Petticoats and Pistols Sweet Sixteen Birthday!


We can’t believe it, but another year has flown by, and we’re having another birthday here at Petticoats and Pistols. Thank you to all of you who have been here with us not only this last year, but for so many previous ones. You’ve made the journey fun and memorable.

Since we’re turning 16, a lot of us mentioned what a turning point that was in life because it meant we could drive. The next thing we knew we were sharing personal driving mishaps, discussing if we’d used them in our books, and we decided to share those musings with you. Most of the stories are personal, but a couple fillies didn’t have ones to share. Instead they talked about transportation mishaps in their stories.

We hope you enjoy our thoughts, and they help you get to know each of us a little better.

When I took my learner’s permit test, I missed only one question. At sixteen, I aced my driver’s test and got my license. Apparently, however, I didn’t quite understand the concept of looking around or behind me when I reversed. As a result, during the next six months, I was in a total of three fender benders, all of them my fault. The worst one was when I backed my mom’s new Rivera into the side of my brother’s Bronco. Yeah, I was grounded. And no one in the family talked to me for weeks after that.

My husband and I own a trucking company and sometimes I ride along with him. A few years ago, we were heading eastbound on the interstate, hauling eggs back from Ohio, going about 75 mph. My door jiggled open. At that speed some people might wonder if their door will actually open. I can’t say about a car, but in a 379 long-nose Pete? Yes. Yes, it will.

It was kind of interesting, watching the pavement fly by from a new and rather distressing perspective, as I leaned out, grabbing for the latch. I got the door shut and sat in my seat, panting. I hadn’t quite made it to the euphoria-from-having-cheated-death stage, when my husband, who never left off the throttle, because, you know, he’s a man, and we have to GET THERE FAST, looked over at me. “Wow. Wasn’t expecting that,” he said. With one hand on the wheel, he dug under his seat and handed me a wrench and screwdriver. “You mind checking the latch? I’d hate to lose that door.”

As a perfectionist, I hate trying new things when I don’t think I will be very good at them. So, when my dad determined to teach me to drive a stick shift when I was 15, I was a mess. Between the whiplash and the uncontrollable sobbing, my dad gave up.

Fast forward five years, and my fiancé owns a stick shift that will be our only car after we marry. Insecurities battle the need to impress my man, and after a few patient lessons, I manage to semi-master the necessary skills. Today, I’m a proficient stick shift driver, which just goes to show that true love really does conquer all.

Back in  the days when large families drove station wagons the size of gunboats, my dad took all nine of us into the country so I could get some driving practice. He sat next to me on the bench seat, with my mom by the passenger side door. I approached a Stop sign at a fair amount of speed, with no sign of slowing down.  Maybe I forgot where the brake pedal was, I don’t know. But as we careened closer to that sign, perched on the edge of a ditch, it seemed inevitable I was going to hit it and dive headlights first into that ditch. Only after screaming STOP! STOP! STOP! from the remaining eight family members, did I somehow find the brake pedal with only inches to spare from a collision. I burst into tears, and my dad had had enough. I got out, he moved over, and he drove us all much more safely home.

I learned to drive as a high school junior in 1964. Back then it was offered as a class on driving simulators and credit given. I ran over every person crossing the street and after a few weeks, my instructor told the class that some of us should never be allowed behind the wheel. Thank goodness, he didn’t mention any names, but I knew he was talking about me. Still I kept trying hard. On weekends, my dad took me out to a country road and let me practice. The only thing was our car was a stick-shift and I gave Daddy a whiplash. Thankfully he let me keep at it and I eventually got the hang of it. I passed my state written driving test with a hundred. And even though I was really nervous, I was able to pass the driving part without killing any pedestrians.

The last person my heroine Crystal Jones wants to run into is Sheriff John Turner. Unfortunately, she not only runs into him, she does it with her car! She didn’t mean to give his cruiser a tap and hoped all he gave her was a citation. But she wonders, would she ever be the same seeing him again? After all, her life was nothing but a series of mishaps. Would this be one more thing? She hoped not. She was trying for a fresh start. She didn’t need another broken heart. John broke it well enough the first time. What was he going to do now that she’d smacked his bumper a good one?

I started driving really young as drivers in rural areas sometimes do. My grandma lived about one mile from me on gravel roads, with a single crossing of a paved highway.

I drove over there whenever we needed to pick up anything from her or take anything to her. Or sometimes I made up an excuse because driving was fun! It was all very accepted, and we had neighbors whose fairly young kids were driving around, too.

So, I was driving to grandma’s house and knew I was going too fast. And suddenly, as if I hadn’t driven over to Grandma’s a hundred times before, the stop sign just snuck up on me and I slammed on the brakes….and the car spun completely around in a circle on that gravel road 180 degrees and with STEEP ditches on both sides.

Rather than go plunging off the road into a ditch, or flying out onto the highway, the car stayed right on the road and when I was done sliding and spinning…I was facing the wrong direction, back the way I just came.

I sat there just shaking for long minutes. Finally, I gathered myself enough, I just drove back home the way I came and never told anyone it happened.

The second book I ever published, waaaay back in 2001, was originally titled Something More and has since been reissued as The Unexpected Bride. In the first chapter the heroine, Elthia, has traveled from Massachusetts to Texas to become a governess to a young family. The last leg of her trip takes place via stagecoach, and I open the scene when she arrives at a lonely staging post where the hero is supposed to meet her and transport her to his farm.

To my surprise, my then-agent and two friends who agreed to read and critique the story all referred to that opening scene as taking place at a train station. Puzzled, I went back and reread it. The very first sentence of the scene referenced opening the stagecoach door and there are numerous other references sprinkled throughout to the stagecoach and to working on a change of horses. It was a real head scratcher for me. The only thing I could figure was that because this was a long book (just over 100,000 words) and this was in chapter one and the only scene that referred to the stagecoach, that that ‘minor’ detail had somehow gotten lost. Which only goes to show how our minds can sometimes play tricks on us, filling in gaps with familiar images. I’d like to think that these readers of my early draft were so engrossed in the story that their minds simply replaced the stagecoach with a more familiar mode of transport, the train.  🙂

At sixteen, I lived in Dubuque, Iowa, a town known for its hills. One day I came out of school to find it had snowed a few inches. Without thinking, I drove home via my usual route. Everything was fine until I found myself on a street with a huge hill with a stop sign at the bottom. Knowing there were no other options and cursing myself for not having thought about this awful hill, I set off as slowly as possible. Of course, stopping at the stop sign was impossible, and of course there was another driver foolish enough to think he could make it up this hill. Trying to stop at the sign, my wheels locked, I swerved, and sideswiped his car. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and my dad was understanding even though the car I hit was a new dealer one driven by a car salesman.

I am a GenXer, so I don’t really remember learning to drive. I know I took a driver’s ed course, then I was expected to just know how everything worked. I remember my aunt being the first one to hand me the keys and feeling sick to my stomach at the idea of driving someone else’s car. I had no idea how to keep it in the center of the lane, nor how to hold my foot steady (I think that’s because at the time I was 4′ 6″ and no one told me you could move the seat…) We all lived and apparently the GenX method works because I’ve never had a driving incident. At least, not that I can remember…

Growing up on a farm, I learned to drive years before I could legally do so. By the time I was twelve, I’d progressed from driving the small Ford 9N tractor to being allowed to drive our farm pickup all by myself. I thought I was queen of the world, until I accidentally backed into a section of fence. No one was watching, the fence was unharmed (my dad knows how to set a sturdy fence post), and I couldn’t see any new dents or scratches in the pickup. I was home free! Except for the guilt. It ate at me for several days before I had to tell Dad what I’d done. My punishment was something tragic and dreadful — not getting to drive the pickup for one whole week!

In Idaho you could get a daylight license at 14, which meant that we had students driving to junior high. The much-coveted nighttime license came at age 16. Just a few days before my brother turned 16, I had to make an emergency trip after dark, but I’d just had dental surgery and was on painkillers. My brother offered to drive me even though he wasn’t quite legal. We passed through a very small rural town and there was a sheriff’s vehicle parked in front of a cafe. As we went by, the reds and blues came on. My brother and I desperately tried to figure out how to trade places so it appeared I was driving, but there was no way. He was toast. No night license for another six months. But the guy that approached the car wore logging clothes—Frisco jeans cut short, suspenders, logging boots. It was a logging town, but usually law enforcement wore a uniform. He checked my brother’s obviously daylight-only license, then nodded knowingly. We were about to start our garbled explanation, when to our amazement, he sent us on our way. As near as we could figure, a local good old boy was entertaining himself while the sheriff ate dinner at the café. We still talk about the time we got pulled over by a logger.

Growing up in a small town in Illinois, I was used to driving on gravel as well as dirt roads.  And then, I moved to Los Angeles where I simply couldn’t drive — those freeways literally scared me silly (6-10 lanes on one side of the freeway).

Didn’t last long, though, before I was not only driving on them, but speeding along them, too.  Much later, my godson — who had grown up in a rural area in South Dakota — came to visit and my role reversed; I’m afraid I scared him with my high speed on those multi-lane freeways.

But, I noticed it didn’t take him long before he was racing along those highways, too.  I realized then that a learning curve could be pretty fast when there was a need.

Oh, boy, do I have a memorable event about my early driving years! Born and raised in Oklahoma, the summer I turned 17, my dad was transferred from Oklahoma to Charleston, West Virginia. Um, yes, it was very different! Oklahoma was flat, not many curves, and my husband has teased me for years that we just “wired the steering wheel straight ahead out here because we never needed to turn it.”

One day, I set out to drive to college on a very straight, non-curvy section of the interstate, and a state highway maintenance truck merged on the entrance ramp two lanes over. I thought nothing of it until…his back axle broke right in two. Half of it, with the tire still attached–and rolling along at 60 mph–barreled across two lanes of traffic and headed right for my front passenger-side tire! Yep, it stuck in the tire, but I managed to get the car off the road.

I had a very unlikely guardian angel that day. Our next-door neighbor left for work just after I did and saw it happen. He pulled over and helped me get the info I needed from the other driver, loaded me up, and took me home. I was VERY shaken, but not hurt. It scared me but it made me realize that I’d kept my wits and gotten through it!

GIVEAWAY: Today we’ll be picking 5 winners. To be entered in our random drawing, leave a comment about one of your driving mishaps or one you’ve enjoyed reading in a book scene or watching in a movie. One responder will receive our grand prize of a 12-month subscription to Audible. Four others will win either a drink sleeve and car coasters or the wrist purse and car coasters.

Thank you for being here to share our Sweet Sixteenth Birthday!

 The Fillies

Homesteads. Grandmothers, and a Give Away

My latest book, Cowboy Meets Cowgirl  features a homestead house on the family ranch, which the heroine wants to renovate. The house in the story has four-rooms—a kitchen, living room, bedroom and a bathroom that was added on in the 1940s. Most homestead houses, however, were not that grand.

This is a photo of my great grandmother, Lillie Belle Howland, in front of her homestead house with two of her children. She had thirteen children total, ten of whom lived, and I’m sure that several of them were born in this house. She told my mother stories about giving birth alone, which boggles my modern mind, but I’m certain that she had many homestead “sisters” who were equally amazing.

The Homestead Act of 1862 created a means by which hardworking people, men or women, could claim 160 acres of land. The settler had to be over 21 years of age, settle on the land, improve the land (farm) and then file for the deed after five years of residency. That was where the rub came in. Residency. In order for that to happen, at least one of the settlers had to be physically present on the land. In my great-grandmother’s case, she stayed while my great-grandfather worked in mines far away from the homestead to provide the money needed to keep the farm running. I do not know who did the actual farming, but I imagine that my great grandfather came back to the homestead to handle the farming chores, then headed back to wherever he was working. Meanwhile, Lillie Belle raised children and did the hard work involved in building a household in the middle of nowhere.

I’m happy to say that Grandma Lillie lived to be 103 years old and had several great-great-grandchildren, including my daughter. She was a devout Christian Scientist, sweet, unassuming and humble. Upon meeting her, one would never dream that she’d held down the homestead singlehandedly in the middle of a prairie.

When I wrote about my “fancy” homestead house with three rooms, I thought a lot about Grandma Lillie. She will always be one of my greatest inspirations.

My question, for a $10 Amazon gift certificate, is who in your family has inspired you?

Welcome Kimberley Woodhouse!

Hey, y’all! I’m super excited to be with you today. Not only is this one of my favorite blogs, but two of my favorite people are here – Karen Witemeyer and Mary Connealy. (Waving at you two!)

Today, I’d love to share an excerpt from A Mark of Grace, book three in my Secrets of the Canyon series from Bethany House Publishers. My readers have been begging for Ruth’s story and it’s finally here.

A little background: Ruth Anniston has been a Harvey Girl for a long time. Since the El Tovar opened on the rim of the Grand Canyon in 1905, she’s been the head waitress there. But a tragic and horrifying accident with a mountain lion (which took place near the end of A Gem of Truth – book two), has left her injured. But not just physically. Every aspect of her world—professional, physical, emotional, spiritual—has been upended and she’s struggling. Big time.

The series has been so much fun to write. The Grand Canyon, the historic El Tovar, the Harvey Girls, and the still-untamed-remote-West. I hope you enjoy this little snippet from the Prologue of A Mark of Grace. (And don’t forget to check out the giveaway details below.)



Thirteen years later

El Tovar Hotel, Grand Canyon

“You’re such a pretty young lady, Ruth. Don’t sell yourself


Pretty young lady. As the memories of the past washed over her, Ruth couldn’t believe how many years had rolled by since that day.

But now look at her. No longer did she have a pretty face. No longer was she young and eligible. Had she let her stubborn pride get in the way? Was she destined to be alone forever?

At this moment, the mirror across the room was the worst villain she could ever imagine.

The more Ruth thought about it, the more she wanted to throw something at it and make it shatter into pieces. But she wouldn’t do that. Couldn’t do that.

Because she was a Harvey Girl.

The head waitress.

In control at all times.

An example to all the girls under her. Mother hen. Mentor. Friend.

She couldn’t allow herself to lose all command of her faculties just because her world would never be the same again. This had been her dream.

Even though she now faced the nightmare before her.

Ruth gingerly patted the bandage on her cheek. Lord, give me strength to handle whatever comes. She’d repeated the prayer too many times to count as she waited for the doctor to arrive.

She wasn’t a vain woman. At least she hadn’t been before a mountain lion mauled her face. Had she? Now she spent an agonizing amount of time consumed with her appearance and how it affected her future.

She was thirty-two—almost thirty-three. A veritable spinster. If she couldn’t work, what was she to do? Where could

she go? Working as a Harvey Girl had been her entire adult

life. It had brought her so much satisfaction. Hopefully, she’d brought God glory through it all. And even when she was younger and struggled when all the other girls were getting married and settling down, the Lord had given her peace.

Now she was the head waitress at the crown jewel of the Harvey Empire—an accomplishment she’d worked hard to obtain. It was all she’d ever wanted after donning her first black-and-white uniform. And after a year on the job, it had been easy to think she still had plenty of time for God to bring the right man into her life. She’d been completely content.

Being a Harvey Girl was the perfect job for her. More to the point, it was the only job she knew. What if she couldn’t do it anymore? Harvey Girls made people feel comfortable. They were trained to be efficient. Pleasant. And spotless.

Without blemish, as the Bible verse went. Her soul might be spotless before the Lord, but people were far less forgiving than He. And she was no longer without blemish . . .

Mr. Owens had bent the stringent Harvey rules for Emma Grace in her time of need. Surely he would do the same for her. Only, Emma Grace could still do her job. Ruth couldn’t.

Not to the Harvey standard. Her leg would take a long time to heal. And she’d probably always walk with a limp. But that wouldn’t be as visible as her face. She closed her eyes.

What would she look like?

Reaching up with her right hand, she covered the bandaged area of her face. And for a moment, she looked normal again.

Lord, give me strength to handle whatever comes.

Against the doctor’s orders, Ruth began to peel back the edge of the bandage. She stepped close to the mirror, hoping the damage was far less than she feared…

I’m going to give away three paperback copies of A Mark of Grace to three wonderful readers. All you have to do is comment with answers to these questions: Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? If so, what was your favorite spot? If not, is it on your bucket list?

Until next time, keep on reading!


Home with the Rodeo Dad and a Give Away!

I am  happy to announce the first book of my sweet romance trilogy The Cowgirls of Larkspur Valley has been released. Some books are fun to write and this was one of them. Home With the Rodeo Dad includes a lot of my favorite tropes–a protective single dad who happens to be a rodeo rider; a tight community; a family of rambunctious siblings (the heroine’s family); horses; and a baby.

Here’s a the opening scene:

“Easy, Button. We’re almost there.”

Troy Mackay glanced in the rearview mirror of his Ford F-250 as his six-month-old daughter’s warning cry became a full-fledged howl. His shoulders tightened in response, but he didn’t panic like he would have only a few months ago.

Livia hit a particularly high note just as the headlights shone over a mailbox with a crooked flag, at which point he was supposed to turn left, according to the directions his new landlord had given him.

“Just another mile, kiddo.”

Livia hiccupped, sucked in a breath and then howled again. Troy winced as he fought with himself to keep from stopping the truck right there.

An eternity later, which showed as four minutes on the dashboard clock, he rolled to a stop in front of a dark house and turned off the ignition. Livia went quiet, as if sensing that a big change was taking place.

It was.

Troy Mackay, former career rodeo rider was now Troy Mackay, single dad and full-time farrier. Or he would be full time as soon as he hung out his shingle and got Livia enrolled in the local daycare center.

Troy opened the rear door of the truck and unlatched the baby carrier. He was debating about whether to leave Livia strapped in or take her out and hold her when the porch light came on behind him.

He whirled toward the light, wondering if a place this old had motion sensors, then he saw movement in the reflected light on the windows. There was someone in the house. Quickly, he relatched the baby carrier, closed the door and stood protectively in front of the truck. This house was supposed to be empty, so what was he facing?

A squatter taking refuge, maybe?

Livia let out a howl that shattered the stillness of the night.

Get in the truck and drive. Come back in the morning.

The need to protect his daughter was paramount, and Troy was about to do just that, even though he had no place to go. Then the front door opened, and a young woman stepped out, hugging her long sweater around her body.

“Hi,” he called in the friendliest voice he could manage. “Maybe I’m at the wrong place. I’m looking for Littlegate Farm.”

“Why?” The woman pulled her sweater more tightly around her, and her chin lifted as she spoke.

Troy shifted his weight, perplexed by the woman’s tone. “Because I rented it.”

Her back stiffened. “I don’t think so.”

He frowned. “I have a contract.”


“You want to see it?” he asked.

“No need. It’s not valid.”

Troy cocked his head stubbornly. “How so?”

“I own Littlegate Farm, and I promise you that I haven’t rented it to anyone.”

Me again. I hope you enjoyed the excerpt.  I’ll be giving away three digital copies of this sweet romance. If you’d like to enter, simply leave a comment telling me your favorite kind of romance trope, such as working together to overcome the odds, enemies to lovers, single dad, grumpy hero-feisty heroine, mistaken identity, etc. I’m looking forward to hearing what you like.



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,


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.





(Hear Caryl sing her New Songs!)


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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?”


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.


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.


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.