Cowboy Fever, Orphans, and a Giveaway!



Oh man! Do I have cowboy fever and it’s not just this week! Mine is a permanent condition. I love reading about them, writing their stories, and contemplating how it used to be before barbed wire and paved roads.

I’m sure some things are the same and cowboys still have the same kind of heart and love for the land and his way of life.

Next week, I’ll release TO CATCH A TEXAS STAR (Book #3 Texas Heroes.) In this story, Marley Rose McClain (the baby in Knight on the Texas Plains) is all grown up and looking to make her own way in the world. But she’s shattered to learn the secret Duel has kept from her all these years and to discover he and Jessie aren’t her parents. Who is she really?

A cowboy drifter named Roan Penny comes to see her as his Texas star and helps her sort it all out and find herself again. In the process they fall in love and plan for the future. But, will they live to see it?

I loved figuring out who Marley is and what she wanted. She loves writing stories for the many children her parents have taken in but sees no hope of getting them published. Roan has faith enough for both of them though.

This is the first time I’ve written about a character who writes and it was fun.

People ask why I write orphans into almost every story and here’s why.

The 1800s was overrun with orphans. New York City alone had 30,000 in 1850. Immigrants arrived and a good many died of disease and starvation, leaving their children with no place to go. The orphanages bulged at the seams and there were still so many living on the streets.

In an effort to curb the situation, they began shipping children out on orphan trains and offering them to any one willing to give them a home. From 1854 to 1929, a quarter of a million orphans rode on those trains. Yet, with no oversight, a good many faced horrible abuse.

Things weren’t much better in out west. People were dying in cholera epidemics, yellow fever, small pox, etc. Then you add in the numbers of the women dying in childbirth and it’s staggering. Then came the Civil War and left even more children without parents. On the American frontier, there were Indian uprisings in addition to everything else. It was a horrible time of upheaval and children bore the brunt.

Children are very dear to my heart. They represent the future and we should protect and nurture them. They are so vulnerable and helpless and I think we have a duty to be their voice.

What is your passion, what do you feel strongly about? Animals, children, equality, justice?  

To celebrate the release of TO CATCH A TEXAS STAR I’m giving away three copies of the book. Just leave a comment to enter the drawing that will take place on Saturday.

I hope you like it. I’m hard at work on a new series called Outlaw Mail Order Brides and launching Book #1 in January with Book #2 following soon after.

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Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!

59 thoughts on “Cowboy Fever, Orphans, and a Giveaway!”

  1. This Texas gal would love to read To Catch A Texas Star. Thank you for the opportunity, Miss Linda.

    • Good morning, Carol………This book brings the Texas Heroes series full circle. Marley and Roan have to fight hard for their HEA but they finally overcome all odds. I hope you’ll like it.

      Have a blessed day! Sending hugs.

  2. Linda- I’m with you, I have cowboy fever all the time. It’s an on going condition that goodness there is no cure! Ha Ha!!
    I loved To Catch A Texas Star. I know everyone will too. Congrats on another awesome release. You keep having some great years with all your releases. I’m so honored to be your sister friend and to have you in my daily life.
    Congrats on both your new book releases. Love you Dearly and happy Early 4th of July!!

    • Good morning, Tonya……Yep, there is absolutely no cure for Cowboy Fever. It’s a lifelong condition I’m afraid. I’ll be ninety and still grin when I see a man in a cowboy hat and jeans. I’m very happy with the early response this book is getting and I’m so glad you liked the story. I do think it’s right up there with my best work. Have a blessed day, sister friend.

      Much love and hugs!

  3. Cowboy fever is a real epidemic and I too have the ailment. It is so hard to think of how many children were orphaned way back then. I can’t even imagine being alone and afraid at any time or place as a child much less to be boarded on a train and shipped off to the wild west. I’m so blessed to have received this book as an ARC and I know everyone will love it as much as I did! Congratulations on another great read and I can’t wait for your new series!

    • Good morning, Steph……Man, you’re up early! Yes, there were so many orphans left to find their way. That would’ve been terrifying and then to leave everything they knew to go live in a strange place would’ve just added to the upheaval inside them. I’m so happy that you loved Marley’s and Roan’s story. They had a special, very lasting kind of love. Have a blessed day, warrior friend.

      Love you dearly!

    • Good morning, Joy…….I’m glad to find another with Cowboy Fever! I just love it and will say that I’ll happily die with the condition. 🙂 Have a blessed day!

      Sending big hugs your way!

    • Good morning, Janine……I’m glad To Catch a Texas Star intrigues you. My favorite quote from the book is Roan saying: “You’re like those shooting stars. You blaze across my life with such a streak of color and pageantry it steals my breath. You’re my Texas star, Marley Rose McClain.”

      Have a blessed day and big hugs!

  4. I am looking forward to read this one. Our quilt group makes quilts for children in the system so when they are to old to be in it no longer they have something of their own made by love. Have a blessed day!

    • Good morning, Kristi……..Bless you for making those quilts! That deeply touches me. It must be so scary for them to age out and go into the world. I wonder how many become homeless. Those quilts are very special. You have a good heart, Kristi. May God bless and keep you!


  5. Hi Linda, I am also a victim. I was infected with Cowboy Fever by my Father when we watched all of those cowboys on TV! Can you imagine? And even though there are periods of remission when I may not read about cowboys or watch a cowboy on TV or movies, I am never completely cured! Cowboys are in my blood!!

    • Hi Connie……….There is no total cure, my dear. You got too good a dose of it with your father I’m afraid. Those were probably the best years of your life. And give you a cowboy book now and you’re deeply satisfied just like me. Thanks for coming and have a blessed day!

      Love and hugs!

  6. Passion children, Our apartment building along with 2 businesses collect money for books for the kids in the homeless and domestic violence shelter here, we raised enough to buy 500 books. They kids went wild spending hours deciding what book they wanted to read. We are already thinking about next year and what to do.

    • Hi Kim……What a great passion! Kids in those shelters need the escape that books offer and you provided them with a whopping 500! That’s amazing. Thank you for doing that. Let me know the next time you have this going on and I will donate some money to it.

      Blessings and love!

  7. Children is my passion they are the most important thing in life. They are our future. I can’t wait to read your new book and looking forward to seeing Marley Rose again. Take care.

    • Hi Quilt Lady…….You’re a woman after my own heart. We shouldn’t turn a blind eye to a child in need. I just can’t. I owe it to myself and them to do something. Have a great day.

      Blessings and love!

  8. Another one with cowboy fever here. I love animals almost as much as cowboys. I have done volunteer work with dogs rescued from the Houston area after the hurricane. Our local vet took in over 45 dogs to care for and get foster homes. The local shelter has been a soft spot of mine as well.
    Roan and Marley Rise have a fantastic story. Another of your great historical works.

    • Hi Jerri Lynn…….Fellow Cowboy Fever sufferer! It just breaks my heart to see animals suffer and in need of a good forever home. So many are neglected and abused and desperately wanting a soft touch and someone to love them. If I could, I’d take in every one of them. Animals speak to our souls and remind us that we are all God’s creatures. Yes, Marley and Roan will be galloping into bookstores and online on Tuesday! I’m so glad you loved the story.

      Blessings, love, and hugs!

  9. Linda I have loved all of your books that I have read so far and I’m sure To Catch a Texas Star will be no exception. Can’t wait to read it. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    • Hi Ruth……I’m so happy that you like my books. It was such a joy to meet you last year in Atlanta. What a treat. I’m so sorry to hear about Glenda and her mom’s wreck and horrific injuries. They’re in my thoughts and prayers.

      Blessings and love, dearest Ruth!

  10. My passion is also children. I began my career as a teacher and coach. When I realized I couldn’t give them as much help while teaching I moved into social work until I finally decided to get my masters degree in mental health counseling. I work now as a Licensed Professional Counselor. If I can help a child or their parents prevent some of the horrors I saw while working in foster care then I will do it!

    • Hi Debra…….Bless your heart for caring about the children! We need more passionate people like you to fill those spots. Children are mostly alone and forgotten until they get into trouble and often it’s too late then.

      Blessings and love!

  11. For me it’s all of the above. No one person or community is amune from injustice or prejudice. Why do things have to be so bad for everyone. Abuse and neglect is not okay. Whether its man or animal. I guess it depended on your upbringing and whether you were able to go to school and get a education. I grew up in a 2 room house with outdoor plumbing and hand me downs and hard love by way of the hand on the butt. But I’m a better person for it. I wouldn’t change my life.

    • Hi Charlene……..I agree. Injustice and prejudice shouldn’t be tolerated no matter if it’s a child or an animal. Both are helpless and neither have a voice. You and I grew up with bare necessities and fair-minded parents but we’re much better for having to struggle. I wouldn’t change my background either, although I wasn’t too fond of it back when I was living it. 🙂

      Blessings and love!

  12. I adore your stories and who you put into them! My heart is for orphans and children who need help. I do love to rescue animals, too!

    • Hi Susan……Thank you for the kind words. The world needs more passionate people like you. So many have hardened their hearts and don’t care about much of anything. I just want to shake them.

      Blessings and hugs!

  13. Being a genealogist, one of my finds was that my great-grandfather’s oldest brother took in orphan train children, and I even have a picture of them thanks to a librarian I met on one of my many ‘expeditions.’ Just incredible. This was in Indian Territory where the township is still named today for that uncle (who was also the first white man to have been elected to the Cherokee Council of that Nation’s gov’t). So I too have a special interest in the orphan trains, Linda. Like you, I also really care about children. I’m just heartsick at what happens to them.

    • Hi Eliza…….You always write the most interesting comments. Your great uncle must’ve had his heart in the right place. That’s wonderful that you have a picture of them! Orphan Trains did serve a purpose but they split brothers and sisters up and sometimes the family who took them in wasn’t kind and loving like Duel and Jessie were. I’m just heartsick too at what’s happening with immigrant children. But don’t get me started on that.

      Wishing you much love and day of blessings!

      • Orphan Trains. I do know how many (most?) orphans were used for field workers regardless of their age. And they were minimally provided for, many too often abused–long work hours, subsistence food and housing, etc. It’s somewhat similar to people having large families because they needed as many hands and backs as possible to make a subsistence living. But of course the orphans were generally treated more like field hands–except with no rights to leave–rather than an employed worker or a loved family member. Even non-orphans often only got schooling at times when crop work wasn’t the top priority. (It’s why children don’t go to school in summer.)

        My own grandfather was orphaned by age six and was put in an abusive family as a field hand until he ran away. He luckily found a friend of a friend who took him in, and that man became a father to him. Genealogy really brings history home. (Similarly, when I was reading Dickens, I also read Dickens bios where he too had worked in factories powered by child-labor when his family was in debtors’ prison, just like characters in his novels.)

        In a different vein, I support the NRDC because they take up many causes besides their main one of climate change, including children’s rights, animal species extinction, and political activism. Since lobbyists are a sad fact of life, I believe in supporting a group that has political clout for many issues important to us as a species. They don’t make headlines all the time but they’ve won some key court battles and they’ve helped mobilize the outcry that has been put on gov’t in recent times.

  14. Great blog, Linda. I loved Marley Rose from the beginning and it’s fun to see her older and more mature. Again, thanks for a great blog that really addresses a problem that existed in the 1800’s that most of us weren’t aware of. Hugs P

    • Hi Phyliss…..Marley Rose was a great character even from the first. She sure came alive on the page as a baby and now that she’s grown up I think readers will love her even more. I’m glad you found the orphan problem interesting.

      Much love and hugs!

    • Hi Pam……Yes, I guess you can say that I’m living life large! Sometimes too large. But the older I get it seems the faster I go to get everything crammed in before I hang it up. I’m so glad you hopped aboard this crazy train! 🙂

      Wishing you a blessed day and lots of love!

  15. Animals for me… I wish I could help each and everyone out there… congrats on this next release… you are one busy bee!

    • Hi Colleen……..Animals need all the love they can get. I want to take them all in and give them a home. Just not possible and it breaks my heart. But, I do keep an eye out for abuse and report what I see. I will never turn a blind eye to abuse of any kind. Yes, I’m just a little busy these days. HaHa! Certainly no time to twiddle my thumbs.

      Sending love and hugs!

  16. I feel strongly that everyone should be kind to every person they encounter. Thanks for the giveaway

    • Hi Anon1001…….So do I. Our society has lost how to be kind and that saddens my heart. People are downright angry and looking for someone to take it out on.

      Sending love and hugs!

  17. Linda, excellent post, as always! I think we can safely say that animals are my passion. LOL I think we need to be kind and caring to all living things, but animals are so vulnerable. They are so trusting in many cases and many are so neglected or downright abused. So I try to do what I can on FB and other social media by sharing animals that need homes or causes that we can sign petitions for and take action on to help them. I make donations when I’m able to help out. Congratulations on your new release and I’m looking forward to more, more, more! Hugs, my filly sis!

    • Hi Cheryl…….Animals really are so vulnerable all through their lives. Children eventually grow up and can take care of themselves but not animals. I can’t even stand for someone to speak in gruff voice to them. I have turned in people who chained up their animals with no access to food or water. I’ve also report people who were abusing their kids. I don’t care. If I see something you can darn well believe I’m gonna say something. Thank you for the congrats on the release. I won’t have another new one until January when I start a new series. Can you believe Sourcebooks has already sent me the cover??

      Love you, lady!

  18. Congratulations on your upcoming book release.

    I have many things for which I’m an advocate. Our church has an ongoing campaign to provide 1200 complete Thanksgiving meals (enough food to feed up to 10,000 people) to those in need.

    • Hi Denise…….I applaud you on your advocate for the homeless and people in need. We owe it to ourselves to get involved in something that makes our world better. Bless you, sweet lady. Thank you for the congrats on the new book. I have this one and then no more until January when I start a new series.

      Love and hugs!

  19. good morning LInda, hot , hot hot here in chicago, with that dang heat index its going to be 110!!! my husband was saying, in his truck at work it will be 130 , you would think they would give the employees a fan or something, but its been a rough week, monday my husband dad passed away, he was 79 and sunday my daughter called and said she has bad news, she has to have her gallbladder removed, its just one thing after another. but on to your question, my passion , hmm, well i love cooking and baking, i love to read, and do my loom knitting, and my kids are my life, so its a bit of everything. hope you are well . looking forward to your new book,.

    • Hi Elaine……..Yes, this heat is really getting to me too. I pray it gets cooler soon. I’m so sorry to hear about your father-in-law and your daughter. I think things like this run in cycles. They really shake us up. It sounds like you have many passions and that’s excellent. We should live life to the fullest and grab hold of everything that fills that place in our hearts.

      Love and hugs!

  20. Linda, I hope cowboy fever never gets cured. I want to be afflicted all my life. To me, cowboys are heroes and always have been, since Roy Rogers and all those heroes were seen. As for those things I am passionate about, Children and the elderly are the top two. Children are our future and the elderly is our past, our true past. They both need protecting as they cannot fight for themselves. My next two passions are a bit different. They are justice and equality, which I think go hand in hand. The prejudices that have developed in our country are abused and overused. When we can all understand that under the skin, we are the same, then this world will have a chance.

    • Hi Cricket……..Me too. Bring on the Cowboy Fever! I want all you can give me. You’re right about children and the elderly. Both are so vulnerable and unable to do anything about their situations. Justice and equality are excellent passions to have and I share them. I don’t why people can’t see that those two things would bring world peace. Have a great weekend!

      Love and hugs!

  21. Can’t wait to read, . I feel strongly about abused children. Nothing gets me more upset…

    • Hi Tonya Cherry……Nothing is worse than seeing abused children. They are our future and we should nurture them. I want to grab them all up and give them a good life. If only I could.

      Love you, lady!

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