Sunday, February 27, 2011


Only two Native Americans on either side of the States’ War rose to the rank of brigadier general. Standhope Watie (Uwatie), fighting for the Confederacy, was one of those two. Yet, what makes this accomplishment so incredible is the fact that while he was fighting for the Confederate States of America, he was also fighting other Cherokee tribal leaders who held opposing political views and very different visions for the Cherokee nation.

Stand Watie commanded the Confederate Indian Cavalry of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi. While the cavalry unit was comprised mainly of Cherokee, some Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole tribal members also served.

Born in Oothcaloga in the Cherokee Nation, State of Georgia, Uwatie (or Oowatie) was also known as Isaac. He was educated in a Moravian mission school. In his early adulthood, he occasionally wrote articles for the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper. The State of Georgia confiscated Cherokee lands in 1832 when gold was discovered, including the thriving plantation owned by Stand’s father and mother. Stand and his brothers, part of the powerful Ridge-Watie-Boudinot faction of the Cherokee council, stood in favor of the Cherokee Removal. Their signing of the Treaty of New Echota facilitated the removal of the Cherokee people to Indian Territory—what is now Oklahoma.

Another faction of Cherokees following John Ross refused to ratify the treaty signing. This segment was known as The Anti-Removal National Party. Members of this group targeted Stand Watie and his brother, Elias Boudinot, along with their uncle, Major Ridge, and cousin, John Ridge for assassination. Stand was the only one who survived the assassination attempt. Although Watie’s family had left Georgia before the forcible removal of all Cherokees in 1838, another brother, Thomas, was murdered by Ross’s men in 1845.

In October, 1861, Watie was commissioned as colonel in the First Mounted Cherokee Rifles. Besides fighting Federal troops in the States’ War, his men also fought opposing factions of Cherokee, as well as Seminole and Creek (Muscogee) warriors who supported the Union.

In 1862, Stand Watie was elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, through dissension continued among John Ross’s supporters.

On June 15, 1864, Watie’s troops captured the Federal steamboat J. R. Williams on the Arkansas River off the banks of Pleasant Bluff near Tamaha, Indian Territory. The next morning, Colonel John Ritchie’s men, who were stationed at the mouth of the Illinois River near where the two rivers met, engaged Watie’s men as they attempted to confiscate the cargo. The river was rising, and they fought to a standoff. When Watie learned of the advance of Union troops from Fort Smith, Arkansas, (within about 40 miles), he burned the ship and much of the remaining cargo, then sank it.

Watie surrendered a year later in June of 1865, the last Confederate general to lay down his arms.

In my debut novel, Fire Eyes, I weave this bit of history into my plot. The villain, Andrew Fallon, and his gang have come upon the site where the J.R. Williams was sunk four years earlier. Fallon speculates there could have been gold aboard, and sets his men to dive for it. As mercurial as his temper is, none of them dare question his order. Here’s what happens:


“Damn! I know where we are.” Dobie Perrin said.
Andrew Fallon turned in the saddle, glaring at Perrin, the afternoon sun dappling them through the leaves of the thick canopy of trees. “So do I, you idiot! So do we all, now.”

The secluded cemetery sat on a bluff, overlooking the Arkansas River. They had been wandering for two days, ever since retracing their steps to the first small creek they’d come to. The one Fallon felt sure would give them their bearings. Now, at last, he recognized where they were. He’d figured it out ten miles back.

“Tamaha,” Denver Rutledge muttered. “I was raised up over yonder.” He inclined his head toward the riverbank. “Over in Vian.”

“Then why didn’t you know where we were?” Fallon’s anger surged. “I am surrounded by idiots!”

“I shore ’nuff shoulda known, General,” Rutledge said apologetically. “Right yonder’s where we sunk the J.R. Williams. Rebs, I mean. Stand Watie’s bunch.”

Fallon jerked his head toward the other man. “Right where, soldier?”

Rutledge kneed his horse, coming abreast of Fallon. “Why, right yonder, General. It was in June of ’64. She was a Union ship, the Williams was.”

“What was she carrying?”

Rutledge shrugged. “Don’t rightly know. Supplies, maybe.”

“Payroll? Gold?” Fallon fingered his curling moustache. “Could be anything, eh, Rutledge? But the Yankees were known to cache their gold profits in casks. Maybe that’s what the J.R. Williams was carrying. Casks that weren’t really supplies, but were filled with gold.”

“Could be, I ‘spect.” Rutledge’s voice was hesitant.

Fallon nodded toward the river. “I think maybe we’ll try to find out.”



“What’s he doing, Tori?” Lily whispered. She moved closer to her sister. The night had turned colder, and the girls’ clothing was becoming threadbare and ragged.

Tori shook her head. “Fallon’s plumb crazy, Lily. Making his men dive for that ship! What’s he think he’s going to do if he finds it? Pull it up with his bare hands?”

“Or a rope, maybe,” Lily said innocently.

Tori didn’t say anything. She reminded herself that Lily was, after all, only eight years old. And she, at eighteen, knew how the world worked much better than little Lily did. At least Lily had stopped crying all the time. Now, Tori wasn’t sure if that was an improvement.

Lily sometimes scared her, the way her eyes looked hollow. Like there was no feeling left in her. Tori had no mirror, but her little sister looked like she herself felt. Older than she should be. And sad. But Lily didn’t seem to be afraid any longer, and Tori supposed that was a good thing.

Tori knew what Fallon intended to do with her and Lily. But the initial shock and fear of Fallon’s intent was overshadowed by other things that had actually happened. The violent deaths of their parents and younger brother, the endless days of riding with scant food and water, the bone-deep weariness that never let up, not even when she slept on the hard ground at night next to Lily.

She was responsible for Lily, now that her parents were gone. She squared her thin shoulders, her gentle eyes turning hard for a moment. She would protect her sister, no matter what.

Tori watched as Fallon ordered three of his men back into the water yet another time. Even if they could see what they were diving for, it would be too deep to reach. But the scene helped Tori realize just how unstable Andrew Fallon was. Once or twice, she’d caught herself thinking he was almost a nice man. He’d brought her and Lily a blanket one cold night. And he’d given them extra rations another time. But she knew he was not nice, not even sane.

Evil, was what Andrew Fallon was. Evil, and most insane.

She watched him, posturing and screaming at his men, who were so terrified of him that they were making fools of themselves trying to dive for an unreachable goal, a ship that may contain treasure, but just as well may not. A vessel that was impossible to get to, all the same. Especially in the pitch-black night. Lily leaned against her, her weight heavy with sleep. They sat beside a tree, their backs propped against the rough bark. The night was cool, and Tori had drawn the blanket close around them. She sagged against the tree trunk, her arm around her little sister, as Lily’s eyelids drooped.

FIRE EYES and other Cheryl Pierson short stories and novels are available through The Wild Rose Press here:

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Chaparral, or Roadrunner
not a cartoon character
Lions and tigers and bears, oh, my! Animals often appear to menace our characters or at least to give color to our novels. As readers and writers, we want the animals in the novels we read to be realistic.
When we write or read about the Southwest, our characters often encounter annoying critters on four legs as well as those on two legs. I wanted to post some of these because I've had people from other areas ask what a parricular thing was--a chaparral, for instance. When I explained they were commonly called a roadrunner, she said, "Oh, I thought that was only in cartoons. You mean there really is a roadrunner?" Yes, there is, and in fact one lives in our orchard. Others doubt that a particular animal, the Mexican black panther, for example, actually makes it as far north as North Texas.  As an eyewitness, they do!

Wily Coyote, also real
Another creature we hear far more often than we see them is the coyote. As so-called civilization encroaches, coyotes become more aggressive. You may remember reading about a young Canadian author who was attacked and killed by a pack of coyotes while she was on a hike not that far from her home. In the area of North Central Texas in which I live, we've only seen lone coyotes. Usually sightings are early morning, but we hear them from their dens under the train track a half-mile and further away.

Glen Rose (Texas) Gray Wolf
Along the same avenue is the repopulation of wolves in Texas, as we learned from Jeanmarie's post. The Texas Gray Wolf became extinct in the 1960's, but wolves are now being reintroduced in natural areas. Ranchers are not happy about this, and I can understand their anger. On the other hand, I hate to see any species go extinct. But then, I'm one of those weird tree-huggers--NOT the militant type, just privately. And I wouldn't mind if things like fire ants and poisonous snakes and mosquitoes were extinct. Not a bit!

Javelina--does "Ugly" come to mind?

We have all heard of javelinas, especially if you're from Arkansas where the Razorback is the mascot of one of the universities. I always picture them as a red cartoon like the university symbol, but the real animal is ugly as mud and meaner than you can imagine. They roam in small packs or herds--whichever is the term for swine. One of the new developments is the plague of feral formerly domestic hogs destroying crops and pastures. These also are dangerous, and authorities encourage hunters to shoot the feral animals--being careful they're not targeting some farmer's swine.

Mexican Black Panther
Here's one animal I've been accused of making up. Years ago a friend was deer hunting on Thanksgiving weekend. Her deer stand was under a large tree, and she was sitting there freezing when leaves drifted down on her. She heard a loud noise, like a kitten purring, but magnified a hundred times. She looked up, and a black panther perched in the tree overhead. Needless to say, she panicked. Moving slowly, she climbed down from the stand and sidled away. As soon as she was in her pickup, she called Parks and Wildlife to report the sighting. The Ranger told her the animal was a Mexican black panter and she was lucky the cat had already feasted on a rancher's calf further down the creek. [*Note* I've included this in one of my works in progress. LOL] Last year, our neighbors lost their elderly dog to a black jaguar who looked like a black leopard. The coat was black with darker spots in the pattern of a leopard or jaguar.

Cougar, also called Mountain Lion
 Two years ago, our nearest neighbor, a woman rancher who raises black angus cattle, was training blackberry vines on the side of her farm tank. When she reached the top of the bank, she looked across the tank and met the gaze of a large cougar. She froze, and the cougar lowered into the grass and disappeared. She never saw where it went. Another friend who walks each morning stopped to admire a herd of deer grazing as sunlight hit the meadow. While she watched, a cougar took down one of the deer. Now she walks on her treadmill and/or later in the day. LOL

Red Fox--Don't let
cute fool you
Before we wised up and kept our cats permanently in the house, we had a lovely orange tabby named Tiger who had kittens on our patio. I was talking with her when a red fox sneaked up, grabbed a kitten, and took off into the orchard. Tiger screamed so loud I would have thought she was a cougar, and we both took off after the fox. Tiger lasted longer on the chase than I did, and those who know me won't be surprised at that. I run like a duck, a very slow duck. Until then, I had no idea kittens were vulnerable to foxes.

Black Bears are edging into East Texas

My eldest daughter lives in East Texas and is a Master Gardner who also works closely with the County Extension agents. Recently they have received warnings that black bears are moving into their area as the woods of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma are being cut. One more critter to contend with.
One day I took home from our church women's meeting a very nice lady who no longer drives. We sat in her drive finishing a conversation when a Bobcat walked by. Unsure I was really seeing a Bobcat, I asked her. She said the bobcat comes by about once a day. Her home borders a very wilderness-like canyon area so I suppose the bobcat felt unthreatened. He was not huge, really not much bigger than our large house cat, Sebastian, but I wouldn't have wanted the bobcat angry with me. Hmm, I wouldn't want twenty-pound Sebastian angry with me either. :/

Siberian Tiger grooming
As a side note, are you aware that there are more rescued tigers in captivity in Texas than there are in the wild? Sad but true. Some of the "rescue" places are humane and some are not. Most of the tigers are from people who acquired them illegally then had to turn them over or have them confiscated. Tigers, while cute little kittens, make huge pets that require a lot of food, space, and care. My friend Dee Stuart has written a great mystery novel about a veterinarian who rescues tigers and I'm eager for her to have it published. She did a lot of research, which is how I learned about the tigers. There are different species and coloration.

There are many other interesting animals in the Southwest, but I'll save them for another day or another person to post. Let me leave you with this photo that I love. I don't know who took the photo, but he has a much better camera than mine. Here's a red-winged blackbird hitching a ride on a red-tailed hawk.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Saloon and Brothel Tokens

I'm Sandra Crowley, writer of contemporary romantic suspense. So, what am I doing as a member of this blog that specializes in The Wild West, The Old West, the just plain but still fascinating west? Well, I live in Colorado. My stories take place in various western states. John Wayne is my favorite actor. LOL OK, maybe that's hokey, but I don't care. I'm a half a bubble off plumb, and I like it that way. That's why my husband wasn't the least bit surprised when I bought three saloon/brothel tokens years ago.

Experts say that beginning in the 1700s and lasting through the early 1900s, when prohibition halted legal activities at saloons, establishments in the western United States, through the Yukon territories, and into Alaska minted their own currencies known as saloon tokens. Born out of the barter system necessary within those raw lands these tokens are prized collectibles now. 
How could I afford three valuable "coins?" Well, my tokens belong in the fantasy, or reproduction classification. They're usually more explicit or bawdy in their claims. Prices for fantasy tokens offered on eBay run from a dollar or two up to ten. What they actually sell for is a good question. We keep ours as conversation pieces. They’re usually in our guest bathroom by the sink for the observant to discover and comment upon.
A real token would fetch a price somewhere in the hundreds or higher. Some have holes in the middle, are octagonal shaped, or even scalloped edged besides the mundane round my fake ones are. Most have a tender value listed: 12 ½ cents equaled one bit or the price of one drink. When a saloon patron paid real cash for his whiskey or “service”, the owner returned change in the form of the tokens he had made himself or had forged. This ensured the customer returned to his place of business since other establishments accepted only their privately minted “change.” Because of this non-monetary value, they are considered exonumia which also includes military medals, commemorative coins, and personal tokens like those used to identify group affiliations such as the Freemasons.
Why were saloon or brothel tokens needed in the Old West? Money couldn’t travel with the ease and speed of our current banking systems. Banks sent money on stage coaches or by Pony Express riders, time consuming adventures. As trains took their places, delivery became easier, quicker but still suffered delays and outright robbery that could cause disaster for a business owner caught without funds. Especially when increased westward travel of the poor and penniless further shortened circulation of money.
Another reason was that saloons and brothels clustered around mining camps. Mine owners hired workers, allowed them to buy supplies from the company owned stores, and then deducted those amounts from the miner’s wage. This system is called payment by scrip. Its popularity curtailed the flow of legal tender (dollars and cents) in mining communities. Some of you may remember one of my favorite songs, Sixteen Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford. Its chorus describes this vicious circle. “You load sixteen tons, what do you get, Another day older and deeper in debt, Saint Peter don’t you call me ‘cause I can’t go, I owe my soul to the company store.”
So, saloon and other business owners did what was necessary for their survival; they minted their own tokens for their customers to use in exchange for goods and services. That kept their money out of the control of the greedy mining companies.
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Old West economics. Happy Ridin' 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The TEXAS SAGA continues....

Years ago, I wrote a Western Historical Romance titled TEXAS BLUE. The heroine was Marilee Weston, a young woman who had a five-year-old daughter and lived in isolation in the East Texas Piney Woods. Her father had banished her...and she was trapped. There was no way out.
A tracker named Buck Cameron found her, and following the instructions he'd been given, he talked her into leaving with him and going to Nacogdoches to the west. 
TEXAS BLUE was a finalist in The Romance Studio Best Historical of 2010, and received numerous glowing reviews.

Sometime later I wrote a sequel titled TEXAS PROMISE. This story is about Marilee and Buck's little daughter, Josephine, now grown-up and ready to tell her story.

An excerpt from TEXAS PROMISE, a Western Historical romance.
As he sat and attempted to form some sort of resolution concerning how to get on with her without giving in to how he really felt, the subject of his thoughts swung up into her saddle and raced off down the street.

Dalton spurred into action. Almost toppling his chair over, he grabbed his hat, threw a coin on the table, and ran out the door. His limp slowed him some, but not so much that he couldn't move fast enough. All in one motion, he swung into the saddle and kicked his horse into a gallop. He caught her quickly, for his big stallion could outrace her gelding any day of the week. The first thing he noticed was the gun belt strapped around her hips, and the holster holding a Colt 44.

He reached out and grasped the bridle on her horse, and slowed him by force to match his own horse's gait. They came to a stop, and she viciously turned on him.

"You leave me alone!" she yelled. "Turn right around and go on back to where you came from! In fact, why don't you run away again? No, no, I'll run away this time. You can be the one left behind. I won't allow that to happen to me again. First, I was an abandoned bride, and then I was a lonely widow. Now, I'll be a... I'll be what I want to be. And, and--" Her tirade stopped, as though she'd run out of words or thoughts.

"Are you finished?" he asked quietly. "I'm not going to run away, as you put it."

"We're finished, Dalton. Things are so wrong and so bad between us that I can't even inquire about your health. That's my right as a dutiful wife, but you don't see me in the role of a loving, caring mate. You never have and you don't now. I can only believe that you never will."

The silence between them matched the silence of the wide-open spaces. Neither had any appropriate words to say. So, they sat on their horses, pointed in the same direction, but in reality, going in opposite ones.

Dalton felt a chill creep in his belly, and he tasted panic rising in his throat.
BUY LINK: EPUB, HTML,LIT, PDF, PRC (OR go to KINDLE Store on Amazon.) 

*TEXAS PROMISE: The Cameron Sisters-Book I
*Love Romances Café-Best Historical Romance 2010-Honorable Mention
*The Romance Studio-Five Hearts
*Love Western Romance-Four Spurs
*Sherry Gloag, Reader-Five Hearts
*Steph Burkhart, Reviewer-Five Hearts

COMING IN APRIL: TEXAS TRUE, the younger daughter True's story.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Special Guest TANYA HANSON

Greetings "Sweethearts of the West" and Friends—I have the pleasure of introducing a very talented Western Historical author, Tanya Hanson. She lives on Central California’s coast with her firefighter husband. She gives of her precious time making friends with the horses at the California Coastal Horse Rescue         
where she volunteers cleaning stalls. She says her two grown-up kids are the best thing she’s ever done, and she’s the besotted gramma of a four-year old little boy. Tanya's career as a high school English teacher helped her hone her writing skills; pioneer ancestors, college days in Nebraska and Colorado, and childhood TV Westerns led her to find a home writing stores set in the West, both historical and contemporary inspirational.
Welcome, Tanya! We've been looking forward to your visit. Besides cleaning out horse stalls and playing grandmother, what else are you involved in? I know it's something to do with writing.
Absolutely. Last fall, the release of Redeeming Daisy, my second inspirational contemporary novella in the Hearts Crossing Ranch series, came right on the boot heels of my western historical Marrying Mattie. Since both heroes, some 130 years apart, are horse doctors, I reckoned I’d look into veterinary history a bit.
Okay. Long ago, the caretakers of the horses of the ancient Roman army were called “veterinarii”. The term itself derives from the Latin root for “beast of burden.” The first veterinary school was founded in Lyon, France, in 1762.
But in colonial America, words like “veterinarian,” horse doctor, or even “animal doctor” weren’t part of the vocabulary. For the colonists, animal disease was surrounded by mystery, superstition and ignorance—pretty much the same as for human ailments. Simple cures were largely unknown, because even  physicians had little information on bacteria and anatomy.  Often a sick horse was tended by a herdsman or farrier (blacksmith) with roots, herbs, and often witchcraft.  The prevailing and unfortunate creed was—the more it hurt, the better it must heal.
By the early 1800’s, professional veterinarians, most of them graduates of the  London Veterinary College founded in 1791, began migrating to America’s cities. Without suitable veterinary schools here, young men apprenticed with these professionals and went on to become animal doctors. There were also medical doctors who used their knowledge of humans to treat animals, and other doctors who served both “man and beast.”
On the frontier, most animal doctors were self-taught, like Call Hackett in Marrying Mattie. He has studied science at university level and reads treatises by such as William Youatt extensively. He performs necropsies when he can in a small lab he has set up in a shed on his land.

Back in the 1800’s, books and pamphlets on horse medicine helped spread knowledge. The first surgical anesthesia upon a horse was performed in London in 1847 and helped advance animal surgery in America.

 Prior, surgical techniques were rarely attempted on horses: forcible restraint and terrible anguish were just not pleasant for anybody, especially the animal.
Fun Fact: Dr. A.J. Chandler, a veterinarian who graduated with honors from Montreal Veterinary College at McGill University, left a successful practice in Detroit to come to Arizona in 1887 to set health standards for the growing cattle industry.
Fun Fact: Dr. Mignon Nicholson, Class of 1903 at McKillip Veterinary College in Chicago, is the first known female veterinarian.  Because of their smaller size, though, women were not usually accepted as large animal doctors.
One Important Final Fun Fact: Dr. M. Phyllis Lose, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School in 1957, is credited as the first female “horse doctor.”
Readers, you can purchase Marrying Mattie at:
You can Purchase Redeeming Daisy at:
And you can find Tanya at:
Blurb and Excerpt from  Marrying Mattie, second in the Paradise Brides series.
Blurb: Call Hackett knows everything abour horseflesh and nothing about women, yet he's managed to snare beautiful Mattie Carter's heart.  With their wedding coming up and him nervous and inexperienced, his beautiful bride manages to ease his worries in just the right way.
Mattie Carter, betrayed by her wealthy husband back home, seeks a new life with the handsome horse doctor she's promised to wed. But  her ex  halts their vows, claiming to the whole church she's still his wife. Can she regain Call's trust? And can the two of them find out the truth? 
     Her voice had grown deeply serious, too serious, and her  glorious eyes clouded over.
     Not sure what to say, he fiddled with the cushions. The high-backed bench wasn’t the most comfortable thing, but piled with pillows, it served well enough. Soon as he could afford it, he’d order her something soft and upholstered.
     Call couldn’t wait to get close to her, to let her warmth and scent cover him. Kiss her. He’d done that plenty of times and his technique seemed to please her. Maybe the rest of it would go all right. But right now, she seemed stiff, not quite welcoming, and his heart began to thump with dread.
     “What’s wrong, Mattie?” He had to know.
     Her forehead crinkled even more. “What’s wrong?  We’re meant to be together, Caldwell Hackett. I wore this dress tonight to remind you of that day we met. I knew from that moment on my heart was yours. My soul, too.”
     Despite the sticky summer evening, she wore the exquisite dark green velvet gown he’d remember until the end of his days. A pretty sheen of moisture glazed her upper lip and made it more kissable.
     He shrugged against the hard back. “I knew it, too.”
    “Then what’s changed? Something’s different these last few days.” Mattie’s voice trembled. “Caldwell, are you having second thoughts?” She grasped both his hands, tight, and her despair broke his heart.
     “Oh, no. No, my dearest darlin.’” He draw her close like he’d never let her go. Even through her thick velvet, her breasts merged with his chest, and his manhood raged. His stomach churned the same time as his heart pumped wildly. His bridal night couldn’t come soon enough yet he wanted it to hold off. What if he ruined everything?
     She pulled back from him a little. Seeing her eyes misting, Call took a deep breath. To ease her fears, he needed to let it out now. But he had to look away for her troubled gaze.
     “I want tomorrow night to be perfect,” he said, low. “But I fear I’ll disappoint you.”
     “Disappoint me?  We discussed this, love. I don’t want a fancy hotel room. I want our wedding night to be right here. In our very own house.”
     He fidgeted against her, but it had nothing to do with the hard wooden bench. “Mattie, I’ve never…I’ve never had a woman. It’ll be my first time.”
     For a while she was quiet, dead quiet, then she smiled. “Is that all? Sweetheart, it’ll be my first time, too.”  
     She cuddled closer than ever “With you.”
*****Remember, Tanya will give away an electronic copy of Marry Mattie to one lucky reader!
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas

Thursday, February 17, 2011


"Wolves of West Texas"

Guardian of Her Heart, by Claire Adele, released February 10

Tormented private investigator Mike Wolfson has a killer to catch. Hidden family secrets, including his shape-shifter side, alienate him from the one woman he's always wanted. Stunning child crisis center director Melissa Haven is threatened by the evil underworld of his greatest enemy. Mike must protect her from kidnappers without revealing his dark reality.

Melissa's always believed Mike's wealth and her middle class status kept them apart. Finally together, they can no longer deny their feelings. Daring and determined, she welcomes his tempting caresses as hidden passions ignite. She never expected to share hot erotic pleasures with Mike.
As Mike protects the woman he's always loved from mortal danger, can he reveal his heart-wrenching secret, or will the truth lose her love forever?
A Siren Erotic Romance
Story excerpt follows:
“Let’s sit in here while dinner cooks,” she said and led the way to the living room.
She settled in the middle of the couch and crossed her long legs. He welcomed the chance to sit next to her.
He cleared his throat. Later, Wolfson, if you’re very lucky. “Even though I don’t want to and I expect you don’t either, we need to talk about this guy and his goons who attacked you.” He wiped one hand over his eyes. “You’ll need better security at the shelter. I don’t like the thought of him showing up again.”
“I can’t afford another security guard at the shelter, but I’ll ask the one I have to walk with me to my car in the evening when I leave.” Her eyes revealed her trust in Mike. Her lips curved up in a warm smile.
He wished he could hold her heart-shaped face with his hands and kiss her freckled nose, her full lips. Feel those lips on him.
“Good. That’ll help, but until we catch those guys, you need to have someone follow you home. I’ll do that. Juan and Derek have been investigating this gang for over a year. If you’ll call the police to make a report about what happened tonight, it’ll help them build a case. The sooner we put these guys in jail, the better.”
She slowly snuggled up to Mike’s side. “I recognized the father of the boy as a troublemaker from our high school days. It’s been a while.”
“I remember him, too,” Mike said and urged Melissa closer to him. “In high school, he thought it was fun to pick on kids who were smaller or younger than he was. Now, he uses women to make money.”
Mike clenched his jaw. He should have taken Tito down tonight. He shouldn’t have let him get away.
She smoothed her soft fingers over his hand. “The little boy’s mother signed their last name as Gonzalez.”
“Yeah. Tito Gonzalez.” A rogue werewolf with a dangerous pack. “He owns an apartment building near downtown. He and his gang live there. The police have a detective checking out the place, but so far, from what I’ve heard, he hasn’t found any conclusive evidence to prove human trafficking. The apartment is handy for prostitution, under the guise of a massage parlor, as well as meetings with those looking for free illegal labor. Maybe the boy’s mother can give you some info that would help with the case.”
“I’ll see if she wants to talk about him, but I’m not going to badger her. She came to the shelter for rest and protection. I won’t cause her more distress.”
Mike smiled at the protective tone of Melissa’s voice. “I won’t ask you to. If she closes up, let it go. We’ll find some other way to arrest these guys.”
Anger and determination made his blood boil. The thought of Melissa being hurt by Tito and his gang tempted the dangerous side of Mike with the urge to tear their throats out.
Melissa was the most beautiful, generous woman he’d ever known. Her dark hair fell in waves around her delicate face. He pushed a tendril back as he gazed into her blue eyes.
Her familiar, sweet scent tempted the primal force raging through his veins. He must control it now and always. She would run from him if she knew he was more than human.
Claire Adele
Many werewolf stories take place in Canada or near the northern border of the USA. Of course, that makes sense because most North American wolves range in the northern states and in Canada. But what about the Mexican Gray wolf? Shown below, the Mexican wolf is being returned to the states of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, where it roamed years ago before its numbers were depleted. With the help of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Federal, State, and Tribal partners, the Mexican Gray wolf is making its way back.

A few years ago, my husband and I drove along an unpaved road in the desert toward one of our favorite places to picnic. Crossing the road well ahead of us trotted a large reddish-brown canine, too large and of a different color than a German Shepherd dog. Late one night recently, I heard the howl of a wolf near our neighborhood home in the foothills. There are often sightings of mountain lions in our foothill neighborhoods, so it's not surprising that a wolf or two might be lurking as well. My hope is that they find good hunting in the mountains and desert outside the city. Their ancestors have ranged the entire length of the Americas in the past.

Check out
for more information, and additional photos of the Mexican Gray wolf.

Have you seen a wolf recently? If you have, was it roaming free?

I always give away a copy of one of my books to a member of my newsletter which you can sign up for on my web site at

Guardian of Her Heart, by Claire Adele

Siren BookStrand
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Roughneck Heroes

New release--Roughneck Cowboy *Men of the West* (Feb 2011) by Marin Thomas

Blood Is Thicker Than Oil
When his mom passed, roughneck Travis Cartwright thought he’d lost the only family he and his daughter Charlie had. That is until he discovers an estranged father and siblings living just a few hours away. They might be strangers, but they’re blood; and Travis needs to protect Charlie should tragedy strike at his dangerous job.

Dominick Cartwright offers his son more than peace of mind. He gives Travis a new job, a place to live, and a side project--to convince Dominick’s stubborn neighbor, Sara Sanders, to sell her ranch. Travis is confident he can smooth talk the plain-Jane teacher into selling quickly; but there’s more to Sara than meets the eye. Soon Travis loses sight of his mission…and his heart.

As their relationship grows, they uncover painful family secrets, and Dominick’s real motives. Then, the sparks fly!

Romantic Times Magazine ★★★★
The question in this romantic family tale that is both witty and realistic is whether the couple can overcome the shadows of their parents’ mistakes to find their own happiness.—Pat Cooper

Why a Roughneck for a contemporary romance hero? These rough and tumble men have always fascinated me. These guys don't flinch when hot oil splatters their hard-hats or drips down the back of their necks. Their duties on the "rig" consist of pulling cables, chains and thongs around the platform for eight to twelve hours per shift. They work in terrible weather conditions on rigs in the middle of the ocean or rigs in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma. They're risk-takers by nature and genuinely fearless individuals. While researching material for my story I learned some fascinating facts about Oklahoma.

The setting for Roughneck Cowboy is outside Tulsa in the fictional town of Tulapoint, OK. The oil history of this state dates back to 1859 when oil seeps, known to Indians as "Medicine springs" were discovered in Indian Territory. The first unintentional oil find was made near Chelsea, OK in 1889 and it produced one half barrel per day. In 1897 The Nellie Johnstone #1, the first commercial well drilled in OK hit pay dirt in the Bartlesville Dewey Field in Washington County. Tulsa changed from a small frontier town to a boomtown.

The discovery of oil in 1901 at Red Fork, a small community southwest of Tulsa on the opposite side of the Arkansas River brought in wildcatters and investors. In 1901, an official survey was done and streets lay out and neighborhoods were established in Tulsa on the opposite side of the river from the drilling sites. In 1905 the Glenn pool oil field was discovered. The strike created such a large supply of oil Tulsans were forced to build storage tanks for the excess oil and later pipelines. Tulsa soon became a leader in the growing petroleum industry, resulting in many oil companies choosing Tulsa for their home base. In 1906 Oklahoma Natural gas Company was formed. In 1907 Oklahoma and the Indian territories became the State of Oklahoma. Also in 1907 Oklahoma becomes the largest oil producer, with Tulsa claiming the title of "Oil Capitol of the World." Below is a picture of an oil-producing well that sat out front of the Oklahoma City capitol building in 1939.

A second oil boom hit Oklahoma between the years of 1925-1930. The population rose over 72,000 and many of the new residents came from Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. Wealthy oilmen Waite Phillips, William Kelly and J. Paul Getty built their mansions and modern headquarters in the state. Another community that flourished in Tulsa was greenwood. It was the largest and wealthiest of Oklahoma's African American communities and was known as "Black Wall Street." The neighborhood was a hotbed of jazz, and blues music in the 1920's. The area over 600 businesses and 36 square blocks with a population of 15,000 African Americans. "Black Wall Street" is now also sadly remembered as a "Black" mark in the state's history. On June 1, 1921 one of America's most affluent all-black communities was bombed from the air and burned to the ground by mobs of envious whites. It took fewer than 12 hours to destroy the model community. Over 3,000 African Americans died, over 600 businesses were lost: 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores, 2 movie theaters, a hospital, a bank, a post office, libraries, schools, law offices, a half dozen private airplanes, and even a bus system.

Like a lot of western states, Oklahoma's history is filled with men and women who've risked their lives performing dangerous jobs in order to provide for their families. You'll find that pioneering spirit in Travis Cartwright, my hero for Roughneck Cowboy.

A Roughneck's Dream--Author Unknown

I was working in the oil fields one cold West Texas day,
And there on the rig floor a dying roughneck lay,
He said, "I am off to the Big Rig, the Big Rig I'm told
Where the crown is purest silver, and the kelly's made of gold
Where a diamond studded cat line hangs from a pearl gin pole,
And the the driller makes all the connections,
and you never come out of the hole.

I run a Wild West Trivia Contest each month in my author newsletter. Sign up for my newsletter at  and I'll send you my February Wild West Trivia Question. E-mail the correct answer to  and I'll enter your name into a drawing for an autographed copy of Roughneck Cowboy.

Roughneck Cowboy *Men of the West* (Feb 2011)
Harlequin American Romance
By Marin ThomasISBN 9780373753451
Available Now in stores & through online retailers!

Happy Reading!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Flowers - What Do Their Colors Mean

By Anna Kathryn Lanier

Today is St. Valentine’s Day…just in case you forgot. I thought of doing ‘the history of Valentine’s Day,’ but then rejected it. I was busy this past week getting ready for my mom’s 70th birthday party and family gather this past weekend, and realized I wouldn’t have time to research the subject. Soon followed the thought that flowers are a big gift today. Then I remembered I’d done a previous blog on the meaning of flower colors. 

Sooo, I pulled that blog out and I’m reposting it here. I've changed it a bit, so it's not exactly the same. Leave a comment and you could win a copy of Wild, Wicked & Wanton: 101 Ways to Love Like You're in a Romance Novel by Christie Craig and Faye Hughes (autographed by Christie).

We all know red roses represent love, but what about other colors? What do they mean?  If your love gives you pink flowers, what does he think about you?  What if the arrangement is mostly green flora? Here's what I've found on different websites, which mostly all said the same thing in different ways.

Yellow: Happy, joy and lightheartedness...all the things yellow symbolizes. They also represent friendship, which may not be what you had in mind for the relationship.

Orange: A bold and unbashful color, he may give you orange flowers if you finds you confident, passioninate and full of enthusiasm and warmth.

Peach: Not the color you want your true to give peach symbolizes gratitude to a woman who is only a best friend.

Red: Another energy color, it can transform an otherwise unassuming personality into someone with desire, strength and passionate love. A red flower also symbolizes beauty, heat, respect, courage, strength and love.

Pink: This color has many different symbolisms—from youth and innocence to grace and gentility. A gentleman can express happiness, fun, and joy if he gives his lady love a bouquet of pink flowers, especially azaleas.

Lavender: He thinks of you as feminine beauty full of elegance, delicateness, and refinement with an arrangement of lavender blossoms.

Purple: The color of royalty, purple symbolizes dignity, pride and success. It is the perfect color for a woman whose accomplishments he admires.

Blue: Are you high-strung and preoccupied? Then perhaps that's why he gave you a blue flora  arrangement. With its calming effect, these flowers will bring peace, openness and serenity.

Green: A color associated with nature and renewal, a bouquet of diverse shapes and hues convey health, resilience, good fortune, optimism and youth.

White: Purity and innocence, modesty and elegance. An arrangement dominated by white flowers represence the reverence your love has for you.
Which color flower represents you most?  Which color would you least like to receive? Remember to leave a comment (with your e-mail) for a to win a copy of Wild, Wicked & Wanton: 101 Ways to Love Like You're in a Romance Novel by Christie Craig and Faye Hughes (autographed by Christie).

For more info, check out:

Anna Kathryn Lanier
Where Tumbleweeds Hang Their Hats
Heartwarming, Sensual Westerns

This blog first appeared on Rose of Houston on May 11, 2009.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rodeo Cowboys

Who hasn't done a double take when a cowboy walks into a room?

The first think you see is the hat whether it's still on his head or he's holding it in his hand. Then either the t-shirt or the snap-front shirt tucked into blue jeans. And not just any blue jeans either Wranglers or Levis. Then the boots. Either lace up Ropers or the regular pull on boots. Though sometimes they might surprise you and have on athletic shoes. But there's something about the way they carry themselves and interact with other people that draws your attention and lets you know they're a cowboy.

The cowboy is still an icon or awe and mystery. They have an unspoken code of manners and right and wrong that you don't find in among other occupations. I learned this first hand when interviewing four time and reigning bareback champion Bobby Mote and his wife Kate. I'd decided to have a rodeo athlete as the hero in a contemporary I was plotting. So I contacted Bobby via his blog and asked if he would allow me to pick his brain to get into the head of a rodeo character for a book. He was very gracious and after e-mailing back and forth for a couple of months to find a time between his rodeo appearances, we finally had a date.

I drove to his ranch and met his wife and two kids. The oldest was at a friends house. Bobby was just finishing up his morning workout. It's hard to ogle a man twenty years younger than you with his wife and kids present but he finished up his crunches in a small workout area next to the living room while I tried to make small talk with his wife.

Then he went and showered and I found out what life is like when Bobby's on the road and Kate was home taking care of things. And what it was like when the whole family hit the road with him. Bobby came back wearing jeans and a big belt buckle looking hesitant. He is a humble person, and I had to really coax things out of him. Like most cowboys when not around their buddies they can be a it tongue tied.

I gathered the needed information about rodeo schedules, his emotions when getting ready for a ride and after a ride. And hopefully, I used the information well enough to bring my fictional rodeo athlete Holt Reynolds to life in my book Bridled Heart.

As a writer have you gone the extra mile to learn an occupation for a character in your book? AS a reader can you tell when an author has found out all they can about an occupation?

blurb and excerpt for Bridled Heart
A specialized placement schedule and self-imposed vow of celibacy keeps ER nurse, Gina Montgomery, from getting too close to anyone. Music is her only solace and release from a past laced with abuse. But when that music draws the attention of a handsome bareback rider, her chosen solitary life—not to mention her vow—gets tested to the limits.

Holt Reynolds let his younger sister down when she needed him most. With the similarities to his sister far too evident in Gina, he can’t get the woman out of his head, or her poignant music out of his heart. But how can he find a way to free her bridled heart before the past resurfaces to destroy their one chance at happiness?


“Why do you help with this event?” He laced his fingers together resting his hands on the table in front of him. His coffee-colored gaze held admiration.
She dropped her gaze and picked at her napkin. His interest was flattering, and he hadn’t attended the event just to inflate his image. If that had been his agenda, he would have stayed to be photographed with the person who purchased his art. She peered into his smiling face. He waited so patiently for her to answer. By this time most men would have given up on her and moved on to someone else. She searched his eyes. He seemed genuinely interested.
She took a deep breath and hoped she wasn’t going to regret divulging more. “I see so many children in the ER rooms who…” she turned her head and chewed on her cuticle. When they arrived needing her care, she put aside her emotions and did the job, but afterward, she always broke down. How could a parent do that to a child? She knew how it felt to grow up feeling different.
He placed a hand over the one on the table. “It’s okay, you don’t have to tell me. I can see their plight affects you.” He squeezed her hand. “I could tell when you were playing the piano your heart is filled with sorrow.”
She stared into his eyes. The sincerity of his words and the acceptance of her pain, even though he thought it was all for others made her want to weep. She hadn’t had anyone care about her in so long, she didn’t know how to act.
Jerking her hand out from under his, she stood. “I have to go.”
“Wait.” He snagged her hand as she grabbed her coat from the back of her chair. “Do you have a phone number?”
He held her firm but gentle. Warmth spiraled up her arm and settled in her chest. Why didn’t she feel frightened or invaded by this man? She shook her head. She didn’t want to see him again. If she did, it would be hard to remain faithful to her vow. He’d started to seep into the empty cracks created over the years.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Ransom Canon, Cañon de Rescate
in West Texas

Sometimes you can live in an area and never really know everything about it. About twenty-five miles from where I live in West Texas is an historical site called Ransom Canyon, a part of the larger Yellowhouse Canyon. And I never really knew it existed until recently. In 1977 it was incorporated into a town, but in the 1800’s it was the scene of trading in human flesh.

It became known as Ransom Canyon after it became the regular meeting place for the Comancheros and the Comanche and Apache Indians. The Comancheros would trade guns and whiskey for stolen cattle or, more often than not, white captives. The Comancheros would then ransom off the captives back to their families for a hefty sum. If the families didn’t or couldn’t meet the price, the captives were sold to the highest bidder. Not a pleasant life for sure for the captives. I can’t imagine.

But who were these Comancheros?

On Sale July 1, 2011
They were a blood-thirsty outlaw group mostly of Mexican descent who roamed the Llano Estacado (it’s pronounced ya-no esta-kado) commonly known as The Staked Plains (an area that covers western Texas and the Panhandle and extends into eastern New Mexico.) It’s one of the largest mesas or tablelands on the North American continent. One source says it covers over 32,000 square miles.

Back to Ransom Canyon though….

It was carved out by a tributary of the Brazos River. The huge canyon was protected by steep walls which made it a perfect haven for travelers.

The Comancheros and Native Americans weren’t the only ones who used it. Because of its clear trickling streams and towering cottonwoods, it became regularly traveled. Besides the American Indians and Comancheros, buffalo hunters, U.S. Army soldiers, frontier settlers, and cowboys with their cattle herds camped here.

Award Winning
Still Available
I drove over to take some pictures of the Texas Historical marker and see what else I could see. When I stepped out of the car, I got goosebumps. Just standing on the ground where so much happened was pretty emotional. When I closed my eyes I could see the frightened faces of the captives. I felt their spirits. They say the canyon is haunted and I can believe it.

Ransom Canyon and the Comancheros appear in my story for an upcoming anthology called GIVE ME A TEXAS OUTLAW that will release July 1st. I’m again featured with Jodi Thomas, Phyliss Miranda, and DeWanna Pace. This will make our fourth anthology together. We hope you look for it. 

 Have you had a strong connection to a historical place where it felt like you’d stepped back in time?