I’d heard about the TV show, Yellowstone, and thought I’d give it a try.
Well, I didn’t last the entire show. It’s just not my style or idea of a western.
I like the old kind of stories that I grew up with.
The ones that had a hero.
Where good was good and bad was bad, and the good triumphed over the evil.
And that’s what I write. I believe today we need heroes and heroines. Not that stories have to be Pollyannaish, but I do like stories that end well. Happily-ever-after stories. Our world confronts us with darkness every day, and I, for one, could use a break.
Come away to the 1880s, or to a tale of a knight from the round table, or on another planet. Temporarily escape the pressures of this world and step into the worlds we create to entertain, teach, and encourage.
That’s why I write. My goal is to make readers happy and leave them feeling better than when they started my books.
My alternative to Yellowstone is my series – Montana Brides of Solomon’s Valley. It is set in Montana in the 1880s and begins with Judge Solomon Taggart in The Judge’s Bride. The judge has amassed an empire with the valley’s biggest ranch, some gold, and Shirleyville, a town he named after his late daughter.
In all his wealth, he realized he had no one to share it with or pass it on to. Women are scarce in Montana and the West, so he sends off for a mail-order bride. Add a couple of feuding families and the judge has his hands full.
Bridgette Book 4. Bridgette is not just a pretty face.
SarahBook 5 Her heart is broken, and then the new doctor and preacher come to town.
Cassidy Book 6 The wildest of the Howards may have met her match.
Ronan’s BrideBook 7 Ronan gets caught up in trouble he can’t get out of, and love might just be the trap that puts him behind bars.
So there you have my answer to Yellowstone. Seven books full of interesting characters, some likable, some who need a little work to get there, but all of the books will leave you feeling good.
My favorite character is Bridgette. She’s smart and has great ideas to help those in need. Of course, she has ambitions to be Queen of Montana. She keeps the town, her husband, and the judge busy with her schemes.
What about you? Do you believe we need heroes and heroines?
Post your answer for a chance to win an ebook of your choice from my Montana Brides of Solomon’s Valley series!
I write Christian historical western romance with a little faith, fun, and always a happily-ever-after.
I am a writer, Christian first, and blessed beyond my imagination. I live in the Dallas-Ft Worth area of Texas with my wonderful treasure of a husband, my spoiled dog, Jacs, and my awesome son, Josh. Did I say I was blessed? The PacJac is from my initials and my husbands. I wouldn’t be able to write if it weren’t for him. I love adventure and the open road. The stories of the western era have always been a favorite of mine. I enjoy writing, and my goal is to write stories readers will enjoy.
All y’all know that I live in Western New York, right? And I figure that the title “Western” is all I need to write wonderful award-winning westerns… and a whole lotta other stuff, too, because I am so blessed to be doing exactly what I always hoped, dreamed of and wanted to do. Write the kind of stories I love to read…
But we talked about the other side of being me, and that’s the farm side which from May to October is REALLY INTENSIVE and mostly fun, we will not talk about GFS.
“Grumpy Farmer Syndrome”
We’ll keep that under wraps, okay? 🙂
I had two books release in June and July… The final mystery of “Mysteries of Martha’s Vineyard” “Just Over the Horizon” and I loved being part of that New England series! So fun! And I worked with a great team of authors and editors to put it all together. SWEET!
How fun to be able to do two things I love. Write books, and help run a pumpkin farm that’s about to explode with pumpkins, corn stalks, hay, straw, ornamental corn, baked goods, stacking tables (for stacking pumpkins) mini-donkeys (Alexis and Tanya) wood rounds, wood stumps, firewood (all Dave, please…. although I can run power tools, I don’t play with chainsaws!)
And yesterday our pest control service came to annihilate multiple bee hives, including a monster-sized paper wasp nest with a LOT OF INHABITANTS that’s right over our display yard…. sorry, wasps. When you start paying the taxes, you get to stay. 🙂
Here are some shots of the busy-ness that’s been going on the past two weeks, including bringing small people on board. Our maxim is: Start ’em young at Blodgett Family Farm!
And this is what the wagon looks like right now:
So this is how I keep busy over the summer, and after a wondrously busy August, September and October, I am sooooo ready for winter. No kidding, that’s my time of peace and focus on writing, writing, writing….
This month Harlequin has re-released my novel The Rancher and the Vet and Ann Roth’s Montana Vet in a two in one book entitled A Cure for the Vet available in Wal-Mart and on Amazon. In honor of that, I’m doing something special. Today, you’re getting two blogs in one because Ann Roth has joined me to chat about her book.
My novel, Montana Vet, is actually book 3 of my Prosperity, Montana, miniseries. Books 1 and 2 will be out in January, in another 2 in 1 release. No worries—I wrote the books as stand-alone stories featuring siblings. They don’t have to be read in order.
Here’s a thumbnail sketch of Montana Vet.
Veterinarian Seth Pettit has been AWOL from Prosperity for some time. Now he’s come home… with a fourteen-year-old girl in tow.
I have a soft spot in my heart for foster kids. I feel the same tenderness and concern for abandoned and abused dogs, which is one reason I felt compelled to create heroine Emily Miles, who shares my sentiments and has founded a shelter for these animals. The other reason, of course, is that she’s the perfect match for Seth Pettit—even though neither of them is looking for romance.
How Seth and Emily get together and fall in love is a story you don’t want to miss!
A little about me:
My genre is contemporary romance. I love happy endings, don’t you? Especially when two characters are so right for each other, but don’t know it.
To date, I have published over 35 novels, and several short stories and novellas, both through New York publishers and as an indie author.
Like Ann’s story, The Rancher and the Vet, features a veterinarian, but mine is the heroine, Avery McAlister. The hero is her first love, Reed Montgomery who returns to Estes Park to become a surrogate parent to his teenage niece.
I love writing old flame stories because there’s instant conflict, chemistry and sexual tension when they step on the page. But that wasn’t the only reason I enjoyed this story. Another was because I could have animals cause trouble throughout the book. Thor, Reed’s niece’s pet chihuahua, does his best to give Reed a proper welcome, complete with leaving him “presents.”
But I had the most fun with scenes between Reed and his niece. Making a bachelor caring for a teenage girl was more fun than should be legal. Talk about torturing a hero! One of my favorite scenes is when Reed takes Jess shopping for a school dance. Now that’s a man’s worst nightmare come to life. Thankfully for Reed when he’s in over his head, Avery comes to his rescue. At one point, I couldn’t get Avery and Reed alone without them sacrificing their pride. I groused that I wished I could lock them in a closet together. Thankfully Reed’s niece was happy to comply…
Thanks again to Ann Roth for joining me in the corral today. Since Ann’s book is set in Montana and mine is in Colorado, we want to know your favorite ranch location. Two randomly chosen commentators receive a copy of A Cure for the Vet. One signed by Ann and one by me. So, let’s hear what you think. If you could have a ranch anywhere, where would it be?
I thought it’d be fun to look at some of the laws that are still on the books today. Here are a few interesting ones I found in my file. All are Texas laws and I added the town or area of Texas it’s applicable to. Many are statewide and I’m sure some have been amended.
• Temple, Texas: Cattle thieves may be hanged on the spot. No one may ride a horse and buggy through the town square, but they can ride their horse in the saloon.
• The capital of Texas, Austin: Wire cutters cannot be carried in your pocket.
• San Antonio, Texas: It is illegal for both sexes to flirt or respond to flirtation using the eyes and/or hands. It is also illegal to urinate on the Alamo.
• Texarkana: Owners of horses may not ride them at night without tail lights.
• It is illegal to shoot a buffalo from the second story of a hotel. It’s illegal to milk another’s cow.
• In Kingsville, there is a law against two pigs having sex on the city’s airport property. Why just the city’s airport property? Don’t ask me!
• It’s illegal to dust any public building with a feather duster.
• In El Paso, churches, hotels, halls of assembly, stores, markets, banking rooms, railroad depots, and saloons are required to provide spittoons “of a kind and number to efficiently contain expectorations into them.
• In other parts of Texas you can’t land an airplane on the beach, throw trash from an airplane, or inhale fumes from model glue, not to mention you must obtain permission from the director of parks and recreation before getting drunk in any city park. This is where “Don’t Mess With Texas” comes in loud and clear!
• Texas is a common law state, so you can be legally married by publicly introducing a person as your husband or wife three times. So my advice to you, be careful what you say when you have your snoot full in a Texas honky tonk.
• Port Arthur: Obnoxious odors may not be emitted while in an elevator.
Some of these laws have been changed or strengthened, especially involving drinking and driving, while some like having wire cutters in your pocket or shooting buffalo from a second floor window of a hotel remains in full force and effect. So every time I look at the new Marriott being built, I wonder if they’ll add that law to the notice they put on the inside of your hotel room? I might just have to call them and find out.
But the best law of all: A cowman cannot tuck his pants into one boot unless he owns ten or more head of cattle. I have no idea what the purpose of this law might have been. Do you?
Are there any old laws that are unique to your part of the country that you’d like to share with us today?
To one lucky reader who leaves a comment, I’ll give them their choice of an eBook or an autographed book of my newest Kasota Springs Romance Out of a Texas Night.
Not long ago, Linda Broday and I waited two hours in the blazing sun for the Coors Ranch Rodeo parade. This has been a tradition for decades and promotes our rich history and the real western life by featuring competition between real cowboys from real working ranches in the area. I still call it the Coors Ranch Rodeo, which kicks off the summer in this area, although it’s now overseen by The Coors Cowboy Club. They run the rodeo with the same love and commitment the Reed family and Coors of Amarillo gave it.
The kickoff is a parade that goes all the way through our main street downtown to the TriState Fairgrounds where the rodeo is held. The highlight of the parade is a dozen or so Longhorns, wranglers, a couple of chuckwagons and all types of cowboys and cowgirls. It’s one of our must do events; thus the reason Linda and I sat in the hot sun for so long. Linda took my picture because dumbo me had my camera set as a selfie, so I have about thirty pictures of me with my hair flying in the typical West Texas wind. A fun day for sure.
I have a little bit of fun news to announce – on September 3rd, Harlequin is re-releasing two of my historical titles in a single 2-in-1 volume. Here’s a little info about each book;
A Baby Between Them
For two months, Nora Murphy has cared for the abandoned infant she found on their Boston-bound ship. Settled now in Faith Glen, Nora tells herself she’s happy. She has little Grace, and a good job as housekeeper to Sheriff Cameron Long. Cam has also closed himself off to dreams of a family.
When the unthinkable occurs, it will take all their faith to reach a new future together.
The Proper Wife
Eli Reynolds knows what he wants in a wife, and flighty Sadie Lassiter couldn’t be further from the mark. For one thing, he has his nine-year-old sister’s welfare to consider. But when bad weather strands Eli and Sadie together, he sees a new side to her character. Her faith is true, and she’s filled with humor and sweetness. Could Eli take a chance on happiness and take Sadie as his bride?
To learn more or pre-order a copy, click on the book cover image.
I’m going on the road!
On Thursday, September 12, 2019, I’ll speak to the Midwest Romance Writers in Lenexa, KS!
19617 W. 101st Street, Lenexa, KS (suburb of Kansas City)
AND on Saturday, Sept. 14, I’ll be at the McClouth, KS Public Library!
If you’re in the area, come by! I’d love to see you!
Enjoying the dog days of summer at the lake with eight grand-darlings and two of their friends makes me happy.
Little Gracie who just caught her first toad.
And no, I didn’t line them up that way. It just happened!
Taking a break for lunch to quench big appetites.
Then back into the water for more fun.
Memories like these make me holler “YEE-HAW!”
I turned in a new manuscript this month! Yee-Haw!!!
At Love’s Command is the first in a new series called Hanger’s Horsemen. The concept is a blending of The A-Team meets The Magnificent Seven. Here’s a sneak peek of the blurb:
At Love’s Command Haunted by the horrors of the battle of Wounded Knee, ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries to fight for the cause of good. The four men known as Hanger’s Horsemen have become legends in Texas—men who defend the innocent and obtain justice for the oppressed. But when a rustler’s bullet leaves one of the Horsemen at death’s door, they are the ones in need of saving.
Dr. Josephine Burkett is used to men taking one look at her skirts and discounting her medical skills. What she’s not used to is having a man readjust his thinking in a heartbeat and offer to assist her in surgery. Especially not a sensationalized myth who couldn’t possibly be half the man rumors purport him to be. Matthew Hanger’s dedication to the health of his friend during recovery earns Josephine’s respect, however, and when she receives word of her brother’s abduction, he becomes her only hope for rescue.
Matt is no stranger to ruthless outlaws, betrayal, and injury, but when a bossy lady doctor who prefers giving orders to taking them crawls under his skin, his heart is tempted to surrender. And when Josie is caught in the crossfire, Matt will sacrifice anything, even his precious Horsemen, to save her.
Hey everyone! I do have some book news but it’s too soon to share it, BOO HOO–so I’ll share some updates on my sweet boys you might want to see. We just passed a milestone in our family! We’ve had Sweet Seminole Sammy for one whole year as of the 18th of August! (Yes, I gave him and his furry brother Max both a small dish of vanilla ice cream to celebrate, but no party hats for fear of them being eaten, too!) Here’s the first day we brought Sammy home to live with us, August 18, 2018–he was (they thought) about 6 months old. He’d been adopted and brought back because he dug holes in the adoptive family’s yard. What a lucky day for US, because he is the perfect dog for our home! Here he is at the shelter before we brought him home with us.
And here he is on his little bed–it’s amazing to see how “small” he was compared to NOW. No way he could even fit in that bed a year later!
Here are my two babies in March of this year–Sammy is about a year older than Max, and this was taken on Max’s first day with us, March 11, 2019. Sammy was thrilled from the beginning, and he has been such a protective big brother ever since Max came to live with us. We got them both from the same shelter, but they never knew each other before, as Max came much later after Sammy was gone. This was taken in March of 2019, when Sammy had been with us about 7 months, and Max was a tiny puppy–only about 10 weeks old. He was so uncertain and afraid, but Sammy took him under his wing and made him feel right at home!
Here they are this past week and look how both of them have grown! They are best buddies and love each other dearly.
They spend almost every minute together and wouldn’t know what to do without one another at this point. They are such a joy and so much fun to have in our family–always up to something (and not always something good–they are a lot like kids!)
Judging how Max has grown, I think he’s going to be taller than Sammy, but I believe Sammy will always be more muscular. They didn’t know what breeds either of them were, but it doesn’t matter. Their hearts are pure gold, and their breed is LOVE!
This is one of my favorite pictures of the two of them. I took this just a few weeks ago. Max has gathered all their toys around him on the floor, looking up so proudly, and Sammy is on the couch beside me with the look that says, “Oh, brother. See what I have to put up with?” But he wouldn’t have it any other way!
“He caught one of them?”
“One of who?” Beau glanced at the dark-haired kid in his hold, a kid who wore a bandanna covering all but his wide blue eyes. A bandanna? What on earth had that spawn-of-Satan horse gotten him into?
“See if you can find the others,” Shorty ordered.
The troublemaker turned his head, causing the bandanna to slip, revealing smooth cheeks without a hint of stubble.
“Right.” With a nod, Lanky hurried toward the water.
Without warning, the kid sank his teeth into Beau’s arm and broke from his hold.
“Ouch! Why, you little brat!” Beau snagged the boy’s leg, knocking him to the ground, and pinned him in the wet sand. “I ought to turn you over my knee.”
“We’re going to do worse than that.”
At the new voice, fear flickered in the kid’s eyes.
Keeping his hands on the young man’s shoulders, Beau looked up to find a well dressed, if winded, older gentleman standing next to Shorty, gun drawn.
“Nice work, mister. You just caught yourself an outlaw.”
An outlaw? Beau glanced down at the youngster whose voice hadn’t even changed. He couldn’t be more than thirteen or fourteen. How could someone so young already be an outlaw?
Troublemaker, yes, but outlaw?
“Where are the other three?” the gentleman questioned.
Shorty cocked his head toward the water. “Lawson went to see if he could find their trail.”
“Mr. Grimes, perhaps you should lend Mr. Lawson a hand.”
With a nod, Shorty took off as another man approached, horses in tow.
“Mr. Hewitt, toss this fella a rope and help them, please, sir.” The dapper gentleman took the horses’ reins from the balding man Beau had met at the livery earlier that day and turned to Beau. “I believe Mr. . . .”
“Bones,” Beau offered as he accepted the rope from Hewitt and set to binding the outlaw’s hands.
“I believe Mr. Bones and I can manage this one on our own.” The leader paused, drawing Beau’s gaze upward. The bearded man looked from Beau to Satan’s Spawn—or Buster as the horse was more commonly known, a name which now made much more sense considering his aching backside—and back again. “Bones? Are you any kin to our late marshal?”
Beau finished securing the knot, one perfected by what his brothers used to use on him through the years, and hauled the youngster to his feet. “Yes, sir. He was my uncle.”
“Well, looks like you two were cut from the same cloth.”
Beau wished that were true. His namesake had been brave, fierce, afraid of nothing and no one. He was the only one who’d ever believed Beau could amount to something, could do more than struggle in his brothers’ shadows. He’d hoped by coming to Small Tree, Texas, he could prove his uncle right. Prove everyone else wrong. Prove that he could be his own man.
But on his first day in town, he couldn’t even ride his uncle’s horse.
“I’m Mayor Arthur Jones.” After shaking Beau’s hand, the graying gentleman led the way through the trees, the prisoner between them. “I assume you’re here to settle your uncle’s estate, Mr. Bones. Are you going to be in town long?”
“Well, I, uh. . .I’d thought to stay on awhile, but—”
“Wonderful. We could sure use a man like you around Small Tree. As you can see, trouble has already found us in the short time since your uncle’s passing. My condolences, by the way.”
“What would it take to talk you into staying on and being our new town marshal?”
Beau couldn’t help laughing at the outlandish thought. “Not much, bu—”
“Stupendous! You’re hired.”
“Hired? Wait. What?”
“The job comes with a monthly stipend, plus room and board.” The mayor kept talking,
but Beau’s brain couldn’t take in any more.
Hired? Him? A marshal? He didn’t know anything about being a lawman, only the wild tales his uncle used to spin when he’d come to visit. Tales a little boy with seven older brothers could only imagine experiencing. He couldn’t fill his uncle’s boots, not in a thousand years, not in ten thousand. The mayor was highly mistaken if he thought Beau could handle such an important job. Sure, he’d always dreamed of such a chance, but he couldn’t. . .
He wouldn’t. . .
It wasn’t right to let the mayor, the town, think him capable—
The outlaw stumbled, breaking Beau’s inner argument and his grip on the kid’s arm.
The boy pivoted toward the trees.
“Oh no, you don’t.” Beau had tried that move with his brothers too many times to count. Snagging the youngster’s waist, he tossed him over his shoulder.
The mayor angled him a grin. “See, I knew you were the right man for the job the minute I laid eyes on you. This way, Marshal. I’ll show you where you can lock up this prisoner. Then we’ll send for the judge.”
At the praise, Beau couldn’t help standing a little straighter. Maybe he could do this job. Maybe this was the exact opportunity he’d prayed for almost all his life. Maybe, just maybe, if he tried real hard, he could prove the mayor hadn’t just made the biggest mistake of his life by making Beau Bones the newest marshal of Small Tree, Texas.
—Mistaken Marshal by Crystal L Barnes from the Lady and the Lawman Collection, Barbour Publishing.
Howdy y’all! Crystal Barnes here and I hope you enjoyed that sneak peek into my novella in the Lady and the Lawman collection. I got my story idea by kinda blending the Shakiest Gun in the West starring Don Knotts with Marshall Dillon from Gunsmoke. I loved hearing my husband’s laughter as he read this scene about Beau Bones getting roped into a job he never saw coming, so I thought I’d share the fun.
How about you? Have you ever been roped into a job you never expected to have? How did it turn out?
You’ll have to read the rest of Mistaken Marshal to find out how Beau fares. I know I’ve been momunteered many times in my life. For those of you unfamiliar with that term, it’s when your mother volunteers you for something. A situation that normally turns out pretty well because we end up doing the task together.
I’ll be giving away a FREE autographed paperback copy of the Lady and the Lawman to one of this
post’s commenters, so be sure to tell me some of your stories. (Paperback for contiguous US winners only. Sorry.)
Before I go let me add a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all y’all at Petticoats & Pistols!
Thanks for allowing me to be a part of the celebration today!
A best-selling author, bona fide country girl, and former competitive gymnast, Crystal L Barnes tells stories of fun, faith, and friction that allow her to share her love of Texas, old-fashioned things, and the Lord—not necessarily in that order.
When she’s not writing, reading, or singing, Crystal enjoys spending time with family, exploring on road-trips, and watching old movies/sitcoms. I Love Lucy and Little House on the Prairie are two of her favorites.