Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Texas Rangers, Indians and Spaniards - Just your typical Texan Town With Special Guest Shannon Vannatter

Today we have a special guest here to share the history and charm behind her Texas town setting!
*Psst...Giveaway at the end of the post too!

Award winning, central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. She once climbed a mountain wearing gold wedge-heeled sandals which became known as her hiking boots.

She has twelve published titles and is contracted for three more. Her books are available online. Learn more about Shannon and her books at http://shannonvannatter.com and check out her real life romance blog at http://shannonvannatter.com/blog/ with weekly book giveaways.

Connect with her: Shannon’s Facebook, Shannon’s Goodreads, Shannon’s Pinterest, Shannon’s Twitter, and  Shannon’s Amazon Author Page.
Almost thirty-three years ago, I married a transplanted Texan. Since then we’ve made countless treks from Arkansas to Texas Hill Country to visit his dad. Since his dad’s passing, our usual vacation destination is his ranch to see my husband’s step-mom, who we call Texas mom. The ranch is fifteen minutes from Bandera. With my rodeo series set in Aubrey winding down, I knew Bandera was the perfect place to set my next series.

Old storefronts line Main Street with diagonal parking in front instead of parallel. The most prominent building in the city is the courthouse built in 1890. Behind the courthouse, is the First Baptist Church of Bandera. My father-in-law pastored the church in the 90’s, then was interim there until a few months before he passed away.
Bandera First Baptist

The town has a rich history. First populated by Indians, then the Spanish in the early eighteenth century. Bandera is the Spanish word for flag. Legend has several explanations of how Bandera got its name. One says that a Spanish general named Bandera led an expedition in the area against the Apaches after the Indians raided their fort. Another relates that after pursuing the Indians to Bandera the Spanish left a flag or flags to warn against future raids. And a third legend claims that in 1752 (or 1732) a council was held between Spanish and Indian leaders, during which the Spanish pledged never to go north of the pass if the Indians agreed to cease their raids in the south, and a red flag was placed on the pass as a symbol of the treaty.

It’s safe to say, no one knows for certain. But the name was in use by 1842, when a group of Texas Rangers defeated Comanches at Bandera Pass. In 1853, the town was established with the purpose of setting up a sawmill town on the Medina River to cut the huge cypress trees that grew there for shingles. By the fall of the same year, there was a horse-powered sawmill and a commissary store.
Cedar and Cypress Table

Cypress along Medina River

Cypress still grows along the Medina River, which flows across the back of the Vannatter ranch. A few years ago when we visited, my husband spotted a dead, fallen cypress. He brought the stump home and built this end table for our den. It fits our rustic decor in that room and has special meaning to us.

Hollywood even discovered Bandera. It was featured in the reality show a few years ago and a 1975 horror film. I never saw either one. To us, it’s just part of home away from home.

We still stroll the sidewalks, shop for unique Texas treasures at Old West Imports, and eat at Old Spanish Trail when we visit. Seeing the gigantic stuffed elk overlooking the breakfast bar always evokes fond memories of my father-in-law. Even nine years after he left this earth for Heaven, it’s just not the same without him. But being in Bandera, always makes us feel closer to him and it’s a joy to share those experiences in my Texas Cowboy series.

And, Shannon is offering a giveaway!

Giveaway details: Comment to enter the drawing for a copy of Winning Over the Cowboy. Eleven copies will be split among names drawn during the blog tour from April 3 -20. One winner will receive a fishing themed memory board personally crafted by the author. This fabric is special because my son loves to fish as do the characters in the book. Great for displaying kids or grandkids or as a gift for the little fisherman in your life. Winners will be revealed on the author’s blog on April 29th. Sign up to enter more giveaways: http://shannonvannatter.com/sign-up-for-shannons-newsletter/

Follow my blog tour for more chances to win Winning Over the Cowboy:


  1. I've never visited in small towns in Texas but enjoy seeing the pictures. I love historical squares in small towns with their buildings and parking spaces. Winning Over the Cowboy will be an enjoyable read. I love reading Love Inspired books. Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your new release.

    1. Hey Marilyn,

      Bandera looks a lot like the closest town to us. Only with more of a Texas/cowboy theme. We love it there. Thanks for the compliments.

  2. I absolutely love small historical towns. And I love Texas, so this is a fun post!

  3. I enjoy fishing for relaxation. Love this cover!

    1. I liked to fish when I was a kid. My grandpa had a metal bucket he fed the fish with. He'd bang a spoon on the bucket and all the fish would come to the top. He'd throw in the food and let us grandkids fish. We always caught a good haul with this method. He baited our hooks and dealth with our catches for us. If somebody did that for me now, I might still like to fish. I usually sit on the bank of the pond and watch my son fish.