Welcome Jodi Thomas!

Hang on everyone, it’s almost fall.

That’s when the year begins if you’re a student or a teacher.  For me it’s been 12 years of public school, 6 years of college, 19 years of teaching and 14 years of being Writer-in-Residence at West Texas at A&M.

I’ve eaten more cafeteria meals than I’ve cooked!

So, my year starts in the fall. That’s when I set my goals, even my writing goals. Some years when I wrote my goals, I could have just written “Ditto.”

But some years there are surprises. Maybe a seed I planted years ago begins to grow. Or sometimes a goal falls apart leaving room for new surprises in my life.

I always laugh and say, ” Sometimes God winks.”

I have found 2022 has been one of those years.

In April my SUNDAY AT THE SUNFLOWER INN came out fast and with great reviews. Then out of nowhere I was named to the Texas Literary Hall of Fame.

ME!  What an honor. I was so excited I wanted to go back to all my teachers and show them the letter announcing my award.

What a total surprise–God winked!

Another surprise this year is the book coming out the end of August.  THE WISHING QUILT.  Three years ago I was talking to Patience Griffin at the Houston International Quilt Show and I was reading Lori Wilde’s new book.

I thought it might be fun to do a book together, Lori, Patience and me.  And, three years later it happened.

As you know I love quilts, especially this one from my mother Sally Faye Kirkland Price. I have it hanging in my quilt room at home.

I would love to give away a copy of THE WISHING QUILT to three readers. Leave a comment for a chance to win. Do you quilt or have a family member who does? What are your favorite quilt patterns? Or if you don’t quilt, share one of your own “God winks” moments in the comments.

It’s almost September so I better get to work on my goals.

Happy New Year,

Jodi

Sharing Western Wisdom and a Give Away!

Hey everyone! Glad to see you here!

I do love a colorful saying, especially one that makes me think, and today I wanted to share a few of my favorite bits of western wisdom:

*Letting the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier that putting it back inside.

*When you get to where you’re going, the first thing to do is to take care of the horse you rode in on.

*If you think you’re a person of influence, try ordering someone else’s dog around.

*Wear a hat with a brim wide enough to shed sun and rain, fan a campfire, dip water, and whip a fighting cow in the face.

*Going to bed mad is no fun, but it’s better than fighting all night.

*Two can live as cheaply as one, if one doesn’t eat.

*The shallower the stream, the louder the babble.

*Life is simpler when you plow around the stumps.

*An ounce of doing is worth a pound of talk.

*Don’t lick a frozen pump handle.

And now it’s your turn. To qualify for the drawing for a $15 Amazon gift card, pass along one of  your favorite sayings. If you don’t have a saying to share, then comment on which of sayings I’ve shared speaks to you. I’m looking forward to reading your comments.

Winner will be announced on Saturday.

Guest Author Caryl McAdoo and a Give Away

Hello, Petticoats & Pistols readers! I’m Caryl McAdoo, hybrid (traditional and independently published) author of several Christian genres, and I am so glad to be here with you today!

I grew up in Dallas, Texas and only remember going to Fort Worth one time as a child when my parents took me to their zoo.

I always thought of it as a wild town and not nearly as cultured and refined as Big D! “Where the West begins!” they say of Cowtown, and I believed them!

It wasn’t until my early forties that I visited the city again on an invitation from a writer friend and his wife for dinner and an evening at the Stockyards. I had a wonderful time and was quite amazed with the Fort Worth I never knew! I’ve been back many times since.

The photo is me and a friend on her birthday outing with Bass Hall, our destination, in the background.

So, when I started writing book three in my historical Cross Timbers Mystery series, COERCION at The Cow Palace, I decided to set the story in a notorious half acre in 1870’s Fort Worth history! I loved the research!

The famous Chisholm Trail went right through ”Cowtown”! Its dust and beef weary cowboys would gallop into town shooting their pistols and even riding their horses right into the saloons! A red-light, gambling district sprang up that indulged the cowpokes’ vices.

The area became quite famous for its lawlessness, giving Hell’s Half Acre its memorable name and less-than-angelic reputation. That’s right where I set The Cow Palace, COERCION’s setting for the murder that needed to be solved.

In researching, I also discovered two things that kept the town from flourishing as Dallas had. The first was a faraway bank failure!

In 1872, the Texas & Pacific Railroad had laid track through Dallas—bringing prosperity and growth—and about six miles west of the city to Eagle’s Ford. The company stopped only twenty-four miles from Fort Worth before disaster struck.

Bankers to the U.S. government, Jay Cooke & Company, failed up in New York causing an international panic. Cooke was also major financial backers for the railroads. The bank’s collapse devasted Fort Worth’s future! Almost overnight, the population dwindled from four thousand to less than a thousand.

One former resident reported to a Dallas paper that Fort Worth was so deserted, he witnessed a black panther sleeping in the street. This gave Fort Worth a new nickname, Panther City or Pantherville.

The other factor was a terrible winter in the same year.

So, the city “Where the West Begins” got set back and became known as a wilder, less cultural place than its nearby sister-city Dallas

Excerpt from COERCION:
The youngest woman definitely knew Fort Worth better than either Charity or Vivian, from Dallas County. She filled in a lot of Cow Town’s history she’d learned along the way. Arriving at the new dress shop, the boardwalks were practically empty.

Where were all its customers?

“Well, my goodness, it’s like a ghost town or something.” Vivian stepped out of the carriage first. Virgil offered his hand to help her down. “Where are all the people?”

“There used to be a lot more, but so many left last winter.”

“I know it was a bad one, but why would so many leave?” Charity was last out of the carriage. “Thank you, Virgil. I’m certain you do not want to come into the shop with us, so you may either wait at the door or sit with Gilbert.”

“Yes, Miss Charity.” He hurried ahead and held the shop door for the ladies.

“The weather was only a part of it. You know they just had an orgy of building once everyone heard the railroad was coming.”

Charity glanced at Vivian. The young woman had an odd way of saying things.

“Then in August—or was it September?—anyway, some bank up in the Northeast went under. Supposedly, they’d invested in railroads pretty heavily. In no time, a lot more banks and railroads failed.”

“What a shame.”

“You know the tracks stopped in Eagle Ford and never made it here. Businesses all over town were closing right and left.”

“That’s too bad. Now that you mention it, a lot of new folks came to Delaware Creek last fall.” Vivian turned to face Charity. “The Banks and the Gregorys are from Fort Worth. Oh, and the Winslows, too. They had a gun repair shop here that closed.”

“I’ve met them and the Banks, but don’t think I know the Gregorys yet. You’ll have to introduce me. Do they come to the barn dances?”

“I think they have.”

“Well, that’s a shame some bank up in the North would have such a terrible impact on the city. Morgan has mentioned how the train not coming on into Fort Worth hurt its growth.”

“Oh, it was truly devasting. So many lost their homes, too.”

“How is it you’re aware of all that, Yolanda?”

“Oh, you know, Miss Viv. I hear things from some of the city’s big men of finance who frequent the Palace.”

COERCION at The Cow Palace debuted January 12th, so is now available at Amazon and subscribers to Kindle Unlimited may read it for free—all of my titles (except a few published by New York houses) are in that great readers’ program! I hope you’ll enjoy it and the Texas history I’ve included in the story!

I pray all the great authors and readers at Petticoats & Pistols have a BLESSED and wonderful New Year! May God shower you all in His high favor!

GIVEWAWAY: I would love to offer an eBook of DUPLICITY at The Lowell House, book one in the Cross Timbers Mystery series! Just answer this question to be entered! Have you ever visited Fort Worth, Texas or had an inkling to?

 

BIO: Award-winning, Christian author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory. Of her best-selling novels, readers love her historical Christian romance family sagas most, but she also writes Christian contemporary romance, mysteries, Biblical fiction, and also for young adults and mid-grade booklovers. The large majority of reviewers award her stories five-stars and praise Caryl’s characters, counting them family or very close friends. The prolific writer loves singing the new songs God gives her almost as much as penning tales—hear a few at YouTube! Married to Ron over fifty years, she shares four children and twenty-one grandsugars. The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door.

LINKS:
Amazonhttps://www.bookbub.com/authors/caryl-mcadoo?follow=true

Website: http://www.CarylMcAdoo.com

Newsletter: http://carylmcadoo.com/sign-up-to-the-caryler/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_1hQx6UZbWi3OYwmKKxh6Q

(Hear Caryl sing her New Songs!)

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CarylMcAdoo.author

Readers’ Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Carylers

 

The Cowboy’s Christmas and a Give Away!

I’m happy to announce that I have a new release coming out on November 4. The Cowboy’s Christmas is now available for pre-order, so let me tell you a little about the story.

My heroine, Savannah Dunn, lost her husband close to Christmas two years ago and no longer celebrates the holidays. That changes when she becomes temporary guardian for her four-year-old twin nieces while her sister is deployed overseas. With kids in the house, she has to celebrate Christmas, but she’s going to do the bare minimum. After all, the girls are only four.  They should be happy with an artificial tree and presents. Right?

The hero, Quinn Harding, has different ideas about Christmas. He might have grown up moving from ranch to ranch with his vagabond mom, but they always had a big Christmas. Now that he’s working on the Dunn Ranch, he makes it a mission to help Savannah learn to enjoy Christmas again.

Here’s an excerpt, which takes place after Quinn convinces Savannah to help him find a real Christmas tree:

“Fir or pine?” he asked.

“You’re in charge of the tree project,” she said.

“Fir.” He started through the snow to one of the trees he’d pointed out from horseback when they’d moved the cows, punching tracks in the snow that Savannah attempted to follow, even though his stride was longer than hers. It was an awkward business that left her winded, but she enjoyed the challenge. It’d been a long time since she’d simply had fun doing simple stuff—like following tracks spaced too far apart.

“This one looks good,” Savannah said when she finally reached the tree Quinn was studying with a critical eye.

“Maybe, if you put that side to the wall.” He pointed to a sparse area at the back.

“Isn’t that the charm of the home-grown tree? Imperfections?”

“Right.” He pulled the roll of flagging tape out of his pocket and tied a long pink strip to the tree. “We can take it off later if we find better ones.”

“How long is this operation going to take?”

“Hours.”

He spoke so seriously that she believed him. “That long?”

“This is serious stuff.”

His expression was serious—except for the light of amusement in his gray-green eyes. She shook her head, refusing to let herself smile back, then turned to scout for another tree. A better tree.

She headed uphill, making her own tracks, which was only marginally more difficult than following Quinn’s, stopping in front of a stand of three intergrown firs.

Nope.

She hiked on. Behind her she could hear Quinn moving in a different direction, his boots punching through the snow. She didn’t look back because the perfect tree lay ahead, maybe twenty yards—uphill, of course. She battled her way up the slope, only to find that the perfect tree was missing a section of branches on the back side. She didn’t have enough walls to hide that much empty space.

Quinn gave a whistle and she turned to find him beckoning her down to where he stood near a twisted pine. Not the tree of her dreams, but…okay. Quinn was running the show.

She half walked, half stumbled through the snow toward him. She was winded and her hands were cold, but there was a certain exhilaration to being outside, doing something other than chores or gardening or even sitting under a tree reading a book. It was the snow, she decided. The snow made her feel like Harold after a fresh fall—full of energy and ready to tackle anything.

She’d bottled herself up for two years, literally and figuratively. Secluded herself from the world, except for Deke and the occasional trip to either Livingston or Marietta. It wasn’t that she’d wanted to focus on her grief. She hadn’t. She’d wanted to be normal again but had no idea what that looked like. She only knew that it would probably sting to ease back into life, and coward that she was, she’d insulated herself against the sting.

She’d forgotten to live.

No…she’d been afraid to live. Afraid to embrace anything that might make her feel too much.

That’s why she needed to do more than sleepwalk through Christmas.

And life.

She focused on Quinn, slipped on a loose branch hidden by the snow and slid down onto her butt. He was looking at the tree again, hadn’t seen.

Good.

Her pants were starting to soak through on the backs of her thighs, which was only going to make her colder, but she really didn’t care. In fact, she felt like sharing the joy.

She stopped a few yards away from Quinn, scooped up a handful of snow, formed a ball, and lobed it at his back, but it splatted right at the back of his neck, knocking his hat forward. Savannah brought a hand to her mouth as his shoulders automatically hunched against the snow that was probably going down his shirt.

“What the—” He swung around, and Savannah couldn’t help laughing at the confused expression on his face. “You?”

“Yeti. I swear. He came out of nowhere.”

“Uh huh.” He studied her for a moment, then bent down, keeping his eyes on her, as if expecting a sneak attack if he looked away, and scooped up enough snow to make a good-size projectile.

Savannah put her hands up. “Yeti. Honest.”

He started toward her with the snowball, and she laughed as she awkwardly backpedaled. She stopped when her heel hit a snowy log. “Quinn. Please.”

He stopped a few feet away from her, tossing the ball in the air. “Please?”

“Please go find that yeti and punish him. He couldn’t have gone far.”

He fought the smile, lost, and Savannah’s midsection did a freefall as the impact of his smile hit her full force.

“Maybe we should stick close together so that one of us can be on the lookout for yetis,” he said softly.

“Yes. Good idea.” She gave a brisk bob of her head.

He dropped the snowball and held out a hand. Savannah barely hesitated before putting her wet glove into his. His fingers closed around hers and together they walked to the twisted pine tree.

To celebrate the release of The Cowboy’s Christmas on November 4, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to a randomly chosen commenter.  To be eligible, all you have to do is tell me what you want for Christmas. I’m looking forward to reading your responses.

Windbreaks and a Give Away

This was last September. After this we had a beautiful fall… except that all my tomatoes froze.

Windbreaks are very important in our part of the country. We live on a bench where the wind can be relentless. Small buildings need to be anchored to the ground, or they blow away. Sometimes our house sounds like a wooden ship in high seas. Personally, I love it. Must be the Viking in me. My husband hates it.

Ranch animals spend the winters out in the open, and when the wind blows they take refuge behind a windbreak, be it natural or manmade. We have windbreaks in all of our pastures.

The picture below is of my horses and ponies during a January storm, taking advantage of the shelter.

They also enjoy the windbreak during the summer. I think of it as their bedroom.

It really is the new calves’ bedroom. When the weather turns, all the moms and babies bed down in the straw behind the windbreak and everyone is toasty warm.

But sometimes, the wind is too much. During our last storm, part of the calve pen windbreak went down. The railroad ties had deteriorated to the point that they broke off, which led to a full and rich Monday for my husband and me.

The first order of business is to assess damage. Yep. There’s a problem here.

 

 

 

 

Next we have to fetch new ties from the laydown yard, then use the auger to drill new holes. My job is to make sure the auger is straight and that it doesn’t wander while it’s going down.

 

After that, we take turns cleaning the dirt out of the hole. The auger only lifts out so much. The rest has to be removed by hand. If it’s dry, we have to pour water down the hole so that we can get a “grip” on the soil with the posthole digger.

Then the new tie is set in place. We use a level on two sides as we fill the hole and tamp in dirt to make sure it’s true. On a good day, we don’t have to go back to the house to get the level that we forgot.

After that, it’s a matter of re-attaching the boards to the new post, and then the windbreak is ready for another season of keeping the livestock safe and warm.

 

Do you want to know how happy I am that the windbreak blew down in August instead of February?

I’m having a give away today for a $15 Amazon gift card. To enter tell me about a your most recent unexpected repair. The winner, chosen by random drawing, will be announced on Saturday. Good luck everyone!

Hand Work and a Give Away!

Hi everyone! I’m going to be on the road today, traveling in the first time in forever, on my way to meet my new granddaughter. I’m excited beyond words.

It’s very possible that due to travel, etc, I may not be able to answer comments in a timely fashion, so I am doing a give away, which I will explain at the end of the post.

I love handwork and I have to have something to do while I watch television or I go a little nuts. Guess what? Handwork and new grandbabies go hand in hand, so I thought I’d show you my work in progress and a few things I’ve made that I’ll be taking along with me for the visit.

First of all, I am not a quilter. I love sewing, but piecing is difficult for me. I’ve accepted that I’m not a quilter and moved on; however, I’ve made an exception for my little granddaughter, because she really needs this kitty quilt when she’s a little older. These blocks are fresh off the embroidery hoop after hand embroidering the faces. Embroidery is also not my thing, but this was kind of fun.

 

I plan on hand quilting it, learning as I go. I figure grandbabies are probably pretty forgiving of newbie errors, right?

I smocked several items when my daughter was a baby and toddler, using the gathered dot method. I pulled out one of the patterns I’d used for her and smocked this little dress and bonnet. I love to smock. I almost bought a smocking machine on eBay, then decided that I wouldn’t use it enough, so I’m sticking with the dots.

And I tried my hand at knitting. I enjoy knitting, but I’m by no means a master. I found my first stabs at intarsia knitting to be challenging, so hats off to those who can do it! Intarsia is done with the different colors wound onto bobbins and dropped and added as needed. Imagine, if you will, the half-finished penguin sweater with probably 10 bobbins hanging from the back, in the mouth of my Aussie puppy who is racing around the room with her new prize. It was an adventure getting it back onto the needles.

Having learned my lesson about intarsia, I knit this sweater first with no pattern on it, then used duplicate stitches to embroider the flamingo and foliage after I was done. Much easier!

And now the give away. I’m offering a $15 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky responder. To be eligible, tell me what you like to do in your free time. It doesn’t have to be handwork. 🙂 The randomly chosen winner will be announced on Saturday.

Best wishes,

Jeannie

 

Welcome Laura Ashwood and a Give Away!

Hi Everyone! My name is Laura Ashwood and I’m writing to you from the chilly state of Minnesota. Having grown up in North Dakota/Minnesota I am no stranger to the occasional winter blizzard, but I’ve thankfully never been through anything like the Schoolhouse Blizzard of 1888.

In January, 1888, a massive cold air mass with a spread of over 780 miles, moved into the United States from Canada. The temperature on the front end of the cold front in some places dropped from above freezing to -20°F in just hours. The storm was extremely fast moving. It entered Montana in the early morning hours of January 12, swept through Dakota Territory and was in Nebraska by mid-afternoon of that same day. Because of the warm spell preceding the storm and the swiftness with which it moved, most people were ill prepared. In just minutes, the strong winds and powdery snow made for zero visibility. The combination of bitter cold temperatures and high winds resulted in a death toll of 235. 

Another massive blizzard struck Easter Sunday, April 13, 1873, which began as a pleasant day in southeast Nebraska. That afternoon, rain moved in and temperatures began to drop. During the night, the wind picked up and by morning eighteen inches of heavy, wet snow had fallen. The storm raged for two more days, finally abating on Wednesday, April 17. Drifts as high as 20 feet had accumulated in some areas. Many people perished, including a woman with an infant that died just feet from her home, along with thousands of head of livestock.

So, why am I telling you about blizzards that happened over one hundred years ago? It’s because I’m part of a multi-author series called The Blizzard Brides. This series is loosely based on both of those blizzards. What happens when nearly all the men in town get killed during a blizzard? What are the women to do? This group of talented authors takes that question to task, each story following the journey of one of the women as she begins to rebuild her life.

This is my second historical romance. One of the things I strive for when I write historical is to make sure that I get as much accurate detail for the time period as I can. In my story, A Groom for Ruby, Cullen Parker has a dark past before he ends up in Last Chance. I got to research such things as train robberies, stagecoach robberies, gold mines, and place like Dodge City and San Francisco. Much of that research doesn’t make it into the book, but I love being able to work in some of that information.

In this book, Cullen is making his way back to Dakota Territory, hoping to get a job at the Homestake Mine in Lead. The Homestake Mine was a real working gold mine during that time period. It was actually the largest, deepest mine of its type in the United States. It was operational until 2001, and two of my uncles worked there in 1950’s and 1960s. So, not only did I get to add a bit of reality to my fiction – I was able to make it personal.

Do you like it when authors do little things like that? Do you want to know about it?

I’d love to give away a copy of A Groom for Ruby, as well as a copy of my first historical, An Agent for Clarissa, which is part of the Pinkerton Matchmaker series.

Please stop by my website, and if you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll get a free copy of Snowflakes & Second Chances, a contemporary novelette. I’d love to connect with you on Facebook or Instagram, and you can find inspiration boards for all my books on my Pinterest.

 

Buy A Groom for Ruby on AMAZON