Kaitlene Dee Tells About Traveling Food, Covered Wagons, and Romance!

Get ready for a fun time. This week, the Fillies are entertaining Kaitlene Dee aka Tina Dee and she’ll talk about covered wagons, the food they prepared on the trail, and some romance. She mentions a giveaway so don’t miss that.

In my new story, Grace, which is part of the Prairie Roses Collection, nineteen-year-old Grace loses her best friend and inherits her three-year-old daughter, Emma. It was her friend’s dying wish that Grace would raise Emma because the little girl is without any other family.

Adam begrudgingly comes to the rescue of Grace and Emma with a marriage of convenience proposal—and together, they set out to help an elderly couple of sisters move their tea shop business from one town to another in a covered wagon to carry the sisters’ precious bone china and heirloom cabinet. They head from northern California to southern California. What should only take two to three weeks travel time turns out to be a much longer trip, ripe with danger and disaster. In all this, Grace and Adam find out how much they must trust in God as He guides them into discovering that they truly need one another.

Personally, I love outdoor cooking, and writing this story was fun with all the cooking that goes on in it. I enjoyed researching foods pioneers packed and ate for their journeys. Guidebooks made suggestions to hopeful travelers on things to pack in their provisions.

But most interesting to me, was the spices. Some were used for medicinal purposes, as well as for flavoring. Some curatives that were packed were: Cinnamon bark for the relief of diarrhea and nausea and to aid against digestive issues, cloves for its antiseptic and anti-parasitic properties, and nutmeg or mace, which were used for tonics. (FoodTimeline.org –an awesome and fun resource! They refer to Randolph B. Marcy’s A Handbook for Overland Expeditions, a valuable resource manual for those traveling west).

Some folks also packed potable meat (cooked meat packed tightly into a jar, then covered with some sort of fat such as butter, lard, or maybe tallow and then sealed), and portable soups, desiccated dried or canned vegetables, powdered pumpkin, and dried fruits. These were a surprise to me since, prior to research, I pretty much thought their only options were beans, cornmeal mush, biscuits, bacon, flour, milk if they had a cow, and eggs.

On their journey, Adam used oxen to pull the covered wagon because they were strong, dependable, and able to do well on less abundant food sources. It was fun researching about wagons as well. I didn’t know the wagons carried a pail of pitch under the wagon bed. But discussing covered wagons is for a future post.

The story of Grace is a Christian marriage of convenience, pioneer romance set in the western frontier and is part of the multi-author Prairie Roses Collection. All books in the series are stand-alone stories and can be read in any order. Not all of the stories are set on the Oregon Trail, some travel across state or from one state to another, but all of the stories are romances that occur while on their covered wagon journeys. They are in Kindle Unlimited and are also available for ebook purchase on Amazon.

Next spring, I’ll be contributing two more stories to the Prairie Rose Collection. The stories will be ripe with adventure, romance, and food and I’ll make sure they satisfy your Old West reading cravings.

What kind of food would you pack to bring on a journey like this? Anything special?

Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for an ebook copy of GRACE

Kaitlene Dee lives on the west coast, enjoys outings along the coast and in the nearby mountains, hiking, supporting dog rescues and outdoor cooking and camping. She also writes contemporary western Christian romances as Tina Dee. Kaitlene and Tina’s books can be found on Amazon.

Please feel invited to join my newsletter at and receive a free story: Kaitlene & Tina Dee’s Newsletter

Please follow me on Bookbub at Kaitlene Dee: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kaitlene-dee

Courting Candles and Courting Miss Emma

I’ve always been drawn to the courting rituals of old for the structure they provided. The unspoken rules always had to be adhered to—or else.

Courting in your ancestors’ days was entirely different from now. Suitors first called on the girl’s father and got his permission and a time was set. There was no pulling up in front of the house and honking the horn. Nope. There were rules to be obeyed.

At the appointed time of the young man’s arrival, the father would get out a courting candle—a metal contraption that consisted of a heavy coil. He’d set a taper in it and adjust it by turning the candle to whatever height he saw fit. The time was purely at his discretion. He’d then place it where the couple were going to sit.

If he liked the suitor, he might set the candle high so it would burn for a while.

If he didn’t approve of the boy, he’d set the candle low.

But whether high or low, when the candle burned down to the top of the coil, time was up and the father would show the young man to the door. If the suitor argued about it, the dad might show him the toe of his boot! Or a rifle. I’m sure many a one left that way.

On rare occasions when the suitor met with joyous approval, the father might let a second candle burn after the first was all the way down.

These courting candles were used by rich and poor families alike and set boundaries that had to be adhered to. They provided a quiet yet firm reminder that the girl’s father was boss and his word was final.

I sort of like this old tradition where no words needed to be said. The candle spoke loud and clear.

I had no need for a courting candle in my new Courting Miss Emma because she was nearing thirty and her father was out of the picture. Having never been kissed or even knowing of a man’s embrace, she often dreams of being courted. And loved. But as the hangman’s daughter, the chances of any man seeing her as a prospective bride are zero

Yet, their new neighbor Stone Landry didn’t give two hoots about who Emma’s father was. He sees something rare in Emma and he wanted her. However, having spent his life as a soldier, he knows absolutely nothing about courting so his efforts do not go smoothly.

While Emma and Stone are trying to figure that out, they’re forced to unite in a fight against ruthless men determined to take their land and Emma is in a fight for her life. It’s in question if they’ll get that chance to perfect their courting ritual.

Throw in a family of camels, the group of orphans and their humorous escapades, and a crotchety friend who arrives with an old rusted cannon and you have plenty of action.

I hope you give Courting Miss Emma a try. It’s a sweet historical romance.

I’m giving an ebook of Courting Miss Emma to two people who leave a comment mentioning a courting incident either in real life or in a book you read.

Angela Christina Archer and Those Hidden Gems of History

The Fillies are thrilled to have Angela Archer aka London James come to talk about the incredible hidden gems in history. She has a giveaway as well.

Imagine being yanked from the comfort of your home (or, in most cases, your wagon) and thrust into an unfamiliar world where you don’t speak the language, understand the customs, or recognize the faces around you. It’s the stuff of novels, and yet, it was the reality that a lot of women faced when Native American tribes captured them.

I first stumbled upon these captivating tales while researching for my book, “A Terrible Glory,” which delves into the fascinating history of the Battle of Little Bighorn. The more I learned, the more I realized that these women’s stories were not just an essential part of history but also a testament to the incredible strength of the human spirit. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading about them; they were like hidden gems waiting to be unearthed, revealing their hardships, incredible strength, and resilience.

In the late 1800s, Native American tribes captured European and Euro-American women for various reasons – revenge, warfare, alliances, and even survival. These women, who were forcibly taken from their homes, faced unimaginable hardships. Yet, amidst the struggles, they had a spirit that defied even my imagination. Many of these women were adopted into the tribes that had captured them. They were given new names and began to assimilate into the tribe’s way of life, learning the language, traditions, and skills of the tribe.

Take the story of Cynthia Ann Parker, for instance. Captured by the Comanche tribe in Texas in 1836, she eventually became an integral part of the tribe. She married a Comanche chief and raised a family. Like many others, her transformation shows the incredible journey these women embarked upon during their captivity.

I won’t deny that many women didn’t have the same outcome. There were cases of abuse and murder, the dark side to the light side, just as with everything in history. But for some, the initial trauma of capture gave way to a period of learning and adaptation. Most of the women even brought their own skills with them, such as farming, cooking, and homemaking, to their captor’s communities, and, in return, they absorbed valuable survival skills and gained a profound understanding of Native American customs.

Olive Oatman’s story stands out as an example. Captured by the Yavapai tribe in Arizona in the 1850s, she was eventually adopted by the Mojave tribe. During her time with the Mojave, she learned how to adapt to the harsh desert environment and even embraced traditional tattooing as a part of her identity.

When some captives were eventually released or rescued, they faced the arduous task of reintegrating into society. The transition was far from smooth, as they had become deeply assimilated into their captor’s culture. Their own communities often viewed them with suspicion, fearing they had become too “Indian.”

Sarah Wakefield’s story is a testament to this struggle. Captured during the Dakota War of 1862, she defended the Dakota people during the trials that followed. Her actions led to accusations of treason and hostility from some in her own community.

And then there’s Mary Jemison, the famous author who was taken captive by the Seneca tribe during the French and Indian War. She chose to live the rest of her life as a Seneca woman and became known as “The White Woman of the Genesee.” Her story reflects the profound transformation captivity could have on one’s sense of self and belonging.

These women’s stories, so rich in detail and emotion, represent a complex and often overlooked chapter in American history. Not to mention, they challenge our preconceived notions about Native American-European relations.

In the end, they were remarkable survivors and often lived in two worlds, and their lives remind us of the resilience and the capacity for cultural exchange and understanding, even in the most challenging circumstances.

Question time! What part of the Native American history/culture interests you the most?

Leave a comment, and you might win an e-book copy of A Terrible Glory!


“It is observed that in any great endeavor, it is not enough for a person to depend solely on himself.” ~ Lakota Proverb

They called it a terrible glory and the last great battle for the American West. While the battle of the Little Bighorn was the last stand by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer against the Lakota tribes, to Lily Sinclair, it was the last stand between her old life and her new beginning.

After her in-laws squander away the family fortune, Lily and her husband, Alfred, head west to the mountains of Montana, the only land available to poor people and far away from the debts haunting them. When a band of Cherokee warriors attacks their wagon train along the way, they kill her husband and take her captive, selling her to a Lakota tribe for the price of several horses.

Widowed Lakota warrior Tahatan has vowed never to take another bride after his wife’s death. However, he soon finds himself forced into a marriage with the outspoken, yellow-haired Yankee who challenges every thought in his head.

With Custer’s sights set on the hidden gold in the depths of the Black Hills, the Colonel begins his warpath on the tribe villages. Can Lily overcome the demons of her past and defend Tahatan and his people? Or will she betray them all for the actions against her dead husband?

This book was previously published with the title: “Through the Eyes of a Captive”. When I first started writing under Angela Christina Archer, I thought I would write Historical Romance forever. I have since changed genres, and with this change, my Historical Romance titles now bear the name London James and are predominantly Clean & Wholesome, often graced with light Christian elements. “Through the Eyes of a Captive” has been re-envisioned under this lens and has been revised and edited. *****THAT SAID, I HAVE TO ISSUE A WORD OF CAUTION: this work delves deeper and darker than typical London James titles. Centered on the Battle of Little Bighorn, it paints a realistic, sometimes stark picture of hardships, fights over land, and war, including its toll on children. Despite its serious themes, there’s no profanity or explicit content.


Social Links:


Angela Archer Website

London James Website 


Amazon Author Page for London James

Amazon Author Page for Angela Christina Archer

Goodreads: Angela Christina Archer

Goodreads: London James

BookBub: London James

BookBub: Angela Christina Archer

Special project! The Legacy of Rocking K Ranch

I have a novella collection releasing in January.

This is a fun ‘extra’ I found time to do and I realized I haven’t talked about it.

Next month we go Christmas-y…but maybe I can work The Legacy of Rocking K Ranch into the Christmas fun.

Then BOOM January 1, here comes the book!

I’d better at least MENTION it this month.

The Legacy of Rocking K Ranch is something I’ve wanted to do myself for a long time, but it’s just never quite worked out.

That is, take a dynastic western family and follow them through the generations.

Start when they first go west on the Oregon Trail maybe, then found a ranch. Next raise up some tough cowboys and cowgirls.

Just follow them generation after generation. I AM TELLING YOU I THOUGHT OF THIS BEFORE YELLOWSTONE! I SWEAR!

When a chance came to team up with three other authors and do this, I jumped at it, and it became the Legacy of Rocking K Ranch.

I wrote this a long time ago…maybe before Covid even. And kinda forgot about it. The release date was first probably not even going to happen, then all of a sudden it’s back on…where’d I put that book again?

And now, finally, here it is. My book is the beginning. Then Darcie Gruger has the child from my book all grown up.

Next is Becca Whitham then on to Kimberley Woodhouse whose story is the next generation looking back at where she came from, and finding her own future through the strength of her forebearers. Especially the women.

The Legacy of Rocking K Ranch

Six Decades of History Unfurls on a Wyoming Ranch
Journey to untamed Wyoming where four generations of women experience love, loss, grace, adoption, struggles with the law, relationships with natives, and through it all, family bonds.
Eleanor by Mary Connealy   
1850 – Wagon train guide, Ray “Wild Cat” Manning, can’t ignore the abandoned wagon stricken with smallpox. Eleanor Yates, now widowed with an ailing daughter, says yes to Wild Cat’s marriage of convenience. It is her only choice—but far from her romantic dreams.
Grace by D. J. Gudger   
1867 – Grace Manning abandons her journey east at Fort Laramie. The ranch is where she belongs. Unable to reach her father, Grace scrambles to find a way home. Captain Winfield Cooper is mustering out in a few short days. The gold fields at South Pass City are calling but a lonely laundress pleads to tag along with him and his motley men. Will this woman who refuses to unveil her face derail his dreams? 
Caroline by Becca Whitham       
1886 – Ray Cooper escaped reservation life by pursuing a degree from Harvard, but it hasn’t granted him the respect he craves in Washington, DC. Caroline Forrester longs to be more than a society hostess for her father. As the two fight against the Dawes Act, they also fight their growing attraction.
Penelope by Kimberley Woodhouse  
1910 – Penelope Cooper, an ambitious writer, is commissioned by her publisher—and future husband—to present tales of the American West. She returns to her family’s ranch in Wyoming along with photographer, Jason Miller, to interview the women of her family. But will rediscovering her past make Penelope reconsider her future?

Are you watching Yellowstone?

Do you like books that come from history and go all the way to more modern times?

Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card.

And have a wonderful THANKSGIVING!!!!!!



Whittled, Woven, and Wrapped in Western Love

The Fillies welcome Laura Ashwood and her fun post about handmade Christmas gifts in time’s past. Don’t miss her giveaway further down. 

Whittled, Woven, and Wrapped in Western Love

Can you feel it? That crispness in the air that whispers of winter and the festive times just around the corner. It’s got me all wrapped up in thoughts of those simple, heartfelt holidays of yesteryear. You know, the kind where every gift had a touch of personal charm because it was made by hand, with love woven into every fiber and stitch, along with a sprinkle of family tradition. Let’s take a moment to appreciate the art of homemade gifts that might have been crafted by the characters we adore.

Picture a cozy homestead, the fireplace crackling as a family gathers to celebrate the season. There, on the mantle, rests a hand-quilted throw, each patch a different color, each thread a different memory. Quilting was more than a pastime; it was a way to tell a story, a way to keep a family’s history alive. A mother might have spent months stitching together a quilt for her daughter or daughter-in-law – a symbol of her love and prayers for warmth and comfort in the years to come.

In the kitchen, the scent of cinnamon and sugar mingles with the earthy smell of pine. Jars of preserves line the shelves, each one filled with the fruits of summer’s labor. These jars are not just food; they’re a reminder of sunny days and the laughter that echoed through the fields as families worked side by side. Gifting a jar of homemade jam or pickles was like sharing a piece of the summer gone by, a sweet taste of the past to savor during the long winter months.

And how about the simple yet profound act of candle making? In a time when electric lights were a novelty, candles were a necessity. Making candles from beeswax or tallow was a way to ensure that the light of the family’s love would continue to shine, even on the darkest nights.

Not all gifts were practical, of course. Some were purely for the joy they brought. A father might whittle a small toy for his child, creating it from a piece of wood with his own hands, imagining the smile it would bring to his little one’s face. Or a young man might pen a poem for the girl who had captured his heart, pouring his feelings onto the page in the hope that his words might convey what he may not have had the courage to speak out loud.

In those times, every gift told a story, every gift was a prayer. They were tokens of affection, crafted not just with hands but with hearts full of love and hope. As we look for ways to share our love with those dear to us this holiday season, perhaps we can take inspiration from the past. Maybe we can find joy in the simple act of creating something with our own hands, something that says, “I love you,” in a way that words or a store-bought gift never could.

In my own book, A Groom for Ruby, Ruby has opened her heart and home to an orphaned child name Everett. Everett has never experienced the joys of Christmas. As Ruby shares As Ruby shares Bible stories with him, Everett becomes captivated by the tale of Noah’s ark. Moved by Everett’s wonder, Cullen, with skilled hands and a generous heart, crafts a miniature ark complete with hand-whittled animals, creating not just a gift, but a cherished memory.

I’d love to give one of you a signed paperback copy of A Groom for Ruby. Simply leave a comment and tell me the most memorable gift you have either made or received. I can’t wait to hear your stories.


Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08S6YBQPM?tag=pettpist-20/

Website: http://www.lauraashwood.com

Celebrating My New Release – with Cathy McDavid

Cathy McDavid – 2

It’s my book birthday! Well, technically it was a couple of days ago, but I’m celebrating the release of Mountain Storm Survival all week. I’m particularly excited about the release of this book as some of it is based on my real life experiences. No, I never accidentally stumbled upon an illegal mining operation or was chased down by bad men intent on eliminating all witnesses. And I was never swept away by a raging river of water during a flash flood. But I did go on dozens of trail rides through the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix and used many of my fond and thrilling memories to describe the action, landscape, and rugged challenges my characters faced.

Purchase Mountain Storm Survival

Here’s the back cover blurb from the book:

“A brutal storm. Relentless pursuers. And more than their lives are on the line…

Helping with youth wrangler camp is how Kate Spencer is atoning for her past. But now she and ranch manager Rand Walkins are trapped in the Superstition Mountains with two girls as illegal miners hunt them down. Rand has every reason not to trust Kate, much less forgive her. But working together is the only way they’ll escape from the danger that threatens them all…”

I hope you’ll take a moment to check out Mountain Storm Survival. Second chance stories are some of my favorites, and this is definitely one. Rand and Kate not only get a second chance at love, but they have both worked hard to turn their lives around and move beyond the terrible events of their pasts. Now, they just have to survive the worst the mountains and villains can throw at them to see how far their newfound love can take them.


To make this a real celebration, I’m giving away a digital or print (U.S. mailing only) copy of Wildfire Threat. The winner will be randomly drawn from those who comment below.

Thanks for letting me share my new release with you.

Warmest wishes,

Cathy McDavid

Jeannie Watt New Release and a Give Away!

I have a new release tomorrow, October 26! Her Cowboy Christmas Hero is a sweet romance and the last book in my Return to the Keller Ranch series. To celebrate, I’m giving away two $15 Amazon gift cards.

But wait, there’s more! The first book in the series is free today, October 25, 2023! If you’d like to check it out, here’s the Amazon link to Christmas with the Cowboy.   The book won’t be free for more than a day or two, so I hope you take advantage. (Quick caveat–this story is not exactly smoking, but it has a little more heat than my new release.)

Cade Keller is the youngest of four siblings and a twin to boot. He’s the quiet Keller–the kid who didn’t turn his parents’ hair gray, but that doesn’t mean he can’t hold his own. He’s recently returned home after quitting a job due to safety reasons and now he needs to figure out his future.

Alex Woodson grew up in a wealthy family. While things looked great from the outside, the truth was that Alex’s parents were cold people who had no idea how to raise a child.  When her family goes bankrupt, Alex has to learn to fend for herself, which she does by moving into a ramshackle home and starting an interior painting business. When she’s hired to paint a house on the Keller Ranch, she reconnects with Cade, her secret high school crush. Cade is in no position to start a relationship, but he is drawn to independent Alex, who has changed dramatically since her high school golden girl days.

Here’s an excerpt. Alex has grudgingly agreed to spend Thanksgiving with Cade, because he’s alone for the holiday.

“Everyone had a hand in making your holiday dinner?” Alex repeated, as she tried to imagine cooking in a kitchen with four kids of varying ages. While she sensed there may have been an element of chaos, she was certain that it had also been a ton of fun. So very different than her Thanksgiving experiences as a kid, which involved travel to her paternal grandmother’s house and an elaborate restaurant meal. But cleanup was easy.

“Even Dad did his part,” Cade said. “He makes a great frozen pie.”

Alex laughed. “Something your dad and I have in common.”

“What kind of pie did you bring?”


“Good.” He seasoned his mixture with sage, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper, took a taste, then tossed the teaspoon into the sink. “It’ll do.”

Alex was beginning to have her suspicions about Cade not cooking. “Why good?” she asked, wondering at the relief in his voice when she’d said “cherry.”

Cade gave a furtive, sideways look, as if checking for eavesdroppers, then said, “I hate pumpkin pie.”

Alex pulled her phone out of her pocket and unlocked the screen.

“What are you doing?”

“Calling the holiday police,” she said, stabbing a few buttons, then bringing the phone to her ear.

“Oh, no, you don’t,” Cade said, making a playful grab for her wrist and catching it before she could move out of range. “I’m already on holiday probation and if another call gets made, then . . .” He made a slicing motion across his throat with his free hand. “Holiday jail for a few years.”

“Fine. But if I hear of another infraction . . .” She lifted her eyebrows in warning while her insides all but danced at the sensations his gentle grip on her wrist produced.

“I’ll be on my best behavior,” Cade promised, casually releasing his hold on her. Once free, Alex put her phone back into her pocket, still feeling the tingling warmth of Cade’s fingers on her skin. It’d been a long time since she played with someone, particularly a great-looking guy. Too long, perhaps?

Hard yes on that one.

She was still learning to walk the line between enjoying people’s company and getting sucked into situations where she became vulnerable. The line between knee-jerk fear of getting too close and faith in her ability to protect her heart.

“What temperature should the oven be at for the pie?”

Alex read the underside of the box, Cade set the temperature, and then started stirring dried bread cubes into the butter, celery, onion mixture.

“Um . . .”

Cade looked over his shoulder.

“Curious guest here . . . will there be turkey or some kind of protein? Because the oven is full of pie and nothing else.”

He gave her a crooked grin. “That’s the beauty of having another house with another oven. The bird is over there. This oven is for frozen pies and the stuffing.” After Cade transferred the stuffing from bowl to casserole dish, he put it in the fridge, and then picked up the wine Alex had poured.

“I’m glad you came. Holidays shouldn’t be spent alone.”

Alex’s lips curved in an ironic expression as she studied her wineglass.

“What?” Cade asked curiously.

“I’m going to tell you something that sounds bad, but isn’t.” She sucked air in between her teeth as if preparing for a doomsday announcement.

“Worse than being on holiday probation?”

“It’s in the same ballpark,” she said. “I haven’t spent Thanksgiving Day with anyone but myself for years.”


“True story.”

“You spend the day alone?” He sounded as if he couldn’t fathom such an idea.

She gave a self-conscious shrug. “That’s what happens when you don’t have a ton of family.” And a healthy fear of abandonment. Maybe that was why she was laying this out like she was. Because, despite having fun, she felt herself pulling back. Getting scared. Ratcheting the numbers down on the DEFCON scale.

“I enjoyed my holidays alone.” Which was good, because she didn’t have anyone to share them with. She’d taken part in the occasional Friendsgiving and attended holiday parties, but A.B.—after Brant—she hadn’t had a significant other or a family with whom to spend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Oddly, that felt like a win.

Cade turned and leaned his backside against the cabinets, folding his arms over his chest. She’d give him this—he looked curious, but not judgmental. Why should he be judgmental? Lots of people spent solitary holidays. She happened to be one of them, and she’d done it by choice.

That gorgeous mouth of his tilted up at the corners. “Thank you for choosing to spend the day with me. I don’t usually spend Thanksgiving alone.”

“I know,” Alex said with a sigh. He had a big, boisterous family. “I don’t know why I confessed.”

“Really?” His tone suggested that he thought she’d done it for a very specific reason. She had.

 “All right. I do. I just wanted you to know that I tend to keep to myself.” A subtle warning, but a warning all the same. “I’m glad to be here today”—because, otherwise, he would have spent the holiday by himself—“but there’s no need to worry about me in the future.” Like at Christmas. His mother had asked about her plans, and she wanted to make her wishes known.

“No mercy Christmas invitations?” he asked, getting the drift immediately.

“Such things would haunt me.”

To be eligible for one of the two $15 gift cards, tell me if you had a secret high school crush (I did) and, if you did, whether you think it would have worked out in the long run. (Mine probably would not have.)

I’ll post the winners on Saturday. Looking forward to your responses!


Potato Candy Anyone?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now shifting gears….

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

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

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



ALSO, for a FREE SHORT story

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


The Little Cannon That Started A Revolution

The Fillies are proud to welcome Debra Holt to the corral with an interesting post. She has a giveaway at the bottom.

Once upon a time, nearly 200 years ago, there was a cannon…

It’s the 1830s, and Texas is a vast expanse of untamed beauty. Rolling plains stretch as far as the eye can see, punctuated by cacti and the occasional hum of wildlife. However, this tranquil landscape conceals rising tensions. American settlers, known as Texians, are growing restless under the Mexican government’s tightening grip. Central to our story is a small cannon gifted to the settlers of Gonzales by Mexican authorities to defend against potential Native American attacks.

Fast-forward a few years to 1835. As tensions reach a boiling point, the Mexican government, possibly regretting its earlier generosity, sends a detachment of 100 soldiers to Gonzales. Their mission? Retrieve the cannon. But the people of Gonzales, sensing the symbolic significance of this request, aren’t willing to comply that easily.

A Symbol of Defiance

The Texians, demonstrating their spirit of resistance, crafted a flag as a powerful retort. On it was a depiction of the very cannon in question, a lone star, and a daring message: “Come and Take It.” This wasn’t merely about a piece of artillery. It was a statement of autonomy, a declaration of their rights, and a refusal to be subdued.

Envision the Standoff

On one side, 100 Mexican soldiers were determined to carry out their orders and return with the cannon. On the other, a group of settlers, their improvised flag catching the wind, the small but symbolic cannon beside them, prepared to defend their principles.

The Skirmish

On October 2nd, as dawn broke over the Texian horizon, a confrontation became inevitable. With a burst of activity, the Texians mounted an offensive. Though the ensuing battle was brief, its repercussions were profound. The Mexican troops, perhaps taken aback by the settlers’ resolve, soon retreated, their mission unfulfilled.

Remarkably, this “battle” saw minimal casualties: one injured on the Mexican side, with the Texians emerging unscathed. Yet, its significance cannot be understated.

Ripples of Revolution

Given its scale and immediate impact, the Battle of Gonzales might seem like a mere footnote. However, in the grand tapestry of history, it was the matchstick that ignited the Texas Revolution. Word of this defiant stand spread rapidly, galvanizing Texians across the region. The “Come and Take It” banner became emblematic of their cause—a tangible representation of the Texian spirit.

In the following months, that spirit would be tested in conflicts like the Battle of the Alamo, culminating in the decisive Texian victory at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836. All of this traces back to that small cannon in Gonzales and the unyielding will of those who stood by it.


Today, “Come and Take It” remains an enduring symbol of Texan pride, identity, and resilience. It’s a testament to the notion that even in the face of overwhelming odds, steadfast determination can prevail.

The Battle of Gonzales teaches us about the significance of symbols, the importance of standing up for your beliefs, and the ripple effects a single event can generate. So, if you ever find yourself in Gonzales, Texas, take a moment to remember the little cannon that stood at the heart of a burgeoning revolution.


I’m excited to send one of you a copy of my new book, The Texas Cowboy’s Christmas Miracle. It’s the 4th and final book in my Texas Heritage Series. Tell me, what’s your favorite part of Texas’ history? And what makes it your favorite?



Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers. Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most.  She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and planning high-end weddings. (ah, romance!).

Debra’s real pride and joys, however, are her son, an aspiring film actor, and a daughter with aspirations to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  (more story ideas!)  When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure.  Writing romances, both contemporary and inspirational, is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles…and sighs… to all who believe in happily-ever-after.

A New Venture into the World of Short Stories


And good morning!

Well, I guess it was earlier this year when our wonderful blog creator, Pam Crooks, wrote to me to ask me if I might contribute a short story to their anthology.  (I hope that’s the right word.)

Short stories have never been my niche.  I tend to be “long winded” and need a little space in order to collect my thoughts.  And, I love the freedom of setting up the story and having what seems to me to be lots of time to tell the story properly.  But, I told Pam I’d try.  The upshot of this was that I did write a short story, which is still in the anthology you can find here on the blog, and found it was a little easier to write than I had thought it would be.

My considerations on not writing short stories have been that every word counts (forgetting that this is true in a long novel, too).  But, I do much, much research for my stories and so I have my mind full of true stories from the early days of the traders first coming into Blackfeet Country as told by James Willard Schultz.  I tell these true stories to my grandchildren often when I pick them up from school, and, because they seem to like them (they often request a story from me), I thought that maybe I could use what I have learned from these early accounts  to write a romantic fiction story, based on these tales from the early 1800’s.

Lo and behold, I found it to be fun…not the grind I had thought it would be.

Now, over the years, I’ve taken a few of the beginning parts of a couple of my stories (where the hero and heroine are children or teens) and have made them into little books of my own making for my grandchildren.  With recent editing of these and getting two of them together for the book, I’ve now published a book of three Historical Native American Romance short stories for teens and young adults.

They are sweet stories of first love, but also tell of some of the real and true dangers the Indians encountered in our long ago past.  And so, I’ve now published all three of these stories in a book entitled, THE COURTSHIP OF MEDICINE PAINT, using the pen name of Genny Cothern.  They are stories from the early days in the wild west and the first story of Medicine Paint is based on two true stories, though highly fictionalized.


Here is the link:  https://tinyurl.com/thecourtshipofmedicinepaint

Because this is a new venture for me, it sure would warm my heart if you’d go over and have a look.  Soon, I hope to have the book in paperback, also.

Now, to other news — if you are on my newsletter list, you’ll know the the entire MEDICINE MAN Series is going on sale on the 12th (Thursday).  But only for a few days.

Book #1, SHE STEALS MY BREATH will be on sale for $.99 cents — Book #1

SHE CAPTURES MY HEART will be on sale for $2.99 — Book #2

and my latest book, SHE PAINTS MY SOUL will be on sale for $3.99.


This is the link to the series page:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09X4V1HRT?tag=pettpist-20

And now for a recipe I promised to post to the blog in my newsletter today.  For those of you who are not on my newsletter list, let me repeat a little segment from it:

This recipe comes from the book, COOKING WITH SPIRIT, North American INDIAN Food and Fact by Darcey Williamson and Lisa Railsback.
Plains Pemmican (Traditional)
“Dry long, thin strips of buffalo meat.  Pound meat to a coarse powder.  Cut raw fat into walnut-sized pieces and melt over slow fire.  Pour fat over pounded meat and mix in some dried serviceberries.  Mix it well and pack in parfleches.”
     As many of you might know, when men were going to be going on the war trail or were going to make a long journey, they carried pemmican with them.  It was a nourishing food and could sustain a warrior through many weeks of being away from home — depending upon how long he was going to be away and how much he was able to carry with him.  Often, in my books, the hero of the story shares his pemmican or dried meat with the heroine.
     I’ve never made pemmican, but I’ve mirrored it when I am going on a long car ride and then I use dried meat, butter or coconut oil and usually raisins or other dried fruit.  It is not only delicious, it keeps one alert and very importantly…awake.
So I promised to share my own recipe for dried meat.
Here it is:
     In the old days, they dried meat over a low fire or in a smoke house.  Since I don’t have either of those, I marinade very thinly sliced beef in an equal combination of red wine and traditionally made soy sauce, covering the meat completely.  (I use Ohsawa Nama Shoyu Unpasteurized Soy Sauce.)  I marinade this in the refrigerator (because sometimes I forget about it.)  Usually I marinade it for several days.  Then I dehydrate it in a dehydrator until it cracks when you pick it up and tear it.  (Dehydrating it until it cracks was an instruction my sister on the Blackfeet reservation gave me on when it is properly dried.)  Don’t worry about the wine in the marinade.  By the time the jerky — or dried meat — is done, the alcohol from the wine is gone.  It usually takes 2-4 or more days to dry it.
     Very easy to make (you can often get the meat already sliced thin) and very delicious, nourishing and very satisfying.  It’s from this kind of dried meat that pemmican is made.
     Well, that’s all for today.  Hope you enjoyed the blog and hope you’ll go and check out the new short story book, THE COURTSHIP OF MEDICINE WOLF.  Let me know what you think, and, as always, thank you so much for coming to the blog today and for commenting.