Guest Laurie Kingery: World Building in the Texas Hill Country

It’s good to be back visiting the fillies again. Thanks to Filly Vicki Bylin for graciously letting me use her spot to tell you about my new series, and how it came to be.

I’ve always wanted to write a series, even before I started writing inspirational fiction, but now with Love Inspired Historicals I finally had the chance. But I wanted the concept to be something out of the ordinary. There are so many staples in western fiction—roguish outlaws, stagecoach robberies, handsome cowboys, saloon girls with hearts of gold, Indian attacks, mail-order brides. Mail-order brides. I loved mail-order bride stories. But how to make mine different?

Eureka! I would have mail-order grooms. The South lost hundreds of thousands of young men in the Civil War—it wasn’t hard for me to imagine a small Texas town where fate would have it that all its bachelors had perished in the war, and only the married men returned. Which, of course, left all the town’s young single ladies facing spinsterdom, or the necessity to move elsewhere to look for husbands. The first book of my proposed series would feature Milly Matthews, the enterprising young miss who first concocted the concept of the Society for the Promotion of Marriage, or the Spinster’s Club, as it came to be called.

But first I must select a location. I would use the Texas Hill Country, my favorite place on earth. Though I would make the town fictional, I had to have at least an approximate location, so I studied the histories of various Texas Hill Country counties  and decided to use San Saba County, as much for the romantic western sound of it as any other reason. Using a topographical map, I picked a tributary of the San Saba River, Simpson Creek, and named my town for the creek.

But I couldn’t find any pictures of the creek. Aha—the perfect excuse to go on a RESEARCH TRIP! As a Texan-in-exile living in Ohio, I grabbed any reason I could find to visit the beloved soil of Texas, and what better than a trip I could write off on my taxes? (Of course, I also had an aunt and cousins to visit there, but we won’t tell the IRS. 🙂 I informed my own hero we were going to Texas to visit my locale—and to see what bluebonnets might be left in early May.

We arrived in San Saba, the county seat and the nearest town to my fictional one one early afternoon, in time to get settled at the Hill Country Inn, and then went out to find Simpson Creek. I was a little nervous, because back in the day when I was writing medieval historicals as Laurie Grant, I had picked out a town in southern England—Winslade—yet when I finally was able to make a research trip, I found it was a postoffice location and a sign—and apparently nothing more in the present day.

But Simpson Creek did not disappoint. It was it a lovely little creek lined with greening trees, and I could perfectly picture the little church I would set on its western edge—and the Comanches splashing across it before launching a murderous raid. We took pictures right and left. But the best part of it was finding the roadside plaque that indicated there had once been a community right here at Simpson Creek. Chills ran up my spine when I read this. I wonder if it resembled my imagined community in any way…

Did it have a girl called “Marrying Milly” by the rest of the town, because she was determined not to end up an old maid? Did a handsome but secretly disgraced British Cavalry officer, one Nick Brookfield, bronzed by the sun in India, come to see the plucky miss who had advertised for bachelors and fall in love with her, as in MAIL ORDER COWBOY? Did she have a sister, Sarah, who would fall in love with a doctor from Maine in the next book, THE DOCTOR TAKES A WIFE (out in January 2011), even though she hates Yankees? Perhaps the town’s mayor was rich, and had a pretty daughter, Prissy, who would fall in love with a down-on-his luck gambler-turned-sheriff and marry him under the spreading boughs of the Wedding Oak, as in THE SHERIFF’S SWEETHEART (out in April 2011), too. Or a broken-hearted schoolmarm, determined never to love again, the story I’m working on now.

I don’t know if the real Simpson Creek was like that, but all these stories could have happened…

I hope you will enjoy MAIL ORDER COWBOY, which was released on November 10 by Love Inspired Historicals, and all the Brides of Simpson Creek stories to come.

For more information, or to contact me, please visit my website at

                    Blessings, Laurie Kingery


Would you like a chance to win a copy of MAIL ORDER COWBOY? Just leave a comment and you’ll be entered in Laurie’s drawing.  The winner will be posted later today or tomorrow… Good luck!


Mail Order Cowboy is available now from Amazon. 


MJ Fredrick ~ Time Travel and Romance

If I could have any superpower, I’d want the power of time travel. I wouldn’t care about going into the future—I’d prefer not to know. But I would LOVE to go into the past. I drive by buildings and wonder what they were like in their heyday. I live in an old city, so there are a lot of old buildings. Depending on my mood, there are different eras I want to visit.

The early 1960s, the era when my mom was young. It’s also the era of Mad Men, and it’s just fascinating to see how different mores were in those days. A lot of the buildings around my neighborhood were built in that era, with the flat roofs and the plate glass, and I would love to see them when they were new.

The 1950s, when my mom was a child. She talks about shopping downtown, and the buildings are still there. I can just imagine her traipsing down the street in her little dress, going to the soda fountain. My dad’s hometown was also thriving in the 1950s, and I would love to experience that small town in that time period. I’d also love to travel Route 66, and stay in those motels along the way.

The post-Civil War era, during western expansion, the time of Laura Ingalls. I devoured those books when I was young, and while I didn’t really care about visiting that time period at the time, now I wonder what it must be like to have experienced that wide-open feeling.

MAYBE I’d want to visit a trail drive. Just for a few hours.

And downtown San Antonio as it recovered after the battle of the Alamo. I’m not sure I’d like to visit the time period that my book, SUNRISE OVER TEXAS from Carina Press, is set, during the time Stephen Austin brought the first families to Texas, when it was still a part of Mexico. The Texas frontier was wild at the time, and the Mexican government wanted it settled. I don’t think I could ever do the things my heroine Kit has to endure.

Time travel would be a fun power to have, but I’d want to return to my own time period, of air conditioning and transportation and hamburgers.

Where would you want to time travel?

MJ will give away a $10 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble today to one lucky commenter. So get typing!

Colt 1848 “Baby Dragoon”: A Rather Big Baby

We’ve had such fun looking at pocket pistols and revolvers, I thought I’d share another I ran across: The Colt 1848 “Baby Dragoon.” Many consider this to be the first true hideout gun.

The Colt Model 1848 Baby Dragoon Revolver was manufactured in Hartford from circa l847 through to 1850 with a total of about 15,000 produced. A .31 caliber weapon, this baby held five shots in its cylinder.

In order to cut back on the weight of the gun, the loading lever was removed from under the barrel and the front sight was scaled down to a tiny bead. This also helped make the gun more “snag-free”, meaning it was less likely to catch in the lining of the pocket or purse when drawn. Rather important if you wanted to get the drop on a bad guy.

The one on the left has no loading lever; the one on the right does. See it, under the barrel?

The five-shot Baby Dragoon was a scaled down version of the large dragoon revolvers, and were manufactured with barrel lengths of 3″, 4″, 5″, and 6″ and a distinctive square-back trigger-guard.  The 3” and 4” are reasonable for a pocket revolver, but a 5 or 6” barrel, plus the cylinder and polished wood grip–not exactly a miniature weapon.

The “Baby Dragoon” pistol was more accurate and more powerful than earlier pocket guns, and their lighter weight made them the weapon of choice for Pony Express riders, and the Wells Fargo Company.

Want more info? Check out Colt’s Pocket ’49: Its Evolution, Including the Baby Dragoon & Wells Fargo by Robert M. Jordan & Darrow M. Watt. The book is out of print, but you might be able to find a copy through your local library.

The Chicago Palm Pistol – A “Handy” Little Gun

Look what I discovered the other night. I’m always on the lookout for a proper weapon of choice for a character. While catching up on the to-be-watched shows on my DVR, I ran across one about old guns, including this little beauty.

The Chicago Palm Pistol.

Originally called the Minneapolis Protector Palm Pistol, The Chicago Palm Pistol began as a copy of the French Turbiaux pistol, Le Protecteur.

The design for this palm-sized weapon was patented in 1883 by the Minneapolis Firearms Company, then sold to Peter Finnegan of Austin, Illinois. Mr. Finnegan created the Chicago Firearms Company and immediately contracted with Ames Sword Company of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, to manufacture the pistol in time to introduce it at The Columbian Exhibition–The Chicago World’s Fair of 1892. Because of manufacturer delays, it didn’t make it in time for the Fair, and, in 1898, Mr. Finnegan ended up with 13, 000 pistols to sell.

The moment I saw it, I knew this would be an excellent concealed weapon for a character to carry, whether he’s the hero or the villain. Since it was billed as a small enough weapon to be easily handled by a woman, I suppose my heroine might have one tucked into a pocket or her reticule, as well.

Here, you can see the actual size.

And here’s what the insides look like.

It wasn’t a very powerful gun, so no shootouts from twenty paces, but for an ambush, or a last ditch attempt at protecting the one the hero (or heroine) loves, it would be perfect.

What do you think? Would your character have a need for a Palm Pistol like this one?

Robin Lee Hatcher ~ Americana Romance: My Historical “Sweet Spot”

robin lee hatcher picWhen I wrote my first novel, my love for Gone With the Wind (both book and movie) led me to set my story in the Civil War South. Over the course of the next ten years, I explored many other settings: Medieval England, Regency England, Victorian England, the high seas (pirate books), the Titanic, the Old West. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot of historical facts that I hadn’t known before.

But in the early 1990’s I discovered my historical “sweet spot” when I wrote my first Americana romance. I realized how much I loved writing about ordinary people who had the courage to live and work in the American West, people who had the courage to build new towns and begin new lives, no matter the hardships that came their way.

I particularly love to set my books in Idaho. My home state is a beautiful place, full of rugged mountains and high country deserts and amazing rivers and lakes, and I love sharing all of it with my readers.signature_3sistercovers

My most recent series, the Sisters of Bethlehem Springs (a fictional Idaho town), got its start with the question: “Who says a woman can’t do a man’s job?” I wanted my heroines to have unusual occupations for their day. So what would be “their day?” I immediately knew I would return to the early 1900’s. It’s such a perfect example of the old mixing with the new. Some people rode in buggies pulled by horses. Others puttered along in their Model T Fords. Most people still had to use outhouses while some homes had fancy new plumbing. Electricity illuminated1918frocks some buildings while the majority used oil lamps. If you wanted to go across the country, you went by train –– unless you were a pilot of one of those new flying machines.

In the third and final book of the Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series, A Matter of Character (which takes place in 1918), my heroine is a dime novelist, writing under a male pseudonym. Her occupation is a secret, even from membe1918 ad Royalrs of her family. But with the arrival of newspaperman Joshua Crawford in Bethlehem Springs, her secret is about to come out.

Research for this series took me in all kinds of directions. For A Vote of Confidence (1915), I researched, among other things, politics and health spas. For Fit To Be Tied (1916), my focus was on cattle ranching, horses, and the war in Europe, especially its impact on England. For A Matter of Character, in addition to research on dime novels, I needed to know all about the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.

I hope readers will enjoy reading A Matter of Character (which should begin arriving in stores within the next week or so) as much as I enjoyed telling Daphne’s and Joshua’s story. I also hope they will miss the people of Bethlehem Springs as much as I miss them now that I’ve moved on to writing about other characters.

Before I go, I’d like to invite readers of Petticoats & Pistols to join me for a Facebook launch party on my Novelist Page on Friday, May 21st, from 6 to 8 PM. I’ll be giving away several copies of A Matter of Character to participants that night. Also, Zondervan and I are hosting a contest with three really fabulous giveaways. The contest will kick off on Monday, May 24th. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this. Be sure to visit my web site, on the 24th and follow the contest link (located oMatterOfCharacter covern the Home page).



Robin is giving away one copy of her brand-new release, A Matter of Character, to a very lucky commenter. Join in the discussion and be sure to include your email address so we can contact you.

Cheryl St.John Reveals The Secret to Getting Published

How Can I Get Published?

make a listAs authors, one of the questions we hear most frequently is, “How can I get published?” The answer is as simple or as complex as the author has time to share. Basically, write the best possible book you can and submit it to the perfect editor. Is it as easy as it sounds? Definitely not. Writing a book is hard work and getting it published is no guarantee.

If you’re inexperienced and thinking you can write better than the author who wrote the last book you read—so you’re going to be published tomorrow, think again. If you’ve never written before, I’m pretty sure that you don’t write as well as the author whose book you just finished. I wrote several books over several years before I learned how to write to sell and finally sold one.

Some people think their book deserves to get published because they had such a wonderful idea or because their mother loves the story. And gee, they spent a whole two months working on the manuscript. I’ve actually had people say to me, “I’ve always wanted to write a book, so I’m going to do it when I get a few free weekends.” That’s like saying, “I’ve always wanted to play pro football, so I’m going to scrimmage with Tom Brady on my next summer vacation.”

retreatWriting is an art. Art takes training, sacrifice and dedication. Of course writing involves talent, but much of writing is learnable, and the learnable parts require study and self-evaluation. To write well enough to sell in today’s tough market, you must learn the craft and come up with a product an editor won’t be able to refuse.

There are a million books out there to help you learn to write, so how do you choose? The books that writers find valuable are as varied as the writers themselves, but start with the basics: Characterization, conflict, plot, grammar, self-editing. If writing is going to be more than a hobby, you’ll need to learn the business. If you want your work published, you must commit to both the craft and to learning about publishing.

First you need to figure out what genre you’re writing in. Genre is a marketing tool used to distinguish types of stories. Go to a bookstore and compare which books are the most like yours to figure out where your books will be shelved. There’s so much to learn. How do you get help deciphering all this stuff?

Find a national support organization for your genre. Browse their websites. There are national groups such as Science Fiction Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Western Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime.  You might find a local statewide writers’ organization.

WritingYou are not looking for a writing group. You are looking for an organization designed for advocacy and information. Most have membership fees on national or local levels, and you must consider this an investment in your career. Dues are tax deductible. Membership provides you with market updates, editor and agent information, submission guidelines, online mailing lists, conference information, writers groups and critique groups, just to name a few benefits.

Here are reasons to join a local chapter:

* Market updates

* Contests

* Local writing retreats

* Monthly support meetings

* Critique groups

* Online support and brainstorming

* Instructional programs by professional writers

* Research help and tips

* Yearly goal setting program

* Conference information and conferences

* Editor and agent tips

* Submission guidelines

* Recognition for writing achievements

* Other people who have as many characters in their heads as you and therefore don’t find you a bit odd

How To Books:

* Techniques of The Selling Writer, Dwight V. Swain

University of Oklahoma Press: Norman  ISBN # 0-8061-1191-7

* Writing the Breakout Novel, Donald Maass, Writer’s Digest, ISBN # 0-89879-995-3

* The Complete Writer’s Guide to heroes & Heroines, Tami Cowden, ISBN #1-58065-024-4

* Building Believable Characters, Marc McCutcheon, Writer’s Digest ISBN # 0-89879-683-0

* Creating Characters, How To Build Story People, Dwight V. Swain, Writer’s Digest

ISBN #0-89879-417-X


* Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary

* Random House Dictionary of the English Language, unabridged edition

* Roget’s International Thesaurus


* Writing on Both Sides of the Brain, Henriette Anne Klauser

ISBN # 0-06-254490-X

I wouldn’t have been published when I was if I hadn’t found Heartland Writers Group, joined Romance Writers of America, and learned the techniques of writing with the support and encouragement of fellow writers. I’ve been a member since 1988 and still attend monthly meetings and am involved in a weekly critique group.

The King of Texas


When researching locations for my second novel, Touched by Love, I visited the famed King Ranch in south Texas, between Corpus Christi and Brownsville–and fell in love with the rugged terrain and equally hardy people.

“The story starts in the mid-1830s with an eleven-year-old boy indentured by his destitute family to a jeweler in New York City.”

Sounds like one of our novels, doesn’t it? But it’s the start of the amazing story of Richard King, the King of Texas. After stowing away on a ship bound of the south of the United States, he worked his way to captain and finally steam boat owner, moving goods and passengers along the lower Rio Grande River.

Sometime in the middle of the 1800s, Captain King crossed a region of Texas known as the Wild Horse Desert. When he came upon thebkgd_ranching sweet water of the Santa Gertrudis Creek, he’d found home. King and his business partner purchased 15, 500 acres of Mexican land, a land grant known as Rincon de Santa Gertrudis. This acreage was the start of what is now the legendary King Ranch.

Based on a melding of the Southern Plantation and Mexican Hacienda styles of management, King built a dynasty near what is now Kingsville, Texas. When a terrible drought struck South Texas and Northern Mexico, King bought all the cattle from the townspeople of Cruillas, Mexico. Realizing he’d also taken their livelihood, King offered to hire all those who would move to his ranch. These expert stockmen and horsemen became known as Los Kineños–King’s people. Descendants of Los Kineños still live and work on the ranch today.

By the end of the Civil War, King’s ranch had grown to more than 146,000 acres, supporting thousands of head of his domesticated longhorn cattle. When he ran into a problem, such as the lack of quality saddles and tack for his vaqueros, he simply hired the finest craftsmen and moved them onto the ranch. [The Saddle Shop is still in operation:]

“Richard King’s sense of adventure was rivaled only by his vision and ability to seize on new business opportunities. In addition to tirelessly working to improve the ranThe Ranchch, he invested in building railroads, packinghouses, ice plants and harbor improvements for the port of Corpus Christi.”

“During this era, Robert J. Kleberg and King’s widow continued to improve and diversify the assets of King Ranch with agricultural development, land sales, and town building projects. In 1904, their efforts were instrumental in helping to build the St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico Railway — as well as several towns along the newly laid track, including Kingsville. Before her death in 1925, Henrietta King had donated land and funds toward the construction of churches, libraries, and school projects (creating an oasis of community development) in this previously untamed land.”

The ranch’s innovations didn’t stop there. The number one registration in the American Quarter Horse Association Stud Book was from the King Ranch Quarter Horse program. They also produced the youhest horse ever to be inducted into the National Cutting Horse Association Hall of Fame, Mr. San Peppy. Assault, the 1946 winner of the Triple Crown, and Middleground, the santa_gertrudis1950 winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, both came from King stock.

Today, the King Ranch is a huge operation, with more than 825,000 acres in multiply states and countries, and Running W brand appears on tens of thousands of the King Ranch’s Santa Gertrudis cattle, recognizable by their distinctive black-cherry colored hide.

If you want to know more, visit Or better yet, plan a trip to the ranch. You’ll be very glad you did.

The Original White House Cook Book


We’re going to start and end this week with research books. On Monday, Winnie gave us a wonderful look at a book containing information and recipes from San Francisco in the late 1800s. Now I want to share a really cool book I discovered a couple of years ago. I mentioned it during our fun week of recipes back in September, but I didn’t get into what a truly great research resource this is.


A Comprehensive Cyclopedia of Information for the Home,

Mrs. P.L. Gillette & Steward of the White House Mr. Hugo Ziemann, 1887 Edition


To the

Wives of Our Presidents,

Those Noble Women who have

Graced the White House,

And whose Names and Memories

Are dear to all Americans,

This Volume

 Is affectionately dedicated


whitehouse-cookbookThe Original White House Cook Book has a wealth of information that isn’t restricted to a single locale, a single setting in our history. There are complete menus showing family dinners or how a fancy dinner was put together in the late nineteenth century in America; dyeing or coloring cloth–and eyebrows; how to repair a hole in a silk gown; even table etiquette.

Here’s an example. General Grant’s Birthday Dinner started with clams, went to Consomme Imperatrice Bisque de Crabes (crab bisque), then to a variety of hors d’oeuvres, followed by trout, mushrooms, filet of beef… and then they got to the entrees! They served chicken and veal with green beans and asparagus, followed by sorbet to cleanse the pallet. Next came squab and salad, then fruits and pastries. The meal ended with glace, or glazed fruit, petit fours and coffee.

I feel stuffed just reading about it.

The book includes the seating arrangements for a dinner when the President was in attendance, how glassware should arranged on the tables, even what to put in the ladies’ corsages and the men’s boutonnieres.

Toward the back of the volume is a section dedicated to caring for those who visit the White House; how colds are caught; how to clean black lace; and how to render muslin clothing less likely to catch fire. In the author’s words: “Remember this and save the lives of your children.”

You can even learn how to make Rose Water or Bay Rum, Cold Cream or Hair Invigorator. Or my particular favorite, how to remove freckles. And no, I haven’t tried it yet – but I might.

This is a fun book with a wealth of helpful information. For example, if your heroine is a mail-order bride who grew up working in a wealthy household, you can find what kinds of skills she might have learned in this book.

THE ORIGINAL WHITE HOUSE COOKBOOK 1887 Edition, Mrs. P.L. Gillette & Steward of the White House Mr. Hugo Ziemann [I located it on and; has a different edition available]

Have you discovered a research book that you feel is exceptional? Share it, please.

Character Traits of a Good Writer by Elle James

Hi, I’m Elle James and I’m a writer. Sounds like a confession to an obsession. Well, it is!

Writing is an obsession I’m glad I have. Many people I know are surprised and excited to learn I’ve become a writer. So often I get the comment, “I’ve always wanted to write.” But outside my writer friends, there are few that take the leap and become a writer. If you sat in a church with 500 people and asked how many have written a book, the chances are that number would be really low. To write a full manuscript and actually get it published makes the odds even greater.

opxoxocover160So what makes a good writer? Here are a few of the traits that make a good writer.

Loves to read – First and foremost a writer should love reading. If you’re not writing something you would want to read, then why bother? Most writers get their start because they love to read a good book. Many times a writer will be disgusted by the poor quality of what they are reading. They might even say “I could do better than that!” It’s up to the writer who loves to read a good book to create such a thing.

Passionate – A good writer is passionate about her chosen occupation. Passionate about the words she is writing and passionate about the finished product. The passion shows in the writing through the emotions of the characters and the emotional reaction the readers have to the characters the writer breathes to life on the pages. Without passion, the book will be flat, uninteresting and just plain dull. The writer’s passion reminds him why she chooses to write. Whether it’s to entertain others, for the self-satisfaction of knowing you created a book worthy of publishing or just because you love knowing that others “got the message” in your written words, passion is something everyone wants to feel, live and enjoy throughout their lives. What better place than in your writing?momsrosefinalcolors

Thick-skinned – A writer’s life may be lonely and sedentary, but by no means is it easy. Writing is NOT for sissies. A thick skin is a must to make it in the business of writing. Criticism is everywhere. From critique partners, to editors to the ultimate readers of your books. If you can’t handle the heat, don’t step into the line of fire. Most writers go through many iterations of critiques and edits before their books finally reach the reading public. A writer with a weak backbone would crumble. If you don’t already have one, grow a spine!

Observant – A good writer observes people and events around him/her, always searching for a germ of an idea to seed new stories. People watching is a fertile breeding ground for fresh crops of ideas. Reading and watching television or movies gets the wheels turning, keeps the ideas coming. From news reports to existing movies, books and television, a good writer can put a twist on a story or come up with a spin-off. By watching, reading and experiencing life with her eyes wide open, the writer can be guaranteed a bottomless well of fresh ideas.

Persistent – A good writer is persistent. Not only does the writer have to force herself to sit in a chair day after day, pounding away on a keyboard to get a full manuscript written, she has to sell her work. Rejection after rejection could douse the flame of some of the most passionate people. But not the writer. A writer keeps trying, keeps writing the next great novel. Throw a wet noodle against the wall enough times and eventually it’ll stick. It can take years to hone your skills and even more years for an editor to recognize your talent and buy your book. A good writer never gives up.

Makes criticism work for him – Writers are subject to loads of feedback on their work. The good writer sifts through the feedback and changes what needs to be changed and tosses the rest. The primary lesson a writer must learn is to be the best judge on when to accept the changes and when to stand up and say no. Some writers refuse to change a thing in their manuscript. An editor wants to know a writer is willing to consider changes. If they aren’t, they may not sell the book.

Writes a good story – Bottom line, the most important trait of a good writer is that she can tell a good story. A good story is always in the eye of the beholder. The good writer writes the book of his heart, a tale of characters overcoming obstacles to reach their goals. A good writer makes his reader cheer for the characters, makes the reader lose herself in the story to the point she can’t put the book down until the end. It’s all about the characters and their story. A good writers sucks them in and won’t let go.


elle-james-pic-3Best-Selling author and Golden Heart Winner Elle James made a new-year’s resolution in January of 2000 to become a published author. In 2004 she left a career as manager of computer programmers to pursue her writing goals. In 2005, her dream came true when Dorchester published her first novel, the 2004 Golden Heart Winner for Best Paranormal. She’s since sold 15 Romantic Suspenses to Harlequin Intrigue and 2 paranormals to Dorchester & Silhouette Nocturne.

Welcome Bobbi Smith!

smith_bobbi.jpgHi everybody!  I’m thrilled to be back blogging at Petticoats and Pistols.  It’s an honor. 

This weekend I’m in Texas for the Golden Triangle Writers’ Conference.  Robert Vaughan and Greg Tobin are here, too, so it’s going to be wonderful – as always!  I do love Texas!Runaway

My latest new release is Runaway.  It came out this summer from Leisure.  I’m really fond of this book.  I have so much fun writing about hidden identities.  It’s exciting when the hero and heroine have secrets they can’t reveal to each other. 

In Runaway, Texas Ranger Lane Madison is tracking an outlaw gang.  Lane learns from a saloon girl in a small town that the leader of the gang won a ranch in a card game and plans to make it their hideout.  Lane goes after them, hoping to catch up with them before they reach the ranch.  As it turns out, only one of the outlaws heads directly for the ranch.  Lane decides to go after the rest of the gang, but loses their trail after a bad storm.  Frustrated, he heads back after the lone gunman and manages to catch up with him.  There is a shootout and Lane wins. 

Knowing the gang will eventually show up at the ranch, he decides to assume the dead outlaw’s identity and go there to await their arrival.  What Lane doesn’t know is that the gunman Seth Rawlins sent for a mail-order bride, thinking being married would make him look more like a rancher instead of an outlaw.

Our heroine, Destiny Sterling, is on the run.  She thinks she killed her evil stepfather when he tried to attack her after her mother’s death, so she flees her home and assumes the identity of a girl who had backed out of being a mail-order bride.  Destiny heads to Texas as Rebecca Lawrence to marry Seth Rawlins.  She’s scared, but believes she has no other choice.

It was so much fun writing the scene when she arrives at the ranch and meets ‘Seth’ for the first time. 

I asked a few guys what they thought the hero would say in this situation.  The funniest quip was from my son who said, “Wait a minute — I thought it was two for the price of one!”

RelentlessCoverI just finished my next book – Relentless.  It is coming out next March.  Dusty Martin is our heroine.  After her mother passes away, Dusty has only her father, who is a stage driver.   She’s always been a tomboy, so he decides to have her ride shotgun on the stage with him to keep her safe.  When an outlaw gang robs the stage and takes her hostage, it’s up to our hero, Texas Ranger Grant Spencer, to save her.  

Relentless is an action-packed story.  I hope everybody enjoys it.

This year, Zebra has released some of my older books again. Yeah!  The Gunfighter – originally Beneath Passion’s Skies – is back out now, and last spring they re-released Desert Heart.

In 2010, Zebra is bringing out some of my oldies.  Captive Pride a story about the American Revolution will be rereleased in June and Passion, my Viking story, will be back out in October.  What fun!  It’s neat to see them back on the shelves again!



Bobbi is giving away TWO BOOKS this visit ~ one copy of Runaway & one copy of Gunfighter! All you have to do is join in the fun and you could be a winner.

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