Category: Cowboys – General

Wild West Words: Grub and Hooch

Kathleen Rice Adams: classic tales of the Old West...that never forget the power of love

The final three decades of the 19th Century — 1870 to 1900 — compose the period most people think of when they hear the term “Wild West.” Prior to the Civil War, westward expansion in the U.S. was a pioneering movement, and the period around the turn of the 20th Century was dominated by the Industrial Revolution. But in a scant thirty years, the American cowboy raised enough hell to leave a permanent mark on history.

Round Up on the Musselshell, Charles M. Russell, 1919

Round Up on the Musselshell, Charles M. Russell, 1919

Cowboys also left a permanent mark on American English. A whole lexicon of new words and phrases entered the language. Some were borrowed from other cultures. Others embodied inventive new uses for words that once meant something else. Still others slid into the vernacular sideways from Lord only knows where.

One of the best ways to imbue a western with a sense of authenticity is to toss in a few bits of period-appropriate jargon or dialect. That’s more difficult than one might imagine. I’m constantly surprised to discover words and phrases are either much younger or much older than I expected. Sometimes the stories behind the terms are even better than the terms themselves.

In case you ever find yourself in the midst of a herd of hunky 19th Century cowboys, here are some terms with which they be familiar. All arose in the U.S. during the 1800s.

Ball: a shot of liquor. Originated in the American West c. 1821; most commonly heard in the phrase “a beer and a ball,” used in saloons to order a beer and a shot of whiskey. “Ball of fire” meant a glass of brandy.

Barrelhouse: cheap saloon, often attached to a brothel. American English; arose c. 1875 as a reference to the barrels of beer or booze typically stacked along the walls.

Bear sign: donuts. Origin obscure, but the word was common on trail drives. Any chuckwagon cook who could — and would — make bear sign was a keeper.

Laugh Kills Lonesome, Charles M. Russell

Laugh Kills Lonesome, Charles M. Russell

Bend an elbow: have a drink.

Benzene: cheap liquor, so called because it set a man’s innards on fire from his gullet to his gut.

Booze: liquor. Prior to 1821, the word was used as a verb meaning “to drink heavily.” The change in usage may have had something to do with clever marketing on the part of Philadelphia distiller E.G. Booz.

Bottom of the barrel: of very low quality. Cicero is credited with coining the phrase, which he used as a metaphor comparing the basest elements of Roman society to the sediment left by wine.

Budge: liquor. Origin unknown, but in common use by the latter half of the 1800s. A related term, budgy, meant drunk.

Cantina: barroom or saloon. Texas and southwestern U.S. dialect from 1892; borrowed from Spanish canteen.

Chuck: food. Arose 1840-50 in the American West; antecedents uncertain.

Dead soldier: empty liquor bottle. Although the term first appeared in print in 1913, common usage is much older. Both “dead man” and “dead marine” were recorded in the context before 1892. All of the phrases most likely arose as a pun: “the spirits have departed.”

Dive: disreputable bar. American English c. 1871, probably as a figurative and literal reference to the location of the worst: beneath more reputable, mainstream establishments.

Goobers or goober peas: peanuts. American English c. 1833, likely of African origin.

Camp Cook's Troubles, Charles M. Russell

Camp Cook’s Troubles, Charles M. Russell

Grub up: eat. The word “grub” became slang for food in the 1650s, possibly as a reference to birds eating grubs or perhaps as a rhyme for “bub,” which was slang for drink during the period. 19th Century American cowboys added “up” to any number of slang nouns and verbs to create corresponding vernacular terms (i.e., “heeled up” meant armed, c. 1866 from the 1560s usage of “heel” to mean attaching spurs to a gamecock’s feet).

Gun wadding: white bread. Origin unknown, although visual similarity to the cloth or paper wrapped around the ball in muzzle-loaded weapons is likely.

Hooch: cheap whiskey, c. 1897. From Hoochinoo, the name of an Alaskan native tribe whose distilled liquor was a favorite with miners during the Klondike gold rush.

Jigger: 1.5-ounce shot glass; also, the volume of liquor itself. American English, 1836, from the earlier (1824) use of jigger to mean an illicit distillery. Origin unknown, but may be an alteration of “chigger” (c. 1756), a tiny mite or flea.

Kerosene: cheap liquor. (See benzene.)

Mescal: a member of the agave family found in the deserts of Mexico and the southwestern U.S., as well as an intoxicating liquor fermented from its juice. The word migrated to English from Aztec via Mexican Spanish before 1828. From 1885, mescal also referred to the peyote cactus found in northern Mexico and southern Texas. Dried disks containing psychoactive ingredients, often used in Native American spiritual rituals, were called “mescal buttons.”

Mexican strawberries: dried beans.

The Herd Quitter, Charles M. Russell

The Herd Quitter, Charles M. Russell

Red-eye: inferior whiskey. American slang; arose c. 1819, most likely as a reference to the physical appearance of people who drank the stuff. The meaning “overnight commercial airline flight that arrives early in the morning” arose 1965-70.

Roostered: drunk, apparently from an over-imbiber’s tendency to get his tail feathers in an uproar over little to nothing, much like a male chicken guarding a henhouse. The word “rooster” is an Americanism from 1772, derived from “roost cock.” Colonial Puritans took offense when “cock” became vulgar slang for a part of the human male anatomy, so they shortened the phrase.

Sop: gravy. Another trail-drive word, probably carried over from Old English “sopp,” or bread soaked in liquid. Among cowboys, using the word “gravy” marked the speaker as a tenderfoot.

Stodgy: of a thick, semi-solid consistency; primarily applied to food. Arose c. 1823-1825 from stodge (“to stuff,” 1670s). The noun form, meaning “dull or heavy,” arose c. 1874.

Tiswin (also tizwin): a fermented beverage made by the Apache. The original term probably was Aztecan for “pounding heart,” filtered through Spanish before entering American English c. 1875-80.

Tonsil varnish: whiskey.

Tornado juice: whiskey.

 

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A Life-Long Love of Westerns

Howdy, everyone! I’m happy to be joining the Petticoats & Pistols as the newest member today, partly because it’s always nice to hang out with other writers and readers but also because of the focus on westerns. You see, I’ve loved westerns for as long as I can remember. I recently had to answer a questionnaire for my publisher, and one of the questions was why I liked cowboy stories. I had to sit and think about it because it was just something that had always been true. As I was growing up in rural western Kentucky, we only had three TV channels and had to go outside to physically turn the antennae if the reception was bad. I distinctly remember that old movies played on Saturday afternoons, and a lot of those were westerns. When I think back on them now, I can identify why they attracted me and why I still love western-set TV shows, movies and books.

  • The landscape was so wide open with impossibly wide skies and a rugged type of beauty. This was completely different than the wooded, rolling hills where I grew up. At that point in my life, I’d barely been out of the state with brief trips a few miles down the road and across the river into Illinois and a Girl Scout trip to Opryland theme park in Nashville, Tenn., both of which looked pretty much like Kentucky. So those western landscapes, even if some of them were created on Hollywood lots, were like a different planet that I longed to visit.
  • Even though it was romanticized and still is to some extent, cowboys were iconic American heroes. They could live off the land, were honest (at least if they were wearing a white or light-colored hat), chivalrous, and a force for good. Even back then in the 1970s and ’80s, I knew that things were rarely that black and white in real life. Reality was more complicated and filled with shades of gray.
  • I love stories set in the past. I haven’t met a costume drama I didn’t love, and westerns — at least for me — fall into that category. It’s a bit like being a time-traveler and being transported to a different time and place, but you don’t have to worry about the lack of hygiene or modern medicine.
  • While I love my modern conveniences, I for some reason have always loved stories about survival and living off the land. When I think about people who set off in wagon trains west, not knowing if they’d make it or if they’d ever seen friends and family again, I’m awed by how much courage that took. Kind of like people who boarded ships in England and sailed for America. Even though modern-day cowboys and ranchers have the modern conveniences the rest of us do, they are still men of the land and work out under those wide-open skies.

While I write contemporary romance, many of which have cowboys as heroes, I still have a great love for western historicals. These were the first romances I read back in high school and continued to read in the years that followed — stories by Lorraine Heath, Kathleen Eagle, Elizabeth Grayson, among others. My first manuscript was even a historical set along the Oregon Trail, inspired partly because of that old video game called Oregon Trail. A friend even got me a shirt once that said, “You have died of dysentery,” which is a familiar phrase to anyone who played the game.

If a new movie comes out that is a western, I do my best to go see it in the theater so they’ll continue to make more. If there’s a western-themed TV series, I’m parked in front of the small screen. My all-time favorite show, Firefly, actually is a mixture of western and my other favorite genre, sci-fi. Yes, space western, and it was awesome!

In the months ahead, I look forward to blogging about various western-themed topics — my trips across the American West, my love for western-themed decor, rodeo, etc. And I look forward to interacting with the readers of Petticoats & Pistols.

Updated: January 23, 2017 — 1:26 am

From the Outback to the Old West

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10-07-photoHi! Alissa Callen here.

I blame Louis L’Amour for my cowboy addiction and fascination with the Old West. Decades after I picked up Westward the Tide I still have every title he wrote. The print size might make me squint, and the pages are dog-eared and yellowed, but his books are still my favourite companions.

I grew up chasing sheep on a family farm in Australia and haven’t strayed far from my country roots. I now live on a small farm with my husband, four children and far-too-many fence jumping cows. I’ve also lived in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and whenever its fall over there I still think of the golden beauty of the aspens.

When I first put pen to paper all my stories played themselves out against a frontier backdrop. And, thanks to Louis L’amour, they still do. Whether my historical or contemporary characters are riding the range in Montana or working cattle in the red dust of the Outback, my books all feature a hero, or heroine, who embodies the cowboy code.

Life on the land can be challenging and it takes a certain set of timeless values to 10-07-image-04survive. A cowboy needs to be resilient, courageous and honourable. He needs to finish what he starts and to do what needs to be done. His word needs to be his bond and his loyalty unquestionable. A cowboy also needs respect for himself as well as those around him.

A cowboy’s body is honed by hard work out in the sun, rain or snow. His work ethic and commitment ensures that when he rides for a brand he won’t deviate. His toughness is always tempered by tenderness. And last but not least, a cowboy looks good in dust, denim and boots.

My contemporary Wildflower Ranch series set in Montana is filled with rugged cowboys and self-reliant cowgirls. My next series (which can’t wait to start) will be a Wildflower Ranch historical series which will explain how each high-country ranch got its wildflower name.
The final book of my contemporary series, His Christmas Cowgirl, will be out October 25.

Blurb:
10-07-coverHeadstrong cowgirl Peta Dixon has put her life on hold this Christmas to prove she can run her ranch as well as any man. There isn’t anything she can’t ride, fix, or stare down, and the only things to scare her are long hemlines and sky-high heels.
Self-made rancher Garrett Ross normally doesn’t take orders – he gives them. But when asked to step in to act as a temporary foreman on a Montana ranch over the holidays, he can’t refuse.
Yet when Garrett meets the beautiful and stubborn ranch owner, he realizes he’s signed on for a whole lot of trouble. Cynical and jaded, he has no time for feelings. And when Peta meets the man she’s to share her life with until Christmas, she discovers she no longer wants to be the person others expect her to be…
Will the rancher finally listen to his heart and admit he can’t live without a certain straight-talking cowgirl?

Thanks so much for having me over!  I’d love to hear if anyone has a favourite Louis L’amour book, or even just an all-time favourite book by any author. You may even have more than one.

I will be giving away a kindle eBook copy of any of my Wildflower Ranch titles to two people who comment. Winners will be chosen at random.

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And for anyone who would like a FREE copy of my first Wildflower Ranch book, Cherish Me, Cowboy, please click here:  FREE COPY

Updated: October 6, 2016 — 7:37 pm

Roseanne Bittner Blogs at Petticoats and Pistols!

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Dear Petticoats and Pistols!

I guarantee you will not be disappointed with my new book, LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE (September 2016 – Sourcebooks in e-book form and in print/mass paperback)!   If you haven’t read OUTLAW HEARTS (#1) and DO NOT FORSAKE ME (#2), you will want to read those two also, but you don’t necessarily need to have read them to enjoy LOVE’S SWEET REVEGE (#3), which is the continuing story of reformed outlaw Jake Harkner and the woman  (Miranda) who has been to hell and back with this man.  Jake loves “Randy” beyond measure and would step in front of a train for her. Randy has seen him through running from the law and then prison, followed by the dangers and heartache of Jake being sentenced to serve as a U.S. Marshal in Oklahoma when it was referred to as “no man’s land.”  Through it all these two raised a son and daughter who stand by their parents through thick and thin and eventually, in books 2 and 3, give them beautiful grandchildren.

 

In LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE the Harkner family has grown and are extremely close and supportive of each other.  Even though they are getting older, Jake and Randy’s love endures and strengthens, and these two are still “hot” for each other.  Randy is a beautiful woman, inside and out, and Jake is a tough, tough man, hardened by an abusive boyhood and the perils of living by the gun and always fighting a past that won’t leave him alone.  Once known as the “handsome outlaw,” Jake retains his good looks and ages well, the type of man who just seems to get better as he gets older. He is damn good at making love and a man no woman would turn away, especially when he flashes his very fetching smile.   He is extremely defensive of his family, and handsome or not, this man can be incredibly ruthless to his enemies.  When his son is shot while they are all in Denver for a Cattlemen’s Ball, the “outlaw” mode comes forth full force when Jake thinks his son is dead, shot in cold blood.  He blows the shootist’s head off right in front of everyone at the ball, an act that for reasons you will have to read, lands Jake in deep trouble with the law wherein he faces a hanging.  This is a powerful part of the story, and family unity is HUGE here.  Things happen that will truly tug at your heart.

Loves Sweet Revenge

These Outlaw books show how Jake learns to love, and how he gradually learns to forgive himself through the love of his family – and how he grows stronger on the inside thanks to the love of a good woman.  He once never dreamed he could have the life he’s come to have in LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE, the entire family owning and living on a big cattle ranch in Colorado.  Something truly dramatic happens at the end of this story that will carry over into the fourth book of the series, THE LAST OUTLAW, scheduled for September 2017.  I just finished the book and it’s a beautiful, beautiful story, very fitting for the last book of the series.

 

I am proud of how I’ve handled the psychology of Jake Harkner throughout these books, from a young, confused, troubled, vicious and unforgiving outlaw who walks a thin line between darkness and light, sanity and insanity … to (slowly but surely) a man who is strong enough on the inside to face his past.  The woman he loves (but who he’s always felt he does not deserve) brings him out of darkness and helps him grow stronger on the inside – to the point where in LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE it’s Jake who must be the strong one for Randy.  Up to then Randy has been the emotionally strong one.  Jake is damn good with fists and guns and as brave and able as they come, but because of his horrific childhood of living with a drunken father who beat Jake regularly and beat Jake’s mother to death in front of his eyes, there is an abused little boy down deep inside who just wants to be loved but who feels unworthy.

My readers are all in love with rugged, handsome Jake Harkner and wish they were his beloved Randy.  I guarantee you will get hooked on this whole family once you start reading these books which by LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE cover 31 years of Jake and Randy’s life together.  Jake was raised by prostitutes and he damn well knows how to handle a woman, which is part of the reason Randy can’t say no to him – but she also can’t say no to that little boy who wants her home.

THEIR PASSION SHAPED A NATION:

Over the years, Jake and Miranda Harkner have endured all the dangers a wild and brutal West could throw at them.  Now, settled on their ranch in the beautiful Colorado hill country, they’ve finally found peace.  But for a man like Jake Harkner, danger is always lurking, and the world may not be ready for an infamous outlaw-turned-lawman-turned-legend to hang up his guns.

Threatened by cruel men in search of revenge, the Harkner clan must be stronger than ever before.  Yet nothing can stop the coming storm.  With the Old West dying around them and the rules of this new world ever-changing, Jake vows to end the threat to his family no matter what it takes …

Even if it means sacrificing himself so his beloved Miranda may live.

“An emotional powerhouse!  The strong flavor of the Wild West combines with a beautiful love story, creating a true saga of the era … This classic historical Western is destined for the ‘keeper’ shelf.”  ROMANTIC TIMES BOOK REVIEWS “TOP PICK” FOR DO NOT FORSAKE ME

Outlaw HeartsDO NOT FORSAKE ME

USA TODAY best-seller Rosanne Bittner has been writing for approximately 35 years, selling her first book, SWEET PRAIRIE PASSION, in 1982.  That was 63 books ago, and she hasn’t stopped and promises more to come.  Her first love is American history, especially the Old West and Native American history.  She writes well-researched books that have won numerous awards, including the prestigious WILLA award from Women Writing the West, and was named “Queen of Western Romance,” by Romantic Times Reviews, who nominated DO NOT FORSAKE ME for best western romance for 2015. That book and LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE also received great reviews from the very important reader/writer national review magazine, Publisher’s Weekly.

 

Rosanne belongs to several writers’ groups and historical societies and is president of the Coloma Lioness Club, a local charity organization in the small town where Rosanne lives in southwest Michigan.  She travels to conduct workshops and give talks to writers’ groups.  This month she is speaking at a library in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for a literacy fund-raiser that last year raised $20,000 for teaching and mentoring programs throughout the Tulsa area.

 

Rosanne and her husband Larry have been married almost 52 years and have two sons and three grandsons.  She and her husband own a condo in Las Vegas, where they stay part of the winter to get away from Michigan’s snow.  They also often travel west in the summer for research for Rosanne’s books.  Her newest book, LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE, is the third book in Rosanne’s “Outlaw” series, with a fourth book coming in 2017, THE LAST OUTLAW.  And Roseanne has offered one lucky blogger today a chance to win the full 3 book set of the Outlaw series!! 

http://www.rosannebittner.com

http://www.rosannebittner.blogspot.com

rbamericahistory@parrett.net

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Updated: September 2, 2016 — 6:57 pm

Just What WAS in Those Saddlebags?

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I’ve always been curious about the contents cowboys carried in their saddlebags. In the movies, it often seemed that they held everything except a kitchen stove. Strange how those men pulled out exactly what they needed. But what did they actually tote along?

 

  • Jerky and hardtack when unable to build a fire
  • Matches
  • One or two Tin Plates, forks and knives
  • Extra Ammunition
  • A Curry Comb and Brush
  • Picket Pin to stake your horse at night
  • A Horseshoe and nails
  • A Change of Clothes
  • Other Small Personal Items—maybe a book or something to write on
  • Maybe a small amount of grain or oats for your horse

 

A gunnysack tied to the pommel and hanging off the side would hold things like a small coffeepot and coffee, a small skillet, a jar of lard, or more of the contents listed above.

campfire

They either hung a canteen of water off the side or stuck it in the saddlebags if they had room.

Although, they were careful not to load the horse down too much or they couldn’t travel far without stopping to rest. For long distances, the cowboy usually had a packhorse along to carry all this and more. That was ideal.

In my upcoming story, TO LOVE A TEXAS RANGER, Sam Legend steals a group of outlaw’s horses. When he, Sierra Hunt and Luke Weston go through their saddlebags, they find dry clothes which they sorely needed, coffee and a coffeepot. Plus, stolen loot in the amount of $650.

Later after Sam and Sierra cross the raging Brazos River, the matches, coffee and coffeepot in their saddlebags get them warm.

old west saddlebags

The contents of those traveling suitcases often saved not only the cowboy but his horse.

TO LOVE A TEXAS RANGER comes out October 4 and is available for preorder online on bookstore sites. You can find an excerpt on my website. Click HERE and it’ll take you.

What do you think about life on the trail and living out of saddlebags? Could you have fit in everything you needed?

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Jane Porter: Cowgirl at a Dude Ranch

image12  Just a week after the big RWA conf in San Diego, I flew with my two older sons to Denver while my husband flew in from Hawaii with our little guy to meet up for a huge family reunion at a dude ranch near Grant, Colorado.   Grant—originally called Grantville after President Ulysses S. Grant—was founded in 1870 and within twenty years had a population of 200. It’s a lot smaller than that today.

I write ranch stories.

I love cowboys.

But I confess:  I got on that plane nervous about playing cowgirl for a week…especially with four different generations, and not because I don’t love everyone, but I’m a hard core introvert and the very idea of scheduled activities, much less 8 hours of scheduled activities for seven days filled me with a fair amount of trepidation.

Happily, reaching the ranch, I breathe in the clear clean mountain air and began to relax. Tumbling River is located at a 9,000 foot elevation so the scenery is spectacular, and the ranch itself has a fascinating history.  Our hosts shared that some of the buildings date back a hundred plus years, and is always favorite with ranch guests.  We didn’t have one of the old cabins, or the original homestead cabin, which had been built in the late 1800s, but our cabin was very comfortable and pretty and perfect.

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My boys had as many activities as I did…and each of the boys had activities for his ‘age group’. Mac was thrilled with all of his, especially because he could be with Luke, his cousin who is just 20 days older and full of fun. Mac and Luke’s mornings started with a horse back ride and then either a hike or fun games, followed by lunch with everyone and then family fun that we could all do together: fishing, swimming, rodeo practice, hay rides.

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While Mac did ‘kid stuff’, my two older boys were able to go rock climbing, fly-fishing, white-water rafting, and do longer trail rides, including a visit to a ghost town in the mountains.

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Midweek when I was craving some alone time with my guy, Ty and I packed up Mac and headed to Georgetown, forty-five minutes away. Georgetown is a historic mining town, and today a historic landmark, preserving the town’s past when its silver boom turned it into the third largest city in Colorado. Only a thousand people live in Georgetown today but it has lots of interesting buildings and fun places to shop, eat, and explore.

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image21But the dude ranch wasn’t just blue skies and fresh air, sparkling rivers and massive mountains, it was really good food.  The kind of food you’d want on a dude ranch after a long trail ride:  ribs and chicken, tri-tip and smoked pork tenderloin.  And for those who went on the overnight ride and visited the ghost town, they had coffee and flapjacks and bacon in the morning, eating outside next to the campfire.  I didn’t do the overnight as I stayed at the ranch with Mac, and I was envious of those who had their overnight adventure but I do think I slept better in the big luxurious bed!

Back home, I’m still doing laundry and now trying to get my middle son ready for his senior year of high school (which starts Monday!!) but I’ve a lot of new ideas for future western stories so I owe my family a huge thanks for dragging me out of my comfort zone and into a dude ranch vacation!

Have you ever or would you one day like to visit a dude ranch?  If you’ve already been, what did you love most about your experience?  And if you haven’t, what’s the one thing you’d really want to do there?  Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a fun prize!  Contest ends August 10th. 🙂

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Updated: July 29, 2016 — 5:11 pm

Great Escapes? by Patti Sherry-Crews

Patti Sherry-Crews is funny, friendly, and a pleasure to know. She lives smack-dab in the middle of the Midwest and took part of her education in Wales, where she studied archaeology, Welsh, and Welsh literature. Nevertheless, she writes western historical romance. Go figure. Welcome to Wildflower Junction, Patti!

Jesse James's Grave in Kearney, Missouri

Jesse James’s Grave in Kearney, Missouri

What do Billy the Kid and the Grand Duchess Anastasia have in common? Like Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, Jesse James, The Lost Dauphin of France, and the Princes in the Tower, years after their “deaths” rumors of their survival persisted.

It’s obvious why certain factions in Europe would want their royals to escape death. But why do we want to believe a group of gunslingers and bank robbers went on to live a quiet life under an assumed name?

I’ve been thinking about this question, and except for a few stray individuals such as D.B. Cooper, I can’t think of a group so rumored to have faked their own deaths as much as the American outlaw of the old west.

Is it because the time and place capture our imagination? Or is it the personalities? Maybe we can’t bear the thought these mythologized, larger than life men were fallible after all? I picture Butch and Sundance always two steps ahead of the posse, Billy the Kid slipping out of handcuffs and escaping from jail, and Jesse James outwitting the Pinkertons. It is hard to then, picture these same men pinned down by gun fire in Bolivia, being taken down in the middle of the night while visiting his sweetheart, or being shot in the back while righting a crooked picture.

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Billy the Kid

It was not uncommon for outlaws to go by an alias. Butch Cassidy was born Robert LeRoy Parker. Billy the Kid was christened Henry McCarty in New York City but was also known as Henry Antrim and William H. Bonney. Butch and Sundance moved around South America under the names James Ryan and Harry E. Place (Etta Place). So it’s a short stretch to see them moving on with a new name after “killing off” their old one.

Rumor has it Butch went on to live in the Pacific Northwest under a name unknown to this day. A few Billy the Kids surfaced, Bushy Bill being the most famous. Of all of them, even though Jesse James isn’t my favorite outlaw, I believe he did successfully fake his own death—but that’s another story.

When I was creating my own bad boy for Margarita and the Hired Gun, I had these men in mind, but especially the resourceful and charming Billy the Kid. Like Billy’s mother, Rafferty is an Irish immigrant who got his American start in New York City. The Kid was only 5’3”, and judging by the few photographs we have of him, it’s hard to see his sex appeal. Despite all that, he was quite the ladies’ man. A picture recently surfaced of him playing croquet and wearing a striped cardigan I’d expect to see on my grandfather. He looks incredibly young. A man loved by ladies and feared by men—my type of hero.

Rafferty had many “adventures” in America, and in true outlaw style, he had to change his name a few times. The excerpt I’ve included is the scene where Rafferty tells Margarita his real name. They’ve endured a hair-rising stretch of the trail and both have let their guard down in their relief. It is the first time since fleeing Ireland he hears his own name being spoken.

About Patti

patti Sherry-crews in kitchenPatti Sherry-Crews writes romances because she can’t help herself. She is a romantic who turns everything into a romance in the hope that everyone can just work it out and live happily ever after. Patti has published stories in several other genres, including paranormal and narrative nonfiction. Margarita and the Hired Gun is her first historical western but won’t be her last. The old west has always fascinated her, because the time and place are unique: the mix of cultures all coming together at a point in history when so many people were drawn westward in attempts to reinvent themselves after the great shake-up of the Civil War. The old west saw the borders between law and outlaw blurred, and people moved back and forth between the two, a theme reflected in Margarita and the Hired Gun.

Visit Patti online at Visit Patti online at her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

 

margarita-coverMargarita and the Hired Gun

Beautiful Margarita McIntosh escapes Flagstaff with a hired gun, Rafferty, as her only protection from her father’s powerful enemies who are hot on their trail. Giving up her life of leisure is nothing compared to the passion she finds in Rafferty’s arms. Together, they face a perilous journey that becomes a fight for their very lives—and a dream of the future neither of them could have imagined.

Excerpt

Within minutes, the trail turned onto a flat piece of grassland on top of a plateau. Margarita took in a deep breath. Her hands were shaking. He waited for her to come up alongside him.

“I think we all need a rest,” he said, smiling thinly at her.

He dismounted and led his horse and the mule over to a copse of trees. He tied up his horse and mule to a tree near a patch of grass, which the animals hungrily tore into. Margarita followed his lead.

“Are you hungry?” he asked, reaching into one of the packs.

“No. I don’t trust my stomach right now.”

“Fine, but do get some water into ya,” he said, sitting down with an apple and his canteen on a big boulder in the shade. She sat down on the ground beside him and was met with his look of surprise. She’d never sat near him before.

“What would have happened if the path was too narrow for you to get off your horse?” she asked, shuddering.

He regarded her with a little grin on his face. “You don’t have to think about that now, and I don’t want to. That part of the trail is behind us, never to be repeated on this trip.”

He pulled a large knife out of his boot. Margarita flinched. He gaped at her before cutting a slice out of the apple. He handed her a slice.

“It will do you good. An apple will settle your stomach.”

Her hand brushed against his fingers as she took the slice, sending a shock up her arm. He drew back as if feeling a charge, too.

“Thank you, Raf…I don’t know what to call you. Do you have a first name? Rafferty is a mouthful.”

He looked down and smiled. “I do have a first name.”

After a long pause she added, “But you’re not going to tell me?”

“I’ve got no problem telling you,” he said, but he continued to sit in silence.

“It appears that you do,” she said, laughing. “I didn’t mean to stump you with that question.”

He looked down at her, his deep blue eyes full of mischief. “I’m only trying to work out which name to give you. I’ve had a few.”

“Oh…I see. How about the one your parents gave you?”

He looked down at his hands, focused on carving out another slice of apple. “Michael.”

“That’s a nice name.”

“And Rafferty isn’t my last name. It’s Byrne.”

“Why do you have so many names?”

“Loads of people out here have more than one name. That’s what you do here, which is one reason I like the west. If you stop liking who you are, you become someone different,” he said with a wink, handing her another slice of apple.

She smiled coyly at him. “Mr. Byrne, what have you been up to?”

He chuckled. “Maybe I’ll tell you sometime. We have weeks yet ahead of us. My misdeeds will give us something to talk about. How about you, Margarita? Margarita is quite a mouthful, as well. Do people call you Rita?”

She realized this was the first time he called her by her name. She liked the way her name sounded coming from him. The way he seemed to chew the separate syllables of her name sounded like water roiling gently over pebbles in a creek.

She sat for a moment, relishing the heat radiating in her chest at the sound of her name spoken in his deep, silken voice. He was looking at her with something close to affection in his eyes. Then, she shook herself. “Not if they want to stay on my good side! I hate being called Rita. My father calls me Maggie.”

The smile disappeared, and the blood drained from his face. He stood up. “Time to hit the trail again if we want to reach camp and get these horses watered.”

He was walking away from her, already at his horse.

“All right, Michael,” she said, in a sweet voice, with a smile on her face.

His back was to her, but she saw his shoulders stiffen. Something about the gesture wiped the smile right off her face.

Find the book at:
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Patti will give an ebook of Margarita and the Hired Gun to someone who answers this question before 11 p.m. Sunday: What would your outlaw name be? Go comment!

 

The Language of a Cowboy and a Giveaway by Charlene Sands

Charlene-with-Books 

 Writers tend to write with their own separate and unique voice which simply means that a strong writer’s voice can’t be mistaken for someone else.  The more powerful the “voice” of the author, the more unique and identifiable they are to their readers.   It’s more about style than anything else and the author’s natural way of telling a story.  But when you write in a certain time period, you also need to know the language of the day.

When writing westerns, I think I absorbed a great deal from watching television westerns as a young girl.  You know them all, Bonanza, Rifleman, Maverick, Gunsmoke, and the like.  It also didn’t hurt that my in-laws were Texans, and if one spends any amount of time in Texas, it’s impossible not to pick up on the nuances of the speech, the twang, the cadence of the way Texans speak.  

But I needed more help than that when writing my westerns because over the years some of those beautiful words and expressions faded into history.  I found this book, The Cowboy Dictionary subtitled, The Chin Jaw Words and Whing-Ding ways of the American West.  Author, Ramon F. Adams.  I don’t think I’ve ever written a western without digging into this book.  Here’s a few terms, words and expressions from the old WEST:

Cowboy language

 

Boston dollar- cowboy’s name for a penny

Buck out in smoke – to die in a gun battle

Cattle Kate – Any woman involved in cattle rustling. The original Cattle Kate Maxwell, real name Ella Watson was hanged with her lover for cattle stealing in Wyoming during the Rustler’s War.

Didn’t keep his twine on his tree – Said of a rustler who did not keep rope on the saddle horn where it belonged.

Fleabag- cowboy’s name for his bedroll

Giggle talk- what a cowboy calls foolish speech

Hang up his rope- Cowboy expression meaning to quit a job or quit their calling. Also said if one is too old to work with cattle any longer

High-line rider- what a cowboy called an outlaw. He usually rode the high country to keep a lookout for sheriffs and posses.

Lead poisoned- a cowboy’s term for being shot

Lone ranger- a cowboy’s term for an unmarried man

Mouthy – a cowboy word for someone inclined to talk a great deal.  Cowboys’ motto, “The bigger the mouth the better it looks shut.”

Padding out his belly – someone inclined to eat at every opportunity

Pecos Bill- a cowboy name for a liar, from the mythical character of the West

Peddler of loads – teller of tall tales and “Campaign against the truth” and “could color up a story redder than a Navajo blanket.”

Prayer book- cowboy’s word for his cigarette papers

Powders—cowboy’s term for orders from the boss

Ride herd on a woman – cowboy’s term for courting a woman

Soft grub- a cowboy’s term for hotel food or fancy victuals

Washing out the canyon- cowboy’s expression for taking a bath

Yack- a cowboy’s name for a stupid person

 

Do you have a favorite word, slang or expression?  If we were to write a book of terms and expressions today, what would we put in that book?  Of the above terms, which one surprises you the most or makes you laugh?   Post a comment and be entered to win a 2 in 1 Desire, Secret Heir of Sunset Ranch/Expecting a Bolton Baby (or another of my backlist books)  And don’t forget to pick up a copy of Twins for the Texan!!  

 

Twins for the Texan_Sand

                                                                                                                     AMAZON

Twins…and another baby on the way for this cowboy from USA TODAY bestselling author Charlene Sands! 

After Wyatt Brandt rescues Brooke McKay en route to a Texas wedding, they spend one hot night together before going their separate ways. Now Brooke’s back with news she isn’t sure the wealthy rancher is ready to hear—especially when she discovers he’s already a father…of twins!

Being a single dad is a full-time job Wyatt can’t do alone. He doesn’t expect the ideal nanny to be the beauty who briefly shared his bed. But he accepts her help gladly—not knowing her little secret will change his family forever…

 

 

 

 

 

Updated: June 6, 2016 — 5:51 pm

Lacy Williams: Bullfighters and Butterflies

Well looky here! Lacy Williams has come back for a visit. I swear to goodness that woman writes some good stories. Guess that’s how she got to be a bestselling author, huh? Let’s give Miss Lacy a big ol’ howdy!

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lacy-williams-media-1Lacy Williams here, excited to be back with P&P!

Today I want to chat about the men who risk their lives in the rodeo arena. No, not the ones with the vests and helmets… the other ones. They wear colorful outfits and clown makeup. You know. The bullfighters.

Their job is two-fold. When the bull riders get bucked off (or jump off), the bullfighters distract the bulls to buy the riders time to get out of the arena. In between rescuing riders, the bullfighters also entertain the crowd with their antics and often over the loudspeaker, so they have to have a sense of humor and be able to think on their feet.

Can you imagine racing around in a dirt-packed arena, just in front of a fifteen hundred pound bull that wants to pound you into the ground? You jump into a barrel (have to be pretty fit and more agile than I am!) and wait for the bull to leave the arena. Then you do it all over again!

Ty Pozzobon Invitational PBR

 

What would make a man choose bullfighting for his job? That was the question I asked as I created the hero for my June release, Luke Starr. As Pamela Tracy and Vickie McDonough and I brainstormed the Lone Star Brides series, I knew their heroes would be twins and bull riders. I also knew Luke would secretly be a little envious of their close twin relationship. But the real thing that drove him to choose bullfighting is his guilt over something that happened when he was sixteen. I won’t spoil the story for you, but Luke uses bullfighting to distract himself from the guilt that eats him alive… until he’s forced to come home to his family’s ranch and face the memories that haunt him.

THE BUTTERFLY BRIDE is book three in the Lone Star Brides mini-series and is Luke’s story. When heroine Jess Sadler ropes him into reaching out to a special needs student, Luke uses the skills he’s learned in the arena to reach out to the boy. And what woman can resist a man with a soft spot for kids?

THE BUTTERFLY BRIDE is releasing in ebook only and I’d like to give away two ebook copies, names to be drawn from anyone who comments today. Do you have a favorite kid-friendly hero? It could be a single dad, uncle or otherwise. Let me know!

Thanks again for hosting me today. I always love visiting Petticoats & Pistols!

 

lonestar brides-3_lowres copyAbout The Butterfly Bride:

The prodigal son is back. Ever since the terrible mistake he made in high school—a mistake that cost his best friend his life—bullfighter Luke Starr has stayed far away from Pecan, Texas, and his family. But with his twin brothers gone on their respective honeymoons, Luke is forced to come back to town to watch over Gramma and the family ranch. And he can’t wait to leave again. Because being home hurts more than being stomped on by a bull—and it’s only a matter of time until he messes up all over again.

Special ed teacher Jess Sadler will do anything for her students—even abandon her comfort zone to convince a reluctant rodeo cowboy to give “horse lessons” to a student she can’t reach. But when feelings for Luke blindside Jess, she knows she’s in trouble. The man is counting down the minutes until he can leave Pecan. Will he take her heart with him when he goes?

Then a little boy goes missing on the family ranch, and Luke must confront the ghosts of his past or lose the future he never dreamed was possible.

 

About Lacy Williams:

USA TODAY bestselling author Lacy Williams works in a hostile environment with three-point-five kids ages 6 and under. In spite of this, she has somehow managed to be a hybrid author since 2011, publishing 26 books and novellas. Lacy’s books have finaled in the RT BOOK REVIEWS Reviewers’ Choice Awards (2012, 2013, & 2014), the Golden Quill and the Booksellers Best Award. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, ALLi, and Novelists Inc. Visit her online at LacyWilliams.net.

 

Image © vanell via depositphotos.com
Cover art © Lacy Williams via Serenade Books

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