We all grew up singing songs and some are quite old. Adam and Eve probably had some that they relied on if the truth was known.
In my current work in progress, my heroine and her sister start an orphanage for kids left without parents during a frightening yellow fever epidemic. The year is the fall of 1867. With the recent loss of their parents, the children are very distraught. Maura Taggart finds that singing is one thing that seems to help. So of course, I got curious and had to dive into research.
Here’s what I found.
Mary Had a Little Lamb was written and sung in 1830.
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star – 1838
Old McDonald Had a Farm – 1706
London Bridge – 1744
Hickory Dickory Dock – 1744
Frère Jacques – 1780
I remember singing in French “Frère Jacques” in the first grade and still remember a few of the words. It translates into “Are You Sleeping, Brother John?” I loved this song and I felt very grown up singing in French. HA! Doesn’t take much to impress a small child.
I was amazed at how far back these songs go. The children in my orphanage grow to love singing so Maura makes it part of a daily routine along with painting. Children love creating and they can forget the sad turns their lives have taken for a little while.
I’m really enjoying this story. I have no release date yet so I’m just having fun. Some of the children become very difficult to stay put. They’re not allowed around in the front but that’s exactly where they want to be. One day they find a puppy tied to a sign and insist it’s a gift from God to let them know their parents still love them and are watching over them. Then, they discover various other items that help make life easier for the orphans. But who is the mysterious benefactor? It’ll keep you guessing.
What other songs did you grow up with? A lot of these started out as poems or nursery rhymes before someone put music to them. I’d love to discuss this. I’ll give away a $10 Amazon gift card to someone who comments.
The day we’ve waited for all year is coming fast and my head is spinning as I try to remember everything. In fact, I feel like one of those bobble heads! I guess it won’t matter. I’m determined to enjoy this special time. I’ll be with family and it’ll be a fun, noisy affair. Quite different from last year when we were all stuck in our homes alone. I didn’t feel like decorating or celebrating. In fact, I was pretty depressed. But that’s behind me now.
This year I put a small tabletop tree up and decorated my door, so I think I’m ready. Nothing says the holidays like twinkling lights, tinsel, and laughter. It makes everything so pretty.
I want to show you some special ornaments that came from halfway around the world. A dear friend who loves to travel bought these for me.
She got the blue handmade one from Budapest, Hungary when she took a Viking Cruise. I really love the old world feel about this ornament. The white Christmas tree came from Scotland and gifted to me by the same friend. This one is special because it came from the land of my roots. I hope to one day visit and see the beauty firsthand.
In this next set of pictures, a different friend gave this Santa ornament to me right before she passed away so I treasure it dearly. When I hold it, memories of the times with her run through my mind. She was such an incredibly talented woman who made the most awesome things with flowers. The sparkly silver ornament was sent by a reader from Ireland. It adds so much beauty to my little tree.
My heart is full of gratefulness and love. I’m truly blessed to have such good friends who add so much to life. I never want to take them for granted. Friends are like flowers and you have to water and nurture them or they won’t stick around.
Do you have any special items that you hold dear that you take out each year? I’d love to hear about them. I’m giving away one 2022 calendar that I made myself to someone who comments.
Wishing you all so much happiness and love. Whether you spend this holiday with family, friends, or alone, find something that brings joy to your life and give thanks for what you have.
I hope everyone is enjoying this fall weather. I just love the slower pace and hunkering down in the winter. For some reason colder weather and gray skies act as a spring-board for long writing days. Weird, huh? But with little to do outside, I can focus on my story.
Over the years, I’ve written about characters helping women caught up in bad situations with nowhere to turn. But the most recent is A Cowboy of Legend that came out in April. Grace Legend rescued a lady of the night and got her out of that life. She helped her find redemption and she ended up with her family, painting pictures again. Grace and Deacon also work to save the street children and open a home for them.
In real life, a lot of women fell into a trap and got caught in prostitution or ended up pregnant with no hope of finding a way out. One couple, Reverend James T. and Maggie May Upchurch, began their crusade in social work in Waco, Texas in 1894 after encountering women working in the “entertainment” profession. There they started the Berachah Rescue Society.
The relocated to Arlington, Texas in 1903 and founded the Berachah Industrial Home for the Redemption of Erring Girls. It was a home for “fallen” and unwed women in the family way who had nowhere else to turn.
The Upchurch’s had one rule for their pregnant residents—they were required to keep their babies. No children were given up for adoption.
The couple provided room and board and taught these women a skill of some kind where they could become a productive member of society.
But they didn’t limit their help to just women. They spread their gospel to the street corners and opened their hearts to the homeless street children. They truly were an inspiration and instead of scorning those who’d taken a wrong path, they helped them rise from the gutters, treating them with compassion and love.
At the Berachah home that was funded by donations from businessmen, the women were taught parenting skills in addition to providing a way to make a living and be independent. The Upchurch’s erected a chapel, a handkerchief factory, infirmary, print shop, and school on the property. In 1924, there were 129 women and girls living there with the average age of 17. The home close in 1935 due to donations drying up and the residents were relocated to other places. Today, a Texas Historical Marker stands there to commemorate the groundbreaking work of the Rev. and Mrs. Upchurch.
Deacon Brannock and Grace Legend in my story could’ve been the Reverend and his wife. I love it when what I think is fiction turns out to have really deep roots in history.
The Rev. and Mrs. Upchurch changed so many lives that would’ve been forever lost. I would love to sit down with them and ask them what the biggest challenge was and also the biggest reward.
My question: If you could sit down with any person in history, who would it be? And what would you ask them? I’m giving away an ebook copy of A Cowboy of Legend to one person who comments.
The Fillies are happy to welcome Lacy Williams and her latest historical western romance. She’s giving away a gift card to someone who leaves a comment about their bucket list.
Do you have a bucket list?
Google says a bucket list is “a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to accomplish during their lifetime”. I’ve always thought of it as a list of goals or places I want to go before I get to the end of my life.
I almost always have a list of written goals. January first is a great time to renew that list. I look at my goals frequently. But a bucket list is a little different. Like, I want to visit Europe someday. I’d like to have a book on the New York Times bestseller list. I want to see my children give their lives to Jesus.
Right now it feels like I have plenty of time to complete my bucket list.
But what would it feel like if you knew your time was almost up?
In THE WRANGLER’S READY-MADE FAMILY, hero Gil has been diagnosed with consumption and doctors have told him he only has months to live. Gil feels restless and unmoored. He doesn’t really have a bucket list, he just feels as if his life isn’t over yet.
And when he meets heroine Susie in a stagecoach accident, he feels like he’s gotten a second chance. When he begins to fall for her, he wants to use his limited time left to help her reconnect with her estranged family.
But it turns out one “bucket list” wish isn’t enough.
About the book:
Susie is a desperate young mother with another baby on the way. Her late husband left her nothing but his bad reputation. She has no money and is too ashamed to return home to her family. When she is trapped alone during a snowstorm with a stranger and the baby coming, her only choice is to rely on him.
Boone came west to find healing for his tuberculosis. He never expected to find himself trapped with a lost young widow. Or how fast he could fall for her and her two little ones. But it doesn’t take long for his secrets to come to light.
After everything she’s suffered in the past, can Susie ever trust another gambler?
I’d love to give away a $10 Amazon gift card to one commenter who tells me something on your bucket list. Good luck!
Thank you for hosting me on the Petticoats blog today!
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
There’s a new cowboy in the Texas Panhandle and he’s definitely NOT looking for love in A COWBOY CHRISTMAS LEGEND. Nope. That’s the furthest thing from Sam II’s mind. He’s happy being alone where he doesn’t have to face the ghosts of the past and indulging a new passion of forging knives. Working with hot steel and making something beautiful from it is a lot better than having to deal with nosey people and all their questions.
But his neighbor’s daughter Cheyenne Ronan is having none of that. Especially with Christmas approaching. No one should be alone.
Having returned from a year away, she’s curious about Sam and wonders what he’d look like beneath all that hair and long beard. Why is he so different from his famous ranching family? Why did he cut himself off from everyone and choose to live in isolation?
When he discovers a sick woman and her children stranded in the snow, he’s forced to ask for Cheyenne’s help. Together they’re determined to bring cheer to the little family. And as they work toward that goal, they discover their own Christmas miracle.
Forging knives is an ancient skill learned from as far back as cave man days. Knives are the third oldest weapon behind rocks and clubs and there’s a lot that goes into the process. I love watching Forged in Fire on the History Channel and seeing the intricacies of the profession.
The steel has to be at the right temperature. Too hot and it turns to liquid. Too cold and it splits as the layers of steel separate. It’s like making love to a woman in a lot of ways. She has to be just the right temperature.
And then after getting the steel in the shape you want, there’s the tempering or hardening process and honing the blade to a razor sharp edge. With no modern tools, it takes Sam about a week to make a knife and that’s if everything goes well. Sometimes they’re ornate and unusual along with the functional ones.
His knives are much sought after and his reputation is growing, much to his dismay, because it means he has to talk to people when they come calling.
A COWBOY CHRISTMAS LEGEND releases September 28th and it’s the second of my Lone Star Legends series. For an excerpt click HERE.
Sometimes I look at my hectic life and wish I lived in some remote place far from everyone. No cell phone. No outside contact. But after the covid isolation of last year and spending much of it in isolation, I know I couldn’t be a recluse for any length of time.
How about you? Could you be a hermit and never see family and friends? Or have a grocery store or doctor nearby? I don’t have any copies of this book yet so I’m giving away a $15 Amazon Gift Card to someone who comments.
When I was nine years old, I lived on the Navajo Indian Reservation. My dad, who has long had a deep and abiding respect for Native Americans, saw this as a chance to give back with his life, so he took a job as an accountant with an arts and crafts store in Window Rock, Arizona—capital of the Navajo Nation. We obtained a house just across the border in New Mexico, in a small town aptly called “Navajo,” supported by a local sawmill. It was 1975.
One day at one of the stores that employed my father a worker found a Styrofoam cup tucked away on a shelf. Inside were various items that included a torn corner of a $5, $10 and $20 bill. It was immediately clear to those who discovered it that a hex had been placed. Soon thereafter, a medicine man was called. Since it involved all the employees, my dad was allowed, despite being a white man, to participate in the ceremonies conducted.
At the first ritual, the medicine man found a buried pot outside the building at the base of the famous local landmark, the window rock. This was accomplished when his hand trembled over the exact location. On the outside of the pot, stick figures represented the employees, and lightning bolts painted above indicated death by lightning strike. At the time, we were having terrible storms every day. Inside were pieces of coral, turquoise, and silver, and a section of human skull.
At the second ceremony, a bowl filled with some type of tea was passed around to ingest, and then each employee was asked to look into a crystal to identify who had placed the hex. My dad says he saw nothing, but it was generally agreed that the perpetrator was a former employee who had been fired. She was part of a major Navajo clan, and her dismissal had possibly angered the wrong people. But the curse spoke of deeper problems within the Navajo and their way of life. The crafts people—those who made Indian jewelry and the iconic Navajo weavings—were at odds with the administration, which included my dad. There were those who wanted progress, and those who didn’t. At the conclusion of the ceremony, after a sand painting was created, the piece of skull inside the pot was burned. Two female employees reported instant relief from a terrible headache that had plagued them all evening. Back at home, at the same time, my mother said I’d been distraught and crying for hours from pains in my head, which immediately stopped when the bone was destroyed. It seemed family members had also been included in the hex.
My dad never attended the third, and final, observance—the Blessing Way—because we had moved back to Phoenix. He has always joked that the hex was never fully removed. As evidence, he cites various mishaps that occur whenever he and my mother return to the Navajo Reservation: car breakdowns, money stolen, and in one instance missing a critical turnoff because five Indians stood in front of a directional sign.
In my recently re-released standalone historical western novel INTO THE LAND OF SHADOWS, I included the hex in the story. Leave a comment for a chance to win a digital copy.
It’s been five years since a woman came between Ethan Barstow and his brother, Charley, and it’s high time they buried the hatchet. When Ethan travels to Arizona Territory to make amends, he learns that Charley has abruptly disappeared after breaking more than one heart in town. And an indignant fiancée is hot on his trail.
When Charley Barstow abandons a local girl after getting her pregnant, Kate Kinsella pursues him without a second thought. She’s determined he set things right, and even more determined to end her own engagement to him, a sham from the beginning. But an ill-timed encounter with a group of ruffians lands her in the company of Charley’s brother, Ethan, who suggests they search together.
As Ethan and Kate move deeper INTO THE LAND OF SHADOWS, family tensions and past tragedies threaten to destroy a love neither of them expected.
A sensuous historical western romance set in 1893 Arizona Territory. Into The Land Of Shadows is a stand-alone, full-length novel with paranormal elements.
This book was previously published in 2013 under the same title. While the text and cover have been updated, the story remains the same.
So, have you or anyone you know ever had any experience with hexes? Ever read about any in books?
Kristy McCaffrey writes contemporary adventure stories packed with smoldering romance and spine-tingling suspense, as well as award-winning historical western romances brimming with grit and emotion. Her work is filled with compelling heroes, determined heroines, and her trademark mysticism. An Arizona native, she resides in the desert north of Phoenix.
Hi, I’m Andrea Downing and today I’d like to talk about the lesser known figure of John Larn.
The history of the West is littered with a glittering array of gunfighters and lawmen—sometimes both in one man. After all, the West wouldn’t have been ‘Wild’ without them; think how boring it would be if we only had pioneers and a quite ordinary workforce to write about! Like cream, certain names rise to the top in the litany of gunfighters: Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Their counterparts, the lawmen, were often not much better than they; think Pat Garrett and Wyatt Earp and company. But there were lesser mortals who left a trail of destruction in their wake, and one such man was John Larn.
Larn was born in Alabama in 1849, well before the heady, post Civil War main migration to the West. As a teen, he moved on to Colorado to find work as a cowboy, but the hot-headed young man ended up killing his boss around 1869 in an argument over a horse. Heading to New Mexico, he notched his gun a second time when he killed a sheriff he believed to be in pursuit of him. Moving on to Texas, he next had work as trail boss for rancher Bill Hays in Fort Griffin, around 1871. This led to the deaths of 3 more victims on the trail to Trinidad, Colorado.
As we all know, ladies love a bad boy, and Mary Jane Matthews, from a prominent family, was no exception. The couple married, would eventually have two sons, and Larn managed to become a well-respected citizen—for a time at least—of Shackleford County in Texas. But by 1873, rumors started to appear of cattle rustling in which Larn was involved. Somehow, he was able to put the spotlight on his former boss, obtain a warrant charging the outfit with rustling and, keeping in mind no good deed goes unpunished, he gathered a possee and joined soldiers from Fort Griffin to ambush and kill all Bill Hays’ ranch hands.
By now, you may be getting the idea that Larn was one blood-thirsty dude. I’d agree! His next foray into law enforcement was to join a vigilante group called The Tin Hat Brigade in Griffin. Griffin had become so lawless, such a magnet for the anarchic and unruly, that it needed this group to take control and bring some law and order. Earning respect from the local townspeople for this work, Larn was elected sheriff in 1876 and was able to build a ranch on the Cedar Fork at Lambshead. But I guess law enforcement may not have paid well because in less than a year Larn had either resigned or been pushed out, and his next post was as a deputy hides inspector. This involved keeping an eye on all cattle movement and supervising butchers as well. He also obtained a contract to supply three cattle a day to the fort. Needless to say, Larn didn’t think to supply his own beef. He practically started a range war, leading a band of men in bushwhacking and heading cattle off ranches. When a band of citizens searched the area behind Larn’s house, no prizes for guessing what they found. Six hides with other ranches’ brands were found and, at last, Larn’s game was up. For a moment at least…no charges were filed despite the arrest. Unfortunately for him, however, his bad temper led to his last assault—that of a local rancher by the name of Treadwell who had supposedly uncovered Larn’s cattle rustling. Larn was arrested and taken to Albany, where the sheriff had him shackled to his cell. When vigilantes arrived wanting to lynch Larn, they found they couldn’t remove him and shot him instead. He was twenty-nine years old. That’s about the age of my hero in Shot Through the Heart.
Here’s a little more about the book:
Gunslinger Shiloh Coltrane has returned home to work the family’s Wyoming ranch, only to find there’s still violence ahead. His sister and nephew have been murdered, and the killers are at large. Dr. Sydney Cantrell has come west to start her medical practice, aiming to treat the people of a small town. As she tries to help and heal, she finds disapproval and cruelty the payment in kind. When the two meet, it’s an attraction of opposites. As Shiloh seeks revenge, Sydney seeks to do what’s right. Each wants a new life, but will trouble or love find them first?
So what do you think of these gunslingers and lawmen of the Old West? What made some men into killers? Mental disease? Family genes? And if you’d like to find out whether Shiloh and Sydney manage to find a middle ground, I’m happy to give away one e-book copy of Shot Through the Heart to one person who comments.
And of course, the book in both paperback and eBook is available at:
The turn of the century when the 1800s merged with the 1900s was called The Gilded Age among other names. It was an era of great economic growth and the world changed very rapidly, especially in the transportation and industrial sectors. Women were fighting for the right to vote and to have a say in the running of the country, to end social injustice. As they cried out for and demanded change a lot of women’s organizations sprang up.
One such organization was the American Temperance Society who advocated against liquor. They were led by women such as Carrie Nation whose first husband died of alcoholism. Carrie attracted a lot of followers who marched and carried signs decrying the evils of drink.
These women eventually became known as “Hatchettes” due to the fact they’d march into saloons carrying hatchets and destroy the place. It was a wild time and women were fed up being treated as second-class citizens and being abused (or killed) by their drunken spouses.
Grace Legend in A Cowboy of Legend joins the temperance movement and sees a hero in Carrie Nation. One of her childhood friends was beaten to death by her drunk husband so Grace sees this movement as one that will define her life.
She’s living in Fort Worth, Texas with her brother who’s trying to keep her out of trouble and not having much luck. As a baby in “The Heart of a Texas Cowboy” she was a sassy little thing and as an adult she’s headstrong, passionate, and determined to make her mark.
Tempers flare and sparks fly when she descends on Hell’s Half Acre and Deacon Brannock’s Three Deuces Saloon with signs, drums, and hatchets.
Having grown up with nothing, he’s worked long and hard for something to call his own and he’s not about to let these women take it from him.
But who is Deacon Brannock? Grace’s search yields no one in the state in Texas under that name. It has to be fake. If so why? What is he hiding?
And who is the young pregnant woman living above the saloon? A wife, mother, sister? Or maybe he’s holding her against her will. Grace wouldn’t put anything past him. He has a dangerous reputation and was questioned for the murder of one man. Who knows how many others he may have killed?
Yet, Grace is keeping secrets of her own as well. Her family would be furious if they knew what she was doing.
This story has a monkey named Jesse James, orphan boys, and a mystery.
A Cowboy of Legend releases a week from today on Tuesday the 27th.
I have two copies to give away. Just leave a comment answering my question. If you had lived back then, would you have joined one of these women’s organizations? Or tell me any organizations you have joined or are still a member of?
Once Upon a Mail Order Bride (ebook only) is on sale for $1.99 until close of day on Thursday, April 22! If you missed the fourth book of Outlaw Mail Order Brides, now is your chance to get it cheap.
We’re doing something a little fun several times through the year. It might be a Craft Project, how we breathe life into a hero, or anynumber of things. You just never know. We’re sort of calling it Pot Luck. This is my day and I’m going to tell you jokes. Keep your fingers crossed because I’m not very good at this. Hopefully, you’ll find them worth a chuckle.
Okay, here we go……
A man and wife went to their lake cabin for a little R&R. It was a beautiful day and not a cloud in the sky, so the husband decided to go fishing in his rowboat.
After several hours with not much to show, he rowed in and tied up, telling his wife he was going to take a nap.
Now, the wife liked to read romance and she thought how perfect it would be to drift along in the boat. If she got too hot she could take a dip. So she rowed out a little ways from the shore where she could get a nice breeze and picked up her story where she’d left off. The hero cowboy was having a time getting his little darling to the altar.
She drifted along in the little rowboat and turned the pages, totally engrossed.
Pretty soon, a game warden came by and asked to see her fishing license.
“But warden, I’m not fishing. You can see the poles are inside the boat. Besides, I don’t like to fish. They’re smelly and I don’t like touching them. I’m just sitting here reading my book, not bothering one fish or one person.”
The warden looked stern. “That doesn’t matter. You have all the fishing equipment and could put the poles into the water if you choose. I’m going to have to write you a ticket.”
“Then I’m afraid I’ll have to take you to jail, ma’am.”
“Let’s make it the sheriff’s office, warden. I’ll need to file a complaint.”
“May I ask what your business is? I’ve been as polite as I can and I’m following the law.”
“The charge will be for sexual assault.”
“You’re crazy. We’ve done nothing but talk. You still have your clothes on.”
She smiled sweetly. “But I’m sorry, Warden, you have all the right equipment.”
Flustered, he threw his ticket pad down. “Have a nice day, ma’am, and continue reading your book.”
* * * * * * *
What Do You Call a Happy Cowboy? (a jolly rancher)
Why Did the Bowlegged Cowboy Get Fired? (he couldn’t keep his calves together)
* * * * * * *
I hope you got a chuckle or two. I’m giving away one early copy (autographed) of A COWBOY OF LEGEND. It doesn’t come out until April 27th so you’ll be ahead of the game. I’ll draw from the people who comment and the Giveaway Rules apply – https://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules/.
Just tell me what makes you laugh. Or tell me a joke. I love to laugh.
This question wasn’t asked much on the American frontier and if you were so bold, you were liable to get shot. The old West offered a man a place to disappear into and leave behind whatever trouble he found himself in.
It was super easy and there was no way to check on anything. No telephone. No internet. No Social Security numbers. Nothing. It was perfect.
There were probably hundreds of men back then looking to change their identities and disappear and did. Outlaws checked into hotels and boardinghouses under an alias as did some politicians and famous people.
In my upcoming release, A Cowboy of Legend, Deacon Brannock has taken a fake name in order to disappear. All is well and good until firebrand Grace Legend marches into Hell’s Half Acre with burning determination to shut his saloon down. She’s a member of the Temperance Society and hellbent on running him out of business.
But, here’s the thing…Grace is also a reporter and writes a weekly column under an alias. Like a bloodhound, she discovers that Deacon Brannock is hiding a juicy secret. Oh, I love it!
A Cowboy of Legend contains a lot of secrets. Writing about secrets is fun for an author. Where there are secrets there’s conflict and those are what drives a story. I just love it when a book contains mysteries. I can’t turn the pages fast enough.
Deacon Brannock is determined to make a name for himself and the saloon he’s worked his whole life to afford. He was prepared for the roughness of the Wild West, but he hadn’t counted on Grace Legend…
Grace has always fought passionately for what she believes in, and after her best friend is killed at the hands of her drunk, angry husband, that includes keeping alcohol out of her town. When the owner of the new saloon turns out to be a kind and considerate man, she can’t help but wonder if they could have a future together…if they weren’t on opposite sides of every issue.
This is Book 1 of a new series called Lone Star Legends and releases April 27th. Book 2 – A Cowboy Christmas Legend follows in Sept.
My question: If you could change your identity and disappear, would you? I think I’d chose to be Sierra or maybe Summer or Sapphire. What would you choose?