BATTER UP! by Jo-Ann Roberts

Baseball has come a long way from the humble beginnings in the fields of 19th century America. For many of us, the introduction of  team camaraderie and fair play first occurred on dusty sandlots, red clay diamonds, and neighborhood backyards. Contrary to popular belief, American baseball was not invented by an individual but evolved from various European “bat and ball” games.

Yet, if you were to mention “sports” in the Old West you’d probably get some strange looks. But sports, baseball, were as much a part of a town’s beginnings and, in many cases, its growth as cowboys and horses. Often, cultivating a pasture or vacant lot into a playing field was as important as establishing homes, a mercantile, a school, a church,  and a clean water supply. While summer evenings and Saturday afternoons were prime times to gather up the fellas for a game, playing on Sunday was soundly discouraged.

 

Teams in each town were comprised of friends, neighbors, and co-workers.  Everyone was welcomed to play regardless of race, color, or country of origin. It was common to see teams comprised of African Americans, those of Mexican origin, and those indigenous to the lands who were passing through the area. Not to be left out, some women’s teams were formed in the early colleges in Kansas.  Women also formed teams in their respective towns. Research showed that a women’s league with five towns around Topeka was established, some even included a male player or two in their lineup. Though some townspeople were startled at this occurrence, others merely accepted the fact.  (Hmm…wouldn’t this make a great series!

Setting these books in the purely fictitious town of New Hope, Kansas, I did considerable research into baseball in Kansas following the war. 

  • The history of baseball by organized clubs grew from the experiences of former Union and Confederate soldiers and spread across the prairie. The game became a great unifier in the years that followed the war.
  • 19th century bats were heavier and thicker in the handle with more of a gradual taper from the handle to barrel.
  • A catcher’s glove began as a leather work glove, similar to the glove a brakeman on the railroad would use.

  • The more prominent clubs in the larger Kansas cities donned uniforms consisting of long woolen trousers, leather belts, flannel shirts emblazoned with the town’s initial, and woolen caps.
  • Early baseballs were made from a rubber core from old, melted shoes, wrapped in yarn, covered in some form of brown leather, and stitched in a style known as a “lemon peel”. Pitchers usually made their own balls, which were used throughout the game.   

 

Posey Campbell couldn’t understand why her love life, or lack thereof, was of such interest to her family and friends. Having endured one ill-fated relationship, she resigned herself to living out her days as New Hope’s spinster schoolteacher…until an unkempt U.S. marshal with inviting grey eyes and a kiss-me-smile came to town turning her well-ordered life off-kilter.

Glad for a temporary assignment keeping him in one place, Grayson Barrett never expected to find love, let alone a wife, a set of orphans, and a life he’d feared had passed him by.

When a secret from Posey’s past comes to light will Gray’s steadfast love be enough to convince her he is the right man? Or will an old nemesis put an end to their love before it begins?

EXCERPT  |   AMAZON  |  GOODREADS

 

       

 

My giveaway includes a $10 Amazon gift card, along with a digital copy of my newest release, Posey-Brides of New Hope Book Two.  All you have to do to enter the drawing is to comment on this blog and Petticoats and Pistols will randomly select a winner.

 

I look forward to chatting with you…Play Ball!

A firm believer in HEA with a healthy dose of realism, Jo-Ann Roberts strives to give her readers a sweet historical romance while imparting carefully researched historical facts, personalities, and experiences relative to the time period. Her romances take her readers back to a simpler time to escape the stress of modern life by living in a small town where families and friends help one another find love and happiness.

In From the Storm with Janice Cole Hopkins

The Scots who came to settle the mountain regions of the United States were a hardy lot, especially those who hailed from the Scottish Highlands. They felt at home settling in these areas few other immigrants wanted – areas like the Appalachians or the Rocky Mountains. A large amount of my heritage can be found among this group. Eighty-three percent of my ancestry come from the British Isles with a mixture of Scot, English, and Irish.

This is what happens in Mountain Storms, the first book in my In from the Storms Trilogy. Ian MacGregor was wounded in the Civil War and left Maryland to hide away in a mountain cabin in Wyoming Territory. He had been rejected because of his war wounds and wanted to move from society. Aileas Campbell stumbles on the cabin in a snowstorm after she runs away from unwanted attention. Neither suspect the adventure they’re about to begin or the changes God has in store for them.

The family saga continues in Past Storms. Jeannie MacGregor, at seventeen, feels imprisoned in the secluded mountain cabin with her taciturn brother, so she runs away and goes back to her aunt in Maryland, hoping to have a social life and find a suitor. But nothing turns out as she expected, and within a few years, she finds herself on a train back to Wyoming with her young daughter in tow. The unexpected interest of three men there surprises her, but only one man makes her heart beat faster. However, he’s the new pastor, and what would a man of God want with someone like her. He could hardly find a more unsuitable wife.

In Dust Storms, Brady Sharpe, Aileas’s stepbrother, wanders his way to Texas after Aileas refuses to leave with him. He tries ranching and becomes a foreman but never feels he truly belongs. After catching some cattle rustlers, he decides to leave but discovers a young woman in desperate need of help. He does his best but ends up deciding to take her back to Wyoming and get Aileas to help her. In their journey, they battle many storms, including a major dust storm and storms of the heart.

I loved writing this trilogy. Originally, I hadn’t planned to write Dust Storms, but when I finished Past Storms, Brady said I needed to tell his story, so I did. This has happened before in my character-driven novels. Readers seem to like this series, too, because these books have been my best-sellers for months.

I would like to offer one of you the chance to win a free copy of Mountain Storms. In addition, as long as they last, I would also like to give free codes for audible editions of one of the 3 books to any who have an Audible account (which is free but required to redeem the code). You can email me at janicecolehopkins@gmail.com, and I will send you the code for the book you request. Have a blessed day, ask me any questions you’d like, and I hope to hear from you soon.

 

SETTING is a Character ~ by Tracy Garrett

It’s always a special day when one of our fillies return to the corral!  We’re so happy to have you with us again, Tracy!

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Have you ever noticed how the setting of a book is an essential part of a story? There may be exceptions, but I don’t think you can pick up a story and drop it into another place—state, landscape, town versus farm. It just wouldn’t work well.

 

When I started writing JAMES, I decide to set it in Nebraska for several reasons. First, I needed the town of King’s Ford to be close enough to a mining area that my heroine could make the trip, but far enough away that it would be dangerous for her. Since there was gold mining in the Black Hills of the Dakota territory, I grabbed my atlas (yes, I still have one) and looked for the path she would have to take. It led me to a place near Chadron, Nebraska, a real town in the northwestern corner of the state.

 

The location gave me a wagon route to Cheyenne, Wyoming, that a wagon train might take, and a grassland that would support a yearly cattle drive to the railhead in North Platte. Perfect, I thought.

 

Trout Ranch near Chadron, NE
Chadron, NE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, I’d been through Nebraska once while on a tour with my college choir. We sang in Lincoln, then lit out for Colorado. All I really remember is that I could see the Rocky Mountains coming for hours and hours—it felt like days!

Eastern NE is flat!

So, my memory of Nebraska is flat. Research, however, made me realize that wasn’t the case for the area I’d chosen. Back to editing.

 

JAMES is set in the rolling hills of northwestern Nebraska. And those hills come into play in the story. So does the weather, but that’s another blog.

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think? Do you care where a story is set or does it not really matter to you?

Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win one of two electronic copies of JAMES.

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JAMES by Tracy Garrett

After five years leading the Lord’s flock in King’s Ford, Nebraska, The Reverend James Hathaway is used to the demands on his time. But nothing could prepare him to find a baby in a basket on his front step. He always expected to marry before becoming a father. Then a young widow agrees to help him learn to care for the child and he wonders if he hasn’t found his future.

 

Widow Esther Travers is still reeling over the loss of her newborn baby girl when she’s asked to help care for another baby. Vowing to get the little one off to a good start, she doesn’t plan to fall for the very handsome preacher, too.

EXCERPT

“Reverend! Reverend Hathaway!”

James heard Tad shouting long before he reached the cabin at the north end of King’s Ford, the town he’d called home for nearly five years now. The seven-year-old ran errands for many folks in town, though most often it was for the doctor. If Doctor Finney was sending for a preacher this early in the morning, it couldn’t be good news. James buttoned his vest and pulled on his frock coat then glanced in the small mirror hung beside the front door to be sure his collar was tucked in properly, then studied his face.

He looked tired. A wagon had creaked and rumbled past his home well before dawn and the noise had dragged him from a sound sleep. He’d been sitting at the table since then, trying to write his Sunday sermon, but inspiration hadn’t gotten out of bed with him. Ah, well. It was only Tuesday.

James glanced around his small home. The parsonage, if you could call the drafty, poorly lit cabin by so lofty a title, sat at the far north end of town. The church sat to the south of the parsonage, which meant the larger building did nothing to block the winter winds that howled down from the Dakota hills thirty or so miles away.

Deciding he wouldn’t scandalize any parishioner he passed, he lifted his hat from the small table under the mirror and opened the door. He was so focused on Tad that he nearly tripped over a basket left on his stoop.

“What on earth?”

“A basket.”

“Yes, Tad, I see that. Who left it here?” He immediately thought of the wagon that had awoken him. “Why didn’t they knock? I’ve been home since nightfall.”

Tad crept closer, lifted a corner of the cloth covering the contents, and jumped back like there was a snake inside. “Baby!” Tad yelled.

“Don’t play games, Tad. Tell me what’s…” James didn’t jump away, though he wanted to. “Merciful heavens, there’s a baby in here.”

BUY on Amazon!

Ebook – https://amzn.to/3cBUP2I

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Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!

Tracy

CREATING A MULTI-AUTHOR SERIES by Charlene Raddon

 

When I got the idea for my Widows of Wildcat Ridge series, I had no idea what I was doing. The notion popped into my head; I became excited and jumped in with both feet. I think I left my head behind.

The first thing I did was contact a couple of writers I highly respected and ask them their opinions and if they’d be interested in joining me. They said yes. I wonder if they’re glad they did. At this point, we’re about to complete our second multi-author series.

That done, I did some research on locations. I wanted an isolated gold mining town in the mountains where I could destroy the mine and kill most of the miners. Had I seen Godless at the time? No, I didn’t know that TV series existed. Since I live in Utah, a state not often used in romance novels, that’s the location I chose. I avoided the Wasatch mountains where several mines had existed (think Park City and Alta; ski towns now). I decided to set the series In a mountain range a little farther south, the Manti-La Sals. I picked a spot for my mine to sit, with the town nearby. I wrote to several good authors to invite them to join in, and most accepted—a thrilling surprise.

I researched the flora and fauna of the area, which I already knew, but double-checked my facts. I shared this information with the authors, and, with their fertile minds, they quickly came up with ideas. And we were off and running.

Unfortunately, we soon ran into difficulties. What happened to destroy the mine and kill most of the miners? More research. The deeper I dug, the more problems I encountered. The main roadblock was the fact that there had never been a gold mine in those mountains. There were coal mines, and one had suffered a devastating explosion. Two hundred miners killed. Only a ghost town remains.

I decided to base the series there. It didn’t work. Too many differences between coal mining and gold mining. And other problems. So, I kicked the Manti-La Sals into the round bin and went back to work. I settled on the Unita mountain range, where a gold mine had existed in the 1800s. Not only that, but the Spaniards had established mines in the area in the 1600s. Mines no one’s ever found.

We opened our town, destroyed our mine, producing lots of widows to feature in our stories. Our next dilemma? Learning to share, communicate, and weave all our tales together. Now, that was phenomenally painstaking.

You see, we wanted a town and stories that blended, clashed, and intermingled.

We succeeded.

By “we” I mean myself and the other nine authors in the series: Pam Crooks, Caroline Clemmons, Zina Abbott, Christine Sterling, Kit Morgan, Linda Carroll-Bradd, Tracy Garrett, and Kristy McCaffrey. Some of us did more than one book, producing a total of sixteen.

We had maps of the area and town. We had lists of flora and fauna. Weather, travel routes and modes, what towns and cities existed at the time, what Native Americans lived in the territory? At first, we posted our research data on DropBox, but not everyone liked DropBox, so we switched to Google Docs. We formed a Facebook page for the series open to readers and another for the authors to communicate among ourselves. Believe me, tons of emails and posts went back and forth. So many that some of us thought we’d go crazy trying to keep up with everything. Three authors dropped out and were replaced. Our lives breathed, ate, slept, and dreamed of this series from the summer of 2019 to May 2020.  

To achieve our goal, we had to read each story published. We had to keep charts of characters, names, dates, characteristics, minor characters, plots, premises, and on and on. Trying to meld our stories together wasn’t easy. Inevitably, someone used a character from someone else’s story and accidentally gave them the wrong color hair or name. A nightmare in the making. The decisions to be made seemed endless. How often should we publish? What promotions should we do? Who should handle what? You might call the series a co-op.

Then there were the covers, all of which I created, according to the wishes and descriptions of the authors. We made memes for announcements and promos. We arranged launch parties. We worked, and we worked hard.

Despite all that (or because of it), the Widows of Wildcat Ridge (not the first name we came up with) proved a huge success.

I told my friends, if I ever mentioned starting a new series, to shoot me. Amazingly, they didn’t. Nor did I shoot myself. I endured and my fantastic authors along with me. I have come to love each of them.

As you know, in June 2020, we did start another series, just not an interconnected one. The idea for Bachelors & Babies bounced around in my head for a few years. I decided that when Widows of Wildcat Ridge ended, that’s what I would write. It would be a trilogy about three brothers who ran a Montana ranch together and a girl who arrives on their doorstep one night, pregnant and terrified. The more I thought about it, the more I realized what a good series it would make, and so, I jumped into the fire again, taking most of my fellow authors with me.

Those of you familiar with Bachelors & Babies will know how well that series has done. Will I ever do another one? Well, maybe. Keep watching and find out.

And if any of you get any notions about doing your own interconnected series, give me a ring. I might be able to save you a few headaches.

Today I’ll give away a free ebook of Priscilla, book 1 of Widows of Wildcat Ridge, and an audio copy of Barclay, Bachelors and Babies book 4. Be sure to leave a comment!
 

ABOUT CHARLENE:  Charlene Raddon fell in love with the wild west as a child, listening to western music with her dad and sitting in his lap while he read Zane Gray books. She never intended to become a writer. Charlene was an artist. She majored in fine art in college.

In 1971, she moved to Utah, excited for the opportunity to paint landscapes. Then her sister introduced her to romance novels. She never picked up a paintbrush again. One morning she awoke to a vivid dream she knew must go into a book, so she took out a typewriter and began writing. She’s been writing ever since.

Instead of painting pictures with a brush, Charlene uses words.

 

Char’s Links:

https://twitter.com/craddon http://www.facebook.com/charlene.b.raddon http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1232154.Charlene_Raddon

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/charlene-raddon

https://www.pinterest.com/charraddon5080/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlene-raddon-00854629/

https://www.instagram.com/charrad75/

 

NAVIGATING THE WILD WEST BY ELISSA STRATI

Many of our ancestors made the trek west, crossing our great continent on foot, horseback, and wagon, long before the convenience of GPS. How did people find their way? Of course the sun, moon and stars have long been landmarks for travelers. The compass existed, but with the twists and turns of rivers and valleys, one could easily go off track. Imagine the delight, therefore, in seeing a known landmark across a plain or prairie to help you know you are heading in the right direction! On a recent trip cross country my husband took the time to examine two such landmarks whose dramatic shapes were visible for miles.

Castle Rock from a distance
Castle Rock up close

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Kansas one finds Castle Rock, an ancient limestone deposit at the bottom of an inland sea. Whittled by sand, wind, and water, it was visible from the Overland Trail.

Huerfano (Spanish for orphan) Butte in Colorado, a volcanic plug, is a volcano that never happened. During a mountain-building phase of our planet’s development, the ancient seabed was uplifted and magma was forced into the surrounding rock, but never broke though the surface. As erosion removed the softer stone, this formation was exposed. Named by early Spanish explorers, el Huerfano (WEAR-fah-no), rising 200’ above the floodplain, was visible from the Trappers Trail to Taos.

Huerfano in the distance
Huerfano up close

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~~~

In many of my novels, people travel vast distances in every manner possible, from foot to train. Imagine walking from the Appalachians to the Mississippi as Nelly and kin do in my newest release, Kissless in Kansas. At least Barnabas was on horseback making a similar trek a decade earlier in Rescuing Barnabas, also released in July. Neither would have seen the landmarks above as they stopped their journeys in southeastern Kansas.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~~~CONTEST~~~

I introduced the town of Green River (although not by name in that first book) last year in Rescuing Christmas, which I am offering as a gift to one of my discussion participants. I am a fan of family building, leading to world building, and have gradually fleshed out the town of Green River over several decades (their time, not ours!) I try to ensure “standaloneability” in each tale but many of the characters pop up in more than one novel.

So my question to you, and please feel free to expand, is whether you enjoy encountering friends from other books or prefer each story to have all new characters?

Elissa Strati, Author

~~~

I enjoy researching and writing about the past. And in my mind some of me lives in the past. Via the magic of photography, I can share a vision of my personal past. This is the age my mind thinks I still am. I wish it would get my body on the same page!

Thank you for inviting me into your lives today.

Here are a bunch of links if you’d like to follow or keep in touch (I’d like that a lot!):

~~~

Facebook ~~ Amazon ~~ Goodreads ~~ BookBub ~~ AllAuthor

THE PINKERTONS WEREN’T THE ONLY OLD WEST DETECTIVES–by Jennifer Uhlarik

If you’ve read much about travel in the Old West—or banking—you’ll know the name Wells Fargo & Co. Private citizens, small businesses, and major industries all trusted Wells Fargo with their valuables. For example, between 1858 and 1861, Wells Fargo shipped 15 tons of gold from the Sonora, California office alone. But where there are valuables, there are evil people bent on stealing them, and there were times that those evil men were successful. So how did Wells Fargo protect against thefts—or recover stolen property they’d been entrusted with?

 

They employed their own detectives, of course. These were men hired as private detectives, not official law enforcement or peace officers. However, the very first and most famous of the Wells Fargo detectives, one Mr. James B. Hume, was afforded many of the perks for law enforcement of that time. A former peace officer, Hume had more than a decade of experience in the field when he was hired by Wells Fargo as their first detective in 1871. It’s safe to assume many of the others who filled out the detective force were, as well.

 

When a shipment was robbed, the detective nearest the scene of the crime would be contacted. He would go to the scene, take stock of what was missing based on the waybills detailing what was in the shipment, then report to W. F., & Co. about the theft. From this point, he would enlist local law enforcement’s help, interview any witnesses, and begin pursuit.

 

Unlike a local police officer or sheriff who was confined to a specific town or county, the Wells Fargo detectives’ jurisdiction allowed them to cross borders and pursue wherever the trail led. They were more like today’s FBI than a localized law enforcement officer. And they were graciously afforded arrest powers, so long as they kept those arrests limited to only those men and women related to robberies of Wells Fargo shipments. However, just because they could arrest someone didn’t mean they always did. Often, Wells Fargo detectives were deputized by the local agency, and when possible, they let the local authorities handle the official apprehensions.

 

The Wells Fargo detectives had a great example of some early “cutting edge” techniques set by their leader, Jim Hume. For instance, rather than having to keep stacks of wanted posters, Hume kept a “mugbook”—a leather-bound journal that included hand-drawn or photographic pictures of suspected robbers, where he detailed copious notes on aliases and other information for each outlaw. And, Hume also employed some rudimentary ballistics when he removed the bullet from a dead horse, which he compared with the markings on a bullet from a different case. Through these early versions of our modern-day ballistics, he linked the two bullets back to the same perpetrator and captured his man.

 

However, no ahead-of-its-time technique beat good, old-fashioned legwork. In his most well-known case, Hume pursued Black Bart, a gentlemanly thief who robbed at least twenty-five Wells Fargo stagecoaches across eight years, to the tune of about $18,000 (or $1-2 million in today’s dollars). The robber was finally captured when he dropped a bloody handkerchief with a launderer’s identification mark, which Hume tracked down by going door-to-door to one hundred laundries in San Francisco. At the one-hundredth place, they linked the particular mark to the account of one C. E. Boles, arrested the man, interrogated him, elicited a confession, and garnered a conviction. Black Bart served four years in San Quentin for his crimes. So through dogged determination, some tried and true procedures, as well as new and innovative techniques, the Wells Fargo detectives recovered many of the stolen shipments entrusted to Wells Fargo & Co. for shipping.

 

It’s your turn: Were you aware that Wells, Fargo, & Co. employed their own detectives? If so, did you realize they had the types of authority detailed above? Leave your answers to be entered in a drawing for a signed paperback copy of Courting Calamity, which includes my Wells Fargo detective hero, Jake Hicken!

COURTING CALAMITY (https://www.amazon.com/Courting-Calamity-4-Historical-Stories/dp/1643524127/a/aa?tag=pettpist-20 href=”https://www.amazon.com/Courting-Calamity-4-Historical-Stories/dp/1643524127?tag=pettpist-20 rel=”>)/p?tag=pettpist-20

 

Heroes Needed for Four Damsels in Distress
 
Despite determination to be strong and independent, four women of bygone days are in need of a hero. On the journey to California, the deed to Mattie’s hopes and dreams is stolen. Elizabeth has been saddled with too many responsibilities at the family mercantile. Unexpectedly married, Sofia is ill-prepared for a husband and the society she is thrust into. When her sister is accosted, Aileen will do almost anything to support her. Accepting help isn’t easy when these women don’t want to show weakness, but it is more appealing when it comes with a handsome face.

 

 

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has finaled and won in numerous writing competitions, and been on the ECPA best-seller list several times. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers, Women Writing the West, and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, college-aged son, and four fur children.

Welcome Guest: Patty Smith Hall


Georgia is Golden

I’m thrilled to be with you today to talk about something that’s near and dear to my heart. It’s the place I’ve lived for most of my life and where my family roots run deep into the famous red clay. It’s my home state of Georgia, and while you may be wondering what the Peach State could possibly have in common with the rootin’, tootin’ wild west, let me tell you—more than you’d think!

At one time, in the early years of our country, Georgia was considered just as wild and free as the western states to come, and it became more untamed when gold was discovered in 1828.

That’s right, Georgia had its very own gold rush!

In the summer of 1828, Auroria, Georgia was a quiet little town nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains where the waters of the Etowah and Chestatee Rivers met. Across the river lay the Cherokee nation, led by Chef John Ross. Under his direction, the Indians had acclimated themselves in the ways of the new country, living in houses and educated their children with the help of Quaker missionaries. A border dispute between the Cherokee and the state of Georgia had sent John Ross to Washington D.C. in January of that year. Both communities had been on edge, but things had settled down with the spring planting and summer harvest.

It is said that the Georgia gold rush started one August evening when a young man by the name of Benjamin Park stumbled on a rock as he was walking along a deer path. He had just left a friend’s house after celebrating his birthday and didn’t think much of it until something sparkled at his feet. When he bent down to inspect it, he realized he hadn’t tripped over a rock but a large nugget of gold.

Word spread, first to adjoining counties then throughout the state and the southern region. People began pouring into the area—miners from the first American gold rush in North Carolina, gamblers and thieves. Plantation owners sent their slaves after the crops were harvested, some promising freedom for gold. Over the next year, people from the northern states as well as the Irish, Scots and English invaded the small community, setting up their stakes along the riverbanks. Food was scarce, but liquor was plentiful and with it, crime and fighting.  Some towns had sheriffs but most left law and order up to the Georgia Guard. Most miners panned at night because the state had declared ownership of the rivers’ mineral rights though in truth, it belonged to the Cherokee.

For ten solid years, miners dredged the river of significant amounts of some of the purest gold ever recorded on earth. In 1838, Congress decided to establish a mint in the area. Auroria and Dahlonega were both considered but Dahlonega was awarded the mint. The mint signaled the beginning of the eviction of the Cherokee from their native land and sent west on what is commonly known as the Trail of Tears, one of the saddest chapters in Georgia history.

In 1840, the gold along the banks of the Etowah was almost gone and with it came the demise of Auroria. The mint in Dahlonega produced gold coins well into the 1860s when the confederates took it over, printing gold confederate coins instead.  After the war, the mint was closed down permanently.

The gold rush continues today in the area. Every weekend die hard miners are in the water, some with pans, a few with sluice boxes. It’s mostly for fun but hard work! I tried it once and my muscles hurt for a solid week! But I did manage to find a few flakes of gold!

Gold Dust BrideAbigail Matthews’ lifelong ambition is to run her family’s iron mines alongside her father. With the company in trouble, she heads to the north Georgia mountains where iron and gold are rumored to be found. Abby is certain the mountains hold the iron ore their mining company needs to survive but the task is made more difficult by the influx of miners and the interference of Micah Anderson, the town’s blacksmith and acting sheriff who hinders her progress. . .and steals her heart.

Micah Anderson doesn’t understand the mad rush of people searching for gold. He sees them as gamblers no better than the father who lost him in a card game. That someone as lovely as Abigail would take such a risk grates at him but doesn’t diminish his attraction to her. Working alongside her to provide food for his adoptive mother’s boarding house, Micah discovers the hidden depths of Abigail’s character. But when Abigail is put into danger after witnessing a crime against a Cherokee Indian, will Micah be willing to gamble his heart on the woman he’s come to love?

Giveaway!

Patty is giving away a copy of Crinoline Cowboys to two readers who leave a comment today. What is something you love about your home state?

Multi-published author Patty Smith Hall lives near the North Georgia Mountains with her husband, Danny, her two daughters, her son-in-law and her grandboy. When she’s not writing on her back porch, she’s spending time with her family or working in her garden.

Website: https://pattysmithhall.wpcomstaging.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorpattysmithhall
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CHERYL ST. JOHN IS HERE WITH A GIVEAWAY!

I’m delighted to visit Petticoats and Pistols and check in with all my friends. After twenty-five years under contract, I took a year and a half away from writing to care for and nurture a new grandbaby. During that wonderful and exhausting time, I refreshed my mojo so that I could write with renewed energy. I also promised myself that from then on, I would only write books I love. And that’s what I’ve been doing.

One of the things I especially like to do is take a character out of their place of comfort and put them into a new and difficult situation to see how they react. This is exactly what I did when I created Raylene Cranford, a gently-raised Southern belle whose new husband and father were killed in the brother’s war. She and her childhood friend survived through the winter in the burned-out remains of her family home, living on acorns and scrawny rabbits, and eventually made their way north to safety.

Determined and resourceful, the two are able to turn a family member’s home into a boarding house to support themselves. The system of male-dominated households existed to protect the weaker gentler sex. All Raylene knows how to do is maintain appearances and reputation, and to perfect the feminine graces—like modesty, piety and meekness—qualities that made a Southern woman the center of attention.

Here’s an interesting article about how the war left these young women at a loss with no way to fulfill the roles they’d been primed to fill:

https://daily.jstor.org/life-really-like-southern-belles-civil-war/

 

Raylene’s behavior does not go over well with the gaggle of more practical, capable and single women of Twin Springs, Colorado. Nor does her exaggerated drawl endear her to the former Union Army captain who spent months in a confederate prison.

But Tanner Bell has bigger problems. He’s just become solely responsible for a newborn. He owns a livery, where he lives in a tiny back room. His current arrangement will not do for taking care of a newborn. The most convenient solution is to rent a room at the boarding house. Also convenient is asking his industrious new landlady to help him care for the baby.

All Raylene knows is the past. Tanner is focused on the future. It might seem they have nothing in common, but the more they come to know about each other, the more similar they truly are. Both have faced loss and endured hardships. Both are acutely aware of racial injustice and are making a difference by helping change lives and hearts in their community. Both want the best for the tiny girl who has won their hearts.

Raylene’s journey is one of self-discovery. I enjoyed unwrapping these characters to get to the heart of matters, and I hope readers will enjoy reading their story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

 

Have you ever been out of your comfort zone and having to learn how to reinvent yourself? I’m offering three e-books from the choice of my backlist! 

Thank you so much to all the Fillies for the warm welcome, and a big howdy to all my friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUY LINK: https://tinyurl.com/ya3r25kt

Cheryl’s amazon author page:  https://tinyurl.com/y6js92y8

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/cheryl-st-john

Like Cheryl’s Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/CherylStJ

 

CAROLYN BROWN IS OUR GUEST TODAY!

Good morning, everyone! Thank you so much for inviting me back to visit with the fillies! I always love making a stop here and having a glass of sweet tea with all y’all.

 

I’ve got Alana Carey with me today and I’ve got some questions about this fake engagement that she’s roped Paxton Callahan into. She stands six feet tall in her cowboy boots. She has blonde hair and big blue eyes and she can out rope, out-ride, and out-do most cowboys in the state of Texas whether it’s on the dance floor, having shots of whiskey or riding broncs. Her two soft spots are her father, since he’s raised her alone when her mother died, and Paxton Callahan.

 

First question: What made you decide to ask Paxton to enter into this fake engagement with you?

 

Alana: My dad, Matt, told me that he’d been diagnosed with untreatable cancer and he only had six weeks to live. The only thing that he wished he had lived long enough to see was me married and settled. He had done so much for me that I had to give him his dying wish. I lied. I told him that Pax and I had been secretly dating for several months, that we hadn’t told anyone because we wanted to be sure that it was real, but that he had proposed to me. I thought that would make him happy, but oh, no, he wanted to walk me down the aisle. Since Pax was my best friend, he went along with the idea—thank goodness, since I didn’t ask him before I told Daddy.

 

Carolyn: What happened then?

 

Alana: Well, the whole town got behind the engagement, and suddenly we were all knee deep in wedding dress shopping, and wedding showers. One little lie to make him die a happy man turned into a huge thing, and there was no way I could back out of it since Daddy wanted me to have the biggest wedding ever seen in our part of Texas.

 

Carolyn (gasping): Keep going. We’re hanging on every word.

 

Alana: Then Daddy began to talk about the honeymoon and flying us anywhere in the world that I wanted to go. I didn’t want to waste weeks or even days off on a fake honeymoon. I wanted to spend every minute I could with him.

Carolyn: Even in the midst of the sadness, did you enjoy all the wedding plans?

 

Alana (with a smile): Of course. I had the wedding every woman dreams about, and Daddy was happy, but the crazy thing was that soon I didn’t know what was fake and what was real. I’d loved Pax in secret for years, and now I got to be engaged to him. But I have to admit, I wondered if he felt the same about me. That’s all for today or else I’ll be giving away spoilers.

 

Carolyn: Guess that’s all we can get her to talk about today, but I would like to add that Sunrise Ranch will be a bonus novella included in Cowboy Strong, and then will be available to order on July 7 in both ebook and paper book. Sunrise Ranch is the last story from Daisies in the Canyon.

 

And so, there you have it folks. Would you buy this book on the basis of that interview? I’ll be giving away a signed copy of Cowboy Strong, the last book in the Longhorn Canyon Series to one lucky person. A little note: There is one more little novella on the way tucked into the A Little Country Christmas anthology that will actually end the series. It’s titled The Perfect Christmas.

Buy Links:

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2AvsEFL

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3d3RZUl

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2Y3ikNQ

Google: https://bit.ly/3d06rwp

iBooks: https://apple.co/2Y4guN1

 

Misty Beller: Looking for Hope?

Hey, y’all! It’s always such an honor to spend the day with you!

One of my favorite themes to write about is God’s love, and the way He guides us in His plan if we’re intentional about seeking His will in each decision. We all want to know we’re in God’s will, right? That He will bless the outcome of whatever we’re setting out to accomplish. But I’ve always tended to think that being in God’s will would make things easier. Make the road a bit smoother. So when life would become exceedingly tough, I would sometimes question how I had stepped outside of God’s will. Where did I go wrong?

Book two in my current series, Love’s Mountain Quest, is the story of a mother’s journey to saver her 5-year-old son who’s been kidnapped by a gang of thieves. Can you imagine how that must feel as a mother? The terror of not knowing what your child might be facing. The horror of the situation being so far out of your control.

She enlists the help of Isaac Bowen, a mountain man who’s helped her once before. Together they set of to recover her son and the friend who was stolen with him. I love Joanna’s tenacity to take action in the face of fear. Ever heard the phrase, “Cowgirl up?” This woman knew what that meant!

One of the things God showed me at a heart-deep level as I wrote this story was how critical the hard times are to reaching joy. Not just important to properly appreciate the blessings God brings to us, but we can’t actually reach the good until we’ve traveled through the rough parts. Our lives are a journey, and no matter how dark the current path may feel, I can cling to the fact that my Father will bring me joy and blessings, as long as I stay on the path He’s placed me. As long as I seek His face and yearn to model His righteousness, I can look forward to the gifts He plants along the journey.

That, my friend, brings me hope!

Today, I’m excited to give away a copy of book one in the series, Hope’s Highest Mountain. The winner will be randomly selected from those who leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you, what are some of the blessings that have come your way from hard times in your life?

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