Thursday, September 12, 2019

Character Quiz: Elizabeth Carter

Andi's mother, Elizabeth Carter

This one was created by Sadie S. She is dedicating this quiz to her grandpa, who always took the quizzes Sadie created (even though he never read the books). He was eagerly looking forward to Mother's (Elizabeth's) character quiz, and Sadie is blessed to be able to dedicate this quiz to his memory.

The rules are the same as always.

1. Send your answer (A, B, C, D) to each question to
Do not send via the blog contact form or to the SusanKMarlow email. Your entry will get lost.

2. Those who answer most (or all) of the questions correctly will be put into a "hat" and a random winner will be chosen from the ties. (So far, there has always been at least one contestant to get 100% and usually more than one.)

3. Contest runs September 12 - September 18. Winner will be announced the morning of September 19 (but remember: Andi lives in Pacific Time).

4. Prize is a brand-new Circle C button (choose the one you want) and a little horse trinket box.


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

"Sisters" Giveaway

I love it when I see young people writing. Introducing Jessica Greyson, an author who has four books out and about five more in the making (at the same time. Hmmm, sounds like Mrs. M in her youth). Her blog & books:

We connected at the MACHE homeschool convention in St. Paul this spring, where she bought Thick as Thieves for the purpose of hosting it in a giveaway (gotta love that!), along with her new book, Sufficient Grace (great title, eh?). From what I learned on her site, this book appears to be the first book in a new series. So this giveaway is just in time to introduce you to another wholesome series for young ladies.

Enter the giveaway ENTER HERE (September 11-25)

Here's a quick blurb of what you can win.
1. Sufficient Grace
Four years have passed since tragedy broke Grace’s family apart, tarnished the family name, and sent her into hiding at finishing school. Now with a new last name and a few years between her and the accident; Grace wonders if she will be able to escape the heavy shadow of the past that smothers her with guilt and a desire to escape life. Grace carefully guards her heart from others, to prevent them from discovering her past. However, when Mitch, a deputy, comes into her life, he seems bent on destroying Grace’s armor. Can Grace really trust someone with the secrets that haunt her, or will they destroy her once again?

2. Thick as Thieves. You all know what this book is about. :-)
3. Check out that cute horse necklace, and the "never, never give up" necklace!

Enter the giveaway ENTER HERE (September 11-25)
Jessica and I at the MACHE in St. Paul April 2019

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

A new fan fiction story

Head over to read Black Cloud by Abbi G.
Thanks for sending me blog fodder when life is so busy these days and it's hard for me to post new material!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Andi's Journal: The Return of the Outlaws Part 6

To begin this story, go here: PART 1


Andi trudged her way to the train station. In spite of the bright sun, she shivered with cold. Her clothes were still wet. And her nose and head felt stuffy.
“I hope this works,” she whispered to herself.
The train seemed to have just pulled into the station. Andi looked both ways and headed for an empty storage car. Climbing inside, she slowly shut the door after her.
The car was layered with thick, yellow hay. It felt warm and soft. Andi burrowed down into it.
“It’ll be tricky,” she told Jared, pulling him onto her lap, “we’ll have to trade trains often, when we get to Los Angeles and again when we pull into Bakersfield, but we’ll arrive home soon enough. You’ll see.”
Andi laid her head back and drifted into blessed sleep.


            The days and nights whizzed together. Three train rides and several days later, Andi opened her bleary eyes as she felt the car pull to a stop.
          “Out! Out! Everyone out! Fresno! Fresno!”
          Fresno? The word clicked. Fresno!
          Andi pulled herself to her feet, collected her meager belongings and Jared, and, laboriously pushing back the car door, stepped onto the station platform.
          She looked about her, tears flowing. I’m here! I’m here! Finally! Thanks, Lord.
         “You, lady! Stop! Stop right there!”
         The stationmaster came over and stood in front of Andi. She swallowed past her aching throat. He didn’t look happy. Not one bit.
          “Y-yes?” she said.
          “You’ve been stowing away, haven’t you?”
          “I, uh—”
          “Don’t lie to me! I saw you step from this car.” He pointed an accusing finger at her. “Pay me what you owe for a train ride. No one travels for free on this train.”
          “I—I don’t have the money.”
          “Well, that’s obvious.” He chuckled dryly. “Very well; this is a case for the sheriff.”
          “Sheriff?” Andi’s head felt heavy. Her throat throbbed. Any more of this, and I’m sure I’ll swoon.
          She already felt so sick, both inside and outside. Why couldn’t this man see that?
          “Yep, the police.” He grabbed her arm. “C’mon.”

Saturday, September 7, 2019

2020 Contest Book cover

Here you go! It was mighty close between Lassoing Adventure and Under a Summer Sky (just a vote or two) and since I personally like the blue, I decided to go with Lassoing Adventure. I tried putting Chasing the Dawn on the lassoing cover, but it just didn't look right. Also, a lot of the titles have had to do with sunset and dawn and skies, so that is another reason I went with something completely different. I'm glad it was one of the top 2 choices "as is." I hope you like it! Now I can officially announce the contest! Yay! Thanks for all your help! Cover below, as well as the prize picture and list. (Note: I bought all five different button styles. I just couldn't fit them all on the graphic below.)

Go to the Circle C Contest blog to read everything you need to know about this year's contest, and to download the entry form and contest rules. PLEASE READ THEM! 

Bonus: If you would like to read the 2019 Western Sunrise and were not able to purchase a copy, the free PDF file is now available. Western Sunrise

Friday, September 6, 2019

Photo Friday: Circle C Buttons/pins

First of all. Did you see? Andi's Blog just surpassed the one million page views mark! Wow! So excited. I was worried the counter would turn back over to zero, but nope. It went to 1,000,000.

Now, on to Photo Friday. What do you think about buttons (pins) for prizes for the contest, and maybe for sale or for giveaways. Vote in the comments below. If you like them all, I can do them all. It's not like the hats. A person buys however many they want of each design. (I can create more designs too). Any designs you would like to see? I don't promise I can create them all (some just don't "look" right, like the Circle C logo--so don't ask for that one. I already tried it. It's a fail.)

You all did fantastic with the hat. Help me now. All buttons are 2 and 1/4 inches, even though the bottom row looks bigger.



Here are some suggestions that came up.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Contest Book Cover and Title: VOTE

Below are five covers and five titles for your consideration. I liked more titles, but I had to narrow it down to five. Also, thanks for sending those pictures! I liked most of them. However, the pictures have to have a spot that is not too busy in which to write the title. The one year of Into the Sunset with the palomino horse and the busy shrubbery ended up not being a great cover for showing the title. So I'm not going to do that again.

It's possible the covers and titles could be switched around. For instance if you LOVE the Under a Summer Sky title but don't think that is the right cover, say so in the comments. Note: I took some of the titles and tweaked them, so they won't look exactly like you offered them. But your ideas really got my brain going. Look at the four covers and titles, then scroll below the pictures to vote. Or go to the GOOGLE FORM website to vote. Either way is fine.

Vote Here:

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Old West Wednesday: Greenbacks

Note from Mrs. M: This is a repost from 8 years ago, for those of you who do not dig around in the extensive archives. Enjoy!

From Andi: I'm going to write this post like I was standing up in front of my classroom and telling everybody something they probably already know. Most people (especially my teacher, Mr. Foster) know how our United States paper money came about and why it is called "greenbacks." But for you 21st century readers, sit back and hear the tale:

“Greenbacks” is the name for paper money in the United States in 1880. Paper money hasn’t been around for very long, only about fifteen years or so. Since the War Between the States (or the War of Northern Aggression for you Southerners in the classroom. Or the Civil War. They’re all names for the same war, back in 1861-1865).

Anyway, before the War, everybody used gold and silver coins to buy and sell things. But they probably got pretty heavy in pocketbooks and purses.  
The $20 shows Alexander Hamilton; the $10 Daniel Webster 

However, the War cost money—a lot of money, and the United States didn’t have enough money from taxes. The Treasury Department decided to issue small rectangles of paper called “demand notes” (payable on demand) to people who lent the government money to pay the soldiers and finance the War. These “demand notes” were printed on green paper. So guess what! Their nickname became “greenbacks.”

After the War, some people wanted to keep the paper money in circulation permanently. But the Secretary of the Treasury said it had only been a War measure. The country must go back to the gold standard: silver and gold coins.

So the government started “retiring” (getting rid of) the paper money. But this caused problems too. The economy was not doing well, and they found an old law that allowed them to put some paper money back in circulation, which they did.

Back and forth the argument went, but as everyone knows, paper money is here to stay. In fact, in the future (in 1933), private citizens will have to trade in all their gold, and the gold standard will basically disappear. Thank you for your attention, and I hope I get an A on this report, Mr. Foster. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Circle C caps for contest and for sale

Thanks for all of your votes. The khaki hat won. The font stays the same. It's easy to read and not too fancy of a script. I put the hat up in the Circle C Store, but it won't be available for sale until October 1, when they arrive. It will also be a prize for this year's writing contest. :-)
See it here in the store: Circle C Hat

Monday, September 2, 2019

Andi's Journal: The Return of the Outlaws Part 5

To begin this adventures, go here: PART 1


            The man, whose name was Luke Cornwallis, told Andi she’d never been far from Los Angeles. “That means it’ll take less than a week to get to my home,” he explained.
          They rode the whole way, and it was pure bliss to Andi. She continually thanked God for this huge miracle.
          The group arrived at a small cottage with handsome white walls clung to with ivy. The windows were clean and glittered in the afternoon sun. A red-tile roof, fully adorned with colored leaves, looked bright and cheerful. An old, wooden door that almost hung only by its hinges completed the homey scene.


          Luke had everyone dismount, and they tied the horses to the hitching rail. Then they entered the cabin.
         Andi’s heart was throbbing, and her breath felt trapped in her chest. She ran to the woman who sat knitting in a corner of the three-room cottage.
          “Lily!” she cried, tears streaming.
          Lily dropped her work and threw her arms around her friend. They clung to each other, sobbing and choking.
          “Oh, Andi, Andi, Andi!” Lily cried. “You are safe! Luke, you have brought her back to me!”
          Andi pulled away from her friend and swiped at her tears. “Thank you so much for rescuing me,” she said, addressing all in the room.
          Luke cleared his throat uncomfortably and scuffed the floor with his boot. “It…uh…was the least we could do, after you saved Lily.”
          Andi didn’t know if his awkwardness was because of what she’d said or the fact that Luke had just watched two women dramatically release their emotions. Either way, she brushed it off. She had something more important to ask.
          “When can I go home?”
          She knew the question was a little rude, considering all they’d just done for her. But I have to know! I want to go home to Riley!
          There was a sudden silence. Then Lily smiled. “Where are my manners? Andi has experienced a lot and appears to be undernourished. Luke, do bring in some water and heat it so that she may take a bath. I’ll get a dress for you, Andi, from the bedroom. Then I’ll prepare a hearty supper.” She disappeared into the room.
          Luke left, followed by his partners. Andi sat down on the chair Lily had just vacated. When Lily returned and dropped the clean dress onto the table, then set to preparing supper, Andi went up to her.
          Tossing aside all courtesy of asking to help her prepare the evening meal, Andi said instead, “Where is my baby?”
          “Your son? Ah, yes, Jared! He’s in the bedroom.”
          “Thank you.”
          Andi made a dash for the room Lily had recently left. Her fingers closed around the doorknob.
          Suddenly, Lily rushed forward. “No, no, I’ll get him for you,” she said.
          Too late. Andi had pushed the door wide open…and what she saw inside made her gasp.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

2020 Story Writing Contest Launches

It's that time again. If you want to write an Andi story and submit it for the chance to win prizes and become a published author you may now start sending them to, along with your entry form. The contest has officially opened. Trouble is, Mrs. M has totally gotten behind in picking out the cover and the title of the 2020 collection!

She is not going to launch it on Facebook or in her E-newsletter until both the title and the cover have been decided. So, start sending me ideas for covers and titles. Go to Deposit Photos, where Mrs. M as an account and the only place where she will download photos. They have a huge selection. When you find a picture you think might be a good candidate for this year's cover, paste the link in the comments, and I will check it out. You may also send the link(s) to Mrs. M's email.

Mrs. M has unfortunately lost her original list of potential titles. *sigh* So she needs a new list of titles. Here is what has already been used:

2013 Way Out West
2014 2015 Beneath the Western Sky
2016 Along the Western Trail
2018 Into the Sunset
2019 Western Sunrise

Also . . . Share your title ideas, and we can vote on them. Have fun and thanks!
Voting begins Thursday, September 5, so hurry and get your ideas down. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Charater Quiz: Aunt Rebecca

Aunt Rebecca Carter

Amanda L. is the winner of this month's character quiz! Congratulations, Amanda, and email me your mailing address and the prize you want. Thanks for playing, everyone! See the correct answers below . . .

This fun quiz was created by Martha E. You don't even have to have read the new Stepping Stones book (Andi Far from Home), just be familiar with the Andi's Circle C Christmas (Beginnings), which a lot of you already are. Or take a guess at those few questions.

The rules are the same as always.

1. Send your answer (A, B, C, D) to each question to
Do not send them via the contact form or to my SusanKMarlow email. Your entry will get lost if you do that. :-(

2. Those who answer most (or all) of the questions correctly will be put into a "hat" and a random winner will be chosen from the ties. (So far, there has always been at least one contestant to get 100% and usually more than one.)

3. Contest runs August 20 - 26. Winner announced the morning of August 27 (but remember: Andi lives in Pacific Time).

4. Prize is your choice of two nice little horses and stickers, or two posters. (You never know what the prizes will be any given month.)

Monday, August 26, 2019

Andi's Journal: The Return of the Outlaws Part 4

To begin this story, go here: PART 1


            “After those women!” shrieked Benita, and the mob gathered around her swarmed forward.
          Run! Andi’s mind shouted, and she forced her heavy feet into a blind run, no longer caring to be silent. In her arms, Jared wailed his unhappiness.
          Andi followed Lily’s auburn braid until finally she caught up with her, and the two ran together. When Lily stumbled, Andi held her up. Then Lily’s skirt caught on a bush, and together they yanked it free, not even noticing when it tore.
          But when Andi’s braid snagged on the same bush, they couldn’t get her loose. Panic and despair set in almost immediately. Andi practically threw Jared into Lily’s arms and then hacked at her braid with her dull knife. She couldn’t think straight.
          “Take off your ribbon and undo the braid!” Lily cried, sobbing.
          Too late. Andi knew they had no time to wait for her to undo her braid. The bandits’ shouts and footsteps were coming dangerously close. If they waited for her, they’d never escape.
In that moment, Andi made her choice.
She yanked off her bag and thrust it at Lily. With tears choking her voice and cascading down her cheeks, she said, “Run, Lily. Run to safety. Take my son with you, and…and find Riley. Tell him where I am.”
          Lily’s eyes showed her fright and reluctance. It was clear she didn’t want to obey, but it was also clear that she knew it was the best choice.
“I will, Andi,” she blubbered, “I will.” Then she turned tail and ran.
          Andi broke down into sobs. I lost. Her heart felt like a million daggers were tearing it apart. I’m not free. I’m still stuck with these outlaws. And now my son is gone.
          Another thought made her groan. What have I done? I gave Jared to Lily without a thought. I know nothing about Lily’s family, or her background. My mind was a mess. All I cared about was the idea of giving up my son to Benita.
          Andi’s knees were like water. They couldn’t hold her up. She dropped to the ground and buried her face into her arms. Her braid, still caught on the bush, gave a painful yank, but she hardly noticed. Did I do the right thing? Oh, God—
          Fingers closed around her wrist, and Andi didn’t fight them. She watched through bleary eyes as Vega tore her braid from the bush. Then he pulled her to her feet.
          “Go after Lily,” he barked to several men, and they ran off.
          “Come, chica,” Vega hissed, returning his attention to Andi. He dragged her along behind him as he set off at a brisk walk. “You have much explaining to do.”


Friday, August 23, 2019

Photo Friday: Andi Grew Up

Well, it's a busy week, so Mrs. M scrambled to find something for Photo Friday. Many of you would like to meet "Andi" (AKA Jessica) and that's pretty hard, seeing as she lives in Arkansas and is not a young teen any longer, like she was when she became the cover girl for the Circle C Adventures way back when.

So here are a few pictures of Andi (Jessica), and an invitation. If any of you have Instagram, you can follow Jessica there and see what she's up to.


Thursday, August 22, 2019

Calling All Young Authors!

My author friend, Rebekah Morris of the blog Read Another Page, has a really fun offer for any of you published authors, or if you KNOW any published authors. All you need is a cover of your book for this fun deal. Here is the email Rebekah sent to me. The prices are great . . . one dollar!

Hi Susan,
This may be a bit strange to ask, but I know you have self published at least one book, so I thought I’d send this email your way. And I didn’t know if you knew if any of your blog readers had published their own books and might be interested in any cool 3D images of their covers. :) Feel free to pass this info along to anyone you think might be interested.
I just wanted to let you know that I’m offering 3D images of books for $1.00 for 2 images. These would be just simple ones like the pictures below, or any other version of an iPad, phone, book, etc. It’s such fun to see your books as 3D images!

Anyway, let me [Rebekah] know if you want any. (I have to get enough lined up to pay for a month of the Pro plan which allows me to do them for others, so now is the best time you can get them.)

And if you think of anyone else who might be interested, let me know, or feel free to forward them the email.
This looks so fun and professional. I would do it for sure if my publisher didn't take care of these kinds of marketing things. 
If you want to ask Rebekah about other options (she has some that include things like the graphics below--like an ad), she can do those too. They are a dollar a piece (rather than two for a dollar) since they take more time. 
Email Rebekah at  

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Old West Wednesday: 1880s money Part 1

Back in 2011 (eight years ago), a fan named Hannah wanted to know "about what money looked like and what is was worth . . . like in the first book [Long Ride Home], they [Andi and Rosa] bought ribbons with a dime. We probably couldn't buy that now a days. Well, at least not brand-new."

So, this is a "yikes, it's the night before Old West Wednesday, and the week has been too busy to think up something new." So, here is that old post. Enjoy. 

In this post, I'll show you what "coin" money looked like. In later posts, I'll write about what paper money (greenbacks) looked like; then in another post I'll talk about how much things cost (like food and thread) and how much money people made working different jobs in 1880.

1880 Dime
First off, here is a picture of what one of the dimes looked like that I found in my saddlebag. That was a REAL nice surprise, by the way. I was going to use one of the dimes to buy something special for Rosa and her family.

"Double Eagle"
Later on in the book, that mean ol' Felicity offered to buy Taffy for $20.00. In 1880, a twenty-dollar gold piece was called a "Double Eagle."Felicity could have given me one of those, but she slapped two "Eagles" into my hand. An "Eagle" is a ten-dollar gold piece.

Can you guess what a "Half-Eagle" might be? Yep, a five-dollar gold piece! In Andrea Carter and the Price of Truth, Chad paid me eight dollars for all that work I did picking peaches. He gave me a half-eagle and three silver dollars.

Silver dollar
Of course, there were pennies too! Ever hear of penny candy? At the bottom of this post is a picture of a penny from 1880. Enjoy, and I'll be back later to talk about greenbacks (and how paper money got that funny name).
Indian head penny

Monday, August 19, 2019

Andi's Journal: The Return of the Outlaws Part 3

To begin this story, go here: PART 1


            Throughout the day Andi slept soundly, her baby nestled between her and the wall so that no one who peeked into the cabin could see him. As soon as the baby awoke, with a sharp little bawl, Andi snapped awake and fed him. Lily came in every few hours to change his diaper.
          The outlaws fell for Andi’s story of feeling poorly, and all in all it wasn’t as dreadful as had been expected.
         The next morning, Andi forced her weary limbs to get out of bed. She couldn’t stay in the cabin for too long, or the outlaws would become suspicious. She fumbled into a skirt and blouse and braided her hair.
     “Here, Andi.” Lily held out a rolled-up wad of fabric. “Stuff this under your blouse. You must look pregnant at all times today, my friend.”
       Andi accepted the roll and tucked her blouse securely around it. She was too groggy to worry about it slipping. 
         Then, stooping, she brushed a quick kiss across her baby’s pink cheek. She had just fed him, and he was fast asleep, curled on the cot with a sheet pulled over top his body so that nothing could be seen of him but his tiny head, which was turned towards the wall and hidden behind a stack of clothes in need of mending.
          “I’ll return soon to check on you, baby boy,” Andi whispered.
          She had already made plans. Several times today I’ll say I need a break, then mend here in the cabin.
          Confident that today would go as well, if not better than, yesterday, Andi left the cabin and started on breakfast.
          Lily, bless her heart, had already stoked the fire and had a pot of water boiling. Andi stirred up a batch of hasty pudding and ladled it into bowls, which she and Lily served the men.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Photo Friday: Tunnel of Gold

The Behind the Scenes are finished for Tunnel of Gold: characters, settings, covers, and illustrations Melissa McConnell created for the Goldtown series. Mrs. M forgot to include the illustrations category for Badge of Honor, so she has remedied that. Go check them out!
Badge of Honor Illustrations.


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Old West Wednesday: Prisons

Yes, that's right. This Old West Wednesday focuses on the place where outlaws go, once the law catches up with them. Mrs. M learned a lot about Old West prisons when she was researching that scumbag Procopio in Courageous Love. So, why should all that work go to waste? Here you go. (There's pictures too!)

Comment about which aspect of this prison post was the most surprising (or terrifying) to learn about. 

Old West Prisons

Justin does his research on the criminals he has helped put behind bars. He discovers that a few of them have escaped. Chad agrees that the West is full of “leaky prisons.” What were jails and prisons like in the Old West? Some were good, some were bad, and some were just plain odd. Lawbreakers, regardless of age or the severity of their crimes, were arrested and put into prison with true, murderous convicts. Here is a sampling of some Old West prisons. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Mrs. M cleaned out her book closet

This went out in an Ezine, but just in case anybody is interested . . .
Mrs. M found 5 new Long Ride Home lapbooks and 5 new Badge of Honor lapbooks. So she decided to sell them cheap (instead of throwing them away). Here are the pictures and the deal.

Ten dollars buys you the Long Ride Home or Badge of Honor book PLUS the lapbook with the file folder. And . . .  free shipping. So that is like getting the lapbook free (when all is said and done).

So, there you have it.