New Release & Give-Away

Howdy!  Howdy!

Good morning, or evening!

Yes, indeed.  I have a new release out and it is book #4 in the new Medicine Man series.

And today, I’ll be giving away an e-book copy of the book to a lucky blogger.  Please leave a message.

As I often do when I have a new release out, I post an excerpt of the book, and I’ll be doing this today, also  Just as a mention, my respect for these two characters grew as the story progressed.  Both of them so different, yet both of them had so much respect for each other.

So the excerpt I’ll leave with you today comes at the very start of the novel, and is the Prologue.

 

This is the back blurb for the book:

A woman deserted.  A troubled warrior.  A passion denied. 

  1. When eighteen-year-old Czanna Fehér is forced to flee her home in Hungary, she journeys with her younger siblings and her father’s manservant to Montana in search of her cousin. Mourning for her recently deceased parents, she sings a prayer to the grand, Montana mountains.  From the first moment Stands Strong hears Czanna singing, he is transfixed.  When he meets her, he is captivated as much by her dark beauty as he is by her voice.

But, after the family’s hired guide steals their money and runs, her father’s servant leaves Czanna to go and serve justice to the man, leaving Czanna desolate and in charge.  Being of the gentry class in Hungary, Czanna knows she and her siblings cannot survive in this land without help.  When Stands Strong comes to her aid, she realizes she must trust this man.

Lakota born, though raised by the Blackfeet, Stands Strong descends from a long line of medicine men, but this legacy seems to have skipped over him.  Accepting this, he has become an expert scout.  But, when Czanna attempts to hire Stands Strong as their guide, offering him the “evil gold rock” as payment, he suggests marriage to him instead.  Czanna refuses him, even though the flame of love is burning heatedly in her heart.

Can two people from incompatible cultures ever come together?  Or are their star-guided paths meant only to briefly cross?

Warning:  A sensuous romance that might cause a desire to go West in search of love and adventure.

 

She Brings Beauty To Me

By

Karen Kay

PROLOGUE

Pest, Hungary

The Estate of József and Mária Fehér

Spring 1855

  

“Czanna, hurry.  There is no time to waste!”

“What is it, Frederic?”  Eighteen-year-old Czanna Fehér stepped from her bedroom into the grand hallway on the upper level of her family’s ancestral mansion.  By closing the heavy wooden door against her maid, who still lingered in the room, Czanna ensured her conversation with her brother would remain private.  It was important in these days after the Grand Revolution of 1848.  Even the walls had “ears.”  Indeed, since the revolution for independence had failed, their entire family was constantly on guard against spies.

Taking her brother’s outstretched hand, Czanna rushed with him down the hall, noticing details about the corridor she had always taken for granted: the white, gold-flecked marble flooring; the gold, woolen curtains and the gold hardware holding them in place; the white and gold tiles of the arched ceiling and the white columns with gold trim that supported them.

At the end of the passage loomed her favorite feature, though it stood more exactly outside the hallway.  There at the very end of the pathway stood a heavy gold-flecked glass door, opening up onto a balcony that supported a three-tiered fountain from which water fell down in every direction and at every hour of the day.  At the very top of the white fountain stood the statue of Dacso Fehér, one her noble ancestors.  And, there he reposed, captured in time, ever alert and ready to take action to defend his home, should there be a need.

Yet, she had only a moment to admire the grand walkway and its balcony because Frederic was ushering her toward the third-floor study, a room where they had often played in their youth.  He opened the door, closing it as they both hurried past the large rectangular desk that stood so stately upon a wall-to-wall woolen rug of blue and gold.  Her brother didn’t hesitate in his movements, ignoring the alcove overlooking the estate and guiding her into a corner of the room.  There he paused, and, since Frederic was acting in so clandestine a manner, Czanna prayed the acoustics of the spot would keep their conversation from being overheard.

As soon as they were both seated in the blue-and-gold chairs and were facing one another, she asked, “What has happened?”

Frederic looked cautiously around the room before he murmured, “Our parents have been arrested and are awaiting trial.”

“Arrested?  Awaiting trial?  Surely you jest!”

“I do not,” he said.  “Indeed, it is true.  There is even talk of hanging them both for their part in the rebellion of 1848.”

“No!  It cannot be true!  The new government would never go so far as to arrest a nobleman and his wife.”

Frederic reached out and took Czanna’s hand into his own as though to comfort her.  But, such consolation lasted only a moment before his gaze bore into her own, and he said, “I fear it is no lie.  Now, listen to me carefully.  Someone—and we don’t know who—has reported our parents as part of the noblemen who helped Lajos Kossuth when he was in power in 1848.  As you know, his followers, save some who escaped, have either been imprisoned or executed.”

“No!”  Czanna let out a scream.

“Sh-h-h.  Do not cry out again, Czanna.  Now, listen and hear me well.  I am working with others who supported the Kossuth revolution; we are planning to make an appeal to Emperor Franz Joseph to free our parents.  I believe we will be successful.  But, you must remain strong as I tell you this next part: our entire family, including you and me as well as our little brother and sister, could be hung along with our parents if the appeal does not go well.”

Czanna gasped.  “But, I thought the new government had proclaimed they would support the idea of freedom for all, including all those who supported the 1848 Revolution.”

“Although there is talk of this, it is not true,” replied Fredric.  “Listen carefully.  I was able to speak briefly to our father today, and we both agree you and the rest of the family must flee.  It is for your own safety and the preservation of our family.  You must leave here this very night, and you must take our younger brother and sister with you.”

“Tonight?  Leave Hungary?  Leave the only home I’ve ever known?”

“I fear you must,” answered Frederic.  “Neither I nor our father can envision any other way to keep you and the rest of our family safe.”

Czanna looked away, forcing herself to become calm.  Then, after a moment, she said softly, “Yes, of course.  I am sorry I am so shocked; it is only that—” Her voice broke.  Then, looking up at her brother, she asked, “And you?  You have mentioned our brother and sister, but what about you?  You are coming with us, are you not?”

Frederic glanced away from her, his composure hard, although a muscle twitched in his cheek.  At last, he said, “No.  I am staying here.  I fear I cannot escape with you.  There are people I am working with who also wish to free our parents, and if I am not here to help these people, our parents’ freedom is not assured.”

“Oh, I see.  You are to stay here and help our parents.  And, of course there is no one else who will work harder than you to free them.  Still, if I must leave tonight, how will I ever be able to go away unseen?  Where would I go?”

“To America.  You must go to America.”

“To America?  But, America is so far away, and I hear it is a savage land.”

“Yes, I have been given rumors to believe the same as you,” said Frederic.  “But, there are reasons why America is the only country where our father and I believe you and the rest of the family will be safe.  It is there where you will be able to hide yourself from any Hungarian spies.  I have already spoken to our father’s manservant, Henrik, and I have asked him to accompany you.  He, however, refused the coin I offered him to do it.  He said it is his duty to ensure you and our brother and sister are kept as safe as possible.  He will guide you and shelter you as much as he is able.  He also understands why I must stay here to try to free our father and our mother, and he agrees with our father and me.  He has also given me his solemn word of honor to help you and our brother and sister to reach the American frontier with as little incident as possible.  Henrik will, of course, be bringing his own daughter with him.”

“Yes, of course.  Since she is his only family, she, too, must embark upon this journey.  Although she is barely ten years and four, I believe I shall welcome her assistance very much, especially since our younger sister is still a babe.”

“Yes.  Now, listen well to me.  You and the others are to sail north on the Danube this very night, and once you are out of the city of Pest, you and the others will go by coach to the coast, there to set sail for America.  I have purchased the boarding tickets for you all on a ship sailing from the port there tomorrow.  The name of the ship is on the tickets.  I will now give them to you and not to Henrik.  Count them and ensure there are five.”  Frederic handed her the tickets.

“Yes.  There are five tickets here.”

“Good.  Now, come, I have a private box in this study where I have stored the papers you will need as well as enough gold and silver so you will be able to buy lodging and food.  Keep the money on your person at all times.  I have two strong, but light bags to serve this purpose.  Do not store the coin in a trunk or any other convenience that is separate from you, nor are you to tell anyone, including Henrik, about the treasure you will be carrying on your person.  I’m sorry.  I know this is a heavy burden I am forced to place upon you, but there is no other manner in which to ensure you will be safe from harm.  Never show what I am to give to you to another soul either—not to our younger brother and certainly not to Henrik.  I will give Henrik other monies so he will not suspect that you also carry a treasure with you.  Please bend close for what I am about to show you and tell you.  These very walls may well have ears.  I fear I am placing you now as the head of our family from this day forward.  This family now extends to both Henrik and his daughter.”

“But…about the gold and silver.  I understand what you say about showing it to no one, including Henrik.  However, Henrik has been with our family for his entire life, and he wouldn’t—”

“I trust no one,” interrupted Frederic.  “Someone reported our parents for their part in the revolution—someone who knows us and has access to our parents’ secret papers.  Because this spy is within our midst, we are all in danger.  Do you understand?  We could all be tried for treason and hung.”

“But, Frederic, since our youngest sister, Béla, is only three years old, surely it is possible for her to stay here.  After all, it will be a hard journey for her.  Is there no other way?”

“There is none.  It will be worse for her if she stays, and this is another reason why I spoke long and ardently to Henrik about the need to bring his daughter with him.  I could not have rightly placed you into the position as the head of our family if you also had to act as a nanny for Béla.  Henrik’s daughter, Lilike, will care for Béla, which will leave you free to think clearly about what is best for our family.  Do you have any other questions?”

“I…I—”

“You all must flee…and tonight.  I do not know how much time we have until the palace guards come here to arrest our entire family.”

“I…I can hardly believe it.”

“I know.”

Glancing up at Frederic’s solemn face, Czanna was startled to realize this might be the last time she would ever see her brother, unless…  “Brother, if we are all in danger, then you must come with us.  I beg you.  Come with us.”

“I cannot,” Frederic replied.  “You know I cannot.  I have it in my power to free our parents and clear our family’s name.  This means more to me than my life.  Please understand, I must stay here and fight.  But, you must go.  You must find safety in America.  Lose yourself in the wild western frontier of America.  Do not use our family name.  Trust no one.  And, under no circumstances are you to return to Hungary.”

“Never?”

“Never,” Frederic confirmed, shaking his head.  “I believe it must be so.  There seems to be no empathy in the new government towards those who strove to free the people.  But, do not fear.  There is yet a ray of light in all of this.”

“Yes?”

“Do you remember our cousin Alfred?”

Czanna nodded.  “I do.  He is about ten years older than you, I think.”

“Yes, he is older than I.  Do you remember him being a part of the Revolution, also?”

“Yes, I do,” said Czanna.  “But, he became a Hungarian forty-eighter and escaped into the American West, didn’t he?  I assume he must have changed his name in order to evade capture.”

“Yes, he did,” replied Frederic.  “But, he and I have been writing to one another these last seven years.  I wish I knew where he is located exactly in the American West.  I know only the following: he uses the English name of Old Tom Johnson and he lives within the Glacier Mountains located in the far corner of the Northwest Indian Country.  I have written to him, informing him of what is happening here to our entire family, and I have told him to watch for you and our siblings in the next few years.  But, since I do not know exactly where he makes his home in the Glacier Mountains, I am trusting you—not Henrik— to hire a guide to take you to him.”

“But, why not Henrik?”

“Let me say this one more time: someone who knows us and who has access to our papers betrayed us.  I like Henrik, same as you.  But, I trust no one except you to take our family to safety.”

Czanna nodded.

“Now, I have also written a letter that I will give to you to take to our cousin, whom you may call Tom Johnson.  I am putting this letter into your care to present to him once you locate him; plus, there is one more of our family’s possessions which is, perhaps, the most important of all I have to give you.  Our father begs you to find our cousin and give him this.”  Frederic reached inside his coat to draw out an object carefully wrapped in the finest linen.  Looking around the room, inspecting its nooks and crannies in detail, he then gave the package his attention and unwrapped the linen.

Czanna gasped.  “Why, it’s our…our—”

“Coat of arms, our Crest.  It is worth a treasure, not only because it is made of bronze, gold and silver, but because it is also a seal we must preserve.  Our father instructed me to caution you to hide it well, and, to this end, I have personally created a trap in your trunk where you may hide our seal.  When you at last find our cousin, you are to give our family’s crest to him.  It is important.  The seal must be preserved, even if our country falls.  It will also identify you to our cousin.  Our father wishes you to give our cousin the seal because, if my plea to Emperor Franz Joseph fails, our cousin would then be the oldest living member of our family.  As you well know, it is always the eldest of our family who must bear the responsibility for preserving it.  Seek out our cousin.  He will help you.  Give him my letter and the seal and ask him to help you all to disappear into the rugged country of the American West.  I fear there may well be Hungarian agents who will try to follow you.  Do you understand?”

“I do.  But, Frederic.  How can I go there and leave you here knowing…knowing…?”

Frederic again shook his head.  “I cannot go with you.  Please understand this: my duty is here.  When you arrive in America, send me word of your arrival but say nothing more.  I believe you will need to hire a coach to take you to a settlement called St. Louis.  From there, you can book passage aboard a steamboat that will take you into the depths of the American West.  Our cousin has written to me telling me he has become a fur trapper.  I admit I think it is a terrible occupation, but it is, perhaps, the only livelihood for a man in the ruggedness of America.  At least where he is now, he is not in the line of fire.  Join him there, and once you are safe from harm, use the money I have given you to buy property, if you can.  I will do my best to free our parents.  I cannot emphasize this enough: do not let anyone know you carry with you a treasure in gold and silver, nor tell another living soul about the family crest; you are not even to say a word about this to our siblings, and certainly not to Henrik.”

“But, I must have some money I can easily show and use to buy necessities.  If I am to hire a man to take us to our cousin, I must—”

“Of course you will have to carry some coin with you.  But, what I am giving you to carry on your person is more than mere coin.”

“Oh, yes, of course.  Yes.  I understand now.”

“Hear me well, and do not forget what I am about to tell you: until this is over, you can trust no one who is Hungarian, except, of course, our cousin.  Someone has betrayed us.  Now, remember these words I say to you: do not ever come back to Hungary for any reason.”

“But, Frederic, not ever?”

“Not ever.  Swear this to me now: you are never to return to Hungary.”

“But, what if—?”

“Do you swear?”

Gazing up into her brother’s solemn expression, Czanna nodded and whispered, “I swear.”

“Good.  As you know, our family is one of the noble families who sided with the Revolution.  I do not have the knowledge of what the future holds here.  But, whatever our future is to be, I and our father and mother wish you and our siblings to survive.  Make a new life for yourself, as well as for our brother and sister.  Do you understand?”
Czanna nodded.

“Good.  Now, grab your cloak, gather our siblings together and go!  Outside of what I’ve given you, take nothing else with you.”

“But, my clothes, my shoes, my—”

“They are all Hungarian made.  You must disappear.  You and our brother and sister are to have nothing with you or on you that can identity you as to whom you really are.  Now, Henrik waits outside with a coach.”

Czanna’s brother, who was probably her best friend in all the world as well as being her brother, took both her hands into his own.  Breathing in deeply, he said, “Farewell, Czanna.  I will miss you and the others.  I am sorry to burden you with so much responsibility.  If there were a way to do it, I would take the cares of the world away from you, our sister and our brother.  I, alone, would carry this weight if I could.  But, there is not a manner by which to do it.  I must free our parents.  I will write.  Look for my letters, but do not write back to me except to inform me of your journey and that you have reached America.  Know this: I will never ask where you are and you are never to tell me.  Nor will I ever ask you to go against your word and return to Hungary.  Again, I am sorry I have to burden you with this, but upon your shoulders rests the future life of our family.”

Czanna nodded, looking down and hiding, if only for a moment, the shock as well as the tears in her eyes.  It was at some length when, at last, clearing her throat, she said, “I know and I understand the burden I carry.  Farewell, Frederic.  We will see one another again.  I am certain of it.”

“Let us hope your words will hold true.”

Standing up, Frederic reached out a hand to pull Czanna to her feet.  He hugged her, and, as was tradition, he kissed her gently on each side of her face.  Then, Czanna stood to her tiptoes and, reaching up, returned the endearment.

Shaking a little, Czanna stepped back and, turning away, hurried from the study, rushing toward her younger siblings’ rooms.

“Farewell,” she called as she reached the door.

“Farewell, Czanna,” answered Frederic.  “Godspeed.”


Hail Stone (Crow) and his wife, Alvina.  Although Hail Stone was from the Crow tribe, I simply l love this photo — it looks like they might have met in one of the Wild West Shows.  It is a picture showing the love between two people regardless of their cultures.

Anyway, that’s it for today.  Do leave a comment.  And have a happy day and rest of the week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can pick up your copy of She Brings Beauty To Me here:

https://tinyurl.com/She-Brings-Beauty-To-Me

 

 

The Secrets Beneath by Kimberley Woodhouse

Kimberley Woodhouse is joining us today to talk about … dinosaurs and her soon-to-release novel!

A couple of years ago, I asked my Facebook reader friends if there was a subject they would like to see covered in Christian Fiction that really hadn’t been tackled before. It generated a lot of conversation and several great suggestions. But in the middle of all of those comments, one caught my eye. 

Dinosaurs.

 

Photo Credit: Renette Steele

At first, I was a bit hesitant to try and wrap my brain around paleontology, science and faith. Dinosaurs are so fascinating and the history around them is vast. And anytime science and faith intersect, it can get interesting. (Let’s just say writing this book had me praying a whole bunch.) 

 

But what came out of this adventure into paleontology is my new book, The Secrets Beneath, releasing September 26! 

 

I am SO excited about this book and this series. One – it’s a series that explores the joy of God’s creation and digging to see what treasures one can find in the dirt. Two – I got the opportunity to learn about women in paleontology from the early 1800s into the 1900s. Their passion and love for fossils and learning was inspiring. And three – it has been one of my favorite books to write. Ever. 

The best part about writing this was the research. I traveled to Dinosaur National Monument, which is on the northwest border of Colorado and Utah in the Uinta Mountains. There you can see incredible skeletons of dinosaurs, all shapes and sizes, on display.

 You can also travel through the park and get the chance to dig to some of your own fossils, a fantastic souvenir to take home, if you find one. The beauty and majesty of this park stretches on for miles and miles. The scenery is breathtaking.

And highly inspirational for an author! 

 Dinosaur National Monument is home to a massive bone quarry was found in 1908 by Earl Douglass, a paleontologist for the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, PA. It was his story, struggle and passion for exploring the secrets hidden beneath the layers of dirt and rock in our world, that inspired much of this story. I had the pleasure of meeting his granddaughter, Diane Douglass Iverson. She spoke with me at great length about Earl’s persistence in a profession that was often painstakingly slow with little reward. Diane also shared about her grandfather’s love for God’s creation, and the songs and prose it inspired in him. He once wrote, “Every little untouched spot of nature, every tree, every plant suggests new ideas and and is a little incentive for the world of the imagination.” (Speak To the Earth and It Will Teach You: The Life and Times of Earl Douglass, 1862-1931) What a beautiful thought. 

 I am deeply indebted to Diane for the generosity of her time, and the permission to share quotes from her grandfather throughout this book. 

 My prayer for The Secrets Beneath is that readers come away with a sense of awe for the power and creativity of the Lord. As readers get to know Anna and Joshua, I hope they are inspired by their love for the West with all it’s grandeur and danger, each other, and their journey to gain a deeper understanding of the love and grace of Jesus. 

To celebrate my new release, I’m doing two giveaways! One on my website, that celebrates my other series set in the West: Secrets of the Canyon Giveaway. This giveaway has a grand prize with a ton of goodies! (And a pre-order of The Secrets Beneath counts as an entry.) 

 I’m also doing a giveaway here on Petticoats and Pistols!

Comment below and let me know what your favorite dinosaur is.

If you don’t have one, I’d love to know: what your favorite thing about historical fiction?

I’ll pick two lucky winners to get a copy of The Secrets Beneath

 

Until then, enjoy the journey! 

Kimberley 

Get your copy of The Secrets Beneath

(40% off plus free shipping)

Kim has been writing seriously for more than twenty years. Songs, plays, short stories, novels, picture books, articles, newsletters – you name it – she’s written it. It wasn’t until a dear friend challenged her to “do something with it” that she pursued publication. Now, she is a best-selling author of more than two dozen books, with more on the way. She has won The Carol Award, The Reader’s Choice Award, The Holt Medallion, and has finaled in the Selah Awards and the Spur Awards.

She is passionate about Bible study, reading, music, cooking, and pretty-much-all-things-crafty. Kimberley has been married to her incredible husband for twenty-nine years and counting and they have two married adult children.

Learn more about her on her website: Kimberleywoodhouse.com 

 

 

Regina Scott Talks The Legend of the Mercer Belles

Blue Sky Brides

By Regina Scott

“The bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle. And the hills the greenest green, in Seattle.”

If you remember when that song was first introduced, you likely remember the late 1960s television show, Here Come the Brides. In it, timber baron Jason Bolt and his two brothers bring one hundred brides from the East Coast to marry lonely loggers in frontier Seattle. It’s based on the true story of Asa Mercer, who traveled East in two trips to bring back Civil War widows and single ladies to “civilize” the frontier. The total of the two trips was far less than one hundred, but all except one ended up married. Go figure!

The legend of the Mercer Belles had intrigued me since I was a child, so I was delighted to pen a series of books for the Love Inspired Historical line with some of the heroines who had come with Mercer to Seattle. And now I’m continuing the series with The Perfect Mail-Order Bride, Her Frontier Sweethearts, and, most recently, Frontier Cinderella.

But I kept wondering. What did Asa Mercer say to convince women he’d never met to journey with him and start new lives in the wilderness? The barriers to acceptance were many.

These ladies were from the Boston area (most from Lowell, Massachusetts), and they’d had some education. Many had been trained as teachers. In contrast, many of the loggers, miners, and farmers in Seattle had little to no education, and they’d been living among men long enough that they sometimes forgot the social niceties.

Then there was the distance. In the 1860s, there were no trains and only a few trails linked the East Coast and the West Coast. The Mercer Belles had to sail for months. The first group went by way of crossing the isthmus in Panama; the second sailed down the coast of North and South America, through the Strait of Magellan, and up the other coasts. Chances were, if these women left for Seattle, they were never going to see family or friends again.

Finally, there was Mr. Mercer. He claimed to have been appointed Commissioner of Immigration  by the governor of Washington Territory and to have been made the first president of the Territorial University (both true), but he was only 25 at the time of his first trip, and a bachelor at that. Could he be trusted? The papers in the area thought not. They labeled him a swindler and predicted any lady who traveled with him would end up in a brothel.

So, what did he say? I found part of one of his speeches, courtesy of Lynn Bragg’s More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Washington Women:

“The climate of Washington Territory is marked by two seasons only, winter and summer. From the first day of April until the middle of November no other spot on this green earth boasts such a mild, equitable and delightful climate as does the valley of Puget Sound.”

It seems the bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle! Here’s to the women brave enough to take him at his word. Many a Northwest family owes them a debt of gratitude!

In honor of the Mercer Belles, I’m giving away two print copies of The Perfect Mail-Order Bride, U.S. only. Answer this question in the comments to be entered in the drawing: Would you have agreed to go with Asa Mercer and settle the frontier?

Series link to The Perfect Mail Order Bride

 

Regina Scott started writing novels in the third grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, she didn’t sell her first novel until she learned a bit more about writing. Since her first book was published, her stories have traveled the globe, with translations in many languages including Dutch, German, Italian, and Portuguese. She now has more than sixty-five published works of warm, witty romance, and more than 1 million copies of her books are in reader hands. She currently lives forty-five minutes from the gates of Mount Rainier with her husband of thirty years. Regina Scott has dressed as a Regency dandy, driven four-in-hand, learned to fence, and sailed on a tall ship, all in the name of research, of course. Learn more about her at her website at http://www.reginascott.com

Regina Walker Insists Genealogy Isn’t Such a Bore After All!

The Fillies give a big welcome to Regina Walker. Regina crafts interesting characters facing some of life’s hardest challenges. Her heart’s desire is to always point toward Jesus through the way her characters face challenges, relationships, and adversity.

Regina is an Oklahoma import, although she was born and raised in the beautiful state of Colorado. She likes to curl up on the couch and binge-watch crime shows with her hard-working husband. When she’s not wrestling with a writing project, she can be found wrangling their children, riding their horses, or working around their small hobby farm.

Before I get started, I want to take a moment and thank Karen Witemeyer for so graciously inviting me to write a post for Petticoats and Pistols. I appreciate all of the ladies that run this fun site, and I’m thankful you are here to read this post and the others!

For as long as I can recall, my mother has traced our family history. Sometimes she makes slow progress, occasionally great leaps, but it’s something she has built for years. While her dedication and commitment have always inspired me, I must admit that I thought it was such a boring pursuit.

I listened with half-hearted attention, my mind always wandering to something else. When I decided to take my writing seriously, I swore I would never write historical anything.

See, not only did genealogy bore me endlessly, but history, in general, made my eyes bug out of my head. I know it is important to understand certain aspects of history, but it was never my thing.

When I received a message asking me to join the Mail-Order Mama series, I wrinkled my nose. Historicals and I don’t mix! But I read the premise, and immediately, Mary Ann came to life and started whispering her story to me.

The way she respected and loved her father, the way he cared for their family, and the struggles with her mama all blossomed in my mind.

How could I say no to a story that was writing itself with no help from me?

I did end up helping sort out a few things in this story. I started my research on my mom’s website, reading about real-life people in our family. I selected Wyoming because my great-great-grandfather homesteaded there. The old house, although in terrible disrepair, still stands near Lake De Smet.

I chose to give Mason the last name Barkey to honor my heritage. Although my great-great-grandfather did not order a bride via the mail, it was my way of honoring where I came from to include the last name in this story.

Now, don’t let me fool you. I didn’t become a history buff and I’m not going to take up genealogy the way my sweet mom has. I did gain an appreciation for both history and genealogy that I did not have before.

 

Now that you know a little bit about how I came to write Mary Ann’s story – A Maid for Masonhow about a chance to win an e-book copy of my book? Three lucky winners will be drawn at random for this giveaway. To be entered, leave a comment on whether you’ve ever developed an appreciation for something because of a book you’ve read. 

Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for spending a little time with me today.

Heather Blanton Finds An Angel on the Loose

In my new book releasing today, Penelope, Book 6 in the Love Train series, my heroine has to pretend to be a nun. This is, of course, a substantial obstacle to the hero who fights falling in love with her. He has to wonder, though, what kind of a nun can’t keep her veil on and doesn’t know her Bible? But when called upon to help an abused Indian girl, Penelope rises to the task with plenty of heart.

The way this story went put me in mind of a young Catholic girl who, while she didn’t don a habit, impacted the West forever with her faith.

In 1850, at about the age of five, Nellie Cashman immigrated to Boston from Ireland with her sister and widowed mother. The three spent almost fifteen years together there, but then relocated west to San Francisco around 1872. Nellie and her mother, both of whom apparently had an adventurous streak, decided to move on to the bustling, untamed mining town of Pioche, NV. They only stayed a few years, but Nellie was deeply involved with

the Catholic church there, helping with fundraisers and bazaars.

When her aging mother decided Pioche was a little too wild for a senior citizen, she and Nellie returned to San Francisco. Nellie, however, didn’t stay. She left her mother with her married sister and headed north alone to British Columbia to another rough-and-rowdy mining town. She opened a boarding house in the Cassiar District and tried her hand at mining.Now, most girls in this situation, hanging around with such an unsavory crowd, might get into mischief, forget their morals. Herein lies the quirky thing about Nellie: she loved to help people, sometimes through hell and high water…and avalanches.

In the winter of 1874-75, Nellie took a trip to Victoria where she helped establish the Sisters of St. Ann Hospital. Over the coming decades, she would continue to be a stalwart supporter of this hospital and several others. She is most famous, though, for what she did upon leaving Victoria.

Traveling back to Cassiar, she heard a blizzard had stranded dozens of the folks from the district. They were trapped, hungry, and experiencing a scurvy epidemic, to boot. Nellie immediately hired men and sleds, acquired medicine and supplies and started out for Cassiar. It took the group 77 days in unimaginable conditions to reach the miners. Nellie then worked tirelessly to nurse the folks back to health.

Her feat was so astounding, so fearless, the story was picked up by the newspapers. With good cause, she came to be known to the miners as their “Angel of the Cassiar.”

Nellie was a legitimate legend.

She was also a restless girl, constantly on the move from one raunchy mining town to the next. After the death of her sister, she continued to feed her wanderlust, but with five nephews and nieces in tow. To keep food on the table, she bought and sold restaurants, and even owned and worked her own claims.

She spent several years in Tombstone, AZ where she rubbed shoulders with larger-than-life figures like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. Nellie’s faith, however, was as ingrained on her heart as cactus on the dessert. Even in wild-and-wooly Tombstone, she worked to build the city’s first hospital and Roman Catholic church.

Nellie worked tirelessly to make the world a better place and still managed to raise five upstanding citizens while keep her mines working. When she passed away in 1925, she did so in the Sisters of St. Anne hospital that she had funded for nearly fifty years.

Today Heather is giving away 5 copies of Penelope! For a chance to win one, tell Heather what ways you think we can make an impact in our local communities or neighborhoods.

Buy PENELOPE on Amazon!

Janice Cole Hopkins: A Few Bumps in the Road

The Fillies give a big welcome to Janice Cole Hopkins. She’s a long-time P&P follower and a lover of history as well as historical western romance. Janice writes her own books many of which are series! Now that’s a big Yee-Haw!

As wagon trains began making the trek west, more of the West opened to settlers. The midwestern states were once the frontier to be settled. However, the discovery of gold in California and the rich, fertile land in Oregon brought larger numbers.

To help protect the pioneers against hostile Indians and to give them a trading post along the way, forts were built. Forts Laramie, Bridger, and Hall in what is now Wyoming were constructed of logs, mostly cottonwood. Fort Kearney in Nebraska was built using adobe, sod, logs, and boards. Fort Boise in Idaho first used adobe. Travelers were excited to visit a fort and break the austere, often monotonous life on the trail. Yet, they found the prices outrageous because it cost to transport the goods there.

In my new release, A Few Bumps in the Road, Judith Johnson takes her younger brother and travels along a portion of the Oregon Trail to Kansas as a mail-order bride after their parents die. She meets her intended and his brother at Fort Ferguson, a fictitious fort based on most of the others I researched. Her husband, although handsome and charming, turns out to be a womanizer and has a drinking problem.  Judith is determined to make her marriage work, however, and she keeps telling herself her situation could be worse. At least Calvin’s older brother is stable and responsible, providing a home for all of them on the farm. But farm life on the prairie can be hard in 1850, and Calvin’s attitude makes the struggles even worse. But she knew one thing. After the harsh conditions on the Oregon Trail, she never planned to go back, and she hadn’t even gone all the way to Oregon like most of the others were doing.

Although A Few Bumps in the Road is part of the Idioms & Clichés series, like all my books, it can also be read as a standalone. These books are loosely connected by one family’s generations. It is available in print, Audible, and Kindle.

Here’s an excerpt:

Judith’s eyes began to sweep around the fort when she saw a tall man striding their way. Despite his long steps he didn’t appear to be in any hurry to get there.

Mr. Davis took a few steps forward to meet him and extended his hand. Robbie followed Mr. Davis, so Judith did too.

“Good to see you again,” Mr. Davis said. “Allow me to present to you Miss Judith Johnson and her brother Robert, better known as Robbie. Miss Johnson, this is Matthew Miller.”

A momentary flash of surprise flickered over Matthew’s face, but he tipped his hat and nodded. “A pleasure, Miss. Welcome, Robbie. I hope you both will be very happy here.”

She looked around wondering where Calvin could be. She didn’t see another man who fit what she knew of her fiancé.

“Cal woke up not feeling well and needed some extra time. He sent me on out to meet you, but he should be coming along soon.” Matthew must have seen her search.

“I hope nothing’s wrong.”

“No, we came into the fort yesterday evening. Cal woke up with a headache and queasy stomach this morning.”

Judith’s worry deepened, but she didn’t say anything.

“Come and we’ll go over to the building they use for a church. Cal will meet us there.”

You can read more of A Few Bumps in the Road in the Amazon sample and get more information by clicking here.

If anyone would like a free code for an Audible copy for A Few Bumps in the Road, message me on Facebook or email me at janicecolehopkins@gmail.com. (You must have the free Audible account activated to redeem the code.)

For a chance to win a Kindle copy of A Few Bumps in the Road, what do you think would be ONE of the biggest hazards to living on the Kansas frontier in 1850?

It’s Yee-Haw Day!

Welcome to Yee-Haw Day, the once-a-month day we’ve reserved to share our news with you – all sorts of fun news!

So check out the post below to get the details on the kinds of things that make us go Yee-Haw!!

Karen Witemeyer

Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. YeeHaw! I’m so blessed to be living out my happily ever after with my very own Texas hero. My cowboy is disguised as a computer nerd, but I love him through and through.

Not only are we hitting a milestone anniversary this year, but my son Wyatt just got married two weeks ago. So we have an abundance of wedding love to celebrate!

Winnie Griggs

I received some really fun news in mid-May – the reissue of my book Texas Cinderella hit the Publishers Weekly Bestseller List in Religious Fiction!! A great big thanks to all of you readers who support the authors here at Petticoats & Pistols – you mean the world to us!

Cathy McDavid

I received a small piece of good news the other day. I was selected (I’m told out of hundreds of applicants) to be one of 25 local authors featured by the Greater Phoenix Library. I wasn’t expecting the committee to pick a romance author. Or, if they were going to pick a romance author, to choose someone more famous than me. But I’m thrilled! I, along with the other authors, will be featured  in the library’s catalog, on their web page, in their branches, and in their newsletters. And while many of my books are already available through the library, they asked for my backlist and have purchased copies of the books they didn’t have. Very cool!

Karen Kay

 

Start The Wild West Series for $.99.

The Eagle and the Flame is on sale for $.99.

This is book #1 of The Wild West series.

Amazon:  https://tinyurl.com/bdz579x6

Barnes & Noble: https://tinyurl.com/y2bedgt3

ITUNES:  https://tinyurl.com/y38zy5h4

KOBO: https://tinyurl.com/yyeqoe72

GooglePlay:  https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Karen_Kay_The_Eagle_and_the_Flame?id=ta0LEAAAQBAJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book #2, IRON WOLF’S BRIDE

https://tinyurl.com/2s36p7dy

Book #3, BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER

https://tinyurl.com/4k6ahyfr

 

 

 

American Literature in the 1800’s – Why My Characters Read by Sally Britton

In my latest novel, Copper for the Countess, I revisit characters and places from my first foray into the world of writing Historical Western Romance. This time, because I’ve established this fictional place in a time long ago, I concentrated more on what made the houses on this ranch true homes. One of the first things I did for my hero, a foreman on a cattle ranch, was give him a personal library in his house. While only a few shelves exist in his main room, they tell a story about literature and its impact during the expansion westward.

Long ago, when I read an article about Louis L’Amour, he mentioned that some of his cowboys had expansive vocabularies. I remember he said he’d never met a cowboy who hadn’t read Shakespeare, or couldn’t rattle off favorite poems or snatches of great literature. L’Amour postulated that life on the open range left a man a lot of empty time on his hands. Time when he could read a book, and swap books with his friends. Doing a little research of my own, I discovered that many people in the west were better read than we’d guess. We had our own authors Americans loved, but we spent a fair amount of time reading books from across the pond, too.

So my cowboy is a literary cowboy. He loves a good book. On his shelves, you’d find a battered copy of Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo. That particular title gained notoriety in America during the Civil War. Soldiers on both sides of the war took copies of that book into battle. So much so that the book earned the nickname “Lee’s Miserables,” after a confederate general. (Source, Opinionator, NYT.)

Collections of Shakespeare’s work was greatly revered. Of Shakespeare, a cowboy is said to have said, “That fellow Shakespeare could sure spill the real stuff. He’s the only poet I ever seen what fed on raw meat.” (Source, The Washington Free Beacon.)

Jules Verne, a founder of science fiction, was popular in the late nineteenth century, too. We don’t often consider that he was publishing tales about journeying to the center of the earth or Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea when drifters went from one dusty town to another.

By the 1890’s, when my most recent book takes place, books were available at low costs. MacMillan’s Pocket Classics were widely available – I’ve come across several in used bookstores and antique shops in the west, with penciled in names of men and women who lived in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Idaho. A cowboy might have Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe in his saddle bag and trade it with a friend for Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

The love of literature is older than the printing press, and putting beloved books into the hands of my cowboys makes them that much more real, and tangible, to my readers.

In this newest book, Copper for the Countess, my heroine comes upon my cowboy’s library in this way: Evelyn volunteered to dust the bookshelves, and she took extra time to examine the titles of the books […]. The book titles were rather surprising. Many of them she had heard of or seen in London bookshops and libraries. Though none of the volumes she’d seen before looked as worn or weather-beaten as the books in Mr. Morgan’s care. He had a shelf with several volumes of poetry, including Tennyson—England’s poet laureate. He had Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, and the Scot, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. American titles and authors greeted her, too. Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn sat together, as the two friends ought. – Copper for the Countess: An American Victorian Romance 

Buy on Amazon

In my story, a Victorian countess – widowed and with a child – makes her way to the west. When she meets a ranch foreman with a heart of gold and a love of the written word, she takes a chance on him and his own adopted children. I hope you’ll take a peek at my book, and maybe grab a copy for yourself.

I’m giving away signed paperbacks for two winners. One copy of Cooper for the Countess. One copy of the first book in the series, Silver Dollar Duke.

What are some of your favorite books mentioned in the stories you read?

What is your favorite classic novel?

Setting the Scene in Durango, Colorado

MK McClintock

Are you ready for an adventure in the rugged Colorado mountains? Let’s take a journey back to 1899 with Cassandra McKenzie and Quinn Morgan, the duo out for justice in my latest release, The Case of the Copper King.

When Samantha St. Claire pitched the series and invited me along for the ride, I knew my original choice for a setting was not going to work. The historically rich town of Durango was not the original setting, but as Cassandra (aka Casey) and I were getting to know each other, we couldn’t agree on several things, and where she would spend most of the book was among our disagreements.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, Durango is a railroad town in southwestern Colorado, and Silverton is a small mining town to the north. Durango was quite different today from what it was in my youth, but what has not changed is the intriguing history of a wild west town filled with contradictions and tales of both survival and prosperity.

View from the Durango & Silverton train_1989_MK McClintock

I couldn’t wait to get started on the research, and I have no problem admitting that it distracted me from the writing on numerous occasions.

Durango, founded in 1880, was constructed because of the gold beneath the rocky mountain soil and built on the backs of miners, prospectors, bankers, and enterprising men and women who found various ways to make a profit off the land, and off the people who worked the land.

Around Silverton and Animas Forks, Colorado_1989_MK McClintock

My memories of a babbling creek beneath a footbridge behind the house, walking around on all fours with the horses in the pasture, brunch at the Strater Hotel, and playing tourist at nearby resorts were not going to give me the foundation I needed for an 1899 setting. After months of research, I realized those youthful recollections were quite valuable when it came to Casey’s character. When she stepped off the train in Durango or rode into Silverton on the back of her mare, I was right there with her, seeing through her eyes, the hustle, dust, and color of those booming mining towns.

The Strater Hotel, opened in 1888 during a mining boom in Durango, Colorado | Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress

Durango and Silverton, like settings in many books, became secondary characters. From dusty streets to grand hotels, stockyards to caves, and saloons to sporting houses, Casey and Quinn experienced both the unsavory and the beautiful during their adventures.

If you haven’t been to these fascinating towns in Colorado, I highly recommend them. In the meantime, you can join the intrepid crime-solvers and experience a bit of how life might have been when a plucky Pinkerton and a bounty hunter with a conscience join forces.

If only the Rocky Mountain Funnel Cake Factory had been around in 1899, we could have had some real fun in Silverton.

Have you been to Durango or Silverton? If so, what is one of your favorite memories from your visit?

Giveaway!

I’ll be giving away both a of The Case of the Copper King and The Case of the Peculiar Inheritance to one random winner!

For a chance to win, leave a comment about one of your favorite western-related memories, or what wild-west era town you’d like to visit today.

To read an excerpt of The Case of the Copper King CLICK HERE.

Award-winning author MK McClintock writes historical romantic fiction about courageous and honorable men and strong women who appreciate chivalry, like those in her Montana Gallagher, British Agent, and Crooked Creek series. Her stories of adventure, romance, and mystery sweep across the American West to the Victorian British Isles, with places and times between and beyond. She enjoys a quiet life in the northern Rocky Mountains.

To purchase The Case of the Copper King CLICK HERE.

Website: http://www.mkmcclintock.com

Guest Post by Sally Britton!

Howdy Petticoats and Pistols Readers!

I am absolutely thrilled to have an opportunity to chat with ya’ll – as well as share my first ever Historical Western Romance. You see, I spend most of my time writing sweet love stories set in the English Regency. That’s the Jane-Austen-era for those unfamiliar. But the truth is that my first love in the world of romance is Inspirational Historical Westerns. In fact, it was Karen Witemeyer’s “Archer Brother” series that brought me back to that love only a few years ago.

As a girl from Texas, descended from ranchers and farmers alike, when I started writing I knew that I’d have to tell a story set under a big blue western sky. I grew up on Louis L’Amour, Zane Grey, and Janette Oke. When I began my writing journey, I was fortunate enough to move to Arizona for five lovely years. Years spent reading about the local history, visiting historic Tombstone, and falling in love with the clear night sky.

This is where my novel takes place, near present-day Fort Huachuca, and not far from Tombstone. I found this area gorgeous, as it’s surrounded by tree-covered mountains. When most people think about Arizona, picture a desert with saguaro cacti as the only sign of life.

But Arizona is incredibly diverse in its plant and animal life. Living there made me love it.

Courtesy of the Empire Ranch Foundation

The setting for my book is loosely based on the historic Empire Ranch, which was founded by an Englishman and Canadian in the 1870’s. I was fortunate enough to tour and explore as it’s still a working ranch! And the Englishman involved in getting it started left a wonderful legacy of letters home to England, full of his Arizona adventures. This collection of letters inspired me to do something a little different with my hero.

Courtesy of the Empire Ranch Foundation

Evan Rounsevell is an Englishman who attended the Buffalo Bill shows put on for Queen Victoria’s court, and became so fascinated with the American West that he dreamed of running off to be a cowboy. When the opportunity to make a dash across the Pacific comes, Evan jumps aboard a ship with the goal of walking the path of Wyatt Earp and Wild Bill. Except Arizona isn’t the lawless place it used to be, and Evan runs out of money and into trouble.

Thankfully, he meets my heroine, Daniella Bolton. With great reluctance, she gets him a position on her dad’s ranch, and Evan’s dreams become reality. A reality that is difficult, dirty, and full of its own troubles. But Evan finds himself falling in love with the Arizona sunsets and the woman who took a chance on an English stranger.

In my book, Silver Dollar Duke, the ranch is named after the founder, who is the father of the heroine. It’s the KB Ranch. I really enjoyed bringing the characters and ranch to life.

What do you expect from a book set in this part of the country?

Writing a Historical Western Romance challenged me, since I’m more used to stories involving our fictional friends across the pond, but it was a labor of great love.

I’d love to know what you think of the novel, of Arizona, and of a Regency author trying something new. Please drop some comments! I’d love to chat with you lovely readers.

Thank you for spending time with me today!

P.S. Oh – and I’m putting together a giveaway! The lovely hosts here at Petticoats & Pistols have offered to run it for me. I’ll be giving away TWO signed copies of my book, Silver Dollar Duke, And a grand prize gift box with some Western-themed goodies to ONE lucky winner. Socks. Pens. Candy. Yes. I know I had you at candy. That’s the grand prize. To clarify: Three prizes. One big winner. Two winners of signed paperback copies of my book!

Silver Dollar Duke is available NOW in paperback and will release on March 1st, 2021, as an ebook on Amazon.