Game Day – March

I’m a Word Nerd, and as such, I love playing word games. Words with Friends, Boggle with Friends, UpWords, Taboo, Scattegories, Bananagrams, Scrabble. I even keep a crossword puzzle by my place at the table, so I always have some word fun to work on.

So for our Game Day today, I thought we could stretch our Word Nerd muscles and with some acrostics.

To play, create a poem or sentence where each word starts with the first letters of the two words below.

SPRING READS

You can use both words or just one. This is for fun, so we’re going light on the rules. Your sentence or poem should explore a place or experience that fits the theme of Spring Reads.

For example, I pictured taking a walk through beautiful spring blossoms.

Sunny
Park
Road
In
Nature
Going
Round
Enjoying
Audiobook
Delivered
Sound.

Enter your acrostic in the comments to be entered to win a Spring Reads Prize of fun reader socks and the winner’s choice of one of my three most recent books.
Have fun!

History of Bicycles with Charlene Raddon

Everyone grew up riding bicycles, right? Wrong. At least not successfully. I was a terrible rider, so nervous I kept falling into parked cars. At least, that was better than falling into the street and being run over by a car.

In my latest book, Gage (Ridge), Cupids & Cowboys Book 7, my heroine rides a bicycle in 1900 Montana. As it turned out, she didn’t do so well either. My hero, Marshal Ridge Givens (one of the triplets born in Barclay, Bachelors & Babies Book 1) went to the train station to pick her up. Instead of stepping down from a rail car as would be expected, she drove an automobile off a flatcar with a bicycle strapped to the back and wearing bloomers. No one in Cutthroat, Montana, had seen a motor car until then. She became the talk of the town.

Honora Keane came to Montana to fetch her orphaned niece, but being a dime novelist, she also hoped to get some first-hand experience in the ways of the quickly disappearing west. Of particular interest was the elder Gage Givens, Ridge’s uncle, though she soon decided Ridge would make a good hero too.

When the bank was robbed, and Ridge and Uncle Gage went after the gang, Honora begged to go along. Ridge said no. Well, being a modern woman and a suffragist, Honora ignored his decree. Not having a horse or knowing how to ride one, she did the perfectly logical thing—she rode her bicycle to follow the men into the mountains. Her experiences on that trip proved pretty hilarious.

Naturally, all this required research. I learned that several men claimed to have invented bicycles (called running machines or Draisines) as early as 1500, but Baron Karl von Drais, a German civil servant, created the first verifiable model in 1817. Being constructed almost entirely of wood, the draisine had no foot pedals, which required the rider to push it along with his feet (hence running machine).

New names came into use with later models, such as “pedestrian curricle” and “velocipede.” However, the public preferred “hobby-horse,” after the children’s toy or, worse still, “dandyhorse,” after the foppish men who often rode them. In the summer of 1819, the hobby horse became the craze in London. John Keats referred to it as “the nothing” of the day. A French metalworker, around 1863, added rotary cranks and pedals to the front-wheel hub to create the first pedal-operated “bicycle.”

From 1820 to 1850, tricycles and quadricycles appeared on the streets in a variety of designs, using pedals, treadles, and hand-cranks. Most suffered from high weight and high rolling resistance until Willard Sawyer of Dover built a range of treadle-operated 4-wheel vehicles and exported them worldwide in the 1850s.

The first mechanically propelled two-wheel vehicle is believed to have been built by Kirkpatrick Macmillan, a Scottish blacksmith, in 1839. A nephew later claimed that his uncle developed a rear-wheel-drive design using mid-mounted treadles connected by rods to a rear crank, similar to the transmission of a steam locomotive. The first bicycle with pedals was invented in 1853.

 

Developed around 1863, a French design sparked a brief fashionable craze during 1868–70. It used rotary cranks and pedals mounted to the front wheel hub. Pedaling made it easier for riders to propel the machine at speed, but this design’s rotational speed limitation made it unstable and uncomfortable, leading to the large front wheel of the “penny-farthing.” It wasn’t easy to pedal the wheel used for steering. The use of metal frames reduced the weight and provided sleeker, more elegant designs and mass-production. Different braking mechanisms were used depending on the manufacturer. In England, the velocipede earned the name of “bone-shaker” because of its rigid frame and iron-banded wheels that resulted in a “bone-shaking experience.” Later improvements included solid rubber tires and ball bearings.

The bicycle’s popularity grew on both sides of the Atlantic, and by 1868–69, the craze was going strong in rural areas. Velocipede rinks became popular, and riding schools opened in many cities. Essentially, the velocipede proved a stepping stone, creating a market for bicycles that led to the development of more advanced and efficient machines. By 1870, the bicycle remained in favor only in the UK.

The high-bicycle was the logical extension of the boneshaker, the front wheel enlarging to enable higher speeds (limited by the inside leg measurement of the rider), the rear wheel shrinking, and the frame being made lighter. Frenchman Eugène Meyer is now regarded as the father of the high bicycle. Meyer invented the wire-spoke tension wheel in 1869 and produced a classic high bicycle design until the 1880s.

A later invention called the “ordinary bicycle” replaced this type of bicycle, eventually being nicknamed “penny-farthing” in England (a penny representing the front wheel, and a coin smaller in size and value, the farthing, meaning the rear). They were fast but unsafe. The rider sat high up in the air and traveled at great speed. If he hit a bad bit of road, he could be thrown over the front wheel and seriously injured (two broken wrists were common, in attempts to break a fall) or even killed. “Taking a header” (also known as “coming a cropper”) was not at all uncommon.

The rider’s legs could be caught under the handlebars, making it impossible to fall free of the machine. The danger limited cycling to adventurous young men. Older men preferred the more stable tricycles or quadracycles. Women’s fashion of the day made the “ordinary” bicycle inaccessible.

My neighbor owns a high bicycle, and it’s interesting to watch him climb onto it and ride off down the street. I wonder how many of you ride bikes today? They don’t seem to be as popular as when I was a kid (back in the stone age).

And to read more about Ridge and Honora, order their book today!

For a chance to win an e-book copy of Vella

or an e-book copy of Gage,

post your answer to these questions :

Did you ride a bike as a child? Do you still ride one?
Did you have any wild adventures while riding your bicycle?

 

Bestselling author Charlene Raddon began writing in 1980 after waking up from a dream she knew had to appear in a book. She dragged out a portable typewriter and began writing. That book took nine years to write, as she learned her craft at the same time. A time travel, it has not yet been published. Next, she wrote Tender Touch (Brianna), entered it into the Colorado Gold contest, historical division, and won. That victory prompted her to enter the RWA Golden Heart Contest and Tender Touch became a finalist. She acquired an agent and a year and a half later, signed a three-book contract with Zebra Books, an imprint of Kensington Books.

In 1999, when the historical market plummeted and western romance became almost impossible to sell, she took a hiatus from writing, but her imagination wouldn’t leave her alone. Eventually, she got back into the game. In 2011, she won back her rights to her books and had them released as eBooks by Tirgearr Publishing. In 2012 Tirgearr released two of her books in print, Taming Jenna and Tender Touch.

In 2011, Charlene’s artistic nature prompted her to try a different path and she began designing book covers. Today, she has a long list of clients and her own cover site, silversagebookcovers.com where she specializes in historical romance covers, primarily western.

Her writing and graphic arts business keeps her mightily busy and happy. But she always has time for family, travel, and helping other authors. Connect with Charlene on her website: https://charleneraddon.com/

Book Release & Giveaway

My latest novella collection hit the shelves yesterday, and I can’t wait to share Barnabas and Phoebe’s story with you!

The Kissing Tree is a multi-generational collection of stories that center around a giant oak in Texas where couples carve their initials through the years.

The tree that inspired our giant oak was The Century Tree on the Texas A&M campus. In fact, my daughter (who is now at A&M working on a PhD) was kind enough to ask the tour guide to take them by the tree so she could get her nerdy mom a photo during her college visit last spring.

They don’t allow initial carving in this glorious tree, but there is a tradition for proposals happening beneath these branches.

In my story – Inn for a Surprise – Phoebe Woodward and Barnabas Ackerly are forced to work together to design a romantic retreat for couples. The Kissing Tree Inn is Phoebe’s brainchild, and she has definite ideas about how to make the place romantic.

For example, she starts off by having it painted the color of love – a shockingly vivid shade of pink. Barnabas does his best to hide his shock when he sees the inn for the first time, but his professional life flashes before his eyes – and not in a rose-colored glasses type of way.

The two definitely don’t see eye-to-eye on inn design, but as they work together to make the inn a success, they come to see that practicality and sentimentality can coexist and can even lead to love.

Phoebe
Barnabas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of The Kissing Tree, I’m giving away autographed copies to two readers chosen from the comments.

To enter, leave a comment about which character you most resemble:

  • the sentimental Phoebe or
  • the practical Barnabas.

Enjoy!

CAROLYN BROWN IS OUR GUEST TODAY!

Good morning, everyone! Thank you so much for inviting me back to visit with the fillies! I always love making a stop here and having a glass of sweet tea with all y’all.

 

I’ve got Alana Carey with me today and I’ve got some questions about this fake engagement that she’s roped Paxton Callahan into. She stands six feet tall in her cowboy boots. She has blonde hair and big blue eyes and she can out rope, out-ride, and out-do most cowboys in the state of Texas whether it’s on the dance floor, having shots of whiskey or riding broncs. Her two soft spots are her father, since he’s raised her alone when her mother died, and Paxton Callahan.

 

First question: What made you decide to ask Paxton to enter into this fake engagement with you?

 

Alana: My dad, Matt, told me that he’d been diagnosed with untreatable cancer and he only had six weeks to live. The only thing that he wished he had lived long enough to see was me married and settled. He had done so much for me that I had to give him his dying wish. I lied. I told him that Pax and I had been secretly dating for several months, that we hadn’t told anyone because we wanted to be sure that it was real, but that he had proposed to me. I thought that would make him happy, but oh, no, he wanted to walk me down the aisle. Since Pax was my best friend, he went along with the idea—thank goodness, since I didn’t ask him before I told Daddy.

 

Carolyn: What happened then?

 

Alana: Well, the whole town got behind the engagement, and suddenly we were all knee deep in wedding dress shopping, and wedding showers. One little lie to make him die a happy man turned into a huge thing, and there was no way I could back out of it since Daddy wanted me to have the biggest wedding ever seen in our part of Texas.

 

Carolyn (gasping): Keep going. We’re hanging on every word.

 

Alana: Then Daddy began to talk about the honeymoon and flying us anywhere in the world that I wanted to go. I didn’t want to waste weeks or even days off on a fake honeymoon. I wanted to spend every minute I could with him.

Carolyn: Even in the midst of the sadness, did you enjoy all the wedding plans?

 

Alana (with a smile): Of course. I had the wedding every woman dreams about, and Daddy was happy, but the crazy thing was that soon I didn’t know what was fake and what was real. I’d loved Pax in secret for years, and now I got to be engaged to him. But I have to admit, I wondered if he felt the same about me. That’s all for today or else I’ll be giving away spoilers.

 

Carolyn: Guess that’s all we can get her to talk about today, but I would like to add that Sunrise Ranch will be a bonus novella included in Cowboy Strong, and then will be available to order on July 7 in both ebook and paper book. Sunrise Ranch is the last story from Daisies in the Canyon.

 

And so, there you have it folks. Would you buy this book on the basis of that interview? I’ll be giving away a signed copy of Cowboy Strong, the last book in the Longhorn Canyon Series to one lucky person. A little note: There is one more little novella on the way tucked into the A Little Country Christmas anthology that will actually end the series. It’s titled The Perfect Christmas.

Buy Links:

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2AvsEFL

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3d3RZUl

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2Y3ikNQ

Google: https://bit.ly/3d06rwp

iBooks: https://apple.co/2Y4guN1

 

Tenacity – The Stuff of Cowboys, Pioneers, and Persevering Women

The fillies welcome guest blogger Pamela Meyers!

The title may sound like a odd mix of people-types in the title, but think about it. The cowboys of old were a rare breed as they engaged in cattle drives while moving their herds to market. In the old west they had to deal with wild animals and attacks made by the area’s first dwellers, the American Indians. Today’s cowboys who rodeo (it’s used as a verb in the rodeo world) have to possess a lot of tenacity in all the events, but most of all, bull riding. They get on a 2,000-pound animal with nothing to hold onto but a loose rope tied around the bull. They have no idea if they will end the 8-second ride still astride the wild brute, or on the ground in one piece. And even if they are injured, they get back on a new bull the next week. I’ve seen cowboys ride with casted legs and arms. Tenacity at its best.

I can’t imagine the strength and tenacity that the pioneers of the past had to have to load their meager belongings in a covered wagon and travel west to begin a new life in a part of our country they had never experienced. Like the cowboys who drove their herds across the land, the pioneers had to face possible attacks along with bad weather that could delay them for days.

I’m currently writing historical stories set in my hometown of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin that used to bear the nickname “Newport of the West.” It sounds strange today to think of a small town and lake in southeastern Wisconsin as “the west,” but back in the late 19th Century it was considered our country’s west. At that time, only the bravest souls had moved on past the Mississippi to the far-flung actual west

My four-book series called The Newport of the West, follows a fictional family who is displaced by the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 as they move north to Lake Geneva, the same way many of Chicago’s wealthy did in real life after the fire.

Each book focuses on the daughter of the fictional couple in the previous book. Each heroine, beginning with Anna Hartwell in Safe Refuge (Book 1) possesses tenacity as they face obstacles, some real and solid ones as well as emotional ones. And along the way they come to lean on the Lord’s strength more than their tenacity to get them through. Anna had to deal with not only her family losing everything in the fire and having to start over in Wisconsin, but also faces the will of her parents when she was set to marry a terrible man in an arranged marriage.

 

The urgency of dissolving the arrangement before the nuptials take place is heightened by her falling in love with a wonderful God-fearing Irish immigrant. A totally unsuitable match in her mother’s estimation.

Is tenaciousness a trait you like to see in the heroines of the books you read? Can you share about a favorite fictional character that exhibits this trait in a way that has kept you turning the pages? Leave a comment below to be entered in a drawing for either “Safe Refuge” or “Shelter Bay”– I am absolutely delighted to hear what you think!

Pam Meyers has written most of her life, beginning with her first diary at age eight. Her novels, set in and around her hometown of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, include Surprised by Love in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, along with Safe Refuge, and Shelter Bay.(Books One and Two in the Newport of the West Series.) Tranquility Point, Book Three, will publish in April 2020.

Pam resides in northern Illinois with her two rescue cats, only an hour or so away from Lake Geneva where she often is found nosing around for new story ideas. 

Potatoes from the farm to your freezer

I spent my growing up years in an area where row crops were every bit as prevalent as wheat and hay fields. 
One of the most popular row crops (next to onions) happens to be potatoes. Some of our neighbors grew acres and acres of them. One year, as a fundraising project for our senior class, we went and picked up all the “cull” potatoes from their field and sold them for something like a $1 per bag by going door to door in our small town. That was not the most fun any 17-year-old ever had.

I also just happened to grow up in the same valley where one famous potato company started and continues today, known as Ore-Ida.

If you’ve ever stood in the freezer section at your grocery store and looked at the selection of frozen tater tots, French fries, or hash browns, you’ve probably seen Ore-Ida potatoes with their trademark red bag and distinctive logo.

Ore-Ida is  currently produced and distributed by the H.J. Heinz Company, now part of Kraft Heinz. The primary production facility for Ore-Ida is located in the community of Ontario, Oregon, that sits right on the border between Oregon and Idaho. The company once employed more than 1,000 people, but today has around 600 employees. 

Back in the mid-1930s, entrepreneurs and brothers F. Nephi Grigg and Golden Grigg began growing sweet corn in eastern Oregon. Their first company, Grigg Brothers, became one of the largest distributors of sweet corn in the United States. 

Then, in 1949, with financial backing from their brother-in-law Otis Williams, the brothers rented a frozen food plant located in Ontario, at the border with Idaho, and converted it into a potato-processing facility. The three men purchased the facility in the early 1950s. In 1952, Oregon Frozen Foods Company was founded. 

Initially, the company produced and sold frozen corn and French fries. In 1953, Tater Tots were invented and patented by Ore-Ida. The tots were made from seasoned slivers of potatoes left over from the French fry production. (Oddly enough, Tater Tots are the brand’s most popular product). 

The company went on to build a second plant in Burley, Idaho, where many of their potato fields were located. The company’s name became a syllabic abbreviation of the two states where they ran the companies and the original logo consisted of outlines of Oregon and Idaho with Ore-Ida superimposed in italicized letters. 

Ore-Ida was acquired by the H.J. Heinz Company in 1965. Ore-Ida’s headquarters were located in Boise, Idaho, until 1999 when a new frozen foods division was created at Heinz’s corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

So the next time you reach into the freeze for a bag of fries or tots, you’ll know a little history of the company of you bought the Ore-Ida brand. 

Of course, I have to share a recipe with you today. This one includes Tater Tots and is easy to whip together for a fast meal. 

Tater Tot Casserole

2 pounds of ground beef

1 package of Ore-Ida Tater Tots

1 cup shredded colby-jack cheese (or cheddar)

1 tsp. onion flakes (or grated fresh onion)

2 cans of cream of mushroom soup

1 teaspoon seasoning (like Mrs. Dash)

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place tater tots into a 9 x 13 casserole pan (I lightly spray mine with non-stick spray first) and set in the oven while you brown the ground beef. I add the onion flakes, seasoning and salt and pepper to the ground beef. When the hamburger is browned, mix it with the cream of mushroom soup and spoon over the top of the tater tots. Layer on cheese and cover with foil. Bake for about 20 minutes or until soup is hot and bubbly. Remove foil and bake for a few more minutes until cheese is a melted layer of luscious gooey-ness. Remove from oven and serve. I like to sprinkle the top of my casserole with a bit of chopped fresh parsley. Captain Cavedweller likes his straight up “without any of that weird green stuff on there.”
Enjoy!

What is your favorite fast or easy dinner recipe using potatoes?

 

Stop in later to see if your name has been added to the list of semi-finalists! 

Only those who comment have a chance to win!

P&P Big Summer Giveaway #2

According to a recent AAA Travel survey, nearly 100 million Americans are planning to take a family vacation in 2019. How about you? Will you be hitting the road this summer?

Nothing makes time in the car pass more quickly and pleasantly than getting lost in a great book. Whether you are driver or passenger, the Fillies have you covered — because for this month’s giant giveaway, we are including audio books as well as print and e-books in our prize package. Hooray!

All the books the Fillies are giving away have a tie-in to the road trip theme with some aspect of the plot taking place on the road.

Check out the fabulous collection of audio, print, and e-books you could win!

Audio Books

 

Not only that, but what’s a road trip without car games, snacks, and DVDs to watch?
Our winner for July will also win all of these fun goodies!

To enter for a chance to win all these amazing prizes, use the form below.
Winner will be announced on Sunday, July 14.

Click here to view this promotion.

P&P Big Summer Giveaway #1

Book lovers look forward to summer all year long. Why? Because we finally have time to read all those books that have been patiently waiting on the TBR pile! Summer is all about relaxation, vacations, and mental escapes with your favorite cowboy hero.

The Petticoats & Pistols Fillies love our readers, and we want to help you get the most out of your summertime experience. So we decided to offer three giant giveaways — one in June, July, and August on the first Sunday of the month. Each will have a different theme. All will feature fun gifts and fabulous summer reads.

Our theme for June is Take a Cowboy to the Beach. Whether you are lying on the sand or sitting poolside, summer relaxation often combines sun, water, and a good read. We’re here to give you everything you need to make that happen.

Our June contest winner will receive:

A summer beach tote; an insulated, stainless steel water bottle; Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen;
and a beach towel featuring wild horses gamboling through the surf.

But wait. There’s more. The winner will also receive a stack of escape-worthy stories by your favorite Filly authors. Each of these books loosely fits the beach theme by either having a plot point that centers around water or using a “fish-out-of-water” romance trope.

To enter for a chance to win, please use the form below.

The contest ends on Saturday, June 8, and the winner will be posted on Sunday, June 9.

Hope you win!

Click here to view this promotion.