Archie and his bride in 1908

The Finishing School Belle Meets the Poor Texas Farmer or…

The Love Story of Archie and Laeuna Hudson
click the above link to hear the full interview or put this into your search bar:


In Norma’s words: (Be sure to click the link above to hear the 30-minute interview and get your genealogy tips and more photos, a lot, at the show home page…)

My mother’s parents had one of the most loving marriages I have ever seen. Their love was forged through hard times and struggles, working their fingers to the bone for everything they had throughout their entire marriage.

Born in 1886, my grandmother Laeuna was the eldest daughter of Clay Cooper, a rough-and-tumble Texas cowhand and bear hunter, and Effie Mae Harman, a well-educated, beautiful schoolteacher with a finishing school education. Effie and Laeuna were tough and capable frontier women able to cook equally well over a campfire or woodstove. They could ride and shoot with the best, yet were always perfect ladies.

Laeuna’s family traveled from Jacksboro, Texas to the New Mexico Territory in 1887. After working for many ranchers, including Texas cattle baron, Bill Slaughter and others, and taking much of his pay in cattle, Clay was able to start his own herd and homestead. Eventually, Clay and Effie added seven more children to their family. In the early 1900’s, they purchased the Cross V Ranch in what was then the vast and lawless Socorro County.

My grandfather Archie Hudson, born in 1885, was eldest grandson of a prosperous family in what was then Lincoln County, New Mexico, several hundred miles to the east. His parents, Ed and Mary Corn Hudson came to New Mexico from Kerr County, Texas in 1878 by wagon train with six other families, my great uncles even meeting up with Billy the Kid on the way. When they arrived at the Pecos River, near the site of what would one day become Roswell, New Mexico, they lived in dugouts along the riverbank until they could buy land from John Chisum, one of the brothers known for blazing the famous Chisum trail. Ed and Mary fell in love on the trip, but as she was only 13 and he 16, they waited until she was16 to marry. By that time, Mary’s mother had died and when she was 18, her father remarried a woman 29 years his junior and two years younger than Mary. When the Hudson’s packed up and moved to Socorro County, Ed and Mary took their young family and went with them, leaving behind the wealth of his mother’s father and the land he had gifted to them.

Both Ed Hudson and Clay Cooper were popular fiddlers and dance callers in the area, and it is believed that Archie and Laeuna met at a dance. Archie learned to play the fiddle from his father, and Laeuna often accompanied her father on the guitar.

Clay Cooper was very ambitious for his family, having sent his older daughters back to Texas for finishing school, and not crazy about his daughter falling in love with a farmer. The Hudson’s were farmers; however, Archie and Laeuna began courting. Archie won Laeuna’s heart from the beau her father had chosen and she never had eyes for another. From then on, they accompanied each other, not only playing for dances, but in every aspect of life.

Archie would ride out to the Ranch and they would go riding. When someone commented that it must have been difficult to get very close to one another on horseback, Laeuna said that if he had tried to kiss her she would have knocked him down. She probably would have!

In April of 1908, Archie and Laeuna were married in front of the big fireplace at the Cross V Ranch. It appears that only family were present and her father, claiming his daughter would always be poor for marrying a farmer, remained on the back porch during the wedding. She wore a beautiful white Victorian wedding dress, handmade by Laeuna, her mother, and sisters. The skirt is still in my mother’s cedar chest.

They lived with her family while Clay attempted to teach his son-in-law to be a rancher, but Archie loved to farm and they eventually moved to wherever he could work for a farmer or rent farmland. He never had his own farm, often working for the highway department or doing trucking to make ends meet. They were blessed with eight children in 22 years, my mother being the youngest.

Laeuna’s parents purchased the vast and beautiful NH Ranch, not far from the Cross V in 1916. Archie and Laeuna were living in Alma, New Mexico, about 44 miles away when Laeuna’s father and one brother were murdered and another brother shot in their home corral by neighboring sheep ranchers in a fight over cattle vs. sheep and water rights in May 1918. After losing their ranch to the bank in 1922, the Coopers moved to California near Effie’s brother, fearing further reprisal from the culprits who were never brought to justice. Archie and Laeuna remained behind in New Mexico with Laeuna keeping her children at home behind locked doors whenever the offending neighbors came to the small town of Reserve, New Mexico where they had settled.

Their home burned to the ground in the late 30’s along with everything they owned and the children stayed with friends until Archie was able to build a log home they lived in for many years. After struggling to make ends meet, Archie suffered a devastating bout of depression and they moved to Albuquerque with their younger children in 1945.

I remember my grandparents as a very devoted couple, helping each other when he became deaf and she almost blind. One of my favorite memories is watching him place a wad of chewing gum on the bottom of his cane and directing her until she was able to pick up a piece of lint off the floor. Always talented with needlework, she continued to crochet potholders even after losing most of her sight. I still I use them to this day.

As they became older, it became necessary for them to move from their home where I experienced many wonderful years of Sunday visits with some 28 cousins and the many family friends who often stopped by. I met people who remembered the Wild West years of southwestern New Mexico and spent many joy-filled hours sitting on the floor listening to stories that filled me with a love of family, history, and storytelling that continues to this day. Many of those stories and more will form the backbone of a historical series I am researching.

While living in a nursing home, Laeuna would feel her way two halls over to Archie’s room and spend the day at his bedside. When he sat next to her in a chair, he would say lovingly, using his pet nickname, “Ma’am, you’re still the prettiest girl I ever saw.” She would resolutely remove his hand from her knee, place it back on his lap, and tell him to behave himself. Laeuna died a few weeks short of a year following Archie’s death.

Few children these days have the weekly gift of the love and closeness of a large extended family that I grew up experiencing. My grandparents may have indeed been poor, but they had a wealth of love and the respect of everyone who knew them that I would exchange for riches any day.

About the author:

Norma Gail is the author of the contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams, winner of the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award. The sequel is almost finished. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 40 years. They have two adult children.

Connect with Norma:

Website: www.normagail.org

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Norma-Gail/e/B00ILHXBAK/

Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQbZIoC_JSE

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNormaGail

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+NormaGailwrites

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/normagailth/boards/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7874459

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Norma_Gail

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/norma-gail-thurston-holtman/42/71a/3b2

Book Blurb for Land of My Dreams:

Alone and betrayed, American professor, Bonny Bryant longs for a haven of peace. She accepts a position at a small Christian college in Fort William, Scotland, craving escape from her painful past. The passionate love which develops when she meets fellow professor and sheep farmer, Kieran MacDonell, is something she never anticipated.

Kieran harbors a deep anger toward God in the face of his own devastating grief. When Bonny’s former fiancé reenters her life, Kieran’s loneliness draws him to a former student.

How will Bonny decide between her rivals? Can they set aside the past to make way for a future, or will it drive them apart?

Land of My Dreams spans the distance between New Mexico’s high desert mountains and the misty Scottish Highlands with a timeless story of overwhelming grief, undying love, and compelling faith.

 ADDENDUM: In our interview, I asked Norma Gail to share the book titles that have been written about her ancestors. Here’s her response…

Norma: The books I told you about are all out of print, but can be found through book outlets such as AbeBooks.

A story of my great grandfather Cooper ( my grandmother’s father) guiding artist and author Fredric Remington can be found in two books of his Pony Tracks and Fredric Remington’s Own Outdoors. He is the one in the illustrations with a bandage around his face from being shot in the face in a poker game.

The story of my Hudson family ancestors trek from Texas to New Mexico and their run-ins with Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and John Chisum can be found in Pecos Pioneer by Mary Hudson Brothers and Martin V. Corn: Early Roswell Pioneer by James D. Shinkle.






I get asked what are the best publishing practices-traditional or indie?

Christian Authors Network president, radio host, speaker — Angela Breidenbach

I get asked that a lot. I answer a lot of individual situations. And as the Christian Authors Network president, I get asked for quotes and opinions by reporters for articles and by other authors and industry professionals. My answer is that both are excellent. I love both and here’s a little of how I would discuss this constant question. (FYI, I did post it as a comment over at the Steve Laube blog. But then I thought that this was really a blog post in its own right.)

So which are the best publishing practices-traditional or indie? both? neither? Let’s take a look at some important factors before you make your decision.

Sometimes it’s just about the money. Sometimes it’s about the message not fitting the traditional houses. Sometimes it’s about the concept being great, but traditional publishing houses have a brand and the traditional author must fit that brand 99% of the time. The other 1% is what everyone wants to be, but 99% aren’t. It’s always about your readiness to run your own business. How you do that depends on a lot of factors.

For self-publishing, it’s wise to follow great podcasts. A few of my favorites are Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn, John Vonhoff’s Writers and Authors on Fire, great marketing podcasts like Janet Murray of Souful PR and join groups of other authors who have had success. Doing it with no input is where failure lurks. I do both traditional and indie (the new catch-phrase for self-publishing). I do it because I have stories that don’t fit the brand of the traditional houses, yet they fit my brand. My brand includes radio. So I team up with others and have my own podcasts and radio shows. If you’d like to know more, please visit Historically Speaking (Along Came a Writer Network on Blogtalkradio), Grace Under Pressure Radio, and Lit Up! They’re all available on iTunes, though Lit Up! is just starting in February so those episodes on the publishing industry are in beginning production with Toginet Radio produced by Sandra Beck. You could also listen to the 13-week Writer’s Series on Coach Talk Radio all about publishing 101 for a great overview education with some wonderfully deep tips from the people Sandra Beck and I had the honor to interview.

The next question is do I make any money? Yes, yes I do. In both. Yes, I’ve earned more with my indie books because (and here comes the “control” word) I control the variety of formats and streams where my books are available. So if there is a possible vehicle to produce and deliver a certain book, that’s what I do. I don’t worry if one stream is small because another makes up for it. But I don’t block the small stream either.

My top selling indie book is a book that was accepted by a traditional publisher and then that line closed before it released. I did get my rights back. That was my first foray into the indie world. That book has now sold in 6 different vehicles (formats) from ebook, to a 2-author collection, a 6-author collection, paperback, to audio—and paid my bills for well over a year—1 story/6 vehicles (or streams of income) to deliver to the audience.

However, I have another book that hasn’t blossomed while several others have hit Amazon’s #1 in their categories for months at a time and paid well, layering my income. I have traditional books that are collections, too. Those have hit ECPA best seller lists each time. The key is to get educated in all of the publishing industry and understand how it works and how you can build your business and brand in it. I meet too many people who want to have a best-selling book, but haven’t taken the time to learn how to make that happen. My constant mantra is: If you want to publish a book or books, you must realize this is your new business and get educated in that business. Then write more books and create more streams of income from each book. A store with one product on the shelf is a tough one to draw customers into.

It’s the same with many start-up companies. They have an idea, and some have taken the time to get educated on how to use that idea in business. They have mentors, classes, supporters, systems in place. Some haven’t. Location matters. Price matters. Quality of the product matters. Customer service matters. Partnerships, suppliers, contracts with other businesses…it all matters. If you’re not good in business, it makes it really hard to be an indie author because you have to know about ROI (return on investment), accounting, marketing, design, content creation, customer service, presentation, etc. Yes, you can farm those out. But if you don’t know enough about the various elements of your business, you can’t make smart decisions about the options presented and will lose money.

Another thing to think about, that is often missed, is the way those streams of income affect you. Sales seem to be the only number that traditional publishers can see and quantify right now. Truly, that’s a limit factor we as authors have to recognize. But in indie publishing, it’s not always sales where the author makes the most money. If you’re using Amazon’s KDP Select, most authors make the bulk of their money in borrowed reads. This concept is highly lucrative.

The Debutante Queen on Kindle (also available on Audible.)

The Debutante Queen is on Kindle (also available on Audible, in Snowflake Tiara paperback, and more.)

Example: In one year, one vehicle, my first indie romance book, The Debutante Queen, sold over 25,000 copies. I quit counting after that. BUT, that’s not where the income came from. I can’t even tell you how many millions of page reads it has had. At .005 cents per page, the math is phenomenal. Other books I’ve done have had great success on page reads also. I’m just using this one as an example. How do we help the traditional houses see that kind of success? I don’t know. The limit for traditional houses is that they need to be able to “go wide” for retail stores. So they can’t be exclusive to get the page reads. That would mean retailers wouldn’t want to carry the book, right? Hmm. Is there a way publishers can offer that same kind of opportunity to readers? It’s a thought to explore.

And, it’s important to realize that all books move up and down in the ratings. Amazon doesn’t send a ratings report. They just have a weird graph that isn’t always the easiest to read and is maybe not as accurate as authors would like— who knows how it’s actually generated? So if you don’t capture your screen shot, well, you can’t always prove it happened. But you can download your sales/pages read reports each month. They just don’t say that you were #1 in 4 categories for 5 months and then held at #4 for another several. But I’m pretty happy to keep paying my bills. Wouldn’t you be? I define the success of my business. I’ve always wanted a career that could provide for my family while allowing me to do what I love-write, read, speak, explore my curiosity. I LOVE my job! I know I love what I do. I know it provides what my family needs. That’s the ethereal “success” I’ve been chasing. Now it’s tangible.

But why do I do it, you know, besides the fact I like the tasks in my workday? Because I have always wanted to be a positive influence on my community, country, and world. This career allows me to combine all the opportunity of family provision and community connection into a very fulfilling life experience. I love and appreciate my readers. I want to offer readers a fulfilling experience, too.

So, when making a decision about the best publishing practices—traditional or indie or both—for your business, you have to do your homework and make decisions along the way to provide income, protect your business, and grow it. For some people it’s one or the other.

The Bucket List Dare, novella collection about 4 friends who dare each other to dream big!

For me, I like the wisdom of having seven streams of income. I try to create as many of those seven streams per book as is possible and then I also try to create related streams of income from that book. Ideas: ebook, boxed set collection, audio book, audio book series, paperback, hardback, podcast reading of chapters, blog chapters, traditional, products from that book like journals or coloring books… You do what fits your brand and builds a variety of income streams for each book.

Learn about the publishers you want to pitch. Do you fit their brand? If so, submit and see where that goes. If not, consider starting your own business. But please, get into the groups like ALLI and listen to some excellent writing podcasts and attend writing workshops and read craft books and learn marketing…and then self-publish. But not before you talk to a lot of people who have forged the way ahead so that you can avoid the potholes others have tripped in. Some of those are deep sink holes. And some are simply a wake up call that you need to learn a little more. But why trip when someone else has the map around them?

I love both indie and traditional. Choose what’s best for your business, but remember to be kind, courteous, and supportive of those deciding for their businesses. One is not “better” than the other. They are simply vehicles to your business goals.



Here are some questions to get you started planning your career:

1 What is your business goal?

2 What is your definition of success for your business?

3 How well thought out is your business plan?

4 What do you need to learn now?

5 What do you need to plan to learn by putting it on your calendar?

6 What other streams of income can each book naturally create?

7 Who can I collaborate with, that wants to collaborate with me, to build opportunity?


I’m excited to announce my 2nd episode on my new radio show —
Historically Speaking with Angela Breidenbach! 


Angela’s radio guest, Rebecca DeMarino, talks about her ancestral love story and how that affected her writing.


In this episode I’ll be interviewing my guest, Rebecca DeMarino, about her ancestral love story set in a lighthouse. I can’t wait to hear everything Rebecca has learned about her 9th great grandparents, what that has to do with a lighthouse, and all the fascinating details of this true, historical romance. If you’re interested in learning more about Rebecca DeMarino or reading one of her books, we’ll feature her latest novel, To Follow Her Heart. 

Follow Rebecca at:


Twitter @RebeccaDeMarino

Horton's Lighthouse, central setting to Rebecca DeMarino's ancestral love story!

Horton’s Lighthouse, central setting to Rebecca DeMarino’s ancestral love story!

Here's a link to Rebecca's book if you'd like a copy:http://amzn.to/2gOWIOd

Here’s a link to Rebecca’s book if you’d like a copy: http://amzn.to/2gOWIOd