Pioneer Clothing – Function Over Fashion and a Giveaway!

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A hat is nothing until a woman has lived some of her life in it. ~Kaitlene Dee

Hello there! Kaitlene Dee here. Have you ever thought you might enjoy the clothing from another era? In my recently released covered wagon romance, Emma, the characters are traveling from a gold rush town in northern California to San Diego in a small, covered wagon train. Because I don’t enjoy heat—in fact, I prefer California winter weather—I set the story in the earlier part of the year when the temps are cool.
Clothing for the time period, along with food, is always favorite detail to include in a story. Clothes were handmade back then, made mostly of linen, wool, or a wool-linen called linsey-woolsey.
Footwear was boots for both men and women—the sturdy type, if they had them. While men wore loose trousers, women wore layers with their long dress of gingham or calico or wool with linen petticoats underneath. Some dresses were shorter than ankle length, which would’ve been nicer for walking or having less material to mind while working close to campfires when cooking. Over top of the dress, they wore an apron, a shoulder kerchief, and perhaps a shawl.
Men’s full shirts were open at the neck and made of cotton. Men didn’t layer much, they wore belts or suspenders, and a twilled coat in winter. Children were dressed pretty much the same as the adults once they were past toddlerhood. Younger than toddlers wore a one piece, such as a nightgown type garment.

Hats were essential protection from sun and wind. For men, hats were made of straw, felt, or fur. Which they wore depended on the weather. Women wore poke bonnets if they had them. Though poke bonnets first came into fashion in the early 1800s, a simpler version of them was perfect travel protection for pioneers who traveled many months over rugged terrain. As many women usually walked beside the wagons, these bonnets shielded the face from the sun and guarded it against the winds while they traveled the rough terrain over in the rocky mountain passes, sunny and dry deserts, and windy grasslands.
The poke bonnet, which tied beneath the chin, had a large, rounded brim that projected forward, both around and well past the face in the front. It also had a small crown that afforded room to poke up or hold the woman’s hair in that crown area. Here’s a replica poke bonnet, this one for sale on Amazon by Graceart: Cotton Pioneer Prairie Bonnet

In Emma, and in the story that follows her sister Viola, you never see either sister in night clothes. With the covered wagon bed being not much larger than a full-sized bed there wasn’t much room for anything not needed. Tools, food for people, supplemental food for the animals, cookware, in addition to the items folks wanted to bring to make their new life functional, had to all fit inside that tiny wagon space.

It had to pain those folks deeply to have to leave things on the side of the trail when they realized that if they didn’t, they might not be able to complete their journey. Because they didn’t have the luxury of space, nightgowns didn’t make it into my stories. The travelers wore nearly the same thing to bed as what they had worn all day that day.
I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad to have the modern comforts of a choice of clothing for weather conditions and time of day (such as pajamas and a nightgown), but I do sometimes entertain the idea of making a pioneer dress for a historical ball.

Have you ever wanted to wear something from the past? Let me know if you have made, worn, or bought something historical and what the occasion was.  I’m giving away a lovely ceramic travel mug to one lucky commenter!

Thank you so much for spending time with me today!



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 couple of free stories for subscribing: Kaitlene & Tina Dee’s Newsletter
Please follow me on Bookbub at Kaitlene Dee
Emma, and Viola, have both recently released as part of the Prairie Roses Collection and can be found on Amazon or read in Kindle Unlimited here. 

News! News! And a Chance To Win!

Howdy!  And Good Day!

Hope this blogs finds y’all doing well!

I’m sure many of you know, but am not sure every person on the blog today knows that I am venturing out into the Young Adult field.  The stories are stories of adventure set in the early 1800’s.  There is perhaps a little romance, but these are Young Adult stories and so the emphasis in these stories is about friendship.

 

This is the cover for the new book, and in case you didn’t know this already, I’m writing these stories under the pen name of Genny Cothern.

This is a link to the book:  https://tinyurl.com/Good-Eagle-and-Miss-Starling

The news is that we just published the paperback for the book today — it’s not yet up on the Amazon site, but should be there soon.  We had published the e-book in the latter part of April and after we had published it, it hit #1 on the Young Adult genre.  It was there for only a few days, but they were a great few days for me.  Yay!

But, we now have the book (a novella) of about 135 pages in paperback or 77 pages in ebook format.

So, my give-away today is for this particular e-book or if you are a winner,but want only a book in the Historical Romance genre, you may have your pick.

Leaving a post on the blog automatically enters one into the drawing.

I’ll post a blurb about the story so you can have a look at what the book is about.

THE ADVENTURES OF GOOD EAGLE AND MISS STARLING

Montana, 1847 

When my life is turned upside down, I have no one to turn to except Uncle Jed, a fur-trader who lives deep in Indian Country; a man I have never met.  I was expecting to be greeted by my Uncle Jed at a place called Fort Union, a fur-trading fort some two thousand miles above St. Louis.  But, when I finally arrive at the fort, I am met, instead, by an eighteen-year-old Indian, Good Eagle, who swears my uncle has sent him to meet me.  Would you trust this boy, a youth only two years older than my sixteen years?  I certainly didn’t and I told him so.  However, although I was polite, he took offense.

As the steamboat continues its way to my uncle’s fur-trading post, Fort Lewis, the Indian boy, Good Eagle, has declared that my heart has panther’s claws around it.  Yet, though he seems to dislike me as much as I do him, because of the promise he gave to my uncle, he has no option but to guard me.

But, when my life is threatened and Good Eagle saves me, I experience a change of heart about this young man; I decide I will “bury the hatchet” and become friends with him.  Imagine my surprise when he refuses my offer of friendship.

Can I ever change Good Eagle’s mind about becoming my friend?  Or will his first impression of me remain to forever haunt us?

 


In other news

Have just received the edits back on my latest effort, SHE BRINGS BEAUTY TO ME.  Yay!

We hope to have the new book published within 2-4 weeks (hopefully 2).

Here is a blurb of the new story:

SHE BRINGS BEAUTY TO ME 

A woman deserted.  A troubled warrior.  And time ticking down on a passion denied. 

When eighteen-year-old Czanna Fehér is forced to flee her home in Hungary in 1855, she journeys with her young brother and sister to Montana in search of her cousin. Mourning for her recently deceased parents, she sings her grief to the mountains, little knowing her song draws the attention of an unseen listener.

From the first moment Stands Strong hears Czanna singing, he is transfixed. When he meets her, he is captivated as much by her dark beauty as he is by her voice.

But, tragedy strikes Czanna’s family again when their hired guide has stolen their money and run.  Worse, her father’s servant has gone in search of the scoundrel, leaving Czanna alone, desolate and in charge.  Being of the gentry class in Hungary, Czanna knows she and her family cannot survive without help.  And, when Stands Strong appears before them, bearing food, she realizes she must trust this Indian to be their guide,

Lakota born, though raised by the Blackfeet, Stands Strong comes from a long line of medicine men, but this legacy seems to have skipped over him.  Accepting this, he has become the best scout in his tribe. But, when Czanna attempts to hire Stands Strong as a guide, offering him the “evil gold rock” as payment, he is insulted and suggests marriage to him instead. Czanna refuses him, even though the flame of passion is burning heatedly within their hearts.

Can two people from intensely opposing cultures ever come together?  Or are their star-guided paths meant only to briefly cross?

Warning:  A sensuous romance that might cause a gal to go West in search of love and adventure.

Well, that’s all for today’s blog.  Hope you have enjoyed a peek into these new stories.  By the way, I love these two new covers.  They are of different genres and they each tell a story of sorts on the cover.  Do you have a favorite?  If you do, let me know in your post.

The Wild West…Not Just Cactus! And a Giveaway!

Hi! LeAnne Bristow here. A few days ago, I was driving on the outskirts of Tucson and I saw a large sign that read. “Open Range. Watch for Cattle.” I was surrounded by housing developments and there was a school just down the street, but it wasn’t unusual for cattle to be seen grazing on the side of the road. It made me think about the culture shock I received when I moved to Arizona from Texas.
Growing up, I loved everything about the rolling hills of central Texas and never thought about leaving. Texas is the home of King Ranch, George Strait and longhorn cattle. I learned how to two-step before I could walk, and while I can never claim to be a cowgirl, I certainly know how to ride a horse. What’s not to love? And why would anyone ever want to leave? Then, I met my husband, an Arizona native, who was stationed at Ford Hood while he served in the US Army.
After Desert Storm, his enlistment was up, so he moved back to Arizona to find us a place to live while I finished that semester of college. I flew to Arizona to visit during spring break. I wanted to see exactly what I was getting myself into. After all, Arizona was nothing but cactus, rattlesnakes and dirt, right?

My first glimpse of Arizona from the window of the airplane didn’t give me much hope. I was sure my days of seeing green grass and trees were over. When he picked me up, we had to drive three hours to his family home. On the way, I saw more cottonfields than I’d ever seen in my life, and I finally understood what he meant when he said Texas was too flat. The next day we took the Coronado Trail through the White Mountains and my mind was blown.
I grew up in the hill country, but there were no rolling hills where we went. The White Mountains of Arizona were unlike anything I’d ever seen and I immediately fell in love. By the end of the day, I’d played in snow drifts higher than my head, caught my first glimpse of an elk, saw a bald eagle flying over an ice-covered lake and realized that Arizona was a lot more than I ever expected.
But that was just the beginning of things I needed to learn.

After I moved to Arizona, my husband and I spent a lot of time driving around back roads (if that’s what you want to call them).
The first time he stopped to open a closed gate, I had a fit. Didn’t he know he couldn’t go on private land like that? That’s when I learned that Arizona, like many places in the West, had more public land than it did private, so we were able to go through gates at will. Aside from giving us something to do on the weekends, my husband claimed these backroad adventures were necessary for deer scouting.
Scouting for deer was another foreign concept to me. Back home, when I wanted to see deer, I went to my family’s deer lease, climbed into the deer stand and waited. Not so in Arizona. Deer feeders are illegal. If you want to hunt deer, you have to get out and find them. It’s hard work. And they’re hard to find! No matter how remote the areas we traveled to was, it wasn’t unusual to come across cowboys searching for cattle that wandered too far from their home range, checking water tanks or checking the fences that were few and far between. Instead of being mad that we were in their area, they always tipped their hats and waved. Sometimes they had time to stop and chat with us, often letting us know where they saw a big buck or warning us when a mountain lion had been spotted in the area.


After thirty years of living in Arizona, I’m still amazed by the diversity of the western landscape. From the snow covered mountains, to the vast desert, there really is something for everyone. Even a small town Texas girl like me, who is now a proud desert rat.

What is your favorite thing about the west? I’d love to chat with you about it. But warning, I might use it in a book! I’ll be giving away a copy of the latest book in my Coronado series, Her Hometown Secret, to one lucky commenter!




 

All About Irises

 

Hey everyone! Are you enjoying all of the beautiful flowers popping up? I know I am. While I’ve always appreciated a beautiful garden or bed of flowers, it wasn’t until I got older that I grew a whole new appreciation of them. They are an incredible amount of work, and I am very honest in the fact that I’m terrible at it, and I don’t have the time I need to properly care for a garden. I try every year, but I just can’t seem to do it. 

My paternal grandmother loved her garden, and she loved to watch things blossom. Each year, when I go through mine, checking to see what’s blooming (or dying!) I can almost feel her with me, though she’s been gone for many years now. 

Flowers and gardens are so important to people. A single flower can bring back a precious memory, like that of a wedding bouquet or gift from a loved one. I suspect, that’s in part why many of those who settled in the West made sure to bring flower seeds with them. 

My book, Iris, comes out this month, and just about the only thing Iris is good at, is gardening. As I was writing that, I wondered, were there particular types of flowers that were brought West? Obviously not every seed or bulb grows in every place. Did they adapt and become a new variety? We have several irises that were planted before we bought our house, and I enjoy them each year! I think I’d have found their bright specks of color very welcome if I were on the prairie. Look at these, aren’t they stunning? 

 

 

 

Photos from BookBrush

 

It’s obvious that some flowers were also incredibly important to have, for their medical purposes, like evening primrose, horehound, or feverfew, but I bet some of these had sentimental purposes as well! I wonder if the iris had special meaning for anyone.

And speaking of irises, since that’s the title of my book, here are a few fun facts about the iris: 

  • Most pests do not like irises
  • In Greek mythology, wherever Iris stepped, flowers sprang up. 
  • Iris means rainbow, and the bearded iris comes in nearly every color imaginable.
  • The three upright petals on an iris flower stand for faith, wisdom, and valor.
  • Some parts of the iris have been used medicinally
  • Each color of an iris means something different

 

If you’d like to read more about my particular Iris, you can grab a copy of this novella for only .99! 

Here’s the blurb:

Iris is a handful. Liam is in dire need of a wife. But is he that desperate?

Iris Green doesn’t mean to be such a walking disaster. Trouble just seems to find her though, and scares off all would-be suitors in the process. Unbeknown to her, her mother submits her name for a mail-order bride, thinking that’s the only way she’ll ever see her daughter married off.

Liam Gardener thinks it’s a hoot his potential bride has a flower as her name, it’s a perfect match for his last name, so it must be a good sign. However, moments after meeting her, he’s regretting it something awful. Iris comes in like a whirlwind and turns his quiet life upside down, and he’s not sure if he likes that.

When two very different personalities clash, will the outcome blossom into something special or will their future wilt before it even starts?

And here is my lovely cover! Quite iris-y. Is that a word? I think I’ll make it one!

 

You can click here to find it on Amazon.

In the meantime, tell me, do you grow any irises at your house? 

Kara O’Neal Shares Her Newest Series – Plus a Giveaway!

It’s such a pleasure to be here today! I’m so excited to share my newest series – Wildflowers Of Texas – with y’all. This series combines several of my favorite things – heroes, heroines, true love, romance, family, and last…

Flowers.

I adore them. I don’t care what kind they are, or what color, or how cheap, I love them ALL. And as long as my husband gets me flowers on Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t care less what else he gives me. There’s something about them that just makes my heart sigh.

My favorites are Texas wildflowers. God bless my state and what happens in the Spring, because nothing else equals it. Not in my opinion anyway. My absolute favorite flower is the Bluebonnet.

Growing up, we’d go on “bluebonnet hunts”. We’d search for the best fields that showcased all of the beauty God had to offer and got to tour Texas at the same time.

One of the coolest places to visit is the Antique Rose Emporium. They’ve been a nursery for over a hundred years and have centuries old roses. I can wander the Emporium’s meandering paths for hours, and I’m not even a gardener.

Flowers inspire me. I think each one has character. And I’ve decided to write heroines who match with the “personality” of Texas wildflowers.

The first is MISS GREEN EYES. It’s available for pre-order now and will release on April 30th.

I chose the Texas Green Eye for my first heroine in the series, Annalee Gillespie. Not only are her eyes a startling green, but her flower is hardy and strong. It can grow in dry soil.

And Annalee, despite the tragedy she’s had in her life, or perhaps because of it, is just as strong and just as hardy. I enjoyed writing her story so much!

I’d like to give away a copy of “MISS GREEN EYES” to two lucky winners! Please comment with your favorite flower and you might win!

Thank you so much for letting me be here today. I hope you “visited” the Emporium and saw how lovely it all is.

 

Jodi Thomas Celebrating Two Books!

Netflix started the shooting for Ransom Canyon in February, and I can’t help feeling it’s come full circle. When I first thought of writing this series, I had only planned on doing six books about ranches around a small canyon. Ransom Canyon is a few miles from Lubbock, Texas, and I used to drive around there when I was in college at Texas Tech. I always thought it was a beautiful place, and I wanted to write a story about ranch life around there.

I knew I wanted to write six books, but I wanted to keep one storyline of four kids, from the time they were fifteen to when they were twenty-three, threading through the series. So, when Random House formally offered me the contract for my Ransom Canyon series, buying only two books, I turned it down. I have never turned that much money down in my life. And I was thinking, “Oh man, I could use that money.”  But I still said no.

Afterward, I called Gail Fortune, my agent, and told her I had turned down the contract. And she said, “Harlequin has been waiting to talk to you.” So, I left the office, and I went for a walk in the mall. About an hour later, Harlequin called me, a conference call with the editor in chief, an editor, and their publicist; they wanted six books and two short stories. So, I went to work on Ransom Canyon.

I knew I was taking a risk with this series because I was writing a very Western series, even though it is contemporary. It was a risk because Westerns are not as popular as other genres. But I had to write it.

To begin this series, I turned the little room out back of our house that we call the bunk house into Ransom Canyon. HQN gave me six months to put the proposals together. And during that time, I built Ransom Canyon’s world and wrote the short story “Winter’s Camp.” I did a lot of research to make the series just right, and it’s very dear to my heart. I love it because it is so character rich!

The first book of this series is called Ransom Canyon. It set up all the stories in the books to come. My main character is Staten; he is a successful rancher, an honest man, a strong man, and totally broken because he has lost both his wife and his son. He turns to his life-long friend Quinn because they both need someone. I loved writing their story, and I can’t wait to see it come to life on the screen. I always dreamed of having one of my books become a movie or TV show, and it has been so exciting to watch.

I look back on when I first started this series, and I’m so glad I wrote the story I wanted. I’ve loved this journey, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. But before we all climb into the saddle this fall to watch the TV show Ransom Canyon, travel back with me to Someday Valley and read my new book The Wild Lavender Bookshop, coming out April 23!

For a chance to win this new book, tell me who you’re most looking forward to seeing brought to life on the screen.

Kimberly Woodhouse Finds Stories in Bones

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

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

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

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

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

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

Talk about the wild west.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time… enjoy the journey,

Kimberley

 

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

 

If the Boot Fits

It’s official! If the Boot Fits has released. YeeHaw! I’m so excited to share book two in my Texas Ever After series with you. I thought you might enjoy a sneak peek into the story itself, so without further ado, may I present Asher and Samantha . . .

I’m sorry, Pop. I’ve tried everything I can think of to fix this, even a few things I’m ashamed of, but there’s no putting it right. The house is gone.

Nothing to do now but make the new place as habitable as possible before he left. Which was why he reined Bruno to a halt in front of Patterson’s Hardware. If he was going to weatherproof Mama Bess’s roof, he was going to need some supplies.

A bell rang as he entered the shop. The clerk behind the counter glanced up from the customer he was assisting and smiled.

“Afternoon, sir.”

Asher fingered the recently reshaped brim of his hat. “Afternoon.”

“Farm implements are along the back wall. Ironware to your right. Carpentry tools in the center.  Cutlery and kitchenware to the left.”

“Much obliged.” Asher strode toward the center aisle in search of nails. He’d probably have to special order the shingles he’d need, but—

A pile of wiggling pink froth stole every thought from his head as he rounded the corner and stepped into the aisle.

It was a woman—obviously—but what she was doing, he had no earthly idea. Hunkered down in front of a display of chisels, she seemed to be trying to peer beneath the shelving to view something in the adjacent aisle. Asher eased backward, took a couple steps to his left, and peered down the next walkway. A pair of men stood about even with her position, discussing the merits of whitewash versus paint.

Not exactly the type of conversation to entice an eavesdropper.

Inching back to his right, he found the female where he’d left her, only this time she held two gloved hands along the bottom of the shelf, as if measuring the length of something, though the spread of her hands failed to match any of the items housed on the nearby shelf.

Deciding it might be best simply to pretend he didn’t see her, Asher turned his gaze away and stepped into the aisle. Unfortunately, his elbow clipped a dangling hand saw and sent it flying off its nail and onto the floor. The woman gasped and lurched to her feet, spinning toward Asher as he gave chase to the runaway saw.

Her cheeks flushed pinker than her dress and her eyes darted to him then past him as if checking to see if anyone else had witnessed her odd behavior.

Instinct prompted Asher to look over his shoulder. See if anyone was there. But he didn’t. He couldn’t seem to look away from her.

Blue. Her eyes. Summer sky blue. Rimmed with thick lashes. And returning their attention to him.

Feeling his own cheeks heat, Asher held up his hands in apology. “Sorry to startle you. I . . . ah . . . accidentally knocked it with my arm.” He took a few steps forward and bent to retrieve the errant saw.

“That’s all right.” She offered a shaky smile and ran a hand down the front of her dress.

Asher straightened, the saw clutched awkwardly in front of him. Say something, you dolt!

“I’ll just . . . ah . . . put this back.”

Ugh. Something intelligent, Ash.

He sidled down to the front of the aisle where the other saws hung, keeping her in his peripheral vision. His mind spun but failed to grip anything worth saying out loud.

“Are you . . . interested in carpentry?”

Her downturned gaze jerked up to meet his, a hint of guilt playing about her face. Had she been staring at his feet? Why would a woman wearing a dress that probably cost more than his saddle be interested in a worn-out pair of boots? Wait . . . had that been what she was looking at while she’d been hunched over? The boots worn by the men on the next aisle over?

“Carpentry?” Tiny lines etched her forehead. “Not particularly. Why?”

He grinned, feeling more himself now that he had the upper hand in the conversation. He tipped his head toward the shelf beside her. “You seemed quite enthralled by those chisels. I thought you might be a hobbyist.”

“Ah, yes. Well. My father has a birthday coming up.” She fiddled with a bit of lace at her cuff.

“And he’s a carpenter?” He really shouldn’t derive so much pleasure from teasing her, but it felt good to let go of his worries for a few minutes and flirt with a pretty girl.

“A rancher, actually, but tools are always handy to have around, wouldn’t you agree?”

“I would.” He grinned. “A ranch can never have too many chisels.”

Her lips twitched and amusement gleamed in her vibrant eyes, but she managed to keep it contained. Unfortunate, since he found himself intensely curious about what her laugh would sound like once unleashed.

“Everything all right back here?” The clerk who had greeted Asher from behind the front counter hurried into the aisle, his smile strained. “I heard a crash.” He scanned the shelves, no doubt looking for evidence of an avalanche.

“Sorry,” Asher said. “That was my fault. I clipped a saw with my elbow. The stray’s been wrangled and is back with the herd now, though, so no harm done.” He nodded to where the saw hung, nice and tidy.

The clerk, however, didn’t bother looking at the cutting-edge display. His attention remained riveted elsewhere. Not that Asher blamed him. What fella wanted to look at saws when there was a blonde beauty a few feet away?

“Miss Dearing? Are you sure there’s nothing I can assist you with? I’d be happy to lend you my expertise.”

Asher’s ears rang. Miss Dearing? As in Samantha Dearing? The pampered princess he’d flattened when jumping out of her daddy’s study window? The one whose little brother nearly drowned trying to chase him down?

Had she recognized him? Slowly, he turned his face away, thankful for the distraction of the overzealous clerk. He hadn’t recognized her, but then he’d not seen her up close that night. But what if she had seen him? In the study, or after he’d leapt from the window.

Breathe, Ash. It had been dark. A boy had been drowning. She’d had other concerns on her mind. Plus, no recognition had registered in her eyes while they’d been talking. He would’ve seen it with as hard as he’d been staring at those blue beauties.

But what if it wasn’t his face that gave him away. His gut tightened as her interest in men’s boots suddenly made a dreadful sort of sense. If she’d found the boot he’d dropped . . .

Asher yanked his fingers away from the hand saw he’d been pretending to inspect. He needed to get out of here. Now.

Lengthening his stride, he left the carpentry aisle behind and made a beeline for the door. Shingles and nails would have to wait. He couldn’t chance being recognized by the one woman in town who could send him to prison.

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt.

You can grab a copy of If the Boot Fits from your favorite retailer.

Amazon | Baker Book House | Christianbook

A Match for Silas

Hi, Janice Cole Hopkins here and I am thrilled to be a guest blogger on Petticoats & Pistols. It’s my fifth time doing this over the years, and I very much appreciate the opportunity of visiting with you. I’m a huge fan of Western romance because it’s what I mainly read and write. Of course, I wear several hats, and I also enjoy the P & P blogs daily as a reader. Even though I’m a prolific writer who published 16 books last year, I’m also an avid reader who reads over 365 books a year. I know because I leave at least one review each day on Amazon for the books I’ve just finished. Before you question my sanity, I agree that 16 books were too many for any one year, and I have vowed to slow down. I will only be publishing eleven books in 2024 and eleven in 2025. LOL.

I have now published three books in the multiple-author project, The Matchmakers – Agatha Returns. I’d like to share my new release about a blacksmith, A Match for Silas, with you today. Silas has abandonment issues since his beautiful mother left him and his father when he was just a child. His father was also a blacksmith, and his mother didn’t like that lifestyle.

 

Silas appeared briefly in both A Match for Marshall and A Match for Cord, but now, he tells his own story. When even Vanessa, the town flirt, wants nothing to do with him, Silas decides to follow Marshall’s and Cord’s examples and write to the matchmaker. But when his intended bride comes, she’s exactly what he doesn’t

Click to Buy–A Match for Silas

want, someone from high society. However, her circumstances prevent Jacqueline from returning home, so what’s he to do? They decide to take things slowly while he courts her, but he’s so afraid she won’t be happy with a lowly blacksmith that he jumps to conclusions.

Click to Buy–A Match for Merle

For my readers, this will be a series within a series because all eight of my books in this MAP are set in Pinyon Falls, in the beautiful Hill Country of Texas. A Match for Marshall and a Match for Cord have already published, and Marshall and Callie and Cord and Moriah also make appearances in this new book. Then, there will be five more of my books to come in the series, the last being published in August of 2005. The next book is A Match for Merle. This will be Vanessa’s story, and I’ve already written the rough draft. It’s on Amazon preorder now and will be published on July 1. However, any of my books can be read as standalones because they all have a definite ending and never require you to read another book to tie up loose ends.

Do you like a series of books set in the same place that has former characters appearing again? Would you rather read a series like this or a standalone book? What is the longest series you’ve ever read (how many books)?

 

Those who answer all three questions in a comment will be entered into a drawing for a Kindle copy of A Match for Silas.

 

Click to Buy–A Match for Silas

Click to Buy–A Match for Merle

Jeannie Watt New Release and Give Away

I have a new release! The Cowgirl’s Homecoming is the third book in my sweet western romance series The Cowgirls of Larkspur Valley. Here’s the official blurb:

Could the cowboy next door…

Be what her heart truly wants?

When Whitney Fox returns home after being downsized, she accidently offends rancher Tanner Hayes—her dad’s neighbor. To make amends, she agrees to help him rehabilitate his ranch and reputation, and soon finds there’s more to the crusty cowboy than she’d thought. But when another corporate opportunity comes along, she has a decision to make: follow her head, or follow her heart and stay with Tanner?

And here’s an excerpt:

Whit woke up with a headache, which she attributed to Tanner Hayes smashing her car the day before. The crash hadn’t hurt her physically, but it had taken a mental toll. She’d tried to put the matter aside and get some sleep, but had woken up time and again wondering how much of an effect it would have on the asking price of her Audi. She was going to lose money. That was a given.

She rolled onto her back and flopped an arm over her face trying to think of something besides her smashed up Audi and the cowboy who’d done the damage. Lying in bed, begrudging reality, wasn’t helping matters. She pushed back the covers just as her dad rapped on the door.

“Whit?”

“Yeah, Dad?”

“I’d like to talk to you before I head out for the day.”

“I’ll be down in a minute.” She heard his footsteps receding down the hall and wondered at his tone. It was his get-to-the-bottom-of-things tone, but there was nothing for him to get to the bottom of, unless he’d seen her car and was wondering what had happened.

That was it. Protective father mode was probably kicking in. She’d simply explain that she’d seen no reason to burden him with the mishap when she’d returned home the previous evening. He’d been sleeping in his chair, and she’d retired to her bedroom to do a lot of mental math instead of sleeping.

She headed to the bathroom, showered, changed into her jeans and T-shirt, braided her hair into a single plait that was a touch shorter than the one she’d worn in high school, then headed to the kitchen to explain to her dad how her car had gotten damaged.

When she walked into the room, her dad had two mugs and a carafe of coffee on the table. He always made coffee, then poured it into a vacuum jug to keep it from getting bitter during the day. He loved his coffee, but this morning, he was staring morosely into his mug.

“Dad?”

He looked up and Whit became cognizant of a sinking sensation in her midsection. Before she could ask, he said, “What happened yesterday evening?”

“I got rear-ended.”

She expected a look of paternal concern, but instead her father nodded, telling her that he not only knew what had happened, he’d probably already inspected the damage. “And did you happen to say some things to the guy who rear-ended you?”

“Maybe?”

Where on earth was this going?

Whit pulled out a chair and reached for a mug. She filled it to the brim and took a sip as she waited for her dad to explain.

Ben Fox blew out a breath. “I took coffee with the guys this morning at the café.”

A regular occurrence since she’d been a little girl. The ranch was only five miles from town, and it wasn’t unusual for her dad to meet with his fellow farmers and ranchers several mornings a week at an unearthly hour.

“And?”

“And I heard that you got rear-ended by Tanner Hayes.”

“I did.” She nodded to punctuate the admission.

“You told him a thing or two after it happened?”

“It was his fault, and he was trying to blame me. I defended myself.”

Ben stared at the table between them with a hard expression. “I was in the middle of making a deal with the guy for water rights. It’s a tricky negotiation. He’s teetering on the bubble between yes and no, and my only child tells the guy that he’s not going to buy his way out of the situation the way his dad bought his way out of things.” He fixed his daughter with a grim look. “Or so I heard.”

Whit’s stomach gave a sick twist. There had been a bit of a crowd, and whoever had reported to whoever reported to her dad was pretty accurate.

“I didn’t know you were negotiating.”

Ben brought his big hand down on the table. “Didn’t you want him to buy his way out of it? Fix your car and all?”

Whit pushed a few wisps of hair off her forehead as she tried to come up with the right words to explain herself. “Dad, what I wanted was for him to take responsibility for the accident so that my insurance rates wouldn’t go up. And—” her mouth tightened “—I was pretty mad. I was just about to list the car for sale, and he smashes into the back of it and pretends it’s my fault, like he expects to weenie out because of who he is. How was I supposed to let that ride?”

Her dad met her gaze in a way that told her that he really wished she had figured out a way.

“I would appreciate it if you would make it better.”

“How?”

“Apologize. I can’t afford to lose this water lease. If I do, then the expansion we’ve talked about is not going to happen.”

He gave her another long look and Whit swallowed. Her father had wanted to expand his fields to the west forever, had worked so hard to increase the value of the ranch after her mother had passed away, but had lacked the water to do so. Carl Hayes was too much of a megalomaniac to work with, but apparently, his son had been more amenable to a deal.

Of all the people who could have followed her too closely, thus making the accident his fault, it had to be him.

Drat.

I enjoyed bringing my hero and heroine together in The Cowgirl’s Homecoming. These two have big decisions to make by the end of the book. Will they follow their heads or  follow their heart?

To qualify for a $10 Amazon gift card when faced with a decision, do you most often follow your head or your heart? Logic or instinct?