Next Generation Cowgirl!-AND A FREE BOOK!!!









Just so you all know there are always new generations coming up that like all things western!

Case in point, my granddaughter. This is cut from a video–which I could NOT get to load on here, and in it she says, among other things YEEHAW. 

I’ve watched it about fifty times already. She’s 19 months old and talking up a storm.

Now that I’ve given you all a free books.

And let you see my beautiful granddaughter (as if that isn’t enough!!!)


I had an outing this week, not so usual anymore. I went to Fort Randall in Pickstown, South Dakota.

Some of these old forts are preserved, some are all new and reconstructed.

This one is largely gone.

Almost all that’s there are these sign posts telling about what was located at each spot.

The signs covered all the main points about the fort. What women’s roles were.

Some were officer’s wifes. Some were employed there. The picture within my picture shows a snapshot of life for women at the fort.

How they got supplies…which, being right along the Missouri River, well duh, send supplies up the river. Except the Missouri River, that far north, was unnavigate-able during parts of the years.  And the river was very broad and shallow, often with sandbars just barely under the surface, easy for ships to run aground.

We walked a half mile circuit around the edge of the parade grounds and saw signs like this. And there was foundation stone left here and there, or depressions in the earth.

Funny to think how close the soldiers lived to the commanders and yet they lived very differently. The commander, and the lower ranked officers, in much nicer digs than the rank and file.

They needed medical care and not just for injuries in battle. The lost a large group of soldiers the first year to scurvy. Meanwhile the native people around them, mainly the Sioux Indians, found, with no scientific or medical help, a well rounded diet on land the soldiers were surrounded by.

I hope you can enlarge these pictures to see them well. Read them. When I go to a museum, I want to READ. I want to see what it’s all about, set it in history. That’s what I love. So signs about the bakery, the doctor, what the soldiers did for fun, how they lived, are perfect for me. Maybe better than the buildings. I found it solemn and fascinating and a little big spooky.

Being blessed with a vivid imagination, I can see the soldiers marching around. Feel them overheated in the summer and freezing in the winter. Wonder how women coped with all the hard work they had to do…and do it all wearing a skirt.

It was a wonderful, if madly hot, day.

The only building still standing was a church


My day at Fort Randall. Do you go to museums? I actually love them, though it seems like I do most of my research online these days.

I came away with story ideas, but also I felt like everything I learned and saw and imagined helps ground my stories in how things really were back then. And hopefully that brings my work authenticity rooted in solid research.

Tell me about your favorite museum. And go grab a free book!

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Author of Romantic Comedy...with Cowboys including the bestselling Kincaid Brides Series

26 thoughts on “Next Generation Cowgirl!-AND A FREE BOOK!!!”

  1. Mary- what an amazing blog. So much history.
    I read your book anc loved it. Here’s my review:
    Mary Connealy’s Aiming For Love is a true treasure not to be missed.
    This is one of the most unique plots I’ve ever read.
    As strangers from down below invade the high mountain land with their cattle, three sisters must decide if they are in danger.
    Jo, Ilsa, and Ursula have lived their entire life isolated on this mountain, never once have they ventured down into civilization, they only know how to survive in the wild.
    This invasion of their land is a new concept they must face.
    As these two different worlds collide a special bond is formed between Jo and Dave- A beautiful love.
    This book has it all: inspiration, compassion, and a beautiful love story.
    Superbly written, I highly recommend this book to everyone.

    • Janine I get these pictures on my computer every time I open it of some beautiful scene. I used to think, “Wow, I want to go there!!!”
      Now I’m more like, “Huh, great picture of some rocks and water. The picture’s enough. I’ll just stay home.”
      I think this quarantine thing’s got me! Changed me even more into a recluse.

  2. Hi Mary, good to see you in another venue. I’m a museum nut and the ones I enjoy most are the ones where they replicate another time, down to the curtains and cutlery. I live about 40 miles from Strawbery Banke, a restored Colonial village in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Massachustts has Historic Deerfield, Old Sturbridge Village, and of course Plimoth Plantation. Give me a costumed “interpreter” and I’m all set.
    I do Oregon Trail and I’d love to retrace the route my pioneers followed. Probably in a Winnebago.
    Your granddaughter is adorable. Could they get any more pink on that child?
    Kathy Bailey, aka Kaybee from Seekerville

  3. Great blog and let me say first your grand daughter is so cute on here rocking horse. I haven’t been to a museum in years. I guess the last one I was in was in 2007 and it was a medical one, that had a lot of the old instruments from many years ago. I did really enjoy that trip. Thanks so much for the book and looking forward to reading it.

    • Quilt Lady, I went to Gettysburg years ago with my husband, daughter and son-in-law. They wandered through and were all, “Okay, interesting, let’s go eat.”
      And I’m all, “I need time! I need to read every word. I want to go back and look at this again!”
      Finally I let them drag me away and on our way, driving out, there was a LIVING HISTORY civil war era medical tent!
      I clamped my mouth shut as we drove by but I still hate that I didn’t get to see that!!

      I’m a big weirdo! (Or so my husband and daughter say!)

  4. Good morning! Thank you so much for the free book! I wish I could read the images in this blog but I tried on my phone and my laptop and could only get bits and pieces except for the first image I could read. I love to go to museums, Forts, cemeteries, read Historical markers and go to Historical places. I wish I had appreciated it when I was young and traveled with my parents. Great blog. Stay safe as the number of COVID-19 cases rise.

  5. Mary…you’ve broadened my horizons today. The only fort that I can remember is the one on Mackinac Island. Impressive to say the least. So much history to learn about. I enjoyed every picture you included. Thank you! Beautiful grand daughter too! You are blessed! Thank you for the free book too.

    • Kathy, there’s one near me called Fort Atkinson that is possibly my favorite. It’s restored and it was a fort in 1820 in Nebraska. The only fort or settlement west of Illinois!!! It’s such a strange time. Before the Oregon Trail, before the west was opened much at all.
      Fascinating place. And like I said, all restored. I sort of wished they’d do that at Fort Randall, at the same time there was a very cool, almost haunted feeling to that flat grassland, the signs, the occasional dip where a basement used to be or a pile of rocks all that remains of a foundation. I LOVED IT!!!

  6. Thank You for the free book! I have actually two museums that pop in my mind the first is the one at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City Oklahoma. It had a lot of Pioneer History I went to it a couple of times in my early teens with my parents and then the other one is the one here about 30 mins from where I live it is a state park that is about the Native Americans that once live along the Black Warrior River I first went in grade school and have visited many times since. It is what first started my love for the Native Americans. I try to go annually for the Native American festival they have each year in October. It is really a beautiful area.

  7. Glenda I’ve been to the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City! I loved that place.
    My possible favorite museum ever is the Museum of Westward Expansion under the St. Louis Arch. That is a world class museum. I’ve been there maybe 3 times and never gone up in the arch, that seems a little claustrophobic to me!
    But the museum, wow, it’s terrific.

  8. One of my other favorite museums is called Connor’s Prairie in Indianapolis, Indian. A restored 1820 frontier town. With living history characters. You don’t really realize it but 1820 is a very DIFFERENT time in history. Not the revolution, not the Oregon Trail, not the Civil War, not the western frontier.
    It’s a time when Indianapolis was the extreme western edge of civilization and it’s fascinating and different. The buildings, the pots and pans, the medicine, the schools, all very unique. Not enough is written in that era.

  9. Hi, I enjoyed reading this blog, Thank you.I love to visit museums.. One I went to when my daughter was at Baylor in Waco Texas was a museum called Texas Rangers Hall of Fame and Museum and another one we went to is called Armstrong Browning Library and Museum, I really loved visiting those 2 museums.

  10. I’ve been to a few museums, and like them. I really like visiting historical sites better, but museums are nice, too! I did pick up a copy of the book, too! Thanks!

  11. I have enjoyed the many local museums we have gone to in addition to the state and national ones. And, I, too, always want to read the interpretive signs. The living history museums really give you a sense of what life was like at that place in the time period depicted. When we were at Ft. Laramie many years ago it was HOT and the soldiers working at the bakery were dressed in wool uniforms with long johns underneath! They did have their outside shirt sleeves rolled up and you could see the long sleeves underneath. We were happy to be in shorts and sleeveless tops.

    One of the letters I found in my husband’s family papers and letters was to his great grandfather from a young man posted at Ft. Sanders in Wyoming, Territory, in February,1877. I had to look it up and discovered they have a museum. Now I am hoping to be able to visit there some day. On the website it looks like they also have just one building left.

  12. First, thank you so much for AIMING FOR LOVE. This sounds like an enjoyable series.
    I love museums, whether they be in buildings or sites like old forts. It is hard to pick just one as a favorite. We have spent many years traveling whenever we can, and visiting historic sites and museums is part of every trip. One I went to a looong time ago (1971) before I got married was Borobudur. It is located in Java, Indonesia and was built in the 9th century. It is the largest Buddhist temple/stupa in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Very impressive.

    Closer to home is Fort Ticonderoga, New York. I grew up not far away and have visited several times when visiting relatives. They have been working on reconstruction over the years and were almost done last time we were there. It was in operation starting in 1755. They have done an excellent job of setting up the displays charting its history from the French and Indian War, through the Revolutionary War until 1781. It was occupied by the Continental Army until 1777 when they abandoned it under threat of a cannon attack and the British moved in. The British destroyed as much as they could before leaving. It became state property and eventually was sold to private hands in 1820 and opened as a tourist attraction in 1909. It is now run by a private Foundation. They have done an excellent job bringing it back and have many excellent programs through the year – battle reenactments, encampments, at one time they had Highland games, etc. Things are labeled well and there are demonstrations throughout the day. It is located on Lake Champlain across from Vermont and controlled the passage from Lake Champlain to Lake George, and on to the Hudson River which was the main water route from Montreal, Canada to New York City. We have been to some wonderful programs. A French and Indian War reenactment included an encampment – colonist camp, British camp, and Native American camp. It was very atmospheric walking through the camps with no light but campfires, candles, and the stars. They had 6 cannons set up and did a variety of volleys. Very loud. Cannon #6 really liked their powder and was louder than the rest. They took us out in the field where the guards were posted. How they did their job I have no idea. You couldn’t see a thing until you were within a few feet of them. They did a challenge, then an attack by the enemy. We were maybe 20 feet away and all we could see was the musket flash. The next day they reenacted the attack on the fort set up like it had been with brush barriers set up prior to the stone walls. Our first trip there with our daughters, was for Highland games. They had a bagpipe band that did a concert in the fort on the parade grounds at night. It was unbelievable. The bleachers were set up around the parade grounds and the only lighting were the torches on the fort walls. The band started playing outside the wall and entered through the portcullis tunnel. The pipes echoed off the walls and you could smell the leather of the bags. It really did feel like the clock was turned back over 200 years. Later around our campfire, we could hear pipers playing in the woods at their campsites. It was an awesome weekend.

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