An Outlaw Land Agent, Mayor, and Romantic

In the settling of the U.S., owning land used to be the primary dream of almost every man–rich or poor. It was something tangible that meant you had worth and the owner could use it however he saw fit. But how were the sales handled when almost every town had a land office?

The General Land Office created in 1812 was an independent agency of the United States government responsible for all the public domain lands. It took over this function from the Treasury Department that had been in effect since 1785.

The General Land Office was in charge of surveying, platting, and selling of public lands. In addition they oversaw the Homestead Act and the Preemption Act in disposal of public lands.

During the Westward Expansion period, land sold at such a frantic pace that it was difficult to keep up. As I said, everyone wanted a piece to call their own.

Every town of any size had a land office where prospective buyers could see what was available. If they bought some, a deed was recorded and registered at that county’s courthouse which then made its way to the General Land Office in Washington D.C. But given the slow speed of travel, it might be a year or more before it got registered. And unscrupulous land agents could sell the same land twice or several times over. I see how easy it would’ve been. And how killings would’ve taken place. The West had no one to oversee a lot of things.

In 1946, the General Land Office and the U.S. Grazing Service merged to become the Bureau of Land Management.

In my newest release, ONCE UPON A MAIL ORDER BRIDE, Ridge Steele served as the mayor and land agent in the outlaw town of Hope’s Crossing. Unlike others, he is honest and above board in his dealings and in the recording of deeds.

To settle this fledgling town, he and his friends send for mail order brides through Luke Legend and his private bride service. Ridge is the last of his friends to get one.

When Adeline Jancy arrives, she’s more than he ever dreamed in every respect—other than she couldn’t speak. Due to horrifying trauma, she’s lost her voice. Ridge doesn’t have to marry her, but he does. He likes what he sees and figures she’ll do just fine.

He soon discovers Addie can throw a hissy or argue as well as anyone—all without words.

Their love grows slowly and ripens into a passionate story for the ages. From the moment they strolled onto the page, I knew they were perfect for each other in every way. Each had their own strengths that complemented the other as should a real relationship.

Do you believe in love at first sight? Or do you think it takes time to develop only after the couple has come to know each other? I’m giving away a copy of this book (winner’s choice of either ebook or print.)  I’ll draw on Saturday.

 

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A New Book and Giveaway by Linda Broday!

Broday concludes the Outlaw Mail Order Bride series with a sizzling finale that features a tantalizingly slow build to intimate trust that catapults into adrenaline packed ardor.”  ~Booklist

Next week on November 24th, I’ll release the fourth and final book of my Outlaw Mail Order Brides series. I’m warning readers to put their feet in the stirrups and hang on tight because this story is full of twists, turns, and surprises as Ridge and Addie fight tooth and nail for their HEA.

Ridge Steele is an ex-preacher weary of the outlaw life on the run and yearns for someone to share his days and nights with. He’s excited when Adeline Jancy agrees to marry him sight unseen and makes arrangements.

She’s as beautiful and kind as he’d dared hope for—except she can’t speak a word. She resorts to written communication only.

The look in her pretty eyes shows sadness…and the fear that he’d send her back. Only he’d been through enough hard times to know he can’t do that to her. He’s in it for the long haul.

But married life isn’t easy. They both find it littered with one problem after another that threatens to steal their happiness and culminates in a soul-jarring fight for the justice they both seek.

I think readers will find the story very thrilling and the conclusion satisfying. From the moment Ridge and Addie walked onto the page, I knew they were perfect for each other and early reviews have stated the same. This is a book that will stay with you long after you finish.

Click HERE for an excerpt and links.

I’m sad to say goodbye to these outlaws with heart and the town of Hope’s Crossing but it’s time. I’ll start a new series called Lone Star Legends in April with the first book A COWBOY OF LEGEND. I hope you’ll like Gracie Legend’s story.

But first, give Once Upon a Mail Order Bride a try and find out how tough Ridge and Addie have to get to survive long enough to claim their love.

Here’s all four books of the series in order of their release in case you missed any or all.

I’m sure there were many men in the 1800s who’d turn away a mail order bride with any kind of impediment or deformity. My question…Would you turn her away or open your heart? I’m giving a copy of Once Upon a Mail Order Bride to TWO commenters.

**Announcement** The Mail Order Bride’s Secret is on sale across all outlets. $1.99 until Nov. 22, 2020.  Click HERE for the links and an Excerpt.

 

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It’s Not Just Sew, Sew

The old West had a shortage of everything except hard times and backbreaking work and there was sure plenty of that. Pioneer women took extra pains with all their belongings and to lose something as small as a button really was difficult to take.

Buttons have been around approximately 4,000 years with its history dating back to Egypt. Archeologists have unearthed them in ancient tombs and in archeological digs.

At first buttons were used entirely for decoration. Men and women both wore buttons to adorn themselves. King Louis XIV of France spent $600,000 a year on buttons and King Francis I once had 13,600 buttons sewn to a single coat. The First Duke of Buckingham had a suit and cloak covered in diamond buttons. Talk about extravagant.

From ancient times, buttons have been fashioned from pearls, shells, glass, metal, wood, bone and antler, precious stones, porcelain, and leather among other materials. It appears that our ancestors made buttons from everything imaginable that was available at the time. Buttons with images of angels on them date back hundreds of years.

  

 

But buttons were not just for clothing. They could be found on purses, bracelets, belts, and shoes and still can today. Early buttons showed beautiful artistry. Artists filled their time painting portraits and scenery on them. Europe became so button crazy the church denounced them as “the devil’s snare,” mainly because of women’s front-buttoned dresses. Ridiculous I know. Even the Puritans condemned buttons as sinful.

No one is quite sure when someone came along and fashioned the first buttonhole, but it was quite an accomplishment. Everyone jumped on the button wagon. It was so nice to able to make form-fitting garments that didn’t have to be secured with a belt, hooks, or other devices.

        

Sadly, decorative buttons have become a lost art. Today, most buttons are mass produced from inexpensive plastic.

Button collecting began in the 1930’s. The National Button Society was formed in 1938. There are thousands of collectors today. People collect all kinds and shapes and some of the prices fetched for a single button is outrageous. Recently, a button was sold in auction for $850. People are serious about their buttons.

The Smithsonian Institution has an extensive button collection as do many other museums.

Did you know that March13-19 is National Button Week?

Most of us have buttons somewhere, either in jars or in sewing baskets. I have a zip lock bag full of buttons that I’ve cut off clothes before I toss them in the trash. I always think I’ll need one for something.

A friend of mine plays a game of buttons with her grandchildren. She lets them choose from her button collection then tells them some wild story about where it came from and who wore it. The more outrageous story the better. Their eyes grow wide as they listen to the tales she weaves.

Do you have a stash of buttons? I have some very pretty decorative ones. Can you imagine wearing a piece of clothing that has over 13,000 buttons sewn on it?

Oh my! These Sexy Men!

Something has happened to me. Used to, I never wrote a hero with facial hair. Not because I didn’t like it, but mainly because my editors wouldn’t let me. But in the last few books, my heroes have all had facial hair. I just love a man with a mustache and beard. My first husband had dark facial hair and I was the one who kept it trimmed close. I loved doing it though.

So, I started putting hair on my mens’ faces. It’s sexy and it kinda alludes to bad boys. Yum!

In the first book of my new series called Lone Star Legends, Deacon Brannock has a mustache and close-cropped beard. That comes out in April 2021. In the second book, the young Sam Legend has removed himself from everyone and looks like a shaggy mountain man through a lot of the story. One of the hottest scenes is of Cheyenne Ronan standing behind Sam, applying the sharp blade of the razor to his throat and so overcome she stops to give him an upside down kiss. I thought that was pretty sexy. That book releases Sept. 2021.

Of movie leading men, I’ve always adored Sean Connery’s close beard and mustache. That man makes my heart flutter big time. Here’s him, George Clooney and Sam Elliott.

              

 

I’m not too awfully fond of Sam Elliott’s bushier mustache but since he has the best deep voice, I don’t complain.

Hugh Jackman has nice facial hair as well as Chris Hemsworth and Bradley Cooper.

 

These are drop dead gorgeous!!

                   

 

But back to my own books. I already have the cover for A Cowboy of Legend that I can’t wait to show you when the time is right. Deacon Brannock will stir readers’ hearts. Betcha!

What about you? Do you like men with facial hair or without? Let’s take a vote!!

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

COVER RELEASE!

ONCE UPON A MAIL ORDER BRIDE

Book #4 Outlaw Mail Order Brides (November 24, 2020)

 

Available for Preorder:  AMAZON  |  B&N  APPLE

Pam Crooks

Brand new series!

Cupids & Cowboys

Book 1

I’m thrilled and honored to launch this fun new series!  The babies from the Bachelors and Babies series are all grown-up!

Charlie McQuade couldn’t be prouder of his older sister, Harriett, for starting her own cattle herd and wanting her own ranch.  Her future is bright and promising…except for the one thing she doesn’t have. A husband.

When Harriett learns the shocking secret her family has kept from her since she was a baby, she’s thrown onto the brink of scandal. Worse, she must make the hardest decision of her life for a man she’s never met.

U.S. Marshal Cord Brennan must escort a prisoner to Kansas before he can settle down and care for his crippled father in Texas. But the outlaw in his guard is desperate, and Cord’s careful plans soon threaten to fall apart.

Charlie has his work cut out for him. Can he convince Harriett that Cord would make the perfect husband? Can he keep Cord from going back to Texas? Time is running out…

#kindleunlimited

#sweetromance

 

Coming TOMORROW but you can Pre-order TODAY!

Amazon

 

The book that started it all!  Buy TRACE for only 99¢ but you’ll have to hurry!

Sale ends soon!

Amazon

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2143576775865837/

Karen Witemeyer

Book 2 in my Hanger’s Horsemen series is finished!

It is always such a relief and a feeling of accomplishment to get a book turned in. August 15 was the deadline for the second Horseman book – The Heart’s Charge. I’m pleased to report that it is in my editors’ hands. This book was challenging but so rewarding to write. I can’t wait to share it with you!

This is my longest book to date at just under 103,000 words. The editing process might change that number, but I usually stay pretty close to my initial word count. This needed to be a bigger book with 4 POV characters and 2 full love stories going on side-by-side.

There are still several layers of polishing to be done before it is ready for public consumption, but the largest chunk of work is done. Hooray!

 

Once Upon a Mail Order Bride Cover Reveal

 

I just love when I get a new cover. It’s like opening a present on Christmas morning. I never tire of seeing the new designs by the people at Sourcebooks. They’re truly amazing.

I especially love this one. The colors are so beautiful and the models are truly romantic

This is Outlaw Mail Order Brides #4 and the ex-preacher Ridge Steele gets a bride at last.

Except Adeline Jancy cannot speak.

She communicates through writing so she carries paper and pencil everywhere. But just because she can’t speak, doesn’t mean she’s passive. Ridge finds that out pretty quick and doesn’t make the mistake again.

This story is about finding hope and having the courage to right wrongs. Ridge and Addie are reaching for the impossible. Oftentimes it’s easier to let things stay the way they are, especially when living in a safe, outlaw town. It’s a lot harder to force change and they had to reach a point where they could accept that it would be possible by the slimmest of margins to make their lives better and grab hold of their future.

I’m going to be very sad to leave Hope’s Crossing. I love all these people. But a new series awaits and will start soon.

So tell me what you like or don’t like about this cover and/or the title. The book comes out on November 24, 2020.

Amazon  |  B&N  |  APPLE

 

Popcorn, Anyone?

 

I don’t know why in all the stories I’ve published that I’ve never written about popcorn until this Christmas book I’m writing. A great oversight on my part!

Anyway, I’ve done some research and what I found is interesting.

Even though popcorn is grown on ears, it’s very different altogether from sweet or field corn. The hull of popcorn is just the right thickness to allow it to burst open. Inside each kernel of popcorn is a small droplet. It needs between 13.5-14% moisture to pop. Don’t ask me how it gets the water inside there.

All I know is that the water turns to steam when heated and pressure builds.

 

 

The oldest ears of popcorn were found in a cave in New Mexico in 1948. The oldest found there were 4,000 years old, so it’s been around an awfully long time.

The Aztecs used popcorn in their ceremonies, decorations, and dances. It was an important food for them as well. When Spanish explorers invaded Mexico, they were astounded by these little exploding kernels of corn.

In South America, popcorn was found in 1,000 year old burial grounds and was so well-preserved it still popped.

Long before corn flakes made an appearance, Ella Kellogg ate ground popped popcorn with milk every morning for breakfast. Her husband, John Kellogg, praised popcorn as being easily digested and highly wholesome. I don’t know if I’d want it in a bowl with milk.

 

 

In Victorian times, popcorn decorated fireplace mantels, doorways, and Christmas trees. Kids used to string popcorn and cranberries and was often the only thing on trees unless paper ornaments.

 

 

Here are some Corny facts:

Today, Americans consume 15 billion quarts of popped popcorn yearly.

Most of the popcorn consumed throughout the world comes from the U.S.

Major states producing it are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, and Ohio.

National Popcorn Day is January 19th or whatever day the Superbowl falls on.

* * *

Darn, I’m itching to go to the movies! I can smell the popcorn now.

So, I’ve just added a scene in my Christmas book where my heroine pops popcorn for two little kids and they also string some to decorate with. In case you’re curious, the title of the book is A Cowboy Christmas Legend. Look for it September 2021.

Okay, your turn. How much popcorn do you eat? And what is the most surprising fact you learned?

Dancing Outlaws

Dancing! Oh yes! I love it! I put dancing throughout my Outlaw Mail Order Brides series and it’s all the real-life outlaw gunslinger Clay Allison’s fault! They say he suffered a head wound during the Civil War and it left him with a terrible temper. Maybe so. His epitaph reads that he didn’t kill anyone that didn’t need it and it is a well-known fact that he put a lot of men six feet under.

But strangely, Clay loved to dance—a lot. He owned a ranch outside of Cimarron, New Mexico and always kept a violin player on his payroll.

I first put Clay Allison in The Heart of a Texas Cowboy as Houston Legend’s drover and my editor liked him so much she wanted me to give him his own book. I thought it best to make him fictional so I changed his last name to Colby. Book #1 of Outlaw Mail Order Brides—The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride—is about Clay Colby.

Clay and some of his friends are tired of running and want to settle down so they decide to carve a town from their hideout. Next came populating it so they send for mail order brides.

Since Clay has been writing a wanted woman in hiding, Tally Shannon, he asks her to marry him so she travels to Hope’s Crossing. She agrees.

Oddly, Clay makes sure one his fellow outlaws is a fiddle player and they have a dance each night after supper, waltzing over the uneven ground under the stars. And that’s how he and Tally get acquainted. It worked.

My town has the dancing-est outlaws you ever met. It keeps ’em out of trouble. (Psst, not really)

I’ve always loved to watch dancers, but I didn’t know how until around the age of 30. I was married and three kids underfoot when I took classes at the local college for ballroom dancing. I learned the foxtrot, tango, the waltz, and then the teacher threw in the two-step.

It opened up a whole new world and I loved it. The only problem was my husband didn’t dance and had no desire at all to learn so I was forced again to sit on the sidelines.

Occasionally one of male customers would ask me, but then we stopped going to those places altogether, and sadly, I lost what I’d learned.

I still love to watch dancing couples though. And I love the show Dancing With the Stars, living vicariously through them. Sometimes, I even get out of my chair and do the steps. You’d die laughing.

Dancing has been in our culture probably since the beginning of time. The earliest proof was found in 9,000 year old cave drawings. I’m astounded.

Some of the dances had such names as the Quadrille, the Minuet, the Polka, the Waltz, and many others. Rock and Roll brought many, many more dances like the Lindy Hop, the Twist, the Jitterbug, etc. This didn’t involve a partner so I jumped right in and loved twisting and gyrating and making a fool of myself.

Tell me the first person you ever danced with and the type of dance it was. I’m giving away The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride to three people who leave a comment.

Epitaphs Tell a Story

I guess it’s the writer in me but I always love strolling through a cemetery. The buried stories are too many to number and I always wish I knew them all.

I can get a pretty good idea from the epitaphs carved on tombstones. Some are sad and some are hilarious, revealing a sense of humor. I wrote about a Texas Ranger once who was thinking about his epitaph and what he might be remembered for. It was in The Cowboy Who Came Calling with Luke McClain.

Here’s what he came up with: Here lies Luke McClain, he was one hell of a lawman. He fought injustice and crime wherever he found it. He gave generously of himself to make the world a safer place. He lived well and loved hard. He will be missed.

Of course, Glory Day told him he didn’t need to write a whole book. Her’s was: She lived. She died. End of story

The epitaphs told so much about each of them. Glory was going blind so she was at a low point in her life.

         

Here are some favorite ones that I found:

Old Ma Walker, Non stop talker, Ran out of breath, Talked herself to death

Here lies Shawn O’Toole, kicked in the head by an ornery mule

Here lies Lester Moore. Four slugs from a .44. No Les. No more.

Here lies George Johnson hanged by mistake 1882. He was right, We was wrong. But we strung him up and now he’s gone.

Here lies a man names Zeke. Second fastest draw of Cripple Creek

They abounded in riches. But she wore the britches.

Here lies Rosalie Tanner. A woman that spent most of her life on her back

 

 

I’ve often thought about what I would say on my tombstone. Maybe something like “I laughed. I cried. I lived.” Or maybe the opening lines of my book Forever His Texas Bride: “A plan? Definitely not dying.” 

What would you say on yours? Leave a comment to enter the drawing for one of 3 autographed copies of THE COWBOY WHO CAME CALLING.

 

 

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
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Barnes & Noble
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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.