Such creative readers we have here at Petticoats & Pistols! You all came up with some exceptional wild west acrostics during our Game Day on Monday. They were so good, in fact, that I found it impossible to pick only one winner. So I picked two!
Congratulations go to
Tina Rice and Kerri!
Both of you have won a $10 Amazon gift card. YeeHaw!
Big thanks to everyone who played.
Reading through those acrostics kept a smile on my face all day.
Hi, Kit Morgan here and today I want to talk about how the folks in the old west and the Victorian era passed the time with games, magic tricks, and stories. Many of which you could order from a catalog.
Nineteenth-century catalogs carried a variety of goods including games and sporting goods. You could outfit an entire baseball team from a catalog back in the day as well as get your hands on all sorts of toys, games, puzzles, books and other sources of entertainment, including plays! And right now, a lot of us are looking for fun little diversions to keep our eyes off the current global situation for a moment or two.
One thing I’ve noticed on social media this last week is the resurgence of board games, card games, even marbles! But for people in the nineteenth century, this was normal fun stuff they relished and enjoyed.
There were even prequels to some familiar games we have today. There was the Nineteenth-century version of the Game of Life. Only back then it was called Game of Life’s Mishaps. And naturally, they had The Monopolist, from which a description reads: On this board, the great struggle between Capital and Labor can be fought out to the satisfaction of all parties, and, if the players are successful, they can break the Monopolist, and become Monopolists themselves. I wonder if it took as long to play as our modern game of Monopoly does!
They also had moral games such as The Pilgrim’s Progress. Like the aforementioned games, these were often sold three games in one game board. Game of Life’s Mishaps also included a game called Domine Rex and Diamonds and Hearts. The Monopolist also included a game called Ten-Up and Mariner’s Compass. Pilgrim’s Promise came with Going to Sunday School and Tower of Babel.
There were all sorts of magic tricks and the paraphenalia needed to perform them. And, there were board games from back then that I’ve never seen or heard of. Maybe you have. Quoits, Tight Rope Dancing, Croquet, Naval Engagement (a predecessor to Battleship, perhaps?) Bear Hunt, Rabbit Hunt, Fishing, The Pearl Divers, Falconry, Spider and Fly, LeapFrog, and Duck Shooting. Two games were advertised to come with all of these individual games, Morrice and Archery, creating three games for the price of one. The price? .75 cents.
What board games do you remember? Are there any that you can’t find anymore? Which ones do you still like to play? How about we play the game of I’m giving away a signed copy of Dear Mr. Weaver to a random winner from the comments? Ha ha! But yeah, that is my giveaway!
No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.
So now that we have our theme – Western Romance – let’s play our game!
Wild West Acrostics!
To play, select one of the three words below from the featured book title:
SHORT STRAW BRIDE
Create a string of words that start with each of the five letters in your word to describe what you love about reading western romance. I’ve given you some examples below. You don’t have to use all three words like I did. Just one will do it.
Leave your acrostic in the comments below. My favorite will win a $10 Amazon gift card!
Doing research trips is new to me. I mostly have always done my research with John Wayne movies. Louis L’Amour books.
I operate on the theory that if John Wayne says it, and Louis L’Amour says it, then if they are wrong and I say something different…no one’s gonna believe me anyway.
So I accept that the ‘truth is out there’ whether it’s the truth or not, and honestly that’s a real easy way to research a book.
But the last three book series (you understand I’m on book 65 right now–so the last three series is nine books and that’s not a big chunk)…anyway, the last three book series, I’ve visited the places I’m writing about.
And oops, I take that back because the THIRD series is the one I’m writing now. And I was going out to Casper Wyoming, head along the Oregon Trail, you know…like being on a wagon train only with four lane interstates, hotels and fast food stops with clean restrooms. Not exactly that rugged pioneer spirit my ancestors have but still…we (my cowboy and I) were going.
And then the world closed down.
A very strange, upsetting and sad business this self-quarantining.
I’m frowning as I type. We’ll get through it. This might change the world in harsh ways and wonderful ways. We may face financial hardship and we may rediscover our homes and families.
So my boots, that were made for walkin’ on my research trip are instead, sitting parked in my bedroom. In fact, I went to the grocery store yesterday…I live in a small town, no cases of this mad virus anywhere (no known cases). So going to the grocery store isn’t particularly worrisome. The shelves are even fully stocked.
In fact, though I have plenty of toilet paper and hand sanitizer on hand, I feel an almost compulsive impulse to buy more of them. But they are there, on the shelves, so I controlled myself.
So I went to get ready to go to town and I realized…I couldn’t remember the last time I’d put boots on. Yes, I own and wear boots. I couldn’t remember the last time I hitched up the team. (okay, I mean started the car, but you get the drift).
I have discovered within myself an inner hermit. A recluse. A happy loner.
I’m a little worried that when we can wander far and wide again I’ll have to force myself to move.
I’m so sorry for all the worry and stress everywhere. My mom is in a nursing home and I see her three times a week. I haven’t seen her for nearly three weeks. Phone calls aren’t the same. She’s 91 years old, coming up on 92 and I feel like she’d failed a little since she can’t have company. Not a good situation.
Anyway, stay home if you can.
Whether you can or not, God bless you and keep you.
God bless America.
God bless the whole world.
Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of two books TWO books, ONE winner. Books one and two of the Brides of Hope Mountain series. Aiming for Love and Woman of Sunlight. Tell me what you’re doing. Are you staying in? Do you have a job that forces you to get out? Leave a comment and maybe win a book.
After the Civil War, the boots cowboys were wearing weren’t cutting the muster on the job. While accounts differ whether this occurred in Kansas or Texas, most agree a cowboy went into a shoemaker asking for changes to the day’s boot style. Each feature the smart cowboy asked for fixed a problem. The pointed toe made it easier for him to get his foot in the stirrup. The taller shaft served the purpose of protecting his leg from mesquite tree thorns, barbed wire, snakes and other dangers. The bigger, thicker heel kept his foot from coming out of the stirrup. The boot’s tough leather protected a cowboy’s ankle from being bruised by the wooden stirrup.
The cowboy changed his footwear his footwear because it wasn’t working. A lot of my stories deal with something not working in my hero and/or heroine’s life. Sometimes they know they need to make a change. Sometimes not. Sometimes life forces them to make a change when it’s the last thing they want. But still, my characters tug on their boots, put one foot in front of the other, whether they’re happy about it or not, and walk toward the future.
In To Catch A Texas Cowboy, both AJ Quinn and Grace Henry are forced to make a change in their lives, and neither is very happy about it. Grace is laid off and her best friend talks her into coming to Texas to manage her bed and breakfast. AJ is undercover for the FBI taking the recently vacant job as chief of police to catch a forger. Both vow working in Wishing, Texas, is temporary. They know where they want their lives to go and this isn’t what they had in mind.
Their meeting is one of my favorites. Grace is driving into town and her breaks give out. She rear ends AJ’s truck. AJ tries to tell Grace who he is, but she won’t let him get the words out, instead saying they should exchange insurance info, call a tow truck and be on their way. AJ lists the reasons to call the police, her insurance company may require a police report, debris needs to be cleared from the road, and someone needs to divert traffic until their vehicles are moved. When Grace still resists, AJ asks if there’s a reason she doesn’t want the police called. Grace responds that all the police will do is complicate the issue and small-town police will be even worse about it. Talk about an awkward first meeting! I love when my characters dig themselves into a hole and refuse to put down the shovel!
Another thing I love to do is have the hero or heroine give a gift to the other during the story. Though they may not realize it at the time, the gift is a big turning point in their relationship. In To Catch A Texas Cowboy, Grace is a New York city girl. AJ tells Grace she can’t keep running around in flip-flops and gives her a box. What does AJ give her? What else? A pair of cowboy boots she admired!
I’m going to admit something…I love shoes and I love boots even more. I have four pairs of cowboy boots I wear in the winter and various open toe ankle boots I wear in the winter. Stop by today and leave a comment about your favorite footwear to be entered to win a signed copy of To Catch A Texas Cowboy and a pair of boot socks.
Cowboy boots are fun to wear, but I recently discovered I’ve been wearing them wrong—all wrong. Fortunately, help is on the way. Some of the top designers including Calvin Klein and Fendi are about to send cowboy boots down the runway this spring and you know what that means; our sacred footwear is about to get a makeover.
To keep you from being out-of-step, here are some tips from fashion experts:
Don’t go for the costume-y look. If you’re wearing boots, avoid cowboy hats, ponchos, spurs, prairie dresses and overalls or you’ll end up looking ready for Halloween.
Leave the accessories at home. (I think this means don’t wear your diamonds.)
Avoid fringes and sequins (ruffled skirts, okay)
You can’t go wrong with jeans (not the faded ones) and turtlenecks. If you’re brave or immune to stares, you can even wear boots with shorts.
Pair cowboy boots with animal prints.
If you’ve been wearing your boots all wrong, chances are the same can be said for the guys in your life. According to fashion pundits, men should adhere to the following guidelines unless working on the range:
Avoid dressing like Woody in Toy Story. Ditch the bolo tie and chaps.
Forget the spurs (unless you’re playing a bad guy in a movie).
Hats are okay if you going to a rodeo or rounding up cattle. Otherwise, leave at home.
Avoid light colored jeans. Dark fitted jeans are best paired with cowboy boots.
If you’re wearing a tux, only black cowboy boots will do (polished to a shine).
Men, if this is too much for you, don’t despair. Everyone loves Woody. As for the rest of us, Happy Halloween.
What is the best or worst fashion advice you ever got?
What happens when four mail-order brides get cold feet?
As an author of historical novels, I love it when I get a chance to walk over the same ground as my characters. Most of my research is done online, but every once in a while, I get the chance to get my boots walking in the actual setting of a book I’m writing. This past January was just such an occasion.
During the last weekend of January, I took a research trip to explore the setting of my current work in progress. Not only did I get to dig into the local history of Kingsland, TX, but three writing friends met up with there and turned the weekend into a writing retreat. So wonderful to be blessed by the fellowship of fellow writers and friends.
I love staying in historic places whenever possible, and especially when I’m trying to immerse myself in an historic setting. We pulled that off in Kingsland with The Antlers Hotel. The hotel was built by the railroad in 1901 a few years after the rail line came through town in 1892. Unfortunately, it’s about 6 years too modern to include in my story, but it offered fabulous accommodations. I took some photos inside the lobby as well as the exterior.
Since there were four of us, and retreats are much more fun when we can all stay together, we rented a separate building on the property. The Depot cabin we rented had been an actual railroad depot in Muldoon, TX in the 1890’s. I loved opening the door to discover two ticket windows still in place. So fun! Creaky wooden floorboards added to the historical ambiance.
After spending a couple hours on Friday afternoon in the local library’s genealogical section reading up on local families, I drove down to the railroad bridge that is still standing from 1892. I found a really cool tidbit about how folks from the Burnet side of the Colorado River could only get into Kingsland by rails – either on the train or by walking across the railroad bridge. I took a photo from the Burnet side showing the top of the track. I also took a picture from the Kingsland side to show the underside and the pillars. The 4 stone ones are original. The concrete supports were added later.At some point, one or more of my characters is going to be in peril on this bridge. I just need to figure out who and why.
Saturday morning, I took a drive down a country road (and I mean country – dirt, cattle guards, livestock free and ranging) to get some photos of Packsaddle Mountain. It was named for the dip in the middle that makes it resemble a packsaddle on a horse. A major plot point in my novel revolves around this mountain, so being able to see it in person will help me get the details right. A couple decades before my novel’s timeline, this was also the site of the last Indian battle in the region. The settlers, while greatly outnumbered, routed the raiding Apaches and ushered in a time of peace.
On my drive, I also ran into this fellow. Probably not historically accurate, but fun nonetheless.
We finished off the weekend by having brunch on Sunday at the Grand Central Cafe located on the same property where we were staying. It is a grand Victorian home built around the turn of the century and serves wonderful food.
All in all, it was a wonderful weekend. So much history, so many great conversations, and great food for the imagination and the taste buds . (Crystal Barnes made us her famous farm fresh breakfast with ingredients straight from her very own cow and chickens Saturday morning and fried us up some fresh-off-the-hoof hamburgers for dinner. Yum!)
What are some of your favorite historical locations to visit?
Kingsland was only about a 3-hour drive from my home. Do you have places close to you that are rich in history?