Meet Mandi Blake, and Hear Her Amazing Journey!

 

Hi! I’m Mandi Blake, and I’ve been invited to be a guest author on the blog today.

A little about me…

I write Christian cowboy and small town romance. I live in Alabama where I grew up on a cattle farm. If I’m not reading or writing, I love to travel with my family and explore new places all over the world.

I started writing about six years ago, and I published my first book five years ago. Time is flying on this amazing journey, and I am excited to see what new and wonderful surprises are coming next.

I started off writing small-town romance set in Georgia. It was close to home, and I’m a small town girl through and through.

But once that series was over, I decided to shake things up a bit and write a cowboy series set in Wyoming.

Don’t ask me why. I have no idea why I chose Wyoming. I’d never been there, and I had no plans to go there. Sounds like a challenge, but I was ready to research and see what I could learn. I knew a little about raising cattle. I’d been around it my whole life. I wouldn’t trade growing up on a farm for anything because I had the best childhood.

I wanted that love of the land and hard work to shine through in my stories. The weather isn’t always cooperative in Wyoming, so I assumed an already difficult job had to be ten times harder in the harsh climate.

That was the beginning of the Blackwater Ranch series. Each book followed one of the tough-as-nails Harding brothers, and the last book was about their cousin who also lived on the ranch.

The Blackwater Ranch series was everything I’d hoped it would be and more. I grew so much writing those books. I loved right along with the characters and readers. I met so many people who just happened to pick up the books and like them. Readers became some of my dearest friends.

When the series was over, I wasn’t ready to let go of Blackwater. I immediately started a spin-off series about a dude ranch in the same town, and Wolf Creek Ranch took everything that Blackwater Ranch did for me and quadrupled it. These contemporary Western romances were the stories of my heart, and as they say, the rest is history.

When the Wolf Creek Ranch series came to an end, guess who still wasn’t ready to leave this fictional town of Blackwater. Me!

Through the last twelve books set in this little town, I’d introduced tons of side characters, so I decided to make my next series, the Love in Blackwater series, about some of them.

Since these new books are still so close to the ranches, I get to include my older characters in the newer books!

Y’all, I’m having too much fun.

Have you ever gotten so drawn into a book that you think about the characters when it’s over? My aunt, who is an avid reader, always told me she would envision what the characters might be doing once their story was over.

I get to show readers pieces of the ongoing lives of the characters they’ve known and loved. They sometimes play a big part in other stories, and their “lives” continue long after “The End.”

The first book in the Blackwater Ranch series is Remembering the Cowboy. Noah and Camille’s love story started it all, but even after their happily ever after, we got to see Camille fighting for justice in a courtroom in Better Together, the fourth book in the Wolf Creek Ranch series. We get to see how she juggles a family and a successful career all while being a rock for her friends when they need a hand.

One of my favorite scenes in the book I’m writing now is a wedding where all of the people in town are gathered together. Some of the Hardings have kids! Their fictional lives are being lived in new stories, and I’m so excited for these possibilities.

As something special for you, I’ve put the Blackwater Ranch series on sale. For April 5-6 only, you can get both of the three ebook box sets for this series for 99 cents each (in the US and UK only). You can read the whole series for two dollars or borrow them and read for free in Kindle Unlimited.

I also have a giveaway!

In the comments, tell me about the first book you read that sparked your love of all things Western. One winner will receive a signed paperback copy of the first book in my Blackwater Ranch series, Remembering the Cowboy. I’ll also throw in a matching bookmark and some other little goodies. A winner will be chosen on Sunday, April 7th. This giveaway is open to US residents only.

Thank you so much for having me on the blog today. I hope to “meet” you again sometime.

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!!!!!!

 

 

Marshaling Her Heart is OUT!

It seems to take forever but the book is shipping online and in bookstores!!!!

Marshaling Her Heart

Book three–the exciting conclusion to the Wyoming Sunrise Series is here.

 

Will their lives and romance survive the trouble coming their way?

Becky Pruitt has always prided herself on knowing everything that’s happening on her successful ranch, so an unexpected admission from her foreman, Nate Paxton, comes as quite a surprise. With the notorious Deadeye Gang on the loose, Nate–a former U.S. Marshal–believes Becky’s ranch is the best spot for a group of Marshals to use as a base to hunt them down.

The timing couldn’t be more crucial for the town of Pine Valley, and Becky feels obligated to help. But after escaping the grasp of her harsh father, she’s never liked giving up control, of her life or her ranch. If there’s anyone she can trust with her ranch, and her heart, it might be Nate. But the outlaws won’t go away quietly, and as danger draws ever nearer, Becky and Nate are faced with impossible choices that will test their growing bond.

So let’s talk about a book series.

Do you like a series? Do you prefer a stand alone book?

I’ve heard some people say they wait for all the books before they’ll start a series.

I always write three book series is that long enough? Do you like them longer?

I think my books stand on their own well. Yes the characters in books #1 and #2 appear in this book. And they’ve had their own love story so they’re now married.

But each book has it’s own beginning, middle and end. So any order you read them in should work.

Leave a comment about books that come in series to get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of Marshaling Her Heart.

Misty Beller – The Mountain Man Rendezvous (and giveaway)

It’s such an honor to sit around the campfire with ya’ll! The Petticoats and Pistols family is one of my favorite places to hang out. J

My latest book, Rocky Mountain Rendezvous, is the story of four sisters who head west to accomplish their father’s deathbed request—return a special set of beads to a Blackfoot woman who saved his life during his travels west two decades earlier. The sisters travel with the supply wagons bound for the 1837 trapper rendezvous to find the native woman. But the sight that greeted them in the Green River Valley (in modern-day Wyoming) was nothing like they expected!

Men EVERYWHERE!

Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BLW67XC5?tag=pettpist-20

The trapper rendezvous was always a sight to behold. Each year, supply wagons would come from the east in the summer, and mountain men and natives would travel from all throughout the Rockies to trade furs for the supplies they’d need in the coming year. This was usually the only opportunity for trading each year, so EVERYONE came and the camp stretched for miles. This was a great time for friends to catch up, and the festivities always included a great deal of drinking and horse racing.

There weren’t usually permanent structures like log cabins or buildings. The trappers and native families erected tents and lodges, or slept under the stars. The event lasted the entire month of July, which was the off-season for trapping in the Rockies. By the end of that month, the trappers would have joined on with a trapping party—sometimes a new group or sometimes the same men they’d worked with the previous winter. Fully stocked up, they headed out to find the best river or lake to set their traps for the fall season.

The Green River Valley, Wyoming, site of the 1837 Rendezvous

I love to read first-hand accounts—journals from trappers and natives and white men who lived with the natives. Since I’ve written so many stories in the Rockies during this general time period, I’m always looking for new journals! Some of my favorites that helped with the research of this book are My Life as an Indian by James Willard Shultz and Journal of a Trapper by Osborne Russell.

In my story, Riley Turner is one of the trappers at the meet-up, and he realizes immediately what kind of danger the Collins sisters are in from unscrupulous men in the crowd. He helps them with their search, and they find so much more than they expected along the way!

Juniper, the second sister by age, is the heroine in this first story. Book 2, Rocky Mountain Promise, releases in November and will feature Lorelei, the third sister and the animal lover in the group. I don’t have covers for the final 2 books in the series, but they’ll be coming in 2024. These sisters were originally patterned after my four girls, but the Collins sisters have definitely taken on their own unique personalities! I pray you love this first book as they embark on the search of a lifetime.

To whet your appetite for Rocky Mountain Rendezvous, I’m excited to give away a signed paperback set of my Hearts of Montana series! All three of these books are set in the Montana Rocky Mountains, a setting very similar to the Wyoming Rockies in Rocky Mountain Rendezvous!

To be entered for the giveaway, I’d love to know if you’ve ever visited the Rockies! Leave a comment below to share your experience.

 

 

Pioneer Courage Park–and a giveaway!!!

We are always talking about history and the frontier and courage here on this blog.

So I went to a park in Omaha, that’s one of my favorite places ever, called Pioneer Courage Park.

I take people who visit Omaha to this place and once or twice I have just gone to downtown Omaha and walked around. I’m just in love with this wagon train sulpture.

If you look carefully at the bottom of this picture below it says Pioneer Courage.

There are four wagons. One each pulled by a different team. (well, one is drawn by hand)

One drawn by a team of Oxen. (hint, below, I’m the one on the right)

and mules.

There’s also a hand drawn cart which is mostly how the Mormon pioneers crossed the country. It boggles the mind that they had such small carts. what in the world did they eat?

Amazing desire for religious freedom.

There are also people, women walking, women carrying a baby. They say that everyone who wasn’t driving the wagons walked. It not only took weight off the wagon, and made it easier on the horses/mules/oxen. But it also was more comfortable to walk. the wagons shook and rattled along, no wind could get in past the cover, it was a miserable way to travel. Imagine that. Walking ALL THE WAY ACROSS AMERICA WAS MORE COMFORTABLE THAN RIDING IN A COVERED WAGON!!!

This guy is the wagon master. Think about that job for a minute. Did they pay him? did he go once and stay in the west or did he go back to the beginning and start over every year?

This guy below is leading a horse and there are deer on the pack horse. Sort of blurry, sorry.

 

He’s bringing in food. but one guy I talked to said it was rare for a hunter to find food. The wild animals learned to run far from the trail. Mostly, any food you were going to eat on the Oregon Trail, you had to bring it with you.

Lots of people leading the teams where the going is rough. One wagon was ‘stuck in the mud’. Very cool. Everyone pushing and urging the animals to pull.

Many pioneers brought a milk cow along, this one is tied to the back of the wagon and being led to Oregon. Long way to go home.

There are several buffalo just here and there on the downtown streets, like a block or two away from the Pioneer Courage Park. So cool to walk down a street and meet up with an iron buffalo.

 

As part of the Pioneer Courage there was also a small group of Native Americans. A reminder that some people were heading into a new land. And some people were already there.

So many of my characters are trying to tear a living out of wild lands.

In my current series, Wyoming has a total population of 9000. TOTAL. One out of five are women.

Yet somehow this state was the first to give women the right to vote.

There was Pioneer Courage in the west even after it was beyond the age of the pioneer.

To get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of Laws of Attraction, leave a comment about your favorite park.

Where do you like to go and just hang out.

There are several such beautiful places in Omaha. The Henry Doorley Zoo, the Lauritzen Gardens. Bookstores.

But none better than Pioneer Courage Park.

The Laws of Attraction

Can they risk giving in to the attraction between them while their lives are on the line?

If widowed seamstress Nell Armstrong has to make one more pair of boring chaps for the cowboys in her tiny Wyoming town, she might just quit the business altogether! So meeting Brand Nolte, a widower struggling to raise three girls on his own, seems like her dream come true. Brand has no idea how to dress the girls properly, and Nell finally has a chance to create beautiful outfits while also teaching the girls to sew.

But Nell is much more than a seamstress, and the investigative skills and knowledge she picked up alongside her late lawman husband soon become critical when a wounded stagecoach-robbery survivor is brought to town. As danger closes in from all sides, Nell and Brand must discover who has a target trained on them before it’s too late.

“A richly detailed adventure that captivates till the end.”–Publishers Weekly on Forged in Love

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Bakerbookhouse.com (it’s on a good sale!)

Here Comes the Judge–and a giveaway!

The original inspiration for this book series appears in book #2 of The Wyoming Sunrise Series.

A woman justice of the peace.

I read a biography of Esther Hobart Morris, the first woman justice of the peace in America…possibly in the world.

Such a fun read. It’s full of the struggle for women’s suffrage and Esther was a champion of that cause.

Very soon, just days after women were given the right to vote in Wyoming, the current justice of the peace in South Pass City, Wyoming, when told he’d have to swear in women on a jury, quit. He didn’t just quit, he stole the record book containing precious legal records in South Pass City. It was never recovered.

When he quit, Esther was appointed to his old job. He just threw such a fit, the old Judge that is, that Esther could have arrested him.

But she didn’t. She said, “We’ll just start this new era with a fresh book and forget the past.”

So I decided my pretty little seamstress, a good friend of the heroine in book #1 Forged in Love, should be the second justice of the peace. (or anyway, real early on).

Nell Armstrong just wants to sew pretty dresses. She likes to put ribbons and lace and ruffles on flowery dresses.

Mary Connealy

The only trouble is, there aren’t that many women in Wyoming and those there are, make their own clothes. So she made the mistake of making a pair of chaps for one cowboy (she had to take an old pair of his and learn to copy it, he even brought her in a nice piece of leather). And now the orders flood in and there is no escape. She’s got a booming business and is making a lot of money and she hates it.

 

She is also the widow of a lawman. So when the DeadEye Gang leaves several dead men at the sight of a stagecoach hold-up near her home for Pine Valley, Wyoming, she helps investigate. She asks the sheriff insightful questions. She knows the law and she insists they check the bodies which have been brought to town.

When the old justice of the peace announces plans to move to Nebraska, she gets offered the job.

Newcomer to the area Brandon Nolte and his three daughters are in desperate need of dresses. Brand can’t sew and his daughters refuse to come to town wearing their ramshackle trousers and boots. Nell is thrilled to help, but Brand had no cash money for such frivolity as dresses.

And then there’s another stagecoach holdup and Nell finds herself in the crossfire of the dangerous gang.

Leave a comment…how about how desperately YOU want it to be SPRING!!! To get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of Forged in Love.

The Laws of Attraction

Book #2 Wyoming Sunrise Series

If widowed town seamstress Nell Armstrong has to make one more pair of boring chaps for the cowboys in her tiny Wyoming town, she might lose her mind. So meeting Brand Nolte, a widower father struggling to raise three girls, seems like her dream come true. Brand has no idea how to dress the girls, and Nell finally has a chance to both create beautiful dresses and teach the girls to sew.

But Nell is much more than a seamstress, and the unique legal and investigative skills and knowledge she picked up alongside her late lawman husband soon become critical when a wounded stagecoach-robbery survivor is brought to town. As danger closes in from all sides, Nell and Brand must discover why there seems to be a bull’s-eye on their backs.

Fan favorite Mary Connealy invites you back to 19th-century Wyoming for this adventuresome Western romance, complete with a budding romance, witty banter, and an absorbing mystery.

Click to pre-order from Baker Book House

Click to pre-order from Amazon

 

Forged in Love Giveaway!

I’m doing a giveaway for
Forged in Love
Book #1 of the Wyoming Sunrise Series releasing February 28
When sparks begin to fly, can a friendship cast in iron be shaped into something more?
After surviving a brutal stagecoach robbery, Mariah Stover attempts to rebuild her life as she takes over her father’s blacksmith business, but the townspeople meet her work with disdain. She is drawn to the new diner owner as he faces similar trials in the town. When danger descends upon them, will they survive to build a life forged in love?
Find the book cover: http://cdn.bakerpublishinggroup.com/…/9780764241130.jpg…
Find the excerpt: http://cdn.bakerpublishinggroup.com/…/Excerpts…
Get 30% Off + Free Shipping at Baker Book House: https://bakerbookhouse.com/products/465104
Facebook: Mary Connealy
Instagram: @maryconnealy
BookBub: Mary Connealy
It’s finally here! After a year of googling Women’s Suffrage and all related topics to bring Forged in Love to life!!! It hits the shelves next week!!!
My tough wild west blacksmith begins banging iron and falling in love on February 28th
She’s against type more than most any other character I’ve created, second in line, that comes to mind is a western painter from Wrangler in Petticoats. A guy painting in the old west, now that was a weird one.
I’m doing a giveaway. Leave a comment about how it suits you to read about characters are out of the ordinary.
Do you like damsels in distress…although honest, Mariah’s in danger so in a sense, tough as she is, she’s in some distress.
Do you like heroes that protect a weaker woman?
What are your favorite kind of heroes and heroines?
I’ll draw a name from the comments to win a copy of Forged in Love

Merry Christmas and…the New Year is full of books!

The Wyoming Sunrise series kicks off in February with Forged in Love

TI was inspired to write The Wyoming Sunrise Series when I found out Wyoming was the first state (then a territory) in the Union to give women the right to vote.

Wyoming.

Doesn’t that seem odd?

Then I found out it wasn’t just the right to vote…all sorts of other rights were given to women by women’s suffrage. The right of women to run for elected office. Or be appointed to office. The right to serve on a jury. (They took that away after two years, trails were just too awful for sweet little women to watch!) And I found the first woman justice of the peace in America was from Wyoming. Esther Hobart Morris.

This inspired me to have one of my heroines be the second justice of the peace in the United States.

As I researched this book, reading about all that went on in Wyoming was fascinating. They became a territory in 1868…with women voting. I read somewhere that initially they didn’t have enough people in this large state unless they included women in their citizen count. Not sure if that’s accurate based on other things I read. It sounds like men genuinely (but not unanimously) supported the right to vote for woman.

Because of this suffrage nonsense (insert sarcasm) they weren’t allowed statehood for 30 years. Why? When other states were getting granted statehood in only a few years? Because the United States refused to let them in unless they took the vote away from women.

And Wyoming adamantly refused to strip that vote from women. I also read that Utah gave women the right to vote but, when they applied for statehood, they were told, not if women can vote. So Utah stripped women of the right to votes.

So, year after year Wyoming was denied statehood. When they finally got it, the women maintained their right to vote because Wyoming just would not budge. The whole history of it was great reading.

But the part I loved was, when the word was out that THIS YEAR it was going to pass there was a riot in Washington D.C. PROTESTS against. One representative from Wyoming kept shouting the words from a telegram he’d received from the Wyoming legislature: “We will stay out of the Union a hundred years rather than come in without our women.” 

Whoever it was who was shouting it, ended up having to climb a wall somewhere to escape the mob but even as he climbed he kept yelling, over and over again, “We will stay out of the Union a hundred years rather than come in without our women.”

That story makes me smile.

Anyway, fun research for this new series. I’m hoping to get it all into the pages of the new books.

When sparks begin to fly, can a friendship cast in iron be shaped into something more?

Forged in Love

coming February 2023

Mariah Stover is left for dead and with no memory when the Deadeye Gang robs the stagecoach she’s riding in, killing both her father and brother. As she takes over her father’s blacksmith shop and tries to move forward, she soon finds herself in jeopardy and wondering–does someone know she witnessed the robbery and is still alive?

Handsome and polished Clint Roberts escaped to western Wyoming, leaving his painful memories behind. Hoping for a fresh start, he opens a diner where he creates fine dishes, but is met with harsh resistance from the townsfolk, who prefer to stick to their old ways.

Clint and Mariah are drawn together by the trials they face in town, and Clint is determined to protect Mariah at all costs when danger descends upon her home. As threats pursue them from every side, will they survive to build a life forged in love?

Click to Pre-Order

 

 

 

 

The Laws of Attraction

Coming June 2023

If widowed town seamstress Nell Armstrong has to make one more pair of boring chaps for the cowboys in her tiny Wyoming town, she might lose her mind. So meeting Brand Nolte, a widower father struggling to raise three girls, seems like her dream come true. Brand has no idea how to dress the girls, and Nell finally has a chance to both create beautiful dresses and teach the girls to sew.

But Nell is much more than a seamstress, and the unique legal and investigative skills and knowledge she picked up alongside her late lawman husband soon become critical when a wounded stagecoach-robbery survivor is brought to town. As danger closes in from all sides, Nell and Brand must discover why there seems to be a bull’s-eye on their backs.

Click to Pre-order

 

 

 

 

And because it’s Christmas time I’m including a recipe. This is a Connealy family FAVORITE.

It’s like scalloped corn combined with Mac & Cheese. 

Because my sister-in-law Mardelle brought it every year to every holiday, we’ve named it Mardelle Corn

Mardelle Corn

1 can whole corn-drained

1 can creamed corn

1 cup salad macaroni (the type isn’t important)

1 cup cubed Velveeta

1 stick butter cut up

Mix together, pour into 8 x 8 buttered casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, stirring halfway through.

I actually self-published a book of Family Favorite Recipes.

Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of Faster than Fast Food.

And Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Traveling, Christmas, and a Give Away!

Hello, P&P readers. Lacy Williams with you today asking a couple of questions: How far would you travel to be with your loved ones at Christmas? What are you willing to go through to get there?

During my freshman year of college, we had a massive, unusual-for-us snowstorm here in Oklahoma. It delivered a massive twelve inches of snow and the (few) snowplows couldn’t keep up. I was living on campus, and even though I was only ten miles away from home, I can still remember the adrenaline rush and my white knuckles as I drove home for Christmas break with my laundry basket of belongings in the back of my small car.

Probably the worst experience I’ve had traveling home at Christmas was flying cross-country to visit my in-laws for the holiday. This was before we had kids, and between my husband and I one of us is the kind of person who likes to have a list and be packed and double-check the night before. The other one likes to throw things in a bag just before we walk out the door. I will let you try to figure out which is which.

Hubby and I arrived at the airport with what we thought was enough time to check our bags and get through security, but it turned out we were wrong. The airline wouldn’t let us check our bags because it was too close to the flight time and it was possible they might not get on board the plane. We had gifts for his family packed in our luggage and we couldn’t leave them behind or combine them into our carry-on luggage, so basically we missed our flight because of our luggage.

It was devastating for two broke college kids (we were paying our way through night school at the time) to think we had missed our chance to be with our family. Luckily, we were able to get on another flight a few hours later. It could’ve turned out much worse than the couple hundred dollars it cost us.

(Am I wrong or does Hallmark have a sub-genre of their Christmas movies like this? Films about travel gone awry where either the hero or heroine gets stranded in a small town and falls in love while they are trying to get through all the obstacles it takes to get home.)

Fighting to get home for Christmas is the premise of my new release, Christmas Homecoming. Set in 1914, my hero Walt is on a train ready to take the wanted criminal in his custody to a judge where he will face justice. Surprise! His younger sister and her beautiful friend hop on the train mid-journey and suddenly Walt is getting lectures about why he should come home for Christmas when he hasn’t been home in years due to a broken relationship with his father and brother. Before he can blink, the train is part of a hold-up and Walt finds himself in a heap of trouble. It’s gonna take a lot more than he thought to get home for Christmas and to rescue the woman he’s falling for from the bad guys.

This new book is an adventurous romance. Tell me about your most disastrous trip home for the holidays. If you don’t have a story like that, tell me your favorite holiday food.

I would love to give away a paperback copy plus a $10 gift card to one of the readers who makes a comment today.

Thanks for chatting with me today!


About the book:
All traveling nurse Libby wanted was a quiet Christmas to grieve losing her younger brother. She’s on a westbound train heading home when she and a friend find themselves in the middle of a hijacking and then taken hostage by a gang of outlaws.

Walt White is a U.S. Marshal who has been chasing down the Seymour gang for years. But he’s kidnapped along with two innocent women, he must figure out how to keep them alive—and it doesn’t help that he’s completely distracted by the beautiful Libby. He’ll need his wits about him if he hopes to save them.

As they work to engineer an escape, Walt realizes that Libby is resilient and cunning—and vulnerable, though she hides it well. He must give his all to protect her heart and bring her home in time for Christmas.


Find it on Amazon    
Available soon on OverDrive!


Author bio:
Lacy Williams wishes her writing career was more like what you see on Hallmark movies: dreamy brainstorming from a French chateau or a few minutes at the computer in a million-dollar New York City penthouse. In reality, she’s up before the sun, putting words on the page before her kids wake up for the day. Those early-morning and late-night writing sessions add up, and Lacy has published fifty books in almost a decade, first with a big five publisher and then as an indie author. When she needs to refill the well, you can find Lacy birdwatching, gardening, biking with the kiddos, or walking the dog. Find tons of bonus scenes and reader extras by becoming a VIP reader at http://www.lacywilliams.net/vip .

Was she a heroine, a villainess, or just a fool?

By Heather Blanton

 The life of Ellen Watson, aka Cattle Kate, was defined for us by greedy cattle barons, and dutifully reported by a cowardly, boot-licking press. According to these men, Ellen was a prostitute, a cattle thief, and a fornicator. She traded sex for cows and had no compunctions about doing a little cattle rustling on the side.

All that was a smear campaign to protect the cattle barons.

So, what was the truth about Ellen Watson? For one thing, she was a woman with a brain in her head and a fire in her eye.

At 18, Ellen married an abusive drunk who beat her with a horse whip. She put it up with it for a couple of years, then left the loser and filed for divorce. Truly a rare thing in 1883. Strong-willed and stubborn, she moved away to escape the ex. Life took her from Nebraska, to Denver, to, finally, fatefully, Wyoming. She made her living alternately as a seamstress and cook. There is no evidence she ever worked as a prostitute at any time in her life. She did drink, smoke, and cuss, though.

She met Jim Averill while she was cooking at the Rawlins House. Jim had a road ranch on his homestead, catering to travelers and cowboys. Ellen worked as his cook and was paid for her time. She eventually bought her own land—adjacent to Jim’s—started her own ranch and acquired her own legally registered brand. All while she and Jim were courting.

The couple applied for a marriage license in 1886, but never filed it. Homesteads were limited in size per family so it would have been to their benefit to keep the marriage a secret. Ellen also took in two young boys who came from abusive homes and they, in turn, worked her ranch.

Ellen’s independent ways brought her into direct conflict with the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and a neighboring rancher named Bothwell. Still big on the open range way of ranching, he despised Ellen and Jim’s piddly ranches. For nearly two years, Bothwell saw to it that the couple were threatened, harassed, and watched incessantly by riders from the WSGA.

Not interested in kowtowing to the cattle barons, Jim wrote fiery letters to the newspapers, decrying the men’s greed and tyranny. Ellen just kept on ranching, and to the devil with anyone who didn’t like it. Eventually, Bothwell ran out of patience.

On July 20, 1889, Ellen and Jim were accused of rustling cattle from his ranch. He and some his riders took the couple to a gulch and hung them from a stunted pine, not more than two feet off the ground. Witnesses said Jim begged for mercy, but Ellen went down cussing and swinging.

At the time of her death, 28-year-old Ellen had 41 head of cattle, a little over 300 acres, and a tenacious fighting 

spirit that burnt bright right up to the last second of her life. If there is any justice here, it is that we remember her to this day, not the cowards who hung her.

My book, Grace be a Lady, is set during the Johnson County War, in the aftermath of Ellen’s murder. I’ll give two winners paperback versions of the book. Just comment on Ellen and tell me what you think of her life and death. Was she a heroine or a fool? Did she bring this on herself? Should she have sold out and left Wyoming?

Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for one of the 2 print copies of Grace be a Lady.

Buy Grace be a Lady on Amazon.

Find Heather online at Heather Blanton