Category: Giveaways

These Boot Are Made For Giving!

After the Civil War, the boots cowboys were wearing weren’t cutting the muster on the job. While accounts differ whether this occurred in Kansas or Texas, most agree a cowboy went into a shoemaker asking for changes to the day’s boot style. Each feature the smart cowboy asked for fixed a problem. The pointed toe made it easier for him to get his foot in the stirrup. The taller shaft served the purpose of protecting his leg from mesquite tree thorns, barbed wire, snakes and other dangers. The bigger, thicker heel kept his foot from coming out of the stirrup. The boot’s tough leather protected a cowboy’s ankle from being bruised by the wooden stirrup.

The cowboy changed his footwear his footwear because it wasn’t working. A lot of my stories deal with something not working in my hero and/or heroine’s life. Sometimes they know they need to make a change. Sometimes not. Sometimes life forces them to make a change when it’s the last thing they want. But still, my characters tug on their boots, put one foot in front of the other, whether they’re happy about it or not, and walk toward the future.

In To Catch A Texas Cowboy, both AJ Quinn and Grace Henry are forced to make a change in their lives, and neither is very happy about it. Grace is laid off and her best friend talks her into coming to Texas to manage her bed and breakfast. AJ is undercover for the FBI taking the recently vacant job as chief of police to catch a forger. Both vow working in Wishing, Texas, is temporary. They know where they want their lives to go and this isn’t what they had in mind.

Their meeting is one of my favorites. Grace is driving into town and her breaks give out. She rear ends AJ’s truck. AJ tries to tell Grace who he is, but she won’t let him get the words out, instead saying they should exchange insurance info, call a tow truck and be on their way. AJ lists the reasons to call the police, her insurance company may require a police report, debris needs to be cleared from the road, and someone needs to divert traffic until their vehicles are moved. When Grace still resists, AJ asks if there’s a reason she doesn’t want the police called. Grace responds that all the police will do is complicate the issue and small-town police will be even worse about it. Talk about an awkward first meeting! I love when my characters dig themselves into a hole and refuse to put down the shovel!

Another thing I love to do is have the hero or heroine give a gift to the other during the story. Though they may not realize it at the time, the gift is a big turning point in their relationship. In To Catch A Texas Cowboy, Grace is a New York city girl. AJ tells Grace she can’t keep running around in flip-flops and gives her a box. What does AJ give her? What else? A pair of cowboy boots she admired!

I’m going to admit something…I love shoes and I love boots even more. I have four pairs of cowboy boots I wear in the winter and various open toe ankle boots I wear in the winter. Stop by today and leave a comment about your favorite footwear to be entered to win a signed copy of To Catch A Texas Cowboy and a pair of boot socks. 

Updated: March 26, 2020 — 9:34 am

His Boots Are Made For Running!

Running for sheriff, that is!

Tug Moyer isn’t your average, every-day guy.

He’s a widower with two kids and great parents who jumped in when Tug lost his wife so they could help with the kids. Now… with Tug’s bid to become the next Grant County sheriff at hand… it’s Tug’s time to put his best foot forward, but when his smart and helpful daughter posts a video about her dad needing a new wife…

A video that goes viral within hours!

Tug’s got a mess on his hands.

The school is not amused. The sheriff’s department is not amused. And Evangeline’s teacher is the least amused of all. How could a sheriff’s deputy, a man who does teen-empowerment podcasts and blogcasts, not understand the dangers of kids let loose on the Internet???

Tug’s not your typical Western hero. He’s not a cowboy, but he wears boots. 🙂

He’s not riding range or roping calves or herding cattle, but he’s there, in the thick of a beautiful Western state that’s become a hub of agricultural beauty, vying for the sheriff’s office, fighting crime, helping kids and saving lives, unaware that his growing interest in Evangeline’s teacher might be his undoing.

Christa didn’t come into the ranks of teaching easily. The daughter of a Guatemalan immigrant, a woman who sacrificed so much to get her baby sister and daughter to America, Christa had a rough childhood that framed the solid person she is today. But when one of those youthful mistakes is made public, she knows she can become the downfall of the man she’s fallen in love with.

Boots aren’t just for riding, are they?

Wearing boots makes a statement.

Cool guys dare to wear them in Manhattan.

My son who moved to Texas 18 months ago now owns boots…

And loves them.

It’s not a fashion statement.

Perish the thought.

It’s a personal statement of self-confidence. And maybe a hint of swagger.

Having a hero running for office deepened Tug and Christa’s conflict, but it also gave the reader a better look at who Tug is. And his partner, Lorenzo Calloway, who will be the hero in the third Golden Grove book. Lorenzo is a boot-wearing deputy as well. Raised on a Central Washington beef ranch, Renzo wears the uniform but he’s on hand to help during busy times of calving, wrangling and getting calves to market. Unlike Tug, Renzo will not be running for any kind of office, but he’s the kind of man who stands tall in those boots, who stands firm for faith and family… but more about Renzo and Sarah later! 🙂

Boots sell movie tickets…. Tom Selleck, Dennis Weaver, Sam Elliott, Clint Eastwood, John Wayne… but look at the more recent Stetson wearing crew:

Tommie Lee Jones… Jeff Bridges… Kevin Costner… Kurt Russell… Val Kilmer…

Boots have crossed the marketing line. They’re not only acceptable anywhere, they’re beloved! And they go great with jeans, skirts, dresses…

Now I am not a fan of boots with shorts…. I’m just sayin’, that’s a little too oxymoron for me. If it’s hot enough for shorts, give me sandals or sneakers…. but that’s just me.

So what are your thoughts about boots? 

Here in the cold north, I’ve got snow boots and farm boots, but that’s a whole other blogpost! Share your boots thoughts below, and I’ll tuck you into a drawing for one of two copies of my just released “Learning to Trust”!

 

AND WE HAVE A WINNER FROM RUTHY’S EARILIER MARCH POST… and by earlier, she means before she had flu that ended up as pneumonia, when she could think a cognizant thought, darlings…. Luckily, she’s almost 100% healthy again!

Winner is Quilt Lady!!!! Congratulations, you’ve won a Kindle copy of Ruthy’s bestselling “Welcome to Wishing Bridge”!

Kindness will carry us through

In the past few days, I’ve heard so many disheartening stories of people showing their worst (like fighting over toilet paper at Costco). 

And I’ve heard uplifting, inspiring stories of people reaching out to help others, like a young couple who are running errands for their elderly neighbors who have no family nearby. 

Those stories of kindness, of tenderness, of joy are what will carry us through the difficult and challenging times ahead. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness.

Even if you are isolated at home, it’s important to remember you aren’t alone in your struggle. But what if the heaviness of that struggle, the burden of it could be lightened? 

 

Kindness is one way to do that. Because when we offer an act of kindness, it not only blesses the recipient, it also blesses the giver.

 

So, I challenge you, in these uncertain times, to do one kind act a day. Toss kindness around like confetti. 

Even if you’re stuck at home, can you do something that will bring a smile to the face of a loved one there with you? Can you share something positive or uplifting or fun in your social media outlets to bring a smile to others? They don’t have to be big, grand acts of kindness to be important and of value. Something as simple as a smile can truly brighten someone’s day. 

And in brightening the day of another, who knows? You might just start a chain reaction that blooms with beauty and joy. 

In an effort to do my part, I’ll be giving away free books for the next few weeks. To make sure you don’t miss out on any, be sure to sign up for my newsletter

Today through March 19, I have three ebooks available for free on Amazon.

It’s just my small way of saying thank you for your readership. I hope my sweet romances will bring you a few hours of humor, heart, and hope.

Dacey
Tad’s Treasure 
Capturing the Cavedweller’s Heart

Take care and be safe! 

A COWBOY’S SONG ~ Megan Ryder

Hi everybody! Thank you so much for letting me celebrate the release of my book, A Cowboy’s Song, here today!

This book was special to me, as all of my books are, as it combines two special loves for me – cowboys and music. But it also presented a whole bunch of challenges, especially around the music side since I was not that familiar with writing songs and my hero was all about writing a song. So I had a tough road to travel, so to speak.

Country music man playing guitar

Ty Evans, my hero, loved music since he was a boy but he stopped playing and writing music when his family was killed, leaving him an orphan. He ended up in foster care on the ranch in my book, Redemption Ranch, along with two other boys, who became his brothers, but music was not a part of his life. Slowly he reclaimed music, but only to play, not write.

When his oldest brother met the love of his life (Book 1 in my series), Ty decided to try his hand at writing music, and it brought up all the ghosts from his past. A visitor to the ranch, Piper Raines, the daughter of country music royalty, who understands the struggle of music, is there for the wedding, and she helps him breakthrough his block and they sing the song together. When it’s recorded and goes viral, he gets swept up in the hoopla and follows her to Nashville to see if he can have a career, or if it’s too late.

I listened to a lot of country music but listening to music and writing music are two very different things. So, I was lucky to be introduced to a talented songwriter, Sierra Bernal, who wrote a song for the book, which took themes from all three books and made it into the song that is featured in this book. She is recording it now, and I hope to share it in the near future! But learning about Nashville, the country music scene, and how different it is from the other types of music was fascinating.

She taught me about the Nashville numbering system, how they use numbers instead of chords for their music. It was quite complicated and I ended up not using a lot about it in the book but it gave me a foundation for my hero feeling like his time had passed.

I also researched venues for where they might play. I had visited the Grand Ol’ Opry hotel many years ago during the holidays and would have loved to set a book there, or at least a scene. But, that wasn’t realistic. So, I had to find some other place. The Bluebird Café was not at all what I expected (and possibly a little unrealistic) but perfect for my purposes. There are a ton of these little venues for up and coming musicians in Nashville to showcase their talent, and this is a highly sought place.

Here is a playlist I created for this book on Spotify since music was so important to this book, if you’re interested in hearing my inspiration: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4Yj768NXWQHhvPSfWnG8T0?si=g2HivK4WRLK8FzEyGDzEwg

In addition, if you’d like to hear more about the songwriter, check out Sierra Bernal on Spotify at SierraBernal or at her website: Website: http://sierrabernal.com

Ty wrote a song for his brother’s wedding.

What do you think is a romantic gesture for a wedding?

Let’s chat, and I’ll give away an ebook copy of A Cowboy’s Song to one lucky commenter! 

Short Book Blurb:

Can they build a future on a shaky foundation?

Tyler “Ty” lost everything in a car accident when he was twelve, retreating into his shell so tightly that it took months for him to come out again. Music and the ranch saved him, and he will always be grateful to his foster family for saving his life. Now, with the ranch on financial tenterhooks, he wonders if he can use his music to contribute to the solution.

Piper Raines is the daughter of a legendary country music family. While her parents and brother are all famous, her attempt at an independent career went off the rails, and, with exhaustion and stress and bad press dogging her every step, she needs a place to recover. When Piper is invited to vacation at the ranch, Piper and Ty connect through horses and music. After a video duet of Piper and Ty goes viral, they’re invited to sing in Nashville, which also provides added pressure, stressing their new relationship.

 

BUY LINKS:

UNIVERSAL LINK: https://books2read.com/ACowboysSong

Detailed links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/32kRGRr

B&N: http://bit.ly/37Fbos4

KOBO: http://bit.ly/2HG8QiQ

iTunes: https://apple.co/2SWvcle

 *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  

BIO: Ever since Megan Ryder discovered Jude Deveraux and Judith McNaught while sneaking around the “forbidden” romance section of the library one day after school, she has been voraciously devouring romance novels of all types. Now a romance author in her own right, Megan pens sexy contemporary novels all about family and hot lovin’ with the boy next door. She lives in Connecticut, spending her days as a technical writer and her spare time divided between her addiction to knitting and reading.

 

Visit me at: http://meganryder.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MeganRyder1

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/MeganRyderAuthor/?ref=hl

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cmE1kr

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/megan-ryder

Amazon Author Profile: href=”https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14121151.Megan_Ryder”>

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14121151.Megan_Ryder

Updated: March 10, 2020 — 2:41 pm

In Honor of Steve Reevis — Give-Away and 99 cent books

Howdy!

About 3-4 weeks ago, I learned that a good friend of mine, Steve Reevis had passed away.  He passed on in December of 2017.  Unfortunately, for me, I was unaware of this because when I moved away from LA, his family and mine lost contract.  Steve was a Native American Actor, and he appeared in many films.  Probably my favorite film of his was “The Last of the Dogmen,” where Steve played the major Native American role.  I will leave a list of many of his films at the end of this blog.

Steve was only 55 years old when he passed, much too young to leave this world.  In 1999, Steve helped me and my husband and a few other friends to set up a literacy project on the Blackfeet reservation.  This was the first time I had met Steve.  He was a very handsome young man, he was quiet, yet when he did speak, we listened, for he was also a wise young man.  Steve never asked for anything in return for the help he gave us, his main concern being to help his people.

In truth, I was shocked when I learned of his passing, and so I thought that today, I would hostess a give-away in the style of the Blackfeet in Montana.  (I am adopted Blackfeet.)

I’ll be giving away many books today, so do leave a message so that you can enter into the give-away.  I’ll also be giving away a pair of Blackfeet made earrings.  Now, let me show you some pictures of a fundraiser that we did with Steve and his beautiful wife, Macile, in a Walmart in 1999.  All of my Blackfoot Warrior series (three books total) will also be on sale for a week for 99 cents in honor of Steve. (See  below for the links to those books.)

The picture to the left here is of Steve when he was speaking at the fundraiser.  This event also included many romance authors from the Orange County Romance Writers Association.  At the event, we had a local drum group, who also donated all of their time and their musical art for the literacy project.

Off to the right here is a picture of Steve in a conversation with Maria Ferrara, who helped to fund raise for the project and was instrumental in getting the project off the ground.  Without her help, there would have been no project.

As you can see here, Steve is listening intently to Maria, and this is one of my favorite pictures from that time.

To the left here are several people connected to the project.  From left to right are:  Mark Reed; Maria Ferrara; Jeff Butler; Harold Dusty Bull; Kinder Hunt; Steve Reevis; Macile Reevis; George Randall; Toni Running Fisher; Saginaw Grant; Yours truly.

 

And again, to the left is Harold Dusty Bull, who was In Charge of the Project.  In the background to the left is Steve and on the right is Mark Reed, from the Iroquois/Mohawk tribe, I believe.

Both Harold and Steve grew up on the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Montana.

 

 

 

To the left here is Steve dancing.  Steve was a grass dancer.  

And, to the right is a couples dance.  Here is Steve and Macile; behind them are Harold Dusty Bull and the founder and head of the H.E.L.P. project (Hollywood Education and Literacy Project), Kinder Hunt.  Pulling up the rear in the picture is Saginaw Grant and Toni Running Fisher.

Also, there was Blackfeet style Indian bread and tacos — made by Toni Running Fisher.

 

 

 

To the right here is another view of Steve and Macile dancing the Couples Dance, with Saginaw Grant and Toni Running Fisher not too far behind them.

Here also is a view of some of the men who gave in the drum who gave us the music so the dancers could dance.  To the left is another picture of Steve dancing.

To the left here is Steve speaking, and in his hand he holds an eagle feather fan.

To the right is Steve’s beautiful wife, Macile.  Macile, by the way, has her own clothing line of Native American clothing.

 

To the left here is a picture snapped of us when we were visiting the L. Ron Hubbard Author Services Center in Hollywood, CA.  From left to right are:

Paul Bailey (my husband); Harold Dusty Bull; Steve Reevis; Macile Reevis and her daughter; me; Toni Running Fisher and her husband Kevin.  By the way, the dress I’m wearing in this picture is one of Macile Reevis’ creations.

 

And lastly, here we all are:  the authors, the Drum, Steve and Macile (off to the left).

The event was very successful and the HELP literacy project was also a success on the Reservation, and was up and running there for many years.

I will miss my friend, Steve Reevis.  Somehow, I thought he would always be here, alive and well, and I wish that I hadn’t lost touch with his family when my own family moved East.  Steve once said to me in a passing conversation, “Why do you think all those warriors in the past would risk their lives?”  I didn’t know and said so.  Steve then said, “Because they knew they would live again.”

Somewhere, in some other time and place, perhaps, I feel that Steve is still with us, and is, even now, the cause of someone else’s joy and happiness.  Good-bye, Steve.  You are missed.  But I know that wherever you are, those who are with you, love you.

All of the Blackfoot Warrior Series books are on sale for .99 in honor of Steve.  Those books are:

GRAY HAWK’S WOMAN — https://tinyurl.com/qtl7hsu

WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH — https://tinyurl.com/vbanq3m

NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE — https://tinyurl.com/twdjtx4

These are list of some of Steve’s Films, as well as some photos from those films:

 

  • CREDITS
  • Film Appearances
  • Indian, Twins, Universal, 1988
  • Indian child, Grim Prairie Tales (also known as Hellbent),Academy Entertainment, 1990
  • First Sioux and first warrior, Dances with Wolves, Orion, 1990
  • Indian in desert, The Doors, TriStar, 1991
  • Chato, Geronimo: An American Legend, Columbia, 1993
  • Two Bears, Posse, Gramercy, 1993
  • Yellow Wolf, Last of the Dogmen, Savoy Pictures, 1995
  • Sioux Chief Whistler, Wild Bill, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists, 1995
  • (As Steven Reevis) Shep Proudfoot, Fargo, Gramercy, 1996
  • Freddy, Follow Me Home, New Millenia, 1997
  • Sam Keno, The Outfitters, New Skivvies Films, 1999
  • Sim Lundy, Highway 395, Creative Light Worldwide, 2000

 

 

 

  • Film Work
  • Stunt performer, War Party, c. 1989.
  • Television Appearances
  • Movies
  • Crazy Horse, TNT, 1996
  • Mule, Horse Sense, The Disney Channel, 1999
  • Episodic
  • Sammy Wheeler, “Return of Jimmy Blackhorse,” JAG, NBC, 1996
  • “The Only Goode Indian,” Goode Behavior, 1997
  • Jake Stonecrow, “Mayday,” Walker, Texas Ranger, CBS, 1997
  • Sheriff Lamont Nez, “The Outrage,” Promised Land, CBS, 1997
  • John Wolf/Lone Wolf, “Way of the Warrior,” Walker, Texas Ranger, CBS, 1999
  • Also appeared in Unsolved Mysteries.
  • Other
  • Grey Eyes, Miracle in the Wilderness, 1992
  • Jack Buck, Wild Grizzly, 1999
  • RECORDINGS
  • Videos
  • Life, Love, and Earth (educational music video), Shenandoah Films,1999

 

 

 

Updated: March 9, 2020 — 7:16 am

Winnie’s Winner!!

Hello everyone and thanks for dropping by to join in the discussion on Chapel Cars. I threw the names in a hat and the name I drew out is

CHRISTY MALONE

Congratulations Christy. If you’ll contact me via my website with your mailing info, I’ll get a copy of the book right on out to you.

 

SECOND CHANCE FAMILY

Mitch Hammond is a man of his word. And as far as Cora Beth Collins is concerned, that’s a problem. The stubborn sheriff has vowed never to love again, for fear of wounding someone else. The most he can offer Cora Beth is marriage in name only. And with no other way to adopt two runaway orphans and keep her patchwork family together, she accepts.

Mitch is doing the honorable thing. So why does it feel so wrong? Despite his intentions, Mitch is starting to want more from Cora Beth…and from himself. For in her trusting eyes he sees everything he hopes to be—as a lawman, a father and a husband.

 

To learn more or purchase your copy, check HERE

Updated: March 10, 2020 — 8:22 pm

Chapel Cars – Reprise

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. I have a book due at the end of this month and the last few weeks heading toward a deadline are always pretty intense for me. So I hope you will forgive me for pulling out an old post and dusting it off to share once again. This one appeared during my first year as a filly, 2009. Wow, hard to believe I’ve been part of this fabulous fun group for 11 years now!! Time really does pass fast when you’re having fun 🙂

 

‘Saving’ The West

I came across an article when researching circuit preachers for a minor story thread in one of my books.  The article covered a unique tool utilized by missionaries who were attempting to do their own brand of ‘taming the west’ – namely Chapel Cars.

These were railroad cars that were modified to serve as traveling churches.  They rode the rails from town to town, shifting over to sidings for as long as they were needed, then continuing on to the next stop.  They included modest living quarters for the missionary and, if he had one, his wife.  The rest of the space was utilized for the church itself.

Most western movies and tales glorify the gun-toting lawman or vigilante, portraying them as the tamers of the wild and woolly west.  In actuality, the peace-minded missionaries who rode the rails played a larger, more influential part in bringing peace to the lawless west than any of their more aggressive counterparts.  They traveled in their mobile churches to remote areas of the country, bringing spiritual direction and a civilizing influence to people who were starved for something to offset the violence and loneliness of their existence.

These Chapel Cars traveled throughout the west and mid-west – including North Dakota, Nevada, Minnesota, California, Louisiana, Texas, Oregon and Colorado.  They stopped at mining towns and logging camps, tent cities and newly established towns, bringing their gospel message and the reminder of civilization to people who had seen neither for a long time – if ever.

And, given the unfettered existence of those in the camps and towns, their appearance was surprisingly well received more often than not – especially by the ladies of the area.  The arrival of these Chapel Cars signaled not only the chance to attend Sunday services, but brought with them someone to perform weddings, funerals, baptisms and also a welcome excuse for social gatherings.  In addition, many a rough and tough cowboy who would have balked at attending a traditional church, seemed to feel differently about these side rail services.  In fact, the very novelty of the Chapel Car brought folks from miles around just to have a look.

Of course, they didn’t always receive a warm welcome.  There are recorded instances of the Chapel Cars being pelted with eggs and refuse, defaced with graffiti and even set on fire.  But these were rare instances and the cars and their custodians survived to continue their mission.

These repurposed rail cars were furnished with pews, a lectern, an altar table and in some cases an organ.  Depending on the construction, they could seat over 70 people inside.  The Chapel Car was a multipurpose unit, serving as a home, church, Sunday School, social hall, library and meeting place.  They carried bibles and tracts which were distributed all along the lines.  The missionary and his wife, in addition to their usual ministerial duties, were expected to function as singer, musician, janitor and cook.  They helped organize permanent churches, including raising the necessary funds and helping to construct the buildings.

There are records to support the existence of eleven Chapel Cars in all, though there is some evidence there may have been as many as seventeen.  Of the eleven known cars, three were utilized by Catholics, seven by Baptists and one by the Episcopalians.

Chapel cars remained in use throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  With the advent of World War I, however, the railroad tracks had to be kept clear for troop movement.  In addition, new regulations prohibited the railroad companies from giving ‘free rides’ to the Chapel Cars, something that had been common practice up until that time.  And as paved roads and the automobile became more prevalent it became easier for folks to travel longer distances on their own to attend church.  Thus, the Chapel Cars that had brought their spiritual message and civilizing influence to the rough and tumble west faded into history.

So, where’s the most memorable place you’ve attended a church service?

 

And on the good news front, Love Inspired is re-releasing one of my previous titles this month in a 2-in-1 volume with former Filly Cheryl St.John.  Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a signed copy.

 

SECOND CHANCE FAMILY

Mitch Hammond is a man of his word. And as far as Cora Beth Collins is concerned, that’s a problem. The stubborn sheriff has vowed never to love again, for fear of wounding someone else. The most he can offer Cora Beth is marriage in name only. And with no other way to adopt two runaway orphans and keep her patchwork family together, she accepts.

Mitch is doing the honorable thing. So why does it feel so wrong? Despite his intentions, Mitch is starting to want more from Cora Beth…and from himself. For in her trusting eyes he sees everything he hopes to be—as a lawman, a father and a husband.

 

 

Updated: March 9, 2020 — 12:31 am

Julie Benson’s Winner!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by the corral today to talk about good luck items and making our own luck.  

The winner of the horseshoe and signed copy of To Catch A Texas Cowboy is:

Carol Luciano

Congratulations, Carol. Look for an email from me on how to claim your giveaway.

                                      Julie

Updated: March 4, 2020 — 8:57 pm

Wishing Wells and Various Lucky Charms

As I took pictures of my foster Kimber for a St. Patrick Day’s post, I started thinking about “lucky” items. I love horseshoes. I pick up pennies I find. “Find a penny pick it up and all the day you’ll have good luck.” I’ve always wished on the first star I see in the night sky. I throw coins in fountains. I’ve never found a 4-leaf clover, but if I had, I’d have kept it. Considering all that it’s not surprising that when I wanted to add something special to my fictional east Texas town, I chose a wishing well. But I’ve never thought about how the wishing well lore started.

Deciding to fix that, I did some research. The lore started because of man’s natural obsession with water. Since without water we humans are toast, water has been a major concern since we burst onto the scene. Many ancient cultures viewed underground springs as sacred gifts. In appreciation, people dropped tokens for the gods into the water. Wells or well houses built around water sources to protect them became gathering places. Germanic tribes believed spirits who liked to intervene in humans’ lives inhabited these waters, and if someone voiced a wish or hope, the spirits might grant the wish. Someone could increase the chances of the wish being granted by dropping a coin or small token in the well. And it turns out poor Odin, Thor’s father, lost his eye because water deity Mimir, who lived in and guarded the Well of Wisdom, demanded his right eye as payment for a drink. The legend says his right eye was thrown in the well for others to know there was a price for the well’s wisdom.

When I created my well, I wanted a twist so I made my well persnickety, only granting wishes made for someone else. I created a legend which started with two sisters, Anne and Alice. The short version is, after the Civil War when Anne’s husband failed to return, she became despondent and took to her bed. Alice, not knowing what else to do, stood at the family well, her tears dropping into the water as she tossed in a coin. She wished for her brother-in-law to return to the family who loved and needed him. Two days later, Sam returned, and the town’s legend was born.

I’ve had fun starting each book with a wish for the hero or heroine and weaving references to the well through the stories. In To Love A Texas Cowboy, Ty Barnett’s sister Aubrey turns to the wishing well when she’s concerned he’s marrying the wrong woman. Book 2, To Catch A Texas Cowboy, opens with Ty making a wish for his best friend AJ Quinn. In To Tame A Texas Cowboy, my latest release in the Wishing Texas Series, Cheyenne Whitten’s sister Sheridan wishes for her to receive help with her health issues.

But like Odin, a price is demanded before the wish is granted. My hero and heroine must survive trials, struggles and conflict, often caused or exaggerated by what or rather who fate has decided possesses the answer to their loved one’s wish. Yup, my well enjoys stirring up lives and causing trouble before answering those wishes. Because just like in real life as the Rolling Stones say, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well, you might find, you get what you need.”

Today’s giveaway is a horseshoe and a copy of To Catch A Texas Cowboy. This book contains my favorite wish so far. It’s my favorite mainly because it’s done in such a guy fashion. You’ll have to read the story to find out what Ty wishes for AJ. To be entered in the random drawing leave a comment about your favorite lucky charm or item to wish on. 

Updated: March 3, 2020 — 9:29 pm

The Legend of … TORTELLINI! by Pam Crooks

It’s National Tortellini Day!

There’s a “National Day” for everything, it seems, right? But this one caught my eye because, well, who doesn’t love tortellini?

I don’t recall my mother ever making it. Being Italian, my family had plenty of pasta in our lives, but we were pretty much restricted to spaghetti, mostaccioli, macaroni, bow ties, and occasionally orzo.  (Although, in fairness, grocery stores in my day were decidedly limited compared to the super-stores we shop at today,)

So I began wondering just how long has tortellini been around?  Macaroni has been available in mercantiles throughout the west, and the noodles filled many a cowboy’s stomach, but something as fancy as tortellini?

Well, lo and behold, tortellini has been around a lo-ong time.

Legend claims that Tortellini was inspired by the goddess Venus’ navel. An Italian medieval legend tells how Venus and Zeus, weary one night after their involvement in a battle between Bologna and Modena, arrive at a tavern in a small town on the outskirts of Bologna. After eating a hearty dinner and becoming slightly drunk, they decide to share a bedroom. The innkeeper, captivated after watching them, creeps to their room and peeks through the keyhole of the bedroom door. However, all he can see through the keyhole is the navel of Venus. This vision leaves him spellbound – so much so that he immediately rushes to the kitchen and creates a pasta inspired by Venus’ navel…and so was born the Tortellini.

—www.barilla.com

Cool, eh?  Fun, fascinating, and true?  Maybe. Maybe not.

It’s a legend, right? But I’ll bet you’ll always remember that tortellini was inspired by a famous goddess’ belly button!  I know I will.

How about I share a super-simple and refreshing salad recipe?

Tortellini Caesar Salad

Dressing:

3 Tb lemon juice

2 Tb water

1 1/2 Tb vegetable oil

1 tsp anchovy paste

1/8 tsp ground pepper

1 close garlic, crushed

Salad:

9 oz cheese tortellini, cooked, drained, and cooled

1 head lettuce, cut up

Plenty of FRESH grated parmesan cheese

Combine dressing ingredients and whisk well.

Place lettuce and tortellini in a large bowl. Toss in dressing and top with parmesan cheese.

Serve cold.

**Note: I never make the dressing included in the recipe but use a good bottle of Caesar salad dressing. The above recipe is low in calories, but the dressing is what a salad is all about, right? 

Happy National Tortellini Day!

How about you? Do you love legends?  What’s your favorite? Robin Hood? Lady Godiva?

Do you love pasta? How do you prepare your tortellini?

Please share, and since Valentine’s Day is TOMORROW, I’ll send one of you who comments this gold, sparkly, heart-shaped bottle opener!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

                                                         

              AMAZON                                                                                                  AMAZON

Updated: February 13, 2020 — 10:54 am