Were you up before dawn to start the day’s wash? Neither was I, but let’s take a look back at the good old days. Had you lived in a log cabin at the turn of the nineteenth century, you wouldn’t have had electricity to power the work.
But after 1797, you might have had a scrub board to help you with the elbow grease. It’s said a man invented it, but I have an idea he got the idea from a woman who wasn’t interested in beating those rocks against each other in a cold stream.
The first machine was made in 1851. But, of course, it was still hand operated, so the poor woman had to do all the work. (No wonder people wore their clothes until they smelled so bad they had to change them.)
In 1874, a man wanted to give his wife a special present for her birthday so he created a machine that cleaned away the dirt. I admit in those days a washing machine would have been a lot more exciting gift than another flannel nightgown.
The first electrical washing machine was invented in 1908 by the Hurley Machine Company. It was a drum type washer with a galvanized tub and was patented in 1910. Finally, the women who were lucky enough to afford the machine had an easier way of doing the laundry. Thank goodness for electricity. The Frontier life sounds exciting in the cowboy romances, but it’s hard for me to imagine life without all my electric appliances.
Still, a hunky cowboy would come in mighty handy. And speaking of hunky cowboys, my book, TRUMPED UP CHARGES, is still available. Please check it out. It’s available in digital and paperback and regular or large print.
Funny you should ask. Whatever it is that we do has left me totally exhausted. Thanks to some weather-related flight delays, I arrived back in Houston in the wee hours of the morning today. I had just spent 4 days at the beautiful Marriott Marque in Atlanta attending the Romance Writers of America National Conference. Imagine the noise level in the hotel with approximately two thousand women roaming the halls. My ears are still ringing though I must admit that some of that was due to the dance music at the Harlequin Party on Friday night.
If you’re curious about what that many writers do when we get together, keep reading and I’ll share some of the highlights of my conference with you.
On the night I arrived, there was a giant booksigning with the books donated by authors and publishers and the profits going to the literacy campaign. There were hundreds of authors, several from our group here at Petticoats and Pistols in attendance. Eager readers began lining up long before the doors opened at 5:30 on Wednesday night. I couldn’t tell who was having more fun, the readers or the authors who always love a chance to meet with their fans. There were other booksignings throughout the week sponsored by the publishers. In these the authors get to give away their books to conference attendees who stop by and chat. That is always fun.
And then there are the workshops on every topic you can imagine related to writing. My favorite are the research workshops where we get the opportunity to hear from the experts, the men and women who help us stay on our toes with our research.
It’s also a chance to get together with writer friends from all across the country. It’s amazing how close you can become to people who share your love for writing even though you only see them once a year. And it’s a chance to meet with editors and agents. I’m one of the fortunate people who have been with the same editor for over 55 books. Visiting with her is one of my favorite parts of the conference.
And then there are the publishers’ parties. Since I write for Harlequin Intrigue, I always attend the Harlequin Party on Friday night. This year we had the most fabulous array of chocolates I have ever seen. They looked far too good to eat, but eat them we did. I gobbled down quite a few myself. And then we danced. And danced. And danced. Who needs a dancing partner when you have a ballroom full of women?
There’s much more, but I’ll leave that for another day. Now it’s time to go back to writing. The next deadline is fast approaching! And, after all, I am a writer.
Wolves have always played a fascinating roll in western novels. There is a mystique about the animals that stems as much from misinformation as information. This week I visited the St. Francis Wolf Sanctuary in Montgomery, Texas. It is less than a twenty minute drive from my house, but I felt as if I were a world away.
We parked at the end of a country road and then walked up a gravel path to the place where the mostly rescued animals were held. While caged, they were being tended by a host of volunteers who were also petting and playing with the animals as one would a familiar pet. My fourteen-year-old grandson was with me and he was quickly as intrigued by the animals as I.
The first woman we met was Reverend Jean LeFevre, the founder and the heart behind the sanctuary. As she told us a little about herself and the animals, we could feel her love for them. She has truly led a fascinating life. One of the things she didn’t tell us but which I read on the website explained a lot about her knowledge and respect for the wolves.
“My first hands-on experience with a wolf was White Tornado, in 1976. She was a white wolf living with Grandmother Twylah Nitsch of the Seneca -Wolf Clan- Iroquois Nation, my friend, and a mentor who has blessed my life. White Tornado was an amazing animal, full of energy and love. She showed me the gentleness of her kind and the love and spiritual learning that they can give to us. I have always been fascinated with the Indian lore of the Wolf and their mysticism and feel myself privileged to be able to experience it first hand.”
While we were at the site, two volunteer handlers who obviously loved the wolfdogs (a mix of wolf and dog) had us sit still while they led the wolf dogs past us so that they could get used to our smell. Then we were allowed to pet the wolves that seemed to love the attention. It was easy to tell from the feel of the coats which ones were predominantly wolf. Their hair was sticky, almost scratchy.
The mission of the sanctuary as stated on their website is: “Saint Francis Wolf Sanctuary (SFWS) is dedicated to the care of rescued, non-releasable wolves and wolfdogs. We do not breed, buy, sell, or trade them. They have often been rescued from dire circumstances. Many have suffered much at the hands of humans; others were simply discarded by their caretakers. We believe they deserve a stable home for the rest of their natural lives, with an abundance of loving and compassionate care.”
They also help educate the public and try to dispel the myths about wolves. To learn more about the sanctuary, visit their website at http://wolvesofsaintfrancis.org/
And don’t forget that Trumped Up Charges is on the shelves now. When a mother’s love meets a father’s instinct. Read an excerpt at:
I was writing a ranch wedding scene in the 3rd. book in the Big D Dad – The Daltons series the other day and decided to do a little research on the history of bolo ties. I found some interesting material on the Internet. The matter of where and when they first appeared seems to be a subject of debate, though all agree the ties in one form or another have been around for quite a while.
It appears that part of the confusion about the ties’ origins stems from the different varieties that have been popular through the years. A few things most agree on are that the ties are worn beneath the shirt collar outside the shirt. The bolo slide may be made of stone, metal, or plastic and can be in different shapes. A thin strip of leather or other fabric which is frequently braided has tips on both ends to allow it be strung through the slide.
Some people have dated the bolo ties back to the 1860’s. Others date its beginning to the 1900’s. One report is that the tie was created by Silversmith Victor Cedarstaff. It is said he slipped his hatband around his neck to keep from losing it while riding his horse on a windy day. Someone commented that he was wearing a nice tie which inspired him to create the bolo tie.
Bolo ties are especially popular in western states. Arizona named the bolo tie the official state neckwear in 1971. In 2007, both New Mexico and Texas named it their official state tie. (Who knew states had official ties?)
One of the most interesting bits of pop culture concerning the bolo was that John Travolta wore one in Urban Cowboy. I do think I remember that.
On another note I want to remind you that Trumped Up Charges, book 1 in the Big D Dads – The Daltons series will be available on June 1.
WHEN A MOTHER’ LOVE MEETS A FATHER’S INSTINCT
Ex Marine Adam Dalton once dreamed of a life with Hadley O’Sullivan, but war and a near-fatal injury cost him dearly. Now he returns to Dallas to discover the unthinkable—Hadley is the prime suspect in the disappearance of their twin baby girls…the daughters he never knew he had.
Beyond Hadley’s terror of having her children kidnapped is the shock of seeing Adam. Yes, she had kept him from his daughters, but now, when he insists they work together as a united front, she knows she is still in love with him. Despite their past, finding their children is their only hope of finally becoming a family—if time doesn’t run out first.
Hi. Thought I”d share my April Newsletter with you. If you”d like to be added to my newsletter email list, let me know. Would also love your comments on what you”re reading this month.
Happy Spring. We’ve had a beautiful one here in Texas, flowers in full bloom and everything sprouting new growth. Just hope we get enough rain this year to keep it that way.
The wildflowers are in full bloom now. Almost every roadside is colored with brilliant blooms of primrose, Indian paintbrush, verbena, brown-eyed Susans, bluebonnets and countless varieties I can’t name but enjoy all the same. But this picture was taken in my back yard when a friendly neighborhood deer came to check out the golf course.
By now I hope many of you have had the chance to read COVER ME. I was fortunate enough to team up with two of my
favorite Intrigue writers, Rita Herron and Mallory Kane, to pen a sensual romantic suspense of cold cases created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Since I lived many years in New Orleans, the story was especially close to my heart.
Eight years ago, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, three men lost everything. Now it’s time to reclaim what is theirs….
Don’t miss this one.
And in June, the first book in the Big D Dads, The Daltons, series will be available in paperback or digital format from your favorite on-line or local bookseller. As a mother and grandmother, TRUMPED UP CHARGES truly touched my heart.
When a Mother’s love meets a father’s instinct….
Ex-Marine Adam Dalton once dreamed of a life with Hadley O’Sullivan, but the war and a near-fatal injury cost him dearly. Now he returns to Dallas to discover the unthinkable—Hadley is the prime suspect in the disappearance of her twin baby girls….the daughters he never knew he had.
Beyond Hadley’s terror of having her children kidnapped is the shock of seeing Adam. Yes, she had kept him from his daughters, but now, when he insists they work together as a united front, she knows she is still in love with him. Despite their past, finding their children is their only hope to finally become a family—if time doesn’t run out first.
And in December, watch for UNREPENTANT COWBOY, the second book is in the Dalton family’s adventures.
Today was a beautiful, spring day and I spent it doing one of my favorite things. My husband and I took a leisurely drive with friends into the Texas Hill Country, enjoying the many small towns we passed through along the way. As always, I absorbed as much of the local culture as I could and sampled as much of the food, as well. This is where I get the ideas for the
many family series I set in Texas.
In Big “D” Dads, I chose to create the fictional town of Oak Grove for my setting. Oak Grove is a small, Texas ranching town just over an hour’s drive from Dallas and a world away. While it’s fictional, it’s typical of the towns you’ll see scattered about the state. There’s usually a town square with stores surrounding it. The buildings will be old. There’s almost always a diner or café or two, a grocery store, perhaps a hardware store. There will be a feed and tack shop in the area, sometimes a basic clothing
store and maybe a general store where the locals gather to shoot the breeze as well as shop. In Oak Grove, I throw in a mechanic’s shop and a great tea/gift shop, well. And there are always churches.
So why do I use a fictional town when I have so many charming towns to consider? I like the freedom to match the shops and services the town offers to the needs of my stories. And when I have a nasty mechanic or an incompetent sheriff, I don’t offend the real people who serve in that capacity. Plus, I like the town to offer me a variety of secondary characters, many of whom show up as a main character in a later book.
So while my small towns are usually fictional, they have the trappings of most any small town in Texas. They become real to me because I
know they could be real. So come along with me to Oak Grove, Texas for my next series Big “D” Dads—the Daltons, which begins in June with Trumped-Up Charges. You’ll love it there.
And just a reminder that my current non-western, Cover Me, is available now. It’s an anthology written with two my favorite Intrigue writers, Rita Herron and Mallory Kane.
Eight years ago in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, three men lost everything. Now it’s time to reclaim what is theirs …. If you like sensual, romantic suspense, you won’t be disappointed.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to be joining the talented group of writers at Pistols and Petticoats. And, yes, I’ve already been hearing what a great bunch of cowboy-loving blog followers you are. I’m sure I will recognize some of your names from other sites, but for the rest of you. it’s get acquainted time. So let me tell you about myself and about my books.
My name is Joanna Wayne and I live in Texas now though I’m actually a Louisiana native. I was born and grew up in Shreveport, LA. Shreveport is a great little town tucked away in the northwest corner of the state in an area frequently referred to as the Ark-La-Tex. Take my word for it, the culture there is far more East Texas than it is southern Louisiana. There were always lots of sexy, two-steppin’, swaggering guys in boots, jeans and Stetsons around. And they were the real thing.
Later in life, I married and moved to New Orleans. As anyone who has ever visited the Big Easy knows, New Orleans is a world unto itself as are the bayou areas outside the city. My writing has been greatly influenced by the sultry heat and passion of the city and my bestselling novel ever, Alligator Moon, was written while I still lived in New Orleans.
But as luck would have it, one of my writer friends had an uncle who owned a ranch in South Texas. She invited me along one day for a visit to the ranch. That’s all it took. From that day on I was hooked and not just on the cute cowboys. The culture and lifestyle totally captivated me. I wanted to experience every aspect of it. Thanks to her family, I did just that, even down to fixing fence and rounding up cattle–by helicopter, no less. And every night we gathered around the dinner table after a magnificent meal and I listened to their humorous and sometimes poignant stories of ranch life.
I wrote my first western shortly after that, Family Ties, a romantic suspense set on a ranch in South Texas. The book was such a hit that my editor quickly asked for a story for each of the brothers. From that day on I was considered a western writer, though I still write an occasional book set in Louisiana. (Bayou Payback, a novella in Cover Me will be released next month.) Through the years, I have spent as much time as possible on working ranches, getting to know the people and coming to understand their great love and respect for the land and their cowboy lifestyle.
Then, nine years ago, my husband and I made the decision to move to Texas. We found the perfect spot to settle, a small town about 60 miles northwest of Houston. I’ll admit, though, that cowboys and ranching weren’t the only draw. My son and my daughter had already settled in Texas, and both my grandchildren are proud Texans by birth.
Now about my books, which I know is what you’re really here for. I write romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue. I have over fifty books in print, most available now in digital format and a few of the most recent in audible formats. I love family stories and frequently write series about large families. Some of
the bestselling series include Family Ties, Colts Run Cross, Special Ops Texas, Sons of Troy Ledger, Big “D” Dads, and coming in June Trumped-Up Charges, the first book in the Big “D” Dads—the Daltons series. If you like suspenseful, sensual, heartwarming stories of modern-day ranching families, I hope you’ll check them out.
I’ll be telling you much more about my books in the near future. In the meantime, I”m looking forward to your comments and hoping to hear from all of you soon. Already Petticoats and Pistols feels like home. Can I get a yee-haw?