Look who has come for a visit to Wildflower Junction!
Please welcome New York Times Best Selling Author ~
Miss Jodi Thomas!
Living in the Panhandle of Texas I often feel very close to the past and to the land. There are places I can see wagon trails and on a ranch I often visit, an arrowhead isn’t impossible to fine.
When I begin writing a new story, I always do something I call “walking the land.” I take a few weeks, or sometimes a few months and wander through museums, bookstores, old houses, cemeteries and the stories begin. Since I’m doing books set on modern day ranches, I visit several ranches. My favorite is the Sanford ranch near Fritch, Texas. I also like to go to rodeos and sale barns, etc.
And now and then when I’m listening to a windmill or trying not to smell the cows, a character walks by and my story begins.
Last month I went to the Dove Creek Ranch and Equine Rescue. I was tagging along with a friend doing an interview but within minutes of driving down into the small canyon, stories were popping in my mind. The lady who owned and ran the place had a true love for horses and spent a great deal of time helping horses that had been abused and abandoned.
She told me the first thing she does when she gets an animal who has been left alone in a small corral or barn for sometimes months is she lets them roam the land with the herd. She says they’ve forgotten how to be a horse.
I was around horses growing up and I’ve spent my time riding and brushing them down, but I’ve never seen them until I saw horses through her eyes. She said, “After my husband died and I was raising kids and trying to run the ranch, I would sometimes go out at night and just walk among the herd.”
Then, she made my day. She asked me if I wanted to go with her. We slipped through the fence and walked onto ranchland that used the walls of the canyon as its boundaries. We moved slow, not directing the herd, not invading, just joining. We moved closer. Just letting the horses slowly surround us.
I think it was one of the most peaceful, alive feelings I’ve ever had. She probably thought I was an idiot because I couldn’t stop smiling.
As a writer of over 40 books I sometimes feel I don’t live, I just do research. Like a person who doesn’t see Paris because he’s too busy taking selfies, I’m too consumed with stories dancing in my head to sometimes stop and enjoy the grand, wonderful things in life.
Like walking with a herd of horses on a cloudy day when the wind still whispers winter and the grass crunches beneath your boots.
I may never make it back to Dove Creek Ranch, but you can bet I’ll go there many more times in my mind.
So, walk the land of RANSOM CANYON in my new book, LONE HEART PASS. You’ll fall in love with the Texas plains and the people who live and love there.
Please leave a comment to enter a drawing for a copy of LONE HEART PASS.
With a career and a relationship in ruins, Jubalee Hamilton is left reeling from a fast fall to the bottom. The run-down Texas farm she inherited is a far cry from the second chance she hoped for, but it and its abrasive foreman are all she’s got.
Every time Charley Collins has let a woman get close, he’s been burned. So Lone Heart ranch and the contrary woman who owns it are merely a means to an end, until Jubalee tempts him to take another risk—to stop resisting the attraction drawing them together despite all his hard-learned logic.
Desperation is all young Thatcher Jones knows. When he leads an injured Steeldust horse to a ramshackle ranch, he needs help. A horse-stealing ring is on his trail and the sheriff suspects him…and his only protection is the shelter of a man and woman who—just like him—need someone to trust.
A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable
Isn’t this cover beautiful? What a gorgeous baby and hunky cowboy! I was thrilled when I received the cover for my December book and it being only September I’d normally wait to show it off. But this book and cover couldn’t be more pertinent in my life! As of today’s post, my daughter is 33 weeks pregnant and that means in about 2 months I’ll have a new and first grandchild. It’s a girl and no, they won’t tell us what names they are cooking up. The little girl’s name on the cover is Meggie. Her mama, Trish calls her “Sweet Pea” sometimes. And that hunk on the cover is none other than Clayton Worth, brother to Tagg Worth from Carrying the Rancher’s Heir. Both of those Worth men live on Worth Ranch in Red Ridge, Arizona.
Though, THE COWBOY’S PRIDE is a contemporary story, I thought we’d go back in time and see how babies were cared for in the 1800’s. (AND trust me — you’ll be glad you had your babies in the modern world) but I did find some commonalties where parenting has come full circle.
THE CARE AND FEEDING
Affluent new mamas of the mid to late 19th century often used “wet nurses” to feed their babies. In Europe and in the Victorian era, women rarely stayed at home and relied on servants, mammies and caregivers to breastfeed their children. This practice was done much earlier in America though. In the south and as early as the 1700’s, slaves spent a great deal of time raising children from wealthy families and that included nursing them. If for some reason breastfeeding couldn’t be practiced, then the baby was given PAP, which is a combination of bread, water and sugar. When the child was old enough to eat solid foods, regular food cooked for the family was mashed up and spoon fed to the babies. In 1867 a London scientist developed the first baby food. Baron Justus von Liebig introduced Soluble Food for Babies and it was available in America by 1869.
The little tykes did not have it easy. There were no modern conveniences and probably the worst of it was diaper-changing.
In rural areas often babies were “toilet-trained” as early as possible. But often times, this meant simply holding the baby over a chamber pot and allowing him to do his deed. For the first few years of the baby’s life, they either went around bare-bottomed or wearing a skirt for this very reason. If I was the mother, I’d say the sooner the better with the toilet training. Ugh. Poor babies – their little bottoms were never lotioned, oiled or pampered. If they developed skin problems, they would be treated with a mixture of herbs. Later on in the 1800’s if a baby wore a diaper, it was recommended that diapers be washed and not just hung out by the fire to dry as per prior practices. Oh…a lovely thought! Babies bottoms were simply wiped clean with a dry cloth and powdered with absorbent wood dust. Then they were either re-diapered or left to run around naked for a while. Baths were infrequent at best and it took doctors until the early 20th century to start recommending using soap and water to clean the baby’s bottom. A “novel” idea. The diaper “safety pin” was invented in 1849, which I think must have made life a little bit easier.
COMING FULL CIRCLE
Though these practices seem uncivil and rough, many of our current baby care techniques have reverted to more natural techniques used centuries ago. For instance, as nice as they might make the baby smell, the use of oils and lotions are not considered necessary in today’s world. Too many babies develop skin rashes and sensitivities from the chemicals contained in those products. So it’s okay not to butter up a baby’s bottom, but if you must, it’s now recommended that an all natural product be used on their skin. Thankfully, we are in the “green” era and these all-natural, fragrance-free and chemical-free products are easily found on the store shelves. It’s important to read the labels.
Another practice that’s coming full circle is the use of fresh foods and baby grinders to mash up baby’s meal. Often time, new parents like to know exactly what ingredients are in the food they serve to baby and they spend a great deal of time buying and preparing fresh healthy food for their children. Something as simple as chicken stew, a little chicken, some fresh carrots and potatoes can make a hearty delicious meal for the baby. No Cajun spices, please!! Or you’ll find yourself holding that baby over the modern day chamber pot!
IF YOU LOVE BABIES
I hope you remember my new release coming to Eharlequin this November and all other outlets and bookstores in December. (It is available now for Pre-Order) Little Meggie is a cutey-pie in a story of second-chances and heartfelt emotions. Clayton Worth has a connection to this baby, but it’s not what you think. (And that’s all I’m saying!) And there will be more about my Baby Connection coming soon!
In the meantime, my Kindle and Nook release, Smooth-Talking the Hometown Girl is available now for $.99!
I’ll be offering a copy of my May release, Carrying the Rancher’s Heir or any one of my backlist books today, if you stop by with a comment about your parenting or babysitting days.
What was the best and worst thing about caring for a baby?