Do you remember when you’d never hear Christmas music in stores until the day after Thanksgiving? Now you can’t even shop for Halloween decorations without tripping over Christmas trees and tinsel. I guess I shouldn’t be shocked that in a country so invested in the capitalist dream, we find ways to extend the spirit of shopping as far as possible. Why, take Black Friday for instance. It use to be actually on – shocker – Friday. Now it starts Thanksgiving night. Or worse, it goes all week. Especially for online retailers. Where is the tradition of getting up before the crack of dawn on Friday morning and standing in line in the freezing cold waiting for a store to open? Come on, people. This is tradition! Well . . . okay . . . not for me. Never has been.
My idea of a good Black Friday, is keeping my eyes shut and sleeping in with my husband. Then lazing around the house all day, eating leftover turkey, playing games with the kids, and yes, probably watching some football. The important thing for me is avoiding the retail craziness at all cost.
For a day that has become famous for spurring the economy, I found it rather ironic that the first Black Friday became famous for crashing it.
During reconstruction, following the Civil War, the nation’s economy was at a devastating low point. In order to stimulate economic growth, President Grant made an effort to reduce the supply of paper money or greenbacks by offering to buy them from citizens at a discount and replacing them with currency backed by gold.
However, in 1869 a pair of shady financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, came up with a scheme to profit from the government’s plan by cornering the gold market. If they could convince Grant not to sell gold to the public, they themselves could buy it up in large quantities and watch the price soar. Then, when it peaked, they would sell out and make a fortune. But how were they to influence President Grant?
Gould and Fisk recruited Abel Corbin, a financier who just happened to be married to Grant’s sister, Virginia. Corbin arranged invitations to social engagements for Gould and Fisk where the two used their charm and persuasion to argue against the government sale of gold, bending Grant’s ear. Grant wasn’t swayed, but he did allow Corbin to convince him to appoint General Daniel Butterfield assistant treasurer of the United States. Part of Butterfield’s job was to handle government gold sales on Wall Street. In return for a piece of the action, Butterfield agreed to inform Gould and Fisk when the government was ready to sell gold.
Grant eventually became suspicious of his brother-in-law’s sudden interest in the gold market, and when he found a letter between his wife and sister regarding the same matter, he recognized the scheme for what it was. Sensing the danger, Gould, Fisk, and Corbin began buying up as much gold as they could on September 20. The price rose to as high as $162 per ounce, a price that would not be reached again for 100 years. However, on September 24, Grant ordered the immediate sale of $4,000,000 worth of government gold. Within minutes, prices plummeted. Investors scrambled. Panic set in. Many investors had taken out loans to buy their gold and when the price dropped, they were ruined, Abel Corbin among them.
Gould escaped relatively unscathed, by selling his gold before the market began to fall. Daniel Butterfield was removed from his post after a congressional hearing. Bad luck and continued scheming caught up to Fisk a few years later. In 1872, fellow financier, Edward Stokes, shot him dead after arguments over money and the affections of a show girl named Josie Mansfield. Has all the makings of a western showdown, doesn’t it?
- So, are you a Black Friday shopper, or do you prefer to hide away at home and avoid the crowds?
Oh, and don’t forget about the contest we’re running. Become a Filly Friend by subscribing to the Petticoats & Pistols newsletter (see sidebar at the top right), and you are eligible for some wonderful prize packages. Autographed books, western jewelry and frames, Amazon gift cards ($100 and $30). All kinds of fun stuff.
We have two winner for a free e-book, and those winners are: Cindi Streicher and Corri Stanley. Congratulations go out to Cindi and Corri. If you could each one email me privately at karenkay(dot)author(at)earthlink(dot)net — we can go over which ebook you might like.
Many, many thanks to each person who participated in today’s blog — I loved reading each and every one of your comments. And so for tonight, I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. May it be filled with joy!
In keeping with the spirit of Thanksgiving, it seems to me it would be a good idea to give away a free e-book to some lucky blogger. All that needs to be done to enter into the drawing is to leave a comment here. So do come on in and leave a comment.
Well, today I thought we might talk about love — what’s it all about? At this time of year, with the holidays and all the out-of-mind busy-ness that we seem to get in to — I thought it might be good to take time out and have a look at a subject that we all…well, that we all love. Love.
It seems to me that there’s all sorts of different kinds of love. There’s the obvious kind — the kind that we all write about. The love of a man and a woman, the love of family, the love of children. May this love always flourish and prosper in our society — I only say that because, it’s become my opinion that the family is really under attack. But I digress. Oh, by the way the picture to the left is of myself and my husband and the background is the Grand Canyon.
Okay, so are there other kinds of love? I think so.
There’s of course the love between friends? That’s love, too, isn’t it? I know you’ll all agree that we would, indeed, be strange beings if we didn’t have a close circle of friends that we love with all our hearts. But it’s different kind of love, I think. However, just because it’s the love between friends doesn’t make it any less a deep and abiding love.
There’s also the love for mankind in general — the love of those in other parts of the world that might be having a difficult time. For instance, many of our American Indian people on the reservations.
Love. If I were to define love, I’d take a page from friend and author, L. Ron Hubbard, and say that it seems to me that it is an intense feeling of admiration directed toward someone or something. It doesn’t ask for anything, it is either freely given or it’s not really love. It’s not a dominating or controlling force. Not love. Not by definition.
It’s more about giving than receiving, sharing instead of using another.
But so far I’m leaving out one of the greatest love stories of all time. Can you guess what story that is?
Our joy at this time of year is because of this love story. Even our calendars are a celebration of this love story and of this one man’s life. It has been said and shown through historical writings that because of this man and because of his teachings of love, that he freed a whole people from bondage, a people who had been utterly enslaved. It’s said and it’s written that he brought a true civilizing force to the world, and that this force was to love and to treat ones fellow man, even ones own enemies, as one might like to be treated oneself. It’s said also that he saved mankind itself from doom because of this love story. One of my prayers at this time of year will be that the world at large learn again this lesson, a lesson given so freely so long ago …
Love… I’d really like to hear your own love stories, so please do leave a message. By the way, the picture below is of myself and the one man in my life whom I love with all my heart. May you all have a very, happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas!
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For my fifth book for the Harlequin Love Inspired line, my intrepid heroine procures a copy of a household management book originally published in England. The inspiration for my heroine’s book is Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management – which is still available today. Mrs. Beeton was only twenty-one years old when she began a series of installments for The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine. Her installments were later combined into a book.
While not well known in America, Mrs. Beeton is an iconic figure in England. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle mentioned Mrs. Beeton in one his novels. Downton Abbey has used the book for reference. The actual book has only 23 pages or so dedicated to household management. The other 900 pages feature recipes–all of which Mrs. Beeton tested. Many of which she disliked!
Mrs. Beeton’s life was as fascinating as her book. She bore four sons, only two of whom lived into adulthood. Her husband was a publisher, and gave his wife her start. She died of a fever after the birth of her fourth son at the age of 28. There is speculation that her husband had given her syphilis, leading to the deaths of their first two infants. Though editors never denied her young age, they were perfectly content to let the public believe Mrs. Beeton was beloved mob-capped grandmotherly type.
Before the book was published, recipes were written in conversational tone, which meant the ingredient list was peppered throughout the directions. Mrs. Beeton separated out the ingredients, a practice that is still used in cookbooks today. Almost all of the recipes were taken from previous publications, which touched off a controversy- even though Mrs. Beeton never claimed the recipes were original.
Mrs. Beeton’s husband never received the success his wife had achieved. He sold off the rights to her book to avoid bankruptcy, and died twelve years after his wife. The iconic phrase, “First, catch your hare” has been attributed to the book, though the phrase had been around long before.
The book I’ve created for my heroine is inspired by Mrs. Beeton’s book, and I plan to feature the ‘author’ as the heroine in a subsequent book. (Think, “Christmas in Connecticut.”) This week I’m writing the scene where my lovely heroine must…you guessed it….must first catch her hare!
Nominated for an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, The Cattleman Meets His Match:
Comment for a chance to win a copy!
Cowboy John Elder needs a replacement crew of cattle hands to drive his longhorns to Kansas—he just never figured they’d be wearing petticoats. Traveling with Moira O’Mara and the orphan girls in her care is a mutually beneficial arrangement. Yet despite Moira’s declaration of independence, the feisty beauty evokes John’s every masculine instinct to protect, defend…marry?
Moira is grateful for John’s help when he rescues her—and she can’t deny that his calm, in-control manner proves comforting. But she is determined not to let anything get in the way of her plans to search for her long-lost brother at journey’s end. However, can John show her a new future—one perfect for them to share?
Coming in February!!
Rock-solid and reliable, confirmed bachelor Caleb McCoy thought nothing could rattle him, until he discovers he needs to pose as Anna Bishop’s intended groom. After saving her life, his honorable code bid Caleb watch over the innocent beauty. And a pretend engagement is the only way to protect her from further harm.
Raised by a single mother and suffragist, Anna doesn’t think much of marriage, and she certainly doesn’t plan to try it herself. But playing Caleb’s blushing bride-to-be makes her rethink her independent ways, because their make-believe romance is becoming far too real.
I put all the names in my ten gallon hat and………
The Winners are……….
PATRICIA B – for HONOR
QUILT LADY — WHERE HONOR BEGAN in e-book
Woo-Hoo! Ladies, I’m just tickled to death. I hope you enjoy. Someone will contact you for the necessary information.
Lyn Cote here! Greetings from the OLD, OLD West; by that I mean, the old Northwest Territory east of the Mississippi River. We Americans often forget how quickly as we pushed westward, that the “west” became “east.”
My latest series, “Quaker Brides,” is set in Ohio in 1820. At that time, the Wyandot still roamed the forests of Ohio and most of the population clung to the southern and northern borders where the Ohio River and Lake Erie respectively made travel and connection easier.
To those who have read my previous historical series, it will come as no surprise that when considering a new series, I looked for an area where great upheaval and conflict had taken place.
In my earlier “Texas Star of Destiny” series, I chose Texas, which changed from Spanish colony to Mexican territory to the Republic of Texas and finally to the state of Texas, all between the years of 1820 to 1847. The period also included the Texas Revolution (Remember the Alamo!) and the Mexican-American War.
That done, I next turned my attention, of course, to Ohio.
Yes, during the same years, Ohio simmered and at times boiled as a hotbed of conflict and activism over the issue of abolition. The winds of change and social upheaval acted out in open conflict in Texas. In Ohio, however the revolution took place behind doors and within secret rooms within walls, only rarely breaking forth into riots. The Underground Railroad started spontaneously and my heroine, Honor, becomes a part of this movement that no one planned or organized. The Quakers were at the forefront of this movement and again, my readers know that while many write about Amish, I’ve chosen to write about Quakers. :-)
Honor, born and raised on a Maryland plantation, is thwarted in her desire to free her slaves and is forced to leave her home. She finds herself in a marriage of convenience to a man, made deaf by a childhood illness who takes her to live in a cabin on the Ohio frontier. These changes in her life launch and move her story along.
If you own an e-reader or read on your Smartphone, today is the FINAL DAY that HONOR is being offered for $2.99. Here’s the link and you can choose your e-tailer there. http://www.tyndale.com/ebookextra/
Blurb: When unexpected circumstances leave Honor Penworthy destitute after the death of her grandfather, she is forced to leave her Maryland plantation. A move west brings the promise of a fresh start, but nothing in Honor’s genteel upbringing has prepared her for the rigors of frontier life with Samuel. Nevertheless, her tenacity and passion sweep her into important winds of change, and she becomes increasingly—though secretly—involved in the Underground Railroad. Samuel suspects Honor is hiding something, but will uncovering the truth confirm his worst fears or truly bring them together as man and wife?
QUESTION: Does it matter to you as a reader of “Westerns” if a Western takes place east of the Mississippi River? Why or why not?
(I’m offering a print copy of HONOR to one commenter. And a free e-book of “Where Honor Began” to another. Please include e-book in your comment to be entered into the latter.)
Welcome to Excerpt Friday! Each Friday we’ll be featuring excerpts from recent releases by our very own Fillies. So grab a cup of coffee and read on. And if you find you’re hooked by what you read (and we know you will be!) just click on the book cover to purchase the entire book.
From Author Tanya Hanson – OUTLAW IN LOVE
Ahab came to sit beside her, and Teresa suddenly realized how she’d missed him at her side. Just these last few minutes. Her, a nun who should have no such thoughts. Even it was all pretense. Besides, he was an outlaw with a price on his head. Same as her. Whoever found him would find her, too.
The thought brought on a sudden tear.
And a sudden fear. How much was her head worth these days?
His chest still plunged into itself once in a while like he hadn’t yet recovered all the air he needed. Some of the breathlessness, she reckoned, might be the remains of getting shot at this morning but likely he’d lived through such antics before. Her own heart still danced macabre when she thought about their circumstance just an hour ago.
“I’m thinking…” He started slow and didn’t look at her, kept his eyes on the shrinking flickers of the fire. “Found a saddle in the barn. Spade, too. Think I might take one of those horses–“ He pointed to the corral. “–and head over to….” He paused for a long while. “Head over to Nitro and bury him proper. Get the rest of my own gear. Reckon I could leave a pearl or two at this place for purchase. Maybe some food, too. Saw a smoke house.”
“You’d leave me here alone?” Teresa all but shrieked. Dread drenched her. She might have lived in Arizona these past years, but she was foremost a city girl. Her heart sank when the truth hit her. “Oh, I get it. You’re leaving me behind. Like your gang leaves folks behind when they’re too much trouble.”
His face turned that handsome purple she’d seen before. “Not doing any such thing. Reckoned you could wait for me here and rest up some. It’s been a hard trudge. Reckon you’re ankle’s a tad sore.” His voice turned so low she could barely hear him. “I know how to treat a lady.
We always enjoy it when she comes. Such a delight.
She’s going to talk about where the West really began. Was it anywhere west of the Mississippi? Good question. I’ll be all ears.
Psst! Miz Lyn is toting books in her saddlebags. Maybe we can arm wrestle her for them.
Get your chores done early come Saturday and hightail it over here.
We can’t start the party without you!