Nature’s Fury and a Giveaway

Every so often Mother Nature has to throw a fit. That’s just the way it is and the havoc can come in the form of floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados and many other disasters. Sometimes these weather occurrences make their way into our stories.

Living in Tornado Alley, I’m most familiar with tornados. I survived an enormous North Texas twister on April 10, 1979 that took 52 lives when three vortexes merged into one. Meteorologists still refer to that day as Terrible Tuesday because of the immense devastation and the sheer numbers. There were 59 reported tornados on the ground in the area on that Tuesday. The F-5 monster that hit Wichita Falls left a path of destruction 8 miles wide and 47 miles long.

Pretty unbelievable and so frightening.

The impact it made on my life remains 42 years later and to this day get very emotional when I talk about it. The sirens had been going off all day so I didn’t pay any mind to the last one that went off a little before 6:00 pm. I was cooking supper and the kids were playing as normal. It was my first husband and my wedding anniversary and we’d planned to go out to celebrate.

Our kids were 7, 5, and 8 months old—much too young to learn about life and death and the kind of terror that freezes the screams in a person’s throat.

My husband went out to look at the sky and saw the massive thing coming. It resembled a hungry beast gobbling up everything in its path. The rumble was one of the most terrifying sounds I’d ever heard before or since. We had no time to pull mattresses off the beds or blankets over us. We rushed the kids to a narrow hallway that ran the length of the three bedrooms and laid down on top of them. My baby daughter laid under me so very still. I had my eyes clenched shut, praying. I didn’t know of anyone who’d lived through something like that with minimal protection. Here are some pictures. The camera wasn’t very good.

         

It tore right through our house, our neighborhood where we’d felt so safe. I heard when the roof went and boards and debris reined down on top of us. I never felt anything though and thought that was odd. I was just too terrified and in shock. I’m sure that’s probably the way soldiers are in war. You just never think anything like that will happen to you.

Time moved in slow motion and seemed to take hours for the tornado to pass on when in reality it only lasted a few minutes. Then hail the size of golf balls pounded us as we climbed out from under the pile of debris on top of us. We checked the kids and the only injury was a minor cut on top of the baby’s head. So miraculous, especially when we got the first look at our flattened neighborhood. In each direction we stared, it looked like a bomb had gone off and a pungent, sickening smell hung in the air. The smell lasted for months afterward. So did the roofing tar embedded in our scalps. This picture is of me in bell bottom pants with Baby Girl. 

But then, we didn’t know what to do next. Did we hang around and wait for someone to come tell us something? But if we left, where did we go? Our car was sitting on top of a tree, besides we had no close relatives. It was getting dark and the baby was hungry.

We started to set off walking, then realized the older children were barefoot. The tornado had sucked the shoes off their feet. My husband carried our 5-year-old and our son had to pick his way very carefully. Trees and power lines were down everywhere. Thankfully, a man with a carload of others like us stopped and picked us up. We went to a woman I worked with and spent the night with her.

People have asked over the years why I’ve never written my account, but the truth is I couldn’t relive that horror. Or the year of homelessness after that. It had stolen far too much of me. It took everything we owned.  

However, I did insert a tornado scene in Once Upon a Mail Order Bride. But, the only way I was able to do it was by putting Ridge and Addie in open country, somewhere totally different from my experience. They had to run for their lives and leap into a ravine to beat death. But the horrendous sounds, smells, heart pounding fear that rose in their throats, strangling them came from what I remembered and felt.

Have you ever had something happen so powerful that it left a lasting effect on you and maybe altered the course of your life? Or have you read about a big weather event in a book? I know Sharon Sala has written about Hurricane Katrina. I’m giving away a copy of Once Upon a Mail Order Bride to someone who comments. I wish I had room for the excerpt of that scene but this post is getting really long.

Linda Broday Has Winners!

Thank you all for coming on Tuesday to talk about love at first sight and love that grows. I just enjoy writing about love. 🙂

Now for the drawing you’ve been patiently waiting for…………….

I’m adding a second book to my giveaway. Yes indeed!

The two winners are…………………..

LORI SMANSKI

DANIYAH ALI

Congratulations, ladies! Watch for my email and I’ll get you Once Upon a Mail Order Bride.

An Outlaw Land Agent, Mayor, and Romantic

In the settling of the U.S., owning land used to be the primary dream of almost every man–rich or poor. It was something tangible that meant you had worth and the owner could use it however he saw fit. But how were the sales handled when almost every town had a land office?

The General Land Office created in 1812 was an independent agency of the United States government responsible for all the public domain lands. It took over this function from the Treasury Department that had been in effect since 1785.

The General Land Office was in charge of surveying, platting, and selling of public lands. In addition they oversaw the Homestead Act and the Preemption Act in disposal of public lands.

During the Westward Expansion period, land sold at such a frantic pace that it was difficult to keep up. As I said, everyone wanted a piece to call their own.

Every town of any size had a land office where prospective buyers could see what was available. If they bought some, a deed was recorded and registered at that county’s courthouse which then made its way to the General Land Office in Washington D.C. But given the slow speed of travel, it might be a year or more before it got registered. And unscrupulous land agents could sell the same land twice or several times over. I see how easy it would’ve been. And how killings would’ve taken place. The West had no one to oversee a lot of things.

In 1946, the General Land Office and the U.S. Grazing Service merged to become the Bureau of Land Management.

In my newest release, ONCE UPON A MAIL ORDER BRIDE, Ridge Steele served as the mayor and land agent in the outlaw town of Hope’s Crossing. Unlike others, he is honest and above board in his dealings and in the recording of deeds.

To settle this fledgling town, he and his friends send for mail order brides through Luke Legend and his private bride service. Ridge is the last of his friends to get one.

When Adeline Jancy arrives, she’s more than he ever dreamed in every respect—other than she couldn’t speak. Due to horrifying trauma, she’s lost her voice. Ridge doesn’t have to marry her, but he does. He likes what he sees and figures she’ll do just fine.

He soon discovers Addie can throw a hissy or argue as well as anyone—all without words.

Their love grows slowly and ripens into a passionate story for the ages. From the moment they strolled onto the page, I knew they were perfect for each other in every way. Each had their own strengths that complemented the other as should a real relationship.

Do you believe in love at first sight? Or do you think it takes time to develop only after the couple has come to know each other? I’m giving away a copy of this book (winner’s choice of either ebook or print.)  I’ll draw on Saturday.

 

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Linda Broday Has Winners!

Thank you all for sharing my excitement about the new release on Tuesday. Because of the number of comments I’ve doubled my giveaway to 4!

Here are the lucky winners:

FLCHEN1

RITA WRAY

ALISA BOISCLAIR

CHERYL C.

Congratulations, ladies! I’ll contact you so be watching for my email.

A New Book and Giveaway by Linda Broday!

Broday concludes the Outlaw Mail Order Bride series with a sizzling finale that features a tantalizingly slow build to intimate trust that catapults into adrenaline packed ardor.”  ~Booklist

Next week on November 24th, I’ll release the fourth and final book of my Outlaw Mail Order Brides series. I’m warning readers to put their feet in the stirrups and hang on tight because this story is full of twists, turns, and surprises as Ridge and Addie fight tooth and nail for their HEA.

Ridge Steele is an ex-preacher weary of the outlaw life on the run and yearns for someone to share his days and nights with. He’s excited when Adeline Jancy agrees to marry him sight unseen and makes arrangements.

She’s as beautiful and kind as he’d dared hope for—except she can’t speak a word. She resorts to written communication only.

The look in her pretty eyes shows sadness…and the fear that he’d send her back. Only he’d been through enough hard times to know he can’t do that to her. He’s in it for the long haul.

But married life isn’t easy. They both find it littered with one problem after another that threatens to steal their happiness and culminates in a soul-jarring fight for the justice they both seek.

I think readers will find the story very thrilling and the conclusion satisfying. From the moment Ridge and Addie walked onto the page, I knew they were perfect for each other and early reviews have stated the same. This is a book that will stay with you long after you finish.

Click HERE for an excerpt and links.

I’m sad to say goodbye to these outlaws with heart and the town of Hope’s Crossing but it’s time. I’ll start a new series called Lone Star Legends in April with the first book A COWBOY OF LEGEND. I hope you’ll like Gracie Legend’s story.

But first, give Once Upon a Mail Order Bride a try and find out how tough Ridge and Addie have to get to survive long enough to claim their love.

Here’s all four books of the series in order of their release in case you missed any or all.

I’m sure there were many men in the 1800s who’d turn away a mail order bride with any kind of impediment or deformity. My question…Would you turn her away or open your heart? I’m giving a copy of Once Upon a Mail Order Bride to TWO commenters.

**Announcement** The Mail Order Bride’s Secret is on sale across all outlets. $1.99 until Nov. 22, 2020.  Click HERE for the links and an Excerpt.

 

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It’s Not Just Sew, Sew

The old West had a shortage of everything except hard times and backbreaking work and there was sure plenty of that. Pioneer women took extra pains with all their belongings and to lose something as small as a button really was difficult to take.

Buttons have been around approximately 4,000 years with its history dating back to Egypt. Archeologists have unearthed them in ancient tombs and in archeological digs.

At first buttons were used entirely for decoration. Men and women both wore buttons to adorn themselves. King Louis XIV of France spent $600,000 a year on buttons and King Francis I once had 13,600 buttons sewn to a single coat. The First Duke of Buckingham had a suit and cloak covered in diamond buttons. Talk about extravagant.

From ancient times, buttons have been fashioned from pearls, shells, glass, metal, wood, bone and antler, precious stones, porcelain, and leather among other materials. It appears that our ancestors made buttons from everything imaginable that was available at the time. Buttons with images of angels on them date back hundreds of years.

  

 

But buttons were not just for clothing. They could be found on purses, bracelets, belts, and shoes and still can today. Early buttons showed beautiful artistry. Artists filled their time painting portraits and scenery on them. Europe became so button crazy the church denounced them as “the devil’s snare,” mainly because of women’s front-buttoned dresses. Ridiculous I know. Even the Puritans condemned buttons as sinful.

No one is quite sure when someone came along and fashioned the first buttonhole, but it was quite an accomplishment. Everyone jumped on the button wagon. It was so nice to able to make form-fitting garments that didn’t have to be secured with a belt, hooks, or other devices.

        

Sadly, decorative buttons have become a lost art. Today, most buttons are mass produced from inexpensive plastic.

Button collecting began in the 1930’s. The National Button Society was formed in 1938. There are thousands of collectors today. People collect all kinds and shapes and some of the prices fetched for a single button is outrageous. Recently, a button was sold in auction for $850. People are serious about their buttons.

The Smithsonian Institution has an extensive button collection as do many other museums.

Did you know that March13-19 is National Button Week?

Most of us have buttons somewhere, either in jars or in sewing baskets. I have a zip lock bag full of buttons that I’ve cut off clothes before I toss them in the trash. I always think I’ll need one for something.

A friend of mine plays a game of buttons with her grandchildren. She lets them choose from her button collection then tells them some wild story about where it came from and who wore it. The more outrageous story the better. Their eyes grow wide as they listen to the tales she weaves.

Do you have a stash of buttons? I have some very pretty decorative ones. Can you imagine wearing a piece of clothing that has over 13,000 buttons sewn on it?

Oh my! These Sexy Men!

Something has happened to me. Used to, I never wrote a hero with facial hair. Not because I didn’t like it, but mainly because my editors wouldn’t let me. But in the last few books, my heroes have all had facial hair. I just love a man with a mustache and beard. My first husband had dark facial hair and I was the one who kept it trimmed close. I loved doing it though.

So, I started putting hair on my mens’ faces. It’s sexy and it kinda alludes to bad boys. Yum!

In the first book of my new series called Lone Star Legends, Deacon Brannock has a mustache and close-cropped beard. That comes out in April 2021. In the second book, the young Sam Legend has removed himself from everyone and looks like a shaggy mountain man through a lot of the story. One of the hottest scenes is of Cheyenne Ronan standing behind Sam, applying the sharp blade of the razor to his throat and so overcome she stops to give him an upside down kiss. I thought that was pretty sexy. That book releases Sept. 2021.

Of movie leading men, I’ve always adored Sean Connery’s close beard and mustache. That man makes my heart flutter big time. Here’s him, George Clooney and Sam Elliott.

              

 

I’m not too awfully fond of Sam Elliott’s bushier mustache but since he has the best deep voice, I don’t complain.

Hugh Jackman has nice facial hair as well as Chris Hemsworth and Bradley Cooper.

 

These are drop dead gorgeous!!

                   

 

But back to my own books. I already have the cover for A Cowboy of Legend that I can’t wait to show you when the time is right. Deacon Brannock will stir readers’ hearts. Betcha!

What about you? Do you like men with facial hair or without? Let’s take a vote!!

Once Upon a Mail Order Bride Cover Reveal

 

I just love when I get a new cover. It’s like opening a present on Christmas morning. I never tire of seeing the new designs by the people at Sourcebooks. They’re truly amazing.

I especially love this one. The colors are so beautiful and the models are truly romantic

This is Outlaw Mail Order Brides #4 and the ex-preacher Ridge Steele gets a bride at last.

Except Adeline Jancy cannot speak.

She communicates through writing so she carries paper and pencil everywhere. But just because she can’t speak, doesn’t mean she’s passive. Ridge finds that out pretty quick and doesn’t make the mistake again.

This story is about finding hope and having the courage to right wrongs. Ridge and Addie are reaching for the impossible. Oftentimes it’s easier to let things stay the way they are, especially when living in a safe, outlaw town. It’s a lot harder to force change and they had to reach a point where they could accept that it would be possible by the slimmest of margins to make their lives better and grab hold of their future.

I’m going to be very sad to leave Hope’s Crossing. I love all these people. But a new series awaits and will start soon.

So tell me what you like or don’t like about this cover and/or the title. The book comes out on November 24, 2020.

Amazon  |  B&N  |  APPLE

 

A Tribute to a Dear Friend

Every so often a person comes along that deeply touches our lives. Glenda Kinard was that and more. An avid reader, she was a devoted follower on P&P who always chose to see the bright side of things even after she almost died in a horrible car wreck a few years ago. She spent months in surgeries and rehab and escaping into books helped her deal with the constant pain.

Glenda was a dear friend to us Fillies and to me in particular. She was always quick to comment on whatever the subject was on P&P. She loved learning and told me often that she’d learned more through blog posts than she ever had in school. A real treat came for me when I was able to meet her in person in Atlanta at a Romantic Times book convention in 2017. I dearly enjoyed spending time with her, her girls, and cousin. In fact, that was the highlight of my trip. I saw her enthusiasm and passion and knew I’d found a kindred spirit.

A Southern lady to the max, she had a sweet, awesome spirit and was so appreciative of everything anyone did for her. I will deeply miss her. In fact, I’m not sure how I’ll fill the hole she left behind. 

Rest well, my precious friend. You’re with the angels and your beloved daddy now.  You are loved.

 

                   

Popcorn, Anyone?

 

I don’t know why in all the stories I’ve published that I’ve never written about popcorn until this Christmas book I’m writing. A great oversight on my part!

Anyway, I’ve done some research and what I found is interesting.

Even though popcorn is grown on ears, it’s very different altogether from sweet or field corn. The hull of popcorn is just the right thickness to allow it to burst open. Inside each kernel of popcorn is a small droplet. It needs between 13.5-14% moisture to pop. Don’t ask me how it gets the water inside there.

All I know is that the water turns to steam when heated and pressure builds.

 

 

The oldest ears of popcorn were found in a cave in New Mexico in 1948. The oldest found there were 4,000 years old, so it’s been around an awfully long time.

The Aztecs used popcorn in their ceremonies, decorations, and dances. It was an important food for them as well. When Spanish explorers invaded Mexico, they were astounded by these little exploding kernels of corn.

In South America, popcorn was found in 1,000 year old burial grounds and was so well-preserved it still popped.

Long before corn flakes made an appearance, Ella Kellogg ate ground popped popcorn with milk every morning for breakfast. Her husband, John Kellogg, praised popcorn as being easily digested and highly wholesome. I don’t know if I’d want it in a bowl with milk.

 

 

In Victorian times, popcorn decorated fireplace mantels, doorways, and Christmas trees. Kids used to string popcorn and cranberries and was often the only thing on trees unless paper ornaments.

 

 

Here are some Corny facts:

Today, Americans consume 15 billion quarts of popped popcorn yearly.

Most of the popcorn consumed throughout the world comes from the U.S.

Major states producing it are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, and Ohio.

National Popcorn Day is January 19th or whatever day the Superbowl falls on.

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Darn, I’m itching to go to the movies! I can smell the popcorn now.

So, I’ve just added a scene in my Christmas book where my heroine pops popcorn for two little kids and they also string some to decorate with. In case you’re curious, the title of the book is A Cowboy Christmas Legend. Look for it September 2021.

Okay, your turn. How much popcorn do you eat? And what is the most surprising fact you learned?