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.

The Case of the Bungling Robbers

Some people just aren’t cut out for a life of crime.

An example of this is the case of two cowboys named Grant Wheeler and Joe George. In 1895, they decided to try their hand at robbing the Southern Pacific Railroad.  The real loot was carried by rail, so why waste time robbing stages?

After carefully working out a plan, George and Wheeler purchased a box of dynamite and boarded the train.  Five miles out of Willcox, Arizona, the desperadoes got the engineer to stop the train with the help of a .45 revolver.  Piece of cake.

One of the outlaws uncoupled the express car from the rest of the train and ordered the engineer to pull forward.  Wheeler and George then broke into the express car.  The safe had eighty-four thousand dollars in cash and their hands were itching to get hold of it.

They must have been ecstatic to discover that the Wells Fargo agent guarding the loot had escaped. In addition to the unguarded safe, they also found bags of silver pesos used as ballast on the floor.  Oh, heavenly days!

Working quickly, they placed sticks of dynamite around the safe and ducked outside to escape the blast.  Unfortunately, the safe remained intact.

They decided to try again with extra dynamite but got the same results.  The stubborn safe refused to give up its treasure.

If at First…

Not willing to give up, the bungling robbers decided to try yet a third time.  This time, they used too much dynamite and blew the entire express car to smithereens.  Pieces of lumber and thousands of silver pesos filled the air. Acting like shrapnel, some of the coins were embedded in telegraph poles.  It’s a miracle the two men survived.

When the smoke cleared, they found that the safe door had been blown off, but only a few dollars had escaped the blast. The real booty was the Mexican pesos, but the silver coins were scattered all over the countryside.

Meanwhile, the train has rolled into town and sounded the alarm. The sheriff tried putting together a posse with no luck. Folks were too busy racing out to the scene of the crime to hunt for silver pesos.

…Try, Try, Again!

After licking their wounds, Wheeler and George decided to give train robbery another shot.  No sense letting their harrowing experience go to waste.

A week later, they showed up to rob the same train and felt confident they knew what they were doing.  This time they would make careful use of the dynamite.

The fourth times a charm—or is it?

Wheeler and George ordered the crew to separate the express car from the engine and passenger cars.

Everything went according to plan.  You can almost imagine the two giving each other a high-five as they entered the express car. They were, however, in for a rude awakening.  For the hapless duo soon discovered that the crew had reversed the order of the rail cars.  Instead of the express car, Wheeler and George were left with the mail car. They had been duped!

Disgusted, they rode off empty-handed—again!

Coming in September

He stopped her wedding once by mistake;

Dare he stop it a second time–for real?

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iTunes

Touring the American Old West

Dear readers

I invite you to come along as I share my travels through the American old west. I’m thrilled to be one of the new fillies here at Petticoats & Pistols and I can’t wait to share my love of the Old West with you.

About me: Along with writing contemporary western romances I also write contemporary romantic women’s fiction.  You’ll find that all of my books are set in small towns and usually include a few quirky characters. My stories incorporate the themes of home, family and redemption. This September I will publish my 40th project for Harlequin Books and my current series is called, Cowboys of Stampede, Texas. I also write small-town romances for Tule Publishing’s Montana Born line and Sweet Home Cowboy is my latest release.

 

 

 

 

 

And I’m a member of the Tall Poppy Writers. You  can find out more about my small-town romantic women’s fiction novels as well as my western books on my Website.

 

If you follow me on social media then you know I love junk. My friends call me vintage Marin because I love flea markets so much. If you haven’t heard of Junk in the Trunk you should check it out!

I don’t know why, but I’ve always been comfortable around old stuff. I find ideas for my stories and characters when I browse through people’s castoffs. My love of antiques goes right along with my love of history and the old west. One of my hobbies is researching ghost tours and haunted old west towns. Sadly I’ve never experienced an encounter with a ghost but I love taking tours that share the history of the haunted locations.  Hubby and I currently live in Phoenix and we’re recent empty nesters so we’re using our newfound freedom to travel the beautiful Grande Canyon State.

This past July my husband and I ventured out on Route 66 in northern Arizona. You can find all of my travel photos on my Instagram page.

 

Winslow, Arizona

Route 66 Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona has been on my bucket list for years.

For those of you who are confused this video Take it Easy by the Eagles band will explain it and reveal my age, lol!

Drift Inn Saloon

After Winslow we got off Route 66 and stopped at the copper mining town of Globe, Arizona and had lunch at the haunted Drift Inn Saloon—one of oldest continuously operating saloons in the state, opening its doors in 1902. The Drift Inn Saloon has been named one of the top five biker-destination bars in the state by the Arizona Republic newspaper and one of the “Magnificent 7” saloons by Arizona Highways Magazine. The second floor was originally opened as a boarding house for miners then turned into a brothel a few years later.

  

The bar is a living icon of the Old West, with its original tin ceiling. A Frank Olsen mural of Monument Valley is painted along one wall and hanging above the image are vintage portraits of soiled doves, which pay homage to the ladies who once worked in the brothel above the bar.

When I learned the bartender Eileen, was one of the owners of the bar, I bombarded her with questions about the history of the building. She and her partner had lived on the second floor for several years while they renovated the bar. She claimed the building was haunted and then asked if I’d like to go upstairs and look around. Of course I said YES!

Eileen told stories about the building that the local old-timers had shared with her after she bought the place. Several mediums have walked through the building and confirmed that spirits inhabit the premises. One of the rooms is said to be full of trapped souls unable to escape. And room 18 is said to be a very dark, evil room. A young woman stands in the shower and watches people in the bathroom. And of course there’s the nasty spirit of a man who wanders the upstairs. The medium couldn’t tell the owners for sure who he was but they believe he may be either Joseph Ludwig, a local miner who was murdered in one of the upstairs rooms in 1906 or the man who murdered him.

 

As a writer we romanticize cowboys and the old west in our stories… because who wants to read about smelly, bowlegged men who bathe once a month and are missing half their teeth? But that afternoon in Globe as I walked past the twenty-five rooms on the second floor of the Drift Inn Saloon, I had to acknowledge that life in the old west could be cruel, harsh and deadly.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about my experience at the Drift Inn Saloon. I can’t wait to share with you the other Route66 places and towns in Arizona. And since this is my first blog as an official P&P filly, let’s do a giveaway!

 *Giveaway*

 

Tell me if you’ve ever had a paranormal experience or taken a ghost tour and your name will be entered into a drawing to receive a digital copy of my sweet western novella, The Bull Rider’s Pledge. I’ll reveal the winner’s name in the comment section of this blog post on Saturday August 12th.

Until next time…Happy Trails!

 

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P.S. Don’t forget to enter the giant birthday bash giveaway (separate from this daily giveaway). You can find all the details along with the entry form HERE.

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