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Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Have any of you ever incorporated your family history into your writing? Do you like to read books that are based, however loosely, on factual happenings?

My mom was the oldest of eleven children. She knew everyone in our family and how they were related. Because she and my dad grew up together in a tiny little town in southeast Oklahoma (their high school had a graduating class of twelve), she also knew quite a lot about his side of the family as well.

But when I was younger, I was not interested in the stories she told me. It was only later, when I was grown and had children of my own, that I began to wonder and ask questions, and by that time, her memory had already begun to decline.

If you have ever read the book, The Education of Little Tree, (by Forrest Carter) or seen the HBO movie, this story might sound familiar. When Andrew Jackson decided that the Indians were to be assimilated into the white man’s world, he put lots of plans into action that would take years to snowball and evolve into what they eventually became—a truly shameful period in the US governmental policies and procedures. One of Jackson’s plans, besides Removal, that was carried through into subsequent presidencies, was the idea of assimilating Native American children in white homes to integrate them more completely. The Native American children were taken from their villages and given to willing white families (along with a tidy little government stipend for their troubles) to raise.

My great-great-great grandfather was one of these children. We don’t know his real name. It was changed when he was delivered to his new “family,” a Presbyterian minister and his wife. Their last name was Walls. So his name was changed to Walls, and he was given the first name, David. Forbidden to speak his language, he was forced to forget all the ways of his People, and dress in white man’s clothing, go to white school. But he was never going to be white, and his place in the world was divided so drastically that he could not fit in anywhere. Eventually, the Rev. Walls sent David to medical school in Missouri. When he returned to the small town where he’d been raised, he was a doctor who rode to his patients on horseback. Later, he married and had children, but it was not a happy union and his son, my great-great grandfather, became an alcoholic whose own children, in turn, left home as soon as they possibly could. My great grandmother, his daughter, married at 13. Her older sister left home one day and never returned. No one ever knew what became of her.


I’ve often thought of these children that were abducted by our cavalrymen, and taken away to their white “families”, forbidden everything familiar and forced to adopt completely new and different ways, even down to their speech and childhood games—and their own names. Can you imagine it? To never be allowed to see your mother and father again. Siblings separated and “given” to different families, their heritage and connection with one another lost forever. How many tears must they have shed? And how lonely and separate they must have felt, how isolated, even into adulthood…so that most of them, I imagine, never were able to fit in anywhere in the world.

My short story, ONE MAGIC NIGHT, is based loosely on what happened to my long-ago ancestor. This story has been recently re-released with Prairie Rose Publications as a single-sell short story for only .99. I'm giving away a copy of it today to one lucky commenter! Just be sure to leave your contact information in your comment!

Dr. Shay Logan has just returned to Talihina, Indian Territory, from medical school in Missouri. Shay hopes to settle down and make a life for himself, but how? He doesn’t belong to either world, Anglo or Indian He's made the acquaintance of Katrina Whitworth at the July 4th town social, and the attraction is mutual from the very beginning. Shay begins to have hopes and dreams that may be out of the question…but Katrina seems to have stars in her eyes for him as well. Will she risk everything to be with him? Katrina makes a social blunder, and Shay follows her into the woods to apologize to her, but when they return, Katrina's drunken father humiliates her. To make matters worse, her former beau shows a side of himself she had not seen before. Can Katrina and Shay have a life together that they so badly want? Here’s an excerpt for you.

As Whitworth’s hand started its descent, Katrina turned away. But Shay’s arm shot out, grasping Whitworth’s hand and holding it immobile.

“You will not.”

Three words, quietly spoken, but with a heat that could have melted iron, a force that could have toppled mountains.

Katrina’s father’s face contorted, his teeth bared, finally, as he tried to jerk away. He didn’t utter a word. He stared up into Shay Logan’s eyes that promised retribution, as the seconds ticked by. Finally, he lunged once more, trying to pull free, but Shay still held him locked in a grip of steel. Only when he released that grip was Whitworth freed.

“You presume too much, Doctor Logan, unless you are assuming the care and responsibility of my daughter.”

"Papa! Oh, please!” Katrina felt herself dissolving into a puddle of less than nothing beneath stares of the townspeople of Talihina. What had started as an exciting, beautiful evening had become an embarrassing nightmare. It was torture to think that she was the cause of it all. How she wished she had stayed home with Jeremy as she’d first planned, before Mrs. Howard had volunteered to keep him company.

Now, Papa was saying these things that she knew he would regret later. It was always this way when he drank too much. These accusations had gone beyond the pale of anything he’d ever said before. But Shay Logan wouldn’t realize that. He wouldn’t know that Papa would be sorry tomorrow.

Evidently, there was one thing Shay did recognize, though. She saw the very slight flare of his nostrils as he drew in the scent of alcohol on her father’s breath, and in that instant, there was a flash of understanding in his eyes.

“You’ve had too much to drink, Mr. Whitworth,” he said in an even tone. “I will overlook your behavior toward me because of that, but not toward your daughter. She has done nothing, yet you would strike her, and cause her shame.”

“She’s my daughter,” Whitworth replied sullenly.

“But not your property, Whitworth. Never that. You owe her an apology.”

“No, Shay, really—” Katrina began, then as her father whirled to look at her, she broke off, realizing her mistake. ‘Shay,’ she had called him. As if she had known him forever. As if she was entitled to use his given name freely. As if she were his betrothed.

“‘Shay’ is it, daughter? Not, ‘Dr. Logan’? Shay.” He spit the words out bitterly. He drew himself up, looking Shay in the face. “I’ll not be apologizing to her—or to you. And I’ll expect nothing less than a wedding before this week’s end. Do you understand me, Doctor?”

Shay had lost any patience he might have harbored. “You understand me, Whitworth. You will not dictate to me, or to your daughter on such matters of the heart. As I say, the alcohol has got you saying things you’re going to regret, and—”

“Threatening me, are you? Threatening me?”

“Truman.” Jack Thompson stepped out of the crowd and smoothly came to stand beside Katrina. “Let’s put this…unfortunate incident…behind us, shall we?” He confidently tucked Katrina’s hand around his arm. “I can see that the church auxiliary ladies have almost got everything set up for this wonderful Independence Day meal—” he frowned at Mrs. Beal, nodding at the picnic tables behind her. She jumped, motioning the other ladies to resume the preparation.

He gave a sweeping glance around the group of onlookers. “I, for one, am ready to eat! How about you all?”

Katrina was swept along at his side as he walked toward the tables, speaking to acquaintances and friends, laughing and…and seething with tense anger the entire time. She could feel it in his body, with every step he took and the tightness of his grip as he covered her hand with his. Katrina glanced back over her shoulder, hoping to catch a glimpse of Shay, but the crowd blocked her view.

“Smile, my dear,” Jack gritted into her ear. “I’m hoping we can still salvage your virtue, no matter what happened, really, between you and the good doctor. If I see him near you again, I’ll kill him.”

Cheryl's Amazon page:

Elmina's Journal Entry-Texas-1835

By: Celia Yeary
 Journal Entry: Fall, 1835, Coastal Plains of Texas
Today is my 16th birthday. Mama and I have prepared for this most wondrous occasion for two months. She wanted a beautiful, grown-up dress for me to wear to my party, so she sought the services of Miss Georgia Milam to create a very special gown. No longer shall I wear calico, nor style my hair in braids, nor run and play with my brothers. Ladies do not act in such a manner in our household, for each member is born to a role, and best we carry out our duties or most likely face the wrath of Papa.

Secretly, I shall miss the days of riding my pony bareback across the coastal plains, through our plantation, chasing my brothers, for all four of them can out-race me every time. Ah, well, such is the lot of the female persuasion. Now, my brothers believe they have become my protectors, especially when young gentlemen look my way. Brazoria County fairly bursts with bachelors, young men, some wealthy, some poor, but each one seeking a bride to ensconce in his home.

One young man, Mr. Randolph Long, nears my person at every opportunity, at church services, all-day dinners, and when Mama and I shop in town. Papa forbids me to speak with him alone; as a result, our conversations become awkward, as each of us stumbles on words we know perfectly well. After my party—of which he will attend!—I plan to speak with him as any grown woman may do with any gentleman she wishes.

Worrisome events have surfaced over this part of Texas, though. Papa hears tales in town, at the saloon, the community hall, and the warehouse, and he brings the stories home to share with Mama and my brothers. Of course, they all believe they have protected my delicate ears, but I listen and they do not know.

It seems a crisis of some sort has arisen in Anahuac, a small place not far from our home. I am uncertain of its exact location, but the news is that General Santa Anna sent a small detachment of soldiers to Anahuac to enforce the collection of customs there and in Galveston. The merchants and the wealthy landowners—such as my papa—object to this unfair treatment, and when Papa speaks of the Santa Anna’s army and their ways, he becomes red in the face and begins to pound on the table!

Now, just before my party, he tells of a gathering of Mexican troops, more as the days go by. But the most frightening news comes from Gonzales, where Papa said a Colonel Domingo de Ugartecha, commander of troops in San Antonio, sent five cavalrymen to Gonzales to retrieve the six-pound canon that had been provided four years earlier for defense against the Indians. The Texan officer in charge hid the canon, telling the military he had no authority to give it up. He sent out dispatches calling for military aid.

Four hundred Texans, who worked in a loosely formed military troop, heard the call, turned from their original destination, Goliad, and marched to Gonzales. One hundred Mexican soldiers were already there to seize the canon. But a Colonel Moore and one-hundred and sixty Texans loaded the canon with chains and scrap iron, and strung a banner across it inscribed “Come and Take It. Then the Colonel and his men attacked the Mexican troops, forcing them to retreat to San Antonio. I wanted to cheer! However, I did not wish to reveal my hiding place from which I listened avidly of the exciting battles.

Dread fills my heart, now that I understand what is to come. Papa says we must prepare, put away our frivolous desires for the present, and do our part to secure Texas for ourselves. I can only pray the war does not last too long.

My party will go on, however, and I must end this writing to don my beautiful dark blue silk gown, adorned with a lovely inset of lace, and an ivory brooch at my throat. Handsome coils of braid divide the lace from the silk. Underneath, my pantalets are of the finest linen, and my petticoat is of a fine silk. Mama will arrange my hair atop my head in a manner befitting a grown young woman. I do hope I look beautiful, or at least pretty, for a photographer will capture me in my new gown.
Would it not be magical if someone two hundred years hence finds my photograph and wonders about me?
 Signed--Elmina Ingram
 !!Special Note from author Celia Yeary: The sixteen-year-old young woman in the photo is one of my real Texas ancestors, but I did not use her real name. I have no idea where she grew up or lived in Texas. I took the date from the photo, 1835, and used historical events of the beginning of the Texas Revolution. The story about my ancestor is fiction, however, a figment of my imagination. I did not find an old journal at all. I wish I had.
I am a Daughter of the Republic of Texas, with two ancestors fought in the war with Mexico for Texas Independence.
Please watch for the Summer Anthology titled Cowboy Cravin's--My short story in it is titled:
All my books can be found at Celia Yeary on Amazon--and Barnes and Noble.
Every novel, novella, or short story is set in Texas.
Thank you.
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Only two Native Americans on either side of the States’ War rose to the rank of brigadier general. Standhope Watie (Uwatie), fighting for the Confederacy, was one of those two. Yet, what makes this accomplishment so incredible is the fact that while he was fighting for the Confederate States of America, he was also fighting other Cherokee tribal leaders who held opposing political views and very different visions for the Cherokee nation.

Stand Watie commanded the Confederate Indian Cavalry of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi. While the cavalry unit was comprised mainly of Cherokee, some Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole tribal members also served.

Born in Oothcaloga in the Cherokee Nation, State of Georgia, Uwatie (or Oowatie) was also known as Isaac. He was educated in a Moravian mission school. In his early adulthood, he occasionally wrote articles for the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper. The State of Georgia confiscated Cherokee lands in 1832 when gold was discovered, including the thriving plantation owned by Stand’s father and mother. Stand and his brothers, part of the powerful Ridge-Watie-Boudinot faction of the Cherokee council, stood in favor of the Cherokee Removal. Their signing of the Treaty of New Echota facilitated the removal of the Cherokee people to Indian Territory—what is now Oklahoma.

Another faction of Cherokees following John Ross refused to ratify the treaty signing. This segment was known as The Anti-Removal National Party. Members of this group targeted Stand Watie and his brother, Elias Boudinot, along with their uncle, Major Ridge, and cousin, John Ridge for assassination. Stand was the only one who survived the assassination attempt. Although Watie’s family had left Georgia before the forcible removal of all Cherokees in 1838, another brother, Thomas, was murdered by Ross’s men in 1845.

In October, 1861, Watie was commissioned as colonel in the First Mounted Cherokee Rifles. Besides fighting Federal troops in the States’ War, his men also fought opposing factions of Cherokee, as well as Seminole and Creek (Muscogee) warriors who supported the Union.

In 1862, Stand Watie was elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, through dissension continued among John Ross’s supporters.
< On June 15, 1864, Watie’s troops captured the Federal steamboat J. R. Williams on the Arkansas River off the banks of Pleasant Bluff near Tamaha, Indian Territory. The next morning, Colonel John Ritchie’s men, who were stationed at the mouth of the Illinois River near where the two rivers met, engaged Watie’s men as they attempted to confiscate the cargo. The river was rising, and they fought to a standoff. When Watie learned of the advance of Union troops from Fort Smith, Arkansas, (within about 40 miles), he burned the ship and much of the remaining cargo, then sank it. Watie surrendered a year later in June of 1865, the last Confederate general to lay down his arms.

In my debut novel, Fire Eyes, (recently re-released through Prairie Rose Publications) I weave this bit of history into my plot. The villain, Andrew Fallon, and his gang have come upon the site where the J.R. Williams was sunk four years earlier. Fallon speculates there could have been gold aboard, and sets his men to dive for it. As mercurial as his temper is, none of them dare question his order. Here’s what happens:


“Damn! I know where we are.” Dobie Perrin said.

Andrew Fallon turned in the saddle, glaring at Perrin, the afternoon sun dappling them through the leaves of the thick canopy of trees. “So do I, you idiot! So do we all, now.”

The secluded cemetery sat on a bluff, overlooking the Arkansas River. They had been wandering for two days, ever since retracing their steps to the first small creek they’d come to. The one Fallon felt sure would give them their bearings. Now, at last, he recognized where they were. He’d figured it out ten miles back.

“Tamaha,” Denver Rutledge muttered. “I was raised up over yonder.” He inclined his head toward the riverbank. “Over in Vian.”

“Then why didn’t you know where we were?” Fallon’s anger surged. “I am surrounded by idiots!”

“I shore ’nuff shoulda known, General,” Rutledge said apologetically. “Right yonder’s where we sunk the J.R. Williams. Rebs, I mean. Stand Watie’s bunch.”

Fallon jerked his head toward the other man. “Right where, soldier?”

Rutledge kneed his horse, coming abreast of Fallon. “Why, right yonder, General. It was in June of ’64. She was a Union ship, the Williams was.”

“What was she carrying?”

Rutledge shrugged. “Don’t rightly know. Supplies, maybe.”

“Payroll? Gold?” Fallon fingered his curling moustache. “Could be anything, eh, Rutledge? But the Yankees were known to cache their gold profits in casks. Maybe that’s what the J.R. Williams was carrying. Casks that weren’t really supplies, but were filled with gold.”

“Could be, I 'spect.” Rutledge’s voice was hesitant.

Fallon nodded toward the river. “I think maybe we’ll try to find out.”


“What’s he doing, Tori?” Lily whispered. She moved closer to her sister. The night had turned colder, and the girls’ clothing was becoming threadbare and ragged.

Tori shook her head. “Fallon’s plumb crazy, Lily. Making his men dive for that ship! What’s he think he’s going to do if he finds it? Pull it up with his bare hands?”

“Or a rope, maybe,” Lily said innocently.

Tori didn’t say anything. She reminded herself that Lily was, after all, only eight years old. And she, at eighteen, knew how the world worked much better than little Lily did. At least Lily had stopped crying all the time. Now, Tori wasn’t sure if that was an improvement.

Lily sometimes scared her, the way her eyes looked hollow. Like there was no feeling left in her. Tori had no mirror, but her little sister looked like she herself felt. Older than she should be. And sad. But Lily didn’t seem to be afraid any longer, and Tori supposed that was a good thing.
Tori knew what Fallon intended to do with her and Lily. But the initial shock and fear of Fallon’s intent was overshadowed by other things that had actually happened. The violent deaths of their parents and younger brother, the endless days of riding with scant food and water, the bone-deep weariness that never let up, not even when she slept on the hard ground at night next to Lily.
She was responsible for Lily, now that her parents were gone. She squared her thin shoulders, her gentle eyes turning hard for a moment. She would protect her sister, no matter what.

Tori watched as Fallon ordered three of his men back into the water yet another time. Even if they could see what they were diving for, it would be too deep to reach. But the scene helped Tori realize just how unstable Andrew Fallon was. Once or twice, she’d caught herself thinking he was almost a nice man. He’d brought her and Lily a blanket one cold night. And he’d given them extra rations another time. But she knew he was not nice, not even sane.

Evil, was what Andrew Fallon was. Evil, and most insane.

She watched him, posturing and screaming at his men, who were so terrified of him that they were making fools of themselves trying to dive for an unreachable goal, a ship that may contain treasure, but just as well may not. A vessel that was impossible to get to, all the same. Especially in the pitch-black night. Lily leaned against her, her weight heavy with sleep. They sat beside a tree, their backs propped against the rough bark. The night was cool, and Tori had drawn the blanket close around them. She sagged against the tree trunk, her arm around her little sister, as Lily’s eyelids drooped.

I will be giving away a pdf copy of FIRE EYES to one commenter today! Just leave a comment with your contact info to be entered in the drawing.

To see all my work, go here:

Monday, April 28, 2014


If you remember the old Jack Webb 'Dragnet' show, it was famous for the line, “just the facts”.

On June 6, 1904, twenty-seven non-union miners, who had just finished their shift, were waiting at the Independence, Colorado depot near the Independence mine, for the 2:15 am train to take them home. Just before the train arrived an explosion ripped through the platform, killing thirteen and wounding six.

Those are the facts and they really can't be disputed. Nothing can change the outcome, it is set in stone so to say. For writers, those facts can open up worlds of ideas and outcomes. For historians, they can and have opened a can of worms. It is the facts and the events leading up to and after the tragedy that murk up the waters.

To give some background. In 1903-04 the Cripple Creek-Victor, Colorado mining district was going through the throes of yet another 'labor war'. Ten years earlier the miners had won the right to and eight-hour,$3.00 per day wage. (That event is yet another story altogether). Now the miners were striking in sympathy for their 'brother' workers at the smelters in Colorado City, Colorado.

Events had been building over the almost two years with no resolution. After the explosion the sheriff at the time did his investigation, but was suddenly removed from office by the Mine Owners Association (MOA) and the Citizen Alliance (CA). Story is that the sheriff was sympathetic to the miners and would not be impartial. This eventually lead to a riot in the streets of Victor which added a few more to the total killed or wounded. In this strike the mine owners won, and the union labor lost.

Now, as some think, the CA and MOA planted the bomb to bring about the very outcome they were hoping for. There is some evidence that this may have been the case.

There are others who believe that the Western Federation of Miners (WFM) planted the bomb to get back at the non-union workers who were not supporting their strike. Some evidence this may have been the case.

The historian needs to weigh the facts, look at the sources and understand they may never get a definitive answers. The writer has the luxury of choosing a side or not to tell the story.

There will probably never be an answer to this set of 'facts', too much time and too many variables won't allow for it. Still the stories that might come from these few facts and the events leading up to them are the stuff of great works. It depends on the dedication and skill of the storyteller. In the meantime, the historians are stuck with “just the facts”.
(Post written and copyrighted by Doris McCraw.)

Friday, April 25, 2014

New Release Thursday: The Gunfighter's Girl by Cheryl Pierson

Prairie Rose Publications is proud to announce the release of The Gunfighter's Girl by Cheryl Pierson.
This is a Western Romance short from the award winning author of Gabriel's Law and Sweet Danger. Formerly titled Scarlet Ribbons, this is one of Cheryl Pierson's favorite Holiday stories. ~ 
Men avoid meeting the eyes of Miguel Rivera, El Diablo, (The Devil) for fear of his gun. Upon returning to a town where he once knew a brief happiness, Miguel makes a foolish holiday purchase; two scarlet ribbons which he hides away. 
When Catalina, his former lover, allows him to take a room at her boarding house, Miguel discovers a secret. Realizing he needs the scarlet ribbons after all, he is stunned to find them missing. Will a meeting with a mysterious priest, an unusual child, and the miracle of the Scarlet Ribbons set Miguel on a new path?

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    He didn't know why he bought them. The man they called El Diablo was not given to any kind of sentimentality. A devil had no soul, no heart.
    But, by his small purchase, Miguel thought, he had shown himself, and the world, that was not entirely true.
    When the street vendor had made eye contact, Miguel knew something odd was about to transpire. Most men glanced away quickly if they chanced to meet his eyes, afraid of what he might do—or what they might see. Many men had seen their deaths reflected in the dark blackness; too many, he thought with disgust.
    But the street vendor—he'd looked at Miguel and had not turned away. He had actually smiled and given a friendly nod. Miguel had been drawn to the vendor, not understanding why. Obviously, the merchant had not known who he was; a hired gunman wanted on both sides of the border; a killer. The vendor had given Miguel an even wider smile as he neared, holding up a handful of trinkets that glittered in the warmth of the sun for a moment like diamonds.
    As Miguel came closer, they lost their sparkle, and the vendor laid them back on the rough wooden display table. Miguel's hand hovered near the butt of his low-slung pistol for a moment as he gave a quick look around the market square of the small village.
    "Hola, Senor," the vendor greeted him. "Como estas?"
    "Bien," Miguel responded automatically, hearing the coolness in his tone. No need for that, he thought.      
    The man was genuinely friendly. And as Miguel returned his gaze to the vendor, he saw a flicker of recognition in the heavy-set man's eyes. But there was no censure or fear. Unusual. How long had it been since he'd looked into another man's face and not seen one emotion or the other? Or both?
    "Christmas is tomorrow. A special gift for your lady, perhaps?"
Miguel's lips lifted in sardonic amusement. Christmas. He had not had a lady for a very long time. "You know who I am?"
    "Oh, yes." The merchant nodded. "Who doesn't?"
    "Then…you must know that El Diablo doesn't celebrate Christmas, old man." His tone was sharp and he turned away. "And I have no 'lady.' Keep your trinkets." He started back down the street toward the decrepit hotel.
    "As you wish."
    The response was so smugly complacent, Miguel couldn't help turning back to the vendor. The man smiled and nodded at him, as if he'd just wished him a pleasant good afternoon. A hot wind kicked up the dust in the street, and as the vendor squinted into the whirlwind, Miguel felt a niggling of recognition in the back of his mind.
    "You were born here, weren't you, Miguel?" The old man went on without waiting for an answer.     "Your mother was a friend of my youngest daughter. They always had their heads together, plotting and planning—as young girls do." He smiled in remembrance. "I was…surprised when Elena married—your father."
    The censure had come at last, Miguel thought. He wanted to laugh. This man cared nothing for the fact that he was a hired killer; only disapproving of the choice his mother had made—to marry an American. 
    "It broke your grandfather's heart."
    Miguel gave a short, mirthless chuckle. "I guess so. He disinherited her. I never met him." The admission sent an unexpected shot of disappointment through him. It was something he'd lived with since birth. Why should it begin to hurt now?
    The vendor shrugged, looking down as he carefully rearranged his wares. "Things change."
    "People don't."
    The merchant's head came up swiftly, his eyes hardening. "You've much to learn, Miguel Rivera. Or is it Michael Rivers on both sides of the border now?" He nodded at Miguel's surprise. "You use a name that's not yours. As I say, you have much to learn, if you can find the soul you lost so long ago."
    Miguel shook his head, amusement at the man's words warring with the disbelief at his audacity. He better leave now, he decided, and put an end to this strange conversation. "I've taken enough of your time. If you'll excuse me—"
    "How about these?" The vendor held up two beautiful red ribbons that gleamed in the sunlight.
    For some reason, he felt compelled to taunt the merchant. "Those will be perfect for my horse's tail."
    The round-faced vendor laughed companionably, as if nothing were amiss. "I'm sure you'll find a better use than that for them. They are lovely, aren't they, these scarlet ribbons?"
    Miguel put a finger out to touch the satiny smoothness. "Lovely" wasn't adequate to describe them. They were woven of the finest silk, a deep, rich crimson that bespoke a high quality dye. Ribbons he had absolutely no use for.
    "How much?" he heard himself asking. 
    "Twenty pesos." The vendor raised a gnarled finger. "Not one peso less. These are of the very best quality."
    "No doubt," Miguel muttered caustically. "They're worth the cost, but they are useless to me."
    "Trying to haggle, eh?"
    "No, I just—"
    The vendor shook his finger, his bronze brow wrinkling like old leather. "I won't bargain."
    "I'm not asking you to. I don't have any need for—"
    "Fine then. Be gone." He turned back to his display, dismissing Miguel.
    Good manners would dictate a purchase, Miguel knew. He'd taken up much of the man's time. "Here." Sighing, he reached into his pocket and drew out the pesos, counting them into the merchant's hand. The vendor rolled up the ribbons, wrapped them in brown paper, and tied them with a flourish. 
    "You won't be sorry," the old man said, handing the package to Miguel.
    I already am.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014


A haunted plantation…A mysterious trunk…And a date with destiny...

When Lola Barton inherits a rundown plantation, she believes her life has finally taken a positive turn. But, when she finds a mysterious trunk in the attic, it takes her into the past and to a man with dark secrets—and she’s married to him.

Sarah McNeal's got a re-release of her time travel novel, HARMONICA JOE'S RELUCTANT BRIDE, making its appearance today!

Sarah is giving away an e-copy of this fabulous story to one lucky commenter! Be sure to leave your E-MAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT so she can reach you, if you're the winner!

Here's a bit about this fantastic story:

Lola Barton discovers a warp in time in an old trunk when she falls
into 1910. She finds herself married to Joseph Wilding, a stranger
shadowed by secrets.

Mistaken for Callie McGraw, a thief and a woman of ill repute, Lola
finds her life is threatened by a scoundrel. Joe stands between her and
certain death.

With danger threatening all around and secrets keeping them apart, can
Joe and Lola find their destiny together? Or will time and circumstance
forever divide them?

Leaning over the edge of the mammoth trunk, Lola tried to grasp the card, only to lose her balance. Something like strong gravity pulled her deep into the trunk and down, down into the darkest depths of its huge interior. As if a storm swept in, everything became pitch black in an instant. The corset pinched her ribs, robbing her of breath. The world spun out of control, causing her stomach to lurch with nausea. Lola's head felt full to bursting and a buzzing sound roared through her ears. Strains of harmonica music mixed with an out-of-tune piano playing bits and pieces of a familiar tune—the Wedding March? The tune ebbed and flowed in and out of hearing.

Terrible thoughts crossed her mind that she might be dying. The unbearable noise pierced her eardrums. She couldn't catch her breath, her heart pounded against her ribs, and her nerves shrieked against the unknown. She felt herself falling…falling…into the great dark void, certain that she would lose consciousness, and wishing she could. Then, just as suddenly as it started, it all stopped.

She heard bursts of laughter and the clank of glasses bumping together as she tried to open her eyes. Someone played a piano in discord and feet stomped in time to the music. The smell of stale beer, old wood, and body odor assailed her senses. Lightheaded and disoriented, it took a moment before her blurred vision focused. She straightened from her crouched position and stood on a wooden plank floor covered in sawdust, peanut shells, and bits of refuse. The card that had dropped from her grasp lay on the floor at her feet. She reached down and clutched it in her hand as she heard a man speak in a ceremonious voice. "I now pronounce you man and wife. Harmonica Joe, you may kiss your bride." Laughter resonated and cheers went up around the room.

Lola clasped the card tight in her fist and glanced up just in time to see an angular face with mesmerizing coffee brown eyes framed in sandy hair move toward her. A day's growth of beard graced his jaw, but it only enhanced his handsome features. She backed away a step only to have someone push her forward. She collided with the solid body of this imposing stranger. The stranger's arm wrapped around her waist and pulled her close as his head dipped down, his mouth capturing hers. The bristles of his chin scraped her tender flesh that caused a thrill to scamper down her spine. His tongue ran along the seam of her lips and teased her to allow his sweet invasion. Her breath hitched as she opened to him and answered his sensual investigation with her own. A ball of heat grew in her chest and spread out its heated fingers, creating an erotic song that vibrated and excited her as it swept along her nerves.

Lola closed her eyes while her arms took a path of their own, weaving over his neck and pressing her breasts against his hard chest. His pelvis thrust forward as the kiss intensified. Even the volumes of material in her skirts could not prevent the distinct impression of his arousal against her abdomen. She heard herself moan with pleasure.

Dear God, she stood in the arms of a complete stranger. He was kissing her with enough sexual heat to burn her clothes off. Recollection began to surface. This was not the attic of Misty Oaks. Just how she got from her fall into the trunk into was a mystery. Her head throbbed as a painful reminder of her transition from an attic in Misty Oaks to what looked like an old western saloon in a movie.

The man who kissed her, handsome though he may be in his rough clothes and unshaven face, must be an actor posing as a cowboy. He pulled back from the kiss and gave her a quizzical look. He leaned his head toward her as if he wanted to kiss her again but seemed to think better of it and withdrew.

Find Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride at:

Sarah McNeal is a multi-published author of several genres including time travel, paranormal, western and historical fiction. She is a retired ER nurse who lives in North Carolina with her four-legged children, Lily, the Golden Retriever and Liberty, the cat. Besides her devotion to writing, she also has a great love of music and plays several instruments including violin, bagpipes, guitar and harmonica. Her books and short stories may be found at Publishing by Rebecca Vickery, Victory Tales Press, Prairie Rose Publications and Painted Pony Books, an imprint of Prairie Rose Publications. She welcomes you to her website at

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Sweethearts Of the West
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Code of the West: A Knight's Tale #historicalromance @JacquieRogers

Knights of the Old West

Romance of the Old West holds a strong place in my heart. And of course, when I talk about romance, I’m gonna talk about men. They’re so incredibly complicated but at the same time so basic. Women are complicated in different ways, leaving the man/woman relationship mystifying as to how or why it ever works. The romance genre delves into this complexity in every book.

When a woman looks for a mate, and that’s what romance is all about, she’s hardwired to look for the three Ps in a prospective candidate: Provide, Protect, and Procreate. Now, nearly all men are ready at any time for the third P (although we ladies are a bit picky about who fathers our children), but quite a few men aren’t all that keen about the first two.

And that’s why we women love the whole idea of knights and cowboys. Yes, I lumped them into the same sentence. Take a look at the Texas Rangers oath for deputy rangers:

Karl Urban
Commanche Moon

  • Be Alert
  • Be Obedient
  • Defend the Weak
  • Never Desert a Friend
  • Never Take Unfair Advantage
  • Be Neat
  • Be Truthful
  • Uphold Justice
  • Live Cleanly
  • Have Faith in God
You'd probably guess that was the Texas Rangers oath even if I hadn't told you simply because its the crux of what an American cowboy is even now.

Now here’s the Knights Code of Chivalry described in the Song of Roland
  • To fear God and maintain His Church
  • To serve the liege lord in valour and faith
  • To protect the weak and defenceless
  • To give succour to widows and orphans
  • To refrain from the wanton giving of offence
  • To live by honour and for glory
  • To despise pecuniary reward
  • To fight for the welfare of all
  • To obey those placed in authority
  • To guard the honour of fellow knights
  • To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit
  • To keep faith
  • At all times to speak the truth
  • To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun
  • To respect the honour of women
  • Never to refuse a challenge from an equal
  • Never to turn the back upon a foe
 That’s just a longwinded way of saying the same thing as the Texas Rangers did.

Truth is, people haven’t changed much, if ever. Our idea of the US Navy SEAL, the 19th Century cowboy, or the 13th Century knight all bring to a woman’s mind the perfect man to give us children, provide for them, and to protect them from harm so they can thrive into adulthood.

Our ideal romance hero is intelligent, loyal, honest, brave, and oh-so-sexy. My cowboy in Much Ado About Marshals is placed in a situation that tests him, because if he is loyal, he can’t be honest, and if he’s honest, he will betray his best friend. What a dilemma for a man who lives by the Knight’s Code of Chivalry, even if he’d never heard of such a code, because that’s the way of the good guys in the Old West.

This same situation could have played out in Medieval England as well as in the American Old West. It was Sir Lancelot’s dilemma in the days of King Author and the glorious Round Table, and now it’s Cole Richards’ dilemma in Much Ado About Marshals, set in the dusty desert of Owyhee County, Idaho. The cowboy’s word is his bond. Honor is everything.

Men are men. They’re warriors, hunters, and protectors. It’s through that tough exterior that women find his core of loyalty, honor, and most of all, love. The sweetest of women can tame the hearts of the toughest of men. This is our fantasy--this is what we’ve dreamed about since we were little girls.

And that’s why men in chaps and spurs melt the ladies' hearts.  Tell me who your favorite knight of the Old West is, and why.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Good Afternoon from B.J. Betts

Good Afternoon,

Please let me introduce myself to you. My name is Barbara Betts, I write under the author name B.J. Betts. I have recently been added to the Prairie Rose Publishing family and I am just thrilled to be here!

I was born and raised in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I married my high school sweetheart Don Betts. We had four children, our daughter Jennifer was born with Group B strept and died when she was two days old.

My husband and I did therapeutic foster care for years and adopted the last four placements which increased our number of children to 7. Over the years with marriages and children being born we had more than a full house. Our daughter Ayla is the youngest of the group and will be graduating high school this summer and my husband and I will soon be empty nesters.

I've been and avid reader my whole life. Where other women would go shopping for a new dress or a pair of shoes, I headed to the book sections. I was extremely shy as a child and would often write stories or make up stories to tell my younger sisters.

I never dreamed I would become an author. My first book, Saigon Moon, will be re-released this coming August through Tornado Alley Publications. My grandson had enlisted in the Army with a promise from his recruiter he would never be sent to Iraq. He did two tours and we are so proud of him for serving. But memories of being a teenager during the Vietnam War whirled through my mind. I sat down and wrote Saigon Moon. My daughter read it, loved it, and said Mom you have to get this published. So began my journey and newly found passion for writing.

I have since written many books yet to be published. I am a member of Romance Writers of America and Romance Authors of the Heartland. I am curious what inspires the stories you write? for me Echoes in the Night was inspired by a photo of a man carrying a fellow soldier on his back away from a battlefield.
B.J. Betts

Monday, April 21, 2014

THE HISTORY OF MY VALLEY.....A Brief Introduction! By Gail L. Jenner

Tucked away between the mountains surrounding our rural valley in Northern Californa lay three smaller valleys that have contributed substantially to this region's mineral, agricultural and economic base since the 1850s: Scott Valley, Quartz Valley, and Seiad Valley. The three mountain valleys are home to approximately 8,000 people today. Historically, of course, this land was home to thousands more, including the local tribes -- the Shasta and the Karuk. This area is still considered a rugged region, with the Marble Mountain Wilderness, the Klamath National Forest, the Trinity-Salmon Alps and 45 miles away, the majestic Mt. Shasta (part of the Cascade Range). It is home to my husband's family -- now a fifth generation cattle ranch. I have been married to my cowboy/ranching husband for nearly 43 years.
Taylor Lake in the Salmon Mountains.

Russian fur trappers possibly entered the region as early as 1825, and Jedediah Smith reportedly crossed through the Trinity Mountains above the mouth of the Klamath River in 1828. But it was the Hudson Bay trappers Stephen Meek, Thomas McKay, George Aldophus Duzel, and sixteen other men – along with a number of horses – who discovered the area called Beaver Valley in 1836 (now called Scott Valley). Stephen Meek later declared that Scott Valley had been one of the best places to trap beaver and wild game he’d ever seen, and though he went on to hunt and trap all over the West, he returned to the Josiah Doll ranch in Scott Valley in 1871. Here he lived until his death at the age of 90, and when he died in 1889, he was buried in the Etna Cemetery. Today there are still a number of ‘potholes’ near Oro Fino that are supposedly remnants from the days when trappers dug out great fire pits. And until a few years ago, the remains of a two-story “sod house” could be found where the local high school football field is now. According to local historian Bill Balfrey, whose grandmother knew its original history, the structure had been an early “fort” for the Hudson Bay trappers.
Stephen Meek, brother to Joseph Meek, mountain man, trapper,
As with the rest of California, it was the great Gold Rush of 1849 that opened the doors to Siskiyou County. Harry L. Wells, in HISTORY OF SISKIYOU COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, credits the first mining in this region to Lindsay Applegate who traveled south from Jacksonville, Oregon, in 1849 to mine along Beaver Creek, the Klamath, and the Scott River. In June of 1850, however, prospectors from the Trinity River crossed the Salmon-Trinity Alps and found enough gold to whet their appetites. John W. Scott, from whom the valley and river later derived their names, discovered gold at “Scott’s Bar”.  

Within a year, the “northern mines” were drawing prospectors from every part of the world – perhaps as many as 20,000 – who, “like coveys of scared quail, scuttled hither and thither”.  Without roads, the only manner of travel was by foot or by mule train. Few stayed in one place long, though settlements throughout the region boasted booming populations at various times. Hamburg, for instance, a tiny spot on today’s map, swelled to a population of about 5,000. Somes Bar, at the junction of the Klamath and Salmon rivers, listed 500-1000 men in 1852, though by 1908, had little more than a store and hotel. Deadwood, a settlement established at the forks of Deadwood and Cherry Creeks, grew to such prominence that it vied for county seat. Yreka, today’s county seat, won its title by only two votes, while Deadwood no longer exists – except in the memories of a few “old-timers”.

The timber industry developed simultaneously in this part of Northern California and mills were established all over. Mining continued well into the Twentieth Century and even during the Great Depression, miners flocked to the region, staking claims and setting up temporary settlements in the national forests. Along with mining and logging/timber, of course, the region became a dominant agricultural area, in particular a livestock producing region. With these high mountain valleys, food crops are not sustainable, but livestock thrives. It continues to be an area dominated by livestock.

Cattle thrive in this rugged mountain valley, elevation 3000 feet.
My husband's family came with the gold rush: E.P. Jenner arrived in 1849 and the Wagners arrived in the 1850s. The Wagners began farming in the 1850s and the Jenners took up farming in the 1870s. Today the family is in its fifth generation with the sixth generation beginning to participate in life on the ranch. The ranch is a storehouse of memories and artifacts -- and I'll share some of those old memories and stories in future blogs! The inspiration it provides is part of the reason I continue to write and collect local history. It needs to be preserved!
A handful of my "own" ranching stories I've included in the upcoming ANKLE HIGH AND KNEE DEEP, an anthology of farm/ranching women's "voices" -- to be released in June by TwoDot/Globe Pequot. For a preview of the book, check it out on ANKLE HIGH AND KNEE DEEP -- coming in June 2014.
For more about my books, check out: or visit my Prairie Rose Publications page at:

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Because I am in love with vintage art and always have been, I had started to look through some vintage Easter greeting cards to blog about—thinking there would be some really cute images to share. There were. But as I went through the selections, I was struck by some of the more ridiculous creations instead of being caught up by the “sweetness” of some of them.

Here, let me show you what I’m talking about. Now, maybe it's just me, but I don't think so. Some of these are just kind of creepy.

Bunnies dancing a jig decked out in colored eggs. Okay, how did they get into those eggs in the first place?

BE HONEST! Did any of you see this in your mind's eye instead?

And...who's bright idea was this? Man, that egg looks heavy. And what is he going to do with it when he gets where he's going with it? me crazy, but is this the fairy Pied Piper of Hamlin leading the chicks to their doom or what?

Okay, my mother instincts are yelling, screaming, "GET OFF THAT EGG!" (I have to confess, this reminds me of something my son would have tried.) Notice the body of water that they're racing toward? This can only end badly. Why can't this kid just play with these "normal" children below?

A balancing act if I ever saw one. Crazy rabbit, trying to ride a goat with his hands full. I want to look away, but I just can't!

DON'T GET ON THE CHICKEN DIRIGIBLE! What are you guys thinking?

No need for words on this one. Wonder what he plans to kill on this fine Easter day?

I never really noticed how oddly the artists' minds worked in that time for these images. I am almost afraid to go look at the Christmas ones. Or the Valentine ones. These were strange enough, I see a story in there? Maybe one of the dancing bunnies had a terrible childhood that made him want to join Bunny Vaudeville!

Hope you all have a wonderful Easter! Let's see... what did I do with my normal lamb picture...

Friday, April 18, 2014

‘Remember Goliad!’

Presidio la Bahía today. In 1836,
the Texians who died there called it Fort Defiance.
By Kathleen Rice Adams

Though the most infamous by far, the Alamo wasn’t the only massacre during the Texas Revolution.

On March 19 and 20, 1836, two weeks after the Alamo fell, Col. James Fannin and a garrison of about 300 Texians engaged a Mexican force more than three times as large on the banks of Coleto Creek outside Goliad, Texas. Without food or water and running low on ammunition, unwilling to flee and leave the roughly one-third of of their comrades who were wounded or dead, Fannin and his troops surrendered.

Led to believe they were prisoners of war and would be allowed to return to their homes within a couple of weeks, the Texians were marched back to Goliad, where they were imprisoned in their former fortress, Presidio Nuestra Señora de Loreto de la Bahía, which they had christened Fort Defiance. Unbeknownst to the Texians, on December 30 of the previous year, the Mexican congress had decreed any armed insurgents who were captured were to be executed as pirates.

Diagram of Fort Defiance by Joseph M. Chadwick,
March 1836. Tents mark the location where various
companies camped. Chadwick was among those
executed. The U.S. federal government reprinted
the map in 1856 with the locations of Fannin’s
and Chadwick’s executions marked.
On Palm Sunday, March 27, acting on orders from Mexican President Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Col. José Nicolás de la Portilla separated into three columns the 303 Texians who were well enough to walk. Sandwiched between two rows of Mexican soldiers, the men were marched out of Fort Defiance along three roads. There, they were shot point-blank. Any who survived the fusillade were clubbed or stabbed to death. Twenty-eight feigned death and escaped.

Inside the fort, the 67 who were wounded too badly to march, including Fannin, were executed by firing squad.

Fannin, 32, was the last to die, after watching the executions of the men who served under him. As the commandant of the garrison, he was allowed a last request. He asked three things: that his possessions be given to his family; that he be shot in the heart, not the head; and that he be given a Christian burial.

The soldiers took his possessions, shot him in the face, and burned his body along with the bodies of the other 341 executed prisoners.

The Goliad massacre further galvanized the Texians. Three weeks later, on April 21 — shouting the battle cry “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!” — the ragtag Texian army, under the command of Gen. Sam Houston, captured Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. Disorganized, demoralized, and leaderless, the Mexican army retreated.

Presidio la Bahía chapel, date unknown.
Fannin was executed in the courtyard.
Urged to execute Santa Anna as revenge for the depredations at the Alamo and Goliad, Houston decided to let el presidente live. On May 14, Santa Anna ceded Texas to the Texians in the Treaties of Velasco.

Though Goliad was one of the seminal events of the Texas Revolution, more than 100 years would pass before the State of Texas erected a monument to the men who died. In 1936, as part of the Texas Centennial celebration, the state earmarked funds for a memorial. The monument was built over the mass grave of Fannin and his men, and dedicated in 1938. The pink granite marker, inscribed with the names of the executed Texians and their comrades who died during the Battle of Coleto, bears the sculpted image of the Goddess of Liberty lifting a fallen soldier in chains.

Though “Remember the Alamo!” is famous around the world, those with the blood of Texas in their veins still recite, with reverence, the whole battle cry: “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!”

This Monument marks the common grave where the charred remains
of the 342 Texians massacred at Goliad are buried