Renee’s Winner

Thanks for all the fabulous title ideas. What a fun day. I’ve put all the names in a hat and have pulled out…drumroll, please…LAURIE G. Laurie, email me at and we’ll work out what book you want. Congratulations!

We Have Two Winners!

As sometimes happens I picked two names out of the “hat” at the same time.  So let me post who those winners are:

Minna and Kirsten

If both of you could contact me personally at karenkay(dot)author(at)earthlink(dot)net — we’ll go over what books are available and what you might like.

My hearty thanks to all who came to the blog today and shared their stories with me.  I loved to hear from you all and your own personal experiences.  Again, thank you!

Old West Lawyers

When I first starting writing historical romance, I spent hours—okay, yes, weeks—getting lost in the research. It was often a challenge for me to know when to stop gathering information and start the actual writing of the story. I still struggle with finding that balance, but now I have a place to share some of what I learned in those hours of trolling books and Internet sites. That place is here, on this blog. Hurray for Petticoats & Pistols!

While working on my next Love Inspired Historical release, THE OUTLAW’S REDEMPTION (coming July 2013), I needed to know a bit more about 1880s law and, in particular, the lawyers who practiced in the Old West.

As you can imagine, lawyers in the old West were the effective instruments of change, often assuming roles that extended to politics, as well as all facets of social, economic and even religious life. By the late 19th century, lawyers were the champions of the people, marshaling order in the citizenry’s business and private lives. Although criminal cases received all the press, civil cases outweighed criminal cases five to one. By the 1870s, even Dodge City had 37 attorneys practicing law.

By 1875, the United States court system and legal procedures in the settled parts of the country were mature and sophisticated. However, law schools were uncommon in the United States until the late 19th century. Most people entered the profession by reading the law as an apprentice under the supervision of an experienced lawyer. This usually encompassed the reading of the works such as Edward Coke’s Institutes of the Lawes of England and William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. This type of training was the norm until the 1890s. In fact, a number of jurisdictions in this country still permit this practice, but exact rules vary per state.

The first institution established for the sole purpose of teaching law was the Litchfield Law School, founded in 1773. Within a few years following the American Revolution, the College of William and Mary and the University of Pennsylvania established a “Chair in Law.” However, this individual professor merely gave lectures designed to supplement, rather than replace, an apprenticeship.

Harvard University, Yale University and Columbia University eventually set up their own programs. However, law school attendance remained a rare exception until the 1890s, when the burgeoning American Bar Association began insisting states limit admission to the bar to those who had completed several years of instruction at a formal institution beyond college graduation.

Even still, it wasn’t until 1906 that the Association of American Law Schools adopted a requirement of a three-year course of study. And like I said above, even today some states allow an applicant who has not attended law school the right to take the bar exam after reading law under a judge or practicing attorney for an extended period of time. According to my research, the State of New York allows applicants to “read law” but he or she must also have at least one year of law school study before taking the bar exam. Hmmm, wonder if the writers of the fabulous television show SUITS ever considered this option?

Wild Horses

The wild horse, roaming free, has long been a symbol of the American West.  But unlike the buffalo, wolves, bears and other majestic animals, wild horses, or Mustangs, by scientific definition, are neither American nor wild.

Until about 500 years ago there were no known horses on the American continents.  Then, in 1519, Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés landed on the shore of Mexico with a ragtag army of fortune hunters.  They brought guns, armor, some horrific diseases, and something that would change America forever—horses.  The native Indians were terrified of the huge beasts.  At first they thought mounted man and horse were one creature.  Only as the conquest progressed did they discover that horses were separate animals, and that they could be killed.

As the Spaniards settled Mexico and moved northward, horses escaped, multiplied and found a new home on the vast North American grasslands.  This was where our Native American tribes found them.

Imagine what those first encounters must have been like—the discovery that a human could climb onto a horse and ride like the wind, hunting, raiding and defeating enemies.  Had someone seen Spaniards riding horses, or did the Indians figure this out for themselves?  The answer is lost to history.  But horses became valuable possessions and the measure of a man’s wealth.  The tribes with horses—the Cheyenne, the Sioux and others, became the lords of the plains.  Only the arrival of European settlers put an end to their power.

These settlers from the East also discovered the wild Mustangs.  They put them to use, running them into corrals to rope, brand and break.  Horses too spirited to ride became bucking broncos.  These captives made possible the settlement of the West and the great cattle drives.  They helped create the legendary figure of the American cowboy.

Still, some wild herds remained free, as they do today.  Pushed from the prairie, they survive in the harsh mountains and deserts of the West, enduring drought, fierce winters, and the mountain lions that prey on their foals.  But their main enemy is man.  In the spirit of keeping down their numbers for the sake of the environment, wild horses are chased by planes and helicopters into corrals, where they’re put up for sale or adoption.  The lucky ones are set free to roam until the next roundup.  But their future is uncertain.  Some people want to protect them, others to eliminate them from the land.  Whatever their fate, the wild horse will remain a symbol of the free American spirit.

If you like wild horses, you’ll enjoy this book—a Holt Medallion finalist and winner of the 2006 Cataromance Reviewer’s Choice award.   Here’s a blurb and an Amazon Kindle purchase link.

Was she only guilty of stealing his heart? When his young prisoner dies during a botched escape attempt, U.S. Deputy Marshal Matthew Tolliver Langtry knows he’s in for trouble—in the form of Jessie Hammond, the young man’s fiery sister. Even as he finds himself falling for her, Matt must deal with his growing suspicion that Jessie, not her brother Frank, was the one who
should have been arrested for murder.
Jessie Hammond will do anything to prove her brother’s innocence, That includes joining forces with Marshal Matt Langtry, the man she blames for Frank’s death. But how far can she trust Matt when his own reputation is on the line? And how can she find peace in the arms of a man she has every reason to hate?

Have you ever seen wild horses?  Do you know anyone who’s adopted them?  How do you think their future should be managed?

Phyliss has a winner and it’s …

I had a great day blogging and hope you all did, too. I put everybody’s names in a hat and drew a name. And, the winner is  …

                                                  Vickie Couturier

Vickie, if you’ll send me your snail mail address to, I’ll get an autographed copy of A Texas Christmas off to you right away!

Congratulations, Vickie!


The winner of Candlelight Christmas is
I will email you to arrange to delivery your ebook
If you don’t hear from me, please email me and
mary @ maryconnealy . com
And remember, if you didn’t win,
Candlelight Christmas
by Linda Goodnight and Mary Connealy
is availabe right now for only $2.99 on Amazon
This is an ebook but if you don’t have a Kindle you can download Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac and read the book from your desktop.
Check it out here.

And thank you all for hanging around Petticoats & Pistols and enjoying our big launch of our new look!!!!!!!

Renee Ryan’s Winner(s)!

Howdy!!! We have a winner/winners for Renee Ryan’s prize today and it’s good news. If you made a comment before 9:00pm EST then you are eligible to win Renee’s latest release CHARITY HOUSE COURTSHIP. Email Renee at for more details. Yeehaw!!!