Monthly Archives: April 2008

Linda Ford: The Road to Love

the_road_to_love_cover.jpgThe Road To Love is my first Love Inspired Historical, and you’ll find it on the shelves in May. This story is set in the Dirty Thirties and features a widow with two children striving to make it on her own on a little dirt farm, and a wandering man who has been a cowboy, a farmer, and Jack of all trades.

This was a fun story to write—two people who needed each other but weren’t willing to admit it, kept together only by circumstances. Of course they find out they don’t want to continue to live without each other. I hope you’ll enjoy the things these two are willing to do in order to gain the love of the other. 

abandonedfarm_web.jpgI grew up on the prairie and often saw abandoned home sites like this one. Or perhaps only the cellar hole. Even as a child, I wondered what had become of the people. Why had they left their house behind? Sometimes there was still furniture in the house or machinery in the yard.

Then I married a man whose father had purchased a big house and farm for the price of working off the back taxes. The original owner had gone into debt to build the house and then the thirties hit. Unable to keep up his loan payments, the man had to abandon his house and farm to the bank. I was sad to think of the way so many dreams had been dashed.

Then there were the stories of those who stubbornly clung to their dreams, unwilling to give them up. These stories fired my imagination. Researching the era seemed straightforward enough. There was information about the drought, the dust bowl, the collapse of the stock market and falling commodity prices, but there were few stories about the emotional fallout of all these things.

I found a few first-hand stories.  One that was especially insightful for its honesty was written by a child.  

the_ten_lost_years.jpgRecently I found a book buried among many in a garage sale. Titled The Ten Lost Years and written by Barry Broadfoot, it is full of first-hand recollections. I’m still thrilled to have discovered this wonderful treasure chest of tales of that era. In the preface to this book, the author says, ‘…there seemed to be a general feeling that the Depression should not be talked about…the Thirties were a shameful smear on people’s memories, so everyone should forget that it ever happened…. To the people I met, the Great Depression is not to be swept under the carpet. To all of these people, their survival of those days is a badge of honor to be worn with pride.’

linda_ford.jpgI confess I feel much the same about those who survived one of the darkest times of our history. I want to honor them and their perseverance.  I want to give life to the events that clawed at them.  I want to show how the human spirit can overcome the worst and come out shining. Their lives have become heroic in my mind. Their faith has become a beacon.  

I hope you find the stories I’ve created do the people justice and that they fill you with admiration. The Road to Love is the first of three stories set in this era.  The Journey Home will be released in Aug 08 and The Path to Her Heart in Jan 09.

I’m giving away one copy of “The Road to Love” to a commenter today. Good luck!

  

WEEKEND UPDATE: MORE DRAWING WINNERS!

klondikefever-webimage.jpgsurgeonwebimage.jpgWhat a terrific weekend!  Thanks to Heather and Kate for kicking off our Spring Author Round Up!

As promised – more winners:

Two more of Kate Bridge’s Klondike stories go to: MINNA AND MAUREEN.

A copy of Heather Garside’s Cornstalk goes to JENNIFER Y!

Previously drawn were ANDREA W and KAMMIE.

the_cornstalk.JPGCongrats to our winners.  If you’re one of these people, please send your address to me at: SaintJohn@aol.com

Keep checking back all week.  And don’t forget to scroll all the way down the page to see all the authors who are here this week.

Big Spring Author Round-Up Is Here!

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I’ve announced this before but it stands repeating. The Fillies will be taking a short vacation. For the next six days we’ll have guests taking up the slack. You won’t be left in the cold. No siree. Every day you’ll have several new blogs to comment on. Don’t forget to scroll down and comment on all the authors’ posts. We’ll have two or three drawings for prizes every single day. Yep, this is a big bonanza and your chance to cash in! The list of authors and prizes are as follows:

Monday, April 28 — Debra Clopton and Linda Ford

Tuesday, April 29th — Geralyn Dawson and Charlotte Hubbard

Wednesday, April 30th — Susan May Warren, Janette Kenny, and Carol Ann Didier

Thursday, May 1st — Beth Ciotta and Tanya Hanson

Friday, May 2nd — Kathryn Albright and Joyce Henderson

Saturday, May 3rd — Vicki Bylin

* * * * * *

PRIZES:

Debra Clopton — “Her Baby Dreams”

Linda Ford — “The Road to Love”

Geralyn Dawson — a set of the Bad Luck Brides trilogy

Charlotte Hubbard — choice of two copies of “Gabriel’s Lady” or “A Patchwork Family”

Susan May Warren — a $50 gift certificate to Victoria’s Secret

Janette Kenny — “One Real Man”

Carol Ann Didier — “Apache Warrior”

Beth Ciotta — “Lasso the Moon,” “Romancing the West,” and a customized Wild West messenger bag

Tanya Hanson — “Midnight Bride” and a pair of cowboy hat earrings, and a Starbucks or Coffee Bean gift card

Kathryn Albright — “The Angel and the Outlaw” and a fancy note card

Joyce Henderson — “Walks in Shadow”

Vicki Bylin — two copies of “The Bounty Hunter’s Bride”

* * * * * *

Visit every day and get a chance to win these prizes! If you don’t come, you can’t win and you’ll be crying in your milk. Can’t have that, now can we.

SPRING ROUND UP DRAWING WINNERS!

fish-bowl.jpgI’m excited to be announcing the first in what will be an entire week of prizes!

As promised, Kate Bridges is giving away copies of her exciting Klondike stories!  If you left a comment, your name is in the fish bowl.

The winners of the first two autographed books in Kate’s drawing are:

ANDREA W

and KAMMIE

Congratulations!  Please send me your address at SaintJohn@aol.com and Kate will send those books right out to you!

Don’t forget to come back every day and scroll down through all the posts – because we have more than one guest per day, and you won’t want to miss any of them!  Kate and Heather have launched our week of fun, and all the Fillies in Wildflower Junction want to say thanks!

When Doctors Made House Calls…. by Kate Bridges

One of the most dangerous things about living in the Wild West was how close they came to the edge of physical survival.  Can you imagine giving birth at a time when the number one killer of women was giving birth?  

Fortunately, it’s all fiction for us, so we as writers are free to wreak havoc in our stories.  But our tales are based in reality, and those were some tough men and women.  Adding a medical problem to a story raises the stakes immediately.  Not only are we concerned about how the relationship is going to work, or how the villain will get stopped, but we also wonder:  Who’s going to tend to that stab wound?  And what is that strange disease the neighbor has?

I find it fascinating to write about the medical problems.  I’m sure it’s got something to do with my background as a former R.N. (pediatric ICU).  I enjoy the research, and tend to give every book some unique medical dilemma.

klondikefever-webimage.jpgKlondike Fever, out now, is set in the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush.  The hero is a Mountie.  One of the secondary characters, an old man, wears a broken set of spectacles.  One of the lenses is smashed.  He’s living in the woods, hundreds of miles from a nearby town.  He either wears the eyeglasses with just one lens, or he’s totally blind.  On the run from their own troubles, the hero and heroine agree to take him along so he can buy a ‘new set of eyes.’

Of course, it’s a love story first and foremost.  It’s about a reversal of fortune, when the richest woman in the Klondike is robbed on a stagecoach headed to Alaska, and chained to the man she used to work for as a servant.

Western Weddings is an anthology I have coming out in May, with fellow authors Charlene Sands and Jillian Hart.  In my novella, “Shotgun Vows,” one of the secondary characters is trampled by a horse and almost doesn’t survive.  It’s a key turning point in the story of two young people forced to marry at gunpoint.

westernweddings-webimage.jpgI spend a lot of time researching on the web, and have spent blissful days at my local university in their medical archives.

What surprises me most about the late 1800s is how much the medical community actually knew about diseases, rather than what they didn’t know.  Here’s an example.  I was scouring through actual copies of the British Medical Journal from the 1880s and could not believe the detail of some of their clinical trials.  In the 1880s in London, doctors were studying the increased rate of prostate cancer in chimney sweeps.  And I thought prostate cancer was a fairly modern concern.

Unfortunately, I think many Hollywood movies make it seem like the doctors knew very little.  Definitely, we know tons more now, but not all doctors back then wanted to amputate a leg with a rusty saw, if you know what I mean.  It also makes me wonder how our future generations, two hundred years from now, will view the type of medicine we practice.  Will Hollywood of the future paint us as dimwitted and archaic?  

surgeonwebimage.jpgHere are some other interesting facts. Did you know that Parkinson’s Disease has been treated since ancient times, but its symptoms weren’t categorized until 1817 by an English physician named James Parkinson?  One of the early treatments to stop the tremors was to have the sufferer ride in a horse and buggy very fast.  For some reason, speed calmed the body.  That’s how one of my young characters deals with it in The Surgeon (released 2003).

Before the rabies vaccine was invented by Louis Pasteur in France around 1885, everyone in the world was terrified of catching it.  Packs of rabid dogs were the scourge of North America and Europe.  In fact, it’s been said some of the first tales of vampires grew from the real-life witnessing of a rabid human being attacking the throat of another.

There is something riveting and powerful about overcoming these medical obstacles.  Of neighbors helping neighbors.  And about writing how women were finally allowed to study and enter the field of medicine.

katebridgessmallerwebphoto.jpgI always love to hear from people about personal details from history.  Tell me…what occupations did some of your grandparents or great-grandparents have back then?

One of my grandfathers was a wagon maker.

If you post a comment or a question on my blog today or tomorrow, we’ll enter your name in a draw to win one of four signed books— Klondike Fever (2) or Western Weddings (2). Kate

www.katebridges.com

Greetings From the Outback: Heather Garside

garside_logo.jpgGreetings from Queensland, Australia! 

My novels are set in the late nineteenth century Outback, when the area I write about was still quite newly settled. Imagine riding a hundred miles side-saddle, as my heroine does, through untamed bush with only a dusty track to follow. Then, when she finds that track won’t lead her to her destination, she joins a cattle drive through even more untamed bush. Perhaps it’s just as well the man in charge of the cattle persists in asking impertinent questions about why she’s travelling alone, and generally distracts her from the discomforts of droving life! 

a_hidden_legacy.JPGMy background is a little different to most authors. I was raised on a large cattle station in central

Queensland and I grew up riding horses, rounding up cattle and playing cowboys on horseback. I’ve always been fascinated by the Wild West as well as

Australia’s own frontier history, which is every bit as wild if less well-known. Some of the incidents my characters experience, such as galloping through thick timber in an attempt to control half-wild cattle, drinking billy tea brewed on the campfire and sleeping beneath the stars in a bedroll (or swag as we call it), are things I have done myself.  As they say, ‘write what you know’, and it certainly helps to have that first-hand knowledge.  To handle cattle, Australian stockmen use different techniques from the American cowboys. the_cornstalk.JPGOne of the big differences is throwing and tying wild cattle rather than roping them. Perhaps this practice originated because roping is impracticable in heavily timbered country. To do this, the stockman will ride his horse up close to a fleeing cow or steer and lean over to grasp its tail. As he gallops past the animal, he pulls the tail and the beast is thrown off its feet. Then he has to dismount in a hurry and be upon the winded beast to tie its legs before it can regain its feet. A second method is to stay with the animal until it tires. The stockman dismounts and grasps the animal’s tail, waiting until it turns to charge him before pulling it off its feet.  

As you can imagine, neither method is for the faint-hearted or the unskilled! In my second novel, A Hidden Legacy, the hero throws a young bull in this manner, with disastrous consequences.  My two books, The Cornstalk and A Hidden Legacy, are available from Wings ePress and Amazon.Heather is giving away an autographed copy of The Cornstalk to one lucky reader who posts here this weekend!

Two Guest Authors Here Tomorrow!

klondikefever-webimage.jpgAh want to remind all you ladies to hitch up your buggies and get over here tomorrow. Two lovely and talented ladies, Miss Kate Bridges and Miss Heather Garside, will grace our meeting hall. Two very interesting dear women. Miss Kate will be giving away two copies of her new book, Klondike Fever, and two of her Western Weddings to four lucky people who drop by to comment. Not only that, she’ll discuss country doctors in the old days when they used to make house calls. Bet you can’t remember that.

 And Miss Heather will draw a name for a free copy of The Cornstalk, an historical the_cornstalk.JPGAustralian Outback novel and tell you how to throw a bull from horseback. Something I’m sure you’ve always had a hankering to learn. In addition to the prizes both ladies will have oodles of things to say, words of wisdom to impart, that you sure don’t want to miss.

You want to be one of the winners of these prizes I’m sure. So get those horses hitched to your buggies and ride on over. This will be a fun day or my name isn’t Felicia Filly!

Notable and Quotable … Western Style!

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“If he’d just pay me what he’s paying them to stop me from robbing him, I’d stop robbing him!”

That’s Paul Newman’s clever rationalization in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid!  Those two lovable bankrobbers had some classic lines and put smiles on our faces.

154912butch.jpg“Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch?” 

And who could forget this exchange?

Butch Cassidy: Then you jump first.
Sundance Kid: No, I said.
Butch Cassidy: What’s the matter with you?
Sundance Kid: I can’t swim.
Butch Cassidy: Are you crazy? The fall will probably kill you.
 

Now for a few more notable quotes from our favorite westerns!
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“When you have to shoot, shoot, don’t talk.” — The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

The public doesn’t give a damn about integrity. A town that won’t defend itself deserves no help.” — High Noonmv5bmje2ntg3ndiwof5bml5banbnxkftztywnzmyntm5__v1__cr00353353_ss100_clint-eastwood.jpg

 “Are you gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?” — The Outlaw Josey Wales

“There’s always a man faster on the draw than you are, and the more you use a gun, the sooner you’re gonna run into that man.” –
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

“People scare better when they’re dying.” (Henry Fonda, Once Upon a Time in the West)

“If God didn’t want them sheared, he wouldn’t have made them sheep.” (Eli Wallach, The Magnificent Seven) 

mv5bmti4otiwodaxnl5bml5banbnxkftztywnzy2nza5__v1__cr00310310_ss90_.jpg“I come close to killing you a couple of times when we were younger. It saddens me I didn’t.” (John Wayne, McLintock)  “Since you haven’t learned to respect your elders, maybe you’ll learn to respect your betters!” (John Wayne, Big Jake)
 

“Men are gonna get killed here today, Sue, and I’m gonna kill ‘em. ” (Kevin Costner, Open Range)
 

See if you can guess who said this:

1.”A cows nothing but a lot of trouble tied up in a leather bag.”

A.  Gene Autry
B.  Clint Eastwood
C.  John Wayne

D.  Steve McQueen

 What movie did this quote come from?

2.”Man’s got a right to protect his property and his life, and we ain’t lettin’ no rancher or his lawman take either. A.  Open Range
B.  High Noon
C.  Stagecoach
D.  Quigley, Down Under

mv5bmti3ntiwntywnl5bml5banbnxkftztywmdc0mdm3__v1__cr00485485_ss100_cowgirl-silhouette.jpg
3. What female star said this, “”If you weren’t the Sheriff, I’d call one.”

A.  Maureen O’Hara
B.  Raquel Welch
C.  Sharon Stone
D.  Dale Evans

I’ll come back later in the day with those answers!  Make your guess and check back, unless you’re sure
you know!  And tell me, do you have a favorite quote from television or movie stars?  A book?  Who is your favorite notable quotable cowboy?

25683611western-weddings.jpgWestern Weddings on Sale now in Bookstores and online.

www.charlenesands.com
 
 

Love and the Hairy Hero

bearded-man.jpg Think about it.  When was the last time you saw  a romance hero with a beard?  Even in western historicals, set mostly in the late 1800’s when facial hair was in fashion, our heroes tend to be clean shaven.   Hmmm.  It’s got me wondering.

In America, prior to the mid-nineteenth century, beards and moustaches were rare.  Except for frontier types, certain religious groups and a few nonconformists, men shaved away their whiskers to look presentable.  Then, around the time of the Civil War, the fashion changed.  Men all over the country took to a garden variety of moustaches, long sideburns and full beards.  What did the women think of that?  I’m guessing nobody asked them.  

In the late 1800’s heyday of the Old West, the rage was moustaches.  Big ones.  Look at old photos of, say, Wyatt Earp and his cohorts.  They all sported drooping, handlebar moustaches.  Even so, books set in this period, including mine, tend to feature clean shaven heroes.

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Facial hair went out of fashion at the beginning of World War I.  Soldiers needed clean shaven faces so their gas masks would seal tightly.  Also, excessive hair on face or head posed a risk for head lice and worse.  Recruits were shaved and shorn, and the style clicked.  With the invention of the safety razor about this time, clean cut remained the style for decades.  Beards didn’t show up again until the 1960’s and 70’s when beatniks and hippies brought them back.  These days a well trimmed beard or moustache is perfectly acceptable.  But when was the last time you saw one on a romance cover?

Long hair—now that’s another thing.  Long haired heroes have their own brand of sizzle.  Remember Fabio with his leonine mane and million dollar face?  But aside from mountain men and Native Americans you don’t see many photos of long-haired men in the Old West—chin length for want of cutting maybe, but not really long.  Wild Bill Hickock and Buffalo Bill were notable exceptions, but for most western men, I’m guessing long hair would have been hot and hard to keep clean, as well as unfashionable.

Which brings us to the other kind of hair.  Body hair was never a fashion issue.  But women tend to love it or hate it.  And I have yet to see a really hairy romance hero (except for Sam here, who inspired this blog). 

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So what about future heroes?  Speaking for myself, after wiping the drool off my TV screen at the end of “Dancing With the Stars,”  I’m ready for (ta daaa) the Hairless Hero! 

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What do you think?  Do you like hairy heroes?  Would you buy a book with a bearded hero on the cover?  How about the man in your own life?