Years ago, when I first inquired about being a guest author on the Petticoats & Pistols blog, I had a fan-girl moment when Karen Witemeyer replied to me. I’ve been a fan of her books since I first discovered them!
She was so gracious and welcomed me with kindness. I admired the women who were part of this group and wished I could be one of their “Fillies” too.
Sometimes wishes do come true! In 2017, I was invited to join them as a regular author, and I’ve loved being one of the Fillies in their corral of western authors. So, when Pam and Karen started kicking around the idea of a legacy project for Petticoats & Pistols, something we could all participate in, I was excited at the prospect. Then the decision was made to tie the stories in our series to Annie Oakley, which made it even better.
In case you’ve missed all the announcements, our joint endeavor is called the Pink Pistol Sisterhood. Eleven of us have written sweet western romances, all tied to the journey of a pink-handled pistol that Annie passes on to the heroine in the first book, which just happens to be written by Karen. Make sure you read In Her Sights! It releases March 30!
Captain Cavedweller happened to be in an antique shop last fall and found a book about Annie Oakley that he knew I needed to have. Written in 1981 by Isabelle S. Sayers, Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West from Dover Publications features more than a hundred photos, illustrations, posters and advertisements. Being able to see so many visuals of Annie really helped not only clarify in my mind the hero she would be to Rena (my heroine), but also how her influence would help shape Rena’s character in my book (#2 in the series), Love on Target.
When I was thinking about my story and the characters, I knew I wanted it to be set in the town of Holiday, a place that exists only in my imagination, but it’s at the heart of several of my books, both historical and contemporary. (You can read the beginning of the town in Holiday Hope. )
My hero in Love on Target, Josh Gatlin, was a character who had a brief mention in my book Henley. I thought he’d be wonderful for the hero in this story. Since nine years had passed from then, though, I wanted him to have experienced love and loss, and it provided a perfect way to include the character of his five-year-old daughter, Gabi.
Rena is strong and courageous, but she’s also soft-hearted, and whether she admitted it or not, she really, really just wanted someone to accept her for who she was, scars and all, and love her.
Here’s one of my favorite scenes from the book!
“Laura has lost her mind if she believes all this romantic nonsense,” Rena groused as she returned the letter to the pocket in the case and set Laura’s letter aside to tuck into the packet of letters she’d kept from both of her cousins over the years.
“Of all the silly, pretentious …” A snort rolled out of her. “True love my foot. I’m more likely to lasso the moon than I am to fall in love because I held this gun. Although, it is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship.”
She started to close the case, but changed her mind and lifted out the pistol. The thought that the gun had been in the possession of her hero, Annie Oakley, made her long to shoot it. Just once.
With a plan in mind, Rena set aside the case, tugged on her boots, and rushed down the ladder. She gathered a pocket full of cartridges and her pistol in the gun belt, which was the same caliber as the pink-handled weapon, and headed outside. She stopped by the woodpile and selected a large slab of bark that had fallen off a chunk of wood, then went to the barn where she painted a red heart on the bark, then added a white circle in the center of it.
She experienced an almost giddy sensation as she carried the bark and the pistols to what had once served as a corral. The whole thing needed to be rebuilt, which was on Theo’s long list of tasks he wanted to finish before summer arrived.
Rena knew he wouldn’t care if she practiced her shooting there since there was nothing behind the fence she could damage.
She used a nail to hang the bark on the fence, then retreated to the burn pile by the outhouse where she retrieved half a dozen tin cans that had once held peaches. It had been a while since she’d practiced shooting targets.
To make sure she hadn’t lost the skill, she lined up the cans on fence posts on either side of the heart she’d painted on the bark, took out her pistol, moved back several yards, and loaded rounds into the cylinder.
After widening her stance, she lined up her first shot, released a breath, and pulled the trigger.
The sound of the bullet pinging the target rang out as the can flew backward off the post. Rena shot the remaining cans, then smiled with satisfaction as she climbed over the fence to retrieve them. She set them back up on the posts, rested for a minute on the top pole of the fence, face turned to the sunshine as she soaked up the warmth. Then she hopped down and riddled the cans full of more holes before she stowed her gun in the gun belt and draped it over a fence post, then took the pistol with the delicate pink handle from where she’d set it on a stump.
“Promise of true love,” she whispered, rubbing her thumb over the handle before she loaded five shots in the revolver and took aim at the target she’d painted. “True love. What an absurd notion. Laura really should mind her own business and cease meddling in mine. If she thinks this gun will lead me to romance, she needs to have her thinker checked for defects. Instead of dreaming of true love, setting love on target seems like a much better idea.”
She blasted five holes in the middle of the white circle she’d painted inside the heart on the slab of bark, taking a great deal of satisfaction in blasting holes into something that represented romance and love, at least in her mind.
“Now that’s some fine shooting, Miss Burke.”
Rena yelped in surprise and spun around, pistol still in her hand as she pointed it at the intruder who dared to interrupt her target practice.
Will romance hit its mark when true love is the target?
Desperate for a fresh start, Rena Burke journeys from Texas to Oregon with only her father’s pistol and a plodding old mule for company. She takes a job working with explosives at a mine, spends her free time emulating her hero Annie Oakley, and secretly longs to be loved.
Saddle maker Josh Gatlin has one purpose in life and that is his daughter. Gabi is his joy and the sunshine in his days. Then he meets a trouser-wearing woman living life on her own terms. Rena is nothing like his perception of what he wants in a wife and mother for his child, but she might just prove to be everything he needs.
When tragedy strikes, will the two of them be able to release past wounds and embrace the possibilities tomorrow may bring? Find out in this sweet historical romance full of hope, humor, and love.
If you were in Rena’s shoes (or boots), what would you do?
Post your answer for a chance to win a digital copy of Holiday Hope and Henley –
Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. This past weekend most of us here in the United States experienced the ‘spring forward’ that hails the beginning of daylight saving time. In honor of that event I thought I’d share a little bit of trivia associated with the event.
Though often credited as the inventor of DST, Benjamin did not seriously propose its implementation. It was actually a tongue-in-cheek proposal as part of a satirical essay he wrote that was published in Paris where he was living at the time. The true person behind the drive to implement DST was George Hudson a British-born New Zealand entomologist who did shift work and wanted more after hours daylight time to collect insects. He first made a formal proposal on the subject in 1893 to the Wellington Philosophical Society.
Many people believe DST was implemented primarily to benefit agricultural interests. This is not only untrue, but the agricultural industry actively opposed DST when it was implemented in the US. They’re thinking is that livestock and crops don’t care what manmade clocks say, they pay attention to their own internal clocks and implementing time changes can actually be disruptive. For instance cows expect to be milked at the same time every day regardless of what time the clock displays.
The first country to adopt DST was Germany. They officially adopted it in 1916 as a way to conserve coal during WWI.
In the US individual states have the power to decide whether or not to observe DST. Hawaii and the majority of Arizona do not. Prior to 2006 Indiana also did not.
DST has been shown to have both negative and positive effects.
According to some studies DST can lead to an increase in traffic accidents due to people’s systems not adjusting quickly to the new time.
Other studies have found an increase in heart attacks and strokes following the time change which can tie to increased stress levels and a heightened risk of depression because of the disruption of circadian rhythms.
The extra hour of daylight during prime evening time is credited with a decrease in energy usage. HOWEVER, recent studies have shown that these benefits may not be as great as previously thought and may in fact have an actual negative impact. That extra hour will only lead to a decrease in energy usage if we go outside to take advantage of the extra hour of premium time sunlight.
DST is also credited with increased economic productivity during the later daylight hour.
Some studies show DST has a positive effect on health due to increased activity levels in the later daylight hour.
While most people say ‘daylight savings time’ the correct term is ‘daylight saving time’ (singular, not plural). And yes, it’s not capitalized. But the plural version has become so common in everyday usage that is has become acceptable as a conversational variant.
So what do you think? Did any of these bits of trivia surprise you? How do you feel about daylight saving time – a fan or not so much?
Leave a comment to be entered in a giveaway for one of my books.
Today we welcome Linda Shenton Matchett to the Petticoats and Pistols Corral.
In December 1866, the American Civil War had been only been over for a little more than eighteen months. Tensions still ran high in many areas of the country. But one man was already looking toward the future. In ten years, the country would celebrate its centennial, and he had visions of a grand event, one that included nations from around the globe.
John L. Campbell, a professor at Wabash College in Indiana contacted Philadelphia Mayor Morton McMichael and suggested that his town would be the perfect place to hold the centennial. It would take four years of discussions, studies, and committee meetings, but the Philadelphia City Council finally agreed in January 1870. Another year was needed for the federal government to pass a bill to create a Centennial Commission. Oh, and by the way, the US government would not be liable for any expenses.
A force to be reckoned with Elizabeth Duane Gillespie, great-great-granddaughter of founding father Benjamin Franklin, chaired the Women’s Centennial Exposition Committee. Tasked with selling subscriptions to raise $1 million, she “led an army of women through the neighborhoods.” They secured the pledges in a mere two days. In addition, she collected 82,000 signatures and obtained letters from all over the country that convinced Congress to lend $1.5 million to the exposition.
Building commenced, and eventually there would be 200 hundred buildings spread over the 450 acres of Fairmont Park. However, eleven months prior to the exhibition, Elizabeth was informed that the Main Hall no longer had room for women. Incensed, she once again turned to her committee who raised more $31,000 in four months to build a one-acre women’s pavilion that would eventually house seventy-four inventions patented by women, including a steam engine.
Another woman saw the country’s one-hundred anniversary as the perfect place to present her “Declaration of the Rights of Women.” Wyoming had granted women the right to vote and hold office in 1869, followed by many other states and territories, but those rights did not carry to the federal level, and Susan B. Anthony had been criss-crossing the country for more than twenty-five years campaigning for a constitutional amendment.
Prohibited from speaking at the July 4th celebration, she simply walked down the aisle of Independence Hall in the middle of Richard Henry Lee’s speech. Grandson and namesake of one of the Declaration of Independence signers, he watched as she handed the scroll tied in a navy-blue ribbon to the host, then turned and made her way out of the building, distributing copies to the clamoring crowd as she went. Outside in front of hundreds of people, she read the document in its entirety as the remaining copies were handed out. Newspapers covered the event and printed portions of the document. Word spread, and newspapers outside of Philadelphia picked up the story. Miss Anthony’s plan worked. She’d escalated visibility to the cause.
Unfortunately, she would not live to see the ratification of the 19th amendment forty-four years later.
Pledges can’t be broken, can they?
Finally out from under her father’s tyrannical thumb, Maeve Wycliffe can live life on her terms. So what if everyone sees her as a spinster to be pitied. She’ll funnel her energies into what matters most: helping the less fortunate and getting women the right to vote. When she’s forced to team up with the local newspaper editor to further the cause, will her pledge to remain single get cropped?
Widower Gus Deighton sees no reason to tempt fate that he can find happiness a second time around. Well past his prime, who would want him anyway? He’ll continue to run his newspaper and cover Philadelphia’s upcoming centennial celebration. But when the local women’s suffrage group agrees that the wealthy, attractive, and very single Maeve Wycliffe act as their liaison, he finds it difficult to remain objective.
Maeve’s Pledge is part of the multi-author series Suffrage Spinsters but can be read as a standalone story. Grab your copy today and curl up with some history, hope, and happily ever after.
GIVEAWAY: Linda attended the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee and was astonished at the displays, including technology that at the time seemed only possible in science fiction, but is now part of our everyday lives. To be entered in the random drawing fore-book copy ofMaeve’s Pledge,leave a comment about a time when you attended an event (large or small) that impacted you in some way.
Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry (of Star-Spangled Banner fame) and has lived in historical places all her life. She is a volunteer docent and archivist at the Wright Museum of WWII and a former trustee for her local public library. She now lives in central New Hampshire where she explores the history of this great state and immerses herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.
To sign up for Linda’s Website/Blog/Newsletter click here
Welcome, welcome to Valentine’s Day Tuesday! Just to remind you, today I’ll be giving away eight (8) different e-books to eight (8) different bloggers.
This give-away was announced earlier this month, and here’s the post:
Valentine’s Day Give-Away. Come to my blog (Karen Kay) February 14th, and enter the drawing for a chance to win one of these e-books. Eight e-books (one each from the books listed here) will be given away on my blog on that date, February 14th.
Hope to see you there!
Be sure to read over our Give-away Guidelines to the right of this page and check out our rules and then, in order to be a part of the drawing all you have to do is comment on this post and you are automatically entered into the drawing.
Tomorrow is the birthday of John Trudell. And, in case you are not familiar with his work, John Trudell was a Lakota broadcaster in the early 1970’s. He was a member of the American Indian Movement in the 1970’s and was their spokesperson. After the tragic loss of his wife, his mother-in-law and all of his children, who perished in a fire while John was away, John took several years to mourn their loss and it was at this time he began to write poetry. John went on to write some of the most beautiful poems I’ve read. He also became a philosopher and toured and spoke to many groups of people about his ideas of life. Around this time, one of his friends approached him and said he could set his poems to music. John then went on to record his poems which were then set to American Indian music, as well as Rock ‘n Roll.
He was involved in many different protests during these years and was also in the film, Dreamkeeper. (I believe he was the coyote in one of the legends told in the movie.) He was also in the film, Thunderheart, a movie starring Val Kilmer. There is also a documentary of his life available for purchase at Amazon, entitled Trudell.
On this special Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d post a few beautiful lines John wrote to his wife in the poem, YOU WERE. This poem was set to music and one can view it on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3qarkF-bfI
“You were here, but not long enough.
“Pretty woman in my mind,
“that laughter in my soul,
“those memories in my heart…”
John is no longer with us, having passed in 2015. But John’s poems, his views of life and his philosophy have brought inspiration and enlightenment to many people and I would like to honor his life in this blog today.
Well, that’s all for today. Hope you’ve enjoyed the blog. And, may I wish you all a wonderful Valentine’s Day.
February is one of my favorite months of the year. Not only does its calendar contain the most romantic of all holidays, Valentine’s Day, down here in Louisiana it is also Mardi Gras season.
And along with parades, beads and revelry, Mardi Gras season also brings with it King Cake season. I LOVE king cakes it’s one of my favorite treats. If you’ve never had one before, let me tell you a little about them. And if you’ve never had a king cake before, or don’t know the significance of this confection, let me share a little bit about their history.
No one knows the exact origin of the king cake but there are a number of theories. The most popular is that the tradition originated in 12th century France. This origin story states that a special cake was prepared for the feast of the Epiphany, a Christian holiday which commemorates the visit of the three wise men to baby Jesus. The cake, called the Gateau des Rois, or “Cake of Kings” was made of a sweet pastry dough and shaped like a crown. It was filled with fruit and topped with cream.
The tradition of the king cake spread to other countries in Europe, including Spain and Portugal. In both countries, the cake was additionally decorated with a figurine meant to represent the baby Jesus. The king cake eventually made its way to the United States in the late 1700s, travelling with settlers to the New Orleans area. The cakes eventually expanded from a component of Epiphany commemorations to also become a tasty part of Mardi Gras celebrations.
Another tradition surrounding king cakes is in regards to the “baby” that’s inserted inside – the person who finds it in their slice of cake is said to have good luck for the following year and be king or queen for the day. They are also supposed to host the next celebration featuring a king cake.
As I said, I really love a good king cake. Today they come in many more flavors than the traditional cinnamon. Among the most popular are cream cheese, pecan, chocolate, or fruits such as apples, cherries and various berries. Recently I’ve even heard of savory versions such as sausage, crawfish, and even a taco king cake. But my absolute favorite is strawberry cream cheese. Which my family knows so when we had a family gathering this weekend that’s what one of them brought for dessert. I would have taken a picture for this post but unfortunately I didn’t think about it until this was the only piece left (and even that didn’t last much longer).
If you are interested in making a king cake of your own, here’s the link to a recipe that promises to be quick and easy.
And because February is also the month my birthday falls in I’ll be giving away several copies of my books, the winners to be selected from among those who comment on this post.
Like Linda said in her blog yesterday, I thought for a long time about what I might blog concerning this. My favorite things. Hmmm…. Finally I decided to blog about some of the heroes of the stories I write and to tell you a personal experience that caused me to realize how important these romance stories can be. Probably you are aware that for writers, these characters we create become real people to us, and, in addition, they can help us in so many different ways.
Let me start first with the hero, Eagle Heart, from SHE STEALS MY BREATH. The title for the book comes from being inspired by many poems from John Trudell — of AIM and Rock & Roll fame. But the hero of this story came to me recently at a time when things were not so easy for me.
This hero entered into my dreams, calming some fears in my life at that moment in time. His care and concern for the heroine in the story was really somewhat based on the care that he showed me in my dreams. It was this hero who encouraged me to research and write about the Medicine Man of old. Now, this might seem strange that a hero talks to the author. But, if you have a chance to talk to many writers, they will probably tell you the characters in these books take on a life of their own and often they do talk to a writer. Also, sometimes they resist my attempts to write a scene they feel is out of character for them. I’ve learned over the years to pay attention to this.
In the book, SHE CAPTURES MY HEART, the hero of this story, Gray Falcon, showed me what exactly a medicine man was all about when his concept of right and wrong was challenged. Instead of caving, however, he made light of the problem, and he brought humor (as did the heroine) into the story. Strangely, the humor came at a time when it seemed there wasn’t too much to laugh about. These two (the hero and heroine) often gave me the giggles when I was writing the book.
In the book, BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER, the hero’s struggle in a world foreign to him brought about some understanding of what those men faced so long ago and how they coped with what was thrown at them and how they went on to make a good life for themselves despite many trials and tribulations.
In the book, IRON WOLF’S BRIDE, this hero stunned me with his determination to keep his marriage alive, regardless of the lies and “road-blocks” set in his path. This hero refused to believe the worst of the heroine and also gave me many insights into the Indian character of old because he realized there was foul play afoot and went about discovering it. And, his determination and “smarts” to figure it all out impressed me. He never gave up. I thought it was a good lesson to learn.
In GRAY HAWK’S LADY, I was treated to a hero, who, despite his anger at what heroine had done to him, did not sink to treating her in a bad way. In fact, he went on to treat her with respect, even protected her from others’ gossip. It was also this book I was writing when I met my husband, and Gray Hawk was quite willing to re-enact our first kiss, which is written in the pages of that book. Because of his care for this heroine who had, at first, treated him in a bad way, both she and I fell in love with his character.
These are some of the stories where the hero of the story has taken over and has somehow changed my perspective about something. And, I love how, when the characters change, I do, too.
And now, for a story about romance and romance books in general and why they are one of my most favorite things:
Long ago, when I had very small children (they were both babies, really), there was a time when my husband (my ex) was often out of town. He was doing internships and so finance was scarce. My own parents were no longer alive to help out and my brother and sister lived very distant from me and my husband’s parents lived far away, also. So, it was up to me to somehow take care of the babies and all this entails, including “bringing home the bacon,” so to speak. It was at this time when I discovered the real treasure of romance books. They calmed me down, helped me to get a good night’s sleep and helped to keep me going. Also, I made some very good friends along the way, too, romance books being one of them. Life got better, of course. But, I’ve never forgotten that time, nor the simple pleasure the books provided. Interestingly, one of my daughters tells me one of her finest memories from that time period is going to sleep while I was reading a book. From this, I’ve realized that sometimes all one needs is a good story to get a person through a tough time in life.
Well, that’s all for today. Am hoping you enjoyed the blog on this terrifically fine Tuesday and, if you did, please leave a comment about your own favorite things. Oh, I almost forgot. When you leave a comment, you’ll automatically be entered into the drawing for the e-book SHE CAPTURES MY HEART. See the Giveaway Guidelines to the right for the rules.
Hey, y’all! I’m super excited to be with you today. Not only is this one of my favorite blogs, but two of my favorite people are here – Karen Witemeyer and Mary Connealy. (Waving at you two!)
Today, I’d love to share an excerpt from A Mark of Grace, book three in my Secrets of the Canyon series from Bethany House Publishers. My readers have been begging for Ruth’s story and it’s finally here.
A little background: Ruth Anniston has been a Harvey Girl for a long time. Since the El Tovar opened on the rim of the Grand Canyon in 1905, she’s been the head waitress there. But a tragic and horrifying accident with a mountain lion (which took place near the end of A Gem of Truth – book two), has left her injured. But not just physically. Every aspect of her world—professional, physical, emotional, spiritual—has been upended and she’s struggling. Big time.
The series has been so much fun to write. The Grand Canyon, the historic El Tovar, the Harvey Girls, and the still-untamed-remote-West. I hope you enjoy this little snippet from the Prologue of A Mark of Grace. (And don’t forget to check out the giveaway details below.)
Thirteen years later
El Tovar Hotel, Grand Canyon
“You’re such a pretty young lady, Ruth. Don’t sell yourself
Pretty young lady. As the memories of the past washed over her, Ruth couldn’t believe how many years had rolled by since that day.
But now look at her. No longer did she have a pretty face. No longer was she young and eligible. Had she let her stubborn pride get in the way? Was she destined to be alone forever?
At this moment, the mirror across the room was the worst villain she could ever imagine.
The more Ruth thought about it, the more she wanted to throw something at it and make it shatter into pieces. But she wouldn’t do that. Couldn’t do that.
Because she was a Harvey Girl.
The head waitress.
In control at all times.
An example to all the girls under her. Mother hen. Mentor. Friend.
She couldn’t allow herself to lose all command of her faculties just because her world would never be the same again. This had been her dream.
Even though she now faced the nightmare before her.
Ruth gingerly patted the bandage on her cheek. Lord, give me strength to handle whatever comes. She’d repeated the prayer too many times to count as she waited for the doctor to arrive.
She wasn’t a vain woman. At least she hadn’t been before a mountain lion mauled her face. Had she? Now she spent an agonizing amount of time consumed with her appearance and how it affected her future.
She was thirty-two—almost thirty-three. A veritable spinster. If she couldn’t work, what was she to do? Where could
she go? Working as a Harvey Girl had been her entire adult
life. It had brought her so much satisfaction. Hopefully, she’d brought God glory through it all. And even when she was younger and struggled when all the other girls were getting married and settling down, the Lord had given her peace.
Now she was the head waitress at the crown jewel of the Harvey Empire—an accomplishment she’d worked hard to obtain. It was all she’d ever wanted after donning her first black-and-white uniform. And after a year on the job, it had been easy to think she still had plenty of time for God to bring the right man into her life. She’d been completely content.
Being a Harvey Girl was the perfect job for her. More to the point, it was the only job she knew. What if she couldn’t do it anymore? Harvey Girls made people feel comfortable. They were trained to be efficient. Pleasant. And spotless.
Without blemish, as the Bible verse went. Her soul might be spotless before the Lord, but people were far less forgiving than He. And she was no longer without blemish . . .
Mr. Owens had bent the stringent Harvey rules for Emma Grace in her time of need. Surely he would do the same for her. Only, Emma Grace could still do her job. Ruth couldn’t.
Not to the Harvey standard. Her leg would take a long time to heal. And she’d probably always walk with a limp. But that wouldn’t be as visible as her face. She closed her eyes.
What would she look like?
Reaching up with her right hand, she covered the bandaged area of her face. And for a moment, she looked normal again.
Lord, give me strength to handle whatever comes.
Against the doctor’s orders, Ruth began to peel back the edge of the bandage. She stepped close to the mirror, hoping the damage was far less than she feared…
I’m going to give away three paperback copies of A Mark of Grace to three wonderful readers. All you have to do is comment with answers to these questions: Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? If so, what was your favorite spot? If not, is it on your bucket list?
Are you up for a little history today? We haven’t had any in while. I found this article about Samuel Walker that interested me.
Walker arrived in Texas six years following the War for Independence. He would only live five more years but in that time, he left an indelible mark. Such as defend San Antonio from Mexican forces, invade Mexico four times, escape from a Mexican prison, and help design one of the most famous guns in Texas.
In 1843, he was captured and put in a Mexican prison. Instead of killing all 176 Texas militiamen, they made them draw beans from a pot. Whoever drew a black bean would die and the ones with the white beans would live. Walker drew a white bean and was marched 800 miles across Mexico’s most brutal deserts.
He eventually escaped and made it back to Texas where he joined the Texas Rangers in 1844.
This photo taken by Mathew Benjamin Brady is in the Library of Congress under Public Domain.
When General Zachary Taylor (who later became president of the U.S.) asked for volunteers for a dangerous mission, Walker raised his hand. It seems danger was something he thrived on. He led the battle for Monterrey and hoisted the American flag.
Have you ever heard of the Walker Colt revolver? In 1846, Samuel Walker met up with Samuel Colt and together they designed the heaviest military sidearm ever issued. It remained the heaviest for 88 years. It had a nine-inch barrel and a .44 caliber round and an effective range of 100 yards. That’s the length of a football field. Impressive.
The only drawback was that it weighed 4 ½ pounds, far too heavy for most men to hold with one hand. A lot of users made a scabbard and kept it on their horse, only using it when the need arose.
It was an awesome weapon. Several years ago I had the opportunity to hold one and I had to use both hands to pick it up and even then I could barely raise it to aim.
I’m not a gun advocate but I do admire the workmanship of this. I also admire Samuel Walker and the large life he lived, the mark he left on history, in just 5 years. A Texas Ranger Captain and officer of the republic, he died in 1847 in battle. A fitting end to a legend.
I’ve put the Texas Rangers into some of my stories but never as the main character. I may have to remedy that.
Do you ever find that a piece of history just leaps out at you? That happens to me all the time and I go chasing a rabbit down a hole.I’ll have a new book out in March called Winning Maura’s Heart. CLICK HERE to preorder. Who is the mysterious man known only as Calhoun?
Hope y’all had a great and warm Holiday season. Must admit mine was very busy, made busier because I had a new release out in December, SHE CAPTURES MY HEART. A little bit of trivia: forgive me if I blow my own horn here, okay? This new book, SHE CAPTURES MY HEART, hit #1 spot for new releases on Amazon in the American Historical Romance category.
It’s a first for me and it was an unexpected excitement, I must admit. I’ll be giving away an e-book of this new release to one of you bloggers today, so please don’t hesitate to come on in and leave a message. I don’t know how to do screen shots yet and so I made a pdf of the page. I tried to copy it here, but all that came out is here:
New Releases in American Historical Romance #1 She Captures My Heart (The Medicine Man) 17 Kindle Edition 18 pts Karen Kay $3.49
Also, during December, I was interviewed by Written Word Media and I thought I’d post it here. And, if you would be so kind, I’d like to leave a short excerpt of the book, also. So here we go!
SHE CAPTURES MY HEART
What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write this book?
The Native American Medicine Man has always intrigued me because he was known to be able to heal people with natural remedies, as well as to help them become well by means of rhythm and song. Sometimes the medicine man was known to be able to see into the future and often he was aware of what was in the environment for many miles around him. The old Native American Scout also had this ability to see for miles around him. There is a lot we don’t today know about these gallant men and it intrigued me to be able to research into this and to write about it.
If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of your book, what would they be? (Meant to be fun. Skip if you need to!)
For the heroine, Amelia McIntosh, I would pick the song, “A LOVE SO BEAUTIFUL,” by Roy Obison. I would pick this song because she brings beauty and love into the hero’s life.
For the hero, Gray Falcon, it would be “HEART TAKER,” by John Trudell. This is a beautiful and romantic poem/song by John Trudell.
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
Romance, of course. But I also enjoy Fantasy, Paranormal and Adventure. But with other genres, for me, it must have a romantic element. Also, I love reading Native American history for my stories. This research, as we call it, is truly the icing on the cake.
What books are on your TBR pile right now?
Mostly I have research books on my TBR list: AN INDIAN WINTER by James Willard Schultz; THE SUN GOD’S CHILDREN, by James Willard Schultz; IN THE GREAT APACHE FOREST, by James Willard Schultz; FOOLS CROW by Thomas E. Mails; BLACKFEET AND BUFFALO, by James Willard Schultz. There are others but, at present, these are what I have waiting for me.
What scene in your book was your favorite to write?
There’s a scene in the book near the middle of it where the heroine “comes clean” with the hero and confesses not only what’s in her heart, but the terrible problem she is facing and how she hopes it might affect him and her. I didn’t really know what his reaction was going to be to this. At first he was a little angry with her, but then, when he began to tease her and to court her for real, his antics made me giggle a little.
Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)
Hmmm. I like to be warm when I write, especially I like warmth on my feet. Must have my coffee handy, also. And, when I am creatively writing (not editing), I love to have music playing in the background.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
Another hmmm moment… I guess when it comes to writing, it might be “finish what I start.” Also, it applies to other things, like housework…finish what I start. Sometimes not easy to do, but if I don’t do it, my mind seems to get cluttered. So the motto, “Finish what I start,” would work well, I think.
If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?
I think I might like for people to think about this: that people are people regardless of color. An Apache Medicine Man once said that we are all one race, the human race, and it comes in different colors. I think he was very wise.
What is your Author Website? (If you have one, great! If not, no worries!
Well, that’s all of the interview. And now for a short excerpt: Please enjoy!
SHE CAPTURES MY HEART
The Season When the Grass Becomes Green
St. Louis, Missouri
As nineteen-year-old Amelia McIntosh scanned the contents of her trunk, she rejoiced. After an entire year of planning this trip, the day had finally arrived: she was returning to the Northwest Indian Country. Only her sister and her mother knew of her intentions, and they had sworn their allegiance to her, promising to not tell her father about what she had arranged until it was too late.
She smiled as she reached out a hand to trail her fingers over her several pairs of slippers and silk stockings; so pretty, so delicate. These lay at the bottom of her trunk. Picking up two muslin chemises, she placed these on top of the slippers and stockings. Then, reaching out to gather together an assortment of corsets and stays, as well as petticoats and garter belts, she gently folded these on top of the rest. Even a few pairs of trousers followed; these would be useful for wearing under her skirts whenever she felt inclined to take a stroll over the prairie.
On top of these, she laid out her many beautiful dresses, neatly folded. There was one in green velvet, another in blue silk as well as a pink dress made of satinet. But, her favorite was the dress of yellow silk. It was beautifully low-cut, emphasizing a tiny “V”-shaped waistline. And, it showed off her figure to perfection. This was the dress she would wear to see him again.
Looking up, she glanced out her bedroom window, beholding the neighbors’ several cows grazing in the field that adjoined her parents’ property. In the distance, she could clearly see corn and wheat fields stretching on and on into the distance, seemingly without end.
She sighed. Nothing ever happened here. At least nothing that helped to cure her of the longing to be out West, where every sunset was a work of God’s beauty and where the weather could change in a second. Indian Country… Gray Falcon was there. She wanted to be there with him.
Silently she said, “I am coming back to the Northwest to see you—as well as my sister and her husband, of course.” She didn’t say the words aloud. Indeed, she spoke to Gray Falcon with her mind alone, not expecting him to answer, since he only sometimes “spoke” back to her.
“I know,” answered Gray Falcon.
His response surprised her, given that she had not anticipated a reply. For five years they had communicated with one another in this way—mind to mind. And, the distance between them hadn’t mattered. The only drawback was that he rarely originated their little talks. And, not always did he even answer her, although whenever he didn’t, he assured her afterward he had “heard” her well enough.
She sighed and said in the mind talk, “I am now grown up and ready to meet you again.”
“I know. I am glad you reached out to me, for I have been wishing to speak to you.”
“You could always begin the conversation yourself, instead of waiting for me to contact you.”
She almost heard him grin. “I should not encourage you. You are already too forward for a girl. My message to you is this: you must not travel alone.”
“I am not. My best friend and her fiancé are accompanying me.”
“Does your father know you are traveling into my country?”
“And your mother?”
“She is not here. But, if she were, she would not try to stop me. Indeed, it is she who suggested I travel to see you…and to visit with my sister, also.”
“Why would she recommend this to you?”
“Because I have had several proposals of marriage, but have turned them all away. My mother is a little upset with me.” Deliberately, she refused to think of the real reason her mother and father were “a little” upset with her. It would serve no purpose to tell him, and it might even hinder her if Gray Falcon knew the rest of the truth behind this trip.
“Several proposals? Of marriage?”
“As I mentioned, I am now grown up.”
“Why have you turned them down?”
“Because I do not love those men. Don’t play innocent with me, Gray Falcon. You know I love only you. I have done so since the first time I ever saw you, and you know it. I have not changed. But, my mother thinks I should renew our friendship, for she believes only in this way might I change my mind about your culture and about you.” There, that was all she would communicate on the matter. Again, she kept the other motive for returning to Northwest carefully hidden within her thoughts. Besides, she had always known she would return there to see him. She was not lying to him about this, nor that she loved him and would always love him.
“Renew our friendship? Surely she is not seeking for us to come to know each other in a physical way, is she?”
“Don’t be silly. Of course she is not. She hopes that I will come to see your world as primitive, and, realizing it is so, will give up my wish to marry you. The truth is, she seeks to bring peace between me and my father, which will happen only if I give up my dreams of spending the rest of my life with you. She tells me she doubts her plans for me will fail, for she believes either I shall soon tire of you, or you of me.”
He didn’t answer. At last, however, he said in the thought speech, “Why do you tell me this?”
“To be fair and so you will know there is another reason besides simply seeing you and my sister to account for my coming to where you are. I have not swayed away from being true to our friendship or from loving you—not even a little—but my mother wants me to put my feelings for you behind me, and she believes I will only be able to do this if I come to know a little more about the Blackfoot people, and you in particular.” Again, Amelia kept her own reason for returning carefully buried in her thoughts. Now was not the time to speak of it, if there ever would be a time.
“I have never sought to marry you.”
“But, your mother is wise, since she is aware of the friendship we formed between us. It is this, I think, that causes her to be alarmed, for we became closer than perhaps she would have liked. She, like your father, is afraid of a marriage between us. But, what she doesn’t know is this: we can never marry. Indeed, to marry one another could cause us both unhappiness.”
“I don’t agree.”
“I am not asking you to. But, as you have been forthright with me, I will be so with you, if you do not fear me to speak of concerns that may not be easy for you to know.”
“Yes. Please. I am not afraid of what you have to tell me. I probably know anyway.”
“Yes. Although we became allied long ago, I have not wished to make you my woman. It is not because there is anything wrong with you or because I do not like you. I do like you. I have always liked you, as you know. But, I fear that were I to seek making our friendship into a romance, my life would be full of conflict and strife. Always, there would be a plan or a scheme you would be urging me to fix for you.”
“You would never be bored if we married.”
“This is true. However, I would also never have peace in my life. But, we leave a detail behind us which concerns me. Are you aware that if you continue to reject these men who seek your hand, your father might likely force you to marry a man of his choosing, not yours?”
Quickly, she froze her thoughts.
After a moment, he asked in the mind speak, “Did you hear me?”
“Yes, I did, and I suppose he could try,” she replied. “But, I am, after all, the one who is required to say ‘I do.’ And, I will tell you again, I love only you and wish to be with you. Still, I have given my word to my mother to renew our acquaintance and to try to give you up.” This was all she would say on the matter; she would not lie. She was simply keeping a rather large part of the truth from him.
He was silent for a long while. At length, he said in mind speak, “You have pledged your word to her about this?”
Again there was a long pause before he continued, “I say this to you: your mother is wise. You are white; you have no knowledge of my people and what would be required of you as a Pikuni man’s woman. And, your experience with me is limited to one snow season, now five winters ago. I think it is mere infatuation you feel for me, not love.”
“And, so you know my heart better than I do?”
He paused for a long moment, and she wondered if he had turned his attention to something else. At length, however, he continued, “Again, I will say it: we are like the fox and the wolf. We are natural enemies, but, under the same cause, we became aligned in an effort to help my friend and your sister. Perhaps we should have never allowed ourselves to become friends. But, we did. Remember, we have never been more than allies in a cause, made to be that way because of a great threat to those people who were very beloved to us both. I will tell this to you once more: I wish to be only a good friend to you. Nothing more.”
“Why? When I—”
“Because you are not like any girl I have ever known, and, while there is nothing wrong with you, if I were to bring you in close to me, I fear I would never know again what it means to have a sense of harmony and calm in my life. And, I would like to have peace in my lodge. I tell you this again: your mother is right. Becoming my woman can never be in your future, and perhaps your coming here will help you to give up this idea. Indeed, I am thinking I might align myself with your mother and invent ways for you to dislike me.”
“Oh, stop it. And, I don’t like this concept of ‘never’ becoming your woman.”
“It will not be, simply because I say it will not be.”
“But, you are willing for me to become more familiar with you so I might give you up?”
He paused. “Perhaps. That is, if ‘becoming more familiar’ with each other is about helping you to give up this idea of becoming my woman. Again, I must say this to you: I am not inclined toward marriage with you. Nor should you be trying to be this with me.”
“But,” she said in the mind speak, “if this be so, and our bond with each other is not based on love, but rather, as you say, a need to help my sister and your friend, why have you not married yet? You are not too young to have taken a wife by now.”
“I am the way I am because a man must have his feet firmly planted upon the ground before he marries. Do not think it is because I wait for you.”
And yet, she knew this was not the complete truth. She knew it because his thoughts and hers were momentarily joined. There could be no lies between them, unless—like she was doing—those ideas were well hidden within his mind.
She glanced at her pocket watch. “Oh dear. I am late. I must go,” she said, jumping to her feet. “Our boat is set to sail shortly, and I must be aboard. Wait for me.”
“This is my home. I will be here.”
The communication ended.
Well, that’s all for now. I would love to hear from you!
Hope your Christmas was wonderful and hope these last few days of the year are filled with relaxation and perhaps planning for the year ahead.
Since it is so close to New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d continue our History of Christmas songs with the song most popular on New Year’s Eve, Auld Lang Syne.
It is to Scottish songwriter, Robert Burns, that the world owes its debt for the beautiful poem of Auld Lang Syne. Interestingly, it’s become an anthem that is recognized and sung all around the world. .As the website at http://www.scotland.org says: “Auld Lang Syne is one of Scotland’s gifts to the world, recalling the love and kindness of days gone by, but in the communion of taking our neighbours’ hands, it also gives us a sense of belonging and fellowship to take into the future.”
Robert Burns penned the poem in 1788 and it is said to be set to an old folk song from the Lowland in Scots tradition, but interestingly, the melody sung the world round on New Year’s is not the original tune that the music was set to. The older tune is said to be sung in Scotland as is their tradition. I couldn’t find the original melody for this old song, but I wish I had — I’d love to hear what sounds like. Another interesting fact is that it was Guy Lombardo who popularized the song and its use at the New Year’s event — although the song was brought to the United States by Scottish immigrants. Lombardo started his broadcasts in 1929 — and it just somehow caught on — to the world at large. In the words of Robert Burns, himself: “… is not the Scots phrase, ‘Auld Lang Syne’, exceedingly expressive – there is an old song and tune which has often thrilled thro’ my soul”. Robert Burns — a very handsome young man — who, though born a peasant, yet lived with vigor. However, and unfortunately for the world at large, he died young of rheumatic fever, even as his wife was giving birth to their 9th child. He was only 37 years old. When I heard he’d fathered nine children, I was shocked. And, to die so early, leaving a wife and nine children behind. What a loss this was to the world.
But, let’s look at the song itself:
The words to Auld Lang Syne — taken from the website: http://www.scotland.org/ features/ / the-history-and-words-of-auld-lang–syne
I’ve dug up the Scottish version of the song, as well as the English. Do you have a piano? A guitar? Fancy singing along yourself? Here are the verses, and a translation of the words to Auld Lang Syne: Scots Language version Auld Lang Syne Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And auld lang syne. Chorus For auld lang syne, my jo, For auld lang syne, We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet, For auld lang syne, And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp! And surely I’ll be mine! And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet, For auld lang syne. Chorus We twa hae run about the braes And pu’d the gowans fine; But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot Sin auld lang syne. Chorus We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn, Frae mornin’ sun till dine; But seas between us braid hae roar’d Sin auld lang syne. Chorus And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere! And gie’s a hand o’ thine! And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught, For auld lang syne. Chorus English translated version Long, Long Ago
Should old acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot, And long, long ago? Chorus And for long, long ago, my dear For long, long ago, We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, For long, long ago And surely you’ll buy your pint-jug! And surely I’ll buy mine! And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, For long, long ago. Chorus We two have run about the hills And pulled the daisies fine; But we’ve wandered manys the weary foot Since long, long ago. Chorus We two have paddled in the stream, From morning sun till dine; But seas between us broad have roared Since long, long ago. Chorus And there’s a hand, my trusty friend! And give us a hand of yours! And we’ll take a deep draught of good-will For long, long ago. Chorus
It’s been a rough year for many of us. And yet, in some ways, our spirits have risen up to the occasion. It is my wish for you that this next year be a better and more promising year. And, though we might still have a bit of a rough ride ahead of us, if we can keep loving one another and showing kindness throughout this next year, I think we’ll be okay.
And now, I promised you a give-away. As some of you might know, I have a new release out this month, SHE CAPTURES MY HEART, which is book #2 in the new Medicine Man Series.
I’ll be giving away this book in e-book format to one of you bloggers. All you have to do to enter into the drawing is leave a comment to this post. Be sure to come to the blog tomorrow to see if you have won!
Hot Info: This new book has been at the #1 spot on Amazon for the New Release Category of American Historical Romances for seven days now. Below is the link to the book.
May your New Year be filled with good health, kindness and love!