Let’s welcome Regina Walker!

First, I want to thank the gracious women here at Petticoats and Pistols for inviting me to be here today. I love what they have created, and I feel very honored to be included.

When I started writing Mercy in Montana, I knew I wanted to have the sisters and their father together at the Kentucky Derby. I don’t know why I wanted that, but I did. Maybe I was using fiction to imagine being there myself.

One of my favorite things about fiction is being transported to places I’ve never been—places I hope to go and places I’ll never go. Whether I am reading or writing, my mind can conjure up a picture and raise emotions and sensations that make the trek to far-off places seem real.

Since the start of the Kentucky Derby in 1875, men and women have attended in “full morning dress.” Col. Meriweather Lewis Clark Jr. attended the Grand Prix de Paris in 1872 and decided to create a high-profile horse race when he returned to America. The high fashion of the Kentucky Derby added to the allure of the event and drew in crowds wanting to show off their finest apparel.

Comfortable and luxurious, Col. Meriweather Lewis Clark Jr. wanted the Kentucky Derby to remind people of horse racing in Europe. Spending a day at Churchill Downs, especially on Derby Day was an opportunity to be seen sporting the latest fashions.

Fashion was important for the five Graham sisters and having grown up as part of high society, the opportunity to attend such an important event as the Kentucky Derby was momentous. Unfortunately for them, there was a shadow overhanging their outing. While fashion mattered to these young ladies before their lives changed forever, it takes a backseat to the peril they face together and separately.

I’ve never been very interested in fashion, aside from a year or so in my late teens. Fashion sense is something that escapes me entirely and I can scarcely put together a nice outfit to save my life. I worked in the office of a country club some 13 years ago, and was required to dress much nicer than at any job I’d previously held. I became quite thankful for the styled mannequins in various stores. I would buy exactly the clothes to make the outfit on the mannequin. I never did master mixing and matching my pieces to make multiple outfits.

As a mom, when I found out we were adding our first girl (we had 4 boys already), I was terrified. I knew I didn’t have what it takes to help a girl become a young lady. I’m not the most ladylike woman on the planet. I’m not good with makeup, hair, or fashion. But my daughters have taught me that it takes more than hair, makeup, and fashion to make a woman. These things come naturally to my older daughter, but the younger one has a style all her own.


How about you? Do you have an inherent or learned fashion sense? Or did you (like me) decide fashion sense just wasn’t your forte? Also, have you ever been to the Kentucky Derby? Would you go? Do exquisite hats and lovely dresses appeal to your finer senses?

Leave a comment, and you might win an e-book copy of Mercy in Montana!

BLURB:  In the heart of the untamed West, Charlotte Graham and her four sisters seek refuge from a dangerous family secret. Raised in the bustling streets of New York, they embark on a treacherous journey, accepting mail-order bride offers as their only hope for escape.

Alfred Winston, a rugged cattleman and owner of a sawmill, is a man haunted by his father’s harsh words, always believing he fell short. A recluse, he hides from the world until fate intervenes. When Delaney, his sister-in-law, places an ad for a mail-order bride, Alfred’s life takes an unexpected turn.

As Charlotte steps into his life, Alfred’s protective instincts awaken, and he finds himself drawn to this resilient woman. Together, they’ll confront the shadows of their pasts, seeking faith, hope, and healing in the vast and unforgiving frontier. Can love conquer the ghosts that haunt them and provide the salvation they so desperately seek?

Join Charlotte and Alfred on a captivating journey of love, redemption, and the power of faith in this Christian historical romance, where the rugged West becomes the backdrop for a story of hope that defies the odds.


Regina Walker, a spirited author with a passion for penning captivating tales, finds her inspiration in the enchanting fusion of Jesus and horses. As she roams the great outdoors, her heart sings in harmony with nature’s melodies, as the Holy Spirit whispers secrets to fuel her vibrant storytelling.
With an unwavering devotion to her craft, Regina fearlessly confronts life’s toughest trials through the journeys of her compelling characters. Guided by her unwavering faith, she fearlessly weaves narratives that illuminate the path to redemption and resilience.

Sewing Patterns

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. In one of my books I needed to research what would have been available to my heroine in 1888 in the way of dress patterns. So I dived in and did a bit of research. Below are some notes and a timeline based on what I found out.

Tailoring as a profession emerged around the 12th century in Europe, leading to the creation of more structured and fitted garments. Tailors used measurements and cutting techniques passed down through apprenticeships to create clothing tailored to the individual. However, these techniques were closely guarded secrets, making it difficult for the average person to produce their own custom-fitted garments.

But the 19th century brought about significant changes to the world of sewing and fashion. The Industrial Revolution, which began in the late 18th century, brought about the mechanization of textile production, making fabric more affordable and accessible. This, in turn, led to an increased demand for ready-made clothing.

Amid these developments, the concept of sewing patterns as we know them today began to take shape. In the early 19th century, sewing pattern companies such as Butterick and McCall’s emerged. These companies started by offering patterns for women’s clothing, which were often published in women’s magazines. These early patterns were often simple, one-size-fits-all templates that required significant skill to adapt to individual measurements.

The 1860s saw a significant breakthrough in sewing patterns with the invention of the perforated pattern. Ebenezer Butterick, the founder of Butterick patterns, is credited with this innovation. His perforated patterns allowed for a more precise and consistent method of transferring pattern markings onto fabric. This made it easier for home sewers to create garments that closely resembled the latest fashion trends.

The Victorian era (1837-1901) saw a surge in home sewing. Sewing machines, which had been invented in the mid-19th century, began to find their way into regular households. These machines made sewing faster and more accessible, further fueling the desire for creating one’s own clothing.

Sewing patterns of this era reflected the fashionable styles of the time. Women’s clothing featured intricate designs with multiple layers, bustles, and tightly fitted bodices. Sewing patterns for these garments often included elaborate instructions, and women would spend hours perfecting their creations. The ability to sew one’s clothing became a valuable skill for women, not only for practical reasons but also as a sign of social status and accomplishment.

The 20th century saw a dramatic shift in fashion, with styles evolving rapidly. Sewing patterns played a crucial role in keeping up with these changes. The early 1900s witnessed the emergence of new pattern companies like Vogue and Simplicity, each offering a unique style and approach to pattern design.

World War I and World War II brought about rationing and a focus on practicality in fashion. Sewing patterns of this time reflected the need for simplicity and efficiency. Women sewed clothing for themselves and their families, making the most of limited resources.

In the post-war era, fashion underwent a radical transformation. The 1950s brought with it the hourglass silhouette, characterized by cinched waists and full skirts, and sewing patterns embraced this trend. Sewing became a popular hobby for women, and pattern catalogs featured a wide range of designs, from everyday dresses to elaborate evening gowns.

The 1960s marked a departure from the conservative styles of the previous decade. Youth culture and the influence of designers like Mary Quant gave rise to the mod style, characterized by bold colors, geometric shapes, and short hemlines. Sewing patterns followed suit, offering designs that captured the spirit of the era.

The 1970s brought a return to a more relaxed, bohemian style. Sewing patterns included flowy dresses, bell-bottom pants, and other free-spirited designs. Sewing became a means of self-expression, with individuals customizing patterns to create unique garments.

The late 20th century and early 21st century witnessed the digital revolution. Sewing patterns transitioned from paper to digital formats. Today, sewing enthusiasts can access and purchase patterns online, allowing for instant downloads and printing at home. Digital patterns offer greater flexibility and customization, as sewers can easily adjust sizing and fit to their preferences.

The history of sewing patterns is a testament to the evolution of fashion, technology, and society. From the early days of hand-tailored garments to the digital age of instant pattern downloads, sewing patterns have adapted to meet the changing needs of home sewers.

Today, sewing patterns continue to empower individuals to create their clothing, allowing for self-expression and customization. They bridge the gap between fashion and personal style, offering a means for anyone to participate in the creative process of clothing design


As for myself, I didn’t learn to sew until the summer after my freshman year of college. That summer I had my mom teach me. I also had a job that summer and by the time I was ready to head back to school in the fall i not only had learned the basics but had purchased a portable sewing machine to take with me. I still have that same machine, though now it is mostly used for repairs and hems. In the 70s I made a large percentage of my clothing myself. That image above is a photo of  some of those patterns that are still stuck in the back of my sewing cabinet.

After that I had four children and had no time for sewing. When the kids were older I’d lost the inclination to get back to it. Below are pictures of two garments that I made and still own. The first is a colorful (garish?) smock which was the very first garment I made. It no longer fits but I’m sentimental enough to not be able to discard it.


This next is of course my wedding dress. (my sister made the veil). I was quite proud of the fact that I was able to make such a complicated dress and it actually fit perfectly <g>

So what about you – do you sew? Or do you perform other needlecraft – weaving, crocheting, knitting, embroidery, etc. Tell me about your experiences (or lack thereof) in the comments to be entered in the drawing for one of my backlist books.


Get to Know Cathy McDavid and Giveaway

Earlier this month, I celebrated the release of my latest Harlequin Heartwarming book, HER SURPRISE COWBOY GROOM. To help promote the book, I answered a few questions about myself in some get to know you posts I thought might be fun to share here as well.

To enter the giveaway (a free print copy of HER COWBOY SWEETHEART, Starbucks card and cowboy coffee mug), all you have to do is post a comment below, telling a short fun fact about yourself ?

What is something interesting readers would enjoy learning about you?

I really have lived the cowboy lifestyle for most of my life, getting my first horse when I was a youngster and having them up until a few years ago. Nothing like walking out your back door to the barn and petting a velvety nose. Or some feathers and wiry hair. While my kids were growing up, we had not just horses and the usual cats and dogs, I also kept a flock of around twenty-five hens (including one resident rooster), adopted a couple of rescue goats and had a pet potbellied pig named Queenie. She lived on the back porch in her own house, built by my stepdad, and had her personal wading pool. Queenie was very smart and knew a half-dozen tricks. She enjoyed going on walks with me around the neighborhood with would follow along like a dog. And also like a dog, she loved belly rubs, flopping over onto her back and begging for them. Every night after dinner, she waited outside the kitchen door for leftover, which I delivered. Her only bad habit was knocking over the barrels of horse grain or chicken feed and gorging herself.


Can you tell us about your latest novel?

Her Surprise Cowboy Groom is book four and the last installment in my Wishing Well Springs series.

An instant familyCould change her plans!

Ambitious wedding dress designer Laurel Montgomery can’t afford to be distracted…especially not by easygoing cowboy Max Maxwell. Wrangling his three-year-old twin daughters, a rambunctious puppy and a fledgling business, Max has his hands full, too. But he also knows the value of going for ice cream and fishing with his girls. Can he show Laurel there are more important things than making it big—like love and family?




Why did you choose to write a story set on a ranch?

Cowboy and ranch stories are my favorites to write, mostly because I lived the life and think cowboy heroes are the best.  And since I lived on a small ranch for over twenty years, it’s a story setting I’m very familiar with and love. There’s something very appealing about the great outdoors. It can be adventurous and exciting and charming, too.


What kind of ranching is done in your story?

Wishing Well Springs was once a thriving horse ranch, the largest in the state. When the heroine’s grandparents went into dept and lost the business fifteen years ago, the ranch was sold off acre by acre. It was the heroine’s idea to turn the remaining house, barn, and few acres into a wedding venue. She and her business partner brother keep the cowboy and ranching spirit alive by giving carriage rides to excited brides the happy couples.

Have you been to a rodeo? What are they like and how did you incorporate it into your story?

I’ve been to plenty of rodeos, from the time I was just a kid, and love them. My characters are often rodeo competitors, current or retired. Like so many live sporting events, they are fast-paced and exciting with the crowds going wild. The dangerous events, like bull and bronc riding, are thrilling. The skill events, roping especially, amaze me.  I love that women are no longer restricted to just barrel racing and are competing in breakaway roping and team roping. Go girl power. I find writing rodeo scenes, when my characters are competing, to be incredibly challenging. While I’ve tried barrel racing and roping, I’ve never ridden a bull or wrestled a calf, so I’ve relied on interviewing rodeo competitors for my research.

Your story is about a wedding barn. Can you tell us more about them and how the characters created one?

I was inspired to set my series in a wedding barn ranch after attending a friend’s nuptials at a charming wedding barn and western town. While watching the couple exchange vows, I was mentally creating stories. Since I knew I wanted two to four books in the series, I had to come up with a reason for my characters to turn the family ranch into a rustic wedding venue. Desperation seemed like a good motive, so I gave them financial hardships. But why a wedding barn? That part was easy. I made the heroine of my book a wedding fashion designer and her brother an architect. Together, they formed the perfect team.

Well, that’s probably more than you want to know about me 🙂 Don’t forget to enter the giveaway by posting a comment. Prize will be sent via regular mail service, US only (sorry).

Celebrating Cathy McDavid’s Latest Release

Morning Everyone,

I don’t usually do much personal horn tootin’ here at P&P, unless it’s Yee-Haw Day or a seasonal event. But this week my book, HER SURPRISE COWBOY GROOM, released, and I just have to celebrate. I started this book over two years ago but then set it aside when I lost my mom and took a short break from writing. When I was ready to return to work, I had to start on another book per my contract schedule and then wrote yet another book when an opportunity came around that was too good to pass up. Finally, I returned to HER SURPRISE COWBOY GROOM and, at last, the book has hit the shelves.













To celebrate the release, I’m participating in a blog tour. If you’re interested in following along, the landing page is here. You’ll see the different blogs listed by dates if you scroll down. Oh, and there’s a giveaway with two winners receiving a books and author bling package.

Her Surprise Cowboy Groom Blog Tour

The reviews are just starting to come out and so far, so good. I’ve even received a couple five star reviews at two different review sites. Whew! It’s always a nail-biter.

One of the best parts of participating in a blog tour is I get interviewed or am asked to answer some get-to-know-you questions. Those are always fun. You know what might be even more fun? If I posted a few of those questions here.

What made you go all in and start writing?

Like a lot of writers, I was bitten by the bug early. For me, in high school. I wrote several children’s stories, one illustrated book, poetry, and lots and lots of essays. It wasn’t until college that I attempted my first book, which was in fact a novella. One should note, the story was a romance, both sweet and full of angst. I really wanted to be a writer. Then, after college, earning a living took priority, and I set my dream of becoming a writer aside.

When my kids were in preschool, the bug returned and bit me hard. As I loved reading romantic suspense (and still do), I wrote a 110,000 word tome. Took me about a year. The book wasn’t very good, but it did light a fire in me that is still burning bright today after almost 60 published books.

What first piqued your interest with contemporary cowboys and what was your original vision?

As I often tell people, I owned horses and lived the cowboy lifestyle for most of my life. Like they say, write what you know. I Actually started out penning small-town stories, another of my favorite. It wasn’t until my tenth published book or so that I had a cowboy hero, a former rodeo competitor at a crossroads in life. Shortly after the book came out, my editor approached me about writing contemporary westerns for the line. That was it. I became hooked (And in case you’re interested, that book was Cowboy Dad, my first official contemporary western)

What is the funniest thing to happen to you that ended up in a book?

This is a hard question. I tend to write serious books. I don’t have a place to use all the funny things that happen to me. If I had to pick one, it would be when my twins were little, I needed a quick place to sit and used their little training toilet. At that moment, our houseguests walked in and found me. They were much more embarrassed than me. Raising twins thickens your skin. A few years later, I had my hero walk in on my heroine while she was using a training toilet as a seat.

Okay, well I imagine that last one was more about me than you wanted to know 🙂 Thanks so much for letting me share the release of this special book, HER SUPRISE COWBOY GROOM. And if you’re curious how much research I had to do to write a fashion designer heroine, the answer is plenty. Among other things, I binge watched reality fashion design shows 🙂

Knitting in the West

kari trumbo header

I’d bet a lot of you, like me, assumed that knitting was probably done by every able-bodied woman in the West. Likewise with sewing. I’ve even had a few of my characters knitting because I readily assumed that was just the way things “must” have been.

But I was wrong.

Let’s start with a little knitting lesson, because I love knitting. The first stitch was the garter stitch.

This is what it looks like. Children would’ve started learning the garter stitch (all knit stitches, front and back) as their very first project.

garter stitch image
Image courtesy knitpicks.com

That very first project would’ve been garters to hold up their socks/stockings. Seems appropriate, don’t you think?

It was said that before the Industrial Revolution, every child had to know how to knit and sew because there was no way one mother could keep all her children in socks and garters, plus keep up with all the other tasks involved in keeping a house. And if they lived in a colder climate, mittens and sweaters, too.

The same actually goes for sewing, before the Industrial Revolution, all clothing was hand sewn by either someone in the family or a tailor, but the fact is, after the Industrial Revolution, even middle class families would’ve just purchased these items and the poor wouldn’t have been able to afford yarn and needles by then. By the Victorian Era, knitting was a hobby for wealthy women with a lot of time on their hands.

The second stitch a child would’ve learned is stockinette, which again makes sense because it would’ve been used to make stockings. The stockinette stitch is knit stitches on the front side and purl stitches on the back

Stockinette stitch image
Image courtesy of Pinterest

This stitch is the one that is most commonly seen on sweaters and socks because it makes such a nice, flat fabric. The interesting thing is that knitting needles were costly. Unlike today where I have an entire drawer of needles to create the gauge and look I want, they probably had a more limited supply since needles were costly and artistic. This might explain some of the reason why Elizabeth Zimmerman was more concerned with measurements than telling knitters which needles to use. One blog I read suggested that fine gauge needles were used most often since they create a more delicate and expensive appearing garment.

Want to see some of those needles?

old knitting needles
Image courtesy of ebay

They came in bone, wood, or metal, though metal was least desirable. I’m not sure I would love to have that poking into my hand as I knit. Interestingly, the gauge seems to be burned into the ends, which is really cool. I am, frankly, a big fan of circular needles. The first patent for those was made in 1918.

Whether or not the Victorian women (for those of us who write historical novels) knitted or not, it’s really fun to look back on the history of this fun pastime. The fact is, just like we can’t say that “no one sewed their own garments anymore” we can’t say “no one knitted anymore”. There will always be people who make time for a craft, even with a busy household or too much work to do. I hope you have a hobby that you really enjoy too, and I hope you have a chance to pass on that love to someone else.

What’s something you enjoy doing that someone else might too?

On the “Fringes” of History ~ Pam Crooks

Back in August of 2015, I announced that Petticoats & Pistols had opened up an official Pinterest account.  Pinterest was just gaining traction as a site featuring all kinds of fun pictures that one would pin to these strange things called ‘boards.’ It also turned into a valuable tool for businesses to market their goods, a big reason why we jumped on board (pardon the pun), too. Since then, we’ve grown to 164,200 views a month.

That’s right.  Our pins are viewed 164,200 times a month.

Pretty incredible, right?

Through the years, we’ve amassed more than 1,800 pins on 42 different boards that highlight not only each filly and an assortment of her books, but . . .

  • Recipes
  • Hunky Cowboys
  • Favorite Western Movies
  • Vintage Clothing
  • Wild West Weapons
  • Western Lawmen
  • Old-Time Medicine
  • Texas History
  • Turquoise and Silver Baubles
  • Windows
  • Cowboy Country Christmas
  • And more.

As I was drooling–um, I mean scrolling–through the boards, I was struck by several really cool western outfits decorated with really cool fringe.

Did you know fringe has been around since 3000 BC, was first discovered in Mesopotamia which is now modern-day Iraq, and was used on shawls and skirts and eventually the entire garment, and that depending on the fabric the fringe was made from denoted one’s class in society?

I didn’t.

Not surprisingly, linen and cotton fringe were worn by the lower classes, and silk fringe by the wealthy.  And . . . fringe was so important and carefully unique, it was actually used as a signature when pressed into clay business ‘contracts.’

Who knew?

Fast forward lots of years, and the Native Americans used fringe as a way to repel rainwater, forcing it to drip down the tassels and off their bodies.  We all know they wore leather, which took tons of time and effort to tan and prepare for wearing.  They refrained from trimming seams in their garments, which would be wasteful after all that work, and thus using fringe solved the waste problem.

Not long after, the 1920s hit, and who doesn’t love a flapper swirling and swinging fringe when she danced?

And then came the 60’s.

Elvis and Priscilla

Now, modern day western wear is adorned with fringe.  Here’s a few straight from our “Western Duds” Pinterest board.

Check out our boards on Pinterest for all things western!  https://www.pinterest.com/thefillies/_saved/ 

Moda Luxe Fringe Purse - Brown , Women's Brown Faux leather fabric lined purse Zipper closure Interior zipper and two pouch pockets Removable shoulder strap Dimensions: 11 1/2(L) x 14 1/2(H). Shell: Polyurethane/Leather. Lining: Polyester. Do not wash. Luggage & Bags

Back when I was twelve or so, I bought a faux suede purse that had a good 12 inches of fringe at the bottom very similar to this one.  I remember vividly coming home and showing my Italian immigrant grandparents (we were visiting them at the time).  As I pulled it from the sack with a great deal of pride, triumph, and flourish, neither of them said a word.  I could hear a pin drop, it was so quiet.  I can only assume their silence meant my prized purse was definitely not their style.

Did you wear fringe? Did you have a favorite garment or accessory with fringe?

Left Foot, Right Foot

Do you remember what it was like to put your foot into the wrong shoe? Young children do this all the time. I still remember how uncomfortable it felt.

Children don’t pay a lot of attention to that and mostly it doesn’t seem to bother them. Adults are a different story.

But did you know that up until as late as 1850 shoemakers didn’t differentiate between the left and the right? They made both shoes straight with no curve in them to shape to the feet. I can only imagine how awful they were to wear.

I’ve often stared at shoes in a museum and think how they must’ve hurt the wearer’s poor feet.

Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since the days of ill-fitting, uncomfortable shoes. Today, we have a wide range of options, including specialized running shoes that prioritize comfort and performance.

Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just starting your fitness journey, finding the right pair of running shoes can make all the difference.

Advanced technologies, such as cushioning systems, arch support, and breathable materials, ensure a comfortable and supportive fit for your feet.

To further enhance your running experience, you can also utilize the benefits of technology by using the best running app to track your progress, set goals, and receive personalized training plans.

With the combination of well-designed running shoes and the guidance provided by a reliable running app, you can enjoy a comfortable and efficient running experience while taking care of your feet and maximizing your performance.

My daughter took me shopping for some sandals for my birthday which is tomorrow and it took a while to find any that were comfortable. So I cannot imagine wearing a pair with both the left and right shaped the same. Good heavens!

And what if you were of the royal family or the queen and had to be graceful? It had to have taken strong will to hide a grimace.

Here are Queen Victoria’s wedding shoes. She wore a size 3 1/2 but was only 4’ 11” tall so I guess that’s in proportion to her.

Courtesy Northhampton Museum

Marie Antoinette of France owned 500 pairs of shoes. She also wore size 3. Of note, she lost a shoe going to the guillotine and her guards made her leave it. Coincidentally, she was 5’ 6”. Here are hers.

Musee des Beaux-Arts de Caen France

These are what Mary, Queen of Scots wore.

Ryder, J. T.; Mary, Queen of Scots’ Shoes; Museums Sheffield; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/mary-queen-of-scots-shoes-78267%5B/caption%5D

Two anonymous pair from the 18th century. Oh, my aching feet!!

[caption id="attachment_93542" align="aligncenter" width="860"] 18th Century Shoes The British Museum


Of note, women back then bound their toes in order to fit into smaller shoes. Especially the royals. They considered big feet to be distasteful. What I’m wondering is why they wanted sharp-toed shoes. The tip of the shoe turned up when worn and looks awful.

Big change came with the invention of machinery for making shoes and they were finally able to differentiate between left and right. Hallelujah! Or we’d still be forced to wear such horrible shoes or go back to strapping furs to our feet. I vote for furs!

My dad had little feet and had to wear a size 5 boys. My oldest sister always wore a women’s 5 and could rarely find shoes to fit. I wore a 5 until I had children then they grew to a 6 1/2.. Small feet came from my dad’s side. My mother wore a 9 and had trouble with her feet all her life.

What about you? Any family history to share or any thoughts about these uncomfortable shoes in the pictures?

Remembering Christmas

In my soon to release sweet holiday romance Remembering Christmas, part of the Rodeo Romance series, I had such a grand time digging through images of vintage and retro western fashions.

The stories include a company that has their own western clothing line. Two books ago, the company added a line of apparel for curvy girls.

And in Remembering Christmas, the company was decided to add a line based on vintage attire.

The hero in this story, Trevor, has a kooky, eccentric aunt (Aunt Marv) who has never gotten rid of a piece of clothing in her adult life. And she often wears the clothes that were stylish decades ago.

But because she is such a clothes hoarder, the company used some of the original western fashions she still had in her closet from the 1940s-1960s.

I truly had a marvelous time browsing through images as I imagined the new styles Aunt Marv’s retro collection might inspire.

Some of my favorite photos are old Levi’s advertisements.

Like this one.

Check out these duds! I actually love the jeans with the buttons and high waist on the right hand side.


This outfit is exactly something Marv would wear.

And this one!

I’m kind of glad these outfits are no longer in style. LOL!

At any rate, Lasso Eight, the clothing company in the story, finds plenty to inspire their new line from Marv. In fact, there’s even a scene where Mykah, the heroine, gets talked into modeling at a photoshoot at the hero’s ranch.



When Mykah finally walked out with Brylee and Kenzie Morgan, Trevor gulped so hard he swallowed the piece of gum he’d just set in his mouth.

Paige and Ashley had mentioned vintage fashions, but he certainly hadn’t expected Mykah to stroll out of the house looking like a cowgirl from the 1940s. She wore a burgundy and blue plaid shirt tucked into a pair of high-waisted jeans with two rows of buttons down the front like the shorts she’d worn the day at the boat show. Wide cuffs at the bottom of the jeans drew his attention to a pair of dark burgundy boots before his gaze traveled back up to her face. Her hair was loosely pulled away from her face and fell in thick curls to her shoulders in a style reminiscent of the past. The deep red lipstick she wore made his mouth water for want of her kiss.

He had no idea when Tally had moved beside him, but when she bumped him with her elbow and held out Carter’s burp rag, Trevor almost took it to mop his feverish brow.

“Thought you might need the rag to wipe away the drool, Trev,” Tally whispered as she held Carter, rocking the baby back and forth in her arms.

He watched as Paige, Ashley, and Celia worked to pose Mykah, Brylee, and Kenzie on the corral fence, using the barn as a backdrop. “How’d they talk Mykah into modeling?”

Tally shrugged. “You know how persuasive Paige and Ashley can be. One minute, Mykah was listing all the reasons she’d make a terrible model, and the next, she was choosing an outfit and getting her hair done.”



Romance swirls like December snowflakes in this sweet holiday romance.

Trevor King runs King Penny Ranch like a well-oiled machine while attempting to keep his spritely octogenarian aunt out of trouble. His personal life is filled with evasive tactics worthy of a military mission in order to avoid the matchmaking efforts of meddling friends. Until Trevor experiences a chance encounter with a beautiful stranger that leaves him reeling. Almost two years pass before they unexpectedly meet again. He feels blindsided by an emotional avalanche . . . and her name is Mykah.

Mykah Wagner has spent years building her career with Creekdale Enterprises while burying memories better forgotten. When the company’s owner sends her to oversee an expansion project at a retirement home in Eastern Washington, Mykah envisions a charming urban location. Instead, she discovers an area teeming with farms, ranches, vineyards, and sagebrush. Desperate to return to her idea of civilization as quickly as possible, Mykah soon finds herself falling in love with the residents, the region, and a rancher who helps her remember all the best things from her past.

Brimming with hope, laughter, and second chances, Remembering Christmas is a captivating and wholesome romance celebrating the joy of falling in love and the wonder of the season.

You can also see more of the visuals that inspired scenes in the story on Pinterest.


If you could create your own clothing line, what fashions would inspire you?

Post your answer for a chance to win an autographed copy of Roping Christmas (last year’s Rodeo Romance release) and some swag!


The Bustle: A Pain in The Behind

A bustle was a pad or frame worn under a skirt to support the fullness and drapery at the back of a woman’s skirt. Though the bustle had long occupied a place in a well-dressed woman’s wardrobe, it was clearly the article of clothing that was most vilified, especially by men.

The bustle was also blamed for many women’s health problems, including squeezed or misplaced organs.

Shopkeepers considered bustles a nuisance.  Shops tended to be small and crowded and bustles were thought to take up too much space.

Shopkeepers weren’t the only ones complaining about the size of bustles. An editorial in a Boston newspaper asked why there was no city ordinance prohibiting bustles from protruding more than a foot in length beyond the sidewalk.  

Bustles also confounded soldiers during the Civil War. Enterprising women used bustles as a safe-deposit box to hide jewelry and other valuables from marauders.  Bustles would be ripped apart and stuffed with treasures.  It worked for a while.  But then some soldiers noticed a marked increase in the size and proportions of women’s behinds and grew suspicious. The discovery resulted in the theft of many bustles.

Bustles also caused an uproar with freight agents. Since it was cheaper to ship wire goods than dry goods, merchants listed bustles as wire goods.  Freight agents argued that bustles were made from feathers and wool and had no wire.  Merchants said that bustles superseded hoop skirts, which gave them every right to be billed as wire goods.  This view eventually prevailed, but freight agents weren’t willing to give up so easily; they simply raised the cost of shipping wire goods.   

Bustles came in many shapes and styles. As one Victorian merchant said, “There were more styles of bustles than herrings in a box.” The Washboard bustle was ribbed like a washboard.  The bustle was considered a good deal for the merchant.  For it was almost impossible to sit down without smashing the washboard, thus necessitating another trip to the store to replace it.

There was also the Brooklyn Bridge bustle, also known as the suspension Bridge or Two-Story bustle. As the name suggested, this was a series of bustles that extended down to the knees.

Another type of bustle was the Wind bustle, made of rubber.  This included a rubber hose so that it could be inflated.  This bustle was especially handy should a woman suddenly find herself in water, as it served double-duty as a life preserver.  

Some practical women would wear only bustles they made themselves out of newspapers.

-Wisconsin Historical Society

Mrs. Grover Cleveland is credited for unwittingly causing the demise of the bustle.   The story goes that two Washington newspaper reporters had nothing to report during a hot July. So, they made up a story that President Cleveland’s wife had abandoned the bustle. According to newspaper reports, Mrs. Cleveland later visited a department store and asked to see their bustles.  Supposedly, the merchant told her that since news broke that she had given up bustles, none had sold and had been moved to the basement.

Mrs. Cleveland then turned to her companion and said, “Well, if they say I’ve quit wearing the bustle, then I guess that’s what I need to do.”



Meet the Brides of Haywire, Texas!




Coming in May




A Source of Inspiration

As much as I’d like to regularly get to travel in the West, I only get to visit every few years. So as a writer of contemporary western romance, I look for inspiration in other ways — movies, TV shows, reading other authors’ books. Another way is by reading magazines that focus on various aspects of the West. For instance, in my book Home on the Ranch, the heroine, Ella Garcia, was inspired by Amie and Jolie Sikes, the sister duo behind the junking and repurposed decor empire known as Junk Gypsy. As I watched their TV show, Ella started to form in my head. I sent Amie and Jolie copies of the book dedicated to them when it came out. They were sweet to write me back and send me a Junk Gypsy mug which I drink out of all the time. So when I saw this copy of Cowgirl magazine with them on the cover, I had to pick it up.

Inside was more inspiration for characters’ style choices, whether it be western clothing or jewelry, furniture for their homes, or the homes themselves, as well as articles about western life. There’s even an article in this issue about a cattle drive in Florida, the Great Florida Cattle Drive.

The same can be said of magazines such as Cowboys & Indians. Plus, who can resist Sam Elliott on the cover, right? In this particular issue from a couple of years ago, Elliott talks about his Netflix show The Ranch. There are also articles about camping across the West, Ernest Hemingway’s time in Idaho, and Muscogee/Creek artist Joy Harjo. Even the ads have beautiful imagery of expansive Western vistas, gorgeous Western-style homes and decor, Wrangler jeans (known to be worn by cowboys far and wide), and useful information such as the list prices for ranches that are for sale.

Sometimes all it takes is one image to set a writer’s mind down a path that ends up with a completed novel. I’m a visual person, so I’m continually inspired by the things I see — whether in person on on the glossy pages of a magazine.

Do you all enjoy Western-themed magazines? What are some of your favorites?