Monday, March 30, 2020


She's trapped in a lie to provide for her family. 

How can God still love and bless her?

Ginger Snap is a story of a girl realizing her worth, both in the eyes of God and to the man who is drawn to her. 

I've always loved the play, As You Like It, by William Shakespeare. Borrowing the idea of a girl forced to dress as a boy, I created a heroine, Ginger, who is forced to pose as her dead brother. For the first time in a long while, she is comfortable and well-fed--all because she's lying.

When Ginger overhears the plans of thieves, she runs for her life. Just when she'd hoped to appear at a dance as a girl. She'd like the new lawyer in town, Theo, to see her as a woman. 

Will the lawyer be able to rescue her if she can't save herself? Can she trust the Lord to protect her even though she's broken a commandment?

Here's a short snippet:

With three cows to milk and two dozen hens, Ginger and Willard took milk, butter, and eggs into town twice a week. This allowed them to have luxuries such as sugar, something she’d rarely tasted at home in Tennessee.

At times, Ginger felt like an Israelite entering the land of milk and honey. With the plentiful food, she’d begun to round out. The bindings became a necessity now as her bosom developed. Ironically, she daily became more womanly even while Ginger pretended to be a man.

Things had never been better. So why did it eat at something deep inside of her?

Life, she was discovering, was funny that way. Her ma had taught her that liars and cheaters didn’t prosper, yet she and the others had never been better. And it was all because she was misrepresenting herself to the lawyer and the entire population of Kearney Junction each time she went into town.

Step Pappy, scamp that he was, had managed to set up a still soon after they arrived at the farm. He’d used the extra corn stored on one side of the small granary to cook up his mash. Since then, boys from town began visiting to drink and carouse after dark. It was another reason Wiley Snap was so jolly these days. He had a new bunch of young men to corrupt.

At home in the Hollow, she’d seldom went to town. Her family didn’t attend church, and she and her brother rarely attended school. Especially not after they were eight or nine. They could read enough and cipher some. It would get them by. At least, that’s what her father figured.

The family did own a large family bible, something Wiley Snap also sold in Camden. Ginger’s mother used it to further her children’s reading. Guy fidgeted and pleaded to go outside during those lessons.

Not Ginger. She read the scriptures faithfully. Verses she’d memorized came back to her lately. It was one more reason she knew that her deception was wrong.


Friday, March 27, 2020

Release Day for HANNAH'S HANDKERCHIEF by Zina Abbott

Announcing the release of my latest Lockets and Lace book:
Hannah's Handkerchief 
by Zina Abbott
Book 24 in the series.
About Hannah's Handkerchief:

With her blonde hair and blue eyes, Hannah Atwell, a Kansas farmer’s daughter, knows she is pretty—and she enjoys pretty things. She spent her life striving to be the perfect, obedient daughter. She feels she is destined for something more than being a farmer’s wife living in a soddie.

While at a party held at Fort Riley, Kansas, to celebrate the end of the Civil War, Hannah begins to question if always doing what she is told is to her advantage. The special event, complete with dancing with handsome young officers and a chaste kissing fundraiser for the Sanitary Commission, opens Hannah’s eyes to possibilities for her life as surely as Lieutenant Jake Burdock captures her heart. She impulsively offers him her handkerchief as a token of her regard. Missed connections, parents who want her to marry locally and warn against the intentions of some Army officers, and dealing with those close to her who have suffered combat injuries conspire to drive her away from Jake. Only the letters they exchange seem to keep them connected.

Not long after the dance, Jake, who works under Captain Prescott, the quartermaster at Fort Riley, is assigned to duty at the frontier forts in western Kansas. There, many of the living quarters are more primitive than a Kansas soddie. Supplying the uniforms, supplies, horses and mules the soldiers need is challenging at best. In spite of the hardships involved, the Army is Jake’s chosen career. With his life constantly at risk, must he sacrifice his chance to share his life with the young woman who had won his heart?


          Hannah turned seventeen two months earlier. For her, this dance would be comparable to a cotillion, or a coming out social such as she had read took place among the aristocracy in Britain or even high society in this country. This event would mark her entry into womanhood and availability to be courted. Since moving to Salina, she knew of a few local girls who married at her age. Hannah had no one she wished to marry at this time, but she was open to the idea, if she could find the right man.
          However, her parents had let it be known they preferred she wait until she was a few years older to be courted. From comments made, she gathered they worried she would want to marry the first boy she felt attracted to, only to discover later, after it was too late, she did not really love him and had chosen poorly.
          Hannah smiled at the thought. It was already too late for her to insist on marrying the first young man who had caught her fancy. For several years now, she found boys fascinating. A few of them had sent her giddy with infatuation. As much as she sought to spend time with them, she had not wished to marry any.
          Hannah opened her carpetbag. She fingered the book but rejected it in favor of her latest embroidery project, a handkerchief she was doing in pink flowers and green stems and leaves. She had already rolled and hemmed the edges but had not yet crocheted a lacy border on it. She pulled out the smaller bag holding her project, her thread, and scissors, and forced herself to sit in the chair. Twisting to catch the light from the window, she continued the floral design on the third corner.
          Perhaps after tonight, Mama and Papa will stop saying I need to wait until I’m older before I’m ready to choose a husband. After all, I’ve tried to show how willing I am to listen to them by being as obedient as possible.
          As a thought struck, Hannah dropped her hands holding the project in her lap, causing her needle to prick her. She jerked her finger away and raised it to her lips to lick the drop of blood from her broken skin.
          What if the reason her parents did not think she was ready to make her own decisions was because she always tried to be obedient? What if they believed, because she seldom acted independently, especially when it came to going against their wishes, she did not know how to think for herself? What if they thought she was incapable of knowing her own mind—knowing what she truly wanted from life?

Hannah's Handkerchief is now available from Amazon. To find the book link,

The following are my books in the Lockets and Lace series:
Prequel: The Bavarian Jeweler 
(Click on the book cover in the right sidebar to download your free copy)
Book 3: Otto's Offer

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Grace, Unimagined by Abagail Eldan RELEASE DAY

In a moment of tragedy, Grace Jansen's life changes 
in a way she never imagined. 
This is a story of finding hope and love 
even in our darkest moments.

Authors are often asked where their ideas for books come from. Most of the time I answer that they are in the very air around us, ready to be plucked and put into a book. In the case of Grace, Unimagined, I was channel surfing and came across a documentary on Ruth Bader Ginsburg that revealed her brother was chosen to attend college, and she was not. That became the seed, the inspiration for this story. 

Also, woven into this story is the conclusion of the Three Sisters Series that includes two other Lockets & Lace books, Melly, Unyielding and Joy, Unending, the story that began in Abby and Joshua.

Here's a short synopsis:

Grace Jensen longs to be a doctor, but her dream died long ago when her brother is sent instead. When her brother squanders his opportunity, the responsibility for her family's welfare comes to rest solely upon Grace's shoulders.

Ward is not sure of his true name after he was struck with an ax at a young age. Many cannot bear to see his devastating scar, and he walks alone. He never imagines what awaits when he arrives in River City, Texas.

Grace, Unimagined.

And here's an excerpt:

From the road came a sound of hooves and the creak of a wagon. Grace's horse neighed as the wagon came toward them, and the moon clearly defined two men sat on the seat. She straightened and strained to see if it was Mr. Taron. It was not.
As the wagon drew nearer and swerved around to the side of the house where she stood, her brother’s features grew clearer. Even without the light of the moon, she would have recognized him by the reek of whiskey as the wagon came to a stop.
He jumped down, stumbled before he righted himself, and then raked his fingers through his disheveled, thick, dark hair. The other man set the brake, looped the lines, and quickly climbed down.
He was a stranger and, although he acknowledged her presence with a nod, rudely did not remove his hat. “Miss, we wish to speak to Mrs. Babbitt. It’s urgent,” he said. His gaze did not tarry on her long but went back to the wagon as if he guarded it.
“Mrs. Babbitt? Dr. Robbie, you mean?” His words made fear catch in her throat. She swallowed hard. “Is it about her husband?”
“Go get her, Sis,” her brother said, his words clearly enunciated despite his drunken state. His eyes were serious and held something more, were haunted, if she had not known better.
She swallowed hard, shook her head, and tossed her brother the horse’s reins, and hurried to the side of the wagon. A lantern hung on the back, and the stranger, without speaking, unhooked it and held it so light flooded the wagon bed. Her fingers tightened on the wagon’s side as she recognized Mr. Taron.
Without thought, she clambered into the back and felt for Mr. Babbitt’s pulse, finding none. She lowered her head to listen for a breath, to look for the rise and fall of his chest, no matter how slight, but he was still, and all was silent eerily so.
Then a wolf or large dog howled in the distance. She raised her head to listen, and a sadness intermingled with longing, a longing for something she could not name, could not delineate.
She sat back on her heels. “He’s dead,” she pronounced, dispassionately.
“Are you sure?” her brother asked. He’d come around to stand next to the strange man.
Her brother was slim and tall, over six feet, but the stranger was taller by a good two inches and his shoulders broader. Everything came into sharp focus, the gray wagon, her brother’s forlorn face, the stranger whose hat obscured his face, the horse whose reins her brother still held, and the velvet darkness stretching beyond into infinity. The cool breeze stung her face with a million tiny needles.
She refocused on her brother, looked down at the body that had once held the life of Mr. Taron, and nodded. “I’ve been working for Dr. Robbie long enough to recognize death.”Without speaking, the stranger came to the back of the wagon and raised a hand to help her down. She took it, glad of it, happy to feel the warm grasp, to be brought back from the brink, from the precipice between death and life, and hovered on the edge of the wagon, reorienting herself. She glanced down, to thank the man, when the words caught in her throat. With his free hand, he’d raised the lantern and his face was tilted to her, illuminated, ghostly and pale, with eyes that were neither blue nor green, but a vivid turquoise, as luminous and bright as her mother’s best silk dress bought before her father’s death, an unworldly color, rare and haunting. 

Released today! ~ Abagail

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Why Women Went West

The role of a woman in the west in the 1800s was quite different from today. Women were supposed to stay home and take care of the family, doing the housework and be under the protection of their husbands, or fathers if they were unmarried. Some women became nurses or teachers but others wanted something different.

 Once the westward movement began, things started to change for women. There was a need for teachers, so some women were luckier than others and were allowed to attend universities to learn. They also helped to run missions, churches and teach Native Americans. This was an opportunity for a woman to become independent.

Even banks out West didn't hesitate to loan money to women so they could start their own business as well. The bankers felt the women were much more reliable than men and they probably were right.

There were some women who wanted to forget their past and start over. They wanted a future with fewer restrictions like they had to deal with in the East. Some of these women had nothing to lose so they dug out a way of life that was best for them.

There were plenty of wealthy women too. Men were not the only ones who earned lots of money. Mattie Silks, whose real name was really Martha Ready came from Pennsylvania and went to Springfield, Illinois to become a madam. She rented an apartment and took in twelve girls. They were actually called Upstairs Girls.

The interesting thing was Mattie never prostituted herself. She was a smart businesswoman and started several places in Dodge City, Kansas, and Denver, Colorado. By then she was one of the best-known madams out west. It was said she took care of her girls, gifting each one with a knife to keep in case they needed to protect themselves.

Legend has it that she was the wealthiest madam of the west.

Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane are well-known women who found their own way out west. I won't repeat their stories since their names and stories are known by almost everyone today. So many women have gone west to start over or find their way. From dance hall girls to savvy businesswomen helped to tame the west and their daughters and granddaughters have done even more than them in some cases.

These unsung heroes are also in my stories as well. In my series, Pistol Ridge, strong women exist in a town that was taken over by a horrible sheriff who tried to run the town in a bad way. With the help of some ex-soldiers, the women find a hero and help to get rid of the evil sheriff.

Property Owners

Western women were encouraged to hold property in their own name, so families could increase their family’s holdings. This led to some women running ranches and farms by themselves, including supervising male employees.


The demand for professionals led to people in the West to accept women as doctors, lawyers and business owners much sooner than people in the Eastern United States.

The Negative Side

The negative side of women’s lives in the West was drudgery and loneliness. Because of the shortage of labor, women often had to do farm work in addition to housework and caring for children.

In Business

Some banks in the West preferred offering loans to woman to start businesses, because they were more reliable than men.


Because of the need for teachers, Western women were allowed to attend universities; many of them went on to become school administrators and serve on state boards of education. They were also instrumental in helping run missions, churches and schools for Native Americans.

Video of the Day

Property Owners

Western women were encouraged to hold property in their own name, so families could increase their family’s holdings. This led to some women running ranches and farms by themselves, including supervising male employees.


The demand for professionals led to people in the West to accept women as doctors, lawyers and business owners much sooner than people in the Eastern United States.

The Negative Side

The negative side of women’s lives in the West was drudgery and loneliness. Because of the shortage of labor, women often had to do farm work in addition to housework and caring for children.

Monday, March 23, 2020


Hello dear readers!

I'm excited that my FIFTIETH book launches today! BITTER HONEY, Book 22 in the Lockets and Lace Collection! This is my third year running being apart of this series written by the regular bloggers of the Sweet Americana Sweethearts! Which makes it quite special to me and I hop, to you!

In 2018, I released SILENT HARMONY, Book 2 and in 2019, UNIQUELY COMMON, Book 12, debuted. It was in that one--Uniquely Common--that m readers first met Samantha Adams, my heroine in Bitter Honey.

She was thirteen then, but five years have passed and now it's 1856. Her family has settled in Napa Valley and built their home, planting acres and acres in grapevines--stock her father brought from the Merceir Vineyards just out of New Orleans and also had shipped from France and Italy where he'd traved as a wine merchant, buying and selling.

After a grueling journey on the Oregon / California Trail, on arrival in Napa, she fully expected to have a stack of letters waiting in general delivery for her from young Silas Mercier. It had been love at first sight when they'd met on her way to Saint Joseph, Missouri from her New York home. That's when UNIQUELY COMMON ends, in Saint Jo when they're waiting on the spring prairie grasses to grow enough to support the stock.

Silas had promised to write, and so had she. But even though she'd been mailing him letters all along the way, declaring her young love, when she finally got to Napa after the two thousand mile trip, he broke her young heart. No letters waited. That's when the other title she's in, REMI ends. REMI is a Prairie Roses Collection story and tells the tale of just what a nightmare traveling that far by covered wagon was for those with dreams of settling the west.

Samantha never truly got over Silas or forgave him for his broken promises, but she's learned to live with it and has worked hard with her family and loves her new home in California with her new mother and little brother. She has no desire to leave and only wants to marry and start having babies of her own. She's eighteen now and ready for that.

Meanwhile back in New Orleans, while she traveled in the wagon train, young Silas's world falls apart. A fluke tornado tragically destroyed his home and most of the vineyard. That's where BITTER HONEY opens, and there's a whole second tale of what he's gone through during those five years. An old man, a neighbor who actually had loved his mother shows up and helps the sixteen-year-old.

Then one day, a miracle happens, and I'm going to leave it there . . . All the rest you discover in the first pages of BITTER HONEY, and I figure you'll want to read it straight through once you start it.

Here's an excerpt you might enjoy.
Finally, just he and she. Together. Bless the Lord.
“How have you been, Sam? Uh, they said in town that you weren’t married. Are you engaged?”
“No.” She giggled, but not a little girl’s giggle, more grown up and mature sounding. She gestured toward a chair. “You don’t beat around the bush, do you, Silas Mercier?”
“No need. I’ve loved you from the moment you stepped out of that carriage with your father five years ago.” He eased down then pointed to the box she held. “Got proof you loved me once. Has not hearing from me changed your heart?”
Without even a thought, she shook her head, just enough to barely move the curls covering her shoulders.
Her hair had been the first thing about her he loved, then her eyes and their sparkle like they had stars in them. Then she’d smiled . . . a lot like she was smiling right then.
That’s when he knew she was the one.

A Review: Another Great Read by Caryl McAdoo
Bitter Honey by Caryl McAdoo grabs the reader by the throat.  Caryl’s skill as a writer keeps us scrolling to the next chapter. What a compelling story of trouble and heartache that culminates in a very satisfactory ending! This reviewer truly enjoyed reading this book. 
  — Cass Wessel, avid Pennsylvania reader  
Bio : Award-winning Author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory! And her best-selling novels are blessed with a lion’s share of 5-Star ratings! With forty-four-and-counting titles, she loves writing as well as singing the new songs the Lord gives her—listen to a few at YouTube. She and husband Ron share four children and eighteen grandsugars. The McAdoos live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County, in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door. 

Links :  Amazon - BookBub - Website - Newsletter - Readers’ Group -
YouTube (Hear Caryl sing her New Songs!) - Facebook


Friday, March 20, 2020

Release Day for Cassie's Surprise Lockets and Lace Series Book 21

Lockets and Lace Series 
Book 21

Cassie Taylor's parents died years ago and her father arranged for her to stay with his sister's family.  Aunt Ethel treated Cassie more like a hired worker than stepdaughter. And her two daughters, Annette and Babette, were as spoiled as Cassie was forced to do all the chores. That leaves Uncle Sean, he's a man of slight build and of even smaller courage. 

The only thing Cassie has to remember her parents by is a locket that her father bought from a Bavarian watchmaker in St. Joseph, Missouri. At twenty-one, Cassie could have gone out on her own, but her father's dream had been to go to Oregon. So, she'd agreed to go along. Once in the promised land, she could get her own homestead and leave Aunt Ethel

Travis Andrews and his partner, Matt, have been on their own for years. They'd traveled to the California gold fields, become tired of the rough life and had headed back east with a herd of horses and mules to sell to pioneers going west.

From the moment he first saw Cassie, he was drawn to her. Just maybe he'd settle down in Oregon, marry her, and start a horse ranch.  

But Aunt Ethel has other ideas for him. Namely to have him marry Annette. 

Join the wagon train to Oregon and see if Cassie and Travis can find one another among the several surprises along the way.
Here's part of Chapter 1 of Cassie's Surprise.

Oregon Trail

Chapter 1 

With hands on her hips, Aunt Ethel stared at Cassie. “Go over there and help Sean with the oxen.”

Cassie’s aunt had her usual look of disapproval. Whether it was aimed at Cassie or her uncle, she wasn’t sure. With a disgusted sigh of her own, Cassie ran to help her uncle. Shaking her head, Cassie saw the big red ox stubbornly sitting down. “Mozart, what are you doing?”

Looking embarrassed and hen-pecked, Uncle Sean shrugged. “I can’t get the beast up. When Mozart doesn’t want to go, the others follow his lead.”

Cassie went to the giant ox at the front of the team. “Moz, you're a bad boy again. Please, get going, or we’ll never get to Oregon.” She tugged on the beast’s horns. “Remember, I’ve told you about Oregon. A land of milk and honey. Lush green grass that grows as high as your belly, and you’ll never have to work another day in your life. But we need you now. And the others, Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin, they won’t go unless you lead the way.”

Slowly, Mozart stood and stepped forward. He snorted, let out a big sigh, and picked up the pace to keep up with the other wagons.

Cassie smiled at Uncle Sean. “There we go.”

“You’re a wonder with the animals, Cassie. Thank you.” He kept his pace with the oxen and tapped them with the guide stick as needed.

Wishing she could do the same to Aunt Ethel, Cassie whispered to her uncle. “Is it all right if I visit Abbie?” Cassie preferred walking with her friend than being with her aunt and cousins. Abbie was the same age, and they’d confided with one another about what they thought they’d find in Oregon. Of course, their conversation usually turned to the husbands they expected to find.

Uncle Sean looked back to the wagon. “It’s fine with me. Might check with Ethel. Annette and Babette have been tired, so they’re riding in the wagon.”

Cassie rolled her eyes. No wonder Mozart didn’t want to pull the wagon with the three women riding inside. Not to mention all the heavy furniture and goods Aunt Ethel had stuffed inside.

Already, Cassie knew she’d be responsible for finding the fire starters. Chips, they called them. Cow pies and buffalo pies were other names. A dirty job, but there weren’t many trees on the prairie for firewood. Pioneers quickly learned the value of buffalo and cow dung in starting fires on the trail.

She walked back to the wagon and hoped her aunt wouldn’t see her, yet Cassie knew better. Aunt Ethel had a third eye as sharp as an eagle’s, and she always caught Cassie before she could leave to visit Abbie. Of course, Annette and Babette got away without doing anything. It bothered Uncle Sean, but he never spoke up.

Her cousin, Annette, was a year younger than Cassie’s twenty-one years, and Babette was three years younger. Her cousins were spoiled and of not much use to anyone mostly because Aunt Ethel let them do whatever they wanted or nothing, as was the usual case.

Cassie had almost made it past the wagon when Aunt Ethel yelled out. “Cassie, you better start gathering the chips for the fire.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” Cassie knew not to argue. It was her payment for staying with the family. Sometimes, Cassie found it to be a high price to pay, but then the idea of being alone frightened her more than the chores.

After taking the bucket from the back of the wagon, Cassie called out to Abbie in the wagon behind them. “Let’s collect chips.”

Her friend grinned. “You mean, Nik-Nik.” Abbie laughed and ran to grab her bucket.

“Yes, although I like the term meadow muffins much better.” Cassie laughed and met Abbie on the side of the wagons. “Isn’t it amazing how God made so many bison on the plains so that the pioneers would have fuel for fires?”

Abbie nodded. “You never cease to amaze me how you can find God in everything. Even to thank Him for buffalo dung.”

“Well, I have learned that life can be a challenge, but if I look for the blessings that the Lord sprinkles about me, it makes life so much more pleasant.” Cassie smiled at a red flower rising out of the prairie and pointed it out to her friend.

Abbie sighed. “I guess you’re right. It couldn’t have been easy for you to lose your parents and have to live with your aunt and uncle and those girls. They don’t ever smile.”

“Annette and Babette can be a burden. I don’t know why they are always so disgruntled. They should be out walking like the rest of us. Mozart tells me they are too heavy to be in the wagon.”

Laughing, Abbie threw a cow chip at her. “Really, Cassie, you think you can talk to the oxen. I suppose you can talk to the birds and the horses, too.”

Cassie picked up a meadow muffin and put it in the bucket. “Oh, I just get an idea of what they’re thinking. I wish we could have brought Jack with us. I loved that little dog.”

Abbie frowned. “We had to leave so much to go on this venture, but Papa says Oregon will be worth it all.”

Cassie picked up another chip and almost had half a bucketful. “Do you ever wonder who you’re going to marry?”

Abbie nodded. “Yes. Sometimes, I fear that I left my man back in Missouri. What if I missed out, and now, I end up an old maid?”

“With you’re beautiful blond hair? You’re sure to find a man. As for me, I just don’t know if anyone will want to marry me. Aunt Ethel says I’m too skinny and my hair too fine and wispy, not to mention the odd color.”

“Cassie, you’re a beautiful woman waiting to mature. You’ll have no trouble finding the right man. I’ve been looking about, and several young men on our wagon train do not have wives. There is talk of a dance.”

Cassie bent to pick up a few more muffins. “Well, I’m sure Aunt Ethel will say that I have too many chores, and she won’t let me go, but it would be fun. I love dancing. What would your perfect man look like?”

Abbie stopped and stretched her back. “My man will be tall and have dark hair. And a mustache. I’ve always liked them. I dream about what it must be like to kiss a man with a mustache.”

Cassie laughed. “You’re so funny.”

“I suppose it would be like kissing a fuzzy caterpillar. Anyway, I want him to be strong, so he can pick me up and twirl me around. He will have blue eyes that adore me. A deep voice, to tell me how much he loves me. So far, I haven’t found him.” Abbie looked up. “We better catch up to the wagons.”

The wagons had moved far up the trail. Cassie nodded. “Yes, we better.”

Abbie ran beside her. “All right, I told you about my dream man. What is your idea of the perfect man, Cassie?”

“Oh, I don’t have any ideas. I’m not sure I’ll ever belong to anyone. I guess I’ve been alone for so long that I don’t know what it would be like to belong to another person.” Cassie dodged a prickly plant and then stopped to wait for Abbie.

Untangling herself from a briar, Abbie stared at her. “You have your uncle’s family.”

“Yes, but they, well, I hardly feel like I am one of them. Aunt Ethel treats me like I’m the hired help, and Annette and Babette despise me even though we’re almost the same age. At least, Annette and I are. Babette is a couple of years younger.”

“What is wrong with your cousins?”

Laughing, Cassie threw another chip into her bucket. “They’re spoiled as milk that’s been left out in the sun for a week. Aunt Ethel lets them get away with everything. Uncle Sean is nice to me, but sometimes, I think he feels like an outsider in his own family.”

“My ma said that very thing. I don’t think she likes your aunt, and my mama likes everyone.” Abbie ran a few yards.

Cassie caught up to her. “Well, I would like to find a wonderful man. Like a prince. He’d be respectable and mannerly and ride a fine horse. He’d also be strong and would sweep me off my feet.”

Abbie laughed. “We’ve only been on the trail for a few weeks, and already I feel like I’ve walked a thousand miles.”

“Yes, me too. We could pray for one another to find the right man so that we don’t wind up old maids. Although some days after walking behind the wagons, I feel like an old maid, and I’m not even twenty-two yet.”

Abbie grinned. “I do, too. I’m hoping we can meet more people on the train, but by the time we stop for the night, I am so tired I can’t go another step.”

Cassie patted her bucket. “Mine is full. Do you need more?”

Abbie frowned. “Of course, I do. You’re such a hard worker.”

After putting some chips in her friend’s bucket, Cassie went about picking up a few more meadow muffins. “Sometimes, I become afraid because I don’t see a future for myself. I feel like this will be my life forever. Just doing chores for Aunt Ethel.”

“Cassie! That is so sad. Don’t you ever think of Oregon?”

“Only when I am trying to get Mozart to move.” Cassie laughed. “I guess I should try and think about what my ideal husband will be like. I think deep down, I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed. What if he’s a mousy man that is afraid of his own shadow?”

Abbie put a hand on her hip. “Oh, Cassie. What if he doesn’t speak English?”

Cassie laughed. “Then we wouldn’t have disagreements.”

“What if he is shorter than you?”

“Then I would kiss the top of his head.” Cassie grinned. Abbie was a good one to find fun in just about anything.

“Look, the wagons stopped.” Abbie pointed.

Cassie nodded. “I wonder why. We better catch up.” She ran, holding her bucket so that she didn’t lose her chips while Abbie followed behind, muttering about her sore feet.

TO Celebrate the release of Cassie's Surprise - my first Locket and Lace book Oregon Dreams is free March 20-21, 2020.  Enjoy

Patricia PacJac Carroll

Thursday, March 19, 2020


Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

Photo property of the author

As the authors of the latest Lockets and Lace series introduce their books, I thought I take a look at the women who helped build a state by teaching students who went on to be the foreparents of today's population. Their stories are an inspiration to we authors.

First are the Sisters of Loretto. They came to the southwest in the early days of the Santa Fe trail and the town of Santa Fe. From there they arrived in Denver, Colorado, in 1864, offering education to children of the town, although their focus, when the order started in Kentucky, originally was teaching girls. By 1877 they were asked to provide education to the children in the Southern part of the state, primarily Conejos and remained there until 1918 when they had to leave due to the fact that their convent was no longer habitable.

Photo property of the author

Carrie G. Ayers-Hall was fifteen when she started the first school in Sterling, Colorado. She along with her mother and step-father moved Colorado. She had lost her father at the age of two at the beginning of the Civil War. She had twenty students and was paid $25.00 a month. That school was a 14'x16' sod dugout. At twenty-four, she retired to marry Harvard graduate doctor, Josiah Newhall Hall, since the school district didn't allow married women to be teachers.

Mary Pratt was the first teacher in Yuma, Colorado, starting a school there in 1885 that accepted students as old as twenty-four. Since there were two Mary Pratt's in Yuma, Colorado it has been difficult to filter out the background on this lady. As more information becomes available, it will be shared.

Amelia Guy was the first schoolteacher in Julesburg, Colorado in the summer of 1885. It was a 10'x12' wooden structure between the railroad tracks and she was paid $50 a month. Prior to that, parents who wanted their children to get an education had to send their children to Sydney, Nebraska, about thirty miles away. Amelia's sister, Lydia became the teacher after a new school was built in the fall of 1885. The two sisters also took up what was probably homesteading claims in the area.

I admire the women who came west and did what was needful for the areas they settled. In my own books for this series and Grandma's Wedding Quilt series, I was inspired by the women doctors, store owners and teachers. You can find out how their stories reflect my love of women's history.

"Josie's Dream" started it all and the town of Kiowa Wells. This was followed by "Chasing a Chance", with another resident of the town. The latest book, "The Outlaw's Letter" is about the schoolteacher of Kiowa Wells. You can find them all on my Amazon author page. Angela Raines books

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here