Saturday, February 6, 2016

Stagecoach Travel—Research for my current WIP

It's exciting to learn something new. In the last couple of weeks, I've spent a lot of time researching details on train and stagecoach travel in the 1890s. And about Pecos County in west Texas. Part of my story is set in Fort Stockton, and though I lived there for four years, I know very little about it's early history. Our public library has a set of the Pecos County History books so I spent a good deal of time reading through the first volume.

Here I am riding shotgun. (Picture at the top left)

Since my hero and heroine are traveling via stagecoach from Monahans to Fort Stockton, I'd like to share what their mode of transportation looked like inside. I had to search a long time to find a photo of the center seat. (See below) Imagine sitting there for 8-12 hours while traveling over rough terrain.

Prior to the teacup shaped Concord, coaches were boxy and had no leather braces. A long ride in one would be grueling, but I guess folks were tougher in those days. When vacationing in Colorado, my husband and I rode in a stagecoach for several miles. At first I sat inside the coach, but later joined the men on the top, the most comfortable seats on the coach, and it was nice. I could have traveled a long way from that seat.

The Concord coach, developed in 1827 by J. Stephen Abbot, had leather straps called thorough braces, which served as shock absorbers and allowed for a smoother ride. They were designed to hold, six, nine, or twelve passengers. Up to six people, including the driver, could sit on the top, if luggage didn't require all the space. Often mail was stored under passenger's feet if room elsewhere wasn't available.

Many, but not all coaches had the extra seat for two behind the driver, often used for guards, especially if they carried gold or mail. Some models had one at the back also. Coaches were 8 1/2 feet tall and weighed 1 1/4 tons. Imagine how heavy it would be loaded with passengers, luggage, and mail.

Passengers sitting on the center seat faced the front of the coach so six passengers were sharing leg room and their knees often overlapped. The only thing they had to help them stay balanced was a wide piece of leather stretched from one side one side of the coach to the other. Though the passengers which faced the rear of the coach received less dirt from the windows, the forward facing seat had more leg room and offered a better view.
This photo of Wells Fargo History Museum is
courtesy of TripAdvisor

    photo courtesy of                      

The number of miles a stage could travel in one day varied and was determined by terrain, availability of water, conditions of the road, and weather. If the coach became bogged down in mud, passengers unloaded to help push. Stops were between 15 to 30 miles apart, depending on the terrain and availability of water.

'"From Austin to the Alamo City, one old-timer later recalled, 'the trip was made in 18 hours with breakfast at the Blanco Creek, supper in New Braunfels and arrival at San Antonio sometime during the night, weather and floods permitting.' In wet weather, the 75-mile trip took the worst part of a week."

Long-haul stages usually ran overnight, while other routes had overnight accommodations. Stops were usually ten minutes to take on fresh mules and take care of personal matters. Often, a new driver boarded.

Sources for this post came from Texas Almanac -The Source For All Things Texan Since 1887: Stagecoaching in Texas.

My next post will be on stagecoach stands. Stands in a term I not heard used before so was excited to learn all about them. Hope to see you then!

Happy Reading and Writing!


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Boxed Set: Love, Come to Me for $.99 and a recipe —Pineapple Chess Pie

Shattered Vows is included in this boxed set of stories. Five great stories for $.99.

LOVE, COME TO ME is a wonderful collection of love stories from different time periods that is sure to make you long to read each one to the very end without interruption. Each story is heart wrenching in its own way, guaranteed to have you falling in love with the characters and the stories of their lives. Take a look! 

Read more about this set and get your copy at

Like chess pie? Lemon chess is my favorite but this is good also.

Pineapple Chess Pie

3 eggs, separated and beaten
1 scant but of sugar
1/3 C. butter
1 C. crushed pineapple drained slightly
dash of salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add three beaten yolks and beat again. Add pineapple and salt. Beat egg white into stiff peaks and fold into pineapple mixture.

Pour into 9 inch unbaked pie shell

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Lower to 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until firm and sightly browned.

If you try the recipe, let me know how you like the pie.

Don't forget to enter the Goodreads contest for Shattered Vows. I'm giving away 5 paperback copies. Click on the link in the right hand column.

Happy Reading and Writing!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Contest on Goodreads—5 copies of Shattered Vows

I'm giving away 5 paperback copies of Shattered Vows, my inspirational women's fiction, on Goodreads. The contest begins tonight, Jan. 9th at midnight and ends Feb. 13th. It is open to readers in the US, Canada, and UK.

Follow the link to the right.

I hope you'll enter.

Happy New Year and Happy Reading and Writing!


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Online Workshop: Trish Owens—Perfecting the Pitch: What Do Editors Really Want To Know About Your Book?

Sharing is welcome and appreciated.

Workshop Title: Perfecting the Pitch: What Do Editors Really Want To Know About Your Book?

Workshop Dates: January 11th - January 22nd 2016

Presenter Name: Trish Owens, Editor, The Wild Rose Press

Workshop description: Have you ever wondered what an editor looks for in your pitch or query letter? This in-depth class will teach you how to craft a compelling pitch and query letter. You'll learn how to create a catchy tagline and blurb as well as discuss the ins and outs of creating a short synopsis. Participants will receive feedback on the pitch materials they craft. Ms. Owens will accept pitches at the end of the workshop.

Presenter Bio: Trish Owens has worked with the Wild Rose Press since 2007 as an editor and enjoys reading all sorts of genres. What's better than a job that allows her sexy cowboys, historical hunks or alluring space aliens, all in one sitting? She loves conflict and character-driven stories with a strong romance element. When she's not reading or editing, she's a domestic goddess with chariot duties.

Cost: $25.00    

Please make your payment using the Paypal button    on the HOTRWA website online workshop page— It is very important that you follow these directions.

*** In the section for notes, put the NAME you'll be using during the workshop and the EMAIL where you want your invitation to be sent.

Pay $25.00 to the Heart of Texas RWA for online class—Perfecting the Pitch:  What do Editors Really Want to Know About Your Book. 
Cost for the Workshop is $25.00.

Please select the correct amount in the drop down column on the Paypal button.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Do You Like Vampires?—Welcome Shiela Stewart

Please welcome paranormal author Shiela Steward as she talks about her new release and shares the recipe for one of her family's favorite sweet treats.

Author Bio:

Raised on a rural farm in Saskatchewan, Canada, Shiela Stewart relied on her vivid imagination to fill her days. Never did she realize that her need to tell a story would someday lead to becoming a published author.

In the fall of two thousand and six, Shiela published her very first book and she hasn’t stopped since.
When not writing, Shiela spends time with the love of her life and biggest supporter, William. She enjoys doting on her children and granddaughter. She has a strong affection for animals which is evident in the five cats, one dog, plenty of fish and one turtle she owns.

Some of her other passions are home décor, crocheting and knitting.

Where to find Shiela:


An outcast by her kind, Trinity Ford has learned to live on her own..not an easy thing to do when you’re a vampire.

Trinity was once a fragile girl. Being taken by a powerful vampire prince changed her, Discovering him in the arms of another  woman changed destiny. Alone, she’s earned fast how to be tough, how to survive, and how to protect the people of her city from the evil that lurks in the dark. She was managing just fine, until Basil walked back into her life.

Basil Hawthorn has been the reigning prince of vampires since banishing his father to the Realm of Dark Mystics decades earlier, When a perfect dream makes him realize Trinity is at risk, he decides the only way to save her is to push her away. Doing so is not easy. Trinity is the only woman he has ever loved, ever will long and he can’t seem to let her go.

When rumors arise of a place to raise the king ad blot out the sun, both Trinity and Basil know they must do everything to stop it. Even if it means working together. Despite the betrayal and the threat, they find themselves drawn to each other. Love has no boundaries, especially in the face of danger. But will they be able to stop the ritual before it's too late?

Or will the darkness capture them both.

PG 13:

Trinity stood in the shadows and watched as a group of humans exited a local hangout called Buckeye’s Bar. It was a known pick-off for her kind. Most of the humans that came and went from the bar tended to leave through the back entrance which led to the alley. Then bam! You were vamp food.

People were so stupid. Why did they think they had their faculties in order when they plied themselves with alcohol? The brain was sluggish after several drinks and thus impaired their thought process.

So of course, stupid and drunk, they stumbled through the alley thinking themselves impervious to harm.

When would they learn?

Considering the past few weeks, it seemed as though the vampires were out in full force. Okay, so people didn’t want to believe there could actually be such a thing as a blood sucking half dead creature taking up residence in their city. But come on, one look in the newspapers and you had to at least be worried about all the dead bodies being found lately.

Still, people never believed it could happen to them. Until they end up dead.

She watched a group of young girls—and if they were of legal age, she would eat her shoes—stumble from the bar. They separated and two went off towards the street while the last wandered drunkenly down the dark alley.

Oh yeah, like this was going to end well.

“Five, four, three, two, one. Bam!” She shot her hand out just as a vampire jumped from out of the shadows and right beside the stupid young girl. Shaking her head, Trinity moved towards the screaming girl. Idiot.

“I don’t think you want to be doing that.”

The tall, gangly, greasy haired vampire jerked and spun around to face Trinity. His teeth were primed for the kill, his yellow eyes glaring at Trinity as if she were his next meal. The poor girl in his arms was wailing something awful.

Now you regret going through the dark alley.

“Yeah, says who?”

Trinity lifted a brow, cocked her body to one side and rested her hand on her hip. “Jesus, could you have said anything more lame?

Let the girl go and no one has to get hurt.” Okay, so that wasn’t completely the truth. He would be more than hurt when this was over.

He would be dust.

“How ‘bout I keep her and you wait against the wall until I’m done?” He jerked the girl towards him, yanking her head back to expose her neck. He was just about to bite down when Trinity placed a hand on his shoulder. He looked up and his face froze.

“How ‘bout I don’t.” Trinity bared her fanged teeth to show him she was not going to back off. “Beat it kid.” She clamped her hand on the vampire's shoulder, her nails digging into his flesh as she jerked her head at the girl. As she’d suspected, the guy was a wimp.

He released the girl who immediately ran off screaming.

“Now, you wanna take off, or am I going to have to mess up that pretty face of yours?” she asked sarcastically as she glared down at him.

“You couldn’t handle me, bitch.” He slapped her hand free, then curling his fingers in a fist, threw a punch at her face.

She was ready and ducked out of the way. Slicing her hand up, she chopped him in the neck, sending him crumbling on the ground. “You don’t want to mess with me, jerk,” she advised as she planted a booted foot on his jugular. The razor blades she had attached to the toe drew a small amount of dull gray, deoxygenated blood as she pressed it just below his chin
“Go ahead and dust him, he’s useless.”

Trinity glared over her shoulder at the man she had once been destined for and felt her heart ache. She couldn’t stop herself from admiring the beauty of the man before her. His long dark hair floated in the light breeze sweeping away from a face sculpted of fine bone and delicate skin. He looked so dark and dangerous in that long, black leather coat he always wore. One look into his translucent blue eyes turned her heart to mush.

Then she reminded herself how much she detested him.

To show she wasn’t a push over, Trinity pressed her foot harder, the razor blades cutting into the vampire’s neck. His arms flailed out, trying to yank her foot away from his neck. His legs kicked wildly, but Trinity had a good ten pounds on the scrawny vamp. Tilting her toe downward, she sliced deep into his neck, finally cutting his head off.

In a whoosh he disintegrated into a pile of dust, his last breaths used to scream his way to death.

She took a deep breath, shook the remnants of a useless life from her boot then turned. “Basil.”

“Trinity.” They stalked each other like the predators they were, neither taking their eyes off the other.

“You’re looking good.”

Her breath always caught in her throat when she looked into those icy blue eyes of his. Unlike the rest of her race that had yellow eyes,he had the color of his heritage. He was royal. “So are you, but you already know that.” She circled him, her eyes never leaving his. She knew how quick he could be, and she was prepared. “Was he one of yours?”

“Would I have cared if you dusted him if he was one of mine?” His hand slid to his pocket and he pulled the pack of cigarettes from his pocket. “How have you been?”

She rolled her shoulders, the itch still irritating her. “Better now that I left you.” And wasn’t it odd how acrid a lie could taste?

“I noticed you’ve had your belongings gathered from our home.”

“Your home,” she corrected, keeping her distance from him. She knew perfectly well being close to him would have dire repercussions.

“Have you settled into your apartment, then?”

He was being so nice, so civil. She didn’t like it. “Why are you here,

“I might ask the same of you, Trinity.” He lit the cigarette smoothly and the flame showed a devastatingly handsome face, with curves and lines and strength.

“I’m protecting the humans,” she remarked with an edge in her voice. “Always the warrior, my fiery princess.” He smiled sweetly as he drew long and hard on his cigarette, then smartly blew a ring of circles in the air. All without taking his eyes from hers.

“Don’t call me that.” She hated when he called her that. Okay, once upon a time hearing him call her that made her hot, but that was then.

This was now.

“It’s what you are and always will be to me.”

Eat more Bars

Every year at Christmas I make a favorite for my kids and families. If I don’t, I get plenty of complaints and sad faces. This is a recipe I found in an old cook book, and I decided one year to give it a try. It was as if I had made heaven in a bar. Everyone loved them. LOL 
Now, this doesn’t have to be a holiday treat. You can make it any time of the year.
What recipe am I talking about? Its Eatmore Bars. If you have peanut allergies than this isn’t a recipe you’ll want to try.

What you will need is:

2cups brown sugar
2cups corn syrup
3table spoons of cocoa
2cups chocolate chips
4cups chopped peanuts.
Mix the first four ingredients together in a pot and heat until boiling. Remove from heat and add in chocolate chips. Once melted, add the nuts.  Press into a large cookie sheet. Let cool before cutting.
There you go. It’s a simple recipe. I hope you enjoy them.

They sound yummy Shiela and since they have peanut butter in them, they're nutritious, right?

Do you have a question for Shiela? If so, leave a comment.

Thank you stopping by.

Happy Reading and Writing