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 know you’ve all heard of the word Maverick. Politicians are fond of saying they’re one.
What does the term that was first used in 1867 mean? Independent minded happens to be the definition.
But do you know the origin?
I didn’t until I recently got an Electric Co-Op magazine out of my mailbox and read about Texan Samuel Maverick.
Wouldn’t you know he’d be from Texas? Seems we gave the world just a little bit of history. 🙂
Anyway….Samuel Maverick (1803-1870) was a lawyer, politician, land baron, and a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence. He was at the Alamo with the defenders but slipped out the day before it fell in a desperate bid to find reinforcements. Of course, we know what happened.
And when General Santa Anna again sent troops back into Texas six years later to try to retake it, Samuel and sixty others was captured and forced to march by foot down to Veracruz, Mexico. He was kept chained and given little food. Although he was offered his freedom several times in exchange for publicly stating that Texas belonged to Mexico, he refused. They finally released him and he returned to Texas, bringing his chains with him.
He served twice as mayor of San Antonio and several terms in the Texas House of Representatives, once opposing Sam Houston over a bill and won. He amassed land holdings amounting to something like 110,000 acres.
But the Maverick term came from refusal to brand his cattle, claiming that it was cruel and inflicted pain. Thus, any unbranded cow became known as a maverick. Because of his staunch refusal to brand, he couldn’t protect his herd from thieves, including his neighbors, and they stole from him left and right until he lost almost all of them. He died in 1870 at the age of 67… a stubborn maverick to the end.
Do any mavericks come to mind? Senator John McCain was known for being one. I’m giving away an e-copy of The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas to one lucky commenter.
As you know, we have Cowboys and Mistletoe coming up November 29 to December 2! There’s a ton of $10 gift cards to be had AND a Grand Prize of $120!! Everyone please come and play our Mad Lib game! It’ll be so much fun. AND you have lots of chances to win!! So mark your calendars and come over each of the four days to increase your odds of winning.
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.
We got to see each other . . . IN PERSON! Double the Fillies, double the holler of “YeeHaw!” We both served as panelists at the Lubbock Book Festival on September 25 and had so much fun sharing our love of romance, writing, and cowboys with readers and budding writers.
I have TWO Christmas books that have newly released!
I have a new cover reveal. This is my first Love Inspired Suspense. And while they didn’t use a cowboy and cowgirl on the cover, it’s a ranching story and takes places in a small fictional town in northern Arizona called Happenstance – don’t you love that name? I’m so excited for this book, which won’t be out until June of 2022. Waiting will be hard 🙂
Last chance today to pre-order, with free shipping, from Baker Book House. Click to Pre-order
The Action Packed Conclusion to the Brothers in Arms Series
And One Sale Now in a Kindle Deal
The Accidental Guardian
I’m excited to share that my sweet contemporary romance Catching the Cowboy took first place in the Readers’ Favorite Christian Contemporary Romance category this year!
It’s such an honor and I’m so very thankful that others loved Emery and Hud’s happily ever after.
A few weeks ago, Captain Cavedweller and I escaped to the Oregon coast for a few days. The weather was glorious and we had so much fun exploring areas we hadn’t been to before, and returning to a few favorite places.
I snuck in visits to a few antique stores while I was there and came home with this treasure – a pink vintage perfume bottle. It’s the first perfume bottle I’ve collected, but it won’t be the last. I love it. What about you? Do you have any vintage or antique things you collect?
The release of A Cowboy Christmas Legend still has a week to go but I won’t blog again until October. And I do have a few early copies. It sounds odd talking about Christmas this soon but when writing A Cowboy Christmas Legend, I had to put myself in the right mindset because it was blazing hot outside.
The holiday has always so special to me. I grew up very poor and us kids didn’t get much in the way of gifts, but I loved the warmth of my parents’ love that wrapped around me. An apple, orange, and a few pieces of candy were a treat. Then sometimes if things were good, we got a doll or maybe a book. Christmas meant so much more than gifts. We were together, cared for, our stomachs full, and we had no complaints. My younger sister and I shared a bed, and we would talk (giggle mostly) until we fell asleep. She was and still is my best friend.
In this story, Sam Legend has gone to the northernmost reaches of the Texas Panhandle and settled on a barren piece of land. Once a Texas Ranger, he’s now a bladesmith and makes knives. He wants to forget all about Christmas, forget about the events that forced him away from family and friends. He drapes himself in solitude, content to let his hair and beard grow long until looks more like a mountain man than a member of the famed Legend family.
But when his nearest neighbor’s daughter finds out he’s there, she won’t leave him alone. Cheyenne Ronan can’t imagine anyone hating Christmas and she’s not going to let him spend it working if she can help it. So she begins to plot. Hiding beneath all that hair, is a man worth saving.
Then when a half-frozen little boy appears at his door saying his mama is dying, Sam rushes to find her wagon broken down in the snow. He and Cheyenne work to save the woman and offer comfort to the frightened boy and his little sister. As they care for the desperate travelers, Sam and Cheyenne grow closer together and he wonders about the dark secrets lurking beneath her calm veneer. There’s much more to her than he first thought. Slowly, they begin to know each other.
Christmas is a time of miracles and Sam and Cheyenne get more than one. Together, they discover that love can be the stuff of Legend.
In one scene, she’s singing Christmas carols with the children to soothe them. One very old one is Away in a Manger. It was sung long before it published in 1884. Silent Night is even older. The text was written in 1816, the music put to it in 1818. It’s not a carol, but The Twelve Days of Christmas was written during the Puritan days in England. These have been around for a very long time. So there’s a bit of history to go along with the story.
To preorder or to save when it goes on sale Sept. 28th, CLICK HERE.
The siblings in this story, Aaron and Ellen, are best friends and cling to each other during this tremendous trial. My sister was/is mine. Did you have a best friend growing up? Maybe one you could tell anything to. I’m giving away an autographed copy of A Cowboy Christmas Legend to two people who comment.
My newest release Sadie is officially here and so far, readers are loving the story (which makes my heart so happy!).
If you haven’t read it yet, you can get the digital or paperback versions on Amazon. It’s also available in Kindle Unlimited.
Inspired by the true stories of women who served in France during World War I, Sadie is a sweet romance filled with courage, hope, and lasting love.
She yearns for far-flung adventures. He longs for the home he’s found in her heart. Will a world at war tear them apart, or draw them closer together?
For most of her life, Doctor Sadie Thorsen has imagined seeing the world on grand adventures. When America joins the war raging across the world in 1917, it seems her dreams are about to come true. She travels overseas as a contracted physician, eager to do her part to help the war effort. Endless streams of wounded push her to the limits of endurance, then she receives word Harley John Hobbs, the man she’s loved for years, is missing in action. Unable to bear the thought of life without him in it, she refuses to let go of her hope that he’s alive.
The day Sadie Thorsen shoved Harley John Hobbs down on the playground was the day she marched off with his heart. He spent years doing everything in his power to become successful, determined to have more than himself to offer Sadie if she ever returns to their eastern Oregon town. Conscripted to join the American Expeditionary Forces, Harley John answers the call and heads to France. Wounded and alone, he clings to the promise of seeing Sadie one last time.
I’m also excited Romance at Rinehart’s Crossing will release this month, on September 17! It’s part of the Regional Romance series with books by fellow fillies Kit Morgan and Kari Trumbo!
I have to tell you, I was way behind writing this book. It includes three intertwined stories and I had to hustle by bustle to get it finished in time to send to my editor. I started on a Monday with roughly 41,000 words written. By 10 p.m. that Friday, I had finished the book at 123,689 words! And that Friday was my new personal record for words written in a single day with 19,493 written. Before that, the most I’d written was just a shade over 18,000. Whew! I hope you enjoy the book because despite the haste, I sure had fun writing the stories!
Life on the Oregon Trail will never be the same . . .
Tenner King is determined to make his own way in the world far from the overbearing presence of his father and the ranch where he was raised in Rinehart’s Crossing, Oregon. Reluctantly, he returns home after his father’s death to find the ranch on its way to ruin and his siblings antsy to leave. Prepared to do whatever is necessary to save the ranch, Tenner isn’t about to let a little thing like love get in his way.
? Austen – After spending her entire life ruled by her father, Austen Rose King certainly isn’t going to allow her bossy older brother to take on the job. Desperate to leave the hard work and solitude of the Diamond K Ranch, she decides a husband would be the fastest means of escape. If only she could find a man she could tolerate for more than five minutes.
? Claire – Two thousand miles of travel. Two thousand miles of listening to her parents bicker about the best place in Oregon to settle. Two thousand miles of dusty trails, bumpy wagons, and things that slither and creep into her bedding at night. Claire Clemons would happily set down roots that very minute if someone would let her. What she needs is her own Prince Charming to give her a place to call home. When a broken wagon wheel strands her family miles from civilization, she wonders if handsome Worth King, the freighter who rescues them, might just be the answer to her prayers.
? Kendall – Anxious to escape her mother’s meddling interference, Kendall Arrington leaves her society life behind, intent on experiencing a Wild West adventure. Hired as the school teacher in a growing town on the Oregon Trail, Kendall hopes to bring a degree of civility and a joy of learning to the children of Rinehart’s Crossing. However, the last thing she expects to find is a cowboy with shaggy hair, dusty boots, and incredible blue eyes among her eager students.
Will love find the three King siblings as Romance arrives in Rinehart’s Crossing?
Read all the books in the Regional Romance Series featuring historic locations, exciting drama, and sweet (yet swoony) romance!
I know it’s early to be thinking about Christmas – or is it too early? Maybe not 🙂
I found out last week that a novella I wrote several years ago as part of an anthology titled A Mistletoe Christmas (original cover on the right) is going to be re-released in France this coming holidays. How cool is that? As you can see from the picture, the anthology has been renamed A Family for Christmas. My story, A Merry Little Wedding is also going to be offered individually and retitled An Embrace Under the Snow.
Now, you wouldn’t know by looking at any of the covers that A Merry Little Wedding is a western and set in the fictional town of Mistletoe, Texas. Still, I like the covers. They have the right holiday feel and put me in a cheery mood. Plus, I’ve always liked this story and am thrilled for the chance to reach new readers halfway across the world! What fun. Oui?
BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER is on sale today and tomorrow for 25% off the regular price, which is $4.99. It should bring the book’s price down to around $3.99. But, you will need a coupon and the coupon is BNP1892.
Here are a few reviews of the book:
From MJ: A captivating read that I didn’t want to end
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.
*****Also, this cover is in a contest over at Books and Benches. Please Vote HERE!
My March Women’s Fiction release is up for Pre-order!
(click the photo to be taken to a retail site)
Jacqueline Oliver is an indie perfumer, trying to bury her ravaged childhood by shoveling ground under her own feet. Then she gets a call she dreads—the hippie grandmother she bitterly resents was apprehended when police busted a charlatan shaman’s sweat lodge. Others scattered, but Nellie was slowed by her walker, and the fact that she was wearing nothing but a few Mardi-Gras beads. Jacqueline is her only kin, so like it or not, she’s responsible.
Despite being late developing next year’s scent, she drops everything to travel to Arizona and pick up her free-range grandma. But the Universe conspires to set them on a Route 66 road trip together. What Jacqueline discovers out there could not only heal the scars of her childhood but open her to a brighter future.
I got the call last week (yes, an actual phone call!) that my book, Her Cowboy Sweetheart, is a finalist in the Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Awards! I’m really thrilled. This is one of my favorite stories, and I couldn’t be happier. JD isn’t your typical romance book hero. He suffers from Meniere’s Disease and had to leave his successful rodeo career behind. While he learns to cope with this life-style changing condition, he takes a job at Powell Ranch where he meets Carly, a single mom who recently ended her marriage from an abusive man. Despite their immediate attraction, neither of them believes they’re marriage material.
This is the book I mentioned in an earlier post where my heroine designs and sells jewelry for horses. Another reason I like this book so much. Thanks for letting me share my exciting news!
This book is part of the Regional Romance Series I write with Kari Trumbo, Peggy L. Henderson, and our own Kit Morgan. You can pre-order the book today for the special price of $2.99!
This sweet romance includes three individual stories, as do all the books. Mine is linked together by the three King siblings and the story takes place in a town right on the Oregon Trail where you can still see the wagon ruts!
I’ll be sharing more about this book next month.
Karen Kay’s New Release, BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER, Pre-Sale — Save 20%
Regular price: $4.99 Pre-Sale price: $3.99
He rescued her from danger. Then she stole his heart.
Working as a trick rider for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, Blue Thunder of the Lakota Nation joins forces with two Assiniboine warriors in their mission to stop a hidden enemy who means to destroy the American Indian people. As a child, he’d witnessed the massacre of his friends and family, including the girl, Sweet Flower, whom he’d vowed to marry. The loss has left him with a burning ache and a prejudice against the white man. So how can he fall for a woman like Marci Fox?
Something terrible happened to Marci when she was a child; something that keeps her from remembering her early life. She jumps at the chance to travel from England to New York with her friends working with the Wild West show. But a last minute hitch means the only way to get there is to pretend she’s married to Blue Thunder. Her attraction to him is deep, yet something stands in the way of true happiness—the ghosts from his past and his commitment to a mission that could get him killed.
But soon, Blue Thunder and his friends must discover who the true enemy is and stop his evil plans before he can harm more of their people. Could uncovering the treachery get Blue Thunder killed? And, even if he survives the threat, can Blue Thunder and Marci overcome their past and discover the sweet flower of true love?
Warning: A sensuous romance that might stir one’s heart to look for, discover and ignite a soul-stirring, forever love.
After a very long eighteen months of isolation that tried my very soul, this year I wanted to get away on July 4th. I wanted to go somewhere very special to celebrate being alive. I think many, many others had the same idea. So when a writer friend, Dee Burks, who lives in Raton, New Mexico urged me to come for their balloon festival, I didn’t hesitate.
Lord, I was glad I didn’t. It was the perfect getaway. Since this was much smaller than most of the festivals, it was very easy to get that coveted ride in a hot air balloon. There were only something like fourteen balloons—the perfect number.
The first morning, my friend and I got up around five so we’d have time to get ready and get to the pancake breakfast served by the Kiwanis Club. Cool mountain air. Lots of smiling faces.
It was after swallowing that last bite that Dee broke the news that we were going to have to crew a balloon called Any Way The Wind Blows that was piloted by Rick Moors of Albuquerque. The ground crew had to spreading the balloon out on the ground so the pilot could fill it with hot air.
Then I found out the balloon weighed 690 pounds!! It took some doing to lay it out. This is me trying my darndest. But, we made it.
The clouds went away and Pilot Rick gave my friend and I the first ride. I was excited and apprehensive and nervous but I climbed in and got a crash course in what to do if something went wrong. I had faith it wouldn’t though. We were far away from power lines and other obstructions.
Then we took off. There was no motion. I could not tell we were rising other than by looking at the ground. We were drifting higher and higher. This was our balloon.
It was quiet up there. And so beautiful. I took a picture of these horses down below. They didn’t even notice us.
We were up about twenty minutes or so then Pilot Rick set us down in a pasture. I have to say the landing was pretty rough but understandable since that thing has no brakes on it. My friend grabbed me or I would’ve fallen out of the basket.
I did it!! It was the ride of a lifetime and I had no regrets. I wasn’t a bit afraid.
After we climbed out, we discovered we had to fold the balloon up and we had already started by the time a four person chase team arrived. I saw every aspect up close and personal. Lord, I was exhausted by the time we finished for the day!!
The next day we went back, although not as excited, and after more pancakes helped out again. Thankfully, we had a little more help so it wasn’t as hard on us ladies.
But, my vacation wasn’t over. The second afternoon, we drove two thousand feet higher up to the top of Johnson Mesa and we found a little church that was built in 1879 by a small group of settlers who once lived up there. It looks like prairie land and not up almost 9,000 ft. A sense of utter desolation came over me and I wondered what lured anyone to that spot of ground. A little cemetery was across the road and inside the church was list of everyone buried there (a lot were children) as well as the names of the former residents.
It was such a lonely place I wanted to weep. Once the snows began, the people would’ve been completely cut off from the world with no way to get help or a doctor if they needed one. It sure put me in the right mindset for my next series about three sisters having to live away from everyone because of their father’s reputation.
Then, Dee drove us by the cemetery in Raton and told me that people have put solar lights on the graves and after sundown it’s all lit up. I wanted to see that but couldn’t stay awake for night. I got a picture of this little doe that was right by the cemetery. She was posing for me and not scared at all. Deer and bear wander all through town, into people’s yards and wherever else they take a notion.
Every so often we have these moments that fill us up and make us very grateful to be alive. This trip was that for me and I’m glad I could experience it.
Have you ever gone anywhere or done anything that was out of the ordinary? I’m giving away a $15.00 Amazon gift card to one commenter.