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.
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!
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?
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:
Welcome to Petticoats & Pistols today, the final day of our special event! Mary Connealy will be giving away our prize today, a $25 AMAZON gift certificate, so be sure to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing! Today, I’m going to post one of the first blogs I ever wrote for P&P about two remarkable young boys, Bud and Temple Abernathy and their true life adventures as long riders. Even now, over 100 years later, they still hold the record for the youngest long riders ever. Here is their incredible story!
In the summer of 1909, two young brothers under the age of ten set out to make their own “cowboy dreams” come true. They rode across two states on horseback. Alone.
It’s a story that sounds too unbelievable to be true, but it is.
Oklahoma had been a state not quite two years when these young long riders undertook the adventure of a lifetime. The brothers, Bud (Louis), and Temple Abernathy rode from their Tillman County ranch in the southwest corner of the state to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Bud was nine years old, and Temple was five.
They were the sons of a U.S. Marshal, Jack Abernathy, who had the particular talent of catching wolves and coyotes alive, earning him the nickname “Catch ’Em Alive Jack.”
Odd as it seems to us today, Jack Abernathy had unwavering faith in his two young sons’ survival skills. Their mother had died the year before, and, as young boys will, they had developed a wanderlust listening to their father’s stories.
Jack agreed to let them undertake the journey, Bud riding Sam Bass (Jack’s own Arabian that he used to chase wolves down with) and Temple riding Geronimo, a half-Shetland pony. There were four rules the boys had to agree to: Never to ride more than fifty miles a day unless seeking food or shelter; never to cross a creek unless they could see the bottom of it or have a guide with them; never to carry more than five dollars at a time; and no riding on Sunday.
The jaunt into New Mexico to visit their father’s friend, governor George Curry, took them six weeks. Along the way, they were escorted by a band of outlaws for many miles to ensure their safe passage. The boys didn’t realize they were outlaws until later, when the men wrote to Abernathy telling him they didn’t respect him because he was a marshal. But, in the letter, they wrote they “liked what those boys were made of.”
One year later, they set out on the trip that made them famous. At ten and six, the boys rode from their Cross Roads Ranch in Frederick, Oklahoma, to New York City to meet their friend, former president Theodore Roosevelt, on his return from an African safari. They set out on April 5, 1910, riding for two months.
Along the way, they were greeted in every major city, being feted at dinners and amusement parks, given automobile rides, and even an aeroplane ride by Wilbur Wright in Dayton, Ohio.
Their trip to New York City went as planned, but they had to buy a new horse to replace Geronimo. While they were there, he had gotten loose in a field of clover and nearly foundered, and had to be shipped home by train.
They traveled on to Washington, D.C., and met with President Taft and other politicians.
It was on this trip that the brothers decided they needed an automobile of their own. They had fallen in love with the new mode of transportation, and they convinced their father to buy a Brush runabout. After practicing for a few hours in New York, they headed for Oklahoma—Bud drove, and Temple was the mechanic.
They arrived safe and sound back in Oklahoma in only 23 days.
But their adventures weren’t over. The next year, they were challenged to ride from New York City to San Francisco. If they could make it in 60 days, they would win $10,000. Due to some bad weather along the 3,619-mile-long trip, they missed the deadline by only two days. Still, they broke a record—and that record of 62 days still stands, nearly one hundred years later.
The boys’ last cross country trip was made in 1913 driving a custom designed, two-seat motorcycle from their Cross Roads Ranch to New York City. They returned to Oklahoma by train.
As adults, Temple became an oilman, and Bud became a lawyer. There is a statue that commemorates the youngest long riders ever in their hometown of Frederick, Oklahoma, on the lawn of the Tillman County Courthouse.
BE SURE TO LEAVE A COMMENT TO BE ENTERED IN TODAY’S DRAWING, A $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD FROM MARY CONNEALY!
A while back a group of inspirational authors and readers shared their favorite Native American stories, and so of course I made a list. I had read several of them, but am now collecting all these books. I wanted to share my list with you, because who doesn’t need a wish list? If you have more to add, this is the place, and I’d love to hear about them.
A Whisper of Peace, Kim Vogel Sawyer
Ostracized by her tribe because of her white father, Lizzie Dawson lives alone in the mountains of Alaska, practicing the ways of her people even as she resides in the small cabin her father built for her mother. She dreams of reconciling with her grandparents to fulfill her mother’s dying request, but she has not yet found a way to bridge the gap that separate her from her tribe.
Clay Selby has always wanted to be like his father, a missionary who holds a great love for the native people and has brought many to God. Clay and his stepsister, Vivian, arrive in Alaska to set up a church and school among the Athbascan people. Clay is totally focused on this goal…until he meets a young, independent Indian woman with the most striking blue eyes he’s ever seen.But Lizzie is clearly not part of the tribe, and befriending her might have dire consequences for his mission. Will Clay be forced to choose between his desire to minister to the natives and the quiet nudging of his heart?
Courting Morrow Little, Laura Franz
Morrow Little is haunted by the memory of the day her family was torn apart by raiding Shawnee warriors. Now that she is nearly a grown woman and her father is ailing, she must make difficult choices about the future.
Several men–ranging from the undesired to the unthinkable–vie for her attentions, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to a forbidden love that both terrifies and intrigues her. Can she betray the memory of her lost loved ones–and garner suspicion from her friends–by pursuing a life with him? Or should she seal her own misery by marrying a man she doesn’t love?
The Frontiersman’s Daughter, Laura Franz
Lovely but tough as nails, Lael Click is the daughter of a celebrated frontiersman. Haunted by her father’s former captivity with the Shawnee Indians, as well as the secret sins of her family’s past, Lael comes of age in the fragile Kentucky settlement her father founded.
Though she faces the loss of a childhood love, a dangerous family feud, and the affection of a Shawnee warrior, Lael draws strength from the rugged land she calls home, and from Ma Horn, a distant relative who shows her the healing ways of herbs and roots found in the hills. But the arrival of an outlander doctor threatens her view of the world, God, and herself–and the power of grace and redemption.
Through Rushing Water, Catherine Richmond
Sophia has her life all planned out—but her plan didn’t include being jilted or ending up in Dakota Territory.
Sophia Makinoff is certain 1876 is the year that she’ll become the wife of a certain US Congressman, and happily plans her debut into the Capitol city. But when he proposes to her roommate instead, Sophia is stunned. Hoping to flee her heartache and humiliation, she signs up with the Board of Foreign Missions on a whim.
With dreams of a romantic posting to the Far East, Sophia is dismayed to find she’s being sent to the Ponca Indian Agency in the bleak Dakota Territory. She can’t even run away effectively and begins to wonder how on earth she’ll be able to guide others as a missionary. But teaching the Ponca children provides her with a joy she has never known—and never expected—and ignites in her a passion for the people she’s sent to serve.
It’s a passion shared by the Agency carpenter, Willoughby Dunn, a man whose integrity and selflessness are unmatched. The Poncas are barely surviving. When US policy decrees that they be uprooted from their land and marched hundreds of miles away in the middle of winter, Sophia and Will wade into rushing waters to fight for their friends, their love, and their destiny.
The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter, Carla Olson Gade
Eliana has secrets. Daring Eliana Van Horn aims to make her mark by joining her father as his photography assistant–disguised as a young man–on a survey expedition to the remote Four Corners.
Living in the shadows of his native heritage, trail guide Yiska Wilcox is thrown off course when the shadow catcher’s daughter opens up the uncharted territory of his heart.
As they travel through dangerous terrain in the mountains and deserts of Colorado and New Mexico, Eliana and Yiska must learn to overcome the barriers of culture, faith, and ideals to discover common ground.
Though they are worlds apart, will they stake a chance on love?
Valley of Dreams, Lorraine Snelling
Addy Lockwood’s mother died when she was little, so Addy traveled with her father’s Wild West Show and became an amazingly skillful trick rider, likened by some to the famous Annie Oakley. When her father died, she continued to work with the show, having nowhere else to go.
Now Addy has discovered that “Uncle” Jason, the show’s manager, has driven the show into debt, and he’s absconded with what little money was left. Devastated, Addy decides to try to find the hidden valley where here father had dreamed of putting down roots. She has only one clue. She needs to find three huge stones that look like fingers raised in a giant hand.
With Chief, a Sioux Indian who’s been with the show for twenty years, and Micah, the head wrangler, she leaves both the show and a bundle of heartache behind and begins a wild and daring adventure.
Dakota Moon Trilogy, Stephanie Grace Whitson
Heart of the Sandhills:
Genevieve LaCroix Dane Two Stars, married for just a little more than a year, is thankful to be with her beloved husband, Daniel Two Stars. Though they are struggling, they have each other and dream of making a happy home in a safe place.
But “happily ever after” is not always easy to live out in real life. Daniel and his friend, Robert Lawrence, now plow the land that used to be theirs in return for only a portion of the crops and the right to live in two small log cabins with their families. Though many respect their hardworking Indian neighbors, others are unable to look past the color of their skins and see their hearts. They only see “murdering savages.” In the wake of the Dakota Sioux uprising, fear and prejudice toward the Indians grow stronger every day.
How long will Genevieve and her family be able to turn the other cheek in the face of hatred and injustice? Is Daniel’s restlessness a sign that God has another work for him beyond the farm? Should they stay in Minnesota or look for a better place out west?
Valley of the Shadow:
Eighteen-year-old Genevieve LaCroix protests when her father tells her it’s time to leave home and get further education at nearby Renville mission. The daughter of Good Song Woman and Etienne LaCroix, she carries in her blood the proud heritage of a Dakota warrior and a French aristocrat. But when Gen arrives at Renville mission, she learns that her heritage is not valued in the changing world created by new white immigrants.
At first the lessons learned at the mission are difficult and lonely. But soon Gen finds new friends and begins to understand this strange culture she has become immersed in. When the missionary family takes in Two Stars, an injured young Dakota warrior, Gen begins to learn how quickly a life can change.
When the Minnesota Sioux Uprising destroys the world she has known and threatens the people she loves most, Gen begins to question everything she has been taught about God.
Edge of the Wilderness:
In the aftermath of the Dakota War of 1862, Genevieve LaCroix struggles to accept the horrible news that Daniel Two Stars has been falsely imprisoned and executed as a criminal, when, in fact, he risked his life to save others. When a man Gen respects proposes, she learns that obedience can require painful choices. But then, just when she has learned to be content as Simon Dane’s wife and stepmother to his children, Gen learns that Two Stars is alive.
Walks Alone, Sandi Rogg
A Cheyenne warrior bent on vengeance.
A pioneer woman bent on fulfilling a dream.
Until their paths collide.
After fleeing her abusive uncle, Anna is determined to reach the city of her dreams. But White Eagle and his fierce warriors take her prisoner. Anna attempts a harrowing escape, but her savage captor is determined to have her at all costs and forces her to be his wife. Has God forgotten her, or does He have plans of His own?
A man with a boot in one world and a moccasin in the other, White Eagle is disillusioned with his faith after a minister leads a massacre on his peaceful tribe. Where is his God? He’s definitely not with the white men who are slaughtering his people. But White Eagle also can’t give in to the idolatry practiced by his fellow tribesmen. Only the Truth can set him free.
Wildflower Bride, Mary Connealy
Glowing Sun, a white woman raised by the Flathead tribe, has vague memories of her former life, including a name—Abby Lind. When she’s forced to sever all links with her adopted family, Abby wonders if she’ll ever find a home again. Tenderhearted Wade Sawyer, responsible for Abby’s survival during the village massacre, convinces the knife-wielding woman to return with him to the Sawyer Ranch, never realizing danger lurks behind every corner. Can they survive long enough to fall in love?
Morning for Dove, Martha Rogers
When Luke Anderson falls in love with Dove Morris, he is aware of her Native American heritage. What he is not prepared for is the prejudice suddenly exhibited by his parents against Dove. Luke struggles with the feelings until a wildfire on the prairie threatens Morris Ranch. Luke joins the battle to stave off the fire as it approaches and risks his life to save Dove. Will his parents see that love knows no boundaries of race or culture when it is rooted in God’s love for His people?
1880s Oklahoma Territory When drifter Seth Blackstone shows up at Raven Patterson’s homestead, Raven thinks this may be the solution to all her problems. But Seth’s mysterious past is about to catch up with him and could mean disaster for them both.
Arkansas Ozarks 1883 Gabe Wagner, has left his hectic city life and moved onto Rose Palmer’s mountain. His plans to build a house will tear the heart out of her Ozark Mountain home. Rose learns that what she calls peace and quiet has evolved into isolation and loneliness. As Christmas approaches and she searches for the perfect way to honor the Savior’s birth, she realizes she wants to let Gabe into her life. But to do it, she may have to face a larger world that frightens her while she gives up the safe life she has always known.
Can the search for the perfect Christmas candle and the broken hearts of two little boys bring a solitary woman and a grieving man together? Available now on Amazon
Whether it’s by shotgun or another equally pressing reason, sometimes proposals and weddings don’t come at the right time – even if they’re the right thing. Here are Donna Alward and Mary Connealy with glimpses into a few forced unions from their books!
From THE REBEL RANCHER (June 2012)
“I thought about it all night, Clara. Thought about you and the baby and Diamondback and I know what we have to do.”
She wasn’t sure she liked the sound of this. He seemed very sure of himself and considering she’d already explained her proposal this meant he wasn’t likely to go along with it. She tangled her fingers tighter together and replied, as evenly as she could, “I already told you what I’d like to do. This doesn’t have to change anything, not really. I can keep my life and you can keep yours, and we can work it out so that our baby has both a mother and a father. Right?”
Somehow in the twisting of her fingers, she managed to cross hers, hoping he would see reason.
Another step closer, and this time he was shaking his head. “That doesn’t work for me, Clara. I can’t be a father hundreds of kilometers away.” He reached out and pried one of her hands loose, clasping it in his strong, warm fingers. “What makes the most sense is…”
He paused, then got down on one knee while her mouth fell open. No, no, no! This couldn’t be happening. He couldn’t possibly be proposing. It would ruin everything! She didn’t want to get married. Didn’t want to lose herself in another relationship where she wasn’t loved in return. Why couldn’t he just be reasonable?
She tried to slide her fingers out of his but his grip was too firm. Oh God, he was looking up at her with those heart-on-his-sleeve eyes and she couldn’t look away.
“I want you to marry me,” he said softly. “Come home to Diamondback, and we can raise our child together.”
Panic threaded its way through her body. “We don’t have to get married to be parents,” she answered, adding a nervous laugh to the end that fell completely flat. Ty’s brow furrowed and a wrinkle appeared just above his nose.
He got to his feet and Clara realized once more how very tall he was. Ty had such presence that he tended to fill a room with it without even trying. It was hard to go toe to toe with that. But the truth was Ty had mentioned absolutely nothing about love. He had asked her but for all the wrong reasons. And it would be a disaster to marry without it. They would end up resenting each other and then what sort of parents would they be?
She had to make him understand that somehow. “Ty,” she tried, praying for calm, “getting married would be a mistake. We’d end up regretting it, I’m sure of it. And then there’d be a child stuck in the middle. If we’re calm and practical now, it’ll be so much better, can’t you see? We’ll make rational decisions rather than running on emotion.”
“Of course there are emotions involved. We’re not talking about buying a car or taking a job. We’re talking about a baby here. My baby.”
“And mine,” she reminded him.
A muscle in his jaw ticked. This wasn’t going the way she wanted at all! It had never crossed her mind that he’d propose. He didn’t love her. She wasn’t a naïve little girl after all. She knew that one night of passion and grief did not a love affair make.
“You’re asking me to make an impossible choice, do you realize that?” He ran his hand through his hair. “I either have to try to be a father on special occasions and holidays, or…”
He dropped his hand. “Damn,” he muttered.
“Or what?” she asked, wondering what choice she’d possibly forced.
“Or leave Diamondback.”
Her lips dropped open. “You’d do that?”
The chocolatey eyes she’d drowned in earlier now hardened. “What choice would I have? You should know me better, especially after everything I told you.” His voice turned accusing. “You know my history. You know how I feel about what my parents did. Thank God Virgil and Molly were there, but what if they hadn’t been? Don’t you think I know how it might have ended up for me? Maybe this was unplanned, but I could never turn my back on my own child. I could never put them second in my life and I thought you understood that.”
And now she saw his eyes glisten with the barest sheen of moisture before he blinked and turned away from her.
“But you love Diamondback,” she said weakly.
“Yes, I do.” His voice was hoarse with emotion. And he didn’t need to say anything more. If she insisted on staying in Saskatchewan, he would leave the ranch behind. His birthright. His family.
For a chance to win a copy of THE REBEL RANCHER, leave a comment!!!!!!!!!
And now here’s Mary, with an excerpt from CALICO CANYON:
“I can’t be out here alone with you wearing a nightgown.” Grace clutched the blankets. “It’s not proper.”
Daniel’s fair skin turned an alarming shade of pink as he stared at her. “I’ll bet it wasn’t proper of us to sleep together either.”
“It most certainly was not.” The deep voice from behind hit them at the same instant the cold did.
They all turned to face Parson Roscoe.
The boys wheeled fully around. Daniel sat up. Grace clutched the blankets to her chest and looked into the startled eyes of the kindly parson and, just behind him, his gentle-hearted wife, Isabelle.
“Parson, it’s not what it looks like,” Grace said.
“Oh, thank heavens,” Mrs. Roscoe said. “Because it looks like you and Daniel spent the night together in this cave.”
“Then it is exactly what it looks like,” John said into a silence more frozen than Grace had been last night.
“Well, yes,” Daniel said. “We did spend the night together, but…”
“Daniel,” Grace gasped in horror.
Daniel looked away from the parson, his skin now fully flaming red. “Well, we did. Do you want me to add lying to the parson in on top of having you in bed…I mean, sleeping together…I mean…” Daniel lapsed into silence.
“Pa brung her home to be our ma, but he tried her out for the night and he decided to return her,” Mark said.
Parson Roscoe stepped fully into the cave. “Both of you get up immediately.”
“In front of the children, Grace? I’m shocked.” Mrs. Roscoe came in and shut the door behind her. The plump woman clutched her hands together in front of her chest as if desperate to get away and spend an hour in prayer just to wash the shock out of her mind.
Grace climbed to her feet. She fumbled with the blankets, there were too many of them to hold. She tried to drop a few of them and managed to drop them all. She caught at them and almost fell forward trying to keep herself covered.
In a voice that seemed to promise eternal flames, Parson Roscoe said to Daniel, “We’ll get on with this and no one will have to know what exactly went on here last night.”
The parson gripped his big black Bible in both hands as if he needed to physically hang on to his faith in the face of this indignity. “Do you Daniel take this woman…”
Daniel was staring at her, his eyes so wide Grace would swear the man had seen a ghost, shook his head.
“I don’t even know how I got here.” Grace flung her arms wide, narrowly missing backhanding Daniel in the face.
“I do.” Daniel grabbed her hand to protect himself.
“About time.” The parson turned his fire and brimstone eyes on Grace.
“No, I didn’t mean…” Daniel dropped her hand like it had sprouted cactus bristles.
“Do you Grace take Daniel—?”
“We told you we aren’t keepin’ her for our ma.” Mark turned on Grace. “You want out of here as bad as we want you out of here, don’t you?”
Grace nodded frantically. “I do.”
“Hallelujah!” The parson raised his hands to heaven.
“I now pronounce you—”
Mrs. Roscoe threw herself, weeping into Grace’s arms, whispering ‘congratulations’.
The parson, whom Grace had always liked, and his wife who seemed like such a sweet-natured woman in the normal course of things, swept out of the cabin. The door slammed shut.
“But I need a ride back to town,” Grace called after them.
“You’re not getting a ride back to town, woman. You’re married!”
Daniel might as well have been a cougar trapped in this cave with her, she’d have felt no safer.
“I’m what?” Deafening silence followed her question.
“To who?” Mark shoved himself to the front of the pack of boys.
Grace looked at Daniel, and it hit her. She was the mother of five—including two ten-year-olds. And she was only seventeen. Grace sank onto the floor and pulled all six blankets over her head.
Mary’s giving away signed copy of her SOPHIE’S DAUGHTERS trilogy! Just leave a comment to be entered for the draw!
Microwave 1 ½ minutes. Stir. Microwave again 1 ½ minutes. Continue until smooth. Add:
1 t. green food coloring
6 C. cornflakes (crushed)
Wet hands work as well as buttered hands to prevent sticking. Roll into balls. Poke thumb through center and flatten to form a wreath. Decorate with red hots.
1/2 cup Margarine
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour
1 cup milk
1 cup gum drops (no black) chopped, or baking gums
Cream margarine and sugar, beat in eggs 1 at a time. Add vanilla. Mix together flour, salt, and baking powder. Add to the mixture, alternating with the milk until smooth.
Dust gumdrops with flour (to keep them from sticking together). Add to batter. Grease and flour a funnel or bundt pan. Bake at 350 until toothpick comes out clean. Wrap in foil and let ripen for 1 week (if you can stand to wait that long!).
Leave a comment today ABOUT COWGIRLS to get your name in the drawing for a signed copy of my just released romantic comedy with cowboys, MONTANA ROSE.
Montana Rose finds Cassie Griffin facing her husband’s death and living alone with her unborn child in Montana Territory. She finds herself fair game for every ill-bred, foul-mouthed suitor in town. That is, until Red Dawson steps in to make an offer.
I moved from Texas to the Rocky Mountains for this series—a big jump. New plants, new weather, new challenges. For a while, I had this book set near Fort Laramie in Wyoming, but the research proved too confusing. I found that Fort Laramie (the fort, not the town) was moved twice and neither location was near the town that bears its name. This conflicting information was daunting to the point that I just moved myself completely out of the state and picked a fictional town.
I kept the romantic comedy with cowboys, though.
Two things about writing comedy:
1) I can’t stop myself. I just always go for the sassy answer. The woman is always mouthing off, and the man is always saying exactly the wrong thing. Humor is my default writing style.
2) Humor is really hard work. General humor that runs through the book doesn’t just come off my fingertips. I’ll write in my sass, but on the second pass, I’ll punch it up and then there’s a third pass and a fourth. I do lots of tweaking to get the pace right. There’s a rhythm to comedy that I find really complex. To keep the story moving can be really hard, especially if I have a scene that’s really wacky with lots of characters and lots of dialogue.
Sometimes when I know what I want from a scene, I almost shy away from humor because I know how much work it’s going to be to get it just right. Then, I build up my courage and just write it. The first draft is never good enough—not even close. I have to write it badly, then fix it.
The scene in Montana Rose when Cassie lets Red’s chickens go, nearly burns down the barn and almost gets killed by a furious mama pig—I rewrote that ten or fifteen times trying to get it to flow just exactly how I wanted it. I needed to portray Red’s controlled anger and terror for the safety of his wife, himself, his animals and his ranch. I also wanted to portray Cassie’s abject regret for all the trouble she’s caused and her fear of how her husband will react. So I had to get all that emotion right, along with the action of all Cassie was messing up.
And though the scene is riddled with angst, anger, terror, regret, and fear, in the middle of all that, I want comedy. I love scenes like that but I dread them too, because I want so badly to get it right.
Despite very serious underlying issues, my first hope is always that the reader will have fun. That’s always my goal, to write a book that entertains and draws readers in and makes them glad they picked up one of my books.
Belle Tanner buries her third worthless husband and makes a vow over his shallow grave. She’s learned her lesson. No more men.
Silas Harden just lost his second ranch because of a woman. The first deserted him when times got tough. Now he’s had to quit the whole state of New Mexico to avoid a trumped-up shotgun wedding and the noose of matrimony. He’s learned his lesson. No more women.
Belle needs hired hands to move a cattle herd late in the season and there’s no one around but seemingly aimless Silas. She hires him reluctantly.Silas signed on, glad for the work, though worried about a woman doing such a thing as hiring drovers, only to find out he’s the lone man going with five woman, including a baby still in diapers. After the cattle drive is over, he might as well shoot himself to speed up the process of being embarrassed to death.
A fast approaching winter.
The toughest lady rancher you’ve ever seen.
A cynical cowboy who has to convince five women he’s right for their ma. . .and then convince himself.
And one thousand head of the crankiest cattle who have ever been punched across the backbone of the Rockies.
And Book #3 in the Montana Marriage Series is Wildflower Bride, coming in May 2010.
This heroine, Abby, has never met a man she didn’t pull a knife on.
This cover is not finalized so I’m showing it to you but there may be some changes. It’ll be close to this, though.
Leave a comment about cowgirls, what’s your favorite kind.
Cassie is sweet and vulnerable. Belle is just plain tough. Abby is mean, of course to cover all her hurts.
We talk about cowboys here a LOT so lets talk cowgirls. Leave a comment telling me who your favorite cowgirl in books, TV, movies, whatever. And I’ll toss your name in the Stetson to claim a signed copy of Montana Rose.
Before the next books in the series I’ve got a Christmas romance coming, Cowboy Christmas.
To my surprise I mentioned to some friends (well, FORMER FRIENDS, the wimps) that I came home the other day and there was semen on my front porch. (Note the warning to keep the tank upright…I’m guessing that there is NO ORDER concerning a semen tank that anyone would dare disobey.)
Their reaction – a cross between horror, amazement and completely tasteless jokes—made me think this might make a good topic for Petticoats & Pistols. Now stick with me all you CITY GIRLS while I tell you about Artificial Insemination of cattle.
My husband is a rancher. He has cows that give birth every spring. The next winter, he sells off the year’s calf crop and then in the spring, here come more babies.
They are unbelievable cute. And it’s a sign we are true country people because we can love them and fuss over them and coddle them and then. . . without batting an eye. . .we can eat them.
So these are beef cattle. . .not to be confused with dairy cattle. . .and my husband mainly raises Angus.
Angus are black (although there are RED Angus-one is pictured above left) but for the most part when you say Angus, you mean a black cow.
The majority of his cattle are just nice, run-of-the-mill angus cows, but there is this special side to raising beef cattle that can lead to big money.
No, it hasn’t led us there yet, but my husband has a dream, a cool dream, that he’ll raise that magical perfect, beautiful animal with all the right ancestors and all the right lines; wide butt, broad chest, deep belly, (uh-oh, I just described myself) and this animal will be valuable and have valuable babies and maybe even, if it happens to be a BULL it might be marketable for it’s semen.
The pictures of the calves are from our herd and that’s my husband on the right, this picture doesn’t capture my husband’s basic cuteness. The hood really wrecks it but the man wasn’t about to pose and smile for the camera.
So, to that end, my husband buys semen. He buys registered Angus cows and semen from snazzy Angus bulls and breeds the cows using artificial insemination.
I just heard Cheryl St. John scream and faint, toss some water on her, bring her around, she’s not going to want to miss the rest.
First he has to pick out semen. And for that he gets catalogues. Catalogues full of the most beautiful pictures of these magnificent, heavily muscled, shining black bulls.
With really amazing names like (these aren’t all Angus-but they’re real bulls):
Hornster, Rib Eye; Red Hot Poker; Romeo; Grand Slam; Ladies Man; Bullicious; Rapid Response; Powerhouse; Red Hot & Rollin’—I could go on forever.
They seem to have a naughty bend. . .at least quite a bit of the time. Hmmmm I guess I’ll forego a comment on that, nothing I’m thinking bears repeating.
So he buys the semen and he makes his choices on this list of things, attributes that the bull owner promises. (Many of these bulls are dead-we can talk about that if you want). Here are some sample promises:
Birth weight of 56 pounds (that’s small-which doesn’t matter and is in fact good IF the calf gains quickly, a small calf is easier for the cow to deliver and complications are reduced) –Progeny are Strong-topped, Deep and Sound with Ample Eye-appeal (this is NOT in English, do NOT worry if you have no idea what it means)
–Structured bull who possesses loads of bone substance, base width, muscle mass and volume.
— one of the most talked about bulls in the business
— Over 100 calves ratioed 97 for birth wt. in nine herds, 103 for weaning weight, and 60 calves ratioed 102 for yearling wt (this is actually something to really brag about but I don’t have time to define all the terms, just trust me) — This may be the most powerful “878” son you’ll see with plenty of muscle and bone. (878 is the name of another bull, in this case, this bull’s daddy.)
He gets these full color beautiful catalogues with pictures of bulls that (this is secret so don’t tell my husband I said it) ALL LOOK ALIKE.
I’ve put up pictures of black angus and other types of cattle, you’ll note the black angus are all BLACK, try picking one of them out of crowd. The weird thing is, my husband can do it. We have about 250 head of cattle mostly all black, a bunch of them baby calves and he KNOWS THEM APART. This from a man who can’t seem to remember it’s my BIRTHDAY, but that’s a topic for another blog.
They all look NICE, but c’mon, they’re black angus bulls. Of course they’re not all “the most powerful “878” son you’ll see—”, but those details don’t exactly show up in the snapshot.
~ Then he buys it and it’s shipped to our house (do NOT ask me who does this for a living. The vet maybe? Is there an actual ‘semen delivery man’. Does UPS handle this stuff).
The tank which looks a little like a teensy spaceship, arrives. It’s brutally killing cold inside. My husband transfers this to his own brutally killing cold tank and then bides his time. Waits for the cow to – well, let’s just say ‘express an interesting in–uh–well, falling in love and getting married and going on a honeymoon–for one day’ – when this happens, my husband is ready.
It’s actually pretty tricky. I’m skipping details that you’d THANK me for skipping if you just knew what they are. Don’t even TALK about Gomer Bulls, that’s just too weird.
And I listen to words like cervix and ‘in heat’ and servicing and settling, and hear my husband say, “I’ve got to go breed a cow” with my Wheaties in the morning and think nothing of it.
Until I mention to some city girls (Please unblock me from your email. I promise not to bring up what’s on my porch again-although I’ve got a rabid skunk story that I think you’d love. And there’s a REASON it looks like there’s been a drive-by shooting on my porch. And does anyone know where to buy large quantities of wood putty?).
And that’s what made me realize this little slice of my life might be of some interest to others.
If you want to know what a Gomer Bull is, Google it. I am NOT going into that. Ick.
And here for your enjoyment, a few captions ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A Gomer Bull has had surgery WHERE?
I’m being replaced with a frozen tank? I don’t think so. Bring it!
I have the best job in the world!
Mama and baby
A new series begins with Montana Rose-coming in July
A departure from the westerns with a cozy mystery in a small town
Nosy in Nebraska coming in June
Book #3 Lassoed in Texas Series-available on Amazon-click the covers to purchase
It hits close for me because we have a rodeo in the next town down the road called the Hoot Gibson Memorial Rodeo in Tekamah, Nebraska. And we’ve got neighbors who are big time into rodeo, entering and competing when the rodeo is in the area, although they don’t follow the circuit.
So today I’m including a little history, a quick look at events and some great, great pictures all about rodeo.
Fun Fact: Rodeo is the official state sport of Wyoming and Texas, and the iconic silhouette image of a Bucking Horse and Rider is a federal and state registered trademark of the State of Wyoming.
Rodeo Quote: I can remember sittin’ in a cafe when I first started in rodeo, and waitin’ until somebody got done so I could finish what they left.
Chris LeDoux(1948-2005) Real life cowboy and Country western singer of Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy among many great hits.
Barrel racing is an exclusively women’s sport. In a barrel race, horse and rider gallop around a cloverleaf pattern of barrels, making agile turns without knocking the barrels over. Look at that picture on the left. Really notice how low the horse is, almost on it’s side.
A calf is roped around the neck by a lariat, the horse stops and sets back on the rope while the cowboy dismounts, runs to the calf, throws it to the ground and ties three feet together. (If the horse throws the calf, the cowboy must lose time waiting for the calf to get back to its feet so that the cowboy can do the work. The job of the horse is to hold the calf steady on the rope) This activity is still practiced on modern working ranches for branding, medical treatment, and so on.
In spite of popular myth, most modern “broncs” are not in fact wild horses, but are more commonly spoiled riding horses or horses bred specifically as bucking stock. Rough stock events also use well-trained riding horses ridden by “pick up men” (or women), of whom there are usually at least two, tasked with assisting fallen riders and helping successful riders get safely off the bucking animal.
There are two divisions in rodeo, bareback bronc riding, where the rider is only allowed to hang onto a bucking horse with a type of surcingle called a “rigging,” and saddle bronc riding, where the rider is allowed a specialized western saddle without a horn (for safety) and may hang onto a heavy lead rope, called a bronc rein, which is attached to a halter on the horse.
An event where the cowboys ride full-grown bulls instead of horses. Although skills and equipment similar to those needed for bareback bronc riding are required, the event differs considerably from horse riding competition due to the danger involved. Because bulls are unpredictable and may attack a fallen rider, Rodeo clowns, now known as Bullfighters, work during bull riding competition to help prevent injury to competitors.
Some interesting rodeo facts: Rodeo stresses its western folk hero image and its being a genuinely American creation. But in fact it grew out of the practices of Spanish ranchers and their Mexican ranch hands (vaqueros), a mixture of cattle wrangling and bull fighting that dates back to the sixteenth-century conquistadors. But you know…what does American mean if not a melting pot from all over the world?
There would probably be no steer wrestling at all in American rodeo were it not for a black cowboy from Texas named Bill Pickettwho devised his own unique method of bulldogging steers. He jumped from his horse to a steer’s back, bit its upper lip, and threw it to the ground by grabbing its horns. He performed at local central Texas fairs and rodeos and was discovered by an agent, who signed him on a tour of the West with his brothers. He received sensational national publicity with his bulldogging exhibition at the 1904 Cheyenne Frontier Days. This brought him a contract with the famous 101 Ranch in Oklahoma and its traveling Wild West exhibitions, where he spent many years performing in the United States and abroad. I’ve seen bull riding competitions and it’s a mean sport. I don’t care for it. But the crowd goes wild.
I remember a few years ago some company was selling ‘Great Rodeo Moments’ on TV and they’d run these awful clips, over and over, of riders getting gored by a bull or trampled by a horse. I went and looked at YouTube but honestly the clips there are pretty hard to watch. So I’m not sending you there. Go at your own risk.
Some Great Rodeo Movies—it seems like they always have them riding the bulls.
8 Seconds-starring Luke Perry
Electric Horseman – starring Robert Redford
Pure Country – Starring George Strait
My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys – Starring Scott Glenn.
If you want to see some more really cool rodeo photos by Erik Stenbakken who took the picture at the top of this that I’m calling Mud Soaked Cowboy go here: http://www.stenbakken.com/ Click on Portfolios and then Rodeos. Very talented guy.
Any rodeo fans here today?
Seriously, have you ever been to the rodeo?
Have you got a favorite rodeo movie or rodeo cowboy I didn’t mention? What’s a cowboy got in him that makes him climb on that bull? There are cowgirls out there, too, and they’re pretty tough. Let’s hear rodeo memories, opinions or just tell me Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy……