Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Simple 1800's Fashion ~ Julie Lence


Blogging is often fun. In researching a subject, I learn something new, or, as in the case from last year’s blog regarding Bill Tibbetts, I find someone’s life story fascinating and am excited to share with you. But sometimes, I like to step away from research and do something different. Today’s blog is more of a visual than paragraphs of text, and helps me as much as it entertains you. In crafting characters, not only do I need to know their facial features and hair color, I also want to know what they’re wearing, especially the women. Most of my girls dress simply in plain skirts and shirts for ranch work or the day-to-day chores that come with running a business. Below are outfits I chose for each of my heroines. I hope you like them as much as I do.


Paige Morgan (Luck of the Draw) I see her in something as simple as this skirt and shirt while she's cleaning the ranch house and cooking three meals a day. 

Missy Morgan (Lady Luck) For running a gaming house, Missy needs something daring to catch a man's eye and make him part with his money.  

Racine Weston (No Luck At All) Born into a wealthy family, Racine is now married to a rancher and spends her days the same as Paige, cooking and cleaning). She needs something simple yer elegance. 

Rachael Weston (bring Me Luck) Born into a family of ranchers, Rachael knows the best way to tackle a hard day's work is by wearing something comfortable.    

Suzanna Reynolds (Zanna's Outlaw) A former soiled dove now running a boarding house, Suzanna is another women who needs something comfortable yet a bit stylish to get her through a day of chores. 

Lydia Tyler (Lydia's Gunslinger) is my only heroine who doesn't cook and clean. In fact, it's better she stays out of the kitchen, and coming from a wealthy family, she enjoys her stylish clothes.     

Debra Moore (Debra's Bandit) is a former female outlaw managing the mercantile. Waiting on customers by day and cooking at night, she needs simply with a bit of pizazz.   

Jill Prescott (Slade) grew up on the farm she now runs. From patching roofs to cleaning out the chicken coop, Jill needs something
practical that doesn't tangle around her ankles.  

Nadine Harper (Landry) Raised on a Pennsylvania and now traveling by wagon with her father, Nadine is another female who needs something practical and sturdy to get her through the day.   

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

A Bovine Mix-Up


I love diving into research for the sweet romances I write. Recently, while I was combing through old newspapers from 1917, I happened upon an article that made me laugh as I pictured the story unfolding. 

Since 1910, the town of Pendleton, Oregon, has hosted the Pendleton Round-Up every autumn (except during World War II). Even back in the early days of the event, the rodeo committee contracted out the stock, meaning they hired people to bring in the horses and cattle used in the events. 

According to the article, the rodeo committee had contracted with a man named Jenks to purchase a train car load of  "long-horned, spider legged steers" from "the border."  

The animals were reputed to be the "real article" and better stock than previously used at the Round-Up. 

A few days later, another article ran on the front age of the paper. This one titled "Round-Up Given Wrong Steer - Milk Cows for Bulldoggers." 

See why that got my attention? 

I did a double-take and went back to read the article. 

It seems Jenks and a train car load of bovines arrived in Pendleton. Proud of his success in getting them there, Jenks had gone to the Hotel Pendleton where he was settling in when he received a telephone call. He picked up the phone to find the livestock director on the phone. 

"Say, were you crazy, or drunk, or asleep when you bought those steers?" Sam, the livestock director asked.

Jenks took slight offense at the opening line of the conversation, demanding to know what prompted the question.

"How in the name of Lucifer and Long Tom do you think we are going to hold steer roping and bull dogging contests with a bunch of milk cows, and muley cows at that?" Sam asked. (I think a conversation with Sam would have been incredibly fascinating!)

Reportedly, Jenks exploded with fury, swearing in three languages, and accusing Sam of not knowing the difference between a Mexican steer and a horned toad, if he couldn't see the train car load of bovines were the wildest, most rangy beasts to ever arrive in town.

At this point, I pictured the telephone operator who was likely listening to the heated conversation, perhaps even appalled by the salty language being used, but not disturbed enough to keep from sharing the story with a reporter. 

Anyway, Jenks and Sam went to the depot where there was, indeed, a train car full of docile half Jersey, half dehorned shorthorn cattle instead of the roughest, toughest steers Jenks could find. 

After some investigation, it was discovered the car load of steers ended up a few hours south of Pendleton where a dairy farmer had purchased the cows. Oh, I would have paid money to see the look on his face when they opened that train car door and out came the wild steers! 

Sometimes real life is far more entertaining than anything I could make up. I just love stories like this. And I love incorporating factual historical details into my sweet historical romances. 

You can read more about this little tidbit and others in my upcoming release Sadie

Inspired by the true stories of women who served in France during World War I, Sadie is a sweet romance filled with courage, hope, and lasting love.

She yearns for far-flung adventures. He longs for the home he’s found in her heart. 

Will a world at war tear them apart, or draw them closer together?

For most of her life, Doctor Sadie Thorsen has imagined seeing the world on grand adventures. When America joins the war raging across the world in 1917, it seems her dreams are about to come true. She travels overseas as a contracted physician, eager to do her part, and hoping to encounter the man she loves. Endless streams of wounded push her to the limits of endurance, then she receives word Harley John Hobbs, the man who owns her heart, is missing in action. Unable to bear the thought of life without him in it, she refuses to let go of her hope that he’s alive.

 The day Sadie Thorsen shoved Harley John Hobbs down on the playground was the day she marched off with his heart. He spent years doing everything in his power to become successful, determined to have more than himself to offer Sadie if she ever returns to their eastern Oregon town. Conscripted to join American Expeditionary Forces, Harley John answers the call and heads to France. Wounded and alone, he clings to the promise of seeing Sadie one last time.

Can deep, abiding love withstand the tragedies and trials of a world at war?

Pre-order Sadie today!

Monday, August 2, 2021



By Kristy McCaffrey

I live in the desert north of Phoenix, Arizona. Our property buffers an open area of desert belonging to the city, so we get a fair amount of wildlife (coyotes, javelina, bobcats) as well as snakes that wander onto our land. Most are non-poisonous—bull and garter snakes—but we’ve also encountered and caught a good number of rattlesnakes. In this area the prevalent species is the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. It blends well into its surroundings, with a dirt-colored hide, but does have one outstanding feature which helps with a swift identification. On its tail, just below the rattle, are one to two inches of black and white stripes.


Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

In the summer, when it’s very hot, snakes gravitate toward water, so puddles can pose a problem. We found a young rattler near the house this way. My husband captured and placed it in an empty apple juice bottle. We then deposited the snake off-property. We’ve been told that rattlers will live within a one-mile territory; because we have dogs we prefer to relocate the snakes. The other alternative is to kill them, which many of our neighbors do. Not only is this dangerous (to kill one you must get close to it—distance is always the safest course of action when dealing with a poisonous reptile) but I also feel it’s unnecessary. Western Diamondbacks aren’t very aggressive unless threatened. And even then they’ll slither away the first chance they get.


A juvenile rattlesnake we caught near our garage.

This was apparent when one of our chocolate labs, Lily, encountered a rattler during a walk in the desert. It lay coiled and when she poked her nose at it the snake struck. Luckily she pulled back just in time to avoid a bite. Just as quickly the snake turned and slithered into a bush, rattling its very subdued rattle (nothing like in the movies).

My husband and older son often ride motorcycles and quads in the desert and have come across rattlesnakes on the trails several times. Sometimes they can pass but often are forced to turn back. Rattlesnakes tend to enjoy their moments of sunning and simply won’t move unless pressed. In the winter months it’s never a good idea to be out in the desert during the day since the snakes will be warming themselves from the cold night. And during the summer, dusk is a dangerous time since they’ll be out after staying in the shade of a bush for the better part of the day. Initially we had the false impression that rattlesnakes hibernate but have come to learn this isn’t true. They can be out and about year-round.

We’ve found big rattlers on our driveway twice on chilly winter nights, likely soaking up the warmth of the concrete. My husband has a long metal snake catcher, which he uses to capture the reptile and then lift it into a large garbage bin. We then load the can on the back of our pickup truck and drive it to a portion of the desert far from our house for release.

We've sometimes found rattlesnakes buried in the dirt
in our backyard.

We try to catch the snake and place it in a tall
trash bin. Then we transport it into the desert
and release it.

I must admit I don’t fear rattlesnakes as much as I did when we first arrived over ten years ago. I have a healthy respect for them, scan my surroundings at all times, and don’t walk outside barefoot. We keep a close eye on our dogs during walks. It’s also important to keep the property clear of clutter, to minimize hiding places.

Still, we had a terrible cluster of them a few years ago, finding six large ones in our backyard over a three-day period in October. We began to wonder if there was a nest nearby. But we removed and relocated them and the yard has been clear since.

One year we had so many snakes in the 
backyard that we put out sticky pads and
were able to catch several this way.

Because we never want to directly handle the snakes,
we place them in a garbage can while still attached
to the sticky pad. We coat them in about a cup of
vegetable oil and within a few hours they're able
to free themselves. Then we transfer them away
from the house. This guy is still covered in oil.

Now, if we could just get rid of the scorpions...

THE WREN is a free digital download where ebooks are available (Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Google Play, and Apple Books). Click here to learn more at her website.



Saturday, July 31, 2021

Train Robbery!

Train Robbery


     As a little girl I remember watching old westerns with my father and the one thing that stood out was always a train robbery. Ambushed, derailed, attacked by gunslingers, they were exciting! The criminals found unique ways to stop the steel beasts. Either by blocking the rails or prying up a piece of the tracks, the goal was the same, to stop the train. 

At the time trains were much slower than they are today. It wasn’t truly that hard to board a train and rob the passengers. 

     In my new release book, “The Marshall and the Thief,” my main character Paige is the daughter of an abusive criminal. Up until this point in the book they have robbed individuals, cheated at cards and even robbed banks but now they are looking for a big payout. Click below to download your copy. 

     When her father offers his daughter as payment to a horrible criminal known as Lieutenant, Paige knows her time is up. Lieutenant has had his eyes on Paige for years. He promised to plan a successful robbery in return for Paige. Freedom comes at a cost. Paige must decide if she’s willing to pay the price even if that means robbing from her own father. 


      This was a fun book to write. I learned how women traveling on trains used to hide their valuables in unique places, like their hair! The bigger the hair the more space for money and jewels. Women were never given enough credit. I enjoy plugging these juicy tidbits based on facts pulled straight from history. 


     If you love history, action-adventure and romance please subscribe at

     Or visit me on Amazon at:



Thanks, Lynn Landes

Monday, July 26, 2021

Hot! Hot! Hot! ~ Ruthie Manier

 Record breaking heat is spreading across much of the USA and many of us are not prepared for these high temperatures. Where I live in the PNW a large percent of us don’t have air conditioning because it’s usually not needed. 

One of the genres I write in is western romance set in the nineteenth century and so I started wondering how people of that era kept cool. Of course I googled it. Found many options that were new to me. Some we still use today, others that surprised me. Here’s what I found:

* Construction of homes were built to beat the heat with higher ceilings and thicker walls on the side of the house which would receive more sun. 

* Big covered porches help keep the sun out of the house during the daylight and the long hot evenings they kept cool by sitting out on them probably drinking a cool drink like ice tea or lemonade. They would visit with their neighbors that lived close while the children played. Now days most of us have a patio or decks built on the back of the house. In the 21st century I believe we’ve become less social in some ways. Most social life is done through social media. Not face to face. When I was a child we lived in Union Gap, Washington which is a suburb of Yakima. Raised by my southern grand parents and my father we were always outside in the evening visiting with neighbors drinking cool drinks and eating watermelon or ice cream. Us kids would have watermelon seeds spitting contests. Lol!

* Window coverings made of wood so they could be closed tight to keep the sun out. I imagine they’d keep out the cold weather in the winter months as well.

* Water fountains in the middle of town’s. These were nothing like the beautiful fountains you see today. Oh no the ones from the past were more like bigger than usual troughs like they’d use for their horses. People used them for drinking water and for dunking their heads in to cool off. And that’s not all, they also let their horses and other animals drink it! Can you imagine the germs and diseases that were probably spread? 

* Iced over lakes is where they got their ice. People would cut large pieces of ice from the frozen lakes and then store it under ground or in ice houses. Then they would have ice for the summer.

* If you've got any kind of water access, lake, creek, river etc., swimming has always been one of my favorite ways to cool off! A sprinkler or baby pool in the back yard works as well.

Great news! I’m happy to announce the old version of Tombstone Ghost Cowboy series, MARISSA is with my editor and will soon be changed to Chasing Time series, Marissa. All newly edited and new scenes. Watch for it! The cover might change. Thanks for reading and I hope you join me again next month. Find me on Amazon author page, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email me at

Feeling tense? Why not chew gum....


Who hasn’t chewed gum?

I grew up doing the Teaberry shuffle, watching the Double-mint twins for Wriggly, and buying Bazooka to read the comics. But, did you know that gum has a link to Texas Independence?

We know of Santa Ana and the assault at the Alamo. From there he marched his troops toward San Jacinto where he was defeated by Sam Houston in an 18 minute battle. While Santa Ana escaped, he was captured the next day and held as a prisoner of war for several weeks. During this time, it was noted that “the prisoner” chewed a resin.

The resin was the sap of a sapodilla tree from Central America which the Mayan’s had long produced as a chewable gum called Tsictle. It is the basis for the word – Chickle.

In the year 1869 many stores sold chewable wax. (remember those chewable red lip candies or wax bottles with drink inside as a child???) It just so happens that in this year, Santa Ana, who had been given his freedom and returned to Mexico, tried to be a dictator in Mexico and was exiled, and found himself in New York to raise money for yet another army. His goal was to retake his place in Mexico. Instead, he met up with a man by the name of Thomas Adams.

Adams was a druggist and Santa Ana planned to sell his chickle as a substitute for rubber which was extremely expensive at this time. Adams, thinking he make a fortune, bought a ton but found he could not make a good substitute. Thinking he was a failure, he gave some to his son, Horatio.

Horatio took what he was given and made 200 balls of chickle which he took to a druggist who sold them two for a penny. By noon the supply had sold out. By 1871, Adams Chewing Gum was a viable company which sold gum under the name of Chicklets, Blackjack, and more.

What happened to Santa Ana? He died penniless.

Horatio Adams made a fortune – and the force the holds countless bleachers together was born. Something to think about when you are standing in line to pay for that gallon of gas. 


Until next month, 

Happy July.


Saturday, July 24, 2021

Pacific Coast Lighthouse Facts by Zina Abbott


This topic is quite a departure from my usual western adventures on the Great Plains or Rocky Mountains. This month, I am finishing up my book that is part of the Keepers of the Light series—a romance involving a  lighthouse. However, if we think about it, as much as people traveled to the West on wagon trains and railroads, there were many thousands who came by water.

Just as decades before the creation of the United States of America those who lived along the eastern coast recognized the need for lighthouses to warn ships from dangerous stretches of shoreline, the same held true on the Pacific coast. I was raised in California. I spent many weekends of my youth at beaches in San Diego and Orange Counties. I’m aware that, between the stretches of sandy beaches, there are large sections of rough, rocky shore—rock formations that often extend out into the ocean.

An example is the coastline near Crescent City, California, close to where the hypothetical town of Windward Cove in my book is set. Although Crescent City has a nice bay, not far away is some pretty rugged seascape.

Here are some lighthouse facts for the Pacific Coast. I am featuring only the earliest lighthouses built. Since I’m a California girl who spent my earliest years in San Diego County, I will start there and work my way north:

1855 – Old Point Loma at San Diego Bay had a steady light and no foghorn. It was replaced by a newer lighthouse in 1891

1874 Point Fermin Light in San Pedro, California (close to Los Angeles) opened with two women keepers. The U.S. Lighthouse Board was one of the few federal government departments in the 1800s that was open to women.

1855 Point Pinos Light in Pacific Grove, California – The first keeper died and his wife with 4 children carried on. It is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States.

1869 Santa Cruz Light, California – It was one of the California coastal lights allocated funding by Congress in 1850, only 19 days after California statehood. However, because of disputes over ownership of the land, construction did not proceed until 1868. The lightkeeper’s daughter succeeded her father as keeper.

1855 Point Bonita, California – It is located at Point Bonita at the San Francisco Bay entrance in the Marin Headlands near Sausalito, California. It had a fog cannon that fired every thirty minutes. A string bell replaced the cannon. It was the last manned lighthouse on the California coast.

1854 Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, California – It was the first lighthouse placed into operation on the Pacific coast. Built on an island in the San Francisco Bay, the island later became better known for the prison built there.

1856 Crescent City, California – Known as the Battery Point Light, this the most northerly of California’s lighthouses. It had a 45 foot stone house with a brick tower. It was located on a high tide island that was connected to mainland at low tide.

1866 Cape Arago Light, Oregon – This lighthouse was built in response to Coos Bay becoming a major shipping point on the Oregon coast. The island on which it was built was plagued by erosion issues. The lighthouse has been replaced twice.

Built in 1855 and lit in 1857 – Umpqua River Light – It was built next to the river.


1871  Yaquina Bay Light – This was built soon after the founding of the city of Newport, Oregon, on the north side of Yaquina Bay, which, at the time, was the busiest and most populated coastal port between Washington and California.

1856 Cape Disappointment Light - This was the first lighthouse built in the Pacific Northwest near the mouth of the Columbia River in Washington Territory.

1857 Cape Flattery Light – On Tatoosh Island, it is also known by this name. It is built within the Makah Indian Reservation near the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

There are numerous lighthouses along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the center of which serves as the boundary between the State of Washington and Canada. Below are a few of the older ones:

1861 Admiralty Head Light – it overlooks the Admiralty Inlet

1865 Ediz Hook Light – Built on a three mile long sandbar in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Port Angeles Air Station is now nearby. Private operators built fires near the tip of the spit starting in 1861.

1857 New Dungeness Light - this was the second lighthouse established in Washington Territory

1858 Smith Island Light

1858 Willapa Bay Light – This was originally known as the Shoalwater Bay Light.

My book, Lighthouse Escape, is Book 13 in the Keepers of the Light series. It currently on preorder. To read the book description and find the purchase link, please CLICK HERE.