Sandra Melville Hart shares a bit of History about Abilene, Kansas

In case you missed my previous posts my latest release is part of Smitten Historical Romance Collection: The Cowboys. I’m one of four authors in this collection that releases August 15th. Today I’ve asked Sandra Melville Hart, another author from the collection to give us a peek into her story Trail’s End setting.

Trail’s End set in Abilene

by Sandra Merville Hart

My brother married a Kansas girl and moved to that beautiful state soon after their marriage. On a family vacation to Kansas, we visited Abilene.

The town had been a wild Cowtown in its early days. Wild Bill Hickok was the marshal of Abilene in 1871. My sister-in-law had ancestors who lived there. One of them was friends with Wild Bill—what a surprise!

I learned a little history of the wild western town and wanted to learn more. Who knew that a family vacation would spark an idea for a future book? I had put aside my dream of writing years before. When my editor asked me to write a cowboy story set in the West, my imagination flew to Abilene.

Research held many surprises. The town was so wild that it had a hard time keeping a marshal. Some hired at breakfast left by suppertime.

When town leaders offered the position to Tom Smith, the lawman rode the streets. He then accepted the job on one condition—the cowboys had to be disarmed.

In 1870, Marshal Smith asked storekeepers, saloon-keepers, and hotel owners to post signs and collect their customers’ guns. His rule made the town a safer place.

This strong man so inspired me that I set my story in 1870 and gave him a small part in it. I love using actual historical characters in my stories. It brings them to life for me—and hopefully for my readers.

Sandra’s bio:

Award-winning and Amazon bestselling author Sandra Merville Hart loves to uncover little-known yet fascinating facts about our American history to include in her stories A Musket in My Hands, a Civil War romance where two sisters join the Confederate army with the men they love, is 2019 Serious Writer Medal Fiction Winner and a 2019 Selah Award Finalist. A Rebel in My House, set during the historic Battle of Gettysburg, won the 2018 Silver Illumination Award and second place in 2018 Faith, Hope and Love Readers’ Choice Award. Her debut Civil War Romance, A Stranger On My Land, was IRCA Finalist 2015. Her novella, Surprised by Love in “From the Lake to the River” is set during the 1913 flood in Troy, Ohio. Trail’s End, in “Smitten Novella Collection: The Cowboys” released August 15, 2019.

Find her on her blog, https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/.

Trail’s End Blurb

Wade Chadwick has no money until his boss’s cattle sell, so he takes a kitchen job at Abby’s Home Cooking. The beautiful and prickly owner adds spice to his workday. Abby Cox hires the down-and-out cowboy even though the word cowboy leaves a bad taste in her mouth. Just as she’s ready to trust Wade with her heart, money starts to disappear … and so does her brother. Buy link

Don’t forget I’m having a giveaway of $10 Amazon Card from one lucky commenter. Answer my question who’s your favorite cowboy or make any comment about cowboys you would like. The comment has to appear on the blog to qualify. You can go back to my blog post and Jennifer’s and post and read more about The Cowboys and have two more chances to enter. Thursday is release day Yahoo!! and I’ll have a repost from Award -winning author Linda W. Yezak the fourth contributor to our collection. That will give you one more chance to enter my giveaway.

 

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Cowboys, Cattle Drives and Romance

Today, I’m sharing more about the upcoming release of Smitten Historical Romance Novella Collection: The Cowboys, all four novellas feature adventure and fun romance with hunky cowboys. Jennifer Uhlarik, award- winning author and lover of all things western set her novella Being Brave on a cattle drive. It is so exciting and swoon-worthy. Jennifer is sharing her knowledge of all things cattle drive and more about our novella collection.

The Jobs on a Cattle Drive

One of the most enduring and iconic images of the Old West is the cattle drive—where cowboys moved several thousand cattle from Texas to a rail town in Kansas. There, the herd was sold and transported to stockyards in the east. This major undertaking happened yearly after the spring roundup, and typically, several ranches pooled their cattle into one large herd and hired men to drive them north. But what were the specific jobs or positions on a cattle drive?

 

Trail Boss—The head honcho of the outfit. This seasoned cattleman plotted the day’s course, including any breaks, watering holes, and the end-of-day campsite. He was also in charge of keeping track of the brands in the herd. Likewise, the Trail Boss’s job was to make decisions on how to handle injured animals, newborn calves, any strangers they came across along the trail, and mediate any disputes that cropped up among the crew.

 

Point Rider—The Point Man rode out in front of the herd, setting the pace for the day and acting to lead the herd in the direction the Trail Boss had told them to go. The Point Rider became the focal point for the herd, and everyone else followed after him. In larger drives, there might be two Point Riders.

 

Swing Riders—The Swing Riders were situated about one third of the way back in the line of cattle where the herd began to widen out. There would be one Swing Rider on either side of the herd. This position helped keep the herd bunched and also helped the Point Riders turn the herd as needed. The men riding Swing would constantly watch for any animals trying to make a break away from the herd. It was their job to catch them before they got too far away and turn them back in with the main group. If, for any reason, the point rider left his position, a Swing Rider would move up to lead until the Point man returned.

 

Flank Riders—Similar to the Swing Riders, these cowboys rode one on either side of the herd, although about two thirds of the way back. Their main job was to back up the Swing Riders and keep the herd from fanning out across too wide an area.

 

Drag Riders—This was the least desirable position in the cattle drive, often reserved for the greenest cowboys. The Drag Rider rode behind the herd, driving the back end of the herd to stay up with the front and rounding up any stragglers or strays who break free from the tail of the herd. The Drag Riders had the unfortunate daily experience eating the dust that the thousands of cattle in the herd kicked up.

 

Wrangler—The Wrangler was in charge of the remuda (or horse herd). An average cattle drive would require some 100 or more horses to keep the cowboys mounted and moving each day. The Wrangler’s job was to drive the horse herd along the day’s course, doctor any sick or injured mounts, as well as help with camp chores, such as collecting fuel for the fire, washing dishes after the meal, and the like.

 

Cook—The cook’s job was to provide the food for the crew each day. He rose hours early to prepare breakfast, then arrived at the evening campsite before the herd to start dinner preparations. In addition, he would cut the crew’s hair, act as a banker, help the Trail Boss mediate disputes, and most importantly, act as doctor for any health issues with the cowboys.

 

Average pay for those on the cattle drive were as follows: the Trail boss earned roughly $100-$120/month. The cook could count on about $60/month. And a typical drover (any of the other positions) would earn roughly $40/month. All were paid at the end of the trail after the herd was sold.

Coy Whitaker the hero of Being Brave.

This photo inspired the character of Aimee Kaplan

It was a load of fun to write about a cattle drive in my latest release, Becoming Brave, one of the four novellas in The Cowboys novella collection. In the story, cowboy Coy Whittaker stumbles across the lone survivor of a terrible attack, Aimee Kaplan, while moving his boss’s cattle through Indian Territory to Kansas. He and the crew band together to get Aimee to safety while defending against the outlaw gang who killed her family. In addition to my story are three other wonderful novellas by award-winning authors Cindy Ervin Huff (our host today!), Sandra Merville Hart, and Linda Yezak. Hope you’ll take a few hours to read these fun romances!

 

 

 

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has finaled and won in numerous writing competitions, and been on the ECPA best-seller list numerous times. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers, Women Writing the West, and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, college-aged son, and four fur children.

 

Buy Link:

https://www.amazon.com/Cowboys-Jennifer-Uhlarik/dp/194601690X

 

Cover Blurb:

The Cowboys

Taming the west—one heart at a time.

Healing Hearts by Cindy Ervin Huff
Lonnie Holt’s external scars remind him of his failures, his internal scars torment him. Genny Collins seeks safety at the ranch once owned by Lonnie’s uncle. When Lonnie and his brother arrive, sparks fly and distrust abounds. While Lonnie and Genny fight the love growing between them, his past haunts him, and her past pays them a visit.

Becoming Brave by Jennifer Uhlarik
When Coy Whittaker stumbles upon a grisly scene littered with bodies, he wants nothing more than to get his boss’s cattle out of Indian Territory. But when a bloodstained Aimee Kaplan draws down on him, his plans—and his heart—screech to a halt.

Trail’s End by Sandra Merville Hart
Wade Chadwick has no money until his boss’s cattle sell, so he takes a kitchen job at Abby’s Home Cooking. The beautiful and prickly owner adds spice to his workday. Abby Cox hires the down-and-out cowboy even though the word cowboy leaves a bad taste in her mouth. Just as she’s ready to trust Wade with her heart, money starts to disappear … and so does her brother.

Loving a Harvey Girl by Linda Yezak
Eva Knowles can’t imagine why the local preacher doesn’t like Harvey Girls—women who work serving tables instead of finding a husband and falling in love. But if Eva can get the handsome and wayward cowboy Cal Stephens to join her in church, maybe the reverend will accept the girls. Or maybe she’ll forfeit her job for a husband, hearth, and home!

Next week we’ll hear from Sandra Melville Hart and Linda W. Yezak as they share some historical tidbits about their stories. If you missed it here’s the link to my post about Healing Hearts, my novella in this collection. And don’t forget if you post below regarding your favorite cowboy you’ll be entered in a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card.

 

A Visit with My Favorite Novella Author Pegg Thomas

Illinois is having it’s first significant snowfall. This is a great time to cozy up with a good book. If you’ve never read a novella collection this is the perfect time to do it.  Each story can be read in a matter of hours. It’s the ideal companion with a hot beverage and a blanket. Today’s guests is one of my favorite novella writers,Pegg Thomas. I want ot pick her brain a bit about her newest project, The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides Collection. Welcome Pegg.

Pegg and Kathy Rouser 11-3-18 close up

Pegg Thomas and Kathy Rouser at a booksigning. If you’ve been followng me you read Kathy’s story a few weeks ago.

 

Pegg, you’ve been in several Barbour novella collections. I think I’ve read them all by the way. Why write in a novella collection?

I’ve written for four Barbour novellas so far, and have a couple more proposals out to them. I didn’t actually set out to write novellas, I more or less fell into the first one. I prefer to read full-length books myself, so these never crossed my radar until God put one right in my path. He has a way of doing those things. And thank you for being a reader!

How popular are they?

I wish I knew. I know the current release, The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides, has been on Amazon’s top 100 for collections and anthologies off and on for the past few weeks, even before it released. But I don’t get any stats from the publisher as to what’s selling off the shelves in other outlets.

 

GreatLakesLighthouseBrides

I enjoyed this collection so much. Not being from Michigan I loved visiting the lighthouses through these stories. I discovred some new authors to follow.

 

Tell us about The Great Lakes Lighthouse Bride Collection.

This collection is my “baby.” I wanted to showcase our Great Lakes, and so I came up with the idea, contacted the other authors, and put the proposal together. Many people told me that Barbour would only take prairie romances, but I wanted to try and the rest. . .as they say. . .is now history.

How did you come up with the idea? 

I was born in Michigan and have lived here almost my entire life. I love everything Great Lakes. Our historical lighthouses, many of which are open to the public in the summer months, have always held a special place in my heart. And really, is there a more romantic setting than a lighthouse on some distant shore? I think not.

What was it like to be in charge of the production?

Nerve-wracking. I’ve always been a take-charge, get-er-done kind of person, but suddenly I had six other authors depending on me doing a good job of selling this proposal to Barbour’s publication board. Yeah. That was a bit unnerving.

How did you choose your authors?

As with any collection, you want to put together the best authors you can. I started with authors who had some connection with the Great Lakes. My agent asked me to try to field the authors from our agency, which eliminated a couple I would have liked in the project, but I think we did wind up with a very strong cast of authors. I’m particularly happy that Candice Patterson is onboard with this project. Candice and I have been critique partners for more than six years, and she’s an awesome writer. I just had to convince her to take a stab at writing historical. She did a great job with it.

Other than the lighthouses was there any other connection between the stories?

When I contacted the authors, I left it up to them where they wanted to set their stories. We have five Great Lakes and they touch two countries and eight states. Everyone “claimed” their lighthouse so we didn’t wind up with two stories set at the same place. Our stories include three of the lakes, Michigan, Superior, and Huron, and each one is set in Michigan. That was totally by chance, not design, but of course being my home state, I love it. Since lighthouses were put where they are for a reason—dangerous areas to navigate—of course there are some shipwrecks in the stories too.

As with each of my releases, I’m giving away one of my signature handspun, handknit wool shawls. This shawl is called Beacon on the Bay in honor of our lighthouse stories. The only way to get into the drawing is to subscribe to my newsletter. The drawing will be November 30th.

 

Beacon on the Bay side-front 6-11-18

Here is the shawl she’s giving away. Beacon on the Bay was not only knitted by Pegg, she spun the yarn from her own sheeps. She’s a eral pioneer woman.

 

About Pegg:

Pegg Thomas lives on a hobby farm in Northern Michigan with Michael, her husband of *mumble* years. They raise sheep and chickens, keep a few barn cats, and Murphy the spoiled rotten dog. A life-long history geek, she writes “History with a Touch of Humor.” Pegg is published in the Barbour historical romance collections. Pegg also works as Managing Editor of Smitten Historical Romance, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. When not working or writing, she can be found in her barn, her garden, her kitchen, or sitting at her spinning wheel creating yarn to turn into her signature wool shawls.

 

Links:

Facebook 

Twitter

Goodreads

Pinterest

Google+

PeggThomas.com

Amazon

ColonialQuills

Stitches Thru Time

Before I go I promised to post the winner of Normandie Fischer’s newest novel  The Sea Prayers  in ebook today. The winner is cydnotter. Cydnotter please contact me at cindyhuff11 (at)gmail(dot)com to claim your prize.

If you stumbled across my blog this week and enjoyed it. I’d love to have you subscribe so you don’t miss fun interviews like this and other writerly stuff.

Kathleen Rouser and her Novella Collection experience

In the pass few years I’ve enjoyed reading novella collections. And this past summer I was asked to be part of one. Today I am interviewing Kathleen Rouser, who is part of a just released collection The Great Lakes Lighthouse Bride Collection. Barbour has had success with collections and this is another outstanding offering of novellas. I found the seven stories creative and fun and I learned some things about lighthouses. I thought it would be of interested to my readers to get Kathleen’s take on being part of a collection.

 Kathleen Rouser

Welcome Kathleen, tell us the pros and cons of being in a collection?

Pros: There is strength in numbers. It’s great to collaborate and have your name and stories attached to other authors in your genre. It’s nice to be able to work together and help each other out and it certainly helps with marketing to hopefully be able to reach more people.

Cons: You are limited with what you are writing about as you stick to a theme and/or certain area.

I ask the next question because I found it a struggle for me. How much of an adjustment was it to write a novella after writing two novels?

After writing two novels which were over 90,000 words long I was certainly concerned about the constraint of word count and developing the characters and plot fully enough.

However, I also figured that it would be much easier to get to a much shorter word count and should take less time.

Was it challenging to write to theme?

In some ways, yes. I only knew the basic story ideas of the other authors, so I figured our stories were all different enough. Being that my novella was tied to a lighthouse, I felt that it lends some romance to the story right away. People always seem to think of lighthouses as somehow romantic and mysterious, since they stand alone, on a beautiful shoreline.

How much research did you have to do?

I chose Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse because I’d been there many times and always thought it would be fun to write a story set there. Still, I toured the lighthouse again, climbed the many steps to the top of the tower to see the view, asked questions, bought a book about the lighthouse, and read what articles I could find.

How much control does the editor in a collection have over what you write?

I have been in one other collection with Prism Book Group, so this isn’t my first. I can only speak for my novella, but the editor was very specific in what rewriting she thought should be done and left alone the bulk of the story. She improved The Last Memory, no doubt, but without changing my voice.

I just finished a novella for a collection. I found the shorter deadline a bit daunting. How about you?

I was surprised at how quickly Barbour wanted it, but it was probably a good thing for me to have that deadline. Since my novels were much longer, I felt like it was a goal I could reach. However, I turned it in just the day before the deadline.

Would you write for a collection again?

I would love to if I have the chance.

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About the collection:

Lighthouses have long been the symbol of salvation, warning sailors away from dangerous rocks and shallow waters.
Along the Great Lakes, America’s inland seas, lighthouses played a vital role in the growth of the nation. They shepherded settlers traveling by water to places that had no roads. These beacons of light required constant tending even in remote and often dangerous places. Brave men and women battled the elements and loneliness to keep the lights shining. Their sacrifice kept goods and immigrants moving. Seven romances set between 1883 and 1911 bring hope to these lonely keepers and love to weary hearts.

Kathleen’s Contribution:

The Last Memory by Kathleen Rouser
1899—Mackinac Point Lighthouse
Natalie Brooks loses her past to amnesia, and Cal Waterson, the lighthouse keeper who rescues her, didn’t bargain on risking his heart—when her past might change everything.

More about Kathleen

Kathleen Rouser is the multi-published author of the 2017 Bookvana Award winner, Rumors and Promises, her first novel about the people of fictional Stone Creek, Michigan, and its sequel, Secrets and Wishes. She is a longtime member in good standing of American Christian Fiction Writers. Kathleen has loved making up stories since she was a little girl and wanted to be a writer before she could even read. She longs to create characters who resonate with readers and realize the need for a transforming Savior in their everyday lives.  A former homeschool instructor, mild-mannered dental assistant, and current Community Bible Study kids’ teacher, she lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of thirty-some years, and the sassy tail-less cat who found a home in their empty nest. Connect with Kathleen on her website at kathleenrouser.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kathleenerouser/, and on Twitter @KathleenRouser.

 

If you have any questions for Kathleen share them in the comments.

Tell me, readers, do you enjoy novella collection as much as I do? What was your favorite?

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