Margaret’s Winners

Thank you so much for sharing your Thanksgiving day  It was fun reading through your comments.  Congratulations on keeping the Thanksgiving spirit alive.  

It gives me great pleasure to announce the three winners.

Julie Butler

Janice H.  

Jen K.                  

To receive your Amazon gift cards, send an email to me at margaretbrownley1@gmail. com

Cowboys, Christmas, and a Giveaway!

 

Who doesn’t love a cowboy? Mix them with Christmas and you have some of the best books of the year! Not to mention events. Sadly with everything going on in the world, many events have been canceled. Such as the Cowboy Christmas retail event held in the Las Vegas Convention Center every year during the two-week National Finals Rodeo events. Sigh, I’ve always wanted to go. Maybe next year.

In the meantime, I’ll read some of the wonderful Christmas stories available and get lost in some stories. In fact, some folks love these stories so much they read them all year long! And why not? They’re fun, romantic, and full of cowboys!

What is the allure of the cowboy? I have a book releasing next week, A Cowboy for Christmas. There are times in the story where the heroine, Amy Jo, can’t take her eyes off the hero, Clay. When she asks herself why it’s because he’s a cowboy. You see she grew up with the same romanticized version of the cowboy that a lot of us did. We forget how hard it was and still is to be a cowboy. We may have modern conveniences like pick up trucks and modern machinery to make ranch life easier, but the fact remains, it can still be back-breaking work at times.

My sister knows a rancher in central Oregon. One of these days I’d like to spend time with this gentleman on his ranch and get a good idea of what “a day in the life of a modern cowboy” is like. That and I’ve always wanted to see his ranch. He does a mix of cattle and horses and at times comes to this side of the mountain to hold horse clinics that my sister attends. We also have bought beef from him. I call him Cowboy Ron.

So while I look forward to visiting Cowboy Ron’s ranch in the spring, I’ll continue to read one of my favorite combinations, cowboys, and Christmas. Because between snippets of reading amidst all the writing I do, it will take me until spring to get through my “to be read pile” I have!

For a free e-copy of my new book, A Cowboy for Christmas, what are some of your favorite books featuring Cowboys and Christmas? I’m sure there are a lot I haven’t got my hands on! I’ll pick a random winner from the comments below.

 

Thanksgiving Idea of my very own

Today is going to be short

 

But VERY sweet.

It’s pie.

In the last 18 months we’ve found out my husband has celiac disease. So NO GLUTEN. It’s been a shocking change in lifestyle. He’s been heroic about it. But then I think his belly hurt BAD.

So now we’re a gluten free household (Okay, I occasionally sneak a slice of bread)

And I am the official pie maker in my family.

Well, guess what I found out. The crust in pie (that gluteny little devil) is not an essential part of the pie!

So here is the pecan pie recipe I’ve used for years for my family and it is COMPLETELY UNCHANGED.

Except I poured it into a well-buttered baking dish (I chose a casserole dish rather than a pie pan) without any crust.

It was delicious.

We had no complaints and no problem devouring the whole thing.

Give it a try if you’re trying to be gluten free.

Pecan Pie

This is the easiest pie ever.

In mixing bowl combine:

3 eggs

2/3 C. sugar

½ t. salt

1/3 C. butter (melted)

1 C. corn syrup

 

Mix all ingredients together just until they are blended, add:

1 C. pecan pieces

mix slightly. Pour into unbaked crust. Cover pie with sheet of aluminum foil, just lay it over the top don’t crimp the edges. Bake at 350 for 40 or 50 minutes, uncovering for the last 10 or 15 minutes. Pie is done when knife comes out clean. I like to over bake it. The pie gets a carmelly…delicious texture that only comes with time.

The pie will have a beautiful domed shape when its done, then you’ll take it our and it will fall. That’s normal.

To bake this pie with the crust…add crust. 🙂 For best results, add the crust UNDER the filling.

I made a lemon meringue pie this way and a pumpkin. You won’t even miss that crust.

Winner! Winner! For Karen Kay’s book, The Eagle and the Flame

Howdy!

Many, many thank yous to all of you who came to the blog today.  Each and every one of you made the day special for me.

We do have a winner for the book, The Eagle and the Flame.  And that winner is:

Teresa Warner

Congratulations Teresa.  The book can be an e-book or print book — your choice.  Please do contact me personally at karen kay(dot)author(at)startmail(dot)com — insert a (.) for (dot) and (@) for (at).

Again, thank you all for coming to the blog yesterday and leaving your thoughts.

 

 

IRON WOLF’S BRIDE, Coming November 15th — Give Away

Howdy!

Welcome to another Terrific Tuesday!  

Am really excited to let you know that my newest effort, IRON WOLF’S BRIDE is due to be released on November 15th.  Yea!

So, I thought I’d give you a quick glance at the cover and a little excerpt from the book, as well as the blurb.  Hope you’ll enjoy the excerpt!

IRON WOLF’S BRIDE

By

Karen Kay

BACK BLURB:

I will return to you, my love…

Jane Glenforest’s father believed she was too young to marry, so he’d stolen her and her newborn son away from the handsome Assiniboine Indian she’d wed and taken her to Surrey, England. In spite of divorce papers and rumors he’s wed another, Jane’s never forgotten the man who’d stolen her heart and given her son legitimacy. When Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show comes to England—bringing her ex-husband with it—Jane’s curious to see her lost love, in spite of her new fiancé.

Although Iron Wolf’s purpose in working for Bill Cody’s Wild West show is to fulfill his father’s vision to find and stop a deceiver, he fell in love with and married Jane Glenforest.  But, no sooner had Jane given birth than her father stole her away.  Now, a few years later, Iron Wolf is arriving in England with the hope of rekindling the love he once shared with Jane.  However, instead of love, he finds his wife loathes him, believing he has married another.  And, when he discovers she is engaged to another man, he declares war on both her and the fiancé.

But when their son is kidnapped, Jane and Iron Wolf must work together to rescue him. And, as danger escalates, they discover trusting each other might be the only way to save their son.  Will Jane and Iron Wolf learn to forgive one another, to reignite the embers of a passion that never died, or will the lies of a deceiver destroy their love forever?

Warning:  Rediscovered love might cause sleepless nights spent in the arms of one’s true love.

Iron Wolf’s Bride

An Excerpt:

Despite the warmth of the evening, the marble flooring of the foyer was cold beneath Jane’s slippers.  She was gazing forward, looking out the floor-to-ceiling windows which graced the manor’s entryway.  Lacy, white curtains framed the windows, and, as Jane reached out to touch their softness, she recalled the feel of a smooth, deerskin bag that Iron Wolf had given her upon their marriage.  She’d had to leave it behind.

Iron Wolf…  How she wished that this evening were already over.

Biting her lip, she looked forward once more, out the window.  There were so many carriages out there; there must have been fifty or more of them, carrying the cast from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show here tonight.  And, one by one they pulled into the sweeping driveway of her uncle’s red-brick mansion.

The hour was early evening, and the many lanterns—which were scattered here and there along the brick drive—shone with a hazy light into the mist of the darkness, causing small pockets of foggy light to glitter, as though held there by a ghostly hand.  It caused the carriages to be appear to be as dark and as dreary as a funeral procession.

A shiver rushed over Jane’s skin as she realized that the ghosts from her past had come to haunt her tonight.  Iron Wolf would be amongst these people, and her tension because of this knowledge was so great, she held onto Nathaniel with a tight grip on his arm.  Luckily, he didn’t seem to mind and he patted her hand, his touch reassuring and gentle.

That her uncle had invited the entire cast of the Wild West Show to his estate was to Jane not to be believed, especially because tonight should have been the celebration party of her marriage to Nathaniel.  But, her uncle had explained that because the musicians had already been hired and an assortment of cooks were still on hand to provide the dinner, the original form of the party had changed from being a quiet dinner party to a ball and a sit-down dinner.

Why was her uncle honoring Bill Cody’s Wild West Show?  Didn’t he disdain those public gatherings which he labeled as “spectacles”?  Was it because Jane’s sister, Luci, performed with the show?  Perhaps.

And, of course Luci would be present here tonight, as would Luci’s husband, Wind Eagle.  Blue Thunder would also be present…and Iron Wolf.  There would be little chance she could avoid her former husband this evening, since he and his two friends were known to be Buffalo Bill’s most popular act—popular, that is, with the ladies.

During The Wild West’s long run, the threesome’s performances—which included not only daring feats of horsemanship, but also expert marksmanship—had gained steady popularity.  Indeed, a few years past, the three young men had added the American Indian style of singing and dancing as part of their entertainment.  From there, and because of that, the number of tickets sold to those of the female gender—young and old—had tripled the income of the show, if one were to believe the newspapers.  Indeed, her uncle had informed her that Buffalo Bill had asked the three young men to entertain this small gathering of London’s “elect” which was to be present here tonight.

At the moment, she could do little more than wonder how she was to get through the evening with her emotions still intact.  Pray, it might be the greatest acting performance of her life, since she was upset with them all: her sister, Wind Eagle, Blue Thunder and especially Iron Wolf.  But, she would sooner die from the heartbreak they had caused her than to openly show the hurt of their two-and-a-half-year indifference.  She promised herself that she would paste her most cordial smile onto her countenance, and she would grin as though her life depended upon it…and perhaps it did.

Jeremy, her son, would not be present at the festivities tonight, and for this Jane was indebted to Marci, who would attend to him and ensure his bedtime schedule remained the same as usual.  More commonly, Jane saw to her son’s nighttime storytelling and to the delightful chore of tucking him into bed.  Often, when there was a party, Jeremy was permitted to attend it.

But not tonight.  Tonight she needed every bit of her attention focused upon her smile and getting through the evening without grief and tears. 

Suddenly her heart seemed to stop.  There he was, exiting a carriage and stepping toward the house in the casual manner he seemed to have perfected.  His friends, Wind Eagle and Blue Thunder, as well as Jane’s sister, Luci, flanked him on either side.  Suddenly Jane’s breathing stopped and her heart raced, reminding her that she had not yet healed from the wounds Iron Wolf had inflicted upon her.

How innocent she had been back then, although, if she were to be honest, she would admit to wishing to be so happy again.  Ah, if life could only be like that once more.

She sighed, noticing at the same time that her sister, Luci, was dressed as she usually was when she performed with the show—as a boy—and Jane was startled to witness it.  Surely, Luci didn’t have to still pretend to be someone she was not, did she?  Didn’t she realize that dressing as a boy here would give away her true identity?

Whatever the reason for the disguise, it made Jane feel uneasy.  Was there a continuing danger to Luci and to herself, as well, that demanded her sister continue the disguise?

But, she quickly forgot the question, when, seeing Iron Wolf walk slowly toward her, Jane’s attention came away from her sister to focus squarely onto her former husband.  He wore his best clothing tonight, she noted, and he looked so handsome that she could not suppress the soft gasp which fell from her lips.

A tanned-buckskin shirt and leggings seemed to caress his casual movements, and she realized she had rarely seen him dress in this manner, for Buffalo Bill provided the cotton shirts and trousers that the American Indian performers wore.  His style of buckskin clothing was adorned with beads set in round designs of orange, blue and yellow colors, and the same scheme was repeated on his breechcloth and his moccasins.  She caught sight of the several feathers that were fastened together and fell down from the back of his head, disappearing from her view as Iron Wolf stepped readily forward.  He had left his hair loose and long tonight, the whole of it thrown over his shoulders. There was no bow in his hands or quiver full of arrows upon his back, but still, she could see that he was armed, for a colt .45 was neatly tucked into a holster that fit around his lower waist.

He had painted two streaks of red upon his cheeks, but he wore no other war paint.  From this distance, Jane’s stomach was already reacting in turmoil toward him, warning her of the danger he presented her.  But, she had no choice but to ignore it.  She had promised herself that she would play her part of a happy young lady tonight and nothing would distract her from that, pretense though it was.

The havoc of her emotional fears and grief, however, was so great, that when the four of them walked into the foyer, Jane thought she might faint.  But, she mustered up the act she had decided to present them, and, as she and Nathaniel paced toward the four of them, her grip on Nathaniel’s arm was so tight, it might have been made of iron instead of flesh and blood. 

She smiled at all four of them briefly, then said, “Luci, Wind Eagle, how are you?”

“We are well,” answered Wind Eagle.

“Good, I am glad to hear it.”  Jane smiled again, but couldn’t quite look at Iron Wolf as she continued, “Iron Wolf, Blue Thunder, you are both welcome here tonight.”

Blue Thunder nodded.  Iron Wolf, however, did nothing and said nothing, causing Jane to look up at him briefly.  In that glance, short as it was, she saw that he did not gaze at her, but had cast his glance upon her hand which remained clutched upon Nathaniel’s arm, while Nathaniel’s hand covered hers.

And then, before she could look away, Iron Wolf thrust his chin forward and stared down his nose at her, looking at her as though she were made of something distasteful.  He didn’t smile; he didn’t say a word.  And, the expression on his countenance—outside of disgust—was so blank that little other emotion could be seen there.

He continued to remain silent, though his brief look at Nathaniel could have melted steel.  But, instead of speaking, he turned quickly away from Jane and Nathaniel, following the other performers into the ballroom.  And Jane, glad to have the first introductions accomplished without error on her part, sighed.  Hopefully, the rest of the evening would go as planned.

***

To say that Iron Wolf was upset would not have done justice to the fury raging within him.  Who was that man?  Whoever he was, he had been touching her.  And worse, she had let him, had perhaps encouraged him, for her hand had rested on that man’s arm.

What had happened here in this strange country of England?  Was his wife’s love for him so lacking that she had placed another man in her affections?  He blew out a breath in revulsion.  It might be so.

Well, let them both look at and try to rationalize the performance he had this moment decided to give in this foreign and hostile place.  Their music featured both Wind Eagle and Blue Thunder as the vocalists in their trio.  Wind Eagle also kept time with a buffalo-hide drum and Blue Thunder accompanied the rhythm by shaking two different rattles.  While Iron Wolf also sang at times, he usually played his flute in these performances.  Also, he had become the group’s dancer.

For this, Iron Wolf was grateful.  His part in their performance tonight would allow him to give the presentation of his life.  She might not like what he was about to do, but he would ensure she would never again relegate him to the back recesses of her mind.

Áwicakeya, he dared her to forget about him again…ever.

***

Jane didn’t wish to view Iron Wolf’s and his friends’ act of drumming, singing and dancing.  Indeed, she wished she could be anywhere else but here, looking on.  But, it was not to be.

The gala which should have been her wedding party had turned sour.  Not that it was anyone else’s fault.  It was she, after all, who had postponed her wedding, and all because of one man, her former husband, Iron Wolf.

Servants had arranged the front of the ballroom into a stage for the performers, who were billed under their English names: Charles Wind Eagle, Luke Blue Thunder Striking, and of course her former husband, Michael Iron Wolf.  Chairs were clustered around the stage in five different rows.  After this performance, a ball was scheduled to follow, and, immediately after that, a sit-down dinner.

As the three men stepped forward, Iron Wolf turned so he was facing forward.  He caught her eye, and Jane drew in her breath sharply.  His look at her was so hostile, she had no choice but to look away.

Soon, the music began.  Both Wind Eagle and Blue Thunder were singing.  Blue Thunder took the lead with the song’s high-pitched intro.  Wind Eagle followed the lead, singing the same minor-keyed melody.  Wind Eagle beat out time on a hide-covered, hand-held drum, and Blue Thunder shook the two different rattles.  Iron Wolf wasn’t singing, instead he was playing his flute, but it wasn’t long before he began to dance.  Indeed, he was the only one of the three men who was dancing.

Too soon, it became evident that Iron Wolf was fashioning his performance to be much too personal, and Jane caught her breath as he stared directly at her while his dance took on a sensual, sexual nature, his hips jutting forward in time to the music.  Jane stirred uneasily, for a passionate sort of excitement was arising within her, and she didn’t wish to experience it.

As his dance continued in much the same manner, she wondered how much of this she could take.  Already recollections of their lovemaking from their not-too-distant past were materializing in her mind, and the reminiscence of their lovemaking flooded her body with an unwanted, yet passionate response.  As she watched, she couldn’t control the unwelcome, yet soul-stirring excitement which burned like fire over her nerve endings.  It was too much and she knew she had to get away.

But she couldn’t jump up suddenly and run from the room.  Her uncle, her aunt and even Nathaniel would be scandalized.  Briefly, she looked over her shoulder, searching for a reprieve.  But, all she saw were her uncle, Buffalo Bill and her uncle’s moneyed friends, who were standing or sitting toward the back of the room.

There was no comfort to be found there.  Looking forward again, her eyes met Iron Wolf’s angry and openly hostile gaze.  What did he have to be angry about?  It was she who was the victim of his scandalous affair.

Still, she wished now that Nathaniel hadn’t picked the front section of seats in order to watch the entertainment.  She had nowhere to go.

Luckily, Luci had taken up a position on Jane’s left while Nathaniel reposed on her right, and, despite Nathaniel’s presence beside her—perhaps because of it—Iron Wolf’s gaze at her did not allow to her look away.  All the while, his blatantly passionate dance made love to her.  Even his flute playing did not detract from the explicit, carnal manner of his movements.

Unfortunately for Jane, his dance was causing her usually conservative composure to shatter.  Suddenly, Iron Wolf squatted down on one knee, jutted his hips forward briefly, then jumped up with a vigor that proclaimed his youthful prowess.  The suggestive movement caused her heart to leap, and Jane wished she were embarrassed by his antics.  The truth was, however, she wasn’t.  She was responding to it—unwillingly, yes.  But, she was reacting to it all the same, and in kind.

She had to look away.  She tried to do so, but found it was impossible.  He was seducing her in front of everyone here, plain and simple.  With his legs spread apart, he fell down into a partial side-split, and, taking the mouthpiece of his flute out of his mouth, he held his hands up in the air as he slid back up into a standing position.  He then fell into a dance step—up and back, standing straight, then hunched over—all the while rocking and jutting his hips forward in so sensuous a manner, and in such an apparent, sexual way, it took Jane’s breath away.  Parts of her body appeared to be out of her control, being awakened by Iron Wolf’s display, and, try as she might to suppress the stirred-up lust he was causing, she couldn’t.  She gulped nervously.

Luci reached out to take Jane’s hand into her own, and Jane was glad of her presence beside her.  At last the music became low and soft, allowing Iron Wolf to speak out in English, and he said,

 

My wife, what has happened to us?

My wife, I have waited for you.

My wife, did you wait for me, honor me?

No, you did not.

And yet, my wife, I give you all of me now.

Will you take me?

It is not too late, my wife; it is not too late for us.”

 

His gaze was direct and piercing, and there was no doubt that his poetry was for no one but her.  In response, Jane could barely move; she couldn’t speak.

After his few words, the performance ended and he stepped quickly toward her.  But, Jane wasn’t about to confront him.  Not here, not now.

She jumped up as though there were a wound-up coil within her, and, turning around toward the entrance of the ballroom, she ran out of the room as fast as she could, aware of, but unable to look at the many curious glances sent her way.  She didn’t stop, nor did she pause.  Instead, she fled out into the foggy, darkened night, running along a pathway which led toward the gardens.  There was a labyrinth there that she knew well.  She intended to lose herself in it.  Now.

***

Iron Wolf followed her.  It was time to learn what was happening here.  Who was that man?

He intended this to be his first question to the woman who should be, and still was, his wife.  His second question to her would be why she believed he, her husband, had betrayed her.  But this could wait.

He noted that she had fled into a maze that was flanked by fragrant bushes which were taller than a man, and, were he not the scout and tracker he was, he might have become lost within these high shrubs, for the paths intersected one another and led in multiple directions.  But he didn’t lose his way.  He found her soon enough.

Once he had discovered her, he spoke out softly, so she might become aware he had followed her. “What is going on here?  Who is that man you were touching, the one who sat next to you?  What is he to you?”

Jane spun around, the look of surprise on her countenance quickly turning to anger.  She didn’t pause an instant, though, as she accused, “How dare you follow me!”

“I am your husband.  It is my duty to follow you.”

“Well, you can go away now.  I came here to be alone.”

Iron Wolf didn’t leave.  Instead, he repeated his question, for he intended it to be answered, and asked once more, “Who is that man?”

“That man?”

“The one you touched.  The one who sat beside you tonight.”

“He and I were to be married today.” 

She turned her back on him and Iron Wolf didn’t speak; he couldn’t, for he felt as though she had punched him in the gut.

She added, “We didn’t marry today, as it turns out, because I would like my sister to be a part of the marriage ceremony.  So we have postponed our wedding for the time being.  And now you see that I, too, might marry another, as you have.”

Although he wished to speak out loudly, to rage the truth at her, he found it impossible to find his tongue, and so he paused until at last he was able to say, “My wife, you have become like a wild pony in my absence.  How can you marry another when you are already married to me?”

“Am I?  Do you forget you divorced me?  And, how dare you call me ‘wild,’ when you…when you…”  Her voice caught.

He ignored the insult and said instead, “You have now accused me of this too many times.  Who has told this to you?”

“No one has ‘told’ it to me, as you say it.  It was written up in the newspapers, and I have the divorce papers that you signed, or have you conveniently forgotten that?  And, how dare you seduce me in front of all these people tonight; you, who are married to another.  Is she here tonight?  Does she care that you looked at me as you danced as though you were making love to me?”

She spoke so swiftly that he took a moment to understand all she had said, and then he asked, “Do you speak of the white-man’s newspapers where you saw my ‘wife’?”

“Of course.”

“Who showed this to you?”

“Does it matter?”

He sighed.  “Hau, hau, it matters.  I would ask you again, who has said this to you?”

“My uncle, if you must know.”

“Your uncle who owns this house?”

“Yes, indeed.”

Iron Wolf took a moment to collect his thoughts, then said, “You are wrong to believe these people, even if they be family.”

“So you can say easily enough.  But, my uncle is beyond reproach and I am certain he wouldn’t lie to me.  Besides, you forget that I have evidence of your betrayal of me.”

“No,” he countered, “what you have is ‘proof’ that is a lie.  And, now I say that it is good you did not marry that man this day, for had you done so, you would have committed a grave error, one I could not easily set aside.  So now, you must decide and choose between one or the other of us: me—your husband or that man.  For, even in my society, a woman may have only one husband.”

“I have already chosen, and that man is not you.”

Hau, then I will go.”

“Good.”

“But before I go, I wish to see these papers you have mentioned to me many times.  I would witness these lies with my own eyes.”

“They are not lies.”

He raised his voice.  “I say they are, and if you continue to tell me these untruths, I will say that you are a woman of no honor, who tells lies, as well.”

“How dare you shout at me, and how dare you say I am not honorable!”

He blew out his breath in an attempt to control his temper.  At length, he said, “I am a man who must be convinced.  Show me the papers you speak of, for I tell you true: I did not place my written name on anything.  I have no other wife, but you.  Why would I want another woman when the one I have is the sweetest, the most beautiful woman I have ever known or seen?  I ask you, why would I throw away the woman of my heart, for, if I were to do that, would I not destroy her and myself, too?”

He noted that the compliment, spoken as it was from his heart, might have found its target.  However, she did not respond favorably, and she turned her back upon him.

He encouraged, “Show me.”

When she turned around, she was crying, and his heart sank to realize that his raised voice and unkind words might have caused her grief.  Still, what he’d said had been true.

“Do you really think I stoop to tell fibs?  That I don’t have these things in my possession which show you betrayed me and then married another?”

“I would see them.”

She paused, as though she seriously considered his demand, even against her will.  At length, she said, “I suppose that might be a fair request.  So follow me.  I will show you, although I am certain you are already aware of what I am talking about.”

He nodded, but said nothing except, “Show me.  I will do as you ask and follow you.”

She turned around then and stomped out of the maze.  And, Iron Wolf, astonished again by the obvious—that this was no act and that his wife truly hated him— trailed after her.

*************************

Well, that’s it for now.  Look for the book November 15th, 2020 on Amazon.   Hope y’all will let me know if you like the cover as well as I do.  The male model is Lakota, by the way.  

Also, book #1 of the Wild West Series is on sale now for $.99.  It’s the first time this book has been put on sale for this low of a price.

You can get the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Itunes, but I’m going to leave the link here on the blog for Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/w49evpb

Also, I’ll be giving away a free e-book or paperback of the first book in The Wild West Series, THE EAGLE AND THE FLAME.  Remember to look at the rules we have here for giveaways.  Just leave a comment and you’re entered into the drawing.

The ‘Mother Road’

My agent is shopping my Women’s Fiction road-trip story. Here’s the blurb:

Trouble with the Curve meets Peace, Love and Misunderstanding.

Third generation Jacqueline Oliver was born to be a hippie; she resisted. Through a series of odd events, she finds herself with the hippie grandmother she resents on a Route 66 road trip that could save her business and answer the questions from her damaged past. Or drive her crazy.

I’ve ridden Route 66 a bunch on my motorcycle, and I even got to ride part of the abandoned section on a bicycle! But still, I had to do research. I came up with some amazing facts I didn’t know:

  • It was going to be named U.S. 60 but was changed to 66 as it did not run coast-to-coast.
  • The moniker Mother Road was coined by John Steinbeck in his novel “Grapes of Wrath” (1939).
  • Its original alignment went through Las Vegas and Santa Fe in New Mexico, but an irate governor re-routed it to bypass them in 1937 to punish politicians in Santa Fe.
  • The segment across San Bernardino County in California from Needles to Upland with 244 miles (393 km) is the longest segment within one county of the whole route and is 20 mi. longer than the distance between London and Liverpool in the UK.
  • The The expedition led by Lt. Edward Fitzgerald “Ned” Beale (1822 – 1893) to survey and build a wagon road from New Mexico to California, followed the 35th parallel, its course was later followed by Route 66. He used camels, imported from Tunis as pack animals. Though hardier than mules, the camels scared both horses and mules. The Army decided not to use camels in the future.
  • The route is over 2,000 miles long: 2,448 miles in 1926
  • Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Hollywood stars of the 1930s and 40s, spent their honeymoon in Oatman, Arizona. (I’ve seen that room!)
  • Pixar‘s 2006 animated film Cars had the working title of Route 66,
  • Wigwam Motels. There was a motel chain with rooms designed to resemble an Indian teepee. Two of these motels survive, one in San Bernardino, CA, the other in Holbrook, AZ.

And finally, the photo I used for inspiration while I was writing.

Mailboxes line the road beside the original alignment of Route 66 in Peach Springs, Arizona.

Have you ever ridden the Mother Road? There’s an eerie throwback vibe to it that seems to echo the past. If you haven’t been on it, I highly recommend a road trip!

Julie Benson’s Winner!!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by today to talk about wisdom we’ve learned from pets.

The winner of the mug and A Cure For the Vet is:

DHolcomb

Congratulations! Look for an email from me on how to claim your giveaway. Thank you everyone who spent part of your day with me. Stay safe out there!

                                      Julie

Barks To Live By

As I waited in the pharmacy for my flu shot, I checked out a book display. Among various inspirational books was Wise Dogs by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. and Dale C. Spartas. The book pairs words of wisdom with beautiful dog photos. The small book brightened my day and got me thinking.

Animals have always been there for me during good times and rough patches. They never judge, love unconditionally, are fantastic listeners, and never share my secrets.

Our newest addition to the family, Addie.

But pets offer more than companionship. Studies show they can improve our mood and immune systems, reduce stress, anxiety, and lower blood pressure. (A common statement in my house when someone’s cranky is “Will you pet a dog to lower your blood pressure and calm down?” It’s also a handy excuse. “Sorry. I can’t _______. I’m lowering my blood pressure now.”) There are stories of people who would’ve committed suicide if not for having a pet to care for.

I have a “Dogilosophy” coaster. If you can’t read it in the picture it says, “Listen more than you speak. Act like you have purpose. Appreciate a simple life. Give more than you receive. Be happy with what you have. Be a best friend.” What fabulous advice. Ever since, I’ve tried to follow this.

Jack and foster Mindy helping me write this post.

I’ve added to this list of what dogs and pets have taught me from Wise Dogs, bestlifeonline.com, and the Huffington Post.

  • Live in the moment/Enjoy life/Enjoy the journey—I think this is especially important now with social media. How often do we see people ignoring those around them in favor of their phone? Some people are so busy posting what they’re doing they’re not really present in what’s happening. I’ve learned sometimes the journey is more important than the destination. Wise Dogs says, “Who you’re with is always more important than where you are.”
  • Walk more—Very few of us get enough exercise. I know I don’t. (I’m adding walking the dogs more to my resolutions.)
  • Drink more water—Again I’m adding to things to work on in 2021!
  • Greet everyone with enthusiasm/Jump for joy when you’re happy—We don’t celebrate successes and the positives in our lives enough. Dogs do. Finding a stick, barking at a squirrel outside the window, their human coming back after checking for mail are all celebrated with gusto.
    Jack greeting my youngest son with enthusiasm!
  • Everyone needs a hand to hold and a heart to understand—This has been difficult with COVID-19. We need to find other ways to stay connected such as notes and phone calls.
  • Play and run daily—We need to have more fun!
  • Be loyal/Defend and protect those you love—Truly good friends are a rare gift and should be treated as such.
  • Don’t hold a grudge/Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship/Leave the past in the past—I’ve fostered dogs who came from terrible situations that are still capable of love. They don’t let their tragic past steal their future.
  • Family doesn’t have to be blood—I’m a big believer the one and the theme runs through many of my books.

Don’t have the time or space for a pet? Consider volunteering at an animal shelter walking dogs or playing with cats or dogs. Or, visit a friend with a pet. I bet you’ll receive health benefits.

As we thankfully approach the end of 2020, I pray 2021 is better for the people who have suffered or still are and may we all be a more like pets. I’ll leave you with one last quote from Wise Dogs. “May your dreams defy the laws of gravity.”

Today’s giveaway is a “live like someone left the gate open” (one of my favorite sayings) mug and A Cure For the Vet which contains my book The Rancher and the Vet. My heroine, Avery McAlister, is a veterinarian who runs an animal shelter. To be entered in the random drawing, comment on this question. Of the above lessons from dogs, what’s your favorite?