Saying Goodbye…

Praire picturesI have so enjoyed my time here with the fabulous Fillies here at Petticoats and Pistols.  Unfortunately, I have to say goodbye for now.  My plate has become too full to keep up a regular schedule of posts.  That’s not to say you’ll never see me again in the Junction.  I will stop in occasionally just to say hi and to comment on the wonderful posts.  I might even post myself.

Like most historical romance authors I love researching the past and losing myself in another time, if only temporarily.  I’m consistently amazed at the unusual facts and tidbits I’m able to uncover with a little digging.  I’m not talking about the dates and timelines of true historical events, although those are certainly fun to know.  I’m talking about the obscure pieces of information I never learned in high school or college.

Of all the time periods I’ve researched, the American West still fascinates me the most.  Movies, television shows, books; you name the title, I’ve probably watched it, recorded it, or read it.

My fascination with the Old West started when I was a child.  I grew up in the sixties, arguably the heyday for all things western.  I remember watching Gunsmoke every Sunday night with my family.  During the week, we tuned in to the Rifleman, Bonanza, Big Valley and a personal favorite, Wild Wild West.  Best of all, I lived a few short miles east of a Florida theme park called Six Gun Territory.  I kid you not! Six-gun territory

As the name implies, Six Gun Territory was a modern-day rendering of a western boom town straight out of a 1960s television program.  Can you hardly stand it? An entire amusement park devoted to the Old West!  Main Street included an apothecary, a general store and, yes, a swinging-door saloon where I ordered my very own root beer with a big head of foam.

Aside from the nausea-inducing rides and sugar-coated junk food, the most exciting events held at Six Gun Territory were the mock shootouts.  Looking back with my adult eyes, I realize these staged shows had to be the cheesiest demonstrations of good versus evil ever produced.  But to a six-year-old little girl they were pure entertainment and a source of great hope.  After all, the hero always won, no matter how many mean threats the bad guy dished out before the invisible “bullets” started flying.

six gun territory shootoutConsidering my love of westerns and the list of favorite movies mentioned above, it’s clear that I’ve always had a fascination for flawed people with jaded pasts, the men and women most in need of redemption.  That’s why I appreciate writing for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historical.  With the faith element a part of every story, I’m able to walk with my characters through a temporary period of darkness into a life full of love, hope and happily-ever-after.


The road to redemption is never smooth in real life.  Nor is it boring.  With that in mind, I’ve tried to avoid using clichéd characters in my Charity House series.  Although I’ve had a lawman or two, and even a schoolmarm, I’ve also highlighted a rebel preacher, a Shakespearean stage actress, a frontier doctor, an opera singer, a swanky hotel owner, a former Outlaw and even a pickpocket.  Each book in the series is connected in some way to Charity House, a baby farm dedicated to caring for children born to prostitutes.

As a final goodbye gift, I’ll be giving away another full set of my Charity House books, that’s a copy each of all eight books to one lucky winner.  Thanks again for the great memories.  You will see me again.

A Special Offer

Good morning, as I careen toward my latest deadline, the ninth book in my Charity House series, I’ve decided to offer a special treat to our readers.  Leave a comment and you’ll be included in a drawing to win a copy of each of the previous eight (8) books in the series.  I will choose two winners.  Here’s a quick look at the eight books in the series.

9780373828647_PRD The Outlaw's Redemption cover art FINALLY A BRIDE cover art The_Marshal_Takes_a_Bride_Cover_art Charity House Courtship cover art Hannah's_Beau_cover





















And the most recent installment in the series, HIS MOST SUITABLE BRIDE


FastFacts about Hats of the early 1900s

1900 hat 2Hello from Renee Ryan. I’m closing in on the end of my book, only a few more weeks to go. I’m having fun dressing my 1890s heroine. However, as I think about what her life will be like after she gets her own happy-ever-after, I keep wondering what she’ll look like, what clothes she’ll wear. Today, I’m going to focus on the hats she will choose, especially since her sister-in-law designs hats. So here are a few FastFacts about hats at the turn of the 20th centruy.1900 hat








  • Hats in the early 1900s were influenced by the art nouveau fashion. 

  • Hats swirled and swooped around the head in the same manner as the bell skirts swirled and swooped around the ankles.

  • Lavish brims swept around the face creating an illusion of the hat being magically suspended around the head. 

  • Many of these spectacular creations were swathed in tulle and smothered in fake flora, ribbons or plumage. 

  • Pompadour frames were used to build up the base of the hat.

  • Hat pins were used to anchor the contraption atop the head.

  • By 1904 the the hat’s height was more important than the width.  

  • By 1908 the big Merry Widow picture hat became popular.  afa66532dae59030c1310be94d9c2d17.jpg (228×291)

  • The fashion designer Lucile had designed the original widow hat for an operetta in 1907, but it influenced hat fashions for many more years.  

  • The Merry Widow hat was always black and encased in filmy chiffon or organdie and festooned in feathers. 

  • In 1907 Poiret was also instrumental in setting a new trend, the turban.  c5d7e6e6fbae4d206653a6a74990af33.jpg (236×300)

  • Evening turbans were all the rage and gave an exotic eastern influence.

  • By 1911, hats became smaller and were adorned with stiff plumes and ostrich feathers 

    What’s your favorite clothing era?  Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a copy of one of my books from my backlist!

    1900 hat 3

FastFacts about the Prairie

My husband and I recently decided to explore our local area, mainly the beautiful country between Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska.  For those of you who have never driven this small, 40-mile section of the I-80 corridor, you’re truly missing a beautiful part of our country.


Holy Family Shrine in Nebraska
Holy Family Shrine in Nebraska

For years, we’ve made this drive between the two cities and have always wondered about the large glass structure on the vista overlooking the Platte River.  I decided no more wondering.  It was time to stop at the Holy Family Shrine. It’s a unique church that stands on a hill visible from both directions on I-80. The Holy Family Shrine is glass-walled, with supports holding up its 45-ft. tall roof. A man-made stream bubbles along a path cut along the walkway to the entrance and then in the floor of the nave.  The idea for the shrine was hatched in 1993, and a series of miracles led to the acquisition of property and building of the shrine, which opened in 2002. Interstate drivers have a place to stop and pray and look out over the land where pioneers once traveled.



praire pictures 4
The cross outside the Holy Family Shrine

Here are a few of the other views from atop the vista.

Praire pictures
Overlooking the Platte River
praire pictures 3
The Prairie Grass










  • Tallgrass prairie once covered 170 million acres of North America.

  • Today less than 4% remains. A

  • single blade of big bluestem might have a root system descending over 8 feet underground.

  • The Platte River is about 310 mi (500 km) long. It flows for over 1,050 miles (1,690 km).

  • The Platte River is a tributary of the Missouri River, which is a tributary of the Mississippi River, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico.

  • The major emigration trails established along the north and south banks of the Platte and North Platte River were the Oregon Trail (1843–1869), the California Trail (1843–1869), the Mormon Trail (1847–1869) and the Bozeman Trail (1863–68).

  • This network of trails, sometimes called the Emigrant Trails or the Great Platte River Road, all went west along both sides of the Platte River.

  • LEAVE A COMMENT and I’ll enter you in a drawing to win your choice of books from my backlist!

1890s Home Remedies FASTFACTS

Me again, Renee Ryan. I’m deep in the middle of my latest work-in-progress. My heroine’s mother has taken ill, so I thought I would share some of my findings for home remedies of the 1890s.


DOG FENNEL in the wild
DOG FENNEL in the wild



For sore throat: Dog Fennel boiled with lard created a soothing tonic.





Elderberry Blossom Tea was thought the best treatment for fever. 

Elderberry Bush in the wild
Elderberry Bush in the wild








Peppermint Plant in the wild
Peppermint Plant in the wild

Pepperment was used for stomach aches








Turpentine (a fluid obtained by distilling resin obtained from pine trees) and sugar was believed to cure worms

Extracting resin from pine trees
Extracting resin from pine trees



Bottle and dropper
Bottle and dropper

For an earache, laudanum was dropped in the ear with a dropper






For colds: Onions were boiled to a concentrated solution and then sweetened with sugar.


Do you have any home remedies to share?  In honor of my book release this week, leave a message and you’ll be added into a drawing to win either HIS MOST SUITABLE BRIDE or a bood of your choice from my backlist.