Struck with Inspriration by Tina Susedik

I have always loved the west. The history. The lives of those who settled there and what they endured. The ruggedness. Whenever my husband and I plan a trip, we always head west. Now, while I love history and the west, I’d only written one historical romance, The Trail to Love, set on the Oregon trail. 

Several years ago, a new book event came up – Wild Deadwood Reads. It had been a long time since I’d been to Deadwood, but I recall it being steeped in history. So, I thought, why not? I can combine selling books with staying in such an historical town. 

Several events were planned. One was a ride on an 1880s train. The train trip ended in Keystone, another historic town. As our bus drove down the street, I saw a sign which read “The Balcony Girl.” 

Boom, a story idea came to me. It would be set in Deadwood during the early years. Now, I didn’t know that much about Deadwood’s history, so I had to do what authors love to do – RESEARCH. I bought books (and read them all) on Deadwood. Books on the characters who lived there. I delved through pictures and got lost on the internet. 

Finally, I was ready to start writing, but what year to start it in? I chose 1879 – the year a fire nearly destroyed the town. But what about a conflict? Brothels had what they called their “Balcony Girls.” They would stand on the establishment’s upper balcony in their scantily clad bodies, and call the men in. 

Now prostitutes, or soiled doves, then as now, were held in the lowest esteem. Anyone, other than men, who associated with them was considered to be one of them. A “proper” woman would never acknowledge a prostitute without being scorned by society. 

So, in June of 1879, Julia and Suzanne Lindstrom arrived in Deadwood from a farm in Minnesota. Suzanne was to be the new school marm. Julia came along to be with and take care of her sister. Can you imagine their thoughts when they first saw Deadwood, with its haphazard buildings, muddy streets, animals running wild, and rough men in the streets? 

Julia is a seamstress, but how would she make a living in Deadwood where most of the population were men who wore their clothes until they were rags. She ends up doing what a “proper woman” would never do. She befriends a brothel madam and sews clothes for the women who work in the brothel. Of course, she has to keep what she is doing a secret – even from her sister. Not an easy task. And when a prospective suitor finds out . . . Well, you can imagine what happens. 

The Balcony Girl is the first book in my “Darlings of Deadwood” series. I couldn’t stop with one book. Her sister, Suzanne, needed her own story. Then there was the sister of Suzanne’s suitor and owner of a hotel. Let’s not forget the nasty wife of one of the town’s bankers. My next one will be a female blacksmith. All strong women trying to find their way in the male-dominated west – and surviving. 

When the sisters arrived, the town was still booming, but becoming more settled. Roads were still muddy, animals still roamed and Main Street divided into the ‘good side’ and the “Badlands” where the saloons and brothels were located. How would they survive? 

Oh, by the way, that sign I thought said, ‘The Balcony Girl,’ actually read ‘The Balcony Grill.’ 

Order The Balcony Girl on Amazon.

 

I would love to give away one copy of “The Balcony Girl.”

To be considered to win a copy,

tell me an unusual job you’d like to see a woman in another “Darlings of Deadwood” would have. 

Tina Susedik is the author of forty books and anthologies including romance, history, military, and children’s books.She is an award-winning, Amazon best-selling author, and the host of “Cover to Cover with Tina.”Find her online at: http://www.tina-susedik.com

The Origins of the Secret Service – by Kristy McCaffrey

Counterfeiting was a serious issue at the end of the Civil War. Nearly one-third of all currency in circulation was fake. In 1865 the Secret Service was established to deal with this issue, acting as a bureau in the Treasury Department to stabilize America’s financial system. They were the first domestic intelligence and counterintelligence agency in the United States.


During this time, America’s monetary system was very disorganized. Individual banks could legally generate their own currency, but with so much variation in circulation it was easy to counterfeit money.

The first agency chief was William Wood, who was widely known for his heroism in the Civil War. During his first year in charge, he was successful in closing more than 200 counterfeiting plants.

In addition to investigating paper money forgeries, the agency also monitored groups committing fraud, which included the Ku Klux Klan, mail robbers, smugglers, and bootleggers. The United States Marshals Service didn’t have the manpower to investigate all crimes under federal jurisdiction, so the Secret Service also handled bank robberies, illegal gambling, and murders.

President Abraham Lincoln established the Secret Service on April 14, 1865, the same day he was assassinated, after which Congress considered adding presidential protection to the duties of the Secret Service. But it would be another 36 years before the Secret Service was officially put in charge of protecting the president. In 1894, they began informally protecting President Grover Cleveland. In 1901, the agency took over full-time protection of the president after the assassination of President William McKinley. In 1908, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was created and took over intelligence responsibilities from the Secret Service.

In my new release, THE STARLING, Pinkerton Detective Henry Maguire is investigating a possible counterfeiting scheme in the household of wealthy entrepreneur Arthur Wingate. Partnering with new agent Kate Ryan and posing as a married couple, they uncover more than Henry planned when information regarding his deceased father, Hugh Maguire, a Secret Service agent, comes to light.

Colorado 1899

Kate Ryan has always had a streak of justice in her. When she decides to apply to the Pinkerton Detective Agency, nothing will stand in her way. Initially hired in a clerical position, she quickly works her way up to field agent with the help of her mentor, Louise Foster. When Louise is injured, Kate gets her first assignment and the opportunity of a lifetime.

Henry Maguire has been undercover in the household of wealthy entrepreneur Arthur Wingate. Employed as a ghostwriter to pen the man’s memoir, Henry is also searching for clues to a lucrative counterfeiting scheme. When Henry’s “wife” shows up, he’s taken aback by the attractive woman who isn’t Louise. Now he must work with a female agent he doesn’t know and doesn’t necessarily trust. And because he has another reason for coming into Wingate’s world, Kate Ryan is unavoidably in his way.

Kate Ryan is the daughter of Matt and Molly from THE WREN, and THE STARLING is the first of five novels featuring the second generation of Ryans in the Wings of the West series.

The Starling is now available in eBook and paperback. Find buy links and read Chapter One here: https://kmccaffrey.com/the-starling/

 

GIVEAWAY

I’m giving away an eBook from my backlist—winner’s choice. To be entered, leave a comment and let me know what great show(s) you’ve been watching lately (any good western series?). I’m always looking for new stuff to view.

See all my books here: https://kmccaffrey.com/books/

Kristy McCaffrey writes contemporary adventure stories packed with smoldering romance and spine-tingling suspense, as well as award-winning historical western romances brimming with grit and emotion. Her work is filled with compelling heroes, determined heroines, and her trademark mysticism. She likes sleeping-in, eating Mexican food, and doing yoga at home in her pajamas. An Arizona native, she resides in the desert north of Phoenix with her husband and their rescue Bulldog, Jeb. Sign up for Kristy’s newsletter at http://kmccaffrey.com/subscribe/
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Guest Blogger Lisa Prysock – Nuns in the Wild West?

Hello Petticoats & Pistols! Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Fillies.

It’s hard to imagine Annie Oakley, cowboys, and nuns holding down the Wild West. I’m envisioning something like The Sounds of Music starring Julie Andrews, or Whoopi Goldberg’s Sister Act, or my absolute fav, The Trouble with Angels starring Haley Mills, right?

 

Well, kinda. Bear with me.

Columbia Pictures Image It is believed that this poster art may be shared in conjunction with the Fair Use Act. Columbia Pictures owns the copyright.

In publishing my newest series, Montana Meadows, in conjunction with Magnolia Blossom Publishing, I began researching Montana Territory in the 1870s at the onset for the setting. I discovered some pretty cool stuff. Montana is known for their great big blue sky, gorgeous mountains mainly in the west, and plains throughout the middle of the state. They share a corner of Yellowstone in the southeastern part of the state, and they’re wildly famous for huckleberry pie.

I also ran into a Catholic mission operating as St. Peter’s Mission in my research. The mission had nuns, priests, and orphan students. The nuns and priests had come to Montana from a diocese in Toledo, Ohio. One of the volunteers for the mission, Mary Fields, an African American and former slave, moved to the area seeking freedom and independence. She eventually became known as “Stagecoach Mary,” a fascinating real-life heroine who ultimately became a stagecoach driver delivering mail to the mission and other establishments and residents in the area. You can learn more about Mary here–:

 

Fascinated by Mary’s story and all I’d learned about missions in the western hemisphere, for Book 1 of the series, Cherry Crossing, I invented a fictitious mission and town loosely based on my research. I named my fictional mission St. Paul’s and sketched out the lay of a fictitious version of the mission building and nave in my book and character building notes, resembling the one in my research. I didn’t have a “Stagecoach Mary,” but I did create and invent an interesting cast of nuns and priests who play a fun and significant role in the book. My nuns and priests come from a variety of dioceses in the western hemisphere.

 

I named the town in Cherry Crossing, Honey River Canyon. Imagine eight mountains trailing around the northwest corner, a river named Honey River winding through those mountains, and the town of Honey River Canyon spilling out from this backdrop.

 

The series is based on three Hayes sisters—Jocelyn, Jacqueline, and Jillian—whose parents perished in a blizzard some years before. The sisters rise to the challenge of managing the farmstead, named Cherry Crossing for the imported Canadian fruit trees on the property. Each book centers around a romance blossoming for one of the three sisters.

Of course, there are some gangstas, or bad guys, antagonists, or bad dudes, and we’ll definitely need a hero. Enter, Jake Hunter. Jake inherits the mayor’s mansion and remaining town plattes from his grandfather. He comes to Montana Territory to claim his inheritance, and Josie (Jocelyn) immediately thinks he’s swindled her out of the horse she planned to purchase. These two clash right from the start.

Jake has his work cut out for him in Book 1. He’s also framed for a murder. He has to find his faith, clear his name, capture the gangsters, and win the girl’s heart in order for us to have a happy ending. In Book 2, Sparrow’s Hope, readers will meet more of Jackie, but wear your bullet proof vest and hold onto your hat. She can load and shoot a six-shooter better than most men in the Wild West. (Coming soon!) In Book 3, Silver Mountain, readers will get to know the sweet, quiet Jillian as she finds her own true love and her dream of being a teacher.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy of this faith-filled romance. I’ll give away a signed paperback to one person who comments. Just tell me what you love about western romance or ask me a question about writing. We’d love to hear from you at Petticoats & Pistols!

Lisa M. Prysock is a USA Today Bestselling, Award-Winning Author of more than 33 Christian romance novels and a devotional. She and her husband reside in beautiful Kentucky in a rural area. Together, they have five children, grown. New empty nesters, they are slowly reclaiming their average colonial style house. Lisa loves espadrilles, long sundresses, and hats. She enjoys cross-stitching, crochet, sketching, reading, cooking, swimming, and many other things she finds hard to get to because she’s usually writing the next book. She loves sharing her faith in Jesus through her writing.

Readers can check out more about this author and view her books on the carousel at her author website. Sign up for her free newsletter here–: https://www.LisaPrysock.com

They can also connect with me at–:

https://www.facebook.com/LisaMPrysock

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https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00J6MBC64?tag=pettpist-20

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Holiday Express

One questions authors are frequently asked is “where do you get your inspiration?”

My typical answer is “EVERYWHERE!”

It’s true. I find ideas for stories while flipping through magazine ads, standing in line at the grocery store, wandering through the mall (when we used to wander through the mall), even when I’m doing super exciting things like folding laundry.

But my favorite place to dream up new story ideas is when I’m on vacation with Captain Cavedweller. Ideas for some of my favorite stories have popped into my head while we were driving, exploring, or at a museum.

Such was the case two years ago when Captain Cavedweller and I were making the long, long drive all the way through Nevada.

On a whim, we decided to stop at the Nevada Northern Railway Museum in Ely, Nevada.

The museum is a national historic landmark, but it’s also an operating historical railroad. The brochure you’re given when you pay your admission says: “It’s gritty. It’s dirty. It smells of coal smoke, creosote, and sweat…” It is not an exaggeration.

But the museum complex consists of a full-service rail yard encompassing 56 acres with 63 buildings, shops, and structures that served the historic copper mining region of Central Nevada for more than a century. Original railway locomotives, rolling stock, track, a passenger station includes three steam locomotives (two that are operational), six diesel locomotives, and more than 60 pieces of historic equipment.

I loved it! You can walk into the engine house and watch the mechanics working on train repairs. Right after I snapped this photo, a guy popped up in the smokestack. It’s was fascinating to wander around and see everything up close. It really put everything into perspective.

Several trains on display. Some of them were open for guests to climb on and look around.

I loved this train. It made me think of the Polar Express.

In 1910, the railroad needed a new locomotive to pull the passenger train on a daily round-trip from Ely to Cobre, hauling passengers, mail, and express shipments. Number 40 was purchased from the Baldwin Locomotive Works for a cost of $13,139. The train entered scheduled service with a speed of 40 miles per hour pulling a railway post office/baggage car and a first-class coach, both of which are still in service at the museum. When the locomotive was no longer needed after World War II, #40 was put on the list to be scrapped. Because the crews loved the engine, it mysteriously disappeared whenever someone in authority came looking for it. Because of the ghost-like movements of the engine, it became known as “The Ghost Train.”  Thanks to the efforts of the crews, the train survived and still operates today, pulling passengers along the track.

And this train became the inspiration for Hope, a steam engine that travels though a whole new holiday series I’m releasing soon!

 

 

Another fun thing to see was this rotary snow plow. After a massive snow storm halted operations in 1907, the railway purchase a snow plow. The rotary blade could slice through drifts of snow and keep the track operation. A steam boiler resides inside a wooden body, but instead of turning the wheels on tracks like a regular locomotive, this one turns the massive blade. It could take up to three engines to push the plow through the snow.

 

In addition to seeing the locomotives, there were several displays with interesting historical items and information. The velocipede was invented by George S. Scheffield in 1877. This particular one was used to inspect the track from Ely to Kimberly and McGill daily. It is operated by pushing and pulling the handles while pushing on the pedals. Weighing only 140 pounds, it could be moved off the track by one person. This velocipede was rebuilt by Rick’s Restoration and featured on the History Channel program American Restoration. There were several pieces of equipment Rick’s Restoration had restored.

There’s also a great gift shop at the museum. They had dirty cat ornaments. I wish I’d taken a photo of the cat, but somehow failed to snag one. When we were in the engine house looking at the trains, a cat that was absolutely filthy wandered up to us and started rubbing on CC’s legs and purring. He kept the cat happy and purring for a while with some good scratches behind the ears then we went back to exploring. When we went to the gift shop and saw the ornaments, we mentioned meeting the cat. The volunteer working in the gift shop gave us a surprised look, then explained that most people don’t see the cat because it usually hides from visitors. We felt pretty special to have received personalized attention from their resident star feline.

Back to the inspiration: Within moments of arriving at the depot, I started thinking about an idea for a mail-order bride story. The more we saw at the museum, the more ideas that popped around in my head. By the time we left, I knew it wasn’t going to be just one book, but an entire series. One that involved a steam engine named Hope, a family tied to the railroad, and a series that spanned many generations. As we drove onward on our trip, we spent the next several hours brainstorming and jotting down pages and pages of notes which have turned into four full-length sweet romances that start in 1884 and conclude with a modern day romance.

The first book in my Holiday Express series will release November 30! I can’t wait for you to read it! And right now, I have it on sale for a special pre-order price of just 99 cents!

 

Holiday Express

Four generations discover the wonder of the season and the magic of one very special train in these sweet holiday romances.

Available on Amazon

Aren’t the covers glorious? The amazing Josephine Blake from Covers and Cupcakes waved her magic wand and created them for me.

 

Holiday Hope

Release Date: November 30

Pre-order Price: 99 cents

 Infuse your holidays with hope and humor in this sweet western romance 

Left alone in the world after losing her parents, Cora Lee Schuster travels across the country to the newly-established town of Holiday, Oregon, to become a mail-order bride. She arrives in town to be greeted by her future father-in-law with her betrothed nowhere to be found. When it becomes obvious her reluctant groom-to-be has no intention of showing up at the family ranch where she’s staying, Cora Lee must decide if she’ll follow her head or heart.

Jace Coleman has loved trains since the first time he rode on one as a boy. Now, he spends his days as an engineer driving the Holiday Express line on a new engine named Hope. When a mail-order bride turns up at his father’s ranch to wed his brother, Jace has an idea his meddling father has tried his hand at matchmaking. The longer Cora Lee stays at the ranch, the harder Jace works to keep from falling for his brother’s intended bride.

Will Jace and Cora Lee discover the gift of hope? Find out in this sweet holiday romance full of memorable characters, warmth, and Christmas cheer.

Holiday Hope is the first book in the Holiday Express series, a collection of heartwarming, wholesome, holiday romances brimming with the spirit of the season.

 

Holiday Heart

Release Date: December 7

Pre-order Price: $3.99

 Hearts and humor collide in this sweet holiday romance

Zach Coleman spent his childhood dreaming about trains, and now he’s one of the repairmen at the Holiday engine house who keeps them chugging down the tracks. Life couldn’t get any sweeter, or so he convinces himself, until he’s on his way home from work and saves a woman from getting hit by a wagon. How was he to know that one, brief encounter would upend his world?

Lorna Lennox grew up with the best of everything in life. Her father, a railroad tycoon, has made sure of it. Now that he’s moved her into a new house in a remote Oregon location, Lorna wonders if she’ll fit into the small community. She’s barely arrived in the town of Holiday when an adventure leaves her at the mercy of a handsome stranger. One she finds impossible to forget.

Will the holidays present a chance for hearts to entwine? Find out in this sweet holiday romance rich with history, humor, and the joys of Christmas

Holiday Heart is the second book in the Holiday Express series, a collection of heartwarming, wholesome, holiday romances brimming with the spirit of the season.

 

Holiday Home

Release Date: December 14

Pre-order Price: $3.99

 A winning combination of romance, humor, and history

 Widow Britta Webster can hardly remember life before her village was overrun with German soldiers during World War II. All she wants is to live a peaceful existence and raise her child. But she will do anything to protect Joshua, even if it means begging a stranger to take her to America where her son will have a safe place to call home.

Honor, grace, and duty are the driving forces behind Bryce Coleman’s approach to life, even as he strives to survive in war-torn France. Severely wounded, he’s left by his comrade in the cellar of a woman who clearly wants nothing to do with him. When she pleads with him for her son’s future, Bryce feels bound by an obligation to the widow for saving his life.

Will a burdensome agreement turn to love when hearts come home to Holiday? Find out in his sweet historical romance packed with vintage charm, nostalgia, and the wonder of Christmas.

Holiday Home is the third book in the Holiday Express series, a collection of heartwarming, wholesome, holiday romances brimming with the spirit of the season.

 

Holiday Love

Release Date: December 21

Pre-order Price: $3.99

 Will delving into the past kindle a forever love?

Kali Hoyt loves old things. Old books. Old dishes. Old cars. Old love stories. Hired as the director of the newly-formed preservation society for the town of Holiday, she can’t wait to begin digging into the history of a place she enjoyed visiting during her childhood summers. When her cousin introduces her to his best friend, Kali has no idea the grease-covered redneck will have such a monumental influence on her future.

Trace Coleman has spent his life being groomed to take over his family’s vast Lennox Enterprises empire. Astute at running the company, he much prefers to spend his days tinkering with the old steam engine that his great-great-grandfather worked on as a mechanic in the Holiday engine house. When he encounters the newly hired director for the preservation society he founded, he knows her presence in Holiday is going to change his life in ways he can’t begin to imagine.

Will two reluctant hearts succumb to the magic of the holidays? Find out in this sweet holiday romance filled with humor, heart, and love.

Holiday Love is the fourth book in the Holiday Express series, a collection of heartwarming, wholesome, holiday romances brimming with the spirit of the season.

I am so excited about sharing these books with you and hope my readers will fall in love with the Coleman family like I have. There’s even a man named Nick who suspiciously looks a lot like a Victorian Santa making an appearance in all four stories!

 

What inspires you? 

Post your answer for a chance to win a mystery gift from me! 

 

 

A little visit to the Old West via Belle Fourche


Kari Trumbo logoDon’t you love visiting places that capture your heart?

It’s funny, way back in 2017 I was writing a series about pioneer towns in South Dakota (my favorite place to write about). I needed 7 towns for the 7 seven sisters to live in. Each would showcase the beauty and wonder of the Black Hills. Well, I ended up with a lot more than 7. And Belle Fourche, though it was on the list, didn’t make the cut for that first series.

That was my mistake.

Little did I know readers would eventually beg me to write more in this sleepy little town. But what makes one town better than 7 others? I mean, I had Deadwood, Keystone, Custer… some of the more famous towns in SD. Surely those would be more sought after? Nope, Belle Fourche still tops them all.

It’s all about the feeling.

Belle Fourche is a town that still has history right around the corner. You can drive through and see the new roads and big bridges, but just off the main road there are quiet streets and salt-of-the-earth people. It wasn’t hard to build that community feeling, because they never lost it.

A bridge to Yesteryear

Belle Fourche Center of the US marker Belle Fourche claims to be the Geographic center of the US. I later found out there are about three monuments just like this, and they all fight for the “actual” claim. I’ll just say the monument is cool to go see, no matter where the actual center is.

Right next to the monument is an original house from the town, preserved for viewing. It’s even smaller than you would expect, smaller than my current living room, and someone lived there whole lives there.

It’s really no wonder some people had severe wanderlust, if you lived in a home with everyone you loved (even if you loved them very much) practically on top of you…maybe that need to go west where there was more wide-open space is better understood through that lens.

As I wandered through the monument and museum. Wait, I didn’t mention the museum? Yeah, that was a highlight of my trip!

When history is less of a mystery

Oddly, I’d already written three books in my Belle Fourche series before I visited, other than via Google. I alwaysCabin in Belle Fourche research a town before I write about it. I was so afraid that I’d gotten it wrong though. *Secret writer fear: We can’t always travel and we’re always terrified that we didn’t get a town quite right.

I wandered through every display with my traveling companion, a fellow reader who had joined me for Wild Deadwood Reads and toured Belle Fourche with me. We both enjoyed the history and feel of Belle Fourche.

Best of all, I was so glad that I left feeling like I got it right and had to write more books, which I did.

But even that wasn’t enough. I still get emails asking for more. Who am I to complain? If a reader loves a series enough that they can’t get enough, I’ll find a way to add more! So, coming in 2022, readers can look forward to a new Belle Fourche series, The Belle Fourche Chronicles.

The next logical step

Belle Fourche museum displayI love taking real history and making it relatable and helping people “live” through a period of history that they enjoy but would never want to actually live through, I mean, the necessary was a necessity but who wants to use one when it’s 40 below? We do live in the great white north.

As I work toward plotting this series, I want to figure out the main goal. What are some of your favorites? I love a family vs. family drama, or the need to build something that will change the town for the better… but Belle Fourche already had rail and a clinic in the first series.

What are your suggestions? I’d love to hear what you’ve read for long series that you’ve loved.

I plan on digging deep into my research books over the next week and maybe something you suggest will make my eye catch on a bit of history that would be perfect.

 

Mistaken Marshal: Lady & the Lawman Collection By Crystal L Barnes

“He caught one of them?”
“One of who?” Beau glanced at the dark-haired kid in his hold, a kid who wore a bandanna covering all but his wide blue eyes. A bandanna? What on earth had that spawn-of-Satan horse gotten him into?
“See if you can find the others,” Shorty ordered.
The troublemaker turned his head, causing the bandanna to slip, revealing smooth cheeks without a hint of stubble.
“Right.” With a nod, Lanky hurried toward the water.
Without warning, the kid sank his teeth into Beau’s arm and broke from his hold.
“Ouch! Why, you little brat!” Beau snagged the boy’s leg, knocking him to the ground, and pinned him in the wet sand. “I ought to turn you over my knee.”
“We’re going to do worse than that.”
At the new voice, fear flickered in the kid’s eyes.
Keeping his hands on the young man’s shoulders, Beau looked up to find a well dressed, if winded, older gentleman standing next to Shorty, gun drawn.
“Nice work, mister. You just caught yourself an outlaw.”
An outlaw? Beau glanced down at the youngster whose voice hadn’t even changed. He couldn’t be more than thirteen or fourteen. How could someone so young already be an outlaw?
Troublemaker, yes, but outlaw?
“Where are the other three?” the gentleman questioned.
Shorty cocked his head toward the water. “Lawson went to see if he could find their trail.”
“Mr. Grimes, perhaps you should lend Mr. Lawson a hand.”
With a nod, Shorty took off as another man approached, horses in tow.
“Mr. Hewitt, toss this fella a rope and help them, please, sir.” The dapper gentleman took the horses’ reins from the balding man Beau had met at the livery earlier that day and turned to Beau. “I believe Mr. . . .”
“Bones,” Beau offered as he accepted the rope from Hewitt and set to binding the outlaw’s hands.
“I believe Mr. Bones and I can manage this one on our own.” The leader paused, drawing Beau’s gaze upward. The bearded man looked from Beau to Satan’s Spawn—or Buster as the horse was more commonly known, a name which now made much more sense considering his aching backside—and back again. “Bones? Are you any kin to our late marshal?”
Beau finished securing the knot, one perfected by what his brothers used to use on him through the years, and hauled the youngster to his feet. “Yes, sir. He was my uncle.”
“Well, looks like you two were cut from the same cloth.”
Beau wished that were true. His namesake had been brave, fierce, afraid of nothing and no one. He was the only one who’d ever believed Beau could amount to something, could do more than struggle in his brothers’ shadows. He’d hoped by coming to Small Tree, Texas, he could prove his uncle right. Prove everyone else wrong. Prove that he could be his own man.
But on his first day in town, he couldn’t even ride his uncle’s horse.
“I’m Mayor Arthur Jones.” After shaking Beau’s hand, the graying gentleman led the way through the trees, the prisoner between them. “I assume you’re here to settle your uncle’s estate, Mr. Bones. Are you going to be in town long?”
“Well, I, uh. . .I’d thought to stay on awhile, but—”
“Wonderful. We could sure use a man like you around Small Tree. As you can see, trouble has already found us in the short time since your uncle’s passing. My condolences, by the way.”
“Thank you.”
“What would it take to talk you into staying on and being our new town marshal?”
Beau couldn’t help laughing at the outlandish thought. “Not much, bu—”
“Stupendous! You’re hired.”
“Hired? Wait. What?”
“The job comes with a monthly stipend, plus room and board.” The mayor kept talking,
but Beau’s brain couldn’t take in any more.
Hired? Him? A marshal? He didn’t know anything about being a lawman, only the wild tales his uncle used to spin when he’d come to visit. Tales a little boy with seven older brothers could only imagine experiencing. He couldn’t fill his uncle’s boots, not in a thousand years, not in ten thousand. The mayor was highly mistaken if he thought Beau could handle such an important job. Sure, he’d always dreamed of such a chance, but he couldn’t. . .
He wouldn’t. . .
It wasn’t right to let the mayor, the town, think him capable—
The outlaw stumbled, breaking Beau’s inner argument and his grip on the kid’s arm.
The boy pivoted toward the trees.
“Oh no, you don’t.” Beau had tried that move with his brothers too many times to count. Snagging the youngster’s waist, he tossed him over his shoulder.
The mayor angled him a grin. “See, I knew you were the right man for the job the minute I laid eyes on you. This way, Marshal. I’ll show you where you can lock up this prisoner. Then we’ll send for the judge.”
At the praise, Beau couldn’t help standing a little straighter. Maybe he could do this job. Maybe this was the exact opportunity he’d prayed for almost all his life. Maybe, just maybe, if he tried real hard, he could prove the mayor hadn’t just made the biggest mistake of his life by making Beau Bones the newest marshal of Small Tree, Texas.

—Mistaken Marshal by Crystal L Barnes from the Lady and the Lawman Collection, Barbour Publishing.
Howdy y’all! Crystal Barnes here and I hope you enjoyed that sneak peek into my novella in the Lady and the Lawman collection. I got my story idea by kinda blending the Shakiest Gun in the West starring Don Knotts with Marshall Dillon from Gunsmoke. I loved hearing my husband’s laughter as he read this scene about Beau Bones getting roped into a job he never saw coming, so I thought I’d share the fun.
How about you? Have you ever been roped into a job you never expected to have? How did it turn out?
You’ll have to read the rest of Mistaken Marshal to find out how Beau fares. I know I’ve been momunteered many times in my life. For those of you unfamiliar with that term, it’s when your mother volunteers you for something. A situation that normally turns out pretty well because we end up doing the task together.
I’ll be giving away a FREE autographed paperback copy of the Lady and the Lawman to one of this
post’s commenters, so be sure to tell me some of your stories. (Paperback for contiguous US winners only. Sorry.)

Before I go let me add a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all y’all at Petticoats & Pistols!

Thanks for allowing me to be a part of the celebration today!

A best-selling author, bona fide country girl, and former competitive gymnast, Crystal L Barnes tells stories of fun, faith, and friction that allow her to share her love of Texas, old-fashioned things, and the Lord—not necessarily in that order.
When she’s not writing, reading, or singing, Crystal enjoys spending time with family, exploring on road-trips, and watching old movies/sitcoms. I Love Lucy and Little House on the Prairie are two of her favorites.

You can find out more and connect with Crystal at http://www.crystal-barnes.com.
Find her also on her blog, her Amazon Author page, Goodreads, Pinterest, Google+, or on her Facebook author page.

Want to be notified of her latest releases and other fun tidbits? Subscribe to her newsletter.

Pearl Hart by Vickie McDonough

You’ve probably never heard of Pearl Hart, but she committed one of the last
stage robberies in the Old West. Pearl was born in Lindsay, Ontario, to
affluent and religious parents, who afforded her with the best education
available. She was enrolled in boarding school at the age of sixteen, where
she met her future husband, who seemed to have various first names, but
most often was referred to as Frederick Hart.

 

Unknown photographer (Historian Insight)

[Public domain]via Wikimedia Commons

Frederick Hart was known to be a drunkard and gambler. Pearl eloped with
Hart, but quickly learned he was abusive, so she returned to her mother’s
home. They reunited and separated several times, resulting in two children,
which Pearl left with her mother.
Pearl’s husband worked a stint at the Chicago World’s Fair, where Pearl
developed a fascination with the cowboy lifestyle while watching Buffalo Bill’s
Wild West Show. After the fair, the couple moved to Colorado. Hart described
this time in her life: “I was only twenty-two years old. I was good-looking,
desperate, discouraged, and ready for anything that might come. I do not care
to dwell on this period of my life. It is sufficient to say that I went from one city
to another until sometime later I arrived in Phoenix.” During this time Pearl
worked as a cook and singer. There are also reports that she developed a
fondness for cigars, liquor, and morphine during this time.
Hart ran into her husband again, and they lived in Tucson for a time. But
things went badly, and the abused started again. When the Spanish-American
War broke out, Mr. Hart signed up. Pearl shocked observers by declaring that
she hoped he would be killed by the Spanish.

 

Pearl resided in the town of Mammoth, Arizona in early 1898. Some reports
say she was working as a cook in a boardinghouse. Others say she operated
a tent brothel near the local mine. While she did well for a time, the mine
eventually closed, and her financial status took a nosedive. About this time
she received a message asking her to return home to her seriously ill mother.
Hart had an acquaintance known as “Joe Boot” (most likely an alias), who
worked at a mining claim he owned. When the mine didn’t yield gold, Hart and
Boot decided to rob the stagecoach that traveled between Globe and
Florence, Arizona. The robbery occurred on May 30, 1899, at a watering point
near Cane Springs Canyon, about 30 miles southeast of Globe. Pearl had cut
her hair short and dressed in men’s clothing, and she was armed with a .38
revolver.
The trio stopped the coach, and Boot held a gun on the robbery victims while
Hart took $431.20 and two firearms from the passengers. Reports say Pearl
returned $1 to each passenger to aid them in getting home. Less than a week
later, a sheriff caught up to them and both were put in jail. Boot was held in
Florence while Hart was moved to Tucson since the jail lacked facilities for a
lady.

The room Hart was held in was not a normal jail cell but rather made of lath
and plaster. Taking advantage of the relatively weak material, Hart escaped
on October 12, 1899. She left behind an 18-inch hole in the wall. Just two
weeks later, she was recaptured near Deming, New Mexico. After their trials,
both Hart and Boot were sent to Yuma Territorial Prison to serve their
sentences.


In December 1902, Pearl received a pardon from Arizona Territorial Governor
Alexander Brodie. After she left prison, Hart disappeared from public view for
the most part. She had a short-lived show where she re-enacted her crime
and then spoke about the horrors of Yuma Territorial Prison. Tales from Gila
County claim that Hart returned to Globe and lived there peacefully until her
death on December 30, 1955, other reports place her death as late as 1960.
Hart’s exploits have been popular in western pulp fiction. The musical The
Legend of Pearl Hart was based upon Hart’s life, and her adventures are
mentioned in the early 1900s film Yuma City. Pearl Hart was the subject of an
episode of Tales of Wells Fargo that aired on May 9, 1960, played by Beverly
Garland. She was also the subject of a Death Valley Days episode from
March 17, 1964, titled “The Last Stagecoach Robbery”, with Anne Frances
playing the part of Pearl.

 

The Lady and the Lawman:

4 Historical Stories of Lawmen and the Ladies Who Love Them

 
My novella in Lady and the Lawman collection:
 
On Track for Love by Vickie McDonough
Missouri, 1875
A new job and a move to a new state put Railroad Agent Landry Lomax on track to meet Cara Dixon—a spirited woman holding a derringer on a train robber. This stubborn woman is not one he wants around his young sister, but then they end up in the same St. Louis boardinghouse. But could Cara’s gumption help him trap a gang of train robbers?
 
 
~*~
Vickie will give away one print copy of Lady and the Lawman to a US winner. To enter for a chance to win the book, please answer this question:
Would you have been an outlaw or a lawman?
~*~
 
About Vickie McDonough:
Bestselling author Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead, she married a sweet computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams penning romance stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie is a best-selling author of more than 50 published books and novellas, with over 1.5 million copies sold.

Let ‘Er Buck

Today kicks off a 107-year-old tradition — the Pendleton Round-Up.

This rodeo, held in the western town of Pendleton, Oregon, began when a group of community and area leaders developed the idea of an annual event. It all started, really, with a successful 4th of July celebration in 1909 that included bronc riding, horse races, Indian dances, foot races and fireworks.

The Pendleton Round-Up was incorporated as a non-profit organization at the end of July in 1910. The legal name was the “Northwestern Frontier Exhibition Association.” The group decided to stage the event in September to allow the grain farmers time to complete their harvest and the ranchers time to make a late summer check-up on their grazing cattle.

Image from the East Oregonian

The first Pendleton Round-Up was to be a frontier exhibition that brought the old west back to life and offered the crowd entertaining Indian, cowboy, and military spectacles, held in conjunction with the Eastern Oregon District Fair.

Image from the East Oregonian

People responded so enthusiastically to the idea, special trains ran from Portland to Pendleton to make sure the “city crowd” could witness the event.

The stores in town closed for the first performance. In fact, so many people showed up at that first performance, workers jumped in after the rodeo and added an additional 3,000 seats to accommodate the crowds the next day.  More than 7,000 people attended the first event (which far exceeded the number of people living in town at the time).

In just a few short years, the wooden grandstand and surrounding bleachers were completed, offering seating to more than 20,000 spectators.

Before women received the right to vote in Oregon, the Pendleton Round-Up gave them a chance to compete in a variety of events. In 1914, Bertha Blanchett came within a dozen points of winning the all-around title, right alongside the men.

Many famous names competed in the Round-Up arena including people like Slim Pickens, Hoot Gibson, Jackson Sundown, and Yakima Canutt (a stuntman who doubled for Clark Gable and John Wayne, to name a few).

Pendleton is home to the Umatilla Reservation and from that very first show in 1910, many Indians have participated in the event. There are Indian races at the rodeo, the special Happy Canyon pageant, and the Indian Village that is one of the largest in North America with more than 300 teepees set up annually.

Tribal members also ride into the arena before the Indian dancing at the rodeo (right before the bull riding) and wow spectators with their beautiful regalia, some that dates back more than a century.

There are unique facets to the Pendleton Round-Up that make it different from many rodeos. For one thing, the rodeo arena’s grass floor is one-of-a-kind in the world of rodeo, adding a unique challenge for competitors. It provides the largest barrel racing pattern on the professional rodeo circuit, too.

Also, the Pendleton Round-Up was the first rodeo to have rodeo royalty, beginning in 1910. Today, the queen and her court race into the arena, jumping over the fence surrounding the grassy expanse not once, but twice.

The first year of the rodeo also saw the introduction of the Westward Ho Parade, one of the longest non-motorized parades in the country.  The parade tradition carries on today with entries from all around the region.

Since 1910, the Pendleton Round-Up has been a popular event. Other than two years it was not held during World War II, it has run continuously each September. Today, more than 50,000 attendees fill the bleachers to watch the four-day long event.

And on their lips, you’ll hear them shout the slogan that was first used in 1910…

Let’ Er Buck!

***

 Dally  (Pendleton Petticoats, Book 8) is a sweet romance that encompasses the first year of the Pendleton Round-Up. In fact, the girl on the cover is one of the 2017 rodeo court.

I’m going to give three lucky winners a digital copy of  Dally .

To enter for a chance to win, all you have to do is answer this question:

What’s your favorite rodeo event or thing to see in a parade?