The Scots who came to settle the mountain regions of the United States were a hardy lot, especially those who hailed from the Scottish Highlands. They felt at home settling in these areas few other immigrants wanted – areas like the Appalachians or the Rocky Mountains. A large amount of my heritage can be found among this group. Eighty-three percent of my ancestry come from the British Isles with a mixture of Scot, English, and Irish.
This is what happens in Mountain Storms, the first book in my In from the Storms Trilogy. Ian MacGregor was wounded in the Civil War and left Maryland to hide away in a mountain cabin in Wyoming Territory. He had been rejected because of his war wounds and wanted to move from society. Aileas Campbell stumbles on the cabin in a snowstorm after she runs away from unwanted attention. Neither suspect the adventure they’re about to begin or the changes God has in store for them.
The family saga continues in Past Storms. Jeannie MacGregor, at seventeen, feels imprisoned in the secluded mountain cabin with her taciturn brother, so she runs away and goes back to her aunt in Maryland, hoping to have a social life and find a suitor. But nothing turns out as she expected, and within a few years, she finds herself on a train back to Wyoming with her young daughter in tow. The unexpected interest of three men there surprises her, but only one man makes her heart beat faster. However, he’s the new pastor, and what would a man of God want with someone like her. He could hardly find a more unsuitable wife.
In Dust Storms, Brady Sharpe, Aileas’s stepbrother, wanders his way to Texas after Aileas refuses to leave with him. He tries ranching and becomes a foreman but never feels he truly belongs. After catching some cattle rustlers, he decides to leave but discovers a young woman in desperate need of help. He does his best but ends up deciding to take her back to Wyoming and get Aileas to help her. In their journey, they battle many storms, including a major dust storm and storms of the heart.
I loved writing this trilogy. Originally, I hadn’t planned to write Dust Storms, but when I finished Past Storms, Brady said I needed to tell his story, so I did. This has happened before in my character-driven novels. Readers seem to like this series, too, because these books have been my best-sellers for months.
I would like to offer one of you the chance to win a free copy of Mountain Storms. In addition, as long as they last, I would also like to give free codes for audible editions of one of the 3 books to any who have an Audible account (which is free but required to redeem the code). You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will send you the code for the book you request. Have a blessed day, ask me any questions you’d like, and I hope to hear from you soon.
I hate to admit this, but as a child, I wasn’t a fan of the country music my mother played music. But since I sold my first contemporary western romance in 2011, I’ve come to love it. The other day I thought about how many great songs have cowboy in the title. The first one that popped into my mind was “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” by Willie Nelson. For fun, I ran a searched to find others.
The first site on my search was http://www.myweddingsongs.com. The irony is the day before I wrote this post, I turned in revisions on To Marry A Texas Cowboy which comes out in September. In that book, my hero temporarily manages his grandmother’s wedding planning business! When I went to the website, I discovered the fourth Saturday in July is the Day of the Cowboy. If I’d known, July 25th would’ve found me in my recliner watching cowboy movies. Then I would’ve sat on the patio with a cool drink and listened to cowboy songs.
Since I missed this year’s day, I’m compiling my Day of the Cowboy playlist for Saturday July 24, 2021. Here’s my list so far.
Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell
Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys by Waylon and Willie
Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? by Paula Cole
Should’ve Been a Cowboy by Toby Keith
Cowboys and Angels by Garth Brooks
Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy) by Big and Rich
Cowboy Casanova by Carried Underwood
Cowboy Take Me Away by The Chicks
The Cowboy Rides Away by George Strait
Don’t Call Him Cowboy by Conway Twitty
My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys by Willie Nelson
The Cowboy in Me by Tim McGraw
Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy by Chris LeDoux
Cowboy Love by John Michael Montgomery
Asphalt Cowboy by Jason Aldean
The Cowboy’s Hat by Chris LeDoux
Cowboy’s Back in Town by Trace Adkins
100% Cowboy by Jason Meadows
Cowboys and Angels by Garth Brooks
My Cowboy by Jessie James
Cowboys Like Us by George Strait
All Around Cowboy by Waylon Jennings
Cowboy Logic by The Charlie Daniels Band
Cowboys Are My Weakness by Trisha Yearwood (Oh, yes! Mine too!)
I Want a Cowboy by Reba McEntire
I Ain’t Her Cowboy Anymore by George Strait
Broken Down Cowboy
And two non-country music entries…
Put the Boy Back in Cowboy by Bon Jovi
I Wannt Be a Cowboy by Boys Don’t Cry
(This has a great video if you love watching Jon Bon Jovi!)
Since I was having a great time and in a wonderful mood after listening to many of the above, I searched for best songs about cowboys, and I had to include these.
Wanted Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi
Desperado by The Eagles
The songs that spoke to me as I compiled my list were “Cowboy Logic” by The Charlie Daniels Band, “I Want a Cowboy” by Reba McEntire, and “100% Cowboy” by Jason Meadows. To listen to those, click on the song title. Now I have another way to brighten the day when I’m feeling blue–listen to songs with cowboy in the title!
To be entered in the random drawing for the brand wine glass, the wine cover and a copy of Home on the Range: Colorado Rescue, leave a comment stating your favorite song with cowboy in the title and why you like it.
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I love The Farmer’s Almanac and have both an old version and I a newer one. I enjoy reading about old wives’ tales around the house from days gone by and wanted to share some of them with you. I took this information from The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Enjoy!
Never give a knife as a housewarming present, or your new neighbor will become an enemy. I grew up on a version of this. In Texas we were told never to give a knife to anybody under any circumstances; so, we always did the next thing.
If you give a steel blade to a friend make the recipient pay you a penny to avoid cutting the friendship
When you move to a new house, always enter first with a loaf of bread and a new broom. Never bring an old broom into the house. I never heard of this and only moved twice since we married 52 years ago and I always brought my old broom. Hum? Fact or fiction? We’ve had a wonderful life in both house.
Never walk under a ladder, which is Satan’s territory. If you do, cross your fingers or make the sign of the fig (closed fist, with thumb between index and middle fingers.) I knew never to walk under a ladder because it’d bring you bad luck, but never knew the name for the sign of the fig, which I think we all have used at one time or another.
To protect your house from lightning, gather hazel tree branches on Palm Sunday and keep them in water. How many of you have a hazel tree or can even get branches? Not in my neighborhood.
To banish serpents and venomous creatures from the room, scatter Solomon’s seal on the floor. I have two issues with this. I don’t think I’ve ever had a serpent or venomous creature in our house and I sure don’t know what Solomon’s seal is. Do any of you?
Never pound a nail after sundown or you will wake the tree gods. Interesting???
Nail an evergreen branch to new rafters to bring good luck. An empty hornets’ nest, hung high, also will bring good luck to a house of any age. Well, here in Texas, we like to hang a horseshoe over the door for good luck.
Never carry a hoe into the house. If you do by mistake, carry it out again, walking backward to avoid bad luck.
I thought this had a bunch a fun superstitions and old wives’ tales from around the house. There are many more takes about the house and home, but are they fact or fiction? Often only time will tell.
Do you have a superstition you want to share?
To one reader who leaves a comment, I will send you either
your choice of an eBook of any of my books listed on Amazon or
Thanks to everyone who stopped by to leave a comment on my post about the Hoover Dam. Y’all shared some great info about some of this country’s lesser known treasures and I’ve added several of them to my ‘someday’ list.
I threw all the names in a cyber hat and selected
as the winner of her choice of any book from my backlist. Congratulations Veda! Just pop on over to my website – https://www.winniegriggs.com/booklist.html – and browse through the list of books, then email me (via my website) with the title you’d like to have and your mailing info and I’ll get the book right on out to you
Hope your July 4th celebration was wonderful. July is such a terrific month, isn’t it? Because this is the month of our country’s Declaration of ’76, I’m putting two of my books (which I call my freedom books) on sale for $.99 cents throughout the month of July. Those books are BLACK EAGLE and SENECA SURRENDER. Usually I give this little warning concerning these two books, which is that these two books are a little more sensuous than my usual Historical Romances.
Then, PROUD WOLF’S WOMAN has just been released in its 25th Anniversary Edition. This book has been out of print for about 25 years and is now back in print.
There’s really quite a bit of editing and that sort of thing that goes into these Anniversary books. Often, when the books were converted from mass market books to e-books, there were errors due to the conversion. So the extra editing is to find those errors and correct them. It’s a beautiful edition and is on sale for $3.99 — regularly priced at $4.99. The paperback edition is also on sale for $9.99. Recently we’ve put our paperback books on sale from $13.99 to $9.99 because with this unusual world situation, sometimes it’s nice to lose ourselves in a story that ends happily.
So, in celebration of this book coming back into print after about 25 years, I’ll leave you with this excerpt and back blurb from the book. Hope you will enjoy.
He rescued her from slavery…now he is captive to desire.
Lakota Warriors, Book 2
Stolen from a cruel husband by the savage Kiowa, Julia Wilson’s life has gone from bad to worse. Just when she has reached the end of her endurance, salvation rides into camp. Neeheeowee, a proud Cheyenne brave who once filled her young heart with romantic dreams, has come to save her from everything—except the flames of desire that still burn.
Bitter and intent on vengeance against the man who killed his wife and unborn child, Neeheeowee has no room in his heart for love. His captured ponies and treasured robes were supposed to be traded for Kiowa weapons. Instead, to his annoyance, he must trade everything for his old friend’s life.
Hard as he tries to hang on to his anger at being set off his mission, he cannot deny that he yearns for the woman whose gentle, healing presence reminds him that happiness might exist beyond revenge. Her lips tease him with passion he dare not risk, for those who are long dead still haunt him. To take the love she offers risks his honor—perhaps his very life.
Warning: Sensuous romance might cause one to go West to find one’s own true love.
Enjoy this excerpt from PROUD WOLF’S WOMAN
They had been traveling that way for some time now, and always, after they had reached the Arkansas River, there had been buffalo. But before that, before they had reached the river, there had been nothing.
She remembered again the harshness of the last few weeks of traveling. It had been a cruel trek across what she now came to realize had been the Jornada, or Horn Alley, as the Americans called it: a desert march.
She remembered being glad to drink of the chalky white substance Neeheeowee had called mahpe, not even caring anymore if the water might be contaminated.
It was also during this time that she’d become aware that they traveled the Santa Fe Trail, and she remembered wondering if she might come across white travelers. So far, though, she had seen no one…up until now.
She looked down again upon the scene below her, her gaze taking in the herd of buffalo that seemed to stretch out to the horizon. Sometimes she and Neeheeowee had been forced to move amongst those numerous herds these past few days, Neeheeowee seemingly at ease over it, Julia half-afraid of the huge beasts. Often they would follow a buffalo trail, seeking out the hollows where buffalo had lain down and rolled over and over, these spots dotting the flat, endless land as though they were shimmering aqua beads strung out on a necklace of brown and green grasses.
It was in these hollows that she and Neeheeowee would water the pony and stock up on their own water supply, if low.
She smiled, watching the sun as it began to set in the western sky, the magnificence of color there, the golds and pinks, the reds and oranges, unlike anything she’d ever seen, and as Julia watched it, she experienced a sense of well-being that was as pleasurable as it was unusual. There was something about this limitless space that did something to her: the prairie that looked more silver than green under the hot, spring sun; the grasses that waved in the wind; the expanse of sky and high clouds. Even the air seemed magnified in purity, and she breathed it in now with a satisfied sigh.
She listened to the wind, the breeze blowing the faraway sounds of the trailblazers to her.
She supposed she might have gone down there to them, since they camped so close by, but she didn’t and she wouldn’t, content to continue her travels with her Indian companion, her proud wolf.
Yes, that was how she had come to think of Neeheeowee now: Proud Wolf. It was difficult not to picture him this way; not when he tilted his head a certain way, sometimes looking down his nose at her, although she knew it was all a facade.
She wondered again at how the white man had ever come to think of the Indian woman as a slave. Clearly there were divisions of labor as to the men’s and women’s work, but Neeheeowee did not balk at taking on her tasks when she didn’t know them or couldn’t do them.
And never did he scold her nor make her feel his inferior. Never.
In truth, she had never felt so cherished.
Still, there was something else: She had never asked, she had not thought to, but she had come to understand that Neeheeowee was taking her back to Fort Leavenworth. Another chivalrous move on his part.
She straightened up, away from the tree, looking out upon the camp that Neeheeowee had pitched. Stretched out beneath a canopy of cottonwood trees, their site disappeared into the landscape. And she knew it would take more than a little expertise for anyone, even an Indian, to find their camp.
She had noticed that Neeheeowee made no moves to light a fire this night, and Julia could only assume that was because of the close presence of the pioneers. And though she had come to realize that Neeheeowee did not much fear the white man, he did go out of his way to avoid them.
She glanced over to Neeheeowee now and watched him as he worked at camp chores, untying his bow, working over the wood, even chipping away at an arrowhead and shaft. These actions had become so commonplace to her of late, she barely even noticed him doing them.
As though aware of her scrutiny, Neeheeowee inclined his head just slightly before turning it quickly to his left, a gesture which had become familiar to Julia, and she couldn’t help but believe it an Indian custom, with some meaning to it.
He looked over to her, his expression stoic, unreadable.
“Ta-naestse,” he said, making a gesture toward her, indicating her voice. With a lift of his shoulders, he gave her to understand that he asked a question and Julia realized she had been humming, something she’d not been aware of until this moment. She stopped, but he motioned her to continue and then, possibly by way of a compliment, he smiled.
Julia was immediately captivated; so rarely did he honor her with such an expression.
She smiled back and continued to hum in tune along with the lazy fiddle, whose notes drifted up to them from the pioneer camp below. She knew the song being played down there and had she felt more at ease she might have sung along, but, being a little self-conscious, she contented herself with a mere hum.
At length, she rose, wandering to the edge of the ridge and there, looked over to the pioneer camp. Dusk had fallen all around her, bringing with it the scent of the pioneers’ campfire, the soft feel of evening air, and the nightly squawk of prairie hawks. Also, too, were the sounds of laughter and of happy music which filtered up to her. All at once, a sense of melancholy overcame her, and Julia wondered at the cause. Perhaps it was only her desire to be near to the things she had once known, or perhaps it was simply the melancholy which she had heard so often attached itself to the prairie traveler.
Whatever the cause, Julia began to recall the dances, the jigs, the excitement of being young, unattached, and in love, the thrill of being asked to dance by the most handsome of beaus.
Caught up in her reminiscence, she swayed to the rhythm of a jig, her feet finding their way into the simple steps of the dance. And all at once, she twirled once, again, until at length she spread her arms, spinning round and round, the leather fringe of her gown flowing outward and swaying like so much prairie grass in the wind.
She smiled as a slower waltz took over the beat and melody, remembering when she’d danced to this very song not so long ago.
And without even thinking about it, she curtsied as though to a suitor.
“Oh, my, yes,” she said to this most handsome of imaginary partners. “I’d be more than happy to accept this dance.”
Her arms came up to rest on her partner’s strong, invisible shoulders as he began to twirl her around and around the carpet of prairie grass, the hard earth beneath her feet her dance floor, the darkened sky overhead her ballroom.
“Are you planning to ask me to walk with you in the garden after the dance?” Julia asked into her shadowy partner’s ear, throwing her head back while the dark curls of her hair fell down around her waist.
She giggled as she pretended her fanciful partner’s reply, deeming it to be a most naughty of answers, and she feigned a blush, saying softly, “Why sir, how dare you speak to me as such.”
But when she smiled, it took the edge off her words, so that the dreamy figure holding her continued to whisper to her, the words so terribly naughty, it made Julia laugh.
She reached down, to sweep the train of her fictitious gown over her arm and then it happened.
Neeheeowee stood before her, stepping into her arms as though he were her fancied prince, his very real arms encircling her, his hand over hers.
His steps were smooth and slow, his look at her intense under the beginning shadows of a softened night.
She matched his steps, looking up to meet his gaze.
The moon appeared as an imperfect disk in the soft hush of evening, its radiance already beaming down, basking them in a glow of silvery light, and, as she looked up to him, Julia thought Neeheeowee more handsome than anyone of her acquaintance, and at this moment he bore more traits of what is considered the civilized man than anyone else, white or red.
Her one hand rested over his smooth shoulder, her other hand he clasped tightly within his own and he twirled her around their ballroom of softened prairie grass and hushed, moon-filled night. They danced as though to the tune of a hundred violins with thousands of spectators watching, yet they danced only for themselves.
The music from below had long ago ceased to play, but not so these two dancers. They swept around the circle there on the ridge, each twirl bringing her closer and closer into his arms, neither one aware that they danced to none other than the music of their own hearts.
His head came breathlessly close to hers, his lips hovering over her own and Julia, looking up, begged him silently for his kiss, her gaze pleading, her lips trembling.
She didn’t have to wait. As he completed the one last twirl, his lips pressed sweetly over hers and Julia responded as though she had waited all her life for this moment, or more particularly, seven and one-half years.
Last week was crazy for me. I played What if…with a lot of you for June’s Game Day. I had a pin removed from my right index finger on Tuesday. The fourth book in my Wishing Texas Series, To Marry A Texas Cowboy, was due Wednesday, and then it was the Fourth of July weekend. Lesson learned? Consult my calendar more carefully when scheduling events and deadlines.
But I have a surprise for you, Today I received the final cover for the book!
Though I don’t have a release dateyet, here’s the backcover copy for the book:
She lives by a set of rules. He aims to break each one.
When Zane Logan returns to Wishing, Texas, he’s shocked to learn that his grandmother has hired an assistant to manage her wedding planning business as she heals from surgery. With five marriages between his parents, just the thought of weddings breaks him out in hives. To look out for his grandmother’s financial interests, Zane takes charge. He doesn’t trust easily, especially when the assistant is prettier than a Texas spring day.
Childhood taught McKenna Stinson an important rule: never count on anyone but yourself. She dreams of working hard to have her own business. Stepping in for a successful wedding planner in a small town known for big weddings is the perfect opportunity…until her employer’s grandson announces he’s the new boss. He’s cynical about love and knows nothing about weddings—so why is she falling for him?
Even worse, Zane’s so hot McKenna has to make up two new rules: don’t date a man more attractive than you and never, ever, date a man you work with.
Being a mom to three sons has helped me create heroes. I learned early on males communicate differently. I wasn’t surprised to learn women use 20,000 words a day and men 7,000. In an interview Clint Eastwood said the first thing he did with a script was cut dialogue. Before I send a book off, I look for where my hero is too wordy. I also check for non “guy speak” dialogue. For example, men don’t use qualifiers. They don’t say “Would you like to…” or “What if we…” Nope. We women do that. Men simply cut to the chase. “Want to get pizza?”
From the book I just turned in, To Marry A Texas Cowboy:
Zane tried to tune out the women talking about how else Susannah would incorporate her color scheme. Who wanted to waste their New Year’s Eve at a wedding? Not him. Why did a bride have to ruin a perfectly good holiday and football night? From the color scheme, they chatted back and forth about whether they should eat or check out dresses first.
Ridiculous. It wouldn’t take him and his buddies a minute to decide. You hungry? No. Me neither. We’ll eat later. Done. Issue settled. But women made every discussion as hard as finding hair on a frog.
There are more ways men and women communicate differently, but I’ll leave those for another time. Today’s giveaway is a Warrior Not Worrier Cozy Sleeve and a copy of Home On The Ranch: Colorado Rescue. To be entered in the random drawing, leave a comment about the way men and women communicate differently or your thoughts on my cover or the backcover copy. Basically, just leave a comment and talk with me!
Can’t you just hear a trail-dusty cowboy humming a tune, thinking about the dance that night and the girl he’ll twirl around in his arms?
Community dances, barn dances, harvest balls, and the like gave people who didn’t often make it into town or have time for socializing a chance to connect, laugh, reminisce, and court.
In my historical romances, I just love the idea of a community dance. I’ve included everything from formal balls to a dance in an empty warehouse. It’s so fun to think about the decorations, the refreshments, the clothes, and the music.
But especially the participants. It’s the hopeless romantic in me that sees these dances as a perfect opportunity for romance to blossom.
One of my favorite dance scenes is from my sweet romance Lightning and Lawmen. Two deputies both like the same beautiful girl.
Think some sparks (or fists) might fly?
Dugan danced with every woman over sixty in attendance and several females under the age of ten, but he never once danced with any of the single young women in attendance. He certainly failed to ask her to dance. She’d just finished a rousing polka with a man she knew worked for Thane in one of his mines when she turned to her next partner and found herself swept into Dugan’s arms.
Suddenly, the rest of the dancers ceased to exist, the music faded into the background, and there was no one else in the world except Dugan.
“Delilah,” he finally said in a raspy tone that rendered her limbs languid.
Nearly tripping on the hem of her skirt, he kept her upright and swung her outside the door. In a few steps, he’d positioned them around the corner of the building where the dusky evening light wrapped around them in an amber-hued glow.
“Why are you dancing with doting grandmothers and little girls?” she asked, hurt by the fact he’d ignored her even if she didn’t want to give voice to her thoughts.
“Because I don’t wanna dance if it ain’t with you, Delilah. I don’t want to draw another breath unless you’re beside me.”
Even in the muted light, she could see his eyes darken while his nostrils flared. His lips parted, and she knew she was a goner.
“Dilly,” he said, giving her a long, thorough look as his hands bracketed her face. “What are you doing to me? Delightful, darling, delicious Delilah,” he muttered as his head descended toward hers.
Her eyes closed, anticipating the impact of his kiss when cool air suddenly spilled around her. She opened her eyes to see Seth shoving Dugan against the wall.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Dugan growled. His jaw clenched in anger as he glared at his friend.
“Leave my girl alone,” Seth warned, raising a fist with a threatening scowl.
“Since when is she your girl?” Dugan asked, removing his suit coat and handing it to Delilah.
Without thinking, she took it, appalled two men she admired were about to engage in fisticuffs over her. It was unthinkable!
“Both of you stop this nonsense right this minute,” she said, stepping between the two of them.
“Delilah, honey, I’ll settle this,” Seth said, placing a hand on her waist and kissing her lightly on the mouth.
If she hadn’t been so shocked by his improper advances, she would have slapped his face.
Dugan didn’t give her a chance to, though. He stepped around Delilah and grabbed Seth around the neck, pulling him backward.
From that point on, fists began flying while the two men…
For a chance to win a copy of Lightning and Lawmen, just answer this question:
Who are you cheering for?
Dugan or Seth?
And just because the song is now stuck in my head, how about a little Goin’ Courtin’?
Hey, y’all! It’s always such an honor to spend the day with you!
One of my favorite themes to write about is God’s love, and the way He guides us in His plan if we’re intentional about seeking His will in each decision. We all want to know we’re in God’s will, right? That He will bless the outcome of whatever we’re setting out to accomplish. But I’ve always tended to think that being in God’s will would make things easier. Make the road a bit smoother. So when life would become exceedingly tough, I would sometimes question how I had stepped outside of God’s will. Where did I go wrong?
Book two in my current series, Love’s Mountain Quest, is the story of a mother’s journey to saver her 5-year-old son who’s been kidnapped by a gang of thieves. Can you imagine how that must feel as a mother? The terror of not knowing what your child might be facing. The horror of the situation being so far out of your control.
She enlists the help of Isaac Bowen, a mountain man who’s helped her once before. Together they set of to recover her son and the friend who was stolen with him. I love Joanna’s tenacity to take action in the face of fear. Ever heard the phrase, “Cowgirl up?” This woman knew what that meant!
One of the things God showed me at a heart-deep level as I wrote this story was how critical the hard times are to reaching joy. Not just important to properly appreciate the blessings God brings to us, but we can’t actually reach the good until we’ve traveled through the rough parts. Our lives are a journey, and no matter how dark the current path may feel, I can cling to the fact that my Father will bring me joy and blessings, as long as I stay on the path He’s placed me. As long as I seek His face and yearn to model His righteousness, I can look forward to the gifts He plants along the journey.
That, my friend, brings me hope!
Today, I’m excited to give away a copy of book one in the series, Hope’s Highest Mountain. The winner will be randomly selected from those who leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you, what are some of the blessings that have come your way from hard times in your life?