Guest Blogger Joel Jurrens

Today I welcome my friend and fellow Wings and Whiskey Creek author, Joel Jurrens. Though most of his work is of the serious nature, his blog shows a different side of him. The side that will make the most serious person smile if not laugh out loud.  Thank you for letting me repost your Blog, Joel.

                           Joel Jurrens

Joel Jurrens was a deputy sheriff for twenty-six years until his retirement in 2013. He has had short stories published in several magazines and has published three novels. Joel uses his background in law enforcement to bring a sense of authenticity to his stories. He has been writing since high school when he wrote a Christmas play for his church and hand published short story collections for his friends. Although his books deal with serious subjects, he seldom can resist seeing the humor even in the direst situations, and it often shows in his writing. He has been blogging since 2012.

His latest book   J jurrens 4   In the Lake is the sequel to In the Sticks



Recently there has been a scandal in the writing world. An author was exposed for paying a company to post almost five thousand glowing reviews of his book on Amazon. The reason he did it is because it works. He sold over a million copies of his book. Since then it has been revealed that numerous authors have paid companies to post fake reviews for them. I would never do that. I have ethics, integrity, pride and about a buck sixty-three in my pocket—I’m not sure that much would get me even a one-star review.

I don’t think readers are aware how much good a review can do or even a mediocre review. People don’t want to be the first one to dip their toe in the water when it comes to a new author. They don’t mind being duped into doing something stupid, like buying a bad book, as long as they know there are a lot of other people who were also duped—it’s how they are able to sell so much bottled water.

When I have a book come out, I have a few friends who automatically read it and post reviews on Amazon.  I get a few people who write reviews who I don’t know at all. I appreciate all of them. Occasionally I’ll meet someone at a book signing or on the street who will say, “I read your book.” Then there’s that pause that lasts at least three hours when I wait for them to throw up or say, “I really liked it.”  If they liked it, I’ll ask them if they could write a review to put on Amazon. Normally they look at me like I just asked them to give themselves an appendectomy, without anesthetic, blindfolded while wearing leather mittens without thumbs.

I know writing a review is tough for the average person. Writing a few sentences and then posting it where everyone can see it, takes some courage. (Now try writing seventy thousand or so words, putting them in book form and making people pay to read it, and you can began to see what it’s like being a writer.) But if you like a book—anyone’s book, not just mine (but especially mine)—write a review. You will be doing the author a HUGE favor. If you think a book stinks, write a review. You will be doing some reader a HUGE favor.

I have a book, In The Lake, coming out next month. I would like anyone who reads it and likes it to write a review. Even if you don’t like it, a review would be nice. (The guy who bought the reviews mixed a sprinkling of bad reviews in so they would seem more realistic.) For those of you who don’t know what to write, I am putting a sample review below. You don’t need to copy it word for word, but I think you’ll get the idea.


In The Lake is absolutely the best book ever written since the beginning of time. I believe it should win the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize, the Daytona 500 and the Kentucky Derby. Not only is it a great murder mystery with dead AND live people, but it has fishing in it—how can you not like a book that has fishing in it? I also believe the book has magical powers. I was hardly through the first chapter when the hair started to grow back on my head, and I’ve been bald since I was eleven. By midway through the book, I had lost eighty-three pounds and that persistent boil problem had gone away. So now, because of the book, I’m thin, good-looking and there’s flowing blond hair growing on my head, back and little Chihuahua Poopsy.  I also heard—don’t quote me, because it’s not official—that they are going to stick a check for seventy-three bazillion dollars between the pages of one of the paperback books. (Let’s just keep that our little secret.) So read the book because it’s yummy good.

Other Books by Joel Jurrens

 J Jurrens          j jurrens 2          j jurrens 3

Get in touch with Joel Jurrens or purchase any of his books here:





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10 Things You May Not Know About Me

  1. What is the name you prefer to go by (real name, pen name, nickname; please specify)? My real name is Lynette Hall Hampton and my Pen name is Agnes Alexander  I Answer to both.
  2. How long have you been writing? Since I was a kid. When I first decided to send my work to market I wrote articles, short stories, etc. Of course, I wrote a few books along the way, but they stayed hidden in my desk drawer.  I turned to serious novel writing in the late in 1999.
  3. What genres do you write? Western Historical Romance, Romantic Suspense, Mystery and Contemporary Romance
  4. What inspired you to write? When I was a kid, the teacher often would read to the class. One day my 3rd. grade school teacher read a book to the class during rest period. It was Cowgirl Kate, by Enid Johnson. I loved the book so much I vowed that someday I’d write a book. (A few years ago I ordered Cowgirl Kate from a used book store and gave 30 dollars for a 2.98 book, but was worth it. I still liked the book.
  5. Are you published or close?  I’ve had over 500 articles, etc. published and 30  books. I also have 2 under contract to come out later this year or early next year.
  6. What is one thing unique about yourself or that others don’t know about you. I don’t just hate housework – I loth it. As soon as I can I plan to hire a housekeeper if I have to give up meat with meals.
  7. If you had the opportunity to meet any famous writer, dead or alive, who would it be? It would be Dorothea Brande. (See Question 9)
  8.  Have you given your hero or heroine any skills or superpowers you wish you had? If so, who and what? Only the smarts to do whatever needs doing in any situation they find themselves in.
  9. My favorite writing craft book is _On Becoming a Writer, by Dorothea Brande  (It was published in 1934, but is still in print)  because it taught me that no matter how bad the many rejection letters I got made me feel, I’d be even more miserable if I gave up writing.
  10. What bit of advice or wisdom do you have to share with the chapter?Regardless of what some people think, writing is hard work and it isn’t a career the faint of heart should tackle. It’s something that most writers are compelled to do in spite of themselves. When you’re discouraged, (and you’ll be exception if this never happens to you) talk to other writers. It won’t take you long to learn that most of them were rejected many times before they were published. Join writer’s groups and find a critique group who will be honest about your work, but who will encourage you to keep going. And realize the old cliché is true, anything worth having is worth working for.
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A Taste of Hannah’s Wishes


Lois Roberson

Winner of the signed copy!

Hannah's Wishes

BLURB When Hannah Hamilton is born with a shriveled foot, her sick mother knows she’ll never live to raise the child. Upon her mother’s death two years later, Hannah’s two older sisters care for her until their father finally admits that the child will never walk. Hannah is sent to live a lonely life with her widowed Aunt Verbena Wedington in Savannah. Though Hannah’s sisters attempt to visit her, they are thwarted by their Aunt Verbena, who manages to take control of every aspect of Hannah’s life.

Jarrett MacMichael, an Arizona detective, is hired to go to Savannah and check on Hannah’s welfare. Jarrett is surprised to find the object of his mission is a beautiful young woman who is being controlled by her devious aunt. During his investigation, not only does he discover Hannah’s evil Aunt Verbena has a sinister plan for her charge, but Jarrett realizes he’s the only one who can stop her before it’s too late.

By the time Jarrett frees Hannah, she has fallen head-over-heels in love with him–but she understands she can’t hope for a life with the handsome detective.

Practical man that he is, Jarrett  knows life would be hard if he tied himself to a woman who can’t walk…but how can he live without her? There’s only one thing to do. Will he be able to grant HANNAH’S WISHES?


  “How about your brother?”

“Everett is happily married to a woman he met when he went to England on business. Her daddy is a lord, or a count…or some type of royalty. They live in England and have a little princess of their own.” He wondered how Everett would feel if he knew he’d graduated him from the detective business, married him off, and elevated him to royalty in England

Verbena’s eyes lit up. “Really? Royalty?” He nodded, and she went on. “Have you visited them?”

Hannah looked interested, but there was something in her eyes that made him wonder if she knew he was telling a tall tale. He gathered that this young lady was no fool. He answered Verbena’s question with, “I’m so busy with my own enterprises that I’ve only had time to visit them once. They have promised to come visit me in the next couple of years. Everett wants to show his wife and daughter his country.”

“I think that’s wonderful.”

There was a knock on the parlor door, and Minerva poked her head in. “Supper is ready, Miz Wedington.”

“Send Tobias to get Hannah.”

“Yes, ma’am.” She scurried away.

Jarrett couldn’t help wondering why the man was to come get Hannah. The fact was, he’d been looking forward to offering her his arm so he could escort her to supper. Jarrett’s question was answered in a matter of a moment. Tobias returned pushing a wheelchair. Jarrett was stunned as the butler pushed it up to the settee and reached down to lift Hannah into it.

So that was her problem. She couldn’t walk. He never would have guessed.

Verbena stood. “Shall we go into supper, Mr. MacMichael?”

“Of course.” He stood, and since he had no alternative, he offered her his arm. They went out of the parlor leaving Tobias to push Hannah’s chair behind them.


Hannah wondered about Mr. Jarrett MacMichael. Yes, he was as handsome as she thought he’d be now that she’d seen his face. In fact, he was the kind of man she often dreamed about and wished she could meet. Yes, he told a good story about his life, but something didn’t ring true to her. Was he trying to impress Aunt Verbena? If so, why? What could her aunt do for him? And why hadn’t he mentioned her sister? She’d kept quiet just like her Aunt Verbena had told her to, but she didn’t intend to let him get through the meal and leave this house without answering a question or two about Drina.

Leave a comment and have a chance of winning an autographed print copy of Hannah’s Wishes.

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First Blog Guest


My guest on my blog today is my writing friend, Sandy Bruney.

Sandy Bruney reunion pic

Sandy has agreed to answer some questions about herself and her writing career, and especially to tell us about her most recent book, “A Question of Boundaries.” It is a fascinating book and I know, just as I do, you will admire her imagination for coming up with the setting for this wonderful historical suspense.

First, please tell us about yourself. Did you have another career before becoming a writer? If so, how and why did you come to writing?

I was encouraged to write from a young age, but never did much with it after college, being busy with work and raising three boys. I was an art teacher, then when we moved to North Carolina from Pennsylvania and I couldn’t find a teaching job, I worked in a bank. I was very bored and started writing again and when I finally quit I took a job as a stringer for a local newspaper, which led to a part-time reporting job, then full time reporter, and finally city editor. Enter a shake-up in administration and I quit and took at job as administrative assistant at the chamber of commerce. While there I juggled the job with treatment for breast cancer, which led to my first book, a non-fiction account of my journey. From then on, I have been writing steadily, mostly women’s fiction.

What does your family think of your writing?

Mostly they think I’m a little strange. The reaction ranges from enthusiastic fans to “Gee, I’m sorry I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.” My husband is supportive and that’s what matters to me.


Tell us about A Question of Boundaries. It is somewhat different from your other books. How did you come up with the setting, the characters and the idea? Was it based on real incidents?

It is both different from and the same as my contemporaries. All have strong heroines who may be misguided but find their way with the help of their friends. I first came up with the character of Caroline and meant to put her in a historical setting, but then I thought “but what if it were a different history than the one we studied in school” and then “what if she encounters friends who have paranormal abilities” and so it went. I had a great time writing it. As for real incidents, no. It’s pure fantasy.

What is your writing day like?

I try to get the “chores” out of the way first. I write two blogs, put together a monthly newsletter, and am secretary to several organization which means writing up several sets of minutes each month. I also spend some time on social media which is a must for authors. Then I write. But I’m thinking I should really sit down and write the day’s quota first and then do the rest – except when I’m writing I keep thinking about deadlines for the other stuff. A conundrum.

What advice would you give others who want to write a novel?

Do it! Seriously, if it is in your head and you can’t stop thinking about it, the only solution is to get it written. If you don’t have a master’s in English (which I don’t) you should take workshops available on line or through your local writers’ club. Keep perfecting your craft. Join a critique group if you can and don’t be thin-skinned about criticism. They are trying to help. Go to writers’ conferences and learn from successful authors. Don’t submit until you have had your manuscript professionally edited and had feedback from several beta readers. Learn how to write a query letter and synopsis. And don’t be discouraged.

Where can readers find your books?

Print and eBooks at:

“A Question of Boundaries” is an e-book only and is also available at:

How can the readers get in touch with you?

Thank you for being the first guest on my blog, Sandy. It was a delight having you and I know my readers will enjoy “A Question of Boundaries” as much as I did.

Thank you for the opportunity, Agnes. I enjoyed answering the questions.

This is the link to the trailer of “A Questions of Boundaries”





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Opla's Faith





A Bought Bride






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My ABC’s Of Living and Writing


A – Aspire to reach your full potential:

Nobody is going to make you try to reach your goals. Only you can do that, so decide what you want and go for it.

B – Believe in yourself and in your God.

Belief will get you a long way. Without belief in yourself and your God, you are setting yourself up to fail.

C – Create the habit of living in a positive frame of mind.

Nobody wants to be around a negative person for very long. If you stay around one long enough you become negative yourself. Never say “I can’t.”

D – Dare to do the things you’ve always wanted to do.

If you’re near retirement and you want to play pro football, it’ll never happen. But there’s no reason you can’t write about pro football or become a devoted fan of one of the teams. No matter your age, you can take part in anything in one way or another.

E – Eagerly greet each new day.

Every day is a gift. Be thankful for it and plan to live it to the fullest.

F – Forgive yourself for your mistakes and forgive others theirs.

Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. Learn from it, forgive yourself and go on.

G – Gather all the facts you can before you make a decision or begin a new project.

Often mistakes are made because one jumps into a situation before gathering the facts about it. If you want to write a book about the Civil War, read about it. Don’t place a battle in California. You wouldn’t buy a dress without looking at the size. Gather your facts before jumping in.

H – Help someone every day.

You don’t always have to do great things to help people or spend a lot of money. Sometimes help comes in a kind word or a simple whispered prayer or even a smile.

I – Indulge in daydreams for a few minutes every day.

Explore your imagination and let yourself pretend you’re whatever you want to be. If a writer is your desire, see yourself on the best seller list. If a singer, see yourself on stage. Whatever your desire is see yourself doing it.

J – Judge no one.

You never know a person’s background or their life story. You have no right to judge them.

K – Kill negative thoughts as soon as they enter your head.

Great thinkers have said that if your mind is always in a negative state, you will never be able to achieve any of your goals. Don’t let your thoughts keep you from going for what you want.

L – Live each day as if it’s your last.

Life is fickle. You might have an accident, fall in the bathtub, have a heart attack or any other million things could end your life. Don’t worry about these things, but be determined to live each day the best way you possibly can.

M – Meditate on the things you really want for the rest of your life.

Think about what you want often. There is a saying that goes; If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? You can change that to say, If you don’t know what you want, how will you know when you get it?

N – Notice the beauty of nature that is all around you.

Don’t get so wrapped up in things that you fail to see the rainbow and other wonders of our beautiful world.

O – Open your heart and mind to new ideas.

Boring people only know what they have experienced, but you can learn so much and your life will be enriched by learning from other peoples’ experiences and ideas.

P – Pray for yourself as well as others every day.

As my grandmother used to say, “A little prayer never hurt anyone.” She was right. If you’re a praying person it only takes a second to  say, a two or three word prayer for yourself and others.

Q – Question things you don’t understand.

Humans learn from asking questions, but some are afraid or too timid to do so. There are no stupid questions. If you don’t know something, ask somebody who does know.

R – Relax and calm yourself because worry never helped anything.

It’s hard to do anything when you’re tense and nervous. Remember, you might be writing the great American novel, but you’re not rewriting the Bible or Shakespeare. Relax and you’ll find you’ll do a better job.

S – Share what you have with others and if possible, do it in secret.

We all have more than we need. Notice I said need, not want. We  have food to eat and a roof over our heads and are able to pay our bills. But there are some who are not so fortunate. You never know when a small gift can change someone’s life. Do it because you want to, not because you want the glory of having given to a more needy person.

T – Thank God for the blessing of being alive.

Your life is important and it’s a miracle you’re even here. Think of all the little eggs and that sperm that fertilized them. What were the changes of that one egg and one sperm that was you would ever happen without a miracle coming into play?

U – Underestimate no one, especially yourself.

We are capable of being and doing more than we ever dreamed we could. Use your talents (which we all have in one way or another) and see what happens. Don’t be afraid and don’t give up.

V – Value the things that are most important to you.

We all have things that are important to us.  I care for a lot of things from my depression glass dish collection to my grandmother’s clock, but we all have our top priorities. My top things happen to be, my God, my family, and my writing – in that order. Make your own list.

W – Welcome each new challenge.

If everything came easy, life would be so routine that nobody would enjoy it. Finding and tackling new challenges keeps life interesting and helps us grow as a person.

X – X-Rate nothing in your life. Keep things on a higher level.

I’m not a preacher and I’m not trying to tell anyone what to do with their personal life, but for me, I don’t like porno on TV, in books, or on the computer. I’m not trying to censor anything because I have some cursing, sex and have touched on taboo subjects in my books,   but I will never write erotica because that’s not me. If you feel differently, that’s your prerogative.

Y – Yesterday is gone. Be thankful for it, but don’t live there.

Memories are wonderful and are a great source of material for a writer, but to me some of the saddest people in the world spend so much time thinking about the past that they completely miss the present.

Z – Zero in on your goals, work hard and don’t give up. They will happen.

Know what your goals are and keep them in the forefront of your thoughts, but don’t obsess about them so much that you don’t think of your real life. Don’t cheat your family and/or your friends by only thinking of your goals. And to go back to what my grandmother used to say, “A little prayer never hurt anybody.” And that includes you and your goals.

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Turning Fact Into Fiction

Drina's Choice 2

(Drina’s Choice is a Mail-Order-Bride novel)

A writer friend of mine describes fiction as ‘what could have happened instead of what really happened.’ I think she pretty much nailed it. We all know good fiction comes from stories we see and hear and live.

In writing western romance fiction among the many things we depend on are the facts we have read about in history classes or have found on the internet or stories that have been handed down through the generations. We writers take these facts, give them a twist to suit our stories and make the situation fit the characters we’ve created. But we always try to make sure the real facts are correct. We wouldn’t dare set an historical fact such as the battle at Little Big Horn in Kansas or the fight for the Alamo in Nevada. We’d never sell another book if we used our ‘literary license’ in this way.

The truth is, we all know the west was at one time a lawless place where most men and some women carried guns for the own protection as well as the protection of their families. The towns were settled with hard work, sweat and tears and many lives were lost in the process.

At first there were few women in the towns that sprang up. Most of the people on the frontier were men. To ease their loneliness and to build families the mail-order-bride was born. Not only did men advertise for a wife, there were actually businesses set up to find wives for the lonely men who wanted to remain in the west and raise families there.

Though the following were a part of everyday life in the west, seldom are the dangers that plagued the pioneers mentioned in the books we read today. Some of these dangers were wild animals, outlaws, Indians, disease, starvation and the lack of medical care available. Also only mentioned occasionally is Prairie Madness, a disease many women faced from being so isolated and lonely because they would go for long periods of time without interaction with other people. Many women went mad and/or committed suicide when this malady hit them. Many women also died in childbirth because of the lack of medical care. Among the many other factors that took the lives of men, women and children, I’ll only mention a couple: snake bites and accidents.

Our forefathers where not only a tough and hearty breed who were able to take a hostile land, settle it and turn it into the thriving west we know today. They raised families, built cities, and formed good lives for themselves and those they loved. These men, who lived by their wits and their guns, were also accomplished in other ways. Because of the isolation, they were often avid readers, they wrote poetry, sang songs and taught themselves skills that were needed to survive.

Writers, and I’m one of them, have taken many of these facts and turned them into the romantic western fiction we see in the movies and read about today. So when you read a western novel, you will not only read about the history of our country, but you will see how we all wished that history had been for the brave men and women who settled the west.


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Are There Taboos in Writing Western Romance


Lynn C. Willis

Winner of an autographed copy of an Agnes Alexander Book

(Lynn chose Fiona’s Journey as her free autographed book)


camillaCOVER          edwina1            Valissa's Home - WEB              Quinn2

People may think writing a western historical romance is easy. Some even think all you have to do is think up a handsome cowboy and a pretty maiden, thrown in a few gunfights and a rustler or two and have the couple fight and make up and all will end well. Of course, in the western historical romance you expect it to be set in the west and there is a romance. Otherwise, it would not be a book in this genre. But rest assured there is more in the western romance than gunfights, rustlers, (though they may be there) and romance, which we’ve already said has to be there.

When I started writing western romance it never occurred to me the number of topics I’d end up including in my novels. My first book, Fiona’s Journey touched on the horrible subject of child molestation and rape. Though I never graphically described either of these in my writing, it left no doubt in the reader’s mind what was being referred to.

In Valissa’s Home I discussed gambling. Not the regular kind of  gambling that takes place in a saloon as happens in most westerns, but I had one of my characters suffer a gambling addiction so bad that he not only lost all his fortune, but also that of his sister.

Prejudice was one of the topics in the book Amelia’s Marriage. A lot of people, including her father, were ready to fight when Amelia fell in love with, not only a bounty-hunter, but a bounty-hunter who happened to be half Lakota Indian. (Scheduled to come out this year.

In Quinn’s Promise I wrote about three sisters – city women from Philadelphia who travel west to find a long lost relative and with only their skills and instincts manage to survive in a part of the country that was strange and hostile to them.

Drina’s Choice addressed the mail-order-bride issue. Though many men in the west wanted a wife to ease their loneliness and to give them children as heirs, there were other reasons for using this service. In my book, the mail-order-bride was arranged to keep a cowboy from losing the ranch he’d worked hard to build into a profitable enterprise. (To come out this year from Prairie Rose Publishers)

Dealing with a heroine who was born with a withered foot and could never walk, but who had dreams and hopes of one day having a man to love and to love her was the premise of Hannah’s Wishes. Also I touched on how an unscrupulous relative could take advantage of someone with a disability. (Just finished and going though edits.)

The one time-travel I’ve written explores how an accomplished, savvy woman of today’s would cope if thrown back into the primitive way people had to live in the 1800’s. It also showed that men of that place and time could learn that women were strong and could hold their own in most any situation. This tale took place in Rena’s Cowboy.

Edwina’s Husband deals with a woman who has been raised by her not-so-religious preacher uncle who has a bible verse for everything that happens, though he sees everything in the world as evil, including his wife and his niece. Of course, he sees no wrong in himself.

Child abandonment is the first problem that crops up in Camilla’s Daughters. There is also the problem of child slavery and how a woman who never wanted children contends with having two girls thrust upon her – one an infant and the other an eight-year-old.

In some of the books I have sketched out I will tackle such things as: Remorse and loneliness in Zenia’s Guilt; Unwanted pregnancy and responsibility in Isabel’s Baby; Hate and acceptance in Belinda’s Battle; Family loyalty and revenge in Opal’s Agreement; and infidelity and forgiveness in Nelda’s Return.

After these books are finished, I’m not sure what, but I will come up with something else for my main characters to face. I hope it will be something I won’t be afraid to tackle or something that I’ll shy away from. I have learned that no subject is taboo when you write a western romance as long as it is written with tact and in a non-offensive way.

Leave a comment and be in a drawing for one of my autographed published books.












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On the Trail

Here is more of the partial list of supplies for a wagon train trip west  (See post: Would you make a good Pioneer? for more of this list)

Can you imagine going on a 5 month trip knowing you have to take enough clothing and groceries and other supplies to last the entire time? That’s what the pioneers faced when they headed out on a wagon train to Oregon or California. That fact caused wagon masters to come up with a recommended list of food and supplies that should be brought. There were few trading posts along the way so supply prices doubled or tripled if the travelers ran out of a necessity. The recommendations are based on a family of four.

Part of the list: 600 pounds of flour @.02 a pound, 80 pounds of cornmeal @.05, 400 pounds of bacon @.05  a pound,  160 pounds of sugar @.04 a pound, 60 pounds of Coffee @.10 a pound, 60 pounds of dried fruit @.06 a pound, 20 pounds salt @.06 a pound, 2 pounds saleratus (baking soda) @.12 a pound, 6 pounds pepper @.08 a pound, 200 pounds lard @.05 a pound, 8 pounds of tea @.55, 20 pounds rice @.05, 60 pounds beans @.06 a pound, Dried beef 100 lbs. @ 6.00, Vinegar @ .25 gallon and Molasses @.06 a pound. The average family carried about 1,600-1,800 pounds of supplies in just food alone.

Some people also brought whiskey or brandy, and medicines. Minimal cooking utensils included a cast iron skillet or spider, Dutch oven, reflector oven, coffee pot or tea kettle, and tin plates, cups, and knives, forks, spoons, matches, and crocks, canteens, buckets or water bags for liquids.

Clothing recommended: At least 2 extra Wool Dresses @ 3.00 each, 2 Buckskin Pants/Shirt @ 4.00 each, Rain poncho @2.00 (8.00 for each family member), Hat 1.25, Sun Bonnet 1.75, Shoes(women) 3.00, Boots 5.00 (It was recommended that each person bring at least 3 extra pair of shoes/boots because most people walked and they wore out quickly.) Also recommended was at least 3 changes of underwear @.50 to 3.00.

Wagons were packed with clothing, farm implements and food. Also bedding, tools, personal possessions and, occasionally, luxury items such as schoolbooks, a bible or a chamber pot. Travelers carried shoes and oxbows for the teams, chains to pull wagons out of muck, medical supplies and lanterns and tents for sleeping because there was seldom room in the wagon.

Weapons and Tools: Pistol 7.50, Rifle 10.00, Shotgun 10.00, Knife/Whetstone 2.50,  Professional tools used by blacksmiths, carpenters, and farmers were carried by nearly all. Shovels, crow bars, picks, hoes, mattocks, saws, hammers, axes and hatchets were used to clear or make a road through trees or brush, cut down the banks to cross a wash or steep banked stream, build a raft or bridge, or repair the wagon. In general, as little road work as possible was done. Travel was often along the top of ridges to avoid the brush and washes common in many valleys. Goods, supplies and equipment were often shared by fellow travelers. Items that were forgotten, broken or worn out could be bought from a fellow traveler, post or fort along the way.

The things I’ve listed are just an example of some of the things taken by the pioneers. Joining a wagon train was a big undertaking and many people died from sickness, accidents, snake bites, and several other reasons, but there were not as many Indian attacks as movies or books would lead one to believe.

Read Fiona’s Journey and see how Fiona Webb made the journey with her 8 year-old nephew, Clint and Rose Larson and the other families on the wagon train as she looks for a new life in the west. Fiona’s Journey available in ebook and trade paperback.






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World Wide Blog Hop

I’m participating in the World Wide Blog Hop this week with several other writer friends.

Thanks to Lynn Chandler Willis, a friend and fellow writer, for inviting me to take part. Please take a moment and check out her blog and books. She’s an excellent writer and you’ll find her books are hard to put down. Lynn Chandler Willis is the author of the best-selling true crime, Unholy Covenant (Addicus Books 2000), inspirational mystery/suspense novel The Rising, (Pelican Book Group 2013) and a private eye novel Wink of an Eye, releasing Nov. 18 2014 from Minotaur Books. Wink was chosen as the winner of the 2013 Minotaur Books/Private Eye Writers of America Best First PI Novel Competition. Her WIP is Nobody’s Baby, a story she can’t wait to share… She is the mother of two adult kids with great spouses who have blessed her with nine grandkids. She was born, raised, and continues to live in the heart of North Carolina – within walking distance of the kids and all the grands! She shares her home and couch with Sam the cocker spaniel, who sometimes reminds her it’s okay to sometimes just sit and watch TV.  Her website is:


  Now as I was requested to do, I’ll tell you about my writing. I am the author of 22 books written under the name Lynette Hall Hampton. My debut novel, Jilted by Death was a mystery featuring a female Methodist Minister and came out in 2004 from Silver Dagger Publishing. Silver Dagger went out of business and I searched for other publishers for my writing. The second book in the Rev. Hinshaw series, Echoes of Mercy was published by Alabaster Book Publishing. Both of these books were picked up by Harlequin for their World Wide Mystery Series. As well as Alabaster, my other books have been published by Cambridge Books and Wings ePress.

In 2012 my first Western Historical Romance, Fiona’s Journey was published by Whiskey Creek Press under the name Agnes Alexander. It was followed by 5 more western romances.  In March, April and May my five books ranked 1 through 5 on the Whiskey Creek’s best seller list.  In June, three of my westerns were ranked 1, 2 and 3 with the company.  Whiskey Creek has been sold to Start Publishing in New York and they have 2 more of my books under contract, so I’ll see how this new publisher works out.

In the meantime, I have signed a contract with a new publishing company, Prairie Rose Publishers. The book they’ve bought is Drina’s Choice the first book in the Hamilton Sisters series and it will be out sometime this year. Currently, I’m working on a several western romances. Hannah’s Wishes is the sequel to Drina’s Choice.  A third book is planned for this series, but I haven’t started it.  I’m also working on Grace’s Dream, which is the second book in my Settlers Ridge series. The first in that series, Amelia’s Marriage, is scheduled to come out this year.

I have the beginnings of other westerns  and I plan to write 26 in all. Each book’s title will have a woman’s name beginning with one of the 26 letters in the alphabet, but I decided not to go in order. I write the book about the woman who seems to want her story told next. I love to write these books because I have so much respect for the people who risk their lives to settle this wonderful country of ours.

I will try to finish some of my contemporary books before I work on the other westerns that I’ve only sketched out. This year I plan to do the third book in my Ferrington Men Series for Wings Press and the fourth in the Coverton Mills Romance series for Cambridge Books. Since so many readers have requested it, I’ve started work on the third and last book in the Reverend Willa Hinshaw series.

Why do I write? It sounds simple when I say it, but it’s the truth. I mainly write because I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love to tell stories and I feel compelled to write them down. To me one of the most important things in writing is telling a good story. And for me, good stories start with characters that we can love or even hate, but not ones we feel indifferent about. To start my writing day, I always read what I wrote the day before, edit some and then go forward with it. After I have several chapters written, I’ll edit those then go on. By the time I finish a novel it has been written and re-written several times. My daily writing schedule varies almost as much as my books, but one thing I stick to is that I write most every day, even weekends. I might not write more than a few words, but I write. If I can’t get to my computer,  where I do most of my work, I will jot down good lines I think of or gather names for characters or even work out a plot that is giving me some trouble. Most days I’m able to get in five to six hours of writing, but going for as many as ten isn’t unheard of. I’m a night person so a lot of my work is done when all my neighbors have gone to bed. When the words are flowing and I’m typing as fast as I can, I sometimes haven’t realized how late it is and then I see the sun come up before I call it a day. Though rare, I consider these times gifts.

That’s about it for my writing and my work. Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a free autographed book.

Now let me introduce you to three of my writing friends who I’ve asked to join me on this world wide blog hop.

Susan Whitfield is a native of North Carolina, where she sets all of her novels. She is the author of five published mysteries, Genesis Beach, Just North of Luck, Hell Swamp, Sin Creek and Sticking Point. She also authored Killer Recipes, a unique cookbook that includes recipes from mystery writers around the country.  Slightly Cracked is her first women’s fiction, set in Wayne County where she lives with her husband. Their two sons live nearby with their families. Susan’s a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Coastal Carolina Mystery Writers, and North Carolina Writers Network.  Her books are available in print and ebook formats. Susan is currently researching a medieval ancestor for an historical mystery. Learn more at

Sandy Bruney is a native of New York State, but has lived for the last 40 years in North Carolina.  A graduate of the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University where she majored in fine arts, she taught art in the public schools until moving to North Carolina. After the move, she worked in banking before entering the newspaper field as a reporter and then editor of a local weekly until she left to accept the position of administrative assistant at the chamber of commerce. A few years later, she and a former colleague combined their skills to form a media consulting company which they managed  until both retired to write full time. The two co-authored a novel, “Plotz” under the name Marshall Bruney. Sandy has since published  three additional novels (Angels Unaware, The Lunch Club, and  The Almost Bride) and is under contract for a fourth, A Question of Boundaries.  She and her husband Jim have three adult sons and three grandchildren. She enjoys reading, volunteering in her community and church, and visiting her family. to learn more about Sandy and her work.

Ruth Zavitsanos: I began writing at the age of 12. Growing up outside of New York City, I attended many Broadway plays and musicals that served to stimulate my imagination. While attaining my Journalism degree at Marshall University I received numerous writing awards. After graduation, I maintained my desire to write by editing and writing for corporate bulletins, preschool/elementary school newsletters  and the local newspaper. As a stay at home mom, I am able to devote my mornings to writing, something that is now coming to fruition. enjoy Pilates and long walks with my dogs. I also enjoy cooking, reading, music, photography and travel. I am both fortunate and blessed to have a loving family and some amazing friends enriching my life on a daily basis. Check Ruth’s Site:








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