Tag Archives: Pony Express Romance Collection

The Pony Express – and WWII


April 3, 1942, was a day that actually impacted my family—at least indirectly. This was the day the Japanese began their all-out assault on U.S. and Filipino troops at Bataan, not far from where my father was stationed in the Philippines on the island of Corregidor.

Most people recall the Japanese bombing at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. On that day, my father was just coming back to his patrol boat from shore leave in Manilla when he noticed everything in the bay was dark—lights out, everywhere. His shipmates greeted him with news of the Pearl Harbor bombing. The U.S. was officially at war.

The Japanese found their new target the very next day—the Bataan Peninsula at Manilla Bay. Bombs and bullets rained from the sky. I recall my father telling me it sounded like popcorn popping, all of those bullets pinging against the ship. Can you imagine what it felt like, knowing the invading forces wanted only one thing—to kill you?

It wasn’t until April 3,1942 that the Japanese ratcheted up their continued attack. From nine in the morning until three in the afternoon, a 100-aircraft bombardment “turned the Mt. Samat stronghold into an inferno” according to the Chinese Daily Mail.

Ultimately the Japanese took approximately 60,000 Filipino and 15,000 American prisoners of war, leading them on the Bataan Death March where so many men died along the way.

My father’s naval unit had been moved to the nearby island of Corregidor, but received daily bombardments. With the troops weakened by ration shortages and disease, they knew it was only a matter of time before surrender. That day came about a month later. They were sent on the same path as those before them, taken from one overcrowded camp to another, treated harshly, put on a starvation diet and pressed into forced labor, finally to survive a death sentence at the end of the war only through liberation by Allied forces.

The men who withstood the brutality of war were certainly heroes. They’re the kind of men romance writers dream up: strong, brave, loyal, and willing to fight for what they believe. My heart swells with pride knowing my father was one of them, even as it twists with compassion for all that he and those with him endured.

I hope you enjoy my contribution to the Pony Express collection, My Dear Adora. Along with Adora, you’ll meet Chip Nolan who rescues the saddle pack his little brother lost after a robbery. Intent on hand-delivering every missive, the last one is to Adora from her loving parents. After carrying the letter close to his heart for months, Chip is already half in love with Adora when he finds her—just in time to rescue her from a fortune seeker.

Maureen Lang writes stories that celebrate a mix of God’s love, history, and romance. She is the author of sixteen novels and five novellas, and has been a finalist for Christy, Carol and Rita awards. She lives in the Midwest, is a married mother of three, and caregiver for her adult son with Fragile X Syndrome. Visit her at


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The Pony Express – and One Noisy Day

On April 3, 1860, a wiry fellow working for Russell, Majors, and Waddell, jumped on a horse in St. Joseph Missouri and with a whoop and a holler carried a mail pouch east. Cheers erupted from a crowd of spectators. Ten days later that mail reached San Francisco, and thus the Pony Express rode into history.

One hundred and six years later, on April 3, 1966, the day I was born, a different kind of noise reverberated across America. The number 1 song on the pop music charts was My Soul and Inspiration by The Righteous Brothers. On the country charts, I Want to Go to You by Eddy Arnold held the number 1 spot.

At the movies, the musical, Frankie and Johnny, graced theater marquis from St. Joseph to San Francisco. Elvis Presley and Donna Douglas starred in this show. Records were available from the movie’s soundtrack and contained songs like Please Don’t Stop Loving Me and Down by the Riverside. Donna Douglas, by the way, starred in The Beverly Hillbillies. Now, who doesn’t remember that opening theme song?

The Dodge Charger rolled off conveyor belts and proceeded to cruise along roads all across the country. Technically, this car came out in 1964 but was only for show. It wasn’t available to the public until 1966. Although it probably made much more noise than the average pony, it could get you from St. Joseph to San Francisco a lot faster.

News of the Vietnam War occupied airwaves and newspaper columns, as protesters, took to the streets and chanted for peace. Flower Power was the slogan of the day, but demonstrations rose in volume and intensity before it was all over.

No matter what kind of noise was made in 1860, 1966, or even today, one thing remains the same. The Pony Express makes us think of thundering hoof beats, brave riders facing dangerous circumstances, and a special kind of romance that comes along for the ride.

Ride into My Heart

Kimimela, a member of the Sioux tribe, works at a Pony Express station where she struggles to cope with the death of her sister. When she’s kidnapped by gun smugglers, can her Cherokee friend, Pony Express rider Gabe, rescue her before it’s too late?


Debby Lee was raised in the cozy town of Toledo, Washington. The American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America are two organizations Debby enjoys being a part of. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steven Laube Literary Agency. As a self-proclaimed nature lover and avid listener of 1960’s folk music, Debby can’t help but feel like a hippie child who wasn’t born soon enough to attend Woodstock.

Debby loves connecting with her readers on Facebook and via her website at  


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The Pony Express – and Coffee

ponyexpressbookcoverThe first run of the Pony Express took place on April 3, 1860. So in celebration of the release of The Pony Express Romance Collection, the nine authors are having a bit of fun with “On This Date In History. . .” blog posts.

On April 3, 1829, James Carrington obtained a patent for a coffee mill. So I thought, “WoooHoooo! Coffee!  A truly noteworthy historical event, marked by a milestone in the evolution of my most favorite beverage, to coincide with the launch of the Pony Express decades later.”

I smiled and rubbed my fingertips, readying them to uncover historical tidbits for this blog post.

While it is true, a patent was indeed issued to Mr. Carrington on April 3rd, 1829 for his coffee mill design, alas, there is no record of his mill ever being manufactured. Further research also turned up numerous patents issued from the very early 1800s through the 1890s to more than two dozen people. Clearly, the milling of coffee beans and the brewing of this delectable beverage was serious business to a great many, highly intelligent people with discriminating palates. Sadly, most of these designs never met with manufacturing success. James Carrington wasn’t the only inventor whose creation never got off the ground, likely due to a lack of funds.

So, without ironclad facts to validate my statements, it is pure speculation when I state those wiry, tough-as-nails, reckless young fellows who flew across the prairie on swift steeds, bearing the US mail from St. Joseph, Missouri  to Sacramento, California in only ten days were, without a doubt, fueled by copious amounts of coffee.

My research did reveal a pair of brothers, Charles and Edmund Parker, who were successful in manufacturing a coffee mill that eventually found its way into nearly every American kitchen over the course of a few decades. It is my opinion that one of these coffee grinders was present at most of the Pony Express outposts and stations, much to the chagrin and regret of Mr. Carrington. Or perhaps that is pure conjecture on my part.

I can tell you without a shred of doubt, everything I write is, indeed, fueled by countless cups of the rich brew, and there are numerous references to coffee as the beverage of choice in my story, ABUNDANCE OF THE HEART.  In any event, I like to believe  James Carrington’s efforts in his inventor’s workshop were similarly driven by his desire for caffeine.

Abundance of the Heart
By Connie Stevens

Two discontented hearts, both of whom must stand aside and watch others fulfill the dreams they desire, discover God has something better in mind, if only they are willing to accept it.


connieConnie Stevens lives with her husband of forty-plus years in north Georgia, within sight of her beloved mountains. She and her husband are both active in a variety of ministries at their church. A lifelong reader, Connie began creating stories by the time she was ten. Her office manager and writing muse is a cat, but she’s never more than a phone call or email away from her critique partners. She enjoys gardening and quilting, but one of her favorite pastimes is browsing antique shops where story ideas often take root in her imagination. Connie has been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers since 2000.


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The Pony Express – and Norman Rockwell

April 3, 1993:  Norman Rockwell Museum opens at its new site in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Art has been a part of civilization for thousands of years if cave drawings are any indication. And, like other cultural elements such as music and dance, art has developed over the centuries. One of the favorite American artists was Norman Rockwell. He spent the last twenty-five years of his life in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and donated his studio to the city for a museum. The studio is kept in its original state, although it has been moved to the thirty+ acre site that the museum now occupies. Visitors are treated not just to original Rockwell paintings, but to many of his sketches and drawings as well.

People are attracted to Rockwell’s work because of the connection they feel to his subjects. He captured small town America and his pictures tell stories. His most famous are a series of four “freedom” pictures:  freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from fear, and freedom from want.

In my contribution to the Pony Express Collection, A Place to Belong, Abigail has neither studio nor paints, but draws the Express riders and scenes around the ranch. She treasures her mother’s sketchbook, with its own story, believing one of the images is of the home left behind before her parents were killed when she was six years old. Now, at nineteen, the sketchbook has become a connection to her mother and feeds her dream to return to the house in the book, much like Rockwell’s artwork feeds our nostalgia for a by-gone era.

Barbara Tifft Blakey is the developer of Total Language Plus, a literature-inspired language arts program used by private Christian schools and homeschoolers for over twenty years. She writes inspirational historical fiction from her tree-surrounded home in the Pacific Northwest.


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The Pony Express – and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

To celebrate the release of The Pony Express Romance Collection, we’re highlighting the date the first Pony Express run began –April 3rd – and looking at other dates in history to see what happened.

On April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his last speech. In that speech, he asked if God granted him his choice of time period to live in, which would he choose? Dr. King suggested several time periods, including this one:

“I would come on up even to 1863, and watch a vacillating President by the name of Abraham Lincoln finally come to the conclusion that he had to sign the Emancipation Proclamation.”

The Pony Express was of vital concern to President Abraham Lincoln. He feared that California might enter the Civil War and side with the Confederate States of America. The Pony Express filled a much-needed communication gap until telegraph lines could be stretched from coast to coast. It was one cog in the war machine that eventually ended slavery in these United States.  (tweet this)

ponyexpressbookcoverEmbattled Hearts

By Pegg Thomas

Wyoming Territory – August, 1861

She ignored the boot that shoved against her ribs. The next shove came with more force, and Alannah Fagan let a groan escape her swollen lips. Only she knew it was a groan of rage, not pain, although there was plenty of that.

“She’s alive.”

She forced herself not to flinch at Edward Bergman’s guttural voice. It was better they thought her still unconscious. They wouldn’t bother to care for her, so she’d have a chance to escape once darkness fell.

“Leave her.” Hugh Bergman’s voice rose from the direction of the camp. “She’ll come ’round by mornin’.”

“Might rain tonight.” Edward’s voice carried no hint of concern.

“Then she’ll get wet.” Hugh Bergman’s held even less. He may have married her ma, but he was no stepfather to her or her brother. “Whatever she put in the pot looks done. Come eat.”

Edward shuffled to the fire. More steps announced that his older brothers, Carl and Arnold, joined them. The scent of scorched salt pork and beans brought Alannah a slender thread of satisfaction. The clatter of plates and spoons, an occasional grunt from one of the men, the stomp of a horse’s hoof came from behind her. Whoosh of an owl overhead. Clicking of insects. Rustling and murmurs as members of the wagon train settled down for the evening.

Where was Conn? Her brother had left to fill the canteens at the creek right before…before Hugh’s fist had knocked her unconscious.

Alannah eased open her right eye. The left refused. Pain radiated from her left cheek, engulfing that side of her face. Careful not to move more than she must, she inched her head off the ground to peer above the prairie grass. The creek lay a quarter of a mile or so ahead of her. Their canvas-covered wagon was parked behind her in the large circle they formed each evening.

The sky darkened until she couldn’t see the willows along the creek anymore. The night sounds swelled and overtook the noise of the wagon train. A sentry walked past on his circuit. If he saw her, he didn’t pause. The whole wagon train would know what had happened by now, but nobody would confront Hugh Bergman. Not since he’d beaten the wagon master half to death over a senseless dispute about where to camp one night. Now her stepfather ran the wagon train, ruling it by fear.









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The Pony Express … and TV Guide

To celebrate the release of The Pony Express Romance Collection, we’re highlighting the date the first Pony Express run began — April 3rd — and looking at other dates in history to see what happened.

On April 3rd, 1953, the “TV Guide” was first published. During the 1940s, TV Guide magazine was comprised of three magazines, Chicago’s Television Forecast, Philadelphia’s Local Telviser, and New York’s Television Guide. They eventually merged and on April 3, 1953, the first national edition of TV Guide was released. The photo on the first edition of the newly formed TV Guide featured Desi Arnaz Jr., the baby of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

By the 1960s, TV Guide became one of the most circulated and read magazine in the country and in 1974, TV Guide became the first magazine in history to sell a billion copies.[1]

While it may be difficult to imagine a world without television, the truth is that before the 1950’s, televisions were a luxury, and in 1945, for example, there were probably less than 10,000 TV’s in the entire country. But by 1960, 90 percent of households had at least 1 set. [2]

This meant television shows had to be produced to fill those broadcast hours. Westerns have always been popular with the reading public, and so it seemed common sense that television viewers would also like to watch their favorite stars riding and bucking and shooting.

It should come as no surprise that several series have aired, including “The Pony Express” in 1959[3] as well as “The Overland Mail” and others[4]. The topic was also popular in a number of movies.

For a company that delivered mail for just over eighteen months, the legacy of the Pony Express still lives on. (tweet this) Perhaps it’s the lure of the unknown, the desire to make a difference, or simply the romantic notion that the Wild West was a better way of life. Whatever the reason, here’s to the ongoing interest in this nugget of American history.

Echoes of the Heart ponyexpressbookcover

by Donna Schlachter

Catherine Malloy, an orphan girl running from a compromising situation in Boston, answers a personal ad in a magazine, on behalf of her illiterate friend. Through his letters, she finds herself falling in love with this stranger. Benjamin Troudt is crippled and illiterate, and knows nothing of this ad. His route supervisor, Warton, who was helping Benjamin with the paperwork, has been given only a short time to live, and knows Benjamin needs help, so he places the ad. Can Catherine overcome her belief that the God of her parents has abandoned her? And can Benjamin allow God to open his eyes and his heart to love?

Hollenberg Pony Express Station

Kansas Territory

May 1860

Chapter 1

Catherine Malloy braced a hand against the doorframe as the stage rounded a turn. A cloud of dust encircled the coach, filtering through the gaps in the doors, the curtains, the floor, and the roof, threatening to choke her. She coughed politely behind her gloved hand, cringing at the sight of the stains on her once-white hand coverings. Her spirits were as rumpled as her sleeves and skirt. Would the dirt ever come out?

But no matter how primitive the conditions, no matter how hostile the natives or how cold the winters—all stories she’d heard about the Wild West—she would not turn back.

She had nowhere to turn back.

When she’d excitedly read the advertisement in the magazine to her friend Margaret, neither had truly contemplated just how far the Kansas Territory was from Boston. Four days on the train to St. Joseph, Missouri had been just the beginning. Three days in this bouncing torture chamber, surrounded by surly men, snot-nosed children, and sharp-tongued women caused her to question her sanity and her decision more than once. She’d already eaten more dust than she’d known existed.

In Mr. Troudt’s first letter, he’d explained that he ran a way station and needed a wife. Neither she nor Margaret knew what that was. They knew a man from Australia, who talked about working at a sheep station. Perhaps a way station was similar.

Not that any of that mattered. She had no reason to go back. No family. No job.

Not after the way Master Talbott had approached her.

aaadonna-img_6534-juggling-the-books-smallerDonna lives in Denver with husband Patrick, her first-line editor and biggest fan. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. Donna is a ghostwriter, editor of fiction and non-fiction, judges in a number of writing contests, and teaches online courses.

Donna’s Blog: HiStoryThruTheAges









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