Misty Beller Finds Inspiration

The Fillies are so happy to welcome Misty Beller back with another new book! Scroll down for a giveaway.

Hey, y’all! I’m so excited to visit again! The Petticoats and Pistols reader family is one of my favorite groups to hang out with.

One of the things I love about writing stories set in the 1830s Rocky Mountains is that Eastern civilization hadn’t yet touched the frontier. The only people who lived in or visited the Rockies during that were Native Americans and mountain men (usually trappers, but sometimes just explorers).

One of my favorite stories from that time inspired part of my latest release, Calm in the Mountain Storm. Wanna hear the fun, real-life details?

From their limited experience with white people, two of the native tribes realized they wanted to learn more about the white man’s God and his “Book of Heaven” (the Bible). In 1831, a delegation of four Native Americans—two Nez Perce and two Flathead—showed up in St. Louis, Missouri, asking for someone to come and teach their people about God.

Over the next several years, a number of people went west as missionaries, including Samuel Parker and Marcus Whitman, two well-known missionaries who settled in what would later become Oregon. Their story is fascinating too (and tragic), but is a whole post in itself.

From the first time I heard the story of the Indians showing up in St. Louis to learn about God, my writer mind started What if’s. What if a woman decided went west to share her faith with the natives. She couldn’t travel alone, so who would go with her? How would the tribes respond?  Gradually, the characters and storyline of Calm in the Mountain Storm developed in my head. Though the characters in this book are fictional, the events certainly could have happened!

When the heroine, Elise Lane, heard that the Indians wanted to learn about God and simply needed someone to come tell them, she knew she had to answer that call. Of course, her brother Benjamin couldn’t let her go into that danger alone, so together, they set out on an expedition they knew would likely change them forever. Elise doesn’t have any idea exactly how much!

I pray you enjoy reading the story of Elise and Goes Ahead, the Indian brave she meets who’s desperate for help getting his young children across the mountains. As with our hero and heroine in the story, I pray your faith is inspired!

About the Book:

This epic journey will test his ability to protect his children—and they’re all he has left.

Missionary Elise Lane returns with her team to the Rocky Mountain native tribe they serve to discover the entire village—including the children she’s come to love—has been massacred. A fierce brave standing at the edge of the devastation has taken the only surviving child.

Goes Ahead returns home with his son to find his worst fears have come true—his entire village has been slaughtered, including his wife. Only their infant daughter has survived. But there’s no time for grief or vengeance. He must get his children across the mountains to the protection of his family.

The last thing he wants is help from the white people who’ve brought this disaster on his village, but his babe is not yet four moons old. Her hungry cries prove he can’t make this journey without the white woman already nursing a babe of her own. But she refuses to come without the rest of her group, including the opinionated missionary who thinks she knows best for his children. As winter closes in and the mountains prove treacherous beyond anything Goes Ahead can control, only a strength and love greater than his own can save his children—and the woman he’s come to love.

From a USA Today bestselling author comes another epic journey through breathless landscapes and adventure so intense, lives will never be the same.



Today, I’m excited to give away a copy of Book 1 in the series, Freedom in the Mountain Wind.

I’d love to hear from you, what are some of your favorite book settings?

Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love. Raised on a farm and surrounded by family, Misty developed her love for horses, history, and adventure. These days, her husband and children provide fresh adventure every day, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

Misty’s passion is to create inspiring Christian fiction infused with the grandeur of the mountains, writing historical romance that displays God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters. Sharing her stories with readers is a dream come true for Misty. She writes from her country home in South Carolina and escapes to the mountains any chance she gets.


Kaitlene Dee: Apples and Gold in California

The Fillies welcome Kaitlene Dee to our little neck of the woods. She has some fascinating history of an old mining town that she built a story around. Scroll down for her giveaway.

Thank you for having me. I have always been fascinated with small towns, especially ones with a place in history and one such town is Julian, California, which is an official California Historical Landmark. This small mountain town was the only place in San Diego County to have its own gold rush in the late 1860s, early 1870s.

Julian started as a small mining camp that was set up virtually overnight, shortly after Fred Coleman discovered placer gold at a creek in the area in 1869. Many miners rushed to stake their claim at the creek. The summer of 1872 would’ve seen the miner population grow to about 300, the tented mining camp had grown into a bustling town of 50 houses, 4 stores, a couple of restaurants, a schoolhouse, and nearly a dozen saloons.

Later, when the placer gold dried up, the town still survived because of hard rock mines that continued on and yielded nearly $5 million dollars in gold ore.

Julian’s climate also made it ideal for growing orchards, specifically apples. Mr. James T. Madison first brought apple trees to Julian in the early 1870s. Eventually, ranchers moved cattle onto the rolling hills and ranched in the mountain area.

Today, Julian is known for its apple pie festival in the fall (and the aroma of baked apple pie fills the air throughout the town), as well as the numerous cozy, romantic bed & breakfast inns dotting the outskirts of the town.

Currently, a couple of the hard rock mines can still be toured, and the town boasts the fascinating Julian Pioneer Museum with many incredible pieces from history.

Is it obvious that I absolutely love this town? What I haven’t touched on is how amazing the people who made Julian were—and they made it rich in history. These founders and citizens are the true treasure of Julian. For instance, Julian’s first mayor, was in trouble with the residents after a dance at the town hall. During the dimly lit evening dance, the babies were all sleeping in a very dark room, where the mayor went in and switched all the babies around, so the families of the town didn’t discover, until the next morning, that they’d each brought home the wrong baby. Silly mayor!

There is too little space here to share more about them, but they have inspired my heart to write an entire series called the Brides of Willow Creek series (currently, 8 of 10 novels are either written in rough draft or heavily plotted). Originally, the series was to be called the Brides of Julian Creek, but I had to change the name with my new penname for historicals (vs the contemporary westerns I write). The first book, Josina, will release in December 2022 (though the pre-order will have a temporary release date of 3/2023).

As the first book in Brides of Willow Creek series, Josina is about a young lady who is helping friends run their store while the owner’s wife is bedridden. A miner places an order for a rocker cradle for his placer mining work and she mistakenly orders a baby cradle. The encounter between them, when she goes to right the wrong, is hilarious and full of growing romantic tension.

Josina has only a sister, who is currently serving time at a women’s prison for cattle rustling, which has left Josina to fend for herself. When help arrives from the store owner’s family, Josina sets off for adventure and to make things right with the customer, Henry. He turns out to be a handsome grump with an old prospector sidekick who befriends Josina and seems bent on helping her find the adventure her heart’s looking for by way of matchmaking her to the handsome but cranky Henry.

A lighthearted, Christian mail-order bride romance set in gold mining town of Willow Creek, Josina is part of the Brides of Willow Creek series. All books in this historical Christian romance series are stand-alone novels and can be read in any order.

For a chance to win a signed paperback of Josina, please leave a comment

on the trope you love best in historical fiction.

Order your copy of Josina and read how a gold miner discovers a treasure worth more than her weight in gold—the zany lady with her blonde curls and uncontainable adventurous spirit! Pre-order your copy of Josina, available at the special pre-order price of 99 cents for a very limited time only! Order HERE

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Kaitlene Dee lives on the west coast, not far from Julian CA, and writes contemporary Christian romances as Tina Dee. Kaitlene and Tina’s books can be found on Amazon.

Please join my newsletter at: Kaitlene & Tina Dee’s Newsletter

As a thank you, you’ll receive a sampler containing the first couple of chapters for the first 4 books in the series—yes, it’s just a teaser but I hope it will whet your whistle to give my new series a chance for a place in your reading stack.

A Big Welcome To Guest Chris Martin!

We have guest author Chris Martin with us today and I know everyone will offer their usual warm welcome. And check out the post for info on a giveaway you won’t want to miss.

Hello everyone and Happy High School Homecoming Season!

Yes, High School Homecoming Season has begun and I recently did a little research on its origins and traditions. The whole dressing, dating and dancing routine has changed over the years, yet some traditions remain core.

Where did this tradition start?

The first high school homecoming was an adaptation of the college or university homecoming. Four different colleges claim to have started the tradition: Baylor of Waco, Tx; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne; University of Missouri at Columbus ; and Southwestern University at Georgetown, Tx.  The first homecoming celebration occurred in 1909, 1910, or 1911 according to which school you give the credit to.

About four years later, the tradition was picked up by high schools.  However, unlike the original university homecomings honoring alumni, high school homecomings generally are celebrations of team spirit for current students, particularly the graduating class.

Most high school homecomings include a football game and a dance. And where I’m from, the game schedule is carefully assigned so that the homecoming team plays a weaker team. This doesn’t guarantee a win for the homecoming team, but it certainly helps the odds. I have no idea what happens with the weakest team in the league!

Many schools have a homecoming court, although this tradition has started to wane in a few areas. Rules for choosing the homecoming royalty vary greatly by school. In the school my daughter graduated from, every Senior girl was made official Homecoming Queen and was escorted onto the football field at halftime for presentation. (They won their game.)

Homecoming dance formality varies from school to school, with some now as causal as T-shirts and jeans, while others are still into formal wear.  Part of the traditional dress is the homecoming corsage, typically made from a mum.

Homecoming corsages vary, too, in size and scope. Texas claims they invented the traditional mum corsages, but Missouri also claims that honor.  Evidence, though, strongly points to this being a Texas tradition that then spread to Oklahoma and Louisiana.

The homecoming mum corsage became popular in the 1950s and 1960s.  The corsage started off simply enough. A flower with a bit of ribbon to wear pin to a dress and wear at the football game and then the dance. Mums cost about $3 back then.

Now, the traditional mums are silk as well as fresh. Some of these corsages are so huge and heavy, they require thick ribbons to drape them around the wearers neck and can cover the wearer’s whole torso. Pounds and pounds of ribbons and trinkets make the most elaborate corsages heavy, rattling decorations that can cost thousands of dollars!

Despite the pomp, or lack thereof, one thing remains the same about all high school homecomings. They lend excitement and the chance to make memories that students will remember long after graduation day.

In my new second chance romance A Cowboy To Love Again, Sagebrush High School Vice Principal Gina Middleton Maisie has her own personal homecoming and it doesn’t go quite as she’d hoped.

PS Sagebrush Highs School Mustangs are one of those football teams that everyone wants to play for their homecoming game.


Gina took her heart to San Francisco, leaving Zach Rivers behind. After high school graduation, she accepted the first scholarship she could wrangle and headed to university, hoping Zach would follow her.

He would have if he could have. But family troubles kept him at River Ranch as he struggled to save the family legacy.

After a disastrous marriage and divorce, Gina is back in Sagebrush as the high school’s vice principal.

When Zach finds himself in the vice principal’s office, will he pass on this second chance at love, or will he make the grade this time before it’s too late?


You can Preorder HERE

What about you? Are there any Homecoming traditions or memories you’d like to share? Or was it not something you paid much attention to? I’ll randomly pick from all the comments posted here and give away two large print paperbacks of my new release, A Cowboy To Love Again, one for the winner and one for the winner to give to a friend or donate to a library. Good luck!



I’m excited about my new pen name and my new sweet, clean cowboy romance series, Sagebrush. The series kicks off with A Cowboy to Love Again up for preorder and will release Sept 16th anywhere you buy books. Many thanks to Winnie Griggs who let me post in her spot this month to help me celebrate my launch!


All four books in this series are now available for Preorder

Follows on Amazon and Bookbub are greatly appreciated!  And to learn more about me and my books, visit my Website

Chris Martin
Just Kisses and Heartstring Tugs




A Big Welcome to Lena Nelson Dooley!

This guest has written over fifty Christian Historical Western Romances and is still going strong. We’re so happy to have Lena Nelson Dooley come to visit. She’s giving some books away so leave a comment to enter.

Thank you so much for having me. I love reading western novels set mostly in the late 1800s. That’s also what I love writing. Right now, I’m finishing book four in my 5-book Love’s Road Home series, A Heart’s Redemption, which releases in October.

I really enjoy researching to find an actual historical event for most of my books. I’m also careful to make all the details of my books authentic to the time period, the culture of the time, and the characters as they interact in the story. I also include news and other details I find, weaving them into the characters’ lives.

Last year here in Texas, we had a major ice and snow storm where almost all of the state froze over. Even Galveston Bay. That same thing happened in 1899, so I included it in this story which is set in that year.

I pray a lot while writing a story. God often drops things about the story into my mind. I love that. These ideas always make the stories more interesting.



Question 1: What is your favorite thing about western novels?

Question 2: Do you know of an interesting historic event that happened near where you live that would make a good story to use in a novel?

Giveaway: Two people who answer both of the questions will win a copy of my novel, Esther’s Temptation.

This novel is set in Denton, Texas, in 1896. If the winner is in the United States, the person will win a paperback.

If the winner is from outside the US, the copy will be a Kindle copy.


Saddle weary, former deputy US Marshal Jac Andrews rides into Denton, Texas. He’d hunted a swindler and his daughter—or identical twin daughters if Jac is right—and he feels he finally has caught up with this criminal gang. Unfortunately, He is immediately distracted by the lovely redhead, Esther Brians.
Esther, feeling like an old maid surrounded by all her close friends who are happy married couples, is drawn to the intense gaze, blue as the Texas sky, of an unknown cowboy. But several things cause her to become wary of his intentions—and his spiritual well-being. Has this unsaved lawman captured Esther’s heart or will the Lord deliver her from the temptation of Jac’s presence? What will it take for Jac to win this lovely lady and become Esther’s husband?
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Bio: Multi-published, award-winning author Lena Nelson Dooley has had more than 950,000 copies of her 50+ book releases. Her books have appeared on the CBA, Publisher’s Weekly, and ECPA bestseller lists, as well as Amazon bestseller lists. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the local chapter, ACFW – DFW. She’s a member of Christian Authors’ Network, and Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas. She has experience in screenwriting, acting, directing, and voice-overs. She is on the Board of Directors for Higher Ground Films and is one of the screenwriters for their upcoming film Abducted to Kill. She has been featured in articles in Christian Retailing, ACFW Journal, Charisma Magazine, and Christian Fiction Online Magazine. Her article in CFOM was the cover story.

In addition to her writing, Lena is a speaker at women’s groups, writer’s groups, and at both regional and national conferences. She has spoken in six states and internationally. Lena has an active web presence on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn and with her internationally connected blog where she interviews other authors and promotes their books. She loves introducing her readers to authors they don’t know.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Amazon  |  BookBub  |  Goodreads

A Big Welcome To Historical Author Susan Payne

We have guest author Susan Payne with us this week and we hope you show her a warm welcome. She has a giveaway so don’t overlook that.

Sitting down to write this post, I thought I would discuss a unique project I’ve been thinking about for a few months now. I usually sit down in front of my computer and the words flow. After a week or two I have a novel ready for others to read. I pride myself on my continuity, well rounded characters and happy-ever-afters. This next novel, or rather sequels, concerns a train in 1872 that gets trapped inside a tunnel collapse. Of course, the train is full of people and they find themselves captive for well over a year. I don’t want to give out any secrets, but to say they feel as if they live a lifetime underground would not be untrue.

Now my readers may ask ‘how is that possible’? Well, I think I have that part covered with a few well-chosen passengers and a train full of products being carried to the capital. Food and fresh water are covered for the most part and the main burden is on the people involved and how they relate to one another.  How they adapt to life underground in a world made-up of just themselves. How they keep morale up and arguments down. How they communicate and make decisions although many do not speak English and come from different backgrounds.

I know expectations are high as we meet the passengers. A group of high-school graduates heading to the capital to take their final exams led by their young female teacher and a couple of the students’ mothers. Their city mayor and his family travelling with them mostly for the free trip. A man running from his criminal past and a Pinkerton Agent chasing him. An engineer afraid to admit his part in building the tunnel in the first place and a myriad of others all having cameo appearances in their story as they come up. Some are so real to me it is as if I read their diaries while others remain shadowy figures in the darkness of the rocks surrounding them. I hope to get to know them more later. That they tell me their own personal hopes and dreams. The obstacles placed in their pathway by the entrapment.

I know I haven’t met them all and I want each to be a person my readers can relate to. Hopefully, readers can see as they read the story and know how it could have been for all the characters. How each of them could contribute, lose heart, and carry through what might appear to be the rest of their lives. I mean, after months, I’m not sure I’d be able to keep trying to find a way out, try to keep optimism up or try to keep working toward the common good.

I want to show the desperation they felt yet the strength of the American spirit of those who chose America to be their home.  How the tenacity needed to keep a homestead going was put to use to keep the people of Traintown going.  Never giving up, or at least fighting to the bitter end, was something ingrained in these early settlers. It’s what made America the country other nations tried to immolate.  Where those with little chose to settle in for the opportunity to be more than they had ever dreamed.

What do you think the hardest thing would be having to live underground for so long?

I’m giving away a copy of REPEATING THE PAST to one commenter.

I hope I can come up to my own expectations. I like to pull from my knowledge and add new along with it. It will be tricky to give each novel enough background information without being redundant. I’m looking forward to several novels flowing from one to another while remaining a story onto itself. Mayor of Traintown should have its first novel out in late 2022.  As always, I hope you enjoy.

But now, I want to tell you about the second book of my Second Chance Romance series – REPEATING THE PAST. Can two brothers be more alike and yet so different? Could their separation at 3 years old mean they can never forge the bond they should have? And now, 20 years later, can they agree that love is the strongest bond in anyone’s life? Cain and Abel find their own way to forgive those who should have cared for them the best and failed them the most.


Susan began writing when she was still a young mother, trying to find time to type on the old Smith-Corona from hand written notes that she was able to scribble off between children’s naps and cleaning.  Cleaning always came first, before any amusements; but she has decided that dust can be interesting and shirts don’t need to be ironed to be wearable.  She now spends her time writing stories as dictated by her new friends so others can enjoy them as much as she does. Since my first published work in December 2019, I have completed the Sweetwater Series and gone on to several novels both in historical western romance and Regency romance.


Struck with Inspriration by Tina Susedik

I have always loved the west. The history. The lives of those who settled there and what they endured. The ruggedness. Whenever my husband and I plan a trip, we always head west. Now, while I love history and the west, I’d only written one historical romance, The Trail to Love, set on the Oregon trail. 

Several years ago, a new book event came up – Wild Deadwood Reads. It had been a long time since I’d been to Deadwood, but I recall it being steeped in history. So, I thought, why not? I can combine selling books with staying in such an historical town. 

Several events were planned. One was a ride on an 1880s train. The train trip ended in Keystone, another historic town. As our bus drove down the street, I saw a sign which read “The Balcony Girl.” 

Boom, a story idea came to me. It would be set in Deadwood during the early years. Now, I didn’t know that much about Deadwood’s history, so I had to do what authors love to do – RESEARCH. I bought books (and read them all) on Deadwood. Books on the characters who lived there. I delved through pictures and got lost on the internet. 

Finally, I was ready to start writing, but what year to start it in? I chose 1879 – the year a fire nearly destroyed the town. But what about a conflict? Brothels had what they called their “Balcony Girls.” They would stand on the establishment’s upper balcony in their scantily clad bodies, and call the men in. 

Now prostitutes, or soiled doves, then as now, were held in the lowest esteem. Anyone, other than men, who associated with them was considered to be one of them. A “proper” woman would never acknowledge a prostitute without being scorned by society. 

So, in June of 1879, Julia and Suzanne Lindstrom arrived in Deadwood from a farm in Minnesota. Suzanne was to be the new school marm. Julia came along to be with and take care of her sister. Can you imagine their thoughts when they first saw Deadwood, with its haphazard buildings, muddy streets, animals running wild, and rough men in the streets? 

Julia is a seamstress, but how would she make a living in Deadwood where most of the population were men who wore their clothes until they were rags. She ends up doing what a “proper woman” would never do. She befriends a brothel madam and sews clothes for the women who work in the brothel. Of course, she has to keep what she is doing a secret – even from her sister. Not an easy task. And when a prospective suitor finds out . . . Well, you can imagine what happens. 

The Balcony Girl is the first book in my “Darlings of Deadwood” series. I couldn’t stop with one book. Her sister, Suzanne, needed her own story. Then there was the sister of Suzanne’s suitor and owner of a hotel. Let’s not forget the nasty wife of one of the town’s bankers. My next one will be a female blacksmith. All strong women trying to find their way in the male-dominated west – and surviving. 

When the sisters arrived, the town was still booming, but becoming more settled. Roads were still muddy, animals still roamed and Main Street divided into the ‘good side’ and the “Badlands” where the saloons and brothels were located. How would they survive? 

Oh, by the way, that sign I thought said, ‘The Balcony Girl,’ actually read ‘The Balcony Grill.’ 

Order The Balcony Girl on Amazon.


I would love to give away one copy of “The Balcony Girl.”

To be considered to win a copy,

tell me an unusual job you’d like to see a woman in another “Darlings of Deadwood” would have. 

Tina Susedik is the author of forty books and anthologies including romance, history, military, and children’s books.She is an award-winning, Amazon best-selling author, and the host of “Cover to Cover with Tina.”Find her online at: http://www.tina-susedik.com

Welcome Jodi Thomas!

Hang on everyone, it’s almost fall.

That’s when the year begins if you’re a student or a teacher.  For me it’s been 12 years of public school, 6 years of college, 19 years of teaching and 14 years of being Writer-in-Residence at West Texas at A&M.

I’ve eaten more cafeteria meals than I’ve cooked!

So, my year starts in the fall. That’s when I set my goals, even my writing goals. Some years when I wrote my goals, I could have just written “Ditto.”

But some years there are surprises. Maybe a seed I planted years ago begins to grow. Or sometimes a goal falls apart leaving room for new surprises in my life.

I always laugh and say, ” Sometimes God winks.”

I have found 2022 has been one of those years.

In April my SUNDAY AT THE SUNFLOWER INN came out fast and with great reviews. Then out of nowhere I was named to the Texas Literary Hall of Fame.

ME!  What an honor. I was so excited I wanted to go back to all my teachers and show them the letter announcing my award.

What a total surprise–God winked!

Another surprise this year is the book coming out the end of August.  THE WISHING QUILT.  Three years ago I was talking to Patience Griffin at the Houston International Quilt Show and I was reading Lori Wilde’s new book.

I thought it might be fun to do a book together, Lori, Patience and me.  And, three years later it happened.

As you know I love quilts, especially this one from my mother Sally Faye Kirkland Price. I have it hanging in my quilt room at home.

I would love to give away a copy of THE WISHING QUILT to three readers. Leave a comment for a chance to win. Do you quilt or have a family member who does? What are your favorite quilt patterns? Or if you don’t quilt, share one of your own “God winks” moments in the comments.

It’s almost September so I better get to work on my goals.

Happy New Year,


The School Mistress – by Tess Thompson

Hi to all you Petticoats and Pistols readers! I’m thrilled to be guest blogging today. I thought I’d share a little about me and my books and do a giveaway of a paperback of The School Mistress.

I write mostly small-town romances/family sagas, some contemporary and some historical. Almost always, they’re set in the Pacific Northwest. (I’m from Oregon originally and have lived in Seattle for thirty years.) As a writer and readers, my true love are historical novels but I wasn’t sure my contemporary audience would agree. I’d had a lot of success with two small town series set in Oregon and northern California. However, that all changed two years ago with the release of my first Emerson Pass Historical, THE SCHOOL MISTRESS. It and the others in the series have been in the top twenty American historical romances on Amazon for almost two years. I’m delighted, of course! Mostly because that means I get to write more of them.


Often readers ask me what inspired a certain book or series. I’m never totally sure how to answer because once the creative process starts, it is easy to forget how you came up with the idea in the first place. However, the origin of Emerson Pass I remember well. One morning about three years ago, I woke up from a dream in which the Barnes family were the main characters. I grabbed my notebook, kept at the side of my bed for this very reason, and wrote down the names, ages, and descriptions of the children as well as Quinn and Alexander. The scene I’d dreamt was of a young woman arriving in a frontier town on the train with snow falling all around her. This is the first scene in the book.

I was in the middle of writing my Cliffside Bay Series, thus I had to set aside the Barnes family for about a year. Finally, in December of 2019, I gave myself a present. I would write THE SCHOOL MISTRESS as a Christmas gift to myself. I didn’t think it would sell well or be a hit at all, but it was something to fill my creative well. It was a book I would like to read!

I was wrong about the hit factor. Readers loved the tale of my courageous schoolteacher and the widower with five children. It was so popular that I committed to writing a story for each of the children. Then, Quinn had two babies, so that made their stories necessary too. At the same time, I decided the descendants of the first characters should have some stories too, thus the contemporary Emerson Pass were born!

I’m about to begin writing the eighth and final book of the series. The seventh comes out September 20th. I feel a little blue saying goodbye to this family I’ve known so well. However, another historical series will release next year with a new family and new love stories.

If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, the whole series is in there, so you can read them for free!


I’m also giving a paperback copy of THE SCHOOL MISTRESS to one lucky winner. 

Just tell me what your earliest memory of school is.

To enter to win, head to my website and subscribe to my newsletter and then comment to let me know you did it.

You get a free novella just for signing up!



Texas Ranching History – by Debra Holt

“Other states are carved or born;

Texas grew from hide and horn.”

                                            — Bertha Hart Nance, 1932


Texas ranching has a long and storied history. Its roots go back to 1493 when Christopher Columbus made his second visit to Hispaniola. He brought with him several head of cattle, who were the ancestors of the Texas Longhorns bred throughout the state today.

The 16th and 17th centuries saw cattle ranching advance through Mexico and into modern-day Texas. The first cattle ranch was found in the El Paso region, where several thousand cattle were raised. These early ranches were formed by Spanish missionaries; private ranches would arise in the mid-18th century.

The Mexican War of Independence destroyed the Spanish missionary ranches. The Austin colony was formed at the end of the war, attracting Anglos to come stake a claim on the land and the cattle on it. They brought their eastern cattle to breed with the Spanish cattle, and the result was the Texas Longhorn.

The U.S. annexed Texas in 1845, and it spread out land for railways and new settlements. There was plenty of land to go around, and the demand grew high for beef. The cowboy system we’ve come to hold so dear began around this time.

It wasn’t just men who worked on the ranches; women were important to ranch operations, too. One woman, a former slave named Julia Blanks, helped with roundups, planted crops, raised up animals, and helped with the cooking during roundups on the Adams Ranch.

Her daughters followed in her footsteps — “My oldest girl used to take the place of a cowboy, and put her hair up in her hat. And ride! My goodness, she loved to ride.”

The first woman who led a cattle drive was Margaret Borland. After her husband passed, she became the sole owner of the Victoria ranch and 8,000 longhorns. Six years later, she had 10,000 cattle in her care. In 1873, she became the first female trail boss, leading 2,500 longhorns, her three children, and several cowboys up the Chisholm Trail into Kansas.

In recent years, ranches have had to adopt newer ways of bringing income, as the cost of cattle and maintaining the land has risen. The historic YO Ranch let its land for hunting and outdoor recreation. The Matador Ranch soon followed suit.

This past spring, the last ‘grande dame’ of the Texas ranching world was laid to rest. And last month, one of the few remaining ranching ‘empires’ went on the chopping block.

I call it a chopping block because here in Texas, far too many of our great and historic ranches have been sold to the highest bidder (usually someone residing outside the country, let alone the state) and chopped up into smaller pieces, the land and its resources plumbed until nothing worth anything remains, and a vital chapter of our Texas heritage and history has been wiped clean.

This sad fate of a place I consider to be a bit of Texas heaven inspired this story and this series — the Texas Heritage series.

In the first book, The Texas Cowboy’s Proposal, we meet the two granddaughters of Sarah McNamara Burkitt…Laurel Annabella and Samantha Josefina. The heroine of this first book will be Samantha, aka Sammi Jo. She has just been handed a hard blow when her older sister shares the finer points of their grandmother’s will.


Stop a minute and comment about a piece of your heritage that still impacts your life today.

One lucky commenter will receive a free copy of The Texas Cowboy’s Proposal!

Purchase The Texas Cowboy’s Proposal here

Find Debra online at her website here