Celebrate Autumn’s Arrival

Can you believe it?

The first official day of fall here in the United States is tomorrow.

I love the autumn season. The crisp crunch of leaves beneath my boots. The spicy and loamy scents that waft on the afternoon breeze, and the pumpkin and spice scents that waft from my oven. The sounds of fans cheering at high school football games, and the brilliant array of colors as the leaves change from green to crimson, tangerine, and gold.

As the days grow shorter and we tend to spend more time at home, it’s a perfect time to host a get together, whether it’s inviting a friend over for lunch, or the whole gang over for a bonfire.

In what seems like a lifetime ago, I used to work for a direct sales company that was all about making entertaining at home easier and more enjoyable for the hostess. I learned so many tips and tricks for entertaining that really do simplify things, I thought I’d share a few today.

 

 

THEMES

One of the easiest ways to entertain is to pick a theme for your gathering. It makes everything from decorations to food choices so much simpler.

For an autumn party theme, send out invitations shaped like fall leaves or use stationery with a pumpkin or apple theme.

Bring the colors of the season into your home using shades of crimson red, burgundy, sage and earthy greens, golden yellow, and deep orange. Use accent pillows or throws to really create that warm and cozy atmosphere we associate with fall.  (Side note: you can easily recover a pillow using a swatch of felt since the edges won’t fray. Cut a piece big enough to cover the entire pillow and glue the edges or simply connect the edges by stitching with a piece of thin ribbon.)

Decorations for your party can be something as basic as a few potted mums, bundles of wheat tied with raffia bows, or a pile of mini pumpkins and squash. You don’t have to get carried away with something fancy.

Your meal can be simple as well. Make a big pot of stew (check out Cheryl’s recipe for hamburger stew) or a filling casserole. Finish the meal with a pumpkin or apple dessert.

If you want the party to be a more hands-on experience, do a fun activity before the meal like apple picking or visiting a pumpkin patch.

Or host an autumn bonfire. Serve up hot dogs, potato wedges and mulled cider.

Here’s a list of party ideas from A to Z:

Apples

Back to School

Crafter’s Gathering

Decadent Desserts

End of Summer

Foliage & Fun

Game Night

Harvest Festival

Indian Summer

Jubilee

King’s Castle

Leaves & Laughter

Maze Daze

Nature’s Splendor

Oktoberfest

Pumpkins

Queen for a Day

Rag Time

Scarecrow

Tailgate

Under the Umbrella

Vintage

Wiener and Marshmallow Roast

X-ray Vision/Superheros

Yearbook

Zebra – everything is black and white

 

SCENTS

If I thought I could get away with it, I’d burn pumpkin scented candles all year long. Just think about walking into a home where the scents of pumpkin, apple, cinnamon or spices fill the air. It makes you think about fall and hayrides and pumpkin pie and all sorts of wonderful, comforting experiences.

The main thing to remember as you fill your home with the scents of fall is to stick with one scent at a time.

If you’re burning a sweet pumpkin candle in the kitchen, don’t light a heavily spiced candle a few feet away in the family room. Before you know it, you’ve got warring scents and quite possibly a headache.

DECOR

If you are looking to bring the autumn season into your home, a great place to start is by going outdoors. What fall leaves, branches or natural items, like grasses, pinecones or nuts, can you bring indoors for an inexpensive accent to your decor?

Use neutral tones highlighted with fall colors, focusing on the vivid jewel tones of autumn like rich red, warm gold, brilliant orange, deep green and pops of purple. This is not the time or the season to go all beige. Think bold, warm and rich when you are choosing accent colors.

Create a fall welcome at your front door by placing pumpkins on steps, a twiggy wreath around an exterior light or baskets filled with bright fall flowers like mums.

Use fall scents like pumpkin, cinnamon and apple throughout your home. Whatever scent you choose, make sure you stick with it consistently so you don’t have scents overpowering each other. No one wants to walk into a scent war-zone!

Fill bowls or baskets with nuts or pinecones for a fast fall accent. Place large leaves between a serving tray and a piece of glass (or a clear glass pate). You can use this as a centerpiece, serve warm mugs of cider on it or leave it on the coffee table as a conversation piece.

Keep your focus on warmth. Warm colors and cozy fabrics create a fantastic sense of welcome.

FLAVORS

If you are a pumpkin maniac (hand waving in the air), here are a few ideas to add pumpkins to your menu if you choose a pumpkin theme (or just really love pumpkin!).

• Make a simple pumpkin soup by adding about four cups of chicken broth to a 28-ounce can of pumpkin. Cook until bubbling and let simmer then stir in about 3 ounces of Feta cheese, season with salt and a pinch of nutmeg.

• Use canned pumpkin as a thickener. Add it to any type of chili or stew that needs a little thickening.

• Substitute canned pumpkin for half the fat in quick breads. This works well with cinnamon, citrus and chocolate. Or make your taste buds extra happy and make a loaf of pumpkin bread.

• Add canned pumpkin to half your cheesecake filling. Swirl it into the filling, but don’t mix, before baking to get an awesome design and incredible flavor.

• Mix canned pumpkin into softened ice cream then refreeze for a quick pumpkin dessert. Serve with gingersnaps and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

• Mix a heaping spoonful into grits, top with grated Parmesan cheese and a tiny dollop of butter.

• Mix canned pumpkin with one part apple cider and two parts ginger ale for a fun beverage.

You could also make pumpkin polenta, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin muffins, roasted pumpkin wedges, pumpkin roll or pumpkin seeds.

However you decide to entertain this fall, just remember to enjoy the experience and not get too wrapped up in the details. It’s all about connecting with your friends and loved ones that truly matters!

Speaking of connecting, I hope you’ll join me and the rest of the Love Train authors for a “welcome autumn” celebration tomorrow. The fun begins at 8 a.m. Pacific Time (9 Mountain, 10 Central, 11 Eastern). It will be a day full of fun, games, giveaways, and more!
https://www.facebook.com/groups/2143576775865837

What’s your favorite way to entertain?

Casual? Rustic? Elegant? Classy? Whimsical?

Or if entertaining isn’t your thing,

what’s your favorite autumn flavor? 

 

Post your answer for a chance to win a digital copy of my newly released

Fall Into Love

collection of two autumn-themed sweet cowboy romances,

and a digital copy of my Savvy Autumn Entertaining guide!

 

 

Gateway to the West (and a Giveaway)

I had the pleasure of visiting St. Louis, MO last week for the American Christian Fiction Writers national conference in conjunction with a reader’s retreat called StoryFest. It was so much fun! However, I wish I would’ve had more time to visit museums and experience the history of this place that opened the West.

Since the hotel was at the heart of downtown, I did see a few things.

The Old Courthouse was built c. 1864 and is still proudly standing and serving. Then we saw a horse and carriage pass us on the street!
The first view is of the Arch from the 18th floor of the hotel where I attended a reception. The second is an evening view from the ground as we walked back to the hotel from dinner. Love how the sunlight glistens on it!

Even though I didn’t get a chance to visit any museums, I still took some time to collect some fun historical trivia.

? Lewis and Clark began their famous westward explorations in 1804 and positioned St. Louis as the “Gateway to the West.”

? Reverend John Berry Meachum, a 19th century preacher, cooper and carpenter, founded the Freedom School aboard a steamboat anchored in the middle of the Mississippi River at St. Louis, in answer to the 1847 state law which prohibited blacks from being educated on Missouri soil. The floating institution was then under federal jurisdiction and exempt from Missouri laws.

? Elizabeth Keckley, one of the Freedom School teachers, later went on to fame as seamstress and confidant to Mary Todd Lincoln at the White House.

? Susan Blow started the first kindergarten in the United States in St. Louis in 1873.

? The Eads Bridge over the Mississippi River was the first arched steel truss bridge in the world. When it was first proposed, it was scoffed at as impossible to build. Completed in 1874, it is still in use today.

? The Wainwright Building, located on Seventh Street in downtown St. Louis, was the world’s first skyscraper. It was designed by architect Louis Sullivan and completed in 1891.

? Formally called the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, the 1904 World’s Fair commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Lewis & Clark expedition. The Fair was further immortalized by the movie, “Meet Me in St. Louis,” which was based on the memoirs of writer Sally Benson.

? In 1904, the first Olympiad in the U.S. was held in St. Louis at Washington University’s Francis Field, and gold, silver and bronze medals were first introduced. It was the first Olympiad with female participants, and runner George Coleman Poage was the first African-American athlete to participate in the Olympic games.

? St. Louis is the hometown of Damaris Baxter from In Honor’s Defense. ? OK – this one’s historical fiction, not fact. Ha!
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One other fun thing happened while I was in St. Louis . . . I won a CAROL Award!!!
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My novella, A Texas Christmas Carol, which was part of the Christmas collection I released last year (Under the Texas Mistletoe) won for best novella. This is one of the most prestigious awards given for Christian fiction, so I was absolutely thrilled!
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If you haven’t read this story yet, the e-single version just released yesterday! It has a new cover, but it is still the same story that appeared in the collection.
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Which St. Louis historical trivia item did you found most interesting?

Leave a comment for a chance to win a Kindle e-single copy of A Texas Christmas Carol.

AND…CHERYL’S WINNERS ARE…

Hey everyone! Thanks so much for stopping by and reading and commenting! I’ve drawn THREE winners today to receive the giveaway of a digital copy of this four-book set, MAIL ORDER BRIDES FOR SALE: THE REMINGTON SISTERS!

Congratulations to:         JUDY SEXTON and also to PICKLE6773 and to LANAJBURTON!

If you all will e-mail me at fabkat_edit@yahoo . com (NO SPACES) I will see that you get your prize!

Thanks to everyone for participating! HAPPY FALL!

 

AUTUMN MEMORIES, FRIENDSHIP TEA, AND A GIVEAWAY! by Cheryl Pierson

 

Here we are on the last day of August, and y’all know what that means! Labor Day is just around the corner and FALL starts in earnest! So let’s talk about all things “fall-ish”–it’s the favorite season of MANY people I know!

When I was growing up, I remember looking forward to the first day of school each year. “Back then” we didn’t start back to school in the fall until after Labor Day. In Oklahoma, it was still hot as blue blazes in September, but at least, the evenings and nights were cooling off. I dreaded seeing summer end, but by September, I was feeling the pull to go back to school, see my friends—and I’d never admit it—start learning again!

 

By the time October rolled around, things had definitely become more “fall-like” and the sun had taken on the “autumn slant” as the days grew shorter, as well. My mom used to take note of the seasonal changes very keenly, and I remember her saying, “Well, fall is here.” There was no need to explain—it was in the coolness of the air, the more orange tint of the sun, the shorter days.

Of course, to a child, “fall” meant that Halloween was coming! Back in those days, it was still safe to go door-to-door with friends, all of us together in the crisp night air, a giggling mass of energy all dressed in our finery (most of us with homemade costumes, not store-bought) and those little plastic pumpkins with the handles to carry our “loot” home in. “TRICK OR TREAT!” we’d call out at each door, and our neighbors would always pretend they thought they were giving candy to princesses and pirates, superheroes and witches.

November brought Thanksgiving—a time when we’d usually go to my grandparents’ houses. I was the “lucky” one of all my cousins (and I had 40+ cousins!) because in the small town of Calera, Oklahoma, I had my dad’s parents who lived at one end of town, and my mom’s parents who lived at the other end. Cousins, aunts, and uncles from both sides also lived there, so many of my cousins from both sides of the family went to school with each other and knew one another as friends and fellow sports teammates. Those were simpler times—we could walk all over town without fear of any foul play, and I had grandparents at each end of town, so no matter which cousins I was with, we had somewhere to walk to.

 

 

The town of Calera, Oklahoma, year unknown. It was a water stop for trains and was called Cale Switch or Cale Station, but when the railroad wanted to rename it Sterrett, the people insisted on a compromise–and Calera was born. This is the main street of the town–much more lively than it was when we kids were walking it back in the mid-late 60’s and early 70’s.

 

The big treat was stopping in at the one and only “grocery store”—more like an Old West mercantile store—that was about at the halfway mark through town. It had a glass case with bologna and ham inside and a big slicer that the store owner, Petey, would use to cut your lunchmeat. Then, he’d wrap it in freezer paper and tie it up with twine. Petey’s store also had one of those big chest-type coolers with a sliding top, filled with ice and bottled pop. That was back when a bottle of pop was ten cents or so—and a candy bar could be had for a few pennies more.

 

There’s nothing like family and Thanksgiving dinner all together to bring “Autumn Fever” to the highest level. Doesn’t Thanksgiving just speak to us of autumn? By that time of the year, even in Oklahoma, the leaves have turned some beautiful rich colors of gold, red, orange, and brown and drifted from the trees. The winds have become colder and more cutting (and that’s saying something here in Oklahoma!) and of course there’s that “fall smell” in the air. And probably that’s one of the things I love most about autumn—the smell. There is nothing like the feeling of being tucked up inside four strong walls with food to eat, a fire going in the fireplace, and a good book to read. And did I mention a dog’s head on my lap? But celebrating fall took on a whole new meaning when we moved to West Virginia. I had never seen colors on the trees like what we saw there–such a wonderful display of nature–and it happens every year!

Rick Burgess is an excellent professional photographer who is a good friend–he specializes in pictures of the natural beauty of “Wild, Wonderful West Virginia” and this is one that was taken at Plum Orchard Lake in the fall. Isn’t it gorgeous? See the link below if you would like to see more of Rick’s wonderful art!

I know a lot of people will think this is strange, but I’ve never been a coffee or hot tea drinker. Yet, in the fall, I DO want something warm to drink—and this is it. This drink is very easy to make and keep on hand—and I haven’t tried making it with any artificial sweetener yet, but this year I’m going to do just that instead of using sugar and see how it turns out. This “friendship tea” is also good to make and give as a gift in a pretty container (that’s how I got it in the very beginning, and I have been so glad someone did that for me so many years ago!)

 

 

FRIENDSHIP TEA

This wonderful drink is ready in 5 minutes, and makes 4 cups of the instant mix.

 

Ingredients:

1 -1 1/2 cup sugar (or less, to taste)

2 cups instant Tang orange drink

1/2 cup sweetened iced tea mix powder

1 (1/4 ounce) envelope unsweetened lemonade mix (about 1 and 3/4 cups)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (or you can also put in whole cloves if you like)

 

Directions:

Combine all ingredients well and store in an airtight container.

To use, fill a mug with boiling water and stir in 2-3 tsp. to taste (some like it stronger!)

This recipe has been around for many years, and it stands the test of time!

If all you can find is pre-sweetened lemonade, then use the amount of dry mix needed for a 2 -quart pitcher according to the package instructions and leave out the sugar.

This iteration of this recipe came from GENIUS KITCHEN and is close to the one I’ve had in my recipe box for all this time.

 

I have to admit, by Christmas, I’m certainly missing fall, and “Autumn Fever” takes on a new meaning—I want it BACK! As sad as I was to see summer end, that’s how I feel when the winter ice and snow comes—I’m immediately nostalgic for fall!

BRRR!!!

What do you do in the autumn months? Are you glad to see them come and herald summer’s end? I do read a lot, as I’m sure many of us do here at P&P. Please share any good books you’ve read so we can all build our reading list!

Right now, I’m re-reading one of Rosemary Rogers’s classic stories, SWEET SAVAGE LOVE--the book that got me reading romances all those years ago–all her stories are sooo darn good you can’t go wrong. Next on my list is another wonderful re-read– NOBODY’S DARLING by Teresa Medeiros.

I’d love to hear your childhood memories of fall–and I do hope you’ll try this wonderful “friendship tea” recipe when those autumn winds begin to blow—it’s a sure cure for AUTUMN FEVER!

Be sure to leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a digital copy of the wonderful PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS boxed set MAIL ORDER BRIDES FOR SALE: THE REMINGTON SISTERS! This is a complete boxed set of four full length novels by Livia J. Washburn, Cheryl Pierson, Jacquie Rogers, and Celia Yeary!

Here’s the blurb to whet your appetite:

Brought up in the wealth and comfort of Eastern “old money” in staid and proper Philadelphia, the Remington sisters are forced to scatter to the four winds and become mail-order brides. In order to gain a fortune, their sinister step-father, Josiah Bloodworth, has made plans to marry them off in loveless marriages. Time is running out, and no matter what lies ahead in their uncertain futures, it has to be better than the evil they’re running from…

LIZZY: Livia J. Washburn
Elizabeth Remington’s world is turned upside down when she is forced to become a mail-order bride. With her cat, Fulton, Lizzy flees to Alaska—only to discover the man she’s to marry is not who she thought he was! Now, she must protect herself from the biggest danger of all—her own heart. Handsome Flint McKinnon has signed his soul away to her step-father, hasn’t he? He’s chased Lizzy across the continent, but can she believe him when he says he loves her?

BELLE: Jacquie Rogers
Belle Remington must marry someone before the dangerous Neville Fenster catches up with her. She hightails it out of Philadelphia to the wilds of Idaho Territory to become a bootmaker’s bride, but when she arrives in Oreana, she discovers her groom has been murdered! Now, handsome, inebriated rancher Cord Callahan insists on fulfilling the marriage contract himself. Belle is beautiful and smart as a whip. But she has a secret. When Fenster shows up, can Cord protect the woman he wants to love forever?

SABRINA: Cheryl Pierson
Impulsive Sabrina Remington, the youngest, weds a man she knows her family would disapprove of. Though Cameron Fraser’s family owns a ranch in lawless Indian Territory, he’s made his way in the world with a gun, living barely on the right side of the law. With everything on the line as Bloodworth and his henchmen close in, will Cam be able to protect Sabrina from the desperate man who means to kidnap her for his own wicked purposes?

LOLA: Celia Yeary
Sensible Lola Remington, the eldest of the four sisters, must be certain the others are on their way to safety before she can think of fleeing Philadelphia herself. With the help of a local bridal agency, Lola finds the perfect husband for herself—in the wild countryside of Texas. Jack Rains owns a ranch and he’s in need of a bride—and children, of course! But just when Lola starts to believe there might be a future for them, she discovers a hidden letter from another woman…Jack’s first wife.

HERE’S THE AMAZON LINK: http://a.co/d/5XSkiX7

 

CHRISTMAS WISHES AND COWBOY KISSES–AND A GIVEAWAY!–by Lacy Williams

It is fantastically hot here in Oklahoma. We’ve had several days in with temps over 100 lately with more to come.

So what better time than to chat about a Christmas book, right?

Have you ever experienced a moment of mistaken identity? Maybe you have a doppelgänger out there somewhere or maybe you look a little bit like a famous movie star. I have never been mistaken for anyone else, but I do you have a bit of an identity crisis that happens every once in a while. (Crisis might be a strong descriptor…)

It started when I was a junior or senior in high school. I would meet people and tell them my name and they would immediately say, “Oh. You’re Sean’s sister.”

My brother was/is a social butterfly and it became a running family joke that even though I was older, I would frequently get recognized as being his sister.

Fast forward twenty years, and it still happens. About three years ago, we moved into a neighborhood about half a mile from my brother. Our kids go to the same elementary school and they love being able to see their cousins in the hallway during the day (none of them are in the same grade). It wasn’t long before I started hearing from other parents, “Oh. You’re Sean’s sister.”

It used to bug me. But now I’m able to laugh about it. I am even thinking about having a T-shirt made for myself with “Sean’s sister” on it for next time we take a trip together.

The hero of my October release in the Christmas Wishes and Cowboy Kisses anthology happens to be a twin. And he gets mistaken for his brother by the one woman he never got over.

Giveaway!

I would love to give away a $10 Amazon gift card and an early copy of my novella from this anthology (ready in about two weeks via ebook). Leave me a comment and let me know whether you’ve ever been mistaken for someone else or maybe you’ve been the one who was mixed up.

Thanks for chatting today!

-Lacy

ABOUT MY BOOK

Cora didn’t know the inheritance that changed her life came with conditions. She needs money, fast, and the only way to get it is by partnering up with her high school boyfriend to run a Christmas tree farm. Working together brings back memories she’s powerless against…

ABOUT THE ANTHOLOGY, releasing October 25.

Ring in the holiday season with 23 heartwarming sweet contemporary romances from USA Today and Top 100 Kindle Unlimited All-Star bestselling authors!

Discover second chance romance, love at first sight, small-town Christmas cheer, swoony single dads, enemies to lovers, snowed-in with the cowboy, and many more stories featuring the cowboy next door. Fall in love with the hunky heroes of this limited-edition Christmas cowboy romance collection.

Pre-order now from your favorite retailer.

***

Lacy Williams wishes her writing career was more like what you see on Hallmark movies: dreamy brainstorming from a French chateau or a few minutes at the computer in a million-dollar New York City penthouse. In reality, she’s up before the sun, putting words on the page before her kids wake up for the day. Those early-morning and late-night writing sessions add up, and Lacy has published fifty books in almost a decade, first with a big five publisher and then as an indie author. When she needs to refill the well, you can find Lacy birdwatching, gardening, biking with the kiddos, or walking the dog. Find tons of bonus scenes and reader extras by becoming a VIP reader at http://www.lacywilliams.net/vip .

Author links:

Welcome Guest Caryl McAdoo!

TORAH in the Old West

Howdy from Texas! Hi, y’all! and Hey! Thank you to all the great authors at Petticoats and Pistols for the opportunity to share today. I’m quite excited about some research I recently completed before writing JO, my newest release, book 23 in the Prairie Roses Collection–and 2022 makes it the fourth annual multi-author project! (Get your copy here.)

When wondering about my heroine’s gifts—we all have gifts God gives us—I figured she’d be artistic and thought she should be a calligrapher. A dear friend of mine is going to teach me the Calligraphy strokes now which I’m very excited about. So . . . in the 1800s, who needed pretty writing? Fancy documents. Birth certificates and death certificates. So, my Jo needed parchment!

In my study of parchment, I discovered something I didn’t know, had never heard in all my years—that parchment is made from animal skins! All y’all probably knew that. Not sure how I missed it except ‘for such a time as this’! ?I guess I have a picture of it in my brain as a thick fancy paper, but proper parchment is made of tanned hides.

Then I discovered that Torah—the Jewish “Bible” which consist of the first five books of the Old Testament—is only recorded on the skins of kosher animals! It’s handwritten exclusively on parchment. So, I also incorporated that in my covered wagon story!

To create a proper parchment for Torah, calfskin is usually used, but also those of goats, deer, or sheep. Even giraffe hides could be since they chew their cud and have cloven hooves. I was amazed to learn that it takes an animal per page. That’s approximately sixty animals who provide their hides for each Torah (245 columns with 42 lines in each). In Hebrew, the parchment is called Klaf—a specially prepared, tanned, split skin (the inner layer, adjacent to the flesh) of a kosher animal.

During Talmudic times—from just after the destruction of the second temple, 70 CE until after the traditional date of the Babylonian Talmud’s completion at 500 CE—after salt water and flours (most often barley) are sprinkled on the skins, they were soaked in the juice of afatsim (gall nuts or oak apples).

Today however, most processors rarely follow the old Jewish customs and instead, speed up the steps, dipping the skins in water for two days then soaking them in limewater for nine more days to remove the hair. A Torah can fetch $20,000 to upwards of $120,000 in this time and age—a sky-high sum affected by one thing more than any other: good handwriting.

A scribe or sofer of the Torah doesn’t have to be a priest but religiously observant, knowledgeable about the laws concerning sofrut, and of good character. And, of course, in Hebrew script, he needs to have excellent handwriting skills, perfectly replicating every letter of Torah, and there are 304,805 of them.

Whatever method is used, when a hairless surface is attained, the scribe stretches the hide on a wooden drying frame and scrapes it until completely dry. If wrinkles persist, creases are pressed out, then finally, it is sanded until a flat, smooth sheet fit for writing is accomplished.

He uses a feather quill or reed and only black ink. Any mistake on a letter—one wrong jot or tittle—or even the letters being too close together, renders the work un-kosher, and he must go back to fix it. After double checking the work, the scribe sew the pages together with sinew to crate a scroll which can weigh up to twenty-five pounds and be two feet high. That is attached to wooden shafts called atzei chayim — trees of life—then packaged in a cloth cover, often embroidered.

This labor of love may take an entire year to finish. They are often commissioned by a synagogue congregation, or an individual who wants to donate one to a synagogue to honor an ancestor.

It amazed me that all this was done in America’s Old West just as in Jerusalem long before our Messiah walked the earth without sin and paid the price for all mankind. I was so pleased to have my family’s goats (in the story) be used for parchment for Torahs! My JO debuted May 3rd on my birthday, and my birthday present was two Nubian does, so I’m back in the goat business! (I fell in love with a beautiful buckling while at the goat farm choosing my girls, so I bought him for Ron’s birthday present!) tee hee hee

GIVEAWAY

I’d like to give away another of my Prairie Roses’ stories where a goat played a prominent part, or at least his untimely death does. ? How are you connected to goats (if you have been), or if not, then what you think of goats! Your comment will be your entry for a signed paperback copy of RUTH, book 11 o the collection and my 2021 contribution!

Also, my gift to you, for all of you reading this between May 27th and 31st, you may claim a free copy of LEAVIN’ TEXAS at Amazon! It’s book four in my Cross Timbers Family Saga and I know you’re going to love it! Here’s that link.

Award-winning author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory, and her best-selling stories—over sixty published—delight Christian readers around the world. The prolific writer also enjoys singing the new songs the Lord gives her; you may listen at YouTube. Sharing four children and twenty-four grandsugars (six are greats), Caryl and Ron, her high-school-sweetheart-husband of fifty-three years, live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas. The McAdoos wait expectantly for God to open the next door.

Find Caryl here: Amazon | BookBub | Website | Newsletter

Thanks again Petticoats & Pistols! I hope you thought all that was as interesting as I did! BLESSINGS!

 

BIRTHDAY CAKE AND MEMORIES–AND A GIVEAWAY! by CHERYL PIERSON

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

/https://www.crazyforcrust.com/chocolate-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:

 

 

BLURB FROM FIRE EYES:

“Frank?”

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!

AMAZON AUTHOR LINK:  http://www.amazon.com/author/cherylpierson

Bookish Crafts

One of my favorite crafts is cross stitching. I’ve been doing it since I was a teenager, and I find it to be very similar to writing. You start with a blank canvas, follow some guidelines, add color and creativity, and eventually a piece of art takes shape.

I make small projects like Christmas ornaments as gifts, and my larger projects that often take years to complete become decorations for my home. Recently, I finished a matched pair of medieval maidens – The Reader and The Musician. I gave these to my daughter for her 23rd birthday. She will be moving into a new apartment in August, and they are something of a housewarming gift. The first one was finished in 2017, and I didn’t get around to finishing the second one until this year. These are special because both my daughter and I love reading, we both played the flute, and we both love historical things. It was the perfect trifecta!

Cross stitching is very easy, and I find it quite relaxing. I often have a project going while my hubby and I watch TV, or it can be great to do while listening to an audiobook. It’s like paint by numbers but with colored thread (floss) instead of paint. If you can follow directions and make tiny Xs, you can cross stitch.

I get especially excited about patterns that allow me to mix my love of reading with my love of stitching. So today, I’m giving away a pair of prizes.

First – A hand-crafted (by me!) bookmark that combines my two favorite past times – reading and stitching.

Second – An easy, beginner-level kit to let you try your hand at your own cross-stitch creation.

Giveaway!

For a chance to win my handmade bookmark
along with the nostalgic and adorable honey bear kit,
leave a comment about your favorite craft.

And if you are a fellow stitcher, let me know!