April 29, 2009

Book Trailer Sampler

Ah, I'm the last leg of the journey, the final stop, the caboose of April's Blog Train. For today's stop, I thought I give you a sample of book trailers, mine and some of my friends. Below is the trailers is a brief instruction of the Blog Train. You have until midnight tonight to join the drawing for the grand prize - 20+ gift from participating bloggers. Plus, leave a comment on what you think of book trailers in general and these in particular and you could win a Pampered Feet Gift Basket, just in time for the summer sandal season.

You Belong to Me by Phyllis Campbell

Salvation Bride by Anna Kathryn Lanier

Carina and The Nobleman by Jannine Corti-Petska

He of the Fiery Sword by Skhye Moncrief

Sparta Rose by Ginger Simpson

You will be searching for the egg to the right. Just visit all of the authors' websites, locate the 4 eggs, make a list of their locations by pasting the urls to the website pages in an e-mail, then send the entry to happyendings2007@aol.com by midnight CST on May 1st, 2009. The winner will be randomly drawn and announced May 2nd at http://blog.skhyemoncrief.com/ Tip #1, subscribe to http://blog.skhyemoncrief.com to learn if you're the winner! And don't worry. If you start in on the blog event late, just head back to Silver James' blog on April 1st at http://www.silverjames.com/ to begin your website search for the Easter eggs. Don't miss the fun!

Anna Kathryn Lanier
More than Tumbleweeds
Heartwarming, Sensual Westerns

Wednesday's Chow: No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Here's another quick and delicious recipe.....enjoy!

No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup margarine or butter
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats, uncooked

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa, margarine and milk. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute exactly....time it, don't overcook!

Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, peanut butter and oats. Mix thoroughly. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper and let cool. Makes about 3 dozen.

Anna Kathryn Lanier
More than Tumbleweeds
Heartwarming, Sensual Westerns

April 27, 2009

The Bookworm

All my life I've been addicted to words. My parents taught me to read beginning around age four. I haven't stopped since. Even before then, they read to me and to my brother, stories and poems. My father made up rhyming songs for us, about dancing goldfish and clarinet-playing cats. Very early I became attuned to the rhythms of poetry and prose, the way words breathe, the way they sing.

I was the kid who lay on my bed reading, even on the sunny days, ignoring my mom's injunction to “go outside and play”. I was playing, tripping through the worlds of wonder between the covers of my books. I still remember the places I visited. Eleanor Cameron's mushroom planet. Evelyn Sibley Lampman's and Honore Valintcourt's city under the back steps. Nancy Drew's sleepy town full of secret doors and underground passages. I toured ancient Egypt and revolutionary America, met Betsy Ross and Helen Keller, Juliette Gordon Low and Sacajawea. I recall spending days in the Chateau D'If with poor, suffering Edmund Dantes. I wandered the red planet with Ray Bradbury and Robert Heinlein and journeyed through Middle Earth with Frodo and his band.

As I read, I also wrote – my first poems around age seven, my first stories no doubt even younger (although unlike my poems, none survive). I wrote plays about the Beatles and the 1964 U.S. presidential election. I wrote part of a novel about woman who falls in love with a ghost in a haunted mansion by the sea. Delighted by the music of the language I was studying, I wrote verse in French.

All through school I was the bookworm, the egghead, the shy girl with the coke-bottle eyeglasses who got all As but few dates. This really didn't change much until I got to graduate school and “blossomed”. In the interim, I wrote dozens of angst-ridden poems about my unrequited loves.

It's surprising to me now, but I never really planned on being an author. I was going to be a famous scientist, like Marie Curie. Aside from some work published in my high school newspaper, my writing was mostly private. As my career goals morphed and I became a computer scientist and software engineer, I continued to write – research papers, proposals, specifications, manuals, marketing blurbs -- interspersed with more creative work. I tried my hand at a romance but foundered, not really knowing the genre. Under the tutelage of the primary man in my life, I began to read erotica, including quite a lot of BDSM. I wrote fantasies for his pleasure. I penned a couple of science fiction/erotica tales and toyed with the notion of a collection.

Still, I didn't actually write anything for publication until I was in my forties. I happened to pick up a copy of Portia da Costa's Black Lace classic Gemini Heat while I was traveling. I found it intelligent, imaginative and above all arousing. Then I thought, “I'll bet I could write something like that.” About eighteen months later, my first novel, Raw Silk, was published by Black Lace. The rest, as they say, is history, albeit a minor footnote! (My full publishing history is available at http://www.lisabetsarai.com/pubhistory.html.)

Since then I've published four novels (with a fifth due out next week) and dozens of shorter works. I love to write. I began in the erotica genre but now I also write erotic romance. My earlier works tended to be realistic and contemporary, but as I gain more experience I'm starting to experiment with paranormals, historicals, thrillers and other sub-genres.

Nevertheless, my first love is still reading. There's nothing like thrill of finding a book that takes you over completely. I recently had that experience with Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale. Both the language and the story held me spellbound. Of course, I probably appreciated the novel all the more because it is about the magic of the written word, about stories and the difference between literal truth and emotional truth.

Words have power. They can inspire. They can wound. They can crystallize entire new worlds out of mere thought.

These days I'm proud to be a bookworm. I consider myself fortunate to have discovered the joy of reading at such an early age. I look forward to the many books waiting for me in the years ahead.

For more of Lisabet's views and writing, please visit Lisabet's Fantasy Factory (http://www.lisabetsarai.com) and her group blog, "Oh Get A Grip!".

April 25, 2009

The Friday Record - Irena Sendler

Well, so much for scheduling! I still haven't figured out how to do that. I thought I'd set it up for this to post itself on Friday, April 25th, when I'd be out of town, so here it is on Sunday, instead.

This is a very busy week for me, so I am going to send you all on a field trip....yep, you get to visit another website. And I'll have a question for you to answer, just so I'll know you actually went on this field trip. Then I'll have a drawing on April 30th for a $10 The Wild Rose Press gift certificate for those who answer correctly.

Now, yesterday, I had to leave town to attend not one, but two family weddings. Yep! They couldn't have planned this if they knew each other, but they don't. The first wedding, tonight at 6:00 is my niece's - Khara Christensen to Rich Crawford. The second wedding, tomorrow at 6:00 is my husband's nephew Seth Ringley to Lindsey Carswell. They take place about 60 miles from each other, which turns out to be good for us.

Anyway, back to your field trip. On Sunday, the Hallmark Hall of Fame presented a movie The Courage Heart of Irena Sendler. Irena was a Catholic social worker in Warsaw, Poland during WWII. She is responsible for the rescue of 2,500 children from the ghetto, saving two and half times as many people as Oskar Schindler. She smuggled the children out of the ghetto, gave them new identities and placed them Catholic orphanages, homes and convents.

You can find out more about Irena and how her story became known by going to http://www.hallmark.com/wcsstore/HallmarkStore/images/FeatureArea/TCHISBonusMaterial.pdf.

Read the story about this wonderful woman. Then come back here and in the comment section, tell me the first names (or the full names, I don't care) of the four Kansas Uniontown High School students who wrote Life in a Jar, and exposed Irena's heroism to the world.

I'll set my comments so that they now have to be approved...ah, that way no one can read the answers without reading the story, because I think the story is worth reading!

Anna Kathryn Lanier
More Than Tumbleweeds
Heartwarming, Sensual Westerns


April 22, 2009

Wednesday's Chow - Peach Pie

Jeannie is my mother-in-law, born and raised in the deep south. She does the kind of cooking I only think about....from scratch. I love going to her house for visits. Between my father-in-law's bbq-ing and her from-scratch goodies, we always know we'll get fed good!

So, here's a tried and true Jeannie recipe:

Jeannie's Peach Pie

1 ¼ cup flour
½ tsp salt
½ cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons sour cream

3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup sour cream

3 peeled, sliced peaches

Put flour, salt, butter and sour cream into Cuisinart or blender. Blend until they form a ball, then pat out into a buttered pie tin and bake 10 min. at 425°.

Meanwhile, beat egg yolks slightly and combine with sugar, flour and sour cream until well mixed.

When crust is done arrange peaches over it. Then pour filling over peaches.

Cover with foil and reduce heat to 350° and bake 35 min.

Remove the foil and bake 10 min. more or until filling is set.

Anna Kathryn Lanier
More Than Tumbleweeds
Heartwarming, Sensual Westerns

Five Book Review

My novella, SALVATION BRIDE has received a 5 book review from Long and Short of it Reviews. Lilac said, “"Salvation Bride" is a wonderful story that I would definitely recommend!”

Read Lilac's entire review: http://longandshortreviews.blogspot.com/2009/04/salvation-bride-by-anna-kathryn-lanier.html
The hot dusty town of Salvation, Texas has more than its share of secrets in 1873 when Laura Ashton's stage rolls into town. Sheriff David Slade has no idea what baggage his mail-order bride is bringing into his life. Throw in the nightmares from his Civil War days and he's got more than courting to contend with. Laura's a woman ahead of her time, a woman trained in medicine. And she's got a will that could move mountains. Unfortunately, the only mountains in Salvation are in Sheriff Slade's memory. Can the determined doctor heal his pain, or will the dark secret in her past turn up to steal his Salvation Bride?
Anna Kathryn Lanier
More Than Tumbleweeds
Heartwarming, Sensual Westerns

April 21, 2009

Roni Adams Rides in

Hey ya'll!

Anna was nice enough to invite me over to play on her blog. My name is Roni Adams and I'm an author with The Wild Rose Press. While I have a book out in the Champagne Rose line called "Beauty and the Geek" its really my cowboy stories that I'm best known for.

"To Tame A Cowgirl" was released in the fall of 2008 and the folllow up "The Cowboy Comes Home" came out in January.

The third in the series, "Trouble in Texas" with the smoking hot heroine, Charli Boyd, is scheduled to release in early summer, 2009.

Every author has her passion and hopefully because its something that interests you, it makes the research and writing an act of love. Someone once said if you can make a living doing something you love that truly is the key to a happy life. While I can't tell you I'm making a living at writing cowboy stories, I certainly am enjoying the writing and research. In fact next week I"m leaving to visit Bandera, Texas - self proclaimed "Cowboy Capital of the World". I'm staying on the Silver Spurr Dude ranch and riding up into the hill country of Texas. To top that off I'll head into San Antonio for the annual Merritt conference with the lovely ladies of the San Antonio Romance Authors (SARA). Yep definitely having fun!

If you don't know much about The Wild Rose Press I would strongly encourage you to check out this publishing house. Its a small press and it releases their books in both print and electronic versions. They take short stories and full length novels. My cowboy books are in the Yellow Rose line and I'm in there with some pretty powerful company, authors like Stacy Dawn and Cindy Pape and Judith Rochelle to name a few. Wonderful authors who write great cowboy stories. The Wayback, Texas series has been the most popular in the company. If you haven't read any Wayback stories I strongly advise you pick up a few (www.thewildrosepress.com). I'm also coming out in an anthology in June called "Return to Wayback". In my story, "Under a Rodeo Moon", my hero is a blonde blue eyed bull rider and my heroine is a reformed spoiled socialite. Getting these two back together was quite the chore that's for sure.

Anyway, I'll be here all day if anyone wants to talk to me about my stories or The Wild Rose Press or cowboys and research. Thanks again to Anna for letting me lasso her blog and talk to all of you.

Take care!

Roni Adams

April 18, 2009

It's Raining, It's Pouring

I live in a suburb of Houston...if you missed it on the news, we had severe weather today. I've been here for nearly 8 years, and this is only the second time that my street and yard have flooded like this. The water didn't get into my house, thankfully, and it has since stopped raining and the water has subsided.

Anna Kathryn Lanier

More than Tumbleweeds
Heartwarming, Sensual Westerns

April 17, 2009

The Friday Record - Covered Wagon Women 1

I write fiction, but I get my inspiration from reading fact. However, I think if I were to write the truth, people wouldn't believe me. One of the stories I have on the back burner of my mind is a Covered Wagon story. I have it planned out, who the hero and heroine are, who the bad guy is, the plot. I haven't quit decided if I'm going to put in the 1840's or the 1860's....the decade will dictate some of the plot, mainly because the heroine will have a long lost brother. The question will be if he can disappear in the Civil War or not.

But to prepare myself to write this story, no matter when it's set, I needed to research on covered wagon traveling. I've purchased several books that recount true stories of women who travel West in covered wagons. One book, Covered Wagon Women: Diaries & Letters from the Western Trails, 1840-1849 by Kenneth L. Holmes is an excellent resource book. He reprints actual diaries written while on the trail and letters written either on the trail or after they reach their destination. Holmes also gives a bit of a biography on each woman. One of the women whose letters he reprints is Tabitha Brown (right), who made the trip starting in April 1846.

Mrs. Brown was a widow and sixty-six years old when she decided to travel from her home in St. Charles, Missouri to Oregon with her seventy-seven year old brother-in-law, retired sea captain John Brown, and two of her children and thirteen of her grandchildren.

While most journeys of this type were dangerous, The Brown family's was particularly hazardous. Mrs. Brown expresses in a letter to her sister and brother, penned after her arrival in Oregon, that the first part of their trip was “pleasing and prosperous.” But all that changed in August when they still had 800 miles to go to Oregon City. Instead of keeping to the tried and true route, “three of four trains of emigrants were decoyed off by a rascally fellow...[who] assured us that he had found a near cut-off; that if we would follow him we would be in the settlement long before those who had gone down the Columbia.” The decision to follow this man was tragic for many of the families.

Mrs. Brown relays that the man took their money and ran, leaving the train “to the depredations of Indians, wild beasts and starvation...we had sixty miles desert without grass or water, mountains to climb, cattle giving out, wagons breaking, emigrants sick and dying,, hostile Indians to guard against.”

The men had to hack and clear a trail for them, as there was none. The way behind them was “strewn with dead cattle, broken wagons, beds, clothing and everything but provisions of which we were nearly destitute.” People were caught in the Canyon for two or three weeks, their food running out, they themselves dying of fatigue or starvation. She does not give detail of how she came to lose everything, but writes that her daughter and son-in-law insisted that she and Captain Brown go on ahead by horseback to meet up with wagons who would have food (they stayed behind to give their cattle rest). Her brother-in-law was so weak that he fell off his horse and she had to struggle to get him back up on it. They failed to meet up with the next wagon train before dark and had to spend the night alone in Indian territory, only to discover the next morning that 1) they were only half a mile from the train and 2) the Indians had killed a man just a short distance from where they'd camped.

They were found the next morning and taken to the next train, where fresh venison was available. However, they were far from safe. They still had two mountains to climb and winter was setting in. They were able to travel only two or three miles a day. They finally decided that it would impossible to reach a settlement before spring and decided to settle in for the winter. Mrs. Brown's son-in-law set off on his own to find a settlement, in the hopes of bringing back provisions.

Now as it turned out, her other son had left for Oregon six days ahead of her party and had already reached their destination. He heard rumors of the “wayward” train and he set out with six pack-horses to find the “suffering emigrants at the south.” Shortly after her son-in-law left, the two met up and they returned to the train with the provisions.

Five miles down the road from they'd camped, they meet up with mixed-blood French-Indians and hired several of them to guide the train to a settlement. On December 24th, four months after they made their dreadful decision to take the 'short-cut,' those who survived the journey arrived at the first settlers' house, a Methodist minister, who offered Mrs. Brown and Captain Brown a place to stay until spring. In exchange for room and board, Mrs. Brown ran the house, because the minister's wife “was as ignorant and useless as a Heathan Goddess.” She also discovered that in her glove was not a button, as she'd assumed, but a “six and one-fourth cent piece” or as the footnote says “one-eighth of a Spanish dollar coin” and not worth a lot of money. But she used it to purchase three needles and traded some of her old clothe for buckskin. She then made gloves out of the buckskin, sold them and made herself $30.00.

As far as I can tell, all of Mrs. Brown's family made it to Oregon as well and Mrs. Brown, even at her advanced age, went on to establish herself as a pillar of the community in the new territory. She established a school for the local children, including orphans, with the help of friends and neighbors. The school was “the forerunner” for Pacific University.

So, this is just one of the fascinating stories to be found out there, one of the 'facts' that we can base our stories one...the question is, will anyone believe us?

Join me at http://seducedbyhistory.blogspot.com/ on Sunday, April 19 when I dicuss yet another interesting "Cover Wagon Woman."

What is a strange fact or story that you've come across in your research?

Anna Kathryn Lanier
More Than Tumbleweeds
Heartwarming, Sensual Westerns


April 16, 2009

Harlequin Turns 60

Check out this ABC News report about Harlequin...complete with a really sexy cover model!

Anna Kathryn Lanier
More than Tumbleweeds
Heartwarming, Sensual Westerns


April 14, 2009

Wednesday's Chow - Garlic Mushroom Chicken

Here's another delicious, inexpensive, easy meal. Just put the ingredients into the crockpot and forget about the meal until serving time.

Garlic Mushroom Chicken

1 whole fryer chicken
1 (2.1 oz) pkg. Recipe Secrets/Garlic Mushroom flavor*
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 ozs. Fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (16-oz) pkg. Baby carrots
1 teaspoon salt

*I've not always been able to find this mix, so I use the herb mix (I think it's the Herb and Garlic Mix).

1.Rub olive oil over whole chicken and coat with Garlic Mushroom mix.
2.Place in slow cooker with fresh mushrooms, onion, garlic and carrots. Salt vegetables.
3.Cook on low 4-6 hours.

Serves 4-6.

Serve with salad and dinner rolls.

Anna Kathryn Lanier
More than Tumbleweeds
Heartwarming, Sensual Westerns


April 12, 2009

I'm blogging at Roses of Houston

I'm blogging on Monday, April 13 at Roses of Houston blog. Last week, two different online newspapers reported on the recession proof of romance novels . Come see what they had to say and what my comments are about it. Leave your own comments and you could win a copy of Salvation Bride, my mail-order bride historical.


Anna Kathryn Lanier
More than Tumbleweeds
Heartwarming, Sensual Westerns

April 10, 2009

Monthly Contests

Only 11 days late, but I finally changed the questions for my website guest book contest.

"April showers bring May flowers."

I've tried for years to plant a camilla bush in my yard. Unfortunately, I've killed three plants. On the other hand, I have a really nice wisteria bush (I didn't plant it, it was here when we bought the house). And I have memories of playing 'fort' with the neighborhood kids in a wisteria bush on the corner house when I was young. I love the smell of both the camilla and the wisteria flower. If someone were to give me flowers, I like roses and carnations best.
So, just go to my guest book at http://www.aklanier.com/ (the link is on the bottom of the Home page) and tell me what your favorite flower is. It's that easy. The April prize is a $10 The Wild Rose Gift Certificate.

Also, don't forget I'm participating in A TISKET A TASKET PUT ROMANCE IN YOUR BASKET contest. Information for it can be found by clicking the link to the right or on my contest page on my website.

And, there's always my monthly blog drawing......just leave a comment on any of the posts and you'll be eligible to win.

Good luck!

Anna Kathryn
More Than Tumbleweeds
Heartwarming, Sensual Westerns

The Friday Record - Noah Webster

According to “On This Day” at reference.com, Noah Webster's (1758-1843) first edition of AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE was released on April 14, 1828. I remembering hearing years ago that Webster wrote his dictionary because whenever he would say something to his wife over the breakfast table, she would reply “Now, what's that supposed to mean?” I don't know if this is true, an urban legend or just a joke.

Prior to the release of Webster's Dictionary, he was already well known. From 1783-85, he released GRAMMATICAL INSTITUTE OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, a three-part speller, grammar and reader. It made him the chief American authority on the English Language, which he felt had been corrupted by the British Aristocracy. According to www.reference.com, “The appropriate standard for the American language, argued Webster, was, 'the same republican principles as American civil and ecclesiastical constitutions', which meant that the people-at-large must control the language; popular sovereignty in government must be accompanied by popular usage in language.”

Webster's frustration at having to copyright his books in each of the 13 colonies, each of which had their own copyright laws, led to his support of a National Copyright law, which passed in 1790.

His ELEMENTARY SPELLING BOOK helped standardize American spelling. School rooms across the country, as well as pioneer families in their own homes taught children to read from it. Towns used it for citizen-wide spelling bees. By 1850 the annual sales of Webster's spelling book was about 1,000,000 copies. That's one copy for every 23 citizens.

“AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE included definitions of 70,000 words, of which 12,000 had not appeared in such a work before. Its definitions were excellent, and the dictionary's sales reached 300,000 annually. This work, Webster's foremost achievement, helped to standardize American pronunciation. Webster completed the revision of 1840, and the dictionary, revised many times, has retained its popularity,” says reference.com.

In addition to writing dictionaries and grammar books, Webster was a newspaper editor, an advocate for a Federal government (he wrote pamphlets in favor of a centralized government and urged the passing of the Constitution), and he wrote scholarly studies on subjects ranging from epidemic diseases to meteors to the relationship of European and Asian languages.

Raise your hand.....do you own a Webster's Dictionary?

Works Cited:

"Webster, Noah." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. Columbia University Press. 09 Apr. 2009. Reference.com http://www.reference.com/browse/columbia/WebsterN.

Anna Kathryn Lanier
More than Tumbleweeds
Heartwarming, Sensual Westerns

April 7, 2009

Wednesday's Chow - Baked Beans

Well, with Easter this weekend, followed quickly by the start of summer, I thought I'd put up a baked beans recipe. Not sure if it's really an Easter recipe, but it could be. Usually our Easter meal consists of ham, potato salad, green bean casserole, fruit salad, and dinner rolls. Oh, yeah, and deviled eggs....how can you NOT have deviled eggs?

It used to be that my idea of baked beans was to open the can, dump them into a microwavable dish and heat them up. Then I came across this recipe wonderfully delicious recipe for Baked Beans....great for Easter, a summer picnic or a pot luck.


4 slices bacon
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings (or chopped)
1 C green pepper chopped (optional)*
2 10-oz can pork and beans in tomato sauce
4 tablespoons ketchup
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon prepared mustard

Cook bacon until crisp, drain, and crumble. Set bacon aside. In the drippings, sauté onions and green peppers; drain. Combine onion mixture, crumbled bacon, beans and the 4 remaining ingredients in a greased casserole dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

What's one of your family's favorite dishes for Easter or Passover? Leave a comment and you could win a copy of Jessica Andersen's NIGHT KEEPERS.

April 5, 2009

Click for the Cure - Help reach 200 free mammograms by month's end

APRIL'S CLICK FOR A CURE: Click daily, fund 200 free mammo-grams by month's end and $10,000 will be donated to research!


Visit now and help raise the funds for this life-saving procedure.

Anna Kathryn

April 4, 2009

Northwest Houston RWA Workshop

Today, I attended the Northwest Houston RWA Spring Workshop with Harley Jane Kozak (pictured left). It was great fun, not only the talk Harley gave, but the chance to visit and talk with friends and fellow writers. Not only that, I won a raffle basket!

T.J. Bennett and Christie Craig

Me and Harley(left) and the Hamburger Method of Buliding a Novel.


Visiting with Emma Lai

Thanks Anna Kathryn for letting me visit today!
I always appreciate a chance to talk about my upcoming release His Ship, Her Fantasy available from The Wild Rose Press on August 12th. I'm very excited!


Ellie Woods is in love…with a ship. When an argument with the ship results in a bump on the head, she finds herself in the strong arms of Alastair. But, who is he, and where did he come from?

Alastair has loved Ellie from afar for years, but duty has kept him from revealing himself to her. When a grave threat reveals his true identity, he hopes that Ellie will choose reality over fantasy.

Visit my website to read an excerpt.

I'm also very excited to announce that I have signed a contract for the second story in the series currently titled His Hope, Her Salvation. In addition to working on edits for the story, I'm also finishing up the manuscripts to the next two stories in the series.

Okay, enough promo. Today, I'm feeling a little nostalgic and would like to talk about where my heart is. I live in Houston and love all of the conveniences of living in a big city, but there are days I long for the simpler times. Simpler times for me involved childhood, of course.

My dad is from Ganado, a little town with a population of 1,084 the last time I looked, which was a few years ago, I'll admit. It is seventy miles southwest of Houston. Really, it's a quick drive when you realize it takes just as long to cross from one end of Houston to the other. We used to go at least one weekend a month when I was a child. I continued the trips, but less frequently up until my aunt passed away in 2003.

Ganado doesn't have much to offer, not even a Wal-Mart, but there's something to be said about being able to walk to the grocery store, hardware store, and movie theater. Then there was the Dairy Mart, way better than the Dairy Queen, which has now replaced it.

The best thing about taking the little road trip though, aside from seeing family, was stopping at Prasek's Smokehouse a few miles before the town. They have the best jerky I've ever had. When I first started making the trips as a child, they had just a small storefront. Now, decades later, they have expanded to a much larger size. No matter though because I remember the stories of my dad going to school with the Prasek boys.

So, where is my heart? They same home is where the heart is, which means I have many homes. My primary home is with my husband and two rotten puppies. However, I also consider home to be where my dad lives and my mom lives, which is two more locations. But, a small part of home is still in that little bitty town, where I never actually lived, but I did and still do. It's a memory of simpler times, extended family, and good food.

Where is your heart?

Emma Lai

April 3, 2009

The Friday Record - Colonial and Native American Women , part 4

This is the fourth and last installment of my honor's essay comparing how Native American and Colonial women were treated in their respective societies, as well as each others. To read all four parts, just click on the link 'colonial and native american women' below. It will help find all of the parts. Thanks for stopping by.

A Woman’s Place is in the House:
The Affect of Colonization on
Native American and Colonial Women’s
Place in Society

Before the Europeans arrived, it was not unusual for Algonquin and Huron, as well as other tribes to capture women from enemy tribes and make them their wives. Though they spent the rest of their lives in a foreign village, the women never forgot they were daughters of other tribes. Interestingly, many white hostages brought into Native American villages were often reluctant to return to the colonies.1

During the first century of Euro-American relations, the Canadian Indians took captives mostly for ransom. When the peace collapsed in 1753, however, the Natives started capturing English settlers to replace their members who had died in battle or as a result of the diseases the Europeans had brought with them. 2 Most of the captured people were women and children.

By choosing children, who were then adopted and treated as their own, Native Americans ensured hostages an easier transition into tribal life. Women taken captive were also treated with respect as wives, equal to that of Native women. The respect and acceptance shown to the captives worked all too well. Report after report tells how reluctant the captives were to leave the tribes. “[She] cried and roared when asked to come and begged to stay longer [and] children cried as if they would die when they were presented to us.”3 Captives often spoke of the kindness of their Indian captors. Mary Jamison said of her life among the Seneca, “I was ever considered and treated by them as a real sister, the same as though I had been born of their mother.”4

Once accepted into their fold, Native Americans never again saw non-tribal members as outsiders. Adopted children and white wives were Indian and their families mourned their return to “civilization,” some even going periodically to visit those who did not return to the tribe.5 Once incorporated into the tribe, the women were given the same rights and power as that of other tribal women. They owned the children, the land, and the household belongings. When returned to the white man’s world, they lost that power.6 Not surprising, “several women eloped in the night, and ran off to join their Indian friends.”7

The white captives had learned what the Native American women had already known— they held tremendous power within their societies. It was a power that the European interlopers misunderstood and, at times, underestimated. The native women, though appearing to be forced-laborers, were in reality the controllers of the society, including marriages, children, home, and land. The women were the driving force behind the tribe and in some instances decided who became chief or if a chief should remain in power. Though not obvious to the untrained observer the women of Native American tribes had the right to “vote” long before the women of European descent did.

After five hundred years of European-influenced rule, women are rising back to the once familiar status Native American women took for granted. Jeannette Rankin, a Republican from Montana, was the first woman ever elected to Congress and entered the U.S. House of Representatives in 1917, three years before women could vote nationally.8 Statistics show that “women have voted at an increasingly higher rate than men [and] that about 7.8 million more women than men voted in the 2000 election.”9 Now, a woman stands to be two heartbeats away from the most powerful office in the world. As Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi will be third in line to the Presidency of the United States of America. Furthermore, like Native American women in the past who were chiefs, the times appear to be shaping up that soon a woman will hold that very office.

1 James Axtell, “The White Indians of Colonial America,” American Encounters, 330.
2 James Axtell, “The White Indians of Colonial America,”, 330.
3 James Axtell, “The White Indians of Colonial America,” 330.
4 James Axtell, “The White Indians of Colonial America,” 336.
5 James Axtell, “The White Indians of Colonial America,” 327.
6 James Axtell, “The White Indians of Colonial America,” 329.
7 James Axtell, “The White Indians of Colonial America,” 329.
8 “Firsts for Women in U.S. Politics,” Center for American Women and Politics
9 “Women Voters and the Gender Gap,” The American Political Science Association

April 1, 2009


Spring is in the air! Bees are buzzing. Children anxiously await the big morning where they can graze on candy all day. What about mom? We've got a treat for you! Come join a group of romance authors in celebration of spring. Enter to win a prize a day as well as enter to win the grand prize. All you need do is begin at Silver James' blog on April 1st at http://www.silverjames.com/. Silver will host the day's contest and provide the link to the next day's location. Don't forget to enter to win the grand prize!

To enter to win prizes from the authors donating treasures to the grand prize (see each day's post for what an author is donating to the grand prize), find the four Easter eggs in the A TISKET A TAKSKET, PUT ROMANCE IN YOUR BASKET blog event.

You will be searching for the egg to the right. Just visit all of the authors' websites, locate the 4 eggs, make a list of their locations by pasting the urls to the website pages in an e-mail, then send the entry to happyendings2007@aol.com by midnight CST on May 1st, 2009. The winner will be randomly drawn and announced May 2nd at http://blog.skhyemoncrief.com Tip #1, subscribe to http://blog.skhyemoncrief.com to learn if you're the winner! And don't worry. If you start in on the blog event late, just head back to Silver James' blog on April 1st at http://www.silverjames.com/ to begin your website search for the Easter eggs. Don't miss the fun! See you next to the burgundy tulips.

Wednesday's Chow - Cajun Pot Roast

A few years back, I bought the Sugar Busters! Quick and Easy Cookbook. I didn't stick to the diet very long, but I did find a few really good recipes. This is one of them.

Cajun Pot Roast

4 pound beef rump roast*
2 1/4 cups Italian salad dressing
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup water

Combine the roast and 2 cups of the salad dressing in a large plastic storage bag. Squeeze out excess air, seal tightly, and massage to coat the meat all over. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to overnight, turning roast over at least once. Preheat a have dutch oven over high heat. Add the oil. Remove the roast from the marinade and add it to the pan. Brown on all sides 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the seasoned salt and pepper. Add the water and the remaining 1/4 cup salad dressing. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until tender, about 3 hours. Check occasionally to see if additional water needs to be added.

Yields 12 servings

*Also good with pork, lamb, venison, duck, dove or quail.