Category: Behind the Book

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

Where The Deer and the Buffalo Play

Howdy!

Welcome to another terrific Tuesday.  The prairie.  When we drive through the prairie in our modern day times, we see lots of farming, and, of course, very flat land.

The prairie is so much a part of the West, it’s hard to think of the Western without the prairie.  In Kansas and Missouri, the prairie had grasses sometimes so tall that a man on a horse would disappear into the grass.  Did you know that?  I think it was when I was first researching the West and the Prairie that I came across that info.

BRAVE WOLF AND THE LADY was a 2018 release.  One of the reviewers of that book made a comment that the book was really about the Prairie and the feeling of being there on the prairie at that time when the story takes place.

Very intentionally I wrote about my fascination about the prairie, and it was wonderful to see that someone else appreciated it, too.

One of the sources of research that I like most is George Catlin, who in 1835, sailed up the Missouri on a steamboat in order to paint the Indians.  Here’s a quote from Catlin from around 1835 concerning the prairie seen on the Missouri,the Platte and the Arkansas Rivers.  He’s talking about a Prairie Fire here.

“But the burning plain has another aspect when the grass is seven or eight feet high and the flames are driven by the hurricanes that often sweep over the meadows of the Missouri, the Platte, and the Arkansas. This grass is so high that we were obliged to stand in our stirrups to look over its waving tops.”

Catlin, George. My Life Among the Indians (1909) (p. 199). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

In doing some research for the book, THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, I traveled over the Prairie of Kansas and along the Arkansas River, where my story was to take place.  Sometimes, one can visit some of the off-the-beaten-track places, where they have preserved the prairie as it once was.  Many travelers at that time called it the sea of green — constant and flowing and seemingly never ending.

I soaked up the feeling of the prairie, trying to imagine what it would have been like at that time for the hero and heroine.  Loved reading about the Santa Fe Trail and all the adventures that the pioneers had along the way. 

This book, THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, is about that prairie, as well, and about those that traveled on The Santa Fe Trail.

Here’s another quote from Catlin’s book:

“The high grass, being filled with wild-pea vines and other impediments, render it necessary to take the zigzag trails of the deer and buffalo.”

Catlin, George. My Life Among the Indians (1909) (pp. 199-200). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

In another book, my very first book, LAKOTA SURRENDER, I make mention of and have an entire scene wrapped around a prairie wild fire.  Again, the idea was sparked by a prairie wild fire that Catlin was in, and almost didn’t escape.

Here’s what he says:

“White man,” said he, “see that small cloud rising from the prairie. He rises. The hoofs of horses have waked him. The Fire Spirit is awake; this wind is from his nostrils, and his face is this way.” He said no more, but his swift horse darted under him, and he slid over the waving grass as it was bent before the wind. We were quickly on his trail. The extraordinary leaps of his wild horse occasionally raised his shoulders to view, then he sank again in the waving billows of grass. On the wind above our heads was an eagle. His neck was stretched for the towering bluff, and his thrilling screams told of the secret that was behind him. Our horses were swift and we struggled hard, but our hope was feeble, for the bluff was yet blue and nature nearly exhausted. The cool shadow advancing over the plain told that the sun was setting. Not daring to look back we strained every nerve. The roar of a distant cataract seemed gradually overtaking us. The wind increased, and the swift winged beetle and the heath hens drew their straight lines over our heads. The fleet bounding antelope passed us, and the still swifter, long legged hare, who leaves but a shadow as he flies. Here was no time for thought, but I recollect that the heavens were overcast, the distant thunder was heard, and the lightning reddening the scene, and the smell that came on the wind struck terror to my soul. The piercing yell of my savage guide at this moment came back on the wind, his robe was seen waving in the air, as his foaming horse leaped up the bluff.

Our breath and our sinews were just enough, in this last struggle for life, to carry us to the summit. We had risen from a sea of fire. Now looking back, still trembling from our peril, I saw beneath me a cloud of black smoke which extended from one extremity of this vast plain to the other, and seemed to roll over the surface of a bed of liquid fire. Above this mighty desolation the white smoke rose like magnificent cliffs to the skies. Then behind all this we saw the black and smoking desolation left by this storm of fire.”

Catlin, George. My Life Among the Indians (1909) (p. 202). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

What an amazing accounting.  Sometimes, I think when we pass through this country, it’s wonderful to remember how it once was.  And so, the tall grass prairie is something that I think is thrilling to add to a story.

What do you think?

I’ll be giving away one of these e-books to one of the bloggers here today.  She can have her pick as to which one.  Thanks so much for coming here today, and thanks for participating.  Be sure to leave a comment

 

Above here, are me and my brother-in-law in a short grass prairie in Montana.  And below here is my darling husband, also in a short grass prairie in Montana.

 

 

Updated: October 7, 2019 — 8:16 pm

Christmas with a Cowboy & Giveaway

Irish lass meets wild Texas cowboy in Christmas with a Cowboy. A one night stand in Ireland comes back to haunt them both when they’re thrown together in Texas this time. Throw a baby into the mix and the story gets even more complicated.

Maverick Callahan is a freewheeling Texas cowboy who loves to hit the honky tonk on Saturday night, dance with the pretty girls, and maybe get lucky once in a while. But a year ago he fell head-over-heels with an extraordinary woman that still haunts his dreams, and keeps him from being totally happy. He didn’t even know her last name so when she appears on his doorstep like a Christmas miracle he’s determined not to waste his lucky break.

Bridget O’Malley’s world had done a 380 degree turn around since the previous Christmas. She’s lost her beloved grandmother and is now the guardian of her best friend’s baby daughter. She’s thought about Maverick from Texas, but she didn’t even know his last name, and then her grandmother’s friend invites her to Texas to help her out for a while. If she’d known Maverick would be on the same ranch, she might have refused the offer, but it was too late once she was there.

Mama told me that I came from Irish ancestors and that my great-great-great-great-great grandmother, Miz Martha Cummins, came over here from Ireland. Mama kept Grandma Martha’s wedding ring in her little cedar jewelry box, and it’s been passed down to me. It’s nothing fancy, just a little band that her groom made for her out of a coin, but in our family we tie it into the girls’ wedding bouquets for their “something old.”

According to my DNA Mama was right, so it was a real treat to get to get to know Bridget since she comes from Cork County, Ireland. Of course, Maverick has Irish ancestors, too, so that made it doubly fun to write. I fell in love with Maverick in Cowboy Rebel, and throwing him into a situation with Bridget was so much fun. Hopefully all of you will enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it—there’s always a little magic in the air when I’m writing a Christmas book.

And all y’all get a double cowboy Christmas present because my good friend, Sara Richardson is including, Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas in my book. So happy reading to all y’all!!

I’ll give away a signed copy of Christmas with a Cowboy!!

                                        Carolyn’s books can be purchased here:

Amazon

                                                                              

 

 

 

Updated: September 17, 2019 — 8:18 am

Using Real People, Places & Events in Fiction

Thank you to all at the Petticoats & Pistols blog for this opportunity to post as a guest blogger.

Today I am going to highlight how I came up with the plot for my latest novel, Escape from Gold Mountain. It is very simple. Many of the elements of the plot came from actual history.

1863 DeGroot map of Mono County: Esmerelda & Bridgeport

Two shooting affrays in the same Lundy saloon three hours apart leaving four men wounded and waiting on the doctor in Bodie thirty miles away to come up the following morning to help patch them up? You bet.

In past years, I wrote a series based in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains in remote and sparely-populated Mono County.

 

 

Lundy in the 1890s

 

For the basis of many of my plots and a few known residents for some of my minor characters (and miner characters), I relied on a book titled Lundy by Alan H. Patera.

 

 

Characters based on real people:

Until almost the end of this series, I skipped over the information under the heading of “Desperados” about a couple of bad men, or roughs, as the unruly, disorderly elements were called at that time and place. Then, one incident in particular caught my eye. It involved a “Chinawoman” and two roughs.

I started researching—and researching. I wrote a spin-off novel that ended up being twice as long as the longest novella in the original series. I set it aside. I contracted for a cover. I researched some more. In a different local history of the area, I discovered the name of this woman—Ling Loi. I also learned more about the two men, “Tex” Wilson and Charley Jardine, who were involved with stealing her off the Lundy to Bodie stagecoach.

Bridgeport Chronicle-Union Nov. 8, 1884

In fact, up until I received my final editing, I spent hours in my local library perusing microfilms of the available Bridgeport Chronicle-Union newspaper for anything I could find on these people.

Bridgeport Chronicle-Union Nov. 8, 1884

This incident is not well known. There are no photographs I could find of these three historical characters. I found no physical descriptions other than local Mono County historian Ella M. Cain calling Ling Loi a “little, painted Chinese girl.” That may have been a euphemism for being a prostitute more than a physical descriptor. I do not believe any of them had children—at least, for the men, none they knew of. However, their story was too good to keep, and I fictionally expanded the tidbits of real history to create my longest and most researched novel to date.

 Singsong girl late 19th century

I did find images of Chinese prostitutes which I included in this post. This can give you an idea of how Ling Loi may had appeared and dressed.

The more I researched about the immigration experience of many of the Chinese women, especially in the 1880s when this story is set, the more I learned how many, if not most, were brought to San Francisco under false pretenses – if not outright abducted in their homeland – in order to be forced into prostitution in the brothels and opium dens of both the China towns of the bigger cities and the small mining communities of the west.

 

Street slave in Chinatown, 1896

Although the tong owners who bought them forced them to sign a contract of indenture, it really was slavery. The contracts were written so a woman could not live long enough to fulfill her financial obligations. Most of these women only escaped when they died from disease, most often syphilis.

At the encouragement of Alexa Kang, a World War Two romance author who is of Cantonese descent and is familiar with Cantonese customs and language, I gave Ling Loi more personality and a more active role in the plot.

Story Settings:

My Mono County settings included Bodie, now a state park.

Historical Bodie, California taken from the old Standard Mine

Until September, 1884, Ling Loi worked as a prostitute in Lundy, now a defunct gold mining town that became a seasonal fishing resort.

Lundy in 2014 with Mt. Scowden in background

 

Several chapters take place in the Masonic Mountains north and east of Bridgeport.

Also, one scene is based on a real incident that happened in Bridgeport at the Mono County Jail.

 

In addition to being fictionalized history, this story can also quality as an alternative history. My hero, Luke McDaniels (as well as a few other characters in the book) are fictional. After all, this is a romance. As much as she must deal with all the bad guys, I wanted to be sure the Ling Loi in my story had a happily-ever-after ending.

Here is an excerpt:

         Luke shook his head in frustration. “I should have known you two were up to no good. Look, I want no part of this, Charley. You said you’d give me what you owe me after we got back here today. Just hand it over. I don’t want to get caught in the middle of this mess.”

         “Ah, but you already are in the middle of it, eh? Don’t worry. It’s but a little change of plans.”

         Luke stepped forward, then assumed a stance with feet spread, and his fists on his hips, close to his weapons. “Where’s my money? I want it now.”

         Charley fished the reticule out of his pants pocket and emptied the contents in his hand. He counted out part of the half eagles and returned them to the reticule. The rest he put in his pocket. After pulling the strings tight, he tossed the bag to Luke.

         Before Luke could pull the purse open, Charley spoke. “There’s twenty dollars in there, Shorty. You want to take it and ride out, then be on your way. You want the full fifty, you’ll have to see this last job through to the end, eh?”

         Luke bit back the bitter threats he felt like hurling Charley’s way. Instead, he glared at the man, taking into account the calculating gleam in the Canadian’s eyes and his hand hovering near his knife.

         Luke’s mind raced as he considered his options. He could take the money and go, even if it meant fighting his way out. He already knew enough short-cuts through the surrounding remote territory to get far away quickly. However, if he left under these circumstances, would Charley end up fingering him for the abduction just as he once threatened to blame him for the cattle rustling?

         Although he gave no indication to the others, an awareness of the Chinese woman seated on one of the log stools not far from him jarred his conscience. He wondered—in addition to being cattle rustlers, thieves, and abductors, were Charley and Tex also murderers? If he left, she had no protection from them. She was not his concern, but he hesitated at the thought of walking away and later discovering the worst had happened to her.

         Luke tossed the reticule back to Charley. “I want all my money.”

I will be giving away a digital copy of the book to one person chosen at random who leaves a response on this blog post. Tell us about your favorite gold or silver mining town and/or your favorite mining town location.

Escape from Gold Mountain will initially be offered on more than one vendor. The release day is scheduled for September 4, 2019. If you are a Nook reader, the book will only be available for Nook purchase for about 12 days before it will be offered digitally exclusively on Amazon and in the Kindle Unlimited program.

 The book will also be offered in print format and continue to be offered for sale as a paperback on both vendors.

Here are the Kindle and Nook pre-order purchase links:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

About Zina Abbott:

Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels. A member of Women Writing the West, Western Writers of America, and American Night Writers Association. She currently lives with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite.” When she is not piecing together novel plots, she pieces together quilt blocks.

 

Connect with Zina Abbott:

 

WEBSITE  |  BLOG  |  FACEBOOK  |  PINTEREST  |  TWITTER

 GOODREADS   |  BookBub  | 

 Please sign up to receive my NEWSLETTER

 

 

 

Updated: September 4, 2019 — 8:26 am

I Invited a Friend to the Corral–Ann Roth!

This month Harlequin has re-released my novel The Rancher and the Vet and Ann Roth’s Montana Vet in a two in one book entitled A Cure for the Vet available in Wal-Mart and on Amazon. In honor of that, I’m doing something special. Today, you’re getting two blogs in one because Ann Roth has joined me to chat about her book.

From Ann:

My novel, Montana Vet, is actually book 3 of my Prosperity, Montana, miniseries. Books 1 and 2 will be out in January, in another 2 in 1 release. No worries—I wrote the books as stand-alone stories featuring siblings. They don’t have to be read in order.

Here’s a thumbnail sketch of Montana Vet.

Veterinarian Seth Pettit has been AWOL from Prosperity for some time. Now he’s come home… with a fourteen-year-old girl in tow.

I have a soft spot in my heart for foster kids. I feel the same tenderness and concern for abandoned and abused dogs, which is one reason I felt compelled to create heroine Emily Miles, who shares my sentiments and has founded a shelter for these animals. The other reason, of course, is that she’s the perfect match for Seth Pettit—even though neither of them is looking for romance.

How Seth and Emily get together and fall in love is a story you don’t want to miss!

A little about me:

My genre is contemporary romance. I love happy endings, don’t you? Especially when two characters are so right for each other, but don’t know it.

To date, I have published over 35 novels, and several short stories and novellas, both through New York publishers and as an indie author.

For a list of my novels and to sign up for my newsletter, click here to visit my website. I love to hear from readers! Email me at ann@annroth.net and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

From Julie:

Like Ann’s story, The Rancher and the Vet, features a veterinarian, but mine is the heroine, Avery McAlister. The hero is her first love, Reed Montgomery who returns to Estes Park to become a surrogate parent to his teenage niece.

I love writing old flame stories because there’s instant conflict, chemistry and sexual tension when they step on the page. But that wasn’t the only reason I enjoyed this story. Another was because I could have animals cause trouble throughout the book. Thor, Reed’s niece’s pet chihuahua, does his best to give Reed a proper welcome, complete with leaving him “presents.”

Tito available for adoption with Cody’s Friends Rescue

But I had the most fun with scenes between Reed and his niece. Making a bachelor caring for a teenage girl was more fun than should be legal. Talk about torturing a hero! One of my favorite scenes is when Reed takes Jess shopping for a school dance. Now that’s a man’s worst nightmare come to life. Thankfully for Reed when he’s in over his head, Avery comes to his rescue. At one point, I couldn’t get Avery and Reed alone without them sacrificing their pride. I groused that I wished I could lock them in a closet together. Thankfully Reed’s niece was happy to comply…

Thanks again to Ann Roth for joining me in the corral today. Since Ann’s book is set in Montana and mine is in Colorado, we want to know your favorite ranch location. Two randomly chosen commentators receive a copy of A Cure for the Vet. One signed by Ann and one by me. So, let’s hear what you think. If you could have a ranch anywhere, where would it be?

.

 

Updated: August 28, 2019 — 12:38 pm