Washington on the Brazos

This past weekend, my daughter and I had a girls’ getaway weekend in Brenham, TX. Bethany is working on her PhD at Texas A&M, and since I don’t get to see her very often these days, I decided it would be fun for the two of us to have a getaway weekend once a semester. We did a lot of relaxing, reading, movie watching, and cross-stitching during our time together, but we also spend the afternoon on Saturday at Washington on the Brazos.

The town of Washington is considered the birthplace of Texas. It got its name from a group of settlers who traveled from Washington, GA into Texas and named it for their hometown. It was established along the Brazos River and became a significant trade center with its river access.

Under Mexican rule at the time, citizens had to swear their allegiance to Mexico to live there, but since Mexico was a Republic at that time, under the constitution of 1824, the immigrants complied. However, at the next election, Santa Ana was elected president and quickly turned this republic into a dictatorship. This is not go over well with those who had immigrated from the United States. War broke out.

On March 1, 1836, Texas delegates met in an unfinished building in Washington on the Brazos to formally announce Texas’ intention to separate from Mexico and to draft a constitution for a new Republic of Texas. While congregated, they received word from William Travis about the Alamo being attacked. Many wanted to rush to their aid, but Sam Houston insisted they stay and charter their new government. Without that, they would have nothing. In the course of 17 days, they drafted a declaration of independence, adopted a new constitution, and organized an interim government to serve until a government could be elected and inaugurated. This ended up being the right choice, for by the time they received word of the Alamo’s attack, had they left to join the fight, they would have been slaughtered. The Alamo fell on March 6.

The delegates declared independence on March 2, 1836. They adopted their constitution on March 16. The delegates worked until March 17, when they had to flee with the residents of Washington, to escape the advancing Mexican Army. The townspeople returned after the Mexican Army was defeated at San Jacinto on April 21. Town leaders lobbied for Washington’s designation as the permanent capital of the Republic of Texas, but leaders of the Republic favored Waterloo, which later was renamed Austin.

The town of Washington no longer exists today. Like other river towns of this era, they made the mistake of shirking the railroad in favor of steamboats. The brick buildings that once stood tall in one of the largest towns of the area, were carted off brick-by-brick to build new buildings in places where the railroad flourished.

In 1899, a group of school children realized the threat of losing the history of what happened at this location and did a penny drive fundraiser in order to erect a monument to stand at the location where they believed Independence Hall stood. Later, archeologists found the foundation in that very location and Independence Hall was rebuilt and restored to its original specifications.

During our tour, Bethany and I got to sit around the table and listen to the story of all that had transpired in this place. Here is where the nation of Texas was born.

Do you enjoy visiting historical sites?
What was the last place you visited?

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!

Who Would You Be in the Old West?

Last week, I played a game in my Posse Facebook group, that ended up being so much fun, I thought we could play it here as well.

If you lived in the old west, who would you be, and what would you be doing?

I decided that I would be one of those town wives who invited everyone over once a month for a quilting bee where we would get very little quilting done but would have lots of tea and conversations about books.

When everyone else chirped in, we had a wonderful variety of answers including:

  • school teachers
  • librarians
  • innkeepers
  • cafe owners
  • bakers
  • druggists
  • nurses and doctors
  • preachers’ wives
  • farmers’ wives
  • ranchers’ wives
  • sharpshooters
  • tomboy trouble-makers
  • even dance hall entertainers
  • and saloon barkeeps

Who would you be?

Covers That Could Have Been

The first book in my new Hanger’s Horsemen series released last Tuesday, and I’m so excited to have a cover that features a rugged cowboy hero. I’ve had a few heroes make appearances on other covers, but they were always the supporting cast to the heroine.

I have three covers where the heroes get an arm and a leg in the picture. (Although you gotta admit that arm on Levi is pretty nice.)

My first hero only got his leg in the picture.

I did get nearly an entire hero on three of my covers, but the heroine remains the focal point.

So having my cowboy hero front and center this time was an exciting change. And I love the model they chose as well as the addition of the horse as the supporting actor.

However, when I asked my publisher if they had any cover mock-ups that failed to make the final cut, I was surprised to find an entirely different cowboy on the cover. One with a shy smile, rugged physique, and a lot more facial hair.

Here are a few of the first version mock-ups. Notice the different poses, the different backgrounds, even different hat colors.

If I had to pick one of these iterations, I think I would take the bottom middle. I like the hat tip, the smile, and the sunset in the background. Although, I strongly prefer the font and series designation of the one at the top left, which is most similar to the final copy.

All in all, I think they made the right call. I really like the final cover.

 

Haunted by the horrors of war, ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries known as Hanger’s Horsemen who have become legends in 1890s Texas. They defend the innocent and obtain justice for the oppressed. But when a rustler’s bullet leaves one of them at death’s door, they’re the ones in need of saving.

Amazon
~
Barnes & Noble
~
Christianbook

 

  • If you were to select one of the runner-up covers for this book, which would you pick?
  • What do you think of having a hero-centric cover? Is it less romantic without the heroine?

 

 

 

It’s Yee-Haw Day!

Welcome to Yee-Haw Day, the once-a-month day we’ve reserved to share our news with you – all sorts of fun news!

So check out the post below to get the details on the kinds of things that make us go Yee-Haw!!

Linda Broday

My Texas Heroes series (digital only) sale ends tomorrow. Get these cheap while you can!

Knight on the Texas Plains will be FREE

AMAZON  |  B&N  |  APPLE  KOBO

The Cowboy Who Came Calling — $1.99

AMAZON  |  B&N  |  APPLE KOBO

To Catch a Texas Star — $2.99

AMAZON  |  B&N  |  APPLE  |  KOBO

So if you missed one or all of the series now is your chance.

Karen Witemeyer

At Love’s Command releases tomorrow.
YeeHaw!!!

This is the first book in my new
Hanger’s Horsemen series.

Haunted by the horrors of war, ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries known as Hanger’s Horsemen who have become legends in 1890s Texas. They defend the innocent and obtain justice for the oppressed. But when a rustler’s bullet leaves one of them at death’s door, they’re the ones in need of saving.

Amazon
~
Barnes & Noble
~
Christianbook

Karen Witemeyer

I’m thrilled to share that I was named one of the top 25 most essential Christian novelists of 2020! This list of authors was nominated by fans across all genres. Such an honor to make the list! You can see the entire group here.

Margaret Brownley

Look at what they’re saying about The Outlaw’s Daughter

“This is how historical romance should be written”- Amazon reader

“This is exactly what I’ve been looking for in a good historical romance novel. -Amazon reader

“Wow! This was an absolutely fantastic introduction to the author’s long list of previous works that I can’t wait to pick up!”-It’s What She’s Reading

B&N

       Amazon

Margaret Brownley

Click here to enter

 

Julie Benson

Puppies have been coming and going so quickly here, finding great new homes! Our newest two are Bella and Mia. 

Here’s Bella, before she got in the pool and decided to play in the yard.

And after…

Before you panic, the green chair she’s in is the dog chair! Lol!

Here’s Mia.

We love both these sweet girls!

Winnie Griggs

Cover reveal time! Looky, Looky!  I know it’s early to be talking about a December release, but I just couldn’t resist showing this off 🙂 
To learn more about Her Amish Wedding Quilt, click HERE.

 

 

Winnie Griggs

In some fun, non-writing related news, my daughter is expecting (my first grandbaby!!) and things opened up around here enough for us to give her a small, family-only baby shower. I haven’t been able to be as involved with her as much as I would have liked to during her pregnancy because of the quarantine so it was doubly fun for me to be able to celebrate with her this way. Below is  picture of me and the mother-to-be!

 

Kit Morgan

 

It’s a new release! Dear Mr. Tindle has arrived!

A shy young woman,
An industrious young man, 
And neither knew the other existed. What’s a matchmaker to do?

Mrs. Mahulda Brock had been tasked with a very important mission. Matchmaking! Not that she hadn’t done a little before…
But this was different. For one, she had to find ways to bring two young people in her home town of Independence together. Finding things to make that happen wasn’t easy. But with the help of her long time friends, Mercy, Martha, and Maude, she’d manage, wouldn’t she? After some trial and error, she wasn’t so sure. Worse, she noticed the young couple in her charge weren’t the only ones bereft of love. There were others. How was she going to manage to bring together so many lonely hearts? Find out in this sweet, clean romantic romp that only Kit Morgan can deliver! 

Amazon

 

Pam Crooks

 

After a grueling, keep-my-hiney-in-the-chair couple of months, I’ve turned in the 2nd book of my Blackstone Ranch contemporary western romance series to Tule Publishing – 3 days early!

This will be Lucienne and Brock’s story.  Release date is February, 2021.

In a few days, I’ll be right back in keep-my-hiney-in-the-chair mode with Book #3, which will be Jace and Shandi’s story.  Release date is March, 2021.

Until then, here is Book #1 that started it all – Beau and Ava’s story, AVAILABLE NOW!

 

Available at the Tule Bookstore.

It’s Yee-Haw Day!

Welcome to Yee-Haw Day, the once-a-month day we’ve reserved to share our news with you – all sorts of fun news!

So check out the post below to get the details on the kinds of things that make us go Yee-Haw!!

Margaret Brownley

I’m excited to say that my new book will be released May 26th, but can be pre-ordered now.

Amazon

B&N

 

Mary Connealy

On Sale Now!

Tried and True

Book #1 of the Wild Women series

is

ON SALE NOW

99 cents in all ebook formats

Kindle-Click to buy

Nook-Click to buy

 

http://www.maryconnealy.com

Linda Broday

 

TWICE A TEXAS BRIDE

#2 Bachelors of Battle Creek

ON SALE $2.99!

Left with emotional scars from his time in an orphanage, Rand Sinclair has vowed never to marry. But when he discovers Callie Quinn and a small orphan boy hiding on his ranch, he can’t help but open his home to the desperate runaways.

AMAZON  

Karen Witemeyer

I just learned that More Than Words Can Say is a finalist for the Holt Medallion Award!
Yee Haw! Winners will be announced in June.

 

Karen Witemeyer

Serving Up Love, a novella collection of Harvey House Brides

On sale for only $1.99 through the month of May.

 

Might make a fun Mother’s Day Gift.

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook

 

Cheryl Pierson

How many of you are ready for summer? WE ARE! Here in Oklahoma, we’ve had a loooonnngg winter and it was wet. We broke some records for rainfall! The dogs were not happy, and neither was I, since they were so bored and sad about not being about to go outside! But all is well for the time being, with the last two days being in the high 80’s–just like Oklahoma should be at this time of year!

Here’s Sammy enjoying some poolside time alone! It’s not often he gets a few minutes to himself without Maxie!
Max wants to play, but Sammy has moved to the sunlight to soak up the rays.
The aggravating little brother will not be denied! He’s ready to play!
Ah! All’s well that ends well. Time to go find some water and rest a bit.

 

Hope this brightened your day a little! Though we’re stuck at home, we are sure enjoying the warm temperatures and good weather, and being able to get outside. How are you managing during this time of being isolated and staying home?

Howdy!

During this time, I decided to put almost all of my books on sale.  Those on KindleUnlimited are priced at $.99 cents.  Lakota Surrender e-book is priced at $3.99 and my newest release, THE EAGLE AND THE FLAME is on sale in paperback for $9.99.  Here are the links:

Gray Hawk’s Ladyhttps://tinyurl.com/qtl7hsu

White Eagle’s Touch — https://tinyurl.com/vbanq3m

Night Thunder’s Bride — https://tinyurl.com/twdjtx4

Wolf Shadow’s Promisehttps://tinyurl.com/v54t6jw

Lone Arrow’s Pridehttps://tinyurl.com/t2ubbzp

War Cloud’s Passion — https://tinyurl.com/wu824lt

Soaring Eagle’s Embrace — https://tinyurl.com/rfal22h

The Angel and the Warrior — https://tinyurl.com/um834p2

The Spirit of the Wolf — https://tinyurl.com/svyqbxt

Red Hawk’s Woman — https://tinyurl.com/wzyfjqf

The Last Warrior — https://tinyurl.com/uxglq4t

Black Eaglehttps://tinyurl.com/vyygnvn

Seneca Surrenderhttps://tinyurl.com/wjj49nk

Lakota Surrenderhttps://tinyurl.com/wpgbyw9

The Eagle and the Flamehttps://tinyurl.com/w49evpb

 

Hope y’all are doing well!  May God Bless!

It’s Yee-Haw Day!

Welcome to Yee-Haw Day, the once-a-month day we’ve reserved to share our news with you – all sorts of fun news!

So check out the post below to get the details on the kinds of things that make us go Yee-Haw!!

Pam Crooks

 

 

Buy or Read on AMAZON

Margaret Brownley

The Mail-Order Standoff  is on this week’s EPCA’s Fiction Bestsellers list.

Marriage plans are put on hold in the Old West when four mail-order brides have second thoughts.

Amazon

B&N

Karen Witemeyer

I have a new e-single out – More Than a Pretty Face. This Harvey House romance pits a woman hiding from her past against a gentleman who believes she is his future. Secrets, coded messages, and Fred Harvey’s famous apple pie make for a delicious turn-of-the-century Texas romance filled with drama and laughter.

Only $2.39 at Amazon and Christianbook. $2.99 at other retailers.

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Christianbook

If you prefer print, this story was previously published in the print collection, Serving Up Love.

Linda Broday & Phyliss Miranda

We belong to the oldest continually writing organization in the United States and it happens to be right here in the Texas Panhandle. WE’RE TURNING 100 ON APRIL 20TH! In celebration, Texas High Plains Writers has published a new anthology. With Words We Weave … A Celebration of the Past is available now at Amazon.

The original group, Panhandle Pen Women, was organized by forward-thinking Laura V. Hamner and quickly boasted 48 members by 1925. We’ve had several names along the way but this anthology of short stories, memoirs, essays, poetry, and non-fiction pieces portrays the history of how we slowly evolved into Texas High Plains Writers. This is our second book that showcases the immense talent in this area. The first released last year and here’s the link: https://amzn.to/2Rf23l8.

AMAZON


CHERYL PIERSON

UNDER A WESTERN SKY–An oldie but a goodie, and who can’t use a SIX-BOOK boxed set right now for only .99? So come on over to Amazon and snap this one up, with wonderful books by some excellent western historical romance writers! You can’t go wrong! Y’all hunker down and read! 

 

GET IT HERE!

https://amzn.to/34di6Fr

 

Research Road Trip

As an author of historical novels, I love it when I get a chance to walk over the same ground as my characters. Most of my research is done online, but every once in a while, I get the chance to get my boots walking in the actual setting of a book I’m writing. This past January was just such an occasion.

During the last weekend of January, I took a research trip to explore the setting of my current work in progress. Not only did I get to dig into the local history of Kingsland, TX, but three writing friends met up with there and turned the weekend into a writing retreat. So wonderful to be blessed by the fellowship of fellow writers and friends.

Anne Mateer and I are in the ticket window with Nancy Kimball (left) and Crystal Barnes (right) in the main living area.

I love staying in historic places whenever possible, and especially when I’m trying to immerse myself in an historic setting. We pulled that off in Kingsland with The Antlers Hotel. The hotel was built by the railroad in 1901 a few years after the rail line came through town in 1892. Unfortunately, it’s about 6 years too modern to include in my story, but it offered fabulous accommodations. I took some photos inside the lobby as well as the exterior.

Since there were four of us, and retreats are much more fun when we can all stay together, we rented a separate building on the property. The Depot cabin we rented had been an actual railroad depot in Muldoon, TX in the 1890’s. I loved opening the door to discover two ticket windows still in place. So fun! Creaky wooden floorboards added to the historical ambiance.

After spending a couple hours on Friday afternoon in the local library’s genealogical section reading up on local families, I drove down to the railroad bridge that is still standing from 1892. I found a really cool tidbit about how folks from the Burnet side of the Colorado River could only get into Kingsland by rails – either on the train or by walking across the railroad bridge. I took a photo from the Burnet side showing the top of the track. I also took a picture from the Kingsland side to show the underside and the pillars. The 4 stone ones are original. The concrete supports were added later.At some point, one or more of my characters is going to be in peril on this bridge. I just need to figure out who and why.

Saturday morning, I took a drive down a country road (and I mean country – dirt, cattle guards, livestock free and ranging) to get some photos of Packsaddle Mountain. It was named for the dip in the middle that makes it resemble a packsaddle on a horse. A major plot point in my novel revolves around this mountain, so being able to see it in person will help me get the details right. A couple decades before my novel’s timeline, this was also the site of the last Indian battle in the region. The settlers, while greatly outnumbered, routed the raiding Apaches and ushered in a time of peace.

On my drive, I also ran into this fellow. Probably not historically accurate, but fun nonetheless.

We finished off the weekend by having brunch on Sunday at the Grand Central Cafe located on the same property where we were staying. It is a grand Victorian home built around the turn of the century and serves wonderful food.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend. So much history, so many great conversations, and great food for the imagination and the taste buds . (Crystal Barnes made us her famous farm fresh breakfast with ingredients straight from her very own cow and chickens Saturday morning and fried us up some fresh-off-the-hoof hamburgers for dinner. Yum!)

What are some of your favorite historical locations to visit?

Kingsland was only about a 3-hour drive from my home. Do you have places close to you that are rich in history?

 

Reading Challenge for 2020

I’ve been a book lover my entire life. Yet over the last decade or so, I’ve found that I am reading less and less. With a day job, writing full time, and family/church responsibilities, time is at a premium. Yet I don’t want to lose the pleasure of discovering new characters and adventures inside the covers of unexplored tomes. So I’ve started looking for new motivations to help me keep reading a priority. Last year, I attempted to keep a list of all the books I had read. I think I lost track somewhere around fall, but I did find satisfaction in seeing over 20 books on my list before I stopped keeping count. I know that’s small potatoes for many of you, but it was encouraging to me.

This year I’m going to try something with a little more accountability and hopefully a lot of fun. Inspired by many fun reading challenges circulating around social media, I decided to create one for my Facebook group – The Posse. I asked for their input in coming up with the categories, and nearly all the ones you see on my list are iterations of their suggestions. Here’s what we came up with . . .

We tried to create a list with a lot of flexibility to allow for personal taste and interest while still giving us the motivation to try something new or perhaps stretch our literary comfort zone just a bit.

You don’t have to be a Posse member to use this reading challenge, but if you want to participate with other readers and join in the discussion, we’d love to have you! We talk about all kinds of other things, too, including brainstorming ideas for my books. But at the beginning of every month, I’ll be posting the upcoming reading challenge category, and at the end of the month, I’ll create a post where everyone can talk about the book they read, how it fit the category, and what they thought about the story. It’s strictly for fun, so if you need to skip a month or two, that perfectly fine. Just join back in when you can. Personally, I’m hoping to use this as a motivation to read more as well as an accountability piece to keep me going even when life gets busy.

If you’d like to join the Posse and our Reading Challenge – Click Here.

  • Have you ever participated in a Reaching Challenge? Did you enjoy it?
  • Do you have any reading-related book goals for 2020?

Jingle Jangle Shortbread

I enjoy baking, but I rarely make the time for it. Except at Christmas. I still don’t do a lot of baking, but I always make at least a few yummy goodies to have on hand. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without cookies.

Growing up, we would go to my grandparents house for Christmas every year. I have so many wonderful memories of playing games with my cousins, singing carols, playing Skipbo (once I was old enough to join the adult card table – BIG moment in my life – ha!), and finding the delicious treats Grandmother had strategically placed around the house. My favorite was the shortbread hidden under a covered pink glass dish in the living room. It was such a simple cookie. Dry yet sweet. No special flavoring. A simple sheet cut into rectangle fingers. I loved it!

Strangely enough, I never tried baking it myself until about 5 years ago. Now it is a Christmas staple. The perfect cookie to have with hot tea while curling up with a fun Christmas read.

Shortbread Christmas Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat over to 350. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine butter and sugar. Add vanilla. In a medium bow, sift together flour and salt. Add to butter/sugar mixture and mix until combined. Form dough in your hands and mold into 2 flat disks. Cover in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Roll dough 1/2 inch thick and cut into shapes. Place cookies on ungreased baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Karen’s tip: Instead of rolling dough out on a floured surface to cut into shapes, since this dough is already dry, it is much better (and easier) to roll the dough onto a piece of wax paper. Lay a piece the plastic wrap you covered the dough in earlier over the top and roll dough between the plastic wrap and wax paper. No additional flour is needed. I do dip my cookie cutters in flour, however, before cutting the dough to prevent sticking.

This year I decided to cut my cookies into cute mini Christmas shapes. These are my guilt-free cookie bites. And they are just adorable!

I sent a batch to my publishing house as a thank you to my publishing team, and I saved a selection in my secret kitchen stash.

If you make these mini cookies, reduce baking time to 15 minutes.

 

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! May you have lots of yummy goodies to enjoy along with great Christmas stories to read.

Click Cover to Order My 2-in-1 Christmas Novella Collection