterest


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53 thoughts on “Welcome, Shanna Hatfield”

  1. Good day Shanna! Thank you for this great post. I love the picture of the baby and who didn’t love hearing Bing Crosby sing.

    Let’s see, my favorite thing at the county fair… well, I love country music so I am always a fan of whatever country group or headliner our county brings in. I also love seeing the crafts as sometimes they give me ideas. Last but not least, I LOVE seeing the 4H kids showing their animals that they have raised. I just love the county fair.

    I would love to win your books thank you for the chance.

    Cindy W.
    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

    • Hi Cindy!
      Thanks for popping in today. It’s hard to go wrong with a Bing Crosby song. 🙂

      Oh, so many fun things to love about the fair. I always enjoy seeing the 4-H kids, too.

      Thanks for entering the drawing!

      Have a lovely day!

  2. Good morning Shanna- I loved your article, I love to find old newspapers and read what was happening on that day and the prices of food back then. I happened on an old shack up in Manter, KS years ago when we were out walking the cimarron river for fun, anyway in this Shack they had used old newspaper for insulation. We had a heyday pulling different pieces of it out and reading what the world was going through on each piece. It was so long ago now that I can’t even remember what years the papers were.
    My favorite county fair event would be the showing of animals, I showed growing up and know the time and energy it takes in getting an animal ready. Your mentioning of the baby contest above was coffee spitting hilarious as I know how people get about their animals, I could just imagine the mom’s pride over their babies. Thank you for visiting the P & P and you have a great day. Your books sound wonderful, I’ve never read one if yours before, so I’m going to give them a try.

    • Hi Tonya!
      I could spend hours and hours (and sometimes do) reading old newspapers. It is just fascinating to see the articles, advertisements and news from back in the day.

      The kids showing animals are always so fun to watch at the fair. I’ve been witness to one baby contest and the judge then was lucky to escape unscathed. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by and entering the drawing. If you try my books, I hope you enjoy them!

  3. It is fun to read old newspapers. It seems newsworthy events were a tad different from today. Our local paper publishes “what we printed 50 years ago” in our press and it was about weather, local flower club and funny things like that. We always enjoy the animals at our local fair. Plus the bad-for-you but yummy food fairs offer.

    • Hi Susan!
      It’s so fun when the paper publishes those old “50 years ago today” columns. My favorite to read are the “chicken dinner news” of who had dinner where, etc. Such fun and funny stuff!

      Oh, fair foods! Gotta have ’em or it wouldn’t be fair time. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by today and entering the drawing!

  4. I did quite a bit of old newspaper research when I was doing genealogy. The Eufaula Indian Journal, the first newspaper in Indian Territory starting in 1876, was a wonderful source and a huge help. The front pages were primarily reprints of national news from other sources but the rest of the paper back then spent a lot of time of on everyone’s doings–who visited whom, who came to town to shop, and so on. I did find my great-grandfather and great-grandmother in their pages, but I also really enjoyed seeing life back then through the lens of those old newspapers.

    • Hi Eliza!
      Oh, wow, that is so cool! And how fun you found your great-grandfather and great-grandmother in the publications. It is so fun to get a glimpse of life back then through the old newspapers.

  5. Welcome to Petticoats and Pistols, Shanna! Wonderful to have you here! I have always heard that beautiful baby contests were dangerous. Does Gerber still do them or have they quit due to the danger? LOL.

    My favorite doings at the county fair here is to see the animals. Particularly the horses and the bunnies, but I love all of them. And the food–corn dogs and elephant ears 🙂 No need to enter me in the drawing. Love your books!

    • Hi Kathryn!
      So wonderful to be here and see you, too!

      I think those baby contests are dangerous! Particularly to the judges! 🙂

      Oh, corn dogs and elephant ears are among my favorite fair foods. It is so fun to see all the animals at the fair. Who doesn’t love horses and bunnies?

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Good morning, Miss Shanna! Thanks for coming back to visit. It’s always nice to welcome back and old friend. I have to say you’re one hard-working author. Every time I turn around you have a new book out. And you write such interesting blogs. How funny about the Baby Show! I can only imagine how irate some of those mothers got. Hilarious that the judges were threatened. I love old newspapers. You never know what you’ll discover. They put in every single thing that happened because they had to fill the paper somehow. Often the articles were about animals getting loose.

    Wishing you much success and happiness! 🙂

    • Howdy, Linda!
      So good to be back here and to see you!

      Oh, you are so sweet! i try to keep my nose to the grindstone! 😉

      Old newspapers are informative and so fun (and funny) because they really did put in everything!

      Thanks again for having me on Petticoats & Pistols today!

      All the best to you! 🙂

  7. Thank you for a great post, Shanna! I love county fairs and my favorite part of them are the showing of the beautiful animals. Kids have worked so hard on their projects and it shows in the many different breeds.

  8. Oh wow that is hard as a former 10 year 4-H member we had to see all the animal judging and then of course the Horse pulls!!

  9. What a fun post! Thanks for sharing, Shanna. The animal shows and exhibits are my favorite part of the fair.

  10. Oh, my! I love everything about our county fair! The food tops everything. But it’s fun to see the car races, go to the concerts, look at the entries for food, crafts, animals, quilts, table settings, (I could go on & on). My hubby loves to roam the equipment/RV’s. I love to see the building that has electric trains and see what scenery they have created each year. But, like I said earlier, the food tops everything! It’s always fun to see what’s new and try it.

    • Hi Becky!
      Thanks for stopping by today. It sounds like you are a true county fair fan! 🙂
      I stick with my tried and true food standards at the fair, but I love that you are adventurous and try new things!
      Thanks for stopping by and have a fantastic weekend!

  11. Bing Crosby is always a great choice! I have many different favorite things about the county fair. But I really love seeing the animals in those big wide barn areas! You get so close to them when most people wouldn’t. I also really love the convention center parts. They have a craft part and then people selling great merchandise! And you have to an elephant ear! (Fried dough with cinnamon and sugar)

    • Hi Cori!
      Thanks for dropping by today. Oh, elephant ears are so yummy! One of our favs.
      The big barns are fun and it’s neat to be able for those who aren’t usually around animals to be able to see them up close.
      The exhibits and crafts are fun, too!
      Thanks for popping in today.
      Enjoy your weekend!

  12. Hi Shanna! Thank you for your wonderful blog post. I love getting an inside glimpse into the plotting and planning process of authors. I love seeing old newspapers and the small insight into the world back in the day. Every year we have a Cornbread Festival and I love seeing all the items local businesses bring out to sell. Also all the fun things to do with the kids. I look forward to funnel cake at these events but that might just be a southern thing! 🙂

    • Hi Kelley!
      We have funnel cakes in our neck of the woods, too! Yummy!
      There are so many great things to enjoy about a county fair or country festival.
      And it is fun to look in old newspapers and get a glimpse of life back then!
      Thank you for entering the drawing!

  13. When we lived in a rural town about 20 years ago they had the Troy fair. I had my daughters enter flowers and brownies. They actually won a couple of awards. I now live in a suburb and I just love the different crafts and of course funnel cake.

    • Hi Gina,
      How fun your daughters participated! That’s so awesome about their awards.
      It’s always great to see the crafts and enjoy the treats at the fair.
      Thanks for stopping in today!

  14. As always Shanna, it is treat to “listen” to you share. It’s been years since we’ve been to the county fair. But I have always loved the kids and the animals they have raised for fair. They are so precious to watch and see the joy on their faces. Life through the eyes of a child is always so much fun. And of course what’s a fair without getting a funnel cake?

    • Hi Kathy!
      Oh, I love that thought you shared about seeing the fair through the eyes of a child. Such a great way to see a fun event! And of course you must have a funnel cake!
      Thanks for hopping over and saying hi! 🙂

  15. I have niece’s in the 4H who raise and show goats so I enjoy the showing of animals by the kids and then the auction off of the animals after. Also all the good fair food!!!

    • Hi Darlene!
      Those auctions are so fun to watch. Love seeing the community support the kids.:)
      And fair food seems to be tops on many lists!
      Thanks for coming by today!
      Have a fantastic weekend!

  16. My favorite things at the fair would be food, craft and sewing displays.

    I have worked on my family trees and you are right there is amazing info in the newspapers. It makes me laugh at how they used words back then.

    I found in newspaper abstracts where my g-g grandparents and great uncle died of small pox in IL. My aunt had said they died on a riverboat going to visit relatives after Civil War times but the newspaper stated they died there in the homes of relatives. I was lucky to find some of the articles on microfilm and got a real newspaper copy!

    • Hi Brenda!
      Oh, wow, that’s amazing about the info you found on microfilm. We have some “family” stories I’d sure like to verify sometime! Maybe I’ll come across details someday in my research.

      The way they wrote articles in newspapers and their selection of words back then does provide a great deal of entertainment!

      Thanks for stopping by today!

      Enjoy your weekend!

  17. Hi Shanna,
    What a fun post of you. I subscribed for the newsletter of Petticoats and Pistols.
    My favorite county fair event would be the showing of animals and people wearing real ranch clothes (cowboy/cowgirl).

  18. Such a funny story about the baby contest! I love reading advertisements in old newspapers. So many items and inventions were available long before I thought they were. And sometimes there are words I wouldn’t have thought in use at that time. I came across several ads for a ‘hop’ (as in ‘dance’) in the 1880s.

    Fun post, Shanna.

    • Hi Nancy!
      Oh, that is awesome about the “hops”… I always think of that term in relation to the 1950s.

      It is amazing to see how many “modern” things they really had back in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

      Thank you for stopping by today and have a lovely weekend!

  19. Hi Shanna!

    My favorite event at our local fair would be the rodeo. And maybe the pig races for laughs.

    Thanks for stopping by. Reading newspapers and catalogs of the past definitely give insight into the times.

  20. I always gravitate to the livestock and 4-H areas. I was in 4-H in high school and we would spend the entire week of the fair there. Some of us sleeping in the 4-H building. We had a dairy bar and worked in shifts the whole week. It was a wonderful, wholesome way to spend the week. The rides and games never really appealed. Still don’t. I do spend a bit more time in the “commercial” display buildings now. I even man the booth for a few non-profits I volunteer for.
    I enjoy reading old magazines and books. They were contemporaries when they were written and give us a valuable peek into the time they were written. I remember a novel I read that was written in the early 1940″s. It was set in Northern Virginia/Washington DC. It was the time just prior to our entry into WWII. It gave a good reflection of the mood of different people. In the next to last chapter, family and friends were gathered around the radio listening to the President’s address after Pearl Harbor. In the final chapter we learn the different paths everyone will be taking. It gave a good feel for what it must have been like. I would tell you the book and author, but my dog chewed it up just days after I finished it. The key word being after.

  21. While I love most everything about fairs, I think my favorite part is the baking contest. There are always so many different things that people spent time baking/cooking.

    I’m looking forward to checking out your series!

  22. I haven’t been to a county fair in years but I always love the quilt contest. You really find a lot of pretty ones there. I can see the mothers going after the judge over the baby contest.

  23. It makes so much sense that a judge for the baby contest was found in a distant town. Can you even imagine living around all the mothers after judging a contest like that? I’m sure “escaped with his life” was no exaggeration. Of course, my babies would have beat them all. 😉

    I love looking through the craft and quilt exhibits. And I love the food!!! Probably a bit too much. 🙂

  24. Hello Shanna! I hope I’m not too late! I love the fair. We would go when we were little kids, I participated in the art contest when I was younger. I also loved going to the concerts they had there each year! I love country music, so even if you don’t sit down and watch the concerts, it’s still fun to wander around and listen to music. Going and visiting the animals is always fun. I also love going to the rodeo. I think bull riding is probably my favorite event. (Especially after reading Barreling Through Christmas). 😉 So many fun memories going to the fair!

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