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
~
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.

Have Telegram Will Travel

 

There are a few things I put into almost every book of mine and the telegraph is one. It was the “email” of the 19th and early 20th centuries. People needed a fast way to send a message, and in the early 1800s, Samuel Morse gave them the telegraph—a machine that sent a series of dots and dashes over a wire.

In April 1856, Western Union began operating and reached peak popularity in the 1920s and 1930s when it was cheaper to send a telegram than call long distance.

They charged by the word and the cost of a 10-word telegram in 1870 was around $1.00, depending on the distance.

It was customary to use the word STOP in place of a period. I found one reason for this being that it was cheaper than a period but I’m not so sure. I couldn’t find the cost of a period listed anywhere. Another source mentioned that it was to clarify the message and since they were sent in a series of dots and dashes, distinguishing periods would’ve been difficult. I believe this.

In any event, messages weren’t that cheap, so people used the fewest words possible.

In my Men of Legend series, Stoker Legend installed his own telegraph on the huge ranch so he could get messages quickly since headquarters was a good thirty miles from the nearest town.

And in my latest book, The Mail Order Bride’s Secret, Tait Trinity used the telegraph to send for Melanie Dunbar, the mail order bride he’d been writing.

* * * *

Now I have an offer for you. From today 5-19-20 to 6-02-20 my Texas Heroes series (digital only) goes on sale everywhere online!

Knight on the Texas Plains is 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.

 

Would you have made use of the telegraph system back then? Or would you have just written a letter? The cost of a letter was about 4 cents. Do you know of anyone who received a telegram?

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!

Ever Hear of The Travelers Aid Society?

 

In this pandemic, most travel is prohibited, especially international. But I can’t imagine how frightening it would be to be stuck somewhere and have no resources. And double that fear if I found myself in a strange country and be unable to speak the language.

So organizations founded just to help travelers are a godsend, no matter when or where.

The Travelers Aid movement began in 1851 with Bryan Mullanphy, a former mayor of St. Louis, Missouri, who bequeathed half a million dollars to assist “bona fide travelers heading West.”

This organization furnished provisions and the means with which to make the trip for men and women in good health who showed the stamina required for the journey. I can only imagine how many adventurous settlers they helped.

Until recently, I had never heard of this organization and never knew anything like this existed!

Once the West was settled, the Travelers Aid Society moved into providing protection for women and girls traveling alone. Such a beneficial program that kept them from falling victim to the white slave trade and other criminal enterprises.

By the early twentieth century, they served all people regardless of gender, age, race, class, or religion. It truly became an organization for everyone.

Image by 272447 from Pixabay

 

It morphed into the National Travelers Aid Association in 1917 under Grace Dodge. They welcomed immigrants to the U.S. and provided assistance and a safe place to stay for anyone needing one. The organization set up offices near all the ports of entry and stood ready to dive in and assist anyone with a problem.

During the 1920s and throughout WWII, they were a prominent fixture at railroad stations, helping soldiers, unaccompanied minors, and assisting stranded travelers.

There are still around 40 Travelers Aid programs in the U.S. with offices at major airports to assist where there’s a need. In 2010, they assisted 7 million people in getting to their destination.

Now there’s an international branch for world travelers. There will always be a need for someone to help the lost, the desperate, the confused.

For an organization that’s 169 years old, that’s pretty darn good.

Have you ever traveled to a strange place and needed help? Would you ever reach out to The National Travelers Aid association if you were in a bind? I’m giving away a signed copy of The Mail Order Bride’s Secret so leave a comment to enter.

 

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

 

Parlor or Living Room? Supper or Dinner? What the Heck?

 

Blame my curious mind for this post. When did people start calling a parlor or drawing room a living room?

First, let’s start with the meaning.

PARLOR – A sitting room in a private house where the family received visitors. This is a dated word that we no longer use in this context but was the common term until the 1900s. It was known as the “death room” and was where families laid out dead relatives as was common practice in times past. I can’t imagine this! CREEPY! And they took pictures of the dead people in their casket!! Double CREEPY!

 

DRAWING ROOM – An archaic word for a very formal sitting room and could be upstairs or the main floor where a person entertained visitors.

RECEPTION ROOM – Usually refers to a hotel, churches or anyplace besides a private home.

LIVING ROOM – An informal setting in a private home where the family welcomes visitors.

 

So, when did a parlor become a living room?

Inquiring minds want to know. It all changed by the end of World War I when funeral homes started taking care of the dead and they started calling the place where they set the caskets funeral parlors.

In 1910, the Ladies Home Journal came out with an article changing home parlors to living rooms. It’s an informal space where families gather and hang out. It became a “Lively” room and no more dedicated to death.

Large houses sometimes have more than one—both a formal and an informal.

 

Now…When did supper change to dinner?

The Merriam and Webster Dictionary says the last meal of the day changed names with the rise of industrialization and workers were not home for the midday meal they called dinner. (Psst, I still do by the way.) Thus, dinner slid to the last meal of the day and lunch became the noontime meal.

But…Is it an uppity thing? I never hear rich folks say supper. So, was it was a division between those who had and those who had less? 

Whatever the reason was, I just want to point out that the Bible says the Lord’s supper – not the Lord’s dinner.

Now, what’s for dessert? I’m hungry and I might eat in the living room.

So what are your thoughts on all this? Do you have a parlor or living room? Eat supper or dinner?

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!! Hope you’re wearing green!

The Rose of Cimarron

 

Writing a series about outlaws has opened my eyes a bit concerning the oddities I sometimes find hidden way back in history. It’s been fun and very interesting.

Sometimes teens in the old West, just as today, had some wild oats to sow. Yet, you never think about girls doing it back in the 1880s. Yet, this one became famous for it.

Rose Ella Dunn was born Sept. 5, 1878 in Indian Territory at Ingalls, Oklahoma. She was the only girl among five brothers. That was probably the problem right there. They taught her to ride, rope, and shoot. The boys had formed their own outlaw gang by the time she was just twelve years old. I’m not sure what their parents must’ve thought of that.

A few years passed and when she was fourteen or fifteen, her brothers introduced her to outlaw George “Bittercreek” Newcomb.

The striking beauty with a kind demeanor became very infatuated and Bittercreek called her his Rose of Cimarron. Bittercreek was a member of the Doolin/Dalton gang and they were extremely protective of her.

Rose would go into town for supplies and whatever the gang needed, plus bring back news. It was a good system.

For some reason, maybe they got religion or something, her brothers disbanded their gang and started bounty hunting. Knowing most of the gangs and how they operated, they had quite a bit of success. I’m sure the brothers switching horses mid-stream must’ve made everyone on the lawless side just a tad bit nervous.

On September 1, 1893, the gang was in the saloon in Ingalls, Oklahoma when they found themselves surrounded by a posse of U.S. marshals. A hail of bullets rained down on them. The outlaws exchanged fire and made a run for it.

Bittercreek was struck down in the street but managed to pull himself to cover. Rose watched it all from a nearby hotel, filled with horror. She ran to him with two belts of ammunition and a Winchester rifle and hunkered down next to him.

Rose fired the Winchester at the marshals while Bittercreek loaded his revolvers. Finally, he was able to escape.

Three deputy marshals lay dead. On the gang side, several were badly shot up. Rose hid out with them, nursing them back to health.

By 1895 Bittercreek had a $5,000 bounty on his head and was wanted DEAD OR ALIVE. That caught the attention of her brothers. Loyalty didn’t amount to much when that much money was involved.

The next time they came to visit at the house, the brothers were waiting. They shot Bittercreek and the outlaw with him as they dismounted, killing them both.

Rose was never prosecuted for her involvement with the gang and her life of crime ended. She married a local politician until her death at the age of 76. I could find no record of any children.

So, was she just a rebellious teenager innocently caught up in something over her head? Or was she truly an outlaw and in it all the way? Have you ever been caught up in something you really wanted no part of and then couldn’t figure a way out?

I’m giving away two $10 Amazon gift cards in a drawing on Sunday.