I love July for so many reasons, but when I was growing up, I have to confess, I loved it because I had a birthday on the 28th day of the month!

Of course, the 4th of July was always a great holiday, back then, too. We’d gather up and go to “Bryan County” (as my dad always called it) where both sets of my grandparents lived and almost every single one of my cousins on both sides of the family. That was what I was interested in—being surrounded by a slew of cousins who were all close to my age!

We had fireworks, home-made ice cream (the kids had the job of sitting on the top of the ice cream freezer while the men cranked the handle) and so much food. If it was hot (and it usually was, being July in Oklahoma) we’d just make a huge pallet on the floor of the living room and the kids would all sleep there, with the box fans blowing on us and the front door standing open for the least bit of breeze.

When my birthday rolled around on the 28th, I always had a party of some kind. From the parties of the early days—early-mid 1960’s—where all the little girls dressed in their Sunday best, complete with anklets and white patent leather shoes and party dresses, to the later teen years when slumber parties were the thing. What a time we had!


I bet you figured it out–I’m the 2nd from the end on the left. This was my 8th birthday–here we are, all in our party-dress finery!





This is my 12th birthday. I was surrounded by friends as we celebrated, ate, and just had a wonderful time. I’m on the end in the striped outfit, and my dear friend and cousin, Julie is just to my left–so this birthday, I got the best of everything–a COUSIN and friends, along with cake and great memories!


Remember those birthday party games like Pin the Tail on the Donkey? Drop the clothespins into the bottle while standing on a stepstool? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to have fun like that today?


Mom always baked her “famous” chocolate “jelly roll” cake from scratch, and made her own thick, creamy, chocolate frosting. She’d let it cool, but it had to be rolled up while it was warm from the oven so it wouldn’t break later on. After she gently unrolled it and frosted it, she sprinkled chopped pecans on top of it. Then,  it went into the fridge. OH, MY GOODNESS.

I’ve often thought about making that jelly roll cake—my sister has the recipe—but I don’t know if I’m talented enough to keep it from breaking!

I’m including a link to a cake that looks a lot like Mom’s but hers had frosting on the inside AND the outside, too. If you make this, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

truffle cake roll


Do you have a favorite birthday cake? What is it? I have to admit, I’m a cake fanatic. I love them all, but that chocolate one my mom made…I wish I had some of that today!

As I mentioned earlier, I’m giving away a copy of FIRE EYES today—there’s a scene in it where one of the very young deputies, Frank Hayes, has made a terrible mistake that could have resulted in the death of our hero, Kaed Turner. In this scene, Kaed tries to find familiar ground to bring two young deputies Frank Hayes and Travis Morgan, to an understanding. Here’s what happens:





Frank whirled at Kaed’s voice, his hand at his Colt instinctively. Kaed and Travis stood behind him, holding their horses’ reins. Kaed stepped forward. “Didn’t mean to startle you.”

Frank nodded, standing stiffly awkward in front of them.

“Relax, Frank,” Kaed said. His gaze dropped to where Frank’s hand still hovered above the butt of his gun. Frank looked down, as if he didn’t recognize the hand was attached to his body.

“What’re you doin’ out here?” Travis asked.

Hayes shrugged. “Thinkin’ ’bout everything.” He turned to lean against the boulder, away from them. “‘Bout how I almost got you killed, Mr. Turner.” His voice was low.

Kaed glanced at Travis, and Travis looked away.

“Well, Frank, I expect you’ll remember to tell someone next time, won’t you?” Kaed said quietly.

“Won’t be a next time, Mr. Turner. I don’t b’lieve I’m cut out for this.”

Travis started forward, but Kaed put a staying hand on his arm. Travis met his eyes and Kaed shook his head. He came toward Frank slowly. When he got within arm’s length, he stopped.

“How old are you, Frank?”

“Twenty. Or close enough. My birthday’s next month. My ma, she always made a cake.” He glanced around at Kaed, a flush staining his neck, making its way into his face. “Chocolate,” he mumbled, “if she could get it.”

Kaed gave him a half-smile and closed the last bit of distance between them. “You’re awful lucky, Frank. I lost my mother when I was just shy of nine. I’m not sure I even remember exactly when my birthday is. But, that’s not really important, anymore.”

Frank nodded, but didn’t look at him. He kept his eyes fixed on the gently swirling water of the creek.

Kaed went on. “When you became a deputy marshal, you got another family. We all share the same life, the same dangers, the same loneliness of bein’ out on the trail.”

Frank shuddered, his lips compressing tightly. “I know you’re right, Mr. Turner.”

When he didn’t continue, Kaed said, “I’m not mad at you, Frank. Anybody can make a mistake. Travis, here, he was a couple of years older than you when he made his big one.”

Travis drew his breath in, and Kaed turned to give him a quelling glance. “Right, Trav?”

Travis nodded.

Kaed turned back to Frank. “You’ll have to get Trav to tell you about it.” He spoke easily, as one friend would to another, as if he thought Travis and Frank were on amicable terms.

Frank gave a short, brittle laugh. “I don’t think Travis Morgan is gonna talk to me about any mistake he ever made.”

“Trav, come on up here,” Kaed said.

Travis slowly stepped forward to join Frank and Kaed, swallowing tightly. “Frank, I guess I need to say—”

“You better do more than guess what you need to say, Travis,” Kaed said, his tone cool.

I’m giving away a copy of FIRE EYES to one lucky commenter today! Do you have a favorite birthday memory? What about a favorite birthday cake? Please share! I love memories of parties, cake, ice cream, presents—and GOOD TIMES!



Pam Crooks Pub PhotoIn the early years of 2000, this new thing called blogging was the rage.  All the big-name authors were doing it, and lots of lesser-known ones were, too.  I, for one, was more than a bit intimidated by the idea of having to come up with something interesting to say every day, and besides, who had the time?  Certainly not me.  I was writing and raising four daughters and taking care of a husband and juggling a parttime job, and well, darn it, I could just about care less.

Until it occurred to me there were no bloggers dedicated solely to western romance.

That was in the winter of 2007.  The more I thought about it, the more I loved the idea.  I discussed it with Cheryl St.John, who happens to live within walking distance of me.  We met for lunch, discussed lots of fun ideas, tossed around names of western authors we could invite, hammered out a schedule, and by the time I paid the bill, the whole thing had turned absolutely brilliant.

A few short months later, we had a corral full of talented authors, whom I lovingly dubbed the fillies.  They were:

Linda Broday

Elizabeth Lane

Lorraine Heath

Patricia Potter

Geralyn Dawson

Stacey Kayne

Karen Kay

Cheryl St.John

Charlene Sands

and me – Pam Crooks

Four of the original Fillies remain — Charlene, Linda, Karen Kay, and me.

A gazillion emails later, we decided to call ourselves Petticoats and Pistols.  I bought the domain, hired a webmistress, and on August 13, 2007, I wrote the very first post announcing our arrival upon the blogosphere.

I was so proud.

Until Cheryl St.John emailed me in a panic.  “YOU NEED IMAGES!” she practically shouted through her keyboard.

Clearly, I had no idea what I was doing.

You can bet I found some images in a hurry, and evidently, any and all who noticed how green I was forgave me.

Eight years and 4,341 blogs later, we’re still here, and Petticoats and Pistols will forever have a special place in my heart.

Happy Birthday

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

LindaI remember how terrified I was, but I knew when Pam and company invited me to join them that it was too big a thing to pass up. I didn’t know a blessed thing about blogging, had never even heard of it, but I wanted to do it. What would I talk about? And who would read them? But those questions were a little premature. First I had to learn the program we use and still use today. For two weeks, we practiced writing blogs, inserting images and scheduling them to post. I just couldn’t get the scheduling part through my brain so Pam called and we talked. Things were a little clearer by the time we hung up. Cheryl St. John emailed all of us a list of topics and gave tips in case we needed them. Then we went live. I was terror-stricken.

I remember my hands shaking so badly I could barely type when I tried to write a comment on someone’s blog. I was so afraid I’d say something wrong and they’d kick me off. Then came the time for my first post. Lord, was I scared! The title of my very first blog was Sagebrush, Songbirds and Socializin’. It was about a bunch of us Amarillo writers spending the night in nearby Palo Duro Canyon with New York editor Hilary Sares. I was so afraid it wouldn’t post at midnight so I sat up to make sure. And it did. To date, I’ve written approx 175 blogs and made thousands of comments.

Wildflower Junction is my home. I love this place and am so very proud of what we’ve done in eight years. Big thanks to all our loyal followers many of whom have been with us since the first year. You have made us what we are. Thank you!


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

bannerHappy Birthday to us!  I remember well the day I was invited to be a part of the blog.  How honored I was.  Actually, (knock on wood) I didn’t worry about having material to blog about – mostly because my research into the American Indian culture has so much to say — so much we didn’t know about the people who gave this country so much.  But I remember struggling with a new program and then the pictures — it took me probably 3-4 months before I stopped using others’ pictures for my blogs.  I believe it was Charlene who taught me how to download my own pictures — and that opened up a whole new aspect to my blogs.  Even today, I often post pictures of long-ago paintings, century old photos and do my best to try to present the often incredible and deeply educational history that I run across so often in my research.

Over time, we have all had to decide whether or not we wanted to continue on with blogging.  I still haven’t said all there is to be said about the first people who were here, and so I continue on.

No blog about our beginnings would be complete without a deep, heart-felt thank you to all those who have helped over the years.  Although I haven’t ever met each filly in person (some I have met, glad to say), I feel as though each and every one of us are fast friends.  And that’s really saying something.  May it always be so.


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


charlenebioIt’s hard to believe that Petticoats and Pistols has been going strong for eight years.  I remember back in the day not even knowing what a blog was and I had an author try to explain it to me. Even after her attempts to clarify, I still didn’t get it until I actually saw one in action.  Back then, authors ran blogs on their own sites and some still do, but for me, there just wasn’t enough time in the day to do it all.  When fabulous Pam Crooks, Cheryl St. John and Linda Broday herded me into this group, it was the best of both worlds and has continued to be. I’m honored to be a Founding Filly.  So with that in mind, here are 8 reasons why we should celebrate the 8th birthday of Petticoats and Pistols!!

  1. Daily thoughtful posts that never fail to entertain
  2. Captivating reminders of yesteryear- How The West Was Written!
  3. Photos and personal shared life experiences from the authors
  4. Glimpses into what the writing world is all about
  5. Keeping up to date on new releases, new covers and freebies
  6. Generosity of spirit and prizes galore
  7. A wide array of author’s styles and writing genres
  8. And best of all –the friendship and camaraderie we’ve garnered with our bloggers! We couldn’t do it without you

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