Misty M. Beller – Storytelling vs. Historical Authenticity

It’s such an honor to sit around the campfire with ya’ll again! The Petticoats and Pistols family is one of my favorite places to hang out.

I’ve been a fan of historical fiction for as long as I can remember, all the way back to the Mandie books by Lois Gladys Leppard and the Sadie Rose books by Hilda Stahl. Does anyone remember those series?

When I started thinking about my first novel, there was no doubt it would be a Christian Historical Romance set in the west. By my second book in, I had narrowed my focus to frontier life in the Rockies. My happy place!

It can be challenging to write about a time I haven’t experienced and cultures that don’t exist in the same form anymore. I love reading first-hand accounts to help me bring a particular time period to life. I often visit historic forts and talk with those who have studied the time period and setting in greater depth.

(Misty and her son in Badlands National Park)









Three years ago, my family and I set out on a 28-day epic road trip to tour many of the state and national parks across the country. We spent about half of our time in Wyoming and Montana, exploring Yellowstone and Glacier, and touring historic and ghost towns. We spent more than one night tent camping without bathrooms and showers!

These experiences definitely make it easier for me to slip into that world as I write. The characters come alive in my mind, and I see the story like a movie in my head. Writing Earning the Mountain Man’s Trust was especially fun to write, as we return to the Coulter Ranch. I fell in love with not just Naomi and Eric, but also sweet little Mary Ellen, their one-year-old daughter whom Eric meets for the first time in this book.

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Back Cover Blurb:

In the wild mountains of the Montana Territory, the Coulter ranch is a place of family, second chances…and a hidden fortune.

Naomi Wyatt has finally given up on the man who once promised to love her for the rest of his life—then disappeared after a business trip, never responding to her letters. She’s now alone with a beautiful baby to provide for, a daughter whose red hair reminds her daily of the man she gave her heart to. She has to move on, though, and she did, going west with her sister. When Jonah Coulter asks for her hand in marriage, she knows she would be hard-pressed to find a better father for her sweet child. He’s a Coulter, after all, and he’s proven to be a good friend during her darkest hours.

Eric LaGrange thought he’d lost Naomi forever. But when he finally gets word that she’s in the Montana Territory, he drops everything to go after her…and their daughter? How could Naomi have kept their beautiful child from him? And how could she move on so quickly that she’s already engaged to another man? He loves Naomi so much that he’ll accept whatever choice is best for her, but is that him…or this settled rancher who clearly cares for them. No matter what, he’s determined to know his daughter and become the father he always wanted to be.

With Eric’s sudden appearance, Naomi’s heart is shredded once again. She barely has time to catch her breath before a new threat appears on the horizon. This time she has far more at stake than her heart, and only a Divine hand can turn this disaster for their good.

From a USA Today bestselling author comes a mountain family saga filled with a second chance romance, love triangle, hidden treasure, and faith that heals wounded hearts.

I pray the story comes to life for readers as much as it has for me!

I’m excited to give away a signed copy of the first three books in the Brothers of Sapphire Ranch series to one winner.

To be entered, I’d love to know your thoughts on whether you prefer to read historical romance with a lot historical details, or whether you’d rather have the focus be on the story and characters. Leave a comment below to share.



Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

Raised on a farm and surrounded by family, Misty developed her love for horses, history, and adventure. These days, her husband and children provide fresh adventure every day, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

Misty’s passion is to create inspiring Christian fiction infused with the grandeur of the mountains, writing historical romance that displays God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Sharing her stories with readers is a dream come true for Misty. She writes from her country home in South Carolina and escapes to the mountains any chance she gets.


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The Last Week Hustle and a Give-Away


Gosh, doesn’t the title of this blog sound like a dance?  In a way, last week was a bit of a “dance,” and hustle.  And, although it’s a brand new week, the hustle continues.

So, let me begin with the news.  First, I have three (3) books on sale right now.








SHE STEALS MY BREATH is the first book in the Medicine Man series and is on sale for $.99.

WHITE EAGLE’S TOUCH is the second book in the Blackfoot Warrior series and is on sale for $2.99.

BRAUT DES EISERNEN WOLF’S — but wait isn’t this last book in German?  Yes, indeed, it is.  In English it is IRON WOLF’S BRIDE and it is on sale for $.99.

So this deserves a little bit of a story.

Slowly, I’m getting the Wild West series translated into German for the German market.  The Eagle and the Flame was the first book I put up on the German market.  But Iron Wolf’s Bride required a little more effort.  The original cover did not have the layered file included and so my cover artist and I decided to do a new cover similar to the old one.  And, this was the result.  I liked it a lot and so we now have this cover for Iron Wolf’s Bride in e-book format (paperbacks take several extra steps).

And so, in celebration, I’m putting this e-book on sale at $.99.

Then, in other news about chances to win give-aways, Authors XP is putting on a sale of Romantic suspense books.  And, I am participating in this event.  This book, IRON WOLF’S BRIDE is not only a Historical Romance/Native American, set in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, but it is also filled with suspense.  The event starts today, Tuesday and goes on until next Monday.  And here is the link to the event:  https://AuthorsXP.com/giveaway

And, just another bit of news, while my latest effort, SHE BRING BEAUTY TO ME, is in editing, I’m writing another Young Adult Story under the pen name of Genny Cothern.  This will be a little longer than my first Young Adult Story and its working title (what I call the book when I’m writing it), is:  THE ADVENTURE OF GOOD EAGLE AND MISS STARLING.  It is written a little differently than my Romantic Historical Books in that it is written in the first person (I saw the bird) as opposed to the 3rd person (She saw the bird.)  I think this is, perhaps, natural since these stories of true adventures I’m reading for research are all written in the 1st person.

And so, I thought I’d give you a little taste of this new Young Adult Story.  Remember, it is as yet unedited.



The Village of Saint Louis




As I waited to start my passage aboard the steamboat, NIMROD, tears streamed down my face, but I did nothing to curtail them.  I knew no one here in this far west fur-trading town of St. Louis, so what did it matter if I cried?

In my gloved hand was my paid ticket from Uncle Jed, who had also financed the various and different carriages that had brought me here.  Indeed, due to bad weather, I had only arrived here on the previous evening, leaving little time for me to enjoy the town—if there were any joy to be found in this village…or anywhere.

It has been said this town is where the West begins.  But, I little cared.  Having spent little more than a few unrestful hours in a boarding house last night, I cared not for this village nor for the Western Indian Country.  After all, I was journeying into the West not by choice, but rather by need.

My name is Starling Nelson.  I was so named after the bird of English fame, the European Starling.  When I was younger, my mother had told me the story of my grandfather gifting her a pair of the birds after he had returned from one of his visits to England.  My mother, who had been quite young at the time, had fallen in love with the Starlings’ songs consisting of whistles and she had especially loved the warbling of the male bird.  And so, when I had come around— I being my parent’s only child—I had inherited the name.

However, this was all in my past.  Only the present seemed to matter now, and, unfortunately, my present no longer included my mother and father.  Sadly, my parents had perished months ago on what should have been a short day cruise on the Hudson River.  I was supposed to have gone with them, but due to a bad head cold, I had stayed behind, bed ridden.

An unexpected storm had gathered suddenly, and a bolt of lightning had struck the boat, sinking it and leaving no survivors.  I had then been left alone in a world I was ill-equipped to survive in.

Because my mother possessed no living relatives—at least none we had ever spoken about—my father’s only brother had come to my rescue, offering his home to me, he who made his living in the dreaded Indian Country.  Not that I required his guardianship.  I was a girl of sixteen, after all.  I could take care of myself, or so I had told myself, until the bills had come due, and then, having no means to pay them, I had realized how vulnerable I really was.

Imagine my surprise when I had learned my parent’s legacy to me was not to receive any of their riches, but rather, it was to instead pay my parent’s debts; added to this was the legal threat of sending me to an orphanage.  This discovery, as well as the intimidation, had plummeted me into the depths of despair and, for a time, had caused me such misery, I thought I might never recover.  Luckily, Uncle Jed —a man I had never met—had somehow discovered my plight and had paid my parent’s debts.

I had rejoiced for a time, but then had come the reality of my situation, as hunger had caused me to seek employment in an environment unfriendly to a working youngster.  Imagine my surprise when I had received a letter from Uncle Jed, inviting me to come west to live with his family.  It had said:


“My dearest niece,


“Please allow me to tell you how deeply saddened I am at the loss or your mother and my dearly beloved brother.  I have now paid your parent’s creditors and hope I have taken this burden from your shoulders.

“It has come to my notice that the League of Presbyterian Ministers recommends sending you to an orphanage where you should stay until you reach your majority.  This has been done without consulting me.  I, therefore, would like to offer you an alternate plan by opening my home to you, humble though my abode might be.

“While it is true that the West might be considered to be a rugged country, it has many advantages, which I think you would soon realize if you decide to become a part of my family here.

“My wife, who is of the Blackfeet, Pikuni, tribe, bids me to encourage you to make the journey here.  She wishes me to tell you she will be the best mother she can be to you, and she adds that all she has will be yours.

“It is my hope you will look with a kind eye upon the arrangements I have made for your journey into what is known as “Indian Country.”  The tickets I am sending you in this letter do not expire.  Should you decide to come here, you have only to book the journey, which, as you can see, awaits you.

“Know that, upon receipt of your return letter and your wish to join me here, I will make arrangements for you to be met in St. Louis by the Captain of the steamboat, NIMROD, who will be tasked with the duty to bring you safely to the post that I command  via Fort Union, a few thousand miles from Fort Benton, where I reside.  Or, if my duties do not demand my attention, I should like to meet you at Fort Union, myself.

“You may, however, wish to remain where you are, and, if this is what you think would be best, I will honor your decision.

“I look forward to your letter informing me of your wishes.”


Yours truly,

Your father’s brother, Uncle Jed


Though the mere thought of traveling into Indian Country had frightened me, to be sure, I had yet answered my uncle’s letter at once, deciding a trip into the west was preferable to remaining where I was, where the threat of being constrained into an orphanage until I reached the age of twenty and one, loomed darkly upon my future.  Besides, the environment I now found myself to be in reminded me constantly of my parents and my losing them and their love.  At present, grief ruled my life.

And so, I had accepted my uncle’s offer to relocate myself and all my worldly possessions to his home…a home he had described to me in another letter as a fur-trading post, located deeply in the heart of Indian country.

“Are ye ready to board the steamship, Lassie?  Ye be Miss Starling Nelson, are ye not?”

I gazed up at the tall, heavy-set man, who, dressed in a sailor’s coarse, dark- blue coat and a Captain’s hat, startled me.  Yet, I found myself saying, as if by rote, “I suppose I am.”

“Good, Lassie.  Good.  As soon as I seen ye, I know’d ye to be Jed Nelson’s niece.  Who else but his niece would have the golden color of hair, so like yer Uncle Jed’s?”

I simply stared at the clean-shaven man, not knowing how to respond.  But, I was saved the effort because the man was continuing to talk.

“Well, now I be knowin’ yer uncle.  A fine man.  Aye, a fine man he be.  But, let me introduce me self to ye, Lassie.  Here be a letter from yer Uncle Jed.  It be a letter of introduction, I bein’ the capt’n of this steamboat.  Name’s Edward…Edward MacKenzie, though I be no relation to Kenneth McKensie, the Bourgeois of Fort Union.  But, because I be the best steamboat capt’n on the Missouri, yer uncle trusted no one but me to get ye safely to him.  So now, if’n ye be ready to board, I’ll be seein’ ye to yer quarters.  Yer uncle’s to meet ye at Fort Union, but ye probably know this already and I be a tellin’ ye nothin’ new.”

“Yes, sir,” I said, trying my best to smile at the man.  “I did know it.  Uncle Jed sent me a letter and in it he told me a great deal about you, Mr. MacKenzie.  I am glad to meet you.  I am glad, indeed.”  

“Pleasure be all mine.  Now, this way, Lassie.  Mind where ye step now.  Would na want ye to be thrown into the Great Mississippi down thar.”  He pointed to the river with a motion of his head.

“Thank you.  I will, indeed, step carefully,” I replied.


Coming Soon, SHE BRINGS BEAUTY TO ME. Here is the cover of the new story, book number four (4) in the Medicine Man series.

I’ll be giving away an e-book of  the English version of IRON WOLF’S BRIDE.

Sure hope you enjoyed the blog today.  Be sure to leave a post.  I very much look forward to reading your comments.















Unveiling “Desire of My Heart”: A Faith-Filled Journey | Christian Historical Fiction

Hi, Heidi Gray McGill here. As Julie Andrews once sang, the beginning is a very good place to start. I agree, though you’ll find less Do-Re-Mi in my books and more yee-haw. Although characters occasionally break out in song, it’s usually a classic hymn you’ll recognize.

My Discerning God’s Best series takes you into the enchanting world of Shumard Oak Bend in 1868, Missouri. Come romp over mountain fields with me (Bring your own fabric curtain outfit) as I unveil the captivating tale of “Desire Of My Heart,” the first book in my Christian Historical novel series.

Within the pages of this heartwarming story, I invite you to journey alongside characters whose lives are intertwined with faith, love, and the divine hand of God. As we explore the depths of their experiences, we’ll uncover the beauty of trusting God’s perfect plan, even when it requires patience in the waiting.

Remember in The Sound of Music where Maria and the children eagerly await Captain von Trapp’s return home after the Salzburg Folk Festival performance? They are uncertain of his reaction, which builds anticipation and tension. Well, you’ll have many gripping moments in Desire of My Heart. Have tissues handy.

Through the trials and triumphs of Rachel, a young orphan girl, and her brother Charlie, you’ll witness firsthand the power of prayer and the reassurance that God hears the whispers of our hearts, even amidst moments of silence. Their journey serves as a poignant reminder of the profound truth that God is always at work, even when His presence seems veiled.

In The Sound of Music, Maria prays for guidance and strength from God before meeting the von Trapp family for the first time, reflecting her faith and inner turmoil as she begins her role as their governess. Rachel, the main character in my book, has about as much patience as Maria (played by Julie Andrews) and takes matters into her own hands, not waiting for God to answer,

As we delve into the narrative, we’ll encounter themes of community and compassion and the significance of extending kindness, empathy, and support to those in society who are often overlooked, disadvantaged, or discriminated against. Each character you meet will exude warmth and authenticity, leaving an indelible mark on your soul with their genuine hospitality and unwavering love, much like the von Trapp children left an indelible mark on Maria.

“Desire of My Heart” is not merely a story—it’s an invitation to embark on a soul-stirring adventure, where every chapter unfolds with profound biblical lessons and timeless truths. Allow yourself to be swept away by the magic of Shumard Oak Bend as we discover together the depth of God’s boundless love.

Join me as we dive into this captivating journey that promises to inspire, uplift, and leave you yearning for more. Let the pages of “Desire of My Heart” guide you into the heart of God’s unfailing grace.

Enter to win a PAPERBACK copy today and embark on an unforgettable voyage of faith and discovery by leaving a comment below about a time when you had to cling to faith and trust that things would work out.

To learn more about my books, visit my website at HeidiGrayMcGill.com.  On my website, you’ll find my statement of faith, have an opportunity to sign up for the free eBook prequel to my Discerning God’s Best series, see a tab that will take you to a FREE audiobook on YouTube, and be able to read my statement of faith.

Connecting with readers is important to me. Enter the contest to win a paperback copy of “Desire of My Heart,” and connect with me through my website and social media, and I’ll happily return the kindness.

Experience a journey of faith and healing in the award-winning Christian fiction works of author Heidi Gray McGill. Everything Heidi writes is purposeful. Heidi brings readers into an awareness of who God is to them and how He interacts with them through masterfully crafted characters so relatable you feel part of who they are. Heidi’s books take readers on an exploration of healing through God’s Word. Follow the inspiring journeys of Heidi’s characters as she infuses her faith into her works, making her stories come alive with powerful emotion.

Be the first to know about Heidi’s FREE audiobooks by subscribing to her YouTube channel

No matter how dark her night became, she knew God promised joy in the morning.

In the heart of 1858 Missouri, Rachel’s world is a whirlwind of uncertainty. But amidst the darkness of her circumstances, she clings to the promise of joy that God whispers to her soul.

Facing the grim reality of being sold off into marriage as she ages out of the orphanage, Rachel refuses to accept her fate. With determination blazing in her heart, she hatches a daring plan with her beloved brother to escape the cruel grip of destiny.

Enter Melvin, a widower burdened with raising two young children alone. Desperate for help, he sees a glimmer of hope in Rachel—a chance for a new beginning through a marriage of convenience.

As God intertwines their lives, the five of them embark on a journey that transcends the bounds of blood, forming an unlikely family bound by love, resilience, and unwavering faith. Through trials and triumphs, they forge a home where hope blooms even in the harshest of circumstances.

But just when they think they’ve found their slice of heaven on Earth, tragedy strikes, threatening to shatter their newfound happiness. Yet, guided by the light of God’s love and surrounded by a steadfast community, they rise from the ashes stronger than ever before.

Rachel’s adventure unfolds against the backdrop of a tumultuous era, where every twist and turn brings her closer to her heart’s desire. Yet, in her quest for love, purpose, and security, she discovers that God’s plans far surpass her wildest dreams.

Join Rachel on her breathtaking journey through the untamed landscapes of the past, where love, faith, and the promise of a brighter tomorrow illuminate even the darkest of nights.

In this powerful Christian historical fiction, award-winning author Heidi Gray McGill weaves an enthralling tale of resilience, redemption, and the enduring power of God’s grace. Purchase your copy today.

For Misty M. Beller, Lacy Williams, and Linda Ford fans, this standalone novel in the Discerning God’s Best series will capture your heart and leave you breathless. You’ll love this book if you enjoy gripping historical drama and compelling characters. Binge-read the entire series on Kindle Unlimited.

  • Full-length Christian historical fiction
  • A standalone novel in the Discerning God’s Best series
  • Includes discussion questions for book clubs
  • Timeline: 1858 – 1857
  • For fans of Misty M. Beller, Lacy Williams, and Linda Ford

Discerning God’s Best Historical Romance Series

Book One: Desire of My Heart

Book Two: With All My Heart

Book Three: Matters of the Heart

Book Four: Healing of the Heart

Heidi’s Website

Prequel: Deep in My Heart – available for free with newsletter signup: https://heidigraymcgill.com/free_book/

Follow Heidi’s Amaz0n author page 

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Dreams of Love Unfurling Tomorrow



I’m excited to share a brand new series with you that will start releasing tomorrow!

Three sweet and wholesome historical novellas are set in my fictional town of Holiday.  If you haven’t read any of my other Holiday stories, start with Holiday Hope, which is the story of Jace and Cora Lee Coleman and the beginning of Holiday. After that check out Henley, and then you’ll be ready for this new series.


Each book can be read as a standalone, but it’s fun to read about the characters you meet in other books too.


 Release Date: March 21

Will dreams of love lead to an unexpected future?

Weathered from too many years of apprehending outlaws, Marshal Dillon Durant is resigned to a life of solitude. The small community of Holiday, Oregon, offers the opportunity for him to build lasting friendships while discovering a sense of belonging. Then he encounters an exasperatingly beautiful woman attempting to break into the local school, leaving him to contemplate the possibility of a new chapter in his life.

Desperate to escape the arranged marriage her father is attempting to foist upon her, Zara Wynn accepts a job as a schoolteacher in Holiday. Intent on a fresh start, she doesn’t want anyone to discover she’s a runaway bride. But concealing her past proves difficult, especially when the astute and handsome Marshal Durant captures her heart.

When her father and fiancé find her, will Zara be forced to abandon her dreams of love? Or will Dillon make them come true?



 Release Date: March 28

Can faith conquer their fears?

John Ryan is committed to his role as pastor in the quaint town of Holiday, Oregon. He values each member of his congregation, and aims to lead by example. However, his resolve is tested when a free-spirited woman arrives in town. John struggles with his growing attraction to her, determined to keep it from distracting him from his calling.

Following a devastating tragedy that leaves her isolated and shattered, Keeva Holt is eager for a new beginning. In need of consolation and clarity, she decides to seek refuge with her brother in Holiday. As she navigates through her grief and attempts to find direction for her future, Keeva’s vibrant spirit and exuberance challenge those around her, including the reserved Pastor Ryan. While logic tells her that John is beyond her reach, her heart urges her to pursue her dreams and embrace the possibilities of tomorrow.

Will John and Keeva learn to lean into their faith and let go of their fears?



 Release Date: April 4

Will two lonely hearts find the courage to love?

A loner for most of his life, Rowan Reed wants nothing more than to be left alone. He buys a run-down farm near Holiday, Oregon, intending to turn it into a successful ranch through hard work and determination. When a nosy, albeit beautiful, woman shows up on his doorstep, the instant attraction he feels to her sets off nearly as many warning bells as her barrage of probing questions.

Private detective Rhetta Wallace always unearths the truth. Involved in a lengthy investigation into a man suspected of killing a politician’s son, her pursuit leads her to the town of Holiday. Accompanied by her adopted son, Rhetta finds herself squaring off against the grumpy, growling rancher she believes is the suspect. Whether or not Rowan admits his true identity, Rhetta is sure of two things: his innocence of the crime, and the deep affection he awakens in her heart.

Will their dreams for courage help them release the past and embrace a future together?


The heroines are all so different.

Which one would do you most relate to?

Post your answer for a chance to win a digital copy of Dreams of Love!

Kimberly Woodhouse Finds Stories in Bones

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to travel across the plains of Kansas into what is now Colorado and all of a sudden you see the Rocky Mountains ahead on the horizon?

If you’ve ever driven in this part of the country, you’ve seen it first-hand. It’s an incredible sight to behold. Especially after crossing so much… flat terrain. (Raise your hand if you’ve driven all the way across Kansas or Nebraska. Bonus points if you’ve done it multiple times.)

Out west here in Colorado, we get a lot of tourists that come to see the mountains. A lot of tourists.

One of the amazing hidden gems in our mountains and the surrounding rocky hills and landscapes is the plethora of sights where fossils have been found.

If you’ve read any of my books, you know that I love digging up some good history. And a pretty important part of our American history that a lot of people have never heard of is the Bone Wars.

Two paleontologists—Cope and Marsh—are the ones behind that intriguing title. Why? Well, let’s just say they weren’t nice to one another. Always trying to outdo each other, to be the “top dog”, to write the latest and greatest papers, to have the biggest and best skeletons displayed in museums with their name on it—these men stopped at almost nothing to win. Even going so far to use dynamite and blow up priceless, irreplaceable fossils just so the other couldn’t get to them.

Talk about the wild west.

My Treasures of the Earth series tackles the Bone Wars era while highlighting women in paleontology and the sticky subject matter of faith and science.

Set in Stone is book two in the series and it takes place in Colorado near the famous Red Rocks. Pretty close to Dinosaur Ridge actually, a place where you can see actual Dino footprints preserved in a towering wall.

One of the things I love about this area is the beautiful rock formations. In red, white, and gray. I can just imagine Martha—my heroine in this book—digging into these rock layers.

Her hopes and dreams of being recognized in the field are on the line when a fierce competition to present a complete skeleton to the museum puts her and her team in danger. Add in a good bit of suspense, a creepy villain, the thrill of digging for dinosaurs, and a dash of romance—you’ve got this second stand-alone installment in the series.

To celebrate the release of this book this week, I’m inviting you all to join with me in a little party here at Petticoats and Pistols.

I’m giving away FIVE copies of The Secrets Beneath (book one in the series), and one of those five lucky winners will also receive a copy of Set in Stone.

To enter – just leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about your favorite dinosaur, your favorite piece of American History, or if you’ve ever ventured west to see my Rocky Mountains.

Until next time… enjoy the journey,



Kimberley Woodhouse is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than forty books. A lover of history and research, she often gets sucked into the past and then her husband has to lure her out with chocolate and the promise of eighteen holes on the golf course. Married to the love of her life for more than three decades, she lives and writes in Colorado where she’s traded in her hat of “Craziest Mom” for “Nana the Great.” To find out more about Kim’s books, follow her on social media, and sign up for her newsletter/blog, go to: https://kimberleywoodhouse.com


The Thread of the Story

If you’ve read any of my books or posts about my second-favorite passion (writing sweet historical romance is #1), you know I’m a quilter.

It is easy to sit at my machine and reach for a spool of thread that coordinates with the fabric I’m sewing into quilt squares. However, I usually use a medium grey thread when constructing the squares as it is easy to see when I make mistakes (lots of them!) and need to use my modification tool (a.k.a. seam ripper)! And when I run out of thread, a quick trip to my local quilt shop, Jo-Ann’s, or Michaels solves my dilemma.

While writing Noelle and Hope (Christmas Quilt Brides series), it got me thinking. How did my heroines get thread? Where did they get it? And when was it available to the average housewife, seamstress, or milliner?

And thus, the research began…

Forms of very early sewing thread were made of thin strips of animal hide. This was used to sew together larger pieces of hide and fur for clothing, blankets, and shelter. There is proof throughout history of some form of threading used even when cavemen oversaw the planet. As civilizations moved forward, the thread did also, and eventually, it evolved to include the spinning and dyeing of thread.

There are three basic types of thread, and they are based on their origin, Thread is animal, plant, or synthetic depending on its makeup. Silk thread is touted as the best because it is strong, very elastic, and fine in diameter. Silk is interwoven into a lot of regular threads for added strength. Pure silk thread use is used in finer clothing.

However, since the heroines in my story reside in a small Kansas town in 1870s, I imagined they’d only use cotton thread, the least expensive in her quilting.

Thread is made of a series of plies–or cords, twisted together. The plying and twisting create a stronger unit than the original strands alone. A ply is two or more strands of cotton twisted together. A cord is two or more plies twisted together. The earliest form of cotton thread was three-ply thread–three single strands of fiber twisted together.

Manufactured cotton thread was available to hand sewers in the U.S. and Europe in 1800. At first, they were sold in hanks as some yarns still are. The thread came on wooden spools beginning in 1820. Like the soda bottles of today, the spools could be returned for a deposit, to be refilled. Mass production put an end to the deposits since the spools could be produced so cheaply.


Historians credit James and Patrick Clark, mill owners in Paisley, Scotland, with developing the first cotton thread. When silk and flax became scarce during the Napoleonic wars, they were forced to find a suitable replacement with which to create their famous (and profitable) Paisley shawls.

Historians credit James and Patrick Clark, mill owners in Paisley, Scotland, with developing the first cotton thread. When silk and flax became scarce during the Napoleonic wars, they were forced to find a suitable replacement with which to create their famous (and profitable) Paisley shawls.


Eventually, some Clark family members moved to the U.S. and began their own thread companies, including George Clark and William Clark, grandsons of James who opened a cotton thread mill in New Jersey.

George Clark perfected six-cord thread for use on sewing machines. He called it “O.N.T.” for “Our New Thread,” combining fineness with strength as well as being inexpensive.

In 1815, another prominent Scottish manufacturer, James Coats, began making thread. His sons, James and Peter formed J&P Coats, Co., introducing thread to the U.S. around 1820. By 1869, they began manufacturing sewing thread in Pawtucket Rhode Island. It was here where they developed a unique spool shape with smooth curves.

The emergence of the sewing machine in the 1840s further escalated the need for a better-quality thread. Three-ply was too uneven, and six-ply was too thick. Silk and linen threads were either too thick or too weak for use with the machine. Three-ply silk was too expensive.

Improved cotton seemed the only option.

At the beginning of the 20th century, mercerization was developed to make a stronger, smoother cotton thread. It is a process of immersing cotton thread in a solution of caustic soda, resulting in a stronger, more lustrous that also accepts dye more readily.

Polyester thread became available in 1942, and cotton-wrapped polyester in the late 1960s.

Other Thread Manufacturers

Belding & Corticelli, a silk thread manufacturing enterprise was started by the Belding brothers in Michigan. From their home, they produced spools of silk thread which traveling salesmen marketed door to door.  Sales of silk thread dwindled during the Great Depression, forcing the company to close its doors the next year.

Lucky for us quilters, sewers, seamstresses, and those whose talent with needle and thread, thread–cotton thread, in particular–has evolved over the last 250 years and has been supplanted by other fibers.

So, whenever Noelle Prentiss and Hope Brody (my heroines) threaded a needle and joined fabrics together to make a quilt, they continued the tradition of those who came before and after them by carrying on the thread of the story.

***A Giveaway***

I’m giving away an ebook edition of both Noelle Christmas Quilt Brides and Hope Christmas Quilt Brides. For a chance to win, leave a comment to the question below:

***Do you or does anyone in your family enjoy creating fabric art works? (Sewing, quilting, embroidery, crochet, crewel, macrame, etc.?)***




Kara O’Neal Has Unearthed a Research Gem!

Hello! I’m so excited to be here today! I adore talking about books, and Petticoats and Pistols always offers such wonderful content. Hopefully, I only add to it!

I’ve been a published author for 10 years now – my anniversary was in September – and I’ve completed two series. The Texas Brides of Pike’s Run has 22 books in the series, and my Gamblers and Gunslingers series has 6. Writing all of those books has required a lot of research. I’ve learned so much about people, places, patterns, fashions, trains, horses…my goodness! The list is never-ending!

Probably the most interesting topic I ever had to delve into was how society saw, and treated, people with Dyslexia in the 1800s. I needed this information for The Inventor’s Heart, which is the 14th book in the Texas Brides series.

I didn’t come across anything that detailed any cruelty, but I did discover that, at one time, a German physician, did extensive research in the 1870s on people who struggled to read.

In my readings, I learned that it was thought that people with Dyslexia actually had trouble with their vision. Dr. Kussmaul found otherwise. He said that those who struggled with reading had a print deficit, but he still termed the difficulty as “word blindness”.

This information helped Alex, the hero of The Inventor’s Heart, figure out how to help Julia, the woman he loves, who suffers from reading difficulties.

The Inventor’s Heart truly was a beautiful book to write. Alex is considered a genius and attended Yale, essentially working in the field of electrical engineering. And, let me tell you, learning what they knew about electricity during the 1870s and 80s was also interesting, but I digress.

Because Alex is so smart, Julia doesn’t think she’s good enough for him. He sets out to prove her wrong. Alex and Julia’s story is one of the most moving romances I’ve written. It was a joy to bring them to their happy beginning!

In all of the books you’ve read, what have you learned that has stuck with you? Was there a book that enlightened you or taught you something?

Leave a comment and you could win an ebook copy of The Inventor’s Heart and also the first in the series, Welcome Home.

The Inventor’s Heart

Thank you so much for having me! I look forward to your answers!

Kara O’Neal

Kara’s series:

Texas Brides series – https://books2read.com/ap/xdPlZ4/Kara-ONeal 

Gamblers and Gunslingers series – https://books2read.com/ap/xdPlZ4/Kara-ONeal 

The Inventor’s Heart – https://books2read.com/u/3n7oqo

Welcome Home – https://books2read.com/u/47XZ8j


Potato Candy Anyone?

Ahh, research! What amazing things you find. Have you ever heard of potato candy? Apparently, women made it pretty regularly in the Depression from recipes brought over from Russian, Irish, and German immigrants in the 19th century who came through the Appalachian Mountains.

With only three ingredients, it was cheap to make and that was a definite plus.

Though a large portion of potatoes are used, it doesn’t have the potato taste. It consists of leftover mashed potatoes, powdered sugar and peanut butter. It’s rolled into a log and chilled. You don’t cook it. Just slice and serve.

The starches in the potatoes turn this into something smooth and creamy. Kinda like fudge or divinity.

Instructions: Boil a small, peeled potato cut into chunks until it’s very soft. Place into a bowl and mash until it’s smooth and no lumps. Next incorporate 4-6 cups of Powdered Sugar into the mixture. It’ll be very sticky at first but get thicker as you go and wind up the consistency of cookie dough. Then roll out on a piece of wax paper and spread it with either peanut butter, Nutella, chocolate or any other filling you want. Roll into a log and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Slice and serve.

Some cooks like to add a teaspoon of vanilla to the mashed potatoes before the powdered sugar. Your choice. And some people prefer to roll into balls and dip in melted chocolate! Wow.

But, I hear your minds turning. How did those early setters get powered sugar?

The answer is they made it themselves. They blended regular sugar with corn starch and sifted. The ratio is one tablespoon corn starch with one cup of sugar.

Modern cooks use a food processor or any other high-powered mixer and it’s much easier and faster than hand sifting.

I had never heard of this until a writer friend mentioned that her mother used to make when she was a kid. I don’t think my mom ever knew about this or she would’ve made it. She liked to experiment and made us mayonnaise cakes, Coca Cola cakes, 7-UP cakes and anything unusual. She had a huge sweet tooth.

There’s also Potato Fudge. I image the list goes on.

What is the most fun and interesting thing on any subject that you discovered, present or past?

Now shifting gears….

Courting Miss Emma is coming out on November 7 and I made a book trailer for it. I’m so proud of myself. Usually I have to get my sister’s help. Not this time.

A little about this second book in the Hangman’s Daughters series. Emma Taggart has been run of town and told not to return simply because of her father’s occupation. She’s 26 years old and never been courted once so she’s resigned to living out her life as a spinster. But a new neighbor moves next door to the orphanage she runs and her life begins to change. Stone Landry has just mustered out of the Frontier Army and has brought a pair of camels he rescued. It’ll take both of them joining forces to defeat the man determined to take their land.

So, I hope you watch the short video and preorder the book. Please Note: It’ll only be out in ebook form until March when Severn House Publishing will release it in trade size print.



ALSO, for a FREE SHORT story

Thanks for spending time with me. Hope you enjoyed it.




And a happy, terrific Tuesday it is.

SHE PAINTS MY SOUL, book #3 in the Medicine Man series is now released and on sale at 20% off its regular price.  Its usual price will be $4.99, but at present it is on sale for $3.99.  The paperback is on sale, also, and is priced at $9.99.

Today, I’m going to leave an excerpt from the very start of the book, and I’ll also be giving away the e-book of the first book in the medicine man series, SHE STEALS MY BREATH.



Karen Kay

Back cover Blurb:


In spite of her fear of Indians, Sharon Wells travels from her home in St. Louis to Indian Territory in the northwest, along with her fiancé, and her friend Amelia, who is determined to return to Blackfoot Country. An orphan, Sharon yearns to be married and have a family of her own. She’s loyal to her fiancé, even when he carelessly puts her life in danger.

Strikes Fast, of the Crow People, was once on the path to becoming a medicine man, but he has lost his way. When nearly all his family were killed in a Blackfoot raid, he went on the warpath to avenge the ghosts of his murdered family. But he’s carried revenge too far, and the blood of innocents has left him feeling no longer human, without empathy or sympathy. But the beautiful white woman, Sharon, ignites a spark in him. When she’s captured in an Indian raid and her fiancé does nothing, Strikes Fast hopes his heroic deed of rescuing her might return him to the good graces of the Creator, from whom all medicine men receive their powers.

Strikes Fast’s handsome masculinity calls out to Sharon, as her beauty and her kindness calls to him. Trapped together in a blizzard, surrounded by danger, and despite the many reasons they shouldn’t be together, their growing love is undeniable. Can they find a way to heal one another and create the family each of them is longing for?

Warning:  A sensuous romance that might just melt a gal’s heart.


Fort McKenzie, built where the Missouri and the Marias Rivers meet

Northwest Indian Country

The Season of Home Days, August 1840 


Crack!  Blast!

Sharon Wells screamed and awakened to the sound of bullets spitting overhead, followed by ear-shattering explosions.  Placing her hands over her ears, she hunkered down in her bedding of soft furs and blankets, reaching toward the place where David, her fiancé, should have been.

But, he wasn’t there.  Bringing up her hands to cover her head, she tried to become invisible while the whiz of bullets crackled overhead.

What is going on?  Why am I under attack?  And, where is David?

Because the night had been warm and pleasant, both she and David had spent the evening in each other’s arms under a canopy of stars.  A painter, David had earlier placed his art equipment of canvas, easel and paints on a wide ledge overhead.  From there, David had said he hoped to capture the early-morning sunrise, immortalizing its image onto the canvas.

Kaboom!  Blast!

Shaking, Sharon assumed a fetal position, and, so great was her fright, she began to convulse as though she were seized by a fit, there under the cover of the soft fur blankets.

Wherever you are, please hurry back to me, David!

Peeking out from the warmth of her covers, Sharon saw it was still dark; it perhaps being the time of day when the world was blanketed in the extreme darkness before dawn.  Had David awakened and left her to climb the bluff, hoping to paint the beauty of the sunrise?

If so, why hadn’t he taken her with him, especially since he often bragged about how she inspired the best artistry in him?

She wasn’t allowed to answer the question, however, because suddenly, and from out of nowhere, the running feet of perhaps hundreds of men rushed by her, seemingly without seeing her.  With a force of will, Sharon controlled her quivering and, unable to stop herself, peeped out again from beneath her blankets.

The sight of Indian warriors made her sob, and she thought she might faint.  Each one was stripped of all clothing except for his breechcloth and moccasins, and each was painted in black, white or red colors which covered his face and body.  Each man she could see was carrying a rifle, as well as the more familiar Indian garb of quiver, arrows and a bow.

As she shivered and tried to make herself invisible, a feeling of utter terror overtook her.  Why, oh why had she ever agreed to come to this far western land?

Luckily for her, during the night she and David had placed their bedding beneath a tall pine tree and the enemy warriors were ignoring the tree, racing by her as though they were each one hurrying to be the first to launch an attack upon some poor victim.  Was their target the Pikuni camp?  Or were they attacking the traders’ fort?

Trying to force her body to be as motionless as possible, she was aware she wasn’t able to do it.  She was shivering, and she cried silently as she waited until there were no more warriors fleeing by her.  Then she stirred uneasily, because her thoughts were of two minds: she desperately wished to arise and climb the bluff in search of David, but fear kept her in place, mute and fearful of making a single move.

Meanwhile, down below in the Indian encampment came echoes of the awful sounds of blasts and screams.  Had the Pikuni people awakened to find themselves facing this horror?

It was then that she excused David for his absence, since it was he who had suggested they spend the evening on this butte.  Had he not done so, she might even now be experiencing the fate of the people below.

But, what about my dearest friend, Amelia, who will still be down there in the Pikuni camp?  Should I leave my hiding place and rush to try to find her?

Instinctively, Sharon knew she didn’t dare go down into the Pikuni camp.  Instead, she would pray that Gray Falcon, Amelia’s beau, would protect her.

Then upon the early morning atmosphere came the sound of many pairs of heavy feet running back up the butte as quickly as possible.  Was the enemy fleeing?  Had the Blackfoot warriors sent them scurrying?

Yes.  It seemed to her as if the enemy were in full retreat.  Too late it occurred to her that she should have left her hiding place and climbed the tree above her for added protection, but there was not the time to scamper up it now.  Instead, she covered her mouth to keep from screaming and tried to control her shivering.  And, crouching down, she waited.

Hours seemed to pass before the sound of the battle was little more than a single shot heard here and there.  Down below in the Pikuni camp came the inevitable wails of the women.  Obviously, people had been either injured or killed.

Still, Sharon waited and waited, so terrified she could barely move.  However, as time went on and she heard no more sounds of the battle, she raised her head and peeped out from the blanket of furs.  No one was about.

Slowly, she sat up onto to her knees and glanced quickly around the environment.  In the east she could see the beginning of a gray haze announcing the coming of the sun.  Would now be the right time to set out to find David?  It was still dark enough to provide cover for her, yet it was light enough so she wouldn’t lose her way.

Picking up the buckskin blanket and throwing it over her head and shoulders both for protection as well as a disguise, she came up to her feet and stepped toward the path leading upward toward the high butte—the one where she and David had set out his equipment.

Hopefully, David, too, had successfully hidden from the enemy warriors.  She forgave him his negligence and perhaps even his cowardice since she couldn’t imagine him fighting these Indians; he was ill-equipped to go into battle, for one reason.  Although he always carried a gun for self-defense, he would have been caught unprepared to fight off this kind of enemy.

Deeply relieved at still being alive, Sharon breathed in a long breath and, letting it out, stepped a foot upon the path leading upward.  That’s when the awful yelp of an Indian war whoop spilt through the air.  It sounded close to her, and, spinning around, she beheld a horse and its rider speeding toward her.

Momentarily, she was struck with the unreality of what was taking place.  The rider on the horse was a huge man, was painted in black stripes covering his face, and, below his shoulders, he looked to be naked.  The sight sickened her.

It was a reality she could not believe was happening to her, and one she had hoped to never experience in this strange and foreign land.  Watching with horror as the man—looking more fiend than warrior—raced toward her, she felt as though this were no more than a nightmare and she merely needed to awaken and the awful sight would be gone.  But, as he came closer and closer, she realized this was no dream.

As quickly as possible, she threw off the blanket and ran up the path, her screams for help loud to her ears.  But, no help was to be seen or experienced this morning.

Again she wondered, Where is David?

As the enemy darted toward her, she suddenly discovered she possessed a spark of courage, and, realizing that fleeing would do her no good—she could not outrun a horse—she stopped her flight.  She would take her stand here.

She turned then to watch the big ugly warrior ride toward her as though he would knock her down and kill her with one simple movement of his lance.  Oddly, she wondered if the man would fetch a good price for her scalp because of the unusual coloring of her hair.  It was strange because she felt suddenly unafraid.  Indeed, if David were dead and if this were to be the place where she would die too, she would face the event with as little flinching as possible.  After all, death came unto all creatures upon this earth.  She wished, however, that the event weren’t happening to her so soon in this life.

Even though the warrior’s actions were quick, it seemed to her as if the events taking place around her were in slow motion, giving her more than enough time to consider her own death.  After all, mightn’t death be preferable to being taken captive by an enemy?  Hopefully, the end of her would be quick and with as little pain as possible.

She watched as though from above herself as the horse continued to speed toward her, and, coming right upon her, the warrior’s big arm came out to grab hold of her.  She was jerked upward and thrown before her captor onto his racing steed; she faced downward as the awful scent of a sweat-drenched man and horseflesh made her gag.  It was a painful position; she had been thrown onto her stomach, and, closing her eyes, she prayed to God for a quick death and an everlasting salvation.

It was her last thought before, thankfully, she lost all consciousness.

And now before I sign off on this blog for today, I’d like to leave you with a review of the novel, SHE PAINTS MY SOUL.:

“I always enjoy this authors Native American books and this one didn’t disappoint. Strikes Fast and Sharon’s story is so good. He was a medicine man who lost his way after his entire family was killed. This book mostly tells of his journey to find himself. A captivating read that I read straight through.”

MJ, Amazon Review

Be sure to leave a comment.  I will be giving away book #1 in the Medicine Man series, SHE STEALS MY BREATH.


And now here’s a one minute trailer of the book, SHE STEALS MY BREATH.



London James – Miles Apart, Paws Together: A Barn Cat’s Unbelievable Homecoming

Hey, y’all! It’s London James, and I’m back. First and foremost, I would like to thank the lovely ladies at Petticoats and Pistols for allowing me to guest blog and spend some time with you today! Now, for all of you who have crossed paths with me before, you’ll remember me as the lady with the missing pony and the monkey sanctuary behind my house.

(For those who have never read the story yet, CLICK HERE

So, what sort of a story do I have for you today? Did I lose my pony again? Did I have another run-in with the monkeys? Thankfully, no. I haven’t. But I still do have a tale to tell about how, two days after Christmas, I found a whiskered intruder in my barn who ended up taking a 3,586-mile trek back home.

Now, before I delve into the tale any further, let me step back for a moment here to tell you that I don’t have barn cats. It’s not because I don’t like cats. I have five indoor-only cats in my house right now—much to my husband’s displeasure. It’s also not because I don’t think cats belong in a barn. I understand why people have them, and I know their worth for keeping pests in check. With that said, however, I still don’t have them because I’m scared to. I grew up where our cats were allowed to go outside, and while I would never say it’s bad, having to face the numerous losses to coyotes and knowing that a coyote den lurks just across the street from my house fills me with just enough fear that I just can’t bring myself to have barn cats.

Now that I’ve said that let’s dive right back into the tale . . .


So, here I was, two days after Christmas, in my barn with a cat that wasn’t mine, watching it as it meowed and rubbed on my legs. I was utterly perplexed about who she was and where she came from, and while, yes, I know we have neighbors who probably have cats, this is the first cat to appear in my barn since we moved here 15 years ago! And I didn’t recognize her.

She was a cute little thing, and so stinking friendly. She instantly jumped into my arms, purring like the motor from a 67’ GTO, and from the sheer roundness of her belly (No, it wasn’t kittens, she had a blue dot tattoo on her belly, indicating she had been spayed), it was evident that she was a pampered pet. So, what was I to do? Well, there wasn’t anything for me to do, then put her down and hope she would return home.

She didn’t.

Deciding to take matters into my own hands, I whisked her to my veterinarian, praying she had a microchip, and as luck would have it, she did. Yes! Finally. I would be able to find out where she lived and take her home! After making a few calls to the microchip maker and then the shelter where the chip was registered, I was given the name and number of the owner, and I left a message on her voicemail, not only hoping she’d call me back but expecting her to live close enough to me that I could just take the cat home.

Well, God managed to answer one of those hopes.

And this is when the story took a turn I hadn’t seen coming.

As it turns out, the owner of the cat used to reside a whopping 140 miles away from my home in another town. How this cat traveled through Oklahoma remains a mystery, but as we dug more into the details, the 140-mile trek was just the tip of the iceberg.

Did you notice how I said, “used to live”? Yeah, the owner didn’t live in that town anymore. In fact, the owner didn’t even live in Oklahoma anymore.

She lived in (and was calling me from) Alaska!

The story she gave me, which coincided with the details the shelter gave me when I called them, was that she adopted the cat in June of 2022, and a few weeks after she brought her home, the cat got out. She spent months looking for the cat but couldn’t find her, and when her military husband got orders that they had to leave, they had no other choice than to pack their bags and leave without the cat.

To say that the owner and I weren’t shocked would be an understatement—5 ½ months on the road, 140 miles from where she got out. How did she find her way to my barn? I asked the owner what she wanted to do about the whole thing, and she said, “I want my cat.” So, I said. “Then let’s make it happen.”

I spent the next several days contacting the news, different airlines, and a couple of rescues to see how and what we could do to get this military family reunited with their pet. And boy, did people step up. Alaska Airlines discounted the ticket and footed the bill for her overnight stay in Seattle. A local rescue woman and my friend chipped in for the crate, and I paid for her paperwork and physical exam. It was a huge undertaking and an exhausting week with a few setbacks that almost made me cry. Ultimately, we got her on the plane, and on January 5th, Athena, the cat, finally made it home.

If you want to check out the NEWS9 STORY that aired, here’s the link: News Story on Barn Cat

And you can bet this story will end up in a book!!!

Maybe not in any of my historicals, but definitely in my contemporaries.

Speaking of Historicals, I have a new series this year! It’s Oregon Trail Brides.

Books One and Two are out in the world! Book One is only $.99!

Four orphans and their headmistress set out for Oregon in search of men looking for mail-order brides. Will they find what they are looking for? Or will fate have other plans?

Plucked from a life of uncertainty at a bordello, Lark Brockwood finds herself at the mercy of fate. A ward of the Kensington Orphanage since she was little and scarred by her past experiences with men, she dreads the prospect of being forced to join a wagon train bound for Oregon in search of eligible husbands.

A man haunted by the loss of his family, Dr. Carter Evans travels west to start anew and leave the memories of his past behind. After he sets his sights on the guarded and alluring Lark, he finds himself drawn to her despite her attempts to keep him at bay.

When an outbreak of measles threatens the lives of everyone on the wagon train, including Lark, the journey west takes a dangerous turn. With Lark’s health rapidly deteriorating, Carter must do everything in his power to save her, even if it means laying bare his own vulnerabilities to prove to her that she is deserving of love and that she’s worth fighting for.

Will they be able to overcome their pasts and forge a future together, or will their love be lost to the peril of their journey? This is a timeless tale of love, redemption, and the power of second chances, set against the backdrop of the American West and a time when anything was possible, and the future was unwritten.

Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Her-Oregon-Trail-Doctor-Historical-ebook/dp/B0BPMLSZ48?tag=pettpist-20

Amazon Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Her-Oregon-Trail-Doctor-Historical/dp/1960443135?tag=pettpist-20

Long Valley Press Shop Paperback: https://longvalleypress.shop/products/her-oregon-trail-doctor-paperback