Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October Member News

Congratulations to the new releases this month! Join us in Golden CO this weekend for our annual conference!


Teresa Lynn, Little Lodges on the Prairie: Freemasonry &Laura Ingalls Wilder is now available on Nook, as well as Kindle & Amazon. This is the first book to comprehensively document the role of Freemasonry in the lives of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the ever-popular Little House on the Prairie book series, and her family.

Reprint and audio rights for Susan Wittig Albert’s author-published novel, A Wilder Rose, have gone to Lake Union Publishing, with a March 2015 relaunch date. The book was a WILLA finalist in historical fiction.
Susan Wittig Albert,

Andrea Downing, Dearest Darling, Wild Rose Press.   
Stuck in a life of servitude to her penny-pinching brother, Emily Darling longs for a more exciting existence. When a packet with travel tickets, meant for one Ethel Darton, accidentally lands on her doormat, Emily sees her chance for escape. Daniel Saunders has carved out a life for himself in Wyoming—a life missing one thing: a wife. Having scrimped and saved to bring his mail-order bride from New York, he is outraged to find in her stead a runaway fraud and, even worse, the impostor is the sister of his old enemy…

Velda Brotherton, Beyond the Moon, A wounded warrior home from 9 years as a POW in Vietnam meets his angel. This is their battle to emotionally bring him back home from the horrors of that captivity.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Colors of Palo Duro Canyon

                                                                        By Natalie Bright

The Caprock, the surface across the Texas Panhandle, is a flat, treeless expanse resistive to erosion.  Where rivers cross these Great Plains and spill over the edge to the lower elevations, erosion can create chasms.  As is the case of the Prairie Dog Fork of the Red River, which created the geological formation of Palo Duro Canyon, located south of Amarillo. Over millions of years the river has eroded down, dropping the floor by 800 feet.

“It is a burning, seething cauldron, filled with dramatic light and color”.
Georgia O’Keefe

I think artists find our Palo Duro Canyon so pleasing to paint because the layers are compliments of each other. Right next to the purple layers, is the complementing yellow shale.  The Yellow shale is oxygen rich swamp deposits as opposed to the anoxic blue shale below. The off-white, or grey sandstone at the top of the Canyon is the Trujillo sandstone, or white sandstone of the Caprock.

The very top, is the white sandstone of the Ogallala, which is our major water aquifer. Here the Ogallala is exposed at the surface.  The purple and grey gravels of the Sierra Grande uplift washed down to mix with the sand giving us our major fresh water aquifer for this area.

The grey or white bed layers are actually volcanic ash from the formation of Yellowstone National park that drifted to settle in our area.  How do geologists know it is Yellowstone ash?  Through testing of the chemical compound, every volcanic eruption has a particular signature and chemical make-up unique to that one particular incident.

Murky, blue shale was deposited in this environment. The inland sea evaporated, transitioning into the Triassic swamp mud.  With rivers flowing through the area and cutting into the bright red Permian, the mixture of the Blue shale with the Permian red beds resulted in the purple shale layers seen just above the Permian-Triassic contact.

There is evidence of the depositional environment of a sea floor. This is not the massive ocean covering the earth at the time, but a small inland sea – hot, stagnate, evaporate left  white gypsum in the sea bed resulting in the gypsum rich layers you can see in the Canyon walls. At the bottom of the Canyon, the dark red is the top of the Permian, and right above that is the Triassic.

Mankind brought their own color as evidenced by rock art, bedrock mortars, points, metal weapons, and other artifacts left behind. The Clovis and Folsom peoples hunted mammoth and giant bison about 12,000 years ago. The deep chasm, abundant wildlife and flowing river provided shelter and resources for the Apache, Comanche and Kiowa.

In 1876 Charles Goodnight drove 1,600 Longhorn cattle to the canyon, and formed the famous JA Ranch along with his English partner, John Adair. The ranch grew to 100,000 head of cattle and most of the canyon belonged to the JA. The state purchased the land in 1933 and opened the park in 1934. Containing 28,000 acres, Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest park in the state parks system.

Today Palo Duro Canyon State Park is a unique place to picnic, hike, and explore.

Resource:  C.M. Bright, Geologist
Photo Credit: Natalie Bright

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September Member News

More releases and awards for our wonderful members!

Shanna Hatfield, Wrestlin'Christmas
Shanghaied by his sister and best friend, former steer wrestler Cort McGraw finds himself on a run-down ranch with a worrisome, albeit gorgeous widow, and her silent, solemn son. Five minutes after Cort McGraw lands on her doorstep, K.C. Peters fights to keep a promise she made to herself to stay away from single, eligible men. When her neighbor said he knew just the person to help work her ranch for the winter, she never expected the handsome, brawny former rodeo star to fill the position. Ready to send him packing, her little boy has other plans.Buy Link:

We can never get enough about Cowgirls. History of rodeo and the first women involved publicly from the late 1800s to the first half of the twentieth century, framed in the context of the earliest days of the first wave of the women’s movement, emphasizing the word-champion cowgirls of Montana. 

Linda Rettstatt, Rescued (A sweet contemporary romance)
Proceeds benefit the Tunica (MS) Humane Society.Alexandra Ramsey has been rescuing strays since she was abandoned by her mother at the age of seven. Now Alex’s passion is poured into Harley’s Haven, the no-kill animal shelter she built from scratch in Cade's Point, Mississippi. Evan Whiting rode the crest of the wave of success as a top chef in Manhattan until 26 people were sickened by bad crab meat. He lost his restaurant, his savings, his reputation and his wife. Evan retreats to the home he inherited in rural Mississippi to start over. Both Alex and Evan are about to be RESCUED. Then there’s Walter…

Doris McCraw, writing as Angela Raines, Home for His Heart (a novella) 
Clara Cross ran away as a young girl after the suspicious deaths of her parents, and has spent the last nine years trying to find safety from a man she had reason to fear. Finally landing in the small town of Agate Gulch in the high Colorado mountains, she believes she may have found a safe home ...

Patsy Schwartz has bigger problems to deal with than the Great Depression, the raging Dust Bowl, or another looming world war. Forced to disappear from Baywater, Minnesota to avoid an arranged marriage to the local sheriff’s son, Patsy hits the open road with her best friend, Virginia Burg. Chasing the Strawberry Moon is an account of the adventures of a young woman as she makes her way west, running from conniving parents, the mob, and corrupt local law enforcement. The two travelers encounter truckers, ranchers, Communists, preachers, an artist working for the WPA, women motorcyclists, and Civilian Conservation Corpsmen, to name a few.

In 1858 Edward Wynkoop arrived in the frontier town of Denver City. He was twenty-two years old and soon became a town leader and Denver’s first sheriff. During the American Civil War, he joined the Colorado Volunteers and played an important role in the Union victory at the Battle of Glorieta Pass in New Mexico. 


Roni McFadden, TheLongest Trail has won gold for non-fiction in Dan Poynter's Global eBookAwards in the autobiography/memoirs/nonfiction category. As she travels "The Longest Trail", Roni evolves from a girl stumbling along treacherous and twisted paths to become a strong young woman who knows where she is going, how to get there, and understands she will have help along the way. 

Nancy Oswald, Insects in the Infield won the CIPA Evvy Award, 1st place in Juvenile division. Ants, bees, dragonflies, limping millipedes… Buster would rather ignore his brainy sister Maggie’s insect zoo, but he needs her help with the carnival fundraiser for his baseball team, the Cougars. Unfortunately, Buster needs more than fundraising help from his sister. 

Lorrie Farrelly Terms of Surrender, medaled in the Western category at the 2014 Readers' Favorite International Book Awards.  Former Confederate cavalry Captain Michael Cantrell has lost his home and everyone he loved. He roams the western frontier, trying to outrun his demons and find some purpose to his life. One spring day along the Wind River in Wyoming, a violent encounter lands him smack in the middle of Annie Devlin’s war. Standing with the determined young rancher will test the limits of Michael’s courage, his honor – and his passion.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Strong Medicine of Flint

By Natalie Bright

As you drive through the simple brick entrance and journey along the winding blacktop, the sparse trees and stark landscape might not impress you. There is history hidden among the rolling hills and behind scrubby mesquite, and to the ancient inhabitants who once lived here it is a place of strong medicine. The rock found in this area was revered by Native American tribes for generations. The colors of the rock is like no other found anywhere else in the world. Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument in the Texas Panhandle is the source of the rock called flint.

Lying in the northeast corner of the Staked Plains, along the sloping sides of the Canadian River Valley, the national park was considered sacred and neutral ground. It was a place where tribes visited in peace over a period of about 12,000 years until around 1870, to trade and mine the valuable rock. Most traveled to the area on the muddy red Canadian River, which once flowed much deeper and ran year round.

The unique rusty red and colorful striations seen in Alibates flint is a result of a fault. As thermal springs deep underground moved hot water through the fault, it passed around and through the Permian shelves which consists of significant iron content. The silica rich water emerged to form Alibates flint, named after a local ranch cowboy, Allen “Allie” Bates, who disclosed the location in 1906. The flint can be found in abundance on about 60 acres atop a  weathered mesa where it is exposed to the surface.

The park ranger guides visitors along a winding path through yucca, prickly pear cactus and mesquite. Several covered benches provide shade and rest stops. The informative history lecture is ongoing as you work your way to the top of the mesa. The path leads to a mining pit where early inhabitants broke off larger pieces to be toted back to their villages. The small boulders were then worked into useful tools. The rock was treasured for its ability to break into smooth flakes for a sharper, cleaner edge for points, spearheads, scrapers, and knives. This strong and very sharp rock cut deep and played a significant part in survival. It was worked, used and traded everywhere, with pieces of Alibates flint being found and identified as far away as Canada.

Between 1150 and 1450 permanent villages were located in the area. Several times a year small groups are allowed to tour the remains of these dwellings. The rock slab roofs are visible revealing rectangular, semi-circular, or circular shaped shelters with tunneled entranceways and stone enclosures. Most signs of these earliest inhabitants have disappeared, but faint imprints of an active village remains today.

Alibates Flint Quarries is located approximately 35 miles north of Amarillo, Texas on highway 136 north which takes you to Borger. Turn off of 136 before you get to the town of Fritch, and follow Cas Johnson Road to the parks Visitor’s Center.

Bio: Natalie Bright is an author, blogger, and speaker. She is represented by Mr. Stephen Fraser, of The Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency, NYC, who is currently shopping her historical novels for middle grade readers. She’s on the web at Facebook/Natalie-Bright-Author, Twitter @natNKB, Amazon Author Pages, Pinterest/natbright, she blogs every Monday at, and for articles about the history and people of the Texas Panhandle read Prairie Purview Blog on her website,