Thursday, January 31, 2019

Guest Author Kristine Raymond

Welcome! Please give a warm welcome to Kristine Raymond. Kristine joins us today to tell us a little about her latest release, Enduring Traditions.

It’s the turn of the century and progress has made its way to Hidden Springs.

Leaving his hometown two decades earlier to become a physician, Micah Tanner has returned, eager to educate folks in the ways of modern medicine.  However, what sounds like an easy task is anything but when he discovers his neighbors prefer seeking help from the local medicine woman instead of sending for the doctor when they’re ill.  Determined to put an end to her ancient customs, he’s unprepared for the effect she has on his heart. 

Tel-e-ka, or Ellie as she’s known to the townsfolk, is a young Yavapai medicine woman struggling to find a balance between the old ways of her ancestors and the new advances in the field of healing.  It doesn’t help that the new doctor thinks herbal remedies are a thing of the past and has no problem telling her so, or that she finds herself attracted to him.  A medical emergency outside the scope of her experience changes how she views her own beliefs – and his.

When age-old traditions meet modern-day practices, the sparks that fly rival those of the town’s New Year’s celebration.  Can a couple from two different backgrounds share a love as enduring as their traditions? 

**Final book in the Hidden Springs series

A sharp rap sounded at the door, and Ellie flung it open to discover that night had fallen without her realization, pinpricks of light twinkling brightly against the velvet sky.  But what drew her attention was the solidly-built stranger who stood on her doorstep wearing the inky blackness like a cloak.  “May I help you?”   
Whomever Micah expected to answer the door, it certainly wasn’t this raven-haired beauty.  He blinked once, his reason for showing up at the little house forgotten as he stared at the woman backlit against the flames that flickered in the stone fireplace.  Though her features were hidden in shadow, there was an aura about her that roused every molecule in his body, and he had the strangest urge to take her in his arms and kiss her.
Shaking his head to clear away the lustful thoughts, he looked past her into the house, the bundles of dried herbs hanging from the ceiling reminding him why he’d come.  “I’d like to see the medicine woman.  Is she here?”
“She is.”  A smile playing around her mouth, Ellie nodded and stood to one side.  It never failed to amuse her when someone new showed up expecting to find a grizzled old woman who chanted and invoked the spirits instead of someone who looked as she did.  Not that she didn’t chant or ask the spirits for help on occasion but never in front of a paying customer.  “Won’t you come in out of the cold?”
Micah stepped inside and stopped in the middle of the room, the warmth from the fire chasing away the chill.  The woman stepped into view, and his first thought was ‘I’m looking at my future wife’ followed by a more distressing one – ‘she’s Indian’.  While it wasn’t unheard of for whites to marry natives, such unions rarely occurred with both parties’ consent, and though the country’s views were slowly changing, they hadn’t progressed to the point where the people of Hidden Springs would accept their doctor marrying a medicine woman’s daughter.   Besides, such a beautiful woman must already be spoken for.
To distract himself from such notions, he roamed around the cozy space, admiring the colorful woven blankets that hung like tapestries from the walls.  An earthy, spicy scent permeated the air, which he imagined emanated from the various jars of roots and herbs which occupied every available nook and cranny.  Removing the lid from one, he took a tentative sniff, wrinkling his nose at the acrid smell before setting it back on the shelf. 
Completing the circuit, he looked around for the woman he sought, his eyes coming to rest on the beauty who’d opened the door when his search came up empty.  “I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m in a hurry.  You said the medicine woman is in?  Where is she?”
 Her obsidian eyes glittering with curiosity, Ellie had been tracking the man’s progress around the room as he inspected her remedies.  By far the most attractive individual she’d ever laid eyes on, he stood taller than she by a few inches, with dark hair and eyes, and short whiskers that shadowed his chin and upper lip.  His presence awakened a desire she’d not felt before which she found both exhilarating and unnerving, and ordinarily unflappable, her pulse began racing when his eyes settled on her expectantly.  Aware he was waiting for an answer to his question, she replied, “Right in front of you.”  
Micah’s eyebrows snapped together as he looked once more around the room, then back at the woman who was clearly enjoying herself.  You’re the medicine woman?”
Struggling to keep a straight face, Ellie nodded.  “I am.  Now, you said you’re in a hurry.  What can I do for you?  You look kind of pale; maybe a tonic to freshen your blood?”
He was dumbfounded.  No wonder Ben hadn’t shared the details of his dealings with her; the Kincaids were probably sharing a good laugh at his expense right about now.  Annoyed at being duped, Micah found his voice and said sharply, “I don’t need a tonic.  I came here to tell you to stop interfering with my patients!”  

Enduring Traditions can be purchased here:
To learn more about Kristine, please visit her website: 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

What's cooking??

By Nan O'Berry

Writing and romanticizing about the old west is an enjoyable pastime. However, if we really think about day to day existence, we can come up with three basic needs: Home, Clothing, and FOOD, or as Oliver sang "Food, glorious food...". And yes, they did care where it came from.

Remember, in those early days, there were no refrigeration techniques, no electric stoves, no microwaves. A wife, daughter, or eldest rose hours before their families because wood had to be chopped, the firebox started and that huge cast iron stove brought to heating temp. Your family then like today's wanted their meals on time. They wanted them filling because usually there was only one hot meal and it was served in the mid afternoon. Your food had to be nutritious because being sick cost not only time but lost income - remember, no sick days.

Meat was always in some form of decay. To be resourceful and "cover' the foul taste of bad meat, sauces, relishes, and spices helped. Most of our foods including veggies were either dried, smoked, or cured. Cowboy chaps were green beans hung on a string and dried. They could be revived, in a pot of boiling water and salt meat as could "Mexican strawberries" or red beans.

To salt cure meets, our pioneer families would take butchered meat and plunge them into a salt brine barrel. Salt would be added for 28 days until the meat itself was no longer moist. It was then taken out of the brine, dried and put in cloth sacks to hang sometimes in the attic of your homes until needed. One caution in southern climates was to make sure the temperature was below freezing for at least three days before butchering your meat. A sudden rise in temps could spoil your whole pig! The loss of the meat could mean starvation for your family.

Like salt curing, smoke curing was another good option for our families.  Cuts of meats sometimes whole sides were placed on hooks in the smokehouse. Fires were kept going or smoldering until the meat was cured or dried out. This process took around 30 days.

Lots of work went into feeding the family, and very little was wasted. Fast food perhaps might be jerky, which was often  kept in pockets and helped ward off hunger until that meal was fixed. 

In writing this article, I came a cross a delicacy that was served in Chicago in 1865, BearPaws in burgundy sauce, rag out de coon ( raccoon ) and squirrel pie. After reading this, I'm not sure I would have made it, but I can say I understand why women's waist were so small.

Just a note here, near my home in Smithfield, Virginia ( yes home of the Smithfield brand of pork ) there is still a smoked ham that is over 100 years old.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Interview With Maggie Carpenter. New Cowboy Kisses Blogger - Posted by Maggie Carpenter

USA Today Bestselling - Award Winning Author

Author of over 70 romance novels, including historical and contemporary western romance. 

Hello everyone. I'm so pleased to be here. It was suggested an interview would be the best way to introduce myself. Pasted below is one I recently gave an online blogger for Hunks and Horses, my new contemporary western series.

What genre would you consider your books to be?

I write romance, most times with an element of suspense covering all genres. Cowboys, SciFi, Historical. You name it. Love comes in many forms, but it’s always love.

What can you tell me about your book, To Kiss A Cowboy. 

This is the first book in a contemporary cowboy series called, Hunks and Horses. It’s a western romance laced with a paranormal element. But there’s more. I wrote a book called, COWBOY: His Ranch. His Rules. His Secrets over a year ago, and the novel continues to shine. I decided it was the perfect vehicle from which to launch a new series. Hence, Hunks and Horses was born. While all the books are standalone and HEA, the characters from COWBOY return for a visit in each of them.

I noticed you have many western romance books. Is there a reason? 

Who doesn’t love a sexy cowboy? Besides that, I’m a horse owner and lover and I know about horses. It’s really annoying to read a cowboy book written by someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Not that I have much time for reading these days.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I researched animal totems and spirit guides, and all my books are based around personal events. I can’t say more than that without giving away the story.

What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?

ALL DAY. I WRITE ALL DAY. Except when I’m at the barn with my beautiful mare or walking my dog. 

Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?

I always have a new book in the making. I have finished the Hunks and Horses series for the moment, though a new story may come into my head, and I’m currently writing about a very sexy alien. No title yet, but I’m into the final chapters.

How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?

Very important. I often change the name of a character as I write. Sometimes I know their names off the bat, like Sassy Cassy in The Cowboy’s Rules, or Avery Madison, in The Billionaire’s Beach, but if I start a book and I’m not happy with the name, I don’t worry about it. The characters will eventually tell me who they are.

Where do your ideas come from?

I dream them. Literally. Every single time. Occasionally something will come to me while I’m riding.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Titles and typos. The two dreaded T’s.

What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?

I produce my own trailers. I wish I had the time to produce one for every book. I have about 20 to date.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

Spy, Warlock, Motorcycle Master, Loved From The Grave,  Cowboy: His Ranch. His Rules. His Secrets, and the four cowboy books of Hunks & Horses. Elizabeth’s Education Books One and Two are also unique, but they are very erotic. 

What’s the best thing about being an author?

Living through my characters, finishing a book and smiling, then crashing for a day. Such a great feeling.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Living in a lovely barn surrounded by four-legged friends and comfortably supporting them. 

Have you always liked to write?


What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Read as much as you can. Write what you know. Feel what you write.

What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?

Marketing and promotion. 
Can you give us a tasty morsel from one of your cowboy books?

Sure. From To Kiss A Cowboy. And the first line of the tidbit is meant to say, to kiss a cowboy. It’s not a mistake. 

To kiss a cowboy. 
Especially Caleb.
Was it too much to ask?
Dropping her eyes to the huge glittering diamond resting on her finger, Connie let out a heavy sigh. 
Yes it was. 
Lounging in a recliner on the terrace outside her bedroom, Connie missed Caleb already. He’d be leaving shortly to collect the rest of his belongings. Martha, her long-time friend and housekeeper, absolutely adored him, and in a few short days he’d transformed the barn. The many odd jobs were underway. The feed room had been re-organized, the tack room had never been cleaner, and when she ran into the workers they were polite and respectful.
Then there were the lessons.
Caleb made them fun and positive, and when she climbed off Domino she was excited, not frustrated. Her handsome new trainer often hugged her, exclaiming his pride in her progress, but he hadn’t engulfed her in his arms as he had that first day. 
The all-consuming, time-stopping, melting-into-him hug. 
The memory kept her up at night, and sent her fingers between her legs. Caleb King. Even his name sounded sexy, and when he tilted his head to the side, crossed his arms and captured her eyes, the butterflies in her stomach burst to life. 
“To kiss him just one time,” she mumbled, gazing across at the paddocks. “I want to so badly.”
Where did your love of books come from?

An angel. Fate. God. I have no idea. It just lives inside me. 

Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?

Absolutely impossible. :) 
Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I write what comes to me. My brain isn’t that analytical. 
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

How to work your butt off and make 2c an hour. (Grinning).

Where can your fans find you and follow?

Feel free to email me at any time.

Subscribe to my newsletter and receive a free copy of the best-selling western romance

As a subscriber you'll be able to purchase my new releases for 99c in preorder. 

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading this. I'm delighted to be a part of the Cowboy Kisses family, and I hope you have a super week.


Friday, January 25, 2019

Chief White Plume and the Mixed Blood Allotments

Prior to Missouri becoming a state in 1821, the Kansa tribe (Kaws) gave up their land in western Missouri.

A treaty signed on September 25, 1818, by three principal chiefs and eight warriors effected this land transaction.

Among those Kansa chiefs who signed that treaty was White Plume (ca. 1765—1838). The Kaw tribe at that time occupied lands in what became the states of Kansas and Missouri. It numbered about 1500 persons. White Plume married a daughter of the Osage Chief Pawhuska. This marriage may have been important in establishing friendly relations between the closely related Kaws and Osage. Most present-day members of the Kaw Nation of Oklahoma trace their lineage back to him. He was the great-great-grandfather of Charles Curtis, 31st Vice President of the United States. His village was located at the area of present day Grantville, just northeast of North Topeka, Kansas.

White Plume was first written about as one of the Kaw signatories to an 1815 treaty with the United States. With his daughters married to French traders, American officials considered White Plume to be more progressive than his leadership rivals among the Kaws. In 1821 he was invited by Indian Superintendent William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame to visit Washington D.C. as a member of a delegation of Indian leaders. 

President James Monroe
The group met with President James Monroe and other American officials, visited New York City, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. They performed war dances on the White House Lawn and at the residence of the French Minister. White Plume was given two silver epaulettes as a sign that the U. S. government accepted him as the principal Kaw chief.

Although he did not have authority over most members of the tribe at the time, as a chief among the Kaw (Kansa, Kanza) Indians, White Plume, also known as Nom-pa-wa-rah, Manshenscaw, and Monchousia, was a member of a large delegation brought to Washington, D.C. by Indian Agent Benjamin O'Fallon in 1821-1822.  The delegation included prominent chiefs of the Missouri, Omaha, Oto and Pawnee nations.  The purpose of the visit was to impress the Native American leaders with the power and generosity of the federal government in order to maintain peace on Western borders which the government was unable to defend.

This portrait of White Plume by Charles Bird was one of several painted of this sixteen member delegation. They were the first which Mr. Bird King was commissioned to execute.

White Plume came back from Washington convinced that the future of the Kaw, and his own future, was best served by accommodation with the United States. Already eastern Indians were being expelled from the east and squatted on Kaw lands. The Missouri River served as a main trail for fur trappers and traders headed to the Rocky Mountains. In 1822 the first wagons trespassed through Kaw lands from Missouri to New Mexico on what was known as the Santa Fe Trail. Many white invaders or Americans, including the missionary Isaac McCoy, saw Kansas as the place in which all the dispossessed eastern Indians could be confined to an Indian state. White Plume lived to see the traditional lifestyle of the Kaws become increasingly unsustainable, which was why he attempted to meet the challenges facing the Kaws by cooperation with the U.S. government.

By 1825, White Plume was the principal Kaw chief signing a treaty that ceded 18 million acres to the United States in exchange for annuities of 3,500 dollars per year for 20 years plus livestock and assistance to force the Kaw to become full-time farmers. What was left to the Kaw was a pittance of land thirty miles wide extending westward into the Great Plains from the Kansas River valley.

At the time of the treaty, the family lived at Kawsmouth, the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers, near what today is Kansas City. The treaty of 1825 assigned the Kaws to a reservation 30 miles north-to-south beginning just west of present Topeka and extending far into present western Kansas.
This huge land grab in the 1825 treaty, plus a similar treaty signed by the government with the Osage, opened up Kansas to the relocation of eastern Indian tribes. The U.S. would squeeze the Kaw into ever smaller territories as they brought in more tribes. In defense of White Plume, much of the land he ceded was already lost to the Kaw and was being occupied by eastern Indians or White settlers. What culminated in the Indian Removal Act of 1830 already had it start.

In return for their land, the U.S. government promised the Kaws two thousand dollars worth of cloth, vermilion, guns, ammunition, kettles, hoes, axes, knives, flints, awls, and tobacco. These items were to be issued each September for an indefinite period. A blacksmith was also promised to keep their guns and implements in good repair. The bargain was sealed with a gift of goods valued at $460 as proof of the government's good will and motives of benevolence.

White Plume probably also foresaw that the Kaw would have to learn to live on much reduced territories and change their emphasis from hunting and fur trading to agriculture. Thus, he chose cooperation as his policy. In a letter to William Clark, superintendent of Indian Affairs, White Plume wrote:

I consider myself an American and my wife an American womanI want to take her home with me and have everything like white people.

White Plume had five children. His three sons all died when young men. His two daughters, Hunt Jimmy (b. ca. 1800) and Wyhesee (b. ca. 1802) married the French traders Louis Gonville and Joseph James. Until the United States acquired the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, the Kaw subsisted primarily on buffalo hunting with only limited agriculture. They were dependent on selling furs and buffalo robes to French traders, such as the powerful Chouteau family, to acquire European goods such as guns. To win support for the treaty from the increasingly important mixed bloods, each of 23 mixed blood children of French/Kaw parents received a section of land, 640-acre plots, on the north bank of the Kansas River just east of the new reservation were granted in fee-simple to all 23 half-bloods of the Kaw tribe, some of which included his own grandchildren.

Two of White Plume's grandaughers-courtesy Kansapedia
That was how early in Topeka’s history a small group of women became landowners, controlling some of its most valuable acreage. Their grandfather, White Plume, was a Kaw chief who joined in signing the treaty of 1825. His participation secured land for his mixed-blood grandchildren and their heirs. These powerful women with French names—Josette, Julie, Pelagie, and Victoire—were each deeded one-square-mile tracts along the Kansas River, long before Kansas was a territory. Their mothers were Kansa and these women were among 23 mixed-blood Kaws who received special reservations.

Louis Gonville, a French trader, arrived at Kawsmouth in 1807 to hunt and trap along the Kansas River. Gonville married White Plume’s daughter, Hunt Jimmy, and they had two daughters, Josette and Julie. When their marriage ended around 1818, Gonville married White Plume’s younger daughter, Wyhesee. Several children were born to this marriage—it appears only Pelagie and Victoire lived to adulthood.

Location of 23 Half-Kaw Allotments -
The 23 "half-breed tracts," as they were called, began at the eastern edge of the 1825 reservation extending 23 miles east on the north bank of the Kansas River, from present-day Topeka nearly to Lawrence. Josette and Julie received tracts three and four, Pelagie and Victoire received tracts five and six.

Josette, also known as May Josephine, moved to the Kansas City, Missouri, area when she was young to live with the Chouteau family. There she served as an interpreter. Around 1839, Josette married Joseph Pappan. Soon after Julie married Louis Pappan, Victoire married Achan Pappan, and Pelagie married Annabel Francouer. The families moved to their tracts in the spring of 1840. Seizing an opportunity, the Pappan brothers began a ferry business to transport travelers across the river.

Begun around 1841, the first ferry consisted of one or two log canoes, which were propelled by long poles. The Pappan’s ferry business prospered as more people headed west, until flooding destroyed the ferry and log cabin in June 1844. Following their loss, the Pappans lived in Kansas City until about 1849, when they returned to discover a competing ferry along the river. They purchased a franchise and resumed their business.

The value of the bottomland had greatly increased by the 1850s and the Pappans received many offers to sell their land. Julie Pappan was a wealthy landowner. She and Louis lived comfortably in their log cabin and cultivated between 15 and 20 acres of the prime bottomland. Their daughter Ellen married to Oren Curtis, had two children, Charles and Elizabeth. In an effort to secure the future of her grandchildren, Julie left 40 acres to her daughter and grandchildren, omitting her son-in-law’s name from the deed. When Ellen died a few months later, legal battles ensued. The minor children, Charles and Elizabeth Curtis, were eventually awarded the deed to the property in 1875. Julie sold her remaining property by 1865 and she and Louis lived their remaining years on the Kaw Reservation near Council Grove.

The rest of the tribe received no such  special consideration, which led to factionalism within the tribe.

White Plume himself did not live on the half-breed allotments, but at the eastern edge where a brick two story mansion about 18×34 had been built for him. This house stood about 50 yards north of the present Union Pacific depot in the village of Williamstown, Jefferson county. White Plume discovered his residence was over the line on the Delaware lands. While there would never have been any objection to this mistake or oversight of the white men who located the Agency buildings, White Plume was too proud to live on the land of another tribe. He abandoned his house and moved up the Kansas River.

When asked why he left the princely mansion, he simply explained, “Too many fleas.” Those who examined the home found it overrun with vermin. Most of the wood trim, doorjambs and window sashings were gone, burnt for kindling. All that remained was a pile of stone and a two story chimney. 

A hasty examination made of the house justified the wisdom of his removal. It was not only alive with fleas, but the floors, doors and windows had disappeared and even the casings had been pretty well used up for kindling-wood,

Thomas L. McKenney, one of the authors of the book, History of the Indian Tribes of North America first published in 1838, recalled Monchonsia as “a man respected by his tribe, cautious, fearless, and brave….

“White Plume (Wom-pa-wa-ra, "He who scares all men"), a chief of the Kansas Indians, was born about 1763 and died past 70 years of age. He is described by Catlin as "a very urbane and hospitable man of good, portly size, speaking some English, and making himself good company for all persons who travel through his country and have the good luck to shake his liberal and hospitable hand." The government built a substantial stone house for White Plume about 1827 or 1828,…”

Father P. J. De Smet, the Jesuit missionary, in speaking of White Plume, says: "Among the chiefs of this tribe are found men really distinguished in many respects. The most celebrated was White Plume." John T. Irving, in his Indian Sketches, thus describes this dignitary: "He was tall and muscular, though his form through neglect of exercise was fast verging towards corpulency. He wore a hat after the fashion of the whites, a calico hunting shirt and rough leggings. Over the whole was wrapped a heavy blanket. His face was unpainted and although his age was nearly seventy, his hair was raven black and his eye was as keen as a hawk's. He was the White Plume, chief of the Konza nation."

John C. McCoy, in a letter to Mr. Cone, dated August, 1879, says: “I first entered the territory August 15, 1830. . . .
“We passed up by it in 1830, and found the gallant old chieftain sitting in state, rigged out in a profusion of feathers, paint, wampum, brass armlets, etc., at the door of a lodge he had erected a hundred yards or so to the northwest of his stone mansion, and in honor of our expected arrival the stars and stripes were gracefully floating in the breeze on a tall pole over him. He was large, fine-looking, and inclined to corpulency, and received my father with the grace and dignity of a real live potentate, and graciously signified his willingness to accept of any amount of bacon and other presents we might be disposed to tender him.”

In my most recent book, Charlie’s Choice, I make reference to the special land consideration given to the mixed bloods in the days of Chief White Plume. It is also a reason the father of the beautiful Kansa woman who seeks him out has a negative attitude towards those of mixed blood. Read more in the book description which you will find along with the purchase link by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Trick Riding Sisters-Shirley and Sharon Lucas

I read this post by Julie Carter and with her permission am posting it here.
Thanks, Julie.

Back When They Bucked with Shirley Lucas Jauregui

You probably have seen Shirley Lucas Jauregui (pronounced Hah-reh-gie) and didn’t know you were looking at her while she doubled in the movies for Betty Hutton in Annie Get Your Gun, Shirley Jones in Oklahoma and Lucille Ball in Lucy Wins a Racehorse.

Shirley and Sharon Lucas were the young and beautiful trick riding and stunt-doubling duo that hit the road in the late 1940s as The Lucas Sisters.

Originally from Bartlesville, Okla., the Lucas Sisters in their pre-teen years honed their acrobatic skills on swings, trapeze, and bars set up by their dad.

“When the circus came to town Sharon and I went home determined we could learn to do what we’d seen done there,” Shirley recalled. “We spent hours every day out there practicing.”

One day they went to a rodeo in Dewey, Oklahoma, a nearby town. “We got the bug then,” Shirley said. “We saw the horses and the ropers and we knew we wanted to be a part of it. Not long after that we saw Vivian White performing tricks on her running horses and our dream was born.”

The Lucas girls convinced White to teach them trick riding, promising that they would not “weaken.” They practiced without ceasing, mastering cartwheels, double vaults and more. “We lived in town,” Shirley said. “We didn’t know anything about riding and horses but we learned the hard way, with falls, sore muscles, and run aways.

Following their father’s sudden death, Karmen Lucas took her daughters’ dreams to heart.  They decided a warmer climate was in order where they could practice year-round.  They loaded up into a 1940 Ford sedan and their horse into a wooden two-horse trailer, and hit the road, eventually winding up in Lakeside, Calif.

 It was there that they landed their first trick riding job at the Lakeside Rodeo in 1948.

“It was quite an experience,” Shirley recalled with a chuckle. “I fell and plowed up some arena dirt with my face. All you could see was my eyes and my smile. But, the crowd loved it.”

Things quickly began to fall into place for the Lucas Sisters. Their very next job was the Sheriff’s Rodeo at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

“When you look up into a crowd of 100,000 people, it does make your heart beat fast,” Shirley recalled. “We were small-town girls. This was not anything we were prepared for but we did it.”

Through a series of connections that included Ben Johnson, Vern Goodrich and eventually film director Blake Edwards, the Lucas Sisters became members of the Screen Actors Guild. They worked first as extras on films but were quickly doubling for movie industry big names like Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe, Lana Turner, Betty Grable, Ann Frances, Esther Williams, Doris Day, Grace Kelly and many more.

The sister act juggled movie contract work with their trick riding, performing at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, the Cow Palace, Albuquerque, Yuma and the Sheriff’s Rodeo in Los Angeles to name a few.

They upgraded their traveling rig to a “bakery wagon” where they built living quarters into the back. “The wagon and the trailer were all painted to match with ‘The Lucas Sisters’ written on the side,” Shirley said. “We always said we had the first hippie wagon, but we loved it. Later we got more in style and bought a Buick.”

The Lucas Sisters continued as an act until 1956 when Shirley and her husband Bob Jauregui had their first child Michele. Shirley continued working in the movie industry until 1958.

Shirley’s younger sister Sharon died in 2006 from a series of health complications that began when she ruptured her adrenal gland in an accident on the set of Annie Get Your Gun. “She was on cortisone all her life after that, and it just finally took its toll,” Shirley said.

Shirley resides on the family ranch in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada’s near Penn Valley, Calif., where she her family moved in 1966. After 53 years of marriage, two children and lifetime of involvement in the Western way of life, Bob passed away in 2008.

Their son, Dan, a former NIRA tie-down calf roping champion, takes care of the ranch, while daughter Michele is an accomplished horsewoman and trainer in Kentucky.

Shirley has spent her life since her performing days being an active part of the community, California Cattlewomen, the PTA and more. “Whatever I got involved in, it seemed I ended up bring president,” she laughed. She has always been a huge supporter of youth organizations such as 4-H and FFA and an integral part of local rodeo, college rodeo and the county fair.

In 2008 Shirley received the Tad Lucas Memorial Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Tad Lucas (no relation to Sharon and Shirley) is remembered as a woman of great talent, spirit, courage and compassion. The Tad Lucas Award is presented to women who have exhibited the same sort of extraordinary characteristics while upholding and promoting American’s great Western heritage.

“I was so honored,” Shirley said of the event that seemed to bookend a career that began when she was a young girl with a great awe for Tad Lucas.

In March 2011, the month of her 87th birthday, Shirley will be acknowledged at the WestFest in Palm Springs, Calif., where she was queen 62 years ago.

Shirley is putting the finishing touches on her book about The Lucas Sisters. The book is a wonderful memoir preserving a glorious segment of rodeo and the motion picture history. It is full of photos highlighting an exciting career as well as stories about the day to day life on the road with The Lucas Sisters.

“Compiling these true events brought back many memories,” Shirley said, “some sad moments and many happy, exciting times.”

The web address to promote the book and  the story of The Lucas Sisters is Shirley can be contacted at A FaceBook page is titled The Lucas Sisters - Shirley Lucas Jauregui. Shirley can be contacted at .

“I wouldn’t do anything differently,” Shirley said, looking back. “Everything worked out pretty good.”
An amazing life. Would you have ever been brave enough to be a trick rider?

Friday, January 18, 2019

Cowboys, Rebels and Rogues

Hi, all!

I’m thrilled to be part of the Cowboy Kisses Blog! 

Since this is my first post, I thought I’d introduce myself. I'm Mina Beckett and I write kissing books about cowboys, rebels and rogues that range in heat levels from sweet to spicy hot. 

My husband and I live on a small farm in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains along with our two sons and three grandchildren. Fun facts about me: I’m a Capricorn.  I like getting my hands dirty. I traded my high-heels for work boots three years ago when I left my day job to work on the farm and pursue my writing. My dogs have nicknames. I can operate a skid steer and my number one rule about rescuing animals is if I name them, they stay on the farm. 

I’m always writing, if not on a computer, then on my iPhone. But I’m not an author who can sit down and write three-thousand words without leaving my desk. I have a short attention span and I get bored easily. I'm more productive when I weave other activities into my word count. I usually write a page or two and then sketch, paint or sculpt. Sometimes I cook in between chapters, especially in the summer when there are veggies to preserve. 

When I'm not working on a book, I'm out and about taking pictures and posting them on Instagram. I have three miniature horses and six dogs that also keep me busy. I enjoy sewing, baking (maybe a little too much) and working in my tea and vegetable gardens.

I started my writing career in 2012 when I submitted to a small press publisher because my husband convinced me I could write. I cried when I received an email from the acquiring editor saying they wanted to publish my story. I released my first historical romance that year while working full-time and completing my master’s degree. In 2013 I released my second book and walked across the platform to claim my diploma. I was all set to enroll in a doctorate program the following year but chose to turn my attention towards writing. I spent the next three years writing, submitting to contests and learning the craft. 

While at the 2016 RWA conference, I attended a workshop with Liz Maverick on creating a series proposal.  I wrote one for my Coldiron Cowboys series and began submitting it to agents.  2017 was one of the most stressful and exciting times in my writing career. I signed with a literary agency in September and we started pitching The Heartbreak Cowboy a month later. The book and proposal went through numerous edits and rewrites. One editor suggested I rewrite my cowboys as werewolves. I still chuckle about that. One by one, the rejections came in and my agent wanted me to submit to a smaller publisher. I refused.  By September of 2018, I had parted ways with my agent and was on my own.

My announcement to go indie was made on my Facebook page: "After receiving yet another rejection email from my agent this morning, I called an emergency meeting with my characters to inform them that drinking, smoking, and swearing would no longer be allowed. One-night stands, secret babies and ex-wives would also be eliminated, and that we would be following one troupe per story. As you can imagine, they weren’t pleased. But after they settled down, I explained that if we wanted to be on a bestseller list, we had to conform. Two of them flipped me the bird. One bearded fellow with a very flat Kentucky accent gave me crude directions as to where I could shove my stories. Three cowboys walked out and two of my leading ladies swore they were never speaking to me again. The rest are at the bar. I don’t think traditional publishing is for us. But hopefully, someone out there will want to read about this rebellious crew. Now, I’m off to write my indie book goals."

It was my humorous way of dealing with all those rejections and feedback. I don't regret anything about the experience. I had a great agent, made wonderful friends and learned a lot about writing and the industry.  And I have never regretted my decision to go indie. I love the freedom of writing what I want when I want to. I love having control over my blurbs, covers, content, and marketing. 

The Heartbreak Cowboy is the first full-length book in my Coldiron Cowboys series. McCrea and Eleanor fell in love years ago, but because of fear and circumstances chose to walk away after one night together. The story introduces McCrea to a daughter he never knew existed. It forces him and Eleanor to overcome the mistakes of their past and mend fences for the sake of their daughter. 

First loves can be so influential in our lives. They hold a special place in our heart that is always reserved for that person, that time, that place...When hurt is tied to it, moving on can be hard so I knew writing a second chance romance was going to be challenging. There needed to be a special ingredient added to the story and Sophie (their four-year-old daughter) was it. Children have a way of bringing out the best and worst in us. Their honesty, sincerity and innocent view of the world can help us find clarity in the muddiest situations. Sophie did that for McCrea and Eleanor. She let them see their love for each other in its truest form ─ her. There was also a fun side to writing Sophie because when children are involved, the conversations are always fun and surprising. The pancake scene is one of my favorites. 

The Cowboy’s Goodnight Kiss is a prequel to this book and was written so readers could experience the backstory of what happened between McCrea and Eleanor four years earlier.  It’s a free download on my website but doesn’t have to be read before The Heartbreak Cowboy. It’s my gift to readers. The books have received great reviews and I’m looking forward to releasing the second book, The Fallen Cowboy in March.

I’ll be blogging again on February 15th about my impressionable teenage years spent in West Texas, the sons of roughnecks and the history of oil boomtowns. 

Have a wonderful weekend!