The Gypsy Life – Then and Now ~ by Pam Crooks

When I wrote LADY GYPSY a number of years ago, I–as always–surrounded myself with a pile of research books. It’s always been important to me to write a book as historically accurate as possible, not only to give the story realism but to teach my readers a little something, too. After all, if one reads historical romance, one can assume they love the history, too, right?

I read those research books cover to cover, and by the time I immersed myself in Liza and Reese’s story, I had a good feel for Liza as a character. It was easy to weave in tidbits of Gypsy information that helped Liza be as different from Reese (a non-Gypsy, of course) as she could be, shaping the conflict that is important to any well-written storyline. Every book that I write, I hope to make my readers wonder “How will these two ever overcome the obstacles that are keeping them apart? How can they reach their happy-ever-after?”

Trust me, Liza and Reese do. 🙂

It’s believed by some that the Gypsies first originated in Egypt centuries ago, hence their name, though others claim India even earlier than that. Regardless, this nomadic ethnic group came to America in the 1500s as slaves, then eventually migrated across the country living their itinerant lifestyle, becoming such a curiosity that they were often feared and mostly despised. They disdained formal education and community rules, shunned foreigners in their midst, often got into trouble with the law from their thievery and drinking, and generally made nuisances of themselves upon their arrival.

Interestingly, the Gypsies are still alive and thriving today, although some prefer to be called ‘Romani’ instead of Gypsy. They cling to their old traditions, embrace strong family ties, and still travel in large ‘kumpanias‘ or family groups. The high-wheeled wagons have been replaced by campers pulled by pickup trucks and sedans. They snap selfies of themselves and have embraced much of the American and European lifestyles. They believe in God but also believe in ghosts and evil spells. Upon reaching their destinations, they live in Gypsy camps located in the periphery of the city and stay for days at a time, much to the dismay of the local police and city leaders.

The modern-day Gypsy has certainly evolved from the way they lived in the 1800s, as I’ve depicted them. They are better educated, more affluent, less transient.  They labor at jobs like roofing, laying blacktop, or training horses. The older generation insist that the younger marry Gypsies to protect their race. Of course, as is inevitable, the youth follow their own minds, and the bloodlines have become diluted from inter-marrying.

Still, they have a fascinating history that time will never take away.

Until next time . . . Baxt hai sastimos tiri patragi – Romani for “Wishing luck and good health”

Have you ever met a Gypsy?

(My mother has told how they would come to her family’s farm for food, and my grandmother always gave them something to eat.)

Do you or your family have any quirks the rest of us would think a bit strange?

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Sale extended for this blog!

Liza was born to roam the land with her mother’s people, but she is shamed by the sin that made her forever different.

Reese has set down roots deep in the Nebraska prairie.  His dreams are sure to come true with a new railroad and a proper wife and child.

But Liza is accused unfairly by Reese’s people, and she is forced to flee the security of her world to see safety in his.  When Reese’s careful plans for success are threatened, he must fight to save all he’s ever worked for.

Will it cost him the love he’s found with the beautiful, black-eyed woman with red-gold hair?  His Lady Gypsy?

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Wanted: Homes for Orphan Children – by Pam Crooks

Perhaps it’s the mother in me, but the story of the orphan trains has always captivated and dug into my innermost sympathies.  Images of dirty-faced, solemn-eyed children huddling together in the streets without parents to care for them would tug at anyone’s heartstrings.

Back in the 1850s, when New York was being flooded with immigrants, cheap housing became scarce. Poverty raged, and parents, either due to illness, death, or lack of jobs, compelled their children to fend for themselves on the streets.  These desperate children sold matches, rags, or newspapers to survive. As one would think inevitable, they fell victim to gangs and crimes. Overwhelmed police would capture the vagrant children and lock them up in jail with adults.

The Reverence Charles Brace, himself from an affluent family, took pity on the children and founded the Children’s Aid Society in 1853. He raised money for schools, lodging, and education.  Yet even with all this, the illiteracy and truancy was rampant, and the reverend’s solution was to get them out of the deplorable living conditions in New York and give them a new start by finding them fresh homes in the west, with good Christian families who would love and care for them.

Using funds donated by wealthy New Yorkers, the children were given new clothes and sturdy shoes, then put onto trains. With no formal social welfare system in place, parents signed agreements allowing the children to be taken to new homes, but with the caveat that they could return if the adoption didn’t work out.

Some children were pre-placed into homes and went directly to their new families upon arriving to the appropriate town.

For the others, however, handbills announced their impending arrival.  The public gathered in front of makeshift stages to check the children out. Reverend Brace’s intention was to place them in the country where they could work in farm families.

And this is what inspired my book, WYOMING WILDFLOWER. Here’s the scene where my hero, Lance Harmon, finally gets chosen:

The wind howled and whistled outside Omaha’s Old Opera House, but the men and women crowded inside had long ago forgotten the snow-driven cold. Children occupied their full attention, orphan children newly arrived on the train from New York.

Already, under the scrutinizing eyes of the adults, they’d paraded through the aisles before standing in a semicircle on the stage, and already most of them had been picked.

Only Lance remained. Unchosen. Alone.

Humiliation seared him. He stared straight ahead. So what if no one wanted him? So what if no one cared enough to take him in for a little while? He was fifteen, the oldest of the orphans here. Only two more years and he’d be on his own.

So what?

He’d survived nearly five years at the Children’s Aid Society. Nearly five years without Ma, of selling matches and newspapers and helping the Reverend Brace take care of the younger boys.

He could survive a couple more.

The western agent in charge would simply take him to the next scheduled stop. And there, as now, he’d stand perfectly still while everyone gawked at him in his stupid orphan uniform and tried to decide whether or not to take him.

Alone. He would survive.

Lance dragged his gaze to a burly-chested man waiting expectantly before him. Snow dusted the shoulders of his thick sheepskin coat and collected on the brim of his big hat. He moved closer, emanating an obscure vapor of cool, fresh air.

After a long moment, the man reached out and poked Lance’s biceps, then tilted his chin upward as if to inspect his coloring.

“A little scrawny,” he murmured. Offended, Lance stiffened and pulled away. The man smiled. “But nothing honest work and square meals won’t cure. You got a good appetite?”

Lance didn’t tell him he couldn’t get his fill at the orphanage, that there always seemed to be someone younger and hungrier than himself at the table. He tried to ignore the glimmer of hope flickering within him.

The man stroked his pencil-thin mustache. Lance, growing uneasy from the silence, shifted from one foot to the other.

“So you’re looking for a home, eh?” the man asked finally.

Lance swallowed his pride. “Yes, sir.”

“And I’m looking for a son.” His features softened, and he nodded in approval. He extended his hand. “Name’s Mancuso. Vince Mancuso.”

The Children’s Aid Society had many success stories of children placed in loving homes, notably Andrew Burke and John Brady who once lived on the streets, but were adopted out and grew up to become governors of North Dakota and of Alaska.  Other stories weren’t so happy and speak of abuse or rejection by adoptive parents, children used only as cheap labor who eventually just ran away.

All in all, the Reverend Brace’s vision endured until 1929. By then, 250,000 children had been placed on those trains and chugged down the tracks toward new homes.  After 75 years, his efforts were the forerunner of modern foster care.

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(Only 99¢ but this sale is ending VERY soon!)

WYOMING WILDFLOWER is one of my earlier releases that I have given significant edits to fit the sweet romance genre.  This book has once again come alive for me in a new market, and yet still depicts the grittiness of the Old West as well as plenty of romance between a hero and a heroine who couldn’t be more different.

The Reverence Brace is to be commended for his vision and passion to help orphaned children. If you could raise the money and resources, what passion or vision do YOU have that you could use those resources for?

You could win an ebook copy of WYOMING WILDFLOWER!

 

Mail-Order Brides…and Husbands ~ by Jodie Wolfe

I’ve always found the topic of mail-order brides fascinating. Men predominantly settled the western part of the United States. They went in search of gold, to build ranches and homesteads and soon found themselves desiring to have a wife for companionship and to enjoy the new life they’d built. They didn’t want to go back east to find a bride, so they advertised for one to join them in their new endeavor. In fact, there’s was a whole magazine devoted to this called Matrimonial News. Others ran ads in newspapers across the country.

They were often very specific about what they were looking for. Here’s a listing from https://truewestmagazine.com/article/mail-order-brides/.

“A gentleman of 25 years old, 5 feet 3 inches, doing a good business in the city, desires the acquaintance of a young, intelligent and refined lady possessed of some means, of a loving disposition from 18 to 23 and one who could make home a paradise.”

Sometimes the couple exchanged multiple letters before the bride arrived. On rare occasions, photographs (tintypes) were sent ahead of time. Often when the bride arrived, they married immediately while some took time to get to know each other a little bit better once they were face to face. There even were some who married by proxy ahead of time.

While it’s fun to write about, I don’t think I’d have the gumption to be a mail-order bride. Do you think you would?

But it wasn’t only men who were looking for a bride. On rare occasions, women advertised for a mail-order husband. Which is the premise of the beginning of my new book, Wooing Gertrude. My heroine sends off for a mail-order groom. But things don’t turn out quite the way she intended. Here’s a look at my new book.

Wooing Gertrude

Enoch Valentine has given up finding peace for his past mistakes. He throws everything he has into being the new part-time deputy in Burrton Springs, Kansas while maintaining the foreman position at a local horse ranch. But when trouble stirs on the ranch, he questions whether he’s the right man for either job.

Peace has been elusive for most of Gertrude Miller’s life, especially under the oppressiveness of an overbearing mother. She takes matters into her own hands and sends for a potential husband, while also opening her own dress shop. Gertrude hopes to build a future where she’ll find peace and happiness.

Will either of them ever be able to find peace?

BUY WOOING GERTRUDE

 

What circumstances would cause you to either be a mail-order bride or send off for a mail-order husband?

Leave a comment to win an ebook copy of WOOING GERTRUDE!

Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and Faith, Hope, & Love Christian Writers (FHLCW). She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at http://www.jodiewolfe.com.

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.

Let’s welcome Regina Walker!

First, I want to thank the gracious women here at Petticoats and Pistols for inviting me to be here today. I love what they have created, and I feel very honored to be included.

When I started writing Mercy in Montana, I knew I wanted to have the sisters and their father together at the Kentucky Derby. I don’t know why I wanted that, but I did. Maybe I was using fiction to imagine being there myself.

One of my favorite things about fiction is being transported to places I’ve never been—places I hope to go and places I’ll never go. Whether I am reading or writing, my mind can conjure up a picture and raise emotions and sensations that make the trek to far-off places seem real.

Since the start of the Kentucky Derby in 1875, men and women have attended in “full morning dress.” Col. Meriweather Lewis Clark Jr. attended the Grand Prix de Paris in 1872 and decided to create a high-profile horse race when he returned to America. The high fashion of the Kentucky Derby added to the allure of the event and drew in crowds wanting to show off their finest apparel.

Comfortable and luxurious, Col. Meriweather Lewis Clark Jr. wanted the Kentucky Derby to remind people of horse racing in Europe. Spending a day at Churchill Downs, especially on Derby Day was an opportunity to be seen sporting the latest fashions.

Fashion was important for the five Graham sisters and having grown up as part of high society, the opportunity to attend such an important event as the Kentucky Derby was momentous. Unfortunately for them, there was a shadow overhanging their outing. While fashion mattered to these young ladies before their lives changed forever, it takes a backseat to the peril they face together and separately.

I’ve never been very interested in fashion, aside from a year or so in my late teens. Fashion sense is something that escapes me entirely and I can scarcely put together a nice outfit to save my life. I worked in the office of a country club some 13 years ago, and was required to dress much nicer than at any job I’d previously held. I became quite thankful for the styled mannequins in various stores. I would buy exactly the clothes to make the outfit on the mannequin. I never did master mixing and matching my pieces to make multiple outfits.

As a mom, when I found out we were adding our first girl (we had 4 boys already), I was terrified. I knew I didn’t have what it takes to help a girl become a young lady. I’m not the most ladylike woman on the planet. I’m not good with makeup, hair, or fashion. But my daughters have taught me that it takes more than hair, makeup, and fashion to make a woman. These things come naturally to my older daughter, but the younger one has a style all her own.

 

How about you? Do you have an inherent or learned fashion sense? Or did you (like me) decide fashion sense just wasn’t your forte? Also, have you ever been to the Kentucky Derby? Would you go? Do exquisite hats and lovely dresses appeal to your finer senses?

Leave a comment, and you might win an e-book copy of Mercy in Montana!

BLURB:  In the heart of the untamed West, Charlotte Graham and her four sisters seek refuge from a dangerous family secret. Raised in the bustling streets of New York, they embark on a treacherous journey, accepting mail-order bride offers as their only hope for escape.

Alfred Winston, a rugged cattleman and owner of a sawmill, is a man haunted by his father’s harsh words, always believing he fell short. A recluse, he hides from the world until fate intervenes. When Delaney, his sister-in-law, places an ad for a mail-order bride, Alfred’s life takes an unexpected turn.

As Charlotte steps into his life, Alfred’s protective instincts awaken, and he finds himself drawn to this resilient woman. Together, they’ll confront the shadows of their pasts, seeking faith, hope, and healing in the vast and unforgiving frontier. Can love conquer the ghosts that haunt them and provide the salvation they so desperately seek?

Join Charlotte and Alfred on a captivating journey of love, redemption, and the power of faith in this Christian historical romance, where the rugged West becomes the backdrop for a story of hope that defies the odds.

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Regina Walker, a spirited author with a passion for penning captivating tales, finds her inspiration in the enchanting fusion of Jesus and horses. As she roams the great outdoors, her heart sings in harmony with nature’s melodies, as the Holy Spirit whispers secrets to fuel her vibrant storytelling.
With an unwavering devotion to her craft, Regina fearlessly confronts life’s toughest trials through the journeys of her compelling characters. Guided by her unwavering faith, she fearlessly weaves narratives that illuminate the path to redemption and resilience.

A Chef, a Cook, and a Sweet Romance

Tomorrow is the day!

Release day for Challenging the Chef!

I’m thrilled to share this book with you because it was such a joy to write Owen and Tawni’s story.

Owen had it all. A skyrocketing career as a celebrity chef, a life in New York many only dream of. But when his uncle needed him, Owen walked away from it all. After his uncle’s death, he stayed in Summer Creek, a small-town full of people who flock to Owen’s restaurant, and not just because it’s the only place open for dinner.

Tawni loves to cook, and is excited about learning from the celebrity chef she had a crush on during her enter last year of college.

But when these two meet, nothing is like their expectations.

 

When an interloper arrives in his kitchen, will romance start to simmer?

Chef Owen Thorpe left behind his celebrity status when he moved to Summer Creek. The quaint town and country atmosphere allow him to seek solace in his recipes. His peace and quiet is threatened when he’s coerced into being part of a big auction package that includes the winner spending a week cooking with him in his restaurant. The last thing he wants is some chef wannabe in his way. However, the real danger he faces is losing his heart when the winner turns out to be a beautiful woman who knows her way around a kitchen.

Burdened by the weight of her demanding career as a school psychologist, Tawni Young turns to cooking and gardening to escape from the never-ending stress of her work. When her aunt gifts her an auction package that includes cooking lessons in the small town of Summer Creek, Tawni realizes the chef she’ll be working with is none other than a celebrity she had a huge crush on during her college years. From the moment the two of them meet, an undeniable attraction sizzles while wits collide.

As they embark on a tantalizing journey of culinary delights, will Tawni and Owen discover the most important ingredient is love?

In this heartwarming and deliciously wholesome tale, Challenging the Chef takes readers on a savory adventure filled with sweet romance.

You can read the first chapter here!

Read the entire Summer Creek Series!

  • Catching the Cowboy
  • Rescuing the Rancher
  • Protecting the Princess
  • Distracting the Deputy
  • Guiding the Grouch
  • Challenging the Chef

What’s one thing you do to relax or unwind? 

Please share your answer in the comments.

I like to bake!

Also, if you haven’t yet, you can download a free Summer Creek themed bundle of goodies that includes a short story, printable bookmarks, a puzzle, coloring pages, and a recipe!

A New Venture into the World of Short Stories

Howdy!

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.

The other two stories are MOON WOLF AND MISS ALICE and RED HAWK AND THE MERMAID.

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.

Always Time For Hope

Yes, indeed there’s always time for hope and the holidays always fill my heart to the brim. I’m so looking forward to Christmas. The last few weeks I’ve felt fall in the air and it’s made the anxiousness even worse. We’ve gotten so much good rain and I feel very blessed.

HOPE’S ANGEL came out last year about this time and is set in the fictional town of Genesis where the real town of Thurber, Texas once was a thriving community. It contained the only coal mine in the state and it was also the only company run town. It was owned by the Texas and Pacific Coal Company. Nothing was free enterprise, not even the doctor. Everyone was paid in company script that could only be spent in the company store.

My fictional hero, Jericho Cane, lives there and he and his partner sell beef to the company to feed the miners. But Jericho never steps foot out of his house until after everyone goes to sleep. He suffered a horrible accident that’s left him horribly scarred so townsfolk call him a monster. He only goes out under cover of darkness.

Christmas holds painful memories so it’s nothing he wants to celebrate. His daylight hours are spent working on the sculpture of an angel holding the hand of a little girl. He doesn’t know what he’s going to do with it when it’s done and he doesn’t care. It’s for himself really.

But a pretty new doctor arrives and she’s not frightened of him. She sees his pain and is determined to help him. She’ll find him something worth living for.

I wrote the first five chapters of this story eight years ago and set it aside when I began writing for Sourcebooks. I ran across it recently and decided to finish and self-publish it. This story of acceptance and compassion needs to be read.

But back to Thurber. In 1886, immigrants flooded in from Italy, Germany, Ireland, and many other countries, all looking for work. The Texas and Pacific Coal Company hired all ages–even boys as young as fourteen. This picture of a group of them isn’t very good but I see the look of despair on their faces and want to cry. Immigrants had it so rough and were taken advantage of at every turn.

Once the coal played out, the company turned to manufacturing brick. They paved half the streets in our growing state a great many of which are still being used today.

I visited Thurber a couple of times only it’s now a ghost town. Nothing much remains except one restaurant called The Smoke Stack. If you’re ever that way, stop in. The food is excellent. My sister and I visited the cemetery and were struck by the sheer number of children’s graves. I’m not sure what happened to them but it was very sad seeing the little lambs on top of the tombstones. Maybe some kind of epidemic would be my guess.

Jericho Cane and Irish doctor Kathleen O’Shea have quite a story to tell and I hope you enjoy it. This sweet romance is $2.99 in Kindle Unlimited and the print book is $9.99.

If you haven’t gotten in the holiday spirit yet, maybe this will do it. I know a good many of you read Christmas books all year and that’s good. I’ll have this available in Audible next month so look for that.

How do you choose which holiday stories to read? Christmas in the title, the cover, the price, or by the author? I’m giving away three ebook copies so don’t forget to leave a comment.

Linda Broday

A New Book, A New Lesson

 

I’m excited for Aiming for His Heart to be released on June 30th. Writing this book, the tenth story in our Pink Pistol Sisterhood series, challenged me in many ways. First, at 40,000 words, it’s the shortest story I’ve written. I hear those who know me well laughing because you know I can’t say hello in less than fifty words. 🙂  In my first writing classes, the instructor asked if I was taking her class on writing tighter. To my I hadn’t decided answer, she responded that I needed to. Despite hard work on that, I struggled 60,000 word Harlequin novels within the overage allowance.

I also had less time to write this story. When I start a book, I count on two things happening. I’ll start in the wrong place, either too far into the story or too far . I’ll take wrong turns. Sure enough. Both happened with Aiming for His Heart. In fact, the wrong turns were so disastrous I pretty much started over once. Maybe twice. While I was proud of writing in the shorter time frame, as a tortoise writing (unlike many of my amazing rabbit speed writing filly sisters), doing so took its toll.

However, the main challenge came from my heroine, Jade. Boy did she and I get into a battle of wills. Okay. I hear you laughing again. Yes, I know I can be stubborn, too. ? Our trouble started during brainstorming. My story ideas almost always start with the hero. In fact, only one hasn’t. But in the Pink Pistol Sisterhood series the heroine receives the pink-handled pistol which plays a key part in the story. This meant the story needed to begin with Jade. Until I learned her backstory, her personality, and what she wanted, I couldn’t move forward. And blast the woman, she wouldn’t let me into her head.

I knew Jade’s mother died when Jade was ten. From then until she went attended college, Jade spent summers and school vacations with her maternal aunt in Oklahoma. There Jade found the love and acceptance she often didn’t receive from her workaholic, distant father and his new family. Jade revealed her past to me, but after that, she shut down. All she revealed was she was returning to Oklahoma to settle her aunt’s estate.

Anyone who’s taken on that task knows how emotionally and physically exhausting it is. Despite putting Jade in stressful situations, she remained distant, almost emotionless. Thankfully, while talking to my dear friend and critique partner, Nancy Haddock, I realized Jade acted that way because she didn’t want to feel anything. She didn’t want to let anyone in. I finally had my key to her character. Jade feared if she felt anything, especially grief, she’d fall apart and never recover. She viewed her emotions as the enemy because when she lost control of them, chaos and disaster followed.

Being a sinister author, I had to break her. But as often happens in my stories, in busting through my character’s defenses and forcing them to face their issues, I make a discovery of my own. I learned I had been at war with my emotions lately. Because I had been feeling too much for lack of better words, I didn’t want to feel anything and had shut down in some ways, too. Forcing Jade to deal with her emotions forced me to grow and deal with mine, too. I guess, not only do I write what I know, sometimes I write about what I need to learn.

GIVEAWAY:  To be entered in my random drawing for cactus tote leave a comment about a challenge that made you grow and what you learned or what new skill you acquired.

 

Instant Attraction? It happens!

A new story. A new series. Book #7 of the Pink Pistol Sisterhood! I’m so excited.

As you know from Karen’s and Shanna’s stories this pink pistol with a legend attached gets passed from book to book. The woman in possession of the pistol can either accept or reject the call. But if she chooses to open her heart to the possibility of love, she will marry the man of her dreams.

I loved the premise of this series when Pam, Karen, Shanna, and Jessie first presented it. And how special that the Fillies could do it as a group. It was a wonderful idea.

My story is about Mariah Bartee, a young woman trying to raise her brother and sister after the deaths of their parents. She’s lived all her life in the Rocky Mountains of northern Colorado. But she dreams of going to the city that’s only thirty miles away. Without a vehicle, it might as well be the moon.

The arrival of a handsome stranger, Dax Nolan, shakes up her small world. He’s a cowboy searching for his little sister who was abducted.

When Mariah glanced up into Dax Talon’s serious brown eyes, she found him staring at her. Something in the manner of his look reminded her of summer lightning—quick with a flash of heat. Flustered, she missed a step and landed on his foot.

An attraction sparks even though she doesn’t trust strangers. Mariah finds herself agreeing to help Dax search for his sister. She warns him of the immense danger then armed with her shotgun, she leads him up the mountain to this family of moonshiners. A tip Dax had gotten told him to find the Tylers and he’d find his sister.

But…Mariah’s siblings found some bones up on the mountain, picked clean by the wild animals. Could they be Dax’s sister’s bones?

Mystery, suspense, and a blossoming romance lead to the satisfying conclusion of the 7th Pink Pistol story.

It’s available for preorder HERE. Karen Witemeyer’s and Shanna Hatfield’s books are already out. Pick them up and start following the Pink Pistol as it travels the country.

The Pink Pistol Sisterhood Series Page

And as you know, we have the FREE Pink Pistol magazines on Book Funnel. We’ve published three with a fourth soon to be available.

   

Link to Magazine 1 – Click Here     Link to Magazine 2 – Click Here     Link to Magazine 3 – Click Here 

Do you believe in instant attraction? I was instantly attracted to my second husband. I was waiting tables in a steakhouse when he came in and sat in my station. Oh man, I thought he was the most handsome, most interesting guy I’d ever met! His deep voice sent tingles through me.

I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one of my commenters so weigh in.