Category: Behind the Book

The Love of Appaloosas by Misty M. Beller

We’re excited to welcome our guest Misty M. Beller and what a great topic–Appaloosa horses. Today Misty will give away a signed print copy of her latest book Freedom in the Mountain Wind! Thank so much for stopping by, Misty!

Howdy, Friend! It’s always an honor to stop by for a visit with you.

All my life I’ve been a horse lover, and was blessed to grow up on a farm. My older brother and I each had ponies of our own and rode hours each day. When we were old enough to graduate to full-size horses, we met neighbors who also had horses and loved to ride together. The two mares they rode had a mottled black and white spotted look, which I knew to be part of the Appaloosa breed. Through years of riding together, I developed a deep appreciation for those two Appaloosa horses, as well as respect for the entire breed! Those two mares proved they could outrun and outlast any of the other horses in our riding group.

As I met other Appaloosas, I learned the breed has a wide variety of coat patterns, from dramatically spotted horses (called leopard Appaloosas) to solid horses whose rumps sport white “blankets” (with or without spots). You don’t always know what pattern a horse will have at its birth.

I’ve long wanted to include Appaloosas in one of my stories, especially since the breed was said to have begun in the Nez Perce tribe who lived just west of the Rocky Mountains. Most of my books are set in the majestic Rockies, so anything from that area snags my attention!

When I was brainstorming ideas for a new series, I realized this was the perfect time to include Appaloosas! A band of five good friends—as close as brothers. One sets off on a mission to find the famed Paloose horse bred by the Nez Perce tribe. When he doesn’t return as promised, the other four set off to find him. Thus begins the journey of a lifetime…

The story kicks off in book 1, Freedom in the Mountain Wind. I pray you love this story as much as I loved writing it, and enjoy a glimpse of the famous Appaloosa horse!

Is there a breed of horse you’ve always admired? A random person from the comments below will be picked to receive a signed print copy of Freedom in the Mountain Wind

Freedom in the Mountain Wind

The last epic journey before her life changes forever.

Susanna Wilkins will do anything to make her father’s final dream come true, including trek along the path Lewis and Clark explored into the untamed wilds of the Rocky Mountains. Every mile is more crucial now that lung cancer is stealing Pa’s last days faster than she can come to terms with losing him. The journey becomes harder than she ever expected, but paddling upriver through fierce rapids and fighting hungry grizzlies isn’t what terrifies her the most.

Beaver Tail endured more than he can stand from the women in his Blackfoot camp, but the last disaster gave him the final shove he needed to join this band of brothers searching for one of their group who’s gone missing. The last thing he expected was to find a white woman and her sick father stranded at the base of a massive waterfall. His plan is to help them carry their oversize canoe and supplies, then leave them to their strange mission. Yet, the more he learns about the pair, the more he realizes his life is about to be derailed—again.

From a USA Today bestselling author comes another epic journey through breathless landscapes and adventure so intense, lives will never be the same.

Author Bio:

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

She was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. Growing up, her family was close, and they continue to keep that priority today. Her husband and daughters now add another dimension to her life, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

God has placed a desire in Misty’s heart to combine her love for Christian fiction and the simpler ranch life, writing historical novels that display God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters. 

Misty loves to connect at her website, FacebookGoodreadsTwitter, Bookbub, and Pinterest

 

Welcome, Heather Blanton

Today we’re happy to welcome Heather Banton! Today Heather will tell you about her book, A Good Man Comes Around, and she will give away three copies of her book to three winners. If you prefer, you can choose a book from her back list. Welcome, Heather!

In the Tragedy, Find the Blessings…

Greed is good.

Greed is good?

Hardly. But the 19th-century discoveries of gold and silver inarguably drew men by the thousands to the American West. Some prospectors were good. Some were bad. All played their part in settling America’s frontier.

As I researched gold rushes for a few previous books, I was struck by one man’s random, utterly stunning gold strike, and the way it impacted his life. His tale is the basis for my book, , the expanded version releasing today!

 

Oliver Martin was one of the few men in the goldfields who was there more out of directionless boredom than Gold Fever. Ostensibly, he was in the gold camps to strike it rich. The fact was, though, Oliver was a good-for-nothing slacker who didn’t even own a pan. Hard work didn’t pull his trigger. He meandered around boom towns like El Dorado and Yuba, panning, drinking, doing odd jobs, but mostly, drinking. Drifting, lost, he had no real plans for his life.

Then tragedy struck. And in nearly the same instant, Oliver was handed an incredible, amazing blessing. I mean, a jaw-dropping fork in his road.

 

After an accident, the young man had to bury his lifeless best friend in the wilds of the Sierra Mountains. Grief-stricken and with no conscious thought to location, he merely chose the first spot he saw. Along a bustling creek, he dropped to his knees and started clawing at the sand. He had not dug down two feet when he found a nugget of gold that weighed in at over eighty-five pounds.

Eighty. Five. Pounds.

In modern money, the rock had an approximate value of $650,000. Digging less than a foot in any direction and Oliver would have missed the nugget entirely.

I was fascinated by this turn of events in the man’s life. Wham! Suddenly he had a pot of gold sitting in his lap. He had gained something of great value yet lost something priceless, irreplaceable, in one fell swoop. I thought of Job—God blessing him, then Satan cursing him.

Receiving an overwhelming financial windfall is definitely a blessing or a curse. Depends on how you use it. We know most of these stories don’t end well. The goldfields were killing fields, rife with thievery, murder, and mayhem. And even when the prospectors managed to hang on to their money, they often spent it on riotous living before they could get out of the mountains.

Oliver found himself facing an unfamiliar choice: squander the unimaginable wealth or use it wisely, to become a better person, maybe make the world a better place.

What would he do? He had spent much of his life breaking promises, abusing friends, and running from God. Now it was time for him to examine his heart. He was still reeling from the painful loss of his friend. How could his future be so bright and yet so grim? Was it even in him to be a better man?

Meanwhile, God was working on someone else’s heart. Moved by Oliver’s tragedy, Abigail Holt, the mail-order bride Oliver had rejected, offered him friendship and forgiveness.

So, the question is, did Oliver go the way of so many lottery winners? Did he drink and gamble the money into oblivion? Loan it to moneygrubbing friends more lost than he? Or did he grow up and find the path God had for him? Did Abigail play any part in his choices?

I hope you’ll read releasing today and find out what drew me to this true Gold Rush story.

What about you? Have you or anyone you know been able to look past an enormous tragedy and find a blessing in it? Comment to win your paperback copy OR any paperback by me of your choosing! I’ll do THREE (3) winners!

19th Century Childcare by Charlene Raddon

One of the things I enjoy in writing is the research. I love learning new things. For my current series, Bachelors & Babies, I needed to learn about childbirth and childcare in the 19th Century.

During the 1800s, infant mortality was shockingly high. Many died before the age of one, and a relative few lived to adulthood. Drownings, falls, snake bites, accidents, diseases, bad water, spoiled food due to the lack of refrigeration, poor hygiene, poor diet—the causes were numerous.

My hero in my second Bachelor & Babies book, JARED, was a rancher who happened to enjoy inventing things, such as a recording device like the phonograph invented in 1877 by Thomas Edison. After the arrival of triplets in the household, Jared’s interests veered toward ways to aid mothers. First, he created a window box made with a wooden frame and using chicken wire for the top and sides. The box fit into an open window, with the bulk of it sticking outside. The infant could enjoy sunshine and fresh air without insects and be relatively safe (have to wonder about that).

 

He also created a walker much like those sold today. This wasn’t too unusual. Walkers were used back beyond the 17th century. His other inventions included a swing that resembled a porch swing except with a baby bed and a mechanism to make it rock. He also designed folding highchairs. The key was to make these items safe enough for the child and then pray they would be used safely.

                   

 

At the time, when my story takes place (1879), baby formula had yet to be invented. There were baby bottles (some called murder bottles—see bottle like baby’s face & picture of several bottles—because of harmful bacteria housewives couldn’t easily wash away.) Rubber nipples tended to develop cracks that harbored bacteria. They could also release carcinogens and cause allergic reactions. Although the first rubber nipple was patented in 1845, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that a practical rubber nipple for nursing bottles was developed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nineteenth Century medicines, even those made for children, tended to contain shocking levels of alcohol and opium. Bayer Pharmaceutical Products invented heroin (diacetylmorphine) and started selling it from 1898. Sigmund Freud extolled the virtues of cocaine for its supposed ability to treat depression and impotence. Kimball White Pine and Tar Cough Syrup, which contained four minims of chloroform, was marketed for colds and bronchitis. In 1849, Mrs. Charlotte N. Winslow launched her Soothing Syrup containing sodium carbonate and aqua ammonia, as well as 65mg of morphine per ounce. It was advertised as effective for children who were teething. Babies were also spoon-fed laudanum for teething pain, bowel problems, flatulence and convulsions.

 

If that wasn’t enough to explain the high infant mortality rate in the 20th century, there was also premature birth, birth asphyxia, pneumonia, congenital malformations, term birth complications such as abnormal presentation of the fetus, umbilical cord prolapse, or prolonged labor, neonatal infection, diarrhea, malaria, measles and malnutrition.

When you think about it, you have to wonder that children survived at all.

AMAZON

#kindleunlimited

To win an ebook copy of JARED, Book 7 in the BACHELORS & BABIES sweet romance series,

tell me . . . 

 

What crazy things did you do as a child that you were lucky to survive?

I had a swing in my backyard and a driveway that went downhill. I’d swing as high as I could, wearing roller skates, jump off and skate down the drive. The trick was to turn onto the sidewalk at the foot of the hill and avoid flying into the busy street.

Charlene Raddon likes to claim that her fiction career began in the third grade when she told her class she’d had a nonexistent baby sister killed by a black widow spider. Her first serious attempt at writing came in 1980 when a vivid dream drove her to drag out a typewriter and begin writing. She’s been writing ever since. She grew up certain she’d been born in the wrong era and truly belonged in the Old West. Her genre is, of course, historical romance set in the American West. At present, she has five books, originally published in paperback by Kensington Books, two anthologies and a novella available on Amazon. Now an indie author, Charlene is busy on her next novel. She also designs book covers and other graphic materials for authors, specializing in western, at http://silversagebookcovers.com.

Website: http://charleneraddon.com

Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2ThzsNY

Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/CharleneRaddon/

Divine Gamble buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074P686Q5/a/p?tag=pettpist-20

Updated: January 12, 2020 — 7:47 pm

Michelle Major Helps Us Kick Off the New Year!

Hey everyone, and Happy New Year! Joining us today at the Junction is Michelle Major. We’re real excited to have her here, so join us in welcoming Michelle!

 

Howdy and Happy New Year!

I’m so excited for 2020 – to me there’s always so much potential in the new year. And I can’t think of a better way to kick it off th

an with a new book. Fortune’s Fresh Start, my January release, is the first in the long-running Fortune’s series from Harlequin Special Edition.

Here’s a bit more about the book: In the small Texas burg of Rambling Rose, real estate investor Callum Fortune is making a big splash. The last thing he needs is any personal complications slowing his pace—least of all nurse Becky Averill, a beautiful widow with twin baby girls. Callum’s past has convinced him he’s not cut out for commitment. Yet, drawn to Becky in ways he can’t understand, Callum is torn between moving on…and moving in!

It’s been great fun to be part of the Fortune’s series over the past several years. I love working with other authors when our stories overlap and being part of such a well-loved family within the book world. Being the start of the new year, I find myself looking forward as well as back over the past twelve months. One tradition I’ve enjoyed recently is picking a ‘word of the year’. This is a somewhat popular trend – a little different from resolutions – in that the word guides you through the year and helps set a course.

This yearmy word is ‘purpose’. I’ve thought about it long and hard, and for me it’s a word that will hold meaning and guide me through 2020. Both of my kids are teenagers now and I have a bit more time on my hands to reflect on who I want to be in both my personal and professional life. What I want my ‘purpose’ to be and how the actions I take can enhance that.

Purpose also has meaning for me with the characters I create. Becky, the heroine of Fortune’s Fresh Start, is working to find purpose and meaning in her life as she raises her twin girls on her own after her husband’s death. Callum Fortune has come to Rambling Rose to find his purpose and when the two of them meet, their connection is instantaneous. But both Callum and Becky have been hurt in the past and it takes a lot of growth along their journey to finally take the risk of loving again. I hope readers find hope and healing in the book and can relate to two not-so-perfect people discovering a love that’s perfect for them.

I love to hear about how other people start the new year. Do you like resolutions or can you relate to selecting a guiding ‘word of the year’? Tell me something you hope to do/accomplish/experience in 2020 or something special that happened in 2019. I’d love to give away two copies of Fortune’s Fresh Start to P&P readers.

 

Thanks again for having me at Petticoats & Pistols. I wish each of you an amazing new year and all the blessings in 2020!

Regina Jennings: Kentucky Daisey and Her Giant Leap!

KENTUCKY DAISEY AND HER GIANT LEAP

The Fillies welcome our guest blogger, Regina Jennings!

It was no place for a lady.

Gambling, wrestling matches and shooting competitions were rampant on the border as restless men waited for the gun to sound at noon on April 22, 1889.

A newspaper reporter named Nannita Daisey was there, too. She’d been commissioned by the Dallas Morning News to cover the 1889 Land Run, but while on assignment, she was overcome by Land Run fever and decided to stake her own claim. It wouldn’t be easy. Sure, there were over twelve thousand farms available, but with over fifty thousand people involved, many would be left empty-handed.

At noon, trains jam-packed with hopeful homesteaders left the stations along the border to carry the contestants through the available land, and Nannita was crammed in there with them. Legend has it, that the train was so crowded that Nannita rode the cattle guard in the front of the engine, although this piece of exaggeration didn’t appear until years after the fact. At any rate, as the train neared Edmond Station, in a feat of amazing athleticism considering her wardrobe, Nannita flung herself away from the dangerous railroad track and drove her stake into the ground. Reaching beneath her skirt to her petticoat, she ripped off a piece of the cloth and tied it to the stake for identification, thereby claiming 160 acres of prime real estate before anyone else had a chance to disembark.

If that weren’t enough, Miss Daisey then turned around and caught the caboose of the train as it passed, being pulled aboard by some amused men, who could bear witness at the land office that she was the first one to claim that plot.

At left is a picture of Regina leaping into history with Kentucky Daisey in Edmond, Oklahoma.


Known afterward as Kentucky Daisey, Nannita taught school and continued her work as a journalist in the territory, but it seemed she could never resist the urge to compete in a land run for a better situation. Unfortunately, her zeal wound up getting her in trouble. For the 1892 land run, she organized a colony of eleven other women to participate, but instead of jumping from a train this time, they decide to take the easy way in. Sneaking across the border early, the Lady Sooners constructed a hideout, but the dedicated troopers from Fort Reno found them. They weren’t impressed with Kentucky Daisey, and hauled her and her crew to the guard house at Fort Reno – the same guard house that my fictional hero Frisco Smith frequented.

Always ready for an adventure, Nannita’s colorful performance reflects the determination of many of the participants in the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889, whether men or women, and that’s the spirit that inspired Caroline Adams in my newest release The Major’s Daughter.
 
Not afraid to compete with the men, Caroline combines her knowledge of the region with some luck and beats Frisco Smith out of his chosen homestead. When he opens a no-holds-barred campaign to get it back from her, they realize that they are risking more than the land, they are risking their hearts.

Buy Link: https://reginajennings.com/the-majors-daughter/
 
Bio: Award-winning author Regina Jennings loves writing about wild women of the west and the men they (eventually) love. She’s worked at the Mustang News and the Oklahoma National Stockyards.

 

If you had lived back then, would you have participated in the Oklahoma Land Rush? To one lucky person who leaves a comment, Regina is giving away an autographed copy of The Major’s Daughter.

 

Janalyn Voigt: Ghost Town in the Rearview Mirror

 

We welcome our guest blogger, Janalyn Voigt!

Virginia City, Nevada is one of the West’s famous ghost towns, but Virginia City in Montana is less known. That’s a shame because this Montana town played an important part in the history of Montana Territory.

The year was 1863 when a group of miners led by William (Bill) Fairweather passed through Alder Gulch. Following a scrape with Crow Indians, the men were on their way home to Bannack City, a boomtown where miners flocked after the discovery of gold in nearby Grasshopper Creek. Fairweather’s group paused in Alder Gulch near the headwaters of the waterway known as the Stinkingwater (now Alder Creek). The men aimed to mine enough gold to pay for tobacco. They found that many times over. The men had chanced upon the richest placer gold strike in the Rocky Mountains.

The men tried to keep their discovery to themselves, but flashing money around Bannack revealed their secret. When they set out again for Alder Gulch, they set off a ‘stampede’ of hopeful miners. Virginia City went up within weeks. Men arrived daily to seek their fortune.

Bannack was winding down as a source of easy gold. With most of the population living in Alder Gulch. Virginia City replaced Bannack as the capital of Montana Territory in 1864. The town served in that capacity until 1875, when the territorial seat was moved to Helena.

I discovered Virginia City while on a summer road trip through Montana with my family. After a long drive through the Beartooth Mountains, we’d passed only one roadhouse. I enjoy wilderness areas, but it was a relief when Virginia City unfolded before us in the late afternoon sun. We stopped at the gas station, where I picked up a brochure that told of outlaws, stagecoaches, and vigilante justice.

Robbers Roost particularly awed me. The brochure informed me that this notorious roadhouse several miles from town was where outlaws rode out to rob gold-laden stagecoaches bound for Virginia City. I felt the weight of history and an unction to tell the story of this place.

Several years later, I returned to Virginia City on a research trip for a western historical romance series that would do just that. It was autumn, so late in the season that snow was falling. The town’s sparse bed and breakfasts were closed until spring, but my husband and I managed to wangle a bed for the night in a renovated cabin. The next day dawned bright and clear. We climbed boot hill to the outlaw gravesite located outside the main cemetery where law-abiding citizens were buried.

A stroll through the cemetery took me past the grave of Thomas J. Dimsdale, the mild-mannered author of The Vigilantes of Montana, an eyewitness account of the vigilante activities in the area. Released in 1866, it was the first book published in Montana.

After reading his account, I felt acquainted with the man. It seemed strange to find him lying in a grave. The brevity of life struck me anew, and I was glad to come down from boot hill.

As Virginia City dwindled in the rear-view mirror, we drove through a landscape marred by tailings, large piles of rocks deposited by the mining operations all along Alder Gulch. There was little left of the settlement dubbed ‘Fourteen-Mile City.’

How about you? Have you been to a ghost town?

To one lucky person who leaves a comment,
Janalyn is giving away a $15.00 Amazon Gift Card.

 

Bio: Janalyn Voigt fell in love with literature at an early age when her father read classics to her as bedtime stories. When Janalyn grew older, she put herself to sleep with her own made-up tales. Her sixth-grade teacher noticed her love of storytelling and encouraged her to become a writer. Today Janalyn is a multi-genre author. Janalyn writes the kind of novels she likes to read – epic adventures brimming with romance, mystery, history, and whimsy. She is praised for her unpredictable plots and the lyrical, descriptive prose that transports readers into breathtaking storyworlds. Janalyn Voigt is represented by Wordserve Literary. Learn more about Janalyn and her books at http://janalynvoigt.com.

Click here to purchase Forever Sky .

 

 

Updated: November 27, 2019 — 12:40 pm

New Release – Sawyer

Hello Everyone, Winnie Griggs here. 

I’m taking a break from my series on female law enforcement trail blazers this month to post on something a little more personal.  I’m excited to announce that, as of Nov 1, I have a new release out.

This one, SAWYER,  is part of the Bachelors and Babies series, Book 6 to be exact.  I was really excited to be invited to take part in this series – the authors are all great and it was the first time I’ve had the chance to be involved in a project like this. It also gave me the opportunity to try my hand at an indy work. I did one last spring, The Unexpected Bride, but it was a little different since that was an old backlist work I was tweaking, repackaging and reissuing. Sawyer is an entirely shiny new work and one I had a lot of fun writing. And I must say this has been a great, and sometimes scary, learning experience.

There will be 14 books in this series, coming out one a month, and while they are all standalone, they share a common theme – what happens when a bachelor in the old west suddenly finds himself unexpectedly saddled with a baby. And this series is certainly a showcase for the saying that if you give a dozen people a story idea you’ll end up with a dozen different stories. I’ve read the first five books of the series and they are all very different, coming at the theme from a number of different angles.

As you can see from this graphic, there are some familiar names among the participating authors, including my Filly-sister Pam Crooks who kicked off the series with TRACE, former Filly Cheryl St.John who’ll wrap us up with TANNER, and several authors who have popped up here in the past as guests.

 

Here’s a little more info about Sawyer:

Sawyer Flynn vows to see that the man who murdered his brother pays for his crimes, but becoming the sole caretaker of an orphaned infant sidetracks him from the mission. Sawyer can’t do it all—run his mercantile, care for the baby, and find justice for his brother. He needs help. But not from Emma Jean Gilley.

When her father flees town after killing a man, Emma Jean is left alone to care for her kid brother, but her father’s crime has made her a pariah and no one will give her a job. Learning of Sawyer’s need, Emma Jean makes her case to step in as nanny.

Sawyer is outraged by Emma Jean’s offer, but he’s also desperate and he reluctantly agrees to a temporary trial. Working together brings understanding, and maybe something more. But just when things heat up between Sawyer and Emma Jean, the specter of her father’s crimes threatens to drive them apart forever.

 

You can get your copy at this link on AMAZON  

When I was writing this book I set up a Pinterest board to save images of how I imagined my characters would look, as well as their homes and the mercantile where the hero works. You can view it HERE if you’re interested.

If you’re interested in reading an excerpt, you can find one on my website HERE

And you can join the Bachelors & Babies Readers Group on Facebook to meet all the authors and learn about upcoming releases!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/2143576775865837/

So let’s chat

How do you feel about series like this one that are connected by theme rather than more tightly connected by location or family or some such?
When there is a long running one like this, do you normally stick with it all the way through or at some point do you feel like you’ve had enough, and if so what is that tipping point for you?
Is there some theme you haven’t seen recently that you’d like to see a series built around?

Comment here and you just might find yourself on the winning end of a signed copy of Sawyer!

(FYI – I’ll be traveling until early afternoon, so my responses may be sparse until I get home but I promise to answer every comment  whenever I have access to the internet)

 

 

Updated: November 1, 2019 — 12:34 am

Happy Halloween from The Pumpkin Farm!

It’s rare that I’m publishing anything on a blog right on Halloween, but this year I am!

How fun is that?

And just so you know, I’m not a big Halloween fan although I love kids going trick-or-treating. It’s just crazy fun and my kids loved it. I loved it as a kid, too! Free candy! #BONUS!!!!

But here on the farm Halloween marks the end of the pumpkin sale season.

This farm wagon was a find two years ago and we love it. It’s the perfect focal point for our displays and it “morphs’ as the season matures. It starts out with lots of big stacks of pumpkins, like you see here, but as those sell out, we replace them with smaller stacks… and more big orange or big green or white pumpkins. Like any season, it’s ever-changing and we truly celebrate the season of color that’s so famous here in the Northeast Woodlands. Being so close to Lake Ontario, our leaves stay green longer, giving the feel of a longer and nicer fall season!

Closing the farm stand is always a mixed blessing. We love wrapping things up… Having time for other things for six months, until it’s time to plant, till, plant, spray, water, plant, repeat!

Our theory is this: Sell every pumpkin and squash you can at great prices and people will be happy, they will love you and they’ll come again and again and they will bring friends.

This concept, a wholly different marketing ploy than the USDA recommends, is building us a solid business that benefits the community, our little farm, people outside our community and our family because it is truly a family project. And that family includes friends, too… friends who volunteer their time on weekends to help customers so we can keep prices down.

This Mandy and Lisa and Lisa’s daughter McKenna, all set up for business on an early September day…

It means insight, too… annual growth within a budget because trying to build on credit and interest is a rookie mistake. Few of us are going to turn into Chip and Joanna (Loved their Magnolia Story) and end up with an HGTV contract that goes viral, so trying to invest while living within the budget is the trick. Stuff costs money. And expansion isn’t cheap, but when we’re talking small business, building a base is the beginning, just like building a Lego house. Without a strong platform/base, the blocks will topple in the wind.

I’ve shown you pics of the “results”… the gorgeous pumpkins and displays and so many happy customers. What a treat!

So for a business like this there are both tricks… and treats. And Farmer Dave and I aren’t exactly young. (Well, I feel young, so does that count????) But we’re living a dream that we’ve always wanted to do…

And who knows how much time the Good Lord will give us? Not us, certainly, but there’s an Erma Bombeck quote that I hold close to my heart in family, in writing, in business, in pumpkins:

“I want to stand before God at the end of my days and be able to say I used everything you gave me.”

That’s me.

Talent is given to so many, but taking that talent and mixing it with a strong work ethic is a wonderful thing. And the fact that it’s not a universal trait is what gives some a leg up.

Our beautiful nation was built on hard work. On sacrifice. On sacrificial love. Those elements are part of our platform and our heritage. I want to see them help shape our future.

Tonight I’ll go trick-or-treating with a few cute grandkids… We live on a country road, so generally there are no trick-or-treaters at our house, but the joy in knowing that lots of those pumpkins and displays were part of Blodgett Family Farm and our goal to bring affordable family fun back to the farm is like being part of new family traditions.

And that makes us happy!

AND to add to today’s fun, I collaborated with the amazing Margaret Brownley and Mary Connealy for this beautiful collection releasing in SIX DAYS!!!! “Christmas at Star Inn” is a wonderful anthology of weary travelers who lodge at the iconic “Star Inn” in Heywood, Oregon at the base of Mt. Hood… It’s time to get in the season of faith, hope and love… and the greatest of these is love! I’m giving away an e-copy of this to one happy reader, but let me know you’d like it… when you tell me about your upcoming holidays. Love ’em? Or kind of dread ’em? Or somewhere in the middle??? Let’s talk it out right here. Right now!

 

Our new release!

 

OH! AND WINNER FROM LAST MONTH!!! Do you see where my brain is? It is mush in September and October, and for good reason. Joy Ellis, you are the winner of “The Sewing Sisters Society” novella collection! Let me know if you would like a print or an e-copy and I’ll have my friends at Amazon send that right out to you! Congratulations!

Fun Things About the Ol’ West

I love research, particularly about the old west. I could get lost in it and a lot of the times I do. Please don’t get me wrong, I love to write, but if I ever had to make a choice between researching for a book and writing one, I’m not sure but I think I’d go with the research.

I thought it’d be fun to blog about western terminology and some of the things I’ve learned from researching the Old West, particularly since I was born and raised in Texas. Now here’s my first comment … we’ve always used born and raised then when I began writing, I got heavily edited with “you raise corn, you rear children”. Now that’s changed back to born and raised.

Many of the jargon popular back in western times are still used today.

  • Wild-cow milking: When sister Filly Linda Brody, Jodi Thomas, and the late DeWanna Pace and I began to write our anthology Give Me a Cowboy we had already decided that we’d have a 4th of July Rodeo take place in Kasota Springs, Texas, over four days. There were a lot of things that we had to iron out for consistency sake. I had to have a rainy day, so we had to make sure one day it rained. But, the funniest thing that happened was choosing events, so we didn’t duplicate. In the 1800’s there were only a limited number of events to choose from. I love the rodeo, so I had my mind set on bull riding. Linda and Jodi selected their events first … not bull riding, so I knew I had my event in the bag! But one problem, Dee selected hers next and since her brother was a champion bull rider … oh yes, you guessed it, she asked for bull riding. I took a deep breath and the only event left was wild cow milking. So, I smiled and enjoyed learning about this part of a rodeo. In the long run, I probably had more fun writing the scene where my hero and heroine were teamed up for this event and it began to rain. I’m not gonna tell you anything else, but if you haven’t read Give Me a Cowboy I think you’d enjoy what could happen in a wet arena with two people attracted to one another when they are trying to hold down a cow and milk her.  Of interest, the wild cow milking event came into existence because they had to bring calves for roping and of course they couldn’t separate the mama’s and their calf, so thus wild cow milk came about.
  • Chute Rooster: This was another term I learned through research and used for the same story. A chute rooster is a rodeo-wise boy who perched on top of the chutes and knew how everything should be done and didn’t mind telling about it.
  • Doggone: A wild slang expression. Whenever he could think of it, a cowboy used this term around womenfolks. I still use it.
  • Salty Dog: A man who was considered better than anyone else in his line, whether it was shooting, roping, riding, cattle rustling, holding up trains and stagecoaches, or just “plumb ornery”. Dog was also one of the old-time cowboy’s terms for bacon. When it was salty, it was “salty dog”.
  • Dofunny: The cowboy’s expression for a useless object.
  • Bible Two: A term used by Texas Rangers for the list of outlaws published every year by the Adjutant General’s Office. It was said that at one time the Texas Rangers had a list of over 5,000 desperadoes wanted by the law.
  • Hog-tied: I love this one. When a cowboy got “hog-tied” by a female he was no longer a cowboy but a cowman. I think that’s pretty self-explanatory.
  • Vamoose: The cowboy used this word several different ways, but basically it meant “to move on” or “let go”. The word came from the Spanish vamos, which means “we go”. It’s still used today in our neck of the woods.
  • Cross Draw: The act of drawing a pistol with the right hand when it was worn on the left side. The sidearm was carried either in the waistband of the trousers or in a holster with the butt of the gun forward. The gunfighter had to cross his arm over to whip it out. When two guns were worn, both with butts forward, the gunfighter employed a “cross-arm draw” to take them out. This has been used many times in Westerns over the years.
  • Critter: Chiefly a term for a cow, but it could be any animal. We still use it today.
  • Road Brand: This was the light brand placed on cattle sufficient to “last up the trail” to the shipping point when different brands were in the same herd. Once the cattle were sold, the rancher would change to their own brand.
  • Hollow Horn: I found this particularly interesting. It is a disease that puzzled the tenderfoot. Cows’ horns simply dropped off after a freeze. Of course, they were hollow, thus the term hollow horn.
  • Liquored up: Has only been around since the early twenty century, but most everybody knows that it means “drunk”.
  • Larruppin’: One of my favorites. Larruppin’ good means excellent, especially with food.

What old terms do you use in your daily life?  What is your favorite?

To one two lucky readers I will send you an autographed copy of Give Me a Cowboy. If you already have one, I’ll give you an eBook copy of my latest western contemporary romance Out of a Texas Night, which have many of the founders of Kasota Springs, three to five generations later in it.

I wish to give credit to Bruce Grant and his book The Cowboy Encyclopedia because I mixed some of my own terminology with some of his. Thank you.

Updated: October 28, 2019 — 4:17 pm

Welcome Guest – Jodi Thomas!


The Luck of the Irish.

As a writer I spend a great deal of time thinking of why people develop the way they do. Why they are sad or unhappy.  Why they chose one road in life and not another. 

Over the years I’ve figured out my mother gave me a great gift.  Not an inheritance or a keepsake, but in the way she thought about life.

My mom was Scotch-Irish with a touch of the English mixed in.  She graduated as Valedictorian but had no chance to go to college.  She had to help support her mother during WWII after her father died.

She married my father, who tended to drink, and in no time they had four kids.  My father went blind by the time I was in high school and mom worked two jobs.

But all her life my mom thought she was lucky.  Irish luck she called it.  She might step in a mud hole but she’d smile and say, ‘At least I didn’t have my good shoes on.’

She passed that luck on to her children.  When my brother was shot in Viet Nam the doctor told him he was lucky because the bullet missed his heart by an inch.

He agreed and said he had his mother’s Irish luck.

Someone else might say he would have been luckier if he hadn’t been shot, but Phil just thought he was lucky.

In my latest book, CHRISTMAS IN WINTER VALLEY, I played on the theme that thinking you’re lucky may take you halfway to your goal.

I started with the youngest of three brothers who believes in love but has no luck with women and a ranch hand who thinks he’s wasted all his luck.

This summer I truly learned how lucky I am.  When I lost my Tommy after 49 years, I felt the love of friends all across the country.  That caring carried me through the dark days.  Then, I realized how lucky I was to have a great man for all those years.

Jodi and Tommy

As the weeks passed I found a world to retreat to in my writing.  I’m lucky to live in two worlds.  A lady whose daughter was going through chemo was sitting beside me told me that each week they’d read my books during the treatment so they’d have something to talk about on their way home.  For the first time I understood.

To all my readers, I would love for you to stop by and tell me about a time in your life when you felt unlucky but it really turned out to be one of your luckiest times.  I will give the lucky winner a Christmas package of 3 books: MISTLETOE MIRACLES and CHRISTMAS IN WINTER VALLEY from my Ransom Canyon series and A TEXAS KIND OF CHRISTMAS, my latest anthology.

I wish you Irish Luck and I wish you peace and laughter when you step into fiction as a reader or as a writer.

Much love,
Jodi

Updated: October 9, 2019 — 10:35 am