Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Welcome Becky Lower to Cowboy Kisses #guestblogger@cowboykisses

I’m so pleased to be on Cowboy Kisses today. Although I’ve been writing American historicals for several years, they’ve mostly been set in New York in the 1850s. My seventh book in the Cotillion Ball Series, Expressly Yours, Samantha, takes place in Missouri and Kansas as the Pony Express was coming into existence. So, for the first time, I have a horse on the cover of my book, and can actually classify it as a western romance.
I learned an awful lot about the Pony Express while researching the book. 

Most people don’t realize that one of the most heralded chapters in American history was only in existence for eighteen months. It opened to business in April, 1860 and was surpassed by the telegraph in October, 1861, when the Pony Express folded.

American ingenuity was responsible for the Pony Express coming into existence in the first place. The US government wanted a northern route for correspondence to flow between the nation’s capital and California, in the event of a war between the North and the South. The government wanted to put wealthy California into the Union column.
Pony Express Relay Station Preserved

William Russell was the mastermind of the Pony Express. In a matter of sixty-seven short days, he cobbled together a route running through Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California, consisting of seven different divisions. Each division employed a host of small, scrappy men with nerves of steel who knew the countryside they were riding through. Their shift was roughly eighty miles at a full gallop, changing horses at strategically-placed relay stations set along the route at approximately ten-mile increments, the length of endurance for a horse. While I was doing my research trip, I took a picture of one of the relay stations, which is still standing today.

After a long day or night in the saddle, the rider would reach a home station where a new rider would take the mochila, a locked pouch filled with government documents and other mail and continue on the journey. Most of the horses used were wild mustangs, as tough as the territory they’d be crossing.
Smith Hotel
The Pony Express trail followed the same path that the wagon trains had been carving out for years, starting in St. Joseph, MO. The Patee House was the headquarters for the Pony Express, and today it is still in existence. It’s on the Historic Registry and houses a museum about the Pony Express. The first home station after Patee House was the Smith Hotel in Seneca, KS.

Because the trail was so well used, it was relatively easy for the riders to follow by day or night. Of course, there were herds of bison to block the way, or Indian war parties, so the Express riders had to be vigilant. The important thing was to get the mail through in ten days or less from coast to coast.

Telegraph lines were being set up along this same route as well, and once there was a more efficient method to keep California in touch with the East Coast, the Pony Express became a romantic memory in American lore.


Samantha Hughes needs to get away from her wicked uncle, and, following 
her aunt’s death, she has one day to escape. A sign in the post office 
offers an avenue out. She can cut her hair, pose as a man, and become 
Sam Hughes, a Pony Express rider.

Valerian Fitzpatrick has defied his parents and stayed in St. Louis for 
the past year. He doesn't want the weight of responsibility his brothers 
have in the family business. All he wants to do is ride horses, and, 
fortunately, the Pony Express is starting up and looking for wiry young 

When Sam Hughes helps Valerian control a runaway horse, Joseph, 
Valerian’s brother-in-law, tells him their meeting was destiny. Over the 
weeks and months that follow, Sam and Val work side by side on the 
exciting Pony Express. Val assumes Sam is on the run from the law, and 
helps shield his buddy from the Pinkerton agents. He thinks this must be 
the destiny Joseph talked about. Although Samantha harbors feelings for 
Val, he has no idea she’s a woman. Until she suffers a stray gunshot 
wound and he has to undress her to staunch the wound.

Friendship turns into attraction and maybe even love. When her uncle 
tracks her down, she is forced to run yet again. She realizes the danger 
she’s put Valerian into, having him try to shield her from her uncle, 
and leaves him behind with a note to not track her down. Will he be able 
to find her, or is he relieved to not have any responsibility again? 


Amazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the country looking 
for great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people 
finding each other and falling in love, amid the backdrop of a great 
setting, be it on a covered wagon headed west or in present day small 
town America. Historical and contemporary romances are her specialty. 
Becky is a PAN member of RWA and is a member of the Historic and 
Contemporary RWA chapters. She has a degree in English and Journalism 
from Bowling Green State University, and lives in an eclectic college 
town in Ohio with her puppy-mill rescue dog, Mary. She loves to hear 
from her readers at Visit her website at


Becky Lower said...

Thank you, Cowboy Kisses, for inviting me here today. This is the first time I've been able to have a horse on the cover of my books and I'm more excited about that than anything. Glad to be here.

Ginger Jones Simpson said...

Glad to have you with us today. Your post is interesting and I love your excitement. You're welcome here anytime.


Caroline Clemmons said...

When I was growing up, I thought the pony express lasted a long time. Imagine my surprise when I was older and learned what a short part of our history the pony express represented. An interesting post.