Best Selling author Carra Copelin writes contemporary and historical romance. The Texas Code Series, contemporary romantic suspense novels include Code Of Honor, Book One. The Brides of Texas Code Series, western historical novellas, explores the Texas Code Series beginnings. Katie and the Irish Texan, Book 1, Matelyn and the Texas Ranger, Book 2, and Angel and the Texan from County Cork, Book 3. Laurel:Bride of Arkansas, American Mail-Order Brides Series, Book 25

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013!

Tonight’s December thirty-first,
Something is about to burst.
The clock is crouching, dark and small,
Like a time bomb in the hall.
Hark, it's midnight, children dear.
Duck! Here comes another year!
I loved this Goodreads Quote of the Day by, Ogden Nash, and thought I'd share it with all of you. It's cute, lightweight and fun. I wish good health, much wealth in love and friendship, and that you all prosper in the New Year 2013.
Thank you for your visits and comments this past year. Come back to see me as often as you can, 'cause I will be lookin' for you. Take care of yourselves and be good to each other.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Santa For Christmas

Christmas is such a special time of year. In our family, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but we also enjoy the fun of Santa Claus. I get caught up in the magic of it all. I like to think that there's a little Santa in and for all of us.

In the spirit of the season, I've written this short story of hope, faith and maybe a little magic. I hope you enjoy it and may you all have a very Merry Christmas.

A Santa For Christmas 

Merry Hernandez stopped atop the cross-over bridge, admiring the way the Christmas lights created magic along the San Antonio River Walk. The trees twinkled with lighted strands of multi-colored bulbs. Sidewalk cafes framed the San Antonio River on either side with their festive umbrella topped tables, decorative lights and poinsettias. The river reflected the myriad of lights back toward the starry sky overhead. All the pieces completed a perfect picture of the River Walk at Christmas.

Her River Walk.

Her Papa had told her as much when she was little. Each bulb twinkled just for her, he'd said, and her alone. She'd held onto that belief until she grew old enough to help him fulfill his role as Papa Noel or the better known Santa Claus. He'd load his boat with toys and navigate the river through the River Walk distributing his cache to eager children waiting patiently, no matter the weather. As a girl, she'd learned to share her precious river with the tourists who came to visit at Christmas then, as a young woman, she managed her father's company.

Merry and her brother, Tomas, had taken over completely a few years ago when Papa died. That had gone well, with Tomas playing Santa Claus, until last spring when he'd been killed in a robbery at a local convenience store. She'd been on the search for someone to play Santa when she received a letter from the company where they purchased most of their toys. Santa's Workshop was closing its doors.

With such short notice, no toys and no Santa, Merry knew she'd have to abandon her Christmas Eve run.  She hated to disappoint the children, but she didn't see any way she could pull it off. Finally, after multiple letters, e-mails and phone calls, she found a spark of hope. An S. Claus responded, saying he'd be in South Texas a day or two before Christmas. He hoped they could meet to discuss a solution to her problem on Christmas Eve. While she didn't really see a way to make it work, she also hated to give up without a try.

So here she stood on the bridge staring at the agreed upon meeting place, the Hilton Palacio Del Rio and the last hope for Santa's North Pole Special Delivery.

*  *  *

Sam Claus walked out onto the balcony of his suite at a River Walk hotel. He leaned on the railing and looked down through the trees lit with a million lights. The river boats floated past, all brightly lighted and full of tourists. This was his first trip to San Antonio and he was impressed.

For the life of him, though, he really didn't know why he'd been compelled to come here. He supposed the sheer number and varied ways of communication had piqued his interest, plus the sad plight of Ms. Merry Hernandez. Not that his reason for closing the business had any less impact for his family.

Five years ago his father, Samuel (Santa) Claus had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Sam had noticed symptoms for quite a while, but the process of diagnosing doesn't happen overnight. It was now impossible for his father to run a business and Sam had his law practice to keep afloat. With no one else he could trust at the helm, he'd decided to close Santa's Workshop.

This past week, his father had rallied. His long and short-term memory intact, he remembered his most important account, Santa's North Pole Special Delivery. He'd answered Ms. Hernandez's last email and insisted on making the trip with Sam. When the doctor agreed the trip might help and couldn't hurt, Sam gave in to his father's request. He turned when Samuel joined him on the balcony.

"How're you feeling, Dad?"

"Magical, isn't it?"

He followed his father's line of sight to the rock bridge crossing the river. The lights all converged in one spot at the center, lighting a solitary figure in such a way that made her appear ethereal. The power of the moment took his ability to speak or even to breathe.

"Beautiful," he whispered.

"If you don't mind, son," the elder Claus said. "I think I'll eat in our room and let you two young folks enjoy the evening."

"Dad, are you sure? Is there anything I can get you?" Sam looked for any sign that his father might be slipping back into himself, but Samuel appeared normal.

"No, I want to stay in, eat, and rest up for tomorrow."

Sam followed his father back into the room. He locked the balcony door, drew the curtain and placed the dinner order with Room Service. Dressed for his own dinner and after the food came, he headed downstairs to the hotel restaurant.

* * *

Merry gripped the stone ledge with all her strength. She wasn't sure what just happened, but for a few seconds all the lights around her had surged bright as mid-day. Her eyes locked onto a balcony near the top of the hotel where two men stood at the railing. One younger man and an older man with white hair and a full white beard who she would swear winked at her. Slowly the odd moment passed and Merry made her way through the crowd to the hotel.

After the dinner plates were removed, she sipped her water and watched Sam take a card from his wallet to pay for dinner. She liked the look of his hands – strong with long fingers, a piano player her mother would've said. Each time their hands had brushed during dinner she'd received a small jolt. Odd since the humidity was high due to rain being in the forecast. There might even be snow tomorrow on Christmas morning. A rare event for San Antonio, but not unheard of.

"Sam, I'm sorry about your father." They'd exchanged family histories during dinner, including their fathers' and Merry felt particularly saddened for him.

"Thanks." He handed the waitress the folded leather binder with his card and the receipt. When she'd returned and left again, he asked Merry, "Do you have plans for the rest of the evening?"

"Other than trying to scare up a Santa for tonight? No." She smiled. "What did you have in mind?"

"I've never seen the River Walk and I wondered if you'd be my tour guide."

"I'd love to show you my River Walk."

Sam escorted her out of the restaurant to the hotel lobby. Each time he came close to the small of her back, a light tingle zapped his fingertips. "Will you ride up with me to get my overcoat or would you prefer to wait here?"

"I'll wait here."

A few minutes later Sam exited the elevator and charged straight to the desk. He motioned for Merry to join him.

When she approached, he said frantically, "My father's missing." He continued to give information to hotel security and local police officers then, after they left to search, Sam felt more lost than ever.

Merry took his hand, smiled and asked, "Instead of sitting here and feeling completely inadequate, why don't we look for him ourselves?"

"Yes, I can't sit here and wait."

* * *

Outside, Sam and Merry looked up and down the River Walk's flagstone and cobblestone paths, in sidewalk cafes, bars, other hotel lobbies, and gift shops. But Samuel didn't turn up. Sam was beside himself with worry. So many people milled about that, even if his father stood near him, they'd never see each other. He was about to ask Merry what the crowd was gathered for when he heard the song, "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town". The people in the crowd started cheering and holding their children up, some smaller tykes sat on shoulders.

He caught Merry by the arm and propelled her up onto the rock bridge. What they saw had both miracle and magic tied up with a bow. A cruise boat churned its way down the river toward them loaded with packages and unwrapped toys. As it approached, Sam could see that the man in the red suit on the back was none other than his father, Samuel (Santa) Claus.

Sam looked down at Merry and saw her tears of pure joy. He hugged her close, turning her around to face him. She mouthed a "thank you" then slipped her arms around his neck and kissed him hard on the mouth. It took him a micro-second to return her kiss. It was at that moment that Sam knew he would keep Santa's Workshop open. He would probably move the headquarters here to San Antonio where he'd live happily with Merry and his father.

Merry reveled in Sam's kiss, his warmth, and the beauty of the moment on her River Walk. She felt the presence of Tomas and Papa Noel and just before he passed beneath the bridge, Santa winked at her.
An original story by Carra Copelin

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thank you!

I just noticed there've been over three thousand visits to this blog, Texas Skies.  I'm thrilled you stopped by, whether you made it here by accident or with intent to read a specific post. So here's a big Texas thank you from me, Carra Copelin, and I hope you'll stop by again soon.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sam Bass, Famous Texas Outlaw

Through the genealogy research of our family history, I continually search for the validity of stories passed from one generation to the next. So far I'm 0 for 0. A few of these are:

1.  A great grandmother was Cherokee or part Cherokee. No.
2.  A great-great grandfather came to Tennessee from Germany, then to Texas. No, it appears he was possibly an Englishman from Illinois.
3.  My Pike ancestors were related to Zebulon Pike, explorer and discoverer of Pike's Peak. No.
4.  We are related by marriage to Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy. You guessed it, No.
Now, in all fairness, it is possible I haven't gone down the right trail or all evidence for the right trail no longer exists. Maybe there's a left turn out there I will find someday.
            The biggest story we haven't proven yet is that we are related to Sam Bass, the outlaw. My great-grandmother, on my father's side, was Anna Bass Carr. She was born in 1874, to William Edward  and Sarah Hardison Bass in Clifton, Bosque County, Texas. She told the story of how, when she was a little girl, a man came to their home late one night. Her mother let him in and gave him food and lodging. The next morning, when she awoke, the man was gone. Granny said, her mother told her that man was her cousin, Sam Bass.
Another story involving, Sam Bass, happened on my mother's side of the family. This tale says the outlaw was headed south from Denton by way of the Garland - Mesquite area, North of Dallas. Sam stopped at the McCommas farm, the home of mother's great-great uncle. Sam bought fresh horses and left his own for the farmer. Once again, there is no proof, but I want to believe.

Sam was born on July 21, 1851on a farm in Mitchell, Indiana. He was orphaned at the age of ten. He and his brother and sisters lived with an abusive uncle and his nine children for the next five years. In 1869, Sam lived on his own in Mississippi at Charles' Mill where he learned how to handle a pistol and sharpened his card playing skills. In 1871, he moved to Denton in North Texas.  

He went to work for Sheriff W.F. (Dad) Eagan. Sheriff Eagan employed Sam as a farmhand where he curried horses, milked the cows, and cut firewood, but more importantly, young Sam spent some time as a teamster. It was at this position that he became acquainted with the country and learned all the trails, back roads and thickets he would later use to elude the Texas Rangers.
Bass formed a gang and robbed the Union Pacific gold train from San Francisco. He and his me n intercepted the train on September 18, 1877 at Big Spring, Nebraska, looting $60,000. To this day it is the largest single robbery of the Union Pacific. Sam and his gang staged a string of robberies after this, never netting over $500 at any one time. In 1878, the gang held up two stagecoaches and four trains within twenty-five miles of Dallas and became the object of a manhunt by Pinkerton agents and a special company of Texas Rangers headed by Captain Junius Peak. 

The Bass gang eluded the Rangers until one member of his gang, Jim Murphy, turned informant. Mr. Murphy's father, who was very ill at the time, was taken into custody and held for 'questioning'. He was not allowed to see a doctor, and his condition rapidly worsened. Law officers then sent a message to Murphy informing him that they had his father in custody, and they would continue to withhold medical treatment. Murphy, knowing how sick his father was, agreed to the meeting, which resulted in him reluctantly agreeing to become an informant. That is the tactic that had to be employed to catch the wiley Sam Bass. Major John B. Jones, Texas Ranger, was informed of Bass's movements, and set up an ambush at Round Rock, Texas, where Bass planned to rob the Williamson County Bank.

 On July 19, 1878, Bass and his gang were scouting the area before the robbery. When they bought some tobacco at a store, they were noticed by Deputy Sheriff A. W. Grimes. When Grimes approached the men to request that they surrender their side arms, he was shot and killed. As Bass attempted to flee, he was shot by Ranger George Herold and then by Texas Ranger Sergeant Richard Ware. Near Ware, were Soapy Smith and his cousin Edwin who witnessed Ware's shot. Soapy exclaimed, "I think you got him." Bass was found lying in a pasture by a group of railroad workers, who summoned the authorities. He was taken into custody and died the next day on his 27th birthday. 

Bass was buried in Round Rock, some fifteen miles north of Austin, Texas's state capitol. Today, his grave is marked with a replacement headstone, the original having suffered at the hands of souvenir collectors over the years. What remains of the original stone is on display at the Round Rock Public Library.


After Sam died his legend grew, helped along by a song. "The Ballad of Sam Bass", written by John Denton of Gainesville, Texas, was sung by many cowhands in an attempt to sooth the herd on stormy nights. Sam's fame spread to Great Britain in the late 1800s, culminating in a wax statue of him in Madam Tussaud's Waxworks in London (Ibid.).
 Today, Sam Bass is not as well-known as he was in the past. However, Round Rock maintains its historical legacy as evidenced by the street markers identifying the events in the celebrated shootout.
My family's connection to Sam, while not yet proven, may still be true. I have traced our Bass ancestors back to Gibson County, Indiana. I'm ever hopeful that one day a distant relative will stand up and say 'Howdy', so to speak, and we'll have our documentation.
I hope you enjoyed this tidbit from my family's history. It's a reprint from a guest post in September 2012 at  Sweethearts of the West. If you're a fan of history, take some time and follow the link to You'll be glad you did.         


Friday, September 28, 2012

The Last Good Man by Kathleen Eagle - A Review

"A good man is hard to find, but a romance by Eagle is a good place to start." -Kirkus Reviews

I have seen Kathleen Eagle's name for a long time, but never pulled one of her books off the shelf to give her a try. This is a mistake that has now been rectified.
This book, The Last Good Man, is the way I aspire to write. Ms. Eagle's characters are real people that we might know in our own lives. Their struggles, so well described, could very well be a family member or a neighbor. She takes us down to the depths of Savannah and Clay's souls. After working in a cancer center for many years, I've seen the toll cancer takes on people and the trip Savannah makes in her recovery from breast cancer is hard but hopeful.

I am glad I made the journey with Clay, Savannah and Claudia and their search for ever after.

Savannah Stephens has come home to Sunbonnet, Wyoming, after abandoning a modeling career in New York. She slips into town leaving everyone to wonder why. Good-hearted rancher, Clay Keogh, has troubles of his own but he, too, wants to find out what is troubling Savannah. Clay has loved Savannah since they were kids even though she loved Clay's half-brother, bad boy, Kole Kills Crow. Clay can't help but notice Savannah's daughter looks just like his brother and wonders if she is still in love with Kole. It's up to Clay to find out her secrets, to be there with a shoulder she can lean on. Savannah soon realizes that he's a very special man. But unless she can bring herself to share the painful truth about her fall from stardom, the emotional distance between her and Clay may separate them forever.

About the Author: Bestselling author Kathleen Eagle retired from a seventeen-year teaching career on a North Dakota Indian reservation to become a full-time novelist. The Lakota Sioux heritage of her husband and their three children has inspired many of her stories. Among her honors, she has received a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times, the Midwest Fiction Writer of the Year Award, and Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA Award. Library Journal named THE NIGHT REMEMBERS one of the five best romances of the year. Kathleen takes great pleasure in reading letters from readers who tell her that her books have tugged at their heartstrings, entertained, inspired, and even enlightened them.

See the link below to purchase the ebook from Amazon:

Visit her website:

Leave a comment and tell us if you've read this book or any others by Kathleen Eagle. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Brazos Bride by Caroline Clemmons - Book Review

One of the things I wanted to do on this site was to promote authors work. I have strayed from this over the summer and I'm going to fix that now. The first book is a western historical.

 Brazos Bride by Caroline Clemmons is the first installment in her Men of Stone Mountain series and it's a keeper.

Hope Montoya has figured out she is being poisoned. She fears her mothers death was due to the same method and her father was murdered. With what little strength she has left, Hope must figure out how to save her ranch and her inheritance. Who can she trust to help her? She decides to ask Micah Stone to marry her and protect her while they search for the person or persons who want her dead.

Micah Stone has loved Hope since he first saw her. When her father is killed, Micah is tried and aquitted for his murder. Against his better judgement, he agrees to her proposal of a marriage in name only. Can Micah find who is poisoning Hope in time to save her and then walk away?

Can Hope and Micah deny their feelings for each other?

Ms. Clemmons characters come alive on the page and her descriptions paint a vivd picture of the Texas countyside. I hope you will try Brazos Bride, as well as the other books she has on Amazon.

Brazos Bride is mildly sensual and contains some profanity so if this bothers you, you might not like the story.

Below is a link to Amazon for, Brazos Bride.

I do hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

Guest Post at Sweethearts of the West

Good morning! I am a guest today at Sweethearts of the West Blog and I'm practically dancin' I am so excited.

Please stop by this beautiful website by authors, Caroline Clemmons and Celia Yeary, to read my post and leave a comment. While you are there, waltz around their site for the many other interesting articles. It is one of my favorite places to visit and I think you will agree.

Follow this link :

Thanks for visiting today!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

An Award From The Daughters Of The Republic Of Texas

Gloria Carr Cope/Carra Copelin
This past Saturday, I received a  certificate from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Frances Cooke Van Zandt Chapter, for being a member for twenty-five years. This is such an honor. I wish my mother, Matelyn Roddy Carr Smolak, could have been here to receive hers as well. She would have been so proud.

Thirty years ago, Mother and I began the search for the documentation of proof to our ancestor, Amon McCommas. In order for one to become a daughter or a son of the DRT or SRT, you must prove your ancestor of lineal descent who rendered loyal service to the Republic Texas before the Texas annexation in February 1846.

We began our search in 1982 and found Amon's name listed on a 1845 Poll Tax List in the basement of the Old Red Courthouse. The rest of the documentation came from marriage records, family bible pages, and birth or death records. We then submitted the copies along with the application and became members in 1987.

The following is a little history for my GGGGGrandfather, Amon McCommas, Sr.

Amon McCommas, Sr

Amon came to Texas in December 1844 with the Peter's Colony and is credited with preaching the first sermon in Dallas County on the banks of the Trinity River. His family was one of the first 5 or 6 families to settle in Dallas. He was a Campbellite preacher (Disciples of Christ minister) and he founded the Christian Church of Dallas in 1845 with 12 members. In 1873 this church was divided into two groups: the Pearl and Main Street Church of Christ and another group that developed into the Central Christian Church.

In 1846, Amon chaired the meeting that formed Dallas County and was later elected as the first Chief Justice of the Dallas County Commissioner's Court. Amon was a farmer who owned the first "tread-mill" (grist mill powered by mules) in Dallas. He served as president of the first county fair in Dallas; this fair went on to become the State Fair of Texas. He is a charter member of the Dallas County Pioneers Association, organized in 1875, for which he served as the first Chaplain.

Amon and his wife Mary Braumfield McCommas raised their children and several of their grandchildren (due to the premature deaths of some of their own children: James B. McCommas, Rosanna Cox and Armilda Fleeman). McCommas Boulevard in Dallas was named for Amon McCommas and his family. He also donated the land for the Old Red Courthouse located near Dealy Plaza and the Triple Underpass. The building still stands today.

The Old Red Courthouse, Dallas, Texas

Thanks for visiting. I hope you want to come back often.