Women can be feminine and still be downright dangerous.

Heather Blanton

Hey, y’all! It’s an honor and a thrill to be back visiting you here at Petticoats and Pistols. You know, the name of this blog says it all. At least for me. Women can be feminine and still be downright dangerous.

My new book, A Scout for Skyler, from the Mail-Order Mama series, has been described as Pride and Prejudice meets The Beverly Hillbillies.

Yes, it’s a comedy, but my heroine, Priscilla Jones, was written as a serious tribute to some of the most amazing pioneer women in American history.

Over the years, my research has introduced me to some gals who defied expectations and overcame some impossible situations. Sometimes, it was life-and-death. Other times, it was a matter of life—hers, and how she wanted to live it.

As I was writing A Scout for Skyler, I had these historical figures in my head:

Of course, when we think of rough-and-rowdy frontier women, the first one to come to mind should be Calamity Jane. She lived in a man’s world. Smoke, drank, chewed, and fought with the best of them.

Orphaned at twelve, left to care for five brothers and sisters, Calamity did not shirk her duty. Most likely she did work as a prostitute early on to provide for the family. She left the lifestyle behind, though, by learning to shoot and throw a respectable punch. Everyone who knew Calamity did respect her courage and her kindness. She rescued a runaway stage from a Cheyenne war party and nursed some Deadwood residents back to health during a smallpox epidemic. The only thing Calamity couldn’t do was win Hickock’s heart.

Susan McSween watched her husband get gunned down in the street during the Lincoln County War. Livid over his murder by a US Army colonel in cahoots with the Murphy-Dolan gang, she stayed in town and hired an attorney to fight for justice. He was soon murdered, as well. Susan still didn’t back down or leave. She changed tactics. She figured out the best way to get back at the corrupt forces in Lincoln County was to hit them in the pocketbook.

Susan McSween was a shrewd businesswoman and she put all her efforts into frustrating her nemesis, James Dolan. Eventually, she became the Cattle Queen of New Mexico, at one point running nearly 5,000 head of cattle. Best of all, she outlived all her enemies.

And I thought of Nancy Hart, a patriot on the frontier of North Georgia. The Cherokee named her War Woman because she was fearless and an accurate shot (even with crossed eyes). Her real legend came about when she killed six British soldiers with their own guns.

Six.

I could go on and on. The women who built this country were tough, stubborn, and courageous. Suffice it to say, the things my girl Priscilla Jones does in A Scout for Skyler—she’s totally capable of them. Because real heroines have gone before her.

My hero, Captain Corbett, is an arrogant Scotsman who believes women should have babies not opinions. How well do you think an attitude like that would have gone over with the rough-and-tumble Calamity Jane, or the fiery, refined Susan McSween?

In A Scout for Skyler, all these ladies have a voice, and the story was a hoot to write. Talk about fireworks and sassy dialogue.

A Scout for Skyler is part of the multi-author series, Mail-Order Mama. All the stories are stand-alones but have one thing in common: the mail-order bride is a surprise. I hope you’ll check them all out.

To buy a copy of A Scout for Skyler click here.

To visit Heather’s website click here.

GIVEAWAY!! Today, I’d like to give TWO random commenters ebooks of A Scout for Skyler. So, tell me, do you have a favorite heroine from history? Belle Starr, Amelia Earhart? Pocahontas? Or…?

Animal Rescue, Ranching, and Coming Home

Tina Dee

Thank you all for welcoming me to Petticoats & Pistols today. I’m very excited to spend time with you once again.

I would love to share about my contemporary western romance set on a Rescue Ranch in the beautiful state of Wyoming. The idea for a Rescue Ranch came from a local pet rescue in my neighboring city, near my home. This place provides foster care and finds forever homes for animals, as well as provides education and equine therapy for children and adults. The place that inspired the idea is the Helen Woodward Animal Center, where all of these wonderful things happen.

In my story, The Bonnets of Rescue Ranch, both young adult sons left the aunt who had raised them to run away from the pain of their broken past. One of the brothers (Tripp) returns, though, after receiving a letter from his aunt when she suffers a back injury—she needs his help. In The Bonnets of Rescue Ranch, the lost come to the ranch to find themselves, and the injured come for healing. This is what Tripp (our hero) finds when he returns home to the ranch—it’s no longer the old farm he left; it’s now a thriving place with vegetable crops, an heirloom orchard that’s abundant with fruit, and quirky animals—there are even activities going on there that are benefitting the families of Ten Sleep, Wyoming. All this is due to the hard work of his aunt—and Shelby, his former girlfriend.

Also, I could not resist putting my little black and silver Yorkie (Molly) in the story—her likeness is on the cover as well. Molly is a rescue herself. She sits with me, in my grandmother’s rocking chair, while I write. She’s been my own therapy pup and brings calm to me when life gets stressful. She’s such a blessing and gift from God.  It just felt right to put her in the story.

The other brother in the series, Ty (still a work in progress—both the story and Ty) will receive his own story in another series of mine. In his story, he will run into a therapeutic equestrian riding manager who, herself, has been through the therapy, as she’s a veteran who suffered injury while serving in the United States Air Force.

The Bonnets of Rescue Ranch is part of a multi-author series and each of the books in the series can be read as standalones, and read in any order. All books in the series are in—or spend time in—Wyoming on ranches, around horses and cowboys, and sometimes even cowgirls and rodeos, as the series is western romance, though some may include other locations as well. Each book brings the importance of home and heritage to the story and some of the contemporary characters even connect with other series through ancestors.

Today, I’m excited to have a giveaway where two random commenters will win an ebook of The Bonnets of Rescue Ranch. To be entered leave a comment on…If you could have a ranch in any state what one would you choose and why?

Want to read The Bonnets of Rescue Ranch? You can purchase the book here for a special price of 99 cents for the next three days only. The original price goes back to $2.99 on Monday. CLICK HERE.

Welcome to the Wild Cow Ranch!

Denise
Natalie

Georgia author Denise F. McAllister and Texas author Natalie Bright have teamed up to bring you a new western series. Book #1 MAVERICK HEART, Book #2 A WILD COW WINTER, and Book #3 FOLLOW A WILD HEART. All three books in the new series hit the top 20 hot new releases on Amazon on the same day! The books are available on Amazon in print or eBook formats. Denise and Natalie have just contracted with CKN (Wolfpack Publishing) for three more books in the series to be released this coming fall.

 

The story follows a Georgia girl, Carli Jameson, who inherits a Texas ranch from grandparents she never knew. She makes the courageous decision to pack up her life and move to Texas to run the ranch. She forges ahead into a new life filled with uncertainty and along the way discovers a ranching community that becomes the family she never had. Independent, ambitious and smart, Carli has always been careful with her heart, except for the one time she thought she had found her soul mate and true love. He proved her wrong, and she vowed never to jump into a romantic relationship that easily again. When Carli drives away from her life in Georgia, no looking back, she intends to stick with her vow and not fall into any romances, especially with a Texas cowboy. She doesn’t have time for love. She has a ranch to run.

Can a fresh start erase the troubles of her past?

Author Q&A

Q: What inspired the new Wild Cow Ranch series and what is it about?

 

Natalie: I enjoy stories about quirky, complex characters who leave their old life behind and start anew, and I’ve always wanted to write a story set in the Texas Panhandle. The Wild Cow Ranch series centers around our main character, Carli Jameson, who inherits a cattle ranch from a grandfather she never knew. Her journey is the main focus, which makes it women’s fiction, but included is the small-town vibe and a bit of cowboy romance. We’ve also added a faith element to these books, as Carli tries to discover who she is and what her purpose should be. Most of the characters hold with Christian values, but some do not. The stories are clean and sweet, the types of books you can pass along to a daughter or your mother.

 

Denise: Inspiration for this series was Natalie. She told me her idea, and we decided to write it together. Coincidentally, I had a similar story in my head before we even met so I guess it was meant to be. I love how we were able to bring experiences from my life in Georgia and Natalie’s in Texas together to create some of Carli’s adventures.

 

Q: What are some comparison titles of books or movies similar to this book?

 

Denise: I think of Hallmark stories but also anything with a strong female lead. This is about a woman who has had to learn how to make it on her own, a woman who has been forced, for whatever reason, to be independent. Sometimes that independence makes her a little distant from the very people who are trying to help her. In Book One, MAVERICK HEART, that person might be a potential love interest.

 

Natalie: One of my all-time favorite movies is THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER, in which the setting is as much of a character as the people. The Texas Panhandle plays a big part in our stories. I love westerns that include the connections with the land and livestock. Denise brings the knowledge of horses as horse shows were a big part of her youth, and as a cattle ranch owner, I’m including that element. If you like feel-good, hopeful stories with happy endings, you might give our new series a try.

 

Q: Which scene or chapter in any of the books is your favorite? Why?

 

Natalie: My favorite scene is the snowstorm in Book #2, A WILD COW WINTER. Even though it releases on February 10, the story is centered around Christmas—a holiday that our main character, Carli Jameson, really dreads. The norther that blows in is typical of Texas Panhandle weather, which can be unpredictable. She and her horse Beau are trapped in a barn as temperatures drop, and she finds herself in a life or death situation.

 

Denise: I love it when Carli relaxes some and has peace, when she opens her heart to a love interest, and especially when she opens her heart to God. It’s a hard thing sometimes to give up control. But it can be such a better life to not have to carry life’s burdens all on your own. I also love in Book #3 FOLLOW A WILD HEART how we introduced art and museums to the story. Not many westerns have that element.

 

Q: Was it easy to co-author these books?

 

Natalie: It has definitely been a challenge but has been very fulfilling creatively. The best part is having someone to bounce ideas off of, and to have brainstorming sessions about the characters and plot lines. Our process improves with every book that we write together.

 

Denise: It was a learning process. We had to be willing to compromise, listen to the other person’s ideas, and accept that our co-author might have a better way for the good of the story. Sometimes we hit a little bump in the road, but I think mostly that has to do with our schedules. We might write on different days or weeks. Then we come together and dissect everything, review, edit, revise. But at the core, we both have the same story in our heads.

 

We’re giving away a paperback copy of MAVERICK HEART.  Just tell us why you like reading Western romance novels!!

For buy links and more about the authors and their inspiration, read an interview on the publishers website  https://christiankindlenews.com/get-know-wild-cow-ranch-co-authors/

Find the authors online at  http://www.nataliebright.com or  http://www.mcallisterediting.com

For more about the Wild Cow Ranch Series, check out the inspirational boards on Pinterest  https://www.pinterest.com/natbright/maverick-heart/

A Navajo Hex and Giveaway

When I was nine years old, I lived on the Navajo Indian Reservation. My dad, who has long had a deep and abiding respect for Native Americans, saw this as a chance to give back with his life, so he took a job as an accountant with an arts and crafts store in Window Rock, Arizona—capital of the Navajo Nation. We obtained a house just across the border in New Mexico, in a small town aptly called “Navajo,” supported by a local sawmill. It was 1975.

Navajo, New Mexico (photo taken by author)

One day at one of the stores that employed my father a worker found a Styrofoam cup tucked away on a shelf. Inside were various items that included a torn corner of a $5, $10 and $20 bill. It was immediately clear to those who discovered it that a hex had been placed. Soon thereafter, a medicine man was called. Since it involved all the employees, my dad was allowed, despite being a white man, to participate in the ceremonies conducted.

 

Window Rock, Arizona (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

At the first ritual, the medicine man found a buried pot outside the building at the base of the famous local landmark, the window rock. This was accomplished when his hand trembled over the exact location. On the outside of the pot, stick figures represented the employees, and lightning bolts painted above indicated death by lightning strike. At the time, we were having terrible storms every day. Inside were pieces of coral, turquoise, and silver, and a section of human skull.

At the second ceremony, a bowl filled with some type of tea was passed around to ingest, and then each employee was asked to look into a crystal to identify who had placed the hex. My dad says he saw nothing, but it was generally agreed that the perpetrator was a former employee who had been fired. She was part of a major Navajo clan, and her dismissal had possibly angered the wrong people. But the curse spoke of deeper problems within the Navajo and their way of life. The crafts people—those who made Indian jewelry and the iconic Navajo weavings—were at odds with the administration, which included my dad. There were those who wanted progress, and those who didn’t. At the conclusion of the ceremony, after a sand painting was created, the piece of skull inside the pot was burned. Two female employees reported instant relief from a terrible headache that had plagued them all evening. Back at home, at the same time, my mother said I’d been distraught and crying for hours from pains in my head, which immediately stopped when the bone was destroyed. It seemed family members had also been included in the hex.

My dad never attended the third, and final, observance—the Blessing Way—because we had moved back to Phoenix. He has always joked that the hex was never fully removed. As evidence, he cites various mishaps that occur whenever he and my mother return to the Navajo Reservation: car breakdowns, money stolen, and in one instance missing a critical turnoff because five Indians stood in front of a directional sign.

In my recently re-released standalone historical western novel INTO THE LAND OF SHADOWS, I included the hex in the story. Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy.

It’s been five years since a woman came between Ethan Barstow and his brother, Charley, and it’s high time they buried the hatchet. When Ethan travels to Arizona Territory to make amends, he learns that Charley has abruptly disappeared after breaking more than one heart in town. And an indignant fiancée is hot on his trail.

When Charley Barstow abandons a local girl after getting her pregnant, Kate Kinsella pursues him without a second thought. She’s determined he set things right, and even more determined to end her own engagement to him, a sham from the beginning. But an ill-timed encounter with a group of ruffians lands her in the company of Charley’s brother, Ethan, who suggests they search together.

As Ethan and Kate move deeper INTO THE LAND OF SHADOWS, family tensions and past tragedies threaten to destroy a love neither of them expected.

A sensuous historical western romance set in 1893 Arizona Territory. Into The Land Of Shadows is a stand-alone, full-length novel with paranormal elements.

This book was previously published in 2013 under the same title. While the text and cover have been updated, the story remains the same.

Read Chapter One and find buy links at https://kmccaffrey.com/into-the-land-of-shadows/

So, have you or anyone you know ever had any experience with hexes? Ever read about any in books?

Kristy McCaffrey writes contemporary adventure stories packed with smoldering romance and spine-tingling suspense, as well as award-winning historical western romances brimming with grit and emotion. Her work is filled with compelling heroes, determined heroines, and her trademark mysticism. An Arizona native, she resides in the desert north of Phoenix.

Website:  https://kmccaffrey.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKristyMcCaffre

 

 

 

A 2021 Apothecary Closet and Giveaway

Malory Ford

(Malory is giving away a set of all three books in the Legacy Series to one lucky winner.)

Every year around this time, my husband jokes that it’s time for the apothecary closet to make its appearance. It’s true, I was probably born in the wrong century.

I grew up in rural Alabama, but not so rural that we didn’t have doctors or hospitals. My mom is a gardener, but even she doesn’t have the fascination with growing her own food that I do. No, my fascination with food as medicine and growing herbs on my own came after my husband and I bought our first home in 2016. I started my first garden then, a 4×4 raised bed that has since grown into multiple beds boasting leafy greens in the fall and spring, root vegetables in the winter, and a bounty of all kinds through the summer.

Herbs might just be my favorite. They look beautiful, smell even better, and can be used in so many ways. I grow the usual, mint, oregano, basil, lavender, lemon balm and your general culinary and medicinal herbs, in addition to a few experiments here and there.

An herbalist I am not, and modern medicine shows itself in our home as often as is needed, but

I find that many of the common ailments that my family experiences can be calmed with an herbal tea or a salve made with something I grew in our backyard.

I tend to reach for peppermint before a bottle of OTC medication for an upset stomach, lavender and lemon balm when I’m feeling anxious, and of course my culinary herbs when my dishes need a little oomph. You’ll frequently find me running out to my kitchen garden in the middle of making dinner because I realize that something I’m growing just on the other side of the door would be perfect for the dish.

But of course, there are always more herbs than I know what to do with: enter my apothecary closet. Throughout the spring and summer, I’ll harvest the herbs from my small plot of land and hang them as bunches in the closet. Then, when they’re dry, I break up the leaves and put them in labeled mason jars to add to tea bags I purchase online and to soap and salve recipes for bug bites and general handwashing.

The best part, I get to share the wealth! Homemade herbal tea bags, homemade herbal soap, and homemade spice blends are excellent low-cost Christmas gifts that my family and friends really enjoy.

Herbs and traditional medicine show up in my books as well. Setting them in the Old West, I really couldn’t see any other option. One of my heroines is a female doctor who utilizes the herbal medicine techniques she learned from her grandmother in treating her patients. That same grandmother saves the day in an earlier book when an unwelcome scorpion shows up in the garden.

Anyone can grow their own vegetables and herbs, even on an apartment balcony. I live in a subdivision on less than a half-acre and grow much of the produce that we consume every year. My toddler frequently pulls bell peppers off of my plants and eats them like apples. We have been gifted with the earth’s bounty from our Creator, and stewarding that gift is one of my greatest joys.

Herbs as medicine can be powerful and can interact with certain medications or conditions you may have. Always consult your doctor and/or pharmacist before proceeding with herbal remedies.

 

A couple of excellent resources if you’re just getting started:

The Beginner’s Garden Podcast – https://journeywithjill.net/

The Pioneering Today Podcast – https://melissaknorris.com/podcast/

Amazon

OREGON FEVER / The Great Migration of 1843 & Giveaway

Oregon fever had gripped the county for years. Lewis and Clark accounts started it then others fueled the flames with claims of fertile soil and a temperate climate. Books were written and Congressmen and Senators proposed legislation offering free land in Oregon that finally passed in 1850.

But a fly called The Rockies flew into the ointment. The mountain range stood in the way and must be crossed.

The union of commerce and faith helped blaze the trail west. A merchant by the name of Nathaniel Wyeth and Methodist-Episcopal Missionary Jason Lee set out in 1834 for Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Wyeth had made the trip two years prior and guided Lee to his proposed mission. He promised mountain men that he’d bring trade goods to their next rendezvous.

The Wyeth-Lee party was the first group to traverse the entire Oregon Trail as it’s known today, though not all the way by wagon. They left those at For Hall and packed mules, traveling by foot the rest of the way.

A few more brave souls made it the following years, even two white women were among the number.

Two events spurred even more folks to go west. Missionary Marcus Whitman coming east in the winter of 42’-3 to confer with his mission’s board members, and the Senate passing the Linn Act.

The house narrowly defeated the bill, and it wasn’t until 1850 that it finally did pass, but the vote had been so close, folks figured it would pass soon enough. Plus, if Whitman could make the trek in winter, then traveling in spring and summer shouldn’t be any hill for a stepper.

Over 875 pilgrims met then left from Elm Grove a dozen miles out of Independence, Missouri for what became known as the Great Migration of 1843.

Before the western exodus by covered wagons ended—mostly due to the completion of the intercontinental train—over more than half a million people traveled over the Oregon and California Trails to start a new life.

Oxen were favored over mules and horse to pull the wagons for the bovine could survive on poorer quality feed and were better to eat if the need arose. They cost less as well. Teams of seven pair were common, and some train captains required that many.

Early on, no unaccompanied females were allowed. That fact has been fodder for many an Oregon Trail book, mine included.

Being a former goat fancier—my husband Ron got tired of feeding my girls—I used the death of a milk goat to throw Ruth and Logan together in my latest Prairie Roses offering, RUTH, book eight in the multi-author collection.

Hopefully, I showed the extra hardship of caring for two infants on the journey west. Nappies alone had to have been awful, on top of cooking and seeing to the other chores.

Ever hauled water out of a river? The trains paralleled the Platt most of the way but being close to water proved imperative.

A lot of the immigrants couldn’t stand the wagon’s rough ride and ended up walking the entire two thousand miles. A drover walked beside the main ox, keeping him in line and up to speed with voice commands and a stick he used to prod the animal.

His partner in pulling, the off ox knew his place as did the others. Best not even think about putting an animal in the wrong position. If sojourners did have mules or horses pulling their wagon, then someone had to be driving them.

Prairie Schooners were preferred over the more spacious Conestoga because of the sheer weight. Imagine packing everything you’d need to start over in the wilderness in a fourteen-by-four-foot wagon and head out for parts unknown.

Oregon Fever must have been some kind of powerful bug.

 

GIVEAWAY – Answer the following question to be in the running for the e’copy of REMI, my first Prairie Roses story.

What one luxury item could you not stand to leave behind, and what would you be willing to leave to make room for it? 

 

 

 

RUTH released on May 3rd, my 71st birthday! It’s a story of redemption and second chances. I’m so grateful that we serve a God of second chances! Here’s the back-cover copy for it:

The Lord works in mysterious ways.
Fleeing heartache, shame, and betrayal, Ruth finds all her plans are thwarted until the untimely death of a goat that gives her hope! Hired as a wet-nurse for Logan’s motherless son, she rejects his marriage-of-convenience proposal, hoping to find true love at the trail’s end. Going West (in what was later called the Great Migration of 1842) satisfies the widower’s wanderlust, and even though she turns him down, he determines to prove his love is true. Come along on this infamous journey of love and adventure. 

Get you copy today here: Amazon

 

BIO – Award-winning, Christian author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory. Of her best-selling novels, readers love her historical Christian romance family sagas most, but she also writes Christian contemporary romance, mysteries, Biblical fiction, and also for young adults and mid-grade booklovers. The large majority of reviewers award her stories five-stars and praise Caryl’s characters, even praying for them at times. The prolific writer loves singing the new songs God gives her almost as much as penning tales—hear a few at YouTube! Married to Ron fifty-three years next month, she shares four children and twenty-one grandsugars. The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in the far corner of Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.

 

LINKS

BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/caryl-mcadoo?follow=true  

Website – http://www.CarylMcAdoo.com    

Newsletter – http://carylmcadoo.com/sign-up-to-the-caryler/

It’s Picnic Time with Jodi Thomas

 

Jodi Thomas

                                                      Check below to see what Jodi is giving away!


Everyone knows writers live in other worlds inside their minds. Characters chatter, people get shot, couples fall in love, all surrounded in a make-believe world.

Then the doorbell rings or your cell chimes and the writer has to step out of one world and step into reality. The only way I can explain the fast change is it’s like changing trains while both are going 100 miles an hour.

So, as a writer for thirty years, I’ve become accustomed to jumping from racing trains. Only lately, I’ve been writing more because I’m staying home. More books, more fiction, more worlds to live in.

Right now I’m promoting one book, PICNIC IN SOMEDAY VALLEY.  I’m doing edits on DINNER ON PRIMROSE HILL and writing Book 4 in the series.

Since I have about twenty-five characters in each book, that is 75 people running around in my brain.

People ask me if I’m lonely during this time. How could I be?  There is a party going on in my study.

When a writer’s brain begins to shatter, what happens?  Nothing. It’s just part of the job. I don’t need TV. I’ve already got too many channels in my head.

And, I love it. I never get my characters mixed up but I wouldn’t be surprised if one day I don’t call my son by a character’s name.

Last week my agent called and asked if I had an idea for the next series. I smiled and opened another channel.

I hope you’ll grab your favorite food and drink and enjoy a picnic with your family and friends. Let me know which character from any book you would love to have a picnic with. I would love to give away a copy of PICNIC IN SOMEDAY VALLEY to one lucky winner. Giveaway rules apply.

Enjoy,  Jodi

 

 Amazon

 

                                                  

 

 

 

 

Historical Figure John Larn and a Giveaway!

Hi, I’m Andrea Downing and today I’d like to talk about the lesser known figure of John Larn.

The history of the West is littered with a glittering array of gunfighters and lawmen—sometimes both in one man. After all, the West wouldn’t have been ‘Wild’ without them; think how boring it would be if we only had pioneers and a quite ordinary workforce to write about! Like cream, certain names rise to the top in the litany of gunfighters: Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Their counterparts, the lawmen, were often not much better than they; think Pat Garrett and Wyatt Earp and company. But there were lesser mortals who left a trail of destruction in their wake, and one such man was John Larn.


Larn was born in Alabama in 1849, well before the heady, post Civil War main migration to the West. As a teen, he moved on to Colorado to find work as a cowboy, but the hot-headed young man ended up killing his boss around 1869 in an argument over a horse. Heading to New Mexico, he notched his gun a second time when he killed a sheriff he believed to be in pursuit of him. Moving on to Texas, he next had work as trail boss for rancher Bill Hays in Fort Griffin, around 1871. This led to the deaths of 3 more victims on the trail to Trinidad, Colorado.


As we all know, ladies love a bad boy, and Mary Jane Matthews, from a prominent family, was no exception. The couple married, would eventually have two sons, and Larn managed to become a well-respected citizen—for a time at least—of Shackleford County in Texas. But by 1873, rumors started to appear of cattle rustling in which Larn was involved. Somehow, he was able to put the spotlight on his former boss, obtain a warrant charging the outfit with rustling and, keeping in mind no good deed goes unpunished, he gathered a possee and joined soldiers from Fort Griffin to ambush and kill all Bill Hays’ ranch hands.


By now, you may be getting the idea that Larn was one blood-thirsty dude. I’d agree! His next foray into law enforcement was to join a vigilante group called The Tin Hat Brigade in Griffin. Griffin had become so lawless, such a magnet for the anarchic and unruly, that it needed this group to take control and bring some law and order. Earning respect from the local townspeople for this work, Larn was elected sheriff in 1876 and was able to build a ranch on the Cedar Fork at Lambshead.
But I guess law enforcement may not have paid well because in less than a year Larn had either resigned or been pushed out, and his next post was as a deputy hides inspector. This involved keeping an eye on all cattle movement and supervising butchers as well. He also obtained a contract to supply three cattle a day to the fort. Needless to say, Larn didn’t think to supply his own beef. He practically started a range war, leading a band of men in bushwhacking and heading cattle off ranches. When a band of citizens searched the area behind Larn’s house, no prizes for guessing what they found. Six hides with other ranches’ brands were found and, at last, Larn’s game was up. For a moment at least…no charges were filed despite the arrest. Unfortunately for him, however, his bad temper led to his last assault—that of a local rancher by the name of Treadwell who had supposedly uncovered Larn’s cattle rustling. Larn was arrested and taken to Albany, where the sheriff had him shackled to his cell. When vigilantes arrived wanting to lynch Larn, they found they couldn’t remove him and shot him instead. He was twenty-nine years old. That’s about the age of my hero in Shot Through the Heart.

Here’s a little more about the book:

Gunslinger Shiloh Coltrane has returned home to work the family’s Wyoming ranch, only to find there’s still violence ahead. His sister and nephew have been murdered, and the killers are at large.
Dr. Sydney Cantrell has come west to start her medical practice, aiming to treat the people of a small town. As she tries to help and heal, she finds disapproval and cruelty the payment in kind.
When the two meet, it’s an attraction of opposites. As Shiloh seeks revenge, Sydney seeks to do what’s right. Each wants a new life, but will trouble or love find them first?

So what do you think of these gunslingers and lawmen of the Old West? What made some men into killers? Mental disease? Family genes? And if you’d like to find out whether Shiloh and Sydney manage to find a middle ground, I’m happy to give away one e-book copy of Shot Through the Heart to one person who comments.

And of course, the book in both paperback and eBook is available at: 

BookBub

Astrology, a Ghost, and a Give Away!

Astrology

As far back as records show, it’s evident that Astrology has played a big part in every-day lives from the sailors who charted the seas to the mystics who used Astrology to advise kings and queens.

In the old West, cowboys often navigated by the nighttime stars. On a trail drive bestes casino deutschland, the cattle rested at night and the chuck wagon cook placed the wagon tongue toward the North Star before turning in. This aided the wranglers who would ride out to stand watch over the herd. Rotating members throughout the night allowed each to get some sleep before the next day. During the day, the trail boss navigated, and often without the use of a compass. He used a pocket watch to check his course, dividing the watch into 360 degrees or the points on a compass. The hour hand aimed at the sun, the trail boss could determine the line of direction from North to South.

It is not unusual for authors to use some form of Astrology in their stories. In Ghostly Interference, Jag Peters had been raised by a mother who incorporated all sorts of metaphysical teachings into his upbringing, Astrology being one of those.

At one point, Jag is compelled to track down any living relatives that Rena might have. She craves family as it has always just been her and her brother, Sam. Now that he is gone, she is completely alone.

But how can Jag get the information he needs from her? At his mother’s suggestion, he decides to use Astrology as an ice-breaker and to learn more about Rena.

Excerpt:

“Let’s play a game. When were you born?”

She shot him a look of panic. “Why do you want to know?”

“It’s how we play the game. I want to know you better.”

“I was born May 1, 1979.”

“I knew it! You’re a Taurus. I woulda’ bet money on it.”

“Is that bad?” Rena sucked on her bottom lip.

“Oh goodness no. Taurus people are born under the sign of the bull. Most often they are stubborn, determined, practical and down to earth, but have an eye for beauty. And they are brave.” He kneaded the arch of her foot. “And you are the bravest warrior woman I’ve ever met.”

“Hmmm, I like that phrase. And I love what you are doing to my feet.”

He continued. “I was born right here in Cedar Springs. How about you?”

“My birth certificate says I was born in Austin. I don’t remember anything except being in foster homes.”

“What was your mother’s name?”

She narrowed her eyes. “I don’t see as that has anything to do with us getting to know each other.”

“Call it curiosity. My mother is Charlotte Grace Peters.”

“Marjorie Irene Jett is the name on my birth certificate.” She spat out the words like a bitter pill.

Jag rubbed her ankle and moved up her leg. “It’s okay, Rena. I was just curious, that’s all. Any other siblings besides Sam?”

“Not that I know of. It’s always been just me and Sam. I don’t think I like this game. Your turn.”

He grinned. “Okay. I was born October 8, 1975, and that makes me a Libra.”

“And what are Libras like?” She took a sip of her wine.

“Libras are usually kind.”

Rena nodded. “What else?”

“We like peace and harmony and will walk a mile around a fight. We love all things of beauty and have a hard time saying no sometimes.”

“Those all fit you.”
Using tools like astrology is also a great way for the author to reveal more character depth to the reader in a fun way.
I’m a Leo. I was born on August 21st, the cusp of Leo/Virgo, and have some qualities from both signs.

How about you? What is your sun sign? I’ll pick two winners from the comments to receive a free e-book copy of Ghostly Interference!

BOOK BLURB:

Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.
Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?


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That’s Plum Crazy!

Hello! I’m Katrina Kyle. I’m thrilled to be here for the first time today, and even more ecstatic to give you a glimpse into my debut novel, Meg’s Motivation. Joining with like-minded readers is something special.

But first, I have a confession. When I set out to write a series about three sisters working to save the family plum orchard, I knew very little about plums. As in, practically nothing at all. The deeper I sank my teeth into the flesh of the matter, the more astounded I became. For instance, did you know that plums are the second-most cultivated fruit in the world and are grown on every continent except Antarctica? Plums are a member of the rose family with varieties that ripen in red, purple, yellow, green, and white. The average life span of cultivated plum trees is 10-30+ years.

Okay. That’s all well and good, but I needed to know about plums in California in particular. You see, that is where the Trudy family orchard called Damson Acres is situated in my series. Like many goods in California, plum production began in the mid-1800’s and really took off as the transcontinental railroad was completed. Today, the San Joaquin Valley in central California produces 95% of domestic fresh plums on 20,000 acres – not to say anything of the 50,000 acres of plums intended to dry for prunes. It takes three pounds of fresh plums to get one pound of prunes. That’s plum crazy! (Alright, that’s the last plum pun I’ll throw in here. I’d like to hear you say ‘plum pun’ ten times fast!)

What could a fictional three-generation farming family possibly do with that many plums? Most of the harvested fruit is packed up and shipped to markets around the country. The rest get processed into juice, spreads, syrup, and desserts made and sold in the Damson Acres Café.

As the eldest Trudy sister, Meg discovers that all is not well financially at the orchard. Money is draining from the accounts much faster than they can make it, and rather than worry her mother and sisters, Meg is motivated to turn things around. She quickly learns, however, that she can’t do so on her own. Enter the handsome travel blogger renting a guest bungalow on the property. Meg’s sisters dare her to kiss him while having lunch at the café, and when Meg finds out who he is, she is mortified! She and Morris are thrown together repeatedly, of course, and as they spend more time together, it’s only natural that they fall in love.

Some surprising twists tangle their relationship until neither is certain they’ll attain a happily-ever-after. But if you know me at all, you’ll understand that a happy ending for two people who are totally good together is a MUST.

I’d love to send a paperback copy of Meg’s Motivation to one lucky reader here today. To enter, tell me about a family legacy or tradition you cherish. I can’t wait to hear about your heritage. (And by the way, if you’d like to share a favorite plum recipe in the comments, I’d love to include it in a collection I’m putting together.)

Guideline rules apply – https://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules/ 

So next time you take a bite out of a fresh, juicy plum or open a bag of soft prunes, there’s a 95% chance you’re eating fruit straight off the truck from California. Mm.

Thanks for having me!

Pre-order Meg’s Motivation for only $0.99!
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